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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 4 MLB Baseball Apr. 2014

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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We are now at the 10% pole of the MLB year.  The American League looks to have some serious battles taking place in the divisions, while the National League has teams who are separating from others.

Kansas City put themselves back on the map with a 5 – 2 week, and now have a tie for the AL Central lead.

The Yankees started the week winning 4 straight, before dropping the last contests with the Rays, but look good for the long haul.

The Rays officially lost Matt Moore for the year, and Alex Cobb is gone for a while too.

Albert Pujols is bouncing towards 500 HRs, but his Halo’s are in the midst of a tough 3 city road trip.

The Nationals are learning once again that nothing is handed to you. Read the rest of this entry

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Seattle Mariners State Of The Union For 2014 Part 2 – The Hitters:

All of the baseball world in the PAC NW will want to see nothing but great production from Cano in Seattle.  He may have a great year with the new club, however the management has not armed him with many dependable offensive talents.  I fully expect the Second Baseman to hit .300/.400./.500 this season, but I think his HRs will be in the low 20's (if not teens,) and his Doubles will be high.  I am not sure he will crack 100 RBI either.  Get used to it Cano.  This is the 1st season of a 10 YR/$240 MIL deal

All of the baseball world in the PAC NW will want to see nothing but great production from Cano in Seattle. He may have a great year with the new club, however the management has not armed him with many dependable offensive talents. I fully expect the Second Baseman to hit .300/.400./.500 this season, but I think his HRs will be in the low 20′s (if not teens,) and his Doubles will be high. I am not sure he will crack 100 RBI either. Get used to it Cano. This is the 1st season of a 10 YR/$240 MIL deal.  He has a career 3 slash of .309/.355/.504, but you can bet he will be walked a ton this year as opposing teams bypass the biggest threat on Seattle’s team.

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

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I wonder what was promised to Robinson Cano once he inked that 10 YR/$240 MIL, or he was just so ecstatic about the cash he failed to ask the question.

I am just kidding.  You know I love ya Cano…and that I am a Yankees fan…and bought 20 sets of game tickets at Safeco this year – primarily because you are on the team.

Actually, the 2B stated a few weeks ago that he is not pleased with the state of the current squad.  I can’t say I blame him.

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.30th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo: Dave Arrigio - Pirates

Photo: Dave Arrigio – Pirates

Francisco Liriano shut down the mighty Cardinals lineup with 8 innings of no run, 2 hit ball. He got his 15th win, 5-0, and the Pirates moved into a first place tie with St. Louis.

Todd Helton hit a pair of three run homers, the second one being career hit number 2,499. His 6 RBI were the difference in Colorado’s 9-6 victory over the Reds.

Jarrod Parker held the Rays to a single run over his first 7 innings of work. Eventually he left in the 8th and the bullpen lost the lead, but his performance helped set up Oakland’s 4-3 victory and moved them into the top Wild Card spot.

Dustin Ackley went 4-5 with a triple and 4 RBI, leading the Mariners past the Astros, 7-1.

They all owned baseball on August 30, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here

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The Seattle Mariners Payroll In 2014, Organizational Affiliates, Prospects, Depth Charts, (MLB + MiLB)

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now.  It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great - in what has been a brutal decade.  Jack Z.. was just extended for one more year.  While it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, the club's youth has finally shown some promise.  The team has a promising amount of young pitchers, good Starting Pitching already in the Majors, and a few positional players that look like they will stay in the bigs.  Of concern is the fact they will lose several veterans in Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez after this year.  That is, unless they decide to trade any of them in the next week.

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now. It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great – in what has been a brutal decade. Jack Z.. was just extended for one more year. While it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, the club’s youth has finally shown some promise. The team has a promising amount of young pitchers, good Starting Pitching already in the Majors, and a few positional players that look like they will stay in the bigs. Of concern is the fact they will lose several veterans in Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez after this year. That is, unless they decide to trade any of them in the next week.

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  

The Mariners were one of the best teams in the Major Leagues when they moved into Safeco Field.

Despite losing Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Ken GriffeyJR. in successive seasons, the team matched a Major League Record with 116 Wins during the 2001 year.

Ichiro Suzuki admirably took over the reigns as the team leader, and carried the club on his shoulders for the next years.

Lou Pinella was there until 2003 – and was having his team in perennial contention since the 1995 year.

After 2003, the club has been abysmal in the next decade.

The team has had several face lifts, rotation managers – and the attendance has come down for over 3 Million fans per year, and now the can barely draw about 1.5 MIL people.

Seattle is one of the biggest markets in North America, and can totally put forth a winning team – and a high payroll.

For the team to even sign some Free Agents, the young players of the organization have to start playing well and to potential.

Any team with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma is not that far off from competing.

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

For all 30 teams Organization Lists from the MLB Reports, plus any related Payrolls, Depth Charts, Roster Trees, State Of The Unions click here.

Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Highlights 2012

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

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Friday, June.28, 2013,

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

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

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

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mariners 2B Nick Franklin Has Been Nothing But Amazing In The Majors

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Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

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Nick Franklin’s 140 wRC+ is second among MLB second basemen with at least 100 plate appearances.

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

Lost among the outstanding debuts MLB rookies like Yasiel Puig and Gerrit Cole has been the terrific play of the Mariners new second baseman Nick Franklin. Franklin has hit for power, played nearly flawless defense, and he’s demonstrated

his fantastic plate discipline. However, most of the baseball world has seemingly looked past what Franklin has done for the Mariners. It’s been quite a while since a shortstop comparable to Franklin has been promoted to the Majors and excelled right away.

Here’s a glance at what Franklin has done for the Mariners, what kind of a player he’ll be in the future, and what role he plays in the Mariners future.

Nick Franklin Prospect Video

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The Top Five Things To Watch On The Mariners Before The All-Star Break

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Monday, June 17th, 2013

Will Tom Wilhelmsen be the Mariners closer by the time the 2013 All-Star break rolls around?

Will Tom Wilhelmsen be the Mariners closer by the time the 2013 All-Star break rolls around?

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

While they might not be a very successful baseball team, the Mariners are definitely a very attention-grabbing baseball team. From top prospects aligning in the Majors, to a nasty closer dilemma, the 2013 Mariners have numerous storylines swirling around.

This year’s Mariners ballclub will be intriguing over the next month or so, even though they might not be a winning baseball team. Here are the top five things to watch for on the Mariners before the All-Star Break.

Mike Zunino, C Seattle Mariners Professional Debut

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The Mariners Are Playing Great Baseball In The Last 2 Weeks

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Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Dustin Ackley has been hitting the ball with a lot more frequency during the last 2 weeks of play.  Due partly to bad luck and partly to bad at bat’s, Dustin Ackley got off to a 5-for-49 start in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and Dustin Ackley is hitting .255/.290/.314 with a grand slam off of R.A. Dickey on Saturday.

Dustin Ackley has been hitting the ball with a lot more frequency during the last 2 weeks of play. Due partly to bad luck and partly to bad at bat’s, Ackley got off to a 5-for-49 start in 2013. Fast forward to the present, and the Mariners Second Baseman is hitting .255/.290/.314 with a grand slam off of R.A. Dickey on Saturday.  He has hits in 9 of his last 10 games (13 – 36, .361 Batting Average in that time frame – raising him 55 Points overall in his season BA.)

Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

Believe it or not, the Mariners are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. After an ugly 8-15 start to the season, the Mariners have won six out of their last eight games, and are two games in front of the Angels in the A.L. West.

It’s unclear how long the Mariners will be able to continue to play this brand of baseball, but for the time being, Seattle is one of the most fun teams to watch in the Majors.

Thanks to young players like Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders heating up and Hisashi Iwakuma and others shutting down other teams, the Mariners have become a much more dangerous team to face.

Iwakuma’s great start:

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Seattle Mariners Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Moving Forward

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Tuesday.February.25/2013

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars.  Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars. Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

It has been over ten years since the Seattle Mariners found themselves as participants in the American League playoffs. Over the course of that time, the M’s have had their ups and downs (quite obviously more downs), and they have come close to getting back to the post-season on several occasions. However, the last three years have been frustrating for Mariners’ fans as the team has ended each season in last place in the AL West. Along with the post-season drought, the Mariners have made some poor contractual decisions. This seasons payroll will not be exceptionally high, but Seattle is far from a small market team. One of the benefits of this season is that the Mariners are not flooded with a lot of long term, massive contracts. The future for the Mariners can be bright, but they need to find some talented offensive pieces and a couple of arms to back their superstar ace, Felix Hernandez.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the big deals that make up the top end of the Mariners payroll in 2013. I think most Mariners fans will ultimately be pretty disappointed in which player is following up King Felix on the payroll for the upcoming season.

Mariners 21 Rangers 8 on May.30/2012 Highlights:

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Seattle Mariners Roster in 2013: State Of The Union:

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Thursday, January.31/2013

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.

The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.

Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.

Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.

Felix Hernandez Highlights:  Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised

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Dustin Ackley: What’s Gone Wrong For The Once Highly Touted Prospect?

Saturday August 18th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  Dustin Ackley has a lot to live up to with the Seattle Mariners. Anyone who is selected in the top five of any draft in any sport is expected to perform right from the get-go. The Mariners highly touted prospect was selected second in the 2009 draft, right behind Stephen Strasburg, and in the same draft class as the American League MVP frontrunner Mike Trout. Granted, Ackley barely has a year of experience under his belt, but it’s safe to say that the bar is set extremely high for him. And thus far, he’s crawling under that bar.

Last season, Ackley, 24, bursted onto the scene in mid June. Of course, the Mariners were far out of contention at that point, but he brought a much-needed spark to the lineup. He was one of the few reasons that made Mariners’ fans look forward to the future of Seattle. And he still his.

However, he has hit a massive dry spell. After hitting .305/.366/.534 is his first 36 big league games last year, he went on a downhill slide that has continued into his second year in the majors. To be specific, the tumble began on the 1st of August in 2011. From that point, he would hit for a triple slash of just .252/.338/.342 for the remainder of the season. And 2012 has followed a similar script. For the season, he’s hitting .225/.296/.330 in 113 games. Thus far, his best month was May, although the numbers he posted were nothing to write home about (.255/.333/.402). Simply, he’s yet to find success for a consistent period of time. Sure, he gets a few hits here and there, then he hits a dry patch.

So what’s going on with Ackley? Read the rest of this entry

Seattle Mariners and Ace Felix Hernandez: What to Do With King Felix?

 

Sunday June 24th, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: As the Mariners continue to grind away at the bottom of the American League West, many wonder: should they trade Felix Hernandez? With Felix, the Mariners have one of the best starting pitchers in the league, as he’s already pitched in eight seasons by the age of 26. 2010 was his best season, when he won his first Cy Young even though the Mariners struggled and were below .500. Felix has yet to enter his prime and is most likely at the height of his trade value. If the Mariners want to get the most possible out of this ace, they would have to act now. But would the Mariners even dare to trade such a prize? Read the rest of this entry

MLB reports Monthly Power Rankings: May 2012

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

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

May Power Rankings

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

Daniel Carroll Interview: Power, Patience and Speed- Watch Out Seattle…This Mariners Prospect Is Coming!

Monday April 2nd, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: For all the talk of Bryce Harper, Matt Moore and the other top prospects in the game, occasionally we are able to uncover a hidden gem. A name that you may not know at the moment…but you will. Someday. So let’s say I was to bring you a prospect with the following stats from the 2011 season. .299 AVG in 131 games. .418 OBP. .477 SLG. .896 OPS. Impressed yet? How about I add in 18 home runs. 20 doubles. 57 RBIs. Getting more excited? Ok…I will throw in 117 runs scored and 88 walks. Now I know that I really have your interest. So here is the clincher: 62 stolen bases. 62 steals in 76 tries. So who are we talking about? Not Anthony Gose. Not Billy Hamilton. We have to go West- all the way to Seattle. The M’s have themselves a centerfield prospect with all the tools. Solid D, speed and my favorite offensive weapons- power and patience. This kid can do it all. Today’s feature is on Daniel Carroll. To say that we are excited about him is an understatement. Carroll has some serious game…and will be knocking on Seattle’s door very soon.

Daniel Carroll was drafted by the Mariners in the third round of the 2007 draft. He showed early on his career that he had the wheels, possessing the ability to steal 20-30 bags per year. Health played a role in slowing his development, which happens often to young players. In 2010, Carroll started to slowly turn the page- he hit a career high 10 home runs in only 90 games and flashed his speed and power potential. Then came last season, the breakout year. Daniel Carroll was a baseball beast in every sense of the word. Home runs. Stolen bases. Walks. Driving in runs. Scoring runs. He did it all for the High Desert Mavericks in 2011. Now this season, we eagerly anticipate Daniel Carroll’s encore. Healthy, hungry and flashing his baseball gifts on the field- the sky is the limit where he can reach. Given the Mariners youth movement- we wouldn’t be surprised if Daniel makes it to Seattle by August. Five-tool players don’t grow on trees. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is a smart man and a great evaluator of talent. For a team that is in dire need of scoring runs, Daniel Carroll will fit logically into the M’s puzzle. Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero will need to have runners on base to drive home. Carroll was made for the leadoff spot. It all makes sense. 

We recently had the opportunity to speak with the M’s prospect and talk baseball. Daniel opened up about his career- from getting drafted to his breakout 2011 season. Get to know Daniel Carroll, as he describes his growing pains in the minors and what it takes to make it in the game of baseball. Today on MLB reports, we are proud to present Mariners Prospect, Daniel Carroll:

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Spring Training is Almost Finished: Final Roster Decisions for Your 2012 Fantasy Baseball Team

Monday April 2nd, 2012


Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The 2012 fantasy baseball season kicked off this past week with the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners two game set in Japan. What can we learn from this series? Even in a hitter friendly park, neither of these teams can really hit. They will both struggle to score runs all year. Therefore, Bartolo Colon will have a lot of value pitching in the friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum. Colon needs to be owned in all leagues, because he proved he still has something left in the tank last year. He is a must start option anytime he faces the Mariners and in most instances he pitches at home. The same is true with teammate Brandon McCarthy, who could perform to a near ace level this season. However, he does have an injury past, which also goes without saying with the old and portly Bartolo Colon. I also think this short series spoke volumes about the potential of Dustin Ackley, who can quickly emerge as a top ten option at second base.


With only two regular season games to reflect upon, let’s take a closer look at the end of spring training and its fantasy relevance. Henry Rodriguez is most likely available in your league, and the 100mph flamethrower will have the opportunity to close games as Drew Storen begins the season the disabled list. In 10 spring training innings, Rodriguez has allowed just four hits, but more importantly struck out nine batters compared to only two walks. The strike zone was the problem in 2011, when he still posted respectable numbers. But he seems to have found better control of the plate. He could be deadly and Zumaya-like. He should provide great value for strikeouts, and is great insurance for Storen owners, as I would not even be surprised to see him assume the closer role at some point during the 2012 season. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: Your Baseball Questions Answered – Sunday March 4th, 2012

Sunday March 4th, 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 and post on our Facebook Wall!

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

Q: Serious question, if you have a Mike Stanton signed baseball, is it worth more cause all autos from here on are Giancarlo?  Bryan

MLB reports: A very interesting question Bryan. Having collected my share of baseball autographs and memorabilia in my day, the same notion popped into my head a couple of times. Here is what the Palm Beach Post News had to say on the subject last Wednesday:

“Many friends still call him Giancarlo, however. He uses that name for his legal signature, while on baseball paraphernalia he signs “Mike Stanton.”

But he notes that his scrawl is such that his “M” looks a lot like a “G.” And teammates are starting to call him Giancarlo more often.”

So it remains to be seen what signature Stanton uses when putting down his name for the fans on pieces of baseball memorabilia, whether they be baseball, cards or other pieces. From the sounds of it, Stanton went by the name Giancarlo on/off for most of his life, along with Mike and similar names. I expect his signature will likely the stay or similar, in which case the value will remain the same. Only, and if only if, his autograph changes drastically would the value of the old signature have any kind of serious increase. But again, as long as the signatures stay the same or similar- value is the same. Thank you again for writing! Read the rest of this entry

Jesus Lands in Seattle: Montero to Save the Mariners’ Offense

Friday January 20th, 2012



Bryan Sheehan (MLB reports Intern Candidate):  It’s no secret that the Seattle Mariners struggled in 2011. Their offensive numbers were the worst in the league in many categories, as the team’s .233 batting average, .640 OPS and 534 RBIs ranked dead last, pushing them to a 67-95 record. So, coming into this offseason, the Mariners’ objective was clear: go out and acquire a hitter.

Last Friday, the Mariners found salvation as the club dealt young pitching talent Michael Pineda and right-handed pitcher Jose Campos to the New York Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero and righty Hector Noesi. Pineda, 23, had an impressive rookie campaign, with a 1.10 WHIP and .211 BAA. His record of 9-10 may look less than stellar on paper, but of his 28 starts, his team scored less than three runs in ten games.

As for Montero, his future looks extremely bright, even in the cloudy landscape of Seattle. At age 22, Montero has only played 18 games at the MLB level but brings skill and potential that could make him a superstar. In 2011, he hit .288 with 67 RBIs in 109 games for Triple-A Scranton (considered a down year for the .308 career hitter) and was a September call-up for the Yankees, where he hit .328 with 12 RBIs in those 18 games. A catcher by trade, Montero will most likely start the year as the M’s designated hitter, with eight-year-veteran Miguel Olivo as the anchor behind the plate.

Ranked as the third best prospect in the league by Baseball America coming into last season, Montero has much to prove. First, he has to prove that he can hit in the pitcher’s heaven/ batter’s worst nightmare that is Safeco Field. He went 2/9 at Safeco last year, but his career slugging percentage (in the minors) is a respectable .501. In 2011, Montero held a slugging percentage of .429 at PNC Field, the home of the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate that is almost identical dimensionally to Safeco. This is a really promising sign, as Montero should feel right at home in Seattle’s ballpark.

A big question that arises is where Montero will fit into the M’s batting order. He’s had experience hitting in every position after clean-up for the offensively strong Yankees, starting the most games in the seven-hole. In 2012 he’ll be higher up in the order for the M’s, and taking into consideration his power- he will likely bat third or fifth. If he can keep his pace from 2011, Montero could drive in over 100 RBIs, which is almost twice what Seattle’s leading hitter, Miguel Olivo, hit last season (Olivo had 62 RBIs). The offensive spark that Montero provides will help bring life to the middle of the order, which includes young infielders Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak.  The M’s may not be a breakout team or a playoff contender in 2012, but adding Montero to their core of young hitters will definitely prove beneficial in a few years as the team’s young hitters hopefully come into their own together.


Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern Candidate, Bryan Sheehan.  You can follow Bryan on Twitter (@Sheehan99), read his interviews with Phillies’ minor league prospects at PhightingOn.com, and catch him writing the occasional article for BleacherReport.com (search his name). Tweet him about this article and he will follow you back!


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Dustin Ackley: A Look at His Young Career and Bright Future

Sunday November 13, 2011

Sam Evans: Dustin Ackley has one of the brighter futures of all young major leaguers. He has lived up to the hype on every team he’s played on and has yet to appear overmatched in the majors.

Dustin Ackley was born in 1988 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In high school we won two state championships in baseball and made honor roll. In 2007, as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, Ackley hit over .400 and started all of his teams 73 games. Ackley, and fellow future first-rounder Alex White, led their team to the College World Series championship but lost to Oregon State. As a sophomore, Ackley just improved, batting .417 on the year.

One thing the average baseball fan doesn’t realize is that Ackley does have a serious injury history. As a junior, he had Tommy John surgery and was forced to play first base for the Tar Heels. Nevertheless, in 2009 he hit .417 again except this time showing off his power hitting 22 home runs. In his three years at North Carolina, Ackley had a OBP of .487, stole more than 10 bases every year, and firmly established his reputation as the best college hitter entering the 2009 draft.

After the consensus #1 pick Stephen Strasburg was selected by the Nationals, the Mariners picked Ackley. It was considered a pretty solid pick and not a stretch by any means. “We think he’s a player that will move pretty quick,” Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik said. What’s interesting is that Zduriencik himself actually scouted Ackley in North Carolina, which is rare for a GM living on the other side of the U.S.

The Mariners signed Ackley to a five-year, 7.5 million dollar, major league contract, just before the deadline. Before the 2010 season, the Mariners made a highly criticized move, deciding to move Dustin Ackley, the longtime UNC outfielder, to second base. At the time, most scouts were doubtful of Ackley’s ability to stick at second base.

2010 was an interesting year for Ackley. He got off to a very slow start at AA West Tennessee, but still managed to get on base at a .389 clip, and quieted a couple of whispers about his defense. After 82 games in Tennessee, Ackley was promoted to AAA Tacoma. I was lucky enough to see him a couple of times that year, and he reminded me very much of Tony Gwynn. Obviously, not as developed as a hitter, but he possessed a very mature approach at the plate. Ackley doesn’t go up to the plate trying to hit a homer every time, he just tries to put a good swing on the ball, and get on base. He has an amazing lefty stroke that is quick through the zone.

At the start of the 2011 season, Ackley headed back to Tacoma. In 66 games there, he made it obvious that he was ready for the majors, hitting .303. On June 17, 2011, Ackley made his major league debut. When i heard that Ackley was called up, I made it my first priority to find tickets to the game. I ended up sitting in Section 323 on the first base line. There was a different feel in the usually disinterested Safeco Field that night. The Mariners were playing the Phillies, and Roy Oswalt was taking the mound for the Phils. In Ackley’s first at-bat, with Phillies fans chanting, “OVER RATED,” Ackley singled up the middle. His major-league career just took off from there.

Ackley played 90 games for the Mariners in 2011. He batted .273 with a .348 OBP and a .417 slugging percentage. He also had a OPS+ of 117, and looked solid at second base, committing only six errors and assisting in 49 double plays.

The sky is the limit for Ackley. Scouts are still doubting his ability to play second base, but as long as he stays passable there, the Mariners have their second basemen for the next era.

Ackley could at some point turn in a MVP caliber season, but he’s not especially a power hitter. I think that at his peak he’ll hit about 20 home runs with a .300 average and an OBP around .415. If Ackley stays at his pace from last year, which is actually a legitimate estimate, he will be nearly a 5 WAR player in a full season. Now if only more of his teammates were any good…

***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.***

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