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Koby Clemens shifts to 1B, Japanese Word of the Day, MLB SLAM! AL Team Rosters

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Has the nomad finally found his positional home? Koby Clemens has played a little bit of third, a little outfield and caught some too. Now it appears that the Astros' organization has settled on first base as Clemens' semi-permanent home. Author of the Chronicle article Zach Levine breaks down the Astros' top 30 prospects by position and no first basemen make the list. I guess Mark Saccomanno is chopped liver! (Ed. note: Saccomanno signed with Florida this winter. But, Jimmy Van Ostrand could also be chopped liver.)

I seem to remember at least one minor league report on Houston commenting that too many of our hitting prospects are "corner outfield/1B types". This is true if you assume that every positional player can eventually play first base, as the Astros obviously do with Koby Clemens.

It's tough to speculate at this point as to whether Koby will be a successful defensive first baseman, but hitting-wise he is coming off a tremendous season in A+ ball. His BB rates so far in the minors are nice to see and if he can cut down on the K's, he could prove to be a major league quality reserve player at the least. Of course, any first baseman is expected to produce offensively moreso than anything else.

Clemens' SLG% has increased steadily throughout his seasons as a minor leaguer, however:

Koby Clemens' Minor League SLG% by season
Season Level SLG%
2006 A .346
2007 A .412
2008 A+ .423
2009 A+ .636


Now obviously there are caveats to point out here: 1) Clemens has repeated levels 2) That .636 is a major outlier and 3) His short stint in AA from last season is left out. Still, his progress is fairly obvious as well, and he is still just 23. Starting off in AA, Clemens will face his biggest test yet as a professional. If he can hit in Corpus, he should have a future hitting in Houston at some point.

I saw this article earlier in the week which discusses how Tommy Manzella is trying to learn a little Japanese here and there to better communicate with his new double play partner, Kaz Matsui. While it's unlikely Manzella can make all that much progress learning the language in a matter of weeks I give him credit for at least making the effort.

In that spirit, every article I write from now until Opening Day, a new Japanese word of the day will be featured. To start us off, a word that Astros fans have unfortunately become familiar with when it comes to Matsui:

English word Japanese translation
Injury Shoui, Sonshou


Impress friends and family with your new found knowledge!

Last, here's the AL teams that I think should be featured our fictitious video game, MLB SLAM!:

Baltimore Orioles: C: Matt Wieters, P: Brian Matusz, OF: Nick Markakis, 2B: Brian Roberts, 3B: Miggy

Boston Red Sox: UTL: Matt Damon, UTL: Bill Simmons, UTL: Ben Affleck, IF: The Youkah!, DH: Big Papi

Chicago White Sox: IF: Tim Beckham, OF: Carlos Quentin, SS: Alexei Ramirez (I miss Aroldis Chapman yesterday, so I have to tap into the Cuban market somehow. Do Cubans play video games? I bet they're just now discovering "Pong".), P: Mark Buehrle, Player/Manager: Ozzie Guillen

Cleveland Indians: OF: Grady Sizemore, OF: Shin-Soo Choo, OF: Matt LaPorta, UTL: Travis Hafner, P: Fausto Carmona (This team has a tremendous farm system, but their current 40 man roster has so very few recognizable names.)

Detroit Tigers: 1B: Miguel Cabrera, P: Justin Verlander, P: Dontrelle Willis (for the high leg kick alone), OF: Austin Jackson, P: Matt Scherzer

Kansas City Royals: P: Zach Greinke, 1B: Billy Butler, 3B: Alex Gordon, P: Joakim Soria, UTL: KC style ribs

Los Angeles Angels: P: Jered Weaver, C: Matt Napoli, 1B: Kendry Morales, OF: Torii Hunter, UTL: Hideki Matsui

Minnesota Twins: C: Joe Mauer, 1B: Justin Morneau, 2B: Orlando Hudson, OF: Denard Span, P: Francisco Liriano

New York Yankees: C: Jesus Montero, P: Joba Chamberlain, P: CC Sabathia, 3B: A-Rod, OF: Curtis Granderson

Note: Derek Jeter, like Michael Jordan in the original NBA JAM!, didn't grant MLB SLAM! the licensing rights to use his likeness in the game. His loss.

Oakland Athletics: P: Brett Anderson, P: Andrew Bailey, UTL: Billy Beane said in Moneyball that he was the best athlete on team, so he earns a spot, UTL: The Bash Brothers

Seattle Mariners: P: King Felix, P: Cliff Lee, OF: Milton Bradley, OF: Ichiro, 3B: Chone Figgins

Tampa Bay Rays: 3B: Evan Longoria, OF: Carl Crawford, OF: BJ Upton, OF: Desmond Jennings, P: James Shields

Texas Rangers: OF: Hambone Hamilton, P: Neftali Feliz, P: Derek Holland, 2B: Ian Kinsler, UTL: Justin Smoak

Toronto Blue Jays: Four mounties and OF Adam Lind