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By Brooke Robinson (MLB Reports Reporter): Follow @bka_9
Outside of the Cleveland Indians’ circles, the name Bryson Myles isn’t very well-known… yet. But to those in the organization and from his native Dallas/Fort Worth area, his name brings a ton of excitement.
Myles was a 6th Round Draft pick of the 2011 Amateur Draft by the Indians. He was scouted from Stephen F. Austin University, where he led the nation in Stolen Bases in 2011 with 53.
He spent his first professional season with short season Mahoning Valley where he produced a .302/.394/.401 Batting Line.
In his first full season in 2012 with the Lake County Captains, the Outfielder had 20 Doubles to go with his 20 Stolen Bases for the season – and was ranked 15th prospect in the Indians Prospect Insider handbook.
Bryson Miles 2012 Highlights:
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By Ryan Ritchey ( MLB Reports Writer) Follow @baseballaddicts
In 2012 Billy Hamilton was one of the most well known Minor Leaguers in all of baseball. Starting out in A+ ball with the Bakersfield Blaze, Hamilton was looking to be on the fast track to the big leagues by September. He played in 82 games with the Blaze and hit .326 with 104 stolen bases.
Hamilton got the call up to Pensacola (which is the AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) and played in 50 games, Stealing 51 Bases. Things didn’t go as planned for him at the plate in Pensacola and he didn’t make it on the 40 man September roster for the Reds.
Billy Hamilton’s Inside the Park HR:
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Saturday, February.09, 2013
Josh Jones (Angels Correspondent): Follow @joshjones4
At Twenty-One Years of Age, Angels phenom Mike Trout took the baseball world by storm in 2012. The “Millville Meteor”, as he’s called in his hometown, hit a ridiculous .326 (2nd in AL) – with a .399 OBP (3rd in AL) and .564 SLG (3rd in AL). His OPS was .963 (2nd in AL), plus he led the AL in OPS+ (171). Mike threw in 30 Home-runs, 83 RBI 49 SB – and a whopping 129 Runs Scored. Numbers that outstanding are very rarely accomplished at such a young age, so let’s take a look at how Trout’s 2013 season will fare.
Trout should be the 1st MLB player to score 150 Runs since Jeff Bagwell accomplished the feat in 2000 with 152 times touching the dish to help his club. He even has the capability to score 160 Runs, which would be the 1st time anyone has done it since 1936, when Lou Gehrig scored a whopping 136 Runs for the Yankees. If you pro-rate his 129 Runs Scored in 139 Games, it would equal 150 Runs Scored for a full 162 Games. This was without Albert Pujols being himself for the 1st 3 weeks Trout was there, plus Hamilton was on the Texas Rangers for 2012.
Trout has quite a few things working in his favor, including his tremendous baseball toolbox. Even when Trout goes through slumps at the plate, his defense is phenomenal. Likewise, even in games where Mike might overrun a ball in the Outfield he has the ability to hit a big Home-Run or steal a key base at a moment’s notice.
Mike Trout Highlight Package from 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Saturday, January.19, 2013
Josh Jones (Angels Correspondent): Follow @joshjones4
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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Sunday, January.06, 2013
Alfonso Soriano: Misunderstood, Good, But Never A Fit
Alex Kantecki (Guest Baseball Writer and Cubs Correspondent): Follow @Akantecki
It’s no secret Alfonso Soriano isn’t the most liked player among Cubs fans. Following the 2006 season when then general manager Jim Hendry signed the Outfielder to the largest contract in team history ($136 Million over eight years), fans dreaming of a World Series title pinned their hopes on the unconventional Leadoff hitter that hit 46 HR and stole 41 bases with the Washington Nationals the year before. Soriano did his part and helped lead the Cubs to two straight National League Central titles in 2007 and 2008, but the Cubs were swept away in the Division Series both years. Like his teammates, Soriano struggled to do much of anything in the postseason, collecting three hits in 29 Plate Appearances and failing to score or drive in a single run in six games.
Alfonso Soriano 2012 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised
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
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 Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles section here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
In sifting through 35 years of history with the Toronto Blue Jays as a franchise, it is sad that since 1994, only Pittsburgh, Toronto and Kansas City have not made a playoff appearance in the Major Leagues. They have been battling the Red Sox and Yankees powerhouse clubs since the 1994 player strike/1995 Lock-out. This baseball interruption of play was also a deciding factor on the Montreal Expos losing their franchise, however one could say that this has had a profound effect on the other only team North of The Border. The Jays were a model franchise all the way through the 80′s. From 1983-1993, the team carried out 11 straight winning seasons, 5 Pennants and back to back World Series Wins in 1992 and 1993.
Pat Gillick had been with the baseball club from the get go, and after finishing in dead-last for the first 5 years of existence, the Jays rode the backs of several budding stars that were drafted by the man. From the early pitching stars of Jim Clancy and Dave Stieb, to the young outfield that flourished as a core for years in: Lloyd Moseby, George Bell and Jesse Barfield, the team showed that drafting and trading for young players was the way to build an organization. It took until 1985 for the teams first Pennant, barely edging the Yankees by 2 games for the AL East. Playoff disappointment followed from 1985-1991. The team soon would find the promised land as the top team in 1992 and 1993.
Franchise History Part 2 1994-2012: http://mlbreports.com/2012/11/28/jay/
For Part 6 of the 7 Part Series: Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll Click here:
For Part 7 of the 7 Part Series: Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll: A Readers Thoughts, Click Here:
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.
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
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 Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024-The Phillies have had an incredible run in the last decade of baseball. Most of that time has been spent at Citizens Bank Ball Park which is a very hitter-friendly park. The management was smart enough to draft a whole bunch of offensive talent like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and even J.D Drew(who never signed in 1997 with the Phillies and went back into the 1998 draft.) They also traded Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco. These guys have all taken advantage of the new baseball cathedral. Ryan Howard leads all active players in HRs per AB in the Major Leagues with hitting a HR per just a little over 13 AB. There is still a long way to go to chase down Michael Jack Schmidt. His 548 Career HRs and 1595 RBI lead the ALL-Time totals on the Phillies by quite a big margin.
Criteria for being put on this list was quite simple. You had to be a player of significance on the Franchise. Great watermarks are: 1000 hits, 100 HRs, 1000 games, if you led the league in any category for a few seasons or batted .285 or higher for the duration of your time. This is what I was looking for to include the players on the list. It has taken me a lengthy period of time to siphon through 130 years of baseball to bring you this list. From Ed Delahanty and Billy Hamilton, to Richie Ashburn and Dick Allen, to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinki, to Von Hayes, to John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra, to Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen-to finally get us to the gentlemen aforementioned in the first paragraph. I want this study to be as interactive as I can with the readers. If you feel that there is someone worthy of being included in the list for hitters, please feel free to comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be glad to edit this post and add to it. After all, if you are reading this, chances are you are a Phillies fan, I am just a baseball historian.
For Part 1 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series: The Franchise- click here
For Part 3 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series: The Pitchers- click here
For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series: Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here
Ryan Howard Highlight reel
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
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on Twitter)- The game has been moving back towards speed, offense and athleticism since the adaptation of the steroid testing in the MLB. I think we will see a big emphasis on the Stolen Base in the coming years. We have Billy Hamilton coming in the near future and he could actually challenge a 100 Stolen Base in one season. 30 years ago there were several guys challenge or eventually succeed in stealing 100 bases. Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman both hit the century mark 3 times, while Ron LeFlore and Tim Raines cracked the 90 SB plateau. Teams used to have several speedsters in their lineup. Jose Reyes has the most stolen bases in one year for the active players with 78 swipes in 2007.
I omitted Luis Castillo from the list because he has not played since 2010, (much to the delight of the New York Mets fans I am sure.) I am sure that Boston Red Sox fans are hopeful that he can regain his stolen base prowess very soon with him being only in the second year of a 7 YR/140 Million Dollar Contract. Johnny Damon also has foraged a great career to be on this list from sheer determination. Out of this top ten , Jose Reyes has the most steals per games played, while Omar Vizquel (who has played 2947 games) has the least amount of steals per game played. I was most surprised by Derek Jeter cracking this list because he has never stolen more than 34 bags in one year. I wonder how many bags Ichiro would have stolen had he arrived in North America earlier? Johnny Damon and Omar Vizquel making this top ten is a test to their long-playing careers. I figured Jimmy Rollins had more steals than what his totals came in as. Bobby Abreu has the most HRs on this list with 286 and Juan Pierre has the least. with 17.
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
Wednesday July.11, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century. If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years. Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections. I really started watching baseball in the early 1980′s. As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information. I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel. If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.
Baseball lends itself more to the history than any other sport because of how it has been chronicled throughout their past. Writers, announcers, former players, parents etc.. have always carried on with the stories of America’s favorite pastime. I will never be sold that NFL is the greatest pastime in sports right now. NFL is the greatest gambling sport presently. It is my firm belief that the only reason why the NFL draws in more cash from its sport is because of the gambling factor. If you took that aspect out of it, I believe baseball is the #1 sport. Can you imagine how much attention we would pay to baseball if there were only a 16 game schedule? Enough with that rant, let’s get down to the list. Who were the best teams at any specific time period for the last 32 years? We will start with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1980-1983. 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 (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-I recently saw a bunch of old Montreal Expos had a celebration dinner to honor the late Gary Carter at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. This brought me back to when I was a little kid watching the Expos on the French Channel in Canada. I followed this team before any other in MLB. I was a catcher in little league because of Gary Carter. My friends and I all would ask for Montreal Expos hats and jerseys for Christmas. I would later move on to like the Yankees when Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson joined the club, but I always liked the Expos in the National League as my team. They were a consistent club from 1979-1995. They drafted extremely well and were above .500 for pretty much the entire time. At the end of this article today be sure to watch the documentary from youtube on the Expos Franchise that the Reports has linked for you.
It was unfortunate they had the 2 billion dollar monstrosity of what was Olympic Stadium as their home venue. It was a mistake from the beginning to build a baseball park so far away from the downtown core. The 1994 strike killed the franchises hopes to make their 1st World Series appearance. The team was leading the NL East with a 74-40 record and featured the outfield of Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou. They had traded away their ALL-Star second basemen Delino DeShields prior to that year for some pitcher named Pedro Martinez. The economics of baseball were starting to catch up on the baseball club. When the lockout was lifted in 1995, gone were Walker, Grissom and great pitchers Ken Hill and John Wetteland. It began a constant cycle of Montreal grooming awesome talent, only to trade the players away before they had to pay them big money. The one constant of the team was an incredible draft record from 1985-2004. Today is part 1 of a 3 part article series in which we will look at the history of the Montreal Expos. I have listed 30 hitters drafted by the Expos Scouting Staff that went onto nice baseball careers. Next week I will look at the pitchers and the third week I will cover the dissection of the proud franchise before the move to Washington. Read the rest of this entry
Friday June.8, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Eric Davis was an amazing talent for the Cincinnati Reds during the mid 1980′s. He was drafted as a shortstop but quickly made his way through the minors and ended up in the Reds outfield for his debut in May of 1984. You talk about 5 tools in a player, Davis was the poster-boy for this. Pete Rose described him in one of his books as “having the greatest raw ability that he had seen since Roberto Clemente.” Davis grew up in Los Angeles, California and was a thin-wiry 165 pounds when he came up to the Majors, despite being 6 foot 2 in height. In 174 AB that year, he hit 10 HRs an stole 10 bases. In 1985, he hit 8 HRs and stole 16 bases in just 122 AB. This prompted a promotion to full-time player by then skipper Pete Rose at the start of the 1986 season.
The Cincinnati Reds had just come out of he ‘Big Red Machine’ era and were searching for young players such as Davis and Barry Larkin to take the reins with the new club. Eric Davis did not disappoint in his first season, in just 415 AB he hit 27 HRs and stole an eye-popping 80 bases while scoring 97 runs. A star was born. Eric Davis played with an all-out mentality, as such he required rest days from time to time with the nicks and bruises he would sustain through stealing bases or playing nice defense by diving. The Reds were always in contention under Pete Rose, however they were always finishing in 2nd place. It finally looked the team had a nucleus of players that could take them to the promise land. Davis was right at the top of the forefront for talent. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday June.6, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton 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 did rank defense highly when I came up with the players. I did agonize over Mike Schmidt, Jim 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.
George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983. He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders. He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979. In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league. In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again. Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979. In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series. He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average. This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983. Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday June 2nd, 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!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
JH: Before we get to your questions, we have to send a big shout out to the one and only, Johan Santana. We have enjoyed countless e-mails, tweets and comments on the Mets this year. The Mets faithful have been loud and supportive this year and represent the largest fan base we hear from every week. So this little note is for you.
The incredible Santana, in his first year back from major surgery that threatened to de-rail his career, threw a no-hitter. Not just any no-hitter. But the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. Think about that one. It will boggle your mind. The amount of quality pitchers that have pitched for the Mets over the years is astronomical. Nolan Ryan. Tom Seaver. David Cone. Dwight Gooden. Frank Viola. How is it possible that this team had never spun a no-hitter before? Fate and luck are the biggest reasons. It is not that easy to get a no-hitter. Many things have to go right for a no-no to occur. So finally, in the whole history of this franchise, the Mets have a no-hitter of their own. Plus, it came from not just any pitcher, but one of the best pitchers of our generation. Johan Santana. I can’t say enough good things about the man. He has been as solid as they come over his career. From a Twins ace for all those years, Santana came to the Mets to take them to the promised land. But critical shoulder surgery, combined with the team’s other injuries and off-field issues put a damper on the entire teams and its players. The 29-23 Mets have been amazing this year though. With only David Wright as their leading hitter, this team has been incredible. R.A. Dickey. Frank Francisco. Jon Rauch. Bobby Parnell. Daniel Murphy. The Mets just don’t give up. Now with the no-hitter in the books, this season has turned magical for the Mets and its fans. Santana was on fire tonight. Despite giving up 5 walks, he struck out 8 over a complete 9 innings. He needed 134 pitches to complete the no-no. In front of only 27,069 Mets fans, Santana pitched the game of his life on home turf. Lucas Duda with the home run and 4 RBIs. Daniel Murphy with 2 hits and 3 RBIs. The Mets won this one as a team and the city of New York gets to celebrate the reincarnation of the Miracle Mets. At least for 1/3 of a season to start. Well done Johan Santana, we’re proud of you! Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday May 30th, 2012
Robert Whitmer: Baseball is the only sport where everything is tracked and recorded. How many times did Nomar Garciaparra tap his feet in the batters box before he finally got settled and took a pitch? I don’t know but I’m sure some guy with a clipboard has counted that on every pitch and even broken it down by situation. Maybe he does it more on a 2-2 count than he does on a 1-2 count. Does it really matter? IT’S A FREAKING TOE TAP! I don’t see how it does matter but deep down there could be some relation of number of toe taps to how his approach at the plate varies. I remember reading an article the winter after McGwire finished his 70 home run season and he said something about people counting the number of cups of coffee that he drank in the clubhouse before each game. I’m telling you; baseball tracks EVERYTHING! There are single season records and career records. I will rank, starting at the most likely to be broken to least likely, my 10 coolest hitting records that I can find. With of course, a little bit of commentary on the side.
So…. Without further ado (I feel like David Letterman here), I have in my hand the Top-ten list for today!
10. Career Cycles, 3, Bob Meusel, Babe Herman
I think that this record will fall. To complete it a player must be well-rounded. Speed to leg out the triple, and power to knock one over the fence. Plus we are talking career here not single season. If this was single season it would be high up on the list. Matt Kemp would be the one to break this one.
9. Career Grounding Into Double Play, 350, Cal Ripken Jr.
This I put in here mostly because I was shocked when I saw this. I had no clue that Cal, as good of hitter as he was, grounded into that many double plays. This one will be broken. Vlad has done it 277 times so far. He is a tad older but Pujols is at 237 and he has a lot of playing left in him. Read the rest of this entry
Monday December 5, 2011
Doug Booth- Guest Baseball Writer: Okay, it is time for me to make my argument for my favorite player of all time to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. There will be several people that will say that Don Mattingly’s career stats of: H-2154, HR-222, RBI-1099, AVG-.307 and 9 Gold Gloves are not enough in just 14 seasons. I am not counting his 7 game-stint in 1982 with this. As a rookie in 1983, Don only .hit .283 with 4 HR’S and 32 RBI’s. In Donnie’s first year as a full time first baseman, he led the AL with a .343 AVG-with 23 HR’S and 110 RBI’s, also leading the league in hits with 207 and 2B’s with 48.
They say that if you have a shortened career-(and Mattingly’s back injury in the late eighties certainly robbed him of a definite Hall of Fame Career,) then you better have an incredible stretch as the best player in baseball. It is my belief that Don Mattingly was the best all-around player from 1984-1989, with apologies to Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, Don’s incredible consistency during this 6 year stretch included these numbers. A .327 AVG with 160 HR’s and a staggering 682 RBI’s with 257 doubles and 1219 hits. Nobody had more RBI’s and extra base hits in that time frame. Only Wade Boggs had more hits. The 6 year AVG breaks down to an AVG of .327 with H-204, 2B-43, HR-27 and RBI-114. What is most impressive is that Mattingly only averaged 33 strikeouts a season/or about 1/23 Plate appearances in this stretch.
During this stretch-Mattingly was also an All-star for 6 straight seasons-and was a Gold Glover for 5 years straight from 85-89. Donnie led the league in doubles three times, (84-86), hits twice, (84-86), total bases twice, (85-86), AVG in ’86, slugging and OBP in 1986. Don’s 145 RBI’s in 1985 were the most RBI’s by a left hander since the 1960’s. The same could be said for his 388 total bases in 1986. Other dominant stretches included his 1987 power streaks, in which he hit a record-6 grand slams(since equaled by Travis Hafner,) and also is still tied for homering in a record-tying 8 straight games (and should be the official leader because only Don hit 10 HR’S in that stretch of 8 games.) Mattingly is a silver slugger three times over (84-86), and The Sporting News Player of the Year for the seasons of (84-86). Don was the AL MVP in 1985, and finished 2nd in 1986 to Roger Clemens, but for hitting he was listed as #1. His 1984 and 1987 seasons also garnered serious MVP considerations. All impressive for a man who was not considered a power hitting prospect.
Back injuries slowed Mattingly down from 1990-1995, where he lost most of his power, but he was a .290 contact hitter who would still drive in about 80-85 RBI’S per year. If he could have kept playing healthy, instead of retiring at the age of 34, he would have had nearly 3000 hits, and probably would have hit 600-700 2B, and 300 HR’s-with about 1600 RBI’S. He probably would have finished up career with an AVG. that was near .300. You could probably add 3-5 more Gold Gloves as well. Instead, he finished with 2154 hits. His .307 career average will be one of the higher averages never to be in the Hall of Fame if he is not voted in. Don’s average season is still .307 with 20 HR’S, 97 RBI’S, with close to 200 hits and 40 doubles.
Another fact that gets overlooked was Don’s strikeout ratio to plate appearances. Mattingly only struck out 444 times in 7721 PA’s, or once every 19 times. This stat is unbelievable for a modern age hitter-and 444 Strikeouts is only 2 less doubles than the man hit in his career with 442. Only Tony Gwynn has had a better ratio for striking out in the last 50 years. You add the 9 Gold Gloves-(2nd all-time for a 1B), and this man should be gaining more consideration for the hall.
Other comparisons in numbers for players already in the Hall, would be Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, Puckett for average and power, while Rice has similar offensive numbers for his 162 game AVG. Rice had a few more HR’s and RBI’s while Mattingly had a better AVG. and had more hits/doubles for an average season. Both played 14 seasons.
For all of those kids watching Donnie Baseball play live, or on TV, we saw a guy that exemplified a professional hitter. Amongst fielding 1st baseman that I have seen, no one has ever been better. His swing was pure poetry in motion, even when he older, it must have drove pitchers crazy that they could not strike him out. I am only sad that Don Mattingly has missed out on all of the Yankees championship seasons.
At least his fans can always recall his last at bat in the 1995 playoffs where he crushed a homer in a 5th game loss to the Mariners in the ALDS. It was a great career shortened by back injuries. If defensive prowess is deemed a lot more lucrative for a Hall of Fame bid, once again they have to consider ‘Donnie Baseball.’
*** Thank you to Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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