Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, November 02, 2012

Rick Ankiel considering switching back to pitching

Outfielder and former pitcher Rick Ankiel could give pitching one more chance after receiving little interest in free agency as a position player, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Strauss adds that the Cardinals are among those who could have some interest in Ankiel as a pitcher.

Ankiel, the pitcher, made 41 starts and five relief appearances for the Cardinals from 1999-2001 and five more relief appearances for the team in 2004. He is 13-10 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 269 strikeouts in 242 innings in his career.

Ankiel then re-invented himself as an outfielder, playing for the Cardinals, Royals, Braves and Nationals from 2007-2012. He hit .228/.282/.411 in 171 plate appearances with the Nationals in 2012 before being released in late July.

Thanks to Carl.

Repoz Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:18 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4290647)
If Ankiel makes it back to the majors as a pitcher, does that put him on the short list of most fascinating MLB careers ever?
   2. Lassus Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4290649)
I support this plan.
   3. base ball chick Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4290652)
brooks kieschnick all ovah again
   4. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4290654)
During a Nationals thread somebody asked if Ankiel could be used in one of those LaRussa-like situations in which he came to the mound to pitch to one hitter, then return to CF. At least one correspondent reported that Ankiel has said he would never, ever pitch again, even in extreme circumstances.

Go figure.
   5. shock Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:41 AM (#4290657)
omgf yes. I want him to retire with exactly as many batters faced as plate appearances.

Most Batters Faced by someone with more PA than Batters Faced, since 1900

Ankiel should at least make it to fourth, although Ruth is a longshot.

Obviously I haven't updated the site for 2012 yet, btw.
   6. Gamingboy Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4290661)
I look forward to when he becomes a hitter again at the age of 37
   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:15 AM (#4290667)
This guy flip-flops more than Romney!
   8. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4290670)
Strauss adds that the Cardinals are among those who could have some interest in Ankiel as a pitcher.

2013 NL CYA winner, Rick Ankiel.
   9. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:43 AM (#4290685)
omgf yes. I want him to retire with exactly as many batters faced as plate appearances.

Most Batters Faced by someone with more PA than Batters Faced, since 1900


Interesting that that link has Ruth at 5006 batters faced, and B-R has him with 4896. Not that it matters for this thread. Curly's numbers are also slightly different than B-R's for Ankiel.

Also awesome that Ruth faced ~5000 batters and gave up just 10 home runs. With the Red Sox between 1914 and 1919, he pitched to 4749 batters, gave up 9 HR, and hit 49 (in 1330 PA). Overall, he hit a home run about every 15 PA's, and gave one up about every 500 PA's.

Ankiel (69) is tantalizingly close to second all-time, to Ruth, in home runs by guys who have faced over 1000 batters. Lindell is currently second, with 72, but he had over 1000 more PA's than Ankiel.
   10. shock Posted: November 02, 2012 at 03:50 AM (#4290690)
I have noticed that before...BB-Ref's stats for Ruth are not exactly the same as what's in the Lahman db. Breaking it down, BB-Ref shows 1272 Batters in 1916, while lahmandb has 1300. You will notice that FanGraphs has the same numbers as LahmanDB, except it omits 1914 and 1915 entirely while Sean1 shows 100/895 batters and Sean2 shows 96/874 batters.

Not a big deal, stats from that era are sketchy at best. I remember once someone asked Forman what he thought was the most overrated stat or something like this, and his response was something to the effect of any number from before WWI (or whatever) has a lot of uncertainty and shouldn't be looked at with the certainty that it does. A player logged with 200 home runs probably hit anywhere from 195-205, or something like that. My memory sucks and I'm sure I butchered his words completely, but that was the sentiment.

Ankiel's numbers are simply missing 2012.
   11. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 02, 2012 at 07:15 AM (#4290699)
If Ankiel actually made it back to the majors and was a great pitcher, that would be kind of depressing.
   12. depletion Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4290706)
But it would be even more depressing if he pitched well for the Cards, got to start a playoff game against the Braves and had 5 WP, 4BB and 3 HBP in the first inning.
   13. bunyon Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4290708)
If Ankiel actually made it back to the majors and was a great pitcher, that would be kind of depressing.

Not as depressing as where his pitching career currently sits. What's past is past.
   14. Mike Webber Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4290716)
Cool list shock, two guys that usually show up on that kind of list are both 2,000 PAs short, Monte Ward and Kid Gleason.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4290723)
But it would be even more depressing if he pitched well for the Cards, got to start a playoff game against the Braves and had 5 WP, 4BB and 3 HBP in the first inning.


Oh what a disaster that would be.
   16. Darren Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4290726)
I don't think it'd be at all depressing if he made it back. People do what they can when they can in life. It'd be fun to see that 30-year-old Ankiel could handle something that 20-year-old Ankiel couldn't.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4290753)
I don't think it'd be at all depressing if he made it back. People do what they can when they can in life. It'd be fun to see that 30-year-old Ankiel could handle something that 20-year-old Ankiel couldn't.


Same here. Obviously you can choose to look at it as "what might have been," but I'd prefer to look at it as a "wow, here's a guy who reinvented himself twice just to keep playing ball." I think Ankiel getting back to the big leagues as a pitcher would be one of the better baseball stories I'd ever see.

   18. Darren Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4290759)
Tell Redford to get himself in shape for the movie.
   19. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4290760)
It'd be great if he comes back, has 2 or 3 years of league average pitching, then flames out. Then appears again in 2018 as a knuckleballer.
   20. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4290761)
I was a little bit sad when the Nats cut him because he's been such a fun story but I understood since he was clearly the worst player on the roster. But he still has power and is a solid defender, I was surprised nobody picked him up.

He'd be fantastic fun if he could be a two-way player- particularly paired with a ROOGY who could handle a corner of spot. I'd love that.
   21. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4290779)
He hit .228/.282/.411 in 171 plate appearances with the Nationals in 2012 before being released in late July.


As a 20-year-old pitcher with the Cardinals, Ankiel hit .250/.292/.382. So he's back where he started.
   22. flournoy Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4290787)
He'd be fantastic fun if he could be a two-way player- particularly paired with a ROOGY who could handle a corner of spot. I'd love that.


Micah Owings was a P/DH/1B type, rather than a P/OF, but I would love to see an Ankiel/Owings tag-team.
   23. Bug Selig Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4290795)
But it would be even more depressing if he pitched well for the Cards, got to start a playoff game against the Braves and had 5 WP, 4BB and 3 HBP in the first inning.


Wouldn't matter. The Braves rely on popups with lots of guys on base to generate their offense in the postseason.
   24. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4290796)
Eight people received NL Rookie of the Year votes in 2000. Ankiel is one of only three who are still playing, along with Juan Pierre and Rafael Furcal. Ankiel was/is probably younger than all the rest, but he has outlasted Lance Berkman, Pat Burrell, Jay Payton, Mitch Meluskey, and, of course, Chuck Smith.
   25. JJ1986 Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4290802)
outlasted Lance Berkman


Not yet.
   26. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 02, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4290817)
he has outlasted Lance Berkman


I don't think Berkman has technically retired yet, has he?
   27. BDC Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4290842)
I was trying to think of other Kieschnick types, guys who'd pitched early on as amateurs or early in their pro careers, and then did so later on as well. Two of the better-known guys who pitched some late in their careers are Jimmie Foxx and Granny Hamner, both of whom came up extremely young to the majors and don't seem to have pitched at all as teenagers, at least above the sandlot level. The Rangers had a shortstop named Jeff Kunkel who tried a comeback as a pitcher, but he too doesn't seem to have pitched early on, either in college or the minor leagues.
   28. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4290847)
I was just going by Wikipedia:

On October, 3rd, 2012, Berkman was given one last at-bat before he announced he would be retiring.


According to Wikipedia, Wikipedia is official. But I can change that.
   29. JJ1986 Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4290851)
Even if Berkman retires, Ankiel would have to make it back to outlast him.
   30. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4290956)
I was trying to think of other Kieschnick types, guys who'd pitched early on as amateurs or early in their pro careers, and then did so later on as well. Two of the better-known guys who pitched some late in their careers are Jimmie Foxx and Granny Hamner, both of whom came up extremely young to the majors and don't seem to have pitched at all as teenagers, at least above the sandlot level.


After his major league career was over, Mark Lemke pitched a little bit - very badly - in an independent league. I seem to recall he had come up with a knuckleball.
   31. geonose Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4290976)
Not so, says Scott Boras:

https://twitter.com/TBrownYahoo/status/264407230844133376
   32. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4291007)
Same here. Obviously you can choose to look at it as "what might have been," but I'd prefer to look at it as a "wow, here's a guy who reinvented himself twice just to keep playing ball." I think Ankiel getting back to the big leagues as a pitcher would be one of the better baseball stories I'd ever see.
This. It would be a great story for sure, even if he does end up pitching well for the stupid Cardinals.
   33. spycake Posted: November 02, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4291038)
I'm not surprised by the rumor, nor am I surprised it's not true.

Anybody who want to relive the Ankiel pitching experience can check out this video.
   34. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: November 02, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4291044)
That video was uncomfortable to watch.
   35. jingoist Posted: November 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4291062)
I would imagine the odds are astronomical against Rick making it back to MLB as a pitcher.
I certainly admired his pluck, and his throwing arm from CF.
When he and Harper were in CF and RF respectively, the Nationals had two of the best cannon-arm in any MLB outfield
   36. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: November 02, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4291093)
I wouldn't say astronomical, Jingo. But I think he's more likely to come back in relief than as a starter.
   37. KJOK Posted: November 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4291097)
BB-Ref's stats for Ruth are not exactly the same as what's in the Lahman db.

BB-Ref switched to Pete Palmer's database a couple of years ago.

   38. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: November 02, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4291138)
I was trying to think of other Kieschnick types, guys who'd pitched early on as amateurs or early in their pro careers, and then did so later on as well.


The Red Sox toyed with the idea of using Dave McCarty as a Kieschnick, but he only ended up throwing 3.2 innings. He looked OK out there, and it was a little disappointing that they didn't continue using him as a mop-up guy or a second LOOGY.
   39. depletion Posted: November 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4291152)
Mel Queen of the Reds transitioned from OF to P in the mid '60's. One very good year and was OK to mediocre for a few more years as a pitcher. John Olerud probably could have pitched in an emergency: he was a good college pitcher.
   40. musial6 Posted: November 02, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4291225)
Ankiel as uber utility man who can switch from OF to situational lefty in the late innings has been my dream for years
   41. Jay Z Posted: November 02, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4291234)
Johnny Lindell is a guy who pitched early, became an outfielder, then pitched again late in his career. Kieschnick was more of a Clint Hartung type.
   42. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: November 02, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4291235)
IIRC, one issue with switching back and forth is that you don't get any warmup pitches when you come back to the mound from another position mid-inning.

But someone has got to have a player who can pitch and play the field again soon. Trying to maximize the 25-man roster means multifunctional players area a dream. I think a mop-up pitcher would be more likely than a situational pitcher, but the lefty-lefty matchup is so popular now that a guy like ANkiel might yet make it.

Of course, this will add yet more delays to any game the guy is used in, leading many more fans to shoot themselves rather than suffer through a dozen pitching changes.
   43. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: November 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4291258)
What happened to Tony Pena, Jr.'s conversion to the mound?
   44. Balkroth Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4291292)
I don't necessarilly think what Boras said means it isn't happening though. The idea being that he isn't looking to be signed as anything other than a position player now (and that is the only deals Boras and Ankiel are looking for right now), but that he's pondering it as a back up sort of thing.

Although it's probably just a random thought Strauss wrote about.
   45. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4291303)
Ankiel made two of the probably 5 best throws I've seen an OF make in the same game. Also the Cards need a LOOGY.
   46. shock Posted: November 02, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4291338)
McCarver was as stupid and annoying in 2000 as he is today. Good to know.

CHRIST does LaRussa look young though.
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 03, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4291443)
Anybody who want to relive the Ankiel pitching experience can check out this video.


What I notice from that is that Buck's son was talking about how the Cardinals screwed with Ankiel's delivery because he'd had a series of arm troubles.
   48. Baldrick Posted: November 03, 2012 at 05:18 AM (#4291485)
McCarver was as stupid and annoying in 2000 as he is today. Good to know.

Exactly my reaction.
   49. Greg K Posted: November 03, 2012 at 05:50 AM (#4291488)
What I notice from that is that Buck's son was talking about how the Cardinals screwed with Ankiel's delivery because he'd had a series of arm troubles.

I noticed that as well...

They weren't directly responding to one another but it seemed like McCarver said "he's throwing across his body, that's the problem here", and Buck later said "The Cardinals felt in spring training that his tendency to throw across his body was hurting his arm so they tried to get him to change it".

I think Buck's assertion that he never had control problems before that may not be entirely accurate. Obviously, that was a whole new level of lack of control, but looking at his major and minor league numbers before October 2000 his walk rates were a bit higher than you'd like to see (though not anything out of the ordinary for a young strikeout pitcher...sort of a Gio Gonzalez type guy).

Also second the sentiment that that video is very difficult to watch.
   50. BDC Posted: November 03, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4291529)
Thanks for the mentions of Lindell and Queen, guys, this is very interesting stuff.
   51. Nats-Homer-in-DC Posted: November 03, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4291547)
5: Wouldn't that push Ankiel off the list?
   52. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: November 03, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4291562)
The Brewers traded flameout pitching prospect Ben Hendrickson (whose last game in the majors was also hard to watch) to the Royals just before the 2007 season for Quebecois catcher and career minor-leaguer Maxim St. Pierre (anagrams: "Marxist Empire" and "Primates Remix").

MSP had begun his pro career ridiculously young, turning 17 less than two months before the 1997 draft that saw the Tigers take him in the 26th round. He'd played his whole career, ten years, for Detroit before signing with Kansas City as a free agent only a couple months before the Hendrickson trade. He played in just ten games for Milwaukee's AA affiliate, Huntsville, before, as I recall, quitting to become a pitcher. He was 27 at this point.

I don't remember what happened to his nascent pitching career, but come 2008 St. Pierre was back catching in Detroit's system, and he was eventually rewarded with six games in the majors with the Tigers in 2010. He even got a couple hits, including bagging a two-bagger (career .248 MiLB average).

Now, what's especially interesting to me is that, after quitting or being let go by the Tigers after 2011, he kept playing in the independent Can-Am Association, for his hometown Capitales de Quebec--but exclusively as a pitcher. He pitched (terribly) in 11 relief appearances last year while not recording a plate appearance, but he did notch a win. Looking at his career from 1997-2009, I don't think you'd predict either an MLB double or a profession win in his future, but baseball is a funny game.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
James Kannengieser
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogRed Sox trade rumors: 'Very good chance' John Lackey and Jon Lester are traded - Over the Monster
(40 - 5:31pm, Jul 30)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogPosnanski: Four theories about Hall of Fame voting changes
(22 - 5:30pm, Jul 30)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogEric Chavez Retires
(16 - 5:29pm, Jul 30)
Last: theboyqueen

NewsblogThe Untold and Insanely Weird Story of A-Rod’s Doping Habits (and why MLB quietly banned EPO, cycling’s drug of choice)
(10 - 5:27pm, Jul 30)
Last: Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige

NewsblogCubs Acquire Felix Doubront
(27 - 5:24pm, Jul 30)
Last: I am Ted F'ing Williams

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3760 - 5:23pm, Jul 30)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogSOE: Minor League Manhood - A first-hand account of masculine sports culture run amok.
(109 - 5:22pm, Jul 30)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogCardinals To Acquire Justin Masterson
(11 - 5:16pm, Jul 30)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(519 - 5:02pm, Jul 30)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogPosnanski: Hey, Rube: Phillies pay dearly for Amaro’s misguided loyalty
(6 - 4:59pm, Jul 30)
Last: Textbook Editor

NewsblogMASN TV Contract Pits Selig vs Nationals vs Orioles
(39 - 4:44pm, Jul 30)
Last: Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio

NewsblogESPN: Twins Sign "Out Of Nowhere" Prospect
(75 - 4:44pm, Jul 30)
Last: Jeltzandini

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(1019 - 4:43pm, Jul 30)
Last: MikeOberly

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-30-2014
(20 - 4:35pm, Jul 30)
Last: Perry

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 7-30-2014
(11 - 4:07pm, Jul 30)
Last: The Chronicles of Reddick

Page rendered in 0.3598 seconds
52 querie(s) executed