Brian, Debate, Feature, Outfield, Player Profile, Prospects, reality blog

The Tragedy of Potential

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!

-Anne Frank

Mike Darr was an above average fielder.

Mike Darr was an above average fielder.

The Phoenix night grew older as Mike Darr, Duane Johnson, and Ben Howard sped down Interstate-10. The friends had been out drinking, celebrating Darr and Howard’s final night of the off-season before spring training started later that morning. Darr was slated to be the San Diego Padres’ Opening Day center fielder. It was February 16, 2002.

When Oscar Taveras got in his red Chevy Camaro in Sosua, Dominican Republic, on October 25, 2014, he’d had over 15 alcoholic drinks in about two hours. His girlfriend was in the passenger seat. Taveras started the car and began driving to Puerto Plata, his birthplace. Taveras was one of the top prospects in baseball and was all but guaranteed to be the starting right fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.

At the time of their deaths, Darr was 25 and Taveras was 22.

When I was 22 years old, I had just graduated college and set out to live in Los Angeles to be the “next great writer.” I had it all planned out, too. Step 1: Find an apartment. Step 2: Attend UCLA. Step 3: Flat out strike it rich. It was as stupid as it was simple.

But I was young and brash and really had no fear of anything. It’s truly a beautiful age to be. The world has no expectations of you. Even though the deck is stacked against you (because, really, chances are you’re going to be a nobody-can’t-hack-it…chances are), you have no inkling of that being true. How naïve and brazen you are when you’re young. There you go, hightailing it, living your life to the fullest, flipping the bird to everyone, even Death, because there’s nothing in the world that can stop you.

I made it to L.A., the City of Angels; found myself a dingy apartment in the neighborhood of Palms; even got accepted into the UCLA Screenwriting Program. I used to get martinis after class with a friend of mine, who later went on to write for People and Spin and AP, and we would talk about screenplays, movies and the craft of writing. We were the best writers at UCLA, soon to be the best writers in the industry.

Unfortunately, when you’re young, you can’t tell if you’re talented at something or not. It’s true, either you are or you aren’t, but it’s tough to tell. I lasted a year in L.A. Clearly, I was not.

Whenever a talented person passes away young (a la James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Cliff Burton, etc.), my brain always takes me back to the time when I was hightailing it. When I was grooving through life without any breaks.

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Butler, Prospects

You’re Only a Greenhorn Once Pt. 1

[Editor’s Note: This is a two part article, the remaining prospects will be discussed in an article released later this month]

Every season, by the time it’s all said and done, fantasy rosters are littered with impactful rookies. Many of them either didn’t enter the year in the majors, or began as a reserve player or middle reliever. Trying to forecast playing time and production for rookie players is tricky. In most cases the managers who end up with them are the ones who pay the closest attention, or get lucky. I’m not even going to attempt any kind of projections, but here are some players who might be worth a spot on your squad. If not at the start, then by the end.

Weird warm-ups are just part of the baggage that comes with Bauer.

Weird warm-ups are just part of the baggage that comes with Bauer.

Trevor Bauer- SP-CLE: The erstwhile Bruin ran afoul of teammates and coaches alike during his brief time in Arizona, in large part due to a perceived unwillingness to heed advice from either. Throw in a disastrous four starts and you have a recipe for a sell-low trade of a highly regarded prospect. From shaking off veteran catcher Miguel Montero on the first pitch of his career to his refusal to modify his strenuous warm-up routine, Bauer clearly was not about to adhere to the accepted rookie code of conduct. Some say the mechanical engineering major is too smart for his own good. Some say he has an IQ of 170. Some say he can solve a Rubik’s Cube using only his mind. Some say he’s a real piece of work. One thing Bauer is actually quite modest about is his assessment of his God-given physical talents; he firmly believes that he was not born a great pitcher but rather was made into one, in large part due to his unconventional training regiment. He’s employed it since he was very young, and it involves the use of rubber bands, medicine balls, 400-foot long toss, weighted baseballs, and year-round throwing. It is the diametric opposite of the current philosophy adhered to by most clubs when dealing with young pitchers, which is pitch counts, innings limits, and rest, rest, and more rest. The Indians will have a decision to make: allow Bauer to continue his workout routine or curtail it in keeping with the current paradigm of arm-babying. Whatever they decide to do, he’s got a decent shot at cracking the starting rotation.

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Feature, Prospects, Thaller

Top 10 Prospects for 2011 and Beyond

by Adam Thaller

Baseball takes more time and effort to develop a young player than in any other sport. There is no magic formula for success. As a fantasy baseball owner, this makes prospects a tricky subject. If you are in a keeper league you always want to have your eye on who is having success in the minors and which players are making the jump to the big club. If you are playing in a standard league, prospects can still be important if you have the right timing.

Last year, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg, Neftali Feliz, and Jayson Heyward were the young players that all fantasy owners coveted.

Here’s the top talent brewing down on the farm, and some of these guys will see big league action this year.

1. Mike Trout, Anaheim Angels: Last year in the minors Trout’s stats were stellar: .341 BA, 173 hits, 10 HR, and 56 steals. He was named the Minor League Player of the Year and his power numbers are only going to get better as he also slugged .490. And because he is only 19, it’s tantalizing to think what this kid will become. MLB ETA: late 2011 to early 2012.

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