That’s Mitchell Fienemann. You may remember reading about him in Dejan Kovacevic’s recap of the 2009 Bradenton Pirates season, in which DK named Fienemann his choice as the team’s top starting pitcher for the 2009 season. Fienemann posted a 3.79 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 40.1 innings of work at the GCL level last year, thanks to an impressive 26:3 K/BB ratio. He made six starts, the most out of any pitcher with the GCL team last year, and after his impressive performance, he may make the jump to A-ball this year, although Fienemann said that he doesn’t know his assignment yet.
I talked to Mitchell a bit while watching one of the inter-squad games. Not too much about baseball, as I didn’t have the K/BB ratios off the top of my head, just some talk about Australia, and answering his questions about the web site. He was a really nice guy, and I’m hoping to interview him with some baseball questions in the future, as well as seeing him in action. He had a bullpen session that morning, but I didn’t get the chance to see it.
Fienemann was charting pitches along with Brooks Pounders and Zach Foster. I didn’t get to talk to Pounders or Foster much, as they were both pretty busy charting, and I didn’t want to distract them. That was a bummer, as both are interesting stories: Pounders with the potential as one of the high school arms from last year, and Foster with his surprising season in 2009 after being a 49th round pick in the 2008 draft.
I’ve got pictures of my time in Pirate City, including some shots of Zach Von Rosenberg, Zach Dodson, Calvin Anderson, Jhonatan Ramos, Bryan Morris, Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln, and more. You can check out all of the photos on the BUCCO Fans Facebook page. I’ll have video up from Pirate City (ZVR, Dodson, Morris in action, plus some of the drills and bullpen sessions that go on there), although it’s probably going to take forever to load them on to eBay. Since I’ve got really slow, really unreliable Comcast internet, I’ll probably just upload the videos in batches and post them a few at a time spread out over the next week.
As for my visit to Pirate City, a few thoughts:
-I could probably spend a week at Pirate City, never go to McKechnie, and not only would I be satisfied, but I’d also never get bored. With four fields, plus bullpens, there’s always action going on. I’ll see the guys playing at McKechnie 162 times this year on Extra Innings. I won’t get to see guys like ZVR, Dodson, or Anderson until they come to AA, and then I won’t get to see them until they come down to Richmond.
-Bryan Morris looked good. he was a little shaky in the first inning, but settled down, and looked sharp, according to my dad who stuck with that game. I went over to watch ZVR and Dodson, and to get video of the two pitching against each other. However, the report from my dad was that Morris came inside on Alvarez and broke his bat, getting a groundout in the process. I really am hoping for, and expecting, big things for Morris this year. Not just because it would be great for the Pirates, but because Morris has seemed like a nice guy in all of my encounters with him last year.
-I’ll have video of ZVR and Dodson up. ZVR had a few pitches off the mark, but also had some really nice pitches to go with that. Dodson looked good, but had a few hard hit balls that went right to fielders in the outfield. I think ZVR was working around 94 MPH, and I didn’t hear a reading on Dodson. I’ll have videos of both up, hopefully by next week.
-I ran in to the front office guys from Lynchburg while I was there. They were in town as the Hillcats were getting their championship rings later that day at McKechnie. Great group of guys, and I owe a lot of thanks to them for their hospitality last year in not only allowing me access to cover the Hillcats, but also for arranging the Hillcats autographed baseball which raised $200 for charity. As for the ring ceremony, I had on-field access for photos for the ring presentations, and will be uploading those photos tomorrow.
-You’ll see it in the photos, but Calvin Anderson is HUGE! He looks like a defensive end. In fact, Erik Huber and Calvin Anderson together would make quarterbacks break a sweat. Somewhere in the videos I have a shot of Anderson laying out to try and stop a grounder at first. After seeing him in person, I’m even more amazed that he hit five triples last season. He hit 12 homers in 372 at-bats. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t one day turn that size in to more power.
-I got to see Jhonatan Ramos pitch a few innings. Ramos, a 5′ 8″ left hander, pitched 34.2 innings in the GCL last year, with a 1.82 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP, an 8.7 K/9 and a 11.0 K/BB ratio. He lacks size, but he’s certainly effective. I’d expect him to move up to State College this year.
-I’m making it a goal to go down for at least a week next year. In fact, my dad and I have already started dropping hints about getting the family together to go down next Spring, then sending the women back up while we stay a bit longer for more Spring Training. I doubt the second part would fly, but I need at least a week at Spring Training after the small taste I got this year.
-Finally, my favorite picture of this group, Zach Von Rosenberg, in a nice action shot of his windup. That looks like a future 20-game winner to me. Check out the rest of the photos on the Facebook page, and be sure to become a fan, as I’ll be posting more pictures throughout the weekend.