June 2007

The Official Prospect(s)

I’ve been watching Bryan Anderson since the beginning of last year, following an interview and story I did with him. At the time, he was mostly notable for being the youngest player in camp, but also because he’d hit pretty nicely in his pro debut at age 18. Throw in the fact that the guy has a beautiful swing, and I was definitely intrigued.

Of course, Anderson went on to have a very nice year at Quad Cities, and he’s raking at Springfield. He is jokingly, but frequently, referred to in the press box as the Official Prospect of StLCardinals.com. If there’s a list of things I love to see in a hitting prospect, he’s pretty much got them all — very young for his leagues, an idea of the strike zone, promising offense at a premium defensive position. If I were really being picky, I’d like to see some more power, at least more doubles power, but a catcher hitting 320/380/450 at Double-A at age 20 is a really, really nice prospect.

Well, now there’s an official Prospect 1B of StLCardinals.com — right-hander Tyler Herron, a sandwich pick in that same increasingly fruitful 2005 draft. He was a little rough in his pro debut, but of course he was 18 and 19, and even then he had an excellent strikeout rate. Herron went on to hold his own in his second year, and this year he’s really stepping forward. His outing on Saturday night looks like a real coming-out party. Herron dominated, striking out 10 with no walks in six innings.

In seven June outings, four starts (QC had been using the tandem-starter system), Herron threw 31 2/3 innings, allowed 24 hits, struck out 37 and walked 2. I’m not sure, but I think an 18.5:1 K:BB ratio is considered good. The list of Cards pitching prospects generally includes Jaime Garcia, Chris Perez, Dennis Dove, Blake Hawksworth and Adam Ottavino, and I like them all to varying degrees.

I’m eager to see Herron pitch, but from what I know of him and from what he’s doing at QC, I think he’s exciting. Of course, the higher levels of the Minors tend to sift out a lot of guys, so we’ll know more in a couple of years. But it’s surprising to me how much a supplemental first-rounder has flown under the radar thus far.

-M, listening to Pandora Internet radio.

Eck still out

The lineup is posted, and David Eckstein is not activated today. More later.

Miles SS – Schumaker CF – Pujols – Duncan – Rolen – Encarnacion – Kennedy – Molina – Wainwright

-M.

Friday tidbits — CORRECTION

Greetings from Great American Ball Park, where I intend to consume between six and 10 Skyline Cheese Coneys over the next three days. Good times.

Here are a couple of tidbits pregame today…

* Fairly standard lineup tonight, given who’s available. Taguchi CF, Miles SS, Pujols 1B, Duncan LF, Rolen 3B, Encarnacion RF, Molina C, Kennedy 2B, and then the interesting one — Thompson P.

* Wainwright has been pushed back to tomorrow. Maroth will make his second Cardinals start on Sunday. Looper will then slot in on Monday, with Wellemeyer Tuesday. Reyes does not have a start in the next five days. I’ll ask shortly what the plan for him is, but I’d imagine they’d send him to start at Memphis rather than using him in relief here. I don’t know that though; I’m just fielding a guess.

* Correction/backtrack on the above. Early in the afternoon, I was told that it would be Wellemeyer on Tuesday. However, both TLR and Dunc say that it is in the process of being decided as to who will start Tuesday. So I’ll keep following that. I’d still guess that it will be Wellemeyer, with Reyes the odd man out, but neither the mgr nor the pitching coach would announce/divulge/confirm that.

* Spiezio is still in the hospital in NY. According to media relations rep Brian Bartow, he’s getting better, but he remains in NY for now. The team didn’t get out until well past midnight last night — ugh.

* No other roster moves as of today, but of course, stay tuned.

* Oh and one other thing, Tool is playing at the arena next door tonight. Hmmm, if we can get a really quick game and a really quick postgame, maybe I could get there by show’s end. Nahhh.

-M, fresh off four solid hours of live Pearl Jam on the drive over here.

The Shameless Plug Returns

I’ll be on KFNS’ The Press Box from 10 am till noon, Central Time, today. I believe KFNS has a listen-live-online capacity for those who are interested — ie, hi Mom! Hi Mrs. Dude!

Hopefully I can win Frank over to some college football and NASCAR talk. Failing that, I guess we’ll settle for baseball, the NBA Draft and if I’m lucky, perhaps a little Wimbledon.

-M.

Welcome, Mike

With the way the schedule shakes down, I’m going to Cincinnati over the weekend but not to New York, so I’ll miss Mike Maroth’s Cardinals debut tonight. I’m curious like the rest of you, so I’ll definitely watch (though maybe on the TiVo, since a free night at home with Mrs. Dude is a rare treat, so dinner and a movie is more likely during the evening).

Anyway, in the meantime, I got a note that Maroth has launched a website, which includes his blog, so I wanted to get a link up for y’all to check out if you want.

It’s at MarothBaseball.com, and the blog can be found here.

Hope y’all are well.

-M, doing exciting stuff today like cleaning out my car and putting laundry away.

Just in case you were wondering

I just wanted to let y’all know, in case anybody has noticed, and cares, about my lack of bylines on the site recently.

I’m still on the beat, and still at the park, and picking up some game coverage this week. But for this homestand, MLB.com has me working on a bunch of other projects, with Daniel Berk taking the bulk of the game coverage. You may have seen my Darryl Kile piece on Thursday/Friday, and I’m also working on another story for MLB.com. Taking the NYM series off, but back on duty in Cincinnati.

Not that anyone was crying in their beer or anything, but just in case it seems that I’m neglecting the beat, now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

-M.

Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama. Whoa!

Maroth is obviously a done deal. He’ll start Monday in New York. Brad Thompson goes to the ‘pen for the weekend. Kip Wells still starting Sunday, Wellemeyer still on Tuesday. Wednesday TBA, though I’d guess Thompson slots back in for that game.

The weirder part today is in the bullpen. According to a release from the team this afternoon, Tyler Johnson is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. However, Johnson was listed on the lineup card. TLR and assistant GM John Mozeliak both say he’s NOT, in fact, on the DL yet. Muddling things even further, Tyler said that the discomfort is more in his shoulder than in his forearm.

Just another day on the carousel. This team is definitely keeping us busy.

-M, digging the new White Stripes album.

Maroth, plus one tidbit

Here’s what I know as of this moment:

* Maroth is very much in play, but not done yet, per the latest I’ve heard. I expect that it will happen, and soon, but no official confirmation and I get the impression it isn’t completely, 100-percent done with I’s dotted and T’s crossed.

* I still have no word on what they are giving up.


* For what it’s worth, I thought this was an interesting stat: In 18 career starts against National League teams, Maroth has a 3.75 ERA and has allowed only 10 homers in 112 2/3 innings.


-M, iTunes on shuffle and home-brewed Intelligentsia coffee in hand.

Tomo in Memphis

For those who are interested, here’s a link to the live boxscore of tonight’s Memphis-Round Rock tilt, with Tomo Ohka toeing the rubber for the M-Birds.

-M, iPod back from the shop and on shuffle.

"You hate people." "And yet I love gatherings."

It pretty much gets crazier every day here. Or as an old associate of mine once said about NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett, "gettin’ weirder every week."

Anyway. Here’s what’s going on…

* Kip Wells came to the park today thinking he was the starting pitcher. He arrived, looked at the lineup card, and saw the same thing the rest of us did — that he was not, in fact, the starting pitcher. Instead, Brad Thompson starts tonight, Todd Wellemeyer tomorrow, and Wells is bumped back to Sunday. TLR told Thompson and Wellemeyer last night that they’d be moved up, but said he did not get an opportunity to tell Wells. Nor did he call him this afternoon. So Wells came to the park and found out by leading the lineup card. Urp.

* Adam Kennedy is sitting for a fourth straight day. TLR basically said, he had the benefit of the doubt because of his track record earlier in the year. Now, he still gets some of that, but the better player plays. So it’s Spiezio at 2B and Ryan at SS against a RHP tonight. In talking to Derrick Goold and myself, Kennedy was a very good sport, said he understands that he’s not the best option right now.

* Yadier Molina played catch, said he was encouraged, and we’ll see how he comes through tomorrow.

* Tomo Ohka will start in Memphis tomorrow night. Coincidentally, that’s the night Wellemeyer now starts for STL. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that that’s not a coincidence, but we’ll see.

I sort of wonder if this is what it feels like to cover the Red Sox or Yankees.

-M.

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