I'll start off with the Lansing Lugnuts. Anyone who has been keeping up the prospects may have heard about the oft-spoken about "Lansing 3" -Nicolino, Sanchez and Syndergaard. Three amazing starting pitchers who are tearing up Class A. They have scouts and other teams drooling. I imagine there are a fair amount of Jays fans out there dreaming too. I planned my trip carefully to make sure I would see one of the 3. I decided to see Sanchez and bought my tickets. Two days later, Sanchez was put on the DL and I saw Blake McFarland instead. He brought about no drooling. He went 4.0 innings, gave up eight hits, four runs with five ks. He allowed a homerun on the second pitch of the game, as well as three doubles.
At the A-level there are a lot of guys who will never make it to the major leagues. Even the Lansing 3 may never make it to the show. And its obvious in the guys walking around. A lot of the guys are really short, or really stocky. Its amazing how different these guys look when you're used to looking at big league bodies.
I kept score for the game and made some notes next to some of the players names to remind me what I like about them. I wrote:
Michael Crouse (CF) (Nice HR),
|Michael Crouse warms up|
Gustavo Pierre (3B) (Easy speed, good arm at third, loves the game). Of all the Lugnuts, Pierre was my favorite. He was quick at third, threw lightning bolts to first. He bolted around the bases and has the body of a big leaguer. He cheered on his teamates at the dugout fence, and from my seat on the other side of the field I could hear him clapping. If you've read this blog you know that I really like players who just love the game and Pierre loves the game.
|Gustavo Pierre at third.|
Andy Fermin (2B) (Good baserunner)
|Fermin at bat|
Chris Hawkins (RF) (Excellent eye, good hitter).
Michael Crouse went 1-4 with a HR and BB. Hawkins went 2-4 with two singles, one sac bunt and a walk. Pierre went 2-5 with a single and a double, as well as a controversial caught looking strikeout which caused manager John Tamargo to be ejected after a riotous argument with the home plate umpire.
|Tamargo gets riotous. Fermin looks on.|
Fermin went 2-3 with a double, a triple and two walks (he ripped around those bases, he was a really natural and fast baserunner). I also saw closer Ajay Meyer who broke the Franchise record for saves with 30. At 6'6 and 185lbs, Meyer was a verifiable bean pole on the mound.
|Ajay Meyer. Closer and beanpole.|
The Lugnuts came from behind, to win the game on a catcher error, which allowed the winning run to score. I really enjoyed the game, even if I didn't get to see the famous three, and it rained most of the game. Minor league games are fun. I enjoyed the plays for both teams equally and it was great seeing players in their early days, trudging away the the grind of minor league baseball.
|KC Hobson mirrors the umpire|
For anyone who wants a little road trip, or who is heading through Michigan, you should stop and see a game! It's a beautiful ballpark with a circling concourse and outfield grass seating. The whole neighbourhood has really been built up around the stadium. Also, the lugnuts have their own song. It's pretty special.