Spring Training Notes: March 7, 2012
It’s the best time of the year. Prospects are all over the place. So far, I’ve watched the first two New York Mets broadcasts. Here are some notes on the prospects and players that caught my eye.
– Bryce Harper, OF WAS : Everyone knows him. You may hate him, you may love him. Either way, get used to seeing him because he’ll be here for a long time. Harper debuted in right field against the Mets on Monday night. I’ve never been a huge fan in his swing. It’s not as smooth as I envisioned it however, it is effective. He has trouble with the off speed pitches usually, but if you’re going to challenge him, make sure you beat him. Every ball he hit was hit with aggression and bounced off the bat with fiery. He had a matchup against Mets right-handed prospect Matt Harvey. It wasn’t much of an at-bat. Harvey walked Harper, which was pretty disappointing.
Getting back to Harper, he may be ready now to hit in the big leagues but, he still needs some seasoning in the minors. Triple-A should suit him until an injury at the parent club allows him to break into the majors.
– Matt Harvey, he was erratic. 3 walks, a hit batter, and 0 strikeouts. He touched 94 mph at one point. That’s about it. Call it nerves, but he wasn’t what I expected. Players say he’s ready however, but he’s going to need more time. I wrote a piece on Mets Today, talking about Harvey’s transition to Double-A. Anytime you jump up a level, you’re going to face difficulties. However, the Nationals line up on Monday was a Triple-A lineup, something that Harvey will be facing this season. Call it nerves, but he was being pretty conservative and wasn’t attacking hitters. His fastball didn’t have the life it usually has but this is because it’s the start of the season. I would not get so scared about this but it’s a good growing experience for Harvey, who is in the plans for the Mets future.
– Johan Santana pitched Tuesday. With every pitch, I was holding my breath. Its scary watching Santana pitch, not because of how good he is, but because you don’t know what he’s going to be like after the injury. He pitched conservatively today, but it was a huge step forward. He didn’t have much life on the fastball. I believe he hit 90 mph once, while he sat around 87-88 the same time. If this is going to be he new velocity, he’ll need to have more deception on the change up to be successful. The first four batters he versed all hit hard balls, including a bomb Matt Holliday hit. But as the Spring rolls on, I’ll continue to monitor him.
The best part about the whole Johan Santana start was the intensity. For the mere 20 minutes he pitched, a Mets fan could escape everything that this team has been through. The Wilpons financial troubles were not in my head. Neither was the loss of Jose Reyes. Santana pitching reminded me of the old days. Days Mets fans have not seen. While the team gets made a mockery of, I had my moment this spring.
There’s really nothing like Spring Training.