Final Score: Lake Elsinore (Padres) 6, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Angels) 3. WP: Carter. LP: Arredondo. I made the trek out to Rancho to catch the action this evening, and sat directly behind home plate, 4th row up, amongst a bevvy of scouts.
I made the trek out to Rancho to catch the action this evening - and more specifically, Quakes' starter Jose Arredondo. The 22-year old righthander, from San Pedro de Macoris (DR), stands just 6 feet tall and is listed at 170 lbs. Signed by the Angels as an infielder in 2002, he began his professional career with the Angels' Dominican Summer League team and also spent time there in 2003. He didn't do so well. In 2004, he played for Angels rookie club at Mesa, and in mid-season made the transition from shortstop to pitcher. He apparently opened some eyes by fanning 14 in 12 1/3 IP.
He built on that in 2005, posting solid numbers before really blossoming in the playoffs for Orem (rookie league).
He's made the Cal League all-star team for Rancho Cucamonga. Coming into tonight's game, his record stood at 4-5, but he sported a nifty ERA of 2.16, with 100 Ks against only 31 BB in 75 IP. He'd allowed only 2 HR, and a total of only 50 hits.
I sat directly behind home plate, 4th row up, amongst a bevvy of scouts.
At this point, I really urge everyone who can to head out to the Epicenter at least once. They have a very pleasant facility there. I got an amazing seat to watch a baseball game, where you could really sense what it would be like to be in the batter's box. It cost me eleven bucks. There were no pyrotechnics (perhaps due to the Quakes' offense), no obnoxious scoreboard contests. Just some hokey giveaways and shenanigans on the field that were not at all offensive to the senses, and which one could easily ignore. The ballpark food is cheaper (though I didn't consume). Parking was like three dollars. And I spent a pleasant night at the ballpark.
Anyhow, to the game.
Arredondo has 3.5 effective pitches, highlighted by a very good fastball - consistently 94, but he touched 95 and even 96 in the 7th inning. One scout said he was consistently at 96 in his last outing. But more importantly, his ball has movement. It's generally not a straight fastball.
He also mixed in a change, slider and even a splitter (one particularly wicked one for a called 3rd strike to end the third, I believe).
He made a couple of mistakes over the plate, which were hit hard (one of them left the yard). His control was a bit off - he walked three - but was plagued by a terribly inconsistent strike zone (all of the scouts seemed to agree on this one). Lake Elsinore's starter was Woody Williams, on a rehab assignment. The home plate ump was much more generous to the major-league veteran.
Meanwhile, the Quakes offense did its best impression of its parent club. Williams didn't give up squat in his three inning stint. He was replaced by one Brent Carter (4-2, 4.19, 78H in 66 2/3 IP, 11BB and 41K entering the contest), a Jamie Moyer-type. This junkballing lefty's fastball was generally 82-83, touching 85, while he threw offspeed stuff ("he's changing up on his change!" I heard from the guy behind me) from 68 to 79. Needless to say, the Quakes managed only a Michael Collins solo HR with one out in the 4th until finally collecting a solid double from Cody Fuller with two gone in the 8th.
Joe Torres come on to start the 8th. After retiring the leadoff man, he went HBP, 4-pitch BB, 4-pitch BB before getting yanked. He was nowhere near the plate. I mean, not even in the same county. It was kinda sad, actually.
The Quakes finally managed a pair of runs in the 9th off reliever Kyle Stutes, who came in with 33 Ks and two walks in 35 2/3 IP.
Arredondo's final line: 7 IP, 4H, 2R (earned), 1 HR, 3BB, 8Ks.