Results tagged ‘ cedric hunter ’

Release the hounds!

So this morning we got the go-ahead to announce our roster. You can check out all the smoke-blowing here.

Aside from things in the actual press release/website article, there’s one thing that deserves to be shared above anything else: RHP Adam Dominick is a product of Division-III Wisconsin-Whitewater (bonus points) and is from Waukesha, Wisconsin. Notable natives? Steve Miller (of Steve Miller Band fame) and Les Paul (of Les Paul guitar fame). Even more impressive, when “artist” Ke$ha was playing a show in nearby Milwaukee, she wanted the town to temporarily change its name to Wauke$ha… but the mayor turned her down.

So… Waukesha, Wisconsin: OK by me.

Also, the day we release the roster is usually the day my “life” gets suspended until September. So if posts become fewer and further between, you’ll know why.

Random thoughts:

  • The San Diego U-T was under the impression the minor-league rosters wouldn’t be released until early next week. Oops.
  • The Padres are on pace to go 162-0 after a comeback win over the Cardinals yesterday. Former Fort Wayne 3B Chase Headley scored the go-ahead run from first with some heads-up baserunning (and a mistake by the Cardinals) in the 11th inning.
  • In this notebook, we see Fort Wayne alum OF Cedric Hunter made his MLB debut, becoming the 96th Fort Wayne product to do so. Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos threw a bullpen session before the game in St. Louis and will make a minor-league rehab start, probably at Triple-A Tucson. Also, LHP Cory Luebke is transitioning to a bullpen role.
  • Former Fort Wayne OF Brad Chalk gets some pub (even if it’s pretty harsh/honest) in a Baseball America chat.
  • Midwest League product and now-Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw mowed down the Giants last night. That was the one game I watched any extended part of. Kershaw looked good.
  • Braves OF Jason Heyward went yard on Opening Day again… Just call him Mr. March. Heard this on TV last night: The only other player to hit homers on his first two Opening Days was Mets SS Kaz Matsui. So Heyward has that to live up to.
  • They’re going to try to play baseball in Cleveland today. And Ozzie Guillen is not pleased. My mom sent me a picture from northeast Ohio yesterday – there was four inches of snow on the ground.
  • Mariners RHP Michael Pineda: He’s good.

Musical guest… Jimmy Buffett!

Have a great weekend!

DW

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Another former TinCap was traded by the Padres. Again. Two days ago it was RHP Erik Davis to the Nationals. Yesterday it was 1B Allan Dykstra to the Mets for RHP Eddie Kunz.

Dykstra, if you remember, was a first-round pick in 2008 and played for the TinCaps in 2009. I thought he was a very nice guy with big-time pop, but also has a degenerative hip condition (meaning, not going to get better) which may or may not have had an effect on him. A phrase I heard at least one scout throw around was “slider-speed bat.” And that’s a tough thing to overcome if true. I’m not sure where he would’ve been assigned this year with 1Bs Matt Clark, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Blanks and Nate Freiman also in the pipeline for the Padres.

Kunz was a supplemental first-rounder in 2007. I saw him pitch in the Eastern League in 2008 and he was nasty. Kunz made his big-league debut later that year, but he hasn’t posted a sub-5.00 ERA since then. I haven’t seen any scouting reports lately to explain it, but guys usually don’t go from dominant at Double-A to struggling the next year without an injury or something weird happening.

Random thoughts:

  • Here’s another “what’s it like to work at a ballpark?” example: Before lunch today, I’ve seen our head groundskeeper knock over a full cup of Mountain Dew while using sweeping arm motions at a staff meeting; watched a demonstration of a paper cutter slicing through a phone book (in front of a crowd of about 10 employees, spellbound as if we’d just witnessed atomic fission); and participated in the minor-league phase of our fantasy baseball draft. ‘Tis the season.
  • Yesterday I ran some tests of our new radio equipment from the ballpark, then went to the radio station to check out how it sounded. It’s crystal clear. You won’t even believe it when all dozen of you turn on your radios. And the streaming feed is fixed – no more volume fluctuations between game audio and commercials. Now if we could find a radio guy whose voice isn’t jacked up, we’ll be in business. Big thanks to Mogan David, the engineer at Federated Media for his consulting work with a complete doofus.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos was placed on the DL yesterday and the Padres finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster. Six players from the active roster played here: RHP Ernesto Frieri, LHP Cory Luebke, C Nick Hundley, OFs Will Venable and Cedric Hunter and 3B Chase Headley. Mike Baxter, Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos are Fort Wayne alums on the DL.
  • The Padres won’t be sneaking up on people this year. I fear we underestimated the sneakiness last year, and perhaps the team isn’t quite as sneaky this year with the questions about the pitching staff.
  • RHP Aaron Harang got knocked around by the Brewers yesterday in the Padres’ Spring Training finale. INF Dean Anna, RHP Brad Brach, Jaff and Cody Decker are the recent TinCaps who made the box score.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy had a good simulated game yesterday, but is bummed he’s not making the trip north yet.
  • Same feeling for Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg, who is staying behind to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
  • Phillies 2B Chase Utley hopes to be back before the All-Star Break. Uh-oh.
  • Intriguing stuff from Baseball America about prospects, when to bring them up to the big leagues, changing the culture of a team, etc.
  • The Mariners have a reliever who is the classic huge-prospect-caught-for-drugs-twice-retired-bartended-backpacked-around-the-country-returned-to-baseball-jumped-to-the-big-leagues story. We’ve heard it a million times. He pitched in the MWL, for Clinton last year.
  • The Jays put Jose Bautista in right field and Edwin Encarnacion at third. In other words, as Buster Olney says, former MWLer Brett Lawrie won’t be in the minors long if Encarnacion doesn’t figure it out.
  • Former megaprospect Alex Gordon is back, and he’s hitting third for the Royals.
  • Baseball now has a 7-day DL specifically for concussions. Which is nice for the minor dings. Who will be the first team to put a phantom “concussion sufferer” on the DL to free up a roster spot?
  • Changes to Wrigley Field? Blasphemy!
  • One fan would rather eat his tickets than eat lunch with his team’s owner.
  • The Giants will decide where to assign 1B Brandon Belt today.
  • A catcher-pitcher argument followed by a dizzy spell followed by vomiting. And “Jungle” Jack Hannahan starting at third base. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Cleveland Indians!
  • “There is no heat in Cleveland in March! And we like it that way!” – Cavaliers TV play-by-play man Fred McLeod. I don’t care if Miami was tanking the game for playoff seeding or not, that win makes Cleveland’s 2011. Now if the Browns get A.J. Green in the NFL draft, we won’t know what to do with ourselves.
  • Oh, that’s weird: another story about corruption in college football. Read this book and tell me the bowl system makes sense. I dare you.
  • Since everybody else is doing it, predictions for playoff teams: Red Sox-White Sox-Rangers-Yankees, Phillies-Reds-Giants-Braves. I really wanted to pick the A’s and Rockies, but couldn’t pull the trigger. In October we’ll all look back on this and laugh.
  • This is the best idea I’ve heard all day.

Musical guest… Young MC!

Take care!

DW

Another TinCap traded

Earlier this off-season, former TinCaps INF Cole Figueroa was part of a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Yesterday RHP Erik Davis, another member of the 2009 TinCaps, was dealt to the Nationals for INF Alberto Gonzalez.

The trade makes complete sense – the Padres wanted to give SS Everth Cabrera more time in the minor leagues but also wanted a utility infielder who could play shortstop.

As far as Davis, he tied the Fort Wayne franchise record (held by LaTroy Hawkins) with 16 wins in 2009. At one point that season, he won five straight starts, not allowing more than two runs in any of those starts. He had a really nice season last year, topping out at Triple-A.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos will open the year on the DL. Sigh. He’s supposed to play catch today. In other roster moves, former Fort Wayne OF Cedric Hunter and LHP Cory Luebke each made the big-league team.
  • INF Brad Hawpe had a hairline fracture in his ribs last year, but never went on the DL. He’s looking for a bounceback.
  • The Padres and Brewers combined to hit SIX home runs in a 5-4 game yesterday. Former Fort Wayne OF Will Venable accounted for two. Former TinCaps RHP Anthony Bass served up three of the homers, but give him a break – he was going against the Brewers’ MLB lineup. Ryan Braun hit two, Dick Weeks hit the other.
  • Here are the best- and worst-case scenarios for the new Padres.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy is ready to open the year in extended Spring Training… But that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
  • Fort Wayne alum Michael Cuddyer had an eventful off-season with a couple of health issues.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill tells us about the Tucson Padres’ “Name the Mascot” promotion.
  • Former Midwest Leaguer and now-Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez took a little while to tap into his potential.
  • Diamondbacks INF prospect (and 2010 South Bend Silver Hawk) Bobby Borchering is soaking up all the knowledge he can this spring.
  • I never thought I’d see Carlos Zambrano described as a “voice of reason” but it actually happened.
  • Peter Gammons reminds us that he’s still the man… by writing an excellent Spring Training update.
  • The Dodgers found Fernando Valenzuela by quasi-accident. If you ever watched the 30-for-30 documentary about Valenzuela you know how key he was to helping the Dodgers win the Latin-American community back after some craziness that happened when they were building Dodger Stadium.
  • O’s manager Buck Showalter is now directing his crotchetiness toward his own players instead of Derek Jeter. But when you swing at a 3-0 pitch in a blowout, you’re asking for crotchetiness.
  • Former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette is now a pretty good tennis player.
  • The Rays think Manny Ramirez has another big year in him.
  • A bunch of Rays had their apartment robbed, and apparently Evan Longoria had an AK-47 stolen. Uh, what?
  • I’m still sick. Voice sounds terrible. Many of you are probably thinking, “But it always sounds terrible!” You’re right, but shut up.

Musical guest… Kenny Rogers and The First Edition!

Take care!

DW

Firing it through the internet

Here goes another day of just firing things through the internet

Today, Parkview Field will get a lot greener. That’s because our homeboys on the grounds crew, Keith Winter and Rob Dworkin, will spray green turf dye on the grass. And they’re not just painting it to make it look pretty or to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The dye traps heat and helps kick-start the growing process for the year.

We’ll have what local news outlets would call “in-depth team coverage” on TinCaps.com (in reality, it’s just two dudes covering a quasi-story you’ll forget about in 15 minutes, we’re just honest about it). I’ll take a before-and-after photo and KoKo Greer will have time-lapse video. Maybe you’ll even get the treat of a conversation with Keith Winter. You won’t want to miss that, I guarantee it.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps LHP Colt Hynes pitched another scoreless inning yesterday against the Angels. C Nick Hundley doubled twice, 3B Chase Headley had a rare tough day and LHP Wade LeBlanc had bad results but liked the process.
  • Hynes, LHP Rob Musgrave, RHP Casey Kelly and OF Cedric Hunter were reassigned to minor-league camp yesterday. Hunter is having a really good camp. You know, if a .520 OBP is what you consider good.
  • Padres RHP Chad Qualls was “not healthy” last year. Surprise!
  • Here’s something called a Prospect Smackdown between former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro and RHP Casey Kelly. Anything that includes the name of a second-tier pro wrestling show (and discusses relevant stuff) is first-tier material for this blog.
  • We have the good kind of “you just never know” when relative no-name players make it big. There is also the bad kind of “you just never know” when a can’t-miss prospect, uh… misses.
  • So far, Nationals can’t-miss prospect Bryce Harper is still in the can’t-miss category. Just ask anyone.
  • While Carlos Santana was putting the beat-down of a lifetime on the Brewers yesterday, Grady Sizemore is getting ready to make his spring debut this weekend.
  • A prospect the Diamondbacks found falsified his name, and after his contract was voided, he’s with the Yankees and considered a legit player. Weird all the way around.
  • Now that they’ve signed Ryan Hanigan to a long-term deal, the Reds seem to have some catching depth and other teams are calling to ask about it. In reality, they don’t seem to have a surplus to trade from, they just have a lot of good catchers at different stages of development.
  • The Pirates signed a 16-year-old pitcher out of Mexico and will send him to the Gulf Coast League where he’ll be one of the youngest players in the league. Usually guys like that get sent to the Dominican or Venezuelan leagues.
  • A’s closer Andrew Bailey only has a forearm strain… Which is good, compared to elbow problems. He already had Tommy John surgery.
  • Michael Wilbon says the NCAA Tournament stinks compared to what it used to be.
  • While the rest of the universe is reminiscing about that one time Charlie Sheen was relevant again, I’ll tell you who you should start following on your favorite social network sites: Neil Diamond. Exhibit A: A photo of Neil going through customs on his way back from Australia. You might say his credentials are unlimited. Exhibit B: Where else will you find photos of Neil Diamond eating at In-N-Out Burger?

Musical guest… Neil Diamond!

Take care!

DW

The bee’s knees

tieline.jpgLast week I hinted at big news for dorks like us who enjoy baseball and radio. And baseball on the radio. Well, now you’re looking at it. It’s called a Tieline, and it rules. It’s the cat’s pajamas. The bee’s knees. If you think good audio quality is cool, just consider the Tieline Miles Davis.

I tested it yesterday and it sounds as clear as a conversation you’d have with someone in person. Which is a sharp upgrade, if you’ve listened to our games on the radio. I’m also working on improving the streaming internet feed… in the past, the commercials have been a lot louder than the game audio and we’re moving toward a better balance between the two. So now you know I’m not just sitting around here being a lame blogger… I (we) are saving the world, one slightly-less-mediocre broadcast at a time.

Now if we could just hire a decent radio guy…

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps INF Andy Parrino played in both the big-league game and the “B” game yesterday… and had hits in both. Also, Fort Wayne alum INF/OF Kyle Blanks got his first game action of the spring and went 0-for-2 and RHP prospect Casey Kelly looked good.
  • It was a battle of injury bounceback-ees yesterday at Camelback with Padres RHP Aaron Harang going against Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy. Maybe it was intentional, maybe not, but there are no radar readings on the Gametracker to tell how their velocity looked. Certainly was a good sign that Peavy got through four innings. Former Fort Wayne alums OF Cedric Hunter (double) and INF Mike Baxter (LONG home run) hit Peavy hard, but he was fine for most of the day. Peavy says he is making good progress in his rehab. Bud Black says he doesn’t think Peavy has lost anything from the injury.
  • Peavy went fishing with his old pitching coach on Monday.
  • Also, LHP Cory Luebke gave up four runs in four innings and still got credited with a hold. The hold is a bad stat. It’s right up there with the win and it’s almost as bad as the save.
  • Chase Headley had two hits, including one off LHP Chris Sale. He’s been hitting everything this spring, which doesn’t mean he’s going to keep it up in the regular season but it’s better than, you know, not hitting everything.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable is profiled on Padres.com.
  • Jerry Crasnick says the Padres are the no-name defense. And offense. And pitching staff.
  • Nationals ubermegaprospect Bryce Harper says he wakes up every morning feeling “hitterish… You know, you’ve got to wake and rake.” Which is the second-best quote of spring so far, behind Orlando Hudson‘s “A sleepy-headed man won’t keep no woman.”
  • Uh oh… Oakland closer Andrew Bailey is seeing Dr. Andrews, and I don’t mean Erin. Suddenly, the A’s loading up on bullpen arms doesn’t seem so weird.
  • Ask BA discusses prospect grades, potential top draft picks and Yankees LHP prospect Manny Banuelos, who pitched last night against the Red Sox and showed a REALLY good changeup.
  • Somebody thinks Barry Bonds leaving the Giants has been good for the team. They did come pretty close to winning a World Series with Bonds, but the point is the clubhouse chemistry is better now. Not to mention that it’s a completely different type of team now, built around pitching.
  • A helmet to wear while pitching? It’s not that far away. Slap a facemask on that thing and I think we’ve got something.
  • Mariners prospect RHP Michael Pineda could make the Opening Day roster, but it would make more sense for the team to keep him in Triple-A for a couple of weeks. This kind of thing happens with a lot of players, Pineda is just the current example.
  • Forget about the Ides of March… Beware the Snydes of March. I’m not sure what I mean by that, but it rhymes, so let’s just go with it.
  • I’ve filled out my bracket and I’m all in on Wofford. To go to the Sweet 16, that is. Their mascot is a dog, how could I not?
  • My weekly meeting with Michael Limmer has turned into a call-in talk show… former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer called today during the meeting. He wants everyone to know that he’s still getting free donuts and bagels for breakfast and cold sandwiches for lunch. Not as good as the players’ buffet, but free is free. And Allan loves free. Also, he had to decline two wedding invitations because the travel was too far.

Musical guest… Boyz II Men!

Take care!

DW

One last shot

Remember the stockholders meeting in “Mr. Deeds” when Deeds tells everyone they should try to be what they wanted to be when they were six years old instead of doing what made them the most money? Well, when I was six years old I wanted to be a famous athlete. By the time I was 15, I realized not everyone stopped growing when they were 15, and now here I am. Like Kenny Powers before he started taking steroids: washed up, damaged goods with a fastball in the 70s and no hitting abilities. Too short for basketball, too non-roided-up for football or pro wrestling. I need something that isn’t dependent on being a physical freak with moderate athletic ability. I need something anyone can succeed at if they work at it long enough. I’ve decided my final hope at athletic greatness may just be curling.

So tomorrow, I’m starting my journey toward Olympic glory with a Learn To Curl session with the Fort Wayne Curling Club. I figure if the U.S. Olympic curling team had a bartender, construction worker, substitute teacher and parole officer (which wouldn’t be bad identities for the 2010 version of The Village People) last Olympics, a radio guy has as good a chance as anyone. So I’ll see you suckers in Georgia in 2014. The country of Georgia, not the state. I’ll be the one with the gold medal.

Also, Abby Naas is going to try curling as well. Prediction: She falls down on the ice like an infant deer and fractures a wrist. Or in the words of Clubber Lang… Prediction? You know the rest.

Also, “Mr. Deeds” got a 24 on Metacritic? And “Taken” got a 50? Really? Sure it’s cheesy, but “Mr. Deeds” is funny and incredibly rewatchable. I suppose “Taken” is too, but for entirely different reasons.

Random thoughts:

  • Fort Wayne alum OF Cedric Hunter hit a three-run homer on his birthday as the Padres beat the Dodgers. Watching the tape-delayed broadcast on MLB Network, I am happy to report that Hunter’s home run ball was caught on one bounce by a shirtless guy wearing jorts, who promptly fell down on the grass berm. In former TinCaps box score trolling, Simon Castro and Rob Musgrave pitched a scoreless inning each and Jeudy Valdez went 1-for-2 with a stolen base.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos faces the Giants tonight.
  • Former Fort Wayne LHP Cory Luebke looks like he’s going to Triple-A to open the season according to this.
  • Highlights from yesterday’s Union-Tribune Padres chat: Latos’ reaction after tough spring performances is troubling, San Diego may be interested in Rangers C Taylor Teagarden as a backup now that Gregg Zaun retired, RHP Heath Bell had a motorized cooler that once broke down between the dugout and the bullpen at Petco Park, players on the 40-man roster must stay in big-league camp through Sunday (March 13), at least four MLB players have to be available to play in each Spring Training game and someone wanted to know the best place to “spot” Padres off the field. Whoever asked that question is what we call a cleat chaser. And there are male and female cleat chasers. And they’re more common in the minors than I ever imagined before I got into baseball.
  • This is a story about Padres OF Chris Denorfia, but he talks about how long it took him to fully recover from Tommy John surgery, which is of interest to former Fort Wayne INF/OF Kyle Blanks.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy feels better a day after his first start of Spring Training.
  • Not a whole lot interesting from the minor-league transactions report, but here it is anyway.
  • Mets LHP Johan Santana doesn’t sound like he’s going to be ready to pitch anytime soon.
  • The Rangers’ new owner might become the Rangers’ former owner soon. Which is a bummer, because he had a lot of success as the owner of the Double-A Altoona Curve.
  • In this notebook, the Phillies could be a fit for Rangers INF Michael Young and Kendry Morales now spells his first name Kendrys, which is his given name. Uh, what?
  • Twins OF Ben Revere, a former MWLer, is proving the haters wrong.
  • Question: Why would Tommy Hilfiger decide to show off what sports uniforms would look like if they designed them? Answer: Because ESPN asked them to. And they look horrible.
  • As much as I want to defend Ohio State football, they’re in trouble. You can’t sign something saying you knew nothing, then come out months later saying you knew something, which is what I’ve heard happened. But there’s pressure on these guys to make big money for the school, and coming out with information like this mid-season might mean losing, which means less money. What have we learned here? Tell the truth. Money ruins everything. Setting high moral standards for yourself makes everyone fall all over themselves to hammer you when you when you make a mistake. Because it’s better to just not even try doing something difficult because then you can’t fail, right?
  • This looks like one of the most fun vacation ideas of all time.

Musical guest… Pearl Jam!

Have a great weeken
d!

DW

Cut from the team, but not really

One of the toughest things to understand about baseball is how roster maneuvering works, mostly because there’s no good place to find explanations of everything. The 40-man roster, the active 25-man roster, service time/arbitration concerns… the casual fan doesn’t have time to care about this stuff. Which is one of the benefits of reading this, I suppose.

So yesterday, the Padres “reassigned” five players from big-league camp, four of them former TinCaps. Some outlets call it being “cut” from camp. In reality, these guys were never really ON the big-league roster, so it’s impossible to be cut.

Here’s the explanation that doesn’t come out nearly enough to help newcomers learn the game: Big-league camp starts a few weeks before the minor-leaguers show up. If you’re an upper-level prospect who isn’t on the major-league team, you might get an invitation to big-league camp. When that happens, you get to get into camp early, get some work in and show the big-league coaches what you’re working with. It’s basically the equivalent of the better JV players getting to practice with the varsity team. After minor-league camp starts, you eventually get sent back to practice with the JV peons, pretty much regardless of how well you’re playing. And even after a player gets sent back to minor-league camp, he can still play in the big-league Spring Training games – in fact, former TinCaps RHPs Brad Brach and Alexi Lara are both pitching in the big-league game today despite getting reassigned to minor-league camp yesterday.

Why invite the minor-leaguers to big-league camp? Well, there’s the tryout-type reasons I listed above, but also because SOMEBODY has to play in the latter innings of those early-spring games. The big-league position players start out playing 4-5 innings per day at the beginning of camp (pitchers going 1-2 innings) and often don’t travel to road games. They’re working their way into shape for the season. So somebody has to fill the spots in the lineup after the big-leaguers are finished getting their work in for the day. That’s when it turns into a showcase game for younger players trying to make an impression.

Questions? Leave ‘em in the comments or drop an e-mail… dan.watson@tincaps.com.

Random thoughts:

  • Brad Hawpe homered and Mike Adams had a rough inning for the Padres yesterday. Fort Wayne alums of note in box score: OF Will Venable caught stealing twice; OF Cedric Hunter went 1-for-2; LHP Rob Musgrave allowed an unearned run in one inning; C Jason Hagerty, INFs Chase Headley, Andy Parrino, Jeudy Valdez and OF Luis Durango all went hitless.
  • Veteran C Gregg Zaun retiring means former Fort Wayne C Nick Hundley has one less mentor.
  • Padres LHP Clayton Richard threw live batting practice yesterday as he recovers from shoulder soreness.
  • A potentially great moment for Greeks in baseball was thwarted last night when Padres RHP George Kontos didn’t face Royals 3B prospect Mike Moustakas. Mostly because it wasn’t Kontos’ day to throw. In reality, neither of them have ever lived in Greece, but they have Greek grandparents or something. So this is something of a non-story. But it could have really been something.
  • Apparently there are people who take satisfaction in heckling teenage multi-millionaires at afternoon exhibition baseball games. In other news, this guy is evidently based on a real person.
  • Get used to hearing this: Michael Pineda is good.
  • Ask BA ranks the last 12 prospects who were taken No. 1 overall in the MLB draft. Which isn’t completely the same as “Rank the hype around the top overall pick.” Also, they figured out that more 20 HR-20 SB seasons have come from high-school draftees than college products. Which, if you think teams should draft for high upside, means teams should probably draft high school guys more often. But rigidly sticking to any one draft philosophy (i.e. drafting all high-school guys, go for position scarcity) gets you in trouble.
  • Interesting stuff in Fangraphs’ report from the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which is the Mecca of stat geeks the world over: They’re getting close to being able to track how much a catcher moves his mitt, which theoretically should tell us how well a pitcher is hitting his spots (but what about when a pitcher is trying to bury a breaking ball in the dirt?); defensive metrics are advancing; balancing statistical analysis with traditional scouting; and projecting minor-league stats to big-league performance is still tricky.
  • MLB is (naturally) involved with the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
  • Some people call today Mardi Gras, which is French Freedom for Fat Tuesday. Others just call it Tuesday.
  • Dave Hutte Status Update: “Gotta figure out what to give up for Lent.” Let’s hope it’s not status updates. Also, I’ve decided I want to dress up like Dave Hutte for his costume party/wedding reception. After the obligatory creepy dyed-black goatee, I could go with any of several outfits: the 1997 crew-neck Packers sweatshirt/pajama pants/slippers combo, the generic basketball uniform (for pickup basketball games)/calf-length socks/white sneakers ensemble… and that’s just off the top of my head.

Musical guest… Weezer!

Take care!

DW

Why baseball is better than football, part 482

Let me tell you a(nother) reason why baseball is the best game there is: There is no scouting combine.

Football scouts get information overload. The vast majority of pro-caliber football players are already playing three or four years worth of nationally-televised showcase games 8-9 times per season at big-time schools. Each player’s every move is taped in practice and games. The amount of information available on football players is huge already. Then there’s the week-long combine, also nationally televised.

Now look at baseball. Sure, there are showcase camps and Aflac All-American games where some
of the best amateur players get together to play against each other. But there is no one-stop-shop where scouts get to dress virtually every draft-eligible player in awkward spandex to evaluate. They have to figure out if some peach-fuzzed kid with a mid-90s fastball who doesn’t need to throw a curveball against overmatched competition at a tiny high school will end up being a better player than a guy who plays against the top college competition in the nation.

You know Jason Heyward, considered one of the best young players in the big leagues? Thirteen teams passed on him, many saying it was because they didn’t get to see him swing the bat – he walked too much when scouts were around. And this was a high-schooler, usually one of the easier places to scout. Mike Piazza? Maybe the best offensive catcher in history. Drafted in the 62nd round. Teams drafted 1,389 players before the Dodgers took him. The NFL brags “every pick counts” because Tom Brady was a seventh rounder. Please. While NFL scouts are asked to find players who can contribute months (and eventually years) after the draft, MLB scouts are sometimes asked to find a 16-year-old in Venezuela who could be productive in the big leagues 10 years later after developing in the minors.

And you know what that means? Just like a lot of people agree that hitting a round ball with a round bat is the toughest thing to do in sports, trying to FIND people who can do that is the toughest assignment in sports scouting.

  • From Buster Olney: Looks like the Gonzalez trade haul will be
    assigned like this… 1B Anthony Rizzo to Triple-A Tucson, RHP Casey
    Kelly to Double-A San Antonio, OF Reymond Fuentes to Advanced-A Lake
    Elsinore. Which, to me, increases the likelihood of an Everett Williams
    encore in Fort Wayne to start the year, but that’s just a guess. Also,
    Rizzo doubled off Simon Castro in an intrasquad game.
  • Spring Training games started this weekend and Fort Wayne alum C Nick Hundley hit a grand slam and former TinCaps 3B James Darnell homered.
  • Former TinCap RHP Matt Lollis keeps getting noticed, this time by the San Diego U-T. You get the feeling he never would have been under the radar if he hadn’t been injured his senior year of high school.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF/1B Kyle Blanks is hitting in the cage and playing defense in intrasquad games as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
  • How do you score runs without a masher like Adrian Gonzalez? Run wilder than Hulkamania, and Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable could help in that department this year, especially with new first-base coach Dave Roberts.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Cedric Hunter has had an up-and-down career – he led the
    Cal League in hits in 2008 and was third in batting average… behind
    Daniel Nava and Carlos Santana, both now in the big leagues.
  • Fort Wayne alum (and now-Rays RHP) Matt Bush pitched a perfect inning this weekend.
  • In this Padres roundup,
    the Opening Day payroll is around $46 million, the team sometimes pays
    guys more than league minimum (even when it doesn’t have to) and Orlando Hudson loves NASCAR.
  • Hey, remember John Roskos? Neither does anyone else, which is Bill Center’s point: He was a Spring Training legend and didn’t amount to diddly poo. The moral of the story is, don’t put too much stock in these games, especially this early.
  • Former Padres GM Kevin Towers recounts his final days with San Diego. They’re awkward.
  • The Diamondbacks-Rockies spring training facility looks awesome.
  • Fort Wayne alum (and now Minnesota Twins) OF Michael Cuddyer isn’t playing yet because of a wart on the bottom of his foot.
  • The Seattle newspaper profiles Fort Wayne native and Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
  • Marlon Byrd made history last year and was the first guy to have non-organ music played at Wrigley Field, and he goes with a song by somebody named Gang Starr? Come on, man!
  • From Baseball America: Bubba Starling, who is draft-eligible this year, is a better athlete than Mike Trout, Donovan Tate or Aaron Hicks were coming out of high school. Wow.
  • How do you make the Wedding of the Century even better? By making the reception a costume party. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hutte!
  • What does a wildly successful TV director/philanthropist, engaged to be married, do with his free time? He suggests Wonderlic test questions to ESPN’s Page 2… And gets the top spot. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hutte!
  • It took watching “Muppets from Space” to remind me how fantastic and curmudgeon-y Statler and Waldorf are. “I wonder if there’s life on other planets…” “Why do you care? You don’t have a life on THIS planet! DAHAHAHAHA!”

Musical guest… Weezer!

Take care!

DW

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