October 14, 2002

Any press is good press

After going approximately 19 years and 9 months without any mention in a major metropolitan newspaper, yours truly has now been mentioned twice in one week!

I already talked about my mention on StarTribune.com (Minneapolis' newspaper) last week.

And today I found out that this site is mentioned in a Chicago Tribune article too.

It isn't exactly the most complimentary thing anyone could say about me, but it isn't horrible, and I will take what I can get at this point.

The article starts out by talking about TwinsGeek.com (which is the first site I check in the morning).

"The most prolific playoff blogger, fan John Bonnes is riding the crest of the Minnesota Twins' sentimental surge to championship contender. In his site's tagline Bonnes says his geekiness is "kind of sad, really." But there's nothing sad about well-crafted, detailed analysis."

Some pretty nice words for John and deservedly so.

Then the article mentions this site:

"Nearly as prolific but less intriguing is fellow Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman, who is doing pitch-by-pitch analysis of some Twins playoff games at http://baseballblog.blogspot.com."

I think I am going to start introducing myself to people as, "Aaron Gleeman, nearly as prolific but less intriguing."

Now I know what to say when a potential employer asks, "How would people describe you?"

"Well, sir, most people would describe me as nearly as prolific but less intriguing."

I am extremely happy to be mentioned in any form of media, especially a big newspaper like the Chicago Tribune.

A couple of points that I think I would quibble with (Is quibble a word? If it isn't, it should be).

1) I am not really a "Twins blogger."

I am a huge fan of the Twins and I write about them quite often (especially when they are playing in the post-season), but unlike TwinsGeek.com, this site often features things on teams other than the Twins.

2) I did "pitch-by-pitch analysis" a couple of times.

The article makes it sound like I am breaking down every game pitch-by-pitch, which I am obviously not.

I know I wouldn't want to visit a site that did that for every single game, so I wish the article hadn't phrased it like that.

It seems like the author probably checked out this site on one occasion, most likely when my play-by-play recap of game 1 of the Twins/Angels series was posted.

He probably saw a big, long article about the Twins that broke down the game play-by-play (or "pitch-by-pitch") and assumed that was what is always on this site.

But, what the heck, any press is good press, right?

To all the new visitors that came because of the Tribune article (or for other reasons), welcome to Aaron's Baseball Blog.

Look around and check out some of my "archived" articles that can be reached by clicking on the weekly links on the top left side of this page.

You'll find daily articles about the Minnesota Twins and all things baseball related.

Thanks for coming and if you like it, please bookmark the page and come back tomorrow too.

A few baseball related thoughts...

The Giants look to close out the series tonight.

Even if they don't win tonight, they will win the series.

As soon as that becomes official, I will get to work on my World Series Preview, which will likely be posted near the end of this week.

I can't decide if I want the Angels to win because they beat the Twins or lose because I am mad at them for beating the Twins.

If/when the Giants finish off the Cardinals, that will make me 3-3 so far on my playoff series predictions.

So, I need to pick a winner in the World Series to finish with a winning record.

Baseball Weekly switched from 100% baseball to 50% baseball and 50% pro football a few weeks ago.

When I first heard about it, I thought it was a joke.

Anyway, I had been a subscriber of Baseball Weekly for several years, but I canceled it after I got my first issue of "Sports Weekly" ("The best of Pro Football and Baseball") in the mail.

It still has most (if not all) of the same baseball content, but I bought that magazine because it was 100% devoted to baseball, which is not the case any longer.

So, I canceled that subscription and a couple of weeks ago I signed up for a subscription to Baseball America.

Some of you may be familar with Baseball America already, I have had a link to their website on the left side of this page for a while.

I check the website out almost everyday, but I had never even seen the magazine before.

Well, I got my first issue in the mail last week and I read it cover to cover and it is awesome.

For detailed information on minor league baseball, including tons of scouting reports and stories on top prospects, nothing beats Baseball America.

If you are interested in reading about and keeping tabs on the future of your favorite teams or if you are in a fantasy baseball keeper league of some kind, I suggest checking it out.

I am already glad I switched from Baseball Weekly...oops, I mean Sports Weekly...to Baseball America.

Part of the reason I loved the first issue I got was because it was the "Minor League Top 10 Prospects" edition.

They go through each minor league, from Rookie League to Triple-A, and name the top 10 prospects that played in that league this season.

They named Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford the #1 prospect in the AAA International League.

Crawford is a scouts dream - he is fast, athletic, a good defensive player, has the ability to hit for average, etc.

I think scouts know a heck of a lot more about baseball than I do, but even so, I just can't see why they are ranking Crawford so highly.

In AAA he hit .297/.335/.456 with 7 HR, 9 3B and 17 2B in just over 350 at bats.

He only walked 20 times while striking out 69 times.

To me, that looks like a guy who is a lot closer to being a mediocre outfielder than he is being the top prospect in AAA.

A guy who walks only 20 times in 350 Triple-A at bats is going to have a hard time being valuable in the Major Leagues unless he is hitting about .320 or hitting for huge power.

And I don't think Crawford is going to be doing either of those things.

He played in 63 games with the Devil Rays, hitting .259/.290/.371, which is almost exactly what you would expect him to hit based on this year's AAA stats.

I think Crawford is a very good defensive outfielder and a pretty good base stealer, but unless he starts learning to take some walks, he isn't even close to being destined for greatness.

He does have youth on his side, he is only 21 years old so he has a chance at learning a little patience before it is too late.

However, being on the Devil Rays certainly isn't going to help him learn plate discipline.

Remember when I said that a guy that doesn't walk is going to have a tough time being valuable in the Majors unless he hits about .320 or has huge power?

Well, you should, because I only said it about 100 words ago.

How about a guy who does both?

Baseball America's #6 prospect in the International League (the same league as Crawford) was Toronto DH/1B/C/Whatever Josh Phelps.

Phelps' plate discipline is a bit better than Crawford's, but he isn't going to be confused with Barry Bonds anytime soon.

Phelps hit .292/.380/.658 in 257 AAA at bats this year, with 24 homers and 20 doubles.

He walked 32 times and struck out 83 times.

After J.P. Ricciardi and the boys in the Jays' front office where able to clear some playing time by dumping Raul Mondesi on the Yankees, they called Phelps up and he did not disappoint.

In 74 games with the Blue Jays this year he hit .302/.362/.562 with 15 homers, 20 doubles and 19 walks in 265 ABs.

The difference between Phelps and Crawford is the difference between what scouts like and what sabermetrically inclined guys like myself like.

In Crawford, the scouts see a pure athlete who hits for a good average and can fly around the outfield and the bases.

I see a guy who is going to have a hard time keeping his on-base % above .300 in the majors.

In Phelps, the scouts see a guy who is probably destined to be a full-time DH at the age of 24 and probably is best timed running the bases with a sun dial.

I see a guy who can flat out rake and who has a chance to be one of the best hitters in baseball for the forseeable future.

And neither of them walk more than once a week.

So the next time you hear about how all "stat heads" are in love with the walk, don't believe it.

I like walks, but more than walks, I like actual performance, actual production.

Plate discipline can be learned in the right circumstances.

While Crawford is probably in the worst place to be (Tampa Bay) for a guy that needs to improve his patience at the plate, Phelps is probably in one of the best scenarios (Toronto).

I'll take a guy who hits .300 and slugs .600 over a guy with "all the tools" any day of the week and twice on Billy Beane's birthday.

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