Monday November 12th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: There isn’t a single general manager is baseball that enjoys negotiating with Scott Boras, the man behind many of baseball’s top players. He usually gets his way when the final dominos fall, but he isn’t perfect. Edwin Jackson and Ryan Madson are two examples of Boras’s flawed work of late.
Here’s how they have and will be affected in free agency:
How Edwin Jackson Will Be Affected
Jackson seems to be the MLB’s definition of a journeyman. With ten years under his belt, he has pitched on seven teams, and not once has he signed a contract worth longer than three years. Jackson had an opportunity to erase that trend last off-season with several long-term deals at his disposal. However, Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal noted last winter that instead of taking the safe route, he could roll the dice and shoot for a larger contract next winter, which is now this winter. Jackson followed Rosenthal’s blueprint, signing a one-year deal with the Nationals worth $11 million. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday November 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: When it comes to closers, 2012 was the year of the injured veteran reliever. A couple of teams probably would have had different postseason success had they been able to use their reliable ninth-inning man. From Mariano Rivera to Sergio Santos, the list of closers that missed the 2012 MLB season goes on and on. Here’s an early glance at some of these pitchers hoping to rebound from their respective off years in the upcoming season.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the history of baseball and probably the best relief pitcher as well. Even as a forty-one year old in 2011, Rivera was forty-four for forty-nine in save opportunities. That was his ninth consecutive season with thirty or more saves. Unfortunately, Mariano Rivera missed almost all of the 2012 season due to a torn ACL he suffered while shagging fly balls. Read the rest of this entry
Follow @mlbreports Friday November 2nd, 2012
Kyle Holland: Although postseason baseball is a wonderful time for baseball fans everywhere, the end of the World Series becomes a devastating time. The start of November means no more major league baseball for almost 5 months. Ironically enough though, some fans love the offseason. They enjoy seeing where some of their favorite players will go and who their favorite team will get.
One prime example of these players during the this 2012-13 offseason is the ex-Detroit Tigers closer, Jose Valverde. He enjoyed great success during the 2011 season closing 49 out of 49 save opportunities. The 2012 season wasn’t nearly as impressive, as Valverde “only” saved 35 games. Then September and the postseason rolled around and he just wasn’t himself. On October 10th in game 4 of the ALDS, Valverde blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth against the Oakland A’s. On October 13th in game 1 of the ALCS, although not a save opportunity, Valverde blew a 4-0 lead against the New York Yankees before being pulled.
Jose Valverde became a free agent on October 30, two days after the Tigers got swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The Tiger publicly announced they are not going to make an attempt to re-sign Valverde. Now the question becomes: where will Jose Valverde end up for Opening Day 2013? Read the rest of this entry
Monday October 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: With the 2012 regular season completed, bullpens will become even more important during the postseason. Closers in particular will be under more pressure than usual during these next few weeks. Before these pitchers make a name for themselves in the postseason, let’s admire what the top closers in baseball did during the 2012 regular season. Some closers helped many fantasy teams, and their real-life teams, by their outstanding performances in the ninth inning. Here is a look at the top ten closers in baseball this past year in terms of saves:
Sunday September 23rd, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: When people discuss dominant pitchers, usually Aroldis Chapman enters that discussion rather quickly. And for good reason. His zipping fastball and wicked slider to back it have paved a path of success for Chapman in 2012. The southpaw owns a 1.60 ERA and has picked up 35 saves in 40 chances. It’s safe to say that he’s been all of what the Reds thought he was going to be to-date…and more.
However, rumors have been floating around for quite some time now that he could make the transition into a starter in the future. This would be foolish on the Reds’ behalf. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday September 18, 2012
Peter Stein: Follow @peterwstein
The following stat is the most telling about the roles of closers from a fantasy baseball perspective: 47 players have recorded 5 or more saves and a total of 61 have record 3 or more in 2012. The dispersion of saves throughout baseball reaffirm the old fantasy adage to never overpay for saves, demonstrating just how volatile the closing position is… and the difficulty of predicting saves.
A look at the top-five save leaders tells us even more:
Fernando Rodney (0.66 ERA, 0.78 WHIP 43 saves)
Jim Johnson (2.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 43 saves)
Rafael Soriano (2.07 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 40 saves)
Chris Perez (3.48 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 36 saves)
Thursday September 13th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Aroldis Chapman has had an unbelievable season for a closer. He has gone 5-5 with a miniscule 1.60 ERA and 119 strikeouts. And, he has only pitched 67.2 innings. His strikeouts-per-nine-innings is 15.8. That would mean that if he were to start, he would strike out more than half the batters he would face if he went the distance. Chapman has established himself as a dominant pitcher, and with Mariano Rivera on his way out, is “the Cuban Missile” the best closer in baseball?
When the Reds signed Aroldis Chapman, they had intentions to make him a starter. Many thought he would be very successful with the plus fastball that he already had, along with other, developing pitches. Chapman spent his first two years towards the back of the bullpen, but not as a closer. He was a bit wild and had not completely gotten control of his ridiculous 103 mph fastball. Even with some of these flaws, Chapman showed major closer potential. He had no problem striking batters out, he had an out pitch, and he had a decent ERA. His only major issue was walks. In his second season—his first full—Chapman walked 41 in 50 innings. If he would make it as a closer, he would have to gain control and make adjustments.
Saturday September 8th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: When Brian Wilson was ruled out for the remainder of the season more than four months ago, the Giants’ hearts sunk, their fans’ hearts sunk, and anyone that was involved with the organization found themselves in despair. Wilson was and still is the heart of the Giants. He was one of the many pieces that led San Francisco to the their championship in 2010. But since throwing that final 3-2 pitch to Nelson Cruz to clinch the title, his right arm has experienced some serious ramifications to throwing over 60 innings during that magical 2010 season. Signs of fatigue often appeared in 2011 when he only pitched 55 innings and collected 36 saves. For Wilson, those numbers aren’t nearly the norm.
As a result, he was shut down in September with arm issues. That was the last of Wilson the baseball world saw in 2011, and 2012 has basically just been the same string of events. After supposedly feeling great during spring training, his elbow flared up once again very early in the season, and after pitching just two innings, he was done for good. Now, he is currently rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, the second time he has endured the infamous surgery over the course of his seven-year career. While Wilson continues to rehab, the Giants continue to lack the closer’s presence that he brought to the table. Read the rest of this entry
Friday August 31st, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: The Padres have a surplus of pitching within their organization. From top to bottom, there’s always a top pitching prospect waiting in the wings. The assumption is that most of this pitching has been accumulated from the massive amounts of trades they have made over the past couple of years, but Dale Thayer doesn’t fall into this category.
Thayer’s minor league stats remain to be touched. Very few players have amassed better stats at the levels than he has. He boasts a 2.45 ERA lifetime in ten seasons in the minors, and his K/9 rate checks in at 8.8/9 over that span. However, ten seasons in the minors is awfully extensive, especially considering his above average numbers.
However, his numbers have yet to translate to the major leagues. Trust me, he has received plenty of chances to prove that he can write that ship, but he’s yet to do so. So when he gets his chances, he doesn’t seem to make much of them, ultimately leading to a demotion. Most prospects who bloom in the minors and post stellar numbers generally don’t stick in the minors for long. Thayer, though, is quite the opposite. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday July 8, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): The All-Star Break is now upon us, so now is a good time to start looking at stats for the first half of the season. One of the most important statistics in the game of baseball is the “save,” and the mammoth contracts that relievers are signed to every year in free agency are proof that teams are hungry for a strong closer capable of providing saves. In fact, a third of the league’s closers are making at least $4.5 million in 2012, while eight are raking it at least $7 million. This does not include the huge salaries of Ryan Madson ($8.5 million), Mariano Rivera ($15 million), Brian Wilson ($8.5 million) or any other that may have been injured or otherwise removed from their role as closer. But salary does not always equal success: six of the top eleven saves leaders are earning less than $2.75 million (keep in mind that the MLB average is just about $3 million). This top eleven, all of whom have recorded 19 saves or more, is not as predictable as you might think: Heath Bell of the Marlins serves as a surprise member of the list while his NL East counterpart Jonathan Papelbon, while more consistent in terms of ERA and opportunities converted, falls just shy. So who else is on the list? You’ll have to read on to find out. Read the rest of this entry
Friday June 15th, 2012
Image Courtesy of MLB.SI.com
The Milwaukee Brewers are currently sitting in fourth in the NL Central division with a sub-par 28-33 record. Yes, that’s a decent record but I mentioned that it was “sub-par” because baseball fans are used to seeing the Brewers with a better record, but the Brewers lost Prince Fielder to free agency and they lost Alex Gonzalez this year due to injury.
The Brewers are still in good shape to finish the year near the top of the NL Central, which is why I think they will be buyers at the trade deadline. As I mentioned above the team lost their shortstop, Alex Gonzalez for the season, the team had Cesar Izturis playing shortstop but he also got injured and he is currently on the 15 day DL. So the Brewers currently have Edwin Maysonet playing shortstop. Izturis was batting for a .216 in 31 games played and Maysonet is currently batting .200 in 23 games so there isn’t much difference in offense production between the two, in my opinion the Brewers need to get some offense production from their shortstop which is why I think the Brewers need and will go after a shortstop at the trade deadline. The teams ahead of them in the divison standings (Pirates,Reds, and Cardinals) are all not unbeatable teams. They still have a chance to make a playoff run, which is why I think they need to be buyers at the trade deadline. The Brewers need some more offense fire power if they want to make a run. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday June 7th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: As the season winds on and we begin to approach the All Star break, many players who had hot starts have come back to reality. The Cincinnati Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, however, has not. In 24 games this season, the native of Cuba has given up only seven hits and yielded just one run (unearned) in 29 innings pitched. He posts a 52:9 strikeout to walk ratio—which translates to a ridiculous 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Against Chapman, hitters are hitting a miniscule .076. He has officially been named the Reds’ closer and has recorded six saves. If he could sustain these numbers, Chapman could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate (even as a reliever).
The Reds initially planned to use Chapman as a starter, while letting him adjust to the major leagues pitching out of the bullpen his first year, like many rookies. He was dazzling as he threw upwards of 100 miles per hour (even hitting 103), and was kept in the bullpen. This year, rather than being moved to the rotation, he was designated the closer and has excelled. After performing in this role, it seems like he is destined to stay. Chapman has all of the qualities of a closer, and on top of those, he is left-handed, which gives him an even bigger advantage due to the scarcity of left-handed closers. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday May 29th, 2012
Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): There is bad news in Seattle and that is Brandon League has been taken out of his ninth inning role for the Mariners. League who has been struggling to get the job done lately, hasn’t lost his closer’s role permanently. He just needs to work on his command for the time being in non-save situations. League has blown 4 saves in 13 chances this season and the Mariners want to work with him to see if they can change that. The same thing happened last season with League, when he was taken out of the closer role to work on mechanics. He ended up finishing the year with 37 saves. For a closer that is what you call a successful season.
The Mariners aren’t naming another closer because as manager Eric Wedge put it: “Brandon is our closer. We’ll match up with what we think works”. The Mariners only have 7 guys in the bullpen and they could end using up to 6 of them, depending on the situation, in the ninth inning. Using the closer by committee could help the Mariners while League works on command, or it could end up putting them in a worse hole to dig out of in the West. We will just have to see how long it takes League to get back to his game saving ways.
The Mariners are doing everything they can to get League’s command back, as he threw an extended bullpen yesterday. With this being said, League should be back in the closer’s role in a couple of weeks. He is doing everything he can to regain his command and that is all Wedge is asking of him. “The same thing happened last year”, Wedge said. This is nothing new for League- so it should be a quick fix.
The candidates for the job in League’s absence are Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge. Wilhelmsen is going to see the most attempts. This should be a great few weeks for him to get a chance to show what he’s got in the ninth and maybe become trade bait come July. Good luck to Brandon League on regaining his form. The Mariners are counting on League to become once again a valuable trading chip at the deadline, with League looking to cash in during the free agency the coming offseason. We hope to see League back in the ninth inning soon.
Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. I am a high school senior, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism in college. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since freshman year. You can reach me on Twitter (@Ryan13Ritchey)
Please e-mail us at: email@example.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitterand 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.
Monday May 28th, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): In this week’s fantasy focus, I take a look at a group of hitter who have improved significantly in one category and as a result have seen a tremendous increase in their overall value. While some of these guys are legit, others should be traded while their value is at a peak. Also, do not miss the “Closer Corner”, as the saves category has been as frustrating and hard to predict as any in 2012.
Martin Prado has always been a serviceable infield option, although now only eligible at third base, due to his ability to hit for average and decent power and production. However, his average took a hit in 2011 (.260) and his career highs in home runs (15) and stolen bases (5) leaves a lot to be desired. In 2012, Prado has made an effort to be more aggressive on the base paths and has already stolen 7 bases in 8 attempts. Even 15 stolen bases would tremendously increase his overall value. I expect him to approach 20, especially as he is getting on base more with an even 21:21 walk to strikeout ratio. His average is a robust .333 (career .297) and his new approach at the plate could have Prado ending the year with a line looking something like this: .310/14/80/20.
After crushing 21 home runs in 2009, Billy Butler has disappointed many owners by hitting 15 and 19 home runs in his follow-up seasons. He is an OPS machine and the power seems to be developing in 2012, as he already has 11 home runs. Due to his size, 240 pounds, people expected the power to develop right away, but we cannot forget that he is only 26 years old. Guys typically do not reach their full power potential until their late twenties. While we know we can expect a .300 average from Butler, is appears that he will at least come close to approaching 30 home runs in 2012. The fact that he hit 13 of his 19 home runs in the final three months of the 2011 season is even more promising for Butler owners. The only discouraging thing about Butler is that he is only eligible at the DH position in most leagues. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday May 23, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): When he first came into the league, there were comparisons drawn to Nolan Ryan. Not just, “hey look, both of these guys are from Texas and play baseball!” comparisons, but predictions by some that their career numbers would shine in a similar fashion. But, after 14 years in professional baseball, Kerry Wood has decided to retire from the league, falling far short of the media’s once lofty expectations. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday May 22, 2012
Ryan Ritchey: With injuries to both Drew Storen and Brad Lidge the Nationals had to go out and find more depth to their bullpen. That is what they did by going out and getting Mike Gonzalez as a free agent, who last pitched for the Texas Rangers. Mike Gonzalez has playoff experience and has the stuff to carry this bullpen until Storen gets back in May. Fortunately for the Nats, they have a fairly deep pen despite loss of Storen and Brad Lidge to injuries. Henry Rodriguez was locked in as the closer, but it now appears that Washington will go with a bullpen by committee. Apparently Craig Stammen will see the bulk of the save opportunities at this point. With Storen coming back around the All Star Break, Gonzalez could continue in a setup role. Until then, perhaps Gonzo may even take over the closer job and give the Nats some needed 9th inning stability. It is looking like the Nationals are making a push for a playoff spot as they are noticing that the Phillies are struggling. They smell opportunity and are jumping in at the right time. If they are going to make a push, they will need a lock-down pen.
The big question is whether going out and getting Gonzalez was a good move… I believe it is. This is a team with tremendous starting pitching that needs a deep pen to shut down games and get wins. I see Gonzalez quite capable of filling in for Storen until he comes back, and perhaps taking the closer’s job in the interim. The biggest thing for this Nationals team is staying atop the National League East through the All Star Break, to give them confidence for the rest of the season. In my opinion the Nationals go to the playoffs if they are within three games of the National League East leader.
Could it be that the Nationals front office wants to put people in the seats? That is a possibility, but I believe this team wants to win and wants to win now. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are in the majors, this could be a great chance for them to get to the postseason. You put the Nationals in the postseason and baseball ratings go through the roof. Every time the Nationals are on national tv, my twitter feed is filled with Harper tweets. The kid is taking over baseball right now, no doubt about that. 2012 could be a big year in Washington, as the Nationals move to contenders from pretenders.
Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. I am a high school senior, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism in college. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since freshman year. You can reach me on Twitter(@Ryan13Ritchey)
Please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.Follow @mlbreports
Thursday May 10th, 2012
Rob Bland: Last week, there was a bit of a disruption in the baseball world. At first, I saw on Twitter as a few beat writers reported that Mariano Rivera fell to the ground during batting practice before a game against the Kansas City Royals. They said it looked bad, and that three guys carried him to a stretcher to get carted off the field. It seemed like the entire Yankees fan base collectively held their breath while awaiting news of their closer’s future.
I will admit that I am not a Yankees fan. I am a fan of a team with far less championships and a smaller fan base in the same division as the mighty Yankees. But reality is that the most storied franchise in all of baseball, and probably all of sport, lost one of their true greats. A sad moment for any fan of the game. However, the good news is that even at 42 years old, Rivera has vowed that he would pitch again in 2013 after surgery and a grueling rehabilitation process. Mo will return. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday May 9th, 2012
Sam Evans: Today’s two franchises haven’t been able to find a consistent pitcher to close out games this year, and it has resulted in sub .500 starts for both teams. The Cub’s headed into this year with their closer since 2009, Carlos Marmol, expected to have another season closing out games for their team. Jordan Walden, the twenty-four year old who closed out thirty-two games for the Angels last year, was named the Angels’ closer early in Spring Training. Now, only about thirty games into the season, and both of these pitchers have lost their jobs. Both teams secretly want their former closers to regain the job, but neither pitcher has had a successful year so far. Let’s look at what went wrong for these two pitchers and who took their place.
Carlos Marmol has always had the potential to be one of the best closer’s in the history of the game. His repertoire features a 93 MPH fastball, a changeup that he throws at around 86 MPH, and one of the best pitches in the game, his slider which is anywhere from 80-83 MPH. These pitches, the slider in particular, have led Marmol to record some the highest strikeout rates the game has ever seen. In 2010, Marmol’s 16 K/9 set a MLB record for a single-season (for pitchers with more than fifty innings pitched). However, Marmol has always had one thing holding him back from being the best closer in the league, walks.
In 2010, Marmol walked fifty-two in seventy-seven innings. In 2011, he walked forty-eight in seventy-five innings. In 2011, Dan Haren threw 238 innings and only walked thirty-three batters. Marmol has never seemed to realize that if he would let hitters put the ball into play, he would become a much better pitcher. Especially late in ballgames, walking insane amounts of hitters isn’t going to help you close games, no matter how much movement your pitches have. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday May 6, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): Seeing Mariano Rivera go down with a torn ACL is like driving by a car accident and reflecting on how easily it could have been you in that accident, or in this case- how it could have been your team’s closer cringing in pain on the warning track. And this is the year of the injured closer: from Boston’s Andrew Bailey to San Francisco’s Brian Wilson, closers across the league have been dropping like flies. Other closers, like the Angels’ Jordan Walden, have stayed healthy but haven’t played well enough to keep their coveted ninth inning role. Even though there has only been a month of baseball so far, much has changed for some clubs.
Today, I’ll be taking a look at every team’s closer situation, and breaking down how it got to be the way it is: Read the rest of this entry
Ryan Ritchey: On June 8th, 2012, John Smoltz’s number 29 jersey will be retired as an Atlanta Brave. This will be the 4th in 4 seasons for the Braves. Reality is that Smoltz was one of the most underrated pitchers ever to pitch in the majors. He is not a 300 game winner (a number that every starting pitcher shoots for), but he was one of the most consistent pitchers to ever toe the rubber. Winning 213 games throughout his 21 year career, he had to be consistent. Also as a reliever he also saved 155 games in 4 seasons. Impressive stats to say the least.
As a rookie at the age of 21, he had a rough start to his career going 2-7 with a 5.48 ERA. As a pitcher, he learned from his mistakes and became an all-star in only his second season in the bigs. He went 12-11 on the year, but had 5 complete games with a 2.94 ERA. Read the rest of this entry