Crash Bag, Vol. 77: Max Pentecost

Yesterday morning, Keith Law and Christopher Crawford took a crack at ranking the top 30 prospects for next year’s amateur draft. It’s on Insider, so I won’t ruin the content too much, but many of my favorite college prospects were there, including Trea Turner, Aaron Nola, Tyler Beede and Carlos Rodon, who’s going to go No. 1 overall and upon whose doorstep I’ve been sleeping for months in the hope that he’ll notice me and love me the way I love him. South Carolina’s two big junior stars, Joey Pankake and Grayson Greiner, were not on the list, which is slightly disappointing if not entirely surprising.

But the big story is this guy: 11. Max Pentecost, C | Kennesaw State

What.

Max Pentecost? MAX PENTECOST. You’d get laughed out of The Expendables with a name like Max Pentecost. Max Pentecost drives a Plum Crazy Dodge Challenger and hides a Desert Eagle behind his chest protector. Rock Shoulders is wimp’s name by comparison.

@LikeShackleton: “Can you tell me everything about Max Pentecost?”

You’re in luck. I can do precisely that.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Zach Miner

It says something about the Phillies’ 2013 season that a reliever who hadn’t pitched in professional baseball prior to the season ended up logging as many innings during the second half of the season as closer and $50 million man Jonathan Papelbon. Zach Miner began his career with the Tigers, pitching out of the back of their starting rotation. He posted mediocre numbers, bouncing back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A. In 2010, he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. When he returned, he pitched in the Royals organization then went back with the Tigers before winding up with the Phillies.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Ethan Martin

Lacking stimulating stuff in the farm system, the Phillies acquired themselves an intriguing arm from the Dodgers at the 2012 trade deadline in young right-hander, Ethan Martin. Martin’s exceptional natural talent had yet to be harnessed as he struggled, like so many young power pitchers, with control and command to the point where many thought he’d end up in the bullpen. His 2013 season was no different and Martin ended his season where he’ll likey spend a good portion of his career, in a Major League bullpen. Continue reading…

2013 Phillies Report Card: Cliff Lee

In mid-December 2010, I was a little downtrodden. I was at a bar called Jersey’s, the same place where, just two months earlier, I’d watched Ryan Howard take strike three from Brian Wilson to send the Giants to the World Series and the Phillies packing for warmer weather than southern New Jersey would offer in the winter. I was in between jobs, mired in year two of post-graduate work rockiness that drove me and almost everybody associated with me a little bit nuts. Plus, it was cold and dark. It was a bleh time.

Naturally, all it took was one of the greatest surprises in 21st century baseball to turn all (well, most) of that around in a heartbeat. That night at Jersey’s, I and the rest of the internet learned that Cliff Lee was going to sign with the Phillies as a free agent, nearly a year to the day after he was traded to Seattle in one of the worst trades made by any club in recent memory.

That was a different time; Phillies baseball was about optimism, and Ruben Amaro’s brazen disregard for conventionality and common sense seemed more endearing than endangering. Fast forward to 2013, and though those circumstances have changed and the golden aura around the Phillies logo has been muted and desaturated, Cliff Lee remains rust-free and a persistent bright spot, a beacon in the miasma.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Antonio Bastardo

Antonio Bastardo was really good this year. Once you factor out virtual nonentities like Mauricio Robles and John McDonald, Tony No-Dad led the team in ERA+ and K%. He’s been outstanding ever since his move to the bullpen, a few injury-addled months late in 2011 and early in 2012 notwithstanding. He also got dinged for drugs in this Biogenesis ordeal, which is (for me) less an indictment of his personal and professional reputation than it was a way to keep miles off an arm that’s been shown to be prone to fatigue. Again, Tony No-Dad proved to be a powerful argument for stocking your bullpen with young guys who throw hard instead of spending big money on “proven” relievers, namely Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon. As Tony No-Dad chugged along, Adams was hurt and Papelbon suffered a downtick in fastball velocity brought on either by age or the energy vacuum he creates between pitches, an interminable wait capable of snuffing out the nuclear fusion in a star.

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