Results tagged ‘ Ryan Tatusko ’

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

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

Former Kings in the Cal League Playoffs

While I’ve obviously been following the Midwest League Playoffs in depth (Fort Wayne is currently up 2-0 on Burlington in the best-of-five Championship Series), I haven’t given any coverage so far to what has been a thrilling Cal League Playoffs.

That changes today.  Mention needs to be made of what several former LumberKings have done out West.


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Mauro Gomez (left) and Ian Gac drove in 16 runs combined for the Blaze in eight playoff games.

Ian Gac (’06-’08), Mauro Gomez (’07), Matt Lawson (’08), Kennil Gomez (’08) and others helped power Bakersfield to the post season, and the Blaze didn’t settle with a first-round letdown.  They came back from a 1-0 deficit to oust Modesto with 13-6 and 6-1 wins. 

In the second round, they fell behind 2-0 to Cal League powerhouse San Jose (league-best 93-47 during the regular season) as Ryan Tatusko (’08) yielded just a run and lost to Clayton Tanner in game one and the bullpen failed for a disastrous eight-run eighth inning in an 8-3 loss in game two.  Tim Murphy (’08) turned in 7.0 scoreless innings, but Justin Miller and Glenn Swanson (’06-’07) were beat up in relief. 

That’s when the Blaze turned it on.  The Gomez’s teamed up for a 7-3 win in Bakersfield as Kennil Gomez stifled the Giants to a run over 6.2 innings while Mauro Gomez homered and drove in three.  They evened the series with an 11-4 win in game four thanks to Gac’s season-best six-RBI night, including a three-run blast that cleared the famed Sam Lynn Ballpark batter’s eye.  Michael Main (’08) tossed 2.0 scoreless relief innings to help Tanner Roark get the win.

Unfortunately, that’s where the dream ended.  San Jose erased an early 2-0 Blaze lead and won going away, 12-3.  The Gomez/Gac combo went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts combined as Bakersfield fell short of meeting High Desert in the Cal Leage Championship Series.

As you well know, Bakersfield was our old High A affiliate and High Desert is our new High A affiliate.  It would have been great to see the two match up in the finals, but it’s still exciting to see the Mavericks enjoy continued success.

 
Seager Hensley.JPG

Kyle Seager (left) and Steven Hensley will attempt to lead the Mavs to the title.

Three former LumberKings are with the Mavs, including Steven Hensley (’09), Travis Howell (’09), Kyle Seager (’09) and Stephen Penney (’09).

The Mavs had a first round bye thanks to a South Division-best 83-57 record.  Their second-round matchup pitted them against the Angels-affiliated Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.  That means a ton of former Cedar Rapids Kernels.

High Desert took game one behind Hensley’s outstanding complete-game, three hitter.  He struck out 10 Quakes and Jamie McOwen continued his dream season with a two-run blast to finish off a 5-0 victory.

The Mavs still wouldn’t let the Quakes on the board in game two as their second ace, former West Michigan Whitecap Mauricio Robles did his best to match Hensley with 7.0 scoreless frames in a 4-0 win.  Carlos Peguero was the man with the two-run clout this time around.

Rancho outlasted High Desert and staved off elimination with a 7-6 walk-off win in the 10th in game three.  Joe Dunigan was the offensive highlight thanks to yet another two-run homer in a 3-for-4, three RBI game.  The Quakes forced the deciding game five with an uneventful 2-1 win behind former Kernel Ryan Brasier’s 8.0 scoreless innings.

The series returned to Adelanto for the deciding game, and a 3-2 pitcher’s duel favored the Mavs through the first four innings.  Then, the bats took over.  Juan Diaz, Dunigan and Peguero all homered after the fifth and the bullpen was stellar in an 11-6 lashing to end the series.  The stiff-armed Penney was the man on the mound in a non-save ninth, and he turned in a scoreless frame to send the Mavs onward.

That sets up the best-of-five Cal League Championship Series, your High Desert Mavericks against the San Jose Giants.  The two best teams from their respective divisions rightfully meet up.  The series begins tonight in Adelanto with Hensley on the mound.

If you’re looking for more baseball to listen to, check out the Mavs tonight at 9:05 central time.  The link to the audio is here:  http://v3.player.abacast.com/player/player.php?pid=eldorado_kixw&stream=bb

-DL

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