I was at the game last night and was able to see Meyer, Sano and Rosario in action. Here are some notes about these prospects.
Meyer pitched 5 innings last night. His overall results were very good, as he only faced 16 batter (one over the minimum). He gave up one hit, two walks, but had five strikeouts. He benefited from two double-plays turned behind him.
Meyer started off a little shaky. His control wasn't there during the first couple of innings, as he walked two of the first five batters he faced, and had difficulty getting ahead in the count. Fortunately, he was bailed out a little bit by a double-plays in each inning. I didn't have the best angle, but he seemed to be missing either outside or up, particularly outside on left-handed batters.
After the 2nd inning, Meyer found his stride. Counting the strikeout of the last batter of the 2nd inning, he struck out 5 of six batters during this stretch. These strikeouts were in all flavors: looking on breaking balls, swinging on breaking balls, fastball up, fastball looking. He was definitely in a groove. From the 3rd inning on, there was only one at bat that had more than a single pitch called a ball. The second time through the batting order, he struck out the top three batters consecutively and only threw a single ball in all three at bats. The Bowie players adjusted and started to swing earlier in the count. Meyer ended his night by getting the last four batters on a total of just 9 pitches.
This was my first chance to see Sano in person. The lore surrounding him definitely over-hyped my expectations, as I was half-expecting to see some gigantic, Paul Bunyan-esque immortal hero towering over the rest of the mere mortals on the field. Sure, he is still impressive to see, but it turns out that in the flesh he is just a big, strong, athletic man and not a mythological creature. That said, he does have a beautiful, powerful swing. It is a swing that will do terrible, terrible things to baseballs. Even his swings-and-misses were impressive.
Unfortunately, there were a few too many missed swings last night. He struck out twice, and both pitches were on off-speed pitches low in the zone that he was fooled by. I can definitely see why some people are saying he still has a lot of work regarding his pitch recognition. He did get two hits. The first was a hard ground ball down the third base line for a double. The second was another hard grounder between third and short. Both were hit very hard, and it is easy to see how he can generate a ton of power with his swing.
Defensively, Sano wasn't really challenged. There was a hard grounder that he dived for in the first inning, but it was just out of reach. I'm not sure if it was a play that a good third-baseman would have made - it happened so fast and without video replay it is really hard to tell. He had two more routine plays that he made successfully. One was for a potential 5-4-3 double-play that I'll talk about later with Rosario.
Overall, Sano looked good, but the strikeouts are worrisome. He definitely looked like he was fooled, badly. One game isn't enough to make snap judgements, but my experience seems to match what others have been saying. Hopefully he will continue to make adjustments. He looked fine in the field, but in this game he didn't have many chances.
Like Sano, this is the first time I've seen Rosario in person. Overall I came across very impressed. Bowie's starting pitcher was left-handed, and Rosario seemed to have a plan to go the other way. His first at bat was a well struck fly out to left, and then his second at bat was a hard line drive to left field. Once on base, he attempted to steal second. He got a fairly poor jump (the lefty had a good move), and the throw seemed to beat him to the bag. However, the throw was bad and misplayed by the fielder, and so he ended up on third. He ended up scoring on Sano's double. His next at bat was a weak grounder to first.
In his final at bat of the night, he tried to bunt for a hit. It was a really good bunt down the third base line, and the catcher had to make a tough play. I'm not 100% sure if he would have been safe or out with a good throw, but the throw was bad and went into left field. Rosario ended up on 3rd. He scored on the next play on a ground ball to third. He waited for the throw to first and then raced home. Rosario seems pretty quick, and he added a lot of extra value with his legs this night.
Defensively, he mostly had routine plays. He started two 4-6-3 double-plays, though they were fairly routine. He also had a nice running grab of a soft liner into right field. In the 9th inning there was one play that was a little disappointing. It was on another double-play attempt. This time the grounder was to Sano at 3rd. Sano had a quick, strong throw to 2nd, but instead of stopping and pivoting at 2nd base, Rosario kept his momentum going toward 3rd base and tried to throw across his body back to 1st base. The throw was way offline. Now I don't know if they could have turned two on that play, as the batter was a lefty and looked pretty quick.
This was the only play that I saw all night that made me question Rosario's defense at second. I'm not saying that he is incapable of playing second base; in fact, I think he showed the raw skills for the position. However, this particular play seems like an area where he still needs some development work before making the majors. If Rosario ends up being held back in the minors due to his defense, I'm sure this is the type of play that they want him to improve at.