Results tagged ‘ jaff decker ’

Athletes are people too, part 927

Call me a jerk, but once the season gets going, I tend to get into a baseball cocoon and not really notice what’s really going on in the world. You know, other than the earth-shattering story of figurehead monarchs getting married in a country we rebelled against specifically to get AWAY from said monarchy (the only acceptable discussion of that wedding is going in-depth on schemes to crash the reception. That’s it.).

Anyway, yesterday a reporter called and wanted to talk to some of our players (Chris Franklin, Chase Marona, Zach Cates) about the storms down south. I didn’t really know what he was talking about, so I turned to the internets for help, and holy cow. Monster tornadoes, towns leveled, people killed… Terrible stuff. Turns out the players’ families are OK despite some damage to their houses, but you can imagine it would be tough to focus on a dumb game when things are devastated back home.

Random thoughts:

  • This year’s San Antonio Missions, also known as the 2009 TinCaps No-Mercy Reunion Tour, have already had quite the season. They’ve scored 20+ runs in a game twice, and now their home ballpark was the scene of an ugly exchange between fans and the Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A Rangers). As Baseball America points out, Rangers prospect Engel Beltre was in the middle of it and was suspended 15 games, and he’s no stranger to stirring up trouble. The Missions really weren’t involved, but it’s ugly anyhow.
  • Our old homeboy RHP Erik Davis is (still) getting it done in the Nationals’ organization. He was traded this spring for INF Alberto Gonzalez and is now at Double-A Harrisburg with another old homeboy, former Wizards radio guy (and my former boss in Harrisburg) Terry Byrom.
  • In other Harrisburg/baseball news, there’s bad umpiring at every level of this game. I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about a handful of bad umps in the big leagues, especially because MLB umps have a Supreme Court Justice-esque ability to keep their jobs despite their job performance. Get used to it.
  • Fact: The Padres are bad offensively right now. A .289 team OBP is horrendous.
  • Fact: If you think Jed Hoyer’s job should be in jeopardy, you’re nuts. Everything he touched turned to gold last year, the big-league team played over its head, and now they’re coming back to earth. But in the high minors there’s a crop of hitters (led by Anthony Rizzo, who came back in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, and former TinCaps Jaff Decker and James Darnell) who are getting closer to MLB-ready. Plus they have six picks in the first two rounds of the draft this June. Give it time.
  • The FIRST-PLACE(!) Indians are calling up their first-round pick from 2009 for a spot start. Prediction: They won’t end this season as the first-place Indians.
  • How do we bring sabermetric stats to the masses? By focusing on what the stats MEAN, not how they’re calculated. In an age where we can get the internet on our phones, if people want to know, they’ll find out.
  • Browns GM Tom Heckert proved last night he’s a stylin’ and profilin’, jet-flyin’, limosine-ridin’, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’-and-dealin’ son of a gun. Whoo!
  • Good story about the Lynchburg Hillcats’ manager. He’s the guy who got hit in the face by a foul ball at Braves spring training and lost his eye. He never lost his optimism, though.
  • You may remember our discussion of a phenomenon known as The Wertheimer Effect, named for former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer. In the first month he worked for the Minnesota Vikings, Brett Favre’s consecutive starts streak ended, the head coach got canned and the Metrodome roof caved in. Well, it’s rearing its ugly head again… The Vikings took Christian Ponder in the first round of the draft last night. The one and only explanation for such a mistake is The Wertheimer Effect.
  • Between a Skyline Chili location within walking distance of the hotel, Montgomery Inn BBQ pork sandwiches at the ballpark and LaRosa’s/Donato’s Pizza being available in Dayton, I may not fit on the bus to come back to Fort Wayne at the end of this trip.

Musical guest… The Strokes!

Take care!

DW

The wrong kind of history

Last night was the first time since Parkview Field opened (April 2009) that a TinCaps game was postponed without a pitch being thrown. The silver lining to that is that I got to catch up on sleep, which was nice. Another good thing is that I assume it’ll push all the starting pitchers back a day and get LHP Mark Hardy another start. Any opportunity to lighten the innings load on the starting rotation is a good thing, because when it’s July and August and the starters are limited to 3-4 innings per start because of their season innings cap, it affects some guys mentally. So rainouts at home are bad from a business perspective, but from a baseball standpoint maybe it’s not the end of the world.

Random thoughts:

  • TinCaps RHP Keyvius Sampson and former TinCaps OF Jaff Decker made the first Prospect Hot Sheet of the year.
  • There’s a 2009 Fort Wayne TinCaps No-Mercy Reunion Tour going on right now at Double-A San Antonio. The Missions have now piled up 23 and 26 runs in single games this year, are batting .366 AS A TEAM (!) and have conked 20 homers in eight games. And they don’t even have SS Drew Cumberland yet – he’s on the DL. And they scored the 26 runs at home last night – I thought the wind always blew in at San Antonio’s ballpark.
  • Padres RHP Dustin Moseley has made three starts and received exactly ZERO runs in support.
  • Aaron Harang, on the other hand, has been more celebrated because he’s pitching well AND getting runs behind him.
  • A former Midwest Leaguer has gone from prospect to bartending to major leaguer.
  • A current South Bend Silver Hawk is repeating the league, but the Diamondbacks still believe in him.
  • Nationals prodigy Bryce Harper is looking slightly un-prodigylike in his first week in the minors. Total bust, right?
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is leading the American League in RBIs, my Indians are playing well and 3B prospect Lonnie Chisenhall is on his way. Oh baby.
  • Oakland OF Covelli Crisp has some crazy hair going. Crazy awesome, that is.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman sort of threw Joe Torre under the bus.
  • On the TinCaps’ bus the other day in Bowling Green, clubhouse manager A.J. Bridges was blamed for a miscue but tried throwing the bus driver under the proverbial bus, as ironic as that would be. Which led to longform quoting from this “Seinfeld” scene. Most of the staff laughed at the reference (maybe out of courtesy, but I’ll take laughs however I can get them), which means it’s going to be a fun year.

Musical guest… Jack Johnson!

Take care!

DW

In the cold Kentucky rain

It hasn’t stopped raining since we crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky. Seriously. Game was rained out tonight, doubleheader Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. local time (12:05 p.m. Eastern).

Random thoughts:

Musical guest… Elvis Presley!

Take care!

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

TinCaps: The College Years

RHP Mat Latos got the start on the mound. Then in the 9th inning, Jaff Decker, Daniel Robertson and Blake Tekotte came to the plate back-to-back-to-back. Decker singled, then Tekotte doubled him home.

No, I’m not reminiscing about a TinCaps game from May 2009… I’m talking about last night’s Spring Training game in Peoria, Padres vs. White Sox. It was darn near a TinCaps 2009 reunion.

I can’t help but wonder if the 2009 TinCaps team was like the “Saved by the Bell” heyday era for those guys. Maybe not their most profitable time, or even what they’d consider the most successful of their individual careers (since the point is getting to the big leagues, not winning Midwest League titles). But as far as having fun, winning games and being the toast of the town, they may never be a part of a perfect mix like that again in their careers.

At this point, they’ve all moved on. Some of the players from that 2009 team have gone away, like how Jessi Spano and Lisa Turtle mysteriously disappeared from “The College Years.” Others (Adrian Gonzalez trade pieces come to mind) have come in to fill their place, like Bob Golic as the awkward resident assistant/washed up-football player and Alex as the quirky  weird hat girl. It’s still a decent show/team, but it’s just not the same vibe, even if it’s a higher level and better for them individually.

We said it back then and it still seems completely right: Teams like that don’t come along very often, especially in the minors. So when they do, just enjoy it while it lasts. Like “Saved by the Bell,” the Belding years.

Or maybe I just watched too much TV as a kid.

Side note: “The College Years” did what I thought was impossible: it made college seem lamer and more awkward than high school. If that is actually how anyone’s experience went, I feel horrible for them.

Random thoughts:

  • Latos had a tough beginning to the night, but got it together and finished strong.
  • Fort Wayne alum INF Mike Baxter will miss around eight weeks due to thumb surgery. He tore a ligament.
  • Former Fort Wayne INF/OF Michael Cuddyer has been playing in minor-league games for the Twins and he’ll probably get into a big league game tomorrow. He had a wart removed from the bottom of his foot.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill reports on minor-league teams trying to give their fans healthy options at the concession stand. I’m a loyal customer at the Field of Greens deli wrap stand at Parkview Field. Their wraps are the dinner of champions.
  • Ben also has the story of the Tulsa Drillers’ remade mascot.
  • Nationals megasuperstud Bryce Harper hurt his ankle yesterday, but says he’s fine. With Stephen Strasburg already out, that would’ve been a lot of signing bonus money on the shelf.
  • A beanball battle in Spring Training? Really? And it was a former Nationals pitcher, now with the Cardinals, who was a big part of it. At least Nats SS Ian Desmoond, who is a good dude, turned it into a standup routine: “We were really trying to keep the fans around. Once
    Pujols came out of the game and Carpenter came out of the game, we
    knew they were going to leave. So we just had to add a little
    entertainment for them. It was intentional, but Miggy throws like Miss Iowa. It’s no big deal.”
  • Mark McGwire is trying to keep a low profile as the Cardinals’ hitting coach.
  • Has anybody else noticed the Phillies have caught all bad breaks since signing Cliff Lee? Utley’s hurt, Domonic Brown is struggling/hurt, they can’t find a right-handed hitter and now outfielders are colliding in Spring Training games. Some teams have everything go right, others have everything go wrong, and sometimes there’s no real reason why.
  • Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman is now a part-time model. I can only imagine the verbal beating he’s taking every day in the clubhouse because of it.
  • In Marlins camp, a minor-league lifer is getting a shot at the big club, but his at-bats might dry up when professional butt-kicker Mike Stanton is fully healthy.
  • The Cubs are going to make some roster decisions soon.
  • The Mets already have, and now they have to change the culture.
  • Hey, another story about Mariners RHP (and former Midwest Leaguer) Michael Pineda!
  • I feel like I’m a pretty balanced guy when it comes to stats vs. traditional scouting methods to evaluate players. One thing that can easily be overlooked/undervalued is a player’s work ethic/personality.
  • But on the statistical side, Fangraphs examines the way to make the best batting order.
  • Just for fun, Baseball America went back and (in hindsight) did a redraft of the 2005 MLB Draft, one of the best in recent memory
  • I’m reading “Death to the BCS.” As you might assume by the title, it’s not fair and balanced. A lot of the evidence is anecdotal instead of numbers-based, but it points out just how illogical the current college football system and refutes every one of the BCS’s arguments. It’s a good, quick read. I recommend it.

Musical guest… The Temptations!

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

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