We’re watching the Diamondbacks game in Arizona tonight, and some time has passed since we once made a post we regret on young A.J. Pollock.
Pollock got off to a slow start last season and was on a few of our fantasy teams. We took notice of it, deciding to drop him after he Canseco’d a home run ball in center at Coors Field.
Since then, the dude has proven he is a damn good baseball player and he’s getting better.
He finished last season hitting .302 with an .851 OPS and a WAR of 3.9 in 75 games. This year he has 10 homers to go along with 16 steals, a .303 average and a WAR of 3.5 in 79 games. He just laced another RBI single as we made this post. We knew that was coming.
Every once in a while, you’re just wrong about a guy. We’re not too proud to admit we were wrong. We thought A.J. Pollock was a garden variety turd. More along the lines of a poor man’s Chris Heisey. Instead, he’s a middle of the order hitter that plays Robin to Paul Golschmidt’s Batman in the newest best hitters park in America.
There’s no end in sight to A.J. Pollock’s reign of terror. He’s only 27 years old and if he stays healthy he’ll probably he an All Star at some point.
But it was Michael Taylor who saved my bet, saved the Nationals, and took a piece of Addison Reed he can never have back.
Alright, so I’ve decided after seeing a good bit of Michael Taylor; he reminds me a little bit of Reggie Sanders. I really think this is a great comp, and I think it’s fair to say because I saw a TON of 1992 to 1998 Reggie Sanders. I am proud of my comp.
I don’t know where, and I don’t know how, but there will be a spot somewhere in the big leagues playing every day for a guy like Michael Taylor.
I think Rubby De La Rosa is a nice little arm, to be honest. I am probably in the minority; but he’s caught my eye. Bryce Harper is so torrid right now, he hits a pitcher’s pitch out of that great run-scoring environment by simply putting barrel to ball.
Now we warn you before watching, this is not your typical, beautiful Harper swing. He’s just insanely locked in. And this ball is getting out in that good humidity out there in Scottsdale.
At the end of the day, the Nationals lost the game 14-6 and things got out of hand because Stephen Strasburg has not yet tapped into his vast potential. But let it be written that Bryce Harper recorded his 67th career home run and 12th of the 2015 season off a pretty good young arm in Rubby De La Rosa.
So 99.9% percent of the time you turn on a television and you see guys who are supremely talented, coordinated, and gifted. That other 0.01%? Well that’s A.J. Pollock.
Pollock first caught my attention because I was the lucky winner of his services for $1 in a deep Ottoneu auction league. I figured he could be depended upon to play against left-handed pitching. He’s in an underrated lineup, and he’ll get regular at-bats; I thought to myself.
Well Pollock has started the season hitting .156, commonly missing 88 MPH left-handed fastballs down the middle of the plate. He’s just all forms of awful and I wonder what a talent evaluator saw in the guy. I can’t help it.
He’s pictured here in last night’s game – of course he volleyed a ball hit by Nolan Arenado over the fence for a home run. Pollock can’t just get out of his own way.
You watch a guy like Mike Trout for a couple of innings and then you change the channel to the A.J. Pollock show and you’re left wondering whether or not it’s the same league.
Pollock will probably be teaching 8th grade Earth Science in his hometown in two years.
The second game of our Saturday – we still haven’t slept – but this one figures to be a little less hazy. Hopefully we see some runs in this one. I thought that would be the case before I read that Trevor Cahill is a lifetime 6-0 against the Dodgers in 10 career starts, with a 2.01 ERA.
If you’re watching the game, watch it with us! Join in the liveblog chat and hang out!
I woke up at 2:00 AM and barely hung on through the rain delay at Sydney Cricket Ground early this morning. I stayed up through the entire game – and although I’m exhausted this morning – damn it feels good to have baseball back.
The Dodgers are 1-0, winning the opener on foreign soil 3-1. Scott Van Slyke was the offensive hero, but the real story was probably what a horse effort Clayton Kershaw offered. On 102 pitches, Kershaw struck out seven and walked just one to get the win; the 78th of his young career.
Wade Miley wasn’t bad for the Diamondbacks. He went 5 and 2/3, striking out eight and walking two. Yasiel Puig went 0 for 5 with three bad-looking strike outs.
Game two is tonight at 10:00 PM here in the Midwest. I already can’t wait.
The 2013 Arizona DiamondBacks went 81-81, spending a lot of time clearing water out of the boat after General Manager Kevin Towers traded Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves declaring he wasn’t a ‘winning player’.
Paul Goldschmidt went out and became one of the best all around hitters in the game by earning a 7.1 WAR with 36 home runs, 125 RBI, and a shiny .302/.401/.551 slash-line that led to a .952 OPS that led the National League. It seemed every time we turned on the television that Goldschmidt was knocking a ball off the fence.
Kevin Towers is going to need to find a lot more ‘winning players’ if the Diamondbacks are going to make some hay in 2014 and beyond. They’re not there yet.
Major Off-season Moves:
Traded for OF Mark Trumbo.
Traded for RHP Addison Reed.
Signed RHP Bronson Arroyo to a two-year, $23.5 million dollar contract.
Signed LHP Oliver Perez.
I’m not as sweet on the DBacks as many – as I think they’re in for another year mired in mediocrity. They do have some really nice pieces, and any time you can go to battle with one of the best all around players in the game day in and day out, you’ve got a reason to be at least moderately excited. Continue reading →
Because this horrifying month is the shortest of them all, we’re down to some 28 days and a wake-up from the Major League Baseball Opening Series in Sydney Australia on March 22nd.
The opening series will be entertaining not only because it’s the first counting baseball that we’ve had since October, but it will be held at marvelous Syndey Cricket Ground.
Throw in Yasiel Puig, Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo, and Hanley Ramirez into a friggin’ cricket stadium and make them play baseball, and you’re bound to see something interesting.
There’s another thing you may not realize that will make this opener unique in it’s own way. For fans in the United States, the opener will actually take place at 4 AM Saturday morning. For fans like us, there’s a good chance we just ride out Friday evening and turn it into an all-nighter. At some point, people will need to sleep. And that’s not just because you can’t function without it. It’s because at 10 PM that Saturday evening, Vin Scully will be back on the air calling the second game of the series.
For some nutbags out there, that’s two games packed into one Saturday. Then there’s all day Sunday to recover for work on Monday.
It literally cannot get here soon enough. When I hear that jolly old man telling stories and calling the auction in the wee hours of the night that glorious March 22nd day, I’m going to be like a kid on Christmas.
Yeah, that’s kind of what this is reminiscent of. I should be watching 61* or Baseball by Ken Burns to celebrate this one. This should have been a celebration of the Reds biggest win of the season. This should have been the crowning post of the best week of baseball of Jay Bruce’s life.
Instead it’s going to be a little bit about Aroldis Chapman, and how he entered that bottom of the 9th in Arizona with hollow, empty eyes and no soul and plucked one from the win column and inserted it directly in the loss column for a Reds team that is fighting for a shot at the game’s Pantheon this season. And I’m listening to the drunks of Dayton and Kentucky call into 700 WLW declaring war on the bullpen and they’re 12 Budweisers deep on their porch and talking about bathing in Dusty Baker’s blood.
But lets talk about Jay Bruce’s game a little bit. I can’t believe what kind of run this guy is on. It’s truly something you don’t see in a lifetime watching baseball (Bruce’s last seven hits have all been home runs).
The first came off of Patrick Corbin, who is about as nasty right now as any lefty in the National league. It was the longest home run of Jay Bruce’s career, 473 feet. It was a Nintendo game shot. Let’s put it here for all to see.
Listen to the way the Arizona crowd bellows (don’t confuse it with a roar) when the shot caroms off the scoreboard in dead center.
That was the only scoring in the game for a while, and then Gerardo Parra snuck one out off Mike Leake to put the DBacks up 2-1 until the bottom of the 9th. I knew what was going to happen.
Let them get excited, they've got to face Bruce in the 9th. This isn't over yet
The second was what I feel like was a turning point in Bruce’s whole career. He knows when he hits this home run off Heath Bell in the top of the 9th that he’s better than the game right now. What he’s doing he probably fully doesn’t understand. It’s a kind of locked in that most guys don’t ever achieve even once in a career. As I’ve said many times before, there’s no book to get him out right now, and everything he hits is going to be out of the park.
He gets all of this one, and destroys Heath Bell in the process. It was as exciting of a Saturday night baseball moment as you can ask for. It got ‘Jay Bruce’ trending worldwide on twitter. Here’s the 460 foot shot:
But as the Reds did the last time Bruce came close to this hot, they squandered it. It was that magical May of 2011. He hit 12 home runs and was MLB Player of the Month that May. The Reds went 14-14 that month.
It was a moment I’ll never forget last night in Bruce’s career. But it should have been even sweeter. This is a run you don’t ever forget. Eight home runs in nine games, and he’s hit 10 since June 3rd. Jay Bruce was born to rake, we just never knew it was going to be to this extent.
The next time the man known as “Bear Jew” has a week like this, I hope he’s not owned by the guy who is hot on my tail in fantasy baseball.
There was no other player who could win the inaugural Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial award. We won’t do an honorable mention today partly because we’re at work, and partly because Bear Jew really did that good of a job steamrolling the rest of the field.
.480 (12 for 25), no walks (but still good for a .480 on-base %), 3 home runs, 5 RBI
The weeks all blend together, but the week before he hit a couple of game-winning jacks out in LA (off League, Kershaw, Jansen) to get his team going. He’s had a monster couple of weeks. He is a Bear Jew gone mad. He’s going to have a season like Joey Votto did in 2010 when he won the MVP.
He is the first winner of the HHMWMPOTW Award. Yea, that’s not going to work abbreviating that.
The Arizona Diamondbacks provide plenty of fodder for rank relief between Heath Bell and JJ Putz. This time it was our man JJ stepping up to the plate. Like our other rank relief feature tonight, the Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead into the 9th inning. Putz hasn’t been awful this year, but tonight he had to face the wonderfully plump Kung-Fu Panda. Angel Pagan continued his solid season by getting a hit and stealing second – but he didn’t really need to – he’d be trotting home very soon. Sandoval crushed an 0-1 pitch to deep left center field.
The damage: 2 Ks but one big long home run. JJ should be fine though. He’ll have Bell to talk him through the grieving process.
Two years ago Heath Bell was coming off his 3rd straight 40 save season. Then it all went to shit. He moved this off season to Arizona presumably because he was gritty and had the right make up to play for Kirk Gibson. Well look at what you got Arizona. Bell came in to relieve Tony Sipp and proceeded to:
6 batters, 4 hits, 1 walk, and hey-o 1 K. That’s…not good. Bell was back in a set up role, so the pressure was supposed to be off him – oh wait, he needs pressure to pitch well as a “closer”. I’m not smart so I don’t know what is wrong with Bell and apparently the Diamondbacks didn’t either. Things could get ugly quickly for Bell out in the desert if this is the kind of performance he is going to give.
To add insult to injury, on Kozma’a home run, a male fan who was in perfect position to catch the ball jumped out of the way and his (alleged) girlfriend takes one to the upper torso or somewhere around there. Check out Deadspin for the video.