Jordan Shusterman is a six-foot, 145 pound right-hander from Chevy Chase, MD. His wiry frame lends itself to tree comparisons. He hasn’t played organized baseball since 2009, but still shows a morsel of natural talent. He didn’t play on the baseball team at the College of Wooster, but did live with the D3 home run champ, which has to count for something, right? Wrong. Fastball sits at 71 with no movement and comes from a motion most commonly associated with that of a paper boy. His curveball is easily the best pitch and flashes potential to improve. Also throws an awful changeup/splitter type thing that would get crushed at the upper levels of the minors, not to mention the upper levels of little league. Big makeup guy, but I don’t think he makes it past A-Ball or a ball. Might want to look into throwing an eephus.
Jake Mintz is a 5’11, 183.26 pound righty from Chevy Chase, MD. The body is neither pudgy, nor slender, nor cut, nor athletic. Has posted an ERA under 15.00 in over 10 excitement-filled innings for the Washington University Bears. Like his Jewish family, his delivery is unorthodox and reminds me of a polio-stricken version of Pedro Strop. The fastball sits at 81-82 and touches both 83 and the hearts of millions. It features surprisingly legitimate movement, but the command and control are reminiscent of a belligerently drunk Rick Ankiel circa 2000. The slider looks like he’s throwing a frisbee with a cast on his arm. The changeup is easily one of the worst pitches I’ve ever seen and comes from a completely different arm slot that looks like he is trying to clothesline a small child. Has had problems with authority during games, as evidenced by his one career ejection. Once punched a baby. Not a big, medium, or minor leaguer. Coaches should transition him to the eephus as soon as possible.
As evidenced by these scouting reports, which we randomly found the other night in a trash can during a Visalia Rawhide game, we aren’t particularly awesome at baseball. Jordan hasn’t run anywhere at full speed since he was 15, and while I play at college, I’m not exactly a pro prospect of any sort. Neither of us will ever play professional baseball and we don’t spend our summers playing in college leagues. Imagine our shock, then, when the Menlo Park Legends, a member of the California Collegiate League, approached us about throwing out the first pitch at their Opening Day game. We obviously said yes. We threw eephuses (eephi?). It was awesome.
After watching the Legends score 12 runs in the first four innings, on a few home runs and more than a few errors from the opposing San Mateo Rounders, we left a bit early and headed up to Stockton for our sixth California League game of the trip. –Jake Mintz
Game Notes – Stockton Ports vs. Lake Elsinore Storm
- Jordan and I go to a lot of baseball games, watch a lot of baseball games, and think about baseball almost all the time. As a result, we like to think we know a good deal about baseball. Nights like last night remind us that we hardly know a damn thing. Before the game, we were seated next to a scout of an AL/NL East/Central/West team and had a lengthy conversation with him. In the 15 to 25 minutes we talked with him, we soaked up more information on scouting than we had obtained over the course of our trip thus far. It’s also worth noting that we learned less from scout’s opinions on specific players, but from how he went about talking about them. Scouting, projecting, and developing talent is an extremely tricky business that not many can master. The best way to begin learning.
- Lake Elsinore shortstop Jose Rondon was the main piece going back to San Diego in last summer’s deal that sent Huston Street to the Angels. The 21-year-old Venezuelan went 4-for-6 with a triple and two towering home runs to left field. Going into last night’s game, Rondon only had one home run this season—and it was an inside-the-parker. Before this year, Rondon had only hit two home runs (both of which actually went over the fence): one in 2012 in the Arizona League, and one in 2013 in the Pioneer League. In nine short innings, we watched Rondon double his career over-the-fence output. In addition to his shocking power display, Rondon looked really sharp defensively at shortstop, making several tough plays look routine, including a gorgeous double play in the fourth. Rondon has always been known for his defense, so this display wasn’t particularly surprising. Last night’s offensive explosion aside, Rondon hasn’t hit particularly well this year. However, he showed the kind of athleticism at the plate that could definitely translate to enough offensive production to justify being an everyday shortstop at the big league level. Rondon’s Baseball-Reference page is also amusingly inaccurate due to a slight miscalculation. 2014 was a long year for Jose!
- Stockton third baseman Matt Chapman was a first round pick last year out of Cal State Fullerton. He went 1-2 with two walks, the only out being a sharp lineout to the shortstop. He struggled mightily in his first full year last season and, statistically, it looks like those struggles have continued into this year. Chapman hit two balls hard, displayed good discipline at the plate, and showed off his easy plus arm from the hot corner. We didn’t get enough of a look at him to tell you anything particularly substantial, but we can tell you that he walked up to the plate to 2Pac’s “How Do U Want It?”, which means things are pointing in the right direction. –Jordan Shusterman
-Meals at In-N-Out: 3
-Mexican Food Meals: 6
-Dr. Peppers consumed: Jake – 19 (but he spilled it all over Rafael De Paula’s shoes)/Jordan – 19
-Times we listened to Evergreen by Westlife: 39
Sunday brings our first game in the Bay Area proper, as we head on over to O.co Coliseum to pay our respects to Yoenis’ old stomping grounds and maybe stick around to see the Athletics play the Yankees while we’re there. The O.co experience is something we’ve been looking forward to several years now, and we hope to get a sense for what A’s fans are all about. We also hope Alex Rodriguez hits five home runs and takes his sweet time rounding the bases as the rabid Oakland fan base showers him with merciless boos.
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