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I’ve recently had a chance to watch a few MiLB games live and up close in Northern California. One of the teams that I’ve been very impressed with so far is the Stockton Ports. The Oakland A’s Affiliate team is loaded with talent this year, starting at the top with A.J. Puk.
AJ’s mechanics are incredible. I was able to get some video of him throwing before his first start in Stockton and he was amazing to watch. He creates a divot in the ground while he’s warming up in the bullpen. He then uses that divot to line up his front foot so he can throw the ball with more accuracy. I can’t imagine the amount of time and muscle memory that have gone into his delivery. While throwing in the bullpen before a game against Rancho Cucamonga the rest of his teammates were very supportive of him as they watched in awe.
One of the leaders on the team is Daulton Jefferies. He interacts with the fans more than anyone else and the rest of the team listens to him and respects him. Daulton doesn’t have the same velocity as Puk but his changeup is phenomenal and he throws a nasty slider. Jefferies has played shortstop in the past and he probably still could at any level in the MiLB. He is incredibly athletic. I was surprised to see him playing first base during batting practice before a game against the San Jose Giants. He appears to be a jack-of-all-trades.
Stockton’s Manager, Rick Magnate, runs batting practice like the military. I’ve never seen anything like it. Everyone is in perfect sequence and they waste no time on the field when getting ready for a game. I was very impressed that Magnate, himself, participates in the hitting drills. His hands on approach seems to be working well for the team.
Another player that I’m eager to watch is Logan Shore. Shore was taken in the second round of last year’s draft out of the University of Florida (the same college Puk went to). Apparently he was a more consistent pitcher than any of his other teammates there.
Catcher Sean Murphy is another prospect that is gathering attention for the Ports. His best tool is his arm and it shows. I’ve seen him throw guys out at second in every game that I’ve been to. His bat is nothing to scoff at either. He hit two bombs in a game against the Quakes and I’ve been particularly impressed with his patience at the plate.
Eli White is another guy that has impressed people this season. He was an 11th round pick out of Clemson University in South Carolina. As of today he is batting .333 with a .405 OBP. I saw him make some spectacular defensive plays in a walk off victory against Rancho Cucamonga.
Last but not least is Carlos Navas. I noticed Navas throw some heat out of the bullpen during one of the games and it was scary! I don’t know what kind of velocity he has but I’m guessing he can throw 100 MPH or something close to that. Follow Navas on Twitter at @carlosnavas57 and keep an eye on this guy. He’s got some big league stuff!