Posts Tagged ‘Now Batting For…’

Now Batting For The Pittsburgh Pirates…

Andrew McCutchen was called up to the major leagues yesterday by the Pirates to replace the freshly traded Nate McLouth, in a case of a team trading its best player and replacing him with its best prospect.

McLouth’s debut in Atlanta isn’t underway yet, but McCutchen got his first start for the Bucs today, leading off and playing centerfield.  In his first at-bat, he singled and scored the first run of the game.  His third time up, he walked and later scored.  His fifth time up, he drove in a run with a single, stole second, and scored on Nyjer Morgan’s triple.

To recap, a 22-year-old rookie making his debut managed to gather his first major league hit, run scored, walk, RBI, and stolen base.  The RBI, for what it’s worth, was of the two-out variety, and he managed a multi-hit, multi-run game.  Verrrrry impressive.

It wasn’t long ago that I talked about all the injuries the Mets are suffering and lamented the fact that they probably wouldn’t be at full strength when I go down there.  Well, the trip is three weeks away, and it gets more exciting by the day.  Wieters and Reimold in Baltimore, McCutchen in Pittsburgh.  Three reasons to be very excited (not that I wasn’t already).


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:


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

Now Batting For The New York Mets…

On June 25, I am driving down to New York with my brother and my friends Chris and Billy to see the Mets and Cardinals play at Citi Field. The weekly countdown in my planner should be more than enough to convey how much I’m looking forward to the trip (which will also include stops in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cooperstown; I might be filing daily dispatches from the road).

This is assuming, however, that anybody on the Mets is healthy by the time June 25 rolls around.  Jose Reyes?  Injured.  Carlos Delgado? Injured.  Carlos Beltran?  Might be injured.  Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Oliver Perez?  Injured, injured, injured.  David Wright?  You are…safe.  For now.

If there is a silver lining to all this destruction, it’s that Fernando Martinez (who I’d like to call Redux, because he’s probably the most anticipated Fernando since Valenzuela; I don’t even think I’m using the word right, but trust me, it makes sense in my head) will get a chance to show what he can do at the major league level.

Martinez, the prized prospect the Mets refused to trade for Johan Santana before last season, is twenty-years-old.  He began the year in AAA Buffalo, where he was off to the best power start of his four-year career (eight homeruns and .552 slugging percentage in 178 plate appearances) before being called up to New York when Reyes was placed on the 15-day disabled list.  He made his major league debut earlier tonight, batting sixth and going o-3 with two strikeouts and an RBI groundout.

There’s no telling how long Redux (relax, I’m just trying it out) will be in the major leagues.  It probably depends on some combination of his performance and Beltran’s health (he has a bruise below his knee and an inflamed tibia, for what it’s worth).  Best guess is that he sticks for awhile, fills some gaps until everyone comes back, then heads back to Buffalo so he can get regular at-bats.

But hey, if he’s around on June 25, I won’t complain.

Now Pitching For The Tampa Bay Rays…

Right now, as we speak, David Price, Baseball America’s second-ranked preseason prospect, is making his much awaited 2009 debut for the Tampa Bay Rays.  He’s through three innings thus far, with three walks, two hits, and five strikeouts to his credit.  The offense has given him some breathing room, touching up Fausto Carmona and Jensen Lewis for seven runs.

This game features three players on Baseball America’s Top 100: Price, Reid Brignac, and Matt LaPorta (not to mention Evan Longoria, who was on last year’s list).  LaPorta is 0-1 with a strikeout, Brignac 1-2 with a run scored and two batted in.  In fact, let’s just go ahead and make this a “Now Batting For…” post for ol’ Reid as well (I think this officially makes him the first prospect to be so honored twice – I gave him a much better welcome last year).  He was called up on Friday to replace Scott Kazmir and could be around for awhile now that Akinori Iwamura is out for the season with a knee injury.  He better be good – he’s on my fantasy team, and we could use the points.

Update: It’s now 10-0 in the top of the fourth.  Price has thrown 77 pitches through his three innings, so it’s pretty much a race against the pitch count at this point to decide if he gets his first win of the year.

Update #2: The pitch count wins.  Price struggles to start the fourth and is pulled when he hits the century mark.  His final line: 3.1 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts.

Now Batting For The Milwaukee Brewers…

Former Brewers prospect Matt LaPorta was recently called up by his current team, the Cleveland Indians, which meant that it was only a matter of time before Milwaukee dug deep and recalled their remaining Wonder Mat(t).  Because if one WM is in the majors, the other one must be there as well.  Don’t ask me to explain why.  It’s science.

As noted by Extra P in the Z-Meter, Mat Gamel was promoted from AAA Nashville last week.  He was off to an okay start with the Sounds, which somehow belong to the Pacific Coast League, hitting .336 with eight homers and 31 RBI in 33 games.  His OPS was 1.075.  Eh, not bad, if guys who hit for both average and power are your “thing”.

The plan for Gamel is to get him some at-bats and a few starts to keep him fresh before interleague play starts.  His Brewers will visit LaPorta’s Indians from June 15-17, with the first game scheduled to appear on ESPN.

Now Batting For The Cleveland Indians…

Highly touted prospect Matt LaPorta was called up by the Indians on Friday.  He made his major league debut on Sunday, batting eighth and playing rightfield in Cleveland’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers.

It did not go exceptionally well.  LaPorta, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Justin Verlander.  He stranded four runners, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh, and popped out to end the game.

LaPorta struggled after coming to the Indians organization in the C.C. Sabathia trade last season, but was off to an excellent start with AAA Columbus in 2009, hitting .333 with 5 homeruns, 14 RBI, and a 1.054 OPS in 21 games for the Clippers.  According to Baseball America, scouts graded his power at a 70 on a scale of 20-80.

As luck would have it, two of the E-migos with whom I correspond most often are Andrew of The Grand National Championships and Myth of the Next and Jacob of Vegas Watch and FanHouse.  They are fans of the Brewers and Indians, respectively, so naturally I asked their opinions on him.

Though both noted that LaPorta was the centerpiece of the Sabathia deal, they arrived at different conclusions about his longterm impact.  Jacob noted that he is a “good hit, no field” type of player who will probably see time at first base and leftfield and whose minor league success this year has probably caused expectations to be unreasonably high.  Andrew, on the other hand, pointed out that LaPorta is replacing the 2009 version of Travis Hafner and thinks he will soon prove that long-term, the Brewers were on the losing end of the Sabathia deal.  He figures LaPorta will “get out of bed and go .285/30/100.”

As always, it will be interesting to see who comes closer to the truth: is LaPorta overhyped, or will he make Tribe fans forget about Pronk?

Now Batting For The Toronto Blue Jays

Been awhile since I’ve done one of these…

About six weeks ago, I watched Travis Snider crush pitch after pitch after pitch – something like ten in all – over the right field wall at Manchester’s Stadium.  It was obvious the kid, who I rechristened “Wayne” after realizing that he wore number 99, could hit the ball a long, long way.

Shortly thereafter, Snider was summoned to Syracuse, where he played eighteen games, and on Thursday he made the final leap, receiving the call from the Blue Jays.  His arrival in Toronto caps a meteoric rise that began this season at Class A Dunedin and ends on the turf at Rogers Centre.  Not bad for a 20-year-old kid.

To make room for Snider, the ageless Matt Stairs was designated for assignment (and, from the tone of that article, handled it very professionally) and is likely  be traded.

Now Batting For The Cincinnati Reds…

Jay Bruce!

True, I already wrote about Bruce’s long expected call-up last night.  The problem was, I chose to go with a witty title in lieu of the standard “Now Batting For…”, leading Extra P to email me this morning to say, “Looks like it’s time for the “Now batting…” that we’ve all been waiting for.”  And he’s absolutely correct.  Because, as I replied, if Jay Bruce doesn’t get a “Now Batting For…”, then what’s the point of doing it for anyone?

So here it is, folks: the official Jay Bruce “Now Batting For…”.  Enjoy it.  Cherish it.  Love it.

Now Batting For The Tampa Bay Rays…

The Tampa Bay Rays made a controversial decision at the end of spring training, sending top prospect Evan Longoria to AAA Durham despite an excellent performance in the Grapefruit League. As various blogs pointed out, the move was likely based not on Longoria’s playing ability, but for financial reasons: keeping him in the minors for even a couple weeks impacted the length of time before he would ultimately be eligible for arbitration, free agency, and all that good stuff.

Doesn’t matter now – the Rays called Longoria up on Saturday to replace infielder Manny Aybar, who heads to the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

Joining Longoria in Florida will be pitching prospect Jeff Niemann. The two were the 2nd and 99th ranked prospects, respectively, by Baseball America. Niemann was the fourth overall pick in the draft in 2004, Longoria went third overall in 2006.

Longoria is expected to make his major league debut tonight when the Rays host the first-place Orioles. Niemann will make the start on Sunday.