As presented to you by me, EJ the Kid From New York. Sorry that I couldn’t make a blog entry yesterday, I was babysitting kittens with wings.
Today, I’m doing a blog that I’ve planned on doing for a long, long time. You read the title. You know what this is about. As we head towards the All-Star Game(props to Prince Fielder for juicing those balls last night), it’s time to review the disappointing players and the players who have come out of the blue and delivered more than their ballclubs could’ve imagined.
I will separate all of the surprises in this ’09 MLB season by category. and give one to three things by category. So let’s get it started, as the Black Eyed Peas say.
We begin with one of the more obvious categories when you’re discussing baseball surprises.
The Breakout Stars
Aaron Hill, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
There’s a second baseman in the American League who isn’t as tall and as strong-looking as a lot of his fellow baseball players, but he’s already hit 20 homers prior to the ’09 All Star break and has made the All-Star Game. To go along with that, he’s been great defensively, has 114 base hits, and steals a base every now and then. He’s been one of the main reasons his ballclub has been in contention in one of the toughest divisions in the game. He is not Dustin Pedroia, he is not Ian Kinsler, or Robinson Cano. His name is Aaron Walter Hill. He is 27 years of age. He plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. His 20 big flies already give him a career high, his previous mark being 17 home runs. This year, he is better than Dustin Pedroia, better than Ian Kinsler, better than Robinson Cano,, than Brian Roberts, than almost any second baseman in this game that you can give me(Chase Utley is a rare exception). Go ahead. I dare you.
Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Adam Jones was one of the players that the Orioles recieved in the Erik Bedard deal with the Seattle Mariners. and oh boy, is he showing it now. When you talk about athletes… when you talk about five tool players… when you talk about talent… this has to be one of the names you bring up, and if you don’t bring him up, shame on you. 12 longballs, 6 stolen bases, a .303 batting average, and not to mention Gold Glove defense. If he and Hill don’t win those Gold Gloves, it’ll be just another year in which the defensive award isn’t given to the best defensive player.
Honorable Mentions: Russell Branyan, Juan Pierre, Adam Lind
Andruw Jones, OF, Texas Rangers
You know the story.
New York Mets, 42-45, 6.5 Games Out of NL East
This is a ballclub that even I predicted would make the World Series– boy, how naive I was. These Mets have David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado on offense, Johan Santana leading a rotation with talented on-the-rise sinkerballer Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez, a guy who can be so nasty at times and is inconsistent but he could work that out, and they had a bullpen that after blowing so many games last year was revamped and supercharged with Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez, and JJ Putz and they were going to be so good! What possibly could have happened? Well, almost all of the players I just named have been sidelined for a long while now with injuries, and after trading away so many minor leaguers for Johan Santana and Putz and not focusing on building that farm system, they have absolutely no depth. Depth is what separates the contenders(Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers) and the pretenders, namely the Mets.
Chicago Cubs, 43-43, 3.5 Games Out of NL Central
The Chicago Cubs were supposed to, for the second consecutive year, be the powerhouse of the National League(mainly in the regular season). They had signed Milton Bradley, a guy who put up great offensive numbers in the 2008 season and who was a switch hitter, able to mix things up in that right handed heavy lineup. They had the returns of All Star starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, and they had Gold Glover Derrek Lee at first who can also swing it with the best of ’em, and Hank Aaron Award winner and good fielding 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez, and Rookie of the Year backstop and All-Star Geovany Soto. So what happened here? Basically, Milton Bradley, defensively and offensively, stunk. Really bad. Aramis Ramirez got injured. Alfonso Soriano, after a good start, couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. And even though they haven’t been that bad this year, they certainly have disappointed their fans and a ton of people who predicted they’d win it.
Honorable Mentions: Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics
That’s it for today.
Stay positive, Yankee fans.
If there is anyone I missed, please say so in the comments below.
-EJ the Kid From New York
Really? Is this our top starter of the future? Is this our solid #3?
Don’t look it to me.
Alan Horne and Jeffrey Marquez look like great replacements. If only they weren’t injured.
Let’s get to Who’s Next?. This game needs no explanation. The pitching simply failed to show up to the ballpark, while the hitting was good, but it wasn’t enough.
Treat yourself to some ice cream the next time this happens, because ice cream is the picker-upper of the world. I’m sure the optimism will return, along with the wins.
So with Ian Kennedy once again stinking up the place, let’s try and look for some possible replacement starters down in the minors. Here we’ll take three minor league prospects who could possibly be the next guy to make an impact in the big leagues.
#1: Chase Wright
Oh, c’mon! Don’t turn away!
Wright had some success in the major leagues last year. He did become the 2nd pitcher ever to give up 4 consecutive home runs and he never actually dominated, but hey! We’re giving Kennedy and Igawa a bunch of new chances, why can’t we let him have a 2nd chance? He dominated AA with a 2.96 ERA in 94.1 innings, and now he’s dominating AAA. His 1.46 in 2 starts (12.1 innings) along with only 4 walks and 8 Ks show that maybe he can turn this around. Kennedy may have dominated the minors, too, but Kennedy pitched at the beginning of the year and sucked, too. So let’s see Chase Wright try and make a comeback instead of Kennedy!
#2: Jason Jones
Jason Jones is quite a generic name, but soon we’ll be talking about him in the bigs. He served as one of the best pitchers in AA (along with Wright) with his 3.03 ERA in 124 innings. Now he’s getting his shot in AAA, and he’s pitching well as well. Though he’s 0-1, his 2.38 ERA in 2 starts (11.1) along with only 1 WALK and 11 strikeouts really show to be impressive. He’s always been a good control pitcher; he throws a ton of strikes with a cutter, a sinker, a curve and a slide-piece. He really gets plenty of movement with all his pitches, so in a way he’s dominating although he doesn’t throw harder than 92 usually. This is a guy with great strikeout-to-walk ratio, and that always signifies a good pitcher. You must be thinking now, “WHY ARE WE WASTING OUR TIME WITH IAN KENNEDY?!” There’s really nothing to behold about Kennedy, his control is bad, he doesn’t have good stuff, and he isn’t a smart pitcher. Jason Jones should be up in a jiff.
#3: PJ Pilittere
I’m sure a lot of Yankee minor league fans are familiar with PJ Pilittere. PJ’s the everyday catcher for the Trenton Thunder, and he’s quite old for AA at 27. He was invited to spring training this year, and he caught a little bit. He hits for a solid, but not special average (.291). He doesn’t hit for much power (.358 slugging pct), and like many other catchers, he doesn’t run all that well. But it’s shown that he has the ability to handle a pitching staff. Year in and year out, the Trenton pitching staff is dominating, and it can’t be just because of the talented pitchers. He doesn’t have the talent of Jesus Montero or Austin Romine, but he is a pretty solid catcher, and he could be the instant replacement of Molina or Pudge go down.
Alright, it’s time for everybody’s favorite segment, the Bold Statement of the Day! Here I say something that is bold and arguable about the New York Yankees, and the readers can leave comments about what they think about it. Here’s today’s Bold Statement;
Justin Christian is going to get a big hit in today’s big game on FOX.
Well there you have it! Justin Christian has had a bunch of RBI hits in the big leagues and a bunch of big stolen bases, I don’t even know if he’s going to play today, but I call that he’s going to get a big hit.
So thanks for reading, guys! Leave your comments below.
Stay positive, Yankee fans!
-EJ/Kid From New York