Monthly Archives: August 2012

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Logic of Taking on Big Stars and Huge Salaries

Friday August 31st, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone all out this year, trading for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, and four former Red Sox players in one big swap: Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and a game-changer in Adrian Gonzalez. Right now, the Dodgers are what one would call “stacked”. They have stars at many of their positions and have added key pieces to their pitching staff. Fans of any team dream of this. But, these acquisitions came with a heavy, heavy cost.

The Dodgers went after underperforming stars that weren’t living up to their large contracts. Hanley Ramirez had failed to rebound like the Marlins expected this year, so the Dodgers got him for a low price on the condition that they would take on the rest of his contract. Money is not too much of an issue for the Dodgers under new ownership, and it is evident. The second—and even more impressive—move that the Dodgers made involved the Red Sox. Carl Crawford had been an absolute bust for Boston. He has not played a full season after signing a major contract two years ago, and recently shut his season down to get Tommy John Surgery. Adrian Gonzalez had a good year for the Red Sox in 2011, but started off this year slowly and didn’t produce the way the Sox hoped. Josh Beckett has also been awful this year, posting over a five ERA.

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Dale Thayer: Finally Stabilizing Himself in the Show? The Best Reliever You Likely Never Heard Of

Friday August 31st, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The Padres have a surplus of pitching within their organization. From top to bottom, there’s always a top pitching prospect waiting in the wings. The assumption is that most of this pitching has been accumulated from the massive amounts of trades they have made over the past couple of years, but Dale Thayer doesn’t fall into this category.

Thayer’s minor league stats remain to be touched. Very few players have amassed better stats at the levels than he has. He boasts a 2.45 ERA lifetime in ten seasons in the minors, and his K/9 rate checks in at 8.8/9 over that span. However, ten seasons in the minors is awfully extensive, especially considering his above average numbers.

However, his numbers have yet to translate to the major leagues. Trust me, he has received plenty of chances to prove that he can write that ship, but he’s yet to do so. So when he gets his chances, he doesn’t seem to make much of them, ultimately leading to a demotion. Most prospects who bloom in the minors and post stellar numbers generally don’t stick in the minors for long. Thayer, though, is quite the opposite. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat of The Week Special Trade Edition! Boston Red Sox: Payroll 2013

Thursday, Aug.30/2012

As the longest-serving Red Sox Offensive Player under contract, Dustin Pedroia needs to return to his MVP like form of a few years back for Boston to be in contention next year.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): - In one fell swoop, the Boston Red Sox went from a team with no payroll flexibility at all for years to come, to a team that only has 4 players under contract for 57.2 Million Dollars next year.  It is actually around 43 Million Dollars for Dustin Pedroia (10 MIL), John Lackey ,(16 MIL) John Lester (11.6 MIL) and Clay Buchholz (5.8 MIL.)  Now since they are paying about 15 Million to the Dodgers as part of the trade it takes the total up to about 57 Million.  So how does the team look going forward?  Not that bad actually.  The have about 25 Pre-Arbitration to Arbitration Eligible Players to re-sign.  A lot of them are under club control or will not fetch that much of a boost in pay.  Jacoby Ellsbury will probably get a bump from the 8 Million he received this year and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will also be due a raise from the 2.5 Million in 2012 with his breakout power year.  Daniel Bard is a “Super 2″ Arb Eligible Player and should not be that hard to resign considering  his ineffective year.  The most pressing thing to do is to resolve the David Ortiz matter and then to grab a couple of free agent pitchers and a power hitting First baseman or an outfielder.

Judging from my best estimate, it looks like the Boston Red Sox will have about an 100-110 Million Dollars for all of their Arbitration players, plus the guys already signed.  This leads me to David Ortiz.  He should be given a 2 or 3 year contract as soon as humanly possible at 15-16 Million Dollars a Year.  He was the only player in the AL to have an OPS over 1 still going into tonight.  Yes he has been hurt, but ‘Big Papi’ is not finished in the MLB.  Yes he will be 37 heading into next year but he has been the best DH in the AL over the last 3 years.  Ortiz had said earlier this year-that he would be open to playing for other teams so the brass better make him feel wanted or he will walk! He genuinely likes Pedroia so I am sure Ortiz could be persuaded to come back.  You have to at least find this out early as it will let you know how to proceed on the Free Agent Market.

Here are some David Ortiz highlights.  THIS VIDEO CONTAINS CLIPS COPYRIGHTED FROM MLB ADVANCED MEDIA. MLB REPORTS  DOES  NOT OWN THESE CLIPS.

For Part 1 of the Trade Breakdown: The LA Dodgers 2013 Top Ten Payroll click here .

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Roger Clemens and the Sugar Land Skeeters

Wednesday August 29th, 2012

Sam Evans: Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If Cooperstown picked candidates with regard to their off-field activities, players like Dick Williams and Mickey Mantle might have never been chosen to the elite class that is the Hall of Fame. If Hall of Fame voters look at Clemens’ career numbers, they’ll find it hard to not see him as having one of the best starting pitching careers we’ve ever seen. Clemens is currently pitching with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters after five years away from the game. It’s been only one game so far, with more possibly to come. Let’s look at Clemens, his first start, and how he stacks up against some of his teammates.

Roger Clemens ranks eighth all-time among major leaguers in WAR, and second among starting pitchers (145.5). His upper 90’s fastball, nasty splitter, and above-average changeup led him to over 300 wins and a twenty-four year career in the majors. His last season, in 2007 with the New York Yankees, Clemens still managed to pitch at a fairly high level, posting a 4.14 FIP in seventeen starts. His average fastball velocity was just over 90 MPH for the 2007 season.

After Clemens figured out a bunch of legal things, he “tried out” for the Sugar Land Skeeters, who play in the independent Atlantic League, and made the team. In his first start on Saturday, August 25th, Clemens lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing only one hit, not walking a batter, and striking out two. Facing a Bridgeport team that features former major leaguers Joey Gathright and Shea Hillebrand, Clemens topped out at 88 MPH and got a few outs via his splitter. Read the rest of this entry

Josh Beckett: Will The Change Of Scenery Deliver A Hollywood Ending For the Struggling Veteran?

Tuesday August 28th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: Josh Beckett, or more formerly known as the most hated man in Boston, won’t nearly have as much pressure on him with the Dodgers. That will be a vastly different change for him considering the hefty amount of heat he took in Boston. Granted, the criticism was for the most part deserved, but the Dodgers and their fans don’t view Beckett as the main piece in a deal that also landed them Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, and Carl Crawford. They view him as a bonus piece. If he rejuvenates himself in Los Angeles, great. If he doesn’t, the pressure from the organization won’t be as substantial. On the other side of the coin, it won’t go unnoticed, nor will his large contract.

However, it’s assuming too much to say that he’s going to struggle with his new team. Sure, his 5.21 ERA isn’t great, but he’s moving to one of the most pitcher’s friendly ballparks in Dodger Stadium. To be specific, it’s the eighth best pitcher’s park in the majors per ESPN Park Factors. What should be noted is the fact that Chris Capuano and Clayton Kershaw both boast elite home ERAs. While the success isn’t entirely due to the fact that Dodger stadium is spacious, it’s a piece of the pie. In comparison, Fenway Park is the third best hitters park in baseball. So the difference is substantial. In spite of the difference, his first start in a Dodgers uniform came in the worst pitcher’s ballpark in the majors, Coors Field. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t terrible, surrendering three runs over 5 2/3 innings.

Dodger Stadium alone isn’t going to transform Beckett into an ace, though. It’s not that pitcher friendly. Beckett will have to make some tweaks to get back to “ace” form. Read the rest of this entry

Beltre and Hamilton Need to Carry the Rangers for a 3rd Straight WS Appearance

Tuesday, August.28/2012

Hamilton and Beltre need to carry the Rangers to their 3rd straight World Series Appearance. This feat has not been done since the Yankees went to 4 straight WS Appearances from 1998-2001.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): It is Adrian Beltre Awareness Week! What is that exactly?  I have adopted an idea to carry out on twitter-in order to provide the unheralded players of the MLB, their just credit.  So far there has been Juan Pierre, Mike Morse , Jose Altuve  Awareness Weeks and now it is Adrian Beltre’s turn.  I decided on the Rangers 3rd base slugger because I believe that he is on a path for Cooperstown.  Rather than bore you with details I have already written about before on the Reports, you can click here for my previous article on Beltre hitting himself into Hall Of Fame Consideration: click here.

Okay back to the point.  It was right after Adrian Beltre’s 3 HR game that I started sending out my link on the article and hailing Beltre as a man worthy for Cooperstown if he keeps it up.  I had many of my followers indicate they had never thought about him like that.  In bullet point style here.  Right after that he had a 3 hit game, in which he was a Triple short of the cycle.  The next day he hit for his second career cycle.  It made me feel really good about my stance on the guy.  5 HRs, 2 Doubles, a Triple and 2 singles is a month for some guys and Beltre accomplished this feat in 14 AB over 3 games.  That is 29 total bases folks, a slugging percentage of over 2 and a .714 Average.  The Rangers offense has several players that seem to blow up like this.  Nelson Cruz had 8 RBI not so long ago.  Beltre had that 3 homer game in the ALCS last year.  Then there was Josh Hamilton and his 4 HR game.  Hamilton has also had 3 games this year where he had collected 5 RBI or more.

The Rangers are a power house offense.  They have guys like Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli hitting 8th routinely.  They are going to win the AL West for a 3rd Straight year.  With all of this said, something doesn’t resonate with me in them making their 3rd straight World Series this year.  That feat has not been accomplished since the Yankees made 4 fall classics in a row from 1998-2001.  The Rangers are vulnerable and have weaknesses in their pitching.  They don’t have C.J Wilson this year and Rookie Yu Darvish is slowing down after a great first half.  I think with Darvish, it is the innings that are catching up to him.  In Japan, they usually have 6 man rotations.  This is new territory for the talented chucker.

Adrian Beltre Highlights!

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The Fantasy Implications of the Red Sox and Dodgers Blockbuster

Monday August 27th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst):

The blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers certainly shifted the balance of power in the NL West and marked the end of a tumultuous season in Boston. With such an unprecedented type of deal, fantasy owners, in late August nonetheless, were greatly impacted by this waiver wire trade. I, for one, lost Carl Crawford, Jose Bautista, and Adrian Gonzalez in my AL only league in the matter of a week. My first place lead will soon slip from my grasp, as I am left without any opportunity or options to improve my team this late in the game.

With the waiver wire deals we have seen over the last few years, it no longer makes sense to lineup a fantasy trade deadline with the non-waiver deadline of July 31. In reality this blockbuster only truly impacts AL and NL only leagues, but each of the players traded to the Dodgers should have a boost in value down the stretch when owners most need it.

Needless to say, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett finally have something to play for and have the benefit of a fresh start. Crawford, not knowing he would soon be traded to a contender, may have thought twice about electing for season ending surgery had he been able to predict the future. Still, despite his productive play while injured, the surgery was necessary and it sets him up for a more successful 2013 campaign.

Let’s take a look at each of these players’ values- not only for this season, but moving forward as well: Read the rest of this entry

Chicago White Sox: Should They Pick Up Kevin Youkilis’ Option?

Monday August 27th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Chicago White Sox weren’t expected to be in the race this late in the season, but hey, here they are, 2.5 games ahead of the favorite Tigers in the American League east division. A big piece to their success has been Kevin Youkilis, who came over from Boston during the final week of June. Red Sox fans refer to him to leaving as a curse, while White Sox fans refer to him as a spark. Sure, his overall numbers aren’t anything to write home about (.254/.380/.469), but third baseman are hard to come by these days, especially experienced ones. And Youk is as steady as they come, health permitting. Youkilis, who has a $13 million option that comes into play once the season concludes, will likely gain a fair amount of interest should Chicago let him test open waters. However, Chicago shouldn’t give him the opportunity to test the market.

OK, so he might not be worth $13 million. But who will skipper Robin Ventura pencil in at third base of Youkilis leaves the windy city? They might as well forget about finding someone in free agency as the pickings are slim. David Wright could headline the group. Unless the Mets pick up his option (which they will), in which case he will only come through trade or in free agency in another year. Also, GM Kenny Williams would have to enter a bidding war with the Mets and several other clubs who have a hole at the hot corner to obtain Wright. Then, the rest of the crop boils down the likes of Placido Polanco, Mark Reynolds, and Brandon Inge. Any intriguing options in that group? I don’t think so. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: WBC Qualifiers, Suspending Aceves, Blowing Up the Red Sox and More

Sunday August 26th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.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!

It’s 4:00a.m. on Saturday night/Sunday morning. While most of the baseball world sleeps- the Reports doesn’t sleep. Or at least this particular insomniac. Maybe it’s the excitement over the qualifiers of the 2013 World Baseball Classic coming in 24 days. Perhaps I can’t stop thinking about the Dodgers/Red Sox swap and analyzing in my mind who won/lost that trade. Whatever be the case, I’m about to jump into your weekly baseball questions. Some really good ones folks. Keep them coming every week! Tweet, e-mail, post on Facebook or comment on our site. Whatever you have to do, get your baseball voice heard on MLB reports :)

For the Batting Stance Guy video of the week, we present “Batting Stance Guy Impresses Manny Ramirez“. With all the insanity around Boston this season coming full steam ahead to this weekend’s monster trade, we thought it would be fun to go back in time and remember a kinder and gentler Manny Ramirez. Enjoy! 

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

New York Mets: Should They Extend Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey?

Sunday August 26th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: If there’s one compelling story that will represent the 2012 MLB season, it’s R.A Dickey’s story. At first, he was your normal fastball based type pitcher, but after finding minimal success with the normal approach, he switched gears and became one of the few knuckleballers in baseball. And the approach has worked. Now, the question that the Mets are facing is whether or not they extend him seeing that he can test open waters once the season concludes. Although, Dickey peaked at a much older age than most pitchers, as he’s currently 37 years-old.

What is he worth?

Dickey isn’t going to receive a massive contract considering his age and the knuckleball approach. Although, an annual salary of $8-10 million isn’t out of the question. Perhaps he signs a deal worth even more. However, the length of the contract isn’t going to push more than four years. Even a four-year extension could be too long for Dickey who will be 40 in nearly three years. Read the rest of this entry

Moises Sierra Has a Future in the Majors: A Blue Jays Work in Progress

Sunday August 26th, 2012

Sam Evans: When Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos traded away both Travis Snider and Eric Thames at the trade deadline, it created an opportunity for unheralded twenty-three year old outfielder Moises Sierra. Sierra has a chance to show Toronto that he should be part of their future in these final couple months of the season. With his 70-grade arm and his ability to produce runs at a solid pace, Sierra could have a job in the majors for years to come. However, Sierra has a lot of work to do to become a candidate for playing time at Rogers Centre in 2013.

Moises Sierra was signed by the Blue Jays out of the Dominican Republic back in 2005. This was before the Blue Jays dominated the scouting world, so Sierra has never been an “Anthopoulos guy”. From 2006 to 2008, Sierra had some rough numbers for different teams, but he showed enough to be promoted from the DSL, in 2006, to earning a starting job in High-A for the 2009 season. Sierra had a 122 wRC+ at High-A in 2009, but he missed most of the 2010 season due to a stress fracture in his leg and a couple of other minor injuries. Read the rest of this entry

Derek Lowe: Is the Veteran Hurler a Playoff Savior for Yankees?

Saturday August 25th, 2012

John Burns:  On August 13th the New York Yankees made a move that went well under the radar. New York signed veteran pitcher Derek Lowe to a contract. The signing is looking like a very nice pick up for the Yankees as of right now. Lowe has 2.45 ERA in only 7.1 innings out of the bullpen. With all the injuries the Yankees have suffered through this season, the signing becomes a great insurance policy for New York. The sinker ball pitcher is a proven big time performer when it comes to October. The 39-year-old pitcher was dominant in the 2004 fall classic with Boston. Lowe posted 1.86 ERA and was 3-0  during that playoff run and was key part of the Red Sox winning the World Series. Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 Center Field Prospects in Baseball

Saturday August 25th, 2012

Codey Harrison: (Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst) - Today represents the final installment of the three-part series featuring middle of the field positions. The most important outfield position usually is played by the team’s most athletic position player has seen some big stars come into the big leagues in recent years. With the likes of Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, and Austin Jackson the center field position has grown from a defensive minded position, into one that includes some of the games biggest superstars. The current minor league crop of center fielder’s is a very solid group which is led by 2011 first round pick Bubba Starling of the Kansas City Royals organization.

1.) Bubba Starling (Kansas City Royals Rookie Lg) - The 6’4″ 180 pound former University of Nebraska quarterback commitment has it all in terms of abilities on a baseball field. The fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Gardner Kansas has drawn comparisons to Cincinnati Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs, the only difference is that scouts see Starling as a much better pure hitter than Stubbs. In his first pro season, it’s pretty evident that Starling is still very raw as a baseball prospect, as he began this season with Rookie League Burlington at 20 years of age. In his first 50 career games, Starling has shown off all of his tools as he is currently batting .282, with a .379 OBP, .505 SLG, with 10 home runs, and 10 stolen bases. The Royals are already loaded with young hitting studs like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Wil Myers. With Bubba Starling, the Royals should be one of the AL’s premier offenses within the next 3-4 years. Read the rest of this entry

The Philadelphia Phillies Franchise Part 2 of 4: The Hitters

Friday August.24/2012

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 Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): -The Phillies have had an incredible run in the last decade of baseball.  Most of that time has been spent at Citizens Bank Ball Park which is a very hitter-friendly park.  The management was smart enough to draft a whole bunch of offensive talent like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and even J.D Drew(who never signed in 1997 with the Phillies and went back into the 1998 draft.)  They also traded Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco.  These guys have all taken advantage of the new baseball cathedral.  Ryan Howard leads all active players in HRs per AB in the Major Leagues with hitting a HR per just a little over 13 AB.  There is still a long way to go to chase down Michael Jack Schmidt.  His 548 Career HRs and 1595 RBI  lead the ALL-Time totals on the Phillies by quite a big margin.

Criteria for being put on this list was quite simple.  You had to be a player of significance on the Franchise.   Great watermarks are: 1000 hits, 100 HRs, 1000 games, if you led the league in any category for a few seasons or batted .285 or higher for the duration of your time.  This is what I was looking for to include the players on the list.  It has taken me a lengthy period of time to siphon through 130 years of baseball to bring you this list.  From Ed Delahanty and Billy Hamilton, to Richie Ashburn and Dick Allen, to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinki, to Von Hayes, to John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra, to Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen-to finally get us to the gentlemen aforementioned in the first paragraph.  I want this study to be as interactive as I can with the readers.  If you feel that there is someone worthy of being included in the list for hitters, please feel free to comment or send me an email to booth7629@gmail.com.  I would be glad to edit this post and add to it.  After all, if you are reading this, chances are you are a Phillies fan, I am just a baseball historian.

For Part 1 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series:  The Franchise- click here

For Part 3 of  The 4 Part Phillies Article Series:  The Pitchers- click here

For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series:  Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here

Ryan Howard Highlight reel

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Josh Hamilton: Should the Rangers Extend Their Star Slugger Immediately?

Friday August 24th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  In the present time, Josh Hamilton is the Texas Rangers’ best player. One of the best in baseball baseball in fact. Hamilton has enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his career thus far, hitting .285 with 34 homers and 102 RBIs. He had a hot stretch at one point that included four home runs in a single game. Players like Hamilton don’t come around often, so if the Rangers are smart, they will extend his contract ASAP.

With Hamilton in the lineup, the Rangers have played in two World Series. He won the 2010 MVP award when the Rangers lost to the Giants in the Fall Classic in five games. If the Rangers wait until Hamilton hits free agency this offseason, they will have to compete with other teams and likely pay more than they would if they offered Hamilton right now. They could also risk losing him to the division rival Angels (this is highly doubtful given the large contracts of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and a future contract of Mike Trout). This would be the worst possible scenario with the Angels already looking like a World Series-caliber team.

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The Lack of Criteria to get into Cooperstown: The Election Results can be Puzzling

Friday August 24th, 2012

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig

Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent, Twitter @PatrickLanguzzi): On August 14th, MLB Reports honored Ron Santo for his recent induction into The National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Did you know Santo was elected on his 20th attempt via the Golden Era committee (Veterans) some 31 years after he first became eligible for the Hall of Fame?

Since 1936, only 207 former major league players have ever been elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. That’s about 1.17 percent of more than 17,000 players who have worn a major league uniform.

Of the 207 players elected to date, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) has elected 112 candidates, or 54 percent. Conversely, 95 major leaguers, or 46 percent, have been elected through other means (in all of its forms) such as the Veterans Committee, Old-Timers Committee, Centennial Commission and other special election of committees, to name a few.

For those not familiar, qualified members of the BBWAA vote annually by submitting a maximum of 10 eligible pre-screened players whom they would consider worthy of induction. In order to be elected, a player must be named on 75 percent of the voters’ ballots. Read the rest of this entry

John Farrell for Bobby Valentine: The Second Managerial Trade Ever?

Thursday August 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  After the Red Sox cut ties with longtime manager Terry Francona, there were a few options for his replacement. Among those options were former pitching coach for the 2007 World Series Champion team John Farrell, and high-profile former-manager Bobby Valentine. Both seemed to be good options, and the Red Sox signed Valentine. Farrell won the managerial job with the Blue Jays after the retirement of Cito Gaston (Brian Butterfield, DeMarlo Hale, and Sandy Alomar, Jr. were also rumored to be vying for the position). Each team was poised to finish atop or close to the top of the AL East standings. This wasn’t the case for either team.

First I’ll cover the Red Sox. Their main problem was the lack of production. Adrian Gonzalez—who the Sox acquired to help carry the offense failed to produce at the beginning of the season. At the All Star Break, he had less than ten home runs. Jacoby Ellsbury was injured after only a few games, and the pitching was absolutely awful. Carl Crawford took a while to come back from his wrist and elbow injuries, and recently shut his season down to undergo Tommy John surgery. Jon Lester, the number one starter was up and down, and has had an off-year. Josh Beckett received boos after being accused of playing golf in between starts. There was obviously something wrong. The Red Sox fell out of contention fairly early—something that wasn’t expected. A lot of the criticism fell on the manager. Bobby Valentine was accused of demeaning the players, saying something along the lines of “nice inning, kid” to rookie Will Middlebrooks after he made an error. Another of Valentine’s slip-ups was calling into question Kevin Youkilis’ effort. This ultimately led to Youk being traded to the White Sox, ending his successful Red Sox career. Veterans such as Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez didn’t take kindly to this and sent a text to management, spurring a meeting between front office officials and players. The situation in Boston is not good; players are divided into players versus manager and players versus players that support the manager. A change in Boston seems necessary; the pitching coach has already been relieved, and it seems like Bobby Valentine may be next.

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Stephen Drew: Another Great Move by Billy Beane

Thursday August 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  Before the trading deadline, it was thought that the Oakland A’s were going to make a move. With the extra wild card in play this year, the team seemed to be a contender. Their weakest position though was at shortstop. There were a few options out there, some reasonable and some not, among those were Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew. Ramirez was very unlikely to be acquired by the A’s due to the nature of his contract, but he would’ve provided the most boost for the team. The story goes that the A’s almost had Ramirez all but acquired, with the Dodgers eating at least of his contract. But the A’s hesitated, and the Dodgers swooped in and agreed to take on all of the remaining dollars on his deal. With Ramirez ending up on the Dodgers, Stephen Drew seemed to be the most viable option left. Drew missed a large portion of the 2011 season with a broken ankle sustained on a slide into home, and made his 2012 debut around the time of the All-Star Break. In his short time with the Diamondbacks this season, Drew hit just .193 and was pretty disappointing. With the teams hierarchy going public with their displeasure, the writing was on the wall for Drew. It looked like Arizona would be able to get at least the same amount of production from a replacement, so a trade seemed imminent. For some reason the trade never got done, but the A’s kept at it.

Oakland was the perfect candidate to acquire Stephen Drew. So it was no surprise that Billy Beane finally got his man this week. Without a producing shortstop, the A’s had a very little chance at the playoffs. Sure, Drew only hit .193 this year, but he carries a career .266 average over his seven-year career. Plus he walks a ton. A stereotypical A’s hitter characteristic. In 2008, Drew hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs. If the A’s could get anything close to this production, they would be in very good shape. Drew will most likely keep hitting in the two-hole of the lineup, behind Coco Crisp. Once Drew gets settled and regains form, the A’s should get some good production from the top of their lineup, setting the table for the monster bats of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter. Even if Drew were to continue hitting .193, he would still be an improvement from the overall batting average of A’s shortstops at .190. As long as he can walk and hit with some power. Drew will most likely be taking time away from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Given their combined numbers, that is a very good thing. The A’s also just sent the struggling Jemile Weeks down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Drew.

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Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 2: The Pitchers

Wedesday August 22, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer) Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of.  The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over.  It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury.  When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team.  I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager.  Honestly, no one could hit the guy.  As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him.  Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams.   There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher.  He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004.  Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk.  Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing  junk until they are finished high school.  There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude. 

Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while.  The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly.  If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching!  Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter.  Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite.  Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.

This set of 5 pitchers (Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Jeff Zimmerman, Tommy Greene and Derrick Turnbow) in this list are all pretty much of recent vintage.  I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time.  This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years.  Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.

To see the article about Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 1: The Batters click here Read the rest of this entry

Buster Posey is Keeping the Giants in Contention

Wednesday August 22nd, 2012

Sam Evans:  When Buster Posey broke his fibula in 2011, it was a crushing blow to a Giants team fighting for a playoff spot. The Giants ended up missing the playoffs that year, largely due to not having any production from catcher. In 2012, Posey was expected to regain his old form immediately and help bring the playoffs to San Francisco. So far in 2012, Posey has exceeded previous expectations, and deserves a lot of the credit for the Giants’ success. With the N.L. West looking like it’s going to come down to the wire, and Melky Cabrera out for the regular season (and part of the playoffs), Posey needs to keep up his performance in order for San Francisco to make the playoffs.

Buster Posey has always been a hitter. At Florida State, Posey was moved from shortstop to catcher so he doesn’t have as much experience behind the plate as a typical catcher. Posey’s defense at catcher has improved year by year thanks to his work ethic and athleticism. This year, Posey has shown no signs of his previous injury, and has continued to play solid defense behind the plate. Not to mention, Posey is having his most valuable offensive season ever, and one of the more impressive batting lines in the National League. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago Cubs: Is Extending Starlin Castro Really the Right Move?

Tuesday August 21st, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  Starlin Castro is one of baseball’s best young shortstops at the ripe age of just 22 years-old. Apparently, the Cubs’ front office feels the same way. While the speculated contract extension is still impending, there’s a good chance that Castro remain a Cub for a good portion of the next decade. A wealthy Cub for that matter. The rumored deal is said to be a seven-year, $60 million contract extension. Should the deal be completed, it will take him through arbitration.

Is general manager Theo Epstein and his staff pulling the right string by signing Castro? Read the rest of this entry

A Fantasy Season for the 2012 Chicago White Sox

Tuesday August 21st, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst):

Some of the biggest surprises in fantasy baseball this season have come from the same team: the 2012 Chicago White Sox. As a result, the White Sox are currently sitting in first place in the AL central thanks to big turnaround seasons from Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Jake Peavy. Each of these guys were former fantasy studs, but performed like absolute duds in 2011.

However, the contributions to the White Sox success extend far beyond this trio of players. Let’s take a look at the entire roster, which contains fantasy contributors from top to bottom. The White Sox, similar to the Angels, Rangers, or Yankees lineups, are one of the few, and certainly the most surprising, that are almost a fantasy team in themselves.

Alejandro De Aza was finally given a chance to play by the White Sox, and for the better part of the year was one of the game’s top leadoff hitters. Injuries have slowed him down recently, but his numbers to date are great for a number three fantasy outfielder: .280/6/44 to go along with 73 runs and 21 stolen bases. Read the rest of this entry

The Underrated Greatness of Yoenis Cespedes: The Stats Don’t Lie

Monday August 20th, 2012

                                                                                                                                

                                                                              (Image Courtesy of Businessinsider.com)

Jonathan Hacohen: For all the talk of Mike Trout as the sure bet for this year’s A.L. ROY and possibly MVP awards, a name that does not get thrown around enough is that of Yoenis Cespedes. Heard of him? I’m sure you have. The Cuban sensation, who went almost overnight from a YouTube prospect star to the A’s best hitter. The baseball world has not forgotten about Cespedes. But it seems like for all the attention Mike Trout is getting, Cespedes is not getting enough baseball love. Given Trout’s numbers, it’s not hard to see why. The kid hailed as the next Mickey Mantle has delivered and then some. Trout leads the league with a .343 average. Scored 96 runs and stole 39 bases. Obscene numbers for any MLB player in August, let alone a 21-year old. What makes Trout even more incredible is that he is doing it at home and on the road. Check his splits- almost identical. But then Trout does get to enjoy the lineup protection of Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and the rest of the Angels lineup. 

I am not even going to begin to try to compare Trout and Cespedes. Apples and oranges. Trout is much younger (6 years) and he clearly has the superior numbers. In any other year though, Yoenis Cespedes would have been the shoo-in Rookie of the Year in the A.L. and would have garnered MVP votes as well. But just because Trout is so good, we shouldn’t let Cespedes not get his time in the sun. The man has been a one-man wrecking crew for the A’s and the team’s overall record with him in the lineup is part of the proof of his greatness. Read the rest of this entry

Phildelphia Phillies: Have They Reached the End of an Era?

Monday August 20th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Philadelphia Phillies are entering a rebuild mode. Or so it would appear. General manager Ruben Amaro dangled Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino away at the trade deadline, and now he’s left with nothing but little cash and prospects. The Phillies, though, were supposedly over the luxury tax until they traded away their two outfielders, so a move to free up a portion of their payroll seemed inevitable, just not in the fashion of trading away a cornerstone type piece in Pence. Since the departure of those two outfielders, the team is hitting a soft 221/.295/.363.

So which path does Amaro take during this crucial upcoming offseason? Does he rebuild for the future or does he attempt to craft a team that’s essentially a one and done gig? Given the amount of holes the Phillies’ current roster possess, the idea of going all in seems silly. It’s not like they have a ton of flexibility either. As I already mentioned, they are just a tick below the luxury tax. And with nearly $80 million invested in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Jonathan Papelbon for next season alone, a big splash in free agency doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Read the rest of this entry

Weekly 6-Pack MiLB Prospects Hot/Cold Sheet- Week of August 20th (Pitchers Edition)

Sunday August 19th, 2012

Codey Harrison (Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst):  We are back  this week with the weekly prospect hot/cold sheet, this week we will feature starting pitchers. First, We will feature 3 pitching prospects that are on fire, and 3 pitching prospects that are ice-cold. Our list of players will only include those who are still prospect eligible (less than 50 innings pitched at the MLB level). Featured players are generally players who are highly regarded amongst the minors and are regarded as legit prospects. Gaining our ranking as the hottest prospect of the week is Pirates prospect Gerrit Cole, who is starting to show the impressive strikeout numbers scouts have been waiting to see from the 2011 number one overall draft pick.

HOT PROSPECTS

Gerrit Cole (Pirates AA) - The 6 foot 4 Cole is everything scouts look to find in a starting pitcher. Gerrit Cole posses the size, strength, and power stuff that have most scouts believing Cole can become an Ace. A fastball that sits 94-97 MPH, and occasionally touches 100 MPH rates as the top pitch for the very talented righty from UCLA. Cole has recently been putting up the dominant walk/strikeout numbers scouts have been waiting to see from the Pirates prized prospect, which has led to Cole being the feature hot prospect this week. With AA Altoona Cole has gone 11 1/3 innings,  6 hits, 2 runs (1ER), while only walking 3, and striking out 15 in his last 2 starts. In his first full pro season Cole has posted numbers that make it very clear why the Pirates where unwilling to trade Cole, or his new AA teammate Jameson Taillon. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat Of The Week: Most World Series Appearances since 1961

Sunday August 19, 2012

The Yankees have 27 World Series Titles and 13 Losses in the Fall Classic since 1921. That is 40 Total appearances in 90 Years. Can they make it 41/91 this year. Heading into Sunday Aug.19, they own the 1 seed in the AL.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):  Baseball seasons are 162 games long.  They used to be 154 games at one point, just ask all of the Yankees fans who did not want Roger Maris to break Babe Ruth’s HR Record with an additional 8 game schedule.  The point is, every year is a marathon.  Yes there are teams that can catch a hot streak and ride it all the way through the playoffs.  We were privy to this the last few years with the World Series Championship teams of St. Louis and San Francisco.  Ironically, both of these teams are on this top ten list.  These organizations are on here because of a commitment to excellence as a Franchise.  The New York Yankees do have a stacked lineup every year to help aid the World Championship Seasons, aside from them though,  is there any other team that has spent money like crazy for decades?  The answer is no.

Out of these teams listed in the top 10, The Baltimore Orioles have had the longest stretch since they have made the World Series (1983), yet the Cardinals were the closest to have been in the Fall Classic in wrapping up their 5th title in the last 50 years last year.  Of teams that are not on this list, they are 5 teams that did not make the top 11 but have 2 World Series Trophies since 1961: Toronto won the WS in 1992 and 1993, Florida put away wins in 1997 and 2003, Pittsburgh won in 1971 and 1979,  Detroit won in 1968 and 1984 and Minnesota in 1987 and 1991.   Out of these 11 teams, only 3 teams have winning records in the Fall Classic since 1961:  NY Yankees (9-6), Oakland (4-2) and St.Louis (5-4).  This clearly shows that is easier to make the World Series than it is to win it.  The Atlanta Braves made 5 World Series in the 90’s, only to lose 4 of them.  All of these teams did exist in 1961.  Some of the teams that are expansion clubs do have great numbers and maybe just haven’t been around long enough.  Florida is in its 20th year and still has 2 World Series wins.  The Blue Jays have only been around for 35 years and have 2 WS Titles.  Arizona is in its 15th year right now and boasts a Trophy already. Tampa Bay has one WS appearance and is looking to make the playoffs for the 4th time in 6 years, to then add their 2nd WS Appearance if possible.   It is long-suffering fans like the Chicago Cubs that haven’t won since 1909, or even appeared in the WS since 1945, that are growing extremely restless.

*** MLB Reports does not own the copyrights to the following videos or music. The videos are from MLB.com, courtesy of Fox, TBS, and KMOX, and the music is “Dark Horses” by Switchfoot from their album “Vice Versa”***

Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Special Edition – Fixing the Boston Red Sox

Sunday August 19th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.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!

This week we are going to do things a little differently people. We have been receiving hundreds of e-mails and social media messages on the Boston Red Sox all season long. Red Sox/baseball fans are trying to figure out what went wrong with the team; where is the team heading; and how can the Red Sox be fixed. I have been compiling your questions in preparation for this feature. I was originally going to prepare a featured report titled “How to Fix the Boston Red Sox”. But instead, this week’s edition of ATR will cover all of the issues that you, the readers, feel face the Red Sox. It is a little different, perhaps even scary. Given the number of times we have received each question, I will present the major ones as the “issues” followed by my proposed solutions. Let’s face it…whether you love or loathe the Red Sox, you need to know:  What will happen next…

In today’s special edition of ATR, you are about to find out!

Before we jump into analyzing the “Red Sox Issues”, we present or our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week. Keeping with our Red Sox theme, Gar brings us “9 Things Red Sox Nation Misses About Youkilis”. The end of the Youkilis Era really cemented the downward spiral of the Red Sox in my mind. But keeping Kevin Youkilis close to our hearts, enjoy this little BSG clip:


Now that we have your hearts pumping and motors racing, let’s get right into “Fixing the Boston Red Sox”:

Issue:  How much do you blame the Red Sox owners on the team’s current problems?

JH:  I am definitely not a person shy about passing the blame. Taking a look at the Red Sox head honchos, we see that the team is led by John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner. While I have not seen Werner’s name tossed around much, I certainly have seen Henry and Lucchino prominently in the news. My thoughts are that a good owner should not be seen or heard from. They can pay the bills, approve/veto major transactions- but otherwise, let the professionals run the show. The fact that there was even the idea of the owners meeting with key players of the team to discuss the state of the franchise is disturbing to me. Look, Henry and Lucchino clearly have money in their pockets and the right to do as they wish. I would never take that away from them. But there is no doubt that key personnel/management decisions have their fingerprints all over them. Who really hired Bobby Valentine? Who really decided to trade away Kevin Youkilis? Lucchino/Henry or Cherington, the GM? Nobody knows for certain, but many of us have an idea. Remember the comments by John Henry in the offseason that essentially showed the displeasure of signing Carl Crawford? Exactly. If you are going to go into the kitchen and start messing with the meals that are being produced, you are going to have to take responsibility. The Red Sox ownership may be very smart individuals. But as long as they continue to meddle, they will have to shoulder at least part of the responsibility of the misfortunes. Long-term, I would recommend getting the right GM/manager/management in place and starting becoming more hands-off. As long as we continue to see the names Henry and Lucchino in the news when it comes to the Red Sox, I see the same patterns continuing to emerge. Read the rest of this entry

Dustin Ackley: What’s Gone Wrong For The Once Highly Touted Prospect?

Saturday August 18th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  Dustin Ackley has a lot to live up to with the Seattle Mariners. Anyone who is selected in the top five of any draft in any sport is expected to perform right from the get-go. The Mariners highly touted prospect was selected second in the 2009 draft, right behind Stephen Strasburg, and in the same draft class as the American League MVP frontrunner Mike Trout. Granted, Ackley barely has a year of experience under his belt, but it’s safe to say that the bar is set extremely high for him. And thus far, he’s crawling under that bar.

Last season, Ackley, 24, bursted onto the scene in mid June. Of course, the Mariners were far out of contention at that point, but he brought a much-needed spark to the lineup. He was one of the few reasons that made Mariners’ fans look forward to the future of Seattle. And he still his.

However, he has hit a massive dry spell. After hitting .305/.366/.534 is his first 36 big league games last year, he went on a downhill slide that has continued into his second year in the majors. To be specific, the tumble began on the 1st of August in 2011. From that point, he would hit for a triple slash of just .252/.338/.342 for the remainder of the season. And 2012 has followed a similar script. For the season, he’s hitting .225/.296/.330 in 113 games. Thus far, his best month was May, although the numbers he posted were nothing to write home about (.255/.333/.402). Simply, he’s yet to find success for a consistent period of time. Sure, he gets a few hits here and there, then he hits a dry patch.

So what’s going on with Ackley? Read the rest of this entry

Manny Machado’s Impact on the Orioles

Saturday August 18th, 2012

Sam Evans: When the Orioles called up Manny Machado roughly ten days ago, reactions varied from overjoyed to disappointed. However, one thing was true of pretty much everyone’s reaction. We were all shocked. Machado, who had barely played one hundred games in Double-A, was now going to have to be relied on for the Orioles playoff push. So far, the Machado experiment couldn’t have gone any better for Baltimore.

At Double-A, Machado was having a tremendous season, despite what some of his numbers suggest. At the age of just twenty, Machado posted a 122 wRC+. While the question of whether or not he could remain at shortstop loomed, Machado received stellar reports of his range at the shortstop position. Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 Catching Prospects in Baseball

Friday August 17th, 2012

Codey Harrison (Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst) – The second installment of a 3-part series featuring the top 5 prospects from middle of the field positions. This week we are focusing on one of the hardest positions in all of baseball to find superstars at. One of the biggest reasons is that catchers take a lot longer to progress defensively than any other position in baseball. Bryce Harper who was known for being a catcher in high school was drafted as an outfielder by the Nationals so he could make it to the Major Leagues much faster. Being able to call a game behind the plate, and knowing the angles that are needed to block pitches in the dirt can take several years to master. The wear and tear on a catcher can be a vigorous one, as most catchers only catch 140 games an entire season even if they are healthy the entire season. With current catchers in MLB who are stars like Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Buster Posey, Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, and Miguel Montero, it’s time to take a look at the potential future catching stars who replace the current MLB All-Star catchers. Plus teams look to move star catchers from their primary position to save their bats and extend their careers in the process.


Travis d’Arnaud (Toronto Blue Jays AAA) - Travis d’Arnaud was the prize prospect along with RHP Kyle Drabek the Blue Jays acquired in the Roy Halladay trade. d’Arnaud was named the 2011 Eastern League best catcher by the leagues managers. For the position, d’Arnaud has plenty of future plus tools (Hit, Power, Arm, and Fielding), and is on pace to supplant current Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia by the start of the 2013 season. d’Arnaud is currently on the disabled list, but for the season with AAA Las Vegas he’s batting .333, .380 OBP, .595 SLG, with 16 home runs, and 52 RBIs. One of the very few things scouts are drawn away from d’Arnaud is his approach at the plate, as he is very aggressive having walked on 19 times, while striking out 59 times on the season. Read the rest of this entry

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