Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lazy Sunday Inside Terry's Head

In the downtime of the Sports world, unless you enjoy complete overanalysis of a game another week away (the only compelling article on anything Super Bowl related comes from the wildly entertaining Chuck Klosterman), let the Lazy Sunday commence as the official “Countdown to Spring Training” Clock thankfully ticks away:

As usual, Terry Pluto hits the nail on the head with one of his famous “talking to myself…” sections about the Indians. Pluto correctly asserts that the Indians remain built on pitching and pitching depth, which will again be the reason that they will stay in contention for 2008 and beyond.

Among the juiciest tidbits from Pluto?
On the bullpen:
Before I get to Joe Borowski, there's Rafael Betancourt. He's one of the premier setup men in baseball. In the last five years, his ERAs are 2.13, 3.92, 2.79, 3.81 and 1.47 in 2007. Last year, he allowed only three of 33 inherited runners to score. Lefty Raffy Perez had a 1.78 ERA, allowed only six of 37 runners to score and lefties batted .145 against him. I believe Jensen Lewis (1-1, 2.15 ERA with 34 Ks in 29 innings) could be the next Betancourt. He throws strikes and is effective against lefties and righties.
That, ladies and gentleman, is finally (hopefully) depth in the bullpen on the North Coast.

As an aside, it has been suggested by serial poster Tyler that the Two Rafaels should heretofore be called Fist of Iron and Fist of Steel in a reference to the Coal Mining ballad “16 Tons”:
If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you, then the left one will

Get it…right one…left one?
With proper credit where credit is due (let us never forget that serial poster rodells is responsible for the BLC) I believe that Tyler’s suggestion makes Senor Slo-Mo (the right one) the Fist of Iron and The Scarecrow (the left one) the Fist of Steel, so I’m on board with the addition to the Tribe bullpen’s burgeoning amount of nicknames.

Back to Pluto, on Sowers:
I really believe Jeremy Sowers will bounce back. He had a tired arm early last season, was hit hard and sent to the minors. They gave him a new workout program and by midseason, his middle-80s fastball was topping 90 mph. He was 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA in his last nine starts at Class AAA Buffalo. He pitched twice for Class AA Akron in the playoffs and allowed one run in 13 innings. He threw five scoreless innings with the Tribe in September. He began to look like the lefty who was 7-4 with a 3.57 for the Tribe in 2006.
What the what?
Jeremy Sowers…topping 90 MPH?!?
And…my day is made.

Finally, an interesting take on the young OF:
Odds are that either Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco will become a good player, but probably not both. Keep in mind that Gutierrez hit only .233 vs. righties, but crushed lefties (.330). Francisco won the International League batting title (.318), and showed promise in 62 at-bats (.274, three HR) with the Tribe.
It certainly doesn’t sound like Pluto’s sold on Frank the Tank, notably due to his extreme platoon split. On the Frisco Kid, it shall be interesting to see how the Indians approach to him will play out in 2008 as it could be argued that Francisco can provide the Indians the same production that they figure to get from Jason Michaels (at a lesser price, with a higher ceiling); but, fairly or not, The Ben Francisco Treat seems inexorably blocked by those ahead of him in the system, with more talent (perhaps most notably Jordan Brown) on his tail.

A couple of cubicles away (I would guess), Hoynsie put together his Baseball Insider (no link provided as it was not available online as of 10AM as the PD continues to show their understanding of the Digital Age and how they are really embracing this “InterWeb”), which includes this from Mark Shapiro on Andy Marte:
The reasons we acquired Marte were solid – scouting, analytically, everything. We want to give it time and be patient to see if we will be rewarded and he will be the player we think we will be. In the case of Brandon Phillips, we didn’t play it out quite long enough. He did become the player we thought he would when we acquired him, even though we didn’t always see indications of that when we had him.
There is not a hotter-button topic than “The Franchise” (Phillips) on the North Coast and it is interesting to hear Shapiro mention (for the first time, I think) that the Indians mishandled him in terms of time and opportunities. The B-Phil Saga is the reason that Marte is almost certain to see consistent AB this year (how, I don’t know yet) and, as a corollary, Marte’s long-term prospects are likely having a bearing on how the Indians approach the Casey Blake arbitration case in terms of how many years they are willing to commit to Blake with Marte (and others) in the pipeline.

Outside of that, not too much on this football-less Sunday as I’m not going to get into where a certain LHP feels his “second home” is or the rhetoric coming out of both camps as it doesn’t amount to more than prepackaged sound bytes.


Ryan said...

I don't know if you've heard anything about this yet, but Randy Newsom, a pitcher in our farm system, started a company which allows people to invest in professional athletes. You can find it here:

Anyway, it seems like a very creative idea and this Newsom kid seems to be a very enterprising individual. How about you give us a rundown on him as a prospect and then tell us if you would buy a few shares!

As always, you do a great job.

Anonymous said...

You're a gentleman and a scholar.

Unknown said...

I am Really curious about sowers this year. in a weird way, i somehow tie his sucess or lack thereof to if i'm going to ever expect anything out of huff - misplaced as that connection may be.

t-bone said...

Bye bye, Johan. Enjoy New York and the NL.

Marc said...

Great blog here.

Would you like to trade links? My blog is over at RaysBaseball.BlogSpot.Com If you are interested, just comment back on my blog. Thanks!