My latest at Hardball Times recounts the career of former Padres farmhand Warren Newson, who could have had a darned good career if given the chance. The Padres selected Newson in the fourth round of the 1986 January draft (they’d tabbed right-hander Doug Brocail in the first round) and he proceeded to post silly numbers in the minor leagues.
Not that such comparisons always mean much, but check out how Newson’s age 24 campaign stacks up against that of another pretty good hitter from roughly the same era:
Year Age Level PA BA OBP SLG Newson 1989 24 AA 536 .304 .436 .506 Rusty Greer 1993 24 AA/AAA 568 .287 .365 .461
These kinds of comps are fun; I used to run them all the time in the hope of learning something useful. Then Sean Burroughs came along and ruined all the fun:
Year Age Level PA BA OBP SLG Rnk* Burroughs 2001 20 AAA 439 .322 .386 .467 6 Jim Thome 1991 20 AA/AAA 511 .319 .395 .449 93
*Baseball America preseason ranking
Well, at least one of those guys will end up in the Hall of Fame. As for Newson, he managed to put together some nice seasons as a role player for the Chicago White Sox in the late-’90s. His best work, however, came in the minors… Newson’s 2000 Mexican League season is particularly epic.
Check out the entire article if you are so inclined. It beats thinking about Ryan Zimmerman…
Zimmerman last night. Dunn tonight.
Can we get the rumor mill going that Dunn will be in a Padres uniform soon? I don’t care where you put him (obviously not 1B), but he is exactly the type of bat we need to protect Adrian and hopefully fend off the rest of the NL West.
Great, Luke Gregerson was probably reading your HBT article instead of thinking about Ryan Zimmerman …
Historically Newson was in a decent spot to succeed — coming on the scene when Joe Morgan and Jimmy Wynn should have been fresh in people’s minds. But selection bias is a rugged beast.
His Mexican League season calls to mind Annie Savoy’s comment near the end of Bull Durham. Baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.