Good morning from sunny, not-as-chilly-as-yesterday NBT Bank Stadium, where the Chiefs and Columbus Clippers will begin a four-game series at 7:00. Starting today at the blog, we’ll be alternating posters for our daily “Stuff You’ll Like” routine…you’ll get opinions on who likes what from both Jason and I as well as our two interns, Jonny and Gabe.
Here’s what’s on tap for today…
- A recap of yesterday’s Chiefs game from Bud Poliquin.
- Grantland’s Jonah Keri looks at the underdog Yankees, among others, in his weekly power rankings.
- The greatest YouTube video you’ll see all day – a cover of “Space Oddity”…in space.
- Bill Hader prepares to say goodbye to SNL.
- The trailer of Season 4 of Arrested Development…no touching!
- Song of the Day: Boston’s “Peace of Mind”, for reasons that have nothing to do with the Bruins. (I just can’t stop humming it.)
- And finally, today’s Chief of the Day goes to former Chiefs starting pitcher A.J. Burnett! Some fun facts about Mr. Burnett…
- He pitched in one game for the Chiefs in both 2006 and 2007, giving up one earned run in 10 innings. Greatest Chief ever? Greatest Chief ever.
- He currently leads the National League in strikeouts with 72. At age 36.
- Dan Patrick recently mistook him for Bronson Arroyo. Oops.
Hope to have you join us tonight at 6:45 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network. Ross Ohlendorf takes the hill for Syracuse against the Clippers’ Joe Martinez. See you then.
The calendar has turned to 2013 and it’s time for the game where you can dial zero for a wake-up call 24 hours a day….
(Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel!
And now, here’s your host……the man whose television always defaults to hotel information…..
Well thank you Johnny Gilbert and thank all of you for coming along for (Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel! We’ve been renewed for a fourth season and we’re pleased as spiked punch. We’re so excited to tell you about the hotels the Syracuse Chiefs stay at, we’ve created a new rating system. That’ll be unveiled after this review of the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside!
1) Club at the top of the hotel
After much key-card issuing (see con #3), the Chiefs broadcast contingent end up on the 10th floor of the Sheraton, as high as one can be at the hotel. It’s easy to be snooty when you’ve got to put your room key into a reader in the elevator to get to your floor.
The hotel is next to some pretty awesome naval ships.
Comfortable sleeping. Cushy beds, perfect pillows.
1) Wireless irritation
The Sheraton Waterside, like most hotels which think everything is getting comped, charges for internet. 10 bucks a day. This isn’t necessarily convenient, but it’s alright. Everything has a cost. So, I’m happy to fill in my room number and last name (355, Mandel is what I usually go with) to get the show on the road. There was, however, a major issue with the internet access at the Sheraton. Every two or three hours on average, I was asked to put my information in again. That led me to believe the bill for the room would look something like this:
Internet, one night: 9.95
Internet, one night: 9.95
Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95 Internet, one night: 9.95
Not only does that get irritating–I will never forget room 1019/Benetti for the rest of my life–but it gets expensive, too. The good news is, the internet was free because we were on the 10th floor.
2) Outlet maul
As a “business traveler”–defined as someone who is not in the city because he or she wants to be, but because instead he or she wants the employment which forces him or her to be–I have few needs. One is a suitable bed. Another is a shower. All rooms come equipped with these (unless you’re staying at the Days Inn in Dumfries, Virginia where, in my experience, you typically share the bed with a family of bugs who are interested in coming home with you, despite your use of the shower.). The third necessity is a power outlet or two. Even before a carpet, a dresser, an ottoman and assorted paintings and mirrors (which all rooms have, too), I need something where I may plug in my devices. They are essential now. Figure it out. The Sheraton had two outlets in the main room. They were next to each other in an odd pull-out segment on top of the desk (which, by the way, is useless unless you have something you’re working on which is set on the desk. Say, a computer.). I plugged my phone into a socket in the bathroom. Also, while I was still Lewis Black-seething about this, I walked into the hallway and saw an outlet. Yes, CFOs at the Sheraton, do not fear! The corridors at the Sheraton Waterside are perfect for your computing needs!
3) Room with a view….of others
Jeff Allred, the Chiefs’ trainer manages bumps, bruises, fractures, concussions and all things medical. Bet you didn’t know that he’s also in charge of letting the hotel know who is staying with whom on the road. This happens through a magical document called the Rooming List. Typically, the hotel gets the first List a few days prior to the team’s arrival. This allows management to get rooms ready and keys made for the team so the process of getting players into beds is smooth. It also helps night-shift workers who are generally alone behind the counter when the team gets there (we showed up at the Sheraton at 2 A.M. Wednesday). The only caveat is: the Rooming List changes when players are called up, sent down, released or otherwise. So, it’s a near-constant shuffle for the hotel folks to clear up room changes. The Sheraton played 52-pickup.
Kevin and I picked up our room key which sent us to the ninth floor. We opened the door to find one bed. Not exactly what we were hoping for, especially considering the rooming list indicating we required two. So, I went back to the front desk. The gentleman there handed me a key to a different room. Went there, opened the door…..to find…..Erik Davis and Ryan Perry getting ready to go to sleep! Four to a room! Nope. Back to the front desk. The attendant believed he had isolated which room was empty. He called a double room on the same floor and got no answer. Back upstairs…..key in door…..opened to a TV on……and Danny Rosenbaum! “So that’s who just called the room,” says a bleary-eyed Triple-A rookie who just wants some shut-eye after a nine-hour bus ride. Losing my patience, I ride downstairs one more time. The gentleman behind the desk says, “Again?” I say, “Yes.” He then says he’s going to call more rooms to see which one is unoccupied. I let him know that I’m not in the market for a game of room roulette with sleepy infielders. I ask him what the true best way to go about this is. He says, stonefaced, “Roulette.” He then begins to call rooms. I stop him and ask him to re-evaluate this plan, as it will result in players who are less-than-thrilled with me. After some discussion, he agrees and finds a top-floor room in his system which was previously reserved for a crew from the airlines who never made it in that night (just their luck). Worst part of the scenario: The guy’s insistence that someone else had made the mistake. Don’t blame your absent co-workers. Bad form.
Two complimentary shampoos out of ten.
Stay tuned later this week for another edition of (Fourth) Rate the IL Hotel!
All season, teams will come to NBT Bank Stadium to stand against the Syracuse Chiefs. They will don jerseys emblazoned with animals….they will wield baseball bats of ash and maple….and they will attempt to make periodic contact with a pentagonal white object that they refer to as “home.”
They all have secrets. And those secrets are found in…..
The IL Files
Team: Durham Bulls
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Mascot: Wool E. Bull (The E stands for education)
Joined the IL: 1998.
How?: The Bulls were a Triple-A expansion franchise when the Devil Rays were added to Major League Baseball
A.K.A.: From 1902 through 1967, the team was called the Durham Bulls. In 1968, the name changed to the Raleigh-Durham Mets. The next year, it became the Raleigh-Durham Phillies. That worked so well, the name changed again in 1970 to the Raleigh-Durham Triangles (their logo was not a yield sign). Then, Bull Man beat Triangle Man for good and the team became the Bulls for good in ’81.
Other Leagues: Durham played in the Class D North Carolina State League from 1913 to 1917. The team transitioned to the Piedmont League from 1920 until 1943. After not playing in ’44, the team joined the Carolina League in ’45 until its run ended in ’97.
Notable managers: 1956–Jonny Pesky, for whom the right-field foul pole at Fenway Park is named. 1989-91–Grady Little, at whom hateful names were screamed from every spot in Fenway Park. 1928-1932–George “Possum” Whitted, who wasn’t lying in the weeds when his team won the league title in 1930.
Notable players: Bob Boone–Hit .300 in 80 games with the Raleigh-Durham Phillies in 1969 while playing third base (like his son Aaron, who may have caused one of those Grady Little epithets). Joe Morgan–The only Durham player in the Major-League Hall of Fame. Ron Gant–Led the Carolina League with 20 homers in 1986 before making his Major-League debut in 1987 with the Braves, where he played on back-to-back World Series teams.
Record holders: Woody Fair had 161 RBIs in 1946, the most ever for a Durham player. Johnny Vander Meer, the only player to throw back-to-back MLB no-hitters, struck out 295 for Durham in 1936.
Back-of-the-file: In 1922, to win their first-ever championship, the Bulls beat the High Point Furniture Makers for the Piedmont League title….the Bulls host the ACC Baseball Championship this year from May 22-26…this is the only blog post in history that does mention the movie “Bull Durham” when talking about the team….alphabetically, the last player to play for the Bulls is Andy Zwirchitz…
That’s right, ladies, gentlemen, children and canines: it’s the return of the greatest blog segment in history that rhymes with “Muff Tool Pike”: Stuff You’ll Like! For those unfamiliar – and, frankly, for those familiar – this is our daily blog post where Jason and I post links we hope you will find interesting. We certainly like them – and we believe you will as well. (Hence the title.) On tap today…
- The syracuse.com game story from yesterday’s Danny Rosenbaum-pitched Chiefs win.
- What did Dan Haren change from his last poor start to yesterday’s good one?
- The New York Times profiles oft-maligned but commercially successful director Michael Bay.
- Brian Phillips’ astonishing long-form piece on the Iditarod for Grantland.
- ICYMI: The Boston Globe sat down for a harrowing read with the man who was carjacked last week by the Tsarnaev brothers.
- Song Of The Day: Oasis’ sprawling, seven-minute epic ”Champagne Supernova”.
Hope to see you and your pooch out at the park today for Dog Lovers Day sponsored by Romano Auto Dealership as the Chiefs play Durham at 2:00. Our pregame show on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network kicks off at 1:45.
It’s time once again for the game which always has perfect water pressure……
(Third) Rate the IL Hotel!!!
And now your host who never disturbs…..Jason Benetti!
Well hello everyone and welcome once again to (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. If you’re thinking, “I thought (Third) Rate the IL Hotel was last season,” you’re right. Our new season will debut in about two weeks. But, because the Chiefs didn’t travel to Scranton last season, we bring you our cliffhanger finale right now.
In case you just joined us, here are the rules to (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. We give you three positives and three negatives of the most recent hotel the Syracuse Chiefs have stayed in. Then, we assign a score between 1 and 100. That score can be redeemed for a travel-size deodorant at the front desk.
So, without further ado, we unveil the final edition of (Third) Rate the IL Hotel. Today’s hotel: The Radisson Lackawanna Station in Scranton, PA!
1) Chug-a-chug-a. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team in the International League has been called three nicknames in eight years. Much to the delight of former P.A. announcer John Davies, they were the Red Barons in 2006. With new ownership in 2007, they became the Yankees. Now, residing in a new ballpark at the same site, the Scranton nine is called the RailRiders. This name harkens back to a rich history of early transportation and coal mining in the area. Though the new mascot doesn’t exactly shriek New Haven Railroad–it’s a purple porcupine–the team hotel does the trick. The Chiefs stay at the Radisson Lackawanna Station which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a former train station. It stopped being one in 1970 and has since become a hotel. This is fitting, what with the RailRiders and Chiefs both sporting loco-motifs. Each team has used the slogan “All Aboard” in the last three years. Maybe the Radisson has taken it too far….
2) Be married.
As I waited for the shuttle to the ballpark on Saturday, I chatted with Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Brett Henry. As we talked, two separate people asked Brett to move aside so they could squeeze by with a stack of chairs. The chairs were on their way to the central lobby within the station where, I imagine, people used to wait for the 6:15 to Elmira. I like a place that’s a wedding hot spot. The people that stay in the hotel for a wedding generally fall into three categories:
A) Nervous and neurotic
C) Overemotional and ready to burst
Two of those three sets of people are great fun to deal with as a stranger. And, it’s easy to tell who falls into the first category. The nervous and neurotic folks generally have as good of a poker face as Dr. Orin Scrivelo.
3) Eat & drink.
The restaurant in the hotel lobby has tremendous food. Reasonably-priced breakfast–$7 for a sizable portion of french toast with a hint of orange in the batter–and a wide-ranging lunch buffet are great perks. In addition, there’s a water jug near the main desk filled with icy, fruit-flavored water. Always a welcome addition.
1) Lake Eerie. An old train station, you say? Sounds like it could be haunted, Jason. You’re right, dear reader. The Radisson seems to have strange things happen inside of it. Here are a few examples:
“The player told us that one night around midnight three of his teammates were walking down the hallway on the 6th floor and encountered a ghost who last leaning over a railing. The railing overlooked the dinning room that was located six floors below. The three players stopped dead in their tracks and claim the ghost told them he was killed in a car accident. As he was talking to them, his head spun around 360 degrees. “
–Scott McCauley, former Indianapolis announcer.
“Recently, Lehigh Valley slugger Terry Tiffee felt the wrath of the haunted hotel. Tiffee was staying in room 420 and heard a knock at the door. Reportedly, he answered the door and an African American gentleman in a tuxedo, claiming to be a bellman asked if everything was OK. Tiffee thought it was a strange visit, so he called the front desk to ask about his visitor. The girl at the desk told Tiffee that the hotel employed no such person. Tiffee was sufficiently spooked to pack his bags and move across the street to the Hilton, paying the $200 per night tab himself.”
–Steve Hyder, former Pawtucket and Syracuse announcer
“Pretty soon, half of the team is joining in on stories about how a CF from another team (don’t know the name of course) swore he saw a ghost in his room or how a coach woke up in the middle of the night to his TV being turned off and pushed back into it’s standup dresser. For every guy on the team, there were 2-3 stories to be told per person and although the details seemed to be a little vague and no one knew names it was enough to get the blood going, and we still had 3 more nights in the hotel. For three straight days people came to the field, some a little more sleep-deprived than others, asking if anything happened to a teammate that night and anxious to hear another story.“
–Ryan Tatusko, current Chiefs pitcher
This season, Chiefs manager Tony Beasley told me he went to sleep with the TV on and woke up with it off. He didn’t activate a sleep timer.
I’ve never experienced the paranormal myself. Then again, it’s tough to feel anything when you go to sleep blasting Metallica in your headphones while curled in a ball in the bathtub.
2) Losing in the Sky.
Nah. Close, though.
3 Sized up.
I’d like to see the blueprints for the Radisson Lackawanna Station. It’s got to look like Q*Bert’s tower.
Some of the rooms could house a rugby tournament. Others couldn’t fit more than three people at a time. Crapshoot.
Had I been abducted by ghosts over the past few years, that score would have skyrocketed.
If that headline doesn’t make you read this blog post, I’m not sure what will. Through five games this season, the Syracuse Chiefs are the most prolific run-scoring team in the Triple-A International League. They’ve scored 42 runs, seven more than second-place Pawtucket.
*The Chiefs are outscoring all but two teams in the Pacific Coast League, the other Triple-A circuit which is known for its thin air, mountaintop ballparks and flying baseballs. The IL scored 8657 runs in 2012, while the PCL plated 11,765 runs. That’s 3108 more runs.
*The Chiefs are one of two International League teams hitting over .300 as a group. Syracuse’s .320 average is second only to tonight’s opponent, Buffalo. The Bisons have a hit in every three at-bats, .333.
*With nine home runs, the Chiefs are second in all of minor-league baseball. The Stockton Ports of the Advanced-A California League have 12. No other team has eight.
*Jeff Kobernus, the Chiefs’ two-hole hitter, has a batting average of .579, fifth-best in all of the minors.
*Jimmy Van Ostrand, who hit from the nine position last night, is tied for ninth in the minors with a .538 average.
*Zach Walters, with four home runs in five games, is third in the minors with 20 total bases this season.
Yes, all of this is through just five games, but the Chiefs offense–in a 4-1 start–has been outstanding.
Catch tonight’s game at 6:05 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network.
By this point in our “Meet The Chiefs” series, you should be as well-versed in the team as me or Jason. (If not more.) Time for the final piece – a look at the four-man outfield.
- International League ranks last season: 1st in runs, 2nd in homers, 2nd in total bases, 2nd in slugging percentage, 2nd in triples.
- Brown set a Syracuse franchise record last season with home runs in five straight games. Three of the four came to lead off the Chiefs’ portion of the game. The last of the five came in his final at-bat, with an eighth-inning blast vs. Columbus.
- Days off were few and far between for Brown last year, as Chiefs manager Tony Beasley wanted him to experience the grind of a full season. All in all, Brown played in a career-high 145 games between Syracuse (126) and Washington.
- Owings is a converted pitcher who’s decided to make a full-time switch to becoming a position player this season. In 205 career major league at-bats, he’s posted a slash line of .283/.310/.502 – so he can certainly do it.
- In fact, Owings won the National League Silver Slugger award – given to the best-hitting pitcher in the league – in 2007. He went 20 for 60 that season with 4 home runs and a crazy OPS of 1.032. (I know it’s a small sample size, but 1.032!!!!!)
- The semi-odd thing about this move – Owings can really pitch. He went 8-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 games for Arizona in 2011. So this isn’t quite a Rick Ankiel thing where a pitcher has trouble actually pitching.
- Speaking of Ankiel, Owings called him in the offseason to ask about the potential move. Before he could get the question out of his mouth, Ankiel told him to make the switch.
- Perez had a patently silly Triple-A debut season. He started his Chiefs tenure on a 19-game hitting streak, then went hitless in three of the next four games, and then started a 17-game hitting streak. He’s still technically on that 17-game hitting streak, having gone up to Washington as a September callup right at the conclusion of Syracuse’s season.
- Before last season, Perez had never played in a game above Single-A. He tore through Harrisburg and Syracuse en route to that callup, playing in 13 games with the Nationals – mainly as a pinch-runner. (He stole a combined 54 bases in the system last year.)
- Perez was part of the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic-winning team this offseason, though he didn’t crack the loaded lineup much.
Jimmy Van Ostrand
- Speaking of the World Baseball Classic…JVO played for Team Canada this year. He’s also represented his country in the Olympics and Pan American Games. Not bad, eh?
- Van Ostrand played for the same team as Roger Clemens last season – the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. He missed Clemens by quite a few months, though, as the Nationals snatched him up in May.
- This’ll be Van Ostrand’s first Triple-A season. He spent parts of each of the last five seasons in Double-A – the first four of which came with Houston.
That’s all for the Chiefs’ Opening Day roster. Tune in tomorrow for Syracuse’s opener – 7:05 against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network or on syracusechiefs.com. See you there.
We haven’t been messing with you the past few days. There is actually baseball coming up in Syracuse. Despite the presence of all that white stuff outside your window. (It’s probably a good thing the season starts on the road this year, no?)
One of the more promising groups in Syracuse this season is the six-man infield…today, we’ll take a look at the lot.
- Costanzo’s a first-year member of the Nationals. He made his big league debut last season for Cincinnati, going 1 for 17, with the hit coming against the Yankees’ Ivan Nova.
- He played for Italy in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics. In fact, Costanzo hit what seemed to be a game-ending home run against Canada in a 14-4 win, before the hit was changed to a ground-rule double. (It would have been a game-ender because of the 10-run mercy rule in the WBC.
- 2007 was quite possibly the strangest year of Costanzo’s life. On November 8, he was traded from the Phillies to the Astros. His Houston career lasted all of one month and five days – on December 13, the ‘stros swapped him to Baltimore.
- Kobernus nearly went to the major leagues this season without ever playing in a Triple-A game. The Tigers selected him in the Rule V Draft, but Kobernus didn’t quite make the final 25-man roster. Just about a week ago, Detroit returned him to the Nationals, and here comes Kobernus to Syracuse.
- Stolen bases the last three years for Kobernus: 21 in 74 games (2010), 53 in 124 games (2011), 42 in 82 games (2012). So that’s fun.
- He’s a second-round pick from 2009 from California who excels with his versatility. He played center field as a freshman, third base as a sophomore and second base as a junior.
- Marrero basically had a lost season in 2012. He rehabbed a torn hamstring throughout the year and touched five different levels of the minor leagues, hitting just three home runs in 53 games – none with Syracuse.
- That’s certainly atypical – Marrero slugged between 14 and 23 home runs every season from 2007 to 2011, including a team-best 14 for Syracuse in ’11.
- His brother Christian plays in the Braves’ system as an outfielder and first baseman. His cousin Deven was Boston’s top pick last year. How’re your family bloodlines?
- Contrary to popular belief, Will is not related to Busta.
- He is, however, a career .289 minor league hitter with 130 games of major league experience under his belt. Those came from 2010 to 2012 with Detroit and Tampa Bay.
- Last season, he suffered a bizarre injury, when he was hit on the forearm with a fastball and subsequently fainted. Rhymes, however, was fine – in fact, he told his trainers he was Batman when they quizzed him upon regaining consciousness.
- At 5’9″, 155, he is the smallest Chief.
- Rivero was in major league camp throughout nearly the entirety of spring training. As a 40-man roster member who’s out of minor league options, the Nationals had to either keep him on the major league team or risk losing him to waivers. But no major league team claimed him when Washington sent him down to Syracuse, and Rivero is now off the 40-man roster.
- He’ll likely be on someone’s 40-man roster soon, though – Rivero led the Chiefs last year with a .303 average, good for fourth in the International League.
- His pre- and post-All-Star lines last season: .288/.318/.372 (before) and .329/.396/.545 (after). Hellooooo, adjustments.
- He has a particular disdain for keeping his hat on, apparently.
- Walters opened quite a few eyes at spring training this season, going 11 for 37 with a pair of home runs and some excellent defense. He also opened his eyes with some footwear.
- Walters came to Washington in 2011 in a straight-up deal with the Diamondbacks for starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis had a 9.53 ERA in three starts for Arizona before getting injured. He’s now with San Diego.
Tomorrow: the outfielders.
Here’s the shortest post in our five-part series previewing the Opening Day roster for the Chiefs. We’ve gone through all 13 pitchers on the preliminary roster…and now it’s time for the guys they’ll be throwing to, Syracuse’s pair of catchers.
- Counting the major and minor leagues, Carlos Maldonado has appeared in at least one game for 15 different teams in his 17-year career. This will be his fourth year with Syracuse.
- Maldonado has become somewhat of a personal catcher for Yunesky Maya. He caught Maya’s first seven starts last year before a brief call-up to Washington, and, when healthy, will be behind the plate for Maya nearly every day.
- Here’s a bizarre split from Maldonado’s statistical line last year: he hit .250/.368/.464 in night games but was just 5 for 45 in the day. All hail the Sun Monster.
- Maldonado was called up to the major leagues for the fourth time in his career last season – but 2012 posted likely the most bizarre set of circumstances. First, Wilson Ramos tore his ACL on May 12. That theoretically put Jhonatan Solano in line for a promotion – but Solano was hurt, meaning the Nats needed to add a player to the 40-man roster. That player was Sandy Leon, promoted straight up from Double-A Harrisburg without ever playing in a Syracuse game. Of course, in Leon’s first career game, he severely sprained his ankle. And on a bus ride to Columbus, Maldonado discovered he was heading back to the major leagues.
- Solano did eventually make that major league debut last season, with a pinch-hit double on May 29 against the Marlins – the same team as his brother, Donovan, who picked him up at the airport.
- In 12 major league games, Solano was terrific – batting 11 for 35 (.314) with two home runs. He went deep against Toronto’s Henderson Alvarez and San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner.
- All in all, though, 2012 was an odd year for Solano. Due to injuries, he played 13 games for Syracuse, 12 for Washington, 11 for Harrisburg and two for the GCL Nationals – a total of just 38. It’s the fewest games he’s played in one season, with the exception of his first professional year in the GCL, where he played 37 of the team’s 54 games.
Tomorrow – a glimpse into the Chiefs’ six-man infield, with a few familiar names.
Before we begin today’s blog post, a Happy Easter to all Chiefs fans celebrating. (Alternatively, Happy Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere to those celebrating a different type of day. Both are certainly acceptable.) We’re continuing our look at the Opening Day Chiefs roster with some facts on Syracuse’s eight relievers – a group that includes five former big leaguers.
- He’s a 27-year-old who’s pitched in 88 games for the Astros in the last three seasons. In his minor league career, he’s been darn near unhittable, pitching to a 2.89 ERA in 209 games, with 540 strikeouts to 80 walks in 516.1 innings. Eye-popping numbers.
- Abad turned heads in camp this spring. He was always a long shot to make the roster, but ended up being one of the last Washington cuts. With an injury or two, he could easily find himself in the Nationals’ pen.
- Davey Johnson compared him to Sandy Koufax in camp. Sort of.
- He’s a former Chief! Granted, it was for five games on a 2008 rehab assignment, but former Chief nonetheless. (That was the last year of the Blue Jays’ reign in Syracuse.)
- Accardo sported a 2.14 ERA and saved 30 games with Toronto in 2007, his best ever season. Those account for 30 of the 38 saves in his major league career.
- He signed with the Giants in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. Two years later, he was in the major leagues.
- Crotta missed all of last season with elbow trouble. But he threw 96 miles per hour at a tryout, impressing the Nationals so much that they gave him a minor league deal.
- He pitched 15 games in the major leagues with the 2011 Pirates. One of those games was against the Nationals, who featured Rick Ankiel, Jerry Hairston, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Cora and Jason Marquis in their lineup. (Two years later, things are a bit different.)
- Crotta allows a ton of hits (792 in 659.1 minor league innings) but is a ground-ball machine – his career GO/AO ratio in the minors stands at 2.31.
- He was a blink-and-you-missed-it Chief last year, throwing in eight games at season’s end to the tune of a 4.15 ERA. Before that, he went 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA at Harrisburg.
- Davis had an impressive spring training, being added to the 40-man roster and throwing in major league camp for the first time. With a good season, it sounds like Davis could be in line for his first major league promotion at some point this season.
- He’s a Stanford graduate, and thus, quite possibly the second-smartest Chief behind Ross Ohlendorf.
- Mandel was 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA as a starter for the Chiefs last season, but he’ll begin the year in the bullpen. Of course, he wasn’t too bad there, either, with a 3.31 ERA in eight games.
- His most memorable game as a Chief came at Gwinnett, with an August 26 complete-game shutout – the first of his career – just one day after John Lannan shut out the Braves.
- His son, Luke, has a Twitter account. (It’s protected: https://twitter.com/Luke_Mandel)
- McCoy’s a Triple-A rookie who was 7-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 50 games for Harrisburg last year.
- After 23 starts in his first three minor league seasons, he’s only pitched out of the bullpen in 129 games over the past three years.
- Don’t be thrown for a loop that McCoy’s in his seventh pro season and still a Triple-A rookie – he’s just 24 years old, since he signed with the Nationals out of high school.
- J.C. Romero, as you probably (don’t) remember, was a Chief for five games in 2011.
- …he was also a Lakewood BlueClaw, Philadelphia Phillie, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee, Colorado Springs Sky Sock and Colorado Rockie…
- …and last year, a St. Louis Cardinal, Norfolk Tide, Columbus Clipper and Baltimore Oriole. He’s got more teams on his resume than Starbucks has New York City locations.
- Romero’s been with the Nationals for all of a week after pitching well for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. He was probably the last cut from major-league camp, with Henry Rodriguez garnering the final bullpen spot.
- 2013 will be Tatusko’s second tour of duty with the Chiefs after spending the entire 2012 season in Harrisburg. He sported a 3.50 ERA and allowed less than a hit per inning last season, so it seems likely we’ll see an improvement on 2011 (5.94 ERA in Harrisburg, 4.54 in Syracuse).
- Tatusko came to the Nationals with teammate Tanner Roark in a midseason 2010 deal that sent shortstop Christian Guzman to Texas.
- He was an avid blogger (http://ryantatusko.wordpress.com/ - not updated since June) and is very good at Words with Friends. I know this, unfortunately, from experience.
Tomorrow: a look at the Nationals’ catchers.
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