Friday, April 20, 2007

Simmons emerging as Big West's best

For some reason – it was either the 50-degree temperatures and chance of showers, or the Yankees-Red Sox game on ESPN – only a couple scouts made it out to Friday’s Big West Conference baseball game between UC Riverside and Cal Poly.
What they missed was another fine showing by the conference’s top pitching prospect, UC Riverside right-hander James Simmons. Here’s what their scouting reports should have noted on Friday:
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior improved to 8-2 in a 3-1 win over the Mustangs at Baggett Stadium. Despite struggling to find his slider for much of the night, Simmons struck out eight and walked just one in his third complete game in 11 starts. He gave up a run on six hits in the 120-pitch outing (82 were strikes).
Simmons, projected to go in the top three rounds of the June draft, has a slow, fluid motion and throws with such ease (see video) that many fans were left unimpressed with his stuff. But if you watched Simmons throw from behind the plate, and saw the movement on his fastball (regularly hitting 92-88 mph) and late action on his change and breaking pitches, you came away impressed. His first four strikeouts came on called third strikes, freezing Cal Poly hitters with cutter after cutter.
“Last week I got roughed up pretty good at Washington, so I really focused on locating my fastball better than I did last week,” Simmons said referring to his first loss since March 2. “I was just trying to keep guys off-balanced, mixing away, inside and with the changeup.
“Some days my slider’s there, sometimes it’s not. You just have to kind of figure it out and go with what’s working best for you that night.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tough loss for the Mustangs. Hopefully they can get the bats working tomorrow!