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How All Of The Orioles Hitters Were Acquired: 2014 Roster Tree

Adam Jones was brought over in a trade with Chris Tillman, George Sherrill from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Erik Bedard in the 2007 offeseson. Jones is a 3 time Gold Glove Winner, and has 2 straight season of 30+ HRs, and might well be in the top 5 AL MVP consideration this year by the time it is all said and done. This trade started the pendulum swinging back in the other direction - after a horrible 10 year stretch for the O's. Baltimore broke a 15 year playoff drought n 2012 with a Post Season Berth.  This 4 time ALL - Star  is on pace for career highs in HRs and RBI for 2014. Jones, now 28, signed a 7 YRs/$91.7 MIL deal prior to the 2012 season, which means he is with Baltimore until the end of 2018

Adam Jones was brought over in a trade with Chris Tillman, George Sherrill from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Erik Bedard in the 2007 offeseson. Jones is a 3 time Gold Glove Winner, and has 2 straight season of 30+ HRs, and might well be in the top 5 AL MVP consideration this year by the time it is all said and done. This trade started the pendulum swinging back in the other direction – after a horrible 10 year stretch for the O’s. Baltimore broke a 15 year playoff drought n 2012 with a Post Season Berth. This 4 time ALL – Star is on pace for career highs in HRs and RBI for 2014. Jones, now 28, signed a 7 YRs/$91.7 MIL deal prior to the 2012 season, which means he is with Baltimore until the end of 2018

How All Of The Orioles Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The fortunes of the Orioles have all come based on the heels of 2 nice trades and a 3rd one also tilting the scales in their favor.

1 of the deals was the Erik Bedard for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman, the other great trade was acquiring Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara.

These deals gave the club a bonafide Starting Pitcher, a Gold Glove and 30 HRs a year hitting Adam Jones, a 50+ HR guy in 2013 with Chris Davis, and a flamethrowing arm out of the Bullpen with Hunter.

Bedard was lackluster in Seattle briefly, and Koji Uehara wasn’t good in Texas, like he was in Baltimore or now Boston.

You can also trace J.J. Hardy (yet another Gold Glover) back to the assets received from Aubrey Huff. Read the rest of this entry

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The Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2014

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years - posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant.  This has all been done on a shoestring budget - and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs,

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years – posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant. This has all been done on a shoestring budget – and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs.  The 2014 season will pose the same kind of challenges and problems that have arisen in the teams history.  The Rays have to contend with high payroll teams like Boston and New York fielding ALL – Star squad’s throughout their lineups.  The management has done a fantastic job to stay competitive, and will rely on their franchise depth to post yet another nice record for a 7th consecutive year.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Tampa Bay Rays are still one of the best run franchises in baseball, and have put themselves in a position to contend for the AL East for yet another campaign.

I hope the Rays Management decides against trading David Price in the next 2 years, and just goes for a World Series trophy.

Being the 13th biggest city, and yielding the 28th lowest payroll in the game should not be conducive to sustained success, yet there the Rays are pesky every year.

It has been noted on this website plenty, that since the beginning of 2008, the Rays have the second best record in the game to the Yankees in this time frame.

In that span, they trail the Bronx Bombers by just around 10 wins.

Wil Myers 2013 Highlights

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MLB Player Profile: How Valuable Has Ben Zobrist Been To The Rays?

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game.  He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years - including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  . Zobrist who continues this season with his musical chairs role on the team has not let his bat cool down ays fans need not worry this early. With only 10 games played in the young season now is not the time to start throwing in the towel and saying that GM Andrew Friedman and his staff have lost their touch.

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game of baseball. He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the last 5years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  Zobrist, 32,  who continued this season with his musical chairs defensive role on the team this year, has two years left on his current contract, and will be a Free Agent at the end of the 2015 season.  It was the summer of 2006, that the brass traded Aubrey Huff for the young player.  Zobrist has played 1500+ Innings in 4 different defensive positions for the franchise (SS/2B/RF/LF – and it helps Joe Maddon bring in favorable platoon matchups for several other lineup spots).  He has a career 3 Slash of .263/.354/.789 in 8 seasons for Tampa.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Picture how bad the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were when the Houston Astros traded Ben Zobrist with Mitch Talbot to the Tampa Bay Rays for Aubrey Huff and cash on July.12/2006.

The team was in the 8th season out of 9 years of under .500 ball.  The guy he was traded for had great offensive acumen, and was the franchise leader in several career categories as he departed the door.

Zobrist had an auspicious beginning with the Rays, struggling during the 2006 – 2007 years.  His OPS numbers for those years were .572 and .391 respectively.

Joe Maddon was not as worried as others were about the 6th Round Drat Pick of the Houston Astros back in 2004,because the guy would be a Maddon type of player.

Ben Zobrist 2 Part Interview

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San Francisco Giants Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Going Forward (Updated Mar.8)

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Friday March 8, 2013

Angel Pagan led the NL in Triples with 15 in 2012 amongst his 61 Extra Base Hits and 95 Runs

Angel Pagan (31) led the NL in Triples with 15 in 2012 amongst his 61 Extra Base Hits and 95 Runs.  Pagan parlayed his great campaign into a 4 Year/$45 MIL Contract.

By Kyle Holland (Giants Correspondent):

Coming off of the 2012 World Series victory, the Giants haven’t really done much this offseason. Either way every team in the league is going to be trying to take them down. When you’re the Champion of all of baseball, what team wouldn’t be gunning for you? Their biggest contest is going to be their rivals in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team has made more moves since August than you can count. The Giants realize what a great team they have and how little moves they made have shown they are confident in what they can do in 2013.

The possibly most important move they have made is resigning the Second-Half-hero Marco Scutaro. His 3 yr./$20,000,000 deal is a great deal for San Francisco. After what he did the Giants probably would have considered paying more for Scutaro. You just can’t match .500 AVG in the NLCS. This man was the definition of clutch for the club. Other very important deals include Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Jeremy Affeldt. Pence, who was acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Phillies, was a huge reason the Giants even made it past the NLDS. His inspirational speeches got the entire squad ready before every game. Him resigning for a 1 YR./$13,800,000 deal was huge for him and the Giants. The team gets to utilize his skills for another year – while he gets to prove he’s worth more come next winter.

San Francisco Giants: 2012 World Series Highlights. Mature lyrics- parental guidance is advised:

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San Francisco Giants Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Going Forward

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Friday February 8, 2013

Without Marco Scutaro during the second half of the 2012 season who knows if the Giants would've gone nearly as far as they did. He hit a very impressive .362 since joining the Giants in July. He hit a new NLCS record .500 during the 2012 NLCS. Resigning him was definitely a priority for the Giants so signing him through 2015 on a 3 yr./$20,000,000 was huge for both sides of the deal.

Without Marco Scutaro during the second half of the 2012 season – who knows if the Giants would’ve gone nearly as far as they did. He hit a very impressive .362 after joining the Giants in July. He hit a new NLCS record .500 versus the Cards last year. Resigning him was definitely a priority for the Giants so signing him through 2015 on a 3 YR/$20,000,000 was huge for both sides of the deal.

By Kyle Holland (Giants Correspondent):

Coming off of the 2012 World Series victory, the Giants haven’t really done much this offseason. Either way every team in the league is going to be trying to take them down. When you’re the Champion of all of baseball, what team wouldn’t be gunning for you? Their biggest contest is going to be their rivals in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team has made more moves since August than you can count. The Giants realize what a great team they have and how little moves they made have shown they are confident in what they can do in 2013.

The possibly most important move they have made is resigning the Second-Half-hero Marco Scutaro. His 3 yr./$20,000,000 deal is a great deal for San Francisco. After what he did the Giants probably would have considered paying more for Scutaro. You just can’t match .500 AVG in the NLCS. This man was the definition of clutch for the club. Other very important deals include Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Jeremy Affeldt. Pence, who was acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Phillies, was a huge reason the Giants even made it past the NLDS. His inspirational speeches got the entire squad ready before every game. Him resigning for a 1 YR./$13,800,000 deal was huge for him and the Giants. The team gets to utilize his skills for another year – while he gets to prove he’s worth more come next winter.

San Francisco Giants: 2012 World Series Highlights. Mature lyrics- parental guidance is advised:

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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Friday, December.21, 2012

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

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories.  Will Evan Longoria run him down..or will the club trade him?

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories. Will Evan Longoria run him down for all of the team records..or will the club trade him in a few years when his contract escalates in pay?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club.  In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs.  A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club.  This movement did not work out.  It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000’s.  Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats.  Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out.  The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of.  Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy.  Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.

The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball.  Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons.  While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players. 

Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds.  We must look at the past.  In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers.  Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high.  I still looked for significant contributions to the team.  Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.

Franchise Series Article Links:

The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll Part 4:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

Thursday, December.20, 2012

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

The many Rays Logo's over the years.  Is the best of this franchise yet tom come

The many Rays Logo’s over the years. Is the best of this franchise yet to come?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Tampa Bay Rays Franchise can be summarized into two different categories:  “The Devil Rays Days” and the “Rays Days.”  The Devil Rays endured 10 straight losing seasons to start the club’s history.  From 1998-2007, was a complete gong show (645-972) and last place finishes in a tough AL East every year, except for 2004, when they finished 4th, although they did stockpile several top Draft Picks based on their horrid regular seasons.  In 2008, all of that changed when the ‘Devil’ was literally and figuratively knocked away from the Tampa Bay team.  Their young stars finally saw their potential realized and they appeared in the 2008 World Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Franchise would lose in 5 hard-fought, weather fulfilled games, however the team was now one of the model clubs in baseball.  From 2008-2012, the club has gone 458-352.

The Rays have made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011 since, plus featured two other over .500 records in 2009 and 2012.  The club has now had 5 winning seasons in a row.  There is still a long way to go as they feature the worst winning percentage in MLB History, with a 1103-1327 Franchise Record (.454).  The next worst team is the Padres at .463.  The Arizona DiamondBacks were the NL Expansion cousins of the Rays and they feature a Win Percentage of (.498), which is second overall for the Expansion teams.  The Arizona DiamondBacks also have made the playoffs 5 times and won the World Series in 2001.  Still if you asked anyone right now, the Rays would gladly be the team everyone picked.

Franchise Series Links:

The Hitters:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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You Shake, Rattle and Roll On A World Record Chase

Tuesday, April.11/2012

 

Chuck at Dodger Stadium

 

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and- @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My step-mom is a retired executive from Air Canada.  Back when I was a teenager, Nancy taught me how to travel properly, by how to pack, schedule and always be able to adapt when things go awry.  I am pleased to say that she had an incredible influence on me becoming a travel expert now.  Her slogan was always; “You gotta learn how to shake, rattle and roll when traveling.” My dad (Tom Booth), helped teach a proper demeanor for my 3 brothers and me while on vacation that I also implement.  He said to us “You guys are going to encounter several things when traveling.  “If you break, lose or-your items are lost for you, just replace them immediately and don’t let it consume you.  After all, why should you be miserable on vacation?”  These are motto’s I live by while traveling.  I perpetually move forward and don’t look back.  While I am glad this trip has generated a lot interest, really the passion here is baseball and traveling.  If by some chance I don’t best my own record, I will have fun watching a baseball game in every city again.  “You have nothing to prove in this world other to anybody but yourself!”

 I have encountered numerous ways of being delayed in chasing baseball parks.  Last night was no different.  I sat in the San Diego Airport ready to embark on my flight to Cleveland that was supposed to be part of a Progressive Field/Oriole Park at Camden Yards day-night doubleheader. Out of all the 10 doubleheaders that I placed to attempt during this World Record chase, this particular one I would rank the second toughest.  The only doubleheader I thought was tougher was the Angel Stadium/Petco Park double header.  Ironically enough, I converted that doubleheader.  So when the flight was cancelled last night-(due to mechanical failure) I knew I had to think fast on my feet.  The Airline was offering up help to fly on other flight, or destinations within reason.  Much to my dismay, the airline was not even able to fly me into the second half of the double header n Baltimore, thus creating a plane flight domino.  Adding to the severity of the pressure, was I had to think of something fast because the airline needed to help me book a morning flight out of San Diego.

Whenever I plan one of these trips, I have a depth chart for each team.  I am lucky that after a few hours of placing this schedule together, I also come up with many different alternatives.  Missing the game in Texas the other night for a small delay was nerve-wracking, but maybe it was all meant to be.  When I expressed to the airline that I wanted to fly to Dallas, they quickly were on board with that option.  The other dominoes came to me quickly.  I moved Cleveland to the 25th as part of PNC Park and Progressive Field Ground Transportation doubleheader.  As part of my original streak attempt when I first dreamt up another run at this, the schedule had this exact doubleheader.  Cleveland was the last team in the Majors to post their start times.  When the Indians scheduled a matinee for the 11th of April, it opened up another doubleheader attempt for me by placing the Orioles with Cleveland.  All I had to do was bring Detroit into the doubleheader chance with Pittsburgh instead.  Now that I am not going to Progressive Field today, I am able to re-schedule the easier to attain doubleheader.  Baltimore was switched to the date left vacated by Texas on the 27th of April.  This left Detroit.  I knew the team played on the 22nd of April.

One of the reasons I went to Chase Field last Friday, was to protect myself against something like last night.  That Chase Field game is now the 1st game of the streak.  I moved Detroit into their slot on the 22nd.  All the teams have a home in the streak again.  What is more incredible about this: is that by shifting these cities around and shuffling transportation costs this little maneuver is going to save me $300.   I was dreading having to schedule the Texas game after the streak ended, whether it was driving 17 hours or flying, it was going to be costly and time-consuming,  I managed to switch out all my flights and actually have a surcharge in my favor.  Since I am flying to Denver from Dallas tomorrow, it was a cheaper flight from almost anywhere when you near a travel day fare.  Now I am flying to Dallas for a plane fare I spent $160 to originally go to Cleveland for.  This day of plane for to Dallas would probably be in the $500-$600 area.

By re-scheduling the trip this way, it also frees up more availability should I have to make up another game or two.  That Detroit game doubleheader was risky.  If I was running the streak near perfect, I could have risked it and then shuffled the Tigers to the very next day and forego the Cincinnati/Chicago White Sox doubleheader on the 25th.  This was not the case and I need that 26th doubleheader.  If I kept that doubleheader and missed the Tigers, the next date they were home was April.30th (or the 24th day of the streak.)

Moving Detroit to Sunday the 22nd is pretty decent too, I have a doubleheader for Chicago and Milwaukee on the day before.  This is about a 7 hour drive to Michigan.  Ken Lee will now attend at least 8 of my games with me for this streak.  The Pittsburgh/Cleveland double dip is very doable.  The Pirates game should end around 3:30.  It is only a couple of hours drive to Progressive Field from there.  I would give us a 80-85% chance to hit this game.  If for some reason we don’t, the Indians play on the 27th- through the 29th.  Other doubleheaders remaining are the TOR-NYY (Yankees play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) ATL-STL (Cardinals play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) CIN/CWS (The White Sox play a series on the 27th-29th). CHI/MIL (The Brewers do not play so I will need the DH).  I also give us a 80-85% of making this.  Finally I have the Boston/Washington DH (If I miss WSH-I can move them into the Marlins slot of the 17th and then re-do the Marlins from the (27-29 series).

So far I have had 2 missed doubleheaders in this trip that were entirely out of my control.  Now a 30-22 schedule hangs in the balance.  Whatever happens throughout the rest of the trip is up in the air.  The 2009 streak of 30-24 seems even more impressive now than before.  In a night where I have already logged 17,000 Air Miles for this trip and running on all fumes, I was able to come up with the best viable solution I could.  So whenever I have a chance, I will sleep comfortably about my performance on this trip thus far.  I go into tonight’s game looking for my 8th Ball Park in 6 days.  Its been a tough 20 hrs-fighting airlines-car rentals not having cars and several doubters and haters-i made it 2 the ballpark-suitcase/briefcase and all-scoreboard says 8 gms 6 days parks 30/22 days

NEW SCHEDULE UPDATED APR 11

With a flight cancellation last night, it has caused me to reschedule several games for the streak.  The Arizona D’Backs game now becomes the official game #1.  If the game was changed from the original, it will be highlighted in red.  I also changed the PIT/DET doubleheader to now be a PIT/CLE Doubleheader on the 25th ave.  I lost one of my doubleheader attempts today, but at least I am not taking an a zero.

Game#1 Day #1  Friday April.06 Chase Field in Arizona 4:10 PM (Completed:  Arizona wins 5-4)

Game # 2 Day # 2  Saturday April.07 Angels Stadium in Anaheim 1:05 PM (Completed LAA loses 6-3 to KC)

Game # 3 Day # 2 Saturday April.07 Petco Park in San Diego 5:35 PM (I Have 2 doubleheader attempts with SD as Game 2 of the day)( Completed: San Diego loses 6-5 to the LAD in 11 innings)

Game # 4 Day # 3  Sunday April.08 Minute Maid Park in Houston 1:05 PM (Completed: Houston wins 3-2)

Game # 5 Day # 4  Monday April.09 Citizens Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia 1:05 PM (Citizens Bank Ball Park Season Opener) (Completed: Philly loses 6-2 to the Miami Marlins)

Game # 6 Day # 4   Monday April.09 Citi Field in New York (NYM win 3-2 over WSH)

Game # 7 Day # 5   Tuesday April.10 Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles 1:05 PM (Dodger Stadium Season Opener) Completed: LAD wins 2-1 over  Pit)

Game # 8 Day # 6  Wednesday April.11 The Ballpark in Arlington 7:05 PM

Game # 9 Day #7 Thursday April.12 Coors Field 1:05 PM

Game #10 Day # 8 Friday April.13 AT&T Park in San Francisco 1:35 PM  (AT & T Park Season Opener)

Game # 11 Day # 9 Saturday April.14 Target Field in Minnesota 12:10 PM

Game # 12 Day # 10  Sunday April.15 Rogers Center in Toronto 1:07 PM

Game # 13 Day # 10 Sunday April.15 Yankees Stadium in the Bronx 8:05 PM

Game # 14 Day #11 Monday April.16 Fenway Park in Boston 11:05 AM

Game # 15  Day #11 Monday April.16 Nationals Park in Washington 7:05 PM

Game # 16  Day #12 Tuesday April.17 New Marlins Ballpark 7:05 PM

Game # 17  Day #13  WED April.18 Turner Field in Atlanta 12:10 PM

Game # 18  Day #13  WED April.18 Busch Stadium in St. Louis 7:15 PM

Game # 19 Day #14 THUR April.19 Safeco Field in Seattle 7:10 PM

Game # 20  Day # 15 Friday  April.20 Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City 7:10 PM

Game # 21 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Wrigley Field in Chicago 12:00 PM

Game # 22 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Miller Park in Milwaukee 6:05 PM

Game # 23  Day # 17 SUN.   April.22 Comerica Park in Detroit 1:05 PM 

Game # 24 Day # 18 MON.  April.23 O.co Coliseum in Oakland 7:05 PM

Game # 25 Day # 19 TUES  April.24 Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay 7:05 PM

Game # 26 Day # 20  WED.  April.25 PNC Park in Pittsburgh 12:35 PM

Game # 27  Day # 20 WED.  April.25 Progressive Field in Cleveland 7:05 PM

Game # 28 Day # 21 THU.   April.26 Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 12:35 PM

Game # 29  Day # 21 THU.   April.26 US Cellular Field in Chicago 7:11 PM

Game# 30  Day # 22 FRI      April.27  Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 7:05 PM

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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Pablo Sandoval Is Going to Have His Best Season Ever in 2012

Sunday March 4, 2012

Sam Evans: Last year, the Giants won eighty-six games and finished eight games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the N.L. West. They did this despite not having their best catcher for most of the year and losing their best hitter for forty-five games. 2012 however is a new year. If the Giants hope to win their division, Pablo Sandoval needs to stay healthy.

Pablo Sandoval has shown some outstanding potential. Last year, in only 117 games, Sandoval had a .909 OPS and a 12.3 UZR. First of all, his UZR last year was outstanding. UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is far from a perfect defensive statistic, but it can be useful in finding how well a player covers the area around their position. Sandoval ranked 2nd among 3B’s in UZR.

When I first saw Sandoval play on TV a couple of years ago, I was astonished that he was even in the major leagues. He is 5’11’’ and weighs roughly 245 pounds.  In 2008, Sandoval played seventeen games at first base, twelve games at third, and eleven games at catcher. He looks like he doesn’t belong on the baseball field, but he plays like a perennial All-Star. He’s unlike any athlete I’ve ever seen, and it is a joy to watch him play baseball. Read the rest of this entry

How Will the San Francisco Giants Score Runs in 2012?

Saturday January 7th, 2012

Sam Evans: Last year, the San Francisco Giants scored only 572 runs, which was good for 29th overall in all of baseball. Despite their below-par offense, the Giants managed to win 86 games and finish second in the NL West. So far this offseason, Giants GM Brian Sabean has traded for Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan to bolster their outfield. The bottom line is as follows: if the Giants want to compete with the rest of the NL West, they’re going to have to score more runs.  It is as simple as that.

Batting leadoff for the Giants will most likely be recently acquired Angel Pagan. Pagan is a talented veteran outfielder who has had problems staying healthy in the past. Over the last five years, Pagan has missed a total of 414 games due to various injuries. When he was healthy, Mets fans found out just how pivotal Pagan can be to his team’s success.

In 2010, Pagan stole 37 bases, and was worth 5.2 WARP. However, by failing to stay healthy, Pagan struggled in 2011. He was only worth 1.9 WARP, and he hit .262, which is about twenty points below his career average. If Pagan can stay healthy in 2012 and get back to playing closer to the level that he played in ’10, he will be a huge upgrade over the Giants center fielder last year, Andres Torres.

I’d guess that second baseman Freddy Sanchez will bat second for the Giants. Last year, Sanchez hit .289, but didn’t succeed in any other statistical category. He only played in sixty games due to a dislocated shoulder in June. Sanchez will be ready for Opening Day, and the Giants are hoping that he can continue to hit for average, and possibly reach base more than he has in previous years.

Hitting third will probably be Buster Posey, the Giants starting catcher. Posey had a solid start to the 2011 season that was ended with a disturbing collision at home plate. He missed the rest of the season with a broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments.  Giants fans pray that Posey can come back healthy and return to form.

Having Posey back will help the Giants offense enormously. Backup catchers Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart combined to hit .200 in Posey’s absence. I wouldn’t be surprised if Posey was the Giants’ most valuable hitter by the end of the year.

Hitting cleanup will be third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval was the Giant’s best hitter last year. He hit .315 with a .552 SLG %. After seeing Sandoval struggle in 2010, last season was a crucial bounce back year for him. At one point in 2010, the Mariners reportedly offered David Aardsma and Jose Lopez for Sandoval. Sabean was smart enough to hold onto to Sandoval and it paid off. “Kung Fu Panda” is under team control through 2014, so he will likely continue to be a middle of the order bat for years to come.

Melky Cabrera, the former Royal, Yankee, and Brave, was a big acquisition for the Giants this offseason. Cabrera is coming off the best year of his career, in which he hit 18 homers with a .305 AVG and twenty stolen bases. Before 2011, Cabrera had been considered a contact hitter who struggled at the other fine aspects of the game.

I’m very interested in how the 27 year-old Cabrera’s season will turn out. Maybe he’s just a late-bloomer who found his stroke in 2011. It’s also possible that his ’11 season was just a fluke. If everything goes as planned, Cabrera will hopefully be a nice upgrade for the Giants lineup.

Next, is the thirty-five year old first baseman Aubrey Huff. One year removed from his famous comeback year in which he led the Giants to the World Series, Huff struggled in 2011. Last year, Huff was just awful. For eleven million a year, Huff managed just a .294 wOBA with twelve homers, fourteen less than he hit in 2010. If you average Huff’s production over the last two years, he would be a solid hitter to have in a lineup. He needs to produce though in 2012 (his contract year), because he’s not getting any younger.

If the Giants are smart, then they will bat Brandon Belt seventh, if not higher. So far, I haven’t been pleased with the Giants usage of the “Baby Giraffe”. They need to give him a lengthy shot in the majors. In 2011, Belt only came to the plate 209 times. If the Giants are serious about winning in 2012, then Belt needs at least four hundred at-bats.  Belt could actually end up at first with Huff in the outfield or bench, depending on the Giants’ defensive positioning and whether another big bat (especially at first base) is acquired before the start of the season.

And finally, we come to the young shortstop- Brandon Crawford. The Giants don’t seem to sold on Crawford as their shortstop of the future, as Crawford helped the Giants become one of the worst offensive teams in the league last year. Most of Crawford’s value comes from his defense. As a result, the Giants might give a free agent shortstop significant playing time in 2012.

Off the bench, the Giants will have OF Nate Schierholtz- who is a solid player and should see plenty of playing time. Also, the veteran middle infielder Mike Fontenot will be a back up for Sanchez and Crawford. Giants top prospect OF Gary Brown will likely reach the majors around the midseason mark, and will likely grab the starting job at that point. Brown is the future of this Giants’ offense, and could help the Giants with a late season playoff surge.

2012 is going to be a fun year for Giants fans. The offense will be much improved thanks mostly in part to having so many players healthy again in the lineup. I think with their new additions (and always strong pitching staff), the Giants will be back in the playoffs in 2012.

**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

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