I went to Coney Island yesterday to see the Spikes play the Cyclones. Ottavino pitched well. Hamilton homered, as usual.
Ottavino dominated the Cyclones. I'm not sure if it was him or the bad Cyclones hitters or a combination of the two. He was pitching up in the zone in the 1st inning. Walked a couple of batters. I'll chalk that up to nerves for the Brooklyn boy pitching in front of family and friends. He still pitched out of a jam with 2 on. Hopefully a sign of ice water in his veins. His first three strikeouts were on breaking balls. The hitters were totally fooled. Again, maybe a combination of the light hitting Cyclones and Ottavino's curve ball. He settled down and had a no hitter thru 4. I was really impressed by Ottavino. He definitely should be moved up in the near future.
I talked to Ottavino's high school math teacher, "Lenny". According to "Lenny", Otto has a double-jointed shoulder or something to this affect. This enables him to actually dislocate his shoulder and throw a harder fastball. REALLY! Of course, this is according to "Lenny" so take it for what it's worth. Oh, one other thing that "Lenny" did say was that Adam was a good student and a good kid. Not arrogant, in fact, a laid back type. Seems like he fits the Cardinals mold of a good guy and a good team player (and hopefully a great player).
I was also impressed with Mark Hamilton. He is a big 1B with line drive power. Sound familiar. Ok, wait I'm getting ahead of myself. This is only low, low A Ball. He is patient at the plate. I saw him take a few pitches that most Short Season ball players would probably take a swing. His homer was a laser shot to the opposite field. Keyspan Ball Park has a 16 foot high left field wall, so his homer was not a cheap shot. In the 6th, Hamilton had a runner on third and less than 2 outs. He did the prudent thing, pull a ball to the right side. A bullet that went thru for an RBI single. Didn't get a good feel for his defense but I think he should get promoted soon to Quad Cities. At least, he should be promoted before the end of the season. Not sure what they will do with Roth (who plays 1B for Quad) but Hamilton could DH if necessary. Van Slyke will not like it but he is hitting .223 so he can't complain.
As for the rest of the Spikes roster, Southard seems to be a hitter and could develop. Rapoport has some speed and is a scrappy player. Sivira made a nice grab in RF but his hitting is suspect. I was interested in seeing Motte, the catcher who recently converted to a pitcher, but my wife was not up for staying. We left after the 7th inning stretch. Go figure.
FYI, the Cyclones have a nice ballpark. Keyspan is not very old. Opened in 2001 and is right off the beach in Coney Island. Nice experience for a minor league game.