Amateur Scouting: Francisco Lindor

I went back to New Britain Stadium last night to check out another top prospect in all of baseball, Francisco Lindor.

I have heard the name of the Cleveland Indians #1 prospect over the last year or two, but almost forgot about him until I checked the Akron Aeros roster about an hour before the game started. I made the decision and went to the game just to see this kid play.

Fifteen dollars and I got a front row seat just passed third base. As I walked to my seat I noticed a crowd of middle-aged men with their kids fishing for autographs, they were in my way. I knew what was going on and didn’t feel like making them move yet, I would watch them look ridiculous. One guy had his little daughter yell for Lindor, while a couple of others told him they were his biggest fan…just a reminder, these aren’t little kids. The award for most ridiculous went to the guy who tried to take a selfie with Lindor, he got him in position, thought he took it and then when he walked away realized that his camera was on video and the picture didn’t come out.

As for how the kid played…

In the first inning, Lindor grounded out to Twins prospect Miguel Sano at third base. He showed good speed, but Sano has a cannon of an arm. In his next at-bat, he led off the fourth inning attempted a drag bunt from the right side and grounded it right back to the pitcher. He finally reached base in his third plate appearance of the night. He chopped the ball very high off of home plate, the ball made its way to shortstop and Lindor beat it out. This was a pretty easy infield hit. He finally made solid contact in the last at-bat of the game, a single up the middle and showed his above average speed getting from home to first.

As for the defense, I was very impressed. There was nothing spectacular, but I think he makes the difficult plays look easy. He ranged to both his left and right and showed solid arm strength. He was charged with an error when he went up the middle, scooped the ball behind the second base bag and fired high. Jesus Aguilar said something to Lindor from first after the bad throw, it was his second of the game that weren’t exactly on target.

All in all, I can understand why Francisco Lindor is a top prospect. He doesn’t strikeout (44 in 99 games between A and AA this year) and he has great hands at shortstop. Oh and by the way, he has a .798 OPS this year as well.

Amateur Scouting: Ranaudo and Cecchini

I went to New Britain Stadium today for some midday minor league baseball action, the Portland Sea Dogs and New Britain Rock Cats were finishing up a four game series in front of 6,000 plus summer camp kids.

Now I have been to morning and afternoon games there before and as much as I don’t like them, today was not bad. The only time the kids went crazy was when the t-shirt slingshot came out and even then, the operator shot three shirts clear out of the stadium.

The real reason I went to the game was to see #7 overall prospect Anthony Ranaudo pitch for the Sea Dogs. I was standing at my register in the garden center at work the other day and saw that he would be starting. I immediately checked my schedule and when I saw that I had nothing else going on I knew I had to go. I had heard a lot about this kid. He was drafted a little low, because of a college injury, he dominated the lower levels, then struggled and then this year had started to pitch well again. (2.87 ERA, 1.099 WHIP, 98 K, 35 BB in 97.1 innings pitched).

Today I was expecting to see a dominating performance and that is not what I got. I’m not saying he got lit up, because that didn’t happen either, but his command was off. His curveball missed way up quite a few times. It wasn’t up in the zone, it was over the batter’s head. Even a few fastball’s were that high. Ranaudo finished the game with four walks and only one strikeout while throwing 100 pitches, 61 of them strikes.

The good part about his performance was the lack of contact being made. He wasn’t missing bats, but he did not allow a hard hit ball all game. The Rock Cats managed only one run and it came on a double just inside the first base bag by Yosmil Pinto scoring Danny Santana from 2nd. Ranaudo exited the game after 5.2 innings and the games was tied.

The other guy, who I actually forgot was in AA (please forgive me) is Garin Cecchini. The Red Sox super prospect. In the first inning he grounded to shortstop and a bobble by Santana allowed Cecchini to reach safely. He didn’t collect a hit until the eighth when he singled through the right side and then stole second. The steal was kind of impressive. He didn’t have the best jump, but has enough speed to make up for it.

I look forward to seeing these guys progress through the Red Sox system and hopefully make the show.

What Is Viper Live Sports?

Ever since I joined Twitter and with the help of my friend @kmosk3, I have been live tweeting all of the sporting events I have attended. These range from high school baseball to CT Whale hockey at the XL Center to New Britain Rock Cats baseball at New Britain Stadium and all the Central Connecticut State University events I have ever been to. I have tweeted so much that the Sports Information Office at the university hired me to live tweet their sports from the official @CCSUBlueDevils account. Most of my casual followers have enjoyed this transition, because I am no longer filling their timelines with Blue Devil softball tweets all spring.

I have recently began an internship at the Middletown Press newspaper as I complete my senior year of college and work my way towards a bachelors degree in journalism. I began at the paper last week and was immediately sent out with the staff photographer and a reporter to cover the Mercy High School basketball game. I was given the task of live tweeting the game using the hashtag #ctgb (Connecticut Girls Basketball) so my editor could retweet me from back at the office. I enjoyed the fact that many more people were going to be reading my tweets, but when I left the office for the night and looked at my account, one of my friends had asked me why I was at the game? I had to explain that it was for the internship and I don’t normally attend high school girls basketball games, especially if I have no connection, but this got me thinking…

Maybe I need a special Twitter account that I will only use for live tweeting sports, since it has become such a big part of my life. I posed the question to my followers and a few responded to me…

@jonstank: “@DCTViper89 pro: easier for followers to find you con: you’ll have two accounts to worry about. I say go for it.”

So I finally made the account last night (@ViperLiveSports), followed a bunch of local newspapers and sports reporters from around Connecticut and here I am, making a blog that will follow all the live sporting events I will go to and my internship with the sports editor at the Middletown Press.