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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ortiz Is Almost Done Playing: Who Will Be The Next Great DH Among The AL Clubs??

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years.  Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition.  With all of the teams imploring several employees to scouting staffs - trying to find advantages to bring to Major League Lineups - why aren't teams focusing on the DH position more.  Ortiz has been a full time DH since joining the Red Sox, and has been instrumental in the club bringing home 3 World Series Titles.  In fact, the only time the team has struggled in the last decade, was if "Big Papi" is hurt or struggling.

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years. Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition. With all of the teams imploring several employees to scouting staffs – trying to find advantages to bring to Major League Lineups – why aren’t teams focusing on the DH position more. Ortiz has been a full time DH since joining the Red Sox, and has been instrumental in the club bringing home 3 World Series Titles. In fact, the only time the team has struggled in the last decade, was if “Big Papi” is hurt or struggling.

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

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There is no doubt in my mind that the Red Sox has won 3 World Series Titles in the last 10 years because they have had the quintessential DH in the American League.

While other teams have used the position as a rest stop for aging players, or stop-gap measure for players with defensive faulty, clubs have not seemed to have stressed emphasis on the slot in the lineup.

My question is why?  With everyone always searching for an edge in today’s game, you have one sitting right in front of you, that equates to over 600 AB a year.

David Ortiz (Post Season Heroics 2013)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seemed only a few years ago that every team had a bopper capable of hitting .300 with 30 HR’S and 100 RBI’s.  Upon further investigation, I found out some interesting facts.

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Wishful Thinking – Chicago White Sox Style!

2013 was, by far, one the worst years for the Chicago White Sox, but one of many in a long run of disappointments for the organization. Teams in major markets should have contending on the field regularly. The Sox have a ways to go in order to shore up their poor farm system, and put home grown talent on the field.

2013 was, by far, one the worst years for the Chicago White Sox, but one of many in a long run of disappointments for the organization. Teams in major markets should have contending on the field regularly. The Sox have a ways to go in order to shore up their poor farm system, and put home grown talent on the field.

By ‘White Sox Correspondent’ Brian Madsen 

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As much as I enjoy watching the MLB postseason, it’s a constant reminder of my favorite team’s failures.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching Juan Uribe hit a game winning HR, sending the Dodgers to the NLCS.

I just wish that was MY team headed to the League Championship Series.

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A Phillies 2014 Forecast, Part I: “The Emperor Has No Clothes”

I certainly wish Amaro was a little more Ben Franklin and a lot less Daft Punk as 2013's Song of the Summer, "Get Lucky", coincidentally captured the embattled GM's philosophy for this year's Phillies. When the song's lyrical hook defiantly proclaims, "We've come too far to give up who we are", I can easily see Ruben's head bobbing an arrogant yes, yes, yes to the beat en route to his office at One Citizens Bank Way. Unfortunately, who the Phillies are right now under Amaro's stubborn direction are a team that is painting themselves into a corner. The current roster carries several veterans already past their prime, but with very few promising young stars in the making ready to carry the torch.

I certainly wish Amaro was a little more Ben Franklin and a lot less Daft Punk as 2013’s Song of the Summer, “Get Lucky”, coincidentally captured the embattled GM’s philosophy for this year’s Phillies. When the song’s lyrical hook defiantly proclaims, “We’ve come too far to give up who we are”, I can easily see Ruben’s head bobbing an arrogant yes, yes, yes to the beat en route to his office at One Citizens Bank Way. Unfortunately, who the Phillies are right now under Amaro’s stubborn direction are a team that is painting themselves into a corner. The current roster carries several veterans already past their prime, but with very few promising young stars in the making ready to carry the torch.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via  http://www.oldcitybaseball.com – visit the website here

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“I live on a one-way street that’s also a dead end. I’m not quite sure how I got there.” - Steven Wright, Comedian

Sounds about right.

It should be obvious to most that Ruben Amaro Jr.’s ego has been waging war against his own rational sense of decision-making and his ability to consider the future of this Phillies franchise since he was handed the keys to the palace back in November 2008.

A speckled and spotty track-record ripe with big-splash acquisitions along with several transactions banking on a player’s abilities of yesteryear–each of which left the cupboard mostly bare down on the farm–is all he has to show during his tenure as the big boss man.

Even the most optimistic of Philadelphia fans (including myself) now envision the Phillies ship as a tired, rudderless old vessel drifting through uncharted waters without a compass. How did it ever come to this?

Ryan Howards Injury 2011 NLDS


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Someone Should Take A 30 AB Flyer On Rick Ankiel: (Even For A 40 Man Sept Roster Spot)

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Sunday, June.30/2013

Rick Ankiel has hit for 76 HRs and a Slash Line of .240/.302/.724 in 1858 Career At-Bats.  Ankiel is the 1st player to win at least 10 Games a Pitcher and hit 50 HRs in the Major Leagues since Babe Ruth.  Ankiel could be used in any of the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the starting lineup, Ankiel would help just about any MLB Team.  This year the man hit .188/.235/.657 - but had 15 XBH (7 HRs, 1 - 3B and 7 2B - with 18 RBI in just 128 AB).

Rick Ankiel has hit for 76 HRs and a Slash Line of .240/.302/.724 in 1858 Career At-Bats. He is the 1st player to win at least 10 Games a Pitcher and hit 50 HRs in the Major Leagues since Babe Ruth. Ankiel could be used in any of the Outfield Positions as a PH/defensive replacement even if he is not in the starting lineup, he would help just about any MLB Team. This year the man hit .188/.235/.657 – but had 15 XBH (7 HRs, 1 – 3B and 7 2B – with 18 RBI in just 128 AB).

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

Rick Ankiel was DFA’d recently by the New York Mets.  Since he is one of my favorite players – I nicknamed him “Mr. Mission Impossible” – because he always seems to self – destruct after 30 – 35 AB with a new team.

Cast as one of the biggest underdogs/inspirational stories of ALL – time in the game of baseball I am here to give him his due.  I don’t even care if he never plays another inning in the field….or has another AB in the Majors.

The former Pitcher has had a flair for some dramatic moments in his 13 year career as both a hitter and a pitcher.

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Good Start Gone Bad For The White Sox

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Monday April.29/2013

Any fan of the Chicago White Sox knows that they hit a lot of HR's. HR's are a good thing, obviously. Although when it seems like the ONLY way a team can score, some consider it a problem. I wrote earlier in the season that the Sox had gotten of to a good start, going 4-2. They proceeded to get swept by the Washington Nationals, no shame in that, then have struggled ever since. Heading into last Monday, White Sox starting pitchers had 6 consecutive quality starts, consisting of a 1.63 ERA and a .201 OPP BA. Based on those stats alone, one would think the Sox went 4-2 in that span, maybe 5-1? Nope, 1-5.

Any fan of the Chicago White Sox knows that they hit a lot of HR’s. HR’s are a good thing, obviously. Although when it seems like the ONLY way a team can score, some consider it a problem. I wrote earlier in the season that the Sox had gotten of to a good start, going 4-2. They proceeded to get swept by the Washington Nationals, no shame in that, then have struggled ever since.Heading into last Monday, White Sox starting pitchers had 6 consecutive Quality Starts, consisting of a 1.63 ERA and a .201 OPP BA. Based on those stats alone, one would think the Sox went 4-2 in that span, maybe 5-1? Nope, 1-5.

By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): 

The Club Struggles To String Together hits in 2013 season

Heading into play Monday night, the club has gone 10 – 14 to start this year – and currently sit behind the KC Royals by 4 1/2 Games right now for the AL Central Division Lead.  It doesn’t get easy for the team having to face Darvish and the Rangers on Tuesday night – to kick off a 9 Game Road Trip, where they also visit Kansas City and the New York Mets.

So the White Sox are offensively challenged you ask? Absolutely. In the first game of what turned out to be only a 2 game series with the Minnesota Twins this last week due to cold, Jake Peavy pitched masterfully. But, he took a no-decision in a 2-1 Sox loss.

Game 2 of that series, Gavin Floyd had his best start all season. But, it was all for naught as the Sox offense could only muster 2 Runs, and lost 3-2.

Rewind back a week or so ago when the Sox lost 2 of 3 games in Cleveland. Jose Quintana pitched a gem, throwing 7 scoreless Innings, allowing only one hit, while Striking out 7.

But, the Sox offense was shut down by Justin Masterson, and lost in 10 innings, 1-0. Now, games like this are going to happen throughout a 162 game season.

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Harmon Killebrew’s 1955 Topps Rookie Card

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Saturday, April.20, 2013

Killer was an 11 Time All - Star and an 6 time HR King and led the AL in RBI 4 times as well. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career.  The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew's patience...He Walked 1559 times  in 2435 Games Played.  His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884. Killebrew also had a great eye leading the League in Walks in 4 separate seasons (66', 67', 69', 71).

Killer was an 11 Time All – Star and an 6 time HR King and led the AL in RBI 3  times as well. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career. Killenbrew also had a great eye – in leading the American League in  Walks in 4 separate years.  Overall, he Walked 1559 times in 2435 Games Played. His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 10

Harmon Killebrew

This week’s article features a member of the 500 Home Run club.

During the decade of the 1960’s, sluggers named Hank Aaron,Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, and Frank Robinson, in the prime of their careers, bashed balls out of the ballpark in record fashion.

In 1961, Mantle and Maris duked it out as the baseball world watched their assault on Babe Ruth’s single season Home Run record. But after the dust had settled on the 60’s, it was a quiet gentleman named Harmon Killebrew who wound up hitting more Home Runs in the decade than anyone else.

Nicknamed “The Killer”, although he was anything but, he pounded 393 Home Runs in that ten year period:

Harmon Killebrew Tribute:

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The Marlins Seriously Make Stupid Choices

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Tuesday, April.02/2013

The Marlins will start year 2 of their ball park with about 33 % of their 2012 Team Salary.  They essentially have traded away veteran over the course of last season and then in the winter.  The club builds up for a few years, then tears it all with lighting fast movements.  When will the cycle end and the Marlins have some consistency with the product on the field?

The Marlins will start year 2 of their ball park with about 33 % of their 2012 Team Salary. They essentially have traded away every veteran over the course of last season and in the winter of 2013.  Just like they have always done, the club builds up for a few years, then tears it all down with lighting fast movements. When will the cycle end and the Marlins have some consistency with the product on the field?

MLB Reports:  Welcome to our newest Kids writer  Jason Alpert-Wisnia – for being selected to join our MLB Reports Kids Writing team.  We are pleased to present the readers with a youthful look to the game of baseball.  Moms and Dad’s – if you have a young kid who loves baseball and wants to write about the game, please email us at mlbreports@gmail.com.  We will be selecting three more kid writers for our website this year. 

By Jason Alpert-Wisnia  (AKA “JAWS”): (MLB Reports Kids Writer – visit his website here )

The Miami Marlins are a semi-new team compared to other teams such as the Red Sox, debuting as a team in the season of 1993 as the Florida Marlins.  They won two championships in that time, yet tore down the team right after.

In 2012, the team moved to Marlins Park with a boatload of new players and I say, after that, it was only a matter of the, before the team was headed for a downfall.  The past was sure to  repeat itself.

Florida Marlins Story on 1997 and 2003:

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Baltimore Orioles Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward Mar.15/2013

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Friday, March.15/2013

Buck Showalter had one of the best managerial season in recent vintage with the 2012 version of the Baltimore Orioles, will the fans and management turn on him if there is a small regression in 2013?

Buck Showalter had one of the best managerial season in recent vintage with the 2012 version of the Baltimore Orioles, will the fans and management turn on him if there is a small regression in 2013?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

believe that 2013 will be a regressive season for the Baltimore Orioles.  Much like the 2011 Arizona DiamondBacks in the National League, all of the bounces and luck went the Orioles way to have a magical year of a playoff berth in 2012.  A crazy amount of 1 run wins, extra inning wins and a brilliant bullpen defied the odds in the American League in order to compete.  

I still think the Baltimore Orioles will be competitive in 2013, I just don’t see a 90 win team.  The team is not saddled with many outrageous contracts left, however it is a shame that Brian Roberts (10 Million Dollars Per Year) can’t stay healthy.  They will need repeat years from Adam Jones and Chris Davis, plus significant increases in production from J.J. Hardy,   Matt Wieters  and  Nick Markakis will need to hit his .300+.

This team has to take a run at a few players via trade or a remaining Free Agent.  The need for a power hitting DH and another OF with Pop to play LF would be a wise decision.  The ownership will need to extend the payroll for this very option.  Also, they will need to plunk down some dough to sign an ace on the Free Agency market.   You can’t tell me that a guy like Kyle Lohse won’t help the club!

2012 Winning Mix Highlights:

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Howard And Utley: Healthy And Ready For A Huge 2013

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Friday, March. 1/2013

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard guest starring on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” I love this show and this episode, but it is wildly inappropriate and I would not suggest it for children. Chase and Ryan were awesome in it.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard guest starring on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” I love this show and this episode, but it is wildly inappropriate and I would not suggest it for children. Chase and Ryan were awesome in it.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have played for the Philadelphia Phillies their entire careers to this point. They have been holding down the right side of the infield for the Phillies consistently since 2006 – and have been tearing apart pitching from the 3-4 slots in the lineup for equally as long. They each played in 100+ games every year since the 2006 season, until an injury plagued 2012 campaign for the duo.

Howard managed to play just 71 games, and Utley only 83. Maybe age is starting to catch up with the 33 year old Howard and 34 year old Utley, and if it is, that is a terrible sign for the Phillies playoff aspirations because their offense has been built around the two (plus standout Shortstop Jimmy Rollins). I think the Utley – Howard combo still has productive seasons left with in Philadelphia, and 2013 should prove that. I expect them to be bright spots in the lineup for a team that has become largely reliant on their starting pitching to achieve success.

Baseball Friends Utley and Howard:

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The Most Underrated Statistic: Extra Base Hits (XBH)

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Saturday, February.02/2013

Alex  Rodriguez is the Active Leader for XBH with 1190, however who knows when he will have a chance to resume his career again and is still owed 114 Million Dollars over the next 5 years

Alex Rodriguez is the Active Leader for XBH with 1190, however who knows when he will have a chance to resume his career again with injuries + allegations of PED use perhaps sparking an investigation/suspension for the MLB and is still owed 114 Million Dollars over the next 5 years.

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

I have nothing against sabermetrics in baseball.  Yes I know they are not going away and I will probably learn them one day as someone who can comprehend Math pretty good.  However, I understand the frustration of the casual fan who will not set a foot near them – although they know what Home Runs and Runs Batted In are.  I have thrown the topic out for discussion on Twitter – and am extremely curious to see what percentage of fans actually follow the new numbers formats.  This site totally allows our writers to convey any form of statistical analysis they want.  The only thing that I request, is that if  they use sabermetrics, to also add some regular stats with them.

One of the stats that can gauge any era since the beginning of baseball is Extra Base Hits.  Before the fences were brought in (or even put up), Doubles and Triples could be hit at any time.  Singles are great in the game too.  There have been several great baseball players that are singles hitters, that also compiled a bunch of Doubles and Triples.  That is why this statistic is fairest to all of the hitters in the history of the game and the most comparable.  Like the old saying, (hit’em where they ain’t), players that can hit the baseball into the open areas of the outfield are special.  Babe Ruth re-coined the phrase later when he said “Well they ain’t over the fence, so that’s where I hit them!”  The Bambino was right.  In the course of this article, we will list the top active list for this category – and some underrated hitters that may stack up nicely against historical hitters.

(Pete Rose Highlights):

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Three Potential Bargains In MLB Free Agency: Lohse, K-Rod And Thome/Hafner Tandem

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

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Kyle Lohse was 16-3 with an NL Best .842 Win PCTG in 2012 - with a Career best 2.86 ERA

Kyle Lohse was 16-3 with an NL Best .842 Win PCTG in 2012 – with a Career best 2.86 ERA,

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

Travis Hafner, Francisco Rodriguez, and Kyle Lohse have all shown that they can be above-average Major League players. However, with all three above the age of 30, teams are nervous to sign any of them to the multi-year contracts they want. Hafner has dealt with knee and back injuries over the past two seasons, but he still can bring power to an American League team in need of a DH. Francisco Rodriguez has always dealt with off the field issues, but he was very effective as Milwaukee’s set-up man in 2012. Kyle Lohse, who is coming off a season in which he posted a 3.51 FIP in 211, is the top free agent pitcher on the market right now but his age and inconsistency scares away possible suitors. Despite their age, inconsistency, and injuries, all three of these players could play a large role on MLB teams in 2013.

Travis Hafner Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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The Angels May Take The Torch As The Best All Around 1-4 Lineup In The MLB

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Saturday, January.19,  2013

Trout had 49 SB, 129 Runs 30 HRs and 83 RBI in just 138 Games. Might he improve on these numbers with a full year and the addition of Josh Hamilton to the cleanup spot in 2013?

Trout had 49 SB, 129 Runs 30 HRs and 83 RBI in just 138 Games. Might he improve on these numbers with a full year and the addition of Josh Hamilton to the cleanup spot in 2013?

Josh Jones (Angels Correspondent):

The 2013 Los Angeles of Anaheim have the opportunity to post one of the most fearsome foursome’s in Major League Baseball history.  The lineup posts three MVP-caliber talents. American League Rookie of the Year Mike Trout leading off with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hitting third or fourth respectively makes Angel fans ecstatic to watch this year’s club. Either Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar will flank Trout and Pujols, hoping to take pitches and take walks in order to allow Trout to run and Pujols to have a bounty of runners on. The 1-4 hitters have the potential to be one of the greatest lineup toppers that the game has seen.  Let’s compare them to some of the best 1-4 lineups in the last few decades:

Josh Hamilton signs autographs right after his Angels Press Conference:

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What Happened To The Once Competitive Twins? Can They Turn It Around?

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Thursday January 17, 2013

After very disappointing seasons in 2011 (63-99) and 2012 (66-96), the Twins look to rebound in 2013.

After very disappointing seasons in 2011 (63-99) and 2012 (66-96), the Twins look to rebound in 2013.  The Twins were a model franchise from 2002-2010.  They won the AL Central Division in 6 out of the 9 years – and one of the years they didn’t win the Division included a 1 Game playoff loss to the White Sox in 2008.  Will 2013 be a return to competitiveness or end up as another rebuilding year?

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports intern):

In 2010 the Minnesota Twins seemed like they would be having themselves a good club in upcoming years. To start off the exciting season they opened up a brand new stadium. Target Field has quickly become one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of baseball. The team ended up with a 94-68 record, quite impressive considering Justin Morneau was knocked out for the remainder of 2010 with a concussion on July 7. They reached the playoffs coming in first in the AL Central proving they didn’t need Morneau to be a successful franchise. They got swept by the Yankees in the ALDS for the second straight year. Even though they were swept, nobody was ignoring the regular season record. It seemed as if they had years to look forward too.

So now comes the 2011 season. Fans had big hopes for their Twins the summer of 2012. No injuries coming into opening day and they had made some moves in the offseason. They signed Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka to fill a whole in the middle infield. Carl Pavano and Jim Thome were also resigned by Minnesota. 2011 looked like it would be a year like 2010 for the Twins.

Awesome Stop Motion Video from a Twins Fan at Target Field

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

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Tuesday January 1st, 2013

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

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

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

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

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

David Ortiz Highights:

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What 2012 Really Meant to the St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday November 1st, 2012

2012 was a season that ended with disappointment which ultimately distracted us from recognizing what a successful year it really was. 2012 highlighted a lot of the greatness that is to come for this great franchise.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer)

The St. Louis Cardinals came into 2012 as the defending World Series Champions.  In 2011 they just eked their way into the post season on the final day of the regular season when they defeated the Houston Astros and the Braves, who were tied for the wild card spot with St. Louis, ended up losing to the Phillies in extra innings.  Coming into the 2011 postseason, the Cardinals were huge underdogs.  That didn’t stop them from going for what they wanted: to win it all.

While most analysts amongst the sport would not have guessed St. Louis would even make it to the World Series, yet alone win it, the Red Birds emerged to show their true colors.  The current team that the city of St. Louis has assembled and gets to watch for 81 games a year is, undoubtedly, a team that plays on all cylinders and the highest octane fuel.  They play with the intensity of a little league team that wants nothing more than the coach to bring them out for ice cream when they win. Watching the Cardinals brand of baseball is to watch baseball again as a game, and not just as a competition played by millionaire athletes with tremendous talent.

Watching the scrappiness of St. Louis native David Freese in the 2011 playoffs is the perfect example.  His David Eckstein-like approach to the game reminds us all of one of our teammates back in middle school.  The one at the sandlot that always slid hard, tried to steal home, and complained when the rest of us wanted to go home because “it was getting dark”.  In 2011, David Freese and his 39 teammates played baseball together as a true team and sent Tony LaRussa home with a World Series title in his final year managing.  Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Trades And Deadline Deals Revisited for Contenders: Who Won and Lost

Friday, October.26/2012

Ichiro Suzuki played the best baseball he has in the last 2 years with the Yankees. It would be a wise move to re-sign the guy for at least the next season. In my opinion, they should have Jeter and Suzuki linked together on the club until they retire.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I love the new era of baseball.  One thing the 2nd Wild Card team enabled this year was a flurry of transactions right near the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, plus we even saw a bunch of trades between Aug.01-31 as well.  I am not going to breakdown the trades for who went the other way (unless both teams were in contention) since we have a dedicated page for that here.  What I am going to do is see who made out well with their new player.  I will tell you right  now that the hands down winner was the San Francisco Giants for picking up Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence.  Marco Scutaro hit .362 for the Giants and smacked 90 hits in 61 games.  He has parlayed another 19 hits in 59 AB during the playoffs (.322).

I am going to be writing a series of payroll breakdowns for each MLB team in the offseason.  I have already compiled reports for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals.  These reports can be found in my author archives here.  In addition to this, I am going to write another piece on Payroll Strategy specifically geared towards making runs at trades near the deadline.  Look for those in the coming weeks.  The work never ends here, and we will have you game ready for spring training when it comes to all of the clubs. Read the rest of this entry

The Legacy of Chris Carpenter: Savior in St. Louis

Thursday October 18th, 2012

Chris Carpenter started his career in Toronto after being the 15th overall selection in the 1994 draft. After the 2001 season, the Toronto Blue Jays made a calculated decision not to offer Carpenter a major league contract. He elected for free agency, rather than pitching in the minors for Toronto, and his legacy in St. Louis began when the Cardinals picked him up.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The legend of Chris Carpenter started as a 19-year-old pitching for the Medicine Hat Blue Jays in 1994.  He was the 15th overall pick by the World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 draft.  He was a physical specimen built to stand atop a 9.5” hill and stare down at hitters as they stared back at his 6 foot, 6 inch frame.  Drafted out of Manchester, New Hampshire, the 19-year-old already had a plus fastball and a nice curveball.  By 1997, at the age of 22, Chris Carpenter had broken into the Toronto Blue Jays rotation and was pitching against the best hitters in the world.

As a mid-season call up in 1997, Carpenter struggled in Toronto, hosting an ERA above 5.00 and a record of 3-7 over 13 games.  His role in Toronto was mostly to eat innings, and he was there to gain experience and hopefully blossom into what the Blue Jays brass new head could be.  He was in a rotation that consisted of the 1996 AL Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen, as well as the 1997 AL Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, so he had some serious  mentors to help guide him on breaking into the big leagues.  Despite his amazing talent, Carpenter struggled for most of his first season in Toronto and was eventually moved into the bullpen.  In 1998 however, he emerged and gave everyone at least a glimpse  of what would eventually come of Chris Carpenter, while proving himself to already be a competent starter capable of winning games.  He led the Toronto Blue Jays (tied with Pat Hentgen) with 12 wins in 1998, and continued to pitch well into 1999…at least until he became cursed by a spell of injuries. Read the rest of this entry

Enough With The Early Round Champagne Celebrations MLB!

Saturday, October.13/2012

This celebration of the Tigers was the final straw to me writing this article. The Tigers should count their lucky stars they won a weak division and that they drew the Athletics in the ALDS. Since when did these excessive celebrations for early round wins of the playoffs begin?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

am 36 years old.  In no way would I consider myself 100% a traditionalist when it comes to Major League Baseball.  I like the 2 Wild Card Slots, I like the Designated Hitter, as for Interleague play, I wish they had more of it so I could see every team waddle through Seattle every so often.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with some ‘old school’ philosophies and certain underwritten rules about the game.   One thing that has really set me off in watching the end of the season and the playoffs is the excessive Champagne Celebrations of the clubs once they win any series or clinch any playoff spot?  I mean come on fellas, you are celebrating like you have won everything in the game and we are not even into the League Championships Series.

I am out of line in thinking that this isn’t a new trend?  I don’t remember this many corks being popped off in previous years.  I have no problem with a team celebrating divisional and the World Series crowns with a party.  This has been a time-long tradition in the Major Leagues back to the start of the games existence.   Where I first starting seeing this epidemic fly was when the Braves clinched a playoff spot and then went hog-wild in their dressing room after the game.  I was surprised at their actions but almost dismissed it.  I understood that after last years collapse, plus the added pressure of trying to make the playoffs for Chipper’s last chance, that maybe they were just blowing off some steam.  If I were a player, I would be happy to be in the playoffs, however If I made it in via Wild Card, I would not carry on with an alcohol bender! I would be made I still lost the division. Read the rest of this entry

Orioles vs. Yankees: Curse of Maier May Be Over

Wednesday October 10th, 2012

The last time the Yankees and Orioles met in Postseason play was in 1996. The Orioles lost that series, and a lot of fingers were pointed at the controversial home run caught young fan, Jeffrey Maier. The Orioles postseason fate may be different this time around against the Bronx Bombers.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The last time the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees met in the playoffs was in 1996 in the ALCS.  Like in 2012, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter were on the Yankees roster.  The Orioles boasted a lineup that consisted of Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken Jr., B.J Surhoff, and Brady Anderson—who was having a career year.  That lineup, along with a rotation consisting of Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson and Jimmy Key, gave Baltimore an imposing roster that the Camden Faithful could expect to make a playoff run.

15 years later we see a tale that is much more of a David and Goliath story. The Orioles have not been in the playoff’s since 1997 and have finished 5th place in the AL East for the last 4 consecutive seasons.  The Yankees, conversely, have made the postseason 17 out of the last 18 seasons.  After getting off to a hot start, the Orioles made a trade for future Hall of Famer, Jim Thome, to help add some pop and veteran leadership to their lineup.  Even later in the season, when the team still found themselves in serious contention for October baseball, they called up 20-year-old phenom Manny Machado, who wasn’t even alive when Jim Thome took his first swing in the Major League.  Now, Manny Machado finds himself playing on the same field as his childhood hero, Alex Rodriguez. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Playoff Power Rankings and Predictions 2012

Friday, October.5/2012

The Reds have Joey Votto back and definitely are the deepest team in the playoffs. They start in San Francisco versus the Giants on Saturday in a best of 5 Series in the NLDS Round.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

In what could be one of the most exciting days in MLB History, we present to you a special edition of the MLB Reports Power Rankings,

1.  Cincinnati Reds:  The reason I have chosen these guys is because of their path to the World Series is probably easier than any other team in the MLB when it comes to Strength of Schedule.  Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier will challenge for NL Cy Young Votes and the Rookie of the Year Award.  They have a healthy Joey Votto and it is time for Brandon Phillips to show his playoff metal.  They have the greatest bullpen in the playoffs and are playing in the 1st round against the San Francisco Giants.  The Great American Ball Park should be a great home field advantage.

Unheralded Player to watch in this Playoffs:  Starting Pitcher Homer Bailey has pitched really well this year and is coming off a recent no-hitter.

2.  Detroit Tigers:  The Tigers are playing their best baseball of the season and caught a break when the Athletics won the AL West.  Miguel Cabrera was on fire in September en route to his AL Triple Crown win.  The Tigers were 32-11 in their last 43 home games and their solid pitching bodes well versus all of the homer centric teams in the AL.  Their toughest competition would be the Yankees and Rangers and I am not sure those teams will be able to match the pitching of the club.  While in my rankings I have given the #1 ranking to the Reds, the Tigers were my preseason pick to win the WS Title and it will all be on the backs of Prince Fielder and Cabrera. 

Unheralded player to watch in the Playoffs:  Omar Infante He is a great all around player who comes up with clutch hits.

Read the rest of this entry

The Philadelphia Phillies Franchise Part 2 of 4: The Hitters

Friday August.24/2012

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

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): -The Phillies have had an incredible run in the last decade of baseball.  Most of that time has been spent at Citizens Bank Ball Park which is a very hitter-friendly park.  The management was smart enough to draft a whole bunch of offensive talent like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and even J.D Drew(who never signed in 1997 with the Phillies and went back into the 1998 draft.)  They also traded Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco.  These guys have all taken advantage of the new baseball cathedral.  Ryan Howard leads all active players in HRs per AB in the Major Leagues with hitting a HR per just a little over 13 AB.  There is still a long way to go to chase down Michael Jack Schmidt.  His 548 Career HRs and 1595 RBI  lead the ALL-Time totals on the Phillies by quite a big margin.

Criteria for being put on this list was quite simple.  You had to be a player of significance on the Franchise.   Great watermarks are: 1000 hits, 100 HRs, 1000 games, if you led the league in any category for a few seasons or batted .285 or higher for the duration of your time.  This is what I was looking for to include the players on the list.  It has taken me a lengthy period of time to siphon through 130 years of baseball to bring you this list.  From Ed Delahanty and Billy Hamilton, to Richie Ashburn and Dick Allen, to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinki, to Von Hayes, to John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra, to Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen-to finally get us to the gentlemen aforementioned in the first paragraph.  I want this study to be as interactive as I can with the readers.  If you feel that there is someone worthy of being included in the list for hitters, please feel free to comment or send me an email to booth7629@gmail.com.  I would be glad to edit this post and add to it.  After all, if you are reading this, chances are you are a Phillies fan, I am just a baseball historian.

For Part 1 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series:  The Franchise- click here

For Part 3 of  The 4 Part Phillies Article Series:  The Pitchers- click here

For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series:  Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here

Ryan Howard Highlight reel

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

Jim Thome Traded to the Baltimore Orioles: Rate That Trade

Sunday July 1st, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  As part of our regular features here on MLB reports, we have a dedicated page to baseball trades. It is not a streaming trade tracker. Rather, it is a highlight of the key baseball trades that take place during the year. We look at the main participants, what was the deal, each team’s logic and deliver a verdict.  We call it “Rate That Trade“. Please feel free to bookmark it and check back regularly. If you love baseball deals as much as we do, then we know that you will have your opinion on each respective baseball swap. Leave your comments, send us an e-mail, keep in touch. We love debating baseball deals almost as much as we love reporting and analyzing them.

The big swap on the last day of June went down as follows:

The Philadelphia Phillies trade Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles, in exchange for two minor leagues, catcher Gabriel Lino and Pitcher Kyle Simon

Orioles Logic:  This deal makes sense on so many levels for Baltimore. This team spent a great deal of time in first place already this year. Currently in 2nd place, the Orioles are 5 games behind the 1st place Yankees. But watch out, Tampa Bay and Boston are only 1.5 games behind Baltimore for 2nd place. This team needs a push to stay in content. Enter Jim Thome. The 41-year old Thome still carries a big home run bat. He is a solid veteran presence on a young team still trying to find itself. Mark Reynolds and Wilson Betemit simply won’t cut it anymore at DH. Chris Davis is likely to take over as the full-time first baseman. While he is not considered a top defensive player, he has shown enough this year offensively to warrant a permanent lineup position. Thome changes the whole complexion of the lineup. Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis (when he returns), Brian Roberts, J.J. Hardy and Davis are nice weapons on their own. But the team needs a definite clean-up hitter. That’s Thome. While he can’t play every day, he will play enough to make a difference. The pressure will be off Jones to be the big bopper. Thome is also patient, something the young Orioles hitters would be well served to learn. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: July 1st, 2012

Sunday July 1st, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

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

JH:  Happy Canada Day…eh! I am proud to call Canada my home. So for my fellow Canadians, I wish you a great day today. For our American friends that celebrate the 4th of July, your day is coming up this week. So enjoy it, drink responsibly and make sure you have a designated driver. We want each of you alive through many World Series to come!

A couple of thoughts before we start this weekend’s edition of ATR:

Firstly, a big baseball trade went down yesterday. The Orioles acquired Jim Thome from the Phillies for minor leaguers Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon. I like this move from both ends quite frankly (catch my full review on Rate that Trade coming up).  Thome is a serious veteran presence in the O’s clubhouse and still swings a sweet hall of fame bat. He hits bombs and takes walks. The O’s trade two very young players who may or may not develop. The Phillies did not need Thome as a pinch-hitter and gave him a chance to play, while working towards replenishing their farm. One of those rare win-win scenarios.

Speaking the Orioles, did you catch my recent twitter conversation with Baseball Reporter Jen Royle? Well…the Baltimore Sun did and they ran an interesting article. You know what they say, any publicity is good publicity! Here is a bit of what they caught:

MLB reports asked Royle: “What is it the fans love most? Your charm?”

“They loved my honestly,” she replied, “and they absolutely love that I refued to root for the home team like Homer Simpson.”

MLB reports agreed with her distaste for “Homer” rooting.

“There are many homers that won’t listen to logic,” MLB said. “They think with baseball hearts. Not brains always. They can be fun too.”

And here’s Royle’s first dig: “Sounds like half the Orioles media… It was embarrassing.”

Remember Kevin Youkilis? Now a member of the Chicago White Sox. I talked to one of the top baseball reporters in the game recently on the subject. My colleague let me know that the Red Sox did as well as they could, literally no other team was offering a prospect for Youk. That still boggles my mind, but I guess Boston really put themselves in a no-win position. They traded Youk at his lowest point and had no leverage whatsoever. Still, paying most of his salary and not getting top players back…to me, the White Sox came out like bandits in this one. Wishing Youk all the best on his future, in Chicago this year and beyond.

Last but not least, the All-Star game is coming up from Kansas City in 9 short days. The Prospect Game is being played on Sunday July 8th, Home Run Derby comes your way on Monday July 9th and the big game itself, on Tuesday July 10th. We will have you covered, with previews and recaps of all the big All-Star game festivities and highlights.

Now that we have that behind us, on to your questions! Read the rest of this entry

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

Monday June.18/2012

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

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

TOP 10 as of June.17/2012

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

1. Alex Rodriguez NYY                              1169   (10)

2. Jim Thome PHI                                   1079   (20)

3. Chipper Jones ATL                              1026   (26)

4. Vladimir Guerrero (FA)                         972   (39)

5. Todd Helton COL                                   956   (45)

6. Albert Pujols  LAA                                 941   (50)

7. Bobby Abreu LAD                                  908   (60)

8. David Ortiz  BOS                                   886   (64)

9. Johnny Damon CLE                               859   (73)

10. Scott Rolen CIN                                   857   (75)

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

Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat of the Week: HRs per AB Career (Active)

Monday June.11, 2012

Russell Branyan has raw power and was never given a chance to play full time despite ranking 6th amongst active players in HRs per AB. Photo courtesy of seattlesportscentral.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Chicks dig the long ball right?  Well so do dudes.  There is a certain folklore of a player that can absolutely cream a baseball regardless of their batting average or ability to make contact all of the time.  One of my favorite players to watch swing a bat is Russell Branyan.  I follow the Seattle Mariners since they are my closest team for geography.  I was able to see what Russell “The Muscle” was able to do once he was given a chance to play every day for the Mariners.  He rewarded the club by pasting 31 HRs and knocking in 76 RBI in just 116 games during the 2009 year.  The next season, he started with the Cleveland Indians before rejoining the Mariners again at the end of June.  Branyan would electrify the crowds at Safeco by hitting another 15 HRs in just 205 AB. Branyan hits as many HRs per AB for a rate in his career as Mickey Mantle did.  Branyan draws comparisons to another one of my favorite players in Jack Cust with his nickname ‘3TO’, which is short for 3 True Outs.  This is a strikeout, walk or HR.  Cust never made this upcoming list but he did hit 63 HRs in his first 1000 AB while striking out 430 times!  Branyan’s average 162 game season average (with full at bats) would have included striking out 171 times.   In this video you can see his power, (also click the link provided from at the top of the page on this link to see another shot of this mammoth blast that Branyan had at Yankee Stadium.  You can do this by copying the blue version of the link and pasting it into your browser.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0KRvFSdcII

  Read the rest of this entry

You Shake, Rattle and Roll On A World Record Chase

Tuesday, April.11/2012

 

Chuck at Dodger Stadium

 

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and- @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My step-mom is a retired executive from Air Canada.  Back when I was a teenager, Nancy taught me how to travel properly, by how to pack, schedule and always be able to adapt when things go awry.  I am pleased to say that she had an incredible influence on me becoming a travel expert now.  Her slogan was always; “You gotta learn how to shake, rattle and roll when traveling.” My dad (Tom Booth), helped teach a proper demeanor for my 3 brothers and me while on vacation that I also implement.  He said to us “You guys are going to encounter several things when traveling.  “If you break, lose or-your items are lost for you, just replace them immediately and don’t let it consume you.  After all, why should you be miserable on vacation?”  These are motto’s I live by while traveling.  I perpetually move forward and don’t look back.  While I am glad this trip has generated a lot interest, really the passion here is baseball and traveling.  If by some chance I don’t best my own record, I will have fun watching a baseball game in every city again.  “You have nothing to prove in this world other to anybody but yourself!”

 I have encountered numerous ways of being delayed in chasing baseball parks.  Last night was no different.  I sat in the San Diego Airport ready to embark on my flight to Cleveland that was supposed to be part of a Progressive Field/Oriole Park at Camden Yards day-night doubleheader. Out of all the 10 doubleheaders that I placed to attempt during this World Record chase, this particular one I would rank the second toughest.  The only doubleheader I thought was tougher was the Angel Stadium/Petco Park double header.  Ironically enough, I converted that doubleheader.  So when the flight was cancelled last night-(due to mechanical failure) I knew I had to think fast on my feet.  The Airline was offering up help to fly on other flight, or destinations within reason.  Much to my dismay, the airline was not even able to fly me into the second half of the double header n Baltimore, thus creating a plane flight domino.  Adding to the severity of the pressure, was I had to think of something fast because the airline needed to help me book a morning flight out of San Diego.

Whenever I plan one of these trips, I have a depth chart for each team.  I am lucky that after a few hours of placing this schedule together, I also come up with many different alternatives.  Missing the game in Texas the other night for a small delay was nerve-wracking, but maybe it was all meant to be.  When I expressed to the airline that I wanted to fly to Dallas, they quickly were on board with that option.  The other dominoes came to me quickly.  I moved Cleveland to the 25th as part of PNC Park and Progressive Field Ground Transportation doubleheader.  As part of my original streak attempt when I first dreamt up another run at this, the schedule had this exact doubleheader.  Cleveland was the last team in the Majors to post their start times.  When the Indians scheduled a matinee for the 11th of April, it opened up another doubleheader attempt for me by placing the Orioles with Cleveland.  All I had to do was bring Detroit into the doubleheader chance with Pittsburgh instead.  Now that I am not going to Progressive Field today, I am able to re-schedule the easier to attain doubleheader.  Baltimore was switched to the date left vacated by Texas on the 27th of April.  This left Detroit.  I knew the team played on the 22nd of April.

One of the reasons I went to Chase Field last Friday, was to protect myself against something like last night.  That Chase Field game is now the 1st game of the streak.  I moved Detroit into their slot on the 22nd.  All the teams have a home in the streak again.  What is more incredible about this: is that by shifting these cities around and shuffling transportation costs this little maneuver is going to save me $300.   I was dreading having to schedule the Texas game after the streak ended, whether it was driving 17 hours or flying, it was going to be costly and time-consuming,  I managed to switch out all my flights and actually have a surcharge in my favor.  Since I am flying to Denver from Dallas tomorrow, it was a cheaper flight from almost anywhere when you near a travel day fare.  Now I am flying to Dallas for a plane fare I spent $160 to originally go to Cleveland for.  This day of plane for to Dallas would probably be in the $500-$600 area.

By re-scheduling the trip this way, it also frees up more availability should I have to make up another game or two.  That Detroit game doubleheader was risky.  If I was running the streak near perfect, I could have risked it and then shuffled the Tigers to the very next day and forego the Cincinnati/Chicago White Sox doubleheader on the 25th.  This was not the case and I need that 26th doubleheader.  If I kept that doubleheader and missed the Tigers, the next date they were home was April.30th (or the 24th day of the streak.)

Moving Detroit to Sunday the 22nd is pretty decent too, I have a doubleheader for Chicago and Milwaukee on the day before.  This is about a 7 hour drive to Michigan.  Ken Lee will now attend at least 8 of my games with me for this streak.  The Pittsburgh/Cleveland double dip is very doable.  The Pirates game should end around 3:30.  It is only a couple of hours drive to Progressive Field from there.  I would give us a 80-85% chance to hit this game.  If for some reason we don’t, the Indians play on the 27th- through the 29th.  Other doubleheaders remaining are the TOR-NYY (Yankees play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) ATL-STL (Cardinals play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) CIN/CWS (The White Sox play a series on the 27th-29th). CHI/MIL (The Brewers do not play so I will need the DH).  I also give us a 80-85% of making this.  Finally I have the Boston/Washington DH (If I miss WSH-I can move them into the Marlins slot of the 17th and then re-do the Marlins from the (27-29 series).

So far I have had 2 missed doubleheaders in this trip that were entirely out of my control.  Now a 30-22 schedule hangs in the balance.  Whatever happens throughout the rest of the trip is up in the air.  The 2009 streak of 30-24 seems even more impressive now than before.  In a night where I have already logged 17,000 Air Miles for this trip and running on all fumes, I was able to come up with the best viable solution I could.  So whenever I have a chance, I will sleep comfortably about my performance on this trip thus far.  I go into tonight’s game looking for my 8th Ball Park in 6 days.  Its been a tough 20 hrs-fighting airlines-car rentals not having cars and several doubters and haters-i made it 2 the ballpark-suitcase/briefcase and all-scoreboard says 8 gms 6 days parks 30/22 days

NEW SCHEDULE UPDATED APR 11

With a flight cancellation last night, it has caused me to reschedule several games for the streak.  The Arizona D’Backs game now becomes the official game #1.  If the game was changed from the original, it will be highlighted in red.  I also changed the PIT/DET doubleheader to now be a PIT/CLE Doubleheader on the 25th ave.  I lost one of my doubleheader attempts today, but at least I am not taking an a zero.

Game#1 Day #1  Friday April.06 Chase Field in Arizona 4:10 PM (Completed:  Arizona wins 5-4)

Game # 2 Day # 2  Saturday April.07 Angels Stadium in Anaheim 1:05 PM (Completed LAA loses 6-3 to KC)

Game # 3 Day # 2 Saturday April.07 Petco Park in San Diego 5:35 PM (I Have 2 doubleheader attempts with SD as Game 2 of the day)( Completed: San Diego loses 6-5 to the LAD in 11 innings)

Game # 4 Day # 3  Sunday April.08 Minute Maid Park in Houston 1:05 PM (Completed: Houston wins 3-2)

Game # 5 Day # 4  Monday April.09 Citizens Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia 1:05 PM (Citizens Bank Ball Park Season Opener) (Completed: Philly loses 6-2 to the Miami Marlins)

Game # 6 Day # 4   Monday April.09 Citi Field in New York (NYM win 3-2 over WSH)

Game # 7 Day # 5   Tuesday April.10 Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles 1:05 PM (Dodger Stadium Season Opener) Completed: LAD wins 2-1 over  Pit)

Game # 8 Day # 6  Wednesday April.11 The Ballpark in Arlington 7:05 PM

Game # 9 Day #7 Thursday April.12 Coors Field 1:05 PM

Game #10 Day # 8 Friday April.13 AT&T Park in San Francisco 1:35 PM  (AT & T Park Season Opener)

Game # 11 Day # 9 Saturday April.14 Target Field in Minnesota 12:10 PM

Game # 12 Day # 10  Sunday April.15 Rogers Center in Toronto 1:07 PM

Game # 13 Day # 10 Sunday April.15 Yankees Stadium in the Bronx 8:05 PM

Game # 14 Day #11 Monday April.16 Fenway Park in Boston 11:05 AM

Game # 15  Day #11 Monday April.16 Nationals Park in Washington 7:05 PM

Game # 16  Day #12 Tuesday April.17 New Marlins Ballpark 7:05 PM

Game # 17  Day #13  WED April.18 Turner Field in Atlanta 12:10 PM

Game # 18  Day #13  WED April.18 Busch Stadium in St. Louis 7:15 PM

Game # 19 Day #14 THUR April.19 Safeco Field in Seattle 7:10 PM

Game # 20  Day # 15 Friday  April.20 Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City 7:10 PM

Game # 21 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Wrigley Field in Chicago 12:00 PM

Game # 22 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Miller Park in Milwaukee 6:05 PM

Game # 23  Day # 17 SUN.   April.22 Comerica Park in Detroit 1:05 PM 

Game # 24 Day # 18 MON.  April.23 O.co Coliseum in Oakland 7:05 PM

Game # 25 Day # 19 TUES  April.24 Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay 7:05 PM

Game # 26 Day # 20  WED.  April.25 PNC Park in Pittsburgh 12:35 PM

Game # 27  Day # 20 WED.  April.25 Progressive Field in Cleveland 7:05 PM

Game # 28 Day # 21 THU.   April.26 Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 12:35 PM

Game # 29  Day # 21 THU.   April.26 US Cellular Field in Chicago 7:11 PM

Game# 30  Day # 22 FRI      April.27  Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 7:05 PM

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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The Future of Gio Gonzalez and Mark Buehrle in the NL

Wednesday January 4th, 2012

 

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  Aside from their pitching style and repertoire, Mark Buehrle and Gio Gonzalez have a lot in common. They are both left-handed and have also made the shift to the National League during this 2011 offseason. However, their connection dates back even further.

The Chicago White Sox selected Gonzalez in the first round of the 2004 draft. The following season, the White Sox earned a World Championship, thanks in large part to Mark Buehrle’s regular and postseason contributions. Buehrle, a 36th round pick of the White Sox in 1999, continued to be a model of consistency and success, winning at least 10 games and throwing at least 200 innings for 11 consecutive seasons for the White Sox.  Forever a legend in the White Sox community, Buehrle joined his second major league franchise this offseason with the Miami Marlins. The move is one I saw coming when Ozzie Guillen became the manager of the Marlins. Clearly the left-hander is comfortable with Guillen, and the National League is truly where Buehrle belongs at this point of his career. He has amassed a 24-6 win loss record with a 3.32 ERA in 39 Interleague starts. However, before we look at his 2012 value, I must continue with the Buehrle-Gonzalez narrative.

Ironically for the White Sox, it was a 36th round pick and not the first round pick that became the face of the franchise. Such is baseball and is an example of what makes the game so interesting.  In fact, Gonzalez has never even pitched an inning for the White Sox. He was traded in 2005 along with Aaron Rowand to the Phillies for Jim Thome. Remarkably, The White Sox reacquired him along with Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia in December 2006 and still never got him into a major league game while a part of their organization.

It should be noted that 2008 marked a breakout year for White Sox left-hander John Danks (12-9 win loss record). Gavin Floyd also flourished that year, winning 17 games.  Going into that season, there did not appear to be room for Gonzalez in the White Sox rotation. Particularly with Buehrle in place and Floyd/Danks set to emerge (as they did), the White Sox felt that it did not make sense to try to add a third left-hander to the starting staff. Obviously high on the team’s radar, the White Sox had to make a tough decision and trade Gonzalez…again. In a regrettable move, Kenny Williams sent Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney, and Fautino De Los Santos to the Oakland Athletics for one miserable season of Nick Swisher. As a member of the A’s, Gonzalez came into his own, finishing 2011 with a 16-12 record and a 3.12 ERA with 197 K’s in 202 innings.

Now- going into 2012, both Gonzalez and Buehrle land in the National League for the next stage of their respective careers.

Looking at Gonzalez, his value remains high in 2012. Although he leaves the friendly pitching confines of Oakland, he is going to another pitching friendly park in Washington. His 2011 XFIP indicates that his ERA should have been closer to 4, rather than an even 3.00. Therefore, I expect Gonzalez’s ERA to hover right in the middle of those two numbers. He has an incredible ability to miss bats, but the walk rate, which he has yet to show any improvement at any level, prevents him from being a fantasy ace. With 4 walks per 9 innings, he is prone to give up high run totals and also have trouble pitching deep into games. He does do a great job of keeping the ball on the ground. But the only way for Gonzalez to really improve upon his 2011 campaign is if he can cut down on the free passes. His control is simply not that good, but he is also a player that can be categorized as effectively wild. I simply do not see any signs of Gonzalez improving his walk rate, especially as he his mainly a fastball/curveball pitcher.

In a sharp contrast, Mark Buehrle relies on command and mastery of the strike zone to retire batters. He has really shown no signs of true decline and he will still only be 33 years of age in 2012. He is not much different that the pitcher he was in 2004. He strikes out enough batters to be effective and has a stellar career 2.05 BB rate. He strikes out about half as many batters as Gonzalez, but also walks half as many. The two pitchers do have similar groundball rates. However, the change of scenery may have a much bigger impact on Buehrle than it does for Gonzalez. As I have mentioned, the Interleague numbers speak for themselves and Buehrle is finally leaving the hitter friendly confines of U.S. Cellular Park. He will surely benefit from facing the National League lineups most nights and is in a better position to succeed in Miami in 2012.

Overall, Mark Buehrle is the guy to keep an eye on during draft day in 2012. Most people view him as an aging soft throwing left-hander with a falling stock. However, he has potential to put up above average numbers for perhaps a below average price. Now while I say to keep an eye on Buehrle, it is not to say he will outperform Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez is clearly the better fantasy option, but he will likely come at a higher cost. This is a 26-year-old pitcher who has posted 3.23 and 3.12 ERA in his last two seasons, respectively. However, do not expect him to necessarily improve upon these numbers due to some of the luck he experienced in 2011 and his inability to improve his walk rate. He will most likely be valued as an ace in many fantasy circles, when he is truly more of a number three-type starter. Buehrle, who will be off many people’s radars, could produce as a cheap yet quality four/five type of pitcher.


2012 Predictions:

Mark Buehrle: 206 IP, 14-9 W/L, 3.69 ERA, 120 Ks

Gio Gonzalez: 208 IP, 14-12 W/L, 3.43 ERA, 206 K

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  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 Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***

 

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