Results tagged ‘ prospects ’

Padres Affiliate Blog Network?

You’re not going to believe this, but other teams think having a blog like this is a good idea.

Yesterday I talked to Dave Oster, the president of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Advanced-A Padres), and they’re thinking about launching a Lake Elsinore-y version of The Watson Files. So in the near future, we could have the start of a Padres Affiliate Blog Network. We talked about having guest entries from one another, updating Fort Wayne readers on how our alums are doing, profiling TinCaps who get promoted to Lake Elsinore so the Storm fans know what they’re getting, etc. The possibilities are as close to endless as possibilities get.

I’m not really into self-examination for the purpose of patting myself on the back, but the conversation got me thinking about how this whole blog thing started, how it’s changed and what exactly I’m trying to do.

Well, self, I’m glad you asked. This thing started back in the winter of 2008-09 when our offices were still over at Memorial Stadium, our computers were outdated and the “blog” was really just a really long article on the old TinCaps website. Michael Limmer thought it would be a good idea for me to share (in blog form) the Parkview Field construction progress, some of the fun stuff we were planning as a team, thoughts as a Fort Wayne newcomer and whatever else I wanted to write about. At that point, I thought blogs were just a lame way for any idiot to pretend he was a journalist and I would just be adding to the noise in the media which is already too prevalent.

Since then, I’ve learned that the medium of blogging isn’t necessarily lame. Like a lot of other new media, it’s only as good as the person/organization writing it. There’s good and bad and we have to wade through the garbage to find the good stuff.

So what is it that I’d say I’m doing here? I hadn’t really thought much about it before yesterday, but I guess I’m trying to cut through a lot of the junk that’s out there, inform, entertain and generally post things that I enjoy reading myself. If it helps me be a better broadcaster, if it makes it easier for you to be a knowledgeable fan, if the Dave Hutte stories remind you of your buddy from college who was a little out-there, even if it just helps you waste your lunch break watching INXS videos, that’s what I’m going for. You’re probably not going to be interested in every single thing on here, but if it’s concise enough, you can find the things you ARE interested in, and everybody wins.

And, at the end of it all, hopefully it has you thinking about the TinCaps and baseball as a whole (and life in general) in a positive, educated and realistic way. So, really, you’re being slowly brainwashed. Joke’s on you.

Is there anything I’m doing too much? Not enough? Let me know in the comments or via e-mail – dan.watson@tincaps.com.

Random thoughts:

  • Baseball America released its Top 100 Prospects list. Former TinCaps RHP Simon Castro is No. 58. Enjoy.
  • The Padres are holding what a lot of other teams call an accelerated development camp for some of their higher-end prospects. Lots of former TinCaps in there: LHP Jose  De Paula, RHP Adys Portillo, RHP Jerry Sullivan, RHP Matt Lollis, C Jason Hagerty, INFs Jeudy Valdez, Jonathan Galvez, Jedd Gyorko and Edinson Rincon, OFs Rymer Liriano, Rico Noel and Everett Williams. Also of note, former TinCaps OF Yefri Carvajal is making the conversion to become a pitcher. I’d say most of the players who aren’t former TinCaps will be playing here soon.
  • Bud Black hasn’t announced his Opening Day starter yet. I’m surprised how many teams have. The way the schedule sets up, they may not need a fifth starter until two weeks into the season.
  • The Padres will probably have some new leaders step up in the clubhouse this year. So you’re saying you want winners? Orlando Hudson is a veteran who’s been to the playoffs.
  • When you’re a hitter taking your first live batting practice of the spring, facing the Padres’ pitching staff isn’t exactly what your ego needs.
  • Padres SS Everth Cabrera will probably start the season at Triple-A after a rough 2010. He got extra at-bats in winter ball this off-season, which could help.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Joakim Soria, now the Royals’ closer, wants people to stop calling him by one of the great nicknames in baseball: “The Mexicutioner.” With what’s going on in Mexico, you understand why.
  • The Blue Jays’ new manager told his team to stay off Twitter. But he didn’t ban it.
  • On the same day the Commissioner’s Office told Hank Steinbrenner to shut up about revenue sharing, the New York Post tells him to shove it when it comes to calling out his own employees.
  • Someone is making a documentary about Giants OF Andres Torres dealing with ADHD.
  • Giants closer Brian Wilson hung out with former fake-Indians closer Charlie Sheen. And all Giants fans cringed.
  • The Braves are enjoying the bargain years with OF Jason Heyward. They’d better, because his price will go up if he comes anywhere close to realizing his potential.
  • Former MWLer Jacob Turner impressed the Tigers with a bullpen session.
  • Indians prospects are playing an awkward waiting game.
  • The Red Sox met with umpires. This is the kind of thing that needs to happen for umpire-player relations to improve – too often, the two sides are only talking in the heat of the moment, which tends to not be the best time.
  • The Red Sox might be watching you, which is creepy. All I know is, you don’t want to be outside GM Theo Epstein’s circle of trust.
  • White Sox GM Kenny Williams says spending $30 million a year on anyone is “asinine.” Even if that player is Albert Pujols. And yes, he means it. And yes, he’s probably looking at you, Cubs.
  • Brewers RHP Zack Greinke says he wouldn’t be playing in the major leagues if he wasn’t trying to be the best in the world.
  • Bryce Harper wants to make his pro debut in the big leagues. Good goal, but no chance. If he’s as good as everyone thinks he is, he’ll get there soon enough.
  • Sounds like Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright’s elbow blew out. If you’ve been following closely, you know he’s had a problem with an elbow ligament for years, but it hadn’t gotten serious… until today.
  • Peter Gammons talks about the distractions people face in spring training. Personally, I don’t think “distractions” actually distract athletes as much as we want to believe. It’s stuff we talk about and ask them about, but in my experience, guys aren’t sitting around in the clubhouse talking about the Dodgers’ ownership situation or whatever other topic is big at that moment. And I can’t imagine it’s on their minds when they’re trying to hit 98 mph heat.
  • “Moneyball” is a fluid concept about making the most of undervalued assets. It’s really not all that different from good stock trading.
  • If you’re still whining about the Adrian Gonzalez trade, this story might be for you. The point: It stinks to lose your favorite player, but you’re really cheering more for the team to win than any one player, aren’t you?
  • I’m walking dogs after work today. I’m so excited, I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.

Musical guest… Lenny Kravitz!

Take care!

DW

Snow-mageddon 20-o-11

I don’t mean to alarm anybody, but The Weather Channel reported this morning that this snowstorm headed our way will be, and I quote, “Armageddon.”

So, you know… Just start panicking. And hope a cavalcade of stars led by Bruce Willis can think of a way to save us before it’s too late.

Random thoughts:

  • TinCaps in Winter Ball update: Edinson Rincon is 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts in the Dominican Winter League… “The Big Dog” Hayden Beard is 0-1 with a 3.12 ERA in the Australian League.
  • One of the San Diego papers talked to the prospects acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
  • The 2011 Midwest League All-Star Game logo is out, says legendary author Ben Hill.
  • Fort Wayne alum RHP LaTroy Hawkins says he feels good as he rehabs from shoulder surgery.
  • In other buzzcut news, Bob Uecker feels good too. About several things.
  • As expected, the Royals are moving one of their top hitting prospects from catcher to the outfield.
  • The Braves’ pitchers start voluntary throwing sessions today. Oh baby. Baseball’s almost here.
  • The latest addition to the “Who Wants to be the Rangers’ Fifth Starter?” competition is Dave Bush.
  • Former Ranger Vladimir Guerrero has talked with the Orioles. Baltimore signed RHP Justin Duchscherer, who the Yankees were looking at.
  • The Yankees HAVE to be working on a trade for a starting pitcher, don’t they? Maybe Ivan Nova can make the jump to the big leagues, but Sergio Mitre and Big Fat Bartolo Colon would just freak me out as No. 5 starters.
  • Twins pitcher Brian Duensing had a terrifying day this off-season.
  • GMs are getting active away from the office this off-season… Yankees GM Brian Cashman has dressed like an elf and rappelled off the side of a building for charity, then bartended for charity. Astros GM Ed Wade ran a marathon. He’s 55 years old!
  • A retired pitcher is working at a fish market. And he loves it.
  • Last week we read about a book that claims umpiring is different depending on the venue. Another viewpoint says not so fast.
  • The Sunday Night Football crew proves that sometimes, even when there’s a mic in front of you, it’s best if you just shut up for a while.
  • To kill time while sick this weekend I decided to start cooking things. In a two-hour period I made blueberry pancakes (incredibly good), banana nut muffins (ehh) and lasagna (solid). I’m anxiously awaiting an invitation to try out as a celebrity cook in Scott Kammerer‘s kitchen.
  • Dave Hutte Status Update: “It’s nice to wake up to your tax refund being in your checking account.”

Musical guest… Donavon Frankenreiter and John Oates!

Take care!

DW

Book review: BA Prospect Handbook

It’s probably not a good idea to review a book without reading it cover-to-cover, but I’m so jacked up about the Baseball America Prospect Handbook being here that I’m about to lose control and I think I like it. If you’re new to keeping track of minor-leaguers, checking out the handbook is the best way to get up to speed and stay there throughout the season. It has scouting reports on each organization’s best 30 prospects, ranks the top 50 prospects in the game, the top organizations, breaks down each team’s draft from the previous years, etc. No single prospect guide is perfect, but this one is probably the best there is.

So far, here are some things that have stood out:

  • The biggest addition for 2011 is including the scouting grades for each team’s No. 1 prospect. Scouts rate players on a 20-80 scale on a variety of tools and the book includes those for the first time. Example: the Padres’ top prospect (RHP Casey Kelly) received a 60 rating for all three of his pitches and 65s for his command/control and delivery. I like it because it allows readers to compare top prospects organization-to-organization. If you want to know how the Astros’ top prospect compares to the Royals’ top prospect, you can do that. You know, if you’re into being depressed.
  • The Indians “may have had baseball’s best draft” in 2010. Thank goodness.
  • Seems like the biggest issue for the Padres’ younger prospects has been staying healthy. OF Donovan Tate’s problems have been well-documented, RHP Keyvius Sampson had a tear in his labrum which led to changed mechanics which led to elbow trouble. Both were allegedly healthy as they left the fall instructional league.
  • Jeudy Valdez looked good in the few games he played at shortstop last year; according to the book, that’s where the Padres see him long-term.
  • RHP Brad Brach finally made the Padres’ top 30… barely. He’s ranked 30th. Apparently people don’t believe in his off-speed stuff or his ability to continue dominating at the higher levels. The numbers so far are insane: 140 career appearances, 9-6, 1.90 ERA, 78-for-83 in save chances, 189 K in 151.2 IP, .196 average against. Is that good?
  • Top 30 players listed as potential TinCaps in 2011: Tate, OFs Everett Williams and Rymer Liriano (again), Sampson, RHP Zach Cates and maybe RHP Adys Portillo. All very young/inexperienced. Of course, everything could change during spring training.
  • Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia didn’t play baseball until he was 15, and he only started because he saw how much money Dominican prospects could make. He had been making $8 a day shining shoes until he got $16,500 to sign with the Mets.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps swept the Padres’ minor-league awards for 2010. Geoff from Ducksnorts was at the awards dinner and reports that Jeudy Valdez made “the shortest acceptance speech ever” after winning the Baserunner of the Year award. Without hearing any more, my guess is he said, “Thank you,” and walked away. He’s a quiet guy when he’s speaking Spanish, let alone English.
  • Padres GM Jed Hoyer says the roster is more balanced in 2011 than it was last year. He’s concerned about the bullpen, but I think most GMs are. It’s the toughest area to predict from year to year.
  • Uni Watch hammers the Padres’ logo/uniform decisions. I think the unis look decent.
  • A Midwest League alum is spending his off-season making artificial limbs for amputees. In his debut with Bowling Green (at Parkview Field), he went 4-for-5, hit two homers and doubled.
  • The Indians aren’t looking to trade Grady Sizemore. Good thing, because it doesn’t make sense to trade one of your few trade-worthy players when his value is at its lowest point ever.
  • A book examines home-field advantage and why it exists. The main reason might surprise you.
  • Here’s analysis of which teams are the best at winning arbitration cases. The Rays are undefeated (5-0). Also, I’m a little surprised there have only been about 13 cases per year.
  • The Rays are installing new turf at their dome. It doesn’t seem like anybody actually knows how it’s different from the old stuff (aside from being “the most advanced” and able to “remain upright longer” which sounds it’s taken straight from a Jimmy Johnson commercial), which seems like lame reporting.
  • The Marlins are getting hosed out of a home series by U2. One of the downfalls of not owning their own park. Also, they’re changing their name to Miami Marlins next year? Who knew? Now they just need to change the mascot to Gators, move to the American League and lose to the Cubs in the 2015 World Series and the “Back to the Future II” writers will look like geniuses.
  • The prospect handbook’s arrival pushes back my reading of Ghost Wars, which is about Afghanistan, the CIA, terrorism, etc., from a historical perspective. So far, it’s been excellent.
  • Aaron Rodgers is officially my favorite quarterback in the NFL. First the championship belt celebration when he scores touchdowns, now this.
  • I recently went shopping for clothes, trying to use some of the gift cards I got for Christmas. Maybe I’m only noticing this because I go shopping for clothes about twice a year, but when you’re in any store (with few exceptions such as the sporting goods store), women are clearly dominant, regardless of what part of the store you’re in. I was trying to look at some shirts and about three women came rolling in (to the men’s section, mind you), getting all up in my personal space, pulling hangers off the racks, showing their control over the clearance rack. It was like one of those nature shows where lions protect their territory from a marauding band of slightly-hesitant hyenas. It was like they could sense I had no idea what I was doing. Utterly intimidated, I still escaped with three shirts.

Musical guest…Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood!

Have a great wee
kend!

DW

The good, the bad and the embarrassing

There’s nothing that can break the monotony of a cold, gray off-season like watching a sporting event on TV and uncontrollably cackling like the Bishop in “Caddyshack”. That was me last night when the basketball Buckeyes put the beat-down of a lifetime on Purdue. The shots they were making, the Zubaz pants in the OSU student section… Everything about that game was sensational.

Also last night, MLB.com revealed its Top 50 prospects for this year. There were no former TinCaps on the list (RHP Casey Kelly was the only Padre and he came over in the Adrian Gonzalez trade), but there were plenty of guys you may have seen in Fort Wayne over the last few years:

1. OF Mike Trout, Cedar Rapids ’10
7. 3B Mike Moustakas, Burlington ’08
8. 1B Eric Hosmer, Burlington ’09
13. RHP Michael Pineda, Wisconsin ’08
14. LHP Mike Montgomery, Burlington ’09
15. RHP Jacob Turner, West Michigan ’10
16. C/OF Wil Myers, Burlington ’10
20. RHP Shelby Miller, Quad Cities ’10
28. 2B Brett Lawrie, Wisconsin ’09
29. RHP Jarrod Parker, South Bend ’08
34. LHP John Lamb, Burlington ’10
37. RHP Jake Odorizzi, Wisconsin ’10
38. SS Nick Franklin, Clinton ’10
39. OF Aaron Hicks, Beloit ’09-10
44. SS Dee Gordon, Great Lakes ’09
46. OF Brett Jackson, Peoria ’09
47. RHP Chris Archer, Peoria ’09

The first thing that jumped out to me is how much better last year’s top-end prospects were. Here’s why: On MLB Network, it seemed like everybody agreed that Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (the No. 2 prospect on the list) would end up as a No. 2 starter in the big leagues (which, like anything else, is debatable). Meanwhile, check out the Top 10 from last year:

1. OF Jason Heyward, Braves
2. RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
3. OF Mike Stanton, Marlins
4. C Buster Posey, Giants
5. LHP Brian Matusz, Orioles
6. OF Desmond Jennings, Rays
7. RHP Neftali Feliz, Rangers
8. 3B Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
9. 1B Justin Smoak, Mariners
10. LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants

You could make the case that last year’s No. 2 prospect, Stephen Strasburg, was good enough to be the Nationals’ ace when he was pitching at San Diego State. Heyward and Stanton look like stars in the making. Same for Posey, Bumgarner and Feliz who were key players on World Series teams. In fairness, it was an unbelievably talented group last year, but I think it’s easy now to look back and see how spoiled we were when it came to prospects last year.

Now all there is to do is wait for the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. When it arrives in the mail, baseball season is officially coming up.

Random thoughts:

  • We’ll know in a few years just how good the Adrian Gonzalez trade was for the Padres. Also in that column, it seems like folks are frustrated by the economics of small-market baseball in 2010. The Padres weren’t going to get Jacoby Ellsbury or any other MLB-ready young players in that trade, but they did get Boston’s top hitting and pitching prospects. The days of undervaluing young players in trades are over. When you’re an MLB team in San Diego (one of the smallest local TV markets in baseball) that’s fallen on hard times, rebuilding is just part of the deal. The new Padres’ regime is trying to put a sustainable system in place that is constantly building through the draft, but it takes time for that system to pay off.
  • The Padres’ camouflage jerseys got a redesign, and they’re more… camouflagy. In the article photo, players/models Mat Latos and Will Venable are Fort Wayne alums.
  • The Triple-A Tuscon Padres’ new logo is now public.
  • The Padres’ chairman/former principal owner had his divorce case settled. Which is good, compared to the messy divorce of the Dodgers’ owners which seems like it’s hampering the baseball operations budget.
  • In this week’s MiLB transactions, we see RHP Dirk Hayhurst, a Fort Wayne alum and now big-time author, signed with the Rays. There are a TON of former Padres with the Rays now.
  • The Giants’ Top 10 Prospects are posted at Baseball America.
  • Jayson Stark points out today that the last two pitchers to lead the American League in saves aren’t expected to be closers in 2011. I’m not sure if that says more about the uselessness of the save statistic or the value of a good setup man.
  • The Blue Jays traded the just-acquired Mike Napoli to the Rangers for RHP Frank Francisco. So, essentially, that means they traded Vernon Wells (and $5 million cash, allegedly) for Juan Rivera and Francisco. If the Jays were in any other division, they might be the favorite “surprise team of 2011.” But if your aunt had a… never mind.
  • Which was a worse decision (on paper): The Barry Zito contract or the Vernon Wells trade? Fangraphs investigates.
  • From the Rangers’ perspective, Napoli crushes lefties. Which is good when you play against Oakland a lot.
  • Here’s a sports contest Cleveland has a chance to win… Who’s tougher to trade away: Vernon Wells at $23 million a year or Travis Hafner at $13 million a year?
  • Here’s an article trying to predict MLB salary inflation. Hint: It’s about seven percent per year. BUT, that could change with a new collective bargaining agreement probably coming before next season.
  • What could have happened if we’d had the two-division, two-wild-card system over the past decade?
  • If you’re having trouble deciphering what some of the new sabermetric stats mean and figuring out what a good OBP or OPS is, you need to read this.
  • So what you’re telling me is, Derek Jeter doesn’t have enough range to play shortstop, but he does have enough range to play center field? What am I missing here?
  • Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero hasn’t had range in years. He doesn’t have a job right now, and Texas is making less sense for him than ever.
  • The Pirates announced higher day-of-game ticket prices for the first time in nine years. I’ve always said, when you want to bask in the brilliance of .38 Special, you’d better be ready to shell out a few extra bucks.
  • If appearing in an MC Hammer video makes you a record mogul, well… Jimmy Rollins has been a mogul since he was 13 years old.
  • As lame as the college football bowl system is, stories like this make it seem less and less likely things will change. Which is a shame, really.
  • Speaking of shames… Sigh. Just embarrassing.
  • You know it’s been cold when it’s 27 degrees outside and it feels warm.
  • Team president Mike Nutter says the only way the OSU-Purdue game could have been better was if Gus Johnson was calling the game. I disagree, simply because I would have been petrified of a Purdue comeback the entire second half. Fact: Gus Johnson only calls close games.
  • Fact: The only way this isn’t soul-crushingly lame is that Ohio State basketball is 21-0. When you’re undefeated and destroying top-15 opponents, you can do whatever you want. You know, as long as it’s within NCAA rules.

Musical guest… The Raconteurs (and friends)!

Take care!

DW

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