Today I got a chance to catch two Extended Spring Training games at the Kansas City Royals complex, one against the Cincinnati Reds and the other against the Seattle Mariners. I will be be putting together first hand reports from the Reds tomorrow, some video is already available on the GotC YouTube page, but the most impressive player of the day was wearing a Mariners jersey.
Kyle Petty may be a NASCAR name, but the California University of Pennsylvania product sure looked good on baseball diamond today. Petty is a 6’5″ first baseman and catcher who spent the day behind the dish. He has not yet seen any time at catcher outside of spring and extended spring ball, but you couldn’t tell that today. He is able to get low in his stance and provide a good target, but has a habit of dropping his glove when the pitch is on the way. Despite having to pop his glove back up to receive the ball, he manages to do so without jabbing for the ball and his glove remains very still once the ball hits the it. With runners on, his stance gets much taller to compensate for his long body. I clocked him with a 2.16 pop time on a caught stealing, but that came with a mild double clutch as he did not have a great grip on the ball initially.
I marked him down as completely average defensively at catcher except in arm strength, which I think could be a slight plus tool. Given he is 23 and has yet to see any full-season time yet, he needs to impress this season, and impress he did with the bat today.
Petty has a grand total of two home runs in 49 minor league games, but I can attest he has at least that in Extended Spring Training. He hit two long home runs today with ease. I wish I could really dive deep into his swing, but I only saw him swing twice, and twice he found himself trotting around the bases. I would have had video of the second, but my camera froze up just before the pitch.
Thyago Vieira was the pitcher that stood out the most for the Mariners today. The 21-year old right-handed reliever was signed out of Brazil in 2010 and, after two years in the Venezuelan Summer League, made his state-side debut in 2013. Control has been an issue for him, and today was no different, but the pure stuff was there. His fastball was sitting 92-93 MPH but he was able to reach back and throw 95 whenever he needed it. He also had a below-average change that sat between 78-80 MPH and a slider he regularly over threw at 82 MPH. His secondary stuff needs plenty of work, but the fastball looked very good.