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thursday miscellany

lotta little items on my docket today, so let's get right to 'em:

  • derrick goold put up a long post last night about my favorite under-radar farmhand, mike parisi, who started the day game yesterday and didn't pitch bad. goold hits on the two things i've been hearing about this guy that i like, but that don't always show up in the numbers: a) he's got a big-league curveball and a fastball with sink; but more important b) he makes adjustments. parisi keeps a detailed book on the league and on himself, keeps track of what works and what doesn't; he learns from his mistakes and improves his performance over time. look how his 2007 season at triple A breaks down:
ip era whip bb/k
1st 10 starts 54 6.17 1.685 21 / 25
2d 10 starts 60.1 4.92 1.541 29 / 49
last 8 starts 50.2 3.55 1.411 15 / 37

looks like he figured some stuff out. he's made a favorable impression on dave duncan so far; it'd be a nice surprise if he's able to make a modest contribution to the big-league club in the next year or two. and a modest contribution, just to be clear, is all i've ever hoped for from parisi; i've never deluded myself that he could be a star nor even a league-average player. but i do think he's got 5th-starter potential --- and a presentable 5th starter who makes the league minimum is a very useful player. even if he merely makes himself into a josh hancock, cal edred, brad thompson type --- an inning-eating reliever who can start in a pinch --- it'd be a small triumph for the farm system. keep bendin' that curve, kid.

  • also making a good impression yesterday: jaime garcia, who tossed 3 shutout innings in the night game. that performance came mostly against a representative big-league lineup (to the extent florida has one of those anymore) rather than farm scrubs; among others, he retired hanley ramirez, mike jacobs, josh willingham, and jorge cantu (although the latter made good contact). in two appearances this spring, garcia has thrown 5 shutout innings and recorded 11 groundouts vs 1 flyout. there had been talk of starting him at double A this year, nursing him along slowly in the wake of last year's elbow problems, but judging from the (ridiculously) early returns maybe that's too conservative. maybe he'll be deemed ready for the memphis rotation.
  • will carroll posted the cards' Team Health Report over at Baseball Prospectus on tuesday. the vast majority of the cards' key players are rated either yellow (elevated injury risk) or red (high risk). the reds are glaus, isringhausen, mulder, and clement; everybody else is a yellow except izturis and ryan franklin, who are both green (normal risk). a few highlights:
wainwright: "The shift from closer to starter went pretty well for Wainwright, but last year's workload remains a massive innings jump last year. If he puts up another 200 innings, put him in the "he'll do this every year" category. The best sign is that he did not fade; in fact, he was better as the season went on."
troy glaus: "The grass should help him, as should having Tony La Russa watching his back. I'd expect Glaus to miss some time, but he's the kind of player who, like Pujols, should benefit from the maintenance work this staff can handle.
albert pujols: "He's never been healthy. Never. At least not during his major league career. That's just sick . . . . "
and here's will's answer to my question about the cards' corps of sore-winged starting pitchers:
Are any of the Cards' three arm-damaged starters (Carpenter, Mulder, and Clement) likely to come close to their former effectiveness within the next two years?

The short answer? No. Longer answer: Hahahahaha; no. Non-snarky answer: There's always a chance, but you can't count on any of them to do anything. Carpenter is the best bet, coming back from Tommy John surgery and knowing that he knows how to rehab. He should be back late in the season for a cameo and we'll see what's left then. He's got a better chance in '09, but by then he's overpaid. Mulder and Clement are low-dollar upside plays that leverage Dave Duncan's skills. It's a bit of "no harm, no foul," in that the money spent isn't stopping other spending or blocking anyone from taking a rotation slot.