Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh Gross

Dodgers phenom SP Clayton Kershaw, the top prospect in their system and BA's #7 overall prospect, throwing one of the most disgusting curveballs I've ever seen:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh What the Heck

If you're here, that means you never removed TBOTB from your RSS feeder even though I haven't posted since Rudy Giuliani was still relevant. Oh what's that? Nobody ever put this site on their RSS feeder? Essentially no one is reading this right now? I can say whatever I want without fear of repercussion?


Um...jk. Trevin Wagener basically tore my heart out of my chest when he discontinued This Is Not Sports Journalism, an experimental first blog of his. I wrote there when I worked at the shittiest job in America, and now I need something to fill the void. Oddly enough, the tentative resurgence of the Burn of the Bat was all brought on by the need to syndicate the following passage from an article by Will Harris, bearded lesser-known:
Edwin Jackson has thrown 272 major league innings that span parts of five different seasons, and to say that he hasn't experienced much success would be an understatement. His career ERA is a lofty 5.64 and his career WHIP is an ugly 1.72. With the exception of his 22-inning debut season back in 2003, Jackson has never even posted single-season numbers in those categories better than 5.45 and 1.67. There are, however, signs of progress. Jackson's primary issue has been poor control, but his walk ratio is on a three-year upswing. Jackson, a sixth-round pick in 2001, was rushed to the majors by the Dodgers, then continued his baptism by fire in the Tampa organization, traditionally one of the worst franchises in the majors at developing pitchers. His numbers have been artificially inflated by low strand rates for four years running, and last year he showed enough progress in his strikeout and walk rates to remain in the rotation for the entire year. Still only 24, Jackson and his live arm have a high ceiling as he slowly learns his craft. The breakout might not yet be imminent -- he's a sleeper only in deep or keeper leagues to start the 2008 season -- but it's coming.
That's from a Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays fantasy baseball preview. I know, weird. But this little nugget is tailor-made for a blog repost - it's simultaneously relevant and likely to be overlooked by 90 percent of the population to whom it matters.

Edwin Jackson is a formerly elite prospect; Baseball America (<3) ranked him the #4 prospect in all of baseball as recently as 2004. My boy John Sickels wrote that he was "one of the best right-handed prospects in the game" in 2003.

Then, as William the Bearded notes above, the wheels fell off after the Dodgers rushed him to the show. And it was one of those "we can't make up our minds" rush jobs, as he pitched in 4, 8 and 7 MLB games in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively, including a smattering of relief appearances. He has been comically bad since, with a K/BB of 128/88 in 161 IP last year that frankly makes me nauseous.

But the stuff has still got to be there somewhere, doesn't it? Will the Thrill Harris makes some pretty good points, at least.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Miss Burn of the Bat

My buddy Trevin just started a blog entitled This is Not Sports Journalism, which is going to be pretty sweet. I'm going to contribute over there. It really makes me miss TBOTB, and I might just get back into this guy. We had some good times together.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Best by Position

Three months into the season, let's take a look at the most productive hitters in baseball by position, using OPS as the metric for success.

1. Jorge Posada, NYY - .927
2. Victor Martinez, CLE - .926
3. Russell Martin, LAD - .838

First Base
1. Prince Fielder, MIL - .997
2. Mark Teixeira, TEX - .959
3. Albert Pujols, STL - .944

Second Base
1. Chase Utley, PHI - .982
2. Brian Roberts, BAL - .866
3. Orlando Hudson, ARI - .857

Third Base
1. Alex Rodriguez, NYY - 1.113
2. Miguel Cabrera, FLA - .976
3. Aramis Ramirez, CHC - .922

1. Carlos Guillen, DET - .954
2. Edgar Renteria, ATL - .887
3. Hanley Ramirez, FLA - .883

Left Field
1. Barry Bonds, SFG - 1.097
2. Matt Holliday, COL - .973
3. Adam Dunn, CIN - .925

Center Field
1. Curtis Granderson, DET - .902
2. Torii Hunter, MIN - .899
3. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA - .893

Right Field
1. Magglio Ordonez, DET - 1.063
2. Vladimir Guerrero, LAA - .990
3. Ken Griffey Jr., CIN - .940

Designated Hitter
1. David Ortiz, BOS - .999
2. Gary Sheffield, DET - .931
3. Travis Hafner, CLE - .855

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Love Junior Griffey

A couple of good pieces on Ken Griffey Jr. over the past couple days sparked this emo passage to pass the time while at work.

My first brush with materialism came in the fourth grade, when I wanted nothing more than a $100 pair of Ken Griffey Junior's shoes for school that year. I begged and pleaded, but to no avail. I think I ended up with a pair of Grant Hill FILAs.

A die-hard Tigers fan, I received a green Seattle Mariners hat for my birthday that year, immediately turned it backward on my head and went outside to emulate Griffey's swing in a sandlot baseball game.

"The Kid" remains one of my favorite players to this day, and its evident that baseball fans across America feel the same way. He's a guy who should have gone down as the greatest to ever play the game. Furthermore, he would have done it without the assistance of performance enhancing drugs. The injuries are tragic, for sure, but it's nice to see the rest of the country appreciating Griffey as he deserves to be appreciated.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jay Bruce, the AA version

I mentioned a month ago that the Reds' Jay Bruce could be a candidate for a mid-season bump up to Double-A, and he ended up getting the call about a week ago. After hitting .325/.379/.586 in the high-A Florida State League, he has now slugged three homers in his first five games with Chattanooga of the Southern League.

This guy is literally going to be starting for the Reds out of Spring Training next year. Looks like Cam Maybin is the last of the 3 phenom outfielders from the 2005 draft to make it to AA, but that might not be long now either.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Billy Beane is Wonderful

I noticed today that Daric Barton checks in at #1 this week on Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet. It really makes you think back to the Mark Mulder trade after the 2004 season. Billy Beane absolutely clowned on Walt Jocketty, with the A's getting Dan Haren, Daric Barton, and Kiko Calero in return for Mulder, who was only one year away from free agency.

Barton is now hitting .333/.426/.496 for Triple-A Sacramento, with more walks (41) than strikeouts (32). I believe he went into the season as #2 on the A's top prospect list despite a disappointing 2006 season. He seems primed for a call-up soon, though I find it kind of weird that the A's are starting him at third base half the time, what with Eric Chavez making rought $38 million over the next 3 1/2 years and all. Regardless, the A's would probably be better served to play Barton at first and have Nick Swisher take Shannon Stewart's spot in left.

Dan Haren is sick, and everybody knows it. 9-2, 1.78 ERA, 0.90 WHIP. Enough said. Haren, Johan Santana, Justin Verlander, John Lackey, and Josh Beckett are your five AL Cy Young candidates this year.

Hell, Beane even got some value out of Kiko Calero. He sucks this year, but he gave them two years of a roughly 3.30 ERA out of the pen.

I realize it's difficult to project injuries like Mulder's, but sometimes it's just sad to look back on these AJ Pierzynski-, Mark Mulder-type deals. I think Billy Beane gets a hard time from a lot of people who think he is overrated because of Moneyball, but let's face it, he's one of the best GMs in the game.