The major league game just isn’t that easy. After hitting a home run in his first major league at-bat, Jason Heyward has gone 2 for 16 with a double. Yesterday, against fellow lefty Jonathan Sanchez and a cast of thousands (actually, seven Giants relief pitchers), Heyward went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts.
Ouch! After that first homerun, the National League’s pitchers obviously realized they needed to “pitch” to Heyward, just like like every other hitter at the major league level.
Obviously, it’s still too early to tell if Heyward’s slow start means he needs more minor league seasoning. According to wikipedia, Willie Mays started his major league career 0 for 12 before hitting a home run off Warren Spahn (and other sources say Mays went 1 for his first 25 and was so frustrated he asked manager Leo Durocher to bench him). The rest is history.
At the major league level, the game is one of adjustments. The faster a player can make those adjustments, the better player he can become. If you’re a hitter, the pitchers are all watching film and getting advice from veteran scouts about where the weaknesses are in a hitter’s swing and strike-zone. Of course, even at the major league level, pitchers can’t hit the right spot every time, but they hit it often enough to make life hard if hitters don’t find a way to plug their holes.
Meanwhile, the Rays just signed right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing who was recently released by the Nationals. He was probably out of options, because he certainly looks like a pitcher you’d want to keep around at the AAA level. The Rays have assigned him to their AAA club.
Kensing has bounced back and forth between the majors and the minors for the last six years now, and he’s still only 27 (although he turns 28 on July 3). He was just awful for the Marlins and Nationals last year but great at AAA Syracuse.
Kensing is getting to the age where if he doesn’t put it together in 2010, he should seriously consider going to Japan. He looks for all the world like the kind of 4-A player with significant major league experience the Japanese teams like to sign.