Posts Tagged ‘Now Batting…’

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.

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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 Pitching, For The Boston Red Sox…

Question: How do you turn Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Jon Lester into David Pauley, Jon Lester, and Justin Masterson?

Answer: Influenza

With a flu mini-epidemic tearing through the Red Sox clubhouse, the team turned today to yet another youngster, 23-year-old righthander Justin Masterson.  Boston’s second-round pick in the 2006 amateur draft, Masterson was brought up from AA Portland to make the start originally scheduled for Lester, who had actually pitched the night before on three days rest when Matsuzaka was too sick to go.

Masterson made his major league debut this afternoon, limiting the Los Angeles Angels to one run on two hits in six innings.  He struggled with his control a bit, walking four, but also struck out four.  The only run came on a fifth inning homerun by catcher Mike Napoli. 

He departed with a 3-1 lead and was in line to pick up the win before the bullpen trio of Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen, and Hideki Okajima combined to allow four runs in the seventh (somehow, Okajima’s ERA emerged from the mess unscathed).

If I’m not mistaken, this means that every player the Red Sox offered to Minnesota in exchange for Johan Santana has seen action at Fenway Park this season (with the possible exception of Michael Bowden – I don’t remember if his name came up in the trade talks).  Masterson, Ellsbury, Lowrie, Lester, Crisp, Buchholz – am I leaving anyone out?  More importantly, all of those players have shown at least flashes of brilliance, helping Sox fans to understand why, exactly, Theo Epstein was so reluctant to part with them, even for a talent as transcendent as Santana’s.

(Thanks to YFSF for the tip on Masterson’s start)