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National Pastime Archive: August 2008


  • Prospect Q&A - Derrick Robinson, Kansas City Royals

    Some people are fast, some are really fast, and then there's Derrick Robinson. The 5' 11", 170-pounder was a standout defensive back in high school and reportedly ran a 4.25-second 40-yard dash before signing a letter of intent to play football for the Florida Gators. However, Robinson also showed enough promise as a high school outfielder to be selected by the Royals in the fourth round of the 2006 MLB draft, and he's now putting his speed to good use on the diamond. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 18 2008

  • Checking in on the 1st round picks

    Oh, what a night. Ten first-round draft picks had yet to agree to terms as of yesterday morning, and while most of them hammered out deals in the final hours before the midnight signing deadline, it was unclear whether the second and third selections in the draft had signed long after the deadline had passed. Now that the drama has ended, with all but three first-rounders choosing to sign, let's check in on all of this year's top picks. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 16 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Derrick Robinson, Royals

    Some people are fast, some are really fast, and then there's Derrick Robinson. The 5' 11", 170-pounder was a standout defensive back in high school and reportedly ran a 4.25-second 40-yard dash before signing a letter of intent to play football for his hometown Florida Gators. However, Robinson also showed enough promise as a high school outfielder to be selected by the Royals in the fourth round of the 2006 MLB draft, and he's now putting his speed to good use on the diamond. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 15 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Jeff Bianchi, Royals

    When Jeff Bianchi with .408 with six home runs and 30 RBI in just 98 at bats in his pro debut with the Rookie-level Arizona League Royals in 2005, it appeared the second-round pick was destined for big league stardom sooner rather than later, but the 6-foot, 175-pound middle infielder's progress was slowed by injuries in 2006 and 2007. Bianchi got back on track this year with the advanced Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks, displaying good pop while making the transition from shortstop to second base. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 15 2008

  • Amateur Hour - Will top picks sign?

    At least 10 Major League front offices will be in a frenzy today, as will the agents for all of the unsigned first-round picks from June's Amateur Draft. Six of the top 10 picks and a total of 10 first-rounders remain unsigned, and teams have until midnight tonight to hammer out deals with them or lose their rights. We'll also check in on Team USA, which got a major lift from its lone collegian yesterday in a badly needed win over the Netherlands. By Tom Stad. Published August 15 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - 2008 Wrap-up

    Since National Pastime kicked off in late May, we've tried to identify some of tomorrow's brightest stars, introduce them to our readers and allow them to discuss their developing talents in their own words. In this, our final Prospect Q&A column of the year, we'll check in on the 35 players we profiled this season and see what kinds of progress they've made since we had the pleasure of speaking with each of them. We'll also single out some of our favorite quotes of the year and see what interesting categories our Q&A subjects fall into. Enjoy. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 14 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Fernando Martinez, New York Mets

    At first glance, Fernando Martinez' statistics with the Binghamton Mets - .288 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 285 at bats - probably strike you as solid but unspectacular. But take a moment to consider that he's posted those numbers as a 19-year-old in double-A, and you'll begin to understand why Baseball America ranked him as the No. 1 prospect in the Mets organization and the 20th best in all of baseball entering this year. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 14 2008

  • Cooperstown Bound? - Lee Smith

    Lee Smith entered the league during a time when the closer's role was transitioning from what it once was - often times, a multi-inning affair - to what it is today - one and done in the ninth. Smith's case for induction makes for one of the most interesting Hall of Fame debates ever because, as one of the very first one-inning closers to knock on Cooperstown's door, there isn't much precedent for voters to fall back on. By Nick Leco. Published August 13 2008

  • KILL - Checking in on the 1st round picks

    Oh, what a night. Ten draft picks had yet to agree to deals as of yesterday morning, and while most hammered out deals in the final hours before the midnight signing deadline, it was unclear whether the second and third selections in the draft had signed long after the deadline had passed. Now that the drama has ended, with all but three first-rounders choosing to sign, let's check in on all of this year's top picks. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 12 2008

  • My Five - Contenders

    Fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls - it's going to be a wild ride. I'm getting right down to it with my predictions for the year, and I assure you it won't play out like you expect. Ever since the Yankees dynasty came to a close at the hands of the upstart Diamondbacks in 2001, the World Series champions have seemingly gotten more and more unlikely. So who could it be this time around? Let's find out. By Sean Raposa. Published August 12 2008

  • KILL - My Five - Contenders

    Fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls. It's going to be a wild ride as I'm getting right down to it with my predictions for the year, and I assure you it won't play out like you expect. Ever since the Yankees dynasty came to a close at the hands of the upstart Diamondbacks in 2001, the World Series champions have seemingly gotten more and more unlikely. So, who could it be this time around? Let's find out. By Sean Raposa. Published August 11 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Brad Bergesen, Baltimore Orioles

    Brad Bergesen was considered a pretty good pitching prospect entering this season, but he's taken his game to a whole new level in 2008. The 22-year-old righty has won an Eastern League-best 14 games while dropping just three decisions, and he ranks seventh in the circuit with a 3.01 ERA. He earned Eastern League All-Star honors at midseason, and has been mentioned as a possible September call-up. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 11 2008

  • Catch 'em while you can

    Thousands of baseball fans make the trek to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., each year to celebrate the game's history and look back fondly on the careers of its greatest stars. But while it's certainly worthwhile to peruse plaques, watch classic footage of Babe Ruth and check out old game-worn jerseys, it's important to remember that there are quite a few baseball legends who have yet to call it a career. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 9 2008

  • KILL - Cooperstown Bound? - Lee Smith

    Lee Smith entered the league during a time when the closer's role was transitioning from what it once was - often times, a multi-inning affair - to what it is today - one and done in the ninth. Smith's case for induction makes for one of the most interesting Hall of Fame debates ever because, as one of the very first one-inning closers to knock on Cooperstown's door, there isn't much precedent for voters to fall back on. By Nick Leco. Published August 8 2008

  • Amateur Hour - Olympics preview

    Baseball is out as an Olympic medal sport after the Beijing Games, meaning this could very well be Team USA's last chance to bring home the gold in our national pastime. Tom Stad sizes up the U.S. roster and the competition and takes a look at a particularly wacky international rule that will be in effect for the Games in this week's Amateur Hour. Published August 8 2008

  • KILL - Amateur Hour - Olympic baseball preview

    Baseball is out as an Olympic medal sport after the Beijing Games, meaning this could very well be Team USA's last chance to bring home the gold in our national pastime. Tom Stad sizes up the U.S. roster and the competition and takes a look at a particularly wacky international rule that will be in effect for the Games in this week's Amateur Hour. Published August 7 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Stephen King, Washington Nationals

    Nationals prospect Stephen King, the team's third-round pick in the 2006 draft, has impressed the Nats with his ability to play multiple infield positions and the progress he's made at the plate after a slow start to his pro career. The 6' 2", 195 pound King is only 20 years old, and scouts believe he'll eventually develop into a power-hitting middle-infielder in the Jeff Kent mold. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 7 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Fernando Martinez, Mets

    At first glance, Fernando Martinez' statistics with the Binghamton Mets - .288 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 285 at bats - probably strike you as solid but unspectacular. But take a moment to consider that he's posted those numbers as a 19-year-old in double-A, and you'll begin to understand why Baseball America ranked him as the No. 1 prospect in the Mets organization and the 20th best in all of baseball entering this year. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 6 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Bobby Parnell, Mets

    Taking the lead from A's general manager Billy Beane - he of "Moneyball" fame - and statistics guru/Red Sox advisor Bill James, major league front offices have gone stat-happy over the past decade or so in evaluating both major league talent and amateur players. However, if there were ever a single player that exemplified the continued need for good, old-fashioned scouting work in identifying potential big league talent, it's Mets pitching prospect Bobby Parnell. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 6 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - David Hernandez, Orioles

    Orioles pitching prospect David Hernandez has shown an uncanny ability to strike hitters out as a pro, but his high K totals didn't translate to the kind of success on the mound that he, or the Orioles, hoped for in his first two-plus seasons. The 23-year-old righty has found his groove in 2008, however, leading the double-A Eastern League with 156 strikeouts and ranking fourth with a 2.58 ERA as a member of the stacked Bowie Baysox starting rotation. By Jay LeBlanc. Published August 6 2008