Every year another season comes in Major League Baseball. Well...that was profound...Anyway, another season brings another set of 25 major leaguers for each of 30 teams. Of course, many of those players are the same as last year. But the shake up of players on 25 man rosters is pretty continuous and after over 40 years of box score watching, a lot of those names get lost in the mix. Quite frequently, the Fan is looking at a box score and says (usually audibly), "Who is that?" So tonight, the Fan decided to see who those anonymous guys are. Looks like you are coming along for the ride.
Boone Logan: Who? How is it that this guy has pitched 172 times over the course of five years and the Fan never heard of him until just recently? He was a 2oth round draft pick in the 2002 draft out of high school in San Antonio, Texas and he's a lefty. In those 172 appearances, he's only pitched 133 innings, which qualifies him as a LOOGY. At 25 years of age, he's probably one of the youngest LOOGYs around. He hasn't been particularly effective with a career ERA+ of 81. In fact, this year with the Yankees is his only appearance on the plus side of that statistic. But don't get overwhelmed by that, his WHIP this year is over 2 and he's walked six guys in just 5.1 innings of work. So now we both know who Boone Logan is.
Oh! Just a digression for a minute. Did any of you watch the Tigers - Yankees Monday night? Did you see the way Gerald Laird threw back to the pitcher? It looks like he has a yip and has to double clutch to throw the ball back to the pitcher. Did anyone notice that?
Paul Janish: Who? Was looking at the Reds' box score the other day and saw this Janish guy and couldn't remember ever seeing his name before. He's in his third year as the Reds' utility infielder. He's playing well this year in 22 plate appearances, he's batting .300 with a .964 OPS. But looking at his previous stats, that's probably kind of fluky as he has a career line in 400+ at bats of .211/.294/.311. That's not very pretty. He's a 28 year old, drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 amateur draft. One thing his stats do show is that he's an excellent shortstop with great range with a runs-over-replacement-player sitting at 13 in just 82 games. He's another Texas kid from Cyress Creek. Now you know.
Nate Schierholtz: The Fan had actually heard of this player before but didn't know much about him. Actually, the interest stems from his last name. But his Wiki page doesn't give any indication that he's any relation to the baseball executive. Anyway, this Giants' player has played parts of four seasons with the San Francisco team, but he's still in the "prospect" category. That ship might be arriving this year as he is batting .351 with a .949 OPS in 74 at bats. It doesn't look like he gets to play much against lefty pitchers which doesn't seem to match his success rate against them. His OPS against lefties is 1.001 for his career. His OPS against righties is .697. Strange. Schierholtz is 26 and was born in Reno, Nevada but played high school ball in California at the same school as Randy Winn. From the looks of things, the Giants should just put in in the line up every day and let him hit. And, he's a good right fielder with a good arm. He had ten assists last year in limited duty.
Everth Cabrera: Who? Let's unearth Everth. He's a shortstop for the Padres, which doesn't exactly help him become a household name. This is his second season. He played in 103 games for the Padres last year and came in just below league average in OPS+ (98). It looks like he has good plate awareness with 46 walks in 103 games. He has little power but did hit 8 triples and stole 25 bases, so he's fast. He was born in Nicaragua and is only 24 years old. He hasn't hit much at all this year but was slowed down by a hamstring injury. He made 23 errors last year which wasn't good and his range at short is just above league average. Never heard of him until recently.
Rusty Ryal: The Fan's baseball skills must be rusty as this guy's name has never passed this writer's consciousness. Who the heck is Rusty Ryal? He is listed as the Diamondbacks' utility player and he's 27 years old from Oklahoma. He's a former 14th round draft pick so he's already beaten some tough odds. This is his second year and 97 plate appearances isn't much of a stat total. But he had a 136 OPS+ last year and a 152 OPS+ this year. So why isn't he playing more? He's played 13 games at second base and isn't very good there. He's played 15 games at first base and is barely tolerable there. And he's played five games in left field and seems to be pretty good there in a super small sample size. He had an .821 OPS in the minors which is so-so. But he hit his share of homers (67 in five seasons). He's hit four homers in the majors which means he'd hit about 16 to 20 full time. At this point, he's a marginal player that has his uses. But at least the Fan knows who he is now.
We'll do this some more from time to time. The feeling here is that if the Fan's curious, you might be too.