I saw Khalil Greene down on the farm and I didn’t see it. Whatever it was they were talking about, it wasn’t there that game. Pushed through the minors, it’s difficult to get a handle on whether he would hit or not, regain the walks he showed in college or not, if he could play shortstop well enough to hang there defensively. So far, he’s hung in there, hitting .266/.348/.395 in the pitcher-friendly environment of Petco Park while starting at short. The surprising bit’s been the walks, which are back in force. The Padres are investing playing time in the hopes that Greene will develop fast, and this may be the most interesting story to follow, as a contending team tries to break in a new shortstop while contending for a division race.
I intended this week’s YOU to be a tale of one of baseball’s great reprobates, a square table of scum and villainy that Christensen will now not have a chance to join. It’s hard to pick just one. It’s easy to dispense with Cap Anson, Dixie Walker, Ben Chapman. They were racists, sadly common rather than arch-villains. Chick Gandil and the other game-fixers of 1919 are closer to the mark, but everyone knows their story. They were the subject of a classic book and an excellent film. Hal Chase, the serial cheat, would have been a great subject, but in the last couple of years he’s been rediscovered, with two full biographies hitting bookstores. Denny McLain’s’s story is just distasteful and travels to too many places far removed from the ball field. Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb were anti-social and paranoid, respectively, but that’s all.
For today, that leaves us with a more obscure figure, not one of the game’s spectacular evildoers, but simply a consistently bad guy, one who, like Christensen, went out of his way to cause injury. Jake Powell played the outfield for the Washington Senators, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies in the 1930s and 1940s. He spoke rashly, acted rashly, and ultimately paid the price for his way of living.
Given the caliber of competition, it’s entirely possible that at least one
RotY award winner has yet to make his major league debut. If Willis and Berroa
can win the award based entirely on what they did after mid-May, certainly
other players can. So which prospects currently in the minors are set to make
the leap, and garner award votes come the fall?
A quiet day on the schedule usually means a pretty quiet day on the UTK front, but injuries, at this stage, are inevitable. Despite teams and medical staffs doing all they can to prevent injuries, things are going to happen. Even if we were able to figure out how to prevent overuse injuries, there would still be freak things or collisions like the Giles vs. Jones natural disaster. I’ve often wished for a day without injuries, but it’s not coming any time soon.
Powered by the mystery of the gyroball, on to the injuries…