28 March 2005

Prospect Tracking, Will Carrol, "The Warriors" on PS2...

I've decided to do a weekly Red Sox prospect feature here on BS Memorial, focusing on a pitching and position player for the entire season. For the first of (hopefully) many, I've chosen RHP Jon Papelbon (l) and OF Brandon Moss (r). For the duration of the season, every Tuesday I'll post an update on Papelbon's progress, and every Wednesday we'll look at Moss from the previous week. I'll be starting tomorrow- a Tuesday, of course- and hopefully they both build on their very promising 2004 campaigns in 2005. They stand as two of Boston's strongest minor league players.

While on the topic of prospects and the draft, here's the low-down on where Boston will pick in the '05 Amateur Draft, from soxprospects.com, the hands-down best Red Sox mL site:

With the Dodgers' signing of Derek Lowe, the Red Sox will have five of the first fifty picks in the 2005 Amateur Draft, which by all accounts will be a very deep draft. Boston will receive compensation picks for Lowe, Orlando Cabrera, and Pedro Martinez, while losing individual picks for the signings of Edgar Renteria, Matt Clement, and David Wells. As presently situated, the Red Sox will have picks 23, 26, 42, 45, and 47 in the first/supplemental round, pick 9 in the second round, no pick in the third round, and the 28th pick in each following round.

That should be fun to look at. For a team used to obtaining free agents and having to surrender supplemental picks (draft picks are surrendered on a scale by which the free agent obtained is graded, using a universal ranking done by an- I believe- independent party), to see them with so many to work with in the opening rounds and beyond is really, really exciting. Their first pick last year- Dustin Pedroia- has been tremendously successful thus far and will start 2005 in single-A Wilmington.

Here's a great article too on the current culture of Red Sox minor leaguers from the Eagle Tribune.

"We get mischaracterized as a college-only organization," Epstein said. "We've never said that's what we want to be. We took Mickey Hall in 2003 when we thought he was the best value. The player we've spent the most on was Mike Rozier. I think any time you're close-minded, you limit your chances of getting the best available player. Obviously, we've taken more college players than high schoolers. But we'd certainly never shut ourselves off to one form of talent."

Will Carroll will be answering some questions over at Firebrand of the AL this Thursday, and you can leave a question of your own for Carroll at Evan's site now.

Carroll is a regular contributor to Baseball Prospectus in his "Under the Knife" column, as he's something of an expert on injury, injury history, injury susceptibility and rehab specifics. Should be extremely interesting. Will has a new book out on steroids called The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problems
, along with his other great titles.

I have a couple questions in already, one regarding David Ortiz's shoulder, and the other inquiring on Wade Miller's... um... shoulder.

In Red Sox news (and as a corollary to the Bill James quote), it appears Trot Nixon is settling into contributing to the Sox on a regular, healthy basis in 2005. The article focuses on Nixon's coping with injury limiting his play last season, and his relief that, at least, he was able to contribute during the postseason (an underrated contribution to boot- his was the single that advanced Roberts to third with one out in the 8th inning of Game Five- followed by Varitek driving him in with a sac fly, and Nixon hit three 2B's in Game Four of the World Series, one of them driving in 2 crucial runs). Some interesting quotes:

Nixon, who played an average of 136 games from 1999-2003, took action to safeguard himself against more injuries by trimming his weight from 235 pounds last year to 217 this spring.

"I could carry (235) but I felt overweight," he said. "When you're a certain weight and you start losing weight as the season goes on, sometimes you lose energy. Hopefully, that won't happen to me."

Nixon's weight is something that, with his history of back problems as far back as the minor leagues, has been a point of interest to Sox followers for years. His recent bulking up- partially attributed to quitting smokeless tobacco- helped his power, but likely contributed to his hurt back in '04. Reports have Trot looking a bit more like his lithe, pre-2002 self.

"I'm human and I make mistakes just like everyone else," Nixon said. "It was just a brain cramp [not throwing home to allow a run]. I'm just glad it happened here and not in the regular season, but I was extremely upset with myself. I'm still upset with myself. If I could put things behind me a lot quicker, like other people, I'd be better off."

I've heard his teammates used to call him "The Volcano"- rarely do you ever see an athlete admit to their temper, or their often obsessive nature where success is concerned, being anything but a positive thing. In Nixon's case, it just seems like an exhausting character trait. Just interesting to read something to personal, self-aware, and candid from a modern athlete.

Also, it's worth noting that Mike and I still consider Trot's absolute simmering fury over not being able to get a donut off his bat in the on deck circle one game a couple years back one of the singularly hilarious things either of us have ever seen. He just took the bat and threw it, gesturing for a new one from the bat boy. He was so disgusted.

Baseball Musings has posted new 2004 defensive range charts, a really useful and interesting reference. As a test case, let's look at Marcus Giles:

Interesting stuff. Unless I'm totally mistaken, the x-axis (horizontal) goes from left (CF) to right (1B), hence an evaluation of the left-to-right range (expected/ actual outs, etc). Check them out, and if you're wondering... no, Brett Boone certainly didn't deserve his Gold Glove. Not even close.

Finally, in two bits of tremendous geek news, it looks like The Warriors, one of the coolest, weirdest cult films ever made, is being made into a video game by the geniuses at Rockstar Games. From the various online sources, release dates range from August to December of 2005, though the most common one seems to settle around the beginning of September. In the most recent Rolling Stone, the game is mentioned, along with the info that it will include the voices of the original obscure cast. Here's some additional news/ info on the release- Take-Two Financials Soar in Q1

In Take-Two's earnings call with investors today, president and CEO Paul Eibeler offered more tidbits on upcoming releases. Hit Xbox tennis title Top Spin, the rights to which Take-Two purchased from Microsoft, will see release on "other platforms" this year. The Warriors, inspired by the 1979 street gang film, will now see release late in the year on PlayStation 2 and Xbox.


In related news, I've been directed to a website, HR-Derby.com, which has some cool specialty jerseys, including, of course... The Furies, a gang in The Warriors. My favorite, though, were the Bad News Bears ones.

Finally, I've decided to open the comments section back up to everyone. I've figured out a way to control the pest problem, so registration or no... feel free to comment away. Have at it. Let me (the editorial "we") know what you think of the place...

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