Before we take a look at a couple of the Cape's hitters, let me just say that there's nothing quite like having Boston in your rearview mirror at 3:00pm on the Wednesday of a holiday-shortened week, Route 3 South and the Sagamore Bridge ahead, and knowing that a Cape League game awaits. Hopefully my employer is not reading this. I've seen YD play four times and each time I'm impressed and confused by Jacob Lamb (Washington). Drafted in the the 38th round of the 2009 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Lamb chose to go to honor his Washington commitment. In his two year career as the Huskies' left-handed hitting third baseman, Lamb has a .329 batting average, .392 on-base percentage, and .454 slugging with a total of 7 home runs and 27 doubles. Lamb has had a decent start to his first Cape season hitting .271/.340/.333 with no home runs.
Watching Lamb take batting practice and infield warm-ups leaves me impressed and watching him during the game leaves me confused. In BP, Lamb barrels everything thrown at him and sprays line drives to all fields. While he doesn't flash home run power during his sessions, he doesn't just rip everything through the hole on the right side, either.
Time for a quick commercial break: a couple months ago I attended the Saber Seminar at Harvard University. If you live in Massachusetts or feel like taking a trip to Boston and have an interest in the analytics of baseball, you should attend next year's seminar. You'll get to listen to several highly intelligent speakers and every dollar goes to the Jimmy Fund. Andy Andres, from Tufts University, spoke to us on the bio-mechanics of the baseball swing. Andy broke down what works, what doesn't work, and dispelled some myths associated with the baseball swing. It wouldn't be fair to Andy to attempt to summarize his entire discussion in a sentence or two. After listening to his unbelievable lecture and watching the numerous swings he used as examples, I've condensed my basic analysis of a swing into two parts: where are the hands and where is the front foot when the batter starts his swing?
Having said that, Lamb has a quiet lower half during his swing. He doesn't take much of a stride to the ball and only drops the heel of his front foot when he's ready to pull the trigger. He has a patient approach at the plate but can struggle with offspeed pitches. His potential shines through in BP as he uses his quick bat speed to hit one loud line drive after another. I just haven't heard "that" sound during a game. Clearly, he's not the first amateur hitter to suffer from this same problem.
At the hot corner, Lamb has soft hands, charges the bunt well, and makes strong accurate throws across the diamond although his lateral movement needs to improve for his defensive game to reach its full potential.
Jacob Lamb will be draft eligible next summer. His fundamental tools already make him an interesting prospect. If he fully taps into his power he'll transform himself from "merely" an interesting prospect to a truly exciting player.