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2012 Area Codes Day 1: Simpson Hits Homer

August 5, 2012

Well, I guess the BP power wasn’t a fluke. Of course you had to be up and ready to go in the ballpark at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning to see this guy’s easy hands, but he made up for the guys who slept in some eight hours later with a couple of shots that made Texas ballplayer Corey Simpson the story for Opening Day of the Please Let Me Get Drafted Good Games.

Simpson doesn’t have a second tool (not that I saw yet, anyhow) that makes your eyes pop out, so it’s a good thing that he showed the ability to bring early morning power into an actual game. It might be the only time in recent memory when 5 o’clock power is a compliment. Two balls here stood out – the opposite field double against the wall – and then the 400 foot home run to straight away center field. Opposite field power at Blair ain’t cheap and neither is straight away power. Might be the best ball I’ve seen hit in the last few years. Makes that shot that got Sale drafted a few years ago look kinda cheap.

The Texas guys went a long way toward making me like a lot of them. I’ll have to see the California guys, but I was chugging industrial strength caffeine to keep me alive during their BP, so I’m not optimistic. (Disclaimer: I’m from California.)

Shortstop Eric Garza looks like one of the rare high school shortstops who profiles to stay right there. His hands and actions are soft and clean, his arm is solid average, and he made three nice plays to his left. Go right young man and you’ll sell me and everyone else. Second baseman Cole Bedford made a nice play to the left to retire the very solid all-around Riley Unroe.  I also noted a hard single from Nick Buckner and a hard double by Cody Thomas. Cavan Biggio, run out your fly balls. Last time I saw your old man play, he was holding his body together with scotch tape, Elmer’s Glue and still running Hard 90s. We’d like to get a clean running time for you – signed, scouts in attendance.

Among the Texas pitchers, you usually don’t need the radar gun to figure out who the area guys in Texas are fond of. This year, it’s right-handers Kohl Stewart (up to 94, though Unroe got him for a hard single) and Casey Shane (up to 90) and left-hander Garret Williams (up to 92 with a curveball). Sheldon Neuse pronounced his name “Sheldon Noise,” which I find funny because it reminds me of a Three Stooges name and I have a noisy and funny uncle named Sheldon. The thing about Neuse (who touched 90) is that his BP looks great, his arm and hands play at third…and he looked like Moe in a couple of at-bats against guys who threw like Larry. So I’m not as sold as I think I would like to be after one day, especially for a guy who has been here two years and is probably no Curley.

Among Reds players in this game, we saw hard contact from Unroe and others. Marcus Doi, don’t call him little, or he may take you opposite field to deep right for a triple. Brennon Lund had a hard single and can run. Iolana Akau can throw. Derik Beauprez touched 90.

In the earlier A’s-Royals game, which is lost somewhere in the hazy memory of seven consecutive batting practice sessions, we got hard doubles from A’s guys Bryan Bucher and Dominic Miroglio and a hard single from Willie Calhoun. Mitchell Bevacqua evokes memories of the guy blowing the big bazooka bubble gun bubble and used the level swing to hit a hard single. Right-handers Dustin Driver (up to 92) and John Pomeroy (91) threw just fine today.

We will report after Monday’s action, as long as I have my halligan and can pry my way out of Blair after they lock me inside.


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