I feel the need to say that this is mainly an observational post based on my viewpoint from Spring Training this weekend. You won't find any analysis or groundbreaking opinions, but just my view and opinion of what I saw. Also, a good deal of it is not Braves-related.
The first stop was Fort Myers for the Red Sox vs. Tigers on Friday. I was not impressed with the stadium, and I can see why they are building a new one for next season. For some reason, the game I attended was the largest attendance of spring, and if the crowds are anywhere near as close as the one I went to, it's easy to see why they are wanting something bigger.
Clay Buchholz is always fun to watch. I love his mechanics and style. He struggled with command and left the ball up, but just getting to see his mechanics in person was fun.
Adrian Gonzalez was a statue on balls to his glove side. He botched two easy grounders to that side, yet he was solid down the line. Seems like that has been the trend with him over the years.
Dustin Pedroia and Brennan Boesch hit home runs. Both were hit hard, but Boesch's was a bomb. He has the power when he catches one.
The second game of my first day was Red Sox vs. Rays in Port Charlotte. I was very impressed with the Rays stadium. It's clean, simple and modern, like a really nice minor league field. My lack of experience in Spring Training facilities has me spoiled by Disney, but I know a good stadium when I see it, and Port Charlotte is a nice one.
Sat pretty close to Carl Crawford and saw a nice diving catch. Otherwise, not much to report from the game. I was more impressed with the field than any player.
Saturday was Red Sox minor league camp day as I did some work for a publication. I interviewed 2009 eighth round pick Shannon Wilkerson for a story I'm doing, which I will link to on here when it's published. For those interested, Wilkerson is a smart player in the field, at one point giving a teammate advice on defensive positioning with two outs, and he displays good defense. The bat may be hit or miss; he has good mechanics in the box but he hasn't really had a chance to show what he can do over a full season when healthy. He did drill a home run in the first inning.
Anthony Ranaudo started the game I watched, and I was impressed by his mechanics. He fell to the side a couple times but remained smooth through the delivery. He didn't show overly dominating stuff but it was solid.
Kolbrin Vitek received a couple plate appearances, but I didn't see much to say he's a big prospect. No one outstanding tool, but he should move up as a well-rounded player.
Sunday was Braves day. Unfortunately, the alarm on the phone decided to play a trick on me and not go off, so I completely missed minor league camp. Yay for me. I made it for the big league game and, as always, enjoyed every minute of being at the complex.
Wilkin Ramirez is fast but takes questionable routes in the outfield. I'm not sure I would have confidence in throwing him in center field. I know speed has little to do with defensive ability, but Ed Lucas is as slow as Christmas on the basepaths. He may have decent stolen base numbers, but I feel it has probably more to do with being a smart baserunner. I'm not impressed with his range, but he's smart in the field.
Not much else to report on the game. Just one of those games where nothing eye-catching happened. Dan Uggla is a tree trunk, if you didn't already know.