Fans were treated to weird baseball in Boston when the O's and Sox resorted to using position players as pitchers.
The Weekend Takeaway
Everyone loves a good dose of weird baseball, and that’s precisely what fans at Fenway Park were treated to on Sunday afternoon. The Orioles capped off their first sweep of the Red Sox in Boston since 1994, but that does not even begin to describe what transpired on Yawkey Way.
In one of the most bizarre goat-to-hero stories you will ever see, designated hitter Chris Davis hit like a pitcher… and then pitched like one, too. Davis began the afternoon by collecting a platinum sombrero, added a double-play ball in his sixth at-bat, and wound up 0-for-8 by the time the 17-inning marathon was over. But with the media preparing to make Davis the butt of many a Monday joke, Davis put the joke on the hometown nine, hurling two shutout innings to earn the win.
Take a fantastic voyage through the inner workings of our exclusive Team Injury Projection reports... if you dare!
Throughout the past week, Corey Dawkins and Marc Normandin have been using the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Result, otherwise known as CHIPPER, to break down the expected health of teams. If you've missed any installments and want to page back through them, you can visit the Team Injury Projection homepage by clicking here. We've heard your questions about what CHIPPER means, where the projections came from, and how they differ from what others provide, and it's time for us to answer them.
Let's take the last one first. What makes CHIPPER different from the other injury projections out there? First off, our injury database contains not only major league injuries from the past eight years, but also minor league, spring training, and winter league data. We're even starting to collect injury data from colleges. All told, we have over 400,000 player days missed to injury in the database. Secondly, CHIPPER does more than just project whether a player is going to miss time: it also tries to provide a ballpark figure for how much time a player is going to miss.
Darnell McDonald is well acquainted with life on the farm. The 26th-overall pick in the 1997 draft, McDonald is now 31 years old with a resume that includes seven organizations and 1,328 games played at the minor-league level. A two-time Triple-A all-star currently with the Pawtucket Red Sox, he has also seen action in 68 big-league contests, with the Orioles and Reds.
Agreed to terms with LHP Hideki Okajima on a one-year $2.75 million deal, avoiding arbitration; signed LHP Brian Shouse to a minor-league contract. [1/14]
Signed OF-RDarnell McDonald to a minor-league contract. [1/15]
Christina returns to cover the swaps and the shake-ups.
Cunningham was one of the better position player prospects in the White Sox chain, so getting him for something of an organizational-filler type represents a minor coup for the Snakes. Richar isn't worthless, but he also isn't gifted with a lot of star potential, not in a system that stole Alberto Callaspo from the Angels and which also has to figure out Mark Reynolds' eventual infield home. They're already into the range of having to ask themselves what benefit there is to offering Orlando Hudson arbitration this winter, or whether they might not be better off non-tendering or dealing him, so even though Richar was already up to Triple-A, he wasn't gifted with a great future within the organization. In contrast, Cunningham could end up hitting his way into an already-talented future-minded outfield with Chris B. Young, Carlos Quentin, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton. Quality outfielders can end up paying off in spades, and if Cunningham develops beyond being "just" an exceptionally disciplined hitter who delivers base hits and generates walks, he'll end up making the White Sox look really bad.
That said, the question is whether he'll develop or not. He's only 21 and already in High-A, and hitting .294/.376/.476 in the Carolina League is really promising. However, it doesn't involve a lot of doubles--which might project to more damage as he fills out--nor does it involve a lot of homers, so while he's patient enough to draw walks in 11 percent of his PA this year, and relatively quick (stealing 22 bags in 30 attempts), he's also a non-center fielder with offensive skills that must improve if his bat is going to play in a corner in the big leagues. It's sort of the same quandary the Sox faced when they had Jeff Abbott coming up; minor-league hitting machines are all well and good, but what do you do with them if they can't consistently slug better than .450 in the big leagues? It's worthwhile to invest in finding out if Cunningham can beat that rap, especially considering his age, and also considering what the Snakes had to give up to get him. All told, another nifty deal pulled off by Josh Byrnes.