May 24, 2009

Rookies: Players and Stadiums

The weather is getting nicer, the Braves are scoring some runs and I’ve been seeing a lot of new faces and places. So here it is:

Medlen with the Rotation– So, Kris Medlen’s MLB debut didn’t go as swimmingly as he (and all of us) hoped.  He started-off good, getting the first two batters with ease, but after Todd Helton appeared at the plate, the 23-year-old Medlen’s nerves were apparent, leading to erratic control and 5 ER in 3 IP. There were glimpses of what led to his brilliance in AAA Gwinnett, but the kid who was 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA did not show up to Atlanta.

Some may have been surprised that Medlen got the call instead of “Super Prospect” Tommy Hanson, but a little birdie told me that there is a method to the Braves madness. It appears the plan to give Medlen a shot was to get a quick look at him before Tom Glavine attempts to make his return in a week or two. If Glavine is re-injured or ineffective, Hanson will get the call…instead of calling him up just to send him back down when Glavine is (hopefully) healthy.  Hanson, by the way, just outdueled Jeremy Bonderman Thursday winning his 3rd game of the year while striking out 9 and allowing 0 Earned Runs in 6.0 IP.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Medlen stay with the Braves in the bullpen when his time as a starter is up.  I think he can be effective after he gets his nervous energy out and frankly I don’t think he is going to pitch any worse in the role now held by Buddy Carlyle.

Parr for the Course– Maybe I ate some bad shellfish, but I would like to see James Parr given the chance to make a start or two if the chance arises.  Parr started 2008 in AA Mississippi and worked his way to AAA Gwinnett and finally the big club in Atlanta where he started his career with 14.1 scoreless innings.  Parr hasn’t been dominant, but he throws strikes and isn’t afraid to come after hitters; something the Braves bullpen doesn’t always do, most notably with the bases loaded.

Diory Days- Wednesday’s 12-4 win proved to be the most costly win of the year for the Braves as they lost Omar Infante to a broken left hand (more specifically the fifth metacarpal for you pre-med students) on a Manny Corpas fastball.  Infante is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which means he probably won’t be back until after the All-Star break. Infante was batting .349 and was the Braves most consistent leadoff hitter.  So now Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson will have to step up and give the Braves a boost with Infante out of the line up.

With the Braves needing to replace Infante on their roster, they called up IF Diory Hernandez from AAA Gwinnett, giving another rookie a shot to perform in the big leagues.  Hernandez was having a stellar year in Gwinnett posting .355 BA 20 RBI .891 OPS. Hernandez also made his MLB debut Thursday night against the Rockies after being added as a late-game replacement for Escobar.

Hernandez started the year with AA Mississippi and after a hot start was promoted to AAA Gwinnett on April 26.  He’s never been a big power bat, having a career high of 7 HR in a season, but I expect Hernandez to play solid defense and produce good at-bats due to his low strike-out rate.  I have been a fan of Hernandez after seeing him in Myrtle Beach in 2006.  Come to think of it, I saw another guy then; I think his name was Schafer.  I think he is going to be good too, despite being 2nd in the NL in strikeouts.

Bankee Stadium– OK I’m done making puns, but before I end this blog, I have to write briefly about the new Yankee Stadium.  It’s a short drive down I-87, and my girlfriend is a Yankee fan (and somehow college educated, too). I have to say I really wasn’t impressed.  It was the same as Citi Field.  Sure they are nice facilities.  They are clean, well built and still have those “new stadium” smells, but with no personality.

The new, New York stadiums are way too similar to the new Busch, Nationals Park and Citizen’s Bank Park.   Attending a game at Yankee Stadium always seemed special because you were in the same place that Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, etc. played.  Heck, there is a butcher shop in the new Yankee Stadium.  I don’t get why someone needs raw meat at a baseball game…maybe for those GEICO Cavemen if they ever attend…or for Mets fans.

If I was shown a picture of Citi Field, I would have no idea the Mets played there.  The seats are green and the outfield wall is black.  All you had to do was look at one section of those ugly seats at Shea to know it home to the Mets—where the likes of Greg Jeffries and Kevin McReynolds played.

Maybe it’s because they are too new, or maybe it’s because I appreciate the old school feel of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, but the new isn’t always better to me.

Follow me on Twitter @ BRAVEinNY.

Until next time…Go Braves!



2 Responses to “Rookies: Players and Stadiums”

  1. 1
    MikeH Says:

    I do hope Medlen gets one more start before he heads down to hopefully get a taste of success. I know he had mentioned before that he expected to be in the bullpen when he makes it to the majors, so maybe that is where he will end up.

  2. 2
    J. Robb Brady Says:

    Need to Know when First Baseman Kotchman and Infielder Infante will be back on field from disabled list.

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