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Pittsburgh Pirates State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling.  Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL's Penguins, and NFL's Steelers.   They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike)

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling. Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL’s Penguins, and NFL’s Steelers. They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike).

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Pirates not only kicked the playoff curse in 2013,  but they also embarked on a journey that saw them improve on their win total for a 4th consecutive season.

In a row, it went 59, 72, 79 and 94 wins respectively from 2010 – 2014.

Neil Huntington could finally show the fruits of his labor in assembling his team.

In the last few years particularly, stalwart Draft pick Andrew McCutchen has asserted himself as one of the premiere players to suit up in the MLB right now. Read the rest of this entry

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Miami Marlins State Of The Union Part 1: The Hitters Preview In 2014

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Lead Baseball Columnist):

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The 2012 baseball season was filled with skeptical optimism by baseball supporters in South Florida.

Along with the opening of the new stadium, the Marlins seemed committed to the idea of contention as they spent money with  reckless abandon.

 In 2013, Miami opened the season with as much negative public relations as possible as they quickly dumped all the excess salary they had acquired in 2012 on the open market.  

Overall, the short term roller coaster left a bitter taste with many fans.   Read the rest of this entry

Master List Of All Free Agents Signed In 2013 Winter – Heading Into 2014 MLB Year

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It has been a record setting year for contract $ doled out for players.  When you factor in the player extensions, we are talking about 7 contracts registering in the top 50 Player contracts in the history of the game.

Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw, Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Freddie Freeman, Shin-Soo Choo and Homer Bailey have inked deal for between $105 MIL to $240 MIL.

Now there is word the Angels are working on an extension with Mike Trout, to the tune of 6 YRs/$150 MIL,  from 2015 – 2020.  This would be the 22nd highest contract in MLB History.

For the record, Trout’s deal for 2014 is already set at $510 K, and any extension wouldn’t have Luxury Tax Ramifications until his new deal would start in 2015. Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Roster + Organizational Depth Charts (MLB and MiLB)

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

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The Pittsburgh Pirates broke a 21 Year Old playoff drought in 2013, by winning 94 Games, winning the Wild Card Game to the Reds – before bowing out to the St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games of the LDS.

Neil Huntington has done an exceptional job assembling this club both via trade an drafting.

Not signing A.J. Burnett to a deal is actually a smart move when you figure he is going to earn $16.0 MIL in 2014.  If the Bucs GM would have doled out the 1 YR/$14.1 MIL for the cagey veteran, it would have blown the teams salary structure. Read the rest of this entry

The Nate McLouth Signing Demonstrates A Lesson Learned For Washington About Bench Players

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

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013. Heck, they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn’t maximize their potential this year. However, the club did go 24 – 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot. Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year.  But a most underrated facet of an NL club sometimes is their bench.  Washington hopes to have a better bunch of pine riders in 2014 – than they did in 2013.

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

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When the Nats built a bench on the cheap in 2012 it worked.

Steve Lombardozzi, Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy, and Tyler Moore all had outstanding seasons, and the four of them combined cost less than half of what the Nationals will be paying Nate McLouth in 2014, but when they tried to do the same thing in 2013 it was a disaster.

The only back-up outfielder to have a higher than .700 OPS was Corey Brown and that was in 15 plate appearances. Hardly enough of a sample size to be trusted.

Nate McLouth gives the Nationals bench something it severely lacked in 2013, a reliable veteran. McLouth’s numbers aren’t great.

Nate McLouth Highlights in 2012 – Mature Lyrics So parental guidance is advised

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The Mark Trumbo Trade Watch Continues in LA: Could He Be Headed To STL, TB, MIA, PIT Or Other?

The Angels have spent almost a half of a billion in Free Agency over the last 3 years, and all they have to show for it, is back to back 3rd place finishes in the AL West.  The team will lose Jason Vargas this year, and the Angels are expected to non-tender Tommy Hanson.  The team also featured an anemic Bullpen in the 2013 campaign.  If the Angels are wishing to trade Mark Trumbo, they best acquire 2 Pitchers that can fill in their weaknesses.  Los Angeles have a surplus of OF/DH and 1B on the Roster with Hamilton, Pujols and Bourjos.  Trumbo will be a heavy commodity sought after because he has 3 years of Team Control left with any aspiring club that brings him in.

The Angels have spent almost a half of a billion in Free Agency over the last 3 years, and all they have to show for it, is back to back 3rd place finishes in the AL West. The team will lose Jason Vargas this year, and the Angels are expected to non-tender Tommy Hanson. The team also featured an anemic Bullpen in the 2013 campaign. If the Angels are wishing to trade Mark Trumbo, they best acquire 2 Pitchers that can fill in their weaknesses. Los Angeles have a surplus of OF/DH and 1B on the Roster with Hamilton, Pujols and Bourjos. Trumbo will be a heavy commodity sought after because he has 3 years of Team Control left with any aspiring club that brings him in.

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

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The Angels have doled out nearly half a Billion in contracts over the last 3 winters of Free Agency and have nothing to show for it but heartache, misery – and a team that was once a perennial playoff favorite dropped under .500 for only the 2nd time in the last decade during the 2013 season.

Hemorrhaging funds for a club not competing can’t sit well with the team owner Arte Moreno.  Amidst in all of this would be a contract for Mike Scioscia as manager for $5 MIL a year, that renders him unfireable, and  even untradeable.

This team is loaded with talented players like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Howie Kendrick – and of course Mark Trumbo.

Mark Trumbo’s 1st 24 HRs of 2013

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Aug.31 Trade Deadline Maneuvers Part 1

 had his best year in 2011 with the Nationals, where he hit .303, with 31 HRs and 95 RBI during his 515 AB.  The Orioles would love that kind of production to aid their DH core of hitters.  The club however, would simply settle for his Career 3 Slash Line of .284/.338/.816 in parts of 9 seasons and 1827 At-Bats.  Morse makes $6.75 MIL this year, and will be a Free Agent after the campaign is finished.

Mike Morse had his best year in 2011 with the Nationals, where he hit .303, with 31 HRs and 95 RBI during his 515 AB. The Orioles would love that kind of production to aid their DH core of hitters. The club however, would simply settle for his Career 3 Slash Line of .284/.338/.816 in parts of 9 seasons and 1827 At-Bats. Morse makes $6.75 MIL this year, and will be a Free Agent after the campaign is finished.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst and Website Owner)

The Orioles picking up Mike Morse is a good move.  The  guy is familiar with Region, is a nice contrast to Chris Davis – and cost the club a minimal amount to bring over.

I think the big 6 FT 5 players is just the kind of guy the Baltimore team has missed over the year.

The Designated Hitters slot has been abysmal – and if Morse can to the back of his bubblegum card, this move will pan out.

The team’s lineup will now feature  Manny Machado 3B, , Nick Markakis RF, Chris Davis 1B, Adam Jones CF, Matt Wieters C, J.J. Hardy SS, Mike Morse DH, Nate McLouth LF and Brian Roberts 2B.

Morse joins Scott Feldman, Francisco Rodriguez and Bud Norris as late season acquisitions.  All of them have contributed to the franchise.

All of a sudden having a 7 – 9, with a 25 – 30 HR powers in Morse, added with veteran Brian Roberts (if healthy) and Nate McLouth, could add a speed element when the team swings around back to the top of the lineup.

It is good for depth and when consider the team is only 5 games out of the 2nd Wild Card Spot, this is plausible with 3o games left.

Chris Tillman has asserted himself an up and coming #2 Pitcher on the team. I must say, him doing this 2 years in a row, has made a believer out of me now.

The man is 24 – 7 over his last 31 decisions – and has a mid tier 3 ERA – competing in a donnybrook of a Division.  Yesterday’s win over Boston was just another example of how much the 25 year old has bailed the club out of a losing streak.

You know Buck Showalter will have his guys ‘game ready’ for the challenge.

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MLB 30 Team Power Rankings: Week 18: Trade Deadline Edition

Click The Link Below For A Great MLB Reports Podcast On The Trade Deadline

Triple Play Podcast Trade Speculation

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Sunday July.28/2013

The Dodgers have won 25 out of their last 31, play in the weakest division in the MLB right now, and other than Arizona, do not have much competition right now.  Solid Pitching and a revamped healthy lineup has led the charge.  They climbed all the way up to 5th in this weeks rankings.

The Dodgers have won 25 out of their last 31, play in the weakest division in the MLB right now, and other than Arizona, do not have much competition. Solid Pitching and a revamped healthy lineup has led the charge. They climbed all the way up to 6th in this weeks rankings.  The Dodgers have a 230 Million Dollar Plus payroll, and have no plans to slow down in this offseason.  It may actually be a blessing in disguise if this team makes a long run in the playoffs.  It has been speculated they will pursue Robinson Cano this winter.  I have predicted they will offer him a 7 – 8 year deal worth $30 MIL per annum.

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

The Detroit Tigers finds itself back on top of our rankings.  It was a hard decision between them and the Atlanta Braves.

The prevailing thought is that I am more confident in the “Motown Boys” to make the World Series.

Since starting the year 12 – 11, the Braves have only gone 47 – 44.  Lets just say the should finish the season with about 89 wins.  That would force Washington to go 38 – 19 in their final 57 Games.

I fully expect the Nationals to take off at any part in the season, so this is not a foreign concept.

In contrast, I don’t believe in either the Indians or Royals to near 90 wins like the Tigers should have by seasons end.

With a bypass to eliminate the Wild Card Game, Detroit is our #1 team.

Clip is Francona talking about Fielder – (There are 2 more clips of C.Fielder +  P.Fielder at end of this blog)

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Should The Pirates Make A Deal? Huntington Should At Least Pick Up A Reliever!

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Wednesday, July.24/2013

The trading deadline has been an exciting time of year for Pittsburgh Pirates fans the past two seasons and this year looks to be bordering on an extravaganza for the city, as the Bucs will be hosting the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals for a five-game series as the deadline approaches and passes. Although GM Neal Huntington will likely be active, the sound advice might be to hold onto prospects, do not mortgage the future and go with what got you a couple games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central and for the best record in all of MLB.

The trading deadline has been an exciting time of year for Pittsburgh Pirates fans the past two seasons and this year looks to be bordering on an extravaganza for the city, as the Bucs will be hosting the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals for a five-game series as the deadline approaches and passes. Although GM Neal Huntington will likely be active, the sound advice might be to hold onto prospects, do not mortgage the future and go with what got you a couple games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central and for the best record in all of MLB.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

If you read the newspapers in Pittsburgh or listen to talk show radio, the expectation is that Huntington is going to make a significant deal to upgrade the Pirates’ hitting, outfield, bullpen, and even starting pitching.

Realizing that baseball in October is a lot different than baseball in May, June and July, if the Bucs needed upgrades in all those areas, how are they winning about 60 percent of their games so far?

The Pirates have posted one of the best records in baseball so far in 2013.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 2: The Hitters

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Monday, June.17/2013

McCutchen is signed for about an average of 8.5 Million Dollars a year until he hits FA in 2018.  If he can be amongst the running for NL MVP every year like 2012, this will bode well for the Pirates value in his salary.  He is the best player the franchise has drafted since Barry Bonds.

McCutchen is signed for about an average of 8.5 Million Dollars a year until he hits FA in 2018. If he can be among the running for NL MVP every year like 2012, this will bode well for the Pirates value in his salary. He is the best player the franchise has drafted since Barry Bonds.

Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner/Lead Analyst)

Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

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

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

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

Listed Below is Part 1 of the Roster Tree

Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 1: The Pitchers

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MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 6

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Monday May.13/2013

The Rangers have opened up a 6 game lead over the Athetics - prior to their series with Oakland that kicks off tonight.  They have also only played 15 Home Games - as opposed to 22 Road Games.  Steady veteran hitting - and great Pitching all around has paved the way.  They are the only team in the Division over .500

The Rangers have opened up a 6 game lead over the Athletics – prior to their series with Oakland that kicks off tonight. They have also only played 15 Home Games – as opposed to 22 Road Games. Steady veteran hitting – and great Pitching all around has paved the way. They are the only team in the Division over .500

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

The Rangers are #1 again based on the Division lead they currently possess, plus the fact they play all of these teams a total of 76 Games this year.

St. Louis Cardinals have one hell of a pitching staff – and it is downright scary for the rest of the National League that they have played this well without the offense really clicking.

The Giants continue to streak.  I like their offensive makeup – because players like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence all tend to be streaky.

The Boston Red Sox have begun to slow down recently.

The Tampa Bay Rays seem ready to make their charge.

Josh Hamilton and his 1 AB back in Arlington:

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Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 1: The Pitchers

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Sunday, May. 12/2013

What 3 current Pirates players can be traced back to Ricardo Rincon?  Read this article and you will find out how all of the players have arrived in a Bucs uniform - and we dissected the Pirates brass for each move.

What 3 current Pirates players can be traced back to Ricardo Rincon? Read this article and you will find out how all of the players have arrived in a Bucs uniform – and we dissected the Pirates brass for each move.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent) and Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner/Lead Analyst

Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

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

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

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

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Current Top 5 MLB Home Run Leaders in the AL + NL: Home Runs Hit May 10th

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Saturday May 11th, 2013

Jordany Valdespin hit yet another HR last night as a player that did not start the game.  Incredibly, this guy has hit 9 HRs in his limited Career for this category (94 AB - versus 2 HRs in 173 AB as a Starter.)

Jordany Valdespin hit yet another HR last night as a player that did not start the game. Incredibly, this guy has hit 9 HRs in his limited Career for this category (94 AB – versus 2 HRs in 173 AB as a Starter.)  The Mets should definitely keep Valdespin in this role.  Unfortunately their OF for 2013 is hitting for a Batting Average in the .225 Range.

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

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

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

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

Jordany Valdespin goes yard as a PH:

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Daily Home Run Hitters Update From May 7th, 2013

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Wednesday, May.08/2013

Jose Altuve hit a blast last night that measured (77.82 Altuves).  Any time this man hits a Round Tripper, his picture will be on this page.  Go and check out @howmanyaltuves or www.howmanyaltuves.com  for all of your Home Run (or any measurement for that matter) needs.

Jose Altuve hit a blast last night that measured (77.82 Altuves) versus the Angels. Any time this man hits a Round Tripper, his picture will be on this page. Go and check out @howmanyaltuves or http://www.howmanyaltuves.com for all of your Home Run (or any measurement for that matter) needs.

DH – Stands for Daily HR Hitters in the Majors.

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

I loved it when MLB XM Radio used to do a running total every night on their Roundtrip with Mike Ferrin (Laser Show).  So I am bringing it every day on this website.  To view every nights big boppers for the whole year (from May.7th) visit the DH page!

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

Dingers!!

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MLB Monthly Power Rankings May 2013 (Podcast Version)

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Sunday, May.05/2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

One month down in the MLB season and that means it’s time for some Power Rankings! Chuck Booth the czar of MLBreports.com joins us in studio to rank every team from worst to first. Where does your team rank? Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings – Apr.29/2013

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Monday Apr.29/2013

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in     2011 and 67 Last Year.  he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49.  It was a Sept/Oct swoon   of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles - before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series.  He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal.  Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games - including sweeping the Atlanta Braves

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in 2011 and 67 Last Year.) he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49. It was a Sept/Oct swoon of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles – before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series. He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal. Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games – including sweeping the Atlanta Braves in Detroit this past weekend.

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

With it coming up to the 4 week Report, the biggest mover this week where the Detroit Tigers.  Jose Valverde came back to the club, looked trimmed down – and more like his 2011 self compared to when we last saw him.  The Motown Boys pasting the Braves over the weekend speaks volumes about their talent.

The worst week went to the Giants – who plummeted from #1 to #11.  It has to be concerning for the fans that Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong do not look right. Decent start by Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito have been wasted.  The club may be lacking the hunger to repeat.  I see the whole team having up and down campaigns.

The Toronto Blue Jays may not have plunged down the rankings that much this week, however they have free fallen the most out of any franchise from the start of the year.  The projected AL favorite – have started 9 – 17 and are looking up at 4 good teams in the AL East now. 

I am predicting they will have a good second half, yet they will not make the playoffs now based on the Jose Reyes injury mostly.  John Gibbons also has to be on the hot seat. 

Papa Grande’s Contract is purchased

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Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Team Salary, Pirates Roster + Organizational Depth Charts (MLB and MiLB)

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Friday, Apr.26/2013

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years.  They have had 20 Losing season in a row - and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction.  The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970's

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years. They have had 20 Losing season in a row – and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction. The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970′s.  The club has started 13 – 9 in 2013.  This pattern has formed over the last few campaigns, – in the NL Central contention until just after the ALL – Star Break – before swooning in 2011 and 2012.

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

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

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

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

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

Pittsburgh Pirates Look at Buc Nation 3 Videos:

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NL Trade Deadline Targets

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Monday April.8/2013

If all goes well with the team this year, the Astros could improve on their 2012 year.  If all else fails, Houston might challenge the ALL-Time Loss Record.  Whatever happens, any Veteran Player with a heartbeat will be on the trading block by June.  The Astros will continue to dissolve any of their assets (with expiring contracts) onto other teams in order to pick off some more prospects.  The Astros will also Draft 1st overall at the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft.

If all goes well with the team this year, the Astros could improve on their 2012 year. If all else fails, Houston might challenge the ALL-Time Loss Record. Whatever happens, any Veteran Player with a heartbeat will be on the trading block by June. The Astros will continue to dissolve any of their assets (with expiring contracts) onto other teams in order to pick off some more prospects. The Astros will also Draft 1st overall at the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft.  The Astros also play in the toughest Division in the Majors for pitching, plus have already put up back to back 100 Loss Seasons.  Their second half Won – Loss Records might challenge historic rates.

By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent)

Likely Mid season trade targets NL:

I’m assuming these teams will have a winning percentage of at least .475 and therefore will not be sellers although that doesn’t entirely rule out being sellers at the deadline. We are far away from the deadline but it’s nice to see who might be available. Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants and Rockies (sleeper).

I believe these teams will be sellers and there are not many in the NL because of the parity. Many of these teams don’t have that much to offer so it would not surprise me if a team above (Brewers?) makes a few trades for over slot prices. Marlins, Mets, Pirates, Cubs and Padres.

Giancarlo Stanton (Formerly Mike Stanton hits it out of Dodger Stadium):

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3 Reasons That The Pirates Will – Or Won’t End 20 Years Of Consecutive Losing Records

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Tuesday, April.2/2013

The Pirates are hoping to bring winning baseball to beautiful PNC Park in 2013.

The Pirates are hoping to bring winning baseball for the beautiful PNC Park in 2013.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

The statistical improvements are easy to decipher in Clint Hurdle‘s first two years as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2011, the Bucs were 72-90, scored 610 Runs and gave up 712 Runs. Those were improvements of 15 victories, 23 Runs Scored and an impressive 154 less Runs Allowed.

This past season, Pittsburgh improved in all three categories again – earning 79 victories with 651 Runs Scored and 674 Runs Allowed. If it seems like an excruciatingly long time since Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek were leading the Pirates to a winning season and a third consecutive NLCS, that’s because it has been – two decades to be exact.

Bill Clinton was just starting his first term as President of the United States and something called Color Me Badd was popular on the radio.

Questionable music aside, if the Pirates want to put an end to all that losing, another year of similar improvement will get them over the .500 hump.

Here are three reasons why 2013 will be the year it happens for them and three reasons why the longest consecutive streak of losing seasons in professional sports will reach 21 years.

Sid Breams 1992 NLCS Game 7 Slide kicked off a 20 Year Consecutive Losing Records Streak

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Granderson Is Out For 10 Weeks: What Can Cashman Do?

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Monday, February.25, 2013

Granderson has back to back 40 HR years with the Yankees. New York can ill afford to be without a productive LF for the 1st quarter of the year.  I believe they should make a trade to bolster their team.  When Granderson comes back, you could always have an extra player for depth still.

Granderson has had back to back 40 HR years with the Yankees in 2011 and 2012. New York can ill afford to be without a productive LF for the 1st quarter of this season. I believe they should make a trade to bolster their team. When Granderson comes back, you would always have an extra player for depth still.

Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

The start of the season is starting to look extremely bleak for the Yankees so far.  Derek Jeter is coming off of a broken ankle, A-Rod is out indefinitely with (insert whatever ailment here) until after the ALL-Star Game, Mariano Rivera is 43 – and trying to make it through one more season after tearing up his ACL last year, Phil Hughes is having back spasms, Joba Chamberlain seems healthy – (but you never what freak injury is going to happen to him next,) Michael Pineda is still recovering from shoulder Surgery, so what else was going to happen?  Add Curtis Granderson and a fractured right forearm to the walking wounded list.

This injury should alarm the Yankees and their fans.  The team is not strong depth-wise, as they have been in decades, so “The ‘Grandy Man’ not being able to play until early May should cause New York GM Brian Cashman to explore all of his options.  Like I have said in previous articles – ‘Financial Armageddon’ is coming for the club in 2014, plus the team is rapidly becoming older by the year.  It is safe to say that this year might be the last kick at a championship for some time.  What may the Yankees do to replace Granderson for the 1st quarter of the season?

Juan Rivera hits a Walk-Off for the Dodgers:

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Ranking the Top 10 Hitters In The MLB Right Now: Part 1 (1-5)

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Tuesday February 19th, 2013

Miguel Cabrera: Cooperstown Bound.  Undoubtedly, "Miggy" is one of the great players of this generation.  Watching him play the game every day is a gift to baseball lovers.

Miguel Cabrera: Cooperstown Bound. Undoubtedly, “Miggy” is one of the great players of this generation. Watching him play the game every day is a gift to baseball lovers.

By Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)

The best hitters in baseball aren’t hard to identifying, but arranging them is the tough part.

The “new” era of hitters have arrived on the scene. This doesn’t necessarily imply that some of the older hitters might as well call it quits, rather, it means that they have taken the backseat.

So, here we go: Baseball’s Top 5 hitters.  This is part 1 of a 2 part series.  Next week, we go through the 6-10 best hitters.

1. Miguel Cabrera

Mike Trout is baseball’s consensus best overall player, factoring in defense and speed, but Miguel Cabrera gets the nod as baseball’s best hitter.

Cabrera won the Triple Crown award in 2012, and in turn, beat out Trout for MVP honors.

As for the stats, well, they’re also impressive. He was second in the American League in oWAR (offensive WAR), third in ISO (Isolated Power), led the MLB in OPS, slugging percentage, total bases and extra base hits.

Cabrera’s compact swing enables him to do damage on most pitches. In 2012, he hit .344 on hits to left field, .412 on hits to center field and .424 on hits to right field. These three figures simply imply that Cabrera hits the ball where it’s pitched. Yes, it’s a simple approach, but it’s proven to be the most effective approach in baseball. The stats speak for themselves.

For Part 2 of the Top 10 Hitters Series (6-10) click here

Miguel Cabrera 2012 Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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Pirates Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Friday, February.8, 2013

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out - by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.  They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.

Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has found creative ways to help the Budget out – by taking risks on Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett. They are both being paid portions of their contracts by their previous teams.  Signing Andrew McCutchen to a long-term contract has also given the franchise the ability to add players in 2013 if need be.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

On August 8 of last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 63-47, 2.5 games back of the First-place Cincinnati Reds, securely into the second Wild-Card Spot – and had the fourth-best record in the National League. The wheels came off, the Bucs finished on a 16-36 slide, 18 games back of the Reds and with the 10th-best record in the NL. Reality could have caught up to a overperforming squad, or a youthful team took the next step in learning how to win. Either way, the Pirates enter 2013 with breaking a streak of 20 losing seasons on their minds.

General Manager Neal Huntington has been shrewd and active, signing MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal in 2012 and getting other clubs to eat up significant chunks of their largest contracts when acquiring their top two starters. Starting pitching depth has been added and Huntington is even taking more high-priced risks, landing Catcher Russell Martin as a Free Agent.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Highlights:

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Pittsburgh Pirates Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short - and he subsequently left the team for the SF Giants.  20 Losing Season have since occurred.

The Pirates have not made the playoffs since the 1992 Season. That year, Barry Bonds could not throw out Sid Bream from deep Short in Game #7 of the NLCS versus the Braves – and they were eliminated for the 3rd straight year in the playoffs before reaching the World Series.  Bonds subsequently left the team for the SF Giants in 1993 – and 20 losing seasons have since occurred. Only the Kansas City Royals have a longer streak of not making the playoffs (1985). Will this change in 2013?

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

Although the Pirates made significant strides in 2012, they still finished in fourth place in the National League Central – with a 79-83 mark – extending their professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. After being active at last season’s trading deadline, the Bucs added two key Free Agents in the offseason. One of those signings, LHP Francisco Liriano, agreed to 2 YR Deall for just under $13 Million – but broke his arm from an undisclosed injury in late December. The two sides agreed to a deal that lowers the first-season payout if Liriano misses any time due to the injury.

That has not dimmed the enthusiasm swelling around Pittsburgh and very few roster spots are up for grabs as the 2013 season nears. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West, the division is down to five teams, but the Pirates still have numerous questions surrounding their ability to compete for a Post Season Berth.

Andrew McCutchen hitting mechanics: Mature Lyrics Content – Parental Guidance is Advised

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MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: September 2012

Monday, September.3/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):   To say that this year has been a good year for baseball is an humongous understatement.  I thought after last years finish, that nothing was going to duplicate the experience.  Everyone forgets (or maybe not) that there should not even have been many races last year with Atlanta and Boston having such substantial leads on playoff spots.  The Red Sox and Braves collapsed like a couple of bowling pins with King Kong Bundy splashing down on them!  

This year, there are 15 teams still vying for 10 playoff spots.  So far the only probable locks are Washington for a playoff spot-and Cincinnati to probably win their division  The player races for all of the categories is almost as fascinating.  Will Andrew McCutcheon catch Melky Cabrera for the Batting title? Or will 2012 be forever cemented in baseball folklore by a stained player like Cabrera?  He could still end up determining who wins the World Series in the Fall Classic by his Testosterone filled antics in his MVP ALL-Star Game.  The big question is, will the San Francisco Giants fans cheer for him if he comes back in the playoffs?  They cheered for another league leader before when it was obvious he was guilty.  Right now if you are the Giants, you will take an opportunity to boo or cheer for Cabrera because that means you would  be in the playoffs.

Will the spending happy Dodgers have to wait another year to capitalize on their new plan to make the playoffs? If they ultimately  miss the playoffs outright, are they going to buy every player they can in the off-season?  I sure hope Magic knows that there are Luxury Tax penalties for spending over 178 Million Next Year.  1st year fine is 22.5%, 2nd year is 30%, 3rd year and beyond is 40%.  So if they plan on having a 250 Million Dollar Payroll in 2013 (by adding 2 or 3 more top Free Agents) will the Dodgers just forego the worry of any financial penalties on a yearly basis– just to dominate the whole National League (plus baseball for that matter.) Every other team has to consider the urgency in cashing out a World Series right now while the Dodgers have not had a full off season with the new management yet.  Can Oakland and their ‘New Money Ball philosophy’ make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2006? 

The Best Players over the last month were:  Buster Posey, Prince Fielder, Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Yovani Gallardo, Kris Medlen, Adam Wainwright, Aroldis Chapman and Felix Hernandez.  The best teams have been Oakland, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore and Texas.  The worst teams have been Houston (at least its better to go down hard and stockpile #1 Draft Picks guys.)  I have a feeling you will be there for a while with the division you are heading into and may even challenge the 120 Loss Single Season Record.  At least you are not going into the NL West  to compete with the LA Dodgers!  The Cleveland Indians have fallen to an epic drop-off as well.  Toronto misses their top sluggers.  What has happened to the Minnesota Twins? The Mets have ownership and payroll problems, so at least they have an excuse.  Plus they lead the world in guys being hurt.  When David Wright has been your healthiest player, you know the season has been backwards!  So sit back, get your notebook and popcorn ready for this Month’s Rankings! Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: August 2012

Monday August.6/2012

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

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

Pittsburgh Pirates: Do they Have Enough to Stay in the Playoff Race?

Saturday August 4th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the many surprising teams in baseball this season. Led by perennial MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen, they trail the first place Reds by just four and a half games in the National league Central division and retain the third best record in the entire N.L. If the playoffs started today, the Pirates would be playing postseason baseball for the first time since 1992. While they made a push at the playoffs last season as well, an August collapse ultimately diminished their chances of playing October baseball for the first time in over two decades.

However, an August breakdown doesn’t seem to be in the cards for these 2012 Pirates. Players like Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Garrett Jones were all on the 2011 team that plummeted from first place on July 25th to 16 games back of first place on August 25th. Nearly a year later, the same core group has the Pirates back in the thick of the playoff chase, but their mentalities have significantly changed with the experience they garnered in 2011. Why? It’s cliche, but the more experience a player or team can refer to, the better they will perform. And in this case, that team is the Pirates. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: July 2012

Wednesday July.4, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few notes written for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.  The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last month. If this report was being done last week I might have put the New York Yankees in 1st and Texas in 2nd.  A 7 game winning streak help preserve another month for Texas on the leader-board.  There were superior months by Aaron Hill, Jose Bautista, Joey Votto , Jason Heyward and a new phenomenon was born with Jose Altuve.  It was a great month for the MLB.  With 20 teams within 5.5 games or less for the playoff races, we are sure to see some serious movements in the Power Rankings in the 2nd half of the season.

Standings taken before play Tuesday July.03/2012

July Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis

1. Texas-50-30 (1) The Rangers rode a 7 game winning streak to end up 18-8 for the last month. David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus all hit over .300 in the last 30 days.  The Rangers were able to weather a slow spurt from Josh Hamilton, in which he hit .222 with only 4 HRs for the month.  Matt Harrison has asserted himself as an ace on the staff with a 5-0 month with a 1.29 ERA, while leading the American League with 11 wins on the year.  The Rangers have 6 players going to the ALL-Star Game including 3 starters.  Yu Darvish can make a 7th if he is voted into the final roster spot with his rookie campaign of 10-5 so far.

2. NY Yankees 48-31(5)  The Yankees have ridden good pitching and a hot bat from Robinson Cano to a 19-7 record over the last month, with a 5 games lead over their competition in the AL East.  Cano hit .370 with 12 HRs and 24 RBI in the last month.  Derek Jeter is hitting .298 overall but saw his average go from .389 in April, to .283 in May to .232 in June.  He still tops a list of 4 Yankees heading to the ALL-Star Game including 23 HR homer man Curtis GrandersonPhil Hughes went 5-1 in the month with a 2.59 ERA and Ivan Nova won his 3 decisions with a miniscule 1.32 ERA.  Rafael Soriano has converted 18 out of 19 save opportunities since taking over as team closer.

3. San Francisco 45-30 (9)  The Giants went 16-11 in the month and saw a perfect game from Matt Cain, with a few other 1 hitters.  The team shutout the Dodgers 3 games in a row in a series last week.  The Giants have Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera starting in KC next week.  The Melkman continues to show that last year was no fluke with his .352 Average and he is leading the Major Leagues with 111 base hits.  The Giants pitching staff has coped with the loss of Brian Wilson and the ineffectiveness of starter Tim Lincecum, by the rest of the staff having career years.

4. LA Angels 45-35 (12) The Angels have been really steady since the end of May.  They just finished going 17-8 in the last 25 days on the backs of ALL-Stars Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and resurgent Albert Pujols.  Trout might be the most exciting player on the planet these days and is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up.  Trout hit .367 over the last month and has taken over the AL batting lead with a .342 AVG.  Trumbo hit 10 HRs and drove in 28 RBI for the month and Pujols hit .337. to raise his average 40 points.  C.J Wilson was good enough in June to be named as CC Sabathia‘s replacement at the ALL-Star game.

5.  Washington 45-32(9)  Mike Morse has returned to the lineup with a vengeance during the last week with a .484 average.   Super Sub Tyler Moore has also hit .415 in the last 14 games with 4 HRs and 12 RBI.  Ian Desmond had 16 Extra base hits for the month to go along with 20 RBI, while he made the ALL-Star game as a reserve.  Ryan Zimmerman awoke from a season long slump to plate 17 RBI.  Adam LaRoche still contributed 7 HRs and 15 RBI despite a paltry .191 average in June.  Stephen Strasburg is 9-3 on the year with a 2.81 ERA and a league leading 122 SO.  Gio Gonzalez is 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA.  Both Gonzalez and Strasburg made the ALL-Star squad. Read the rest of this entry

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