In honor of Bruce Bochy’s departure, we’ll break free from an almost fanatical devotion to predetermined roles and let the situation dictate our actions. Here, a couple days earlier than usual, are your links:
- Future Padre – Adrian Beltre (?) (Padres RunDown). Peter Friberg continues his look at potential solutions to the third base problem. I confess, although my knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss Beltre out of hand, he put up better numbers in 2006 than I’d expected and finished strong (.285/.340/.552 after the All-Star break). He is a good defender and will be 28 next year (i.e., still in his prime), so depending on how much of his salary the Mariners would be prepared to pay, Beltre might not be a bad idea.
- Chris Young’s Japan Blog. Pretty self-explanatory. Dave Roberts did one of these during the NLCS, and it was kind of neat. Young expresses concern at doing something that the Japanese might find offensive. Here’s a hint: Don’t completely dominate their hitters.
- John Conniff at MadFriars is running a series of interviews with announcers from all the Padres’ minor league affiliates. So far he’s got Triple-A Portland’s Rich Burk and Short-Season Eugene’s Russ Eisenstein. There’s a lot of terrific information here on some of the prospects in the system from guys who get to watch them play every day. Good reads.
- 2006 National League Gold Gloves – As I see it (Baseball Think Factory, hat tip to reader Masticore317). Chris Dial takes a look at this season’s top defenders. For the Padres, I’m mildly surprised that Josh Barfield (ahead of, e.g., Orlando Hudson) and Brian Giles (tops in RF) fared so well. I knew those guys were good, but not that good. I wouldn’t have guessed Mike Piazza at the bottom for catchers — obviously his reputation precedes him, but I thought that, aside from bouncing throws to second with regularity, he did a solid job behind the dish. The rest of the Padres are about where you’d expect them, although Dial expresses surprise at Dave Roberts’ strong showing. Roberts, as we know, was completely overmatched as a center fielder in 2005, but played a great left field this past season.
- College Hitters – 2001 Draft (Purple Row). I’m a sucker for these retrospective pieces. Padres first rounder Jake Gautreau was a bust, but 13th-round pick Jason Bartlett has enjoyed some success with the Twins. Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard (5th round), Chad Tracy (7th round), Kevin Youkilis (8th round), and Dan Uggla (11th round) are the big successes here. With a few notable exceptions, not a great year for college hitters.
- Internet Baseball Awards (Baseball Prospectus, hat tip to reader LynchMob). Eight Prospectus staffers cast their virtual ballots. Trevor Hoffman gets a handful of votes for NL Cy Young, Josh Barfield gets one for Rookie of the Year (a few more go to Clay Hensley, although I’m not sure he qualifies as a rookie), and Bruce Bochy finishes third in the Manager of the Year voting.
- Puzzle of the Week. This I didn’t need, but I’m glad it’s there if you know what I mean. Thanks to reader Nick G., we’ll all be wasting time playing crossword puzzles at Baseball Reference.
Okay, that’s enough for now. Enjoy!