Sitting in a hotel room in Arizona, enjoying the air conditioning and a beautiful sunset and Game 5 of the ALCS with the Rays currently leading, 5-0, heading into the bottom of the third inning.
And rather than apologizing and making lame excuses for having fallen behind on Jonathan’s brainchild of the “One More Thing” series, I’ll just act like nothing happened and chime in with “One More Thing” for the three organizational reviews I’ve written so far (with seven more to come and much prompter OMTs).
My first opus was a look back at the 2008 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Another rough season and you can sense the frustration on the part of the fans who have commented on article (though to answer the question about why no discussion about the parent club, well, because it’s a MINOR LEAGUE REVIEW).
But one pitcher who got his first taste of the big leagues that did not make the final cut of the review was 27-year-old RHP Yoslan Herrera. He was a big-money sign out of Cuba, where he pitched for the National Team from 2001-2004, but his escape from his home country was anything but cushy. Stowed away on a boat, it took awhile once he left for all the paperwork to get taken care of and he did not make his pro debut until 2007 at Double-A Altoona. He spent most of ’08 with the Curve as well, where he posted a 3.46 ERA, but was called up to Pittsburgh and made his debut there on July 12, the day before the third anniversary of his defection. Herrera has not seen his family since he left.
Also covered so far was a look at the Cincinnati Reds. There are a lot of interesting kids in this system and it’s this kind of organization where I wish I had more room to write about all the sleepers that seem to emerge every year.
But for now, I’ll go with one, OF Sean Henry who is here in Arizona with the Peoria Javelinas as a member of the taxi squad. That means that barring injury on the team he only plays on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so I’m hoping I can time it out to watch him for an entire game at some point … picked up by the Reds down the August stretch in 2007 from the New York Mets for veteran Jeff Conine, Henry started the ’08 season at Advanced A Sarasota for two weeks before moving up to Double-A Chattanooga for the rest of the season hitting .285 with 11 home runs, 62 RBIs and 16 steals.
Finally, we get caught up to date by taking a look at the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies might want to start performing hamate bone removal surgery on all of their infielders as soon as they sign, let them go home for the summer and come back ready to roll the next spring. Three of their top infield prospects — Eric Young Jr., Corey Wimberley and Chris Nelson — all missed time this season with broken hamate bones.
But one player who did not miss time with that injury, though he might have given all the autographs he signed over the course of the season, was OF Anthony Jackson. The 5-foot-8 switch-hitter spent the summer at Advanced A Modesto, hitting .296 with 39 steals for the Nuts.
But most notable about Jackson is that he became the first offensive player in the last 25 years of Modesto baseball to actually hail from that city. He went to high school there, and played his college ball at the University of the Pacific, not far away in Stockton. After a spotty start, Jackson hit .330 in June, .317 in July and .327 in August to give his always sizeable rooting section something to cheer about.
The most cheers may have come on June 17, when his family threw him a 24th birthday party at the ballpark. Also celebrating her birthday there that night was his twin sister.