SweetSpot: Austin Hedges
July, 14, 2013
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Kathy WillensXander Bogaerts scored the World's second run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
NEW YORK -- Quick thoughts on Sunday's Futures Game at Citi Field, where a good time was had by all, except those fans who missed three innings standing in line at the Shake Shack.
- Xander Bogaerts had two hits -- a hard grounder up the middle and then a line drive to center -- and you wonder if he'll play his way onto the Red Sox roster before September. He's hitting .294/.390/.489 overall and .260/.353/.462 in 29 games in Triple-A. Considering Brock Holt is currently playing third base with Stephen Drew injured and Jose Iglesias playing shortstop, there is potentially room for him. He's just 20 and there's no need to rush him, but he possesses a mature approach at the plate. Before the game, he talked about how he tries to be patient in looking for his pitch to hit, and he's drawn 50 walks in the minors. The biggest question is about his defense: He's playing shortstop now at Pawtucket, but would most likely play third if called up and doesn't have much experience there (just two games in the minors). As he continues to fill out his 6-foot-3 frame, some believe he'll eventually have to move to third, although I think he'll have to play himself off shortstop. We've seen big shortstops remain there -- Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jhonny Peralta -- so don't assume Bogaerts moves.
- There was a consensus that Miguel Sano put on the most impressive display in batting practice as he showed off his raw power, but Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, last year's No. 1 overall pick over Byron Buxton, was also very impressive (Unfortunately, Correa didn't get an-bat and was left standing on deck to end the game.). Sano walked and got hit by a pitch in his four plate appearances, but seeing him and Buxton on the same field together (albeit for different teams) made it fun to project them hitting 3-4 for the Twins in a couple of years. Buxton struck out in both of his at-bats, but made a nice read on Sano's deep liner to center in the ninth, gliding back to make a somewhat difficult play look routine.
- Padres catcher Austin Hedges gunned down Bogaerts trying to steal in the first inning, showcasing the arm that has him rated as the consensus best defensive catcher in the minors. Jim Bowden compared the arm strength and quick release to Johnny Bench and Pudge Rodriguez -- and obviously you can't get any higher praise than that.
- As a Mariners fan, it was fun to watch Taijuan Walker in person for the first time: big frame, 97 mph fastball, nice, easy motion. As Jason Churchill has written, however, Walker noticeably slows down his arm and entire delivery when throwing his curveball, something he'll have to fix before he gets to the big leagues. He's not on the Mariners' 40-man roster right now, and I'd be surprised if he gets called up this year.
- After seeing Red Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo struggle Wednesday in the Eastern League All-Star Game (walk, walk, home run, walk, to the first four batters he faced), he struggled again Sunday, giving up two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Not that you can draw any conclusions from two short outings in All-Star Games, but Ranaudo's fastball command doesn't look major league ready (he's walked 32 in 91 innings at Double-A Portland). The Red Sox may be looking for help in the rotation, but Ranaudo isn't the guy just yet.
- Diamondbacks third-base prospect Matt Davidson lofted a two-run homer to left-center off A's pitcher Michael Ynoa in the fourth. Davidson, the 35th overall pick in 2009, has power potential (23 homers last year, 14 for Triple-A Reno), but the hit tool is the question. He's fanned 100 times (with 32 walks) in 90 games at Reno. And while his .291 average looks impressive, Reno is hitting .284 as a team, and Davidson is hitting .318 at home compared to .262 on the road. Davidson will need to cut down on the K's before he can be projected as a big league regular. Ynoa just recently got promoted to high A ball and struggled in his one inning, giving up three hits, two runs and a walk.
- Joc Pederson, Dodgers outfielder, normally plays center, but was in left field and nearly threw Bogaerts out at home in the fourth inning with a strong throw from medium-deep left (albeit a little off line). With Yasiel Puig's emergence, Pederson is prime trade bait if the Dodgers look to make another move following the Ricky Nolasco trade.
- Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley looked impressive in an 1-2-3 inning and showcased a Nolan Ryan-like leg kick. There's an outside shot that Arizona will call him up in September, similar to what they did two years ago with Jarrod Parker.
- It was a good day for the Mets as well, as Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, both pitchers in their system, drew the starts and pitched scoreless innings. Syndergaard showed a 97 mph fastball that has made him one of the biggest risers among pitching prospects this season. Mets fans can dream ... Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero. Now, about their hitting ...