1) Answers to questions
Indians VP of Player Development Ross Atkins answered questions about Tribe prospects, including what the team is working with Dorssys Paulino on this offseason, and the outfielder Atkins calls "one of our best surprises." He's asked where Clint Frazier will be to begin 2014, but he avoids naming a destination (while praising Frazier), perhaps because one has not yet been determined. Lake County makes sense, but given Frazier's talent, I hope he's in Carolina before the year ends.
2) Manny be Junior
Manny Ramirez Jr. has signed to play college ball at the University of San Francisco. (link with video) The son of one of the best hitters in Indians history is a 6'4" first baseman. "He is a very talented hitter, has a chance to hit in the middle of our line-up, and provide us with a great approach as a hitter and defensive first baseman," says USF head coach Nino Giarratano. If Ramirez Jr. were seen as a serious prospect, he'd likely be in the minors right now, or playing for a bigger collegiate program, but it's still fun to know he's out there.
3) Who's the best from your hometown?
Jason Linden at The Hardball Times has put together an all-time lineup of players who weren't even the best ever from their hometown, inspired by the somewhat well-known fact that Stan Musial and Ken Griffey Jr. were both born in Donora, Pennsylvania.
The best player born in my hometown of Oak Park, Illinois was Johnny Rigney, who pitched 8 seasons with the White Sox in the 1930s and 40s and was one of the very best pitchers in baseball in 1940. Or, since I was born in Chicago, maybe it's Rickey Henderson I should be counting as the best from my hometown (with Kirby Puckett as the second-best).
4) Remember him?
The Braves have hired former Indians GM John Hart as senior advisor to their baseball operations department. In recent years Hart has held a similar position with the Rangers, as well as working as a studio analyst for MLB Network.
The Angels have traded Peter Bourjos to the Cardinals for third baseman David Freese. David Freese has a higher profile, mostly because of his incredible performance during the 2011 postseason, but he was only a league-average hitter in 2013, and his defense was weak. Bourjos is a light-hitting center fielder with solid defensive skills. The Steamer projection system has each player being worth ~2.5 wins in 2014.
Speaking of center fielders, the Mets have signed Chris Young to a 1-year $7 million deal. Young has been a league-average hitter in recent years (with lower production in 2013 due in large part to a .237 BABIP, 41 points below his career figure entering this season. He play solid defense as well. Steamer has Young at 1.7 WAR in 97 games in 2014, a bit above average for that amount of playing time.
6) Off topic
Catching Fire, the second entry in the 'Hunger Games' series hits theaters this weekend. The books are enjoyable enough, and I thought they did a pretty good job with the first movie. I can't say I loved it, but it's got me thinking about the second I entries I do love.
Favorite movies that were second in a series:
6) Toy Story 2
5) The Dark Knight
4) The Godfather 2
3) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
2) LOTR: The Two Towers
1) The Empire Strikes Back