Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lexington Legends: Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright
How did he get here?: Drafted, 37th Round (2007)
Stats: 5'10", 180 lbs, Bats/Throws: L/L
Age as of April 1, 2010: 22


vs LHP94.202/.262/.30924:67-7
vs RHP254.248/.354/.39068:3021-27
Bases Empty218.234/.324/.34458:2317-2
Runners On130.238/.340/.40834:1311-32

Season Totals

YearK:BB RatioK/PA %K:BBXBH/H %

Cartwright spent most of 2009 at 2B, DHing in eight games. In 89 games at 2B, Cartwright committed 16 errors for a .963 Fld% (up from .936 at Greeneville in 2008). He also stole 23 bases in 31 attempts (74.2%).

Cartwright had a very promising season that was cut short by an injury. He was hitting .316 when he broke a bone in his arm in May, and his average tanked when he came back six weeks later. In his last ten games of the season, Cartwright hit .359/.409/.513, and had 2+ hits in five of his last seven games.

Lexington Legends: Steve Brown

Steve Brown
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2005 season
Stats: 6'0", 180 lbs, Bats/Throws: R/R
Age as of April 1, 2010: 23

No splits. Brown spent the last seven games of the season with Lancaster, so the 30 ABs won't prove a whole lot for us. On to the career totals.

Slash Lines and Whatnot


Season Totals

YearK:BB RatioK/PA %K:BBXBH/H %

Brown has played every outfield position, spending most of 2009 in LF, and committing only one error. In four seasons, Brown has only committed eight errors in 397 chances for a .980 Fld%. Brown also stole eight bases in 13 tries in 2009 (61.5%), a season after stealing a career-high 15 bases for Lexington in 2008.

Brown does have power - he's hit 19 home runs over the last two seasons, mainly in a stadium that doesn't give up too many homers. So he swings hard, and when he connects, look out. Problem is, he's not much with the walks. And until he can harness that power, he's going to have a hard time.

Clemens given award

Koby Clemens was named Class A-Advanced's best hitter for 2009.

"One of the bigger things was that I started getting more consistent playing time. At the time, Castro was there, I was the backup to begin with. I was getting pinch-hit stuff, then I started to DH every day. When Castro moved up, I started to catch and mixed in a little left field. Got more comfortable when I started getting more playing time. That made all the difference in the world.

"It's almost a perfect storm hitting scenario, especially with the team we had. The lineup we had every day made it much more fun. We were putting up eight to 10 runs a game. It's a higher elevation and on some nights, the wind was blowing out. It is a big field, but when the wind is blowing out, it plays similar to a Rockies kind of stadium. You still have to hit the ball, have good at-bats. You can't change anything with your swing because of the park."

"My first two years were pretty average years. I made some strides, but had some downfalls. This is by far the best year I've had. It puts me on the radar, I think. I always knew I was capable of doing something like this, I guess it took me a few years to figure things out and get confident with it."

Good for Clemens. Writer Jonathan Mayo makes a pretty good point in response to critics who say that he - and Gaston - may as well have been playing on the moon:

Critics will say that Clemens is a product of his environment. Not only is the California League friendly for hitters, but his home park in Lancaster is one of the best hitting parks in all of Minor League Baseball. Clemens doesn't deny this, but there are two things that should be pointed out. While Clemens excelled at home, he wasn't exactly a slouch on the road (.338/.412/.610). Secondly, everyone else in the Cal League had the same advantage and none of them drove in over 120 runs or slugged over .600.

It was Stan Benjamin who got us Bagwell

In a nice reflection piece on scout Stan Benjamin, who recently passed away, Gerry Brown had this:

In 1990, when the Red Sox sought Houston reliever Larry Andersen for their stretch drive, Benjamin and scouting colleague Tom Mooney of Pittsfield recommended that the Astros ask for outfielder Jeff Bagwell in return.

They hesitated, because Bagwell had only four homers in 136 games for the Double A New Britain Red Sox “Babe Ruth couldn’t hit home runs in that ballpark,” Benjamin said of New Britain’s Beehive Field.

The Astros listened, took Bagwell and installed him as their regular first baseman. He played 15 years for them and hit 449 homers.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ten questions from McTaggart

Brian McTaggart has a new article up with ten key questions for the Astros in 2010. What can we learn?

What about Brad Mills?
What's for certain is Mills' new, fresh approach can't be any worse than the toxic clubhouse atmosphere that was created for former Astros manager Cecil Cooper.

Can Roy stay healthy?
When Oswalt is healthy and throwing as he's capable, he's still one of the best pitchers in the game. The Astros' rotation isn't deep, and they can't afford to lose Oswalt. Considering Oswalt hasn't had surgery to repair the problem, the Astros can only hope his back problems don't return.

Can Berkman rebound?
How valuable is Berkman? Consider this: The Astros were one game out of first place when Berkman went on the disabled on July 23. When Berkman came back nearly three weeks later, the team was 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals.

Who will close?
Both Lindstrom and Lyon have experience closing, but Lyon is the more experienced of the two. He saved 26 games for Arizona in 2008 and even allowed one hit in six innings in the playoffs that year. That could give him the nod over Lindstrom, whose stuff can be erratic at times.

Is Manzella ready?
No one wants to prove he's ready to hit at the Major League level more than Manzella, who has great character and makeup. He's not going to approach the 199 hits Miguel Tejada gave the Astros last year at the position, but his defense could make up for plenty of his offensive shortcomings.

Can Wandy keep it up?
Because Rodriguez, who will be 31 on Opening Day, is a little bit older and has more mediocrity under his belt than success, he's not as much of a given to improve. But he has slowly matured into what he did last season, going 14-12 with a 3.02 ERA. He finally learned to keep his emotions in check and trusted his pitches, which made him the Astros' best pitcher.

Is Bud Norris for real?
Norris appears to have the stuff and mental makeup to stick around for a while.

Who's SP4/SP5?
While it looks like Moehler is SP5...After Oswalt, Rodriguez and Norris, the fourth spot in the rotation is up for grabs from a handful of candidates: Felipe Paulino, Wesley Wright, Wilton Lopez and Yorman Bazardo...

...The Astros have also invited Gustavo Chacin and Ryan Sadowski to Spring Training and could add another name to the mix before pitchers and catchers report to Kissimmee, Fla.

(Note: Of course we know Sadowski is on his way to Korea.

When will Castro be C1?
There are some in the organization that believe the former first-round pick will be ready on Opening Day, and others who believe it may be a few months later. No matter who you talk to, everyone believes Castro will be a franchise catcher for the Astros sooner rather than later.

What will Carlos Lee provide?
He's entering the fourth year of a six-year, $100 million deal and makes more money than Albert Pujols. And he is a defensive liability in left field. Lee remains a good run-producer and solid clutch hitter, but when you consider his contract and his inability to cover ground in left field, his impact on the club is diminished.

Lexington Legends: Ricardo Bonfante

Ricardo Bonfante
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2006 season
Stats: 5'9", 145 lbs, Bats/Throws: R/R
Age as of April 1, 2010: 21

No splits. Since Minor League Baseball only keeps the splits of your most recent team, and Bonfante was sent to the GCL Astros on July 15, with whom he only played two games, the splits are pretty worthless. On to the career season totals.

Slash Lines and Whatnot


Season Totals

YearK:BB RatioK/PA %K:BBXBH/H %

Bonfante has spent his entire career in the Organization as a shortstop, posting a career .940 Fld%. In 2009 he made seven errors in 110 chances for a .936 Fld%, down from .951 in Greeneville in 2008. Bonfante also was a basestealer in Venezuela, stealing 48 bases in 58 tries (82.8%) in two seasons, but has stolen 16 bases in the two seasons since.

The decline in his numbers align with his arrival to the US. He did spend part of 2009 on the DL, so that had something to do with his playing time and subsequent demotion to the GCL, but he didn't play after July 17. In 24 games at Lexington (69 ABs), Bonfante hit .145/.241/.188 with two extra-base hits. Still, the guy just doesn't strike out, but could someone get him a glass of milk to bulk him up a little?

Lexington Legends: Jay Austin

Jay Austin
How did he get here?: Drafted, 2nd Round (2008)
Stats: 5'11", 175 lbs, Bats/Throws: L/L
Age as of April 1, 2010: 19


vs LHP99.212/.278/.25329:92-4
vs RHP298.285/.334/.39649:2227-29
Bases Empty243.284/.328/.38749:1616-1
Runners On154.240/.308/.31829:1510-32

Season Totals

YearK:BB RatioK/PA %K:BBXBH/H %

Austin spent his 99 defensive games in CF, and posted a .980 Fld% (four errors), but got himself 10 assists, and took part in three double plays. He also stole 23 bases in 36 attempts (63.9%), but you'll see below, there might have been another factor at work.

It's a shame that Austin got hurt during the season and battled hamstring problems, because he was starting to put it all together. After a rough start to the year, Austin was putting up solid numbers in June and July (OPS' of .790 and .769, respectively) when he went on the DL, twice: once on June 1 and on August 12. Austin was named the Astros 8th-best prospect by Baseball America back in November, and is considered Eddie's Farm's fastest baserunner.

He improved in every way from 2008's Greeneville season to 2009 in Lexington, raising his OPS from .512 to .680. .680 isn't great, but the away splits are more encouraging than the home splits, and may be a better indication of the type of hitter he can become. Had the hamstring issues not occurred, and with an off-season to recover, it will be exciting to see what he can do in 2010. Let's not forget, he won't turn 20 until August 2010, either.

In Review, continued

The Citizens have spoken, and thus we shall continue our look at Eddie's Farm, player-by-player. It's my goal to get through Round Rock by the start of Spring Training, meaning I need to step it up. Once Spring Training begins, we'll begin our look at the 2010 Major-Leaguers, including those signed to minor-league contracts and invited to Spring Training.

One item of note: As we advance through the ranks, we'll be adding the career numbers to the season totals. In the instance in which the 2009 splits aren't available, we'll do what we can.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Updated Winter Ball stats - 12/31

Let's check back in with the WinterStros:

Dominican Winter League (hitters)


Dominican Winter League (pitchers)


Puerto Rican Winter League (hitters)


Puerto Rican Winter League (pitcher)


Venezuelan Winter League (hitters)


Venezuelan Winter League (pitcher)


Some feedback, if you please

Okay, so it's taken almost three months to get through the recaps of the GCL Astros, Greeneville Astros, and Tri-City ValleyCats. Do you find these recaps valid? Shall we continue with Lexington, or shall we call it a day?

Bidding farewell to a terrible year

The ringing in of the new year is a time to reflect and ask the outgoing year to kiss your ruby red ratleg. The new year is a time of hope and promise, however fleeting for us Astros fans. So let's take a look back at 2009 and reflect on the ways in which The Apparatus (which is how the front office will, from now on, be known) tried to eat our souls.

1. Exercising Coop's option (April)
Because of the dreaded, and formal, vote of confidence, the Astros will pay Cooper $850,000 in 2010 to not manage the team. After a mediocre start, The Apparatus killed the clubhouse, effectively allowing Berkman and Lee to loaf all season long.

2. Signing Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz (offseason)
It was a low-risk, high-reward couple of moves that just didn't pay off. Hampton predictably got hurt during the season and Ortiz was flat-out released mid-season.

3. Not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf
#2 was precipitated by this one. Wolf was coming off a strong 2nd-half with the Astros, and were in negotiations to re-sign him to a 3-year deal. The Apparatus had an offer on the table, and pulled it before Wolf could respond. Then they didn't offer him arbitration, and the Dodgers picked him up for $5 million. We have the benefit of hindsight, and Wolf had a great year. Now he's with the Brewers, who will likely finish higher in the standings than the Astros.

4. Not playing Tommy Manzella
I think everyone knew the Astros wouldn't be offering arbitration to Tejada, because he would have taken it and cost The Apparatus a whole lot of money. So to leave Tejada in, and let him chase 200 hits - which of course just fell short - instead of giving 2010's SS1 Tommy Manzella some playing time was completely short-sighted. Now the Astros have a rookie shortstop coming in with FIVE career plate appearances. Would playing Manzella for 20 games have prepared him for his first major league season? Not totally, but it would give him a taste of a job that will hopefully be his for a few years.

I'm sure there are others. But I just had to pick myself up off the floor and take a Zoloft. So what did I miss?

Lyon signing ranks among worst of off-season

Dayn Perry's five worst off-season deals makes room for the Astros, with the signing of Brandon Lyon.

To justify giving Lyon three years and $15 million requires a grave misunderstanding of, well, the game of baseball. Lyon, like most unspectacular relievers, has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career. But the Astros, who work daily to distinguish themselves as the worst organization in baseball, seemingly believed in the 2009 version of Lyon. Indeed, last season Lyon posted a 2.86 ERA, but he did so despite some of the weakest peripheral numbers of his career. In other words, he was lucky. The Astros, despite all evidence to the contrary, are gambling that Lyon will continue to be lucky for the next three years. If they're going to throw that much at Lyon, then why wouldn't Ed Wade have just given Jose Valverde, a much better reliever than Lyon, the multi-year deal he sought?


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tri-City ValleyCats: Brandt Walker

Brandt Walker
How did he get here?: Drafted, 8th Round (2009)
Stats: 6'1", 165 lbs, Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 22


as Starter37.19.64/2.0933:24.344
as Reliever12.22.84/1.346:12.119
vs LHB24.19.25/2.0518:19.326
vs RHB25.26.66/1.7521:17.269
Bases Empty20.1x/2.3618:15.347
Runners On29.2x/1.5821:21.250

Season Total
K/9 Rate: 7.0
BB/9 Rate: 6.5
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 1.21
K:BB Ratio: 1.08

Walker was one of four ValleyCat pitchers to throw 50IP, but the problem - as you may have guessed - was with those walks. The 36 walks led the team (and were the second highest in the NYPL). We can see all of Walker's starts, as they were in his last ten games, and it's not pretty: 37.1IP, 54H/40ER, 33K:24BB, .344 BAA, and an upside-down groundout/flyout ratio. Walker got out of the 5th inning once, and gave up 5HR in his last 9.1IP (3 games). Now, he also posted 9K in his last 7.1IP. So there's that. But until those walks come down, and the ball stays on the ground...
Walker played for Stanford last season, so like Stines, let's see what he can do with an off-season of rest.

And thus concludes our look at the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Tri-City ValleyCats: Brenden Stines

Brendan Stines
How did he get here?: Drafted, 33rd Round (2009)
Stats: 6'2", 190 lbs, Throws: Right (of course)
Age as of April 1, 2010: 23


vs LHB168.44/1.316:7.250
vs RHB22.12.42/1.7917:10.306
Bases Empty15x/1.9312:9.294
Runners On23.1x/1.3711:8.279

Season Total
K/9 Rate: 5.4
BB/9 Rate: 4.0
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 2.42
K:BB Ratio: 1.35

Okay, so there's quite a bit to see from Stines' first year in professional baseball. If he wasn't getting hammered by batters (June, July), he was busy putting them on base for free (August). Over two appearances in August (23 & 27), Stines walked eight batters in five innings. Now, he could very well have just been tired, but the BAA should come down some next year if he can keep up the 2.42 GO/AO rate he posted. But those walks need to come down. Stines also gave up two homers, both of them to LHBs, but look at the RHB splits: 40 base-runners, and 10 of them scored (6ER). That means either someone else came in and cleaned it up, or he got it together (and the RISP splits seem to indicate that could very well be the case). Let's see what he can do without playing a collegiate season first.

Tri-City ValleyCats: Mike Schurz

Mike Schurz
How did he get here?: Drafted, 44th Round (2009)
Stats: 6'2", 205 lbs, Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 23

Splits (w/Tri-City)!

vs LHB70.00/0.865:3.143
vs RHB6.21.35/1.5010:4.231
Bases Empty4.2x/2.146:6.211
Runners On9x/0.679:1.179

Season Total
K/9 Rate: 11.2
BB/9 Rate: 3.9
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 1.58
K:BB Ratio: 2.85

It's hard to get jazzed up about splits with a 13.2IP sample - Coop had Wesley Wright throw that many innings at Wrigley in one night. Still, Schurz showed enough in the GCL that he jumped to the more age-appropriate NYPL, where he flat-out dominated. The only thing to get too concerned about from these splits are the six walks with the bases empty, but he hammered down once the runners were on. A 0.64 WHIP with a .133 BAA with RISP? Nice.

Tri-City ValleyCats: Dan Sarisky

Dan Sarisky
How did he get here?: Drafted, 40th Round (2009)
Stats: 6'1", 175 lbs, Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 21

Splits (w/Tri-City)!

vs LHB10.12.61/1.8413:4.349
vs RHB11.23.86/1.2011:5.209
Bases Empty9.2x/1.7612:6.275
Runners On12.1x/1.3012:3.283

Season Total
K/9 Rate: 10.4
BB/9 Rate: 3.3
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 1.35
K:BB Ratio: 3.15

After ten appearances in Greeneville, Sariskly was brought up to Tri-City for 12 appearances. At Greeneville, Sarisky was striking out 11.5 batters per nine innings. That strikeout rate dropped (to 9.8 K/9) and his BB/9 rate went up a walk per nine innings, but he did finish strong, striking out ten batters in his last three appearances (6IP). Sarisky tends to keep the ball on the ground, and he only allowed one homer - in Greeneville - all season long.

Johnson signs with Diamondbacks

Want further proof that the Kaz Matsui deal sucks? 2B Kelly Johnson will sign a deal with Arizona for $2 million.

I know Johnson had a down year, last year, hitting .224/.303/.389 for the Braves.

Kaz Matsui hit .250/.302/.357 for the Astros last year, and after the All-Star Break Matsui hit .248/.292/.374. In the second half of 09, Johnson hit .261/.358/.493.

Furthermore, Johnson will be 28 in February. Matsui's 34. And Matsui will make about $3.5 million more than Johnson.

I'm not happy about this, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that Matsui was the worst signing of Ed Wade's Houston tenure. This only amplifies it.

Go ask Drayton some questions

Hey, the Greater Hewitt Chamber of Commerce will host its annual banquet at the First Baptist Church of Woodway on February 4 at 6:30pm. What say that I, and seven of you, get together and buy ourselves a table for $280?

Why would we do this? Drayton will be the keynote speaker. Not enough for you? The Greg Bashara Jazz Trio will be providing entertainment! And George's Restaurant is catering! What else could you ask for!?

Valverde back to Arizona?

The Associated Press is reporting that Valverde "appears" to be heading back to Arizona.

This means that, because the Diamondbacks were 70-92 and finished in the bottom half of the overall standings, their 1st Round draft pick is protected - so should Valverde sign with the Diamon'backs, the Astros would receive Arizona's 2nd Round pick.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Astros County's Hall of Fame ballot

I love the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are a lot of reasons, but it's mainly because it's perhaps the only HOF that is totally relevant. And the deadline for voting is right in the middle of the off-season, when there's screw-all going on (see this morning's post on Garrett Bullock helping out with a youth camp). So, in the tradition of many a national columnist, let's waste some time filling out a Hall of Fame ballot.

And we may as well follow the BBHOF's rules, so that means that no more than 10 players can receive votes, and that voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

With that, here are the ten players who would get Astros County's vote, in alphabetical order:

Roberto Alomar
12-time All-Star. 5-time Top-10 in MVP voting. Lifetime .984 Fld%. 10 Gold Gloves (if that award means anything to you.) Four-time Silver Slugger. Career .300/.371/.443; top-10 in batting average five times. Stole 30 bases eight times. Alomar was a complete player.

Bert Blyleven
There is one constant throughout baseball's history: batters swing as hard as they can. ERAs change, as do home run totals, but strikeouts still mean something, because it tells you how pitchers were able to fool hitters. Blyleven's 3701 strikeouts are still the 5th-best of all-time. His K:BB ratio (2.80) is 50th-best of all-time. His ten closest Similarity Scores link him to eight Hall of Famers, and two who have a case (Kaat and Tommy John). He consistently played on what we would now consider small-market teams, and if he had played in New York or Boston, there would already be a movie about him.

The thing about Blyleven, as my cousin (who will remained unnamed. I'm no Bill Simmons.) pointed out, is his complaining about not getting in has kept him out. In one of the great paradoxes of life, to get something, you can't appear as if you really want it. Blyleven really wants it.

Another paradox I want to bring up: if you play in a small market, then you won't get a whole lot of national exposure. If you played in a small market in the 70s and 80s, you did not get a lot of exposure. But if you eschew the small market for a large market, the media crucifies you for selling out. Blyleven has two World Series rings, a career 3.31 ERA/1.20 WHIP. And only four pitchers have more strikeouts. Ever.

I looked through his game logs, and found that he lost/NDed 177 games in which he threw a quality start (and 9 games where he threw 7IP+, allowed 0 runs, and NDed)

So obviously you don’t win every game that you throw a quality start, but if we just give Blyleven a third of those games as a win (a third to win, a third to lose, and a third to get no decision), that’s adding 59 wins to his total, which puts him at 346 wins. Blyleven also had nine seasons in which his ERA was under 2.90 – and he lost a total of 113 games in those seasons.

And let’s not forget that he pitched his entire career (save three seasons with the Pirates) in the American League, with the DH. So he was facing nine hitters. It’s not like he was playing the Astros and Giants. He did have to play against the Yankees, Red Sox, and A’s.

Andre Dawson
I'm an Astros fan and even I loved The Hawk. You know a lot of the story: 1977 Rookie of the Year. MVP on a last-place team (1987). Two-time MVP runner-up. A power-hitter who didn't strike out all that often (in only three seasons did Dawson strike out 100+ times, and two of those were in his 2nd and 3rd seasons). Eight-time All-Star. Top-ten in SLG eight times. 1,039 extra-base hits. While he didn't enjoy a whole lot of team success - he only went to the playoffs twice in 21 seasons - Dawson was the face of the Cubs, and was a great player.

Edgar Martinez
This is the first test of the DH the HOF has had to deal with. Paul Molitor spent 1174 of his 2683 games as a DH, and he is quite obviously a Hall of Famer. But Edgar Martinez only played 591 of his 2055 career games in the field. How do the voters deal with that? But Martinez, according to the (inferior) DH rule, is as valuable as the next guy. So with his career 147 OPS+, with 13 seasons with an OPS+ over 125, that's incredible. This also coincided with a 7-season run, from 1995-2002, in which Martinez had an OPS+ over 150. This also coincided with the most successful seasons in the Mariners' history. It should also be noted that Martinez ranks in the top 100 in all of the slash line numbers: .312 (91st)/.418 (22nd)/.515 (69th).

Lee Smith
He never won a Cy Young award, but he did finish in the Top 10 four times. Oh yeah, and there's the 478 saves. Smith could almost go in to the HOF as a pioneer, paving the way for the Trevor Hoffmans and Mariano Riveras. Smith struck out almost a batter an inning, and he also threw 100+ IP three times, and posted a career 1.04 WHIP.

I feel for Mattingly and Murphy, because for all intents and purposes, if I'm including Dawson, then a case can be made for Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy. But those two were excellent players for a shorter amount of time. But there's one guy I would not vote for, and it might not be for the reason you think.

Mark McGwire
I get it. He saved baseball with Sammy Sosa, and he's got an awkward press conference coming when he's unveiled as the new hitting coach for the Cardinals. He hit a lot of home runs. His OPS was over 1.000 seven times. That's amazing. But let's look at this further, because he only had 1626 hits. 583 of those hits were home runs (35.9%). 252 were doubles (15.5%) and 6 were triples. So 841 of his 1626 hits were for extra-bases (51.7%). Again, this is amazing. But if you look at the five tools, McGwire only had one - power. He got on base because he would hit the ball really hard, and pitchers wouldn't just pipe one down the plate. He wasn't particularly fast, he didn't play great defense, and he sure didn't hit for average. In only three seasons that McGwire played 100+ games did he hit over .280. And let's talk about strikeouts. McGwire struck out 1596 times. If your head doesn't hurt from statistics yet, then you might notice that he struck out almost as many times as he got a hit.

Now, McGwire's OPS+ is 12th-best of all-time. That's hard to overlook, especially considering that OPS+ was a major part of why I would elect Edgar Martinez to the Hall of Fame. But it's the strikeouts that kill me. 1596 in 7660 PAs. Dave Winfield struck out more, but in 12,358 PAs. Harmon Killebrew struck out more than McGwire, but in 9831 PAs. Mickey Mantle struck out more, but did so in 9909 PAs (and also hit .300 in nine seasons of over 100 games). Same with Tony Perez, Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell, and Reggie Jackson (although Jackson, the all-time strikeout king, struck out 22.7% of his PAs - McGwire's K/PA rate was 20.8%). But Reggie Jackson also had almost 1000 more hits than McGwire. So McGwire would swing really hard, and connect a lot, and miss almost as much as he hit. He was a one-tool player in a time when that one tool was valued higher than any other tool. So what say you?

Good for Garrett Bullock

Minor-leaguer Garrett Bullock took part in a baseball camp for 9- to 13-year olds yesterday.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tri-City ValleyCats: Colton Pitkin

Colton Pitkin
How did he get here?: Drafted, 41st Round (2007)
Stats: 6'3", 210 lbs, Throws: Left
Age as of April 1, 2010: 20


vs LHB204.50/1.0521:7.200
vs RHB48.14.10/1.8028:25.315
Bases Empty33x/1.7333:18.277
Runners On35.1x/1.4416:14.294

Season Total
K/9 Rate: 6.5
BB/9 Rate: 4.2
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 0.73
K:BB Ratio: 1.53

2009 was Pitkin's third season in the organization, and his first in Tri-City, having spent the previous two seasons in Greeneville (though pitching in only seven games in 2007). This year saw a 24.1IP jump over 2008, and with it, a 1.14 jump in ERA, and 0.22 in WHIP. His Ks were down almost 3K/9, while his relatively high walk rate stayed about the same (4.2BB/9 in 2009, as opposed to 4.1 BB/9 in 2008). Still, the increase in IPs could account for some damage, seeing as how Pitkin was 2-6 with a 5.44 ERA and a .315 BAA in his last ten games. He encountered a rough patch from July 25-Aug 5, giving up 14ER in 13IP, but those walks need to come down, and his upside-down groundout:flyout ratio needs to get on the plus side of 1:1.

Bruntlett signs minor-league deal with Nationals

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Nationals have signed Eric Bruntlett to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Major-League Spring Training.

Tri-City ValleyCats: Nathan Pettus

Nathan Pettus
How did he get here?: Drafted, 27th Round (2008)
Stats: 6'1", 200 lbs, Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 21

Splits (with Tri-City)!

vs LHB92.00/1.448:3.286
vs RHB121.50/1.179:6.186
Bases Empty11.2x/1.469:6.239
Runners On9.1x/1.078:3.219

Season Total (both GRN/TRI)
K/9 Rate: 8.2
BB/9 Rate: 3.3
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 1.91
K:BB Ratio: 2.08

This was Pettus' second year in the organization, with Pettus spending all of 2008 in Greeneville, posting a 4.91 ERA/1.68 WHIP in 22IP. He began the season back in Greeneville, and was promoted to Tri-City on July 26. There's a lot to like about Pettus so far, such as his improving his K/9 rate (7.4 to 8.2), BB/9 rate (4.5 to 3.3), his Hits/9 (10.6 to 7.5), and WHIP (1.68 to 1.20), from 2008 to 2009. He keeps the ball on the ground, doesn't give up a lot of home runs (4 in 60.1IP), and hammers down as the situation becomes more precarious.

Tri-City ValleyCats: Mike Modica

Mike Modica
How did he get here?: Drafted, 24th Round (2009)
Stats: 6'0", 175 lbs, Throws: Left
Age as of April 1, 2010: 23


vs LHB11.12.38/1.766:6.341
vs RHB19.22.75/1.2213:7.243
Bases Empty13.2x/1.768:4.323
Runners On17.1x/1.1511:9.224

Season Total
K/9 Rate: 5.5
BB/9 Rate: 3.8
Groundout/Flyout Rate: 1.91
K:BB Ratio: 1.46

2009 was actually the second year in which the Astros drafted Modica, selecting him in the 46th round of the 2008 draft. And, as you can see from the above splits, the only real damage done to his stats were in August. And, you might be interested to know, most of that came on August 15, when Modica allowed 6H/4ER and 3BB in 2IP. So, removing that game dramatically improves his numbers. The strikeouts are a tad low, but the groundout/flyout ratio is pretty good.

Valverde could end up in Arizona

Sure, the Diamondbacks have signed Bob Howry, but Nick Piecoro tells us that they're also still keeping tabs on Jose Valverde (which shouldn't be that hard of a task):

The club had been monitoring closer Jose Valverde's availability, and though Howry's signing makes a Valverde reunion somewhat less likely, team sources say they will continue to track Valverde and theoretically could stretch their budget for him if the cost makes sense.

The Diamondbacks would have to give up a second-round draft pick to sign him, but the savings on signing the pick (about $750,000) could help off-set the cost of Valverde.

Do you think Valverde got his agent a Christmas present, other than a flaming bag of crap?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scratch Sadowski off the list

NPB Tracker is saying that the Astros have apparently let Ryan Sadowski out of his contract, as he is heading to Korea to pitch.