Friday, May 29, 2009

Spotlight on Travis Metcalf

Continuing my series of spotlighting various Omaha Royals, I turned my attention to right-handed hitting third baseman Travis Metcalf last night.

The 26-year-old played his college ball at Kansas, where he is the all-time home run leader with 29 dingers in three seasons. The Texas Rangers drafted him in 2004 in the 11th round. By 2005 he was named the Rangers' Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year (he had 22 HR and 94 RBI in Bakersfield that season). He made his Major League debut in 2007 with Texas, playing in 57 games, hitting .291 with 5 HR and 21 RBI. In 2008, he spent time in both Oklahoma City and Texas. And in April of this season, the Rangers designated him for assignment. The Royals claimed him off waivers and put him in Omaha where he has played 45 games so far this season. He's currently hitting .246 (.309 OBP) with 5 HR and 24 RBI.

Here is a breakdown of his at bats last night:

AB #1 (2nd inning, facing RHP Kevin Pucetas, nobody on, no outs): Metcalf worked the count full before he struck out looking on an 87 mph fastball on the inside corner.

AB #2 (fourth inning, facing Pucetas, one on, two outs): Pucetas worked Metcalf on the outside during the AB. The first two pitches were called strikes on the outside portion of the plate. Metcalf stepped out to regroup, then Pucetas tried to get him to chase the next pitch outside, but Metcalf didn't bite. With the count still in his favor, Pucetas went back outside but Metcalf didn't bite on that one either and the count was 2-2. Pucetas got away with one on the next pitch. He caught quite a bit of the plate, but Metcalf flew out to right field.

AB #3 (sixth inning, facing Pucetas, bases loaded, two outs): Omaha was down 3-0 at this point. Metcalf jumped on the first pitch. He hit it hard, but directly at the left fielder. Inning, and threat, over.

AB #4 (eighth inning, facing RHP Ramon Ortiz, one on, one out): Omaha was down 4-1. Ortiz came way inside to him for ball one. He came inside with a fastball on the second pitch and threw it by Metcalf who took a cut and missed it. He fouled the third pitch back against the press box, which was a little closer to me that I would prefer. The fourth pitch was low and outside to bring the count to 2-2. With the crowd chanting, "Let's go Royals, let's go!" Ortiz delivered the fifth pitch and Metcalf ground out to third.

So he ended up 0-for-4. He also committed an error at third base, but he also made a nice play, which I happened to catch on video (Luke Hochevar was on the mound--and I know I'm not great with the video camera, so cut me some slack):

The Royals obviously have Alex Gordon and Mark Teahen at third base. And they also have Mike Moustakas, currently playing in Wilmington, who could play third as well. But Metcalf gives them a little depth at the position, and he could be useful in a pinch in Kansas City, especially since he has Major League experience.

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