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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/8/24 : High Performance Camp - Day Twenty-Four

Today’s Camp Activities :

Bullpen sessions on the mounds this morning for Jean Cabrera, Enrique Segura, Ethan Chenault, Cam Brown, Micah Ottenbreit, George Klassen, Gunner Mayer, Casey Steward, Mavis Graves, Mitch Neunborn and Jake Eddington.

Continue to be impressed by Gunner Mayer’s outings - I believe that he’s incorporating a new secondary pitch and with added muscle his already lively fastball has even more life and movement.  Jake Eddington let it fly a bit more, good crisp fastball - he’s got a cross fire delivery - gets really good spin and movement from his release - popped the glove consistently plus broke off a couple sliders that had my knees buckling from behind the fence 😳.   I also thought that Enrique Segura threw the ball well as did Mavis Graves.   Mitch Neunborn tossed a few of his Vulcan splitters - it’s a really deceptive pitch, to me it looks like it knuckles.

Position players took fielding on Carlton Field and then hit on Roberts this morning.  Today the hitters faced the pitching machine - a new three wheeled one that had much more pace on deliveries than normal BP - the machine can also alter deliveries in regard to speed and spin.  In times past we’ve seen hitters struggle against the machines picking up the baseball.  It seemed that most were on top of it in this morning’s sessions, in fact they handled the higher velocity better than normal BP tosses.  The new machine has a more viewable release with the coach showing the baseball first then shooting it out from the middle of the three wheels.

I was impressed with Hendry Mendez’s hitting session. He peppered line drives all over the field from the left side of the dish and also smoked a few long drives over the right field fence.  From the hitting sessions I watch Mendez, Devin Saltiban (young man has pop), Marcus Lee Sang, Aidan Miller, Eduardo Tait, Angel Mata, Felix Reyes and Aroon Escobar had strong practices.  I heard that Gabriel Rincones Jr also had a strong session but I didn’t see it myself - wouldn’t doubt it though as the young man can rake!

Big League Arrivals :

Alec Bohm, Nick Podkul, Bryson Stott and Weston Wilson all took ground balls this morning on the Bowa half field from Mr. Bowa himself.  I know that Aaron Nola also threw a bullpen alongside the field on the mounds there and possibly McKinley Moore did so as well although I only saw McKinley warming up with a flat ground toss in the outfield of Ashburn Field.

Today’s Spotlight Player :

Jared Thomas - 23 years old - drafted in 15th round of the 2023 draft from Loyola Marymount

When I watch bullpens I also try to take notice of the catcher’s receiving skills - in the sessions I’ve seen Jared Thomas has shown really quiet hands in catching the baseball with good framing skills.  I’ve seen the ability to move and block pitches in the dirt as well, also seems to have really good interactions with his pitchers and coaches.  Word is he’s got a strong arm also with good pop times. When we’ve watched him in BP during this camp he’s shown a line drive, solid impact approach along with an ability to turn and drive inside deliveries - is a left handed hitter.   

2023 Stats :  played in 14 games with the FCL Phillies and Clearwater Threshers - a total of  38 plate appearances.  Had two doubles and seven walks in the FCL for a .444 OBP in 27 PA’s, had a hit and three walks in 11 PA’s with the Threshers for a .455 OBP.  Defensively posted a .966 fielding percentage in 88 chances and threw out 5 of 29 base stealers (17 %).

2023 Notes :  we’ve chatted with Jared a couple of times at the complex, is a very approachable and polite young man.  Have seen him in a few live bullpen sessions and a couple games, small sample size however seems like he has solid receiving skills.  Offensively has shown patience at the dish, willingness to accept walks -  we have seen a short compact swing.  Strong plate discipline was a remark made about him in Baseball America’s pre draft profile.  Is a left handed hitter which is always a plus for the catching position as a tandem role.  Played his first two collegiate seasons at the University of Miami before transferring to Loyola Marymount where he became the primary catcher.

Jared’s 2023 reflections :  “I learned that you have to show up and be consistent every day.  I am preparing  for next season by getting my body physically ready by gaining a few pounds.”

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Jared Thomas - 2/8/24 bullpens

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