The Kane County Cougars fought hard to get back into the game after a horrendous outing from Jose Arias, but ultimately fell to the Quad Cities River Bandits 13-10. The Kane County Cougars were eventually swept in the series, but it’s early in the year and it’s Low-A, so there’s nothing to get too upset about.
Three Good Things I Saw
Rock Shoulders. I touched on him in my last recap, but Shoulders had another very impressive day, going 4-6. The Cougars faced an older, deceptive lefty in Colton Cain, and Shoulders did have trouble catching up to an 88 mph fastball in the 2nd inning, but later in the game Rock made up for it with some solid contact. Most impressive to me was how he handled a very slow breaking ball in the bottom of the 7th. On a 2 strike count, Shoulders got a 74 mph pitch that initially fooled him, but he was able to hold back enough to put the barrel on the ball and slap it out into centerfield. It was a very nice mid-swing adjustment and it gives me hope for his hit tool.
Gioskar Amaya. Amaya hadn’t had a hit coming into the game, but he made solid contact a few times this game, going 2-6 with a line-drive double into the right-center field gap.
I <3 Rio Ruiz & Carlos Correa. The Astros 3B prospect has just looked great so far, and Carlos Correa hit pretty much everything so in the series. Ruiz looked smooth and confident all series at 3B, and his approach at the plate is advanced. His swing is pretty short to the ball and he should add muscle and power as he gets older. I’m very disappointed my video of him didn’t turn out. Correa also looks like a monster, but there’s nothing I can say about him that others haven’t said. His HR on Saturday was an absolute bomb, and even though the wind was howling out to left, the ball didn’t need any help to get out of the park.
Three Bad Things I Saw
Jose Arias’ Everything. Jose Arias struggled mightily in his first start and is going to continue to get bombed this season unless he learns how to throw an offspeed pitch. His fastball velocity was not good for someone of his size (I never saw above 89 but I missed the first inning). The biggest problem Arias had, though, was when he tried to throw something offspeed. The entire ballpark knew it was coming because Arias markedly slowed down his delivery to take velocity out of the ball. That’s not going to fly at any level of pro ball, and QC hitters barreled up pretty much every offspeed pitch.
Trey Martin. It’s early in the year so I’m not forming lasting opinions on any players, but man I hope Martin turns it around. I saw him take a very rough route to a ball in CF (though, to be fair, it was very windy) and he looked lost at the plate. He was extremely late on an 88mph Colton Cain fastball. His drag bunt attempt was poorly executed. The good news on Martin is that he’s very athletic, has a strong arm and is probably a plus defensive outfielder at the end of the day. He’s just had a rough go of it so far.
No One Hits The Cutoff & Other Poor Throwing Decisions. I’ve seen two games now and three throws from the outfield that inexplicably airmailed the cutoff that could have easily allowed runners to advance. Marco Hernandez also made another throw to second base that left his hand after the runner had already reached the base.
- As noted above, Marco Hernandez still looks pretty bad at shortstop.
- Colton Cain had KC hitters off-balance all day and produced some embarrassing swings on 88mph fastballs and marginal breaking stuff.
- Gioskar Amaya has a very busy swing, and his toe-tap is very inconsistent. I’m sure it’s a timing mechanism of sorts, but the seemingly random switch from one tap to two taps struck me as odd.
- Pin-Chieh Pen can scoot. He’s extremely fast, and his stand-up triple let him put that on display.
- Candelario continues to look comfortable in the field and at the plate.
- Vogelbach is going to hit a lot of home-runs once he starts getting a bit more backspin on the ball. He’s hit some rockets for singles and a double that would have easily left the park had he put the ball in the air.