A-Ball Sunday: A Walk-Off (And A Game Winning Homer)

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 9, Palm Beach Cardinals 8 (12 innings)

Kyle Johnson, who the Mets acquired for Collin Cowgill, homered in the bottom of the 12th to give the Mets a walkoff win. The 23-year-old Johnson’s best tool is his speed. He’s hitting .279/.344/.387 with six double and two homers in 28 games in advanced-A. His speed will keep him employed for a few years.

LHP Alex Panteliodis: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. Yuck.

Kevin Plawecki (.324/.429/.415 – 42 gms) lined up at 1B where he was 1-for-4, with a walk.

 

A: Hickory Crawdads 2, @ Savannah Sand Gnats 1 

On a sweltering afternoon in Savannah, DH Joey Gallo homered off Savannah reliever Hunter Carnevale in the top of the ninth to provide the winning margin. It was a no-doubt about it shot. I think Gallo, who is the active leader in the SAL in homeruns with 27, is fascinating. He’s an all-or-nothing guy, having also fanned 141 times in 87 games while missing time with assorted injuries. The Rangers drafted Gallo in the supplemental first round last year and sent the 19-year-old to the SAL where he is hitting .228/.316/.543 with 38 walks. He’s hit 27 homers and 28 singles. Gnats pitchers have identified holes in Gallo’s swing (in, and up) but miss, and he has a chance to hit a homerun on every swing. He’s long at 6’5″ and has plenty of room to fill out a solid frame. He creates excellent leverage in his swing, but struggles with length at times. It’s a open question whether upper level pitchers will exploit Gallo’s weaknesses to render him impotent, or whether he is capable of making the adjustment to put more balls in play, while maintaining his top shelf power.

Luis Cessa was not sharp: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He didn’t throw his changeup enough for my taste, nor did he spot his fastball well as he needed 87 pitches by my count, to record 14 outs.

CF Brandon Nimmo (.270/.385/.362 – 87 gms) was 0-for-2 with a walk and a HBP. His outs included a lineout to center and a strikeout against a deceptive lefty reliever. He finished a strong homestand 12-for-27 (.444) with two doubles, a homerun, a walk and seven strikeouts in seven games. My observations are that he is seeing the ball better against lefties and hanging in longer against pitches of all types. Nimmo told me he has spent lots of time in the batting cage working against a pitching machine set up to spin breaking balls to mimic the spin from a lefty. The results have started to translate to the field as he poked a curveball  from a lefty back up the middle for a single Saturday.

In all, I think he’s done a better job this week trusting his hands.

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