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Eastern League All-Star Game Redux

I’ve put off writing anything of consequence about the Eastern League All-Star game because, while the game was competitive on the field, there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about from a prospect standpoint. Sure, there were some big names in the game. And, yes, some of those big names played prominent roles in deciding the outcome of a closely contested game. Something about the All-Star game environment, however, made the action on the field feel secondary to the spectacle of the surrounding entertainment. I don’t mean that as a criticism; in fact, even though I came to the game with pen and notebook in hand prepared to watch as the student of the game I so often pretend to be, I found myself enjoying the game in an entirely different, far more relaxed way than usual. I explored the park, sampled the well above-average Thunder concession stand menu, drank just enough to cause me to forget which team was which once or twice, and did plenty of people watching (always a treat at a minor league park, doubly so in a locale such as Trenton).  Of course, that didn’t mean I completely ignored the action on the field. After the jump, a few meandering thoughts leftover from last Wednesday’s AA All-Star Game…

  • The pre-game Home Run Derby was pretty dull, but the inclusion of local area high school boppers (using aluminum bats) was enough to keep me interested. Mike Fassl, a rising senior at New Egypt HS in Jersey, won the whole thing, taking home a Henry Aaron signed bat and a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card for his troubles. It was oddly welcoming hearing the metallic “ping!” of aluminum meeting cowhide. I suppose I didn’t realize how much I missed being at college games until that first “ping!” reminded me.
  • I’ve read a surprising amount of negative commentary concerning the inclusion of high school players in the derby. The typical argument points out that it is a HR Derby meant to showcase talented sluggers from the Eastern League, not from the local prep ranks. I can respect where that side is coming from, no doubt, but I think adding local high school kids makes the event fun. Simple as that. I know it sounds corny (for many, being pro-fun is corny), but isn’t creating a entertaining, friendly competition exactly what an event like that should focus on doing? I highly doubt that there was a single Eastern League All-Star who wanted to be in the derby, but was turned down. The high school guys were additions to add a little intrigue and local flavor to the event. I think it would be a great adoption for the big league game, as crazy as it sounds. Invite the top two power bats from the Cape, make them use wood, and, boom, two more draft-eligible names are now known by casual baseball fans across the country. I’m not sure how the NCAA would feel about all this, but it would make Peter Gammons the happiest guy in the ballpark.
  • I’ve seen Mike Taylor play before, but it’s amazing how accurate all of the scouting reports on him are. He looks and plays exactly as it is reported. Big, strong, easy power, cannon arm, impressive going back on the ball in right, deceptively athletic, consistent hard contact. I’ve heard a very quiet righthanded Ryan Howard comp, but there is absolutely nothing to it; they are both very large African-American fifth round college selections of the Phillies, but that’s about where the similarities end. Howard’s raw power is an easy 70 (at least), while Taylor’s is 60 on a good day. That’s hardly a slight on Taylor, a player with legit 35 home run potential in his own right, but they are different players with different skillsets.
  • Beau Mills was a lot more athletic and leaner looking than I remembered him. Same goes for fellow Indian farmhand, Nick Weglarz. Jesus Montero rounds out the trio of large framed, yet surprisingly non-sedentary sluggers.
  • Very hard to watch Daniel Moskos throw. He appeared to have no idea where the ball was going on any given pitch. I’m not foolish enough to make any definitive claims on his career after watching him throw one inning in an all-star game, but, boy, did he look terrible. Inconsistent release point, difficulty hitting the same landing spot, no command of his secondary offerings – it was ugly. The fastball has enough downward life to induce his fair share of groundballs, but a game like this has me thinking he ought to be stuck in the bullpen sooner rather than later.
  • Jesus Montero will be a fabulous hitter at the big league level, but the kid is not a catcher. Funny or not, I’ve long been a supporter of Montero’s ability to stick behind the plate, at least through his pre-arbitration years. Now I’m really not so sure. Despite looking less clunky than expected, he simply is not anywhere close to being a big league caliber defender at this point. He may have the tools to do it with more time and patience
  • The PA announcer pronounced Joe Savery’s last name with a short A sound, rather than a long A. I’m not sure which one is correct, but I had always assumed it was a long A, like “savory.” According to scouts behind homeplate, Savery’s fastball topped out at 90 MPH. His changeup was unlike any I’ve seen in a long time, with almost a cartoonish quality slowness to it. The guns had him in the mid-70s, and it looked even slower to my untrained eye. Weird, but seemingly effective, pitch.
  • I’m not sure I properly used the word “redux” in the title of this post, but it sounds so cool to me that I just have to keep it. That may be the name of my first born child, boy or girl…Redux.
  • Deik Scram took home my own personal award for best name of the night. Only Reegie “Not a Typo” Corona could compete. If I had a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card on me, I would have happily launched it out onto the field in Scram’s general direction as his reward for having such a super name. Sadly, I stupidly forgot all of my Dick’s Sporting Goods gift cards in the car. I know, what an idiot, right? I really like the way that sounds – Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card – and not in any kind of inappropriate way. It just has a nice ring to it. Really. Say it aloud and you’ll see what I mean. It flows. Not unlike the name Deik Scram. Deik Scram used his Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card to purchase a new putter for his best pal, Reegie.
  • One of the pros of having my own site is having total freedom to write anything I want. Turns out, especially if you are one of the unlucky six readers who stuck around to finish this, it also may be the biggest con…
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