Rick Ankiel

Well, he’s famous. A lot more famous than his results dictate. Ankiel was the #1 prospect in baseball at one point, a hard-throwing lefthanded pitcher. He made it up to the majors briefly with the Cardinals as a 19-year-old, and at 20 went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA, 194 strikeouts in 175 innings. And then, he lost it. Leading 6-0 in the first game of the 2000 NLDS against the Braves, Ankiel suffered a sudden and total loss of pitching ability, throwing four walks and five wild pitches in the third inning. And he never recovered. He showed some flashes in the lower levels of the minors, but his control was utterly shot and eventually he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2003. After five games in relief in 2004, the Cardinals threw up their hands and converted him to an outfielder.

He showed some pop, slugging .515 (17 HR/21 2B) in 2005 in A and AA. The Cards planned to bring him up as a spare outfielder in 2006, but he blew out his knee and missed the season. In 2007, he led the PCL in homers with 32, slugging .568, and then hit .285/.328/.535 in a 47-game callup. In 2008, he stayed on the major league roster, hitting 25 homers, but pitchers were starting to figure him out and over the last couple of years his production has faded. He also got caught up in an HGH dragnet; he says that the drug was prescribed to him. He may have even been telling the truth, and, once again, there’s no evidence that HGH does anything to aid athletic performance. The Cards let him go after last season and he was picked up by the Royals. He’s missed much of this season with various injuries, and has really become an all-or-nothing player, a guy with poor on-base skills but some power.

Ankiel’s major league OBP is .311, .315 since he was converted from the mound. He has obvious tools, but lost too much development time as a pitcher to really learn how to hit. He’s a good defensive corner outfielder who can be stretched to center, like most of the Braves’ outfielders. The assumption is that he will play center at least part of the time with the Braves, and can’t really be any worse than Melky.

Rick Ankiel Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

260 thoughts on “Rick Ankiel”

  1. Today’s lineup!

    1. Conrad 3B, 2. Heyward RF, 3. Infante 2B, 4. McCann C, 5. Hinske 1B, 6. Gonzalez SS, 7. Ankiel CF, 8. Cabrera LF 9. Hanson


  2. What an awful lineup. Guess that whole “winning series” thing isn’t as important when you’re in first after the break.

  3. Wilkin Ramirez was a decent prospect not too long ago. Does that mean we should be worried about the PTBNL?

    My main concern would be Minor which would be a terrible trade, but would explain why it had to be PTBNL.

    I just don’t think the Tigers give away Ramirez for nothing.

  4. seriously, what the hell is wrong with bobby. i’ve seen some stupid shit in his time, but continuously running melky out there day after day, especially after we pick up a replacement for his chubby ass, is unforgivable.

  5. I really hope Ankiel and Melky in the outfield on the same day doesn’t become a usual thing.

  6. The lineup isn’t great but no surpise really except for Chipper having his day off. Of course Bobby being Bobby, having Melky in the lineup after his debacle yesterday, i guess…

  7. I see no one responded to my Minor comment and after waking up a little I realize there’s no way it’s Minor.

  8. here are diaz’s numbers since coming off of the dl:
    .333 BA
    1.079 OPS
    6 doubles 5 hr 14 rbi

  9. After watching Diaz’s PA’s against the righty yesterday, I can understand the lack of confidence.

    but I agree anyone but Melky.

    edit: check out Melky’s splits over at BR. Offensively he has been excellent the last month. 2nd half performance excellent.

  10. @15
    after watching diaz for the last 4 years, how can you read into anything concerning his at-bats? even in his good at-bats he looks awful.

  11. Last 28 days
    .302/.375/.508 .883

    Had to make sure I was looking at the right Cabrera.

    I understand what Bobby’s trying to do. Put the best 9 out there even if it hurts the team defensively. But man o man Melky is NOT a cf.

    @16 – Good point.

  12. that’s the emptiest .800 ops i’ve ever seen. he has 0 hrs, only 2 rbi’s, and 4 runs. i know it’s not a repeatable skill, but he’s been horrendous for us in clutch situations. for the year, he has a .569 ops with RISP and a .282 ops with a runner at 3rd. YIKES!

  13. Jim Bunning thinks Stephen Strasburg is a wimp

    As Strasburg started to warm up, he noticed some soreness. The National’s manager, Jim Riggleman, scratched him. The team has made no secret of its desire to coddle their rookie fireballer, who is seen as the core of a future contending team.

    Poppycock. That, in a nutshell, is Bunning’s answer to the Nationals’ decision.

    The senator told Politico he has seen Strasburg four times (Tuesday was supposed to be Strasburg’s 10th start).

    “My arm!” Bunning pretended to cry, clutching his shoulder as he spoke to a reporter in the United States Capitol.

    “Five hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball,” Bunning said. “What a joke!”

    The new kid is rapidly losing the respect of the Hall of Famer.

    “He was in the top one percentile,” Bunning was quoted as saying, pinching his thumb and index finger together. Now, the senator huffed, he is more like the 50th percentile.

  14. #19 all looks the same on the scoreboard.

    Shows how tight our budget is. Kearns was acquired for cash.

    The Cards trade of Ludwick is strange. I get that they wanted a starter but specifically Jake Westbrooke?

  15. I don’t know why everyone is complaining. All Hanson has to do is not give up any fly balls except to right field and he will be fine. That’s easy, isn’t it? I think it’s good they are giving Glaus a day off; he has been awful.

    It’s surprising to me that an organization that once brought in Bream and Pendleton specifically to help the defense seems to put so little weight on outfield defense. Melky may be the worst major league CF I have ever seen.

    However, to keep things in perspective, the Braves did have a winning record in July (13-11) and did stretch their lead. And the Phillies are struggling on the road as well (lost 13 of 17 on the road). But looking at the Giants, I am worried about the wild card as a safety net. I think the Braves are virtually tied with the Giants in terms of record, so it is no sure thing they would be the wild card if they lost the division. Hopefully, going home will rejuventate them.

    Considering Jim Bunning is a crazy man, I don’ think I would put much stock in his comments.

  16. If you have Tommy on your fantasy team, are you starting him today?

    Answer and I will consider sharing my $35 worth of winnings with you ;)

  17. I am, but only because I’ve got all the pitching stats locked up for this week except for strikeouts. Even an exceptionally bad game from him doesn’t lose me any of the other stats.

  18. Anything is better than seeing Hinske next to Melky in the outfield. I really hope to never see that again.

  19. Melky can hit righties or lefties, he cant play a defensive position above average. There’s no excuse starting him over anyone.

    put Chipper at 3B, Conrad at 2B, and Infante in LF if you have no faith in Diaz against RHP.

  20. Just saw both ankiel and farnsworth interviewed on pre-game. Neither seemed thrilled to be in Atlanta.

    Kinda surprised. To go from the hapless royals to a 1st place team is something I would welcome.

    Did Mac’s pessimism get to them too?

  21. @33: Don’t take those interviews so seriously. They just arrived at the park after being uprooted from their homes and families to go play baseball in a new city. They’re professionals. I wouldn’t expect them to be exactly busting out of their pants about it.

    Jerome had to bring up Ankiel’s storied career path. What an idiot. The man’s gotta be sick of it by now.

  22. Blanco and Chavez are where they deserve to be (along with many other ex-Braves.) If only Francoeur would hurry up and join them in Royal blue.

  23. Sdp

    Not taking it serious. But they aren’t entirely worthless

    As far as being uprooted goes, Farnsworth should be more than used to it.

  24. “If you have Tommy on your fantasy team, are you starting him today?”

    Sadly, yes, as it’s a weekly and I started him for his two starts. He’s a nightmare to have on your team, too. I see the singles have already started…

  25. My issue with this lineup is that Volquez is wild. The way to get to him is to take pitches. Instead, we’ve run out there the least patient lineup we can field on the one day our ancient corner infielders should both be in there.

  26. Ironically, according to GameDay, it was Heyward who swung at the pitch furthest outside the strike zone and thus grounded out instead of walking.

  27. Hanson has been better on the road and I like his chances today.

    15 of his 21 starts have been 2ER or less, he’s a safe play almost every week in fantasy

  28. I don’t like the flat brims either, but I don’t like the extreme bend that Lowe has. Gotta have a happy medium.

  29. at what point does management come in and say “Eddie… can I call you Eddie? .. No? OK. Edinson.. we noticed that each day you look more and more like the Predator. We can’t have that.”

  30. Braves’ inability to hit (or even make productive outs) with runners in scoring position has reached and passed the point of ridiculousness. Oy vey.

  31. Astros just gave Brett Myers an extension

    SUNDAY, 12:51am: The Astros and Myers have agreed to an extension that is guaranteed through 2012, per a team release. The contract includes a club option for 2013 that could vest based on Myers’ performance in 2012. The extension guarantees the right-hander at least $21MM, and could earn him up to $29.5MM, including the option and performance incentives

    another reason for their fans to be pissed

  32. Just logging on now. Why in God’s name is fat, loser, Melky back in the lineup. Good lord. Is Diaz SO hopeless against righties that we couldn’t have sat Melky’s fat, useless ass on the bench today after that embarrassing smirky performance yesterday?

    This is what pisses me off so much about Cox. Melky’s fat ass should be glued to the bench.

  33. That’s why I want Rage to be Hinske’s nickname.

    And the way Volquez has that hat looks so damn stupid.

  34. Six runners stranded through three innings. Good to see that some things never change.

  35. 102 and 103:

    I’m negative because Ankiel is an injury prone guy who’s done next to nothing these last 2 seasons. If Ankiel starts to rake, fine, I’ll be mr. happy.

  36. I will gladly take Ankiel in there over Melky and far angrier today to see Mekly back in the lineup. I’m developing a Lockhart-ian type of hatred anytime I see Melky’s fat, stupid face.

  37. csg-

    Exactly….Diaz deserves a chance to be in there. Cox is being so rigid by keeping Melky out there.

  38. @114

    One stupid umpiring decision does not justify another one later. He’s missed in the same spot hi hit AAG 10 times today. The other nine happened to be to LH hitters.

  39. @121. I didn’t say I thought it was intentional but neither was Venters plunk of big baby Fielder.

  40. Jurrjens was sharp yesterday. None of it matters if the offense can’t get the runners on base home.

  41. Right–these moments, with a couple guys on and the pitcher struggling to throw strikes, is where we need to pounce. And we haven’t for awhile.

  42. And Volzquez is not throwing well today. Only 1 run is more a reflection on just how ineffective our offense is. I expect us to lose 3-1 today. This is just depressing.

  43. And now the lack of run support for Tommy and 8 runners left on base finally catches up with us. A halfway decent lineup right now would be leading 4 or 5-1.

  44. We’re just not hitting with RISP. I tend to subscribe that to luck more than anything. It’s frustrating to watch, but it happens when you have guys avoiding outs.

    Volquez looked like an idiot and I don’t think it was a coincidence that the guy he happened to hit was the guy who hit a home run. Edinson needed to be plunked after Meds and JJ.

    And, that’s what happens when you waste opportunities.

  45. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!

    This series has been so frustrating. And it had to happen against the Reds, who I loathe. Probably a result of living in Kentucky and having to watch two decades of crappy Reds baseball. I might actually hate reds more than Joe McCarthey.

  46. Well there ya go….we put tons of runners on base through 5 and get nothing out of it and give the lead away with crap defense.

  47. We leave 8 runners on base, and we go after the best defender on the field and the one who homered earlier. Yeah, keep those “chemistry” jokes comin’!

  48. Hewyard doesnt dive and theres runners at first and third…AAG makes the routine play and we’d be thru 5 up 1-0

  49. I can’t believe Melky is still out there. Also, Heyward’s diving attempt was so stupid–it was the key play in that inning.

  50. Yeah, we’ve never seen yunel make a mistake on a routine play. He probably would have forgotten how many outs there were and tried to get phillips out at home.

  51. Its not right when the guy who’s been the much, much better starter today (Hanson) is losing heading to inning 7. Volquez deserves to be down 5 runs and instead still in position to get the win. Just HATE our lineup and offense right now.

  52. we go after the best defender on the field and the one who homered earlier. Yeah, keep those “chemistry” jokes comin’!

    Yeah. he can hear you out there in Cincinnati, so keep it down you guys.

    .255/.321/.373 + Chemistry=Profit!

  53. Just HATE our lineup and offense right now.

    How is this possible after The Trade That Won The Division(tm)?

  54. @169, As I’ve repeated countless times, it’s when and for whom they traded him. Thinking AAG’s HR’s were going to translate to Turner was lunacy, and inserting a guy with a .296 OBP at the time into the 6 spot in our lineup was even dumber. But since you bring it up, .333/.356/.474 is Yuni’s current line. Wren has managed to take the one thing ATL could do well, get on base, and plug in a couple of guys that are terrible at that skill. The result has been, and will be quite predictable.

  55. Yunel would be Mendoza friendly right now if we hadn’t made that deal. Not that Gonzalez has done much (and right now, his defense is responsible for a loss if this score holds) but Yunel wasn’t doing anything. The trade is a non-factor.

  56. its laughable to continue to think that Yunel wouldve done the same in Atl that he’s doing in TOR, but its your opinion

  57. Spike, we got it, you don’t like the trade. Are you going to let us know every time Gonzalez does something wrong?

  58. Feels like April again to me. If the Braves give up two runs, mark it down in the Loss column…

  59. It’s not inept at all. It’s doing exactly what you would think when you run Conrad, Gonzalez, Ankiel and a pitcher out there. All 3 on the sunny side of thirty, with a clear track record of making lots and lots of outs.

  60. I don’t care if Yunel had quit in Atlanta and was boning Frank Wren’s wife, you don’t trade him for Alex freaking Gonzalez and two fringe prospects.

    What’s our record since the trade, anyway?

  61. Spike, Yunel wasn’t doing anything and pissing off the entire clubhouse in the process. He wouldn’t have woken up in the 2nd half because if the trade never happens, he’d still be pulling the same crap.

    Gonzalez isn’t doing much, but again, the fairest argument is that neither would be worth much at SS in Atlanta. If Chipper was actually still a decent offensive player and we had a good outfield, Infante should now be the everyday SS.

  62. As long as you feel the need to express dismay at impugning our clubhouse chemistry, yes. I really can’t describe how depressed and angry I am at the almost willful effort to make this team worse, at a time when they were on the cusp of really being good. It’s pretty obvious to the dullest observer that as currently constructed, there is very little chance for advancement in the postseason, should it even get that far. If you want happy talk, feel free to scroll on.

  63. Spike, you simply can’t argue it made this team worse because Yunel was useless. You do NOT have the #s to back that up.


  65. Spike’s point isn’t that Yunel would be doing better (we can’t know that, obviously). It’s that Wren has undermined the strength of the lineup by bringing in guys who can’t get on base. Even amidst his awful season, this year, Yunel had a league-average OBP.

    By the way, speaking of Yunel: he just homered.

  66. Alex R,
    Yunel was worth more than Gonzalez. That’s what this boils down to. The Rays were reportedly very interested in Yunel but the Braves were already enamored with Agony, which is just awful.

  67. ‘Infante should now be the everyday SS.’
    Well, all the baseball professionals in Atlanta disagree with you.

    If we still had Escobar we’d still be struggling offensively. Although when he was good he was really good.

    Still no matter how you slice and dice it its just weird for a contender to trade a better player for a lesser one. Maybe it was for Yunel’s safety. Glaus is a big boy. If he wanted to kick Escobars ass it could have gotten ugly.

  68. It’s the same story we’ve seen for the last few years. This team is woefully underpowered. It has coincided with chipper’s decline at a traditional power position.

    The problem is that it’s hard to see where they can improve. Heyward might be a legitimate power threat, but he’s still only 20. Freeman, I presume, will be the firstbaseman next year and it is unrealistic to expect him to provide a true power bat as a rookie. That really only leaves left field, and we would need a Ryan Braun or Manny Ramirez type to really help things.

  69. No, the bottomline if Yunel was still a Brave, we’d be forced to make Infante the everyday SS. With Gonzalez, Infante should be the everyday SS when prado returns. I’m not defending Gonzalez. I don’t like either player.

  70. @211

    Uh, no. For their careers:

    Escobar (1907 PAs): .368 OBP
    Gonzalez (5180 PAs): .294 OBP

    They’re not both out-machines. One of them is. Just for fun, check out Francoeur’s career OBP. Ok fine, I’ll tell you. It’s .309.

  71. Because at least Gonzalez was semi productive with some power in half #1 and we’re competing for a shot at the WS. Yunel got on base more but couldn’t hit and was hurting the clubhouse. What’s the point of still having this argument, Spike? You think your way and I disagree. Do I wish we could have gotten a better player? Yes. But I have no beef with trading Yunel. He wasn’t doing anything and pissing off the entire clubhouse in the process. I am glad he’s gone.

  72. The worst part about the Yunel trade is the front office’s apparent belief that Alex Gonzalez and his sub .300 OBP could help the team.

  73. In that pinch at bat Chipper just looked old. I’m a huge Chipper fan but dang he looked checked out. I know its not true but…

  74. Mid-market teams can’t afford to mess up the way the Braves did with Escobar. They either need to work it out and hope he gets better, or get more for him in return. It’s that simple. They have too small a margin of error to lose a guy who provided them with 8 wins above replacement over the past two years.

    For comparison’s sake, look at the guys who produced at about Escobar’s level last season. Brian McCann, Robinson Cano, Victor Martinez, Joey Votto, Kendry Morales, and so on. You all would flip had your team traded one of these guys for Alex Gonzalez and change. Sure, Escobar wasn’t producing like that this season, but it was one bad half and, again, as a mid-market team the Braves simply can’t afford to punt on a guy who projects to be one of their three or four best position players for the next few years. They sold low, and it will hurt for the next couple years.

  75. #230 – pinch hit chipper because he is a switch hitter. diaz would have brought in a righty reliever.

  76. @231 – you forget 1 thing. We are sitting in first place in the middle of a penant race. You don’t have the luxury of sitting around hoping that he will get over himself and play to expectations. He was given half a year to work things out for crying out loud. Everyone was begging for frenchy to be gone long before then.

  77. Now we just need Jesus Heyward to steal 3rd and home, so we can lose it in walk-off fashion.

  78. its sad…1 defensive miscue can cost this team a game. Offense is weak back to where it was in April

  79. Well, I’ll be rooting hard for the Cardinals the rest of the year (when not playing the braves, of course).
    Reds can bite me.

  80. But hey don’t worry guys. We’re in first place so we don’t have to be bothered with how bad we’re playing because we’re in first place.

  81. I am glad he’s gone.

    You can spend the entire postseason enoying yourself while watching someone else win the WS.

    When the boat started taking on water, we grabbed a couple of anvils.

  82. Thing is, with a collective 5 feet of luck Braves sweep that series.

    Bruce’s ground ball just a little more left yesterday gets Jair out of the inning with lead intact.

    Heyward’s arm grows by 12 inches and catches the ball today.

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