Category Archives: Portland Sea Dogs

Field of Dreams 2019

Dylan Hardy and Brett Netzer

Out of the corn they came

Brock Lundquist had a homer and a triple

(Portland ME) The Portland Sea Dogs emerged in costume out of the cornfield set up in centerfield at Hadlock Field.

The 15th sellout crowd of the season then witnessed the Portland version of a segment of the baseball classic, “Field of Dreams.”

The reenactment was well done on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Radio announcer Mike Antonellis narrated the show dressed in appropriate attire.

I always like the show, but to me the best part is after the Portland Eskimos reach the infield.  They then go up into the crowd and thank folks for their support.  That’ll win you a lot of repeat customers!

There was also a baseball game played afterwards and it did not go well for the Sea Dogs.  The visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats won easily, 7-1.  NH starter Yennsy Diaz held the home hitless into the seventh inning. The Dogs would only get one hit (Brett Netzer).

Josh Palacios had a homer for New Hampshire

Josh Palacios and Brock Lundquist homered for the team from Manchester (NH).

The teams will meet against tomorrow (Labor Day) to conclude their seasons.

I went to the game hoping to catch another look at Portland pitcher Daniel McGrath.  He was scheduled to start but got the call (yesterday?) to move up to Pawtucket to fill in there.  Daniel should start 2020 in Pawtucket with a chance to move to Fenway.  He’s that good, in my opinion.

This game was short on action because of the barrage of strikeouts.  Ten Sea Dogs K’d, and sixteen Fisher Cats were retired without contact.  For a team scoring seven runs (NH) it was hard to imagine how they could do it with that many strikeouts.  Josh Palacios was the only Fisher Cat who didn’t strike out.

Josh’s solo homer was pulled down the right field line.  Portland pitcher Matthew Gorst applied some body English to keep it foul, but it didn’t work.  I overheard Josh in the dugout say that “it started out foul and then came back fair.”

I continue to wish that minor league teams would wear uniforms with numbers on the front.  I am trying to set myself up with an excuse if I misidentify the pictures I took today.

Bag missed

Slugger did himself no favors in his baserunning competition with a youngster when he tried to compete out of uniform.  He was all gussied up with a top hat.  He didn’t even get into his starting stance, so I knew he was done for.  The most troubling part of today’s loss was that the opponent was in enemy (Fisher Cats) garb and never came close to touching third.  Slugger didn’t catch the baserunning shortcut and took yet another defeat in his usual classy way.  Maybe a video review will give the big guy today’s win?

Chris Cameron

Thanks (again) to Chris Cameron for enabling me to be in the best photography locations for yet another season.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.  Please let me know (85peterjulie17@gmail.com) if I have inaccurately identified players, so that I can make the needed changes.)

Yennsy Diaz pitched superbly for New Hampshire

Nick Lovullo

Portland’s Marcus Wilson takes a lead

Shortstop Kevin Smith

Jarren Duran eyes a pitch

Fisher Cats dugout

Cullen Large 3B

Cullen Large with Coach Donnie Murphy

Bag stolen and a bubble blown

Adam Lau

Brock Lundquist

Dustin Feltman signed autographs before the game

Marcus Wilson

Nash Knight

Vinny Capra

 

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Plenty of excitement as well as baseball at Hadlock as Reading wins 8-7 over Portland

The Philadelphia Phillies top prospect (Alec Bohm) played for the AA Reading Fighin Phils in Portland tonight.

(Portland ME) Ever watch a group of young kids attempt to play musical chairs with no idea what the object of the game is?

Musical chairs winner exits the winning seat

That, and plenty more, was part of the fun at Hadlock Field tonight.

Reading shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa strikes a pre-game post

And there was a ballgame too!

The Reading Fightin Phils won 8-7 in ten innings.

There were lengthy line hours before the gates opened thanks to a promotion that gifted the first one thousand customers with an Andrew Benintendi bobble head.

And to add to the excitement, the ten millionth fan also was noted on this night and that brought out the local TV networks.

I drove through thunder and lightning to get to the game. My intention was to check out the Phillies top prospect (Alec Bohm) and the other prospects of the National League team.

Alec is a tall (6-5) third baseman with a home run swing.  That swing produced a 4-base blast (his 13th) to centerfield off Konner Wade.

Alec was picked first by the Phillies (3rd overall) in 2018, out of Wichita State.  He is 23 and on the fast track to the big team.

Mickey Moniak

Mickey Moniak was a first-round pick in 2016 out of high school.  Only 21, the young outfielder is leading the Eastern League in triples.  He notched his 13th tonight.  Very aggressive at the plate.

Jarren Duran is the top Boston prospect still with Portland.  Bobby Dalbec and CJ Chatham have moved on to Pawtucket.  Jarren has the speed to turn a routine grounder to short into a close play.  I suspect that Jarren starts at Portland in 2020 but will reach Pawtucket during the season.

Outfielder Marcus Wilson is the other ranked prospect with Portland.  He had a homer tonight to send the game into extra innings.

Slugger comes close tonight

Slugger ran a solid race tonight.  He didn’t trip.  He didn’t engage someone/anyone in conversation and get side-tracked. On this night the competition was serious (the kid had a great shirt) but the big guy hung in there.  If the young man had faltered, Slugger was close enough near home plate to get there first…….but the kid didn’t falter and the losing streak continues.

Musical chairs, on this night, was the highlight of the between-innings activities in my opinion.  The young ladies involved were excited.  I’m guessing 5-year-olds.  It was quickly obvious that none of them had ever played musical chairs.  They saw chairs and they jumped on them!  Of course, you jump on an inflatable and it’s likely to fall over…and they did.  The music played and the girls were already all over the chairs.  Next they learned that they had to wait until the music stopped before taking a seat.  One girl waited beside an empty seat instead of getting into it.  That didn’t go so well for her. It was also interesting to watch the girls enlarge the circle by running around the Hadlock staff members as well as the chairs.  A winner was finally determined but because of the size discrepancy between the chair and the participant nearly vanished from sight.  The crowd loved it.

Happy musical chairs participants

Hadlock continues to be friendly for all ages and all levels of baseball IQ.  I highly recommend a visit there before the season ends in very early September.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for enabling me to witness the activities at Hadlock.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alec Bohm after striking out to end an inning

Alec Bohm congratulated after homer

Alec Bohm leads off first as Konner Wade pitches

Alec Bohm on first with 1B Joey Curletta

Alec Bohm takes a cut

Austin Rei

Brett Netzer

Charlie Madden

Cornelius Randolph

Daniel McGrath

David Parkinson

Grant Dyer, Jakob Hernandez, and Jeff Singer

Jarren Duran bats

Jarren Duran hustles to first

Jarren Duran

Jeremy Rivera

Jhon Nunez

1B Joey Curletta

Luke Williams

Marcus Wilson homered in the 9th

Mauricio Llovera

3B Mike Osinski

Nick Maton

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Filed under Portland, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading, Reading Fightin Phils

Daniel McGrath: How good is this bloke?

Daniel McGrath has been exceptional for Portland lately

One run in the last 59 innings

(Portland ME) The question needs to be asked after the Australian continued on a roll that has had him allow only ONE run in his last fifty-nine innings of pitching for the Portland Sea Dogs.

Daniel was connected to the Doncaster Dragon in Melbourne (Australia) seven years ago as a 17-year-old.  His pitching promise, while with the Dragons, attracted the interest of fifteen major league teams.  The Red Sox signed him for $400,000.

Since then?  He’s had his moments but has hardly turned a whole lot of heads……….until recently.

Daniel was the Player-of-the-Month in the Eastern League for July.

After tonight’s 1-0 win over the Erie SeaWolves, his ERA is a remarkable 1.34.  Daniel toiled seven innings versus Erie and allowed only three hits.  He’s struck out a season-high nine SeaWolves.

Daniel Pinero caught off base in the second inning

Erie had a great chance in the second to put a dent into Daniel’s ERA.  The visitors had runners on first and third with no outs.  But the lefty can not only pitch, he also has a nifty pickoff move.  Daniel Pinero was victimized straying from first and then the next two batters were retired with no runs scoring.

I’ll admit that I didn’t go to Hadlock Field last night to see Daniel McGrath.

It was Casey Mize I wanted to get a look at.  Casey is the Eastern League’s top prospect.  He was the first pick in the major league draft in 2018.  He dazzled at Auburn University averaging nearly thirteen strikeouts per game.

He was promoted to Erie this season after a few starts in the lower minors.  Result?  No-Hitter against Altoona in his first EL start!

Casey Mize gave up only five hits in six innings

Casey scuffled in his last start (Binghamton) allowing seven hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings. He was much better tonight at Portland.

The native of Alabama allowed only five hits in six innings.  Now 6-2, he is very good but on this night, it was Daniel McGrath that had the buzz-worthy performance.

To watch Daniel pitch as masterfully as he did, couldn’t have come at a better time for Red Sox fans.  The last week has been a pitching nightmare for the Boston team.  Those expensive arms on the Big Club have been a tough watch night after night.

Daniel pitched once at Pawtucket (AAA) this season.  He certainly has earned some more time there.  I hope it happens.

Nice crowd with nice weather.

Casey Mize was the first pick in the 2018 major league draft

I have always had the sense that most attendees to minor league games know little about the players.  Tonight was a bit different.  As I waited to get pictures of Casey Mize warming up, there was a good collection of fans nearby doing the same thing.  They had heard about Casey Mize.

Casey, by the way, will reach the majors by this time next year.  He’s just too good to hold back.  Plus they invested $7,500,000 on him when they signed him.

Slugger was in camouflage gear carrying a branch.  It is fair to say that the Big Guy can not be carrying things and expect to compete.  The competition tonight was short in size as well as short in experience.  The young opponent had to be guided onto the field, around the bases, and off the field………..and still he wasted Slugger.  Embarrassing.

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging the pleasant visit for me.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brett Netzer – had the Sea Dogs RBI

Casey Mize

Casey Mize

CJ Chatham

CJ Chatham – leads EL in hitting

Daniel McGrath between innings

Derek Hill – 28th on Tigers prospect list

Luke Tendler (10) slides back into 3rd

Marcus Wilson – 18th on Red Sox prospect list

Matthew Gorst was signing before the game

Slugger’s opponent

Isaac Paredes 5th best prospect in the Detroit farm system

Jhon Nunez (catcher)

Joey Curletta

Josh Lester at 3B

Diving back to first

 

 

 

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Filed under Erie Seawolves, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Hartford edges Portland 3-2 despite strong pitching by Bryan Mata

Bryan Mata continues to pitch well at Portland

Luis Castro slides home as catcher Jhan Nunez waits for throw

(Portland ME) Another beautiful day of baseball at Hadlock.

The Sea Dogs didn’t win (They lost 3-2 to Hartford) but the setting was great with a throng of brightly-dressed campers filling the seats.

The noon start gave summer camps from all over Maine (I saw a bus from Bangor) the time-frame needed to see an entertaining baseball game in an equally entertaining setting.

The weather was spot on with a ton of sun.  I was near the Hartford dugout as one of the umpires came there early asking for sunscreen.

Portland has some attractive prospects (Bobby Dalbec, CJ Chatham, Bryan Mata, and Jarren Duran) and all were on the field today.

I am usually located at either the end of the Portland dugout or the visitor’s dugout. I consider myself an open target for a line drive, or a hot grounder, but if you want to get a good action shot, or an individual player shot, it’s where you must be.  I did have a Binghamton Met’s reserve tell me he’d protect me!

Bobby Dalbec

The current player at-the-bat who scares me plenty is righty Bobby Dalbec.  This kid is big and swings with authority.  He leads the Eastern League in home runs and hits long shots to all fields.  I always hope/pray, when he’s at bat, that the pitcher doesn’t throw a changeup for him to turn on.  I had the same feeling last season when hard-swinging Bo Bichette batted for the NH Fisher Cats.

It’s not news but I am quite certain that Bobby will be moved to Pawtucket in August.  He has power but he also leads the EL in walks.  He was the DH this afternoon but in previous visits I have seen him play a solid third base.

Bryan Mata continues to pitch well with little to show for it.  Today it was six innings and one earned run……….and the loss.  He pitches in the mid-90s and is only 20 years old.  You would think that with the current state of the Boston pitching staff, Bryan would be attracting plenty of interest from the Red Sox higher ups.

Jarren Duran takes a lead

It was nice to see the stands packed with kids.  Some of the camps were organized enough to chant and cheer.

CJ Chatham was at short in this game.  There have been reports that he would spend more time at second so that the way to the higher levels would be less difficult.  Xander, current Red Sox shortstop, isn’t going anywhere, any time soon!  CJ now leads the Eastern League in batting.  Maybe CJ will get to Pawtucket before the season ends too.

Outfielders Jarren Duran and Marcus Wilson have plenty of speed.  Today was my first look at Marcus.  Both are twenty-two and should be with Portland into next season.  They also could be trade bait in the coming days to fetch some relief help for the big team.

I also did my homework on the Sea Dogs’ opponent and their prospects.  Hartford is in the Colorado Rockies system.  I suspect that distance has a lot to do with the fact that only three of their top thirty prospects are in Connecticut.

Tyler Nevin is their 5th best prospect.  He was the Rockies first-round pick in 2015.  The 22-year-old was in left today, although he does play first and third.  Yes, he is Phil’s son.  If you’re old enough to remember Phil, you’ll notice the facial resemblance. Phil, by the way, is now the third-base coach with the Yankees.

Colton Welker

I thought that I might see outfielder Colton Welker. He was in the dugout but on the 7-day DL.

They did have the usual race between a youngster and the Sea Dog mascot.  Only problem was that Slugger wasn’t that mascot. First time I’ve seen that happen in all the years I’ve been coming to Hadlock.  Slugger has never won this race and I can assure you that his replacement today, some sort of fish, was no better.  He indeed was a fish out of water, and he was out of water as he reversed his way over first base.  He was no competition for the speedy kid.  I’d like to know what happened to Slugger.  Maybe he needs some fresh legs.

I certainly appreciate the opportunity to be in the good spots at Hadlock to see the action.  Much thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging my visits.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tyler Nevin takes a practice swing

Tyler Nevin in left

Tyler Nevin

Play at second

Play at second base….CJ Chatham slides

Pickoff attempt

Hartford starter, and winning pitcher, Matt Dennis

Marcus Wilson

Manny Melendez leads off first base

Manny Melendez

Kid rounds third base

Manager Joe Oliver had a birthday today

Fish sets to swim

CJ Chatham

Catching lobsters

Carlos Herrera (shortstop)

Carlos Herrera (shortstop) starts a double play

Bryan Mata sets to throw to first

Catcher Brian Serven was impressive

Brett Netzer tags out Manny Melendez

Bobby Dalbec reports for work

Bobby Dalbec in the Portland dugout……..but for how long?

Arvincent Perez practice swinging

Alexander Guillen

 

 

 

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Filed under Hartford Yard Goats, Portland Sea Dogs

Barrett Barnes homer and Tommy Wilson pitching get Binghamton past Portland 3-1

Brett Netzer slides as Jason Krizan takes throw

Barrett Barnes had the big hit for Binghamton (2-run homer)

(Portland ME) Barrett Barnes took Bryan Mata deep (2-run homer) in the first inning and those runs held up as Binghamton defeated Portland, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs have Eastern League leaders in hitting (CJ Chatham) and homers (Bobby Dalbec) but it didn’t matter as the Rumble Ponies still won four-of-five from Portland.

Plenty of entertainment at Hadlock today with princesses and pirates getting special attention.

I like to try to get pictures of Red Sox players who are likely to move on to Pawtucket before the season is over.  CJ and Bobby are in that category.

CJ Chatham at shortstop this afternoon

When they started using CJ at second recently, instead of short, I suspected that Pawtucket/Boston could be in his future this season.

Both Bobby and CJ were drafted in 2016 by Boston.

I got my first look at Boston’s #22 prospect, Jarren Duran.  Noted for his speed, I hoped he would try to steal. Didn’t happen.

Binghamton has ten of the New York Mets top thirty prospects on their roster.  That is a lot!

#1 prospect Andres Gimenez (shortstop) was not in the lineup but was in the dugout. That was all I needed.

Plenty of sunshine with a brief interlude of rain late in the game.

Slugger continued his losing streak.  He got himself matched up with a young, gifted speedster and was in trouble from the get-go.  Slugger does not have a manager to tell him that wearing a sword while running has danger written all over it.  He tried it anyhow and was lucky that he didn’t impale himself.

Slugger decides to run in costume wearing a sword

Winner eyes the competition as he heads for third.

Winner floats into third base

Winner hits the plate

Tommy Wilson notched first Double A win today

Very impressed with Binghamton starter Tommy Wilson.  He held the Sea Dogs to just two hits during his six innings of pitching and ended up with his first Double A victory.

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Relaxing in the dugout

Brett Netzer

Andres Gimenez

Jarren Duran bats

Andres Gimenez and Luis Carpio

Baserunner Brett Netzer

Umpire Taka Matsuda and Portland manager Joe Oliver appear to be singing a duet

CJ Chatham in the air as Sam Haggerty slides in

Jarren Duran leaves Sea Dogs dugout

Brett Netzer checks positioning notes

Bryan Mata started for Portland

CJ Chatham leaves the Portland dugout

Konner Wade signs

Bobby Dalbec at 3B

CJ Chatham and Brett Netzer tangle at second base

David Thompson

Miss Maine was in the house

Bobby Dalbec leaves the dugout

Andres Gimenez looks out from the Binghamton dugout

CJ Chatham heads in from the clubhouse

Quinn Brodey bats

 

 

 

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Filed under Binghamton Mets, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Pitching and power earns Portland its first Eastern League win

Darwinzon Hernandez struck out ten Reading batters in only five innings.

Bobby Dalbec and Jantzen Witte supplied the power for the Sea Dogs

Shortstop CJ Chatham

(Portland ME) The Portland Sea Dogs broke into the win column this afternoon defeating the Reading Fightin Phils, 6-0.

Winning pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez (1-0) struck out the side in the first inning and had ten K’s before he was finished after five innings.

Bobby Dalbec and Jantzen Witte were the hitting stars for Portland with nearly duplicate stats: three hits including a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored.

Reading (3-1) featured three former first-round picks: Cornelius Randolph (2015), Mickey Moniak (2016), and Adam Haseley (2017).

Mickey and Adam were in action today.  Both struggled to make contact…….Mickey (4 K’s), Adam (3 K’s).

Mickey Moniak

The weather was extremely cooperative for early April in Maine; temperatures in the high 50’s with no wind.

Chris Cameron told me pre-game that tomorrow (Monday) 1”-2” of snow is expected.  Now that’s more like it!

Portland (1-3) is a quick drive for me from Amesbury (MA) and I enjoy getting looks at the future stars of the Red Sox.  You can never be certain of who those stars will be.  I have pictures of Jackie Bradley and Travis Shaw when they were in Portland, but they weren’t highly touted in Double A.

Bobby Dalbec is, however, highly regarded by the Red Sox and I saw him reach Portland at the end of last season.  How long the power hitter will last at Portland is part of why I took an early run to Hadlock Field to see him while I could.

In today’s game Bobby ripped a homer over the left-field fence.

Playing third probably won’t get Bobby to the majors with Rafael Devers locked in there.  I’m thinking that first base would be a better spot for him.

Bobby Dalbec crosses home

Darwinzon Hernandez was signed by Boston in 2013 when he was 16-years-old.  From Venezuela, the left missed plenty of bats in his overpowering, 2-hit, afternoon.

Darwinzon could well be the first one off the Portland roster and onto the Pawtucket roster.

Newcomer CJ Chatham was the Sea Dogs shortstop.  He and Bobby Dalbec were both chosen by Boston in 2016.

I was definitely interested in getting pictures of the Phillies first-round picks.  Outfielder Mickey Moniak was actually the first pick in the entire draft in 2016.  He’s only twenty so there is plenty of time for him to move up in the Philadelphia system.

I love the atmosphere at Hadlock.  I think it’s because so many families show up.  You see kids with gloves, excited to be where “real” baseball is going on.

And there’s also family-friendly entertainment between every inning.  The between-inning contests often involve youngsters and are skillfully handled by the Sea Dogs staff.

A key piece of entertainment for me will always be Slugger’s race around the bases against a young fan.  I may be the only one that still believes that the big guy will win.

Today’s race was yet another disappointing one.  I had seen the promos of Slugger in the off-season.  I saw him doing back flips and splits and assumed that he was ready to get a win.

Today I thought that Slugger was way too kind to his young opponent. How so?  The youngster thought that the race ended at first base.  Instead of taking advantage, the big guy waited, giving the kid a chance to get guidance.  Then when they met at second, Slugger pointed to where the kid should run next!  All this helping turned today’s race into a last-base event and Slugger looked as if he was in great position to end the losing streak.  But then his lack of practice running did him in.  Slugger rounded first, heading home, and suddenly lurched into a bent-over stop. I thought he might lose his lunch.  While Slugger’s digestive disaster happened, his opponent leaped onto home place, the winner.

My assumption that Slugger was in running shape was obviously misguided.  It’s a long season and maybe he’ll get his second wind or at least lighten up on the pre-race food intake.

Adam Haseley

It must have happened on the recommendation of a photographer: both teams had numbers on the front of their uniforms as well as the backs.  Everyday photographers know the players by their faces.  The rest of us don’t.

I spoke with two people I follow on Twitter; Kevin Thomas (Portland Press Herald) and Kelley O’Connor (minor-league photographer).

I highly recommend a visit to Hadlock.  Affordable with an early viewing of some possible future major leaguers.

Two close plays at second:

Luke Tendler tagged by Jose Antequera

Tate Matheny tagged by Luke Williams

Thanks, as always, to Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Bobby Dalbec

Chris Cameron

CJ Chatham

Joseph Monge and coach Angel Sanchez

Sea Dogs dugout

Tate Matheny caught in a rundown

Brett Netzer and CJ Chatham

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Fightin Phils

Eduardo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez rehab in Portland

Eduardo Rodrriguez

Christian Vazquez

(Portland ME) The stars were out Monday night at Hadlock Field.

How often do you see a major leaguer at an Eastern League (AA) game?

Not often.  Well, on this night the Red Sox had TWO players rehabbing there……..catcher Christian Vazquez and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

I was familiar close-up with both Boston players.  I had seen Christian a few years ago working his way up via Portland.  Eduardo had done a rehab at Portland earlier this season and I was on hand.

Bo Bichette looks back after striking out against ERod

You not only had the major leaguers, but you also had the first-place New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the house.  I had already been to Manchester (NH) a couple of times this season to see that talented team.

There was a very large Monday night crowd in the park.  You knew why the “extra’s” had come when loud ovations greeted announcements regarding Christian and Eduardo.  The normal reaction to players?  None.

The setting was coolish at 7PM after a hot day.

There were celebrations pregame for women in sports.  One of those honored was Kate Hall of Casco (ME).  There was a story about her in the Bridgton News several weeks ago.  She is a national track star hoping to make it to the next Olympics.  I heard the name, connected the dots and got a picture of her….I hope!.

Bobby Dalbec

The Fisher Cats have clinched the playoffs while the Sea Dogs have clinched the basement.  On this night it was as if the roles were reversed as Portland hit early and often on their way to a 12-6 win.

Christian drove in three runs while Eduardo pitched four scoreless innings.  Eduardo had hoped to go six innings but too many long counts prevented it.  (He said as much afterwards, according to the newspaper coverage.)  I probably could have been in that news conference if I had chased it.

Extra cameramen were at the park.  I knew that with lessening light I would forfeit action shots.  My goal was close-up shots and dugout shots.

I shifted to the New Hampshire side after several innings and found a good spot although I was sitting instead of standing.  A ground ball did come my way and was close.  You roll the dice when you put yourself (intentionally) in the line of fire.

I got more pictures of Bo Bichette.  Last year he excelled in A ball (top hitter in the minors) and this year, as a 20-year-old, has continued to star.  The New Hampshire shortstop leads the EL in hits, doubles, and several other categories.  He starts for Toronto next year or the year after, in my opinion.

Cavan Biggio

Harold Ramirez

Two other top talents at NH are Harold Ramirez (top EL batting average) and Cavan Biggio ( EL home run leader).  It interested me that Cavan (normally a 2nd baseman) was in right field for this one.

I also took more pictures of Bobby Dalbec.  He is one of Boston’s top prospects.  He has been at three levels this season and is tied for the lead in the minors in homers.

There always will be a Slugger section in my coverage of Sea Dogs’ games.  The big guy was out of uniform.  I can’t describe what he was wearing and why but at one point he was dancing with an umpire!  Needless to imagine, Slugger was outrun by yet another youngster.  Slugger got into a great starting stance, but it didn’t help.  His opponent was fast and knew what he was doing.  By the time second was crossed, Slugger was destined for second and that was where he finished.

Slugger in a solid starting stance

Another day for me at a great park.  Portland’s home season ends Thursday.  Where did the spring/summer go?

New Hampshire has qualified for the EL playoffs.  I might venture to New Hampshire for one of those games.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for letting me into Hadlock and onto the field.  I greatly enjoy my time there.

(All of the pictures above and below should enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Prospects Bobby Dalbec and Bo Bichette

Bo Bichette near second

Bo Bichette rounds third

Bo Bichette finishing DP

Christian and Eduardo arrive pre-game

Slugger comes in second

Christian scores

Christian eyes bat

Danny Mars

Eduardo sets to pitch

Pitcher Jon Harris

Kate Hall

Play at second

 

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Bobby Dalbec: A big hit in Portland

Bobby Dalbec poses in front of the Portland Sea Dogs dugout

Bobby Dalbec ready to hit.

(Portland ME) Sometimes batters get your attention in batting practice.

Bobby Dalbec of the Portland Sea Dogs is one of those players.

Thirteen games into the 23-year-olds promotion to Double A, he bears watching even before the game.

I took in the pregame yesterday at Hadlock Stadium and saw him drill BP pitches all over the place.

During BP the Altoona Curve was warming up in the left-field corner awaiting their turn to take over the field.  I’d hear the whack of bat meeting ball and watch players at least 300 feet away take a quick look to see if the ball was coming their way.  And several times it did.

I watched one of the Sea Dogs coaches, standing near second base, hear a ball go whizzing by his head and not have time to react.

The young man has power.  Between Salem (VA) in the Carolina League and his brief time in Portland, Bobby is tied for the top spot in the minors with 31 home runs.

“I know about where I am with home runs but I’m not going to chase them,” Bobby told me in a post-BP interview.  “I want to hit the ball hard.”

Portland broadcaster Mike Antonellis

Sea Dogs announcer Mike Antonellis added that, “Bobby isn’t trying to hit the ball out like some players do.  He’s not upper cutting but he generates so much power that they do go out.”

Mike, who reached 3000 games broadcasted recently, has seen all thirteen of Bobby’s Portland games and recalled two memorable homers already. “The most impressive one I’ve seen here (Hadlock Stadium) was one that cleared the Thomas College sign in center.  That sign is 24’ high.  Our trackman service estimated that the ball traveled 451 feet!  On the road he had one in Erie to left center that landed on the roof of their arena.  Some of the Erie people told me that they thought it was one of the longest ones they had ever seen there.”

Bobby relaxes in the dugout pregame with a teammate

Bobbly was one of the Portland players without a number on his practice jersey.  “That gives you away as the new guy,” I kidded him.

“I may be new here, but I know most of these guys from the lower minors,” he said, “it has been an easy transition for me to be in Portland.”

Bobby told him that his parents were in Portland for the weekend to see him play here for the first time.  They had taken two trips to Salem to catch him in the Carolina League.

Bobby is a third baseman but so is Boston’s #1 prospect Michael Chavis.  In tonight’s game Michael was at 3B and Bobby was DH.

“Bobby is 6’4” so he’s easy to see at 3B,” said Mike.  “He’s a former pitcher (Arizona) and has a terrific arm.”

There is so much data available on players that with his reputation he faced shifts even in A ball.  “I was aware of the shifts, but I just refused to change my approach at the plate to try and defeat it,” said Bobby.

Bobby Dalbec in the dugout with pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz

Mike explained that Double A can be tough for newcomers.  “The good one’s face shifts and they see more secondary pitches thrown by better guys.”

Mike told me that he was surprised that the righthanded-hitting Bobby was seeing a lot more fastballs early in counts since teams were shifting a bit toward the left side.

There are some comparisons between Bobby and JD Martinez. “Both players seem to have a similar plan at the plate,” said Mike, “and that is to hit the ball hard.  Both insist that they’re not intentionally going for homers”

Regarding his future Bobby said: “I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and see where it takes me.”  So far it has taken him this season from Boston’s #12 prospect to #6.

Bobby Dalbec

Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers may be younger (21) and entrenched a bit in Boston but Bobby’s power numbers and ability to play the position could move him up to Fenway sooner or later.

“I think he’s special,” added Mike. “There may be some adjustment periods, so we’ll have to see.”

One is left to wonder how the last-place Portland Sea Dogs (52-69) would have done in 2018 with Josh Ockimey, Michael Chavis, and Bobby Dalbec in action from the beginning of the season.

Mike Antonellis has been involved in broadcasting for twenty-two years.  “I started out doing sports updates at Dean Junior College,” he told me.  “I felt comfortable at it right away.  I have been with Portland since 2005 and have done 2000 games with them.”

My thanks to Mike for arranging my interview with Bobby Dalbec and adding to the information I had on the talented young man.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Feeling at home in Portland

Bobby was the DH against Altoona

Heading out to bat

With Coach Luke Montz

On the move on the bases against Altoona

Set to bat

 

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Josh Ockimey promoted after Portland sweep

Josh Ockimey runs to cover first.

Josh Ockimey was promoted to AAA Pawtucket today

(Portland MA) I didn’t plan for it, but I was at Hadlock Field and witnessed Portland’s Josh Ockimey’s last game with the Sea Dogs.

Josh was promoted to AAA Pawtucket after Portland took two from the Erie SeaWolves on this hot Thursday afternoon.

The power-hitting 1B finished his time in Maine with a homer, double and three RBI.

Erie is the Double A farm team of Detroit.  Six of their top eighteen prospects are at Erie.  I missed seeing the top two (Alex Faedo #4) and Beau Burrows (#5) because they’re starters.  Beau pitched the second game today but by then I was on my porch about an hour away.

Campers in the crowd

It was hot.  Today was campers’ day and many camps were represented, each with their own brightly colored shirts.  I wondered how many bad sunburns happened after hours in the rays. The concessions stands were very busy.

The four Tigers prospects that I did see came to them when they traded Justin Verlander to Houston, JD Martinez to Arizona, and Alex Avila to the Cubs.

Both 3B Isaac Paredes (#11) and 2B Sergio Alcantara (#18) made errors in Game One today.

I also saw CF Daz Cameron (#8) get picked off first.  Catcher Jake Rogers (#10) had several balls go through him.

Trouble at 3B for Isaac Paredea

Frankly, there wasn’t much to pin your hopes on if you were a Detroit fan wondering about the team’s future.

It was the last-place Portland team that had the excellent pitching (Matt Kent) and hitting on this warm afternoon in the 9-1 first-game win.

I started the game shooting from the Erie dugout.  I was hoping to eventually switch to the Portland side, but one of their players (How dare he!) was in a chair that he had set up in the photographer’s area.  I considered shooting from the stands, but it was way too hot.

I switched to a small lens to get some Erie dugout shots and Josh Ockimey chose that time to hit his home run.  Tough later editing action shots with tiny players in them!

Will Castro and Sergio Alcantara

One shot that I have gotten the last two times I’ve been at Hadlock is of the Portland player signing in the Concourse.  Give me someone stationary and cooperative and I can usually get a good picture of them.  It was relief pitcher Jordan Weems this time.

I did make connections with broadcaster Mike Antonellis before the game.  He is in charge of setting up interviews.  I would like to do an interview with a Sea Dogs player before the season ends in a month.  I would probably have to be at Hadlock three hours early.  We’ll see.

I came to Hadlock on Brighton and St. John’s.  Couldn’t resist the GPS way (via Deering) on the way back.  Bad idea!  Too many lights and traffic.  I’m thinking that I could use River Road to get straight onto Brighton.

I violated my nutritarian diet with the meal provided but not by much.  The turkey wrap was tasty.

The Sea Dogs blasted four homers in the first game.  Josh Ockimey, Michael Chavis, Chad De La Guerra, and Luke Tendler all went deep.

Isaac Paredes after a tough inning in the field

Two Erie dugout scenes of note.  In one, the manager (?) had a player translate what he wanted to say to another player.  Knowing Spanish would be absolute gold for anyone connected to teams at any level.  I have heard Spanish in every A ball and AA ball dugout that I’ve been in.  The other dugout scene involved 3B Isaac Paredes.  The 19-year-old had two errors in the first three innings!  He had his head down in the dugout afterwards for the entire half inning.  No one on staff to talk to him?

Boston’s #1 prospect Michael Chavis had his first multi-hit game since he finished his 80-game suspension.  His batting average is close to .200 and I can assure you that he doesn’t get cheated on his swings.  Bo Bichette (New Hampshire Fisher Cats) has the same approach to batting.

I wonder if Michael will be part of the next group that moves up?  Homer-hitting Bobby Dalbec could move up from A ball to join the Sea Dogs.  I would have to get a look at him.

In hardly surprising news; Slugger lost.  This time it was comical.  Slugger tried to psych his female opponent out by getting into a ridiculous starting stance.  The young lady was unimpressed.  The flip-flop-wearing speedster had him in trouble at second and reached home with the big guy nowhere in sight.  The idea of trying to intimidate an opponent with a weird stance needs to be closeted.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for arranging the visit.  Everyone who goes to Portland games seems to have a good time at an affordable price.  And you get to see future Red Sox players such as Josh Ockimey.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Isaac Paredes

Jake Rogers

Matt Kent

Sergio Alcantara leads off first

Michael Chavis – How much longer in Portland?

Daz Cameron

Jeremy Rivera on base

Isaac Paredes

Josh Ockimey homered

Sergio Alcantara to the left

Michael Chavis takes a full cut

Michael Chavis nears third

Josh Ockimey

Luke Tendler after homer

Daz Cameron

 

 

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Michael Chavis homer gets Sea Dogs past New Hampshire 5-4

Michael Chavis is back with the Sea Dogs and tonight his 2-run homer was crucial in the Portland win over New Hampshire.

Michael Chavis has a determined look.

(Portland ME)  He’s baaack!

Michael Chavis, that is.

Boston’s #1 prospect stroked the big hit (2-run homer) leading the Portland Sea Dogs to a 5-4 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on a beautiful Thursday night of Eastern League baseball.

Michael has been away from the Red Sox for 80 games after testing positive to a banned substance.  But now he’s back where he left off with the Sea Dogs.

I took a few pictures of Michael tonight and, believe me, he had the look of someone with a chip on his shoulder.

What a segue!  The featured entertainment was the Axe Women.  They had me nervous when they started throwing axes at targets!  What could go wrong?  They also had some chain saws going which kept the Hadlock grounds crew busy clearing the wood chips off the playing surface.

Chips were flying

Good crowd watched this one.  Beautiful weather and the start of the second half of the Eastern League season.

I have been following tonight’s opponent (New Hampshire Fisher Cats) since I realized in early April that they had two of minor league’s best prospects (Vladi Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette) on their roster.

I saw Vladi’s last active game with the FC’s on June 6th.  He left that game with what looked like a minor leg injury.  Hasn’t played for them since.  Today I found out that he’s rehabbing in Florida and will play a few games in the Gulf Coast League.  His likely future destination is AAA Buffalo but maybe he’ll play for New Hampshire on the way there.

That still leaves Bo Bichette playing regularly for the Fisher Cats.  The NH shortstop reminds me of Mookie Betts because he has power, but he also can steal bases.

Bo also never gets cheated when he bats.  In that area, Bo has the Dustin Pedroia approach to swinging.

Dalton Pompey and Jantzen Witte

The Fisher Cats lost CF/leadoff batter Jonathan Davis recently via a promotion to Buffalo.  The Cats had Dalton Pompey in the leadoff spot tonight.  Dalton reached the majors and now is trying to get back there.

Another of the Toronto prospects (Harold Ramirez) is now batting cleanup for NH.  He has a very solid .310 batting average going for him.

Catcher Max Pentecost is yet another prospect playing in Manchester (NH).  Tonight, Max gave the Fisher Cats an early lead with a 3-run homer.

Cavan Biggio had an rbi

Another NH player, Cavan Biggio, who wasn’t even a Top Thirty Toronto prospect at the start of the season, is now in that category.  Cavan has recently switched from 2B to 3B.  He has turned into a power hitter.  Tonight, he drove in a run.

Boston’s #12 prospect (Josh Ockimey) pinch hit late in the game.

Surprised that there weren’t any other photographers at this one.

The 7PM start had part of the field in sun with the rest of it in shade.  Makes picture-taking a challenge.  The shade started on the NH side, so I started there.  When the field was all shade, I moved over to the Portland side.  I ended up with a pretty good look at some infield plays.

When possible, I will cheer on Slugger as he tries to end his lifelong losing streak racing youngsters.  Tonight was different.  I was stunned when Slugger took off while his very young opponent was getting instructions.  That’s just not fair and it troubled me.  And the opponent needed all the help he could get.  He was set to follow Slugger, when he was supposed to be going in the opposite direction!  But despite the big lead, Slugger got what he deserved for cheating.  The big guy was ten yards from that elusive first win when the belly whoppers kicked in.  I don’t know what Slugger dined on pre-race, but it certainly didn’t settle well.  He ended up bent over and I thought that the cleanup crew would be getting a call.  Fortunately, he didn’t leave any memories but he did keel over on his back to protect his upset stomach.  Meanwhile, the opponent trotted happily across home plate.  Yet another devastating setback for Slugger.  In previous losses I have questioned his training methods.  It may be time to check his eating habits too.

Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach was in the house.

Thanks to media connection Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Dan Mars

Cavan Biggio

Tossing an axe at a target

Sea Dogs dugout and crowd

Bo Bichette sets up for a big swing

Michael Chavis

Jeremy Rivera takes third

Bo Bichette

Max Pentecost had a 3-run homer

2B Nick Lovullo dives for a grounder

Harold Ramirez

Cavan Biggio signs

Pitcher Adam Lau was signing before the game

 

 

 

 

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs