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 Post subject: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:22 pm 
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Image As currently the only player from the country of India in the Brewster Baseball Association (BBA), 23 year old Starting Pitcher Natraj Dawar of the Nashville Goats is certainly an oddity.

"Baseball first came to India during World War II when U.S. Army Air Corps troops were stationed there in order to fly supplies into China.," said Dawar. "Manipur is a very remote village though so the game never really took off. But popularity has risen since the 2007 Million Dollar Arm competition." Certainly the 2014 Disney movie about the competition helped expand awareness, baseball's popularity still has a long way to go in the country of 1.3 billion people.

And So It Begins
Drafted by the out of Baghdad International Finishing Academy by the former Halifax Hawks (current Nashville Goats), Dawar was considered a long-shot when he was chosen as the 8th pick of Round 13, 361st overall, in the 2029 first-year player draft. "When I first got drafted, sure, I was thrilled to be out of Baghdad, but the move to Shreveport and then some time in Santo Domingo...I can't lie, it wasn't easy for me."

Dawar started 10 games between Short A and Rookie ball in 2029. The drastic changes in his life can be seen in the box scores. Dawar finished the season with a 1 and 5 record, a 7.90 ERA, 34 walks compared to 32 strikeouts, and gave up 15 home runs in just 48.2 innings. "Going from Baghdad, spending two weeks in Shreveport, and then about a month and a half in Santo Domingo - my head was spinning."

Settling In
Between the 2030 and 2032 seasons, Dawar seemed to have started to settle in. In those three seasons, he moved from Rookie ball to A-ball, and then finished the 2032 season in AA. In those three seasons, he started 24, 30, and 25 games. While his win-loss record along the way may not be eye-popping 27-25 during the timeframe; though he had a 9-3 record at AA Chula Vista), his ERA improved from 6.69 in 2030 to 4.43 in 2031 and finally to a 3.09 in 2032.

When asked about Dawar, former teammate from the 2031 Santa Barbara Tiger Sharks, Stephen Clulow, commented, "Nat was 20 and I was 18 back then. He's a hard worker; when he made up his mind to work on something, he gave it his all. Go back and look at the team leaders from that season - I think Nat was at the top of the board on at least half the pitching stats." Close enough; Dawar lead all pitchers in 9 of the 22 categories that season. Clulow continued, "What impressed me the most, he had over 120 strikeouts (he finished with 122) and less than 20 walks (18). They were telling guys like me, and Juan (Nicto) and Petey (Peter Grady) that we'd be in the majors within the next couple of years. I wasn't so sure....I was just trying to keep up with Nat."

Dawar even impressed the Nashville brass enough to earn a cup of coffee in 2032. Dawar made it into six games, starting three. His 23.2 innings and 0-1 record saw his ERA end up the season at 5.70 in the BBA. Nashville leadership still had faith in Dawar's potential though and kept him on the major league roster for the 2033 season.

Lost Time
Dawar started off the 2033 season just a little better than his 2032 chance in the BBA. He started 16 games, going 3-9 with a 6.37 ERA. His control started to come back into form though as he began to increase his strikeout to walk ratio. "I felt like my control was getting back into form but it just seemed like everything they got hold of ended up as a hit," said Dawar. The .319 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) certainly back that up.

Then in late June that season, Dawar experienced another new - his first time ever on the Disabled List (DL). "I had never really been hurt before. Sure, I'd get sore or have some bumps and bruises but nothing that ever caused me to miss more than one start. I'll never forget that feeling though, my shoulder was on fire." Dawar was diagnosed with a torn labrum and missed the next seven months.

I'm Back
Dawar made it back in time for spring training in 2034. Nashville personnel had more than enough time to see something, still, in Dawar to earn a promotion and start the season with AAA Montgomery Admirals. In an effort to keep building the strength back in his shoulder, Dawar spent most of his time with the Admirals in the bullpen. Dawar saw time in 33 games with Montgomery, starting 4 of them. While not approaching his 2031 season, his strikeout to walk ration was hovering at about 1.5:1.

New Goats General Manager Brett Golden pointed at Dawar's strikeout rate (7.3 Ks/9) and his .238 BABIP as what was impressing him the most about Dawar. "It doesn't take long to see that Dawar belongs in the BBA," said Golden.

I'm Here
After the recent trade of Stephen Clulow, the Goats needed another starter. GM Golden decided to give Dawar his shot. On August 6th, Dawar got to face the Charm City Jimmies. The Jimmies are 2nd in the Johnson in runs scored and lead the Johnson in home runs. How did Dawar respond? While he ended with a no decision, Dawar threw 7 innings of three hit, one earned run ball while earning eight strikeouts to only two walks. "People have been giving me a hard time about trading Stephen Clulow. Frankly, I like Stevie, but I think we'll be okay with Natraj, especially if he keeps throwing gems like that Charm City game," commented Golden.

When asked to comment about what he sees for the future, Dawar said, "Look, I'm one of only 28 Indians at various levels in baseball. I want to do my best and give my countrymen something to strive for. We all keep in touch and are always encouraging each other. I won't be the only Indian in the BBA for long." Dawar went on to add, "I'm going to work harder than ever. GM Golden has given me this opportunity and I don't want to disappoint him. And, the barbecue here in Nashville is amazing! I want to stay here as long as I can."

We're all watching Natraj. Let's see what you can do. Go Goats!!

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:17 am 
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Always fun to see the lesser known (baseball wise) countries represented. It looks like dawar still thinks he is playing cricket with bouncing those pitches to the plate, but he might have some potential down the road.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:32 am 
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You have to root for the kid, but you also have to figure that if he's going to make it in the bigs for a long while, his ultimate endpoint is probably in a bullpen somewhere. The stuff and repertoire is too borderline to make up for that 4 control forever. :)

The real question is whether the Goats will try to build off Dawars heritage by sending people to play ball in India in the off season. Exhibitions to build interest based on a real big leaguer could make waves.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:59 am 
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RonCo wrote:
You have to root for the kid, but you also have to figure that if he's going to make it in the bigs for a long while, his ultimate endpoint is probably in a bullpen somewhere. The stuff and repertoire is too borderline to make up for that 4 control forever. :)

The real question is whether the Goats will try to build off Dawars heritage by sending people to play ball in India in the off season. Exhibitions to build interest based on a real big leaguer could make waves.


if he does have to move to the pen, some of those pitches could turn out quite nicely with the conversion.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:14 am 
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To me, it's borderline whether a true "conversion" would be better for him than just leaving him as is.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:56 am 
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This is exactly the kind of guy you should be giving time too during a deep rebuild. Finding those diamonds in the rough and awesome stories. Kudos.

He needs development bumps but he has a shot. Wasn't there a TV show awhile back that had something to do with finding cricket players in India who could crossover to baseball? Something with the Pittsburgh pirates if memory serves?

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:59 am 
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bschr682 wrote:
This is exactly the kind of guy you should be giving time too during a deep rebuild. Finding those diamonds in the rough and awesome stories. Kudos.

He needs development bumps but he has a shot. Wasn't there a TV show awhile back that had something to do with finding cricket players in India who could crossover to baseball? Something with the Pittsburgh pirates if memory serves?


that was the million dollar arm competition (and resulting movie) that he referenced in the beginning of the feature. Neither of them ended up doing anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:02 pm 
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Totally missed that line.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:17 pm 
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RonCo wrote:
You have to root for the kid, but you also have to figure that if he's going to make it in the bigs for a long while, his ultimate endpoint is probably in a bullpen somewhere. The stuff and repertoire is too borderline to make up for that 4 control forever. :)

The real question is whether the Goats will try to build off Dawars heritage by sending people to play ball in India in the off season. Exhibitions to build interest based on a real big leaguer could make waves.


Probably not. Flights to the Dominican are much cheaper.

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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:20 pm 
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bschr682 wrote:
This is exactly the kind of guy you should be giving time too during a deep rebuild. Finding those diamonds in the rough and awesome stories. Kudos.


Ah yes, the plan.


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 Post subject: Re: Natraj Dawar
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:38 pm 
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Cool read. Nice to see mention of all my old Washington Bobwhites farm teams lol...

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