By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer) Follow @DanWanser
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Moving into 2014, the Detroit Tigers look to have a season which takes them past the ALCS where their 2013 run ended, and potentially all the way to the Fall Classic in November which was just outside their grasp.
The Tigers have made it to the ALCS for 3 straight years, and will attempt to be the 1st franchise since the Yankees made it to 4 consecutive League Championships from 1998 – 2001 in the American League next campaign.
With great players on the diamond everyday like Miguel Cabrera, newcomer Ian Kinsler, and Right Fielder Torii Hunter, Detroit is poised to make another deep playoff run not only in the upcoming season, but in many years to come.
Looking back at the 2013 lineup, there isn’t much that needs to be changed so here’s what I think their 2014 starters will look like.
2013 Detroit Tigers Pump-Up Video:
Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent): Follow @RJA206
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No matter how bad anyone thought the Marlins would be at the start of the season, things have managed to turn out worse.
With proven players like Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison failing to perform at the levels they are capable of and the organization starting a laughable infield for the majority of the season, 2013 has been one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
However, that’s not to say there haven’t been memorable, enjoyable, and even unforgettable Miami games and performances that have taken place in the 2013 regular season.
Here’s a look at the few unforgettable games and bright young names that will be remembered in years to come.
Marlins Outlast Mets in 20-innings
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Tuesday April 30th, 2013
By Bernie Olshansky (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
Over the past few years, Chicago Cubs fans have not had a lot to cheer about. Anthony Rizzo is starting to break this trend. Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs from the San Diego Padres in early 2012.
Rizzo is exactly what the Cubs need in a power-hitting first baseman, and should hold down the position in the years to come. Andrew Cashner was a prized prospect at the time of the trade, but the Cubs evidently thought Rizzo was more talented and held more value.
The Padres wound up with Yonder Alonso to man First Base, so they did not lose a significant amount in the trade.
Anthony Rizzo Highlights and the song “Go Cubs Go”
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By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): Follow @ryandana1
The Boston Red Sox have been off to one of their best starts in recent memory so far in 2013. At this early juncture in the season they are still in 1st place in the AL East and for the most part are performing like a team with playoff aspirations.
A lot of this is due to the reemergence of veterans who had down 2013 campaigns but there are also a developing core of young players contributing such as Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Jose Iglesias.
While batting .450 (9-20), Jose Iglesias couldn’t have done anything more to secure a spot on the 25-man roster. Despite his great start he was sent down to Pawtucket (AAA) to make room for Stephen Drew who is coming off injury (concussion).
Jose Iglesias Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Monday, April 1, 2013
By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
Jose Fernandez is one of the top ten prospects in all of baseball for a variety of reasons. He has a fastball that can touch 98 MPH and a nasty curveball that will baffle hitters at any level. This weekend, the Miami Marlins promoted to their starting rotation after he continued to impress their front office in Spring Training. Having never played above High-A, Fernandez will suddenly be forced into the spotlight in the N.L. East. While it may seem that the Marlins are making the right choice in bringing him up because of how awful and unexciting their team will be in 2013, the reality is the Marlins are making a massive mistake.
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By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.
The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.
Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.
Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.
Felix Hernandez Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised
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
Friday August 17th, 2012
Codey Harrison (Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst) – The second installment of a 3-part series featuring the top 5 prospects from middle of the field positions. This week we are focusing on one of the hardest positions in all of baseball to find superstars at. One of the biggest reasons is that catchers take a lot longer to progress defensively than any other position in baseball. Bryce Harper who was known for being a catcher in high school was drafted as an outfielder by the Nationals so he could make it to the Major Leagues much faster. Being able to call a game behind the plate, and knowing the angles that are needed to block pitches in the dirt can take several years to master. The wear and tear on a catcher can be a vigorous one, as most catchers only catch 140 games an entire season even if they are healthy the entire season. With current catchers in MLB who are stars like Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Buster Posey, Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, and Miguel Montero, it’s time to take a look at the potential future catching stars who replace the current MLB All-Star catchers. Plus teams look to move star catchers from their primary position to save their bats and extend their careers in the process.
Travis d’Arnaud (Toronto Blue Jays AAA) - Travis d’Arnaud was the prize prospect along with RHP Kyle Drabek the Blue Jays acquired in the Roy Halladay trade. d’Arnaud was named the 2011 Eastern League best catcher by the leagues managers. For the position, d’Arnaud has plenty of future plus tools (Hit, Power, Arm, and Fielding), and is on pace to supplant current Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia by the start of the 2013 season. d’Arnaud is currently on the disabled list, but for the season with AAA Las Vegas he’s batting .333, .380 OBP, .595 SLG, with 16 home runs, and 52 RBIs. One of the very few things scouts are drawn away from d’Arnaud is his approach at the plate, as he is very aggressive having walked on 19 times, while striking out 59 times on the season. Read the rest of this entry
Monday August 13th, 2012
Codey Harrison: This is the second installment of the weekly prospect hot/cold sheet. We will feature 3 prospects that are on fire, and 3 prospects that are ice-cold. Our list of players will only include those who are still prospect eligible (less than 130 MLB at bats, less than 50 innings pitched at the MLB level). Featured players are generally players who are highly regarded amongst the minors and are regarded as legit prospects. This week’s hottest player goes to Arizona Diamondbacks LHP Tyler Skaggs who has posted a 1.70 ERA in 8 AAA starts.
Tyler Skaggs LHP Diamondbacks - The prize prospect in the trade that sent Dan Haren to the Angels, Tyler Skaggs has been dominant in his 2 season in the Diamondbacks organization, especially of late with AAA Reno. Skaggs has the kind of stuff scouts drool over, 3 pitches that grade out from above average to plus, to compliment his above average command. In Skaggs’ last 3 starts, he has gone 20 innings, allowing 2 runs on 11 hits, with a very impressive 25 strikeouts to only 7 walks. Tyler Skaggs is considered the best southpaw of the loaded Dbacks pitching prospects entering 2012 (Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley). Read the rest of this entry
Thursday August 9th, 2012
John Burns: With a 36-76 record the Houston Astros have been the laughing-stock of baseball this season. Houston is going into a complete rebuilding phase after trading the very few veterans they had, such as: Carlos Lee to Miami, Wandy Rodriguez to Pittsburgh, Brett Myers to Chicago (White Sox), Chris Johnson to Arizona, and J.A. Happ to Toronto. It is safe to say that Houston was definitely a seller at the recent non-waiver trade deadline and they made the right decision. They had one of the best deadlines in my opinion because they got rid of players that they were not going to win with and got very talented prospects in return. With the load of prospects Houston received, they will most definitely need several of their new young players to pan out if Houston plans to contend in the A.L. West one day. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention the worst team in baseball is going to one of the best divisions in baseball in 2013. A difficult situation is about to get a whole lot tougher. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday August 5th, 2012
Codey Harrison: In an effort to bring you the excitement of the minor leagues’ best players and how well they are performing on the field, we are introducing a monthly minor league players of the month feature. From the very well-known prospects, to the not so well-known: if they are raking at the plate, or dominating on the mound for an entire month, they have a chance of winning our monthly honor. Now it’s time to find out who we feel dominated the MiLB in the month of July:
MiLB PITCHER OF THE MONTH: JULY 2012 Read the rest of this entry
Saturday August 4th, 2012
Codey Harrison: This is the first installment of the weekly prospect hot/cold sheet. We will feature 3 prospects that are on fire, and 3 prospects that are ice-cold. List’s of player’s will only include players who are still prospect eligible, less than 130 MLB at bats, less than 50 innings pitched at the MLB level. Featured players are generally players who are highly regarded amongst the minors and are regarded as legit prospects. Dylan Bundy who ranks 2nd on our mid-season top-50 prospects list gets the nod for the hot prospect after his best outing as a pro.
Dylan Bundy RHP Orioles - The 4th overall pick of the 2011 first year player draft has been dominant all season, but especially dominant of late. Bundy had arguably his best start as a pro his last time on the mound going 6 2/3 Innings, allowing 2 hits, 0 earned runs, while walking 2, and striking out 8. Overall in his last 2 starts, Dylan Bundy has posted very good numbers. 11 innings, 9 hits, 2 runs (1ER), 3 walks, and 14 strikeouts. Bundy signed a big league contract with the Orioles and management hasn’t ruled out calling up Bundy in September if Baltimore is still in the playoff race. Read the rest of this entry
MLB Trade Deadline Update #5 7/28: Segura Traded, Scutaro to San Francisco, Reds Looking for Leadoff Hitter
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
Saturday July 21st, 2012
Codey Harrison: A Texas Rangers shortstop prospect tops our list of the top-50 MLB prospects. Jurickson Profar is so highly thought of by scouts, that they believe the Rangers may end up trading 23-year-old 2-time All-star shortstop, Elvis Andrus. Profar has all five tools (hit, power, speed, glove, and arm) and he’s proven he knows how to use all five. He’s currently raking in AA Frisco at only 19 years of age, posting monstrous numbers of .297 AVG, .371 OBP, .500 Slug, 22 doubles, 7 triples, 12 home runs, and 44 walks to 59 strikeouts. Most believe he will be a gold glove caliber top, or middle of the order run producing machine that is a perennial All-Star. Time will tell on this prospect. But in a minor leagues full of “can’t miss” prospects, Profar gets out top vote at this stage of the season.
This list of the 2012 mid-season MLB Top-50 prospects does not include 2012 first year player draft players. Only players with less than 130 ABs, or 50 IP at the major league level qualify. All stats are 2012 MiLB stats as of 7/21/12:
- SS – Jurickson Profar (AA Rangers) .297/.371/.500, 12 HR, 10 SB
- RHP – Dylan Bundy (A+ Orioles) 5-3, 1.74 ERA, 72.1 IP, 88K
- OF – Wil Myers (AAA Royals) .317/.396/.654, 28 HR, 5 SB
- SS – Manny Machado (AA Orioles) .257/.343/.410, 8 HR, 12 SB
- RHP – Gerrit Cole (AA Pirates) 7-4, 3.07 ERA, 88 IP, 90 K Read the rest of this entry
Monday July 16th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: The 2012 Major League Baseball Draft was a good one for all of the teams except the Pirates. Unfortunately, the Pirates couldn’t ink their first round pick, pitcher Mark Appel. Pittsburgh will receive the ninth overall pick in next year’s draft, and will have to deal with the reality of losing out on a top arm. Here’s a list of some unsigned draft picks and some surprises who ended up signing:
PLAYERS THAT DIDN’T SIGN
Mark Appel, Eighth overall, Pirates
Appel was touted as a possible first-overall pick, with a plus fastball and three years of college experience. Once the Astros passed him up, many thought the Twins would pick him at second overall. When the Twins selected outfielder Byron Buxton, the Mariners seemed to be the next to have Appel as a steal. On and on this went until Appel fell to eighth overall. I couldn’t believe it, and I’m sure many were stunned. Appel seemed like a good fit for many of the teams that passed on him, but good for the Pirates—they got a steal. Now they had a possible Gerrit Cole/Mark Appel one-two punch for years to come. For the Pirates, there was a lot to be optimistic about. For Appel, not so much. In my opinion, after dropping to eighth, he was upset enough to decide to return to Stanford and try to build on a 10-2 record with a 2.56 ERA in order to be selected higher in next year’s draft. Read the rest of this entry
ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Urkel in Baseball, Batting Stance Guy, Beane, Future of Dempster, Hamilton’s Speed, Gathright Released and Rating Prospects
Monday July 16th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Jonathan Hacohen: Ok, I am going to admit it. I am 110% wiped from last night’s sleepover. The Toronto Blue Jays, like many MLB squads hold yearly sleepovers on the field. The Jays had theirs last night. Second year in a row for me and I will admit, after playing catch on the field till 1:30a.m., I am still not recovered. Call it getting old, but sometime the body just doesn’t bounce back like we want it to. That being said, the show must go on. So with apologies I am a little late this week on ATR, but better late than never!
Before I jump into your weekly baseball questions, here are some of my random baseball thoughts:
I was watching Ben Francisco of the Toronto Blue Jays last night as he was signing autographs for the fans. I wasn’t sure 100% who he was right away. But damn, he looked familiar. I looked and I looked. Then I realized what Chuck Booth (one of our Lead Writers here on MLB reports) had told me earlier in the year. Jaleel White. Steve Urkel. Man Chuck, you were bang on. Take a look at the comparisons:
THEN JALEEL WHITE:
Ben Francisco is not the Steve Urkel type nerd. Rather, he looks like the cool and sauve Stefan. Yes, I did enjoy TGIF’s Family Matters back in the day. Whatever became of Jaleel White? Is he Ben Francisco? Or is this just a baseball urban legend? And whatever became of Laura Winslow? If you locate either one, please let Ben know. Until then, I am fairly certain Jaleel White is playing ball in Toronto. Call him Stefan…see what he says!
If you are not howling with laughter at this point, I want to introduce you to a good friend of MLB reports. If you love baseball, you have seen his work on YouTube and throughout the internet. He is a published author and all-around good guy. To his friends he is Gar Ryness. To the rest of the baseball world, he is the one and only “Batting Stance Guy”. Here is a little clip from some of BSG’s most recent work:
How are you feeling now? I know…your ribs hurt, tears are streaming down your eyes. Yes, that is the magic of Gar. The man has the ability to duplicate any batting stance going. Watching his impressions is a baseball theatrical treat. The fact that he is hilarious is an added bonus. Over the coming weeks, I will bring you more magic Batting Stance Guy clips. If you want to learn more about him in the interim, check out his site: battingstanceguy.com.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Thursday July 5th, 2012
John Burns: On July8th 2012, the 14th annual MLB All-Star Futures Game will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
For those who do not know about the Futures Game, it is where a team of minor league baseball prospects from the United States and a team of prospects from other countries in the World compete against each other in a 9-inning exhibition game. The rosters for both teams are picked by Baseball America and all 30 teams must have at least one representative.
Here are some highly regarded names of players that will be playing in this year’s Futures Game: Dylan Bundy (BAL), Manny Machado (BAL), Billy Hamilton (CIN), Nick Castellanos (DET), Wil Myers (KC), Zack Wheeler (NYM), Gerrit Cole (PIT), Jameson Taillon (PIT), Danny Hultzen (SEA), Enny Romero (TB), and Anthony Gose (TOR). Read the rest of this entry
Saturday June 2nd, 2012
Sam Evans: A couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals had not only the best farm system at the time, but maybe one of the best farm systems in the history of baseball. Fast forward a few years later and the Royals still have a bright future, and a lot of their prospects have graduated to the major league level. One of their top prospects, Wil Myers, is on the verge of the major leagues after tearing up both Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to become a perennial All-Star.
Wil Myers was born in High Point, North Carolina in December of 1990. After four seasons of baseball at Wesleyan Christian High School, Myers committed to the University of South Carolina, which was at the time, was one of the best baseball programs in the country. After the Royals selected Myers in the third round of the 2009 Amateur draft, it took a $2 million signing bonus to get Myers to turn professional. Despite the high cost, it was evident that the Royals got a very talented player in the third round of a strong draft. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday May 30th, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For those who may not know, the MLB’s first-year-player draft starts June 4th. While there may not be a huge name like Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg to create excessive buzz, this year’s draft should be interesting. The first overall pick belongs to the 2011 worst Houston Astros, who surprisingly have one of the shallowest farm systems in baseball. Though the Hunter Pence trade brought in their number one and two prospects, Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton, respectively, the organization is lacking in prospect depth overall. Picking behind the ‘Stros are the Minnesota Twins, with the Mariners and Orioles following. Predicting a draft, especially where there is no clear-cut “number one” prospect is difficult, to say the least. Teams aren’t drafting to fill immediate needs, so much as to bolster a weak area in their organization. For example: it may seem logical for the Phillies to draft a power-hitting first baseman with the 40th pick since Ryan Howard is injured, but really a 2012 draftee wouldn’t be MLB ready for a few years and therefore irrelevant to Howard’s injury. Plus with the changes in this year’s draft as to salaries, teams will no longer have “recommended slots” to play with. Translation: signability will play a bigger part in this year’s draft than ever before. With that being said, here are my predictions for the first ten names to be called on Monday.