By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Whew. It was a hot one on Sunday in Florida. It was easily the hottest day so far and it really makes you wonder how the guys who play in the GCL grind out their season in the summer when it's much hotter and more humid than it was on Sunday.
Sunday started by heading over to pick up my credential once again but I didn't stick around the big league camp, instead heading over to minor league camp. When I arrived, the players were in action early with the higher level working groups taking batting practice before heading over to Tampa to play against the Yankees while the lower two levels of Yankees prospects came to Dunedin to face the A-ball teams.
I saw guys like Lourdes Gurriel, John La Prise, Harold Ramirez, Cavan Biggio, Richard Urena and John Berti taking BP. La Prise was hitting with the "New Hampshire" working group while the other four were taking their hacks with the "Buffalo" working group. The final group, mostly consisting of catchers included Ryan Hissey, Tim Lopes, Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire. Lopes and Jansen had the most impressive sessions in BP, with Jansen making consistently hard contact and was hitting the ball out with regularity. They were playing a game in the last round of BP, seeing how many points they can amass in five hits. A home run got four points, a triple three, a double two, what would be considered a single was one point and a ball that could be turned into a double play earned minus one points. While I missed Rowdy Tellez's BP session, he was the team's leader for the day with 13 points and that standard was what the other groups were shooting for. Reese McGuire tied that mark (I think) but by that point, Danny Jansen had already obliterated it with a 16-point round.
Then I went for lunch and returned to see Graham Spraker warming up for a live BP session. Gil Kim has spoken highly of Spraker, who is just getting back from an injury and doesn't expect to throw in a game until next week. Of course, for a report of what I saw, stay tuned for the "Quick Hit" scouting report.
The games got underway and while one diamond featured a list of pitchers whom I had already seen, one pitcher in the "Dunedin" game stood out: Devin Malone. Malone had been invited to the Fall Instructional League and later worked out in the winter for the Blue Jays and earned himself a contract. A former teammate of Wil Browning's at Louisiana-Monroe, Malone has never played affiliated ball and has been in the independent leagues for several years. Well, he pitched yesterday and, to me, it looked like he was smiling most of the time he was out on the mound. He's definitely the type of guy we can root for!
The "Lansing" game featured pitchers I hadn't seen yet (at least not this year). Jordan Barrett started and then Bobby Eveld took over with Josh Winckowski, Andrew Deramo, Justin Watts, Mitch McKown and Connor Law finishing up. On the hitters' side, I think Chavez Young had the best day that I saw but the heat was really having an effect on me and it was all I could do to stay upright and get some photos of players I hadn't seen yet.
I was also getting annoyed because the Yankees pitchers would take forever to deliver the ball. And they made several pitching changes within the inning, making the games take even longer.
Following the games, I went back to the office and interviewed Kacy Clemens and Samad Taylor for upcoming podcasts. All in all, it was an exhausting day in the Florida sun but it's baseball so I can't complain too much.
Monday is my last day in Tampa (with my flight leaving early Tuesday morning) so I'm going to try to squeeze as much out of it as I can to bring to you, good readers.
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