Blog Archives

ALL – Time Tommy John Surgery Tracker, Updated For Tyler Chatwood

For all the talk of baseball players (pitchers mostly) that will be undergoing Tommy John Surgery, we will be keeping a running list!  E-mail us at mlbreports@gmail.com if you have any names to add to our totals.

How many players are having or had TJ in history? You are about to find out: Read the rest of this entry

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Arizona May Have To Rethink Their Team Salary In The NL West With High Spending LA + SF

The Arizona Diamondbacks didn't have the type of year in 2013 that they had wished for, however the future looks really strong.  Aided by a slugging 1st Baseman (Paul Goldschmidt), and great young Staring Pitching like Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin, added with Veterans Miguel Montero, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill, with prospects A.J. Pollock and Adam Eaton being the future core, this team should see some heavy duty improvement from year to year.

The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t have the type of year in 2013 that they had wished for, however the future looks really strong. Aided by a slugging 1st Baseman (Paul Goldschmidt), and great young Staring Pitching like Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin, added with Veterans Miguel Montero, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill, with prospects A.J. Pollock and Adam Eaton being the future core, this team should see some heavy duty improvement from year to year.  Having said this, they compete with the two most expensive payrolls in the NL – in their Division with the Dodgers and Giants.

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

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Chase Field is a pretty cool ballpark.  The Diamondbacks have been often voted as one of the better organizations in the MLB for how they treat their fanbases for guest services, value and overall baseball experiences.

While the D’Backs finished in 14th for NL Attendance this year, they cracked the 2 Million fan barrier for the 15th straight year since entering the league.

Over the last 8 years, the team has kept comfortably between 2.0 MIL and 2.5 MIL.

Back in the first few seasons of MLB in the desert, the franchise was drawing well over 3 Million fans..

Paul Goldschmidt 2013 Highlights

Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (September.13th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia turned a tight 4-4 game into a comfortable 8-4 Boston lead with one swing of his bat. His 7th inning grand slam was the difference in the opener of the Red Sox/Yankees series.

Hisashi Iwakuma was outstanding against the Cardinals. He threw 7 shutout innings, letting up just 3 hits and 2 walks. Unfortunately for him, the Mariners bullpen was not up to the task and Seattle would fall to St. Louis, 2-1 in 10 innings.

Wilin Rosario got a pair of hits and drove in 4 including 2 in the Rockies tie breaking 7th inning rally as Colorado beat Arizona, 7-5.

Kyle Lohse pitched a complete game victory against the Reds, letting up just 4 hits and 1 run, getting the 5-1 decision for the Brewers.

They all owned baseball on September 13, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here

Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.30th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo: Dave Arrigio - Pirates

Photo: Dave Arrigio – Pirates

Francisco Liriano shut down the mighty Cardinals lineup with 8 innings of no run, 2 hit ball. He got his 15th win, 5-0, and the Pirates moved into a first place tie with St. Louis.

Todd Helton hit a pair of three run homers, the second one being career hit number 2,499. His 6 RBI were the difference in Colorado’s 9-6 victory over the Reds.

Jarrod Parker held the Rays to a single run over his first 7 innings of work. Eventually he left in the 8th and the bullpen lost the lead, but his performance helped set up Oakland’s 4-3 victory and moved them into the top Wild Card spot.

Dustin Ackley went 4-5 with a triple and 4 RBI, leading the Mariners past the Astros, 7-1.

They all owned baseball on August 30, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here

Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July14th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Justin Verlander made a serious bid for his 3rd career no hitter. He held the Rangers hitless for the first 6 2/3 innings before Mitch Moreland doubled off of the wall. He finished with 7 innings of one hit ball, getting credit for the Tigers 5-0 victory.

Wily Peralta pitched 7 strong innings, letting up only 1 run, as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 5-1 score.

Josh Donaldson certainly hit like an All Star yesterday. He drove in all three Oakland runs including a 2 run game tying home run in the 7th and a walk off single in the 11th as the A’s topped Boston 3-2.

Michael Cuddyer went 2-5 with a homer and drove in all three Rockies runs in Colorado’s 3-1 victory over the Dodgers.

They all owned baseball on July 14th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (June 9th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Dexter Fowler went 4-6, scored the tying run and drove in the walk off RBI as the Rockies came from behind to beat the Padres 8-7


Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven innings of 2 hit shutout innings, striking out 8, as the Nationals won 7-0, setting up a sweep of the Twins in a double header and climbed back to .500.


Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered twice, driving in four, as the Red Sox clobbered the Angels 10-5.


David Phelps may have been saddled with a no decision, but he was excellent over 6 innings of 3 hit ball, letting up a single run, as the Yankees went on to rally to a 2-1 victory over the Mariners.


They all owned baseball on June 9th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

202 ‘WOB’ Awards Since Opening Day – Find Out Who

Sully baseball hosts a 20 Min Daily Podcast http://mlbreports.com/2013/04/27/sully-baseball-daily-podcast-april-27-2013/

‘Sully’ Baseball (Paul Francis Sullivan) hosts a 20 Minute Daily Podcast Every Day – 365 Days a Year – unless its a Leap Year – and then he is going to do another one.

check out Sully Baseball’s 20 Min Daily Podcast Right here

Don’t forget to Subscribe on iTunes HERE. RSS Feed here

WOB Stands For ‘Who Owned Baseball’  It is based on a Daily Look at the best players from the baseball games the day before. Our Lead Writer – Paul Francis Sullivan – (please call him ‘Sully’),  keeps a running total for the yearly leaders every day – and we will update the standings here every day on this page.. 

Agree or Disagree with him on the players he selects – leave him a comment at info@sullybaseball.com.  Follow him on twitter. 

So Bookmark this Page – and be part of the new phenomena of #WOB – If you reverse WOB it also means Players that take a BOW for being the best players of the night! Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (May 20th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 7.21.26 AM

Yan Gomes hit a walk off, come from behind, 3 run homer in the bottom of the 10th to cap off a 3-5 day as the Indians won a bizarre 10-8 game over the Mariners.

R. A. Dickey pitched 8 strong innings letting up only 4 hits and 2 earned runs as the Blue Jays got a much needed win over the Rays, 7-5.

Brandon Belt went 4-5, homering and scoring 4 times as the Giants demolished the Nationals 8-0.

And Patrick Corbin threw his first career complete game, improving to 7-0, as he let up only 3 hits and 1 run in Coors Field, striking out 10 for the Diamondbacks 5-1 win over the Rockies.

They all owned baseball on May 20th, 2013

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (May.19) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Miguel Cabrera

In a losing cause, Miguel Cabrera hit three homers, reached base 5 times, scored three and drove in 5 runs. (His critics would point out that he made an error.) Despite his best efforts, the Tigers lost to Texas 11-8.

Matt Moore pitched seven terrific innings, holding the Orioles to a single run. The Tampa Bay Rays won 3-1 and swept a series in Baltimore that could come back to haunt the Birds later.

Carlos Gonzalez got on base four times and got RBI hits in the first and fifth as the Rockies blanked the Champion Giants 5-0 in Coors Field.

And Ricky Nolasco pitched 8 strong innings, letting up only 1 run and struck out 11 as the Marlins enjoyed a rare win, 2-1 over the Diamondbacks.

They all owned baseball on May 19th, 2013

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball May.12th – Plus Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Chris Sale

Chris Sale threw the third one hit shutout of the weekend as the White Sox (wearing their wonderfully dreadful 1980’s throwbacks) defeated the Angels 3-0

Jose Bautista homered twice and walked, driving in three runs as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Red Sox in Fenway 12-4.

Marco Scutaro went 2-5 with a homer as the Giants defeated the Braves 5-1.

And Jorge De La Rosa answered the gems pitched by the Cardinals by holding St. Louis hitless into the 7th as the Rockies won 8-2.

They all owned baseball on May 12, 2013

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – click here Read the rest of this entry

Yankees Current State Of The Union + The Phil Hughes Question

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Wednesday, May.08/2013

As the Yankees enter May, they do so in second place trailing their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. This is a surprise for many who thought that Boston and New York would struggle in 2013.

As the Yankees enter May, they do so in second place trailing their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. This is a surprise for many who thought that Boston and New York would struggle in 2013

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

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:

Read the rest of this entry

Fixing The Phillies Offense: All Good Things To Those Who Wait

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Friday April 19, 2013

Ryan Howard once was an extremely great OBP Player before the last couple of years  In his MVP year (2006) - he was 5th in the NL with a .425 OBP.  He went for a .392 clip in 2007, before a precipitous fall to .339 in 2008.  2009 saw a .360 mark, 2010 - .353, 2011 - .346 and finally a Career Low in 2012 for the tune of a .295 OBP.  This year he is not much better at ,303.  Howard's Career 3 Slash Line is still .271/.363/911 but plummeting.

Ryan Howard once was an extremely great OBP Player before the last couple of years In his MVP year (2006) – he was 5th in the NL with a .425 OBP. He went for a .392 clip in 2007, before a precipitous fall to .339 in 2008. 2009 saw a .360 mark, 2010 – .353, 2011 – .346 and finally a Career Low in 2012 for the tune of a .295 OBP. This year he is not much better at ,303. Howard’s Career 3 Slash Line is still .271/.363/911 but plummeting.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

The late, great Harmon Killebrew, author of 573 Home Runs during his Hall of Fame career, was also exceptionally talented in another skill when he stepped to the plate: drawing Walks.

Charlie Manuel knows this better than most because he played alongside “Killer” for four years as a member of the Minnesota Twins in the late 1960’s. Over dinner, in the clubhouse and on the bench they’d talk baseball quite a bit, mostly about the art of hitting. Manuel said of Killebrew:

HR Derby Between Killerbrew vs Mantle Part 1:

HR Derby Between Killerbrew vs Mantle Part 2:

“Killer used to preach to me that the most important thing was getting strikes [to swing at]. He said he didn’t like to walk, but that he had to take pitches to get good strikes.”

- MLB.com / Hal Bodley, May 17, 2011

Killer was an 11 Time All - Star and an 7 time HR King. He also hit 40+ HRs 7 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career.  The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew's patience...He Walked 1559 times  in 2435 Games Played.  His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

Killer was an 11 Time All – Star and a 6 time HR King. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career. The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew’s patience…He Walked 1559 times in 2435 Games Played. His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

Amen to that. Killebrew didn’t need to say much at all on the matter as his patience did all his preaching for him. He led MLB in free passes four times in his career – with a high mark of 145 drawn in the 1969 season. It’s not a coincidence that he went on to hit 49 Home Runs and drive in 140 RBI that Summer. 

And in his best seasons, Killebrew would crack the 100-Walk plateau seven times while reaching 90+ Bases on Balls in three other campaigns.

Killebrew’s 1969 MVP season totals:

Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1969 555 106 153 20 2 49 140 145 84 .276 .427 .584 1.011

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/19/2013.

Returning to present day, the Phillies are mired in a severe slump where they’re finding runs are about as hard to produce as water from a dry sponge.

Our boys of Summer have been as impatient as children at church with little to no plan or approach at the plate, swinging their bats like orchestra conductors at a dubstep concerto.

Show a pitcher you’ll offer at a ball outside the zone and they’ll pitch it outside the zone. 

Too many Phillies batsmen have been all too eager to flail away in undisciplined fashion, such as Ryan Howard (3 Walks), Ben Revere (4), and even Chase Utley (4).

Of those three, only Utley is producing with two doubles, two triples, three home runs and 13 RBI, but with a very un-Utley-esque .339 OBP (career .379). Impatience has begotten impatience among the Phillies’ brass:

“Who wants to go for a walk?”
Courtesy of DelawareOnline.com

Please take note of that quote having been tweeted about two hours before game-time last night vs. St. Louis, a one-run loss which would also see the Phillies earn a big, fat zero in the walk column.

For those keeping score, that’s zero walks in four straight games. Clearly with no change in plans at the plate, our boys have forgotten that sometimes the best things in life are free.

The translation is quite simple, really, even in today’s game. So far in 2013, three of the top four National League teams in drawing walks (Reds, Rockies and Mets) are also the top three teams in runs scored.

And while the Phillies are ranked sixth in hits as a team, they are 14th (of 15 teams) in seeing ball four which again translates to scoring runs, where they rank 11th in the National League. Combine all of this with a third place ranking in Strikeouts (126), they currently sit 13th in the NL with an OBP of just .291.

To drive the point home, this is only slightly better than the cellar-dwelling Chicago Cubs and the lowly Miami Marlins. Yuck.

It took the Philles 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series in 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009 and took home the Trophy in 2008.  The Phillies have finished .500+ or better for every year since 2002.  However 2012 saw their streak of 5 straight NL East Division Titles come to an end.  Now that they have started slow at 6 - 10 - can they come back to make the playoffs and a have a shot at a World Series  in 2013?

It took the Philles 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series in 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009 – and took home the Trophy in 2008. The Phillies have finished .500+ or better for every year since 2002. However 2012 saw their streak of 5 straight NL East Division Titles come to an end. Now that they have started slow at 6 – 10 – can they come back to make the playoffs and a have a shot at a World Series in 2013?

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

A big thank – you goes out to our Philadelphia Phillies Correspondent Chris Creighton for preparing today’s featured post..  Chris is a Phillies Phan, Baseball fan & player. He thinks that there is no better place for food and is a  proponent of the city of Philadelphia. Huge U2 fan. Phillies writer at  http://www.warroomphilly.com .

Chris says:  “Follow a Web Show covering everything in the Philadelphia Sports Scene. Sit back and enjoy from the hearts of two die-hard Philly guys here !  You can follow Chris Creighton on Twitter or the WarRoomPhilly

a war room chris

Please e-mail me at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: September 23rd, 2012

Sunday September 23rd, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.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! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I am in a GREAT mood this weekend! Can you blame me? The MLB season is nearing the playoffs and the WBC qualifiers are well under way! While I love watching MLB action, my heart still favors the World Baseball Classic. If you have ever watched a game involving a team…say like Cuba, Venezuela or the Dominican Republic, you would understand why. In my book, nothing beats international baseball action. The passion of the fans and players simply cannot be beat. To have ones country advance in the tournament is one of the highest levels of joy that a baseball fan can experience.

Going into this week, I was keeping a special eye on Israel and Canada. As I am Jewish (check the last name), I will always root for anything and everything involving Israel. I almost fell out of my seat with excitement when I first heard that Israel was invited to the WBC qualifiers. Now watching this team in action, they certainly have a great chance to qualify for March. I have enjoyed speaking with Cody Decker, Padres prospect and a member of Team Israel over the past few days. To say that Cody is excited to be playing for Israel is an understatement. He spoke very highly of the atmosphere, the level of talent on the team and the feeling of playing with “Israel” across his chest. As Israel plays Spain today for the right to advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, I wish my fellow countrymen the best of luck. Behind ya 110%!

Canada has also advanced to the finals of its group, awaiting the winner of the Germany and Great Britain today. Canada will meet the winner on Monday afternoon. Due to its poor play in the 2009 edition of the WBC, Canada was forced to qualify for the upcoming tournament. After 2 strong games on its resume, Canada looks good to advance (will likely play Germany in the finals). As my family and I live in Canada, we have the bias of wanting to see a good showing from the northern squad. Hopefully my wish comes true, and both Canada and Israel end up qualifying. The fact of the matter is that the countries are in different positions. This is Israel’s first try at WBC action, and the team came in with little pressure and everything to gain. Israel will be thrilled to qualify, while Canada must qualify. Canada is known internationally as a strong baseball market and anything less than a victory on Monday for it would be a huge disappointment. To qualify, both Israel and Canada will need defeat strong opponents. Hopefully it will all work out at the end.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

MLB Trade Deadline Update #5 7/28: Segura Traded, Scutaro to San Francisco, Reds Looking for Leadoff Hitter

Saturday July 28th, 2012

Sam Evans: With the MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline coming up on Tuesday, let’s look at what trades have recently happened, and what could happen in the coming days:

Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Trade Deadline Update 7/23: Dempster, Blue Jays, Astros, and More

Monday July 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: As the trade deadline looms, teams are scrambling to make a final buy or sell in order to push toward the playoffs. Some teams are trying to get value out of their soon-to-be free agents while other teams are rebuilding. Here are some of the big deals that have gone down in the past few days:

Blue Jays and Astros—10 player deal. Big names: J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, David Carpenter, Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, Carlos Perez

The Astros are obviously in their rebuilding phase. Last year, they gave up Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and the year before they gave up Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. Earlier this year, Carlos Lee went to the Marlins for top prospect Matt Dominguez and others.  More recently Brett Myers went to the White Sox for minor league pitchers and J.A. Happ went to the Blue Jays along with relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter for Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, and other prospects in a ten-player trade. With these deals this year, the Astros have removed virtually all big names from the team. Not to say that J.A. Happ was a big name player, but he was a well-regarded pitcher that the Phillies gave up in the Roy Oswalt trade. Also given up by the Astros is former closer Brandon Lyon. He gave up the closer role to Brett Myers this year, but he does have the capability to serve in the back-end of a bullpen. Read the rest of this entry

The Prince is Crowned Yet Again! Fielder Wins Another Home Run Derby Title

Tuesday July 10th, 2012

John Burns:  Kauffman Stadium was electric Monday night from the top sluggers in baseball putting on an absolute home run clinic. Detroit’s Prince Fielder won his second Home Run Derby by beating Toronto’s Jose Bautista 12-7 in the final round. Fielder got off to a slow start with 5 homers in the first round which barely advanced him over Carlos Gonzalez and Andrew McCutchen who both had 4 home runs in the first round. After the first round it was all Prince Fielder. Prince hit 23 homers in the final two rounds and became only the second player to win multiple titles in the Home Run Derby.

Matt Kemp and Robinson Cano were the captains for their respected leagues and picked 3 sluggers to represent the NL and AL. The first round results for the sluggers were: Robinson Cano (0 homers), Matt Kemp (1 homer), Andrew McCutchen (4 homers), Carlos Gonzalez (4 homers), Prince Fielder (5 homers), Mark Trumbo (7 Homers), Carlos Beltran (7 homers), and the leader in the first round Jose Bautista with 11 homers.  Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez were all eliminated after the 1st round. Read the rest of this entry

The Truth Behind Jason Hammel’s Amazing Start

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

Chuck Booth’s GWR Streak (Parks 25-29)

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!

Sked is here: fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/ or at my official website for all updates!

Friday May.4/2012

Chuck Booth and Lori Martini being interviewed by ‘Did The Tribe Win Last Night’ Blog at the Social Suite at Progressive Field.

MLB Park # 25 Day # 20

COL 2 @ PIT 1

April.25/2012

PNC PARK

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Chuck Booth’s 30 MLB Park Quest: (Games 16-21)

The Streak stands at 23 MLB Parks in 18 calendar days!!

Chuck Booth:  I am the World Record Holder for-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 24 days (2009)!

In 2012, I am going for 30 MLB Parks in 23 days from: April 6th to 28th.

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

Follow my streak all the through to the bitter end.  Schedule is this link:

http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/ or at my official website for all updates!

fastestthirtyballgames3021.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/30in20/

Tuesday April.24/2012

Ken Lee, Chuck Booth and Doug Miller all at Safeco Field for the game #18 in 14 days on April.19/2012. (They would later be featured on TV several times above the King’s Court Seats. ) Chuck also had a special welcome wave from the TV Jumbo Tron and was given a free gift bag from the Seattle front office.

MLB Park # 16 Day # 12

CHC 2 @ MIA 3

April.17/2012

New Marlins Ball Park

‘Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twiter)- It was a great day for a new baseball park.  During this trip, anytime that I have had a single game only for a day, I have felt a little bit more relaxed while watching the action.  I flew into FLL (Fort Lauderdale Airport) really early and caught up on some writing.  I was fully rewarded with my National Car Rental to the tune of a Chrysler 200 that was black in color.  I made my way to my Best Western Hotel near the airport.  Check in time was not till 3 PM, but I was able to coerce the staff to let me take a room early.  I really appreciate the professional way the Best Western staff always helps me in the travels. Read the rest of this entry

You Shake, Rattle and Roll On A World Record Chase

Tuesday, April.11/2012

 

Chuck at Dodger Stadium

 

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and- @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My step-mom is a retired executive from Air Canada.  Back when I was a teenager, Nancy taught me how to travel properly, by how to pack, schedule and always be able to adapt when things go awry.  I am pleased to say that she had an incredible influence on me becoming a travel expert now.  Her slogan was always; “You gotta learn how to shake, rattle and roll when traveling.” My dad (Tom Booth), helped teach a proper demeanor for my 3 brothers and me while on vacation that I also implement.  He said to us “You guys are going to encounter several things when traveling.  “If you break, lose or-your items are lost for you, just replace them immediately and don’t let it consume you.  After all, why should you be miserable on vacation?”  These are motto’s I live by while traveling.  I perpetually move forward and don’t look back.  While I am glad this trip has generated a lot interest, really the passion here is baseball and traveling.  If by some chance I don’t best my own record, I will have fun watching a baseball game in every city again.  “You have nothing to prove in this world other to anybody but yourself!”

 I have encountered numerous ways of being delayed in chasing baseball parks.  Last night was no different.  I sat in the San Diego Airport ready to embark on my flight to Cleveland that was supposed to be part of a Progressive Field/Oriole Park at Camden Yards day-night doubleheader. Out of all the 10 doubleheaders that I placed to attempt during this World Record chase, this particular one I would rank the second toughest.  The only doubleheader I thought was tougher was the Angel Stadium/Petco Park double header.  Ironically enough, I converted that doubleheader.  So when the flight was cancelled last night-(due to mechanical failure) I knew I had to think fast on my feet.  The Airline was offering up help to fly on other flight, or destinations within reason.  Much to my dismay, the airline was not even able to fly me into the second half of the double header n Baltimore, thus creating a plane flight domino.  Adding to the severity of the pressure, was I had to think of something fast because the airline needed to help me book a morning flight out of San Diego.

Whenever I plan one of these trips, I have a depth chart for each team.  I am lucky that after a few hours of placing this schedule together, I also come up with many different alternatives.  Missing the game in Texas the other night for a small delay was nerve-wracking, but maybe it was all meant to be.  When I expressed to the airline that I wanted to fly to Dallas, they quickly were on board with that option.  The other dominoes came to me quickly.  I moved Cleveland to the 25th as part of PNC Park and Progressive Field Ground Transportation doubleheader.  As part of my original streak attempt when I first dreamt up another run at this, the schedule had this exact doubleheader.  Cleveland was the last team in the Majors to post their start times.  When the Indians scheduled a matinee for the 11th of April, it opened up another doubleheader attempt for me by placing the Orioles with Cleveland.  All I had to do was bring Detroit into the doubleheader chance with Pittsburgh instead.  Now that I am not going to Progressive Field today, I am able to re-schedule the easier to attain doubleheader.  Baltimore was switched to the date left vacated by Texas on the 27th of April.  This left Detroit.  I knew the team played on the 22nd of April.

One of the reasons I went to Chase Field last Friday, was to protect myself against something like last night.  That Chase Field game is now the 1st game of the streak.  I moved Detroit into their slot on the 22nd.  All the teams have a home in the streak again.  What is more incredible about this: is that by shifting these cities around and shuffling transportation costs this little maneuver is going to save me $300.   I was dreading having to schedule the Texas game after the streak ended, whether it was driving 17 hours or flying, it was going to be costly and time-consuming,  I managed to switch out all my flights and actually have a surcharge in my favor.  Since I am flying to Denver from Dallas tomorrow, it was a cheaper flight from almost anywhere when you near a travel day fare.  Now I am flying to Dallas for a plane fare I spent $160 to originally go to Cleveland for.  This day of plane for to Dallas would probably be in the $500-$600 area.

By re-scheduling the trip this way, it also frees up more availability should I have to make up another game or two.  That Detroit game doubleheader was risky.  If I was running the streak near perfect, I could have risked it and then shuffled the Tigers to the very next day and forego the Cincinnati/Chicago White Sox doubleheader on the 25th.  This was not the case and I need that 26th doubleheader.  If I kept that doubleheader and missed the Tigers, the next date they were home was April.30th (or the 24th day of the streak.)

Moving Detroit to Sunday the 22nd is pretty decent too, I have a doubleheader for Chicago and Milwaukee on the day before.  This is about a 7 hour drive to Michigan.  Ken Lee will now attend at least 8 of my games with me for this streak.  The Pittsburgh/Cleveland double dip is very doable.  The Pirates game should end around 3:30.  It is only a couple of hours drive to Progressive Field from there.  I would give us a 80-85% chance to hit this game.  If for some reason we don’t, the Indians play on the 27th- through the 29th.  Other doubleheaders remaining are the TOR-NYY (Yankees play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) ATL-STL (Cardinals play on the 27th-29 in case of miss) CIN/CWS (The White Sox play a series on the 27th-29th). CHI/MIL (The Brewers do not play so I will need the DH).  I also give us a 80-85% of making this.  Finally I have the Boston/Washington DH (If I miss WSH-I can move them into the Marlins slot of the 17th and then re-do the Marlins from the (27-29 series).

So far I have had 2 missed doubleheaders in this trip that were entirely out of my control.  Now a 30-22 schedule hangs in the balance.  Whatever happens throughout the rest of the trip is up in the air.  The 2009 streak of 30-24 seems even more impressive now than before.  In a night where I have already logged 17,000 Air Miles for this trip and running on all fumes, I was able to come up with the best viable solution I could.  So whenever I have a chance, I will sleep comfortably about my performance on this trip thus far.  I go into tonight’s game looking for my 8th Ball Park in 6 days.  Its been a tough 20 hrs-fighting airlines-car rentals not having cars and several doubters and haters-i made it 2 the ballpark-suitcase/briefcase and all-scoreboard says 8 gms 6 days parks 30/22 days

NEW SCHEDULE UPDATED APR 11

With a flight cancellation last night, it has caused me to reschedule several games for the streak.  The Arizona D’Backs game now becomes the official game #1.  If the game was changed from the original, it will be highlighted in red.  I also changed the PIT/DET doubleheader to now be a PIT/CLE Doubleheader on the 25th ave.  I lost one of my doubleheader attempts today, but at least I am not taking an a zero.

Game#1 Day #1  Friday April.06 Chase Field in Arizona 4:10 PM (Completed:  Arizona wins 5-4)

Game # 2 Day # 2  Saturday April.07 Angels Stadium in Anaheim 1:05 PM (Completed LAA loses 6-3 to KC)

Game # 3 Day # 2 Saturday April.07 Petco Park in San Diego 5:35 PM (I Have 2 doubleheader attempts with SD as Game 2 of the day)( Completed: San Diego loses 6-5 to the LAD in 11 innings)

Game # 4 Day # 3  Sunday April.08 Minute Maid Park in Houston 1:05 PM (Completed: Houston wins 3-2)

Game # 5 Day # 4  Monday April.09 Citizens Bank Ball Park in Philadelphia 1:05 PM (Citizens Bank Ball Park Season Opener) (Completed: Philly loses 6-2 to the Miami Marlins)

Game # 6 Day # 4   Monday April.09 Citi Field in New York (NYM win 3-2 over WSH)

Game # 7 Day # 5   Tuesday April.10 Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles 1:05 PM (Dodger Stadium Season Opener) Completed: LAD wins 2-1 over  Pit)

Game # 8 Day # 6  Wednesday April.11 The Ballpark in Arlington 7:05 PM

Game # 9 Day #7 Thursday April.12 Coors Field 1:05 PM

Game #10 Day # 8 Friday April.13 AT&T Park in San Francisco 1:35 PM  (AT & T Park Season Opener)

Game # 11 Day # 9 Saturday April.14 Target Field in Minnesota 12:10 PM

Game # 12 Day # 10  Sunday April.15 Rogers Center in Toronto 1:07 PM

Game # 13 Day # 10 Sunday April.15 Yankees Stadium in the Bronx 8:05 PM

Game # 14 Day #11 Monday April.16 Fenway Park in Boston 11:05 AM

Game # 15  Day #11 Monday April.16 Nationals Park in Washington 7:05 PM

Game # 16  Day #12 Tuesday April.17 New Marlins Ballpark 7:05 PM

Game # 17  Day #13  WED April.18 Turner Field in Atlanta 12:10 PM

Game # 18  Day #13  WED April.18 Busch Stadium in St. Louis 7:15 PM

Game # 19 Day #14 THUR April.19 Safeco Field in Seattle 7:10 PM

Game # 20  Day # 15 Friday  April.20 Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City 7:10 PM

Game # 21 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Wrigley Field in Chicago 12:00 PM

Game # 22 Day # 16 SAT.    April.21 Miller Park in Milwaukee 6:05 PM

Game # 23  Day # 17 SUN.   April.22 Comerica Park in Detroit 1:05 PM 

Game # 24 Day # 18 MON.  April.23 O.co Coliseum in Oakland 7:05 PM

Game # 25 Day # 19 TUES  April.24 Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay 7:05 PM

Game # 26 Day # 20  WED.  April.25 PNC Park in Pittsburgh 12:35 PM

Game # 27  Day # 20 WED.  April.25 Progressive Field in Cleveland 7:05 PM

Game # 28 Day # 21 THU.   April.26 Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 12:35 PM

Game # 29  Day # 21 THU.   April.26 US Cellular Field in Chicago 7:11 PM

Game# 30  Day # 22 FRI      April.27  Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 7:05 PM

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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Are Fred McGriff and Larry Walker Heading to Cooperstown?

Sunday December 11th, 2011

Sam Evans: During the pinnacle of their careers, Fred McGriff and Larry Walker, each averaged over thirty home runs a year. Now, in their first couple years of eligibility, both players have shown promising signs that they are on their way to becoming Hall-of-Famers. However, I’m not quite sure if they both deserve it.

Larry Walker: Larry Walker was an amazing power-hitting outfielder from 1989 to 2005. He actually was a very solid defensive right fielder, considered one of the best in baseball history. Walker played for the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals during his seventeen years in the majors.

Walker helped popularize the game back in his home country of Canada. He was the first Canadian ever to win the MVP in 1997. He hit .366 with 49 HR, 130 RBI,  and 33 stolen bases. When he retired in 2005, he had been nominated to five All-Star games, he won seven Gold Gloves, and Walker finished with 67.3 WAR, which is 67th all-time among position players.

Unfortunately, Walker also played during the height of the Steroid Era. We are learning more and more about these dangerous drugs as time passes, and we still can’t be positive who is using PED’s (See Ryan Braun announcement from today). It would not come as a big surprise to me if Walker was using PED’s in the 90’s. However, as great as it is to see a player that had a successful career without PED’s, (e.g. Ken Griffey Jr.), we have to remember that performance enhancing drugs were not banned back then. I am sure that the public suspicion that Walker was a steroid user though are hurting his Hall of Fame chances.

Another knock against Walker is that he never won a World Series. It is hard for voters to vote for a proclaimed winner, if they never won a championship. In 2011, Walker’s first year of eligibility, he received 20.3 of the BBWAA votes. The requirement is seventy-five percent, but overall, this was a strong first year showing for Walker.

If you look at Walker’s career as a whole, I’m pretty certain he will be considered a Hall-of-Famer. I really think Cooperstown though needs to redefine what being a hall of famer is all about. Is it about the impact players made on the game? Or what their numbers look like? The Hall-of-Fame has a lot more problems with its standards then I think most people realize.

Fred McGriff: McGriff is another top power hitter. McGriff holds the MLB record for homers in the most different stadiums with forty-two.

McGriff hit 493 homers in his career, good enough for 25th all-time. “Crime Dog” also finished with a .284 BA, and an average of 86 walks per 162 games. McGriff was nominated to five All-Star games and led the league in home runs twice. On the other hand, McGriff was not known as a great defensive first basemen. Also, he never really stayed with one team for an extended amount of time.

When looking at McGriff’s long career, the homers obviously stand out. He hit just as many homers as current HOF’er Lou Gehrig. Another highlight of McGriff’s nineteen year career was winning the World Series with the Braves in 1995.

McGriff will surely be named a Hall-of-Famer before his fifteen years are up. He played during an era where power was easy to find, and McGriff relied on his power to provide him with a lengthy career. However, 483 homers, and being tabbed “Baseball Superstar” in Tom Emanski’s infamous commercials is apparently enough for an election to Cooperstown.

McGriff is really a “push” candidate for the Hall-of-Fame. I’m not completely sure he will a fair chance to make it because of the era he played in. In 2010, McGriff received 21.5% of the BBWAA votes, and then in 2011, he took a step back only getting 17.9% of the votes.

For both of these players, writers are more reluctant to vote for them because of who the group they played with. As was evidenced with the Ryan Braun news, Americans have a very negative reaction to PED’s. We just want to enjoy baseball nostalgically, with”real” athletes that don’t need to cheat to succeed. The truth is, cheating is a huge part of the game. From corked bats to spitballs, this kind of thing has been going on for over a hundred years. The effects that PED’s have in the human body are devastating, and turning yourself into a superhuman should not be allowed in baseball. However, the era in which Larry Walker and Fred McGriff played in should not be the reason to keep them out of Cooperstown.  Both players should be judged on their numbers and performances, if that is possible.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Ask the Reports: Saturday December 3rd

Saturday December 3, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  I just read your article about expansion. This is my most favorite topic in baseball. I have an idea. Tell me what you think of it.

American League

East
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

North
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers

South
Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers
Tampa Bay Rays

West
Los Angeles Angels
San Diego Padres
Portland Athletics
Seattle Mariners

National League

East
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals

North
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals

South
Charlotte Knights (Expansion Team)
Atlanta Braves
San Antonio Colts (Expansion Team)
Miami Marlins

West
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies

-Joe (via e-mail)

MLB reports:  Radical realignment and expansion Joe.  Love it!  I am a BIG fan of adding 2 new expansion teams to Major League Baseball.  32 teams, 16 teams per league, 4 divisions per league and 4 teams per division makes perfect sense to me.  I am sold.  Now the magical question is which cities would be included and how to realign the divisions.  Under your proposal, San Antonio and Charlotte would get expansion teams, while the A’s would be relocated to Portland.  All three cities are top contenders for MLB teams, so I have no issue with having Major League Baseball in those cities.  For this scenario to work, the A’s would need to exhaust the option of moving to San Jose or any other city in California before being fully relocated.  I don’t see the A’s in Portland personally.  I see them staying in California.  But stranger things have happened.  Interesting that you did not relocate the Rays in your proposal.  I see them having an equally high chance of being relocated as the A’s.  So assuming that we accept your relocation and expansion plans, the last issue will be the alignment of the divisions.  The AL South and NL South need work.  If we are putting a team in San Antonio, let’s put them in the same division as the Rangers and Astros and make a nearly all-Texas division.  The Rays and Marlins should also be in the same division.  I agree with Charlotte and Atlanta together.  Consider as well putting the Dodgers, Giants, Angels and Padres together in an-all California division.  You have a great basis for changes though…well done!  Thank you for the comment and giving us some food for thought.  Please click here to read our previous report on MLB Expansion.

Q:  Just want to say that I’m glad other “unknown talented” Countries are going to have an opportunity to participate.  My mother is from Nicaragua so it’s awesome to know Nicaragua AT LEAST has an opportunity. Maybe in the near future, the WBC should consist of more than 16 teams….maybe a total of 24?  Joshua (via e-mail)

MLB reports:  Thank you for the question Joshua.  You know we love talking about the World Baseball Classic!  Please click here to see our previous report on the upcoming 2013 WBC.  The initial 2006 and 2009 WBC editions consisted of 16 total countries.  In 2013, there are changes to the tournament.  12 holdover countries are guaranteed to play in the tournament itself.  Prior to the WBC, there will be a qualifying tournament between the remaining 4 holdover countries and 12 new countries introduced to the WBC.  Thus the total amount of countries that have a chance to play in the WBC is 28.  I think that the 16 country format works very well.  What MLB officials will look to do is to continue to expand the amount of countries worldwide that will compete in the qualifying tournament.  We could easily see in the next decade 24 new countries competing for WBC supremacy.  I don’t see the tournament itself changing from the 16 team format, but definitely expect the field of 28 eligible countries to expand further.  Another great question, thank you for sharing!

Q:  A few months ago I called Pujols in Chicago! They have the $ and could use the leadership.  Aaron (via Twitter)

MLB reports:  I seem to recall you saying that.  There were many pushes to start the offseason for Albert Pujols to join the Cubs.  At the time I wrote them off as impossible.  But with the Cubs new management team on board led by Theo Epstein, I am not quite as sure.  I still see Pujols back with the Cardinals.  He has spent his whole career in St. Louis and has roots now in Missouri.  At similar or equal money, I see him staying.  The more likely move for the Cubs is to pick up Prince Fielder.  I think the fit is better overall from an age perspective for Chicago.  But if there is any team that will be able to “woo” Pujols, it could very well be the Cubs.  The Cardinals faithful would be devastated if Pujols was to leave.  We shall see how this all plays out- but I give a 99.9% chance of Pujols staying put.

Q:  I’ve run out of patience with (Phil) Hughes.  David (via Twitter)

MLB reports:  I won’t dispute you David…and many Yankees fans would agree.  But not all has been bad about Phil Hughes.  He had a strong 2009 season pitching almost exclusively out of the pen, followed by an 18 win season in 2010.  Last year was an injury filled season for Hughes that never got on track.  Hughes has battled injuries and inconsistencies throughout his career.  The million dollar is whether Phil Hughes will ever be able to complete a full season healthy.  The Yankees have to decide ultimately if he is best suited to the rotation or bullpen.  While he has enjoyed success in both roles, his arm may not be ultimately be able to hold up the grind in the rotation. He is still young (25) and will not be a free agent until 2014.  The former 1st round pick from 2004 presents a huge dilemma for the Yankees.  Can he be counted to on to be a future ace?  That is unclear at best.  I am prepared to give Hughes until 2014 before passing final judgement.  If it were up to me, the Yankees should carry 6 starters with the hope that Hughes could become a strong #2 and at worst, a viable reliever in the pen.  Phil Hughes definitely deserves the opportunity to show his worth…just don’t count on him yet at this point.

Q:  Hope the Halos did not give away a young arm w/big upside (Chatwood) for a backup catcher (Iannetta)   John (via Twitter)

MLB reports:  We get to end today’s Ask the Reports with my favorite topics:  Angels’ catchers.  The Angels made an interesting move this week, trading former 1st round pick hurler Tyler Chatwood to the Rockies for catcher Chris Iannetta.  Looking at the numbers for Iannetta and Chatwood…it makes me wonder what the Angels were thinking in moving Mike Napoli before the 2011 season.  Let’s compare Napoli and Iannetta.  Napoli is a year and a half older…but about 100x the player.  I will point to a very important piece of evidence:  the home/road splits.  Both played in great hitter’s parks (Texas and Colorado respectively).  But on the road, we really get a true sense of each player.  Napoli hit more home runs on the road (17 to 13), had a higher batting average (.332 to .307) and maintained a .414 OBP and .663 SLG.  The point?  Mike Napoli is an effective hitter, no matter where he plays.  Had he received the same opportunity in Anaheim, the Angels would have ensured a top catcher for themselves and been able to keep Chatwood.  Iannetta, while younger, pales at the plate compared to Napoli.  In 2011, Iannetta hit a solid .301 at home, while only batting .172 on the road.  Iannetta also hit 10 home runs at home, while only 4 on the road.  On the road Iannetta drove in 16 RBIs (39 at home) and scored 15 runs (36 at home).  OBP was .419 at home (.321 on road) and SLG was .557 at home (.266 on road).  This is a small sample of one year, but Iannetta at home is another Mike Napoli…while on the road he becomes another Jeff Mathis.  I am a support of Iannetta, but in Colorado.  I am seeing another Vernon Wells blunder, of a hitter taken out of a hitters’ ballpark that cannot adjust to more difficult hitting conditions.  Iannetta’s bat does not appear to be a good mix with Angel Stadium.  In return for Iannetta, the Angels had to give up Chatwood, their 2nd round pick from 2008. With pitching being a premium in today’s game, it is sad that the Angels had to give up a strong viable arm that I projected as a likely #3 starter for a catcher that will likely not fill in well in their system.  The team already tried that least year, when it chose Mathis over Napoli.  What happened?  Both catchers were not far off defensively, but Napoli became one of the best hitting catchers in baseball.  The Angels hope they are getting the next Mike Napoli.  In truth they should have kept the original.  Now they will have Iannetta (Mathis clone) and Wells clogging up their batting order.  While I am left to continue scratching my head in disbelief.

(Editor’s Note:  Ironically just as this article was just published, the Angels just traded Jeff Mathis…to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brad Mills.  The same Jays that the Angels traded Mike Napoli to almost a year earlier for Vernon Wells.  The Jays would have been smart to hold onto Napoli and kept a prize hitting catcher for themselves who could also DH and play 1B.  Now the Angels take the other half of the Angels catching tandem as their new backup catcher.  Funny how everything comes full circle).

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Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Stolen Bases: Fantasy Baseball Strategies to Increasing Steals

Thursday November 17, 2011

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  Of the five categories in standard 5X5 roto leagues, it is SB’s that fantasy owners most commonly have the incorrect approach. In this article I will highlight players to target and avoid in the stolen base department, as well as discuss basic fantasy strategy.

There are certainly several one trick ponies, such as Brett Gardner, Michael Bourn, and Coco Crisp, who provide elite production in this department. However, there are a couple of things you must consider. These types of players, who will hopefully hit for average and contribute to runs, will hurt your team’s HR and RBI performance. Therefore, be sure that you have excess value dispersed throughout the rest of your lineup to compensate. Secondly, you are heavily relying one on player for your production in this category, and as a result an injury can leave your team devastated. Thus, it is essential, particularly in the early rounds, that you find players who do everything, including steal bases. Even 5-10 steals that a player contributes above the position average will give you a significant edge.

A player to target next year, Eric Hosmer, quietly stole 11 bases in 2011. The young left-hander batted .313 with 11 HR and 44 RBI’s in the second half last season. While his still progressing power production puts him the second tier of first baseman, his double-digit stolen base potential makes him intriguing and perhaps underrated. Still, this guy finished the season with 19 home runs and 78 RBI’s in 128 games played. Since there are a slew of first baseman that finished with 30 home runs and 100 RBI, they will likely be targeted before Homer. Therefore, I like Hosmer as a guy who might just as well approach these power numbers but also steal 15 bases. For this same reason, I like Joey Votto over any other first baseman not named Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera. While, Adrian and Gonzalez and Prince Fielder might put up higher power numbers and similar batting averages, Joey Votto’s 10 stolen bases will make him significantly more valuable. Albert Pujols is also good for ten stolen bases as well. Only Miguel Cabrera out produces Votto enough in the other four categories to excuse his lack of stolen bases.

Now extend this approach to each position. Dustin Pedroia and his 25-30 stolen bases is more valuable than Robinson Cano and his 5-10 stolen bases, despite the fact Cano finished with 7 more home runs and 25 RBI’s. A player I like at this position if you can afford to take the hit in HR’s and RBI’s is Jemile Weeks, who finished with 22 stolen bases in just 97 games. He will get to play full-time in Oakland, and as long as he is hitting above .290, can be valuable to your roster as a good source of steals. On the decline is Brandon Phillips who has dropped from 25 to 16 to 14 stolen bases the last three seasons. This makes him no longer elite, especially when Ian Kinsler is doing 30/30. An interesting group of players, Kelly Johnson, Danny Espinosa, and Ben Zobrist each his 20 home runs and stole over 15 bases. However, they each struggled with average. Again, take not of your team’s strengths. If you own Votto and a couple of other average anchors, these types of players can be good sources of power and stolen bases at the second base position.

Instead of continuing on and telling you the elite base stealers position by position (you can easily look this up), I will give you my 2012 sleepers and busts.

Stolen Base Sleepers:

Don’t forget that Brett Lawrie’s one-quarter of a season not only put him on pace to hit 36 home runs and 100 RBI’s, but also projected him to finish with 28 stolen bases.

Peter Bourjos made noise at the end of the season and once stole 50 bases in the minor leagues. For the speedy outfielder, it was all about getting on base after a 2010 debut in which he batted .204 in 51 games. However, he greatly improved his contact ability, although still needs to improve walk rate, and batted .271 and stole 21 bases for the Angels. He also hit 12 home runs, and has the potential for a productive .280 15 HR 30 SB stat line in 2012.

After stealing 19 bases in 2011, I expect Shane Victorino to reach the 30 mark once again in 2012. It’s not that he didn’t run when he was on base, but his lower than usual BABIP and high than usual ISO (measures true power) simply meant he was not on first base as often as he normally is. With Rollins likely out of Philadelphia, I expect Victorino to ne at the top of the lineup and as aggressive as ever on the base paths.

Keep you eye Cameron Maybin, who stole 40 bases in 137 games for the Padres. As long as he has the chance to play semi-regularly, he is elite in the stolen base category. Furthermore, he appears to be approaching double-digit home run output as well, although he is only a career .255 hitter.

Monitor where Coco Crisp ends up in 2012. I loved him at Oakland in 2011 because he was one of the better hitters on the team (sadly) and at times batted third, but also batted lead off and in the second spot. In addition to leading the American League in steals, he had decent contributions in other categories (8 HR and 54 RBI) compared to some of the other stolen base leaders.

Dexter Fowler is a name to remember because he is simply one of the fastest players in baseball. However, he only stole 12 and 13 bases during the last two years, respectively. He was also caught an alarming 25 times. If he can learn to run on the base paths, he can be elite in this category. It is possible for major leaguers to learn the art of stealing bases. Look at Adam Jones, who was 12/16 on the base paths in 2011 after a 7/14 2010. I expect Jones, who is approaching a contract season, to come closer to 20 steals in 2012.

Speedsters to avoid? Juan Pierre. He really contributes in no other categories and is getting slower, getting caught 17 times in 44 chances in 2011. Furthermore, I do not expect any team to give him the 639 at bats that the White Sox foolishly provided him. Sadly, Ichiro Suzuki is clearly on the decline and appears to be a shell of his former elite self. The same is true with Bobby Abreu.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Interview with Christian Friedrich: Colorado Rockies Prospect

Friday October 14, 2011

 

 

Jeff P (Guest Writer – MLB reports):  Recently I had the honor of interviewing Christian Friedrich, top MLB pitching prospect.   Speaking to Friedrich, I had the sense that he has the same key goal as many other baseball players:  working hard to achieve his dream.  Friedrich is a great guy and it was a pleasure interviewing him. 

Firstly, I would like to relay some information on Chris, courtesy of Wikipedia:
 
“Christ Louis Friedrich (July 8, 1987 in Evanston, Illinois) is a left-handed starting pitcher in the Colorado Rockies organization. He currently plays for the Class AA Tulsa Drillers. He was drafted in the first round (25th overall) in the 2008 Amateur Draft out of Eastern Kentucky University.”
 
Considering that he was a prestigious first round selection, Chris is one of the most interesting guys you will ever meet in baseball.  Chris has tremendous talent, to go along with his strong reputation in the game.  Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with Rockies Prospect, Chris Friedrich:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports, Chris.  I am starting you off with a tough question:  you have struggled throughout your time in double-A ball.  What do you feel has been the most difficult part of moving from A+ to AA?

Friedrich:  The hardest part about AA is being consistent.  At the lower levels you can still get by on some of your bad days. In AA you have to be in it every day.  The days you’re not pitching are just as important as the 5th day.  Your routine has to be perfect and the same, your mental and physical preparation can’t skip a beat.  All those things sum up in my mind to confidence.  If you forget a certain lift, change your running routine, mental prep, or even your warm up before the game, it leaves doubt in your mind that doesn’t need to be lingering with you when you toe the rubber.

 
MLB reports:  A few months ago, did you worry about the trade speculation around the clubhouse that you might be traded?

Friedrich:  When the trade deadline comes around every year, you can’t help to listen in on what some of the guys or reporters are saying.  For the most part though it’s something I can’t control and would deal with it if it happened.  In all honesty though I didn’t and don’t think there’s a whole lot of teams looking for a guy like me after the season I put up and no one is more disappointed with that than myself.  I had a good three months but couldn’t put it all together.  I understand what I have to do, and that’s why this offseason is so important.  There was a bit of a smile when that time passes because I love being a Rockie.

 

MLB reports:  Daily rituals and hobbies, outside of the clubhouse?
 
Friedrich:  For daily rituals as of now it’s a wonderful routine.  Wake up and breakfast might be my favorite part of the day.  Two eggs, two sausages, two toasts, and my beloved coffee from the Keurig.  I’ll get my workout done in the mornings and then go for a swim.  After that I usually go on the course or the range.  I’m really roughing it (ha ha).  It’s nice to be in one place for and extended period of time and develop the consistent routines.  In the evening my other favorite hobby as many around me know is video games.  I turned a closet into a video gamer’s paradise.  My favorite part about video games is playing competitive games online with friends.  It allows me to connect with buddies from back home, college teammates, guys I’ve played against, and even guys in our organization.  It’s a lot easier than just sitting talking on the phone.  I get to catch up with them and involve teamwork.  I’m really excited for Modern Warfare 3 to come out.

 

MLB reports:  What kind of music can one find on your iPod?

Friedrich:  I have all genres of music on my apple products.  My favorite would definitely be rock and roll.  Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, and a lot of Fall out Boy.  Home town band I really like.  No Beatles!

 

MLB reports:  You have suffered from injuries during your career.  What effects did your health have on your baseball activities?

Friedrich:  Injuries have plagued me through my career but I’m thankful they weren’t and major ones.  You learn to deal with them and do everything you can to prevent them.  When they first happen it’s hard to accept and deal with them. It’s a great way to train yourself mentally but that’s my only positive.  All you can do is work your behind off to get back out there and help out the club.  The past three years I’ve dealt with some tendonitis in my elbow.  It’s a nagging injury that doesn’t sit you down always but prohibits you from keep up your routine.  For example it doesn’t bother you much the day you pitch because you are usually amped up.  But on those important days in-between, it makes it harder to work on the things you normally do. Certain lifts bother it, and most of all, certain pitches.  I noticed this year my breaking pitches during that time weren’t as sharp and I was getting ahead, but not putting guys away.  This comes from not practicing with them as much through your five-day routine.  Now I have time to strengthen my body and smaller muscle groups to make sure I can prevent these (injuries) as much as possible.

 
MLB reports:  Do you think we will see you in the big leagues sometime next year?

Friedrich:  I’m hoping to shock some people come spring training and reach the expectations I’ve set for myself.  I’m doing everything I can to get there but that’s not under my control.  But I will try to make the decision very easy for them.

 
MLB reports:   What do you think is unique about the Rockies organization?

Friedrich:  The Rockies organization is unlike any other.  Our staff is made up of the best around with great knowledge and experience.  I feel like we’re taken in, like it’s a family.  This is a very classy organization the prides itself on homegrown talent.  I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at.  From my experience, players who have left our organization and players that come to it, say it’s the best they’ve been a part of. 

 
MLB reports:  What was the worst moment of your baseball career thus far?

Friedrich:  The worst moment of my career would probably be the collapse at the end of my season this year.  Last year our big league club lost a lot of starting pitching to injuries and Ubaldo Jimenez to the trade.  It would have been a prime opportunity for me to shine and I went in the opposite direction.  I’m looking to fix that.

 

MLB reports:  What are you planning to work on in the offseason to improve your pitching status?

Friedrich:  This offseason is again all about my routine and keeping good habits.  I took about a week off and got straight to work.  I’m using dry work everyday to solidify my mechanics so come February it’s an after thought.  I’m incorporating swimming into my workouts to strengthen my shoulders and lats.  I have dropped the bad weight and adding the good weight.  My eating routine is helping with my energy and muscle-building.  I am currently living in Florida by myself, so I don’t have distractions and have loved every minute of it.  I started just a month ago and can’t wait come February.

 

MLB reports:  You were drafted 25th, in the 2008 draft.  What was the after party and the phone call like?

Friedrich:  The draft day was a day I’ll never forget.  I was blessed to have friends and family there to celebrate with me.  It was hard to think while talking to reporters and answer questions, when I was still trying to wrap my head around it!

 

MLB reports:  Who do you look up to in the big leagues?

Friedrich:  I look up to a lot of our own players even at some of our levels. What I’m most impressed with, with majority of the big leaguers I have been around is their work ethic.  Guys like Tulo, Helton,  Blackmon, Belisle and EY all are workhorses in their own way. And there isn’t one way they all go about doing things.  They have all learned for themselves what works best for them.  They each have become machines of routine and excellence.  My favorite pitcher by far though, like many others is Cliff Lee.  He masters the strike zone and his command for all of his pitches is superb.  My favorite thing is to watch his sequences and see how he sets up all his opponents.  You watch highlights and can’t believe guys miss a pitch, but it’s how he has set them up.

 

MLB reports:  I’ll end off here, if you were not currently a baseball player, what do you think you would be doing right now?

Friedrich:  If I wasn’t in baseball?  Tough one.  If I never played in college, I would have like to go into dentistry or design.  Since I am in baseball, I can’t get out.  I love it.  I would stay in the game whether it would be coaching or scouting.

 

MLB reports:  Thank you very much for taking your time out of your busy schedule so we can have you with us.  Much appreciated!
 

Thank you again to Chris Friedrich for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports.  We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Chris.  As well, please follow Chris on Twitter (@CFRIED12)

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by Jeff P, Guest Writer to MLB reports.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Jeff on Twitter.***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

How to Value and Manage Catchers on Your MLB Fantasy Team

Monday October 3, 2011

 

 

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  The catching position is one that is often the most mismanaged by fantasy owners.  A very thin position, it is difficult to find value from catchers in the deeper leagues.  Furthermore, you take a big risk dedicating a high pick or significant auction money at a very injury prone position, as 2011 owners Joe Mauer and Buster Posey owners know all too well.  Even a healthy catcher will sit for a significant amount of games each year due to the wear and tear of the position.

For these reasons, I generally advise to not overpay for a player at this position.  But with that said, for the right price, the top batch of catchers can provide you significant value.  However, too many times before we have seen significant year yo year decline from players at this position.  You simply should not rely on production at this position.  Spend your bucks elsewhere.  Based on matchups and playing time, it is possible to scrap together value for next to nothing.

For example, Chris Iannetta and his .238 average, 51 runs, 14 HR, and 55 RBI, disappointed many fantasy owners in 2011.  But a closer look at the numbers shows the true value he provides.  We all know the effect that Coors Field has on hitters, but for Iannetta it is staggering.  His 2011 home numbers look like this: .301 batting average, 10 HR, 39 RBI and 3 SB.

If you were to only start Iannetta at home in 2011, you would great numbers all across the board for half of the season.  You are essentially getting 50% of Brian McCann for way less than 50% of the price.  The discrepancy in his splits is dramatic that it makes him so easy to use as an owner.  Only start him at home and never think about starting him on the road!

Now, for the days that Iannetta is on the road, there are plenty of options in the bottom half of the rankings that would be available on the waiver wire.  Let’s pick someone like Miguel Olivo.  His 19 HR and 62 RBI provide great production from the thin catching position, but his .224 average leaves a lot to be desired.  However, an owner is much better equipped to muster this average if the number of at bats are cut in half.  If you combine this morph of Olivo and Iannetta, you are looking at these types of numbers:

.260-.270, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 6 SB.

These numbers are essentially right on par with Brian McCann’s 2011 line (.270, 24HR, 71RBI, 3SB).  McCann is a consensus top five catcher, while Iannetta and Olivo are viewed outside of the top-15.  You are essentially creating McCann for a lot cheaper and inherent risk that comes with investing money in the catching position.  Furthermore, there are more options out there if you think Olivo’s average is too much of a killer.  It all depends on your team’s needs and what categories you are chasing.  If you are more concerned about average, guys like Nick Hundley and Jonathan Lucroy might be more attractive options.  Looking for power and RBI production?  Names such as J.P. Arencibia, Russell Martin, Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki (there are even more) are all useful under the right circumstances.

For example, look at Geovany Soto’s numbers against left-handed pitching in 2011: .296 average, 7 HR and 15 RBI in just 98 at-bats. This is in stark contrast to his .207 average and 10 home runs in 323 at-bats against right-handed pitching.

The point is that it’s easy to piece together production at this position. There are several players who contribute in the HR and RBI categories and you can get the most out of them by maximizing their strengths based on matchups and ballparks.

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Javier Vazquez Behind the Numbers: The Fantasy Value of Pitchers

Monday September 26, 2011

 

 

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  After a historically bad start to the regular season, Javier Vazquez has finished the 2011 campaign on a hot streak to the delight of many fantasy owners who found the 35-year-old right-hander available on the waiver wire. He is ending his season and career with a bang, not allowing a run in his last 25 innings pitched and winning five consecutive starts. His 7 wins, 2.16 ERA, and 87 strikeouts in 87 innings make him one of the strongest starting pitching assets in all of baseball post all-star break.

Going into the season I actually grossly overpaid for Vazquez and ultimately traded him away. I continued to monitor the pitcher because I knew what he was capable of doing on the mound. However, sitting at 5-8 with a 5.23 ERA at the all-star break, Javy lived up to the criticisms that he has endured throughout his entire career. On paper, Vazquez appears to be one of the most consistent pitchers of the past decade, earning double-digit victories in each of the past twelve seasons. Returning to the NL East, many people, myself included, had high expectations for Vazquez in 2011. After all, he is just two years removed his finest season as a professional with 15 wins and 2.87 ERA for the Atlanta Braves. But the guy is far from consistent. Season to season, month to month, and from start to start you never knew which Javy Vazquez you were going to get – just ask one of his former managers, Ozzie Guillen. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3602173

New York Yankee fans are also all too familiar with Vazquez as well, as his stints in the Bronx in both 2004 and 2009 are reminiscent of A.J. Burnett’s 2011 campaign.  There is no question that Vazquez is streaky and frustrating to own, for both real and fantasy managers.

However, Vazquez finished 2011, and he says his career, with one of the strongest stretches of his career – conveniently down the stretch for savvy fantasy owners.

So what took Vazquez so long to get his act together in 2011? The answer is actually very clear and it has everything to do with his velocity. To start the season, his average fastball velocity started around 86 miles per hour but steadily increased and finally reached the 92-93 miles per hour range for the second half of the season. http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=801&position=P&pitch=FA

As his fastball velocity increased, so did the frequency in which Vazquez used it. While it’s rare that a 35-year-old regains velocity, it is evident that it was the key to his success. The gain in velocity, coupled with a low-pressure situation in Florida in the NL East, allowed Vazquez to morph back into the pitcher he was in 2009. Although some players rely on velocity more than others, it certainly is a major factor in a pitcher’s success. Just look at Ubaldo Jimenez. With an average fastball velocity of 96mph in 2010, he put together a 19-8 season with a 2.88 ERA. In 2011, his velocity dipped to 93.9 mph and Ublado had trouble getting hitters out, compiling a 10-12 record with an ugly 4.47 ERA. Unless Ubaldo can have a Javy-like resurgence in velocity, he will be forced to improve his secondary pitches and will probably never again be a Cy Young contender.

This gets me to the point of the article. Many fantasy owners tend to ride players who are on hot streaks. But how can you predict these hot streaks when luck plays such a big factor? There needs to be an identifier for success, because all too many times we see players burst onto the scene with a few good starts but soon fizzle away. Sample size is very important, and Vazquez has demonstrated that he is capable of success. It was the gain in velocity and Vazquez’s placement in the NL East that made him a second half commodity. Therefore, before you trust a guy who is “hot”, be sure you do your research and find out why. Otherwise, you are simply gambling. With starting pitchers look for the factors that might contribute to a pitcher’s success: velocity, pitch selection, league and division, and ballpark.

Next week I will take this even further and discuss FIP and XFIP. If you play fantasy baseball and don’t know about www.fangraphs.com, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the site and sabermetrics. This will give you a more accurate depiction of how a pitcher is throwing the ball and better indicators for future success, thereby eliminating the guessing games and searching for “hot streaks.”

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Mike Jacobs: Rockies Slugger Receives 50 Game HGH Suspension

Friday August 19, 2011

 

 

MLB reports:  Major League Baseball commenced human growth hormone (“HGH”) testing in the minor leagues in the summer of 2010.  It was only a matter of time before players began to get caught under the new system.  Blood testing for HGH in the minors was the first step in bringing similar tests to the major leagues one day.  With HGH testing now in place as part of the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, MLB cannot be far behind.  With baseball’s agreement with the union set to expire in December of this year, expect HGH testing to be a big topic on the bargaining table.  The first player to be caught in the minors using HGH and receiving a 50 game suspension is Colorado Rockies slugger, Mike Jacobs.  With the first HGH culprit found, pressure will be intense on baseball to bring similar testing all the way to the major leagues.

Mike Jacobs will forever be known as the first North American athlete to test positive for HGH.  Although HGH suspensions have occurred internationally, Jacobs is the first athlete in a professional North American athlete to be tested and fail a HGH test.  Things should have gone differently for Jacobs in his career.  Originally a 38th round pick for the Mets in the 1999 draft, Jacobs rose from baseball obscurity to star with the Marlins from 2006-2008.  Here is a look at Jacobs’ major league stats: 

Year 5 Tm R HR RBI SO BA OBP SLG
2005 NYM 19 11 23 22 .310 .375 .710
2006 FLA 54 20 77 105 .262 .325 .473
2007 FLA 57 17 54 101 .265 .317 .458
2008 FLA 67 32 93 119 .247 .299 .514
2009 KCR 46 19 61 132 .228 .297 .401
2010 NYM 1 1 2 7 .208 .296 .375
6 Seasons 244 100 310 486 .253 .313 .475
162 Game Avg. 71 29 90 142 .253 .313 .475
               
FLA (3 yrs) 178 69 224 325 .258 .314 .483
NYM (2 yrs) 20 12 25 29 .290 .360 .645
KCR (1 yr) 46 19 61 132 .228 .297 .401
               
NL (5 yrs) 198 81 249 354 .261 .317 .496
AL (1 yr) 46 19 61 132 .228 .297 .401

 

2008 represented the best season of Jacobs’ career.  He hit 32 home runs, to go along with 93 RBIs for the Marlins.  But despite the strong power numbers, critics pointed to his .247 AVG and weak .299 OBP that year and labelled him a one-dimensional player.  The Marlins agreed and traded Jacobs in October 2008 for current closer Leo Nunez.  Jacobs originally joined the Marlins in November 2005 as a package of players for superstar Carlos Delgaldo.  Big expectations were placed on Jacobs to replace Delgaldo ever since he joined the Marlins.  While Jacobs had the strong power numbers in 2008, the team ultimately was not convinced that he would ever fulfill his potential.  While Nunez went on to star in the Marlins bullpen, Jacobs lasted only one season in Kansas City, his last full season in the big leagues.

In 2010, Jacobs spent parts of the year playing in the Mets and Blue Jays farm systems.  He hit 21 home runs and drove in 93 in 120 games combined in AAA, with a .335 OBP and .482 SLG.  This season, Jacobs played exclusively in Colorado Springs and put up inflated numbers in the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League.  With 23 home runs in 117 games, 97 RBIs, .376 OBP and .534 SLG, there looked to be a chance for Jacobs to restart his major league career.  At 30-years of age, Jacobs was looking to have a year-end cup of coffee with the Rockies and leave a strong enough impression to perhaps have a chance in spring training 2012.  Reports had a call up imminent for Jacobs when news of the HGH positive test leaked out.  The Rockies immediately released the slugger, who is now on the MLB sidelines. 

Following the Marlins acquisition of Jacobs in 2005, I expected his career to develop differently.  It was clear the power was going to be there.   It was the rest of his hitting development that I expect to follow.  To stay in the big leagues, Jacobs was going to need to learn patience and to hit lefties.  Following his 2008 campaign, I still hoped in the back of my mind that those qualities would eventually come out.  But they never in fact did.  Looking back at his magical 2008 campaign, there were red flags that Jacobs had major shortcomings as a hitter.  25 of his home runs came against right-handed pitchers.  Against lefties, Jacobs hit .218 with a .248 OBP and .429 SLG.  At best, without improvement, Jacobs was likely destined to be a platoon player for the rest of his career.  Now today, Jacobs stands as the new poster child for HGH cheating.  A scarlet letter that will be difficult, if not impossible to remove.

With Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro gone from the game and the “steroid era” at an apparent end, the focus is now on HGH.  Apparently very wide-spread in the game, baseball officials are said to be taking a hard stance to remove HGH use from the game.  In suspending Jacobs, commissioner Selig indicated that baseball is on top of testing and is not hiding from the process.  I expect HGH testing to be a part of the major leagues as early as 2012.  Despite the tests and the threat of strict penalties, as Mike Jacobs has shown, athletes will continue to try to get ahead despite the risks involved.  Jacobs came clean following his positive test, admitting usage to overcome injuries and regretting his decision to use HGH.  The decision to use HGH will cost Jacobs more than 50 games.  It resulted in his dismissal from the Rockies and likely removal from major league baseball all together.  For a fringe player that was already hanging by a thread, having the HGH suspension on his resume will scare off many, if not most major league teams.

Mike Jacobs had his chances in baseball.  While many sluggers before him are lucky to get one shot at the big leagues, Jacobs had several chances.  Despite playing for three teams over six major league seasons, Mike Jacobs was never able to fulfill his vast potential.  Like many left-handed home run hitters, Jacobs could never hit well against lefties and get on base at a high enough level to compliment his power bat.  Now at 30-years of age, the legacy of Mike Jacobs will be as using HGH and failing the first North American test.  While I expected Jacobs to be fighting for home run crowns at this point in his career, he now sits outside of baseball.  A lesson to be learned for future sluggers.  It is better to play clean and keep your reputation than cheat and get caught.  Once the first failed test hits, any accomplishments in the past and future will always be tarnished.  As Palmeiro, Bonds, Sosa and McGwire can attest, poor public perceptions never seem to go away.  They just continue to linger, seemingly until the end of time.   

 

 

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

MLB Draft Signing Deadline: Who Will Sign By August 15th

Friday August 12, 2011

 

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):   With the August 15 deadline for all 2011 MLB draftees to sign, players and teams are getting down to the wire with negotiations.  Only two of the top ten picks have been signed, right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer, and second baseman Cory Spangenberg by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, respectively.  Of the 33 first round picks, 9 have signed, as well as 14 of the 27 picks in the supplemental first round.  It is expected that most of the picks from the first round will go down to the last hour, if not minute.  However, there is a lot of speculation about who will not sign, and the fans of each team are hoping and praying their team will get their guy.  Some players come into the draft with lofty expectations and high estimates of signing bonus money.  As a result, many of the lower budget franchises stay away from these players, and draft “safe” players, who will sign for a more reasonable price.

The Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane was made famous through the book “Moneyball”, which portrayed the club as a bottom feeder organization financially.  They had to pick lesser talents in order to sign all their draft picks.  They shied away from the big “sexy” names on draft boards and targeted players with specific skill sets.  Other teams who have done this in the past to varying degrees of success are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals.  In the last couple of years, these organizations have turned their philosophies around, drafting tough to sign players with higher ceilings, and ending up signing most of them.  Today will highlight a few of the players drafted who will be tougher than others to sign.

From this year’s draft, one of the players who was known to be extremely difficult to sign was Josh Bell.  On talent alone, he was rated as an early first round pick, yet dropped to the second round to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He had sent a letter to Major League Baseball advising teams not to draft him on account that he wanted to attend the University of Texas.  Some have said this was just a bargaining tool to simply add more leverage to his situation, while others think he will not sign under any circumstances.  It has been predicted that it will take a minimum of $10M and a Major League contract in order to sign him.  I feel that the Pirates are an extreme long shot to sign Bell, and he will attend U of T and be a Longhorn for the next three years.

High school right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede could have been a top 10 pick, with his 95 mph fastball and devastating change-up.  Beede was widely known to be seeking a bonus upwards of $3-4M.  The Toronto Blue Jays and their new management have made it a point to take the best player available when they it is their turn to select a player in the draft.  So, when it came to their turn as the 21st selection, the Jays did not hesitate to choose Beede, who has said it will come down to money in the long run.  I believe the Jays will sign him in the final minutes for close to $3M.

With the 5th overall pick, the Kansas City Royals had a tough decision to make.  Outfielder Bubba Starling, a hometown kid from Kansas, was widely considered the top prep offensive talent in the draft was still on the board.  Starling has a scholarship to the University of Nebraska to play both football and baseball.  It is very likely that a bonus upwards of $8M will be what it takes for Starling to sign with KC on August 15.  Expect this deal to get done.

Gerrit Cole, the flame throwing right-handed pitcher from UCLA was taken by the Pirates first overall in the draft.  Cole has reached 102 mph on radar guns and routinely hits triple digits.  Cole has yet to sign, but is widely expected to join the Pirates.  A Major League deal for 4 years and $8M or so is likely.

Rice University has been known to producing top talent, as witnessed by having eight first round picks in the last 11 years, most notably when Phil Humber and Jeff Niemann went 3rd and 4th overall in the 2004 draft.  Another first rounder from Rice was Lance Berkman in 1997.  So when one of the top three candidates for the first overall pick came down to an infielder from Rice, who just happened to win the Dick Howser Trophy, (essentially the Heisman Award for college baseball players), nobody was surprised.  Anthony Rendon may not have above average speed or the best glove, but he has an above average arm and was considered by most to be the best hitter in the country.  Rendon dropped to #6 to the Washington Nationals due to signability concerns but should sign for $4M plus.

Shortstops with ultra talent often get huge signing bonuses and Cleveland Indians’ first pick (8th overall), Francisco Lindor will be no exception.  Lindor has the talent to warrant a $3M bonus, but should hold out for more.  The Indians tend to shy away from this kind of pick, but the talent speaks for itself and I believe the Indians will go as high as $3.5M to sign the talented shortstop.

There has arguably not been a better high school pitcher in the last decade than flame throwing Dylan Bundy.  The right-hander has reached 100 mph and has 2 plus secondary pitches.  His high school pitching numbers are straight out of a video game.  71 innings, 2 earned runs. TWO!  He also had 158 strikeouts to 5 walks. FIVE WALKS!  Good for a 31.6:1 K:BB ratio.  Oh, and the fact that he can also hit, as evidenced by his 11 home runs and 54 RBI in only 105 at-bats doesn’t hurt.  The University of Texas commit could command a Major League contract and $6-8M.  He should sign; my guess is $6.5M.

 

Here is the breakdown of the entire 2011 first round of picks, with players in bold having already signed:

1 Gerrit Cole RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
2 Danny Hultzen LHP Seattle Mariners
3 Trevor Bauer RHP Arizona Diamondbacks – ML deal 4/$7M
4 Dylan Bundy RHP Baltimore Orioles
5 Bubba Starling OF Kansas City Royals
6 Anthony Rendon 3B Washington Nationals
7 Archie Bradley RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
8 Francisco Lindor SS Cleveland Indians
9 Javier Baez SS Chicago Cubs
10 Cory Spangenberg 2B San Diego Padres – $1.86M
11 George Springer OF Houston Astros
12 Taylor Jungmann RHP Milwaukee Brewers
13 Brandon Nimmo OF New York Mets
14 Jose Fernandez RHP Florida Marlins
15 Jed Bradley LHP Milwaukee Brewers
16 Chris Reed LHP LA Dodgers
17 C.J. Cron Jr. 1B LA Angels – $1.467M
18 Sonny Gray RHP Oakland Athletics – $1.54M
19 Matt Barnes RHP Boston Red Sox
20 Tyler Anderson LHP Colorado Rockies
21 Tyler Beede RHP Toronto Blue Jays
22 Kolten Wong 2B St. Louis Cardinals – $1.3M
23 Alex Meyer RHP Washington Nationals
24 Taylor Guerrieri RHP Tampa Bay Rays
25 Joe Ross RHP San Diego Padres
26 Blake Swihart C Boston Red Sox
27 Robert Stephenson RHP Cincinnati Reds
28 Sean Gilmartin LHP Atlanta Braves – $1.13M
29 Joe Panik SS San Francisco Giants – $1.116M
30 Levi Michael SS Minnesota Twins
31 Mikie Mahtook OF Tampa Bay Rays
32 Jake Hager SS Tampa Bay Rays – $963K
33 Kevin Matthews LHP Texas Rangers – $936K

 

I think that although you can’t be sure about these kinds of things, my gut feeling is that every first rounder this year will actually sign by August 15th.  I also predict that at least one signing will come minutes after the deadline, probably a Scott Boras client, and the league will allow the deal to pass.

 

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

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Summary of all Trades- 2011 MLB Trade Deadline Report and Analysis

Monday August 1, 2011

 

 

MLB  reports:  Another hectic MLB trade deadline is in the books.  This year’s trade market was just as much about the trades that were not made as the ones that were.  For all the speculation leading up to the deadline, star players like James Shields, B.J. Upton, Heath Bell and Carlos Quentin stay put.  The trades that did go down included Ubaldo Jimenez, Mike Adams, Doug Fister, Colby Rasmus and much more.  Here is a rundown of all the trades that took place in Major League Baseball as part of the non-waiver MLB Trade Deadline, which was 4:00p.m. on Sunday July 31st:

 

Michael Bourn and cash (Astros) for Jordan Schaefer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, Juan Abreu (Braves):  The Braves get a solid leadoff hitter, center fielder and base stealer from the Astros for four average prospects.  Without having to give up any of their top prospects and filled a huge hole in their lineup and outfield, top marks goes to the Braves.

 

Hunter Pence and cash (Astros) for Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid and a player to be named later (Phillies):  A win for the Phillies, as they get one of the top outfield bats in the game in Pence, who remains under team control going into next year.  I like the return of Singleton, one of the top hitting prospects in the minors.  But still, the Astros should have received a higher return for Pence who was the face of their franchise.  A win for both squads but give the edge to the Phillies.

 

Mike Adams (Padres) for Joseph Wieland and Robert Erlin (Rangers):  A win for both sides.  The Rangers get one of the top relievers in baseball (Adams), who remains under team control after the season.  For a team that is a World Series contender, Adams and Uehara give the Rangers a suddenly formidable pen.  Wieland and Erlin were two top pitching prospects in the Rangers system and give the Padres much more depth.  For a team that acquired what it needed most without giving up any of its top prospects, the Rangers can chalk this trade up to a huge win.  The Padres did not do badly either, as Adams was a luxury they did not require and the Padres farm system all of a sudden became much stronger.

 

Brad Ziegler (A’s) for Brandon Allen and Jordan Norberto (Diamondbacks):  A deal that works for both teams.  Ziegler is a useful reliever that strengthens the Dbacks pen in a push for the NL West crown.  Allen is a highly considered first base prospect who should slot well in Oakland plus Noberto is another arm in the A’s organization.  It is too bad for the A’s that the Lars Anderson plus prospect for Rich Harden deal fell through with Boston, but Allen is a good runner-up prize.

 

Erik Bedard and Josh Fields (Mariners) for Trayvon Robinson (Dodgers) and Chih-Hsien Chiang, Tim Federowicz, Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife  (Red Sox):    Red Sox get Bedard and Fields (the reliever, not third baseman currently in Japan, Mariners get Robinson and Chiang, while Dodgers get Federowicz, Rodriguez and Fife.  Confused?  Good.  This was one of those three-way deals that when all is said and done, you are left scratching your head.  The key to this deal is Erik Bedard for the Red Sox.  If he stays healthy, and that is a big if, the Red Sox might have a valuable addition to their starting rotation.  Fields should also slot in well in the Red Sox pen.  Both Robinson and Chiang are considered to be good prospects and should have a very good chance at cracking the Mariners’ outfield.  The trade of Robinson came as somewhat of a surprise and the Dodgers have received a great deal of negative press on the deal.  The team however was looking for a prospect catcher and believe they have found it in Federowicz and the additional parts in Rodriguez and Fife.  The Mariners are the big winners in this deal, while the Red Sox play with fire and the Dodgers likely just got burnt.

 

Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) for Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride (Indians):  What a difference a year makes.  The Indians are going for it and have beefed up their rotation with the addition of Jimenez.  When on his game, Ubaldo is one of the best in baseball.  Further, Ubaldo continues to be under team control, so the Indians don’t simply acquire a summer rental here.  The keys to this deal for the Rockies are Pomeranz and White.  Considered to be the Indians two best pitching prospects, the Rockies add to their farm while losing their ace.  While Pomeranz is considered highly in baseball circles, I would have expected to see the Rockies get more major league ready talent.  Considering that they were supposed to get Jesus Montero and Ivan Nova from the Yankees or Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and/or Homer Bailey from the Reds, I give the Indians the edge on this deal.  Ace pitchers do not grow on trees and the Indians got one without giving up any of their major league talent or some of their other finer prospects, including Nick Weglarz.  Competing with the big boys, the Indians get the prize of the trade deadline and likely a division title as well.

 

Derek Lee (Orioles) for Aaron Baker (Pirates):  The Pirates are going for it and while Lee is an aging first baseman, he is an upgrade offensively over incumbent Lyle Overbay.  Baker is a Class A first baseman that is not considered a top prospect.  This trade is a draw, as the Pirates beef up for their playoff run and the Orioles auction off an impending free agent to stock their system.

 

Orlando Cabrera (Indians) for Thomas Neal (Giants):  This deal came out of left field, as the Indians are still contending and were expected to hold onto Cabrera.  With many young infielders on their roster, the Indians were prepared to sacrifice their utility man for one of the Giants higher rated prospect bats.  Speaking to Neal on several occasions, he is one of the nicer young men you will ever want to meet in the game.  Considered a great tools player, both offensively and defensively, the Indians have added another piece to their offensive puzzle while sacrificing a veteran that was expandable.  The Giants, with injury and offensive woes, took a chance on Cabrera, a good luck charm for each of his respective teams in the postseason.  While Neal was a big price to pay, the Giants are in win-now mode.  A draw, as both teams will away happy from this exchange.

 

Koji Uehara (Orioles) for Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis (Rangers):  This is a good old-fashioned baseball trade.  The Rangers pick up a veteran reliever, who is enjoying his finest campaign in the big leagues and could be a setup man or closer.  The Orioles continue to stockpile prospects and add a starter and first baseman to their mix.  Davis has one of the most explosive bats in the game when he gets hot and the Orioles could have their cleanup hitter for the next 5-7 years.  Hunter should be a good #3 or #4 starter for the team.  A draw as both teams achieve their respective goals in this deal.

 

Mike Cameron (Red Sox) for player to be named later or cash (Marlins):  Cameron was not hitting in Boston but could be a valuable veteran presence in Florida.  I like this move for the Marlins as Cameron is solid player and person, perfect for their clubhouse.

 

Felipe Lopez (Rays) for cash (Brewers):  Lopez still has pop in his bat and could be useful for a playoff push.  There was no room for the Rays on their roster and they will happily take the financial relief.

 

Jason Marquis (Nationals) for Zach Walters (Diamondbacks):  I am a fan of what the Diamondbacks are doing in Arizona, but this trade doesn’t work for me.  Marquis will pitch in Arizona, but I don’t see him being the effective starter the team needs to fight the Giants for a playoff berth.  Walters is a prospect shortstop who could have been Stephen Drew‘s replacement one day when he left the team.  Walters has a good offensive bat and was not worth the price of Marquis.  Advantage Washington for adding another prospect to its growing farm while dumping a veteran pitcher that had no place on their roster.

 

Mike Aviles (Royals) for Yamaico Navarro and Kendal Volz (Red Sox):  The Red Sox get some sort of infield insurance, which was unnecessary in my estimation with both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie on the roster.  If Lowrie is out beyond early August as projected, then this deal makes sense.  Otherwise, to give up two decent prospects for a player who has struggled this season and is unlikely to hit much in Boston does not equate for me.  Advantage Royals for dumping a player who did not fit on the team and continuing to stock their system.

 

Jerry Hairston Jr. (Nationals) for Erik Komatsu (Brewers):  The Brewers get depth for their playoff run and the Nationals get a marginal prospect back.  A draw.

 

Wil Nieves (Brewers) for cash (Braves):  Yawn.  An average catcher for cash.

 

Francisco Rodriguez and cash (Mets) for two players to be named later (Brewers):  A good trade for both teams.  The Brewers strengthen their pen with the addition of K-Rod, who could close or set up for the team and is a free agent at season’s end.  The Mets get salary relief and likely two decent prospects back.

 

Colby Rasmus, P.J. Walters, Brian Tallet (Cardinals) for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen (White Sox) for Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, Corey Patterson and Zach Stewart, three players to be named later or cash (Jays):  The good news with this trade is that I will not have to struggle to spell Rzepczynski anymore.  But in all seriousness, this was the first three-way deal of the deadline and probably the most interesting trade that went down.  The White Sox shed the contract of Teahen (to the Jays) and acquire Frasor and Stewart.  The Cardinals get Jackson for their rotation and Dotel/Rzepczynski for their bullpen, as well as three more PTBNL or cash from the Jays.  The Jays get the biggest prize, Rasmus to play center and bat second, as well as Miller, Tallet and Walters for their pen.  The Jays in our opinion win out, as they get a rare top prospect bat and only give up three middle relievers.  The White Sox did well in getting salary relief, a prospect arm in Stewart and a useful bullpen arm in Frasor.  The question marks surround the Cardinals, who give up the top player in the trade and might get left with very little more than adqueate playoff rentals as both Jackson and Dotel might not be with the team in 2012.

 

Nick Green and cash (Orioles) for Zach Phillips (Rangers):  Marginal reliever for marginal shortstop.  A push.

 

Ryan Langerhans (Mariners) for cash (Diamondbacks):  A depth player at best, the Diamondbacks hope to get one or two big hits out of Langerhans in the push for a playoff berth.  It looks like this was the best the Mariners could do in dumping another salary.

 

Doug Fister and David Pauley (Mariners) for Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and a PTBNL (Tigers):  For a Tigers team that was considered early in the day to be in the hunt for Ubaldo Jimenez, this one is a bit of a let down.  Fister will be a #4 or #5 starter for the Tigers, good but not great.  Pauley was having an incredible season for the Mariners in their pen and should do well in Comerica.  Wells will likely slot immediately into the Mariners outfield and the rest of the players are prospects to their stock their farm.  While I’m not excited about what Detroit received, I am equally not impressed by what they gave up.  Call this one a draw.  Middle of the road players for players at this point.

 

Rafael Furcal (Dodgers) for Alex Castellanos and cash (Cardinals):  With Dee Gordon in the minors and money woes being an issue, this trade for the Dodgers is about getting younger and saving money in the process.  The Cardinals are pushing for a playoff spot and if healthy, Furcal should give the team a spark offensively.  Personally, I would not trust Furcal based on his injury history.  The Dodgers get back a marginal prospect in this swap.   The fact that the Dodgers unloaded Furcal and got the Cardinals to pick up a large portion of his contract, I will label this trade a Dodgers win.

 

Juan Rivera (Jays) for player to be named later or cash (Dodgers):  Considering the Dodgers just released Marcus Thames, I am not sure why they chose to acquire Rivera.  They are very similar players, although I would give the edge to Thames for his better defense.  A win for the Jays, dumping a player that had no role on their team and was not hitting very much.

 

Jonny Gomes  and cash (Reds) for Bill Rhinehart and Christopher Manno (Nationals):  Gomes should be a good bat for the Nationals but with the team out of the playoff picture, it is a little curious why the team would give up prospects at this point.  Reds get the advantage as there was no room in their outfield for Gomes, they acquire two prospects and open up space for Yonder Alonso to play everyday.

 

Carlos Beltran (Mets) for Zack Wheeler (Giants):  One of the best trades of the year that will benefit both teams.  The Giants get the top bat they so badly needed after Buster Posey went down.  Together with salary relief (the Mets will kick in about $4 million), the Mets get one of the top pitching prospects in the game.   The Giants had to go for it and could not afford to waste their top pitching rotation without providing offense.  With Beltran an impeding free agent, the Mets strengthen their rotation for years to come.

 

Jeff Keppinger (Astros) for Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel (Giants):  The Giants get more bench depth for the playoffs and the Astros get back decent prospects.  Another boring but necessary trade for both.  Consider a draw.

 

Ryan Ludwick (Padres) for a player to be named later (Pirates):  The Pirates are looking to make a strong playoff run and former Indian Luckwick would fit well in their offense this year.  It remains to be seen what the Pirates have to give up, but for a player in as strong demand as Ludwick, as long as it is not too much, give the edge to the Pirates.  This one will hinge on the quality of the prospect going to the Padres.

 

Kosuke Fukudome and $3.9 million (Cubs) for Abner Abreu and Carlton Smith (Indians):  This trade is all about the Indians going for it in a year when the AL Central is ripe for the taking.  Fukudome, largely considered a disappointment in Chicago, is sent with cash to the Indians for their stretch run.  Good to get on base with the occasional pop, the hope is that the change of scenery will do Fukudome good.  The prospects the Cubs received back are marginal at best, as this trade was mostly about a salary dump.  Credit to Chicago for ridding itself of one its huge mistake contracts, with more such contracts to go.  The Indians hope they catch lightening in a bottle, but likely will get only decent production out of their latest Japanese import.

 

Wilson Betemit (Royals) for Antonio Cruz and Julio Rodriguez (Tigers):  The first trade in the deadline dealings, the Tigers upgrade their third base situation over Brandon Inge.  The Royals shed a contract and get two decent prospects.  We will call this one a draw.

 

 

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Boston Red Sox: Who is on Their Radar? Jimenez to Indians and Trade Deadline Summary

Saturday July 30, 2011

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):   With the deadline only a day away, I expect a flurry of moves in the next 24 hours, and the Boston Red Sox are sure to get involved.  With injuries to Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka, combined with the inability of John Lackey to get outs, the BoSox have been in on every rumored starting pitcher being moved.  Here’s a look at Boston’s targets, and who they would have to give up in order to consummate a deal.

 

Hiroki Kuroda

The Japanese import could bring a good haul for the LA Dodgers, and it is believed that they are looking for a young catcher or a starting pitcher in return.  I don`t believe the Red Sox would give up Anthony Ranaudo for him, but it is the Red Sox, and their system is fairly stacked.  Kuroda isn`t a top line starter, but could fit in nicely behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester right now.  In his last 10 starts, Kuroda is 1-8 with a 2.66 ERA, giving up more than three runs in a start only once.  He is on pace to break the 200 inning mark for the first time in his MLB career.

Prospects

I could see the Dodgers wanted a package that could involve Kyle Weiland, who has been at AAA, including a couple of underwhelming starts for the Red Sox.  He has been dominant in AAA, and while his ceiling might not be very high, Weiland could be a piece used to obtain Kuroda.

Former top pick Andrew Miller could be involved as well, as he has shown flashes of the potential that the Tigers saw to draft him 6th overall in the 2006 draft.

 

Jason Vargas (SEA), Aaron Harang (SDP), Jeremy Guthrie (BAL), Erik Bedard (SEA)

Vargas is another pitcher who hasn’t had much luck this year, going 6-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  He too is on pace to break the 200 inning plateau for the first time in his career.  He gives up a lot of fly balls and home runs, so he might not be the best fit for Fenway Park.

Harang has made the most of his move to spacious Petco Park.  In the pitcher’s haven, his ERA is 2.92, as opposed to 4.31 on road games.  Harang in Boston might not be a good fit due to his propensity to give up the long ball, but, whether it is due to the park or not, he has only given up 9 homeruns so far this year.

Playing the last five years in Baltimore will never help your win-loss record, but Guthrie has been a reliable arm for the Orioles over that time.  His career ERA of 4.16 while mostly pitching in the AL East proves that he could be a capable pitcher for the Red Sox.  Although he is 5-14, he has pitched fairly well this year, and could be great addition to the back-end of the Red Sox rotation.

Bedard’s once promising career has been derailed by injury after injury.  He has always possessed tremendous stuff, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy.  In his last ten starts, he has thrown 58 2/3 innings, striking out 64.  Bedard has never amassed 200 innings, and his career high is 196, in 2006.

All of these pitchers are available and the Red Sox are in talks with each of the respective teams.  Many of the prospects mentioned in this article will be in play, as well as Bryce Brentz, a powerful outfielder in high-A.  He needs to cut down on strikeouts but he is a solid right fielder for the future.

 

Reed Johnson

The Cubs` outfielder could bring a spark of energy to the club.  J.D. Drew is on the DL, again, so they do need an outfielder if they want to upgrade over Josh Reddick or Darnell McDonald.  Johnson plays great defense and is hitting the ball pretty well this year, so he could slot into right field well at Fenway.

23-year-old catcher Ryan Lavarnway could be involved in a deal. He is a young catcher that isn`t too far away from the big leagues.  Lavarnway has a lot of power as shown by his 27 home runs already this year.   He is known as a good game caller and a smart catcher.

 

Ubaldo Jimenez 

Ubaldo Jimenez has tremendous upside and is signed to a team-friendly contract through 2014.  The Colorado Rockies are asking for a prospect haul that most teams can’t even match.  At this point, only the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, together with the Red Sox are involved in talks with the Rockies.  Although just 6-9 this year with a 4.20 ERA, he has made some great strides in the last couple of months.  In his last 10 starts, he is 5-4 with 3.47 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.  Jimenez has lowered his ERA almost a full run during that time.  Although some teams worry about his delivery, the big righty has been durable, throwing at least 198 innings in the last three years, and is on pace to break that mark again this year.

Prospects

Anthony Ranaudo, a supplemental 1st round pick in 2010 started this season in A-ball, but could quickly shoot up the system in Colorado if moved.  He possesses three above average pitcher and has front of the rotation stuff.  He has good control and has great makeup and poise.

Will Middlebrooks is a prototypical third basemen with a good glove.  He hits for average, and for power, evidenced by his 17 home runs so far this season.  He also has 7 stolen bases.  He possesses a good baseball IQ and he should have a long career in the big leagues.

Lars Anderson was once considered the top bat in the Red Sox system, and with Adrian Gonzalez in the mix, there doesn`t seem to be a spot for Anderson.  He has good vision at the plate, sees a lot of pitches, and has gap power.  As he continues to fill out, he will get stronger.  I expect 20 home runs and 30 doubles a year out of Anderson when he finally does make it to the Show.

 

I think that the Red Sox win the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes, sending uber-prospects Ranaudo, Middlebrooks, Anderson and maybe one or two players to be named later.  This gives the Red Sox a fearsome top three starters in Beckett, Lester and Jimenez.  If Buchholz comes back healthy, they have an incredible rotation for years to come.  Reed Johnson is also a great fit for the team, and I see them making a move for him.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  Please feel free to leave comments and to welcome Rob aboard.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

 

Editor’s Notes and Trade Deadline Summary:

A great article by our intern Rob Bland.  As the trade deadline has shown already, as much as we think we can predict what will happen- surprises will always occur.  Today was the last day before the non-waiver trade deadline, Sunday July 31st.  Here is a rundown of all the trades that took place today in Major League Baseball:

Rich Harden (A’s) for Lars Anderson and Player to be Named Later (Red Sox):  Yet to be announced.  This deal has not yet been finalized and may fall through.  Likely Billy Beane is pushing strong for this one.  Boston gets Harden, a talented but very injury prone pitcher that cannot be counted on.  Oakland would get a top young hitting prospect in Anderson and a PTBNL.  Oakland wins if this one does happen, stay tuned.

Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) for Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride (Indians):  What a difference a year makes.  The Indians are going for it and have beefed up their rotation with the addition of Jimenez.  When on his game, Ubaldo is one of the best in baseball.  Further, Ubaldo continues to be under team control, so the Indians don’t simply acquire a summer rental here.  The keys to this deal for the Rockies are Pomeranz and White.  Considered to be the Indians two best pitching prospects, the Rockies add to their farm while losing their ace.  While Pomeranz is considered highly in baseball circles, I would have expected to see the Rockies get more major league ready talent.  Considering that they were supposed to get Jesus Montero and Ivan Nova from the Yankees or Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and/or Homer Bailey from the Reds, I give the Indians the edge on this deal.  Ace pitchers do not grow on trees and the Indians got one without giving up any of their major league talent or some of their other finer prospects, including Nick Weglarz.  Competing with the big boys, the Indians get the prize of the trade deadline and likely a division title as well.

Derek Lee (Orioles) for Aaron Baker (Pirates):  The Pirates are going for it and while Lee is an aging first baseman, he is an upgrade offensively over incumbent Lyle Overbay.  Baker is a Class A first baseman that is not considered a top prospect.  This trade is a draw, as the Pirates beef up for their playoff run and the Orioles auction off an impending free agent to stock their system.

Orlando Cabrera (Indians) for Thomas Neal (Giants):  This deal came out of left field, as the Indians are still contending and were expected to hold onto Cabrera.  With many young infielders on their roster, the Indians were prepared to sacrifice their utility man for one of the Giants higher rated prospect bats.  Speaking to Neal on several occasions, he is one of the nicer young men you will ever want to meet in the game.  Considered a great tools player, both offensively and defensively, the Indians have added another piece to their offensive puzzle while sacrificing a veteran that was expandable.  The Giants, with injury and offensive woes, took a chance on Cabrera, a good luck charm for each of his respective teams in the postseason.  While Neal was a big price to pay, the Giants are in win-now mode.  A draw, as both teams will away happy from this exchange.

Koji Uehara (Orioles) for Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis (Rangers):  This is a good old-fashioned baseball trade.  The Rangers pick up a veteran reliever, who is enjoying his finest campaign in the big leagues and could be a setup man or closer.  The Orioles continue to stockpile prospects and add a starter and first baseman to their mix.  Davis has one of the most explosive bats in the game when he gets hot and the Orioles could have their cleanup hitter for the next 5-7 years.  Hunter should be a good #3 or #4 starter for the team.  A draw as both teams achieve their respective goals in this deal.

Jason Marquis (Nationals) for Zach Walters (Diamondbacks):  I am a fan of what the Diamondbacks are doing in Arizona, but this trade doesn’t work for me.  Marquis will pitch in Arizona, but I don’t see him being the effective starter the team needs to fight the Giants for a playoff berth.  Walters is a prospect shortstop who could have been Stephen Drew‘s replacement one day when he left the team.  Walters has a good offensive bat and was not worth the price of Marquis.  Advantage Washington for adding another prospect to its growing farm while dumping a veteran pitcher that had no place on their roster.

Mike Aviles (Royals) for Yamaico Navarro and Kendal Volz (Red Sox):  The Red Sox get some sort of infield insurance, which was unnecessary in my estimation with both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie on the roster.  If Lowrie is out beyond early August as projected, then this deal makes sense.  Otherwise, to give up two decent prospects for a player who has struggled this season and is unlikely to hit much in Boston does not equate for me.  Advantage Royals for dumping a player who did not fit on the team and continuing to stock their system.

Jerry Hairston Jr. (Nationals) for Erik Komatsu (Brewers):  The Brewers get depth for their playoff run and the Nationals get a marginal prospect back.  A draw.

Doug Fister and David Pauley (Mariners) for Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and a PTBNL (Tigers):  For a Tigers team that was considered early in the day to be in the hunt for Ubaldo Jimenez, this one is a bit of a let down.  Fister will be a #4 or #5 starter for the Tigers, good but not great.  Pauley was having an incredible season for the Mariners in their pen and should do well in Comerica.  Wells will likely slot immediately into the Mariners outfield and the rest of the players are prospects to their stock their farm.  While I’m not excited about what Detroit received, I am equally not impressed by what they gave up.  Call this one a draw.  Middle of the road players for players at this point.

Denard Span (Twins) for Drew Storen and ? (Nationals): Yet to be announced.  This one is a real head scratcher for me.  I consider Span a good, but not great outfielder.  This trade is not completed although many outlets are reporting that this deal will get done.  The Nationals would give up their young closer if this deal happens and considerably weaken their bullpen.  Span, while playing a strong centerfield is not the offensive bat the Nationals are looking for.  After taking the Twins to the cleaners a year ago in trading Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos, this trade would be payback for the Twins.  If Storen is part of this deal, advantage Twins.  If the Nationals hang on to their closer, consider it a draw.

Rafael Furcal and cash (Dodgers) for an unknown player (Cardinals):  Yet to be announced.  With Dee Gordon in the minors and money woes being an issue, this trade for the Dodgers is about getting younger and saving money in the process.  The Cardinals are pushing for a playoff spot and if healthy, Furcal should give the team a spark offensively.  Personally, I would not trust Furcal based on his injury history.  It also remains to be seen which player the Cardinals get back.  But overall, without all the specifics, if the Dodgers can unload Furcal and have the Cardinals pick up most of his contract, I will label this trade a Dodgers win.

Ryan Ludwick (Padres) for an unknown player (Indians):  Yet to be announced.  The Indians are looking to make a strong playoff run and former Indian Luckwick would fit well in their offense this year.  It remains to be seen what the Indians have to give up, but for a player in as strong demand as Ludwick, as long as it is not too much, give the edge to the Indians.

 

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