Tonight was an ugly night for the West Virginia Power, losing to Lexington 11-3. Lexington took an early lead in the first inning when they scored three runs off of Zack Von Rosenberg to start the game. Von Rosenberg lasted four innings, giving up six runs on nine hits, with one homer. Vince Payne came on next, and gave up five runs in his second inning of work, thanks to some poor defensive work.
The offense also struggled, missing a lot of opportunities. The Power loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, but only got one run across the plate. They also made two big mistakes with key outs at third base when the game was still in reach. With two outs, Drew Maggi tried to stretch a double in to a triple in the fourth inning, and was called out at third on a close call. Andy Vasquez did the same thing to start off the next inning, trying to stretch a double in to a triple, although it wasn’t close. Maggi’s double made the score 6-3, and the score was still 6-3 when Vasquez made his poor decision to go for third.
Here are some of the individual player impressions that I had.
Zack Von Rosenberg
The last time I saw Von Rosenberg, he lasted only two thirds of an inning, before being removed. He was hit hard, mostly due to leaving his upper 80s fastball up in the zone. That’s been a big issue for him, something I noticed in Spring Training, and something that also happened tonight. Von Rosenberg has put up some strong numbers in the second half this year, although that’s mostly due to him working off his secondary pitches. He was sitting in the 87-90 MPH range tonight, mostly hitting 88-89 MPH.
He was throwing a lot more off-speed pitches than you’d usually see, and a lot more than he threw in the early part of the season. That included some at-bats where he threw nothing but off-speed pitches. The issue of him leaving the ball up in the zone is still there, but it’s been disguised by this new approach, as his curveball is a very strong pitch. His numbers over the last month or so have looked good, but I don’t think they represent any sort of turnaround or progress with his real issue. Eventually he’s going to need to start getting his fastball down, add some velocity to his fastball, or ideally do both.
I’m always impressed by Maggi’s speed. Tonight he put on a nice display at the plate. He led off the game by beating out an infield single to second base. It was a slow roller with the second baseman ranging to the bag, but the play was entirely due to Maggi’s speed to the bag. In the second he turned a bloop single to right-center field in to a double. He had the double in the fourth where he was thrown out at third, although the play was very close. He hit another double in the ninth inning, reaching the base easily.
I clocked Maggi at 3.83 seconds from home to first on the last double, which is extremely fast for a right handed batter. I clocked him at 3.99 from home to first on his groundout in the previous at-bat. That was right after sprinting down to first on a foul ball, then sprinting half way down the line on another foul ball. The time was slower, but it was significant considering the running he did right before trying to beat out the throw.
Tonight was the first time I’ve seen Pounders since Spring Training, although John Dreker saw him a few weeks ago and noted that he was throwing in the low 90s. He was working 89-91 MPH tonight, touching 92 with his fastball in a two inning outing. The most impressive thing with Pounders has always been his secondary stuff. He showed a very strong slider and a very strong curveball, getting strikeouts with each pitch. He ended up striking out four in two innings, due to his secondary stuff.
I mentioned how it was important for Von Rosenberg to work on his fastball command, and work on keeping the ball down. The same applies to Pounders, although he doesn’t have as big of an issue keeping the ball down. He also has better secondary stuff. With those off-speed pitches, he could become a special pitcher if he improves his fastball command. Of course, in order to have success as a starter, he will need to get in better shape and improve his stamina.
Elias Diaz - He hasn’t been much at the plate this year, but I’ve been impressed by the limited amount of work I’ve seen from Diaz behind the plate. Tonight he gunned down a runner trying to steal second, and it wasn’t even close. He also came close trying to pick off a runner at second.
Andy Vasquez - He’s not much of a prospect, but Vasquez has speed, and puts the bat on the ball often. That combination has led to a good year at the plate, although it might not be enough for success in the upper levels.
The Pirates Prospects season ending tour will continue tomorrow from West Virginia, with Jameson Taillon 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.