Friday November 30, 2012
Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Intern):
Anyone who has read my bio knows that I’m from one of the best baseball cities in America, Boston. That means I have grown up going to games at Fenway Park, America’s most beloved ballpark. I’ve been to countless Red Sox games, including Derek Lowe’s no-hitter in 2002. I’ve been to the Rogers Centre in Toronto to watch the Sox take on Toronto. As these are absolutely beautiful ballparks, nothing can compare to my trip to San Francisco in August 2011 to see my favorite team the San Francisco Giants play in AT&T Park.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that AT&T Park is the best park in all of baseball. The team, the staff, the food, the view, none of it can be beaten.
I got the experience of going to two games in this beautiful stadium. I got to see it from all angles as I sat on the first base line and upper deck third baseline, perfect view of the McCovey Cove. Read the rest of this entry
Friday August 12, 2011
Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports): With the August 15 deadline for all 2011 MLB draftees to sign, players and teams are getting down to the wire with negotiations. Only two of the top ten picks have been signed, right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer, and second baseman Cory Spangenberg by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, respectively. Of the 33 first round picks, 9 have signed, as well as 14 of the 27 picks in the supplemental first round. It is expected that most of the picks from the first round will go down to the last hour, if not minute. However, there is a lot of speculation about who will not sign, and the fans of each team are hoping and praying their team will get their guy. Some players come into the draft with lofty expectations and high estimates of signing bonus money. As a result, many of the lower budget franchises stay away from these players, and draft “safe” players, who will sign for a more reasonable price.
The Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane was made famous through the book “Moneyball”, which portrayed the club as a bottom feeder organization financially. They had to pick lesser talents in order to sign all their draft picks. They shied away from the big “sexy” names on draft boards and targeted players with specific skill sets. Other teams who have done this in the past to varying degrees of success are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals. In the last couple of years, these organizations have turned their philosophies around, drafting tough to sign players with higher ceilings, and ending up signing most of them. Today will highlight a few of the players drafted who will be tougher than others to sign.
From this year’s draft, one of the players who was known to be extremely difficult to sign was Josh Bell. On talent alone, he was rated as an early first round pick, yet dropped to the second round to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had sent a letter to Major League Baseball advising teams not to draft him on account that he wanted to attend the University of Texas. Some have said this was just a bargaining tool to simply add more leverage to his situation, while others think he will not sign under any circumstances. It has been predicted that it will take a minimum of $10M and a Major League contract in order to sign him. I feel that the Pirates are an extreme long shot to sign Bell, and he will attend U of T and be a Longhorn for the next three years.
High school right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede could have been a top 10 pick, with his 95 mph fastball and devastating change-up. Beede was widely known to be seeking a bonus upwards of $3-4M. The Toronto Blue Jays and their new management have made it a point to take the best player available when they it is their turn to select a player in the draft. So, when it came to their turn as the 21st selection, the Jays did not hesitate to choose Beede, who has said it will come down to money in the long run. I believe the Jays will sign him in the final minutes for close to $3M.
With the 5th overall pick, the Kansas City Royals had a tough decision to make. Outfielder Bubba Starling, a hometown kid from Kansas, was widely considered the top prep offensive talent in the draft was still on the board. Starling has a scholarship to the University of Nebraska to play both football and baseball. It is very likely that a bonus upwards of $8M will be what it takes for Starling to sign with KC on August 15. Expect this deal to get done.
Gerrit Cole, the flame throwing right-handed pitcher from UCLA was taken by the Pirates first overall in the draft. Cole has reached 102 mph on radar guns and routinely hits triple digits. Cole has yet to sign, but is widely expected to join the Pirates. A Major League deal for 4 years and $8M or so is likely.
Rice University has been known to producing top talent, as witnessed by having eight first round picks in the last 11 years, most notably when Phil Humber and Jeff Niemann went 3rd and 4th overall in the 2004 draft. Another first rounder from Rice was Lance Berkman in 1997. So when one of the top three candidates for the first overall pick came down to an infielder from Rice, who just happened to win the Dick Howser Trophy, (essentially the Heisman Award for college baseball players), nobody was surprised. Anthony Rendon may not have above average speed or the best glove, but he has an above average arm and was considered by most to be the best hitter in the country. Rendon dropped to #6 to the Washington Nationals due to signability concerns but should sign for $4M plus.
Shortstops with ultra talent often get huge signing bonuses and Cleveland Indians’ first pick (8th overall), Francisco Lindor will be no exception. Lindor has the talent to warrant a $3M bonus, but should hold out for more. The Indians tend to shy away from this kind of pick, but the talent speaks for itself and I believe the Indians will go as high as $3.5M to sign the talented shortstop.
There has arguably not been a better high school pitcher in the last decade than flame throwing Dylan Bundy. The right-hander has reached 100 mph and has 2 plus secondary pitches. His high school pitching numbers are straight out of a video game. 71 innings, 2 earned runs. TWO! He also had 158 strikeouts to 5 walks. FIVE WALKS! Good for a 31.6:1 K:BB ratio. Oh, and the fact that he can also hit, as evidenced by his 11 home runs and 54 RBI in only 105 at-bats doesn’t hurt. The University of Texas commit could command a Major League contract and $6-8M. He should sign; my guess is $6.5M.
Here is the breakdown of the entire 2011 first round of picks, with players in bold having already signed:
1 Gerrit Cole RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
2 Danny Hultzen LHP Seattle Mariners
3 Trevor Bauer RHP Arizona Diamondbacks – ML deal 4/$7M
4 Dylan Bundy RHP Baltimore Orioles
5 Bubba Starling OF Kansas City Royals
6 Anthony Rendon 3B Washington Nationals
7 Archie Bradley RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
8 Francisco Lindor SS Cleveland Indians
9 Javier Baez SS Chicago Cubs
10 Cory Spangenberg 2B San Diego Padres – $1.86M
11 George Springer OF Houston Astros
12 Taylor Jungmann RHP Milwaukee Brewers
13 Brandon Nimmo OF New York Mets
14 Jose Fernandez RHP Florida Marlins
15 Jed Bradley LHP Milwaukee Brewers
16 Chris Reed LHP LA Dodgers
17 C.J. Cron Jr. 1B LA Angels – $1.467M
18 Sonny Gray RHP Oakland Athletics – $1.54M
19 Matt Barnes RHP Boston Red Sox
20 Tyler Anderson LHP Colorado Rockies
21 Tyler Beede RHP Toronto Blue Jays
22 Kolten Wong 2B St. Louis Cardinals – $1.3M
23 Alex Meyer RHP Washington Nationals
24 Taylor Guerrieri RHP Tampa Bay Rays
25 Joe Ross RHP San Diego Padres
26 Blake Swihart C Boston Red Sox
27 Robert Stephenson RHP Cincinnati Reds
28 Sean Gilmartin LHP Atlanta Braves – $1.13M
29 Joe Panik SS San Francisco Giants – $1.116M
30 Levi Michael SS Minnesota Twins
31 Mikie Mahtook OF Tampa Bay Rays
32 Jake Hager SS Tampa Bay Rays – $963K
33 Kevin Matthews LHP Texas Rangers – $936K
I think that although you can’t be sure about these kinds of things, my gut feeling is that every first rounder this year will actually sign by August 15th. I also predict that at least one signing will come minutes after the deadline, probably a Scott Boras client, and the league will allow the deal to pass.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***
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Wednesday July 13, 2011
Rob Bland (Intern Candidate for MLB Reports): This year’s edition of the Midsummer Classic, the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, had a record-setting vote-getter. Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays received over 7.4 million votes in fan voting. This game was said to have lost some of its lustre due to the amount of players who elected not to participate. A total of eight players that were voted in by fans or chosen by coaches dropped out due to injury, timing or just plain wanting to rest. For the American League, David Price (TB), Derek Jeter (NYY), Mariano Rivera (NYY), Alex Rodriguez (NYY) and Jon Lester (BOS) all withdrew due to various ailments and injuries. Chipper Jones (ATL), Jose Reyes (NYM), and Placido Polanco (PHI) were the players who bowed out in the National League. One of Major League Baseball’s rules pertaining to eligibility for pitchers is that they must not start on the Sunday prior to the game. Due to this rule, CC Sabathia (NYY), James Shields (TB), Justin Verlander (DET), Felix Hernandez (SEA), Cole Hamels (PHI), and Matt Cain (SF) were ruled ineligible and unable to participate in the game.
Surely not having Price, Sabathia, Shields, Verlander, Hernandez and Rivera hurt the AL. Although he has had an impressive start to the season, CJ Wilson (TEX) probably should not have been pitching when he gave up the 3-run home run to Prince Fielder (MIL). It easily could have been one of those more accomplished aces as mentioned. However, that is the way it turned out, as the National League took advantage early and defeated the American League by a score of 5-1. The MVP of the game was Fielder, because of his huge home run that put the NL on top early and as it turned out, for good.
My pick for MVP was Roy Halladay (PHI), as he started for the National League and was dominant as only the Doc can be. He faced the minimum six batters over two innings, including Curtis Granderson (NYY), Adrian Gonzalez (BOS) and Jose Bautista (TOR); all potential MVP candidates. Halladay managed to throw only 19 pitches as part of his historical pitching performance.
In the 2nd inning, the defensive play of the game occurred when Brian McCann (ATL) hit a towering flyball in foul territory that Bautista caught as he slid into the wall. Aside from being one of the top home run hitters in baseall, Bautista is also an accomplished fielder who is capable of winning a gold glove at either third base or right field.
The scoring in the game started in the top of the 4th inning, when Adrian Gonzalez blasted a Cliff Lee (PHI) cutter over the right center field wall for a solo blast. The AL followed with three straight singles, the last of which was off Tyler Clippard (WAS). Hunter Pence fielded the ball and threw a laser to the plate to catch Bautista who tried to score from second for the third out. In the bottom of the inning, Carlos Beltran (NYM) and Matt Kemp (LAD) hit singles to set up Fielder`s massive bomb.
Jordan Walden (LAA), another player who probably didn`t deserve to play as much as the other big name starters, began to light up the radar gun last night, hitting 100 mph on his first four fastballs. Starlin Castro (CHC) came in to pinch run at first base after Troy Tulowitzki (COL) hit a leadoff single. Castro proceeded to immediately steal second and third base. He then set up another play at the plate, where Walden bare handed a weak ground ball by Rickie Weeks (MIL) and threw Castro out. Weeks stole second and came around to score when Andre Ethier (LAD) hit a single to right field, making the score 4-1.
The scoring continued in the bottom of the seventh inning when Pablo Sandoval (SF) hit a ground rule double over the wall in the left field corner. This scored Hunter Pence (HOU) after his leadoff single and a passed ball that allowed him to move to second base, and eventually score.
Fan favorite Brian Wilson (SF) came in the top of the nineth inning with runners on second and third. A fly out and ground out later, and the game was in the books. Make the final score 5-1, as the National League wins for the All-Star Game for the second year in a row and secures home field advantage for its league in the up coming World Series in the fall.
This year`s All-Star Festivities were enjoyed by so many fans, and continually impressed me. I have had a great time covering the 2011 All-Star Game, everything from the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and of course, the All-Star Game itself. With Major League Baseball now entering the dog days of summer and the secon half of the season, it is time to speculate on trades and the calling up of prospects. Pure heaven for this baseball writer!
***EDITOR’S NOTE: With Chase Field still buzzing, the trade market has already begun. The Milwaukee Brewers announced right after the game taht they had acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez and cash considerations from the New York Mets for two players to be named later. With the Brewers acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the offseason, clearly Milwaukee is going for it. Will be interesting to see if Brewers allow K-Rod’s $17.5 million option to vest for 2012, which is based on number of games finished in 2011. If K-Rod finishes 55 games, the option will vest. As he has already finsihed 34 this season, so the option could vest depending on how the Brewers use K-Rod and how close they remain to a playoff berth. It will be interesting to see what prospects go from Milwaukee to New York. Long-term this deal could hurt Milwaukee depending on which top prospects they give up. But in the short-term, this deal will make the Brewers’ fanbase happy and their slugging free agent to be, Prince Fielder, may have more thinking to do before selecting his new team for 2012. The ground work has been set with respect to the trade market. Now we will see if the K-Rod deal has indeed open the trading floodgates for the rest of baseball. ***
W: T. Clippard
L: C. Wilson
S: B. Wilson
|R Weeks 2B||3||1||0||0||0||1||12||.000||.000||.000|
B Phillips 2B
|C Beltran DH||2||1||1||0||0||1||7||.500||.500||.500|
a-A Ethier PH-DH
b-G Sanchez PH-DH
|M Kemp CF||2||1||1||0||1||0||15||.500||.667||.500|
A McCutchen CF
|P Fielder 1B||2||1||1||3||0||0||6||.500||.500||2.000|
J Votto 1B
|B McCann C||2||0||0||0||0||0||8||.000||.000||.000|
Y Molina C
c-J Bruce PH-RF
|L Berkman RF||1||0||1||0||0||0||3||1.000||1.000||1.000|
J Upton RF
M Montero C
|M Holliday LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||7||.000||.000||.000|
H Pence LF
|T Tulowitzki SS||2||0||1||0||0||0||5||.500||.500||.500|
S Castro PR-SS
|S Rolen 3B||2||0||0||0||0||2||8||.000||.000||.000|
P Sandoval 3B
|a-singled to right for C Beltran in the 5th
b-popped out to second for A Ethier in the 7th
c-struck out looking for Y Molina in the 8th
2B: Y Molina (1, C Perez); P Sandoval (1, B League)
HR: P Fielder (1, 4th inning off C Wilson 2 on, 0 Out)
RBI: P Fielder 3 (3), A Ethier (1), P Sandoval (1)
2-out RBI: A Ethier
All-Stars RISP: 3-8 (P Fielder 1-1, J Upton 0-1, S Rolen 0-1, B Phillips 0-1, R Weeks 0-1, A Ethier 1-1, G Sanchez 0-1, P Sandoval 1-1)
Team LOB: 3
SB: S Castro 2 (2, 2nd base off J Walden/A Avila, 3rd base off J Walden/A Avila); R Weeks (1, 2nd base off J Walden/A Avila)
CS: L Berkman (1, 2nd base by D Robertson/A Avila)
E: S Castro (1, throw); J Bruce (1, throw)
Outfield Assist: H Pence (J Bautista at Home).
First-pitch strikes/Batters faced: R Halladay 4/6; C Lee 4/8; T Clippard 1/1; C Kershaw 1/3; J Jurrjens 5/6; C Kimbrel 0/2; J Venters 2/2; H Bell 0/1; J Hanrahan 1/3; B Wilson 2/2
Called strikes-Swinging strikes-Foul balls-In Play strikes: R Halladay 4-3-2-5; C Lee 4-1-3-8; T Clippard 1-1-0-1; C Kershaw 1-1-2-2; J Jurrjens 3-5-3-4; C Kimbrel 1-2-4-1; J Venters 1-2-0-1; H Bell 1-0-0-1; J Hanrahan 1-2-4-2; B Wilson 1-1-1-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: R Halladay 3-2; C Lee 4-1; T Clippard 0-0; C Kershaw 2-0; J Jurrjens 2-2; C Kimbrel 1-0; J Venters 1-0; H Bell 0-1; J Hanrahan 0-0; B Wilson 1-1
Game Scores: R Halladay 57
|C Granderson CF||2||0||0||0||0||0||3||.000||.000||.000|
J Ellsbury CF
|A Cabrera SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||6||.000||.000||.000|
J Peralta SS
|A Gonzalez 1B||2||1||1||1||0||0||6||.500||.500||2.000|
M Cabrera 1B
M Young 3B
|J Bautista RF||2||0||1||0||0||0||5||.500||.500||.500|
C Quentin RF
|J Hamilton LF||2||0||1||0||0||0||4||.500||.500||.500|
M Joyce LF
|A Beltre 3B||2||0||1||0||0||0||10||.500||.500||.500|
K Youkilis 3B
M Cuddyer 1B
|D Ortiz DH||2||0||0||0||0||1||10||.000||.000||.000|
a-P Konerko PH-DH
|R Cano 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||4||.000||.000||.000|
H Kendrick 2B
|A Avila C||2||0||0||0||0||0||7||.000||.000||.000|
M Wieters C
|a-walked for D Ortiz in the 7th|
HR: A Gonzalez (1, 4th inning off C Lee 0 on, 2 Out)
RBI: A Gonzalez (1)
2-out RBI: A Gonzalez
All-Stars RISP: 2-5 (M Joyce 1-1, A Beltre 1-1, H Kendrick 0-1, M Cuddyer 0-1, P Konerko 0-1)
Team LOB: 6
DP: 1 (A Avila-R Cano).
PB: M Wieters.
Outfield Assist: J Bautista (A Ethier at 2nd base).
First-pitch strikes/Batters faced: J Weaver 4/4; D Robertson 1/3; M Pineda 3/3; C Wilson 3/6; J Walden 2/4; C Perez 2/4; B League 3/5; A Ogando 2/2; G Gonzalez 1/1
Called strikes-Swinging strikes-Foul balls-In Play strikes: J Weaver 3-3-0-2; D Robertson 2-1-3-1; M Pineda 3-3-1-1; C Wilson 4-2-4-4; J Walden 2-3-5-3; C Perez 2-2-2-3; B League 1-4-4-4; A Ogando 2-0-1-2; G Gonzalez 2-1-0-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: J Weaver 1-1; D Robertson 0-1; M Pineda 0-1; C Wilson 0-2; J Walden 1-0; C Perez 0-2; B League 0-2; A Ogando 2-0; G Gonzalez 0-0
Game Scores: J Weaver 53
***Thank you to Rob Bland for preparing today’s article on the All-Star Game. You can follow Rob on Twitter.***
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.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.