The Brewers are quite excited by the season their young shortstop Alcides Escobar had down in Venezuela this winter. He hit .393 and won the batting title. But it’s not just the hitting that impresses them:
Club officials were particularly impressed that Escobar – a noted
free-swinger – drew 14 walks in 45 games to finish with a .440 on-base
“I’m really happy for him,” said Nichols. “He had the eye of the tiger down there.”
Let’s not get too excited. His Venezuelan walk totals translate to roughly 50 walks over the course of a 162 game season, which isn’t much better than he did in AAA last year (though an improvement over his partial season MLB rates). Fifty walks in the bigs last season would have ranked roughly 95th out of 154 qualifiers, which is Yadier Molina territory. And, just like you figure he won’t hit .390 in the majors this year, you can figure he won’t walk 50 times here either.
So, sure, be happy that there was some improvement, and be excited about a guy who looks like he’s poised for stardom someday soon, but don’t count on Escobar living up to that “eye of the tiger” stuff for some time.
It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.
If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.
Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.
Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.