Archive for August 15th, 2009

The Clock Is Ticking…

Two days, ladies and gents.  Two days until we learn the fate of Stephen Strasburg, the first overall pick in June’s amateur draft.

Will he sign a record-breaking deal with the Washington Nationals, the team that drafted him?  Or will he spurn the team’s offer and ply his trade in an independent league while waiting to reenter the draft next year?

Consider this possibility: if the Nationals don’t sign Strasburg before 11:59:59 seconds on Monday night, it will be the second year in a row the team failed to come to terms with its first selection (they selected Aaron Crow with the ninth overall pick in 2008).

There are a couple of silver linings, however: when Crow didn’t sign last year, the Nationals received the tenth pick in this year’s draft as compensation.  With that pick they took Stanford’s Drew Storen, who signed on June 10 and is currently pitching for Double-A Harrisburg.  He has appeared at three levels this season, striking out 38 batters and walking only three in 26.2 innings.  That’s awesome.  I’m guessing we see him in a Natinals uniform before season’s end.

Silver lining number two: if Strasburg doesn’t sign, he goes back into the draft next year and the Nationals receive the second overall pick as compensation.  The 2010 draft features Bryce Harper as the likely first overall pick – if Washington finishes with the worst record in baseball this season, they will once again receive the right to select first, meaning they could hold the first two picks in a draft that features two of the top prospects in recent memory.

Who cares if the Nationals wouldn’t take both players (partly because they couldn’t afford both and partly because I think they would need special permission to draft Strasburg again if they failed to sign him the first time around) – it would make for some fun speculation leading up to draft day, wouldn’t it, and the  ratings for the first round would be through the roof.

It is almost exactly two days until these events are set in motion.  Come Tuesday, Strasburg will either be smiling as he holds up a Nationals jersey in front of the assembled Washington media or Scott Boras will be on all the sports channels explaining exactly why they turned down Washington’s offer and what his client’s next move is.

One No-Hitter, Two No-Hitter, Three No-Hitter, Fo–No, Never Mind, Just Three

Friday was a wild day for pitching in the minors, with three no-hitters on the schedule.

The first no-no came in the Arizona League, a combined job by three members of the Angels staff.  Jose Perez started and was dominant for five innings, striking out nine and walking one.  Joshua Blanco came on for three innings and walked two more batters before C.J. Bressoud closed it out with a perfect ninth.

At 24, I thought Bressoud was a bit old to be playing in Rookie ball.  Baseball-Reference has him as a catcher in 2004, 2008, and parts of 2009, with his only pitching stats accumulating this season.  I’m guessing he’s in the middle of a conversion, and a good one: 2-0, 1.74, with 29 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.

No-hitter number two was also pitched by a player in Rookie ball, this time in the Gulf Coast League.  Dennis Tepera, a 21-year-old Texan, went seven for the Blue Jays in the first game of a doubleheader, walking one and striking out seven.  It was his second low-hit game in less than a month, following a July 25 outing against the Pirates that saw him allow no hits while striking out five.

Tepera was opposed by Rayni Guichardo who had a pretty good outing himself: one run on four hits and four walks, with eight strikeouts.  His undoing came in the bottom of the fifth, when Oliver Dominguez hit his second homerun for the game’s only score.

And finally, Oklahoma City’s Luis Mendoza pitched the Pacific Coast League’s third no-hitter this season, shutting down Salt Lake, 5-0.  Justin Smoak and Chris Davis supplied the offense, hitting two doubles each and driving in four runs between them.  It was Mendoza’s sixth win of the season and he struck out six, walked six, and threw 125 pitches to do it.

Update: John Sickels was on-hand for Mendoza’s no-hitter.

Coming Soon: The Florida State League Hall Of Fame

Our pal Jordi Scrubbings sent us a link today to a story announcing the establishment of the Florida State League Hall of Fame. Twenty players, managers, umpires, and front office personnel will be inducted in a ceremony in Daytona Beach on November 9.

The list of inductees is below, along with whatever information Baseball-Reference.com had on each player’s numbers in the FSL.

Johnny Bench (1965 Tampa Tarpons): .248 BA (53-214), 2 HR, .346 SLG
Rod Carew (1965 Orlando Twins): .303 BA (133-409), 20 2B, 8 3B, .392 SLG
Gary Carter (1972 West Palm Beach Expos): .320 BA (16-50), 2 2B, 2 3B, .440 SLG
Rollie Fingers (1965 Leesburg Athletics): 8-15 W-L, 2.98 ERA, 24 GS, 175 IP
James “Catfish” Hunter (1964 Daytona Islanders): No stats available
Ferguson Jenkins (1962/1963 Miami Marlins): 7-2 W-L, 0.97 ERA, 11 G/8 GS, 65 IP; 12-5 W-L, 3.41 ERA, 20 G/18 GS, 140 IP
Al Lopez (1925/1926 Tampa Smokers): .224 BA (30-124), 6 2B, .269 SLG; .315 BA (132-419), 18 2B, 12 3B, .422 SLG
Eddie Murray (1974 Miami Orioles): .289 BA (133-460), 29 2B, 7 3B, 12 HR, 63 RBI, .830 OPS
Stan Musial (1940 Daytona Islanders): .311 BA (126-405), 10 3B, .410 SLG

(Worth noting: in 1941, Musial got promoted to Class C and went all nutty – .379 BA, 26 HR, .739 SLG. He passed through AA and was in St. Louis by the end of the year.)

Jim Palmer (1967/1968 Miami Marlins): 1-1 W-L, 2.00 ERA, 5 GS, 27 IP, 16 SO; 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 8 IP
Cal Ripken, Jr. (1979 Miami Orioles): .303 BA (119-393), .417 SLG
Nolan Ryan (1967 Winter Haven Mets): 0-0 W-L, 2.25 ERA, 4 IP, 5 SO
Joe Tinker (1921 Orlando Tigers): .333 BA (1-3), 2B
Early Wynn (1937 Sanford Lookouts): 16-11 W-L, 3.41 ERA, 35 G/26 GS, 235 IP

(See those 235 innings pitched? He was seventeen-years-old.)

Stan Wasiak, manager (1970-72 Daytona Beach, 1980-86 Vero Beach): 746-625 W-L

(For some reason, in the press release, Wasiak was only listed as the manager of Vero Beach from 1983-86. BR.com had him managing in the FSL for the ten seasons noted above.)

John Lipon, manager (1960, 1988-92, Lakeland): 379-288 W-L
Mike Moore, general manager (Tampa Tarpons)
Harry Wendelstedt, Jr. (umpire)
Phil Cuzzi (umpire)
George Steinbrenner, Tampa Yankees (owner)