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Avoiding the Lindenberg

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However unlikely, it would be just fantastic if tonight were to start the Todd Linden Era. We could tell the grandkids about the hit the Giants had against Johan Santana, and how it was the fresh-faced, surprisingly quick, future four-time MVP who legged it out. It is hard to know just how excited to be about the call-up of Linden. Again, his career path has been very atypical:

First year in the pros: Ho, crap! This kid hit for average and power after being rushed to AA, and he's just 21! We finally have our all-star position player.

Second year: Okay, he didn't set the world on fire, but he's still young and in AAA.

Third year: Good effort, but I wonder if we could package him to get Todd Ritchie.

This winter in Venezuela: Maybe the Giants should send a letter of apology to the Venezuelan government to smooth over relations.

I've written about Linden before, and used a few superlatives to describe what he's done. Those words were pretty much useless, as there is just no way to do his season justice. It's like he's using a dictionary in a spelling bee. This diary does a good job, even bringing up the name of Mickey Mantle, and my fellow clock-punchers at Beyond the Boxscore have posted some thoughts too. It sounds outrageous, but Linden has been just that dominant in the Pacific Coast League. There are times when a player knocks the stitches out of the ball in AAA, but it's pretty obvious where the warts are going to be at the major league level, and I'll pick Graham Koonce as the first example off the top of my head. This is more like Erubiel Durazo's run in the Diamondbacks minor-league system in 1999

The credit for the makeover has gone to the tinkering of Linden's stance. There is an very substantiated rumor this stance was what he was using before the Giants got a hold of him, tinkering with his hitting mechanics. The Giants trying to change a minor league hitter's approach, eh? Yeah, with that kind of track record of success, it's hard to imagine how that went wrong.