January 2012

Branches, twigs and such …

by Ben Catley

The last I checked, that’s what a nest was made out of, right?? Branches, twigs and mud, or something to hold it all together. While we are still a long way away from getting the pieces put together for the 2012 Osprey, the pieces that have already been here keep making news, even in the off-season.

– Like former pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (1999), who is working his way back with the Colorado Rockies after undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer. De La Rosa is expected to be slowly worked into the rotation this season, which will include rehab starts in the minors, likely at Colorado Springs – which is very close to Denver, of course. And there is a big reason why they will make sure De La Rosa is ready to go and not rush things …

– Also on the update front comes former reliever Daniel Schlereth (2008). The fastest-rising former Osprey to the Major Leagues likes how is team looks in black and white, and I’m not talking about the unis … I mean, after all, if your team signed Prince Fielder, you probably would too. Let’s just hope that, for his sake, he doesn’t pull one of these. Although I have to admit, I like the non-bearded look Schlereth’s rocking right now …

– Speaking of former Osprey pitchers in the Detroit Tigers bullpen … Jose Valverde is coming off to me as one of those down-home type of guys who just happens to be able to throw gas and handle pressure situations better than an average Joe. More evidence comes from the Tigers’ winter tour of Michigan, which includes the 2000 Osprey alum bagging groceries.

– Goldy Fix: The record-setting homer hit by Paul Goldschmidt (2009) in Mobile … note where the ball goes. That would be No. 28, which was part of another MVP year for the first baseman.

– Lyle Overbay (1999) has been named one of the top 55 players of all time in Toronto Blue Jays history. Not bad for a team which has been around for 35 seasons.

– Another blog has done a list of the best minor-league systems … the D-backs are ranked 8th by Motor City Bengals (just in case you’re wondering, it’s a blog dedicated to the Detroit Tigers …), and six of the top 10 prospects in this list are former Osprey.

By the way … coming soon to this very blog, I will once again stick my neck out and attempt to predict the next former Osprey to make their Major League debuts. I hit on two of the four names I mentioned last year, and I don’t know if I should even take credit for calling Goldy’s promotion, since that one was obvious. Evan Scribner’s call-up, though, I will gladly claim the call made there. Scribner is a candidate to win a spot in the Oakland A’s bullpen this spring.  By the way, the other names I threw out there – infielder Taylor Harbin and left-handed pitcher Tom Layne. Both are 2007 Osprey alumni. Layne pitched for Triple-A Reno last season, while Harbin was busy helping Mobile win the Southern League crown.

I think the next position player will be an obvious choice, and the pitcher, well … yeah, not so sure on that one. But I will stick the neck out again on those sometime in February.

New poll up now …

OK, we wanted to introduce a new O’s Poll of the Moment to you in a different way … actually putting it into its own post. It’s also a little bit different in another way … you don’t have to stop at one answer.

We also wanted to see what you think about whom may be the next former Osprey to make their Major League debuts. Osprey radio voice Ben Catley has his own opinions on the matter, and will share his thoughts before Spring Training begins. By the way, he was right on both fronts last year, mostly, calling out that Paul Goldschmidt would be the next position player of former Osprey linage to make his debut, and also called it on pitcher Evan Scribner, who made his debut with the Padres last season.

So vote away … you’re allowed up to three choices, so don’t be shy.

Goldy labeled “Breakout Star” by MLB Network

by Ben Catley

Well, it took three years, a smashing debut into the Major Leagues and a postseason run to remember … but the man we know as Goldy is finally in a Top 10 list we like.

OK, let’s go one better … it’s a Prime 9 List.

Former Osprey first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was named the seventh best Breakout Prospect on the MLB Network’s Prime 9 segment of MLB Hot Stove recently. Goldschmidt hit eight home runs in 48 games, batting .250 and driving in 26 runs after getting called up to the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 1.

So much for getting snubbed from the Pioneer League All-Star team in 2009, eh? Since then, Goldschmidt has earned MVP honors in two different leagues, as well as mid-season and post-season All-Star honors in both the California League and Southern League. And former baseball executive and current MLB Network analyist Larry Luccino is calling for Goldschmidt to have a 30-plus home run season in 2012.

“When he hits it, it has a different sound and they go way out of the ballpark,” said Luccino of Goldschmidt at the plate.

Uh … yup, they do.

Former Osprey get non-roster invites to D-backs MLB camp

A total of five former Missoula Osprey have received invitations to attend the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Major League Spring Training camp, which is slated to begin on February 20 – the date that pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report. The rest of the squad will be on hand for the first full team workout on February 26.

The players who have received the invite are as follows:

Catcher: Rossmel Perez (2007)

Infielders: Rusty Ryal (2005), Chris Owings (2009)

Outfielder: Adam Eaton (2010)

Pitcher: Charles Brewer (2009)

Perez is regarded by many as the best defensive catcher in the D-backs’ minor league system. Perez spent the entire 2011 season with Class A Advanced Visalia. Ryal played last season in Japan and signed a minor-league deal with the D-backs before the winter meetings. Owings was with Perez at Visalia. Eaton and Brewer helped the Double-A Mobile Bay Bears to their first Southern League title since 2004 last season.

The five are among 20 players who received a non-roster invite, which goes to players under contract which are not part of the club’s 40-man roster. Also expected in Major League camp are former Osprey pitchers Yonata Ortega (2007) and Bryan Shaw (2008), catcher Miguel Montero (2002-03), first basemen Paul Goldschmidt (2009) and Lyle Overbay (1999), and outfielder Gerardo Parra (2006). All six are on the 40-man roster, and all but Ortega finished the season on the D-backs’ 25-man active roster.

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