Archive for June 26th, 2008

Now Batting For The Texas Rangers…

Four years ago, Chris Davis was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 50th round of the June amateur draft.  A third baseman out of Longview High School in Longview, Texas, he was the 1,496th overall selection.  Only two players were selected behind him: a high school second baseman named Garrett Lingle and a righthanded pitcher from Cochise County Community College named Eric Gonzalez.

Three years ago, Chris Davis was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 35th round of the June amateur draft.  A third baseman out of Navarro College in Texas, he was the 1,063rd overall selection.

Two years ago, Chris Davis was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 5th round of the June amateur draft  A first baseman out of Navarro College in Texas, he was the 148th overall selection.

One year ago, Chris Davis hit .297/.343/.534 with 36 homeruns and 118 RBI between the High A and AA affiliates for the Rangers.  He also struck out 150 times and made 34 errors at third base.

Two months ago, Chris Davis was promoted from AA Frisco, where he was hitting .333/.376/.618 with 13 homeruns in 46 games, to AAA Oklahoma, where he hit .333/.402/.685 with 10 homeruns in 31 games.

Last night, Chris Davis was called up by the Rangers.

Tonight, Chris Davis is likely to make his major league debut.  That’s a long way to go in four years.

If I was him, I’d ask for uniform number 50.  Or 1,496.

Only In California…

I once wrote an article for Babes Love Baseball in which I suggested that former NFL running back Ricky Williams should give up football and return to baseball (he played both at a high level at Texas). I further suggested that the California League would be perfect for him, given his love of alternative substances.

I was just kidding about all that, but looking at this cap being sold by the Bakersfield Blaze, I’m not so sure. The five-leaved fire logo looks an awful lot like a creative advertisement for NORML.

But don’t take my word for it. Compare to the image below.

Visit the Bakersfield Blaze shop.

Dogfight ends in Fresno State Victory

The College World Series ended in Omaha, with the Fresno State Bulldogs pulling off an unlikely championship over Georgia. Congrats to both sets of Bulldogs.

Head on over to The College Baseball Blog for a more comprehensive roundup.

Jay Bruce Is The Next WHO?

In baseball circles, the name “Kevin Maas” is legend, representative of a highly touted player who bursts onto the scene and fizzles out just quickly.  Joe Charbonneau pulled a Maas; so did Bob Hamelin, I’m inclined to say without looking at his numbers.

But this, people…this is just naked aggression toward the man who remains our hero despite having been in the major leagues and theoretically off our radar for a month. 

Jay, what do you think of the fact that somebody dared even suggest that you and Kevin Maas might have a connection:

Yeah, can’t say I blame you.  Nothing less than mild outrage is to be expected here.

Fortunately the blog post writer came to a very important conclusion: Jay Bruce does NOT equal Kevin Maas.  Thank God.

Now Pitching For The Florida Marlins…

This is strange territory for me.

Usually, “Now Pitching/Batting For” posts are reserved for prospects on Baseball America’s Top 100 list, those players that anyone who follows baseball is just itching to see in a major league uniform.  The Jay Bruces, Clayton Kershaws, and Cameron Maybins of the world, if you will.

I thought Eulogio De La Cruz was on the Top 100.  I really did.  Turns out, though, that I was tricked into thinking that by my compatriot Extra P, who includes him on the Z-Meter every week and is delighted by his name as much as the numbers he puts up.*

*I am a huge fan of unusual names – two of my nieces are named Shakeira and Taliyah – but as we all know, people can go too far.  The other night at the mall, a little girl started running away from her mother, and what do I hear?  “Pandora, stop!”  That just strikes me as cruel, although I did suggest that if my wife and I ever have twins, I’m going to name them Pandora and Box before she’s lucid enough to stop me.

Technically speaking, De La Cruz shouldn’t be mentioned in this type of post (pay no attention to the Wladimir Balentien behind the curtain).  He’s not one of the Top 100, he’s already appeared in the major leagues this season (for a whopping three innings), he’s 24-years-old.  But when you get down to it, he belongs in a NPF post for one reason: Extra P’s “irrational sense of whimsy”, which is really what this blog is all about.  We do it to entertain ourselves, and if that means hyping a guy just because his name is Eulogio, then we hype a guy just because his name is Eulogio.  That’s just how we roll.  Recognize.

Anyway, Eulogio (or “Frankie”, as the story on his callup referred to him) will be doing his second tour with the Marlins this season.  It can’t go any worse than the first, when he was brought up, roughed up the Giants, and promptly shuttled back to the Bus Leagues.  The story suggests that he might be around a bit longer this time, largely because he provides a valuable option for long-relief and has suddenly figured out how to control his curveball, which was the Matt Tuiasosopopo of his repertoire not too long ago.  Eulogio now has four pitches – fastball, changeup, slider, curve – that he can throw for strikes.

The Z-Meter: 6/26/2008

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.


Evan Longoria, 3B, Durham (AAA) to Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
Luke Hochevar, RHP, Omaha (AAA) to Kansas City Royals (MLB)

Max Scherzer, RHP, Tucson (AAA) to Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Jacksonville (AA) to Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Jay Bruce, OF, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Homer Bailey, RHP, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Springs (AAA) to Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Sacramento (AAA) to Oakland (MLB)
Chase Headley, 3B, Portland (AAA) to San Diego (MLB)
Eulogio De La Cruz, RHP, Albuquerque (AAA) to Marlins (MLB)

Justin Masterson, RHP, Portland (AA) to Boston (MLB)

Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Tennessee (AA) to Iowa (AAA)

Antonio Bastardo, LHP, Clearwater (A) to Reading (AA)
David Price, LHP, Vero Beach (A) to Montgomery (AA)
Matt Weiters, C, Frederick Keys (A) to Bowie Baysox (AA)

Travis Snider, OF, Dunedin (A-Advanced) to New Hampshire (AA)

Ian Gac, 1B, Clinton (A) to Bakersfield (Advanced A)
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Ashevills (A) to Modesto (Advanced A)

Josh Vitters, 3B, Boise (Short A) to Peoria (A)

Not a huge amount of movement this week. In the “What’s a guy gotta do?” category, we have Nelson Cruz, tearin’ it UP in Oklahoma, but being completely ignored by the droopy Rangers. Wonder why they don’t win much? Catchers Luke Montz and Matt Wieters are showing pop all over the place, but haven’t budged a rung yet. Jhoulys Chacin is closing in on one-damn-hundred strikeouts in A-is-for-Asheville, and seems to be destined to stay there for a while.

OMDQ informs me that one of my guys, De La Cruz, has been sent back to the Marlins, so I’m adding in Matt Tuiasosopo. This is one of those “irrational sense of whimsy” picks, made simply because his father was an NFL defensive lineman, his brother Marques made the pros as a backup QB for the Raiders and Jets, and his brother Zach is an NFL fullback. Full props to Matt for being the black sheep of the family.

Breaking news! Jeff Samardzija is up in triple-A, despite a poor BB/K ratio. Guess the Cubs see something they like. Or else the Notre Dame Mafia is greasing the wheels. I don’t know.

Let’s see who else is hot this week:

The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, and ready for the call that will change their lives.

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .283 – 45R – 8HR – 31RBI – 21SB – 33BB – .423 SLG – .786 OPS

Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B – Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners): .252 – 38R – 4HR – 32 RBI – 21BB – 1SB – .387 SLG – .719 OPS

Joe Koshansky, 1B – Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies): .297 – 49R – 18HR – 33BB – 76RBI – 1SB – .616 SLG – .989 OPS

Colby Rasmus, LF – Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals): .249 – 49R – 11HR – 35RBI – 10SB – 45BB – .411 SLG – .761 OPS

Nelson Cruz, RF – Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers): .357 – 67R – 23HR – 67RBI – 17SB – 45BB – .714 SLG – 1.172 OPS

Jeff Samardzija, RHP – Iowa Cubs (Cubs): 1GS – 0W – 1L – 4.50 – 2BB – 5K

These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but are more likely to get promoted to the top of this meter first.

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals): .284 – 35R – 17HR – 47RBI – 50BB – 3SB – .567 SLG – .998 OPS

Austin Jackson, OF – Trenton Thunder (Yankees): .280 – 45R – 7HR – 45RBI – 40BB – 12SB – .439 SLG – .805 OPS

Jacob McGee, LHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 15GS – 6W – 4L – 3.94 ERA – 37BB – 65K

Cameron Maybin, CF – Carolina Mudcats (Marlins): .270 – 51R – 12HR – 35RBI – 39BB – 14SB – .485 SLG – .849 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 16GS – 7W – 5L – 3.96 ERA – 38BB – 62K

Elvis Andrus, SS – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .277 – 40R – 1HR – 29RBI – 17BB – 24SB – .335 SLG – .669 OPS

Luke Montz, C – Harrisburg Senators (Nationals): .304 – 30R – 14HR – 53RBI – 29BB – 0SB – .578 SLG – .966 OPS

Travis Snider, RF – New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays): .273 – 36R – 10HR – 42RBI – 28BB – 0SB – .463 SLG – .823 OPS

Antonio Bastardo, LHP (injured) – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 9GS – 2W – 3L – 3.11 ERA – 29BB – 39K

Matt Wieters, C – Bowie Baysox (Orioles): reset stats with promotion

Matt LaPorta, CF – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .294 – 50R – 19HR – 59RBI – 39BB – 1SB – .603 SLG – 1.011 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .371 – 65R – 15HR – 66RBI – 33BB – 5SB – .632 SLG – 1.064 OPS

David Price, LHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): Reset stats with promotion

Fernando Martinez, CF (on rehab assignment) – Binghamton Mets (Mets): .400 – 0R – 0HR – 0RBI – 0SB – .400 SLG – .900 OPS

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): reset stats following promotion.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Lancaster JetHawks (Red Sox): .304 – 40R – 8HR – 37RBI – 35BB – 0SB – .479 SLG – .871 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Modesto Nuts (Rockies): Reset stats with promotion

Rick Porcello, RHP – Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit): 14GS – 3W – 6L – 2.96 ERA – 20BB – 44K

Mike Moustakas, SS – Burlington Bees (Royals): .239 – 36R – 10HR – 37RBI – 18BB – 4SB – .401 SLG – .694 OPS

Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and my own irrational sense of whimsy.