Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tomahawks Aimed at Third Place

Passing the Royals in the standings (hopefully for good), it’s time to set our sights another step up that ladder – 3rd place in the Central. With the idea that the Indians are have to go one rung at a time, let’s get off with some tomahawks:

The big news of the week was the MLB Draft occurring over the course of a couple of days, which is really just like the NFL Draft except for the fact that there’s no Mel Kiper, Jr. involved. Oh, and you’ve never heard of 99.9% of these guys prior to the Draft and the next time that you may hear one of their names is in about 2 or 3 years.

Obviously, that’s going a little overboard in terms of minimizing the draft and its impact on an organization; but the MLB Draft is an oddity in terms of looking at where players are drafted and which players are actually the most significant acquisitions. To wit, the Indians’ second pick last year, Trey Haley (#76 overall) received a $1.25M signing bonus, or about $50,000 more than their first pick, Lonnie Chisenhall (#29 overall). The player they gave the third biggest signing bonus to last year, TJ House (who got $750K as a signing bonus, didn’t get drafted until the 16th round, and the 22nd round pick, Bryce Stowell, got the 5th biggest bonus…more than the 5th round pick Zach Putnam and the same amount as the 7th round pick Tim Fedroff.

If all of that sounds confusing it is, but what I think I’m getting at is that it takes a while to parse through what exactly happened in the MLB Draft until the actual signings take place and information begins to emerge regarding who signs for what.

All of that being said, looking through Tony Lastoria’s snapshot analysis of the picks that the Indians did make, it’s hard not to notice these facts via Tony:
- 20 of the top 30 picks were pitchers
- 28 of the top 30 picks were from college
- No High School player was taken until the 24th round

With the caveat that the casual fan doesn’t really have a good sense of which players are available and if the draft is “heavy” on a particular position (where are you Todd McShay?), there is probably something that can be gleaned from the way that the Indians drafted. That is that the Indians saw their depth issues in the organization, particularly with pitching, and decided to add arms that would factor in over a shorter amount of time and might be able to move quickly into serious consideration at the upper levels rather quickly.

What that means for a guy like Alex White or Joe Gardner (our guest on Smoke Signals) remains to be seen, but the advancement of a Zach Putnam to AA only a year after being drafted must have played a role in the Indians hopefully filling out their depth in the bullpen and rotation with some arms, preferably power arms like White and Gardner. According to Tony, both White and Gardner have a 3 pitch mix (fastball, slider, sinker for each) which could be a factor in both ultimately slotting in the bullpen rather quickly which, as we’ve seen this year, is a priority and one that may have been addressed this week in the MLB Draft.

Back topside, here’s a little amusing story about what it feels like to be an Indians fan these days – even if it’s a 2 ½ year old Indians fan. For some background, I should mention that The DiaperTribe is now at a stage where everything merits a question and has developed an irrational attachment to one Grady Sizemore…yes, irrational even by my measure. He sleeps under a Grady blanket, says that he’s Grady whenever we play catch (according to him, Grady is the pitcher, the hitter, the catcher, AND the umpire), and says prayers for Grady every night…right after Grandma and Grandpa.

Anywho, as Tuesday night’s game started against the Royals, he asked me if Grady was playing and (somehow) knows that he bats first. No sooner could I get out of my mouth that Grady was, in fact, not playing than did The DiaperTribe spot Francisco striding to the plate.

His reaction was not unlike what we’ve all been feeling for a while now:
DiaperTribe – “No Francisco daddy…me want Grady!”
Me – “Grady’s still hurt, buddy.”
As a quick aside here, around these parts we’re blaming Grady’s elbow injury on him banging it on the table because a 2 ½ year old has trouble grasping inflamed lining around the left elbow.
DiaperTribe (in the whining voice that is becoming the bane of my existence) – “Me want Grady better…no Francisco.”
Me – “Maybe Grady will play later.”
DiaperTribe (tears welling) – “No later…me want Grady now.”
Me – “Tell me about it. Now stop crying and let’s work on that curveball.”

Watching this lineup get shuffled around on a nightly basis in terms of who’s playing where and with a different lineup seemingly every night, is anyone else impressed by the Indians are 3rd in MLB in runs scored with only three players with an OPS in the top half among the 170 qualified players in MLB? That would be, by the by, El Capitan (20th in MLB in OPS), The BLC (48th in MLB in OPS), and Asdrubal just making the cut (79th in MLB in OPS).

How is this happening?
Maybe The Atomic Wedgie does, in fact, know what he’s doing with this lineup. Lord knows he does one whale of a job running the Parks & Recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana.

Wait…that’s not him?
You mean he doesn’t grow a mustache in the offseason and work a second job like Lou Brown used to sell tires?

Speaking of Lou Brown, is it too early to say that it’s going to take 85 wins to capture the AL Central and the Indians are going to need 58 wins to get there? Is it too early to see a little cardboard cut-out to get this thing into gear because (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I figure it's gonna take 32 more victories to win this thing. Every time we win, we peel a square.”


That’s it for me for the week.
No Lazy Sunday this weekend as I’ll be in Dayton for a college reunion (to claim my rightful spot at the bw-3 on Brown before some late night Tim’s hijinks), which will also be attended by the designated pinch-hitter for Lazy Sundays, Mr. t-bone.

See you when we’re perched in 3rd. looking to track down the Twins for 2nd.


Learning to Swim said...

So winning tonight amid the seagulls leads me to expect a Run on Flock of Seagull CDs in Cleveland tomorrow.

Learning to Swim said...

Also I have high hopes for Alex. He went to my high school,albeit a few years after me, but he's shown some impressive stuff. It's nice to have an extra Tribe reminder around these parts. Even with Kinston so near we're starved for Cleveland around here.

Baltimoran said...

have a good time this weekend.

if anyone wants to feel better about our tribe, read Joe Pos latest post about the sea gull incident, and the last 13 years of Royals baseball.

Cy Slapnicka said...

when he said this, i felt like he had been waiting all game to tell a story about himself and a no-no. it makes him even more of a douche that it wasn't even true. get over yourself, joe.