• '09 No.1 overall pick pitcher Stephen Strasburg makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance at the beginning of an article by New York Daily News' writer Adam Rubin entitled,"Who's the best? Me! New York Mets ace Johan Santana proclaims he's best in National League East", where the Nationals' 21-year-old right-hander is quickly dismissed as competition for the New York Mets' left-handed ace, Johan Santana, who, Mr. Rubin writes, could've selected the Phillies' new ace Roy Halladay or the Marlins' Josh Johnson when asked who the best pitcher in the NL East was, but instead responded, "'In our division?...Santana," naming himself as the Division's top arm. As for the Nationals' potential-future-ace, Mr. Rubin writes that Strasburg can't (and I agree shouldn't) even be considered in the same league as Santana yet:
"Stephen Strasburg, the flame-throwing top overall pick in last year's draft? Please. He hasn't even thrown a pitch yet for the Nationals."
• I wonder if anyone on the Mets will have the nerve to try to beat the two-time defending NL Champs to the punch and declare their team the class of the NL East this Spring...
• All three prospects identified by ESPN.com's Keith Law as those who should be under consideration for the no.1 overall pick in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft (which is your reward for watching 103 losses) were in action last night with College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper playing a doubleheader in Henderson, Nevada's Morse Stadium, while Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire was on the mound in Atlanta's Russell Chandler Stadium, and LSU righty Anthony Ranaudo started the twenty-ten campaign at home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana's Alex Box Stadium...How did each of them fare? Friday's results after the JUMP...
• Chien-Ming Wang's Front Page News...
CSN catcher Bryce Harper hit his 4th HR of 2010 in the second game of Friday's CSN Coyotes' doubleheader against Chipola College (FLA) and Cypress College (CAL), which was part of the 9th Annual CSN Coyote Slugout. The College of Southern Nevada dropped that second game 12-7 in spite of Harper's HR, a two-run blast in the 7th that was his one hit in 3 AB's to go with 2 walks and 2 K's. In the first game against Chipola College, Harper was 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored in a 9-1 win, leaving the 17-year-old freshman hitting .368 with a .448 SLG and a .737 SLG in 15 games over which he's collected 7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR's and 18 RBI's.
Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire threw 7.0 scoreless innings in a 4-0 shutout over Missouri State in his twenty-ten debut for the Yellow Jackets, allowing 5 hits and striking out 10 for his first win of the season following a 2009 campaign in which the 20-year-old, 6'6'', 218lb+ starter was (11-2) with a 3.50 ERA in 16 starts and 100.1 IP over which he K'd 118 (10.5 K/9) and walked 41 (3.68 BB/9) while holding opponents to a .232 BAA.
6'7'' right-hander Anthony Ranaudo was on the mound for the LSU Tigers in their first game of the twenty-ten campaign, throwing a one-hitter over 5.0 scoreless innings in which he walked 2 and K'd 6 in what was eventually a 5-4 win over Centenary. Ranaudo's following up on a (12-3) '09 season that saw the Tigers win the College World Series with Ranaudo posting a 3.04 ERA over 19 G and 124.1 IP in which he walked 50 BB, (3.6 BB/9) and struck out 159 (11.5 K/9).
• Chien-Ming Wang's Big News...
29-year-old Chien-Ming Wang was the talk of Spring Training in Viera, Florida yesterday as the former NY Yankees' right-hander was introduced to what MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported in an article entitled, "Nationals unveil newly signed Wang", was about "40 media members" who gathered to see the second free agent starter signed this winter put on the home white Nationals jersey and Curly-W cap. In the article, Mr. Ladson quotes DC GM Mike Rizzo explaining that Washington took a long look at Wang's medical records before committing to a 1-year/$2 million dollar deal with the 5-year MLB veteran who underwent surgery to repair his right shoulder capsule, (which you'll recall is the fibrous membrane that surrounds the joint in the shoulder):
"'We are confident that his shoulder is going to bounce back, and he will pitch pain free and injury free. If that's the case, then we feel we have ourselves a front-of-the-rotation starter who has proven it on the biggest stage in baseball.'"
While Chien-Ming Wang's introduction was by far the biggest story followed by the Nationals beat writers on the first day pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training, his decision to sign with the nation's capital's favorite MLB team was national news in China:
建仔披國民隊戰袍亮相 尋求新開始 (via ChinaTimes)
With positive estimates saying Wang will return to the mound for the Nationals by May, Ross Detwiler going down with a hip injury yesterday and recent rumors that Stephen Strasburg will likely start the season in the minors, DC Skipper Jim Riggleman told MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr in an interview entitled, "Riggleman's thoughts on Chien-Ming Wang", that Washington will have a chance to take a good look at some of the other Nationals' pitchers this Spring:
"'We are trying to do everything we can to improve because we know (Wang) will likely not be ready early in the season. This could be a positive for us actually and give opportunities for Garrett Mock, Collin Balester and others to get more time to show what they can do."
Balester, was briefly mentioned in all the talk about Chien-Ming Wang signing yesterday, as he graciously handed over his trademark #40 to the Nationals' newest pitcher, but Balester also provided what was by far the best quote of the first official day of Spring, as he told Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, as quoted in a National Journal post entitled, "Day one notes", that he had been given the #99 instead, which he had asked for last Spring after having handed the #40 over to Daniel Cabrera:
"'In 2009 I was denied,' Balester said. 'But I've got the mustache -- or the mus-stature now.' Balester pondered his invented word and added, 'I could clean out my Scrabble rack with that."
Seriously..How can you not pull for Collin Balester to make the 2010 rotation?
What will Day Two of Spring Training bring...