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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Today in Baseball (3/29/06)

First of all, I'm watching the Pirates/Red Sox game on Tivo while I write this. So far, Sean Casey's hit a double, Randa's 2 for 2, and Wily Mo Pena's hit an RBI double that currently is the difference in the 1-0 game (4th inning). Good to see these guys having success; I hope they all have great seasons, as long as they're not playing the Reds.

The Red Sox/Reds ST game is on ESPN tomorrow, which means I get to see Reds baseball for the first time this spring. I'm looking forward to it...but this also means that you guys can't e-mail me and spoil the score, as I'll be watching it as a recording. :)

A few notes from my browsing today:

The Arizona Republic is reporting that Casey Daigle has developed a new pitch -- a sinker -- that is apparently reasonably effective. Casey is still fairly young (26) and did start (poorly) with Arizona in '04, so he has some big league experience. They sent him down to AA last year, and he performed well, though was primarily used as a reliever. If he doesn't make the D-backs, he might be someone worth trying to pick up in a minor league trade. I like sinkerball pitchers in GABP. (thanks to Baseball Musings for the link)

Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus has done a set of projections based on his PECOTA data. And, like SG's projections last week, the Reds were projected to finish last. But what do they know, eh? Here are his projected standings--the "good" news, at least, is that they project the Reds to pick up 5 games on last year's 73-win season:
NL Central    W      L    RS      RA    BatDelta   PitDelta
Cardinals 86 76 748 703 +9 +31
Cubs 85 77 725 690 -21 +60
Brewers 84 78 742 713 +2 +26
Astros 81 81 717 716 -17 +18
Pirates 79 83 731 755 -7 -11
Reds 78 84 746 778 +9 -34
Also in BP, Kevin Goldstein posted a prospect report based on this year's spring training. Here's the bit on the Reds:

Impressing: Homer Bailey, RHP. Bailey made just four appearances with the big league squad, but he has some observers saying that this 2004 first-round pick is better than half of the Reds rotation right now. The Reds will do the right thing here and start Bailey in the High Class A Florida State League, but getting to the big leagues before he's 21 is a distinct possibility. The over/under is currently May 3, 2007.

Disappointing: Mike Gosling, LHP. In 2001, Arizona signed Gosling to a $2 million bonus, and he began his career in 2002 by leading the Texas League in wins (14) while finishing third in ERA (3.13). Then something went wrong. He's had some minor shoulder surgery, but nothing that jumps out at you--he just hasn't been able to get people out. Arizona finally gave up on him after a pair of failed big league auditions, prompting the Reds to pick him up and hope he might earn major league spot. At least he kept the ball in the park.

Also, I wanted to give people notice that I'll be starting up a new feature series sometime in the next few days. So stay tuned.
-J in AZ
p.s. just saw Manny Ramirez, who had a -28.9 runs/yr Gassko Range rating in left field last year (worst in baseball), making an excellent wall-slammin' catch in a spring training game. Go figure. :)

Edit: Just noticed these "headlines" from The Onion's sports page, and I can't help but link them:
A. J. Pierzynski Predicts He Will Lead League in Offensiveness
"I think my antics in the postseason proved to my critics that I'm more than just a one-dimensional jackass," said Pierzynski, who trailed only Barry Bonds and Milton Bradley in all offensiveness categories in 2005.
Steinbrenner Names Johnny Damon as New Yankee Scapegoat
According to Steinbrenner's statement, Damon exhibits all the qualities he looks for in a Yankee scapegoat, including lofty expectations, high salary, and a controversial personality that can be construed as being bad for the team's dynamics should the Yankees fall into second place.

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