Alas, Poor Yorvit 

A few notes on the Winn trade:

* Of course Brian Sabean knows this team sucks, and even if it were to acquire Curt Schilling's bloody sock and win an emotional NL West race, it would get blown out of the water by the Braves or Cardinals in the first round of playoffs. The only reason I can figure he's going for it is that the fiscal rewards of simply making the playoffs are great enough to justify the risk of losing young players and taking on veteran salary. In other words, the extra few million dollars earned just by showing up to the NLDS are enough of a lure -- either because the limited partners want some return, or because the Giants want a few more mil to spend a little more lavishly on free agents this winter (yeah, right).

* The Giants brought up Yamid Haad to back up Matheny. Haad is hitting .284/.311/.493 at Fresno. They need to open a roster spot for Winn; who will it be? Let's hope it's Edgardo Alfonzo, with Feliz shifting to third base full time. Why? Because...

* Winn has a team option for $5 M next year. If the Giants don't pick it up, he could exercise a $3.75 M player option. That's a lot of money for a man whose batting stats, if you squint, kind of look like Michael Tucker's. His defense is (allegedly) better.

* This note from Will Carroll's rumor mill: "Winn will stay in left field, according to Giants sources." If true, it means either Pedro Feliz or Edgardo Alfonzo will likely be traded; if Alfonzo stays, it means the Giants will have three singles hitters (Winn, Alfonzo, Snow) playing power positions. If Feliz stays, it means I will die of a pulmonary embolism in mid-August when he stops hitting home runs and returns to his slider-in-the-dirt, double-play-ball mischief. But from my grave I will applaud the greater payroll flexibility going into 2006.

* From '02 to '04, Winn to my surprise was remarkably similar from either side of the plate. I thought he was much better as a lefthanded batter, but not really:

LHB: 1329 ABs / .349 OBP / .429 SLG / .778 OPS
RHB: 504 ABs / .353 OBP / .460 SLG / .813 OPS

This year, he's far worse from the right side: .654 OPS (vs. .770 as a LHB). This could be the effect of spacious Safeco, his home field since 2003.

* I'm not so torn up about losing Foppert. He may become a good starter, but even Seattle GM Bill Bavasi termed him a "gamble." Alas, poor Yorvit, I'll miss him. He may become as good a hitter as Doug Mirabelli, who sports a respectable career .752 OPS as a backup catcher. He may mature into a starter, but apparently no other team really thinks so, or else the Giants would have traded him long ago for Todd Jones or Kaz Matsui.

* Sabean says he's still trying to land a white whale, er, starting pitcher. Cue the jaunty seafaring jig that soon morphs into minor-key premonitions of disaster just over the horizon. A quick thank you to Brian Cashman for swooping down on Shawn Chacon before Sabean could.



Them Kozmic Blues Again 

ESPN's Uniwatch column reports that an unnamed team is thinking about switching back to the powder-blue road uniform. A must-read if you can't get enough of old baseball threads.

The piece makes fun of the dreaded '70s, but in a few years we'll look back on the current period, with the alternate jerseys and just about anything worn by the Colorado Rockies, and yearn for ballplayers in shorts and collared shirts.



"A Disgusting Loss Today at Wrigley Field" 

Those were Jon Miller's post-game words in response to this:

*Jason Ellison, leading off the game with a walk then stumbling as he tried to steal second. If you get a bad jump, stop and go back. Ellison did not.
* Pedro Feliz, twice unable to get a runner home from third with less than two outs.
* Omar Vizquel, missing a squeeze sign.
* Vizquel, booting an inning-ending double play grounder.
* Michael Tucker, losing an easy fly ball in the sun.
* Kevin Correia, pitching the bottom of the ninth, walking the leadoff batter.
* Felipe Alou, putting in Correia to start the ninth. In fact, Alou, Righetti, and whoever else, putting Correia in the bullpen.

Jon Miller also said this: "The Giants will head to Milwaukee with knowledge not only that they could have swept the Cubs, but that they should have swept the Cubs."

And he's an employee.



The Week That Wasn't 

This final stretch of games before Sunday's trading deadline is supposed to be make-or-break, to show the Giants' fence-sitting brass whether the team can steal the division from the Padres the way bloody, ragged soldiers steal wallets, chains and gold fillings from battlefield corpses.

Let's see: two shaky wins, four no-doubt losses against two of the better NL East teams, and an ugly loss to the Cubs last night (pathetic clutch hitting, unlucky bullpen, The Revenge of Neifi), and are there any doubts?

Jason Schmidt pitched well, but if not for the basepath foibles of Cubs pitcher Rich Hill -- he fell on his face rounding third on a basehit, then failed to tag and score on an outfield fly -- Schmidt may have sustained far more damage in the third inning. We all wonder if Schmitty is really on the block. Grant at McCovey Chronicles tends to agree with Sabean's apparent M.O.: hold onto Schmidt unless showered with young riches. Whether Schmidt stays or goes, it's painfully obvious that it's time just play the kids.

Even Kirk Rueter agrees. Woody told the Chron yesterday that his yo-yo treatment -- banished to the bullpen, now tabbed to start this weekend -- is bad for him and bad for the young starters the Giants are trying to evaluate: "Now I see in the paper I'm going to start one of the games in Milwaukee, and if I don't perform, they're going to go back to kids. ... The kids, I've been in their situation. It's not good for them to go back and forth."

Stout selfless yeoman Woody, we're going to miss you.

There's been much herky-jerkiness to the Giants' pitching moves this year, as noted last month, forced by injury and ineffectiveness to a large extent, yes, but...

Let's just say that once the Giants really, truly wave the white flag and spend the rest of the year evaluating for '06, we should keep an extremely close eye on how the pitching staff is handled. Will Correia and Hennessey be yanked around like yo-yos? Will Alou show patience and let the youngsters work through trouble, even if it means some ugly innings between now and October?

Other than pitching, the other big evaluation question revolves around Todd Linden. He squiffed in his 58-at-bat stint earlier this summer, but to his credit he's gone back to Fresno and continued to mash. He's by most measures the best hitter in the minor leagues this year. Highest slugging percentage in AAA by a wide margin, in a virtual tie for best AAA on-base percentage, most AAA home runs...all of which means kerfuffle. Two others challenging Linden for supremacy are Kevin Orie and Roberto Petagine, both on the wrong side of 30 for some time now. Linden could be having a career year, not starting something long-term beautiful. Remember, even Calvin Murray got everyone excited by hitting .334 / .392 / .542 in triple-A one year.

But Linden's still relatively young, having just turned 25. He's proven his worth at AAA by going back down and raking after two weeks of major league frustration. Let's hope on August 1 or soon thereafter he's inserted in the Giants lineup every day to show us what he's got, once and for all.



Psst, Your Merkin is Dangling 

Trade rumor buried at the bottom of Ken Rosenthal's latest TSN column:

The Giants apparently were willing to trade Class AA righthander Merkin Valdez for Rockies righthander Jason Jennings, but the Rockies balked at the deal. "If he stays a starter, Valdez can at least be Pedro Astacio," one scout says. "I think you might be able to put him at the back end of the bullpen. He's got the body to be an Armando Benitez." Valdez is listed at 6-3 and 220 pounds, but the scout says he could carry 250.

UPDATE: News that Jennings needs an MRI on an injured finger ligament may dampen the Giants' ardor. Let's hope. Unfortunately, the same story in the Rocky Mtn. News says the Giants may be interested in the Rockies' utility guy Desi Relaford. That makes no sense unless the Giants are about to trade Ray Durham and need a stop-gap second baseman.

UPDATING THE UPDATE: Right-hander Jason Jennings will miss the rest of the season with a fractured right middle finger, yet another injury for a last-place team already struggling to find reliable starters.


A couple other notes:

*Despite his prolonged offensive slump, Jason Ellison's OPS is still higher than Mark Kotsay, Juan Pierre, and highly touted Seattle rookie Jeremy Reed. Higher than Willy Tavares, who some pundits say should be rookie of the year ("some" meaning one whom I read recently and now can't find through a lazy Web search -- but it's true). So let's not write the kid off as a starting center fielder just yet. If he got a few more days off against tough righthanders, his stats would look a lot better.

*Mike Matheny .250/.308/.448
A.J. Pierzynski .243/.293/.418
Not a big deal, but I feel a little warm and tingly seeing it in front of me.

*Pedro Feliz is having roughly the same offensive year as Eric Chavez. Pedro is also having roughly the same year as Garrett Anderson.



This Is Why We Are The Braves and You Are the Giants 

Exhibit #1:

- We blow a one-out, man-on-third scoring situation in the first inning, but with two outs, we hit back to back home runs.

- You blow a bases loaded, one-out situation in the first inning, and with two outs your "big RBI man" (snicker, snicker) is totally overmatched by our mediocre journeyman starter.

Exhibit #2:

- When your rookie pitcher throws a fat fastball, our cleanup batter fouls it straight back. When your rookie pitcher throws another fastball in the exact same location two pitches later, our cleanup hitter plants it halfway up the bleachers.

- When our journeyman pitcher walks the bases loaded, then throws a fat 2-0 fastball to your #5 hitter, he swings late and pops out to shortstop. Then he throws a slider in the dirt to your "big RBI man" (snort, guffaw), who swings and misses.

Exhibit #3:

Jim Brower.

On the other hand:




Lonely Sinking Feeling 

Yesterday's Baseball Prospectus featured an interesting dissection of a recent Yankees-Indians game, with Randy Johnson squaring off against Jake Westbrook. Power pitcher vs. sinkerballer. Author Jonah Keri had a notable little riff on the influence of luck on a major league sinkerball pitcher, which made me think of the Giants' lonely bright spot this year, Scott Munter, who relies on a nasty sinker and not much else.

The key stat in Keri's note, pasted below, is "batting average on balls put in play," or mainstay BABIP. (Also a perennial Korean BBQ favorite.)

The idea here is that balls in play are subject to factors beyond the pitcher's control -- wind, sun, defensive skills, bad hops, the luck of well-placed bloops or right-at-em liners. The more balls put in play, the harder a pitcher's performance is to predict. Keri's piece is premium material, so I won't excerpt too much, and I'll encourage you to pay the $35 and subscribe:

Westbrook at the All-Star break: 19 starts, 115.2 IP, 108 H, 11 HR, 34 BB, 69 K, .267 BABIP, 6-11 W-L, 4.51 ERA. Compare that to last year, when Westbrook put up nearly identical peripherals plus a higher BABIP of .277, but went 14-9 with a 3.38 ERA. Aside from showing the unreliability of both won-lost record and even ERA as a predictor of future performance, Westbrook's results also underscore how tough it is to thrive consistently as a sinkerballer in the bigs. Brandon Webb went from being one of the best pitchers in baseball in his rookie year to leading the league in walks because people stopped swinging at the sinker. Derek Lowe's ERA jumped nearly two runs from 2002 to 2003; though his home-run and walk rates swelled somewhat from one year to the next, the 50 more hits allowed in 16 fewer innings did him in, following Lowe's rabbit-foot .238 BABIP showing in '02. Performances rise and fall based on the smallest events, like a hitter barely laying off at the last second, or a few more balls scoot through the infield for hits.

When healthy, Kevin Brown has shown an extended run of dominance with the pitch. But he's the exception, not the rule. Webb, Lowe and Westbrook, perennially the top three GB/FB pitchers in the majors, go into every season hoping karma intervenes and keeps those four-hoppers in the infield. Bottom line: It’s hard to throw a hard, sinking fastball with control and succeed with it every year. Really hard.

This is mostly but not completely about sinkerballers. The larger message here is the more strikeouts the better: Randy Johnson (pre-2005) good, Kirk Rueter bad, and anything else is chalked up to luck. That's stathead gospel, and it generally makes sense. But not so fast...

What about the fact that high K totals also usually mean high pitch counts? And high pitch counts mean more stress on pitchers' arms, not to mention more appearances by often mediocre middle relievers. The happy medium is a starting pitcher who gets his fair share of strikeouts but also gets a lot of outs on the first or second pitch of an at-bat.

Hmm, sounds like Greg Maddux, who in his prime often threw 90-pitch complete games and never had spectacular K-rates. His career high for a season was 7.7 Ks per 9 innings in 1995, the year batters had a .480 OPS against him. (.480? Did I just write that? Sure it was strike-shortened, but that number means when facing Maddux in '95, the National League hit like...like...let's just say Neifi Perez's career OPS through '04 was .681.)

Just for comparison: Pedro Martinez's lowest OPS against was .472 in '00; Randy Johnson's lowest OPS against was .555 in '04.

More comparison, just for fun:

Pedro has been above 9 Ks per 9 innings since 1996.

Johnson never had fewer than 11.5 Ks/9 from '95-'02.

This isn't to say I'd prefer a prime Greg Maddux over a prime Pedro or Big Unit. I'll take all three, thanks very much.

These three freaks of nature aside, the question that intrigues me is what's more more indicative of a good pitcher and future success: a high-K rate or an economy of pitches thrown per inning? Which raw kid in the minors would you prefer to develop: one with high K and walk rates, or one who regularly zips through innings in 10, 12, 14 pitches?

I wouldn't be surprised if someone's already done this research. Point me to it if you know of it.




What's Clark Kent without a telephone booth?
What is a liquor if it ain't 80 proof?
What are the youth if they ain't rebellin?
What's Ralph Cramden, if he ain't yellin'
at Ed Norton, what is coke snortin'?
What is position if there is no contortin'?
What's momma-san, without poppa-san?
What are the All-Stars without Barry Bonds?
Nada nada nada, not a damn thing.
What's Duke Ellington without that swing?



"You Can Pay Only So Much For Scenery" 

The Chron yesterday took a long hard look at the Giants' ticket sales and, in general, team finances. There's a lot to chew on in this long piece. For example: Larry Baer says the Giants have to sell out every game to break even. And that the team will lose $1 to $2 million this year.

There are signs that post-Barry sales will soften considerably if the team continues to struggle. Much of it has to do with perceived re-sale value. If you can't sell many of your season tix for at least face value on the secondary markets, why would you buy season tix in the first place?

Rebuilding for a couple years, although perhaps unavoidable, could turn Mays Field into Jacobs Field West. The Indians enjoyed huge crowds for years at the Jake during the great Thome-Belle-Vizquel years. But the '02-'03 rebuild scared away fans, and they haven't returned despite the new, exciting, successful team now on the field.

Question: are you a season ticket holder? Are you going to re-up for '06? What are your criteria: a winning team? A big star? A discount from the street price? Or will you support the Giants unconditionally?



Friday Notes 

I'll be deep in the Northern Calif. outback this weekend with only a faint signal coming over the transistor, but I'll give a standing-O to Robb Nen, whom the Giants are thanking in a pre-game ceremony Saturday. Except for 1999, Nen was dominant in a Giants uniform. (How on earth did he give up 79 hits in 72 innings in '99?!?) He was the ultimate closer -- absolutely the right guy to have in there with a one-run lead, a man on third and less than two outs.

He also got a major-league hit in his final season and retired 1 for 15. I hope that ball is encased in glass somewhere.

I'm going through recurrent pitching-shoulder pain this year and contemplating the end of this phase of my less-than-storied baseball career; I can't imagine going out on a daily basis with a torn whatsis and frayed whozit, knowing it needs surgery, and throwing with as much torque as Nen produced. Who knows if he would have been able to return in '03 and beyond if he had shut it down mid-year in '02. That he didn't, however, effectively ended his career. That's a tough choice to make.

Thanks, Robb. Giants fans owe you one.

* There's a good discussion re. who's responsible for the Giants' pitching mess over at Only Baseball Matters. Add to it my musings last week about Righetti's inability to screw Tomko's head on straight, and you have a veritable grassroots groundswell of head-scratching over the Giants pitching situation.

* Speaking of head-scratching, check out SF Weekly's current cover story on Joe Morgan and his deep hatred of all things Moneyball. Here's a choice excerpt:

Joe: I don't read books like that. I didn't read Bill James' book, and you said he was complimenting me. Why would I wanna read a book about a computer, that gives computer numbers?

SF Weekly writer: It's not about a computer.

Joe: Well, I'm not reading the book, so I wouldn't know.

I've occasionally weighed in with my own favorite Morganisms (Morganalia?). Who knew the idea was already franchised? Turns out Mike of Mike's Baseball Rants (now a member of the Baseball Toaster) for years has deconstructed Mini-Joe's ESPN columns and chat sessions -- sometimes as incomprehensibly as Morgan writes, but I guess you gotta fight, er, fire with fire. If you're unfamiliar with the Morgan/Moneyball smackdown, definitely read the Weekly piece. If you haven't read Moneyball, shame on you.

* Not much love for the Giants on the South Side of Chicago. Dustin Hermanson tells the Daily Southtown he's glad to be gone: "I'm very grateful I made this choice to play here," Hermanson said. "Especially over San Francisco (his team last season), when you look where they are. They're in the bottom of the pit, and I'm glad I'm not buried there."

His choice was prompted by a 2-year, $5.5 million contract. It's easy to say in hindsight the Giants should have signed him. They were apparently working on a deal but were outmaneuvered by the Sox. Here's what Sox GM Kenny Williams said at the time of the deal: "One of our offseason goals was to get another guy in the back of the bullpen who could close, but would initially serve as a backup to Shingo. Shingo has done a heck of a job," Williams said. "Dustin was looking for a closing job, but was also looking for a team he could win with."

Was it all about the money, or did Hermanson see the writing on the wall? Did Williams secretly promise Hermanson the closer job, something the Giants probably didn't want to do?

Funny how a guy who hated the bullpen came to the Giants from the scrap heap to try again as a starter, and he ends up becoming the AL's top closer.

Given what we know (and what we don't) about how the Giants treated him, their negotations to bring him back this winter, and the potential he showed down the stretch last year, let's circle back to the discussion of the Giants pitching decisions and where blame should fall. Did the Giants screw up with Hermanson? Were they just victims of circumstances beyond their control? Should the Herminator be more grateful that he was able to resuscitate his career in S.F.?


Enjoy It While It Lasts 

"Why do you hate Mike Matheny so much?"

I got that question a couple weeks ago from the A-2-The-B, a.k.a. Benito's Widow. I laid out my case: atrocious hitting to complement overrated defense and $10 million that could have been wisely spent elsewhere.

He's This Year's Neifi.

Leave it to Matheny to hold up a mirror to my face to show me the ugly, twisted mask my hatred has produced. I don't know who I am anymore. My world is upside down. Call it fluke, call it small sample size, call it Jesus Christ Hallelujah on a Popsicle Stick, but Matheny is arguably the best hitting catcher in the National League.

His on base percentage is a dreadful .303, yes, but the .449 slugging after tonight's home run and double is the best among NL starting catchers. His 9 homers is tied for tops; his 42 RBI put him alone in the lead. Roughly measured, he's having a better offensive year than Mike Piazza. Piazza is in painful decline, but still, when did you ever think you'd read that sentence?

One could argue that OBP should be weighted more heavily than SLG, and thus Matheny's inability to take a walk once in a while should count more heavily against him. But he's batting eighth. Unless Noah Lowry is batting ninth, it's advisable for Matheny to swing at anything hittable with two outs and men on base.

He's done well doing just that. Here's his line with runners in scoring position:

49 AB / 18 H / 8 2B / 2 HR / 8 BB / 7 K

With runners in scoring position and two outs:

20 AB / 9 H / 5 2B / 8 BB / 4 K

Obviously some of those walks are intentional, but what's shocking (even with such a small sample size) is the power. He's hitting balls hard in clutch situations, not just doinking them into the outfield, which makes me think that this success isn't dumb luck but the result of a consistent, focused approach at the plate. Wait for a pitch to drive and put a swing on it. It's easy to be lucky with singles; it's much harder to luck into doubles.

This all could come crashing down; Matheny's previous high SLG% is .362, back when he was a spry 29 year old.

Even if he continues at this offensive pace, it's arguable that he's still not worth the fat contract Sabean gave him. Especially when Yorvit Torrealba as a starter likely would have produced similar offensive numbers and equal if not better defense at a fraction of the cost.

Best-case scenario: Matheny stays freakishly hot the rest of the year, Sabean unloads him for two can't-miss prospects over the winter, and Torrealba assumes his rightful place behind the dish 135 times next year.



Linden's New Jersey 

Eighty one up, eighty one down -- and that's just the number of minor-league transactions the Giants have made this year. Or so it seems. The Fresno-Norwich-San Fran shuttle should be absorbed into Strategic Air Command, which knows a thing or two about keeping a plane in the air at all times.

To mark the half-way point of the year, Woody Rueter decided to perform his interpretive dance entitled "Everything That's Wrong With Us/2005," an interactive piece marked by slow, lazy arcs that emanate from his fingertips, several sudden neck twists, and the participation of his teammates, who sprint across the green grass in various directions, their arms outstretched against the blue summer sky.

The Giants also flagged down a Fresno-bound twin-prop and threw Todd Linden's duffel bag aboard. He'll have to wait another year to build his mansion on the hill.

I thought he was up for the rest of the year. After a sizzling first half in Fresno, the Giants called him up and promised to play him every day. But 58 at-bats, two home runs, twenty strikeouts, some excruciating outfield defense, and one doofy headshot later, the Giants decided they'd rather have a 13th pitcher than a 5th outfielder. A rotation that can't seem to get past the 4th inning factored into the decision (see Modern Dance: Rueter, above), but Linden did everything he could to underwhelm the Giants and make us pine a wee bit for Marquis Grissom.

Did Linden redeem himself in any way, shape or form? As the theme of 2005 has quickly devolved into "OK, Kid, You Got Five Minutes," did Linden show anything to encourage us for '06? He can hit home runs, yes. He's got great speed -- that first-to-home dash vs. Arizona on Tucker's hit down the line was impressive. I never saw evidence, but he apparently has a great arm. I saw about 15 or 20 of his at-bats, and it looked like he was determined to just swing, baby. Lots of good morning, good afternoon, good night, three-pitch strikeouts.

Before his smashing run this year at Fresno, the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA projection system put Linden on track for a mediocre, Michael Tuckerish career. That will be revised upward if he returns to Fresno and picks up where he left off -- .322 /.446 /.692, 19 home runs and 47 BBs in 224 ABs. In that case, I'll be more willing to overlook this brief exercise in major-league frustration and remain cautiously optimistic for '06.

Since this year is all about the auditions, what have we learned about the other call-ups?

Scott Munter: great sinker. Brandon Webb, Kevin Brown, Julian Tavarez-type sinker. 90 to 94 MPH, and he can throw it to both sides of the plate. Of his outs, 59 are ground balls, 12 fly balls. Not many balls in the air, period: Only four extra base hits, no homers. He's 18th among rookie pitchers in VORP, but VORP is a cumulative stat. Of the top 20 pitchers, he's thrown the third-fewest innings. So he's piling up the value in a short amount of time.

A minus: Munter doesn't strike out many, so he's not the best guy in a man-on-third, infield-in situation. I haven't seen much of a second pitch except a lazy slider once in a while. Apparently he learned the sinker quickly, so there's no reason he can't develop an excellent second pitch, something off-speed to complement the sinker. Let's hope Felipe doesn't torch his arm this year, because he should help in the bullpen in '06.

Taschner and Accardo: They've barely wet their feet but both have shown flashes of promise. Taschner seems more composed than Accardo, who throws wicked hahd but seems to lose focus. These hard-throwing string-bean guys make me nervous. Think Jimmy Haynes. Or Kevin Correia. Taschner had a crummy outing yesterday, but so far generally so good. Pencil him in as a cheap LOOGY for next year; better yet, make Eyre and/or Christiansen trade bait and see if Taschner can be a set-up guy in the second half. He's 27 years old -- no sense in giving him more minor-league time. Accardo is only 23, so getting him regular work in Fresno should be the top priority.

Lance Niekro: Sticking with fancy stats, Lance was projected by BP's PECOTA to suck this year to the tune of negative VORP, meaning worse than a random warm body pulled out of the minor leagues. (More or less.) So far, Lance is proving PECOTA wrong. He's made himself useful by hitting lots of doubles and homers. There's a good chance he could be a Greg Colbrunn/Olemdo Saenz type: murder on lefties and not much else. His major league L/R splits in only 149 at-bats suggest as much, with large grains of salt for sample size. Note he's also hitting much better on the road. The splits bear watching, and his inability to take a walk may prove fatal once teams figure out his holes. The Giants would be foolish to anoint him the '06 starting first baseman without a lefty bat to platoon with.

Jason Ellison: If Brian Sabean can't get excited about Ellison, why should we? As noted earlier, Sabes has already questioned Ellison's ability to play every day. His current slump has brought his numbers down to mediocre, especially the .333 OBP for a guy who should be beating out grounders left and right. He also continues to look spastic, the aesthetic opposite of a sweet swinging Will Clark or smooth gliding Andruw Jones. As with Niekro, don't clear an '06 starting spot for him yet. He's not as bad as projected, but the world is full of half-year wonders who fizzle out faster than a warm can of Yoo-Hoo. Perhaps Ellison will learn to get on base more and not be such a dork in the outfield; perhaps the fizzle has already begun.

Hennessey, Foppert, Correia: Of the three young righty starters, Hennessey has caused the most buzz this year with a few impressive outings, including nearly seven innings and only two earned runs at Coors Field. Two bad starts, though, were enough to boot him back to Fresno. PECOTA's not impressed, although he's tough to project because of his prolonged absence in 2002-2003. Anyone who puts hope in Foppert and Correia is nuts. We simply don't know enough, thanks to injuries, wildness, and crazy shuffles between the rotation and the bullpen.

Adam Shabala, Brian Dallimore, etc: The rest of this year's call-ups look a lot like minor league lifers. Once in a while a team catches lightning in a bottle for a year, like the Orioles with David Newhan in 2004, or even a few years, a la Boston and Brian Daubach. Dallimore's lightning likely lasted all of one night, when he hit that grand slam last year against Dontrelle Willis.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com