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From the Official Site: Batting Around with Frank Catalanotto. Spencer Fordin asked the new Jay RF about his position, and F-Cat isn't worried:

"The year when I played exclusively in left field -- 2001 -- I had my best year and I think I was able to focus more at the plate. When you're in the middle infield, your mind is working every second that you're on defense."

The best news is the health report; after some bad luck in 2002, this sounds promising:

"I've been on a pretty aggressive back program the whole year. The doctor said I have to do my exercises every single day and that's what I've been doing. My back feels great. Hopefully, doing these exercises will keep me from re-injuring it. The hand injury, I got hit by a pitch and broke it. There's nothing you can do about that."

Cat's one of the few players who admits a preference for artificial turf; he believes it turns more of his singles into doubles. Coming from an older club with several Hall of Fame candidates to the younger, developing Blue Jays, he's keen on assuming a leadership role.
Cat Talk | 12 comments | Create New Account
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_R Billie - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 11:00 AM EST (#20045) #
The turf helps in some ways and hurts in others. If Cat hits a lot of groundballs he may see his GIDP total go up a bit...Stewart manages to hit into his fair share despite his speed and makes similar contact.

BTW Coach, read your ESPN column. It might be worth keeping Rule V pick Aquilino Lopez in mind as a sleeper in the pen...he may also make it as a surprise starter some time this season as he had about a dozen starts in AAA among his 100+ quality innings (though I have no access to his starter/reliever splits).

His role will probably be small to start out so his fantasy appeal would be limited but his peripheral stats in the PCL and Dominican ball cry future success. Probably a guy to track throughout the year if he isn't drafted early.
Coach - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 11:23 AM EST (#20046) #
R B, in the Dominican League, Lopez made 13 relief appearances, but they totalled 48 IP, so he does have stamina, and talent -- 54 K, 12 BB and a WHIP under 1.000 is spectacular. In fantasy ball it would have to be a very, very deep AL league for him to be worth much; he'll be more valuable in the real world. We're still waiting to see what the Jays do with their other two Rule 5 picks, but Aquilino seems very likely to stick.

Speaking of awesome numbers, did anyone realize Doug Linton pitched in Puerto Rico this winter? The 38-year-old went 6-2, 2.08 in 11 starts, with 56 K and just 13 BB in 69 innings. He hasn't pitched in the Show since 1999, but has excelled in AAA for the last three years, and is another longshot possibility to make the 25-man roster, if he outpitches the kids in Dunedin. If not, he'll be like a pitching coach in Syracuse; great addition.
Dave Till - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 11:46 AM EST (#20047) #
One thing nobody has mentioned about Catalanotto in right: because Vernon Wells can cover so much ground in centre, the Jays can afford to put somebody with a good bat but slightly less than average range in right.
_Steve Z - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 12:17 PM EST (#20048) #
While it's kind of refreshing to hear Cat's enthusiasm for playing on turf, I am just a liitle perpexed by his turf stats (.229/.309/.376 over the past 3 seasons). The sample size is relatively small (109 AB) but the turf/grass comparisons seem striking none-the-less.
_jason - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 04:36 PM EST (#20049) #
ESPN ranks the top infields in baseball. The Jays come in 8th.
Coach - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 05:10 PM EST (#20050) #
Jason, thanks for the link, and the Jays are definitely the best-looking group -- even Woody, no GQ cover boy, is grinning, and O-Dog has the hat cocked just so. However, "analysis" by Phil Rogers is questionable at best, and ESPN should know better. His inclusion of the Astros at #7, when not even Jimy knows who's at 3B or SS, is a joke, and the Phillies, despite Thome, are also rated too high, with the likes of Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco up the middle. I do believe the Jays' infield is in the top four or five, offensively.

What Rogers means by "This (Yankees) infield is the centerpiece of a team that could probably win with Tony Clark, Eric Young, Deivi Cruz and Joe Randa around the horn" is anybody's guess. Replace Giambi, Soriano, Jeter and Ventura with that quartet, and they're not even a .500 club. Weird stuff.
_jason - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 05:48 PM EST (#20051) #
Don't knock Jimmy Rollins, he's a heck of a player.
Coach - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 06:46 PM EST (#20052) #
Rollins is an exciting player, I'll grant you that. But if he has a .306 OBP again, with another 100+ whiffs, and they insist on batting him leadoff, it's gonna be a long year. That's Alex Gonzalez territory, and a scary decline from Jimmy's rookie season. He has some fantasy value because of the steals, but even there, his success rate dropped from 85% in 2001 (an impressive 46 of 54) to 70% last year, 31 of 44. Maybe I'm wrong, and he'll bounce back, but I don't consider him a big plus.

I'm not sold at all on the "new and improved" Phillies. There was some talk about moving Abreu to fill the hole at the top of the order, but he wasn't too pleased, and his running game may be wasted in the 5-hole. Thome's great, but there are a lot of tough lefties in the NL, and he will take a while to adjust. (He's always a slow starter.) Burrell, who I think will continue to improve, may come up a lot with more outs and fewer baserunners than he'd like to see. The pitching isn't awful -- Milwood-Wolf-Padilla is encouraging, but Myers and Duckworth are question marks, and the bullpen is a huge problem. Thanks again to Ed Wade for the Politte-Plesac swap.
_Shane - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 06:52 PM EST (#20053) #
A little fun here. I was flipping through's archives, and came across an old '97 interview done by one Keith Law hosting one Frank Catalanotto. I'd never seen any of Franks quotes prior to his recent signing but though not quite Carl Everett, Frank "The Truth" Catalanotto likes a good opinion too -- step aside resident gabber Orlando Hudson.

Keith Law and Frank are sizing up what chance he has to make the A's 25 man roster, as a Rule 5 guy, now that Kevin Elster didn't sign, and Mike Bordick has signed elsewhere:

Catalanotto: "You know, I've never understood the hype around Bordick. I've seen his numbers, and he just doesn't look that good."

Yes Sir. Why don't you tell Mike that when you see him in Dunedin, Franky.

Throughout Frank and Keith kind of gang up, if you will, on the Tigers organization for discouraging taking pitches/walking, how Randy Smith wouldn't protect him from the Rule 5 when all the scouts said to, etc. Frank even critiques LH Trevor Miller (also now with the Jays) saying he doesn't "see him being very good", etc.

Keith and Frank together again in 2003, and not a pimp in sight.
_Shane - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 07:02 PM EST (#20054) #
For anyone interested in Keith & Frank vs. The World, the link is:
Coach - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 07:23 PM EST (#20055) #
Great stuff, Shane. Randy Smith is a piece of work. What's the over/under on how long it takes to clean up the mess he left in Detroit?

Law got much more provocative opinions from Cat than Fordin did, so I assume Frank's learned his Crash Davis cliches since then. Or maybe they were putting us on just a little.
Craig B - Tuesday, January 14 2003 @ 09:21 PM EST (#20056) #
Keith and Frank together again in 2003, and not a pimp in sight.

Judging from the tilt on Orlando Hudson's hat, I'd say at least one man in Dundein is going to be straight pimpin'.

I somehow don't think that Keith is going to be passing around too many of his old BP columns to the players anyway. I'm sure a lot of those guys have come under the fire of the Prospectus crew at some point. That's one advantage of being a "rah-rah" broadcaster, actually; nobody will really ever be angry at the things you said if you ever have to work with them.
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