It wasn't supposed to be like this.
As you all know, the M's traded Randy Winn for former grade A pitching prospect Jesse Foppert and C Yorvit Torrealba in late July, 2005. Torrealba was quite clearly just keeping the catcher job warm until Bavasi could find someone better (which he did). Foppert was still coming off Tommy John surgery, and was working his way back into game shape. He went under the knife in 2003; 2004 was spent rehabbing, and while it wasn't exactly *thrilling* that he was basically pitching one-inning per start in mid- to late-2005, it could still be blamed on recovery from his elbow surgery.
By the end of 2005, some were beginning to wonder where his velocity was. Before the surgery, he threw in the mid- to upper-90s. Now, he was in the upper 80s to very low-90s. Again, given that he was coming off major surgery, it was still plausible that he was still regaining velocity.
At this point, it's about time we get used to the idea that Jesse Foppert is a guy with a high-80s FB and some control issues. That sounds...well, that sounds like Damian Moss, so let me rephrase: Foppert is a work-in-progress who gets by with a lot of movement on his breaking ball and a good idea of how to set up hitters. He's not going to blow it by anyone, and he's not exactly Carlos Silva. Is that enough? I'm not sure. I really, really hope so.
Tonight, Foppert went 4 innings in which he gave up 1 run on 3 hits, 4 BB and 1 WP (he had 4 Ks). There are some positives (3 hits, 4 Ks), and some real question marks (wildness - lotsa pitches). The biggest disappointment, perhaps, came from the radar gun: Foppert topped out around 88MPH. It's nearing 3 years since his surgery. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think there's a whole lot of hope that he gets back to the mid 90s at this point. He can still make it, but he's going to have to really reinvent himself. Teammate Clint Nageotte may offer something of a template in that regard - a dominating strikeout guy with the best slider in the minors and big-time velocity turned low 90s, sinking 2 seamer + moderately soiled slider (it really can't be called 'nasty' anymore). If Nageotte doesn't have a chance to be Randy Johnson anymore (if he ever did), he could still be Derek Lowe. And apparently a Derek Lowe is worth $36 million over 4 years. It would help if Foppert threw a lot more GB outs...
I know, I know - sample size. Well, I hope he proves me wrong and eliminates the walks and inverts his GB/FB ratio. I just have to say that maybe, just maybe, the Giants knew something we didn't.
Foppert - 68 pitches, 4IP, 3H, 1R, 4BB, 4K
Tom Oldham - 1.33 IP, 6R, 2ER, 4H, 2 BB, 2K (ouch)
Aaron Looper - 1.67 IP, 3H (first 3 batters faced), 0R, 0BB, 0K
Mike Morse (playing third tonight) - 2/5, 2b
TJ Bohn - 1/2, 2b, 2BB, 1HBP
Catcher Watch '06
Rob Johnson - nailed Charles Thomas trying to steal (by about 4 feet), but made an error on Adam Jones' throw to the plate. He was also charged with a rather suspect passed ball.