Saturday night was the debut of St. Louis Cardinals' new prized prospect Tekoah Roby who was recently activated from the IL from a shoulder injury. With the AA season only a few weeks from ending, no one was anticipating Roby to pitch in 2023. I planned to attend this game weeks ago and was not expecting to see Tekoah Roby start that night. Fortunately for you readers, I will give you a breakdown of his highly anticipated start from the perspective of watching it live at Hammons Field.
Immediately I could tell his delivery was stable. His body had little to no movement and was very fluid from start to finish on his delivery. There was no timing play or balance adjustments to give him an edge or to fix a mechanic. It was the same every pitch and never altered.
The fastball looked electric right out of the gate. It was consistently hitting 95-97 MPH with ease. He was attacking the batter with it aggressively and produced several whiffs. When he missed the zone, it was not by much. You could tell the fastball had rise to it and rode every pitch. Roby gave up a double which looked like it jammed the batter. It led to a scored run and the hit was loud off the bat. Given he has a high ERA when pitching, that showed me that his fastball leads to high fly balls or XBH given its high velocity and rising every pitch.
The most impressive pitch of the first inning was his curveball. It was delivered middle of the plate and immediately dropped in a 12/6 fashion. The batter went digging trying to hit it which made him look foolish. All I could say was wow after seeing it. But little did I know I had yet to see the most impressive thing about Roby’s game.
Here is the most impressive part of Roby’s game: the slider/curve mix. Both pitches had ranging speeds of 82-86 MPH, and both were delivered out of the same release point. Both pitches made it halfway to the plate before they took their movements. The slider has a tight drag to it that has quick movement going down and away. The curveball has a fast 12/6 drop that happened before you could make the adjustment. Batters were fooled the rest of the night once he introduced the slider. If John Mozeliak is looking for swing-and-miss stuff from Tekoah Roby, here is where he will find it.
The inning was dominated by the off-speed pitches. The fastball created pop-ups but also had loud contact and traveled to the warning track. The pitch has much potential but seems to be pretty hittable. Unless he can work on keeping the pitch down or discover elite levels of spin rate, the fastball will become easier to hit after the lineup sees it the first time. Roby finished the 2nd inning with 34 pitches.
On to the third inning.