Notebook

Bullpen hopeful boasts 100-mph heater

Mostly on Jose Capellan. Capellan, as most of you probably know by now, was in A-ball last year but has impressed the Braves with his fastball which reportedly is regularly in the 100 MPH range. He’s 23, but missed the 2002 season and much of last year with elbow surgery. Like occasionally happens, he seems to have picked up a few MPH on the table. The Braves are thinking of him as a reliever for now, but my understanding is that he’s still a starting candidate long-term.

Also: Smoltz is fine, and Julio is still really old.

Outside Braves camp… Damian Moss got really fat last year and now he’s in Tampa. George Lombard is with the Pawtucket Red Sox. Darren Holmes hopes to pitch in 2005. And Steve Avery was seen in Braves camp briefly. Give it up, Steve.

6 thoughts on “Notebook”

  1. The AJC story puts things about Moss in perspective. If I remember correctly, didn’t he also complain (a few years back) that he had circulatory problems in his left shoulder which he attributed to excessive smoking? Maybe Tampa Bay is the place for him…

  2. This very, very, very intersting article was copied from the Sporting News (written by Ken Rosenthal)

    Inside Dish: Braves first baseman can pitch, too
    02/29/2004

    Ken Rosenthal

    —-

    Braves rookie 1B Adam LaRoche could develop into a two-way threat. He
    threw 93 mph as a lefthanded pitcher in junior college, and Atlanta
    might allow him to return to the mound after he is established as a
    regular. “He’s not just a guy with a good arm,” Braves assistant general
    manager Frank Wren says. “He’s a guy with good pitching ability.” LaRoche,
    24, longs to pitch again, saying, “Every year, I miss it more and more.”
    . . .
    Former A’s manager Art Howe and pitching coach Rick Peterson predict a
    monster season for former Oakland SS Miguel Tejada in Baltimore. Tejada
    hits with power to all fields, and Camden Yards’ 364-foot distance to
    left center is inviting to righthanded hitters. Howe says Tejada also is
    capable of hitting home runs over the 25-foot wall in right field,
    which is 318 feet down the line. . . .
    After dipping to a .284 average and 79 RBIs last season, Rockies RF
    Larry Walker, 37, appears primed for a comeback–and not simply because he
    has lost 30 pounds. “Mentally, he’s come a long way,” one club official
    says. “He’s happier, more focused. This is the hardest he has ever
    worked.” . . .
    Angels Class AA RHP Ervin Santana is generating the same type of buzz
    among team officials that RHP Francisco Rodriguez did two years ago.
    Santana, 21, has a cleaner delivery than Rodriguez and a more varied
    repertoire because he’s a starting pitcher. Santana has averaged nearly a
    strikeout per inning in three minor league seasons. One problem, though:
    He was set back two weeks this spring because of shoulder tightness. .
    . .
    The Astros ranked fourth in the N.L. in runs last season, but their
    offense was boom or bust. With runners in scoring position, the Astros
    were only eighth in on-base percentage and 10th in slugging. This has some
    in the organization concerned. . . .
    Lou Piniella ranks the Devil Rays’ bench among the best he has managed
    — and he won the World Series with the 1990 Reds and 116 games with
    the 2001 Mariners. The projected Rays’ bench includes 1B Robert Fick,
    IF/OF Eduardo Perez, SS Deivi Cruz, C Brook Fordyce and either 3B Geoff
    Blum or 3B Damian Rolls. . . .
    Yankees LHP Gabe White pitched for Reds manager Dave Miley in the
    Cincinnati organization and dismisses concerns that Miley is too cozy with
    players. “Looking from the outside, you can definitely perceive him as
    not being able to address a problem in a very stern way,” White says.
    “But I’ve seen him in action firsthand. When you need it, he’ll kick you
    in the butt.” . . .
    Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon loves his team’s impressive array of
    pitching prospects. McClendon compares RHP John VanBenschoten to Bret
    Saberhagen and RHP Ian Snell to Tom “Flash” Gordon, and scouts mention
    Kirk Rueter and Jimmy Key when talking about LHP Sean Burnett. The Pirates
    also are deep in lefthanded relief prospects and could attach a young
    pitcher to a veteran such as RF Raul Mondesi to acquire a young position
    player near the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. . . .
    Of all the positive feedback Tigers LHP Mike Maroth received for
    persevering through his 21-loss 2003 season, perhaps his fondest memory is a
    letter he received from Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer when Maroth was
    0-7. “He talked about how he struggled at certain points of his
    career,” Maroth says. “That was touching for me.” . . .
    RHP John Smoltz isn’t the only Braves reliever who wants to start. RHP
    Jaret Wright shares that sentiment, but he might better serve the team
    as a setup man — especially if RHP Paul Byrd continues his
    surprisingly rapid recovery from elbow surgery and returns in May rather than
    July. Byrd, however, is trying to remain cautious while club officials rave
    about his progress. “They’re just excited that my arm isn’t falling off
    when I turn it up,” he says. . . .
    Astros RHP Dave Veres, coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery, says
    his injury-marred 2003 season with the Cubs was “miserable . . . the
    worst year of my career.” Veres needs to
    build arm strength and looks stiff delivering the ball, but could prove
    a huge asset if healthy. The Astros’ bullpen in front of closer Octavio
    Dotel remains the team’s biggest question. . . .
    Tigers RF Bobby Higginson says this is the healthiest he has been since
    early 2001, and he doesn’t seem concerned that the team might play
    Craig Monroe, a righthanded hitter, against lefties. “If I’m healthy and do
    the things I’m capable of doing, I’m going to be in there pretty much
    every day,” Higginson says. “Every now and then, a day off isn’t a bad
    thing, anyway. I’m 33 years old. I’ve had problems with my legs. Craig
    is definitely a major league player, somebody who should be starting
    somewhere.” Monroe batted .293 with 14 homers and in 157 at-bats against
    lefties last season, Higginson batted .227 with three homers in 154
    at-bats. . . .
    In the Mets’ perfect world, RHP Scott Erickson will regain his power
    sinker and win
    the seven-man competition for their fifth starter’s job. If none of the
    candidates proves worthy, the team simply might rotate pitchers like
    Aaron Heilman, Tyler Yates and Grant Roberts in the fifth spot. . . .
    One scout says Yankees RHP Jorge DePaula can be serviceable as a
    replacement starter, but adds that the team’s minor league pitching depth is
    so thin, “beyond him it gets dicey.” DePaula, 6-1 and 160 pounds, is
    built like Mariano Rivera, and posted a 0.79 ERA in four appearances last
    season. “He has average stuff across the board,” the scout says. “But
    his slider at times is really quick.”

  3. That’s a cute little story about LaRoche, but there hasn’t been a two-way player in the majors since Willie Smith in the mid 1960s. There have certainly been guys with the ability: John Olerud, Dennis Cook and Darren Dreifort were all great two-way players in college just to name a few … but major-league organizations usually don’t like to risk fatigue injuries with multi-million-dollar investments …

  4. Of course I forgot about Brooks Kieschnick, but he only tried both ways after he’d failed to hang on in the majors several times. LaRoche is being handed a major-league job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *