Baseball is hard. We as fans often lose sight of that fact. If you ever want to know how hard baseball really is, go see an adult league game and watch some normally coordinated adults kick the ball around. Or a high school game where kids in their athletic prime flail about. Or hell, go to the batting cages yourself, get into the super fast cage and try to hit the first pitch. Now move ten feet closer and do it again. Now do it 162 times over a 180 day span. In case you're wondering what this is all about, last night I went 0-3.
Way back in the day, Marc and I started this podcast. Little did I know then that our first guest, Sam Miller of the Orange County Register, was to be a <in fabulous movie actress voice> huge star! OK, maybe that's overstating things. But Mr. Miller did a bang-up job as a guest columnist for Baseball Prospectus writing about Mike Scioscia's unnatural love of all things catcher. It's the kind of thing that makes me wish I'd written it, which, judging from the comments around here, you probably do too.
Not unlike many of us, old friend Bill Hall is on the unemployment line. Though the $3 million he's getting to sit around for the rest of the year might not sound too bad, he's out of a job with the Houston Astros. The release wasn't totally without cause as Hall is hitting all of .224/.272/.340. That line isn't so different from what he did in Boston, with one huge exception: his power has fallen off the table. Hall has never been much of an on base threat. He's stayed employed by hitting the ball out of the yard. He slugged .456 in 382 plate appearances last season for Boston, but the Astros weren't willing to wait another 200 PAs to see if he could rediscover his power stroke.
Is there any chance he'll wind up back in Boston? It's hard to make the numbers work, by which I mean roster spots are at a premium. Hall isn't much of an upgrade on who they have on hand, especially if he's hitting .220 and slugging .340.
Another riveting edition of MLB's First Year Player Draft is on hand today. To prepare you for the excitement, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prosepctus has posted his almost mock draft. You see, it's called an Almost Mock Draft because it's not his mock draft, BUT: it almost is. For more on this, find a spork and stick it into your eyeballs. The article is free and Mr. Goldstein has the Red Sox re-drafting pitcher Alex Meyer, now out of college as well as high school catcher Blake Swihart. Over at MLB Bonus Baby, Matthew Garrioch has posted his top 200 draft prospects. Feel free to print it out, post it on your office door, and cross off names throughout the afternoon. Elsewhere, the fine folks at Sox Prospects have posted items five and six from their seven part series on the draft. In order, they are a run down on players who may not sign if drafted because they are asking for Scrooge McDuck money, and a first round mock draft. They also think the Sox will tab Alex Meyer with the 19th pick, but they're guessing Boston picks slugging high school outfielder Josh Bell with their second pick in the first round, number twenty-six.
After the second of what would be three losses, the fine folks at Beane Ball (OK, just Jason) posted a charming picture of what looks to be a five year old Red Sox fan giving someone the finger. It was charming. In other news, did I mention how charming it was? Fortunately, the sons of Boston avenged the taunting coming from the darkened corner known as the Oakland portion of the interwebs by sweeping the three game series. The Globe's Peter Abraham has some notes from the series.
Finally, with Tommy John surgery on the horizon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, the name you love to read, spoke to the media following his decision to get surgery. Shockingly, he was shocked by the idea that he may be done as a Boston Red Sox. Preparing for, if this magic 8 ball is any indication, the first of many surgeries, Matsuzaka hopes he'll be back in a Red Sox uniform before the expiration of his contract in a year and a half and potentially beyond. Either that or he was mistranslated and he really said he wants to shatter your bat like kindling then chug a beer. Either way, as he boards a plane to Dr. Yocum's for surgery, he may as well turn around, flash two peace symbols and declare loudly over the rush of the engines, 'You won't have Daisuke Matsuzaka to kick around anymore!' Or maybe he'll just ask for another beer.