Fixing the Baseball Draft

Former Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor

Former Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor

Yesterday my Atlanta Braves inked their first round pick, Mike Minor, to a contract that contained a $2.42 million signing bonus.  This is the largest bonus ever given out to a Brave, besting Jeff Francoeur’s $2.2 million in 2002.  This got me thinking, which is generally a bad thing.

I can’t claim to have ever seen Mike Minor in person, so everything I know about him is based off of internet reports and his college stats.  Most everyone seems to agree, however, that Minor’s ceiling as a prospect is a number three or four starter.  I don’t know about you, but when one of my teams has a top 10 pick in any draft, I’d like to see them try and find a superstar.  Some examples of #7 picks from past years:  Prince Fielder – 2002, Nick Markakis – 2003,  Troy Tulowitzki – 2005, Clayton Kershaw – 2006.

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Weller’s Fantasy Baseball Team

As you may recall, I am attempting to become a baseball fan this year. I took a big step in that direction by joining a fantasy baseball league on Yahoo. It’s a standard public league with 12 teams/managers and head-to-head scoring. My first real shock came when I found out that I was in a live draft league. I had actually thought that I’d signed up for a league with an automated draft because I knew that I wouldn’t have heard of enough of the players to pick my team, and I certainly wouldn’t know enough about the players that I had heard of to know which to draft and when. I was wrong, it wasn’t a auto-draft league. Here’s the story: Continue reading

What’s Wrong with the Braves

As most of you know, I’m an unapologetic Atlanta Braves fan. I have watched them for as long as I can remember and will will continue for as long as I live. Lately, however, I have been forcing myself not to watch their games because it makes my blood pressure rise too much. They’re finding all kinds of ways to lose and it’s driving me crazy. Exhibit A would be today’s blown save in the 9th and then losing in the 11th on a walk-off hit by pitch. That makes it six losses in a row.

We’re now seven games back of the streaking Phillies and five games back of the How-Are-They-Good Marlins. The Braves’ statistical leaders page on Yahoo! only shows 2 pitchers in the ERA category because only Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens have enough innings to qualify. We’ve now lost John Smoltz for the year and Tom Glavine is back on the DL (glad we gave up that first rounder for him). Jurrjens missed his scheduled start against the Cubs after twisting his ankle while walking down the clubhouse stairs at Wrigley. Mike Hampton is probably dead by now so I won’t even start with him. With the rotation in shambles, I don’t think Jorge Campillo and Jeff Bennett can keep this team near contention. Hopefully the starting pitching will get a boost when under hyped prospect Charlie Morton gets the start on Sunday. Morton may be the first prospect in Braves history that is actually under hyped. I don’t know if this is good or not.

The second area that is crushing this team is the bullpen that could be so strong. Last year when we stole Rafael Soriano from the Mariners and traded for Mike Gonzalez, I thought we set ourselves up to have lock down bullpen. Well, Mr. Gonzalez has been lights out for the 18 games he pitched for us in the last 2 years. Soriano was great at the first part of last year, but then had trouble keeping the ball down and therefore had trouble keeping it in the ballpark. This year he’s been struggling with tendinitis issues. Our huge bright spot in the ‘pen last year was Australian Peter Moylan. His stuff looked absolutely filthy and we went for 90 innings with a 1.80 ERA. He started this year just as well, giving up only a walk-off homer to Ryan Zimmerman in the first game of the season. Then he decided to join the Tommy John parade and is done for the year.

In the place of these three, we have several rookies. Manny Acosta is one of those rookies. I’m not sure quite what to make of him yet, since he didn’t give up an earned run from May 12th to May 31st. Since the Jay Bruce walk-of homer, Acosta has gone 0-4 with 2 blown saves and has seen his ERA rise by almost 2 runs. That’s 4 losses in 7 appearances. I understand trying to give him the vote of confidence or whatever, but can we throw someone else in these situations? Just until we win a couple games, please?

Anyway, I know this is sort of a knee-jerk post, but a week of nothing but losses will do that to you. I just keep telling myself, “At least you’re not a Mets fan,” and that usually gets me through.  Maybe a gigantic cow will help.

In unrelated news, we had our first upset in the Euros when Croatia upended Germany 2-1. Austria and Poland then drew 1-1.

Also, I said a while ago that we would get a new contributer around here and we finally got that set up. He’s going to be our “Special Basketball Correspondent.” Neither Weller or myself really knows much or cares about basketball, so we decided to get your hoops needs covered by someone else.

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