FUTURES GAME 2009
Sunday at 1CT with Neftali Feliz possibly starting the game an pitching 2 innings. Baseball America has some roster "capsules" up. Keith Law had this futures-themed post up about TX and Boston respectively:
"Where on earth is Texas first baseman Justin Smoak? Smoak, the third-best player available in the 2008 draft, is now the top first base prospect in the minors, but MLB never asked the Rangers to send him to the Futures Game. He hit .328/.449/.481 before his recent promotion to Oklahoma City, despite going from college straight to Double-A. Another Rangers farmhand, pitcher Martin Perez, belongs in the contest as well but was omitted. The fact there's only one Ranger in the game -- most clubs have two representatives -- would be a lot easier to swallow if their system wasn't good, but Texas has the best farm system in the majors and should have more than just Feliz wearing its uniform on Sunday."
"Junichi Tazawa and Casey Kelly, RHPs: The Red Sox dropped $10 million on these two pitchers last year, nabbing Kelly in the Rule 4 draft and signing Tazawa out of a Japanese industrial league, and both have had strong full-season debuts. Strong may understate Kelly's success this year, as he finished the spring pitching in high Class A at age 19 without finding any challenge from minor league hitters. He's on a low-innings cap for 2009, so the Futures Game represents his swan song for the year. Tazawa jumped directly to Double-A for his pro debut and hasn't had much more trouble than Kelly did, working with an above-average fastball and out-pitch splitter and showing very good control."
The part about Tazawa and Kelly makes me think what could've been. Tazawa turned down the high bid from TX to sign with Boston while Casey Kelly reminds me of how Main should be doing this year...
From EG: " Matt Harrison flew up from Arizona, where he is rehabbing his sore shoulder, to throw off a mound Saturday. Harrison said the bullpen session went well and that he will throw again on Monday in Arizona, then throw live batting practice on Thursday. If that goes well, he could start a rehab assignment. Don’t expect it to be brief, however. The Rangers are going to want Harrison to work his way back to throwing at least 100 pitches in a game before being activated. Doesn’t look like he would be ready to go until August some time. …"
Brandon McCarthy, on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder, is throwing from 60 feet in Arlington and should start a long-toss program next week. So far, he he has had no pain. ...
Josh Rupe had ZERO walks in 6 innings on 90 pitches (60strikes) last night for one of his most efficient outing s to date. To bad this isn't 2006.
Thomas Diamond not only returned from the mysterious Inactive list last night but also returned to form: 2.2ip/2h/0er/3bb/2so, 2of2 inherited runners scoring, 53pitches.
Jason Cole reports that Michael Schlact is out for the season.
Beau Jones never has a clean inning of work...
I'm following up my successful petition drive - "FREE THE NOOCH" - with my newest pet project: the "FREE EK-MO" campaign. Think we'll see Erik Morrison in HighA in the next week?
Jason Cole has these video links to Wilmer Font's latest outing during his recent trip to watch the 'dads:
Little Joe is back. Little man Joe Ortiz, who surprised prospect geeks but pitching at Clinton at 17yo in 2008, appears back to form. He was shut down at the end of last year, and earlier this year - after a rough return to the LowA level - but has dominated his last three outings. Last night he pitched 3.2 perfect innings with 6 strikeouts. Look for him to return to Hickory when and if a spot opens up.
By the end of the year, the Little Man Joe award for the most unexpected and successful stateside debuts (named after Joe Ortiz of course) will be fought for amongst 3 AZL players (ages as of 4/1): speedy 17.8yo VZ 2b Alex Gonzalez(10g/.324/4-5sb); 19.5yo RP Jose Monegro (6g/3.18/1.32whip) who I overlooked even though his 2008 DSL #s were guite good; and 19.2yo Mexican RHP Danniel Rodriguez, who had a nice line after 5 appearances until his blow up in game 6. I'm going to go with Gonzo, whose nice contact rate this year coupled with nice patience last year in his DSL debut and now speed all make for an intriguing sign and possible find.
Only in the DSL can you pitch a no-hitter lose your shutout. The DSL2 juggernaut was no-hit last night by the DSL Braves squad who gave up one unearned run on three errors by their porous infield.