You were just a face in the crowd

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

It’s come to my attention that all of these blog posts are landing on the Indians’ Facebook page.

This is great news, considering my personal Facebook experiences are pretty much limited to getting friend requests from complete strangers, getting asked to participate in surveys that reveal which Star Wars character I have most in common with, and, of course, getting “poked” by my girlfriend (though neither of us have any idea what this means).

Unfortunately, the good people of Facebook reading the Tribe page are given no indication of who these barely readable blog entries are coming from. So from now on, I’m attaching the above byline information to avoid any confusion and maybe even drum up a little more interest in the CastroTurf community (if such a thing even exists).

If you Facebookians like the blog, feel free to visit. I won’t even ask you to poke me.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • In a sign of the times, the Tribe’s Sept. 5 game against the Twins has been dropped from FOX Sports’ broadcast schedule, so it will not be televised in the Cleveland or Minnesota markets. It will still take place at 4:10 p.m. ET.
  • Here’s hoping none of you ran out and bought a Matt LaPorta jersey when he was called up in May, because he’s changed his number already. This time around, he’s No. 7, because his old No. 16 is now taken by Tomo Ohka and the No. 13 he wore in college and in the Minors is taken by Asdrubal Cabrera. “Seven’s a lucky number, too,” LaPorta said. “I’ll take it.”
  • LaPorta arrived around the fifth inning last night. Naturally, like so many of us, he hit traffic on Interstate 71 between Columbus and Cleveland. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?'” he said.
  • Eric Wedge said he’s still not sure how LaPorta’s starts will be divvied up, in terms of position. He’s in left field tonight, but he did some work at first base in the afternoon.
  • I asked LaPorta what advice he’d have for fellow No. 1 Draft pick Alex White, who was here today to officially sign his contract and meet with the media. “You just have to continue to do what got you here,” LaPorta said. “Just because you’re a first-rounder doesn’t mean you stop working. That stuff can disappear really quick. Your ultimate goal is not to be a first-rounder, it’s to be a big leaguer.”
  • LaPorta’s negotiations with the Brewers (who took him seventh overall in 2007) went much more quickly than White’s did with the Indians. “When they called to say they’re drafting me,” LaPorta said, “they said, ‘If we take you, will you sign for this much?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ I didn’t have much [bargaining power], because I was a senior. I couldn’t go back to school.” LaPorta signed for about $2 million.
  • As for White negotiations, he told reporters he never seriously considered going back to the University of North Carolina for his senior year. “I felt like I had done everything I could do at the college level,” he said. “I was ready to start my pro career and move on and start taking another path.”
  • But White and his agent, Keith Grunewald, did what they had to do, waiting until nearly the last possible minute to agree to terms. Amateur scouting director Brad Grant said Steven Strasburg was not the reason so many players held out so long. They were merely using the system to their advantage. Grant said he expects more players to go that route next year, and the deadline won’t change to a more reasonable hour unless the players’ union agrees to a change in the bargaining agreement.
  • White’s father, Bruce, said the negotiations between Alex and the Tribe didn’t really get going until around 10 p.m. Monday night. He also said he’d be shocked if his son spends a penny of his signing bonus right away. Alex drives a 2003 Chevy Tahoe, and he’s apparently pretty happy with it.
  • White will report to Double-A Akron to begin a strength and conditioning program that will prep him for the Fall Instructional League. The Indians feel he’ll benefit from being in the playoff atmosphere with the Aeros. Still no decision on where he’ll start next season, but if it’s in Class A Kinston, he’ll only be about a half hour from his Greenville, N.C., roots.
  • If you need him, Chris Perez is busy tossing 13 1/3 scoreless innings over his last 13 appearances. He’s walked four, given up three hits and struck out 15 in that span. “He has a great arm,” Wedge said. “He has deception in his delivery. What stands out is he’s doing a better job commanding his fastball and his breaking ball off that.”
  • C Lou Marson homered for Columbus last night. He’s batting .360 (18-for-50) with three doubles, one homer and seven RBIs since arriving in the Cliff Lee trade.
  • Left-hander Eric Berger tossed six scoreless innings in which he allowed just an infield single in Double-A Akron’s 3-0 win over Bowie last night.
  • Congrats to Indians Radio Network pregame show host and in-game producer Jim Rosenhaus for landing tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and the legendary E Street Band at the Q in November. Here’s hoping the Boss plays “Rosalita,” so Rosie and Rosie can be matched in perfect harmony. If you’re not at this show, you should be ashamed of yourself.

~AC

32 Comments

I think it is pretty lame how Fox asks to televise a game, forcing the home team to move their game to a non-regular time for Saturday games, then can just say “oh, nevermind” and either the team has to put fans through the trouble of changing the game time, or the game can’t be televised because it is in Fox’s window. Now yes, I can get by with one less Indians game being televised, but I still feel like if Fox drops a game, the local markets should be able to air it since Fox is the one who caused all the issues.

I am not at the Clippers game obviously, but I just received a text from my sister telling me that Scott Lewis only went 2 innings tonight, giving up 4 runs. It looks like he threw 55 pitches, which was probably right about as many as they were going to have him throw anyways. 2 K’s and a HR given up. Just thought I would pass it along.

Pretty odd to let Masterson throw 110 pitches.

Actually the home team can go back to MLB and ask that the game be changed to say 7:10, am I correct? There is no reason for that game to not be televised somehow.

Thought the same thing, isavage. I understood letting him try to go 7, but why leave him in after that walk?
Tony Sipp stepping up again, yet another indication that guys perform better when they know their roles.
And how about this line-up? Marte 2-3, LaPorta 1-3 with a big hit. Marte also made a nice pick at first tonight on a nice play by Valbuena. Marte’s OPS is just slightly higher than Brown’s in AAA, but I’ll take at least one of them getting regular time.
Then again, I’d still like to see Marte get some starts at third and Brown some time in Cleveland. I think I’m more interested in LaPorta as a left fielder than a first baseman.

This series has been the epitome of our offense. We’re going to end up outscoring the Angels over these three games, yet only winning one game.

Wedge needs to keep Laporta in LF, there is no reason to put him at 1B right now. I would prefer seeing Matt start 2010 in LF, and not change positions every day. Hey, let’s try Matt at C.

You know, put Marson or Toregas in as catcher, and that there’s a decent line-up for next year.

So, Rosie lands Springsteen tickets before they even go on sale to the rest of us?

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Next years’ starting lineup in my opinion,

1. Grady Sizemore CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo RF
4. Matt Laporta LF (You almost have to try it out)
5. Jhonny Peralta 3B
6. Travis Hafner (oh lord.)
7. Lou Marson C (bring him up!)
8. Luis Valbuena 2B (You have to keep him in the lineup)
9. Chris Giminez 1B
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

Anyone else surprised that that the writter actually has a girlfriend?

Honestly, no..not surprised. Now all of ACs weekend blog-breaks are explicable.

Actually cantonguy, I think Laporta should be 1B next year. The outfield will get crowded, eventually Brantley should move into the 3rd outfield position, so that would mean pushing Laporta back to 1B. Better to keep him there next year from the beginning. Ted, that is a terrible lineup. Looks like something Eric Wedge would draw up.

My lineup would be:

1. Cabrera SS
2. Valbuena 2b
3. Choo RF
4. Sizemore CF
5. Laporta 1b
6. Hafner DH
7. Jordan Brown LF
8. Marte 3b
9. Toregas/Marson

My starting pitchers would be
1. Kerry Wood (they’re paying him $10 million, might as well see if his arm holds up and get some innings out of him, rather than giving him $500,000 per save)
2. Laffey
3. Masterson
4. Carmona
5. Rondon

If Westbrook returns, Wood can stay in the bullpen

Relievers:
Sowers
Todd
J Lewis
R Perez
Sipp
Joe Smith
Closer: C Perez

Since they will also have acquired another high end relief pitching prospect in the Peralta trade, you could easily sub R Perez and Jensen Lewis out, if they have crappy springs. I’m also pretty confident that Adam Miller will return and dominate, but you never know, so I won’t jinx him by penciling him in just yet.

ISavage,
What kind of lineup is that? Why would Grady bat fourth? At least make him third. And Valbuena, is a six or seven hitter. Maybe Jordan Brown, but I would put in Michael Brantley over him. Matt Laporta, could then move to first, whatever. Your pitching rotation I agree with. How about this to shake things up. Hey, could some of you check out my blog? :) Thanks. I have a new post up.
1. Brantley LF
2. Cabrera SS
3. Sizemore CF
4. Choo RF
5. Laporta 1B
6. Valbuena 2B
7. Hafner DH
8. Marson C
9. Marte 3B
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

Nice blog, Ted. With school starting soon, you can freshen up on your grammar. Keep studying and you’ll be a beat writer in no time!

Grady would bat 4th because he’s the best power hitter on the team, and his strikeout rate doesn’t make him ideal as a 1-3 hitter. Choo is a decent power hitter, but his biggest strength is that he’s a high on-base guy, so he needs to be batting before the heavy slugging guys, in this case Sizemore and hopefully Laporta, and Choo seemed to admit in an article a few days ago that he wasn’t mentally prepared to bat 4th … You have 2 players on the same team, player A is batting .333 with 32 doubles and 12 HRs in 97 games, and player B is batting .260 with 18 doubles and 5 HRs in 107 games, and you are going to take player B? I like Brantley a lot, I like the fact that he has 39 SBs and only 44 SOs, and 53 walks (the one area where Brown’s stats could be better is walks, but he also hasn’t struck out much and has hit around .333 in AA and AAA in two of his past 3 years) but I fear Brantley would be overmatched if he started next year in the big leagues, and then you have a Andy Marte/Brandon Philips situation, where his confidence takes a hit. Valbuena can be Cabrera with a little better power (19 doubles in just 237 ABs), and is hitting .293 since the all star break, I stand by Valbuena in the 2 hole, mostly because Choo, Sizemore, Laporta as 3,4,5 makes so much sense … I personally would prefer to put Toregas in before Marson, I don’t see much use for slow-footed singles hitters. I would trade Marson this offseason for either another hard-throwing relief pitching prospect, or a AA-level middle infield prospect, and go with wonder-boy Gimenez as the backup C, with Santana potentially moving into the starting role sometime before the end of the year.

Actually I’d think a package deal that includes both Peralta and Marson could net a pretty decent prospect, something for Shapiro to work on for winter meetings

if Wedge continues to allow Masterson to throw 110 pitches after scoring 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning only to let him start the next inning then Masterson will be on the DL by the end of the year. Once again his game management is in question.

Now let me ask you this. Eddie Taubensee, for Kenny Lofton. Who was Kenny Lofton back then? He was a Michael Brantley. But oh Kenny, blossomed into the best leadoff hitter for the Indians in this ERA. Michael Brantley is compared to Lofton, and who cares if his BA is low. Give him a shot. Cabrera in the two hole because well, he gets on alot. Brantley would get on, steal second, and Cabrera can bunt, so why not bunt him? Grady pulls the ball as always and knocks him in. That’s my thinking. Choo gets on base as you said, “he is a great OBP guy.” Laporta, the Double machine, doubles in a gap and Choo scores with his speed. Now you know my thinking. Grady isn’t a four hitter. He has too much speed and shouldn’t be put there. Three is the only place I can see him going if he is not 1 or 2. And yes I take Brantley. Minor League numbers don’t matter! Major league pitching is ten times better. Brown could be an Andy Marte for all we know, and Brantley could be a Lofton. Or it could be the other way around, who knows, but you can’t go out and pull minor league numbers out, cuz they don’t matter. I wanna see each of them play a good 40 or so MLB games and then decide.
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

and for all the Brantley conversations going on I still maintain that he needs to get his numbers in Columbus more on par with this minor league averages (a higher BA and more walks; he’s typically a 2-1 BB:SO ratio). Personally, I’d rather see a LF/1B tandem of Crowe, LaPorta and Brown.

Furrski,
thanks for checking it out. Feel free to comment. :) And thanks. I hope you come back again.
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

agree, AM. Ted, I’m not saying that Brantley can’t step in and be like Kenny Lofton was his rookie year, he COULD, but he has struggled a bit with AAA pitching, so there also a decent chance he could perform terribly. What’s the need to rush him, if they are building for 2011? Brown isn’t on the radar, it doesn’t really matter if he fails, but if he plays very well, then obviously that’s a bonus. I’m not sure what the deal is with Sizemore, his legs are supposedly fine, but he’s currently 4th on the team in SBs, behind Ben Francisco. Choo leads the team, and Cabrera’s 2nd. Other than Laporta, I see no one better to bat cleanup than Sizemore, and you don’t want to put that pressure on Laporta that quickly. “Minor league numbers don’t matter,” haha, that’s a Wedgism if I ever heard one Obviously, it’s not true. Minor league success doesn’t always translate to major league success, but it’s certainly correlated, and there’s no reason to expect someone hitting .260 in the minors to RAISE his average when he faces major league pitching (which is why i never understood the previous Marte promotions, he hit .260 in AAA, shocking then, when he hit .220 in the majors). Brown could lose 30 points off his average with the jump and still hit above .300.

Savage Truth,
I agree with you about Brantley and Brown. Brown isn’t on the radar, and that is because,…. He isn’t expected to be good. If that is so, minor league numbers don’t carry over, and Matt Laporta was hitting .299 in the minors. He is down in the .250’s even after a great game. So Brown dropping down .30 points, not happening, how about .50. That puts him below .300 and with him not being a home run hitter, what do you get out of that?
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

But why isn’t Brown expected to be good? He was a 4th round draft pick, they must have thought fairly highly of him. If you look at his minor league progression, you can see why before this year he’d somewhat fallen off the radar, his slugging numbers had been dropping precipitously. I believe he led the Eastern League in BA in ’07, but his power dropped off from A ball. Last year he was injured, and didn’t have a very good year at all. This year though, he’s slugging is the best it’s ever been at any level. Facing the same pitchers, Brown’s slugging % .526, Laporta, .530. So why is Brown not expected to be good? Because he wasn’t acquired in a famous trade?

Laporta is hitting .200 after his one for three game. Comparison of minors to majors: .99 points. Jordan Brown after .99 points, .231. Not a great average huh? While Brantley, who has the best looking swing since Joe Mauer, could hit .260 but steal me 30 bases. Which one to choose? Numbers are overrated. Some are at least. And minor league batting AVG is one that is very overrated. I ask you this, where would Brown hit? He would be bottom of the order. And if your lineup is correct, then
1. Brantley
2. Cabrera/Valbuena
3. Choo
4. Grady
If you want Sizemore in the four hole, then Brantley would be a perfect leadoff, followed by Cabrera who can bunt, or Valbuena, who can hit the gaps. Your choice, I think I have made my case….
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

Brown’s number’s dropped. Why? Because he is facing better pitching. And the minor league to major league level goes from hard to unbelievably hard. You are telling me Jordan Brown can go from facing an A ball pitcher and having a high slugging percentage to facing Roy Halladay? Uhmm,… no. Okay, you just proved me right, you said Brown had a lower slugging percentage than Matt Laporta. Laporta is hitting .200 currently so you expect Brown to do better? What world do you live in? Just cause Laporta was acquired in a trade doesn’t mean that he is god. I never said that.

Andy Marte, in 82 games hit .327 with 18 HR. He has the most chances out of anyone to succeed yet, oh He can’t because the MLB level is so much harder than the minors. Numbers look familiar to Brown’s right? How about an underachiever achieving at the MLB level? You said it happens every once in a while. Well how about Brantley achieving greatness? I have made my case…
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

I don’t know that I follow your logic there, Ted. If you expect Laporta to hit .200 for an entire season, then I guess the Indians got pretty screwed over in the Sabathia trade. He has like 40 ABs, as does Marte, batting average is meaningless with that small of a sample size. And yes, Marte was hitting .327 with 18 HRs, that’s why I’ve been banging my head on my desk every time I see Wedge’s lineup that includes Marte every other day, because they need to see if his success can translate. Previously, Marte DID NOT do well in the minors either, so I wasn’t surprised when he did not do well in the majors … I wouldn’t hate it if the Indians did choose to go with Brantley next year, but, whatever kind of swing you think he has, you can’t change the fact that he’s hitting .260 facing the same pitchers Brown is facing. Jordan Brown is currently having the best season he has had at any level, he is hitting BETTER than he ever did in A and AA ball.

Okay, I don’t expect Laporta to hit .200 on the season but if you think he is going to be the Indians star player then you are very wrong. That isn’t possible. Yes, Brown is hitting his best, but does that mean anything? He could be hitting .400 for all we care. Nelson Cruz, in 08 had ridiculous numbers hitting 37 HR and 100 RBI and was hitting .341. Ridiculous right? Then in his move up to the majors, he sported a good BA, but where were the homers? I guess he left some in the minors. Does it mean anything about the minor leagues? No and Yes. You have to have a good BA I agree with you, but does that mean it has to be above .300?
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

The only way anyone, including Indians management, can know how well Jordan Brown, or anyone, will perform in the majors is to call him up and have him play every day for an extended period of time. Brown could suck, Laporta could suck, the point is they need to find out. Brown’s development in the minors indicates that he COULD be a solid major league hitter, by numbers alone and not reputation he should certainly be considered one of the top 4 position player prospects in the organization, and the top AAA player not currently on the team. He certainly should rank above Gimenez, who’s never done much of anything at any level, but is not only on the 40 man roster but is currently on the major league team stealing ABs from Marte. Doesn’t it make sense to give Brown a shot, rather than let another team have him for nothing, when you have no idea how he’ll perform? He could be the 2nd coming of Mark Lewis, or Sean Casey, I don’t know, but more importantly, there’s no way the Indians know either.

I agree the Indians should give him a chance. But why Brown? 38 SB is a great feat even at AAA. Could you compare that stat with a .330 average? In my case, yes. Brown shows that he could be a great prospect and is. But he hasn’t gotten any AB’s at the major league level so what gives? He Could? Not good enough for Mark Shapiro. Andy Marte could have been a good major league hitter? Was he ever? No. The Indians gave him at least five chances to succeed but no he didn’t. I know Brown hasn’t gotten a chance yet, but neither has Brantley. And Michael Brantley was one of the biggest talks of spring training, because he hit well. He showed Wedge, and the Indians that he could play with the big boys. So….? Brantley could be a better AVG hitter, but what could Brown be better at? You tell me.
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

Ted, Brantley is 22 years old, Brown is 26. They either give Brown a shot now, or he gets a shot with another team next year. Brantley remains in the Indians organization whether he’s at Columbus or Cleveland, they can and should be patient with Brantley.

You got me there, Brown does have the experience. But if he is that much older, how come he is still in the minors? If he didn’t get injured, things would be much different? Maybe. How come he hasn’t gotten a shot at the majors yet? Maybe he isn’t good enough. It isn’t like Mark Shapiro has been blowing him off for four years. He knows who he is and when and if he is good enough he will bring him up.
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

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