When you hear “This is something he’s going to have to live with the rest of his life**,” you think some poor fellow:
- A) got a rash on his perineum after sitting on a wet toilet seat in Mazatlan;
- B) must deal with wave after wave of spam after he accidentally registered with Bleacher Report;
- C) is coping with the guilt of causing thousands of deaths by launching a war using questionable intelligence about WMDs;
- D) walked in on his parents smooshin’;
- E) is Jorge Posada.
That was a lot of Jorge Posada, you guys. Too much Jorge Posada. Let’s not talk about Jorge Posada ever again. Except maybe once more in Item B:
You saw this brawl between the Yankees’ and Red Sox’ low-A rosters, yeah?
12th President of the United States Yankees prospect Zachary Slade Heathcott gets hit by a pitch and aaaawwwwww yeah it’s time to commit criminal assault:
And now, rating the prospect statuses of all the personnel involved in this fight, based strictly on their performance in this fight. Greenville is the Boston affiliate; Charleston is the Yanks’, and the team that was batting at the time.
Five star prospects:
• Billy McMillon (Greenville, skipper): 80 speed, first man into the scrum, and he’s the manager. Big-time performance, if a little old for his level.
• This diving guy, unidentifiable Greenville player and deserver of his own meme:
• The two guys who were wrestling for control of Heathcott for most of the brawl. One was
Charleston Greenville outfielder Brandon Jacobs. I think the other was a security guard.
Four star prospects:
• Leonel Escobar (Greenville, No. 33): Good glove — that’s him swinging it ferociously at somebody in the pile at 0:16 — and at 0:17 he literally kicks a guy’s butt. A guy who is being held down. You might think that makes him a jerk, but just a few seconds later he chivalrously nudges a lady aside, so.
• Jose Tousson (Charleston, No. 9): From 0:20 to 0:22, Tousson handles the situation perfectly. He doesn’t go throwing punches. He does politely pull a player from the opposing side out of the scrum. A low ceiling, but he’s got plus command, clean and simple mechanics, and an advanced feel for brawling.
Three star prospects
• Slade Heathcott (Charleston, the batter). He’s got an unusual hitting approach, hitting the catcher instead of the pitcher. That gives him a chance to get some shots in before the rest of the opposing team surrounds him, and makes good use of the surprise element. Make no mistake, he’s got 70 surpriseability, and plenty of moxie. But going after the one guy on the field who is properly padded doesn’t make any sense at all, so scouts give him 30 for brains. A truly elite prospect would have calmly trotted down to first base and taken a swing at the first baseman.
• Ben Leake (Home plate umpire): Not a player, still a big part of the brawl.
Ben Leake: Hey you don’t hit him you.
Ben Leake: OK now.
Ben Leake: OK hey ok now listen up ok hey look here everybody stay back.
Ben Leake: (Flees)
Ben Leake: Woooooohoooooo!
Ben Leake: This is awesome!
Ben Leake: Oh man right in the jaw!
Ben Leake: This is just like that scene in Anchorman, right guys?
Ben Leake: You know that scene?
Ben Leake: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that got out of hand fast.”
• Christian Vazquez (Greenville, the catcher): Free swinger, but his punches catch mostly helmet. Needs to work on going up the middle, at Heathcott’s nose. Bad balance.
• Luis Lopez (Greenville, the hitting coach): I’m leaning toward that being Lopez who slips and falls at 0:09. Good athleticism, but happy feet. He’s organizational filler as long as he refuses to wear spikes.
Two star prospects:
• Jeffrey Farnham (Charleston, No. 23): Good separation between hips and torso, but no natural power. I believe (I could be wrong) that that’s him on the left at 0:15-0:16 who gets in position, winds up and throws a mighty punch at Michael Celestino. Celestino doesn’t notice:
•Garrett Rau (Greenville, No. 13): Always in the middle of the action, but it’s more max-effort than max-results. From 0:09 to 0:13, he basically looks like a guy who is doing that fake “hold me back” move. I honestly can’t figure out how he got ejected.
•Michael Celestino (Greenville, No. 37): Bad arm action. Looks like he’s a city planner stamping “approved” on my remodel application, not slugging a guy in the kidney. No hip rotation.
• Jose Mojica (Charleston, No. 13): By process of elimination, I think (but I could be wrong) that that’s him swinging at a Greenville guy but mostly connecting with his own teammate (0:30). That’s a 20 hit tool. Smart fighter, though — keeps his helmet on the entire time.
One star prospects:
• Sean Coyle (Greenville, No. 5): This is 5-foot-8 second baseman Sean Coyle literally hiding behind outfielder Lucas LeBlanc:
• Jose Garcia (Greenville, No. 7): This is shortstop Jose Garcia not moving a darned muscle. Good patience, but no hustle.
• Bryce Brentz (Greenville, No. 25) and Rob Segedin (Charleston, No. 26): Not good fighters, but good make-up. Just want to hug, whisper to each other.
Brentz: Why do we always fight like this? We’re scaring the kids.
Segedin: If you think about it, we’re just kids ourselves.
Lost in the drama over Jorge Posada opting out of the lineup Saturday night rather than bat ninth was the fact that (super-geeky) history was made. With Andruw Jones replacing him in that spot, he became the eighth-greatest player in history to bat ninth.
Obviously, this honor is limited to players who played in the post-DH era, and who played in the American League (though that covers a pretty large majority of players in the modern era). And I’m not counting the games that Hall of Famers batted ninth early in their careers (Babe Ruth! Twice!), but Hall of Famers who might conceivably have been offended to bat ninth after long and WARrific careers.
Here are the top 8, ranked by Baseball-Reference’s model of Wins Above Replacement:
1. Ivan Rodriguez, 67.7 WAR. He batted ninth 24 times in 2008, both with Tigers and after a mid-season trade with the Yankees. Career .631 OPS in the ninth spot.
2. Bobby Grich, 67.6 WAR. One of three players on this list who batted ninth in his prime — 24 times in 1978. He never batted ninth again.
3. Alan Trammel, 66.9 WAR. Batted fairly regularly there early in his career, then 15 times in 1986, after he had already made three All-Star teams. Then never again until his final season, when he started Opening Day (and 22 other games) in the ninth spot.
4. Kenny Lofton, 65.3 WAR. Twenty-nine times in 2004, with these Yankees. The Yankees love to crush egos.
5. Tim Raines, 64.6 WAR. Raines was playing for the Marlins, but batted ninth in an interleague game. (Raines played 98 games that year. He started only five.)
6. Dwight Evans, 61.8 WAR. Evans started 13 games batting ninth in 1978, 20 in 1979 and 25 in 1980. In those three seasons, he had an .815 OPS and 63 home runs.
7. Willie Randolph, 60.5 WAR. Thirty-one games in 1990 with the A’s.
8. Jones, 59.7 WAR. It was his first time batting ninth.
Seems clear that Jones is currently a better hitter than Posada. Over each player’s past 500 plate appearances, Jones has a 50-point edge in OPS. Over their past 100 PAs, Jones has 400 extra points of OPS. And, as you see above, Jones has been the better player in his career.
I don’t know what it’s like to be Jorge Posada, so I don’t want to pile on. But it might be fun to just watch Posada explain to Andruw Jones why Jones, not Posada, deserves to be dropped in the order.
** — Bobby Valentine