Alderson was pretty amazing. He changed speeds, went inside & outside. He seemed to have total command of the strike zone. His release point was off a bit in the fourth inning, so he gave up the home run on an aimed 89 mph fastball with nothing on it & the hard hit single, but for the rest of his innings, he was dominant. I don't know how he'll do above AA, because the fastball doesn't have much movement. He's going to have to grow to remain a starting pitcher. But hey, he's nineteen & gave up one run in six innings. And he seems to have a clue out there.
Angel Villalona is the real deal. Oh for three with two walks doesn't tell you much. Three ground outs doesn't tell you much. His ground out to the pitcher in the first, I'd describe as hard-hit, and was certainly the hardest hit ball of that inning. But that was his softest hit ball of the night. His other two ground outs were *smashes* that had the disadvantage of being hit right at people. One of the walks was intentional, one more due to pitcher wildness than plate discipline, so that didn't tell me much. But after seeing some of the scouting reports about his lack of plate discipline, I'm starting to question that. I didn't see him swing at any bad pitches tonight, and he seemed to learn from his at bats. He seemed to go into his at bats with a clue about what he wanted to do. I was impressed by that.The results were hard-hit balls for outs, but he is clearly a thinking player.
I was also mightily impressed by Villalona's defense. He has good instincts to get a jump on the ball, made a nice dive play and a nice charge play, and had a couple good flips to the pitcher for the out, one of which avoided a disaster (due to a terrible angle that Alderson took to the base). He has soft hands and despite the fact that he looks like he could audition for Fat Albert! The Musical, has adept body control. Another thing that he has on defense is panache. Something Nick Noonan doesn't have.
I know, one game doesn't tell you anything. But as a hitter, Nick Noonan looked overmatched, at least against left-handed pitching. It's a mystery to me why Skeels would have him batting third. He swung at a lot of pitches, but I don't know if he swung at a strike all night. Breaking balls were a mystery to him. On defense, he has pretty good range, but he doesn't seem to me to have the soft hands that an infielder needs. I'm hoping he just had a bad night.
Thomas Neal & Roger Kieshnick hit mistakes. I don't know if they'll ever do any more than that. They didn't hit the ball hard, they got lucky. I think these guys will end up organizational soldiers, unless they significantly up their games. They had bad at bats but got good results.
Darren Ford's 2 for 4 was an illusion. Two softly-hit ground balls that would have been outs in a non-minor league world. But *Jeebus* can this guy play center field. Nice arm, too, except for that time he threw to the wrong base.
I won't make individual comments on the bullpen guys as they melted down, but none of them had any control tonight, other than Lively, so they got in bad counts and walked guys and gave up hits. It was almost like watching the mlb team!
I will poot forth on how Andy Skeels manages a game. I love it. Let your pitchers get into jams, then find out if they can get out of them. This is what the minor leagues should be about. So what if you lose the game. Now you know something about those guys and they know something about themselves.