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2 And A Hook Podcast Episode #6: Fantasy, Phillies And Rangers Expert Interviews + Notes

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Friday, May.31/2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

‘2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran) 

People in this Podcast:

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & The Bench Warmers Show (thebenchwarmers.podomatic.com), I started by paying respects to a follower of mine on twitter (the great late Kiley)   who passed away last week…not only she was a great Yankee fan who loved Derek Jeter – but also was the most sweetest giving person ever, R.I.P….

I start to talk about the Subway Series then I interviewed my first guest Derek Jackson (10 Minute Mark  – 20 Minute Segment.   who is a fantasy expert for MLB Reports! We talked about which callups to watch midway through the season,a look at the rookie crop of players & second year players…check out his latest fantasy article here Read the rest of this entry

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Texas Rangers Staff – A Preseason Pitching Analysis: State Of The Union

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Saturday, March.30/2013

Ortiz was brought up from the farm system, and although he is only 22 years old, has spent six years with the Rangers. Ortiz has had an impressive spring, and has caught the eye of fans as well as pitching coach Mike Maddux.Ortiz posted a 1.97 ERA in 24 Appearances with AAA Round Rock last season, and has officially made the big league bullpen for 2013. Lindblom was acquired in the Michael Young trade with Philadelphia during the offseason, and adds more depth to the Bullpen.

Joe Ortiz was brought up from the farm system, and although he is only 22, he has spent six years with the Rangers. Ortiz has had an impressive Spring Training – and has caught the eye of fans as well as pitching coach Mike Maddux. Ortiz posted a 1.97 ERA in 24 Appearances with AAA Round Rock last season – and has officially made the big league Bullpen this year.

By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent):

Though baseball season begins in Texas just hours away, there were many questions left for the team to answer throughout Spring Training. Who will become the fifth starter? Who will recover from surgery this season? And who will revive the Bullpen?

In the past month of training in Surprise, Arizona, some of the answers of these questions have come to light. The Rangers were plagued with injury in the latter part of the 2012 season, particularly with their pitching.

So it was no surprise that the front office brought in and up some new faces to test out this spring. Pitchers that will still be recovering at the beginning of the season include: RHP Colby Lewis, RHP Neftali Feliz, RHP Joakim Soria, and LHP Martin Perez.

Neftali Feliz hits 100 MPH!

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Hamilton Strikes Out Again In Texas

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Monday, February.25/2013

Josh Hamilton

From the Editor’s Desk ***There will be no highlights,captions or additional statistics in this article.  Some of the articles we have are of the seriously opinionated angle that doesn’t warrant these peripheral things to a post.****

By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent):

Baseball fans in Texas were heartbroken in December when the news broke of OF Josh Hamilton signing with the rival Angels. Many had grown to love his personality and ability on and off the field, even buying Hamilton jerseys when he signed with his new team. The Slugger had given several good seasons to the fans in Arlington, however bitter it did end. So you could imagine the turmoil in Texas after his interview February 17 with comments regarding the Dallas/Fort Worth area and its fans. In an interview with CBS, Hamilton gave a few choice words about the area not being a “true baseball town” and that the fans there were “spoiled, quickly”. You would have thought Nolan Ryan left for the Yankees.

Read the rest of this entry

The Texas Rangers Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Saturday, January.19th,  2013

Texas has doubled their total team payroll since the new ownership group took over.  As good as they are doing right now for Payroll - the Angels still have them beat by 35-40 Million Dollars

Texas has doubled their total team payroll since the new ownership group took over. As good as they are doing right now for Payroll – the Angels still have them beat by 35-40 Million Dollars.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

It is easy to equate a big market team’s success with merely a willingness to overspend on free agents and use their superior earning power to dominate the sport. While the Rangers certainly are not afraid of spending all that money that playing the Dallas/Fort Worth area provides, it would be inaccurate to equate the team’s recent string of success with only their ability to outspend a fair portion of their competitors. As we enter the 2013 season, the Rangers have built a very strong base – while managing to not tie themselves to any back-breaking, future altering contracts. That is a testament to the organization’s belief in its system – and its refusal to spend on player just because they are able to. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Rangers 2013 payroll as of now and see where Texas will be spending its money next season.

Rangers 2011 ALCS Clincher:

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The 2013 Texas Rangers Roster: State of The Union

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Monday January 14th, 2013

The Rangers had back to back World Series Appearances in 2010 and 2011 - does this club have another run in them without Josh Hamilton?

The Rangers had back to back World Series Appearances in 2010 and 2011 – does this club have another run in them without Josh Hamilton and Michael Young?  They regressed in the 2012 Season – losing a 13 Game Division Lead in the AL West before barely capturing a Wild Card Spot.  They eventually lost the Play In Wild Card-Game to the Baltimore Orioles.

By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent): 

Looking back on the end of the 2012 season, and how the AL West lead was given up in a matter of days to Oakland, it’s clear the Texas front office wanted change in the clubhouse for 2013. It seems as though GM Jon Daniels’ motto for the offseason is “out with the old, in with the new….er”. Daniels is eager to bring a World Series victory to Arlington and has pieced together a team of new players with old postseason successes. There is also a chance that the Rangers will also bring up some of their promising prospects that they protected throughout the offseason trade frenzy. This makes for some very interesting lineup possibilities for the upcoming season, especially with the major roles needing to be filled by former Ranger departures such as 1B/C Mike Napoli, U Michael Young, OF Josh Hamilton, and P Ryan Dempster.

Ian Kinsler Highlights for 2012:

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Pierzynski Takes His Talents To Texas

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

a  a AJ Pierzynski

Brooke Robinson (Baseball Writer and Rangers Correspondent): 

The offensive losses suffered in Arlington were becoming very real for the days leading up to December 20. Former starting Catcher Mike Napoli, U/DH Michael Young had left for the East coast, and CF Josh Hamilton left for the West. It seemed as though GM Jon Daniels was in no hurry to make any moves, and the fans in Texas were eager to get the bitter taste of the previous season out of their mouths. So to their surprise and pleasure, the front office signed one of the best Catchers on the free agent market: Anthony John Pierzynski. Some teams considered him a liability because of his age, but the 35 year old’s numbers in 2012 are actually quite astounding. The Texas front office obviously did their homework. Read the rest of this entry

Josh Hamilton Ready to Return to the Tampa Bay Rays?

Thursday November 1st, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  What a great story it would be to see Josh Hamilton return to the team that drafted him. As a free agent this offseason, there is a possibility that this could be the case. Hamilton never played a Major League game with the “Devil Rays”. After he was drafted, he was the number one prospect in the Devil Rays’ organization. He had an extremely bright future, but unfortunately the money from the signing bonus combined with injuries sent Hamilton down the wrong path leading to his drug abuse and decline, eventually sending him out of baseball. Hamilton spent time on the restricted list and was suspended, and was eventually picked by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft, subsequently being purchased by the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton played part of a season with the Reds before being traded to the Rangers, where he was very successful, making the All Star team every year and winning the MVP in 2010.

The Rangers most likely will not pursue Hamilton, leaving him open for any other club. Hamilton would be great for the Rays. With B.J. Upton most likely leaving to free agency, the Rays will need to fill the center field position. Hamilton would bring a lot of excitement to Tampa Bay and would help bring the team back to the playoffs. A former MVP would tremendously improve the Rays’ potent lineup already including Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Carlos Pena. Acquiring Hamilton would make a large statement to the rest of the AL East. With the Yankees as the only real threat, the Rays would be sending the message that they are ready to win. The Red Sox are rebuilding, so they probably will not be of worry to the Rays, and the Blue Jays are coming off a disappointing season in 2011. The Orioles could be playoff bound, but with Hamilton, the Rays would have an advantage. With the new Wild Card in play, the Rays will have a good shot of reaching the playoffs even if they do not sign Hamilton. But, signing Hamilton would make the Rays a powerhouse and could give the Yankees a run for their money. Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Playoffs: Predicting All of the Division and Wild Card Champions

Thursday September 20th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: As the season wraps up, the divisional races become tighter. Some races are close while others are blowouts. Here are the teams that I believe will be playing in October (and their predicted final records).

AL East: New York Yankees 93-69

The Yankees are too good to not win the division. Although Mark Teixeira is injured and Mariano Rivera is not coming back for the rest of the year, the Yankees have enough pieces to make it to the ALDS without having to go through the Wild Card game. The Yankees have the pitching that the Baltimore Orioles lack in C.C. Sabathia. The powerful Yankee offense will be enough to help the team avoid the Wild Card game. Read the rest of this entry

2012 Trade Deadline Update #4 7/27: Zack Greinke to the Angels – The A.L. West Just Got Wilder

Saturday July 28th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Zack Greinke has just been traded to the Angels. It looks as if the A.L. West is turning into the A.L. East with the Rangers being the Yankees and the Angels becoming the Red Sox. Coming off two straight losses in the World Series, the Rangers signed regarded Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish in the offseason, who has worked out very well for them this year. The Angels got off to a rough start after signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, but turned their season around with the call-up of Mike Trout. With Colby Lewis needing Tommy John surgery, the Rangers are in need of another arm. Unfortunately for Rangers, the Angels just traded for one of the few quality pitchers left on the market. Zack Greinke is an ace and could turn out to be the difference maker in the A.L. West. Read the rest of this entry

The Rangers Should Sacrifice Some of Their Prospects to Win This Year

Wednesday July 25th, 2012

Sam Evans: The Texas Rangers are currently 57-39, which gives them the second-best record in baseball behind only the New York Yankees. Texas isn’t just playing for this year, they also have enough prospects to acquire anyone they want at the trade deadline. Instead of waiting for young players to develop, the Rangers should recognize their chance to win it all this year, and trade away a couple of those players. If Texas could acquire a top of the rotation starter or a superstar outfielder, they should seriously consider trading some of their finest young prospects.

It will take a lot for the Texas Rangers to miss the playoffs this year. Despite playing in a division featuring an interesting Angels team, and a surging Oakland ballclub, Texas still has the highest playoff odds (99.8% chance) according to Baseball Prospectus. The Rangers could probably start Matt Kata instead of Adrian Beltre at third base for the rest of the season, and still make the playoffs. However, at some point, reaching the playoffs just isn’t enough. The Texas franchise wants to win the World Series this year, and in order to do that, they probably need to make a move at the deadline. Read the rest of this entry

Report on the Travel Companies of the 30 MLB Cities

Friday, May.11/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024) -After logging 65,000 miles from planes, trains, subways, Buses and other methods of transportation in one month, I am left with some thoughts about certain companies.  I don’t believe in trashing a company based on one incident or a rogue employee, so I will leave the negativity for a future travel book.  I will say that my four favorite travel companies helped me tremendously.  I am not just saying this because they helped me out on my trip, I wrote about the same four companies in my book ‘The Fastest 30 Ballgames.’  I am also happy to say that these companies had no blame for the half of dozen mishaps that caused me cancellations or delays during the streak.   The mishaps were a poorly executed plane de-boarding at IAH airport that cost a doubleheader attempt in Texas.  The second plane issue was some sort of mechanical failure that the airline gave up after 30 minutes of trying only in San Diego. The worst blunder was having the seat belt of the first officer not close properly cause an hour delay.  Other mishaps were a failure to understand car rental procedures right in Cleveland costing me an hour delay.  But that wasn’t as egregious as a hotel chain overcharging me three separate time for a hotel booking even though I cancelled way in advance.  All of these are about the average for the amount of traveling .  The four companies that stood above the rest are: Southwest Airlines, Air Tran Airways, Best Western Hotel Chain and National Car Rental. 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 ***

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.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.

The First Five Games of The Streak

Tuesday April.10/2012

Douglas “Chuck” Booth at Citi April 9th

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)- Well, I finally get a chance to breathe for one second.  Too bad it was at the expense of the events that transpired yesterday.  Contrary to popular belief, this world record streak is not a walk in the park. Traveling is a hard thing to do at the best of times.  I will break down the trip synopsis game by game.  I am breaking down the travel games at Parks day by day. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview With Ball Park In Arlington Expert Clint Booth

Sunday April.08/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- My brother Clint picked the greatest time to live in Dallas, Texas for half  of a year in 2010.  He moved to the Lonestar State to witness the Rangers make it all the way to the World Series that year.  I was jealous of him for every minute he spent at The Ball Park in Arlington.  I had a chance to talk with him recently about that stretch of games that he was in attendance a lot for.  Also, I picked his brain to help my own when I wrote my baseball book last year.

DB: “Clint, I have made it a point to say that parking at The Ball Park In Arlington is the fairest system of all if you want to walk a little extra, however that might not work for some people, what are your thoughts on parking there?

CB: I don’t think most people want to walk in the 100 degree weather so parking close to the park is”EXPENSIVE! Show up early for a decent spot and pay the extra $$ to get in early -it’s not that you are “close” to the ball park, it is GETTING OUT AFTER -best to park close to the stadium and then make your way back to I 30. If you go too far into Arlington it will take you up to an hour to crawl out after the game. Some guys I know parked across I 30 and walked in-long walk both ways. Best bet: CAR SERVICE. For $75-100 each way from Downtown Dallas and back you can ride in a luxury vehicle, save the $25-40 on parking, and drink at the game without having to worry about driving home and you’ll be dropped off right in front of the ball park.  During the ALCS Championship I would drive into Arlington and get as close as I could to the ball park. Good luck finding a spot but bless the Americans as they OWN their land so a guy let me park on his lawn for $20 while everywhere else was $75-100.

Clint Booth &
Ken Booth @
Busch Stadium

DB: “Where did you like to sit a the park?”

CB: “Best Seats: LEXUS CLUB -only level in the park where they serve hard alcohol… have a margarita there -AMAZING The Lexus Club also has the best vantage point in park for the game.  The design of the stadium allows for every seat to be a great seat.  Also, sit on the 1st base side as it gets bloody hot in Texas so stay out of the sun.

The Booth Boys

DB:  “What about the food?”

CB: The best singular food is THE NACHOS (FULLY LOADED) in the main concourse -Texans don’t mess around when it come to TEX MEX! These are UNREAL. There are seats available in an American Classic “All you can EAT SEATS”… I never sat there but I hear it is a great deal…You can bring your own food into this park. I once sat beside a guy who used a beverage cooler to keep his 12 hot dogs warm…he killed all 12! I was pretty jealous. I took a picture of him when he was on #9.

DB:  “What would you describe the park ambiance as?”

CB:  It is a FAMILY PARK first and foremost-don’t call a guy a bad name (referring about a cat) for trying to bunt for a base hit. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. At Yankee Stadium ALL of the fans would have cheered me.  Every time a Ranger Pitcher gets a Strike Out the Chic Fil A Cow has a picture that says “EAT MORE CHICKEN” and the “K” lights up. Funny.

DB:  “In our conversations that year, you often referred to the ANTLERS/CLAWS phenomenon, can you explain this for people who may not know this?”

CB: “THE CLAW: if a player hits for POWER and reaches second or puts one-off the wall once they reach base they will lift an arm with an open hand over their head in a Monster “CLAW” motion and the players started this first and then the fans caught… One game I saw Kinsler reach first on what was supposed to be a Sac Bunt and Vlad made the kid do both the CLAW and the ANTLERS (see next). THE ANTLERS: Same deal as the CLAW but it is done when a player shows SPEED. Vlad Guerrero has long been my favorite player and I can tell you from experience that HE thinks he has ANTLERS. I told my fiance that “…I hope we get to see Vlad try to stretch out a double today…” well, we did, but it was better, he went for third and got gunned out by 6 feet. He then got up and threw his helmet in classic Vlad fashion. I was jumped out of my seat cheering and laughing sporting my Vlad Guerrero Jersey.  Nobody “got” why I was so excited but I knew…

DB:  What about nostalgia at the park, how do they treat the historical players of their team?

CB: “Awesome “old school” design of the park. The Front Offices sit over Center Field.Nolan Ryan goes to every game and sits behind home plate. The guy is a stud. Often you will see his good buddy George W. Bush sitting beside him. Texans love GW almost as much as Nolan Ryan.  They also have big banners for any player that had significant value to the team at any point in Franchise History

DB:  What can you expect for the total fan experience?”

CB: Well, you are in Texas so be prepared for it to get REALLY loud when the team is scoring or something happens like a strike ***smirk*** -Texans LOVE their teams. Great fans. All of the real estate behind Center Field is dedicated to kids… there is some really cool stuff for your little guys to do like batting cages and games so bring them with you. During the 7th inning stretch the sing “America The Beautiful” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. As with the National Anthem EVERYONE sings so you are best to learn the words if you don’t know them.

During the ALCS vs the Yanks in 2010 Vlads Mom cooked a goat stew for the Carribean players on the Rangers… They shared it with the Carribean players on the Yanks. Says a lot about that team’s culture , so this is a testament to Ronnie Washington…The”Kinsler/Vlad story was hilarious! They showed it on ESPN later. Also, the whole team has to “make” Michael Young do the “CLAW” because the guy is so humble.

***Thank you to our Ball Park In Arlington expert- Clint Booth for participating in today’s article.  Plus thank you for being my brother, who with my other 2 brothers and family, have always had my back on these journeys, both emotionally and financially!***

                                                                               Clint Booth with his fiancée Dana Patraschuck in 2010

 ***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “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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Yu Better Believe It: Darvish to the Rangers

Thursday January 19th, 2012

Sam Evans: Last night, the Texas Rangers finally agreed to a contract with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. The Rangers, who won the bidding to exclusively negotiate with Darvish last month, are acquiring a talented young starting pitcher. They definitely didn’t pay a small price for Darvish. We shall see if it was a worthy investment in the years to come.

Yesterday was the last day of bartering between the two sides. If Darvish and the Rangers could not come to terms on a contract, then Darvish would have pitched in Japan for the upcoming year. Luckily, they came to an agreement and we will see Darvish in the major leagues this year.

After the Rangers paid $51.7 million to negotiate with Darvish, it became clear that Darvish wasn’t going to come cheap. Darvish signed a 6-year, $60 million contract, making him the fourth highest paid player on the Rangers. In total, the Rangers are paying over $110 million for Darvish. On the other hand, C.J. Wilson who showed a desire to stay in Texas, wasn’t offered a contract. He ended up signing with the Angels for 5-years, $77.5 million.

One thing Yu Darvish has shown in Japan is the ability to carry a heavy workload. Darvish has pitched over two hundred innings in Japan every year for the last five years. Unlike other aspects of the game, an inning in Japan is the exact same thing as an inning in the majors. Conversely, I’m worried about the quality of hitters Darvish will be facing in North American. Japanese professional baseball is often compared to Triple-A. Both are considered to be leagues with hitters who don’t rely as much on scouting reports and can be overwhelmed with a fastball. In the majors, Darvish is going to have to deal with advanced scouting watching every game he pitches, and then analyzing and finding a way for opposing hitters to beat Darvish.

In my opinion, it’s crazy that the Rangers are paying this much for a player who has never even pitched in the minor leagues. This is a huge risk that the Rangers have shown that they’re willing to take. Personally, I would rather have C.J. Wilson for thirty million dollars less. Darvish should be a successful pitcher in the major leagues. His awesome array of pitches will likely baffle Major League hitters this year. Not to mention, the shuuto he throws will be something that most MLB hitters have never seen. Nevertheless, the Rangers are paying Darvish thirty million more than Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Chris Carpenter.

With his contract, Darvish will have to be an immediate ace for the Texas rotation in order to be worth the money. If I were the Rangers, I’d rather have used that money to go after Prince Fielder and sign him to a short-term deal. Fielder would be a bigger upgrade for the Rangers at first base over Mitch Moreland than Darvish will be over say, Alexi Ogando. The Rangers could have possibly signed Fielder to a 3-year deal, and brought in a veteran pitcher like Roy Oswalt to fill out the rotation. The Rangers would have had a much superior team than they will have with just Darvish… for the same price. I’m not doubting Texas GM Jon Daniels, but I think the Rangers might have gotten a little bit carried away in the Darvish extravaganza.  Besides his on-field performance, the Rangers are betting that between international merchandise sales and marketing exposure, Darvish will literally pay  himself.  Time will tell on that one.

For 2012, the Rangers will be looking to compete with the Angels to take the AL West. While the Angels overall roster has a slight edge on the Rangers, Texas has enough minor league talent to go and acquire a star first basemen at the trade deadline if Prince does not come aboard. Overall, Rangers fans should not be worried about the Darvish contract. The Rangers may have overpaid, but Darvish will bring youth and potential to a Rangers rotation that needs it. If everything goes well, the Rangers will have six years of Darvish to keep them continually in the running for a World Series title.

***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***

 

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2011 MLB Playoffs: Recap for Sunday October 9th and MLB Notes

Monday October 10, 2011

 

Sam Evans (Intern – MLB reports):  There turned out to only be one game on Sunday, nonetheless it was still an exciting, and important game.  Let’s get to the Recaps!

 

Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers:  ALCS Game Two

Major League Baseball actually called this game at 2:00 PM CT, more than four hours before the game even started.  MLB was obviously trying to the pitchers from a situation similar to Saturday night.  While MLB probably had good intentions, this was a very bad decision.  According to multiple weather reports, it never rained on Sunday at the Ballpark in Arlington.  If the decision makers had just waited a couple more hours we probably would have a game between these two teams on Sunday.  Now, because of MLB jumping the gun, these teams have to play four straight days of baseball.  As a result, Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Tigers this afternoon against Derek Holland for the Rangers.  Game time is 4:19 PM ET, assuming the skies stay clear in Arlington.

 

St.Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers:  NLCS Game One

With all the trash talking leading up to this game, this proved to be a pivotal game for both teams.  Neither pitcher was very sharp, but both offenses showed up ready to battle.  In the top of the first, Matt Holliday had an RBI single off Brewers starter Zack Greinke to give up the Cardinals an early lead.  In the bottom of the first, the Brewers erased the Cardinals’ lead by scoring two runs, courtesy of Ryan Braun‘s 444 foot home run.  Both pitchers battled throughout the second and third innings, until in the fourth when David Freese hit a 3-run home run to give the Cards’ a 4-2 lead.  Freese is having a tremendous postseason, coming tough in the clutch for St.Louis.  In the top of the fifth, Lance Berkman drove in Rafael Furcal to make it 5-2.  In the bottom of the fifth, everything went wrong for Jaime Garcia.   The inning started off with a Corey Hart single, then a Jerry Hairston double.  Next, Ryan Braun jumped on the first pitch and hit a ground rule double to right field.  From there, Prince Fielder crushed Garcia’s first pitch, an 87 MPH fastball, to right center field.  ESPN’s Home Run Tracker had that bomb traveling at 119.2 MPH.  This would make it the hardest hit homer of the season.   A lot is going to be made about the Brewers celebrations after every home run they hit, but I really don’t have a problem with it.  If the Cardinals don’t like it, then maybe they just shouldn’t give up home runs!

Garcia’s main problem with this huge inning was that he stopped throwing his breaking ball.  Out of the 12 pitches he threw, not one was offspeed.  Things got worse for the Redbirds when Octavio Dotel came into the game, and gave up a 2-run home run to Yuniesky Betancourt, of all people.  The Cardinals scored once more in the 7th when Albert Pujols grounded into a double play, but the big 6th inning was enough for the Brewers.  Final score: Brewers 9 Cardinals 6, with Greinke getting the win, Garcia the loss, and John Axford nailing down the save.  These two teams will face off for game two tonight, Monday, at 8:05 PM ET.  Edwin Jackson will get the start for St.Louis, against Shaun Marcum for Milwaukee.

Editor’s Notes:

  • All the talk surrounding Zack Greinke’s comments turned out to be just that, talk.  Once the teams took the field yesterday afternoon, the focus centered on the game itself.  After getting hit fairly hard yesterday, I do not expect we will hear many more harsh words from Greinke during this series.
  • The Tigers are looking very susceptible offensively, especially after the loss of Magglio Ordonez to a broken ankle and Delmon Young to an oblique strain.  The Rangers have caught fire at the right time and should be making a second straight trip to the World Series.
  • The free agency talk won’t talk, even though we are still in playoff mode.  Possible destinations for C.J. Wilson and Prince Fielder have been speculated on for the past few days, as strong or stronger than they have all season.  The reality is the focus should be on the games ahead.  There will be plenty of time to have these discussions between the end of the playoffs and New Years. 
  • A story has come out indicating that the Reds are going to star taking offers for their star first baseman, Joey Votto.  Expect 29 other teams to submit their bids if this is true.
  • Epstein-gate continues to swirl, as the Cubs and supposedly Angels are interested in his services.  My advice if Theo was sitting in front of me?  Stay put.  You are considered a genius in Boston.  Move elsewhere and you run the risk of failing to replicate your magic.  If that occurs, your lustre will get tarnished.  Same advice to Billy Beane.  Stay home and keep your legacy.  The grass is always greener on the other side. 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, 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.***

 

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2011 MLB Draft: Recap and Draftees who Didn’t Sign

Tuesday August 16, 2011

 

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):  Amongst all the madness that was the Draft Signing Deadline, I first have to say congratulations to Jim Thome for hitting the 599th and 600th home runs of his illustrious career.  He is only the eighth player in MLB history to reach that mark.

There were many signings that went down to the wire last night, and most players in the early rounds signed.  There were five Major League deals signed from this draft.  The Washington Nationals gave pitcher Matt Purke a 4-year, $4.4M deal out of the third round.  Second overall pick Danny Hultzen, the left-handed pitcher from Virginia University selected by the Seattle Mariners was given 5 years and a guarantee of $8.5M.  It was previously reported that the Arizona Diamondbacks gave RHP and third overall pick Trevor Bauer a 4 year, $7M deal.  High school pitcher Dylan Bundy was given five years and $6.225M from the Baltimore Orioles and Rice University’s Anthony Rendon was given four years and $7.2M as the most polished bat in the draft by the Washington Nationals.  Top pick Gerrit Cole was given an $8M bonus by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, there were three players in the first two rounds who did not sign, which will result in the teams who selected them receiving a compensation pick in next year’s draft.  First of those was RHP Tyler Beede.   Known to be extremely tough to sign, the Toronto Blue Jays selected him 21st overall.  Beede’s talent alone could have taken him into the top 10 picks, but his lofty demands as well as his desire to play for Vanderbilt University dropped him down to the Blue Jays.  It was reported that the final offer The Blue Jays offered was in the $2.3M range, but Beede did not budge from his demands.  In a tweet from his Twitter handle @TylerBeede, he said “g-d has plans for me and that is college first.”  Beede will look to follow in the footsteps of recent first round pitchers from Vanderbilt; David Price and Jeremy Sowers.   Beede was one of my picks that would come down to the wire, and I said that it would take close to $3M to sign him.  The Blue Jays will now pick 22nd in the 2012 draft.

North Carolina State University will get their coveted catching signee, as the San Diego Padres were unable to sign switch hitter Brett Austin.  The first supplemental round pick, 54th overall, has plus speed for a catcher, being clocked at less than 6.9 seconds in a 60-yard dash.  He has a quick release and routinely has a pop time (throwing the ball home to second as if a runner were stealing) under 2 seconds.  He has quick feet and a quick bat, although he has more bat speed from the right side of the plate.  With the Padres already locking up catcher Austin Hedges for $3M, they felt as though Austin was expendable, and did not offer a contract near his demands.  The Padres will choose 55th in the 2012 draft.

When the New York Yankees selected college junior Sam Stafford in the second round, 88th overall, it was widely believed that the University of Texas Longhorns had lost their top two pitchers.  Taylor Jungmann was selected 12th overall and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for $2.525M.  However, talks with the Yankees hit a snag over parts of his physical, and Stafford was never offered a contract around the slot value.  Stafford was 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 81 1/3 innings this past season at UT.  The left-handed pitcher has had consistency issues with fastball command, but pitches in the 90-93 mph range.  His curveball and change-up are both works in progress and he shows flashes of plus potential in both.  The Yankees will select 89th in the 2012 draft.

The biggest surprise to me was that the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to sign Josh Bell.  It did not take a Major League contract, and only $5M to pull him away from the University of Texas.  This was much less than originally predicted, and his huge demands seem to have just been posturing.  The Pirates signed both of their top picks for a total of $13M, which in itself would have been the most money spent by one team in draft history.

Other notable signings were second round pick LHP Daniel Norris of the Toronto Blue Jays at $2.5M, 14th round pitcher Dillon Maples of the Chicago Cubs at $2.5M, and 6th round catcher Nicky Delmonico of the Baltimore Orioles at $1.525M.

 

 

***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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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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ON THE VERGE- RYAN TATUSKO, WASHINGTON NATIONALS

MLB reports:  At MLB reports we will be running an occasional series titled “On the Verge” where we profile a prospect about to hit the MLB scene.  In today’s feature, we profile Ryan Tatusko of the Washington Nationals.

Ryan was born March 27, 1985.  Standing 6’5” and weighing a solid 200 lbs, 2010 represented a breakout year for the right-handed pitching Tatusko.  He was drafted in the 18th round of the 2007 draft by the Texas Rangers out of Indiana State University (hometown Merrillville, Indiana).  After the 3 ½ seasons climbing up the Rangers system, Tatusko was traded on July 30, 2010 with fellow pitcher Tanner Roark for shortstop Christian Guzman. At the time of the trade, Tatusko was pitching for AA Frisco, both starting and relieving.  After being acquired by the Nationals, Tatusko finished 2010 exclusively as a starter for AA Harrisburg.

From 2007-2009, Tatusko did not have numbers that jumped out.  ERAs each year of 4.13, 4.46 and 4.64, records of 3-7, 3-11 and 7-6, in addition to WHIPs of 1.347, 1.372 and 1.338.  A young developing pitcher, but not one on the “radar” so to speak.  In the 1st half of 2010 with Frisco, Tatusko pitched in 24 games, 13 as a starter.  His record was 9-2 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.340 WHIP.  Definitely solid numbers, but a breakout was still in order.  That breakout occurred in the 2nd half of his 2010 season with Harrisburg, where Tatusko pitched in 6 games entirely as a starter, to a sparkling 3-1 record, 1.72 ERA and 1.173 WHIP.  His SO/BB ratio with Frisco was 1.45 and ballooned to 2.77 with Harrisburg.  When I review these numbers, I see a Kyle Drabek type pitcher at the beginning of 2010 and a Stephen Strasburg clone at the end.

Looking at Ryan’s final 2010 numbers combined in AA, we see a 12-3 record, with a 2.63 ERA and 1.295 WHIP.  From an 18th round pick with a microscopic chance of advancement in professional baseball, Ryan is a pitcher likely ticketed for AAA to start 2011 and could end up with the big club sometime between the all-star break and September.

I have had a pleasure to chat with Ryan on a couple of occasions by e-mail and did some research on him as well.  Tatusko has a strong curveball as well as good command of 3 other pitches- fastball, changeup and slider.  The debate early in his career was whether he would remain a starter or be moved permanently to the bullpen.  Young pitchers in the minors are often eased through both roles in the hopes that they will excel in one given spot.  As a 4-pitch pitcher and coming off a strong finish in 2010, Tatusko will likely be a full-time starter for the foreseeable future.  A student of the game, Tatusko keeps journals of his work and watches video in working on and perfecting his mechanics.  A tireless student of the game, Tatusko has the will and ambition to succeed at the pro-level, which is often described as “90% mental and 10% physical”.

Running into growing pains and adversity early in his career was likely a very good thing for Ryan.  Too often in the MLB we see hotshot prospects rushed to the majors, only to have their careers cut short by injuries or failed confidence.  By building his time up in the minors the right way, Tatusko has been able to prove himself and rise up the prospects ladder.  The Nationals going into 2011 are in an interesting situation pitching wise.  They have a young highly touted closer in Storen, that is expected to close for the club for the next decade.  The starting rotation however, is filled with questions marks and landmines.  Livian Hernandez is currently tabbed as the opening day starter.  Enough said.  From there we see the other potential starters being Marquis, Zimmerman, Lannan and Maya.  In the mix we have injured starters Strasburg and Wang who are not certain as to the roles they could play in 2011.  As soon as an opening arises, Tatusko will be one of the first to be called up this year.  If Ryan is able to grow in 2011 the way he did in 2010, his first stay in Washington could be permanent.

Ryan Tatusko is a man who eats, breathes, sleeps and bleeds professional baseball.  Talking to him, I got the sense that this was a ballplayer with no sense of entitlement that has worked hard and earned everything that he has accomplished.  Good luck to Ryan on the 2011 campaign and we all look forward to watching you as you continue your baseball journey to the show.

 

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.

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