Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 9th, 2012

Monday April 9th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:


Q:  My question this week is about young pitchers. Do you see any of today’s young pitchers winning 300 games in their lifetime? Thanks in advance.  Larry

MLB reports:  Hello Larry! Great opening question by our #1 fan.  To win 300 games in the big leagues, a pitcher needs to pitch for approximately 20 seasons and win 15 games per year. A difficult, but not impossible task. Many factors come into play. Good health. Consistent performances. Run support. Backed by a strong bullpen. If a pitcher can achieve most of these factors, 300 wins is do-able. By my count, I can only see a handful of current pitchers having a shot at the big 3-0-0-. Jamie Moyer. 33 wins away. He could go 3-4 more years with his rubber arm. If he wins 8-10 games per year…could happen. Unlikely, but he has at least a 15% chance. Roy Halladay. 189 wins with at least 5 good years left in him. He will definitely do it. Justin Verlander has 107 wins and possibly 10 more years- he could do it. C.C. Sabathia is the only other fairly sure bet that I have. 176 wins at age 31. Pitching for the Yankees and going deep into games, C.C. will do it. So yes- we will still see 300 games winners in Major League Baseball. But they will be rare occurrences.

Q:  Where is Ben Henry this Spring?   Burke

MLB reports: Great question! Thank you for writing in Burke. You probably know our connection with Ben from our interview with the famed member of the Hickory Crawdads Bullpen back in February. Ben is an active tweeter (@BHenry22), so that is usually the best place to find him. The good news is that Ben is off to Myrtle Beach this season, playing for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (of the Carolina League). The Crawdads have now been renamed the Pelicans Bullpen (Follow them on Twitter- @CrawDadsBullpen).   Also click here to read a recent story ran on Ben’s promotion to the Pelicans. Best of luck in 2012 Ben!

Q:  With Dom Brown, Jiwan James, Tyson Gillies in the minors how likely is it that Shane Victorino & Hunter Pence re-sign?  Old Man Mack

MLB reports: You really are the King of ATR- OMM! Great question and one that Phillies fans have been asking themselves for some time. Here is the reality of the situation in my estimation. I am going to tell it like it is and not hold back on this one. Dom Brown will be a good player. Maybe a great player…or even a superstar. The tools are definitely there. If he is not starting this season at some point, the job has to be his by 2013. Mayberry and Pierre are fillers, not long-term solutions in my book. Thus the team still needs to fill two more vacancies in the outfield. I would love to see James or Gillies get the role and run with it. But I have my doubts if the opportunity will arise. So this is my thought process. Pence returns for sure. He will 29 years of age and a sorely needed bat in the lineup. Howard should return strong this season, while Chase Utley continues to be a question mark. The Phillies gave up a ton to get Pence and intend to lock him up. With the strength of the rotation, the team needs offense to win games. An aging lineup and so-so farm system translates to Hunter Pence staying in Philadelphia. 5-years and $80-90 million gets it done. With Pence back, you have 2 outfield spots covered. Now it will be up to Victorino if he returns on the team’s terms. 3-years and $50 million, welcome back Flyin’ Hawaiian.  If he indeed wants 5-6 years, then Victorino has to  walk. He will be 32 this year and the decline is coming. It will come very fast. Victorino is a nice safety blanket to have and useful player for the time being. But a long-term deal is not the way to go and the Phillies know that. The team would rather replace Victorino with Brown and take their chances, with a Mayberry/James type players filling in the last spot. Remember, Hamels needs his money also. So only one of Pence and Victorino will be back in 2013, unless Victorino adjusts his expectations.

 

Q:  So I’m hearing/reading alot about this Yoenis Cespedes player on Oakland. Got any info on him?? Age, Position, Where From??  GF Laughs Alot

MLB reports: Cespedes, one of the major headliners so far in the young MLB season is from Cuba. He will be turning 27 years of age…at least according to published reports. When I hear 27 in Cuban years, I am thinking 30-32 in North American years. Call me cynical. Call me realistic. I have heard this song and dance too many times from international players, especially Cuba and the Dominican. I will consider him 30 and call it even. He is a center fielder by trade, his natural position in Cuba. To make him feel comfortable in the direction jump to the big leagues, the plan is to have Cespedes play center and Coco Crisp move to a corner outfield. Unless Cespedes plays like Willie Mays out there, I see a switch between the two outfielders coming at some point. From the Cuban stats we have (accuracy not always the best), Cespedes averaged approximately 350 at bats each season between 2004-2011, with a career high 22 home runs last season, looking like a .250 hitter, 33 walks per season and .440+ slg. Translation? You don’t walk off the island… you hit your way off. Like most Cuban hitters, Cespedes doesn’t come in looking like a patient hitter. He likes to swing for the fences. As Oakland’s only real power threat, one of two things can happen. The hole in Cespedes’ swing will be exposed and he will strike out a ton. Also, he could not get many good pitches to hit and he will learn to take walks and raise his OBP. I see both things happening to him. Cespedes will have to learn to become a more patient hitter, as a product of the A’s teachings. But given his roots, he will be free-swinging for some time. I see an adjustment period coming. But if the A’s can teach him any kind of patience- watch out. He could be very dangerous.

 

Q: How many more games will the Mets win than the Yankees?  J.R.

MLB reports: Knowing you as I do J.R., I know that you are asking your question tongue in cheek. Yes, Mets fans are excited and some are already planning for playoff tickets…while many Yankees fans are very displeased. A product of the Mets starting the season 3-0 at home and the Yankees 0-3 on the road. I am not quite ready to make any sort of radical leap yet. It’s early. The Yankees ran into some very good Rays pitching at the Trop. The Mets squeaked by a Braves squad still reeling from a September collapse. The Mets bullpen has been unhittable. Mariano Rivera imploded. The law of probabilities says a readjustment is in order. The Yankees will still win 90+ games, while the Mets will have a difficult time reaching 70 wins in my opinion. The Yankees will have at least 15 more wins than the Mets by the end of season. Take that to the bank.

Q: By Game number 28, will the Phillies have scored 28 runs?  Jade

MLB reports: After 3 games into the season, the Phillies have scored 6 runs. At that pace, they will reach 28 runs by game #14. I see some big outbursts coming, especially coming back to play at home starting today. The Phillies will reach 28 runs by game #8. They are still the Phillies…don’t forget it!



Q:  
What’s your favourite ballpark to visit?  2 Jays Fans

MLB reports: A popular question that I often get. PNC Park is gorgeous and one of my fave parks of all-time. But if you give me the choice of where I most want to go- Comerica Park. Hands down. Partially because I am a devoted Tigers fan. But I love everything about the park. Beautiful facility. Great history and atmosphere. Great fans that really know the game. Food is awesome. Games are usually very entertaining. Plus the park is only 4 hours driving for me (from Toronto). So if you ask me where my baseball heart is….it is in Comerica.

 

Last Q:  How much truth is there to the Cubs trading Marlon Byrd to the Nationals for John Lannan?  Will

MLB reports: Many outlets are reporting this one as a dead deal. I wouldn’t go that far. No offense to Samardzija, Volstad and Maholm, but the Cubs need another useful starter and fast. John Lannan would instantly slot in-between Garza and Dempster and give the Cubs faithful more breathing room. With Brett Jackson expected to get the call this year, Marlon Byrd is expandable for the Cubs. With Lannan in AAA, clearly the Nats will be ok to move him. Even with Bryce Harper set to debut this year in Washington, the Nationals still need more offense. Taking aside Werth, the Nats outfield is a bunch of spare parts. Byrd could be useful to that team and probably more reliable than what they have now. Also having played in Washington before, Byrd would love to go back to a team that is expected to contend…rather than the rebuilding Cubs. Lannan, on the other hand, just wants to be in the big leagues. For me, where there is smoke- there is fire. I see this deal as possibly happening, as long as salaries going each way can be straightened out. Byrd is making $6.5 million this season, while Lannan is in the $5 million range. I say swap contracts and call it a day.

 


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Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on April 9, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. If the Phillies keep struggling how they are now until they get utley and howard back are they still favorites to win the NL east and maybe even win the world series?

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