Results tagged ‘ chase headley ’

It’s the final countdown

It’s a weird feeling right now. I feel like I might be ready for the season to start, but the minute you think that is the minute you realize you forgot something and you’re completely hosed.

News from TinCapsVille:

  • At a meeting between the team and the front office yesterday, everyone in the room said their name and where they were from. It was ripped straight from the script of “D2: Because Everything’s Better When We Can Root for Team USA.”
  • Heard around a chilly, windy batting cage yesterday: “Coming from Arizona, it feels like we’re hitting cement baseballs.”
  • Jake Blackwood hit one over the retaining fence behind the left-field concourse during batting practice yesterday. It’s only BP, but that’s some pop.
  • Here’s the pitching rotation, at least the first time through: RH Keyvius Sampson, RH Zach Cates, RH Matt Branham, RH Adys Portillo, LH Andrew Werner. LH Mark Hardy and RH Matt Jackson will pitch every fourth day as piggyback relievers, meaning the starter will go 5 innings (at most) and the piggyback guy comes in to go 3-4 innings. That’s mostly because there are seven guys the Padres want to develop as starters, but five spots in the rotation. With all the turnover in the minors, the piggyback system keeps these guys ready to step right into the rotation if somebody gets hurt/promoted.
  • During the workout yesterday, the team scouted the idiosyncrasies of Parkview Field. Manager Shawn Wooten and the catchers checked out how the ball will bounce (or not bounce) back off the screen behind home plate. The infielders scouted how the ball comes off the fence along the side of Parkview Field (in case of overthrows) and everybody watched the way the ball rolls down each baseline on bunts. That’s heads-up stuff that can pay off big time.
  • Last year we had RHP Jerry Sullivan playing pianos like a lounge singer at hotels and LHP Mike Watt bringing his guitar on the road. This year we have Cates playing coffeehouse-style guitar shows in the clubhouse and I’ve heard RHP Adam Dominick can play as well. Maybe we’ll book them for post-game concerts on the amphitheater.
  • I told strength coach Reed Wainwright on Monday I’d be in the weight room on a daily basis. I don’t think he believed me until yesterday when I was down there for the second straight day working out for real.
  • C Rocky Gale automatically wins entrance song of the year for selecting Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold.” The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies’ room.

Random thoughts:

  • According to former Fort Wayne 3B Chase Headley, the ghost of David Eckstein may have helped the Padres win their home opener yesterday. RHP Aaron Harang had a nice start to pick up the win. If you’ve noticed, the Padres won their first series and they won the opener of their next series against the defending champs without their No. 1 starter. I know it’s a small sample size, but have we underestimated the sneakiness again?
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos could be activated from the DL early next week.
  • I don’t know how I missed it, but here are some minor-league transactions from Baseball America. Fort Wayne alums RHP Dexter Carter and OF Kellen Kulbacki were released. Carter was re-signed by the White Sox (who drafted him originally, but I think we covered this before).
  • Someone asked BA who would win in a battle of Royals minor-leaguers vs. the rest of the top prospects in MiLB. Something tells me the person who asked that question is a relative of Bob Swerski, who once famously asked who would win in a fight between Mike Ditka and a hurricane.
  • Two things I saw from watching the Rangers-Mariners game on TV last night: Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando could make everybody forget about the Neftali Feliz starter/closer debate, and Mariners RHP Michael Pineda is strikingly similar to former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro. Tall, wiry build, a slightly harder fastball than Castro, a nice slider and needs to use the changeup more or he’ll get beaten by left-handed batters (which Pineda did). Still, he looked good to me.
  • Rockies fans picked Katy Perry’s “Firework” to be SS Troy Tulowitzki’s entrance song. But he slumped, so he changed it to a Justin Beiber song. Because it must’ve been the music.
  • How many more losses before Red Sox fans go into full-on meltdown mode?
  • Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano got knocked around and then left the clubhouse before reporters could track him down to talk. Which is probably the quickest way to getting hammered by the New York media, not to mention your teammates.
  • They might  change the rules about college baseball players and agents.
  • Mustache Watch? I can handle that.
  • That’s enough, Jim Nantz.
  • I got an e-mail from former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer this morning euphorically claiming the hot buffet “IS BACK!!!” at the Vikings compound, where he now works. About 45 minutes later, he sent this picture message to my phone, captioned “YES!!!!!!!” Apparently the Vikings are bringing in 30 draft prospects today (many of them 300+ pounds) and somehow the video guy is the one everybody’s staring at for eating too much.
  • Speaking of breakfast, my family is coming to town for the first series of the season. I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty excited to make a Wertheimer-size breakfast for us on Friday.

Musical guest… OK Go!

Take care!

DW

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

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

TinCaps vs. Ohio

Maybe I shouldn’t be impressed by this, but I am: the Padres played two split-squad games yesterday and, by my count, 20 Fort Wayne alums played in the games (including C Luke Carlin who’s now with the Indians). Eleven of them have been here during the Parkview Field era (2009-10). The rundown:

In one game, an all-Fort Wayne-alum pitching staff held the Indians to three hits – Cleveland had under-the-radar MLB studs Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo in the starting lineup.

In the other game, former TinCaps RHP Matt Lollis had a rough inning against the Reds in a loss. To cut him some slack, the Padres made errors against two of the first three batters Lollis faced. INF Jeudy Valdez and C Jason Hagerty each had hits, and rumor has it Valdez made a nice play in the field.

Go ahead and say, “But Dan, didn’t you just say recently that Spring Training stats are meaningless?” First of all, stop whining. Second of all, the answer is yes, but I feel like bragging our guys up today and I don’t care if it’s rational or not. This is America. Land of the free.

Random thoughts:

  • If you see a TinCaps full-time staffer violating the new staff dress code between now and Opening Day, you win free tickets to Opening Day. This may or may not be the modern-day equivalent of wearing flair, except we have to wear it whether we’re working or not. But hey… it’s all for fun, right? RIGHT?!?
  • Also yesterday, Padres RHP Aaron Harang got a rude welcome from his old team, the Reds. He had trouble out of the stretch, but at least he knows what went wrong mechanically. The Padres really need a bounce-back year out of him.
  • Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley had two hits against the Indians, including a two-run single from the right side of the plate.
  • The big pieces the Padres got back in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, 1B Anthony Rizzo and RHP Casey Kelly, are both looking good this spring. Rizzo homered yesterday. Also, they call each other slobs and are both big Justin Bieber fans and tried to get into his movie. Something tells me they would have starred in the movie “Return of the Idiots” had they stayed in Boston.
  • Everybody except former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy was happy with his performance yesterday.
  • Rangers RHP Brandon Webb is going through a slow rehab from shoulder surgery.
  • Phillies 2B Chase Utley’s injured knee is a mystery. They’re not looking quite as untouchable as they did when they signed Cliff Lee.
  • Braves INF Brooks Conrad is looking forward after last year’s nightmarish postseason. Did you know he’s the first player to make a game-ending error in a post-season game since Bill Buckner? It’s really too bad – second base isn’t his natural position but he went out there anyway, then took all the heat after the game.
  • A minor-league manager in the Braves system got smoked by a foul ball yesterday. One of my buddies from college broadcasts the games in Lynchburg, where he’ll manage this year. Small world.
  • As a media relations-type guy, I’m always interested in a good debate about media ethics/behavior. Hints: when you’re anywhere on a working media credential, be working; no cheering in the press box; have fun, but don’t get too buddy-buddy with the players.
  • Could it be an ESPN version of The Watson Files? Maybe, but I doubt it features crowd-pleasers like this, and it definitely won’t have a sense of humor about itself.
  • I should have news about a massive upgrade to our radio broadcasts as early as tomorrow. This might only be interesting to the top echelon of Fort Wayne sports dorks, but as the radio guy, this is big news for me.
  • I dropped two spots from January in the MLBlogs rankings. Looks like I’ll be hitting “refresh” for an extra hour per day this month to raise my numbers again.
  • Brent Harring and I are speaking at the Berne Rotary Club meeting today. We went in 2009 and it still stands as the best time I’ve ever had at a meeting of any kind.

Musical guest… The Killers!

Take care!

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

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

American ingenuity

There are so many links to get to that this will be brief…

First of all, TinCaps single-game tickets (and tickets to the Triple-A series) go on sale Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Buy some. Please. I don’t ask for much.

Secondly, if you thought sliced bread, color TV and HD radio were good ideas, you haven’t seen anything yet, broseph. This weekend Brent Harring introduced me to MLB.TV on the PlayStation 3. Once my head stopped exploding, I decided it’s the leader in the clubhouse as best invention of the 21st century so far. You can watch any MLB game, fast-forward to the start of any half-inning you want to watch, check out the box score while watching… it’s incredible. Blackout rules apply, so that’s lame, but if you’re an utter baseball dweeb and your team is far away, this is a must-have.

Random thoughts:

  • The TinCaps have a new Twitter address. If you’re into that sort of thing.
  • This morning I stumbled upon this: Fort Wayne alum RHP Brandon Kintzler, who pitched here in 2005, didn’t play in ’06, then spent parts of the next three years in independent leagues, made his MLB debut with the Brewers last year. He’s the 95th alum to make it to the major leagues.
  • Remember when Fort Wayne alum RHP Mat Latos almost threw a perfect game? Nobody else does either, which is Geoff Young’s point.
  • Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley is a natural right-handed hitter, but you wouldn’t know it by the numbers from last year. He’s trying to even it up in 2011.
  • Former Fort Wayne manager Randy Ready is the hitting coach in San Diego now. Early in camp, he’s doing a lot of watching but not much instructing as he learns the new guys’ swings.
  • Padres prospect RHP Casey Kelly, who was the key to the Adrian Gonzalez trade, is doing a lot of listening, too.
  • It rained yesterday in Phoenix, which wiped out a lot of teams’ workouts.
  • Trevor Hoffman doesn’t really miss pitching; he’s enjoying life as a consultant/dad.
  • The Padres’ TV deal kind of stinks – and when they re-negotiate it for 2012, that could bring in a nice chunk of cash, which could help with payroll flexibility.
  • Fort Wayne alums Ray Chang and Michael Cuddyer get shout-outs in a Twins update.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill has the rundown of his favorite promotions scheduled for minor-league parks this year.
  • Albert Pujols wants 10 years on his next contract, which would be OK if he wasn’t going to be 32 at the beginning of the deal. Michael Wilbon wants the Cubs to sign him. The Cubs’ owner isn’t exactly squashing that speculation. The Cubs’ only big contract after 2012 is Alfonso Soriano, so they’d be in a position to make a run at Pujols. I just hope he hires a bodyguard named Virgil, starts wearing lavish tuxedos and laughing at things that aren’t really that funny.
  • The Tigers are saying all the right things about Miguel Cabrera.
  • Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez (former Midwest Leaguer) is considering moving his family to Miami because of the potential for trouble in Venezuela now that he’s a star.
  • Grady Sizemore is coming along fine, Carlos Santana will start an intrasquad game this week and Kenny Lofton is a guest instructor at Indians camp.
  • The Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford this off-season, but their rotation could really improve just by guys getting back to their normal selves.
  • John Kruk was on the radio this morning and said Rangers RHP Brandon Webb (a former MWLer) isn’t looking too hot in Rangers camp.
  • The Nationals held tryouts to be part of one of the most momentous occasions in all of sports – the running of the presidents’ race.
  • Brandon Phillips is taking PR advice from Chad Johnson. Gasp.
  • In an underrated coaching story, Davey Lopes took his talents from the Phillies’ first-base coach’s box to the Dodgers. Sam Perlozzo will try to take his place. Lopes was, by all accounts, REALLY good at helping his guys get jumps and steal bases. So remember that in your fantasy drafts.
  • Bats in college baseball are being made to perform more like wooden bats. Which is good from both a safety standpoint and a scouting standpoint.
  • Every MLB team is hiring somebody to do this “dream job” thing. This looks like a beat writer’s job, minus the “being at the games” part. Instead of living a life of luxury on airplanes and swanky hotels, you get to live in New York.
  • Hopefully Bill Simmons can do to the Internets what he did to the television: class it up.
  • Dave Hutte status update: “It’s ice, ice baby outside!”

Musical guest… The Beatles!

Take care!

DW

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