Padres 2012 Spring Training Report – 2/26

Baseball 27 Feb 2012

Bunt plays and batting practice were the order of the day in the Pads second day of full squad workouts in Peoria.

 Everything went smoothly with the 1st & 2nd bunt plays.  Since I had a good look at many of the presumed starters hitting yesterday, when the cages were rolled out today I went over to the field where the younger guys were hitting to get a peek at their swings early in camp.

CONSISTENT SWINGS: Jedd Gyorko & Logan Forsythe – From his first round to his last Gyorko showed a consistent swing with the ability to hit the ball wherever it was pitched.  Line drives to every part of the field, and with authority opposite field.  Came up a couple times as he addressed the ball causing him to roll over and hit a grounder, but he consistently and quickly got himself back in position for the next pitch to be hit for a line drive.  Forsythe also showed a consistent stroke, hitting line drives up the middle during most of his rounds.

UNTAMED STALLION: Rymer Liriano – Big, explosive, sweeping swing with lots of moving parts.  After a few swings the comparison to a young Vlade Guerrero with the aggressive athletic swing with lots of moving parts came to mind, but then the Alfonso Soriano like follow through seemed to me a closer comparison to swing type.  Either way, the athletic body and aggressive swing could lead to explosive results, or the unharnessed aggressiveness could leave him easily pitchable at higher levels.   I see why scouts would get excited about his potential, but it can be a tricky balance sometimes between aggressive athleticism, and undisciplined vulnerability – hope for everyone’s sake the former trumps.

PLEASANT SURPRISE: Matt ClarkI had no idea who the lanky lefty was as he stood in the box, but just standing there he reminded me of a left handed Richie Sexson, and I expected a similar long swing.  Although the follow through was long and kept hitting the netting that hung down from the top of the cage he actually had a pretty smooth and controlled short stroke for a long armed guy standing 6′-5″.  He generally pulled, but squared the ball up more often than not with what appeared to be a typical lefty swing partial to the ball down and in.  Not sure what his future is with the Padres as a 24 year old, left hand hitting first baseman, but with 75 HR’s over the past thee seasons I was left curious to see more.

After the workouts were over on the big league side, I went over to the Pads mini camp today to watch some of the young prospects get their work in.   As luck would have it I got there just in time to see last year’s #1 draft pick , Corey Spangenberg, take some batting practice.  DANG, that guy can handle a Louisville!  Talk about being able to keep the hands inside the ball…the left hand hitting second baseman put on a display today, and from all reports it wasn’t just a good day.  Line drive after line drive from the 5.5 hole to center field, most with an inside out fade created by hands staying inside the ball – not jam shots, but well struck line drives.  It was a beautiful thing to watch…even from this former pitcher’s perspective, the batsmanship from this young hitter was something to admire.

Batting practice in on the schedule for tomorrow, with the starting rotation candidates getting first shot at taking advantage of the not yet ready for game action batters.  It’s usually a total mismatch the first few days of live BP, but the hitters catch up in a hurry and then the tides turn until the pitchers can get through the dead arm period, and find the feel for their breaking pitches.  Both the starters and the relievers, who will get their chance to throw live to hitters the following day, will have been given 2 days rest.

Can’t wait to hear the crack of broken bats tomorrow in BP…I can’t help it, it’s the pitcher in me.


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