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Tantalizing Rookie

K-Rod

 

Poor Tim Salmon. Last night, he had the game of his life: 4 for 4 with the game winning homer. Yet, his performance was overshadowed from my point of view by two players. Barry Bonds, of course, looms over this series as possibly the greatest hitter ever, if not the greatest player ever - at his peak. He is performing up to expectations. His 9th inning dinger looked to me like the hardest hit ball I`ve ever seen. I saw him swing and the ball disappeared. However, before that, there was a 9 up 9 down kid called K-Rod. Twenty-two of his 26 pitches were strikes. He struck out four of those nine batters.

 

Francisco Rodriguez is probably available in your perpetual league. He is in both of mine. He pitched last year in the single A California League and was paint balled with . The year before - his first as a professional - his season was shut down early due to elbow troubles. He missed seven weeks last year due to elbow and shoulder soreness. Even though he was only 20 and dominating AA early this year, Rodriguez was not on anyone`s radar screen unless they were scouring AA stats very closely. (I thought I was, but I must have missed him.) Even then, those persistent arm troubles would be enough to scare most of us away from wasting a pick on such a long shot.

 

By the time we acquired our final supplemental picks, Francisco Rodriguez was dominating AAA! Now he`s up and dominating Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. You can bet he will be snatched up in the first round of your perpetual league next year. That is extremely high for a rookie reliever. Still, I`ve never seen a pitcher come up and be so dominant - since Kerry Woods. Due to the fragility of his arm, K-Rod will not likely make the Hall of Fame, but he could make Mariano Rivera look very plain for a couple years. And who knows with pitchers? This World Series is extending Rodriguez`s season long beyond what he has ever pitched before. Many a young World Series hero has quickly disappeared from view. One recent example is Jaret Wright. On the other hand, Al Leiter once had a fragile arm, now he`s an ace. Maybe K-Rod will be the next Pedro M.

John Carter