For what it's worth, the projection systems agree with you that the team would be better off with a Montero/Smoak platoon than with LoMo, Smoak and Hart all on the same roster, mostly because having Montero lets you fit the three guys into two slots so that you can put Saunders, Ackley and Almonte in the outfield rather than forcing Hart to run around out there on his damaged knees.
In the top of the 5th, Emilio Bonifacio doubled down the LF line, a soft line drive over Seager that rolled fairly short ... Ackley blazed over there in NFL Combine speed, whipped the ball back in and Bonifacio was minus one base.
It was a scintillating play. And the thought occurred, hey, man. Compared to Matt Holliday, Raul Ibanez, Dyan Viciedo :- ), Josh Willingham, Johnny Gomes, Carlos Quentin, and almost everybody playing left field right now ... Dustin Ackley could be a SERIOUS plus left fielder. Soon.
At the plate.
Dr. D saw a .gif at Lookout Landing, suggesting that Ackley was getting "wristier." Indeed he was! :: dancing the futterwacken :: Bee-yoo-tee-ful. Love it love it love, EET!
And, as a completely separate issue .... in the bottom of the 6th, we saw the specific base hit we wanted to see:
- Ackley saw three fastballs high - up the ladders
- On pitch four, Beeler threw a VERY good changeup down, dropping below the knees ...
- And Ackley flicked the bat like a willow switch, wrists only, and LINED it CASUALLY into RF for a single
That was it. That was the batting champion, gentlemen. A nice bright flash of it.
Ackley is .464 with an .821 SLG. That's 12-for-28 .... and most of those hits are extra bases.
Mike Blowers had a sharp-eyed comparison: he said Wade Boggs liked to hit off a soft front leg, too. As you'll recall, Boggsie was a wrist hitter. Blow is soft-spoken, but he sneaks up on you.
Crushed a long HR into his power alley, and lashed a single the other way. That's hitting for the cycle, in its essence.
Was asked on TV why he got bigger this winter; he pumped iron 3-4 days a week and is visibly bulked up. He smiled wryly and said, "When I came up, I realized there were some grown men up here." Everybody laughed.
He went on to talk about "driving the ball with authority" in 2014. You do realize that his OPS+ was 110 as a rookie, and it was a convincing 110. He's a See Ball, Hit Ball guy who hit the ground running, like some guys do ... Trout, Harper, and many lesser lights play well from day one. They don't overthink.
Point is: don't rule out an OPS+ of 100-and-plenty.
The added upper body has also improved his throwing arm at short.
Even if Nick Franklin can cobble a decent UZR at short, it's hard to imagine anybody beating out Brad Miller. This guy is just as liable to rack up 4-5 WAR right now.
The lineup tonight was pretty much Robinson Cano and eight kids, so in the big picture you've got some arguments with Mr. Probability. I can't imagine that Cano feels the M's have delivered on their winter promises. That said, Brad Miller rocks. He deserved to have the MLB logo modeled on him.
McClendon said pointedly that everybody still in camp has a chance to make the 25. That's not literally true, of course, but it might (or might not) mean that Jesus is not "blackballed."
Ken Sims praised Montero's weight, which means that Sims is passing along an improved vibe from the shot-callers.
Came up in the 9th, with the M's several runs in arrears. There was a left hand pitcher facing him. Montero casually -- third time's a charm, Mr. Grammar -- casually smeared the ball on one bounce off the LF fence.
Dr. D would much, MUCH rather have Jesus Montero on the squad than Logan Morrison, although you could figure a way to keep both. (Don't miss Mojician's sparkling cross on the issue, however.)
Looks vintage. Throwing the hook for strikes at will ... you might say, casually. This guy is liable to be the M's best reliever, provided he's not closing.
Is going to run a Three True Outcomes of 5-6 strikeouts, 1-2 walks, and 2.0 HR per nine innings. 6.0, 2.0, 2.0, that's fine if you're talking about three starts, a chicken dinner, and a bus ticket.
The slow curve is a pleasure to watch; it reminds of David Wells or Barry Zito. The rest of his game is painful ... the deadfish change got him one K, but then he left two of them spinning out and over and both were blasted like HR derby. The fastball's got little on it, not even command.
This guy in front of a bat-first OF? Yowch! ... best thing about it is:
- It will only be for a few starts
- He won't beat himself with walks, so they might hit the ball at people
If you are trying to "stoploss" two turns in the rotation, there's something to be said for a bowl of overcooked gruel, as opposed to watching a young pitcher ::coughmaurercough:: completely detonate in the 2nd inning.
Hey, Jack's already giving us Erasmo and K-Pax in the first turn round the rotation - we give him credit. Dr. D can't fault him for wanting something to soothe the nerves a bit.
But man. If Baker and Wolf are in there long, they better plan on a few 8-6 wins in April.
I just cannot foresee any situation in which Montero makes this team, regardless of his xbh's. Been down here in peoria for a few days, and his lack of interest in the game of baseball is palpable. Watched him take grounded on a side field, where he bobbled or straight up missed 30-40% of them. Then watched him stand in the back row during some group calisthenics, and he was barely even trying. Half-heartedly bending over while everyone else was going gull tilt.
During the game, the crowd over by 1st was letting him have it all night. Might have been cubs fans though. He dropped a foul popup, botched a grounder, and nearly took his foot off the base on the 8th out. The next inning, I watched as all 3 other infielders stood out in the field waiting to do their warmups, while Montero was the last one out there, and they had to cut it short before the leadoff AB.
I dunno. Could be that I caught him at his worst moments, and am ascribing motivations where there aren't any. But from my perspective, the guy doesn't give a rip about the game, and it's obvious to the manager and the players on the field with him. If anyone else gets passed over in favor of Montero, I don't think it will go over well in the clubhouse.
are rarely worth their contributions. You see their raw talent, you bend over backwards to coax it out of them, to influence their state of mind, and in a few cases you might come out a winner. But in most it just ends up resulting in "Good riddance!" Montero's capability makes you salivate. Montero himself makes you throw up.
My goodness, Montero looked like a butcher in the field last night. But, oooh, the ripped double vLHP!
Morrison didn't look dangerous to me, not at all.
Romero with another hit AND a walk (big doin's for him). He's versatile guys, remember than.
Jones. Mac likes this guy. Why would you go get a Lagares for Franklin when you may have Lagares in camp right now? Doc, what say you about a mid-career Vince Colmen comp? Except Jones has that glove and arm. By mid-career Coleman's gaudy SB numbers were behind him, but he was still decent some years. Add a plus glove and you have something. Jones?
Almonte got on base twice. Good deal, he needed to.
Smoak? If 10 of his warning track fly-outs make it to the fence then he's really improved. "If," mind you. But he's locked in at 1B. OK Smokey, step up!~
Right now, I could see Romero (or Franklin) making the team.....and we move Morrison to points east.
Awesome! Careful about announcing you are in Peoria. The blog may assign you homework. My humble request: Have you seen James Jones' arm? Can you do a mythbuster on the thrown home run? Video would be awesome.