Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dear Cincinnati Reds

Concerning Aroldis Chapman:

Some words of advice from Rush

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Nightmare on Peachtree Street: Freddie's Ready!

Watch out, folks; Freddie Freeman and his killer bat is coming to stadiums this September!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Forgotten Faces- Chris Seelbach

In 1992, Topps released the Topps Stadium Club Dome Factory Baseball Set , the design of which mirrored its 1991 debut release. Known for its key Rookie Cards, including Manny Ramirez, Jason Giambi, and Shawn Green, the set also included some pretty cool cards featuring highlights from the 1991 post season. Included in the set was a Braves 1991 Draft Pick by the name of Chris Seelbach. Drafted in the 4th round (#101 overall), Seelbach was a big right-hander out of Texas whose arsenal included a sinker, slider, and curveball with a decent changeup. Baseball America had listed Seelbach as the Braves #8 Prospect in 1993, two spots ahead of a certain Jason Schmidt- but Seelbach would never again make the Braves top ten prospects list . In fact, it would be the beginning of a new millenium before he made his big league debut, when he appeared in two games for the Braves during the 2000 season. Seelbach would get his only major league decision that year, a loss to Montreal on September 9, and would then appear in only one other game that season-again, against the Expos. His final stats for the season would be 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA. The next year, Seelbach would appear in 5 games with the big league club, posting a 7.88 ERA over 8 innings. After that 2001 season, Atlanta gave him his release and he would not play for any other major league organizations again (although, from 1996-1999 Seelbach did play for the Marlins and Mariners organizations). Seelbach would finish his professional baseball career playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League during the 2002 & 2003 season.

Card Pictured: 1992 Topps Stadium Club Dome Set #167
Other Cards: 1992 Upper Deck Minor League Prospects #94

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Broxton Blows and a Major Meltdown

Just when it appeared things couldn't be any worse, the Braves saw their lead shrink by a half-game this evening when Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton couldn't close the deal in the ninth inning against those blasted Philadelphia Phillies. It didn't help that Roland Belisario gave up 4 runs in the eighth without recording an out, but c'mon dude, did you really have to melt down against the Phillies? Now, on this day that Braves Country is reeling from the official word that Chipper's ACL is torn and needs surgery? I guess the Bravos will just have to take care of business themselves and not depend on help from outside the organization.

Things Ain't Chipper in Braves Nation

There's not really much to say concerning Chipper Jones' season ending injury. I really hope that it's not a career ending injury, but I am by nature a pessimist/realist, and I look at a guy his age and with that damage and my default mode is: sorry to see your career end just as it had begun-with a torn ACL. If we have seen the last of Chipper Jones as a baseball player, then all I can say is: thank you for contributing so much to the team, to the fans, to Major League Baseball, and to the city of Atlanta. Living in the northwest, I've only been able to attend two Braves games, both in Atlanta in September of 1993. The first game I attended was on September 14, in which Chipper had his first major league at bat- an infield single. And just as I have previously stated that it was a privilage to be there for Ken Griffey Jr's final MLB at bat, so it was to be there that September evening so many years ago. The Braves will surely miss Chipper's bat and leadership during this stretch run. The bat was coming around the last couple of months, and it's just a shame that what looked like what was going to be a magical season could be so bittersweet.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Major League Debut for Minors


That old axiom of one man’s misfortune is another man’s gain will be on display tomorrow night in Houston as Mike Minor makes his Major League Debut for the Braves, filling in the injured Kris Medlin. Minor, the top left handed pitching prospect in the Braves farm system, was a 2009 first round draft pick (7th overall) –a pick which was panned by many scouts and pundits. I, for one, was thrilled with the pick. Left handed starters are somewhat of an endangered species in the Atlanta organization, and Minor was a very polished kid coming out of Vanderbilt-where he was a teammate of former #1 overall pick David Price. Minor struggled somewhat at Double-A Mississippi this year with an inconsistent curveball and often found himself with poor defense behind him; never the less, he racked up 109 strikeouts in 87 innings. After his recall to AAA Gwinnett, Mike went 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in 33.1 IP, along with a 0.930 WHIP, and a 3.08 SO/BB (37K and 12 BB).

The debut for the lefty got me to thinking of other Major Leaguers with the surname of Minor, and here’s what I found listed at baseballreference.com:

Blas Minor
A sixth round pick of the Pirates in 1988, Blas made his MLB debut on July 28, 1992 against the Cubbies. Pitching the 5th and 6th innings, this Minor gave up 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 0 BB, and 0 K. That outing would be the only major league game Blas pitched in during the ’92 season. He would go on to pitch five more seasons in the majors, his career ending after the 1997 season.

Ryan Minor
Raise your hand if you remember THIS card! The 1998 Bowman card of Ryan Minor was a pretty hot commodity back when it was issued. Minor was a 33rd round pick out of the University of Oklahoma in 1996 by the Orioles, and was the man who was going to replace the Legend, Cal Ripken Jr. In fact, Minor DID replace Ripken at the end of 1998. Well, he is the one who started for Ripken when Cal took himself out of the starting lineup at the end of the season, ending his consecutive games played streak. Collectors and Prospectors were scrambling to pick up the Bowman, Bowman’s Best, and Bowman Chrome cards of Minor after he hit .307 & smoked 24 homers in Class A Sally league in 1997. Ryan made his major league debut against the Angels September 13, 1998, singling in his only at-bat. After his September call-up, where he went 6-14 (.429) in 9 games, there was an even greater interest in his cardboard. It didn’t take long for interest in his cards to wane, though. 1999 found Ryan beginning at AAA Rochester (his first season in AAA), where he hit .256 with 21 HR, 67 RBI, and sported only a .325 OBP. It was enough to warrant a call-up to Baltimore for 46 games, however, in which he hit only .194 in 133 plate appearances, with 3 homers, a .241 OBP, .323 slugging, and 43 strikeouts in only 124 at-bats. 2000 would be even worse for Minor, who in 84 at-bats for the O’s would only hit .131, with 0 homers, 1 extra base hit (a double), .170 OBP, and 20 strikeouts. The Orioles would trade Minor in the 2000 offseason to the Montreal Expos, where he would spend part of the 2001 season.

Damon Minor
Keeping it in the family, Ryan had a twin brother named Damon- who at 6-7 and 230 lbs was just as much a menacing presence as his brother was. Damon, like his brother, went to school at the University of Oklahoma, and was also picked in the 1996 draft (12th round by the Giants). Damon proved himself to be a better hitter than his twin, and displayed more power as well. His success came in the minors, where in 10 seasons he hit 182 homers, while batting .276 with a pretty decent .371 OBP and .869 OPS. While his brother appeared to be the guy who would replace a legend, Damon looked like he would be a legend. Damon’s first shot at major league pitching came with the Giants in 2000, when he made his debut against the Cubbies (just a Blas Minor did!) on September 2. In that debut, Damon struck out in his only at-bat. He would go 0 for his first three, but then hit 3 homers in his next six at-bats, finishing his first season with some eye-popping numbers: 4-9, 3 homers, 6 RBI, and only 1K. Minor spent most of 2001 in the minors, but did manage to get 45 AB’s in San Francisco. 2002 was his only extended stay in the majors, when he hit .237 with 10 homers in 173 at-bats

Hopefully Minor 4.0 will have a much longer and more successful career than the aforementioned Minor's did. He has had 120.1 innings in the minors this year, so I can't imagine him getting many more in Atlanta this season. However, with the inconsistancies of Derek Lowe, and with him not getting any younger, there may be a spot in the rotation next year. Good luck to you in your debut, Mike!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Birthday Cards are Best

As much as I enjoy getting birthday cards from my wife and children, what I really like are birthday Cards from my wife & kids (or anyone else, for that matter). Now, my wife doesn't know the first thing about baseball, or cards for that matter, and she couldn't care less. However, she loves me and was kind enough to buy a few from a wantlist for me from Dean's Cards. She hadn't heard of Mathews or Spahn (two of the three Braves on my wantlist), but she had heard of the Hammer, so this is what she picked up for me...

1958 Topps #380

Not one of my favorite Topps designs, but never the less, a great card of the Home Run King!

1961 Topps #484 MVP

I love the '61 MVPs; another classic of the Hammer! Henry won the MVP award only once in his career, that during the Braves' 1957 World Champion season. He finished in the top 10 for MVP voting twelve other times.

1968 Topps #370 Sporting News' All Stars

Bad Henry appeared in the All-Star game 21 consecutive seasons, 3 less than the record of 24 held by Stan Musial & Willie Mays.

I'm sure my bride will never read this blog, but another thanks to her for the addition to my collection!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oh Sheeet!!!!

That is the edited version of the collective cry from Brave Nation this evening as right hander Kris Medlin suffered an elbow ligament injury. Hopefully the word tomorrow is that he won't need Tommy John surgery. Not only is this a bad break for the Braves, but you've gotta feel for Medlin; the kid has done a wonderful job since coming up last year, being one of the more consistent starters since joining the rotation.

As the season's heading towards the final stretch, what do you think Atlanta will do in the fifth spot? Should Kawakami come back to start (please God-no!), or will they recall stud Mike Minor from AAA? Personally, I would like to see Minor come up; he's a lefty who's nearly ready & has been racking up 9 K's per 9 innings this year. The Bravos do not have a southpaw in the starting rotation, and with Kawakami having pitched only once since his demotion to the bullpen leads me to believe Minor would be their best bet.