SPANdemonium will start back up once the season starts. For now, you can find me at Penn League Report and Beyond the Box Score
According to a source, the New York Mets have agreed to a minor league deal with Taylor Tankersley. The deal includes a Spring Training invite and is not yet official but was agreed upon on Friday.
In all honesty, you started pitching much better and you looked like a much better pitcher after the trade. Did anything happen that made you pitch a lot better?
What can you tell us about the importance of a simple easy delivery?
What are your thoughts on Wil Myers as a catcher and a hitter? And was he an integral part in your Wilmington success?
What was it like to have a guy like Christian Colon behind you and what are your thoughts on him as a 2B?
What was it like to be part of the Magical Northwest Arkansas Naturals season?
What are your expectations for the upcoming season Will?
Were there any fans that you made a relationship with on the Travelers that came to see you on the Nats? If not, can you talk about a few fun stories from the 2010 season?
What will the scouting report be on Will Smith in 5 years?
It’s funny how the most underrated player in the game comes from one of the best organizations in the game. Yes, the Braves. Brian McCann to me, gets overshadowed when discussing the games elite catchers because if some guy named Joe Mauer. Now, that is just talking about catchers. Brian McCann has a bat and glove as good as any catcher in recent history. Not only that, but certain saber metrical stats compare him with some of the greats, such as Yogi Berra.
River Avenue Blues’ writer Mike Axisa, who is a great writer and writes for MLBTradeRumors as well, made a statement the other day by comparing Brian McCann and Yogi Berra in a WARGraph. Mike was also the one who started the whole “Brian McCann is underrated thing.” What is a WARGraph you ask? Only one of the coolest things around. WARGraphs let you compare up to 4 players whether they are active or retired and shows the cumulative WAR (Wins Above Replacement) over time. Mike compared Yogi Berra to Brian McCann and the graph came out like this:
So that inspired me to expand the search. I added Mickey Cochrane and Bill Dickey to the list. Both of whom are Hall of Fame catchers, such as the likes of Yogi Berra and possibly in the future, Brian McCann. As you can see, their cumulative WAR by age is nearly identical all the way through to the end of their careers.
Tell me that isn’t awesome? Mike’s point was that McCann through his 1st six seasons was better than Berra. Well I just kept it going by proving that McCann has been better than two other Hall of Famers through his first six seasons.
Back to Brian, imagine where the Bravos team would be without him. We’re talking about a guy who hits for average and power, plays very good defense behind the plate, and even posted a 5.3 WAR in ’10. All of those are obvious when talking about McCann, except possibly the WAR, but the homegrown catcher still gets overlooked among players in the game, not just catchers. So the point I’m trying to make is, can Brian McCann be viewed as the #1 most underrated player in Major League Baseball? Shin Soo Choo might have something to say about that, but how often has Choo had his knees crushed behind the plate 130-150 times per year? How many catchers post a career OBP of .360 while catching a tremendous young pitching staff?
I’m looking for McCann to continue his great career in a Braves uniform and if history repeats himself as seen with three other comparable catchers who wound up in Cooperstown, McCann will have a tremendous career even if he remains one of the more underappreciated players in Major League Baseball.
When you stumble upon a chance to acquire a possible #2 or #3 pitcher with some upside and a young, raw, and smart strikeout arm, chances are you shouldn’t pass it up. Well Dayton Moore didn’t pass it up when he had the opportunity to acquire RHP Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks in exchange for one year of David DeJesus.
I’ll tell you what; I like this deal for the Royals a lot. Of course you can look at Mazzaro’s season stats and criticize him for his 4.25 ERA or his low amount of strikeouts, but this is a durable young starter with potential to be a Chad Billingsley type of starter with a much more effortless delievery to go along with a 3 pitch mix including a fastball that ranges from 90-93 touching 94 and a slider that ranges from 82-85 and a decent change up.
Bottom line, these are the type of pitchers the Royals need to take a chance on. I mean, if he ends up sporting an 8.50 ERA and a WHIP over 1.40 in ’11, then it’s okay to criticize the move. But what happens if he breaks out (which I think he will) and puts up a 3.50 ERA to go along with 7 K/9?
Mazzaro is also a very good guy from my neck of the woods (New York/New Jersey). His simple delivery makes him even more fun to watch not to mention his often used fastball that sometimes has a bit of cut to it.
What do you think of this deal for the Royals? Will Mazzaro pan out? Will this deal favor the Royals in the future? Will Justin Marks be something special?
Doesn’t it seem peculiar that two of the three most significant reasons that the 2007 Rockies were victorious and World Series bound have seen their careers completely fall off all of the sudden? Well Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe, who both dealt with dreadful 2010 seasons, have recently just signed in a more comfortable place. Atkins has reunited with former skipper Clint Hurdle in Pittsburgh and Brad Hawpe has signed with the San Diego Padres, a great city, organization, and has some great new teammates.
Not too long ago, after all-star Matt Holliday was traded to the A’s for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith, Dan O’Dowd compared Atkins and Hawpe to Holliday stating that if the underachieving Rockies (at the time) were to trade the duo, they’d want a “Holliday like package” in return.
Well to me, it’s quite interesting how the careers of the duo have completely tailed off, both players earning a non-tender and release respectively. After Atkins got non-tendered, he signed with the Orioles which didn’t go well at all. The former all-star was possibly one of the worst players in Baseball. This was two seasons after Atkins put up four straight seasons of 25+ home runs and 95+ RBI’s.
Hawpe on the other hand, struggled with in my opinion, were mechanical issues. You see, Hawpe’s unique batting stance enables him to generate his power by lifting his whole knee up to a horizontal plain, causing him to have all of his power come down on that knee, but this only works when your knee is lifted as far as it can, which in most cases is that same horizontal plain. Well, in ’10, he lifted it almost halfway up which prevented him from generating his hips in to the ball, which prevented him from using or even getting any bat speed.
Now, both of whom, are now going to enjoy a fresh start in a pressureless organization and city, where they have a chance to regain their value and redeem their respective careers. Both of the Pirates and Padres have good hitting coaches and most importantly, good managers, which may be a reason why the two can enjoy their ’11’s while playing well at the same time. Hec, we all saw how Aubrey Huff and Adrian Beltre had huge comeback seasons. Who’s to say that Hawpe and Atkins can not?
This is an interview with a great guy and a fantastic player by the name of Corey Wimberly. You can find him on twitter @Wimboslice3. He did a great job with this interview and was very explanitory. I hope you enjoy it!
Me: You’re arguably one of the top 5 fastest players in professional Baseball. Talk to me about whats it like to have speed as an integral part of your game rather than power for instance.
Corey: Thanks dave, well speed is something that i think i have always had but it began to develop more so in high school playing football and i realize that i was faster than most other guys but honestly my game speed is so much different than everyone else i think because my competitive nature and the will i have to succeed in this game.
Me: Talk to me about what it was like playing for the River Cats in ’10, a great team that had a great season.
Corey: The 2010 River cats was quite an experience i think at one point during the season we were actually 15 or more games behind fresno and we ended up winning the divisions we had a great second half and its always awesome to play for a winning franchise and try to meet up to the expectations of the fans and guys who played there before you!
Me: You’ve player for the Ghosts, the Nuts, the Drillers, and the River Cats; talk to me about some of your favorite moments and games as a professional.
Corey: Well playing with the drillers in 2008 was one of the best times i have had in baseball simply because i was able to play with two of my best friends in the game Eric Young Jr and Dexter Fowler but a funny story is when i was drafted to the rockies in 2005, coming out of Alcorn State we wore white cleats and so when i made it to casper thats the only color cleats i had and they did not have my size so the clubhouse manger Dennis had to spray paint my cleats and still to this day When I talk to Dexter he still jokes with me about those cleats (lol) but there have been many awesome moments thats just one of the many stories i have.
Me: We can all agree that you are obviously able to contribute at the Major League level and for the past 5 years, you’ve done nothing but hit the cover off of the ball and steal every base imaginable. How does it feel to be in the position you’re in, Major League ready but haven’t been given the chance yet.
Corey: Well when it comes to that subject i am very optimistic that something will happen for me soon. I am a very big believer in God and i believe what he has in store for me is for me and my father still to this day tells me a little phrase that helps me get through the day, (if its to be then its up to me) so with that being said all i can do is work harder and keep my faith in the man up stairs. Men lie and women lie but the numbers don’t!
Me: You played with him in the 2010 season and parts of the ’09 season. What are your thoughts on your buddy Chris Carter? What do you think his potential in the Majors is?
Corey: Chris Carter is a great guy and we got a chance to know each other pretty good the last two years we had been playing against each other for quite some time dating back to when he was with the whitesox and i was with the rockies i think his potential at the next level has no limits he has the most raw power i’ve ever seen and i think he is a right handed Ryan Howard and i was Glad to see him get a chance to play in the Bigs this year he deserved it.
Me: Talk to me about what it was like playing for Alcorn State University.
Corey: Alcorn was a great experience for me, the people there were awesome the schools atmosphere was impeccable just the whole environment it taught me a new rural side of life because at the time leaving jacksonville, florida to go to a agricultural school i didn’t really know what i was getting myself in to but i adjusted well and enjoyed every second there at Alcorn it was the perfect school for me to attend.
Me: What was your favorite team growing up and being drafted in the 6th round, were you hoping a certain team would take you?
Corey: Growing up i liked the cardinals just because of ozzie smith but i also was a braves fan because thats the team i was able to see the most my grandmother always watched TBS i wasn’t watching the draft when i was picked i did not know much about the draft and how it worked i was just shocked that the rockies took a chance on me that was one of the teams i did not talk to so it shocked me but i was soooooo excited.
Me: I imagine one of your dreams is to have your kids see you play at the Major League level (which I think will definetly happen as early as ’11), what can you do, if anything, to prove to the Pirates organization during Spring Training that you are able to contribute in the Majors?
Corey: I think at this point i need to find out from the team what i need to do and just keep working hard and believing that things will work out because i think they know what i can do.
Me: Describe the difference between playing in the Mexican and other winter leagues and playing in professionally in America. What’s the atmosphere, fans, and players like?
Corey: Mexico has been a great experience for me just to see the style of baseball that they play over there it so much different from the way we play in the states but i enjoy the atmosphere and the challenge you are presented with, the different arm angles and the off-speed pitches at any point during at bats you have to prepare yourself for a different style of baseball and i loved it
Me: Last one. A little bit of a different question. You have an empty california roll, and you can put 5 different types of sushi in. What would you put in and would it even taste good?
Corey: I don’t know maybe garlic grab and shrimp with butter sauce over it haha sounds like i should try that.