Episode 42: The Brady Aiken Mess and the Legend of Gobbles Gallo

THE FULL BARBECAST:

THE DIET BARBECAST:

Welcome to Barbecast 42! As you can see, there are two podcasts up above. One is the Diet, and one is the FULL BARBECAST. They are both available for download on iTunes. If you don’t know what the Diet Barbecast is, click here for more info.

We’ve got two special guests this week (Note: you’ll only hear the first guest on this week’s Diet Barbecast).  First (at 19:33), we talked to Rick Giolito (father of Nationals prospect Lucas) about the Brady Aiken situation and his experience being in a similar situation when Lucas was drafted after getting hurt. Rick also talked about Lucas’ progression in his first season of pro ball and what we can expect from him going forward. Next (52:50), we talked to the mysteriously spectacular Tepid Participation. You may know Tepid, or, “Michael”, as the guy on Twitter who loves to tweet about Rangers prospects, and that’s cause HE KNOWS ALL DA RANGERS PROSPECTS. We talked to Tepid about a few Rangers prospects, focusing mostly on recent Futures Game superstar Joey Gallo and what makes him so special.

After that, we’ve got the usual B-Ref Battle featuring one of the more lucrative names we’ve ever had. Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry covered Lana’s recent visit to Los Angeles and why she was hanging out with the USMNT. We finished up with a Barbecuers update and brief salute to 42 himself. Thanks for listening <3

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

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CFBBQ News: A New Kind of Barbecast

Hey! We’ve got some news. If you listen to our podcast, The Barbecast, on a regular basis, then this news applies to you. If you don’t listen to the Barbecast on a regular basis, this news might apply to you too! But no promises.

Here’s the deal: our podcast is long. Sometimes it’s two hours! Sometimes it’s three hours! We know it’s long, and we like it that way. Longer podcasts like Up and In are what inspired us to start podcasting in the first place. Our current format allows us to talk more naturally and have interviews that last 30-45 minutes, along with our other usual segments. Fortunately, our current format isn’t really going to change. Even more fortunately, we’re gonna have a shorter version of our podcast available too; a Diet Barbecast, if you will. The Diet Barbecast will feature the best of the full Barbecast, and should be around 30 minutes long. For now, this abbreviated podcast will be found on the same iTunes page and will be labeled accordingly. The full Barbecast will remain available on iTunes for those that have the attention span and interest in us rambling for a full two hours. Both the Diet and the full Barbecast will be available to be streamed here on the site on each podcast post.

Most importantly, this is very much an experiment. The Diet will require more effort when it comes to actually editing, which if you’ve listened to the Barbecast, you know is never much of a focus. However, we’re committed to testing this out and see how it turns out. If you have any suggestions for ways to improve any part of our podcast, let us know! We really appreciate any feedback. Thanks for listening <3

Click here for our very first Diet Barbecast!

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link (please subscribe, rate and review!): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

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Our Very Own Triple-A All-Star Teams

MIKE HESSMAN, HOME RUN KING

The Triple-A All Star Game rewards players who have had a particularly notable first half of the season. Participants are selected for a combination of production at the Minor League level and for the faintest glimmer of prospect status. The former qualification results in the addition of players of a slightly older demographic. Players whose names make you spit out whatever craft beer you have in your mouth while you have heatflash nightmares of top prospect lists from 2006. These are players whom you know not because you want to know them, but because sometime in the past they forced their way into our consciousness. The Triple-A All Star Game is not designed for these players, but screw that. We decided to pick our own Triple-A All Star Game rosters based on nothing but name recognition and derp-factor.

Rules: We each had to compile a 25-man roster using players from our respective leagues (I did the International League, and Jordan did the Pacific Coast League), and present a starting lineup. Unlike the actual all-star games which require one player from each team to be represented, we chose the best 25 names we could find.

International League 

by Jake Mintz

Starting lineup:

C – Ronny Paulino (DET/Toledo): There is not a single player in the history of Major League Baseball who sounds more like a character on Jersey Shore than Ronny Paulino. Ronny Paulino struck out 4 times in 7 plate appearances against Jason Isringhausen.

1B – Dan Johnson (TOR/Buffalo): Yes. This is that Dan Johnson. We all owe Dan Johnson for being an important part of the greatest night MLB has ever seen. What we can learn from him, however, is that a guy who hits a clutch home run after hitting .119 all year was hitting .119 for a reason.

2B – Mike Fontenot (TB/Durham): Mike Fontenot is still the reason Mike Fontenot gets up every morning. Mike Fontenot is 0-5 against Randy Wolf with 4 strikeouts.

SS – Emmanuel Burriss (WAS/Syracuse): I love Emmanuel Burris, but I am biased. When I was 7, Emmanuel Burris was my coach at baseball camp. Now I coach Emmanuel Burris’ niece and nephew and they are the most pleasant and fastest children at camp. Emmanuel Burriss hit his only major league home run and it was off Bronson Arroyo and it was a bomb.

3B – Wilson Betemit (TB/Durham): Wilson Betemit is only 32, which is crazy because he’s been in the league since 2001. Betemit has one career postseason home run and it was off Aaron Heilman. The only pitcher to intentionally walk Wilson Betemit twice was Tony Armas Jr.

RF - Julio Borbon (BAL/Norfolk): Scott Boras has many famous clients. One of those clients is Julio Borbon. If the stories about Boras creating extensive binders for his free agent clients are true, I’d like to see the one he made for Julio Borbon that landed him such a sweet deal with the Orioles.

CF – Andres Torres (BOS/Pawtucket): Andres Torres has ADD and I know this because on FOX during the 2010 World Series Joe Buck talked about how once the Giants gave Torres Adderall, he was able to focus better at the plate. I knew that was bullshit because I take Adderall and I can’t focus anywhere. Andres Torres is older than both Adam Levine and Usher.

LF – Clete Thomas (PHI/Lehigh Valley): Clete Thomas sounds like a fictional Greek superhero from a children’s book who can magically turn into a shoe at any moment. Unfortunately for Clete Thomas, Clete Thomas is a boring, no-hit, quad-A outfielder.

SP - Jason Marquis (PHI/Lehigh Valley):  Since 2010, Marquis has been worth -2.9 WAR as a pitcher and 0.5 WAR as a hitter. You might wonder why a 35-year-old guy who’s made over $50 million in his career would want to spend any more time pitching for a baseball team called the IronPigs. Then again, that sounds like a pretty sweet gig.

Bench:

  • C  Corky Miller (CIN/Louisville)
  • 1B Brent Morel (PIT/Indianapolis)
  • 2B Cord Phelps (BAL/Norfolk)
  • SS Jayson Nix (TB/Durham)
  • 3B Russ Canzler (PHI/Lehigh Valley)
  • OF Adron Chambers (TOR/Buffalo)
  • OF Melky Mesa (TOR/Buffalo)
  • 2B Ryan Roberts (BOS/Pawtucket)

Bullpen:

  • LHP Mike Zagurski (TOR/Buffalo)
  • RHP Shaun Marcum (CLE/Columbus)
  • RHP Matt Capps (CLE/Columbus)
  • RHP Carlos Marmol (CIN/Louisville)
  • RHP Chien-Ming Wang (CHW/Charlotte)
  • LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (CIN/Louisville)
  • RHP Alfredo Aceves (NYY/Scranton Wilkes-Barre)
  • RHP Josh Roenicke (WAS/Syracuse)

 

Pacific Coast League

by Jordan Shusterman

Starting lineup:

C – Eli Whiteside (CHC/Iowa): “Jealousy/Turning saints into the sea/Swimming through sick lullabies/Choking on your alibis. But it’s just the price I pay, destiny is calling me. Open up my eager eyessssssssssss…CAUSE I’M ELI WHITESIDE.”

1B – Lars Anderson (CHC/Iowa): Lars Anderson has 80 career minor league home runs and zero career major league home runs. Lars Anderson has one career extra base hit in the big leagues and it was off Doug Fister.

2B – Jason Donald (TEX/Round Rock): The despicable enemy who beat out the infield single to ruin Armando Galarraga’s perfect game.

3B – Pete Orr (MIL/Nashville): Pete Orr is Canadian and has the same last name as hockey legend Bobby Orr so he must have liked Bobby Orr growing up. Pete Orr is two weeks younger than Tracy McGrady.

SS - Ronny Cedeno (ARI/Reno): Recently traded to Arizona from Philadelphia for a minor league catcher named Raywilly, Cedeno has hit .302 in his first 12 games with Reno. If you’re a Venezuelan who can play shortstop at the major league level, you’re gonna stick around for way, way too long. Ronny Cedeno has made over $7 million in his career.

LF - Brian Bogusevic (MIA/New Orleans): It seems ridiculous, but Brian Bogusevic somehow looks exactly like what you would imagine a Brian Bogusevic to look like.

CF – Jason Pridie (COL/Colorado Springs):  Turns out Jason Pridie was the guy the Orioles called up from Triple-A when Manny Machado’s leg exploded last year. I can’t imagine why that move didn’t get any attention. Why mourn the loss of your future superstar when you could celebrate a current legend’s return to glory at the major league level? Very strange. If anything, I’m sure Jason takes pridie in that specific call-upBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

RF – Jeremy Hermida (MIL/Nashville): Before the 2004 season, Baseball America ranked Jeremy Hermida as the 28th best prospect in baseball. Before the 2005 season, Baseball America ranked Hermida as the 18th best prospect in baseball. Before the 2006 season, Baseball America ranked Hermida as the 4th best prospect in baseball. In the middle of the 2014 season, Cespedes Family Barbecue ranks Jeremy Hermida as the best right field prospect on the 2014 Nashville Sounds.

SP – Jason Berken (SFG/Fresno): While Berken may not be the craziest name I found (hello, Todd Coffey ON THE SEATTLE MARINERS APPARENTLY), I chose it almost entirely to break Jake’s Oriole-loving heart. Jason Berken! Berken is world-renowned for his 6.54 ERA over 119.2 innings in 2009, and even more well known for allowing Jacoby Ellsbury to hit .700/.800/1.100 against him in 15 plate appearances.

Bench:

  • OF Trayvon Robinson (LAD/Albuquerque)
  • OF Travis Buck (SDP/El Paso)
  • 3B Chris Nelson (SDP/El Paso)
  • 1B Brandon Allen (NYM/Las Vegas)
  • 2B Eugenio Velez (MIL/Nashville)
  • 3B Andy Marte (ARI/Reno)
  • 3B Brent Lillibridge (TEX/Round Rock)

Bullpen:

  • LHP Brian Burres (COL/Colorado Springs)
  • RHP Brett Tomko (COL/Colorado Springs)
  • LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC/Iowa)
  • RHP David Aardsma (STL/Memphis)
  • LHP Pedro Feliciano (STL/Memphis)
  • RHP Brad Penny (MIA/New Orleans)
  • RHP Kameron Loe (ARI/Reno)
  • RHP Philip Humber (OAK/Sacramento)
  • RHP Todd Coffey (SEA/Tacoma)

2014 Home Run Derby Preview: Yoenis’ Quest to Defend His Title

One year ago, our hero Yoenis Cespedes showcased his remarkable abilities when he crushed 32 bombs on his way to the 2013 Home Run Derby title. It was one of the most incredible displays of power in Derby history, and Yoenis was finally recognized as one of the elite power hitters in the game today. He concluded his glorious night with one of the greatest bat flips in the history of bat flips; a majestic flip signifying his superiority over the rest of the baseball universe:

Tonight, he returns to the Derby to defend his precious title. The only player to ever win the Derby in back-to-back years was Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998 and 1999, so history is most certainly against our hero. Also in his way is a significantly stronger group of competition compared to last year’s opposing crop of sluggers. Sure, Yoenis had to defeat the religious experience that was #ChristDavis, as well as Nationals phenom BRUCE HOOPER. But 2014 brings a whole new challenge; a challenge that may or may not rhyme with the words “Ziancarlo Blanton”.

This year’s home run contest includes ten hitters instead of eight, and a new format that I don’t entirely understand. I can reasonably assume that the main objective is still to hit as many gargantuan over-the-fence balls as possible. Under that assumption, here’s a preview of tonight’s extravaganza:

Derby competitors ranked by likeliness to win, from least likely to most likely:

10. Brian Dozier (0% chance to win)

  • This is a nice story. Brian Dozier is an awesome baseball player with more power than one might expect from a 5’11″ second baseman. But no. There is absolutely no way this guy comes anywhere near the Derby crown. I do fully expect the Minnesota crowd to give him a hearty applause for every line drive he laces into the enormous gaggle of incompetent children attempting to field the baseballs. He might even hit a few actual home runs! Just a few, though. Just a few :(

9. Justin Morneau (0% chance to win)

  • This is an even nicer story! Morneau, the consistently concussed Canadian, returns to his old stomping grounds to prove to his former fans that he can still hit the ball out the park, and not just his friendly new Coors Field home. But again, the Derby is not about nice stories; it’s about ruthless destruction of baseballs into parts of the park that we don’t even know exist yet. I’m a big Morneau fan, and I genuinely hope he performs at a respectable level. Unfortunately, he doesn’t match up very well against some of the powerhouses in this year’s contest.

8. Josh Donaldson (0% chance to win)

  • A teammate of our beloved slugger, Donaldson has recently emerged as one of the premier third baseman in all of baseball. He’s certainly got the kind of raw power you wanna see in a Derby contender, but his swing just doesn’t quite scream HOME RUN CHAMPION to me like some of the others he’ll be competing against do. Donaldson is much more likely to seriously injure one of the juvenile outfielders with a screaming line drive than he is to hit a tape-measure bomb to the third deck in left field. He’s a fantastic baseball player, but he does not appear to have the best skill-set to win this competition.

7. Todd Frazier (0% chance to win)

  • Just when you thought the Derby couldn’t get any more DAD after Michael Cuddyer’s inspiring 2013 performance, here comes good ol’ Toad Frizzer. Frazier does have legitimate power, but it’s weird power. If you recall, Frazier’s the one that once THREW THE BAT AT THE BALL AND HIT A HOME RUN. It will be interesting to see if he employs that unique strategy tonight, although I’d imagine he’d be quickly disqualified for endangering the lives of those in the vicinity of his swing.

6. Troy Tulowitzki (0% chance to win)

  • Tulo might just be the best non-Trout player on the planet, and it will be fascinating to see how his elite intensity carries over into the Derby. The best part about Tulo this year has been the fact that he’s actually playing baseball almost every day, which we haven’t seen him do in nearly three years. Tulowitzki is heading into the All-Star break with a comical 1.048 OPS, and yes, of course you can attribute a lot of that to Coors Field, but HE IS STILL REALLY FREAKIN’ GOOD OKAY GOSH. Anyway, while Tulo has always had impressive power, he never really comes to mind as someone that can put on a crazy show in batting practice. As the captain, Tulo’s already achieved exactly what we were all hoping for, and that’s picking Yasiel Puig and Giancarlo Stanton to be on the NL team with him. Whatever Tulo actually does in the Derby probably won’t matter at all. How clever! Maybe Tulo will show up and hit lefty. He’d still probably out-homer Dozier.

5. Adam Jones (1% chance to win)

  • Jonesy is the first challenger that I’m giving any outside chance to win, and this is almost entirely because of what we saw last week at Nationals Park. Jones is certainly known for his power, but what we saw was far more impressive than anything we’ve seen in game for him. During his few rounds of batting practice during the series in Washington against the Nats, Jones was routinely parking balls way, WAY beyond the left-center field fence. He’s not gonna win, but he could totally win. He’s got more pop than you think.

4. Jose Bautista (1% chance to win)

  • We have a complicated history with Mr. Bats. A while back, Jose Bautista followed us on Twitter. This was certainly not any sort of achievement; Jose Bautista follows everyone on Twitter. What happened several weeks later was significantly more impressive: Jose Bautista unfollowed us. What could the BBQ have POSSIBLY done to get Joey Bats to click the unfollow button? How did he even notice us in his presumably insane news feed full of random weirdos? There are many questions left unanswered. What we do know is that Joey Bats can still hit some moon shots. He’s hit some crazy home runs in-game against the woeful Twins in Target Field, like this second-deck shot from 2011. He’s certainly weird on the Internet, but he can still mash with the best of them. I expect an impressive performance from Sir Bats.

3. Yasiel Puig (3% chance to win)

  • Do we love Puig? Of course we love Puig. He’s a ridiculous baseball player with an even more ridiculous personality. There’s no one quite like him, and he’s got the kind of raw power to win this competition. His subtle rivalry with Yoenis is one that has been bubbling ever since he started tearing up the National League early last year, and tonight’s Derby might elevate the competitive Cubans to another level of competitive Cuban-ness. Puig is a wildcard though, and while we can be sure he’ll hit some obscene bombs to deep left field tonight, there’s an equally good chance that he pops some balls up in the infield. He’ll certainly have fun with it, but I’m not convinced he has the focus to win the entire thing.

2. Giancarlo Stanton (5% chance to win)

  • There are a lot of very smart people that believe that this competition is already over; Giancarlo has more power than any other non-Wily Mo Pena hitter in the world, and he should steamroll the competition in his first ever Derby. I absolutely love watching Giancarlo hit baseballs hilariously far distances with ease. He’s amazing. He’s younger than George Springer! He has a legitimate chance to dethrone our hero from Granma. I have no inside info regarding how badly Giancarlo wants to win this competition, but I can guarantee you the Derby crown doesn’t mean as much to him as it does to La Potencia.

1. Yoenis Cespedes (90% chance to win) (click here for our official Derby preview video)

  • Here’s the thing everyone needs to understand about Yoenis Céspedes Milanés: he lives for the long ball. He may not pimp them like Big Papi, flip them like Puig, or crush them like Giancarlo. Those aesthetics are unquestionably great. But they simply can’t match Cespedes on a spiritual level. ‘Tonight, every ball that travels from Yo’s barrel to the outfield seats will mean so much more than any other home run. As each ball flies into the great beyond of Target Field,  take a moment to appreciate the simplest thing we have in life: the dinger. A man, his bat, his eyebrows, and Chris Berman screaming “BACKBACKBACKBACKBACKBACK”. Tonight, we believe. 

 

Episode 41: World Cup Wiener Eating

Welcome to Barbecast 41! This week’s podcast almost has more to do with futbol and hot dogs than baseball, but that’s okay; we think you’ll enjoy it regardless. We have TWO special guests this week.

Our first special guest is CJ Wittmann of Baseball Prospectus (15:43). We talked to CJ for twenty solid minutes about the recently released mid-season Top 50 Prospect list over at BP and which prospects he is high on, low on, medium on, and which prospects he has a special place in his heart for. CJ is Mort’s cousin, and his #MortBlood and #MortAccent definitely shine through in this interview. For the full Top 50 list, click here.

Our second special guest is baseball player and hot dog connoisseur, Carlos Rodon (38:28). Carlos was selected third overall by the White Sox in last month’s draft, so we had him on to talk about the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. We talked about hot dog consumption strategies, nicknames, and which MLB players would have a chance against Joey Chestnut. (For more from Carlos, check out Barbecast 25 and Barbecast 29. You won’t regret it.)

After our special guests, we did our weekly B-Ref Battle of extraordinary baseball names and it was kindly interrupted by Jake’s grandma. How cute.

We recorded a segment in the car on the way to the Bowie Baysox game about THE WORLD CUP OF SOCCER FUTBOL and all the questions I had about the sport/the tournament.

Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry included MORE SOCCER TALK. Lana hasn’t watched much of the World Cup. We asked her why. Her reasons were reasonable. Go Lana!

The end of this glorious podcast is a brief Barbecuers update and then we say goodbye. I also predicted the Netherlands would win the World Cup, merely hours before they lost. Sorry. Thanks for listening <3

Don’t forget to rate and review us on iTunes!

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

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Rethinking the Home Run Derby

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For reasons that we simply cannot understand, many people dislike the Home Run Derby. For obvious reasons, we here at the Cespedes Family Barbecue absolutely adore the Derby. Nothing gets the people going like a dinger, and nothing provides the viewing public with more dingers than the Home Run Derby. Fans complain that there aren’t enough home runs in baseball, and then Bud Selig gives you a night that is literally only home runs and you don’t want it? Please. Sit down and listen to my wisdom.

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Episode 40: Baseball Camp, Booeymonger, and Guantez the Dead Ferret

Welcome to Barbecast 40, Baseball Camp edition. This week’s special guest (at 24:15) is John McCarthy (Coach Mac), the founder of Home Run Baseball Camp and current employer of both members of the BBQ. We talked to Coach Mac about his brief career in pro ball as a knuckleballer (facing Derek Jeter in the GCL!!!!), his transition into becoming a coach, and how he maintains his insane level of optimism on a daily basis. We recorded in a Booeymonger, so we apologize for the semi-poor audio quality. You can and should read more about Coach Mac by clicking here. Our b-ref battle this week included a certain player that may or may not be the oldest living human being on Earth. Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry covered Lana’s surprise appearance on Mean Tweets: Dallas Cowboys edition. Our e-mail segment included some baseball camp stories, what we would do as the Padres GM, and a beautiful World Cup e-mail from OBP. At the end of the episode, you will hear a recording of the story that we, along with our co-counselor Jason, told a group of 100+ campers about the loss of our pet ferret, Guantez. Thanks for listening <3

Please rate and review us on iTunes! We appreciate it!

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

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Bat Flip Kings

Bat flips are an ancient form of artistic expression. Since the beginning of time, some of history’s greatest figures have partaken in the flipping of bats. Max Keeble, Joan of Arc, and Seth McClung are all heroes of history for the contributions they made to the wood-twirling, dinger-pimping community.

We here at CFBBQ absolutely adore a good bat flip. There are a number of fantastic batflippers in the bigs right now and batflipping is as widespread and as appreciated as it has ever been. That being said, we believe that there is still so much room for creativity when it comes to the flipping of bats. In order to show the world just how batpoop crazy batflipping can be, we decided to take the bat into our own hands and then flip it… or something like that.

THE BETWEEN THE LEGS


Legs are awesome things because you can move them around and use them to your advantage. In this particular instance, I opened my legs quite wide and flipped a bat through them. Unfortunately, this bat flip is for practice time only. If used in a game situation you might end up decapitating the catcher and/or umpire located behind you.

THE SOARING EAGLE

Snowboarding on TV has something really cool that lets you see how high the snowboarder is getting when he flies into the air off the half pipe. We need the exact same thing for bat flips. I need a bat flip barometer to tell me just how high the lumber is being launched. Jordan got some pretty rad air on this one, but in the future I’d like to get more specific data on the height, speed, and trajectory of the flip. Call it FLIPf/x.

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A Night With Daniel Bard

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The night began just like any other. A gaggle of young talented athletes with hopeful futures took the field, while oversized 40-year-olds and their children pretended to watch them. Fleet-footed Dominican infielders gracefully roamed the grassy landscape like gazelles as monstrously large first baseman with hitches in their swings drop their back shoulders on hanging sliders. This is Low-A baseball, the first full-season step on a long Minor League journey towards The Show. It is a place where dreams are supposed to begin to actualize. But on this night, for Daniel Bard, it was an experiment in perseverance.

Daniel Bard threw the greatest pitch of all time. It was a 99 mile-per-hour two-seamer that broke like a reverse slider. Nick Swisher looked like a blind person because Daniel Bard wanted him to. For a two-year period Bard was one of the best relievers in all of baseball. With a fastball that sat in the high 90’s with sharp run and a slider that made babies cry, Bard could look absolutely unhittable at times. When the Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter to extract greater value from Bard’s studly arm, it all began to go downhill.

After two unsuccessful half-seasons with the Sox and then the Cubs, the Rangers scooped him up at the start of the year in a low-risk, possibly high-reward move. After spending some time in extended spring training rehabbing from an offseason rib surgery, Bard was sent to Low-A Hickory to begin his climb back up the ladder. In his first appearance, two days before we saw him, Bard faced four batters. He walked one, hit three, and exited the game before recording an out. Aware of his struggles two days prior we sat full of curiosity and anticipation amongst the otherwise mostly oblivious Hickory crowd.

On the very first pitch of the inning Bard nailed the West Virginia hitter in the back with a 95 MPH fastball. The next two batters each walked as Bard struggled to locate his fastball, slider, and past successes. He got behind 2-0 to the next hitter before throwing his first strike of the game, a 96 MPH cutter on the outer half that looked like it belonged in Arlington and not in Hickory. His next offering was an 80 MPH slider down the dick that the 20-something year old batter had no chance at. Another swing and a miss on a cutter under the hands and Bard had his first out of the year.

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Organizational Lineups: The Best Names In the Minor Leagues (AL West)

If it wasn’t obvious already, we absolutely love ridiculous names. For each 2014 team preview, we included a list of the best names in the organization. Because it’s summer, I’m gonna take it one step further. I have assembled a starting lineup and starting rotation of the most spectacular names for every team in baseball using solely players in their respective minor league systems. You will read some of these names and question their legitimacy but a quick Google search will confirm each and every one these as 100% real. As a rule, each position must be played by a player that is actually listed at that position. For example, the Giants have five different shortstops with unbelievable names but I could only choose two (SS and DH). Every team has a DH, and the DH could be any position player. Each team also has a five man rotation. Rotations were certainly difficult to determine because OH MY GOD THESE PITCHER NAMES ARE UNREAL. Okay. TO THE SQUADS.

Click here for Part 1 (NL East).

Click here for Part 2 (AL East). 

Click here for Part 3 (NL Central).

Click here for Part 4 (AL Central).

Click here for Part 5 (NL West).

AL WEST

Houston Astros

Houston Astros

  • C Jobduan Morales
  • 1B Bobby Borchering
  • 2B Parker Hipp
  • 3B Arturo Michelena
  • SS Chan Moon
  • OF Ydarqui Marte
  • OF Brauly Mejia
  • OF Teoscar Hernandez
  • DH Kristian Trompiz
  1. RHP Rayderson Chevelier
  2. LHP Geronimo Franzua
  3. RHP Yonquelys Martinez
  4. LHP Starlyng Sanchez
  5. LHP Pat Urckfitz

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

  • C Anthony Bemboom
  • 1B Wade Hinkle
  • 2B Kirby Pellant
  • 3B Danny Richiez
  • SS Goldny Mills
  • OF Ranyelmy Mendoza
  • OF Michael Fish
  • OF Exicardo Cayones
  • DH Abel Baker
  1. RHP Orangel Arenas
  2. LHP Engerberg Rosales
  3. RHP Spencer Trygg
  4. LHP Eswarlin Jimines
  5. RHP Crusito Mieses

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