Sunday, May 18, 2008

Back from Lakeland

My father and I returned from Lakeland today after a very enjoyable trip. We saw three good games, although the Flying Tigers lost Saturday's game. They were indeed more entertaining than the Tigers have been this year which is not hard to do. I got a chance to meet several friends from which is always fun.

Joker Marchant Stadium is a great place to watch a game. The crowds were pretty small which allowed me to go all over the park viewing the game from different locations. I even sat in the "Berm area" (a grass hill behind the outfield fence leading up to a patio with benches and tables) for a few innings watching the outfielders as kids rolled down the hill in front of me. They had a pretty impressive team poster give away on Saturday night - a 2 foot by 1 1/2 foot team photo. That was a pretty good gift for a minor league game where tickets cost $6 max. They also had a spectacular fireworks show after the game on Saturday night. The Flying Tigers definitely put on a great show for their fans.

I talked about Rick Porcello, Jeremy Laster and Guillermo Moscoso in yesterday's post. I'm an analyst rather than a scout but here are some of my observations on some of the other players I saw:

James Skelton - probably the smallest catcher I've ever seen. He has no power but is an on base machine and has pretty good speed. Another way he misfits the catcher prototype is that he bats left-handed. I've never really understood why a catcher needs to be big as their seems to some advantages to a catcher being small and agile. It's been said that big catchers are more durable at a position where a player takes a beating. I'm not convinced that size has a lot to do with durability though.

Scott Sizemore - didn't have a great game on Saturday but generally seems to work the count and have good at bats. He made a couple of good plays Friday night.

Cale Iorg - got two hits in each of the three games and hit the ball hard. He looked pretty solid at shortstop as well.

Ryan Strieby -a power hitting first baseman who got two homers during the series.

Jay Sborz - looks to be a lot more in control than when I saw him play for the Oneonta Tigers a couple of years ago. The reliever still throws hard and reached 97 when I saw him but now throws strikes.


  1. AnonymousMay 20, 2008

    Skelton and Iorg are two guys I've been really curious about. I'm happy to see that Iorg seems to be shaking the rust off and that Skelton is still getting on base at an astonishing rate. While I agree that size may not be the most important feature of durability, I have trouble envisioning a guy who is my size squat behind a plate for 150 games a year. Being that you've actually seen Skelton can you make any comment about his frame? Does he have the sort of body type that could fill out and be more of a Russell Martin type at the plate, or is he about as big as he's going to get?


  2. Andrew,

    I think Skelton is always going to be skinny. One example of a small catcher who was successful was Tony Pena. I know catchers are usually big but I don't really see a problem with a catcher being small as long as he is strong and has a good arm (which I understand Skelton has). A small catcher can move around better and puts less weight on his knees squatting so being small is not all bad.

    One thing I like about Skelton is that he is a left-handed hitter which means that he can be platooned. It should be fairly easy to find a backup catcher who hits lefties. He's got a long way to go though and his lack of power is a problem.


  3. AnonymousMay 20, 2008

    True, but if the kid can get on base in 40% of his PA's, and play solid defense, and steal bases with a 78% success rate he's still a valuable player. Again, a Russell Martin type (who probably won't hit over 20 HRs at any point in his career). Compared to Pudge his particular skill set already has more value at the plate (though maybe not behind it) and I have to believe he'd be a better option than Inge as well.

    As you say, he has a long way to go but I'm hoping he can challenge for a big league job in '10.



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