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.
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.
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.
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.