Results tagged ‘ prospects ’

The wrong kind of history

Last night was the first time since Parkview Field opened (April 2009) that a TinCaps game was postponed without a pitch being thrown. The silver lining to that is that I got to catch up on sleep, which was nice. Another good thing is that I assume it’ll push all the starting pitchers back a day and get LHP Mark Hardy another start. Any opportunity to lighten the innings load on the starting rotation is a good thing, because when it’s July and August and the starters are limited to 3-4 innings per start because of their season innings cap, it affects some guys mentally. So rainouts at home are bad from a business perspective, but from a baseball standpoint maybe it’s not the end of the world.

Random thoughts:

  • TinCaps RHP Keyvius Sampson and former TinCaps OF Jaff Decker made the first Prospect Hot Sheet of the year.
  • There’s a 2009 Fort Wayne TinCaps No-Mercy Reunion Tour going on right now at Double-A San Antonio. The Missions have now piled up 23 and 26 runs in single games this year, are batting .366 AS A TEAM (!) and have conked 20 homers in eight games. And they don’t even have SS Drew Cumberland yet – he’s on the DL. And they scored the 26 runs at home last night – I thought the wind always blew in at San Antonio’s ballpark.
  • Padres RHP Dustin Moseley has made three starts and received exactly ZERO runs in support.
  • Aaron Harang, on the other hand, has been more celebrated because he’s pitching well AND getting runs behind him.
  • A former Midwest Leaguer has gone from prospect to bartending to major leaguer.
  • A current South Bend Silver Hawk is repeating the league, but the Diamondbacks still believe in him.
  • Nationals prodigy Bryce Harper is looking slightly un-prodigylike in his first week in the minors. Total bust, right?
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is leading the American League in RBIs, my Indians are playing well and 3B prospect Lonnie Chisenhall is on his way. Oh baby.
  • Oakland OF Covelli Crisp has some crazy hair going. Crazy awesome, that is.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman sort of threw Joe Torre under the bus.
  • On the TinCaps’ bus the other day in Bowling Green, clubhouse manager A.J. Bridges was blamed for a miscue but tried throwing the bus driver under the proverbial bus, as ironic as that would be. Which led to longform quoting from this “Seinfeld” scene. Most of the staff laughed at the reference (maybe out of courtesy, but I’ll take laughs however I can get them), which means it’s going to be a fun year.

Musical guest… Jack Johnson!

Take care!

DW

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

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

The best Colt in Indiana

OK, technically Colt Hynes isn’t in Indiana anymore, but he used to be. And he’s the subject of today’s “you just never know” story.

The year was 2009. TinCaps president Mike Nutter handed me a piece of paper with the handwritten last names of the team’s Opening Day roster, just received from the braintrust in Arizona. He said it looked good and the biggest question was the bullpen. “They like the closer and the setup guy, but they’re not sure about the rest… Colt Hynes is going to be the situational lefty.”

You know, the Colt Hynes who would turn 24 years old that June and was still kicking around A-ball. The one who put up a 4.60 ERA the previous year (with decent peripherals). The 31st-round pick in the 2007 draft. I don’t know if Mike rolled his eyes, but chances are I did.

Hynes came in and made 13 appearances for the TinCaps in 2009. He only allowed runs in two games. Great for Fort Wayne, but let’s see him do it at a higher level, right? How do 49 appearances with a 2.90 ERA and no homers allowed at Lake Elsinore strike you? That’s pretty good, right? Well, there wasn’t a job for Colt at Double-A last year so he went back to Lake Elsinore to start the season. He did pretty much the same thing for half a season, except he cut his walks by more than half. Then he went to Double-A in mid-July and continued being a professional butt kicker. You know, if you’re into 1.19 ERAs.

Now, he’s been listed as a guy who “has impressed in camp” for the Padres. Maybe he’ll get to the big leagues this year and keep getting people out, maybe he won’t. But either way, for haters like me who doubt Colt Hynes and players like him, let’s all say it together: You just never know.

Random thoughts:

  • Lots of former TinCaps mentioned as the San Diego U-T discusses an improved Padres’ minor-league system. More importantly for speculators like us, it has a rundown of which players could go where to open the year. That’s a big-money outfield he’s listed for the TinCaps. And Portillo/Sampson in the starting rotation (plus Cates, if he’s as good as advertised) would be fun to watch.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos got stronger as he went on Friday against the Giants. I don’t know what happened, but for some reason it was blacked out on my TV. Apparently Fort Wayne was mysteriously transported to either San Diego or San Francisco’s TV territory for a three-hour period. Also, lots of guys got sent to minor-league camp. Which is expected, since minor-league camp just got underway.
  • The Padres will face Jake Peavy today in a Spring Training game.
  • Former Fort Wayne hitting coach Riccardo Ingram, who is still working in the Twins’ system, is fighting a brain tumor.
  • LHP Clayton Richard says his shoulder thing is none of your business. He didn’t really say that, but that’s what he meant. Which is fine. Also, solid quote about his pace: “I like to err on the side of quick.”
  • David Newhan is in Padres camp after a scary off-season surfing accident.
  • Padres owner Jeff Moorad has completely sold his share of the D-Backs.
  • Former Fort Wayne INF David Freese is getting a shot to be the Cardinals’ starter at third this spring.
  • Lots of MLB parks are getting upgrades this season.
  • Several prospects could make an impact in the big leagues this year, says Jerry Crasnick. Brandon Belt is not on that list, but I assume they just ran out of room.
  • Yankees RHP A.J. Burnett hasn’t walked anybody in nine innings this spring. They really need him to be good this year.
  • Grady Sizemore is running, but says his knee is still a little stiff. Meanwhile, an injury could open the door for 3B Lonnie Chisenhall.
  • Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann is good and Bryce Harper got sent to minor-league camp. Supposedly he could make his big-league debut this year. Prediction: He gets to Double-A, but the only way he gets to Washington in 2011 is if it’s written into his contract, which is entirely possible.
  • Listen to Peter Gammons. I remember last year when he was raving about Marlins OF Mike Stanton. And he was right.
  • There’s a new MLB historian and he says baseball’s origins are way more complicated than Abner Doubleday and Alexander Cartwright. Which isn’t a huge surprise; history generally isn’t as cut-and-dried as we’d hope.
  • The CEO of the Rangers stepping down was the definition of awkwardness.
  • NBA forward Kevin Love was a good baseball player as a kid.
  • Stay hot, Ohio State… Kirk Herbstreit is moving out of Columbus because idiot fans won’t leave him alone. I can only imagine it’s partially because of what he said about Terrelle Pryor, which I thought was completely on the money.
  • I played baseball and started broadcasting at an NCAA school, so I know there are TONS of good things happening in college sports. But apparently Sunday was “here’s how ridiculous the NCAA is” day. I caught an ESPN report which said the guy who ran the NCAA for 30+ years wrote a book railing against it. Then I watched “The Fab Fi
    ve
    ” about Michigan basketball, which talked about how much money the school made off the players, but then the school got hit with NCAA sanctions including vacating wins because the players received money from a booster. Then I watched “The Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV,” which mentioned that (on two occasions) UNLV basketball had NCAA sanctions delayed by a year, basically because the team was good. Also, Jerry Tarkanian got a $2+ million settlement from the NCAA after he sued them for harassment. Uh, what?
  • I know you’re wondering about my first try at curling. It was
    fantastic. And a tough game to play – the sheet of ice is way longer
    than you think. It’s kind of a mixture of bowling, shuffleboard and
    cornhole with a twist of Canadian tuxedos. And you’d better be used to doing lunges before you start playing, or you’ll be sore the next day. Also, Abby Naas did fall over on the ice (as expected), but it was from a lunging position.

Musical guest… The Jackson 5!

Take care!

DW

James Darnell – so hot right now

Former TinCaps 3B James Darnell was kind of the man yesterday. You may remember him from such classics as the first home run ever hit at Parkview Field (which I completely botched on the radio – it was our first game at the new park so it was a new angle, plus it was such a low liner that I thought it was going to end up taking the left fielder’s glove off… next thing I knew, it was flying onto the Home Run Porch. Literally thousands dozens of listeners around the world thought to themselves, “This new radio guy is garbage!” Lesson learned, I guess).

Anyway, James (who is a VERY nice guy) was featured in a Padres.com article yesterday afternoon. Key points: He struggled with a cyst-like growth on his hand last year (he eventually had it removed, then “rehabbed” with the TinCaps for a few games), and he will probably be the starting third baseman at Triple-A Tucson to open the year. You know, I think I read something about Tucson playing a series at Parkview Field this summer. Maybe you’ll want to come out and see good ol’ JD again. Right? Right.

Also yesterday, Darnell singled in his only at-bat in the Padres’ Spring Training game. He’s 4-for-8 for the spring.

So, you know… James Darnell: so hot right now. And chances are good that he’ll be back in Fort Wayne this summer for the Triple-A series. Maybe he’ll hit another laser-beam home run and maybe I won’t screw it up this time.

Random thoughts:

  • Another Fort Wayne alum, INF/OF Mike Baxter, is having a nice spring so far. He had a huge year last year with Triple-A Portland. Padre fans should be clamoring for his quick arrival in San Diego, if only for the Anchorman/Baxter/San Diego references.
  • MLB.com’s Jonathan (don’t call me Joe) Mayo has his Top 10 Padres prospects. Six Fort Wayne alums in the top ten. Possible future TinCaps OF Donovan Tate is No. 10. Lots of other TinCaps-related stuff in there, too.
  • If Padres LHP Randy Flores is healthy, he’d be a nice addition to the bullpen.
  • Do you realize Padres RHP Mike Adams has a career ERA of 2.31? And the peripheral stats show it’s not smoke and mirrors? And that despite being 32 years old he still has THREE arbitration years left including this one? AND that the Indians claimed him off waivers, sent him to Triple-A, then turned around and traded him to the Padres less than two months later for some guy named Brian Sikorski, who they released within a year? AND that the tone of my voice has gone up an octave, Tim Kurkjian-style, since I started this rant?
  • Legendary author Ben Hill asks the question, “What’s the deal with baseball in Tucson?
  • Former Padres GM Kevin Towers cleaned house in Arizona this winter after seeing the clubhouse atmosphere a little too loose.
  • Indians 3B prospect Lonnie Chisenhall is having a good spring.
  • At least one team has learned not to sign aging relievers to long-term contracts.
  • The Royals are getting sued because a guy got hit in the eye by a flying hot dog during one of their promotions. I should probably be more of an expert on this, but wouldn’t this be covered by the disclaimer about flying objects from the field on the back of every ticket?
  • Giants RHP Jeff Suppan used to work for a newspaper company. He lasted three days, but still.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Dirk Hayhurst writes books and blogs… Marlins RHP Burke Badenhop is writing a screenplay for a comedy.
  • Yes, I will be reading this book after reading the excerpt.
  • I can’t get enough of this video. Because I’m still bitter and because LeBron is an out-of-touch baby. I know it’s irrelevant as long as they make the playoffs, but did you know the Heat would have to win every game for the rest of the season just to equal the Cavaliers’ win total from last year?
  • Book update: Just finished Ghost Wars, which is about the CIA’s history in Afghanistan from the Cold War through 2001. It’s almost 600 pages long and has an enormous cast of characters, but I thought it was outstanding. Then I found out the author did over 200 interviews to track down info and was also serving as the managing editor of The Washington Post while writing the book. Incredible stuff. It’s not the type of book you sit down and read 100 pages of at a time, but if you want to learn about why things are the way they are in Afghanistan (and some other countries in the region, too), this is a good start.
  • In a scene sure to be included in “The Wedding Singer II: The Search for More Money,” Cyndi Lauper cheered up delayed travelers in Argentina by singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” over the airport sound system. Everything about this story sounds made up.
  • This weekend I’m finally going to a “Learn to Curl” session hosted by the Fort Wayne Curling Club. This is probably my last chance at Olympic glory, so I’m a little nervous.
  • Finally, while watching NFL Network last night, I noticed analyst Charlie Casserly looks suspiciously similar to The Muppet Newsman. Am I right or am I right?

casserl<br />
y-muppet.jpg” src=”http://mlblogstincaps.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/casserly-muppet-thumb-400×210-27258811.jpg” class=”mt-image-none” width=”400″ height=”210″ /></a></span><br /><i>(left-to-right: Newsman, Casserly)</i></p>
<p>Musical guest… The Beach Boys!</p>
<span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='555' height='343' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/09dQmeB_NgU?version=3&rel=0&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' frameborder='0'></iframe></span>
<p>Take care!</p>
<p>DW</p>
							</div>
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  • Posted on March 9, 2011 at 10:22 am
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  • Something to talk about

    It’s OK if you’re skeptical of this story, because I would be too. But I promise it’s entirely true.

    Saturday
    night while eating dinner at a downtown restaurant, I overheard a
    conversation from the next table… Nondescript local guy said, “Bang
    for your buck, you won’t get a better deal in town than the TinCaps.” He
    went on to tell his whole table about watching a game from a concourse suite and how much fun it was.

    So
    apparently our CIA-style plan of placing undercover marketing staffers
    in local restaurants to pass along not-so-subliminal word-of-mouth
    publicity is working. Next time you go out with “a group of friends” and the new guy is singing praises about Parkview Field, you’ll know what’s up.

    I’m kidding, of course… Or am I?

    Random thoughts:

    • Former TinCaps happenings from yesterday’s Padre game: RHP Mat Latos was wild again (but feels OK), LHP Colt Hynes pitched 1.1 scoreless frames in relief, RHP Matt Lollis gave up a couple of runs in his only inning. Also, RHP Heath Bell made his Spring Training debut and felt good.
    • Backup catcher candidate Gregg Zaun is hanging ‘em up.
    • Former Fort Wayne 3B Chase Headley is working to get better. Best quote in the article comes when he’s asked about his critics: “I’m not concerned with outside opinions.” This is a rampant thing in sports coverage and it’s completely overblown: the “expectations” card. Any
      competitor worth a darn has higher expectations for himself than anyone, so anyone else’s expectations are more or less irrelevant. If I ever write that story or ask an expectations-related question
      during an interview, you have my permission to furiously send an e-mail
      that says, “Dude, you’re not living up to my expectations!”
    • Another story about Cameron Maybin (who is coming back from concussion symptoms after running into a pole during batting practice) and how the Padres’ leadoff hitters struggled last year. I can’t get over the .306 OBP… that’s bad.
    • The Padres’ bullpen coach is fighting hard against pancreatic cancer.
    • With the Padres’ potential new Triple-A ballpark in suburban San Diego in limbo, the ownership group is looking at its options, including selling.
    • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy’s recovery from his freak injury is profiled.
    • Former Fort Wayne RHP Dirk Hayhurst is now with the Rays and had to assure them his writing career is harmless.
    • Rockies OF (and Midwest League alum) Carlos Gonzalez hit the bejeesus out of a ball on Sunday. The article doesn’t say it directly, but it was a double.
    • Another MWL alum, Dodgers INF Dee Gordon, won Baseball America‘s Winter Player of the Year award.
    • The players’ union met with the World Umpires’ Union to hash some things out.
    • Fighting amongst teammates isn’t as rare as we might think, and a lot of times the team ends up winning.
    • Some prospects might be ready to contribute in the big leagues this year, including Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall and LHP Drew Pomeranz. Nationals OF Bryce Harper probably isn’t ready yet, but he made a nice play in the field.
    • The Phillies have some injury issues with 2B Chase Utley and OF prospect Domonic Brown, who was struggling mechanically at the plate.
    • Royals SS Alcides Escobar, a big piece of the Zack Greinke trade, can’t catch a break.
    • I grew up listening to Cavaliers radio guy Joe Tait… he’s a character. I’m biased, but I think Ohio teams have some of the best radio people in the business with Tait, Tom Hamilton of the Indians, Marty Brennaman with the Reds (this episode notwithstanding) and Paul Keels with Ohio State.
    • Another great one, Cubs radio guy Pat Hughes is going to be part of writing a book about Ron Santo.
    • I don’t know if it makes the shows any better, but three pretty good bands touring via old-school railroad cars sounds like fun.
    • This is what happens when baseball dorks get ahold of Photoshop.
    • This is what happens when one of the best sports writers around wants to make a point.
    • This is what happens when you invite the TinCaps to a throwback charity event and encourage costumes: old-school rappers. Like Kris Kross.

    Musical guest… Old Crow Medicine Show!

    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

    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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