So I've spent the past few days in Chattanooga and I went to all of the games. They were all pretty good games and the Mobile BayBears have some really good hitters, but I was most impressed with the pitching from the home team. These are my thoughts:
Nathan Eovaldi (and he prefers to be called Nathan BTW) has the great arm we've all heard about. He's a shy kid but he's very nice and has a great autograph....when you can get him. He comes out to the field very late when he's not pitching. Now for the actual game action. He was 94-97 in the first 3 inning of his game on the 13th. It was a hot and humid night and he was really feeling it because his fastball dropped to 90-93 from the 4th on. I confirmed with a couple of coaches that it was in fact fatigue and not anything else. He didn't have his best stuff but pitched well and escaped most of the trouble he had pitched himself into. Better bullpen support (Rice had a tough night) would have kept him off the hook he squarely placed himself on, but hey that's baseball.
Shawn Tolleson looked very impressive. His fastball was between 90-94 and he's working on a two-seamer that worked really well for him on the 15th. He got at least 2 of the 3 Ks on the pitch he's working on and seemed to get the best numbers on the gun when he used it. Great late sink and he looked pretty free and easy.
Chris Withrow, what can you say about the maddening skill and mixed results this guy puts up. First off he's another guy with a great arm and had his fastball working between 94-97. The bad news is nobody knew where it was going. In the first couple of innings his best pitch was his slider at 88. He threw it for strikes when his fastball was everywhere else. It seemed that he walked every leadoff hitter he faced on 4 or 5 pitches and then seemed to settle down with runners on base. He was a better pitcher with runners on, but was pitching from the stretch even with bases empty so it might just be a concentration issue. Lots of pitches (8 walks and 7 Ks) meant an early exit. He had a nice shot for a double, so if all else fails he can still hit! ;-)
Will Savage pitched a very gutsy game. What wasn't announced was that he was hit in the leg the day before his start and had trouble walking. He wen't for x-rays and didn't have a fracture so he took the ball. The only inning where he gave up runs was right after he had run the bases and slid. Maybe coincidence, maybe not. Gutsy performance, but nothing OMG about his stuff.
BCG looks to be really pressing (although I heard he just hit a HR). He had a great leaping catch at the wall in right in one game and played 1B without incident. Lots of swings and misses at balls in the dirt. As most know, he is quick for a guy his size.
Kyle Russell made two great diving catches in the games I saw. Still has a longish swing and seems to be feast or famine....we see a lot of that in LA already.
Van Slyke is in the middle of a pretty good season. He's a big strong guy and he's swinging the bat pretty well....obviously. It'll be interesting to see if he can continue and repeat and really turn the corner. He's going to need a little more plate discipline.
I don't really have anything too nice to say about Herrera or Ochoa except that they have pretty good wheels. I wouldn't be surprised to see a guy like Lemmerman getting a shot soon.