A Juicy, Jurassic, Jay, and Just Plain Lucky Quartetby John Brattain
December 22, 2006
Well dang it, I've got a soapbox I'd like to get on but there are two problems: one David Samson is using it to use the urinal in a Chucky Cheese's bathroom and two, I can't rant long enough on the subject to meet my minimum word requirement. So, to the fallback!
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Born: June 25, 1972 Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Height: 6'3" Weight: 206 lbs.
Bats: left Throws: right
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, 10/88
Will: tear apart pitching
Can't: rule out repeat of '92
Expect: search for position
Don't Expect: an above-average catcher
Delgado quite simply is one of the most eagerly awaited prospects in the game. If he can bring to the majors even a taste of what he has accomplished in the minors, the ball will be flying out of SkyDome very soon. Delgado assembled a monster season in 1992, hitting 30 home runs in the Class-A Florida State League. He won the league MVP Award, and was named Minor League Player of the Year by USA TODAY Baseball Weekly. Moving up a rung in 1993, he battered the pitchers at Knoxville of the Southern League, and was named to the Double-A All-Star Game. He was named the No.2 prospect in the loop by Baseball America. This record, combined with the fact that he's a lefty swinger, makes the Blue Jays drool just to think of it. However, Delgado has never received many bouquets for his glove. The temptation is to say that his bat will make up for shortcomings on defense, but in the majors that's not good enough. Toronto's handling of the situation is eagerly awaited, too.
Not much to complain about here, eh? He wasn’t an above-average catcher; they tried him at catcher, then left field and he finally settled in at first base. Tear apart pitching? He’ll be 35 in June and has amassed 407 home runs and an OPS+ of 142 over 6,053 at-bats. If he stays healthy and continues to hit at a high level, the 500-home run mark is not out of the question. He also has eight 100-RBI campaigns on his résumé. According to the good folks at Baseball Reference (Sean Forman deserves a freakin’ medal for all his hard work):
Black Ink: Batting - 8 (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 115 (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 38.0 (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 100.5 (Likely HOFer > 100)
He’s got a definite shot at the Hall of Fame, but he’ll need 500 home runs in this era before they’ll take a serious look at him. I’m hoping he’ll mash until he’s 42 and earn a plaque.
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Born: May 3, 1972 Wichita, Kansas
Height: 6'2" Weight: 205 lbs.
Bats: right Throws: right
Acquired: First-round pick in 6/93 free-agent draft
Will: work out of bullpen
Can't: use potent bat
Expect: plus fastball and slider
Don't Expect: a head turned by fame
When the Seattle Mariners opened the 1993 draft by taking shortstop Alex Rodriguez, little doubt existed over who would be the second overall choice. Consensus viewed Dreifort as the best college player, and the Dodgers agreed with that opinion and took him. Out of Wichita State, Dreifort starred with his bat as well as with his arm by serving as designated hitter, but the Dodgers will be using him only to pitch. He throws a fastball in the 90s along with an effective slider, and figures to work out of the bullpen, as he did with the Shockers. At Wichita State, Dreifort had his problems early in 1993, and his ERA reached 4.71 at one point. But he finished strong, was selected pitcher of the year in the Missouri Valley Conference, and was named most valuable player in the Atlantic Regional in leading Wichita State into the College World Series. Dreifort was also named the Golden Spikes winner as the nation's finest amateur player. He also played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1992, and thus brings lots of experience. The Dodgers could be tempted to bring him right to the major-league level in 1994, perhaps making him the L.A. closer, though he probably will start in the minors somewhere.
Lefty Gomez once said that he'd rather be lucky than good. Darren Dreifort was the consolation prize for the club that couldn't draft Alex Rodriguez. He pitched 872.2 major league innings, posted an ERA+ of 95 and earned $63,882,000 for his troubles. What smart alecky thing can I possibly say that would do that justice? It's like a date with Paris Hilton: it cost a ton of money, you got what you wanted, you found it profoundly unsatisfying and you spend the rest of your life wondering just what the heck possessed you while denying that it ever happened in the first place.
Team: Florida Marlins
Born: June 3, 1970 Tampa, FL
Height: 6' Weight: 190 lbs.
Bats: both Throws: right
Acquired: Second-round pick from Yankees in expansion draft
Will: tab throw runners out
Can't: bring Cal League with him
Don't Expect: patient hitter
You would think that a speed player like Everett would score a lot more runs than he'd drive in. That was not the case for stretches of 1993, as he showed some ability as a power hitter in addition to posing a threat on the bases. Playing for High Desert of the Class-A California League, Everett provided his share of thump from the leadoff spot. He hit a two-out, two-run homer to beat Modesto in the first game of a May 26 doubleheader. He led off the second game with another homer. To get that power, Everett seemed to be sacrificing a lot of chances to get on base. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was poor, which helps explain why his runs scored total wasn't up to par. Despite these questions about his offensive game, Everett, whose nickname is "Poochy," can help a team in a variety of ways. He remains an excellent flychaser with a very strong arm. He was promoted to Triple-A, where he got off to a strong start.
Everett was once a Yankee. His nickname was "Poochy." Oh my. What could've been. I'd say they pegged him pretty well. Although he's not a patient hitter, in light of his .271 BA his career .341 OBP isn't awful. During his six-year peak from 1998 to 2003 he had an OBP of .361 and averaged 22 home runs per season. However during that peak he played for four different clubs (nine overall not including the Yankees). In a few years he'll be referred to as colorful—sort of a bi-polar version of Albert Belle.
Position: Third base
Team: Oakland Athletics
Born: Jan. 8, 1971 West Covina, CA
Height: 6'2" Weight: 200 lbs.
Bats: left Throws: right
Acquired: Second-round pick in 6/92 free agent draft
Will: play infield corners
Can't: steal bases
Expect: lots of desire
Don't: Expect him to quit
Giambi played for the U.S. Olympic team in Barcelona in 1992 and batted .308 with a double, triple, and an RBI there. Not too bad for a player who had been cut after the trials, and then brought back. Now perhaps that resiliency can help this hard-hitting infielder reach the majors. Giambi attended Long Beach State, where he hit .399 with nine homers and 119 RBI. He also delivered a .340 average with five homers on the 1991 Pan Am squad. After being drafted, Giambi signed and was headed for Oakland's minor-league camp when he was called back to the Olympic squad. He was used at first base with Team USA, even though he had played third at Long Beach State. The A's have him back at third, and he turned in a productive season with Class-A Modesto in 1993. He played third and went 1-for-4 in the California League All-Star Game, and in general impressed with his bat. He was named the No. 9 prospect in the Cal League by Baseball America. Figure on Giambi to add the majors to his fine baseball resume.
Will: play infield corners...will stand on infield corner wearing a glove.
Can't: steal bases...way to go out on a limb. Bet you also predicted Rey Ordonez can't slug 50 home runs.
Expect: lots of desire...Read: I've got writer's block and I've never seen him play--any suggestions boss?
Don't: Expect him to quit...in case you missed this the first time I said it but I'm using different words so you won't think I'm repeating myself.
Geez if I could write this much without really saying anything I could double my output. To the writer's credit, he did predict the major leagues for a guy who had just 350 minor league at-bats at that point in time.
Stay safe over the holiday season. Please don't drink and drive. You're my only reader and I'd hate to lose you.
Our good friend, and THT stalwart, John Brattain passed away on March 24, 2009. John was a prolific writer, whose work can also be read at Sympatico/MSN Sports and Baseball Digest Daily. John's work was also featured at USA Today, MLBtalk, ESPN Insider, Baseball Prospectus, The Baseball Analysts and The Baseball Journals. Never afraid to express himself in any medium, he was also a frequent radio speaker.