Tag Archives: Billy Beane

10 things to watch for the upcoming MLB season

As I watch what actually has turned out to be an interesting season opener between the Yanks and the Sox (in the Michael Wilbon voice), I guess there’s no better time than the present to give you my 2010 MLB season preview. Here are 10 storylines to watch as America’s pastime opens 2010 in earnest tomorrow.

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Repeat?

It’s been another busy winter for the Yankees, though this time with a tighter grip on the purse strings. The 27-time World Champs signed former farmhand Nick Johnson as their DH and added journeyman Randy Winn to provide a capable outfielder off the bench. But the other additions came through trades. Curtis Granderson, fresh off a career-high 30 home runs with the Tigers (written as he takes Josh Beckett deep with two outs in the second inning), was brought in for pitchers Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, and top prospect Austin Jackson. The rotation was strengthened by the acquisition of Javier Vasquez (another former Yankee returning to the Bronx) for misfit Melky Cabrera. Vazquez and the reintroduction of Phil Hughes to the rotation stabilizes the back-end of one of the best starting fives in the AL, while Chan Ho Park and Joba Chamberlain’s return to the bullpen gives them depth there. Despite playing in baseball’s toughest division, the Yanks are still a front-runner to take home another World Series Title.

Phil me up again? Continue reading

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Top prospect trades corner outfield for corner tabernacle

We always see baseball players point to the sky as the cross home plate, but one highly touted prospect has preempted that celebration by retiring from professional baseball to join the priesthood.

Foxsports.com is reporting that Oakland A’s outfield prospect Grant Desme is retiring from the ranks of pro ball to pursue a life in the priesthood. (An aside: kudos to Foxsports for the unbiased article title of “Touted A’s prospect leaving baseball for…priesthood?” Nice.)

It’s not for a lack of talent, as Desme’s play in A ball last year and the Arizona Fall League garnered him some serious acclaim. He spent one season at San Diego State before tearing things up at Cal Poly (a public school, by the way) and earning the 2007 Big West conference Player of the Year award. He was drafted in the second round (74th overall pick) by Billy Beane’s notoriously thorough scouting department.

Desme got a taste of minor league ball in 2007, but was limited to just 14 games total between ’07 and ’08 due to injuries. He rebounded for a huge year in 2009 between Kane County (Northwest League, short-season A) and Stockton (California League, high-A), batting .288 in 131 games with 31 homers, 89 RBIs, and 40 steals (the only 30 steal-30 homer player in ALL of minor league baseball). He continued to rake in the Arizona Fall League, taking home league MVP honors thanks to a .315 average, 11 dingers, and 27 RBIs 27 games. Baseball America ranked Desme as he A’s eighth best prospect. Continue reading

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