Back from Vegas. Almost bailed out on my excursion to Big Bear due to rain, but figured since it was pouring all over SoCal it didn’t really matter which way I went. So I took a drive through the mountains, and I’m glad I did. Saw one of the more spectacular rainbows I’ve seen outside of Hawaii, and generally had a blast enjoying the relative space that steering clear of the interstates affords. Listened to some great tunes, too. Couple guitarists worth investigating, if you’re into that sort of thing:
Brilliant players, both. Check ‘em out.
As for me, I’m spending way too much time with my new 4-track (yeah, I bought one; it was nice knowing the wife, LOL). But I’m also starting to think about things baseball again, which is a good sign (I’m just not capable of taking that much time off). Caught a little of the rebroadcast of the April 3 Padres/Diamondbacks game the other night. Fun to watch Brian Lawrence serve up all those worm-beaters.
Meantime, over at Fanstop we’ve been discussing, among many other topics, the troublesome catching and middle infield situations for the Padres. To give you an idea of how desperate Padre fans are, there are a bunch of us hoping to land the likes of Miguel Olivo, Dan Schneider, or Javier Valentin. Not good.
As for the middle infield, at least there are some long-term options. Really the only big problem here is that some within the organization consider Deivi Cruz to be an answer to anything. But behind Cruz there are a couple of very promising former first-rounders in Khalil Greene and Jake Gautreau. There has been talk that Greene might be up with the big club by the All-Star break (which in my opinion would be a mistake; what’s the hurry?).
With regard to Gautreau, as those of you who have been following this site for a while know, I’m always looking to find statistical comps between prospects and current big-leaguers at a similar stage of development. Although statistical comps are by no means a panacea, they can be useful in looking at possible directions a particular player’s path might take. That said, here are some comps for Gautreau; stat lines represent how each player did in High-A ball:
Player Age AB BA OBP SLG XBH BB SO Fullmer,Br 21 380 303 367 424 35 32 43 Gautreau,Ja 22 371 286 358 426 31 42 86 Koskie,Co 23 338 260 338 420 32 40 76 Morris,Wa 23 494 306 390 470 48 62 100
If Gautreau can develop into a Brad Fullmer or Corey Koskie type offensive player at second base, I think the Padres will be happy. Whether he does, and whether he can play the position at the highest level, remains to be seen. The downside is someone like Warren Morris or Todd Betts (a hitting machine who never quite made it; just rediscovered him the other day while going through Sickels’ 1996 book).
One other point about Gautreau’s 2002 season that bears mentioning is that he was learning to play a new (more demanding) position and he battled a severe stomach ailment toward the end of the year. Here are his splits before and after illness (thanks to Hank at Padre Prospects Report for this gem):
AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG before 271 83 18 1 9 27 63 306 368 480 after 100 23 2 0 1 15 23 230 333 280
It’s a good bet that Gautreau’s drop in power was due at least in part to his physical ailment. We’ll need to see him healthy for a full season to get a better read. How he does at Mobile will tell us a lot about him as a prospect.
One other possibility that’s been kicked around at Fanstop is a Brett Tomko for Marcus Giles deal. With presumably one of Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux not returning to Atlanta, they’ll need another starter until some of the kids (Matt Belisle, Macay McBride, Bubba Nelson, Adam Wainwright, etc.) are ready. And the Braves don’t seem to know what to do with Giles. If they’re not going to use the guy, why not trade him for somebody they will use? FREE MARCUS GILES!!!
Sorry, I seem to have been possessed by a member of the Roberto Petagine Fan Club there for a moment. Anyway, I’ll part by saying that although the BBWAA did a decent job this year, what the heck do those guys have against A-Rod? This is at least the second time he’s been robbed of the AL MVP. Nothing against Miguel Tejada, who is a fine ballplayer. But if he’s more deserving than A-Rod of the award, then I’m a better guitarist than Joe Satriani.
I won’t bother rehashing the stats and the arguments. But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that when the BBWAA makes the right choice (or even a reasonable choice) in doling out post-season awards, it’s almost strictly a matter of coincidence. But then, I’m of the thought that if you’re going to bother giving out awards, they ought to mean something.
I dunno. Maybe it’s me…