This short article is just an appetizer for the Eyeball Scout report planned for after today’s televised game. Manager Bob Melvin has been surprisingly candid about attributing importance to today’s start for AJ Puk.
Rarely are spring training performances given as much significance as this one, but in his last tune up for the regular season Puk will be answering a slew of questions at once:
- How many innings can he throw in his quest to gear up as a possible fifth starter? Melvin has suggested that 4 innings would position Puk to join the conversation for the rotation.
- Where is his velocity sitting? Once routinely in the 97-98MPH range, Puk has been sitting at 92-93MPH but could see that naturally tick up today to 94MPH as he builds up arm strength. Or not. We’ll see.
- How effective is he? Despite the lower velocity, Puk has been missing plenty of bats thanks to a slider that has had good break and depth. There is a bottom line aspect to pitching, as there are many ways to get batters out and the question is, “Are you equipped with one of them?”
The Eyeball Scout will be watching with great interest, as well as the prediction that unless he is a heightened form of “lights out” the #5 spot is going to Daulton Jefferies (he makes his final start tomorrow) and the final Bullpen spot is going to Cole Irvin as a long reliever.
First pitch is at 1:05pm and the opponent is the Texas Rangers (absent the ILed Khris Davis). Should be interesting.
We end with a ST stats quiz and it does not revolve around Pete Kozma’s RBI total. Lou Trivino has pitched 6.1 IP this spring. How many hits has he allowed? No peeking. Hey, you’re trying to peek, quit it. Have you guessed? The correct answer is: one.
Who Do You Think Will Be The #5 SP Out Of Camp?
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None of the above (explain in comments)