It's that time of year again, where the players start to slowly shuffle in for the beginning of spring training and where all the offseason workouts start to show fruition. Even though I didn't arrive to the backfields til 9:30 am, the action was just getting started with my main concentration on the hitters. As I pulled up, Byung Ho Park was walking back from Hammond Stadium to the backfields, unlike last weekend he had his Korean translator with him. Despite the language gap, Park speaks enough English to get by with small talk himself and even with Venezuelan Arcia. Byung Ho said his wrist felt better from last week where he irritated it from swinging the bat and he said NO bat flips of any kind this year. After Park came over to the backfields, he joined the group of infielders who were covering first base from throws from the mound.
While this was going on, the adjacent field had the outfielders undergoing fielding drills with the likes of Adam Brett Walker in LF, Joe Benson and Lamonte Wade in CF, and Travis Harrison and Oswaldo Arcia in RF. The drills seemed more centered around first step and catching on the run. After the defensive drills, the hitters took their turn in the cage with the first group of Oswaldo Arcia, Byung Ho Park and Travis Harrison; the second group of Adam Brett Walker, Lamonte Wade, and Joe Benson; the third group Trey Cabbage and Buck Britton (3B w/ Dodgers MiLB in 2015).https://youtu.be/Kuq_T05Y26U
In BP, Arcia showed off his light tower power especially to the pull side. He hit one that went over the two protective fences the Twins and bounced into the road and landed in the High School (South Fort Myers) where Twins uberprospect Max Kepler attended once moving to the states at 16yo. Oswaldo looked loose in the cage and was obviously having fun. After his BP session, Ozzy went to RF to shag flyballs and was treating BP as game situation: running down balls, taking routes, proper catching technique, etcetra. Ozzy was extremely talkative and gracious to the 20-30 fans in attendance, I caught up with Arcia later and talked about how he's more prepared then he has been for any season. He's put in a ton of work this offseason not only conditioning but also working on his outfield play and it showed. Arcia stated that he WANTS to play RF this year and is going to try and force the Twin s hand come Opening Day roster. Which is different then another Twins' prospect who has been MIA for nearly two weeks which isn't really convenient when he's trying to learn a brand new position.https://youtu.be/YnSJDycCnfw
After Arcia's turn, it was the newly acquired Korean slugger Byung Ho Park, who did not disappoint either. Park parked only one over the fence but he's got a nice fluid stroke but after watching the video one can see his mechanics that leads to extrabase hits yet also strikeouts. It's easy to envision 25-30 homeruns with ease.https://youtu.be/ExNQRCYMv4k
If you have never seen Adam Brett Walker take batting practice then you are missing a show! Walker pounds the ball, hard, very hard. The sound the ball makes off his bat when he hits one square is one of beauty. When Walker is able to extend his arms, he's able to punish balls to all fields. Adam Brett hit the furtherest homer of the day a pulled ball down the left alley way which landed ~420 ft. You can hear Coach Tommy Watkins screaming like a hyena at one point because AB just destroyed the pitch.https://youtu.be/VEfuGYGMKpA
The last player to hit was 2015 4th Rounder Trey Cabbage, who looks like he's added 10-15 pounds of muscle over the offseason and it looks to pay dividends. The left handed hitting Cabbage has a beautiful stroke to go with his strong work ethic and athleticism. He'll be interesting to watch this year in his first full professional season; his placement in the organizational ladder should also be of note. As the Twins also drafted a 3B in Travis Blankenhorn who made it to Short A E-town last yearhttps://youtu.be/vRtwroyg-_E.
I'll be back next Friday when even more of the players will be in town. You can follow me on twitter @tturbo420, flickr, and YouTube