I had the chance to catch two Louisville Bats games last week - exactly half of their four-game tilt against the Pawtuckett Red Sox at McCoy Stadium. I got to see Billy Hamilton, Derrick Robinson and Daniel Corcino. And also Xander Bogaerts, Alan Webster and former Reds Drew Sutton and David Ross. I tried to take some pictures, but I'm no BubbaFan. I'm not even an owner of a decent camera. The "zoom" on the phone camera made the action look like 16-bit baseball. Baseball Tonight for Sega CD, at best.
I did, however, take some mental pictures. I'll dump some of those here, in case you need them.
Billy had a great night Thursday, smacking two triples, and also had a pretty good series (5-18, BB, SB). I arrived too late to see his lead-off triple, but caught the encore. It's been said many times, many ways, but he can really motor around the bases. I went with a friend who had never watched any video of him and was only peripherally aware that he was fast. And he was pretty blown away by his ability to turn a routine gap double into an easy triple. I can confirm, with the naked eye, that he's using "game-changing speed" out there.
In that same game, he flashed his range in CF and made a strong, if off-line, throw to third. I don't see any reason to think that he's not already an above-average CF, though I didn't witness him making any really difficult plays.
Billy went 0-5 the second night and it's worth remembering that his bat is still a big question mark. Alan Webster, who came over from the Dodgers in that big contract-liberating trade last season, was the starter for the PawSox. He's still a pretty legitimate prospect and was hitting 96-7 on the stadium gun. Even though Billy was 0-fer on the night, I didn't see him getting the "bat knocked out of his hands." He made some solid contact on two liners that happened to be right at some guys.
Corcino was pretty bad on Friday night, much like he's been all season. He went 5 innings, with a walk and an earned run for each inning pitched. He didn't seem to have anywhere near the command of his fastball he seemed to have in 2011 and I didn't see any 96s or 97s on the gun. But he did strike out seven and threw some really nice off-speed stuff, including some change-ups that had a few PawSox all turned around
Corcino throws across his body and lands off to the side, not unlike old-school Johnny Cueto. I'm sure this is not an original thought at all, but I'd be hopeful Bryan Price can smooth out his delivery a little bit without losing too much velocity. Like Cueto, a pitcher his size might benefit from more movement and deception, rather than putting so much effort into getting an extra MPH or two. In any case, his fastball looked very hittable. And he's obviously been hittable all season. But, at the very least, saw what the fuss has been about.
Let's go get him