Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bonderman Shut Down For Regular Season

May Pitch Again in October, Too Soon To Tell


Clinton Riddle

SEPT 13, 2007-Why does it always happen to the young ones?

Jeremy Bonderman, one of the young guns in the Tigers' rotation, was shut down for the remainder of the season after an MRI showed inflammation of the lateral aspect (lateral collateral ligament, perhaps?) of his right elbow. This is a chronically recurring inflammation that Bonderman says he's been dealing with since 2005.

"I'm happy with the results", said Bonderman. "I'm just going to rest now. I've had this for three years. I had it in '05, and last year it came and went. This year, it kept lingering. For the rest of my career, I'm just going to have to focus on it. ... I've got to figure out how to have it not happen again."

There is, of course, much relief that there was no major injury reported, certainly nothing requiring surgery and perhaps costing Detroit the services of one of their dominant power pitchers for months.

"I didn't tell anybody how bad I was because l wanted to go out and pitch," he said. "Maybe some people don't think I did the smartest thing in the world, but the team gave me a contract and they need me to go out and pitch."

Leyland said, "We are trying to come up with a philosophy now in the organization that we want to know about the first minor little sign of anything (that is wrong with a player) so we can check it out. We can do research to make sure it doesn't turn into something else."

Something else, indeed. Fortunately for the Tigers, Bonderman decided to speak up. He would do well to look to his future, because he could have a very bright one.

OUTLOOK: Bonderman is still relying too much on that hard slider of his. He had been working on a changeup that was coming along quite well, and my feeling is that he needs to get back to changing speeds and working his infield a bit more, let the guys behind him do their job, instead of trying to blow it by everyone. This is always hard for young power pitchers to do, but he's apparently having to learn the hard way. I guess if I threw 99 mph fastballs, I'd think the same way, but he should think long-term. When he starts mixing in more changeups, I think that inflammation will abate and he'll get past it. Also, I ALWAYS take team medical reports with a grain of salt; after all, 'major injury' is a relative term. What they're willing to say is 'major' is subject to debate.

Good luck, Jeremy. I'm looking forward to many years of dominant performances, so take care of yourself NOW.

Clinton Riddle

Quotes from [url=]The Detroit Free Press[/url]

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Book On...Brandon Morrow, RHP, Seattle (AL)

Brandon Morrow, RHP
DOB: 7/26/1984, Santa Rosa, CA
HT: 6'3" WT: 190
Debut: 4/3/2007 vs. OAK (AL)-1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 ER
Signed By: Stacey Pettis

HISTORY: 5th overall pick out of California in 2006 Amateur Draft...Insulin-Dependant diabetic, who wears an insulin pump when not on the mound and has to monitor his blood sugar during games...Highest draft pick in school history.

STRENGTHS: Power pitcher with mid-90's FB (touches 99)...Can maintain velocity deep into the late innings...Mid-80's slider, hard diving splitter...Seattle has plans to make him a starter, as he projects as an innings-eating workhorse.

WEAKNESSES: Needs to work on command a great deal, and his overall feel for pitching in order to become an effective starter...Doesn’t use his CU nearly enough; seemed to fall in love with his splitter, which may cause forearm troubles to recur (forearm soreness limited him to 16 IP in his pro debut).

OUTLOOK: Was effective as a reliever, and though he averaged a SO per inning, he also nearly averaged the same in walks (48 BB, 56 IP). Allowed only 3 HR this year, which is owed at least in part to his hard slider, but with his velocity he could do himself a big favor by working off that potentially dominant FB and using the slider and CU to produce easy groundball outs.

2008 Projection: 12-8, 4.35 ERA, 27 starts, 165 IP, 65 BB, 130 K shouldn’t be a stretch. He’ll probably have a lot of no-decisions to deal with, pitching well enough to win in most situations but will need better than average run support when he’s on the mound, at first. I like this kid; big time arm, big time endurance, just needs experience.

Clinton Riddle

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bruce Named BA Minor League POY

SEPT 9th 2007-Outfielder Jay Bruce, the first-round pick of the Reds in 2005, has been named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year.

The 20 year old Bruce, who hails from Beaumont, Texas, started 2007 in high Class A (FSL) and had little difficulty with the adjustment, hitting 11 HR, 27 2B and batting .325 in only 67 games. Class AA was no challenge, either, as Bruce hit .333 with 4 more homers. When promoted to Class AAA Louisville, a promotion originally intended to be temporary, the hits just kept on coming. Bruce hit 11 HR in 50 games with the Bats, finishing the year at .319/.375/.587, 46 2B, 26 HR, 89 RBI, tied for 10th in the minors in hits (166), ranked 2nd in extra-base hits (80) and TB (306), and all while making the amazing leap from Single A to the Majors.

"You just can't say enough good things about Jay Bruce," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "We're thrilled that Baseball America would honor him with such a prestigious award. It's an honor, not only for Jay, but for the entire Reds organization as we move forward."

OUTLOOK: This guy is for real, a big time talent who has nothing to prove. He could certainly benefit from a full season in AAA, and there is no real rush to bring him up for good. When he does make The Show to stay, however, he'll be a key component of the Reds in the decade to come. Along with Joey Votto at first, Jeff Keppinger at short, and Buck Coats and Norris Hopper in the OF, the Queen City has a lot to look forward to, and will need only to shore up their pitching to become a formidable opponent in the NL Central. I project him to be a 20-20 guy, hitting better than .300 and knocking in around 100 runs by 2009.

Clinton Riddle
The Grand Old Game

The Book On...David Shinskie, RHP, Twins (MiLB)

David Shinskie, RHP
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6'4", Weight: 205 lbs
Born: May 4, 1984

STRENGTHS: Former HS QB, very athletic ballplayer...FB tops at 94, pitches comfortably in 90-92 range with good late sink...Plus slider in mid-80's, hard break...Command problems in the past, though now seems to be 'effectively wild', and has managed to keep BBs down to 19 in 64 IP @ Ft. Myers (Class A+)...Allowed only 4 HR in '07, with a solid 3.38 ERA...Has worked on consistent release point on slider.

WEAKNESSES: Will need to develop CU or curve in order to be more than a long man, which is what he looks like now...Comes around too far on slider.

OUTLOOK: Has youth and athleticism on his side, and should learn to easily repeat his delivery, arm slot and release point, making him far more effective. Looks like a potential #3 starter, to me, but must come up with effective 3rd pitch first.

Clinton Riddle

The Book On...Nick Adenhart, RHP, LA Angels (MiLB)

Nick Adenhart
DOB: 8/24/86
6'4", 190
Drafted: Williamsport, MD-2004, 14th Rd.
Signed By: Dan Radcliff

HISTORY: Forced to go under the knife as a youngster in 2004, but recovered to become the best pitching prospect in the Midwest League (2006).

STRENGTHS: Three plus pitches...FB at 93-95, easy arm motion...Circle CU at 81-84, at this point a better pitch than CV...Curve has tight spin, 11-5 type, 75 mph with good break...Aggressive and seems to deal with pressure situations pretty well.

WEAKNESSES: Needs not to lean on CV so much...Lead leg tends to stiffen up, which could cause extra wear and tear (deceleration injury) on his arm, especially with a surgical history already...

OUTLOOK: Profiles as a strong #3, but could be solid as #2 if he continues to work the CU and his FB retains already excellent velocity. Could stand to gain a few pounds, as this may help him to maintain stamina towards the end of the season.

Clinton Riddle