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MLB Reports ‘Junior Reporter’ Haley Smilow Interviews Marlins Slugger Giancarlo Stanton

The Marlins have one of the most prolific young power hitters in the game of baseball in Giancarlo Stanton.  After this recent campaign, the  24 Year Old has a 3 Slash Line of .265/.354/.899 - with 117 HRs and 294 RBI in 1792 Career AB.  The toughest challenge the ownership has - will be to lock up this Slugger long - term, as he has frequently commented on the direction of the franchise in a negative light.  Stanton has 3 years left of Arbitration - before he will be eligible for Free Agency heading into the 2017 season.

The Marlins have one of the most prolific young power hitters in the game of baseball in Giancarlo Stanton. After this recent campaign, the 24 Year Old has a 3 Slash Line of .265/.354/.899 – with 117 HRs and 294 RBI in 1792 Career AB. The toughest challenge the ownership has – will be to lock up this Slugger long – term, as he has frequently commented on the direction of the franchise in a negative light. Stanton has 3 years left of Arbitration – before he will be eligible for Free Agency heading into the 2017 season.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

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Haley Smilow is a lucky baseball fan/writer/reporter.  Recently last summer, she was able to interview Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins.

Interviewing MLB Athletes is nothing new for our Junior Reporter.  Over the last few years, Haley has interviewed Curtis Granderson, A.J. Pierzynski, Cody Ross, Barry Enright, Justin Turner, Casey Janssen and 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen.

The MLB Reports is very happy with the hard work and dedication Haley puts forth for her interviews.  She has a great future in the business!

The MLB’ers like Haley because she doesn’t act cookie cutter questions.  She asks them to delve into their own personal lives, and for this, she is able to crack up these guys from their usual monotanous answers. Read the rest of this entry

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The Los Angeles Dodgers Players In All Organizational Affiliates, Prospects + Depth Charts (MLB + MiLB) 2014

Puig slowed down a shade from his torrid 1st month pace - however still slashed .319/.392/.925 - with 19 HRs, 42 RBI. 66  Runs Scored and 122 Hits in just 434 AB.  He has in the 2nd YR of a 7 YR/$42 MIL contract in his pocket, and that may be the bargain of ALL - Time if he continues these type of numbers all the way throughout his length of the deal.  Puig finished in 2nd for NL Rookie of The Year Voting, and placed 15th in NL MVP balloting as well.

Puig slowed down a shade from his torrid 1st month pace – however still slashed .319/.392/.925 – with 19 HRs, 42 RBI. 66 Runs Scored and 122 Hits in just 434 AB for the 2013 year. He has now in the 2nd YR of a 7 YR/$42 MIL contract in his pocket, and that may be the bargain of ALL – Time if he continues these type of numbers all the way throughout his length of the deal. Puig, 23,  finished in 2nd for NL Rookie of The Year Voting, and placed 15th in NL MVP balloting as well.

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

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The Los Angeles Dodgers had a rollercoaster 2013 campaign.  After a late season 2012 trade, the club went on a spending bonanza to enter the 2013 year.

In late May. it looked bleak. The franchise wanted to fire Don Mattingly, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez were battling various injuries, and the club was 23 – 32.

Enter Yasiel Puig with his historic 1st month, and the team then went on a torrid pace at that hadn’t been done in nearly 60 years.

The crux of this crestwave, was a 42 – 8 stretch that saw the club bypass all 4 Division foes, putting a stranglehold on the NL West once and for all.

Dodgers own the West

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MLB Reports Hall Of Fame Predictions: Class Of 2014 Players

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

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

By Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent)

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Results are scheduled to be announced on January 8th.

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

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

Greg Maddux Tribute:

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Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

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

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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Enough With PED Users Being Rewarded! Peralta Signs For 4 Years With St. Louis

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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For those fans that may not think about it very much, every time a PED user is gaining an advantage with the crap they are ingesting or shooting them, they are talking away another guys opportunity to make the big leagues.

The Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta to a 4 YR/$52 MIL deal yesterday.  I am not certainly not faulting the St. Louis for conducting business the way they have to.  They are just following the rules.

What I am choked about is how an offender of the drug policy, can just resume his career, and double his last contract with no real consequences.

It is absurd on so many levels…

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When Can The Baseball Writers For The Hall Of Fame Consider Cheating Through PED Use, Or Not?

Barry Bonds once admitted to a Federal Jury that he used PED's. As MLB's ALL-Time HR King with 762 Round-Trippers, will the BBWAA ever consider looking past this and elect him into Cooperstown?

Barry Bonds once admitted to a Federal Jury that he used PED’s. As MLB’s ALL-Time HR King with 762 Round-Trippers, will the BBWAA ever consider looking past this and elect him into Cooperstown? —Photo by sportsagent.com.

Prof. Wes Reber Porter and Dan Dressman (Special Guest Writers):  and

When the 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot is released in November, the heated discussion will begin about which controversial candidates, if any at all, would be inducted into Cooperstown (HOF). 

While isolated athletes have come up in previous years, this year represents a first real tension between the modern era of baseball – the “steroid era” – and traditional standards for admission into the Hall. 

The 575 baseball writers are, and should be, entrusted to weigh cheating and use of PEDs against the HOF’s criteria of “character,” “sportsmanship” and “upholding the integrity of the game” (the integrity standards). 

These writers each will struggle, however, with a preliminary question that falls outside of their expertise:under which circumstances may a HOF voter consider, at all, a candidate’s connection to cheating and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)?    Read the rest of this entry

Don Mattingly Would Be Perfect For The Nationals Or Tigers MGR Positions: Dodgers Skipper Is Still In Limbo

Don Mattingly has a Managerial Record of 260 -225 (.536) in his 1st 3 years as Dodgers Skipper.  Among the totals in this year - was that he guided the club to a 62 - 30 record during the last 92 Games this year.  The Dodgers were knocked out the NLCS Round versus the Cardinals

Don Mattingly has a Managerial Record of 260 -225 (.536) in his 1st 3 years as Dodgers Skipper. Among the totals in this year – was that he guided the club to a 62 – 30 record during the last 92 Games this year. The Dodgers were knocked out the NLCS Round versus the Cardinals.  Mattingly’s $1.4 Vesting Option was picked up by that accord of being in the final 4 this season.  The Dodgers are only offering the one year of 2014, and Mattingly believes he has done a great enough job to earn a multi-year deal.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Dodgers are making a mistake in not signing Don Mattingly to a multi – year deal.  If you actually sit back and think about what he was able to do is a miracle this year.

Matt Kemp was 50% of himself – and also missed half of the year.

Hanley Ramirez played at an MVP caliber for the time he was in there, problem was – missed 74 games.

Carl Crawford was great, but he missed 45 Games.

Yasiel Puig came up – with 60 Games already taken off of the year.

Zack Greinke missed 2 months after Carlos Quentin charged him.

Brandon League was abysmal early as a Closer.

The 3rd base/Shortstop position featured an opening day of Luis Cruz and Justin Sellers.

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Orioles’ Chris Davis And Manny Machado Primed For Big Second Half

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Friday, July.05, 2013

Chris Davis is one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball, and is showing everyone that he is a great all-around hitter as well. He is on pace to hit at least 60 HRs this season, and this would put him in some exclusive company.

Chris Davis is one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball, and is showing everyone that he is a great all-around hitter as well. He is on pace to hit at least 60 HRs this season, and this would put him in some exclusive company. The last time a player hit 60, is when Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. Crush as the fans in Baltimore like to call him has a chance to not only lead the Orioles to another post season berth, but also a division crown. The last time they won the division was in 1997. He has a WAR of 4.3 that is 3rd in the AL and is 1st in AB per HR with 9.5 this season.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)

Baltimore Orioles are proving that their post season appearance last season was no fluke and that they are not a one-hit wonder with their play this season. The Orioles are second in the American League East division and they trail the Boston Red Sox by 3 ½ games.

This is very good considering the division that they play in is the toughest one in baseball, where all but one of the five teams is under .500. Baltimore can attribute some of the success this season to their offense.

Chris Davis 2013 Highlights- So Parental Guidance Is Advised

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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 14

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Monday July.01/2013

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 - 30.  You have to think that the club will put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak - with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining.  Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season.  At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB - and have reached #2 in our power rankings

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 – 30. You have to think that the club will finally put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak – with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining. Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season. At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB – and have reached #2 in our power rankings.

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

Another Week has come and gone in the MLB.

Week Stats Ending – June.29/2013

(MLB Reports) AL Hitter Of The Week -  Jason Kipnis (CLE – He reached base 24 times in the 8 games (14 hits, 9 Walks and 1 HBP) – with 3 HRs, 6 – 2B, 9 Runs and 11 RBI.  He hit .519 for the week).

Runners up were:  Miguel Cabrera (DET – OPS of 1.583, with 4 HRs and 7 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (BOS – .560 BA, 14 hits), and Raul Ibanez (SEA – OPS of 1.455 – 3 HRs and 5 RBI.)

(MLB Reports) AL Pitcher Of The WeekR.A. Dickey (TOR – 2 hit CG Shutout versus the Tampa Bay Rays.)

Runners up were: Koji Uehara (BOS – 3 Perfect Saves) and Joe Blanton LAA (1 – 0, with a 1.88 ERA in 2 GS). Read the rest of this entry

2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #8: Dodgers (Puig Especially), White Sox + Braves Talk With Awesome Guests!

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Thursday, June.20/2013

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

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

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & yours truly The Bench Warmers, I talked with MLB Reports Braves correspondent Bob McVinua (www.braveschoptalk.wordpress.com) about the Atlanta Braves season so far, what’s to come for them the rest of the season plus other things…

Then I talked to MLB Reports Dodgers correspondent Enrique Rivera about their phenom Yasiel Puig, if the Dodgers somehow can get back in the playoff race amongst other issues…

Also I interviewed MLB Reports White Sox correspondent Brian Madsen about the White Sox offensive struggles, is their farm system producing any future ball players & other stuff…also I do my Stats & Facts segment as usual so check out this baseball podcast that talks baseball like it outta be!!! SPREAD THE WORD!! Thank you all for your support!!!

People in this Podcast:

Bob McVinua (MLB Reports Guest Braves Correspondent – About 9 Minutes in and a 21 Minute Segment)

Enrique Rivera (MLB Reports LA Dodgers Correspondent – 31 Minute Mark and a 15 Minute Segment) 

Brian Madsen (MLB Reports White Sox Correspondent- 53 Minutes In and a 17 Minute Segment) 

(Stats and Facts done by James at the 1 Hour and 10 Minute Mark for 20 Minutes and for the 1st 9 Minutes.)

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Triple Play Podcast Ep # 13 – Around The Horn w/OAK/KC/COL/TOR + Bean Wars + The Genius Beane

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Monday, June.17, 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)

Guests in this Podcast – Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner and Lead Analyst) 

On this week’s show Chuck Booth joins us to break down all the biggest stories in MLB. We also go Around the Horn with Chuck to discuss the A’s, Rockies and Royals current situations and declare the worthy few that belong on their respective Mt Rushmore’s. Bethubb.com best bets end the show as always. Happy Father’s Day!!!!!!!

Intro – 10 Minutes, Toronto Blue Jays talk from 10 Minute to the 18 Minute Mark.  OAK chat – 18 minute – 33 Minute Mark, COL Talk 33 Minutes – 44 Minute Mark.  Kansas City Royals Chart 44 Minutes Mark – 59 Minute Mark.  Late Jays Talk Bethubb Best Bets 1 hour 1 MIN mark to 1 hour 9 Minute Mark.

Quick Facts:  Catsfish Hunter was 7 – 2 in the Post Season for the 1972, 1973 and 1974 World Series Winning A’s – and only 2 -4 with the 3 Post Seasons with the Yankees.  Still 5 World Series Winners was great.  Chuck also meant Ewing Kauffman (Chuck thought his nickname was Charlie in the podcast – maybe because his name his Charlie) when talking about the Royals MT. Rushmore for the franchise.

Yogi Berra did indeed play in 14 World Series and won 10 of them in his Yankees days.

To Keep Reading and Listen to this Podcast click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY or scroll past the Triple Play Logo.

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Triple Play Podcast #10: An Interview With MLB Reports Cards Correspondent Landen Crouch + Poor Show Of Brett Lawrie!

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Tuesday, May 28th, 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)

Guests in this Podcast – Landen Crouch (Cardinals Correspondent) of mlbreports.com  (

Landen Crouch of mlbreports.com is our guest on this episode as we discuss the continuous success of the cardinals. We also cover their rich history as Landen gives us his Mt Rushmore of Cards greats. Finally we bat around Brett Lawrie‘s recent run-ins and lack of maturity.

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Should He Stay Or Should He Go: The Mattingly Job Security Drama

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Sunday May.26/2013

Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly is in his third ans final season in his Dodgers contract. He is currently 187-185 but has started the 2013 campaign 20-27 last place in the NL West and 6.5 games behind first.

Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly is in his third and final season in his Dodgers contract. He is currently 187-185 but has started the 2013 campaign 20-27 last place in the NL West and 6.5 games behind first.  Our own Lead Writer has suggested that Donnie Baseball will be fired from Los Angeles, before resurfacing in Flushing Meadows, NY for the Mets at a future date.

By Enrique Rivera (MLB Reports LA Dodgers Correspondent)

There is no doubt about it, the Dodgers season has been very disappointing. Marking one of the highest salary caps in baseball, the Blue Crew has started the season 19-27, last place in the NL West and 6.5 games behind first place.

After having a fresh start with former Red Sox players Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto then signing ace Zack Greinke the Dodgers expected a much better record than the one they currently have.

But as everyone knows, things happen during the regular season that make a player and a team perform worse than they’re expected. In this case, Hanley Ramirez, Greinke, Beckett have hit the DL. Matt Kemp is still trying to come back from a season in which he hit the DL for quiete some time.

Hanley Ramirez getting hurt at a game against the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month

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Athletics 8 Game Win Streak Is Nothing New To Pattern Formed Since Last Year

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Friday, Apr.12/2013

Oakland Athletics' Jed Lowrie has made Billy Beane look like a genius once again - with clubbing 16 hits, (8 of the Extra Base Variety), Scoring 10 Runs and Walking 6 times so far in the teams 8 - 2 start.  He has an OPS of 1.258 thus far.

Oakland Athletics’ Jed Lowrie has made Billy Beane look like a genius once again – with clubbing 16 hits, (8 of the Extra Base Variety), Scoring 10 Runs and Walking 6 times so far in the teams 8 – 2 start. He has an OPS of 1.258.  He was acquired from the Houston Astros in a February trade which sent Chris Carter the other way.  The man can play several defensive positions well.  He is due for Arbitration at the end of this season, before becoming a Free Agent in 2015.  Beane doesn’t seem to make a bad move these days.

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

Hands up.. How many people would have thought that the Oakland Athletics would start the 2013 season with the best record in the Major Leagues so far?

Of course this website is not surprised at all.  Jonathan Hacohen (Website Founder and current Oakland A’s Correspondent) wrote a brilliant piece in the 1st week of July/2012 – breaking down Billy Beane‘s new MoneyBall Philosophy here.

I have to admit something right now..  I had not seen the movie “MoneyBall” even by this time.  Yes…brutal and I was kicking myself for not seeing it before hand.

After the movie, I did some digging and was extremely flabbergasted with what I found about Beane’s magic.  I wrote a Roster Tree for the Hitters and Pitchers in the organization.  I studied every single transaction to back track how each of the current member of the team had arrived in an Oakland uniform.  You can find that 2 part series here.

Can the Oakland A’s Do it Again in 2013 Preview:

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Can The Cardinals Still Compete With Another Winter Of Losses For A 2nd Year?

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Friday March.29/2013

The Cardinals have been the most consistent Franchise in the National League, having appeared in 8 of the last 12 NLCS since 2000 (3-5).  They have also won 2 World Series in that time (2006 and 2011.)  They held a 3-1 NLCS lead over the San Francisco Giants before losing to the 2012 World Champions.  If there was an Atomic Bomb, I am sure that Cockroaches, Silly Puddy and the Cardinals would survive it because they just keep coming like Zombie's

The Cardinals have been the most consistent Franchise in the National League, having appeared in 8 of the last 12 NLCS since 2000 (3-5). They have also won 2 World Series in that time (2006 and 2011.) They held a 3-1 NLCS lead over the San Francisco Giants before losing to the eventual 2012 World Champions. If there was an Atomic Bomb, I am sure that Cockroaches, Silly Puddy and the Cardinals would survive it because they just keep coming like Zombie’s.  Will 2013 be any different for the team without being able for all of the NL Teams to fatten up on the Astros?


Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer)

The St.Louis Cardinals didn’t do much adding this offseason. Sometimes this isn’t such a bad thing, as constant tinkering to a roster isn’t always needed. But if anything, the Cardinals have become a weaker team since losing to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.

Perhaps the most concerning flaw to their roster revolves around the pitching staff.

Kyle Lohse just signed a deal with inner-division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers. Lohse posted a 2.86 ERA in 2012, and finished seventh in Cy Young voting. Among other things, he also pitched a career-high 211 Innings, compiled a career-high 134 ERA+ and barely walked 1.5 batters per 9 IP. Read the rest of this entry

LA Dodgers Organizational Depth Charts, Rosters And Salaries (Majors And Minors)

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Thursday, Mar.28/2013

When Magic Johnson and his ownership group spent 2 Billion Dollars on acquiring the Franchise, that should have been a red-flag that they were going to outspend every club when it came to payroll.  Get ready for it baseball world!  With the MLB not having a Salary Cap - and a whimsy penalty for 1st time offenders for the 1st violation of the Luxury Tax Threshold

When Magic Johnson and his ownership group spent 2 Billion Dollars on acquiring the Franchise, that should have been a red-flag that they were going to outspend every club when it came to payroll. Get ready for it baseball world! With the MLB not having a Salary Cap – and a whimsy penalty for 1st time offenders for the 1st violation of the Luxury Tax Threshold – how high will the LA club go?

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

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

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

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

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

LA Dodgers Great Moments:

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The New Bash Brothers of Oakland – The A’s State Of The Union 2013 Part 1: The Hitters

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Sunday March 24th, 2013

With Cespedes (23 HRs)and Reddick (32 HRs) anchoring the middle of the lineup last year in the 2nd half - the Athletics belted an MLB Leading 112 Round Trippers after the ALL - Star Game.  Many players clubbed the long - ball despite limited AB in the lineup.  They also finished 3rd in the Major Leagues for the whole season on the road.  This is bad news for teams in the AL West.  The team looks to duplicate their incredible second half of power into a full season in 2013.

With Cespedes (23 HRs)and Reddick (32 HRs) anchoring the middle of the lineup last year in the 2nd half – the Athletics belted an MLB Leading 112 Round Trippers after the ALL – Star Game. Many players clubbed the long – ball despite limited AB in the lineup. They also finished 3rd in the Major Leagues for the whole season on the road. This is bad news for teams in the AL West. The team looks to duplicate their incredible second half of power into a full season in 2013.

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

The success of the Oakland Athletics was the surprise of the year in 2012. No one expected them to win the AL West after the Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and with the Rangers coming off of their second straight World Series Appearance. The A’s completely came out of nowhere with players stepping up that no one had heard of.

Josh Reddick proved to be a great acquisition from the Red Sox, hitting 32 bombs and driving in 85 runs. Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes also exceeded expectations after he was signed in the offseason, hitting 23 Homers and driving in 82. These two hard-hitting Outfielders served as mini Bash Brothers.

Of course, no pair of hitters could compare to the Bash Brothers of 1987 consisting of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, who combined for 80 HR.

But, seeing Reddick and Cespedes both have good hitting seasons could have reminded longtime A’s fans of the greatness that happened in 1987, Canseco’s second year and when McGwire was a rookie. Cespedes and Reddick, along with the rest of the Oakland Athletics’ cast brought excitement to the Oakland Coliseum for the first time in a few years. But, the big question is: was last year a fluke?

The Swinging A’s in 2013 – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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Chris Carter: The Future Star That Will Make Billy Beane Regret His Trade Mistake

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Monday February 11th, 2013

Chris Carter had a 3 Slash Line of .239/.350/.864 in 218 AB during the 2012 season. He clubbed 16 HRs and 39 RBI. He hit 11 HRs in just 122 AB away from o.co Coliseum. At just Age 26 - and team controllable until 2019, it is weird that Billy Beane would trade away the slugging 1B/DH

Chris Carter: A career .283 hitter in the minors, with a .378 OBP and .535 SLG. The perfect combination of power and patience. He will prove to be the one that got away from Billy Beane.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Mark down the date of February 4th, 2013. The day that Billy Beane broke my heart. In preparing for my latest A’s feature, the working title of the article was “Chris Carter: The Next Great A’s Superstar”. Then fate intervened. Or rather, Beane decided to pull off one too many trades. After a successful offseason that saw the A’s GM bolster significantly bolster his playoff squad, Beane decided that one more blockbuster move was in order. Jed Lowrie was headed to Oakland, with Chris Carter (the good one), Max Stassi and Brad Peacock going over to the Astros. For the purpose of this piece, I will be focusing on the loss of Carter. Stassi is a former 4th round pick of the A’s and a young 21 Year Old catching prospect. With Derek Norris ready to grab the A’s catching job for the next decade, I can see how he was expandable. Peacock was a 41st round pick of the Nationals. A 25 Year Old arm that may develop one day, but crashed and burned last season in AAA. With the A’s pitching depth, I can see how he could be ticketed out-of-town for a change of scenery. But Chris Carter?  Really Billy??!! You worked your magic to get him in the first place from the Diamondbacks. I certainly hope that your return pans out (Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez). Right now, I simply cannot see the logic of this move.


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Adam Dunn: The New Dave Kingman?

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Wednesday, February.06/2013

Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HRs 6 times in his career and 38+ HRs in 8 of the last 9 years. He is the Classic '3TO' AKA 3 True Outs: HR/BB or SO. At The MLB Reports, we call it a 'Dunn Trick' when he does all 3 in a game.

Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HRs 6 times in his career and 38+ HRs in 8 of the last 9 years. He is the Classic ’3TO’  Guy. AKA 3 True Outs Guy: HR/BB or SO.  At The MLB Reports, we call it a ‘Dunn Trick’ when he does all 3 in a game.

By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): 

.159 Batting Average, 11 HRs, 42 RBI, 177 SO, $12 Million. Those are the #’s posted by Adam Dunn in 2011 during his first season with the Chicago White Sox in just 415 AB or two-thirds of a season. Quite possibly one of the worst statistical seasons in MLB history. Far from Dunn’s previous season averages leading up to that point in his career:  .248 Batting Average – with 33 HRs and 82 RBI. These were not the #’s the White Sox thought they were getting when they signed Dunn to a 4 YR/$56 Million Contract prior to the 2011 season. Dunn never was a high average kind of guy,  has always struck out a lot (as a lot of power hitters do), but also walks a lot. Much to Dunn’s credit, he turned everything around in 2012 hitting (only) .204, but with 41 HRs and 96 RBI. His turnaround season was a big reason for  Chicago’s success in 2012.

Dunn has been one of the game’s premiere power hitters since 2004. Yet, to this date, has never been on a playoff team. He and the Sox came close in 2012, but fell short behind the Tigers. Dunn surpassed 400 HRss last year for the Sox, ( the same year that his teammate Paul Konerko  hit his 400th. Konerko actually hit his 300th HR in the same game, back-to-back with, then teammate, Jermaine Dye) and has a great chance to surpass 500 HR’s. While Dunn will probably fall short of 500 HRs in his next 2 seasons with the Sox, you have to figure he’ll catch on with a team in 2015 and get there. A common complaint about Dunn is, and has been, his average. Last year Dunn hit a “robust” .204, yet still managed to have an OBP of .333. Not quite as good as his career OBP of .370, but not awful either. For a guy that strikes out as much as he does, Dunn sure walks a lot. Though Dunn walked 105 times last year, his K’s more than doubled that amount with 222.

Adam Dunn  Highlights:  Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Billy Beane Found His Catcher in Seattle: John Jaso is Ready to Lead the A’s Back to the Playoffs

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Sunday January 20th, 2013

A .372 OBP in 2010. A .394 OBP last season. Can you blame Billy Beane for LOVING John Jaso?

A .372 OBP in 2010. A .394 OBP last season. Can you blame Billy Beane for LOVING John Jaso?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

My name is Jonathan Hacohen. And I am a John Jaso fan. There…I have said it. Feels very good to get it out. Ok, so I don’t own any John Jaso t-shirts or jerseys. I wouldn’t recognize him if I hit him with my car. But when #27 (formerly #28 on the Rays) comes up to bat, I know that good things will usually happen. Remember that .372 OBP in 2010? I sure do. So do many Tampa Bay Rays fans. For you see my friends, John Jaso is a special breed of baseball player. He is a catcher with patience. He won’t hit for great pop, but he finds ways to get On Base. That is a skill that served him very well back in his aforementioned first full MLB season.

From that season on, I came to expect great things from Mr. Jaso. But then 2011 hit. Or actually, he didn’t. A .224 AVG with a .298 OBP was good enough for the Rays to dump Jaso on the Mariners for Josh Lueke. Remember him? Do I really have to say more? The Rays, for all the talk of their poor offensive showing and need for major league bats, decided that John Jaso just didn’t fit into their system. So Jaso was off to Seattle and Jose Molina was brought on board. The same Jose Molina who hit .223 last season with a .286 OBP. The same Jose Molina who got paid $1.5 Million last season. John Jaso on the other hand got paid $495,200 last year. What did he do? Only hit .276 with a .394 OBP. Plus a .456 SLG for good measure. His reward? A one-way ticket to Oakland with a 30 second stopover in Washington. The man can’t win. A good or bad season, either way MLB GM haven’t shown faith in this kid so far in his career. But then, most GMs are not Billy Beane. Despite being apparently set at the position for 2013, Beane proceeded to trade for Jaso and dump George Kottaras, to catch with Derek Norris. Beane said on record that he would have kept Kottaras unless Jaso was made available. So does Billy Beane know something that Andrew Friedman, Jack Zduriencik and Mike Rizzo don’t? The answer is yes. Beane knows which players he wants and usually, he will get them at the end. Now John Jaso is set to bring flair, leadership and of course, On Base skills to Oakland. The playoff picture just got much rosier for the A’s. 


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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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The Patrick Languzzi Interview: The Man Behind The Petition About The Dwight Evans For The ‘BBHOF’ Candicacy Campaign

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Sunday, January.13/2013

Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Jim Rice and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their piers and BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) but are trounced on by the ballooned 'Steroid era" numbers.Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Jim Rice and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their piers, (offensively and defensively) plus BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) - but are trounced on by the ballooned 'Steroid era" numbers.

Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Will Clark and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their peers, (offensively and defensively) plus BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) – but are trounced on by the ballooned ‘Steroid era” numbers.

By John Tuberty – Special Guest Writer and Cooperstown Correspondent (Owner of The Wesbite Tubbs Baseball Blog, please view here . )

Under current Hall of Fame voting rules, the Expansion Era Committee meets once every three years to vote on retired players who are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA, have been retired 21 or more seasons, and made their biggest contributions to the sport after 1972.  In addition to the retired players, the Expansion Era ballot also includes retired managers, umpires, and executives from the post-1972 era.  One player who is eligible to be included on December’s Expansion Era ballot is former Red Sox Right Fielder, Dwight Evans.

Despite owning impressive career totals such as 385 Home Runs, 2,446 Hits, and 8 Gold Glove Awards, Evans struggled to draw support in BBWAA Hall of Fame voting and fell off the ballot after failing to draw the necessary five percent needed to stay on the ballot on a very crowded 1999 election.  However in recent years, Evans has become a popular Hall of Fame debate in the sabermetric community and several articles have been written in support of his overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy.  One particular writer, Patrick Languzzi is spearheading a campaign to put Dwight Evans on December’s Expansion Era ballot.  Languzzi, who writes for MLB Reports as the Hall of Fame Correspondent, created his own website, Call to the Hall, which is devoted to bringing awareness to Dwight Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy.  Languzzi even started a petition which calls for Evans to be selected as one of the twelve finalists on December’s Expansion Era ballot.  Languzzi was nice enough to take the time for me to interview him about his Call to the Hall website and petition.

JT: Patrick, you, along with Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe were recently interviewed by Tom Caron on the New England Sports Network (NESN) to discuss Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy (see link below).  What was that experience like?

http://nesn.com/2012/12/dwight-evans-hall-of-fame-candidacy-languishes-with-veterans-committee-video/

PL: The experience was validating for me, meaning, when I started this project, I never imagined it would have gone as far as it has, and gotten the attention it’s drawn.  It’s great to see that I’m not the only one that feels that Evans’ case deserves to be revisited.

JT: You mention in the NESN clip that you got a chance to meet Dwight, what can you tell us about meeting him?

PL: Through all of my research, I’ve gotten to know Evans, and what I’ve found is that he is extremely humble and unwilling to discuss himself as a possible Hall of Fame candidate.  He was humble as a player too.  A good example of this is the clip from the 1987 All-Star game (see link to clip below) when Dwight fields a fly ball and fires a strike to home plate, Tim Raines the player at third holds from tagging up.

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Bartolo Colon: Ready For One More “BIG” Season in Oakland

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Sunday January 13th, 2013

bartolo colon

Bartolo Colon saw his 2012 season end early due to a PED suspension. He is scheduled to return in April. Does he have one more big year left in the tank?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Bartolo Colon (or Fatolo as he is known in inner-baseball circles), is set to make his major league return in April, 2013. Back in August, 2012 Colon received a 50-game suspension for the use of a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED). This suspension came a week after Melky Cabrera received his 50-game ban. With only 5 games left in his suspension, Colon will be back in early-April (health permitting). But as much as fans discuss his performance on the field, Colon’s weight always seems to be the center of attention. Generously listed at 5’11″ and 265 lbs. on the Baseball Reference site, Colon won’t be winning modelling contests anytime soon. Billy Beane said it best in Moneyball, when he made it clear to his scouts that the team wasn’t trying to sell jeans. They were trying to win ballgames. Regardless of his weight and appearance, as long as Bartolo Colon can get the job done, I say hand him the ball every 5th game. Babe Ruth wasn’t a small guy, but he sure got the job done. Colon may not have the talent possessed by Ruth, but he can still be effective on most given nights. When baseball has 1-2 pitchers falling to Tommy John surgery on a weekly basis, there is something to be said for a pitcher that can go out there and give his team a good chance of winning. That is the Bartolo Colon that the A’s are hoping for in 2013. With a $3 Million salary this year and approximately $2 Million in incentives to be earned, Colon has all the incentives in place to give the A’s the workhorse they need this upcoming season.


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Roger Clemens: A Cardboard God Comes Into Focus

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Saturday, January.12, 2013

The picture stands today as the symbol of an era -- and innocence -- lost.

The Topps 1987 Card.

By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

I took the photo in Cooperstown, after driving from Boston to baseball’s Mayberry with three buddies for my first look at the game’s red-bricked shrine. When we entered the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, just off the museum’s lobby, I instinctively knew which of the immortals I wanted to visit first. Walking through the years to the 1966 induction class, I found him on the wall right alongside Casey Stengel:

The picture stands today as the symbol of an era — and innocence — lost. In it, Roger Clemens and Ted Williams share confident, youthful smiles. Williams is, quite literally, a bronzed God, staring out at the photographer in his tanned, All-American glory. Clemens, wearing a fresh, clean Red Sox uniform, also has the look of a man who knows exactly what he wants out of life.

Williams yearned to be the world’s greatest hitter; Clemens the top pitcher. At the time of the picture, in 1988, both had reached their goal.

Ted Williams Tribute Piece from 2002:

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

 

Friday November 23th, 2012

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

Contact Hitters and Pitching Are Keys to Winning In the MLB Playoffs: Bravo Giants! Attn: Yankees!

Saturday, Nov.10/2012

 

The Giants GM Brian Sabean saw that his offense had significant holes from previous years and before 2012, dealt for Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan. Both are decent contact hitters, with decent power and speed. It also took for the emergence of Marco Scutaro and the renaissance play from Pablo Sandoval to show that teams that can make regular contact (and are armed with great pitching,) ultimately win in the playoffs.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I can’t believe I am going to utter these next few words, “I am starting to shift on the idea of eliminating the DH in the AL and also I am beginning to find the National League Brand of Baseball a lot better these days.”  I am not just saying this because the National League has registered 5 World Series Wins out of the last seven years (STL x 2, SF x 2 and PHI vs BOS AND NYY since 2006.)  I just find that the American League Baseball is becoming boring.  If you have read my articles in the past, I hate teams that strikeout non-stop and when you put two of these teams together for a Series like the AL routinely does, the games are filled with heavy pitch counts, four-hour games and not much contact.  This years ALCS represented an all-time low for fan excitement.  Put aside that I am a Yankees fan for a minute, it was absolutely brutal baseball.  In fact, last years ALCS was no picnic either.  If the games continue on like this, they might as well scrap the DH, start having the umpires call more strikes on the hitters and have all AL Teams convert to a National League style of game.

The National League has seen the Cardinals give us thrilling moments and comebacks to epic proportions over the last 2 years. I honestly think that Mark McGwire is not receiving enough credit for molding that team into a bunch of contact hitters.  You watch the 2013 offense of the LA Dodgers, they will all have a different approach.  We will save the DH debate for another day,  but lets just say that 2012 was the worst year for DH’s in some time if not ever.  There are only about 3-4 decent DH’s left in the game and if David Ortiz is not in the lineup for the Red Sox, there are no more marquee guys that just hit and not field!  The National League Teams plan on more contact for runs created out of necessity and it is always reflective  by the competitive games we see them play in the playoffs.

In 2012, the Giants made 4 key acquisitions before and during the season to change their offensive demeanor.  If you ask me flat-out as a  baseball observer, there is no way the Giants win the World Series without Marco Scutaro or Angel Pagan at the top of the lineup.  I also am conceding credit to Melky Cabrera’s hitting contributions as a contact hitter before being busted.  Before Melky Cabrera was shown the door for PED’s, he was the same hitter as Scutaro in the 2nd half and postseason, in just hitting every single pitch that was thrown at him.  To be honest here,  Angel Pagan does strike out a fair bit as a lead off hitter, however he also has speed that makes him dangerous whenever the ball is contacted.  It is all about a mixture of power, speed and contact hitters.  To illustrate this fact, Hunter Pence (also picked up near the Trade Deadline) did not hit well in the regular season or playoffs for average, yet he was able to drive in a pile of runs because guys ahead of him were always on base.  All he needed to do was to make contact for his RBI. Read the rest of this entry

Miguel Cabrera: Baseball Royalty is Ready to Take the AL Triple Crown and a Spot in Cooperstown

Tuesday September 25, 2012

Alex Mednick:  1967 was the year that boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing world championship because he refused to join the U.S. Army.  There were 475,000 US Troops in Vietnam.  The Beatles had just come out with Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Woodstock music festival was still 2 years away.  Never had a man stepped foot on the moon, a gallon of gas cost $0.33 and Federal Minimum Wage was $1.40 per hour.  It was also the last time that any professional ballplayer was awarded the triple crown: Carl Yastrzemski.

Carl Yastrzemski was the last major league baseball player to ever win the triple crown, 45 years ago in 1967.

Here we are, in present day 2012, and 29-year-old phenom Miguel Cabrera is vying to be the first man to hit for the triple crown since 1967…after almost a half century.  Back in 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire reignited national interest in our pastime, they were pursuing Roger Maris’ single season record for most home runs.  Without deducting any valor from the record which I believe still belongs to Mr. Maris, the triple crown does not only take home run power into consideration; rather the triple crown validates a hitter based upon the three most important (Sabremetrician’s may disagree) measures of a hitters overall productivity. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball in the Olympics: Born in 1904 to Elimination in 2008

Monday August 6th, 2012

           

Robert Whitmer:  Have you ever loved something so much that the only way to see if it loved you back was to set it free and see if it came back to you?  Most people apply this concept to human relationships.  The strongest emotions possible by a human are between family members.  Husband and wife, parent and child, even sibling to sibling; the emotion of love runs the entire world.  Wars have been fought and countries destroyed because of an emotion.  If I could, for a moment, steal a set of lines from The Matrix: Revolutions about love.  “It’s a… human emotion. Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies. I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?”  What would you give?  This word is often times tossed around with reckless abandon.  We often say it without considering the aforementioned connection that the word implies.  When someone or something that we have connected this word to leaves us, or is no longer available to us, we go through a withdrawal.  We yearn for it, strive for it, and in the most extreme of circumstances, kill for it.  You are reading this right now because you have a love for a sport.  Don’t deny it, because you know that it’s true.  You watch it, study it, and put aside mere mundane tasks to be near it.  Isn’t that what you do for things that you love?  You…  no we are here because we love the sport of baseball but has it always loved us back?

We are about a week into the 30th Olympiad.  We have our usual events that grab out attention for three weeks out of every four years.  If you try to sit there and tell me that you follow USA handball team then I will sit here and call you a liar.   I can probably count on one hand the number of sports that are in the Olympics that are even on TV in those four years.  Only because of national pride do the Olympics get the ratings that it does.  There has been talk of including new sports and events into the Olympics but then they continue to take events out.  One of the more recent sports to get the axe was baseball. During a 2005 IOC meeting, it was decided that baseball and softball would no longer (starting in 2012) be included in the Olympic Games.  This is not going to be a bash the Olympics read, but more represent a discussion as to why I feel that baseball is not an Olympic event.  To understand this, we must start at the beginning.  Let us hop in our time machine and travel back to a time when baseball was king. Read the rest of this entry

A Tribute to Hall of Fame Shortstop Barry Larkin: The Measure of a Man

Monday July 23, 2012

Robert Whitmer:  If you ask any player that is in the game today, the two goals that they have is to win a World Series and to make the Hall of Fame.  The players that you could question about that have a desire.  Let’s talk about that word for a minute.  Desire; what exactly does it mean.  I think that motivational speaker Les Brown defined it very adequately.  “Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.”  Obviously this is speaking about the highest level of desire.  This is the level that you must have in order to accomplish the goals that are mentioned here.  Desire at this level means that you spend the extra time in the weight room to increase your stamina, taking 100 more grounders after you already took 1000 in practice, and be willing to slide one more time after your legs are already burning from sliding the first 50 times. 

Desire is what fuels them, the yearning to be the best of the best because number two is just not good enough.  Losing desire of this level is just crippling for anyone.  If it’s in our professional lives at work, or in our personal lives with our spouse, boy/girl friend, or significant other, you must maintain a desire to continue to make yourself better.  If it is lost, then you as a person will remain stagnant.  I believe that our purpose for being here on this earth is start as a little child, knowing nothing, but with the ability to learn and grow to become the best person that we can become.  When we are children, we rely on our parents’ desire to make us the best people that we can become, until we develop the desire of our own.  It is this desire that pushes us towards our goals.  This Sunday, July 22, 2012, Barry Louis Larkin became one of the best of the best in the game of baseball.  You see- you can have role players win a World Series title, but that doesn’t mean they are one of the best all-time players.  It takes a special player, however, to get into the Hall of Fame. Barry Larkin is now officially part of that elite class of ballplayers. Read the rest of this entry

The Future of the Oakland A’s: The Mustache Gang Meets the Bash Brothers – Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan

Saturday July 7th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Baseball is a funny sport for many reasons. One particular reason is opinions. One minute a person can be a hero, the next a goat. A genius can turn into an idiot, seemingly overnight. In the world of Major League Baseball, we love building up our heroes. The next minute, we are cutting them down to the knees. An example of this the swing in popular opinion comes from out west. Famed baseball General Manager, the one and only Billy Beane. I have been thinking about Billy for some time. Ever since Moneyball the movie was due to be released, I couldn’t help but notice the reports that were coming out on the A’s GM. The man once hailed as a baseball genius, was now being mocked in many circles. Here he was, being immortalized on the silver screen by none other than Brad Pitt. Yet in real life, the 2011 MLB season was about to end and Beane’s team was near the bottom of its division, finishing a whopping 22 games out of first place. Had Billy Beane lost touch with the modern game? Did other teams catch up finally to his systems and tricks? Could a competitive team be impossible in the modern game on a shoestring budget? When Billy Beane should have been recognized in one of his finest professional moments, more questions than answers circled around. But in typical Billy Beane fashion, the A’s GM kept a low profile and stuck to his guns. He had a plan. This man always has a plan. He just wasn’t ready to share it yet with the baseball world. 

If you read and/or watched Moneyball and followed recent Oakland A’s teams, you might think that you have the Billy Beane equation down. Great pitching and patching together a lineup/offense. But as the salaries climbed with the big pitchers, turnover and replenishing of the farm system became the norm. In recent years though, all those supposed great pitchers did not always pan out. Combine that with a line of prospects that were not panning out, and Oakland A’s fans started to cry out for relief. Attendance at the Coliseum has reached embarrassing levels in recent years. The stadium is considered aged and obsolete. The A’s have been trying to move to San Jose and without a new stadium, declared that they could no longer keep a viable team running past their designated salary structure. So seemingly until the new stadium would get approved, the star players would get moved out quicker and the A’s would become a glorified farm system for the rest of baseball. Remember the Montreal Expos? Good…so does Billy Beane.

The Expos in their competitive days, the peak coming in 1994, had a strong and balanced lineup and pitching staff. All of its young players came up at once and developed together into a dynamic superstar team. Moises Alou. Larry Walker. Ken Hill. Wil Cordero. Pedro Martinez. The team was stacked to say the least. If not for the cancellation of the playoffs that year, some people believe that Major League Baseball would still be in Montreal. Yes, that Expos team had a great pitching staff. But it also had an unbelievable young and powerful lineup. Somewhere in his mind, Billy Beane has kept a memory alive of that Montreal Expos team and the system that developed its players. Billy knows it because he is re-creating it right now in Oakland. Right under our noses and many of us are not even feeling it. Read the rest of this entry

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