The Noob has long been a friend to Notes From The Nat, and we in turn have been one of the 2005 Beer Hawker’s Player of the Year award winner’s biggest cheerleaders. In 2004, he was brought in as a non-drafted free agent by Oakland after failing to get drafted. In 2005, he (along with Joe Piekarz) served as a strong 4th/5th starter for Vancouver, and but for a couple of poor games, had a largely lights out year.
In 2006, Newby continued the fun, having a mostly great season in Kane County, coming out of the bullpen and putting up good numbers, but for some control issues over a couple of weeks of the year.
Anyhow, here’s how things stand for Noob, in his own words:
The season didn’t go as I had planned due to the bicepinjury at the start of the season slowing me down and not letting meget to High A, but I did improve this year, touched 95 a few times andgot my slider up to 84mph at times. If i could take away one month ofwalking almost everybody I faced, I think I could have had an excellentseason, but the way things go, I did have that month and it kind ofmade my numbers look worse than they should have.
I did improve though, my ERA was down from the pasttwo years, my strikeouts/9 were up, velocity was up, my inheritedrunners that scored was less than 10%, I felt really good about theseason, aside from my last outting of the year in the playoffs where Igot hot three times before actually going into the game. I felt like Ileft my fastball in the bullpen and I ended up getting pounded on fortwo innings and giving up 3 runs, and costing my team a chance at thedeciding game for the ring.
Hopefully I earned one more shot a spring training!
Hopefully indeed. I recall watching the C’s pitchers behind home plate in 2005, and Newby was the guy who consistently rattled the radar gun all year. When I told him what he was hitting, he seemed surprised at the time, but it looks like he’s staying in the mid-90’s, and that’s reason enough to keep a guy around for another season, I reckon, especially if he’s throwing a good slider to boot.
One side note - on December 2nd, Joe Newby got married. Well done, Noob, and especially well done to Mrs Noob.
The same year Newby was rampaging on the radar gun, Jimmy Shull was dominant in a way few Vancouver pitchers have been in a long time. Quiet, unassuming, but a bulldog on the mound, Shull just motored through offensive lineups, with pinpoint control, nasty stuff, and a lightning arm. Unfortunately, he threw out his elbow and required Tommy John surgery early in the 2006 season, ending his year and putting in question whether he could come back as good (or even better, as some TJ patients do).
Thankfully, the Shullacker is another former player who has stayed friendly with Notes From The Nat, and today we received a short note from him giving us an update on his recovery from surgery.
The elbow feels incredible. I haven’t had pain since the first week after surgery, and right now I’m just starting some mound work after last week getting out to 150 feet.
The only things that occasionally slow me down are just muscles that are not used to throwing, flaring up here and there, but it’s really hard not to throw the ball 95mph right now because it feels like I can. It’s taking all my self control not to air it out right now.
At this pace, I should be ready to go right around spring training. I’m training back at Cal Poly SLO at the moment, doing everything I can to make that happen.
I’m working on getting an extended interview happening with Shull, but if he’s throwing 150 feet already, that’s great news right there. Forget the various prospects lists - if Jimmy Shull hits 95mph this season, I’m gonna say right here and now, he’s major league 3rd starter material within two seasons.
If any other former Vancouver players are out there and would like to give us a shout and let us know what you’re up to - just drop a note to oz at notesfromthenat dot com.