I had been quietly recovering for some time, thinking I should take thetime to update Notes, when 2005 Vancouver third baseman Jeff Baisley(left) came out last night with a three-home run game for KaneCounty that puts him firmly at the top of the Midwest League homeruntotals with 11 this season. The 34 runs he’s driven in are worth notingtoo - go Buttah!
Also worth noting on the ex-Canadians front is some kid they call NickSwisher, who used to show up at The Nat in 2002. The Swish was playingin Vancouver before I got to this fine city, but man, has he kicked onsince, lighting it up for Oakland in the majors. After 164 at bats inthe 2006 MLB season, he’s hitting .299, has smooshed 14 dingers, has 37RBIs on the board, and his OBP is approaching .500 - not too shabby fora kid that barely managed to hit .250 in his 13 games wearing red,white and blue. CBS Sportsline rates him, as of now, the #1 leftfielder in the game based on stats so far this season.
A guy who had great fun at the expense of batters in Van City last season was reliever Jason ‘Death’ Ray (no, not this Jason Ray).Though Ray (pictured right) showed Nuke LaLoosh velocity, he also showedNuke Laloosh control, while racking up ungodly K’s mixed in withhorrific walks, on his way to a . Well, the Death Ray has skipped alevel this season, moving straight up to High-A Stockton - and he’sbeing turned into a starter, and the results have been worth watching.As of the time of writing, Death Ray has a 3-1, 3.46line, with 48K’s thrown into the mix over 41.2 innings pitched over 9starts. And if that’s not enough, he has only given up 25 walks - farbetter than the 1:1 K:BB ratio of times past. If Ray continues to showpromise (and maybe gets a few longer starts), he’ll move up the ladderfast.
Just like Jason Windsor, 2004 Vancouver Canadiansstarter who found himself rested late last season in AA ball aftersuffering arm tiredness, but has bounced back this year (4-1, 2.97 inAA) and earned himself an early AAA promotion. Injuries in the Oaklandmajor league lineup have basically depleted the AAA bullpen, whichnecessitated Windsor’s early upward shift, which at the time wasconsidered a little risky. But Windsor has been en fuego since thepromotion, racking up a 3-0 record with a 2.08 ERA. His 16 K’s lookeven more impressive when you realize he has only walked 3 hitters in17.1 innings pitched. Sudennly, all those people who claimed Windsorwas, at best, a middle relief guy, are starting to wonder if they soldthe kid short.
Hey, I’ll come out and say it - he’s a #5 starter RIGHT NOW, and he’llblossom into a good #3 guy within the next 12 months. If anyone has thebulldog attitude necessary to make it in the bigs, it’s J. Windsor.
Whoelse has been awesome this season? Anthony "Pecs" Recker, that’s who(seen left). The Recking Ball has pounded a .340 BA in Kane County tothis point, including 3 long bombs, and an OPS of .903 - that’s somepretty sweet progress for the big man. Thanks to Saint from Athletics Nation for the heads up on that one.
Let’s see, who else from last year’s Canadians team is rocking out…oh yeah. Travis Buck is hitting .302 in AA after hitting nearly .350 inHigh-A earlier in the year, causing several to pontificate that he’llbe movig up shortly. If T-Buck ends up in AAA ball in the next fewweeks and he continues his doublee-hitting ways (he’s hit 6 in 53 atbats, and had notched 17 in Stockton), a September call-up to the bigsis a distinct possibility… and just think, you could have seen himplay in our town for $7 last season.
The bottom line on all this is, you guys in Vancouver (yes, I’m talkingto you) need to go support your damn ball team in 2006. Not justbecause it’s the least expensive family entertainment anywhere in thelower mainland, and not just because Oakland always gives us greattalent to watch when they draft, and not even because of local pride.
Go see your Vancouver Canadians because the guys you see at The Nat in2006, will be the Nick Swisher’s, Rich Harden’s, and yes, even SammySosa’s of tomorrow. And in some cases, like Travis Buck, it couldliterally be tomorrow…
We’ll be updating more frequently over the weeks ahead as the collegedraft looms. Got plenty of irons in the fire, and a very specialsurprise that will add to the look of the site in the days ahead.