Daily Archives: August 22, 2012
Thursday August 23rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Before the trading deadline, it was thought that the Oakland A’s were going to make a move. With the extra wild card in play this year, the team seemed to be a contender. Their weakest position though was at shortstop. There were a few options out there, some reasonable and some not, among those were Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew. Ramirez was very unlikely to be acquired by the A’s due to the nature of his contract, but he would’ve provided the most boost for the team. The story goes that the A’s almost had Ramirez all but acquired, with the Dodgers eating at least of his contract. But the A’s hesitated, and the Dodgers swooped in and agreed to take on all of the remaining dollars on his deal. With Ramirez ending up on the Dodgers, Stephen Drew seemed to be the most viable option left. Drew missed a large portion of the 2011 season with a broken ankle sustained on a slide into home, and made his 2012 debut around the time of the All-Star Break. In his short time with the Diamondbacks this season, Drew hit just .193 and was pretty disappointing. With the teams hierarchy going public with their displeasure, the writing was on the wall for Drew. It looked like Arizona would be able to get at least the same amount of production from a replacement, so a trade seemed imminent. For some reason the trade never got done, but the A’s kept at it.
Oakland was the perfect candidate to acquire Stephen Drew. So it was no surprise that Billy Beane finally got his man this week. Without a producing shortstop, the A’s had a very little chance at the playoffs. Sure, Drew only hit .193 this year, but he carries a career .266 average over his seven-year career. Plus he walks a ton. A stereotypical A’s hitter characteristic. In 2008, Drew hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs. If the A’s could get anything close to this production, they would be in very good shape. Drew will most likely keep hitting in the two-hole of the lineup, behind Coco Crisp. Once Drew gets settled and regains form, the A’s should get some good production from the top of their lineup, setting the table for the monster bats of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter. Even if Drew were to continue hitting .193, he would still be an improvement from the overall batting average of A’s shortstops at .190. As long as he can walk and hit with some power. Drew will most likely be taking time away from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Given their combined numbers, that is a very good thing. The A’s also just sent the struggling Jemile Weeks down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Drew.
Wedesday August 22, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer) Follow @chuckbooth3024 Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of. The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over. It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury. When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team. I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager. Honestly, no one could hit the guy. As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him. Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams. There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher. He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004. Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk. Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing junk until they are finished high school. There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude.
Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while. The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly. If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching! Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter. Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite. Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.
This set of 5 pitchers (Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Jeff Zimmerman, Tommy Greene and Derrick Turnbow) in this list are all pretty much of recent vintage. I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time. This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years. Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.
Wednesday August 22nd, 2012
Sam Evans: When Buster Posey broke his fibula in 2011, it was a crushing blow to a Giants team fighting for a playoff spot. The Giants ended up missing the playoffs that year, largely due to not having any production from catcher. In 2012, Posey was expected to regain his old form immediately and help bring the playoffs to San Francisco. So far in 2012, Posey has exceeded previous expectations, and deserves a lot of the credit for the Giants’ success. With the N.L. West looking like it’s going to come down to the wire, and Melky Cabrera out for the regular season (and part of the playoffs), Posey needs to keep up his performance in order for San Francisco to make the playoffs.
Buster Posey has always been a hitter. At Florida State, Posey was moved from shortstop to catcher so he doesn’t have as much experience behind the plate as a typical catcher. Posey’s defense at catcher has improved year by year thanks to his work ethic and athleticism. This year, Posey has shown no signs of his previous injury, and has continued to play solid defense behind the plate. Not to mention, Posey is having his most valuable offensive season ever, and one of the more impressive batting lines in the National League. Read the rest of this entry