Randy Johnson & more

June 5, 2009

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We’re taking a break from our typical friday fiction to do a roundup of the world of baseball.

Big Unit, big milestone

Randy Johnson expected to pitch for the Giants in pursuit of his 300th win on Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, mother nature had a different idea, and the game was rained out.  Thursday was also a wet day, but Johnson took the mound in the first game of a double header.  The weather and the early start time resulted in a much smaller crowd than you would expect for a historic game.  Johnson did not disappoint the crowd (in Washington vs. the Nationals).  He pitched six innings and allowed just two hits, two walks, and one unearned run.  The bullpen closed the door on the Gnats.  Nice job, Randy.


MLB’s amateur draft will commence on Tuesday and finish up on Wednesday.  It will be televised on the MLB Network, which I unfortunately do not get through my cable provider.  Mediacom, if you’re reading this, PLEASE add the MLB network.

Stephen Strasburg is far and away the top prospect in the draft.  Unless the Nationals balk at the demands of Strasburg’s agent, Scott Boras, he will be taken with the #1 pick.  Sports Weekly had an interesting compilation of the thirteen pitchers who have been taken with the #1 pick in the draft since the draft began in 1965.  1981 #1 overall pick Mike Moore has the most career wins in the group, with 161 (as well as 176 losses).  1989 top pick Andy Benes is the most game over .500 for his career (+16).  A number of the pitchers have had careers derailed by injury (Ben McDonald) or being rushed to the big leagues (18 year old David Clyde skipped the minors after being drafted by the Rangers).

I like Strasburg, but pitchers are inherently risky.

The #2 prospect is University of North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley.  Ackely will likely play center field as a pro, but has played first base this year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery last year.

Pitchers Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers were drafted last year but failed to sign.  Crow could not reach a deal with the Nationals.  Scheppers was considered to be a high first round talent last year before an injury put some question marks on his resume, causing him to fall to the second round.  Both are likely to go in the top ten picks.

For more on the draft, check out John Sickel’s MinorLeagueBall.com and  Andy Seiler’s MLB Bonus Baby.  John’s blog focuses on the minor leagues, but gives the draft a decent amount of coverage.  Andy’s blog is relatively new, but very informative.  Andy had previously posted a lot of draft related stuff on MinorLeagueBall before taking the plunge and starting his own blog.  Very impressive so far.

If you have an eye on the 2010 draft, check out  Summer Ball – a site devoted to the college summer leagues.  The college players play in summer league that use wooden bats – to prove their mettle with the wood (pun intended).


Manny Ramirez has gotten a lot of All Star votes, in spite of the fact that he is serving a suspension for using performance enhancing dugs.  Come on folks, don’t vote for Manny this year.

The Pirates traded Nate McClouth to the Braves.  I’m sorry, Pirates fans.  I feel your pain.

The Braves released future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine just as he was rounding into form after an injury.  This makes their free agent signing of Glavine even more moronic.  The Braves got one season out of Glavine (2-4, 5.54 ERA in 61 1/3 innings).  Few people expected such a lackluster return for their investment, but many pointed out the signs of decline (particularly in Glavine’s peripheral stats) and questioned the wisdom of signing a player who would be 42 years old on opening day of the 2008 seasons.  Most painful is the price the Braves paid.  They forfeited their 2008 #1 draft pick to their hated rivals, the Mets.  The Mets also received a sandwich pick as compensation (this pick didn’t come from the Braves, it was created out of thin air).  The Mets drafted Ike Davis with the Braves pick (#18 overall) and Bradley Holt with the sandwich (#33 overall).

The Midwest League’s Cedar Rapids Kernels have a promotion that could result in a fan winning one million dollars on June 8!  Before you get too excited – a Kernels pitcher (or group of pitchers) much throw a perfect game.  The odds of a perfect game are always tiny, but especially in low A.  Even if the pitcher does his job, it’s quite likely that the fielders will commit an error.

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