USA TODAY Sports
As we bask in the glow of our first shutout of the year - albeit a meaningless one - It's a farewell to one of the underdogs from the WBC, there's a new prospect list out, and there'll be cheaper food and drink in at least one park this year.
Quotes of the day
"I just tried to stay under control and take the pitches Montero was calling. I think that was key, trying to concentrate and make the pitches to try and get some flyballs and groundballs. I think it worked in that moment."
-- Randall Delgado
- "I know Parra didn't have a hit in the WBC. Miggy was yelling at him after he hit the home run, `About time! What were you doing in the WBC!" But it's good to have those guys back. They're three very important guys."
-- Kirk Gibson
"We're really happy with the way he's throwing and what he's done this [spring]. He's got the greatest attitude on the team, too. I have confidence in what he's doing now. He's certainly somebody that's going to play for us this year. Definitely."
-- Kirk Gibson on Joe Paterson
Even a new pope couldn't save the Italians who exited in Florida, losing to the Puerto Rican side, 4-3. As in their previous game, against the Dominican Republic, the Italians had the lead, but their bullpen couldn't hold it. This time, it was even later, as they were 3-1 up going into the bottom of the eighth, before the PR rallied for three runs. The loss was the second one-run defeat in successive days for the Italians, and means that Puerto Rico will now face the loser of tonight's game between the Dominicans and Team USA (first pitch 4pm Arizona), in a contest to decide the other semi-finalist [the winner of the DR/US game will also advance].
Said Anthony Rizzo, "We had a lead in every game we played in this tournament. No one scripted us to be where we are, playing against the best teams. There's a handful of All-Stars on every team and we had the lead in every game. We all stayed together, and I think the respect that we earned in this tournament is well-deserved for the entire country of Italy." It was certainly an impressive run for the heavily unfavored Italians, who were 100-1 outsiders before the event began, but went further into the tournament than the likes of South Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. We'll see them again in 2017, no doubt.
Minor League Ball prospects list up
John Sickels has posted his top 150 prospects for 2013 - probably worth looking at the list alongside the other four lists from major sources, already posted [H/T blank_38 for the link!]. Sickels' top three are the same - Profar, Taveras,Bundy - as the general consensus, and the top Diamondbacks is Tyler Skaggs at #19 - interestingly, this is the only list to put Trevor Bauer (#11) ahead of Skaggs. Archie Bradley follows close behind at #21, but there's then a big gap before we find Adam Eaton at #92. There's a cluster just outside the top hundred: Matt Davidson (#101), Andrew Chafin (#107) and Stryker Trahan (#110), with Did Gregorius (#136) also present.
"Boom and Bust" Diamondbacks?
That's how the New York Times described us in an article yesterday, saying we are now trying for a steadier approach. This quote from GM Kevin Towers sums up the plan: "The path we were taking, my fear was that we were going to have a lot of peaks and valleys. I just didn’t want to go there. I wanted to have more of a club where I could sit there at the start of spring training and have a pretty good idea of where we’re going to be." This is something we have discussed to some extent before: does aiming for a team that's solidly respectable, rather than enduring the valleys in pursuit of the peaks, mean were are doomed an eternity of .500 ball, plus or mnus a few?
- The Indians are slashing the prices of many concessions this year. "The price of all 12-ounce domestic beers will be $4, down from as much as $5.25 last year. Hot dogs will be priced at $3, down from $4.50 in 2012." They're acting on the results of surveys which showed the price of "concessions was a barrier to the enjoyment part of attending a baseball game in Cleveland."
- Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus asks himself 15 questions to come out of the SABR Conference. Particularly interesting ones include, "Will the knuckleball ever be banned?" and "What is clubhouse chemistry worth?"