midday musing --
tom verducci at sports illustrated lists his top 10 breakout pitching candidates. one is aj burnett; ouch. another is dan haren; double ouch.
guess we'll have to seek solace in the glowing reports about mark mccormick in derrick goold's blog. granted, the report is from a biased source -- mccormick's former college coach at baylor, steve smith -- but it's still nice to hear, from any source, that the kid can throw 96 and that the ball is "easy out of his hand." mccormick will prob'y start the season at palm beach in high class a, according to goold; we can surmise that a strong performance there will earn him a trip to double a springfield by the end of the summer, and likely a spring-training invite to jupiter in 2007. if all goes well he's competing for a spot in the rotation (with pedro astacio or eric milton) by the spring of 2008.
another stl farmhand pitcher, adam wainwright (and here's a biased glowing report on him), has some impressive comps per baseball prospectus' PECOTA. rick rhoden sits atop this list of analogous players; 151-game winner, two-time all-star. in 16 big-league seasons, also a hell of a golfer. #2 is three-time all-star rick aguilera, a successful starter who became a very successful closer. #3 is ralph terry, a top-of-rotation starter for the champ'ship yankee teams of the early 1960s. daryl kile is #19 on this list . . . .
anthony reyes' most similar pitcher is pedro's older brother, ramon martinez; i'd take that. #3 is don wilson; that'd be okay, too. the list is brimming with former all-stars: art mahaffey, don gullett, scott sanderson, greg swindell. #15 is former world series mvp josh beckett; #16 is tom seaver.
that'd be alright.
oh, and this guy is #13 on the list. . .
a while back, la russa mused that so taguchi might emerge as the cards' primary left fielder, inspiring little confidence among the faithful. today on bernie's show he apparently hinted that juancion may bat second. tlr's like the rest of us during the off-season, bored and liable to say just about anything to pass the time; but i don't think he's just muttering idly on this one. don't forget, this is a manager who used to routinely fill the #2 slot with guys like craig paquette (.274 career obp) and shawon dunston (.296); so encarnacion's comparatively robust .316 obp may well prove irresistible to tony.
may god please grant junior spivey a hot bat this spring . . . . .