Friday, September 3, 2010

Their New Guy, Our New Guy

Game 139: Durham Bulls 6; Gwinnett Braves 7
Season: 86-53; Home Games Remaining: 4
Wrap, Box, Triangle Offense

I know that the differences between Bulls new guy, catcher Kyle Holloway and Braves new guy, third baseman Dan Nelson are probably greater than their similarities. But otherwise I’d have to spend time on how three members of the Bulls relief corps (R. J. Swindle, Dale Thayer, and Brian Shoushe) have put together six (two each) crummy appearances over the last couple of games. So let’s talk about the new guys.

Kyle Holloway is the ninth (!) catcher to put on the gear for the Durham Bulls this year. Although it is true that several of those put in very brief appearances (Albernaz - 1, Dillon - 1, Jaso - 3, Shoppach -2), the fact is that the Bulls have had problems at the position in 2010. Four or five is the norm. In addition, Mr. Holloway is ridiculously new to the game. His career began on June 20th. He had 73 plate appearances in professional baseball before last night, all in A or Rookie League. He teams up with Nevin Ashley who is the senior member of the Bulls catching corps with three games in AAA baseball.

So, how’d he do? Pretty good. At first it looked as if pitches were being called from the dugout. I’m not sure whether or not that continued since I got caught up in the game, but that makes sense to me. Two bases were stolen, but by the best base stealer in the International League, Gwinnett’s Matt Young. And Holloway threw Young out on his third try. At the plate he got a key double and scored a run in the Bulls four-run 5th inning. He worked five pitchers he’d never seen before, including catching 41 year old Shouse. Holloway is 22. Sort of like playing catch with your dad. Field of Dreams role reversal?

Darn good Triple A debut. More about Mr. Holloway at the Triangle Offense link at top (scroll to the end).

Gwinnett’s third baseman Dan Nelson was also having his Triple A debut, but his path was a bit different. He is 26 years old and has been banging around A ball since 2004, making it to AA just this year. So what did he do last night? In his second AAA at bat he hit a key three-run homer. He also made a couple of critical and very pretty plays at third base. He sort of won the game for the Braves.

As worried as I am about the Bulls catching situation, I looking forward to watching Ashley and Holloway over the next couple of weeks (as if I had a choice) and, as a fan of seeing guys get their chance, here’s hoping that Mr. Nelson keeps it up (just not in such a timely manner if he doesn’t mind).

  • The issue of who the Bulls will play next Wednesday is not yet settled, but I’m happy to pass on the word that if it’s the Louisville Bats, Aroldis Chapman will probably not be in the bullpen. Bulls fans will remember Mr. Chapman as the guy who plonked Dioner Navarro with a 102 mph fastball and hit Dan Johnson with one that came in at only 99 mph. Chapman is up with Cincinnati and seems to have gotten a little better handle on his pitches — two appearances, two innings, six batters, three K’s, not bad.
  • RaysIndex has a link to a Desmond Jennings interview. Happy looking/sounding young man. Brings up the point that, due to the lack of local media coverage, we really don’t get to see the Bulls up close very often.
  • When the players move, so do their wives/girlfriends.
  • Her Rays visualizes the Rays “new toys”.


  1. I have to believe part of the pitching issue for the last two apperances for Swindle, Shouse and Thayer may have to do with the musical chairs at the catching position and working with a different catcher each time you come out. Experienced catchers also know how to sell pitches for strike calls. Something that seems to be missing the past few days.

  2. That is a very good point.
    You know what would be really cool? Norfolk is in town for the weekend. Why not just stroll over to Michel Hernandez and say something like, "Hey, Michel, want to play a couple of extra games this year?" Wouldn't that be great for the Bulls?

  3. re: Michel Hernandez

    Ah, Chris if it were only that easy. I always liked Michel, a catchers catcher. Didn't the Ray's Organization pick him up a year or so ago on a similar weird back room deal?