Patrick Daugherty

Baseball Daily Dose

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The Trials of Tulo

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dylan Bundy: the man, the myth, the...High-A pitcher. By now, you likely already know a thing or two about the No. 4 pick of the 2011 Draft.

If you haven’t read about his unconventional workout methods, you’ve surely seen his gaudy statistics. Promoted from Low-A Delmarva on Wednesday, Bundy’s final Low-A stat line will read as if 1999 Pedro Martinez decided to spend six weeks on the farm.

Just in case you haven’t seen: 0.00 ERA, 0.23 WHIP and a 40/2 K/BB ratio. That’s what Bundy did in 30 Low-A innings. He struck out 40.4 percent of the 99 batters he faced.

It’s eye-popping stuff that could become legendary if everything breaks right for the Orioles. Of course, everything ends up breaking right for only a select few prospects, so to assume Bundy is assured of even being a future No. 5 starter would be presumptuous.

But no mistake, Bundy is a special talent, one of the best high school arms we’ve seen in a long time. The Orioles have pledged Bundy won’t skip any levels of the minor leagues on his way to the show, but if he makes mincemeat of High-A the way he did Low-A, it wouldn’t be absurd to see him in Double-A before season’s end. And if that’s the case, it wouldn’t be absurd to see him make his major-league debut as a 20 year old in 2013.   

The Curious Case of Troy Tulowitzki

Here’s what we don’t know: if there’s really anything to the notion that some players can be “first-half players,” “second-half players,” etc.

Here’s what we do know: entering play on Wednesday, Troy Tulowitzki was a .264/.339/.451 hitter in 1,661 career plate appearances before the All-Star break, and .321/.389/.555 hitter in 1,486 plate appearances after the Midsummer Classic.

That first triple slash is still that of a very good player. The second? Just put it this way: Tulo’s .944 career second-half OPS would be 30th all time if it were his total line and not just his post-ASB line.

It’s why fantasy owners shouldn’t panic that Tulo is hitting “just” .268/.345/.439 through Colorado’s first 43 games after he went 2-for-4 with a home run, double and four RBI Wednesday, but also why they can’t help but feel like owning him is always a bit of a missed opportunity. Why can’t he always be this good?

The answer has proven elusive — and would probably be entirely random and unscientific if we ever found it — but you can plan on this: Tulo will be a good, but not great, player for roughly the next six weeks. After that, he’ll be the fantasy stud you were planning on and more when you drafted him ahead of the likes of Joey Votto and Robinson Cano.   

The More Curious Case of A.J. Ellis

Look, we know baseball is a mysterious game. We have entire Twitter feeds devoted to it. But .327/.449/.513? For a 31-year-old catcher who had all of 216 career at-bats before 2012?

You couldn’t predict it, you couldn’t hope for it, you couldn’t dream of it. But that’s exactly what A.J. Ellis is doing, and why he’s quickly become the 30-14 Dodgers’ most indispensable bat not named Matt Kemp. (Yes, Mrs. Ethier, I admit this is probably over-the-top praise.)

We know Ellis won’t keep reaching base 44.9 percent of the time, but don’t think for one second that his on-base skills are not legitimate. If there’s one thing we learned from Ellis’ 2,119 minor league plate appearances, it’s that he can get on base. He did so via hits 478 times and walks 336 times. Along the way, he was plunked by 38 pitches.

It all came out to a .406 on-base percentage, and definitive proof Ellis has mastered baseball’s most important skill. Ellis is here to stay, and his ability to stay on the basepaths and out of the dugout is the reason why.

The Incurious Case of Andy Pettitte

Don’t call it a comeback. Well do, but, you know.

Striking out eight in the process, Andy Pettitte held the Royals to two runs on seven hits in seven innings of work on Wednesday.

He's now 2-1 in three starts since rejoining the Yankees rotation following a 19-month hiatus, and has gone at least 6 1/3 innings every time out.

He’s posted a 2.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 19/5 K/BB ratio through 21 1/3 innings, and pretty much exactly been the Andy we’ve always known and loved.

Pettitte’s back, and D.J. Short will have more on his roaring return in today’s “Waiver Wired.”

Game Notes: Batting .176/.260/.368 in May entering play on Wednesday, David Freese went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Perhaps he’s actually busted his slump this time.Nick Johnson homered twice. With the Orioles still searching for answers at first base, Johnson’s playing time should only increase. … Chris Sale dominated the Twins. … Paul Konerko upped his average to .381. … Barry Zito did Barry Zito things. … Cole Hamels and Lance Lynn both earned their seventh victories. … Alex Rodriguez homered twice off a pitcher named “William Smith.” … J.D. Martinez showed signs of life.   

National League Short Hops: Lance Berkman will have exploratory surgery on his injured right knee this morning. We already know his meniscus is torn, but if doctors find he’s stretched his ACL, his season — and possibly his career — will be over. … Berkman’s would-be fill-in Allen Craig (hamstring) will take batting practice after doing some light running on Wednesday. … According to Nationals manager Davey Johnson, Michael Morse (lat) will "for sure" be back by June 8. Believe it when you see it. … Carlos Marmol (hamstring) threw a bullpen session. If he feels good today, he could begin a rehab assignment as early as Friday. … Pablo Sandoval (hand surgery) took 25 pain-free swings off a tee. He’s nearing a rehab assignment.  

American League Short Hops: Addison Reed was officially named the White Sox closer. Congratulations if you won Chicago Stopper Roulette two weeks ago. … Brett Gardner (elbow) suffered another setback. It’s beginning to look like we’ll be lucky to see New York’s speed demon before the All-Star break. Surgery shouldn’t be ruled out. … Torii Hunter (restricted list) should rejoin the Angels next Monday or Tuesday. … Adrian Gonzalez played right field again. This could become an increasingly common occurrence.  

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

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