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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Mel Almada BRO b. 1913, played 1939, d. 1988-08-13

Tom Daly BRO b. 1866, played 1890-1896, 1898-1901, d. 1938-10-29

Burt Hooton LAN b. 1950, played 1975-1984, All-Star: 1981. A Cub when he came up at the precocious age of 21 after a 35-3 record with the University of Houston team convinced Chicago that he didn't need any time in the minors. Hooton was a Dodger for the huge bulk of his career, nicknamed "Happy" by Tommy Lasorda, who seemed to have a flair for finding ironic nicknames, because he never was on the mound. In Los Angeles, Hooton was a durable mainstay of the late 70's/early 80's Dodgers rotations, whose signature pitch, the knuckle-curve, kept hitters off-balance, even into the postseason. He was on the mound for the Dodgers' 1981 World Series Game 6 victory, getting the win as the starter. He pitched for a year with the Astros before retiring, and then went on to be the Astros' pitching coach; he is currently the pitching coach for the Round Rock Express, Houston's PCL affiliate.

Art Jones BRO b. 1906, played 1932, d. 1980-11-25

Carney Lansford CAL b. 1957, played 1978-1980, All-Star: 1988. A Top 100 Angel, and boo, hoo.

Frank Leja LAA b. 1936, played 1962, d. 1991-05-03

Cy Moore BRO b. 1905, played 1929-1932, d. 1972-03-28

Johnny Werhas LAN,CAL b. 1938, played 1964-1965, 1967

Best Young First Basemen

Chris Constancio's back with the best young first basemen in either league:
James Loney
22 years old | Los Angeles Dodgers
I've already taken a close look at James Loney, and I'm not too worried that he never has hit more than 12 home runs in a season. His power production steadily improved as the 2006 season progressed and more than 20% of Loney's batted balls in the Pacific Coast League were classified as line drives. I don't think he is going to be an All-Star any time soon, but he could be among the league's more productive first basemen before he reaches 25. Loney also is one of the better fielders you'll read about in this article.

Casey Kotchman
24 years old | Los Angeles Angels
Kotchman has played with the Angels for parts of three seasons now, but he has struggled to stay healthy and effective. He might seem like a distant memory for many prospect-watchers, but he is only 24 and could be a nice high-average/high-OBP option at first base for the Angels as soon as this year.

Kendry Morales
23 years old | Los Angeles Angels
Morales is better than his .234 /.290 /.371 line with Los Angeles in 2006 suggests, but his power potential doesn't make up for his below-average on-base skills and questionable glove at first base. The Cuban defector is a switch-hitter, but he is usually most effective versus right-handed pitching and could be a very good component of a platoon somewhere.

Much more there, including the new terror of a usable (excellent, even) young first baseman in Oakland in Daric Barton...

Dodgers Sign Joe Mays To Minor League Deal, And Other Roster Notes

OT: Attention, Math Geeks

projecteuler.net. You have been warned. (Hint: problem 1 doesn't require any programming.)

OT: Joss Whedon's Off Wonder Woman

And it's not what you think.

I find all of the reports of Morales' alleged ineptitude with the glove to be somewhat suspect. He looked perfectly adept during his stint with the Angels in 2006 (his throws down to second were usually adventurous, but his actual glovework and fielding were not an issue). He also earned himself the gold glove at 1B in the Dominican League, for whatever that's worth. I've never heard anyone explain why he is considered a below-average defender at first base.

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