I know batting practice means virtually nothing, but after watching a BP group featuring Greg Porter, Kelly Hunt and Dustan Mohr hit tape-measure bombs, I was led to believe we might see an impressive offensive showing from the Wingnuts in their exhibition opener against Newman U on Wednesday night.
Now I know that hitters are slow to get their timing going early in the season and that Newman’s pitchers have had basically a whole season to find their own rhythm, but would it have been too much to ask for Wichita to at least collect an extra-base hit against a Division II pitching staff?
Actually, I don’t think a box score was produced last night, so there might have been a double somewhere, from somebody. I just don’t remember one.
A couple things contributed to a less-than-stellar offensive performance for the Wingnuts. First, there was the fact that most of these guys haven’t had an at-bat against live pitching for a few months. They get a 100 percent pass for that. I’m not expecting guys who haven’t hit for a while to light up the field with doubles and bombs.
Second, Newman’s pitchers weren’t exactly electrifying. Some of them had decent arms, but for the most part they were guys whose fastballs didn’t ramp up to the MPH levels professional hitters are used to. I don’t give the Wingnuts as much of a pass for this, because they didn’t adjust too well.
There were some poor approaches last night. Lots of weak infield pop-ups on off-speed pitches the other way and just not a lot of hard-hit balls, period.
I still believe the Wingnuts’ offense will be just fine, though. Better than fine, actually. Brenan Herrera executed a perfect hit-and-run in the first inning and had a single down the line later in the game. Stephen Pearson has shed some weight (though he didn’t really need to) and hit the ball well last night. Josh Horn had a couple sacrifice flies and had a good approach with a runner on third base.
And that trio of Hunt, Porter and Mohr will still be plenty scary. Mohr looks to be in phenomenal shape after some health problems last year, and Porter and Hunt will hit some long, looooong home runs this season. The Wingnuts get a grade of Incomplete for their first game, though. It’s just too early to tell.