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Happy Jarrod Parker Day

2011 has been a monumental year for MLB prospects.  This season we have seen an inordinate amount of top-ranked prospects make their Major League Debuts, most of which have been celebrated here at the Sombrero.

On June 10 we celebrated Mike Moustakas Day; June 17: Dustin Ackley Day; July 8: Mike Trout Day; July 22: Jason Kipnis Day; August 5: Brett Lawrie Day; and most recently, Matt Moore Day on September 12.

Today we celebrate the debut of The Golden Sombrero’s No. 8 prospect, RHP Jarrod Parker.

Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in first round (9th overall) of the 2007 draft, Parker validated his draft position by going 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA and 117/33 K/BB ratio over 118 inning for South Bend in 2008.  He began the following season with High-A Visalia before earning a quick promotion to Double-A Mobile where he recorded a 0.95 ERA over four starts.

However, the 6-foot-1 right-hander was plagued by elbow problems and Tommy John surgery prematurely ended his season, while the subsequent rehabilitation forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.

With a brand new elbow, the 22-year-old has stayed healthy this season, and his numbers reflect such: 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA and 112/55 K/BB in 131 innings.

Parker’s fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s, and he has touched 96-97 mph on occasion.  His slider, which was graded a plus pitch and served as his out pitch prior to surgery, remains a plus despite the fact that he’s thrown it considerably less.  In it’s place, the Indiana native has shown an improved changeup – many consider it to be a plus now, too – and he also flashed a solid curveball.

With four above average pitches and mechanics that make pitching coaches uncontrollably drool, Parker figures to become a front-end starter (likely a two or three) for the Diamondbacks within the next couple years.

Parker’s debut tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers will be fans first taste of the highly regarded prospect, as he hopefully makes his case to be part of the D-backs’ 2012 starting rotation.

Golden Sombrero: Paul Goldschmidt (again)

Top 2: Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging against Clayton Kershaw

Top 4: called out on strikes against Kershaw

Top 7: struck out swinging against Josh Lindblom

Top 9: struck out swinging against Kenley Jansen

Final Line: 0-for-4, 4 K

Notes: Playing in his 38th game since being called up by the Diamondbacks, Goldschmidt tallied his second golden sombrero of the season against the Dodgers on Wednesday night.  One would have thought that Kershaw’s ejection might have prevented his sombrero, especially considering that Goldschmidt fanned in both of his at-bats against the southpaw.  But the big man stayed true to his power-hitting form, fanning in his final two at-bats to finish the job.  Be sure to check back for an awesome Paul Goldschmidt-inspired graphic when he makes his inevitable postseason debut in October. That’s the most I can divulge without totally giving it away – Dee and our friend Eat-A-Ton might know where I’m going with this.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 114

2011’s 100th Golden Sombrero: Kelly Johnson (again)

Bottom 2: Kelly Johnson struck out swinging against David Price

Bottom 4: Johnson called out strikes against Price

Bottom 7: Johnson called out on strikes against Price

Bottom 9: Johnson struck out swinging against Cesar Ramos

Final Line: 0-for-4, 4 K

Notes: Johnson’s golden sombrero on Sunday was his second of the season, as he became the only player to accomplish the feat in both leagues.  Johnson and the Blue Jays collected three hits against David Price, who fanned a career-high 14 hitters over seven scoreless frames.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 100

Changeups and Screwballs: A Southpaw’s Perspective for 8/24/11

Apologies for those of you looking for this article yesterday.  At the middle school where I teach we had to teach the new 6th graders how to use and open their lockers, as well as distribute laptops to each individual student.  If that sounds like sitting in hell with a puffy coat on, it’s because it is.  Straight miserable.  Thankfully it is done and over with and I now have time this morning to write.  Here it goes.

–       I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to play baseball in front of 30,000 plus fans…at the age of 12.  Watching those kids in the LLWS is truly inspiring.  If you are to buy into what C.J. Wilson had to say earlier this season, pitching in Williamsport is better than throwing a game in Oakland.

–       On the other side of things in Williamsport, is anyone else bothered by how many breaking pitches are being thrown?  And did you see the utterly shat on ball that Jake Fromm hit last night?  WOW.

–       Nice to see Adrian Gonzalez finally leave the yard again.  80+ at-bats without a bomb probably had fantasy owners worried.  Don’t sweat it.  That was merely the calm before the storm.

–       In Astros news, Wandy Rodriguez has been claimed off waivers by the Rockies, but no trade has been finalized yet.  After acquiring Barmes this off-season, it appears that Houston and Denver are becoming comfy with each other.  I hope the ‘Stros bring back more talented prospects to help the rebuilding push.

–       Seth Smith for president, anybody?  Dude hit another jack last night giving him an August slash of .296/.387/.685 to go along with 7 HR’s and 3 SB’s.  Get him while the getting’s good friends.

–       Is Picasso painting the NL MVP picture?  That race is a mess.  My personal vote goes to Ryan Braun, if I am voting today.  However, if the D-Backs end up winning their division, I find it hard not to go with Justin Upton.

–       When will parents begin to realize that they should never give a game ball to their kids at the game?  Seriously.  Wait until afterwards.  Although in the defense of the children, it has been hysterical to watch them throw so many balls back this year.

–       Way to go fat kid!  Prince is the first to 100 RBI this year.  I love watching that big ‘ol fat kid swing a baseball bat.

–       And speaking of fat kids, Big Fat Bartolo Colon might have hit a wall.  He is strong for 3-4 innings, but then begins to lose velo…and too much of it to be successful.  It was great while is lasted.

Minor League Links: Bauer, Odorizzi, Viciedo and Nimmo

Currently ripping through Minor League hitters, Trevor Bauer is on the fast track to the Show.  The best pitcher in college baseball in 2011, Bauer features three plus pitches (fastball, curve and changeup) and possesses the ability to work deep into games.  The third-overall selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bauer fanned 17 hitters and allowed just seven hits over nine innings at High-A Visalia before he was promoted to Double-A Mobile.  There it has been more of the same: two starts, eight hits and 17 strikeouts in 10 innings.  With the mechanics, repertoire and competitiveness that draw comparisons to Tim Lincecum, Kevin Goldstein wonders if Bauer is “The Next Freak?” (*Baseball Prospectus subscription required)

Considering that Bauer was considering the most Big-League-ready pitcher in this year’s draft, and given his rapid ascent through the Minors, many baseball writers and scouts believe that the right-hander is poised for a September call-up.  Over at Fangraphs, Jack Moore argues that Bauer can make an immediate impact and that the Diamondbacks should call him up.

In a recent installment of “9 Innings,” Greg Schaum of Pine Tar Press sat down with Royals’ pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi to pick his brain.  Odorizzi discusses the adjustments he’s had to make between levels, emotions associated with being traded, and his workout routine in the off-season and between starts.

My favorite MiLB writer, John Sickels, continued to review his pre-season Top 20 organizational prospects by reflecting on the White Sox farm system.  Suffice it to say, my favorite team’s system is depleted and pretty unimpressive.

Speaking of the White Sox, with Carlos Quentin’s shoulder injury—not to mention his inability to play with even the slightest amount of pain—Larry from South Side Sox writes that “It’s Still Time for Viciedo,” who, in my opinion, should have been recalled well over a month ago.

One of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s MLB Draft is Brandon Nimmo, who was selected by the Mets in the 13th-round to become the first-ever first-round selection out of Wyoming.  Coming from a high school that lacked a baseball team, Nimmo established himself as a top-prospect thanks to a remarkable season for his American Legion team.  With a projectable frame and great, raw athleticism, Mets 360 wonders if Nimmo is the next Josh Hamilton.

*Golden Sombrero update: On Monday night, Nimmo fanned in all four at-bats and is now 3-for-15 (all singles) in his budding, professional career.