After another early morning wake-up, we arrived at Myrtle Beach around 1:00 pm. The Pelicans were nice enough to provide me with a Media Pass for the game, and an interview with Jeimer Candelario and Chesny Young that should be out in the coming days. TicketReturn.com Field is a fantastic fan experience, and even if you don't like baseball there is a ton of ways to have fun at the park. It's especially kid friendly, with a kid's pitch radar gun and a jungle gym for them to climb, as well as constant giveaways and running the bases after the game. If you're a Cubs fan you have to come down and check out the facilities. Anyway, on to the recap of a 1-0 game that the Pelicans dropped.
Tyler Skulina - He pitched a very solid game, allowing one run on four hits, walking two and striking out six. Skulina's fastball rested in the 89-91 range most the game, and it had some cut to it (horizontal movement). Both from the stretch and the windup he has a very fluid delivery, and uses his height well. A mechanical bug with him is that he would fade off towards first base after every pitch, which led to some inconsistencies in his fastball command. However, he kept the fastball low most the night which generated a lot of weak contact. He struck a few batters out with a curveball in the 78-79 mph range, though he did hang a couple of them up in the middle of the plate. There wasn't very much vertical movement to it either, but there was lots of horizontal and it looks like it has the makings to be an average pitch. I didn't see him throw a change on the night, though, and with a two pitch mix it's going to be very difficult for him to get hitters out during their 2nd and 3rd time through the order. From what I heard before, I was pretty impressed with what I saw out of Skulina, and hope he develops his changeup in the future.
Chesny Young - He went 1-4 at the plate tonight, his hit in his last at-bat breaking an 0-11 slump he was in, which dropped his average with the Pelicans all the way down to .351... At the plate, Young has a good eye and solid approach, fouling off a bunch of tough pitches in his at-bats. His one hit of the day was when he turned on an inside pitch and shot it through the hole in between the 1st and 2nd baseman. He's always been a contact guy, but Young's approach will play in the majors, it's just a matter of whether he can build up enough power. In the field he was a little shaky, but that's because it was his first start in RF and second start in the outfield all together, as the Cubs are trying to increase his versatility.
Jeimer Candelario - He also went 1-4 on the day with one strikeout. From the left side, he has a smooth swing and flew out to the opposite field in his first at bat, recording a 4.22 time to first. His swing from the right seems very similar as well, more geared towards gap power than over the fence. He put together four solid plate appearances, waiting for his pitch and choosing the right moments to be aggressive. At the plate, he really seemed to have turned it around from last year. At third, he made one really nice play as he ranged to his right before firing a quick throw over to first with his plus arm that got the runner. If he can stay at third, Candelario has the approach and power that could come along to play in the majors.
Jacob Rogers - He's a big guy who looked average, maybe slightly below defensively at first base. Not the most athletic guy in the world but he is well-built. At the plate he seemed to be trying to crush every pitch, similar to Baez, and was constantly fooled by pitches, leaving him unbalanced in the batters box. He had solid plate appearances where he saw lots of pitches, but he struck out three times, two of them on the same high fastball out of the zone. His hit and power tools are really going to have carry him through the minors, and he definitely has an uphill trek.
James Pugliese - The reliever pitched for 2 innings, striking out two and allowing two hits and a walk. Although his fastball sat in the low 90's, it did have some tailing movement to it and he induced a lot of weak contact from it. His change is in the low 80's, and was a decent second offering. His fastball command was very impressive, as he hit Carhart's spot a lot. I came away thinking he has a chance to be a reliever in the majors, but needs to refine his changeup in order to be successful.
Nick Pivetta - The Nationals starter, Pivetta sat 92-94 most the night with arm-side movement, even in the top of the zone. He also seemed to be a two pitch pitcher, as he threw a slurve in the high 70's. It had great horizontal movement with not too much dip to it, so he has to decide whether he wants to make it a slider or curve. He struck out four batters, and his slurve seemed to have frisbee movement for most the night. He's a low mileage arm and I think may be able to figure it out. Could be a back-end of the rotation guy with a chance for more.
Tomorrow is still up in the air as we may head to Charlotte, or may stay an extra day at Myrtle Beach, so stay tuned for the possibility of more Cubs content.
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