October 30, 2020

Home Cooking

March 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Chemical additives have played havoc with athletics and our food.  Cooking at home is a good place to start to combat both concerns.  Some teams, notably the Braves, emphasize drafting amateurs from close to home in Georgia, then slow cook them into quality professionals in their minor leagues.  The Nationals could use a little of that Betty Crocker.

With the Orioles playing all of 45 minutes up Interstate 95, the Washington Nationals market area is to the south for the most part.  When they signed Ryan Zimmerman–from the University of Virginia–the Nationals admitted that the Commonwealth of Virginia could be an important part of the team’s future.  Since drafting Zimmerman they have ignored the area, but the draft crop coming out of the Commonwealth is improving dramatically.

The University of Virginia baseball team currently is ranked number one by Baseball America.  I know Stephen Strasburg remembers them.  Junior second baseman Phil Gosselin–who is draft eligible–hit one of Strasburg’s first pitches over the fence in last year’s regional playoffs.  Gosselin is an excellent prospect, though not even ranked among college prospects by BA.  Jarrett Parker, who plays outfield for the Cavaliers, is ranked in the top 25 draft-eligible college players.

But Virginia’s best college player does not go to a Virginia school.  The best Virginia college player is Deck McGuire from Richmond.  McGuire plays for Georgia Tech, but played his high school ball in Virginia.  He is currently rated by BA and Keith Law as the best college player available in the upcoming June draft, after LSU’s Anthony Renaudo was injured several weeks ago.

In three games this season no one has laid a glove on him and he is building on very successful freshman and sophomore years when he went 19-3.  Will he still be the best college player in the draft once the college season is over? Perhaps not, but right now he makes a lot of sense as the best use of the Nationals overall first choice in the June draft.

In twenty-two innings so far this season, McGuire has 25 K’s to only 3 walks. He throws a heavy fastball and a plus curve and projects as at least a third starter. For a team that needs to build a winner sooner rather than later, he is closer to the major leagues than just about anyone else.  More importantly, there is no bigger need in DC than starting pitching.

It doesn’t stop there.  Jesse Hahn of Virginia Tech is pitching almost as well as McGuire.  He does not have the stuff that McGuire does and he is actually from Connecticut, but I think he is eligible for in-state tuition at this point. Austin Wates, the Hokies’ first baseman IS from Virginia and like McGuire fom Richmond. Wates, Hahn and McGuire will get together late in April for a three-game series between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech and I for one am hoping the Nationals will have a scout there for all three games.

There is left-hander Cody Wheeler from Coastal Carolina and historically famous Spotsylvania, VA.  There are no doubt others, but maybe the best is yet to come.  The best player on the University of Virginia roster may be sophomore pitcher Danny Hultzen who hales from the DC suburbs.  He will be draft eligible in 2011 and likely to go in the first round.

The Nationals would not be ill-served to have a team full of Ryan Zimmermans, players with All-Star skills and a some semblance of brand loyalty–something very old-fashioned indeed.  Getting that kind of player from ole Virginia would be a savory sauce and the kind of home cooking any Washington fan could take home to mom.

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