The Jackson Generals just finished up a series against the Tennessee Smokies (the Cubs AA affiliate). Because of geographical issues, the only time I get to see the Generals (or any Mariners‘ affiliate besides the big league club) is when they are on MiLB.TV. Jackson doesn’t have its own broadcast (unlike AAA Tacoma) so I only see games where they play on the road against teams with their own broadcast. So since this happened again, here are some notes on the team:
Taijuan Walker‘s fastball was staying high, and he was getting behind batters. He did get some whiffs when he could throw it for strikes. Walker walked (see what I did there?) the 2nd batter of the game after he got a really weak ground-out to start the game. The 2nd began with a line drive shot double (but was getting whiffs on his breaking stuff). After a strikeout, he got a weak foul fly-ball but Nate Tenbrink couldn’t catch it and Walker walked him. The next hitter (the catcher who had 1 HR for the season before the at-bat) hit a 3 run homer just over the wall. It is worth noting that there was a delay between the first and second thanks to the weather. This may explain part of the control problems (but Walker hasn’t been sharp for big portions of the year). His curveball looked really good in the 3rd and he started using it almost exclusively, with success. It was all feast or famine for Walker, as he gave up another homer but also got some weak contact.
James Paxton gave up a couple of bunt singles in the first (followed by a broken bat single, so bad luck in the 1st inning for Paxton). He moved okay off the mound (still pretty slow), and it didn’t really appear that the knee was an issue. His changeup looked good and got him some whiffs. His fastball location wasn’t very good though, as he was throwing too many down the middle of the plate. It was about 92-93 MPH and Paxton did get a strikeout with it when he located it. His breaking ball looked good and he got whiffs and strikeouts with it.
Anthony Fernandez had a couple of bad luck ground-balls in the first. After a walk to load the bases, he got another grounder to get a double play. He was getting a lot of grounders, and some pretty weak ones. He got a strikeout on an inside changeup and another one on an outside fastball looking (and another one on an outside fastball to a lefty). He got a whiff on a low 73 MPH change and continued to demonstrate that he could throw the change for strikes. His soft slider hurt him though, as a hanging one turned into a 2 run line drive homer to Jae-Hoon Ha. When his fastball was going well, it worked like a sinker. His control overall wasn’t nearly as sharp as it had been in other games at Jackson this year, as he threw one ball behind a batter and struggled with a high pitch count.
Brandon Maurer‘s breaking ball was awesome early. The curve had good break and he could bury it in the ground and get whiffs. The fastball got him in trouble though early on. In the 2nd, the curve stayed in the middle of a zone and was pounded for a double. He later corrected his fastball command and his first walk shouldn’t have been a walk, but a blown call on a moving fastball by the umpire cost him strike 3 (he threw the next pitch in the dirt for ball 4). He would strikeout the next hitter on a low fastball to get out of the inning. He was missing plenty of bats, a bit usual for Maurer, especially since some of it was with his fastball. He then had control problems, walking 2 batters in an inning and giving up 2 runs in the inning before getting a strikeout on a breaking ball.
Ralph Henriquez crushed a ball off the wall for a double. He was also fooled badly on a slider in the dirt for a whiff. He whiffed big time on a high fastball and fooled badly on a high changeup. He had his bat broken on another slider.
Johermyn Chavez chased an ugly breaking ball to strikeout a couple of different times. He did take some low fastballs but had a big whiff on a fastball in the high part of the zone to a lefty. He is just having some real problems at the plate, especially with recognition and contact. Considering that the difference between Brandon League and Brandon Morrow is 1.3 WAR (according to Fangraphs) this season, it makes this even more frustrating. His arm didn’t look that impressive from what I saw in this series.
Leury Bonilla was late on fastballs and fooled on breaking balls for some big whiffs. He made some nice plays at 3rd defensively but made a casual throwing error. Bonilla hit a nice line drive on a breaking ball.
Stefen Romero showed off some good speed on the basepaths, taking extra bases including stealing a base basically just on the pitcher (and scoring on a wild pitch). Romero had a really long at-bat where he fouled off a bunch of fastballs, but a couple of them were good pitches to hit. He whiffed on a breaking ball out of the zone and he also hit one that caught a lot of the plate weakly. Defensively, his inconsistencies at 2nd continued.
Kalian Sams hit an absolute bomb. He is basically Joe Dunigan-lite. He hits some real big homers but also strikes out a ton. Not only did Joe Dunigan manage to swing and miss at every single pitch known to man, he also broke a bat. Of course, Joe Dunigan also hit an extremely long homer, one that made the announcers remark that is the farthest they have seen in the park.
Chih-Hsien Chiang hit a few weak grounders and was blown away by the fastball and chased breaking pitches. However, Chiang did hit a hard double on a line on a pitch down the middle and hit a ball the other way pretty well and pulled a line drive for a homer. So he looks a little better than he did when he was DFA’d.
Denny Almonte whiffed on fastballs and couldn’t quite get to a ball in centerfield. He did show off his speed with a bunt single though.
Rich Poythress hit a few pitches down the middle pretty well but had problems with the curve out of the zone. He hits a lot of ground-balls it seems, or at least he did in the series.
Gabriel Noriega had a rough game defensively at shortstop in game 3. He wasn’t able to get to a couple of balls and couldn’t handle a really hard hit ball hit at him. He also had problems on a ball that took a weird bounce. He also had some at-bats that make you question whether he should even be in AA or not. Tenbrink had a whiff on a change and was swinging at low pitches, which was making him hit grounders. He did show more range at 3rd base. There is a lot to like about the athlete that is Nate Tenbrink.
Francisco Martinez returned on Tuesday and struck out chasing a breaking ball in his first at-bat then hit a home run the other way in his 2nd at-bat.
Jesus Sucre was fooled by a changeup for a K. It didn’t get better for him in the next at-bat as he hit into a double play. He did have a line drive single though. Made a great throw defensively to get a runner at 2nd.
Moises Hernandez was hanging his breaking pitch and later paid for it, giving up a long homer. He then walked the next two batters. I can’t imagine Hernandez is long for this organization.
Mauricio Robles made a hitter swing at a breaking pitch that was in the other batters box. He had some control issues though, walking hitters that you normally have no reason to walk. His control looked much like it did early in the season, non-existent.
Yoervis Medina was missing bats with good movement and his relatively new-found command. He also broke a bat. Medina sat at 92-94 MPH with a slider for strikes and buried it once for a strikeout. His change was at 84 MPH.
Jandy Sena‘s fastball looked good with a bit of tail at 94-95 MPH. His change was getting him whiffs at 77 MPH. It stays a little higher than you want it to but Sena definitely had swing and miss stuff.
Carter Capps was throwing his normal 96-97 MPH + and even threw his breaking ball for a strike. However, it hasn’t really changed, its loopy, he doesn’t have much control over it, and it is certainly a below average pitch. With the fastball he has, it just doesn’t matter at this level.
Jonathan Arias got a strikeout swinging with his fastball. He also made Junior Lake look silly on an inside fastball. His breaking ball wasn’t very good though, as it either hung or hitters wouldn’t chase it. It is a really soft slider anyway. He walked a batter but also got a big whiff on a changeup and then a low fastball to get out of the inning.
Jose Jimenez was hitting 90 MPH on his fastball and sort of looked like a soft tosser. They made him throw a lot of pitches but he got soft contact. Major control issues cost him a walk, but he struck out the next batter after getting up 0-2 and basically hanging a breaking ball, only to see the hitter take it. His next inning proved to have more control issues in store for Jimenez. He worked around them though and got 3 weak ground-balls and a swinging strikeout on a breaking ball. He got a whiff on a fastball down the middle to a right-hander, so an optimist might say that his breaking stuff and delivery provides enough deception to make up for the velocity.