June 07, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow helps 2012 top draft pick Carlos Correa put on a jersey during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Saturday night was our great blogger meet-up! Jayne, Tim, and myself were all in attendance for the game. We also had the opportunity to meet up with AppyAstros who has been a guest on our podcast and comes over to leave comments on occasion as well. Tim frequently links to his blog on Sunday as well. We also had the opportunity to meet another commenter Patrick Harrell, who also writes for our SBN sister Rockets blog as well. It was great to meet everyone for the first time and an enjoyable game. Patrick was on a road trip to college, so he and his dad left much earlier than us, as we all shut the stadium down and chatted for quite some time.
As for the game, it was a quick affair as most of the pitchers really worked fast and there were a lot of quick outs. Greeneville won and it was definitely an exciting game. Tim and I have shared our notes with you below as well as some video that Tim put together.
Tim's Greeneville Impressions from Saturday
I've only got a few notes to add here because a lot of my impressions from Friday night's game carried over to Saturday nights game and Brooks will cover everything else in his impressions. Carlos Correa is a beast, but Appy Astros made note after an at bat in which Correa took the ball the other way, that he'll let the ball get deep in the zone so he can hit it the other way and he does that on a regular basis.
The other note I have is regarding Adrian Houser who after the first inning I made note of the fact that he was getting hit hard. Appy Astros and his son said that's normal for Houser which is a bit disconcerting. Houser didn't give up a run in his five innings, but you give him the Burlington defense which made an error on Saturday and two on Friday and the outcome could have been very different.\
Pioneer Park the Greenevile Astros home ballpark is a fantastic
I'll leave you with one with one final goodie, an Adrian Houser four pitch inning and a Carlos Correa diving catch:
Here are the other videos from Saturday:
Brooks' Greeneville Impressions from Saturday
Piggy-backing on Tim's point about Houser getting hit hard, I noticed that it was primarily on his fastball. I move around a lot in minor league parks to get the best point of view, and one of those places I like is right behind the off-duty pitchers with the radar guns. This is a great view for horizontal movement, and a clue on why Houser gets hit hard. There is not a whole lot of horizontal movement. From other vantage points, there's not a whole lot of drop either. The good news is that he gets it up there, the highest I saw as 94. He also features a breaking ball that drops into the mid-70's. He also had a pitch that was frequently 86 MPH which I think is a cutter.
I was impressed with his command. Especially given his age, he was able to locate, not only his fastball well, but his breaking ball. He also would bring his fastball inside on right-handed hitters at times. He keeps the ball in the zone a lot and locates his pitches pretty well for a 19-year old. He did struggle at one point with missing low to start out one inning and his mechanics were a little bit off. His elbow was drifting a little high in his wind-up and it threw his release point off a bit, but he recovered after a handful of pitches. He also struggles with leaving his breaking ball up at times, and it really flattens out when he does that as well. AppyAstros pointed that out as something that he does frequently.
I was excited to see Houser as he has really taken a step forward this season judging my the numbers. I was getting higher on him, but now, I'm not so sure. I think he's taking control of at-bats because of his ability to locate pitches down in the zone. Being that Mike Newman from Fangraphs tweeted Lance McCullers Jr. was also hit pretty hard with his fastball last night as well, maybe the Royals farm team is good at squaring up fastballs. Either way, it's consistent for Houser and the fastball movement needs to improve with a change of wrist angle or something.
The curious case of Bushue. He's a known pitcher for those of us who know a little bit about the minor leagues, and he's a frustrating case for us as well. He was a second round pick who was drafted on his curved ball with potential to fill out and add velocity. But, he's never really taken any steps forward, and here's why.
You see his frame and you see his outstanding curveball, and then you start dreaming. Problem is, that frame is looking like it's filling out and the radar gun still reads 84-89 MPH with average movement. His curveball though...it's so pretty! Bubba Starling watched back to back curves dive down and away with it's two-plane break and was rung up on them.
In my book, Ruiz moved up a bit. I was impressed with his approach as he's not walking up just hacking like most high school power hitters. He's fairly patient, expect for one at-bat where I was perfectly situated and had the camera on him and he hit a line-drive to the third-baseman on the FIRST pitch. Ruiz makes very hard contact and the stadium hears it when he makes contact. I expected a little more loft in his swing, but I can't really take a whole lot from this game in that area as most swings were on pitches higher in the zone where his plane levels out. Still, he generates good bat speed and makes hard contact. He's perfectly OK with driving the ball in the gaps with line drives.
Seems pretty mature as a hitter in the sense that he takes what the pitcher gives him and doesn't try to do too much with it. I didn't see any great at-bats where he forces the pitcher to give him something he wants, but he doesn't chase a lot of bad stuff either. He sends the ball back up the middle a lot. He has a very good strong frame and I think more power can come. He's not a loaf in the field like many LFers but his arm will keep him there. He had to one hop a throw from mid-left on a throw home, but he knows that's what he needs to do. He kept the ball on a line and hopped it there instead of floating it in.
He's a smaller guy that looks very athletic. Didn't see a whole lot from him offensively, as he had a lot of weak grounders. He has nice speed to get a few hits that way though. In the field he made a young raw athlete type mistake in which he tried be aggressive on a line-drive to deep center. What he should have played off the wall and limit to a double, he let it bounce by him for a triple.
Dando has been lights out this season for Greeneville this season. What you saw from him is a mature pitcher who challenges and has some deception in his delivery. He stays tall early and falls to the plate with a little bit of a jerk in his delivery. His fastball is pretty straight but gets some nice drop on it from his delivery. He also uses his breaking ball effectively. The fastball tops out a 88-89.
I can't add much more than what Tim already has, so don't be surprised this is a short section. He's mature at the plate. He works counts. He lets the ball travel deep so he can hit to all fields. It's very impressive to see him do all of these things at such a young age. He's very gifted in his actions. He has range in the field and I'm not so sure he's going to put the amount of size on to force him to third base. His athleticism will really allow for him to project there long term. However, he could grow that much, I just don't expect it. I think he sticks and still projects for around 20 home runs a year. I walked away very impressed.
This is no surprise, but just looking at the roster really impresses you at the overall talent this team has. Patrick and I joked about how this team alone, has more talent than the Top 10 would have just a few years ago. AppyAstros also confirmed that this is easily the most talent they've had there since 2004, which is the first year they were in Greeneville. Tim and I have already said this is a trip we plan to make again next year as it's a beautiful area and a great trip.