Presumably many of us watched the Durham Bulls championship victory on Tuesday night. For those who didn't, let me offer up my delayed thoughts on the four main players.
- Jeremy Hellickson - Let me get this out of the way early: it's one game. There's only so much you can take from one game with a great degree of confidence. Okay, now Hellickson. He looked as advertised. He attacks the zone with his fastball then once he gets ahead in the count uses his breaking stuff - which I believe is mainly a curveball, but maybe he slipped a slider or two in as well - in hopes of baiting hitters to extend their strike zones. I didn't note exactly how many times he did this, but it felt like a good half-dozen at-bats. His change-up looked solid and seems to be his best secondary offering. I don't know if he's major league ready, but he sure looked it. Unfortunately the broadcast didn't feature a radar gun. However, Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow was in attendance and noted Hellickson's velocity sitting around 92-94 which matches with what I've heard in the past.
- Desmond Jennings - He's very, very fast and knows it. The "double" was more like a single stretched into a double. Without better angles there's no way you can judge him defensively with any degree of accuracy. His range is pretty solid, but in terms of routes, reaction, and positioning? No idea. I assume he's pretty decent at those attributes. If not, his speed covers his mistakes up. How he fits into next year's team is beyond me, but he definitely can play a role in the 2010 Rays.
- Matt Joyce - Well, he had a hit. I've written enough about him that nothing is going to stick out from one game.
- Sean Rodriguez - I told you about his power, and he showed it last night. One homer to left-center and one ball to the warning track in right. He made a few unexciting outs too, but make no mistake the Rays have some cheap young power from both sides of the plate between Joyce, Longoria, and Rodriguez. Fun times are soon to be had.
Some non-keystone notes after the jump.
- The announcers were horrible. Under no conditions is Dave Freese "one of the best prospects in baseball," unless the qualifier involves "with a chilly last name."
- Further I don't expect them to understand the concept of strand rates or anything like that, but it's Jason Cromer. You know why you haven't heard of him? Because it's Jason Cromer.
- I feel miffed that Cromer's strand rate didn't show signs of regressing until the championship game.
- Joe Bateman: three walks in a row. THIS IS NOT HOW YOU WIN A MAJOR LEAGUE JOB STOP DOING THIS GAH.
- Another thing I'm miffed about: lack of Winston Abreu.
- The David Eckstein comparisons came full circle when Elliot Johnson turned a routine-looking play at shortstop into an infield single because of his slow throw.