Vic Black Struggles As Mets Tie Twins
The Mets and Twins tied 3-3 in Grapefruit League, split-squad action. There was no shootout, penalty kick, nor coin flip — just an unromantic kiss between brother and sister.
Dillon Gee wasn’t sharp, but pitched well enough. Nothing to be concerned about, as Gee is just trying to get his pitch count up to be ready for the regular season.
However, Vic Black had trouble finding the strike zone and commanding his fastball — which has been the case for him all spring. He’s supposedly working on a two-seam fastball, so his command issue could be excused, but what concerned me even more was how he reacted to the adversity of struggling to find the strike zone and getting hit hard. Instead of buckling up, hanging tough, and trusting his stuff, his body language clearly changed, showing lack of confidence. The delivery and release point adjustments also were negative, as he seemed to be aiming the fastball and was hanging the slider — making both very hittable. I know everyone was very excited about his first 17 big-league innings, and I acknowledge that Black has an exciting arm, but I’m not convinced he’s ready to handle a late-inning role for a Major League team. In many ways, he reminds me of Bobby Parnell, circa 2009. Parnell was 24 years old in that rookie season, lacking confidence, command, and a secondary pitch. Black seems to exude more confidence — most of the time — than Parnell did, has the secondary pitch, and is age 25. So, it may take a year before Black “gets it.” I think Black needs to be at the MLB level for a full year, though, if he’s going to ever develop into the setup man / closer type that many believe he will be.
Fun to see Dilson Herrera and Dominic Smith in action. Smith dribbled an infield single in his first at-bat, but I was more impressed with the swing and miss he took — his bat really flies through the zone. Not yet 19 years old, strong body, great bat speed — I can understand why people are excited about him.
Jeurys Familia worked the 9th without incident. Mixing his hard low-90s sinker with a sharp slider used as a strike-three pitch — off the outside part of the plate, out of the strike zone — he impresses me as a viable late-inning bullpen option. In fact I have more confidence in Familia than Black at this point in time.
What did you see? Post your observations in the comments.