Evaluating each pitcher who appeared in the Futures Game and identifying the most similar current major-league pitchers and pitches with the aid of PITCHf/x.
Sample size or apple pies? You can choose only one. Apple pies—that’s what I thought. A quick glimpse of a prospect might not tell us all we need to know, but it’s still plenty tempting to draw possibly premature conclusions. With that in mind, I decided to watch the Futures Game for the second straight year and make snap judgments on every single pitcher, even though none of them threw more than a couple dozen pitches. Last year, my main takeaway was that Zach Britton was the man. He still is. This year, I came to the conclusion that the only way to top a Bernie Williamsrendition of the national anthem is to catch a Sal Fasanofirst-base coach sighting.
The following table lists every pitcher who appeared in the game, in order of appearance. I’ll tackle them one by one, offering comps to current major leaguers where applicable, as well as links to videos of similar pitches.
The former MLB Players Association executive director and former GM are up for selection to the Hall of Fame.
Last week, I took a swing at analyzing the eight players on the Expansion Era Hall of Fame ballot to be voted upon at next month's Winter Meetings, using JAWS to evaluate their fitness for Cooperstown. That tool's not available when tackling the four non-players on the ballot, namely Pat Gillick, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, and George Steinbrenner, whose achievements must be evaluated more subjectively. Nonetheless, it's apparent that relative to their already-inducted peers, they certainly have strong arguments in their favor. Today I'll examine the cases of Miller and Gillick, saving those of the Yankees' odd couple, Steinbrenner and Martin, for a later installment.
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A look back and a look ahead to who could the top prosects in the senior circuit next year.
One of the most frequent questions I get, be it via e-mail, chats, or the comment sections in the articles, is which player on (insert team here) has the best shot at moving into the Top 101. That's a much different question from who is the best prospect not in the Top 101, as the focus need to move solely to growth potential. Building on last year's "Future Top Dogs" series, let's keep that category in this year's version, while also taking an honest look at last year's prognostications.
The story of the little hurler who could getting his due, a notable re-retirement, plus moves and news from around the major leagues.
Tim Lincecum's aunt came up with the perfect nickname for her nephew a few years ago when she began calling him Seabiscuit. The Giants right-hander certainly has a few things in common with the legendary racehorse: they're both undersized, and they're both winners. Lincecum, listed at 5'11" and 170 pounds (though he seems an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter), struck a blow this past Tuesday for all those who've been told that they aren't big enough when he won the National League Cy Young Award. He's four inches shorter and 61 pounds lighter than the average height and weight of the five other pitchers receiving votes: the D'backs' Brandon Webb, the Mets' Johan Santana, the Phillies' Brad Lidge, the Brewers' CC Sabathia, and the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. "This has to give Tim a lot of satisfaction, because there's little doubt people have been telling him he's too small his entire life," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said.
Possible changes coming in the GM landscape, the Astros are irked, and Cubs players envy how the other half lives.
A few months ago, it appeared that there would be wholesale changes made among major league general managers in the offseason, but now that no longer seems to be such a certainty. One team that will definitely have a new GM in 2009 is the Phillies, as Pat Gillick has already announced that he is retiring at the end of the season. It is conceivable, though unlikely, that the Phillies could be the only team to change GMs.
Where: Mesa, Arizona (Cactus League)
2007 record: 85-77 (1st, NL Central)
New guys:Jose Ascanio, Jon Lieber, Kosuke FukudomeGone guys:Cliff Floyd, Koyie Hill (NRI), Jacque Jones, Jason Kendall, Will Ohman, Angel Pagan, Mark PriorWow, he's still here?Felix Pie has been traded to Baltimore in a deal for Brian Roberts a thousand times in the media, and not once in MLB. With the Orioles having added Adam Jones, it would seem less likely that they'd acquire Pie, leaving the 23-year-old free to roam center field for the Cubs.
Winter grade: A-. Their only move of note-signing Fukudome-was a terrific one, giving them the OBP boost they sorely needed, and solidifying a position, right field, that was a problem in 2007.
NRI to watch: God bless him. Chad Fox, 37 years old and nearly three years removed from his last professional appearance, is in camp. Fox, who we used to describe as "effective when healthy," hasn't been either since 2003. Still, you have to root for a guy who wants it this badly.
Job battle to track: There's no obvious closer, as Ryan Dempster is being moved back to the rotation after a few years of relief. That leaves Kerry Wood, Bobby Howry and Carlos Marmol, all hard-throwing righties, grappling for the job. This seems like a good place for Piniella to re-create his 1990 Reds approach, with no closer and all three guys available for work from the seventh through the ninth.
One move to make: Slapping Lou Piniella with a clue stick. Piniella, who has a lot of good qualities as a manager, indicated last week that his lineup would feature Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot in the top two spots, with Fukudome fifth. The Cubs' biggest problems on offense have been not having enough runners on base for Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Hitting Fukudome behind those two is a waste of his talents. If Soriano has to bat leadoff because he's fast, fine; at least bat Fukudome second and Theriot down in the lineup where he belongs.