Daily Archives: June 1, 2011
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Wednesday June 1, 2011
Q: Might be late, but a question for you. I love hitting pitchers. Who are some of the best of all time? From Larry, Laughlin.
MLB reports: Larry, as our #1 fan, you really know how to come up with great questions. An interesting question but one that is a little difficult to answer. As baseball has evolved, we have seen the introduction of the designated hitter, specialized relievers and closers. As years have gone by, pitchers have been hitting less and less. If we were to look overall at the “best” hitting pitchers, the discussion would begin and end with the greatest hitter of all time, Babe Ruth. To those of you that enjoy studying baseball history, Babe actually started off as a pitcher and was very good. Babe has a 94-46 career record as a pitcher, with a 2.28 ERA and 1.159 WHIP. At those numbers, Babe would have made the hall of fame even if he had stayed on the mound. But as he spent most of his career in the outfield, most people would not think of as Babe as a great hitting pitcher, just a great hitter. Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Walter Johnson were also decent hitting pitchers in their days, who could pop a few home runs. Looking at hitting pitchers of today, Carlos Zambrano, Micah Owings, and Jake Peavy when he was in the NL were all strong hitters. Rick Ankiel, before moving the outfield, was probably one of the best hitting pitchers at the time. Pitchers who can hit are out there, but as you can see from the list, they are a rare breed. If I have my way and the DH is abolished, we might see more pitchers enter this list in the future.
Q: Possible question for MLB reports. I Mat Latos finally back? From Nolan, Parts Unknown.
MLB reports: Mat Latos, the next great ace in baseball appears to have finally turned a corner. He has pitched really well in 3 of his last 4 starts and was outstanding last night, with 2 earned runs given up in 6.0 innings with 7 strike outs. After starting the year on the DL and taking time to come back to form, Latos has decent numbers on the year. A 3-6 record with a 3.97 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Let’s remember that he pitches for a very weak Padres team that has a difficult time scoring runs and clawing out wins. Latos would be a 15-20 game winner on a contender and his numbers are telling me that he is back. By season’s end, we should see the Mat Latos that we all have come to know and admire.
Q: Your thoughts on Eric Thames thus far? From J, Toronto.
MLB reports: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Thames recently at an autograph signing during the sleepover at the ballpark night at the Rogers Centre. The man has the biggest smile that you will ever see. Thames really gives the impression that he appreciates his place in the big leagues and does not take anything for granted. Watching him also during BP, he appears to be very intense and focused at developing his skills. That being said, his solid numbers in the minors have not yet translated to the majors. The 24-year old 7th round pick from the 2008 draft was hitting .342 in AAA at the time of his promotion with 6 home runs in 36 games. So far he has not hit a home run for the Jays and is batting .265. With Adam Lind due back, Lawrie about to be promoted and Travis Snider hitting .298 in AAA, the Blue Jays roster is becoming very crowded. I really like what I have seen thus far from Thames and I feel that he has a future in the Jays outfield. Having got his feet wet in the bigs, I believe that he needs a little more seasoning to develop the power side of his game and then be able to return back to Toronto with a vengeance. Thames has 20+ home runs in his bat and has shown a good eye at the plate. The potential is there and I hope that he is able to fulfil it.
Q: Will Anthony Rendon be the first overall pick in next week’s MLB draft? From Kathy, San Francisco.
MLB reports: Everything that I have read and seen from Anthony Rendon tell me that he should be the first overall pick in this year’s draft. However, injury concerns and the development of Gerrit Cole say that the Pirates will be drafting Cole next week. My prediction is that Rendon will go #2 to the Mariners and not fall past Arizona with the 3rd pick. The consensus #1 overall pick for some time, Rendon’s stock has gone up and down this year. Having broken his ankle and suffered a shoulder strain, the injury concerns will possibly scare off the Pirates from selecting him. Given the Pirates need for offense and inability to develop pitchers over the past few years, I would pick Rendon if given the choice. But the Pirates loss will likely be the Mariners gain, with Rendon and Dustin Ackley forming a 1-2 punch in their lineup for years to come.
Q: Best thing you ever ate or drank at a ballpark? I’m hungry! From Frank, Milwaukee.
MLB reports: Grab a sandwich my man, lol! I have not been to a game to watch the Brewers but I have heard that you have some great food at your park. I will say that I honestly love food and have eaten everything that you can imagine at a ball game. From nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, turkey legs, perogies, chili, brisket sandwiches, fried chicken, stir fry….my stomach has seen and digested it all (thank goodness for tums!) My personal fave though? That’s easy. I am a true old school baseball guy and I would order hebrew national hot dogs off the grill at Comerica Park any day, with onions to boot. To wash it all down? Sometimes a blue slushy is my beverage. But in Comerica they have Cuervo green margaritas on tap. On a nice summer afternoon at the ballpark, nothing can beat that. Bottoms up and enjoy!
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