#5: Nomar Garciaparra

Continuing in the tradition started by Jimmy Curran over at Baseball, the Yankees, and Life; I am dedicating my latest ranking, number five, to a former Red Sox player that has a very special place in my heart. 

Nomar Garciaparra 2.jpg
Nomar went to Georgia Tech, along with Jason Varitek (who had his number retired), and helped the “Yellow Jackets” get to the College World Series in 1994. He was a first round pick for the Red Sox in 1994, and played three years in their minor league system. He made his Major League debut in August 1, 1996, and his first major league hit, which happened to be a home run, came on September 1. It’s not like he was playing everyday though, John Valentin was the starting shortstop at the time, but not for long. By late 1996, Nomar had taken the job– Valentin moved to second base. 
Garciaparra’s rookie year was 1997, and he hit 30 home runs, and had 98 RBIs, which set a Major League record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter. He also set the record for leadoff home runs by a rookie. Do you guys know who broke it? (Hint: It was another shortstop). He had a 30 game hit streak which also set an American League rookie record. He was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year and even finished eighth in MVP voting. 
Nomar Garciaparra 4.jpg
In 1998 he finished with 35 home runs and 122 RBIs, and runner up for MVP. For the next two years, he led the American League in batting average. .357 in 1999, and .372 in 2000. He didn’t even win MVP those years. 
In 2001, the injuries began. His season was ended when he came into Spring Training with a wrist injury and returned in 2002 to bat .310. It was the beginning of the end. 
Nomar Garciaparra 5.jpg
Following a dreadful end to the 2003 season (Nomar did okay, but the Red Sox didn’t), the relatively new Red Sox ownership was investigating the idea of trading Manny to Texas for A-Rod, and Nomar to the White Sox for Magglio Ordonez. This obviously upset Nomar, and he became very unhappy. 
He was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2004 for Orlando Cabrera and Doug (not even going to attempt his last name). Nonetheless, he was given a World Series ring from that year. God, I miss Nomar. 
Projects
For those of you that do not know, I have started a tradition of having “project players”. These are players that I see in Spring Training, or who may have a brief stint with the Red Sox, that I really like. Last year, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson were my projects. 
I would now like to declare to you my projects for 2009: 
Jeff Bailey
Lars Anderson
Chris Carter
Nick Green
Junichi Tazawa
All of them are minor league players– you can check out my reports on them in my previous entry. Angel Chavez might make the list as well, he’s been looking great. 
Jacobyluvr asked some questions that are really important to look at right now in my last post: 
Initial Intake on Starting Rotation: 
Thus far, we have seen three out of five of our starting rotation: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield. 
Josh Beckett.jpg
Josh Beckett has been looking great according to reports. The fact that he may look like his 2007 self is very pleasant to hear. Against Boston College, Beckett fired two innings and two strikeouts and didn’t allow any hits. Against the Twins, he also fired two perfect innings, but didn’t strike out anyone. The main thing for Beckett is to stay healthy. Some years he is incredible, others he is mediocre. Last season, he was always “catching up”– ever since that Spring Training game where he had the back spasms. 
Jon Lester pitched against Pittsburgh and earlier today against the Reds. Against Pittsburgh, he pitched two innings, allowed two hits, and struck out one. Today, against the Reds, he pitched two perfect innings and struck out two in the process. Lester is working on adding a changeup to his arsenal of pitches. He is so young that he can continue to learn and really develop. 
Tim Wakefield.jpg
Wakefield, in his start against the Twins, gave up two earned runs on five runs in two innings. Coming out of the bullpen (after Beckett) in the second game against the Twins, he walked one, gave up one hit and no earned runs in two innings. The thing about Wakefield is that he is either on or off– there is very little middle ground. He basically has one pitch, and even though the knuckle ball may be pretty hard to hit for some teams– all it takes is two pitches to time it down. The great thing about Wakefield is that he goes very deep into games. 
We can’t tell much about Dice-K because he has been training in Japan this entire time for the World Baseball Classic, which is starting this weekend. I hope that they don’t overwork him. I know how much he means to Japan and his country, but there are 162 games in the season, and he has to pitch every five days for seven innings ideally. The thing about Dice-K is that even though he went 18-3, he walked tons of people, but got tons of run support. He needs to cut down on the walks (I know he can get out of jams, but I would rather him to deep into games). I’ll be closely watching him in the World Baseball Classic. Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi say they have some plans to hit home runs off him. 
Brad Penny will most likely be the fifth starter. He has not pitched in Spring Training yet, and he will not be starting against Puerto Rico. The biggest thing for him is also to stay healthy, because when he is healthy, he is great. After all, in 2007 he did finish third in Cy Young Award voting. Justin Masterson did a great job starting though.  
Mike Lowell Situation
Mike Lowell 2.jpg
In order for Lowell to be re
ady for Opening Day, he needs to take it a bit slower than everyone else simply because he is coming off surgery. I definitely would like to see him in a couple of exhibition games though because it would be tough just to come back without any practice. That’s kind of what happened to Josh Beckett. If Lowell is not ready for Opening Day, he should not play. The last thing I want is for him to push anything too far. If he is not ready for Opening Day, I have some ideas:
Kevin Youkilis could move to third, and either Lars Anderson, Jeff Bailey, or Chris Carter could come up to play first base. It would not be the end of the world if he can’t start on Opening Day. The main priority is for him to completely rehab. He is working out in Fort Myers right now with everyone else, but I would guess that if he is not ready for Opening Day, he should probably start out in Triple AAA just to get a feel for things. 

I can’t watch Spring Training games, which really upsets me. They’re always during school, so I can only check the score so often. Today, as I checked the score, I noticed that we were losing. Instead of freaking out, I checked the box score and checked out who hit and who pitched. Jed Lowrie had a good day, and Chris Carter got a hit too. As I was scrolling through the pitchers to see who had earned the runs, I noticed that Ramon Ramirez had three of the earned runs and four of the hits. He had looked so good before! Was it just a bad day? 
Thank you all for reading!
-Elizabeth

29 Comments

I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but I always hated Nomar…he played for the Sox when I liked the Yankees, and he played for Them last year…bad timing, I guess. And only one or two games are televised every day for spring training, unfortunately…MLB.TV should be better than that!
http://imbringingdiamondback.mlblogs.com

Congrats on the number 5 spot. Nomar is a great player and I hope he has great success and little to no injuries.
http://darion.mlblogs.com/

Great dedication blog Elizabeth! I like your “projects”! I really think you need to add Angel Chavez; he is looking very good!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Caroline: I loved Nomar, but I can’t help that lol. Terrible to see him go– bad breakup.

Darion: He was indeed, he is out of his prime now but he still has potential to be something.

Julia: Thanks!! I’m really liking Angel Chavez as well!

-Elizabeth

Nomar was like Manny, he played when he wanted to.
http://thewrightway.mlblogs.com/

I know a lot of Red Sox fans were crushed when Nomar was dealt, Elizabeth. He was an important member of the organization. Too bad things soured and he had to go. Nice to see ex-Yankee Nick Green as one of your projects!

http://janeheller.mblogs.com

Congrats on the ranking, btw.
http://imbringingdiamondback.mlblogs.com

Wrightway: Exactly!!

Jane: I know right? Weird for me… a Yankee… a project??

Caroline: Thanks!

-Elizabeth

Great blog Elizabeth, love reading your stuff! And greeting from Greece.

Nomar was a great great player, but I didn’t like it when the Padres had to face him and the Dodgers. Great dedication, and congrats on the ranking! Sounds like things are going pretty well in the Red Sox camp. Hopefully Beckett will be able to have an injury-free year this season!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

I love Nomar. I like the thing e does with his batting gloves before he bats. It cracks me up!
Melissa
http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

I love Nomar. I like the thing e does with his batting gloves before he bats. It cracks me up!
Melissa
http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

Nomar, Ramon, hard to not like the guy… unless you listen to the critics who say he may have been in the “juice”. What do you think?
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

NOMAAAAH!!! I love that guy! He’s one of two Cubs I’ve ever seen play that I like, the other being Derrek Lee. Congrats on the ranking, great dedication, and good luck to your projects!
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Congratulations on being number 5, Elizabeth! And great dedication post, too. I’ve always liked Nomar, and I’m glad he caught on with the A’s this year. I’d hate to see him out of work.
-Erin
http://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

Kaybee: I hope that Beckett is injury free. If he feels this good thus far (and looks this good), I sense a successful season.

Melissa: Every time right?

Jeff: Hard to tell, but I don’t think so. I sure hope not– that would be a huge blow.

Jen: Thanks! I really like Derek Lee as well. He was also great on the Marlins.

Erin: I hope he can stay off the disabled list!

-Elizabeth

Congrats on number 5! Nomar was a great player and I’m glad he didn’t get traded the the White Sox for Ordonez and got traded to the Cubs. Where is Charlie Zink in your projects?!?

Bob, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

Nomar seems like a good guy, probably the best fielder of the Big 3 shortstops of the 90’s.
-Brian
http://legentil.mlblogs.com

Hi, Elizabeth …
“Congratulations” on your #5 ranking on the latest “Leader’s List” !!! …
You continue your move to the top of the list … Way to go !!!
.
Nice dedication in honor of Nomar Garciaparra !!! … I remember him as a great player with the Red Sox, but really forgot about the great numbers he had during that time. So, thanks for listing his stats in your dedication. And, it is a shame that injuries really affected his career !!! … It has been reported, today, Oakland has made a one-year offer to Nomar to play with the A’s in 2009. So, he may get a lot of playing time in Oakland !!! … An interesting note: Mark Teixeira also played for Georgia Tech, and I dedicated my #25 ranking in honor of Tex [he wears #25 on the Yanks] … So, two “Yellow Jackets” with dedications from the latest Leader’s List !!! [I should have a dedication post up soon] !!! … Finally, of all your projects, I am most interested in seeing the Japanese pitcher, Junichi Tazawa, on the mound !!! …
.
Take care, Elizabeth, and keep up the excellent work !!!
.
— Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L”
http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Elizabeth …

Of course, thanks for featuring my name and blog on your above post !!!
.
“Congratulations”, again, on your #5 ranking on the new List !!!
.
— Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L”
http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Congrats on being numero cinco. Sadly, I miss Nomar on the Sox as well.
p.s. I wasn’t able to head down to Tampa for the Yanks spring training this year =( but I’m glad you had a good time going to see your boys.
– V [ http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com ]

Hi! Sorry so slow…internet connection sucks here! Anyway, for the photos, when you click on “insert image” then click the box that says “Use Thumbnail” and in the pixels box, put 550…that is the exact width of these columns. If you want the photo smaller, divide 550 by 2 or 3 (275, etc..) and it will be smaller :O) Hope that helps!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Bob: I’ve got to see him pitch live! Definitely a potential there though. Future Wakefield.

Brian: Oh yes, when he was in his prime. Too bad he had so many injuries.

Jimmy: Thanks!! Can’t wait to see your dedication post. I wish him only the best in Oakland.

Vanessa: Sorry to hear that– but thanks!!

Jenn: Oooh! Thanks for your help!!

-Elizabeth

A healthy Josh Beckett will make a huge difference. It would be great to see Beckett do really well. He’s one of my fav pitchers. If he’s anything like he was in ’07 he’s going to be a pain in the backside of every other team. Not to mention the rest of the rotation. Staying healthy is going to be the key. Just imagine how far you could go with a healthy solid pitching staff; Youk, Lowell and Pedroia at peak form; Varitek back up to snuff; Lowrie at short; Bay, Ellsbury, and the gang doing their best…You think about it, and i’ll try not to!

Canuck

Elizabeth,
Congrats on the #5 ranking and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! My guess on who broke Nomar’s record would have to be A-Rod (who else could it be?). What is the next spring training came that you will attend? You’re lucky to live so close to go. I liked what you said about the starting rotation. I’m also interested to hear about the middle relievers (not much doubt about the closer!). Keep up the great work! The box scores just aren’t enough and MLB TV doesn’t carry every spring training game! :-(

Hi, Elizabeth and congrats on being number 5. Nice dedication post on Nomar.
I like your list of “projects.” I think Lars and Jeff are going to turn out to be very important guys for our team this year.
No trip to Ft. Myers for us this year. Bummer. You will have to have all the fun for us.

Take care,
Jen
http://faithful.mlblogs.com

Canuck: As long as they stay healthy, I think we have a pretty fine year ahead of us.

Jacobyluvr: Actually, it was Hanley Ramirez! But I would’ve guessed A-Rod too! Hanley is such a good shortstop! I am pretty sure that I can go back this weekend, so I’m excited for that. And what ever happened to gameday?

Jen: Thanks, and I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be able to come :(. Maybe next season? Or maybe you’ll come down for a Rays series.

-Elizabeth

lol, for a second it looked like he had on a Yankees helmet.
http://metsmainman.mlblogs.com

Metsmainman: Never! lol.

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