I've been down in Colorado Springs the last few days, taking in the Sky Sox games against Las Vegas (LA's affiliate). The series has seen Omar Quintanilla's Sox and AAA debut, as well as the home debuts of JJ Davis and the return to altitude of Aaron Cook.
Here's one man's opinion:
Quintanilla - This guy is a ballplayer, folks, and I mean that in the most highly complimentary way with which you can say that. He's just a little guy at 5'9" but that's still taller than Aaron Miles, so comparitively he's not that short. The Sox have had him at shortstop thus far, which I found interesting since the hope is apparently to have a Barmes-Quintanilla infield next year with the Rox (so sayeth the Gazette, I guess). But he's more than capable of handling short - and that's an understatement. He's made about 5 or 6 spectacular plays this week already in just four games, showing great range, a good arm, and even some hops (he robbed Joey Thurston with the bases loaded today by soaring to catch a hard liner). At the plate, it took him his first few at-bats to get his timing down at the new level, but he's settled in very nicely. He's a pure line-drive hitter and he nearly hit one out in the nightcap last night (it went just foul). He's also faster than I thought he was, too.
In conclusion: Q!>>>>>>>>Miles. And his name will be written by me as 'Q!' from now on, because a player like this deserves an exclamation point.
Davis: Dude is LARGE - he looks to be about the same size and build as Ryan Shealy. He runs very well, can play all three OF positions, and has a good arm. If you throw him a fastball, he's going to smoke it - he hit hard line-drives in the nightcap last night that were robbed by Cody Ross out in left.
There's only one hole in his game - he absolutely can not hit a curveball to save his life. He's a living, breathing, non-voodoo practicing Pedro Cerrano. Because of all his raw athletic talent you would think that he'd be making some adjustments to work on hitting a breaking ball, so let's hope that's the case. Other than the fact that he looks clueless against breaking stuff, he's not a bad player.
Cook: Great to see Big Red back out on the mound, and while he didn't get the win this afternoon I was still impressed. His fastball was around 88-90 all afternoon, which tells me that his stamina is close to where it needs to be. He looked to have good movement on the sinker - he got 10 ground ball outs and a couple grounders that just snaked through for hits. When he was getting hit hard, it was because the sinker was flattening out. His control waned late in the game (it was hotter than hell in the Springs today so he had to have been a bit worn out), but he only walked two guys while fanning five.
Word is that he'll only be making one more rehab start before he returns to the Rox. I think he needs at least two more starts considering that this was his best rehab outing since he was at A-ball, but maybe that means Chacon will be gone by the time Cook makes his last Sky Sox start. Here's hoping.
So that's my first impressions. I'll be back in the Springs for the final two games of the series so I'll let you know if I see anything else I like from the two new guys. I couldn't be any higher on Q!, I'll say that much.