Monday’s shots here: http://pix.scottlucas.com/txr/txst120319. There was a condor in the stands envying Ronald Guzman’s wingspan.
Tommy Mendonca caught most of Tuesday’s AAA game. Honestly, I’m probably less equipped to judge catchers than any other position, but I will say that he didn’t look lost. Put another way, if you didn’t know him, you’d have no reason to believe he’d just converted from third base. With a shaky Neil Ramirez on the mound, Mendonca made a few good blocks and let a couple of others scoot by. He threw out one of three base-stealers that I saw. Runners were obviously trying to take advantage of him (and Ramirez, who shared at least half the responsibility for the steals). Mendonca nailed San Diego’s Blake Tekotte at third with a perfect throw that Matt Kata planted on Tekotte’s front foot. Mendonca was probably AAA-bound before the switch, but I’d guess he’ll return to Frisco to ease the transition.
I watched another catcher, 20-year-old catcher Tomas Telis, swing freely into a strikeout after walks to the previous two hitters. That’s Telis, who has drawn only 28 walks in over 850 stateside plate appearances. Actually, Telis is a terrific contact hitter who strikes out rarely, but his plate coverage is so good he’ll try to hit everything instead of letting the junk slide by. Telis even hit 11 homers last year in low-A Hickory. He’s bound for Myrtle Beach.
Catcher Kellin Deglan appears to have filled out a little and is driving the ball well. He also has the best hair in camp, in my humble opinion.
3B Smerling Lantigua (yes, real name), a 6’2” 18-year-old Dominican, has been one of the rare youngsters (like Jurickson Profar) to lay off undesirable pitches in batting practice. Most just swing at everything. Lantigua batted .260/.329/.340 in the Dominican Summer League last year. Lantigua made an outstanding dive to the line to snare a hard grounder followed by a true throw to the outstretched Ronald Guzman at first.
Speaking of Profar, he was unusually swing-happy in Tuesday’s AAA game, perhaps trying too hard to impress his elders. Nevertheless, he laced two singles in the at-bats I saw (and was once thrown out easily stretching for second). Profar played second base, while Leury Garcia manned shortstop. No, this does not mean Profar is headed for Round Rock as a second baseman.
20-year-old Odubel Herrera isn’t big (5’11”, 165) but was showing impressive line-drive heft in batting practice, and I saw him hit two doubles in two games. Herrera played shortstop in the AA game Tuesday. He’s played there occasionally over the years and could see more action once he and Profar are separated. Herrera batted .306/.349/.394 in Hickory in 2011. Texas has a lot of young talent up the middle.
Perhaps most notable about OF Nomar Mazara at this early stage is his swing, which includes a high, slow front-leg lift that you’d normally see from your softball team’s cleanup hitter. It’s certainly not affecting him negatively now. He lined a triple to right-center and roped an opposite-field single in one game, and he showed better willingness than most at taking pitches. No doubt the coaches will work on his swing mechanics in time, but there’s no rush. Mazara earned a higher signing bonus than Ronald Guzman but doesn’t stand out as much because of his relatively modest 6’3” frame.
I’ll summarize some pitchers tomorrow. I’m also done with Surprise for a few days but will be back for one more peek next Monday.
Justin Grimm went to Georgia, not OU.
Newberg Report (newbergreport.com)