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C’s Staff Notes

Before life reared its ugly head, I was set to take in Starlyn Suriel‘s start versus the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Wednesday night.  Now, I don’t want to sound jaded, as I love to watch any baseball, but given fact I’ve seen one Miguel Castro start, a solitary inning from Jairo Labourt, and nothing from Alberto Tirado, seeing Suriel for the third time wasn’t exactly getting my heart racing.

Turns out I didn’t miss much.  Starlyn was poor, upping his previously miniscule ERA by a full run.  I don’t think many were fooled (who knows, maybe they were) by that ERA though.  Looking at his peripherals he hasn’t been nearly as good as his counting stats might suggest.  At 4.49, his FIP was a full three runs higher than the ERA, while the .227 BABIP and 96.6% LOB rate are unsustainable.  He’s due for a regression.

Despite fact Suriel may be this years Ben White*, the little we know about him is actually a pretty cool story.  Trying to find any information about him online is difficult (go ahead, try, and pass it along please).  Hailing from Bonao, Dominican Republic the 5’11” 180 pound right-hander was obviously an international free agent.  I’m just not certain when.

What’s interesting is that Suriel is making his pro debut in the Northwest League with Vancouver.  At 20, I’d maybe expect him to skip the Dominican Summer League but bypass the GCL and Appalachian League?  That’s surprising.

Speaking to C’s pitching coach Jeff Ware prior to Wednesday’s start, he said Suriel turned heads right from the beginning of extended and he was pitching so well by the end of camp it was an easy decision to send him to Vancouver.  Ware describes him as a fastball/curveball guy who mixes in a decent circle change.  The fastball sits in the upper 80s, cracking the low 90s so is by no means overpowering.  He very much relies on his command to be successful, something that deserted him a bit Wednesday night (and without being there, it’s tough to tell by how much, as NWL umpires, unfortunately, often have a say in these matters).

I’m glad I got to write about Starlyn now as have a feeling that I may tend to focus on the ‘Big 3’ as the season progresses.

Speaking of which, more highlights from my conversation with Ware.

He was very impressed with Labourt’s start last week against Tri-City — we all were really — saying it was the first time all season the left-hander was able to execute all three of his pitches down and to both sides of the plate.  By commanding the zone Jairo kept the Dust Devil hitters off-balance all night.

Regarding Castro’s blow-up fourth inning versus Hillsboro a week ago Wednesday, Ware said he was dominant through the first three, overpowering with all three of his pitches.  In the fourth though, he got frustrated with a couple of bloop singles and the ump’s zone, which caused him to overthrow a bit.  They had a good meeting after the game, stressing the importance of only worrying about factors you can control.  Seemed to have worked as Castro was excellent against Salem-Keizer in his last outing.

Neither John Schneider or Jeff would give me an update on Tirado’s injury**.  So there’s that.

Chase Mallard has joined the team already and will work as a long man out of the ‘pen leaving Justin Shafer and Daniel Lietz to piggy-back Alberto’s rotation spot, including tonight when the C’s open their massive series away to Spokane.

* Ben White: defined as an organizational arm with less than inspiring stuff who I just happen to see every time I go to the Nat

** As an addendum to story published on the vancouversun.com, think I had the rug pulled over my eyes somewhat by Mr Schneider.  I know I’m a tad naive, but to believe the C’s manager when he said he had no idea when Tirado would be back Wednesday afternoon and then he pitches Friday night?  Methinks he wasn’t being entirely honest with me.  Or Alberto made a miraculous recovery that that evening which effected the demotion of Daniel Lietz Thursday and Tirado back Friday….wink wink.

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