Wednesday, June 30, 2004

No Mench, yet again... 

Once again, we are treated to an outfield of Dellucci, Conti and Matthews, with Mench on the bench.

Dellucci has been in a horrible slump, Conti can't hit, and yet Kevin Mench languishes in the dugout.



CBL player Josh Hoffpauir purchased 

The Rangers purchased Josh Hoffpauir from Jackson of the independent Central Baseball League, and sent him to Stockton.

I know nothing about Hoffpauir, except he was in the Oakland organization back in 2000, so this is someone Grady Fuson is familiar with.


Seattle Times: Teixeira for Garcia rejected by Rangers 

I find it surprising the Mariners would ask for that much for Garcia...

But considered the haul they got from the ChiSox for Garcia and Ben Davis, I guess their demands weren't entirely unwarranted...

What's worrisome, though, is the number of times Teixeira's name keeps coming up in trade discussions. Norm Hitzges, today, apparently was discussing the fact that his name is out there a lot, and that the Rangers are unhappy with his development and with his Boras connection.

If Teixeira gets moved, I'm going to be real unhappy...I think his future is a lot brighter than Adrian Gonzalez's, or any of the other 1B prospects in the Ranger system...


John Danks, Joaquin Arias, and Felix Hernandez 

Seattle's stud pitching prospect Felix Hernandez was recently promoted to AA San Antonio.

Which is worthy of note, in and of itself, since the 18 year old Hernandez is considered to be possibly the best prospect in the Mariners system.

However, Hernandez's promotion also means that John Danks, at age 19 and two months, is the youngest player in the California League right now.

Joaquin Arias, meanwhile, who turns 20 in September, is the second-youngest player in the California League.

Just something to keep in mind when looking at the numbers these guys put up for Stockton...they are playing against players who are, for the most part, 2 or 3 years older than them.


Minor league starters for Wednesday, 6/30/04 

Oklahoma -- Off
Frisco -- Kelvin Jimenez. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Off
Clinton -- Jesse Chavez is my guess.
Spokane -- Again, just a guess, but I believe Kevin Altman.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Wade Miller to the D.L. 

Astros' starter Wade Miller has been placed on the 15 day D.L. with a sore shoulder.

Miller has struggled some this season, and there has been some rumblings that he was pitching through an injury.

It remains to be seen how long he'll be out...


Mariners broadcasters say Teixeira may be traded 

The Seattle radio broadcasters are apparently saying that "rumors are running rampant" that Teixeira is out of the lineup today because he is being traded, possibly for Russ Ortiz...

That would be horrible...


Jason Giambi has parasites... 

Fill in your own punch line...


Q&A with John Danks 

On the Top Prospect Alert website.


Minor league starters as of Tuesday, 6/29/04 

Oklahoma -- Ryan Snare. 7:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Kameron Loe. 7:30 p.m.
Stockton -- Off.
Clinton -- Matt Lorenzo. 6:05 p.m.
Spokane -- Jeremy Lensch. 9:05 p.m.


Huckabay chat... 

I'm back in town again, and ready to resume blogging...

Baseball Prospectus writer Gary Huckabay did a chat session today. Says he'd pick Blalock over Teixeira, and picks the Rangers to finish 3rd in the A.L. West...


Saturday, June 26, 2004

Rangers sign No. 1 draft pick Diamond 

To no one's surprise, the Rangers signed first round pick Thomas Diamond Saturday. He got a $2.025 million signing bonus.

K.C. Herren, the Rangers' second rounder, is supposedly on the verge of signing, which will mean that the first ten Texas draft choices will be locked up.


Minor league starters as of Sunday, 6/27/04 

Oklahoma -- Rick Helling. 2:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Off.
Stockton -- Off.
Clinton -- Matt Farnum. 12:30 p.m.
Spokane -- Clayton Jerome. 6:05 p.m.


Minor league starters for Saturday, 6/26/04 

Oklahoma -- Unknown. Ricardo Rodriguez, the scheduled starter, was promoted to Texas today. 7:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Erik Thompson. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Ben Kozlowski. 7:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Probably Matt Farnum. 7:00 p.m.
Spokane -- I think Josh Rupe, continuing his return from injury. 9:05 p.m.


How the mighty have fallen... 

Not long ago, righthander Gil Meche was among the Mariners most untouchable prospects. He was dominant at times in 1999 and 2000, before suffering shoulder problems early in 2001 and being on the shelf for most of two years. He got off to a very nice start last year for the Mariners before slumping late in the season, and got optioned to AAA this year after struggling with his command in the majors.

Now, word has leaked that the Mariners offered Meche straight up for Detroit utilityman Brandon Inge, and were rejected.

The same Brandon Inge who had a career 568 OPS coming into the season...

The Mariners are a mess right now...


Friday, June 25, 2004

Great game for Regilio tonight 

Took a no-hitter into the 9th for the Redhawks...


Minor league starters as of Friday, 6/25/04 

Oklahoma -- Nick Regilio. 8:11 p.m.
Frisco -- Not sure. I'd guess John Hudgins. 7:00 p.m.
Stockton -- Nick Masset. 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Jesse Chavez. 7:00 p.m.
Spokane -- Kevin Altman. 8:30 p.m.


BA with a nice Kinsler article 

Nice piece from BA's John Manuel on shortstop Ian Kinsler, who continues to demolish minor league pitching.

In the article, Kinsler talks about where this development has come from, giving a lot of credit to the work and training he got in the Instructional League this past winter.

And an odd note...former Ranger 2B Jeff Frye is Kinsler's agent...


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Minor league starters as of Thursday, 6/24/04 

Oklahoma -- Ryan Snare. 7:11 p.m.
Frisco -- Kelvin Jimenez. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Probably Cody Smith. 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- First game back from the ASB, so who knows. My guess is Matt Lorenzo. 7:00 p.m.
Spokane -- Justin Lensch. 8:30 p.m.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ridiculous comment from Tom Verducci 

In his latest mailbag column, Tom Verducci says that a reader's suggestion that the players from each team come out and shake hands with the other team after a game is "one of the best ideas I've heard in a long time".

If having major leaguers come out and stand in line to slap hands like Little Leaguers after each of the 162 games is one of the best ideas Verducci has heard in a long time, he needs to get out more.


Ian Kinsler, #1 with a bullet... 

In their weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, Baseball America has Ian Kinsler in the #1 slot.

And justifiably so...his numbers this season, both at AA Frisco and low-A Clinton, are simply incredible.

I'd feel a little better about his start this year if he'd shown a little more last season, but still, we're getting to the point where this is past fluke status. Kinsler looks like he may be the real deal, and if he keeps hitting like this, he may well be manning shortstop for the Rangers next season.


Derek Zumsteg chat session 

BP writer and Mariners fan had a chat session where he covered a few Rangers-related items.


An idle thought... 

It is pretty cool to see wire descriptions for upcoming games talk about the "first place Texas Rangers"...


Minor league starters for Wednesday, 6/23/04 

Oklahoma -- Sam Narron. 8:11 p.m.
Frisco -- Unknown, with Frisco returning from a 3 day break. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Wes Littleton. 9:00 p.m.
Clinton -- Off
Spokane -- Clayton Jerome. 8:30 p.m.


Monday, June 21, 2004

I'm going out of town... 

I'll be out of town for a couple of days, so no entries until probably Wednesday, at the earliest...


ESPN needs factcheckers 

ESPN, continuing its trend of giving its talking heads platforms to express opinions, has given Gary Miller a column on its website called "Clubhouse Confidential". In his latest column, Miller has the following comment about the Junior Griffey 500 homer situation:

If Griffey HAD homered on Thursday, he would have been the 20th to join the 500 club, and do it on the 44th anniversary of Ted Williams' getting his 500th on that day in 1960. Although Williams went on to manage the Washington Senators, who moved on to become the Texas Rangers, that franchise has yet to be part of a 500th home run.

I guess we all just hallucinated Raffy's #500 at TBIA last year...

What makes the mistake even more egregious is that later, Miller also has some comments about how Buck has turned the Rangers into more of a "team", with future HOFers such as ARod and, yes, Raffy gone...


Sunday, June 20, 2004

Minor league starters for Sunday, 6/20/04 

Oklahoma -- Nick Regilio. 2:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Off.
Stockton -- Jose Garcia. 4:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Brian Mattoon. 7:00 p.m.
Spokane -- Kevin Altman. 7:05 p.m.


A suggestion for Peter King: Stick to football 

In his excellent MMQB column (excellent, that is, when he sticks to football, rather than rambling about his daughter's softball team or complaining about airline service), Peter King frequently has a few asides about his beloved Red Sox. This week is no different, as he rants about Terry Francona's decision to play Kevin Millar in Coors Field instead of David Ortiz, against a lefthanded pitcher.

King insists that Ortiz is an everyday player, and that "no baseball person in his right mind would see Ortiz as a four-out-of-five-day player".

Sorry, Peter, but the numbers speak for themselves...Ortiz has a 723 OPS against lefthanders this year, versus 1010 OPS against righthanders. He has a career 758 OPS against lefties. Quite simply, he doesn't hit them.


Saturday, June 19, 2004

Tim McCarver fawning over Derek Jeter 

After Jeter makes a good play in the field a few minutes ago on the national Fox broadcast, I have to hear McCarver talk about what a great defensive player Jeter is...

And now, after Jeter rounds second too far and gets picked off base after an ARod RBI single, McCarver declares that Jeter, "considering his speed, is the best baserunner in the game", and says that you almost never see him make a mistake like that.

Tim McCarver's love affair with Jeter is sickening.


Minor league starters for Saturday, 6/19/04 

Oklahoma -- Ryan Snare. 7:05 p.m.
Frisco -- John Hudgins. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Not sure. This was Hudgins' spot in the rotation, but with his promotion, and Ben Keiter going to the D.L., I'm not sure who is taking this start. Kiki Bengochea would be my guess. 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Matt Farnum. 7:00 p.m.
Spokane -- Justin Lensch. 8:05 p.m.


Friday, June 18, 2004

Minor league starters for Friday, 6/18/04 

Oklahoma -- Probably Sam Narron. 7:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Kelvin Jimenez. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Wes Littleton. 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Probably Edison Volquez. 6:00 p.m.
Spokane -- The Northwest League starts today, and 41st rounder Clayton Jerome gets the Opening Day start for Spokane. They will be using a tandem starter system, but I don't know the pairings yet. 8:05 p.m. start.


BP with some love for Ian Kinsler 

Two nice little blurbs on Ranger shortstop prospect Ian Kinsler from BP writer Dayn Perry, one from a chat session yesterday, and one from his column today on his picks for the low-A All-Star team.


Deal reportedly reached with Eric Hurley 

The Rangers reportedly are going to announce this weekend that they've signed first round draft choice Eric Hurley.

Not a surprise that he's been signed, although you always wonder a bit with high schoolers, particularly those who drop a bit, as Hurley did.

Still, good news if it is true...he'll likely spend the year pitching for the Rookie League team in Arizona, although he could get a look in Spokane if he pitches well.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Minor league starters for Thursday, 6/17/04 

Oklahoma -- Rick Helling. 1:35 p.m.
Frisco -- Erik Thompson. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- John Danks. 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Jesse Chavez. 7:00 p.m.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The Foul Ball Kid 

Good grief...it is the story that wouldn't die...

During the Pistons/Lakers game last night, the local station here in Houston (where I live) ran a teaser for its local news that night, promising an interview with the kid's grandmother, who lives in Houston.

Someone needs to put a stake in this story's chest, cut off the story's head, and bury it at a crossroads at midnight...


Minor league starters for Wednesday, 6/16/04 

Oklahoma -- Ricardo Rodriguez, 8:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Chris Young, 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Probably Ben Kozlowski, but the promotion of Danks to Stockton could throw the rotation off. 9:05 p.m. start
Clinton -- Matt Lorenzo, 7:00 p.m.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Michael Young 2003 v. Michael Young 2004 

I keep reading about the big step forward Michael Young has taken this season, offensively.

And I continue to be among the Young non-believers -- at least, in the sense that I don't think he's going to be a .330+ hitter all year, or post an 850+ OPS.

But for those who do believe, I'd just like to point something out...

As of yesterday, June 14, 2004, Michael Young is hitting .332/.373/.508.

As of one year ago, June 14, 2003, Michael Young was hitting .340/.377/.480.

So forgive me if I still think it is 50-50 whether Young will finish the season over .300, or break 800 with his OPS...


Danks promoted to Stockton 

On the heels of John Hudgins' promotion to AA Frisco, John Danks has been promoted to high-A Stockton from low-A Clinton.

Danks has been terrific for Clinton so far this season, and was fifth in the Midwest League in ERA at the time of his promotion. Given his age -- he's just 19 -- I don't expect that the Rangers will push him any higher than Stockton this season.


John Hudgins promoted to Frisco 

Although no official announcement has gone out (to my knowledge), John Hudgins has apparently been promoted to AA Frisco, as he is now listed on their roster.

Sam Narron is not listed on their roster right now, so I'm guessing he has been promoted to AAA Oklahoma.

Hudgins, a third round pick out of Stanford last year, has been linked (in my mind, anyway) with 2003 fourth rounder Wes Littleton. Both came out of California universities (Littleton was out of Cal State-Fullerton), both are righthanders without dominating fastballs but with good "pitchability", both were considered to be relatively close to the majors when they were drafted, and both were considered good value picks when the Rangers took them.

However, coming into the season, I'd been much more bullish on Littleton than on Hudgins. Littleton, who missed much of his junior season because of a suspension, come in and dominated in the pros right away, posting a 1.56 ERA in Spokane, with an impressive 47 strikeouts versus just 8 walks.

Hudgins, meanwhile, was ridden hard by the Stanford coaches in the 2002-2003 season, throwing 350 pitches over a 10 day span in the College World Series, after being the 14th most abused pitcher in the NCAA that year. The Rangers shut him down last season after only 2 innings in Spokane because of a nerve problem in his shoulder (which Hudgins talks about in this chat session) and a "tired arm".

Given their diametrically opposed debuts, I (and many others) figured Littleton was the better bet of the two this season, with some suggesting that Littleton might hit TBIA by the end of the year. However, while Littleton has struggled somewhat at high-A Stockton, Hudgins has been terrific, posting a 2.35 ERA with a 4:1 K:BB ratio and averaging over a strikeout per inning.

In his outing yesterday, Hudgins went 6 shutout innings, striking out 7 batters, walking none, and allowing just 3 hits. While Fuson was in Stockton this weekend, I'm not sure if he stuck around for Monday's game; regardless, though, that likely will be Hudgins' last start in A-ball.

While Littleton hasn't matched Hudgins' performance this year, I haven't given up on him. The organization still seems to have faith in him, and he is a full year younger than Hudgins, which should put him a bit behind developmentally, as well.

In any case, if Hudgins handles the Texas League hitters as well as he did the batters in the California League, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Arlington as soon as next season.


Minor league starters for Tuesday, 6/15/04 

Oklahoma -- Nick Regilio, 8:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Kam Loe, 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Jose Garcia, 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Brian Mattoon, 7:00 p.m.


Mixed reports on the Sinisi injury 

Well, there are several different time frames that have been reported on the Vince Sinisi injury.

Mike Hindman's minor league update initially said that he could be out for the season. Todd Wills of the DMN (who said that Sinisi was "probably" going to be promoted to AA at the minor league All-Star Break) puts the recovery time at six to eight weeks. And Kathleen O'Brien of the Star-Telegram puts it at four to six weeks.

If Sinisi returns in July, he may spend a few weeks in Frisco this year, which would make it easier for him to join the Rangers' contingent in the Arizona Fall League; each team is only allowed to send one player from below AA. At this point, it would seem like the leading contenders for the Rangers six slots are Sinisi, Ian Kinsler (who has continued his incredible play since being jumped two levels from low-A to AA, crushing the ball in his first two games at Frisco), Will Smith, and Jason Botts among the position players, and Ben Kozlowski, Edwin Moreno, Ryan Dittfurth, and Josh Rupe among the pitchers; generally speaking, teams use their AFL pitcher slots to get innings for pitchers who missed time during the season due to injury.


The latest from Gammons 

Gammons' latest ESPN column includes a blurb about what a great job Buck Showalter has done with the bullpen, and talks about what John Hart will likely do this offseason, which would presume that the decision to keep Hart has either already been made, or is a foregone conclusion.


Monday, June 14, 2004

Minor league starters for Monday, 6/14/04 

Oklahoma - Nick Bierbrodt. 8:05 p.m.
Frisco - Sam Narron, 7:05 p.m.
Stockton - John Hudgins, 9:05 p.m.
Clinton - Matt Farnum, 7:00 p.m.


Injuries suck 

Well, it sounds like Laynce Nix is heading to the D.L., after running into the wall yesterday afternoon, and Juan Dominguez may be joining him, after experiencing back problems in his last throwing session.

This is getting ridiculous. Three-fifths of the opening day starting rotation is on the D.L., the surprisingly effective Jay Powell (whom I was hoping we might be able to deal for something of value later this season) is on the D.L., our starting catcher, centerfielder, and rightfielder are on the D.L., the starting leftfielder and first baseman have spent time on the D.L., and one of the primary minor league candidates to step into the rotation just returned from being on the D.L. with appendicitis.

And among our other significant prospects, Drew Meyer, Edwin Moreno, Josh Rupe, Nick Masset, A.J. Murray, and Vince Sinisi have all been injured. Sinisi's injury -- a broken forearm suffered in a collision with Joaquin Arias yesterday -- is particularly disappointing, since he's one of the top prospects in the organization, was playing well in Stockton, and was likely going to be promoted to AA Frisco shortly.

Alas...if there is any silver lining, it is that the injuries may help temper expectations the rest of the way, and keep the front office from pulling the trigger on any foolish short-term deals.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Minor league starters for Sunday, 6/13/04 

Oklahoma -- John Wasdin. 2:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Sam Narron. 6:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Ben Keiter. 3:00 p.m.
Clinton -- Edison Volquez. 2:00 p.m.


R.A. Dickey 

After today's disaster, he now has one quality start in his last eight outings.

I was assigning some blame to Buck's decision to leave him out there for over 130 pitches a while back, but at this point, it is becoming obvious that Dickey just isn't that good of a starting pitcher.

He needs to go back to the bullpen, where he belongs...only problem is, there's not really anyone out there ready to take his spot.


Saturday, June 12, 2004

Minor league starters for Saturday, 6/12/04 

Oklahoma -- Rick Helling, 7:05 p.m. Helling is replacing Ryan Snare in the rotation. Snare is being moved to the bullpen, apparently because the organization sees his future as a reliever.
Frisco -- Kelvin Jimenez. 7:05 p.m.
Stockton -- Wes Littleton. 7:00 p.m.
Clinton -- John Danks. 6:30 p.m.


Friday, June 11, 2004

Baseball Prospectus Grady Fuson chat 

The transcript from the Grady Fuson chat.

A lot of good stuff in there.


Minor league starters for Friday, 6/11/04 

I waited in the hopes of getting some "official" starters published, but info is scarce, so there's more guesswork than usual today...

Oklahoma -- Ricardo Rodriguez
Frisco -- Erik Thompson
Stockton -- Ben Kozlowski
Clinton -- DH. Should be Brian Mattoon and Matt Lorenzo.


DMN's Rangers newsletter 

The DMN's Rangers coverage is somewhat spotty, and I think that some of the writers there are a little too focused on grinding their personal axes (*cough* Gerry Fraley *cough*) instead of writing objectively about the team.

However, a neat feature they have is the Texas Rangers newsletter, where each week, Evan Grant answers select questions from DMN readers.

This segment would be better, of course, if it were someone other than Evan Grant, who has some insights into what is going on within the team because of his access as a beat writer, but whose analysis I have found very lacking.

This week's newsletter is a typical example. As always, it starts off with a few paragraphs on whatever Grant wants to get off his chest...this week, it is praising the Rangers for staying away from Boras clients Jered Weaver and Scott Drew in the draft. Now, that may or may not have been a good decision...but Grant's reasoning is asinine. He states:

"They drafted -- and signed -- Mark Teixeira, Patrick Boyd, Kiki Bengochea and Vince Sinisi at the cost of another $13 million or so."

Kiki Bengochea and Patrick Boyd have been disappointments; they also collected $1.3 million between the two of them in signing bonuses...or about half of what Herb Perry is costing the Rangers this year. The other 90% of that money has gone to Teixeira, who is establishing himself as one of the really good young power hitters in baseball, and Vince Sinisi, who has had an impressive season thusfar at Stockton, and is considered one of the top prospects in the Ranger system. Now, what Grant didn't answer is whether or not the Rangers would really be better off right now if they passed on Teixeira and Sinisi; even the most adamant of Boras-haters have given the Rangers a pass on those two selections.

So, on to the Q&A...and I have to wonder who is deciding which questions to run. The first one is about Justin Thompson's progress. This seems to be an obligatory part of each newsletter...every one for the last few years, it seems, has included a question on Thompson, Rusty Greer, or Jeff Zimmerman's progress. Apparently, it still hasn't sunked in with some folks that Thompson, who hasn't pitched since 1999, ain't coming back.

The next question is about a possible All-Star appearance for Ryan Drese, which is kind of silly; while Drese has had a nice year, he also hasn't been in the rotation all season, and his ERA (close to 4) isn't going to make the cut.

Next, some pinhead rants about the Rangers trading Ruben Sierra, claiming he would have solved the Rangers' DH woes, and that the Rangers should have kept him. I have to assume that this is one of those people who grew up watching the Rangers in the late-80s, and hasn't quite yet figured out that those guys are old and washed up. Sierra has posted a .276 EQA in part-time play for the Yankees. That's not a good figure for a DH, and his EQA would likely only go down if he were playing regularly, instead of being spotted against pitchers who can't take advantage of his glacially slow swing.

Yes, Sierra is performing better than Fullmer so far this season, but Fullmer...but Fullmer is younger and a much better player. No one with any sense would take Sierra over Fullmer the rest of the way.

Grant, however, doesn't acknowledge any of that...he simply states that Sierra is playing well for New York, and New York wouldn't want to trade them, plus the Rangers didn't think they would be contending this quickly, suggesting that otherwise they would have kept Sierra.

Grant also fails to point out that Sierra was a free agent this offseason, so the Rangers could have brought him back...the fact that they traded him last season is irrelevant.

Continuing with the nostalgia, there's a "Why don't the Rangers bring back Rick Helling?" question, made moot by the fact that the Rangers brought him back, but answered anyway. That's followed by a question about whether Jason Botts' development might make Teixeira or Gonzalez expendable; Grant spends two paragraphs saying, "Who knows?" Then there's a question about whether the manager arguing with the ump helps the team any.

Then, along the same theme as the Sierra question, some guy writes in and asks why Brad Fullmer is still getting at bats at DH, and why can't the Rangers give some of his at bats to Laynce Nix or David Dellucci? Kudos to Grant for pointing out, correctly, that Fullmer has a track record of hitting well, and that the season is still young; he also points out a mechanical problem that Fullmer is having with his swing, which is the kind of insights that beat writers are good for. However, the most obvious flaw in the question is ignored -- namely, that Nix, Dellucci, and Fullmer are all lefties who play almost exclusively against righthanders. So if Fullmer is in the lineup, so are Nix and Dellucci. Thus, you can't give any of Fullmer's at bats to those guys. Unless you are playing Sony Playstation Baseball and create an entire team of Laynce Nix's and David Dellucci.

Next is a question from a guy who says that he can't understand why Juan Dominguez doesn't have a good breaking ball...why, the reader exclaims, I taught my 12 year old to throw a slider!!! Why can't our pitching coaches teach Juan???

This sort of question is so stupid, it makes me want to put my head down...and also makes me wonder why a dad is having his 12 year old throw a breaking ball, when it is generally recommended that kids not throw breaking balls until they are in their mid-teens.

Finally, there was a question about why the Rangers "gave up" on Scott Podsednik (Grant correctly points out that Podsednik left as a minor league free agent, after doing nothing in AA for the Rangers), and something about Kenny Rogers and umpires. I couldn't get through that part, though, because the Juan Dominguez question made me to irritated to focus any more.

So anyway...the newsletter is a nice idea. And I know it is geared towards a more general audience, and not just baseball nerds like me. But geez...they could pick a few better questions.

And with Rusty Greer having taken batting practice recently, I'm betting that next week's newsletter contains a Rusty Greer question...


The New York tabloids can't let go of Soriano 

Ridiculous piece in New York Newsday today, talking about the Mets trading for Alfonso Soriano.

Newsday claims that the Rangers want to move Soriano because they are "cost-conscious" (never mind their current payroll situation easily accommodates Soriano and any raises he may get), that Soriano makes $7.4 million this year and will make over $9 million next year (he makes $5.4 million this year, and will likely make $7-8 million next year), and that they need a serious offensive upgrade to stay in the N.L. East race (even though the Rangers, by trading Soriano, would be essentially giving up when they are closer to first than the Mets).

They also claim that Soriano loves New York so much, he's willing to play right field, instead of second base, despite Soriano's past complaints about possibly switching positions.

Supposedly, after balking at giving up Scott Kazmir or Jose Reyes earlier in the season, the Mets are now willing to talk about those two (or possibly even David Wright, who is their top prospect at this point). Of course, Kazmir and Reyes have been hurt this season, and Kazmir has been disappointing when he has pitched, so they are talking about moving two guys whose value has diminished somewhat.

All in all, I don't think there's anything to this article. Seems like tabloid pot-stirring to me. However, if the Mets were willing to deal David Wright in order to get Soriano, I think the Rangers would have to take a close look at it, even if they are hanging in the race.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Michael Young, elite shortstop? 

Alan Schwartz thinks so...


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Minor league starters for Wednesday, 6/9/04 

Oklahoma -- Off
Frisco -- DH. Should be Narron and Loe. 5:30 p.m.
Stockton -- John Hudgins. 9:35 p.m.
Clinton -- Off.


Rangers one game back 

With the rainout last night, the Rangers gained a half game on the Angels, who lost an incredible 17 inning, 1-0 game to Milwaukee.

Just one game back now of Anaheim and Oakland, who are tied for first place...


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Rick Helling returns 

As expected, Rick Helling as signed a minor league deal with the Rangers.

The Oklahoma rotation should now be Snare, RicRod, Bierbrodt, Helling, and Wasdin.


A theory on the 2nd round Herren reach 

Saw this suggested elsewhere, and I think it makes sense...

K.C. Herren was considered a likely 6th to 10th rounder coming into the draft. Texas used a 2nd rounder on him, which seemed to be a big reach, since they should have been able to get him later in the draft.

However...Herren has previously stated that, if he wasn't picked in the first three rounds, he was going to college.

So, if the Rangers wanted Herren, and felt he was the best player on their board in the second round, they had to take him then, rather than waiting until the 4th-5th rounds. Particularly if they thought a team behind them was on Herren, as well, and might pick him before the Rangers were up in the third round.

Not saying that I agree with the move, or that Herren is going to work out...but it sounds like, if they wanted him, they had to draft him before the third round was over to sign him.


Minor league starters for Tuesday, 6/8/04 

Oklahoma -- Nick Bierbrodt is the reported starter, although I haven't seen where he's been promoted from Frisco. He should be in AAA, though. 2:05 p.m.
Frisco -- Sam Narron. 7:30 p.m.
Stockton -- Ben Keiter. 9:05 p.m.
Clinton -- Matt Farnum. 7:00 p.m.


Rangers draftees 

Odd draft for the Rangers.

Thomas Diamond and Eric Hurley, at #10 and #30, were good value picks, and Fuson-type players. K.C. Herren, though, in the 2nd round, seemed like an extreme reach -- he wasn't in Baseball America's top 200 prospects -- and also seemed out of character for Fuson, as he's a toolsy high school outfielder.

The rest of the draft was unremarkable, for the most part, other than the Jason Maxwell pick in the 10th round. Maxwell was considered a likely first or second-rounder before a broken forearm cost him the season. Maxwell will want at least 2nd round money to sign, most likely, but he's expected to go to the Cape Cod League this summer, and if he performs well, the Rangers will probably pony up the cash needed to sign him.

Here are a couple of articles on Herren, one from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, one from the Tacoma News Tribune.

And here's a Baseball America article on first rounder Tom Diamond.

Jeff Larish and Jeremy Slayden, two hitters with "Moneyball" skills whom I thought would be good value picks for the Rangers, were popped by the Dodgers and the A's, respectively.

And ironically, the Dodgers, who are run by Paul DePodesta, arguably even more of a doctrinaire stathead than A's G.M. Billy Beane, drafted Scott Elbert, a high school pitcher, with their first round pick.


Monday, June 07, 2004

Draft update: Jered Weaver, Stephen Drew falling... 

Baseball America, the Bible of amateur baseball, is indicating this morning that Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver, whom they have ranked among the top three prospects available in the draft, are sliding dramatically because of signability concerns.

Both players are represented by Scott Boras, and both have brothers already playing in the majors currently; Stephen Drew's brother, J.D. Drew, achieved notoriety when, after the Phillies selected him #2 overall in 1997, the two sides couldn't reach a deal, and he re-entered the draft, being selected 5th overall by the Cards in 1998.

This could have significant ramifications for the Rangers...if either player is there at #10, he would be the best player on the board at that point, and would seem to be the obvious pick for the Rangers. However, the consistent rumblings that the Rangers are seeking to distance themselves from Boras, and the suggestions that Showalter and Hart are urging Tom Hicks to avoid Boras clients from here on out, complicate matters.

If either player is on the board at #10, and the Rangers' management thinks that they can cut a reasonable deal with either player, then it would be foolish to pass on them just to prove a point, or because Buck thinks that Boras players don't fit in his clubhouse "culture". But if Fuson thinks that the cost to ink Drew or Weaver to a contract is going to be excessive -- more than the difference between them and, say, Scott Elbert is worth -- then obviously, it would make sense to pass.

So if Weaver or Drew is there at #10, and the Rangers pass, the question is going to be...did they pass for baseball reasons? Or did they pass because of political reasons?


Sunday, June 06, 2004

Minor league starters as of Monday, 6/7/04 

Oklahoma -- John Wasdin. 7:05 p.m. start
Frisco -- The rainout Wednesday threw off the schedule; probably Kelvin Jimenez. 7:30 p.m. start
Stockton -- Off
Clinton -- Edison Volquez. 7 p.m. start


Draft is tomorrow 

Starts at 11:50 a.m. CST.

Rangers' selection should be made right around noon.

I'm predicting the Rangers take Scott Elbert, the high school lefty out of Missouri, with their first round pick, mainly because I think Homer Bailey will be gone when they draft.

Jered Weaver is a possibility if he falls, and Jeremy Sowers is probably a possibility, as well. But I'm betting Elbert ends up being the choice.

I've got no idea who they go after at 30, with the first rounder they got from Atlanta as compensation for the Braves signing John Thomson, or with their second round pick. However, don't be surprised if Jeff Larish ends up being taken with one of those two picks, particularly if they don't take Weaver.


Gammons: Weaver likely to go to Texas at #10 

In his pre-draft column, Peter Gammons suggests that Long Beach State righthander Jered Weaver will fall to Texas at #10, and that Fuson wants to "bail out" his good friend Boras (who will be Weaver's agent) by taking Weaver there, against the wishes of the "Buck Showalter/John Hart wing" of the organization, who don't want any more Boras players.

Strange...I haven't heard any suggestions that Hart and Buck want Gerald Laird, Mark Teixeira, Kenny Rogers, or Vince Sinisi driven out of the organization, despite the fact that Boras represents them. And of course, Weaver is generally considered the top player in the draft...

Regardless of what this says about the draft, this tidbit is troubling in large part because it is the most explicit reference yet in the press about the front office split that I have been speculating about for a few months.

With Fuson in the midst of his busiest time of the year, it appears that Showalter is using Fuson's focusing on the draft as an opportunity to try to poison the well, and weaken Fuson's support within the Rangers, and specifically with Tom Hicks.


The Buck/Hart/Fuson imbroglio starts garnering national attention 

Media folks outside of the Metroplex are starting to take note of the internal battles going on in the Rangers front office...

The Seattle Times reports that Showalter is lobbying for Hart to stay, because he sees Hart as "less of a threat", whereas Fuson may want to replace him with former player development director Trey Hillman, who is currently managing in Japan. The Houston Chronicle agrees that Showalter is pushing for Hicks to keep Hart, explaining it as an arrangement that both Buck and Hart like because it gives Buck the power to be a de facto G.M., and allows Hart to spend a lot more time golfing.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, meanwhile, suggests that there is "dissension" between Hart and Fuson over player acquisition and evaluation issues...


Juan Dominguez 

Didn't get to watch the game (thank you, stupid MLB TV restriction rules), but listened to the game on the radio...

Dominguez's outing was definitely encouraging, although probably not quite as good as the box score would indicate. Matsui hit a shot early in the game that sounded like it would have been about 10 rows back in TBIA, but the wind and the deep left-center field in Yankee Stadium kept it in. Also sounded like there were several terrific plays behind him which saved hits.

Nevertheless, Dominguez threw strikes, stayed ahead of batters, broke a bunch of bats, and by all reports, showed great composure and maturity on the mound in one of the most intimidating settings in baseball. The two-seam sinking fastball, which he's using instead of his four-seamer from last year, apparently had very good action, and he commanded it much better than he did in his last outing. The breaking ball was spotted effectively, and the change-up continues to impress.

Dominguez got himself at least one more start in the majors. With Dominguez holding his own, Ricardo Rodriguez returning the mound yesterday, and Rick Helling likely being added to the AAA rotation, the Rangers have options that allow them to take their time bringing Chan Ho Park back.


Minor league starters for Sunday, 6/6/04 

Oklahoma -- Ryan Snare. 2:05 p.m. start time
Frisco -- Should be Erik Thompson, although Kelvin Jimenez is a possibility. 7:00 p.m. start.
Stockton -- Wes Littleton. 7:05 p.m.
Clinton -- John Danks. 2:00 p.m.


Saturday, June 05, 2004

Possible correction on Stockton's starter tonight 

I listed Wes Littleton as the starter for Stockton tonight, because I couldn't find any listing of who was expected to start (not uncommon with minor league teams), and it is Littleton's turn in the 5 man rotation.

However, a Stockton fan at Jamey Newberg's site is saying that Ben Kozlowski will get the start, as well. I'll defer to him on this, since he's there and should have better info than I.

And as big a Littleton fan as I am, I'm more excited about Kozlowski's start...this will be his first outing since he had T-J surgery last year, and going into the 2003 season, he was considered by some to be the Rangers' top pitching prospect, and a likely member of the 2004 rotation. He'll probably be handled carefully for the next couple of months, but if he shows he's healthy, he could be poised to break into the rotation next season.

I'll definitely be watching to see how Koz does today...


Minor league starters for Saturday, 6/5/04 

Oklahoma -- Ricardo Rodriguez
Frisco -- Chris Young
Stockton -- Wes Littleton
Clinton -- Brian Mattoon


Helling about to be back with the Rangers... 

The Star-Telegram is reporting that Rick Helling is about to sign a minor league deal with the Rangers.

He'd go to the AAA rotation for now, either bumping Mike Bacsik to the bullpen or Sam Narron back to AA.

However, with CHP in perpetual limbo, he's also a pretty decent option to step into the rotation until Ricardo Rodriguez is ready, if the Rangers decide that Juan Dominguez is better served pitching in Oklahoma.

It seems like eons ago, but it has been just 30 months since the Rangers cut ties with Helling, refusing to go to arbitration with him after he refused what he considered to be a sub-par deal. He ended up taking less from the Diamondbacks, pitched pretty well for them in 2002, then struggled as a starter in Baltimore in 2003, before ending up in Florida, where he pitched pretty well in a relief role.

He hasn't been great in the minors this year since returning from a shin fracture, posting a 4.94 ERA in 5 AA starts before pitching 7 shutout innings in his lone AAA outing, with a K/BB ratio of around 2. But he's not that old, he's pitched in TBIA before so he would know what to expect, and BP's PECOTA system thinks he should be at least adequate as a 5th starter this year. If the Rangers decide to bring up a starting pitcher, Helling is worth a look if they feel the legit prospects aren't ready yet.

Plus, if you are going to need generic Freely Available Talent for a short-term role, you might as well bring back a guy who the fandom knows and is fond of. John Wasdin is just a random re-tread to Rangers fans; Rick Helling, though, was the gutty guy who ate innings and headed up the rotation when the Rangers won back-to-back division titles. If you have the chance, it is worth throwing the fans a bone like that...


Friday, June 04, 2004

Standing ovation for Soriano in New York 

Before his first AB, and when he homered, he got a standing ovation.

Very classy.

Too bad Rangers fans couldn't have shown as much class when Alex Rodriguez returned to town...


Baseball Prospectus Chat with Grady Fuson 

Baseball Prospectus is hosting a chat with Grady Fuson on June 10.

Fuson's lengthy interview last summer with Jamey Newberg was one of the most interesting and insightful pieces I've read with an active front office type, and the chat, which will take place a couple of days after the amateur draft wraps up, should be good.

If you have any questions for Fuson, you can pre-submit them, as well...


Minor league starters as of 6/4/04 

Oklahoma -- Nick Regilio
Frisco -- Chris Young
Stockton -- Jose Garcia
Clinton -- Matt Lorenzo


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Updating the John Hart poll 

On the DMN's John Hart as G.M. poll...

215 say Hart should go, 11 say he should stay...


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Minor league starters for Thursday, 6/3/04 

Oklahoma -- Sam Narron
Frisco -- Nick Bierbrodt
Stockton -- John Hudgins
Clinton -- With the rainouts, I'm not sure, but my guess is Matt Farnum


DMN's John Hart poll 

The Dallas Morning News is running an online poll on whether John Hart should stay on as G.M.

At this point, it is 37 "no" votes, 0 "yes" votes...


Rick Helling quits Twins affiliate 

Strange story...Rick Helling pitches a shutout for the AAA Rochester Red Wings, then quits the team.

Hey, maybe he'll end up back here in Texas...


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Hicks talking about bringing Hart back as G.M. 

That's very bad...

And, as I thought, Showalter seems to be backing it...

According to major league sources, Hart would have interest in returning and, the sources said, Rangers manager Buck Showalter has made it clear he'd like to have Hart back as GM.

There's little doubt in my mind, at this point, that Showalter is the mole providing his buddy Gammons with the pro-Hart propaganda...

I'm getting fearful that Fuson's going to be gone after this season, to a team looking for a G.M.


Gil Meche...incredible... 

Just looked at the M's/Blue Jays game...

Mariners starter Gil Meche is at 73 pitches through 2 innings.

He's been terrible lately...the M's need to get him out of the rotation...


Minor league starters for Wednesday, 6/2/04 

Oklahoma -- John Wasdin
Frisco -- Nick Bierbrodt
Stockton -- Not sure; probably either Kiki Bengochea or Gary Hogan
Clinton -- Edison Volquez


Anaheim's farm director: 'Moneyball' doesn't work 

The mlb.com Anaheim draft preview has some unusually combative statements from Angel scouting director Eddie Bane, who, when asked about the A's-inspired trend towards college players with proven track records, is quoted as saying, "We absolutely don't believe in 'Moneyball.' We don't believe it works."

He goes on to say that he feels the trend gives the Angels an advantage, as high school players are more likely to drop because of teams going with more college players.

Again, probably good news for the Rangers...the more that Anaheim chooses to stick with toolsy high schoolers and stays away from statistical analysis, the better the Rangers' chances are of succeeding long-term in the A.L. West...


Minor league starters for Tuesday, 6/1/04 

Oklahoma -- Mike Bacsik
Frisco -- Erik Thompson
Stockton -- Ben Keiter (apparently, Stockton and Clinton are going to a standard 5 man rotation for the playoff stretch, but will return to the tandem system for the second half)
Clinton -- I'm not sure, given the rainouts the past two days


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