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By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): Follow @ryandana1
I think that one could refer to this time of the baseball season as the “dog days” of the summer.
While much is made of how a team finishes the regular season down the stretch in September, every game counts and August could definitely separate contenders from pretenders.
After ceding 1st place in the AL East briefly, the Red Sox are back where they want to be at the top.
The lead is just 1 game over the Rays currently, but the Red Sox are playing some very exciting baseball including two straight walkoff wins both technically taking place on the 1st of August.
While late July baseball news is usually dominated by trades, the Red Sox took care of some other business before getting involved in the trade scene.
The club signed Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia to a 7 Year $100 Million contract extension.
The deal will take him through the 2021 season, making it increasingly likely that he spends his entire career in a Red Sox uniform.
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Friday, March. 1/2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @ryandana1
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have played for the Philadelphia Phillies their entire careers to this point. They have been holding down the right side of the infield for the Phillies consistently since 2006 – and have been tearing apart pitching from the 3-4 slots in the lineup for equally as long. They each played in 100+ games every year since the 2006 season, until an injury plagued 2012 campaign for the duo.
Howard managed to play just 71 games, and Utley only 83. Maybe age is starting to catch up with the 33 year old Howard and 34 year old Utley, and if it is, that is a terrible sign for the Phillies playoff aspirations because their offense has been built around the two (plus standout Shortstop Jimmy Rollins). I think the Utley – Howard combo still has productive seasons left with in Philadelphia, and 2013 should prove that. I expect them to be bright spots in the lineup for a team that has become largely reliant on their starting pitching to achieve success.
Baseball Friends Utley and Howard:
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Friday, February. 15/2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @ryandana1
Brian McCann, Catcher for the Atlanta Braves, has had a great amount of success playing baseball in Georgia his whole life — but could he finally be leaving the Peach State following the 2013 MLB season? McCann was born in Athens Georgia, went to Duluth High School in Duluth Georgia, and currently resides in Lawrenceville Georgia while playing baseball in nearby Atlanta. McCann hasn’t strayed far from his roots to this point in his life. He was drafted out of high school in the 2nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft by his hometown Braves, but his current contract with the team is up after the 2013 season. The Braves just invested a lot of money in the Upton brothers, and may not be so eager to throw a bunch of money at an offensive-minded Catcher whose production at the plate was the worst of his career in 2012. Add in the fact that they have a highly regarded Catching prospect named Christian Bethancourt – who may be ready to contribute to the big club by the start of 2014, or soon thereafter.
There is also Evan Gattis who, while most likely not a threat to steal McCann’s job behind the dish, could be a part of replacing him if need be. So while McCann is coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and a career worst season at the plate, he needs to show the Braves, or any other potential suitor for that matter, that he is still a major asset to any lineup and will be for years to come.
McCann’s accolades are quite impressive for a soon to be 29 Year old. McCann reached the Majors in 2005 at just 21 Years of Age, and never looked back. He is a 6 time All-Star (2006-2011), and 5 time Silver Slugger (2006, 2008-2011). He is a career .279/.351/.475 hitter who has averaged 22 HRs and 83 RBI per year since his 1st full season in 2006. Prior to last season he had never hit less than .269 and never had an OPS of less than .772. Last season McCann hit .230/.300/.399 giving him an OPS of only .698. He added 20 HRs and 67 RBI, but overall his numbers were not what you would expect from Brian McCann.
2012 Brian McCann Highlights – Mature Lyrics may be present so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Friday, February. 08/2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
Who is Jose Bautista? He is a 32-Year Old, Dominican, Major League Baseball player. He is the starting Right Fielder and number 3 hitter in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. He is a 3x All-Star (’10-’12), 2x Silver Slugger Award winner (’10-’11), and 2x Hank Aaron Award winner (’10-’11). Bautista is a former 20th round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirate s- who struggled to make any significant impact for a Major League team into his late 20’s. He arose from baseball obscurity and launched into the spotlight seemingly overnight. Bautista’s breakout campaign in 2010 was followed with an even better 2011, which was all foreshadowed by a promising September in ’09 – where he tapped into a power surge hitting 10 HRs in the month.
This was especially surprising since his career high for HRs in a season to that point was only 16 in ‘06. Modifications Bautista made in his swing were career changing. He completely reinvented the system he was using to time pitching, and it paid big dividends. Bautista’s success forced the Rogers Center to keep their roof open for all home games due to the amount of moonshots he was hitting. I’m only joking, but he did hit an MLB high 54 HRs in 2010 and 43 HRs in 2011.
Jose Bautista 2012 Highlights Mix:
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles section here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I like that this franchise series is right dab smack in the middle of the biggest Franchise trade since Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff went to San Diego for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter in 1990. A Toronto Blue Jays fan can only hope for the same result that came down afterwards to repeat itself in the next few year. The early days of the Jays hitters (late 1970′s provided some long-term reliable guys,) however it wasn’t until Jesse Barfield won a HR Title and George Bell came home with the 1987 AL MVP, that the rest of the MLB started to take notice on the hitters of this Canadian Team. As soon as the club moved into SKYDOME, the hitters had a field day. Not to say that Exhibition Stadium didn’t aid some homeruns and nice averages in its day, it is just that SKYDOME is a hitter friendly park.
From George Bell and the outstanding other 80′s OF trio of Barfield and Lloyd “The Shaker” Moseby, to Tony Fernandez and Ernie Whitt, these guys all played a huge chunk of their careers with this Canadian Club. Fred McGriff routinely hit towering shots off of the Windows Restaurant and led the AL in HRs during the 1989 Pennant Winning Season. In 1991, when Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar arrived onto the scene, the offense just clicked on all cylinders. Devon White was gracefully stealing bases and striding into runs with those gigantic high knee kicks of his. John Olerud walked right out of College and added one of the best ‘natural’ swings that any of us have ever seen. Veterans Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor bashed their way into Jays hearts with their limited time with the organization en route to back to back World Series Titles in 1992 and 1993. After the Strike/Lockout, the team then saw Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado routinely destroy pitchers and be amongst the league lead in several power categories.
There is a ton more on this article just past these links or by clicking the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.
Here are the links for the article series.
Franchise History Part 2 1994-2012: http://mlbreports.com/2012/11/28/jay/
For Part 6 of the 7 Part Series: Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll Click here:
For Part 7 of the 7 Part Series: Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll: A Readers Thoughts, Click Here:
Tuesday August 7th, 2012
John Burns: It is easy to say that Robinson Cano is the best all-around second baseman in baseball right now. Cano has been the top second baseman for a couple of years now. What makes Cano so great is his ability to just flat-out hit and his much improved defense at second base. Cano is having another great season with the Yankees. With a .316 average and 24 homers, Cano has been one of the most feared hitters in the stacked Yankees lineup.
At age 29, Cano has very impressive career numbers, including a .309 average with 168 career homers. Since being called up to the Yankees in 2005, Cano has been a 4x All-Star, 3x Silver Slugger Award Winner, 2009 World Series Champion, 2010 Gold Glove Winner, and he even won the 2011 Home Run Derby. Now that is a very impressive line for a 29-year-old 2nd baseman! There is much more in store for Cano in the future as well in my opinion. Cano is not only the best second baseman, but I strongly believe that he is the best player in baseball. He does it all: he will consistently 25-30 homers a season and is almost a lock to hit .300 every season. Combine his bat with gold glove defense and you have one of the best all-around players in the game. Cano has been criticized in the past about being “Lazy” which I find absurd; As Derek Jeter has said before: Robinson Cano plays the game very smoothly and has one of the best work ethics around. Personally, I will take Jeter’s word at face value. Read the rest of this entry
Washington Nationals-The Pitchers and Hitters: 2005-2012 Best 25 Man Roster (Part 5 of Expos/Nats Series)
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I think it safe to say that the best days of the Washington Nationals are purely ahead of them. They have a great nucleus of young talent with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse and Gio Gonzalez. These guys are so good that they all made the ALL-Time 25 man roster for the 2005-2012 Washington Nationals. I am a firm believer that these guys will be the best team in the National League within 2 or 3 years. I like Ted Lerner’s attitude on spending for now. This will ensure the money will be spent on the team to keep competing for the city of Washington’s 1st World Series Title since 1924. I would venture to say that not many living fans of the old Washington Senators saw the club hoisting the trophy 88 years ago.
The Nationals Park went soaring up my ranks as a baseball venue to see in the 30 stadium circuit. This place is now electric. I was so elated when I was able to see Strasburg pitch and win for the Nationals back in April. Next year I hope to see Bryce Harper play ball when I go on another 30 park tour. Next year is when I will have the official rankings of all of the ballparks posted here. I can assure you that the President’s Race will probably be voted the most popular race of any in the Majors at the parks. My humblest of apologies to the sausage race fans in Milwaukee and racing legend heads in Arizona. I still follow the campaign to ‘Let Teddy Win’, however that may take all of the fun out of it if Teddy does win one of those races.
As a fan of the old Expos franchise, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Washington Nationals. Playing meaningful baseball in September and October this year would be incredible to witness. So without further speak, let us start with our 25 man roster for the best players in the last 8 years. I picked the roster based on longevity or utter greatness for a couple of players. If this team was to play an alumni game right now, all of the positions would be filled. I don’t think I excluded anyone entirely crucial here. Please feel free to let me know if I did on any social platform. If you make a solid case for someone for whom I may have omitted, I could always add them later.
For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos Hitters: click here
For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here
For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise of the Montreal Expos: click here
For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here
For Part 6 of the Article Series, The Nationals 2013 Payroll and Contract Statuses click here
Here is the highlight reel from Stephen Strasburg’s debut at Nationals Park. 14 Strikeouts is amazing!
Sunday July 22nd, 2012
By Patrick Languzzi (Guest Baseball Writer):
As we embark on baseball’s most exciting weekend, the eyes of baseball fans everywhere will be on Cooperstown, NY for the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Larkin was elected through the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and Santo via the Veterans Committee after falling off the ballot in 1998.
The Veterans committee consists of 16 members made up of veteran media members, executives and current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For a player to be elected, they must receive 75 percent or 12 of 16 votes.
But there’s another player that I’ll take a special interest in come the winter meetings of 2013. That’s when the Expansion Era ballot (Veterans) finalists are announced. It’s also when former Red Sox great Dwight “Dewey” Evans becomes eligible again. Evans fell off the BBWAA ballot back in 1999. Now his chance to shine comes up again very soon. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- As the world of Twitter and Facebook has invaded the internet these days, I am brainstorming about all sorts of stats I have had in my head for years. This stat came to my head because of Gary Sheffield. A few years back, I watched a game on my birthday at Safeco Field. It was the New York Yankees and Sheffield visiting. There are players that you are sure to watch live in person. Gary Sheffield was one of these hitters. Not only is he one of 25 player in history to hit 500 HRs, but he had one of the fiercest swings ever. The man would wiggle that bat back and forth like a toothpick before striding and swinging with daunting ferocity. It was an unorthodox style that must have made Little League coaches cringe, yet it was effective. Sheffield was a bit of a hot head though, this may have led to him being traded or not re-signed by several teams. Hitting 40 HRs for 6 different teams is definitely impressive and may never be duplicated. I knew he had played on several teams already so the seed of today’s article was planted back in 2005.
Fred McGriff was the exact opposite of Gary Sheffield when it came to temperament. This man was traded several times in his career because he could flat-out hit. Jose Canseco is the only other player besides McGriff and Sheffield to hit 40 HRs with 5 different teams. The reason many older players are not on this list is because free agency never arrived in the MLB until the early 70′s when Curt Flood challenged a trade and the Players Union saw it through. Now player movement has enabled more players switching teams each season than ever before. Rusty Staub was the 1st to make this list and Alfonso Soriano is the last player to make this list and the only current player left. I have a feeling we will see more players arrive on this list in the next 25 years.
Monday April 9th, 2012
Ryan Ritchey (MLB reports Intern): This coming June, Barry Larkin will be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. This is a special day for all the Cincinnati fans throughout the world. As a young kid, I grew up idolizing Barry Larkin and always wanted to be like him. Now as an 18-year-old, I am going to see my favorite player of all time go into the Hall of Fame. Many people idolize the home run hitters, but for me it was about his hustle and heart to make the big plays when he needed to.
Larkin, as a young man growing up in Cincinnati was a huge Reds fan. Graduating from Moeller High School and being drafted by the Reds in the second round, he had a huge decision to make. He was also offered baseball and football scholarships to the University of Michigan. He decided to take his talents to Michigan and only focus on baseball. Playing three seasons with the Wolverines was all he needed to be drafted 4th overall by his hometown team the Cincinnati Reds. Read the rest of this entry