Minor League Notes: Nashville Sounds vs. Iowa Cubs, April 28, 2012
In between dealing with family stuff, I took in the first six innings of the Nashville Sounds vs. Iowa Cubs game on Saturday night. Here are a few things I saw.
Weather Conditions: A miserable, cold, and windy Saturday night in Des Moines. The temperature was 50 degrees at game time, but it felt much colder than that, with a stiff wind blowing in from the northeast, right into the hitters faces. Several balls were well-struck by both teams into the teeth of the wind. These resulted in warning track fly balls that could have been home runs if the wind had been blowing the opposite way. Nashville beat Iowa 3-0.
Due to the weather conditions, I'm not sure it was really fair to judge anyone on this game. The pitchers had a big advantage.
IOWA CUBS NOTES
Brett Jackson: I thought his swing looked somewhat long but he was making an effort to work counts and drew a walk in addition to striking out twice. Was badly fooled on a changeup from Mike Fiers.
Anthony Rizzo: Went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. His single was very interesting: a perfect bunt single right down the line that caught the third baseman playing way back in the first inning. Rizzo was playing with a lot of confidence and was one of the few players who looked like he was enjoying the game. Most everyone else looked like they wanted to get the hell out of there.
Josh Vitters: Went 1-for-3 with a double down the left field line. This was actually the best I've seen Vitters look in person; his bat is very quick and his swing is technically sound. However, it is also very level and I just don't think it translates his physical strength into usable home run power.
Chris Rusin: Threw six shutout innings, three hits, two walks, four strikeouts. Working at 85-89 with his fastball, mixing in an adequate slider and changeup from a slingshot delivery. Works inside to left-handed hitters and seems to give them trouble, but stayed on the outside corner against right-handed hitters.
NASHVILLE SOUNDS NOTES
Honestly the only Nashville hitter who looked good at all to me was Brooks Conrad, and he's not exactly a prospect at age 32. First baseman Sean Halton showed some patience at the plate. He's a 6-5, 250 pound 24-year-old right-handed-hitting first baseman and I don't see a future as a regular for him.
Starting pitcher Michael Fiers looked very similar to last year when I saw him pitch against Omaha. 85-89 with his fastball, mixed in a slow curve, a harder slider, and an effective changeup from an over-the-top delivery. He has good feel for pitching but little margin for error. He also has a nice pickoff move, catching two runners in this game. He could be a useful utility pitcher for the Brewers, working as a fifth starter or reliever, despite the lack of a big fastball.