Tim Tebow turned 25 yesterday, and ESPN thinks we were supposed to care for some reason. A lot. I can’t really figure it out.
- The short version on Chris Volstad’s bad outing last night: didn’t keep the ball down, didn’t have good sink on his fastball, and got hit hard on his offspeed stuff. That’s literally the same story it’s been for him all year, save for the two starts before last night. I’m not sure what else there is to say when a 6’8″ guy can’t get his fastball down, and can’t consistently get good sinking action. The combination of the body and the theoretical skill set is so tantalizing, but if he can’t actually DO it, how long do you allow yourself to keep dreaming on what might be? I guess this is where I’m supposed to say he’s still just 25.
- We’ve reached the point in Brett Jackson’s struggles where his manager and executives are forced to say things like “even Hall of Famers have struggled like this when they first started,” “the struggle is a good thing,” and “you have to hit rock bottom before you can come back up.” Maybe that’s all true, but none of this – and by “this” I mean Jackson’s terrible performance so far thanks to the avalanche of strikeouts – can be coming as a surprise to the Cubs. So, maybe those platitudes are actually right in this instance? In other words, if the Cubs knew he was going to struggle like this, and called him up anyway, maybe they wanted him to struggle. Maybe they wanted to get his head in a certain place going into the offseason (while evaluating him and coaching him at the big league level, of course). Now he’ll really, really know what he’s got to work on if he wants to make it in the bigs.
- (An aside: in making his point about Jackson’s early struggles, Theo Epstein was the one who pointed to Mickey Mantle’s and Willie Mays’ struggles when they first came to the bigs. Two thoughts immediately popped into my head, as much as I might love Epstein: (1) Mantle was 19 when he debuted in MLB, and Mays was 20 – Jackson is 24; (2) dude, you gotta know your own organization’s examples – if you want to grab a Hall of Famer who struggled when he first came up to the big leagues, look no further than Ryne Sandberg, who had exactly 2 hits in his first 40 big league plate appearances, and whose numbers were actually pretty bad for his first two full seasons in the bigs.)
- More on Albert Almora’s promotion to Boise, including a quote from Theo Epstein: “He’s done a real nice job the last week to 10 days. I think for him it was really a matter of getting his timing down. He’s got [a] pretty significant leg kick and sometimes those guys have to see a lot of live pitching to get their timing locked in. He’s really been driving the ball all over the field recently. We think he’s pretty advanced for an 18-year-old, so it’s a good time to move him.” Assuming a successful offseason of development, it’s a fair guess that Almora will start next season at Peoria, with a chance to reach Daytona at age 19. From there, he could be pushing AA and maybe even AAA in 2014 at the ripe old age of 20. Obviously that would be a best case scenario.
- Chris Emma at Scout interviewed Dan Vogelbach yesterday about his breakout season, and got some great quotes. Among the best? Vogelbach isn’t worried about Anthony Rizzo or the future, and he’s got the perfect attitude: All I can do is play, all I can do is worry about what I can control; that’s how hard I play every day and how I go about my business. The Cubs have Anthony Rizzo and he’s obviously a franchise player, an awesome guy, and an even better player. I can’t worry about that. I just have to play.” Right on, Dan.
- Some background and a writeup on pitching prospect Pierce Johnson, who just joined the Boise Hawks after being taken by the Cubs in the supplemental first round of the Draft this year. His Hawks pitching coach called Johnson one of the best prospects in the country.
- Koyie Hill just signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, which you can safely assume has something to do with Ryan Dempster’s presence there (the two are good friends).
- The MLBullets at BCB look at the dissension in the Red Sox clubhouse. A bunch of players apparently want Bobby Valentine out. I’m sure it can’t be easy for Theo Epstein to watch this happen to his beloved former franchise, but I’m also sure he’s glad to have some distance from it this year.
- A few days left to join the fantasy contest on Friday. Do it!