The Mets and White Sox call on veteran minor-league mashers, a faded prospect regains some luster in the desert, the Giants search for answers at third base, and the Yankees add a southpaw from the scrapheap.
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Some players are stuck in minor-league limbo, but there are occasions where these players are worth a look.
My love for baseball statistics is rooted in evil. That is, it was profit-driven. I was always one of those students in school that could see something once and commit it to memory, and while I could not always recall how to properly solve for X, I knew that Jose Cruz led the Astros in home runs with 12 during the 1984 season and that Bob Knepper had more shutouts than Nolan Ryan did that season. I was not yet old enough to help my father out to be the designated driver for his groups, but my fountain of useless information was useful to him in winning bets with his friends. He took great pleasure in taking me to games in the company Skybox, which literally felt as if it were in the sky in the Astrodome, and bet his coworkers I would know the answer to any Astros-related statistic they would throw at me. We had a nice racket going on for a while; I would take home half of the profits, which I immediately invested into the latest video game for my Atari 2600.
Even the first week of May isn't too early for sleepers to awaken, breakouts to begin, and studs to show how they scored their high rankings.
Jose Ceda, RHP, Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans)
A bit of a forgotten man in the world of prospects, Ceda was seen as a future big-league closer when he was traded by the Cubs to the Marlins more than two years ago for Kevin Gregg. Then his shoulder went pop and he missed all of 2009 recovering from surgery, and while his 2010 return featured plenty of missed bats, it also provided plenty of missing of the strike zone, and he did himself no favors this spring when he showed up to camp overweight. At 6-foot-4 and somewhere in the neighborhood of 275 pounds, Smith is a dead ringer physically for a late-career Lee Smith, but with even nastier stuff, including a 94-97-mph fastball and a tick-above-average slider. Pitching in back-to-back games for the first time this year over the weekend, Ceda retired all six hitters he faced, five via the strikeout, and needed just 26 pitches to accomplish the feat. With a 0.75 ERA in 10 games, 15 strikeouts over 12 innings, and a .175 opponent's average, he's close to getting back into the Marlins' good graces.
While people dream of the major-league venues they hope to visit, prospect gurus look for the cities laden with top prospects.
Last weekend, I traveled to Kansas City to take in the Royals Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. With the best system in the game, it was a rare opportunity to see that much minor-league talent on the same field, but with the minor leagues beginning action on Thursday, and corresponding rosters for the 120 full-season teams starting to trickle in, there are plenty of squads worth watching for their deep groups of prospects. Here's my ideal hypothetical four-city road trip in counterclockwise format from my home in central Illinois.
Continuing our series of excerpts from the archives, we revisit the birth of the Three True Outcomes over a decade down the line.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Join Rany on a tour of the pantheon of TTO heroes well over a decade after his words originally ran as part of the "Doctoring the Numbers" series on August 15, 2000.
Questions for today's Mets tryout revolve around trying to come back from getting hit by a life-threatening pitch.
Adam Greenberg doesn’t see himself as a victim, but you couldn’t blame him if he did. On July 9, 2005, Greenberg walked up to the plate in what is thus far his only big-league at-bat, and what happened next is nothing short of tragic. He saw just one pitch from Marlins left-hander Valerio de los Santos, and the next thing he knew he was sprawled in the batters’ box fearing for his life.
An assemblage of prospects, vagabonds, and tough-luck stories, but some are sure to stick.
Come the opening of every camp, there's always going to be some wiggle room for a non-roster player or two to make the club. But who has the best shot as we just get started, and/or who's worth noting for his own sake? Starting with the AL, let's look at the names you might want to note in the inevitable spring training boxscores and the equally inevitable camp rumors to come.
With pitchers and catchers reporting in, a report on the best pitcher/catcher combinations in the minors.
The weather is warming, snow is melting for those applicable, and the four best words of the week are clearly "Pitchers and catchers report." With that in mind, let's look at some of the best pitcher/catcher prospect combinations in baseball. Here are five potential All-Star battery mates.
Taking a look at players on the Hall of Fame ballot who played right of center, including one who performed for years at altitude.
Like Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker could flat-out rake. In his 17-year career with the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals, Walker won three batting titles with averages of at least .363—three of the top 20 batting averages of the last 30 years, including the second-highest (.379) in 1999. Unlike Martinez, Walker could also play defense; he won seven Gold Gloves in an 11-year span, and had four straight seasons where he was at least 10 runs above average in right field. As he debuts on the Hall of Fame ballot, the cream of the crop among its five right fielders, the primary question about Walker is how much of his perceived value comes out in the wash after adjusting for him having spent the middle of his career in pre-humidor Coors Field. Will JAWS chew through the meat of his career?
Looking at the second sackers on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
At least around these parts, the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot voting results were more notable for the two near-miss candidates than for the one who made it. While Andre Dawson gained entry to Cooperstown back in January, Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar fell just a handful of votes short, the former by four in his 13th ballot appearance, the latter by eight in his ballot debut. In fact, Alomar received the highest percentage of the vote for any first-year candidate who wasn't elected. Today we'll spotlight Alomar and his fellow second basemen on the ballot using JAWS to evaluate their candidacies.
The list of available free agents offers a shrinking number of major components, but a few worthwhile risks.
Where past markets left lots of quality on the shelves for post-Christmas shopping, this year's has been characterized by early response and quick solutions. The risk for the players who have remained aloof is obvious—there are only so many jobs to go around, and as the number of interested parties shrinks, so too do the opportunities to avoid ignominies like unpacked bags in February, taking those phone calls from Japan or Korea, or wondering what kind of time serving a few months in the Atlantic League would be: quality, or slow.