Backfield Banter

Backfield Banter: 2019 Giants Spring Instructs

Backfield Banter: 2019 Giants Spring Instructs

Who is that guy? He is the guy who turns your head, the guy whose name you do not know, the guy you want to learn everything about, the guy you come to the field for, and the guy you get so much joy from unearthing. For the Giants instructs, Yoris Rodriguez was that guy.

Blind Looks: Ranking Young Yankees Pitching

Blind Looks: Ranking Young Yankees Pitching

Having spent much of the year scouting indy ball, my baseball focus was torn away from MiLB. This fall was my first exposure to the majority of the Yankees low minors. I had no knowledge of stat lines, what players looked like on video, or even what level they played at.

Backfield Banter: Red Sox Instructs

Backfield Banter: Red Sox Instructs

Thunk. Thump. Splat. A 2017 Nissan Versa sped southbound down I75 cresting at around 95 mph. Bugs spattered across the car’s windshield forming a Pollock bereft of color. Stewing, I silently cursed my own stupidity. F****** idiot! Having originally planned to see Blue Jays camp in Dunedin, a last minute audible had me headed from Tampa to Fort Myers. Most instructs games start at 1 PM, but this was scheduled for noon, something I had not realized until 9:30 AM. I pulled into the parking lot at 11:54 and hastily checked the backfields before realizing the game was to be played at JetBlue Stadium. Scouts had already assembled behind home. I sat quietly, slightly askew down the first base line, futilely hoping to not attract attention.

Backfield Banter: Yankees/Pirates Instructs

Backfield Banter: Yankees/Pirates Instructs

I’ve been to the Yankees backfields a lot in 2018. Often times, there are a few fans, few scouts, and lots of players and coaches in the stands. Most of the time, crowds are light and there are plenty of spots to post up and get video and scout. However, I was not prepared for the circus of the Instructional League. Maybe it was news that Albert Abreu would be starting. Maybe it was the 3 weeks of no local baseball. Whatever it was, the crowd was reminiscent of a Minors Spring Training game. The bleachers were packed and there was a buzz in the air.

Backfield Banter - Yankees Camp 9/19/18

Backfield Banter -  Yankees Camp 9/19/18

Anthony Garcia impressed. He’s a physical specimen, listed at 6’6” 234 lbs on the Yankees instructs roster. Having just turned 18 on September 5th, Garcia is not done growing and his frame looks capable of supporting more weight. The body is long-limbed which adds length to his swing, but the bat path is fairly direct, and I like his bat speed.

Backfield Banter - Rays Instructs (Pimpin vs. Thunder) 9/18/18

Backfield Banter - Rays Instructs (Pimpin vs. Thunder) 9/18/18

The Tampa Bay Rays opened their 2018 Instructional League with a camp day that featured some of their top prospects. Wander Franco, Shane McLanahan, Matthew Liberatore, Shane Baz, and Nick Schnell all took part in various defensive drills before playing an intrasquad scrimmage.