This is Cardsox* 's writing on the feel-good story of Major League Baseball this season. He mentions Josh Hamilton in the blog, but, in my opinion, he is not a feel-good story since he has been a druggie his whole career and messed up the early part of his career by his own doing. Anyway, tomorrow, Cardsox* will have a blog detailing all the races in Major League Baseball this season. So, to get you guys involved, I encourage you to comment on both your predictions on how the races will turn out in the MLB this season, along with your thoughts on this article. Well, here it is:
Move aside, Josh Hamilton and Jon Lester. I've got your feel-good story of the year right here. Many of you may remember a man by the name of Rick Ankiel, former pitching prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals. He won 11 games for the Cards in his 2000 rookie season, seemingly en route to a great pitching career. However, things took a turn for the worse in the playoffs when he suddenly imploded, chucking away an unheard of 12 wild pitches in just under 3 innings. Future attempts at pitching became fruitless as well. In '01 he walked 25 and threw 5 more WP and was sent down to AAA. There he walked 17 batters with 12 more wild pitches in 4.1 innings. After reviewing tape, it seemed his problems were not mechanical, but only mental. He then missed nearly all of '02 and '03 due to injury, but came back in 2004 following Tommy John surgery. It was then that he decided to quit baseball altogether. A shame for such a promising young star.
Walt Jocketty, the Cards GM, simply could not let that happen, though. He stepped in and convinced Ankiel to return to the game and come up through the minor league system again. However, this time, Ankiel would be an outfielder with a power bat.
In Spring Training 2006, he impressed the Cardinals organization with his fancy glovework and occasional power out his bat. Unfortunately, once again he was set back with an left-knee injury that ended his '06 campaign early.
Now, in 2007, things finally seem to have taken a turn for the better for this luckless prospect. He's led the entire minors in major categories, including HRs and RBIs, and was called up on August 9, 2007.
All I can say right now is, it's about freaking time! I've been watching Rick Ankiel's numbers throughout this season, and I can't help but wonder why the Cards promoted Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick, John Rodriguez and Brendan Ryan before they brought up the man crushing out more homers than anyone on the major leage team.
So far, Ankiel's made it worth their while. In just 3 games, he's averaging 162 home runs per season 270 hits and 324 RBI with a .417 BA. That's impressive. He's hit 3 home runs, including 2 last night against the Dodgers.
Many can see a great future in Ankiel as a right fielder, perhaps even a future All Star. As of right now, it's all we can do to hold on to the ride and hope the best for this hapless, star-crossed pitcher turned quitter turned hitter that we know as Rick Ankiel.
I apologize, as this is a far cry from my best work, but I am extremely short on time today. Thank you.