The Mockingbird

Always Root For The Little Guy

with 9 comments

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.


Luke Carlin.


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.


Written by mulliniks

May 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Seriousness

9 Responses

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  1. As I’m watching Doc right now he has 5 Ks through 2 innings and 43 pitches. I don’t have any proof but I always felt it was a bad sign if Doc was striking guys out. Does that make sense? I just feel that it means he’s not pitching his game (pitch to contact to induce GB) and thus if he’s striking guys out he’s having to work harder for outs.

    Jon, is there any truth to this? Can you find out anything from pitch f/x?


    May 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

  2. Less cute stories, and more pitch f/x


    May 15, 2008 at 8:06 pm

  3. I don’t know what I would really look for…batting average on weak sink/high miss nights? It starts getting really messy and then there’s location in there as well. If you can think of anything, I’ll root it out. I for one am very pro-strikeout. I think Doc can get away with fewer of them, but there can’t be anything wrong with missing bats (even pitch counts don’t rise significantly) unless something else is missing.


    May 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm

  4. Heyyyyy….one of the leagues of people who only come by for a pitch f/x fix and never, ever comment!! Those take way too much time to write, you know- maybe if you’d thrown some encouragement my way before instead of piping up with one sentence to shit on a good ol’ fashioned feel-good blog post, then I wouldn’t have given up on that side of things for good in favour of crowd pleasers…

    Nah, I’m kidding. As soon as I get through what has been without any doubt the most traumatic experience of my life, I’ll start pumping out the nerd gold again. Until then, take it up with Rance if you don’t like your heart being warmed.


    May 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm

  5. Well I noticed Doc started throwing a lot of curveballs right after he got rocked in the 1st inning and kept throwing it after that also. But I understand that it’s hard to prove that strikeouts are bad for anyone.


    May 15, 2008 at 8:47 pm

  6. Rance always goes on and on about how this is going to be a great night for Roy because he has the curveball working but you could be on to something- maybe the Doc relies on it more when his sink or command over his sinker isn’t as hot. So hard to really isolate something that small in the data, though.


    May 15, 2008 at 10:08 pm

  7. Did I just get heckled for content? I don’t think Archimedes knows I don’t do pitch/fx. Only ranting linkage and really cheesy shit.

    He’s a buddy – if you made the bigs after 7 years in the minors, I’d give you some props.

    The real question should be, why isn’t the raw bacon tracker set at 4?


    May 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm

  8. am i getting trashed for leaving a comment?

    you dont deserve my traffic anyway!

    Nah, I’m just kidding. I’m for a feel-good story just as much as anyone. Its a good story, it had just been up for 2 days and I hadn’t seen a Jays pitch f/x chart in like 5 hours. I was getting antsy.

    Having never successfully run a blog myself, would you rather me comment every time i’m here, or is it simply rewarding enough to know that I visit every day anyway?

    Get ready for: ‘oh, cool’ every time you post something.

    Also, if you’ll notice, my comment spawned an onslaught of 5 other comments the following day.


    PS: keep up the good work, and post more pitch f/x charts.


    May 16, 2008 at 9:41 pm

  9. (also, to Halejon)

    if you were actually offended by my comment, I apologize. As nothing but an avid reader who’s only access to your personal life is the very bare minimum amount of information you do put in here, I can’t possibly know the scale of what you’re dealing with right now. I hope that whatever it is that’s troubling you is able to end with the most positive result that it can, and that you’ll be able to keep providing me with the amazing data I’ve come to expect from this blog.

    Best Wishes,


    May 16, 2008 at 9:47 pm

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