AAA: Sacramento 6, Sugar Land 0
- Sean Hjelle made his first start of the season, and he had a fabulous start. Only one baserunner, a walk in a first inning where he wasn’t too sharp, but five strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Hjelle had his fastball going working 92-94, though it dipped to 90-92 in the 4th inning, and a slider he didn’t have the sharpest control of, but got a lot of whiffs on. He was lifted at 60 pitches, when he hit his pitch limit.
- Talking about Hjelle’s height and the unusual pitch angle he comes at, statcast data recorded the launch angle on four of the five balls in play Hjelle gave up. All but one angle were negative launch angles, and the one positive one had an exit velocity of just 30.6 mph. Hjelle gave up 14 home runs in 2021, so that launch angle is something to watch.
- David Villar had a huge home run, a 399 foot shot to left field for his second home run of the young season. He also had one of the better defensive plays of the game helping to keep the Space Cowboys off the board.
- For the third straight game, Heliot Ramos was 1-for-4 with a walk, giving him a 3-for-12 start to the season with three walks, a double, and a home run. The double was Ramos’ hit today, which was a breakthrough hit that opened the scoring in the 7th inning.
- Kervin Castro made his season debut after not making the big league roster to start the year. Castro was very unsteady, throwing just nine strikes in 21 pitches, and seemed to have a problem with his release point, missing mostly up or down. Castro did get a strikeout and got out of the inning quickly.
It’s been fun getting to focus a bit more on the River Cats with one game a night, but starting tomorrow, we’re back to four teams a night! So the notes won’t be as in-depth. Plus, we only get this fun statcast data with pitch and exit velocities for Triple-A, unfortunately, but I’d love to get it for all the teams. One day, perhaps.
Also, on a small personal note, if you’re thinking of getting Apple TV+ so you can watch Friday Night Baseball (not that you need to pay for the baseball yet, but…), you definitely should watch Severance. It’s one of the best shows of the year, and the finale that aired tonight is mindblowing!