So I had a chance to catch the Naturals vs Cardinals game yesterday. If any of you have a chance to catch a game in Springfield, I’d recommend it. The Naturals started off decently in the first, but never got any sort of momentum going. The pitching was just awful. The AA Cardinals from what I saw are a decent enough team, but they are far from dominate. Though the final score was 8-0 in favor of the Cardinals, it felt like it was a bigger beatdown. So here’s my impressions on the Naturals that I got to see:
Angel Franco – Started off the game with a nice single, but did nothing of note the rest of the game. He had a couple of decently struck balls, but his defense wasn’t anything special. Reminded me a little of Giavotella’s. He joined with Jorge Bonifacio for a bad missed popup behind the first baseman early in the game. Neither wanted it and it dropped between them maybe 25 yards or so behind first for a hit.
Orlando Calixte – I had high hopes for this kid after hearing he came back with a vengeance following a late start to his season. Apparently he’s really cooled off because after last night he’s hitting .234. His strike zone recognition is going to get him in trouble. He had two strikeouts in the game and never really made good contact.
Jorge Bonifacio – Jorge had a decent enough game, minus that bad play he had with Franco. His double was one of the seeing eye variety. He smoked the ball on the ground down the third base line that ever so subtly bounced under the glove of the third baseman. Bonifacio would finish the game with another hit and a stolen base. He seems to have good instincts on the bases and was decent in RF. Nothing really special about his defense. His bat will need a heck of a second half before can see him maybe getting a late season promotion to AAA. As of right now, I see him repeating AA, which is bad for the big league club.
Chelsor Cuthbert – After all the hype of this kid coming up through the minors, I got to see him play 1B. The only thing of consequence he did during the game was draw a 4 pitch walk. His positioning at first and glove seemed decent. After watching him play defense, I have little confidence that he can make the supposed transition to 2B. He was eventually pulled in the 7th for a defensive sub. The big thing for me was an at bat when he stuck out in the first inning. He slammed his helmet and threw his bat. He looked defeated and should have been benched at that point. Things didn’t get any better in the game for him.
Hunter Dozier – A walk was the only thing that saved Hunter from a golden sombrero last night. Defense was pretty decent from the limited opportunities that I saw. Kind of hard to get a real feel for his potential when he strikes out three times. I see him repeating AA next year based on what I saw and looking up his numbers so far.
Max Ramirez – At this point in his career, we know what Max is. He’s minors filler and did nothing of consequence other than draw a walk. If he makes it back to the majors, something will have had to go horribly wrong.
Parker Morin – Parker had a single and two strikeouts. He also had a couple of passed balls. His defense was nothing special and I have a hard time believing he’ll be anything more than minors filler.
Justin Trapp – He started in left and moved to 2B when Franco replaced Cuthbert in the 7th. He didn’t do anything of consequence at either position defensively and only had a strikeout on the offensive side.
Ethan Chapman – He had a hit and a walk on the offensive side. He seems to have good range in CF and played a decent CF. He’s not a prospect and I’d be surprised to see him make it to AAA.
Tim Melville – This kid needs to go to the pen and stay there. He had a rough 1st inning where he gave up 3 runs. He then retired 7 in a row before his next hit. He made it to the 6th before he gave up 3 more runs. He has below average control and had 2 wild pitches. It didn’t help things that his defense let him down. If he makes it to the majors, it will either be in the pen or with an NL team as their 5th starter/swingman.
Noel Arguelles – I see very much why he has an ERA north of 7. Whatever positive things he’s found this season, he left in his locker because he sure as heck didn’t have it during his 2 innings. He walked 3, had a wild pitch, and had no control. I’m not sure why he’s still in AA. At this point, he either needs to go back to A ball or get his pink slip. I can’t see him making it past this level for any team.
Sam Selman – he finished this one out and was every uneventful, which was a good thing.His walks are up this year, but he looked good during his inning. I see him being in the mix in a few years.