Sunday, August 14, 2005

Guess who?

. . . Okay, let's try three more, this time from the 1994 edition of Bill James's Player Ratings book. The ground rules are the same as on the previous post: I'll transcribe what James wrote then about a player with past or present Red Sox ties, and you guess the player. Easy enough? All right, and I'll even give you a clue or two this time. Damn, I really do have to keep things simple for you doofuses (doofi?), don't I?

(Oh, and if you think this quicky post is my way of getting out of writing anything of length or substance tonight, as was promised previously . . . you've got bingo. A three-hour commute, courtesy of the architectural wizards that brought us the Big Dig and other modern disasters, has made me a firm believer in the benefits of road rage. You don't want to mess with me right now - I'm feeling meaner and madder than Bea Arthur after she won the Ultimate Fighting Championship that time. (Knocking out Buckethead with a boot to the groin, if I do recall.) We all know that's no frame of mind for writin', what with the bloody knuckles and all. So check back in Monday and I promise to have posted something more worthy of your time. Until then, thanks for your patience, peeps. You're the best, all 42 of you. And yeah, I suppose I'm sorry I called you doofuses . . . or doofi. Whatever.)

There. All better. Now for our little game:

Player 1: This one should be obvious to everyone who remotely follows modern-day baseball. Which means Joe Morgan is already stumped and babbling about cutters.

"Baseball America's minor league player of the year, (Player 1) is the best hitting prospect to come to the majors since Frank Thomas and Juan Gonzalez came up in 1990. In projecting exactly how he will hit, we are dealing with an important unknown, which is the ballpark. A 21-year-old Dominican whose family came to the United States when he was 13, righthanded hitter, nobody talks about his fielding."

Player 2: This stiff pitched for the Sox during the Grady Little era, suffering a memorable walk-off loss along the way. (No, not THAT loss.)

"(Player 2) is, roughly speaking, the worst pitching prospect in the history of the world. There is nothing about his record that would cause a prudent person to suppose that he could pitch in the majors, but he throws hard, so he keeps getting chances. His control record is awful, and he's been hurt a lot, and he's never been effective anywhere."

Player 3: This one might surprise you. All I'll say is that the player is still active, and I'm guaranteeing he hits more home runs than Kevin Millar this season.

"(Player 3), only 23, is one of the best hitters in the minors today, and is perhaps the top prospect in the (name of his team's) system. Last year he played in a pitchers' park - in fact all four parks in the Eastern Division of the Texas League are pitchers' parks, for which reason (Player 3) was the first Eastern player since the league split into divisions in 1975 to win the batting title. There's no job for him in the majors yet, but he's a Grade A prospect."

* * *

The answers:

Player 1: Dwayne Hosey. (Oh, all right, it's Manny. Real tough, Einstein.)

Player 2: Rudy Freakin' Seanez. Can you believe that bum is still in the majors? I can't. Bet Mr. James can't either, judging by that glowing review. And if you still don't recall the walk-off loss we mentioned above, here's a reminder.

Player 3: Roberto Petagine. Surprised by James's high praise? Hey, those who casually write Petagine off as a Triple A lifer forget or don't realize that the dude was an elite hitting prospect who got buried behind some guy named Bagwell in Houston. He never got a legitimate big-league shot, and failed to make the most of his brief opportunities when he did play. He's making the most of them now. Tonight, hit his first major-league homer since '98, which, if I recall correctly, is also the last time Millar hit one. We said it in spring training, and we will say it again. This guy can hit, still, and he is going to win some games for the Red Sox before the season is through.

* * *

As for our Completely Random Baseball Card:

Wow . . . hell of a year for first base prospects, eh? Curiously, three of the four have played for the Red Sox: Wooten made a cameo earlier this season, Pirkl was a useless Duquette scrap-heap pickup, and, of course, our guy Petagine. And D.J. Boston played for Butch Hobson with the Nashua Pride.

C'mon, where else do you get stuff like this? TATB: Your home for useless baseball minutiae . . . and pictures of mean, masculine women.