Weekend’s With Toby: Home Sweet Home
Toby’s Crystal Ball: Matt Harrison pitches against the Yankees on Friday night. He is 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA in his last three starts. He was 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his first three starts.
This guy wants it bad…as much as anybody on the team. He is doing everything he can to be a successful Major League pitcher.
But the Rangers want to win now and Tommy Hunter gets closer to being Major League ready. Hunter pitches on Monday for Triple A Round Rock on medical rehab assignment and probably needs one more outing after that.
But he is getting close to being Major League ready. Right now Harrison is the one who needs to step it up and defend his spot in the rotation.
Rangers Staying In Front Of International Scouting: The list of Top Ten prospects in the Rangers system as ranked by MLB.Com reinforces the importance of international scouting.
Four of the top ten listed were international amateur free agents, including left-hander Martin Perez. He is ranked No. 1 but the others are shortstop Engel Beltre at No. 3, outfielder Engel Beltre at No. 4 and pitcher David Perez at No. 10.
In their own division, the Mariners have four international signings in their Top Ten, the Angels have two and the Athletics have one.
Outfielder Leonys Martin is the latest addition to the Rangers system. The former Cuban star isn’t in the Top Ten yet but the Rangers officially announced his signing on Wednesday. Other top position players in the Rangers system who were international signings include third baseman Christian Villanueva, catcher Jorge Alfaro and shortstop Luis Sardenia.
“It’s critical,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “The draft is something where you are limited to one shot in 30. You can’t rely on that and (Major League) free agency has its own issues. The international market is one area we felt over the last few years you could make hay.
“The only limit is how hard you work.”
Seven of the Yankees top ten prospects are international signings. That speaks to two things. One, international signings are a way to make up for draft picks lost due to compensation for Major League signings. Secondly, teams with significant financial resources can really go hard in that area.
Toby’s Honor Roll:
Mike Daly – He is the Rangers Director of International Scouting. His name is on the signing of Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin.
Michael Young – The guy can still hit.
Darren Oliver – The ultimate grace under fire. There might be a reason why he has been on five straight playoff teams with three different organizations.
LHP Martin Perez (AA Frisco) – 27 IP, 28 K, 14 BB, .242 Opponents Batting Average and he just turned 20 years old on April 4th.
RHP Joe Wieland (Advanced A Myrtle Beach) – 31 IP, 41K, 3BB, 2.03 ERA – that’s not a typo.
IF Odubel Herrera (Low A Hickory) – .312 BA (98 AB), 8 SB, 14 RBI to paraphrase the late, great Paul Newman (spoken in “Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid”) “who is this guy?”
Toby Barks: Amid the chants of “USA! USA!” let us never forget the solemn and painful sacrifice of the 3,000 who died on 9/11 . Let us hope and pray for a future that is peaceful and safe for not only ourselves but for all people all over the world.
Birthdays: Once and future Ranger RHP Dustin Nippert is 30 today. Who hasn’t seen a replay of “the catch”? Can you believe HOF Willie Mays celebrates No. 80 today? Rehabbing Brandon Webb will turn 32 on Monday. One of the lesser know players involved in one of the Rangers wrongly lopsided trades* – RHP Walt Terrell turns 53 on Wednesday, and RHP Francisco “Co-Co” Cordero will be 36. Finally, the birthday of the week HOF Lawrence Peter Berra, you know him as Yogi will be 86 years young on Thursday.
*(In case you don’t remember that trade was Ron Darling and Walt Terrell to the Mets – Lee Mazzilli to the Rangers).
Toby’s Reading List:
— “Bottom Of The 33rd Hope, Redemption, and Baseball Longest Game” – author Dan Barry recounts the longest game in baseball history between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings from 1981. He profiles the players for both teams including the soon to be famous – Cal Ripken Jr and Wade Boggs and their other teammates whose names are lost to minor league history.
— “A Civil War: Army vs Navy A Year Inside College Football’s Purest Rivalry” – commentator/author John Feinstein explores the stories behind the schools (no football scholarships) and the players (who are committed to military service after graduation) from the 1995 Army-Navy game. Absolutely fascinating.
— “Big Trouble” – Dave Barry is the only writer who can write a laugh out loud book about stealing a nuclear device. Okay, Toby loves also loves that a dog is central to the plot. The book’s been out a few years, but it’s Toby’s favorite summer beach read. (The book is much, much better than the movie)
“My pitching coach in the Dominican Summer League used to joke with me. If you don’t make it as an outfielder, you can pitch for me. But nobody ever said it to me seriously.”
— Pitcher Alexi Ogando, asked if the Oakland Athletics ever seriously considered moving him from outfielder to pitcher.