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The Old Dogs Report -- 2006 Year in Review
Written November 21, 2006.
Nobody exploded on the scene this year -- Todd Doolittle probably made the best move into contention -- but Jon Papelbon went from major leaguer to star this year, and Paul Maholm did what was hoped for from him and has a bright future. The only bad spots were the unfortunate end of Raphael Palmeiro's career and another injury to Travis Chapman.
The usual disclaimer: These are all guys that I love and respect, but this is the extreme end of the talent curve we're talking about, and there's no shame in being one of the 3000 best in the world at something -- what it takes to make it to high A ball -- instead of being one of the few hundred best that it takes to get to the big leagues. This is as honest and accurate an assessment as I can make.
Dubose, Eric Baltimore Baltimore American MLB Dubose, Eric Ottawa Baltimore International AAA Dubose, Eric Bowie Baltimore Eastern AA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Dubose 2 9.64 4.2 5 5 2 10 3 2 0 0 0 Dubose 8 5.54 39.0 26 24 30 44 23 3 3 4 0 Dubose 17 2.64 81.2 28 24 65 65 32 7 7 1 0
In some ways, in most of these cases what we're actually talking about are career considerations. Now, it's a fun career (you get to play a fun game some of the time, and nobody would track the careers of, say, civil engineers in their early 30's), but there's still the planning aspect of the whole thing to consider. When you're Eric Dubose, even if you have a degree (I don't know that he does), you haven't used it in the decade or so since you left school, so your future probably lies in baseball unless you've saved up enough from playing to retire. Dubose's career earnings are under a million, as far as I can tell, and he's awfully young in an overall sense, so I doubt he's retiring. One of the major factors in the game of baseball, which makes a lot of things make sense even if you discount the love of the game, is that, while the minor leagues don't pay very well (unless you're on a major league contract while you're there, as Dubose was this year), most of the other job options in the game, such as coaching or scouting, pay even worse.
All of this is a very long-winded way to say that, even though there was no evidence in his performance this year to suggest that he's going to be an effective big league pitcher at any point in the future, Dubose will probably stick around as long as someone is willing to let him, and he's left-handed, so the odds are pretty good that someone will give him another chance. He did improve as the year went on, but it's hard to tell whether that was actual improvement or just moving down until he found a level he could handle.
Maholm, Paul Pittsburgh Pittsburgh National MLB G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Maholm 30 4.76 176. 98 93 117 202 81 19 8 10 0
In this case, the improvement during the season was real. Three of Maholm's first four starts were fairly bad, totaling 15 runs over 21 innings; his April ERA was 5.86. May was 3.88, September was 4.00, and the rest varied in between. He'll be 25 next year, so his injury risk should begin to lessen, and the missing 2005 season may help out some there as well. He didn't make a run at Rookie of the Year or anything, but it's a solid opening session, and his top end is huge.
Medders, Brandon Arizona Arizona National MLB G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Medders 60 3.64 71.2 37 29 47 76 28 5 5 3 0
Middle relief for a lower division team is a lonely place to be, but it's a whole lot less lonely in Phoenix than in Tucson. His best hope right now is to get some of that Magic Closer Pixie Dust sprinkled over him at some point. The walk and unearned runs rates are worrisomely high, but his overall performance was solid, so he's setting up for a decent run through the league.
Papelbon, Jonathan Boston Boston American MLB G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Papelbon 59 0.92 68.1 8 7 75 40 13 3 4 2 35
Many years, this is your American League Rookie of the Year. Closer usage patterns are goofy, but given the hat he was given to wear, this is a heck of a year. The arm problems at the end of the year appeared to be fatigue-related, so he should be OK going forward. The only real question now is whether he moves into the rotation.
Buckley, Allen Arkansas Anaheim Texas AA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Buckley 10 4.84 22.1 12 12 19 25 13 5 1 2 0
Remember what I said about Phoenix and Tucson? Try it in Little Rock. I suspect that he's done, although that career thing could keep him around, either here or in the independent leagues, for another couple of years.
Doolittle, Todd Greensboro Florida South Atlantic Low A Doolittle, Todd Jupiter Florida Florida State High A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Doolittle 30 1.37 59.0 11 9 79 36 21 1 4 1 2 Doolittle 16 0.84 21.1 2 2 26 12 7 0 3 1 0
Now, this is a surprise. All of the scouting reports on Doolittle begin with a description of his lack of stuff, but his performance this year was good enough that those reports made it into the press in the first place. One of the dirty secrets of the industry is that most of that stuff is spoonfed by the teams behind the scenes, so it's a pretty good guess that the Marlins are high on him.
Dunn, Brooks Eugene San Diego Northwest SS A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Dunn 16 3.19 59.1 32 21 34 57 16 0 3 6 1
This is a good, solid performance -- holding the walks to one a game was a big move for him. The NWL isn't quite the pitcher's paradise that the NYP is, but the batters are still getting used to the wood bats, so it's good rather than great, but it'll be good to see how he handles A ball next year.
Gant, Jamie Lexington Houston South Atlantic Low A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Gant 29 5.58 50.0 39 31 46 47 29 6 2 4 1
This was not a particularly great year. I think he'll get another chance, and I think he may be set up to take advantage of it, since some of the peripheral numbers are better than the ERA shows.
Ginter, Matt Pawtucket Boston International AAA Ginter, Matt Indianapolis Pittsburgh International AAA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Ginter 15 3.64 89.0 43 36 49 88 18 5 3 9 0 Ginter 8 5.32 47.1 33 28 31 53 6 10 2 4 1
Overall, he was a bit better than average for the International League. However, he's a known quantity, so this isn't going to get him to a point where he's anything more than emergency roster filler. There's value to that, though, and he's shown signs that he could hit a hot streak during a brief callup and stick for a while.
Johnson, Alan Asheville Colorado South Atlantic Low A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Johnson 25 4.08 152. 78 69 116 163 38 10 12 5 0
This is better than league average by about half a run, and the Rockies aren't exactly loaded with options in the system, so he'll get to move up to High A and see how that goes.
Young, Chris Albuquerque Florida Pacific Coast AAA Young, Chris Jupiter Florida Florida State High A Young, Chris Carolina Florida Southern AA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Young 3 12.0 6.0 10 8 2 12 5 1 1 0 0 Young 2 3.00 3.0 1 1 2 4 0 0 0 1 0 Young 42 2.48 65.1 23 18 55 56 17 1 4 3 10
Ignoring the trivial amounts of stuff at other levels, the performance at Carolina won't get him out of the pen, but it'll get him another chance to show what he's got, and I didn't expect that from him going into the year. Young is one great pitch away from breaking out, but so are lots of other guys.
Berkery, Thomas Spokane Texas Northwest SS A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Berkery 54 .345 .362 .251 199 50 23 11 1 3 7 2 24
These numbers are skewed a bit by the fact that plate discipline is often the one piece that survives the early transition to wood. On the other hand, that means he did have plate discipline in the first place. Berkery's defense is well-regarded, so we'll see if the bat can stick around enough to keep him moving. Most of the Rangers' system parks are high-offense, so it may work for him.
Chapman, Travis Altoona Pittsburgh Eastern AA Chapman, Travis GCL Pirates Pittsburgh Gulf Coast Rookie G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Chapman 11 .333 .425 .275 40 11 4 3 0 1 0 0 4 Chapman 7 .280 .190 .143 21 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 1
This is the down side to the whole baseball-as-career discussion -- it's manual labor when you get right down to it, and good work isn't always rewarded. Chapman's career has been hurt by bad management decisions and by an ever-worsening series of injuries, and I think this is it. The next career may be interesting; he could end up in some other field, but all accounts are that he would make a great coach.
Corley, Brad Hickory Pittsburgh South Atlantic Low A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Corley 126 .324 .440 .284 504 143 16 30 2 15 9 3 79
Hit OK, played average defense, didn't walk enough. He'll move up one level and move on.
Gendron, Steve Jupiter Florida Florida State High A Gendron, Steve Carolina Florida Southern AA G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Gendron 79 .263 .247 .215 251 54 14 6 1 0 6 4 16 Gendron 2 .500 .500 .500 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
He's still hanging in there, so anything is possible.
Hunter, Joseph Great Falls Chicago W Sox Pioneer Rookie G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Hunter 25 .392 .489 .295 88 26 7 3 1 4 8 5 16
Great numbers, but college hitters are supposed to do this to the Pioneer League, so next year will be the big test.
Knott, Jon San Diego San Diego National MLB Knott, Jon Portland San Diego Pacific Coast AAA G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Knott 3 .000 .000 .000 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Knott 124 .338 .533 .267 435 116 46 29 6 25 3 2 67
It's a weird thing. It would make a lot more sense if Knott's career were being handled by one of the dumb clubs, but his performances, other than the declining walk rate this year, are right in line with what the Padres are built around. And he's still in Portland as his peak passes. I honestly don't know what the deal is.
Maniscalco, Matt Montgomery Tampa Bay Southern AA Maniscalco, Matt Durham Tampa Bay International AAA G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Maniscalco 103 .328 .289 .235 332 78 42 10 4 0 9 6 27 Maniscalco 16 .244 .209 .209 43 9 2 0 0 0 0 0 4
Maniscalco's callup was based more on other moves above him than on his own performance. His defense does give him a shot at a backup role, but the Devil Rays' current lineup needs a bit more punch off the bench, so he's not a great fit there.
Tatum, Craig Dayton Cincinnati Midwest Low A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Tatum 87 .350 .422 .278 306 85 31 20 0 8 3 1 38
He stayed on track this year, neither surging ahead nor lagging behind.
Tucker, J. B. Wisconsin Seattle Midwest Low A Tucker, J. B. Inland Empire Seattle California High A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Tucker 39 .372 .438 .250 128 32 19 8 2 4 3 0 24 Tucker 43 .290 .308 .208 130 27 13 3 2 2 2 1 17
He kind of tailed off some this year, although he built up enough good will in 2005 to get to keep trying -- the midseason promotion is encouraging.
Signed and released before assignment:
Brett Cleveland, Indians
Players in the independent leagues in 2006:
Ebers, Eric Kansas City Northern Indy Freed, Mark - Long Island Atlantic Indy Larson, Adam Somerset Atlantic Indy Butts, Jeff Calgary Northern Indy Curry, Chris Gary Northern Indy Mungle, Jon - Calgary Northern Indy
Players who played or were on a roster in 2005 and not in 2006:
Powell, Jay Atlanta Atlanta National MLB Palmeiro, Rafael Baltimore Baltimore American MLB Blakeney, Jacob Jackson Central Indy Obradovich, Mark Lake County Cleveland South Atlantic Low A
|Boyd's World-> The Old Dogs Report -- 2006 Year in Review-> Current Report||Write the author, Boyd Nation|