Time To Wake Up This Place!



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Hey!  Michael Bay
here.  Sorry to be gone so long.  How about a Top Ten prospect update!


1. Neftali Feliz (P) – When
I watch him, I’m like Homer Simpson and Mindy Simmons whispering “think unsexy
thoughts” to themselves.  He’s that
good.  I really can’t say any more about
this in public.

2. Tanner Scheppers (P) —
With all due respect to Finnerty, “Tanner Scheppers” doesn’t sound like an ace.
“Tanner Scheppers strikes out the side?” 
I think not.  More like “Top Chef runner-up
Tanner Scheppers owns a bistro in Couer D’Alene.”  But he’s pitching fantastic in the Arizona
Fall League.  (I also worry about 2nd-rounder
Tommy Mendonca, who’ll surely be called “Mendonkey” by opposing fans.  He’d better have a stout heart, and maybe
Rafael Palmeiro’s earplugs as well.)


3. Martin Perez (P) – People
say he’s the next Johan Santana.  Didn’t
Houston lose Santana in the Rule 5 draft?  I hope that doesn’t happen to Perez.

4. Justin Smoak (1B) – He
kind of laid an egg in AAA.  To think
Texas could have had Jason Castro, who might’ve solved the
catching problems I wrote about this spring. 
But then I remember that Smoak destroyed the best pitchers from
Europe in the World Cup, and I worry less. 

5. Kasey Kiker (P) – 21
years old and had the most strikeouts among
Texas‘s AA and AAA teams. 
Likes to hit people.  His dad was
smart enough not to give him a middle name starting with “K.” 

6. Mitch Moreland (OF) –
Just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him. 

7. Marcus Lemon (IF) – Had a
bad year in AA but is tearing up the
AFL.  Keep the faith.

8. Mike Bianucci (OF) – Wow,
.288 with 30 homers.  I guess I could’ve
driven up from my home in LA to
Bakersfield to catch him in person, but have you ever been
there? Cows, oil rigs and tweakers as far as the eye can see.  No thanks.

9. Wilmer Font (P) – I’m not totally sure who or what a “Wilmer Font” is, but
he’s young and threw almost as well as Perez.

10a.  Matt Nevarez (P) –  Like Font, I don’t know much about him, but I
see he struck out 50 in 35 innings in Hickory. 
Promising.  I wonder if they’ll
let him skip
Bakersfield like Perez and Feliz. 

10b. Kevin Richardson (C) –
Guess which Rangers catcher hit the most homers in 2009?  Someone named Doug Hogan.  But
Richardson was second. 
He hit 13 in AAA. 
Texas‘s so-called “Big Three” of Saltalamacchia,
Teagarden, and Max Ramirez combined for 20. 
Whoopee.  Let Salty and Tea fight
for the starting job, trade the loser, and make K-Rich the backup. 


Who’s disappointing me:  Michael Main (missed most of season with
ebola-like virus), Blake Beavan (Dude, Where’s My Strikeouts?), Max Ramirez
(can we bring back Kenny Lofton?), Engel Beltre (ugh). 


Unanswered questions: If
Hicks sells the Rangers soon, might Grady Fuson finally fulfill his dream of
becoming the GM?  Did Matt Purke know
that TCU is a real school with real classes and homework when he turned down
that cash?  Is Marlon Byrd the next Mark
Derosa or Gary Matthews?  If Ivan
Rodriguez is the answer, what is the question?


Other thoughts:  Sad to see blogger emeritus Jamey Newburg dissing
my man Finnerty over at Lone Star Ball. 
Thought he was above that sort of thing. 
I still read him – the dude’s forgotten more baseball than most ever
learned — but all the stuff about his kids and bad music (who admits to liking
Live?) wears me out.  Here at Crops, we’re
trying to be smart, on-topic, clairvoyant, AND entertaining. 


Emphasis on “trying,” since I
haven’t written a word in months. I’m no better than who I’m criticizing.  Maybe a little better.  Anyway, people need to chillax, me
included.  One love. 


In case you spent your
summer on Mars, the auteur
Michael Bay,
with whom I share a name and a love of life, dropped “Transformers: Revenge of
the Fallen.”  I pulled some strings to
catch a sneak preview and can attest that it will command your attention for
each of its 147 minutes, so if you didn’t catch it in the theater, rent it now
and crank up the blue ray.  Ignore the negative
reviews by grumps like the mean-spirited Roger Ebert, who’s busy enjoying Woody
Allen’s latest navel-gazer or some Dutch flick about troubled souls.  



Top Ten Rangers Prospects: Summer Edition


I’m back! Sorry for the
writing delay, but I had a family member pass and I was forced out of town for
a few weeks. Sometimes losing a loved one makes everything else seem small and
trivial. I just lost a part of me and I couldn’t find the spark to get up off
the couch and back into the game. 

I’ve been working on this prospect list for
some time, and Ive been second guessing myself. I made several mistakes in
thinking when I first started writing. I really only have box scores to go by,
but I do try to read everything available in order to form solid
conclusions.  Feel free to
disagree, but there are some of the readers out there, specifically on Lone
Star Ball, that seem to think they know more because of seniority or clique
mentality. Listen, if you want to debate baseball, let’s do it. If you want to
snipe at me to make yourself feel better, I suggest you take a good look in the
mirror and come to the realization that you don’t know **** and that you are
actually taking the time to attack someone on a baseball message board. I
suggest you grow and dick and learn how to use it. Whew, sorry. Let’s get to
the list (I didn’t include current prospects on the mlb roster).


1. Justin Smoak: He’s a smasher
that is finally starting to smash in AAA. He is the 1B of the future and
perhaps a player that will make multiple all-star teams in the future.


2. Martin Perez: Not many
pitchers have the hype of Perez. The 18 year old with the Santana  comp and the mid 90s fastball is
standing at the door of stardom. I think he pitches in the majors in 2010. Call
it a Finn feeling.


3. Blake Beavan: Look, I get it
that he doesn’t strike many guys out. So? Why does a guy have to have high
strikeout totals in order to get respect. Beavan is a 20 year old in Double A
and is more than holding his own. Give me a break. Beavan has the size and the
stuff to be a major league starter. He is going to be very, very good.


4. Matt Purke: I know he hasn’t
signed, but damn. This kid has star written all over his left arm. Mid 90s
fastball with a good breaking ball and a feel for pitching. When he signs,
Purke could be one of the better young arms in the minors. I think Nolan will
sign Purke and he will climb thru the system like Feliz did in 2008.


5. Wilmer Font: I continue to
read that Font has a very special fastball. Considering his size, his age, and
his fastball, Font sounds like a pitcher that should be considered a top
prospect.  I haven’t read much
about his breaking ball, but if his fastball is as good as they say, he might
not need any breaking ball. 


6. Mitch Moreland: He’s a little
too old for his league but I like his stats. He looks like a guy that can hit
for serious power and a high average. Double trouble. I read that his glove
isn’t great in the outfield, but he can battle Smoak and Davis for playing time
at 1B and at DH. Moreland will be wearing a Rangers uniform in 2010.


7. Engel Beltre: Tools. Tools.
Tools. All I read about are Beltre’s tools.  I get it.  He’s
talented. His numbers suggest a player that is wayyyyy over his head in Bakersfield.
I struggled on where to rank Beltre. Honestly, the Rangers system doesn’t look
as good as it once did. With guys like Holland, Hunter, Feliz, and Borbon in
the majors, and guys like Purke and Scheppers yet to sign, the system as a
whole looks average. I love the guys like Smoak,  Perez, and Beavan, but after them, the crops don’t look
quite as promising. Oh well. Anyway, Beltre goes here because of his ridiculous
talent. I’ll give him one more year to get it together. If he sucks next year
it might be his final chance.


8. Tanner Scheppers: I loved
this draft pick, but now I’m worried that he wont sign. I read that he wants to
play in Japan. Bummer. If he does sign, Scheppers could jump straight to the
majors. He is ridiculously talented and could be an ace. Big if on the signing

9. Omar Poveda: One of my
favorite pitchers. He has great size and great stuff. He is still quite young
and should develop into a major leaguer very soon. He has the potential to
shoot up this list next season.  Of
course he could be in Arlington, so hopefully he wont be on next year’s list.


10. Michael Main: Former first
round pick that developed a lupus like virus that sapped his season. His
numbers looked terrible this season. Let’s hope it was lupus related and not
pitching related. Being a former first round pick buys you some time to shine,
but his wndow is closing very fast. If Main doesn’t rebound next season he will
be joining Beltre on the bus off the farm.



Back in Business: Looking at the latest Crops from the Draft


 R1 (14) LHP Mathew Purke: Color me tickled. Purke might turn
out to be the best first round selection since fellow Texan John Danks in 2003.
Purke who is from Texas, was one of the best left handed pitchers in the draft
with an explosive fastball and a very good slider. He is a tall kid with room
to add more mass as he gets older. This is the type of draft pick the Rangers
needed to make. He might just blow away the competition and reach Arlington
before all the busts not-named Blake from the 2007 draft. Mark my words. Purke
is going to be an ace. Apparently he only fell to Texas because of his bonus
demands but that wont stop Billionare Tom Hicks from writing the check Jerry
Jones style. (Is having three Billionare owners good for Dallas sportsfans or
bad? Discuss.) Purke seems like a lock to sign and should reach Hickory by the
end of the season. I cant wait until this kid makes it to Arlington. Start the

Grade: A+


R1 (Supplemental) RHP Tanner Scheppers: As if I weren’t
already tickled silly, the Rangers placed their hands on my body and started
the tickling all over again. Scheppers was a top 5 pick that fell because of an
injury last season. He is a great pitcher with a monster fastball and the ability
to throw strikes. His curve is also a very good pitch and so is his
changeup.  He has good size and
strength and shouldn’t require much time in the minors. He has been playing for
an independent team up north so he should be almost ready for the majors. The
best thing about Scheppers is his name. Tanner Scheppers just sounds like an
ace. Tanner Scheppers pitches a no-hitter. Tanner Scheppers strikes out the
side. Tanner Scheppers is starting tonights all-star game. See?

Grade: A+


R2: 3B Tommy Mendonca: I think I speak for everybody when I
say who?  This was a confusing
pick. Not only had I not heard of Mendonca but most other publications hadn’t
either. Apparently he will be a cheap player to sign and he likes to strike
out. Not much to see here. I would rather not waste space on a player that wasn’t
even known before the draft.  

Grade: F


R3: LHP Robert Erlin. Well, it looks like the Rangers
drafted another throw away player. Erlin who? Erlin is a very short lefthanded
pitcher that doesn’t throw hard and doesn’t have a high ceiling. He was a cheap
player to sign and not much else. How many little pitchers do the Rangers need?
Kiker has potential but Ross hasn’t even been good enough to pitch and we
drafted him last season. If Erlin is the new Ross than Rangers fans deserve an

Grade: F


R4: RHP Andrew Doyle. I like this pick. Doyle is a big kid
from Oklahoma with a strong arm. I wish he was from Texas and not Oklahomo but
at least he can pitch. He has the size and strength to pitch at the big league
level. He could be in Arlington pretty fast. He doesn’t have a ton to learn in
the minors.

Grade: B


R5: RHP Nick McBridge: Tall, young, with a good arm…..yes
please. McBride is from high school in North Carolina and is a good young
pitcher. He will probably need time to develop in the minors but he is a big
kid with a big arm and a big future. Sleeper pick here. He could really become

Grade: B+


R6: Rueben Sierra Jr. Hell yeah! Yes. That Rueben Sierra. If
he is half the player he dad was he will make a great major leaguer. The
Rangers need better outfielders and it looks like they think Sierra is the next
great Rangers outfielder. From the looks of it lately the Rangers could use
both of the Sierra’s in their current line-up. That would be pretty cool. We
could copy the Mariners when they had both Griffeys. Hey, it worked for them.
Great pick.

Grade: A

Grab a Flotilla !!

(Sorry, Norm.)

Sully’s back in da House — but will Vincente Padilla too??

I read that today is the day that Padilla’s waivers end so I guess we’ll know soon what team he’ll be on now — meaning what team he’ll be the new assiassin for !!  Can you believe that guy had the [*guts*] to put his Ranger jersey on and hang out in the dugout even after the Ranger management had enough of his meltdowns and waived him?  He shouldve gone back to Venezuela and watched on his Direct TV waiting to find out who his new team would be!!

I’m excited to find out what team he’s gonna poison next — hey maybe the Yankees ought to take him since they don’t care about money and hey, he helped them win a big game the other night! — or maybe the Angels who also don’t care about money and can find out some good inside scoop about the Rangers hitters and pitchers if they add Padilla to thier team.

And even if he doesn’t get claimed today that means we can trade him to ANYBODY and he doesn’t have a choice where !  Sucker !!  Or we can release him and spend that $12 million on someone else (Ben Sheets and David Dallucci anyone?  maybe even Tom Glavine since he’s now out on the street and could mentor Harrison and CJ “time bomb” Wilson).  Someone even wrote (I think in the DMN) that we could trade Hank and Visquel to Boston for Buckholz….hey maybe JD can watch tonight in Theo’s suite and git r’ done!  Think about this team with Padilla gone and Glavine, Sheets, and  Buckholz here !! 

(man, I just thought of something else that makes me mad — if we could trade on draft day, which  I think they said would be legal the next time they have labor disputes, we’d then have enough pitching that we could trade BMac and Feldman plus a prospect hitter like Whittleman, who will never play 3b here, for Strasberg!  The Nats need so much they’d have to think hard about doing that……..)

I won’t miss you Padilla !!  You were always entertaining but your teammates didn’t like you and I bet we go on a tear now that you’re gone.

And I just thought of another thing —since we traded Dallucci to Philly for you, we could bring this thing full circle.  Genius !!  Git r’ done !!

—–Sully……….IN DA HOUSE !!!!

Is Guillermo Moscosos really a prospect?


After a stunning performance in Frisco yesterday, Guillermo Moscoso was on the tip of most minor league followers tongue. But who is this kid and why should I care? 

Well, to start off with, Moscoso is hardly a kid. In fact, he’s going to turn 26 this year. Considering he is still in Double A , I think people need to be aware that he is probably not a legit prospect. Second, Moscoso is not a very big man. He is listed at 6’1” 165 lbs which is not ideal size for a prospect. The reports also suggest that his fastball isn’t a burner. How does a soft tossing 26 year old that is still in Double A make it at the big league level? The honest answer is that he doesn’t. 
Moscoso was the big name the Rangers landed from the Tigers in exchange for the under-appreciated Gerald Laird. Good major league catchers should bring back more in trade than 26 year old pitchers in Frisco. I was very disappointed then and I’m equally disappointed now. One big game does not change that opinion. Laird was a durable major leaguer with good skills and Moscoso is a could be and a long shot at that. You don’t get better by trading the good for the average. Plus, why is Moscoso still in AA? Why is a player as old as Moscoso still being hyped as anything more than a journyman? 
Guillermo Moscoso despite his stunning game yesterday, is not a legit prospect. He is simply too old, too skinny, too weak, and lacks the fastball to make it at the professional level. Fooling kids that are years younger than you is much easier than trying to fool the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox. I wish Moscoso the best and I hope he proves my doubts wrong. I doubt it though. I mean how many skinny, older pitchers without overpowering stuff make it the majors? How many stay there? 
Basically, tap the breaks on Moscoso. One game does not make the man. 

What is a Prospect?


What is a prospect?

Is a prospect long and lean like every girl’s dream? Is he a
star in the making? When looking at a prospect, you have to make a series of
determinations. Let’s look a few:


  1. Age.
    (Is he young for his league? Is he advanced?
  2. Size
    (Is he fully grown? Can he fill-out/grow taller/stronger)
  3. Position
    (Does he plays SS, CF or Catcher Can he? Does he pitch?)
  4. Tools
    (can he hit, can he throw, is he fast)
  5. Attitude
    (The call it make-up. Is he a good guy? Does he work hard?)
  6. Coachability
    (Can he take direction? Can he learn)
  7. Contract
    (Was he a bonus baby?)
  8. Draft
    Location (Is he a local player?)
  9. Stats
    (Are they promising? Can he play at a high level)
  10. Ballplayer. (Is he a ballplayer? Does he have the look?)

I am SO on this!

You might have heard of “Mannywood,” a section of seats in Dodger Stadium’s left field named in honor of Mr. Ramirez last month. 

Well, as you might also have heard, Manny lost his honor and about one-third of his salary recently.  His replacement, the once-scorned Juan Pierre, is batting .391 and was the catalyst in tonight’s victory

I give you “JuanPierreWood.”  Ordered my tee the minute I saw it, baby.

How about Pierre and Andruw Jones sharing the Comeback Player of the Year award?  Do they have that in baseball?  Beats me.  They should if they don’t.


Texas’s Catchers Ain’t All That



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Hey! Michael Bay here with some
random thoughts:


I’d praised catcher Max
Ramirez two weeks ago, but after his continued struggles I’m increasingly convinced
he’s not going to pan out.  Just think: The
Rangers believed they had three catching prospects over the winter.  With Taylor Teagarden also not hitting well and
Jarrod Saltalamacchia just getting by, now they have one at most.  Perhaps Teagarden should join Ramirez in AAA,
Texas could acquire a veteran catcher to assist Salty.  Eliezer Alfonzo is hitting .309 in Portland.  Maybe Texas‘ could offer someone like Jose Vallejo (who is
blocked at second and short here) for him. 


Some prospects Texas needs
to promote NOW:  C Manny Pina, 1B Justin
Smoak, OF Mitch Moreland, OF Tim Smith, OF Mike Bianucci, SP Kasey Kiker, SP
Martin Perez (Yeah, he’s 18, but he’s got a 2.70 ERA.  Nothing left to prove in the Sally League).  I would’ve added SP Omar Poveda to the list
in agreement with my buddy Fin, but he’s getting rocked today.    


Props to Ron Washington for
getting his Rangers off to a good start. 
Texas needs to pick up his 2010 option TODAY and give him
the job security he deserves.    


Funny: I wrote this last
week but was too busy to post it:  “Wanted
to point out that my man Juan Pierre is batting .367.  Not bad for a ‘fourth outfielder.’  He hit .283 last year and lost his job!  Life’s 
a bitch, huh?”


Well, thanks to Manny being
Pierre now gets to play almost every day.  Being a Dodger fan in addition to the
Rangers, I didn’t want it to happen this way, but this could work out great for
Pierre is proving his naysayers wrong (.426 average!), and
if the Dodgers foolishly still don’t want him, they can trade him for a top
prospect.  Intra-division trades aren’t
common, but
will soon
need to replace 35-year-old Randy Winn. 
Maybe the Giants would fork over Madison Bumgardner and a decent
Pierre‘s owed $28.5 million for 2009-2011, reasonable money
for a .300 average, steals, defense and veteran leadership.  San Fran could put him in center and move
Aaron Rowand to right.   


Finally, did you know film
Michael Bay
(with whom I share a name) earned $25 million for “
Pearl Harbor?”  It’s
true!  He once said, “I love it when
people get really mean and call you a ‘hack’. It’s like, don’t they see how
well these movies are doing?”  Man, that
guy embodies the American Dream. 



Poveda Poveda Poveda Poveda

Who? Omar Poveda. Never heard of him? Most haven’t. He’s a very under the radar pitcher in the Rangers farm system. Get use to reading his name. He’s going to be a good one. Let’s do a quick look:
Name: Omar Poveda
Drafted: Not drafted
Age: 21
Size: 6’4” 215
2009 Stats: 4 Wins, 1 Loss, 2.81 era, 17 strikeouts, 32 innings
Omar Poveda looks like a really good pitching prospect. He has great size. He has great stats. He is very young (you don’t have to be 17 to be a good prospect). And he is already pitching in Double A Frisco. 
How close is Poveda to the majors? Close. Frisco is only 45 minutes away from Arlington and Poveda will probably get to pitch for the Rangers this season. He reminds me a little of Blake Beavan. Both have great size and strength and both are really young. Both are right handed pitchers and both have great pitches. What’s not to love? 
Prediction: Poveda makes it up to Arlington this season and becomes a really good starting pitcher. His age, size, and ability can’t be denied. Remember the name: Poveda. Poveda, Poveda, Poveda, Poveda.