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Daily Archives: July 8, 2012

2012 State Farm MLB All-Star Home Run Derby Preview

 

Sunday July 8th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): The Mid-Summer Classic is upon us and this is the time for some of the best players in all of Major League Baseball to show what they got. The National League will face the American League in the State Farm Home Run Derby on July 9th. There will be four players from each league. The captain for the National League is Matt Kemp and for the American League it will be Robinson Cano.

The National League squad brings four guys that can just straight rake. Those four guys include Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran and Andrew McCutchen (a last minute replacement for the injured Giancarlo Stanton). This is a team that has a great chance to win this event with having two right-handers, a lefty and a switch hitter. Kauffman Stadium is a stadium that can see balls flying out of it completely. Beltran is going back to where his career began and where the fans hated that he left. This could become a warm welcome back for Beltran, or it could become a disappointment if he doesn’t do well.

The American League is bringing some heavy sluggers of its own to the show. Team captain Robinson Cano selected  Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, and Prince Fielder. Cano also picked a lefty like himself and 2 righties. This could turn out to be one of the best Home Run Derby’s EVER! So much power in one place, it could cause a power outage close to Kauffman. Cano the reigning champion has a great chance to win. I don’t believe he does though.

My predicted champion of the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby is Carlos Beltran! Beltran coming back to Kansas City has a breakout day and wins by 4 homers. In a close second is Jose Bautista making up for his performance last season. The National League ends up winning the challenge as well. The underdog to keep an eye on is Mark Trumbo. This guy has some serious power and could end up making a believer out of many. But first-timers tend to get a little nervous, especially the young ones. With poise and experience, look for Carlos Beltran to have some home run fun on Monday night.

Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer & Reds Expert for MLB reports. I am a freshman at Spalding University, Assistant Baseball Coach and plan on studying sports journalism. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since my freshman year of High School. You can reach me on Twitter (@baseballaddicts)

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The Reds Sunday Select – Mesoraco vs. Grandal: Did the Reds Make the Right Choice? Plus the Billy Hamilton Report

Sunday July 8, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Reds Expert): Welcome back to the 2nd edition of Reds Sunday Select. As the All-Star Break approaches, the weekend will be filled with All-Star Weekend previews. This week I have a little sympathy for the catchers out there with this one. The big debate around Reds country is: did Walt Jocketty keep the right catcher for the future? It is my job to debate this and I am going to do just that. The two catchers I am talking about are Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal. Yasmani was given up to the Padres in the Mat Latos trade over the winter. Yes the Reds picked up a pitcher that become an ace in the present and future. But did they send the wrong catcher in the deal?

Lets start out with the positives of keeping Mesoraco, as I am in a positive mood at the moment. Mesoraco is a solid young catcher with some pop in his bat. He can become one of the top catchers in the National League, hit 15 homers and be solid behind the dish. The only problem is that he is splitting time with Ryan Hanigan, who in my mind is the right guy for the job at the moment. Mesoraco on the bright side has a lot more power than Hanigan does. The downfall to that statement is that he also strikes out a lot, and does not currently have the ability to hit for average. Mesoraco, who strikes out almost double the amount of times he walks, isn’t the kind of hitter you want hitting in front of the pitcher. You want a contact guy who can get on base in front of the pitcher, so he has a chance to bunt him into scoring position. Hanigan is that strong OBP kind of guy. Read the rest of this entry

Top MLB Saves Leaders At the All-Star Break

Sunday July 8, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): The All-Star Break is now upon us, so now is a good time to start looking at stats for the first half of the season. One of the most important statistics in the game of baseball is the “save,” and the mammoth contracts that relievers are signed to every year in free agency are proof that teams are hungry for a strong closer capable of providing saves. In fact, a third of the league’s closers are making at least $4.5 million in 2012, while eight are raking it at least $7 million. This does not include the huge salaries of Ryan Madson ($8.5 million), Mariano Rivera ($15 million), Brian Wilson ($8.5 million) or any other that may have been injured or otherwise removed from their role as closer. But salary does not always equal success: six of the top eleven saves leaders are earning less than $2.75 million (keep in mind that the MLB average is just about $3 million). This top eleven, all of whom have recorded 19 saves or more, is not as predictable as you might think: Heath Bell of the Marlins serves as a surprise member of the list while his NL East counterpart Jonathan Papelbon, while more consistent in terms of ERA and opportunities converted, falls just shy. So who else is on the list? You’ll have to read on to find out. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Trade Beckett, Fire Selig, Chris Carter, New Orleans Baseball and MLB Expansion

Sunday July 8th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, 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!

Jonathan Hacohen: I love this time of the week. As the weekend approaches, I sit and cultivate your top baseball questions from many areas. Some of you e-mail. Some of you tweet. Others post on Facebook and others leave comments on the site. If you write in, I will find you. So thank you all firstly for taking the time to reading our site and supporting MLB reports. At the end of the day, there is no MLB reports without you, the readers. Ask the Reports is one of our ways of saying thank you for being a part of us and to have as many of you directly involved with our site. I won’t lie- your questions can be diverse, interesting, different. Some may go over the line and some just make us shake our heads. But most make us think, laugh and enjoy baseball. So it with great pride that we get to feature your questions to all our readers. So please, feel free to write in each week with your questions. We will get to as many as we can!

We are also lucky to have so many strong writers on board. You can get to know them on our Meet Our Team page. We may have different styles and opinions. But at the end of the day, these writers work their behinds off every week: researching, analyzing and preparing your daily MLB reports. You may call them geniuses or you may yell at them. Everyone has a say and opinions/debates are the foundation of strong baseball fandom. Please feel free to say hello to all your favorite writers. They will appreciate it and love to hear from you.

As we approach the All-Star break, here are five of my random thoughts before we jump into ATR:

  1. I can’t help but feel but the White Sox are truly a team of destiny this year. They are playing .560 ball and will lead the AL Central going into the break. They were a good team for most of the year. But the acquisition of Kevin Youkilis may very well prove to be a difference maker for them. I am a Tigers guy- I bleed blue and orange. So for me to say this, you know I feel strongly about the White Sox chances. Konerko. Dunn. Pierzynski. Yes folks, keep an eye on the White Sox in the 2012 playoffs.
  2. Remember those Angels that everyone left for dead? They are only 4 games behind the Rangers and will be a dangerous force in the 2nd half. Albert Pujols should be a summer beast and the Angels will get a strong dose of offense, defense and pitching. I liked their chances to start the year and feel very strongly about them going into the second half. Plus, they have a secret weapon by the name of Mike Trout.
  3. Living in Toronto, it amazes me how funny Jays fans can be. Their starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, yet the fans are still screaming for trade reinforcements at the deadline. People, wake up and smell the disabled list. Rather than put on a couple of band-aids in the hope of finishing .500, time to unload some desirable pieces and stock for the next 2+ years. Edwin Encarnacion, Kelly Johnson, Yunel Escobar and Darren Oliver should all be considered moveable for the right price. It isn’t going to happen this year. This team is close. But until the top prospects are ready to perform at this level, keep shifting, moving and upgrading parts until you are ready.
  4. The Bryce Harper vs. Mike Trout debate continues to rage on. While Bryce was being talked about more earlier on, Trout is now the name on everyone’s lips. We won’t know for 10+ years as to who will be the better player. Health, attitude, development and luck will all play a part in deciding this debate. Until then, enjoy two of the biggest baseball stars that you will see for a long time. These are special kids with special talents. Savor what we have.
  5. Finally, everyone loves talking about the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. But the biggest game is actually being played today. The MLB All-Star Futures Game. Team U.S. vs. Team World. The biggest and brightest prospects in the game. For many fans, they may know the names but have never actually seen these players perform. This is your chance. This game does not get the attention that it deserves. But as time goes by and the MLB Draft continues to get bigger and bigger, the Futures Game will become true baseball must-see tv. In case you weren’t aware, there is a prospect in the Reds organization by the name of Billy Hamilton, who just completed his 2nd straight 100 steals season. Considering that we are at the All-Star break and he has stolen over 100 bases, you can imagine how highly considered Hamilton is. For some reason though, he is not getting the press and notoriety that he deserves. If this was a Red Sox prospect, he would be bigger than Harper and Trout before they were called up. His time is coming and when he arrives at the big leagues, we may be seeing the next Vince Coleman…or…gasp…Rickey Henderson. So clear your schedule this afternoon and make sure to make the Futures Game a yearly tradition. It is a great investment in baseball knowledge.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

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