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By Enrique Rivera (Dodgers Correspondent): Follow @eriqwiththeq
The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise had an exciting 2012. From March, when Magic Johnson was announced as part of a group that had bought the Dodgers, to June, when Los Angeles gave Yasiel Puig $42 Million, this has been a wild year for the Dodgers.
After all of the hype surrounding the new Dodgers seemingly died down, they committed $147 Million to Zack Greinke. The N.L. West has been dominated by the Giants in the last couple years, but one has to wonder if the Dodgers recent moves make them the favorite to win the N.L. West in 2013?
Clayton Kershaw 2012 Highlights – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Advised:
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I have nothing against sabermetrics in baseball. Yes I know they are not going away and I will probably learn them one day as someone who can comprehend Math pretty good. However, I understand the frustration of the casual fan who will not set a foot near them – although they know what Home Runs and Runs Batted In are. I have thrown the topic out for discussion on Twitter – and am extremely curious to see what percentage of fans actually follow the new numbers formats. This site totally allows our writers to convey any form of statistical analysis they want. The only thing that I request, is that if they use sabermetrics, to also add some regular stats with them.
One of the stats that can gauge any era since the beginning of baseball is Extra Base Hits. Before the fences were brought in (or even put up), Doubles and Triples could be hit at any time. Singles are great in the game too. There have been several great baseball players that are singles hitters, that also compiled a bunch of Doubles and Triples. That is why this statistic is fairest to all of the hitters in the history of the game and the most comparable. Like the old saying, (hit’em where they ain’t), players that can hit the baseball into the open areas of the outfield are special. Babe Ruth re-coined the phrase later when he said “Well they ain’t over the fence, so that’s where I hit them!” The Bambino was right. In the course of this article, we will list the top active list for this category – and some underrated hitters that may stack up nicely against historical hitters.
(Pete Rose Highlights):
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.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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:
Tropicana Field Expert: An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024-The Phillies have had an incredible run in the last decade of baseball. Most of that time has been spent at Citizens Bank Ball Park which is a very hitter-friendly park. The management was smart enough to draft a whole bunch of offensive talent like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and even J.D Drew(who never signed in 1997 with the Phillies and went back into the 1998 draft.) They also traded Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco. These guys have all taken advantage of the new baseball cathedral. Ryan Howard leads all active players in HRs per AB in the Major Leagues with hitting a HR per just a little over 13 AB. There is still a long way to go to chase down Michael Jack Schmidt. His 548 Career HRs and 1595 RBI lead the ALL-Time totals on the Phillies by quite a big margin.
Criteria for being put on this list was quite simple. You had to be a player of significance on the Franchise. Great watermarks are: 1000 hits, 100 HRs, 1000 games, if you led the league in any category for a few seasons or batted .285 or higher for the duration of your time. This is what I was looking for to include the players on the list. It has taken me a lengthy period of time to siphon through 130 years of baseball to bring you this list. From Ed Delahanty and Billy Hamilton, to Richie Ashburn and Dick Allen, to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinki, to Von Hayes, to John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra, to Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen-to finally get us to the gentlemen aforementioned in the first paragraph. I want this study to be as interactive as I can with the readers. If you feel that there is someone worthy of being included in the list for hitters, please feel free to comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be glad to edit this post and add to it. After all, if you are reading this, chances are you are a Phillies fan, I am just a baseball historian.
For Part 1 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series: The Franchise- click here
For Part 3 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series: The Pitchers- click here
For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series: Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here
Ryan Howard Highlight reel
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on Twitter)- The game has been moving back towards speed, offense and athleticism since the adaptation of the steroid testing in the MLB. I think we will see a big emphasis on the Stolen Base in the coming years. We have Billy Hamilton coming in the near future and he could actually challenge a 100 Stolen Base in one season. 30 years ago there were several guys challenge or eventually succeed in stealing 100 bases. Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman both hit the century mark 3 times, while Ron LeFlore and Tim Raines cracked the 90 SB plateau. Teams used to have several speedsters in their lineup. Jose Reyes has the most stolen bases in one year for the active players with 78 swipes in 2007.
I omitted Luis Castillo from the list because he has not played since 2010, (much to the delight of the New York Mets fans I am sure.) I am sure that Boston Red Sox fans are hopeful that he can regain his stolen base prowess very soon with him being only in the second year of a 7 YR/140 Million Dollar Contract. Johnny Damon also has foraged a great career to be on this list from sheer determination. Out of this top ten , Jose Reyes has the most steals per games played, while Omar Vizquel (who has played 2947 games) has the least amount of steals per game played. I was most surprised by Derek Jeter cracking this list because he has never stolen more than 34 bags in one year. I wonder how many bags Ichiro would have stolen had he arrived in North America earlier? Johnny Damon and Omar Vizquel making this top ten is a test to their long-playing careers. I figured Jimmy Rollins had more steals than what his totals came in as. Bobby Abreu has the most HRs on this list with 286 and Juan Pierre has the least. with 17.
Monday July 30th, 2012
Robert Whitmer: Opportunity is knocking, are you going to answer? That is the question that is most used to say when we should be ready for any good thing when it comes our way. Let me tell you a little story from my own life. I was the ripe old age of 20 and had just gotten home from some time doing missionary service. I had just started a new job and was working on starting my college education in either education or journalism. I got a call on my normal day off to come in and work for a girl who called in sick. I agreed, of course, because I needed the money. It was that night when my beautiful wife walked in to work and we talked for the first time. The rest is history. Opportunity is a funny thing. You may or may not recognize it when it comes.
As my very first boss always used to tell me, “it’s better to be prepared and seize an opportunity, then not be prepared and miss one.” Such is the case for players in Major League Baseball. The window of opportunity is so amazingly small, a cockroach couldn’t even fit through it. It often takes an injury for players to really get a chance to show their stuff in the big leagues. Either that or they play their butts off and show that they can play better than who they already have. Again, it’s better to be prepared for the opportunity when it presents itself. Thus we review the career of Melky Cabrera. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Extra base hits kind of go hand in hand with slugging percentage to an extent. I have often used this category every season as a gauge on how good a player does. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances why a player hits more doubles and triples rather than home runs but they are all considered extra base hits. Adrian Beltre is a perfect example of this. During his Seattle Mariner days, he would blast about 15-20 baseballs off the fences at Safeco Field every year (for a double or triple) that would have been an HR if he did not play in such a pitcher friendly park. This list represents great careers. If a player can reach the magic 1000 extra base hits, they will be hard to ignore for consideration towards Cooperstown. I have omitted Manny Ramirez from an active player. It is my firm belief that the man served a 50 game suspension for a team like Oakland, only to quit on them and maybe land on another club. If he is able to catch on with another job with a club, I will gladly put his name back as #2 player on this active list.
TOP 10 as of June.17/2012
Player Extra Base Hits Leaders Active (Rank All-Time)
1. Alex Rodriguez NYY 1169 (10)
2. Jim Thome PHI 1079 (20)
3. Chipper Jones ATL 1026 (26)
4. Vladimir Guerrero (FA) 972 (39)
5. Todd Helton COL 956 (45)
6. Albert Pujols LAA 941 (50)
7. Bobby Abreu LAD 908 (60)
8. David Ortiz BOS 886 (64)
9. Johnny Damon CLE 859 (73)
10. Scott Rolen CIN 857 (75)
I fully think that Vladimir Guerrero will sign with someone soon. At 972 extra base hits, he is 28 extra base hits away from that 1000 marker. If a team signs him in the next few weeks, he may have a chance to get there before the end of the season. Below is a 5 minute highlight package of his career thus far. There is not many Expos highlights, you can always search Youtube for more.
Thursday May 3rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: For prospect watchers, last Saturday was one of the most exciting baseball days in a long time. Not only was Angels prospect Mike Trout (20) making his season debut against Cleveland, but Bryce Harper, the Nationals prospect and teen-wonder at only nineteen also made his highly anticipated major league debut against the Dodgers. Amazingly, two of Baseball America’s top three prospects debuted on the same day. Harper’s first and second at-bats were a couple to forget, but his third was one to remember. He roped a hard line drive over Matt Kemp’s head in center for a stand-up double. Trout’s debut was nothing special, but after hitting .408 in the minors this year he’s bound to get it going. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday April 29th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.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
Saturday December 24th, 2011
Sam Evans: Heading into the 2012 season, the Los Angeles Angels of U.S.A. of California of Anaheim have six outfielders that will be vying for playing time in the majors. Three of their outfielders have been selected to at least two all-star games, one is the best prospect in baseball, and the forgotten one was their best player last year. Let’s go through these players and decide who will be the starters for the Angels this coming year.
Mike Trout, CF, LF, RF: Trout has been the best prospect in baseball for the last two years, and looks like a sure superstar in the making. He is a true five-tool prospect, and he has been clocked from home to first in a startling 3.75 seconds. This summer, a scout told Angels AA manager Bill Mosiello, “Maybe this is what Mickey Mantle looked like when he was 18.”
With the Halos in 2011, the 20-year-old Trout hit .220 with five home runs in forty games. He was probably rushed to the majors a little too early, but he impressed players and coaches with his physical abilities.
In 2012, Trout needs consistent playing time at the major league level. If Trout is on the roster, the Angels have no other choice but to play him. If Trout fails in the majors, then they can send him back to the minors. But he needs a fair shot first. That’s why heading into this season, the Angels should have Trout penciled in as their starting right-fielder.
Ryan Langerhans, LF, RF: The Angels signed Langerhans to a minor league contract on Friday. Langerhans has played for the Mariners, Nationals, and Braves in his career. He has never posted great numbers at the major league level and he’s always struggled against right-handed pitchers. However, Langerhans has established a reputation for being a clutch player. He has 26 go ahead hits in his career.
Langerhans should definitely start in AAA. If any of the other outfielders get injured, he is a solid option to call up to the majors temporarily. For right now, he is just simplynot talented enough to compete with the other Angels outfielders for a full-time gig.
Bobby Abreu, LF,RF,DH: Abreu is a solid, consistent player. Still, he is 37-years-old and his level of play has dropped off drastically in the last couple of seasons. In 2012 (his contract year), Abreu is set to make nine million dollars. That is a lot of coin to pay someone to sit on the bench.
Last year, Abreu hit .253 with 8 homers, 21 stolen bases, and a .353 OBP. Despite his age, Abreu can get on base and is a solid base runner. He can read the pitcher better than anyone else in baseball. Abreu started 108 games as the Angels DH last year, and he played the outfield for only 28 games.
For the upcoming season, Abreu should split time with Mark Trumbo at DH. The Angels might trade Trumbo, who has drawn interest from other clubs. Another scenario that I could see happening is the Angels trading Abreu at the trade deadline. To a team seeking a productive veteran outfielder, Abreu would be the perfect acquisition.
Peter Bourjos, CF: Last year, Bourjos was the Angels most valuable outfielder. Borjous was an above-average hitter who posted a 115 OPS+, and hit 11 triples to lead the American League. However, most of Bourjos’ value is found is his defense. Bourjos was one of the best defensive outfielder in all of baseball last year. He had a 7.5 Ultimate Zone Rating in 2011.
Bourjos should split time in center field with Trout. Even though both Bourjos and Trout are outstanding defensive center-fielders, Bourjos covers more ground and is slightly more valuable. Bourjos needs to play everyday in 2012, and I’d be shocked if Mike Scioscia didn’t have Bourjos as his opening day center fielder.
Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, RF and LF: Torii Hunter is one of the more fun to watch players in baseball. He is also extremely respected amongst his teammates. Over his career, Hunter has hit .274 with an average of twenty-four homers a year. Hunter is signed through this year, and is set to make $18.5 million dollars.
Vernon Wells is probably the reason why former Angels GM Tony Reagins quit his position (insiders say he was set to be fired but was allowed to resign instead to save face). The Angels traded Mike Napoli for Vernon Wells and the worst contract in baseball last offseason. Vernon Wells is signed through 2014 and due $21.5 million in 2012. That’s only about four million less than Albert Pujols salary in 2012. Blown away? I certainly am.
To put it bluntly, Wells is not a very good baseball player anymore. In 2012, Wells hit .218 with 25 homers, but only a .248 OBP. Compared to Hunter’s .281 AVG with 21 homers and a .354 OBP, Wells looks pretty awful.
Hunter and Wells will probably end up seeing the field about the same number of times. That’s not because of their abilities, it’s just because of Well’s contract. Defensively, Wells actually has a slight advantage over the nine-time gold glover Torii Hunter (although most baseball people would choose Hunter).
Overall, the Angels outfield situation is a mess. The Halos have some very talented players, and a trio of overpaid veterans. The Angels outfield logjam gives the team flexibility, with backup solutions in case of injuries or poor play. I would be mildly surprised if the Angels didn’t make a trade before the season. They need to find some bullpen arms and maybe another starter for their rotation. With their plethora of outfielders, they can and should definitely make a trade. It will be more based around what they can get in return. Happy Holidays!
***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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