Hey everybody! Been a little while since I’ve done a “what I’ve learned column”. Its been so long, I was thinking of calling it, “brain dump”, or “random shit that is more expansive than 140 characters”, but we’ll stick with “what I’ve learned. Hope you’re enjoying baseball and if you’re not, I hope you are enjoying enjoying.
-I learned that the Bundy Brothers are the new Maddux Brothers. Older brother, Bobby, is a starting pitcher in the Orioles organization. Younger brother Dylan is a starting pitcher in the Orioles organization. They have the same parents. They’re both likely to pitch in Major League Baseball. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Bobby is a slower moving prospect, but a AA pitcher at age 22 nonetheless. He’s considered to be a cerebral pitcher and one who will occasionally rely on his smarts when his stuff falters. Dylan faced Myrtle Beach a couple of days ago and the first pitch of the game was 95 and he sat 95 for 5 innings occasionally tormenting the Pelicans with a flying hammer curve or a dancing 87mph changeup. Dylan could be special. Bobby could be a special pitching coach. Who knows?
-Will Middlebrooks is now the full time 3rd baseman for the Boston Red Sox. He is a rookie. He’s from Texarkana where in addition to a ridiculous roster of baseball accolades, he was an All-State punter. He was also a backup quarterback and handed the ball off to LaMichael James, the former Oregon stud and recent 2nd round pick of the San Francisco 49ers. He really wanted to play football, but was completely blocked at his favored QB position by his childhood best friend, Ryan Mallett. Mallett, of course, is the 6’6”, heir apparent to Tom Brady as the QB of the New England Patriots. Sometime this offseason, Middlebrooks, whose year probably couldn’t really get any better, is set to marry a woman he’s grown up with and known since she was 12 years old. It’s probably just a coincidence she’s a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
-Trevor Bauer has been called up. I am anxious to see how it works when he starts dicking around with a bunch of pitches and doesn’t make it through the 6th (because of pitch count) despite ridiculously awesome stuff.
-Martin Perez had the best start of his career. One word: moxie. You can read more about it below.
-Frisco’s Leury Garcia started the game on Sunday in centerfield. He had never played in the outfield during a game as a professional. He’s incredibly fast, lightning quick, and has a strong arm. He’s played a lot of shortstop, a lot of 2nd base, and now CF. Don “Coach” Welke made the comment during Sunday’s Baseball Prospectus event that the Rangers prefer to build up the middle. He was downplaying the absurd amount of talent they have in said positions. Rougned Odor has just started his first two games as Hickory’s shortstop after primarily playing 2b. Luis Sardinas has been oft-injured in his brief career, but he’s still super young and can really pick it at SS as well. Hanser Alberto, or as I like to call him El Pequeno Locomotoro (The Little Engine) is playing a very solid short stop while hitting .330 and he’s just been promoted to High A Myrtle Beach. Jurickson Profar has played mostly at shortstop, but it would surprise no one if he ultimately breaks into the Rangers lineup at 2nd base. Frisco has three players who can play centerfield, not including Leury Garcia. Engel Beltre, Ryan Strausborger, and Jared Hoying can all play the position. Catcher is, frankly, a little soft and that’s one of the reasons I’ve picked recent 3rd round draft pick Pat Cantwell to move aggressively through the system if, as always, he produces. The Rangers’ organizational depth up the middle is a rather stunning collection.
-lots of promotions and even a notable demotion this week within the Rangers organization as Buckel, Alberto, and Hoying led some of the more notable names going in the positive direction and of course, Neil Ramirez is the primary name going in the negative direction. Me, myself? Oh, I’ve been going in the negative direction for a long, long time. Too bad I’m not left handed. (that’s not true, I actually am left handed and I’ve recently topped out at 63mph. Looking for a LOOGY job if anyone’s got one)
-In case you didn’t already know, Bill Murray, yes that one, has been a co-owner of minor league baseball teams since 1984. He’s been a goofy, fantastic, spokesman/ambassador for the beauty and fun that is minor league baseball ever since. In fact, his exact title for the Charleston River Dogs is “Director Of Fun”. The River Dogs are the low-A affiliate of the Yankees and they are really stocked this year with some fantastic prospects. They, along with the Hickory Crawdads and 12 other teams, play in the South Atlantic League, commonly referred to as the “Sally” League. Murray was recently elected to the Sally League Hall of Fame. It’s a ceremony that looks just like you think it does. Guys in suits in a generic hotel ballroom. Podium at the front, flanked by two 12foot banquet tables. Opposite the dais, stackable chairs neatly aligned in rows of fifteen or twenty on either side of a non-marked aisle. Murray gave a very graceful, touching and funny speech and I wanted to share it with you. It takes about 10 minutes and has some real “keepers” as far as lines go, but then again so do most of his films. (he refers to Brian Cashman as “Commander Cashman”. A name he apparently used every time he spoke to the GM during the entire duration of Cashman’s 3 day visit. A visit in which after landing in Charleston, Cashman was surprised to see a bucket hatted, shorts wearing Murray standing at the terminal. “I’m your ride, it’s just the two of us, if that’s ok.” It was.) I’m going to link to it, but I also wanted to link his performance during a recent rain delay that pretty much cemented his place as a Hall of Fame owner. After trying, unsuccessfully, to get a River Dogs player to pitch to him with a kickball, he did this:
and here is the Sally League induction ceremony:
**As always, enjoy baseball.**
Feel free to email me with comments or questions, but not criticism, ’cause I ain’t got time fo that shit. Or you can use Twitter if that’s your preferred style of prose.
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