Archive for the ‘Now Pitching For’ Category

Now Pitching For The San Francisco Giants…

Bumgarner - Connecticut Defenders BlogThe San Francisco Giants have bad news and good news.

The bad news is that Tim Lincecum, the team’s ace, was scratched from his start on Tuesday with back spasms.  It sounds like they’re being optimistic about the issue, which isn’t all that surprising, considering they’re pinning their hopes and dreams on his golden right arm for the next ten years or so.

The good news, though, is that Lincecum’s injury clears the way for the organization’s top prospect, Madison Bumgarner, to make his major league debut.

Only five weeks removed from his 20th birthday, Bumgarner is 27-5 with 256 strikeouts and a 1.65 ERA in 49 minor league games over the last two seasonsHe made his debut tonight against the San Diego Padres, allowing two runs on five hits (including two homeruns) in 5 1/3 innings.  He walked one and struck out four, threw 76 pitches, and was in line for the win until Brandon Medders gave up the tying run in the top of the seventh.

I saw Bumgarner pitch recently with the Connecticut Defenders, and while he found himself in several jams, his composure was impressive, especially for a kid who can’t even drink legally.  The Giants have to be looking forward to this next month, when they can see what they have up close and personal.

The nice thing is that he doesn’t have the pressure of being number one on his shoulders; Lincecum is clearly the team’s best pitcher and Matt Cain is a solid number two, meaning Bumgarner can settle in as a mid-rotation starter while he adjusts to the majors (whenever he finds himself permanently in the rotation, that is).

(Picture: Greg’s Connecticut Defenders Blog)

Now Pitching For The Cleveland Indians…

The Indians are planning to call up top prospect Carlos Carrasco, obtained from the Phillies in a trade deadline deal for Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, to make his major league debut on Tuesday:

It’s no surprise that the Indians, who have taken major heat from their fan base for dealing Lee and catcher Victor Martinez before the deadline, are anxious to show off some of the talent they got back. Marson will also join the Indians, and chances are Donald would have too if it weren’t for back spasms that landed him on the DL at Columbus.

Carrasco, 22, was 6-9 with a 5.18 ERA in 20 starts for Lehigh Valley prior to the trade, 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts for Columbus after.  He struck out 148 batters in 157 innings between the two stops.

As noted above, he is expected to be joined by Columbus teammate Lou Marson, a 23-year-old catcher who also came over from the Phillies in the Lee trade.  The move has had the opposite effect on Marson, who has gone from .294/.382/.370 with the IronPigs to .235/.300/.309 with the Clippers.  He is currently mired in a 1-31 slump.

Sometimes? Redemption is not only three fights away…

I am in a bad spot at fantasy baseball. I am one of the lesser lights of the 30-team 34-man rostered league of legends known only as Lozoball. And as such? The Padres debuting starter had an interest for me today.

Now I know starting a story based on Fantasy Baseball is a dark and dangerous path. But as context goes? It’s what got me interested in the Padres starter making his debut. I mean, while the baseball literati would say there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, there are some who would say that once you show a skill, you don’t lose it.

And as such, when Cesar Carrillo, the 2006 #1 prospect for the San Diego Padres at long last made his big league debut after two lost seasons, was somebody that I was interested in seeing.

See, Carillo was the #2 prospect going into 2007. He hit Triple-A that season, for 2 and 2/3 innings. Before he complained of elbow tightness. And some genius (or in hindsight, “genius”) said that rest was going to be the elixir that would save the day. It wasn’t. I mean, his elbow was the elbow of a college pitcher.

So one Tommy John later? And we have someone who hasn’t exactly shown the best of skills in the minors on his returns. But somebody’s got to pitch for the majors. And Carillo got his turn. And got lit up. 8 runs, 4 hits, 3 dingers.

Sometimes, the light of hope does not shine. TJ’s usually not a career killer. But what he needs is something that the Padres can’t give him.

Now Batting For The Baltimore Orioles…

Remember what I said before, when the Orioles called up Chris Tillman to make his major league debut?  I’m gonna go ahead and stand by those thoughts, because Brian Matusz has arrived.

Baltimore’s first round pick in the 2008 draft, Matusz  ate up the bus leagues this season.  He started out with the Frederick Keys in the Carolina League before a 4-2 record, 2.16 ERA, and 75 strikeouts in 66.2 innings convinced somebody that maybe he should be testing himself against stiffer competition.  So it was on to the Eastern League with the Bowie BaySox, where he only went 7-0, 1.55 ERA, 46 strikeouts in 46.1 innings, and allowed the league to hit .189 against him.  The only start he didn’t win was his last one, on August 1, when he was pulled after just an inning.

Totals between the two levels: 11-2, 1.91 ERA, 121 strikeouts in 113 innings.  I’d say he was ready for The Show.

Now Pitching For The Texas Rangers…

Neftali Feliz throws really, really hard.

Lots of pitchers throw really, really hard these days, but Feliz seemed to evoke a different feeling than most during his major league debut on Monday.  The 21-year-old Dominican came on to start the sixth inning with the Rangers leading, 1-0, and promptly struck out the first four batters he faced en route to two perfect innings of relief.  His fastball crossed into triple digits several times, topping out at 101 MPH on the final pitch of his outing.

According to that link above, however, the best part of Feliz’s performance was his off-speed stuff, which nobody could quite identify beyond, “It looked really hard to hit.”

Feliz’s stellar debut leaves just two preseason Top Ten prospects – Atlanta’s Jason Heyward and San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner – without major league experience.

Now Pitching For The Baltimore Orioles…

As a Red Sox fan, last year’s version of the Tampa Bay Rays scared me from the start. Young and talented in all aspects of the game, they had the look of a team that could expect to contend in the division for years to come.

I hate to say it, but the Orioles are starting to engender some of the same feelings. They already have an offense filled with up-and-coming stars (Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Matt Weiters) and the pitching staff is also young, with more help on the way.

The team’s top pitching prospect, Chris Tillman, arrived on Wednesday, making his major league debut against Zack Greinke and the Kansas City Royals. The 21-year-old Tillman, Baseball America’s 22nd ranked prospect, arrived from Seattle with Jones and George Sherrill in the Erik Bedard trade in February 2008 and has torn up Baltimore’s farm system ever since: 11-4, 3.18, 154 strikeouts for AA Bowie last year, 8-6 with a 2.70 ERA and 99 strikeouts for AAA Norfolk in 2009.

Tillman didn’t pitch great in his debut, but he kept it close, allowing three runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings.  Matt Albers held it there and the offense scored five runs in the seventh and eighth to win 7-3.

Now Pitching For The Colorado Rockies…

The first “Now Pitching For” in forever, and I’m like four days late on it.  That’s how I roll.

Jhoulys Chacin burst onto our radar last season when he went a combined 18-3 with a 2.03 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 177.2 innings for Modesto and Asheville.  His performance earned him a coveted spot on the Z-Meter last May, and he hasn’t left since.  Well, until now, but this is like graduation day, really.

Chacin’s walks were up and his strikeouts were down at AA Tulsa this season, but that didn’t stop the Rockies from calling him up on Friday to take the place of reliever Ryan Speier, who was designated for assignment.  He made his major league debut on Saturday, pitching the ninth in an 8-2 Rockies win over San Francisco.  He walked one, threw a wild pitch, and struck out two.