Results tagged ‘ cameron maybin ’

Spring Training story time

It seems like there’s something of a split when it comes to the value of Spring Training. Do the stats matter? Do wins and losses matter? Well, take this Spring Training story into account when you think about it.

This weekend I talked to a well-placed source about minor-league Spring Training games. There was a minor-league game in Florida. Team A, the visitors, had a big lead the whole game, but their pitchers were using a lot of pitches and not lasting very long. Team B was coming back in the bottom of the ninth, two outs and bases loaded. Team A Manager calls time and tells the umpire his pitcher has reached his pitch limit and he’s the last guy who needed to get his work in that day. The umpire tells Team B Manager that the game is over because Team A is out of pitchers.

Then something happened that is completely unheard of in Spring Training baseball:

Team B Manager flips out. Completely loses it.

Says Team A is chicken, doesn’t want to lose the game. He’s furious and isn’t going anywhere.

Team A Manager calls his farm director. Tells him this other manager is a whack-job. This is a Spring Training game, right? Who cares?

So Team A Farm Director calls Team B Farm Director, who is at the complex where the game is being played. Would you please remind your manager that this isn’t the World Series?

Team B Farm Director walks over to the field, tells his manager to relax and that the game is, in fact, over.

The moral of the story is this: Stats mean virtually nothing. If you’re on the bubble of getting released or not making the big-league team, it’s more about how you look. How’s your bat speed? Do you have command of the strike zone? Are you throwing harder than 82 mph on your fastball?

And wins and losses mean nothing.

And so ends today’s Spring Training story time.

Random thoughts:

  • Just heard former TinCaps RHP Anthony Bass is starting today’s big league game.
  • TinCaps manager Shawn Wooten gets some pub in a New York Times blog about disciples of Mike Scioscia. Padres manager Bud Black, Rays manager Joe Maddon and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke were on Scioscia’s staff when the Angels won the World Series. And Wooten played on that team.
  • Usually needles are discouraged around baseball, but Stitch N’ Pitch is an exception.
  • LHP Clayton Richard struggled against the Angels yesterday. Fort Wayne alums OFs Will Venable, Blake Tekotte and Daniel Robertson and INFs Andy Parrino and James Darnell got playing time.
  • On Saturday, former TinCaps RHP Brad Brach was in the middle as the Padres and Dodgers “got spirited” with some beanballs. Mat Latos stopped in the middle of an autograph session and jogged to the field, just in case the jaw-jackers started to get a little more heated.
  • Latos was supposed to start that game, but he skipped it with shoulder soreness and now might be headed to the DL.
  • SS Everth Cabrera is going to make San Diego’s Opening Day roster. When the Padres released Kevin Frandsen on Friday, this looked likely. Also, OF Cameron Maybin is expected to return to the lineup today after a bout with quad stiffness.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Dexter Carter was released by the Padres. I’ve heard he’s already been picked up by the White Sox, the organization that drafted him.
  • The San Diego U-T‘s Padres preview asks if the Padres can catch lightning in a bottle again.
  • The U-T also has profiles of the 2011 Padres.
  • Tony Gwynn is cancer-free.
  • Here’s the 819th prospect ranking list of the year, this one by FanGraphs.
  • The Royals’ loaded farm system is like a really good garage band: They might hit it big as Royals, they might end up with other successful teams, they might flame out completely. You just never know. Just ask the Diamondbacks, circa 2005. They had OF Carlos Gonzalez, SS Stephen Drew, LHP Brett Anderson, OF Justin Upton, etc.
  • Mariners RHP Michael Pineda… He’s good.
  • Mariners LHP Erik Bedard is still alive, and he’s having a good spring.
  • Remember when the Cardinals were toast because they lost Adam Wainwright? Well, since then, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum have had injuries for the Brewers, half the Reds rotation (Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey) has health problems and Carlos Silva, who was kind of good for the Cubs last year, is gone. And that’s just the NL Central… The Phillies are just as depleted with Chase Utley out, Brad Lidge hurt and Jayson Werth gone to Washington.
  • The Red Sox got slammed by injuries last year, but they’re investing big in injury prevention.
  • Well what happened was, Buck Showalter was all like, “Derek Jeter’s a baby and Theo Epstein’s overrated,” and now Terry Francona’s getting all like, “Yo, why you hatin’?”
  • The Indians’ payroll is down for the third straight year.
  • The Cubs hired their new PA announcer after holding a giant PR campaign/dog-and-pony-show/employee search.
  • Did you know there have been 90 space shuttle missions since the Pirates’ last winning season? NINETY!
  • Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman’s translator was the trainer at Triple-A Louisville, but now the trainer got the call to the big leagues. Also in that notebook, Hal McCoy makes an exquisite point: When you’re flying, why is it that the people who play by the rules and check luggage at the airport counter are charged a decent chunk of money, but the people who act completely shocked when their their gigantic bags don’t fit into the overhead bins get to pay nothing? The luggage ends up in the same place, under the plane.
  • Apparently the Canseco brothers are kind of like those wrestlers who dressed exactly the same, right down to their masks, then when one of them got wailed on, they’d both go under the ring. When they came out, nobody knew who the legal man was, so the fresh guy would get back in the ring. You know what I’m talking about, right?
  • Buster Olney told the story of his dogs. When the TinCaps go to Lake County in mid-May, I’m going to hang out with my dogs so much they’re going to get sick of me.
  • America’s Next Great Restaurant” is a decent idea for a show, but it’s almost like they ran out of good contestants. I can’t believe some of the ideas ever made it to the show. A restaurant totally based on meatballs? A fast-casual grilled cheese sandwich restaurant? These must be the William Hungs of the restaurant reality show business.
  • I’m also proud to announce that I made my first omelet yesterday. And it was delicious. My breakfast arsenal is expanding pretty quickly.
  • I picked up a cold and my voice is almost completely gone. This is the radio guy’s equivalent to a pitcher having shoulder soreness two weeks before Opening Day: Better now than during the season.
  • Even though my post from Friday got deleted with the changes to MLBlogs, I do like the new format. It’s MUCH easier to use on my end and I don’t think you have to be registered to comment anymore. So comment away!

Musical guest… Milli Vanilli!

Take care!

DW

What’s the opposite of congress?

As of yesterday afternoon, the TinCaps have a podcast (more on that soon). This morning, I drove to work with the windows down for the first time this year. Tomorrow is the first outdoor “get the stadium ready for the season” day. In the words of perhaps the greatest manager of all time, it’s starting to come together, Pepper… Starting to come together.

Random thoughts:

  • We kind of saw this coming, but the highlight (for me) of yesterday’s Union-Tribune chat was when somebody asked about OF Donovan Tate. The answer was, “He will start this season in Fort Wayne.” Barring injuries, etc., of course.
  • The Padres smoked the Rangers last night. I watched it on MLB Network and Cameron Maybin homered and made a really nice catch in the gap in right-center. LHP Clayton Richard worked quickly and pitched four solid innings. RHP Chad Qualls looked really good. Also, the green St. Patrick’s Day hats were hideous. Richard must have a giant melon head, because his hat (which was adjustable, mind you) barely fit.
  • RHP Tim Stauffer will miss his next start because of some hip irritation.
  • The Padres’ move-the-Triple-A-team-to-Escondido effort has just gotten a(nother) jolt of controversy.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy may miss his start on Saturday because of a stomach virus.
  • Former MWLer Jerry Sands is apparently the object of “everyone’s man-crush” at Dodger camp. But he’s still going to the minor leagues for a while.
  • Here’s a “10 Questions” feature with Royals OF prospect Wil Myers, who played in the MWL All-Star Game at Parkview Field last year.
  • Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz, who played in the MWL, wants to be a starter, but knows the team might be better with him closing games.
  • The news isn’t good about Phillies 2B Chase Utley.
  • Giants OF Pat Burrell says “it’s almost scary” how well the Giants are playing this spring.
  • If you don’t think this commercial is funny, we’re not friends anymore.
  • Neil Diamond lounging with disinterested kangaroos. Just click it.
  • Dave Hutte Status Update: “It’s close enough to Opening Day. I’m wearing my ’84 Cubs Sandberg jersey.”
  • My love affair with Wofford basketball is officially over. Bad on-ball defense, bad help defense, weird offensive scheme against the zone, poor free-throw shooting… I guess that’s why you shouldn’t pick your bracket upsets based on watching 10 minutes of one game.
  • I know everybody loves March Madness and claims it’s because they love buzzer beaters. That’s a lie. You know the real reason… Gambling. Even if your bracket pool isn’t for money, it gives you someone to root for (at least until Wofford loses).
  • Next time I hear someone rip baseball for being too slow, I want to pull up the video of the Richmond-Vanderbilt game from yesterday. It took literally 15 minutes to play the last 90 seconds of game clock. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s starts are excruciating, but at least he’s out of the game after four innings.

Musical guest… the Ohio State Marching Band!

Take care!

DW

Something to talk about

It’s OK if you’re skeptical of this story, because I would be too. But I promise it’s entirely true.

Saturday
night while eating dinner at a downtown restaurant, I overheard a
conversation from the next table… Nondescript local guy said, “Bang
for your buck, you won’t get a better deal in town than the TinCaps.” He
went on to tell his whole table about watching a game from a concourse suite and how much fun it was.

So
apparently our CIA-style plan of placing undercover marketing staffers
in local restaurants to pass along not-so-subliminal word-of-mouth
publicity is working. Next time you go out with “a group of friends” and the new guy is singing praises about Parkview Field, you’ll know what’s up.

I’m kidding, of course… Or am I?

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps happenings from yesterday’s Padre game: RHP Mat Latos was wild again (but feels OK), LHP Colt Hynes pitched 1.1 scoreless frames in relief, RHP Matt Lollis gave up a couple of runs in his only inning. Also, RHP Heath Bell made his Spring Training debut and felt good.
  • Backup catcher candidate Gregg Zaun is hanging ‘em up.
  • Former Fort Wayne 3B Chase Headley is working to get better. Best quote in the article comes when he’s asked about his critics: “I’m not concerned with outside opinions.” This is a rampant thing in sports coverage and it’s completely overblown: the “expectations” card. Any
    competitor worth a darn has higher expectations for himself than anyone, so anyone else’s expectations are more or less irrelevant. If I ever write that story or ask an expectations-related question
    during an interview, you have my permission to furiously send an e-mail
    that says, “Dude, you’re not living up to my expectations!”
  • Another story about Cameron Maybin (who is coming back from concussion symptoms after running into a pole during batting practice) and how the Padres’ leadoff hitters struggled last year. I can’t get over the .306 OBP… that’s bad.
  • The Padres’ bullpen coach is fighting hard against pancreatic cancer.
  • With the Padres’ potential new Triple-A ballpark in suburban San Diego in limbo, the ownership group is looking at its options, including selling.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy’s recovery from his freak injury is profiled.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Dirk Hayhurst is now with the Rays and had to assure them his writing career is harmless.
  • Rockies OF (and Midwest League alum) Carlos Gonzalez hit the bejeesus out of a ball on Sunday. The article doesn’t say it directly, but it was a double.
  • Another MWL alum, Dodgers INF Dee Gordon, won Baseball America‘s Winter Player of the Year award.
  • The players’ union met with the World Umpires’ Union to hash some things out.
  • Fighting amongst teammates isn’t as rare as we might think, and a lot of times the team ends up winning.
  • Some prospects might be ready to contribute in the big leagues this year, including Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall and LHP Drew Pomeranz. Nationals OF Bryce Harper probably isn’t ready yet, but he made a nice play in the field.
  • The Phillies have some injury issues with 2B Chase Utley and OF prospect Domonic Brown, who was struggling mechanically at the plate.
  • Royals SS Alcides Escobar, a big piece of the Zack Greinke trade, can’t catch a break.
  • I grew up listening to Cavaliers radio guy Joe Tait… he’s a character. I’m biased, but I think Ohio teams have some of the best radio people in the business with Tait, Tom Hamilton of the Indians, Marty Brennaman with the Reds (this episode notwithstanding) and Paul Keels with Ohio State.
  • Another great one, Cubs radio guy Pat Hughes is going to be part of writing a book about Ron Santo.
  • I don’t know if it makes the shows any better, but three pretty good bands touring via old-school railroad cars sounds like fun.
  • This is what happens when baseball dorks get ahold of Photoshop.
  • This is what happens when one of the best sports writers around wants to make a point.
  • This is what happens when you invite the TinCaps to a throwback charity event and encourage costumes: old-school rappers. Like Kris Kross.

Musical guest… Old Crow Medicine Show!

Take care!

DW

TinCaps on the radio – sort of

If you’re in a place where you can listen to things on the internet this afternoon, listen to the Padres-Royals game. Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos is supposed to throw two innings and Simon Castro is expected to pitch one inning. These guys were here in Fort Wayne less than two years ago.

Random thoughts:

  • Indiana and Notre Dame will play soccer at Parkview Field again in 2011. Last year the game came down to penalty kicks. You can order tickets here.
  • I’m not a huge soccer guy, but I liked the World Cup last year. Nick Greenwood is a big soccer guy and taught newbies like me what to watch for.
  • Fort Wayne alum LHP Wade LeBlanc is looking to iron things out after an up-and-down season last year.
  • Former TinCaps LHP Juan Oramas is back to playing catch after straining his shoulder.
  • Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley had a nice game from the right side of the plate, which is good early reinforcement after he spent time working on that this off-season.
  • Baseball America has a follow-up piece to its Top 100
    prospects list… A, inevitably, a lot of people ask how close Player X was
    to making the cut. Former TinCaps OF Jaff Decker (and LHP Cory Luebke) got some love, but not nearly enough to crack the list.
  • The Padres hope CF Cameron Maybin delivers on his big potential. So much so that two different people wrote about it.
  • Here’s a stat-based Padres preview.
  • Nationals megaprospect OF Bryce Harper is batting .000 with a 100% strikeout rate in Spring Training. What a waste of $10 million, right?
  • Who yaps in a Spring Training game? Prince Fielder, that’s who. I’ve heard stories from when he was in rookie ball – apparently he yelled “Boom!” when he hit a ball hard. People had to tell him to stop, otherwise he would’ve led the universe in times hit by a pitch.
  • Prospects for the Royals and Giants have hit well early in camp.
  • A former MWLer is going to blog this season.
  • A different former MWLer learned his unorthodox delivery by throwing tomahawks in his backyard. He also had a sweet mustache which got him some attention. Just when I thought this guy sounded like someone I would’ve gone to high school with, I found out he’s from Michigan. I was immediately furious with myself.
  • Robb Quinlan after finding out his locker at Phillies’ camp was near those of Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels: “I imagine I’ll start the opener… I mean, who else in here would start?” He’s not even a pitcher, which makes this even funnier.
  • This article comes at it from a fantasy baseball angle, but the point is, ERA isn’t always a great measure of a pitcher’s effectiveness.
  • The new bat rules are already having an effect on college baseball.
  • I think we all know pro baseball is better than pro basketball, but here’s more proof.
  • I heard the other day that Mumford & Sons’ sales are up something like 175% since they performed on the Grammys. Color me unsurprised – they’re good.
  • One day I’ll go to this. And this.

Musical guest… The Allman Brothers!

Take care!

DW

Punxsutawney Phil: complete fraud

The weather today in Fort Wayne is a brutal reminder that we shouldn’t trust weather predictions from rodents. Spring seems an awfully long time away.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps RHP Matt Lollis is on the fast track. He seemed to fly under the radar last year when he opened the season in extended spring training, but he was probably the best starter the TinCaps had at the end of the year. I’m on the bandwagon.
  • Padres RHP Mike Adams might be able to fill the closer’s role if/when Heath Bell leaves. Bell himself says Adams’ stuff is better than his own.
  • The Padres hope OF Cameron Maybin has a breakthrough now that he’s not looking over his shoulder.
  • Orlando Hudson is an early riser. Quote of the day: “A sleepy-headed man won’t keep no woman.”
  • Highlights from yesterday’s Padres chat: Fort Wayne alum C Luis Martinez looks good handling pitchers in their bullpen sessions, Orlando Hudson is probably an upgrade over David Eckstein even if Hudson doesn’t bounce back offensively and Tony Gwynn, Sr. is recovering from back surgery. Another topic of conversation was “draft needs.” In baseball, only draft need for a team that drafts well is “the best player available.” This isn’t the NFL. If you pin your hopes on drafting one player to solve a positional problem in the big leagues, you’re asking for disappointment.
  • Peter Gammons says the Red Sox have a culture of helping a brother out, as SS prospect Jose Iglesias has learned.
  • Matt Stairs, now in camp with the Nationals, is “one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet,” says Jayson Werth. Stairs originally signed with the Expos, so technically he’s back with his original franchise.
  • With Adam Wainwright done for the foreseeable future, would the Cardinals void the last two years of his contract and use the cash on Albert Pujols? Maybe, but if they still ended up losing Pujols, that would be disastrous. Especially given the recent success stories of pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • The Pirates are sending mixed messages on what it’ll take for them to spend more money on major-league payroll.
  • LHP Mike Hampton is still kicking and trying to win a spot in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen.
  • Phillies OF Domonic Brown will get a long, long look in spring training. He’s one of the top prospects in the game, but the Phillies don’t seem committed to having him in the big-league starting lineup out of camp. Not yet, at least. The Phillies’ lineup is awfully left-handed now that Jayson Werth is gone.
  • The Nationals will try to get OF Bryce Harper an at-bat in their spring opener. I’m picturing 50-year-old male Nationals fans shrieking, weeping and fainting at the sight of him.
  • How do they operate those fancy Gametrackers you get to enjoy during baseball season? Find out from a datacaster. They ran a Gametracker for the All-Star Game last season and it’s a pretty interesting computer program. Games at the Double-A, Triple-A and MLB level get this type of tracking.
  • Mike Tyson owns a tiger in movies, but in real life he owns pigeons. He’s getting a reality show about it, so it must be true. He claims the first time he fought anybody was after a bully killed one of his birds. You can guess who won that fight.
  • This weekend I’ll be on a quiz bowl-ish team in a fundraiser called The Brain Game. While we all know my team is favored to win, the important part is that the game raises money for the Fort Wayne Center for Learning. Check them out.
  • Eddie Money is playing a concert in Fort Wayne tonight and nobody I know wants to go. So there goes that “two tickets to paradise” joke I’ve been saving for months.

Musical guest… Eddie Money!

Have a great weekend!

DW

Mat being Mat

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a huge Mat Latos fan, so I’m not objective when it comes to stories about him. He played here for a few weeks in 2009. He might be a little rough around the edges, but that’s just him being young. He is a professional butt-kicker on the mound and he has fun doing it.

So when I read a story about Latos signing baseballs “I hate SF,” I don’t think he’s going to suddenly go all Kenny Powers and be a public relations nightmare. We’re so used to athletes either being cliche machines or Chad Johnson publicity hounds that we’re not used to anything in between the extremes. Latos will probably get asked a few questions about it (and booed) when the Padres go to San Francisco for the first time in 2011, but as long as he has fun with it, I can’t imagine it’ll become a big deal.

On the “professional butt-kicker” side, Latos will be treated like any other member of the Padres’ rotation this year. Geoff Young at Ducksnorts examines young pitchers who have gone through a similar workload at a similar age and the effects it’s had. Hint: If you’re going 200+ innings in an MLB season at the age of 22, you’re pretty good.

Random thoughts:

  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Ernesto Frieri has become a big part of the Padres’ bullpen, thanks in large part to a deceptive delivery.
  • The Padres’ team doctor uses all the technology available to keep the players healthy. Including the Wii. Seriously.
  • Today’s edition of Great Moments in Awkwardness is brought to you by Cameron Maybin, Twitter, Panda Express and “Any Given Sunday II: Montezuma’s Revenge,” coming to theaters in October 2014.
  • Notable from the minor-league transactions report: Why are the Red Sox as good (and as deep) as they are? Scouting. They draft well and now they’re finding guys in independent leagues who are good enough to contribute in the big leagues (which is extremely rare). Plus, they have the resources (prospects and money) to fill in the blanks through trades and free agency. All of this – except the money – should be reasons for optimism for Padre fans, since the new front-office regime came from Boston.
  • Tony Gwynn is rebounding from chemotherapy.
  • The Charleston River Dogs continue the trend of minor-league teams giving their customers the option of heart disease with their affordable family entertainment. The River Dogs are famous for their hot dogs – their newest one, wrapped in bacon, is called the Pig on a Stick. One of their other specialty dogs is called the Homewrecker. Which is the second-best name for a food item I’ve ever heard, coming in just behind the Texas Manhandler.
  • The Cardinals’ offer to Albert Pujols didn’t come close to what Albert was looking for. This drama became a possibility when they signed Matt Holliday to a big extension. Now they’re struggling to come up with more cash. Let me ask you this: If you’re a Cardinals fan, would you rather watch Albert Pujols on an otherwise mediocre team or a Pujols-less team that has a chance to win it all? Because it seems like those are the options on the table at this point. This is the Padres-Adrian Gonzalez situation on a larger scale.
  • Meanwhile, Richard Weeks re-signed with the Brewers; 5 years, $50 million. If he stays healthy, it’s a relative bargain for Milwaukee. But that’s a big if.
  • Elsewhere in Wisconsin buzzcut news, Robin Yount is a good dude.
  • I’ve often complained about the decline of creativity in baseball nicknames, and it looks like I’m not the only one who sees it. Did you know Phil Rizzuto called Lou Piniella “The Italian Stallion”? Lou is Cuban!
  • Keith Moreland will take Ron Santo’s seat in the Cubs’ radio booth.
  • Former MWLer LHP Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ opening day starter.
  • Another former MWLer, Indians C Carlos Santana is one of the few sources of optimism for the Indians.
  • The White Sox are looking for big things from LHP Chris Sale. That’s pretty rough for a guy who was just drafted last year.
  • The once-considered-strong Orioles’ farm system now has two big prospects and not much else.
  • A couple of Mariners pitchers have lots of tattoos.
  • Dave Hutte status updates: “My new car is pretty!” / “Gonna do my side of the guest list for the wedding today. Did you make the cut?”
  • Coming this fall… “Survivor: Toledo, Guest List Edition.”
  • This weather rules. I’m seeing grass poking out from under the snow on the field. First time for that since November, I think.

Musical guest… Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers!

Take care!

DW

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