Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 16th, 2012
Saturday June 16th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
JH: Happy Father’s Day one and all! Yes, Father’s Day is technically tomorrow. But being a dad myself to two amazing boys, I say let’s make it a Father’s Weekend! Heck, I already got my gift and breakfast this morning…a whole day early. Off to watch baseball all weekend, as the Toronto Tommy Johns face the Philadelphia Disabled List. Yes, I am being a tad sarcastic this morning. But can you blame me? The Blue Jays are 6.5 out of 1st, 1 game out of the AL East basement. The Phillies are already 9 games out, firmly at the bottom of the NL East. I was hoping to see Roy Halladay this weekend, but that dream is dead. At least I get to see Cliff Lee vs. Ricky Romero. Lee is 0-3 in the middle of June? Romero is 7-1? I predict Lee will dominate the Jays and grab his first win of the year, while Romero will get lit up like a Christmas tree. Or so the crystal ball says.
Which brings me to the two points of discussion before we get to your baseball questions. 2012 in my book will go down as the year of the Tommy John surgeries and no-hitters. On MLB reports, we have been keeping track of all the baseball Tommy John surgeries, in 2012 and in the history of the game. We have a dedicated TJ Surgery Tracker page devoted to the latest Tommy John news. Seemingly every week we have a new name to the list. Since the start of March, there have been on the average 2 players per week (mostly pitchers) requiring the surgery. In Toronto, it appears that Kyle Drabek may be the next candidate as he heads off to meet with Dr. James Andrews next week. Joining him on the flight to Florida could be Drew Hutchinson, as the young pitcher left his start last night after 9 pitches with “elbow soreness”. He felt a pop in his elbow, just as Kyle Drabek had said. If I had to estimate the stats, 999/1000 elbow pops are not good. If Drabek/Hutchinson both require Tommy John surgery, they may become the first teammates to require the surgery on the same week. Heck, probably the first starting pitchers on the same team for sure.
This has been a year of Tommy Johns. Joakim Soria. Ryan Madson. The list goes on and on. Bookmark the TJ Tracker and please e-mail/message us if you have any names that we missed. The page is getting updated daily, including surgeries from the past. We intend to have the most complete baseball Tommy John surgery list. So thank you all for your assistance!
A big shoutout to Matt Cain for his perfecto this week. Living on the East Coast, it was tough to stay up for that one. Wish I did. Matt Cain has always been a fave of mine. One of the most underrated pitchers in the game. Now he has a place in baseball history. Considering all the no-nos this year (Weaver, Humber, Santana, Mariners combined no-no) and this year is really shaping up to be the year of the No-Hitter. Ironic isn’t it. The year that so many pitchers are going down to TJ surgery, happens to be the same year that so many pitchers are achieving pitching perfection in the number of no-hitters. Irony in baseball. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now on to our regularly scheduled baseball questions:
Q: If Canada does not qualify (for the 2012 WBC), is there still a chance of games being played in Toronto? The Bull
JH: Howdy Bull! I get asked this one quite a bit. Here is what I will lay down for you. I attended every single opening round game played in Toronto back in the 2009 WBC tournament. Aside from the first two opening games, the attendance and interest in the games was minimal at best. Even with team Venezuela in the pool and having its energetic fans dancing in the stands, Toronto did not show well in the WBC. I recall Kevin Youkilis for example, indicating that it was embarrassing how bad the vibe was in Toronto for the WBC games. I will say this about Canada. They head to Germany in September to face off against Germany, Great Britain and the Czech Republic. Not exactly baseball powerhouses. One of these countries will advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament. I think Germany will be scarier than most people realize, given the amount of players with German descent. But this pool is being played at a difficult time. In September, few teams will release players for the tournament. Thus Canada may not be able to send most of its stars and fall behind the 8-ball so to speak for the qualifiers. With or without its top players, Canada will be in touch to make the 2013 WBC. Whether they qualify or not, based on the poor attendance and atmosphere in Toronto for the previous WBC, I say there is a 0% chance that you will see another WBC game played in Toronto for a LONG TIME. With so many hopeful excited countries begging to host WBC games, I don’t see the tournament organizers feeling the love for picking Toronto as another destination. If you love the World Baseball Classic as much as I do, invest in the television package or get ready to buy some airplane tickets.
Q: I disagree with your choice at first base. I agree Fielder is a very good player however, Paul Konerko is hitting 50 points higher. Largely a result of his hitting and might I add fielding (first error of the season tonight) has his team, against the odds at season start, in first place. Also give some consideration to him for being in the league for over a decade. John
JH: Thank you for your comment John. It is hard to argue with your points. Konerko is currently batting .362 with a .438 OBP (both lead the league). 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 26 walks, .592 SLG. Prince is batting .317, with a .390 OBP, .506 SLG, 10 home runs, 42 RBIs and 27 walks. Both have been playing amazingly well and deserve to make it to Kansas City for the All-Star game next month. But as good as Fielder has been, Konerko has been just a step better. Look at that average and obp. Plus Konerko has led his White Sox to a great start, while the Tigers are off to a disappointing first half. Konerko is 36 and has time running out, while Fielder is in his prime. For all that he has achieved, this year and in year’s gone by- I am totally cool with giving the honor of the starting job to Paul Konerko. Now let’s see if MLB fans agree with us in the voting!
Q: Is MLB happy the way the ’12 first yr player draft went? Do you see some teams going over their $$ limit? Are agents upset? Old Man Mack
JH: Good question from the biggest fan of ATR, our regular contributor OMM. He loves baseball just as much as I do, maybe more! With the 2012 MLB Draft in the books, many people are asking whether the new format works. I would say in a nutshell, yes! Players are signing quicker than ever before. Teams have more cost certainty and guidelines to follow. I really don’t see any team other than the Pirates going over their limit (IF Mark Appel signs, which I believe that he will). Players/agents can be upset and threaten to not sign, but at the end of the day I think that presents too much risk. What if the player gets hurt in college or indy ball? Or performs poorly? That 1st round pick that is holding out today could translate to a 15th round pick in the future, if they are drafted at all. Teams are tired of playing games. Before drafting players, most wanted to know if the player wanted to play for their team and was ready to sign. Any hesitation and the team moved on to the next choices. With so many talented prospects all over the world, teams can allocate their budgets to players that have the desire to play. This will mean that some talented players will fall through the cracks. But if those players are dead-set on receiving astronomical contracts, they may have to go play in Japan or pick another sport. I can’t say that I have a problem with the system, for a simple reason. Again, teams only have so many dollars to go around. I would rather see the big money go to the players that have earned it, that have shown they can play with a proven track record. To see those established players lose out on contract dollars to unproven commodities is foolish in my book. Yes, the draft can produce a Harper or Trout. But those are once in a lifetime players. For every Bryce Harper, there are 10,000 Russ Adams and Donovan Tates. We will see in 3 years if the new draft system is working. But as far as how this year has gone, baseball as a whole couldn’t be happier. Less holdouts, quicker signing periods translates to players under contract and in uniforms a lot quicker. Fewer players to miss out on a partial season of ball. That is a good thing for player development and teams. A win-win in my book.
Q: Who do you want in the home run derby?
I have this:
I didn’t include Josh Hamilton because he said he is not doing it.
Also, which MLB player drafted in 2012 draft do you think will be the most successful?
JH: I get weekly e-mails from Robert, the man thinks a lot about baseball and comes up with many great questions. Two great topics Robert. Let me start off with your second question. Which 2012 MLB draftee will the most successful? Wow, I think that I would have a better chance to pick out the winning lottery numbers for the lottery 4 weeks in a row! Reason? There are so many drafted players that could do so many things in the game. Not all the best players are drafted 1st overall, or even in the 1st round! Plus we have to consider opportunities, coaching, injuries, attitude, hustle, attitude…the variables are overwhelming. We will not know who was the best player in this draft likely for another 7 years or so. That is how long it takes to develop and establish oneself in baseball. Heck, many of these guys will be lucky to make the bigs in 3 years. I am not even going to venture a guess because the odds are just not there.
Getting to the Home Run Derby, I like your choice of candidates. Captains Robinson Cano and Matt Kemp have a difficult job. They have to find qualified candidates who will perform well and agree to participate. Too many derbies have ruined too many swings in the past. Remember Bobby Abreu? So I agree that Hamilton will not be there. CarGo and Braun are solid choices, young and popular. Both should be there and hopefully will agree to go. Bryce Harper…yeah, I would like to see him as a fan. But no way that he or the Nationals will let him participate. It will be fun for baseball and draw a bazillion viewers. But he is too young and it is too much pressure and risk for him to participate. Maybe Adam LaRoche instead. Carlos Beltran. Jay Bruce. There are other options instead. For the AL, you hit the nail on the head. I don’t see Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and gang participating. Maybe Adam Dunn? Mark Trumbo has shown a sweet home run stroke this year. Papi is Papi. Jose Bautista has been a beast for the last couple of years. Not sure if he will want to participate though. Maybe Adam Jones. Jones and Dun, the two Adams should receive consideration. Seemingly, the American League has more pure home run hitters in its ranks. Coincidence?
Q: Hi Jonathan,
I emailed you a while back about my expansion idea. I loved the feedback you gave me, so I improved on it a bit. Joe
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Tampa Bay Rays (Side note: I’ve read that the Rays’ attendance might
grow if they built a new stadium in Tampa instead of St. Pete. Do you
think Orlando would be a better choice?)
Los Angeles Angels
San Diego Padres
New York Mets
Montreal Expos (Expansion Team)
St. Louis Cardinals
Charlotte Knights (Expansion Team)
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
JH: Radical MLB expansion and realignment ideas!!! Joe, I like your ideas for the most part. You have expansion teams in Charlotte and Montreal (don’t know about that one). The Rays in Orlando? Maybe. But I say they stay in Tampa Bay with a new stadium to come eventually. The A’s in Portland? Sure. Works for me! I like to go even further in the realignment game, as I think a complete overhaul is in order. But you have created an interesting dynamic. Your west and south divisions are really interesting. The NL South, AL West and AL South especially. I don’t favor that AL South division. Not seeing the dynamic and too many mix and matched up teams. I think its time for the Marlins and Rays to be in the same division. Angels, Padres, A’s and Mariners could work. But I would love to see the Padres, Angels, Dodgers and Giants in the same division. I really like the geographical alignments. A great stab at covering many baseball topics at the same time. Would love to hear what the readers think of this one. Do you think Joe is on to something. Or is he off his rocker? I will give him a B+. Great ideas and starting point, but a little more tweaking in order. Any plan that has baseball back in Montreal and no Marlins/Rays in the same division won’t get my final signature of approval. But I am definitely listening.
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Posted on June 16, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2012 mlb draft, ask the reports, atr, baseball, baseball questions, canada, home run derby, mlb, mlb expansion, mlb realignment, no hitter, Tommy John Surgery, wbc, world baseball classic. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.