Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Next 10 Lugnuts to Reach the Majors (Maybe)

He was the Lugnuts' starting third baseman in 2010...
Can you name him?  The answer is below.


Seven former Lugs debuted in the Majors in 2012:  Tyler Pastornicky, Evan Crawford, Drew Hutchison, Yan Gomes, Aaron Loup, Moises Sierra, and Chad Jenkins.

Who are the likeliest alums to come up this year?

*  Ryan Goins
*  A. J. Jimenez
*  Nestor Molina
*  Mike McDade

To start off, players cannot be called up to the Major Leagues unless they are on their parent team's 40-man roster.  For the Toronto Blue Jays, there are two former Lansing Lugnuts on their 40-man who have yet to play in MLB, middle infielder Goins (2009-2010 Lug) and catcher Jimenez (2009-2010).  Meanwhile, Molina (2010) is on the Chicago White Sox' 40-man and McDade (2008-2009) is on the Cleveland Indians' 40-man.

Quick Mike McDade side story:  Mike's the best-dressed player I've ever met, bar none.


Any wilder guesses?

*  Jake Marisnick
*  Sean Nolin
*  Sean Ochinko/Ryan Schimpf
*  Mark Sobolewski

All right, perhaps Marisnick (2010-2011) isn't the wildest of guesses.  He's one of the game's top outfield prospects, acquired by the Marlins in the off-season; he's ticketed to start the season in Double-A; and he's primed for an MLB debut either this year or next year.  Nolin (2011) is a top-notch left-handed pitcher, also scheduled to start in Double-A, and feels like he's a solid summer away from toeing the rubber in the Bigs.

Quick Jake Marisnick story:  Outside a full, tired, frustrated, ready-to-leave bus in Clinton, Iowa, a boy and his mother approached and requested for Jake to come off the bus and sign the boy's baseball glove.  He did.

The other three are slightly longer shots to break into the Majors this year.  Ochinko (2010) and Schimpf (2010) were teammates at LSU and are slowly climbing the ladder together.  Sobolewski (2009-2010) now plays in the Minnesota Twins' system and shouldn't be too far from a call-up if his year goes well.


And One More...

*  Danny Barnes

Princeton product Barnes (2010-2011) was lights-out in Lansing two years ago, and then dominated in Dunedin last year.  If he can excel at the Double-A level, his time will come.

Quick Danny Barnes story:  All during the 2010 season, Danny was hard at work on his college thesis, studying baseball players' production and their salaries.  His conclusion - Major League teams overpay for homegrown players while paying far more rationally for free agents.


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The Lugnut pictured at the top?  Mark Sobolewski.

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I'm a published author!  Have you bought The Baseball Thesaurus yet?  If you have, bring it to the ballpark and I'll personally inscribe it for you.


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