Sam Coonrod pitched eight innings of almost shutout ball on Sunday, stringing together the most innings he's pitched in a 2016 outing. He produced 20 swinging strikes while striking out a season-high eight. Footage of all eight can be found in the video above.
His two-seam fastball was the star of the show, running anywhere from 92 to 95 mph. A circle-changeup in the mid-80s got a few swing-throughs, while his upper-80s slider was a weapon against right-handers. Frankly, he could have used his secondary stuff more often, as it seemed he had great feel for both pitches. But eight innings with just one unearned run, five hits, and no walks is hard to critique.
Coonrod was posting 95 mph on the stadium gun, which turns out to be one of the more accurate guns in the California League, into the fifth inning. That didn't continue into the final three innings, but 93s were still prevalent. He moved up and down in the zone with the two-seamer, but lived most of the afternoon in the lower half of the zone. He seemed to take a bit off of it against left-handers (2:37 mark), getting more armside run in the 91-92 range.
The slider, at times, had hard snapping action almost straight down. Other times, it looked more like a cutter. The downward snap came at 86-87 mph while the pitches that looked more like cutters were 88-90. This isn't to say that he throws a cutter. He either varies speeds and movement with the slider, or didn't have immaculate feel for it. Overthrows can result in this look, as well. The pitch was mostly used against right-handers (6:49 mark), but I remember one left-hander fishing for it when Coonrod threw it to his back foot.
As for the changeup. You can get a good look at it around the 0:50 mark, as well as at 6:15. He was throwing it anywhere between 84-86 with a circle grip. This pitch has always been questioned, and although I only saw roughly 6-8 changeups, they all appeared to have good movement — more drop than fade.
— I did see Pat Young throw an inning before having too much of the 97 degree direct sunlight. Out of the bullpen, Young has increased his fastball velocity into the 94-97 range, countered with a nice slider. What I didn't see were three Rodolfo Martinez 100-mph fireballs. Head to the video board for spring training footage of it, but glad to see he's still lighting up the radar gun consistently mid-season.
— Johneshwhy Fargas hit a grand slam, which is probably a perfect "You Can't Predict Ball" moment. It's just his sixth career home run in 962 plate appearances. It was an important two-hit game for him, as he entered the contest 2-for-24 with eight strikeouts in his last eight games.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 1-for-4, R, 2B, SO
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Phil Bickford: DNP
- Lucius Fox: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-4, RBI, SO
- Sam Coonrod: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
- Mac Williamson: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
- Adalberto Mejia: DNP
- Clayton Blackburn: DNP
- Jalen Miller: 1-for-5, R, SO
- Ray Black: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Okert: DNP
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Jarrett Parker: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 0-for-3, SO
- Austin Slater: 1-for-4, 2B, SO
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Michael Santos: DNP
- Ty Blach: 5.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- Rodolfo Martinez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
- Mac Marshall: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: 1-for-4, R, 2B, SO
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Jake Smith: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI