This time of year, there’s so many little items that don’t require a full post but are interesting nonetheless. For the items that catch my eye, I’ll fold them into one weekend post where I can weigh in on them and we can discuss them further in the comment section. With that being said, here the first installment of Sunday Notes:
-Joba was hitting 94 on the gun yesterday. That’s significant. If you recall the past few springs, Joba has been a notoriously slow starter, usually sitting in the high 80s-low 90s this time of year. I hope he’s not pushing himself too hard too soon, trying to prove something after all the weight reports this spring. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. Joba credited the work he’s done with Larry Rothschild on his delivery, and said he hasn’t been that high on the gun this early in the past 5 years. While it looked like he was throwing the ball free and easy with his new delivery, Joba said “it felt like I was throwing bowling balls, to be honest with you”. If there’s a lot more there (and I suspect there is) as he gets his arm in shape, watch out.
–Terrific piece by Steve Goldman over at PB where he debunks the idea that ‘rushing pitchers’ to MLB hurts their development. To be clear, I always think its best to let a player’s performance dictate when he’s promoted. But the idea that players get ruined by being rushed to the bigs is something that always struck me as unprovable, and simply an attempt to blame the organization for a guy who was most likely never good enough in the first place. Many great pitchers struggle early in their careers, its the exception to the rule that comes up and dominates right away. Failing at the big league level can drive home the idea that a pitcher may need to refine that 3rd pitch, work on holding runners/pitching from the stretch, commit to proper conditioning, clean up flaws in his delivery, etc etc. Part of getting to the show is having what it takes to come back from failure, and that’s on the player, not the team. As the old saying goes “the good ones will find their way back”. Baseball is a game of failure, if a player can’t handle it then he’s just not cut out for this game.
-Jesus Montero is in today’s lineup.
-Ex-Yank Gary Sheffield may be retired, but he’s keeping himself involved in the baseball. He’s started a player agency of sorts, where he’s representing free agents and giving players financial advice on how to handle their money. Jason Grilli, who pitched yesterday afternoon for the Phillies, is one of his clients.
-Today will be the first chance Yankee fans get to watch top prospect Dellin Betances pitch in a televised game, and personally I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve followed him since draft day in 2006, to those early glowing workout reports where as a raw teenager he picked things up very quickly. BA ranked him in the top 100 in 2007 based largely on those reports and a smattering of innings in the GCL, saying he had one of the highest ceilings in the game. He needed to get bigger and stronger and he has, he needed to learn how to repeat his mechanics and he showed that he did that last year. The only hurdle left for him is showing he can pitch a full season in the minors, and we could have a top of the rotation starter on our hands for the 2012 season.