Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

You can never have too much pitching

The Cleveland Indians are obviously believers in the old axiom that you can never have enough pitching, as the Tribe has selected 15 pitchers with their first 24 picks in the amateur baseball draft.

After using their first pick on shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Indians selected right-hander Dillon Howard with their second pick.

According to mlb.com:

In past drafts, there would only be a small offering of high-ceiling, projectable high school pitchers with good velocity to choose from in the first round. In 2011, there’s some depth in that category. Case in point is Howard, who doesn’t rank up with the prep arms being mentioned near the top of the draft, but isn’t far off, either. The Arkansas product has a fastball that will be plus, touching 95 mph at times. It’s not straight, either, with both sink and run to it. His hard curve, 78-80 mph, is a little slurvy now and is fringy average, but it’s got some depth to it and will be more than fine. He’s even got a good feel for a changeup, an offspeed pitch that should be a Major League average pitch as well. With a clean delivery, decent overall command — not as much with the curve — and the chance to have a solid three-pitch mix, Howard looks like he’s settled firmly into the first round, unless signability (he’s advised by Scott Boras) becomes an issue.

We’re all on board with the plan to stockpile pitchers; the more quality arms you have in the minors the better the odds you will find two or three that could reach the majors some day.

As for Lindor, mlb.com says:

He has the chance to be an impact player on both sides of the ball at a premium position. He’ll definitely be able to stay at shortstop with plus defense, showing outstanding range and a strong arm. At the plate, he’s gotten stronger and he could grow into enough power to hit 15 or so homers annually, enough to keep pitchers honest, along with hitting .290-.300 every year. While he’s a solid average runner, he could be a potential leadoff hitter in the future, thanks to his strike-zone knowledge and willingness to take a walk to go along with his ability to swing the bat from both sides of the plate. Lindor is a high-energy player with good makeup, one who is almost certainly the top high school position player, according to talent, in this draft class.

The Indians appear to be in good hands with scouting director Brad Grant. He drafted Alex White, Lonnie Chisenhall, Drew Pomeranz, Jason Kipnis and Cord Phelps.

We’ve already had a taste of White on the major league level and we like what we saw before he was injured. And it’s easy to look at the other names on that list and imagine them in Wahoo red, white and blue.

There’s no known downside to having a strong minor league system and that’s what the Indians have been building. If Grant can keep the draft magic going, the team should have a strong pipeline of talent coming to Progressive Field for years to come.

***

There was a good story by Heather Havrilesky in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine on why Friday Night Lights, one of the best TV shows ever, was mostly ignored by viewers while drivel like Glee is a ratings hit.

Yet thanks to disappointing numbers in its first two seasons, Friday Night Lights was farmed out by NBC to DirecTV, which showed each new season in the fall, after which they were replayed by NBC in the spring. So the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights has already wrapped up on DirecTV, even as it’s now completing a zombie victory lap on the network. It’s still hard not to wonder why a show so humble and all-American has struggled so mightily to attract viewers. Where are the cheering, breathless crowds?

These days, you’ll probably find them singing along with the precocious teenagers of Glee. That show covers much of the same thematic ground — high school, troubled marriages, the joys of teamwork — but in a far more spectacular, flamboyant manner. The colorful musical dramedy has been a huge hit since it shoved its way onto the schedule in 2009 in a violent burst of sequins and jazz hands. If Friday Night Lights is as American as apple pie, then Glee is more like Ben & Jerry’s deep-fried caramel-apple whipped-cream-swirl ice cream (which doesn’t exist, but really should): a dense, flavorful, genre-bending extravaganza of one-upmanship, raging hormones, teary confessions and lip-glossed warbling.

It’s a good read, but the answer is actually quite simple. If you watched Friday Night Lights you had to think, and the majority of people don’t want to do that anymore – the ongoing popularity of Sarah Palin is proof of that.

With drek like Glee, people can mindlessly watch the pretty colors and don’t have to worry about using their brains.

It’s unfortunate, too, because as long as that is the case it will be harder to get shows like FNL, The Wire and Rome on the air.

And that certainly does not fill us with glee.

***

Finally, we made our debut at EPL Talk today, with a post on how the NFL lockout could have a negative impact on Randy Lerner and Aston Villa.

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