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Author Archives: Bryan Sheehan

The Interesting Case of Francisco Liriano: Twins Look to Move a Starter by the Trade Deadline

Thursday July 26th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): There is no doubt that the Minnesota Twins are going to be sellers this year at the trade deadline. At 18 games under .500, they have the worst record in the American League, and with a team ERA of an even 5.00, they find themselves only ahead of the Colorado Rockies at the bottom in terms of pitching. According to Jayson Stark , the Twins are willing to move “just about anybody” on their roster, and all signs point to starter Francisco Liriano’s departure. The troubled starter ranks 93 out of 101 qualified pitchers in ERA (5.31) and is just one loss off a league worst 11. Liriano’s $5.5 million salary is fifth highest among Twins players, and it goes without saying that his performances are well below what he’s being paid. But does that mean he has no trade value? Read the rest of this entry

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Should the Diamondbacks be Buyers or Sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline?

Thursday July 19th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): The Diamondbacks could be in a worse situation. Just four games under .500 and sitting third within the NL West, they’re in the middle of the road statistically for both hitting and pitching despite injuries on both sides of the ball. Both Justin Upton and Miguel Montero have gone through slumps but are still batting around .270 with potential to contribute offensively, and second baseman Aaron Hill is having a great season so far, hitting .301 with the projection of 73 RBIs if he continues on this pace. Outfielder Jason Kubel is having a great year at the plate and defensively, as he leads the MLB in outfield assists. Rookie pitcher Wade Miley has been a wonderful surprise this year, leading all rookie starters with a 3.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 10 wins. Keep in mind this is the team that won the NL West last year and didn’t radically change over the offseason.

That being said, they’re far from in the driver’s seat. 7 games out of the wild card, as well as 7 games from the NL West lead, they have some issues to attend to. While top prospect and 2011 draft pick Trevor Bauer has the potential to be an MLB starter, at 21 he’s a bit underdeveloped. In four starts, Bauer had a 6.06 ERA with a 1-2 record, rough enough to buy him a bus ticket back to Triple-A Reno. With ace Daniel Hudson out for the season because of Tommy John surgery, the D-Backs currently only have four starting pitchers. With the deadline fast approaching, Arizona has a tough choice: trade away prospects and make a run for the playoffs, or sell off their big names in return for a chance in 2013 (and beyond). 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

Roy Oswalt Working Back to True Form

Wednesday June 27, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): Fourteen months ago, Roy Oswalt took a leave from the Philadelphia Phillies to be with his family after a series of tornadoes ripped through Mississippi. He left the team, where he was one of the showcased “Four Aces,” with a 3-1 record and a 3.33 ERA and returned with a sore back. He spent a short time on the disabled list, but returned to start in eight more games before once again landing on the DL with “lower back inflammation.” It is unclear whether his back troubles arose during his leave of absence, but Oswalt continued to pitch because he didn’t “want to be labeled a quitter.” Ultimately, his injury became too much, and during his latter stint on the DL there was doubt that he’d ever pitch again. He did return, though, and finished the year with a 9-10 record and 3.69 ERA. After his team faltered (or imploded, depending on how you look at it) in the playoffs, Oswalt declared free agency; his career was not over after all.

At age 34, Oswalt has appeared in eight playoff series, one World Series and three NLCS. When he hit the market last offseason, Oswalt made it clear that he wanted to play for a winner. More specifically, he wanted to play for a team that would have a great chance of winning it all. Like Roger Clemens in 2006 and 2007, Oswalt told teams that he would continue to stay in shape but wait until midseason to sign with the team that he thought would do the best in the postseason. On May 29th, Oswalt picked the 31-19 Texas Rangers and began his road back to the MLB.

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Josh Hamilton: Big Stats = Big Dollars in Free Agency

Friday June 15th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For better or worse, Josh Hamilton has been one of the most talked about ballplayers in the past four seasons. He started out as an inspirational story for overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, returning to baseball after three years on the restricted list due to failed drug tests. His talent always peaked the interest of teams, going first overall to the Devil Rays in the 1999 draft and third overall in the 2006 Rule 5 draft to the Chicago Cubs, when he was “the biggest name in the Rule 5 in many years,” according to Baseball America. Immediately after he was traded to Cincinnati, where he spent most of the 2007 season in the Majors. Another team interested meant another trade, and Hamilton landed in Texas for the 2008 season. Since then, he has been an All Star every year, a Silver Slugger winner twice, and the American League MVP in 2010.

Hamilton will no doubt gain even more attention if he hits free agency after this season. Though he is eligible to file for free agency at the end of the year, there are rumors circulating that the Rangers may try to sign the tattooed center fielder to an extension.  Age 31, Hamilton is in the prime of his career and he’s currently on pace to hit 60 home runs in 2012. That, along with a career .311 batting average that is only getting better, makes for a huge payoff in the near future. At the same time, Hamilton is in danger of relapsing, as he did when he was seen drinking at a Dallas bar in February, and some teams may not want to invest in a potential addict. Either way, this Fall and Winter will be very interesting for the star who has brought his team to the World Series twice in two years. Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB Draft Preview

Wednesday May 30th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For those who may not know, the MLB’s first-year-player draft starts June 4th. While there may not be a huge name like Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg to create excessive buzz, this year’s draft should be interesting. The first overall pick belongs to the 2011 worst Houston Astros, who surprisingly have one of the shallowest farm systems in baseball. Though the Hunter Pence trade brought in their number one and two prospects, Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton, respectively, the organization is lacking in prospect depth overall. Picking behind the ‘Stros are the Minnesota Twins, with the Mariners and Orioles following. Predicting a draft, especially where there is no clear-cut “number one” prospect is difficult, to say the least. Teams aren’t drafting to fill immediate needs, so much as to bolster a weak area in their organization. For example: it may seem logical for the Phillies to draft a power-hitting first baseman with the 40th pick since Ryan Howard is injured, but really a 2012 draftee wouldn’t be MLB ready for a few years and therefore irrelevant to Howard’s injury. Plus with the changes in this year’s draft as to salaries, teams will no longer have “recommended slots” to play with. Translation: signability will play a bigger part in this year’s draft than ever before. With that being said, here are my predictions for the first ten names to be called on Monday.

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Kerry Wood and the Unfulfilled Career

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): When he first came into the league, there were comparisons drawn to Nolan Ryan. Not just, “hey look, both of these guys are from Texas and play baseball!” comparisons, but predictions by some that their career numbers would shine in a similar fashion. But, after 14 years in professional baseball, Kerry Wood has decided to retire from the league, falling far short of the media’s once lofty expectations. Read the rest of this entry

Cole Hamels: Will the Phillies Third Ace Stay in the City of Brotherly Love?

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): Cole Hamels has been with the Phillies Organization since he was drafted by them in the first round of the 2002 draft, when he was just 18 years old. He made his debut with the club at the age of 22, and won the World Series in 2008, taking home the Series MVP award after two solid performances (his second start was cut short by the infamous rain delay that cut Game Five into two parts). Now 28, Hamels is facing the biggest decision of his life, as his contract expires at the end of this season. While he is technically the third starter for the Phillies, behind Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, there is no doubt that Cole is one of the best aces in the league. He finished fifth in Cy Young voting for 2011 after going 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA. And yet, the Phillies don’t seem to worried about resigning or extending their longest tenured pitcher. After all, they do have both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and considering his prowess, Hamels will likely fetch a gargantuan contract. On the other hand, the Phillies pitching is the only thing keeping them above water right now. So, should the club make a bigger push to resign the ace, or should they look to trade him during the season? Read the rest of this entry

Century Old Fenway Park is Fine the Way it is

Monday May 14, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): Fenway Park is baseball. The stadium itself represents the long history of Major League Baseball, spanning a century in age. Its iconic look, as well as the legends that have called it home, make the park one of the most valuable relics of all time. The impression of roughly 8,000 Red Sox games has given Fenway a rich past, with such legends as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams once calling the park home. Six World Series Championships have been brought back to the city by the Red Sox in triumph, Fenway surviving to see every one of them. Some of its features, such as The Big Green Monster and The Lone Red Seat, have legends as large as the crowd (over 130 million), that have passed through the gates in a one hundred year old history.

Fenway has also been home to the biggest rivalry in perhaps the entire history of sports. The Red Sox have been in a never-ending battle with their A.L. East neighbor, the New York Yankees, for over 100 years. Their rich history once found common ground on the diamonds they played in, as Yankee Stadium stood for 85 years from 1923 to 2008. Now, with the recent Centennial Celebration in Boston and New Yankee Stadium serving as a modern homage to the past, there is some question of when, or if, the Red Sox will follow suit and create a new shrine. Read the rest of this entry

Who is the Best Starter in Baseball?

Thursday May 10, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): It could be said that the starting pitcher is the most important player in the game. A great starter, like Justin Verlander, puts his team in a position to win every time he hits the mound, while a poor starter, like A.J. Burnett, puts pressure on the bullpen when he gets run after just a couple of innings of work. A great starter, or even a mediocre one, can stay in the game for years with consistency (see: Jamie Moyer), but the drop off is steep and a pitcher underperforming is usually the first to be sent down. The best hurlers in the game combine dominance with consistency, rarely ever having a bad appearance. After the jump, we’ll be taking a look at who the best starters are in the game right now, and what makes them so great.

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MLB Closer Report: Where Does Your Team Stand?

Sunday May 6, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): Seeing Mariano Rivera go down with a torn ACL is like driving by a car accident and reflecting on how easily it could have been you in that accident, or in this case- how it could have been your team’s closer cringing in pain on the warning track. And this is the year of the injured closer: from Boston’s Andrew Bailey to San Francisco’s Brian Wilson, closers across the league have been dropping like flies. Other closers, like the Angels’ Jordan Walden, have stayed healthy but haven’t played well enough to keep their coveted ninth inning role. Even though there has only been a month of baseball so far, much has changed for some clubs.

Today, I’ll be taking a look at every team’s closer situation, and breaking down how it got to be the way it is: Read the rest of this entry

Los Angeles Angels: Down But Not Out?

Wednesday May 2nd, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): It may only be a month into the season, but when your new, $240 million star is in the worst slump of his career, there’s a reason to panic. The Los Angeles Angels, now 9-15, are in near-crisis mode because of their struggling offense helmed by Albert Pujols. Flirting with the Mendoza Line, King Albert’s .208 average and grand total of zero home runs equaled that of Bobby Abreu, who was released by the Angels last week. The bright spot now, it seems, is 20-year-old Mike Trout, a rookie as highly touted as Bryce Harper. But can he, along with new addition C.J. Wilson and fellow ace Jered Weaver rally the team after the franchise’s third worst start in history? Jump it to find out! Read the rest of this entry

Who is the Best Center Fielder in Baseball?

Thursday April 26, 2012

Bryan Sheehan: Have you ever sat and pondered as to who is the best Center Fielder in the game of baseball today? With so many good options, it is rather hard to make the choice. To make the assessment, you have to look at all the “tools” and come up with the best all-around Center Fielder in the game. Keeping that in mind, here are my top-5 selections- starting with #5:

5. Shane Victorino

The Flyin’ Hawaiian is the epitome of all-around solid player. Not the greatest in any aspect, he has a jack-of-all-trades look that is made extraordinary by his hustle. Though he won’t steal gratuitous amounts of bases, his speed on the basepaths is seen in his league leading 16 triples last year. His three straight Gold Gloves from 2008-2010 are also really impressive, and considering his perfect fielding percentage in 2011, he could have easily won four straight. 

4. Michael Bourn 

Bourn is the prototypical fast center fielder. He’s led the league in stolen bases for the past three years, nabbing 61 in his 2011 campaign between the Astros and the Braves. Like Juan Pierre in his prime, Bourn is extremely fast, and can make good contact with the ball. Though it’s not all-star worthy, his .294 batting average last season was 27 points higher than the league average for leadoff hitters. His speed also translates on defense, giving him great range to run down balls in the gap. 

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Jamie Moyer: A Pitcher Older than the Rockies

Friday April 20, 2012

Bryan Sheehan: Jamie Moyer is old (I’ll give you a second to wipe up the coffee undoubtably spilled onto your computer after reading this shocking fact). So old, in fact, that he is older than thirteen of the thirty current MLB teams, if relocated teams such as the Atlanta Braves are considered unique from their Milwaukee counterpart. So ancient, that his 25 year career is longer than the life of Wilin Rosario, who caught his record-setting win Tuesday. This performance, which came in the form of a seven-inning shutout gem against the woeful San Diego Padres, made Moyer the oldest starter, at 49 years and 150 days, to win a game of baseball. In a time when power pitchers and young flamethrowers, like Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, are lauded, Moyer and his sub-80 MPH fastball (he never got higher than 79 MPH on Tuesday, according to the Denver Post) are still effective enough to win. Tied for 35th all time in wins and just 32 away from the famed 300 club, it would be nice to think that he could stick around a few more years and break even more records. But looking at his current status, it’s hard to tell when his fairytale career will end.

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Yankees Have Decisions to Make in their Rotation

Wednesday April 18, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer):The New York Yankees have some time to experiment with their pitching rotation. Though their top two starters, C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, make more ($33 million in 2012) than half of the salary earned by the Tampa Bay Rays, the bottom three of the rotation may shift based on a few factors. The most important consideration is the fact that the Yankees have two young players, Michael Pineda and David Phelps, that have shown signs that they would be effective in the rotation, when healthy and given the opportunity. Also, one cannot forget that Andy Pettitte, who signed out of retirement in March, has shown signs of strength in two rehab appearances for Hi-A Tampa, throwing a total of seven innings and allowing just one run on four hits while striking out five. The third factor in the potential shake-up of the Yankees’ rotation is the sub-par starts that Freddy Garcia (0-1, 6.97 ERA) and Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00 ERA) have had this year. If Joe Girardi wants to try something new as the season progresses (he may have to if he wants to keep his job), he will have many key pieces to play with already in the organization. Read the rest of this entry

No Need to Panic: The Phillies Do Not Need Offensive Help!

Sunday April 15, 2012

Bryan Sheehan: It may only be the middle of April, but already there are masses of Phillies fans ready to jump off a bridge because of the team’s 4-5 record. This is also spurred by the fact that the team has not hit at all on a regular basis, and the lineup seems devoid of any power. The club only has 16 extra base hits, with three of their 11 doubles coming today against the Mets, and a .345 slugging percentage pushes them towards the basement of the MLB. So, with a lineup that features the lanky Hunter Pence as a cleanup hitter and a catcher hitting sixth, is it time to worry about the Phillies 2012 season? Read the rest of this entry

The Future of Hideki Matsui

Sunday April 8, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): The MLB season has already officially kicked off, and yet there are still some veteran players looking for a place to play. The list is occupied mainly by former outfielders that may not have enough left in the tank defensively, including Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero and, maybe most notably, Hideki Matsui.  The 37-year-old, who played just 27 of his 141 games in left field hasn’t been a regular in the outfield since his 2007 campaign with the Yankees. Last season for the Oakland A’s, Godzilla hit a career low .251 with 72 RBIs and 12 home runs, and was not brought back by the club for 2012. The Yankees seemed to show interest in the 37-year-old slugger, but ultimately decided to sign Raul Ibanez instead. Read the rest of this entry

Alex Rodriguez vs. Albert Pujols: Which Slugger is Tops?

Thursday March 29th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): There is no doubt that Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are the most prolific sluggers in the MLB right now. Pitchers fear them, teammates love them and opposing fans hate them. Both have tremendous power, huge career numbers and legions of fans that argue who is more dominant. Pujols supporters argue that his career .328 batting average, 445 home runs and two gold gloves make him the most elite in the game, while fans of A-Rod counter with 629 home runs (the most of any active player), 104.6 WAR (the third best of all time) and 1,893 RBIs; beat that Albert. Read the rest of this entry

Chipper Jones Announces 2012 Will Be His Last Season: Is Mariano Rivera Next to Retire?

Thursday March 22nd, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): At a press conference before a Grapefruit League Game today, Atlanta Braves third baseman Larry Wayne Jones (a.k.a. Chipper Jones) announced that 2012 would be his last season before retirement from baseball. At age 39, Jones has spent all of his 18 year career with the Braves, earning him the distinction of being the active player with the most time played for just one team. During this span, Jones has played in seven All-Star games, won an MVP and picked up a pair of Gold Glove Awards. His offensive WAR is a combined 84.9, good enough for 25th on the all-time list. Interestingly enough, the player with the second longest-one-team-tenure may also retire after this season. Closer Mariano Rivera, who has 16 years and 106 days of MLB service, all for the New York Yankees. Over the years Rivera has been one of the most consistently dominant closers in the league, and his record 603 career saves is the most in history.  Read the rest of this entry

Can Alex Gordon Have Another Stellar Year in Kansas City?

Friday March 16th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): There hasn’t been much for fans of the Kansas City Royals to be excited about recently. A 71-91 record in 2011, combined with a playoff drought that dates back to 1986 (they’ve only had six winning seasons since), tells the story of a team playing without much inspiration or value.  Last year had few bright spots for the club, but perhaps the best beacon of hope came in the form of outfielder Alex Gordon. The 28-year-old had a breakout season last year, hitting .303 with 87 RBIs and a Gold Glove in left field. This raises the question: was 2011 a fluke or is Gordon quickly becoming a superstar outfielder? (more…)

Who are the Top Five Second Basemen in Baseball?

Wednesday February 29th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern):

5. Chase Utley: Utley, thought of as the hands-down best second baseman just a few years ago, makes this list after coming off an injury that caused him to have arguably the worst season of his career. Chase has seen a downward trend offensively since 2009, and his history of downplaying and withholding information about injuries to get more playing time and avoid the DL has in fact hurt his play. Though an amazing show of his dedication to the game, Utley’s willingness to play hurt has limited his hitting, as evidenced by his total 109 RBIs over the last two seasons. Coming into 2012, though, Chase seems 100 percent healthy, and may bring some of his 30 plus-home run power back with him. Add this to the fact that his all-star caliber fielding hasn’t shown any decline, and Utley stacks up as a great player.

4. Brandon Phillips: Speaking of defense, how about the two-time defending NL Gold Glove winner, Brandon Phillips? A complete monster in the field, Phillips committed just six errors in 2011, boosting his fielding percentage to a great .992%. But the Gold Glove was not the only hardware Phillips brought home last year: his .300 average and 82 RBIs helped him win the NL Silver Slugger at second base. The biggest part of Phillips’ game may be his consistency, as he is the only player to have at least a .260 average, 15 home runs and 10 steals in each of the last six seasons. When looking at Brandon, it is pretty much assured that he will bring contact, gold-glove fielding and a bit of power and speed to the Reds in 2012. Read the rest of this entry

Which MLB Managers Are in the Hot Seat?

Wednesday February 22nd, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern):  A new year of baseball brings with it so many questions, rumors and, most importantly, expectations about every team in the league. Will the Marlins improve? Can the Red Sox make the playoffs this year? And behind every question and prediction is the team that hometown fans and front-office executives expect to win. More specifically, the manager of each team is expected to take the players that he has and mold a winning ball club; if he can’t, he’ll be the first one to go. Read the rest of this entry

When Will the Chicago Cubs Win the World Series?

Tuesday February 14th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): I was going to write a long lede, comparing Valentine’s Day and people’s love for baseball in the cheesiest way possible, but seeing as how this isn’t the movie Fever Pitch, I’ll save it. What I am going to do, though, is talk about a city that is in love with a baseball team that hasn’t done much but disappoint for the last hundred years or so. Read the rest of this entry

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