We continue our daily summations of the Mariners intrasquad practices for those of you who don’t have six-plus hours to watch the feeds yourselves. As a side note, we sure are grateful to the Mariners for broadcasting these workouts. Not every team is, and the YouTube chat is visited often by fans of other teams hungry to see some baseball, enough so that they’re willing to drop in and watch the intrasquad practice feed of a team whose regular-season games they probably wouldn’t watch. Imagine being so desperate for baseball you Baseball in the time of COVID sure is weird.
- This morning’s pitchers for live batting practice are Yusei Kikuchi and Austin Adams, with Kikuchi taking two sets for approximately 50-60 pitches. First digging in is 1B Evan White and 1B/OF Jose Marmolejos. Kikuchi gets the better of the rookie twice, with a couple well-placed off-speed pitches for a pair of strikeouts.
This morning's live BP from the Mariners starts with Yusei Kikuchi on the mound against Evan White. Nice slider to set White down.— John Trupin (@JohnTrupin) July 8, 2020
Looks like 1B/OF Jose Marmolejos up next. pic.twitter.com/6PhxUST3xx
Marmolejos, a lefty himself, handled a curve and a slider for a pair of line drives, taking advantage of some belt-high location. There are no radar gun readings available (at least not to us, the unwashed masses), but reports on Kikuchi’s velocity seem favorable:
Kikuchi on media call said that he threw bullpens 3 times a week during the shutdown. Is adjusting to throwing to live hitters but did hit 95 today. Said he believes there will be a little more velocity as he progresses in camp.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) July 8, 2020
Next up is Austin Adams, and it’s absolutely fantastic to see Adams back and healthy on the mound considering the last time we saw him in T-Mobile park he was in agony from a torn ACL. Adams has also been working on some quarantine flow, it seems:
Braden Bishop and a masked-up Kyle Lewis are facing Adams in BP, who disposes of both of them the first time through with that nasty slider, which doesn’t look like it’s missed a beat:
Lewis would get his revenge, though, clobbering this ball to Yakima:
Ok. Let’s try this again. This video should have sound the sound of Kyle Lewis’ homer and the players yelling in the background. If it doesn’t, I give up. pic.twitter.com/cPp9agzbRj— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 8, 2020
Another angle of the slobber-knockery:
Kikuchi goes out for another session after Adams is finished, this time facing a masked Tim Lopes (who has a pregnant wife at home) and Tom Murphy, with Brian O’Keefe catching. This time around Kikuchi doesn’t allow any hard contact, and finishes his day with a nice swinging strikeout of Murphy.
After that it’s A-group infield practice with the starters holding down the infield positions. Tim Lopes looks to be getting reps behind Seager at third, and the first base crew is Vogey-White-Nola and Shed and JP are out there somewhere and beyond that it’s pretty tough to make much out. The best way to watch infield practice, I (Kate) think, is to pick one player and just watch them cycle through the drills. Otherwise the whole thing just looks like a lot of visual noise. Usually in this group I pick Evan White because gorgeous defense but today I watched Tim Lopes, who I think is easily the second-best defensive 3B on the team.
Then it’s time for BP again! The very chrome-domed Kyle Seager, who looks rather Bane-ish while responsibly wearing a mask, took one of his BP rounds while an Eminem song echoed through the T-Mobile rafters and I (Eric) felt a very strong feeling of synergy in the universe. Murphy follows Seager and hits some strong man tanks, and then Dee Gordon follows him and...doesn’t do that. Kyle Lewis randomly pops up in this group too, but without the fireworks of earlier.
JT: The BP session has transitioned backwards, with the machine moved slightly further back but coming in at a more representative high velo. Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop, Evan White, Daniel Vogelbach, Tim Lopes, Brian O’Keefe, Jose Marmolejos, and others are taking aim at some 40-50 foot heat while the Mariners coaching staff gives their arms a break. There is some traditional thrown BP later in the session, tossed partly by Carson Vitale sporting his cap worn backwards. Somewhere Jon Heyman is twitching and doesn’t know why.
The afternoon sessions are maybe the more intriguing ones, as that’s where the majority of the youngest prospects are getting some run. This afternoon is no different as we get our first look at Isaiah Campbell in a Mariners uniform.
There might have been some nerves at play for the 2019 draftee, who wasn’t pinpoint accurate in hitting the targets set by Cal Raleigh, but he did start with a strikeout of J.P. Crawford and Austin Nola, and also later got Nola on this bit of nastiness:
Diminutive lefty Anthony Misiewicz throws next, showcasing his plus curveball. Misiewicz works on the similarly diminutive Shed Long and decided not diminutive Cal Raleigh, out from behind the dish, and gets an ugly swing from Shed on this pitch after falling behind in the count 3-1:
Shed did not fare well against the crafty lefty. Raleigh, hitting from the right side, also got fooled but made some adjustments and eventually wound up getting some solid contact off Misiewicz. However, Cal’s best exit velo of the day was probably when his bat flew out of his hands and death-pirouetted out of frame, traveling scary-fast although after just a few short tries I managed to capture it in frame before it flew off this earthly plane:
Dan Altavilla followed, and his hitters included two righties: a heavily masked gentleman we think might have been Patrick Wisdom and Noelvi Marte, getting a rude stateside welcome in facing a pitcher who throws his off-speed pitches faster than the vast majority of fastballs Marte saw in the DSL, where average velo is more in the high 80s. After looking prettyyyyyy rough in his first couple go-rounds, Marte made an adjustment and was able to make some contact, albeit probably not the contact he would like:
Next up was Joey Gerber bringing his funky delivery to Donovan Walton, who did not seem to at all enjoy facing off against his former Travs teammate:
George Clinton and Parliament: oh we need the funk! gotta have that funk!— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 8, 2020
Joey Gerber: ok then sir pic.twitter.com/GhzpAIRZ88
Austin Nola, however, seemed to have no problems reading Gerber’s funky delivery and made more than his share of solid contact, including redirecting this elevated fastball to Royal Brougham:
Austin Nola homers off Joey Gerber in live BP. All of the pitchers just stop walking and watch it go out. pic.twitter.com/UaEWodwLz0— Lauren Smith (@smithlm12) July 8, 2020
This prompted a discussion among the LL staff: is Austin Nola, in fact, Good? Connor brought up this Athletic article from a while back about the foibles of the Marlins’ player development and coincidentally, Angie Mentink just tweeted a section of an interview she did with Nola where he says that although he’s had a lot of hitting instructors in his life, he feels like the Mariners’ hitting staff has helped him put it all together and see big picture and that for the first time he’s really “taken an interest” in hitting over the defensive side of things, which is quite a thing for a veteran of the minor leagues like Nola to say.
Sadly, the stream cuts off so there’s no afternoon batting practice to watch, which means missing out on getting to see the likes of Jarred Kelenic, Austin Shenton, and Noelvi Marte, who usually hit in the late afternoon session, and also feels like an anticlimactic way to end the day, although it does make for a shorter recap, we guess. Until tomorrow!