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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – March 11, 2014

Al Behrman/AP

Al Behrman/AP

Talking lineups on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Joey Votto should bat leadoff. Why do people discount the #2 hitter? And how do I bring up Earnshaw Cook and Bobby Bragan.

Better listen to the episode.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – March 11, 2014

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Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

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

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – September 4, 2013

Warner Brothers Pictures

Warner Brothers Pictures


Who is the Hall of Famer who used steroids? And what should Arte Moreno do instead of moving the Angels?

Those topics and more, today on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Andrew McCutchen, Homer Bailey, Jon Lesterand Ben Zobristall owned baseball on September 3, 2013.

To see the up to date tally of “Who Owns Baseball?,” click HERE.

Subscribe on iTunes HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – September 4, 2013

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – August 11, 2013

Photo: TOPPS

Photo: TOPPS

It is time for the SUNDAY REQUEST on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

It is a fair point. Who is off limits? And how healthy is being skeptical?

Also a lot of hypocrites are in Yankee Stadium today.

Wilmer Flores, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nathan Eovaldi and Anibal Sanchez all owned baseball on August 10, 2013.

To see the up to date tally of “
Who Owns Baseball?,” click HERE.

Subscribe on iTunes
HERE.
Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – August 11, 2013

The Impressive 2013 Orioles Should Be Sending 3 All – Stars to Citi Field

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Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Buck Showalter may finally break the curse of his previous managerial jobs - where his teams become stagnant after a few years of him being the clubs skipper.  Baltimore is 48 - 37 and sit in 2nd Place in the AL East - and would currently be the 2nd Wild Card team in the American League.  Not bad for a team Vegas said was only going to win 78 games this year!

Buck Showalter may finally break the curse of his previous managerial jobs – where his teams become stagnant after a few years of him being the clubs skipper. Baltimore is 48 – 37 on the year – as they sit in 2nd Place for the AL East – and would currently be the 2nd Wild Card team in the American League. Not bad for a team Vegas said was only going to win 78 games this year!

By Ben Kaplan (MLB Reports Baltimore Orioles Correspondent – visit his Battle of The Beltway website here):

For the past season and a half, the Baltimore Orioles have been counted out more times than Gordon Bombay’s Mighty Ducks. But just like everyone’s favorite fictional pee-wee hockey time, the Orioles refuse to go away, and they refuse to listen to the doubters.

The 2013 Baltimore Orioles picked up right where the 2012 Baltimore Orioles left off, defying the odds and winning games that most “experts” don’t feel like they should. You may be asking yourselves, how are they doing it?

The answer is actually very simple, serviceable starting pitching, a shutdown bullpen, and impressive contributions from their lineup, namely Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Adam Jones.

Chris Davis 2013 Highlights:  Mature Content SO Parental Guidance Is Advised:

Read the rest of this entry

2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #9: LAA, SD, MIA And SEA Chat With Great Guests

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Friday, June.28, 2013,

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

On today’s podcast, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show, I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  8 Minutes and a 18 Segment

Chuck makes a HUGE announcement about MLB Reports & then we talked about contract stuff like arbitration, Super 2, & service time…

Also we talk about these guys Wil Myers, Yasiel Puig & Chris Archer on why they should have been up in the major leagues since the beginning of the season!

Then I talk to LAA correspondent Joshua Jones (34 Minute Mark and a 18 Minute Segment) about the Angels season & what might or might not happen…

Next up was Bernie Olshansky (53 Minute Mark and a 13 Minutes Segment)  about the padres & what moves they might make for the future…after that i talked to Mariners/Marlins correspondent.

The last guest of the show is the 2nd longest active writer on the MLB Reports website Sam Evans (1 HR and 12 Min Mark and a 25 Min Segment) ( @RJA206 ) as we get into the mariners/marlins & whats been going on with both of these teams!

I then get into everyone’s favorite segment Stats & Facts (29, Minute Mark (5 minutes) 1 HR, 7 Min Mark ( 5 Minutes ) and, 1 HR 37 MIN (20 Minutes) -  so go check it out & SPREAD THE WORD!!! Thanks Read the rest of this entry

Triple Play Podcast Ep #9: Jays Misery, The Expos Franchise Mt. Rushmore + An Interview With Michael McKnight

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Monday, May  20th, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – Ian Hunter of bluejayhunter.com  ( and Michael McKnight [twitter-follow screen_name='mcknight_mike_' show_screen_name='yes'

On this week’s show we once again find ourselves lamented the Blue Jays futility but this time Ian Hunter of bluejayhunter.com joins in the misery. Chris’ Expos jerseys inspires a trip down memory lane to pick our Expos Mt Rushmore. Finally Michael Mcknight of Sports Illustrated drops in to recount the tale of Brian Cole.  Its a must listen. Read the rest of this entry

Part 1 of a Series: All-Time All-Star Teams By Regionality

 

Friday November 23th, 2012

Note from Alex Mednick:  I am going to be putting together a small project that accumulates all the best players of all time, and puts them together on teams according to their birthplace.  For example, in this first edition I will be breaking down players from the United States of America into teams from the 1) Northeast, 2) Southeast, 3) Midwest, and 4) Southwest…(sorry, there really is not enough quality coming out of the northwest to compete with these teams…maybe I will put a Northwestern United States team in a later edition with less competitive teams).  Later on I will bring you teams assembled from the all-time greats out Central and South American (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, etc.) and the All-Caribbean Team (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, etc).  Also look forward to teams from Japan, Canada and the EU.  Should be fun to sort of assemble an “Olympics” of Baseball.  I love watching the World Baseball Classic and seeing players fight for their nations pride…but by grouping the teams by region, it might make the teams more competitive.  Of course, this is all for the sake of speculation; Babe Ruth was a great player, but I don’t think he will be taking any at-bat’s soon. (Also, please note that I do not lend consideration to relief pitchers in this analysis). Read the rest of this entry

The Legacy of Chris Carpenter: Savior in St. Louis

Thursday October 18th, 2012

Chris Carpenter started his career in Toronto after being the 15th overall selection in the 1994 draft. After the 2001 season, the Toronto Blue Jays made a calculated decision not to offer Carpenter a major league contract. He elected for free agency, rather than pitching in the minors for Toronto, and his legacy in St. Louis began when the Cardinals picked him up.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The legend of Chris Carpenter started as a 19-year-old pitching for the Medicine Hat Blue Jays in 1994.  He was the 15th overall pick by the World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 draft.  He was a physical specimen built to stand atop a 9.5” hill and stare down at hitters as they stared back at his 6 foot, 6 inch frame.  Drafted out of Manchester, New Hampshire, the 19-year-old already had a plus fastball and a nice curveball.  By 1997, at the age of 22, Chris Carpenter had broken into the Toronto Blue Jays rotation and was pitching against the best hitters in the world.

As a mid-season call up in 1997, Carpenter struggled in Toronto, hosting an ERA above 5.00 and a record of 3-7 over 13 games.  His role in Toronto was mostly to eat innings, and he was there to gain experience and hopefully blossom into what the Blue Jays brass new head could be.  He was in a rotation that consisted of the 1996 AL Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen, as well as the 1997 AL Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, so he had some serious  mentors to help guide him on breaking into the big leagues.  Despite his amazing talent, Carpenter struggled for most of his first season in Toronto and was eventually moved into the bullpen.  In 1998 however, he emerged and gave everyone at least a glimpse  of what would eventually come of Chris Carpenter, while proving himself to already be a competent starter capable of winning games.  He led the Toronto Blue Jays (tied with Pat Hentgen) with 12 wins in 1998, and continued to pitch well into 1999…at least until he became cursed by a spell of injuries. Read the rest of this entry

Orioles vs. Yankees: Curse of Maier May Be Over

Wednesday October 10th, 2012

The last time the Yankees and Orioles met in Postseason play was in 1996. The Orioles lost that series, and a lot of fingers were pointed at the controversial home run caught young fan, Jeffrey Maier. The Orioles postseason fate may be different this time around against the Bronx Bombers.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The last time the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees met in the playoffs was in 1996 in the ALCS.  Like in 2012, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter were on the Yankees roster.  The Orioles boasted a lineup that consisted of Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken Jr., B.J Surhoff, and Brady Anderson—who was having a career year.  That lineup, along with a rotation consisting of Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson and Jimmy Key, gave Baltimore an imposing roster that the Camden Faithful could expect to make a playoff run.

15 years later we see a tale that is much more of a David and Goliath story. The Orioles have not been in the playoff’s since 1997 and have finished 5th place in the AL East for the last 4 consecutive seasons.  The Yankees, conversely, have made the postseason 17 out of the last 18 seasons.  After getting off to a hot start, the Orioles made a trade for future Hall of Famer, Jim Thome, to help add some pop and veteran leadership to their lineup.  Even later in the season, when the team still found themselves in serious contention for October baseball, they called up 20-year-old phenom Manny Machado, who wasn’t even alive when Jim Thome took his first swing in the Major League.  Now, Manny Machado finds himself playing on the same field as his childhood hero, Alex Rodriguez. Read the rest of this entry

A Tribute to Hall of Fame Shortstop Barry Larkin: The Measure of a Man

Monday July 23, 2012

Robert Whitmer:  If you ask any player that is in the game today, the two goals that they have is to win a World Series and to make the Hall of Fame.  The players that you could question about that have a desire.  Let’s talk about that word for a minute.  Desire; what exactly does it mean.  I think that motivational speaker Les Brown defined it very adequately.  “Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.”  Obviously this is speaking about the highest level of desire.  This is the level that you must have in order to accomplish the goals that are mentioned here.  Desire at this level means that you spend the extra time in the weight room to increase your stamina, taking 100 more grounders after you already took 1000 in practice, and be willing to slide one more time after your legs are already burning from sliding the first 50 times. 

Desire is what fuels them, the yearning to be the best of the best because number two is just not good enough.  Losing desire of this level is just crippling for anyone.  If it’s in our professional lives at work, or in our personal lives with our spouse, boy/girl friend, or significant other, you must maintain a desire to continue to make yourself better.  If it is lost, then you as a person will remain stagnant.  I believe that our purpose for being here on this earth is start as a little child, knowing nothing, but with the ability to learn and grow to become the best person that we can become.  When we are children, we rely on our parents’ desire to make us the best people that we can become, until we develop the desire of our own.  It is this desire that pushes us towards our goals.  This Sunday, July 22, 2012, Barry Louis Larkin became one of the best of the best in the game of baseball.  You see- you can have role players win a World Series title, but that doesn’t mean they are one of the best all-time players.  It takes a special player, however, to get into the Hall of Fame. Barry Larkin is now officially part of that elite class of ballplayers. Read the rest of this entry

Passing of the Torch as The Greatest Player in The MLB: From Pujols to Hamilton

Wednesday June.6, 2012

Josh Hamilton is on pace for 64 HRs and 177 RBI in 2012 with a .345 AVG. He has taken over as the best player in MLB from Albert Pujols -Photo Courtesy of http://www.real-fans.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time.  I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow up articles.  I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players.  I did agonize over Mike Schmidt,  Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration.  In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion.  The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

George Brett won batting titles in 3 different decades and flirted with .400 in 1980 while hitting .390 for the year. -Photo courtesy of lanius.wordpress.com

George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983.  He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders.  He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979.  In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league.  In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again.  Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979.  In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series.  He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average.  This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983.  Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose  George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees and Their Milestones Tracker: Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira and CC

Wednesday, May.23/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Heading into tonight’s game versus the Kansas City Royals, Derek Jeter sits in 16th all time for the All-time hits list.  He is only 3 hits behind Paul Waner and another 5 hits behind George Brett.  If Jeter has a decent last 120 games, he could find himself already in the top 10 all time by collecting another 145 hits and passing Willie Mays  for 10th all time with 3284 hits by the end of the year.  I am not sure how much longer the captain will play, but I think it has to be at least another year or two based on how he has started this campaign out.  If he plays another 300 games after this year, you have to think he is capable of averaging a hit per game the rest of his career.  This would place him in the top 5 of hits all time behind Pete Rose (4256), Ty Cobb (4191) Hank Aaron (3771) and Stan Musial’s (3630).  If I were a betting man, I think that 482 more hits might be asking a little much for the 37-year-old shortstop.  Having said this, Jeter will undoubtedly take his place amongst these immortal men by the time he is done playing the game. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview With Safeco Field Expert Doug Miller

Thursday April 19, 2012


Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)- Doug Miller is another Pacific West guy that exemplifies what it is like to be a ball park chaser.  Living on the this side of the mountains forces you to exercise every single one of your travel tricks to make it to all of the MLB Parks you can.  Doug has made it to the majority of the current parks.  He is knowledgeable, a class act and it is a shame that the baseball world does not hire this man and use some of his skills.  Today Doug is our Safeco Field Expert and the subject of our featured article.

CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Doug. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as Mariners ticket fan?”

DM:You bet, thanks for having me!  It’s funny, but I wasn’t a baseball fan when I was a kid.  I played some Little League for a while, but was awful at it.  Right Field all the way.  Ha-ha.  I had some friends that were on the baseball team in high school and I really started getting into the game in a different way.  This was back in 1988-1992 –- I didn’t know this interview was going to make me feel old!  I knew a few guys from school that got drafted, so I paid more attention because I thought I could be watching these guys in the Kingdome someday, whether with the Mariners or the couple of other teams they got drafted by.  My enthusiasm was ramping up, I’m in college and watching games at WSU, I’m hitting a handful of games in Seattle during break and then BOOM, the strike.  I was happy when it started back up, and by the time I got out of WSU, baseball was just a way of life for me.  Since then I’ve hit close to 50 ballparks, but Safeco Field is my home away from home.”

CB: “You have been to nearly all the baseball park. Besides Safeco Field, what has been your favorite other ballpark so far?”

DM; “Definitely Fenway, with Wrigley as a close second.  One of the things about the game that I really love is the history.  It’s hard to argue with the history of the franchises and these parks.  I had my first games at Petco last year and was really surprised at how much I liked it.  I thought it was going to feel kind of forced, you know, with the whole retro vibe so many parks have gone for, but I really liked it.  There are a ton of parks I like for different reasons, like Citizens Bank in Philly.  Without a doubt the best smelling park in baseball!  I could talk ballparks all day long, I know you’re the same way!” Read the rest of this entry

So the Season Opener Was sold Out- What about Game #2?

Friday Apr.6/2012

(From a Greyhound Bus Ride from New York City to Boston)

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer- and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Having just finished watching the New York Mets be victorious 1-0 over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field in their season opener, it has me now thinking,  what is the attendance going to be for Game # 2?  Despite reports that the game was sold out, there were many empty seats out there.   This is a problem for a lot of teams in the Majors, but it is becoming a problem to even big market teams like the Mets.  A dwindling team payroll, with devastating and unfortunate injuries have not been aided by the Wilpon’s financial status either in New York.  If Johan Santana can recapture any likeness to his old self, the Mets actually might be okay this year.  (Kind of like when the construction workers in the movie ‘Major League’ don’t think that the team is that bad.) Read the rest of this entry

Casey Lawrence Interview: Blue Jays Pitching Prospect (Casey’s Got Game!)

Monday January 16, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  I love talking baseball prospects. I can discuss them and debate them all day long. I get asked all the time: how do you know which prospects will make it? The truth is…picking prospects is not an exact science. Some highly touted ones end up falling off the map, while relative unknowns can shoot up and shine. But if you ask me my measuring stick, it always begins with one statistic. Walks. I look for hitting prospects that take walks and pitching prospects that give up very little walks. It is that simple. The process if far more complicated and this is an oversimplification. But if a walk total stands out, you definitely have my attention.

On the hitting side, take Jaff Decker in the Padres system. The outfield prospect took 103 walks last year in AA. Ranks him very high in my books. But as rare as it is to find  a hitting prospect who can take a walk with pop in his bat, it is even more rare to find a good control pitcher in the minors that gives up few walks and punches hitters out. Let’s say I was to find you a pitcher. In his first two professional seasons combined, here are his numbers: 21-11 record, 2.80 ERA, 1.082 WHIP, 228 1/3 IP, 211 hits allowed, 172 strikeouts and…only 36 walks allowed.  Interested? That is a 4.78 SO/BB ratio. Only 1.4 BB per 9 IP. At 24-years of age, welcome to the world of Casey Lawrence.

At 6’2″, Casey has good size for a pitcher. He stepped into professional baseball in 2010 and has dominated from day one. As starting pitchers goes, I really like his potential. There is a common obsession in baseball circles to favor pitchers who throw 99 mph gas but are generally wild. In my book, an out is an out. Casey Lawrence still has a good share of strikeouts, but it is his control and stinginess on walks that separates him from the pack. 2012 will be a big year for the kid who’s got game. I would like to see what he can do in AA. He has shown that he can pitch. The Jays now need to take that potential and put it up against the next level. If he continues on his current path, Toronto will not be too far behind. 

For all his success to-date, Casey has not let the numbers get to his head. With his down to earth nature, Casey is not getting too far ahead of himself. He does not consider himself above the game, but rather a student of the game. This is what we call the total package- and Casey Lawrence will continue to turn heads in the coming years. Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present our interview with Blue Jays Pitching Prospect, Casey Lawrence:

MLB reports:  Welcome to the Reports Casey!  First question we like to start off with: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?

Casey Lawrence:  The player that I most idolized growing up was Cal Ripken Jr. of the Orioles. I admired Cal for his ability to show up to the field day in and day out, without ever taking a day off and playing through injuries. I admired the way he accepted a position change from SS to 3B for the betterment of his team. I admired the way he played the game and had fun doing it.


MLB reports:  Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Casey Lawrence:  Today, I admire Derek Jeter for the way he handles himself on and off the field. He is the type of player that has become a household role model. He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played and has that “it” factor; the ability to make the big play, clutch hit, and find a way to win.


MLB reports:  Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?

Casey Lawrence:  My most proudest accomplishment of my career-to-date would have to be a combination of two: the day I signed my contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and being given the honor of starting the 2010 New York-Penn All-Star Game. I consider both to be honors and rewards for the hard work I’ve put in each and every day.


MLB reports:  You started your baseball career with the Jays organization in 2010.  Did you expect to be signed by Toronto? What was that process like?

Casey Lawrence:  I had been shown some interest from a few teams after my junior year at Albright College heading into the draft. While no teams took a chance then, I still had faith that my time would come after graduating my senior year. My senior year was greeted with several more teams showing interest, but yet again the draft came and went without a single phone call from any of the 30 MLB teams. That means I had been passed over in the draft 3,000 times in two years. But wasn’t the first time I had been looked over, so I had accepted the fact that I had to continue to prove people wrong each and every day. I had actually been in Florida for vacation during the 2010 draft. I returned home that Sunday and pitched in a local men’s league game for the Brushtown Bulldogs. Monday morning I received a phone call from Blue Jays scout Bobby Gandolfo saying that they would like to offer me a contract. I flew back to Florida Tuesday morning and my journey started.


MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Casey Lawrence:  I consider my knowledge of the game as one of my greatest baseball skills. I grew up learning and playing  the game I love from my Grandfather, who was offered a professional contract from the St. Louis Browns. But he turned it down because my Grandmother insisted he stay home and take care of the family, my Father and my Uncle. I really enjoy talking the game and strategy of baseball every day and don’t know what I’d do without it.


MLB reports:  What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?

Casey Lawrence:  I am continually working to better myself within this game whether it be mentally or physically. I always keep “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” close by me and consider it a pitcher’s Bible. I also have been striving to continue to get stronger and increasing my arm strength in order to stay healthy and consistent.


MLB reports:  I am very impressed with your numbers.  Good win totals, low ERA and WHIP.  I am particularly blown away by your low walks rates.  What’s the secret of your success?

Casey Lawrence:  The secret to my success is no secret at all but rather hard work. I have always worked hard at throwing strikes, locating all my pitches, getting ground balls, and allowing the defense to make plays. My Uncle Dave (also my pitching coach at Delone Catholic High School) and Gary Yeager Jr. (my pitching coach at Albright College) always preached about pounding down in the strike zone and that hasn’t changed since signing with Toronto.


MLB reports:  Long-term do you see yourself as a starter or a reliever?

Casey Lawrence:  Long-term I see myself doing whatever the team asks me to do. Obviously, I’d love to continue to start; but if they feel I’d help the team more by relieving ,then that’s what I’ll do.


MLB reports:  What pitches do you throw?  Best pitch? Anything you are currently working on?

Casey Lawrence:  My repertoire consists of a 2-seam sinking fastball, 4-seam fastball, change-up, slider and curveball. I’m continuing to develop my breaking pitches into being more consistent and sharper.


MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Casey Lawrence:  That’s a tough one, really putting me on the spot with this one! I’ll say this. I see my arrival in the big leagues whenever the team feels I’m ready. Obviously, everyone wants to get there sooner rather than later, but it takes a lot of hard work to get there. They are the greatest players in the world. The truth is “if you think you’re ready, you’re probably not”. Every day is another opportunity to get better and learn something new. No one is guaranteed the opportunity to play at that level and if I’m fortunate enough to one day have that opportunity, that would be a blessing.


MLB reports:  What do you do for fun when you are not playing baseball?

Casey Lawrence:  When I’m not playing baseball, I enjoy going to the movies, watching television, playing some video games and golfing.


MLB reports:  Have you visited Toronto yet?  

Casey Lawrence:  I honestly have never been outside the United States. My passport is ready if the time calls for it, but I’d rather not just visit.


MLB reports:  You just completed your second professional season, finishing in High-A ball.  Do you know where the Jays likely plan to start you this season?

Casey Lawrence:  I have no idea where the Blue Jays plan on starting me this season. I’m anxious for Spring Training to start and earn a spot on the team they feel I fit best.


MLB reports:  If you could send out a message to the Jays fans, what would it be?

Casey Lawrence:  My message to the fans of the Blue Jays would be to continue with their unbelievable support and that the whole entire organization is working very hard day in and day out to bring them a World Series. Hopefully in the near future!


MLB reports:  Final thoughts?

Casey Lawrence:  Finally I’d like to thank my family, friends, and fans for their continued support. I don’t think they get enough credit for what they have meant to me in my life. It’s truly a blessing and I thank God each and every day for the opportunity I have to play the game I love for a living.

***Thank you to Casey Lawrence for taking the time today to speak with us on MLB reports (and the pictures used in todays’ feature)!  You can follow Casey on Twitter (@CaseyLawrence). Casey is very social media savy, so please feel free to send him any questions/comments you have.  Good luck in 2012 Casey, the crystal ball sees big things for you this season!***

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

 

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My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Blandy’s Picks

Friday December 23rd, 2011

Rob Bland:  According to Baseball-Reference, there are 27 former Major League players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  13 of these players are new on the ballot.  Every year only one or two players are inducted, but this year, there should most definitely be more, although it is doubtful that the BBWAA actually induct more than two.  In order to be elected, a player must receive 75% of the total votes.  If a player receives less than 5% of the vote, or if he has gone 15 years without receiving the 75%, he is then taken off the list.

Of the newcomers, there is one player who deserves any attention; however I do not believe that he should ever be elected to the Hall.  After all, the Baseball Hall of Fame is supposed to be the best of the very best.  Career .297/.381/.477 hitter with 4 Gold Glove Awards in a premium position?  Seems like an almost lock to make it.  However, Bernie Williams and his World Series rings was not GREAT.  He was merely very good, on some great teams.  


Of the returnees, only two players received 50% of the votes, where 75% is necessary to be enshrined.

My list of players I would vote for, as well as near-misses are as follows:

Barry Larkin received 62.1% of the votes last year, and will likely be in by 2013.  Larkin played a premium position (shortstop), a 12-time All-Star, 9-time Silver Slugger, 1995 National League MVP, all while playing parts of 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.  Seems pretty obvious to me.  YES.

Jack Morris is on the ballot for his 13th time, and I am really not sure how he was able to get 53.5% of the vote in 2011.  Sure, there is something to say about a durable innings-eater with 254 career wins, but upon closer look at his stats, he does not deserve to be in the Hall.  With an ERA+ of 105, a 1.296 WHIP, K/9 under 6, and K/BB of 1.78, he doesn’t scream “elite”, but good pitcher who came up huge in clutch situations.  NO.

Jeff Bagwell is still shrouded in controversy as many members of the media continue to believe he took steroids.  I am a guy who doesn’t believe in the asterisks or the stripping of records for those who did such things.  With a career .948 OPS and 149 OPS+, to go along with 449 home runs in 15 seasons, NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, NL MVP in 1994, there is no way he should be kept out of the Hall.  YES.

Edgar Martinez is a tough case because of the fact that he was predominantly a designated hitter in his career.  Therefore, he added basically zero defensive value over the course of his 18 year career.  However, upon looking at his stats, he more than makes up for it in offensive production.  With a career slash line of .312/.418/.515/.933 and OPS+ of 147, he was one of the best pure hitters of his generation.  He may not have been the most prolific home run hitter, but he mashed doubles in Seattle throughout his career at a very high rate.  YES.

Tim Raines was a great lead-off hitter.  Over 23 seasons, he reached base at a .385 clip, and stole 808 bases.  Between 1981 and 1987, it is hard to imagine a better hitter atop the line-up.  In those 7 seasons, he stole 504 bases, averaging 72 per season, including 90 in 1983.  However, his production (while still good), fell off dramatically at this point of his career.  Because of this, it is tough to vote him in.  NO, although very close.

Larry Walker is one of the all-time greatest Canadian players, and I feel as though this could be extremely biased.  Regardless of the fact that he played in Coors Field in the mid to late 90’s where balls soared out of the stadium at an alarming pace, Walker put up some incredible numbers.  Walker’s OPS+ of 140 with a slash line of .313/.400/.565/.965 is pretty ridiculous.  (OPS+ is adjusted to the hitter’s ballpark, so it shows just how ridiculous he actually was).  The 1997 NL MVP should be the second Canadian in the Hall after Fergie Jenkins.  YES.

Fred McGriff is in his 3rd year of eligibility, only received 17.9% of votes last year.  The Crime Dog was never flashy, but he was a consistent performer year in and year out for his 19 seasons.  Between 1988 and 1994, he never hit under 31 home runs (including 34 HR in 113 games in the strike-shortened 1994 season).  He was consistently a very good player, but unfortunately for him, he was never considered to be an elite first baseman, which is what the Hall of Fame stands for.  NO, but very close.

Mark McGwire.  The most controversial choice on the ballot, is my last selection.  Although he has admitted that he has taken steroids, and has been the hitting coach of 2011 World Series Champs St. Louis Cardinals, many believe he should not be in the Hall.  However, a career .982 OPS and 162 OPS+is enough for me.  The 11-time All-Star hit 583 home runs, and his career 162-game average was 50 home runs.  There is no way I would keep him out of the Hall, but there are many others who will do everything to keep him out.  YES.

The 2012 Hall of Fame class will be more stripped down than my version, with the potential of zero players getting in. Barry Larkin may have a better chance in 2012, due to the fact that he will not be overshadowed by Roberto Alomar, who received the third-most votes of all time to be enshrined in the Hall, with 523.  Stay tuned for the results when they are released.

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

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

Sunday December 18th, 2011

Sam Evans:  2012 brings several new candidates to the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.  One thing that really annoys me about the current voting process is that it can take up to fifteen years for a player to be elected. So instead of saying that a player should/could be elected in the future, I’d rather they be elected right away.

For any Hall of Famer, I think they need to have at least ten seasons where they were one of the best players at their respective position. Also, if there is indisputable evidence of them using steroids, then I won’t vote for them.Without futher ado, let’s get to the players:

Mark McGwire: My vote is a no. Given his steroid use, I can’t bring myself to support one of the most dominant hitters of the 1990′s.

Barry Larkin: Larkin is a yes for me. From 1988 to 2000, he was the best shortstop in all of baseball. Yes, even better than Cal Ripken Jr. Larkin was a twelve time All-Star and he won the 1995 NL MVP award. In 2011, he received 62.1% of the BBWAA votes. He only needs about 13% more of the votes to make it this year, and it would be pretty surprising if he didn’t get in this time.

Jack Morris: Jack Morris is not a Hall of Famer. Jack Morris did show America that a starting pitcher can win clutch games for his team all by himself. In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series against the Braves, Morris threw a ten inning shutout. This probably was the greatest World Series performance of all-time. However, when you look at his overall numbers, they’re just not that impressive. A career ERA of 3.90 and only 39.3 career WAR are just not enough for the Hall of Fame. Morris will always be remembered for his great clutch performances, but he doesn’t deserve to be a Hall of Famer. 2012 will be his twelfth year of eligibility, and he actually has a decent chance to make it. In 2010, he received his highest percentage of votes to-date, with 53.5%.

Edgar Martinez: My vote is a yes. Without Edgar, who knows if we’d still have the DH? You can read more about Edgar and the Hall of Fame in my previous article here.

Jeff Bagwell: This is a very easy yes for me. Bagwell collected an 83.9 WAR in his career. That is more than Derek Jeter and Reggie Jackson. Bagwell was an extremely consistent player, who won a ROY and MVP award. As of right now, Jeff Bagwell is the best player who played his whole career in the state of Texas. In his first year of eligibility, “Bagpipes” received 41.7% of the voters votes. He will definitely make it in the next couple of years.

Bernie Williams: Bernie Williams is a hesitant yes for me.  I have only liked two Yankees players in my history of fandom. Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. Williams played the game every day like there was nowhere in the world he would rather be. Williams played about league-average defense, yet won four Gold Gloves due to his stature as a Yankee. Williams won four World Series and is now a superstar Jazz musician. However, the athleticism of Williams never translated into him being a great center fielder. Williams was solid at what ground he did cover, but he never really covered as much space as a center fielder should. Williams had a disappointing -109 TZ (total zone; a stat used to find how much ground a player covers) over the course of his career. However, Williams should be a Hall of Famer because of his loyalty to his team and helping break the Puerto Rican-American barriers. Williams was never the best player at his position, let alone his team, but he was a shining star in an era in which we needed one. This will be Williams’ first year of eligibility.

Bill Mueller: No chance I would vote for Mueller. Bill Mueller only played eleven seasons and he never even made an All-Star team. Every Hall of Famer should have at least fifteen years to their resume. Mueller was a decent player and he helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, but he was not a Hall of Fame type player.

Larry Walker and Fred McGriff: Walker is a yes for me, and McGriff is a no. You can read more about these players in my previous article here.

2012 should be an interesting year for Cooperstown. There are probably three players that could be elected this year and they all deserve it. Lost in all of the comparisons of players from different era’s, we often forget how good all of these players were. Instead of criticizing people’s opinions on who deserves a vote, we should just appreciate all of the players’ individual greatness for what they are.

***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***

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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