Monday, July 7, 2008
Still in Utah, but I actually have a little time to myself so I want to touch on a couple of things right quick.
First, since Snacks mentioned the all-star teams in a comment below, I have a comment or two about the all-star rosters. Naturally, the big markets like New York, Chicago, and Boston are going to be stacked because more home town voters = more players voted in. But what is bizarre is if you look at the NL voting, the Brewers are represented all over the place. Fielder #2 at 1B, Rickie Weeks #3 at second, Bill Hall #4 at third base, JJ Hardy and Jason Kendall in second place at short and catcher, and Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Mike Cameron all in the top six in the outfield with Braun the leading vote getter.
How does that happen? And I know they're decent this year and just got better by adding Fatbathia, but some of those guys straight up suck this year. Weeks is batting .208 with an OPS+ of 79 right now, and received more votes than the Marlins Dan Uggla who is OPSing .995 and is second in the majors with 23 home runs. Kendall hasn't been good in five years, while Brian McCann is having a tremendous season, not to mention Russell Martin, who didn't even crack the top five despite having three middle names, one of which is Coltrane, and a .305 BA. And Bill Hall is hitting .227 and has already struck out 73 times.
It's obvious that it is time to take the all-star balloting away from the public, they are getting to be bigger and bigger idiots each year. But you clearly can't let the manager or players name the team, seeing as how Jason Varitek was voted to the all star squad by his fellow players despite a line of .218/.300/.358, which is puntoian. There aren't a ton of good catching options outside of Mauer in the AL, but both A.J. Pierzynski and Ivan Rodriguez are OPSing around .750 and hitting around .300 and both deserve it much, much, much more than Varitek. Funny how I-Rod has made it many times with worse numbers in the past.
So, yeah, the All-Star game rosters are pretty much a joke, and the fact that the outcome of this game actually has an effect on the regular season is completely ridiculous.
Secondly, and more Brewery, I LOVE how they went after Sabathia to make a big push for this season. It's become pretty clear they are going to lose Ben Sheets after this season, so why not go after Sabathia for the second half of the year and hope that one-two punch at the front of the rotation and take you to a title. In the past we saw how devastating having two top shelf pitchers can be in a playoff series with the D-Backs and Johnson and Schilling, and if the Brewers can get to the playoffs they could do some serious damage. Bravo on having the balls to pull this off.
So who is coming to the Indians? Weirdly, along with the three players coming over there is the famous "player to be named later." This strikes me as super weird in this kind of trade. PTBNL's seem to be the kind of guys who are thrown into smaller, less high profile trades, and I can't ever remember hearing of one being involved in a trade of this magnitude.
The jewel of the trade, the "Carlos Gomez" is OF Matt LaPorta, the number 1 prospect in the Brewers' system and the #31 prospect in all of baseball at the beginning of the season according to baseball prospectus. He's done nothing to hurt his rankings, as he's been mashing through double-A pitching this year to the tune of .291/.404/.584 with 20 homeruns in 296 at bats. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he has the discipline to walk around 100 times in a season. The scouting reports say his defense is a bit of an adventure, but I am NOT looking forward to the Twins facing him year after year. He may be a September call-up for the Indians this year, with an eye towards next season.
The other good piece in the trade is RHP Robert Bryson, ranked the #10 prospect in the Brewers' system. It's still not clear if he's better suited to a starter or reliever role, but Bryson is intriguing with wicked stuff - a mid-90s fastball to go with a power slider. In 109 career minor league innings he's struck out 143 batters between rookie ball and class A and has avoided the control issues that plague a lot of young power pitchers. He's been nearly unhittable, and could very well be the Indians' closer of the future.
The last "prospect" included is pitcher Zack Jackson, who is mostly just filler. He's not a real stellar prospect, but who knows, he could find work as a reliable middle reliever.
So, if your curious, the Twins definitely got a better haul for Johan, and it's not close. Actually it kind of looks like the Indians may have jumped the gun a bit here and sold themselves a bit short. I would have expected a bit more coming their way for CC, but as shown by the Santana trade, you don't get quite as much as you'd think.
Quick Gopher Update: Rodney Williams has narrowed his list to Minnesota, Iowa State, Kansas, Miami, and UCONN. He also says he plans to narrow his list further after this weekend's Peach Jam. Royce White plays with Williams, and has said he is working on getting Rodney to join him in committing to the Gophers. Keep up the good work Royce, make it happen. In point guard news, Mfon Udofia reports Georgia Tech leads for his services, while the Gophers are said to be in the lead to land Johnnie Lacy. Let's hope they get one of the two.