Happy Holidays! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 29
March 13, 2012
Prospects Will Break Your Heart
Spring Training Diary, Days 15 and 16
Day 15, 4:40 PM
My roommate is also named Jason, and aside from the first name, the passion for baseball, the Texas roots, and the love of FIFA on the PlayStation3, one would think we share little else in common; our age gap creates a plane of separation that even baseball struggles to bridge, as he’s almost ten years my junior and didn’t grow up watching classics like Real Genius or Fletch in his formative years. Oh, Patricia, how I love talking about the movies of my youth. I spend most of my time and money trying to recapture feelings that have long escaped me. We all do this, Patricia; even you. I hope you don’t take that the wrong way. Even if you had poor taste in movies and denied yourself the benefits of psychological rediscovery, I’d still like you. This is probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever said and I hope it makes you love me.
Based on the above information, you might assume that the relationship Roommate Jason and I share is strictly symbiotic, with minor league notes and observations bouncing back and forth, growing in confidence, vetted by four eyes rather than two. Reality finds that the opposites-attract relationship works because Roommate Jason–prospect writer for LoneStarDugout and my roommate on this trip and numerous others before it–happens to be a nice guy who doesn’t ask too many questions about my process, and he doesn’t judge the surface of things just because the surface appears discolored or disoriented. He’s a baseball contemporary and a friend, and when it comes to the Texas Rangers farm system, you aren’t going to find a source as connected, as dedicated, or as comprehensive in their coverage. Roommate Jason will make a fine scout someday, Patricia.
Day 15, 6:00 PM
The face of the person driving the car is a 90% accurate way of determining SAFMU, as they are normally of the Caucasian persuasion, owners of dental damage that borders on Appalachian cartoon, with unkempt and/or unstylish clothing, regrettable haircuts that are aesthetically aligned with multi-colored (perhaps hyper-colored) mid-90s department store retread outfits, facial hair (if male) that refuses to grow with any consistency or pattern, and (if female) either frosted tips that were clearly done by a friend of a friend who once spent three days at a beauty seminar, or perhaps a bangs-heavy and teased hairstyle designed to attract guys who still openly appreciate the band Cinderella and want to have sex on the first date without a bunch of questions or contraceptive nonsense. The number of children in the car vs. the number of car seats in the car is always a factor, and if you can count more car seat-eligible kids than actual car seats, there is a very good chance that a SAFMU is in play. Normally, it doesn’t come down to the number of car seat-eligible children vs. number of car seats for your determination, but it can.
The SAFMU game is my favorite game to play in Surprise, Arizona, and I play it whenever I’m riding shotgun, which is every day because I don’t really like driving and I don’t own a car, and you can’t focus on meth heads in the adjacent lanes when you are trying to operate a vehicle. Patricia, this isn’t a critique on class; it’s just an observation about potential methamphetamine users who are operating a motor vehicle on the same street where I happen to be riding in one.
Day 15, 8:00PM
Martin Perez remains one of the best young left-handed prospects in the minors, but his developmental ebb and flow can frustrate even the most balanced of perspectives. On a good day, Perez will work his fastball in the 92-95 mph range, and can touch as high as 97, showing decent action on the pitch with a little arm-side run. The changeup can flash beyond plus, with excellent deception created by the arm action and some late fade as it hits the zone. The curveball can feature a tight rotation and intense vertical break, working best at 75-77 mph. When the command is on, Perez can spot the fastball down in the zone and attack with two secondary offerings that he can either throw for strikes or drop out of the zone as chase pitches. On a good day, Perez is a potential number two starter, with three above-average pitches from the left side, strike-throwing ability, and a smile that says, “I’m charming, I like to have a good time, and here is a 95 mph fastball with some life.”
On a bad day, Perez is unbalanced, overthrowing at times and underthrowing at others. When he rushes his mechanical setup, he loses the fluidity of the delivery that allows the fastball to pop and the secondary offerings to play. This also causes his release point to fluctuate, which affects the consistency of his strike-throwing ability. On a bad day, Perez is an underachieving back-of-the-rotation starter that flashes more than fires, frustrates more than finishes, and has a smile that says, “I’m not very charming, I enjoy restaurants with pictures of the food on the menu, and eight out of the ten pitches I’m about to throw will be out of the zone.”
Day 15, 11:00 PM
Day 15, 11: 45 PM
“Heavy-set moments just like this
Hey girl, when you think you’re in love
Day 16, 11:58 AM