Archive for » June, 2011 «

Kings of Cork Visits Dr. Andrews

Just a friendly heads-up that the site will be going through a Tommy John surgery this weekend and may be experiencing some technical difficulties over the next few days. We are updating our servers to enhance the site’s experience and it may cause you to not find or distort certain pages.

Think of the next few days as a rehab stint. It shouldn’t last nearly as long as the usual Tommy John rehab stint (Strasburg should be back in August/September). Hopefully, the site doesn’t turn out to be a Justin Morneau.

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You’ve Been Drafted: Uncle Bud Wants You

Something to cover your boredom now that the NBA Finals and the NHL Stanley Cup are finally over.

Most baseball fans know where babies the next generation of ball players come from. The first year player draft. But how many know when the draft is and who was taken in the 1,000th round any round by their favorite team. I would guess less than 2 percent.

Good news though, The Commish here at Kings of Cork will fill you in on what you missed two weeks ago. Yes, that’s the answer to one of the sarcastic comments above. The MLB draft took place last week. The first round was on June 6th; the 2nd-30th rounds were on the 7th; and the 31st-50th rounds were on the 8th… No need to refresh your browser, you read that correctly. Round 50 was on June 8th. Why 50 rounds in the MLB draft? Each MLB team has 4 minor league affiliate teams that they need to fill rosters for. Not to mention that most top prospects just flame out so why not increase your odds of finding the next Jose Bautista by signing more than 50 guys a year.

I won’t bore you with the top high school prospects that went in the top-50 players or many of the names you have never heard of and most likely will never hear of from the 1,530 players drafted. Instead, I will fill you in on the more interesting draft picks on names you might be familiar with because of their lineage. So let’s start chopping away at the baseball family tree:

  • Dante Bichette Jr. – It isn’t difficult to figure out this players lineage. Bichette Jr was drafted in the first round by the devil New York Yankees and has already committed to the team (he previously was committed to play college ball for Georgia). In his final season as a senior in high school in Maitland Florida, he hit an amazing 0.640 with 10 homers in 30 games. His playing style is very similar to his father’s, Dante Bichette Sr. Senior was known most for playing with the Colorado Rockies after being traded from the Brewers due to the Rockies being a new expansion team. He also played with the Angles and Boston. If Bichette Jr is anything like his old man, he could be the next triple crown winner (Bichette Sr narrowly missed that feat in 1995).
  • Dereck Rodriguez – No, A-Rod does not have a long lost son or brother… This is the offspring of the infamous ‘Pudge’. Ivan Rodriguez, aka Pudge, was the first MLB catcher to amass a 100R/30HR/100RBI line in a single season and was also named the AL MVP in 1999. Dereck (his first name is actually Ivan) is not a catcher but instead plays center field for a high school in Miami and was selected in the 6th round by the Minnesota Twins. Hopefully, he isn’t the next Carlos Gomez.
  • Trevor Gretzky – Yes, that Gretzky. Trevor is “The Great One’s” 3rd child and was selected by the Cubs in the 7th round. Trevor plays 3rd base and might be Aramis’s replacement in the coming years. That is if Trevor decides to stick with Baseball. He is also a star football player whose teammates include Will Smith’s kid and Joe Montana’s kid.
  • Shawon Dunston Jr. – Another name that is recognizable by the Jr after the last name. Senior was the great shortstop for the Cubs and was on the opposite side of the bag for one of the greatest double play duo’s in the game (Dunston and Sandberg). And once again, the Cubs drafted a Shawn Dunston. This time the Cubs only had to pay an 11th round pick (instead of the 1st round pick spent on his father). Don’t worry Starlin Castro fans, Junior is not a shortstop. He’s currently an outfielder for his California High School.
  • Cameron Seitzer – This name is on this list simply for the Brewer fans. Yep, Cameron is Kevin Seitzer’s boy. Kevin endured two stints with the Brewers as their everyday third baseman and was named an All-star twice in his career. His son, however, plays first base and was selected by the Rays. Hopefully Cameron pans out because the Rays could really use a first baseman right now.
  • David Lucroy, Nick Avila – These names have to sound familiar to the NL/AL Central fans around here. David Lucroy is the younger brother of Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers and Nick Avila is the younger brother of Alex Avila for the Tigers. Who cares, right? Well, the interesting piece of information about these two is that the older brothers are catchers and the younger brothers are pitchers… AND both the Brewers and the Tigers drafted the younger brother of their starting catchers respectively. Yep, there is a possibility that 2 teams in the Majors will have a pitcher/catcher brother combo. This hasn’t been done since the 1962 season where Norm Sherry caught for his brother Larry Sherry for the LA Dodgers. And the brother pitcher/catcher battery has only been completed 10 times since 1877 in MLB history. Lucroy was taken in the 29th round by the Brewers while Avila was taken in the 37th round by the Tigers. It will be interesting if both teams accomplish this feat in the same season.
  • Bryan Harper – This is the same Harper as last year’s number one overall pick, Bryce Harper. The difference is that Bryan is the older brother and he went 29 rounds later than his brother did by being drafted in the 30th round. But, like Lucroy and Avila, the Nationals drafted Bryan Harper as well. Too bad Bryce is being moved from catcher to outfield by the Nationals organization, otherwise the Harpers would be listed with Lucroy and Avila above since Bryan is a south-paw pitcher. Cub fans can be offended since they drafted Bryan in round 29 in 2010 but couldn’t convince him to sign.
  • Trent Boras – If this name doesn’t sound familiar, please refer to this link. Yes, this is the offspring of Scott Boras. The guy known and dreaded by every Major League team. If an organization is looking to sign a contract and that player is a client of Scott Boras, they better have their loan agency or loan sharks on call because Boras will take any team to the cleaners (see Barry Zito’s contract with the Giants, any of A-Rod’s contracts, or Dice-K’s contract). So what sorry team drafted Boras’ kid… the Milwaukee Brewers drafted him in round 30 as a high school third baseman. The last thing the Brewers need is another Boras’ client (I suppose someone has to replace Prince. Hopefully, Trent doesn’t suck as much as Carlos Gomez).
  • Casey Rasmus – For the Red Bird fans, Casey is Colby Rasmus’ younger brother. Yet another team drafting a current player’s brother. The Cardinals took Casey in the 36th round as a potential replacement to Yadier Molina once his knees give out behind the plate.
  • Brett Geren, Matthew Scioscia, Shane Farrell – These names may be a bit more obscure unless you have been brushing up on your baseball managers list lately. Brett Geren was drafted in the 42nd round and is the son of the recently fired Oakland manager Bob Geren. Matthew Scioscia and Shane Farrell were both drafted in round 46th. Scioscia is the son of current Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Farrell is the son of current Blue Jays manager John Farrell. These picks seem like management bribery to ensure their sons have jobs after high school.
  • Photo by Associated Press

    Kyle Gaedele – This name requires an eraser to find the baseball lineage. Take the last ‘e’ off the name and you have the great-nephew to the Saint Louis Browns’ greatest gimmick in history. Eddie Gaedel popped out of a papier-meche cake in between games of a double header and stood a mere 3-feet 7-inches. He then proceeded to pinch hit and recorded a walk on four straight balls before being removed for a pinch runner. His jersey is still on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame bearing the number ‘1/8’. Don’t worry Padre fans, the team’s 6th round pick, Kyle, is almost 3-feet taller than his great uncle and hit 17 homers for Valparaiso. However, it would be entertaining for Kyle to jump out of a cake for his Major League debut.
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May Ends Much Like It Began: Derby Month In Review

I thought the saying went “April Showers Bring May Flowers”… But May definitely brought the rainouts; and Jay Bruce was the one making it rain. This is the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby month of May in review.

With two months in the books, the top of the leader board doesn’t look a whole lot different than a month ago, but there definitely has been some mix ups in the middle. There are three of the top five teams from April still in the top five. Of those three, the top two have only switched places. I believe Big Poppe Pill Poppers took the lead from The Geez on May 1st and hasn’t looked back (I did make the comment that that team was the team to beat). But I can’t give credit where credit isn’t due… the top-10 teams have one thing in common and should send thank you cards to one player. No, the top-10 did not choose 1 player in common, but what they did do was to not choose one player in common. Not a single team in the top-10 chose Albert Pujols. Yes, Albert went on a 100 At-bat power hiatus in the month of May and the 33 teams who did not take him are thanking him for keeping their teams in the running for the King of Cork title (Aubrey Huff hit more home runs on June 2 than Pujols hit the entire month of May).

It is still impressive to have the same top two teams in only the second month of the Derby. Usually, there is a lot of swapping atop the standings early on in the Derby. So here’s a healthy slap on the rear to Big Poppe Pill Poppers and The Geez. The third place team, Kettle Poppers, gets to thank Bruce Almighty for propelling his team up the standings (Bruce hit 12 long balls in May, the most by any player chosen in the derby). And the Devil Dogs is hanging on to Joey Bats’ 11 dingers in May, which was almost half of the Devil Dogs total May HR count. We call the rest of that team a Jansport (because Bautista is carrying the rest of the HR Derby team on his back).

The other big winners in May were, yours truly, Cream City’s Murderer’s Row and Pick Me Out A Winner, Bobby. The Commish’s team was the only team to hit more homers than the Pill Poppers with 36 home runs (with the team’s Group E player out two-thirds the month of May). This has money laundering written all over it. Pick Me Out A Winner, Bobby still hasn’t topped 50th place. BUT… that team deserves a round of applause for increasing the team’s home run total by nearly 700-percent by hitting 26 home runs in May (third most in the month). The standings are pretty tight still (only 15 homers separate 4th and 35th) so there is still hope for all the teams in the Derby.

The big losers in the month of May… Bombs Away and F! the Cubs (seriously, the Cubs suck). Both of these teams went from 25 homers in April (and the top third of the standings) to 8 homers in May. Talk about needing a slump buster. The other losers in May… one-third of the entire Derby. Yes, 19 teams have already used their one and only trade of the season with 4 total months left. And it doesn’t look like many other teams are in the clear as Jason Heyward is getting close to being trade eligible.

That pretty much wraps up May. It seems like the wet weather has finally moved out (seriously, 32 rainouts so far, that’s ridiculous) and warmer weather is moving in. The warm weather seems to have already improved batting statistics as we saw 46 dingers on May 30th (including Pujols 2nd of the month of May). Let the Mashing begin.

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