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Monday, April 27, 2020

Sunday Notes: The D-Backs’ Run Production Coordinator Has a Good Backstory

Drew Hedman’s title with the Arizona Diamondbacks is Major League Run Production Coordinator. The 33-year-old Pomona College graduate was promoted to that position in January 2019 after spending the previous 12 months as a pro scout. His backstory is interesting, in part because he bypassed business school along the way.

Hedman played four seasons in the Red Sox organization, and while he topped out in Double-A, that alone qualifies an accomplishment. A total of 1,521 players were selected in the 2009 draft, and only three of them went later than Hedman. As a 50th-round pick, the writing was on the wall by the time the ink dried on his first contract. Not that he didn’t give pro ball the old college try.

“I certainly knew the odds weren’t in my favor, but with that being said, I always tried to be stubborn enough to think I’d be the exception,” Hedman told me. “I did everything I could to put myself in the best possible position to make it. Obviously it didn’t happen.”

Staying in the game beyond his playing days was a goal even before his release. The question was, in which capacity? A front office role made sense — Hedman has a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, with a focus in Economics — but his alma mater wasn’t yet the baseball breeding ground it’s become. Over a dozen Pomona alums have gone on to work for MLB teams since Guy Stevens, who now runs the Kansas City Royals’ R&D department — broke the ice in 2013. Hedman was cut loose in spring training that same year.

Now trying to figure out what a “Run Production Coordinator” does…..


Monday, April 20, 2020

Sunday Notes: Taylor Trammell Loves Fans (and Wishes More Looked Like Him)

I’m not privy as to whether the Cincinnati Reds assign a grade to character in their draft reports. I also don’t know how much the San Diego Padres weigh that attribute when pondering possible acquisitions. I do know that Taylor Trammell projects as more than a quality big-league outfielder. He projects as a role model.

Trammell became a Padre last summer. Part of the trade-deadline deal that sent Trevor Bauer to the Queen City, he’d been selected 35th overall by the Reds in the 2016 draft out of Kennesaw, Georgia’s Mount Paran Christian School. Blessed with plus raw tools, Trammell is slotted No. 69 on our 2020 Top 100 Prospects list.

A prima donna he’s not. When he reaches the big leagues, Trammell will do so with a genuine appreciation for what life has presented him. Moreover, he doesn’t just embrace the game of baseball. He embraces the people who come to see it played.

“I have thoughts on fans,” Trammell told me in Padres camp last month. “I love them. There are people who come to games and want to heckle, and they have the right to do that. Do I agree with it? No, but if you want to pay money to come yell at us, I mean, do whatever you want. Go to a boxing match. Go to a baseball game. Go to a basketball game. Any game. When there are a whole bunch of fans in the stands, whether they’re rooting for you or not rooting for you, it’s great for baseball. They want to see a game and we’re putting on a show for them.”

Come for the stories about prospects- stay to argue the relative merits of Willie Randolph and Jeff Kent!

 


Monday, April 13, 2020

Sunday Notes: Was Jim Edmonds Better Than Andruw Jones?

Who was better, Jim Edmonds or Andruw Jones?

I asked that question in a Twitter poll earlier this week, expecting that it would be a close call. Centerfielders both, they played 17 seasons each and finished with similar WAR totals (Jones 67, Edmonds 64.5). Making the comparison especially intriguing was the fact that one was clearly the better defender, while the other was clearly the better hitter.

Instead of a nail-biter, I got a landslide. A total of 4,017 people voted, and a resounding 71.4% opted for Jones. Edmonds, despite having a huge edge in wRC+, garnered a meager 28.6%.

Let the debate begin!

 


Monday, April 06, 2020

Sunday Notes: Keston Hiura Can Hit, But The Book He’d Write Would Be Boring

The first time I interviewed Keston Hiura was over the phone. This was a few months after he’d been taken ninth overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2017 draft. Kiura was playing for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, and he called at the assigned time from a Midwest League ballpark after batting practice. I don’t recall which ballpark.

I was in Lowell, Massachusetts at a New York-Penn League game that had already started. It was loud at LeLacheur Park, so I talked to Hiura from the relative quiet of a stairwell down the left-field line. The interview went well. I found the former UC Irvine Anteater to be both forthcoming and articulate.

The second time I interviewed Kiura was at the Brewers spring training complex, four weeks ago. Standing face-to-face — closer than the six-foot distance now deemed necessary — I accused him of being boring.

Truth be told, the pertinent ground had already been covered. In our earlier long-distance conversation we’d gone over the toe tap into a high leg kick, the inside-out swing with a high finish, the way he kept both hands on the bat. For good measure, we’d touched on his patience-paired-with-aggression approach.

For those who want to hear about unpaid bets from the 1980s, players who spent a year playing baseball in Japan, and the manager we hate this most.


 

 

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