Rivercats Eyeball Roundup: The J's Have It

Excited as I was to see Chris Carter and Michael Taylor in action, the two guys who really caught my eye last night in Sacramento's 2-0 win were Josh Donaldson (say, he might be better than you think!) and Jai Miller.

First of all, if the score suggests a dominant pitching performance I wouldn't add Clayton Mortensen to your fantasy team just yet. He wiggled in and out of trouble early, then settled down and pitched quite nicely, but his 7 shutout innings didn't somehow excite me. Here's what I saw:

Josh Donaldson: Donaldson caught all 9 innings and wound up making three throws to 2B, two on stolen base attempts and one on a pitch that bounced a few feet away. Donaldson cut down all three runners with absolute bullets right over the 2B bag.

We already have a pretty good idea of what Donaldson can do as a hitter: With very good patience at the plate, a short and quick swing, and only moderate power, he projects to be only a decent hitter for a 3Bman but good for a catcher (a line of .270/.350/.440 would not be far fetched). The question is where Donaldson can play defensively. All I can say is that behind the plate, the guy looked a whole lot more like Landon Powell than Jake Fox. By a lot.

Jai Miller: What stood out to me last night is that Miller has really quick hands at the plate. He may not have "Bette Davis eyes" but he might have "Howie Kendrick wrists," and that's probably more useful given Miller's chosen line of work. Now he flailed at back-to-back sliders down and away (let me be more concise: He "Crosbyed") in his last AB, but the two base hits he lined impressed me for how quick his hands looked.

Michael Taylor: The swing still looks long to me (An OFer walks into the bar and the bartender says, "Hey, why the long swing?"), but Taylor electrified the crowd in the 8th inning with an all-out diving catch, on a ball in front of him, to save a run. He still doesn't look 100% comfortable against AAA pitching and should not, IMO, be called up for a while yet.

Chris Carter: Carter lined a solid single up the middle in his first AB and then went down pretty quietly thereafter. However, every time I've seen him I have to say he doesn't look at all like a hacker. His swing is pretty controlled, his patience and calmness evident.

Defensively, he handled the only grounder hit to him with ease and made a good play taking an errant throw and tagging the runner going by, but in 3 games I still have yet to see him attempt to field a sharp ground ball or one that forces him to range in either direction. However, each time I have seen him he has looked pretty comfortable at 1B -- not like a guy who desperately needs to be DHing. But I haven't seen him try to do anything especially challenging, either.

This has been another episode of Small Sample Theater, brought to you by Acuvue: Creating "eyeball scouts" for over 50 years!

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