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MLB Odds To Win Both Of The AL And NL Pennants In 2014: 5 Best Value Plays

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant.  The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year's lineup, and have decent pitching.  Boston is the reigning champs - and will be part of the race before all is said and done.  Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant. The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year’s lineup, and have decent pitching. Boston is the reigning champs – and will be part of the race before all is said and done. Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Rays are finally listed where they should be on the betting board.

3 teams start play today tied in the AL East in the Rays, Yankees and Jays.  Baltimore has struggled along with Boston.

I think it is way too early to shovel dirt on the Red Sox season.  While I think they may not take down another pennant, they are my 2nd favorite play in the AL Pennant Odd list for return.

The Yankees are my favorite odds pick right now with a +900 mark.

Yes they have injuries to old guys are their team, but the guys in the lineup can mash right now, and particularly at Yankee Stadium. Read the rest of this entry

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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 3 MLB Baseball 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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A little rant before the power rankings this week

Well, another 7 days has passed in baseball for this year.

There are no more home openers, attendance is down, fans are scattering about their Easter business and the NFL Draft is around to swing its mighty sword on the sports landscape. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: April

The Tigers fought off a tough KC club in the 1st series and now have battled their own bullpen and injury woes to be the only unbeaten team.  Add that to one of the weaker divisions, and you see the #1 ranked team in our list this week.

The Tigers fought off a tough KC club in the 1st series and now have battled their own bullpen and injury woes against the Orioles -  to be the only unbeaten team left in the MLB a. Add that to one of the weaker divisions, and you see the #1 ranked team in our list this week.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Well, we have seen one week come and go.  It is important to realize that only about 3% of the entire season has gone by.

People tend to panic when their team isn’t doing so well, and some fanbases are ready to project their club as a playoff contender.

While it is still a good idea never to bury yourself with a bad first few week or 2, as long as you are hovering around the .500 clip, you should be fine.

How we do these rankings at the MLB Reports is based on 1 thing.  The chances of the club winning the World Series.

After all, that is why we have 45 days of Spring Training, 186 days in the regular season, and another 30 or so in the playoffs.

Some teams will have their number predicated on the strength of their divisions are not.

Nearly 47% of any teams schedule is within their own division.  So the AL East and NL West would be tough divisions.

The NL East and AL Central have 2 playoff contenders in each division, while 3 teams may be easier opponents. Read the rest of this entry

Could The Toronto Blue Jays Turn Into The Canada Blue Jays + Play In Montreal And Vancouver As Well?

Olympic Stadium was a building catastrophe from the get go.  It was a contributing factor of the Expos leaving Montreal.  Having said that, it would have been really cool if the North America opener were to have been opened in Montreal, with a series with Toronto and the New York Mets.  Instead the series in an exhibition.  At least the Canadian stadium has hosted regular season MLB games.

Olympic Stadium was a building catastrophe from the get go. It was a contributing factor of the Expos leaving Montreal. Having said that, it would have been really cool if the North America opener were to have been opened in Montreal, with this past series with Toronto and the New York Mets. Instead it was just an exhibition. At least the Canadian park has hosted regular season MLB games  unlike the Sydney Cricket Ground.  Will another city other than Toronto ever host a regular season game again?

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

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I must be out of my mind right?

Having the Toronto Blue Jays play in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver during a regular season – and re-brand the club to a national team in the MLB?  But stop and think about this for a minute.

The club just drew almost 100K total fans for the 2 exhibition games in Quebec on Mar.28 and Mar.29/2014. 

This just reaffirmed my stance of last week.  I admonished the MLB for not starting the season with this series in Montreal.

Having thought about it further this weekend, I came up with a new idea.  Why not play some games in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – and name the club the Canada Blue Jays? Read the rest of this entry

The Seattle Mariners State Of The Union For 2014 Part 1: Winter Deals + Pitchers

Felix Hernandez has been the face of the Seattle Mariners since 2009 when he won 19 games for the Mariners.  He followed up with a CY Young season in 2010.   The last 3 years, he has gone 39 - 33, with a lowe 3 ERA, but finished 4th in Cy Young Voting in 2012, and was oine of the frontrunner to win the 2013 AL Cy Young - before the team shut him down for the rest of the year in Sept (still finished 8th in Voting).  Hernandez sports a 110 - 86 record with a 3.20 ERA for his 9 year career.  Expect nearly 16  - 18 wins this year with a near 3 ERA.  Photo: Chris Carlson - AP

Felix Hernandez has been the face of the Seattle Mariners since 2009 when he won 19 games for the Mariners. He followed up with a CY Young season in 2010. The last 3 years, he has gone 39 – 33, with a lowe 3 ERA, but finished 4th in Cy Young Voting in 2012, and was one of the frontrunners to win the 2013 AL Cy Young – before the team shut him down for the rest of the year in Sept (still finished 8th in Voting). Hernandez sports a 110 – 86 record with a 3.20 ERA for his 9 year career. Expect nearly 16 – 18 wins this year with a near 3 ERA. The Mariners have only had 2 winning seasons out of the time “King Felix has been on the team.  A start at Safeco Field for the team by him is worth about 10K fans extra. Photo: Chris Carlson – AP

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

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A decade of frustration has set in after the clubs best stretch of success proceeded if from the time Ken Griffey Jr. arrived, until longtime MGR. Lou Piniella left the fold in 2003.

That was the last season the Mariners were sniffing around a playoff spot.

Back then, attendance was nearly 40K per game at Safeco, and you see tailgate parties, and the smell of garlic wafted through the surrounding area of the park.

In 2012, the club hit an all time low in attendance for the new stadium, and it wasn’t much better in 2013.  Seattle drew just over 20,000 fans per game.

Something had to be done.  Other than games that brought tonnes of excitement, and the King’s Court Section for Felix Hernandez home outings, there wasn’t much for the teams fanbase to be happy about with the home team.

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Angels State Of The Union For 2014: A Hot Start Is Paramount For Success

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 also featured an anemic Bullpen in the 2013 campaign. But with AL West rivals all having significant injuries both to start the year and long-term for 2014, this has opened up the door for the start of campaign at least.  It is incumbent that their top guys stay injury free, and spend exactly no days on the DL, because they don't have suitable replacements to step in.  With poor starts to both of the last 2 years, this squad looks to break this trend in 2014.

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 also featured an anemic Bullpen in the 2013 campaign. But with AL West rivals all having significant injuries both to start the year and long-term for 2014, this has opened up the door for the start of the 2014 campaign at least. It is incumbent that their top guys stay injury free, and spend exactly no days on the DL, because they don’t have suitable replacements to step in. With poor starts to both of the last 2 years, this squad looks to break this trend this seasom.

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

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Hunter Stokes (Our chief writer) wrote a piece that was picked up by MLB Trade Rumors blogroll, stating that Jerry DiPoto has done a poor job in constructing the current team based on the roster tree here.

I agree with him 100% on this, especially on the moves, the Bullpen not being 100% finished yet, the Starting Rotation too reliant on their top 2 pitchers – and we have had several of their fans take some jabs at us for going with these notions.

The club’s brass has had a better winter in 2013 going into 2014, then they had last year, however it still doesn’t alleviate the fact, this team can’t sustain one injury to any of their top players because of said moves to deplete their depth.

The Starting Staff is composed of 60% of youth that is not used to toting long innings in Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs.

The team has a lot of players that will strikeout a lot, so it is also important to receive key HRs at crucial times in the game.

The club will also lose 34 HRs worth of power they received from Mark Trumbo in 2013, but it was the right time to move him.  Whether they received enough of a return is yet to be determined, but it also cut down the whiffs for 2014.

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Bold Predictions For MLB Players/Teams In 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It is time for bold predictions for players in 2014.  I personally think it is going to be the most exciting season ever in the MLB.

My enthusiasm is tempered a little by the high payroll teams starting to flex their muscles around.

When will the MLB wake up and realize they should have a more equal playing field for the teams?

Anyways that is a different blog for another time. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The MLB 2014 World Series As Of Right Now

Yes it has taken years for the Mariners to build their Minor League Systems up, and begin to see the fruits of their labour, however risking all a huge chunk of their team salary on a player - who might see a harsh decline in his production - based on variant factors, is a gamble they simply shouldn't delve into.  Perhaps with the outcome of the meeting the club had with Cano, it has effectively burned the bridges between the two parties?  The M's are on the cusp of breaking through to success, but they should take the Pirates mode of getting there, instead of trying to jump the shark too early.

Yes it has taken years for the Mariners to build their Minor League Systems up, and begin to see the fruits of their labor, however risking  a huge chunk of their team salary on a player – who might see a harsh decline in his production – based on variant factors, is a gamble they simply shouldn’t have delved into.  The M’s are on the cusp of breaking through to success, but they should take the Pirates mode of getting there, instead of trying to jump the shark too early.  While the ramifications of the Cano deal might blow up long-term, look for this team to be better for the next couple of years.  They also make our ‘good valued teams’ for Winning the 2014 World Series.

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

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The Oddsmakers have finally dropped the Angels in the rankings.  At +1600, they are still not down as far as I would put them, however they are outside the top 10 now.

As you will see in a post this weekend done by Hunter Stokes, I am still surprised to see the Yankees more of an underdog than the Boston Red Sox.

In his report, Hunter will show you the age of both teams is similar – while the lineups are more comparable in 2014 then they were in 2013.

Tampa Bay is still the class of the bunch at +2000.  In some Vegas Casino’s – this club may be posted as more of a favorite, but at http://www.bet365.com, they are still at that mark. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 25, 2014

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Today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast is a bit of a grab bag.

I talk a little about Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and a strange way I propose the Mariners should use them.

And I quote haiku master Masaoka Shiki… like you do.

To subscribe to The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast on iTunes, click HERE.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 25, 2014

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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“Stoking The Fire” Week 4: Mariners State Of The Union: Spend Some $$$ This Winter Seattle!!

Life has not been so great for the fans of the PAC NW of late.  The Mariners have regressed in the last decade of baseball - and are withering with the lowest attendance teams in the game of baseball.  This followed the 1st 5 years of Safeco Field's existence, where they were drawing over 3 Million fans - and competing in the AL West every year.  It is imperative this team spends money on quality Free Agents this winter.  Loaded with a multitude of young arms, and position players.  this franchise should be seeking power bats in the OF and 1B/DH positions

Life has not been so great for the fans of the PAC NW of late. The Mariners have regressed in the last decade of baseball – and are withering with the lowest attendance teams in the game of baseball. This followed the 1st 5 years of Safeco Field’s existence, where they were drawing over 3 Million fans – and competing in the AL West every year. It is imperative this team spends money on quality Free Agents this winter. Loaded with a multitude of young arms, and position players. this franchise should be seeking power bats in the OF and 1B/DH positions.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Nothing is more a waste of time, than watching a premiere talent like Felix Hernandez, have to suffer in the haphazard city of Seattle, while the team has entered a new generation of futility.

This is a franchise that was abysmal from 1977 – until the time that Ken Griffey JR. came to the rescue.

A few years later, armed with some good drafting – and Randy Johnson from trading away Mark Langston, and the team was ready to compete.

Of course I can always quote “Seinfeld” – where Jay Buhner was also acquired for DH Slugger Ken Phelps.

But since Lou Pinella followed ALL – Stars out the door in 2004, Johnson, (1998) Griffey (1999) and Alex Rodriguez in (2000), the club has fallen on some hard times.

At first the team was stoic with the players leaving the nest, as Jamie Moyer and Ichiro Suzuki helped lead the charge for a record winning 116 Games in 2001.

Suzuki was the right infusion when the other guys left, and he stayed graciously with the team until mid 2012.

Raul Ibanez Highlights:

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Odds To Win The 2014 MLB World Series + Around The MLB Horn For Quick Team Wish Lists

The Red Sox may have won the 2013 World Series, but they are not the 2014 favorites.  No team has repeated since the Yankees won 3 straight titles from 1998 - 2000.

The Red Sox may have won the 2013 World Series, but they are not the 2014 favorites. No team has repeated since the Yankees won 3 straight titles from 1998 – 2000.

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

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Now that the Boston Red Sox have won the 2013 World Series, the oddsmakers have already dropped them, plus fellow 2013 Fall Classic Participants (St. Louis) to be tied for the 3rd seed, with the Washington Nationals.

A massive surprise on the list are the Los Angeles Angels, who will have the 6th favorite slot to win the World Series at +1400.

If you are looking for value, you should consider the Reds (Tied for the 8th seed) at +1600.  They are merely a few players, and perhaps a few tweaks from going far in one of these playoffs.

2013 World Series Champion – Red Sox

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Looking Back At Some Of The Highlights From The Mariners 2013 Season

As Safeco Field closes it's roof for the season, let's take a look back at the brighter moments from the Mariners abysmal 2013 season.

In 2014, the Seattle franchise will be welcoming in a new coach – as Eric Wedge will not be returning for another year as the team’s skipper.  As Safeco Field closes it’s roof for the season, let’s take a look back at the brighter moments from the Mariners abysmal 2013 year – in which they finished 71 – 91, only good for 4th in the AL West.

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

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The Seattle Mariners 2013 season left a lot to be desired.

The Mariners continued to lose fans as they didn’t play competitive baseball for the majority of the season. However, there were some memorable highlights and breakout performances that made the Mariners season slight more bearable.

Here’s a look back at the more enjoyable aspects of the Mariners 2013 regular season. 

SEA @ OAK: Farquhar fans Cespedes to lock down the save

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (September.24th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo: Chris Lee - St. Louis Post Dispatch

Photo: Chris Lee – St. Louis Post Dispatch

 

Michael Wacha no hit the Washington Nationals until there were 2 outs in the 9th inning. He let up an infield single, but his 8 2/3 innings were enough for St. Louis’ 2-0 win.

James Paxton dominated for 7 innings, letting up 4 hits, walking none and striking out 10 as the Mariners seriously damaged the Royals post season hopes, 4-0.

Pedro Alvarez doubled twice and drove in 3 leading the Pirates closer to home field in the Wild Card game by topping the Cubs, 8-2.

Jason Giambi came off the bench and delivered a 2 out 2 run walk off come from behind homer that gave Cleveland the 5-4 win over the White Sox and turned what could have been a devastating loss into possibly the highlight of the Indians’ season.

They all owned baseball on September 24, 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Highlights 2012

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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

Triple Play Podcast Ep #5 – An Interview With James Paxton And A Full Farm Report

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Monday, April.22/2013

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)

This week we introduce our first edition of Down on the Farm, a in-depth look at the hot prospects and future big league superstars. Former Astros and Mariners scout and current rotowire.com and mlb.com analyst Bernie Pleskoff joined us to give a scouts view .

We also spent a few minutes with Seattle Mariners pitching prospect James Paxton. Finally Curt Gill of atlantabaseball.com stopped by to give us the goods on what’s going on in Atlanta. All that plus our Bethubb.com best bets. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Top 100 Prospects: A Rebuttal To The MLB.com’s Top 100

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Tuesday February.12, 2013

Our favorite Minor League Prospect - Tyler Austin has been invited to Yankees Spring Training in 2013.

By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent)

Before I show you my top 100 prospects – I want to get you familiar with my grading tactics and styles and what I value most. All prospects have ceilings and very few players reach that ceiling. First lets go through the tools of what I personally value most and where.

Tools: 

Bat:1
Power:2
Speed:3
Glove:4
Arm:5
Makeup:?

Those are the 5(6) tools that scouts use and the scale goes from 20-80. 80 being HOF rare like Giancarlo Stanton Power and 20 being absolutely terrible like Bengie Molina has 20 speed. Most people reading this will probably have more than 20 speed so that’s how pathetic it is.

Jurickson Profar Prospect Highlights:

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Seattle Mariners Roster in 2013: State Of The Union:

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Thursday, January.31/2013

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

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

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

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

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

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

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

Felix Hernandez Highlights:  Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised

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Vargas/Morales Trade Fills Needs For Both Teams

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Friday, January.04,  2013

Kendrys Morales had a breakout year with the Angels in 2009, where he he hit .306 with 34 HRs and 108 RBI.  He also clubbed 43 Doubles and carried an OPS of .924 for the year which propelled him to a top 5 AL MVP Finish.

Kendrys Morales had a breakout year with the Angels in 2009, where he he hit .306 with 34 HRs and 108 RBI. He also clubbed 43 Doubles and carried an OPS of .924 for the year which propelled him to a top 5 AL MVP Finish. In 2010, he suffered an ankle injury celebrating a Walk-Off Grand Slam in Angels Stadium.  His OPS was .778  in 2012,  can he regain his previous form in Seattle?

Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Trade Correspondent):

It is rare in baseball that division rivals complete trades.  Most of the time when it does happen, it is a lower end deal involving pieces that neither team is particularly worried will come back to haunt them.  This is what makes the Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales trade so interesting.  It is a trade that makes incredible sense for all parties involved, but there is at least some likelihood that either or both players could make their former club regret the move in the short term.  Let’s take a closer look at the players involved in the deal and why each club wanted to make this move.

On the Angels side, the team was in dire need of innings they could count on.  After acquiring Tommy Hanson and his questionable shoulder as well as losing Zack Greinke to their cross-town rivals, the Dodgers, the Angels needed to find a starter who could give them guaranteed innings.  Enter Jason Vargas.  Vargas has been good for 190 plus innings over the last three season including over 200 Innings Pitched in 2011 and 2012. Vargas is a back-end of the rotation starter who has one terrific pitch in his arsenal, which is his change-up. Vargas’ change-up is an elite pitch.  To help characterize how elite a pitch it can be, we can look to some statistical measures.  Per 100 pitches, Vargas saved 2.25 runs over the course of 2012 with his change-up. To understand in comparison, Justin Verlander‘s curveball, what many would consider his “put-away” pitch saved 2.04 runs per 100 pitches in 2012.  Now clearly, no one in their right mind is going to positively compare Vargas to Verlander, but in terms of Vargas’ change-up, I think it is important for everyone to understand that he does do something as well if not better than any other pitcher in the Major Leagues.  

The Brutal Kendrys Morales injury after a Grand Slam Walk-Off HR:

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James Paxton Deserves More Attention

Sunday, December 30th,2012

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Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

James Paxton is one of the most talented Left-Handed pitching prospects currently in the Minor Leagues. However, partially because he went through trouble entering the MLB Draft a few years ago, Paxton seems to be underrated be most of the baseball world. There is a decent chance that Paxton will make his MLB debut in Seattle before the All-Star Break, so he should have a chance to get some of the attention he deserves in 2012. The Mariners are lucky to have Paxton, whether they use him as a trading piece or they decide to keep him. James Paxton has the talent to become a #3 starter in the majors and it won’t be long before the baseball world is much more aware of this.

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My Top Six Worst MLB Teams in 2012

Sunday January 8th, 2012

Sam Evans: It’s no fun to be a fan of a losing team. Every game seems longer and it hurts to look around and see fans of the other teams loving every moment. There’s always supposed to be next year, but that kind of talk just hurts the players and coaches as much as it does the fans. Let’s look at my bottom five teams in 2012: based on the major league roster and talent in the system that could make an impact in the upcoming season.

25. Seattle Mariners: As a Mariners fan, this one hurts. It’s been eleven years since the Mariners made the playoffs. A city blessed with a beautiful new ballpark, Seattle hasn’t had much of chance to cheer on many winners in recent times.

Since he was hired in 2008, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has transformed the Mariners farm system into one of the best in the game. The problem is that the major league club is still struggling, and fans are losing interest. The Mariners are like New Year’s resolutions. They’re so promising at first, but after two weeks, most people just give up.

So far this offseason, the Mariners have been rumored to be actively pursuing Prince Fielder. The argument for Prince Fielder is that his contract would be worth the risk for the team given all of the fans he would draw… not to mention, the M’s need for a middle of the order slugger. However, other fans feel that Fielder is overpriced and point to the fact that if the Mariners signed Prince, they would be only the fourth team with two players making over $20M in 2012.

The Mariners do have some young promising players. Justin Smoak, a former top 10 BA prospect, will finally be healthy heading into the new year. Also, the M’s have a trio of young pitchers in the minors that are all top 100 prospects. James Paxton and Danny Hultzen could possibly see time in the rotation this year. Furthermore, last time I checked Felix Hernandez was still a Mariner, and he’s signed through 2014.

26. New York Mets: The Mets have always been second to the Yankees in New York in terms of popularity, but there’s never been this much of a difference. The Mets have been silent this offseason, except for a swap of outfielders with the Giants, and bringing in some bullpen help. The Mets do have Zack Wheeler (acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade) and Matt Harvey (2010 1st rounder) on the way, but neither will make a huge impact in ’12.

Jason Bay has struggled ever since receiving his enormous contract two years ago. In 2009, Bay hit 36 homers for the Red Sox. In 2010 and 2011, Bay had only eighteen homers. Part of the decline in numbers is the park factor that Citi Field has on hitters (which is due to change with the new park dimensions in 2012). It should be noted though that Bay hasn’t hit a home run to right field since June 28, 2010.

This year, the Mets should get Johan Santana back. I wrote about Johan in November here. If he is healthy this year, hopefully the Mets can get something out of Santana, who is due $24M in 2012.

The Mets future will be based on how they spend their money and how they control their prospects. If the Mets hadn’t pushed Jenrry Mejia, chances are he wouldn’t have gotten injured. If the Mets hadn’t signed the Jason Bay and Johan Santana contracts, then they would have had the money to go after Prince Fielder this offseason (in theory). New York has a long ways to go to compete with the other N.L. East teams, and they’re going to need to make smart long-term decisions to get there.

27. San Diego Padres: The Padres acquired Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso this offseason in an attempt to boost their offense. They ended up trading away Mat Latos and Anthony Rizzo, and losing Heath Bell and Aaron Harang to free agency.

Carlos Quentin is really going to struggle in Petco Park, and Alonso is going to have his share of issues developing into a power hitter with his new team. The fact is that the Padres will never have a terrible pitching staff due to the spacious Petco Park effect. But their rotation is actually as bad as it has been in some years. I also am a supporter of Will Venable, and I think the Padres would be making a mistake if they traded him.

San Diego plays in a division where it’s not impossible that they could make a nice run and make the playoffs. But I would be surprised.

28. Oakland Athletics: Led by GM Billy Beane, the Athletics have been extremely active this offseason. They’ve shipped away their best pitchers and let their best hitter leave in free agency. The A’s have had a good offseason, thanks to all the new talent that they’ve imported into their farm system.

2012 is not going to be the year of resurgence for the A’s. 2013, maybe, but right now the Angels and Rangers are just too good. The A’s strength is probably their middle infield which will feature Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington. If Chris Carter can show some power in the majors, then he will do just fine at DH.

With acquisitions such as Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Cole, Billy Beane has shown he’s not afraid to trade his best major league players in order to obtain talent that won’t be ready for a year or two.

29. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles were a promising team heading into 2011. The “Fighting Showalter’s” had a late run in 2010, and Buck Showalter seemed to be really getting through to the players. Unfortunately, 2011 didn’t go as expected for the Orioles. They finished 69-93 and solidified their reputation as the worst baseball team in the A.L East, if not the whole American League.

The  2011 Orioles will forever go down in baseball history not for their season, but for their last game against the Red Sox on September 28, 2011. The Orioles were down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth on the last day of the season. Going into the game,  the Red Sox were 77-0 on the season when leading after the eighth inning. The Orioles came back to win, and they will forever be remembered for their contributions to one of the best days in baseball history.

2012 can be a  successful year for the Orioles if they discover an ace… and if Adam Jones improves his game to the next level. It’s not going to be easy, but if everything falls into place, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette could lead the Orioles out of the A.L. East basement in the next coming years.

30. Houston Astros: Moving into the 2011 season, the Astros were projected by pretty much everyone in baseball to be the worst team in baseball. Well, at least they didn’t let anyone down. The Astros finished 56-106, which was the worst record in all of baseball.

I traveled to Houston this summer and I expected to find an uninterested Astros fanbase. I was surprised to see countless devoted fans who truly cared about their team. Astros fans are out there and they will start coming back to Minute Maid Park when the team starts winning.

Sorry Houston fans, but 2012 isn’t going to be much fun for you. Chances are that you will return to the basement of the N.L. Central and lose over one hundred games. Nevertheless, there is hope. Jose Altuve is turning into a nice young second basemen who can hit for average . Jordan Lyles can be a #3 starter, and Jarred Cosart could finally reach the bigs in 2012.

Another piece of the silver lining is Houston’s new General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who is involved in sabermetrics and helped build the Cardinals who won the 2011 World Series. Luhnow was in the Cardinals scouting department since 2003 and helped produce major league talent from the draft. He also has been a General Manager for Petstore.com, and has an M.B.A from Northwestern. His first move was trading for Jed Lowrie. On the surface this seems like a solid deal, whereby he attained a young talented infielder for his new organization. In my opinion, this is going to look like an amazing hire in four years time.

So even if 2012 is rough, Astros fans can start looking towards the future. It might take a couple of seasons, but it won’t be long  before the Astros are packing Minute Maid Park everyday. Ironically, the road to the respectability for the worst team in the majors won’t happen until they move to the A.L. West. With the Rangers and Angels waiting in their new division, the journey towards success for the Astros will get that much tougher in 2013.

**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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