This was my first trip to Spring Training, and I really enjoy reading other's thoughtful posts on RR so I think I should share mine. I was fortunate enough to see 2 Minor League games, 3 big league games, and play a pretty decent game of golf in 4 days. Some observations:
- I watched Sean Manaea pitch 6 innings, 3 in each Minor League game. He looked like an adult pitching to middle schoolers. He never seemed to labor to throw hard, and the only pitches anybody could catch up to were his offspeed stuff. Really just two great outings.
- Sticking with Minor League games, I got to see Alcides Escobar bat (but not field) three times in the game I watched on Sunday the 16th. Two infield singles and a ground ball to short. I was disappointed that he couldn't get solid contact against the Minor League pitcher for the Padres. None of the other batters got any solid contact off of that pitcher either, so perhaps his stuff was pretty good that day. Raul Mondesi impressed me a little bit with his speed; I really liked Hunter Dozier's batting eye; and Bonifacio the younger hit a really nice HR if I am remembering correctly.
- Met a Minor League pitcher named Tyler Mack. Really friendly guy, told me a little bit about what it is like to be a Minor League guy at camp. I know everyone talks about this, and I am not an autograph hound, but it is still interesting to see the incredible access that people get in Surprise.
- The Major League games were fun, but the best moment for me was in the Oakland game on the 14th. My dad said, "Wouldn't it be cool if Pena hit a homerun here to tie it up?" rigt before the pitch. It was pretty great, and the tension was high because Francisco had already taken two borderline pitches that might have ended the game.
- Finally, batting practice looks like a giant wast of time to me. How can you work on your timing and pitch recognition if everything is coming soft from 40ish feet? Does it do Escobar any good to hit soft-toss when he can't make contact with Minor League pitching? Anyway, I'm not an expert and I haven't played since highschool, so take that with a grain of salt.
- Anyways, thanks for reading. If you want to ask, I will try to answer any questions I see in the comments.