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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Mace Brown BRO b. 1909, played 1941, All-Star: 1938, d. 2002-03-24. I didn't know that Babe Ruth played for the 1935 Braves, but he did; one of his last multi-homer days came while he was playing for that team, a three-dinger day at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. After hitting his last blast, he went to the Pittsburgh dugout, and sat down next to Mace Brown. He was, after all, the Bambino.

Brown was a relief specialist, one of the first of his kind; he mostly pitched for the Pirates, and closed out his career with the Red Sox, sandwiching most of 1941 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He twice led the league in appearances, saves, and games finished.

Barry Latman CAL,LAA b. 1936, played 1964-1965, All-Star: 1961. Not a particularly interesting player for the Angels (save for his value in getting the earthly remains of Joe Adcock — Latman was the return on the Leon Wagner trade), he was fairly typical of the kind of player the early Angels acquired: guys who had found success previously but were never able to really find consistency. Latman had one really good year in 1958 with the White Sox when he completed the season with an unearthly 0.76 ERA; he almost immediately made the Angels' front office look dumb for making the trade when he gave up a three-run homer in spring training to Wagner. Never able to find much success with the Angels, they sent him to AAA Seattle; he was moved for a minor league pitcher to the Astros and finished his career there.

Charlie Loudenslager BRO b. 1881, played 1904, d. 1933-10-31

Tom Martin LAN b. 1970, played 2003-2004. A former bullpen LOOGY for the Dodgers, he's either terrible or pretty good; his .214/.313/214 lifetime line against Barry Bonds stands to me as his most interesting, if obscure, accomplishment. He's with the Rockies this year, so it's a skill he can put to use.

Sandy McDougal BRO b. 1874, played 1895, d. 1910-10-02

Elmer Sexauer BRO b. 1926, played 1948

Hank Webb LAN b. 1950, played 1977

Even When He's Out Of The Game, DePodesta's Plaschke's Villain

Man, talk about dead horse flogging:
"To get through the schedule, we have to have depth, and right now, our depth is not enough," Mike Scioscia said.

Sound familiar?

They have become, yeah, the DePodesta Dodgers.

And the Dodgers, who spent days last winter without a manager, a general manager, a future or even a clue?

They have become, almost overnight, brainy and balanced contenders.

Right. And when Nomar and Kent and all the other old guys are struggling and/or injured in September and the Dodgers come reeling back, I'm sure he'll have an apologia up for this column. Not.

The Horrible 2000 Draft

John Sickels recounts (in two parts) the first round of the 2000 draft; it's a tale of blood, gore, and flameouts. Here's the relevant players for the Angels and Dodgers:
10) Joe Torres, LHP, Anaheim Angels (high school, Gateway, FL)
     Thin lefty with 92-95 MPH fastball and excellent breaking ball dominated older competition in the Northwest League after signing, emerging as a top prospect quickly. But he was soon dogged by persistent elbow and shoulder problems. Healthy again by 2005, he has been unable to regain his command. Still has good stuff, but has lost confidence and the ability to locate his pitches in the strike zone.


17) Ben Diggins, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (University of Arizona)
     Hulking monster on the mound with a 96-98 MPH fastball but shaky command and a mixed track record. He continued to have command problems as a pro, lost his fastball, and eventually hurt his shoulder. Lost four out of five starts for the Brewers in 2002.


20) Chris Bootcheck, RHP, Anaheim Angels (Auburn University)
      Low 90s fastball, cutter, curve, changeup. . .four solid pitches. For some reason, in college the results never quite seemed to match with his talent, and this trend continued in the pros. Appears to have topped out in Triple-A.

Sickels says the Phillies' Chase Utley is the best player developed in the first round of this draft so far, with the jury out on a bunch still. It's being said that this year's draft will be just as bad, with virtually no position players of any quality in even the first round (maybe Evan Longoria's an exception?).

Brainy huh? That's what you call trading for a guy who just had to take a refresher course in Vegas and a so-called lights out closer who is being assisted by Beimel and Saito. The Dodgers wouldn't need 11 pitchers if they just did their job. As for the youth movement, should we really trust praise from the man who argued we should re-acquire Charles Johnson which would have blocked Paul Lo Duca and meant that we would not have Brad Penny right now. Don't listen to Plaschke. I don't think love their farm like Baseball America does, but eventually the Angels are going to have quite a team.

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