Notebook is optimistic about at least one player in Colorado, and has lineup breakdowns of both New York teams.
All is not lost, though, as here at Prospectus Notebook we unofficially begin the "Reasons to Be Optimistic in Sub-.500 Cities" series. We begin our Denver optimism, oddly enough, with a young Rockie who probably has no future with the Rockies organization.
If Jaret Wright is reunited with Mike Hargrove, is he doomed? Plus, a take on Jason Giambi.
It started with a quick news item on the indispensable Rotowire. Jaret Wright was thinking of signing with the Mariners, coincidentally the new employer of his former manager, Mike Hargrove. Hargrove has something of a reputation as a pitching woodchipper, with Wright often presented as an example of his carelessness. Wright's long struggle with a variety of arm problems surely calls into question the load placed on him as a 21- and 22-year-old, right in the danger zone noted by Nate Silver's "Injury Nexus" research.
On Thursday, five pitchers who couldn't do anything right last season put Ws next to their names. What does this say about hurlers as a species? Joe Sheehan throws up his hands in today's column.
As you peruse the boxscores from Thursday's games, take a look at the people who have the letter "W" next to their names. It's a fun group. There's Mike Maroth, who last year became the majors' first 20-game loser since 1980 with a sub-replacement-level performance. A.J. Burnett won yesterday, and he made just four starts in 2003. That's four more appearances than Orlando Hernandez--who beat the Rangers last night--made last year. Shawn Estes, probably the worst starting pitcher in baseball in '03, went to 13-4 (albeit with a high ERA and little else going for him) by beating the Phillies. And Jaret Wright, who wallowed through six years of misery after his star playoff turn in '97, is suddenly the ace of the Mazzonified, division-leading Braves staff.
The Braves may have Hung Jaret Wright out to dry. The Twins need to find room for their 7,529 outfielders. The Devil Rays have pitching issues. These and other news and notes in this Wednesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
He's Back... Pop quiz: which one of these players is not like the others?
Enough debate. Let's just go ahead and put Leo Mazzone in the Hall of Fame. Coaches of all sorts are criminally unrepresented in Cooperstown, so Mazzone's decade of instruction in Atlanta is as good a start as any. While Mazzone may only be teaching what he learned from his coach, Johnny Sain, I don't think Sain would mind. Each year, the question is asked how the Braves will overcome the loss of this pitcher or that pitcher. We look at a bunch of no-names and retreads in the bullpen and through his alchemical abilities, Mazzone and manager Bobby Cox end up in the playoffs again. This year, let's not debate--Leo Mazzone is the best pitching coach inside the game, bar none.
What will Mazzone work with this year? Once again, he's asked to overcome the loss of talent as Greg Maddux has moved on. Only John Smoltz is left from the core of the Braves dynasty. Instead of Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Smoltz terrorizing hitters, the Braves will send out Hampton, Ortiz, and...Jaret Wright?
Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia get rewarded for 2002. The Indians and Rangers swap pitching prospect for hitting prospect. The Yankees grab Armando Benitez in a non-Sierran move. The Jays get a steal in Stewart-for-Kielty. These and other tidbits, plus a full array of Kahrlisms, in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
Re-signed INF-R Benji Gil and DH-L Brad Fullmer to one-year contracts.
Signed OF-R Eric Owens to a one-year contract, and LHP Rich Rodriguez, 2B-R Adam Riggs, and UT-R Oscar Salazar to minor league contracts.
Avoided arbitration with 2B-L Adam Kennedy, INF-B Scott Spiezio, and LHPs Jarrod Washburn and Scott Schoeneweis.
Claimed C-R Wil Nieves off of waivers (from the Padres).
Jaret Wright avoided a suspension in the aftermath of the May 22nd
brawl at Jacobs Field. The right-hander, with a five-game suspension
already on his record this year, drew only a fine from the league office.
More curious is AL president Gene Budig's request for an audience with
Wright, to discuss his "deportment on the mound." It will be
interesting to see what comes of this; Wright clearly has a penchant for
the more direct method of intentionally walking batters:
American League, 1997: 1 HBP every 29.7 IP
Jaret Wright, 1997: 1 HBP every 18.1 IP