I don’t see how he can not make the team, considering how short they are in lefthanded relief. On the other hand, that seems to rule out starting, and like Trey Hodges I think that’s where his future, if any, lies. Also like Hodges, Bong was terrific early in the season; his ERA was as low as 1.10 on May 3. But pretty soon his ERA started to balloon, and like Hodges he pitched less and less. In his case, I’m tempted to see it as caused by a lack of work rather than an injury.
Though a lefty, Bong was used as a traditional long and middle reliever in 2003, not as a LOOGY. However, he showed real signs of LOOGY potential, with 22 strikeouts in only 19 1/3 IP (7 walks) against lefties, compared to just 25 in in 37.2 (with 24 walks) against righties. That’s something to keep in mind, but it’s a small sample size.
The last thing to remember is that Bong’s only been a pitcher since 1998; he was an outfielder in Korea. A lot of his prospect talk has always been based upon potential rather than performance; his minor league numbers are good, but not great. (Okay, he put up a 2.18 ERA in Myrtle Beach in 2000, but who didn’t?) It would be best, in my opinion, to let him conquer Richmond first and then call him up, but the Braves may not have that option.
(Note: According to this site, Jung Bong means “middle staff” in Korean. If that’s not an omen…)
I just wish a couple of these guys would step up their games so the Bullpen could solidify. What made it so good 2 years ago was those contributors like Hammond and Holmes and Remlinger just established themselves ahead of their peers and we could keep coming back to em.
Bong and Hodges in particular look to be good pitchers, but yet both had stretches last year which were abysmal and wouldn’t make me as a manager want to keep running them out there. At least Ray King, if he had a bad outing, you wouldnt neccesarily expect the next one would be bad.
I think Wright and Cunnane seem like they will be solid, but none of these other guys have really proven themselves. I have a lot more faith that either Bong or Hodges (as opposed to Alfonseca) will step up and take a major role this year, but if not it might be a Marquis-type situation where there’s just no room in the rotation and we cant keep waiting for them to develop.
By the way, Mac, thanks for posting all this stuff. It’s been a good way to get back into the Braves mindset.
Great time of year: the NCAA tournament starts on Thursday, and the day after the championship game I’ll settle in for Braves/Mets opening day.
I’ll second that thanks for all these profiles. Very good work.
Anybody got any leads on a good bandwagon to jump on for the NCAA tourney? My team (USC) didn’t come close to making it (again), so I’m looking for someone to pull for. Otherwise it just another anybody-but-Duke year.
I’m rooting for Alabama, of course, but they get Stanford if they make it to the second round. My second choice is UAB, but they get Kentucky if they make it to the weekend.
How about “Anybody but Duke or Florida?”
Well, Gonzaga’s the best they’ve been in their amazing 5-year run, and the team got a great seed to top that off. They’ll have to beat a lot of great teams, but I say this is the Zags’ year to make it to the final four.
Is that a fun enough bandwagon for ya?
Gonzaga is a good call. I have some friends who went to Western Michigan so they’re on the list too (Vandy is very beatable).
How about “Anybody but Duke or Florida?”
Right. I used to say anybody but Duke or UCLA, but of course that was back when UCLA had Division I sports programs.
Alabama over Stanford is a bit of a stretch, but it is an interesting idea. It sounds strange to say since they’ve only got one loss, but Stanford can be had. As bad as USC was this year they had double digit, second half leads over Stanford both games they played them. Only their general dumbass-edness kept them from winning one or both of them. I don’t know much about Alabama but I’m assuming they are very athletic which certainly gives them a punchers chance against the Cardinal. I’m sure I’ll get to see that game since Stanford is pretty much the only California team to make the tourney.
More of a shooter’s chance; Alabama shot 38%, I think, from 3-point range this year and has two guys, Ernest Shelton and Kennedy Winston, who can carry them for long stretches when they’re hot. (You may appreciate this: Winston was supposed to go to Cal, but backed out of his scholarship to stay close to home when his mom got sick.) The problem is that they only have one inside player, Chuck Davis, of any real quality, and he’s 6-7 and foul-prone. The days of Derrick McKey, Robert Horry, Antonio McDyess, etc. are no more.
They’re not really an eighth seed; the RPI’s about 25, and they probably would have won twenty games except Shelton was hurt for the middle of the SEC season and they lost four or five in a row without him. With him they beat Mississippi State in Starkville, plus home wins over Wisconsin and Charlotte. But Southern Illinois is awfully good.
Hey, now, don’t be throwing Florida under the bus. They’ve had a really tough season, with the lack of depth to begin with, then Christian Drejer bolting for Europe. As a fifth seed, I don’t think they’re in any danger of dominating in the Tournament, so a championship would definately be more surprising than Duke… stupid Duke.