Monday came and went and did you notice the big surprise? Nope, the poem by Moe Thacker was not it (apologies on botching his name in the credit). Instead, the big news has been pushed to opening day.
Yesterday the final roster spot was announced so we can now wait the last few dead days of spring training before the real games start. Sometimes I wonder if you should only have to play spring games until you’ve decided on your roster. At that point, you should be allowed to stop playing games and just have practice until the season starts.
Part of that opening day roster is Tyler Colvin, who is this year’s Jake Fox. Last year I campaigned and pleaded for the Cubs to bring Fox up despite the fact that so many poo poo’d the idea of a kid without a position being on the roster. This year, Colvin raked in spring training and merited the call up, despite the fact that he’s in a somewhat similar situation. He also is a man without a position, not because he can’t play any of them, but because all of his are currently held by high priced players and we know it’s all about money these days. That fact has led some to call for Fukudome to be put on the trade block in an attempt to reward Colvin with the starting nod in RF. I would caution that move for a few reasons.
1. Colvin has never played beyond AA – That’s not really a knock against him, but more of a fact. Here are his minor league numbers broken down by year and level courtesy of Baseball Reference:
Year Age Lev PA 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS 2006 20 A- 288 12 6 11 53 12 5 17 55 .268 .313 .483 .796 2007 21 AA-A+ 519 35 5 16 81 17 5 15 101 .299 .324 .488 .812 2007 21 A+ 262 24 3 7 50 10 4 10 47 .306 .336 .514 .850 2007 21 AA 257 11 2 9 31 7 1 5 54 .291 .313 .462 .774 2008 22 AA 602 27 11 14 80 7 4 44 101 .256 .312 .424 .736 2009 23 AA-A+ 459 18 9 15 60 8 2 29 84 .286 .332 .480 .812 2009 23 A+ 129 5 2 1 10 3 1 13 27 .250 .326 .357 .683 2009 23 AA 330 13 7 14 50 5 1 16 57 .300 .334 .524 .859
Looking at those numbers, it’s hard to make the case that a couple of hot weeks against sub-par pitching in spring training means you need to anoint the kid with a starting job. He needs more experience before I do that.
2. Remember Brant Brown? Dwight Smith? Jerome Walton? – I only went back that far primarily because 1989 was really my first year really watching baseball with any weighted interest. That year we had two promising young outfielders anointed with a starting job. Smith replaced the Rafael Palmiero in LF and Walton replaced Dave Martinez. Both had great years and raised hopes tremendously only to slap us in the face the following years.
Brant Brown was another one that so many people liked and were afraid to trade for fear that he would turn into an all star somewhere else. Let’s just say that never happened.
It’s hard for me to be optimistic about trading Fukudome when we’ve seen the history of a few outfielders in the past that have fizzled out so quickly and so dramatically.
3. Was Fukudome really that bad? – Coming into 2008 we all had visions of Fukudome being a monster hitter in the US. After all, just look at guys like Matsui and Ichiro. Couple that with the fact that he was compared by many as a combination of both. A disappointing ’08 campaign led many to question his ability. 2009 saw ‘dome move to CF, not his natural position, in an attempt to make room for the one we shall not speak of. Playing out of position all year, which does have an effect on the offensive production, Fukudome saw his numbers improve to the point that he was considered above average offensively, if only slightly. Looking at the numbers, there are a few things that jump out two me.
Year R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ 2008 79 129 25 3 10 58 81 104 .257 .359 .379 .738 89 2009 79 129 38 5 11 54 93 112 .259 .375 .421 .796 104
First look at the dramatic increase in power, not in the sense of the longball, but the doubles. That increase made him a lot more valuable as a number two hitter. Second, despite the fact that he continued to strike out more than you might expect for someone who draws a lot of walks, he continued to draw a lot of walks and raised his OBP to .375. It’s still not around .400 like I’d like to see, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more increase this year as he continues to learn the American game and the pitchers he faces.
4. What happens when Soriano gets hurt? – We know it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. At that time, who will be the every day answer out there? What better option to have than some depth in the OF.
At this point, I don’t trade Fukudome unless it yields something this team sorely needs and doesn’t require us paying for his contract. I let Colvin get 2-3 starts, possibly more, each week and see how he does. If it’s not working I move swiftly to send him to AAA where he can play everyday and replace him with Sam Fuld.
Joe’s Question of the Day
If you could be one superhero for a day and have all their super powers as well as their look, which would you choose and what would you do all day?
My first thought was be to be Spiderman because of the ability to swing from tall building to tall building, but then I considered the fact that not only do we really not have any building that meet the requirements to make it worth it, but I think I would pee in my spidey suit from fear of heights.
My next idea was to be Superman for the simple fact that I would have the ability to look through walls. Then I again considered the heights thing and decided to pass.
I decided to go with the Incredible Hulk because I think it would be cool as crap to be completely ripped for a day and on top of that be bright green. Under normal circumstances this would send fear deep to my heart because of the fact that so many would stare and comment under their breath about what kind of crazy disease I must have contracted to turn my skin the color of an avocado. When you’re big and ripped, no one will have the onions to even come close to staring, let along poking fun. How great would that be?
Just a few more days till opening day. Hang in there.