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ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Major Announcement on MLB reports and Melky Cabrera Special Feature

Saturday November 17th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen:

The World, it is changing. It’s a fact of life, it’s something we can’t avoid. Change is inevitable.

Remember when the Chicago White Sox announced a new management structure? Long time General Manager Kenny Williams was promoted to Executive Vice President, with Rick Hahn being the new GM? We are experiencing a new management similarly here at MLB reports. I have been fortunate for the past couple of years to wear many hats at MLB reports. After founding the site and being the Lead Columnist, I was also the Editor responsible for content, updating the website and social media. I have spoken with many of you on Twitter.  Yes, that was me.

So today I am thrilled to announce that MLB reports has now changed that structure. Chuck Booth, Lead Writer for MLB reports will now be taking over my role. Chuck, in addition to his weekly columns, will now be the Editor and looking after our social media.  Chuck has been very active behind the scenes on MLB reports for some time and we have decided to evolve our roles. As partners in MLB reports, I have been very fortunate to be able to work side-by-side with a great baseball mind like Chuck Booth. This man is a Guinness World Record Holder, having viewed baseball games in all 30 stadiums in only 23 days. How does he do it? The man is a baseball legend.

Going forward, when you are reading our daily tweets, that will be Chuck. When you converse with MLB reports on Twitter, that will be Chuck. The great baseball articles that come every week from MLB reports? Chuck will be the Editor and responsible for all content on MLB reports. So where does that leave me you ask? I guess you could ask Kenny Williams that same question. While Kenny had the passion to have more time for scouting, I have the same passion for writing. There is much work that goes into being an Editor and social media. While I loved those roles, I ultimately want to spend more time writing. I will also be working behind the scenes, focusing on growing the MLB reports brand. It’s change…and change is good.

Not to worry, you will still be able to find me and converse baseball anytime. I am blowing the dust off my twitter handle @jhacohen – be sure to follow me, say hello and most importantly, let me know that I sent ya!

Now for the next announcement. You didn’t think that was it, did you? I certainly hope that you enjoy this edition of Ask the Reports, as it will be the last one that I will be producing. With hot stove season in full force, Chuck and I have decided to put ATR on hiatus for the offseason to concentrate on other baseball areas. The WBC qualifiers are currently going on, with the tournament itself starting in March. Free agency season has begun (which will the topic of today’s ATR). So please continue to send in your questions, we love to hear from you! While we will continue to write back on our site in the comments section, on our Facebook wall and Twitter, we will say goodbye to ATR for the winter months. This has been a weekly feature that was a baby for me. I loved conversing with each of you and featuring your questions. Thank you for taking the time each of you to sending in your questions, we really appreciate it. We look forward to continuing to talk baseball with all of you 24/7  through social media and our site. Send in those questions people, keep sending them in!

In today’s edition of ATR, I focus on the signing that shook the baseball world. Fresh off their major trade with the Marlins, the Blue Jays announced that they signed free agent outfielder, Melky Cabrera. We all know the story- All-Star Game MVP, batting leader with the San Francisco Giants. Gets busted for PEDs, tries to cover up with a fake website, requests to be removed from the batting leaderboard in the NL, does not play in the 2012 playoffs and wins a World Series ring. The sordid tale of Melky Cabrera. Now for a fresh start, Melky is banished to Canada. Ok, I kid. Heck, Chuck and I are both from Canada! But with less pressure than say New York or Boston, Melky gets a fresh start in 2013. My e-mail box has exploded with your Melky Cabrera questions over the last 24 hours. As a result, I have devoted this week’s ATR to your most popular Melky Cabrera questions. This is our Melky Cabrera Special Feature, ATR edition.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

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

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ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Realignment, Ross to the Red Sox, Izturis to the Jays, Breaking Up the Rays and Remembering Matt Garza

Monday November 12th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: I will admit that this is a great time of year. I love speculating on free agency signing and the trades that are coming up. But I am getting to the point that there are three words that I no longer feel like speaking: Hamilton, Greinke and Upton. You know exactly who I am talking about. The most popular catches on the market: free agents Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and B.J. Upton (with his brother Justin Upton apparently available on the trade market). My flavor is lesser lights, like Mike Napoli, Joakim Soria, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Madson and so forth. I really think that someone will get a steal in Mike Napoli. I also think that someone will be very frustrated with Edwin Jackson. And if a team gives Anibal Sanchez anything close to the reported $90+ million that he is seeking- get ready for a Vernon Wells contract disaster to appear. 

With all the talk of free agency and hot stove, remember that the WBC qualifiers are still being played. Groups 3 and 4 are set to do battle, starting in 4 short days. Panama and Taiwan are the lucky venues that will be hosting these upcoming classic games. My picks to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic? Panama in Group 3 and Thailand in Group 4. A very balanced group of countries that will be competing and in a short series, anything can happen. I like the addition of Johnny Damon to the Thailand squad, I really think that he will be a difference maker. Those are my two cents at least.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: MLB Free Agency Season Is Upon Us!

Sunday November 4th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: Here we go again. We spend the whole offseason waiting and hoping for the MLB season to start. We speculate where free agents will sign, which teams will pull off trades and which teams have reason for optimism once the season. We dissect every move and weigh the dollars/years on each contract. Welcome to hot stove baby! But then the season comes and goes in a flash- then we end up right back to the offseason again. Right back to free agency talk again.

This week we have a nice mix of topics. From covering free agents, to trades, division realignment- our readers really went through the whole spectrum of baseball topics. We couldn’t possibly jump into ATR during free agency season without hearing the names Hamilton, Greinke or Upton? Of course not! So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Special World Series Edition

Saturday October 27th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: In a few short hours, Game 3 of the World Series will be played from one of my fave parks in baseball, Comerica Park in Detroit. It has been a very interesting season and playoffs for me. While I readily admit that I bleed blue and orange, I did not pick the Tigers to make the playoffs this year. That fact usually stuns other Tiger fans. “How can you support the team and not pick them to win the World Series”…that is a question that I am often asked. The answer is simple: while I enjoy Comerica and have a soft spot for the Tigers, I am first and foremost a baseball writer. Baseball fandom is not something that one can turn on and off like a light switch. But if one is going to do their job properly, they need to stay fair and impartial. So while my heart wanted the Tigers to win the AL Central, my brain said that the White Sox were this year’s team of destiny. Goes to show that you never know what will happen in baseball. 

As the Tigers kept winning, I kept doubting them further. So just to prove a point, Detroit swept the Yankees in the ALCS and made it to the World Series as the favorites. At that point, I saw the Tigers beating the Giants, likely in 5 games to win the World Series. But then a couple of pitchers named Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito came along. They proved that the Giants had a ton of fight in them, They also proved that I had no business trying my hand at any predictions during the 2012 playoffs. The Giants are up 2-0 in the series, with Ryan Vogelsong taking the mound against Anibal Sanchez. My heart and brain are saying that the Giants will win big tonight and jump out to a 3-0 lead. Does that mean that the Tigers will win one and get back into this series?  We will find out very shortly.

A great pitching matchup tonight, with Ryan Vogelsong and Anibal Sanchez as the probable starters. Sanchez has enjoyed a great run as of late for the Tigers, while Vogelsong has been solid for the most part. I am seeing here a big win for Vogelsong. He is a great success story for the Giants, their version of R.A. Dickey. Having watched Sanchez implode on too many occasions, I have a hard time trusting him. Although he is batting for the almighty free agency contract, so perhaps he has a quality start in him. If the Tigers don’t pull it off, they have the near impossible task of facing Matt Cain on Sunday down 3-0. Max Scherzer will take the mound tomorrow night for the Tigers. He could be helping the Tigers even the series 2-2, or watch the Giants sweep their way to another World Series championship. In a short series, anything can happen.

Given the amount of World Series questions that we have received this week, I decided to feature the most popular questions surrounding the Tigers and Giants. If these guys can make it to the finals, the least we can do is discuss/analyze them.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: The Yoenis Cespedes Showcase Video, Evolution of the Yankees, Swisher to Boston and More!

Saturday October 20th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: Baseball, much like life, is always full of change. Just think of all the changes that Major League Baseball has undergone during the past few years. Expansion. Realignment. Wild Card. Second Wild Card. Luxury Tax. Home field advantage in the World Series from the All-Star game. And to think, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Astros are moving next year to the AL West. Daily interleague play. The Athletics may move to San Jose. There is no doubt that the baseball we knew once upon a time is gone and buried. We are in a new golden era of baseball, one that promises to continue to evolve and thrive. Much like the sport it covers, MLB reports is on the same fast track. 

If you follow MLB reports daily (which you DEFINITELY should), you have noticed the changes that we have enjoyed over the past few months. New writers, pages, website format- if there is one thing that we don’t do here, is sit on our hands. We recently had Kyle Holland come on board as our Baseball Intern and Alex Mednick as a Baseball Writer and Analyst. Haley Smilow is on board as our MLB Junior Correspondent. We have a diverse stable of writers, all with different experiences and styles. That raises the bar on the content that we bring you each and every day on MLB reports. We love our team, which continues to grow all the time. We have a devoted Cooperstown page, featuring our Cooperstown Correspondent, Patrick Languzzi. Love Fantasy Baseball?  Peter Stein has you covered every week highlighting his fantasy baseball notes and advice. Our Fantasy Baseball page features Peter’s work. Lead Writer Chuck Booth, a Guinness World Record holder in baseball travel brings you exciting and informative articles every Wednesday and Friday night. The list literally goes on and on. If it involves baseball, MLB reports has you covered. 

We feature at least two articles per day, posted at the start of each day around 9:00am ET and in the evening at 8:00pm ET. Life gets busy- we know that. We strive at MLB reports to always have an article ready on your computer to go along with your morning coffee at work, and a feature in the evening while you unwind. Plus you never know when surprise bonus features will hit our site next. When we say MLB 4 Life, we meet it! Make sure to follow @mlbreports on Twitter and to subscribe to our website- http://www.mlbreports.com. The link is at the top of the site. It’s free. And it’s an excellent investment in your baseball knowledge!

With all the exciting changes at MLB reports, the truth is… that there is even more to come. We always are on the lookout for bright new talent. New concepts. New topics. Just like MLB, we always want to improve and evolve. But it’s a gradual process. Starting Monday though, you will see that we will be adding a new something to MLB reports. I can’t tell you what…I’m very sorry. But you will find out very soon. My advice? Bookmark mlbreports.com and/or make it your homepage. Get into work on Monday October 22nd. Grab a cup of coffee and turn on your computer. When your boss thinks you are working, you will be preparing for our feature of the day. At 9:00am ET, you will find a new addition to MLB reports. It is both different and exciting. The feature is called “The Interview of a Lifetime” and one that you certainly cannot miss. Get ready to be shocked, entertained and informed. The best part? This is only the beginning. I feel like the Riddler…and have already said too much….

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Hamilton Leaving Texas, Valentine’s Future, Crawford’s Return and More!

Saturday October 13th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: Today is one of those days where I am going to mix things up slightly. Go in a different direction- use a new style. Heck, it is playoff time! I got thinking last weekend after talking to one of our favorite readers. Lonnie Collins love Cincinnati. He eats, breathes and sleeps the Reds. But despite the love of his team, he is an overall baseball fan. Players of old and new- any team- anytime, Lonnie is up for baseball talk. When we were chatting on twitter the other day (Lonnie’s handle is @aplayatobenamed), he sent me a rapid fire list of questions. Bang bang bang…one after the other. He covered off such an interesting and diverse list of topics, that he got me thinking. Gosh, this man loves baseball!

So in honor of the great baseball fan Lonnie Collins, this week’s edition of ATR is devoted exclusively to his questions. 

Lonnie, thank you for your readership and support. The whole MLB reports team appreciates it! 

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Sunday October 7th

Sunday October 7th, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: The regular season is done. Toast. That’s it. We even finished the one game sudden death Wild Card playoffs. We are now officially in full swing, MLB playoff mode.

It is a bittersweet feeling. I love the playoffs. But it is hard to go without having 12-15 MLB games going every day.  And then I shudder to think what life is like when the playoffs are finished. We are less than 3 weeks away from the World Series.  Can you believe it? This was an incredible season, with many highs and lows.  From all those no-hitters to the countless players undergoing Tommy John surgery. The surprising A’s and Orioles. The disappointing Angels and Phillies. We had quite the year. Valentine Gate. Melky’s suspension. Miggy’s triple crown. Trout’s dominance. Dickey’s greatness. 2012 will go down as one of my favorite baseball seasons of all time.

Before we turn over to your questions, let’s address those Wild Card games. For all the talk of Atlanta’s great season, they are done. One game and over. The St. Louis Cardinals, the defending World Series champs squeaked into the playoffs…and are now heading to the NLDS for a date with the Nationals. Over in the American League, the powerhouse Rangers are done. For a team that led the AL in wins for most of the year and held the AL West crown for almost the entire season, their late season collapse ended in disaster. With a two game lead going into the final season, the A’s sweep in Oakland of the Rangers meant a date at home for Texas with Baltimore. This shows the importance of a division title vs. a wild card spot. While the A’s face the Tigers in a 5-game series, the Rangers had only one chance and blew it. Given the fact that they had enjoyed back-to-back World Series appearances the last two seasons, 2012 will go down as a black mark in Rangers history. It goes to show you: a team can have all the hitting on the planet, but to win- they need pitching. Sure the Rangers hitting cooled off in the 2nd half, but they also did not have enough reliable pitchers to be ready for the playoffs. Now imagine the Rays had a better offense. That’s the type of team that was built to compete in the playoffs. Great, young and healthy pitching is usually the secret to success in today’s game. But without enough hitting, the road was too hard for the Rays. 

As a result, teams like the Orioles and the A’s are in, while the Rays and Rangers are out. The teams may not have the best pitching or hitting- but with a steady amount of both, playoff dreams became a reality. What the A’s and Orioles both enjoy is lights-out bullpens. So called experts may call bullpens/relievers/closers as overrated. Looking at the Orioles success in 1-run games and the A’s in extra innings, I would have to disagree. If a team can lock down a game from the 6th inning an on with a lead consistency, that is what we call a dangerous team. I have no idea if the A’s and O’s face-off in the ALCS. If they do, that should be one explosive series. My crystal ball sees the winner of the A’s/Tigers going to the World Series. In the NL, I see it as the Reds all the way. They are just too stacked and consistent. Anything can happen in a short series, but those are my picks for baseball’s biggest showdown of the season. Stay tuned!

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Yadier for NL MVP, Wild Card Rosters, USA in WBC 2013, Triple Crown for Miggy and Scioscia to Boston?

Sunday September 30th, 2012



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! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I am going to channel some Jose Canseco right now. No- I don’t think that I can travel to the future. Or that everyone is out to get me. But I want to send a message to the “haters”. You know who you are. The so-called baseball traditionalists that cry every time our great sport makes any kind of adjustment. Every time there is realignment, relocation, expanded rosters, playoffs…the haters scream to the heavens. They say: leave the game alone! While I love the game the way it is, without a doubt, I still feel the need for improvements. But I take them on case by case basis.  The designated hitter? I say abolish the whole thing and go back to pitchers hitting in both leagues. I love the NL style of play, with real in-game decisions and strategies. But maybe that’s just me. While I may want to go back in time when it comes to the DH, I definitely look to the future on many subjects. For interleague play (assuming DH stays), I would play NL rules in AL parks and vice versa. Let’s mix it up! I say let’s increase rosters- up to 28-30 players per team. Poor attendance teams? Relocate. Expand by 2 teams to bring an even 16/16 split between leagues. From there, completely realign into 4 divisions of 4 teams each. And so the possibility of changes in baseball is endless.

Keeping that in mind, I come to a very hotly contested topic in baseball circles these days:  the Wild Card. Originally set up as one Wild Card team per league, this year we have expanded to two Wild Card spots per league. Coming up on October 5th, we will see the first ever sudden death one game Wild Card playoffs. Haters simply despise these upcoming games. Is it too much change? Is it unfair to the integrity of the game and the playoffs? We could debate that one for weeks…nay… months…nay… years.  But I will tell you this. If you take a look at the MLB standings as they are today, let’s reason the value of the Wild Card spots. In the NL for the last two weeks or so (more), it was a foregone conclusion that the Reds, Giants and Nats were taking the division crowns. Where would that have left the Braves? Cardinals? Dodgers? Brewers? Heck…even the Phillies and Pirates. Having the Wild Cards in place allowed fans for all those cities to remain interested and excited about baseball for weeks while their teams competing for Wild Card positions. No Wild Cards would equal many teams that would have been out of it long ago. Is that good for the game? To have fans in so many cities turned off from the game in August when they know the playoffs aren’t an option? I’m not so sure about that.

In the AL, the Orioles and A’s all still have a chance at division leads. The Angels and Rays still are very much in the playoff hunt. But no Wild Cards….would mean so many of those teams would not have had much of a shot. Unless we see total collapses, most are expecting the A’s and Orioles to face off in the Wild Card game. Considering how both have played, would you want to miss that one? Can you imagine if October came and the Braves, A’s and Orioles were not competing for a playoff position? Me neither. When I think about what we would lose by having so many of these teams going home if the Wild Card spots didn’t exist I shudder. I am not saying we should blow up the game. But before criticizing change just because its different, think about the pros and cons of the move. In this case, I say thumbs up to the extra Wild Card games. If you don’t believe me, check out the games on October 5th. They will be some of the best baseball that you will ever watch. That I guarantee.

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

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

Sunday September 23rd, 2012



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! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I am in a GREAT mood this weekend! Can you blame me? The MLB season is nearing the playoffs and the WBC qualifiers are well under way! While I love watching MLB action, my heart still favors the World Baseball Classic. If you have ever watched a game involving a team…say like Cuba, Venezuela or the Dominican Republic, you would understand why. In my book, nothing beats international baseball action. The passion of the fans and players simply cannot be beat. To have ones country advance in the tournament is one of the highest levels of joy that a baseball fan can experience.

Going into this week, I was keeping a special eye on Israel and Canada. As I am Jewish (check the last name), I will always root for anything and everything involving Israel. I almost fell out of my seat with excitement when I first heard that Israel was invited to the WBC qualifiers. Now watching this team in action, they certainly have a great chance to qualify for March. I have enjoyed speaking with Cody Decker, Padres prospect and a member of Team Israel over the past few days. To say that Cody is excited to be playing for Israel is an understatement. He spoke very highly of the atmosphere, the level of talent on the team and the feeling of playing with “Israel” across his chest. As Israel plays Spain today for the right to advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, I wish my fellow countrymen the best of luck. Behind ya 110%!

Canada has also advanced to the finals of its group, awaiting the winner of the Germany and Great Britain today. Canada will meet the winner on Monday afternoon. Due to its poor play in the 2009 edition of the WBC, Canada was forced to qualify for the upcoming tournament. After 2 strong games on its resume, Canada looks good to advance (will likely play Germany in the finals). As my family and I live in Canada, we have the bias of wanting to see a good showing from the northern squad. Hopefully my wish comes true, and both Canada and Israel end up qualifying. The fact of the matter is that the countries are in different positions. This is Israel’s first try at WBC action, and the team came in with little pressure and everything to gain. Israel will be thrilled to qualify, while Canada must qualify. Canada is known internationally as a strong baseball market and anything less than a victory on Monday for it would be a huge disappointment. To qualify, both Israel and Canada will need defeat strong opponents. Hopefully it will all work out at the end.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Chapman, Hamilton, WBC, Billy Corgan and Neiko Johnson

Sunday September 16th, 2012



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! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I hate being sick. In writing terms, I have been placed on the 5-10 day DL with a chest infection. It actually feels worse than it sounds. I have the cough of George Burns and probably his energy level as well. But the show must go on! ATR appears every weekend and dammit, I’m not letting a little thing like illness get in my way. Write through pain, that’s my philosophy. 

Before I get to your questions, I just want to take a quick look at the MLB standings as of this morning:

  • The Yankees are hanging onto the AL East by the skin of their teeth, with a 1 game lead over the Orioles. But for all the talk of those two teams, don’t forget about the Rays. They are only 4 GB. The Rays have pulled it off before and if I am placing my wager, I give it to Tampa Bay. Just too much pitching in my estimation.
  • As we continue to scan through the standings, I notice that the AL races are far more interesting than the NL ones. I’m not sure if that says much, but perhaps the AL teams will continue to battle each other to a pulp, and become easy pickings for the NL (who enjoys home field advantage in the World Series).  Just a thought.
  • The White Sox hold a 1 game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. Yes, I bleed Tigers Blue and Orange. But I will admit that my crystal ball sees this season as the year of the White Sox. Sorry Tigers supporters, its nothing personal. Just business. Adam Dunn is back and as long as Chicago can continue their season long magic for a couple of more weeks, they will be playoff-bound.
  • The most interesting division has become the AL West. The Rangers, the 2-time AL champions now hold a slim 2 game lead over the Athletics (after losing to the Mariners and the A’s beating up on the O’s in a key weekend matchup). Chuck Booth and I have called what the A’s are doing as “Moneyball 2″. Let’s consider that when Moneyball the Movie came out last fall, critics were quick to mock Billy Beane and the A’s as being outdated and the movie being a historical piece, with no relevance to the current team. Guess who’s having the last laugh people? That’s right. Billy Beane. The A’s might actually have the guts to pull this thing off and take the division. It would be an incredible shot in the arm for Oakland and a tragedy in Texas. Keep an eye on this race people: if we have learned nothing else this season, the A’s are not going away.
  • The AL Wild Card spots are currently held down by the A’s and Orioles, with the Angels (2.5 gb), Rays (3 GB) and Tigers (3.5 GB) all in shooting distance. If we assume that the Rays, White Sox and Rangers end up taking their respective divisions, we are left with the A’s, Yankees, Orioles, Tigers and Angels as the contenders for the Wild Card spots. I see from there the Yankees and A’s taking the wild cards, with Oakland advancing to the ALDS. It is not an exact science, but playoff predictions are sure fun to create.
  • In the NL, we start with the Nationals, who enjoy a 6.5 game lead on the Braves. Not out of reach, but the Nats are still likely to take the AL East. They have been one of the best stories in baseball this year. Let’s see how far they go sans their ace.
  • In the Central, the Reds have a stranglehold on their division, with a 11.5 game lead over the Cardinals. Dusty Baker and company have a magic number of 6. ‘Nuff said.
  • Over in the NL West, the Giants are pulling away with a 7.5 game lead over the Dodgers. Now Clayton Kershaw may need surgery and be out for the season. It looks like the Dodgers’ big ticket items will not pay off until 2013 at the earliest.
  • The NL wild card race is messier than an algebra exam. The Braves hold a fairly good lead on the 1st spot, almost assuring Chipper Jones of at least one game of playoff action in his final season. The final spot is held in a tie, between the Cardinals and Dodgers. While there are several teams still in contention for that final spot (Pirates 2 GB, Brewers 2.5 GB, Phillies 3 GB, Diamondbacks 4.5 GB and even the Padres 6 GB). Predicting this spot is like taking a shot in the dark. Many are going with the Phillies, given their strong pitching staff (the three aces). I am not counting out any teams at this point, but I will say keep an eye on the Dbacks. It would not surprise me if they somehow face the Braves in the one-game sudden-death playoff series.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Strasburg, Valentine, Rolen to Cooperstown, Josh Hamilton to the Red Sox and More

Sunday September 9th, 2012



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

Jonathan Hacohen: Many great questions this week people, as always. With the playoffs and WBC qualifiers around the corner, people are baseball crazy! Every week it is getting harder and harder to select the questions for ATR. People are feeling baseball fever and I see it in every corner. From the comments on our site, your e-mails, tweets and posts on Facebook, we hear from each of you in so many ways. Ah….gotta love the age of social media! Make sure to keep the questions and comments coming every week. You never know when your baseball insight will appear on MLB reports!

Before I get into this week’s questions, a quick comment. Saturday become lockdown day for Stephen Strasburg. From the second I jumped into my car yesterday and turned on MLB Network Radio, all I heard was Davey Johnson shutting down Stras for the year. I like Davey, but I have to say that blaming the media pressure is weak. In case you weren’t aware, Strasburg was supposed to have one more start next week before officially being shutdown for the season. Now, he is done for the year.  Just like that.

People ask me all the time if I think the Nationals are doing the right thing. My response is a clear: NO! I cannot ascertain for the life of me what the Nats are thinking. They are committing the equivalent of baseball suicide in my book. When you have the chance to go far in the playoffs, you go for it. Period. There is no medical evidence of any clear cutoff point for Strasburg’s season. The reality is that any innings limit is a guess by the team. There is no true merit for shutting him down. Even Dr. Lewis Yocum has indicated that there is no clear sign of whether Strasburg should not pitch further. But let’s say we are even going to say that 160 innings was Strasburg’s limit. The Nationals knew this for some time and could have arranged their rotation to fit the limit. Skipping starts earlier in the season and limiting innings per start would have allow Strasburg to pitch further into the year, including the postseason. What was the use of having him pitch into games when the Nats had a commanding lead in the NL East? 

The Nats have a 5.5 game lead as of today. If the lead gets cut any further, wouldn’t it have been nice to have your team pitching for you at the end of the year? What about a Wild Card one-game sudden death playoff? NLDS? NLCS? World Series? The bottom line is this: if the Nationals do not win the world series, Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo will have Strasburg-Gate hanging over them for the rest of their lives. Never mind the fact that the kid is upset and may never forgive the team for not letting him compete. There is a roster full of guys busting their behinds for a championship. Removing one of their top weapons for the playoffs hurts team morale, confidence and the ability to compete. We never know what next year or future years will bring. 2012 is a special year for Washington. You always go for it when you can.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: WBC, Pascucci, MLB Standings, Bonds, Clemens, Pedroia, Bautista and Wild Cards

Monday September 3rd, 2012



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!

Jonathan Hacohen: I have some baseball thoughts on my mind.  Ok…I have baseball thoughts seemingly always on my mind! Call it what you like. A gift. A curse. I am what I am. And I do love baseball a ton. So before we jump into your weekly questions, here are three topics that I wanted to throw out to the baseball world:

1)  In my respectful opinion, the organizers of the World Baseball Classic should be ashamed of themselves. Yes, I said it. Two of the qualifying groups have their games being played this month before the end of the regular MLB season. How does that make any sense? Firstly, you lose MLB players who still have their games going, who otherwise would have been eligible and possibly participated. For a country like Canada, that is a huge blow which could mean to elimination before the tournament itself even begins next spring. Add to the fact that coverage of the tournament has been literally non-existent, and people need to ask themselves what exactly they are doing. If marketed right, the WBC should be big. Huge in fact. But it’s not. With the addition of 12 new eligible countries in the qualifiers, there should be a huge amount of hype going into the games. But now, people don’t know when these games are being played, where, rosters and even that these games even exist. If we are going to promote baseball to the world, let’s do it right. There is no baseball in the Olympics, so let’s get the WBC to be a bigger global stage. Until that happens, the WBC will not fulfill its potential. Ever. Groups 3 and 4 are playing their qualifiers in mid-November. Now that makes sense.

Quite frankly, I don’t care about excuses on timing, locations etc. There are thousands of ballparks around the world. The games could all have been played much after the World Series and had its own captive baseball audience to shine. I certainly hope that is considered in the 4th edition of this great tournament.

2)  Valentino Pascucci:  Big Val (@PoppaValentino) on Twitter, is a huge guy. 6’6″ and 255 lbs. to be exact. He recently passed the 250 home run mark in the minors. Pretty big stuff. In 14 minor league seasons (8 of them in AAA), he has a .269 AVG, with a .390 OBP and .484 SLG. After representing Italy in the 2009 WBC, I expect to see Val back there in 2013. Glad to see that he will get to represent Italy and play at one of the highest levels of the game in the world. Whenever I think of Val, I always wonder why the man never truly got his “shot”. He got into 32 games with the Expos in 2004 (Expos??!!) and 10 games with the Mets last year. Even hitting 34 home runs in 2007 (AAA Marlins) didn’t do the trick. Could Big Val had become the next Big Papi if given his shot? We will never know. You can never have too much offense in baseball. I wish teams could have seen that and had tried Valentino Pascucci on their team one year. Who knows what could have resulted – 20-30 bombs, 70+ walks. But rather than thriving in the show, Valentino Pascucci will likely one day retire as one of the top home run hitters in the history of the minors. I wanted to take a moment and salute a great hitter in this game. Mr. Pascucci, whether the 2013 WBC will be your last or you stay in the game for another season or two, thank you the home runs and having one of the greatest baseball names we will ever hear. Well done sir.

3) If you were sleeping under a rock and looked at the MLB standings today, your jaw will drop on the floor. Yankees in first place in the AL East, with the Orioles only 2 games back. In September! White Sox and Tigers in a dead heat in the Central. Rangers on top of the West, but the A’s only 3 games back. The NL picture is a little more certain though. The Nationals (is that possible) are on top, ahead of the Braves by 6.5 games. While most of us have accepted the Nationals dominance this season long ago, someone new to the picture would still be doing a double take. Let’s not forget that this was once a losing franchise not so long ago, that just recently put it all together. In the Central, the Reds are close to becoming champs with a stranglehold 9.5 games on the Cardinals. And that is significant considering St. Louis is 10 games over .500! In the West, it’s the Dodgers and Giants, with San Francisco enjoying a 4.5 game lead. Two wild cards per league? If the season ended today, Baltimore and Oakland would meet in the sudden game playoff. If you had bet that in Vegas during spring training, you would be a millionaire soon. But the Wild Card race in the AL is far from done, with the Rays, White Sox/Tigers and Angels all in shooting distance. With much baseball to be played, anything can still happen. In the NL, Atlanta and St.Louis have the Dodgers and Pirates to contend with to clinch their respective Wild Cards. Yes, it has been an unbelievable season thus far with lots more ball to be played. Care to make your predictions at this point? Watch out. As last year taught us, it ain’t over till it’s over.

For our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week, we bring you Gar’s recent contest:  Who Takes Most Steps Out of MLB Batter’s Box? This one is fun and damn funny: 

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: 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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Lowe to the Yankees, Mauer Before Head and Shoulders, Extend Wright, Jose Canseco is Bankrupt (again) and Creative MLB Realignment

Sunday August 12th, 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!

Jonathan Hacohen: I am off to the Rogers Centre today to watch the Yankees battle the Jays. This game matters little in reality. The Yankees are in first place, with a 14 game lead over the last place Jays. The Yankees are on a 4 game winning streak, while the Jays have lost their last 5. Given the Jays bulging disabled list, they will likely be fielding a team that will more resemble a AAA squad. But I still go. I go because I love baseball. I go because it is the Yankees and I love the history and pride of the franchise. The truth is: I don’t care who is playing and where the game will take place. I go because I love baseball.

Speaking of the Yankees, I have something important on my mind. Derek Lowe. I will never stop thinking him as a member of the Red Sox, so today’s news took me somewhat by surprise. Lowe is now a member of the Yankees. So this is not your dad’s version of Derek Lowe. No, the 39-year old Lowe is nearly done. Unless he discovers the fountain of youth…or learns to throw a knuckleball. Lowe started off hot in Cleveland, but fizzled out quickly. Going to New York, his record on the year sits at 8-10 with a dismal 5.52 ERA. He has an unsightly 1.689 WHIP. He has walked more batters than he has struck out. But yet I hold out faith. Lowe was still very good as of 2010, but the wheels came off last year and never returned.

Apparently Lowe has accepted an assignment to the pen. Heck, for the league minimum- the Yankees have nothing to lose. Pettitte may not return and now Sabathia is having elbow issues. As the Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers and many other teams have proven this year- you can never have too much pitching. Pitchers get injured. Pitchers become ineffective. Remember how many Yankees fans were booing Bartolo Colon last year? Bet those same fans would love to have him back this year. Look at Ben Sheets on Atlanta. What’s old is new again. As long as Lowe’s arm is still intact, I say throw him in there. If he can get hot for even 2 weeks- that’s all what it might take in this game. Great signing by Brian Cashman. Derek Lowe could end up being a winning lottery ticket- or simply a lost dollar. Low risk, high reward is the name of the game folks.

For our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week, we bring you Gar’s All-Star compilation titled: “Best Batting Stances By Position”  

For bonus points this week: Tell us which former MLB player Gar is hanging with…and which stance he is imitating? First correct answer gets a secret prize: e-mail your answer to mlbreports@gmail.com

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Dempster Leaving Texas, MLB Attendance is Misleading, Trout vs. Harper, James McDonald Health, and Braves Won’t Go Away

Sunday August 5th, 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!

Jonathan Hacohen: I seemingly talk about the Oakland A’s every day…and for good reason. This is a team on fire! Back in early July I prepared a feature titled:  The Future of the Oakland A’s:  The Mustache Gang Meets The Bash Brothers – Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan.  Since that article ran, the A’s have been unstoppable. How good have the A’s been in the 2nd half? Since the start of the year, most experts (myself included) left the team for dead. The squad was seen to be in another rebuilding year and with no chance whatsoever against the powerful Rangers and Angels. But despite the doom and gloom in Oakland, I ran the feature in July to show that there was hope. There was a future. Little did I know, that 2-3 years from now would arrive today. 

Take a look at the current standing. Oakland sits in 2nd place in the A.L. West, 5.5 games out of first. Nobody saw that coming. It’s August for darn sake! The A’s have a 58-49 record and if the playoffs started today, they would hold a Wild Card spot. 32-24 at home, while only 26-25 on the road. Clearly the A’s like playing at home. Yet they are near the bottom in MLB home attendance. Despite the unbelievable baseball they are playing, A’s fans are refusing to fill their stadium. It’s a darn shame, because if winning baseball won’t draw fans…nothing will. Yes, the team needs a new stadium. But without hometown support, that stadium will come in San Jose or another location. It will be interesting to see come September and October as to whether the A’s can boost attendance.  I sure hope so.

How are the A’s winning you ask? Nearly everyone will say pitching. Yes, the A’s have quite the staff. The A’s have received strong pitching from the likes of Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, Brandon McCarthy (when healthy) and company. In the 9th inning, Ryan Cook has been lights-out. Proving once again that an unknown entity can be turned into a closer, Billy Beane has found another gem. Cook has 11 saves, 2.49 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. The A’s pitching has been solid, no doubt. Yes, the staff takes advantage of its pitching friendly home park. But regardless of location, the team is winning games. In large numbers and late in ballgames. That is the sign of a championship caliber squad.

But as much as the pitching gets the credit, I look to the hitting for the true reason for the team’s success. My article on the future of the A’s, pointed to the fact that Billy Beane is building the team around young and talented hitters. Those are hitters just happened to have come through early. Yoenis Cespedes is the glue that holds the squad together. The A’s record with him in the lineup is incredible. Josh Reddick. Johnny Gomes. Chris Carter. Brandon Inge. Don’t think that the A’s are going to go out and just win 1-0 games every time. This team has the hitting to back up its staff. Overall: The A’s do not look like they are going away any time soon. As long as they stay moderately healthy, this team remains a real threat to the make the playoffs in 2012.

For our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week, we continue the A’s theme with Gar’s tribute to the Oakland A’s greatest batting stances. Canseco, McGwire, Rickey, Hendu…they are all here. Are you a fan of the A’s? Or just love to see great imitations of classic stances? This video is for you:

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, Tommy Toledo, Ichiro to Yanks, Greinke, Billy Hamilton, Jeff Niemann, Pavano and Colby Lewis

Sunday July 29th, 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!

Jonathan Hacohen: Two days folks. That’s all the time that is left in the MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. All baseball eyes will be on news wire as we expect many more trades to go down by the deadline. I have set the over/under of the number of moves to happen since the Giants got Marco Scutaro at 20. What is your pick?

Many of the big names that were rumored to move have been dealt with. Zack Greinke is an Angel. Scutaro a Giant. Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante are Tigers. Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano are members of the Whit Sox. Hanley Ramirez joined the Dodgers. But Cole Hamels stayed in Philadelphia, while Huston Street and Carlos Quentin remain in San Diego. Who are the next big names to move? Will Ryan Dempster finally go to L.A. or Atlanta? Will Matt Garza move despite not being healthy? Josh Beckett? Aramis Ramirez? Shane Victorino? Does Houston even have anyone left to trade now that even Chris Johnson has been traded? We will get the answers to all these questions over the next 2 days.

From our prospects file, a name to keep an eye on is Tommy Toledo. No- he is not a rock star or adult movie actor. Tommy is a pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers system. He gets my vote for the best baseball name. Think about- what a name for a closer. Now pitching for the Brewers, #13…..Toooommmyy…..Tolleeeeedoooooo….. Yes, just a great ball name and yes, he can pitch too. Tommy tore up A-ball this year, pitching for Wisconsin of the Midwest League. 7-1 in 21 games, 1.95 ERA, 6 saves, 0.838 WHIP and 31/11 SO/BB. Standing 6’3″ and weighing close to 200 lbs, the 23-year old Tommy Toledo is a baseball prospect to follow. His Twitter handle is @TommyToledo13. Follow him, say hello…and make sure you say that the Reports sent ya!

For our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week, we present Gar’s look at the New 2012 MLB Batting Stances. BSG at the start of the season took at look at some new stances that will have you laughing all the way to the batting cage:

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: TJ, Curse of the Reports, WBC, Japan Boycott, Morneau and Brock, Coors Effect and the Havana A’s

Saturday July 21st, 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!


Jonathan Hacohen: I know…you guys and gals want to talk trades. It seems that everyone is keeping a close eye on the July 31st MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. The action has heated up in recent days. The Astros and Jays got together full a 10-player swap, on the same day that the Rockies and Royals swapped hurler Jonathan Sanchez for Jeremy Guthrie. Then today, the Astros were at it again- trading closer Brett Myers and a bucket full of cash to the White Sox for minor leaguers. What is it with these White Sox??!! They get star power onto their roster for little money or talent having to move the other way. Kenny Williams…we aren’t worthy. 2012 is becoming the Year of the Kenny. With only 10 days to go, what other moves will Kenny and the other Gms pull off? Keep a close eye on our dedicated page called “Rate That Trade“.  We not only give you information on the latest baseball swaps, but also throw in our own two cents in the process…and who doesn’t love an opinion in baseball?

For our weekly Batting Stance Guy video, we feature today Gar’s 10 Step Bryce Harper Home Imitation Kit. BSG is hilarious and a genius. Never mind a novelty act. If I was a GM, I would consider hiring this man as my hitting coach. This man knows stances inside and out. If anyone can produce solid hitting and look good in the process, BSG can do it:

My final thought before jumping into questions is Dr. James Andrews. I have said your name so many times this year that people must think that we are either related or colleagues. Living in Toronto, your name is discussed with respect to the Kyle Drabek and Luis Perez operations. Now word is that Jason Frasor, a 2-time TJ survivor is off to see you on Monday with “forearm tightness.”  I don’t think that Frasor will be going for a 3rd TJ, but man…this is getting scary. We have seen 30+ players (mostly pitchers) undergo this operation since March 2012 alone. Something doesn’t feel right. If I’m Major League Baseball, I am calling up a task force and getting a study on this. Pronto. Give me Dr. Andrews, Dr. Jobe, Tommy John, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Mike Maddux, Dave Duncan and every possible intelligent baseball/pitching/TJ mind there is and let’s discuss what is happening. Why is it happening. And most importantly, what can we do to prevent it. When we are coming to the point to say that nearly every MLB pitcher may undergo TJ surgery at some point in their career, I think that is a huge problem. We cuddle and baby pitchers. We bring them up slowly and limit their innings. We try to build up arm strength. Yet today’s MLB pitchers are breaking down faster than a Ford Pinto at a Nascar race. Check out our TJ Surgery Tracker. We update it weekly with new and old names found to have TJ surgery, and we have barely scratched the surface. You think the Jays have had it rough? Check out the Royals and Padres. This is one of the biggest issues going in today’s game. We intend to raise awareness and encourage the baseball community to find solutions. Some things are clearly not being done right. Why else are pitchers dropping at alarming rates? We are lucky that Tommy John surgery exists to save many of these pitchers’ careers. But let’s figure out why these pitchers are having TJ in the first place and try to keep them healthy and off the operating tables.

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

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Trade Beckett, Fire Selig, Chris Carter, New Orleans Baseball and MLB Expansion

Sunday July 8th, 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!

Jonathan Hacohen: I love this time of the week. As the weekend approaches, I sit and cultivate your top baseball questions from many areas. Some of you e-mail. Some of you tweet. Others post on Facebook and others leave comments on the site. If you write in, I will find you. So thank you all firstly for taking the time to reading our site and supporting MLB reports. At the end of the day, there is no MLB reports without you, the readers. Ask the Reports is one of our ways of saying thank you for being a part of us and to have as many of you directly involved with our site. I won’t lie- your questions can be diverse, interesting, different. Some may go over the line and some just make us shake our heads. But most make us think, laugh and enjoy baseball. So it with great pride that we get to feature your questions to all our readers. So please, feel free to write in each week with your questions. We will get to as many as we can!

We are also lucky to have so many strong writers on board. You can get to know them on our Meet Our Team page. We may have different styles and opinions. But at the end of the day, these writers work their behinds off every week: researching, analyzing and preparing your daily MLB reports. You may call them geniuses or you may yell at them. Everyone has a say and opinions/debates are the foundation of strong baseball fandom. Please feel free to say hello to all your favorite writers. They will appreciate it and love to hear from you.

As we approach the All-Star break, here are five of my random thoughts before we jump into ATR:

  1. I can’t help but feel but the White Sox are truly a team of destiny this year. They are playing .560 ball and will lead the AL Central going into the break. They were a good team for most of the year. But the acquisition of Kevin Youkilis may very well prove to be a difference maker for them. I am a Tigers guy- I bleed blue and orange. So for me to say this, you know I feel strongly about the White Sox chances. Konerko. Dunn. Pierzynski. Yes folks, keep an eye on the White Sox in the 2012 playoffs.
  2. Remember those Angels that everyone left for dead? They are only 4 games behind the Rangers and will be a dangerous force in the 2nd half. Albert Pujols should be a summer beast and the Angels will get a strong dose of offense, defense and pitching. I liked their chances to start the year and feel very strongly about them going into the second half. Plus, they have a secret weapon by the name of Mike Trout.
  3. Living in Toronto, it amazes me how funny Jays fans can be. Their starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, yet the fans are still screaming for trade reinforcements at the deadline. People, wake up and smell the disabled list. Rather than put on a couple of band-aids in the hope of finishing .500, time to unload some desirable pieces and stock for the next 2+ years. Edwin Encarnacion, Kelly Johnson, Yunel Escobar and Darren Oliver should all be considered moveable for the right price. It isn’t going to happen this year. This team is close. But until the top prospects are ready to perform at this level, keep shifting, moving and upgrading parts until you are ready.
  4. The Bryce Harper vs. Mike Trout debate continues to rage on. While Bryce was being talked about more earlier on, Trout is now the name on everyone’s lips. We won’t know for 10+ years as to who will be the better player. Health, attitude, development and luck will all play a part in deciding this debate. Until then, enjoy two of the biggest baseball stars that you will see for a long time. These are special kids with special talents. Savor what we have.
  5. Finally, everyone loves talking about the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. But the biggest game is actually being played today. The MLB All-Star Futures Game. Team U.S. vs. Team World. The biggest and brightest prospects in the game. For many fans, they may know the names but have never actually seen these players perform. This is your chance. This game does not get the attention that it deserves. But as time goes by and the MLB Draft continues to get bigger and bigger, the Futures Game will become true baseball must-see tv. In case you weren’t aware, there is a prospect in the Reds organization by the name of Billy Hamilton, who just completed his 2nd straight 100 steals season. Considering that we are at the All-Star break and he has stolen over 100 bases, you can imagine how highly considered Hamilton is. For some reason though, he is not getting the press and notoriety that he deserves. If this was a Red Sox prospect, he would be bigger than Harper and Trout before they were called up. His time is coming and when he arrives at the big leagues, we may be seeing the next Vince Coleman…or…gasp…Rickey Henderson. So clear your schedule this afternoon and make sure to make the Futures Game a yearly tradition. It is a great investment in baseball knowledge.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: 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

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

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 10th, 2012

Sunday June 10th, 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:

Q:  Hey there, glad to see a Torontonian loving baseball! I was born in Burlington, but grew up in Charlotte, NC… and am a lifelong Jays diehard! But hey, as a baseball guy growing up in NC… no way Durham got pro ball over Charlotte.. no chance… mayyyyyyyyyybe Raleigh (only b/c Charlotte already has 2 pro teams)… but in which case does MLB choose the lesser populated city in a State? Never. The MLB is the BIGS for a reason… and Charlotte could most certainly (fans, sponsors, funding) support a MLB team. It would be a ‘Baseball Town’…people live and breathe the sport here. I grew up playing here, it was a treat.

But here’s the catch, I just don’t know if Charlotte can support 3 major league teams… Panthers, Bobcats, and Baseball… If the Bobcats relocated… which could happen within 10 years… I could certainly see the city shift its focus to luring a pro ball team. The Knights (AAA) new stadium has pretty much gotten the city official’s approval and will be able to transform into a pro stadium if Charlotte becomes a relocation or expansion candidate.

But as a baseball fan, I would be all for the Bobcats moving and us getting MLB…. if I had to choose between NBA and MLB… pretty obvious…

But, LET’S GO JAYS!!!

Cheers,

Greg from Charlotte

JH: Hello Greg. Thank you for writing to us all the way from Charlotte! There are a couple of us here on the Reports from Toronto (present company included), but the majority of our writers are American. Hey, it is America’s favorite pastime!  But in all seriousness, you have touched upon one our most popular subjects:  MLB Expansion.  The World Baseball Classic is another one…and yes…we will cover that topic as well on this edition of the Reports.  But getting back to your comment, it was great to hear from a baseball fan directly from the area in question. Charlotte is brought up all the time in expansion talk. While it was not an area that I directly considered when I wrote my original expansion article, the area has been brought up countless times since. You bring up some very interesting points in your analysis. The local area and economy will play a HUGE part in the final decision when the next expansion locations are awarded. If indeed you are correct and it will take another sports team to relocate out of Charlotte for baseball to arrive, then I am afraid that you will be out of luck. The perception I feel will be that if Charlotte could not sustain the Bobcats, then it certainly cannot handle Major League Baseball.  40+ home games at 12-15,000 fans per game is no comparison to trying to feel 81 home games at 30,000+ fans per game. My mindset is that all existing teams need to do exceptionally well for the area to prove that it can handle a major sports team.

We can agree to disagree on this one, because of the subjective nature of what Major League Baseball will consider ultimately in expansion talks. But overall, factors will include population, health of the economy, television deal, stadium size/age/location, ownership groups etc. In other words, I am not counting out Charlotte just yet. There is still hope my friend, so keep the faith!!  And….Let’s GO TIGERS!!!!!!! Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 2nd, 2012

Saturday June 2nd, 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, we have to send a big shout out to the one and only, Johan Santana. We have enjoyed countless e-mails, tweets and comments on the Mets this year. The Mets faithful have been loud and supportive this year and represent the largest fan base we hear from every week. So this little note is for you.

The incredible Santana, in his first year back from major surgery that threatened to de-rail his career, threw a no-hitter. Not just any no-hitter. But the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. Think about that one. It will boggle your mind. The amount of quality pitchers that have pitched for the Mets over the years is astronomical. Nolan Ryan. Tom Seaver. David Cone. Dwight Gooden. Frank Viola. How is it possible that this team had never spun a no-hitter before? Fate and luck are the biggest reasons. It is not that easy to get a no-hitter. Many things have to go right for a no-no to occur. So finally, in the whole history of this franchise, the Mets have a no-hitter of their own. Plus, it came from not just any pitcher, but one of the best pitchers of our generation. Johan Santana. I can’t say enough good things about the man. He has been as solid as they come over his career. From a Twins ace for all those years, Santana came to the Mets to take them to the promised land. But critical shoulder surgery, combined with the team’s other injuries and off-field issues put a damper on the entire teams and its players. The 29-23 Mets have been amazing this year though. With only David Wright as their leading hitter, this team has been incredible. R.A. Dickey. Frank Francisco. Jon Rauch. Bobby Parnell. Daniel Murphy. The Mets just don’t give up. Now with the no-hitter in the books, this season has turned magical for the Mets and its fans. Santana was on fire tonight. Despite giving up 5 walks, he struck out 8 over a complete 9 innings. He needed 134 pitches to complete the no-no. In front of only 27,069 Mets fans, Santana pitched the game of his life on home turf. Lucas Duda with the home run and 4 RBIs. Daniel Murphy with 2 hits and 3 RBIs. The Mets won this one as a team and the city of New York gets to celebrate the reincarnation of the Miracle Mets. At least for 1/3 of a season to start. Well done Johan Santana, we’re proud of you! Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 27th, 2012

Sunday May 27th, 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:

Q: What do you think about Honolulu (for MLB expansion)? They would get so many people during the summer for vacation.  Robert

JH:  Robert! I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t receive a question from you on MLB expansion. You know that it is one of my favorite topics- so inevitably, we end up discussing it seemingly at least once on ATR every week. Honolulu now…that is interesting. As we discussed in previous expansion talks, Major League Baseball will consider many factors in its next round of expansion. Population base and the availability of fans for games will be one key factor. Honolulu has apparently 337,000 residents while Hawaii itself is closing in on 1,000,000.  Not bad. Not bad at all. But even with a strong population base, we would have to be realistic on the area. Travel will be a killer. Which division would we even consider putting them in? The climate would be perfect though. Nice and dry in the summer, warm but not overbearing. A very population destination for tourists, but with most trying to enjoy sun and beaches, I am not sure how baseball would go over as a tourist attraction.

Ultimately, distance will be the killer. Also, taxes I understand may be an issue as well. Les Murakami Stadium in Honalulu is home to the University of Hawaii baseball team. The stadium holds 4,312 and has turf. Guess what? A new stadium will need to be built to accommodate MLB. Will that happen? Many of the other candidates for MLB expansion will need to build a stadium as well. But at least those areas have a decent shot at a team. To get a good stadium, you need a rich owner with a supportive community willing to subsidize the venture. Hawaii folded its winter league in 2008, but I have read reports it could return. If the area could not keep the winter league, I think MLB expansion would be a tough sell. But if nothing else, distance is the killer. You can have one team in Hawaii and expect all the other teams in the league (especially in the division) to travel such a distance. Ten hours from Hawaii to NYC? No thanks. We need to be creative in thinking MLB expansion, but Honolulu is reaching a little too far. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 20th, 2012

Sunday May 20th, 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:

Q:  I watched the replays of the 3-1 and 3-2 count with Brett Lawrie batting in last nights Blue Jays game.

As far as I’m concerned, Bill Miller missed two calls. Brett Lawrie was entirely justified in his outrage.

Ok, you gotta throw him out when the helmet hits the ump, but there’s no outrage if Miller makes those calls right.

It infuriates me that umpires are so go**am arrogant and they have so little tolerance for a player objecting to a bad call.

The 3-2 pitch was farther out of the strike zone that the 3-1 pitch, and it looked a lot like Miller called it a strike since, apparently in his mind, he’d been shown up by Lawrie  after the previous pitch. I’d like to see a 3-day suspension for Miller, and any ump who’s that arrogant.       John

JH:  Before we start this discussion, let’s go to the video replay and see what happened in Toronto the other night:

John, I feel your frustration. I hear where you are coming from. But let’s get this straight. Firstly, Lawrie lost his cool and crossed the line. He didn’t just cross the line, he buried it. Regardless of whether he agrees or disagrees with a call, he clearly acted in a manner that was not professional and put the umpire and himself at risk. Lawrie got a 4-game suspension…and he should consider himself lucky. It could have been much worse.  Look again at how the helmet was thrown- Lawrie threw it in a manner that the helmet made contact with the ump. I have long detested when players start trotting to first base during an at-bat before hearing the call of ball/strike from an ump. In my estimation, that shows up the ump and is more likely to result in a strike call. I am not defending Miller though. He was not on his game and clearly made some terrible calls. The league should have periodic reviews of umps (report cards), with specific instances of issue to be addressed when incidents arise.

Given the nature of the two blown calls, I would not have an issue of Miller going before a reviewer to discuss the incident. I would not suspend him in this instance, but a warning and discussion would be in order. Where an ump shows up a player and acts in a manner that is detrimental to the game, then suspensions could be in order. I agree that the whole process of umpire accountability is somewhat of a mystery and should be more transparent. We should have a better idea on the scale that umpires are graded, reviewed, rewarded and reprimanded. Lawrie had to be accountable for his actions- but where is Miller’s part in the process? That is unclear. Umpires should hold power given what they role in the game is. If that power is taken away, the very state of how the game is played and called could be severely damaged. But we don’t want umpires abusing their role and power. The Lawrie incident in Toronto was not pretty and accountability should be required from all involved. Again, I don’t see a suspension coming for Miller. But without dealing with this incident properly from the start, there is no guarantees that it won’t happen again. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 12th, 2012

Saturday May 12th, 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:

Q:  (a) What are the chances of the indians moving; and

(b)  Josh Hamilton obviously, Matt Kemp too, but after that Im not sure(maybe Bruce,Braun, etc). Who do you think will be the contestants this year?  Robert

JH: Two questions for Robert this week. A great way to kick off ATR! Now I am getting many messages on the Indians moving, so it is time for some clarification. I had tweeted a couple of weeks back on the hypothetical scenario on “if your team was to relocate or contract, which team would you start to follow and why.”  Completely hypothetical and never intended to be more than that. The Indians came up with Larry, MLB reports’ #1 fan (his fave team)…and based on that discussion, the whole concept of the Indians moving was born. Now digging through the attendance figures for last season, the Indians were ranked 24th with approximately 1.8 million fans. Good…but certainly not great. Just to compare, both the Yankees and Phillies draw approximately 3.6 million fans as the top gates, while Oakland was the worst at 1.476 million. The Marlins and Rays were both very close to the bottom, with the Marlins now having a new stadium and the Rays desperately needing one. If the Rays and A’s don’t get new parks, expect to see these teams move in the next five years. The Indians though are not going anywhere. Not in our lifetimes at least. The Indians as a major league team were formed in 1901 in Cleveland and formally became the Indians in 1915. Translation: too much history and tradition. Still a very popular team. This team is not going anywhere. Progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field opened in 1994, so it is still relatively new. A beautiful park and a loyal fan base that loves their team, the Indians are here to stay.

As far as your second question, I will say this on the MLB Home Run Derby. It’s time is starting to run out. Last year, Ortiz and Fielder were the captains for the event. Contestants included Cano, Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez, Weeks, Kemp and Holiday. Cano ended up winning it, which was suprising considering that he wasn’t even a considered candidate by many. By Rickie Weeks? A little weak in my book. Many players do not wish to participate anymore, given injury risks and the issues it can create with their swings. Remember Bobby Abreu back in 2005? He was never the same after that one. I think we will see more and more young players participating. I think the old guard has had enough, with the young players still looking forward to the event. I would love to see Cespedes, Bruce, Napoli all join in the fun. I think Kemp will want a year off from this one, but Major League Baseball would love to see him and Hamilton duke it out. It boils down to politics vs. players’ preferences. I would expect to see some established stars, but more of the prospects as this event continues to grow. The captains idea was a good one- allowing more players input into the event. Hopefully Major League Baseball can continue to grow and evolve the Derby. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 6th, 2012

Sunday May 6th, 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:

Q:  Watching Jamie Moyer tonite wondering if he reaches 300 wins (2-3 more yrs of pitching). Will that make him HOF bound?  Old Man Mack (via Twitter)

JH:  OMM. We are starting of ATR with one of your questions…and of course, it is a Jamie Moyer one. This is the 3rd Moyer question that I recall receiving from you. He certainly is a great story in baseball and you are on top of this one! Moyer is turning 50 this November. His current records sits at 1-2, 4.01 ERA and 1.663 WHIP. He is 32 wins away from 300. How can I put this nicely…it ain’t happening! As much as all of us would love to see Moyer reach the magical 300 plateau, he would need to win 10+ games for the next 3 years. That would have him pitching until 52. A neat story, but the odds are certainly against that happening. In my estimation, Moyer will be done after this year. He came back, proved he could pitch until 50…and then ride off into the sunset. At his age, we are asking a ton from his body to be able to grind out 3 more years. Plus, he would also have to be effective at such an advanced age. Not impossible…but nearly. Moyer has a career 4.23 ERA and 1.319 WHIP. He was never a true #1 starter and the best among his peers. A good pitcher, but not a great pitcher. Cooperstown is supposed to be reserved for the elite, the best of the best. While Moyer’s story deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, his statistics do not. Even if Moyer reaches 300 wins- I don’t see a Cooperstown plaque in his future. Sorry my man- that’s just the way it goes! Thank you for the great question and your support of ATR and MLB reports. We very much appreciate it!

 

Q:  They should fire Scioscia for how he handled Napoli. I seriously thought Napoli must have slept with Scioscia’s wife for a while.  Mike (Via Twitter)

JH:  Probably one of the funniest tweets I have received in some time. I agree with you that the Angels did not handle Mike Napoli well. I can’t speak on his relationship with Mike Scoscia…but certainly, it did seem strained. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that I firmly believe that the Angels and Jays blew it by not hanging on to Napoli. The Great Napoli had a season for the ages in 2011. In only 113 games, Napoli hit .320 for the Rangers, with a .414 OBP, .631 SLG (1.046 OPS), 30 home runs, 75 RBIs, 72 runs, plus 58/85 walks/k’s. In other words, Napoli is a beast. This year, Napoli already has 7 home runs in 24 games, with a .241 AVG- but .330 OBP and .506 SLG.  I called Napoli the “Next Bautista” when the Jays acquired him and when you look at his numbers since 2011 over a full season, it is pretty darn close. How great would Napoli’s bat look right now in a slumping Angels lineup? What about at first base for the Jays or catcher over Lind and/or Arencibia?

Now would you like to hear some irony? Here it is. The Angels dumped Napoli in the Vernon Wells trade, really moving his salary and writing him off. In the process the Angels kept Jeff Mathis. How did Mathis do in 2011? In 93 games, he hit a whopping .174 avg, .225 OBP, .259 SLG and 3 home runs all year. That’s how many Napoli hits in many weeks! Mathis had 15 extra base hits all year in fact. Now where is Mathis you ask? In Toronto, of course. The team that couldn’t find a spot for Napoli, now is following the Angels twisted plan of succession. Funny though- how Mathis has played well though in Toronto. In 8 games, Mathis has 2 home runs, .250 AVG, .400 OBP and .650 SLG. Looking at him at the plate, you think Mathis should be a slugger. But it never developed. When the trade was made to the Jays, I thought Mathis could hit 15-20 home runs…if the Jays were able to get him on track. Still could happen, but I see Mathis moving back closer to his career average of .195, .259 OBP and .306 SLG.  Now for Mathis’ replacement in Anaheim? Chris Iannetta, a Mike Napoli-clone as I call him. In 23 games, Iannetta has popped 3 home runs, hitting .220 with a .324 OBP and .441 SLG. Good numbers, but certainly not great numbers. If that was the kind of production though Anaheim wanted, why not just hold onto Napoli and let him explode at the plate? That is certainly the question. So we will never know the truth behind Mike Scioscia’s thinking in wanting Mike Napoli off the Angels. But if Anaheim and Toronto could go back in time, I’m sure they would have done things differently. For the future, they may want to read up on MLB reports before making another blunder like that again! Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 29th, 2012

Sunday April 29th, 2012




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

Let’s get to your top questions of the week (LOTS of Expansion talk this week):

Q: Where will the WBC games be played in March  Chris

Q: Does anyone know what the dates are for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and how it will affect the schedule for Spring Training?  Steve

JH: Hello Chris and Steve. Yes, we love talking WBC on MLB reports. So much so, that we have a page dedicated exclusively to the greatest international baseball tournament of all time! Please click on wbcreports.com to find out all the latest World Baseball Classic news and reports. With the WBC qualifiers still coming up, we are still far away from the tournament itself- coming up in March 2013. The qualifiers will be played in Florida, Panama, Germany and Taiwan. Each site will host 4 countries- with 1 winner advancing to the WBC tournament from each pool. For the 1st two tournaments, the finals were held in Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium). As to which cities will be lucky to host the 2013 WBC- stay tuned. I expect the announcement to come sometime between the end of the World Series and New Years. But as soon as we have the info- we will announce it! The WBC will have the effect of extending the spring schedule to some degree. It is a never-ending battle for Major League Baseball, to accommodate spring training while still keeping the WBC schedule on track. It’s not a perfect system, so certainly expect baseball officials to continue to tweak the schedule every tournament until they find the best possible schedule. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 15th, 2012

Sunday April 15th, 2012



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

Let’s get to your top questions of the week: (there are MANY great ones this week…better jump right in!)

 

Q:  How many triple plays were turned last year?  Wayne

MLB reports: Nice way to start off ATR Wayne. Four. Can you believe it? Four triple plays turned last year. Three in 2010, five in 2009, two in 2008 and four in 2007. Surprised? Me too. I thought they were more rare! Last year’s triple plays took place as follows:

(1) Indians turned a 3P against the White Sox on April 3rd

(2) Brewers turned a 3p against the Dodgers on August 15th

(3) Red Sox turned a 3p against the Rays in the 2nd game of a DH on August 16th (a day later!)

(4) The miracle Rays came back on September 27th to turn their own 3p against the Yankees.

 

Q:  Is it worth picking up Aroldis Chapman as a third reliever?!?  William

MLB reports:  Without a doubt. Yes. Are you kidding me? Grab him. Right now. Don’t wait. Now. Right now! As you can tell, I am high on Chapman. Long term, I see him as a starter. But for now, he is a reliever. I see him having some great save opportunities this year. Madson is done for the year. A ton of money is invested in Chapman and he has been nothing short of brilliant this season. In 4 games he has a 0.00 ERA. 11 strikeouts. 0 walks in 6 innings. Yes. As a third relieve, you cannot go wrong with Chapman. He has already vultured 2 wins. He can help you in so many ways. There will be ups-and-downs this year with Chapman, no doubts. But with pitchers around baseball dropping like flies, when you have a talented pitcher with huge upside, make sure he can find his way onto your team. (more…)

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

Monday April 9th, 2012



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

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


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

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

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 1st, 2012

Sunday April 1st, 2012


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

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

Q:  My question this week in about a prospect in the Diamondbacks system. Was reading an article about Trevor Bauer and his 10 different pitches along with his unique training program. What I want to know is how MLB Reports see his future. Will he be a number one starter on their staff one day and where will he end up when he retires?  Larry

MLB reports:  First question this week goes to our #1 fan, Larry! Happy April Fool’s Day by the way! No tricks today from us. Just baseball talk! Watching this kid pitch, it is hard not to get excited about him. Trevor Bauer comes with a lot of hype as a top-3 pick from last year’s MLB draft. He will definitely see time in Arizona this year, with a full rotation spot in 2012 possibly happening. Will Bauer be a #1 starter? Will he retire as a Dback? Very difficult questions, because of the complexity of the circumstances. Injuries. Performance. Financial expectations. So much goes into the equation. But if you are asking me to check the crystal ball (which I think you are), here is what I see: Yes, Bauer will become a #1 starter one day. We love his mechanics too much for him not to develop. As long as he stays healthy, works hard and keeps his nose clean. Which we all hope he does! But I cannot see him retiring as a Dback. In this day and age, it is very rare for a player to stay on the same team for his whole career. The law of baseball probability says that if Bauer becomes a stud, he will go one day to a major contender, like the Yankees or Red Sox. Even if for some reason Bauer does play the majority of his career in Arizona, he will at some point make a team change. Maybe his skills will diminish. Or a conflict with the manager. The bottom line, he will be in Arizona for the next 5+ years likely at least. So let’s enjoy his time there for now. Thanks for writing! Read the rest of this entry

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