I went to Yarmouth-Dennis on Monday night to see Y-D face Chatham. It was another cold evening, and one man with a southern accent said "It's colder than a dead bird up here."
Chatham won 3-2 in front of three major league scouts in a game that barely got the full nine innings in before it got dark.
Chatham right-handed starter Kaleb Fleck was an interesting story to watch. Fleck goes to University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and his collegiate season ended on April 26. He was visibly nervous on the mound and had some trouble finding consistency in his mechanics, throwing across his body and struggling with his release point. But Fleck's fastball sat mostly in the 90-91 range and occasionally touched 92. He showed occasional glimpses of a very good 80-82 mph slider, but he didn't always throw it the way he wanted to. Fleck also showed an 82 mph changeup. He ended up pitching five shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
An American League scout made an interesting observation about Chatham right-handed reliever Taylor Hill from Vanderbilt. "His mechanics remind me of Pedro Martinez," the scout said. "His performance does not." Hill had good size at 6'4", 220, but there was a lot of effort in his delivery and he kind of slinged the ball when he threw it. His fastball sat in the 90-91 mph range and he threw a decent 79-81 mph slider with sweeping movement.
The Anglers brought in righthander Russell Brewer, also from Vanderbilt, to pick up the save in the ninth. I really liked Brewer a lot when he closed games for Hyannis last summer, and he was exactly how I remembered him. His stuff is not that good, but he has excellent command and just consistently gets the job done. He's a little undersized at 6'0" 190, and his fastball tops out at 89 mph, but he hits his spots with it and makes hitters beat him. Brewer also throws a 75-76 mph slider that doesn't have very tight break but gets outs.
Y-D right-handed starter Scott Lyman from UC-Davis threw a great changeup, but he struggled with his control and didn't make it out of the fourth inning. Lyman is 6'3" with an athletic build, and he spins part of the way around in his motion a la Kevin Brown. He releases from almost straight over the top and there is effort in his delivery. Lyman's fastball sat mostly in the 90-91 range and once touched 92. He threw an 81 mph curveball with sweeping break and his best pitch was the 77-79 mph changeup that was really deceptive when he finished and a lot of hitters swung at and missed. But Lyman walked five and hit a batter and finished his day throwing some more in the bullpen.
Y-D right-handed reliever Matt Little from the University of Kentucky wasn't bad, but he was a max effort guy who had some balance issues as he fell way off toward third base upon his release. Little's two-seam fastball sat in the 87-89 mph range with some run in on right-handed hitters, and he occasionally dialed his four-seamer up to 91 or 92. He also threw a 77 mph slider with big frisbee-like movement that he could get hitters to chase out of the zone. He didn't always throw the slider well, though.
Among the hitters, Y-D shortstop Josh Rutledge from Alabama stood out during BP when he hit a few balls into the trees with his smooth right-handed swing. He also went 2-for-4 in the game, driving the ball to right field twice.
Y-D catcher Ben McMahan from Florida hit the ball hard a couple times in the game as well.
For Chatham, DH Nick Schwaner from the University of New Orleans impressed during batting practice. He keeps his hands in tight to the point where he is almost jamming himself, but he has quick hands and whips the bat through the zone to generate some pop. He went 2-for-4 in the game.
Left fielder Whit Merrifield from South Carolina, who played for Y-D last summer, scored the winning run for Chatham.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Falmouth 4 Orleans 0: Tom Collier from San Jacinto struck out nine in six shutout innings for Falmouth
Brewster 2 Harwich 0: Mark Gormley from Brown pitched six shutout innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out six to pick up the win for Brewster.
Bourne 2 Cotuit 2 in 10 innings: Bourne starter Stephen Porlier from Oklahoma allowed one run on two hits in six innings, and Cotuit starter Jake Buchanan from N.C. State allowed just two unearned runs in six innings on the mound.
Wareham 4 Hyannis 2: Wareham starter Blake Monar from Indiana allowed two unearned runs in his five innings pitched.