By Shannon Drayer
A few weeks ago, before spring training kicked off, I gave you the heads up that I wouldn’t be reporting to Peoria until a bit later. Since then I have tried to make it clear that I wasn’t there in the posts that I did put up, giving insight here and there on what I was hearing rather than trying to give the illusion that I was writing about something I actually saw. Thus, the brief posts.
I am in Peoria now but my official report date is not until Friday. That said, there are a couple of interesting things that are happening in the next two days so you can expect to hear about those (some on the blog but also on Twitter, and if you aren’t following me, you should @shannondrayer). Then on Friday, I will jump into the 2013 season with both feet and off we go.
Today both Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker will pitch in a game against the Indians in Goodyear. Working or not, I definitely want to see that. I have been hearing raves about Hultzen early in camp, which is great to hear after the disappointing second half he had last year. I was very impressed with how he talked about those struggles last year and what he did to combat that going forward on “The Hot Stove League Show” last week. I am very interested to see if a knockout spring can erase last year’s performance in the eyes of the organization. My gut feeling is they will be more comfortable getting him some time at Triple-A to start but now I am allowing for the possibility that if he pulls a Pineda, anything could happen. If he made the 25-man roster out of spring training that would count as a surprise for me. A very good surprise.
As for Walker, I will be interested to see how much he throws the curve he is working on. It is purely a confidence thing and this kid does not seem to lack it. Will he throw a pitch he is not 100 percent with in a spring game that doesn’t count? It is the best time to throw it but all eyes are on him and he will want to impress with what he knows will impress, namely a 97-mph fastball.
I also am excited to see a home run as the Mariners apparently are now all about the longball. They currently lead the majors this spring with 10. Cleveland also has 10 but they have played more games. Good fun.
What do I make of the power display? Well, it is spring training. Last year they led the spring in OPS and that clearly did not transfer to the season. My feeling with spring numbers for the team is if they are good, neat! That’s pretty cool, we will see what happens. If they are bad, uh oh. If you can’t score runs in Arizona as a team, with the high skies, shaky fielding and thin air, good luck hitting when you head home. What we are seeing is a step in the right direction but not something I am much more curious about than excited. We shall see.
Okay, I mentioned that there was something I wanted to see Thursday and that is Felix throwing his first live batting practice. Not sure yet what time that is scheduled for but I will give you a full report.
That is it for now. Talk to you from Goodyear.