Picks of the Pen (8/9): Welcome Kris!

This weeks collection of links feature a new name.  Kris Willis, Tomahawk Take’s Lead Writer, has joined the Call to the Pen staff.  He will be publishing a regular MLB power rankings column every Friday.  That column will make it’s debut this week.  I know you can’t wait, but maybe these links will help pass the time.

Justin:

As we all know, the Japanese are incapable of letting us have anything.  This week, it was scrambling up walls to catch baseballs. What was the best catch in MLB this year?  Nothing even close to this warped slice of insanity.

At least nobody had to listen to the overzealous “ZOMFGs” of an American baseball announcer drooling all over something outside of “No runs, hits, or errors.”  Jeremy Stewart explains how boisterous idiots with microphones have become a mainstay of the American baseball scene.

Brian:

Peter Gammons discusses the difficulty of being a small-market team in baseball. He focused on the Indians, Royals and Pirates and their struggles to compete and keep fans interested even when the teams aren’t performing at a high level.

Mat Germain over at Jays Journal discusses some of the moves the Blue Jays have made this year and the impressive young talent within the organization. There is a sense of pride for Blue Jays fans and players alike as the team looks towards their bright future in the AL East.

John:

With Alex Rodriguez recently reaching the 600 home run mark, people all across the country are crying foul. Fans and writers alike are screaming over ARod’s accomplishment and the usual claims of cheating are present full force. With that in mind, read Joe Posnanski’s look at the topic of steroids as he breaks down Eric Walker’s research into the effects of steroids on the game.  As Joe asks, what if we are wrong about all this?

Meanwhile, over at Reviewing the Brew, Dave McGrath says he won’t be surprised if Milwaukee fans are lamenting the three-year extension given to OF Corey Hart by this time next year. I have to agree, Milwaukee seems to have spent foolishly here, especially when you consider that outfielders with the defensive limitations that Hart has can typically be had via free agency for a fraction of what he will make over the next three seasons.

Nathaniel:

Jeff Passan makes a compelling argument for changing some of the draft rules in light of what’s happened with Arizona first-rounder Barret Loux.

Rum Bunter reports on the recent firings of two Pirates coaches.

Michael:

Colin Wyers takes on the admirable task of quantifying defense without using any subjective data. His first attempt is described here, and he expounds on his work and the adjustments made here.

New CttP member Kris Willis from Tomahawk Take discusses some of his personal highlights from SABR 40. Sounds like Kris had a very interesting time, and kudos to him for getting full media credentials to go. I was in Atlanta that weekend and didn’t fork up the cash to go, but from eveyrthing that I have heard from the event, it was well worth it. I’ll definitely have to try and make it next time.

Kris:

ESPNBoston.com’s Joe McDonald writes about Mike Lowell being glad to be back in the picture for the Red Sox. After being the subject of trade rumors and an afterthought, Lowell is back at third base for the Red Sox due to Kevin Youkilis; injury. Lowell admits to being disappointed with a lack of playing time but has handled the situation like a veteran should by coming to work everyday.

Brand new Climbing Tal’s Hill writer Evan Riney talks about the Houston Astros signing their top draft pick, #8 overall selection Delino Deshields Jr. Like Evan I remember Deshields Sr coming up with the Expos as a very productive second baseman. Being from Georgia myself I have followed Deshields Jr’s career at Woodward Academy in College Park Ga and now will continue to watch as he travels through the minors on his way to the Houston Astros.

Ryne:

Tim Kurkjian breaks down Torii Hunter’s move from center field to right field. It’s weird to see one of the best of this generation to roam center move over, but it’s all about winning. The move makes the Angels better as they try to find any hope for the playoffs.

Steve Engbloom at Blog Red Machine tells us why following trends can be dangerous in baseball. As the Reds battle for a division title, some key players have gone M.I.A. at the same time. That can’t be good.

Jordan:

On a much deserved vacation.  He will return next week.

Mat:

Alex Raskin of MiLB.com takes us through Tyler Matzek’s latest start. As one of my favorite up-and-coming SP prospects, Tyler figures to move quickly through the Rockies system. Tyler mentions in the article that he used mostly his fastball with handfuls of sliders or change ups. Sure, that’ll work in LoA, but I hope he’s working on refining his secondary stuff, because he’s got one talented arm.

Brian Phair of BoSox Injection feels that John Lackey is simply not getting the job done.

Wally:

From Royals Review comes a look back at Baseball America’s Top-10 prospect lists from 2006 to 2008 with the goal of keeping prospects in perspective.

Apparently the Arizona Diamondbacks had a bobblehead day to celebrate Luis Gonzalez, but the team completely screwed up the execution of the give away.  As a result, Scott Allen tells certain inconsiderate fans where they can shove it.

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Topics: Alex Raskin, Alex Rodriguez, Arizona Diamondbacks, Barret Loux, Blog Red Machine, BoSox Injection, Brian Phair, Climbing Tal's Hill, Colin Wyers, Corey Hart, Dave McGrath, Delino DeShields Jr., Eric Walker, Evan Riney, Houston Astros, Jays Journal, Jeff Passan, Jeremy Stewart, Joe McDonald, Joe Posnanski, Kevin Youkilis, Kris Willis, Luis Gonzalez, Mat Germain, Mike Lowell, Peter Gammons, Reviewing The Brew, Royals Review, Rum Bunter, Scott Allen, Steve Engbloom, Tim Kurkjian, Tomahawk Take, Torii Hunter, Tyler Matzek

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