Oakland signed 16-year-old pitching phenom Michael Ynoa last year by handing him a $4.25 million bonus that's the largest ever given to an international free agent and now A's beat writer Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chroniclehas a scouting report on him:
Santiago Casilla told me a few weeks ago when I asked if he'd seen Ynoa this winter that Ynoa has "beautiful eyes," which made me laugh, since I'd been asking about his pitching. (Casilla hadn't seen him pitch, as it turned out.) But Casilla wasn't just cracking a joke: Ynoa does have extraordinary eyes--aquamarine or sea green, something like that. Striking.
Last year the Royals avoided their fifth straight last-place finish by one win, yet their fans apparently do not take well to someone predicting that they'll be a last-place team in 2009. Funny how that works.
On a related note, Sidney Ponson is 32 years old and has gone five seasons without an ERA under 5.00, but two decent outings in the World Baseball Classic convinced Royals general manager Dayton Mooreto sign him:
Our scouts saw him in the WBC and were very aggressive in their recommendation that we need to bring him in here so we could evaluate him ourselves. We've got several scouts who have seen him pitch who are convinced this guy needs to be part of our rotation competition.
Obviously it's safe to bump the Royals up into fourth place now. Also, the above Kansas City Star article is worth reading, if only to see this picture of Ponson and his Ynoa-like eyes.
Is former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Elisha Cuthbert making a Josh Hamilton-like comeback or does Women's Health magazine just have a good air-brushing team?
LaVelle E. Neal IIIannounced that there will not be a weekly minor-league report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this season because "there just isn't any space available to do it the right way." You know, because the newspaper's sports section obviously needs to save up all the space it possibly can for a few more reprinted Associated Press articles and 2,000-word Sid Hartman columns. Wouldn't want to clog up the pages with any unique, Minnesota-specific content that can't be found everywhere else.
Had it been a regular-season game, Delmon Younghitting into four double plays Wednesday would have tied the all-time MLB record. Young hit into the sixth-most double plays in baseball during the past two seasons, so the more surprising thing is that he also homered in the game.
Not only is my childhood friend Jeremy Nerengetting good press in Madison, here's better than me at the weight-loss thing without even trying (or needing).
If you're curious about how sabermetric-style statistical analysis is changing the NBA, Bill Simmons' recent podcast with Rockets general manager and admitted stathead Daryl Moreyis a must-listen.
For anyone wondering, AG.com reached five million visitors at 4:30 yesterday afternoon while I was in the middle of a 90-minute conference call, which gives you an idea of how glamorous the event was. I've gotten much better at keeping secrets over the years, but I'm still not good enough to stop myself from at least hinting at something in this space. So, I'll just say that there's some exciting news on the baseball-writing front coming up for me very soon and regular AG.com readers should be pleased.
Finally, in honor of Simmons ripping him at the end of the aforementioned podcast with Morey this week's AG.com-approved music video is Ray LaMontagnedoing a live version of "Trouble":