Monday, June 8, 2009

Cape League Exhibitionists

I made it out to Brewster tonight for an exhibition game between a random assortment of Cape League Eastern Division players and the barnstorming U.S. Military All-Stars. The USMA-S won 5-2.

I was the only scout at Stony Brook Elementary, which was good from a me-being-dedicated standpoint, but bad from a it's-hard-to-evaluate-pitchers-without-a-radar-gun standpoint.

The talent level wasn't great by Cape standards, as many of the Cape League players who played tonight are temps who are still hoping to make their team's roster.

It was therefore mostly a night of writing guys off as opposed to finding any real prospects. A few guys were halfway decent though and they are described here:

The random Cape assortment used nine different pitchers, and the only two who intrigued me at all in their innings of work were 2010 draft eligibles LHP Chris Sale from Yarmouth-Dennis and Florida Gulf Coast and RHP Les Williams from Harwich and Northeastern. I need to see them throw to a radar gun, but they are at least worth watching a couple more times if they are able to stick around.

Sale is very tall (6'6") and strikingly thin (listed at 185 lbs). He has a funky delivery during which he sort of drops down and falls forward simultaneously, releasing from a low-three-quarter arm angle. He had good tail on his fastball and threw a really nice pitch that I guessed was a sinker because of its sharp downward break. He also showed a slider.

Williams is average height (6'2") but had very large, Roger Clemens-esque thighs. It seemed like he was throwing the ball pretty hard, and hopefully a gun will eventually confirm that. He spotted his fastball well and attacked the strike zone better than any of the other eight pitchers. He threw a nice slider with hard bite, a less-effective curveball and a changeup. He has a sloppy motion and he kind of slings his arm around when he releases. He also started moping and showed poor body language after two fielding miscues behind him.

The best position players of the night were 2010 draft eligibles SS Devin Lohman from Orleans and Long Beach State, and IF/OF Danny Muno from Orleans and Fresno State. Neither were outstanding, just better than the rest.

Lohman mainly impressed in the field where he showed good range to both his left and right, smooth footwork and rhythm and a strong arm. He didn't have a good approach at the plate though and really just didn't look ready to hit. He was late on several average fastballs, and struggled to adjust to breaking pitches. He finally stayed back on an off-speed pitch and pulled a single in his third at-bat.

Muno had the best-looking swing of the night, a smooth stroke from the left side. He's a switch hitter but didn't face any lefties tonight. He did a good job using the whole field.

All in all, nothing to get too excited about on the first night. The military propaganda before the game and in between every inning was a little offputting too. I'm going to an exhibition in Hyannis Tuesday night and the regular season opener in Thursday.

Bear with me, the league will get more interesting soon.

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