Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Rueckel Report, May 7

Rueckel Held Hostage: Day 51



It wasn't the greatest week for Danny Rueckel, the official pitching prospect of Nationals Inquirer. The Harrisburg Senators apparently are not a very good team, and as the closer, Rueckel seems to appear most of the time in situations where he's called up to keep the Sens reasonably close late in the game. Every so often, however, Rueckel's been entrusted with a lead. Last night, unfortunately, he couldn't hold it. Those things happen, even to the best.

At any rate, it was a week where Rueckel gave up his first earned run and took his first defeat. On the other hand, he did mix in a beautiful multi-inning outing; his ability to turn in these kind of "extended" outings, I believe, is his key to being noticed in the Nats' organization.

---> April 29: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO (in an 11-5 Harrisburg loss)
---> May 3: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (earned), 0 BB, 2 SO (in a 7-4 Harrisburg loss)
---> May 5: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO (in a 5-3 Harrisburg loss)
---> May 6: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (both earned), 1 BB, 1 SO (second blown save, first loss, in a 6-5 Harrisburg loss)

SEASON TO DATE: 11 G, 13.2 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 16 SO; 0-1, 1.98 ERA, 3/5 SV

On Wednesday, St. Barry participated in a WaPo chat. During the chat, someone---your guess is as good as mine---inquired about Rueckel:

Prospectville: Is Danny Rueckel at all on the Nats' radar? He pitched great at Harrisburg last year, then he pitched great at AAA, now he's pitching great at Harrisburg again. He's got the best curve in the organization, and he can go multiple innings---just what the Nats need with a short bullpen.

Barry Svrluga: Right now, not on the radar. I think we're several injuries away from a
Danny Rueckel sighting in Washington.


In addition to being nearly inerrant, St. Barry is the Post's beat writer for the Nats, so presumably he's got a good measure of what the organization thinks. His answer is somewhat discouraging, though certainly not unexpected. In fact, I picked Rueckel as the guy I'd follow precisely because I figured he'd be in the minors all year (until September, at least), and it would be fun to track his progress. (Contrary to some of my tongue-in-cheek irrational exurberance and fanciful propagandizing, I am realistic about his chances this year.)

But I do think Danny Rueckel will have a major league career---and if he doesn't, it wouldn't be because he couldn't. As Andy Dufresne would say, I don't waste my time on losers.

So, Danny just needs to keep plugging away, and I'll keep updating away.

-----------------------------
As I mentioned, the Harrisburg Senators are pretty bad. Aside from Rueckel, of course, the only guy really distinguishing himself is starting pitcher Darrell Rasner, whose 3.24 ERA and 4-to-1 K/BB ratio are in some tension with his 2-3 record. Actually, I take that back; there are a few guys in the bullpen who are also comporting themselves well. In addition, while it seems like Rueckel's work has been sporadic, he does lead the team in appearances by a decent amount. Among the position players---aside from Craig Kuzmic (.269/.364/.495), there's just nothing there so far.


Comments:
I don't know what the Nationals have in mind for Danny. I do know that he will not defeat himself. He's a mentally tough kid who doesn't let outside factors bother him. He's got the perfect makeup for a major league pitcher - and a curveball that makes hitters look dumb.
 
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