March 2012

The Crystal Ball is on …

by Ben Catley

OK, time for me to stick my neck out and see if I can try to keep my average in the respectable area.

Last season, I successfully predicted two former Missoula Osprey players would make their Major League debuts – Paul Goldschmidt and Evan Scribner. I also whiffed on Tom Layne and Taylor Harbin, so that puts me at .500 at the moment. Of course, if I go .500 again, or better, I may change my nickname from Big Ben to Hardball Carnac. Actually, no, I won’t, but I digress.

So, here, today, I stick my neck out and call my shot, plus reveal the poll results of how you, the Bird Droppings readers, feel about the subject, followed by why (or why not) it will (or will not) happen.

We break this down by position players and pitchers, because of the fact that we’re still fairly deep in former Osprey talent on both sides of the coin. (more…)

BREAKING: Elmo rhymes with Reno, Rowland now a Pirate

Ah, you gotta love social media. It has given us two pieces of news on former Osprey today.

First, we wish the best of luck to Robby Rowland (2010-11), who was traded today to the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing them to keep Rule V pick Brett Lorin, who was assigned to Double-A Mobile. Rowland announced the trade on his Facebook page, but his brother, former Osprey catcher Richie, also hinted at it on a status update several hours earlier.

Secondly, also announced on his Facebook profile, former Osprey infielder Jake Elmore (2008) is headed to Triple-A Reno. He’ll join at least one former Osprey there as well in utility player Rusty Ryal (2005).

Inside pitches and ’11 Osprey, lost feeds and more moves

by Ben Catley

Right to it … I have some catching up to do …

– The Mobile BayBears may be poised to make another run for the Southern League title, especially with the roster they will begin with this season. Added to that mix was outfielder Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey), who was sent back to minor-league camp on Thursday by the D-backs. Not a surprise that it was to Double-A Mobile, either. The D-backs have stacked the BayBears with a great rotation of Charles Brewer (2009) Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, plus one more arm in the mix (maybe Chase Anderson, one of Brewer’s 2009 teammates in Missoula). But, wow … look at that pitching. Add Eaton to the top of the lineup, and a bevy of bats behind him, and it could be fun in ‘Bama …

– Also from the top prospects piece done by writer Steve Gilbert … Visalia is likely to have a whale of a staff. David Holmberg (2010) should be joined by 2011 draftees (and former Osprey) Andrew Chafin and Anthony Meo, along with 2009 Osprey teammates Chris Owings at short and Bobby Borchering in left field.

– Three more Osprey to mention from the top prospects piece … catcher Michael Perez is likely headed here (No. 9 on the latest list), while 2011 Osprey pitcher Archie Bradley is targeted for South Bend … and, according to Gilbert, outfielder Justin Bianco (2011) is likely going to … the Arizona Rookie League. Don’t think that will happen … but we shall wait and see.

Of course, none of the roster stuff will  be official until next week … and we will be updating you on the list of former Osprey, and where they get assigned.

– Remember the rash of inside pitches that ended up in the faces of two players from the 2011 Osprey? Well, the rotten luck in that regard has struck again, unfortunately. Catcher Bryan Henry (yeah, 2011 Osprey, not the 2007 Osprey pitcher) is the latest victim, taking one off the face during a Class A game this week. From his Facebook status: “Thank you to our great training staff and team doctors for fixing me up and getting me the proper care.” Henry also says he had to have his nose reset, and judging by the picture he posted, he’s likely out for a bit. Get well soon Bryan!

– Note from today’s Cactus League game for the D-backs against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim … Keon Broxton managed to work his way for a double late in the game. I was trying to watch it, but the feed dropped just as I heard “Broxton to the plate” … I’m glad he updated me. He’s another one who is likely headed to Visalia or Mobile. Today’s game also had a Raymond Hernandez sighting … as he pitched in relief.

– The latest fodder as to Miguel Montero (2002-03) and his future uniforms … if he becomes a free agent, the likely spots he could land. And what does he reportedly want (or at least his agent wants him to sign for)? V-Mart money.

– I had to share this … Trevor Bauer’s late-night Twitter feed.

– Here’s a good numbers post on projecting batting averages and on-base percentages for the D-backs in 2012.

– Here’s your dose of Gerardo Parra (2006) … this time, it’s with the role he’ll have to at least start the season. Which is backing up all three outfield positions.

– Jose Valverde (2000) underwent a physical change this offseason. He also has an interesting take on Prince Fielder.

Tomorrow … I know, a day late … the Predictions of the Next Osprey Position Players/Pitchers to make their MLB Debuts. As long as I don’t get caught up in another wild sports day, that is.

Trimming numbers, again, and Mistaken ID #2 of the Spring

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

– The Arizona Diamondbacks have made some more cuts in the roster, sending eight more players to minor-league camp. They include right-handed pitcher Charles Brewer (2009), who will open the season at Double-A Mobile, and infielder RustyRyal (2005), who will head to Triple-A Reno. Interesting part about the story comes at the end, where D-backs manager Kirk Gibson gets the question of why Brewer and top 2011 MLB Draft pick Trevor Bauer, who is also apparently headed to Double-A.

– Former Osprey outfielder Chris Ellison (2011) appeared in a Cactus League game for the D-backs, although it took some sleuthing to find out. Unless you were actually there. (Note from Ben Catley – “I saw he was wearing a D-backs uniform, and it didn’t look like a back field he was playing on, so he must have played in a MLB game … thank goodness for Facebook and Ellie’s wife and her camera skills!”)

– The guys at AZ SnakePit deliver their latest roundtable edition. Mentions include Paul Goldschmidt (2009), Gerardo Parra (2006), Adam Eaton (2010) and Miguel Montero (2002-03).

– The time for Eaton and some of the other youngsters in Major League will be coming to an end soon. Here’s the latest sign as to why that will be happening. Other than the fact that Opening Day is like 10 days away …

– Here’s Miggy’s take on former Osprey pitcher Archie Bradley (2011). Which is pretty spot-on.

That should keep you going for now. Ben’s predictions on the next rising Osprey to make their MLB debuts should be out by the end of the week. From what we understand, it’s the second options he keeps changing his mind about.


Mistaken identities, Extended Spring Training and others …

by Ben Catley

You think it would have happened sooner.

While doing plenty of searches during the 2010 MLB Draft, I was reminded quite often about the Adam Eaton (2010, and, yes I am speaking of OUR Adam Eaton at the moment) identity crisis. At least I knew where Eaton was coming from – Miami University of Ohio. Easy to determine the difference between the two, right??

The non-Osprey Adam Eaton is a tall, husky (I think) right-handed pitcher who had his brief run in the Major Leagues. He even won a ring with Philadelphia, in 2008. But he hasn’t thrown a pitch since 2009, for the Colorado Rockies.

Now, he – meaning the pitcher Eaton – is back in the news, because of a case of mistaken identity.

You see, the newer, OUR Eaton, received a bunch of royalty checks for trading cards .. which have apparently been bouncing around for a while .. totaling somewhere in the neighborhood of $120,000. Which is a lot of money. In the words of Kenny Powers, “Dollar, dollar bills y’all.”

(Note: I was shocked to actually find a clean, family-friendly version of this. Also shocked that FX was apparently airing Eastbound and Down, but that’s another story for another day.)

Of course, teammate Cody Ransom helped Eaton figure it out, especially since the address was not OUR Eaton’s. So, for now, at least the other Eaton will be getting paid.

While I was hoping for other OUR Adam Eaton news to show up this spring, well … it was too funny not to pass along.

Back to the news of the week:

– The Arizona Diamondbacks dedicated the Roland Hemond Executive Conference Room at Salt River Fields earlier this week. The D-backs wanted to honor the longtime baseball executive, who is currently a special assistant to D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall.

– Gerardo Parra, heading into today’s Cactus League action, has a .333 batting average, a couple of steals, plus has scored a team-best 11 runs. If he gets into over 100 games, and gets 300 at-bats, and hits over .300 (yeah, call it a prediction, I think he is capable of doing it) … you think he wouldn’t deserve a starting job somewhere?? Oh, yeah, speaking of that … the whole “Parra could be traded” story still has legs.

– Looks like some of the 2012 Osprey will get some Major League help for at least the beginning of Extended Spring Training, if only for a couple of games. Unless Stephen Drew gets into a simulated game, before the end of camp, he will likely spend at least a week or two in Extended then rehab in Reno before heading to the AZ.

– Former Osprey pitcher Archie Bradley (2011) was pitching in the Class A Advanced game on Thursday for the D-backs against the Giants High-A club. That would be one of those Visalia-San Jose match-ups in the California League during the season. While it’s no guarantee that those players will stay in that classification out of camp, it’s a great sign for Bradley that the D-backs have him on that roster. It will be interesting to see if he stays there, or gets moved around.

– Bloomberg Sports came out recently and says that Paul Goldschmidt (2009) will hit 30 home runs and drive in 92 runs in 2012. Here’s more reasons why that is likely to happen.

– Eaton (as in OUR Eaton), Charles Brewer (2009), Chris Owings (2009) and Bryan Shaw (2008) show up on this prospect list – the most likely to make an impact in the Major Leagues by 2015.

– It’s going to be a wait-and-see thing as well as the debate goes on about whether or not the D-backs will re-up with Miguel Montero (2002-03). Funny how this story was supposed to go away, yet won’t …

– If you had Jarrod Parker (2007) in the starting rotation for the Oakland A’s out of Opening Day … not this year. He will start the season at Triple-A Sacramento.

Update – roster move and survivors from Cut 1

by Ben Catley

OK, first, a couple of updates on non-player stuff …

– Just in case you missed it, the Osprey have a new road cap. Before you say “they didn’t change it all that much”, when you go from all royal to royal and black, even my eyes can tell a difference. I think it looks sharp, and it better matches the road unis.

– Also, an inside scoop … coming soon will be the announcement of the 2012 Promotions Calendar. Oh. My. Goodness. There are some cool things coming up for fans to enjoy, both on the weekly calendar as well as the giveaway side of things. That should be coming before the end of the month – and maybe before my predictions are published for the next Osprey to rise to the Major Leagues.

Now, on to the stuff I know you want …

– The D-backs cut 12 players from Spring Training camp on Thursday, including shortstop Chris Owings (2009), who was reassigned to Class A Advanced Visalia. Doesn’t mean he will start the season there, but it is a good chance the Cal League will feel the wrath if he can get the bat going this spring.

– That leaves nine former Osprey in the MLB Camp – including outfielder Adam Eaton (2010), catcher Rossmel Perez (2008), infielder Rusty Ryal (2005) and pitcher Charles Brewer (2009). The D-backs have liked what they have seen from all four, and it’s likely that any one of the four could either be auditioning for a call-up during the season, or in the case of Eaton, showing enough depth to consider trading one of the four outfielders who look to stick on the 25-man roster, sans Jason Kubel and Justin Upton. Which leaves Chris Young and Gerardo Parra (2006), who was the subject of trade talks earlier in the off-season, but will likely get plenty of time in the outfield as the season progresses. (Of course, I wrote that then found thisand this … so maybe Parra gets traded, maybe not.)

(Side note – there is one good thing about Parra being all over the Bleacher Report blog, on both sides of the trade equation … it shows that he has become quite the baseball commodity.)

– It looks like there will be one less former Osprey pitcher on the free-agent market during this off-season, as it appears Jorge De La Rosa (1999) will exercise his option for 2013. If he does that, then he would also leave a club option on the table for 2014, which could lock him up for two more seasons total, especially if he preforms well post-Tommy John.

– Ugly Stat of the Week: Even with a grand slam for Goldy figured in from Wednesday, Paul Goldschmidt (2009) and Miguel Montero (2002-03) are a combined 5-for-33 entering today’s Cactus League action.

On a brighter note, Parra is hitting .300. So … from Ben’s Numbers Don’t Lie Folder – the kid has hit at every level he has played. And, apparently, he’s also working hard this spring, which is nothing new, either.

(Parra Side Note #2: Hey, Kevin … don’t trade him. You’re better off going with fewer strikeouts and calling up Eaton, and giving your D-backs a true leadoff man. With those three in the outfield … Eaton, Parra and Upton … nothing would hit the ground. OK, dream machine off for now …)

(Side note #3 – Why do they have to show Parra striking out in the MLB 12 The Show demo?)

On a personal note, if you were to tell me that Scott Elarton would last longer in Philadelphia Phillies camp than Dontrelle Willis, I would have not believed you. I had the chance to get to know Elarton a bit – I used to work in Lamar, CO, where he was born and raised, knew his younger brother and dad, still talk to his brother every so often. He’s as down-home as it gets, and to see him give it one more run (right now, pain-free – his arm (namely his shoulder) hasn’t been healthy for years) is cool. He’ll probably start at Triple-A, but it also seems he’s got plenty of fans in Philly. So we shall see … this also reminds me of something else, but we’ll share that one later.

Thanks for reading, and don’t over-celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day. Be safe!

Lineups, trade rumors and Ortega to BayBears

Random news and notes…

So it seems that the whole Miguel Montero (2002-03) story doesn’t want to go away, even if both sides aren’t talking contract extension. Now, those that are talking about it are talking trade, with the ability to fill key needs among the top of the list. Citing the money Montero would get on the open market, some writers feel that a trade would be the best thing for the D-backs.

For now, though, Miggy will bat fourth and possibly Paul Goldschmidt 7th in the latest projected D-backs’ starting lineups. There is another one here, complete with a look at the rotatoin and more.

– Here is an update on the first week of the Diamondbacks’ Spring Training, including the first roster move of the season – which was relief pitcher Yonata Ortega (2007) being optioned to Double-A Mobile. Also, a roundtable discussion on the D-backs, from the AZ Snake Pit crew.

– A follow-up from an earlier post – close to 50 D-back minor-leaguers were invited to come in for early work this spring. Needless to say, farm director Mike Bell was shocked at the actual number that did come in to camp before the official start this past weekend.

One more note … coming up on Friday, Osprey radio voice Ben Catley will reveal his picks for the next former Osprey pitcher and position player to make their MLB debuts. It apparently has been in the works for the past couple of weeks, but he’s now ready to take a shot at it, and you may be surprised at some of the names he throws out to all of you.

They’re playing games, Goldy, and a “Really?” moment

First … really?

The second spring game of the season, with a sold-out crowd at Salt River Fields on Sunday, ended poorly for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they lost to San Francisco, 11-1.

That’s not the part where you can hear “really?” echo everywhere … it’s the 41-minute delay on a sunny day that brings that up. And it involved, indirectly, outfielder Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey), who was apparently a party to the swarm of bees that invaded Salt River Fields. We found the skinny on the start in right-center field here, complete with a “not the bees” line delivered expertly by Nicholas Cage. And the headline gets more than a Bee-plus from us here at Bird Droppings.

Now you can play it … REALLY?? (We wish we had the Ben Catley clip of him saying it during a broadcast, but technical difficulties are preventing that from happening. At the moment.)

On to the notes of the day:
– How important are the right veterans? Just ask Paul Goldschmidt (2009), who feels that learning from veterans last spring put him in position to be where he is now.

– Can the D-backs afford to sign catcher Miguel Montero (2002-03) to an extension? According to some … no. We’re thinking here that it gets done, because you get the feeling Miggy wants to stay in the AZ, even though the D-backs have backed away from the table after Yadier Molina signed for a King’s Ransom in St. Louis. However, it looks to be something that both sides will hold off on discussing until after the 2012 season ends. D-backs CEO Derrick Hall also addressed the Montero contract situation in a chat session last week.

– The D-backs are 1-1-1 at the moment, tying the Rockies in 10 innings in their opener at Salt River Fields, and beating the Giants in Scottsdale, 9-6, in a split-squad game on Saturday. Rusty Ryal and Jake Elmore each contributed to the win for the D-backs. Ryal, who was suffering from a tight groin muscle, left the game earlier than planned, so we’ll keep an eye out for that.

– Ahh … the first 2012 MLB Mock Draft that we’ve been able to post.

– In the “Taking Care of the Clerical Business” File, the D-backs now have officially signed all of their players on their 40-man roster, which includes Goldy, Gerardo Parra (2006), Bryan Shaw (2008) and Yonata Ortega (2007).

The D-backs play the Rockies today at Salt River Fields … we’ll keep an ear to the ground and update on anything newsworthy when we can.

It’s Game Time …

After getting into camp and getting into shape … or at least as much as possible in a week’s time … it’s game time down in both Arizona and Florida, as the Spring Training schedule gets underway.

Many of the former Osprey players in the Major League camp are expected to see action in the openers on Saturday. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be opening with split-squad games against the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies.

On to the notes of the day …

– Well, after reading this article in the Toronto Star, we come to find out a bit as to why the Chicago White Sox didn’t mind trading 2002 alum Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays – they see a lot of him in Nestor Molina.

– T-minus 18 days before Miguel Montero (2002-03) channels his focus to the baseball season at hand. Until then, there’s still hope of him signing a long-term contract with the D-backs.

– This is a little bit old … but it brings up an interesting question. As it stands now, is Gerardo Parra the best fourth outfielder in all of baseball?

– Here’s a dilemma … could it be that one of the former Osprey first baseman on the D-backs roster either heads to the minors … or the waiver wire? Well, it could happen when Stephen Drew is ready to play again. Also, some good notes on Bryan Shaw (2008), Adam Eaton (2010) and more.

More info coming soon …

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