Always Root For The Little Guy
I couldn’t believe it. Going on 30+ innings without scoring a run, the 8th unassisted triple play in AL history, a wasted Burnett gem, and 8 innings of 2-hit, no-walk ball from the Jays best player so far this season, Shaun Marcum. If we hadn’t scored a run, I probably would’ve written the most intelligible, profanity-laced tirade imaginable. Nothing cures that burning, itching sensation better then watching Aaron Hill actually managing to cash a couple runners in scoring position with 2 outs (Lyle, I know it’s a small sample size, but 0-10 just doesn’t cut the mustard). Instead today, we have much better, barely-noticed story – that the bloggers up in Ottawa will love.
A close friend, and catcher of my brother from his university days (a main reason he chose Northeastern), and back in Ottawa with the Nationals – proved that sometimes you just have to root for the little guy. Originally drafted in 2002, in the 10th round by the Detroit Tigers. An unfortunate choice of subject material on an annual rookie “skit night”, lead to his release early in 2003. He was quickly picked-up by the Padres as a Minor League free agent, some of the other guys that night weren’t so lucky. Not heralded on any prospect lists, he’s been a career minor leaguer and the back-up catcher with the Triple-A Portland Beavers. Until this week.
An outstanding receiver, Luke has one of the best arms behind the plate I’ve ever seen (in 2005 with Double-A Mobile, he threw out an amazing 36-of-75 potential base stealers). Good speed, a terrific eye at the plate and a contact switch-hitter. Not known for his bat, the main knock on Luke was that he was too small to survive the rigors of catching at the MLB level. Marked at a generous 5’11” and 180 lbs, many scouts considered him too small to make it to the show, always playing the back-up to other more heralded catching prospects. A disappointing 2007, hitting .220 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League left him the lurch. However this season, some hot hitting, good timing and Michael Barrett’s sprained the ulnar collateral ligament – and suddenly he’s in the bigs catching Greg Maddux’s 350th career win (he went 0 for 3 with three K’s, but collected his first major league hit the next day).
“I don’t know what to say. It’s kind of like all my dreams came true at once, I guess,” Carlin said. “It was a privilege, an honor. I’m pretty much speechless.”
Not bad for someone who’s been a marginal prospect at best, and lifetime back-up.
“It was one of the last things on my mind,” Carlin said. “Obviously, I’ve always wanted to get here. But I didn’t even think I was in the mix. I wanted to play well and go about my business the right way. It was surprising; I was shocked.”
And here’s Rotowire’s take:
Carlin has played in only two games thus far, but Josh Bard (wrist) is still not completely healthy. Carlin’s fantasy value isn’t very high at this point, but Josh Bard’s owners should be aware that Carlin will steal some of Bard’s playing time over the next week.
Update: Here’s a video.