Gonzalez, Gwynn have a lot in common
July, 18, 2010
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
Derrick Tuskan/Icon SMIGwynn Jr. respects Gonzalez's game, but not just because he reminds him of his dad's.A few hours before Tony Gwynn Jr. hit an inside-the-park homer in another San Diego Padres win, he was asked who Adrian Gonzalez reminds him of as a hitter. His answer was surprising.
"He actually reminds me of my father in terms of how he can handle the whole plate," Gwynn Jr. said.
Tony Gwynn Sr. was extraordinary at hitting pitches in all parts of the strike zone, and Gonzalez does that as well. Gonzalez also uses tee work similar to how Gwynn Sr. did, Gwynn Jr. notes. Gonzalez will set up the tee in different parts of the strike zone -- in the front part of the zone and outside, or in the back of the zone inside, or on the outer half deep in the zone -- and work his swing. "He has an ability to repeat his swing," Gwynn Jr. said.
"He'll hit 40 homers for you doing that. Versus my dad, who was lucky to hit 10." And he chuckled.
Gonzalez is also much like Gwynn Sr. in his ability to cover different parts of the strike zone; he's still a danger when he's behind in the count. After he's fallen behind no balls and two strikes, Gonzalez has hit .210, which might not seem good but is better than a lot of his peers. He remains a threat even when behind in the count.
"His mechanics are as sound as anyone's in the league," Gwynn Jr. said.
The Padres' reputation for unselfishness really starts with Gonzalez, Gwynn Jr. believes. The slugger has bunted to beat the shift that is employed against him when appropriate, and he has focused on putting the ball in play when needed. He'll hit homers, but there's much more to him than that -- which is why he will be the most coveted free agent after the 2011 season at age 29.
• The Cincinnati Reds' rotation got a huge shot in the arm with a strong outing by Edinson Volquez, Tom Groeschen writes.
How Volquez won, from John Parolin of ESPN Stats & Information:
Volquez consistently started at-bats with fastballs, throwing 19 first-pitch fastballs to the 23 batters he faced. He threw 14 of his 19 first-pitch fastballs on the outside third of the plate (10 for strikes). After the first pitch, the right-handed Volquez had success with his secondary offerings to the lefty-heavy (seven of nine starters) Colorado Rockies lineup. Left-handed Colorado hitters were 1-for-8 on Volquez's non-fastball pitches, and they missed on seven of their 14 swings. Volquez threw 49 fastballs of his 82 pitches to lefties overall, but with two strikes, Volquez threw 14 fastballs and 14 non-fastballs. Five of the seven strikeouts by lefties were on secondary pitches.
• Boston will face a luxury tax after this season. How will that affect Boston's aggressiveness in the market?
It won't, sources say. The Red Sox will conduct business as usual leading up to the trade deadline, meaning that if they are able to target a player they think can help, like a David DeJesus, they'll make their move, regardless of whether it costs them a few extra dollars in luxury tax.
Look, the Red Sox have costs in excess of $170 million, so shutting down business for the sake of an extra million dollars or two -- if the front office determines that a possible trade target could be a difference-maker in the AL pennant race -- would make absolutely no sense.
• Yogi Berra was very much missed at the Yankees' Old-Timers' Day, Ben Shpigel writes.
• Carl Pavano was The Man for the Minnesota Twins, who have drawn a line in the sand this weekend against the White Sox, as they needed to do. Pavano went old-school for the Twins, writes Tom Powers. In the ninth inning, relievers other than Jon Rauch were warming up.
Moves, deals and decisions1. The Washington Nationals will rotate Ian Desmond and others in their infield, writes Adam Kilgore.
Two observations about Desmond: First, he looks like he could be a player who could be part of a winning team. Second, he probably is not yet cut out to be an everyday shortstop, given his 21 errors in 82 games.
2. The Tampa Bay Rays don't need to make a trade, writes Gary Shelton.
He's right; as of now, they have a team fully capable of winning the World Series. They would be even better with someone like Prince Fielder. But always remember this about the Rays and their operating philosophy: They are the most disciplined team in the majors, like card players who go to Vegas to win at the blackjack tables using a defined set of card-counting rules and never stray from those rules. They've racked up a nice pile of chips while following those rules. When big names become available, their general approach is: Look but don't touch.
3. The Rockies are considering their possibilities in a trade -- and Kevin Gregg is among those they might look at because of his contract option, writes Troy Renck.
4. Brian Roberts is anxious to rejoin the Baltimore Orioles and could be back this week.
5. It's the same ol' same ol' at the trade deadline for the O's this year, writes Peter Schmuck. With the team out of the race, the Orioles could sell off parts.
6. The Arizona Diamondbacks could work out a team-friendly deal with their first-round draft pick, who failed his physical, or they could wait until next year and have the No. 7 overall pick in the draft. The latter course makes a lot of sense, because they could have the highest value potential through that route.
By the way: I hear that Kevin Ziomek, another Arizona draft pick, is intent on going to Vanderbilt in the fall.
7. Roy Oswalt wants to set the Houston Astros' win record before leaving.
8. The New York Mets are intent on keeping their prospects, which might make for a quiet trade deadline.
9. Don't be shocked if Prince Fielder is gone soon, writes Tom Haudricourt.
10. The Texas Rangers' ballpark lease is now part of the legal dog pile, writes Barry Shlachter.
11. Look for Jeremy Bonderman to remain with the Detroit Tigers, writes Tom Gage. Gage is closer to it than I, but my guess is that Bonderman is going to get attractive offers from other teams because of his age and improved velocity.
12. The St. Louis Cardinals are working to get help.
13. The Los Angeles Dodgers are not about to trade Matt Kemp, Bill Shaikin writes.
14. The San Francisco Giants want to hold on to all five of their starters, John Shea writes.