5/18/2009 Mat Gamel

Mat Gamel gets his first MLB start: 1-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI

The Brew Crew has made it very clear that Bill Hall is going no where. Fans excited over Gamel’s first start should realize that he isn’t your new third baseman.

Gamel was called up primarily to serve as a DH in upcoming inter league play. The loss of Rickie Weeks for the season should be filled in by some combination of Craig Counsel and rookie Casey McGehee.

His first major league home run was a 3 run shot to right off of Kyle Lohse. His defensive problems surfaced in the 7th as he missed baseballs widest first base target Prince Fielder with a throw across the infield. Skipper Ken Macha was interviewed by mlb.com in the post game and had a funny quip about Gamel.

“He had some firsts. His first homer, his first Major League start, his first error and my first gray hair.”

Defensive problems aside, fans have good reason to be excited about Gamel’s bat. He was a key part of one of the most feared minor league rosters of all time in the 2008 Huntsville Stars that featured big bats like Matt Laporta, Angel Salome, Cole Gillespie, and fellow brewers top prospect Alcides Escobar.

Gamel hit a ton while in Huntsville as he finished 2008 off with an outstanding line of .329/.395/.537. He also commited 30 errors at third base that year, and an amazing 53 errors out of 305 chances in class A Brevard County.

Defensive problems considered, his bat should still find a place to play. You should expect big offensive things for Gamel, and soon.

Gamel makes impression[Tom Haudricourt / Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel]
Brewers master Cards during sweep[B.J. Rains / MLB.com]

5/16/2009 Gerardo Parra

Gerardo Parra gives the D-Back outfield a much needed offensive boost: 3-6, 1 3B, 3 RBI

Parra was hitting .361/.469/.491 in Mobile before his MLB promotion and has hit .385/.429/.923 since his call up.

Arizona desperately needed offensive production as only Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton seemed to be able to get anything done at the dish. Chris Young has had a 2009 that he would like to forget about. Connor Jackson and Eric Byrnes have been well below league average thus far. That trio is hitting an embarrassing .188.

Enter Gerardo Parra, who can provide a consistent bat that is clearly their best outfield option short of Justin Upton. His minor league numbers suggest that he will not hit for much power. However his ability to simply put the ball in play and take a walk when the opportunity presents itself make him a great 2 slot hitter and a welcome addition to a struggling Arizona offense.

Parra’s hot start a lift for D-Backs[Nick Piecoro / The Arizona Republic]

Statistical Oddities for an early season.

Sports message board threads are always fun. Recently on FCB a user brought up a crazy stat for the year, and asked others to do the same. Here are some of the results.
Cristian Guzman has 0 walks in 110 Plate appearances.

Jordan Schafer has either walked or K’d in about 50% of his PA. 24 BB and 45 Ks in 140 PA

Chris Young, Diamondbacks: .179/.229/.317

ERA: Grienke – .60 Johan Santana – .78

At one point Bengie Molina’s Avg was 295, and his OBP was 293.

Just some examples from the early season that show how crazy this game can be.

George Brett’s 39 game hitting streak

Baseball stat guru’s are probably looking at this entry and thinking one of a few things:
1. George Brett never had a 39 game hitting streak
2. He must have meant to say 30 game hitting streak
3. He must have meant to say Paul Molitor

After Zimmerman’s streak ended yesterday, I mentioned that he had tied George Brett with a 30 game hitting streak. I knew that David Wright had a 26 gamer a few years back, and it made me think…I wonder what the longest hitting streak for a third baseman is? So, I searched and found that Pete Rose had a 43 game hitting streak in games which he played 3rd base (during his 44 gamer he played one game in Left Field, but in every other game he played at least some of the game at third). Number two on the list was George Brett and a 39 game hitting streak. Knowing that he never had a streak this long, I looked into it. Sure enough, Brett had a 39 game hitting streak in games in which he played 3rd base. Here’s how it happened:

He started with a modest 9 game hitting streak. In his next game, he played first base and went 0-4. He went back to third for the next game, and proceeded to have a 30 game hitting streak while playing 3rd base in each game. In those 39 games, he batted a sick .497, going 78 for 157. Oh, and all this while suffering from hemorrhoids. This streak occurred on both sides of a trip to the 30 day DL.

Here are the longest hitting streaks by players who played each game at 3rd base

5/12/2009 Travis Ishikawa

Too little, too late? 3-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI

The young man snapped an 0-for-17 slump with a solid day at the plate…except for the one where he struck out with a couple of ducks on the pond.  He’s spent most of his season flirting with the Mendoza line on a fairly light-hitting San Fransisco squad.  Unfortunately, with Rich Aurilia hitting even worse, it may be time to call up John Bowker and give him a week to get some punch in the lineup.

But, then again, who can’t hit the Nationals these days?

National Holiday [John Shea / San Fransisco Chronicle]

5/10/2009 Brett Cecil

Brett Cecil shines in his first two starts
5/5 vs Cleveland: 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, ND
5/10 vs Oakland: 8 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, Win

In 2 MLB starts Brett Cecil has shown us a quality start, and a lights out start.

The quality start came in his major league debut versus the middle of the offensive pack Cleveland Indians. What I liked in this start was his ability to challenge hitters inside. He was truly fearless with his slider as he showed enough faith in it to throw it in any count.

The lights out start came versus the woeful Oakland Athletics. .236/.310/.340 you say? Sounds like a good lineup to face in your second major league start. Brett made the Oakland Offense look like he was back wearing a Las Vegas 51’s uniform. It isn’t that base runners were at a premium. Oakland managed to get 5 hits and draw 2 walks. Cecil was simply lights out when throwing from the stretch, limiting Oakland to a familiar run total of 0.

Oakland has been struggling mightily versus left handers. The team batting average is a mere .205 when facing south paws.

Some notes of interest about Brett Cecil. Coming out of the draft in 07 many scouts had him tabbed as a reliever. He was Maryland’s closer, although many scouts thought he should have been a starter all along.

His 2007 draft report indicates that scouts thought that his lack of a change up would leave him with nothing to throw to right handed hitters. His AA numbers show a .210 opponent batting average versus right handers. Scouting is an inexact science indeed.

These first two starts are quite the way to start a major league career. Blue Jay fans have reason to be quite optimistic about Cecil possibly being a solid #2 starter behind Roy Halladay.

Brett Cecil and Alex Rios Are Great, Jays Beat A’s[Tom Dakers / Blue Bird Banter]

5/8/2009 Howie Kendrick

Part-timer provides the punch…with his feet: 2-4, 2B, IPHR, R, 2 RBI

It’s one of the most fun and confusing moments in all of baseball.  The mad dash for four.  But when Royals right fielder Jose Guillen overran a high fly ball to the line, Kendrick was off to the races, plating his fourth home run of the season and the majors’ first inside-the-park homer of 2009.

With the ball glancing off of Guillen’s glove on the play, one has to wonder if Royals pitcher Gil Meche will pay the fee to protest the scoring call out of his own pocket.

So there is a non-zero chance that Kendrick’s line could become a far more mundane 1-4, 2B, R before all is said and done.

And that would be a shame, but in all likelyhood, it would be the right call.

Kendrick: Speed Demon [Sam Miller / Orange County Register]