Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Most baseball fans like to look at minor league pitching stats and dream about what a player might become. We look at the teenager who blows away A ball hitters and wonder if he might be the next Dwight Gooden. At the same time, we haven't seen most of these pitchers pitch regularly (if at all) and we must rely on scouts for anecdotal information. The one thing we do have is a confusing tangle of numbers. But what, if anything, do they indicate about a pitcher's likelihood of making it in the majors?

The following performance ratings are based on the pitcher's performance relative to minor league level and age, and are adjusted for league and for whether the pitcher was a starter or a reliever in the minors. Major league stats are NOT included in the evaluation.
[More] (649 words)
I've kicked the habit
Shed my skin
This is the new stuff
I go dancing in

By popular demand, here's a new Hijack Central, for breaking news, rumours, OT discussions and other Bauxite miscellany.
[More] (41 words)
Thanks to Ryan01, who broke the news of the Jays' 40-man roster additions on the Hijack Central thread. The additions were expected, but there were some notable absences. And there are still two spaces left -- the club has room for more acquisitions later this off-season. Added to the 40-man today were Gabe Gross, John-Ford Griffin, Dustin McGowan, Jesse Harper, DJ Hanson and Jorge Sequea. Here's the complete roster:
[More] (52 words)
Mike Green had a great idea over in another thread, I'm taking the liberty of opening a new thread, and pasting his comment here to get us started. Mike Moffatt, don't forget to put your team in here.

[More] (104 words)
Here's part II of my bandwidth-choking thread on Blue Jays minor league hitters. Have fun!
[More] (4,068 words)
Here, for your enlightenment, enjoyment, or whatever, is info on every Blue Jays hitting prospect I could think of since the dawn of recorded time. Needless to say, this project grew to be rather larger than expected! (Eventually, I'll do the pitchers too, but not right away.)

I've divided the list into two parts - A-K and L-Z - as I don't want to choke a single thread. Hopefully the formatting will work out - I tested it in another thread, and on two browsers, before posting it here. Scream if there are any problems!

Each player has a Buzz Factor listed, which is a non-scientific estimate of the amount of hype the player generated, from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

Hope you find some of this useful, and enjoy!
[More] (3,437 words)
Yes, I'm hurting for good headlines today. The Globe & Mail's Jeff Blair chimes in on the Jays' recent flurry of pitching acquisitions with an interesting article and chat with JP Ricciardi. It's quite good, but for a brain cramp that led him to call Adam Peterson a southpaw, and includes this insight from JP: "We were four wins from 90 [last season] with what was, let's face it, a Band-Aid staff." He's right about that, and if a legitimate #2 can be added (names tossed around here have included Kelvim Escobar, Ben Sheets and, if you really stretch the definition, Miguel Batista), the Jays could catch fire. But the article spends more time talking about the help on the way from the minors. JP makes the interesting assumption that while David Bush will open the season at Syracuse, Dustin McGowan should start at Double-A and quickly move up. It's a good reminder that McGowan's just 21 and needn't be rushed. I have a feeling that there's at least one big trade in store for the Jays this winter, and that it will send some prize minor-leaguers out the door. But if such a trade brings back that #2 guy, it's more than worth it. That's why you collect prospects, after all.
Baseball's off-field life can sometimes be fairly likened to a circus, and this week is no exception. The Mets did the right thing and fired Bill Singer for acting like an idiot and embarrassing the organization. The Brewers are in far deeper trouble, trying to fire their team president, a highly respected Milwaukee businessman who protested the team's plans to chop payroll to $30M -- a decision that itself has stirred the anger of the local press and politicans. And finally, an alleged rift between Alex Rodriguez and Buck Showalter in Texas has supposedly been exacerbated by the firing of a clubhouse assistant who doubled as A-Rod's valet and personal assistant. Why can't I have a gofer? Here I am doing all my own errands like a chump. (Thanks to Jeff for the A-Rod tip.)
A busy day for the Blue Jays garnered a great deal of press. Geoff Baker at the Star reports that both Hentgen and Lilly are happy to be in Toronto, though Ted's belief that "we have a very good shot at winning the division" is a tad optimistic. Mike Rutsey at the Sun notes that JP still hopes Escobar will come back as the #2 guy, though that seems a longshot at best. The Oracle at Baseball Primer echoes the popular sentiment that the Kielty-Lilly trade was the classic "good deal for both sides." And the best report came from the Score Bard, who penned these Schultzian lines:

Beane's outfield was so bad he felt he
Should make it less Lucy Van Pelty,
While JP's poor mound
Was too Charlie Browned:
And thus was born Lilly-for-Kielty.
I thought I'd add to the other-sports-on-quiet-winter-days mix by seeing if any Bauxites are up for chatting thoughtfully about the NBA.

I'll be attending what will surely be yet another road bloodbath for the Raptors, this Saturday afternoon in the Meadowlands. First question: Will the Raptors crack 70 points? Next question: Are there any options in the Raptors' rotation to make them at least a passable offensive club, or do they need to make a trade? I actually like the Raps' chances to make the playoffs in the East this year -- the conference is even more East-ern than normal this season.

Remember, in these threads, a charge will not be called if you're standing within the semi-circle!
For all your threadjacking needs.
Time for the first intermission. "Two Minutes In The Box" is for hockey and hockey-related subjects. No butt-ending.
According to a published report in today's Toronto Sun, but first broken by watchful Bauxites in the Hijack Central thread, Pat Hentgen is returning to the Blue Jays in 2004 on a one-year contract, rumoured to be in the range of $2.2 M. If confirmed, this is terrific news for the Blue Jays, for a number of reasons. First, Hentgen, while not the Cy Young winner of his youth, is still a pretty solid pitcher who's steadily recovering from surgery and should be counted on as a reliable #3 or #4 guy. Second, he's a fan favourite who, while he won't sell any extra tickets, will generate very positive feedback and warm-and-fuzzies among both fans and sportswriters. Third, he's from all accounts a stand-up guy who should function as an additional mentor to the younger pitchers. And finally and perhaps most important, he had several suitors but chose the Blue Jays -- and that should send a message to both the current players and the other free agents out there. The off-season has gotten a terrific start in Toronto.
Breaking News! The Blue Jays have acquired Ted Lilly from Oakland for Bobby Kielty. See below for an extended discussion.

The Padres and Athletics swung a medium-sized deal today, with Oakland shipping Terrence Long and Ramon Hernandez to San Diego in return for Mark Kotsay. This seems to be a reasonably good trade for both teams: Kotsay is a superior defender who had an off-year in 2003 caused by a back injury, while Hernandez is one of the best offensive catchers outside the Piazza-Rodriguez-Posada neighbourhood. Long is one of Billy Beane's biggest mistakes, signing an extra outfielder to an expensive multi-year deal, and getting rid of Long alone probably makes the deal worthwhile for him. For the A's, Adam Melhuse can hold down the catcher's position till Jeremy Brown is ready; for the Pads, Long should really be an expensive bench bat and nothing more, which means San Diego still needs a true centerfielder. The Padres took on more total salary, but only through 2005; Kotsay is signed through '06. Close enough to break-even as makes no difference, maybe a small advantage to the A's.
Barry Bonds has become the first player ever to win three consecutive MVP awards and now owns twice as many as anyone else. He got 28 of the 32 first-place votes, with Albert Pujols (3) and Gary Sheffield (1) rounding out the top three as expected. Eric Gagne did very well, finishing sixth in the voting.