One month check-up
OK, so we're a little short of a month gone in both the MLB and AAA seasons... what stands out?
This isn't an add-on to our 'Diagnostic' series, though some of the people involved there may put in a cameo...
1: Sean Green is dealing down in Tacoma, with a 3-0 record, a 1.50 ERA and a 25/9 GB/FB ratio (2.8; that's Hudsonesque!). He's got his issues with control, but he's still an intriguing option out of the pen. It's clear Brundage is now using him in the highest leverage situations...he's moved from set-up guy to closer and all-around late-inning, crunch-time guy for the Rainiers. Tonight was a case in point, as he pitched the 9th in a scoreless tie, and emerged with the win as the Rainiers won it on a walk-off Shin-Soo Choo single.
2: Speaking of tonight's hero, there's an interesting exchange at DOV on Choo's ceiling in the majors. I put Choo with Andre Ethier in the category of guys who will almost certainly have long MLB careers, but may never develop 30-40 HR power. DOV makes the case for Choo as a legit, top 10 in baseball sort of prospect here. Any thoughts, dear readers?
3: GS52 continues to impress. He's getting a lot of appearances, and they're in reasonably important spots. Hargrove is apparently willing to trust George in key situations, despite a semi-rough start to the year. My question is: how much of that is due to Raffy Chaves? Is he going to bat for a guy he coached in Tacoma? I'll admit I don't much care the answer as long as this continues... it's great for the team, and it's obviously great for George. He's going to make himself a lot of money if this keeps up.
4: Jeremy Reed is starting to get really, really concerning. I can brush off a crappy season as easy as the next guy. I have a forgiving nature. But man, is he really a .250 hitter? He's young, but he's turning 25 in a month and change.
The plus side: despite that nasty error today, he's played pretty good CF. About 1/3 of his hits are going for extra bases, which may indicate he's just unlucky on balls in play. This is basically what happend to Pat Burrell in 2003. Of course, Burrell had 1/2 of his hits go for extra bases that year, and had 21 HRs.
The minus side: that OBP he was famous for in the minors? It never made it to Seattle. His OBP in the majors, esp. this year, is way too low. Paging Mr. Pentland... His speed has never translated into acceptable SB totals or SB/CS rates. It's a facet of his game that simply isn't major league ready, and while it's small potatoes, comparitively, it's still real, and still an issue. His OPS is under 600, and has been below 700 for way, way too long. At what point do we consider his freakish stats in the White Sox system the fluke, as opposed to his MLB performance?
I still think there's a good chance that Reed develops into a good player, but he's making it awfully hard on all those who believe in him. Meanwhile, Willie Ballgame bides his time, 'ready' to take over the starting CF job.
5: Matt Tuiasosopo hit his first HR tonight. Undoubtedly tired of the teasing he was subjected to by his Inland Empire teammates following Mariners Morsels public questioning of his ability to hit for power and average, he's gone on an a semi-tear, following a 4-4 (all singles) with a 2-4 night that, perhaps more shocking than the HR, included ZERO K's. I would absolutely love to be proven wrong about Tui. As his backers argue, he's still young for the league. True enough, but Asdrubal Cabrera is the same age and is starting in AAA.
6: Tonight was night for hyped pitching prospects to erase some doubts. Minorleaguebaseball.com may have been a bit premature in awarding Cole Hamels it's 'Star of the Day' following the young Phillies' farmhand's AAA debut - 7IP, 3h, 0R, 0BB, 14K. Why? Dodgers prospect Chad Billingsley carried a no-hitter into the 8th against Colorado Springs, finishing with a line of 8IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 6K. Ok, yeah, Hamels still has the better line, but Billingsley made it interesting. Dodgers relief prospect Jonathan Broxton pitched the 9th to run his line to 10 2/3 IP, 6H, 0R, 3BB, 16Ks; that's worth a mention as well.
7: That Delmon Young incident...wow. If you haven't seen it (it's been on the Today show, MiLB's website, ESPN, everywhere), you can go to the video tape here. Should be a 1 month suspension, and Young can forget about seeing the majors this September.
8: Cool scouting report on Tacoma's Emiliano Fruto over at Prospect Insider.
9: Friday Fun Link 1: Photo A is of an MLB hall of famer. Photo B is of a clown/mascot of a fast food chain. If you can tell them apart, you've got keener eyes than this correspondant...
10: Via deadspin (about 3 weeks ago), here's a mystifying-and-yet-utterly-compelling list of photoshopped family portraits featuring NBA players. This must take a long time, and I'm not sure what you've got at the end of it, but I found this hilarious. Your results will undoubtedly vary, as many are not as immature as I. Or as tolerant of the pointlessly absurd.