The Columbus Clippers were on my docket to go watch play this evening, since the Indians were off. RHP Zach McAllister got the start for Columbus and looked sharp. He improved his record to 6-0 on the season as he led the Clippers to a 5-2 victory. He threw 7 innings while striking out 8 and only walking 1. He did give up a 7th inning home-run with 2 out, but from what I was able to watch, McAllister is a very durable, strong, athletic pitcher who is not overpowering, showing a sinking fastball that consistently clocks in at 87-91 MPH and has topped out at 94 MPH. He had a nice, easy delivery and gets good movement on his fastball and kept it down in the zone well. He is more of a command and control specialist with a deep mix of secondary pitches including a slider, a curveball, and achangeup. He relied heavily on his sinker-slider combination tonight as his sinker is the key to his success. McAllister thrives on groundball outs, and while the slider is still developing, it is his only above average secondary pitch. He showed a lot of confidence in using his average changeup which is still a work in progress. His curveball is clearly his fourth best pitch, but one that continued to show improvement tonight and according to Ross Atkins, is still developing. McAllister seems like a very smart pitcher and had an intelligent approach with how he attacked hitters. He was very aggressive tonight and is not afraid to pitch in on the hands of right-handers. I believe he is more of a backend, depth rotation arm with excellent athleticism, sort of along the same lines of right-handed pitcher Josh Tomlin but with higher ceiling.
Lonnie Chisenhall only had 1 hit on the night, but it was a double. It was nice to hear that former Indians 3rd baseman Travis Fryman will be working exclusively with Chisenhall on becoming a better 3rd baseman defensively. He is a very athletic and instinctual third baseman who shows good actions with his hands, above average range, and an above average arm. He has a lot of confidence in his defensive ability and makes all the routine plays and even makes a lot of harder plays look easy. He goes back on balls well and shows above average arm strength on long throws, and coming in on balls he uses his hands well and makes strong, accurate throws even while throwing off balance. He works diligently with coaches before games to get better and is very receptive to instruction and working hard at applying it in pre-game workouts and in the games. One of the secrets to his success is his unique approach to improving his fielding where he uses an extremely small sized glove during batting practice when he fields fungos so that when he uses his regular full sized glove in games, fielding is so much easier. Jason Donald also added a homerun.
It was not a pretty night for the Akron Aeros pitching staff. They were killed 10-3 in Erie, PA tonight. Starter T.J. McFarland only lasted 2.1 innings and gave up 8 earned runs on 9 hits. Marty Popham came in and stopped the bleeding to an extent. He gave up 2 earned runs and struck out 5. Second baseman Karexon Sanchez provided all 3 RBI's tonight, including a 9th inning 2-run homerun. Rightfielder and top prospect John Drennen had a hit too.
The Lake County Captains were delayed in Lansing because of rain.
The Kinston Indians were off.
Lonnie Chisenall, Spring Training 2011