Observations from McKechnie Field

Observations from McKechnie Field
McKechnie Field - Matt Bandi/PLC

Today marked the first time that I attended a Pirates spring training game, as I watched the Pirates host the Red Sox at McKechnie Field. Here are a few observations from the game.

Ronny Cedeno looked awful attempting to field a ground ball to start the game, allowing a routine grounder to roll right under his glove. But he rebounded, throwing out two guys at the plate and making a nice play on a bouncer up the middle. He clearly has some physical tools, but he needs to improve his consistency to be an average shortstop.

I really liked the way that Jeff Clement and Andy LaRoche looked at the plate today. I had a terrible angle of the strike zone, but both appeared to take very patient approaches. Clement walked and flew out to the left field warning track. LaRoche ripped one just outside the left field foul pole, walked, singled home a run and lined sharply to center (or maybe it was left, I can’t remember).

Evan Meek was giving up some rockets today. One ball was ripped to short, and Ramon Vazquez was nearly killed trying to field the ball cleanly. Just not a good day for Meek, who I am optimistic about for the 2010 season.

John Raynor grounded into a fielder’s choice at one point, giving him the opportunity to sprint down the first base line. I was disappointed, as I expected to see some elite speed. He seemed to have a long stride, almost a gallop. Maybe that made him appear to be running slower than he was actually moving, but I just didn’t see anything special. He did hit an impressive opposite field home run later in the game, showing that he has some solid power. But I was let down by his foot speed.

It was nice to see minor leaguers Jim Negrych and Jeremy Farrell get some playing time in the game. They teamed up to turn a double play, and both singled in the seventh inning. Just fun to watch.

Following up on that, Farrell really looked good in the field. He had two chances to make diving plays at third base and, while he did not get an out in either instance, he displayed some impressive range both times. Farrell had a disappointing 2009 season at the plate, but I liked what I saw out of him defensively.

Brian Myrow also made a very nice play in the field, starting a key 3-6-3 double play for the Pirates. The offensive projection systems love Myrow, a 33-year-old first baseman. He may be a sleeper that could find himself in Pittsburgh at some point in 2010.

Finally, a foul ball off the bat of Akinori Iwamura landed just a few feet from me in the first inning. Inexplicably, I never moved. I simply watched it fall from the heavens. Mistakes like that might be excusable in spring training, but I will have to get things together very soon. The regular season is just around the corner.




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