Results tagged ‘ mat latos ’

Just an observation

Last night I watched some of the MLB Network “30 Clubs in 30 Days” on the Rockies. The one thing that stood out to me was from a “wired for sound” clip of RHP Huston Street.

While doing whatever pitchers do when stretching at Spring Training, Street said something to the effect of, “All of last year, there were probably only one or two times when an umpire missed a [ball/strike] call. I’d think for sure they’d missed one, but I’d watch tape after the game and I was wrong; they were right.”

This is important for a couple of reasons: Most people who wear a professional baseball uniform sincerely believe they are always right, even when there’s substantial evidence to the contrary. Street, in particular, is from Texas, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Texan admit he or she is wrong. So this is truly groundbreaking stuff.

Secondly, Huston Street threw 714 pitches last year. SEVEN HUNDRED FOURTEEN. And of those 714 pitches, he says the umpires missed one or two calls. Obviously this is an obscenely small sample size, but the point is that umpires are pretty darn good at their jobs. Would replay help them get even more calls right? Sure, but it’s tough to implement until it can be collectively bargained.

Until then, I think we can preemptively cut umpires some slack and let them do their jobs. Deal?

Random thoughts:

  • Lots of Fort Wayne alums saw the field yesterday in the Padres-Royals game. Mat Latos struggled with his command and Simon Castro gave up a couple of doubles, but Anthony Bass pitched a scoreless inning. The middle of the Padres’ order did well.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy threw a 40-pitch bullpen session with some intensity and felt fine afterward.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Michael Cuddyer will miss 1-2 more weeks after having a wart removed from his foot.
  • Not a whole lot notable about this week’s minor-league transactions, but here they are anyway.
  • The Cardinals’ pitchers are dropping like flies.
  • The Indians are planning to open the regular season without Grady Sizemore, but that could change.
  • Former Midwest Leaguer RHP Jacob Turner pitched in an MLB spring training game and looked good.
  • Brewers RHP Zack Greinke says he “doesn’t know why” he was a fan favorite in Kansas City and he hurt his ribs away from the field and it was “stupid.” This guy has unwittingly become one of the best interviews in baseball by simply being honest.
  • One of the secretly-most-important (and nice) people in baseball passed away, says Peter Gammons.
  • Every athlete claims he just ignores everything and tries to keep focused on playing the game, but with Josh Hamilton you get the feeling it’s actually true thanks to some of the things that have happened with him.
  • Rich Eisen running the 40-yard dash is my favorite thing a sports TV host does all year. Because anyone who calls himself “an icon” immediately after running a 6.18-second 40-yard dash is OK with me. I’d like to think I run the fastest 40 of any radio guy in the Midwest League (if not all of baseball) and I’ll prove it anytime, anywhere.
  • HUGE rec-league volleyball tournament tonight. Our team (soon to be known as the Malibu Sands Beach Club) may just be peaking at the right time.

Musical guest… Van Halen!

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

A full-frontal media assault

If you’ve read any generic “here’s what’s been happening lately” news/feature-ish stories lately, you know that information is coming at you faster than ever. The news cycle lasts four hours instead of four days. Stories are thrown away like… something you throw away after a really short amount of time. Even commercials aren’t immune, as we found out with the Dwight Howard SportsCenter spot (it’s outstanding, but it only lasted a week! What are we doing here?).

Well, guess what, bro-chacho… Get ready for even more short-term, self-serving promotion through media that may or may not exist in three years. This blog, TinCaps game recaps, podcasts, press releases – almost literally everything I do at work – is about to make Twitter even dumber.

Just to be clear, if you’re not into the tweeting, everything will still be in its normal spot. Twitter is just a one-stop place to point people to everything. Still, for all the ripping I do against it, I have been swept (by association) into the Twittersphere. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the shower washing off my shame for the next three hours.

Random thoughts:

  • TinCaps single-game tickets are on sale now. If you want tickets to the Triple-A series, go here.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Mat Latos is predictably catching heat for his “I hate SF” autographs. He’s being accepted by his teammates now, which wasn’t always the case. Latos threw live batting practice yesterday.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable has changed his stance from last year. He’ll probably hit leadoff this year. Last year, Padres leadoff hitters had a .302 OBP. That’s abysmal. Venable’s OBP was .324 overall, .341 when he was in the top spot.
  • Padres RHP Mike Adams needs all of spring training to get his mechanics right.
  • INF Jorge Cantu grew up in Mexico, which helps the Padres connect with their fans just across the border.
  • Padres scouting director Jaron Madison went through a lot to get to his current job.
  • Former MWLer Dee Gordon says his two favorite parks are in our league.
  • Red Sox prospect OF Ryan Westmoreland is swinging a bat in his recovery from brain surgery. When his brain condition was first diagnosed, the doctors didn’t know if he’d ever play again. Before that, he was the top prospect in the organization.
  • Twins 1B Justin Morneau is still recovering from his concussion and hopes to be ready by opening day. The weirdest part about it is, the original collision didn’t look that serious, but it obviously was.
  • Jayson Stark has the list of guys who pitched at least 10 MLB seasons and never had a losing record. Urban Shocker and Spud Chandler are two names on that list. If at least one of those names doesn’t make you giggle, we can’t be friends.
  • Two senators want to ban smokeless tobacco in MLB. It’s already against the rules in the minors, but that rule is about as well-enforced as the speed limit on the highway. Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg is already trying to quit.
  • Justine Siegal became the first woman to throw batting practice to an MLB team. I don’t know many people who actually WANT to throw BP to anyone other than their own kids, so I’d think a lot of people would welcome her.
  • When did people start calling Hank Steinbrenner “Boy George“?
  • Hank went off on “socialism” in baseball. When your team is the one paying $130 million in luxury tax, these are the kinds of things you say.
  • Alex Rodriguez had been waiting weeks to drop this joke on the media.
  • Ask BA touches on the top draft prospects and how they did in the first week of college baseball.
  • Yesterday was President’s Day. Fact: my favorite president is Lincoln. People from THIS COUNTRY were lining up in fields by the thousands and shooting each other, and he held it together. He’s the only president who’s had that happen, right?
  • Would you just watch this video again? Please?
  • Former TinCaps strength guy Rick SantaBarbara asked me to write something for his “trying to be the best at exercising” blog. Obviously he wants a true expert on the subject.

Musical guest… INXS!

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

Mat being Mat

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

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

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

Random thoughts:

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

Musical guest… Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers!

Take care!

DW

It’s spring – deal with it

First of all, have some of this.

Secondly, have some of that:

http://www.facebook.com/v/855054701568

Thirdly, pitchers and catchers reported to spring training yesterday. The world feels like a better place because of it. That is all.

Random thoughts:

  • There’s a ton of new pitchers in Padres’ camp. Which is good. It’s the baseball equivalent of diversifying your stock portfolio… You never know who’s going to have an unexpected good or bad year, so it’s a good way to stabilize things.
  • Why do you need to diversify? In case of injuries. Like this one. Better to have it happen now than in July.
  • This article says Fort Wayne alum Mat Latos will have no innings limitations this year. Which isn’t exactly true; every pitcher in baseball has innings/pitch limitations, otherwise we’d go back to four-man starting rotations and Old Hoss Radbourne throwing complete games every time out. To be more precise, Mat’s pitch/innings limits will be the same as everybody else’s this year.
  • Fort Wayne alum Jake Peavy was part of a new medical procedure. His injury sounds pretty gross the way it’s described.
  • Fort Wayne alum Oliver Perez arrived at Mets camp. This is the second story that suggests that the Mets can’t stand him but stops short of actually saying it.
  • Local native Jarrod Parker is trying to hit the ground running as he recovers from Tommy John surgery at Diamondbacks camp.
  • Ask BA says this year’s draft class is pretty much head and shoulders above last year’s.
  • Several people (including Tony Kornheiser and Bobby Valentine) made this point yesterday: If the Cardinals came to Albert Pujols’ agent in May and gave him exactly what they wanted, do you think they’d turn the Cardinals down? Doubtful. Which makes this whole contract deadline buildup a little… lame.
  • Indians manager Manny Acta shares his lineup-making philosophy: Put the best hitters at the top so they get more at-bats. Makes sense to me.
  • Carlos Santana (the catcher) is good.
  • Marlins monster Mike Stanton put on eight pounds this off-season. “All fat,” he says.
  • Carlos Zambrano is making no promises when it comes to his behavior. All Gatorade machines in the Chicagoland area just shivered in terror.
  • Brian Wilson keeps the ball he threw to end the World Series in a candy jar and Giants fans are going to taunt Dodger fans. If these stories came from anywhere other than San Francisco, they would seem out of place.
  • A Japanese player joining an MLB team makes for a lot of work for the media relations staff. Just ask the Twins.
  • Here are six ways teams mess up in the off-season.
  • Tigers RHP Joel Zumaya is throwing again, which is kind of a miracle, and RHP Jacob Turner is really good. Turner was in the MWL last year and had command of his curveball, which you don’t usually see out of a guy that young who throws that hard.
  • There are some really good young players making league-minimum salary in the National League. And, to a lesser extent, in the American League.
  • Quote of the day from yesterday: “I think we haven’t thrown a single pitch as a group yet. So it’s kind of early to say we’re one of the best rotations in the history of the game.” – Cliff Lee
  • Cal-Berkeley’s baseball program is going to be cut and Title IX (referred to by non-Romans as Title 9) is being partly blamed. A controversial story, for sure.
  • Meanwhile, Cam Newton is taking a pay cut and signing on with Under Armour. Did I say that out loud?
  • This whole “computer playing Jeopardy” thing is bogging the show down. Yesterday they needed an entire half-hour to play what amounted to half a game because they were too busy advertising for IBM. We get it. It took a lot of work to make a computer that can do this. Sometimes it gives the wrong answer. Let’s watch it play.

Musical guest… Jeff Beck and B.B. King!

Take care!

DW

Under pressure

Here’s a hypothetical situation… Imagine it’s 2013. Jay Bruce hasn’t signed his huge contract, so he’s two years away from free agency and a huge payday. He’s one of the best young players in baseball. He’s going to play for Team USA in the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic. Usually the tournament is a fun international competition. But this year, Jay Bruce and seven other Americans HAVE to win. Why? Because if Team USA doesn’t win, those eight guys will be drafted into the United States military for two years of mandatory service. If they try to skip out of their service, they’ll face arrest or will have to leave the country, unable to return.

That would be a big story, wouldn’t it? Star athletes with two years of peak production (and millions of dollars) on the line. Win or else. So why wasn’t it a bigger story this off-season when Shin-Soo Choo went through almost the same situation?

Acceptable answers: (1) He plays in Cleveland and (2) he’s from South Korea.

Choo went bananas at the Asian Games (.571 with three homers and 11 RBIs), his South Korean team won the gold medal and Choo is now exempt from serving in the South Korean military. He says he was 50-50 on what he would have done if the Koreans hadn’t won: maybe he would have never gone back home, maybe he would have served. As a Cleveland fan, I’m glad he didn’t have to make the decision.

Lord knows we’ve had enough Decisions in the last year.

Anyway, while everybody was falling all over themselves to cover the Derek Jeter contract pout-fest, Shin-Soo Choo was the main character in a far more interesting story. He’s my choice for under-reported baseball story of the off-season.

Random thoughts:

  • Minor-league transactions from the past week were posted yesterday… Two TinCaps from the 2010 squad (RHP Jon Berger and OF Bo Davis) were released by the Padres. LHP Nathan Culp, who was Fort Wayne’s opening day starter in 2007, retired.
  • Also, the Rays signed RHP Juan Cruz to help their bullpen. He was dominant with Arizona in 2007 and ’08 but tanked the last two years with Kansas City. For a team that is trying to rebuild the bullpen, it’s a nice signing.
  • Another signing: The Padres picked up 35-year-old LHP Randy Flores on a minor-league deal. He was really good for Colorado last year (2-0, 2.96 ERA in 47G) but the wheels fell off late, the Rockies waived him, then he stunk it up for the Twins. He’s the definition of a situational lefty and the Padres already have ISU Sycamore Joe Thatcher, so Flores will have to be really good this spring to make the big-league team.
  • Five spring training storylines for the Padres.
  • Highlights of the latest Padres chat from the SD Union-Tribune: Mat Latos will be treated like everybody else when it comes to innings this year, the Yankees may have interest in trading for Wade LeBlanc, Simon Castro and Casey Kelly could be in the MLB rotation by mid-season and Adrian Gonzalez accounted for 23.6 percent of the Padres’ runs produced (runs + RBIs minus HR) total last year.
  • Fort Wayne alum LHP Oliver Perez hasn’t gotten to Mets’ spring training yet, and the New York Post wants to rip him, but they don’t do it directly.
  • Who signed the worst free-agent contract in baseball history, according to the Orioles’ GM? Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers.
  • Here’s a decent Michael Young trade watch; he was almost sent to the Rockies and the Dodgers had interest, but that’s been about it. Supposedly.
  • Nine questions for the Cardinals entering spring training. I have a sixth: Will LaRussa let Colby Rasmus play every day? He played 144 games last year, but at least 15 of those he entered as a pinch hitter. Those two don’t seem to be getting along.
  • Saturday in LA, some of the best high-school players in the country will attend an MLB showcase. One of them is Wayne Gretzky’s son.
  • Headline from a Chicago paper: “Call me crazy, but it’s a Sox town now.” You’re crazy.
  • Somebody is going to take Ron Santo’s seat in the Cubs’ radio booth, but nobody knows who that is yet.
  • Stephen Strasburg threw for the first time since Tommy John surgery.
  • The Indians signed Orlando Cabrera to play second base. A slap-hitting infielder with a .303 OBP who has been on playoff teams a lot, but has rarely been brought back to those playoff teams. At least he can fill in at short and it’s only a one-year deal. This looks like insurance in case prospect 2B Jason Kipnis doesn’t work out.
  • Josh Hamilton says he hopes to be part of the Rangers’ organization long-term. The Rangers say they want him around long-term. So why did he only sign a two-year deal?
  • Yesterday I mentioned Ross Ohlendorf winning his arbitration case against the Pirates. Now, Jared Weaver lost his case with the Angels. The initial reaction is “that’s crazy,” but it’s not that crazy. They’re not really comparable cases.
  • Also recently, we wondered if the Year of the Pitcher was at least partially thanks to new bat-diameter rules. Turns out, it almost definitely wasn’t.
  • Former MWLer Mark Buehrle loves dogs, but he doesn’t love Michael Vick.
  • MiLB.com has a story about a white player who broke the color barrier in reverse.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill tells us about a minor-league team hosting a unique promotion: A human cannonballist will try to shoot himself over the outfield wall from home plate. The world-record di
    stance for non-American Gladiators human cannonball is 185 feet. According to this, the shortest porch at Lowell’s park is 301 feet (down the right-field line). If my calculations are correct, instead of a home run, this guy is going to be a screaming line drive to right. If I lived in the northeast, I’d be buying my tickets yesterday just to see how this turns out.
  • Here’s a website that looks like it has some staying power.
  • When I was sick last weekend, I went to the grocery store and I must have been in a fog because I bought a loaf of bread when I didn’t really need it. So to get rid of the extra bread, I’m going to try making French Freedom toast for the first time at some point this weekend. And you’d better believe I’m putting cinnamon into the mix. Because cinnamon takes a backseat to NO BABKA!

Musical guest… Queen!

Have a great weekend!

DW

The good, the bad and the embarrassing

There’s nothing that can break the monotony of a cold, gray off-season like watching a sporting event on TV and uncontrollably cackling like the Bishop in “Caddyshack”. That was me last night when the basketball Buckeyes put the beat-down of a lifetime on Purdue. The shots they were making, the Zubaz pants in the OSU student section… Everything about that game was sensational.

Also last night, MLB.com revealed its Top 50 prospects for this year. There were no former TinCaps on the list (RHP Casey Kelly was the only Padre and he came over in the Adrian Gonzalez trade), but there were plenty of guys you may have seen in Fort Wayne over the last few years:

1. OF Mike Trout, Cedar Rapids ’10
7. 3B Mike Moustakas, Burlington ’08
8. 1B Eric Hosmer, Burlington ’09
13. RHP Michael Pineda, Wisconsin ’08
14. LHP Mike Montgomery, Burlington ’09
15. RHP Jacob Turner, West Michigan ’10
16. C/OF Wil Myers, Burlington ’10
20. RHP Shelby Miller, Quad Cities ’10
28. 2B Brett Lawrie, Wisconsin ’09
29. RHP Jarrod Parker, South Bend ’08
34. LHP John Lamb, Burlington ’10
37. RHP Jake Odorizzi, Wisconsin ’10
38. SS Nick Franklin, Clinton ’10
39. OF Aaron Hicks, Beloit ’09-10
44. SS Dee Gordon, Great Lakes ’09
46. OF Brett Jackson, Peoria ’09
47. RHP Chris Archer, Peoria ’09

The first thing that jumped out to me is how much better last year’s top-end prospects were. Here’s why: On MLB Network, it seemed like everybody agreed that Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (the No. 2 prospect on the list) would end up as a No. 2 starter in the big leagues (which, like anything else, is debatable). Meanwhile, check out the Top 10 from last year:

1. OF Jason Heyward, Braves
2. RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
3. OF Mike Stanton, Marlins
4. C Buster Posey, Giants
5. LHP Brian Matusz, Orioles
6. OF Desmond Jennings, Rays
7. RHP Neftali Feliz, Rangers
8. 3B Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
9. 1B Justin Smoak, Mariners
10. LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants

You could make the case that last year’s No. 2 prospect, Stephen Strasburg, was good enough to be the Nationals’ ace when he was pitching at San Diego State. Heyward and Stanton look like stars in the making. Same for Posey, Bumgarner and Feliz who were key players on World Series teams. In fairness, it was an unbelievably talented group last year, but I think it’s easy now to look back and see how spoiled we were when it came to prospects last year.

Now all there is to do is wait for the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. When it arrives in the mail, baseball season is officially coming up.

Random thoughts:

  • We’ll know in a few years just how good the Adrian Gonzalez trade was for the Padres. Also in that column, it seems like folks are frustrated by the economics of small-market baseball in 2010. The Padres weren’t going to get Jacoby Ellsbury or any other MLB-ready young players in that trade, but they did get Boston’s top hitting and pitching prospects. The days of undervaluing young players in trades are over. When you’re an MLB team in San Diego (one of the smallest local TV markets in baseball) that’s fallen on hard times, rebuilding is just part of the deal. The new Padres’ regime is trying to put a sustainable system in place that is constantly building through the draft, but it takes time for that system to pay off.
  • The Padres’ camouflage jerseys got a redesign, and they’re more… camouflagy. In the article photo, players/models Mat Latos and Will Venable are Fort Wayne alums.
  • The Triple-A Tuscon Padres’ new logo is now public.
  • The Padres’ chairman/former principal owner had his divorce case settled. Which is good, compared to the messy divorce of the Dodgers’ owners which seems like it’s hampering the baseball operations budget.
  • In this week’s MiLB transactions, we see RHP Dirk Hayhurst, a Fort Wayne alum and now big-time author, signed with the Rays. There are a TON of former Padres with the Rays now.
  • The Giants’ Top 10 Prospects are posted at Baseball America.
  • Jayson Stark points out today that the last two pitchers to lead the American League in saves aren’t expected to be closers in 2011. I’m not sure if that says more about the uselessness of the save statistic or the value of a good setup man.
  • The Blue Jays traded the just-acquired Mike Napoli to the Rangers for RHP Frank Francisco. So, essentially, that means they traded Vernon Wells (and $5 million cash, allegedly) for Juan Rivera and Francisco. If the Jays were in any other division, they might be the favorite “surprise team of 2011.” But if your aunt had a… never mind.
  • Which was a worse decision (on paper): The Barry Zito contract or the Vernon Wells trade? Fangraphs investigates.
  • From the Rangers’ perspective, Napoli crushes lefties. Which is good when you play against Oakland a lot.
  • Here’s a sports contest Cleveland has a chance to win… Who’s tougher to trade away: Vernon Wells at $23 million a year or Travis Hafner at $13 million a year?
  • Here’s an article trying to predict MLB salary inflation. Hint: It’s about seven percent per year. BUT, that could change with a new collective bargaining agreement probably coming before next season.
  • What could have happened if we’d had the two-division, two-wild-card system over the past decade?
  • If you’re having trouble deciphering what some of the new sabermetric stats mean and figuring out what a good OBP or OPS is, you need to read this.
  • So what you’re telling me is, Derek Jeter doesn’t have enough range to play shortstop, but he does have enough range to play center field? What am I missing here?
  • Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero hasn’t had range in years. He doesn’t have a job right now, and Texas is making less sense for him than ever.
  • The Pirates announced higher day-of-game ticket prices for the first time in nine years. I’ve always said, when you want to bask in the brilliance of .38 Special, you’d better be ready to shell out a few extra bucks.
  • If appearing in an MC Hammer video makes you a record mogul, well… Jimmy Rollins has been a mogul since he was 13 years old.
  • As lame as the college football bowl system is, stories like this make it seem less and less likely things will change. Which is a shame, really.
  • Speaking of shames… Sigh. Just embarrassing.
  • You know it’s been cold when it’s 27 degrees outside and it feels warm.
  • Team president Mike Nutter says the only way the OSU-Purdue game could have been better was if Gus Johnson was calling the game. I disagree, simply because I would have been petrified of a Purdue comeback the entire second half. Fact: Gus Johnson only calls close games.
  • Fact: The only way this isn’t soul-crushingly lame is that Ohio State basketball is 21-0. When you’re undefeated and destroying top-15 opponents, you can do whatever you want. You know, as long as it’s within NCAA rules.

Musical guest… The Raconteurs (and friends)!

Take care!

DW

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