Where Sun-Ui has been :)

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Hey guys, sorry for the loooong absence.  Back to the entry.

So, like I said, I had been in Korea for more than a month,
and I’ve finally got myself together enough to post an entry.  So:

Well, while I was in Korea, I got to see a few KBO (Korean
Baseball Organization) games.  The
highlight was 23 year old Korean phenom Ryu Hyun Jin (who had his worst outing
of the season the day I watched him. 
Seven innings, two runs.  Yes, he’s
that good.)  In Korea, the teams have a
home city, but they take the name of a company: Samsung Lions, SK Wyverns, and
Ryu’s team, the Hanwha Eagles.  My
grandpa, who is a high up in Hanwha, got me a signed ball and seats right behind
home plate to watch Ryu in his home city, Daejeon.  An impromptu scouting report:

 

He reminds me of Lester when he pitches: easy lefty windup
that somehow generates low-90 heat, pinpoint control: their pitching windups
are carbon copies.  His circle change is
literally devastating.  Could be a David
Wells type, without the booze.  His
stamina is top-notch (almost always makes it to the ninth, bar a few outings),
but for a twenty-three year old Hanwha is overworking him.  Easily the best Korean pitcher alive, only a
couple rivals.

I also got to attend two more games, this time in
Seoul.  Very fun.  The atmosphere is different: beer is almost
non-existent: everyone is just enjoying the game.  There are casual watchers in the bleachers,
crazy home fans along the first base line, and crazy road fans along the third base
line.  Since Korea is smaller than
America, traveling to watch your home team on the road isn’t a strange
event.  And while America has
player-chosen walkup songs, Korean fans make songs for the players.  Awesome.  MLBlogs won’t let me post the pictures, so hit this up on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53296235@N05/

And before I end this, a few more things:

-I hate Damon, but it would be nice to see him back: a
veteran spark?

-Votto.  MVP.  Triple Crown. 
Let’s do this.  I’ve always liked
him at first in my fantasy teams.

-Kalish and Doubrount are pretty impressive.  I have high hopes.

I’m Back!

Sorry for the one month absence (Sun-Ui, btw).  I was in Korea visiting relatives.  I had a great time, and after a couple days I will have an entry up again (got to see the Korean phenom in person).  Thanks for your patience :)
-Sun-Ui

Against All Odds

The current starting left fielder
for the Boston Red Sox weighed 70 pounds and stood an imposing 4 feet and 8
inches going into high school.  By senior
year, he had grown nine inches and doubled his weight, but was still just 5
foot 5 and 150 pounds. 

He enrolled in Santa Clara University
for college.  They failed to recognize
Nava’s talent, and they cut him from his college team.  Unable to give up on baseball, he became the
team’s equipment manager, photocopying papers, entering data, grabbing fly
balls during BP, and sometimes doing the laundry.  But through all of this, he forced himself to
 go through grueling training, gaining 50
pounds of lean body mass and decreasing his 60 yard dash time.  After two years, he left Santa Clara because
he and his family couldn’t afford the tuition.  After a year of starring at his new junior college,
the College of San Mateo, and becoming a Junior college All-American, Santa
Clara offered him a full scholarship to come back. 

The next year, out of college, he
went undrafted; just another sign of the little faith awarded to Nava.  He signed with the Chico Outlaws of the
Golden Baseball League, an independent baseball team.  After a tryout, he was cut, a feeling that he
was likely accustomed to, but he was brought back after a year.  In 2007, the only time the Chico team under
its current name has won a title to date, he hit .371, racked up 12 HR, and
managed a 1.100 OPS: sure signs that a player was toying with the
opposition.  Baseball America named him the
top independent league prospect (a title well deserved) in 2007.  Toronto watched him at a tryout, and
dismissed him.  The Red Sox bought his
rights from the Outlaws for a dollar.  So
far, it’s paid off.

In April, Mike Andrews, the
designer, developer, executive editor, and president of soxprospects.com, a
site that tracks the top Red Sox prospects in Minor League Baseball, wrote a
column for ESPNBoston about Daniel Nava. 
Nava was a true unknown, but Andrews proves that he’s easily been the
best Red Sox minor leaguer over the last two seasons.  If he had the stats he had in MiLB in the
MLB, he’d be an easy MVP.  In Lancaster,
a Red Sox minor league affiliate, he hit .341, and then in Salem and Portland
(the Red Sox’s Single-A and Double-A affiliates) he hit .352. 

The first two months of Daniel
Nava’s 2010 season was spent in Triple-A, a step away from the big
leagues.  Finally, after more than a
decade of proving himself over and over to skeptics, he made it to the biggest
stage: the MLB.

His day started off as one to
forget: in left field, he bobbled an RBI hit, which did not do much to endear
himself to the legendarily serious Red Sox fans.  But when he took his first ever pitch in the
MLB with the bases loaded and nobody out deep, all that was erased.  In the bullpen, Manny Delcarmen made a
fantastic grab to catch the home run, while Daniel Nava sprinted around the
bases. 

So maybe that’s just how it
ends.  A player with incredible talent,
ignored by every single scout, college, MLB, or independent, that came his way,
just plowing on.  He never gave up, cut
from his college and independent teams, cut from the tryouts, he just kept
trying.  And perhaps the person himself
put it best.

“Nothing was handed to me,” says
Nava.  “I knew I had to do my job on the
field before that was a possibility.”

And you did, Nava.  You certainly did.  
Signing out,

Sun-Ui             

All Star Votes and Trade Deadlines

Sorry I’ve been gone lately, haven’t been able to find the
time to cobble together a coherent entry. 
But here I am :D Aren’t you glad?

So, here’s the deal with our Sox, starting with the All Star
Game.

Six members of this outstanding team have been selected to this
stupid waste of time
appear in this honor. 
However, only a few will be able to be on the roster due to God’s
rage
Natural causes Adrian Beltre Injuries.  And even fewer will get to step on the field
in Anaheim, unfortunately, because most of the players are backups.  So, sorry Dustin, Victor, Clay, and maybe
David, but you probably won’t get to play. 
Lester, Beltre: hope for the best. 

But there’s another point I want to make.  Obvious All-Star Poor Kevin Youkilis hasn’t
been selected to the All Star Game, despite his outstanding numbers.  However, he is a candidate on the Final
Vote.  And this is where you come in,
fellow fans.

DON’T VOTE.

That’s right, you heard me right.  Boycott the Final Vote.  If a player like Youkilis misses the All Star
Game, that just proves how ridiculous the All Star Game is.  If Votto misses it, even better.  The All Star Game is nothing more than a
publicity stunt.  A fun one, sure, but
one that robs players of valuable rest. 
The system needs a big overhauling in that the fans voting makes no
sense.  There’s a reason Mark Teixeira
was even in the running to be a starter. 
The Yankees fan base is probably by far the biggest in the MLB.  Therefore, most starters will be from big
teams.  Yup.  Sad, but true.  That’s the end of today’s tirade, folks.  Tune in tomorrow for another.

 

So.  It’s nearing July
31st, and we all know what that means…

TRADEDEADLINETRADEDEADLINEBLOCKBUSTERTRADESBLOCKBUSTERTRADES!!!
And best of all, lots of refreshing mlb.com for the latest news.  Yes.  I
can’t wait. 
I’ve been thinking about what moves are in store for the Red Sox.  And here are my ideas, ranging from wishful
thinking to possible.  In no particular
order, for you conspiracy theorists.

1. Matt Kemp

I’ve mentioned this before, and the more I think about it
the more I like it.  Ellsbury is quickly
losing popularity thanks to his absence and the excellence of his replacements
(No one’s gonna forget Darnell and Daniel’s debuts, and Patterson has crushed
two homeruns tonight at the Trop).  And
why not strike while Kemp’s value is lowest? 
He’s a year younger than Ellsbury, and has a higher ceiling.  If we get him including Ells in the deal, it
shouldn’t be too hard, just an extra prospect or two.  If we don’t, we can trade Ells in the
offseason for more prospects, or perhaps next season once his value is
raised. 

Probability: 2/10

Happiness: 10/10

 

2. Adrian Gonzalez

Well, of course.  Are
you surprised?  Red Sox fans need no
explanation.  For you non Sox fans: it
all depends on if we can put together a deal without Buchholz, who is
definitely untouchable.

Probability: 4/10

Happiness: 7/10

 

3. Prince Fielder

Unlikely, I know.  But
I suppose we could make a play.  He’s
younger than A-Gon, although a worse defender. 
And he’s having an off year, which lowers his value.  I still firmly believe that good players are
here to stay (which resulted in the complete failure of my fantasy team, as
Greinke and King Felix were spectacular bombs). 
So why not go for it?  He has
historic power, that much is obvious.  We
could be an outside contender.

Probability: 3/10

Happiness: 8/10

 

4. Chris Snyder

I heard that the interim GM for Arizona called Theo offering
Chris.  Theo declined, saying that he
wanted to save money for a bigger deal. 
But if one didn’t fall through, we could get Snyder as a short term, or
maybe even long term, option at backstop. 
With Montero raking, Arizona has itself a situation, and we could be the
answer.

Probability: 6/10

Happiness: 6/10

 

5. Miguel Montero

Harder to acquire compared to Snyder, and he’s relatively
untouchable, but it’s worth a try, seeing as he’s better.

Probability: 4/10

Happiness: 7/10

 

6. Kurt Suzuki

We could get him, that’s for sure.  And it would be great.  In 222 Abs (If he was hitting leadoff, that’s
a third of a season) he’s hit 10 HR with 35 RBI.  Great power numbers, fosho.  But he’s an unlikely choice, because he goes
against Theo’s philosophy: OBP, OBP, OBP. 
He has a .308 OBP on the season and a .732 OPS: not numbers Bill James
would approve of.

Probability: 2/10

Happiness: 4/10

 

7. Chris Ianetta

Interesting choice. 
He’s not paid much.  So far, he’s
peaked at 24 and has gone into a dive since. 
But that 2007 season was outstanding. 
In about half a season, he was on pace for 36 HR, 130 RBI as well as a
.264 BA and a .900 OPS.  Numbers that the
Theo/James regime WOULD approve of.  But
last year, in 289 AB he had the same power numbers, but a .228 BA and an OPS
down 90 points.  He could be gotten for
one or two prospects, and could either bomb or pan out: not a reliable long
term choice, but possible. 

Probability: 4/10

Happiness: 6/10

 

8. David DeJesus

He’s 30, so he’s just entering his prime, and is having a
career year.  He’s hitting .327, with a
.400 OBP and a .860 OPS.  Would take a
lot, but could pay off well.  He’s a
great player, of course.  His defense is
amazing.  So he appeals to all.  Good. 

Probability: 5/10

Happiness: 8/10

 

9. Kosuke Fukudome

Internet is down, so I can’t back my words up, and I’ve run
a blank on the guy.  All I remember is that
he’s good.

Probability: 5/10

Happiness: 6/10

 

10. Albert Pujols

Just kidding.

Probability: 0/10

Happiness: 10/10

Thanks again for reading you guys.  You mean a ton to me.  Make sure to comment!

Signing out,

Sun-Ui

Going to Be Gone

What’s going on everyone,

I am going to be off from MLBlogs for a few days. I’m going to DC soon and my family and I are starting to prepare. Sooooo I will probably post on Monday with a piece on the Orioles. Stay Tuned!

 

Signing “in”,

Sami K

Pinstripes

So going off of my entry from yesterday, I think I will continue this whole “team overview” project. Today, I will turn my attention the Yanks. I mentioned in our bio that I am an eighth grader playing for our cities freshman baseball team. I also play in a much smaller league. Now, here’s where the drama comes in. I am a Sox fan but I was the starting center fielder for the… YANKEES. So I sorta have a soft spot for them. Speaking of starting centerfielders, I’ll start off with their new addition Curtis Granderson. Although he was placed on the 15 day DL on May 2nd, he is nearly on pace to reach his fantastic, power burst from last year (30 hrs, .249 BA with 20 stolen bases). Granderson has been an on and off player. He’s at his finest when he is batting against righties at home at night on grass in June against the Red Sox when the count is 1-0. Then Granderson grows into a copy of Albert Pujols.

The Yankee offense. Ahhh. What a historic title. Murderer’s Row from the stacked offense from the ’27 Yankee lineup. This year’s offense isn’t eye popping (not like the Red Sox… take that she-fan). They rank sixth in hits, twentieth in doubles, sixth in homers, and seventh in batting average. Not amazing. Robinson Cano has been there source of life throughout the season. Cano is the best second baseman in the AL and he has been playing like it. He’s posted 16 hrs with 54 RBIs and a .353 BA. In my last post, I said Youk should go up for MVP? How about Cano. He’s on pace for at least 30 hrs and 100 RBIs with a plus .320 BA. Last year’s sparks Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez have a combined 25 hrs. with a .258 BA. They aren’t on pace to hit 30 hrs. The Yanks need those bats to go with the contact from Swisher, Cano and Jeter. 

The Yank’s pitching has been really good so far this year. Their overall stats have not been very good but their individual pitchers have been somewhat REDONK (my new official word). C.C. Sabathia has really been coming through for these Yankees. He has gone 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA. A lower ERA would be nice but still a very nice season so far. Now these two pitchers were two that I never expected to do well. Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte. They have combined for a 19-4 record with a an ERA of 3.15. They have held together this rotation like Lackey, Lester and Buckholz. I have a love-hate relationship with the Yanks. Right now. I hate them with a passion.

 

Signing “in”,

Sami K  

Adrian Beltre!

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So. 

Yup.

Right.  Right.  Should probably write the blog post now.  Mhmm.

So, because I’ve been running out of things to write about,
I’ve decided to take on a project.  Every
day, I’ll take a MLB player and talk about him. 
Today, you’ll be treated to a tirade/praising of Adrian Beltre.  With Beltre, I think a praising will be in
line.

Where are all of the Beltre haters now?  That’s right, there are none.  Adrian Beltre has just continued to
impress.  I know that you know (first
time I’ve written that by accident, kudos to me :D) that Beltre has an
obscenely high average.  That would be
correct.  But did you know that he’s
hitting just a couple points below .350? 
That’s good for second best in the MLB. 
Yup.  The player that had
struggled to clear .300 for seasons is doing it with ease. 

Now, Adrian Beltre is quite the guy.  Not only has he endured ups and downs in his
career (I mean Mark Prior-ish ups and downs. 
He hit 45 HR one season, then struggled to hit 20).  And he seems to explode whenever someone
touches his head. 

=>

All of which naturally combines to make him one of my
favorite players.  How can you hate
someone that irrational?  What’s
that?  It’s easy?  Well, you’re right, but still.  He’s ADRIAN BELTRE. 

But none of those are my favorite things about him.  No, for that we have to go back to the
numbers.  Yup, the dreaded stats.  Math-haters, cover your eyes. 

Did you know he hits over .300 with two strikes and
swinging?  He has a higher average than
former MVP Dustin Pedroia when he chases a pitch with two strikes.  Either he has some serious contact talent, or
the pitchers never learn.  Judging from
those homeruns crushed past the Green Monster hit from one knee, I’m gonna have
to go with the former.    

So.  Hopefully you
just figured out that Adrian Beltre is a seriously talented player (has hit
over 40 HR, has Gold Glove defense, and might even clear .350 in the batting
average department).  Otherwise, you
learned that Adrian Beltre has serious anger management issues (but he has,
apparently, gotten over it somewhat, so, okay, he’s not Carlos Zambrano).  Either way, you should have a new favorite
player.

Signing out,

Sun-Ui

Sox Scorin’

So I was checking out some stats on MLB.com when I started to look at the Boston Red Sox’ offense. Boy do we have something special here. I’ve always held a very passionate respect towards Theo Epstein; one that people find to be a little creepy. New addition Adrian Beltre is starting to look like his ’04 self (48 hrs, .334 BA with the Dodgers – Remember that Crzblue?). Beltre has posted 12 hrs with a .349 BA and an OBP of .387 He has been a pretty righteous (don’t know why I said that) addition.

As for team stats, the Sox seem like a power house. We rank high on runs (1st), hits (2nd), doubles (1st), homeruns (2nd behind the JAYS!), RBI (1st), Total Bases (1st), OBP (2nd), and batting average (3rd). Runs and production haven’t been an issue. Every man in our batting lineup has something to offer during the course of nine innings. David Ortiz has really begun to turn around his season after his terrible start to the season. He has posted 17 hrs with 50 RBIs and a .253 BA. Kevin Youkilis has posted 15 hrs with a .301 BA (I’m with Sun-Ui for the whole Youk=MVP idea). These two have been amazing for us and have held us in through our sometimes shaky (I’ll get to that) pitching. Adrian Beltre has been a REDONK player for us with 100 plus hits and a .349 BA. He could not have taken over third base in a better way. Pedey, before his injury of course, was hitting 12 hrs with a .292 BA. He was starting to get really hot (3 HRS! against the Rox) before his injury and I think he will come back a little shaky but strong in tome for the playoffs. V-Mart has been hitting 12 hrs with a .289 BA. But did I mention he’s been hitting .328 at home!

Pitching. Hmmm. We don’t come within the top ten in ERA, complete games, shutouts, hits allowed, earned runs, and so on. Josh Beckett, our hero from ’07, has gone down with injuries. But before that, he had a record of 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA. Dice-K is 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his last three starts. He has settled down nicely after his bad first start from the DL. Wakefield has gone 2-6 with a 5.21. What happened to his dominant opening performance from last year. Wake has gone 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in June. Lester and Lackey have been the two that have held us together. They have gone 18-6 with a combined ERA of 3.66.

It’s nice to be back again. I will probably be posting every day now.

Signing “in” *wink*,

Sami K   

I’m Running out of Titles Real Fast.

So I was surfing MLBlogs for another blog to read, when I came
upon a Pirates blog.  And there was a
comment about the likeliness of continued Pirates success.  And I started to wonder.  What did the Pirates and Royals not have that
the Padres and Rays have?  The four were the
four cellar dwellers, when suddenly the Rays two or three years ago and the
Padres this year randomly exploded into contenders.  Some of it is luck, obviously (The Royals and
Alex Gordon).  But what else?  As much as I like Jed Hoyer (He drafted
Ellsbury and Buchholz), it’s hard to believe that he had much to do with the
Padres’s success. 

Of course, this is where the drafting system is supposed to
come into play.  Teams who do the worst
in one season get the highest picks the next (Nationals, anyone?).   Many
first and second overall picks pan out (Joe Mauer).  But there are always busts.  And sometimes, a year’s draft is just
lackluster.  From the team’s point of
view, it’s a waste of a first-five pick. 
So then another argument comes into play.  Trading picks.

The argument, I guess, is sorta convincing.  Let teams trade picks.  There are teams willing to sacrifice top-ten
picks for proven talent.  And there are
teams willing to sacrifice proven talent for top-ten picks.  So why not let it happen? 

Okay.  Confession
time.  I, too, believed in the
argument.  Okay, okay, I was a serious
advocate.  But then, I actually started
thinking about it.  Thinking does tend to
help when you make decisions. 

So, think about it this way, concerning Bryce Harper and
Stephen Strasburg.  Imagine you were
permitted to trade draft picks.  Couldn’t
you imagine a gigantic bidding war, with the Yankees and Red Sox leading the pack?  Before long, it would escalate into the
Nationals receiving offers where teams would trade major league players for an
unproven prospect.  As one team topped the
rest of the offers, two more would surge up to match it.  Some would drop out, but I can imagine Brian
Cashman, directed by good ol’ Steinbrenner, offering packages including players
like Jesus Montero and Phil Hughes, and Theo would match them.  Oh, God. 
A nightmare. 

This leads to the other argument.  Why allow teams to sacrifice the future for
the present?  It’s a stupid decision to
make.  Spurred on by a steadily shrinking
fan base, panicking GMs would trade most of their picks to get major league players.  Ridiculous. 
So then the whole drafting system backfires.  Instead of bad teams slowly improving from
draft picks, they get players who are maybe even ten years older than the draft
picks.  It’s the decision between future
and present.  And the answer has to be
future.  Look at the Rays.  How have they succeeded?  Crafty moves like getting Carlos Pena (a
former Red Sox player, ugh) and trading for Garza and Bartlett, and homegrown
talent like BJ Upton and Evan Longoria.  That’s how.  Not through making a team composed of free
agents or trading draft picks.  But being
smart and patient.  Virtues some teams
could learn.  *achem*

Signing out,

Sun-Ui

PS: I love tagging things.

Escaping The Hands of Death

OK. Did the title get your
attention? I thought it might. Hey everyone, this is Sami. I am supposed
to be the other half of TGAA but I have been absent due to life
threatening reasons (not really but… what the heck). So I am back… hold
the applause for afterward… with a post on the ever so publicized Ubaldo
Jimenez. Now I couldn’t really resist with putting my spin on his
season so far. Jimenez first got our attention with that no-hitter
against the Braves. Anyone remember that? Well he went out there and
pitched his heart out, hitting 100 mph on the gun three times and had an
average fastball speed of 96.8. I think the problem for the Braves that
game wasn’t that they didn’t have their eight layers of oat that
morning. I don’t think they were able to even see the ball.
They all should have resorted to the Brian McCann look.


But Jimenez’s (say
Jimenez’s three times fast) success didn’t end that night. He notched
the NL Pitcher of the Month for April and May; the very first player in
the Rockies history to do so. Jimenez continued to make history. He was
the third pitcher in MLB history to win 11 of his first 12 starts with
an under 1 ERA. Now, I truly feel that this is no hoax. As long as a
pitcher has complete control and focus with three pitches, I believe
they can succeed. Jimenez has FIVE pitches in his arsenal. His four-seam
fastball frequently hits 100 mph while touching 101mph. He was the
hardest throwing pitcher (there is an actual stat) of ’09 (96.1 mph).
His two-seam fastball hits 95 and nearly hits right-handed batters. At
least, it looks like it is *virtual wink*. But it fools them every time.
In ’08, he posted a ground ball percentage of 54.4% with that pitch. He
has a splitter that hits 91. Not his most famous pitch. His change-up
comes in the mid 80s and has crazy movement. Commentators usually
mistaken his change-up for a sinker or splitter. He throws a descent
12-6 curve. And his slider is rather “filthy”. When he hits the low 90s
with a slider with good movement, it will be untouchable.

Here’s the thing
people don’t really think about. Ubaldo Jimenez has been a rather
dominant pitcher. You can blame his stats on my late entry on Zach
Greinke. Read that post and just think about it.

I’m not sure how
to close out. Sun-Ui does signing “out”. But ohhhh noooo. I will always
be that rebel. So ready for this! I am signing “in”.

Don’t question my
methods.

 

Signing In,

Sami K

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