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Cleveland Indians State Of The Union For 2014

The Indians hosted the Wild Card Play in Game for the right to play Boston in the ALDS, but were ultimately ousted by the Tampa Bay Rays.  Now minus several pieces from last years team, they turn to their franchise depth in hopes of another playoff berth in 2014.  The club ended the year on a 10 game winning streak and extended it by 1 in the Season Opener at Oakland.  The Indians are pretty much hanging with 'status quo' among their franchise this winter.  They have also lost Scott Kazmir, and potentially Ubaldo Jimenez to Free Agency as well,  Of course Joe Smith signed with the Angels and they released Chris Perez, so other than Terry Francona winning the Manager of The Year in the AL, it hasn't been a banner offseason in Cleveland thus far.

The Indians hosted the Wild Card Play in Game for the right to play Boston in the ALDS in 2013, but were ultimately ousted by the Tampa Bay Rays. Now minus several pieces from last years team, they turn to their franchise depth in hopes of another playoff berth in 2014. The club ended the year on a 10 game winning streak – and extended it by 1 in the Season Opener at Oakland. The Indians are pretty much going with ‘status quo’ into this year. They lost key Starters Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez to Free Agency.  Of course they saw Joe Smith sign with the Angels and they released Chris Perez, so other than Terry Francona winning the Manager of The Year in the AL, it wasn’t a banner offseason.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Indians had one hell of a rollercoaster ride in the 2013 year.  It ended with the club making their 1st playoff game since the 2007 ALCS.

To make it to the #1 Wild Card Slot, Cleveland reeled of 10 straight victories, and hosted the one game battle against the Rays.

Albeit the team could not beat the Rays, and were left to settle with one home date in the postseason.

With 92 Wins, with no lineup player having an exceptional year except for maybe Jason Kipnis, there was no doubt Terry Francona peeled off one of the great managerial jobs ever.

Almost instantly after the year, the club lost Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, Chris Perez, Joe Smith and Drew Stubbs (trade). Read the rest of this entry

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The Top Remaining Free Agents Left In The MLB 2014 Season + The Rest

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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With the latest signings (by Baltimore) of Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez, there is now just 3 Free Agents who come with the price tag of your 1st RD pick (or 1st available pick if you have been busy already this winter).

SS Stephen Drew is still on the open market despite several rumors about the Big Apple,  DH/1B Kendrys Morales is on the board, with teams dwindling in interest, and SP Ervin Santana rounds out the list.

Agents of these gentlemen are now threatening to hold out their players until after the MLB Amateur Draft (when the Draft Pick is no longer forfeited), in order to turn the leverage back to their guys.

I am not sure that is such a great idea, particularly in the cases of the hitters, who are not likely to warrant more than 3 year deals apiece. Read the rest of this entry

How Winning Teams Are Built: How It Applies To The Nationals In 2014

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013.  Heck, they didn't even qualify for the playoffs.  Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn't maximize their potential this year.  However, the club did go 24 - 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot.  Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year.  Their Starting Pitching Staff could have 3 potential Cy Young Winners, and Rafael Soriano is among the top Closers in the game of baseball.

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013. Heck, they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn’t maximize their potential this year. However, the club did go 24 – 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot. Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year. Their Starting Pitching Staff could have 3 potential Cy Young Winners, and Rafael Soriano is among the top Closers in the game of baseball.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

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Last week I wrote about the dangers of the WARpire (VoRPire) and why it is important to have a bottom of the roster that won’t cost a team any games, or to word it a different way won’t cancel out the contributions of the top of the roster.

Having a 5.0 fWAR player means nothing if there are enough negative players to cancel that out. The middle and bottom of the roster are the foundation upon which the stars stand.

A team needs that bottom of the roster in order to win because without them the stars cannot flourish. ‘

Think about the Red Sox and the changes they made going into 2013.

Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and Jonny Gomes aren’t stars, but they aren’t negative assets either and their presence on the roster allows David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia contributions to matter. Read the rest of this entry

Cleveland Indians Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going Forward

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org Depth + Payroll Expert – find his website here)

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The Indians were big players in the 2012 offseason – heading into the 2013 year.

The club stepped up and signed 1B/OF Nick Swisher to a 5 YRs/$70 MIL deal – and inked OF Michael Bourn to a 4 YR contract worth $48 MIL.

Indians Management also took a risk on SP Scott Kazmir.

But perhaps their best acquisition last winter was picking up Terry Francona as their new bench boss. Read the rest of this entry

The Cleveland Indians Players In All Organizational Affiliates, Prospects + Depth Charts (MLB + MiLB) 2014

The Indians hosted the Wild Card Play in Game for the right to play Boston in the ALDS, but were ultimately ousted by the Tampa Bay Rays.  Now minus several pieces from last years team, they turn to their franchise depth in hopes of another playoff birth in 2014,

The Indians hosted the Wild Card Play in Game for the right to play Boston in the ALDS, but were ultimately ousted by the Tampa Bay Rays. Now minus several pieces from last years team, they turn to their franchise depth in hopes of another playoff birth in 2014.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart Expert)

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The Indians had a triumphant and surprising year in 2013.  They blasted their way out of the gate led by Mark Reynolds and Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson.

Halfway through the year, renaissance pitching from Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir helped jump into the foray among all the best AL clubs.

This club took advantage of a cupcake schedule – in order to reel off a 10 game winning streak to tend the campaign.

For those people who failed to see what a tough May.15 – June.15 schedule they had, in which they played almost all of the Division leaders across the board in the MLB, being all over .500 teams.

Because of that stretch, they deserved the late season ease of sked.

Jason Kipnis Highlight Reel 2013

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Ortiz Is Almost Done Playing: Who Will Be The Next Great DH Among The AL Clubs??

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years.  Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition.  With all of the teams imploring several employees to scouting staffs - trying to find advantages to bring to Major League Lineups - why aren't teams focusing on the DH position more.  Ortiz has been a full time DH since joining the Red Sox, and has been instrumental in the club bringing home 3 World Series Titles.  In fact, the only time the team has struggled in the last decade, was if "Big Papi" is hurt or struggling.

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years. Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition. With all of the teams imploring several employees to scouting staffs – trying to find advantages to bring to Major League Lineups – why aren’t teams focusing on the DH position more. Ortiz has been a full time DH since joining the Red Sox, and has been instrumental in the club bringing home 3 World Series Titles. In fact, the only time the team has struggled in the last decade, was if “Big Papi” is hurt or struggling.

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

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There is no doubt in my mind that the Red Sox has won 3 World Series Titles in the last 10 years because they have had the quintessential DH in the American League.

While other teams have used the position as a rest stop for aging players, or stop-gap measure for players with defensive faulty, clubs have not seemed to have stressed emphasis on the slot in the lineup.

My question is why?  With everyone always searching for an edge in today’s game, you have one sitting right in front of you, that equates to over 600 AB a year.

David Ortiz (Post Season Heroics 2013)

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AL Central Hot Stove Round Up – Updated For The Joe Nathan Signing With The Tigers

Doug Fister was just traded away last night for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and a Minor League Pitcher.  I definitely am seeing the vibe that this franchise is about to make another huge move towards a player in Free Agency.

Doug Fister was just traded away last night for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and a Minor League Pitcher. I definitely am seeing the vibe that this franchise is about to make another huge move towards a player in Free Agency.  If this wasn’t the case, then what the hell are the Tigers doing trading away a pitcher like this?

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Detroit Tigers threw down the first gauntlet in transactions of the Division.  But have they made their team any stronger?  As of right now they are still weaker to start the 2014 year than they ended the 2013 campaign.

Things have been quiet out of Motown on offensive players, however they have been circling the world of Brian Wilson for the Relief core, before they finally lost interest.

Joe Nathan was signed to a 2 Year Deal today by the Tigers.  It was a swift move to sign the guy, although financial terms have not been entirely disclosed yet.

By singing Joe Nathan to amp up the status of the Bullpen, the teams looks decisively better already.   

They should not stop there for relievers. 

I would still try to bring in a Grant Balfour or Jesse Crain as late inning assassins – before having any of the old crew of Joaquin Benoit or Jose Veras be the guys to depend on.  Do not resign them Dombrowski!

Look for an upcoming article I am writing about the Detroit Tigers, that will ask the question, who would you rather have long – term, Miguel Cabrera or Max Scherzer?

Of course a lot of this is dependent on how much Mike Ilitch wants to spend on his club.

Brian Wilson 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is Advised

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Top Teams In The MLB 1 – 30 + (200 Best Stats For The Last Month)

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Thursday June.06/2013

Chris Davis was the hitter of the month for the MLB Reports.  The guy has 20 HRs and 20 2B on the season - after hitting 11/11 for both columns in the last 30 Days.  The Orioles slugger also hit for a 3 Slash Line of .385/.448/1.256.  Davis also Walked 11 Times, drove in 22 RBI - and collected 40 Hits in just 24 Games Played.  He is on pace for a 50 HR/ 50 Doubles Season.  "Crush" is due for Arbitration after this year - and will garner a considerable payraise from the $3.3 MIL he will earn this season.

Chris Davis was the AL hitter of the month for the MLB Reports. The guy has 20 HRs and 20 2B on the season – after hitting 11/11 for both columns in the last 30 Days. The Orioles slugger also hit for a 3 Slash Line of .385/.448/1.256. Davis also Walked 11 Times, drove in 22 RBI – and collected 40 Hits in just 24 Games Played. He is on pace for a 50 HR/50 Doubles Season. “Crush” is due for Arbitration after this year – and will garner a considerable payraise from the $3.3 MIL he will earn this season.

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

The time has come for the June Power Rankings with Stats Edition.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during this weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON or scroll past the video and picture

Chris Davis 2013 Highlights:

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Top 5 MLB Home Run Leaders in the AL + NL: Home Runs Hit May 9th

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Friday May 10th, 2013

The Indians continue to lead the MLB in HRs with 49.  They are now 18 - 14 for the year - after winning 11 out of their last 12.  They also lead the MLB in SLG % with a .475 clip - and OPS - with a .809 mark.

The Indians continue to lead the MLB in HRs with 49. They are now 18 – 14 for the year – after winning 11 out of their last 12. They also lead the MLB in SLG % with a .475 clip – and OPS – with a .809 mark.  They boast the AL HR leader in Reynolds (11) and Santana is leading the world in OPS of (1.129).  The Cleveland fans have not bought into the next exciting offensive play.  The team is dead last in MLB Attendance – having only drawn 239,765 in 17 home dates thus far.  This translates into just over 14100 people per contest.  C’mon Cleveland, support your club!  The Tribe is only 1 GB behind Detroit heading into a weekend showdown series

DH on our home site pages – Stands for Daily HR Hitters in the Majors.

We are going to run the gauntlet on the previous days HRs for all MLB Players.

I loved it when MLB XM Radio used to do a running total every night on their Roundtrip with Mike Ferrin (Laser Show).  So I am bringing it every day on this website.  To view every nights big boppers for the whole year (from May 8th) visit the DH page!

Click beyond the Youtube link or click  the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to see who hit yesterdays big flies.

Cleveland Indians with 7 HRs 4/30 versus the Phillies:

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Daily HR Hitters Update From May 8th, 2013: Top 5 AL + NL HR Leaders In The MLB

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Thursday May 9th, 2013

Alex Gordon has been ramping up his power over the last 2 seasons - with 72 XBH in 2011 and 70 XBH in 2012.  Noted for being more of a Doubles hitter, Gordon has clubbed HRs in 2 straight games.  The 29 Year Old has a 3 Slash Line of .311/.336/.836 with 5 HRs and 23 RBI out of the Leadoff Spot so far this campaign.  The Man has also crossed home plate 22 times in just 30 Games Played

Alex Gordon has been ramping up his power over the last 2 seasons – with 72 XBH in 2011 and 70 XBH in 2012. Noted for being more of a Doubles hitter, Gordon has clubbed HRs in 2 straight games. The 29 Year Old has a 3 Slash Line of .311/.336/.836 with 5 HRs and 23 RBI out of the Leadoff Spot so far this year. The Man has also crossed home plate 22 times in just 30 Games Payed

DH on our home site pages – Stands for Daily HR Hitters in the Majors.

We are going to run the gauntlet on the previous days HRs for all MLB Players.

I loved it when MLB XM Radio used to do a running total every night on their Roundtrip with Mike Ferrin (Laser Show).  So I am bringing it every day on this website.  To view every nights big boppers for the whole year (from May 8th) visit the DH page!

Click beyond the Youtube link or click  the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to see who hit yesterdays big flies.

Chris Carter hit a HR for the 2nd straight game for the Astros last night – and has hit 24 HRs in his last 336 AB dating back to last year in June (1 per every 14 AB).

With 27 HRs and 65 RBI (in just 450 Career AB – but a 3 Slash of .213/.303/.734) – he reminds me of a young Cecil Fielder with the Blue Jays .243/.308/.781 – with 31 HRs and 84 RBI in his first 506 AB – before being caught up in a numbers game in Toronto with Fred McGriff

Last Year the former A hit 16 HRs and drove in 39 RBI in just 218 AB during the Oakland A’s big second half.  CC was Walking more last year – and held a .350 OBP for the year.  The Astros must be patient with this slugger to learn how to hit  – despite his AL leading 51 SO.  He should be one of the players they keep when the rebuild is finished.

Chris Carter Highlights

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MLB Top Teams 1 – 30 + (Best 200 Stats of 2013)

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Monday May.06/2013

Matt Harvey with his stellar outings so far this season may have just become the New York Mets "ace". Harvey is now 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Harvey has pitched 40.1 innings - only given up 21 hits, 12 Walks for a League Leading WHIP of .0818  For his awesome 5 weeks we name him the MLB Reports NL Pitcher Of The Month

Matt Harvey with his stellar outings so far this season – may have just become the New York Mets “ace”. Harvey is now 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Harvey has pitched 40.1 innings – only given up 21 hits, 12 Walks for a League Leading WHIP of .0818. For his awesome 5 weeks – we name him the MLB Reports NL Pitcher Of The Month

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

Stats all Prior to May.06th games. 

The time has come for the 1sy May Power Rankings.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during this weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON

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Cleveland Payroll In 2013: Indians Organizational Rosters + Depth Charts – (MLB + MiLB)

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Sunday, Apr.28/2013

The Indians were one of the top franchises for organizational Drafts, signing players, making trades and having their core players locked up to long term contract during the 1990's. In the early part of the millennium, they traded several of these players for a new core of players.  This time, their return wasn't as significant.  The club prides itself on not making big mistakes on the Free Agent market and developing its own talent.  For the first time in 2 decades, the management is really under scrutiny for team operations

The Indians were one of the top franchises for organizational Drafts, signing players, making trades and having their core players locked up to long term contract during the 1990′s. In the early part of the millennium, they traded several of these players for a new core of players. This time, their return wasn’t as significant. The club prides itself on not making big mistakes on the Free Agent market and developing its own talent. For the first time in 2 decades, the management is really under scrutiny for team operations.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis.  After you click on it….Bookmark it.  There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page.  Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Royals Organization click here

The 1st half of the Central Division winning Indians 2007

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Cleveland Indians Payroll In 2013: And Contracts Going Forward

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Sunday Feb 24, 2013

The Cleveland Indians have been around since 1901. During the years the Indians have won 8,792 games & have lost 8,573 games. The Indians have won the World Series 2 times & have 31 players in the Hall Of Fame.

The Cleveland Indians have been around since 1901. During the years the Indians have won 8,792 games & have lost 8,573 games. The Indians have won the World Series 2 times & have 31 players in the Hall Of Fame.

By Larry Myers (Indians Correspondent):

The Indians finished the 2012 season as a huge disappointment. The Indians had a strong first half before falling apart in the second half. The Indians the 2013 season with many new faces after a busy winter.

 GM Chris Antonetti and President Mark Shapiro decided to make some major moves to improve the team for the 2013 season. The first move the Indians made was replacing Manny Acta with Terry Francona as manager. The Indians then traded Shin-Soo Choo & Tony Sipp in a 3 team trade to pick up Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers. Bryan Shaw & Trevor Bauer. The Indians signed a few Free Agents with the four biggest names being Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds, Brett Myers, & Michael Bourn. The Indians showed that with the moves they made they are ready to contend now & in the future.

Cleveland Indians 2012 Season Highlights:

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Why Terry Francona As The Manager Of The Cleveland Indians Makes Sense

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Tuesday Feb.5, 2013

Terry Francona played for five different teams in his playing Career.  His best year was in 1984 - where he hit .346 during his 218 AB.   He played as a 1B/OF/PH.  His only Post Season action was with the 1981 Montreal Expos.  He hit .333 in the NLDS but went 0-2 in the NLCS versus the eventual World Series winning LA Dodgers

Terry Francona played for five different teams in his playing Career. His best year was in 1984 – where he hit .346 during his 218 AB. He played as a 1B/OF/PH. His only Post Season action was with the 1981 Montreal Expos. He hit .333 in the NLDS but went 0-2 in the NLCS versus the eventual World Series winning LA Dodgers.  He has had much better success as Manager.

By Larry Myers (Indians Correspondent):

Terry Francona was hired as manager of the Cleveland Indians on October 6, 2012 – and officially took over the team on October 8th. He will be  returning to the dugout after a one-year hiatus of managing in baseball and doing sports broadcasting duties. After Manny Acta was let go as manager of the Indians, only two candidates were interviewed. Francona was picked as manager over Sandy Alomar Jr, who has stayed on as Bench Coach under the veteran skipper.

Before we decide if Francona was the right choice as manager of the Indians, we have to look at who the man is. Francona was born April 22, 1959 in South Dakota to former MLB player Tito Francona, (who played from 1956 to 1970). Tito ‘Jr’ played in the Majors himself from 1981 to 1990, including one year with the Indians. During his ten years, Francona played in 708 Games – with a BA of .274, 16 Home Runs  and 143 RBI as a utility player . After Francona’s playing days were over, he went on to become a Minor League coach, before finally becoming manager of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997.  During his four years in Philadelphia, his team never finished above fourth place, but Francona helped develop some young players into stars that have turned the Phillies franchise into the winning seasons in 11 out of the 12 years since his departure.

Terry Francona at TribeFest:

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MLB Player Profile: Indians OF/1B/DH Nick Swisher

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Tuesday January 22nd, 2013

Nick Swisher has a Career 3 Slash Line of .256/.361/.828.  His numbers were better over the last 4 years with the Yankees .268/.367/.850.

Nick Swisher has a Career 3 Slash Line of .256/.361/.828 heading into 2013. His numbers are even  better over the last 4 years with the Yankees – .268/.367/.850.  If you are an Indians fan – you can probably bank on a decent Batting Average, a nice OBP and 25-30 HRs and 80-90 RBI per year from him.  He also can play 3 different positions for you at 1B/OF/DH.

By Larry Myers (Indians Correspondent)

Nick Swisher is the latest free agent player the Cleveland Indians have signed this off-season. Nick Swisher is the son of former MLB catcher Steve Swisher, who played for a few National League teams back in the 1970′s and 1980′s. Swisher was born in Columbus, Ohio, but grew up in West Virginia. Before his professional career, Swisher played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 2002 MLB Draft, Swisher finally made his MLB debut with the Athletics in 2004.

During the 2004 season, Swisher played in only 20 games. In 2005, Swisher went on to hit 21 HRs and 74 RBI in 131 games. He finished 6th in the American League Rookie Of The Year Voting. During his 4 years in Oakland, Swisher hit 80 home runs and 255 RBI – while playing in 458 games. Not known as a player with a high average, he became a leader on a young Athletics teams. Swisher showed a great amount of durability during his time in Oakland compared to his teammates who spent a large portion of time on the Disabled List. Swisher made his Post Season debut in 2006. While sweeping the Twins, Swisher got 3 hits and an RBI in that series. Losing to the Tigers in the ALCS, Swisher hit .100 with only 1 hit.

One On One Interview with Nick Swisher Jan.03/2013 (Sports Time Ohio):

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Cleveland Indians 2013 Roster: State Of The Union

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Saturday December 29th, 2012

Cleveland_Indians

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)

The Cleveland Indians were nothing short of the laughing stock of the American League Central this past season. A hot started quickly turned into a hot mess, and their entire team went up into flames.

Now, with a new manager and a few hopeful offseason of moves, the Indians aren’t half-bad.

Let’s take a lot at a couple of the big questions in Cleveland:

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Why Terry Francona is a Bold Signing For The Indians

Friday October 19th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The Indians needed a new manager and Terry Francona wanted to get back into managing. A perfect fit? Not yet. But the Indians made a bold move by signing Francona for four years.

For one, it’s saying that the Indians planning on winning over the next four years, because Francona probably wouldn’t just sign with Cleveland if there was no hope that they could be contenders in the near future. Heck, he could probably manage almost any other team he wanted to, at least the ones with openings. But no, he went with the dreadful Indians. That’s saying something, especially considering that Francona is an elite talent evaluator.

Secondly, it’s saying that Cleveland want experience over fresh blood. Sandy Alomar Jr. certainly seemed like the front-runner for the job in the preliminary stages of the searching process. But the prospects of that happening quickly faded as Francona emerged. Read the rest of this entry

Cleveland Indians Face Tough Road Ahead

Tuesday September 25th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The Cleveland Indians seemingly play mind jokes with their fans. They start the year hot, and slowly unravel as the season progresses. 2012 has yet to show any different signs, and it’s about time that the management looks to start from scratch. While Chris Perez, Shin Soo Choo, and Asdrubal Cabrera are all solid pieces, they have yet to find success together. In their defense, sometimes certain groups don’t always pan out no matter what how high the talent level may be.

Let’s just say that the Indians face a tough road ahead. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: August 2012

Monday August.6/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- It has been a crazy month in which teams have stockpiled some heavy talent at the trade deadline to get ready for the playoffs.  Amongst the biggest gainers for the rankings this month were: the Athletics, Reds, Braves, Tigers, Dodgers (because of the deals) and Mariners while the Mets, Red Sox, Indians and Royals saw brutal months all but seal their playoff fates.  I do think that Boston has a punchers chance but that all is dependent on David Ortiz returning to the lineup swiftly.  The power of the best teams is definitely leaning to the National League right now where several teams are playing great baseball.  With one-third of the season left we are all in for a treat as baseball fans.

I will have one more regular season Power Rankings month of September (to be posted on Labor Day Weekend,)  before I also provide a playoff style ranking of the 1-10 seeds right before the Wild Card Teams play the play in game.  It certainly has been awesome to follow how the trade deadline has effected the Monthly Rankings this time around.  I think it is safe to say that this years deadline provided more interest and following-from even the casual fan more than any other year before.  I also believe that the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is now the best Trade Deadline in all of sports.  Social Media has a lot to do with this but so does parity.  The 2nd Wild Card spot has also created more teams willing to trade prospects in lieu of going for it. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Urkel in Baseball, Batting Stance Guy, Beane, Future of Dempster, Hamilton’s Speed, Gathright Released and Rating Prospects

Monday July 16th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Ok, I am going to admit it. I am 110% wiped from last night’s sleepover. The Toronto Blue Jays, like many MLB squads hold yearly sleepovers on the field. The Jays had theirs last night. Second year in a row for me and I will admit, after playing catch on the field till 1:30a.m., I am still not recovered. Call it getting old, but sometime the body just doesn’t bounce back like we want it to. That being said, the show must go on. So with apologies I am a little late this week on ATR, but better late than never!

Before I jump into your weekly baseball questions, here are some of my random baseball thoughts:

I was watching Ben Francisco of the Toronto Blue Jays last night as he was signing autographs for the fans. I wasn’t sure 100% who he was right away. But damn, he looked familiar. I looked and I looked. Then I realized what Chuck Booth (one of our Lead Writers here on MLB reports) had told me earlier in the year. Jaleel White. Steve Urkel. Man Chuck, you were bang on. Take a look at the comparisons:

Ben Francisco:

THEN JALEEL WHITE:

Ben Francisco is not the Steve Urkel type nerd. Rather, he looks like the cool and sauve Stefan. Yes, I did enjoy TGIF’s Family Matters back in the day. Whatever became of Jaleel White? Is he Ben Francisco? Or is this just a baseball urban legend? And whatever became of Laura Winslow? If you locate either one, please let Ben know. Until then, I am fairly certain Jaleel White is playing ball in Toronto. Call him Stefan…see what he says!

If you are not howling with laughter at this point, I want to introduce you to a good friend of MLB reports. If you love baseball, you have seen his work on YouTube and throughout the internet. He is a published author and all-around good guy. To his friends he is Gar Ryness. To the rest of the baseball world, he is the one and only “Batting Stance Guy”. Here is a little clip from some of BSG’s most recent work:

How are you feeling now? I know…your ribs hurt, tears are streaming down your eyes. Yes, that is the magic of Gar. The man has the ability to duplicate any batting stance going. Watching his impressions is a baseball theatrical treat. The fact that he is hilarious is an added bonus. Over the coming weeks, I will bring you more magic Batting Stance Guy clips. If you want to learn more about him in the interim, check out his site: battingstanceguy.com.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

MLB All-Star Break: Second Half Fantasy Baseball Targets and Flops

Wednesday July 11th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  

As we sit at the All-Star break, the first half of the season brought with it many fantasy busts and surprises. This is a great opportunity to buy low on many players, as well as sell high on the players that cannot sustain their strong first half of the 2012 season.


SECOND HALF TARGETS:


Edwin Encarnacion’s power surge appears to be legit, very similar to the manner of his teammate Jose Bautista. Combine the second half of 2011 with the first half of 2012, and you are looking at 34 home runs 94 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases. Try and pry Edwin if an owner is looking to sell and acquire a more household name. Edwin continues to improve his approach the plate and is not overly benefiting from inflated BABIP or ISO numbers.


Carlos Santana had a miserable first half and with a high stock coming into 2012, many fantasy owners have been left devastated. The truth is that he ahs been consistently banged up with injuries, including a concussion, and really hasn’t been able to establish any rhythm. His stock is at an all-time low and he has the ability to produce like a top-3 catcher in the second half. Read the rest of this entry

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

Indians Off to Another Strong Start – But This Time, Will it Last?

Sunday May 27th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): The Cleveland Indians are off to a hot start for the second straight season. Last year it didn’t last… and the team ended up falling apart. What is going to happen this season? Will the pitching stay strong until the end of the season or fall off the map when it most counts? Asdrubal Cabrera has come down with a pulled hamstring in the past week and will be out. This could really end up affecting the team, or he could come back soon and be fine. The thing about a hamstring is that it can be a nagging injury, if it doesn’t fully heal properly. If I’m Manny Acta, I sit Cabrera until he is fully healthy.

To answer some of the above questions, I believe the starting pitching will last past the All-Star Break and the Cleveland Indians will have a shot at the AL Central crown. With Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, and veteran Derek Lowe the Indians pitching staff is one of the best in its division.  Or at least it should be on paper. Derek Lowe with a 3.25 ERA and 6wins has been a horse for the Indians. The biggest surprise thus far for this team is Chris Perez, who has 16 saves in 17 chances. With a sweep of the Tigers this past week, the Indians made a statement in the American League Central. They are ready to show that least year was no fluke and that Cleveland is ready to return to the promised land. The MLB playoffs. With another Wild Card added this year, the Indians have to like their chances at postseason glory. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: Your Baseball Questions Answered – Sunday January 15th, 2012

Sunday January 15th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  Any news on moves for Derrek Lee & Casey Kotchman? With Yanks recent pitching acquisitions, does Boston pursue Roy Oswalt more aggressively?  Rick

MLB reports:  Great questions Rick.  No and no are the answers.  Sorry!  To answer your first question: Lee and Kotchman are plans “c” and “d”, if that, for contending teams.  Teams on the rise would prefer to use younger players at first base. So the market for both is limited at best.  Both Lee and Kotchman will need to fight to get full-time jobs.  Kotchman will find something based on his solid 2011 campaign.  Perhaps a return to the Rays is in order.  Lee on the other hand, is getting on in years.  I could see him retiring at this point, or in a year from now.  It just depends on how desperate some teams are to get a veteran presence on their team and if trust is there for either player.  With regards to Oswalt, I see him signing very soon.  Boston could use him, yes, but I am not sensing a fit.  The top teams for his services appear to be the Rangers and Jays.  At 1-year and $8 million, he will likely have 20+ teams pursuing him.  Boston does need Roy Oswalt in the worst way at this point. He would help stabilize a rotation that needs his presence. But this decision will come down to geography and fit for the player.

 

Q:  Is Jesus Montero- Victor Martinez good?  How far is J.P. Arencibia or Travis d’Arnaud from Montero?  Derek

MLB reports:  The Montero questions begin!  I made the comparison on the trade of the trade that Montero was comparable to V-Mart and I stand behind that one.  Carlos Santana is another good comparison.  Extremely strong bat, will hit for high average with good pop.  Glove is questionable.  Montero will be good, I am just on the fence on whether it will happen in Seattle.  The  hope is that with a young team, he will blossom into a superstar. It will depend on whether he feels any pressure to live up to replacing Michael Pineda and ends up putting too much pressure on himself. He seems like a confident young man, so he should do well.  The V-Mart threshold is a high one to reach.  But we are definitely talking in the same category.  Now d’Arnaud and Arencibia are a different story.  Being based in Toronto, I get asked on these guys often. Here is my take put simply.  Arencibia is a good guy, with good power in his bat.  He is popular in the clubhouse and seen as a developing defensive catcher. His liabilities are his low average, high strikeouts and inability to take a walk.  A .219 AVG and .282 OBP don’t cut it in my book.  If JP doesn’t develop, he will become the Rob Deer of catchers.  Travis d’Arnaud, on the other hand, may not have JP’s power (debatable), but he will definitely hit for a much higher average.  He also will need to learn to take walks and cut down on strikeouts, but he should be more consistent offensively than Arencibia.  Defensively, I have heard mixed things- but both will stick at catcher.  So defensively, both Arencibia and d’Arnaud are above Montero.  But Montero’s bat is far superior to either of the other guys.  He is major league ready now to hit, while JP and Travis are still learning to hit consistently.  If I had to rate each, I would give Montero an 8/10, d’Arnaud a 6/10 and Arencibia a 5/10.  Montero is far ahead, with only d’Arnaud having the best chance to close the gap.

 

 Q:  Do the Phillies really expect Ryan Howard to be fully “baseball ready” before June 1st?  Old Man Mack

MLB reports:  LOL.  That is the hope sir.  If I had to be a fly on the wall, I bet the Phillies are hoping that he will be ready before that.  But if the Kendrys Morales injury has taught us anything, is that you never know how some of these freak accidents will heal.  My crystal ball sees Howard back after the All-Star break.  Unless he is 110% healed, why risk it?  His long-term health and productivity are at risk.  I would not be shocked if Howard took longer to heal and had to miss all of 2012.  But chances are that he will be back, just not till sometime in July or August of 2012. If he is back sooner, he better be ready…or a setback could be around the corner.  I would say the bigger question is how long he stays in the lineup, rather than when he is back.

 

Q:  What are the Tigers chances on Yoenis Cespedes?  Michael

MLB reports:  The Cespedes rumors are flying fast and furious. The teams that have been most linked to him are the Marlins and the Tigers.  There have been stories of 5 teams, 10, 20…all sorts of numbers thrown around about this guy.  Now, people are questioning why he is playing winter ball and in fact hurting his stock.  My gut feel is that there isn’t as high of a demand for him as people suspect and that teams are cautious at throwing big money at an unknown quantity. But even if he doesn’t put up the best numbers this offseason, it has to be considered that he is rusty and been away from the game for some time. People should not expect Babe Ruth immediately, just to view his tools and to see if the mechanics are there. I like the Marlins chances best at signing Cespedes.  Team Latino gets a 50% chance of landing Cespedes, with the Tigers at roughly 20%.  

 

Q:  Does Vance Worley come back to earth in his sophomore season?  Justin

MLB reports:  Nah man, Vance never left!  Just kidding, but I know what you mean. Vance Worley was unbelievable in 2011, with an 11-3 record, 3.01 ERA and 1.230 WHIP.  His won/loss record will depend largely on his offensive support and bullpen, so that we will leave to fate somewhat. I see Vance throwing quality strikes and keeping his walks low. He will not be an ace, but he will be very steady. He has the minor league track record and has already proven himself at the highest stage (in one of the most pressure filled environments, Philadelphia).  Expect some regression, but not too much. Vance Worley is the real deal. A sophomore jinx should be avoided, but he will still take time to develop.  Remember he is only 24-years of age.  By year 3 or 4, expect a stud 20 game winner to emerge. 

 

Q:  With the new players eligible for the 2013 Hall of Fame class (Bonds, Clemens, Sosa etc.): will any be inducted?  Ken

MLB reports:  Ken. Ken. Ken. Mr. I say that Tim Raines MUST be inducted. :) He is back for more… Just playing with you Ken, you know we love ya.  48.7% of the vote Ken, I guess the voters aren’t all sold…yet.  Here is my knock on Raines- get ready.  Played 23 seasons. Not a bad thing in its own right. But definitely inflated some of his numbers. 980 RBIs.  So he averaged less than 50 a year. 1571 runs scored. For 23 years played, not fantastic. A hall of fame leadoff man should easily be scoring 100+ per year, even on poor teams. Raines only did it 6 times. .294 AVG and .385 OBP.  Very good. Like those numbers. The man did not hit many doubles or triples. He was basically a singles and stolen base machine.  Now go check out our man Vince Coleman. Both in their primes, they were one of the top stolen base threats. Raines got more hits and got caught less stealing. But then Coleman appears to have attempted more stolen bases. Raines played longer and ultimately had the stronger career. But in the prime years, I can’t say that Raines was that much more spectacular than Coleman. Raines is very good and will get into the hall of fame the Jim Rice route. But it is not the Hall of Very Good. It is the Hall of Fame. 

Now with your true question: Will any of the new eligible players be inducted into Cooperstown in 2013?  The candidates are Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa, Schilling, Biggio and Lofton.  I can tell you right now, based on Palmeiro and McGwire’s poor standings, that there is no chance in heck that Bonds, Clemens or Sosa are getting in.  No way.  No how.  The ones I see getting in are Biggio and Piazza. Secretly, I have fantasized at night about Biggio and Bagwell getting in together. It was just meant to be. If Bagwell does not get in next year, then he will have to wait for some time. I feel next year will be his year. Piazza has to get in as a 1st ballot hall of famer. The numbers he put up as a catcher demand it. Next year is the year that hall of fame voters get their true test. If Piazza is out, then the hall of fame will really have to sit down and work out a better set of criteria for voting. The writers are going to feel like they are on a raft without paddles…it is time to fix the voting mess once and for all. Are these guys hall of famers or not? Let’s lay down the law and be done with it.  No more fence-sitting. 2013 will be a big year for sure.

 

Q:   Over/under 13.5 psychotic episodes in Miami?  Sam

MLB reports:  Under.  Way under!  I think you will see maybe 5-6 big blow ups. Carlos Zambrano will get into 1-2 confrontations. Hanley will explode about the position change once.  LoMo will have one twitter incident.  Ozzie will have a couple of issues likely develop. Apparently the Miami Marlins are being considered for the baseball reality show this year. If that happens, watch out. That will be Grade A television!!!

 

Final Q:  Will the Brewers be able to win the central despite losing Prince and no Braun for first 50 games?  Eric

MLB reports: My brain says no and my heart says maybe. The reality is that the Brewers are in tough. Very tough. The loss of Prince will be huge (when it happens) and same with Braun if the suspension is upheld. But even with those guys, the Brewers would still be in tough. The Cardinals, even with the loss of the Pujols and La Russa and absence of Duncan would still be a strong team.  The Reds though are the team to beat, as they are frontrunners to take the NL Central this year. The Brewers still have Greinke and Gallardo, so they have a chance. But I just see the Reds as the class of the division this year. The Cardinals are going to regress and will have a tough time defending their title. But without their main offensive stars, the Brewers go from stars to ordinary. The window appears to be closing on the Brewers… and opening for the Reds in 2012.

 

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

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