May 2010


Let’s continue the minor league update and take a look at what’s going on down under in the minors.

Oh my goodness! That Strasburg kid can actually struggle in a game!
Stephen Strasburg took his first loss in Triple-A on Saturday, allowing three runs and a home run (oh no!) to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Yeah, get used to losing to the Yankees, kid. They just have a knack for ruining things even in the minors.

Posey hits the bay
The Buster Posey story has been buzzing this weekend in the bay area as the Giants number one prospect was called up this weekend and so far is 6-for-10 in his first two games. This all comes after he was hitting .349/.442/.552 in 47 games at Triple-A Fresno, but one quote stuck out to me. In the last issue of Baseball America, Giants GM Brian Sabean apparently didn’t think too much of Posey’s performance to date…

“Triple-A baseball isn’t very good. I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big leagues.”

Well doesn’t that just give Posey and all of the guys at Triple-A trying to make a career for themselves a nice confidence boost? Sabean is not a stranger to bizarre moves (just take a look at some of his former trades), but holy crap what a vote of confidence in your guys. Basically, he’s saying everyone else down there in Triple-A is a load of garbage that can’t hit some long-time minor leaguer. Didn’t the Giants have Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum pitching in Triple-A for a decent amount of time before coming to the Majors? Sabean never ceases to amaze me.

Can the Rays pitching staff get better?
As if the Rays didn’t already have a freaking legit rotation, another one of their big prospect arms continues to roll in Triple-A. Jeremy Hellickson improved to 8-2 with a 2.49 ERA on Sunday for Triple-A Durham. His eight wins is tied for the most in all of the minor leagues. Not bad. Now where to put him? Unless there’s an injury to the Rays staff, Hellickson will probably be called up soon and thrown into the bullpen because those guys (Matt Garza, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, David Price, Wade Davis) are all tearing it up.

Prospect Hot Sheet
Baseball America takes a look at some of the top prospects that are hot or struggling this past week throughout the minors. Hellickson is currently 2 on the list and Rays prospect Tim Beckham seems to be turning it around after a horrible start to the season. It’s seriously amazing how the Rays still have super prospects coming up through the farm system. They really have a chance to be crazy good for years to come.

Announces retirement and then ends with a victory
A pretty cool and bittersweet story about Indians farm hand Mike Gosling announcing his retirement prior to the Columbus Clippers game on May 17 and then winning the game. Gosling decided to give up the dream and focus on other priorities like raising a family. It’s worth a read if you have time.

“He’s a different kind of creature than just about anyone else in his profession these days. He’s a pitching monster who seems to have popped out of a time machine, transported into the year 2010 with the mindset of a guy who’d have been very comfortable pitching in 1910.” – Jayson Stark

So did you hear about Roy Halladay’s perfect game by now? Obviously you have because I have no clue how anyone could have missed it. My 10-year-old nephew knew about it, which usually means that’s a pretty big story if he was able to take 10 minutes out of his 18 straight hours of his PSP to watch the event.

Anyway, one of the things I like to do after a historic event like Halladay’s perfect game is to see how all the sports outlets and blogs covered it and the angle they took. Here’s a rundown of numerous links from around the internet baseball world and blogosphere:

ESPN: Jayson Stark writes about how it was a Halladay weekend (get it?). By the way am I the only one who is annoyed by the videos that instantly start running even though you only clicked on the game STORY? I’m supposed to read a story, not hear an ad and then a play. If I want to view the video, I’ll click it, but don’t allow it to automatically start! Ugh, OK I digress.

Yahoo! Sports: This article uses the most hyphens I have ever seen in the lead.

MLB.com writes about how Halladay’s teammates began giving him the cold shoulder about 2pm that afternoon. They also did a great piece on the losing pitcher Saturday night, which is something you usually don’t see when you have someone toss a perfect game. But Marlins starter Josh Johnson pitched great and probably didn’t deserve to lose with the game’s only run being scored on an error, his strong outing will get overshadowed forever because he was not perfect.

SI.com focuses on how Saturday’s perfect game may have only been Halladay’s fourth-best performance ever.

Of course I can’t put together a links post without the great insight from the Baseball-Reference Blog. Their post focuses on some of the overall game scores from Halladay’s career and the other perfect games.

Big League Stew puts together a great (and long) read of 27 thoughts and factoids from the perfecto. My personal favorite was the number two thought: I’m also glad he got out of the postgame mob without breaking a leg. Indeed.

Also, I just want to throw out there that I actually called this perfect game for Halladay—only I called it last week when he was pitching at home against the Pirates. Of course he would lose to the Pirates and Red Sox and then shake those losses off with a perfect game.

The following video should conjure up images of Bill Gramatica. Kendry Morales appears to have broken his leg during his celebration of a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning over the Mariners yesterday afternoon. The initial report says he could be sidelined up to 10-12 weeks. Ouch.

Talk about a bittersweet ending for the Halos. They were all ready to go crazy at home plate and pile on their teammate, but it turned quiet quickly at home plate once the rest of the team realized he may be seriously injured. A sacrifice fly would have done the job and been less crazy, but Kendry had to go get all dramatic on us the grand slam! Seriously, I hope he’s okay and is able to get back on the field as soon as possible.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often on walk-off celebrations when you have 25+ guys jumping around a spot of about five feet. In my demented mind, I actually find this video sort of funny just watching his teammates go from “WOOOOOO WE WIN” to “oh shit, something’s wrong” in about three seconds. It’ll be interesting to see how the Angels celebrate their next walk-off hit.

MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at how the Angels will replace their most productive hitter.

Roy Halladay is perfect. No one needed a reminder of how great Halladay is, but he proved it once again by firing the second perfect game of 2010 on a Saturday night against the Marlins in Florida. Doc struck out 11 batters on 115 pitches to keep all 27 Marlins from reaching base in the Phillies 1-0 win for the 18th perfect game in major league history.

Dallas Braden’s perfect game on May 9 made the young pitcher a household name, but Halladay’s gem tonight will go down as his standout performance in his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career.

It’s official now—pitching is indeed back as I wrote about three days ago. Does anyone need more evidence that pitching has taken over in 2010? We’ve only seen perfect games in consecutive years three times in MLB history, and now tonight’s perfecto is the second one in the same month! Going back to Mark Buehrle’s perfect game last year, there’s been three in two seasons. Truly unbelievable. Oh yeah and there also was a regular no-hitter tossed this season by Ubaldo Jimenez.

I have no idea what to expect next in 2010, but this is definitely thrilling to watch.

Despite the Indians injuries and struggles this year, one bright spot has been the consistent middle-0f-the-order production from South Korean Shin-Soo Choo. After acquiring Choo from Seattle for Ben Broussard (whoops) in the summer of 2006, he has been everything the Indians management expected and more.

He enjoyed a breakout season in 2008, hitting .309/.397/.549 in 94 games and followed it up with his first full season in the majors by slugging 20 homers, 86 RBIs and a line of .300/.394/.489 along with 21 steals. In two months this year, he’s once again hovering around a .300 hitter with seven jacks and 25 RBIs. Choo’s the kind of player at age 28 the Indians would love to lock up, but his future is extremely cloudy due to an interesting aspect that I don’t think I’ve seen before in baseball.

By law South Korean men must begin serving two years in the military prior to their 30th birthday. Choo turns 28 in July, so these questions should arise sometime soon. The New York Times even did an article about it today with the Indians in town.

Choo could always apply for US citizenship to avoid the military service, but the backlash in his home country may not welcome him back to the country ever. I’m not sure anyone could ask him to do that. Another option, which was brought up in the NY Times article, would be for Choo to earn an exemption by helping South Korea win the gold medal at the Asian Games this offseason. I’m not sure how this would give him an exemption to get him out of military duty, but this article seems to think it’s a given if they win. And what if they don’t win the gold medal? Who knows, but the Indians are at least speaking publicly like they aren’t worried about it.

“We feel like he’ll be able to satisfy the military obligation without missing time with us,” Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro said. “We’re confident of that.”

Unlike Shapiro I’m not so sure that he’ll be able to do the military and a full season of baseball at the same time, which leaves Choo’s future with the Indians and MLB in doubt. This will be one story that continues to develop and will be interesting to see how it works out. He’s not eligible to become a free agent until 2013, but this will be a huge factor in the already bleak Indians future.

Is there anyone in the National League that’s improved more in one year than Mike Pelfrey?

Pelfrey continued his bounce back season last night by tossing seven shutout innings against the suddenly punch-less Phillies (Mets shut them out in three straight games). The Mets right-hander improved to 7-1 with a sparkling 2.54 ERA in 10 starts in 2010. He even picked up a save in his only outing out of the bullpen in mid-April. Pelfrey has been a huge shot in the arm for the 25-23 Mets being their most effective starter to date, and that includes better than Johan Santana.

After his breakout season in 2008 (13-11, 3.72) Pelfrey was terribly inconsistent all of last year before finishing 10-12 with a 5.03 ERA in 31 starts. So what’s the difference through 10 starts this year? Well for one thing he’s not allowed as many hits and home runs are significantly down. Last year, Pelfrey gave up 10.4 H/9 while he’s down to 8.1 H/9 in 2010. He also served up 18 long balls last season, but has only seen three bombs go against him this year. While his BB/9 is essentially the same, his strikeouts are up from 5.2 to 6.2 K/9. He’s also getting better defense/luck behind him with a .285 BAPIP (batting average on balls in play) down 35 points from his 2009 BAPIP of .321.

It’s definitely possible that Pelfrey will eventually balance out a bit and see his ERA rise somewhere in the 3.00 range, but one thing is for certain—this is the pitcher the Mets thought they were getting with the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft. If they are to compete all summer in the NL East, this is the Mike Pelfrey they need.

Ozzie wishes this was his GM

I’m not a fan of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Actually, I hate the guy. I think he’s loud mouth, cancerous, overrated manager who has a strange relationship with his GM akin to an old married couple. Leave it Ozzie to make news outside the playing lines, but as much as I can’t stand him this story is hilarious.

During the Sox recent series in Cleveland, Ozzie was asked to sign his autograph on a baseball of an Indians fan. Well, he decided to add some other things besides his John Hancock. I guess he also believes in one of my favorite hobbies—sticking it to the city of Cleveland at every chance possible:

On one side of the ball he wrote: “Bye Bye LeBron LOL”

And on the other side: “When are you going to win anything in sports? Please.”

Dick move by the manager? Yes
Probably should have thought better since people look up to him? Yes
Still absolutely hilarious? YES YES YES!

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