I resisted reading this article by Bill Simmons at first, because I realized it would take longer to read than War and Peace, but when I finally read it yesterday, I knew it was the truth! Do yourself a favor and read it. There will be a test afterward! One thing I really like about Bill Simmons is that he has as much (maybe more) disdain for Scott (“The Devil”) Boras as I do. I guess we should enjoy Manny being Manny right now because that spoiled-brat, never-worked-a-day-in-his-life, blow-hard, son of a stupid moron, Hank Stienbrenner will probably give his gonads for Manny this offseason. I could see the idiot paying him $140 million/4 years. He’s THAT stupid!
Harden vs. Kuroda Tonight. On paper, it’s no contest – Hardin wins it hands down. Thank goodness, they don’t play it on paper!
The Hawaiian Winter League has started. Javy Guerra of the Waikiki BeachBoys has 3.2 IP and an ERA on 7.26. Another Dodger, Tommy Giles is off to a slow start. Roster on Next Page.
|Yonder Alonso||INF||6-2||215||L/R||Cincinnati Reds|
|Jeremy Bleich||19||P||6-2||195||L/L||New York Yankees|
|Andrew Brackman||56||P||6-10||240||R/R||New York Yankees|
|Juan Bustabad||13||Manager||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Steven Edlefsen||9||P||6-2||185||R/R||San Francisco Giants|
|Todd Frazier||35||INF||6-3||215||R/R||Cincinnati Reds|
|Alex Garabedian||36||C||6-2||210||R/R||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Tommy Giles||8||OF||6-0||190||L/L||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Javier Guerra||31||P||6-1||195||R/R||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Robert Harmon||32||P||6-7||255||R/R||Seattle Mariners|
|Waldis Joaquin||42||P||6-2||190||R/R||San Francisco Giants|
|Roger Kieschnick||39||OF||6-3||200||L/R||San Francisco Giants|
|Johan Limonta||25||OF||6-0||195||L/L||Seattle Mariners|
|James McOwen||18||OF||6-0||205||L/R||Seattle Mariners|
|Yuji Onizaki||1||INF||5-10||170||L/R||Tokyo Yakult Swallows|
|Jeremy Papelbon||33||P||6-1||210||R/L||Chicago Cubs|
|Blake Parker||20||P||6-5||230||R/R||Chicago Cubs|
|David Pfeiffer||34||P||6-3||190||L/L||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Buster Posey||8||C||6-2||208||R/R||San Francisco Giants|
|Jordan Pratt||22||P||6-3||195||R/R||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Anthony Reyes||Trainer||San Francisco Giants|
|Steven Richard||26||P||6-4||225||R/R||Seattle Mariners|
|Austin Romine||24||C||6-2||210||R/R||New York Yankees|
|Alfredo Silverio||48||OF||6-1||185||R/R||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Marquez Smith||21||INF||5-11||205||R/R||Chicago Cubs|
|Damon Sublett||27||INF||6-1||190||L/R||New York Yankees|
|Yuhei Takai||7||P||5-9||181||L/L||Tokyo Yakult Swallows|
|Tony Thomas Jr.||3||INF||5-10||180||R/R||Chicago Cubs|
|Philippe-Alexandre Valiquette||38||P||6-1||205||L/L||Cincinnati Reds|
|Jeff Ware||17||Pitching Coach||New York Yankees|
|Desi Wilson||40||Hitting Coach||Chicago Cubs|
|Kazunori Yamamoto||41||P||6-0||207||L/L||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
|Mitsuo Yoshikawa||11||P||5-10||165||L/L||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
RANTS & RAVES
- If the Angels lose to the BoSox and the Dodgers continue to win, McCourt might run Moreno out of town – outta’ the state.
- Kuroda vs. Harden 10:07 EDT/7:07 PDT – Have your Broom handy! Don’t forget that Kuroda was 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA over his 11 starts in the last two months of the season.
- Bill Plaschke writes what I consider one of his best articles today about Jeff Kent. If you think Jeff Kent is a cancer, you are wrong and this article captures the essence of it.
BASEBALL AMERICA’s Top 20 Southern League Prospects
1. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Kershaw’s combination of plus pitches and advanced feel for pitching propelled him to the big leagues as a 20-year-old. Even in the SL, he was the league’s youngest starting pitcher.Kershaw’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s and explodes out of his hand. He has a knockout mid-70s curveball, a nasty big-breaker with two-plane depth and late action that grades out as a second 70 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale. His curve is so good that even when he didn’t snap off a good one, hitters often would chase it out of the zone or find themselves unable to check their swings.
His mid-80s changeup is a solid pitch with plus potential. The Dodgers had Kershaw focus on developing his change and throwing his curveball for strikes more often in the minors. His fastball command still needs fine-tuning, but he projects to have plus command in the big leagues thanks to clean arm action and a mechanically solid delivery that he repeats. His high three-quarters arm slot gives his pitches a good angle down in the zone. He also generates rave reviews for his poise, maturity and work ethic.
2. David Price, lhp, Montgomery (Rays)
3. Cameron Maybin, of, Carolina (Marlins)
4. Matt LaPorta, of, Huntsville (Brewers)
5. Alcides Escobar, ss, Huntsville (Brewers)
6. Chris Volstad, rhp, Carolina (Marlins)
7. Mat Gamel, 3b, Huntsville (Brewers)
8. Michael Saunders, of, West Tenn (Mariners)
9. Tommy Hanson, rhp, Mississippi (Braves)
10. Wade Davis, rhp, Montgomery (Rays)
11. Chris Coghlan, 2b, Carolina (Marlins)
12. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Montgomery (Rays)
13. Jordan Schafer, of, Mississippi (Braves)
14. James McDonald, rhp, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
After leaving spring training with a bit of a dead arm and getting off to a slow start, McDonald emerged as one of the SL’s best pitchers. Lanky and athletic, he won’t blow anyone away with his 88-92 mph fastball, but he does rack up strikeouts with his curveball and changeup.While his fastball lacks plus velocity, his 74-77 mph changeup provides enough separation from his heater to keep hitters off balance. He’ll throw his changeup when behind in the count and maintains his arm speed on the pitch, at times making it a well above-average pitch with sink and fade. His curveball is an average-to-plus pitch, and he can add and subtract from it as needed.
McDonald has clean arm action and raises his front side to create deception with all of his pitches. While he doesn’t get himself into trouble with walks, he needs to improve the command of all of his pitches, particularly his fastball. A flyball pitcher, he lacks life on his fastball and gets hammered when he leaves it up in the zone.
15. Ivan DeJesus, ss, Jacksonville (Dodgers)
DeJesus finished the season on a 23-game hitting streak, which propelled him to the SL’s on-base percentage title at .419. Considered a steady player entering the year, he impressed scouts and managers with his steady improvement. His instincts and feel for all aspects of the game—no doubt the product of being the son of a longtime big league shortstop—help his athleticism and tools play up.DeJesus always had plus bat speed, but he worked to shorten his swing and showed the ability to make adjustments not only during the season but also within individual games. He has excellent strike-zone judgment and squares up balls well. His approach is more geared to hit the ball to right-center, though he can use the whole field. While he shows occasional pop to his pull side, he’ll need to add strength to be able to handle big league pitching.
Defensively, DeJesus’ hands and feet work well. Though he’s only a fringe-average runner, his instincts give him solid range. He has solid arm strength, but 17 of his 26 errors this season came on throws and some observers thought he looked more comfortable at second base.
16. Jake McGee, lhp, Montgomery (Rays)
17. Angel Salome, c, Huntsville (Brewers)
18. Michael Brantley, cf, Huntsville (Brewers)
19. Adam Moore, c, West Tenn (Mariners)
20. Luis Valbuena, 2b, West Tenn (Mariners)