I was starting an article last night, and noted what I had just written. And looked at my computer speakers. And what I had just written. I know I'm not talented enough to officially be considered a hex on someone's career arc, but if it were determined I were a warlock, there would be less surprised people in the world than me. Therefore, this week's topic looks back. And is perhaps a bit content light. If a player's career is already over, I can't end it.
What is it that I really want from baseball? That's a rather simple question, really. Many people choose the teams they follow on who has the right mix of talent. Or locale. Or whatever. My favorite type of fan is the unabashed bandwagoner. The one who is a big Cavaliers fan, until LeBron James bolts to South Beach, in which case they become a Heat fan. That wouldn't be Merriam-Webster's No. 1 definition of favorite, though.
Most people hold titles out as a good reason to follow a team. Which is, to me, rather foolish. If you like a team, enjoy them. It doesn't matter if they win a title if you're enjoying them. The recent crop of Texas Rangers teams has been fun for the fans. Maddening, yes, but enjoyable. They've had quite a few good players, and they've been October regulars. That Nelson Cruz can't haul in a fly ball, or cut it off before it becomes a triple, shouldn't take away the positive memories.
Similarly, the Tampa Bay Rays have had a nice run, especially from the pitching side. Joe Maddon has been a fun manager to follow, as he decides which .230 hitter with limited power to plug into the lineup to hit the key home run in August. Evan Longoria plus pitching has been a sweet recipe for some fun baseball.
When John Hart was with the Indians, I seem to remember him pioneering the thought of locking down players to extensions. Many of them worked out well, though not well enough to get a ring. With kids from the system like Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, and others, they bashed their way to relevance.
From the mid-1970s through the 1990s, the Boston Red Sox had talent, but they always got run off the road by someone. Or something. But they were entertaining. So were the Expos for about a dozen years -- right up until the strike year when they were baseball's best team. Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Warren Cromartie, Tim Raines, and Tim Wallach were solid offensive call-ups, and Scott Sanderson, Steve Rogers, and Randy Johnson were among their home-grown pitchers.
The further I go along, I'm really getting to be pigeon-holing myself as a fan of prospects. Yeah, to some, that's a scarlet letter. However, few teams can be successful, titles or no, without some solid prospects coming up through the system. Regularly. On both sides of the ball.
There are a few reasons that I'm limited as a resource as far as "How does (insert player here) stack up with (comparable prospect from before)?" One reason: I normally follow the Cubs, so I don't have functional knowledge on other teams' systems. Another: As a fan of the Cubs, I don't have scores of fully functioning big league stars to recollect. Even in my few years of minding the minors.
Which is getting awfully close to what I want out of baseball. I want a steady stream of quality players flowing through the Cubs system. Therefore, if Eloy Jimenez has a nice run going through the system, I have some reference points when someone asks.
I wasn't listening that much when Starlin Castro was laying waste to the lower minors -- in part, because he skipped over the Northwest and Midwest Leagues. I wasn't listening when he had an in-the-park homer in the Florida State League All-Star Game. I do remember listening to Trey McNutt starts. But we know where that story is now.
What would be fun is having tales (some of which are accurate) to pass along to future Cubs fans. The ones of the ilk to ask about stories of Albert Almora beating out a one-hopper to second. And Javier Baez making three errors in a game I saw.
Yeah, that's the ticket. While most people in the fanbase are talking about the exploits going on in Wrigley, I'll be the off-beat uncle people ask about Dustin Geiger or Jae-Hoon Ha. For whatever that's worth. You guys and gals can take the rest.
And, I don't think I ruined anyone's prospect status with this article.
Three Up/ Three Down
Iowa's Matt Szczur is hitting .167 since May 7.
Tennessee's Dustin Geiger is finding out why the majors are so tough to find for first basemen. You have to hit the whole way up. He's at .206 (OPS of .476) since May 7.
Kane County's right fielder Yasiel Balaguert started out the season very hot. Despite a Sunday RBI double, he has only that hit in his last 31 at bats. Cougars center fielder Jake Hannemann has slumped at an 0-for-27 skid. And you wonder why their offense is off a bit?
Wladimir Galindo hit home runs in two of his first four games for the V-Cubs. He was a later signee from the 2013/4 IFA class, and is playing first base and third base.
Iowa's Logan Watkins is 11-for-his-last-27.
Arodys Vizcaino was recently promoted to Tennessee, as he's been in Daytona to pitch in warmer conditions. He has a WHIP of 0.25, with 7 strikeouts. Will it be warm in Iowa soon? And does he think he's a lefty? (Crooked hat)
Daytona center fielder Albert Almora has five straight multi-hit games. He has not struck out in the stretch.
Kane County's Paul Blackburn is still getting people out. His WHIP is under 1, at 0.97. In fact, of the eight pitchers who have started at least one game, half have a WHIP under 1.14.