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Golden Sombrero: Nelson Cruz

Bottom 1: Nelson Cruz struck out swinging against Ubaldo Jimenez

Bottom 3: Cruz called out on strikes against Jimenez

Bottom 5: Cruz struck out swinging against Jimenez

Bottom 7: Cruz flied out to center against Joe Smith

Bottom 9: Cruz called out on strikes against Chris Perez

Final Line: 0-for-5, 4 K

Notes: Cruz collected his first golden sombrero of the 2011 season in the Rangers 8-7, 11-inning win against the Tribe last Friday.  He fanned in each at-bat against Ubaldo and was one of two players not to record a hit – Endy Chavez the other.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 86

Golden Sombrero: Carlos Santana

Top 2: Carlos Santana struck out on a foul tip against Tim Wakefield

Top 4: Santana struck out swinging against Wakefield

Top 6: Santana struck out swinging against Wakefield

Top 8: Santana struck out swinging against Randy Williams

Final Line: 0-for-4, 4 K

Notes: To say that Santana struggled against Wakefield’s knuckie would be a gross understatement.  In fact, Santana was so baffled by the pitch that he actually turned around to face him right-handed for his third at-bat.  As you can see above, it didn’t matter; his golden sombrero was meant to be.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 84

Kipnis’ first MLB hit a winner

By now you are all probably aware of my history with the Indians’ recent call up Jason Kipnis.  A former rival shortstop in high school, Kipnis is the first player who I extensively played with/against to receive the “top-prospect” tag and debut in the Major Leagues.

After two hitless games to begin his career, Kipnis stepped to the plate on Monday night with a chance to collect his first big league hit in walk-off fashion.  Obviously you know the result; otherwise I doubt that I’d be writing this.

Happy Jason Kipnis Day

It’s Friday.  And this season, Friday has been a day highlighted by the MLB debuts of baseball’s best and most exciting prospects.  On June 10 it was Mike Moustakas.  A week later it was Dustin Ackley.  On July 8 we celebrated Mike Trout’s arrival.

And today, July 22, 2011, The Golden Sombrero once again celebrates the debut of another top-notch prospect: Jason Kipnis.  Kipnis announced his arrival yesterday on Twitter:

This debut carries a bit more significance than the others, surprisingly, as Kipnis and I have a long history on the field.

A year younger than me, Kipnis and I both played in the same high school conference outside of Chicago.  While I manned shortstop for Deerfield High School, Kipnis was my counterpart for rival Glenbrook North.  In 2004 we were both named All-Conference shortstops in the Central Suburban North.

These days I’m writing, scouting and coaching baseball while Kipnis is, well, playing in the Major Leagues.  In the end, I’m going to say that he came out on top..barely.

Anyway, prior to his call up, The Golden Sombrero’s No. 26 prospect was slashing .281/.363/.849 with 15 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs and 54 RBI for Triple-A Columbus.  He also swiped 12 bases and coaxed 43 walks compared to 71 strikeouts.

With Orlando Cabrera struggling for the Tribe, it seems as though Kipnis will almost exclusively play second base, although he does have plenty of experience in the outfield.

Here are some videos of Kipnis in action:

Welcome to The Show, dude.

Prospect Buzz: Matt Moore, Mike Trout, Jason Kipnis and Top 50 Prospect Lists

  • In the wake of the MLB Futures Game, John Sickels dedicated one of his ‘Prospect Profile’ installments to the Rays’ Matt Moore.  Moore was the most impressive pitcher at the Futures Game, and at the rate he’s going may force the Rays’ hand earlier than anticipated. Since entering the Minor Leagues in 2007, Moore has compiled a 615/192 K/BB ratio over 439 innings and really has nothing left to prove at Double-A.  On Tuesday morning Moore was promoted to Triple-A, which leads me to believe that we will see him in the pros fairly soon.  Since the Rays have been rumored to have most of their starters on the trading block, maybe they want to get Moore several starts at Triple-A before someone is dealt and he gets the call…Just a thought.
  • Jonah Keri argues that the Angels gave Mike Trout the call too soon.  Currently hitting .125 (and granted that it’s only through six games), Trout is yet to truly flash all his tools.  And according to Keri, the news of Peter Bourjos hitting the DL may only intensify the 19-year-old’s early struggles.
  • On July 11, Braves’ outfielder Stefan Gartrell slugged 16 total home runs to win the Triple-A Home Run Derby.  His opponent in the final round: 17-year-old high school junior Kayden Porter.  Using an aluminum bat, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound first baseman dropped 14 bombs, one of which traveled an estimated 545 feet and cleared the batter’s eye in center.
  • Also at Fangraphs, Matt Klassen explores the potential reasons why the Indians are yet to call up Jason Kipnis.  Regarded by many as a more projectable prospect than teammate Lonnie Chisenhall and with Minor League numbers comparable to those of Dustin Ackley, Kipnis’ arrival is imminent. Like Klassen, I say the sooner the better.
  • Playing for Triple-A last night, San Francisco Giants prospect Brandon Belt turned in an ugly and disconcerting performance: 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and a walk – a golden sombrero. In 190 Minor League at-bats this season, Belt has struck out 30% of the time but maintains a 20.8% BB/PA.  The Crazy Crabbers explore whether the Giants should recall him with Aubrey Huff slumping, or if the kinks should be smoothed out before he’s forced to face big league pitching.