FR     M THE BULLPEN

       Official Publication of the

        Hot Stove League

         Eastern Nebraska Division

2001 Season                        Edition No. 30                          November 2, 2001

Beloved Baseball Brethren:

 

     All right, maybe beloved is a little bit strong, but you are certainly all my Baseball Brethren, which you will each prove decisively when you attend the Itchmeisterís celebratory fete for me on Friday, November 23.  I donít have many of the details yet, but you should probably expect a cash bar and that Itchieís immediate family members will be hawking Girl Scout cookies, school fund-raising knickknacks and handmade jewelry.  Possibly even overstocked stuffed pheasants from Itchieís basement lab.  This is the only explanation I have been able to come up with for Itchieís willingness to throw a party for moi, but purity of motives notwithstanding, it figures to be one heckuva gas.  The Itchmeister really knows how to throw a party.

 

POINTS AND STUFF

 

     I always like to look back at the end of the season and see how the first couple of rounds turned out for the various owners in terms of end-of-season points.  Here we are for the 2001 Draft:

 

ROUND 1

Team

Player

Points

Wahoos

Pedro Martinez

342

Reds

Alex Rodriguez

871

Skipjacks

Randy Johnson

747

Redbirds

Kevin Brown

291

Senators

Todd Helton

829

Blues

Mike Mussina

531

Chiefs

Ivan Rodriguez

465

Tigers

Greg Maddux

526

Bombers

Derek Jeter

600

Cubs*

Mike Piazza

595

Tribe

Jeff Bagwell

690

Pirates

Carlos Delgado

603

 

 

ROUND 2

Team

Player

Points

Wahoos

N. Garciaparra

70

Reds

V. Guerrero

626

Skipjacks

Tim Hudson

490

Redbirds

Jeff Kent

630

Senators

Manny Ramirez

642

Blues

Andruw Jones

506

Chiefs

Ken Griffey, Jr.

354

Tigers

Robby Alomar

739

Bombers

Bartolo Colon

367

Cubs*

Edg. Alfonzo

355

Tribe

Sammy Sosa

897

Pirates

Mig Tejada

656

 

     ē  So who was the best pick in the first round?  You certainly couldnít argue with either A-Rod, the third overall point-getter with 871 points, and at the difficult shortstop position; or the Big Unit, who blew away the pitching competition with 747 points.  The Reds and the Skipjacks clearly both got what they were hoping for with their first round picks, as did the Senators with Helton (829) and the Tribe with Bagwell (690).  Possum will argue that the biggest disappointment in Round 1 was Pedro Martinez, with only 342 points because of his mid-season injury, but one must remember that Pedro has a known injury history and is always going to be a calculated risk.  Kevin Brown, picked fourth overall by the Redbirds, was in my book a bigger disappointment because he has historically been healthy as a horse and typically takes the ball 34-36 times a year.  There were about a thousand different starting pitchers available in the last five rounds or in the supplemental draft who could have gotten Tirebiter at least the 291 points accrued by Brownie.

 

 

     ē  Big Guy may whine that Maddux had a down year with 526 points, but this was still good enough for the fifth highest starting pitcher performance, and it seems rather clear that Maddux is indeed past his prime.

 

     ē  The best pick of Round 2 clearly had to be Sammy Sosa, who was picked 11th in the second round of the draft, 23rd overall.  Sammy chalked up 897 points, second only to Bondsís 923.  Maybe next year Sammy will finally get the respect he deserves.

 

     ē  The biggest disappointment in Round 2 was either Garciaparra with 70 points (but again, he was hurt); or Griffey with 354 points (also primarily due to his injuries); or Edgardo Alfonso, who scored a shockingly low 355 points at an anemic clip of 2.9 PPG.  Andruw Jones with 506 and Bart Colon with 367 were also likely disappointments for their respective managers, Stretch and Mouse, but then they didnít belong in the second round anyway, so what did they expect?

 

     ē  The best pick of the third round was hands down Barry Bonds, who scored a whopping 923 points in perhaps the best one-man hitting performance for a season in the annals of the game.  Just think, Mouse, if you had taken Bonds in the second instead of Bart Colon, you would have had 556 more points from your second round pick, and might have had a shot at finishing in 10th instead of 11th.  On the other hand, you probably would have screwed the pooch by trading away Bonds and Jeter and Rivera for three second-rate players while on the league Trip, and cited again for another MWI(1).  But itís fun to dream, isnít it?

 

     ē  Though modesty makes it difficult for me, I should probably mention my own selection of Curt Schilling in the third round of the Draft as one of the more brilliant selections of the 2001 campaign.  Schilling, the 29th overall player selected and the ninth pitcher taken in the Draft, finished as the second-best pitcher with 681 points, at a sizzling 19.4 PPG.  Schilling clearly was the Senatorsí MVP in this championship season.

 

Top Individual Performances

 

     Now letís look at the top scoring hitters and pitchers in order of points scored, and at where they were taken in this yearís draft:

 

__________

(1)  Managing while intoxicated.

 

 

HITTERS

 

Player

DftTeam

Pnts/PPG

R/ODO(2)

1.

Bonds

Wahoos

923/6.0

3/25

2.

Sosa

Tribe

897/5.6

2/23

3.

A-Rod

Reds

871/5.4

1/2

4.

L.Gonzalez

Cubs*

846/5.2

10/111

5.

Helton

Senators

829/5.2

1/5

6.

Boone

Wahoos

766/4.8

FA

7.

Alomar

Tigers

739/4.7

2/20

8.

Giambi

Wahoos

728/4.7

4/37

9.

Aurilia

Tribe

727/4.7

15/179

10.

Green

Redbirds

712/4.4

6/69

11.

Berkman

Pirates

709/4.5

7/73

12.

Walker

Tribe

696/4.9

3/35

13.

Bagwell

Tribe

690/4.3

1/11

14.

Pujols

Blues

686/4.3

FA

15.

C.Jones

Reds

675/4.2

2/26

16.

Thome

Reds

660/4.2

6/81

17.

Abreu

Redbirds

655/4.0

5/52

18.

Giles

Skipjacks

651/4.1

3/27

19.

Ramirez

Senators

642/4.5

2/17

20.

Palmeiro

Cubs*

637/4.0

5/58

 

STARTING PITCHERS

 

Player

DftTeam

Pnts/PPG

R/ODO

1.

RJ

Skipjacks

747/21.3

1/3

2.

Schilling

Senators

681/19.4

3/29

3.

Mussina

Blues

531/15.6

1/6

4.

Garcia

Blues

530/15.6

7/79

5.

Maddux

Tigers

526/15.5

1/8

6.

Clemens

Redbirds

508/15.4

4/40

7.

Morris

Wahoos

505/14.8

18/216

8.

Mulder

Senators

499/14.7

22/257

9.

Park

Redbirds

483/13.7

3/28

10.

Hudson

Skipjacks

490/14.0

2/15

11.

Vazquez

Wahoos

489/15.3

8/96

12.

Lieber

Bombers

488/14.4

10/112

13.

Moyer

Chiefs

477/14.4

14/160

14.

Zito

Reds

474/13.5

5/50

15.

Buehrle

Pirates

468/14.6

FA

 

 

__________

 

(2)  Round/overall draft order.

 

CLOSERS

 

Player

DftTeam

Pnts/PPG

R/ODO

1.

Rivera

Bombers

570/8.0

4/45

2.

Nen

Skipjacks

525/6.6

5/51

3.

Benitez

Chiefs

501/6.9

5/55

4.

Foulke

Cubs*

501/7.0

7/75

5.

Mesa

Skipjacks

482/6.8

FA

 

     Ż  You could certainly argue that Shamuís pick of Luis Gonzalez in the 10th round with the 111th pick was the savviest managerial decision on Draft Day.  If it wasnít Shamu, that is.  Wonder whose draft sheet he rubbernecked Gonzoís name from?

 

     Ż Getting Boone as a free agent ranks as one of the top free agent heists of all time.  Whatís interesting about it is that Boonie didnít even go during the first free agent draft on April 9.  In that first FA draft, Possum liked Pedro Astacio and Tino Martinez better.  Moreover, when Possum picked up Boone in the second free agent draft on April 16, ten other teams had the chance to pick him up first, as the Wahoos were in second place at the time with 760 points, trailing only the Pirates with 795.  The Blues, who drafted first that week, picked up Albert Pujols in the first round, so it is understandable why McBlunder passed on Boone.  The Skipjacks, who drafted second that week, picked up Jose Mesa, who actually turned out to be one heckuva pick, and almost as much of a Blind Pig selection as Boone.  The Tigers then picked up Lou Prokopec, followed by the Bombers with C.C. Sabathia, then the Reds with Odalis Perez, then the Tribe with Chris Michalak (who?), then the Redbirds with David Ortiz (nice), the Senators with Makoto Suzuki (equally nice), then the Cubs* with Armando Rios, and then finally, the Wahoos with Bret Boone.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

     Ż  I still canít believe that last yearís AL MVP, Giambi, lasted until the fourth round for the Wahoos.  What were we thinking?

 

     Ż  I doubt that Rich Aurilia will last until the 15th round next year.  An excellent pick by U-Bob.

 

     Ż  Iím shocked that Shecky Green scored 712 points playing at Chavez Ravine.  The guy really is a hitter. 

 

     Ż  With all of Bobís whining about Larry Walker, the guy still finished with 696 points, twelfth best among hitters.  His 4.9 PPG was the sixth best, just behind Helton.

 

     Ż  How long will Rafael Palmeiro keep playing at the same high level?  I keep writing him off every year.

 

     Ż  Amazing how far ahead of the rest of the pack RJ and Schilling were this year.  150 points separated Schilling from No. 3 pitcher Mussina.  Only 63 points separated Mussina in third from Buehrle at No. 15. 

 

 

 

     Ż  Possumís pick of Matt Morris in the 18th round was a fabulous selection, since Morris finished seventh overall among starting pitchers.  However, my selection of Mark Mulder in the 22nd round wasnít bad either, since he finished only 6 points behind Morris, which allowed me to use my 18th round pick to select Steve Karsay.

 

     Ż  No wonder Bob was so happy on Draft Day.  He drafted hitters that finished the season 2nd (Sosa), 9th (Aurilia), 12th (Walker) and 13th (Bagwell).  Imagine, drafting four of the top thirteen hitters right from the get-go, and still finishing the season in 5th place.  Do you suppose the fact that he didnít draft a single pitcher who finished in the top 15 had anything to do with it?  Nah!!

 

SHORT STOPS

 

     w I forgot to mention after my September trip to PNC Park in Pittsburgh that there is no chance that former Senator (now Pittsburgh Pirate) reliever Mike Fetters will ever be asked to pose as the After specimen in a Richard Simmons infomercial.  The guy makes Rich Garces look anorexic.  Talk about living the good life.

 

     w Is there anyone gutsier than Roger Clemens?  Not in my book.  The guy takes the mound in Game 3 of the World Series, clenches his teeth to get through the pain of his bad hammy and other injuries, and wills his Yankees to victory over the Diamondbacks.  What a gutty, gutsy, gritty ballplayer.  I canít wait for the guy to get the opportunity to hit for himself in Game 7 of the Series, so we can see just how unafraid of Schilling he will be.  Heck, heíll probably hit a screamer up the middle and take Curtís stirrups off.

 

     w Kudos to Larry Walker, one of my favorite players of all time, for winning his third National League batting title, besting his healthier, more youthful teammate, Todd Helton.  Like Clemens in the AL, thereís nobody in the Senior Circuit who plays through more pain than Larry Walker.  You absolutely have to love him, and even if you donít love him, you have to respect the way he plays with pain.

 

     w I couldnít believe my eyes when I saw that Julio Franco was starting at first base for the Braves during the playoffs.  I mean, didnít this guy retire fifteen years ago to play tenor sax with the Count Basie orchestra?  Yeah, I guess that I had heard that he came back during the year, but I didnít realize that he was starting for the playoff-bound Braves.  In looking through my last couple of issues of Whoís Who in Baseball, it appears that Franco hadnít had a single AB since about í97.  Amazing.

 

     w Itís just one manís opinion, I know, but donít you think that the music world is ready for a black rap/country crossover artist?  Isnít the world ready for a Charlie Ice Pride?

 

 

 

     w I want the names of each and every one of you who were backbiting Frankie S. when he called Crouchís number on the naked bootleg on 2nd and goal during the drive to the OU goal line on Saturday.  It was an absolutely great call that didnít work because the defender made an absolutely great play.  Period.  End of story.  Anybody who thinks differently probably also was second-guessing Brenlyís decision to pull Schilling after seven on Wednesday night.  íFess up, armchair quarterbacks and managers.

 

NOSTRADAMUS, JR.

 

     Looking back at my April 6 issue of From the Bullpen, in which I included my Predicted Order of Finishes, I see that I picked the Wahoos No. 1, the Senators No. 2, the Reds No. 3, the Skipjacks No. 5, the Cubs* No. 6 and the Pirates No. 8.  Pretty darned close, wonít you admit?  I was only really wrong on the Bronx Bombers, who I picked to finish 4th but who finished in 11th, and the Blues, who I picked for dead last but who finished in 8th place.  Oh, yeah, and I thought the Tribe would finish in 10th, but they managed to end the year in 5th.  Big deal.

 

 

ON A SERIOUS NOTE

 

     Some of you may have heard that Ted was recently diagnosed with an auditory neuroma which has been causing his recent hearing difficulties, and will have to be operated on in the near future.  Ted explained that this is a type of brain tumor that is almost always benign, but which will continue to grow if not removed and which needs to be attended to by a surgeon.  As those of you who have talked with Ted know, he has an absolutely great outlook on the whole situation, notwithstanding the fact that he is going to have his grape operated on and will likely lose his hearing in the affected ear. 

 

     Please keep Ted and his family in your thoughts and prayers, as we wish him a speedy and full recovery.

 

     Thatís all, folks.  See you November 23rd at the Thielen abode.

 

 

                                                Skipper

 

 

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