Monthly Archives: June 2012

“Just A Minor Perspective: Through the Eyes of a Minor League Rookie” – By Eric Pettis: Guest MLB Blog

Saturday June 30th, 2012

“JUST A MINOR PERSPECTIVE:  THROUGH THE EYES OF A MINOR LEAGUE ROOKIE” –  BY ERIC PETTIS

MLB reports:  We are very fortunate today to have Phillies minor league pitcher and published author, Eric Pettis, join us today on MLB reports.  The 24-year old Pettis has already accomplished much in his young career.  After getting drafted in the 35th round of the 2010 draft, Eric played for 3 minor league teams between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. A career 2.84 over 47 games shows that this kid has skills. To top it off, he is a writer as well! Eric published in spring training his book, titled “Just A Minor Perspective.” In it, Eric describes the game through his eyes. What it is like to be a minor league rookie. But Eric did not wait until the tail-end of his career to tell the story. Eric jumped right in, while he is still plugging away in the trenches. 

Eric joined us for a Guest MLB Blog that he prepared. In it you will learn about who Eric is and the published work that he wrote. A bright young man with a great future ahead of him, we were absolutely thrilled to be able to bring you a sneak peek into a published baseball book through the eyes of its author. Not to worry, the MLB reports Book Review is coming. First you will hear from the author himself, and from there read our take on the book. There are also many ways that you can Eric directly. This man is a social media machine! There is the blog (EricPettis.com) to start off. Eric is also very active on Twitter (@EricPettis) and on Facebook (facebook.com/JustAMinorPerspective). Drop him a line, ask your questions…and be sure to tell Eric that MLB reports sent ya!

But before we get to Eric’s Guest Blog, here is what Amazon had to say about “Just A Minor Perspective”: 

Book Description

Publication Date: March 25, 2012

The minor leagues are largely misunderstood, more well-known for the players who have skipped through their ranks than the ones who reside in them. They’re a mysterious land of hotels, bus rides, and clubhouses. Upon being drafted out of UC Irvine by the Phillies, right-handed pitcher Eric Pettis didn’t quite know what he was getting himself into. Just A Minor Perspective allows readers to jump into Eric’s mind and experience the journey along with him. The narrative resembles stream-of-consciousness as he describes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the minor leagues as it hits him square in the face for the first time.From his first day in Philadelphia… Read the rest of this entry

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The New York Yankees Are Back Folks!

Friday June 29th, 2012

John Burns:  As July approaches, the New York Yankees have one of the best records in baseball with a record of 46-29.

One of the main reasons for the great play of New York has been the long ball, which the Yankees lead all of baseball with a team total of 118 homers. Curtis Granderson (21 HR), Robinson Cano (18 HR), Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez (13 HR each) have shown the most power for NY this season so far, but really the majority of the lineup has been fairly steady al year for this team. Read the rest of this entry

The Demise of the Montreal Expos Franchise: Part 3 of the Expos Article Series

Friday June.29/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on Twitter)-  The Montreal Expos were a model franchise from 1979-1994.  They only finished under .500 in 3 seasons out of 15 in this stretch of time.  The club simply drafted better than any other Major League team.  Long before the Oakland Athletics and Billy Beane came up with MoneyBall, or the Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays showed us that you can have good runs with your baseball teams on a shoe string budget, the Expos wrote the book on it.  The Expos were forced to trade away their best talent when they came up for free agency or lose them  outright.  There was no way the team could ever re-sign the players.  It wasn’t even in question.  The province of Quebec said good-bye to Hall of Famers:  Pedro Martinez, Vlad Guerrero, Tim Raines and Andre Dawson in the prime of their careers with nothing back in return as Free Agents.

Gary Carter was the 1st great player to be traded by the club after the 1984 season.  Other great players like Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Moises Alou and John Wetteland were jettisoned out the door as part of a 1995 Firesale after the strike/lockout because the team could not pay them after a massive loss in revenue at the end of the 1994 season. With the clock ticking on the Expos brass (financially as soon as the lockout was lifted) the ownership could not pay the bills!  It is a sad commentary on this franchise that the two big work stoppages in 1981 and 1994 stifled this franchise-perhaps the most out of any team in the MLB.  It all ended up costing the Expos the team and/or a chance to build a brand new ballpark in the downtown core to ever revitalize the interest of the avid baseball enthusiasts in Montreal.  This fan base had suffered enough and they made the baseball club pay for it at the turnstiles.  They had suffered 7 losing seasons at Jarry Park, a 2 billion dollar scam gone wrong in what was Olympic Stadium, a park that was supposed to be a modern-aged retractable roof that never materialized at all and Quebec was left with the bill.  I don’t blame the fans for walking away from the game after the 1994 strike.  They had supported the team through many of trials an tribulations-only to be disappointed time and time again by the economics of baseball.

There is a lot more of this article past the video clip, just click on: READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos Hitters: click here

For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here

For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here

A nice tribute video to the club!

Read the rest of this entry

Carlos Gonzalez on the Trade Block? Buyer Beware! Part 1 of 3 On Coors Field Effect

Wednesday June 27th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  With the mid-season classic almost upon us, trade talks are also starting to heat up. It seems that every year, that the trade climate rises as the temperature outside increases.  This year is no different. What we do have though is a unique situation this year. With more teams in contention than ever before, we may find fewer sellers by the trade deadline. The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st, while the waiver deadline is August 31st. While some “unmovable contracts” could shift in August, the real deadline according to most analysts comes up at the end of the next month. Kevin Youkilis has already moved, shifting from Boston to Chicago (AL). Now the million dollar question is: who’s next? A name that I have heard thrown around the last couple of days is Colorado Rockies “superstar” outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez. With the Rockies so far deep in the NL West basement, some speculation is that a CarGo type player could be moved to bring in some fresh prospects and restart the process. The Rockies have denied that such a move will happen, which should the end the discussion there. Or does it? I am here to tell you that many teams will still be sniffing around the Rockies for offensive help. If they even think about trading for CarGo, I am here to tell them: think again. You may not be purchasing the goods that you are expecting to receive.

For Part 2 of the Article Series:  The Humidor Effect at Coors Field-One Decade in click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series:  The Coors Field Effect 2012- Part 3 of A 3 Article Series click here

Read the rest of this entry

Roy Oswalt Working Back to True Form

Wednesday June 27, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): Fourteen months ago, Roy Oswalt took a leave from the Philadelphia Phillies to be with his family after a series of tornadoes ripped through Mississippi. He left the team, where he was one of the showcased “Four Aces,” with a 3-1 record and a 3.33 ERA and returned with a sore back. He spent a short time on the disabled list, but returned to start in eight more games before once again landing on the DL with “lower back inflammation.” It is unclear whether his back troubles arose during his leave of absence, but Oswalt continued to pitch because he didn’t “want to be labeled a quitter.” Ultimately, his injury became too much, and during his latter stint on the DL there was doubt that he’d ever pitch again. He did return, though, and finished the year with a 9-10 record and 3.69 ERA. After his team faltered (or imploded, depending on how you look at it) in the playoffs, Oswalt declared free agency; his career was not over after all.

At age 34, Oswalt has appeared in eight playoff series, one World Series and three NLCS. When he hit the market last offseason, Oswalt made it clear that he wanted to play for a winner. More specifically, he wanted to play for a team that would have a great chance of winning it all. Like Roger Clemens in 2006 and 2007, Oswalt told teams that he would continue to stay in shape but wait until midseason to sign with the team that he thought would do the best in the postseason. On May 29th, Oswalt picked the 31-19 Texas Rangers and began his road back to the MLB.

Read the rest of this entry

Montreal Expos Drafting Record Part 2: The Pitchers

Wednesday June.27/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Drafted in 1985 by the Montreal Expos, Randy Johnson was erratic in his early days. After trading away Mark Langston to acquire the young fireballer, the Mariners worked him into the rotation and he developed into a Hall of Famer.

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  When looking back at some of the pitchers that the Montreal Expos have had in their organization, you don’t have go down the list very far to find Randy Johnson.  He is the ‘crown jewel’ of the draft history record for the club.  It is unfortunate the ‘The Big Unit’ was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to the Mariners for rental player Mark Langston and a player to be named later.  To be fair to the Montreal Expos, they were in serious contention for the pennant in 1989 and were trying to chase down the Chicago Cubs.  Langston was one of the top Left Handed Aces in the Majors and he was available.    Johnson was completely wild in the Minor Leagues and the Expos had a lot of veteran pitchers like Dennis Martinez and Bryn Smith that were on the back end of their careers.   The time to try and win was now and they could not wait for Johnson to come around.  The Expos did not succeed in capturing the pennant and Langston moved onto the California Angels as a free agent while Johnson blossomed into the premier left handed pitcher in his generation.   Speaking of Martinez and Smith, they won 100 and 81 games respectively for the club.  While they were not drafted by the Expos, they are 2nd and 3rd on the all-time win list.

Along with Smith and Dennis Martinez (who threw a perfect game as an Expo in 1991 and note:  Bill Stoneman also threw two no-hitters for the franchise), you have to factor in the career of Pedro Martinez as an Expo for guys that were great pitchers during their prime. Pedro was acquired prior to the 1994 season from the Dodgers in exchange for the Expos departed ALL-Star second baseman Delino DeShields.  Martinez went 11-5 in the strike shortened year and formed an impressive 1-2 ace combination with Ken Hill.  Pedro went onto a 55-33 record and a 3.06 ERA for his 4 year Expos career.   Pedro’s best year with the club was 1997 where he was the NL CY Young with a 17-8 record and a 1.90 ERA.  Martinez finished the year with 305 strikeouts and a ridiculous 13 complete games.  Pedro ended up signing with the  Boston Red Sox before the 1998 season and he ultimately won a World Series with the Beantowners in 2004.  In his post game celebration, Martinez mentioned the Expos franchise and their fans.  Pedro shared his triumph as a testament to them.  It was talent like this that Expos could never afford to resign and would lose outright- or have to trade for prospects based on their economic viability. I will get more into this in Part 3 of the Article Series on Friday. 

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Hitters: click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise:  click here

For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here

Read the rest of this entry

Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox: What Happened in Boston?

 

Wednesday June 27th, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: The end of the road in Boston has finally been reached for third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But why? He was so productive a few years ago and he could have continued to contribute to the Red Sox lineup. Unfortunately for Youk, he simply got passed up.

At the start of this year, Youkilis was all set to start at third and have a productive season. To his dismay, he has been a little bit banged up this year, giving rising star Will Middlebrooks an opportunity to shine. And shine he did, as Middlebrooks hit a grand slam as his first Major League home run and immediately contributed to the struggling Red Sox lineup, with Jacoby Ellsbury out and Adrian Gonzalez not himself. Middlebrooks did everything he could to win himself a lineup spot as he squeezed out Youkilis. Read the rest of this entry

What’s Wrong with the Colorado Rockies?

Wednesday June 27, 2012

John Burns:  As July quickly approaches, the Colorado Rockies have been one of the biggest disappointments in baseball this season.

With a 28-45 record, the Rockies are already 14 games back from the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers. So it’s obvious that the Rockies are ready to put this season behind them already, right? Well many would say yes, but if the Rockies can acquire some pitchers at the deadline, this team could still make a run. Read the rest of this entry

Top 10 Stat of the Week ( Career HRs With One Team )

Sunday June.24/2012

‘Hammering’ Hank passed the legendary Babe Ruth as the ALL-Time HR leader in 1974. Some still feel that he is the ALL-Time HR leader with the admitted steroid use from Leader Barry Bonds. –Photo courtesy of goldenagebaseballcards

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Seemingly gone are the days where most of the MLB players stick with one team for their whole careers.  As of right now there are not too many superstars that have spent their entire careers with one organization.  Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are 1st ballot Hall of Famers.  Chipper Jones should make the BBHOF.  Todd Helton is close to retiring but I am not sure the voters will see him worthy.  There are some promising chances that Ryan Braun and David Wright might play their entire careers with their current clubs, however with Braun’s PED fiasco last year I just don’t see him entering Cooperstown.  Wright must re-sign with the ownership hemorrhaging, this will prove hard for the Wilpons funds thanks to Bernie Madoff.  When it comes to starting pitching, the list is shrunken that much further.  Justin Verlander is the active win leader with a player only having played for one team.  He has 114 wins with the Tigers, anybody above him on the active ALL-Time Wins list has pitched for multiple teams already.  The next active leader for one team pitched for is Ervin Santana with 91 wins for the Angels franchise.  Felix Hernandez has 90 wins for the Mariners.  Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain have played their entire careers for the same team so far and have CY Young titles amongst them, but have a long way to go in establishing Hall of Fame Careers.

That brings me to my next stat.  There are 9 players in history who have hit 500 HRs or more for one team.  All of them are in the Hall of Fame except for Barry Bonds (who becomes eligible next year.) I am not sure the writers will cast a vote for him because of his steroid use.  When I got the idea for this article, it came to be because I was amazed that Paul Konerko has hit over 400 HRs with the Chicago White Sox.  Again at age 36, Konerko has a look at 500 HRs with the Chicago team.  Right now he can end the season with about 410-420 HRs.  Provided he can play 3-4 years more and have productive seasons, he may reach the milestone.  Chipper Jones is the only other active MLB Player to have 400 HRs with one team.  Larry is slowing down though and will most likely retire after this year.  Read the rest of this entry

Seattle Mariners and Ace Felix Hernandez: What to Do With King Felix?

 

Sunday June 24th, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: As the Mariners continue to grind away at the bottom of the American League West, many wonder: should they trade Felix Hernandez? With Felix, the Mariners have one of the best starting pitchers in the league, as he’s already pitched in eight seasons by the age of 26. 2010 was his best season, when he won his first Cy Young even though the Mariners struggled and were below .500. Felix has yet to enter his prime and is most likely at the height of his trade value. If the Mariners want to get the most possible out of this ace, they would have to act now. But would the Mariners even dare to trade such a prize? Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 23rd, 2012

Saturday June 23rd, 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, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

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

JH:  Before we get to your questions, a quick thought for this weekend. There are many reports flying fast and furious that a Kevin Youkilis trade is likely to go down very soon. The 33-year old Youkilis has sat out 5 of the Red Sox last 9 games (counting today), and the last 3 games in a row. He had 4 hits and 2 walks in his last 3 games played, not shabby numbers at all. If the Greek God of Walk’s time has come to an end in Beantown, he is going out in a sad way. After his team experienced one of the worst (if not THE worst) September collapses in MLB history last year, the Red Sox are currently tied with the Blue Jays for last place in the AL East (only 5.5 games back). It would have been nice for Youk to leave as a hero, rather than as a goat. Too many critics have pointed to his declining numbers as a primary reason behind the Red Sox recent failures. Yes, Kevin Youkilis is not in his prime and is entering a declining stage of his career. But if he is guilty of one thing, it is an association with a ballclub that is somewhat in disarray and definitely in transition.  New manager, new GM, a cast of players on the disabled list- the Red Sox are barely the club that they were at this time last year. Sure, Kevin Youkilis needs to get healthy and re-establish himself. But this is a man who still had a .975 OPS as recently as 2010. Kevin Youkilis is far from done as a MLB player. But his time in Boston appears to be over.

So where is Youk heading? At the time being, the names most being thrown out are the White Sox, Pirates, Braves and Dodgers. If I’m the Red Sox, I move him to the National League and preferably the West Coast. I want to see Youk as little as possible and have the media cover him as little as possible. Hiding him in the NL West, where he has to play most of his night games late- would be a bonus for the Red Sox. If I had to present the teams most in need of Youk and with the best bargaining chips, I would present to you the Rays and Blue Jays. They have the pitching prospects and lineup spots that crave a bat like Youk’s. But would the Red Sox trade in their division? Not on your life. There is no way that the Red Sox brass needs a rejuvenated Youk coming into Fenway in September and working towards eliminating his former team from the playoffs. So if I’m a betting man, I would say the Dodgers and maybe the Giants are most sniffing around Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox I will go on record as saying are making a big mistake. They are selling low on one of the game’s best and most consistent players. A grinder. A warrior. He can play gold glove D at two positions (first and third). He can hit for average and power. And of course, he walks.  He walks a ton in fact. One of their best assets and the Red Sox are selling him at his lowest. I have been arguing for days that the Red Sox are not this dumb. They can’t be. Youk is not going anywhere. He is the heart and soul of the team. But then Youk sits. And he sits and sits. The team actually came out and said that Middlebrooks would play while he is hot and that Youk “would be sitting for a while”. Everything to me smells like a trade is brewing. At this point, it better be. YoukGate is going to become too much of a distraction for the team to bear. Already, whispers are starting that Big Papi is not happy and had enough of the circus. With how many stories are flying around this team, the Red Sox have only themselves to blame for this Youkilis situation. If Kevin Youkilis is traded, the Red Sox lose a leader and a star player with likely not enough value coming back. If Youkilis stays, the distractions continue. The Red Sox owe Kevin Youkilis to do the right thing. Firmly play him or trade him. But don’t complain when you don’t like the results. That is my two cents on YoukGate.

Now that we have that behind us, on to your questions! Read the rest of this entry

The Montreal Expos Draft And Signing Record Was Outstanding: Part 1-Hitters

Friday June.22/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Andre Dawson and Tim Raines were perennial ALL-Stars and always had the Montreal Expos in contention every year they played for the Canadian Club.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-I recently saw a bunch of old Montreal Expos had a celebration dinner to honor the late Gary Carter at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.  This brought me back to when I was a little kid watching the Expos on the French Channel in Canada.  I followed this team before any other in MLB.  I was a catcher in little league because of Gary Carter.  My friends and I all would ask for Montreal Expos hats and jerseys for Christmas.  I would later move on to like the Yankees when Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson joined the club, but I always liked the Expos in the National League as my team.  They were a consistent club from 1979-1995.  They drafted extremely well and were above .500 for pretty much the entire time.  At the end of this article today be sure to watch the documentary from youtube on the Expos Franchise that the Reports has linked for you.

It was unfortunate they had the 2 billion dollar monstrosity of what was Olympic Stadium as their home venue.  It was a mistake from the beginning  to build a baseball park so far away from the downtown core.  The 1994 strike killed the franchises hopes to make their 1st World Series appearance.  The team was leading the NL East with a 74-40 record and featured the outfield of Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou.  They had traded away their ALL-Star second basemen Delino DeShields prior to that year for some pitcher named Pedro Martinez.  The economics of baseball were starting to catch up on the baseball club.  When the lockout was lifted in 1995, gone were Walker, Grissom and great pitchers Ken Hill and John Wetteland.  It began a constant cycle of Montreal grooming awesome talent, only to trade the players away before they had to pay them big money.  The one constant of the team was an incredible draft record from 1985-2004.  Today is part 1 of a 3 part article series in which we will look at the history of the Montreal Expos.  I have listed 30 hitters drafted by the Expos Scouting Staff that went onto nice baseball careers.  Next week I will look at the pitchers and the third week I will cover the dissection of the proud franchise before the move to Washington. Read the rest of this entry

Why the Washington Nationals Will Make the Playoffs in 2012

 

Thursday June 21st, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: The last time the city of Washington D.C. saw a World Series trophy was in 1924. That was the work of the Washington Senators with the help of Walter “Big Train” Johnson. Although this year’s version of the team doesn’t have a veteran baseball legend, they do have a couple budding superstars. First is Stephen Strasburg. The first-overall pick of the 2009 draft, Strasburg made an enormous impact in his first career start and most of the 2010 season, but ended up on Dr. Lewis Yocum’s table towards the end, and missed most of the 2011 season. Thankfully for the Nationals, Strasburg is back and better than ever, posting an 8-1 record and a 2.45 ERA (before Wednesday’s win versus Tampa Bay: 7IP 5H 2ER 10K and got the win). Unfortunately for the Nationals, Strasburg is on an innings limit this year to protect his young and fragile arm, so he probably won’t be available to start games come September and October.

Thankfully for the Nationals, they have a very deep pitching staff. Strasburg is backed up by Gio Gonzalez, who the Nationals traded for this winter, Jordan Zimmermann, and also newly acquired Edwin Jackson. Gonzalez has finally come into his own after having some pretty decent seasons in Oakland. He has almost identical numbers to Strasburg with an 8-3 record with a 2.52 ERA. With numbers like these at his young age, a Cy Young or two may be in his future. Gonzalez has no innings limit, so he will most definitely be the anchor to the rotation down the stretch. An option for the Nationals if they have a comfortable lead in their division (which is weak as of now… I’ll cover that later), would be to move Strasburg to the bullpen in late August or early September and have him in the rotation for the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry

What a “Ri-Dickey-lous” Story

Thursday June 21st, 2012

John Burns:  One of the better stories in all of baseball this season has been the dominance of R.A. Dickey.

The 37 year-old pitcher has been one of the top pitchers in baseball this season with a MLB best 11 wins with a 2.00 ERA. Dickey has had success in his career with the Mets posting an ERA of 2.84 and 3.28 in 2010 and 2011. But Dickey has been more than just successful this season- he has been dominant.

Dickey has been considered as a “late bloomer” in his career. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 1996 MLB draft. The Rangers discovered a missing ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow joint which caused major concerns for Texas. The Rangers still gave Dickey a chance; he debuted in 2001 and played through 2006 with Texas. In 2005, Dickey started to concentrate on throwing a knuckleball to extend his career. Read the rest of this entry

“Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick” – By Paul Dickson: Baseball Book Review

Wednesday June 20th, 2012

“BILL VEECK:  BASEBALL’S GREATEST MAVERICK” –  BY PAUL DICKSON

(Walker & Company:  2012)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  In the continuation search of the best baseball books in the market, I stumbled upon something new and exciting.  Paul Dickson’s biography titled:  Bill Veeck – Baseball’s Greatest Maverick. New and exciting you ask? How could a book on Bill Veeck be new and exciting? For several reasons my friends. Firstly, believe it or not, this is the first major biography on Veeck. Without having read about the man before, I only knew some of the stories and legends that I caught through third-hand stories and the occasional magazine write-ups. I would have expected there to be 100′s of books on this baseball pioneer. But Paul Dickson’s edition is the first major one. 

Considering that I read a baseball encyclopedia by my bedside as a child, I expected to have a fairly decent amount of baseball knowledge. But I was absolutely blown away by the contributions and importance of Bill Veeck to the game of baseball. I gained a great deal of new and important baseball knowledge from reading Baseball’s Greatest Maverick. Before reading this book, I thought that I “knew baseball”. When I was finished, I realized how much I have to learn about the game. How much the game has evolved and changed over the years. Baseball as we know it today may not be in its current state if not for Bill Veeck. He was one of the greatest, if not THE biggest pioneers the sport has ever seen. There had never been another Bill Veeck before he became a part of the game. And unfortunately, there may never be another Bill Veeck again. Considering what the man has meant to the sport, I could not believe that it has taken until now for a true Bill Veeck biography to be available to the public. Paul Dickson, like his subject, became the writing pioneer in bringing the story and legend of Bill Veeck to the masses. Considering how much was on the line for Dickson to be able to deliver Bill Veeck’s story in a single book, I was left in awe and appreciation when I completed the book. Dickson took on a big challenge and he came through with flying colors. Read the rest of this entry

Paul Konerko is Playing Like An MVP in 2012

Wednesday June.20/2012

Paul Konerko is having his best season ever so far, can he keep his White Sox in contention all year and challenge for the batting title? Photo courtesy of beyonderstv.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Paul Konerko is a professional hitter.  One day he will have his number retired from the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field.  Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers 13th overall in the Amateur 1994 Draft, the 6 foot 2 slugger had lofty expectations by the time he made the Major Leagues.  For the Albuquerque Isotopes in 1997, he hit .323 with 37 HRs and 127 RBI.  The Dodgers ended up trading Konerko to Cincinnati  for Jeff Shaw in 1998.  The Reds then turned around and traded the man from Rhode Island to the Chicago White Sox for Mike Cameron.

Paul Konerko in his early days with the LA Dodgers, the team decided to trade him because they already had Eric Karros. Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com

There may be no more underrated player in the MLB over the last 14 years.  All that Konerko has done is hit 402 HRs with the Chicago White Sox in that span and plated 1270 RBI.  He currently sits 2nd all time in both categories on the club for the all time list, trailing only Frank Thomas .   At age 36, Konerko seems to become better at the plate each year.  He has hit .300 and clubbed 30 HRs and 100 RBI in both 2010 and 2011.  If he keeps up this years pace, he will do it again, but this time he may challenge for an average title and possibly an AL MVP.

Paul Konerko enters today’s action with an AL Best .357 AVG and a .431 OBP-in leading the team to a 35-33 start, which trails the Cleveland Indians by just a half game.  The team had started off slow before Konerko went absolutely beserk in May and had raised his average to .399 at one point during his torrid streak.  To date this year, he has hit 13 HRs and added 38 RBI.  In my opinion, he will be selected to his 6th all-time ALL-star game in Kansas City next month when they unveil the roster.  Now Konerko still has a chance to catch Prince Fielder with the fan voting with only being a few hundred thousand votes behind the Tigers 1st baseman.

Read the rest of this entry

Adam Dunn: 2012 American League Comeback Player of the Year?

Tuesday June 19, 2012

John Burns:  What a comeback season it has been for Adam Dunn so far, as he leads all of baseball with 23 homers… and it’s not even July yet.

Dunn experienced a miserable 2011 campaign in his first season in Chicago, as he hit a career low .159 and was not showing his usual power numbers. After signing a 4-year, $56 Million deal with the White Sox in 2010, the expectations were huge for the slugger. 2011 was a season to forget for Dunn. After he underwent an appendectomy in April, Dunn’s productivity declined rapidly. Dunn broke the White Sox record for most strikeouts in a season by a hitter with 177 strikeouts in only 415 at-bats. Dunn’s 2011 campaign was by far the worst of his career. Read the rest of this entry

Stat of the Week: Will Extra Base Hits Help Punch Tickets to BBHOF?

Monday June.18/2012

Alex Rodriguez leads the list of active players and is already 10th All-time for XBH. If Rodriguez can hit 308 XBH before he retires, he will pass Hank Aaron for 1st overall. –Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Extra base hits kind of go hand in hand with slugging percentage to an extent.  I have often used this category every season as a gauge on how good a player does.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances why a player hits more doubles and triples rather than home runs but they are all considered extra base hits.  Adrian Beltre is a perfect example of this.  During his Seattle Mariner days, he would blast about 15-20 baseballs off the fences at Safeco Field every year (for a double or triple) that would have been an HR if he did not play in such a pitcher friendly park.  This list represents great careers.  If a player can reach the magic 1000 extra base hits, they will be hard to ignore for consideration towards  Cooperstown.  I have omitted Manny Ramirez from an active player.  It is my firm belief that the man served a 50 game suspension for a team like Oakland, only to quit on them and maybe land on another club.  If he is able to catch on with another job with a club, I will gladly put his name back as #2 player on this active list.

TOP 10 as of June.17/2012

Player                                                    Extra Base Hits Leaders Active (Rank All-Time)

1. Alex Rodriguez NYY                              1169   (10)

2. Jim Thome PHI                                   1079   (20)

3. Chipper Jones ATL                              1026   (26)

4. Vladimir Guerrero (FA)                         972   (39)

5. Todd Helton COL                                   956   (45)

6. Albert Pujols  LAA                                 941   (50)

7. Bobby Abreu LAD                                  908   (60)

8. David Ortiz  BOS                                   886   (64)

9. Johnny Damon CLE                               859   (73)

10. Scott Rolen CIN                                   857   (75)

I fully think that Vladimir Guerrero will sign with someone soon.  At 972 extra base hits, he is 28 extra base hits away from that 1000 marker. If a team signs him in the next few weeks, he may have a chance to get there before the end of the season.  Below is a 5 minute highlight package of his career thus far.  There is not many Expos highlights, you can always search Youtube for more.

Read the rest of this entry

Adeiny Hechavarria and his Future with the Blue Jays

Sunday June 17th, 2012

Sam Evans: Adeiny Hechavarria might be the best defensive shortstop in the minor leagues. However, his bat has always been far behind his glove, in terms of development. When the twenty-three year old started to hit at the end of last year, people started to take notice. Now, after over four hundred at bats in the minors, Blue Jays fans are starting to wonder when they’ll get to see this talented shortstop at the major league level.

Hechavarria isn’t exactly the youngest shortstop prospect. Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro and Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus are both younger than Hechavarria, who has yet to reach the majors. However, Hechavarria is still one of the younger players in Triple-A.

The Blue Jays signed Hechavarria to a contract that will pay him $10 million, when he was a free agent out of Cuba back in 2010. Back then, Hechavarria was thought of as a light-hitting shortstop, with tremendous potential due to his outstanding defense. The Toronto organization showed they believed Hechavarria could provide just enough value to be worth  the big signing bonus they gave him back in 2010. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 16th, 2012

Saturday June 16th, 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, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

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

JH:  Happy Father’s Day one and all!  Yes, Father’s Day is technically tomorrow. But being a dad myself to two amazing boys, I say let’s make it a Father’s Weekend! Heck, I already got my gift and breakfast this morning…a whole day early. Off to watch baseball all weekend, as the Toronto Tommy Johns face the Philadelphia Disabled List. Yes, I am being a tad sarcastic this morning. But can you blame me? The Blue Jays are 6.5 out of 1st, 1 game out of the AL East basement. The Phillies are already 9 games out, firmly at the bottom of the NL East. I was hoping to see Roy Halladay this weekend, but that dream is dead. At least I get to see Cliff Lee vs. Ricky Romero. Lee is 0-3 in the middle of June? Romero is 7-1? I predict Lee will dominate the Jays and grab his first win of the year, while Romero will get lit up like a Christmas tree. Or so the crystal ball says.

Which brings me to the two points of discussion before we get to your baseball questions. 2012 in my book will go down as the year of the Tommy John surgeries and no-hitters. On MLB reports, we have been keeping track of all the baseball Tommy John surgeries, in 2012 and in the history of the game. We have a dedicated TJ Surgery Tracker page devoted to the latest Tommy John news. Seemingly every week we have a new name to the list. Since the start of March, there have been on the average 2 players per week (mostly pitchers) requiring the surgery. In Toronto, it appears that Kyle Drabek may be the next candidate as he heads off to meet with Dr. James Andrews next week. Joining him on the flight to Florida could be Drew Hutchinson, as the young pitcher left his start last night after 9 pitches with “elbow soreness”. He felt a pop in his elbow, just as Kyle Drabek had said. If I had to estimate the stats, 999/1000 elbow pops are not good. If Drabek/Hutchinson both require Tommy John surgery, they may become the first teammates to require the surgery on the same week. Heck, probably the first starting pitchers on the same team for sure.

This has been a year of Tommy Johns. Joakim Soria. Ryan Madson. The list goes on and on. Bookmark the TJ Tracker and please e-mail/message us if you have any names that we missed. The page is getting updated daily, including surgeries from the past. We intend to have the most complete baseball Tommy John surgery list.  So thank you all for your assistance!

A big shoutout to Matt Cain for his perfecto this week. Living on the East Coast, it was tough to stay up for that one. Wish I did. Matt Cain has always been a fave of mine. One of the most underrated pitchers in the game. Now he has a place in baseball history. Considering all the no-nos this year (Weaver, Humber, Santana, Mariners combined no-no) and this year is really shaping up to be the year of the No-Hitter. Ironic isn’t it. The year that so many pitchers are going down to TJ surgery, happens to be the same year that so many pitchers are achieving pitching perfection in the number of no-hitters. Irony in baseball. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now on to our regularly scheduled baseball questions:

Q:  If Canada does not qualify (for the 2012 WBC), is there still a chance of games being played in Toronto?  The Bull

JH:  Howdy Bull! I get asked this one quite a bit. Here is what I will lay down for you. I attended every single opening round game played in Toronto back in the 2009 WBC tournament. Aside from the first two opening games, the attendance and interest in the games was minimal at best. Even with team Venezuela in the pool and having its energetic fans dancing in the stands, Toronto did not show well in the WBC. I recall Kevin Youkilis for example, indicating that it was embarrassing how bad the vibe was in Toronto for the WBC games. I will say this about Canada. They head to Germany in September to face off against Germany, Great Britain and the Czech Republic. Not exactly baseball powerhouses. One of these countries will advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament. I think Germany will be scarier than most people realize, given the amount of players with German descent. But this pool is being played at a difficult time. In September, few teams will release players for the tournament. Thus Canada may not be able to send most of its stars and fall behind the 8-ball so to speak for the qualifiers. With or without its top players, Canada will be in touch to make the 2013 WBC. Whether they qualify or not, based on the poor attendance and atmosphere in Toronto for the previous WBC, I say there is a 0% chance that you will see another WBC game played in Toronto for a LONG TIME. With so many hopeful excited countries begging to host WBC games, I don’t see the tournament organizers feeling the love for picking Toronto as another destination. If you love the World Baseball Classic as much as I do, invest in the television package or get ready to buy some airplane tickets. Read the rest of this entry

Sports Swag: Baseball Clothing Brand Review

Saturday June 16th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Greetings baseball shoppers! As I sit in anticipation of receiving my Mike Napoli red Texas jersey-t in the mail and ready to talk baseball gear, I will start off this review with a disclaimer. Sports Swags, the clothing line being reviewed today is actually an-all around sports company. They are more than a baseball line- they include football, basketball and are moving into many other arenas. But this being MLB reports and talking baseball 24/7, we are going to focus on the baseball-end of the Sports Swag operation. But even though it is all about baseball at the end of the day, I had to throw it out there that they are sports-clothing-diversified.

So why do I bring up the Napoli jersey-t? Partially because I love talking Mike Napoli. The man is a baseball beast. But mostly due to the fact that I have a big weakness for baseball gear. Shirts, hats, jackets…everything. But if you are anything like me (is that a good or bad thing)…you probably had your fill of baseball jersey-t’s. I have about two drawers full of them, with no end in sight. Unless you are getting your fave player/team, the jersey-t’s start to get a little stale. I own about a dozen Tigers and Yankees dark blue jersey-t’s for example. I love them, but except for the player on the back, they are the same. The same old thing. On hot spring/summer days, I don’t want to wear jerseys to the ballpark. I like putting on a nice fresh t-shirt. But again, I want something unique. Something that will be comfortable to wear but still stand out at the ballpark. Welcome to Sports Swag.

Here is a little something about the company and its founder:

 

Created in 2011 by Kabir Chimni, Sports Swag is an urban sports lifestyle brand committed to providing every single one of our customers with the best possible experience. The idea for a clothing brand came to me after I had designed a logo for Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, which would eventually lead to our first product, the Brent Burns snapback hat. We are also working in conjunction with former A’s All Star, current Washington National Gio Gonzalez for his official shirt, which has already been designed and in the process of creation. We are also in cooperation with him for future clothing products . We are working with all sorts of athletes around the world to provide them with their own custom clothing that will be available to the public!  Read the rest of this entry

Joey Votto: The Best Cincinnati Reds Player Ever?

Friday June 15th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): Joey Votto is in his 6th season in the majors and he looks to become one of the best there is in the league. Votto back in 2010 won the National League Most Valuable Player Award with amazing numbers. Racking up 37 home runs, 113 RBIs, along with a .424 on base percentage. The on-base percentage says it all when it comes to Votto. He just isn’t the type of player that just hits homers. He also takes a lot of walks and hits well to the opposite field, which gives him many doubles along the way. He hits so well to the opposite field that the opposing team can’t play a shift making it even harder to defend Votto. Not only is he a great hitter, but he is undoubtedly one of the best first baseman in the National League. He is also starting to make the claim of best player in the entire game.

Votto has played in 61 games this season and already has 27 doubles. This leads the entire major leagues. Votto is an unbelievable hitter to the left side which makes him an even better player. 76 hits already should let him get over 200 for the first time in his career, as long as he doesn’t start getting intentionally walked every time at-bat. A good sign for Votto this season is he has more walks than strikeouts. This could be the season that Votto carries the Reds far into the postseason. Read the rest of this entry

Pirates 1st Overall Pick Mark Appel: Pittsburgh Savior or Stanford Bound?

Friday June 15, 2012

Ryan Hotz (MLB reports Intern Candidate): Mark Appel just concluded his Junior season as a pitcher at Stanford University. He had a 10-2 record with a 2.56 ERA over 123 innings. He also had 130 strikeouts and only walked thirty batters. That gives him a 4:1 k:bb ratio. Mark is like fellow Stanford classmate Andrew Luck in that he is a hot commodity and one of the best players in their respective sports in the country. Appel had a career record of 18-10 at Stanford in his three seasons.

 

Appel was drafted 8th overall last week by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the MLB Draft. Many expected him to go first overall but his draft stock dropped because his agent Scott Boras wanted a bigger signing bonus than Stephen Strasburg got. Let that sink in for a minute. Houston and six others skipped over Appel before the Pirates drafted him. He has not been thrilled about where he was selected and has made it very clear. He said the following in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article last week “I’m currently concentrating on winning a national championship and finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time.” This is someone who just got drafted and he pretty much is saying I could care less. He seems like he would be happy waiting another year and being drafted then after finishing school. I am not saying possibly finishing school is a bad choice, but he seemingly has no interest in becoming a Pittsburgh Pirate. Read the rest of this entry

The Milwaukee Brewers: Planning for 2012 and Beyond

Friday June 15th, 2012

                                                                                                                                      

Image Courtesy of MLB.SI.com

Brendan Henderson: 

                The Milwaukee Brewers are currently sitting in fourth in the NL Central division with a sub-par 28-33 record. Yes, that’s a decent record but I mentioned that it was “sub-par” because baseball fans are used to seeing the Brewers with a better record, but the Brewers lost Prince Fielder to free agency and they lost Alex Gonzalez this year due to injury.

                The Brewers are still in good shape to finish the year near the top of the NL Central, which is why I think they will be buyers at the trade deadline. As I mentioned above the team lost their shortstop, Alex Gonzalez for the season, the team had Cesar Izturis playing shortstop but he also got injured and he is currently on the 15 day DL. So the Brewers currently have Edwin Maysonet playing shortstop. Izturis was batting for a .216 in 31 games played and Maysonet is currently batting .200 in 23 games so there isn’t much difference in offense production between the two, in my opinion the Brewers need to get some offense production from their shortstop which is why I think the Brewers need and will go after a shortstop at the trade deadline. The teams ahead of them in the divison standings (Pirates,Reds, and Cardinals) are all not unbeatable teams. They still have a chance to make a playoff run, which is why I think they need to be buyers at the trade deadline. The Brewers need some more offense fire power if they want to make a run. Read the rest of this entry

Josh Hamilton: Big Stats = Big Dollars in Free Agency

Friday June 15th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For better or worse, Josh Hamilton has been one of the most talked about ballplayers in the past four seasons. He started out as an inspirational story for overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, returning to baseball after three years on the restricted list due to failed drug tests. His talent always peaked the interest of teams, going first overall to the Devil Rays in the 1999 draft and third overall in the 2006 Rule 5 draft to the Chicago Cubs, when he was “the biggest name in the Rule 5 in many years,” according to Baseball America. Immediately after he was traded to Cincinnati, where he spent most of the 2007 season in the Majors. Another team interested meant another trade, and Hamilton landed in Texas for the 2008 season. Since then, he has been an All Star every year, a Silver Slugger winner twice, and the American League MVP in 2010.

Hamilton will no doubt gain even more attention if he hits free agency after this season. Though he is eligible to file for free agency at the end of the year, there are rumors circulating that the Rangers may try to sign the tattooed center fielder to an extension.  Age 31, Hamilton is in the prime of his career and he’s currently on pace to hit 60 home runs in 2012. That, along with a career .311 batting average that is only getting better, makes for a huge payoff in the near future. At the same time, Hamilton is in danger of relapsing, as he did when he was seen drinking at a Dallas bar in February, and some teams may not want to invest in a potential addict. Either way, this Fall and Winter will be very interesting for the star who has brought his team to the World Series twice in two years. Read the rest of this entry

The Jose Altuve Phenomenon

Friday June.15/2012

Jose Altuve is listed as 5 foot five although he may be even shorter than that. His lethal swings have created a new metric measurement based on his height called an ‘Altuve.’ Everyone is picking up the new measurement including social media platforms dedicated to the cause: @howmanyaltuves on twitter and the official website http://www.howmanyaltuves.com –Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Baseball lends itself to traditions and nicknames like no other sport in the world.  During last year, there were two phenomenons in the form of social media and radio.   I was lucky enough to be part of them both.  The MLB ‘Fancave’ sidekick Ryan Wagner was dubbed ‘thickish’ by Mitch Williams of the MLB Network.  The social media took off on his nickname and blogs, websites and a lot of the Fancave skits had Mike O’ Hara calling Wagner ‘thickish.’  I love things like this. I took it upon myself to be the West Coast distributor of the movement.  I was even fortunate enough to have Ryan Wagner write a blog about my buddy Justin and I.  It was cool  to be part of the fun of this social media driven nickname.

Then the summer of 2011 hit.  I was listening to MLB Roundtrip like I do every night while at work.  Mike Ferrin and Morgan Ensberg were talking about Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros.  There were saying the man was swinging out of his cleats like he was Paul Bunyan.  They also mentioned that Altuve was the leader of the Texas League (before his call up) for average.  The next thing I knew Ensberg suggested that they should come up with a new unit of measurement called an “Altuve.”  The idea would be that you can divide the total amount of feet hit for a home run divided Jose Altuve’s height.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the concept.  To me,  Ensberg was entirely right, Altuve does sound like a unit measurement!   For the next few weeks, the guys kept on speaking of long homers hit and how many Altuve’s they would go. Read the rest of this entry

Jose Canseco: MLB Hero or Villain?

Thursday June 14, 2012

John Burns (MLB reports Intern Candidate):  The “Godfather” of steroids Jose Canseco has been through the depths of baseball controversy- from the start of his baseball career to this present day. 

Canseco is one of the few MLB players that admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his career. He was definitely though not the only player in his era to use steroids. Canseco wrote a book titled: “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big”, where he “snitched” on a large number of MLB players that were juicing at the time. Some of the MLB players that Canseco stated that were steroids users in his book: Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan González, and Roger Clemens to name a few.

Jose Canseco was a fan favorite in Oakland from 1985-1992 and then had another stint with the A’s in 1997. Canseco received many awards and achieved a number of milestones during his 16 years in the MLB; First player ever to join 40-40 club, 6 time All-Star, 2 time World Series Champion, 4 time Silver Slugger Award, AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and AL Comeback Player of the Year. Of course most of those awards are now tainted because of his use of steroids.

As crazy as this might sound I consider Jose Canseco a hero for cleaning up the game of baseball. Yes, he cheated- but he is one of the few who admitted it. In the process, he virtually cleaned up baseball by “ratting out” other MLB players. Most of the past or present MLB players highlighted by Canseco do not admit to taking steroids, even though there is sufficient evidence that many of them did. I believe Jose Canseco is great for baseball and he is the reason for baseball being clean. Or at least cleaner.

There are many people who believe that Jose Canseco is a bum who turned his back on the game of baseball. Everyone has a right to their opinion, as even Canseco himself on occasion has said that he would not have written his books had he known the long-term effects of the decision. But believe it or not, I strongly disagree with the Canseco critics. Don’t get me wrong, steroids are terrible for baseball and nobody should use them. But Jose Canseco admitted to his mistakes. Like I said earlier, many players still do not admit their errors to this day. This is one of the reasons why Jose Canseco has my respect. For not only telling the truth, but by cleaning up the sport I love.

Jose Canseco should be remembered as one of the men who helped save the game of baseball. Just imagine if Canseco didn’t sell out the players named in his literary works. You can’t tell me that guys like Mark McGwire would admit to any wrongdoing if they weren’t accused. At the end of the day, Jose Canseco should have the legacy of a great player, who made some dumb decisions. But he was man enough to admit when he was wrong and ended up fixing the game that he helped break in the first place.

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Bryce Harper: 2012 National League All-Star, ROY and MVP?

 

Wednesday June 13th, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: It’s finally Bryce Harper’s time. He’s been up for just about a month and a half and he’s already making a contribution. Some were a tad bit skeptical as to how he would break into the league (including myself), but with the way Harper is playing now, there isn’t a doubt in my mind about his readiness for The Show and the Midsummer Classic. Harper clearly hasn’t had a problem producing, hitting a solid .303 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in, to go along with three stolen bases in 39 games. For the amount of games he’s played, with these numbers he should named be an All-Star in 2012. If he gets voted in to start, he would be the youngest positional starting player in MLB All-Star game history.

With the Nationals fans’ excitement behind him, Harper should have no problem getting the votes to get to Kansas City. Over the past few years, fans have elected some questionable players, most notably last year’s election of Derek Jeter, who got off to a slow start. Even if Harper isn’t a shoo-in (which with his numbers, he is), he should be on the team. Harper hasn’t played enough to qualify for the batting leader board, but if he did, he would rank 13th among National League outfielders in average, and he is ahead in home runs of notables Justin Upton (5), Adrian Gonzalez (5) Pablo Sandoval (5), and fellow rookie star Mike Trout (6). Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees Should sign Vlad Guerrero

Wednesday June.13, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- The events that happened yesterday with the Blue Jays and Vlad Guerrero are strange and totally warranted for further review.  In my opinion, the Blue Jays dropped the ball on this one. Guerrero lit up the Minor Leagues for a couple of weeks and should have been called up when Edwin Encarnacion was hurt on June.4th.  It was the perfect opportunity to have Vladdy come up and replace EE in the lineup.  It should have prompted a return to first base for Encarnacion when he came back from his injury just 5 days later.

The top average on the team actually belongs to EE, who is hitting .281 currently.  Vlad Guerrero has never hit worst than .290 in the last 15 years.  He tore it up in the minor leagues, and was said to have showed up in decent shape.  The Blue Jays had to know that Vladdy would be upset when he was bypassed on in favor of David Cooper or Yan Gomes.  I give full credit to the agent for Guerrero in this case, he negotiated a verbal contract with Alex Anthopoulos that the slugger could opt at any time and request to be released from his player contract with the club.  In the only thing that makes the Jays look okay on this, they never had to go through with letting Vladdy out of this contract.  Really it is a shame that the two sides could not work out something to have Vlad stay with the club.  It may actually work out better for both sides in the long run.

Read the rest of this entry

Padres to Sign or Trade Carlos Quentin: Decision Time in San Diego

Tuesday June 12, 2012

John Burns:  The Padres who are in last place in the NL West and 18.5 games back of the first place L.A. Dodgers have obviously struggled tremendously in the 2012 season so far.

The Padres have seen some positives in this awful season and the most notable is the emergence of Carlos Quentin. The San Diego native Quentin has been on a tear since being activated from the Disabled List; in 10 games, Quentin is hitting .429 with 5 homers. Quentin has quickly become one of the Padres best players and a hot trade commodity.

Carlos Quentin is making $7 million for the 2012 season and becomes a free agent in 2013. So if the Padres want to lock up there “hometown hero”, it will have to be fairly soon. With the trade deadline coming up in July, Quentin has been a commonly referred to name on the trade block since coming back from knee surgery.

San Diego will have to make a tough decision in the coming weeks on the future of Carlos Quentin. With Petco Park being such a harsh park for power hitters, the Padres might want to lock up their superstar while he’s producing. It is very hard for the Padres front office to convince power hitters to sign with San Diego because of the unforgiving dimensions of Petco Park. So it may be easier for the Padres to get Quentin because he is a native of San Diego and is a fan favorite. Plus, his swing seems to be tailor-made for Petco, as one of the few hitters to enjoy hitting in San Diego. If the Padres were serious on signing the 29 year-old star outfielder it could cost between $45-60 million and 4-6 years.

There are plenty of ball clubs that would inquire on Quentin if he was made available at the deadline. His trade value keeps rising the more games he plays and his power numbers stay consistent. Quentin has struggled to stay healthy in his career; He hasn’t played in more than 130 games since 2010 with the Chicago White Sox. If the Padres were to trade Quentin it would be for 1 to 2 top prospects. Some teams would view Quentin much like the San Francisco Giants did last year with Carlos Beltran, the best hitter available at last year’s deadline as a rental player. If Quentin gets traded his new team though would not receive compensation if he leaves, which could further hurt his trade value.

In my opinion Carlos Quentin’s days in San Diego are numbered. The Padres are currently in a rebuilding stage, so it would not make much sense if San Diego signed Quentin who is 29-year-old when they could easily trade him for a pair of top prospects. The Padres could acquire better prospects trading Quentin then they had to give up to acquire Quentin in the first place. Contending ball clubs will keep a very close eye on Quentin as the season progresses and if he continues to play very well his value will just continue to rise.

Meet our newest Baseball Intern – John Burns:  I am a highschool junior, play 1st base and catcher. I am a diehard Phillies fan. I  was born in Philadelphia but now live in Virginia. I come from a huge baseball family and just love the game. My cousin was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2008 MLB draft. My favorite players are Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard. I tweet all the time andyou can follow me on twitter (@JohnBurns_MLB)

Please e-mail us at: mlbeports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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