Results tagged ‘ michael cuddyer ’

Another TinCap traded

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

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

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

Random thoughts:

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

Musical guest… Kenny Rogers and The First Edition!

Take care!

DW

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

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

Why baseball is better than football, part 482

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musical guest… Weezer!

Take care!

DW

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