Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fouled-Off Bunts: Dog Days of Summer Edition

Did you see Brandon Phillips' "double" steal in yesterday's game? I love smart plays like that. That's the kind of instinctual play that gives teams just a tiny little extra margin, and shows that you've got a team of ballplayers, not athletes. How many players on our team do you think have those kinds of instincts? Three? Five?

  • Jason Simontacchi is visiting the Nats' good friend, Dr. Andrews as he continues to deal with arm troubles. I hope that Uncle Ted bought Andrews' Valu-Saver 6-pack before the year began. Spot the logical fallacy in this statement: "Simontacchi returned strong to the majors this season, going 6-7 despite a 6.37 ERA."

  • Hey, Cousin Mark is happy with how the team's doing. Who would've guessed? He says we'd be doing better if it weren't for injuries. Tell that to the Mets (Beltran, Pedro, Valentin, Endy), Phillies (Garcia, Lieber, Myers, Madson, Ultey, Bourne), Braves (Gonzalez, Chipper, Hampton) or Marlins (Boone, Johnson, Nolasco, De Aza). Point is that ALL teams have injuries. The trick is having depth (particularly in the upper minors) to deal with them, rather than thrashing about blaming bad luck.

  • Same article notes that Baseball America's recent poll named Chris Marrero the top hitting prospect in the Carolina and Sallie Leagues.

    Marrero's progress this year has been incredible. He's hitting a combined .293/ .352/ .517 at every level with 20 homers. That he's doing this as a 19-year old is a sign of future greatness. Sure, you can quibble with the low walks and the Ks, but he's hitting for average, and he's hitting for power -- the latter, is typically something that doesn't develop til later. He's definitely something special, and is probably one of the top 10 hitting prospects in all of baseball now.

  • Jim Bowden praises John Schuerholz. Careful, Jim! We might start to think that Johnny was the cause of the Braves' success and not Stanley!

  • John Lannan got his first major-league win yesterday. Congrats to the pride of Sienna. He looked pretty good for a kid who was making his first home start. His fastball looked like it had a little movement to it, and he's got a passable curve that he seemed to control really well.

    His rise has been pretty incredible too. I'm still a bit worried about his lack of Ks -- a strong indicator of future success for a pitcher -- but his overall style is one that can succeed when things are going well. As long as he keeps the ball on the ground, in the park, and maintains his decent control, he can get by without a strong K rate. But if one of those slips...

  • More injury news: Bergmann waits a few days to test his hamstring. Alex Escobar continues his throwing program in the minors. The key to that is that, according to the article, he's only eligible to be down for 5 more games. If that's the case, will he be activated then? There are limits to how long a team can keep a player down on rehab. Does he become a FA then? Would they have to pass him through waivers to keep him down?

  • Sports Illustrated says that the Mets/Nats/DBacks 3-way fell apart when the Mets wouldn't trade Aaron Heillman to Arizona. I wonder what that would've looked like.

  • Old friend Brian Lawrence (which was your favorite Lawrence game?) starts for the Mets tonight.

  • The Braves released Julio Franco yesterday. This post has some good Franco trivia. He faced almost 1,200 different pitchers. That includes 15 different dead pitchers. And 8 Hall of Famers. He had 45 ABs against Don Sutton and hit .333/ .348/ .422.

  • Your "I HATE JIM BOWDEN!!!" round-up:
    1) At one point is the ownership there going to cut ties with general manager Jim Bowden?
    2) And true to form, General Manager Jim Bowden is about to strike out on improving the ballclub.
    3) Is Jim Bowden a monstorously huge idiot? Yes.
    4) It’s time to accept that and commit to a complete rebuilding process, one that entails importing as much talent as possible into the minor-league system and targeting ’10 as a successful season.
    5) Can anyone figure out what the heck they're doing?

    --OMG wonders why no streaks.
    --JANF raves about Ronnie Belliard.
    --NTP says that those upset with no deals should step back from the ledge. (good comments, too)
    --N320 interviews Walter Johnson's grandson.


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