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A memorable night for the Aceves family

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Sep 10, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Before you get too excited about Alfredo Aceves, here’s two words for you:

Ian Kennedy.

IPK had a 1.89 ERA over 19 innings last September and is now pitching in the International League playoffs. So don’t get too carried away by Aceves having a 1.29 ERA over 14 innings.

That said, Aceves seems to know how to pitch. He locates his fastball, changes speeds from time to time and works at a good tempo. The Mexican League is not quite Triple-A ball but it’s better than Double-A ball and this guy pitched 126 games there. That counts for something.

After we talked to him in the clubhouse, I noticed a group of people wearing homemade No. 91 t-shirts in the lobby. My keen reporting skills led me to ask a few questions and it turns out I was talking to Alfredo’s father and uncle. They were part of a group of 31 people who came from Mexico for the game.

Alfredo Aceves Sr. played first base in the Mexican League and was known as El Paton, or Big Foot. He proudly mentioned that he played with Fernando Valenzuela in 1978.

“This was a great moment for me,” he said. “I wanted to play in the majors, yes. But to have my son get to the Yankees and do this is great.”

None of us have any idea whether Aceves will have a good career for the Yankees. But he and his family will always have Sept. 9, 2008.

————

The people who read and contribute to this blog amaze me. Back on May 23, we had a post that mentioned Aceves using information sent to me from a reader in Mexico named Jorge. I can’t say we were the first blog to mention him, but were among the first.

Over the course of the summer, Jorge wrote me to tell me that Aceves would help the Yankees and I posted what he told me from time to time. Here we are in September and Aceves has beaten the Los Angeles Angels.

So Jorge, thanks for the information. Hopefully you were able to see the game and root for your guy.

 
 

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43 Responses to “A memorable night for the Aceves family”

  1. mel September 10th, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Congratulations to Alfredo and his family. His “maturity” (age!) seems to give him the confidence necessary. His crazy journey must make this extra special. I’m sure he appreciates this more than the spoiled American kids we’ve got! :)

    Pete, please tell Alfredo congratulations. Also, tell him that, thanks to Jorge, his reputation preceded him and we (the whole blog!) have been pulling for him.

    (Pete’s note to self: Put in application to Scotland Yard)

  2. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Guess everybody’s asleep on the East Coast Pete.

    Good point on Aceves. I flinched a bit at your last thred comment on why we couldn’t have seen him sooner – he did scuffle a bit in AAA and needed to get resorted.

    I happen to be one of the few here who feel that we haven’t seen the best of Ian Kennedy though. Just too consistently good in the minors – well beyond Igawa good. And still young.

    Does that mean we should rely on him to fill a rotation spot in ’09. No. Clearly he doesn’t have lights out type stuff. But Moose does? I’ve heard the comments about him not being made to earn it to start this season – despite being the Yanks best Spring starter and coming off his dominant 2007. I’m just hoping the real Ian Kennedy is closer to 2007 than 2008. I wonder what the analysts around here would have said about Edinson Volquez before 2008 – his numbers never approximated those of Kennedy in the 2 years prior to this. But I’m sure they’d love the velo.

  3. CK in LA September 10th, 2008 at 2:24 am

    The Angels feed had a great shot of his family in their home made shirts. I’m sure the Spanish broadcast must have been good, too.

    There just aren’t a lot of Mexican pro players.

  4. CK in LA September 10th, 2008 at 2:24 am

    The Angels feed had a great shot of his family in their home made shirts. I’m sure the Spanish broadcast must have been good, too.

    There just aren’t a lot of Mexican pro players.

  5. CK in LA September 10th, 2008 at 2:27 am

    I think Aceves came out confident & IPK over-confident (USC has that effect). Did the Angels play badly or is his stuff really that good?

  6. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 2:30 am

    And Mel – wholeheartedly agree on your feelings for Aceves.

    But I’ve gotta disagree on “the spoiled American kids” comment. I can’t imagine Hughes and Kennedy could want much more than to be successful in Anaheim, both being Orange Co. kids. They’ve both seen early success, but then some rocky patches. The typical path for new MLB’ers. Good chance Alfredo will see his share of struggles too. He did in AAA.

    Living in the OC the American kids probably didn’t have to deal with the real struggles of life in the way Aceves may have, not knowing his life story, but they’ve gotten a taste of baseball struggle now. And getting a taste of success too – Go Scranton!

  7. Nick in SF September 10th, 2008 at 2:32 am

    I just checked the game thread from May 23. Folks were down on Andy! Nick in SF said he’d be ok. Now he’s pitched 188.1 innings!

    Nick in SF
    May 23rd, 2008 at 8:11 pm
    Woah, let’s not bury Pettitte with phony-DL business quite yet! I’m no expert, but I don’t think it’s outlandish to suggest that Pettitte probably has more “stuff” at this stage in his career than does Mussina, and I mean Mussina when he’s going good. And I know they’re very different kinds of pitchers, but I’m only trying to make a superficial point.

    But that point is, there are a few times that Moose looked like he was just about dead and buried, and he was neither. Pettitte has had some bad starts lately, and who knows how this one will turn out, but it doesn’t have to be over for him yet. I still like him giving the team around 200 innings this season.

  8. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Also, CK, he’s faced some of LAA’s second string (Wood, Sean Rodriguez, Willits, Quinlan) with the Angels on the verge of clinching and getting guys rested, but he controlled well.

    Sure hope after the AAA playoffs we slot Hughes and Kennedy in rather than hang with Ponson and Pavano. Sidney has earned his seat on the bench, and we don’t owe Pavano a showcase opportunity, nor has he pitched particularly well. I’m afraid Joe G will stick with the vets for fear of the old “integrity of the game” thing. But the kids could hardly do worse than they have. And they could be scheduled to face mostly Baltimore and Toronto so as to avoid impacting playoff races – assuming Toronto doesn’t pull a Rockies and win out.

    Nice comment late from the Angels announcer – “you’re not likely to see a better 4th place team than these Yankees”. Very gracious. Complimented the AL East.

  9. stuart September 10th, 2008 at 2:45 am

    good tosee a young guy have a good game. he is 25 and you never know, he has a chance to be agood pitcher.. his stuff and velocity are at least decent and he has 4 pitches. that is all you can ask for guys who have a chance and then it is up to them, to adjust and improve.

    arod had a few very good AB’s tonight especially the 13 pitch single, see when Arod does well he gets the credit he is due.

    Patterson got DFA’d the other day, the 40 man roster will look much different in 3 or 4 months.. many many changes coming..

  10. mel September 10th, 2008 at 2:47 am

    nyyfan,

    That was a joke. :)

    I never backed off Hughes, whom I love.

    I was a big proponent of Kennedy from the beginning, having seen some of him in college. But he has not handled his “success” well. I’ve read and heard unflattering things about him. Which is shocking because people say he was always a good kid. I hope the reports about his attitude are wrong because in my book intangibles are almost as important as your “stuff”.

    So anyway, that was a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing.
    I wish Kennedy all the success in the world

  11. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Nick – don’t dislocate your elbow patting yourself on the back there.

    Hey, just kiddin’ brother. Been awful hard to keep the faith lately, eh?

    Am I the only person here who thinks they should ramp Joba back up for a start or 2 to maximize his innings? We act like this kid should be kept in a bubble – he’s just so fragile. I look at him, I don’t see fragile.

  12. brian September 10th, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Pete-

    What do you think is in store for Hughes next season? Cashman didn’t seem to impressed by his outing the other day. Has his value fallen within the organization?

  13. CK in LA September 10th, 2008 at 2:55 am

    “Also, CK, he’s faced some of LAA’s second string (Wood, Sean Rodriguez, Willits, Quinlan) with the Angels on the verge of clinching and getting guys rested, but he controlled well.

    Nice comment late from the Angels announcer – “you’re not likely to see a better 4th place team than these Yankees”. Very gracious. Complimented the AL East.”

    Yes, they’re the second string but those guys pounded our pitching last night. That’s why I’m reserving judgement on Aceves. Their bench is a hell of a lot better than ours.

    They were unusually gracious to the Yankees. It helped that Rex Hudler wasn’t on air!! I also liked that they used us to bash the Dodgers (and the pathetic NL West).

  14. mel September 10th, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Nick in SF,

    I think that there’s a blurb in one of the recaps about Andy wanting to pitch only for the Yankees. He’s not going to hold them up for money. Much to the chagrin of many here, it sounds like there have been discussions. He said he’ll make his decision sooner than he did this past winter.

    I’d love to see Andy back. Hopefully, he’ll be our #5. I’ll take that over Livan, Washburn, or Byrd. :)

    p.s. Heard Law on the radio tonight. Said Pap refuses to throw his splitter or even a slider.

    3-1 pitch to Johnson gets fouled off because he was cheating. So what does Pap do? Throw yet another fastball which Johnson promptly parks in the stands. That was the tease for his insider blog. Pap’s pitch selection being too predictable. Quick check shows Pap threw 20 pitches to 6 batters. All but the next to last pitch (changeup) were fastballs.

  15. CK in LA September 10th, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Actually, Joba is kind of fragile so far. I’m amazed at how fragile the kids are. None of them can even pitch 1/2 the innings Old Moose has. Where’s the line between babying them & hurting them?

  16. mel September 10th, 2008 at 3:00 am

    Those announcers had me going yesterday, going on and on about the Angels being the team and clinching and all that. Not only are there only 4 teams in their division, only one has a winning record. In contrast, only one team has a losing record and they’re not even 10 games under .500.

  17. mel September 10th, 2008 at 3:01 am

    *only one team in the AL East has a losing record.

  18. CK in LA September 10th, 2008 at 3:03 am

    They have always been an obnoxious group of announcers especially when it comes to the Yankees. That’s why it was shocking that they were actually complimentary. They even showed the interview with Johnny Damon and praised Derek Jeter passing Babe Ruth.

    They’ll be brutal tomorrow … glad I’ll be listening to WCBS @ work!!

  19. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Cheers Mel!

    Always found your comments to be positive – no harm. And frankly, the OC golddust twins might well have been spoiled a bit – I’ve seen how the elite sports youngsters can get coddled. But I retain high hopes for both – as do you.

    I’ve often wondered why the Yanks get so many kids from this area – those 2, Austin Romine, Brandon Laird, Kyle Higashioka, Gerrit Cole – oh, oops… I could go on. We msut have a good scout out here. Pete mentioned a David Keith that accompanied Higashioka – their ’08 7th round pick from Huntington Beach – on a trip to the Stadium before he signed. The actor? (The one I’m mentioning played the bad guy – again a Yankee, as in the entertaining original – in one of the worst baseball movies ever, Major League 2.)

  20. mel September 10th, 2008 at 3:10 am

    nyyfan,

    We need a scout in my neck of the woods. Current players in the bigs include: Shane Victorino, Kurt Suzuki (who you know from NCAA champs UC-Irvine), Brandon League, the new callup Kaaihue, and of course the Little League World Champs.

  21. Nick in SF September 10th, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Too late, right after I posted my *amazingly insightful* post from May 23, I felt something odd in my elbow… sort of like a pop. I’m flying to see Dr. Andrews tomorrow.

    And I very much would like them to give Joba more innings. As many as possible.

  22. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I think actually Suzuki went to the true college power here in the OC – Cal State Fullerton. My son went to HS here in OC with his teammate Bobby Crosby.

    The Yanks have a number of minors guys from the UC Irvine Anteaters – Brett Smith (spent whole AA season on DL), and Charleston’s Taylor Holiday and Matt Morris. Not our top prospects, but they’re ‘Eaters (that’s the name on their unis) nonetheless.

    Sorry for the offcolor story, but I thought it was hilarious when the team that had the 2 in Charleston played in the CWS 2 years ago and faced the Oregon State Beavers. Beavers vs the … well, you get it.

  23. nyyfaninlaaland September 10th, 2008 at 3:21 am

    Hope your rehab goes well Nick! Will you still be able to type?

  24. mel September 10th, 2008 at 3:32 am

    nyyfan,

    Thanks. I always get them mixed up. Can’t confuse them with the banana slugs, tho.

  25. Ben September 10th, 2008 at 4:00 am

    You guys are completely missing the point, thinking this is the Angels second-string. Where’s their first string? (Hint: the DL). This is the team they are taking to the Playoffs. Sure, Rivera will start in LF instead of Willits, and Figgins will start at 3B instead of Quinlan, but Wood and Rodriguez are “what they got.” Kendrick is done for the year, as Izturis (no offensive star) may be, and Aybar’s status is unclear.

    Also, second-stringers Wood and Rodriguez hit 3 HRs off us in the opening game of the series.

  26. Brandon (We have a soft captain and a softer sidekick..true story)..."we paid today, we lose today, das it". September 10th, 2008 at 4:14 am

    LOL I don’t work today so I’m about to nod off soon

    But RiverAve Blues had the funniest background to our Scranton team beating David Price tonight.

    LOL

  27. tim boat September 10th, 2008 at 4:34 am

    maybe this time genius Brian can trade this guy while he has value before his stock plummets. unlike the other 3 busts in Hughes, Kennedy, and Melk Dud.

  28. Drive 4-5 September 10th, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Pete,

    THanks for making a great point about Aceves and Kennedy. Here’s hoping Brian Cashman takes your counsel too!

  29. Paul September 10th, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Muy bueno. Jorge! Gracias!

  30. diodio September 10th, 2008 at 8:27 am

    We can’t compare him to IPK, because simply Aceves is a veteran of the mexican league, and the guy really knows how to pitch, while IPK needs to work more, and obviously got rushed to the majors.

  31. Chet September 10th, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Pete-
    Again…great blog. Keep up the great work. Even though this season has been a huge disappointment as a fan, I love the comraderie here.
    Chet

  32. Tidrow September 10th, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Any chance Phil Coke gets any consideration for the 5th spot in the pitching rotation? He did well in the minors this year as a starter and seems to be a hard-nosed competitor; something this team sorely lacks. He has a good fastball and seems to have pretty good command of his pitches.

  33. bardos September 10th, 2008 at 9:30 am

    the thing i have noticed about up and coming pitchers (hitters as well) is that there exists what is known as “first time around the league” syndrome.

    surviving the second time around seems to be the trick. they have seen you twice and still can’t get a grip on you. Or, if they adjust, you adjust.

  34. dan l September 10th, 2008 at 9:33 am

    What great point about Kennedy and Aceves? It was completely misleading as everyone knows what Kennedy’s issues are! Aceves has walked 1 in 14 innings where as in 07 Kennedy walked 9 in 19 innings. In 07 Kennedy got away with nibbling where as this season he was found out! Aceves pitched his first start against not only the best team in Baseball but also in front of his family which has to be even more pressure.

  35. JohnC September 10th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Tidrow:

    I doubt it. Coke seems much more suited to the pen. A lefty specialist. He and Marte could be forimiddable weapons next year out of the pen.

  36. Jorge (México) September 10th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Thanks, Pete, for the credits. And, OF COURSE, I went to my favorite Sports Bar here in Mérida, Yucatán, and watched the whole game. It was great to watch Alfredo having a succesful outing.
    As I’m sure you remember, I always said that he was a very good pitcher down here in the Mexican League, which, as you quoted, is not real AAA, but a AA plus. But I told you that US coaching could help Alfredo a lot, since he had never had a coaching staff like that, and he is a hard worker. It seems it really helped him.
    And also thanks to Mel and Paul, for mentioning me. Keep in touch

  37. Joey's Poodle September 10th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Important differences between Aceves and the ‘golden boys’:

    1. At age 25, he should have reached full physical maturity, meaning less worries about over-taxing his body.

    2. He’ll be ready for a full innings load next year (has pitched 147 2/3 so far this year, pitched 120 last year, 106 the year before in a rationally stepped progression).

    Jorge — thanks, scout! I’ve always noticed your posts because I lived for some time in Mexico, hope to see more of them.

  38. abcd September 10th, 2008 at 11:31 am

    what’s the point of bringing up ian kennedy? if a yankee fan is excited about aceves, why not let them be? why try to temper any enthusiasm, especially during this season? again, more and more it’s about downplaying anything positive and only portray even good things in a negative light.

  39. dave September 10th, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Remember Matt DeSalvo?

    At spring training for the Yankees in 2007, his pitching turned heads. “I was in shock, that’s how filthy his [stuff] was” Jason Giambi said

    Matt DeSalvo’s first start: 7 innings, 3 hits, 3 BB, 1 run

    2nd tier rookie pitching prospects often have good debuts because there’s not as much advance scouting info on them. The test comes when MLB teams make their adjustment to him; then the pitcher has to make his adjustment to them. If he doesn’t, he’ll soon get exposed like — Halsey, DeSalvo, Clippard, Wright, Karstens, Rasner, etc. If he keeps this up, he might get an endorsement deal — and a free transplant — from Hair Club for Men — like Wade Boggs. He should borrow Marv Albert’s rug in the meantime — if he wants to look like he’s 25 rather than like George Costanza.

    As for the pressure of pitching against a great team, the Angels have been on cruise control for a long time.

  40. saucY September 10th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    congrats to Aceves! he beat a very good team…

  41. Bronx Jeers September 10th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I,m riding the Aceves bandwagon so hard today that I’ve got a blister from crackin’ the whip.

  42. pounder September 10th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    nyyfaninlaaland said

    “The Yanks have a number of minors guys from the UC Irvine Anteaters – Brett Smith (spent whole AA season on DL)”
    Can you fill me in what happened to Brett Smith? My daughter meet him when he was pitching for the Orleans Cardinals in the Cape Cod league.Nothing romantic,she was doing volunteer work for their clinic for HS credit.She said he was a real nice guy,and very friendly, a real gentleman.If you have any contact with him,tell him we wish him nothing but the best.

  43. Tom Gaffney September 10th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    You make good points about Aceves and the Kennedy comparison is noteworthy, buuuut… I’d like to add a few caveats:

    1) I haven’t given up on IPK yet. I still think he’ll be a very good major league pitcher. Most 22-23 year-old pitchers don’t succeed on their first go around (Pelphrey, Garza, etc.).

    2) It’s interesting to note that Aceves walked zero batters last night. Even though IPK was successful in his 19 innings last year, there were concerns he was nibbling too much and his walk rate was high.

    3) Aceves was facing the Angels and IPK faced much lesser competition.

    4) What, you want to take ALL our hope and sunshine away!!??!! What else do we have to feel good about? :-)


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