Note to STL-PD editors, Strauss shouldn’t be allowed to talk about prospects.
QUESTION: Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter so far has had no setbacks in camp. However, given his injury history, what would realistically constitute a successful season for Carpenter in 2009?
The Cardinals’ lack of depth does not allow for grading on a curve. (Mortensen and Todd are projected as major league relievers; Walters and Ottavino are projected for the rotation but not ready, despite the buzz created by some hyperventilating early reports; Boggs is behind due to shoulder stiffness that followed him into camp. The club does not promote Brad Thompson as an alternative.) Anything less than 28 starts by Carpenter represents a serious complication to the season.
Let’s break this down. “Mortensen and Todd are projected as major league relievers.” I’ll give him the latter, in some circles including myself, but no one projects Mortensen as a reliever. He’s always been billed as a starter. While the mantra of needing to improve his changeup holds true, you won’t find many analysts projecting him as a reliever rather than a backend starter.
“Walters and Ottavino are projected for the rotation.” If he wanted to knock someone as being projected for the pen, he’d have been far better off going after Mr. Slow Fastball and Ottavino who has been living off his 1st round draft status for a while now. KLaw has consistently called Ottavino a reliever and there’s plenty of questions about his secondary pitches. The choice to say these two are projected starters rather than Mortensen is nothing short of baffling.
“despite the buzz created by some hyperventilating early reports” Read this as the internet geeks are getting itchy. Strauss has a consistent and derogatory tone toward anyone not of the traditional media venue or part of the in-crowd for baseball. He’d undoubtedly cite scouts who actually work for MLB teams as his references for these statements but he never takes a pass on trying to kick prospect evaluators. Heck, the question wasn’t even about prospects.
No one is claiming that Mortensen or Todd are going to jump right in and save the day but Strauss is ever egregious in his hyperbole and slams when it comes to prospects. He’s not a bad beat writer and I would imagine he’s a decent human being but he has little objectivity when it comes to prospects.