Like us on Facebook here
Sunday, May 12th, 2013
Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent): Follow @RJA206
The Marlins have turned heads all over baseball for their controversial promotions of young, inexperienced prospects over the last couple months. So far, the clubs decisions couldn’t have turned out much better. Marcell Ozuna is holding back at the plate, and it’s led to 13 hits in 45 at bat’s in 11 games.
Jose Fernandez looks like a serious N.L. Rookie of the Year candidate with his 3.15 FIP in seven starts and 39 strikeouts in only 37 innings. So with these two top prospects shining at the Major League level, why wouldn’t the Marlins bring up another elite prospect that will keep fans coming to the ballpark and plays a position of need?
Christian Yelich has proven he’s ready for the Majors and the Marlins would be silly not to call him up in the next week or two.
Like us on Facebook hereFollow @mlbreports
By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent) Follow @bradcuprik
The statistical improvements are easy to decipher in Clint Hurdle‘s first two years as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2011, the Bucs were 72-90, scored 610 Runs and gave up 712 Runs. Those were improvements of 15 victories, 23 Runs Scored and an impressive 154 less Runs Allowed.
This past season, Pittsburgh improved in all three categories again – earning 79 victories with 651 Runs Scored and 674 Runs Allowed. If it seems like an excruciatingly long time since Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek were leading the Pirates to a winning season and a third consecutive NLCS, that’s because it has been – two decades to be exact.
Bill Clinton was just starting his first term as President of the United States and something called Color Me Badd was popular on the radio.
Questionable music aside, if the Pirates want to put an end to all that losing, another year of similar improvement will get them over the .500 hump.
Here are three reasons why 2013 will be the year it happens for them and three reasons why the longest consecutive streak of losing seasons in professional sports will reach 21 years.
Sid Breams 1992 NLCS Game 7 Slide kicked off a 20 Year Consecutive Losing Records Streak
Like us on Facebook here
Sunday, February 24th, 2013
By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Spain have produced some of the most talented baseball players in the world. All four of these countries will be will represented in Group C of the WBC starting on March 7th in Puerto Rico. From Miguel Cabrera to Robinson Cano, this division is filled with popular MLB superstars. Even though the Dominican Republic and Venezuela appear to be early favorites to advance from this division, don’t count out Puerto Rico or Spain to make a run at qualifying for the next round.
World Baseball Classic–Venezuela Vs Puerto Rico–Alejandro Toca Cuatro:
Like us on Facebook here
By Paul Francis Sullivan (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @sullybaseball
Brandon Webb is retiring from major league baseball, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. This hardly seems like a monumental announcement this spring. Webb has been out of sight and out of mind since the beginning of the 2009 season. His official retirement notice is reminiscent of a band announcing their breakup long after they had their last hit.
But Brandon Webb’s career, brief as it was, was remarkable and also should be remembered the next time an ace pitcher looks for a long term extension.
As outlandish as it may sound now, Brandon Webb was putting together the beginning of a Hall of Fame career. This is not hyperbole.
The former University of Kentucky star was an 8th round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000.
He shot up through Arizona’s farm system and by 2003, the 24 year old Webb was a major leaguer and finished 4th in the Rookie of the Year vote. He posted a 2.84 ERA over 180 2/3 innings, winning 10 games for an Arizona squad that finished third in the National League West.
By 2006, he became an elite pitcher. He led the league in wins, shutouts and ERA+ and had the top WAR for pitchers. He won the National League Cy Young Award and looked like he was just getting warmed up. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
The Mariners home attendance at Safeco Field has decreased each of the last five years. In 2003, the Mariners were 93-69 and averaged over 40,000 fans per home game. Last season, Seattle finished 75-87 with an average of roughly 21,000 per game. What can the Mariners do to bring fans back to the ballpark and revitalize baseball in Seattle?
Thursday November 15th, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)
Last week Jonathan Hacohen, the founder of MLBReports.com called to my attention that the Tampa Bay Rays are an anomaly. Ultimately, if you look at the way their team is structured and where their talent lays, and the kind of game that Joe Maddon manages the Rays are ultimately a National League team; displaced in the AL East. The Rays greatest strength is their depth of pitching that they can reach into the bowels of an amazing farm system ripe with young talent. But from there on out, they rely on an offense that generates runs due to other inefficiencies.
With B.J. Upton leaving town, and Carlos Pena only a carcass of what he once was, there is ultimately zero power left in their lineup. Their DH for the past two years have been the likes of an aging Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Luke Scott. Ownership is constantly complaining about attendance and looking for bargain free agents like Johnny Damon to bring in at the end of their careers and hopefully attract some Yankees and Red Sox fans to the stadium.
At this point, the Rays power hitters are Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist. They have an amazing nucleus of pitching talent, including David Price who just won the AL Cy Young, and they are mentioning trading almost all of their starting pitchers. This is understandable, as you have to dish out talent to bring back offensive talent that they are in great need of. But I still have major gripes with the way owner Stuart Sternberg has approached the past 4 seasons in St. Petersburg, and I will get into more detail about this in a little while. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday November 4th, 2012
Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
Jonathan Hacohen: Here we go again. We spend the whole offseason waiting and hoping for the MLB season to start. We speculate where free agents will sign, which teams will pull off trades and which teams have reason for optimism once the season. We dissect every move and weigh the dollars/years on each contract. Welcome to hot stove baby! But then the season comes and goes in a flash- then we end up right back to the offseason again. Right back to free agency talk again.
This week we have a nice mix of topics. From covering free agents, to trades, division realignment- our readers really went through the whole spectrum of baseball topics. We couldn’t possibly jump into ATR during free agency season without hearing the names Hamilton, Greinke or Upton? Of course not! So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, November 4th, 2012
Sam Evans: It has been over a decade since the New York Mets ranked in the top five in the majors in Fielding Independent Pitching. Last year, the Mets had roughly league-average production from their pitching staff and it led to a 74-88 finish. With Citi Field being a pitcher’s park, the Mets are going to need a lot more from their pitching staff in order to be a successful ballclub. Luckily, New York is breeding two very talented young pitchers, both of whom could start for the Mets next season. Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey should provide hope and confidence to the Mets and their fans.
Zack Wheeler is a twenty-two year old right-handed starting pitcher who has yet to pitch in the majors. Wheeler was drafted out of a Georgia high school in the 2009 MLB Amateur draft by the San Francisco Giants. Standing 6’4’’, Wheeler throws a fastball that can reach up to 95 MPH. His arsenal also includes a plus curveball, a changeup and a cutter. Wheeler came over from the Giants organization in the Carlos Beltran trade after one and a half years in the lower minors. In 2012, his first full season with the Mets, Wheeler split time between Double-A and Triple-A. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Baseball is about to receive a serious wake-up call from the Dodgers. Perhaps the Yankees would have already done what the Magic Johnson ownership team is planning, had “The Boss” had full faculties and the team had not cashed in on the 2009 World Series. With no salary cap and a soft luxury tax on the heavy spenders, the MLB is really setting themselves up for a disaster when a team finally pulls the trigger on obliterating the payroll system. The Dodgers new ownership has spent 2 Billion on the California Franchise. They are in perfect position with Billions in revenue about to be promised for the TV rights of their franchise. So do you really think they are done spending on the team? I would be surprised if the Dodgers payroll isn’t in the $230-$250 Million Dollar Range for 2013.
I wrote an article about this very topic right after the trade that brought over the Boston Red Sox big 3 salaried players. You can check out that blog here. As it stands right now, the 2013 Payroll projects to be in the 200-210 Million Dollar Range already. You add the constant health doubts now plaguing Clayton Kershaw, plus a need for some more starting pitching and you could be sure these guys will make a play for a couple of starting pitchers. Zack Greinke has to be on the club’s radar. While Greinke might not be the top of the pitchers ‘Mount Rushmore’, he is really close to it. He may get a 5-6 YR contract worth 90-105 Million Dollars. He has pitched really well for the Los Angeles Angels, so clearly he likes the city. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday August.09, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Playing the game of baseball is predicated on failure. Most of us that have played the game, realize how hard it is to hit a flying object with a piece of wood or metal. The majority of players, that are in the Major Leagues, have honed their skills from the time they were just starting grade school. Generally it takes a hell of a lot of repetition to become good at something. As an aspiring baseball player in my teens, I can remember swinging the baseball over 200 times a day in trying to perfect my swing. I had practice drills that would emphasize on weight transference, foot work and eye-hand coordination. So I imagine a lot of today’s current players did the same when they were a kid. Today marks the 5 year anniversary from one of the greatest stories ever produced on the field by a Major League Player.
The Cardinals Drafted Rick Ankiel in the 2nd round of the 1997 Amateur Draft. Ankiel had great pitching mechanics and made his dream come true on Aug.23 1999 (at the Age of 19), by making his pitching debut with the St. Louis Cardinals against the Montreal Expos He sported a 0-1 record in 5 starts to end the year with an impressive 39 Strikeouts in 33 innings, while posting a respectable 3.27 ERA. Ankiel was a budding prospect with a chance to become a perennial ALL-Star. In his Rookie year during the 2000 season, he finished with a record of 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA-and was 7th in the league with 194 Strikeouts.
This season was good enough to finish 2nd in Rookie of the Year Balloting. The Cardinals needed him to pitch in Game #1 of the NLDS because he and Daryl Kile were the only ones left on the roster as 3 starters from the regular season had become injured. To further put pressure on this young kid, his mentor for the game of baseball, his father, had been incarcerated in jail at the time as he was making it to the Major Leagues and it ate at him not having him there live to see him play. Still, Tony La Russa had complete faith in the kid to start in pivotal games at such a young age because of his electric arm.
It proved to be a costly mistake as Ankiel started to mentally fracture by the 3rd inning of that very game and ended up walking 4 batters and throwing a record 5 wild pitches in one inning-while giving up 4 runs. Ankiel never recovered from leaving the mound on that day. Against everyone’s better judgement, La Russa sent out Ankiel again to start in Game #2 of the NLCS versus the Braves. His first pitch of the game sailed over Timo Perez of the New York Mets. 5 wild pitches later and La Russa mercifully pulled him from the game. If you can believe it, La Russa brought out Ankiel to face four more hitters in Game #5 of the Series. This time he walked 2 more hitters and threw 2 more wild pitches. The Mets wiped out the depleted Cardinals pitching staff in that 5th game. If you ask La Russa, these decisions all haunt him more than any other thing that he has ever done as a manager.
Here is a great highlight reel showing off Ankiel’s best moments as a National in 2011.