Wooden's World of Baseball

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

With the close of the Arizona Fall League yesterday, affiliated baseball is done for year. Actually, with the fold of the Florida Winter League, so is independent baseball (seriously, they thought they could compete with football in the fall? That's like challenging basketball in Indiana).

The WBC has pushed everything back a week this year, so we're not quite done yet with the antiquated early-week announcements of the ROTYs, Cy Young Awards, and the MVPs. If there's one thing that might improve baseball's standing with the next generation, it might be to give in and create an awards show to give out all the hardware at once. I cringe to write that, because I have visions of the ESPYs in my head, but with its own network, it's also an opportunity for MLB to improve.

Quick note on the awards: I think it's an amazing thing that the BBWWA is starting to recognize that great pitching isn't just who gets the most wins or has the lowest ERA. The blogosphere championed Zack Greinke and got their wish. I do think, however, throwing six shutout innings against Boston was the difference. Had he had only a "good" outing (e.g. 2 or 3 runs over 6 or 7 innings), I don't think he would have gotten it as the dinosaurs would have chalked everything up to the weak division (never mind KC was the worst defensive team in baseball).

So now it's the offseason hot stove, though as a guy that leans towards the minors these days, the run-up to the Rule V draft. Some folks in Washington were in a tizzy that Josh Wilkie, who was sent to the AFL, was left unprotected. These are the same fans that don't understand the concept of roster maneuvering. Or that a guy taken in the Rule 5 must be on the 25-man roster.
No, in their little minds, the 40-man roster today represents the teams best 40 players instead of the 40 players that the team would like to protect at the deadline for filing.

In the big picture, the Rule 5 draft is rarely more than an exercise in deck-chair shuffling. Pitchers, especially hard-throwing relievers, are usually the ones to go because they can be hidden in the back of the bullpen. What's probably more interesting are the guys that get shifted in the AA and AAA phases, as I believe that's where the real interesting things can happen. Unfortunately, there is very little coverage and speculation because, like a lot of things transaction-related, MLB likes to keep it murky. This is the best one I've found online, and even it's only slightly more substantial than Sarah Palin.

Until next time... (and I'm trying to get this back to something more regular, promise.)