19 April, 2006

MLB debut - James Loney

Back in the nineties, my Diamond Mind team (which I'm sure you don't want to hear about) starred future ESPN analyst and then Dodger first baseman Eric Karros. I drafted Karros mainly because I liked his smooth stroke and moderate power. In the end though, I was slightly disappointed. Karros had a good, but not great career and never upped his game that notch that he promised early on, unlike his long time teammate Mike Piazza.

Karros played eleven solid if slightly dull years in LA then closed out with a brief flourish at Wrigley , which I'm sure helped his batting, and a forgettable swan song at Oakland. In all his totals were .268/.325/.454, not bad yet he'll have to pay like you and me to get into Cooperstown.

Meet James Loney, the latest Dodger resident at first base. Former first round pick Loney has scouts drooling, much like Karros (a 6th round selection) did when he rushed through the Dodger system. From what I read, Loney has the look and feel of a ballplayer; smooth hands, great glove, sweet swing and - not sure if this is appropriate for a ballplayer - airs and graces. Trouble is that, he likely will not half a quarter the career Karros had. Injuries have blocked his progress. He has great strike zone judgement, but little power. That and the Dodgers signed No-mah to play first.

Well, as we know, No-mah is as fragile as Loney and went on the DL on 4 April. Loney was promoted and started that very day against the Braves batting 5th against the great John Smoltz. An encouraging first AB saw Loney get a free pass. He added a hit in three official at bats with a run and a strike out.

Let's hope Loney is a better TV analyst than the anodyne Karros.

Baseball Cube


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