by John Paschal
5. Blind Lemon Lemon: A great-grandson of one-time ace Bob Lemon, Lemon owns a blistering fastball and lethal changeup and would seem a good fit for any contending team in the stretch run. But it is Lemon’s 70/70 vision, caused by too much Hentai porn, that has caused most teams to shy away from the big rightie.
Said one scout: “The guy throws gas, and that changeup is big-time swing-and-miss. But he often gets in auto accidents en route to the ballpark, so he’s often late to his starts. And even when he does make it on time, he has trouble fielding bunts – unless those bunts spawn a series of extraordinarily active tentacles, somehow.”
4. Noodles Hawn: Not to be confused with Noodles Hahn, an old-timey pitcher of poetic repute, Noodles Hawn is a speedy outfielder whose ability to run down fly balls and wreak havoc on the bases is one that any contender should crave down the stretch. It is Hawn’s arms, however, that have caused most GMs to back off.
Said one scout: “Those legs are weapons. But those arms? It’s one thing for them to be made entirely of egg noodles, but it’s another for them to be fully boiled. It’s sad, really, because if his noodle arms were still uncooked, a good hitting coach could teach him to hit a fastball or, at worst, lean in for the HBP. But as it is, his arms just kind of hang there, all floppy. He can’t turn on an inside fastball and has trouble with the outside curve. Plus, his teammates often sprinkle on the soy sauce and nibble at his hands and forearms, which is bad for team chemistry.”
3. Gamblin’ Bob Johnson: A gifted closer with a lethal cutter, Johnson, like Lemon and Hawn, would seem a prize catch for any team with designs on October. The problem, observers say, is that he owes his bookie $16.8 million.
Said one scout: “I love that cutter, but how effective can he be? First, he’s suddenly missing a thumb, and I just don’t know if you can trust him with a lead.”
2: Dead Al Donaldson: A Triple Crown winner in the American Association, Donaldson once owned the hit tool that contending teams covet in September and October. The sticking point with Donaldson, experts say, is that he is dead.
Said one scout: “We started noticing last year, and, frankly, the five or 10 years preceding it, that he could no longer barrel up the heater. His approach just wasn’t right. Ultimately, it dawned on us that Donaldson was dead. Pretty soon word got out, as word often does, and teams started backing away. I do hear that the Diamondbacks have offered their top eight remaining prospects, but I wouldn’t call the Diamondbacks ‘contenders,’ and this is about contenders, right?”
1. Shin-Soo Choo. He’s terrible.