The minor league gurus often rush to judgement on prospects,jumping on the first bandwagon to leave the station, only take flight at any
sign of trouble. Being ill mannered, ill-tempered, and stubborn as Alfonso
Soriano could only dream of, I hang on until the tombstone has been chiselled;
too vainglorious in my abilities to admit defeat.
It’s served me well at times and players like former-minor
league star David Ortiz have aided in enforcing my stonehead approach, while
others such as Ryan Wagner unveil me for the ignoramus my wife and children
paint. But for the sake of this argument, lets ignore the middle-aged
adolescent headbanging to Seether while typing, all without taking more than
one eye from the baseball game being played on TV across the desk. (Aren’t you
glad you never had to be my editor?) Lets play make believe and say he knows 50
percent of what the rest of the world believes they do.
A couple of young pitchers some of my fantasy weary colleagues
callously refer to as endgame dollar bums (the Blog program censors s*cks for whatever reason) –
Gavin Floyd – The now 23-year-old threw five shutout innings
on Tuesday and has posted a 2.30 ERA through 15 and two-third innings with a
14/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. A 2-to-1 K/BB ratio is hardly a good sign but any
time a pitcher starts being extended with two weeks remaining in spring
training you have to take note. I still like him, especially if he can finally
harness the curve and get over the nibbilitis that persists in many young
pitching prospects through the early major league tests. He’s still the sixth
man but watch how it plays out for the rest of the spring as well as the season
if he does get sent to the minors to begin the year. A sleeper to watch this
year( If that’s possible from a fourth overall pick).
Merkin Valdez – There’s nothing special about his spring
thus far, save for the fact the Giants continue to work him in relief. Does
anyone believe Armando Benitez can stay healthy all year, or that Tyler Walker
can again do the Houdini dance of 2005, or perhaps the ancient Tim Worrell has
another year left? I’ve liked Valdez as a reliever for a while now. He throws
hard with two-pitch repertoire but starts to degenerate with the secondary
pitches. He’s a classic big-man closer for the future, something that the
Giants don’t appear to have from their farm; a future that is.
A couple of recent demotions I refuse to believe have the
glorious future that many project.
Yusmeiro Petit – I seem to be the only one that truly
doesn’t get the fascination with him. The statistical analysis is strong but
applied against the skill set it falters. He’s got high strikeouts with a lack
of walks, but his stuff to me is underwhelming and I believe he’ll hit a wall
at Triple-A in 2006.
Anthony Reyes – We’ll call his a downgrade more than total
disbelief. His numbers are top drawer and his stuff is quality. Unlike Petit he
didn’t and isn’t going to struggle at Triple-A. But there are two things that
trouble me. One is a lack of mound presence, the X-Factor, the Wow-Factor,
whatever colloquialism American Idol is currently pedaling. The other is a
slight mechanical flaw that could cause stress. It can be fixed but I think
that will change his stuff slightly and he’ll flatten out a bit. I don’t see
the next Felix Hernandez and tend to settle on the Matt Morris side.