WTNYApril 15, 2004
Everything and Nothing
By Bryan Smith

The Hardball Times crashed on Tuesday, and as I write this, isn't back up yet. We have some great tech guys fixing the problem, and it looks like everything will be restored fine. It's the early stages of what has been an amazing project, and I hope we don't lose any readers as a result.

Also, let me say congrats to the Cub Reporter for a Business Week mention, and for Mike's Rants being mentioned in a MSN Slate article recently. It's great to see my boys here at All-Baseball getting some pub, it really humbles me and reminds me of the kind of talent that we have here. And seriously, someone give Alex Belth a job in writing...please...

So the Cubs won today, an easy 8-3 victory over the Pirates. Matt Clement pitched well, and I have to credit Dusty for taking him out after crossing the 100-pitch mark. Farnsworth is having some early season issues, but I won't worry about him come the summer months. With a warm arm, Farnsworth is consistently at 100 mph, which makes his slider all the more deadly.

Lord, Aramis Ramirez is currently the best Cubs hitter. Sure, he's hitting only .294, but he's smoked five doubles already, and his two home runs yesterday were really uplifting. I really expected Derrek Lee to step up early as the top Cub hitter, but he hasn't. And just as I expected, all the Cubs cynics are pointing to some Korean first basemen on the Marlins that hit his fourth homer yesterday.

Speaking of the Marlins, Miguel Cabrera currently leads the Majors with six home runs. I really was backing up Miguel in a debate we had before the season at All-Baseball, but I didn't think his success would come this fast. If he can keep this up all season, some of my insane comps might actually fit.

Unlike many Cub fans, I don't hate the White Sox. Much of my family supports the South side, and I went to more games at Comiskey than at Wrigley growing up. Don't get me wrong, I'm a diehard Cubs fan, I just don't root against the Sox in all of their 162 games, only six of them. But still, I'm constantly badgered by Sox fans who love pointing out their team. The Sox are hitting at an insane rate right now, and once that regresses to normal, their true colors will show. And unlike Farnsworth, I can't say Billy Koch has the brightest of futures.

So to branch away from Major League Baseball, I've been thinking about the draft lately. Rich Lederer has helped me to believe that Jered Weaver is a lock for the top spot, although places like Baseball America will try to make it into a controversey. I also believe that Detroit would be stupid to take anyone but Stephen Drew, the best hitter in college baseball. Drew has great power and patience at shortstop, and is a safer choice than anyone else.

So that brings us to the Mets. New York likes to make flashy selections, someone they can flaunt, and someone that will demand a very hefty bonus. Before Jeff Niemann's troubles, it appeared Drew would drop to here, but with Niemann out of my top five, Jim Duquette has a touch choice. He could go with a couple high school pitchers, likely Nick Adenhart from New England, he could go with someone from the Rice trio, or he could go with Justin Verlander. BA has tried to tout Verlander all season, and right now, I expect him to be the third selection in this year's draft.

Now, I want to talk about the future of this blog. I have not written a lot here, both because I'm doing hard work for THT and on the side, and because there aren't a ton of topics for me to discuss. What kind of stuff do you readers like to get from here? What can I do that will bring you back? In order to make this a better site, I need some advice here and now...


Bryan...just wanted to say that the concept of Wait Till Next Year is a great idea. I've actually just gone back and finished reading all posts from January on as i was out of the country for a while without time to read daily. Since THT is taking off and understandably you have less time for WTNY, weekly posts may be a good direction for you. Maybe go into something that sums up the past week of baseball and then thoughts for the coming week. Continue developing ideas about the amateur draft and following the minor leagues. Being WTNY I think content on the minors and the draft and possible trades and what effect injuries are playing on respective teams would be give us readers enough of a reason to keep coming back. Great job thus far here and at THT.


Just a quick note about your latest Hardball Times article. It's actually the "Rule 5" draft, not "Rule V." Rob Neyer talks discusses it in his transactions primer (http://espn.go.com/mlb/s/transanctionsprimer.html; click on my name for the link if that doesn't work).

I'm most interested in hearing about the hottest prospects in the minors. There are innumerable sites that talk about MLB.