I made the 5 hour road trip from Omaha to Burlington IA for the game Saturday and for those of you who enjoy baseball at it's purist form you couldn't find a more quaint and inviting atmosphere. It has everything a minor league baseball fan needs small old community, sweet people and a nice passionate baseball atmosphere.
As for the performers the Bees played exactly as one would expect with the age and experience of the players involved.
Hilton Richardson appears to have the best body of all the Bees strong, thick and and athletic with wide enough shoulders to continue to develop. Richardson's bunt and speed approach might stunt the power that could be inside him though. Also the flat plane of his swing could stop him from maximizing on that possible power. He wasn't tested much in the field and he was allowed to steal in the 9th so it was difficult to tell if his speed was translating on the base paths and in the field.
Video of Richardson
Wil Myers looks like the real deal even in a off night. He has a quick bat that generates plenty of power as evident in his second AB double to right center. He was a little impatient jumping on the first pitch he saw a couple times during the game. I didn't get to see him catch as he was the DH but he did look to have good speed on the base paths. Myers like Richardson has a frame that could add plenty of muscle and fill out.
Video of Myers
Tyler Sample creates a very good plane on his fastball delivering on a nice downward angle keeping the ball low in the zone. He sat 88-91 according to the guns that Bees/Bandits players charting had. His curveball drew a few strikes and he tossed a couple change ups in that 83 mph range. He started to lose the strikezone in the 3rd inning thanks to what I consider was some inconsistent umpiring. Samples release point combined with some added velocity to be a good combination. He is a very big kid who could add alot of muscle and weight to his frame.
Video of Sample
Carlo Testa was impressive with his plate approach and power driving a line shot the opposite way for a HR. He is older for that level though and should be able to dominate. Fernando Cruz struggled putting good contact together but did draw a walk and worked the count well. He also flashed his strong arm at third base. Sam Runion struggled again as he just couldn't find the strikezone. The Royals must have gave up on him as a starter as he came out of the pen for the 9th. Runion was touching 91 but with little control out of a 3/4 arm angle.
Overall if you are a old school baseball fan then you can't beat Burlington. Also Matt Mitchell and Kelvin Herrera were charting pitches. The Bandits charters and Mitchell were comparing whose teammates could throw the hardest and Mitchell didn't hesitate to say Herrera. He said Kelvin was touching 95 the prior game while the Bandit player talked about how easily Shelby Miller can touch mid 90's.
Studs of the Week
Eric Hosmer- The Hos jumped out to an amazing start hitting .500 in the first four games of the season. 8-16 2 3b 1 2b 2-2 Bb/So 1 Sb
Mike Montgomery- Montgomery probably won't make it through May in Wilmington if his first start is any indication. 5 IP 2 h 6-1 So-Bb 1 R 0 ER
Duds of the Week
Johnny Giavotella- Fan favorite Johnny G struggled in his first week in AA going 2-12 with 1 bb 1 so and a 2b while also committing and error in the field.
Tim Melville - Really no bigger dud this week than Melville who couldn't complete an inning of work in his first High A start. Adam Foster tweeted about his control problems during spring training but who knew it could be this bad. Just one start but something to definitely keep an eye on.
2/3 IP 5 H 3 BB 0 Ks 1 HR
Omaha Bryan Bullington vs. Chase Wright Nashville Sounds (Brewers)
NW Arkansas Blake Johnson vs Jeremy Johnson Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
Tues Aaron Crow
Wilmington Blue Rocks Piggyback Jairo Cuevas/Manauris Baez vs Kinston Indians Joe Mahalic
Burlington Bees Unknown
Next Up : More Omaha action
John Lamb and Wil Myers playin catch
Baseball America Prospect Handbook
Carlo Testa at the plate