May 17, 2009

IMPORTING THE SUPERIOR CATCHER:

Carolina's Dustin Ackley has 'it' (Peter Gammons, May 16, 2009, ESPN)

Eastern League scouts all love Jhonatan "The Onion" Solano, the 23-year-old Harrisburg catcher who is hitting .298 for the Nationals' Double-A club. Why "The Onion"? Solano couldn't get signed playing at home in Barran Quilla, Colombia. He heard about a tryout across the border in Venezuela, but because he didn't have a visa, he climbed aboard a truck carrying onions, hid out beneath the produce, smuggled his way into Venezuela and got signed. [...]

When Ryan Zimmerman had his hit streak end at 30 games Wednesday, players across all eras reminded us that one reason Joe DiMaggio's 56-game streak may be untouchable is that hitters today face so many different pitchers, not only because of the bullpen specialization, but also because of expansion, which means that whereas in an eight-team league clubs played one another 22 times, now, outside of their own divisions, clubs get one look at some opposing starters. When Joe D got to 56 games in 1941, he had faced 53 pitchers in the 56 games. When Pete Rose got to 44 games in 1978, he had faced 60 pitchers in those 44 games. Zimmerman faced 68 different pitchers in his 30 games.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2009 8:32 AM
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