Wednesday, May 14 - West Virginia 5, Augusta 4 (10 innings)
I might love this guy too much for my own good, but I just enjoy watching him throw. He was 95-97 in the first two innings and settled into 93-94 after that. His fastball had heavy, sinking action, breaking more than one bat and sawing off multiple hitters. It resulted in 16 ground balls, most of which were pounded into the ground. He kept it in the zone and worked both sides with pretty good command.
Mella's curveball was around 74-76. It showed late break and stayed on two planes, freezing a few West Virginia batters. The pitch loses its spin at times and gets loose, but he maintained good enough command for the pitch to be effective. It was probably in average territory in this start.
Mella's changeup was pretty firm, but he turned it over a few times around 85. It shows good fade, and he has good arm action on it because of his crossfire delivery and long arm motion. It was around average.
Mella said after the game his body wasn't feeling up for a deep outing, and he seemed to run out of gas by the sixth. He said he felt drained even earlier than that, so it wasn't his best day. I think it showed some in the low strikeout and swinging strike totals. But he fought through it and gave Augusta another solid effort for 6.1 innings.
Polonius is wiry with very thin arms and legs. He's always going to be wiry, so the body won't hold much muscle. Polonius shows some feel for the barrel, but he doesn't drive through the ball. His bat gets complacent to push the ball, resulting in little power from an otherwise good swing. If Polonius could drive the ball better with more bat speed, he could develop properly at the plate. But it hasn't happened for him.
Polonius played shortstop for the first time at home this season. He has a pretty soft glove, and his arm is OK for the left side, but his feet are a touch slow, and he doesn't possess quick-twitch ability. Polonius is probably best suited for second base, which is unfortunate because Christian Arroyo lives there when healthy.
Rojas' bat stood out to me during the first batting practice session this season, and he's fulfilling it to some extent. He hasn't shown much of an approach at the plate, and one walk in 69 plate appearances is worrisome. But Rojas shows some power potential from an aggressive swing that has lift. He wraps the bat some and has swing and miss spots away, but he can drive fastballs to the gaps with ease.
The No. 1 problem for Rojas is the lack of a position. He is constantly run on behind the plate and hasn't shown the ability to control the running game, and the rate of passed balls and wild pitches is through the roof when he catches. His glove is shaky at third base, and his motions are rigid. Rojas is definitely a bat-first player, but any semblance of defensive feel at a position would go a long way toward helping him develop.
Notable Augusta lines:
Keury Mella: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 16 ground balls, 3 fly balls, 1 line drive, 7 swinging strikes, 93-97 fastball
Chris Lofton: 2-5, 2B
Rafael Rodriguez: 2-4, RBI
Leo Rojas: 2-4
Ty Ross: 1-4, 2B, RBI
Notable West Virginia lines:
Shane Carle: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, ER, 2 K, 11 ground balls, 8 fly balls, 1 line drive, 7 swinging strikes, 89-92 fastball
Harold Ramirez: 3-4, 2B, RBI, BB
Danny Collins: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Reese McGuire: 2-5
Wyatt Mathisen: 1-4, RBI, BB