20 April, 2006

MLB debut - Ricky Nolasco

Minute Maid Park in Houston ... some of these naming rights sales haved blessed us with stupid stadium names. Minute Maid Park: bad name, meh connotations. Enron Field: passable name (but who outside of Texas had heard of Enron), dreadful legacy. You might as well call the place Cesspit of Corporate Larceny. Better still, call it a Mickey Mouse park; Pitchers' Graveyard; or, Coors in the Sunbelt. Anything but a Major League stadium. Bring back the Harris County Domed Stadium!

Anyway, back in Houston, 5 April was a big day for Florida's Ricky Nolasco as it was his turn to be an MLB virgin. He entered the game at beginning of the 3rd, replacing starter Brian Moehler who had been tagged fro 6 runs in 2 innings and lifted for a pinch hitter. Nolasco lasted 3 innings, allowing no runs on one hit and 2 walks. The righthander struck out two both coming after his shaky start when he gave up a walk and hit. He was perfect for the remainder of his outing.

Nolasco is out of the Cubs system, which is enough to make Donutball run a mile. Cub pitching prospects are a collection of blown out elbows and shoulders. However, this prospect seems to have stayed healthy through four above average Minor League seasons.

Nolasco was part of the Juan Pierre deal. Cub sniping apart, Florida has picked a live arm. He has a couple of plus pitches though lacks a decent change-up.

He repeated AA last year and was one of the Southern League's most dominant pitchers leading the loop in wins (14) and strikeout (173 in 161.2 innings). However, it was a repeat year and back in 2004 he was clobbered in a short stint at Iowa in AAA.

Nolasco looks like he's going to have duty as Florida's 5th or 6th option out of the bullpen. Who knows, he might even get a start. He's got a fair pedigree even without a changeup and could prove a useful pickup from the Pierre trade. (Yeah, the Cubs got stuffed there!)

Baseball Cube


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