Results tagged ‘ Michael Main ’

The Interview Vault: Michael Main

main interview vault.jpgThe San Francisco Giants showed the world last year how far a young rotation can take you, riding the arms of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez past the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers on the way to the World Series title.  With eventual NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey emerging as their catcher of now, the Giants were able to move veteran backstop Bengie Molina to the Ranger team they’d face for the title in exchange for a bright young arm from the Texas system.

That arm is 2007 first-round pick and 2008 LumberKings right-hander Michael Main.  The DeLand, Florida native was moved along with right-hander Chris Ray in exchange for Molina’s services on July 1.  No question Molina’s expertise aided both staffs tremendously in 2010, and his bat proved pivotal for the Rangers against the Rays and Yankees in the playoffs.

Ray was a proven relief commodity and would go 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA over 28 relief appearances with the Giants, but Main can still be considered the key piece of the deal.  The second of Texas’s two first-round picks in 2007 (24th overall, seven spots after Rangers-turned-Mariners prospect Blake Beavan), Main entered last season as the #21 prospect in the Rangers’ system according to Baseball America despite relatively average career numbers (9-10, 4.39 ERA, 68 walks, 153 strikeouts and a .258 opponent average in 148 innings) and a propensity to miss time (he’s been through a rotator cuff injury in high school, cracked ribs in 2008 and a two-month bout with mononucleosis in 2009).

Last season, Main looked to be on track to stay healthy and enjoyed his best season since 2008 with Clinton (2-2, 2.58 in 10 starts), going 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA, 21 walks, 72 strikeouts and a .250 opponent average in 91 innings with high-A Bakersfield.

Then came the trade.

Main was already headed to double-A Frisco when the Rangers moved him, so the Giants didn’t interrupt his promotion as they sent him straight to double-A Richmond.  Who knows if it was a change in pitching philosophy, lingering jet lag from changing coasts or just jitters with a new organization, but his time as a Flying Squirrel wasn’t positive.  He went 0-3 with a 13.83 ERA and walked twice as many as he struck out (14 walks compared to seven K’s) over just five games before injuring his hip in late July and missing the rest of the season.

What does the future hold for Main?  It’s uncertain if the highly-touted athlete can finally shake free of the injury bug and find the 96-97 mph fastball and power curveball that got him drafted so highly.  The Giants will certainly give him time to do both, probably inviting him to Major League camp before sending him back to Richmond for a full season.

While we wait to see what unfolds for the man we used to call “The Main Event”, let’s revisit the good old days in Clinton when he was part of a rotation that featured Beavan, Ryan Tatusko (also traded by the Rangers in 2010 to the Washington Nationals) and Michael Kirkman.  

The right-hander arrived from the AZL near the start of July, replacing right-hander Neftali Feliz, who jumped two levels to double-A Frisco.  Main really never encountered trouble over his 10 starts with the LumberKings, stifling opponents to a .228 average while never allowing more than three earned runs in any of his outings.  His signature start came on July 31 against South Bend when he worked six innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, walked none and struck out four.

My featured interview with him took place after his first Clinton start in West Michigan on July 10, a 4.2-inning effort in which he scattered seven hits and allowed just a run in a no-decision (a 6-1 LumberKings’ win).  We discussed the start, his fastball/curveball/change arsenal, rehabbing the fractured rib, teaming up fellow first-rounder Beavan in the rotation, learning to pitch under pressure while on the national stage with Team USA, his bat and more. 

Listen: 
Michael Main, Following First Start (2008).mp3

That’s all for The LumberBlog before the Christmas holiday, but keep an eye out for another entry of “The Interview Vault” on Tuesday, January 4.  Until then, happy holidays!

-DL 

The Interview Vault: Danny Clark

dc interview vault.jpgThe World Series is over, and the San Francisco Giants are the well-deserved champions.  No doubt, their young rotation of Tim Lincecum/Matt Cain/Madison Bumgardner — and to a lesser degree Jonathan Sanchez — handcuffed the Rangers over the course of five games en route to the 4-1 series victory.  Only Mitch Moreland hit above .250 for the series, batting .462 with a home run and three RBI.

While the San Fran arms are sure to be the buzz around baseball all winter, there’s no doubt that the young guns of the Texas rotation and bullpen proved a little something as well on the national stage.  Colby Lewis stepped out of the shadow of Cliff Lee to prove to be the Rangers’ stopper, going 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four postseason starts including the lone World Series win.  Rookie closer Neftali Feliz shrugged off doubts that he could perform in the playoffs, posting a 1.23 ERA in seven appearances including a World Series save.

Ignore the blowups in Game 2 and left-handers Derek Holland and Michael Kirkman were actually pretty solid.  The Rangers might not get past the New York Yankees without the clutch 3.2 scoreless innings thrown by Holland in Game 4 of the ALCS.  Alexi Ogando was another unknown heading into late October, and he responded with a 1.50 ERA in five postseason outings before ending up on the disabled list.

All of these pitchers (aside from Lee), at some point on their way to reaching Arlington have worked with Texas Rangers’ Pitching Coordinator Danny Clark.  Better known as “DC”, Clark was the pitching coach here in Clinton from 2007-2008 before rising to his current rank prior to the 2009 season. 

The 2008 campaign alone saw Clark teach the likes of Feliz, Holland, Kirkman, Blake Beavan, Michael Main, Josh Lueke, Kennil Gomez and Ryan Tatusko.  The year before, he guided pitchers like Kasey Kiker, Zach Phillips, Omar Poveda and Evan Reed, all right here in Clinton, IA.

Today, we’ll dust off an interview I did with DC during the second half of that tremendous ’08 year.   We talk about Feliz’s development of a breaking ball/changeup to compliment his blazing fastball, Kirkman’s revival after tough seasons in ’06 and ’07, Holland’s 7-0 start to the season, Gomez and Beavan working through struggles and more. 

Listen Here: 
Pitching Coach Danny Clark (talking about Feliz, Holland in 2008).mp3

Interestingly enough, we ran into DC just hours before Game 3 on Saturday in Arlington.  It was one of those “coming full circle” moments that baseball often provides.  I imagine that, like us, he was pretty astounded by how fast the success has come for many of his pitchers.  It’s a success I believe you’ll see around Texas for seasons to come. 

-DL

The Interview Vault: Richard Durrett

theinterviewvault.jpgA new offseason segment debuts on the LumberBlog today, not-so-cleverly called “The Interview Vault”.  Player, coach and staff interviews have been a staple on the LumberBlog since 2009 but there’s a ton of lost interviews I’ve had sitting on cassette tapes in a dusty shoebox.

Those tapes have resurfaced and contain valuable interviews with the likes of former LumberKings manager (now Texas Rangers’ field coordinator) Mike Micucci, former Kings turned big-leaguers like Mitch Moreland, Derek Holland and Justin Smoak, plus up-and-coming prospects like Chad Tracy, Marcus Lemon, Engel Beltre and more.

I will try and revisit interviews that are timely and notable throughout the fall and winter, and with that in mind, I present the first lost interview with Texas Rangers’ beat writer for the Dallas Morning News, Richard Durrett.

I caught up with Mr. Durrett in the late summer of 2008 when he was stopping by Alliant Energy Field to do a story on then-Rangers prospects, right-handers Blake Beavan and Michael Main.  While those two were his main focus, he also observed a Clinton offense that included Moreland, Beltre, Jonathan Greene, Cristian Santana and others.

We talk at length about his observations of Beavan, whose now one of the top arms in the Seattle system.  He also weighs in on the remarkable 2008 season for Josh Hamilton, the establishment of a plan in the Rangers system and proves very prophetic about his prediction of seasons to come for Texas. 

Listen Here: 
Richard Durrett, Rangers Writer (2008).mp3

A fitting interview from the vault just hours before the Rangers take the diamond in Tampa for the most important game in team history.  Game five against the Rays begins at 7:00 PM central time as lefty Cliff Lee takes the hill hoping to give Texas their first-ever playoff series victory.

-DL

Diamond Debuts, Beavan Impresses in Tacoma

diamond.JPGMy apologies lately for letting a lot of LumberKings alumni news slip through the cracks, but I’ll attempt to resolve some of that right now.

Less than a week after first-baseman Mitch Moreland (’08) became the third former King to make a big-league debut, right-hander Thomas Diamond (’04, pictured left) stepped to the mound for the Chicago Cubs to make his first Major League start last night against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Diamond struck out 10 of the 27 batters he faced over 6.0 innings, but also allowed three runs on seven hits as the Cubs lost, 4-3 to the Brewers at Wrigley Field.  He became only the second Cub in 90 seasons to strike out 10 in his debut. 

Amongst his seven seasons in the Minors (all in the Texas chain until this year) was the 2004 season with Clinton, in which Diamond went 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA in seven starts.  He walked only eight while fanning 42 batters over 30.2 innings as a LumberKing.  Diamond joins Moreland, first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08) and right-hande Omar Beltre (’03) as former LumberKings who have made Major League debuts this season.

Diamond isn’t the only former Clinton pitcher moving up in recent days.  Right-hander Blake Beavan, a member of the 2008 Kings, moved up to triple-A Tacoma and earned a win in his first start with the Rainiers.

Recently acquired by the Seattle Mariners in the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas, Beavan was denied his triple-A debut with Oklahoma City but did not have to wait long to get his shot in Seattle.  The Irving, TX native and former first-round pick worked 6.0 innings, yielding two runs on seven hits and striking out two in a 9-3 win over Reno. 

Right-hander Josh Lueke (’07-’08) has also joined Beavan in Tacoma and has pitched well so far, going 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA, no walks and five strikeouts over 3.0 innings.  At least for now, infielder Matt Lawson (’08) has not moved up to Tacoma despite hitting .365 with four doubles, two HR and 14 RBI in just 15 games with double-A West Tenn.

Elsewhere, right-hander Evan Reed (’07-’08) made his first outing as a Florida Marlins farmhand last Saturday, pitching in relief for the double-A Jacksonville Suns.  Reed worked 1.2 innings and struck out one of the six Carolina Mudcats’ hitters he faced.  The former Clinton starter was shipped by the Rangers along with right-hander Omar Poveda (’06-’07) in the deal that brought them Jorge Cantu.  Poveda is still coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Through five games, four starts with double-A Richmond, left-hander Michael Main (’08) is 0-3 with a 13.83 ERA in what has been a rough introduction to the San Francisco system.  The former first-round pick has battled control issues with 14 walks and seven strikeouts over 13.2 innings so far.  Main was acquired by the Giants in the deal that sent catcher Bengie Molina to the Rangers.

With our bus to the Quad Cities leaving in less than an hour, that’s all the time I have for today.  I’ll hopefully have a new interview and game notes prior to the 7:00 PM game against the River Bandits tonight.

-DL

No Interview, Plenty of Content

I’m airing part two of the Tony Blengino interview from yesterday on tonight’s pregame interview, so I will not be recording a new one tonight.  I do, however, have plenty to share with you.

First off, the LumberKings won the series with Kane County with a 4-2 victory in the finale last night.  Left-hander Jimmy Gillheeney looked as impressive as we’ve seen this season, limiting the Cougars to two runs (one earned) over 7.0 innings and fanning six.  The Kings came back from a 2-1 deficit thanks to a three-run sixth as Vinnie Catricala, Tim Morris, Brandon Bantz and James Jones singled in succession off right-hander Rob Gilliam.  Mario Martinez recorded the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Read more about last night’s game in the Game Notes: 
7.1.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Check out some highlights here:

carroll family living.jpgIn other news, the LumberKings were recently featured in the Iowa Farm Bureau’s “Family Living” Magazine.  Daniel Carroll gets some face time on the issue’s cover, and there’s photos of various LumberKings’ players, fans and staff (myself included) in the feature. 

This feature is reprinted with permission from Iowa Farm Bureau’s Family Living.

Check it out: 
Clinton LumberKings Family Living Article.pdf

 

  

Third off, a former LumberKing has been included in a Major League trade today.  The Texas Rangers shipped former Kings lefty Michael Main along with reliever Chris Ray to San Francisco, acquiring catcher Bengie Molina.

Main, one of two first-round picks by the Rangers in 2007, went 2-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 10 starts for the LumberKings in 2008.

Finally, the LumberKings open a six-game road trip tonight starting with a three-game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  Left-hander Nick Czyz (1-0, 0.68) will try and duplicate the success from his first start (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K vs. Beloit) tonight against the Kernels.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM, listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

More Photos from Scott Lucas

They just keep coming, and they’re all awesome.  Scott Lucas of the Newberg Report posted more photos today of Texas Rangers camp in Surprise, AZ.  Former LumberKings amidst this set include Blake Beavan (’08), Kennil Gomez (’08), Derek Holland (’08), Michael Kirkman (’06-’08), Marcus Lemon (’07), Michael Main (’08), David Paisano (’07-’08), Zach Phillips (’06-’07), Evan Reed (’07-’08) and Ryan Tatusko (’08).

View them here:  http://rangers.scottlucas.com/site/TX100317/TX100317day.htm

Also, yesterday’s elusive Kasey Kiker (’07) footage is now available here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbim2PVU34c

-DL

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