Monday, July 29 - Rome 9, Augusta 6
Braves starter Lucas Sims provided the crowd at Lake Olmstead a glimpse of his pro career to this point in all five innings of his outing.
Sims had an excellent fastball and good changeup, but he fought his curveball all night. His command wavered on all three pitches at times, but he still had a plus fastball and flashed plus on the curve. He made some batters look silly, but he also threw behind one, hit two and walked four.
The 2012 first-rounder has the arm deserving of a first-rounder. He has a quick, live arm that produces mid-90s heat with arm-side run while showing the ability to work up in the zone on the fastball. Sims was pumping 93-95 in the first couple innings before settling in the low-90s with greater movement.
Sims didn't have a feel for his curveball at any point in the outing, although he flashed a few good ones early. He trashed the pitch deeper into his start and relied heavily on the fastball, which he can most certainly do at this level. But the curve had a hump and spun early out of the hand at times. If he lost feel for it, more often than not it was arm-side and spinning early. He still flashed a plus curve a couple times, including freezing one right-handed Augusta batter on the inside corner. I could see where the potential is with the pitch.
The changeup showed the potential to be an average offering. His quick motion helps produce deception and good arm action, and he has good separation on it. He didn't have great command with it, but he kept in the zone pretty well.
Previous reports are accurate on Sims. He can fight his command at times, lose his release point occasionally, finish inconsistently. But he also shows the ability to have a deadly three-pitch mix that will succeed in the upper levels. The Braves coaching staff said he has the intangibles to adjust and develop further (more so than he already has, which is a lot), and he has pitchability to put it to good use. The Braves did very well to draft Sims in 2012, and Braves fans should be excited to have his arm in the system.
Rome manager Randy Ingle:
"He wasn’t as sharp tonight as he’s been in the past. His curveball wasn’t working as well, so he was having to pitch off his fastball and changeup. He didn’t have his command tonight. Very humid tonight. He made some pitches when he had to, but he just wasn’t as sharp tonight as he’s been. He didn’t have his breaking ball going.
"He’s really progressed this summer. He throws mid-90s with a really good curveball and a good changeup. He’s been doing a good job pitching well, commanding his pitches for the most part. He’s 19 years old. He’s a true No. 1 pick, and so is (Jason) Hursh.
"He’s a good athlete and has a good feel for pitching, too. He picks up things quick. Intangibles like that add up for him."
"I didn’t throw as many strikes as I wanted. Some curveballs got away from me, but you learn from it and move on. It's just a matter of getting on top of things, getting downaward action. Once I started getting under it and pulling off of it, not working down the mound, it tends to not go my way. It’s something I’ve been working hard on and hope I keep making progress.
"It's something you have to practice every day. Finding that consistent spot to have consistent results."
Notable Augusta lines:
Joe Biagini: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
Stephen Johnson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Shawn Payne: 2-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB
Alberto Robles: 3-5, 2 2B, RBI
Ben Turner: 2-5, 2B
Andrew Cain: 1-2, 2B, 3 BB
Mitch Delfino: 2-4
Notable Rome lines:
Lucas Sims: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 9 swinging strikes
Kyle Wren: 2-6, 2B, RBI
Ross Heffley: 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB
Joey Meneses: 2-3, 2 BB
Casey Kalenkosky: 1-4, 2 RBI, BB