Friday’s five for fighting

Okay, so as much as I’d like to watch the Royals and the Cardinals all weekend – the keys to the City of Jefferson City are at stake, after all! – instead I’m going to scale a couple of mountains. Or die trying.*

* Please don’t mention that part to my mother, or the mother of my daughter, or the mother of the mother of my daughter.

Anyway, I’ll be away from a proper keyboard for the next 72-ish hours, so feel free to pace yourself here. Maybe one or two of these links today, another tomorrow, and so on … and before you know it, this long terrible week-end will be over and we can get back to business!

— Speaking of the Cardinals, Bernie Miklasz has really been enjoying Randal Grichuk:

The Cardinals have better players, but if we are talking about potential, Grichuk may be the most exciting. 

 

Grichuk’s raw power can be used against him, with pitchers exploiting his free-swinging approach that’s racked up a 27 percent strikeout rate, and a 30 pct. swing-and-miss rate, in his brief MLB career. 

Grichuk is all about action. Big strikeout totals. Balls scorched for line drives, or over the fence. Diving catches. Arm strength. Speed. All-purpose magnetism.

Magnetism!

No, that exclamation point isn’t ironic. Grichuk’s a lot of fun. But as Miklasz points out, it’s hard to know what he’s going to become. Right now, his defense makes him a decent enough player. But doesn’t that .280 career on-base percentage tell us something unsavory about his future? And no, it wasn’t much better in the high minors. The Cardinals have pushed Grichuk, and you can certainly argue that it’s paid off, since he’s already a useful player. But you also argue that he’s not making any real progress as a hitter.

— Swear to God, nearly 20 years ago I was practically begging some baseball team to forego building a new, “retro”-style mallpark and instead build the first truly modern (or if you prefer, post-modern) ballpark. I suppose that’s happened in Miami, but of course the owner mucked things up.

You know who didn’t muck things up? The St. Paul Saints and the local citizenry, who have teamed up to build what must almost certainly be the finest minor-league ballpark in all the land. I was just in St. Paul last summer and don’t know when I’ll be back, but a Saints game is now No. 1 on my list.

— Were the Royals really “mocked” for their off-season moves? Well, yeah. Probably they were. But as Ben Reiter points out, nearly every move has worked brilliantly so far. I’m not ready to give management full credit for Alex Rios and Kris Medlen yet, and I’m still not sure about Edinson Volquez and Kendrys Morales. But we’re far enough into the season to figure the mockery’s not going to look so smart at, say, the All-Star break.

— Even if Molly Knight weren’t a right thinker about the stubborn petulance of Bryce Harper, I would still recommend her most excellent story about seeing baseball in Japan.

 Okay, so the Red Sox didn’t have a shot to draft New Englander Mike Trout, who went to the Angels four spots before the Sox’ pick came up five years ago. But why did Trout last until the 25th pick? And why wouldn’t the Red Sox have taken him even if he’d been available when they picked? The answers are many, as WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. And they tell us a great deal about the vagaries of scouting and drafting.