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He just finished a season split evenly between low-A and high-A at age 23, with 30 homers but a ton of strikeouts. Let's assume part of the reason he started so hot in the AFL is that a lot of the pitchers had never seen him, and now that they've adjusted he's making outs. On my own observation as a fan, having seen him at Stockton and in the AFL, he takes a lot of bad swings, and he didn't appear all that fast to me, although if the scouts say so I can't dispute it. So unless he tears up double-A at 24 next summer it seems to me the odds are long for any kind of major league career.
So was Troy Percival.
How can you possibly have a "hit" or a "miss" on a guy you drafted less than six months ago? This has no more value than asking whether some new draftee's 3 for 30 start in Great Falls, Montana has diminished his prospect status (a question KG seems to get all the time).
And the number of guys signed is pretty much irrelevant since every team is going to sign around 30 out of 50, and just about everybody drafted after the 15th round is a huge longshot. These draft recap sections are virtually useless.
Justice Scalia quoted this same scripture in a Supreme Court decision in the 1980s -- a gentleman suddenly took off running when he saw police approach, so they chased him down and because he had fled they had probable cause to search him. I think that's right -- it's been a long time since law school.
Anyway, I agree with you Cubfan -- when someone starts quoting the old testament to support an argument, I'm out.
Thanks KG. I hope I'm wrong, and I often am since all I can offer by way of experience is having watched hundreds upon hundreds of minor league games as a fan, plus whatever I hear in talking to scouts who happen to be sitting near me at the games.
It's a long list of guys who I've thought were going to be stars based on their time in the Cal League, then disappeared before ever reaching the majors, and by the same token a long list of guys who I thought were roster filler and turned out to be good major league players.
That's correct on the pronunciation.
I wrote a little about him in a comment yesterday, and not to belabor the point but he just played his first full season at age 23, split evenly between Low-A Kane County and High-A Stockton. I can't speak to Kane County's park, but Stockton is a hitter-friendly ballpark where the wind often blows out to center -- not as severe as Lancaster or High Desert but still a good hitter's park where a guy with average power is going to hit a lot of homeruns. Desme hit 31 homers last year, but also struck out 148 times, which is a remarkable number for a class-A player at that age. Just on my own observation, which admittedly is very non-scouty, he looks thick and not particularly athletic, and he seems to swing at a lot of marginal pitches.
To me, and I did see him again in the AFL the first week of their season as well as a number of games for Stockton in the summer, he just looks like an Arizona Fall League mirage. I'll be surprised if he ever has any kind of major league career.
Isn't there a danger of overrating these AFL hitters? These are some of the best minor leaguers hitting off mostly journeyman and non-prospect pitchers in a warm and hitter-friendly environment. I was over there the first week of the season and saw 10 games, and for every Strasburg or Ian Kennedy there are about a dozen relief pitchers that even a serious fan has barely heard of.
When I see that a guy like Desme has hit a pile of homers in two weeks, I can only recall the struggles he had at times this year in advanced A-ball, including yes a lot of homers but also a ridiculous number of strikeouts. Domonic Brown, although I'd never seen him live before this month, seems to fit into that category too. Not to say that guys like that, and Dominguez and Stanton, won't eventually be stars, but are we making too much of inflated AFL numbers?
Boras must have grown up in Lake Woebegon.
Overheard exchange of the week in the AFL:
Two Surprise pitchers (a Cardinal and a Yankee) were sitting in the stands charting pitches.
Pitcher 1: Everyone throws so hard out here; I feel inadequate.
Pitcher 2: Yeah, it's like watching porno.
Just have to concur here -- it went over the wall, over the grass embankment, and landed somewhere out of sight beyond a metal fence that runs next to the scoreboard. This bomb and the one Domonic Brown hit earlier in the week in Scottsdale were among the most majestic I've ever seen in person.
Iglesias hit a homerun yesterday in the fifth in Surprise, then was hit in the back with an 0-2 fastball by a different pitcher in his next at bat in the 7th. He spun to the ground, slammed his bat down, and yelled something in Spanish at pitcher Scott Gorgen. The ump intervened and Iglesias took first. He played another inning in the field, then in the 8th he was replaced by Starlin Castro. We speculated he might have admired his homer too much, or taken a slow trot, setting off Surprise, but we didn't notice it.
This may all mean nothing but even a minor incident like this is very unusual for the AFL. The umpire warned both benches after the hbp, which I've never seen here before.
Minor correction -- Ackley was ninth in the order yesterday.
He was knocked out quickly -- threw 39 pitches in one inning plus, deep counts on every hitter except Retherford, who hit a triple. His fastball looked good but he was missing.
Jason Heyward just destroyed a 3-2 fastball from Joe Martinez last night in Scottsdale, drilling it down the line for a double. Domonic Brown made a good play to cut it off to keep Heyward at second. This was probably the hardest hit ball I've seen in person all year. Brown later hit a tremendous homer off of Daniel Meszaros that cleared the grass berm in right center and landed in a picnic area.
A witch! A witch!
Strangely enough, this would have been a *good* time for Mr. Churchill to mention that the M's could have had Max Stassi, seeing as they took a different catcher in the sandwich round, yet nothing. Oh well.
The LA Times has a pretty good feature today on Jepsen. We had him at Rancho Cucamonga during his comeback in 2007(?) but his back story, other than the surgery, wasn't well known.
Desme has two homers so far tonight in Rancho Cucamonga (2nd and 3rd innings), so you can make that an official 30/30.
Wow, Alexander Torres and Christian Friedrich miss each other by one day this week in Rancho Cucamonga (Torres Tuesday, Friedrich Wednesday). That would have been some showdown, and based on how you describe Friedrich here, he and Torres sound a lot alike -- above average fastball, but the breaking ball gets most of the Ks.
Matt, is there a relatively quick and dirty way you could take a look at the starters (historically) who have had the greatest effect on attendance? That would be interesting. I'm thinking Mark Fidrych would have to #1, with maybe Ryan on the 70s Angels, Carlton on the 70s Phils, etc.
We may have been few, but my friends and I who grew up in Anaheim and spent whole summers in the $2 general admission seats loved the 79 Angels.
The Rancho Cucamonga staff is crediting Kelvim Escobar with instilling confidence in Torres during Escobar's Cal League rehab. So at least the Angels got *something* out of Escobar this season.
I was watching on tv with my son (who is now a big baseball fan but at that time was about 5). I was going nuts when Tatis hit his second grand slam of the inning, and my son had no real idea what was going on (although he still remembers it).
Majors -- 8/29/86, banjo hitting Angel Dick Schofield's walk-off grand slam off Willie Hernandez to cap an 8 run ninth inning and beat the Tigers 13-12; at that moment we knew it was our year -- and we were right until the 9th inning of game 5 against Boston.
Minors -- 6/14/99, Marcos Castillo's perfect game for San Bernardino (Dodgers) against Lake Elsinore (Angels) in front of less than 1,000 fans on a Monday night. I've been to hundreds of games and I figure this is probably the only nine inning perfect game I will ever see in person.
For what it's worth, the scouts who sit around me in Rancho Cucamonga were very impressed with Dunigan last weekend. And they can be trusted to see past the High Desert mirage.
Bumgarner's rough outing was at the launching pad in Lancaster, so it doesn't really *count* does it? The box score says the wind was blowing out to center (as always) at 25 mph. That's actually about the average for that ballpark.
I heard announcers on two different games yesterday bring up the fact the nominal "closer" was actually having an easier and less-pressured inning than the guy who pitched the eighth (the "holder"?). So maybe the myth of the capital-C closer is finally starting to work its way into the mainstream.
Of course the Angels guys were also making a big deal about Arredondo "winning" ten games last year, so there's still a long way to go.
Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins goalie) is partly crediting an off-season yoga regimen for his vast improvement this year. I would imagine the benefits, if there are any, would be somewhat similar for goalies and catchers.
Wood hit 296/375/595 with 31 homers in 103 games as a 23 year old at Triple-A Salt Lake, all while bouncing up and down between the majors and minors all summer, and moving back and forth between short and third. How is that \"awful\"? If you\'re the Angels are you really going to give up on him at this point, or would you just plant him at one position, give him 500 PAs in the majors, and see what he can do?
Neil, thanks for channeling the great Billy Sol Hurok in your headline.
Derek, a couple questions:
1 -- What happens if all four teams finish the week 3-3? I\'ve never been able to find an answer to this.
2 -- Are the announcers actually in the stadium? They always seem to be a step behind the action, they\'re never shown on camera (even in the opening), and they don\'t always announce/notice substitutions (including relief pitchers). I know in past years when I\'ve listened to the games on the radio in Spanish the announcers are in a studio in New York. Is it the same for these tv guys?
3 -- If Jose Mota is commenting on your lack of plate discipline, as in the Dominican game yesterday, you\'re officially a hacker.
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Marlins draw fans to this new stadium, are they going to park 15,000 cars in those four parking structures? Is public transportation that good in Miami? Looks like a huge traffic mess.
On Henderson, there are at least a couple voters on the record as saying they are advocates of a large Hall of Fame, therefore they voted for the maximum ten guys and excluded Henderson from that ten, knowing he would get in easily anyway.
I don\'t agree with this philosophy, but at least some of the guys who left off Henderson did it for what in their minds was a legitimate reason.
Not included in Darnell\'s line here is the fact he appeared with High-A Lake Elsinore in the Cal League playoffs as an injury replacement for Kulbacki. He had a couple big extra-base hits in the Lancaster series, for what it\'s worth.
He doesn\'t qualify for any of these lists, but besides Eddie Gaedel and Moonlight Graham the most notable one-gamer in history might be Walter Alston, who struck out in his only major league at-bat for the 1936 Cardinals.
Kennedy\'s three homer game came against the Twins.
Oops, that should have said Max Scherzer, not Buchholz.
I did see Triunfel during the second week of the AFL and he hit an absolute bomb off of Clay Buchholz in Phoenix Muni. I\'ve seen Triunfel maybe 20 to 25 games the last two years and that was the furthest I ever saw him hit one.
But if Joe thought Beckham had motivation issues, wow he should have seen Triunfel at High Desert last summer -- he was even suspended by the M\'s for a while for apparently just basically not trying very hard. He\'s not a real good fielder but he does have a strong arm and boy can he hit when he feels like it. Oh, and he\'s only 18.
Angels: Re-sign Texiera, install Brandon Wood at SS and let him succeed or fail, put Arredondo at closer, try to move Matthews and eat his contract.
In these days where the NHL permits teams to announce injuries as \"upper body\" and \"lower body\" -- and not just exclusively in the playoffs anymore, this now happens all season -- any good injury information is welcome.
As for Sid the Kid, the NHL better hope he\'s not out for long because he is literally the face of hockey in North America.
If the game resumes let\'s say Friday, and Hamels stays in and finishes it, would that be the strangest complete game ever?
\"Even Francisco Rodriguez\'s ascension wasn\'t quite this rapid.\"
I know this is in the throwaway line category, but I have to disagree. Rodriguez made five appearances in the September 2002 (to Price\'s four this year), but anyone who pays any attention to college ball, the draft and the minor leagues knew all about Price, while Rodriguez pretty much came out of nowhere as far as the average fan was concerned.
Not being a scout, take this for what it\'s worth, but I was in Arizona all last week and saw Matusz, Hanson and Hughes. Matusz was solid, Hanson almost unhittable -- he has a ridiculous breaking ball.
Other pitchers that had good showings -- Carlos Perez of the Astros, Kevin Pucetas of the Giants, Bud Norris of the Astros (throwing 96), Jason Vargas of the Mets.
Carlos Triunfel hit a bomb in Phoenix that might still be going. I saw him 15 or so times in the Cal League this summer and never saw him hit one like he did last week.
One thing you could work in is a look back at earlier years\' lists to see who made it and who didn\'t. I know you\'ve only been at this for BP for, what, three years? But I\'ve always thought where BA and other prospect folks fall short in analysis is they\'re constantly looking almost exclusively ahead. It would be so interesting to get a little analysis as to why a particular year\'s prospects 1 through 4 in X organization all flamed out, and the like, since the overall tenor of prospect lists is so future oriented and optimistic -- these three or four guys \'can\'t miss\' and this guy is being compared to Greg Maddox or whomever.
I should add though that I find your analysis a lot less rose-colored glasses-ish than BA, which I appreciate, and I also realize this suggestion might be a little premature since you haven\'t been at BP *that* long yet.
Trieu makes a good point, but I just had to point out that where he says Joe is attempting to \"mollify the Mets fans\", last week a particularly snarky comment accused Joe of being a Mets hater. It\'s funny how our perceptions are colored by our own particular biases as fans.
O\'Sullivan did have a good second half after getting hit around early in the season -- he said he benefitted from some time to adjust to the league. And as a 20 year old in a hitters league his numbers aren\'t that bad are they? Granted he\'s not going to overpower you, but he has some good off-speed stuff and when he\'s on -- as he was most of the time after the all-star break -- he can be tough to hit.
Yes, there is . . . the Angels.