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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/3/23 : Today at the Complex

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

Rain was in the forecast today so practice started early with four live bullpens scheduled for 9 AM.  We were able to watch them all before the raindrops started to fall.  Here’s who we saw and our impressions.

RHP Chase Antle started the practice session which was a very significant one for the young hurler.  He’s been on the rehab trail since signing an un-drafted free agent contract on 6/16/20 out of Coastal Carolina.  Initially he was recovering from biceps tenodesis surgery incurred during college then incurred an UCL repair in 2021 but subsequently it was discovered the issue wasn’t addressed and the 25 year old underwent TOD ( thoracic outlet syndrome ) surgery last summer. This was the first live bullpen session we’ve seen the persistent and dedicated pitcher throw - fastball and slider were today’s mix.  Ball movement was good, was hyped a bit and fastball sailed on him a few times but when in the zone could see what might become - Chase was a FB/Curve collegiate relief pitcher at Bowling Green/Coast Carolina and had velocity reads in the 98-99 mph range - didn’t see that today ( sat low to mid 90’s ) but ball for sure had life - a promising first outing back on the bump facing hitters.

RHP Andrew Baker - velocity is a strength for the 22 year old with the FB reads in the 98 to 102 mph range last summer.  Today we saw something that’s both intriguing and promising - Andrew threw a cutter repeatedly and it had really good movement - swing and miss action.  He’s already got a power slider/curve in his repertoire - adding a cutter like we saw today just strengthens the package of a hurler we already see destined to be a big leaguer.  Hitters struggled to get around on the heat, it’s quick, electric and gets on em.  The cutter we saw had bite and came out of the same arm slot and motion as the heater - it can be a weapon.  Breaking pitch ( Curve/Slider ) had it’s usual bite - this kid has the goods.

LHP Tristan Garnett - gets terrific movement on his pitches - in today’s session the changeup was nasty - sank at the plate with a quick vertical drop - it’s deceptive as it comes from same slot and arm speed as his other deliveries - slider had a lefty’s break with the fastball generally what seemed to be around 93-94 mph with the natural lefty tail.  Tristan has length at 6’6” and uses it effectively with the ball coming from his hand in the glove behind a knee tuck during delivery.   He gets on top of his pitches with good extension and strong mechanics.  The 24 year old can be a factor out of the pen - with his mix I think he can get both lefties and right-handers’ out - we can see him making a strong push for a AA roster spot coming out of spring camp.

RHP Orion Kerkering - first time we’ve seen Orion ( pronounced Orin) in a live BP session - has a bit of a cross fire delivery out of a slightly above 3/4 arm slot.  We saw three pitches today I believe - FB, slider and change up - he’s quick to the plate as well with reported heat topping out in the 97-98 mph area, wasn’t there today - first outing.  He had some hitters lunging at the slider  and fastball had good life.  Throws out of a stretch from first base side of the rubber, short and compact delivery.  Just 21 years old - could be a backend weapon at Clearwater to begin the 2023 season 🧐.

Hitters of Note :

Cade Fergus drove one offering off the base of the left field fence and Bryan Rincon hit a sharp single up the middle.  The hitting group facing the pitchers included Kendall Simmons, Gabriel Rincones, Simon Muzziotti, Jordan Viars, Yhoswar Garcia, Cade Fergus, Marcus Lee Sang & Bryan Rincon.

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Left to Right ( Top to Bottom ) - Chase Antle, Andrew Baker, Tristan Garnett & Orion Kerkering

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