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Thread: From Washout Pitching Prospect to VL POTW

  1. #1
    FOBL Owner/GM CJP's Avatar
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    Default From Washout Pitching Prospect to VL POTW

    May 28, 2063
    PHILADELPHIA - It's not surprising that a one-time top-100 prospect would win a Vaughan League Player of the Week Award as a rookie. What is odd is that recent POTW winner Dave Van Zandt started his FOBL journey as a top pitching prospect and once threw a perfect game in the minors, but has finally found his way to the majors as a hitter and logged a torrid 14-for-28 at the plate last week. "Basically, my [pitching] mechanics went right to hell and then my head went right after it," remarked Van Zandt when reflecting on what happened to his pitching potential. A former second round pick as a pitcher out of LSU, Van Zandt struggled to establish any sort of consistency and before too long he was being written off as a future member of the Brawlers' rotation. Brewerytown management gave Van Zandt several seasons to sort out his issues, but he never came around. "The dumb bastard started thinking too much, and that'll kill you every time," quipped Brawlers pitching guru Domingo Caudillo. After five years in the minors, it became clear that Van Zandt was going nowhere on the mound. "The easy story is that the perfect-o in the minors went to his head and screwed him all up," observed Brawler head honcho CJP. "Truth is, he was on a downward trajectory before that. That game was his last gasp against guys he was much more experienced than. Frankly, it wasn't much more impressive than me stomping the bejeezus out of a coupla grade schoolers."

    Once he recognized that as a pitcher he was doomed to be nothing more than organizational filler, Van Zandt was forced to confront failure for the first time as an athlete. "I'd always been a top dog everywhere I'd played growing up. It was easy to blow away hitters or get them to look foolish chasing junk. It looked like that was sure to continue in the pros. After that all fell apart, I had to think of myself as something else besides a dominant pitcher," said Van Zandt. DVZ realized that if he was to have any chance of realizing his dreams of playing in the bigs, he would have to call on his hitting stroke. While not nearly as coveted for his batting potential as for that once-golden arm, Van Zandt always had some pop in his bat. Fortunately, he never let hit his hitting skills atrophy and he was able to convince Brewerytown management - initially quite skeptical about his plan - to give him a shot as an outfielder. CJP's initial take was the sort of jaded reaction you'd expect to get from a fake baseball lifer who had seen plenty of hotshot prospects flame out but cling desperately to their identities as athletes: "Why am I going to waste at bats on a guy who already proved to me that he's going nowhere? He started off looking like a much better pitcher than a hitter, so if he couldn't hack it as a pitcher, that didn't speak well for his chances with the stick. I could always use him to absorb innings in the minors and keep the guys with good arms from getting overworked. I didn't see a reason to let him take at bats away from a position player who might one day turn into a useful major leaguer."

    Eventually CJP relented - even the meanest old curs some times show a flash of kindness - and okayed the plan to switch Van Zandt to the outfield for the 2062 campaign. The crazy idea paid off right away. Van Zandt was an all-star in AA, whacking 26 homers and putting up an impressive 1.044 OPS. He started 2063 at AAA and picked up where he left off, starting the season scorching hot. When injuries and ineffectiveness opened a spot for him with the big club, Van Zandt was grateful for the opportunity. He had a cup of coffee in the majors in 2062, but he knew this was his chance to stick around. "When they told me I was going up, I knew what it meant. If I prove myself this time, I have a good shot at a career. If I blow it, there's a good chance I'll never get another chance." Van Zandt started slowly when he first arrived in Brewerytown and it looked like he might be fated for a quick return to AAA. However, last week he managed to settle in and get in a rhythm. The result was a .500 batting average with a homer and a pair of walks. DVZ chalked up his early struggles to putting too much pressure on himself and said, "I had to calm down and stop pressing. My first few games up here, I felt like I was fighting for my life and I was too aggressive. I made it easy for the pitchers. Having been a pitcher, though, I knew what I had to do to make things difficult for them and get more quality ABs. After I made a few adjustments in my approach, things clicked pretty well."

    While it's a reach to think that Van Zandt could ever establish himself as a top-tier slugger in the game, it seems like he just might make it as a productive hitter. Considering that just two seasons ago he was looking at his career being effectively finished, that's an impressive turnaround.
    Last edited by CJP; 07-18-2017 at 03:10 PM.
    "You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it's your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You're probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you're gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years."
    -Chris Rock



  2. #2
    Beloved Former Owner RonCo's Avatar
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    Awesome.
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    FOBL Owner/GM pbot's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Beloved Former Owner RonCo's Avatar
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    The game has grown quite a bit more sophisticated these days. Have there been many guys swap roles and make it to the bigs?
    LOS ALAMOS NUKES
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    Darn Tootin' Division Champions: 2020, 2027, 2028, 2029
    VL Wild Card: 2021, 2025, 2026, 2030, 2031 (VPI!)


  5. #5
    FOFL Commissioner cuervo72's Avatar
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    There have been a decent number. Clive Ellacott, Julian Rubio, Jerry Brantley all started as hitters (and in the last case, an AS-level catcher) and filled roles for me in the pen. One of the many Don Hills swapped back and forth, as did Jud York (hmm, retired pages are missing the statslab/dev links; thought they were covered but I guess not). I think Crow may have had a guy too.


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  6. #6
    FOBL Board of Governors Hollywood's Avatar
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    I'm tempted to let Chaz Zuehlke take the mound...

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    FOBL Owner/GM CJP's Avatar
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    I forgot to add to the story that the guy I picked in the first round in that draft is also an SP who went right in the toilet: http://www.thefobl.com/news/html/pla...layer_816.html

    Unfortunately, he's not a candidate to try as a hitter. Drafts like that one do a lot to explain why my team sucks.
    "You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it's your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You're probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you're gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years."
    -Chris Rock



  8. #8
    FOBL Owner/GM clintl's Avatar
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    Ruben Plascencia has spent most of him time as a pitcher (and was drafted as one), but could hit and field at 1B, and I used him as a starter there for one whole season.
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    FOBL Owner/GM tramel321's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood View Post
    I'm tempted to let Chaz Zuehlke take the mound...
    I would have liked to gotten chaz or callum jones,both were great prospects both ways,i have always wanted to try a guy who plays the field full time an pitches

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