Player Reports from San Antonio/Midland Part 1

I just spent several days in San Antonio watching the AA San Antonio Missions (Padres affiliate) play against the Midland Rockhounds (Oakland affiliate). I only missed out on seeing a few players . . .Wynn Pelzer was the odd starter out for SA, and Arnold Leon and Jemile Weeks are both injured. I took in a lot, and I'm looking forward to heading back down in a few weeks to watch some of the other teams in the Texas League come to town. I decided to start this off simply by writing about a few prospects that interested me and/or were asked about, and then I can proceed with requests and/or more of the guys that interested me.

A few notes about the stadium . . .as many of you may have heard, San Antonio is regarded as a pitcher's park in the Texas League. The dimensions of the park actually aren't all that hostile - it's only 310 to left field and 340 to right field, 402 to dead center. The part that makes Wolff Stadium tricky for hitters is the orientation of the stadium. As the sun goes down, shadows cover the pitcher's mound and batter's box, making it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball. I took several pictures of the conditions to better illustrate just what we're looking at here and will see if I have one good enough to post here. While I'm not familiar enough with the conditions to be sure, I also noticed a breeze coming in and across the field. It wasn't a major feature in the games that I saw as far as I can tell, but it's worth noting that only one home run was hit the entire series. Neither of these teams is exactly notable for its power hitters, though, with the best raw power that I saw was out of San Antonio 1B Matt Clark, although that's really all he's got.

Random disclaimer: Hi, I'm an amateur at this, so don't accept my word as gospel.


Anthony Capra, LHP, Midland Rockhounds

gatling wanted to hear about Capra, and I was similarly intrigued by him. <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> Listed at 6'1”, but I suspect that might be a tad generous. Was surprised to find that he's listed at 200, upper body looks a bit slight. Fastball sat 87-89 first three innings, touching 90-91. Velocity jumped in the last two innings, sitting 89-91, touching 93. Paces himself nicely, didn't look like he was putting everything he had into his delivery early, seemed to show his strength more as the game progressed. Deceptive delivery, hides the ball relatively well. Fastball command just wasn't there, missed a lot, not a guy who can afford to do that. Didn't fool anybody, San Antonio made consistently hard contact against him from the start of things, got lucky a lot. Seemed to pick up on this, adjusted by trying to pound the bottom of the zone, didn't help. Fastball not very lively, easily tracked. Threw his curve (75-77) a lot, used it to get ahead in some counts. Command of curve inconsistent, a work in progress. SA looked a little surprised by the number of curves, he got a good number of swings and misses on it, suspect they wouldn't get beaten by it quite so much next time around. Should be a decent pitch to use against LH batters, needs to tighten it up. Have heard a lot about his change, didn't see that much of it. Went to his change when he needed a money pitch, got out of a couple of jams with it. Change has good fade, probably a nasty pitch when fastball command is on, not quite as much when struggling to throw his fastball through the same area.


Capra looked fringy to me as a starting pitcher; his subpar command of a hittable fastball was troubling, and he got through his outing in large part on the strength of luck and guile. I was nonetheless impressed by his tenacity, as he refused to back down even when fighting against himself. Interesting potential in relief where he wouldn't have to worry about pacing himself, as I'd like his demeanor out of the pen. He'll most likely need to refine his breaking ball to get that chance of course.


Jared Lansford, RHP, Midland Rockhounds


Former second round draft pick by Oakland now serving as Midland's closer. Made for a solid prospect at the plate as well in high school, still shows it as he looks like a good athlete. It quickly became obvious to me as to why Lansford is in the pen, as he is an EXTREMELY slow worker. He is incredibly deliberate, and will gladly take any opportunity to pace around the pitcher's mound. I hadn't gotten a chance to look at his numbers before the game, but fortunately it quickly became clear as to just what kind of pitcher he is. Lansford, as evidenced by his 2.93 GO/AO ratio, is a big time sinkerballer, and it's a good looking pitch. It works anywhere from 87-92 MPH, although I thought he got better downward movement and a little more control on it when he threw it in the lower end of that range. Lansford's other main offering is a breaking ball, which I believe was an 81-82 MPH hard curveball. It's a solid offering that gets swings and misses at this level, but he'll need to tighten it up and refine his command of the pitch to make it effective at the major league level. He does struggle with his command, as many young sinkerballers do, but the movement on his pitches is good enough to induce weak contact to get him out of trouble. He doesn't have the raw power or miss enough bats to profile as a closer in the majors, but he looks like a potential solid bullpen option to me.


Cedric Hunter, CF, San Antonio Missions


Former 3rd round draft pick repeating AA. Doesn't look the part of a high draft pick, as he's undersized and not especially toolsy. Hunter is playing CF for the Missions but I'd be skeptical of playing him there everyday in the majors, as I just don't think he has the pure range to get the job done. He does have remarkably good instincts though, so he should definitely be at least above-average in a corner with spot duty in CF being fine. He's got some speed but isn't a burner. At the plate, he shows a good feel for hitting, as he'll take the ball to all fields. He also works counts well. Bat speed is just okay, but again his good instincts let him cheat a bit and he's not an easy strikeout. Hunter does not have very much power at all, and he doesn't try to hide it. I'd say the best thing about Hunter is his makeup, which is off the charts. The guy is all hustle, high-energy, high-effort in everything he does. For a good team he's a fourth OF but a very valuable one, owing to his defensive versatility and his resilience at the plate - he will make pitchers work to get him out. He might have some starter potential as a CF for a lesser team.

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