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National Pastime Archive: September 2008


  • 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 at the plate while making a smooth transition from shortstop to second base. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 15 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Cole Rohrbough, Braves

    Cole Rohrbough was the last draft-and-follow player signed by the Braves before MLB instituted a signing deadline for draft picks last year, and the organization is confident that they'll get a return on their $675,000 investment sooner rather than later. The 6' 3" lefty is just 21 but already mixes his three pitches - a low-90s fastball, a power curveball and a developing changeup - like a veteran, which helps explain why he was able to reach advanced Class A in his first full pro season. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 12 2008

  • Amateur Hour - The 2003 draft

    Five years seems long enough to wait before you evaluate a draft. I was watching the Red Sox vs. Rays game the other night and when Delmon Young's name was mentioned, it got me thinking. Young was the No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 2003 Amateur Draft; what became of the rest of the 2003 first-rounders? So, faster than Tara Reid's career faded away, I started researching. It turned out to be a lot of fun, so I am going to break down that year's first round over the next few weeks. By Tom Stad. Published September 12 2008

  • KILL - Amateur Hour - The 2003 draft

    Five years seems long enough to wait before you evaluate a draft. I was watching the Red Sox vs. Rays game the other night and when Delmon Young's name was mentioned, it got me thinking. Young was the No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 2003 Amateur Draft; what became of the rest of the 2003 first-rounders? So, faster than Tara Reid's career faded away, I started researching. It turned out to be a lot of fun, so I am going to break down that year's first round over the next few weeks. By Tom Stad. Published September 11 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Austin Jackson, Yankees

    In high school, Austin Jackson was one of the top high school basketball players in the country and ultimately signed a letter of intent to play at Georgia Tech. But he also showed tremendous potential on the baseball diamond, prompting the Yankees to select him in the eighth round of the 2005 draft and offer him a deal that included an $800,000 bonus. It looks like Jackson made the right choice, as the 6' 1", 180-pound outfielder is now considered the Yankees' top prospect and one of the best in all of baseball. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 11 2008

  • Cooperstown Bound? - Jim Kaat

    In previous columns, we've talked about Lee Smith's 478 career saves, Curt Schilling's postseason dominance and Jack Morris' epic 10-inning World Series-clinching win. All of these feats are major components in their respective cases for Hall of Fame enshrinement, but only time will tell if they'll prove compelling enough to get them in. This week we'll take a look at the career of Jim Kaat, who amassed 283 wins during his quarter-century in the big leagues but is known more for his whopping 16 Gold Gloves than anything else. By Nick Leco. Published September 10 2008

  • KILL - Cooperstown Bound? Jim Kaat

    In previous columns, we've talked about Lee Smith's 478 career saves, Curt Schilling's postseason dominance and Jack Morris' epic 10-inning World Series-clinching win. All of these feats are major components in their respective cases for Hall of Fame enshrinement, but only time will tell if they'll prove compelling enough to get them in. This week we'll take a look at the career of Jim Kaat, who amassed 283 wins during his quarter-century in the big leagues but is known more for his whopping 16 Gold Gloves than anything else. By Nick Leco. Published September 9 2008

  • My Five - Questions and answers

    This is my 16th column of the year and I must say my appreciation for the grind of the baseball season we always hear about has grown exponentially. I've poured my share of blood, sweat and tears into this season and now that the stretch run is finally upon us, it's time to get right down to it. This week's action is heavy with playoff implications and, much like that moment when the arena lights go dark, the crowd grows silent and the music blares through the loudspeakers, the anticipation and excitement are tangible. What follows is My Five answers to the most pressing questions as we barrel towards October. By Sean Raposa. Published September 9 2008

  • KILL - My Five - Questions and answers

    This will be my 16th column here at National Pastime and I must say my appreciation for the grind of the baseball season we always hear about has grown exponentially. I've poured my share of blood, sweat and tears into this season and now that the stretch run is finally upon us, it's time to get right down to it. This week is shaping up to be one with heavy playoff implications and, much like that moment when the arena lights go dark, the crowd grows silent and the music blares through the loudspeakers, the anticipation and excitement are tangible. What follows is My Five answers to the most pressing questions as we barrel towards October. By Sean Raposa. Published September 8 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Matt LaPorta, Indians

    It certainly has been an eventful summer for Matt LaPorta. He started the year by blasting 20 home runs in 84 games for the Brewers' double-A affiliate, then became a household name in early July when he was shipped to the Indians for reigning A.L. Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia. Shortly thereafter, he joined Team USA for the Olympics and was hospitalized with a concussion after he was hit in the head with a pitch in a heated game against host China. Sufficiently recovered and now the proud owner of a bronze medal, LaPorta is helping the double-A Akron Aeros make a run at the Eastern League title. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 8 2008

  • Welcome to the show, Greg Golson

    Back in June, National Pastime profiled Phillies prospect Greg Golson, a 22-year-old outfielder with the double-A Reading Phillies in the midst of his best professional season to date. The 2004 first-round pick went on to hit .282 with 13 home runs, 60 RBI and 23 stolen bases in the minors this season. On Monday, he was summoned to the big leagues, and this afternoon, he made his major league debut. In addition to achieving his lifelong goal of playing in the majors, Golson also earned the distinction of becoming the first National Pastime Prospect Q&A subject to go on to play in the majors. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 7 2008

  • Amateur Hour - The Alvarez saga

    An interesting little situation has developed between the Pirates and former Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the second overall pick in June's Amateur Draft. Just minutes before the August 15 deadline for draft picks to either sign a contract or re-enter the draft, Pittsburgh and Alvarez' agent Scott Boras allegedly agreed, over the phone, to a contract that included a $6 million signing bonus. What happened next is anyone's guess, and now up to an arbiter to sort out. By Tom Stad. Published September 5 2008

  • KILL - Amateur Hour - The Alvarez saga

    An interesting little situation has developed between the Pirates and former Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the second overall pick in June's Amateur Draft. Just minutes before the August 15 deadline for draft picks to either sign a contract or re-enter the draft, Pittsburgh and Alvarez' agent Scott Boras allegedly agreed, over the phone, to a contract that included a $6 million signing bonus. What happened next is anyone's guess, and now up to an arbiter to sort out. By Tom Stad. Published September 4 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Matt LaPorta, Indians

    It certainly has been an eventful summer for Matt LaPorta. He started the year by blasting 20 home runs in 84 games for the Brewers' double-A affiliate, then became a household name in early July when he was shipped to the Indians for reigning A.L. Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia. Shortly thereafter, he joined Team USA for the Beijing Olympics and was hospitalized with a concussion after being hit in the head during a heated game against host China. Sufficiently recovered and now the proud owner of a bronze medal, LaPorta is helping the double-A Akron Aeros make a run at the Eastern League title. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 4 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Brian Matusz, Orioles

    University of San Diego lefty Brian Matusz was the consensus top pitcher available in this year's draft, but Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Kansas City all passed, in part because of signability concerns. Unwilling to pass up the chance to land a potential staff ace, the Orioles took Matusz with the fourth overall pick and signed him to a major league deal including a $3.2 million bonus just hours before the deadline. With his projectable frame, collegiate experience, four-pitch arsenal and impeccable control, Matusz has all the makings of a future star. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 4 2008

  • KILL - Welcome to the show, Bobby Parnell

    Bobby Parnell is a man on a mission. When National Pastime spoke to the 6' 4", 200-pound righty just a couple weeks ago, he had just made his final start with the double-A Binghamton Mets, for whom he went 10-6 with a 4.30 ERA this season. After a five-start stint with the triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, Parnell was summoned to the majors on Sept. 1. He made his debut for the New York Mets this evening, becoming the second National Pastime Prospect Q&A subject to go on to play in the big leagues. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 3 2008

  • KILL - Welcome to the show, Greg Golson

    Back in June, National Pastime profiled Phillies prospect Greg Golson, a 22-year-old outfielder with the double-A Reading Phillies in the midst of his best professional season to date. The 2004 first-round pick went on to hit .282 with 13 home runs, 60 RBI and 23 stolen bases in the minors this season. On Monday, he was summoned to the big leagues, and this afternoon, he made his major league debut. In addition to achieving his lifelong goal of playing in the majors, Golson also earned the distinction of becoming the first National Pastime Prospect Q&A subject to go on to play in the majors. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 3 2008

  • Cooperstown Bound? - Andres Galarraga

    Nicknamed "The Big Cat" early in his professional career for the amazing agility he displayed at first base despite his 6' 3", 235-pound frame, Andres Galarraga was one of the better power hitters in baseball during the late '80s and throughout the '90s. He finished his career just one home run shy of 400, won a pair of Gold Glove awards and posted three straight 40-home run seasons from 1996 to 1998. There's no question Galarraga was a very good player, but is he Hall of Fame material? By Nick Leco. Published September 3 2008

  • KILL - Cooperstown Bound? - Andres Galarraga

    Nicknamed "The Big Cat" early in his professional career for the amazing agility he displayed at first base despite his 6' 3", 235-pound frame, Andres Galarraga was one of the better power hitters in baseball during the late '80s and throughout the '90s. He finished his career just one home run shy of 400, won a pair of Gold Glove awards and posted three straight 40-home run seasons from 1996 to 1998. There's no question Galarraga was a very good player, but is he Hall of Fame material? By Nick Leco. Published September 2 2008

  • KILL - Prospect Q&A - Pat Venditte, Yankees

    Before Pat Venditte came along, the short-season Class A debut of a 20th-round draft pick had never been featured on SportsCenter. But then again, an ambidextrous pitcher and a switch-hitter had never engaged in a battle of wills in a pro game, either. The clip of the cat-and-mouse game between Pat Venditte and Ralph Henriquez will live on forever on YouTube, but lost in all the hoopla about Venditte's unique switch-pitching ability is the fact that he's actually really good. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 2 2008