Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mets' Eddie Kunz Traded to Padres for Allan Dykstra

After many a struggle in the Mets' minor league system, former Oregon State Beaver Eddie Kunz has been traded to the Padres in return for Allan Dykstra. Dykstra is not related to the Mets great Lenny of the same name, so don't get too excited.

Frankly, I saw this coming for some time, considering that Kunz has never really panned out as a Mets prospect and has come across as somewhat of a bust in recent years. He was rushed to the Majors instead of being given the developmental time that he needed in the Minors, which likely contributed to his demise. Since then, he's had all sorts of mechanical issues and has struggled to find a good release point for his sinking fastball.

On that night I was in Binghamton this past summer, Kunz actually pitched fairly well (left). However, the very fact that he was in Binghamton when most people had projected him to be in the Majors by 2010 is a testament to how poorly he was managed as a player. I felt horrible for him because of how he was rushed to the front when he clearly was not ready to go.

Best of luck to you in the Padres organization, Eddie - you deserve success, and I hope you're able to find it in San Diego!

Pawtucket Red Sox 2011 Opening Day Lineup

Minor League Opening Day is one of my favorite days of the year. And now I'm even more excited since Dan Hoard just tweeted this:
PawSox lineup; Navarro, Reddick, Kalish, Exposito, Anderson, Linares, Iglesias, Bates, Khoury with Doubront starting #lookoutIL
Needless to say, this makes me really giddy. That's a damn good lineup.
If we were to do this by position, it'd probably look like this:

C Exposito
1B Anderson
2B Khoury
3B Navarro
SS Iglesias
LF Linares
CF Reddick
RF Kalish
SP Doubront

The outfielders are somewhat speculative, I must admit - you can definitely switch Linares and Reddick's positions if you see it fit to. I just wanted to be really, really excited to see the PawSox this season. They look EXCELLENT.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let's Talk Linares...

On August 24th, 2010, I was in Harrisburg to catch the Portland Sea Dogs playing against the Senators. And this kid was quite the eye-catcher.

My photo to the right is my best shot of Juan Carlos Linares, which I took a week or two before his 26th birthday. He's a little outfielder - 5'11", 190 lbs - who defected from Cuba to play, and I'm impressed. He didn't make Cuba's World Cup team in November of 2009 and therefore decided to sign with Boston, and he played for both the GCL Red Sox and Portland in 2010, where he was decidedly average (.267 at GCL, .239 at Portland). But here's the thing - he absolutely shone in the Arizona Fall League this past autumn. His swing is nice and short and he can use the entire field with his hitting, but he's going to have to take it easy and learn some patience before he can handle Major League pitching.

Now where are we going to put the kid in 2011? There's a good chance he could make his way up to Pawtucket based on his AFL performance. He did enjoy a Spring Training invite this year, so many fans got a good look at him for the first time. Although the Sox have plenty of outfielders floating around, he's an intriguing possibility to keep in mind as 2011 starts up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So I Really Like Sean Ratliff...

I took this photo on a humid night in Binghamton last June. Josh Stinson was pitching, and it was Boy Band Night. Not many fans showed up due to threats of rain.

I was so glad I went, because I finally got to see one of my favorite Stanford boys in person. (See his Cardinal stats here and please laugh at his goofy roster photo.) Ratliff ended up having an insanely good night, going yard twice, if I recall correctly. I fell in love with his swing. It's a thing of beauty.

The problem is, of course, that the Mets have plenty of outfielders at present. A player like Ratliff has to contend with Duda, Nieuwenhuis, and, of course, people like Pagan, Bay and Beltran at the Major League level to make it. Now, we obviously know that all of these people are pretty darn talented. What are we to do with Ratliff? He was drafted in 2008, so he's advancing fairly quickly. The question is whether or not we bump him up to Buffalo at some point this year. Nieuwenhuis is already there - he made it late in the season last year. I almost feel like he needs to be the one who dictates that by playing well and forcing the Mets to make the move. I don't know how much attention they're paying to him since there's significantly less buzz about Mets prospects than there is about, say, Red Sox prospects, but based on the way he played in Binghamton this past season I feel like they should at least start keeping a closer eye on him. He certainly has the talent - I saw it when I watched him playing at Stanford - and it's just a question of whether he gets the recognition for it and continues to have seasons like he did in 2010.

Oh, and if you want to see my video of his swing, you can do that here.