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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – February 11, 2014

Photo:  Neil Leifer - Sports Illustrated

Photo: Neil Leifer – Sports Illustrated

It may not be The Sunday Request, but I feel obliged to address a Twitter reader of mine on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast. Read the rest of this entry

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 23, 2013

(Photo: Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports)

Today The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, I can not avoid PEDs… or at least talking about them.

Ryan Braun was lying the whole time, to the shock of exactly nobody. And I can’t honestly look you in the eye and say I wouldn’t juice to help my show.

Andrew McCutchen, J.J. Hardy, Matt Moore and Dillion Gee all owned baseball on July 22, 2013.

To see the up to date tally of “Who Owns Baseball?,” click HERE.
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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 22, 2013
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Looking to Break the Pete Rose Hits Record: All Eyes Are On Derek Jeter

Saturday November 3rd, 2012

Luke Whitecotton:  Pete Rose likes to talk baseball whenever he gets the chance to. When the subject comes up of someone breaking his all-time hits record, you know that Pete will always express his opinion. Since he is banned from baseball and will not likely ever make it into the Hall of Fame, you can’t help but think if this record is his “hall of fame”. That is likely why he is so protective of it. Pete Rose probably doesn’t want to hear that records are meant to be broken, and his one day will. But do any current active players even have a remote chance at the all-time hits record? There is a player out there who, if everything goes absolutely right, and the stars align could very well break this record. The climb to get there will be astronomical, and when you see the stats one would have to get in order to be successful, you probably will agree there is no way it will happen. Well in baseball if there is a will and a way, a record is probably going to be broken. Cal Ripken broke the record of most consecutive games played, which everyone thought that was unbreakable. Barry Bonds (who with a little help one might say), broke Hank Aaron’s home run record. And maybe one day someone will break the 56 game hit streak. So you see Pete Rose- someone could break your all-time hits record. With a little luck and skill, that guy is playing the game today. His name?  Derek Jeter. Read the rest of this entry

San Francisco Giants: The Pros and Cons Of Bringing Melky Cabrera Back For The Playoffs

Wednesday September 26th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: Melky Cabrera went from a legitimate MVP candidate to a lost cause within the matter of a few hours. The Giants were shocked to hear the news, the baseball world was shocked. Then other than shocked, they wanted revenge. Cabrera won the National League the MLB All-Star game MVP. He had the Giants in first place for a while. Simply put, Melky Cabrera made a huge impact on the overall landscape of the MLB.

Thus our question of the day: Should the Giants bring Melky Cabrera back for the playoffs?

PROS

He Would Solve The Empty Hole In Left Field

Cabrera’s void was going to be hard to fill anyway. But the fact that he was so productive out of left field made his loss even more difficult for San Francisco. Mainly because the alternatives were slim at that point, and the same can still be said.

The addition of Xavier Nady has helped the Giants. However, he was on the shelf for a little bit more than a week, so his contributions have been marginal thus far. In 29 at-bats, he owns a triple slash of .310/.394/.414. He has also driven in six runs during his short stint. Simply put, his contributions have certainly been beneficial compared to what Gregor Blanco and Justin Christian provided. But Nady on his own can’t nearly match what Cabrera brought to the table. That’s a rather obvious theory too.

Plus, Nady’s defense is questionable. He isn’t the quickest of outfielders, which permits him from catching anything outside of his small circle. In some stadiums he could get by playing sub-par defense, but that’s not the case at AT&T Park.

Melky Would Add Depth To The Giants Lineup

It’s not like the Giants desperately need a jolt, but a jolt definitely wound’t be frowned upon. San Francisco has scored the third most runs in the National League since September 1st. Their Buster Posey led offense also owns the best batting average since September first as well.

If you were to add Cabrera into an already strong offense, then the Giants would be even tougher to beat with their solid pitching staff.

Manager Bruce Bochy had a lineup of Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and Cabrera for exactly one day. By mischance, that day just happened to be the day before Cabrera was suspended by the league. Yet, players have stepped up since the suspension. Since August 1st, the Giants have four of the top seven batting averages in the N.L. Buster Posey leads that group with a .361 average, Marco Scutaro is third (.355), Angel Pagan is sixth (.328), and Brandon Belt ranks seventh (.326). It just goes to show how something like a suspension or injury can fire up an entire team.

However, in spite of their success without Cabrera, I’m sure the Giants wouldn’t mind having his bat back in the mix.

CONS

Unsettled Issues In The Clubhouse

When Cabrera was ruled out for the remainder of the season, it’s almost like he just disappeared. He didn’t speak to his fellow teammates or apologize in person. It just wasn’t a very classy move on his behalf. In his defense, it has to be hard to speak about a suspension in front of the entire clubhouse, but it’s a step that needs to be taken to clear the air. Some of his teammates recently spoke about his shyness. That could’ve been a factor as well.

But despite all of the factors, he shouldn’t have left the team the way he did. Clearly none of the Giants were pleased, feeling as if he let them down. And this could lead to some internal issues which is the last thing that needs to occur in the playoffs.

Plus, a boatload of attention would be put on the Giants, but not in a good way. Questions from the media wouldn’t be about the team, they would be about Cabrera. It could be just too much to handle when the team is focusing on reaching the World Series.

Rustiness

While Cabrera was among the upper echelon of players before being suspended, there’s no guarantee that he will return to that elite class if the Giants elect to bring him back.

The minor league season ended a few weeks ago, meaning that there isn’t necessarily a place from him to go and work off that rustiness. Yes, there are instructional leagues, but how is that going to prepare Cabrera to face some of the best pitching staffs in baseball?

The NLCS will only go seven games at best, which means that Cabrera has little time to perform and prove that he was worth bringing back.

While Melky Cabrera certainly was a hot commodity in July, the cons outweigh the pros. The Giants have continued to win without his presence, and they should continue with the same players that put them in the situation where they currently are. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While Cabrera could potentially help the Giants in October, overall there is too much of a risk that he will hurt the team. Given how well the Giants have played since Cabrera’s suspension, that is a chance that the team is just simply unlikely to take.

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

Jake Dal Porto is a Baseball Writer with MLB reports and a student from the Bay Area. Jake’s favorite sports moment was when the Giants won the World Series back in 2010. He loves to use sabermetrics in his work. He thinks they are the best way to show a player’s real success compared to the basic stats such as ERA, RBIs, and Wins. Jake also enjoys interacting and debating with his readers. Follow him on Twitter:

 

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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.   

 

 

 

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