I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Here’s some Fort fragments on the Wizards that might interest you:
Baseball America thinks former Wizard Jon Link will emerge as a one of those guys who was drafted late and then go on to become servicable big leaguers. In other words, he was a steal. Sadly for the Padres, Link is now within the White Sox organization.
Link, 24, was excellent last season for Double-A Birmingham, finishing with a 3.02 ERA in 56 2/3 innings as the Barons’ closer. Link struck out 66 batters, averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Link throws three pitches for strikes: a 90-92 mph fastball with some sink, a slider and a changeup. Link goes to his above-average slider for strikeouts, but his changeup is more than a show-me pitch and is an effective third weapon. There was some talk of moving Link to the starting rotation because of his three-pitch mix, but the White Sox will leave him in the bullpen. He still has to learn to harness his control, as he walked 27 batters (4.3 per nine) last year, though he was better in 2007 in high Class A when he walked just 15 batters in 58 2/3 innings (2.3 per nine).
Speaking of Baseball America, Justin Cassel the brother of former Wizards pitcher, Jack Cassel, and New England Patriots Quarterback, Matt Cassel, didn’t make it into the prospect handbook, but he did make the 32nd team.
Keeper League GM disagrees with Baseball America’s selection of Kyle Blanks as the Padres top prospect. I think I disagree with Keeper League GM, but I’ve been a fan of Blanks since he played in Fort Wayne so I am a little biased. Porter’s Prospects calls Blanks the sixth best MLB first base prospect of 2009. There’s a lot of talk that Blanks is blocked because of Adrian Gonzalez’s presence at first base, but Blanks will get an extended audition this spring while Gonzalez is plaing in the WBC. There’s also the possibility that Blanks could play outfield. I doubt it IMHO.
Former Wizard, Freddy Guzman will be in Mariner’s camp as a non roster invitee.
Speaking of Spring Taining, the Padres will have several positions up for grabs. Some former Wizards who are likely candidates for winning spots include; Matt Antonelli, Mike Ekstrom, Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, Drew Macias and Will Venable. Other former Wizards who will be in camp include; Kyle Blanks, Greg Burke, Matt Bush, Mitch Canham, Peter Ciofrone, Luis Durango, Ernesto Frieri, Chad Huffman, Mat Latos, Jose Lobaton, Jackson Quezada and Nick Schmidt.
Burke and Quezada are profiled with other Padres relievers over at Friar Forecast. Bryan Oland is also in that list.
SignOnSanDiego is projecting Cedric Hunter to been roaming Petco’s center field as a 22-year-old next season. Mabye, but the competition is fierce. They’re also counting on Nick Hundley to continue his progress this season and shore up a weak catching crop.
MadFriars recently gathered 2008 reflections from Wizards radio guy, Mike Maahs.
The Start Kyle Orton blog has a profile of two former Wizards, Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales, who are non-roster invtees of the Cubs.
The Fort Wayne Wizards came to Fort Wayne from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Looks like they’ll have baseball again in a couple years. According to ESPN, “Kevin Costner says he’s chosen the northeastern Illinois town of Zion as the location for a new team, which will be part of the Northern League in 2010.” Looks like it’s just a 20 minute drive. But heck, for all I know, they may have plenty of baseball in that area already.
Jake Peavy won the Clyde McCullough Award as the team’s top pitcher on Thursday at the Padres-UCP of San Diego County Awards Dinner. First baseman Kyle Blanks won Minor League Player of the Year. Jeremy Hefner won Pitcher of the Year. BaseballinFortWayne.com was honered with . . . nothing. It wasn’t even mentioned.