As I will do 20+ times this season, I had the opportunity to see my hometown IronPigs first hand last night. While the roster is filled with mostly veteran talent, there were a few prospects to keep an eye on. So, in between Walking Tacos and a box of Rivets, here’s are my impressions:
Severino Gonzalez – We were really hoping to catch Adam Morgan‘s return to AAA (we missed him by a day) but were pleasantly surprised to see Gonzalez throw in his AAA debut. He matched strikes and scoreless frames with Henry Owens, one of Boston’s top young arms, for 6 innings. Gonzalez located his 88-89 fastball well, despite a stingy home plate umpire. Gonzalez’s changeup was very sharp and kept hitters off balance. He also threw what looked like a cutter in the 85-86 range that the Pawtucket hitters seemed to struggle with. The PawSox finally started to get Gonzalez in the 6th and 7th innings, having seen him twice already and with Gonzalez running out of steam, but he did only surrender four hits and a single earned run over his 6.2 innings of work. I honestly don’t remember many hard hit balls among his 88 pitches.
Maikel Franco – It seems like more of the same in 2015 from Franco, and for me that’s not a good thing. His approach at the plate is maddening to me. He did actually look fairly relaxed and patient off of Henry Owens, a tall lefty. Owens fooled Franco on a nasty curveball early in the game, but he managed to lift it weakly into shallow left field for an out rather than miss it all together. In his third at bat, he jumped on a fastball and lashed it down the left field line for an RBI double, the Pigs first hit of the game. Hell, he even drew a walk at one point also. But his other at bats looked far too aggressive to me, chasing pitches early in the count that were no where near his zone and striking out twice. There is just so much potential there, as the ball really comes off of his bat hard, but he seems so overmatched at times at this level.
Tommy Joseph – I admit I root harder than most for Tommy Joseph. Watching him last night, his timing at the plate seems slightly off. He swung at a few pitches early in counts that he should be more patient with but did manage to pick up his first hit of the young season. Defensively, Joseph looked very good, however. He seemed to call a good game for Severino Gonzalez and looked solid receiving the ball. Joseph was replaced in the 9th inning for a pinch runner and after Rene Garcia took over the strike zone seemed to shrink on the Pigs, signaling to me that Joseph helped his pitchers a little bit more. Base runners were 2 for 3 on stolen base attempts against him with one botched transfer (a good throw would have nailed the runner).
So, that was my night. Thirteen innings of windy, 50 degree weather that ended in a Pigs loss. While the PawSox boast more prospect talent, there was enough to watch for Lehigh Valley to keep me entertained. My next game is Monday night, with Paul Clemens facing off against the Syracuse Chiefs.