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By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): Follow @nross56
As April came to a close and May began, the Yankees found themselves in an all so familiar place. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were atop the American League East. It seems like this struggle between century old rivals has dominated the AL East for the better part of the last 15 years.
This year was supposed to be different as New York and Boston were both expected to cede the division to the Baltimore O’s, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, and perhaps that will still be the case, but after five weeks of the season, it certainly seems like the demise of the Yanks and Sox was greatly overstated.
Part of the reason that the Yankees have managed to prove their naysayers incorrect has been their stellar starting pitching. Each of the top four Yankee starters has pitched well to start the season, but as the title of the article suggests, there is one pitcher who has stood out especially in the last several weeks.
His performance leads to this question: Is Phil Hughes finally becoming the pitcher he was always touted to be? Is the 26-year old right hander finally blossoming into a strong 1/2 starter? The numbers, at least early on, scream YES.
The Phil Hughes Question:
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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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Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Billy Beane has always recycled his great starting pitchers once they hit the experience level that he could not pay them for. His new crop of pitchers include Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone and new Starter A.J. Griffin.
They also are bringing back Bartolo Colon for the 2013 season, despite taking a 50 game suspension for PED use last year. Billy Beane is a master tactician on assessing a players worth and especially pitchers. Just like the hitters, the pitchers are all mostly in the 25-30 Age bracket. He has a quality set of controllable relief pitchers in the barn to close out games too.
A.J. Griffin at University of San Diego:
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Saturday, January 5th, 2013
Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
In my previous article examining the decline of the DH position in the AL, I briefly touched on a few great DH’s. Now I will exert my focus on examining who the best DH of all time was. While the DH position may be in a decline, it has experienced good times. To be truly great at one of the hardest things to do in sports, (hit a baseball) is quite an accomplishment whether you play in the field or not. The Top 4 DH’s off all time have to be Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz. (The ordering just goes from 1st to enter the MLB to last, not who was the best. I will order them in that way later in the article.)
Harold Baines was somewhat of a pioneer of the DH position, as he was one of the early greats. His 22 Year Career started in 1980 with the Chicago White Sox, and ended for the same team in 2001, although he had stints with the Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, and Indians in between. Baines was a regular Outfielder for the White Sox until the ’86 season – where knee problems all but ended his fielding career. With Baines well-rounded, Left-hHanded stroke at the plate, he etched out a place in baseball history that will leave him remembered by many.
Frank Thomas Highlights:
The Oakland A’s 2013 Roster Tree Part 2: The Pitchers And Analyzing Mulder, Hudson and Zito Post Oakland
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Yesterday we talked about the hitters of the Oakland Athletics current roster and today we will talk about their pitching. This has been an organization that has thrived on brilliant drafting of young arms. In the early 2000′s, the team featured three ace pitchers in Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. Billy Beane had to let each of them leave Oakland because they couldn’t pay them the kind of dollars needed to secure them long term. With the exception of this year, Barry Zito has not lived up to his 7 Years and 126 Million Dollar contract he signed with the San Francisco Giants since leaving the Athletics. Despite a 15-8 year for the SF club this past year, he holds a 58-69 (.447) record for San Francisco lifetime with a 4.47 ERA. He was 102-63 (.618) and a 3.55 ERA with the A’s before leaving at the age of 29. The guy made 18.25 Million in his Oakland days and has already pocketed 99 Million with SF.
Mark Mulder never was the same pitcher in the NL and was out of baseball four years after being traded to St. Louis. His A’s career had netted him an 81-42 (.659) record with a 3.92 ERA. He was only 22-18 (.550) and a 5.04 ERA with the Cardinals before retiring. As you will read in this article below, the franchise made a worthy trade in returns for this man. Mulder made 25.3 Million in his contract with the Cardinals after making only 8.4 Million with the A’s.
Tim Hudson on the other hand, has been one of the better pitchers in the NL for the last decade, still towing the hill for the Braves at the age of 38. He was 92-39 (.702) with a 3.30 ERA for the A’s. He has since gone 105-65 with a 3.52 ERA for the Braves in in 8 years. He definitely has been worth the $ invested (84.5 Million plus another 9.0 Million in 2013.) He only made 4.5 Million in his 6 years with Oakland. The sandwich pick they landed for Hudson’s Free Agent signing was Travis Buck. Unfortunately Buck only played 170 games for the franchise, hitting .250 with 18 HRs and 71 RBI in 571 AB.
Total Record for 3 other teams is 185-152 (.549) and they have made 208.8 Million away from Oakland, whereas they were 275-144 (.656) and made a total 33.15 Million Dollars with the Athletics. I would say, Beane made the right decision in not signing them.
The Future of the Oakland A’s: The Mustache Gang Meets the Bash Brothers: Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan click here.
For The Oakland A’s 2013 Roster Tree Part 1: The Hitters Click Here
Tuesday November 27th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):
The Padres seem poised to eventually become mild-spenders. For an organization that’s highest payroll since 2002 has been roughly $73 million (in 2008), moving up in the spending chain would certainly be good for a change. This transformation could come as soon as 2013 or maybe a few years down the road.
But let’s be sure of something—the Padres have a steep hill to climb before they can compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers in terms of financial freedom. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able to compete with the newly labeled ‘Yankees’ of the West coast, but it surely prevents them from signing talented free agents. The A’s and Orioles are a pair of most recent teams to win on a cheaper payroll, while the Rays have been the very definition of that over the past few years. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday November 1st, 2012
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
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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
Sunday October 21st, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Whether you agree with MLB’s new playoff format of having the team with home field advantage start the series on the road or not, you would be crazy not to agree that it has made the 2012 postseason a bit hectic. Hectic in a good way though.
This year’s Division Series defined chaos. All four series stretched out to Game 5’s, and in the process, teams were forced to use strategic tweaks to gut out wins. From a general perspective, there was no “boring” series. Usually, there is at least one. It’s that series that you just occasionally peek in on to check the score. Nope, not this year. Each series had its own unique taste.
The Tigers and A’s followed the expected pattern in that the home team won all but one game. Detroit jumped out by winning the first two at home, looking as if they would easily take the series and avoid using their Justin Verlander two times in one series. But they did, and he elevated himself as the pressure amounted, tossing a shutout against the A’s in Game 5. Read the rest of this entry
Monday October 8th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Now that the division series are into full swing, it’s time to take a look at the status of each of the four series from both leagues.
Surprisingly, the road teams went 6-2, despite the weird playoff format which has the top seed playing two road games before heading home for three.
Here are the results:
Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
It wasn’t a good weekend for Bay Area teams. The A’s lost a heartbreaker early Sunday morning, and the Giants ended the evening with a loss (more on that later). 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
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 Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- When looking back at some of the pitchers that the Montreal Expos have had in their organization, you don’t have go down the list very far to find Randy Johnson. He is the ‘crown jewel’ of the draft history record for the club. It is unfortunate the ‘The Big Unit’ was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to the Mariners for rental player Mark Langston and a player to be named later. To be fair to the Montreal Expos, they were in serious contention for the pennant in 1989 and were trying to chase down the Chicago Cubs. Langston was one of the top Left Handed Aces in the Majors and he was available. Johnson was completely wild in the Minor Leagues and the Expos had a lot of veteran pitchers like Dennis Martinez and Bryn Smith that were on the back end of their careers. The time to try and win was now and they could not wait for Johnson to come around. The Expos did not succeed in capturing the pennant and Langston moved onto the California Angels as a free agent while Johnson blossomed into the premier left handed pitcher in his generation. Speaking of Martinez and Smith, they won 100 and 81 games respectively for the club. While they were not drafted by the Expos, they are 2nd and 3rd on the all-time win list.
Along with Smith and Dennis Martinez (who threw a perfect game as an Expo in 1991 and note: Bill Stoneman also threw two no-hitters for the franchise), you have to factor in the career of Pedro Martinez as an Expo for guys that were great pitchers during their prime. Pedro was acquired prior to the 1994 season from the Dodgers in exchange for the Expos departed ALL-Star second baseman Delino DeShields. Martinez went 11-5 in the strike shortened year and formed an impressive 1-2 ace combination with Ken Hill. Pedro went onto a 55-33 record and a 3.06 ERA for his 4 year Expos career. Pedro’s best year with the club was 1997 where he was the NL CY Young with a 17-8 record and a 1.90 ERA. Martinez finished the year with 305 strikeouts and a ridiculous 13 complete games. Pedro ended up signing with the Boston Red Sox before the 1998 season and he ultimately won a World Series with the Beantowners in 2004. In his post game celebration, Martinez mentioned the Expos franchise and their fans. Pedro shared his triumph as a testament to them. It was talent like this that Expos could never afford to resign and would lose outright- or have to trade for prospects based on their economic viability. I will get more into this in Part 3 of the Article Series on Friday.
For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Hitters: click here
For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise: click here
For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here
For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here
Sunday June 10th, 2012
Sam Evans: Despite being only a teenager, and never having played a full season above High-A, Manny Machado has already drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez. Machado has great instincts and covers a lot of ground as a shortstop. Not to mention, he has outstanding bat speed for a player his size. Even though Machado has yet to truly dominate at any level of the minors, Orioles fans are already pegging him to be their shortstop of the future. However, Orioles’ fans shouldn’t be the only ones excited for Machado’s major league debut. If Machado can put all his tools together, he has the chance to be the best shortstop in all of baseball.
Manny Machado was born in July of 1992 in Miami, Florida. After playing in high school at Brito Miami Private School, Machado was considered a top-five prospect for the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft. After all, he had been recorded throwing up to 92 MPH, his footwork at shortstop looked great, and he squared up a lot of balls. If Bryce Harper wasn’t available at number one for the Nationals, some thought Machado could have been the #1 pick.
Machado stands 6’3’’ and weighs roughly 190 pounds. He hits from the right side of the plate, and has striking plate discipline for a teenager. Machado has a lot of room to grow, so if he does grow into his frame, he could potentially move over to third base. He is athletic enough to make this change, and become one of the top defensive third baseman in the league. However, as long as Machado can stay in shape and not bulk up too much, his team will use him at shortstop, where he will be of the most value. Read the rest of this entry
Friday June 1, 2012
Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): A couple of years ago the Minnesota Twins were talking about moving Joe Mauer to first base, to save his legs. Since he was such a great hitter, the Twins were looking to preserve his bat. That never did happen and the Twins are going down really fast and so is Mauer. The only thing Mauer has been really good for lately is making commercials for Head and Shoulders shampoo and one-liners from video game ads. Joe Mauer has played 9 seasons in the majors and does not have 100 career home runs. Yes he hits for a very high average. But he was supposed to be a great overall hitter. In my opinion, this home-grown Minnesota boy stayed behind the dish too long and now he will never be the same offensive player that he was in ’09. Injuries have taken their toll and the Mauer decline began far sooner than most expected.
The big question for the next two big young catchers is whether they going to stay behind the dish, or undertake a postion change to save their legs…and bats. Buster Posey and Matt Wieters are no doubt the best young catchers in the game right now. Some will look at Mike Napoli, Brian McCann and Alex Avila for that title. But for actual youth, production and potential, Posey and Wieters are the next big things. The only thing is how long will they actually be catchers. If I’m in either the Giants or Orioles front office, I move them as soon as possible. The catcher position is one of the hardest positions in the game and leaving either Posey or Wieters behind the plate too long could prove detrimental. Just look at Joe Mauer as an example of what could happen if you wait. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones might only be hitting about .250 as a combined DH unit, however they are providing some much-needed power from the DH slot for the New York Yankees. Ibanez is batting .260 with 9 HRs and 27 RBI in 137 AB, Jones is .227 with 5 HRs and 10 RBI in 66 AB. The two totals combined equal 14 HRs and 37 RBI in 193 AB. This is really good production in the power department. This puts the duo on pace for about 45 HRs and 120 RBI out of the DH slot. These numbers are comparable to Chicago White Sox primary DH Adam Dunn, who is .240 with 15 HRs and 35 RBI, and Edwin Encarnacion for the Toronto Blue Jays, who is .274 with 15 HRs and is second in the AL with 39 RBI.
There are factors that cancel out the production of both Encarnacion and Dunn. The Blue Jays first base position has killed any type of edge that Encarnacion’s start should have provided. Adam Lind hit himself out of the Majors with his under .200 average, thus negating the production that the position of 1B needs to have in order to compete along with a DH. Adam Dunn has racked up 74 strikeouts to add to his power numbers. While this has been a renaissance year for Dunn so far, the all or nothing philosophy does hurt in the clutch sometimes. I think the White Sox have to be happy with his production, plus Paul Konerko has been the best player in the AL outside of Josh Hamilton. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday May 15th, 2012
Sam Evans: He’s baaaack! Miguel Tejada’s career has gone down the path that most MLB superstars travel as they get older. Once the best-hitting shortstop in the league, Tejada has now morphed into a weak-hitting veteran who can no longer get on base as easily. However, Tejada can still provide value to a rebuilding team who needs a veteran middle infielder to back up their young starters. The Orioles recently signed Tejada to a low-risk minor league deal, and he has a decent chance of playing in the majors before mid-season.
Miguel Tejada used to be a truly outstanding hitter. From 2001 to 2006, Tejada didn’t miss one game. As a primarily offensive-minded player, Tejada has been nominated to six All-Star games, one of which he was named MVP. He’s also won a Home Run Derby and two Silver Slugger awards. Not to mention, Tejada was the 2002 A.L. MVP, and he has tallied four 30+ home run seasons. However, after the 2006 season, Tejada started to show signs of his age. Read the rest of this entry
Monday May 14th, 2012
Sam Evans:When MLB Reports first wrote about the Rockies/Orioles trade that sent Rockies’ pitcher’s Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel to Baltimore in exchange for Jeremy Guthrie, the Orioles seemed like early candidates to come out ahead in this trade. It’s still too early to tell, but because of Hammel’s hot start, the Orioles look like they got a bargain deal. Hammel has been so impressive because of his new pitch and his superb strikeout-to-walk ratios. The Orioles are currently on top of the A.L. East with a 22-13 record, and they owe a lot of the credit for their success to Jason Hammel. Still, there are multiple reasons why they can’t expect Hammel to keep this up.
Coming up in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays system, Jason Hammel was considered a fairly decent pitching prospect. He stands six feet and six inches tall, and weighs roughly 215 pounds. However, when Hammel reached the majors in 2006, just four years since being drafted out of high school, he struggled mightily. In 2008, Hammel’s last year with the Rays, he had a 5.25 FIP. Eventually, the Rays decided that their younger pitching prospects deserved a spot in their rotation more than Hammel. As a result, Hammel was traded before the 2009 season to the Rockies for Aneury Rodriguez. In Colorado, Hammel improved as a pitcher, but he was never considered above-average. Read the rest of this entry
The Streak ended at 30 MLB Parks in 23 calendar days!!
I broke my old record of 24 days by being-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 23 days from April 6th to 28th!
Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter
http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/ or at my official website for all updates!
MLB Park # 25 Day # 20
COL 2 @ PIT 1
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My stay in Tampa Bay was a nice one the night before(despite having to commandeering a neighboring hotel just to do some laundry at midnight.) I was too fired up to sleep and there was no chance at all I would risk sleeping in on this day. I had known for a while that this was going to be an epic day. Since the fallout of the missed doubleheader for Cleveland and Baltimore was first established on that San Diego flight, I looked forward to this day thoroughly.