Results tagged ‘ keyvius sampson ’
Check out Part 1 of a chat with Padres minor-league pitching coordinator Mike Couchee, plus highlights from a Sunday loss to Great Lakes.
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.
- 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!
RHP Keyvius Sampson says he’s looking forward to working in more off-speed pitches and the TinCaps split a four-game series on the road.
So Tuesday during the doubleheader against Bowling Green, we had the train wreck of the millennium (six games into the season, no less) when the following occurred (or you can just watch the video yourself):
Fly ball to left-center. CF Donavan Tate and LF Everett Williams converge. It looks like nobody makes the call. Tate makes the catch, Williams tries to duck out of the way at the last moment, they collide, limbs go flying. After a few seconds, the ball comes trickling out of Tate’s glove. Umpire says it’s a dropped catch, the batter is not out, the hitter races all the way around to score. Manager Shawn Wooten comes out, argues the call, gets ejected. Walks the rest of the way out to left-center where he finds Williams and Tate crumpled on the ground being attended to by both teams’ trainers. I’m sticking with my original description as “the worst-case scenario in all aspects.”
Well, not quite. From what is listed here and from what I can share, tests showed no structural damage for either guy. Tate went on the DL Wednesday with a hyperextended left knee. Williams is day-to-day with some tightness/soreness in his right knee. All things considered, as bad as it looked, neither guy was horribly injured. My cell phone, however, is irreparably damaged by all the text messages I received that afternoon.
Random thoughts (all based on the small sample size of 7 games):
- RHP Keyvius Sampson has now thrown 11 scoreless innings (19 strikeouts, 1 walk) this season. He retired 20 straight hitters to open the season. Fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, arm speed consistent on fastball-curveball-changeup. I talked to a scout before the game tonight who said “the secret’s out” that Sampson is really good.
- I’m pretty fired up to see Zach Cates throw again on Thursday. Liked him the first time I saw him. Good fastball, better secondary stuff than I expected.
- RHP Yefri Carvajal has looked fine so far in his transition to the mound. Fastball looks legit, command is good enough. And he still likes swinging the bat, hitting fungoes to infielders during batting practice.
- The TinCaps’ pitchers’ batting practice should be something to watch. Zach Cates was recruited as a catcher, Mark Hardy has a 1.000 career batting average (2-for-2 with San Antonio although he says he just got lucky), Carvajal is a converted outfielder, Chase Marona is a converted shortstop… These guys should drop some bombs.
- Before he was injured, Tate impressed me with a couple of things: First, just about all of his hits were either to the middle or back side of the field. Solid approach. Second, on Tuesday there was a ball smoked to the gap in right-center. He moved over, picked it off the wall and threw a one-hop strike to second to nail the runner. He got there quickly but I still thought there was no shot at getting the runner. Good arm, although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about it, him being a D-I quarterback recruit and all.
- On the infield defensively (especially on the left side), this team is so far ahead of last year’s club it’s not even close. B.J. Guinn can cover ground and pick it at short (haven’t seen many throws from deep in the hole yet) and Jake Blackwood has made every play at third. The catchers have blocked well and have thrown out all three runners who have tried to steal against them (Bowling Green isn’t even TRYING to steal against them, and Bowling Green steals against everyone). You get the feeling this is what the Padres have in mind when they talk about building a team for Petco Park: Pitching and defense, aggressive baserunning.
- I think this team will hit a little more when they’re not facing left-handed pitching every night. For whatever reason they’re on track for a string of facing lefty starters in 5 of their first 8 games.Which is a lot, especially for a team with so many left-handed hitters.
- Bowling Green is Reds country, so we’ve been able to watch the Padres-Reds the last couple of nights. Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos looked really good through four innings on Monday and Fort Wayne alum 3B Chase Headley looks lost at the plate. The Padres won in comeback, walk-off fashion today while the TinCaps were in progress.
- What the heck is going on when a guy gets beaten to within an inch of his life because he’s wearing the wrong team’s jersey? Unbelievable.
- Bill Simmons wrote a pretty good story about watching The Masters on TV with his young son.
- Cavaliers radio guy Joe Tait called his last game on Wednesday. Between his curmudgeony self and his Bill Cosby sweater collection, it won’t be the same without him.
Musical guest… Howie Day!
Mark Hardy talks about the mashers in the TinCaps’ pitching staff and Fort Wayne holds off Bowling Green to take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Division.
Just wanted to point you to an excellent human-interest/baseball story about TinCaps RHP Keyvius Sampson. Some of his adoptive family came up from Florida to watch him pitch the other night. It certainly wasn’t the only well-done TinCaps story we’ve seen so far, but it’s the one I have open in my browser right now.
Also, Zach Cates: He’s good. Hard fastball, nasty curve and a good change. When he was locating, he was pretty unhittable against South Bend last night. The TinCaps got some help from South Bend errors last night, but they forced the tempo a bit and that may have led to the mistakes.
- Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos is expected to return to the rotation on Monday.
- A Padres coach is recovering after getting smoked in the mouth by a ball and RHP Casey Kelly made his organizational debut.
- There’s going to be a movie about Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey – Robert Redford will play Rickey.
- From Buster Olney about Manny Ramirez: “Legacy? Hall of Fame? Teammates? Does anyone really think, after all we’ve seen in the past decade, that Ramirez cares about any of that? He won. He’s like the guy who robbed a bank of millions and was sentenced to 10 hours of community service.” Yep, but he was some kind of hitter.
- The Phillies’ rotation has an ERA above 6. Everybody freak out!
Musical guest… Elvis Costello!
I don’t get very serious on here very often, mostly because sports are supposed to be an escape from all the serious stuff we run up against every day. But, fresh off a delicious breakfast with my parents, I feel like I’m in the proper mindset and felt compelled to write because this is important.
We value people who are great athletes or musicians or accountants or whatever. But way more important than any of those things (and sometimes the toughest thing to be) is being a great human being. Larry Larson is that, times about a million. He’s maybe the best person I’ve ever met.
Here’s a story for you: It was November 2005. I worked part-time at WTVN radio in Columbus, Ohio. I worked the midnight-5 a.m. shift anchoring newscasts on weekends.
So here I was at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning, running on fumes because, well, I was a 21-year-old college student, it was 5 a.m. and I hadn’t napped properly the night before. It happened to be the day of the Ohio State-Michigan game. Ohio State was good, Michigan was (believe it or not) still good, relatively speaking. It was “The Game.” But, hey… I was still tired. And ready to go home. As I was sleepwalking around the station getting ready for my last newscast of the shift, this goofy old guy named Larry Larson came rolling into the newsroom like a tornado wearing Chuck Taylors, no socks, cargo shorts and a T-shirt from 1975. He was wired and ready to go for his morning sportscasts. We were already homeboys by that point, but I still got a kick out of him like everyone else did. The girl who was coming in to relieve me saw Larry and asked him, “Hey, Larry! Are you excited for today or what?” Then something happened that I’ll never forget:
Larry Larson raised his arms as if he was an Olympic champion, did some sort of leg shimmy (which drives the women in Columbus crazy) and said, “Shannon, when you’re 61 years old like I am, you’re excited about every damn day there is.”
That’s Larry: He’s enthusiastic, he loves sports, but more important than that, he loves people. He’s a retired a high-school teacher and football coach, a former marathoner and now he’s a retired radio broadcaster. He’s leaving Columbus and moving to California where a lot of his family now lives. He misses his wife/best friend, who passed away a few years back, and from the conversations we had within the last year, he just wanted to go somewhere new. He’s earned every bit of it. In addition to his teaching, coaching and radio careers, he toured Central Ohio with some of the best athletes in the area, speaking to kids about the value of character and hard work. If you were ever lucky enough to come into contact with him, you probably came away energized by how positive he is.
The moral of this story is this: We all love sports (sometimes to a fault) and we all get too caught up in career/politics/whatever else bogs us down, but the most important thing is the people around us, our family and friends. Larry gets that and makes everybody feel valuable. If everyone (myself included) could become half the human being Larry Larson is, we’ll be doing pretty well.
Columbus will be a poorer place for losing him. California, you’ve been warned: Get ready for bow ties, Chuck Taylors and the most energetic senior citizen you’ve ever seen.
And that’s my ode to Larry Larson, one of the best people I’ve ever met.
- Aside from the cold, wind and rain, it was a pretty good night on the field for the TinCaps. RHP Keyvius Sampson looked good. Rarely needed anything other than his fastball as he struck out ten over six perfect innings. I had him down for 87 pitches, which is over his limit, but they were not high-stress pitches. OF Donavan Tate’s base hit was a liner over the second baseman’s head, which is a good sign.
- Troy Tulowitzki has Beiber fever. He’s on fire since switching his walk-up music from Katy Perry to “Baby.”
- Tony LaRussa heard enough from St. Louis reporters with the Cardinals struggling out of the gate. So he walked out on a news conference.
- An Orioles prospect may not be in the minors for long.
- Giants closer Brian Wilson now has a Noah-esque staff to go with his flowing beard. You know, just in case he needs to part the Red Sea.
- One notable non-Buzzcut on the Wisconsin basketball team is now a buzzcut. And there’s video to prove it.
I’m a little short today because, well… It’s the season.
Musical guest… A Larry Larson favorite, Warren Zevon!
It was cold, it was windy and it was rainy, but it was an Opening Night win for the TinCaps. Listen in for an interview with manager Shawn Wooten, highlights from a 2-1 victory and a look forward to Friday’s game at Parkview Field.
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.
- 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!
The TinCaps landed in Fort Wayne yesterday, no problems. The coaches haven’t arrived (they’re driving their own cars in from wherever they’re from). The only real bit of news is that RHP Keyvius Sampson looks like he’s going to get the start on Opening Night. From everything I’ve heard, he’s nasty when he’s healthy.
- If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well… Fort Wayne should be flattered.
- In a story you read here last week, Former TinCaps C Griffin Benedict is now a big-league bullpen catcher. He says it was kind of a tough decision, believe it or not.
- Padres RHP Dustin Moseley took the loss in St. Louis yesterday, but deserves another start. Of course he does; if the Padres hadn’t been shut out we’d be talking about how great of an addition Moseley is.
- There’s been a moderate amount of freaking out about Orlando Hudson laying down a sacrifice bunt as the No. 3 hitter in the order. I’m a huge proponent of small-ball and I’ve never understood why it’s that big of a deal. I don’t care where you’re hitting in the lineup; you are who you are. Putting Orlando Hudson in the three-hole does not make him Albert Pujols. If you have run producers in the 4-5 spots in the lineup (and you should), why is it taboo to stay out of the double play (especially against a sinkerballer like Jake Westbrook) and bunt your way into a second-and-third, one-out situation? And I’d be saying this even if it hadn’t turned into a six-run inning.
- Speaking of freaking out, the Red Sox got swept by the Rangers. WE’VE GOT TO KEEP OUR COMPOSURE!
- Still speaking of freaking out, the Royals held their own Futures Game between their Triple-A and Double-A teams. Word is, it was like the Beatles landing in America for the first time. When your team has been so bad for so long, it’s only natural to get pumped about prospects but these guys are getting hyped to the point where it’s almost impossible for them to live up to it.
- Who does Red Sox manager Terry Francona think he is with those glasses? Harry Potter? John Lennon?
- Indians C Carlos Santana started a triple play in his first MLB appearance at first base as the Indians guaranteed they wouldn’t go 0-162.
- In the entire history of baseball, no pitcher has ever been as bad on Opening Day as Indians RHP Fausto Carmona was on Thursday. Thanks a lot, Elias Sports Bureau.
- Rockies RHP Ubaldo Jimenez’s thumb is affecting his velocity.
- So what happened was, Jim Edmonds was all, “That Brandon Phillips ain’t nothin’” and Brandon Phillips was like, “Hater in da house!” I didn’t even make half of that up.
- Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey wants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with some athlete friends, including a guy who once bicycled from Connecticut to Mets Spring Training in Florida. Also, Dickey got the idea from reading a book about people getting gangrene while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m not making any of this up.
- Marlins OF Mike Stanton: He’s good.
- What does Neil Diamond do during his down time in South Africa? Make friends, of course.
- Dave Hutte Status Update: “Bought a Cubs royal plush blanket and Packers tree skirt. Both 75 percent off!” Dave Hutte is nothing if not thrifty.
Musical guest… Thin Lizzy!