Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Portland Sea Dogs

We went to watch the visiting Sea Dogs beat the local team tonight, because we wanted to watch Clay Buchholz, the top prospect in the Red Sox system. He did not disappoint: 6.1 innings, 1 run on 4 hits (the run scored after he left, but it was his runner), 1BB, 11 K's. We particularly admired how he changed speeds. As the knuckleballer Charlie Zink is also pitching well, the Sox may have some new arms in 2008.

Minor League baseball is filled with nonstop games and promotions, and they play predictable music to get the crowd going. They of course play "YMCA" by the Village People. Because nothing says good clean American fun quite like 11-year-old boys being led by their mothers and older sisters in dance motions to a homoerotic song.


Anonymous said...

Did you notice the write-up in the NH Union Leader this AM? Seems the Fisher Cats manager took exception to the crowd giving a positive reception to the young Red Sox prospect. To quote from the article:
"In the Fisher Cats' clubhouse after the game, Masse (the FC mgr) questioned the local fan's loyalty to the hometown team. "I think it's sad," Masse said. "We're not playing the Boston Red Sox. We're playing the Portland Sea Dogs. Unless you're from that area, you root for your hometown team. This is New Hampshire's team, Manchester's team and to see Clay Cuhholz get a standing ovatin was absolutely disgraceful."

When told that many of the fans in attendance attend Red Sox games or follow the Red Sox, Masse said, "We're not playing the Boston Red Sox. It's Manchester against Portland. There's not a park in the world that would have given him a standing ovation for throwing six innings for one run and 11 strikeouts. . . " "Its disheartening to all our players to listen to that."

I didn't think it was appropriate to dis the paying customers. Let's see how long he last's in that position. And he'd better watch out, I've got tickets for a Sea Dogs visit in July and he's pushing me to cheer everything Sea Dogs just to tick him off.

BTW, Bethany is right. It never accepts my code the first time around.

Anonymous said...

Clay Bucholz is the real deal. Live arm, movement on the fastball, control of the breaking stuff, changes speeds. Command. I understand that, in general, a guy who has proved it in the majors is preferable to a guy in the minors who hasn't yet done it, but you've also got to have the ability to see the future. This kid's future is Bright, with a capital B. And that B needs to stand for Boston.

That said, if the Sox are looking for help around the trading deadline, you can bet that every team they talk to will be asking for him.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Perhaps the manager prefers that the Red Sox fans just stay home?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of buying and selling at the trade deadline, the New York media have gone into overdrive speculating on who might be part of a reverse fire sale (prospects for veterans) of the Yankees system.

What's depressing, and utterly predictable, is that many of the writers and fans seem to think this is a good idea.

One rumored trade in particular that's turned my stomach is Ian Kennedy or Joba Chamberlain (the Yanks' Buchholz, stuff-wise, but rawer; 21 IP, 36 K in four starts since his promotion to AA, he's struggled with pitch counts the last two times out) plus Melky Cabrera for Mark Buehrle. Three months of Mark Buehrle, actually, since he's a free agent after the season.

This one scares me because I can see them doing something like this in desparation, while all the Phil Hughes trade rumors being bandied about, though worse, are just crazy-talk.

Prospects are always risky, but consistently cashing in high-ceiling prospects for known quantities (however good) in the trade market is a recipe for ever-expanding payrolls at diminishing returns. See the 2001-2007 Yankees, who have lived in the free agent and trade markets at the expense of their draft classes and farm system until recently.

Developing talent from within gives a team control of players in their prime years for relatively little cost when successful. Players picked up on the trade market or as free agents are often either past their prime or over-priced, if they're any good to begin with.

Because the odds are so long against any particular prospect succeeding, even B-level prospects are not expendable for any old deal to help a team "win now". These prospects provide depth, and a deep pool of players with a small chance of success often means the odds of the system producing at least one major league player in any given year are good. Sometimes a B prospect can pan out.

Mariano Rivera was decidedly second-tier talent before 1995, and the Yankees nearly traded him to Detroit in a proposed package for David Wells. Wells was having a great year (158 ERA+ with the Tigers). Mariano, not so much (83 ERA+ for 1995). The deal died and New York converted Rivera to relief in '96, which, looking back, is still arguably his best season. Wells had an average year in '96. He then signed with the Yanks as a free agent in '97 anyway.

Best trade never made.

The Sox should hold on to Clay, and not discount his supporting cast either.