Archive for May, 2009

It’s Hard Out Here For A Buckeye

Don’t look now, but Florida State has unleashed the hounds on poor, unsuspecting Ohio State.  When the score is 32-0 after five innings, it’s probably not your day.  FSU’s Stephen Cardullo, Ohmed Danesh, and Mike Meschke are a combined 14-19 with 13 runs scored and 13 runs batted in.  They currently lead 33-2.

Assuming there’s no more scoring, Ohio State will be eliminated with two losses by a combined score of 57-10.  That’s a rough weekend.  The Seminoles will be the first team to nail down a spot in the Super Regionals.

Update: The final score was 37-6.  Florida State is actually the second team to clinch a Super Regional slot – North Carolina advanced with a 12-1 win over Kansas earlier in the day.

Stephen Strasburg 2009 Game-By-Game Results

I’ve looked all over the Internet for Stephen Strasburg’s 2009 game-by-game results and can’t seem to find them anywhere.  So, rather than be a complete failure, I hit up the San Diego State baseball web site, went through the game logs, and did it myself.  I had two things that I wanted to find: pitch counts and rest between starts.  The latter is a piece of cake (he averaged six days in between starts, never with less than five), but none of the box scores had pitch counts.  It did have attendance for 12 of his 15 start, however, so that was kind of interesting (he averaged about 2,060 spectators per start).

The damage for Strasburg so far this season: 13-1 (with one no-decision), 1.32 ERA, 195 SO, 19 BB, 109 IP, 65 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 11 WP, 1 BK, 3 HBP, 0.77 WHIP.  Whether he makes another appearance depends on his teammates.  The way I understand it, the Aztecs play top-seeded UC Irvine in the loser’s bracket this afteroon, with the winner advancing to face Virginia tonight.  If that team beats Virginia, a deciding game will be played tomorrow.

The full game-by-game results are below.

February 20 vs. Bethune-Cookman (W, 1-0)
5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 1 WP, 1 HBP (Attendance: 950)

February 26 vs. Nevada (W, 2-0)
6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 16 SO (Attendance: 1167)

March 5 @ San Diego (W, 3-0)
8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 18 SO, 1 WP (Attendance: 1117)

March 13 vs. UNLV (W, 4-0)
7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 14 SO, 1 WP, 1 BK (Attendance: 2102)

March 20 vs. Brigham Young (No Decision)
7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 15 SO (Attendance: 2032)

March 27 vs. TCU (W, 5-0)
8 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 14 SO (Attendance: 2786)

April 3 vs. UC Davis (W, 6-0)
6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1 WP, 1 HBP (Attendance: NA)

April 9 @ UNLV (W, 7-0)
6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 13 SO, 2 WP (Attendance: 1073)

April 17 vs. New Mexico (W, 8-0)
9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 SO (Attendance: 3908)

April 24 vs. TCU (W, 9-0)
7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 14 SO, 1 WP (Attendance: 3072)

May 1 @ Santa Clara (W, 10-0)
8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 SO, 1 HBP (Attendance: 1496)

May 8 vs. Air Force (W, 11-0)
9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 17 SO (Attendance: 3337)

May 14 @ Utah (W, 12-0)
7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 10 SO, 2 WP (Attendance: 1685)

May 20 vs. New Mexico (W, 13-0)
7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO (Attendance: NA)

May 29 vs. Virginia (L, 13-1)
7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 15 SO, 2 WP (Attendance: NA)

Call Me Crazy, But 169 Pitches Seems A Bit Excessive

After Stephen Strasburg lost San Diego State’s postseason opener on Friday night, Tony Gwynn was asked if he would be available to pitch Monday on two days rest if the Aztecs won on Saturday.  His response?

“Rather than look ahead until Monday, let’s look ahead to [Saturday].”

I take that to mean that Gwynn will be careful with his stud righthander.  If only such restraint were in the DNA of University of Texas coach Augie Garrido.  Garrido is successful, with eleven straight NCAA tournament appearances, five College World Series appearances, and two national titles in his thirteen seasons at the school, but the way he handled one of his pitchers on Saturday evening against Boston College is insane.

Austin Wood, a senior who Baseball Prospectus has called the Longhorns best draft prospect, came on in relief in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game.  He pitched 13 innings (12.1 without allowing a hit), walking four and striking out fourteen.  He threw 169 pitches.  That’s one hundred and sixty-nine pitches.

You know how they often send important game-related artifacts to the Hall of Fame for display?  I’m pretty sure Wood’s actual arm is on it’s way to Cooperstown as we speak.

It’s been almost twelve years to the day since a major leaguer has reached that number, and then it was a knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, who threw 169 pitches in a 2-1 win over Milwaukee on June 5, 1997.  If a manager allows a pitcher to go even as deep as 150 pitches in this day and age, he finds himself the subject of widespread ridicule and scorn.  It happens in college, however, and the big story is that he struck out a bunch of guys and didn’t allow a hit for a long time.  There’s something confusing about that.

If nothing else, perhaps it explains why Huston Street is the only Texas pitcher to achieve reasonable major league success during Garrido’s tenure.

(Thanks to Brian Foley from The College Baseball Blog for the heads-up about the game.)

Update: Holy cow – this wasn’t Wood’s only outing of the weekend.  On Friday, he went two innings and threw thirty pitches against Army.  That’s 15 innings and 199 pitches in about 24 hours.  I hope it was worth it.  And for the record, Boston College closer Mike Belfiore also saw a ton of action, pitching an inning on Friday and 9 2/3 more on Saturday.  Not sure if he got into the elimination game against Army today.

Proof That God Is Not A Fan Of Independent Baseball

On Monday evening, the Manchester-based New Hampshire Fisher Cats played in front of 7,057 fans.  It was Memorial Day, and it was beautiful – my wife opened every single window in our apartment while doing some spring cleaning.

On Tuesday evening, the Fisher Cats welcomed the Portland Sea Dogs to town.  Always a good draw, the Sea Dogs on this occasion brought a little something extra – rehabbing Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz (now known in the local media as “future Hall of Famer John Smoltz”; it’s weird that his candidacy was cemented by the fact that he made a rehab start in New Hampshire).  Nearly 9,000 fans – more than last year’s Eastern League All-Star Game – turned out on another bee-yoo-ti-full night for baseball.

On Thursday evening, the American Defenders of New Hampshire (nee Nashua Pride) were scheduled to play their Can-Am League season opener at Holman Stadium.  It rained all morning, into the early afternoon, and when I stopped by the box office just after three o’clock to buy tickets, was told that the game had been postponed.  It continued raining into today, until just an hour or two before game time.  If the pushed-back opener was played this evening, surely the weather was bad just long enough to convince scores of potential fans that it was NOT a beautiful night for a ballgame.

A doubleheader is scheduled for tomorrow starting at four o’clock.  It’s probably going to snow.

This Week in Bobbleheads – Week 8 updates

Even baring a likeness of our fearless leader doesn’t stop problems from happening in the land of bobbleheads.  Seems the W. Virginia Power’s version of Barack Obama in a basketball jersey scheduled to be given out on 5/30 has been held up at customs.  The team is providing vouchers so that fans can pick them up when they finally arrive.

Also, the Tim Lincecum bobblehead that the Connecticut Defenders are distributing on 5/30 will bear him in a SF Giants jersey since he never played for the Eastern League affiliate.  PS.  I will be at this one so come over and say hello.

Now Batting For The Baltimore Orioles…

As Extra P told us yesterday in the latest installment of his award-winning Z-Meter, Matt Wieters is now a Baltimore Oriole.  He was called up earlier this week and will make his major league debut tomorrow, Friday, against the Detroit Tigers.  Birds Watcher is PUMPED about this.

I could tell you all about his stats last year, when he was Baseball America’s Player of the Year, or how he was rated as the number one prospect in all of baseball by that same publication, but you know all that already.  What don’t you know about?

How about Matt Wieters Facts?

Praise Jesus for Google, is all I can say, because that’s what led me to this magnificent corner of the web.  Some may accuse this site of basically ripping off the “Chuck Norris Facts” phenomenom, and while the concept is the same, some of the content is amazingly, extraordinarily different.

  • Matt Wieters Went The Wrong Way After Bunting, Ran 26,000 Miles, And Beat The Throw To First.
  • Matt Wieters Broke A Bat Last Night. Nobody Knows What Happened To The Ball.
  • Matt Wieters Hit A Homerun Into McCovey Cove In San Francisco. From New York.

That’s just a taste.  Oh, and they’ve also created his Hall of Fame postcard:

matt-wieters-hof-postcard

You have no idea how tempted I am to buy one of these.

Fill Out Your Omaha Brackets – NOW!

BAbracketsI love brackets.

Obviously, the best time for brackets is March, when college basketball puts on its easily-graphed single-elimination tournament. But Baseball America has put together a pretty decent bracket contest for college baseball’s difficult-to-graph, round-robin/best of three/double elimination June contest.

Since the College World Series is starting very, very soon, head on over to BA and join up. Your guess about who wins is as good as mine.

[Baseball America – College Baseball Bracket Challenge]

$15 May Be A Bit Much For Minor League Baseball

A couple weeks ago, Extra P and I were talking about some ideas for Bus Leagues when he mentioned the Gwinnett Braves, specifically that it would be hilarious if they managed to outdraw their major league counterparts this season.

A quick check of the facts – Gwinnett was averaging about 5,600 per game at the time, compared to nearly 24,000 for Atlanta (although the Big Braves fill the ballpark to less than 50% of capacity on average) – made us realize that this pipe dream was just that, a dream.  (This realization did not stop us from being irrationally excited.  This is what minor league baseball does to us.)

Apparently, though, Gwinnett has it’s own problems – namely, some of the local folk consider the ticket prices to be outrageously high:

Apparently, the Braves organization forgot that this is minor league baseball. The Columbus Clippers are held up as leading the International League in attendance. What the writer fails to mention is that Clippers tickets are more reasonably priced.

And what is the deal with $6 hot dogs? I love baseball, but I wanted minor league because it is more cost-effective. If I want to get gouged, I will brave a trip inside the perimeter. It is painfully obvious that the Braves organization looks on Gwinnett County as a cash cow.

Frank Carter in Buford is mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

I was ready to write this off as the sort of fan we used to see all the time in Nashua, the ones who complain that $8 tickets are WAAAY overpriced.  These are the people who generally want minor league sporting events to be presented totally free of charge.

Before I dissed Frank like that, I ventured over to the Gwinnett Braves web site to look at the prices for myself.  It turns out he’s kind of right – $15 for seats to a minor league game is a bit much.  $12 is probably too much as well.  As a general rule, anything over $10 is probably a little high, unless it’s some sort of special event like an All-Star game.

So, in the end, I don’t think we can pull off our master “hype Gwinnett over Atlanta and see what happens” plan, which is a shame.  Maybe Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh would be better.

That Was Fun While It Lasted

Sunday afternoon, I discovered an interesting fact: Iowa Cubs jack-of-all-trades Jake Fox was tearing up the Pacific Coast League.  Batting average over .400, 17 homeruns, 50 runs batted in – he was easily leading the league in all three categories, making him a prime candidate for one of my favorite feats, the Triple Crown.

As near as I can tell, the last player to win the PCL Triple Crown was Albuquerque’s Mike Marshall in 1981 (.373, 34, 137).  Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1956, when Steve Bilko hit .360 with 55 homeruns and 164 RBI for Los Angeles.  A different era, that was.

The season was about 1/3 gone, which still felt kind of early, so I ultimately set myself a limitation: on June 1, if Fox was still in the lead in all three categories, I would write something about it (yes, I was going to wait a whole week.  This demonstrates considerable restraint on my part).

So what happens?  Fox gets the call to the majors, of course.  You know, sometimes I get the sense that these organizations just don’t care about MY feelings at all.

Fox is no stranger to success.  Last season, he hit 31 homers and drove in 105 runs between AA and AAA, his third straight season with 20+ roundtrippers.  He is also valuable for his defensive flexibility: most of his professional experience is as a catcher and first baseman, but he has also played shortstop, third base, and multiple outfield positions.

One of the players sent down to make room for Fox and two other call-ups was Bobby Scales, the feel-good story who made his major league debut this month after a decade in the minors.  It’s nice that Fox gets another shot at the majors (he appeared in seven games in 2007), but here’s hoping that Scales receives his own second chance before long.

The Z-Meter: 5/27/2009 – Two For the Show

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.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)

Odds are, I’ll find out that someone else got promoted this week, too, which will invalidate my “clever” title for this post. But I am going to wilfully ignore any such occurrence.

Two fast climbers on the Z-meter have reached the desired pinnacle – a ticket to the show. As OMDQ informed us earlier today, Fernando Martinez, who is not even old enough to drink legally in this country, has been brought up to the Mets to fill some injury holes. Matt Wieters, through sheer dint of his prowess, is making it to the show as a catcher, after just a touch more than one season in the minors. A hearty Bus Leagues welcome to them both!

We’ll be adding Jeanmar Gomez of the perfect game to fill one hole in the meter. Since OMDQ already wrote about him, all you need to do is follow the link to learn more. My other choice is 26-year-old outfielder Andrew Locke, who has been belting it for the Corpus Christi Hooks in double-A. He’s not exactly undergoing a meteoric rise to the top, but he’s definitely getting very hot, and may be worth a look from the Astros if he can keep it up.

Ah, yes. Here’s where the screw-up has occurred. There’s usually at least one like this, so I was waiting to find it. I had Ramiro Pena on the meter, despite the fact that he’s spent pretty much all season playing in New Yankee Stadium instead of Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Pretty big difference there (goes to show just how diligently I avoid following the Yanks). So he’s off the meter, and Yonder Alonso is on. Mostly because he’s good, but also because I can’t, under any circumstances, resist a power-hitter named Yonder. When your given name is also a good description of where you can hit ’em, you’re a Bus Leagues kind of guy.

Antonio Bastardo also went up a notch, pitching his way from Reading to Lehigh Valley. He’s shown skeelz as a starter and a reliever this season, so his promotion could lead to a future debut for the Phillies in either slot. The kid got a no-decision in six innings, and ended up with a 4.5 ERA after his first triple-A start. The good news is, he only issued 2 walks and notched a pretty stunning 11 Ks in that interval, so he’s definitely got the stuff to bring home some Ws.

For a look at Strasburg, check out televised coverage of the College World Series over the next few weeks.


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

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .282 AVG – 35 R – 2 HR – 16 RBI – 15 BB – 9 SB – .459 SLG – .803 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 9 Games – 5W – 1L – 2.66 ERA – 23 BB – 30 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .277 – 31 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 43 BB – 0 SB – .539 SLG – .978 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .287 – 34 R – 2 HR – 14 RBI – 12 BB – 21 SB – .388 SLG – .722 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 9 Starts – 0 W – 6 L – 5.81 ERA – 13 BB – 52 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .358 – 23 R – 0 HR – 19 RBI – 19 BB – 8 SB – .446 SLG – .888 OPS

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 1 Games – 1 Starts – 0 W – 0 L – 0 SV – 4.50 ERA – 2 BB – 11 K


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .228 AVG – 22 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 22 BB – 0 SB – .409 SLG – .739 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 9 Starts – 3 W – 4 L – 3.49 ERA – 19 BB – 43 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .303 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 28 RBI – 30 BB – 0 SB – .549 SLG – .985 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .324 AVG – 26 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 31 BB – 0 SB – .500 SLG – .943 OPS
 
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .358 AVG – 25 R – 9 HR – 48 RBI – 14 BB – 0 SB – .593 SLG – .993 OPS
 
 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 3 Games – 2 Starts – 3 W – 0 L – .50 ERA – 4 BB – 21 K
 
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 5 Starts – 4 W – 1 L – 1.29 ERA – 3 BB – 30 K

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): .222 AVG – 9 R – 4 HR – 16 RBI – 8 BB – 0 SB – .404 SLG – .679 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .293 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 35 RBI – 9 BB – 2 SB – .488 SLG – .815 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .234 AVG – 21 R – 9 HR – 37 RBI – 26 BB – 0 SB – .449 SLG – .784 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .211 AVG – 22 R – 1 HR – 13 RBI – 20 BB – 7 SB – .293 SLG – .614 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .359 AVG – 28 R – 11 HR – 28 RBI – 4 BB – 2 SB – .628 SLG – 1.016 OPS

Shooter Hunt (7-day Disabled List), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .278 AVG – 33 R – 5 HR – 29 RBI – 19 BB – 6 SB – .463 SLG – .831 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 9 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 3.24 ERA – 18 BB – 67 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .305 AVG – 18 R – 2 HR – 24 RBI – 12 BB – 1 SB – .422 SLG – .775 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 9 Games – 8 Starts – 6 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 2.83 ERA – 8 BB – 42 K

Yonder Alonso, 1B – Sarasota Reds (Reds): .289 AVG – 19 R – 6 HR – 35 RBI – 19 BB – 0 SB – .493 SLG – .858 OPS


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 13 Starts – 13 W – 0L – 1.24 ERA – 19 BB – 180 K

Visit SDSU’s Strasburg Central for more.


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