Videos, pictures and impressions from two Spring Training games and a trip to the backfields where Astros minor league players were preparing for the season.
First, here is the media from the trip. I've uploaded several video to our YouTube Channel:
And here are the photos from the trip:
Brooks (subber10) and I traveled to Kissimmee, Florida, for the weekend of March 8-10. Here are my impressions of the trip, in no particular order.
Friday and Sunday Watching the Major League Team
- John Ely has a golf swing-like pitching motion. He goes back slow and then explodes forward. It's very interesting to watch.
- Jordan Lyles started Friday's game and after two innings had allowed 11 runs but as we've been saying all Spring long the statistics in March don't matter. And that was evident in Lyles start in which there were two fly balls in the outfield that should have been caught and two throws to first that should have been picked. No errors were charged and Lyles was made out to be the villain yet again.
- It was nice meeting one of the commenters on our site Mike Fast who came and sat with us during Friday's game for a couple innings and that included the 23 minutes top of the first inning. We couldn't get any Astros secrets out of him but it was fun none the less to sit with him and talk baseball.
- Sunday we sat behind some scouts and so we were privy to some of the radar readings they were collecting. Jarred Cosart was hitting the high 90s on his fastball but was having trouble locating the ball. he dropped the fastball down to the mid 90s and continued to struggle with location. I've started to come around on Cosart but he's still got things to work on before he wins me over.
- Brett Oberholtzer was impressive in his Sunday outing.
- We got on camera both games: Friday we were directly in front of the camera pointing down the third base line; Sunday we were directly behind homeplate and decided to golf clap every time an Astros pitcher got a strike against the Phillies' batters.
- Marc Krauss has a pretty swing and he showed it off by hitting a homerun.
- Jake Goebbert made two fantastic catches in left field.
- The crowd was getting on Chris Carter for some missed opportunities in left field. I'm happy to his play in left field has improved since then.
- Ross Seaton looks like a catapult or sling-shot when he throws. It's very interesting to watch.
- Sunday got to meet Bill one of our readers who happened to be sitting near Tales From The Juice Box blogger Terri. Hopefully she behaved herself and Bill was able to enjoy an Astros game...Crap, they lost that game. Sorry, about that Bill.
Backfield Impressions - Minor League
- Domingo Santana is a big boy. How Ed Wade ever got the Phillies to throw him in the Hunter Pence deal as the player to be named later will be one of the greatest mysteries ever.
- Asher Wojciechowski fields his position extremely well.
- Ben Heath puts on a show in batting practice. He hit five or six homeruns in BP, now only if he could do that in a game.
- Carlos Correa asked me how I was doing. I responded and then gave a shocked Brooks a high five.
- Brandon Meredith is one of the nicest guys and a guy I'll be keeping my eye on in the minor leagues.
- According to Morgan Ensberg, Nolan Fontana is a Warrior Gator.
- Fontana can hit by the way and I don't mean just singles.
- If you are an Astros minor league player and you are from UCLA, prepare for the Ensberg onslaught a University of South California alumni (South Carolina is the real USC). Tyler Henieman was the focus of Ensberg's trash talking when we were there. More motivation for Henieman to get promoted out of high-A Lancaster as soon as possible.
- Ensberg is making use of that third base arm in batting practice. At one point one of the batters complained about the speed of the pitches when Ensberg was throwing. His response, "deal with it."
- Got to meet our very first minor league player on the podcast, Aaron West. Very nice and a strong grip.
- Another pitcher with a strong grip who has also been on the podcast was Brady Rodgers. We didn't actually see him on the backfields when were back there. Probably a good thing for us because we would have discount double checked him and then been asked to lead.
- During pitcher drills Kenny Long drilled Corpus Christi manager Keith Bodie which drew laughs from everyone who saw the play.
- Got to meet and talk to Josh Bonifay the new manager of the Greenville Astros who expressed that the Astros minor league system has got some impressive talent.