Friday Links (20 Aug 10)

I tried to limit myself to a reasonable number of links this week. When that failed, I contemplated the nature of the word “reasonable” and decided it didn’t suit our purposes…


  • PETCO Park (All Down the Line). Caryn Rose of fame is “chronicling an obsession, one ballpark at a time” and has kind things to say about our humble home: “It is with complete sincerity that I assert that PETCO Park is the most underrated ballpark in the country. On a trip to visit all the parks in California, this was not a place I was particularly excited about; the Padres were in town and it was a way to tick the park off the list. Now that I’ve been there, I can’t wait to go back.”
  • Giants and Padres Cross Paths, Chasing Title in the West (New York Times). Tyler Kepner strikes again. Not that I mind, but it is weird having the national media pay attention to the Padres. [h/t reader Nick G.]
  • A Weekend In The Burgh (Padres, Chargers, Illini Blog). Ryan shares some cool photos from the Padres recent visit to Pittsburgh.
  • Are the Padres’ Hitters Getting More for Less? (FanGraphs). Matt Klaasen recognizes that the Padres offense has been pretty good this year. [h/t reader Didi]
  • Padres sweep Cubs; Gwynn placed on DL (U-T). With Tony Gwynn Jr. possibly out for the season due to a right wrist injury, the Padres will go with a three-headed beast in center field. That’s right, they’ve signed Cerberus to a contract. Go fetch. Good boy… Oh, and they also picked up Jody Gerut just in case that doesn’t work.

NL West

Minor Leagues

  • Decker goes yard twice, plates six runs ( Jaff Decker continues to destroy the California League. Quoth Decker: “I lost a bunch of weight coming into the season, but I pulled my hamstring doing sprints before a game and I missed all of Spring Training, which set me back and disappointed me. I just didn’t have the at-bats at the start of the year, but my swing is back.”
  • Pitcher forced to hit for TinCaps (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Seems somebody fouled up the lineup card and Matthew Lollis had to hit for himself the other night. He went 1-for-3 with a double.
  • Garcia’s blast gives Ems early jolt in win (Eugene Register-Guard). Prized pitching prospect Adys Portillo threw well this week. Quoth Portillo: “That’s my best game of the season. … Every pitch felt good. I was calm. I felt really good.”
  • Minor League Baseball: Investing In The Future (Mike Ashmore’s Thunder Thoughts). This is a very long, but very worthwhile read. From the article: “So, in real world terms, just how little do players who haven’t reached minor league free agency make? They’d make more flipping burgers or working at a gas station than playing baseball. Some players might make just as much if they weren’t playing at all.” [h/t BBTF]
  • Scouts On Scouting: What They Look For In A Player (Baseball America). Along somewhat similar lines, albeit from a different angle, Conor Glassey chats with scouts and tells us what they look for in a player. It’s a worthy read that includes gems like “You try to get into pitch recognition and plate discipline and things like that, but that really turns into one of the most difficult things for high school hitters because they’re not seeing quality breaking balls and they’re generally not seeing velocity” and “Every guy, whatever the story is behind them, is going to hit a tough spot and you want to see how he’s going to deal with adversity, so hopefully you do see him in some sort of spot in a game where you can figure out if he’s going to rise to it or if he’s going to shrink from the moment.” [h/t Hardball Times]

Karsten Whitson

In addition to the links provided in our original discussion on Whitson, here are a few more you might find useful and/or interesting:

  • An Extended Internal Point/ Counterpoint on the Padres’ 2010 Draft and Failure to Sign Karsten Whitson (Chicken Friars). Nathaniel gives his take: “Why would Whitson randomly raise his asking price? If anything, you’d think that once an 18-year-old gets close to millions of dollars, the money would get harder and harder to turn down.”
  • Padres fail to sign Whitson, Vanegas (Friar Forecast). Myron offers his: “It’s a fascinating situation and it’s easy to come down hard on the either side here. Whitson broke a verbal agreement and apparently completely changed his tune after the draft. That said, according to Hoyer, Whitson was looking for a figure in the $2.7M range. The Padres wouldn’t spend an extra $600-800K to sign an elite talent.”
  • The pick that never was (Woe, Doctor!). From Bryant: “It’s one thing to invest in the future, it’s another to pay above cost for what they had already priced and valued within reason. I don’t like the idea of the Padres simply spending money to do so, regardless of what it says about them from a PR standpoint.”
  • Karsten Whitson: Don’t hate the player, hate the game (619 Sports). Jeff Creps: “So be advised Padres fans, all the blame in this situation cannot be placed on a cheap front office or a greedy high school kid. This is another example of agents getting involved in an unhealthy way.”
  • Top pick’s failure to sign a mystery to Padres (U-T). Bill Center invokes the name of Matt Harrington, who went from turning down millions to hurting his arm and ending up in retail. That is an admittedly worst-case scenario, but as cautionary tales go, it’s pretty chilling.
  • Whitson (Inside the Padres). Tom Krasovic makes sense, as usual: “I also find it remarkable when a teenager walks away from $2.1 million. Especially in this economy. Especially when he’s a pitcher.”


There you go. Happy Friday; let’s keep it rollin’ in Milwaukee…

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8 Responses »

  1. Great quotes from Jaff Decker in the linked article.

    “[Maikel Cleto] seemed pretty wild and walked the first three guys [in the first inning], but he settled down with the four-hole hitter and it looked like he found his release point,” Decker said. “He threw me a first-pitch fastball and I was able to put it over the left-field fence.”

    “They brought in a left-hander and when I was standing on-deck I figured I could see his release point pretty well,” he said. “He threw me a first-pitch changeup and then a fastball away, but he left a fastball middle-away that I hit to center field.”

    He’s 20 and has this sort of in-game presence and awareness? Awesome!

    Speaking of his teammates and the guys hitting in front of him, “They have done a huge job,” he said. “We have swapped the order because we have been struggling lately with the bats, but we are taking what the pitcher gives us and saying, ‘What can we do for the guys behind us.’ We’re working more as a team now.”

    He’s 20!!!

  2. More on Decker (I love this kid!). After struggling to start the year due to the hamstring injury, his OPS is now up to .874, which is good for 11th in the Cal League. Of the 10 guys in front of him only one is 21 years old, 5 are 22, 3 are 23 and one is 26. As previously noted, :-) , Decker is 20. This is his third season of pro ball. The 21 year old, who is having a MONSTER season, is Johemyn Chavez and he’s in his 5th season of pro ball.

    He’s at 17 HR now in only 79 games, good for 11th in the league. Everyone in front of him has played at least 112 games and has at least 140 more AB’s (though there is the aforementioned 26 year old just behind him who had 16 HR in only 53 games; he’s since been promoted to AA).

    Decker can flat out rake!

  3. Decker can clearly hit. Hopefully the concerns about his body-type and defensive ability are unfounded. I know I wouldn’t mind having his bat in the lineup two or three years down the road.

  4. I’m definitely not in the camp that thinks body type is important as an evaluative/scouting tool. I don’t care what he looks like if he’s this productive. I also think someone who displays this sort of attitude and awareness at his age is going to be working hard on his game. I could be wrong about the latter, of course, but I would not be surprised if he’s got a very good work ethic and applies it to all aspects of his game, not just hitting. Plus, he also worked very hard over the off season to lose weight and improve his conditioning (at least that was what was reported).

  5. Magic Number update: 33 with 39 games to play!

  6. @LM

    The numbers look promising; we could go 17-22, and if the Giants manage a 21-16 mark, we’re still in. Didn’t do the calculations for Colorado and LA. Let us all perform the needed rituals to guard against counting chickens before they hatch.

    Our September is ROUGH. SF gets 4 days off. We get 2, and not a single one from the 3rd through the 19th, which includes visits to Colorado and St. Louis in sequence. Luckily the first 10 games of that stretch are at home. And of course there are the 7 head-to-head matchups with SF, a full game swing hanging on each one.

    We need to make hay against Arizona, home and away.

    But if it was easy, anybody could do it.

  7. @TW … I see no chickens … just 39 eggs! Let’s hatch one tonight!

  8. What a fun read, because Molina has one and the Padres none.
    And mention of Jody Gerut and…well, a surprise Padres in this.