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Tuesday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while....awwwwwww!

I haven't seen any of the results yet, but yesterday was Photo Day in Maryvale. If you've ever wondered how they get the players to line up so perfectly with bland backgrounds, Tyler Barnes has a picture that might help you out.

Perhaps fittingly, Photo Day was a great day for player profiles. First, Adam McCalvy has a great look at Alcides Escobar and where he fits in the long and storied history of Venezuelan shortstops. You can tell a lot of legwork went into the story, which includes quotes from Kelvim Escobar (Alcides' cousin), Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Guillen.

Then, Tom Haudricourt has a look at Carlos Gomez, and the potential that has gotten many people excited as he works to put his game together. Dale Sveum estimates Gomez added roughly 30 points to his batting percentage with his speed last season...which means he'd be a roughly .200 hitter without it.

With that said, the center field depth chart shows just how few options the Brewers have behind Gomez. After Gomez and Jody Gerut, the next three are Jim Edmonds, who might not be able to play the position defensively at all, Lorenzo Cain, coming off a very disappointing season in the minors, and Logan Schafer, who has only spent a few days above A ball.

Speaking of Edmonds, The B-Ref Blog wonders if he's a Hall of Famer, and the case is closer than you might think. A good season with the Brewers could possibly push him over the hump.

Of course, it wouldn't be spring training without a classic cliche story: Carlos Villanueva is in the best shape of his life.

Jeff Suppan will start the Brewers first spring training game on Thursday, and In-Between Hops thinks it's possible the Brewers are getting him some early work to use as ammunition when they decide to cut him. I think the near-opposite might be true: I think the organization is getting him as much work as possible so he can have a couple of positive outings they'll use as evidence when keeping him on the team.

Elsewhere in camp minutiae:

It's looking more and more likely that a law will be in place to help control ticket scalping by Opening Day at Miller Park. reports that the Wisconsin State Senate will vote on ticket resale legislation today, and the State Assembly is expected to follow suit on Thursday.

In the minors:

  • Minor League Baseball Prospects sees your optimism for the Brewers top prospects in 2010, and is hoping to squash it quickly, before it gets out of control. As such, they've submitted these projections, which show Alcides Escobar with a .281 OBP in the majors, and Brett Lawrie with a .311 OBP in AA. 
  • Maybe they're projecting Lawrie to be impacted by the end of maple bats: Major League Baseball is banning the use of maple bats in the minors by players who haven't played in the majors and aren't on a 40-man roster.
  • Meanwhile, Baseball America notes that just three of the Brewers top 30 prospects are international players, tied for the third lowest total in baseball. It's worth noting, though, that the Brewers have gone most of the last decade without an academy in the Dominican Republic.

On predictions/projections and other stuff I didn't know what to do with:

If you haven't voiced your opinion yet today, we have a couple of opportunities for you to do so. First, stop by the Community Projections to offer your two cents on Ryan Braun's 2010 performance, then take a moment to vote in the first BCB Community Tracking Poll. I've been thrilled with the tracking poll's results: When I tried this the first time in 2008, I was lucky to get 100 responses in a week. As things stand right now, 413 people have taken this version of the poll in less than 24 hours. I'll close the voting at noon today and post the results tonight.

Around baseball:

Indians: Signed pitcher Tom Mastny to a minor league deal.
Mariners: Signed Wes Littleton to a minor league deal.
Red Sox: Claimed pitcher Casey Fien off waivers from the Tigers, and designated pitcher Gaby Hernandez for assignment.

Today in former Brewers:

Here's a cool new piece of equipment that could dramatically reduce hand/wrist injuries around baseball: The USA Today has a look at new batting gloves designed to reduce the impact of a pitched ball. A few major leaguers are already using them and the only major complaint appears to be about the color.

Spring training games haven't even started yet, but we already have our first no-hitter. Anthony Castrovince details Indians clubhouse manager Tony Amato's unpredecented performance in R.B.I. Baseball 3.

From something irrelevant that did happen to something that didn't: Contrary to reports during the game, the Pirates didn't actually come together as a team to watch Sunday's gold medal hockey game between the US and Canada. That might actually be good news, because there are dangers involved in witnessing the beauty of sport.

Dozens of unwanted free agents need your help finding new homes: Beyond the Box Score has the most heart-wrenching cry for help on their behalf you'll see all day.

On this day in 1901, future Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy jumped from the National League's Boston Beaneaters to become player/manager of the new American League's Milwaukee Brewers. Duffy would go on to hit .302/.341/.439 while managing the original Brewers to a 48-89 record in their only season in Milwaukee.

Speaking of old-time baseball in Milwaukee, thanks to Colin Fly for passing along the links to these photos from a 1909 game between Milwaukee and Chicago, providing a nice taste of the city's baseball history.

Happy birthday today to:

That's all I've got for you today, unless you've got an unused picture frame and some dented drywall.

Drink up.