A-Ball Friday: The Latest on Steven Matz

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 5, Bradenton Marauders 2 

LF Dustin Lawley was 2-for-3 with a pair of homers and a walk to sink the Marauders. The 24-year old is now hitting .184/.244/.421 in 20 games with St. Lucie. He’s a strong dude, and eight of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases. Still, this is a complicated swing that makes him unlikely to hit for enough average to provide value on the corners above AA.

After a lost 2012 (.194/.276/.270 in 76 games in Savannah) C Albert Cordero was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (! – he’s not fast) to push his little hitting streak to five games and his batting line to .294/.333/.382 in nine games. Cordero is now 23, but is a fine defensive catcher with a strong arm. He just needs to hit a little bit to stay employed playing baseball for a long time.

Soft-tossing Angel Cuan started: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.

 

A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 4, West Virginia Power 4 

Boyd underhands ball (Devyatkin)The two teams combined for five runs in the first four half-innings and then one in the subsequent 13 as both starters and bullpens found their groove.

The Gnats scored three runs in the first, helped out by a bases loaded walk, a pair of hit-by-pitches (one with the bases loaded) and a bases-loaded infield single from SS Philip Evans. C Kevin Plawecki was plunked, it looked like near his left wrist, received a visit from his trainer and manager, but he stayed in the game. I would not be surprised in the slightest, if he DHed or had the day off Saturday. He also singled up the middle. More importantly, he threw out two of three runners  who attempted to steal against him (two with Steven Matz on the mound and one with Julian Hilario). Plawecki has now thrown out five of 18 attempted thieves (28%). The one he missed, was a throw a few feet to the right of second base, which is the direction he seems to miss when he misses. I’m not sure why mechanically.

1B Jayce Boyd was 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games – the longest active streak in the SAL and the longest by a Gnat this year. He’s hitting a modest .465 wit ha .538 OBP in his last 11 games with five doubles and a homer for a .651 slugging percentage. Overall, he’s leading the SAL in AVG (.420), OBP (.505) and hits (34), is third in doubles (9) and total bases (49) and is fourth in slugging (.605).

Steven Matz 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He was sharp in the first, third, and fourth innings, but lost control of the strike zone in the second inning, when he threw almost 40 pitches and which led to him getting pitch-counted out of the ball game right near 90 pitches. He induced five grounders. It looked like he was throwing his changeup a whole lot more than he did in his first start at home (a low bar considering I think he he threw three in that start on April 13). He threw a few really good ones with sink and good armspeed. He threw very few sliders, but clearly he was working on his changeup, his primary offspeed pitch a year ago in Kingsport.

In the second, he walked two and gave up two singles, and only got out of the inning thanks to an excellent running catch by LF Stefan Sabol. which is embedded below. Sabol caught the ball on the warning track at Historic Grayson Stadium just to the left of the manual scoreboard. That’s a three-run homerun in a lot of parks or at least a two-run double off the wall in others.

CF Brandon Nimmo, who was 1-for-his-last-16 had his first off-day of the season after 20 straight starts.

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