Jon Paul Morosi wrote this. In honor of my favorite sports website closing down, I'll break it down for you. Morosi has done the ultimate sin in sportswriting. He's comparing Tigers prospect, Will Rhymes, to David Eckstein. His words are in bold...
MESA, Ariz. -- He reminds me a little of David Eckstein.
It is a stock response, dispensed by scouts and teammates alike, when asked about Tigers prospect Will Rhymes.
So Rhymes is terrible at baseball. Is that the point of this article?
What does it mean? Well, it could be a way to declare one's admiration for Rhymes' pesky, energetic, endearing style of play. It also may be a polite way of saying, I'm not sure he's going to be a big leaguer, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will prove me wrong.
It sounds to me like lazy, stupid scouts compare every short, white baseball player to David Eckstein. It's annoying and I can't believe the Free Press is letting you write this article AGAIN. Has any player in history, with the minimal skills of David Eckstein, ever had more sportswriters write stories singing his praises?
The comparison to Eckstein-the diminutive infielder who tormented the Tigers for the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series-can be made at first sight. Rhymes, touted as 5-feet-9 in the Tigers' media guide, admits to standing an inch or two shorter than that. He weighs 155 pounds and has the wiry strength of a college wrestler.
Tormented, huh? Eckstein started the '06 World Series 0 for 11. But congrats to him, as Tigers pitchers somehow forgot to catch and throw, and while they were trying to figure that out, he finished the Series with 8 hits. Never mind Pujols, they should have focused on Eckstein. And these two guys are small...I get it.
Eckstein, 5-7, 177, has achieved much more in baseball than many scouts predicted. Even after a disappointing 2008 season with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks, he owns a .284 career batting average and two World Series rings.
He also has 32 HRs in 4096 career at bats. His career OPS is .712. Ramon Santiago's OPS the past two years was .712 and .870 and DD doesn't consider Santiago to be good enough to be the starter. So what do I care about this kid you're comparing to Eckstein? What did he do to you?
As for the rings, Luis Sojo has 4 of them. Lonnie Smith and Luis Polonia have 3. Rings don't mean a damn thing about Eckstein, or any player, other than he was on a couple of good teams.
Consider the numbers:
Only if you consider mine...
In four minor league seasons, primarily as a second baseman, Rhymes has hit .292 with 13 homers and 184 RBIs.
In four minor league seasons, primarily as a second baseman, Eckstein batted .294 with 17 homers and 188 RBIs.
Great. Mike Hessman looks like Babe Ruth in the minors. The majors? Not so much. Minor league stats mean jack to me.
Here's one more number to keep in mind: 26. That was Eckstein's age when he debuted with the Angels in 2001.
Rhymes will turn 26 on April 1-less than one week before the Tigers open their season in Toronto.
No crap. You know what? I hear they both have two 3's in their social security numbers! Someone tell DD to quit shopping for shortstops! We've got a future World Series MVP in the farm system, baby!
It's too early to predict whether Rhymes will make the Tigers' Opening Day roster, but he has helped his cause by batting .297 in 22 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.
I don't think it's too early. If Will Rhymes is on the Tigers' Opening Day roster, I will legally change my name to David Eckstein and start a religion based on his teachings. By the way, last I heard, Jeff Larish had 27 RBIs in 26 games. Casper Wells is hitting .323. Where are their Hall of Fame inductions?
With every opposite-field single, every hang-in-there double-play turn, every sprint to first base on a routine grounder, Rhymes resembles one of the great overachievers in recent baseball history.
NO ONE in the majors runs out ground balls except for Eckstein! Opposite field singles? Why didn't Polonco ever think of that? Hang in there double play turn? What does that even mean? Eckstein can hardly throw the ball to first without a cut-off man.
"If I could be that guy, I'd be pretty happy about that," Rhymes said of Eckstein. "He's a guy I have a lot of respect for. He's a solid player all around. To be compared to him would be a honor, really."
Will, I don't know who's more full of it...you or Morosi. To be compared to Cal Ripken, that's an honor. To be compared to David Eckstein? I'd feel like someone called my mother a whore.
"I'm definately not a guy who you're going to see play one game and be impressed with. But I do the little things. Over the course of the year, you might end up saying, 'Wow, he can actually hit.'"
If I have to watch you for an entire year before deciding that I MIGHT think you can hit, I'd rather release you and trade for someone I KNOW can't hit...like Julio Lugo. At least then I'd have more free time to drink and complain about how the Tigers suck.
By the end of high school, Rhymes was primarily concerned with "using baseball to get into a good school." He chose William & Mary, became an all-conference player there and managed some hits in his encounters with an Old Dominion right-hander named Justin Verlander.
Yes, I'm sure no one in college was capable of getting a "couple of hits" off of JV other than pesky little Will. And being that everyone in the American League got at least a "couple of hits" off of JV last year, you might have been better off giving that example before last season.
After his junior year, he gained recognition by hitting .308 with a wooden bat in the Cape Cod League. Following his senior season, the Tigers selected him in the 27th round of the 2005 amateur draft.
He was selected after Joyce, Clete, Larish, and Holloman in that draft. They've all seen big league time and have proven, with the possible exception of Joyce, um...that they're not ready? They're career backups? What does that say about Rhymes?
Perhaps because of his size, Rhymes has had to prove himself at every level in the farm system. He spent most of this year at Double-A Erie, where he batted .306, before earning a call-up to Triple-A Toledo for the season's final six games.
Good call, Jon Paul. It's his friggin' size. If you're a big guy, they don't make you prove your skills. They just go, "Holy hell! Look at THIS guy! He's 6-4, 240! Promote his ass!" Of course he has to prove his skills at every level in the minors...that's why there are MULTIPLE LEVELS! Does the Freep actually pay you to write this crap?
Rhymes' fiery disposition can be evident during a rough day at the plate--"I've been known to go through a few helmets a year," he said, smiling--and he has an unyielding desire to succeed. And Rhymes thinks his size has helped his baseball career.
No one else in the Tigers minor league system wants to succeed? Of COURSE he wants to succeed! And yes, being an overgown midget has helped you. I'm sure. Idiot...
"I don't feel like it restricts me in any way," he said. "I'm not sure what I'd do better if I was bigger. I might have more power, but I feel like it might actually have the opposite effect in terms of athleticism and playing defense."
Don't worry about that, kid. Eckstein can't play defense...you don't need that in the bigs. His career fielding percentage isn't anything special at .978. He doesn't cover any ground, either. Worst in the game, actually.
The article gets really boring after that. They talk about his twin brother and Matt Walbeck. Morosi, at the end, speculates about Rhymes splitting time with Santiago until Cale Iorg is ready. Jon Paul Morosi is a friggin' idiot.
Nothing against this Will Rhymes kid. Never seen him play. But if his skills are like David Eckstein's, I'd prefer not to. I like my Tigers ballplayers to not be bad at baseball.