I attended the Memphis Redbirds game on May 30th in Des Moines. I have not gone through and applied scounting grades like Az did for the 5/4/08 game, but I was able to make some useful observations. I also took a lot of pictures (I was a guest at the game of friends that have season tickets directly behind home plate) which I will share with you after the jump.
David Freese‘s line looked good in the box score (1-3, walk, three run homer), but the homerun looked like a lazy pop fly (opposite field, down the rightfield line) that would end up foul, but the wind just kept carrying it and kept it fair. No one thought it was a homer off the bat. Something similar happened earlier in the game when a pop up that looked like it might fall in for a bloop hit just hung in the air to rightfield and became a routine fly out. Here is a picture of the follow through on his homerun swing:
Nevertheless, I was impressed with Freese for a different reason: his defense. I have been really curious to see both him and Allen Craig at thirdbase to see if either one have the defensive chops to play third in the big leagues. After seeing Freese, I think that he does. He made three plays that required better than average defensive skills. The first was a swinging bunt down the first base line that he charged, scooped and threw a strike to first for the out. The second was a chopper to his left that he one handed, pivoted, set himself and threw another strike to first. The third was on a bunt by Eric Patterson – Freese charged, barehanded and threw an off-balance throw to first that was just barely late. I don’t think he could have made the third play any better – it was a great bunt and Patterson would have beaten anybody’s throw to first. His only chance was if he had been playing further in before the play started. I know that it was only three plays, but Freese showed the athleticism in those three plays to make me believe that he could play above average defense at third base in the majors.
Anthony Reyes and Rich Hill were the starting pitchers and there were at least six scouts sitting in the rows directly in front of me. I ended up chatting with a season ticket holder (unfortunately I didn’t catch his name) who was able to identify one of the scouts as the Phillies local scouts (he also pointed out Cubs GM Jim Hendry and former Cardinal Mike Mahoney). Reyes looked good for the first few innings, hitting his spots and generating ground balls, but his stuff didn’t hold up and he ended up taking the loss. While the result wasn’t the best, I think it was successful as an audition for the scouts. He showed the stuff to get good hitters out, but perhaps his stamina isn’t completely back after his bullpen role with the Cardinals earlier this year. His mechanics haven’t changed and I’m sure that Chris O’Leary would hate them.
Here is a better angle from his pre-game warm up of the inverted W that O’Leary dislikes:
I can’t really provide any analysis as to why he had a bad night – it just seemed like whatever he threw up there was hit hard.
Colby was credited with a hit that night, but he never hit the ball hard and his single was a well placed ground ball that glanced off the second baseman’s glove. Rich Hill was successful against him by repeatedly throwing his slow curveball. Rasmus was also thrown out stealing, but it was a terrible call by the ump. I took pictures of the play that show that he was safe, but I wasn’t really ready to take the shots, so I wasn’t zoomed in properly and the pictures are out of focus. But rest assured – he was safe.
I was somewhat disappointed because I missed Jaime Garcia by one night, Joe Mather was called up to the big leagues that day and Bryan Anderson got the night off. But I came away impressed with David Freese, Nick Stavinoha and, unfortunately, Felix Pie and Eric Patterson.