Mills started Tuesday's game and pitched well. Mills did give up three runs but only two balls were hard hit. One of the hard hit balls came after a walk and drove in a run and was followed by a seeing eye RBI single when the hitter was jammed. The third run started with a ground ball double just inside the third base line followed by a typical Luis Castillo single where he just got bat on ball and blooped it over the infield.
Mills is a lefty who throws over the top and has good deception, the hitters never seemed comfortable against him. Mills featured a 88-89 mph fastball (high 91 mph), a change-up and a big breaking curveball. Mills' change and curve are major league quality pitches. His fastball is straight and he tends to throw it up in the zone. Mills' deception and his two quality off-speed pitches make his fastball faster but according to the Fisher Cats pitching coach Dave LaRoche Mills is experimenting with grips to try and get more movement on his fastball. LaRoche also believes Mills is being too fine with his curveball. Most hitters take the curve and it often breaks out of the zone, down and in to right-handers for example. LaRoche feels that if Mills threw the curve for a strike it would help him keep his pitch count down. Mills also told me that the Jays would like him to have a harder breaking ball to work with his change and Curve.
While Mills has two major league off-speed pitches he may need to get more movement on his fastball to succeed at the major league level. Also Mills works up in the zone with his fastball, he might need to concentrate on working lower in the zone to be effective in the major leagues.
Wednesday's starter was Brandon Magee. Magee is tall, 6'5", and throws from a 3/4 angle. Magee is a sinker, slider pitcher, similar in some ways to Jamie Vermilyea. Magee throws a regular fastball at 88-90 mph, a sinker at 84-85 and a plus slider at 81-83. Magee also throws a change-up and showed a curveball once or twice. Magee's command was not great in this start which is an issue as sinker, slider pitchers need good control.
Roman in this appearance was primarily a fastball pitcher, throwing 90-94 mph. Roman showed a change-up and a slurvy slider but it appeared to me that he slowed his arm speed on the off-speed pitches.
Matumoto is short, 5'9" lefty. Matumoto is a drop and drive pitcher, which given his height, means his fastball comes in on a flat plane. Matumoto's fastball is 83-85 mph with some good movement into right hand batters. Matumoto also showed a slider at 71 mph.
I asked Gary Cathcart if Travis Snider has learned all he could at AA before his move to AAA. Cathcart said that Snider did have more that he could have learned at AA but in his opinion Snider will hit everywhere he goes, he can play up to the level of competition.
Campbell is struggling a little right now, he is hitting .150 in August. Per Gary Catchcart, Campbell had a pulled hamstring which put him on the DL, then about a week ago his hand was stepped on as he slid back into first. Campbell did not look at comfortable at the plate as he did the last time I saw the Fisher Cats. I did see Campbell shaking his hand in discomfort on one occasion.
One media member told me that some scouts had said that they felt Campbell had hit a "soft" .330.
Although Arencibia walked twice in one of the games I saw, in general he is a free swinger. Arencibia is not in the Vladimir Guerrero class but like a Vernon Wells if the pitch is a strike he will tend to swing at it. Per Gary Cathcart the coaches have been talking with Arencibia about trying to hit his pitch, not the pitchers pitch. Defensively Arencibia throws well, but it is in the blocking and receiving that Arencibia needs work. Again the coaches have talked to him about it, and roving catching instructor Mike Basso has been in to work with him.
Dopirak (pronounced doh-pear-ick) looked good at the plate, he was the Fisher Cats best looking hitter in the two games I saw. He hit some balls hard that were caught but did get three hits in the second game.
I asked Dave LaRoche if Brett Cecil was working on anything in particular while he was in AA. He said that Cecil had fallen in love with his slider/cutter that bores in on right handed hitters. LaRoche worked with him on working his 2 seamer in more. LaRoche felt that the only thing Cecil needed was better control.
When Ray arrived he told LaRoche he could throw harder so they are working on that. When I saw Ray earlier in the season he was throwing 90-91, now the is throwing 92-94. Ray is also working on his change-up to make it a true third pitch, to add to his fastball and slider.
I spoke with Dave LaRoche about Romero. LaRoche reiterated what we have heard before about Romero, namely he became more effective when he gained confidence and pitched more within himself and once he stopped trying to strike out everyone.
I asked around about Machi, whether he was deserving of a spot on the 40-man roster. Some people believe Machi could be a major league reliever, he had thrown two very good starts in the last week. Per reports Machi is like Romero, his emotions get the better of him and he gets out of the game plan and overthrows. If Machi can control himself he is worth a spot, if he cannot he will not be successful.