Sunday, December 30th,2012
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James Paxton is one of the most talented Left-Handed pitching prospects currently in the Minor Leagues. However, partially because he went through trouble entering the MLB Draft a few years ago, Paxton seems to be underrated be most of the baseball world. There is a decent chance that Paxton will make his MLB debut in Seattle before the All-Star Break, so he should have a chance to get some of the attention he deserves in 2012. The Mariners are lucky to have Paxton, whether they use him as a trading piece or they decide to keep him. James Paxton has the talent to become a #3 starter in the majors and it won’t be long before the baseball world is much more aware of this.
Sunday August 26th, 2012
Sam Evans: When Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos traded away both Travis Snider and Eric Thames at the trade deadline, it created an opportunity for unheralded twenty-three year old outfielder Moises Sierra. Sierra has a chance to show Toronto that he should be part of their future in these final couple months of the season. With his 70-grade arm and his ability to produce runs at a solid pace, Sierra could have a job in the majors for years to come. However, Sierra has a lot of work to do to become a candidate for playing time at Rogers Centre in 2013.
Moises Sierra was signed by the Blue Jays out of the Dominican Republic back in 2005. This was before the Blue Jays dominated the scouting world, so Sierra has never been an “Anthopoulos guy”. From 2006 to 2008, Sierra had some rough numbers for different teams, but he showed enough to be promoted from the DSL, in 2006, to earning a starting job in High-A for the 2009 season. Sierra had a 122 wRC+ at High-A in 2009, but he missed most of the 2010 season due to a stress fracture in his leg and a couple of other minor injuries. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday August 21st, 2012
Robert Whitmer: Let’s talk about the year 1865. The Civil War was winding up and the country was in ruin. This is the same year that President Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth and The Salvation Army is founded. Computers, cell phones, and even the automobile had yet to be invented. The steam engine for boats was in its infancy. Across the pond in Britain the world’s first speed limit is introduced limiting horse-drawn carriages to a blistering 2 mph in the city limits and a deadly 4 mph outside the city. This is also the year that the stolen base was recorded for the first time in baseball. In 1865 the Philadelphia Keystones had a player by the name of Ned Cuthbert. Now good ol’ Ned had an idea of running to the next base while the pitcher was getting ready to pitch the ball. Like Edison and Bell, I’m sure people called him crazy when he came up with the idea but he did it anyways. Thus we have record of the first stolen base in baseball history.
The official rules that govern baseball gives credit for a stolen base “to a runner whenever he advances one base unaided by a base hit, a put out, a force out, a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch, or a balk.” As you can probably guess though, the rules regarding stolen bases have gone through many changes. In 1887, the first rules for stolen bases read as the following: “…every base made after first base has been reached by a base runner, except for those made by reason of or with the aid of a battery error (wild pitch or passed ball), or by batting, balks or by being forced off. In short, shall include all bases made by a clean steal, or through a wild throw or muff of the ball by a fielder who is directly trying to put the base runner out while attempting to steal.” Wait…. Muff? I suppose they understood what that meant in 1887. Between 1887 and the final revision, the rule makers addressed the scoring rules in regards to double and triple steal attempts (1910) and defensive indifference (1920). Read the rest of this entry
Saturday August 18th, 2012
Sam Evans: When the Orioles called up Manny Machado roughly ten days ago, reactions varied from overjoyed to disappointed. However, one thing was true of pretty much everyone’s reaction. We were all shocked. Machado, who had barely played one hundred games in Double-A, was now going to have to be relied on for the Orioles playoff push. So far, the Machado experiment couldn’t have gone any better for Baltimore.
At Double-A, Machado was having a tremendous season, despite what some of his numbers suggest. At the age of just twenty, Machado posted a 122 wRC+. While the question of whether or not he could remain at shortstop loomed, Machado received stellar reports of his range at the shortstop position. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday July 25th, 2012
Sam Evans: The Texas Rangers are currently 57-39, which gives them the second-best record in baseball behind only the New York Yankees. Texas isn’t just playing for this year, they also have enough prospects to acquire anyone they want at the trade deadline. Instead of waiting for young players to develop, the Rangers should recognize their chance to win it all this year, and trade away a couple of those players. If Texas could acquire a top of the rotation starter or a superstar outfielder, they should seriously consider trading some of their finest young prospects.
It will take a lot for the Texas Rangers to miss the playoffs this year. Despite playing in a division featuring an interesting Angels team, and a surging Oakland ballclub, Texas still has the highest playoff odds (99.8% chance) according to Baseball Prospectus. The Rangers could probably start Matt Kata instead of Adrian Beltre at third base for the rest of the season, and still make the playoffs. However, at some point, reaching the playoffs just isn’t enough. The Texas franchise wants to win the World Series this year, and in order to do that, they probably need to make a move at the deadline. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday July 22nd, 2012
Sam Evans: Rangers’ prospect Mike Olt is seemingly blocked in Texas. However, with his MLB-ready power bat, he’ll force Texas to either start him or trade him in the next year. Olt has tremendous raw power and a sweet swing that help make him one of the most advanced hitters in the minor leagues. It won’t be long before Mike Olt has established himself as a premier power hitter in the majors.
Mike Olt was born in New Haven, Connecticut, which isn’t exactly a baseball hotspot. At Branford High School, Olt hit .475 his senior year, and set a school record for single-season hits. Coming out of high school, Olt was undrafted so he took a scholarship to the University of Connecticut. In his first season with the Huskies, Olt struggled at third base, but was a monster at the plate. In fifty-four games, Olt hit .318 with a .577 slugging percentage. As a sophomore, Olt started to battle some injuries, and as a result, he came back to down to earth a little. He continued to struggle with his defense at third base. In his junior season at UCONN, Olt hit .318 with a .659 slugging percentage, and became the UConn career home run leader. Olt was drafted by the Rangers with the 49th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Amateur draft. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, July 15th, 2012
Sam Evans: Dark shadows cast over a luminous sky at Municipal Stadium in San Jose, California. A crowd of just fewer than four thousand people bask in the early June sunlight, some of them unaware of the history they are about to witness. The San Jose Giants are hosting the Bakersfield Blaze, and Billy Hamilton is hitting leadoff for a Bakersfield team centered around their 5’11” 160 pound shortstop. Never before in professional baseball have we seen a player like Billy Hamilton.
Friday July 6th, 2012
Sam Evans: Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson went from being an 18th round draft pick, to being in-line for a starting spot on one of the most storied teams in baseball. However, after the Red Sox signed Adrian Gonzalez, Anderson no longer was part of the Red Sox future. Now, in Triple-A, Anderson needs a new team that believes in him. After all, he’s only twenty-four years old and just a step away from the majors.
Lars Anderson was drafted in the 18th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur, draft mainly because teams thought he wouldn’t sway from a commitment to the University of California-Berkley. However, the Red Sox went way over slot to sign Anderson handing him a $825,000 signing bonus. $825,000 was a lot for a second-round draft pick, let alone an eighteenth rounder. Pretty soon, Red Sox nation got excited about this young first baseman/outfielder and his seemingly bright future. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday May 27th, 2012
Sam Evans: Oakland Athletics prospect Michael Choice was drafted by the A’s 10th overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur draft. Looking back at the pick, most of the players drafted before Choice have risen quicker through their respective systems, but Choice still looks like a nice selection by Billy Beane and his scouting department. Michael Choice has 70 grade power, so even though his tools are raw, it’s hard not to like a future All-Star.
Michael Choice was born in 1989 in Forth Worth, Texas. Being a young Texan outfielder with power projection, it must be pretty difficult to go unnoticed out high school. Nonetheless, Choice was under the radar coming out of high school and he eventually ended up at the University of Texas-Arlington. At Texas-Arlington, Choice began to turn some heads. In three college seasons, or 175 games, Choice hit thirty-four homers and had a batting average over .375 in all three years. His junior year at Texas-Arlington, in 2010, Choice drew seventy-six walks and he only struck out fifty-four times.
Coming into the draft, Choice was considered by most as a top fifteen prospect, so the A’s selecting him at #10 didn’t surprise many. The player that went before Choice, Karsten Whitson did not sign. The player that went after Choice, Deck McGuire, is a little overrated in my opinion, but he has reached Double-A already in the Toronto organization. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday May 13th, 2012
Sam Evans: Billy Hamilton is one of the most discussed players in the minor leagues. He might be the fastest player in baseball, but the rest of his game is far from finished. Reds fans probably won’t see Hamilton until at least late-2013, but he will be ready by that point to make an immediate impact in the majors. Let’s take a look at Hamilton’s tools and how they project in the future.
First of all, if you are unfamiliar with Billy Hamilton, then you’ve probably been hiding under a rock. If you are hiding under a rock, you should probably come out. Unless, of course, you have Bryce Harper’s haircut. Anyways, Billy Hamilton grew up in Mississippi and played football, basketball, and baseball in high school. Hamilton was drafted in the second round of the 2009 MLB Amateur draft by the Reds, and passed up a football scholarship to Mississippi State University. Hamilton stands six feet tall and weighs roughly 160 pounds. He is a switch-hitting shortstop who is currently playing for the Reds High-A affiliate, the Bakersfield Blaze. Read the rest of this entry