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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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The Best Teams In The MLB From 1980 – 2013: The Biggest Question Is, Who Owns 2004 – 2013, BOS or STL?

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 - 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013.  They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade - but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 – 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013. They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade – but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch from 2004 – now?

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

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There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century. 

If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years. 

Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections.  I really started watching baseball in the early 1980’s. 

As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information. 

I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel. 

If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.

2013 Boston Dream Season – Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised

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The Phillies State Of The Union: Hitters Edition + They Should Give A Full Chance To Darin Ruf In 2014

The Phillies are to the NL what the Yankees are to the AL, and old and expensive team.  They had their 1st losing campaign in over a decade, and are without a 3rd Baseman, Catcher and possibly an OF to fill the holes.  That is if they end up resigning Doc Halladay.  But 2013 wasn't an entire loss.  Performances by Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf have to give the management some hope.  Playing guys under team control, low payroll deals will enable the franchise the flexibility to pursue high end talent in Free Agency.  Today, I explain how the Phightins' can do this.

The Phillies are to the NL what the Yankees are to the AL, and old and expensive team. They had their 1st losing campaign in over a decade, and are without a 3rd Baseman, Catcher and possibly an OF to fill the holes. That is if they end up resigning Doc Halladay. But 2013 wasn’t an entire loss. Performances by Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf have to give the management some hope. Playing guys under team control, low payroll deals will enable the franchise the flexibility to pursue high end talent in Free Agency. Today, I explain how the Phightins’ can do this.  How will the team fare under 2nd year skipper Ryne Sandberg – after a 20 – 22 finish?

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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2014 was a tough year on the Phillies.  For one, the fact that the MLB Reports is having an Awareness Day for them today, based on them having the 7th worst record (73 – 89) in the Majors during 2013 is mind – boggling.

We are talking about a team that had 5 Division Titles in a row (2007 – 2011), a huge payroll, and a bountiful nest of ALL – Stars to hit in the lineup, and in the Starting Rotation.

Much like the Yankees though, their core is all hitting their waning years.  Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are having a tough time staying on the field to be productive.

2013 was always going to be about the team resurrecting its status as an NL Elite, instead they saw Roy Halladay blow up before their eyes, Cole Hamels struggle, and nobody was there to save them.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

Darin Ruf’s Towering Shot in Aug of 2013

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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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The Baseball Struggles of Tall/Heavy Players After 30: Is Prince Next?

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Friday, Apr.12/2013

Prince Fielder will turn 29 in May.  Throughout my studies of some extremely tall - or heavy player, the time of deterioration in ones ability seems to seep in about 34.  In my opinion, the club should move to trade Victor Martinez and shift Fielder over to the DH position ASAP, so they can preserve his  body for the next 8 years of his contract.  He will be 37 when his big deal ends.  Fielder has a Career 3 Slash Line of .287/.393/.931

Prince Fielder will turn 29 in May. Throughout my studies of some extremely tall – or heavy playera, the time of deterioration in ones ability seems to seep in about the  34 Year Old Age range. In my opinion, the club should move to trade Victor Martinez and shift Fielder over to the DH position ASAP, so they can preserve his body for the next 8 years of his contract. He will be 37 when his big deal ends. Fielder has a Career 3 Slash Line of .287/.393/.931.  The second generation Fielder, has clubbed 262 HRs and added 774 RBI in 1168 Games Played.  Will he suffer the same fate as the others in this article (including his dad) – or will he buck the trend?

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

I am still astounded when I see that Prince Fielder has not been turned into a Full – Time DH – and can still man the position of First Base. The Tigers were lucky enough to sign him last year.

So when should the club decide to take the glove out of Fielder’s hand? 

Victor Martinez is there at the Designated Hitter position now, however they should convert Prince Fielder to DH the second V-Mart vacates the club after the 2014 season.

When I thought about this a little more I realized that tall/heavy hitters really have a tough time keeping their productivity up once they are near the second half of their career.  It is really not that hard to figure out.  

A player that is taller also carries a larger Strike Zone, where the overweight players will only lose any speed they had as their career starts winding down.  

For this particular article, I choose 4 players to study this exact scenario. Those players are: Richie Sexson, Tony Clark, Mo Vaughn and Cecil Fielder.

Prince Fielder wins the 2012 HR Derby:

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Adam Lind: Ready For His Last Season in the Big Leagues

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Friday January 4th, 2013

Adam Lind better hope he continue his strong second half in 2012 for the Jays, where he hit.304 with 4 HRs and 25 RBI in 161 AB after his recall from Las Vegas.  As an AL East Contender, the Jays can't afford any struggles like his 2012 first half.  It could be curtains for a Career if he is sent to the Minors

Adam Lind better hope he continue his decent second half in 2012 for the Jays, where he hit.304 with 4 HRs and 25 RBI in 161 AB after his recall from Las Vegas. As an AL East Contender, the Jays can’t afford any struggles like his 2012 first half. It could be curtains for a Career if he is sent to the Minors.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder):  

Living in Toronto, I have watched MANY Adam Lind At-Bats in my time. Watching Adam Lind recently, I start to ponder back to the days of Russ Adams and Josh Towers. Watching each of these players (hit and pitch respectively), I continually asked myself one question: how do these guys still have jobs? Perhaps the manager really likes them. Perhaps the organization sees immense potential. I am not really sure, but eventually the Adams and Towers bubbles came to burst. In 2013, I sense the same thing will happen to Adam Lind.

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The Best Teams from 1980-2012: Will Texas claim the title this year from 2010-2012?

Wednesday July.11, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century.  If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years.  Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections.  I really started watching baseball in the early 1980’s.  As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information.  I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel.  If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.

Baseball lends itself more to the history than any other sport because of how it has been chronicled throughout their past.  Writers, announcers, former players, parents etc.. have always carried on with the stories of America’s favorite pastime.  I will never be sold that NFL is the greatest pastime in sports right now.  NFL is the greatest gambling sport presently.  It is my firm belief that the only reason why the NFL draws in more cash from its sport is because of the gambling factor.  If you took that aspect out of it, I believe baseball is the #1 sport.  Can you imagine how much attention we would pay to baseball if there were only a 16 game schedule?  Enough with that rant, let’s get down to the list.  Who were the best teams at any specific time period for the last 32 years?  We will start with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1980-1983. Read the rest of this entry

The Top Ten Reasons Why Prince Fielder Signing with the Tigers will Work

Saturday January 28, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen: On Thursday it became official. January 26, 2012 will forever be known as the day that Prince Fielder came home.  We all know the story. Hitting home runs out of Tiger Stadium at the age of 12, Prince Fielder was a baseball legend from a very tender age. The former Brewers slugger hit the jackpot though, as the Tigers inked him to a 9-year, $214 million contract.  At the age of 27, Prince already has 230 career home runs. Think about that one. Six full seasons in the big leagues. Close to forty home runs average per year. A man who has taken 100+ walks each of the last three years. Career .282 AVG. .390 OBP. .540 SLG. Plus he is still 27-years of age. The time in a player’s life when they are just entering their prime. If Prince has not hit his full stride yet…then watch out American League pitchers!

For a homecoming that seemed forever in doubt, the end result was a signing that felt right. Given the strained relationship between father and son, most suspected that Prince would not want to come to Detroit. The connections and comparisons to his dad would just be too much for him to handle. For a man who seemed to be very private and low-key, a Detroit signing seemed to contradict what he was seeking. But yesterday, Prince’s childhood dream did come true. Father and son according to reports are repairing their relationship. While it would have been nice to have seen Cecil at today’s press conference, it was not to be. Once Victor Martinez got injured, the Tigers came calling. Mike Ilitch, who knew Prince from when he was a young boy, wanted the young slugger in Detroit. After missing Prince by 1 selection in the 2002 draft, Ilitch was not going to let Prince escape again. The result was the cleanup hitter behind Miguel Cabrera that the team has dreamed of and the lifetime contract of security that Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras sought.

With a contract of this magnitude, there will always be debates, speculation and doubt. To help shed some light and clear up the confusion, I went ahead and prepared my top-ten list of reasons why the Prince Fielder Contract will work in Detroit.

I see this as a very smart signing by the Tigers and here are my reasons why:

1)  Health and Durability:  In six full seasons, Prince has missed  a total of thirteen games. That’s it. For all the talk of weight, this is the modern-day Cal Ripken. Prince is a lot stronger and athletic than people give him credit for. Some consider a contract to be paid based on past experiences, while some believe it should be on future potential. In five years, Prince will only be 32. Based on his track history, it is expected that he should continue his iron-man type legacy for at least half of his contract…maybe more. Until proven otherwise, Prince is reliable and comes to the park to play everyday. There is value in durability, especially in a slugger of this magnitude.

2)  The Power Bat:  As shown earlier, the numbers are there. Averaging close to 40 home runs per year for his first six seasons. With more to come. Looking at his home/road splits over the years, he varied year to year. I am not sold that Prince was entirely dependant on Miller Park, as he hit well most years away from home. While Comerica is a less hitter friendly park, it surely will not hold Prince back much. Playing in front of the home town crowd, Prince should thrive in Detroit as well. Prince could very well hit 400+ home runs over the next 9-years. Time will tell. But from what he has shown so far, there is no slowing down. Heck, even Cecil hit 17 home runs in his last season at the age of 35.  Clearly it can be done.

3)  Age:  Prince will be 28 in May 2012. For a power hitter of his stature, we should still see 5-6 prime years from him, with the potential to put up strong numbers right up until the end of the contract. While many stars still sign big contracts well into their 30’s, Prince is still in the prime of his life. Compared to Albert Pujols (even without the age uncertainty), Prince is a young slugger playing in his key years. Perfect for a team that plans to make a playoff runs for the next few years.

4)  Consistency: Look at Prince’s numbers every year since he started to play full-time in the majors. The numbers speak for themselves, he has been as consistent as they come with no signs of slowing down.

5)  Legacy:  Many felt Prince would not sign with the Tigers, with the rationale that he wanted nothing to do with his father and to as separated from him as possible. My theory is that Prince actually craves the notion of going onto his father’s turf and breaking all of his records. To become the #1 Fielder in Tigers’ history. The Fielder name on the back of a Tigers jersey is legendary. To have Prince in Detroit now, he will be cementing his place in major league history. Success in Detroit will lead to endorsements beyond Prince’s wild imagination and a greater chance at the hall of fame. Not many people would have remembered Washington once Prince retired, had he played there. But after his career is done in Detroit, few will likely remember him as a Brewer. That is how powerful the Detroit and Fielder connection is.

6)  Father and Son:  If you haven’t done it already, check out the video at the top of this article to view the full press conference. Notice something interesting? Prince has his son with him the whole time. Remind you of anyone? That’s right. Prince and Cecil. The two were inseparable. I like this signing on a personal level for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it allows Prince to come home and play for the team and city that he spent much of his childhood with. Prince will be able to share the same experiences with his own son that he got to experience as a youngster. But mostly, I can only see this move as a strong indication of the progress and repair to the relationship between Prince and his own father. Considering that his dad raised him, taught him the game and made him into the player and man that he is today, in a perfect world it would have been a beautiful moment to see Prince and Cecil together at the Tigers’ press conference. While that may not have happened, I expect to see the day when the two will be hanging out together at Comerica Park. Three generations of Fielders in Detroit. The way it was meant to be.

7)  Miguel Cabrera:  Probably the only person happier about this signing besides Prince, Scott Boras and Cecil, would be Miguel Cabrera. While he did enjoy good protection in the lineup from Martinez last year and Ordonez in previous years, having Prince hit behind him will take Miggy to another level. Miggy’s walks have been jumping like mad in the last couple years, given that he has been the Tigers  main offensive threat and fave choice of pitchers to pitch around. With Fielder in Detroit, Miggy has the potential to put up even greater  numbers if that is possible. Look at what Prince did for Braun. With Miggy and Prince batting 3-4, teams will definitely have difficult choices to make.

8)  V-Mart and Alex Avila: Avila, who will turn 25 tomorrow (happy birthday Alex!) had a season for the ages in 2011. The Tigers pitchers were on fire and loved how he called games. Blocked pitches. Threw out runners. Then there was the offense. .389 OBP. .506 SLG. 19 home runs. 82 RBIs. If he wasn’t the best catcher in baseball, he was at the very least top three. This was all done for the most part batting near the bottom of the Tigers lineup. Now imagine him batting 2nd next year. Batting in front of Miggy and Prince, Avila could have a .450 OBP or higher. Avila, like much of the Tigers hitters will greatly improve by having Prince in the lineup. Then come 2013, when V-Mart is in the lineup, the Tigers lineup will become nearly unstoppable. Miggy, Prince, Avila and V-Mart…all in the same lineup? I am practically drooling.

9)  The Price is Right: Once upon a time, Vernon Wells signed a 7-year $126 million contract. Approximately $18 million per season. Jayson Werth with nearly the same deal. Pujols signed for 10 years $240 million. Pujols is also 32 (in Dominican years).  Even if he is only 32, when Pujols turns 36 he will only be 5 years into his deal.  At age 36, Prince will be done his. Werth will be 38 when his deal is done. Wells will be 36. The point is that there are many worse contracts out there. Compared to Wells and Werth, Prince is younger and far more consistent and productive. While Pujols is Pujols, you have to feel a bit edgy about his chances of completing his monster deal. Prince is a slugger and still has many more key years left. Considering what some of the other top contracts looked like, Prince money is not far off to what the elite are supposed to receive. At least in the case of Prince, compared to Werth and Wells, he had the track record to earn what he received. Relatively to the other “stars”  I mean.

10)  World Series:  The Detroit Tigers of 2006 and 2011 really stick out in my mind. Two ballclubs that really needed an injection of runs to get over the hump. Especially last year’s edition. The squad had Verlander and Fister to start, with Valverde and the bullpen to keep the team close in games. But the team needed far more pop, other than Cabrera, Avila and V-Mart. Now with Prince, the team has the potential to challenge for baseball supremacy for the next 5+ years. Few players are difference makers. Prince is one of those players. Look at the Giants with Barry Bonds in the lineup. They always a had a chance. That is the biggest reason I saw the Giants being the team to grab Prince. I got the orange color right, but not the league. With such a high payroll and great band of stars and supporting players, the Tigers were seemingly one piece away from going to the World Series last year. Now hopefully, Prince is that missing piece to complete the Tigers playoff puzzle.

Without a doubt, some people have concerns about this signing. Most of the criticism falls around the dollars involved, length of contract, Prince’s weight and defensive questions. Let me answer those questions quickly. Firstly, the pay is the pay. The going rate for an elite superstar hitter is $20+ million per season. The number is still rising believe it or not. Remember, Prince will be only 28 this season.  If he became a free agent in say 3 years, what would the market price be then? The dollars per year is market rate, whether we like it or not. As far as length of contract, by year 6- Prince will still be 33. Still very young in baseball terms. So the question for me is not the total length of contract, but the production the Tigers will receive in years 7-9.  But even in the worst case and the Tigers get superstar numbers for approximately 6 years and decent numbers for the last 3, the contract will still make sense. If the Tigers win it all in any of those years, then nobody will even remember the contract. All they will remember is the ring and trophy.

As far as Prince’s weight and defense, I will say this. I have already shown in this article Prince’s durability. Not one issue was made of Prince’s weight in the press conference or by the team. Prince is a big man, no doubt. But he is a good athlete who is in much better shape than he is given credited for. As long as he is not missing games and his production is of an elite level, people should not be concerned. We are not trying to sell jeans people…we are trying to win ballgames. Lastly, I think Prince gets an unfair label from a defensive standpoint. While he may never win a gold glove and has the occasional lapse, for the most part he does the job. He works hard on the defensive aspect of his game. Moving Miggy to 3B or the OF is not a reflection on Miggy being an inferior 1B candidate. Rather, Miggy has experience at other positions and is still young enough to conquer them again. Prince did not sign this deal to be a DH. Yes, it will be an advantage to have him DH in back-to-back night/day games and for occasional breathers. But Prince is still young and capable. Like most young players, you don’t want them to strictly DH, since it takes them off the field and out of the game in many cases (see Adam Dunn).  Prince will get the job done and having him at his natural position will make him most comfortable and likely productive. That is a good thing for the Tigers. At the end of the day, I have one last message for any last doubters left. Mike Ilitch just spent $214 million of his money, without hurting his ballclub. It’s his money and he can afford it. At the end of the day, this is not my money or yours. It’s the Tigers cash. If they want to spend it on Prince, all the power to them. This article addresses why the signing will work and makes sense. But ultimately, the Tigers wanted Prince from the time he was 12 and now he is home. Welcome back to Detroit Prince. Enjoy him Tigers fans…you are getting a bona fide superstar coming to your town.

 

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

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

The Baseball Struggles of Tall/Heavy Players After 30: Is Prince Next?

Monday January 16, 2012


Doug Booth-  Baseball Writer:  I am still astounded when I hear that Prince Fielder has not been signed yet.  This man is a powerhouse that would help any ball club.  So what is going on?  When I thought about this a little more I realized that tall/heavy hitters really have a tough time keeping their productivity up once they are near the second half of their career.  It is really not that hard to figure out.  A player that is taller also carries a larger strike zone, where the overweight players will only lose any speed they had as their career starts winding down.  For this particular article, I choose 4 players to study this exact scenario. Those players are: Richie Sexson, Tony Clark, Mo Vaughn and Cecil Fielder.

Tall Players

Richie Sexson-(Career .261 306 HR 943 RBI), is one of the tallest players ever at 6’6″.  For the first 9 years of his career, this Oregon Native terrorized pitchers and routinely deposited baseball into the bleachers.  During those years, the man clubbed 270 HRs and drove in 824 RBIs, power numbers that put him amongst the best in baseball.  Despite being quite thin, Richie began having problems in the field and at the plate once he hit the age of 32.  In 2007, Richie Sexson only hit .205 and was striking out on the outside pitch at the knees frequently.  We are talking about a professional hitter who put together 6- 100 RBI seasons. Within a year, Sexson was out of the league without any takers.  It wasn’t a real gradual drop either.  At age 31 Richie Sexson hit 34 HRs and 107 RBIs for Seattle, a place where half of his games were played at pitcher friendly Safeco Field.

Tony Clark-(Career .262 252 HR 824 RBI), is 6’8″ and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 1990 Amateur Draft.  Clark started out his first seven seasons with the Detroit Tigers by hitting .277 with 156 HRs and 514 RBIs.  While he was not as potent as Richie Sexson, Clark ended his career with Tigers with a slugging percentage of .502.  At age 30, the Boston Red Sox now had Clark as their 1st baseman. However, this was short-lived as he struggled badly.  In 2003 and 2004, Clark spent time as injury relief for both of the New York teams. The Mets used Clark when Mo Vaughn retired in 2003, while the Yankees had him play 1st base when Jason Giambi was out for the year with stomach pains in 2004.  In both cases Clark responded with 16 HRs, in half of the at-bats of a regular year.  Tony Clark played regularly during the next season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting 30 HRs in only 130 games, while also slugging a career best .636.   Tony struggled to stay healthy after that year, although he provided some nice pop as a pinch hitter.  His career as a regular had been over since he had turned 33.

Heavy Players

Mo Vaughn-(Career.293 328 HR’S 1064 RBI), is listed as weighing only 225 pounds at baseball reference.com, but for those that watched him play, knew that was way under the weight Vaughn played at once he left Boston.  Vaughn spent his first 8 years with Boston hitting .304 with 230 HRs and 752 RBIs.  Vaughn was named the 1995 AL MVP when he hit 44 HRs and drove in 143 RBIs.  The man was a beast in his Boston days.  After posting 2 decent years with the then ‘California Angels’ hitting 30 HRs and driving in 100+RBIs, Vaughn signed with the New York Mets.  Vaughn showed up to camp out of shape (at age 34) and slumped in his first year with the Mets.  More health issues came up the next year and a knee injury brought the man to retirement.  Those were knee problems that arose very likely from carrying all that extra weight on his frame.

Cecil Fielder-(Career .255 319 HR’S 1008 RBI), is a classic example of what I am talking about. With the Toronto Blue Jays, Cecil hit 31 HRs in only 504 ABs. But there was a problem.  The Jays featured AL home run king Fred McGriff at that time with John Olerud in the system. So Cecil Fielder was off to play in Japan for a season.  Earlier in Cecil’s career, he was much leaner until he joined the Detroit Tigers. In 1990, ‘Big Daddy’ signed with the Detroit Tigers and went on to hit 51 HRs and drove in 132 RBIs.  It was the first time a player had hit 50 homers in a year since George Foster did it in 1977.   Cecil Fielder led the league in RBI for his first three years with the Tigers, and he also finished with 44 HRs to lead the league in homers for his second year with Detroit.  At the age of 32, he was traded to the New York Yankees at the deadline before helping them secure New York’s first championship since 1978.  After the following season, the Yanks felt they were better suited to use Darryl Strawberry at DH and Tino Martinez at 1st base, so they let Cecil leave.  At age 34 Cecil was big and slow and ended his career after a great 10 year run.

So maybe this is the reason that teams have not signed Prince to a huge 8+ years contract.  Based on my research, the most I would give Prince is a 5-year deal.  Pay him more annually if you wish, but do not make the mistake as other teams have made in the past.  I do not want to add Prince to this list after his career is over.

*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

 

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Ontario Blue Jays Hall of Fame Induction Gala: Class of 2012 with Cecil Fielder as Keynote Speaker

Sunday January 8, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  On Friday night, I got to combine two of my favorite loves: baseball and food. The Ontario Blue Jays were kind enough to invite MLB reports to be a part of their Gala Dinner and Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The event was held at La Primavera, a beautiful banquet facility in Woodbridge, Ontario (Canada).  It was definitely a night to remember. 

The OBJ delivered former MLB slugger Cecil Fielder as the Keynote Speaker for the evening. Having grown up watching Big Daddy play on the baseball field, it was an honor and privilege to speak to him during the night. More on Cecil to come, but let’s say that he certainly did not hold back in his speech. Cecil discussed everything in his captivating address to the starstruck audience. From growing up and playing football/baseball, to his time in Japan, Toronto, Detroit and New York. Cecil also touched upon his personal life, including his recent remarriage and of course, son Prince Fielder

But firstly, the event itself. Director of Baseball Operations for the OBJ, Dan Bleiwas put together a first-rate program. From the Keynote Speaker, to the inductees, memorabilia auction and of course, the food! I had my eye on a Carlton Fisk autographed lithograph among the many prizes available up for grabs. But with the big spenders on hand that night, it was not meant to be. With a good fill of steak and tiramisu in my belly though, I surely wasn’t complaining. We sat at Table 5 (the most rocking table in the house). I spent a great deal of the night catching up with Michael Bonanno, Vice President of Oak Sports Management. As a baseball agent, Michael’s phone did not stop ringing or buzzing the whole night. It was definitely a pleasure to talk baseball with an industry professional of Michael’s stature. Overall, the room had a great vibe from the start. Baseball talk was in the air, from the cocktail hour right through to the speeches. The night was meant to be a celebration of baseball and the OBJ delivered in that respect perfectly.

Known as “Canada’s top amateur baseball program”, the Ontario Blue Jays are part of the Premiere Baseball League of Ontario. A breeding ground for Canadian baseball talent, specially Ontario, the OBJ has seen many great baseball players come through its doors. The inaugrual Hall of Fame class of 2012 was a strong field of talent. The inductees were as follows:

 

DREW TAYLOR:  We featured Drew on September 22, 2011 in our interview titled: Drew Taylor – An Intercounty League Pitcher.  Drew played for the OBJ between 1999-2001.  He was originally a part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization and then the Philadelphia Phillies. He still stars for the Intercounty Baseball League as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. A left-handed pitcher, Drew still looks great on the mound. The highlight of the evening for us was Drew’s mention of his interview with MLB reports during his induction speech. Thank you Drew! I had a chance to speak to Drew during the evening and look forward to featuring him again on the Reports. This cat has many projects on the go…so make sure to keep an eye on the name Drew Taylor!  (You can follow Drew on Twitter:  @DrewWTaylor)

ADAM STERN:  We love Adam on so many levels. A member of the OBJ from 1997-1998, Stern has really experienced all levels of major league life. A 3rd round pick of the Braves in 2001, Stern played for the Red Sox, Orioles and Brewers.  A member of the Canadian Olympic team in 2008.  But we will most remember Stern for his play in the World Baseball Classic.  During the 2006 edition, Stern was the team catalyst- as he almost hit for the cycle with 4 RBI’s as part of Team Canada’s victory over the USA.  As down to earth of a player as you will find, Stern embodied the terms hustle and grit during his career. Stern was solid defensively and provided a spark offensively on all the teams he played for. Speaking to him during the night, we reminisced on his career as he recently retired. It would have been a treat to see Stern play for the Toronto Blue Jays, but unfortunately the fit was not in the cards. Reflecting on his time in baseball, Stern had no regrets. As he shouldn’t. The man reached baseball heights that few do and is a great role model for all kids learning the game, not just Canadians. Now in his new role, Stern is the Program Director for Centerfield sports, a sports training facility located in London, Ontario. Adam has agreed to be interviewed for the Reports and we look forward to bringing you his story very soon.

PETE ORR:  A member of the OBJ from 1996-1997, Orr was drafted by the Rangers and later signed by the Braves. Orr has played at the major league level with the Braves, Nationals and Phillies. Like Adam Stern, he was a member of both the 2006 and 2009 WBC Canadian teams.  Pete will be back with the Phillies in 2012. We talked about his love of the city of Philadelphia and he is definitely chomping at the bit to get to Spring Training. At 32-years of age, Pete Orr still has a lot of baseball left in him. Having achieved a solid major league career, he was a very worthy choice for the inaugural OBJ Hall of Fame class of 2012.

TYLER JOHNSTONE: A member of the OBJ from 1999-2002.  Johnstone was a shortstop in the New York Mets organization and played for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the Northern League. He played in the Connie Mack World Series in 2001.  Johnstone also attended Purdue and Auburn before turning professional.  An interesting note is that Johnstone played every inning of every game for the Tigers between 2005-2006 and led the team in stolen bases as both a junior and senior. 

 

After the Hall of Fame inductees were named and presented with their plaques following their speeches, the night turned to the Keynote Speaker. The man needed no introduction, as the name Cecil Fielder says it all. I had a chance to speak to Cecil before the dinner and catch up with the former MLB superstar. I had no idea what to expect, given that the last time I met him was in 1990 as a youngster. Since then, Cecil has retired and remains away from the game. Now based in Atlanta with his wife (as he recently remarried), he spends his time running a baseball academy. We shared our experiences as fathers and talked about his role as a dad in raising his son Prince. Watching the both of them during Cecil’s playing days always stuck with me and inspired me in my role as father in the present day. Whenever he spoke about Prince, there was always a gleam in Cecil’s eyes. He loves his son very much and that came across clearly in his words.  He did make it clear to me though that he has no interest in returning to professional baseball, whether as a coach or broadcaster. Cecil is more interested in spending time with his family and raising his kids than starting over in the minors. His family comes first.

When Cecil took the podium, every eye in the room was on him. You can’t help but be drawn to his presence. I didn’t recognize him right away when we were introduced. But once he started speaking, you couldn’t miss that he was Cecil Fielder. He spoke to the room for over 30 minutes, but it felt closer to 5.  It was that good of a speech. Cecil talked every aspect of his life. From his football days and decision later in his youth to switch to baseball. To being drafted by the Orioles and then Royals, with his eventual trade to Toronto. Cecil expressed his love for the city of Toronto and the 1985 Jays squad. To playing in Japan, Detroit and New York, we really got to learn every aspect of his career. I was particularly interested in his discussion of the 1996 Yankees World Series team. From the bullpen of John Wetteland and Mariano Rivera, to a young Derek Jeter blasting Mariah Carey in the clubhouse. Cecil was very animated and had people laughing in tears.

When it came to his son Prince, Cecil spoke at great lengths. From Prince’s weight issues as a child and Cecil’s assistance in getting his son into shape. Cecil spoke fondly about his son and with great pride in his voice. When it came to Prince’s next destination, the indication from Cecil was that it would be Washington. I had asked him before about the chances of the Jays signing his son and he just let out a laugh.  “Not going to happen”, was the response I received. We have Cecil’s speech for your viewing pleasure coming soon on the Reports. It is one of the best baseball talks you will ever hear. If you are a baseball fan, you will sit back and enjoy the life of Cecil Fielder in his own words.

Overall it was a magical night of baseball history. Congratulations to the Ontario Blue Jays Hall of Fame Class of 2012. A big thank you again to Dan Bleiwas and Drew Taylor for all your assistance in having MLB reports cover the gala.  To our photographer Joel Lopata (Twitter @JoelLopataPhoto), who took all the pictures used in this feature. You can click on the MLB reports Facebook page to view the entire album of the evening.  We look forward to joining the Ontario Blue Jays in 2013 for their next Hall of Fame class.  You can follow the Ontario Blue Jays on Twitter (@OntarioBlueJays) and check their website: http://ontariobluejays.com.

 

 

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

 

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A Great DH Can Mean Winning the AL Pennant

Wednesday December 28, 2011



Doug Booth-  Guest Baseball Writer:  

Watching the 2011 season, something really resonated with me while watching the American League:  ‘Where have all the great designated hitters in MLB gone?’  It seemed only a few years ago that every team had a bopper capable of hitting .300 with 30 HR’S and 100 RBI’s.  Upon further investigation, I found out some interesting facts.  First, let us look at the top-3 DH’s this past 2011 season.  Michael Young of the Rangers hit .338, 11 HR’S and 106 RBI, which was the best performance by any DH, in helping to win the Rangers a 2nd straight ALCS Pennant.  A close second would go to Victor Martinez, who spent 112 games at DH and hit .330 with 12 HR’S and 103 RBI.  The 3rd best DH was David Ortiz, who hit .309 with 29 HR’s and 96 RBI.  The rest of the DH’s were average to below average.  

The Yankees struggled with Posada and a rotation of Andruw Jones/Jesus Montero, although they hit about 30 HR’s combined.  The Blue Jays never had a set DH, but received decent production from Encarnacion and Lind.  The Baltimore Orioles had Vlad Guerrero, who had his worst year ever, as did the Angels’ Bobby Abreu and the Rays’ Johnny Damon.  The Seattle Mariners had washed up Jack Cust and the likes of Willy Mo Pena by the end of the year.  Oakland has steady Hideki Matsui, but not even a decent second half had him anywhere near his career average totals.  Kansas City has been placing Billy Butler back onto the field, so his DH role was limited this season.  Adam Dunn soon became a four letter word in Chicago’s South side.  Aging and injury prone players Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner saw the most amount of work for the Cleveland Indians at DH, so yet again these players were far from being in their most productive years.  

So what is the underlying theme here?  If you have a great DH, you may just make the playoffs and win it all.  Young, Martinez, Ortiz had their teams in contention all year for the playoffs.  The Tampa Bay Rays were the 4th team in the playoff chase and managed to overcome the position thanks to superior pitching.  One could definitely say that Michael Young vs. Bobby Abreu is worth a definite amount of wins at that position, considering what they each produced in the AL West.  

I am going to go through the last 20 years of ALCS Pennant Winners as part of my study.  80% of the time (the team with a great DH) was in the World Series:

1992 TORONTO-Dave Winfield .290 26 HR’S 108 RBI
1993 TORONTO-Paul Molitor .332 22 HR’S 111 RBI
1994 WORLD SERIES CANCELLED
1995 CLEVELAND-Eddie Murray .323 21 HR’S 82 RBI
1996 NEW YORK-Cecil Fielder 39 HR’S 117 RBI (Acquired at deadline by NYY)
1997 CLEVELAND-David Justice .329 33 HR’S 101 RBI
1998 NEW YORK-Darryl Strawberry 24 HR’S 57 RBI (295 AB IN 101 GAMES)
1999 NEW YORK-Chili Davis/Darryl Strawberry (not the greatest year-but in middle of NYY dynasty of 6 ALCS IN 7 YRS)
2000 NEW YORK-David Justice .286 41 HR’S 118 RBI
2001 NEW YORK-David Justice (not the greatest year but it was a solid NYY team.  Edgar Martinez led SEA to a 116-46 record and were prohibitive favorites but lost to the Yankees-Martinez year was .306 23 HR’s AND 106 RBI
2002 ANAHEIM-Brad Fullmer (hit .289 with 60 XBH in 130 games and a slugging % of .531)
2003 NEW YORK-Jason Giambi 41 HR’S 107 RBI
2004 BOSTON-David Ortiz .301 41 HR’S 139 RBI
2005 CHICAGO-Carl Everett 23 HR’S 87 RBI in 135 games
2006 Detroit Tigers-Dmitri Young (They did not have a definite DH after Young’s injury so this year so was the worst out of the 20 years.)
2007 BOSTON-David Ortiz-.305 35 HR’S 117 RBI
2008 TAMPA BAY-Cliff Floyd/Wille Aybar 22 HR’S 72 RBI combined (Again great pitching carried TB.)
2009 NEW YORK-Hideki Matsui .274 28 HR 90 RBI IN 456 AB
2010 TEXAS-Vlad Guerrero .300 29 HR’S 115 RBI
2011 TEXAS-Michael Young .338 11 HR’S 106 RBI

In 2006, half of the league possessed great DH’s:  Ortiz .287 54 HR 137 RBI, Hafner .308 42 HR’S 117 RBI, Giambi 37 HR’S 113 RBI, Thome .288 42 HR’S 109 RBI, and Thomas hit 39 HR’S 114 RBI.  This group is far more productive than the 2011 bunch.  Given this Information, why wouldn’t more teams elect for permanent DH slots just to gain an edge over their competition?  The Seattle Mariners had an incredible run from 1994-2004 with Edgar Martinez as a permanent DH.  The Boston Red Sox have won 2 World Series titles and are perennial playoff contenders with David Ortiz as their DH.  The Yankees have not been the same since Hideki Matsui has left the club as their DH.  This leads me to the Toronto Blue Jays pitching an offer to Prince Fielder and making Adam Lind a permanent DH.

With a signing of Fielder, the Jays could move Adam Lind to just a DH.  Could you dare envision a lineup of: Escobar SS, Rasmus CF, Bautista RF, Fielder 1B, Lawrie 3B, Lind DH, Arencibia C, Johnson 2B, and your pick of Thames or Snyder?  This would free up your club to make a trade as well.  If you are the Jays, and offered Yu Darvish the posting bid of over $50 million and another $60-75 million in salary, why wouldn’t you offer Fielder a 7 year deal in the $140-150 Million range?  With Fielder signed, I think his presence would potentially alter the attendance by 8,000-10,000 fans per game to justify his salary (not to mention merchandise and television ratings).  With a 3-4-5 lineup of Bautista, Fielder and Lawrie, I could see 120 HR’S and 350 RBI combined each year.  The best aspect of these guys is that they are patient.  If you add Adam Lind as the #6 hitter with 30 HR 100 RBI capability, then it will become lookout time for the rest of the league.

The Angels signing of Albert Pujols should not cause concern about his production.  Even into his early 40’s, Pujols should be able to hit well given his dedication to personal fitness.  The question is: why wait to move him to DH right now with the amount of 1st baseman they already possess with Trumbo and maybe a return from Morales? It is my belief that aging players should be shipped off to the National League when they can’t post impressive offensive numbers. A good example of this are recent NL pinch hitters Jason Giambi and Matt Stairs making a living off pinch such roles after failing as DH’s late into their careers.  If the AL teams persist in signing aging players past their prime for the DH role, then I believe they will struggle.  Vlad Guerrero and Johnny Damon would be perfect for an NL team at this stage of their respective careers considering this rationale.

So whatever players are ultimately signed by each team from this point forward or already have signed, whichever AL teams have the best Designated Hitters in the league for the 2012 season will likely have the best shot at winning the AL Pennant.

 

*** Thank you to our Guest Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

 

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

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