baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What does the future hold for one pitcher?

Rick Vanden Hurk. Remember the name. He's a rookie starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins, and he might turn into something special. Watching him pitch against the Mets last night made me wish Tom Seaver was providing the color commentary. Seaver was one of the announcers when Brandon Webb made his first major league start against the Mets, and Seaver said that Webb was going to be great. I think he would have said the same thing about Vanden Hurk, even though he ended up getting lit up by the relentless Met offense.

The key for this extremely inexperienced former catcher from the Netherlands is to learn how to handle adversity and most importantly, to learn from his mistakes instead of getting down on himself. He was sitting on the bench after the Mets pummeled him last night, and he looked like he was in shock. I hope someone talked to him about it, and found the positive, which is that his stuff is unhittable. His fastball is mid-90s with rising action, and he has a wicked curve ball that the Met announcers were already comparing to his country-man Bert Blyleven (who belongs in the Hall of Fame).

Keith Hernandez made the point several times that this kid would be better off in Triple A right now, learning how to pitch while dominating his opponents with his two plus pitches. His third pitch, which was either a tight slider or cutter that rarely moved enough to fool anyone, needs a lot of work, and the major leagues is not the place for that to happen.

He got beat because he made a lot of bad pitches, and seemed to get discouraged when the Mets were able to make him pay for most of his mistakes. He still managed to make a lot of Mets look silly, and that's not easy to do. If he learns from his mistakes, he's going to be a star.

Caroms Off The Wall

Jose Reyes looks like the NL MVP to me. No one influences a game like he does. He has gone from a speedster who never walks and gets hurt all the time, to a player who draws almost a walk a game, gets intentionally walked with runners on base, and plays every inning of every game. Plus, he's a gold glove shortstop, and has 30 homerun power, and will lead the league in triples every year. Jose, Jose, Jose!


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