By Todd Johnson
I always find it exciting to watch the Eugene Emeralds on MiLB.TV. It is usually my first live look at most of the players. In game situations. For most of them, I’ve read about and maybe saw them in a video, but I like to get a get a live look at their swings, their speed, and their arms.
Here are a few things that stuck out about last night’s opening game.
1. Fernando Kelli had some major league speed. He also has a short quick stroke to the ball. Anytime he gets a single, he’s going to be standing on second base very, very soon. In the bottom of the first, he singled to right, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly, and came home after a dropped third strike when the catcher threw to first. It was pretty Impressive.
2. Nelson Velasquez looked much more relaxed at Eugene than he did at South Bend. He went one for four, and only struck out once. But he put the bat on the ball pretty consistently.
3. It was pretty clear that defensively Luis Vasquez is going to own the infield. Whether it’s a pop up or a ground ball, he’s going to try and get to it. At just 19, I really like what he can do on the left side of the infield. The bat will come in time.
4. Christopher Morel started at third and I really liked what I saw from his swing. It’s still a little bit long but it does show the potential for power. He went one for four on the night..
5 Skinny Jonathan Sierra is dead. Bulked up Jonathan Sierra is quite alive in Eugene. Like Morel, Sierra also has a long swing that he’s going to crush balls when he hits him. The problem was he didn’t really make much solid contact last night. It’s just one game. There are plenty more to come.
6. Lefty Faustino Carrera has some nasty offspeed stuff. His fastball usually came in about 86 to 90 and a curve came in in the upper 70s/low 80s. But it his changeup that is devastating. I could’ve sworn broadcaster Matt Dompe say that it came in at 72. That’s just unfair. For a 19-year-old kid to throw that kind of pitch is pretty cool. On the night, he went six innings and gave up two hits, zero runs, walked one, and struck out five while also picking a runner off first. He worked some deep counts early but shortened things up in innings three through six. But I liked what I saw yes he used only 71 pitches on the night.
7. Catcher Jonathan Soto looked good behind the plate and he also looked good with a bat in his hands going two for three. He’s got a nice left-handed stroke to the ball and put it in play every time.
At some point late tonight, I’ll see if I can stay awake to watch the second game of the Emerald’s season. I really liked the talent that I saw for just one game. It’s hard to make a full profile of a player just on one game. However, there might be something here. It Will be fun to get more data over time.