Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More good news

on the injury front: Smitty and Engel both started rehabs stints in Arizona tonight. Not sure why Smitty was not included in the AFL squad but maybe he takes that last spot - don't think it has to be a pitcher. He has missed about half the season and his last 2 weeks before he was DL'd he was hurt too badly to hit (.149) due to his rib injury and their is no doubt he can hit, as he was hitting about .400 his first 3 weeks in AA. So, he needs some at bats to prove to everyone else g that he'll be a better pro than Mitchie 'Moe Moreland.

Staying in Arizona, speedy second basemen Alex Gonzo Gonzalez has slid over to the SS spot to spell Easy Eddie Garcia tonight. Might be the first time this season he has played the spot though he might have played the position a bit last year in his DSL debut (after all, Eddie T-Mart Martinez played short in his 07 DSL debut, Second in AZ in 08 and moved back to short during his time in Hickory this year). I wonder what his shortstop chops are like? I'm not sure why I like this kid but he seems like a gamer and I usually avoid cliches like that more than most: The newest thomas-Berkery-super- utility -org- guy -impersonator and catcher turned infielder William OConnor (09 UDFA) manned second (and variously on the season: 3B, C, 1B).

If you haven't read my piece on Trevor Hurley, read it. He is having another nice start, just came out for the 7th inning (cough, giving up a leadoff double). However, that makes it now a _Two-hitter_. Judging by his velo, it looks like he is throwing both a CB and a Slider now - 4 potent pitches for the youngster by my count - along with his change and effectively changing speeds on his FB. With the depth in the system though, you just have to wonder how the hell they find room for him on either A-squad rotation next year. The rotations by my count could look like this:

HighA (hoping it is not still in Bakersfield)
Main, Bell, Doyle, Hurley, Brigham, Scheppers- ext (AA?)
Boscan, Pimentel, Font, Ross, Thompson, Tullis, Wieland, NeRa

In this A-Ball scenario, the most advanced pitchers are placed in HighA and the youngsters asked to stick (or repeat) in LowA for some or all of the season. Could end up being exactly the reverse, but if you start with all of the youngsters in HighA instead, the college pitchers (Doyle, Bell, Hurley, Scheppers) won't be able to move up a level as most of the young kids are unlikely to get promoted to AA to open up some spots. And besides, all of these guys pitched in LowA at 19, so pitching at least a half a season at age 20 there, with no pitch limits this time, won't hinder their development in any way IMO.

Honestly, where to put all of these guys? If you thought projecting last year's system-wide rotations was hard... Just for the heck of it:

Jamison, McBride, Blackwell, Strong, Carlos Ramirez, Luis Parra, T-KAhn, Randol Rojas, Leo Gil
(Swing Starters/Long-men: Danniel Rody, Aaron Thompson)
Erlin, Melo, Escobar, Alvarez, Juan "the better" Grullon, Zeke Rijo, J. Mavare, Ayenil Mendoza (visa?), Denny Peralta (visa?) ( Campbell, Hunter - swing starters between A-/A if they want to see if they can stick as starters, otherwise, setup guys - they both have good stuff but with command issues)


One passing note: Matt Harrison beats out Tommy Hunter for a ML rotation spot next year with Tommy Hunter sticking in AAA to start the season. In my mind, the LHP who throws 92-95 (who looked dominant before he got hurt) has a higher ceiling than Hunter, whose stuff could very well look a bit more pedestrian next year when the league goes in for a second look. I know what the counter arguments are, just a gut feeling. If Hunter can throw his 4-S more next year and with more consistent juice (90-94), he could be even better, or at least keep ahead of the league's adjustments to him (and his cutter), as more separation between his 4s/2s offerings will make all of his pitches better. Whoever loses that fight ends up in the AAA rotation anyways as the 6th starter on the depth chart, and you have to feel pretty good about that.


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