West Virginia beat Lexington 7-5 tonight, thanks to a big four run fifth inning. Zack Dodson made the start, and was followed up by Orlando Castro and Casey Sadler. Here are my notes from the game.
Dodson threw four innings tonight, giving up three runs on four hits, with a walk and two strikeouts. He was mostly sitting in the 88-90 MPH range, although he fell to the 86-88 range in the fourth inning. Dodson started off by putting Lexington down in order in the first. Despite the one, two, three inning, and a strikeout to end the frame, he left the field visibly displeased with himself.
“Deep counts, you know. I like going out there and trying to get contact early in the game,” Dodson said about his first inning.
Dodson had another one, two, three inning in the second, but ran in to some trouble in the third and fourth. In the third he gave up a one out walk, and two singles, resulting in a two run inning to tie the game. In the fourth he got two outs, but went 2-0 to Lexington catcher Ben Heath, and ended up giving a solo homer, tying the game at 3-3 at the time.
“This kid’s got pretty good stuff when he’s right,” Power manager Gary Robinson said. “He just simply couldn’t close an inning.”
“Walk and a couple of hits (in the third), and then he went 2-0 with two outs (in the fourth). You don’t want to do that as a pitcher, get two quick outs then go 2-0, particularly to a guy who’s got a bit of pop. And he got popped for a solo,” Robinson said.
“I did a lot of good things, a lot of bad things,” Dodson said. “I felt like I was down in the zone real well. I wasn’t missing it much.”
Dodson showed some good stuff. He was driving the ball down through the zone with good movement. His curveball has always looked nice, and was often hitting in the low 70s, providing some good separation from his fastball. He threw a few changeups, and is still trying to get a feel for the pitch, especially after his hand injury. He did lack command and consistency at points, especially in the third and fourth innings. He ended up with 74 pitches, 43 for strikes.
Dodson was hitting in the low 90s earlier in the year, with reports of 93 MPH. Even in the 88-90 MPH range, he’s very effective. When he learns to consistently drive the ball down through the zone things should start to come together, as that will set up his excellent curveball. We’ve seen some of that fastball command already this year, with his solid numbers in low-A. Both of his strikeouts tonight were looking at good fastballs. If he can eventually add a good changeup to that mix, he could have a good future as a starter.
The defense made a lot of strong plays tonight to help out the pitching staff. The four top plays:
1. Mel Rojas Jr. – Rojas made one of the best catches I’ve ever seen. He was shading toward right field, and a fly ball was hit to the warning track in left center. Rojas ran full speed, made a fully extended dive, and caught the ball in the air with a backhand catch before hitting the ground. The catch was big for West Virginia, as it came right after a solo homer given up by Casey Sadler, putting one out on the board, rather than putting a runner in scoring position.
2. Drew Maggi – Maggi made a nice diving stop in the fifth inning on a backhand toward the third base side. He quickly got up, made a strong throw across the diamond, and got the runner, making the play look routine. Always good to see from a shortstop.
3. Justin Bencsko – Made a nice running, sliding catch in left field.
4. Andy Vasquez – Was position well for a liner just to the second base side of the bag up the middle. Ranged to his right and made the catch before it hit the ground.
Orlando Castro – He was mostly in the mid-80s tonight, which is also where he was when I saw him in Spring Training. Wilbur saw him in the GCL, when he was 88-92 MPH. He didn’t have his best outing tonight, with poor command.
Casey Sadler – As John Dreker pointed out, Sadler has been throwing in the 90-92 range lately, which is where he was tonight. However, he was hit hard, with a leadoff homer, the Rojas catch, and another liner down the third base line.
Drew Maggi – Outside of the play at shortstop, I’ve always been impressed with Maggi’s speed. That continued tonight, when he hit a double, and took third base on a misplay by the right fielder on the same play.
The Pirates Prospects season ending tour will continue tomorrow from West Virginia, with Zack Von Rosenberg on the mound. I will be reporting live from the game, with a recap and more player insight afterwards. If you’ve enjoyed the reports so far, show your support to the site by purchasing a copy of the 2011 Prospect Guide, which is now on a season ending clearance sale.