From the second Spencer Arrighetti walked out Wednesday, he was amped. The Houston Astros‘ top pitching prospect usually keeps his pregame work low effort, but on the day of his Triple-A debut, he came out firing. Arrighetti, a graduate of Cinco Ranch, pitched in front of a large crowd of friends and family at Constellation Field.
“Understandably so, I haven’t pitched this close to home in a long time,” Arrighetti said.”I maybe wanted to be a little bit bigger than the moment today which I know better than, and I’ll correct that going forward.”
Arrighetti noted the temperature as a prime difference in his start. Compared to Corpus Christi, the heat in Sugar Land drained more out of Arrighetti, who felt almost dehydrated by the end of his outing. The righty toed the rubber for five innings for the Space Cowboys, striking out five batters and surrendering three runs on four hits and two walks.
Arrighetti generated 33 swings and got 12 whiffs. He executed pitches better as the game progressed but believed his changeup and his curveball are works in progress. Arrighetti threw 51 of his 86 pitches for strikes in an outing filled with “some ups and some downs.”
“When I get kicked in the mouth, I don’t really take to well to that,” Arrighetti said. “I want to stop the bleeding right there, turn it around and swing things in my favor.”
The Oklahoma City Dodgers quickly scored on Arrighetti. After walking on five pitches, Drew Avans stole second base and then scored on a Kole Calhoun single. Arrighetti fell behind in the first two counts but responded with a flyout and two strikeouts to shut the door on his first Triple-A inning.
His four-pitch mix saw more action from his cutter, a pitch only two weeks old to his arsenal. Arrighetti shook César Salazar off of using it against left-handed hitters a few times given it’s such a fresh pitch to him. As he starts to find more of a feel, the cutter will see more action in the zone around 89-93 mph.
“I’m not sure if like they even know I throw that pitch yet,” Arrighetti said about Statcast not recognizing the difference between his cutter and his fastball. “We’re just letting it rip. I love it.”
In attendance for Arrighetti’s start was his father, Keith. Not one to put any pressure on his son, Keith held nerves prior to Spencer’s Sugar Land debut. Spencer’s dedication and drive are what is most impressive to Keith. He found his son to be a student of baseball, proving evaluators wrong and motivating himself with the intensity he unlocks.
“You’ll see the scowl on his face,” Keith said. “When he gets fired up about something, he’s an Italian boy and that side will come out, and when it does, if he can corral it, it’s awesome.”