Results tagged ‘ minor league baseball ’

Spring Training story time

It seems like there’s something of a split when it comes to the value of Spring Training. Do the stats matter? Do wins and losses matter? Well, take this Spring Training story into account when you think about it.

This weekend I talked to a well-placed source about minor-league Spring Training games. There was a minor-league game in Florida. Team A, the visitors, had a big lead the whole game, but their pitchers were using a lot of pitches and not lasting very long. Team B was coming back in the bottom of the ninth, two outs and bases loaded. Team A Manager calls time and tells the umpire his pitcher has reached his pitch limit and he’s the last guy who needed to get his work in that day. The umpire tells Team B Manager that the game is over because Team A is out of pitchers.

Then something happened that is completely unheard of in Spring Training baseball:

Team B Manager flips out. Completely loses it.

Says Team A is chicken, doesn’t want to lose the game. He’s furious and isn’t going anywhere.

Team A Manager calls his farm director. Tells him this other manager is a whack-job. This is a Spring Training game, right? Who cares?

So Team A Farm Director calls Team B Farm Director, who is at the complex where the game is being played. Would you please remind your manager that this isn’t the World Series?

Team B Farm Director walks over to the field, tells his manager to relax and that the game is, in fact, over.

The moral of the story is this: Stats mean virtually nothing. If you’re on the bubble of getting released or not making the big-league team, it’s more about how you look. How’s your bat speed? Do you have command of the strike zone? Are you throwing harder than 82 mph on your fastball?

And wins and losses mean nothing.

And so ends today’s Spring Training story time.

Random thoughts:

  • Just heard former TinCaps RHP Anthony Bass is starting today’s big league game.
  • TinCaps manager Shawn Wooten gets some pub in a New York Times blog about disciples of Mike Scioscia. Padres manager Bud Black, Rays manager Joe Maddon and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke were on Scioscia’s staff when the Angels won the World Series. And Wooten played on that team.
  • Usually needles are discouraged around baseball, but Stitch N’ Pitch is an exception.
  • LHP Clayton Richard struggled against the Angels yesterday. Fort Wayne alums OFs Will Venable, Blake Tekotte and Daniel Robertson and INFs Andy Parrino and James Darnell got playing time.
  • On Saturday, former TinCaps RHP Brad Brach was in the middle as the Padres and Dodgers “got spirited” with some beanballs. Mat Latos stopped in the middle of an autograph session and jogged to the field, just in case the jaw-jackers started to get a little more heated.
  • Latos was supposed to start that game, but he skipped it with shoulder soreness and now might be headed to the DL.
  • SS Everth Cabrera is going to make San Diego’s Opening Day roster. When the Padres released Kevin Frandsen on Friday, this looked likely. Also, OF Cameron Maybin is expected to return to the lineup today after a bout with quad stiffness.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Dexter Carter was released by the Padres. I’ve heard he’s already been picked up by the White Sox, the organization that drafted him.
  • The San Diego U-T‘s Padres preview asks if the Padres can catch lightning in a bottle again.
  • The U-T also has profiles of the 2011 Padres.
  • Tony Gwynn is cancer-free.
  • Here’s the 819th prospect ranking list of the year, this one by FanGraphs.
  • The Royals’ loaded farm system is like a really good garage band: They might hit it big as Royals, they might end up with other successful teams, they might flame out completely. You just never know. Just ask the Diamondbacks, circa 2005. They had OF Carlos Gonzalez, SS Stephen Drew, LHP Brett Anderson, OF Justin Upton, etc.
  • Mariners RHP Michael Pineda… He’s good.
  • Mariners LHP Erik Bedard is still alive, and he’s having a good spring.
  • Remember when the Cardinals were toast because they lost Adam Wainwright? Well, since then, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum have had injuries for the Brewers, half the Reds rotation (Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey) has health problems and Carlos Silva, who was kind of good for the Cubs last year, is gone. And that’s just the NL Central… The Phillies are just as depleted with Chase Utley out, Brad Lidge hurt and Jayson Werth gone to Washington.
  • The Red Sox got slammed by injuries last year, but they’re investing big in injury prevention.
  • Well what happened was, Buck Showalter was all like, “Derek Jeter’s a baby and Theo Epstein’s overrated,” and now Terry Francona’s getting all like, “Yo, why you hatin’?”
  • The Indians’ payroll is down for the third straight year.
  • The Cubs hired their new PA announcer after holding a giant PR campaign/dog-and-pony-show/employee search.
  • Did you know there have been 90 space shuttle missions since the Pirates’ last winning season? NINETY!
  • Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman’s translator was the trainer at Triple-A Louisville, but now the trainer got the call to the big leagues. Also in that notebook, Hal McCoy makes an exquisite point: When you’re flying, why is it that the people who play by the rules and check luggage at the airport counter are charged a decent chunk of money, but the people who act completely shocked when their their gigantic bags don’t fit into the overhead bins get to pay nothing? The luggage ends up in the same place, under the plane.
  • Apparently the Canseco brothers are kind of like those wrestlers who dressed exactly the same, right down to their masks, then when one of them got wailed on, they’d both go under the ring. When they came out, nobody knew who the legal man was, so the fresh guy would get back in the ring. You know what I’m talking about, right?
  • Buster Olney told the story of his dogs. When the TinCaps go to Lake County in mid-May, I’m going to hang out with my dogs so much they’re going to get sick of me.
  • America’s Next Great Restaurant” is a decent idea for a show, but it’s almost like they ran out of good contestants. I can’t believe some of the ideas ever made it to the show. A restaurant totally based on meatballs? A fast-casual grilled cheese sandwich restaurant? These must be the William Hungs of the restaurant reality show business.
  • I’m also proud to announce that I made my first omelet yesterday. And it was delicious. My breakfast arsenal is expanding pretty quickly.
  • I picked up a cold and my voice is almost completely gone. This is the radio guy’s equivalent to a pitcher having shoulder soreness two weeks before Opening Day: Better now than during the season.
  • Even though my post from Friday got deleted with the changes to MLBlogs, I do like the new format. It’s MUCH easier to use on my end and I don’t think you have to be registered to comment anymore. So comment away!

Musical guest… Milli Vanilli!

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

A level 1 blogging emergency

In Ohio (where I’ve lived most of my life), the higher the level of a snow emergency, the worse the snow is. So you can understand my confusion when yesterday morning someone declared a Level 1 snow emergency in our area and no cars were allowed on the roads.

Anyway, it was the first snow day I’ve had since college. And after watching several hours of awkward interviews with high-school football players who just announced (on quasi-national TV) where they’re going to attend college, I’m here to report that snow days are lamer than I remember. That is all.

Random thoughts:

  • The TinCaps will celebrate the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier on April 15.
  • The Padres picked up RHP Samuel Deduno from the Rockies. Lots of strikeouts in the high minors, lots of walks. Consider him the new Radhames Liz. San Diego designated INF Oscar Salazar for assignment, which means Jeudy Valdez keeps his spot on the 40-man roster. The move means about half of the players who were with San Diego for a substantial amount of time last year have gone elsewhere.
  • Dave Roberts is feeling good and already working at Petco Park. He’ll be the Padres’ first-base coach this year.
  • Lewis Black, who has made a career of being fake-outraged, caught wind of the Akron Aeros’ artery-clogging concession items. He is faking, right?
  • Fun names from this week’s minor-league transactions: Nick Bierbrodt, Braden Looper, Timo Perez (who, like many of us, wishes it was still the year 2000), Tobi Stoner (no, that’s not a misspelling).
  • Tim Kurkjian wonders if the workload on last year’s World Series pitching staffs will spell trouble in 2011.
  • From Buster Olney’s blog (insider only): Did you know some teams have installed 3D Doppler radar systems in their ballparks that can measure the spin, in RPMs, of pitches? Word is, TV news stations in those towns are racing to find a slightly-better Doppler system for their weather forecasts, then advertise the bejeesus out of it.
  • The Braves invited RHP Julio Teheran to MLB spring training. He’s considered the best pitching prospect in the minors by several outlets.
  • Frank Viola will be the pitching coach for the Mets’ short-season affiliate in Brooklyn. He was at the Winter Meetings looking for work, if I remember correctly.
  • The Mariners’ minor-league operations director did an interview. Interesting stuff about how winning games needs to be part of the development process. Not every organization believes that, at least not strongly.
  • The Yankees picked up OF Justin Maxwell, who had been designated for assignment by the Nationals. He played for us in Harrisburg when I worked there. Enormous and smart guy, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy or hit enough in the big leagues. I’m also puzzled as to how he’s going to be ready to go for spring training after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October.
  • Snow-mageddon 2011 has claimed part of the press box at Wrigley Field.
  • The Indians’ equipment truck leaves Cleveland for Arizona on Friday.
  • That might be the only positive sports-related story Cleveland gets for months. I watched the Cavs last night and couldn’t stop thinking about how the Cavs wouldn’t trade for Amare Stoudamire because they’d have to give up J.J. Hickson. Also, their starting lineup last night included Christian Eyenga, Manny Harris and Ramon Sessions. This guy here is dead!
  • I don’t know how everybody missed it yesterday with ten hours of live coverage, but Forrest Gump of Greenbow High School has signed to play his college football at Alabama. Rival fans are calling for an investigation into how Gump qualified academically.

Musical guest… REO Speedwagon!

Take care!

DW

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