Saturday, February 28, 2009

Notebook Dump (Exhibition Game 3)

Game: Twinks 5, Yanks 4
Spring Training Record: 3-0

The Quote: "[The Yankees] went out and got a bunch more good players," Gardenhire said after the game on Friday. "It's just amazing, really. It's amazing a team can do that. Not one, two, (but) three. Just amazing. I still don't think they're done. I really don't think they're done. I think there's one more guy out there that eventually, someone's going to say (sign him). That's just my thought."

The Notes:
  • Starter Scott Baker's numbers were less than spectacular in his first start of the spring - two innings, six hits, three earned runs, a home run and no strikeouts - yet the projected front of the rotation starter was unfazed.   "At this point in my career, I'm just trying to make pitches and hit spots, like I was trying to do today," Baker told reporters.  After turning in a 11-4 record with a 3.79 FIP in 28 starts, Baker made some great progess - raising his K/9 from 6.39 in 2006 nearly a full strikeout to 7.36 in 2008.  So it is no small wonder that he was able to whittle his ERA down from 4.26 in 2007 to 3.45 in 2008.  One of the biggest contributions towards his ERA decrease however was from the added outfield coverage provided by having Carlos Gomez and Denard Span patrolling.  In 2007, Baker had a batting average on balls in play of .167 on his flyballs the following year it was at .113.  If one of the two are removed from the equation in 2009, expect to see Baker, whose flyball percentage hoovers around 45% on his career, to have his ERA creep back up towards 4.00. 
  • Delmon Young went 2-for-2 to bring his spring total to 3-for-4.  Young's three hits have all been singles so it appears to be a continuation of his 2008 season.  As I stated yesterday in regards to Brian Buscher's early spring power, it is the slugging percentage that is a telltale sign of progession.  Keep monitoring Young's slugging to see if it makes any strides forward.
  • Former Twin and current Mets hopeful Bobby Kielty has decided to ditch his swing from the left-side of the plate and concentrate on his right-handed stroke.  The decision is a sound one.  At this point in his career, the 32-year-old Kielty will be a right-handed hitting specialist and a part-time role player.  In his major league career, Kielty has hit .296/.379/.503 from the right-side of the dish and hit a paltry .228/.329/.348 from the left-side.  Kielty is competing with utility player Marlon Anderson who hit .210/.255/.275 in 138 at bats in 2008 with the Mets.  If the Mets do not carry him, there will be plenty of ballclubs looking for a part-time player that can mash left-handed pitching.
  • The White Sox continue to emote encouraging remarks about the newly acquired Bartolo Colon:  "[From] the reports I was getting on Colon early when we first acquired him, the first day I saw him do his throwing program, I thought he was throwing the ball OK, better than what I thought he would be," commented White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.  I just want to make this abundantly clear: THIS MAN has the opportunity to be the White Sox fourth starter.
  • After coming up in the minor leagues as a catcher/first baseman and playing most of his 330 major league games as either a first baseman or a designated hitter, the Cleveland Indians are shifting Ryan Garko to left field this spring to see if it is a fit.  With a rotation that projects to have a lot of left-handed pitching, Garko will be busy covering more real estate than he has ever done before.
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto has a great column on the flash-in-the-pan once known as Super Joe Charboneau.
  • Even with the optimism from manager Jim Leyland, the Tigers' Dontrelle Willis still had a rough introduction to his spring season.  “I’m really excited about it,” Leyland said before the game. “I’m going to downplay everything all spring until we figure out who No. 5 is going to be, but I’m really looking forward to this one.”  In one inning of work, Willis gave up four runs (two earned), one four-pitch walk and no strikeouts.