I’m always so positive, focusing on good performances and guys really stepping up. Today, I feel like being negative.
It’s not that I’m in a bad mood or anything — I sure could give Mike Leake and his complete-game shutout or fast riser Chad Jenkins’ complete-game victory over the weekend some love — but come on, we all know negativity sells. Besides, at this point in the amateur season, a bad performance can be magnified. It was the last week of regular-season games in the college ranks and here are some performances that made me say, simply, “Ewww!”
Kendal Volz, Baylor: I already labeled him as a “Lead Balloon” player in Friday’s Draft Notebook, and he didn’t do anything over the weekend to have it removed. Against Nebraska on Friday, he gave up seven earned runs on 12 hits over 3 2/3 IP, striking out just one. He’s now 3-6 with a 4.62 ERA.
Mike Minor, Vanderbilt: Not as big of an “Ewww,” but considering I had Minor in the “Something to Prove” category of that notebook, he didn’t exactly go out and prove it. Against Tennessee, he did pitch into the eighth and didn’t get a decision, so he gets some kudos for going deep and keeping his team in the game, but he also gave up five runs on 10 hits, not exactly the stuff you want to see down the stretch for a potential first half of first round guy.
Andy Oliver, Oklahoma State: He wasn’t going to be the first college lefty to go and he might not even be the second, but most had him pegged as a first rounder. Again, it’s just one start, but after giving up eight earned runs on seven hits and three walks (only one strikeout) in 2 1/3 IP,. how many will reconsider?
Brooks Raley, Texas A&M: Raley gave up six runs on nine hits over six innings for the loss against Oklahoma. Raley had kind of passed up Alex Wilson in the A&M draft prospect pecking order, but didn’t pitch very well this past weekend. Wilson, meanwhile, has been pitching out of the pen and went twice in the series against the Sooners, allowing one unearned run over four total innings.
James Paxton, Kentucky: The lefty had been moving up charts and there’s a lot to like about his arm, but the peformances haven’t always been there. He’s now got a 5.86 ERA following his last start that saw him produce the following line: 5 1/3 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 6 K.