Tuesday Talk: Graveman, offense, and ballparks
Is it time for Tuesday Talk with Jesse and Trey?
Kendall Graveman, Midwest League Pitcher of the Week – discuss.
Jesse Goldberg-Strassler: Pitching isn’t easy… but Kendall’s sure making it look easy. He’s hitting his spots, he’s varying his pitches, he’s receiving some pretty darn good defense behind, but most significantly: Kendall Graveman is not excelling in the sort of way that would make you think this is a mere hot streak that’s bound to cool off. In Beloit, he wasn’t throwing Strike 1 to the majority of hitters his first time through the order, and it didn’t matter. In Lansing, he – brace yourselves – gave up a run. In general, he’s pitching like the polished professional he is. When the right spot opens up above him in the Blue Jays’ system, he’ll likely get the call. Until then, if he stays focused, there’s no reason he can’t remain the Lugnuts’ (and Midwest League’s) best starting pitcher.
Trey Wilson: Jesse is right. Pitching. Ain't. Easy. And Lansing pitchers have had struggles to open this season. The Lugnuts are last in the Midwest League in strikeouts and near the bottom with a 4.35 overall ERA.
This year has been especially tough on Lugnuts starters, with the only SP win belonging to Kendall Graveman, and starters have rarely survived the first four innings of each game. But Graveman has provided a bright spot for the Lugnuts, and he was rewarded with a W and national attention for taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning on Friday night.
As Jesse said, Graveman may not be long for this level if he keeps up these brilliant performances. Enjoy it while you can, Lugnuts fans.
Jesse Challenge Question: Fill in the blank. We haven’t seen it yet, but the Lugnuts are really good at _______.
Jesse: Hitting home runs. The Lugnuts have five homers this year, two from Dickie Joe Thon and one apiece from D.J. Davis, Jason Leblebijian and Matt Dean. As the weather warms, we’re going to start seeing more and more power from this lineup: Dawel Lugo, Matt Dean, D.J. Davis, Mitch Nay, Santiago Nessy and Carlos Ramirez are all capable of belting double-digit roundtrippers during the summer.
Trey: Hitting, period. The Lugnuts are now hitting .250 as a team, but that is on the rise. Mitch Nay and Derrick Loveless are each hitting .333, and Matt Dean is creeping behind them. Dickie Joe Thon has been in and out of hot streaks, and DJ Davis has shown the ability to go on mini-tears. Jason Leblebijian, Santiago Nessy, and Jorge Saez have been making some solid contact and having hits drop in here and there. It's now up to Carlos Ramirez and Dawel Lugo to join the party. They have both shown that they can hit in the past, but it's time to make in translate in 2014.
Trey's Challenge Question: What is your favorite Major League ballpark that you have visited? Which stadium sits atop your ballpark bucket list?
Trey: It's hard to get to Major League games while working in the Minors, but I was lucky enough to knock two parks off of my MLB checklist in the last week, going to Miller Park in Milwaukee during the snowed out series in Appleton, and heading to Comerica Park in Detroit for the off day on Sunday. I am now a quarter of the way through visiting all 30 active ballparks, having seen games in Washington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia (The Vet & Citizen's Bank), Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Milwaukee.
Out of the ballparks I have been able to visit, I would have to say Camden Yards in Baltimore ranks at the top of my list, closely followed by PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Great scenery surrounding the stadium adds so much to the atmosphere of a ballpark, and the warehouses and Baltimore skyline have always made for a cozy experience for me. Not to mention the fun pregame environment of Eutaw Street.
Of course I would love to visit the classic parks like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, but AT&T Park in San Francisco tops my personal bucket list. The scenery of the ballpark is hard to top, and the Giants' fans provide a great stadium atmosphere every single game.
Jesse: I'm partial to Comerica Park in Detroit, since I grew up a Tigers fan, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Camden Yards is just so great. I admit, though I haven't been visited too many. (Fenway, Rogers Centre, Nats Park, Progressive Field, Arlington, and a host of defunct parks: Montreal, The Vet, Three Rivers, Memorial Stadium, RFK, Shea Stadium.)
On my bucket list: I've been to Fenway, so now I need to get to Wrigley. But, really, the modern big three of stadiums are Oriole Park, PNC in Pittsburgh, and AT&T Park in San Francisco. My father's a Giants fan, and so the top of my bucket list would see me attend a San Francisco Giants home game with him. Trey and I agree -- it's got to be AT&T Park. Honorable Mention: I've heard that Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is really nice.