Chris Young Goes Coco
One A's outfielder mimics another.
Remember that piece back in December about Coco Crisp's tendency to steal bases before the pitcher begins to comes home with the pitch? Last night another Athletics outfielder, Chris Young, paid homage against Joe Blanton. Here are some visuals. First Young when he starts to run compared to Blanton:
And now two images that show where Young was when Blanton released the ball and where he was when the catcher caught the ball (by the way: there was no throw):
This is the third current or former Athletic to steal a base in this manner who I've seen (joining Crisp and Cliff Pennington). Either Crisp's genius is infectious or the Athletics are teaching a different style of ball when it comes to swiping bags.
Glove-slap to Jason Wojciechowski
April 11, 2013 10:25 AM
Effectively Wild Episode 179: Extending Barry Zito/The First-Place Royals
Ben and Sam discuss the situation surrounding Barry Zito's contract for 2014, and the Royals' hot, small-sample start.
Ben and Sam discuss the situation surrounding Barry Zito's contract for 2014, and the Royals' hot, small-sample start.
The Froot Loop Summer
An unconventional source of power was credited with Mickey Tettleton's surprising 1989 campaign.
There weren't many expectations for the 1989 Orioles. The year before, the club had set the bar for futility by losing the first 21 games of the season. They would end the year with a 54-107 record. In the offseason, management traded the golden gloved, silver slugging first baseman and perennial MVP candidate Eddie Murray to the Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell. It was hardly a steal for Baltimore and, what's more, the club suddenly had a 30 home run-sized hole in their already weak lineup. No one expected the O's to do anything but remain in the cellar for another year.
Then Mickey Tettleton came to the plate. Tettleton, a catcher, came up with the A's in 1984 at the age of 23. For four years, he acted as a serviceable backup, appearing in roughly half of Oakland's games. In 1986, he played in a then-career high 90 games, knocking out 10 home runs in 211 at-bats (to go along with his .204 batting average). Following Terry Steinbach's breakthrough 1987, Tettleton was cut from the team in spring training. He quickly signed on with Baltimore, where he took on a very similar role for the (dubious) record-setting club. He ended that memorable 1988 season with 11 home runs and a .261 average in 286 at-bats.
April 11, 2013 7:27 AM
Games of Wednesday, April 10
Diamondbacks righty Archie Bradley flashed the dominant stuff that gives him an ace-level ceiling.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (High-A Visalia): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K; Bradley has a potential plus-plus fastball-curveball tandem, and he could eventually develop a solid-average changeup. The righty is a physical monster (he could have played Div. I college football) and throws on a steep downhill plane. He is one of the few pitching prospects with the package to potentially blossom into a number-one starter. For more on Bradley, including a scouting video, see this post by Jason Cole from earlier this week.
Position Prospect of the Day: Courtney Hawkins, CF, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 K; Hawkins, the back-flipping 2012 first-round pick, offers easy plus power with the potential to be an average hitter. He is only a solid-average runner at the moment, and his body type is one that could pack on bad weight, which leads me to believe that he will eventually move to right field, where his plus arm would profile well.
- Josh Bell, RF, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K; Bell was a highly touted amateur, received $5 million after being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. I recommend that anyone that does not know the story on how Scott Boras got Josh Bell his bonus money to look it up. Anyway, Bell had a knee injury in 2012 that caused him to miss a majority of the season. When I saw him this spring, he looked rough and lacked the necessary bat speed. He struggled to start the season, but numbers like these may be a sign that he is finally ready to right his ship.
- Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB; Betts has a short stroke that will provide gap power, and he combines it with solid-average speed and good baseball instincts.
- Brian Flynn, LHP, Marlins (Double-A Jacksonville): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K; Flynn, a throw-in prospect in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade, has a heavy fastball, a solid-average slider, a fringy curveball, and an improving changeup.
- Nolan Fontana, SS, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K; Fontana is a grinder type that gets the most out of his tools. He has a solid-average hit tool and could provide gap power, projecting as a future utility man.
- Isaac Galloway, CF, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 2-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI; Galloway has a quick bat, but may lack the necessary plate discipline to compete at the highest level.
- Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers, (Double-A Chattanooga): 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K; Lee, another player on this list who got $5 million to sign, has a three-pitch arsenal (fastball/slider/changeup). The slider is Lee’s only potential plus pitch. He will use his athleticism and pitchability to make his way to the big leagues, with a ceiling that now lies in the third- or fourth-starter range, as opposed to the ace-level projection he had when the Dodgers drafted him.
- Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (High-A Carolina): 3-6, 3B, 2 R, RBI; Lindor has always offered a plus-plus defensive profile, and he has started the 2013 red hot at the plate; 11-for-24 with a double, two triples, and five stolen bases thus far.
- Bryson Myles, OF, Indians (High-A Carolina): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI; With plus power and speed, Myles may have one of the more intriguing toolsets that you have never heard about. He is 23 and still in High-A, so he will need to show he can make enough contact to use these tools if he is going to jump onto the prospect radar; 8-for-19 with two doubles, a homerun, six runs scored, and seven RBI.
- Gustavo Pierre, 3B, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 2-4, HR, R, RBI, 2 K, SB; The Blue Jays sent Pierre, who has a plus-plus arm but was forced to move off of shortstop because of inadequate defensive actions, back to the Midwest League. At the plate, Pierre offers good bat speed and average power potential, but he may never realize his talent because of a deficiency in plate discipline.
- Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets (Low-A Savannah): 3-5, 3 2B, R, RBI; Plawecki, who is a 2012 draftee from Purdue, has not been challenged by Low-A pitching so far; 12-for-27 with three doubles, a home run, and seven RBI to start the season.
- Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Low-A Bowling Green): 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K; After a shaky first start, Snell got it together in his second outing. Snell’s fastball can touch 94, his slider and changeup have plus potential, and his curveball could be average. Snell also has the benefit of pitching in a system known for churning out quality big-league arms. If you would like my two cents, which I hope you do, Snell could be the breakout pitching prospect of 2013.
- Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI; Vazquez, an excellent defender behind the plate, has really improved his production in the box after making a mechanical change to shorten his swing. For me, Vazquez is at worst a major-league backup with a chance to develop into a second-division starter.
“The ‘I’m not sure but I thought I would include it’”
Trevor May, RHP, Twins (Double-A New Britain): 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K; May, the prospect that the Twins received in the Ben Revere trade, offers one of the most bewildering arsenals in the minors. He has nasty stuff—a potential plus-plus fastball, a plus curveball, and a usable changeup—but he may never be a starter because he has not been able to harness the stuff to throw enough quality strikes and may project better as a late-inning reliever. He can flash brilliance, and then walk the next three batters. My guess is as good as yours, but I’ll say the Twins let May begin as a starter, and let his command problems surface before moving him to the bullpen.
April 11, 2013 12:58 AM
Trot Times for April 9
The tater trots from April 9: minor league Ramon Quinn gives us the real highlight of the day.
The Astros and Mariners combined for eight home runs on Tuesday. Yes, the Astros and Mariners. The Yankees and Indians combined for six more. In Washington, the White Sox and Nationals also hit six. These three games helped lead us to the first forty home run night of the season. Thanks, guys!
April 10, 2013 2:24 PM
Science Confirms The Good Face
A study finds that some faces make better baseball players.
One of the most controversial scouting practices is the use of The Good Face. Ken Funck once wrote about The Good Face in these very pages:
April 10, 2013 12:49 PM
Fujikawa's Wild Night Out
The new Cubs closer records a strikeout in a weird way.
Tuesday, like the night before it, featured an unusual sequence of called strikes. The weirdness happened during the ninth inning of the Brewers-Cubs game. Newly appointed Chicago closer Kyuji Fujikawa started his shift against Milwaukee outfielder Logan Schafer. After missing high with a fastball to begin the at-bat, Fujikawa recovered to throw three consecutive fastballs for called strikes en route to a leadoff strikeout. If only it were that simple.
Fujikawa did throw three consecutive called strikes and did notch the K, but he did so in an odd manner. On each of the pitches Fujikawa missed his target by a considerable amount. Don't take my word for it, here are stills from the first two strikes that show the target and the location:
In both instances catcher Welington Castillo sets up for a pitch down and away, and in both instances Castillo must stab back across the plate to catch the ball. Yet home-plate umpire Alan Porter called each pitch a strike. Fujikawa, sensing a challenge, took things a step further on the two-strike offering. On this pitch Castillo rode the elevator to the top of his crouch and set his mitt up across from Schafer's letters. By the time Castillo secured the pitch, however, he was back down in normal position and his mitt was across from Schafer's knees. Strike three:
What makes this a notable sequence of called strikes is that you can view Porter as being 100 percent correct or incorrect depending on your point of view: Either he did his job well by focusing on the ball's location as it crossed the plate, or he did his job poorly by rewarding poor command and poor presentation. It's up to you. Just know that those who followed along through GameDay thought he did a marvelous job:
April 10, 2013 10:46 AM
Games of Tuesday, April 9
Reds righty Robert Stephenson has blown batters away in both of his first two starts this year.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K; Stephenson has an elite fastball with the chance for two plus secondary offerings (slider/changeup). I talked with a scout about the Reds’ system, and he said, “Watch out for Stephenson. He might be the best prospect in the system, and I don’t care how fast Hamilton is.”
Position Prospect of the Day: Andrew Lambo, LF, Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 4-6, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, K; Lambo, a onetime upper-tier prospect, has started 2013 swinging a hot bat. He hit for the cycle after making this list a few nights ago because of a three-hit performance; .417/.500/.833 with two doubles, a triple, and two home-runs in 24 at-bats.
Other notable prospect performances from April 9:
- Raul Alcantara, RHP, Athletics (Low-A Beloit): 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K; Alcantara, acquired by Athletics in the Andrew Bailey deal, has a plus fastball that he can command to both sides of the plate and mixes in a solid slider and changeup.
- Jayce Boyd, 1B, Mets (Low-A Savannah): 3-5, 2B, R, RBI, K; Boyd has excellent bat-to-ball ability, but his lack of over-the-fence power and first-base defensive profile don’t mesh well; 12-for-22 with four doubles.
- Edward Butler, RHP, Rockies (Low-A Asheville): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K; Butler, a 2012 supplemental first-round selection, has a fastball that sits in the plus velocity range and can touch plus-plus when necessary. In addition, he brings a slider that flashes bat-missing ability and a changeup that is still a work in progress; 14 innings pitched, three hits allowed, and 14 strikeouts.
- Andrew Chafin, LHP, Diamondbacks (Hi-A Visalia): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K; Chafin shows a plus fastball and a plus slider, but he uses a max-effort delivery that will at some point turn him into a late-inning reliever.
- Christian Lopes, 2B, Blue Jays (Low-A Lansing): 3-4, HR, R, RBI, K; Lopes makes loud contact and a lot of it because of a short quick bat, but he is limited to the right side of the infield because of below-average speed and range.
- Luis Mateo, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K; A plus fastball mixed with a 70-grade, wipeout slider makes Mateo one of the more interesting prospects in the Mets system. The changeup is still a complete work in progress, and he is already 23, which leads me to believe the Mets could fast track Mateo with a move to the bullpen at any point.
- Jiovanni Mier, SS, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB; Mier, a first-round pick in 2009, shows only average tools at the plate, but has flashed gap power. His defense is only considered average, and he is now looked at more as a utility option than as a regular starter.
- Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K; Montero features a plus fastball with an average slider and changeup. He has plus command of all of those pitches, which will allow him to eventually slot in nicely behind Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey in the Mets rotation.
- Domingo Santana, RF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 3-4, 3 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K; Potential plus-plus power and a plus arm make Santana a good fit for right field. Making consistent contact has always been his problem, and he will continue to work at it in Double-A.
- Jesus Solorzano, RF, Marlins (Low-A Greensboro): 3-5, 2B, R, 5 RBI, SB; Solorzano has plus power potential, but will need to improve his plate discipline and routes to the ball in the outfield; .391/.391/.522 in 23 at-bats.
- Jose Urena, RHP, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K; Urena mixes a potential plus-plus fastball with a slider that flashes plus, a developing changeup, and a get-me-over curveball. Urena has the ability to miss bats, but must keep working to develop his changeup and improve his command in order to reach his third-starter ceiling.
- Jose Vinicio, SS, Red Sox (Low-A Greeville): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI; Vinicio, a $1.95 million Dominican signee in 2009, shows the chops to stick at shortstop and good bat speed. He must add mass to his extremely small frame.
- Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds (Triple-A Louisville): 0-3, BB, K, CS; Man, someone better give Billy the red light… he got caught stealing.
- Joe Terdoslavich, RF, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett): 1-5, 2B, 4 K; Terdoslavich has limited defensive ability, which puts extreme pressure on his production at the plate; 5-for-22 with six strikeouts to date.
- Jesse Winker, LF, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 0-3, 2 K; Winker, a 2012 supplemental first-round selection, might already be restricted to left field. He will rely on his bat, which is his best tool, but will need to develop power to fit the corner-outfield profile.
April 10, 2013 7:07 AM