Observations from New Orleans (Triple-A Florida Marlins) against Iowa (Triple-A Chicago Cubs), July 11, 2010
**The game was won by Iowa 2-1 in 10 innings. I was unhappy that Marlins prospect Logan Morrison didn't play; he was the guy I really wanted to see, but he was at the Future's Game. For some reason I didn't put two-and-two together on that one. There were almost no interesting position players in this game, so I concentrated on the pitchers. Some notes:
**Thomas Diamond started the game for Iowa, pitching three shutout innings before being shutdown so he can go to the Triple-A All-Star Game. Max velocity was 92 MPH; most of his fastballs were 88-89. His breaking ball was a consistent 85 MPH. His best pitch was a 74-76 MPH changeup which had great dropping action. He doesn't throw as hard as he did before Tommy John surgery, but he showed polish, and I don't remember the changeup being that good before he got hurt. I got some video of him which I will post tonight or tomorrow.
**Chris Volstad started for New Orleans. He threw slightly harder than Diamond at 90-92 with sink, mixed in a slider at 84-86, changeup at 79. Although he threw six shutout innings, he walked four guys and did show a tendency to look "out of whack" with runners on base. With nobody on he was quick and efficient, but when a runner got on base, he would get really fidgety, slow down his pace, and look uncomfortable, with bad body language. But he was able to work out of all the jams, including one absolutely brilliant placement of a 79 MPH changeup on the outside corner to get a critical strikeout in the fourth inning. This was his first start since getting sent down to the minors.
**Iowa reliever Marco Carrillo: Smallish RHP, high effort delivery which I assume scouts won't like much, fastball 88-90 MPH, slider consistent 81 MPH, pitches high in the zone and gave up a lot of long fly balls. From Mexico, has been in the Cubs system since 2005, has a 2.81 ERA with a 51/14 K/BB in 58 innings this year split between three levels.
**Iowa reliever David Cales: 22 years old, Chicago native out of St. Xavier College, drafted in the 24th round in 2008. Low arm slot delivery but not quite sidearm, fastball at 88-89 MPH, threw nothing but fastballs but at least gets some good sinking action on the pitch. Just promoted to Iowa, had a 2.51 ERA with a 37/12 K/BB in 47 innings and 10 saves in Double-A.
**Iowa reliever Scott Maine: I was unable to get a radar gun reading from him, but he was definitely throwing harder than Cales and Carrillo, I'd say 90-92. His breaking ball looked excellent. Ironically, while he had better stuff than any of the other Iowa pitchers, he was the only one to give up a run: he made one mistake, getting a fastball in the wrong place to Scott Cousins, who hit a homer to right field.
**New Orleans reliever Wes Whisler: huge guy at 6-4, 240, somehow threw three shutout innings, working around four hits. Fastball was just 85-87 MPH and most of them lacked movement. Slider at 81 MPH was alternatively lifeless and wild out of the zone...if he got a strike with it, it looked straight, but if he made it break it went wild.
**Armando Benitez came in to close the game for New Orleans. It didn't go well; he gave up a game winning homer to Brad Snider. His slider looked OK, but his fastball at 89-90 MPH had no life.