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Top Five MLB Holds Leaders In 2013

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Tuesday June 25th, 2013

mound

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Depending on the year, we can usually say if it is pitcher-dominant or hitter-dominant. This year, it is very hard to say. One could make the case that the MLB is being dominated by hitters with Miguel Cabrera tallying over 70 RBI before July.

That argument could be helped by the facts that Cole Hamels already has 11 losses and Justin Verlander has a high three ERA. Either way, the season will still go on and pitchers and hitters will still record their statistics.

One statistic that is not looked at or talked about much is the hold. A hold is given when a reliever enters in a save situation, records an out, and leaves the game without having given up the lead, but also does not get a save.

Usually the guys that get the most holds are setup men. In this piece, I’ll take a look at the top five (with a bonus!) holds leaders for the year.

Mitchell Boggs (2012 Holds Leader in some lighter days)

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San Diego Padres: Within Striking Distance

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Tuesday June 18th, 2013

Within the first 12 games of the MLB season, the baseball world, after watching the San Diego Padres struggle, knew the team was headed for yet another rough year. This still might be the case. But, currently, the Padres sit just one game back from the top of the National League West standings. The team carries a 36-34 record—a record that many would deem impossible to achieve after watching the team start off 2-10.  Bud Black has seen his time ascend to near the top of the NL West by going 34 - 24 in their last 58 games played

Within the first 12 games of the MLB season, the baseball world, after watching the San Diego Padres struggle, knew the team was headed for yet another rough year. This still might be the case. But, currently, the club sits just one game back from the top of the National League West standings. The team carries a 36 -34 record —a record that many would deem impossible to achieve after watching the team start off 2-10. Bud Black has seen his time ascend to near the top of the NL West by going 34 – 24 in their last 58 games played.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

The NL West is not exactly living up to expectations, though. The Dodgers are having a disaster year with Matt Kemp, the team’s superstar, spending time on the DL. Hanley Ramirez, whom the Dodgers acquired last season to provide offense, has spent all but a few games on the DL. Carl Crawford, who the Dodgers expected to be healthy this year, has also caught the injury bug. 

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Toronto Blue Jays: All Offense?

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Tuesday May 28th, 2013

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic. In their first year as teammates on the Blue Jays, and one of their first spring training practices, have already become a close trio. Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of this dazzling 1-4 combination.  The Jays’ offense has been a completely different story. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two leading hitters on the team, have 11 and 13 HRs, respectively. Bautista is hitting .291 and Encarnacion is hitting .247, which is not the best, but his power makes up for it. Encarnacion has also driven in 38 runs while Bautista has driven in 27. Melky Cabrera has not been the same person as he was last year with the Giants, but he is still hitting .287.

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of what was supposed to be a dazzling 1-4 combination this year. But Jose Reyes was hurt and the Jays’ offense has been a completely different story. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two leading hitters on the team, have 11 and 13 HRs, respectively. Bautista is hitting .291 and Encarnacion is hitting .247, which is not the best, but his power makes up for it. EE has also driven in 38 runs while Bautista has driven in 27. Melky Cabrera has not been the same person as he was last year with the Giants, but he is still hitting a respectbale .287.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

When Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays set out last winter to improve the team, no one could have predicted what is happening currently.

Anthopoulos brought in R.A. Dickey, the reigning NL Cy Young, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle. Ricky Romero struggled in 2012, so he started the season in the minors, and Brandon Morrow remained in the rotation.

The Jays also had a tremendous hitting lineup to build on with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Brett Lawrie.

Jose Reyes arrived as part of the Marlins trade and Melky Cabrera was signed through free agency. Although the Blue Jays are saddled with being in one of the strongest divisions in baseball, they were the favorite on paper.

Over the course of a few games, all this was thrown out the window. Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes got injured, Melky Cabrera got off to a slow start, R.A. Dickey was not in his Cy Young form, and the team was not playing the way everyone had expected. Now, some could say, the Blue Jays are all offense.

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Mark Reynolds And Asdrubal Cabrera: What To Make Of The Club In Cleveland

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Wednesday May 15th, 2013

 was Arbitration Eligible in 2013 and could have been offered it by the Orioles, instead they let him walk, He was great insurance for First and Third Base and they should have kept him for one more year." src= width="604" height="408" /> Mark Reynolds was Arbitration Eligible in 2013 and could have been offered it by the Orioles, instead they let him walk, He was great insurance for First and Third Base and they should have kept him for one more year.  He likely would have made in the 1 YR/$11 MIL Range.  Instead the club opted to try Nolan Reimold and a cast of others for the positions available.  The Orioles DH slot is hitting well under the Mendoza Line at the time of this article.

was Arbitration Eligible in 2013 and could have been offered it by the Orioles, instead they let him walk, He was great insurance for First and Third Base and they should have kept him for one more year.”  Mark Reynolds was Arbitration Eligible in 2013 and could have been offered it by the Orioles, instead they let him walk, He was great insurance for First and Third Base and they should have kept him for one more year. He likely would have made in the 1 YR/$11 MIL Range. Instead the club opted to try Nolan Reimold and a cast of others for the positions available. The Orioles DH slot is hitting well under the Mendoza Line at the time of this article.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

The Cleveland Indians are off to a hot start, sitting just one game back of the Detroit Tigers atop the AL Central. In their last 10 (through Tuesday) they are 7 – 3. Most of this is due to Mark Reynolds.

So far this year, he is hitting .272 with 11 HRs and 32 RBI. This puts him on pace to hit 50 HRs and drive in  close to 15o Runs. Of course, there is no way that he drives in 151 runs, but I think it is possible that he could hit 40+ HRs.

He would have to stay hot the entire season and not get injured, so I would say there is about a three percent chance that he does so. His career highs in HRs and RBI came in 2009 when he hit 44 and drove in 102.

With the Indians lineup the way it is with Jason Kipnis (whom I will talk about later), Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher hitting in front of him, it seems like Reynolds will have plenty of RBI chances.

Reynolds is also on pace to strike out about 176 times, which is a little bit lower than his career average. Needless to say, if he keeps up his current performance throughout the entire season, he will be the MVP (although I would not count Miguel Cabrera out just yet with the season he is having thus far).

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Chase Headley: Contract Talks Or Trade Bait?

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Monday May 6th, 2013

Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, he will need to put up monster numbers for the Padres to compete with the LA Dodgers going forward.  Headley caaptured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting.  He hit 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 Games after the 2012 ALL-Star Game.. Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 - with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812.  He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  He could potentially hit a few more out with the fences drawn in.

Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, he will need to put up monster numbers for the Padres to compete with the NL West teams  going forward Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 – with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812. He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI. He could potentially hit a few more out this season with the fences newly drawn in.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

For the past few seasons, Chase Headley has been the one guy on the roster that the San Diego Padres can rely on. Last year, he put up MVP-like numbers, hitting 31 HR and driving in 115 runs.

This year, he is really the only guy in the lineup that can truly produce runs. Yonder Alonso has that capability, but he is still a bit raw. Headley is signed to a one-year $8.58 million contract.

He becomes Arbitration-eligible in 2014 and is a Free Agent in 2015. The Padres are faced with a conundrum: should they trade Headley?

This third baseman is 28 years old—about the time when most players enter their prime. With the season we saw from Headley in 2012, I think it is safe to say that he has already entered his prime, and probably has two or three more years similar to 2012 ahead of him.

If the Padres are building for the future, which I sure hope they are, they need to trade Headley right away.

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Anthony Rizzo: His Impact On The Chicago Cubs

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Tuesday April 30th, 2013

Rizzo looks in 2013 to improve on his strong short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI.

Rizzo looks in 2013 to improve on his strong short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI.  He has struggled to carry a great Batting Average – but has launched 8 HRs and added 19 RBI in just 90 At-Bats heading into Monday Nights action, We at the ‘Reports,’ are calling him the NL Mendoza Line Masher.  The AL Mendoza Line Masher is definitely Adam Dunn.

By Bernie Olshansky (MLB Reports Writer):

Over the past few years, Chicago Cubs fans have not had a lot to cheer about. Anthony Rizzo is starting to break this trend. Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs from the San Diego Padres in early 2012.

The team sent Andrew Cashner—most notably—to the Padres and got Rizzo in return along with minor league pitcher Zach Cates.

Rizzo is exactly what the Cubs need in a power-hitting first baseman, and should hold down the position in the years to come. Andrew Cashner was a prized prospect at the time of the trade, but the Cubs evidently thought Rizzo was more talented and held more value.

The Padres wound up with Yonder Alonso to man First Base, so they did not lose a significant amount in the trade.

Anthony Rizzo Highlights and the song “Go Cubs Go”

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San Diego Padres 2013 Rotation: What To Make Of It?

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Wednesday April 24th, 2013

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he'll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he’ll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

The San Diego Padres currently have one of the most boring Starting Rotations in all of baseball. I cannot think of a rotation with more average pitchers than the one the San Diego organization has.

If someone presented me with the statistics of each pitcher in the Padres rotation, I probably would not be able to discern between the number one and five starters. The ace of the Padres — if we can call him that — is Jason Marquis. So far this season in four games, he has a 4.63 ERA to go with a 1-2 record.

Now some pitchers do get off to rough starts, so we cannot judge him based on his ERA and record. But, after looking further into Marquis, I found that his career ERA is 4.60. Is this really the career ERA a team would want for their “ace”?

Tyson Ross, whom the Padres acquired from the A’s was penciled in and made three starts in the five-slot in the rotation. Ross recently went on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder subluxation.

This year, Ross made three starts, none of them more than 5.1 Innings. Although Ross has a solid 3.86 ERA through those starts, it is unlikely that he will keep this up.

Edinson Volquez at the 2013 WBC:

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San Diego Padres: How Will They Fare Without Chase Headley?

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Tuesday April 2, 2013

Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 - with a 3 Slash Line of - .272/.357/.812.  He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  He could potentially hit a few more out with the fences drawn in

Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 – with a 3 Slash Line of – .272/.357/.812. He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI. He could potentially hit a few more out with the fences drawn in.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

2013 was going to be a rough year for the San Diego Padres even before they got the news that their highest powered offensive weapon would miss a significant amount of time. Chase Headley was the only spark in the weak Padres lineup in 2012, hitting 31 HR and driving in 115 runs. A performance like this could not get the Padres out of second-to-last place in the NL West, so I am afraid to see how the Padres will fare after they start 2013 without their third baseman.

This year, the West is stronger as Zack Greinke has been added to the Dodgers most notably, the Diamondbacks have improved their team, and the Giants are the defending World Champions, having extended the reigning NL MVP. The Rockies also have power-hitting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki back in the lineup after missing most of last season due to injury.

If the Padres were going to contend this season, they would need to get off to a hot enough start to keep up with the rest of the teams. Without Chase Headley, I do not see how that is possible. Even with Headley it would be a very tough task. The Padres have not made any notable additions, so it looks like it will be more of the same in San Diego.

Headley Highlights _ Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised

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MLB Player Profile: Nationals Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann

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Wednesday January 23rd, 2013

Jordan Zimmermann is heading into Arbitration shortly with the Nats coming off of his best year in the Major Leagues with a 12-8 Record.  For his career, he is 24-26 with a 3.47 ERA.

Jordan Zimmermann is heading into Arbitration shortly with the Nats coming off of his best year in the Major Leagues with a 12-8 Record. For his career, he is 24-26 with a 3.47 ERA.  Zimmermann had Tommy John surgery in 2009 – and has come back stronger. 

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Having his breakout season in 2012, Jordan Zimmermann has been a guy the Washington Nationals have been able to rely on. 27 years old in 2013, Zimmermann helps anchor the young Nationals rotation including Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals had success in 2012, winning the NL East and making the playoffs for the first time as a franchise. The Nationals got unlucky though, and were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series. This year the Nationals will hope to build on their 2012 performance, and Jordan Zimmermann will most likely be a big help.

One of the main reasons the Nationals were eliminated so early last season is because of the shutting down of Stephen Strasburg. In the middle of the season, I wrote about the pros and cons of shutting Strasburg down, and in the end the situation ended badly. Last year, the Nationals had a very strong rotation consisting of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez, and Edwin Jackson. By shutting Strasburg down, the Nationals lost a quarter of their rotation and had to scramble when the Division Series went more than three games. Ross Detwiler got the start and Zimmermann had to come into the game in a relief role. There was no reason for this to have to happen. Protecting Strasburg was important, but in my opinion the Nationals overprotected him, which cost them dearly in the playoffs.

Jordan Zimmermann Flashback Highlights:

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MLB Player Profile: Phillies CF Ben Revere

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Wednesday January 16th, 2013

Ben Revere would be best suited to hit in the 2 slot behind Jimmy Rollins this year, as he makes great contact (1 SO/Per 10.7 PA) , yet he doesn't walk much.

Ben Revere would be best suited to hit in the 2 slot behind Jimmy Rollins this year, as he makes great contact (1 SO/Per 10.7 PA) , yet he doesn’t walk much.  Revere has a 3 Slash-Line of – .278/.319/.642 for his career heading into the 2013 year.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

The 28th pick of the first round in the 2007 Amateur Draft, Ben Revere was regarded as one of the Minnesota Twins’ top prospects. He made his Major League debut in 2010 at age 22 and played in 13 games for the Twins that season. The next year, Revere spent most of his time in the Majors playing in 117 games and hitting .267. With Revere, the Twins had some speed at the top of the lineup. On December 6th, 2012, Revere was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. After trading Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants, the Phillies had some gaps to fill in their outfield, and Revere was just the right guy.

Ben Revere 2012 Highlights: Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is advised

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Player Profile: Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche

Thursday January 10th, 2012

Adam LaRoche took home  both a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove Award in 2012 for the 1st time in his career for both categories.

Adam LaRoche took home both a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove Award in 2012 for the 1st time in his career for both categories.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

With the news of Adam Laroche’s signing of a 2-Year deal with the Washington Nationals breaking on Tuesday, it seems fitting for a profile to be done on this unsung hero. Last week, I profiled underrated star Billy Butler of the Royals. I will stick with this underrated theme as I cover the highlights of the career of power-hitting first baseman Adam LaRoche.

The 29th round pick of the 2000 amateur draft, Adam LaRoche broke into the league with the Atlanta Braves in 2004. He had a solid Rookie season, hitting .278 with 13 HR and 45 RBI in 110 games. LaRoche got steadily better from there, increasing his HR total by seven to 20 in 2005 and by 12 to 32 in 2006. 2005 was actually his worst year Batting Average-wise, in which he hit .259. LaRoche hit .172 in 2011, but he only played in 43 games – so I do not regard that as a true representation of what he would have hit had he played. Aside from his Rookie season and the season he was injured and only played 43 games, LaRoche has never played less than 140 games in a year. This is something that is very valuable to teams when they are looking for a power-hitting first baseman—and really any player for that matter. This is the main reason why I believe the Nationals rewarded him with his contract.

MLB Talk Radio / Audio For the Deal Analysis

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Billy Butler: The Consistent Royal

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Thursday January 3rd, 2013

Billy Butler (Country Breakfast) heads into 2013 with a .300 Career Average and coming off a personal best year  of 107 RBI in 2012.  The big DH is perhaps the 2nd best player the position in the AL next to Big Papi

Billy Butler (Country Breakfast) heads into 2013 with a .300 Career Average and coming off a personal best year of 107 RBI in 2012. The big DH is perhaps the 2nd best player for the position in the AL next to Big Papi.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

For the past few seasons, the Kansas City Royals have not had a lot of consistency. The pitching has been sub-par, and the hitting has been disappointing. But, there has been one guy the Royals have been able to rely on: Billy Butler. Butler, a First Round pick in the MLB Amateur Draft (14th Overall), is not the type of player that is a household name, but he gets the job done—very well for that matter. Not much attention has been paid to Butler, probably because of the lack of success that the Royals have had. From 2009 to 2012, Butler has played in no less than 158 Games—something that is very valuable to a team. His worst season (power-wise) in that 4 Year span was 2010, in which he hit .318 with 15 HRs and 78 RBI. In 2012, Butler was outstanding, hitting .313 with 29 HRs and 107 RBI. This season included his first All Star Game Appearance and a Silver Slugger Award.

In terms of defense, Butler has been squeezed out. The rise of star prospect Eric Hosmer eliminated any possibility of Butler playing First base. Butler did not play much defense before Hosmer came up anyway, but the call-up solidified this. Now, Butler is the everyday DH, similar to a David Ortiz-type. He occasionally gets some time in the field, notably in 2012 when Hosmer was mired in a deep slump. If Butler was more versatile, maybe he would be more recognized and could receive the attention he deserves. When  Ortiz retires soon, Butler may take the reigns as the best DH in the game.

Billy Butler 2012 Highlights

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What Is In Store For The 2013 Chicago White Sox: State Of The Union

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Tuesday December 18th, 2012

awhite

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

If I had to describe the 2012 White Sox in one word, I would describe them as underperforming. Although they improved on their 2011 season, the White Sox still performed below expectations in the 2nd Half and it cost them a trip to the playoffs. In a division with the Detroit Tigers, who signed Prince Fielder last winter, the White Sox were not favored. They finished with an 85-77 record, which was not bad—I just expected better.  After all, the Tigers ended up in the World Series.

I’ll start with Adam Dunn. Dunn had one of the worst seasons in baseball history in 2011, the year that he signed a Four Year deal worth $56 Million. He hit .159 with only 11 HRs and 42 RBI. He was poised for a great comeback in 2012. I guess you could call hitting .204 with 41 HRs and 96 RBI a comeback, but it still was not the normal Adam Dunn. The HRs and RBI were there, but the .204 average was well below what he hit in previous years. If Dunn were to have hit for a higher average, one might be able to say that the White Sox would have made the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry

Russell Martin: How Will He Fare in Pittsburgh?

Thursday December 6th, 2012

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Russell Martin recently signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-year deal worth $17 million—a bit much for a just-above-decent aging catcher. Unfortunately for the Pirates, if they want to sign a free agent, they will most likely have to overpay. This was not the worst deal in the world, for Martin is better than any catcher the Pirates have had in the last few years, but is he really worth an average of $8.5 million a year? I don’t think so. The Pirates have been in contention up until the Trading Deadline the last two years, so maybe they think Martin will make the difference.

Martin, over his seven year career, is a .260 hitter. Just about the major league average. For a catcher, .260 is not terrible. .260 could be just what the Pirates need in their lineup. From 2008-2011, Ryan Doumit was the Pirates’ primary catcher. He was on and off, hitting .318 in 2008 and .303 in 2011, but also hitting .250 and .251 in 2009 and 2010. Last year’s catcher Rod Barajas did not exactly cut it. He hit .206 with only 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Last year, Pirates catchers spent most of their time in the 6-7 hole of the lineup. Martin will fit nicely here and will have occasional opportunities to drive in Andrew McCutchen. Martin’s primary job will to drive in the leftovers from the top/middle of the lineup and to get in scoring position for the bottom of the lineup. I can’t see Martin as a 4-5 hitter due to his relatively low career average (the Pirates will not be able to trust him with driving in McCutchen). Read the rest of this entry

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