Watching Edgar this year, I have this strange feeling that he’s going to have a sort of 2002 Barry Bonds-lite type of season — really high batting average, tons of walks, power but not playing every day. I know it’s really early, but can’t you see him winding up at something like .350/.480/.550 with close to 100 walks and only 350 or so at-bats? I dunno, maybe it’s just me. Hey, maybe he can win another batting title this season.
Couldn’t really ask for a much more impressive performance from Gil Meche. Facing the Yankees, in Yankee Stadium, with Roger Clemens taking the hill when you aren’t pitching. After tonight, he ranks 5th in the AL in ERA, 7th in strikeouts, and 2nd in K/9. Not a bad first month. It is, however, still just one month. For comparison, as of today, your American League Cy Young Winner is Esteban Loaiza.
Don’t look now (okay, go ahead and look), but the Mariners now have the 4th best record in baseball. Considering their early season schedule, that’s impressive.
That’s good to hear about Nageotte, not because I was worried about his strikeout rate but rather because it should better for him in the long-run. He needs to have command of his fastball, and throwing fewer sliders now should be better on his arm. Incidentally, if I remember correctly Chaves was the one in the M’s organization who really pushed for Rafael Soriano to be moved from the outfield to the mound.
Possible bad omen for tonight’s game: It was 17 years ago to the day that Roger Clemens, then a member of the Red Sox and tonight’s starter for the Yankees, struck out 20 Mariners in Boston. Hmm.
A quick followup on Clint Nageotte, for those who may be worried that his strikeout numbers aren’t near what they were a year ago. San Antonio’s pitching coach, Rafael Chaves, has told Nageotte he wants more fastballs and less sliders. Similar to what the Mariners did with Jeff Heaverlo, they feel that he needs more confidence in his fastball and don’t want him always going back to the slider when he needs an out. Nageotte only threw a handful of sliders last night, and they accounted for 3 of the 4 strikeouts. His command of his fastball is making big strides, though. He’s going to take a step or two back in strikeout rate this year, but it will likely be good for his development in the long run.
Also, the Appleton Post-Crescent has a good story on Jon Nelson today. 23-year-old first baseman in low-A with his BB/K ratios aren’t usually on track for the major leagues, but Nelson could be the rare exception.
Minor League Highlights for Monday, April 28
Tacoma 5, Fresno 1. The Rainiers returned home in style — actually, I’m pretty sure they returned in a plane — with a win behind the strong pitching of aforementioned RHP Brian Sweeney (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Sweeney went to 2-1 on the season and now has a 1.16 ERA and 25:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23 1/3 IP. Wow. LF Adrian Myers, 3B Luis Figueroa and CF Chad Meyers each had two hits for Tacoma, and 2B Mickey Lopez and 1B Andy Barket each homered and drove in two runs. RHP JJ Putz worked the final three innings (1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) to pick up a save of the non-traditional variety.
San Antonio 4, Tulsa 0. RHP Clint Nageotte fashioned yet another strong start (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) to win his third game of the year and lower his season ERA to 1.27. It’s particularly encouraging to see him walk only two baters in seven innings, as his command is suspect at times. The offensive star was once again C Jim Horner, who continued his hot hitting with three hits in three at-bats including a double, a homer, two runs scored and two runs driven in. Horner has seven hits in his last seven at-bats and his hitting a robust .467 since arriving in San Antonio. SS Luis “Rule 5 Kid” Ugueto added two hits, two RBIs and two steals. Ugueto and teammate CF Michael Curry are tied for tops in the organization with 11 steals on the season; no other M’s farmhand has more than six. Oh, and Kevin Goldstein of the always excellent Prospect Report notes that Nageotte hasn’t allowed an earned run in four of his five starts this season.
Inland Empire was idle, as the California League did not play a full schedule yesterday. The 66ers are back in action today against San Jose but have yet to announce a starter. It would appear to be RHP Cha Seung Baek’s turn in the rotation, but perhaps they’re being especially careful with him due to his injury history.
Wisconsin 14, South Bend 13 (11 innings). BREAK UP THE TIMBER RATTLERS! Wisconsin won yet another one-run, extra innings game yesterday to continue a run of improbable victories not seen in the M’s organization since “Refuse to Lose” took over the Kingdome in 1995. The hero this time was C Rene Rivera, who went four-for-six with two homers, three runs scored and five driven in. Equally heroic was 2B Corey Harrington, who also had four hits in six trips and knocked in the winning run in the top of the 11th, driving in LF Carlos Arroyo who had tripled to lead off the inning. LHP Cesar Jimenez pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief (3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) to pick up the win, and RHP Bryan Heaston worked the bottom of the 11th (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) for his third save. Wisconsin has now won six straight games, including five one-run games and four in extra innings. Tune in tomorrow to see if they can keep this incredible string alive.