I don't think I've ever seen this in a game log from the top of the first inning, with one out and no one on base: "Darrell Ceciliani strikes out swinging, first baseman Alex Dickerson to second baseman Andy Vasquez to first baseman Alex Dickerson." Huh?
Ceciliani also ignited a pair of two-run innings by drawing a walk in the sixth and doubling in the eighth as part of a 2-4 night. His parter in crime, Cory Vaughn was 2-for-5 with an RBI double. One of the interesting stories around the St. Lucie team will be whether one or both of Vaughn or Ceciliani can restore their prospect stocks in 2012.
Gonzalez Germen made a nice advanced-A debut: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. He's 24 and a change-up specialist who will be rule five eligible at the end of the season.
I'm honestly not sure what's going on with the St. Lucie starting rotation (damnit, Toby, make a phone call). Taylor Whitenton worked out of the bullpen (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K). I suggested during the winter when I ranked him as the Mets' #37 prospect that his future would be in the bullpen, but I also thought he would benefit from throwing a starter's innings at advanced-A. Moreover, I don't see five guys on the St. Lucie roster who I'd start over Whitenton at this point. I suppose in addition to Mazzoni and Germen who have started the first two games, Chase Huchingson, Yohan Almonte, and Angel Cuan will fill out the rotation.
Also, Adam Kolarek tossed two good innings of relief with just one hit and two strikeouts. Kolarek had a solid 2011 out of the Savannah bullpen and as a lefty who tops out at 92, has a chance to get some attention this year.
This would be a gut-wrenching defeat, but for the fact that it's April in A-ball. The Gnats led the whole way in this one until the GreenJackets scored three runs in the top of the ninth, all with two out, to steal a win.
The story from a prospect perspective was Rafael Montero (pictured). The 21-year old's Savannah debut: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. I had Montero for exactly 70 pitches and first pitch strikes to 14 of 22 batters including 13 of 18 after the first inning. He took a shutout through five, but seemed to tire in the sixth, losing his mechanics and command a little. Even in the sixth, with runners at first and second, he battled, inducing a pair of groundballs that at higher levels might have produced a rally-killing double-play.
I was impressed by the package. He threw strikes with his fastball. As the night went on, he started using his curveball more, and made batters look silly with it. (The stadium gun, which in past years has been light by a few miles an hour, had Montero at 90-91 with his curve at 77. I do not think those readings are accurate and will get more precise readings this weekend.) Montero's windup is relative easy, even casual, but the ball just hops right out of his hand.
And then there's Aderlin Rodriguez who was 1-for-4 with a double, three RBI and his fourth error in two games. With the Gnats up 1-0 and the bases loaded in the fifth, Rodriguez took a fastball (that looked like a cookie), and scorched a searing line drive deep up the right-center field gap. It's the kind of swing that makes me want to believe in the bat. And of course, in the seventh, he committed an error that led to an unearned run of Jack Leathersich, by booting a routine grounder. On the play, Rodriguez took two steps to his left, got in front of the ball nicely, and just did not pick it up cleanly.