Results tagged ‘ orlando hudson ’

The boys are back in town

The TinCaps landed in Fort Wayne yesterday, no problems. The coaches haven’t arrived (they’re driving their own cars in from wherever they’re from). The only real bit of news is that RHP Keyvius Sampson looks like he’s going to get the start on Opening Night. From everything I’ve heard, he’s nasty when he’s healthy.

Random thoughts:

  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well… Fort Wayne should be flattered.
  • In a story you read here last week, Former TinCaps C Griffin Benedict is now a big-league bullpen catcher. He says it was kind of a tough decision, believe it or not.
  • Padres RHP Dustin Moseley took the loss in St. Louis yesterday, but deserves another start. Of course he does; if the Padres hadn’t been shut out we’d be talking about how great of an addition Moseley is.
  • There’s been a moderate amount of freaking out about Orlando Hudson laying down a sacrifice bunt as the No. 3 hitter in the order. I’m a huge proponent of small-ball and I’ve never understood why it’s that big of a deal. I don’t care where you’re hitting in the lineup; you are who you are. Putting Orlando Hudson in the three-hole does not make him Albert Pujols. If you have run producers in the 4-5 spots in the lineup (and you should), why is it taboo to stay out of the double play (especially against a sinkerballer like Jake Westbrook) and bunt your way into a second-and-third, one-out situation? And I’d be saying this even if it hadn’t turned into a six-run inning.
  • Speaking of freaking out, the Red Sox got swept by the Rangers. WE’VE GOT TO KEEP OUR COMPOSURE!
  • Still speaking of freaking out, the Royals held their own Futures Game between their Triple-A and Double-A teams. Word is, it was like the Beatles landing in America for the first time. When your team has been so bad for so long, it’s only natural to get pumped about prospects but these guys are getting hyped to the point where it’s almost impossible for them to live up to it.
  • Who does Red Sox manager Terry Francona think he is with those glasses? Harry Potter? John Lennon?
  • Indians C Carlos Santana started a triple play in his first MLB appearance at first base as the Indians guaranteed they wouldn’t go 0-162.
  • In the entire history of baseball, no pitcher has ever been as bad on Opening Day as Indians RHP Fausto Carmona was on Thursday. Thanks a lot, Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Rockies RHP Ubaldo Jimenez’s thumb is affecting his velocity.
  • So what happened was, Jim Edmonds was all, “That Brandon Phillips ain’t nothin'” and Brandon Phillips was like, “Hater in da house!” I didn’t even make half of that up.
  • Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey wants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with some athlete friends, including a guy who once bicycled from Connecticut to Mets Spring Training in Florida. Also, Dickey got the idea from reading a book about people getting gangrene while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m not making any of this up.
  • Marlins OF Mike Stanton: He’s good.
  • What does Neil Diamond do during his down time in South Africa? Make friends, of course.
  • Dave Hutte Status Update: “Bought a Cubs royal plush blanket and Packers tree skirt. Both 75 percent off!” Dave Hutte is nothing if not thrifty.

Musical guest… Thin Lizzy!

Take care!

DW

The bee’s knees

tieline.jpgLast week I hinted at big news for dorks like us who enjoy baseball and radio. And baseball on the radio. Well, now you’re looking at it. It’s called a Tieline, and it rules. It’s the cat’s pajamas. The bee’s knees. If you think good audio quality is cool, just consider the Tieline Miles Davis.

I tested it yesterday and it sounds as clear as a conversation you’d have with someone in person. Which is a sharp upgrade, if you’ve listened to our games on the radio. I’m also working on improving the streaming internet feed… in the past, the commercials have been a lot louder than the game audio and we’re moving toward a better balance between the two. So now you know I’m not just sitting around here being a lame blogger… I (we) are saving the world, one slightly-less-mediocre broadcast at a time.

Now if we could just hire a decent radio guy…

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps INF Andy Parrino played in both the big-league game and the “B” game yesterday… and had hits in both. Also, Fort Wayne alum INF/OF Kyle Blanks got his first game action of the spring and went 0-for-2 and RHP prospect Casey Kelly looked good.
  • It was a battle of injury bounceback-ees yesterday at Camelback with Padres RHP Aaron Harang going against Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy. Maybe it was intentional, maybe not, but there are no radar readings on the Gametracker to tell how their velocity looked. Certainly was a good sign that Peavy got through four innings. Former Fort Wayne alums OF Cedric Hunter (double) and INF Mike Baxter (LONG home run) hit Peavy hard, but he was fine for most of the day. Peavy says he is making good progress in his rehab. Bud Black says he doesn’t think Peavy has lost anything from the injury.
  • Peavy went fishing with his old pitching coach on Monday.
  • Also, LHP Cory Luebke gave up four runs in four innings and still got credited with a hold. The hold is a bad stat. It’s right up there with the win and it’s almost as bad as the save.
  • Chase Headley had two hits, including one off LHP Chris Sale. He’s been hitting everything this spring, which doesn’t mean he’s going to keep it up in the regular season but it’s better than, you know, not hitting everything.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable is profiled on Padres.com.
  • Jerry Crasnick says the Padres are the no-name defense. And offense. And pitching staff.
  • Nationals ubermegaprospect Bryce Harper says he wakes up every morning feeling “hitterish… You know, you’ve got to wake and rake.” Which is the second-best quote of spring so far, behind Orlando Hudson‘s “A sleepy-headed man won’t keep no woman.”
  • Uh oh… Oakland closer Andrew Bailey is seeing Dr. Andrews, and I don’t mean Erin. Suddenly, the A’s loading up on bullpen arms doesn’t seem so weird.
  • Ask BA discusses prospect grades, potential top draft picks and Yankees LHP prospect Manny Banuelos, who pitched last night against the Red Sox and showed a REALLY good changeup.
  • Somebody thinks Barry Bonds leaving the Giants has been good for the team. They did come pretty close to winning a World Series with Bonds, but the point is the clubhouse chemistry is better now. Not to mention that it’s a completely different type of team now, built around pitching.
  • A helmet to wear while pitching? It’s not that far away. Slap a facemask on that thing and I think we’ve got something.
  • Mariners prospect RHP Michael Pineda could make the Opening Day roster, but it would make more sense for the team to keep him in Triple-A for a couple of weeks. This kind of thing happens with a lot of players, Pineda is just the current example.
  • Forget about the Ides of March… Beware the Snydes of March. I’m not sure what I mean by that, but it rhymes, so let’s just go with it.
  • I’ve filled out my bracket and I’m all in on Wofford. To go to the Sweet 16, that is. Their mascot is a dog, how could I not?
  • My weekly meeting with Michael Limmer has turned into a call-in talk show… former TinCaps video guy Allan Wertheimer called today during the meeting. He wants everyone to know that he’s still getting free donuts and bagels for breakfast and cold sandwiches for lunch. Not as good as the players’ buffet, but free is free. And Allan loves free. Also, he had to decline two wedding invitations because the travel was too far.

Musical guest… Boyz II Men!

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

Punxsutawney Phil: complete fraud

The weather today in Fort Wayne is a brutal reminder that we shouldn’t trust weather predictions from rodents. Spring seems an awfully long time away.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps RHP Matt Lollis is on the fast track. He seemed to fly under the radar last year when he opened the season in extended spring training, but he was probably the best starter the TinCaps had at the end of the year. I’m on the bandwagon.
  • Padres RHP Mike Adams might be able to fill the closer’s role if/when Heath Bell leaves. Bell himself says Adams’ stuff is better than his own.
  • The Padres hope OF Cameron Maybin has a breakthrough now that he’s not looking over his shoulder.
  • Orlando Hudson is an early riser. Quote of the day: “A sleepy-headed man won’t keep no woman.”
  • Highlights from yesterday’s Padres chat: Fort Wayne alum C Luis Martinez looks good handling pitchers in their bullpen sessions, Orlando Hudson is probably an upgrade over David Eckstein even if Hudson doesn’t bounce back offensively and Tony Gwynn, Sr. is recovering from back surgery. Another topic of conversation was “draft needs.” In baseball, only draft need for a team that drafts well is “the best player available.” This isn’t the NFL. If you pin your hopes on drafting one player to solve a positional problem in the big leagues, you’re asking for disappointment.
  • Peter Gammons says the Red Sox have a culture of helping a brother out, as SS prospect Jose Iglesias has learned.
  • Matt Stairs, now in camp with the Nationals, is “one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet,” says Jayson Werth. Stairs originally signed with the Expos, so technically he’s back with his original franchise.
  • With Adam Wainwright done for the foreseeable future, would the Cardinals void the last two years of his contract and use the cash on Albert Pujols? Maybe, but if they still ended up losing Pujols, that would be disastrous. Especially given the recent success stories of pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • The Pirates are sending mixed messages on what it’ll take for them to spend more money on major-league payroll.
  • LHP Mike Hampton is still kicking and trying to win a spot in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen.
  • Phillies OF Domonic Brown will get a long, long look in spring training. He’s one of the top prospects in the game, but the Phillies don’t seem committed to having him in the big-league starting lineup out of camp. Not yet, at least. The Phillies’ lineup is awfully left-handed now that Jayson Werth is gone.
  • The Nationals will try to get OF Bryce Harper an at-bat in their spring opener. I’m picturing 50-year-old male Nationals fans shrieking, weeping and fainting at the sight of him.
  • How do they operate those fancy Gametrackers you get to enjoy during baseball season? Find out from a datacaster. They ran a Gametracker for the All-Star Game last season and it’s a pretty interesting computer program. Games at the Double-A, Triple-A and MLB level get this type of tracking.
  • Mike Tyson owns a tiger in movies, but in real life he owns pigeons. He’s getting a reality show about it, so it must be true. He claims the first time he fought anybody was after a bully killed one of his birds. You can guess who won that fight.
  • This weekend I’ll be on a quiz bowl-ish team in a fundraiser called The Brain Game. While we all know my team is favored to win, the important part is that the game raises money for the Fort Wayne Center for Learning. Check them out.
  • Eddie Money is playing a concert in Fort Wayne tonight and nobody I know wants to go. So there goes that “two tickets to paradise” joke I’ve been saving for months.

Musical guest… Eddie Money!

Have a great weekend!

DW

Just call them Casey Kasem

“And now… on with the countdown.”

Right around noon yesterday, Baseball America released their Top 100 prospect list for 2011. I didn’t really get time to look at it all that closely until this morning, so here are initial thoughts:

  1. The only former TinCap on the list is RHP Simon Castro at No. 58. He was 57th last year. BA says he’ll get to the big leagues this year. From a selfish standpoint, hopefully he doesn’t get there before mid-July when the Tucson Padres come to Fort Wayne. Simon was one of my favorite pitchers I’ve covered. The others, if you’re wondering, were Matt Lollis and Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann.
  2. Any list like this is really more about generalities than “Player X is one spot higher than Player Y, so Player X is going to be the better player.” Historically, if you’re in the top five, you’re probably going to have a good-to-great major-league career. Beyond that, it’s a mix of guys who have shown some kind of weakness, some bigger than others. The ones who make it big are the ones who shore up the weaknesses and turn themselves into elite players. That’s why it’s an educated guess after you get past the first handful of players.
  3. Royals fans have to be happy with three prospects in the top 10.
  4. Just because a player isn’t ranked high, don’t write him off. Anybody considered to be in the top 100 of what they do is pretty good. Examples: Mike Trout went from No. 85 last year to No. 2 this year, Rockies RHP Jhoulys Chacin was No. 71 last year and he had a really nice MLB debut last year. So did Mets 1B Ike Davis (62).
  5. These are all just for fun. Everything figures itself out once the games start. Which is not far off, by the way.

Secondly, another story I didn’t get to expand on yesterday… the Padres are holding a prospect minicamp in Peoria to give some of their top minor-leaguers an early start. The list of players is here. If they haven’t played in Fort Wayne yet, I’d say chances are good they’ll be here soon. But then again, speculating on an Opening Day roster before minor-league spring training even starts is a good way to guess wrong.

Random thoughts:

  • If you haven’t been keeping up with the Facebook, you can check out the TinCaps’ lineup of theme nights for 2011 at TinCaps.com. The photo attached to the story might be my favorite article photo in our site’s history.
  • You can audition to sing the national anthem before a TinCaps game. But I’m warning you now: if you drag the song out and make it too long, I will zipline down from the press box to the field and sweep you out of here like it’s amateur night at the Apollo.
  • Fort Wayne alum LHP Cory Luebke will pitch in the Padres’ Spring Training opener Sunday(!) against the Mariners. Also in that article: Heath Bell won’t be available for the weekend and former TinCaps LHP Juan Oramas strained his throwing shoulder last week and hasn’t thrown since.
  • SPRING TRAINING GAMES START ON SUNDAY!
  • Padres SS Jason Bartlett and 2B Orlando Hudson are learning to play together.
  • This isn’t the first story like this I’ve seen about Hudson having a Type-A personality (I also saw an MLB Productions piece about him last year). He has to be the early favorite for 2011 clubhouse leader.
  • The Padres think they got lucky with their catchers last year and are hoping for better depth this year.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Jake Peavy threw live batting practice yesterday. So far, so good in his rehab from a freak injury.
  • Yankees C Russell Martin’s knee still isn’t quite right. As a fantasy baseball owner of Jesus Montero, I hope Martin sits long enough to let Montero play his way into the starting job.
  • Rays GM Andrew Friedman looks kind of like a certain mid-major basketball star. Friedman may play better defense than Jimmer, and I’m only half-kidding.
  • Brewers RHP Zack Grienke doesn’t really do
    the whole cliche thing. Example: “…every day I come to the park and
    want to get focused on my start, and then random people come and waste
    my time talking every day. It takes eight minutes to get a real question because they’re, like, buttering me up. Then they get to the question and it’s a stupid question. So it’s a waste of ten minutes, and in that ten minute time, I don’t get to do what I needed to do.” If reporters are allowed to critique a player’s performance, it’s only fair that the player can return the favor.
  • From Buster Olney: The three pitchers who used their curveball the most last season were Brett Myers, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Carpenter already had Tommy John surgery and it looks like Wainwright is on his way there.
  • The Mariners have a lot of tall pitchers. Same goes for their minor-league system.
  • Indians closer (and former MWLer) Chris Perez is adding a changeup. He was pretty good without one last year.
  • The Rockies think Vegas is underestimating them this year. But, as Padres GM Jed Hoyer told me last year when we talked about San Diego beating expectations, they don’t build those casinos by losing money. Meaning the handicappers are usually right.
  • Three MLB umpires are retiring. Maybe MLB already had replacements lined up, but it seems like four days before Spring Training is awfully late to announce something like this.
  • Which is better: preventing runs or scoring runs? Research shows preventing runs has the slight edge. Key word: slight.
  • What does a college that produced 31 Nobel Prize winners lack? A basketball win… until the other night.
  • The NBA is no longer fan-tastic. In other news, we landed on the moon.
  • Our rec league volleyball team played like champions last night. Last time I saw volleyball that good, it was at the Malibu Sands Beach Club.
  • If you’re looking to adopt a pet, PLEASE go to Animal Care & Control. It’s your tax dollars at work anyway, so make them count. I hung out with three dogs there yesterday and they were awesome. But I’m still partial to this one.

Musical guest… the group that sang the first No. 1 Casey Kasem ever counted to… Three Dog Night!

Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!

DW

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