Canes Baseball: Friday Scrimmage (11/4/2022)

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
mi[email protected]


With the final game of the season set for tomorrow known as Scout Day where the eyes will be on those eligible for this season’s draft. Today for the position players, it was just another day of fine-tuning their hitting and fielding process preparing for tomorrow. As for today‘s pitchers, for some, it might have been their last showing on the mound before cuts are made to bring the numbers down to 35 authorized. Gino in the past has taken it even lower, but with injuries expected during the course of the season, I don’t think he wants to face a shortage of personnel which he had last year due to injuries. The current roster has 39 names listed so we know for a fact that at least 4 will get their talking papers and will be looking for another place to hang their glove for the forthcoming season. 

The summation for today‘s session can only be described as PAINFUL in capital letters. Scheduled to 8.5 innings, the scrimmage ended one inning short at 7.5. Possibly because JD and Gino were for better words disgusted in the lack of progress these young hurlers have made in transitioning from HS to college ball this preseason. I have been writing all preseason about my concern with our pitching and not having a BP to help in relief. I expect or hope that the pitchers for tomorrow will bring some encouragement and hope that this season won’t be a total wash. We have hitting and in fact, an overabundance of hitting, but that alone can’t win games. If we don’t have the pitching to support our hitting, look for a very long season. The OF is where we are the richest in talent and it will be hard to come up with three from the ten we have on the roster. Gino might decide to trim from there, which would be unfortunate. Where the trimming should come from is our freshman pitching which has been definitely UNDERachievers this fall. They are the tip of the spear in being our Achilles Heel this year.

Seven of our eight freshmen got the call for today with the exception of Kaden Martin, who DH today. He might be sporting an injury preventing him from pitching. Has seen limited action this preseason. Kaden is our only two-way player. CJ Kayfus is another player pulling limited duty of only hitting. Dario Gomez is back full-time after several weeks of hitting only. Getting back to our freshman pitchers, they each pitched 2 innings with the exception of our headliners, Brian Walters and Ashton Crowther who pitched 3 innings each and Chris Scinta only pitching one. this would account for the inning short of the scheduled amount. That and what I previously wrote, that Gino and JD are not at all pleased with what they have seen not only today but all of the preseason.

Ashton Crowther and Brian Walters opened today‘s session. Of the freshman today, Brian by far was the best of the bunch not allowing a single run to cross the plate. He did what other than Chris Scinta was able to do, recording 3 outs for the 5 batters faced. The five others that pitched left runners on base on reaching their 5 man limit and not recording the 3rd out. The worse offender of the five was supposedly one of the headliners today Ashton Crowther. He was the most PAINFUL to watch having absolutely NO control. Not being able to find the strike zone, WPs, HP, and highlighting his performance giving up a 2 run bomb to Dominic Pitelli. 5 Walks, 2 HP, 5 runs over the course of 3 innings never recording the third out in any of the innings pitched. Between him and Ryan Fry can’t decide who is at the bottom of the depth chart. I see one or both being cut if Gino can afford to lose pitchers no matter how bad they look at this stage of their career.

The only hope I have seen of making it over the course of their stay at Miami has been Brian Walter, brother of Andrew and soph transfer this season. The hardest inning he had to endure was the 1st having runners on the corners before striking out Kaden Martin for out #3. Next 2 innings 3up/3down striking out 4 to go along with one in the first. Maybe a bit of Andrew has rubbed off on him. Expect to see his name being heard on the call to the BP.

Chris Scinta only gave us one inning for some reason but took care of business recording the 3rd out without a run scored for the 5 batters faced. Pair of strikeouts only gave up a single to Gaby Gutierrez. The second time I have seen him pitched and definitely the better of two performances. Might be coming off an injury and JD does not want to push him. Can’t afford to lose anyone who can find the strike zone, striking out two today

The rest of today‘s pitchers each pitched two innings. Ed Walsh takes a second behind Brian’s pitching performance also not giving up a run and allowing only two hits. Along with Brian will get to see both making their way to the mound in relief. Neither has 90+ speed that will dazzle the batters, but this will come over time as they develop their style. I have seen Walsh pitch in the past and today was his best outing.

Sebastian Perez joined Walsh and Walters not giving up a run but like everyone, nothing is thrown to steal one’s heart. All these pitchers are hittable without any knockout punch in their pitch.

The last two pitchers to toss the rock today were Ryan Fry and Gunther Braendel. You have heard me talk about Ryan not being all impressed by his outings. He showed some improvement the last time I saw him but he regressed today giving up runs and not completing his required outs. One out double to Dario scored a run in the 7th and and SF to center by JD Jones with BL one out after giving up back-to-back singles to Renzo Gonzalez and CJ Kayfus. That ended the scrimmage on a very down note. Crowther opened likewise which made for a sour taste for the performances of those in between. 

Before Fry ending it all for today, Gunther Braendel was pitching opposite him and it was just as ugly. While Fry was being “fried”, Gunther was right along beside him making things look ugly. Loaded the bases in the 6th having the first 3 batters reaching base on a single, HP, walk, followed by a 2 RBI single by JD Jones. Walks his 5th batter to reload the bases completing the inning. For his finale, gave up another run with runners on the corners one out. 6-3 groundout by Carlos Perez scored a run. Ended the inning, like the previous with a walk. 

Three of the pitchers soured my taste with their performance today reflecting the lack of support we are going to have from the BP this season. If our starters, whoever they might be, can’t give us 6 or 7 good innings, we are going to be struggling all season. Last year we had Andrew able to bail us out but still uncertain what Gino’s plans are for Andrew as to whether starter or closer. Feel he would be more effective in the “Closer” role. He has struggled as a starter this preseason.

Offensively the batters struggled today mainly because the pitchers were either hitting batters, 5 today, or walking,14, which is totally unacceptable. Three with multiple hits: Dario Gomez 2-3(double,RBI); Gaby Gutierrez 2-3; Renzo Gonzalez 2-3. Additionally Dominic Pitelli 2RBI HR and JD Jones 1-1 (2SF,4RBIs)

A couple of errors defensively. Two by Blake Cyr. Blake, a freshman, has really impressed me this preseason with his hitting but needs work with his fielding. Probably won’t see him starting in the infield this year unless injuries to Dorian Gonzalez or Dominic Pitelli occur. By far, he is our best freshman prospect this year. A bit of seasoning with his infield work will earn him a starting role next season.

Tomorrow we wrap it up with the scouts turning out in force to see the draft-eligible pitchers put on a show hoping to catch the eye of one of the MLB scouts.  Below is tomorrow‘s schedule of events.

Saturday’s Scout Day Schedule:

10:00 a.m. – 60-yard dash 10:25 a.m. – Infield/Outfield 11:00 a.m. – Batting Practice 12:00 p.m. – Scrimmage

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