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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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5) discussing politics
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A Flood of Memories
2003-02-12 11:06
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Last month, the main pipe for my building’s sprinkler system burst, flooding the garage with several feet of water in a matter of minutes. The water seeped into our storage unit and reached two of the boxes that hold my newspaper and magazine collection.

You’d think I would have learned. A hot water heater that tore away from its moorings in our basement during the 1994 Northridge quake took out a bunch of World Series programs I had collected. But no, I am not a good learner.

Anyway, in rescuing papers from the box, I did find a dry copy of the Top 10 NL West Prospects issue of Baseball America from March 1993. The text within is nothing if not … poignant.

Some excerpts:

1) Mike Piazza, C, 24
…In fact, for all the big offensive numbers he posted last year, management was more impressed with Piazza’s improving defense, considering he was a first baseman in high school.
He has a strong arm, he’s learning to block balls in the dirt and major league pitchers say he handles them well. The Dodgers think so highly of Piazza, they didn’t mind letting catching fixture Mike Scioscia walk.
…To win the starting job this spring from Carlos Hernandez, Piazza must impress the entire coaching staff. Lasorda says he will avoid charges of nepotism by letting his coaches decide who should start.

2) Raul Mondesi, OF, 21
There are those in the organization who believe Mondesi could be the next Willie Mays. Of course, that’s what they were saying about Jose Gonzalez for a decade, and he fell a bit short of expectations.
Now’s the time for Mondesi to grow up and step up. He has a history of attitude problems, yet plays so hard he frequently breaks down, and the Dodgers got a taste of that latter dilemma last year with Eric Davis. …

3) Roger Cedeno, OF, 18
…If he continues to excel, he quickly could become the best prospect in the organization.

4) Greg Hansell, RHP, 21
Management can’t find anything bad to say about Hansell … the Dodgers wish they had about a dozen like him. He’ll return to Albuquerque to start this season, and soon may make the Mets and Red Sox sorry they traded him.

5) Pedro Martinez, RHP, 21
Management still likes Martinez, but he slops from last year’s No. 1 spot because there are concerns his slight frame might not be conducive to a power pitching game. The history of small righthanders is not good.
Last year, Martinez was pestered by minor problems with his throwing arm, and a major problem with his non-throwing shoulder that required reconstructive surgery. He wound up with decent numbers in Triple-A, including a strikeout per inning.
Because of the widespread publicity generated by brother Ramon and the heralded anticipation of younger brother Pedro’s arrival, it’s easy to forget he’s only 21. He might be best suited for a job in the bullpen.

6) Todd Williams, RHP, 21
Williams is a sidearmer, actually closer to a submariner, which means nobody took him seriously as an amateur. … The Dodgers figure if Kent Tekulve could do it all those years, why not Williams?

7) Billy Ashley, OF, 22
Ashley is the Dodgers’ version of Dave Kingman or Rob Deer, only he’s more athletic than either.
He can put a baseball into orbit when he makes contact, which isn’t very often. In the Arizona Fall League, his average was .189 and his strikeout average was .402.
Ashley led the organization with 28 home runs in 1992, including two big league shots during a September trial. But he needs a full season in Triple-A to learn the strike zone after fanning 186 times last year, and also to polish his outfield skills. If he can accomplish the former, he’ll at least draw some walks to go with those strikeouts.

8) Omar Daal, LHP, 20
Daal is a lefthanded reliever, which automatically makes him a prospect in this organization.
…Daal struggled last year after two standout seasons in the Dominican Summer League, and officials now second-guess their decision to try him as a starter.

9) Todd Hollandsworth, OF, 19
…He has more than held his own against older players throughout his professional career, a testament to his competitiveness. … he stands a good chance of being a major leaguer by the end of 1994.

10) Rick Gorecki, RHP, 19
The lanky Gorecki is the rare high-priced gamble the Dodgers have seen pay off in the last several drafts.
He was a 19th-round pick out of high school because everyone assumed he would attend Northwestern University, located near his suburban Chicago home. But a six-figure bonus and direct recruiting from Lasorda turned him into a Dodger.

The top prospects for the other teams in the – remember when? – six-team NL West:
San Diego: Ray McDavid
Houston: Todd Jones
Atlanta: Chipper Jones
Colorado: David Nied
San Francisco: Calvin Murray

Murray is now a Dodger non-roster invitee, the only person in this entry with the team.

All's well that ends well. What about all that doesn't end well? Is it not well, or could it also have been well?

(No, of course I don't know what that means. But somehow it gives me closure.)

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