Results tagged ‘ nick hundley ’

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Another former TinCap was traded by the Padres. Again. Two days ago it was RHP Erik Davis to the Nationals. Yesterday it was 1B Allan Dykstra to the Mets for RHP Eddie Kunz.

Dykstra, if you remember, was a first-round pick in 2008 and played for the TinCaps in 2009. I thought he was a very nice guy with big-time pop, but also has a degenerative hip condition (meaning, not going to get better) which may or may not have had an effect on him. A phrase I heard at least one scout throw around was “slider-speed bat.” And that’s a tough thing to overcome if true. I’m not sure where he would’ve been assigned this year with 1Bs Matt Clark, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Blanks and Nate Freiman also in the pipeline for the Padres.

Kunz was a supplemental first-rounder in 2007. I saw him pitch in the Eastern League in 2008 and he was nasty. Kunz made his big-league debut later that year, but he hasn’t posted a sub-5.00 ERA since then. I haven’t seen any scouting reports lately to explain it, but guys usually don’t go from dominant at Double-A to struggling the next year without an injury or something weird happening.

Random thoughts:

  • Here’s another “what’s it like to work at a ballpark?” example: Before lunch today, I’ve seen our head groundskeeper knock over a full cup of Mountain Dew while using sweeping arm motions at a staff meeting; watched a demonstration of a paper cutter slicing through a phone book (in front of a crowd of about 10 employees, spellbound as if we’d just witnessed atomic fission); and participated in the minor-league phase of our fantasy baseball draft. ‘Tis the season.
  • Yesterday I ran some tests of our new radio equipment from the ballpark, then went to the radio station to check out how it sounded. It’s crystal clear. You won’t even believe it when all dozen of you turn on your radios. And the streaming feed is fixed – no more volume fluctuations between game audio and commercials. Now if we could find a radio guy whose voice isn’t jacked up, we’ll be in business. Big thanks to Mogan David, the engineer at Federated Media for his consulting work with a complete doofus.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos was placed on the DL yesterday and the Padres finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster. Six players from the active roster played here: RHP Ernesto Frieri, LHP Cory Luebke, C Nick Hundley, OFs Will Venable and Cedric Hunter and 3B Chase Headley. Mike Baxter, Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos are Fort Wayne alums on the DL.
  • The Padres won’t be sneaking up on people this year. I fear we underestimated the sneakiness last year, and perhaps the team isn’t quite as sneaky this year with the questions about the pitching staff.
  • RHP Aaron Harang got knocked around by the Brewers yesterday in the Padres’ Spring Training finale. INF Dean Anna, RHP Brad Brach, Jaff and Cody Decker are the recent TinCaps who made the box score.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy had a good simulated game yesterday, but is bummed he’s not making the trip north yet.
  • Same feeling for Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg, who is staying behind to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
  • Phillies 2B Chase Utley hopes to be back before the All-Star Break. Uh-oh.
  • Intriguing stuff from Baseball America about prospects, when to bring them up to the big leagues, changing the culture of a team, etc.
  • The Mariners have a reliever who is the classic huge-prospect-caught-for-drugs-twice-retired-bartended-backpacked-around-the-country-returned-to-baseball-jumped-to-the-big-leagues story. We’ve heard it a million times. He pitched in the MWL, for Clinton last year.
  • The Jays put Jose Bautista in right field and Edwin Encarnacion at third. In other words, as Buster Olney says, former MWLer Brett Lawrie won’t be in the minors long if Encarnacion doesn’t figure it out.
  • Former megaprospect Alex Gordon is back, and he’s hitting third for the Royals.
  • Baseball now has a 7-day DL specifically for concussions. Which is nice for the minor dings. Who will be the first team to put a phantom “concussion sufferer” on the DL to free up a roster spot?
  • Changes to Wrigley Field? Blasphemy!
  • One fan would rather eat his tickets than eat lunch with his team’s owner.
  • The Giants will decide where to assign 1B Brandon Belt today.
  • A catcher-pitcher argument followed by a dizzy spell followed by vomiting. And “Jungle” Jack Hannahan starting at third base. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Cleveland Indians!
  • “There is no heat in Cleveland in March! And we like it that way!” – Cavaliers TV play-by-play man Fred McLeod. I don’t care if Miami was tanking the game for playoff seeding or not, that win makes Cleveland’s 2011. Now if the Browns get A.J. Green in the NFL draft, we won’t know what to do with ourselves.
  • Oh, that’s weird: another story about corruption in college football. Read this book and tell me the bowl system makes sense. I dare you.
  • Since everybody else is doing it, predictions for playoff teams: Red Sox-White Sox-Rangers-Yankees, Phillies-Reds-Giants-Braves. I really wanted to pick the A’s and Rockies, but couldn’t pull the trigger. In October we’ll all look back on this and laugh.
  • This is the best idea I’ve heard all day.

Musical guest… Young MC!

Take care!

DW

Firing it through the internet

Here goes another day of just firing things through the internet

Today, Parkview Field will get a lot greener. That’s because our homeboys on the grounds crew, Keith Winter and Rob Dworkin, will spray green turf dye on the grass. And they’re not just painting it to make it look pretty or to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The dye traps heat and helps kick-start the growing process for the year.

We’ll have what local news outlets would call “in-depth team coverage” on TinCaps.com (in reality, it’s just two dudes covering a quasi-story you’ll forget about in 15 minutes, we’re just honest about it). I’ll take a before-and-after photo and KoKo Greer will have time-lapse video. Maybe you’ll even get the treat of a conversation with Keith Winter. You won’t want to miss that, I guarantee it.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps LHP Colt Hynes pitched another scoreless inning yesterday against the Angels. C Nick Hundley doubled twice, 3B Chase Headley had a rare tough day and LHP Wade LeBlanc had bad results but liked the process.
  • Hynes, LHP Rob Musgrave, RHP Casey Kelly and OF Cedric Hunter were reassigned to minor-league camp yesterday. Hunter is having a really good camp. You know, if a .520 OBP is what you consider good.
  • Padres RHP Chad Qualls was “not healthy” last year. Surprise!
  • Here’s something called a Prospect Smackdown between former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro and RHP Casey Kelly. Anything that includes the name of a second-tier pro wrestling show (and discusses relevant stuff) is first-tier material for this blog.
  • We have the good kind of “you just never know” when relative no-name players make it big. There is also the bad kind of “you just never know” when a can’t-miss prospect, uh… misses.
  • So far, Nationals can’t-miss prospect Bryce Harper is still in the can’t-miss category. Just ask anyone.
  • While Carlos Santana was putting the beat-down of a lifetime on the Brewers yesterday, Grady Sizemore is getting ready to make his spring debut this weekend.
  • A prospect the Diamondbacks found falsified his name, and after his contract was voided, he’s with the Yankees and considered a legit player. Weird all the way around.
  • Now that they’ve signed Ryan Hanigan to a long-term deal, the Reds seem to have some catching depth and other teams are calling to ask about it. In reality, they don’t seem to have a surplus to trade from, they just have a lot of good catchers at different stages of development.
  • The Pirates signed a 16-year-old pitcher out of Mexico and will send him to the Gulf Coast League where he’ll be one of the youngest players in the league. Usually guys like that get sent to the Dominican or Venezuelan leagues.
  • A’s closer Andrew Bailey only has a forearm strain… Which is good, compared to elbow problems. He already had Tommy John surgery.
  • Michael Wilbon says the NCAA Tournament stinks compared to what it used to be.
  • While the rest of the universe is reminiscing about that one time Charlie Sheen was relevant again, I’ll tell you who you should start following on your favorite social network sites: Neil Diamond. Exhibit A: A photo of Neil going through customs on his way back from Australia. You might say his credentials are unlimited. Exhibit B: Where else will you find photos of Neil Diamond eating at In-N-Out Burger?

Musical guest… Neil Diamond!

Take care!

DW

Ohio State beats Michigan… again

Last year to spice things up at Padres camp, the big-league team pressured former TinCaps 3B James Darnell into playing “Tequila” on the trumpet and had a basketball shooting contest. There were air horns, megaphones, cans of silly string, balloons… every conceivable distraction short of Speedo guy (side note: Speedo guy married a woman who had dated his brother? That’s like the roommate switch multiplied by infinity!).

Anyway, apparently this year the team decided to have a pigskin-throwing challenge like Uncle Rico meets NFL Quarterback Club. One would think the guy who actually played quarterback in college (LHP Clayton Richard) would want to put his talents on display. But then I remembered he played at Michigan and probably wanted everyone (including himself) to forget that his college football career ever happened. So Richard was designated as the “commissioner” of the competition. Whatever that means.

So who manned up and competed? RHP Casey Kelly (who had an offer to play at Tennessee), C Nick Hundley, 2B Orlando Hudson (who, according to Harold Reynolds, claims he was recruited by all kinds of SEC schools) and LHP (and Ohio State product) Cory Luebke.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Buckeye triumphed, with the highlight coming when Luebke nailed a trash can on the back of a moving golf cart from 30 yards away. Somewhere, Brent Musburger was smiling. And counting the money he had just won by gambling on the competition.

Just another example of why Ohio State rules and Michigan… doesn’t.

Random thoughts:

  • The Padres won a game against Arizona yesterday. Box score highlights from former TinCaps: James Darnell went 2-for-2, Luis Martinez went 1-for-2, Rob Musgrave pitched a scoreless inning, Cedric Hunter scored a run. Also, local native RHP Jarrod Parker pitched a pair of shutout innings for Arizona, sitting at 91-92 with his fastball and topping out at 95. If he’s all the way back from Tommy John surgery, he could get to the big leagues soon.
  • Padres bench coach Rick Renteria needs reconstructive surgery after getting hit in the face by a line drive during batting practice. With so many baseballs flying around, I’m continually amazed that more people don’t get hit.
  • RHP Mike Adams is ready for a chance to show he can be a closer. Not happening while Heath Bell is healthy and on the team.
  • Spring Training in Arizona is tough on pitchers, but what better way to train than to do it in a tougher atmosphere than the one you’ll actually be competing in? To me, it seems like a cross-country runner training at high altitudes; once you’re used to the thin air, everything else seems easier. But what do I know?
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy will make his Spring Training debut today.
  • The Triple-A ballpark project in the suburbs of San Diego has hit a speed bump. Looks like it’ll be the Tucson Padres for at least two years.
  • Former TinCaps groundskeeper Mitchell Gary McClary is getting ready to open a new ballpark in Omaha and legendary author Ben Hill tells us their clock is interesting. I hope it has better luck than the one in Hill Valley.
  • They might need two tape measures to figure out how far a Reds catching prospect hit one yesterday. The Reds already have a lot of homegrown talent on their roster and he could be on his way.
  • New Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is trying to run a tight ship.
  • “A lot of people say you can tell a lot about how a season’s gonna go by the first hitter of the year.” – Harry Doyle. What does it mean when your Spring Training park catches fire?
  • “A lot of people say you can tell how a season’s gonna go by the first batter of the year.” – Harry Doyle. What does it mean when your Spring Training park catches fire?
  • Former MWLer RHP Neftali Feliz was not pleased with his first start. The nice thing about him is, if he struggles to transition back to the rotation, they can just send him to the back of the bullpen where he’s been outstanding.
  • Fantasy baseball tip: Draft RHP Jordan Zimmermann late. He’s good and coming off an injury.
  • Fantasy baseball hope: The Yankees catchers continue to leave Jesus Montero as the best major-league option (through injuries or stinking) and owners like me can laugh all the way to the bank.
  • Ever wonder why teams don’t just cut those overpriced, underperforming players? Wonder no more.
  • Fangraphs investigates the most valuable players, dollar-for-dolla
    r, in baseball.
  • A good writer authored a book about the Tampa Bay Rays and how they went from laughingstock to contender. It’s a safe bet this will end up in my bag this summer.
  • Interesting article about prospect flops… Rick Manning (now an Indians broadcaster), alleged clubhouse thief Ruben Rivera and… Matt Wieters?
  • Other once-big-time prospects might be getting their last chance this spring.
  • This idea has been floating around from several sources, including Bill Simmons: If you had a rock band fantasy draft where you had to draft a singer, lead guitarist,  bassist and drummer, who would you pick? I’ve seen others disqualify solo acts (rendering Jimi Hendrix ineligible) and fictional artists (Animal from the Muppets is not allowed). My draft preferences are as follows… Singers: Chris Cornell, 70s Freddie Mercury, 70s Roger Daltrey; Guitar: Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince, Eddie Van Halen; Bass: Jeff Jones from Rush, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce from Cream, Tal Wilkenfield from Jeff Beck’s band (because she’s pleasing to the ears AND the eyes); Drums: John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Phil Collins (value pick of the draft – nobody thinks of him as a drummer).
  • The NFL might lock out. Big deal. Minicamps don’t usually start until late April anyway and the draft will happen regardless. The owners, who already have the best labor deal in major sports, are trying to hose the players. Contracts usually aren’t guaranteed, the average player’s career is something like three concussion-filled years long (and the owners want two more games on the schedule, which should shorten the career span), player pension is terrible (although good financial planning would offset that) AND the owners want more money off the top, AND they just got caught trying to lockout-proof themselves with billions from TV networks. Also, most of them are billionaires with other businesses they can fall back on. Sorry for not feeling bad for any of them. Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement comes up after this season – if they’re smart, they’ll figure it out way before that.
  • If you don’t like this, we’re no longer friends.
  • Dave Hutte status update: “Set the date for the wedding. October 29.” Did I mention the reception is going to be a costume party?

Musical guest…Led Zeppelin!

Have a great weekend!

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

Same as it ever was

Today I drove to work with the windows down. The snow is melted off the grass on the field. It’s a good day.

Also, someone sent me this video. I literally clapped after watching it. Another reaffirmation of the fact that dogs rule. And if you don’t agree, we’re not friends anymore. Lord knows Mark Buehrle agrees with me.

Random thoughts:

  • A well-placed source told me last night that former TinCaps 1B Cody Decker “runs trivia night” at an establishment in his hometown of Santa Monica. The source didn’t specify if that means Decker is the emcee for the trivia or if he is an unstoppable trivia competitor, but neither would surprise me.
  • Another well-placed source told me there’s no word yet on who will serve as the TinCaps’ strength coach this year. Two factors are probably in play here: 1.) Mark Brennan (who was here for parts of the last two years) took a job with the Marlins, a loss as crippling as LeBron leaving the Cavaliers. It has obviously left the Padres reeling and searching for answers. 2.) Apparently word has gotten out that any strength coach who comes to Fort Wayne will be humiliated in the weight room on a daily basis by the radio guy, a phenomenon which we saw on full display last year when Rick SantaBarbara left the team in shame to “go back to school.” He must be pursuing a master’s degree in bicep curls.
  • Question: Who are 3B Chase Headley, C Nick Hundley and OF Will Venable? Answer: Three Fort Wayne alums who want to take leadership roles for the Padres this year. Jeopardy.
  • Trevor Hoffman is at Padres’ camp helping out on the coaching side.
  • Padres RHP Chad Qualls was playing through injury most of last season and now he’s trying to work his way back in San Diego. Great pickup, especially for the price.
  • Highlights from the S.D. Union-Tribune weekly Padres chat: The timing of the Adrian Gonzalez trade looks even better now that Albert Pujols could be a free agent after the season, advice for fans going to Peoria for spring training and how players are paid when they split the season between the minors and the major leagues.
  • Aroldis Chapman got a tattoo with “105.1 MPH” on it. As in the speed of his hardest fastball last year. This may be the surest sign yet that he’s adapting to life in the United States – they use the metric system in Cuba, don’t they? In that case, the tattoo would say “169.1 km/h”. Just doesn’t have the same effect.
  • Aubrey Huff’s rally thong has been retired… for now.
  • The Yankees are interested in Kevin Millwood, but don’t want to overpay. Uh, what? They’re counting on any combination of A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Big Fat Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia and they’re worried about overpaying for Kevin Millwood, the definition of a buy-low player? In the words of Albert Pujols, come on, man.
  • Joba Chamberlain has put on some pounds this off-season. If there’s any sport where fat guys can succeed, it’s baseball.
  • Mitch Albom says Miguel Cabrera gets no excuse after his latest trouble. Well, of course he doesn’t, but he obviously needs help and burying him doesn’t improve anything.
  • Cleveland baseball fans are front runners, but I think that’s only half the explanation for the Indians-Browns double standard. When a baseball team is struggling, there are 81 home games, many of which are excruciating. When a football team stinks, there are only eight home games and there’s tailgating. It’s apples and oranges.
  • Carlos Santana is already being considered the franchise. Looks like he’s going to be treated like Victor Martinez, splitting time between catching, first base and DH.
  • Former Padre Gary Sheffield announced yesterday that he’s retiring. He hasn’t played since 2009 and nobody is interested in signing him – is this really an occasion for an announcement, other than to get people to ask the Hall of Fame question? Answer: No. To all of that.
  • Tom Petty. Earth, Wind & Fire. The Cure. John Mellencamp. The Beatles. None of these bands are playing in Fort Wayne this weekend, but local bands are covering them, and that’s good enough for me.

Musical guest… The Talking Heads! (Fair warning: this video is weird. But the music is good.)

Have a great weekend!

DW

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