June 10, 2013
The Week in Quotes
ASTROS TAKE APPEL WITH NO.1 PICK IN DRAFT
"It's incredibly special. We're a tight family. Both my parents were born [in Houston] and raised there, and I lived there for 12 years before moving to California. All my family lives there. It's very exciting."
—Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, selected first overall in the Rule 4 draft by the Houston Astros. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)
“I don't think I necessarily had an end goal in mind when I turned down the Pirates' offer. My goals were to finish my degree and become a better baseball player and better person and better teammate. As far as that goes, I think I accomplished those things.”
—Appel, on his decision to return for his senior year at Stanford after being drafted eighth overall in last year’s draft. (Dennis Waszak, Houston Chronicle)
"We'll give him some time off, get him signed, and get him out to the minor leagues. This is not a player we're going to rush to the big leagues. This is a player who's going to be here for a while. As good as Pac-10 baseball is, professional baseball is harder, and the major leagues is a lot harder. We'll have to let his performance dictate that. He certainly is a guy capable of moving quickly based on his experience, but we're not going to put a timetable on it."
—Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, on the organization’s plans for Appel.
“We believe Mark stands a better chance of being a hit rather than a miss because of his delivery and his durability. He has made every start for three years, and he was in the bullpen his freshman year. … Not once did (our scouts) receive an email that he was going to skip a start or be pushed back a start; he made it every time. He pitched deep into games and his velocity was held throughout the game.”
—Luhnow, on Appel’s college workload. (Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle)
“I don’t think that anybody in the draft that I know is seeking what I would call dollars that are not within the realm of what everyone anticipated the draft to be. The expectancies of certainly everyone involved are within the traditional dynamics of what’s expected in the process.”
—Appel’s agent, Scott Boras, on contract negotiations between his client and the Astros. The Astros’ pick has a $7.79 million bonus-pool slot value.
WELCOME TO THE 2013 DRAFT CLASS
“I was looking for a flight manifest to see if we could get him in the lineup today.”
—Cubs manager Dale Sveum, on No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant. The third baseman out of San Diego could be the best hitter in the draft.
"I got stronger, lost weight and the mechanics, working with coach [Jack] Giese, our pitching coach at OU, it seemed like everything started clicking and my velocity kept climbing. Now I know how to control it. I can ring up triple-digits whenever. It's been another great tool, a weapon I've been able to use this year."
—Oklahoma starting pitcher Jonathan Gray, who was selected third overall by the Colorado Rockies. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)
"I think the ceiling is unlimited. I think he's got the makeup and the physical attributes to be a frontline starter. I'm not going to sit here and say the guy is going to be a No. 1 starter—I don't think anyone can predict that—but I do think that, not to put any undue pressure on the kid, but he has the ability, the athleticism, to be just as good as the guys up ahead of him."
—Twins scouting director Deron Johnson, on their fourth overall pick, Kohl Stewart, a right-handed high schooler. (Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com)
“I think it's something we look for. I think athleticism is something we focus on with pitchers, especially high school kids. Those are the types of frames and athletes that we're looking to get into our rotation and hopefully lead our rotation one day.”
—Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Brian Parker, on their first-round selection, high school righty Phil Bickford. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
"I was in the lunch room eating breakfast and watching TV. I had my iPad going with the draft on. I saw the Mariners were picking, so I was watching and saw his name come up. I just jumped up looking for somebody to high-five or something. It was awesome. That was a really special moment."
—Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager on his younger brother, Justin, being drafted in the 12th round by Seattle. Justin is a junior out of UNC-Charlotte. (Jacob Thorpe, MLB.com)
MLB SEEKS TO SUSPEND PLAYERS LINKED TO BIOGENESIS CLINIC
“I've already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed. I don't know the specifics of the story that came out today. I've already addressed it, I've already commented on it, and I'll say nothing further about it. I hope that you guys can respect that.”
—Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, on ESPN’s Outside the Lines report, which stated that Major League Baseball is seeking to suspend at least 20 players linked to the biogenesis clinic in Miami. (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
“We all deal with challenges in life. I think for all of us as baseball players there's distractions, whether it's your family situation, relationship situation ... there's all kinds of things that come up throughout the course of the season. For all of us, we have a job to do regardless of what those distractions are. Obviously, this hasn't been fun. It's not easy. It's not something I enjoy. But regardless, I have a job to do, and I do my best to do my job every day.”
—Braun, on allegations linking him to PED use. (Adam McCalvy, MLB.com)
“Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded. I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our Basic Agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As I have said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship. I am down here doing my job and working hard and will continue to do so until I'm back playing.”
—Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, on the scandal. (Roger Rubin and Michael O’Keeffe, New York Daily News)
“If they suspend me again, I think that would be a harsh punishment because I already served my sentence. But it's up to them. I believe I've already served my sentence, especially missing the playoffs. That's what hurt me the most.”
—Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, who served a 50-game suspension last season after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. (Paul Hagen, MLB.com)
“Everything right now is speculation until MLB does something. We'll see what happens, what comes out and what MLB does. We can all sit here and wonder, guess who's going to be on there and what the ramifications are going to be, but until something happens, there's really nothing we can say. I don't know what's out there, what the truths are, so until that happens, I don't think anybody can truly make a comment on what's going to happen. [...] We've done so much as a group to try to rid ourselves of conversations like this, stepping outside of our agreement and making changes in the middle of it. That's been unprecedented in the past. We'll continue to make strides to clean the game up, and until that day when we don't have to talk about this anymore, we'll continue doing that.”
—Yankees outfielder and former Blue Jays player representative Vernon Wells.
“We came into spring training with this kind of cloud over the team, and Gio came in and took the reins and explained exactly what happened. He wanted to make sure that he explained it to his teammates, which he did. I think he explained to the media just as well as he explained it to us. For me, knowing Gio, knowing the kind of guy that he is, I believe him wholeheartedly. He has done it the right way, in my opinion.”
—Nationals reliever and player representative Tyler Clippard, on Gio Gonzalez, who was named in reports. However, it’s not believed that the left-handed pitcher purchased illegal substances from the clinic, so his status with MLB may be different than others in question. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
GIVE ME THAT 100 MPH FASTBALL, AND WE’LL GET OUT OF THIS
"We considered all the internal options and felt his development is where we hoped it would be. This opportunity presented itself. It wasn't forced, it wasn't manufactured. It's just the right time."
—Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on 2011 top pick Gerrit Cole making his MLB debut Tuesday. (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
"When we tell him that's enough at 100 pitches, he's like, ‘What? I feel great.' He's going to be a workhorse."
—Indianapolis Indians pitching coach Tom Filer. Cole posted a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts for the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate this season. (Travis Sawchik, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
“I say, ‘Who cares? We're in the fifth inning, there's no score, there's a runner on first, you have a 100 mph fastball. Give me that fastball, and we'll get out of this.'”
—Indians catcher Tony Sanchez, on what he tells Cole during visits to the mound.
"He's freakin' good. If he's not the best, he's right up there. He can really pitch. There'll be a learning curve there, learning how to deal with adversity, but I would not be surprised if that kid is one of the best in the game—soon."
—Pirates catcher Russell Martin. The eight-year veteran caught Cole during spring training this year.
METS, MARLINS PLAY 20 INNINGS OF MEDIOCRE BASEBALL
“When a game gets to be like that, sometimes when you're battling for a lot of innings, or you're battling the weather, and it's rough and you're grinding, a lot of times it comes down to the team that can have the most fun out there.”
—Marlins catcher Rob Brantly, on the 2-1 win over the Mets, the longest game in franchise history. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“That’s the coolest win I’ve ever been a part of. We’ve lost so many close games, so many walk-offs games that we really needed something to go our way.”
—Marlins closer Steve Cishek (Juan C. Rodriguez, South Beach Sun Sentinel)
“You’ve got to give those guys credit on the other side. They battled as well as we did and we had opportunities and just didn’t capitalize. That’s baseball.”
—Mets pitcher Shaun Marcum, who pitched eight shutout innings of relief before allowing the game-winning run in the 20th. (Stephen Lorenzo, New York Daily News)
“You play 20 innings, you want to win. I mean, obviously. You play 20 innings, you’ve got to win that game.”
—Marlins manager Mike Redmond.
YASIEL PUIG DRAWS COMPARISONS TO STARS AFTER DEBUT
"He's got a little Vlad Guerrero in him. He just goes up there and tries to hit it hard every time. He doesn't care about where it goes."
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on Puig. (Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times)
"I've played a long time, but I don't think I've seen a guy have a first two games that he's had. Arm strength, speed, power to all fields. This is fun to watch."
—Utility man Jerry Hairston Jr., on Puig’s first games with the team. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"That guy's got a hose. He's got a great arm, and he's pretty accurate with it, too. We knew he had a great arm, but that just proved to everyone what we were always saying about him in spring training. And now he's doing it at the big-league level."
—Closer Brandon League, on Puig, after the rookie’s eye-opening throw from the warning track to first base to double off Chris Denorfia at the end of Monday’s game against San Diego. (Austin Laymance, MLB.com)
"I know him. I've seen video. He made great throws. I can do that."
—Puig, when asked about Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)
"How can you not be surprised by that ending? We've seen games end like that, but not when the kid's out there who has been hyped since the beginning of spring training. It is Hollywood."
—Mattingly on Puig’s game-ending double play Monday against San Diego.
"I can see the comparisons, for sure. Break down the tools. Running is real close, but I'd probably give the edge to Bo. Probably give Bo the edge on the arm. Raw power? I haven't seen enough [of Puig], but Bo had huge raw power. The thing about Bo, he was a little new to baseball. He had been so focused on football. This kid looks like he has played a little more baseball. Bo was a great athlete who played baseball. This kid is a baseball player.''
—Padres manager Bud Black, on the comparison of Puig to former two-sport star Bo Jackson. Black was a teammate of Jackson with the Royals in the 1980s. (Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com)
"He plays with such joy, and that's really what we love. He's definitely brought some energy, but you don't just bring energy unless you go produce and I think that's what we've seen. You're not going to spark anybody if you go out and go 0-for-4, but he's not doing that. By producing, he creates energy."
—Mattingly, on Puig, after the newcomer smashed two home runs in Tuesday’s game. (Ken Gurnick and Austin Laymance, MLB.com)
—Brett Anderson was an 80 tweeter during the draft. (Brett Anderson, @BrettAnderson49, Oakland Athletics)
—Ben Zobrist’s wife wants to spice up Tropicana Field. (Julianna Zobrist, @TheZobrists, Tampa Bay Ray wife!)
—Aren’t you supposed to be recovering from a knee injury? (Bryce Harper, @BHarper3407, Washington Nationals)
—Yaisel Puig is, indeed, real. (A.J. Ellis, @AJEllis17, Los Angeles Dodgers)
"It's cool. I feel very blessed being able to play this game as long as I have. To be able to be on this club, play with this team, play with so many great players, have Mo close out so many of these games—it makes it so special because he's such a great friend. It's a good day."
—Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, after collecting his 250th career win on Saturday. (Brian Hoch, MLB.com)
"He can really accelerate into the bag on a slide. A lot of guys slide and they lose about a half a step slowing down or tucking the legs. He almost accelerates. I was telling Adam [Jones] about that in the dugout the other day, by the time he stole second [Tuesday night], Adam said, 'Like that?' The last 10 feet last night he looked like he was going to be out, but he finishes real well at the bag. It's a nice element to have."
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Nate McLouth’s base stealing ability. His resurgent season has included a top-three league standing in steals. (Brittany Ghiroli and Chris Abshire, MLB.com)
"It's hard to point to exactly what it is. Some of it's luck, using the whole field, not giving them scouting reports where I've been hitting the ball on a consistent basis. I've hit the ball all over the field this year, and it's keeping the coaches who do the spray charts on their toes."
—Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind, who’s also been enjoying a comeback season. Lind is hitting .340 with six home runs and a greatly increased walk rate. (Steph Rogers, MLB.com)
"That was their decision. I was ready after I was suspended. I went down and got ready just in case they needed me. They didn't need me at the time, they won the championship and I was very happy and glad that they did it with or without me."
—Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, on the Giants decision to keep him off their playoff roster last season after returning from his PED suspension. Cabrera made his return to San Francisco on Tuesday. (Evan Peaslee, MLB.com)
"I'm sure he was highly disappointed. I felt really bad for him. Of course we all do even beyond what it means for the team. There's interesting turns in everybody's journey, and I'm sure he'll be up to it. I'm not sure where his decision process is, but we'll all certainly support him no matter what he decides to do."
—Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, on starting pitcher Daniel Hudson, who faces the possibility of a second Tommy John surgery after suffering a re-tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during an extended spring training start Tuesday. (Barry Bloom, MLB.com)
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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