Dog Days Baseball

Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby geebob » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:24 pm

Lorenzo Prado - admit it fans, we thought the acquisition of Lorenzo Prado in the off-season was going to be the move to put Cottonwood if not "over the top" then at least over .500. It started well, 7 homers in April, the club playing well, and absolutely no concern over the career low batting average and fewer than expected walks. May came, and the average improved, but the homers disappeared. At the end of May, the guy that produced 42 homers last season was stuck on 10. Prado started June platooning with Francisco Perez and pinch hitting. Rumors of Cottonwood working on trade deals for Prado were confirmed, but there were no takers despite the lack of quality catchers around the league.
As the trade deadline came and went Prado and Cottonwood management both were looking for a way out and the eight time all-star went on waivers. His old club, Blackwood, picked him up and the Prado era was over.

What we'll remember: a great professional who deserved more than a bus-ride out of town on the waiver wire.

Good/bad/indifferent: good move for the club to say goodbye. Prado had the name and the bat, but Cottonwood will never be the team who can buy their way to success. His departure will make room for some of the better catching prospects in the system to gain major league experience. Bad season for Prado? Exceedingly so. Career lows in every offensive category. Indifferent defense is not something that Cottonwood fans are used to behind the plate, and the pursuit of Prado by Cottonwood to replace a gold-glove catcher left many scratching their heads.
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby Molson » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:31 pm

nice write-up

catchers are one of the very few bright spots in Twin Falls. ;)
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby geebob » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:48 pm

Thanks! I do like me some Cuadrado, although my scout keeps telling me that he has below average power. Wish he'd find me another ten players with that same below average power!
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby St Bernard Terror » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:50 pm

I agree, good read!
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby injury log » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:32 pm

My home park is insane, like Colorado if they moved the fences in 100 yards, so almost all of my bats who leave via FA end up disappointing their new GMs. Prado was such a big part of my run of success that I had to give him another shot when I saw him on the wire, even with my rookie North Korean catcher Kwan-uk Ho sitting on 51 HR for the year. Prado'll get a chance to boost his season numbers over the last week, now that we're out of the playoff race.
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby geebob » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:46 pm

Very glad that he made his return and didn't wind up riding the bench and getting the odd chance to pinch hit while I loaded the lineup with prospects. If he was going to do well in another park, Cottonwood with its short leftfield porch should have been the place.

Now if I could just convince Yancey to take Jorge Escamilla back for the twilight of his career...
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby geebob » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:56 pm

Francisco Pérez - Catcher 2019-2023
It's hard to believe that Francisco has been in the Cottonwood organization for 12 years and equally hard to believe that he is gone so quickly. Pérez came to the majors after a solid AAA season in which his power numbers jumped and his catching talents were judged acceptable. He quickly established himself not only as an excellent power hitter and RBI man, but as a solid defensive catcher as well.

His peak season was 2021 when he hit 42 HR and drove in 103 runs while winning his second gold glove. He followed that with a solid 2022 when he was somewhat limited by injury but still finished with 26 HR and a third gold glove.
Francisco's downfall started in the off-season of the 2022 season when he was awarded a $5 million contract in arbitration and shortly thereafter the club signed Lorenzo Prado for $7 million in free agency. For perennially cash-strapped Cottonwood, investing $12 million in one position was never going to work. As Cottonwood's season turned from disappointment to collapse, first Prado then Pérez were gone. As Cottonwood broadcaster, Joe LaTrans put it, "I think management just figured they were better off having someone underachieve at $300 thousand rather than $5 million."

What we'll remember: Francisco always seemed to like Cottonwood and vice versa, but while he was a great player at the league minimum he was never able to justify a high-price contract.

Good/bad/indifferent: Pérez, who always credited his mom for his success was definitely one of the good guys. When he started regularly, Pérez produced, but his production as a platoon player was just plain bad (2013: .221, .269 OBP, .665 OPS). It's surprising how indifferent Cottonwood was to Pérez moving on. As the season ended the team designated him for assignment and released him.
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Re: Cottonwood: Gone but not forgotten

Postby geebob » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:51 pm

Simion Jonker - Closer
Wicked, wicked stuff, but a stats line worthy of a minor league arm. Jonker was a free-agent signing from Oakton prior to the 2020 season after putting together a solid year for the Axemen in the bullpen following an unsuccessful stint as a starter.

Jonker was a solid presence in the pen, but Coyotes fans will always think of Jonker in the closer's role. When he took the ball in save situations, Jonker seemed to shift into another level. His stuff was outstanding and his conversion rate in 2022-23 was 49/55 (89%). It's hard to blame Jonker for the team giving him so few opportunities, but his performance in non-save situations drove both managers and fans to distraction. While wins and losses can be a highly misleading statistic for any pitcher, Jonker's 12 losses in 2023 and five (through half a season) in 2024 illustrates the problem. Jonker's ERA before getting the closer job was 2.02 (2020) and 2.85 (2021), but ballooned to 3.20 (2022) and 3.59 (2023) when he landed the role. Before the start of the 2024 season Jonker was demanding a trade and Cottonwood, in the midst of a 10-year rebuilding program, promised to honor that request. Jonker sulked through the start of the 2024 season with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP, pretty much destroying his chances of landing on a contender. Hood River offered Cottonwood a pitching prospect and the ink was dry on the deal within an hour.

What we'll remember: Jonker on the mound in a save situation. Two strikes on the batter. Everyone in the stadium know what was coming, including the batter. Jonker's change-up was all but unhittable and the almost inevitable swing and miss would make the crowd explode.

Good/bad/indifferent: One can't help but wonder how good Jonker would be on an elite team, but as GM Jeff Grossman said at the time of the deal, "a closer is an expensive luxury on a bad team." Most Cottonwood fans will probably agree that signing Jonker was the right move at the wrong time. With a line-up requiring a complete overhaul and a starting pitching staff that has struggled to struggle, the loss of Jonker leaves us with a feeling of indifference.
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