Disclaimer: I am nothing resembling a scout, so what follows is the most amateur of player reports you are likely to see.
Alfredo "Weak Sauce" Simon made another rehab start at Bowie this afternoon, vs. the Richmond Flying Squirrels. He lasted 5 plus and turned over a 4-1 lead with 2 runners on to Pedro Viola. Viola blew the lead but stuck around long enough (3 IP) to win, with Jose Diaz striking out 3 for the save. Bowie wins 6-5.
But the outcome of the game isn’t of significance to Birdland. The condition of Simon may be. He certainly looks good physically, slimmed down by his weeks on Dominican prison rations. He also looked pretty good pitching early on. His fastball velocity is there -- in the 91-94 range, mostly 93-94. He was throwing his splitter around 85 and it was moving nicely. In the first two innings he had strikeouts three times on three consecutive splitters, though one of them was erased by the runner reaching on a passed ball. The other good news is that he was throwing strike one, getting first pitch strikes on 13 of 23 batters faced, with another 4 putting first strikes in play.
The good news ends there. Simon lost control of the split in the 3rd, and his control on his curve was horrible all day. It was way up or in the dirt or way outside, with exactly one curveball strike in the outing. He seemed to be practicing it in game, throwing it again and again without success. This had two predictable results. He went to 3 ball counts on 7 batters between the third and his hook with none out in the sixth. Counting from my scorebook, he ran up to 89 pitches plus foul balls, so probably close to 100.
The obvious other consequence was that batters could sit on the fastball and began making really good contact. Four of his hits allowed were solid line drives, as was one of his three air outs. Even two of his groundball outs were scorched. And this is AA hitters. It didn’t turn into much in the way of runs, because he interrupted the damage with strikeouts of the weaker hitters, but if it were MLB hitters it would have been very ugly. Simon even seemed to get his pride up about it, as if offended that these guys were touching his heater. After Richmond’s Roger Kieschnick had doubled to the right center gap off a high fastball in the 4th, Simon started him with the exact same pitch in the 6th. Surprise, surprise, he got the exact same gapper double in return. One curveball loaded walk later and his day was over. These runners would score on an error and passed ball when Viola came in.
5+ IP, 3R, 1 ER, 5H, 2BB, 7K, 4 GO, 2 FO, 1 LO
The bottom line is that the sauce is still very weak. Based on his success in the early innings, Simon may be able to pitch a decent inning out of the pen. He has 2 pitches at best, without an offspeed option. If he threw a change-up all day I didn’t recognize it as such. Given this lack of reliable pitch selection to work with, the idea that he could be a rotation option is a VERY BAD IDEA. I mean ‘it will be better not to watch that night’ bad.
Bowie has certainly seen better pitching: