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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Indianapolis v. Rochester -- Game 1

Justin Ried against Dave Gassner, who saw time earlier this year with the Twins. Both pitchers have similar styles. Ried is a righty (Gassner a lefty) control pitcher (read: doesn't throw hard).

In this game, Ried combined the worst of Josh Fogg and Kip Wells -- low velocity and a million pitches. This is the smallest of sample sizes, one game, and an incomplete one at that. The game was delayed an hour and 40 minutes, and at 10:30 I decided my 5yo son had had enough, so I only saw five innings, and Ried was done after 4.

Here is part of Wilbur Miller's profile of Ried: "Back at Nashville for 2004 .... He dramatically improved his K rate, although he had some problems with gopher balls, allowing 18. It's possible that his improvement resulted from him finally being fully healthy. He also credited off-season conditioning that helped him increase his velocity to 89-90 consistently, topping out at 92."

I've always found the scoreboard pitch speed indicator at Frontier Field to be fair. Hard throwers throw in the 90's, junkballers in the 80's. It just jives with the velocity of those styles of pitchers.

Ried threw one pitch 87mph, a few 86, and otherwise threw his fastball mainly 84mph, with breaking stuff in the low/mid 70's. After having seen even this tiny 4-inning sample size, I'm stamping Ried a non-prospect. Major league hitters would kill him. Even the Fogg/DWilliams/Jamie Moyer-types consistently hit the high 80's. At 85mph, a professional hitter would adjust too easily, no matter how well he changed speeds.

Other random observations: Ron Paulino looks like a ballplayer. He's big but has a pretty smooth swing. His body type reminds me of Mark Johnson (one-time Pirate ST wonder), but he didn't appear as stiff as Johnson did. He did almost have a passed ball (he dropped it but the runner did not advance). Otherwise caught without distinction, good or bad.

Nate McLouth is small. He homered after I left, but I wouldn't have guessed he would. He's very narrow all the way from the neck to the knees. I know it's bat speed, not muscle that produces power, but he just doesn't look like he can generate all that much power. In NFL draft-speak, his frame doesn't look like it will accommodate much more bulk. Think pre-steroids Len Dykstra. Mid-80's Dykstra had a little pop and was a good player. I think McLouth has a future, but I doubt he'll be a 20 HR guy, ever.

Or maybe he'll become Don Mattingly. Note Dykstra and Mattingly are both listed as 5-10, 185, McLouth 5-11, 174.

His swing was also smooth. For a good study of swing mechanics, see batspeed.com. I'm not an expert, but I have studied swing mechanics, and am geeky enough that I've taped games and watched swings frame-by-frame. He and Duffy have good arms.

Brad Eldred did not play.

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