Results tagged ‘ Drew Storen ’

Monday aftermath–Nats and Astros

Hope you all caught me at 4:45 “On The Block” with Brent Axe on our new flagship, The Score 1260.  I shared some of these thoughts from the Nats’ 14-9 win today with Brent….

-Bryce Harper’s second double literally quieted his critics.  Harper came up twice in the eighth and doubled to right both times.  Prior to the 1-2 pitch which he mauled in his second at-bat, a few fans seated down the first-base side started a grassroots “overrated” chant.  Not 30 seconds later, Harper’s torpedo clanged into the right-field corner.  The chant stopped.  He’s now 4-for-13 with three RBI for the spring.
-Cole Kimball, outlier.  Five Nats pitchers took the mound today and Kimball was the only one not to surrender a run.  The would-be AAA rookie (and MLB rookie for that matter) flashed good downward movement through the zone and struck three out in two innings.  The only hit he allowed was an infield single for Rick Ankiel-contemporary Brian Bogusevic.
-Danny Espinosa makes the simple look simpler and the difficult look simple.  The Astros hit two ground balls Espinosa’s way in the second inning.  On one, he sprawled, knocked the ball down and zipped an on-target throw Adam LaRoche’s way to retire J.D. Martinez.  The second ball was a bleeder to the left of first-base.  Espinosa casually pursued it nearly directly behind the bag, scooped and bettered catcher Carlos Corporan by a step-and-a-half.  That play didn’t look sensational, but it was likely the sturdier of the two plays.
-Roger Bernadina is bigger, but not slower.  Pictures of Bernadina as he arrived in camp rendered him muscularly-unrecognizable.  The Washington Post reported that he put on more than ten pounds during the offseason.  Today, he bunted on in the first, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch.  He also walked in the second.  We’ll see Nyjer Morgan soon, but Bernadina is 5-for-14 this spring….
-Brian Bixler’s bat.  Last year, he played with three AAA teams.  This year, he’s 5-for-7 in the spring with three doubles, including a bases-clearing, game-tying right-center field double in the 8th today.
Be on the lookout for a quick chat with Drew Storen in our Inside Pitch podcast.  More to come tomorrow.  Follow us @ChiefsRadio on Twitter for updates from Viera, FL.

Questions and Answers–Drew Storen edition

We’re all out of catchy titles, so this new feature to the blog will be called Questions and Answers.  It’s really pretty self-explanatory.

Today’s guest is Drew Storen, the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft.  He’s from Brownsburg, Indiana and went to Stanford for two years before being selected by the Nationals.  
Read on….you’ll see the type of individual (see also “smart” and “analytical”) the Nationals and the Chiefs are represented by.
——————————–

Jason Benetti (Q):  When did you know that life was about to change for you?

Drew Storen (A):  Probably the second after Bud Selig said my name.  It’s never really something I thought about Since then, having all the people call me and all the people who texted me right after I got picked, I kinda realized, “OK, things might be a little different now.”  It changes me as a baseball player, but the big thing for me is to not change as a person.

Q:  So it wasn’t before that?

A:  It got a little crazy I guess at Stanford when we went to the College World Series.  It was a pretty cool experience and I guess my career got put into the spotlight there in my little town.  I was not a big child prodigy, I was never a Tiger Woods-type guy.

Q:  Have you done much self-reflection over the last six months to a year about how to handle something like this or are you sorta taking it in stride?

A:  I’ve kinda always known how to handle it, fortunately.  My dad and mom have been very good to me growing up.  I was around it, so I’ve seen it.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have that kind of support system where I feel like I knew what I was getting into.  I feel like I’ve handled it pretty well and it is tough to have it all soak in.  Even the experience the last couple of days has been kinda crazy.  The Clippers and the Toledo Mud Hens.  Those are teams I used to watch the Indianapolis Indians play.  That’s a little bit different for me.  When I was 10, our hats for our All-Star Team were the Syracuse SkyChiefs.  It worked out because we were Skiles Test, so my dad got us Syracuse SkyChiefs hats.

Q:  What do you throw?

A:  I go four-seam, two-seam fastball.  My two-seam I make like a sinker so when I come into situations where I really need a groundball, I can use that.  Curveball, slider-cutter, pretty much a slider.  I have a changeup I don’t really through too much but I’ll tend to work in once in a while.

Q:  What was the experience like at the College World Series (with Stanford)?

A:  It’s nuts.  It’s different.  It’s essentially a Saturday football game for baseball.  It’s a cool experience because you’re in Omaha in a great city and with the way it’s set up at Rosenblatt for now is you have the stadium, houses and there’s a state fair atmosphere for baseball.  It’s a whole town fired up about college baseball. For us, it was a pretty unbelievable experience all around.

Q:  What was it like playing for Mark Marquess at Stanford?

A:  It was a blast.  I loved it.  He’s a legend.  He runs a tight ship and he knows what he’s doing, what he needs to win and to get the most out of what he brings in there.  I wouldn’t pass it up for anything.  It was great.  I miss being around Stanford but at the same time this is a great opportunity.  I look back with fond memories and still keep in touch with him and I’m really happy to see that they’re doing well this year.

Q:  You cracked half a smile when we were talking about Stanford.  Do you think about Stanford often? 

A:  I’m excited at some point to go back and finish.  It’s not just the baseball.  It’s the whole thing.  It’s the people, the learning.  It’s just a unique experience all around.  A lot of people don’t know there are only 6,000 or so undergads there.  It’s a campus full of extraordinary individuals who are excelling at the top of what they’re doing.  Whether it’s in writing, science or their respective sport.  You have so many Olympians there too.  You meet a lot of cool people.  I lived in the same building as Michelle Wie, so I got to know her a little bit.  It’s one of those experiences I never really expected to have.

Q:  You used the word “extraordinary.”  When did you realize that you fit in there?

A:  <laughing> I guess I feel like I’m kinda tagging along.  I feel fortunate.  I wouldn’t say I’m extraordinary, but I feel fortunate with where I’m at.

Q:  People have written about the fact that you draw and that you’re an avid designer.  Do you still do that during baseball season?

A:  it’s tough.  There’s not a whole lot of time.  A lot of the free time is spent sleeping.  Whenever I do have the free time, I like to do it.  That’s one of the things I’m really excited about going back to school for is ’cause it is something I’m really passionate about and would love to do something where I can combine baseball and design–maybe work for Nike and design cleats or something.

Q:  What have you designed?

A:  One of the last classes I took was a drawing class where we got to design stuff and I actually designed a pair of cleats.  That was probably my best work.  

Q:  What was special about those cleats?

A:  They looked cool.  They’re kinda like the Kobe Bryant basketball shoes from a couple years ago.  They’re different.  They’re kinda clean.   When I played in the field, I was pretty slow, so I was trying to make sure if I was designing a cleat as a fielder, I’d want something that makes me look fast regardless.  I used to rock the Pumas when I played in high school just ’cause I thought they made me look fast.  It’s maybe something I do when I design cleats.

Q:  You used to umpire?

A:  It was my sophomore or junior summers I did that.  It was Babe Ruth.  A pretty recreational league.  I have some pretty solid stories about guys going full wind-up with guys on base, trying to pick somebody off, I call a balk, coaches would come out and argue with me….it was an interesting experience.  It makes you appreciate the umpires behind the plate a little bit.

Q:  What did you do this offseason?

A:  I finished up the fall league right before Thanksgiving, went home, spent Thanksgiving and Christman with the family and kinda relaxed.  After that, I went down to Sabblebrook Resort in Tampa after New Year’s and worked out with other guys from our agency.  I got to work out with Ryan Zimmerman, Maxwell, Clippard.  Ryan Howard and Jeter were down there.  It was a bunch of guys who were big time guys.  It was a great experience to be around those guys and see how hard those guys work.  They’re that good and you see the reason why.

Q:  You’re a Stanford guy, people assume that you’re kind of a dork and read a lot.  Do you?

A:  It’s something I’m starting to get into a little bit more.  I just finished the bullpen gospels.  That was a great book.  A buddy of mine just gave me a list of books that I’m gonna try to order some when I get back.  I listen to audio books when I drive when I make the standard long trips.  With the long bus rides and a lot of down time, instead of fooling around and playing games on my iPhone, I’ve started to read a little bit more.

Q:  Your parents were in town.  What was that like?

A:  It’s cool to have them see where I’m at.  My dad’s only seen a handful of games in person and it was the first game my mom had seen in person.  They listen to all of the games on the radio and they follow it.  It’s great.  It’s cool to be around Indianapolis.  I have a few of my friends coming over tonight from Indianapolis to see me play.  I haven’t been able to experience this being on the far east coast and on the far west in college.  There’s not a lot of times when people from your hometown get to see you play so it’s pretty special.

Q:  If I were in Brownsburg, Indiana for 24 hours, what would I do?

A:  You could go to Wal-Mart.  There’s Pizza King.  It’s a pizza place where they have a train that delivers your drink on a train.

Q:  Honestly?  That actually happened?

A:  Yeah, that was our junior high hang out.  There’s a movie theater in Brownsburg now, so that’s bigtime.  If you’re there in August, you can see the NHRA Drag Race.  If you google Brownsburg, Indiana, that’s one of the coined terms, “The Drag Racing Capital of the World”, I guess…..oh, and sit in traffic.  Maybe in the winter, high school basketball’s good to go to.

Q:  Did you play?

A:  I did.

Q:  Were you good?

A:  I act like I was.  I was a good shooter.  I hung.  I was actually high school teammates with Gordon Hayward from Butler.  I got to play against guys like Eric Gordon. Playing Indiana high school basketball was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

Q:  Gordon (Hayward) is a pretty tough rebounder now.

A:  He was about as tall as me when I was playing with him.  Once I was done, he decided to grow a foot and move on to bigger and better things.  I grew up with him, we lived in the same neighborhood when I moved to Brownsburg.  I was so fired up watching him play in the tournament.

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Stories from above–Getaway Day edition

Good morning from the Buckeye State….

Shortly, we’ll play America’s fastest growing sensation, Rate the IL Hotel!
First, a few notes:
*Drew Storen is officially on the roster today.  He may make his Triple-A debut tonight.  The Chiefs used four relievers in yesterday’s game, so my Spider Sense leads me to believe he’ll throw.  
*Storen was replaced on the Harrisburg roster by Jack Spradlin….sorry to see Jack go.  His last outing showed that he seemed to be on the right track.
*The Chiefs have now played nine one-run games this season, good for 42.8% of their schedule so far.  They’re 5-4 in those games.  
*No word yet on what caused the scoreboard outage late in last night’s game, but it sure looked like somebody in the park popped in the VHS from The Ring.
Alright, that’s enough of that.  Time now for the game of skill, chance and extra towels that’s sweeping the nation…..
Rate the IL Hotel!
And now, here’s your host of Rate the IL Hotel!…..Jason Benetti!
<sparse applause + three guys in pillbox hats and cufflinks booing>
Thanks Don Pardo…..I don’t know how we cobbled together the cash to pay that guy, but I’m glad we did.  You know how the game works…..I’ll give you the pros and cons of the hotel the Chiefs are staying in.  Then, I’ll arbitrarily assign a score to that hotel on a scale of 0 to 50.  There is no appeals process.  But, if you’ve stayed in the hotel and care to lodge (get it, lodge!) a complaint, email jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com and I’ll give it at least a quick glance.
Today’s contestant is:
The Park Inn, Toledo, Ohio!
Pros:  
1) Within walking distance of the ballpark.  Allows for easy access to hotel room if, say, a radio announcer forgets his phone charger in the room.  Also allows for easy access to dinner around the ballpark postgame.
2) Overlooks the water.  A scenic view is a clear point-earner.
3) Housekeeping which, despite guest’s presence in the room until 11:30 AM, still cleans the room.
4) TruTV on the cable channel list.  There’s always something trashy on that network, perfect for 15-second gawking intervals while flipping stations.
Cons:
1) Terrible wireless internet.  Really, truly terrible.  First, the signal is weak on the 11th floor.  So weak that I had to go to the ballpark to do most of my work during the series.  The internet is ubiquitous, people.  It cannot be limp in your hotel.  Your rating will suffer tremendously.  In addition, please don’t require me to sign in to your wireless package daily.  It causes my productivity to decline for three minutes at the exact same time each morning.  And no, I don’t want to try out the Google taskbar.  
2) The pillows are very tiny.  I don’t know how people with larger heads than me don’t wake up and feel like an automobile driving on the dashed lane line.
3) Housekeeping which, despite cleaning the room effectively, does not leave the guest another shampoo.  Thank goodness I had that extra body lotion, though.  Thanks for leaving that for me.  ‘Cause people meet me and say, “I bet that guy uses a lot of body lotion.”  Happens all the time.
4) This one’s important.  And I know some of our players and staff read this blog.  I want to know if housekeeping left anyone else a creepy yellow rubber ducky on the side of the bathtub during this series.  I went into the bathroom this morning and there’s possessed little Daffy staring at me with his sad, empty, blue eyes.  I fully expected him to put a curse on me, ala this guy:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/124875/saturday-night-live-digital-short-the-curse    
Final score:  12.
Thanks for playing, Park Inn!  For playing today, you’ll receive a copy of our home game.  Retrieve it at http://www.ratetheilhotel.com.  Sadly, Park Inn, you’ll never collect your prize…..because the internet inside you is a travesty.
Airtime is 6:30 tonight.  Mike will have an April highlight retrospective.  I’ll have the call starting at 7.
P.S. I appreciate the emails yesterday…..keep ‘em coming and I’ll do a mailbag within the week.  Email at jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com
Jason

Stories from above–Precocious Pitchers edition

Good day from Toledo…..

News item first:  The Nationals have officially announced that Drew Storen, last year’s 10th overall pick in the entry draft, has been promoted to the Chiefs.  If Drew’s ERA were a state, it would be Rhode Island.  He compiled a 0.92 earned run average with Harrisburg and succeeded in all four of his save opportunities.  He struck out 11 and walked just one.  No word on whether Storen will join the team here in Toledo or at our next destination, Columbus.
Other notable things from the past few days:
*Chase Lambin belted his fifth home run of the season last night.  His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.080 would be 31st in all of MLB, just shy of Jim Thome for 30th.  11 of his 22 hits are for extra bases (6 doubles, 5 triples).
*The Chiefs are one of five teams in the IL not to have lost three straight games.  They’ve gone wire-to-wire in first place so far this season.
*The batter’s eye here in Toledo has been giving Chiefs hitters trouble during the series.  It’s a black canvas in center field as you’d expect, but it’s pretty slender.  Lefties say the ball actually comes out of a righty’s hand to the left of the batters eye, in line with a tan granite conference center across Huron Street.  I’ll be posting a picture of the view on Twitter shortly @ChiefsRadio.
*This is the first press box I’ve ever done a game in which has a refrigerator stocked with grape soda.  Dave Chappelle is pleased.
Gametime is 6:30 tonight.  Jeff Mandel starts for the Chiefs in his Triple-A unveiling.  His college coach, 16th-year Baylor skipper Steve Smith, will join us on the On Deck Show.  Mike will have highlights of last night’s win and other tidbits.  Listen live at sportsradio620.com.
I’d love to hear from you.  My email is jasonbenetti@syracusechiefs.com.
From NW Ohio,
Jason

Dukes, Strasburg and Storen – stories of the week

The Washington Nationals released outfielder Elijah Dukes earlier this week after speing three years in the organization.  The Nationals decided that Dukes who struggled this spring would not be in their plans for the future and gave him his unconditional release.

That opens up the rightfield spot for a number of players who are still in camp:  Speedy slap hitters Roger Bernadina and Willy Taveras add more speed and defense, while prospect Justin Maxwell can provide excellent defense, speed and has more power.

Veterans Kevin Mench and Chris Duncan also have played well and former Chief Mike Morse has impressed Nats brass with his bat as well this spring.

Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen both were optioned to AA-Harrisburg on Saturday and will begin the 2010 season with the Senators.  Both pitchers were impressive in spring training after being drafted number #1 and number #10 in last season June draft.  Strasburg out of San Diego State and Storen from Stanford.

Nationals also optioned lefthanded pitchers Matt Chico and Doug Slaten and catcher Jamie Burke to Syracuse today in another round of cuts.  The Nationals currently have 39 players in camp.

 

 

Spring Training Bracketology – Pitching

With two weeks gone in spring training 2010 the Washington Nationals roster is beginning to take shape.  In the spirit of the NCAA field of 65 announcement today we thought we would look at where the Nationals might be with their major league and minor league pitching staffs at this point.

Major League starting rotation:  John Lannan and Jason Marquis are locks, while Scott Olsen should be penciled in as the third starter.  Craig Stammen coming off late season surgery is good enough for the fourth spot with veterans Livian Hernandez and Miguel Batista are fighting for the 5th spot – that won’t be needed until April 19th due to off days.

Major League bullpen:  Matt Capps and Brian Bruney are the back end, while Tyler Clippard and lefty Sean Burnett will pitch early.  That leaves Jason Bergmann, who is out of options, and Tyler Walker, who has been hit hard to date to fill out the staff.    Batista could be used as well early of if he doesn’t make the rotation.  Lefty Ron Villone, a non-roster player and now 41 years old would give them a second lefty out of the pen but right now is the 13 pitcher on a 12 or 11 man staff. 

AAA-Syracuse Staff:  A good deal of this staff depends on the health and decisions made with Olsen, Batista and Hernandez, but the Chiefs appear loaded no matter what happens.

J.D. Martin, Garrett Mock, Shairon Martis, veteran lefties Matt Chico, Chuck James, Andrew Kown, Collin Balester, Luis Atilano and Aaron Thompson give the team a wealth of depth to choose from.  In addtion, where does Stephen Strasburg begin his baseball career?

Bullpen includes:  Six lefthanded pitchers are competing for two maybe three spots and include Doug Slaten, Victor Garate, Jesse English – all picked up in the off season, while Nationals prospects Attie Severino, Yunior Novoa and Jack Spradlin return.

From the righthanded side of the bullpen the guy drafted after Stephen Strasburg – Drew Storen has been fantastic in spring training and could begin the season in Washington, but most likley will start in Syracuse with veterans Logan Kensing, Ryan Speier, Joel Peralta, Rafael Martin and Nationals prospect Josh Wilkie giving the Chiefs quality to choose from.  The Nats could even move Collin Balester or Luis Atilano to the bullpen – similar to the last seasons experiment with Tyler Clippard that payed off nicely.

That’s 22 names for 12 roster spots – pitching in 2010 looks very strong.

And we haven’t even talked about these guys……

Jeff Mandel 12-6   3.38 ERA – AA/A last season

Eric Arnesen 12-7   3.52 ERA AA/A last season

Brad Meyers  11-3  1.72 ERA AA/A last season

Marcos Frias  9-5  2.91 ERA Single A last season

AJ Morris  0-4  3.38  ERA in Single A last season

Tom Millone  12-5  2.91 ERA in Single A last season

Willie Atwood  8-8  4.61 ERA in Single A last season

These pitchers will likely play in AA this season and earn AAA promotions at some point during the 2010 season.

Pitching is strong in this organization and it’s all coming very fast through Central New York this summer.

Stories From Above–Kissimmee edition

Remember those commercials from the early ’90s that tried to coerce you to stay outside of Disney World if you went?  The ones with the targets that illustrated how close Kissimmee/St. Cloud is to Orlando.  I didn’t see a Magic Kingdom nearby.  Lots of pawn shops, roadside motels and IHOPs, though.

The Nationals were the visitors of the Astros today at Osceola County Stadium.  And, well, they led.  Big.  5-1 in the sixth.  And lost 8-7.

Good news:

1) Matt Chico allowed five earned runs in one inning.  The rest of the staff (Olsen, Storen, Capps, Atilano and Burnett) surrendered two runs in seven innings and a third.

2) Justin Maxwell made a heck of a diving catch in right field with the bases loaded in the fifth against Geoff Blum.

3) Drew Storen threw six strikes in his first six pitches.  Looks smooth, folks.  Plus, he’s a really engaging guy.

Bad news:

1) Scott Olsen got one groundout in seven batters faced.  The first two hitters of the game–Jason Burgeois and ex-Tide/Bat Jeff Keppinger–tripled and doubled, respectively.  Burgeois could have made his an in-the-park home run.

2) On the sixth pitch from Storen, Pedro Feliz floated a ball down the first base line.  Chris Duncan was mystified by the 30 mph wind and ended the play on his backside.  It was one of three trips to the deck for Duncan at first today.

3) The bullpen isn’t exactly a SuperMax prison.  Each reliever walked a batter.

So, the Nats have won as many games as you and me.  What that likely means for Syracuse:  A lot of guys on the roster who have legitimate Major-League experience.

Other news:

-Ran into Ian Desmond postgame.  He got married this offseason.  It’s a pandemic.  Everyone’s doing it.  Congrats to Ian.

-Roger Clemens’ son Koby played first base for the Astros today starting in the 8th.  Koby was in Salem with me in 2008.  He’s a brave young man who was willing to talk to all comers that season, a really rough one for his family.

-A little girl sitting four rows behind me took quite a fall mid-game.  A man a few seats down offered to get her some ice.  Very kind.  When he returned, the man told the girl’s father a story about another child he saw fall at a game once.  Very odd.

-Dear Denny’s waitress, A blueberry pancake puppy does not sound appetizing.  It sounds rabid.  Signed, Jason.

Oh, by the way, President George H.W. Bush was here.  Talk about burying the lead, huh?  Secret service agents were all over the third base seats.

26 days until the opener.

Jason

Even Van Gundy was on hand

The first appearance by Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was greeted by over 5000 Florida visitors, Mark Lerner, the team’s principal owner, MASN Television crew that included Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble and former Knicks and Houston Rockets basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy who sat behind home plate with an Orlando Magic hat on.

Strasburg was worth the price of admission, even if it was only two innings and 27 pitches.  He will pitch in the major leagues some day, just what day got closer than a lot of people thought going in.
Nats lost again, and righthanded pitcher Tyler Walker has pitched his way to AAA-Syracuse roster with his second 6-run appearance.  Aaron Thompson tossed two shutout innings of relief and has looked very good in his first two appearances.
Nats hitting came to life in the 8th inning when they scored four runs and had the tying run on deck before Josh Whitesell popped up to centerfield to end the rally.  Nats lost their 7th straight, 9-4.
–Chiefs COO/Vice President Tex Simone was seen talking to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, 3rd base coach Gene Lamont before the game.  Leyland and Lamont were teammates in 1965 with the Tigers when Tex was the team’s trainer.  
–Tex had a busy day when he also ran into another former Tigers and Chiefs catcher John Sullivan who was visiting from western New York where he still resides.
–And the day ended when Tex hit the trifecta when he was seen talking to Braves manager and longtime friend Bobby Cox in the Braves dugout before the Phillies vs Braves game in Orlando.
–Former Chiefs outfielder Jayson Werth hit an opposite field bomb vs the Braves in the 2nd inning.  Werth is sporting an unusual long beard and hair style.
–Two local “graphers” reported that today they were able to secure signatures from Ivan Rodriquez, Drew Storen, Ryan Howard and Braves super prospect Jason Heyward. In the “graphing world”  that’s pretty good.
Last stop on the tour will be at the Braves minor league camp to catch up with former Chief Rocket Wheeler.
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