Today’s not-so-fully formed thoughts are brought to you by Tempus Fugit, frustrating humans since forever…
Preliminary Draft Impressions
- I’m cool with the Padres’ first day of drafting. Cory Spangenberg doesn’t thrill me at no. 10, but he is eager to “definitely sign right away,” which is key for a pick that won’t be compensated if a deal doesn’t happen. During Monday night’s game, Jason McLeod stopped by the broadcast booth and indicated that Spangenberg, who played third base in junior college, would be tried at second base. The cynical among us will add him to a list that currently includes Jake Gautreau, Matt Antonelli, and Logan Forsythe. With luck, Spangenberg won’t follow in their footsteps (well, the jury is still out on Forsythe).
- I like the pick at no. 25 of RHP Joe Ross, younger brother of Oakland A’s pitcher Tyson Ross. Channel 4SD ran footage of Joe, and Mark Grant commented on how clean his mechanics are. McLeod agreed, saying that’s one of the many things that attracted the Padres to Ross.
- Baseball America has scouting reports of the entire first round. BA compares Spangenberg to Floria’s Chris Coghlan and suggests a possible future move to center field. Ross has a strong commitment to UCLA.
- I’m still sorting through the other players taken by the Padres on Day 1. They are RHP Michael Kelly (no. 48), C Brett Austin (no. 54), and SS Jace Peterson (no. 58). Kelly and Austin are high school players… high school catchers make me nervous (howdy, Ben Davis). I can’t find much on Peterson, although apparently he played defensive back at McNeese State, so presumably he possesses athleticism… athletic middle infielders are always welcome. John Sickels seems to like him.
Musical First Basemen
- Brad Hawpe made his first start in right field on Monday against the old uniform. Hawpe, who had been the starting first baseman, moved to accommodate Jorge Cantu… because you just can’t get enough guys like Cantu in the lineup (literally, you can’t; the Padres have cornered the market on lousy hitters). Quoth Hawpe, before his Padres were blanked by Colorado:
We’re coming into this game against a team who, their middle of their lineup is strong, too, and this gives us a chance to match up very well against them.
“Or not,” he neglected to add.
- The real motivation behind moving Hawpe to the outfield may be to clear a spot for Anthony Rizzo on the big-league roster. If this is the case, I hope folks aren’t disappointed. My concern is that they’ve been hearing enough about Rizzo to be perhaps overly enthusiastic about his arrival and to harbor unrealistic expectations of a young man who will be asked to replace one of the franchise’s great players. Rizzo is a good ballplayer; he may be a great one, but I worry that some fans will get stupid when confronted with his numbers at Tucson. Few expectations were placed on Adrian Gonzalez when he arrived in San Diego; thanks to Adrian’s success here, Rizzo won’t have that same luxury. Try not to be too bummed out if he only has Adam LaRoche’s career.
- I cringe whenever Rockies right-hander Rafael Betancourt enters the game. He is a slow worker, which is mildly annoying, but what really gets me is the obsession Grant and Dick Enberg have with his pace. Mention it once or twice, and then get on with life. In the late innings of a tight game, surely there are more interesting things to discuss than how boring it is to watch Betancourt pitch.
- Is it legal to send a batter to home plate without a bat in his hands? Because I’d like to see the Padres try that with Alberto Gonzalez. His attempt to bunt the runner over in the seventh would have been laughable if I found incompetence funny. After he fouled a couple of pitches off while stabbing at the ball with his bat (and really, if you’re a career .247/.286/.321 hitter, what possible excuse could you have for not knowing how to bunt?), I started rooting for the strikeout, fearing the inevitable double play that killed yet another potential rally.
- People complain about Eric Patterson (51 OPS+) and rightfully so, but he isn’t alone in this: Cantu (46), Gonzalez (41), and Rob Johnson (35) have been even worse (when I said that you cannot stop Gonzalez and Johnson, it was a rip on the Astros pitchers, not a compliment to anyone). Between those four guys, that’s a .183/.235/.264 line with one sacrifice bunt between them. Not that I’m any great fan of bunting, but that’s as many as Chase Headley — the Padres’ best everyday player — has all by himself. Honestly, if you’re going to make outs, at least be useful. And if you think it’s no big deal, realize that those four guys have accounted for a little more than 18 percent of all Padres plate appearances this year. Yep, two out of nine batters is one of those guys; a third is the pitcher… so that’s not good.
Some days it is difficult to cheer for this team. Happy thoughts… okay, Johnson is cheaper than Yorvit Torrealba, who is stinking up Texas and whose departure allowed the Padres to draft Austin. Is that happy enough for you?