Spring Training: Minor league game with Esposito, Sano and more
Sometimes, the timing just works out. Not always, maybe not often, but when it does, it can be very nice.
Case in point: On Tuesday, I was going to drive from Fort Myers to Sarasota bright and early to talk to the Orioles’ Jason Esposito (No. 5 on the O’s Top 20). I had to drive north anyway, what with an assignment to cover the Twins against the Tigers in Lakeland on Wednesday, so it was no big deal.
As it turned out, Esposito was coming with the A-level Orioles down to Fort Myers for a Minor League game, so I was able to stick around and wait for him there. The interview we did resulted in this story about the third baseman, including some of the video interview we did.
If that’s not enough Espo for you (I hope it’s OK to call him that — you can ask him on Twitter @JasonEsposito), here’s the interview in it’s entirety, uncut.
Pretty well-spoken, mature young man, don’t you think? Those Vandy products do tend to come out with a pretty good head on their shoulders.
The added bonus of being able to stay in Fort Myers is that I got to watch the Twins’ A-level team play (actually, 2 of them, but the game I focused on was the low-A one). Esposito was playing in that game (so was Glynn Davis, No. 8 on that O’s list). But the real fun was that they were playing a Twins team that included Twins’ No. 1 prospect Miguel Sano, No. 4 Eddie Rosario and No. 9 Adrian Salcedo, not to mention first-round pick Levi Michael. Sano and Rosario should make for a very exciting combination in Beloit this year and Salcedo could start the year in Fort Myers.
Salcedo is typically around 93 mph, maybe touching a 94 and he was right around that area in this start, mostly 91-92 mph, from what I saw. He showed some good ability with his breaking ball and his changeup. The outing overall was up-and-down. Salcedo cruised through the first inning and did a fantastic job keeping the ball down in the zone. In his second inning of work, he was up and he got hit as a result. Things unraveled a bit for him and he had a hard time stopping the bleeding — “damage control” as one Twins executive put it at the game.
Now here’s where the luck of the day kind of ran out. I was so excited to see Sano hit — it was fun watching him take BP (he’s the type people are going to stop what they’re doing to watch hit). The previous day stalwart baseball writer LaVelle E. Neal III was excitedly telling me about seeing Sano triple twice and homer in a Minor League game he had just watched.
I had no such luck. Facing lefty Tim Berry, Sano was lost in both of his at-bats, striking out swinging wildly both times. The second at-bat, he swung and missed badly at soft stuff then whiffed on a fastball. I tell you this not because I think it’s some warning sign, that he’s overrated. Hardly. Maybe just take it as a reminder that he probably has a long way to go. Or, as that Twins exec mentioned above, said, “It will take time.”