For reasons I’m not at liberty to share — but which mostly concern finding a wife who lived through the Depression — I’m in Jupiter, Florida this week. Against all odds, Jupiter also happens to be the spring training home of both the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a Christmas miracle in mid-late-March, is what that is.
Yesterday, I went to Roger Dean Stadium for a game between the Twins and Marlins, but actually spent most of my time on the backfields where both Mike Stanton and Chris Coghlan were playing in a minor league game.
Like at other spring-training facilities, the Marlins’ minor league fields are constructed so that the home plates of four different fields are positioned around a small cricle, thus allowing spectators to watch multiple games almost simultaneously. It’s essentially the best possible version of MLB.TV, except one is also permitted to stand within, like, five feet of the backstop. From such a perspective, it’s impossible not to play scout — which that’s what I intend to do briefly here.
In this case, all the games in question were between Marlin and Cardinal farmhands. Below are some players who distiguished themselves for one reason or another. Please regard these comments for what they are — the observations of a baseball writer who watches the game with some frequency and not learned analysis from a trained scout.
• As I arrived to the fields, Stanton himself was just walking to the plate, and it required no little self-restraint to prevent myself from shrieking like an elated child. Stanton really is a physical marvel, especially in what scouts generally call the “trunk.” From his knees up to his waste he’s pure muscle, and it wouldn’t surprise me greatly to learn that Michelangelo’s David was at least partially based on Stanton.
In the three plate appearances I saw, Stanton grounded out to short, walked, and then hit a ground ball basically through Freddie Bynum at third.
• Out of the 25 or 30 or so pitchers I saw, Ramon Delgado of St. Louis and Adam Veres of Florida displayed the most impressive fastballs of the day. I can’t speak to the exact velocity, but both pitches possessed what I can only assume is generally meant by “life” when used by scouts, with a great deal of armside movement. I don’t know that I saw Delgado throw a breaking ball. I saw Veres attempt to throw a couple curves, but he appeared to have trouble commanding the pitch. Both pitchers are still youngish, but have worked primarily as a relievers, and will likely be utilized as so. Finally, it should be observed tha Veres is an absolute hulking monster beast of a man, and should be cast for the role of the Cyclops in a film adaptation of the Odyssey.
• The most impressive breaking ball I saw on the day came from Marlin pitcher Garrett Parcell, a tight-breaking slurve (I guess?) that he used to get a strike three from a Cardinal batter. Elsewise, Parcell wasn’t particularly impressive, allowing quite a bit of contact.
• Physically, among batters, I was most impressed by Cardinal outfielder Amaury Cazana for the strength of his body and batting approach and Marlin Jose Duarte for his athletic, active body. These twin observations should probably discredit me in the reader’s eyes, however: Cazana is a 36-year-old who’s bound to be stronger than the 20-somethings against whom he’s playing. As for Duarte, he’s 26. If he were, like, a 19-year-old with the same body, that might mean more.
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