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Baseball Academies In The Dominican Republic

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Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

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In 2012, almost ten percent of all major league players were born in the Dominican Republic. This is despite the population of the United States of America being more than thirty-one times greater than that of the D.R.

How does the Dominican Republic produce so many baseball players, one might ask.

Well, baseball academies run by major league teams and player agents are one of the driving forces increasing the number of professional baseball players from the D.R.

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MLB Reports’ Junior Reporter Haley Smilow Interviews The Mets 2B Justin Turner

Justin Turner is a Utility Infielder for the Mets, that put up his best numbers in the Majors for his Career in 2013.  He 3 Slashed .280/.319/.704 for the campaign in his 200 AB,  The Man played 5. different positions throughout the seasons, with just failing to Catch, Pitch or play CF or RF.  Turner even had better numbers when he started a game: .291/.331/.737,

Justin Turner is a Utility Infielder for the Mets, that put up his best numbers in the Majors for his Career in 2013. He 3 Slashed .280/.319/.704 for the campaign in his 200 AB, The Man played 5. different positions throughout the seasons, with just failing to Catch, Pitch or play CF or RF. Turner even had better numbers when he started a game: .291/.331/.737,

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

Haley Smilow is a lucky baseball fan/writer/reporter.  Recently this summer, she was able to interview Justin Turner of the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York City.

Of course, Justin Turner also has been featured in other blog posts – because our Guest Baseball Writer and Reporter “Lori Martini”, was fortunate enough to also meet the Mets Second Baseman on the field in Flushing Meadows – when she had her song “Believe” featured as a pregame song one day,.

Turner would later adopt the tune as his ‘walkup song’ for the rest of the 2011 season.

So it doesn’t surprise me that he would be so accommodating with his time with Haley.

Like always, Haley asked Turner several questions that he was not accustomed to fielding from other reporters.  I am sure that is why he was so enthusiastic about the conversation.

We are very proud of Haley at this site – for also recently being featured in a NY Times article, that showcased her as bright young star.  You can check out that article here.

So without further adieu, sit back, grab a favorite drink, and enjoy the dialogue between Justin Turner of the Mets and Haley. Read the rest of this entry

How The New York Yankees Acquired All Of Their Pitchers

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Tuesday July.30/2013

Mariano Rivera holds the ALL-Time Record for any closer (active of retired) with 641 Saves.  He has been the most dominant Relief Pitcher on the planet over the last two decades.  What is incredible, is that he never has a bad season - which is prone to happen to even Hall Of Fame Pitchers.  Rivera also leads Active Pitchers in ERA (2.20), Games Finished (1093) and a WHIP 1.003 Add another 42 Saves, and a 0.70 ERA in 142 IP in his Post Season Career - and you are talking about the standard which any future Closer will be measured up to.

Mariano Rivera holds the ALL-Time Record for any Closer (active or retired) with 641 Saves. He has been the most dominant Relief Pitcher on the planet over the last two decades. What is incredible, is that he never has a bad season – which is prone to happen to even Hall Of Fame Pitchers. Rivera also leads Active Pitchers in ERA (2.20), Games Finished (1093) and a WHIP 1.003 Add another 42 Saves, and a 0.70 ERA in 142 IP in his Post Season Career – and you are talking about the standard which any future Closer will be measured up to.

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

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

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

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

This was not as cool as doing the other Roster Trees I have done. 

In fact, the Hitters were not even that fun to do, with having to go through the Alberto Gonzalez tree (from when he left the NYY the first time) – just to spice it up a little bit.

The New York Yankees Roster Tree Part 1: The Hitters

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Top Five Most Memorable Moments from the 2013 World Baseball Classic

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Monday, March.25  2013

The World Baseball Classic Ran from Mar.02 - Mar.19/2013

The World Baseball Classic Ran from Mar.02 – Mar.19/2013.

By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

The 2013 World Baseball Classic was an amazing tournament that had its up’s and down’s; but for the most part, it provided a great opportunity to watch meaningful spring training games during the winter. Having watched almost every game, I can officially say that it exhausted me.

From cheering on the Americans to trying to pronounce all of the Japanese names, there was never a shortage of things going on at the 2013 WBC. There were a very few number of special moments that will stay with me until the 2016 WBC. Without further ado, here are my top five memories from the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

The Final 3 Outs of the World Baseball Classic:

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Edinson Volquez In 2013: Quintessential Ace Or Inconsistent Starter?

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Thursday March 21, 2013

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he'll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he’ll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.  You are talking about a guy that has been traded for in a Josh Hamilton deal, plus the exchange that happened to bring him to San Diego (along with Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos Prior to the 2012 campaign.

By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer):

When the Texas Rangers signed Edinson Volquez as an amateur Free Agent in 2001 they had high hopes for the 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. They signed him along with John Danks and Thomas Diamond. The three pitching prospects for the Rangers were dubbed “DVD.”

After spending a few years in the Rangers’ organization, he made his debut on the big league squad on August 30, 2005 – and spent the duration of the season with them. He ended up starting 3 games and appeared in 6.  His final stat line at 22-years-old read an 0-4 record – with a 14.21 ERA.

Volquez spent the next two years bouncing in and out of the Minors. When he received the call-up in 2006, he did fairly better dropping his ERA to 7.29. His 1-6 record in 8 starts wasn’t very impressive – but I’m not one to judge a pitcher on his record. As far as I’m concerned, the ERA dropping by almost 7 points was a huge step in the right direction.

Volquez discussing his new team prior to the 2012 MLB season:

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WBC 2013 Final Results, Recap And Review

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Wednesday March 2oth, 2013

Congrats to the Dominican Republic: The 2013 World Baseball Classic Champions!

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

After the initial WBC in 2006, the tournament returned in 2009.  The decision was made to have the WBC played three years after the inaugural edition and then four years later from there.  

As result, after a long wait for baseball fans…the third World Baseball Classic was back for the 3rd edition in 2013.

 It was a thrilling March- with the final 2 countries facing off for global baseball supremacy:  The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.  The DR won the game 3-0 behind the MVP bat of Robinson Cano.  

Congrats to the Dominican Republic on being crowned the 2013 WBC Champions!

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World Baseball Classic Week One Update

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Saturday, March 10th, 2013

Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop has turned helped the Netherlands become the most exciting team in the tournament.

Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop has helped the Netherlands become the most exciting team in the tournament.

By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

So far, the World Baseball Classic has been a great way for those of us drooling for baseball to take in some familiar sights. Even though some of the teams look very rusty and not exactly in mid-season form, others look primed to bring a championship home to their country. Group A and B have both finished their first round and have already moved on to Round 2, but Group C and D have yet to concluded their first round. Overall, the first week of the 2013 World Baseball Classic couldn’t have gone much better.

Complete World Baseball Classic Brawl – Canada VS Mexico March 9 2013

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2013 WBC Group C Preview

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Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Miggy Cabrera will take his talents to the WBC starting on Mar.2

Miggy Cabrera will take his talents to the WBC (for Team Venezuela starting on Mar.2.

By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Spain have produced some of the most talented baseball players in the world. All four of these countries will be will represented in Group C of the WBC starting on March 7th in Puerto Rico. From Miguel Cabrera to Robinson Cano, this division is filled with popular MLB superstars. Even though the Dominican Republic and Venezuela appear to be early favorites to advance from this division, don’t count out Puerto Rico or Spain to make a run at qualifying for the next round.

World Baseball Classic–Venezuela Vs Puerto Rico–Alejandro Toca Cuatro:

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The Toronto Blue Jays’ Roster Is A Perfect Example Of How Different Baseball Is in the Dominican Republic

Saturday November 24th, 2012

The Blue Jays have always had a great amount of success from drafting and trading for Dominican Republic born Players. From Damaso Garica, George Bell and Manny Lee, to Juan Guzman during the World Series teams. Now they have Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Emilio Bonifacio , Melky Cabrera on the current roster-and some guy called Joey Bats all born from the DR.

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):

While it is nothing more than an observation, the Toronto Blue Jays are stacked with players from the Dominican Republic. Generally, baseball’s best players come from this small Caribbean, and with ten players from the Dominican Republic on their current roster, the trends favor the Blue Jays.

But the question is, why are players from that region so highly regarded?

Well, there are many reasons. From a more broad stand point, baseball in the Dominican Republic is a national passion, and the cream of the crop are playing baseball year-round.

Since baseball is essentially all kids have in terms of the selection of sports, the odds of elite players being produced out of that area are dramatically higher. Plus, there are just fewer distractions in general-no phones, TVs, and computers. A list of distractions could drag on for days, but the main point here is that players from the DR play baseball all day everyday. Read the rest of this entry

The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Hitters: Part 3 Of A 7 Part Article Series

Friday, Nov.16/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

 

Tony Fernandez leads the Blue Jays Franchise for Hits and Games Played ALL-Time. At the age of 37, he flirted with a .400 average for half of the season in 1999. In his first go around with Toronto, he was part of the BlockBuster Trade that saw he and Fred McGriff go to San Diego for Joe Carter and Robbie Alomar at the GM’s Meetings in Dec of 1990. -Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I like that this franchise series is right dab smack in the middle of the biggest Franchise trade since Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff went to San Diego for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter in 1990.  A Toronto Blue Jays fan can only hope for the same result that came down afterwards to repeat itself in the next few year.  The early days of the Jays hitters (late 1970’s provided some long-term reliable guys,) however it wasn’t until Jesse Barfield won a HR Title and George Bell came home with the 1987 AL MVP, that the rest of the MLB started to take notice on the hitters of this Canadian Team.  As soon as the club moved into SKYDOME, the hitters had a field day.  Not to say that Exhibition Stadium didn’t aid some homeruns and nice averages in its day, it is just that SKYDOME is a hitter friendly park.

From George Bell and the outstanding other 80’s OF trio of Barfield and Lloyd “The Shaker” Moseby, to Tony Fernandez and Ernie Whitt, these guys all played a huge chunk of their careers with this Canadian Club.  Fred McGriff routinely hit towering shots off of the Windows Restaurant and led the AL in HRs during the 1989 Pennant Winning Season.  In 1991, when Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar arrived onto the scene, the offense just clicked on all cylinders.  Devon White was gracefully stealing bases and striding into runs with those gigantic high knee kicks of his.  John Olerud walked right out of College and added one of the best ‘natural’ swings that any of us have ever seen.  Veterans Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor bashed their way into Jays hearts with their limited time with the organization en route to back to back World Series Titles in 1992 and 1993.  After the Strike/Lockout, the team then saw Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado routinely destroy pitchers and be amongst the league lead in several power categories.

There is a ton more on this article just past these links or by clicking the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON. 

Here are the links for the article series.

The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise 1977-1993 Part 1 Of A 7 Part Series Click Here:

Franchise History Part 2 1994-2012: http://mlbreports.com/2012/11/28/jay/

The Hitters:  The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Hitters: Part 3 Of A 7 Part Article Series: 

The Pitchers:  The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Pitchers Part 4 Of A 7 Part Series

Skydome:  An Interview with ‘Rogers Centre Expert’ and “MLB reports Founder” Jonathan Hacohen Part 5 of 7

For Part 6 of the 7 Part Series:  Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll Click here

For Part 7 of the 7 Part Series:  Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll:  A Readers Thoughts, Click Here: 

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Baseball Movie Review: Ballplayer Pelotero

Monday July 16th, 2012

Sam Evans: “Ballplayer: Pelotero” is a documentary that follows two highly regarded Dominican fifteen year-old baseball players. It’s a story of lies, backstabbing, and MLB’s darker side. I highly recommend “Ballplayer: Pelotero” if you’re at all interested in International Free Agency, and how young prospects can get taken advantage of.

The two players shown throughout the film are Miguel Angel Sano and Jean Carlos Batista. Sano is portrayed as an extremely talented fifteen year-old, who comes from a very poor family. As you may know, Sano is now in the Minnesota Twins organization, and he has more raw power than any other player in the minors. Throughout the film, Batista opens up about the death of his father in a dramatic eye-opening fashion. He ends up signing with the Houston Astros, after a major discovery is made by Major League Baseball that alters his signing bonus.

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The Future of Alfredo Simon

Sunday January 29th, 2012

Sam Evans: Alfredo Simon has not had the Major League career that most people grew up dreaming about. He’s never maintained success in his four years in the big leagues, plus he was accused of murdering a man during the last offseason. Luckily for Simon, he has a chance to be a starter in Baltimore’s talent-deprived rotation. He is still a promising player with a good build and a fastball that can touch up to 95 MPH.

Simon should be an inspiration to all minor league players. He spent seven years in the minors before he ever reached the majors. During those seven minor league years, he played for the Rangers, Orioles, Dodgers, Phillies, and the Giants. Simon never posted amazing minor league numbers and had problems with his offspeed pitches. What kept Simon on teams was his fastball in the upper 90’s and positive veteran influence. In 2008, Simon finally got his chance. The Orioles called him up to the majors and gave him a chance to showcase his abilities against major league hitters.

When Alfredo Simon signed with the Phillies over ten years ago, he claimed to be almost two years younger than he was, as he went by the name Carlos Cabrera. This wasn’t a huge deal, but eventually the information about Simon’s name and age was released to the public. Little did Simon know, this was just the start of his legal issues. Last year, on New Year’s, Simon was accused of killing Michel Castillo Almonte and wounding his own brother. As the story was told, the locals were all bringing in the New Year at a huge party, with Simon celebrated by firing his gun into the air twice. I’m not a lawyer, but this seems very suspicious. If Simon was firing his gun up into the air, how did he kill someone? I don’t speak very fluent spanish, but according to a Dominican news telecast, Simon was at a street block filled with hundreds of people, away from Almonte at the time of the murder.

The justice system in the Dominican Republic is far from perfect. Simon could have just paid off people to cover this up after he actually did murder Almonte.  Or this could have been a misunderstanding or tragic accident. However, the court found indisputable evidence that Simon was not the murderer. He had approximately three hundred witnesses testifying his innocence. What I find amusing is that almost all of them showed up for the court appearance, dressed in Orioles gear and Simon’s jerseys. On November 8th, Simon was acquitted of all charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Back to baseball, Simon has never been able to maintain success for long periods of time in the majors. He has shown glimpses of being an electric closer at times. He’s also had moments where he looks like a potential innings-eater starter. Nobody, even Simon, knows where this talented veteran will fit into the Orioles roster. Whether it’s as a starter, or as a late-inning bullpen arm, Simon could be a breakout player in 2012.  Or he could end up on waivers.

Simón can still heat up the radar gun, even now at age thirty. Last year, his average fastball was 94.4MPH. He threw his fastball almost 1 MPH faster in 2010, but that’s likely because he was used out of the bullpen. Speaking of 2010, that was the year when Orioles fans got to see the potential of this 6’6” giant. Due to a Mike Gonzalez injury, and a dreadful Orioles bullpen, Alfredo Simón was name the O’s closer. Simon took complete advantage of the situation and he finished with 17 saves in 21 chances.

Simon’s peripherals suggest that he has been consistently getting lucky during his time in Baltimore. He has a 5.23 career FIP, but only a 4.19 career SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA). Simon is starting to look like another pitcher who consistently outperforms what their sabermetrical numbers suggest they should be. Sabermetrics are far from perfected statistics always and they could be misleading, in terms of Simon’s production.

In 2011, Simon returned to starting pitching. He had sixteen starts and he threw more innings in one year (115.2), than he’d thrown since 2007. He still missed time due to hamstring issues, but overall, Simon threw some quality ballgames for Baltimore. Eight of his sixteen starts were for six innings or more. If Simon can perfect his offspeed pitches better, I could see him having a Carlos Silva in 2004-esue year. That’d make him one of the Orioles best pitchers and he would then be due for a payday in 2013.

Recently, both Manager Buck Showalter, and General Manager Dan Duquette, have made it clear that they want to have players competing in Spring Training for a spot in the Orioles rotation. According to Orioles beat writer, Brittany Ghiroli, Simon has lost ten pounds this offseason and he’s been preparing to be a starter. There will be approximately eleven players competing for five spots in the Orioles rotation this spring. Fortunately for Simon, the majority of them are not very good.

If the Orioles coaching staff can ameliorate Simon into a starter who goes deep into games, without losing his velocity or blocking a younger prospect, then they will have gem of a pitcher at a fraction of the cost of most top starting pitchers. I really do believe in Simon’s capabilities. He has the potential and given that he has a good opportunity coming up this spring, I don’t see any reason why he can’t spend the entire year in the Orioles rotation (health permitting).

If starting doesn’t work out for Simon, he can still be an effective late-inning arm. The Orioles need to develop their pitchers better and stop messing with their roles. They can tell Simon if they want him to be a starter, or a reliever, but the worst thing they can do is have him switch back and forth. For Simon’s career, it’s now or never. 2012 will be the most important year of his career and the Orioles need him to produce at the Major-League level so that they don’t have to rush their young prospects any further.

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

 

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

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