A "pen pal" when I was growing up was defined like this:
A person with whom one becomes friendly by exchanging letters, especially someone in a foreign country whom one has never met.
Letter? What's a letter? Now for pen pals there is Instagram and Snapchat, Tweets for the President, and there is also Pay Pal for all of you bill payers out there; but I digress.
Quite a Fearsome Foursome. But let me mention Tyler Pill, who tossed 6 shutout innings in a start for Vegas on Weds. Now at 16.1 scoreless innings this year. long shot, but a possible NY Mets pen guy, as he surely could also pinch hit.
AA Eastern League: Up in Binghamton, Al Baldonado who, at 6'4", 250 will hereafter be called Big Al, has thrown 7 scoreless with 10 Ks, and is a lefty. Nice.
Ben Griset has gone 7 IP, allowing 3 earned in his first year in AA. Tim Peterson dazzles with 6 scoreless IP, A and 6 K. Kelly Secrest? 4 innings, a run, 7 K. Former starter Scarlyn Reyes, 3 IP, 0 R, 4 K. Corey Taylor has allowed 4 runs in 5.1 IP, but will soon pitch better, believe me, believe me, so great. Kyle Regnault? 4.1 IP, 0 R, 4 Ks. This team's slogan is "How do you spell relief?" Ans.: Pen Pals.
Of course, PJ Conlon starts for the Bingos, but he could be a future Jerry Blevins, and as such is yet another competitor for these guys in vying for a future bullpen slot in Queens.
Advanced A Florida State League: St Lucie has blazing Tyler Bashlor, who has allowed 2 hits, walks and runs in 6.2 IP, with 11 Ks. Alex Palsha has gone 8 innings of 1 run ball with 8 fanned. Justin Brantly? I assume he is a big fan of Adrian Dantley, and JB has notched 9.2 scoreless innings, fanning 8. Craig Missigman has allowed a run on 3 hits over 10 IP, with 14 Ks. How 'bout that?
Full A South Atlantic League: Columbia's Matt Blackham has allowed a run over 6.2 IP, walking 6 but fanning 10 in his return from the pitcher's toilet called Tommy John that caused him to his 2016. He is picking up where he left off in 2015, fanning guys in bunches. Joe Zanghi had a recent terrible outing, but fortunately for his ERA, 5 of his 6 runs are unearned; he fans a lot of guys.
Max Kuhns has been solid over 7 IP, and the same can be said for Taylor Henry over 7.2 IP, Austin McGeorge over 7.1 IP, and Adonis Uceta over 7 IP. Collectively 7th heaven.
It is really early, but is that a lot of quality relief, or what?
21 guys, by my count.
As a cautionary note, several of these guys at higher levels are over 25, and many were drafted below the 10th, 20th, and even 30th round...but so was Seth Lugo.
Let's see how the Pen Pals progress in 2017. So far so good.
The answer to "how do you spell relief?" has not been Luis Mateo, who has allowed 7 runs in 3.2 IP. Not promising, especially against the backdrop of so many high-performing pen colleagues. Time may be running out on Luis, who needs to rev things up after a solid but not spectacular 2016.
This Pen Pal is now signing off. Have a great day.