by Ben Catley
35 days until Opening Night, 31 days before season opens in Billings
As I get ready for my sixth season of calling Osprey baseball on the radio, I can look back fondly at a few former players who made quite an impression on me. And one of my favorites is tearing it up in the Pacific Coast League … and finally getting some love from the blogs.
So now you’re wondering … it’s not our Adam Eaton (2010)? Well, he is also one of my favorites … but not the one I speak of.
I speak of Jake Elmore (2008), of course, who has produced in a big way at the plate while showcasing nearly all of his versatility. The only position he hasn’t played this season that he has in the past is pitcher – he pitched in at least one game each of the past two seasons while at Double-A Mobile.
Right now, though, Elmore is making plenty of noise with the bat. He’s hitting .372, with nine doubles, a triple, two home runs and 25 RBIs, as well as a .477 on-base percentage, a .504 slugging percentage, eight stolen bases and just two errors in 34 games.
The 34th round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft wasn’t even on the radar before this past Spring Training, but now … who knows. At best, Elmore would be a Rusty Ryal-type player, who can play multiple positions well enough to help fill holes in a lineup. However, he has shown to be consistent at the plate, especially over the past two seasons, so we shall see if anything else develops in the meantime.
– There are some out there who feel that J.J. Putz’s time as D-backs’ closer should be coming to an end … and one of the choices to take that role over, naturally, is former Osprey closer Bryan Shaw (2008).
– The D-backs outfield is also about to go through a bit of a shakeup, and it’s likely not to involve Eaton.
– How about this … a Home Run Derby partially held on an aircraft carrier. Don’t believe me? Read on. Oh, your Osprey link … former Osprey pitcher Scottie Allen (2009) is on the host team’s roster – the Charleston River Dogs.
– So why is this story listed? Well, since this was posted yesterday, the D-backs did indeed make a move, promoting Jeff Shields (2010) to Class A Advanced Visalia.
Oh, one more thing before we scoot … Ollie Osprey, who turns 10 next month, has been on pins and needles as of late. He’s waiting on what he has only referred to as his “tournament chances”. While details on what kind of tournament it is have been hard to find, it’s sounding a lot like it will involve some fan participation and some … well, good luck on his part. Let’s hope his luck is better than it was a couple of years ago, when he was looking for an off-season job …