Alcides Escobar was benched yesterday in the midst of 0-for-18 and 3-for-38 slumps, and Brewers hitting coach Dave Sveum told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the rookie shortstop has a flaw in his swing:
He has to change his mechanics. What he’s doing won’t hold up to big-league pitching on a consistent basis. He has a winter project to work on. He’s got to understand it’s a game of adjustments. It’s very difficult, the way he hits, to use his God-given hand-eye coordination. He’s so front-foot forward. Sometimes you hit rock bottom before you change. It’s a game of adjustments and he has to make some.
I’m not suggesting Sveum is wrong about Escobar, but mid-September sure seems like an odd time to talk about a player needing to make major adjustments to his swing. Escobar has been in the majors, working with Sveum, for the past six months, so seemingly either the hitting coach just came to the realization that big changes are necessary or the shortstop wasn’t willing to listen until he fell into a prolonged slump. Either way, not great news for Brewers fans.
Escobar has hit just .237/.288/.327 in 528 plate appearances spread over 137 games, ranking dead last in the league in both on-base percentage and OPS.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.