He received a $2 mil signing bonus. They also inked 21st round pick Amir Garrett, who was considered a very difficult sign at the time of the draft, to a $1 mil bonus. Garrett is also going to play basketball at St. John's. Here's what our resident amateur guru Thundering Turtle had to say about Stephenson at the time of the draft:
Stephenson went 7-2 with a 1.33 ERA this season. Long, loose and projectable, Stephenson is a University of Washington signee, but is considered among the more signable HS hurlers. In 64 innings, he struck out 132 and walked 23. Stephenson throws 93 to 97 and can pitch up in the zone. A series of minor flaws in his delivery appear easily correctable. He features a strong curve and mixes in a developing change. Very intelligent, Stephenson started the Aflac East-West All-Star game. Baseball America ranked him 24th overall. He’s very receptive to coaching and is a high-character kid, hard-working and coachable.
The rumor is that the negotiations went down to the wire because Stephenson insisted on receiving his bonus in the tender of Spanish doubloons in an antique sea chest and an oak cask of Jamaican rum.
Q Would Drew Stubbs be better suited on the receiving end of pinpoint strikes thrown by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton? — Dave, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A You’re assuming Dalton can throw strikes, but we know Stubbs would go after ‘em even if they weren’t strikes. Actually, Stubbs was a wide receiver at Atlanta (Texas) High School, heavily recruited by Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M, "But I made it clear to all that baseball was my sport because I got tired of the bumps and bruises from football that never went away."
This is just completely incorrect. Drew Stubbs is actually the best regular on the team at laying off pitches outside the zone. He has only swung at 25.4% of pitches outside the zone, compared to Joey Votto at 26.2%, Miguel Cairo at 27.1%, Scott Rolen at 32.7% and Ramon Hernandez at 35.5%. Drew Stubbs actually has excellent plate discipline, contrary to popular belief. He knows the difference between a ball and a strike better than most.
His real issue is that even when he knows it's a strike, he has trouble making contact. His contact% so far this season is 73.1%, which is worst among regulars on the team. I understand that some hate on Stubbs for the things he doesn't do well rather than like him for the things he does do well, but at the very least you should be able to figure out what goes in which category.
Jay Bruce won the NL Player of the Week award for last week
It's the third time he's been honored so. Congrats, Boss. Keep it up.
Scouting The Sally updates his list of the top 25 talents he's personally scouted this year
Yonder Alonso makes the list as an Honorable Mention at #28, and here's what he had to say about him: "Every time I see Alonso swing the bat, I'm left wondering why he doesn't post monster batting average numbers with more power." Every time I see Alonso swing the bat, I'm left wondering why he doesn't get a chance to play in left field.
Whither rookie hazing?
According to the DDN, rookie hazing is going the way of the powdered wig. The word is that with young players taking on more prominent roles on the team, they are being treated more like equals. That means less funnin' around. "Because the game seems to be getting younger and younger, a lot of that stuff has totally changed," said Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who was forced to fetch drinks for veterans during the middle of the night at team hotels when he was a Pirates rookie. "There’s a lot less going on."
"Hazing", for lack of a more nuanced word, has always been, to one degree or another, part of the game. One of the primary aspects of male group bonding is the establishment of the dominant/subordinate hierarchy. It's funny when Aroldis Chapman has to carry a Hello Kitty backpack full of twizzlers and bubble gum for the bullpen, and it shows that no matter what you did in the minor or amateur leagues you still have everything to prove. Miguel Cairo is a leader not because he's good, but because he's paid his dues.
But when it crosses the line from playful ribbing to humiliating subjugation, it becomes a real problem. I think it's a good thing that less of the bad stuff is happening, but I hope it is not at the expense of the fun stuff. Seeing Yonder Alonso in a dress is one of the special highlights of last season's stretch run.
Redlegs Baseball just can't let Adam Dunn go
and neither can I, so I'mma link to it. As we all know, Dunn has struggled mightily this year (he is the worst in baseball - by a wide margin - in wOBA/swing, which measures just how much oomph you get out of each hack you take), and there are a number of reasons given for why. He's aging like an old player, he's not adjusting well to being a DH, etc.
Lark11 breaks down some video and suggests that Dunn's struggles might be mostly mechanical though. "It's possible that Dunn has lost a bit of bat speed, but at the very least he hasn't gotten any faster. And, as he gets older, he should be trying to get quicker and use a more direct path to the ball, but instead Dunn has gone the other way. He has dropped his hand position, forcing him to travel farther to get into proper hitting position and meet to the ball."
Chad RLN tells a funny story
In real life, he's a district court judge in Virginia, and he faced a Senate committee earlier this year to debate his appointment. Here's the story:
"I was one of the first candidates to appear before the Senate committee that morning. The first question was relatively routine, and I was happy with the answer I gave. After my answer, however, one particular Senator leaned forward and glared at me. He didn’t speak for a moment, and the silence was deafening. I could feel a drop of perspiration working its way down my forehead. Finally, he spoke. "Judge Dotson, if we were to elevate you to the Circuit bench, would you have the time to continue writing at Redleg Nation?"
That’s right: the second question I was asked was about the Nation. And the third question I was asked was also about the Reds, in relation to a recent post here at RN. Turns out, we have a hardcore Cincinnati Reds fan on that Senate committee who enjoyed telling me about his first Opening Day experience in the Queen City."
I've never faced a Senate committee myself (though I'm sure jch has), and I've never even discussed my internet exploits out in the real world, much less in a job interview. And I'm sure if I ever do, it will not go over as well as it did with our buddy Chad here. God help me, what have I done to myself?
Jim Thome hit two home runs last night to bring his career total to the nice round number of 600
Thome has always been one of my favorite players. Sure, the 600 home runs is impressive, but I'm more googly-eyed at his career slash line of .277/.403/.558. The debate on talk radio this morning is whether or not the 600 punches his ticket to the Hall of Fame. In my opinion, he was in five years ago. He's an amazing hitter that has been amazing for almost 20 years.
In case you haven't seen this yet