Posts Tagged ‘Austin Wood’

Random Thoughts on the Amateur Draft

Just for giggles, I decided to go through the list of players drafted over the last three days and see what came of it.  Lots of interesting names, people, and relationships in there.

1. Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State – If not the most talented amateur player ever, then certainly the most hyped.  For me, however, he’s the most elusive.  I’m going on a road trip later this month with my brother and a couple friends, and it seems that every stop on our trip is someplace that Strasburg could be, at some point – Washington, Harrisburg, Troy (when they play Vermont, Washington’s New York-Penn League affiliate).  Unfortunately for us, he won’t be in any of those places when we are.

12. Kansas City Royals – Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth Cats – The Luke Hochevar Experiment is working out so well that the Royals decided to try it again.  Offhand, I can’t think of very many situations where a player went to the independents for a year and had it work out in the long run.  J.D. Drew is the highest profile name that comes to mind.

45. Arizona Diamondbacks – Mike Belfiore, RHP, Boston College – Austin Wood got most of the publicity, good and bad, from the epic BC-Texas game a couple weeks ago, but Belfiore might have risked more, throwing 129 pitches in an effort to get his team the win.

150. Detroit Tigers – Austin Wood, LHP, Texas – The arm is still attached after throwing 199 pitches in twenty-four hours against Boston College, so that’s a good thing.  He’ll be an interesting one to watch in the future, in part because he clearly needs a manager who will know when to draw the line between guts and craziness.

168. Boston Red Sox – Seth Schwindenhammer, OF, Limestone Community HS (IL) – His name is Schwindenhammer.  The Red Sox should promote him right now.  I can’t wait to do an All-Name Team for this draft.

184. Texas Rangers – Ruben Sierra, OF, San Juan Educational School (PR) – I suspected when I saw this last night that this youngster was related to THE Ruben Sierra, and this impressive article confirmed it.  The sheer number of names included in that piece highlights the nice part about the Amateur Draft: because it is so darn long and so many players are selected, teams can afford to take a flyer on a player for personal reasons (see Mike Piazza for an instance where this worked out quite well for both sides).

306. Arizona Diamondbacks – Tyson Van Winkle, C, Gonzaga – I love it when a player comes with a ready-made nickname.  It just makes our work so much easier.  Welcome, Rip.

318. Boston Red Sox – Brandon Jacobs, OF, Parkville HS (GA) – Another name list that needs to be done: the “Hey, somebody famous already has that name!” list.  We should follow the rules of the Screen Actors Guild: if a pro athlete is already “registered” with a name, no one else can use it.  This young man would probably become Don Jacobs, unless he has a middle initial.

412. Washington Nationals – Naoya Washiya, OF, College of the Desert – College of the Desert?  That sounds badass, and apparently they turn out some decent players.  Washiya has an interesting name and story, as well.

630. Detroit Tigers – Giovanni Soto, LHP, no school (PR) – Same theory as Brandon Jacobs, although Soto probably gets a pass because his name is spelled different than the Cubs catcher.  Still, how cool would it be to see a Soto-on-Soto matchup at some point?

850. Toronto Blue Jays – Zachary Outman, RHP, Saint Louis – This makes me think of the commercials I used to see for “American Pie: Band Camp” where Eugene Levy increduously exclaims, “Another Stiffler?!”  Josh Outman already had one of the best names for a pitcher in major league history; now that there’s two of them, they cannot be stopped.

1098. Boston Red Sox – Michael Yastrzemski, OF, St. John’s Prep HS (MA) – We’ll have to see if this is a favor to a local legend or if Yaz The Younger can hold his own on the ballfield.

1442. Kansas City Royals – Kevin Kuntz, SS, Union HS (OK) – The greatest name in baseball history lives on.

1521. Los Angeles Angels – Alibay Barkley, 1B, George Washington HS (NY) – Mr. Irrelevant, MLB Draft-style.

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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.