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Jeter Passes Yaz, Maybe Ties Wagner for 7th On ALL Time Hits List?: Plus #2’s Historical #’s

derek jeter

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

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Derek Jeter had 3 base hits in last night’s 4 – 2 loss to the Texas Rangers.  In doing so, the man now has 3420 hits for his career.

Carl Yastrzemski had 3419 to hold onto the 8th spot previously, but Jeter’s 3420th hit seems to be confusing when you look at the websites of both http://www.mlb.com and http://www.baseballreference.com

BBREF has Honus Wagner listed at 3420, which would have El Capitan tying that mark for 7th last night, while MLB has Wagner listed at 3430 Career Hits.

All will be a moot point when Jeter passes the 3431 hits plateau in a few weeks, and shortly after that he should nestle into the 6th slot for good, when he passes Cap Anson. (3435)

For those that still don’t give Derek Jeter the respect he deserves, the man also is the Career Hits leader ever for an Infielder.

Of his 3420 base knocks. 3337 have come as a SS and 81 at the DH position, which is ahead of Wagner, Anson, and Eddie Collins.

The other 2 hits come via pinch hitting.

Wagner and Anson both saw some time in the Outfield during their time. Read the rest of this entry

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 20, 2014

San Diego Padres - MLB.com - FSSD / HD

San Diego Padres – MLB.com – FSSD / HD

It is time for The Sunday Request on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

A potential no hitter in San Diego today showed why blacking out local games makes no sense.

Corey Kluber, Cole Hamels, Adam Jones, Paul Goldschmidt, Garrett Richards, Brett Anderson, Miguel Cabrera and Dee Gordon all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball?

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 18, 2014

The Sporting News

The Sporting News

The reaction to the In Memoriam video I produced overwhelmed me and makes be super pleased.

Meanwhile, I wonder if the Mariners are on the verge of making the correct move going into the second half of the season.

It is a going viral episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

The video was edited courtesy of Don Fito Productions, whose website is HERE.

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Every MLB ASG Going Fwd Should Have A Tribute To Those Fallen In Previous Year: A Comment On Sully Baseball’s Blog

Paul Sullivan’s   brilliant tribute video – They should hire him to do one of these every year!

MLB Reports Lead Personality ‘Sully’ did a fantastic job of writing an article about the way FOX did not give any acknowledgement towards Tony Gwynn during Tuesday’s ALL – Star Game on a post for his own website. I was going to write a similar article, but he nailed it perfectly, and you should read it here

My 2 cents:   

The MLB has had several baseball men die in the last year:  Ralph Kiner, Tony Gwynn, Bob Welch, Don Zimmer, Jim Fregosi, Jerry Coleman, and former executive (MLBPA president) Michael Weiner.

I think it would be a great job by baseball – if they were to add a segment to the ALL – Star Game, in which they pay homage to the heroes of yesteryear. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 16, 2014

JEFF ROBERSON/AP

JEFF ROBERSON/AP

Lousy hats, Derek Jeter overkill, pitchers not going long enough, a few rule changes and wondering where the tribute to Tony Gwynn was.

It is the All Star Game episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Mike Trout, Glen Perkins, Jonathan LuCroy and Tony Watson used the All Star Game to add to their totals for Who Owns Baseball?

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – June 25, 2014

ruth

Should MLB ban chewing tobacco? Of course they should! How is this even an issue?

That question and more on today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Gerardo Parra, Kyle Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Jose Quintana, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Carlos Santana, Yovani Gallardo and Danny Duffy  all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball.
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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – June 16, 2014

Jeff Topping Reuters

Jeff Topping Reuters

Today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast. is a tribute to Tony Gwynn, the best hitter of his generation and one of the easiest players to root for in baseball history.

May he rest in peace.

Derek Norris, Travis Wood, Troy Tulowitzki, Hisashi Iwakuma, Mike Trout, Chris Tillman, Jonathan Lucroy and Madison Bumgarner all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball

Read the rest of this entry

Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

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

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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Time To Elect Don Mattingly Into Cooperstown

Don Mattingly won 3 straight AL Sporting News Player of The Years - and was the best ALL-Around player in the game from 1984-1986 leading 13 Offensive Categories for the 3 years.  His 145 RBI in 1985 was the most for a LHB since Stan Musial in 1949.  He hit .340 with 656 Hits, 145 2B, 88 HRs, 368 RBI and only SO 112 times in 2131 PA's.  He also led the league in Doubles from 1984-1986.  Mattingly’s 388 Total bases in 1986 had been the most in the Majors since Willie Mays back in the 1962 season.  Mattingly won the first of 9 gold gloves in 1985.  Donnie Baseball also won the AL MVP in 1985 and was boldly robbed in 1986 by the writers voting for Roger Clemens. In 1987, Mattingly hit 6 grand slams and also homered in 8 straight games(including 10 total which was higher than Dale Long and Ken Griffey‘s 8 during their consecutive streaks.)  His average year for the 4 year stretch was .337, with 30 HRs, 45 2B and 120 RBI.  He also averaged 110 runs and 210 hits.  Mattingly only struck out 37 times a year for this span.  He was clearly the best ball player in this era.

Don Mattingly won 3 straight AL Sporting News Player of The Years – and was the best ALL-Around player in the game from 1984-1986 leading 13 Offensive Categories for the 3 years. His 145 RBI in 1985 was the most for a LHB since Stan Musial in 1949. He hit .340 with 656 Hits, 145 2B, 88 HRs, 368 RBI and only SO 112 times in 2131 PA’s. He also led the league in Doubles from 1984-1986. Mattingly’s 388 Total bases in 1986 had been the most in the Majors since Willie Mays back in the 1962 season. Mattingly won the first of 9 gold gloves in 1985.

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

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Okay, it is time for me to make my argument for my favorite player of all time to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. 

There will be several people that will say that Don Mattingly’s career stats of: H-2154, HR-222, RBI-1099, AVG-.307 and 9 Gold Gloves are not enough in just 14 seasons. 

I am not counting his 7 game-stint in 1982 with this.  As a rookie in 1983, Don only .hit .283 with 4 HRs and 32 RBIs.

Read the rest of this entry

Who Has Earned Their $ – And Who Has Not: The Top MLB Contracts Of All – Time Part 1 of 10

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Saturday Aug.10/2013

Mike Piazza has been linked to admission of using PED's during.  his career.  This will probably not go down favorably with the BBWAA.  Mike Piazza hit 427 HRs in his MLB Career (397 as a Catcher) to go along with a .308 Avg and 1335 RBI.

Mike Piazza has been linked to admission of using PED’s during. his career. This will probably not go down favorably with the BBWAA towards an entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mike Piazza hit 427 HRs in his MLB Career (397 as a Catcher) to go along with a .308 Avg and 1335 RBI. From 1999 – 2005, he signed a 7 YR/$91 MIL deal with the New York Mets after being acquired from the Miami Marlins.  He was full value for the franchise, hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .296/.373/.915.  In the 7 years of his deal, he blasted 197 HRs and drove in 579 RBI – despite missing half of the 2003 year.  He was the most prolific hitting Catcher during the era.

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

In doing a recent article about the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays ways of contracts, I thought I would delve into some of the biggest contracts of ALL – Time – in order to dissect them.

I have decided to break the articles up into a 10 part series that will go through the top 53 contracts in the history of the MLB.  We are going to count backwards.

Each week for the next 2 months, there will be a post over the weekend with a set of 5 or 6 players. 

At the MLB Reports, we are committed to being the best overall payroll/roster/depth chart/state of the union site for each club. Bookmark our page dedicated for keeping track of this here.

Signing high 8 or 9 digit Salaries is a risky business that can cripple a franchise for many years.  I mean who wouldn’t want to shed themselves of the biggest Free Agency contracts of late.

I think once we have gone through these all, you will see most of them have not lived up to the value they did – when they first received their deals.

Billy Beane, The A’s Management, The Rays front office and the Braves have been the best run franchises in terms of not making horrendous mistakes.

I have to give the ultimate edge to the A’s and Rays because of B.J. Upton‘s current 5 YR/$75 MIL contract looks to be the worst FA signing ever presently, he fell just short of being in this list.’

Tied for #49 are 5 players, and the 48 th biggest contract belongs to Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza Post 9/11 HR

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Triple Play Podcast Ep #9: Jays Misery, The Expos Franchise Mt. Rushmore + An Interview With Michael McKnight

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Monday, May  20th, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – Ian Hunter of bluejayhunter.com  ( and Michael McKnight [twitter-follow screen_name=’mcknight_mike_’ show_screen_name=’yes’

On this week’s show we once again find ourselves lamented the Blue Jays futility but this time Ian Hunter of bluejayhunter.com joins in the misery. Chris’ Expos jerseys inspires a trip down memory lane to pick our Expos Mt Rushmore. Finally Michael Mcknight of Sports Illustrated drops in to recount the tale of Brian Cole.  Its a must listen. Read the rest of this entry

Will Jose Bautista Get Back To His Hank Aaron Award Winning Ways in 2013?

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Friday, February. 08/2013

Jose Bautista with fellow Hank Aaron Award winner Joey Votto in 2010. In 2010 Bautista became the 26th player to ever hit 50+ HRs in a single season, eclipsing the mark with 54.

Jose Bautista with fellow Hank Aaron Award winner Joey Votto in 2010. In 2010 Bautista became the 26th player to ever hit 50+ HRs in a single season, eclipsing the mark with 54.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

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:

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Part 1 of a Series: All-Time All-Star Teams By Regionality

 

Friday November 23th, 2012

Note from Alex Mednick:  I am going to be putting together a small project that accumulates all the best players of all time, and puts them together on teams according to their birthplace.  For example, in this first edition I will be breaking down players from the United States of America into teams from the 1) Northeast, 2) Southeast, 3) Midwest, and 4) Southwest…(sorry, there really is not enough quality coming out of the northwest to compete with these teams…maybe I will put a Northwestern United States team in a later edition with less competitive teams).  Later on I will bring you teams assembled from the all-time greats out Central and South American (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, etc.) and the All-Caribbean Team (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, etc).  Also look forward to teams from Japan, Canada and the EU.  Should be fun to sort of assemble an “Olympics” of Baseball.  I love watching the World Baseball Classic and seeing players fight for their nations pride…but by grouping the teams by region, it might make the teams more competitive.  Of course, this is all for the sake of speculation; Babe Ruth was a great player, but I don’t think he will be taking any at-bat’s soon. (Also, please note that I do not lend consideration to relief pitchers in this analysis). Read the rest of this entry

Kyle Wilson Interview: Haley Smilow Talks Baseball with the Laredo Pitcher and Member of Team Great Britain in the WBC Qualifiers

Tuesday September 18th, 2012

MLB reports:  Great news folks, Haley is back! And of course, she has brought a friend. Our Junior MLB Correspondent is featured today with her interview of pitcher Kyle Wilson. The 29-year old Wilson is a baseball story of grinding every day and playing the game he loves. A 22nd round pick of the Dodgers in 2004, Kyle Wilson pitched 4 seasons in the Dodgers system. In 2008, he reached AA Jacksonville of the Southern League. The past few years, Kyle Wilson has played indy ball. In 2012, he spent time with both the Gary SouthShore RailCats and the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association.  

Timing for Haley worked out really well (as usual), given that Kyle Wilson is currently in Germany preparing to represent Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers! With the tournament set to begin tomorrow, we get to learn about one of its representatives- up close and personal. Featured today on MLB reports, Haley Smilow speaks one-on-one with pitcher Kyle Wilson:


HALEY:
I know your home games are played at U.S. Steel Yard, what are some of your other favorite ballparks?

KYLE: The best park I have played in was in Jacksonville, FL when I played for the Suns. The stadium was great and fans showed great support. The league I am currently in I would have to say that Kansas City and Winnipeg had the best facilities, fans, and accommodations. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 1: The Batters

Wedesday August 15th, 2012

Phil Plantier made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1990. During the 1992 season, Plantier crushed 11 HRs and added another 35 RBI in just 53 games. He was then traded in the off-season to the San Diego Padres for Jose Melendez. Plantier then thrived in California.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Music has one hit wonders, some have even made an entire career out of just one stretch of time where they were deemed relevant.  Baseball is like everything else, they have had their fair share of players that fit this mold.  In the next two weeks, we will take a look at hitters and pitchers that were really on fire for a stretch before they petered out just as fast.  I harken back to the movie ‘Tin Cup” for this next saying,  “Greatness Courts Failure.”  The difference between the two in baseball is so miniscule.  Unfortunately for every player that makes it to the show, hundreds never get their chance at all.  I am sure if you ask each one of these players if they were happy at their time in the Major Leagues, they would tell you that they thought they did not perform to their full capability.  

The players would think highly of the time they had their biggest successes and would wish they could have had more of the limelight for a prolonged stretch.  The fans of baseball are left to form their own opinions on these individuals.  Just like what happens in the world, there will be some fans who remember these guys fondly and others will turn the page on them, not thinking much at all.  The split is usually right down the middle.  The next five hitters are players that I remember making a big splash before bowing out just as quick as they came into prominence.   I contemplated adding Sam Fuld to this list, however he has a chance to play in the Major Leagues for years to come, so it is too early to list him amongst these men.  So at the very least, I will give him the video tribute down below before the page break.  Fuld is a great inspiration and I look forward to writing about him in future articles.  Also, other players I considered for this piece were Bob Hamelin and Rick Ankiel.  I gave Ankiel a pass in both pitching and hitting because he was so unique to have done both.  You can read a recent article I wrote about the man here .  In the end, I did not think Bob Hamelin had a standout performance even as a rookie.  He was lucky to have such a weak class of rookies to compete against in the year he won it.

Read the rest of this entry

Passing of the Torch as The Greatest Player in The MLB: From Pujols to Hamilton

Wednesday June.6, 2012

Josh Hamilton is on pace for 64 HRs and 177 RBI in 2012 with a .345 AVG. He has taken over as the best player in MLB from Albert Pujols -Photo Courtesy of http://www.real-fans.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time.  I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow up articles.  I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players.  I did agonize over Mike Schmidt,  Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration.  In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion.  The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

George Brett won batting titles in 3 different decades and flirted with .400 in 1980 while hitting .390 for the year. -Photo courtesy of lanius.wordpress.com

George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983.  He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders.  He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979.  In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league.  In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again.  Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979.  In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series.  He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average.  This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983.  Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose  George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry

Don Mattingly has managed The Dodgers to the ‘Best Record in the MLB’

Wednesday, May.30/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-At first glance at the LA Dodgers you will see a team that leads the Major League with a 32-17 record heading into action tonight.  Matt Kemp has missed the last two weeks of action and yet the team still continues to put up wins.  Before his injury, Kemp was playing like an MVP candidate and Andre Ethier has racked up 43 RBI to the lead the National League.  Clayton Kershaw has been his usual dominant self.  Key pitching contributions from Chris Capuano (7-1) and Ted Lilly (5-1) have paced the club in the pitching department, where they rank 2nd in a lot of categories amongst pitching staffs in the NL and the Majors.

Don Mattingly has battled several injuries, a team of platoon players, a lowered payroll due to the impending ownership changes en route to this record.  It is clear why the Dodgers are winning ball games, Mattingly is making good managerial decision at the key times.  When you look at how the current club is configured, you would see there is great baseball pedigree in the stable.  There are 4 sons of ex major league ball players on the roster: Scott Van Slyke (son of Andy), Tony Gwynn Jr. (son of Tony Sr.), Dee Gordon (son of Tom) and Jerry Hairston Jr (son of Jerry Sr.)  These guys are hardly trailblazing their way to Cooperstown anytime soon, however they play good fundamental baseball having grown up in Major League clubhouses.  (On a side note, I would pay good money to see a father son game with these boys versus their fathers.) Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Jaff Decker: Padres Prospect and Future MLB Superstar

Wednesday December 14, 2011

 

Jonathan Hacohen:  Get ready folks, as you are in for a big treat today.  Exclusively on MLB reports, we have one of the top prospects in the game, outfielder Jaff Decker of the San Diego Padres.  Jaff was recently featured by us prior to this interview.  As a former 1st round pick of the Padres (2008 draft, 42nd overall), Jaff came to professional baseball as a very highly touted talent.  After working hard and improving every year in the minors, Jaff is on the verge of cracking the Padres lineup in the near future.  I had a chance to take some time to speak with Jaff recently.  We discussed his childhood, learning the game of baseball, getting drafted in the 1st round, his career to-date and future plans in baseball.  Despite being featured in many baseball publications and rated as a top prospect in the game, it was refreshing to find that Jaff has not allowed his notoriety to get to his head.  He is a down-to-earth person, who genuinely works hard and takes nothing for granted.  He believes in himself and his abilities, but with a strong sense of humor and humility.  I project that Jaff will have a long and productive career in the big leagues.  He has the talent, work ethic and focus to succeed in baseball.  Attention Padres fans: Jaff Decker is knocking on the doorstep and will be a big part of your Padres team very soon.   

Featured on MLB reports, I am absolutely thrilled to present my interview with Jaff Decker.  Former 1st Round Pick.  San Diego Padres Outfield Prospect and Future MLB Superstar:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports Jaff.  It is a pleasure to be speaking with you.  As you are a highly rated prospect in the game, do you receive many requests for interviews at this stage of your career?

Jaff Decker:  It has definitely started to pick up more and more as I have moved up each year in levels, especially with the teams I have played on the last couple of years.  Winning 2 championships out of 3 years has really helped the interviews out.

 

MLB reports:  It is impossible to have a conversation about Jaff Decker without first discussing the walks.  You had 85 walks in 2009 and 103 this past season.  How did you become a walk/obp machine?  At what age did you develop your strong batting eye?

Jaff Decker:  I would have to say it is pretty hard to go without talking about the walks I have had the past couple of years. Good and bad. My dad has taught me everything I know about the game of baseball and the hitting aspect of it. He has always taught me great fundamentals and has preached to me that “a pitcher has 3 pitches to get you out.  As the pitchers pitch you, work the count. A walk is just as good as a hit.”  But I am also learning to be a little more aggressive in the count as well, which I have worked real hard on by watching film and working on pitches.

 

MLB reports:  I often use Nick Swisher and Adam Dunn as comparisons to you.  What current and former players did you grow up idolizing and/or patterning your game after?  Have the names that I mentioned come up before?

Jaff Decker:  Yes, actually Nick Swisher has come up a lot.  I really enjoy watching how hard he plays the game and how much he enjoys playing this great game. Growing up though the years, it was always Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tony Gwynn. I had so many opportunities to watch them play being from Arizona, so I always watching them during the spring. Funny story: when I was about 5-years-old, I caught a home run ball over Tony and actually got the ball signed by him after that inning.  That will always be a great moment in my mind.

 

MLB reports:  You were a 1st round pick in 2008.  One of the highest honors a young player can experience in the game.  Did you know that you would be drafted that high going into the draft and were the Padres the team that you expected to take you?

Jaff Decker:  Being drafted where I was a great accomplishment.  We had a huge party at my house during the draft and all my family and friends were there to experience it with me.  When my name finally got called, it felt like the house was shaking (laugh).  To answer your question, I actually had no idea that the Padres were going to pick me there. There were many teams that had talked to me before. But they (the Padres) kind of flew under the radar and I couldn’t be happier with this organization.

 

MLB reports:  What was the first “big” purchase you made after signing with the Padres?

Jaff Decker:  My first and only purchase was a car. Everything else has been put away. But I did have to promise my mom who is a teacher that I would go back to school after I was done playing (grin).

 

MLB reports:  You started off the first two seasons of your career with a bang.  How did you find your 2010 season?  What was that season like and tell us about your strong finish that year.

Jaff Decker:  I had battled an injury during the first half of 2010 and I struggled a little bit.  It (the injury) did get to me a little bit, as I was not helping the team like I knew I was capable of doing. So I had a few days off at the all-star break that year and went home.  Just like when I was younger, my dad spent those 3 or 4 days putting in many hours in the cage with me working on the fundamentals and just the mental side of hitting.  When I came back, everything fell back on track. The big thing was not trying to do too much at the plate and just trusting myself and to start using the whole field again.

 

MLB reports:  Your 2011 season was magical in my eyes.  You crossed the magical 100 walks plateau, while flashing strong power, driving in and scoring runs at a healthy clip.  Looking back on this past year, what are your feelings?  Satisfied?  Areas of improvement?

Jaff Decker:  I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% satisfied.  I felt that I had ups and downs all year and my struggles related to being too patient at times at the plate.  There were points that I would know when I was getting pitched around.  No excuses at all, but I became a little complacent with what I call “maybe pitches”, that were called strikes by the umpires, but in my eyes were balls.  We also didn’t play in the most hitter-friendly ballpark.  I did feel though that I came up with some big hits at times during the season. But I still need to work on different parts of my game to get to where I want to be and stay there.

 

MLB reports:  In my estimation, you clearly put yourself in the driver’s seat going into 2012.  You are turning 22 in February.  What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Jaff Decker:  I would have to say my goals would include coming to spring training in better shape again. I love proving people wrong and to show them that I can be a five-tool player, even without being 6 feet and built like a specimen. But I want to work hard to prove them (the critics) wrong and I just try to soak everything I can in.  I work out at a place with many proven big leaguers. I just can sit and listen to what they say for hours because I know they have been there and who better to learn from than them.

 

MLB reports:  Have you watched and/or read Moneyball?  You have been labelled a Moneyball-player throughout your career.  Thoughts? 

Jaff Decker:  Yes I have seen the movie (big laugh) and I loved it.  I love seeing that a ballclub can be put together that is not based on how you look, but how you control the game of baseball.  Because by no means when you look at me, am I built like a brick house.  But I’ve been taught how to play the game the right way and I think it’s helped me get to where I am today.

 

MLB reports:  Is conditioning a strong concern for you, either as your own goal or anything communicated by the team?

Jaff Decker:  Conditioning is huge for me.  Like I said earlier, I am no way a guy you look at and say he could be a model (chuckle).  I do have to work harder than some other guys and be smarter how I treat my body.  I am learning how to do that and love seeing everyone’s faces when I show up after a long hard offseason of workouts and preparation.

 

MLB reports:  You hit .236 this past season, but have a career .273 AVG.  You also have a .411 lifetime OBP.  How do you view OBP, strikeouts, batting average and home runs as part of your game?  If the walks and home runs remain consistent, is there any concern that your average needs to be raised?

Jaff Decker:  I believe that I had a slight down year in the average department, but I know I can hit a whole lot better than I did.  I felt like I came through with runners in scoring position and by walking, I got on base for the middle of the lineup behind me.  Getting on base equals scoring runs (laugh).  But my power was there throughout this year.  It was just about taking what the pitcher gives me, even if it’s a single the other way instead of a double in the gap.

 

MLB reports:  Long-term, do you project that you will remain in the outfield?  How important is defense to your overall game?

Jaff Decker:  I believe I can handle my own in the outfield. I have worked very hard every year and tried to learn a lot from other guys.  A big part of my game on defense is getting good jumps and routes on balls, because I can run well- but not blazing.  I need that to become a great outfielder and that is what I have worked very hard on every year to become better at.  I love being able to take hits away from opposing batters, especially if they (the other team) are taking them away from me (big laugh).

 

MLB reports:  The MLB reports crystal ball sees you arriving in San Diego as early as this upcoming year and latest 2013.  When do you see yourself arriving in The Show?  What do you need to do to get there?

Jaff Decker:  That is great to hear (big grin).  I know I can play this game with the best of them.  I always have and when the chance comes, I don’t plan on missing it.  I have some things to iron out and I am working day and night to become that complete player that I know I can be.

 

MLB reports:  Did you always know that you would be a professional baseball player?  What would you be doing right now if you weren’t playing ball?

Jaff Decker:  Honestly I get that question a lot. I have asked my mom and dad the same thing.  They said they knew the time I first stepped on the field and was diving for balls, throwing guys out and just had a natural feel for the game.  Even when I was 4 or 5, I was playing with older boys and having to lie about my age so I could play with them.  I have always loved this game since I can remember.  I was constantly standing in front of the television and mimicking all the big leaguers stances.  I was even sleeping with my new bats or gloves.  There is honestly nothing else I could be doing right now… or ever.

 

MLB reports:  Last question Jaff:  What legacy do you want to leave in baseball?  What do you need to do to have a successful baseball career?

Jaff Decker:  I want to be remembered as the guy that played this game to the fullest, had fun doing it and played the best I could every time I stepped in-between the lines. Even if I didn’t have my best stuff every game, you can always say that I went out there with everything I had to be great.

 

Jaff Decker:  Thanks again Jonathan and I look forward to being back on MLB reports soon. Thanks for everything.  I have really enjoyed speaking with you!

 

Thank you to Jaff Decker for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports.  We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Jaff.  You can also  find Jaff Decker on Twitter (@JaffDecker22).  He may be a top MLB prospect, but yes- he does answer back!

 

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

 

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.

On the Verge: Top MLB Prospect Jaff Decker

Sunday December 11, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen:  In this edition of On the Verge, I take a look at one of the prospects in the game today:  Jaff Decker of the San Diego Padres.  Today’s feature is part one of our two-part series on Jaff.  Coming up later this week, we will be bringing you my exclusive interview with Jaff Decker.  As part of the interview, Jaff talks baseball, including growing up and learning the game and his future in San Diego.  Keep an eye out, as I definitely enjoyed learning about Jaff and hearing about his story in his own words.  A must read for every baseball fan!

So why the excitement and hype surrounding Jaff Decker?  It is very simple.  While there are many prospects that play the game every year, there are few “special” ones that will leave an impact in the game.  Jaff Decker is one of those special players.  Born February 23rd, Jaff will be 22-years-of-age come opening day.  Drafted in the 1st round (42nd overall) by the Padres in 2008, San Diego uncovered a hidden gem in selecting Jaff.  Just take a look at the his numbers and you will be blown away.

Jaff played across two levels in his first professional season.  Playing between Rookie and Low-A Ball, Jaff put up an incredible .343 AVG, .513 OBP and .521 SLG.  He walked more than he struck out (57 to 41), and even stole 9 bases in 10 tries.  In 2009, Jaff moved to Fort Wayne (A-Ball) and continued his assault on minor league pitching.  He put up a .299 AVG, with a .442 OBP, .514 SLG and 16 home runs in only 104 games.  Jaff had close to a 1:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio (85/92).  The sky was limit at this point as most major baseball publications and analysts began to view Jaff as a can’t miss prospect.

2010 unfortunately was a difficult season for Jaff.  He moved to Lake Elsinore (High-A Ball).  Between injuries and slumps, Jaff started off the year very slowly and had a difficult time getting untracked.  He was able to salvage the year with a strong second half and still finished with 17 home runs in only 79 games.  He hit .262 with a strong .374 OBP and .500 SLG.  The walks and strikeouts though told a different story, as he walked only 47 times and struck out 80 times.  It appeared to me that he was pressing that year and was moving away from his usual patience approach.  I was looking forward to 2011 and to see what Jaff could do matched up against AA pitching.  I certainly was not disappointed.

Last season turned out to be Jaff’s best year in professional baseball.  The strong combination of power and patience displayed throughout his career continued to shine as he blossomed into one of the top slugging prospects in the game.  Playing a full season in AA, Jaff hit a career high 19 home runs, drove in 92 RBIs and scored 90 runs.  He stole 15 bases in 20 attempts, making him a viable 30/30 candidate in the future.  While his average was down to .237, the OBP remained a steady .373 to go along with a .417 SLG.  While Jaff has shown higher averages and OPS numbers in previous years, I feel that looking at his body of work as a whole, 2011 was the breakout year.  Jaff took 103 walks, while striking out 145 times.  So while his strikeouts should be cut down a bit, he was not pressing and went back to his patient ways.  A great sign of things to come.

When I think of comparables to Jaff Decker, I think of Adam Dunn and Nick Swisher.  Sluggers that hit a fair amount of home runs, take a ton of walks and get on base at high clip.  If Jaff stays on his current path, that is very good company to be in.  We should find out very soon, as I project Jaff Decker to likely make his major league debut sometime this year, with a full-time MLB job by 2013.  As he progresses to San Diego, Jaff will have new challenges to face.  A young developing team where he will be expected to become an offensive savior.  Ballpark dimensions that are not conducive to hitters.  A great deal of pressure on a young hitter.  But Jaff Decker appears to not only have the talent, but the right attitude and approach for his future role.  A smart young man who is well-mannered, he should fit in well in the laid back San Diego area.  For a team that has been looking for its next franchise player since the departure of Tony Gwynn, they made have indeed found him in Jaff Decker.  

Get to know Jaff Decker more intimately next week, as we feature my interview with the Padres prospect.  Stay tuned for part-two of our Jaff Decker series, coming up on MLB reports! 

 


 

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

 

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.

Time to Elect Don Mattingly into Cooperstown

Monday December 5, 2011


Doug Booth-  Guest Baseball Writer:  Okay, it is time for me to make my argument for my favorite player of all time to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  There will be several people that will say that Don Mattingly’s career stats of: H-2154, HR-222, RBI-1099, AVG-.307 and 9 Gold Gloves are not enough in just 14 seasons.  I am not counting his 7 game-stint in 1982 with this.  As a rookie in 1983, Don only .hit .283 with 4 HR’S and 32 RBI’s. In Donnie’s first year as a full time first baseman, he led the AL with a .343 AVG-with 23 HR’S and 110 RBI’s, also leading the league in hits with 207 and 2B’s with 48.

They say that if you have a shortened career-(and Mattingly’s back injury in the late eighties certainly robbed him of a definite Hall of Fame Career,) then you better have an incredible stretch as the best player in baseball.  It is my belief that Don Mattingly was the best all-around player from 1984-1989, with apologies to Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, Don’s incredible consistency during this 6 year stretch included these numbers.  A .327 AVG with 160 HR’s and a staggering 682 RBI’s with 257 doubles and 1219 hits.  Nobody had more RBI’s and extra base hits in that time frame.  Only Wade Boggs had more hits.  The 6 year AVG breaks down to an AVG of .327 with H-204, 2B-43, HR-27 and RBI-114.  What is most impressive is that Mattingly only averaged 33 strikeouts a season/or about 1/23 Plate appearances in this stretch.

During this stretch-Mattingly was also an All-star for 6 straight seasons-and was a Gold Glover for 5 years straight from 85-89.  Donnie led the league in doubles three times, (84-86), hits twice, (84-86), total bases twice, (85-86), AVG in ’86, slugging and OBP in 1986.  Don’s 145 RBI’s in 1985 were the most RBI’s by a left hander since the 1960’s.  The same could be said for his 388 total bases in 1986.   Other dominant stretches included his 1987 power streaks, in which he hit a record-6 grand slams(since equaled by Travis Hafner,) and also is still tied for homering in a record-tying 8 straight games (and should be the official leader because only Don hit 10 HR’S in that stretch of 8 games.) Mattingly is a silver slugger three times over (84-86), and The Sporting News Player of the Year for the seasons of (84-86). Don was the AL MVP in 1985, and finished 2nd in 1986 to Roger Clemens, but for hitting he was listed as #1.   His 1984 and 1987 seasons also garnered serious MVP considerations. All impressive for a man who was not considered a power hitting prospect.

Back injuries slowed Mattingly down from 1990-1995, where he lost most of his power, but he was a .290 contact hitter who would still drive in about 80-85 RBI’S per year.  If he could have kept playing healthy, instead of retiring at the age of 34, he would have had nearly 3000 hits, and probably would have hit 600-700 2B, and 300 HR’s-with about 1600 RBI’S.  He probably would have finished up career with an AVG. that was near .300.  You could probably add 3-5 more Gold Gloves as well.  Instead, he finished with 2154 hits.  His .307 career average will be one of the higher averages never to be in the Hall of Fame if he is not voted in.  Don’s average season is still .307 with 20 HR’S, 97 RBI’S, with close to 200 hits and 40 doubles.

Another fact that gets overlooked was Don’s strikeout ratio to plate appearances.  Mattingly only struck out 444 times in 7721 PA’s, or once every 19 times.  This stat is unbelievable for a modern age hitter-and 444 Strikeouts is only 2 less doubles than the man hit in his career with 442.  Only Tony Gwynn has had a better ratio for striking out in the last 50 years.  You add the 9 Gold Gloves-(2nd all-time for a 1B), and this man should be gaining more consideration for the hall.

Other comparisons in numbers for players already in the Hall, would be Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, Puckett for average and power, while Rice has similar offensive numbers for his 162 game AVG.  Rice had a few more HR’s and RBI’s while Mattingly had a better AVG. and had more hits/doubles for an average season.  Both played 14 seasons.

For all of those kids watching Donnie Baseball play live, or on TV, we saw a guy that exemplified a professional hitter.  Amongst fielding 1st baseman that I have seen, no one has ever been better.  His swing was pure poetry in motion, even when he older, it must have drove pitchers crazy that they could not strike him out.  I am only sad that Don Mattingly has missed out on all of the Yankees championship seasons.

At least his fans can always recall his last at bat in the 1995 playoffs where he crushed a homer in a 5th game loss to the Mariners in the ALDS.  It was a great career shortened by back injuries.  If defensive prowess is deemed a lot more lucrative for a Hall of Fame bid, once again they have to consider ‘Donnie Baseball.’


*** Thank you to Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***

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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