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Weekend Notes


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Just getting a start on the weekend. Thank God we'll be able to talk about actual performance pretty damn soon:


USA Today came out with their annual list of "100 Names You Need to Know" and the criteria involved is as follows -


These are the next wave of players heading into the major leagues who, in our view, could make the biggest impact in 2010.


These aren't necessarily baseball's 100 best prospects because many top prospects are too far down in the minor leagues to contribute in the majors this season. Others are stuck behind established major leaguers.


Not all of the players on our list have rookie status, either, but our standard for inclusion is that a player must have had more innings (for pitchers) or at-bats (for hitters) in the minor leagues in 2009 than he has had during all of his major league time.


Got that? The list is filled with all kinds of guess-work and possible idiocy (Jason Heyward at 21, Strasburg in the thirties) but let's ignore all of that and just look at the Indians.


15 - LaPorta

16 - Brantley

20 - Marson

25 - Santana

45 - Carrasco

51 - Rondon

63 - Crowe


Seven in the top one hundred. Quite possibly the best list in the history of lists. So what if it includes a 26 year old fighting for a spot as the fourth outfielder, I'm loving this list!






Bob Hunter at the Dispatch writes about Dye, Blalock and Branyan. Gomes is mentioned later in the article while talking about the Reds:


The Cleveland Indians reportedly have talked to slugger Russell Branyan, a former Indian who has drawn little interest despite hitting 31 home runs last year for Seattle. The worry is that he might still be hampered by back problems that caused him to miss a month late in the season.


Cleveland reportedly also has contacted infielder Hank Blalock and outfielder Jermaine Dye but may be wary of signing any veteran who would take at-bats away from outfielder Michael Brantley and first baseman Matt LaPorta. Both played for the Clippers last season and seem likely to open the season with the Indians.


Branyan is intriguing because he hits with power, has a good clubhouse presence and may come cheap because of his back. But Fox Sports reports that Branyan has been working out at Vanderbilt by pounding large truck tires with sledgehammers in the weight room, not the usual approach for someone with an aching back.






The always awesome Castro gives us reason to feel good about the Tribe - their outfield:


CLEVELAND -- If you're looking for a reason to feel particularly good about the Indians' lineup, look to the outfield.


With a proven (and now healthy) commodity in center in the form of Grady Sizemore, an emerging talent in right in the form of Shin-Soo Choo, and an intriguing prospect likely to land in left in the form of Michael Brantley, it's a unit with great potential...






And then there's Jimmy Boyd (from Locksmith Sports!) to bring us back down to earth with his "profitable" look at the 2010 Indians. Never, ever trust an adult who refers to himself in the diminutive. Screw you, Jimmy:


Surprise, surprise, the Indians are lacking in the starting pitching department.







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A few more:


It's not too late (it probably is) to hire Skipper to deliver a gift to your sweetheart. The Lake County Captains mascot was out on the prowl handing out flowers and candy to women earlier this week. Scared the crap out of at least one kid while he was at it:


“It’s Skipper! My daughter loves Skipper!” she said of the Lake County Captains mascot.


Simundza went on to explain that her husband, Paul, arranged for Skipper to deliver the special Valentine’s Day package since the whole family are huge baseball fans.


Simundza then excitedly summoned Alyssa, her 21-month-old daughter, to come to the door and greet her idol.


“Look who’s at the door honey. It’s Skipper!” Simundza said.


Alyssa took one look at the green furry mascot and instead opted to bury her head into her mother’s arms.


“Noooooooooooo!” the toddler screamed, refusing to glance at the mascot she had previously admired from afar.


Skipper then squeaked in despair.






Just for the knuckle-dragger who took the time to grunt about Bryce Harper, here's some recentish news:


Another update on 17-year old collegiate baseball phenom Bryce Harper who is playing for the College of Southern Nevada. He is batting .323, 10-31 with 2 HRs and 9 RBI. The Coyotes are off to a very good start at 8-0.


Bryce's baseball coach Tim Chambers on the latest with Bryce and Southern Nevada:


"The team has done really well. It was pretty crazy the first week with 40 scouts in attendance for that first game."


In the opening week, "Bryce played good. His first game he hit a sac fly when they tried to intentionally walk him. Bryce noticed the pitcher wasn't throwing the pitches far enough outside and asked the home plate umpire if was good where his stance was so close to the plate. The umpire said he was good."


"There were men on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. Bryce reached out and hit the next pitch for a sac fly and almost got enough to hit it out."


With some early struggles for Bryce at the plate, Coach Chambers looked for a remedy:


"After Bryce went 0-14 versus Yavapai we noticed he was dropping down on the back side of his stance.


"The scouts were telling me he was jumpin' too much and he was nervous. I told them, 'no, he's not.'


We told him to squat down a little more overall in his stance, spread out a little at the plate, similar to his stance two years ago coming off the USA team. He stopped going to his back side and started to hit again."


What about his two home runs?


"He has 10 hits so far and most of them are for extra bases. His home run Friday was the first one I have seen over the center field wall, (Coach Chambers has been at CSN for 11 years) which is 400 feet to dead center and it's a 20 foot wall. It was a bomb."


How is he doing behind the plate?


"Defensively, he is catching and throwing well. He bailed us out of an inning in an earlier game. Last Sunday, we were in a jam. He back picked first base, but the guy got back. Then he picked a runner off of second base, hung the guy out from his knees."


And he can steal a base or two as well?


"He has a couple of stolen bases for us. But most of his hits have been for extra bases. His slugging is .677."





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And then there's Jimmy Boyd (from Locksmith Sports!) to bring us back down to earth with his "profitable" look at the 2010 Indians. Never, ever trust an adult who refers to himself in the diminutive. Screw you, Jimmy:


Surprise, surprise, the Indians are lacking in the starting pitching department.








Ah yes. The pitching wasteland that is Cleveland. Only two Cy Young winners in the last three years. Screw him, indeed.


Just for the knuckle-dragger who took the time to grunt about Bryce Harper, here's some recentish news:


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Pretty sure I posted this earlier but I can't find it.


Big League Stew had a great column a week or so ago about "Jeopardy" and what you would wager if you learned that "Baseball" was the final category. There were a few qualifiers (your $$ v. opponents $$) attached to the question, such as:


1. It's your best category.


2. The sports answers on "Jeopardy!" involve athletes even my mom knows.


3. The Final Jeopardy answers seem to be getting easier and easier lately in an attempt to bring purses in line with the stupid money that "Wheel of Fortune" gives its contestants for being good at hangman.


4. Do you really think a Canadian like Alex Trebek — or his team of geeky writers — is going to come up with a baseball question that will stump you and leave you with nothing?


5. No guts, no glory. You'd be a legend if you pulled it off. And on the slim chance you were wrong? You'd achieve a new level of fame by becoming a YouTube sensation and you could spin it into an ad with Cliff Clavin and make your money back anyway.


The author of the piece searched the net (and http://www.j-archive.com/ in particular) and found ten final categories dating back to 1996 that have included "baseball" in its title.


Ignoring the circumstances - (family, friends, nursery homes staring at you; the countdown chimes in your ear; your opponents scribbling like mad while you're repeating the question in your head; Trebek vulnerable and close enough to take out with an elbow) - how do you think you'd do?


Here are the questions (the dates refer to when the question appeared on the show):

1. BASEBALL HISTORY (7/11/08): "For nearly 30 years, California's Catalina Island was the spring training camp for this non-California Major League team"


2. BASEBALL TERMS (4/29/09): "Hall of Famer Willie Stargell called it 'a butterfly with hiccups'"


3. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL (3/23/05): "The team names of these two expansion clubs start with the same three letters; one might catch the other."


4. BASEBALL HISTORY (2/2/04) "On August 10th, 2003, Rafael Furcal(notes) of the Braves became only the 12th man in MLB history to perform this single-handedly."


5. BASEBALL (9/11/02): "It's the only team to win World Series titles in three different cities for which it played."


6. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM NAMES (10/19/01): "This team received its name after an 1890 incident in which it "stole" away an important player from another team."


7. BASEBALL HALL OF FAMERS (4/23/01): "A Red Sox pitcher, later a Yankee, he held the World Series record for consecutive scoreless innings from 1918 to 1961."


8. BASEBALL HISTORY (5/22/00): "Current name of the National League team that started out in the 1870s as the Boston Red Stockings."


9. BASEBALL TEAMS (11/27/98): "In the early days, this team was known as the Alleghenies."


10. BASEBALL (12/04/96): "The best American League left-handed pitcher 1916-18, he was moved to left field in 1919."


And here's the article: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_leagu...lb,217699\



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