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Forget The DH, Forget The Pitcher Hitting, Lets Hit With 8! Also Teams Should Hit Best Players At The Top

Disagree with me all you want, but I think the MLB would be better served to have just 8 hitters hit in one rotation of the batting order.  It is time to eliminate the DH and the pitcher both from hitting.  Give the fans more of what they want, the most feared hitters in baseball potentially batting 70 - 80 times more a year.

Disagree with me all you want, but I think the MLB would be better served to have just 8 hitters hit in one rotation of the batting order. It is time to eliminate the DH and the pitcher both from hitting. Give the fans more of what they want, the most feared hitters in baseball potentially batting 70 – 80 times more a year.  I also agree with Sully Baseball, that your best hitters should be afforded the most opportunities to contribute to your offense.  This means hitting in the highest slot in the order they can based on OBP, Slugging and overall Run production.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): w/assist to “Lead Personality” Paul Sullivan (Sully)

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(The 8 hitters in  lineup concept is my idea solely, I am agreeing with Sully on his lineup relevance for his approach for 1 and 2 hitters) – CB

I was listening to an archived show I did with James Acevedo, on our inaugural “2 And A Hook Podcast” show last March.

We were talking about the Designated Hitter position weakening by the year, and the Pitcher not doing any justice at the plate either.

In the show, I haphazardly referred to “they should just hit with 8 hitters.”

I forgot about the whole thing soon after saying it last year, but now I haven’t stopped thinking about for the last hour of today.

Baseball writers often will tell you it is best to write what is fresh on your mind. Read the rest of this entry

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MLB Reports Hall Of Fame Predictions: Class Of 2014 Players

The deadline of December 31st has come and gone for The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Members were asked to submit no more than 10 names of players they "deem" worthy of induction towards this year's National Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony set for July.

The deadline of December 31st has come and gone for The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Members were asked to submit no more than 10 names of players they “deem” worthy of induction towards this year’s National Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony set for July.

By Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent)

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Results are scheduled to be announced on January 8th.

Players must receive at least 75 percent of the votes in order to be inducted by a voting body of roughly over 500 eligible writers.

There are many player names worthy of discussion, however, few will see enshrinement, now or ever.

Greg Maddux Tribute:

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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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Cano Signs With Seattle 10 YRs/$240 MIL: Do You Want A Good Team Or A Good Business?

Cano and his brass were in the Emerald City over night - to dicker with the Seattle Brass over a supposed 9 YR contract worth around $225 - $240 MIL.  But something went awry, and the Cano camp made the Seattle Mariners storm off with disgust over what the demands were. In a city where they have only had 2 winning seasons in the last 10 years, they do not need to put all of their eggs in just one basket.  We will go through the long decade of suffering in his blog, and come up with the conclusion, that the last thing the franchise needs - is another Free Agency flop.

Cano and his management posse were in the Emerald City over night – to dicker with the Seattle Brass over a supposed 9 YR contract worth around $225 – $240 MIL . But something went awry, and the Cano camp made the Seattle Mariners storm off with disgust over what the demands were originally.   It has now been reported the sides agreed to a 10 YR/$240 MIL deal.  This could be a colossal mistake from the club, despite seeing probable early returns on their investment and the ticket wicket and for TV Ratings. In a city where they have only had 2 winning seasons in the last 10 years, they didn’t need to put all of their eggs in just one basket. We will go through the long decade of suffering in his blog, and come up with the conclusion, that the last thing the franchise needs – is another Free Agency flop.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): (Big Credit to Paul Francis Sullivan)  

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The deal was supposed to be 9 YRs/$225 MIL for Robinson Cano‘s services to be taken to The Pacific Northwest, and play for the home fans of Safeco Field.

Somewhere in the deliberations, the Roc Nations Sports Agency (Jay – Z’s gang) made an unruly notion for something, to which the brass of the Seattle Mariners stormed off.

It would be nice to have been a fly on the wall for that sparing off of the minds.

The two sides finally agreed this morning to a 10 YR/$240 MIL deal for the ALL – Star, SIlver Slugger 2B.

Before the deal, a neutral fan had to ask Cano really taking the M’s seriously, or was it all for show – in hopes he could draw more cash from a team he really wants to play for?

Sully’s Daily Podcast from last night – truer words have never been spoken – Listen to this 20 Min show!

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 5, 2013

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“Hard Cheddar” With Steve Cheeseman – My BBHOF Ballot

The members of the BBWAA will vote on the BBHOF ballot in January of 2014,

The members of the BBWAA will vote on the BBHOF ballot in January of 2014,  A player that is still on the ballot, needs to receive 75% of the vote in order to make in the Hall.  A player needs receive 5% of the votes in order to remain on the list of players eligible for the next  year.

“Hard Cheddar” – with ‘Special Guest Writer’ Steve Cheeseman 

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Hello baseball fans.  I apologize for being away so long, as my career outside of sports writing has kept me busy these last few weeks.

With that being said, let’s get going.  Since the end of the 2013 season, there are many things that crossed my mind.

However, for whatever reason, one of the things that has me extremely interested if the hall of fame ballot.

New names on this year’s ballot include Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas.  In my mind these guys deserve to be in the hall of fame.

Big Hurt Highlights

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Having A Great DH Can Mean Winning The AL Pennant: For Other Teams – The Position Is A Waste!

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years.  Boston is in contention perenially because he put up great #s compared to his competition.

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years. Boston are perennial contenders because he put up great #s compared to his competition.  Ortiz had a great 2013 campaign – where he 3 Slashed .309/.395./.959 – with 30 HRs and 103 RBI in just 137 Games Played.  Ortiz is .292/.390/.962 in 11 Years with Boston, with 373 HRs and 1191 RBI.  The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007 with him at DH, and are looking to win again this year.

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

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Watching the 2013 season, something really resonated with me while watching the American League:  ‘Where have all the great designated hitters in MLB gone?’  

It is surprising to me that teams haven’t figured out that having a dominant DH in the league could mean the difference in winning the AL pennant or not.

I also believe that players should be moved their earlier than in their mid 30’s.  If they can’t play the field at all, or are not superior at offense, they should be made to Pinch-hit in the NL. 

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.

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2 And A Hook Podcast #7: Ranking The 30 Ball Parks In The MLB + Giants And Red Sox Correspondent Interviews

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Friday, June.07/2013

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 News and Stats – 1st minute to 7 minute mark, 26 Minute Mark to 36 Minute Mark, and 1 Hour 4 Minute Mark to 1 Hour Minute 8.) 

People in this Podcast:

Jonathan Schifferle (MLB Reports Giants Correspondent – 7 Minutes in and a 18 Minute Segment)

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Boston Red Sox Correspondent – 36 Minute Mark and a 27 Minute Segment) 

Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner and Lead Baseball Analyst – 1 Hour and 10 Minutes In and a 43 Minute Segment) 

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & yours truly The Bench Warmers, I get into the Alex Rodriguez/Anthony Bosch soap opera very briefly.

I  then interviewed our (MLB Reports) Giants correspondent Jonathan Schifferle to talk about the giants team,”The Peapods” in the stands for Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence also known as “The Killer Peas”. Read the rest of this entry

2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #3: Wil Myers, Mets + Baseball’s Importance To The World

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Thursday, April.18/2013

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

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

People in this Podcast:

Chuck Booth – Guest (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran) 

In the Clutch Guys from 90.3 FM Tuesday Show In Long Island NY  

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com )& yours truly (The Bench Warmers Show), I talk about the horrible bombings that happened in the Boston Marathon & how sports especially baseball unites us in this great country! Also I told to Chuck Booth who is the lead analyst and owner of MLB Reports on the world of baseball! Read the rest of this entry

The Best DH of All-Time

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Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Martinez had a 3 Slash line of .312/.418/.933. He smacked 309 HRs. 514 Doubles and had 1261 RBI Will he be the 1st ever Primary DH to be inducted into the Hall? Or will 2247 Career Hits or suspicions of PED Use prevent him from being elected?

Martinez had a 3 Slash line of .312/.418/.933. He smacked 309 HRs. 514 Doubles and had 1261 RBI. Will he be the 1st ever Primary DH to be inducted into the Hall? Or will 2247 Career Hits and suspicions of PED Use prevent him from being elected?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

In my previous article examining the decline of the DH position in the AL, I briefly touched on a few great DH’s. Now I will exert my focus on examining who the best DH of all time was. While the DH position may be in a decline, it has experienced good times. To be truly great at one of the hardest things to do in sports, (hit a baseball) is quite an accomplishment whether you play in the field or not. The Top 4 DH’s off all time have to be Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz. (The ordering just goes from 1st to enter the MLB to last, not who was the best. I will order them in that way later in the article.)

Harold Baines was somewhat of a pioneer of the DH position, as he was one of the early greats. His 22 Year Career started in 1980 with the Chicago White Sox, and ended for the same team in 2001, although he had stints with the Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, and Indians in between. Baines was a regular Outfielder for the White Sox until the ’86 season – where knee problems all but ended his fielding career. With Baines well-rounded, Left-hHanded stroke at the plate, he etched out a place in baseball history that will leave him remembered by many.

Frank Thomas Highlights:

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The Sad State Of The DH Position In 2012 And Probably Going Forward

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Tuesday January 1st, 2013

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is one of the few players to have a lengthy and successful career almost exclusively from the DH position. He was The Sporting News DH of the decade in 2009. As his career winds down, who will be the next great DH?

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is one of the few players to have a lengthy and successful career almost exclusively from the DH position. He was The Sporting News DH of the decade in 2009. As his career winds down, who will be the next great DH?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

The Designated Hitter in the American League has morphed into many different roles for teams over the years since its adoption in 1973.  At times it has been used to put lethal bats into the lineup without having to put the player’s subpar defense on the field too. At times the DH was a great place to use aging veterans who could still hit, but could not handle the rigors of playing every day in the field and stay healthy at the same time. The former use of the DH has been more common amongst larger market teams, and the latter more common avenue for smaller market teams to take. Not all that long ago, the DH was a position of prominence and was a great advantage to teams that had one of the league’s best, but there has been a recent trend that has put the DH position into a role of diminished importance.

There are a lot of things happening in Major League Baseball that have contributed to the decline of the DH in one way or another. For one, the “steroid era” has seemed to fade and gone are the days of 16 players hitting 40+ HRs a year (like in 2000). Not to bring up a debate about steroids, but there were only 6 players in 2012 that hit 40+ HRs, and only 15 players to accomplish this in the past 4 seasons combined. So whether the reason for the decline in HRs is a decline in steroid use, or something completely different, the numbers are the numbers regardless. There has simply been a decline in availability of players to fill what was the prototypical, power hitting, DH of the past. Power numbers are down, and aging sluggers seem to be aging faster in recent times.

David Ortiz Highights:

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Safeco Field: The Effect Of Moving In The Fences

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Safeco+Texas+Rangers+v+Seattle+Mariners+GjzNWDePp-el

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer):

The Mariners made a decision regarding the dimensions of Safeco Field in October that will likely change the way the Mariners front office will attempt to put a potent baseball team on the field. By bringing in the fences, the Mariners are symbolizing that they have moved on from the early Jack Zdurencik philosophy that the Mariners could win in Safeco Field with pitching in defense. This move could entice some free agent position players that normally would not want to play in such a hard ballpark to hit home runs in. By moving the fences iTTn at Safeco, more runs will be scored at Safeco and the Mariners will likely no longer play in debatably the most pitcher-friendly park in the American League.

It’s pretty easy to see why the Mariners organization has finally decided to move in the fences at Safeco. Since 2000, the Mariners have scored the fewest runs of any American League team. In 2012, Seattle ranked last in the AL in runs scored per game, home runs, and batting average at home. The Mariners were a far better team on the road then at home. Right-handed hitters like Jesus Montero and Casper Wells had their power numbers and projections greatly affected by spending their first full seasons in Seattle. The Mariners had their reasons for moving their fences, and if they believe the new dimensions will help them win more ballgames, there should be no argument that Seattle is not making the right move. Read the rest of this entry

Part 1 of a Series: All-Time All-Star Teams By Regionality

 

Friday November 23th, 2012

Note from Alex Mednick:  I am going to be putting together a small project that accumulates all the best players of all time, and puts them together on teams according to their birthplace.  For example, in this first edition I will be breaking down players from the United States of America into teams from the 1) Northeast, 2) Southeast, 3) Midwest, and 4) Southwest…(sorry, there really is not enough quality coming out of the northwest to compete with these teams…maybe I will put a Northwestern United States team in a later edition with less competitive teams).  Later on I will bring you teams assembled from the all-time greats out Central and South American (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, etc.) and the All-Caribbean Team (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, etc).  Also look forward to teams from Japan, Canada and the EU.  Should be fun to sort of assemble an “Olympics” of Baseball.  I love watching the World Baseball Classic and seeing players fight for their nations pride…but by grouping the teams by region, it might make the teams more competitive.  Of course, this is all for the sake of speculation; Babe Ruth was a great player, but I don’t think he will be taking any at-bat’s soon. (Also, please note that I do not lend consideration to relief pitchers in this analysis). Read the rest of this entry

Stat of the Week: Will Extra Base Hits Help Punch Tickets to BBHOF?

Monday June.18/2012

Alex Rodriguez leads the list of active players and is already 10th All-time for XBH. If Rodriguez can hit 308 XBH before he retires, he will pass Hank Aaron for 1st overall. –Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Extra base hits kind of go hand in hand with slugging percentage to an extent.  I have often used this category every season as a gauge on how good a player does.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances why a player hits more doubles and triples rather than home runs but they are all considered extra base hits.  Adrian Beltre is a perfect example of this.  During his Seattle Mariner days, he would blast about 15-20 baseballs off the fences at Safeco Field every year (for a double or triple) that would have been an HR if he did not play in such a pitcher friendly park.  This list represents great careers.  If a player can reach the magic 1000 extra base hits, they will be hard to ignore for consideration towards  Cooperstown.  I have omitted Manny Ramirez from an active player.  It is my firm belief that the man served a 50 game suspension for a team like Oakland, only to quit on them and maybe land on another club.  If he is able to catch on with another job with a club, I will gladly put his name back as #2 player on this active list.

TOP 10 as of June.17/2012

Player                                                    Extra Base Hits Leaders Active (Rank All-Time)

1. Alex Rodriguez NYY                              1169   (10)

2. Jim Thome PHI                                   1079   (20)

3. Chipper Jones ATL                              1026   (26)

4. Vladimir Guerrero (FA)                         972   (39)

5. Todd Helton COL                                   956   (45)

6. Albert Pujols  LAA                                 941   (50)

7. Bobby Abreu LAD                                  908   (60)

8. David Ortiz  BOS                                   886   (64)

9. Johnny Damon CLE                               859   (73)

10. Scott Rolen CIN                                   857   (75)

I fully think that Vladimir Guerrero will sign with someone soon.  At 972 extra base hits, he is 28 extra base hits away from that 1000 marker. If a team signs him in the next few weeks, he may have a chance to get there before the end of the season.  Below is a 5 minute highlight package of his career thus far.  There is not many Expos highlights, you can always search Youtube for more.

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Can Canada Support a Second Baseball Franchise in Vancouver?

Friday, June.01/2012

Newly renovated BC Place Stadium with $600 Million Dollars in upgrades, re-opened on Sept.30/2011 and features a 100 by 85 retractable roof. The lights also illuminate different colors both inside and outside of the building. The stadium could be converted to meet MLB specifications.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- At first look you might not think that Vancouver could support a Major League Baseball franchise, but there are a few things to consider.  With a surrounding area population of 2.5 Million, it is one of the biggest cities in the USA or Canada not to have a team. Of course when you are looking at the viability of a franchise submission/or relocation, you must look at the facility that the baseball would be played in.  With newly renovated B.C Place Stadium-(see http://www.bcplacestadium.com/,) and its $600 Million Dollar Renovations, it is one of the most impressive structures in North America now. 

The building itself is estimated to be worth over a billion dollars.  It’s clear, retractable roof, with an incredible look to detail inside the building with 22 inch stadium style seating has all of the modern amenities that a new age fan would want.  The facility features several new Skyboxes for corporate suites, and brand new concession stands that would be an extremely good revenue generator. The stadium’s surface is made up of Field Turf, and could be converted to meet baseball specifications.  This stadium is a turn-key situation unlike any other in North America when it comes to a baseball ready facility.

Major League Baseball has gained in popularity over the last 20 years in the Lower Mainland with turning out MLB’ers like Larry Walker, Jeff Francis , Ryan Dempster and Brett Lawrie all coming from this area.  Also in Canada, you have 3 TV networks that have an all-sports format in www.thescore.ca, www.tsn.ca and www.sportsnet.ca that would gladly love to fill content on their networks by bidding for television rights on a new baseball team in Canada.  There are enough talented sports personalities to fill in solid coverage. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview With Safeco Field Expert Doug Miller

Thursday April 19, 2012


Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)- Doug Miller is another Pacific West guy that exemplifies what it is like to be a ball park chaser.  Living on the this side of the mountains forces you to exercise every single one of your travel tricks to make it to all of the MLB Parks you can.  Doug has made it to the majority of the current parks.  He is knowledgeable, a class act and it is a shame that the baseball world does not hire this man and use some of his skills.  Today Doug is our Safeco Field Expert and the subject of our featured article.

CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Doug. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as Mariners ticket fan?”

DM:You bet, thanks for having me!  It’s funny, but I wasn’t a baseball fan when I was a kid.  I played some Little League for a while, but was awful at it.  Right Field all the way.  Ha-ha.  I had some friends that were on the baseball team in high school and I really started getting into the game in a different way.  This was back in 1988-1992 –- I didn’t know this interview was going to make me feel old!  I knew a few guys from school that got drafted, so I paid more attention because I thought I could be watching these guys in the Kingdome someday, whether with the Mariners or the couple of other teams they got drafted by.  My enthusiasm was ramping up, I’m in college and watching games at WSU, I’m hitting a handful of games in Seattle during break and then BOOM, the strike.  I was happy when it started back up, and by the time I got out of WSU, baseball was just a way of life for me.  Since then I’ve hit close to 50 ballparks, but Safeco Field is my home away from home.”

CB: “You have been to nearly all the baseball park. Besides Safeco Field, what has been your favorite other ballpark so far?”

DM; “Definitely Fenway, with Wrigley as a close second.  One of the things about the game that I really love is the history.  It’s hard to argue with the history of the franchises and these parks.  I had my first games at Petco last year and was really surprised at how much I liked it.  I thought it was going to feel kind of forced, you know, with the whole retro vibe so many parks have gone for, but I really liked it.  There are a ton of parks I like for different reasons, like Citizens Bank in Philly.  Without a doubt the best smelling park in baseball!  I could talk ballparks all day long, I know you’re the same way!” Read the rest of this entry

Steve Palazzolo Interview: The Pitching Tower of Pisa

Sunday January 15, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  When I first spoke with Steve Palazzolo, I was blown away by his stature. How could you not be…the man stands 6’10” and throws baseballs for a living! The first images that went through my mind were Jon Rauch and Randy Johnson. Comparisons that I am sure Steve has heard his whole life. But once you get past the sheer size of the man, you find a person with an even bigger heart. A gentle giant, Steve is very well spoken and intelligent to converse with. With the shortage of quality arms in today’s major league bullpens, one would expect that available arms would be snapped up in a second. But that is not always the case, especially for Steve Palazzolo. He pitched five seasons in the minor leagues, between the Brewers, Giants and Mariners organizations. He made it all the way up to AAA before returning to Indy ball the past season and a half. Steve will be 30 by opening day and continues to battle his  way to achieve his dream: making the big leagues. As we discussed in yesterday’s interview with Luis Lopez, Jerome Williams made his way from Indy ball to the Angels rotation last year. Dreams do come true. Steve Palazzolo has shown that he has the talent. Taking a look at his numbers from last year, Palazzolo pitched 53 games for the Blue Crabs- finishing with a 9-5 record, 3.06 ERA and 1.200 WHIP.  He only surrendered 4 home runs while striking out 57 batters. Watching him on video and considering his talents and strong character, I would be snapping this guy up pretty quickly if I was a baseball General Manager. To succeed in baseball, you need to have talent and a chance. Steve Palazzolo has the talent.  Now he is just waiting for his opportunity.

Today on MLB reports, we are proud to present pitcher Steve Palazzolo- or as we refer to him:  The Pitching Tower of Pisa

MLB reports:  First question:  Steve.  Palazzolo is an interesting last name.  Meaning and origins?

Steve Palazzolo:  It comes from the Italian word Palazzo, which means palace.   There is also a village in Sicily named Palazzolo. I’d definitely love to visit some day.


MLB reports:  Everyone reading your profile would see: 6’10”, 29-years-old and a right-handed reliever.  On paper you should be in a major league bullpen.  What is your current active status?

Steve Palazzolo:  Current active status is “trying to join a major league bullpen.”  Really, though, I’ve spent the last year and a half in the Atlantic League with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, just continuing to learn and get better. It’s definitely a never-ending process in baseball, and I’ve spent the last couple years adding different pitches and arm angles, while also learning different ways to attack hitters.

I’m also looking at a possible opportunity to play in Japan, so we’ll see how it all plays out.


MLB reports:  We last saw you playing for AAA Tacoma in 2010.  Since then you have been playing Indy ball.  What led you back to playing Indy?  What are the differences between Indy and playing in the minor leagues?

Steve Palazzolo:  I was sent back to Indy ball in what I viewed as a three-way trade. Back in July 2010, it went something like this:

Rangers Get: Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe

Mariners Get: Blake Beaven, Justin Smoak, Josh Lueke, Matt Lawson

Blue Crabs Get: Steve Palazzolo

OK, so the Cliff Lee deal brought in a few minor league pitchers and I got the axe.

I’d say the main difference in Indy ball is the organizational structure. There is no class level, so you’re not really worried about moving up or being sent down. Just go out and do your job and do it for the team. I’d say my Indy teams have been the most closely knit teams I’ve ever been on. It’s usually the same core of guys for the entire year, and everyone wants to get back to affiliated ball, but there is a definite emphasis on winning as a team. Not to say that affiliated teams can’t be close, but there is a lot more player movement that tends to disrupt team chemistry throughout the year.

 

MLB reports:  You have played in the Brewers, Giants and Mariners systems.  Tell us about the best teams that you pitched for in your professional career.

Steve Palazzolo:  As far as talent goes, the 2009 Fresno Grizzlies are near the top. Our overall record doesn’t show it, but with about three weeks to go in the season, we had the second best record in the Pacific Coast League but we were 14 games out of first place behind Sacramento.

Bullpen wise, the 2008 Connecticut Defenders was probably the most talented I’ve been a part of. We had a number of pitchers who went on to have some big league success, most notably Sergio Romo who was closing for us.

If we’re talking clubhouse unity, I mentioned the Indy teams, but the 2010 Tacoma bullpen will always hold a special place for me. Even though I was only there a short period of time, we had an outstanding group of guys who genuinely cared for each other and did a great job of staying entertained for the first five innings of every game (always an important in the bullpen).

 

MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?  

Steve Palazzolo:  First to marry the love of my life, and best friend, Kelley Donoghue (she is looking over my shoulder as I type).  Simple answer is to pitch to the best of my ability, regardless of where I’m playing.


MLB reports:  You were signed as a free agent by the Brewers as your first organization in 2006.  Tell us about the process in joining Milwaukee.

Steve Palazzolo:  Pretty fun story actually. I had just finished my second professional season with the Worcester Tornadoes and was sitting at my computer on a Thursday in late January when I received an email from my good friend, Will Carroll. He forwarded me an email from a Brewers scout that referenced an invitation-only tryout at their spring training complex that Saturday. Will mentioned how it was unfortunate that I was not in Arizona. I emailed him back with the title, “Last Minute Trip to Arizona?” Will sent the request back to the Brewers scout who agreed that if I could get to Arizona, I would be welcome to try out. I immediately booked a flight for Friday and made the workout on Saturday. At the workout, they suggested I mix in a couple different arm angles (which I’d experimented with before) and as it turns out, I was one of only two guys signed that day.

 

MLB reports:  Given your size, most people would think that you would be a power pitcher.  How would you describe yourself as a pitcher and tell us about what you throw.

Steve Palazzolo:  I wouldn’t say power pitcher, but I do think my height gives me a big advantage and helps all of my stuff to play a little better. I throw a 4 seam fastball, slider, splitter and I just added a new changeup. My change is interesting as I started to experiment with it toward the end of last year, and I may have found a really good grip that I will stick with for good, possibly even replacing the splitter. As I mentioned, I’ve also experimented with a number of different arm angles, so I’m always mixing it up.


MLB reports:  Every baseball player works towards making the big leagues.  What do you need to do in order to achieve that dream?

Steve Palazzolo:  At this point in my career, or anyone’s career for that matter, the phrase you hear is “right place, right time.” Pitchers mature and figure things out at various times in their careers so that’s why I’m constantly looking to improve. I think I just need another shot to play in Double or Triple A, then it’s all about pitching well. Pitch well, and if it matches up with a situation where the big league team needs a pitcher, then it can happen. I know this: I’m confident in my abilities to pitch successfully in the big leagues, it’s simply a matter of continuing to improve while also getting an opportunity.

 

MLB reports:  If you weren’t playing baseball today- what would you be doing?

Steve Palazzolo:  I’d probably be a pitching coach, and that’s what I do all offseason. On my long road through the minors, I used myself as my own science (pitching) experiment. It’s been a constant process of trial and error, and I’ve learned so much along the way. So my plan is to coach, while also developing my own business as a pitching coach. I have a couple of blog posts up at www.stevepalazzolopitching.wordpress.com, but I have to get better putting up more consistent material.

I’m also an analyst and writer for www.profootballfocus.com. Just started this year, and it’s been a lot of fun breaking down the NFL.


MLB reports:  Looking back at your career to-date, would you have done anything different?

Steve Palazzolo:  I do remember a hanging slider I threw in 2008 that went for a home run. I should have thrown a fastball.

Really though, I made the decision early in my career to put everything I had into it, and I’ve been very blessed along the way. No major regrets.


MLB reports:  When you think of your expectations going into professional baseball, what are some of the biggest surprises you have encountered?

Steve Palazzolo:  This is a tough question. Making me think here. As a kid, expectations are always glamorous. Everyone wants to be like their TV heroes, but when I entered pro ball, I already knew that it was a difficult grind. Not sure I can think of any major surprises, but I will mention the one thing I appreciate and that’s the uniqueness of everyone in the game. Players coming from all walks of life, all over the world, unified by the game of baseball. It’s really amazing to think of the people I’ve met along the way.


MLB reports:  Choice of cleats and glove- what brands do you use?

Steve Palazzolo:  Nike cleats and Spalding glove. If and when I hit, always Franklin batting gloves.


MLB reports:  Given your height, how do you find clothes shopping?

Steve Palazzolo:  It’s difficult. There are a few stores that carry big sizes, but I have to do a lot of my shopping online. The Big and Tall store is better for wide rather than tall, so a lot of the stuff is just way too big.


MLB reports:  Which past or present MLB players would you most compare yourself to?  Are either Randy Johnson or Jon Rauch a close comparison?

Steve Palazzolo:  Kenny Powers. Actually, he stole my look. I’ve been rocking the mustache and long hair since ’06.

I really try to take something from everyone, whether it’s Randy Johnson or Tim Lincecum. As far as comparisons, Johnson isn’t great because he was such a hard thrower. Rauch is an OK comparison, but he has a higher arm slot than me.

The one pitcher I’ve seen who compares favorably is Kameron Loe from the Brewers. We’re not identical, but our natural arm slot is similar. He’s 6’8” tall and also likes to mix up arm angles so I can relate to his style a bit.


MLB reports:  We discussed the potential of you heading to Japan.  What are your thoughts on heading to the far east?

Steve Palazzolo:  It would be a great opportunity. The competition is great and I’ve seen a lot of pitchers who have gone there and then come back to the states as better pitchers. It’s a different style in Japan, and I think the hitters force each pitcher to use his entire repertoire. Even though the culture change would be difficult, I’m hoping I get the chance to play there.


MLB reports:  Last question:  to a young pitcher in school just starting out, what advice would you give them?

Steve Palazzolo:  Work hard, work smart. I don’t think the grammar is correct on that statement, but I think it gets the point across. Anyway, pitching is a lot more than throwing a ball to a target (or is it?). Preparation is extremely important, and when I work with young pitchers, I like to break it down into four main areas: mechanics, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and mental approach. Oh and it’s important to have fun while doing it. The best players love the preparation.

***Thank you to Steve Palazzolo for taking the time out of his offseason training to speak with us today on MLB reports!  You can follow Luis on Twitter (@Palo50). Steve loves interacting with his fans, so please feel free to send him any questions/comments you have.  Or just wish him good luck on the season, as he would appreciate your support!***

 

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.

Luis Lopez Interview: The Real Life Crash Davis of Baseball Worldwide

Saturday January 14, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  The numbers are outstanding.  Six Most Valuable Player awards.  An All-Star seven times.  Over 2000 hits.  Over 1000 RBIs.  A minor league hall of famer for sure, Luis Lopez has been playing this game his whole life. He has done it and seen it all.  He played in the majors with both the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos.  Played in the minors for four different MLB organizations.  Luis has played in both Japan and Mexico. Indy ball. His baseball resume is quite extensive, as are his passport stamps. But at the age of 38, Luis is far from done. He still plays third and first, searching for his chance to make it back to the show. He has strong inspirations to keep him going. Julio Franco played in the major leagues until the age of 49! Even Jerome Williams, at the tender age of 30 provides hope. Away from the big leagues for four seasons, he rose up from Indy ball and back to the Bigs. Luis knows this and keeps the hope deep in his heart as he continues his baseball grind. One of the greatest baseball stories I have heard, Luis Lopez is a true blue-collar baseball player. He is everything that the game is about and a true credit to the sport. Going into his 18th professional season, Luis Lopez is still laughing and having a great time. He just plain loves baseball and will continue to do so for as long as he can.

On his road back to the Major Leagues, we are proud to feature our interview with the real life Crash Davis- Luis Lopez: 

MLB reports:  First question:  On my count, there are three professional ballplayers named Luis Lopez. Why the popularity of the name? How often do you get mistaken for one of the other ones?

Luis Lopez:  I get mistaken all the time. Their cards are sent to me to sign and I’m pretty sure mine to them. The worst part is in the airports flying out of the country. I’m asked to the little room every time for extra screening (laughs). My wife thinks I’m a delinquent cause it happens so often! (laughs harder)

 

MLB reports:  Born in Brooklyn, New York.  A baseball hot bed!  What is your family’s origins? Do you have roots in New York?

Luis Lopez:  My family is from Puerto Rico. My dad from Dorado and my mom from Ponce. I considered myself from PR as well even though I wasn’t born there. I was born in NYC. I’m glad I was because it gave me the drive and desire to think that I will make it!

 

MLB reports:  You originally signed with the Jays in 1996 and made your professional debut in 2001.  Tell us about your first major league game.

Luis Lopez:  (laughter fills the room) Funny you ask. My first at-bat was against the Angels in Toronto. Bengie Molina was catching and I knew him from all my years playing winter ball in PR. He was talking to the pitcher Holtz and then walked back to the plate. He says in Spanish congrats Luis. I said “thanks brother, my heart about to come through my shirt.” (Grin) Delgado and a bunch of the guys had their hands in their shirts showing me how my heart was pounding! Then Bengie says “relax, we’re gonna put you on so you will hit tomorrow.” I said “what?” All of a sudden I was being intentionally walked! All I could think then was that I would be one an answer to a trivia question! (laughs hard) Not too many people on their first at-bat are walked intentionally!


MLB reports:  We last saw you playing in the big leagues for the Expos in 2004- the last year of the franchise. Ironic? If the Expos come back, will you come back with them?

Luis Lopez:  Would love to!

 

MLB reports:  You have played in the Jays, Expos, A’s and Braves systems.  Tell us about the best minor league teams that you played for in your professional career.

Luis Lopez:  That’s tough because I learned how to play ball the right way in the Blue Jays system! They broke down everything for me. With the A’s, we won championships. Atlanta is a big league organization. They treated me like I was with them forever.


MLB reports:  In recent years I have you played in the Mexican league, Japan and Indy ball.  You are a baseball nomad!!!  What was the process like going to Mexico and Japan? What were each of those experiences like?

Luis Lopez:  After being around so long, my name is around. A lot of the time it is reports or videos that are seen and then reps get in touch with you. A phone call or e-mail usually. Baseball is baseball. You just have to get used to living in another country that’s all. That’s the biggest problem for some guys; but I can live anywhere.


MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?

Luis Lopez:  To stay healthy and win a championship! I’ve accomplished a lot of personal goals throughout my career. I just want to produce and help my team win!

 

MLB reports:  At 38-years of age, you have seen it all and done it all.  Why do you keep going- what motivates you?

Luis Lopez:  I love the competition! I feel like I still can play in the big leagues and help a team win- even one with only a little chance. I want all of my family to see me play again in a big league stadium. Especially my mom! Every time she came to see me play, I would get sent down that day. It was crazy!


MLB reports:  You and I talked a lot about Julio Franco.  How much of an inspiration is he to you?  Do you plan to play until you are 50?

Luis Lopez:  He inspires me a lot! Julio made it back at an age MUCH older than me because someone gave him a chance again. That’s all I want- a chance! If I couldn’t do it anymore, I would walk away; but I know I still have it. The mindset! (laughs) 50? Wow! Nah I don’t see that. Only God knows!


MLB reports:  Favorite position to play:  1B, 3B or any others?

Luis Lopez:  I love playing 3rd. Still play it. But I will play wherever to get a chance. I just want to hit! (big smile)

 

MLB reports:  Every baseball player works towards making the big leagues. You have been there and want to get back:  What do you need to do to make that dream happen?

Luis Lopez:  To be honest… I don’t know! I think I have done enough to have ten years in! But I will always stay positive and keep playing hard. You never know who is watching!

 

MLB reports:  If you weren’t playing baseball today- what would you be doing?

Luis Lopez:  I would be managing, coaching or in the front office. Something with baseball. Many of my friends and family members feel I will make it back as a manager- because they feel I have the makeup for that. I can see it!


MLB reports:  Looking back at your career to-date, would you have done anything different?

Luis Lopez:  (Big Smile) Wow! To be honest… I probably wouldn’t have gone to Japan. It was a great experience; but I think as a position player I went out there too young. When you try to come back, it’s harder that you think. Also Atlanta let Julio Franco sign with the Mets on a 2-year deal because they wanted me to be the righty off the bench.


MLB reports:  When you think of your expectations going into professional baseball, what are some of the biggest surprises you have encountered?

Luis Lopez:  It had to be when I signed and how far I got to play. I signed for two gloves and a pair of spikes as my bonus; but I made it!


MLB reports:  Choice of cleats, bat and glove- what brands do you use?

Luis Lopez:  Nike cleats. I use my boy ex-player Pete Tucci’s bat company. Tucci Lumber and he’s MLB approved! (Big laugh) My glove is Nike also.

 

MLB reports:  Which past or present MLB players would you most compare yourself to?

Luis Lopez:  Edgar Martinez and Kevin Millar. I would love to have a pic of all three of us! (Laughs)

 

MLB reports:  If the major leagues are not an option, do you plan to stay in Indy ball?  Will you try to make the minors for a MLB team or go to another country like Japan again?

Luis Lopez:  As of right now, yes- I will be playing in Bridgeport in the Atlantic League. So hopefully someone will come find a guy (like me) that can pinch hit in the bigs and get a game winning hit! (Laughs)


MLB reports:  Proudest baseball accomplishment?

Luis Lopez:  There are many! I think and say thank you God for letting me be successful! HOF at Coastal Carolina University. 6 MVP’s. 7 time all-star. Over 2000 hits. Over 1000 RBI’s. All in the minors- but i feel anywhere is good! Plus I am going into my 18th year professionally.


MLB reports:  You really are the real life Crash Davis. Tell us about the comparison.

Luis Lopez:  Hahaha. I’ve seen a lot of places. Many great ballplayers. I try to help everyone just like Crash did in the movies because guys need to realize that Indy ball is another path back- it’s not the end. You put in the work and you will be fine. Look at Jerome Williams! He was in Lancaster last season. Then he got picked up and was on TV again last year. This year he is slated to be the number five starter for the Angels!  Way to go Jerome!

 

MLB reports:  You must have made many friends for life in this game.

Luis Lopez:  There’s too many to mention! But if I show up to spring training or any stadium, trust me that a lot of them would come up and say wassup! (Big grin)


MLB reports:  Final thoughts?

Luis Lopez:  Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do something, because I’m living proof of what you can accomplish if you believe in yourself! Surround yourself around POSITIVE people especially in this sport… because it is a game of failure. Lastly: play hard or go home!

***Thank you to Luis Lopez for taking the time out of his offseason training to speak with us today on MLB reports!  You can follow Luis on Twitter (@DoubleL1919). Luis is great and absolutely adores interacting with his fans, so please feel free to send him any questions/comments you have.  Or just wish him good luck on the season, as he would appreciate your support!***

 

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.

How the Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Should Work

Monday  January 9th, 2012

Daniel Aubain (Guest Writer @DJAubain):  When it comes to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, there seems to be two schools of thought on which players are deserving of induction; those who see it as an inclusive process, and those who see it as an exclusive process.

I’ll let you know right off the bat which group I fall into…the inclusives. Just look at the official name of the place again. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. AND MUSEUM. Their website lists “Preserving History”, “Honoring Excellence” and “Connecting Generations” as what can only be described as the core values or mission statement of the Hall itself.

A lot of people want to point to Section 5 of the BBWAA Election Rules which states, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played”, as an instant ban for not only proven PEDs users but also those suspected to probably have used (but no proof was ever discovered).

Give me a break. Let’s stop talking about a player’s “character” and “integrity”, as the Hall’s first inductee was Ty Cobb. Or that we’ve left the voting to a group, the writers, of whom only 77.5% felt Jackie Robinson was Hall worthy. You know, THE Jackie Robinson who has an award named after him, an entire day dedicated to celebrating his career accomplishments and the only player to have his uniform number unilaterally retired by all teams.  In fact, there has NEVER been a unanimous selection into Cooperstown.  Not Babe Ruth. Not Cal Ripken. Not Hank Aaron.  How is that possible?

This is the same group of individuals who regularly use the phrase, “[Player X] is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” What the heck does that even mean? Either a player is “hall worthy” or he isn’t. It shouldn’t have to take an internet-based campaign by so-dubbed “statheads” to convince baseball writers that a player like Bert Blyleven belongs in the Hall.

Baseball has well-defined “eras” such as the “Deadball Era”, “Expansion Era” and now the “Steroid Era”. Players should be judged against the players they played against rather than against the greatest of all time. There are no Babe Ruths and Cy Youngs playing these days and there probably never will be again. They set the standards for players of their respective eras because they accomplished things no one had ever done prior to them. So for that, I refuse to weigh whether a player’s accomplishments of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s compares to a player of the 1940s, 1950s and such.

Okay. So now that you know my opinion of what the Hall should be, here is my 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. But first, section 4.B of the BBWAA Election Rules states, “Electors may vote for as few as zero (0) and as many as ten (10) eligible candidates deemed worthy of election.” As such, I will be using all 10 of my votes today and will rank them in order of worthiness, in my eyes. I found this chart on Baseball-Reference.com to be very helpful in weighing my decisions.

  1. Jeff Bagwell
  2. Barry Larkin
  3. Edgar Martinez
  4. Tim Raines
  5. Larry Walker
  6. Alan Trammel
  7. Dale Murphy
  8. Rafael Palmeiro
  9. Mark McGwire
  10. Don Mattingly

I don’t think I need to go into the individual numbers of each player’s career accomplishments. But as you can tell, I am NOT keeping out PED users (proven or suspected) or a “DH-only” player. I’m voting with my eyes for the first nine players on my ballot and the last one with my heart. I’m okay living in a world where the “Hall of the Elite” exists.

I’m okay if we celebrate players who had human flaws just like you and me (Pete Rose, Joe Jackson, Palmeiro, McGwire, Barry Bonds, etc.) After all, it’s not like any of these guys ever killed a man. Right, Ty Cobb? Right?

Thanks to the great folks at MLB reports for allowing me the opportunity to share my voice with their audience. I truly appreciate it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for updates on what the future has in store for me and all other guest posting articles I’ll be doing this offseason.

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  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.

My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Blandy’s Picks

Friday December 23rd, 2011

Rob Bland:  According to Baseball-Reference, there are 27 former Major League players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  13 of these players are new on the ballot.  Every year only one or two players are inducted, but this year, there should most definitely be more, although it is doubtful that the BBWAA actually induct more than two.  In order to be elected, a player must receive 75% of the total votes.  If a player receives less than 5% of the vote, or if he has gone 15 years without receiving the 75%, he is then taken off the list.

Of the newcomers, there is one player who deserves any attention; however I do not believe that he should ever be elected to the Hall.  After all, the Baseball Hall of Fame is supposed to be the best of the very best.  Career .297/.381/.477 hitter with 4 Gold Glove Awards in a premium position?  Seems like an almost lock to make it.  However, Bernie Williams and his World Series rings was not GREAT.  He was merely very good, on some great teams.  


Of the returnees, only two players received 50% of the votes, where 75% is necessary to be enshrined.

My list of players I would vote for, as well as near-misses are as follows:

Barry Larkin received 62.1% of the votes last year, and will likely be in by 2013.  Larkin played a premium position (shortstop), a 12-time All-Star, 9-time Silver Slugger, 1995 National League MVP, all while playing parts of 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.  Seems pretty obvious to me.  YES.

Jack Morris is on the ballot for his 13th time, and I am really not sure how he was able to get 53.5% of the vote in 2011.  Sure, there is something to say about a durable innings-eater with 254 career wins, but upon closer look at his stats, he does not deserve to be in the Hall.  With an ERA+ of 105, a 1.296 WHIP, K/9 under 6, and K/BB of 1.78, he doesn’t scream “elite”, but good pitcher who came up huge in clutch situations.  NO.

Jeff Bagwell is still shrouded in controversy as many members of the media continue to believe he took steroids.  I am a guy who doesn’t believe in the asterisks or the stripping of records for those who did such things.  With a career .948 OPS and 149 OPS+, to go along with 449 home runs in 15 seasons, NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, NL MVP in 1994, there is no way he should be kept out of the Hall.  YES.

Edgar Martinez is a tough case because of the fact that he was predominantly a designated hitter in his career.  Therefore, he added basically zero defensive value over the course of his 18 year career.  However, upon looking at his stats, he more than makes up for it in offensive production.  With a career slash line of .312/.418/.515/.933 and OPS+ of 147, he was one of the best pure hitters of his generation.  He may not have been the most prolific home run hitter, but he mashed doubles in Seattle throughout his career at a very high rate.  YES.

Tim Raines was a great lead-off hitter.  Over 23 seasons, he reached base at a .385 clip, and stole 808 bases.  Between 1981 and 1987, it is hard to imagine a better hitter atop the line-up.  In those 7 seasons, he stole 504 bases, averaging 72 per season, including 90 in 1983.  However, his production (while still good), fell off dramatically at this point of his career.  Because of this, it is tough to vote him in.  NO, although very close.

Larry Walker is one of the all-time greatest Canadian players, and I feel as though this could be extremely biased.  Regardless of the fact that he played in Coors Field in the mid to late 90’s where balls soared out of the stadium at an alarming pace, Walker put up some incredible numbers.  Walker’s OPS+ of 140 with a slash line of .313/.400/.565/.965 is pretty ridiculous.  (OPS+ is adjusted to the hitter’s ballpark, so it shows just how ridiculous he actually was).  The 1997 NL MVP should be the second Canadian in the Hall after Fergie Jenkins.  YES.

Fred McGriff is in his 3rd year of eligibility, only received 17.9% of votes last year.  The Crime Dog was never flashy, but he was a consistent performer year in and year out for his 19 seasons.  Between 1988 and 1994, he never hit under 31 home runs (including 34 HR in 113 games in the strike-shortened 1994 season).  He was consistently a very good player, but unfortunately for him, he was never considered to be an elite first baseman, which is what the Hall of Fame stands for.  NO, but very close.

Mark McGwire.  The most controversial choice on the ballot, is my last selection.  Although he has admitted that he has taken steroids, and has been the hitting coach of 2011 World Series Champs St. Louis Cardinals, many believe he should not be in the Hall.  However, a career .982 OPS and 162 OPS+is enough for me.  The 11-time All-Star hit 583 home runs, and his career 162-game average was 50 home runs.  There is no way I would keep him out of the Hall, but there are many others who will do everything to keep him out.  YES.

The 2012 Hall of Fame class will be more stripped down than my version, with the potential of zero players getting in. Barry Larkin may have a better chance in 2012, due to the fact that he will not be overshadowed by Roberto Alomar, who received the third-most votes of all time to be enshrined in the Hall, with 523.  Stay tuned for the results when they are released.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  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 Blandy on Twitter***

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  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.

My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

Sunday December 18th, 2011

Sam Evans:  2012 brings several new candidates to the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.  One thing that really annoys me about the current voting process is that it can take up to fifteen years for a player to be elected. So instead of saying that a player should/could be elected in the future, I’d rather they be elected right away.

For any Hall of Famer, I think they need to have at least ten seasons where they were one of the best players at their respective position. Also, if there is indisputable evidence of them using steroids, then I won’t vote for them.Without futher ado, let’s get to the players:

Mark McGwire: My vote is a no. Given his steroid use, I can’t bring myself to support one of the most dominant hitters of the 1990’s.

Barry Larkin: Larkin is a yes for me. From 1988 to 2000, he was the best shortstop in all of baseball. Yes, even better than Cal Ripken Jr. Larkin was a twelve time All-Star and he won the 1995 NL MVP award. In 2011, he received 62.1% of the BBWAA votes. He only needs about 13% more of the votes to make it this year, and it would be pretty surprising if he didn’t get in this time.

Jack Morris: Jack Morris is not a Hall of Famer. Jack Morris did show America that a starting pitcher can win clutch games for his team all by himself. In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series against the Braves, Morris threw a ten inning shutout. This probably was the greatest World Series performance of all-time. However, when you look at his overall numbers, they’re just not that impressive. A career ERA of 3.90 and only 39.3 career WAR are just not enough for the Hall of Fame. Morris will always be remembered for his great clutch performances, but he doesn’t deserve to be a Hall of Famer. 2012 will be his twelfth year of eligibility, and he actually has a decent chance to make it. In 2010, he received his highest percentage of votes to-date, with 53.5%.

Edgar Martinez: My vote is a yes. Without Edgar, who knows if we’d still have the DH? You can read more about Edgar and the Hall of Fame in my previous article here.

Jeff Bagwell: This is a very easy yes for me. Bagwell collected an 83.9 WAR in his career. That is more than Derek Jeter and Reggie Jackson. Bagwell was an extremely consistent player, who won a ROY and MVP award. As of right now, Jeff Bagwell is the best player who played his whole career in the state of Texas. In his first year of eligibility, “Bagpipes” received 41.7% of the voters votes. He will definitely make it in the next couple of years.

Bernie Williams: Bernie Williams is a hesitant yes for me.  I have only liked two Yankees players in my history of fandom. Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. Williams played the game every day like there was nowhere in the world he would rather be. Williams played about league-average defense, yet won four Gold Gloves due to his stature as a Yankee. Williams won four World Series and is now a superstar Jazz musician. However, the athleticism of Williams never translated into him being a great center fielder. Williams was solid at what ground he did cover, but he never really covered as much space as a center fielder should. Williams had a disappointing -109 TZ (total zone; a stat used to find how much ground a player covers) over the course of his career. However, Williams should be a Hall of Famer because of his loyalty to his team and helping break the Puerto Rican-American barriers. Williams was never the best player at his position, let alone his team, but he was a shining star in an era in which we needed one. This will be Williams’ first year of eligibility.

Bill Mueller: No chance I would vote for Mueller. Bill Mueller only played eleven seasons and he never even made an All-Star team. Every Hall of Famer should have at least fifteen years to their resume. Mueller was a decent player and he helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, but he was not a Hall of Fame type player.

Larry Walker and Fred McGriff: Walker is a yes for me, and McGriff is a no. You can read more about these players in my previous article here.

2012 should be an interesting year for Cooperstown. There are probably three players that could be elected this year and they all deserve it. Lost in all of the comparisons of players from different era’s, we often forget how good all of these players were. Instead of criticizing people’s opinions on who deserves a vote, we should just appreciate all of the players’ individual greatness for what they are.

***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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A Tribute to Jamie Moyer: Life Begins After 30

Saturday December 10, 2011


Doug Booth-  Guest Baseball Writer:  In May of 1993, Jamie Moyer had spent the previous year entirely in the Minor Leagues with the Detroit Tigers and wondered if his signing with Baltimore Orioles in the offseason was a mistake.  At that point in his career Moyer had posted a career won-loss record of 34-54 (.405) with the Cubs, Rangers and Cardinals.  He was a soft-tossing Left Handed Pitcher who struggled with giving up home runs.  Jamie was called up May.30/1993 by the O’s and began to pitch himself into respectability the next 3 seasons with Baltimore-achieving a 25-22 record.  Baltimore was a contending team in the American League and thought Moyer was not going to help them with a championship bid the following year so they released him after the 1995 season.  Boston signed him for the 1996 season.  Moyer started out in the bullpen 7-1 that year and was later traded to the Mariners for Darren Bragg.  It would be a trade that would give Jamie a new lease on life.

  The Seattle Mariners were a powerhouse team back then with the likes of Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and a young phenom SS in Alex Rodriguez.  The team had plenty of offense and just enough defense to help Moyer go 6-2 the rest of the 1996 season-to help his record to 13-3 overall that year which led the Major Leagues for winning percentage (.813).  Moyer was a perfect complimentary pitcher to Randy Johnson went it came to style contrast.  Johnson threw in the mid-nineties and buttered up the opposition-and Moyer was the perfect change of pace with crafty off-speed tossing.  In 1997, Jamie Moyer went 17-5 with a respectable 3.86 ERA, that was not bad considering the Mariners played at an offence friendly Kingdome for half of the time.  The next three years Jamie still went 42-27, but his ERA had crept up to 5.49 in 2000, which was more than a run and a half higher during his Mariners career.  Jamie Moyer had still proved his critics wrong with his career renaissance.  He was turning 38 in that offseason.  The Mariners had moved into Safeco Field despite losing star players of Ken Griffey, Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez in consecutive years.  The team looked to be in transition.  Jamie still wanted to pitch and began training harder than ever.

  The 2001 season was historical for the Mariners from start to finish.  Playing in front of capacity crowds at Safeco Field the Mariners played inspired baseball.  Right in the middle of the team’s incredible year was Rookie of the Year and MVP Ichiro Suzuki.   His injection of youth and helped the Mariners finish the season with a record tying 116 wins.  In those wins, Jamie finished the year 20-6.  It was Jamie’s first 20 win season.  Jamie lowered his ERA all the way down to 3.43 that year-which was one of his best ERA’s of his career.  The Mariners lost out in the ALCS to the Yankees but Jamie Moyer had pitched the best year of his career.  Jamie finished 4th in Cy Young voting.  Despite lowering his ERA to a career best 3.32 at that time, Jamie finished 14-8 in 2002.  In 2003, and at the incredible age of 40, Jamie went 21-7 with a career single season best 3.27 ERA.  Jamie was named to his only ALL-STAR appearance and finished in the top five of Cy Young voting once again.

  In 2004, the Mariners had replaced Lou Piniella and had begun the downward spiral to the bottom of the AL WEST. Jamie was a gamer but sported a 7-13 record with an ERA of over 5 again.   It looked like he was hanging on to his career by a thread again.  Not even the comforts of Safeco Field were providing enough shelter for his game.  Jamie had given up 44 home runs in 2004 which had led the American League.  The team was not competitive in 2005 but Jamie bounced back with a 13-7 record and a 4.28 ERA.  Jamie had worked several games with Catcher Pat Borders (1992 World Series MVP.)  Each time the two 42 year olds would be the pitcher catcher tandem they set a record for the oldest pair.  This exact tandem was the pitcher and catcher when I attended my first game in the United States at Safeco Field in June of 2005.  In 2006, Jamie started the year 6-12 despite pitching well, (His ERA was back down to 4.39,) that is when the Philadelphia Phillies picked him up for the playoffs that year.  Jamie left the Mariners as the franchise’s all-time winner at 145-87 (.625)

  Over the next five years, Jamie continued to amaze the doubters by posting a 56-40 record (.583).  At the age of 45, Jamie Moyer played the most pivotal of roles-with series saving performances in the 2008 playoffs en-route to the Phillies winning the World Series.  It was a culmination of a career for the man.  Jamie pitched okay in 2009, and saved some of his better performances for later in the season coming out of the bullpen-before suffering some torn muscles in his left arm that ended his season.  2010 saw Jamie post a respectable record of 9-9 before he was injured for the rest of the year just after the All-Star Break.  Jamie tried to pitch in the Dominican Winter Leagues that fall but he tore up some more pitching muscles.  Jamie Moyer needed Tommy John surgery at the age of 48.  Jamie still plans on making a comeback in 2012 at the age of 49.  Even if he doesn’t catch on with a team-his longevity and record is quite remarkable.

Jamie Moyer Key Stats

Started his career 34-54 before age 30 (.405) and then went 233-150 for the remainder of his career for a .608 winning percentage.  His career record is currently 267-204 is still at a .567 winning percentage.  His 233 wins after the age of 30 trail only #1 Phil Niekro (297 wins) and #2 Warren Spahn (273 wins) all time in MLB history but Jamie had a better winning percentage than both of them after age 30 at .608-to Spahn’s .594 and Niekro’s .540.  Jamie was one of the top 2 winning pitchers from 2001-2010 decade with a record of 140-94 (.594), only Randy Johnson with 143 wins in the decade had more…rounding out that top 5 were: Roy Halladay with 139. Andy Pettitte had 138, Roy Oswalt and Tim Hudson had 138.  Jamie also compiled a record of 103-70 (.595) after the age of 40.  Jamie Moyer has thrown 4020 innings and struck out 2405 batters despite a fastball that ranged from 82-89 MPH in his career. 

Will Jamie Moyer receive Baseball Hall of Fame consideration?  He will garner some votes as his career is very similar to Tommy John.  It is unfortunate the man could not achieve 300 wins in his career with such a slow start-but there is no denying that he should receive “The Most Unlikely to Have Such a Great Career Award.”  He is a classy professional and is an even better human off the field, with running his Moyer Foundations all across the country.  Jamie has touched countless people and is a great role model for all of those athletes who might feel like giving up.  Kudos for having a great second half to your career Jamie Moyer!!

*** 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***



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