HBT reader scouts Casey Kelly and Kyle Gibson

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Casey Kelly.jpgI think the game was on NESN, so more people in New England could see this than usual, but HBT reader Moses Green — who performs a valuable and gratuitous service in editing each morning’s “And That Happened” — is vacationing in Maine and saw the Portland Sea Dogs and New Britain Rock Cats play in person yesterday afternoon.

The draw: Red Sox uber-prospect Casey Kelly took on Twins uber-prospect Kyle Gibson.  Kelly didn’t have a good game, giving up six runs on 10
hits in four innings and change. Beyond the line score, I found Moses’ scouting report rather interesting thanks to this comment:

The
verdict?  Kelly is a live-armed SS trying to learn to be a pitcher. Case in point, Kelly’s
pickoff moves and bluffs are comically horrible. Gibson looks really good, really polished.  He already looks
like a pro.

As Moses notes, this is why you have scouts. Most of us just never think of that kind of thing, content to sit back and yell for teams to call up the big prospects on a timetable to our liking based on their stat lines.

For example, I barked about the Giants saying that Buster Posey isn’t ready to catch in the big leagues and citing that as the reason for taking so long to call him up. But the only minor league action I ever see is whatever passes through Columbus Ohio, and Posey has never been here. I’m not paying attention to a whole host of other non-statistical considerations teams must make in determining whether a guy can play in the majors. Like, say, whether a guy can frame pitches. Or whether he has a decent move to first.

A small point, sure, but one about which I constantly have to remind myself when it comes to prospects.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.