GCL Mets (R – Gulf Coast League)
I was completely entertained by my first GCL game. Yeah, the game was played on a practice field lined with chain link fence. There no press box, no wireless internet, no outlet to plug my computer into, no PA announcer, no scoreboard, no between innings promotions, and no music. There were no fans either. Instead, it was just nine innings of pro baseball at its rawest. As a Mets official said to me on Friday, the only consistent thing about kids that age is that they’ll be inconsistent.
Some of the big names on the team had quiet days. 3B Jefry Marte didn’t do much at the plate, but made a couple of nice picks at third. CF Javier Rodriguez doubled, but had some trouble picking up balls off the grass – it looked like he just wanted to rush into his throw a few times. Perhaps the most impressive thing he did all way was run to first after a late walk, where his explosion and athleticism in each step were plainly visible. RF Cesar Puello also took the collar, but showed some bat speed.
On the hill, 18-year old Eduardo Aldama showed some major promise. Aldama generally repeated his delivery well in pumping in fastballs from 89-94 mph, sitting at 91. However, he showed real ability with a slick curve from 74-78 (average MLB velocity) that sat at 76. A few times he fell off the mound and the pitch flattened out, but reread the final sentence from two paragraphs ago. Kyle Allen, fresh out of high school finished up, striking out three and giving up two unearned runs in the eighth inning. Allen touched 91, but didn’t trust his fastball nearly enough messing around too much with a hard changeup at 84 and a slider at 80, neither of which he had great touch with on Friday.
Remember, pitchers are ready to move to AA when they can command their fastball. They won’t succeed at double-A until they can also throw their breaking ball first. For young hurlers, fastball command comes first. Of course, the guys in the GCL are at least a few years from such considerations.