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Even With The Awesome Farewell To Jeter, There Are Others Who Are Hanging Up The Cleats This Year

Paul Konerko announced that the 2014 season will be his last. Konerko has 439 career HR, 1412 RBI, and 6 All Star appearances in his 18 year career. What will most likely not be a HOF career, will certainly go down as one of the best in White Sox history. Konerko was the direct replacement for Frank Thomas.  Konerko is only 16 HRs behind Thomas for the White Sox franchise record.  While he will not reach that mark, his role may increase now with some DH AB.  Konerko, now 38, was a 1998 trade acquisition - with OF Mike Cameron going back the other way.  while Cameron was a nice Major Leaguer in his time.  Konerko should have his number retired by the club, and is the current active leader for HRs hit for just one team.

Paul Konerko announced that the 2014 season will be his last. Konerko has 439 career HR, 1412 RBI, and 6 All Star appearances in his 18 year career. What will most likely not be a HOF career, will certainly go down as one of the best in White Sox history. Konerko was the direct replacement for Frank Thomas.He is only 16 HRs behind Thomas for the White Sox franchise record. Konerko, now 38, was a 1998 trade acquisition – with OF Mike Cameron going back the other way. while Cameron was a nice Major Leaguer in his time. Konerko should have his number retired by the club, and is the 2nd active leader for HRs hit for just one team.(432 HRs) to Albert Pujols (having hit 445 HRs with STL).  His 3 Slash Line for his career is .279/.354/.487 – and he has collected 2340 hits.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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1st off, mad respect to Derek Jeter, for giving everyone a last night to remember on Thursday.  He embodied what a class act superstar should be his whole career.

The MLB world is fully justified to praise him as much as they want. So the ‘hater’s’ will just have to suffer.

I am happy to see a lot of our brethren of website writers all chime in some of the other guys hanging them up too.

Paul Konerko is about us unheralded as their is for a near Hall of Famer these. days.  He is second actively when it comes to HRs for a select team, with his total of 432 bombs for the White Sox.  Only Albert Pujols‘s 445 HRs for the Cards is more.

Only David Ortiz has hit over 400 HRs for one active team besides Pujols and Konerko..

It is only too bad, that the big 2005 World Champion, saw a lot of his power evaporate before he passed Frank Thomas‘s career mark of 448 big fly’s for the franchise.

Still, #14 will be missed, and I definitely will be watching on my computer, with it being “Paul Konerko Day” today (Saturday Sept.27th) at Us Cellular Field. Read the rest of this entry

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

derek jeter

How All Of The Yankees Hitters Were Acquired:

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

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The success of most franchises usually occurs when a huge core is built up through a drafting system, and then the club can piece the rest of the club together.

The 2nd best way to create a winning squad is to trade for players with the organizational pieces you have supplanted in the Minors or Majors.

Then there is the Yankees way of doing things.  Hiring Free Agents – and spend boatloads of dollars.

Out of the majority of their hitting roster in 2014, most of them came through the Free Agent route.

Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte were acquired through outright Free Agency.

Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan were both acquired in deals, then have since re-signed as Free Agents in the open market afterwards.

Alfonso Soriano, was brought over in a deal, and is in the last year of his current contract signed back in 2007.

Yes, he was originally signed by the “Pinstripers”, but the new chain of transaction, had the club giving away a pitching prospect for his services, even though he is still tied to A’Rod.

Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli stand alone as the only 3 players to have been drafted by the club – and have remained Yanks their whole playing time thus far. Read the rest of this entry

With Moore Out For TJ Surgery – The Rays Should Hold Onto Price Through 2015

Matt Moore finished 17 - 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness.  Losing this LHP will hurt the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 - 3 slots in the rotation.  That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 - 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost.

Matt Moore finished 17 – 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness. Losing this LHP to TJ Surgery hurts the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 – 3 slots in the rotation. That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  The squad will have to weather the storm for a few months with some organizational players that might include the players: Erik Bedard, Nate Karns or Cesar Ramos. With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 – 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost in 2014 and 2015..  Moore is under Team Control through the 2019 year, and when he comes back to the fold at 100% in 2015, hopefully the Rays will be vying for another postseason berth in the second half.

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

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Lets face it.  The Tampa Bay Rays have had an incredible run at it.  The Florida squad trails only the Yankees for wins since the start of the 2008 season in baseball.

The club has made it to the postseason 4 out of the last 6 years, and possess 5 out of 6 years with 90+ Wins.

All of this with a shoestring budget, and incredible use of stretching dollars on player talent.

Every year, Andrew Freidman finds a bargain Free Agent that becomes an ALL – Star once he dawns the blue and purple. Read the rest of this entry

The Winter Meetings Feel So Much Different For The Astros In 2013 Compared To 2012

Ankiel hit 5 HRs in his first 40 AB with the Astros to start last year - including a huge Opening Day long bomb, but he could not buy a hit after that.  The Astros released him soon after that.  Ankiel was one of the acquisitions from last winter, so we can at least see the club is going after more astute players.

2012 Winter signing Rick Ankiel hit 5 HRs in his first 40 AB with the Astros to start last year – including a huge Opening Day long bomb, but he could not buy a hit after that. The Astros released him soon after that. Ankiel was one of the acquisitions from last winter, so we can at least see the club is going after more astute players.

By Lee White (Astros Correspondent) 

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The Houston Astros haven’t been all that busy the past few years in the offseason. They’ve signed older veterans to get them through the year.

Last year’s offseason acquisitions included Jose Veras, Carlos Pena, and Rick Ankiel. However, this year, they’re actually spending real money.

They’ve traded for Dexter Fowler, and they’ve signed Scott Feldman to a three year, 30 million dollar contract.

They also brought in a former Astro Chad Qualls at two years 6 million dollars with an option for a third year at 3.5 million dollars.

Those acquisitions could just be the tip of the iceberg for the Astros as the head into the Winter Meetings.

Chad Qualls Fist Pump – Followed By A Tumble

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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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Tampa Bay Rays In Payroll 2014 + Contracts Going Forward: They Should Also Trade David Price To St. Louis For Matt Adams

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries held him back in 2013.  He was 9 - 8, with a 3.39 ERA.  Since he is due a payraise - to the $13 - $15 MIL range, it is my feeling the team should trade him for a slugging 1B.  How about Matt Adams of the Cardinals anyone?  The St. Louis team will need an ace to replace Chris Carpenter - and could bridge the gap for his few years of eligibility.

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries held him back in 2013. He was  still 9 – 8, with a 3.39 ERA. Since he is due a payraise – to the $13 – $15 MIL range in Arbitration, it is my feeling the team should trade him for a slugging 1B. How about Matt Adams of the Cardinals anyone? The St. Louis team will need an ace to replace Chris Carpenter – and could bridge the gap for the team before Free Agency eligibility in 2016.  It was too bad Hak-Ju Lee was hurt for some of 2013, as that would have been a perfect package to help bringing back another Starter.  Perhaps the Rays should use Matt Joyce also as bait?  Maybe they could a prospect Starter after all.  The team figures to be around $55 – 57 MIL before Price.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

I am of the belief that the Andrew Friedman and Stu Sternberg have been the ‘model franchise’ in the AL over the last 6 years. 

Not only do they compete in the vaunted AL East versus the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but they have made the playoffs 4 times in that span, including a World Series Loss to the Philadelphia in the 2008 year. 

Had Evan Longoria not been hurt for the majority of the 2012 season, one could argue that the club was poised to make another playoff appearance to make it 6. 

So how are they doing this?  Their team payroll is roughly one-third of the Yankees and the 40 % of the Red Sox total Payroll. 

The Rays are smart enough to let their higher priced Free Agents walk, or even trading them before they are due significant pay raises. 

They are also using the philosophy of the ‘John Hart‘ Indians of the Pre-Milennium Cleveland Indians.  Once it was established that Evan Longoria could play at the MLB Level, they signed him to an 8 year contract. 

They did the same thing with Starting Pitching Matt Moore last year with a 5 year deal for the rookie based on one playoffs of decent pitching. 

It is a risk sometimes to do this, yet the rewards can save you Millions in future payroll if the new player (s) outperforms his/their contract (s).

Rays Highlights 2013:

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The MLB Needs To Amend Its Weighted Schedule/Payroll Flaws By The 2016 CBA Renewal!!

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Thursday August.1/2013

If you are a Mariners fan, your park is the furthest geographically away from an NL home park or vice versa (806 Miles).  If you are a fan of the NL, get your bags packed, because chances are, you will need to head on a roady in order to see your favorite NL team every year.

If you are a Mariners fan, your park is the furthest geographically away from another Leagues (NL) home park or vice versa (806 Miles). If your favorite team is in the NL, get your bags packed, because chances are, you will need to head on a roady in order to see your team every year.  The MLB needs to address the situation for complete fairness to every single team.  My plan would still be to have 44 – 52 Divisional Games, 60 other games against the 10 teams in your own league, and then to play 50 Interleague Games.  Of course this isn’t even possible until the MLB and MLBPA workout a new CBA in 2016.

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

Maybe it is because I am a West Cost (Vancouver B.C Canada) guy that lives 1100 Miles away from the nearest NL Ballpark, or maybe it is because I have seen it work well in other professional sports – when I worked as a pro handicapper for 3 plus years.

I am sick of seeing teams come in to town for 3 series in a year – when it might take another team 6 years to visit in Interleague.

Sure if I lived in the East Coast, in a place like New Jersey, I could have my pick of any home parks (AL + NL) within a 450 MILE radius, I may not feel the same, but even that I doubt it.

My friend Doug Miller (from Washington State), also wrote a column worth reading on this subject.  He called it “Team Fatigue”. read that article here

I also wrote a similar column on MLB Baseball’s need to adapt a Payroll/Geographical Re – Alignment that could bring a huge amount of parity to the MLB in future years here.

With the Orioles playing good baseball all year, I fear they will not be playing baseball in October.  You know why?  It is not because they don't deserve too be, and it will likely not be their fault.  The reason is:  they will have had the toughest Strength of Schedule: playing the Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays, while the Indians and Royals play extremely weak clubs like Minnesota and the White Sox a quarter of their schedule. The same can be said for the Oakland and Texas franchise feasting on the hapless (Trade Depleted Astros), and a steady dose of the Mariners (who are far easier to play than any of the AL East teams).

With the Orioles playing good baseball all year, I fear they will not be playing baseball in October. You know why? It is not because they don’t deserve to be, and it will likely not be their fault. The reason is: they will have had the toughest Strength of Schedule: playing the Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays 76 times this year, while the Indians and Royals play extremely weak clubs like Minnesota and the White Sox a quarter of their schedules. The same can be said for the Oakland and Texas franchises feasting on the hapless (Trade Depleted Astros), and a steady dose of the Mariners (who are far easier to play than any of the 5 AL East teams).

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The NY Yankees Roster Tree Part 1: The Hitters Acquisitions For Each Player

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Tuesday July.09/2013

Derek Jeter starts the 2013 year only 11 hits behind Eddie Collins for 10th place on the ALL-Time hits list.  With a possible Player Option in 2014, - and maybe playing one additional year after - can he hit 327 base knocks to pass Stan Musial for 4th place on the list by that years end?  Will he play beyond this year even?  Derek Jeter was Drafted by the team in 1992 - and represents all that good drafting the team did prior to the new regime

Derek Jeter starts the 2013 year only 11 hits behind Eddie Collins for 10th place on the ALL-Time hits list. With a possible Player Option in 2014, – and maybe playing one additional year after – can he hit 327 base knocks to pass Stan Musial for 4th place on the list by that years end? Will he play beyond this year even? Derek Jeter was Drafted by the team in 1992 – and represents all that good drafting the team did prior to the new regime.

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

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Yankees – and how they assembled their current roster for hitting and Pitching.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted.

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The Billy Beane Way Of Contracts + His Trade History Since MoneyBall!

Wednesday July.03, 2013

Updated January.05, 2014

Updated July.05, 2014 for Samardzija deal link

Beane Spins Magic Again In World Series Quest: Picks Up Samardzija + Hammel For Straily + Prospects

Updated July 31, 2014 for Trade Deadline deals.

Beane Acquires Lester + Gomes For Cespedes: Then Acquires Fuld For Millone

Updated Aug 8, 2014 for Hitters Roster Tree

How All Of The A’s Hitters Were Acquired: 2014 Roster Tree Shows Incredible Beane Trading Record

Beane does his transactions throughout the entire year - and very little at the deadline.  He is never finished with re-arranging his franchise.  Perhaps his best Trade Deadline deal was to acquire Jermaine Dye in 2001.  Conversely, he had to pay Dye a big FA contract afterwards.  Between he and Eric Chavez's deal, Beane learned not to be burned on long term deals.  He is a big fan of 1 to 2 Year Deals with Veterans.

Beane does his transactions throughout the entire year – and very little at the deadline. He is never finished with re-arranging his franchise. Perhaps his best Trade Deadline deal was to acquire Jermaine Dye in 2001. Conversely, he had to pay Dye a big FA contract afterwards (3 YRs/$30 MIL). Between he and Eric Chavez’s deal, (6 YR/$66 MIL deal) Beane learned not to be burned on long term contracts. He is a big fan of 1 – 2 Year Deals with Veterans.  A lot of his players have not fared as well when they have left the organization.  Even the guys that have, simply cost too much money for the A’s liking.  The Oakland team received the same kind of production from them for a small percentage of the salary paid out.

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

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We have talked a ton about Billy Beane‘s genius way on the website.  The Website founder ‘Jonathan Hacohen’ was one of the first baseball writers to uncover the new Beane strategy last year.

I further studied some of his brilliant work  – by figuring out the current roster tree for all of the current team last November.  I was able to pick up a lot more patterns from his work as a GM.

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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

Anthony Rendon: The Nats New Second Baseman Is Proving A New MLB Thought Process About Fielding

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Friday, June.07/2013

There is some concern over Rendon's defensive stylings at second. He did make two errors in three games, but minor league errors can be deceiving. Error in general can be deceptive but minor league fields are not taken care of in the same way as major league fields and often times do not play true. It is also unknown how far he ranged to get to the balls that he made errors on or anything else about how they happened. What is known is that before he was recalled the Nats called AAA manager, Tony Beasley, and asked him if Rendon had the footwork to handle second base. The answer was yes.

There is some concern over Rendon’s defensive stylings at second. He did make two errors in three games, but minor league errors can be deceiving. Errors in general can be deceptive but minor league fields are not taken care of in the same way as major league fields and often times do not play true. It is also unknown how far he ranged to get to the balls that he made errors on or anything else about how they happened. What is known is that before he was recalled the Nats called AAA manager, Tony Beasley, and asked him if Rendon had the footwork to handle second base. The answer was yes.

By David Huzzard (of the Citizens Of Natstown Website, please visit here for an awesome Nats Website)

There is a scene in the movie Moneyball where manager Art Howe refuses to play Scott Hatteberg at first base because he has a first baseman in Carlos Pena and Hatteberg is not a first baseman.

Anthony  Rendon is not a second baseman and the Nats have a natural second baseman in Steve  Lombardozzi .

The chances that the Nats situation goes the way of the A’s situation is unlikely as Rizzo and Davey have often been in step when it comes to moves.

There have been some recent signs that maybe Davey isn’t too keen on the new guys.

Anthony Rendon Spring Training HR:

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The Astros Are Making Player Moves And Are 4 – 5 In The Last 9 Games

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Saturday, April.20/2013

Brett Wallace had struggled something fierce to start this year.  At Age 26, he is nearing the end of his rope with the Astros.  He has a Career 3 Slash Line of .243/.316/.682 - with 16 HRs and 66 RBI in 743 At-Bats.  Not encouraging numbers.  He was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2010 season for OF Anthony Gose.  At least Gose hasn't accomplished much with the Canadian franchise yet

Brett Wallace had struggled something fierce to start this year before his most recent demotion to the Minor Leagues. At Age 26, he is nearing the end of his rope with the Astros. He has a Career 3 Slash Line of .243/.316/.682 – with 16 HRs and 66 RBI in 743 At-Bats. Not encouraging numbers. He was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2010 season for OF Anthony Gose. At least Gose hasn’t accomplished much with the Canadian franchise yet.

By Richard Perez (Astros Correspondent visit the StrosBros Website here):

After seven games played, 17 Strikeouts, and one hit in 27 Plate Appearances, the Astros optioned First Baseman Brett Wallace to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and it comes a great news to me. I feel that Brett Wallace is on limited time in the Major Leagues and that he just isn’t going to pan out to be the highly touted prospect he once was.

He’s had somewhat of a successful tenure in Houston, but I feel compelled to believe that he was transferred around from one organization to the next while never making an appearance at the Major League level is one of the more pieces of condemning evidence from early on the Brett Wallace was doomed to be a dud

Astros Struggle in the 2013 Year:

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The Rays Need To Call Up Wil Myers Pronto!

2 And A Hook Podcast Talks About Calling UP Wil Myers – 25 Minute Mark

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Thursday Apr.18/2013

Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future for many years to come. The club has featured a futile attack with the bats - hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .204//284/.588. They have scored only 39 Runs - while allowing 59 Runs through 13 Games.

Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future for many years to come. The club has featured a futile attack with the bats – hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .204//284/.588. They have scored only 39 Runs – while allowing 59 Runs through 13 Games.

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

First off, I wanted to say that I completely respect the Tampa Bay Rays – and especially am an avid supporter of the head office – including GM Andrew Freidman.  I will get to all of this in this article.

It is time to call up Wil Myers to the big club! 

The club is mired in a slow start at 4 – 9 and are already 5 Games Behind the AL East Division Leaders ‘Boston Red Sox.

The team traded away Veteran Pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City in order to acquire the top hitting prospect.

Here is why the time makes sense.

Service time for Super 2 Arbitration Status and Free Agency Year aside, this clubs current offense is abysmal despite having great pitching ability.

Wil Myers Highlight Reel:

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Rick Ankiel Earns A New MLB Life Yet Again

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Sunday, March.31/2013

Ankiel could be used in any bf the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the starting lineup, Ankiel would help just about any MLB Team.  Ankiel only batted .236/.292/.377 with the Nats in 2 years but was slugging .411 this year 17 XBH (5 HRs, 10-2B and 2 3B ) in just 158 AB.  Injuries plagued him from 2009-2010. At age 34, does he have any baseball left?

Ankiel could be used in any of the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the Starting Lineup for the Astros, Ankiel only batted .236/.292/.669 with the Nats in 2 years but was slugging .411 – with 17 XBH (5 HRs, 10-2B and 2 3B ) in just 158 AB during the 2012 campaign.  The Nats released him near the end of June after Jayson Werth returned to the lineup and Bryce Harper was called up. Injuries has plagued him for the majority of the 2009 – 2010 years. At age 33, does he have any baseball left?  The Astros fans will soon find out.

By Richard Perez (Astros Correspondent visit the StrosBros Website here):

In his tenth overall MLB season, Rick Ankiel is on his fourth MLB team after struggling to stay in the Majors since 2010, being designated as a back-up outfielder with the Royals, Braves, and finally the Nationals. As a Non-Roster Invitee, Ankiel has found a home with the Houston Astros organization.

It seems clear that with his explosion towards the end of Spring Training that he could potentially earn a spot on the Astros 25 Man Roster. More than likely we will see Ankiel be platooning with J.D. Martinez in Left Field, with the former Starting Pitcher taking the Starting job, and having the young and inexperienced Martinez under him and learning from the ten-year veteran, Ankiel.

Don’t Run On Rick Ankiel – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Tampa Bay Rays Player Roster In 2013 Part 1 – The Hitters: State Of The Union

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Sunday, Mar.03/2013

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.  At Age 31, Zobrist goes into a contract year.

Ben Zobrist has quietly turned into one of the best all around players in the game. He has finished in the top 10 for WAR in 3 of the last 4 years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009. At Age 31, Zobrist goes into a contract year in 2013.  It may be his last season with TB.

By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent)

Part 1: The hitters:

2012 saw the Tampa Bay Rays miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They would finish a very respectable 90-win season and finish third in the AL Wild card. The offseason saw much of what Rays fans are used to from this small market club. Impact players such as B.J. Upton (ATL), Jeff Keppinger (CHW),  and Carlos Pena (HOU),  would move on to greener pastures and sign elsewhere. That meant GM Andrew Friedman and his team would get to work. They would pick up options on SP James Shields, CL Fernando Rodney, and C Jose Molina. They would decline the option on DH Luke Scott and later sign him back.

The offseason would also see the reworking of a long-term deal to keep the Rays 3B Evan Longoria in a Rays uniform at least through the 2022 season. But with Free Agency looming for “Big Game” James the Rays would do what they do best and send Shields, Wade Davis, and a PTBNL (Elliot Johnson) to the Royals for a prospect package that included future rotation regulars Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi and MLB.com 2nd best prospect OF Wil Myers. The Rays would shore up the middle of the infield by Signing and trading for the Blue Jays previous middle infield of Yunel Escobar (MIA) and Kelly Johnson (FA). To replace Carlos Pena, the Rays would sign Free Agent James Loney.   The organization also brought back Joel Peralta on a deal that included a record three Club Options.

Desmond Jennings Highlights:

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Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Part 4 Of A 5 Part Rays Series

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Sunday Mar.03/2013

Will ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha.  The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future

Will Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future.  As a Controllable Player for years, he changes the Salary structure of the Team to Lower the committed dollars from what Shields and Davis would have made.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

New Changes to the old article in Purple: 

I am of the belief that the Andrew Friedman and Stu Sternberg have been the ‘model franchise’ in the MLB over the last 5 years.  Not only do they compete in the vaunted AL East versus the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but they have made the playoffs 3 times in that span, including a World Series Loss to the Philadelphia in the 2008 year.  Had Evan Longoria not been hurt for the majority of the season, one could argue that the club was poised to make another playoff appearance.  So how are they doing this?  Their team payroll is roughly one-third of the Yankees and the 40 % of the Red Sox total Payroll.  The Rays are smart enough to let their higher priced Free Agents walk, or even trading them before they are due significant pay raises. 

They are also using the philosophy of the ‘John Hart‘ Indians of the Pre-Milennium Cleveland Indians.  Once it was established that Evan Longoria could play at the MLB Level, they signed him to an 8 year contract.  They did the same thing with Starting Pitching Matt Moore last year with a 5 year deal for the rookie based on one playoffs of decent pitching.  It is a risk sometimes to do this, yet the rewards can save you Millions in future payroll if they player outperforms his contract.

Rays Highlights 2012 Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance Is advised:

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The Astros Miss Out On Reid Brignac

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Saturday, February.16,  2013

Brignac is known as more of a defensive specialist than anything.  He has a Career 3 Slash Line of .227/.268/.586.  He has to be extremely elated to be heading to hitter - friendly Coors Field.  He is Arbitration Eligible in 2014.

Brignac is known as more of a defensive specialist than anything. He has a Career 3 Slash Line of .227/.268/.586. The Shortstop/Second Baseman has to be extremely elated to be heading to hitter – friendly Coors Field. He is Arbitration Eligible in 2014.

By Lee White (Astros Correspondent) 

Since the Astros traded Jed Lowrie about a week ago, the Houston Astros have been looking at acquiring another shortstop. Reid Brignac, Rays shortstop, was on the Astros radar.

The Colorado Rockies acquired Infielder Reid Brignac from the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations. Brignac bounced around between Triple-A and the Rays last season. He hit .095 in 16 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. The 27-year-old Brignac was a Second-Round Pick by the Rays in the Amateur Draft of 2004.

Reid Brignac Highlights:  Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance is advised:

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Chris Carter: The Future Star That Will Make Billy Beane Regret His Trade Mistake

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Monday February 11th, 2013

Chris Carter had a 3 Slash Line of .239/.350/.864 in 218 AB during the 2012 season. He clubbed 16 HRs and 39 RBI. He hit 11 HRs in just 122 AB away from o.co Coliseum. At just Age 26 - and team controllable until 2019, it is weird that Billy Beane would trade away the slugging 1B/DH

Chris Carter: A career .283 hitter in the minors, with a .378 OBP and .535 SLG. The perfect combination of power and patience. He will prove to be the one that got away from Billy Beane.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Mark down the date of February 4th, 2013. The day that Billy Beane broke my heart. In preparing for my latest A’s feature, the working title of the article was “Chris Carter: The Next Great A’s Superstar”. Then fate intervened. Or rather, Beane decided to pull off one too many trades. After a successful offseason that saw the A’s GM bolster significantly bolster his playoff squad, Beane decided that one more blockbuster move was in order. Jed Lowrie was headed to Oakland, with Chris Carter (the good one), Max Stassi and Brad Peacock going over to the Astros. For the purpose of this piece, I will be focusing on the loss of Carter. Stassi is a former 4th round pick of the A’s and a young 21 Year Old catching prospect. With Derek Norris ready to grab the A’s catching job for the next decade, I can see how he was expandable. Peacock was a 41st round pick of the Nationals. A 25 Year Old arm that may develop one day, but crashed and burned last season in AAA. With the A’s pitching depth, I can see how he could be ticketed out-of-town for a change of scenery. But Chris Carter?  Really Billy??!! You worked your magic to get him in the first place from the Diamondbacks. I certainly hope that your return pans out (Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez). Right now, I simply cannot see the logic of this move.


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Luhnow Spins His Trade Magic Again For The Astros In: Get Carter

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Wednesday Feb.6, 2013

Lowrie had a stellar 1st half, cracking 14 HRs and 36 RBI, while holding a 3 Slash Line of .253/.343/.803.  He slumped to a .200/.273/.606 in the 2nd half slump after being hurt in July.  He is 28 Years Old and under team control for the A's only through the 2014 seaseon.

Lowrie had a stellar 1st half, cracking 14 HRs and 36 RBI, while holding a 3 Slash Line of .253/.343/.803. He slumped to a .200/.273/.606 in a 2nd half slump after being hurt in July. He is 28 Years Old and under team control for the A’s only through the 2014 season.

By Richard Perez (Astros Correspondent):

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Astros have traded Shortstop Jed Lowrie and Pitcher Fernando Rodriguez to the Oakland A’s for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, and Minor leaguer Max Stassi. Astros mastermind General Manager Jeff Luhnow worked out another amazing trade, getting anybody to agree to take Fernando Rodriguez all on its own is a miracle, but getting more than what he’s worth is astounding.

He’s worked nothing but pure trade magic during his first full calendar year with the club, dumping off Dan Carpenter, Brandon Lyon, AND Carlos Lee over the course of last season. Not to mention plenty other players he traded as well, yielding a number a top prospects, making the Astros’ farm system go from worst to first.

Jed Lowrie Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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The Rays Trade And Draft Record Is Impressive: However Most Of The Best Players Are Now Ex-Rays

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Tuesday, January.08/2013

The Rays Management has been a lot better under the tutelage of the these 3 gentleman.  It is too bad that cant secure an MLB Park with the amount of revenue to pay their great players once they become great.

The Rays Management has been a lot better under the tutelage of the these 3 gentleman. It is too bad that cant secure an MLB Park with the amount of revenue to pay their great players once they become great.

By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent)

The Tampa Bay Rays have had a great history of producing great MLB talent ever since the current regime of Stu Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Andrew Friedman, and Joe Maddon took over. Their system, is to build talent up in hopes to sign to club friendly long-term deals and have them produce until the price tag becomes just too high and then get the next era in from trades .When it comes to pitching however its a whole new ball game. The Rays have an unmatched system for finding pieces from all over and putting them into a mix that at best could be described as ” an Island of misfit toys” but it works. If you take a look at the Rays bullpen the last couple years you see a couple of guys stand out that really had no place anywhere else. 

In 2008, Grant Balfour became what no body thought he was, a great pitcher. In 2008 Balfour went 6-2 in 51 games with a 1.54 ERA and a staggering .89 WHIP. Balfour was signed that season for just above the league minimum at $500,000. Balfour would go onto to Oakland a few years later and signed for a little over 3 Million Dollars.

B.J. Upton Highlights – Parental Guidance is advised

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Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Thursday, December.27,  2012

houston-astros-logo

Nicholas Rossoletti (Baseball Writer):

The 2013 Houston Astros payroll is one of the stranger payrolls to look at given the current state of baseball where player’s salaries seem to be ever-increasing.  Before Dec.18, the Astros were paying exactly one player above One Million Dollars annually.  That player was shortstop, Jed Lowrie. Then, the team added 1B/DH Carlos Pena to its roster on a one year deal for approximately $2.9 Million according to reports and reliever, Jose Veras on a 1 Year/$1.85 Million dollar deal.  Thats it.  Three players earning more than a Million Dollars on a professional baseball franchise approximately sixty (60) days until pitchers and catchers report. (Please note that the Astros are rumored to be interested in signing Third Baseman Jose Lopez who may be added to this list). These are your 2013 Houston Astros, who are a far cry from the Astros of the mid-2000’s who signed Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, traded for Carlos Beltran and made a run at a World Series.  Read the rest of this entry

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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MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: July 2012

Wednesday July.4, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few notes written for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.  The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last month. If this report was being done last week I might have put the New York Yankees in 1st and Texas in 2nd.  A 7 game winning streak help preserve another month for Texas on the leader-board.  There were superior months by Aaron Hill, Jose Bautista, Joey Votto , Jason Heyward and a new phenomenon was born with Jose Altuve.  It was a great month for the MLB.  With 20 teams within 5.5 games or less for the playoff races, we are sure to see some serious movements in the Power Rankings in the 2nd half of the season.

Standings taken before play Tuesday July.03/2012

July Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis

1. Texas-50-30 (1) The Rangers rode a 7 game winning streak to end up 18-8 for the last month. David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus all hit over .300 in the last 30 days.  The Rangers were able to weather a slow spurt from Josh Hamilton, in which he hit .222 with only 4 HRs for the month.  Matt Harrison has asserted himself as an ace on the staff with a 5-0 month with a 1.29 ERA, while leading the American League with 11 wins on the year.  The Rangers have 6 players going to the ALL-Star Game including 3 starters.  Yu Darvish can make a 7th if he is voted into the final roster spot with his rookie campaign of 10-5 so far.

2. NY Yankees 48-31(5)  The Yankees have ridden good pitching and a hot bat from Robinson Cano to a 19-7 record over the last month, with a 5 games lead over their competition in the AL East.  Cano hit .370 with 12 HRs and 24 RBI in the last month.  Derek Jeter is hitting .298 overall but saw his average go from .389 in April, to .283 in May to .232 in June.  He still tops a list of 4 Yankees heading to the ALL-Star Game including 23 HR homer man Curtis GrandersonPhil Hughes went 5-1 in the month with a 2.59 ERA and Ivan Nova won his 3 decisions with a miniscule 1.32 ERA.  Rafael Soriano has converted 18 out of 19 save opportunities since taking over as team closer.

3. San Francisco 45-30 (9)  The Giants went 16-11 in the month and saw a perfect game from Matt Cain, with a few other 1 hitters.  The team shutout the Dodgers 3 games in a row in a series last week.  The Giants have Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera starting in KC next week.  The Melkman continues to show that last year was no fluke with his .352 Average and he is leading the Major Leagues with 111 base hits.  The Giants pitching staff has coped with the loss of Brian Wilson and the ineffectiveness of starter Tim Lincecum, by the rest of the staff having career years.

4. LA Angels 45-35 (12) The Angels have been really steady since the end of May.  They just finished going 17-8 in the last 25 days on the backs of ALL-Stars Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and resurgent Albert Pujols.  Trout might be the most exciting player on the planet these days and is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up.  Trout hit .367 over the last month and has taken over the AL batting lead with a .342 AVG.  Trumbo hit 10 HRs and drove in 28 RBI for the month and Pujols hit .337. to raise his average 40 points.  C.J Wilson was good enough in June to be named as CC Sabathia‘s replacement at the ALL-Star game.

5.  Washington 45-32(9)  Mike Morse has returned to the lineup with a vengeance during the last week with a .484 average.   Super Sub Tyler Moore has also hit .415 in the last 14 games with 4 HRs and 12 RBI.  Ian Desmond had 16 Extra base hits for the month to go along with 20 RBI, while he made the ALL-Star game as a reserve.  Ryan Zimmerman awoke from a season long slump to plate 17 RBI.  Adam LaRoche still contributed 7 HRs and 15 RBI despite a paltry .191 average in June.  Stephen Strasburg is 9-3 on the year with a 2.81 ERA and a league leading 122 SO.  Gio Gonzalez is 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA.  Both Gonzalez and Strasburg made the ALL-Star squad. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat of the Week: HRs per AB Career (Active)

Monday June.11, 2012

Russell Branyan has raw power and was never given a chance to play full time despite ranking 6th amongst active players in HRs per AB. Photo courtesy of seattlesportscentral.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Chicks dig the long ball right?  Well so do dudes.  There is a certain folklore of a player that can absolutely cream a baseball regardless of their batting average or ability to make contact all of the time.  One of my favorite players to watch swing a bat is Russell Branyan.  I follow the Seattle Mariners since they are my closest team for geography.  I was able to see what Russell “The Muscle” was able to do once he was given a chance to play every day for the Mariners.  He rewarded the club by pasting 31 HRs and knocking in 76 RBI in just 116 games during the 2009 year.  The next season, he started with the Cleveland Indians before rejoining the Mariners again at the end of June.  Branyan would electrify the crowds at Safeco by hitting another 15 HRs in just 205 AB. Branyan hits as many HRs per AB for a rate in his career as Mickey Mantle did.  Branyan draws comparisons to another one of my favorite players in Jack Cust with his nickname ‘3TO’, which is short for 3 True Outs.  This is a strikeout, walk or HR.  Cust never made this upcoming list but he did hit 63 HRs in his first 1000 AB while striking out 430 times!  Branyan’s average 162 game season average (with full at bats) would have included striking out 171 times.   In this video you can see his power, (also click the link provided from at the top of the page on this link to see another shot of this mammoth blast that Branyan had at Yankee Stadium.  You can do this by copying the blue version of the link and pasting it into your browser.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0KRvFSdcII

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MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: June 2012

Monday June.4, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few notes written for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.  The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last week.  Look out for Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees to make their move towards the top this month.

June Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis

1. Texas-32-22 (1) The Rangers rode Josh Hamilton in the month of May-who enters today on pace for about 60 HRs and 170 RBI while hitting .354.  Nelson Cruz is starting to heat up and the duo of Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler are steady as as ever. Yu Darvish is 7-3 en route to the leading the group amongst Rookie of The Year Contention.  Joe Nathan is looking like his old self again out of the pen with an ERA under 2.

2. LA Dodgers 33-21 (5) Even with Matt Kemp out of the lineup again, the Dodgers are winning ball games with solid contributions from Andre Ethier and A.J Ellis on offense.  The pitching staff has been anchored by Clayton Kershaw and a fast 7-1 start by Chris CapuanoTed Lilly was 5-1 before a stint on the DL.  It is too bad because Lilly is 125-104 since 2004.

3. Tampa Bay 31-23 (2) Hideki Matsui homered in two of his first 3 games back with the Rays.  The team has had steady pitching to stay in contention.  Carlos Pena has really struggled in the last month and will need to pick it up.  Luke Scott with 35 RBI has good production numbers in spite of his .225 AVG. Fernando Rodney has converted 17 out of 18 saves to pace the club.

4. Cincinnati 30-23 (12) Joey Votto has hit .404 in the last 30 days and maybe the best all-around hitter in the National League right now.  Jay Bruce has 12 HRs and 34 RBI and is living up to his all-star potential.  Aroldis Chapman has 27 Strikeouts in just over 14 innings and has yet to yield a run while opponents are hitting a paltry .043 against him.

5. NY Yankees 29-24 (6) The Bronx Bombers have 6 players with 8 HRs or more, which is a good thing because with the exception of Derek Jeter, a lot of them are hitting under their career averages.  The return of Andy Pettitte has helped the rotation with the loss of Micheal Pineda.  Phil Hughes threw a complete game over the weekend and CC Sabathia is on pace for another 20 win season. Read the rest of this entry

Rays Are a Serious Contender

Monday May 14, 2012

Ryan Ritchey: The Tampa Bay Rays are a team to watch this season for sure. A 21-14 record has them 1 game back of Baltimore for first in the East. The Rays this off-season went out and got Carlos Pena back from Chicago and moved Fernando Rodney to closer. The Rays depend on pitching to carry them and they have the starting pitching to do it. Leading the way for this staff is James Shields. Shields is 6-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Not far behind is Jeremy Hellickson who is 3-0 with a team leading 2.95 ERA. Both of these guys are going to need to lead this team to the promise land. Read the rest of this entry

MLB reports Monthly Power Rankings: May 2012

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you a monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few verses for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.

May Power Rankings

  1. Texas (19-10)  Josh Hamilton is clubbing the ball at his 2010 like AL MVP clip.  Yu Darvish appears to be the real deal.  Mike Napoli hits 8th on most nights. Michael Young might be the most under-appreciated hitter in the last decade.  Ian Kinsler is on pace for 162 runs.  If Nelson Cruz starts hitting and or Nathan rounds into form, than this team may blitz by every one.
  2. Tampa Bay (19-10) The pitching staff is incredible right now.  David Price is asserting himself as one of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Strong starts from Evan Longoria, Luke Scott and Carlos Pena have helped.  Joe Maddon may be the best ‘in-game manager’ of baseball now with Tony La Russa out of the Majors.
  3. Atlanta (18-12) The reason I have Atlanta rated so high is they are not even having a good year from Tim Hudson yet and Jair Jurrjens has been atrocious.  Still they sit near the top of the standings.  Chipper Jones has 21 RBI and Freddie Freeman has taken the next step so far with 26 RBI.  Last year the team had a lot of players with career worst years and they were only eliminated on the last day of the season.  This year may be different.
  4. St. Louis (18-11) You lose a franchise player like Albert Pujols and you spend half the money for Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal, who are finally hitting the numbers like the back of their bubble gum cards from 5 years ago.  Are we giving enough credit to Mark McGwire here? Lance Lynn has morphed into Chris Carpenter with his 6-0 start.
  5. LA Dodgers (19-10) Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball right now and may walk away with the triple crown this year.  Andre Ethier has matured into the RBI guy he needs to be.  Solid pitching by Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly have this team looking solid. Dodgers look good in the future when  the new ownership takes over. (more…)
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