On a blazing hot and humid Tuesday night in early August the West Virginia Power took on the Delmarva Shorebirds in the second game of a four games series and eight game homestand. After winning the first game of the series the Power (16-21*) found themselves tied with the Shorebirds (16-21*) and the Kannapolis Intimidators (16-21*). Here's a recap of the game and info on certain Pirate prospects found on the WV Power roster.
* Denotes record prior to the game on 08/03/2010
Additional note - I was at the game mainly for social reasons and saw less baseball than I would have liked.
I actually missed the top of first inning, but Kyle McPherson was both lucky and unlucky. Unlucky as he got ahead in counts (see: first AB where he got ahead 0-2 before giving up a full count homerun) and pitched well but still gave up a run and quite a few base runners due to errors and some weak hits. Lucky as he only gave up one run due to shoddy baserunning by the Shorebirds. After that the Power steadily built a lead as McPherson pitched well and then managed to hang on despite the Power bullpen gave up four runs in the eight, causing a scare.
Despite terrible numbers on the year (.196/.292.362) and an 0-4 night I see why Brito is intriguing. Still only 22, Brito isn't terribly old for the low-A level (although he's getting there). You may ask what he's got going for him. First, that triple slash reads out as a .166 ISO which isn't terrible and 10HR's + 15XBH out of 61 hits bodes well for future power, especially when you consider my second point, which is his body. There is no way Brito even weighs 160 pounds. Of course I'm being slightly facetious, but Brito is a stringbean and adding 30-40 pounds of muscle (very possible) could do wonders for him. Finally, he seems to have a great glove at 3B with an adequate arm at worst. I saw him make several impressive plays ranging both ways and taking short balls with ease making accurate throws.
If you are looking for the best prospect in WV you can look no further than Cunningham (although Chambers may disagree). A high school bonus baby drafted in 2008, Cunningham has put up a solid season so far using both hot spurts and cold spells to do so. Sitting with a .278/.331/.465 line so far this year Cunningham has put up an impressive .177 ISO, especially considering he's still a middle infield prospect. Unfortunately, however, that's in question as he's already been moved from SS to 2B (at least to some degree) and some scouts think it's affecting his bat. Regardless, from what I saw of his swing, his bat could play anywhere, except maybe first and he could have a future at either 3B or a corner OF position. On Tuesday, he crushed the ball every time up and finished 4/5 with 3R. The one out was a bouncing grounder to short that you could tell was hit hard but Cunningham simply got on top of it. None of his hits were cheap and all made that sweet sound of a ball getting punished by a wooden bat. His double missed clearing the fence by about 5 feet and it seemed like the ball was on the rise. Cunningham's short, flat compact swing gives him a great bat presence in the strike zone and allows for plus gap to gap power that could easily turn into 20+ HR's when he fills out and matures. Now, he just needs to work hard on his defense.
For whatever reason I saw Chambers less than Brito and Cunningham, but he still was fairly impressive. His swing is short and his body is compact enough I think he could develop average power, even if he has to move to a corner. He certainly has the speed for center, as I saw him fly over to cut a ball in the gap, actually swipe it up while spinning as it rolled through his legs and nail a guy at center with what looked to be an above average arm. His "legendary" patience didn't disappoint as he drew a walk, but even during that AB he swung at a few pitches in the strikezone (fouling them off). His eye was fantastic as breaking balls out of the zone had no chance of fooling him. The question is if he can hit breaking balls thrown for strikes as I saw him swing through a few good curveballs. Chambers also had a good game going 2/3 with 1R and 3RBI (along with the walk), bringing him up to a .237/.388/.391 line, also giving him a solid ISO of .154
- I was able to go into the press box (which wasn't anything spectacular mind you) and talk with a "video intern" for the Pirates who I mistakenly thought was a scout. He gave me some good info on the technological tools the Pirates org. uses. Unfortunately he didn't really have any insight on particular players. He did however tell me that
- The couple I sat next to were related to Evan Chambers (assuming father/mother). The women gave me a free shirt I think she got from the T-shirt gun, which is kinda cool, but more cool was...
- That the guy sitting behind the intern was one of the special assistants to GM NH who was in town to watch the game (not sure which one - he got interrupted before he could tell me).
Of course the coolest part of the game was signing Country Roads after the game, right Panthers fans?