« Wells DL'ed, Feldman Recalled | Main | Wilkerson DL'ed, Out For Season »

August 15, 2006

Oklahoma Redhawks Scouting Report

I share a Round Rock Express season ticket package with eight others, giving each of us eight games. I had tickets to Friday’s contest against Oklahoma going into the season, and thanks to Round Rock’s incredibly liberal exchange policy, I easily swapped for two more of the four-game series. Unfortunately, John Danks started the one game I didn’t see, so if you’re interested in my opinion of him, well, I’ve got nothing.

I’m not a scout and don’t pretend to carry that skill set. However, last October I briefly conversed with an Austin-based Ranger scout who was also my wife’s history teacher in high school. That discussion imparts a light sheen of reliability on my musings, which are as follows:

Robinson Tejeda had the best stuff of anyone I saw this weekend. Despite his dire results in Arlington this season, Texas clearly had good reason to trade for him. Tejeda’s fastball usually ran between 91-93 and hit 95 on occasion. He struck out ten in five innings. And yet, I was a little underwhelmed. He pitched several hitters “backwards,? using his curve to set up the fastball, but on the whole threw few breaking pitches. He often resembled a high-school pitcher with a one-pitch repertoire, simply daring batters to make contact. That approach suffices against Round Rock’s random assortment of 4A-types but not the Red Sox. Also, the two walks allowed belie his control problems; despite allowing only five baserunners, he threw 98 pitches in five innings. Having said all that, I sincerely hope Texas gives him time to improve. With some refinement, he could dominate Major League hitters.

Fresh off his demotion to AAA, John Koronka stuck out twelve in seven innings. He relied on his changeup much more heavily than usual and to great effect. Koronka allowed two runs, both courtesy of an Eric Bruntlett homer. Bruntlett fouled off several pitches before swatting a pretty good, low-in-the-zone fastball about two inches over the left-center fence.

R.A. Dickey mixed in plenty of fastballs with a knuckleball that remains a work in progress. The knuckler didn’t always flutter, but when it did the Express batters looked foolish. I’d guess that he needs greater variance in speed between the two: his knuckler usually reached 78-79 on the gun while his fastball hit 85-86. As always, Dickey pitched with determination and fielded his position well. Round Rock generously surrendered four outs on the bases during his seven innings.

Kameron Loe
surrendered two runs in each of two one-inning stints. On Friday, he allowed three bad-luck singles, all seeing-eye grounders splitting first and second. One run scored on his own wild pickoff move, the other on a sac-fly off of a high fastball that J.R. House narrowly missed hitting to Texarkana. On Sunday, the Express hammered his fastball. Late in the inning Loe relied more on an effective curve. He also threw two wild pitches, though one should have be covered by catcher Jamie Burke. Neither performance will hasten his return to Arlington.

On Friday, shortstop Joaquin Arias made three terrific plays to his right that had the crowd gasping. Arias batted .277 with no extra-base hits or walks during the series. This season, Arias (.271/.302/.372) has done an uncomfortably accurate impersonation of Ramon Nivar’s 2004 (.264/.290/.374). Fortunately, he’s almost four years younger and has time to grow. I mean physically grow: right now he looks like a kid wearing his dad’s jersey.

Drew Meyer started only one game during the series. Is he hurt? If not, the 10th-overall pick of the 2002 draft has apparently fallen behind undrafted 25-year-old Adam Morrissey on the depth chart. In terms of defense, Meyer plays on a different field than his AAA peers. In terms of hitting… not so much. Meyer himself turns 25 at the end of the month.

Posted by Lucas at August 15, 2006 07:43 PM