Category Archives: The Rest: Everything Baseball
From Cuba to Japan, Opening Day to the World Series and the WBC
Despite winning the AL West by 9 games and winning 95 games in 2016, the Texas Rangers finished 22 out of the 30 MLB clubs in overall pitching with a 4.37 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. The Ranger’s pitching staff allowed a .260 batting average against to opposing hitters and a .424 slugging percentage. Texas finished in the middle of the pack (16 out of 30) in starting pitching with a 4.38 ERA. The Rangers may have won a lot of games in 2016, but their run differential was only +7. They didn’t beat their competition by much throughout the season and below average pitching could be contributed as a big factor.
PlateCoverage.com is giving away copies of “Baseball’s Most Baffling MVP Ballots,” by Jeremy Lehrman. Simply follow @plate_coverage on Twitter, and re-tweet the link below. They’ll hold a random drawing when they reach 500 followers, and again at 1000 followers. How easy is that?
— Plate Coverage (@Plate_Coverage) January 15, 2017
It has become an annual tradition around these parts for me to offer up my thoughts on each and every manager in the MLB. First, this started as a ranking and became one of our most popular posts. Since then, the manager reporting has morphed into a grading system on an A-F scale, with A reserved for only the cream of the managerial crop and F standing in for ‘Should be Fired.’
As usual with my mid-winter grades, I won’t offer any score for first time managers, but if a guy has managed elsewhere in the majors he’s fair game, even if this will be his first season with his current team.
Let’s get to it!
National League East
Dusty Baker, Washington Nationals: The first yer of the Dusty Baker era in DC went pretty well all things considered. Dusty did some Dusty things when it came to bullpen management and managing his pitchers’ workload but he handled that Trea Turner situation well. The Nats won 95 games and walked to the AL East crown but the team still couldn’t get over that NLDS hump. Until Baker does that, his job in Washington is incomplete. Grade: B
While sitting listening to 1970’s songs at the airport, I honor Curt Flood, who basically sacrificed his career to usher in the Free Agency era.
Waiting at the gate on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
Jays From the Couch sits down with two of the Toronto Blue Jays’ top prospects, Conner Greene and Rowdy Tellez
This past weekend the Toronto Blue Jays organization put together a wonderful treat for their fans in Buffalo, NY. In a joint effort with the Buffalo Bisons the event on January 24th, was held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo. Luckily, we here at Jays From the Couch were granted access to the event, and able to secure some excellent interviews with a few players.
Our first interview features a conversation with pitching stud, Conner Greene. With Greene finishing each of the last two seasons with Double-A New Hampshire, it is not unreasonable to determine he could start the 2017 season with the Fisher Cats. Should his progression remain steady a trip to Triple-A Buffalo, and perhaps a Toronto September call-up could be warranted. Greene discussed his progress and his new mentor.
CHECK OUT FULL INTERVIEW at Jays From the Couch
In our second interview, Rowdy Tellez talks to our Catherine Stem about his approach to hitting, coaching and much more! The addition of Rowdy Tellez to the Buffalo Bisons roster has some Blue Jays fans celebrating the talent coming up through the minor league system. Shaun Doyle wrote about his impressive season in New Hampshire with the AA Fisher Cats and The Toronto Blue Jays have certainly been keeping an eye on him. That has bred the hope that he could, sometime in the future, be a replacement of sorts for the power bat of Edwin Encarnacion, a point made by Ryan Mueller HERE.
CHECK OUT FULL INTERVIEW at Jays From the Couch
Handing out a lucrative, multi-year contract to a player is always risky for an MLB organization, no matter how much of a no-brainer it appears to be. That risk factor goes through the roof when it’s a 10-year, $240 million deal, like the one Robinson Cano signed prior to the 2014 season.
Outside of a dip in power, his first season in Seattle was a success. He hit .314/.382/.454 with 14 home runs and 82 RBI, producing a wRC+ of 137 and a 5.2 fWAR – the fifth consecutive year he surpassed 5.0.
It was the first half of 2015 when people likely started to freak out, to a degree.
He limped into the All-Star break with a lackluster triple slash of .251/.290/.370, accompanied by just 6 home runs, 30 RBI and an wRC+ of 86. Providing power as a second baseman had always been one of his best attributes, but a .118 first-half ISO showed that the only thing his power was doing was continuing to deteriorate.
Cano did start to look like himself again following the midsummer classic — he hit .331/.387/.540 with 15 home runs, 40 RBI, a wRC+ of 157, and most importantly, his ISO jumped back up to .209.
That second-half performance ended up being a sign of what was to come.
Were there any similarities between 2016 and his prime years in the Bronx from 2010-12 when Cano’s ISO never dipped below .214 while posting a .311/.370/.539 line with a combined 90 homers and 321 RBI?
Yes, but there are also some interesting differences showing how his game has transformed over the years.
It is one of the harder stats to predict every year, and we are talking about the category of Holds. Last season the New York Yankees disrupted the flow of the entire landscape.
Miller himself finished 2nd in the Majors having worked setup for Chapman – and then predominantly clearing the deck for Indians Closer Cody Allen.
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, Honeywell didn’t come with the eye-catching fastball-curve or fastball-slider combo of other top pitching prospects. Instead, he comes with a well-rounded game; a four pitch mix, of which three project above average to plus, and quality command in an athletic delivery. And, of course, a screwball. Who doesn’t like screwballs?
The official moment for the country to pinch itself came today, as the Chicago Cubs visited the White House. The Cubs arrived at the personal request of President Obama, the Chicagoan at the end of his presidency.
In fact, Obama today said to the team, “It took you long enough. I mean, I only have four days left. You’re just making it under the wire.”
The Cubs may have waited 108 years to win the World Series, but it was a rush to visit the White House. Major League Baseball champions typically wait until the subsequent regular season to go to the White House, but this time was unique.
Unlike Game 7 of the World Series, there was no rain delay in today’s event, as it was held inside the historic East Room. The chandelier-adorned room was originally designed by George Washington and James Hoban as a “public audience room” and it has been home to historic events such as the signing of the Civil Rights Act. The tradition of baseball champions visiting the White House can be traced back as far as the 1860s.
Jackie Robinson was just named National League Most Valuable PLayer for 1949. Asked how he felt about the honor, how he felt on this, the greatest day of his professional life, Robinson said: “The sooner I can get out of baseball, the better.”
Imagine having the best day of your life taken from you like that. (READ THE FULL STORY ON PLATE COVERAGE)
Pushing forward, we move out to the outfield where I believe there will be some challenging calls at each position. To recap however, we had an easy decision at shortstop, an ugly decision at third, and some very intriguing calls at second, first, and catcher.
If you’re reading one of these entries for the first time, the only stipulation that I look at is that the player be in a Tiger uniform for a minimum of 5 years and play a majority of his games at that position during that timeframe. I will make a slight change however and evaluate all of a players outfield stats, as they are a little more likely to move to another position to cover an injury, etc. Qualifying for consideration in left is Willie Horton, Bobby Veach, Matty McIntyre, Charlie Maxwell, Larry Herndon, Bobby Higginson, Steve Kemp, and Dick Wakefield. To keep this readable, I am going to cut Dick Wakefield, Steve Kemp, Larry Herndon, and Matty McIntyre.
The Rangers need to shore up their team to win a title this decade. But forget hitters. You can get hitters any time. They need to make offers to EVERY available free agent pitcher.
It is a lo this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
Below you will find my personal top-400 dynasty league baseball rankings. In order to be eligible for this list, a player must have over 200 career MLB at bats or 50 innings pitched.
To see my top-100 prospects and players under those limitations stated above, please click the following link: https://mlbreports.com/2017/01/11/2017-top-100-major-league-baseball-prospects/. If you have any questions, please follow and tweet me @dynasty_digest.
|86||Jackie Bradley Jr.||CF||BOS|
|101||Lance McCullers Jr.||SP||HOU|
|259||Danny Velancia||1B, 3B, RF, UT||OAK|
|311||Byung Ho Park||1B,UT||MIN|
|338||Steven Souza Jr.||RF, UT||TB|
|351||Hyun Soo Kim||LF,UT||BAL|
Paul Francis Sullivan (please call him Sully) does a podcast 365 days a year – unless it is a leap year – then he will do another 1. He has done a show everyday since Oct.24/2012. This to date represents a streak of 1499 days consecutively heading into Dec of 2016!
Past the CLICK TO READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY are episodes 1500 – 1530 of the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
We will also archive all of his podcasts to date (in coming weeks) so they are easily accessible for all his fans. Check out all his Archived info here.
Our website followers have grown larger each year for his podcast.
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The Kansas City Royals announced a contract extension today with their young left-handed starting pitcher, Danny Duffy, that ensures Duffy will wear the Royal blue for another 5 years. Duffy is coming off of a fantastic campaign, in which he finally displayed the results that matched his talent. He was worth about 4 WAR and solidified his role as a starting pitcher. The Royals signed him for 5 years and $65Million in what should be a decidedly team-friendly deal.
He’s been something of a favorite of mine for the last 12 months. I did a deep dive on his success back in June, but the basic key to success for Duffy, as with most other pitchers, was his ability to locate his fastball and cut down on his walks. He also made an appearance in my Golden Age of the Lefty Fastball piece as guy who averages 95 on his fastball. That deep dive piece published just as I was moving and shaking in my fantasy league, with the goal to pick Duffy off of the waiver wire. A certain OTBB editor saw that piece and pounced on Duffy, leaving my squad a starting pitcher short and all I could do was follow his summertime dominance longingly. The Royals, having likely learned from my fantasy squad, will not be watching Duffy dominate for another squad. They know how good he is.
It is Dr. King Day. And on this day, I am saluting Hamtramck Stadium, one of the last remaining former Negro League parks and a monument for what is good and what is wrong with our country.
Remembering and learning from the past on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
This year’s class is notable for the dearth of college pitching, which serves as a direct contrast to the relative scarcity of college position players. As far as the high school talent goes, there seem to be more position players than there are pitchers. However, this particular class is notable for its dearth of two-way players.
The Minnesota Twins “earned” the first overall selection after a miserable 2016 season, one that saw their pitching staff and offense underperform under renewed expectations. Minnesota hadn’t occupied the top spot in the draft since 2001 when they took an in-state product and current first baseman Joe Mauer out of Cretin-Durham Hall High School. In a year that has no consensus top prospect, much like 2016, anything is possible. The Twins could go after a prep product, like San Diego prepster Hunter Greene or they could go for a major league ready collegian, like Jeren Kendall or Kyle Wright.
Baseball has an ability like no other to provide infinite anecdotes and recollections. Tim Kurkjian’s I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love (2016; St. Martin’s Press) captures that unique proclivity. The renowned ESPN personality/journalist has accumulated some of the best stories and oddities that he has collected during his decades of close involvement and observation of the game and turned them over to the fans for their own enjoyment.
Wil Myers looks like he is sticking around in San Diego. The Padres might play in a pitchers park but some hitters found their mojo in Petco Park.
Hit it off the warehouse on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
FANS OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE UPSET ABOUT 2017 AFTER THE WAY THIS OFFSEASON HAS PLAYED OUT
It has been a rather emotional offseason for many fans of the Toronto Blue Jays. As of right now, we seem to have lost out on Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Brett Cecil and not landed Dexter Fowler and others. People are livid. Earlier today, our James Dailey wrote that everyone really needs to calm down and take a step back for a second. James did a good job of using numbers to show how the Blue Jays actually aren’t as bad as we might think. It was a refreshing piece, honestly.
But, the problem is that fans DO have a right to be upset about how this offseason has gone and how management has gone about setting themselves up to repeat the success of the last two seasons…
READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch
It is Friday the 13th, a day that brings up issues of luck and good fortune. Some players had horrible luck. Others had obscenely good luck.
Avoid guys in hockey masks on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
Curt Schilling’s legend was built on blood and guts and grit – but he seems intent on undoing it with bile and bigotry.
The HOF is populated by cheaters, gamblers, racists, drunks, and abusers of women. It’s also filled with kind, decent, generous men. One’s view on where Schilling lands on this character spectrum is irrelevant when assessing his qualifications as a player (well… unless of course you invoke the character clause).
All baseball players – whether they’re amateurs or professionals – are creatures of habit. When you have a game to play every day, routines form (some on purpose, some by accident) and once a player notices those routines, they typically like to keep them as they are.
Advanced statistics have helped organizations and coaching staffs justify tinkering lineups on a daily basis, but one thing is for certain – most hitters like coming to the ballpark knowing exactly where their name will be penciled into the order.
It makes mentally preparing a lot easier, and they don’t have to wonder when they’ll get their first plate appearance of the night.
With that in mind, I was curious as to which hitters performed the best in 2016 at each particular lineup spot. The only criteria was sample size – 1-5 hitters needed at least 400 plate appearances to qualify, but it dropped to 250-plus for the six-hole and 200-plus for the bottom-third to generate players to choose from.
Here are your most dominant hitters at each lineup spot from 2016, ranked by wRC+.
WITH RUMORS OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS’ INTEREST IN ANDREW MCCUTCHEN, WE POLL OUR READERS: YOU COMFORTABLE MORTGAGING THE FUTURE TO WIN NOW?
So, the Toronto Blue Jays look to be close to doing “something” soon, according to Stephen Brunt, who was on Sportsnet 960 The Fan in Calgary on Tuesday. All of this, of course passed on by Ian Hunter over at Blue Jay Hunter, so a hearty “Thank you” to him for the relay. And, what that something is could be anyone’s guess. But, one idea that has been floated before, and doesn’t seem to want to go away is the idea of trading for Pirates OF, Andrew McCutchen. But, it won’t come cheap: Vladimir Guerrero Jr!
In any trade talks this winter, we knew that it would cost a rather significant chunk of Toronto’s prospect capital. Names like Anthony Alford, Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, and even Rowdy Tellez were among the names we knew would have to be included in any deal of substance. And, some folks would be willing to part with a couple of those names if it means winning in 2017. But this one is a bit jarring.
TAKE THE POLL at Jays From the Couch
Spent a great few days with my dad, but we both wished there was a baseball game on.
Baseball acts as a constant friend who is reliable. For me, it is an indicator that things are going to be ok.
Fill the gaps in life on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
The city of San Diego is now a one team city. The Padres have the city to themselves. Fans need to support them like never before.
It is a Gaslamp episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
The Blue Jays system is mostly made up of high upside hitters but, like always, the Jays have been stockpiling pitching in the draft to compensate. With these new draftees, the organization is trending up compared to how barren it was after the Jays first postseason run. There is tremendous upside in picks like T.J. Zeuch, J.B. Woodman, and Joshua Palacios just in the 2016 MLB Draft. Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette are two young talents that look like they could shine in the spotlight as stars. They also have bloodlines of former greats, which has proven to be a characteristic the Jays tend to take a chance on. The pitching doesn’t have the same talent as it did when “The Lansing Three” were storming their way up the system, but pitchers like Justin Maese and Angel Perdomo could develop into a top of the rotation starters. Overall, the system has enough upside talent to use as trade bait and still have an upper half ranking system.
It has been an incredible 6 years run for the MLB Reports but 2017 is going to redefine us as a major entity in the blogging landscape. We are heading to a new platform pretty soon to better serve our readers, and to also enable us to expand to the content we need to post on a daily basis.
Coming off the heels of our greatest ever season in 2016, we are ramping up production to new levels.
Our track record has been quite impressive since the inception, and we are hoping to keep up the momentum for our readers in the upcoming seasons. We have no filters, extremely strong opinions, and if we aren’t pissing plenty of people off at any given time – then we are not doing our jobs correctly.
Our Motto ‘The Truth Stings Like A Cactus! Baseball Is Our Religion, Come for worship anytime.”
Hunter Stokes (our Chief Writer and Gambling Expert) has pledged to work for us full time. He will be doing Daily Fantasy Rosters for FanDuel all year based on his successful indoctrination to the world last year. In addition to that, he will continue his outstanding best value picks for Sports Handicapping.
This means Player Prop Bets, Odds to Win the World Series, MLB Divisions, Pennants and Home Run Derby posts. His track record has been elite to say the least, and we have all profited off his blogs.
Hunter will also be in charge of all the MLB Team Power Rankings and many more posts.
I, Chuck Booth. will also be able to write full time this next year – which means I am going to be in charge of updating all of our mainstay pages: MLB Interleague, Tommy John Surgery, and I am coming back strong with a new emphasis on MLB Team Payrolls that is unique to the industry. Before the year is over, no one will have finer coverage of MLB Team Salary Analysis than we will.
Our Lead Baseball Analyst (Trey Rose) is going to contribute daily (DFS) MLB Draft Kings rosters during the regular seasons. along with a ton of baseball rankings when it comes to fantasy baseball. Trey is an uprising writing talent that will not be denied.
Sully Baseball has continued his streak of running a podcast every day since Oct. 24/2012 – and 2017 he will not be slowing down anytime soon. We are pleased to have Sully back for another year of his 20 minute a day show!!
In March, we are coming back with our award winning (MLB Team Appreciation Days, where we preview your clubs, and also hammer out the payroll for each team).
This is not all….We have several many other BBBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) contributors to the site that will be posting their great work with our site to show the public as well.
250 writers have posted at least one article with us.. We are in the Millions of views now in our 6000+ Blogs. Many thanks to all of the people who have contributed to our little place on the web. Here is to many more years of baseball coverage!
Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner)
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015. It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews
To Subscribe and listen daily to ‘Our Lead Personality’ Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here. Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!
As usual with my mid-winter grades, I won’t offer any score for first time managers, but if a guy has managed elsewhere in the majors he’s fair game, even if this will be the first season with his current team.
Let’s get to it!
American League East
John Farrell, Boston Red Sox: First to worst and back again. And again. And again. Farrell’s Boston teams seem to be either really good or really bad, and that doesn’t reflect too well on the manger. Seems to me, a well run team filled with talented veterans should be able to do a better job of consistently competing. 2017 will be a big challenge for Farrell for many reasons. First, he’ll be trying to string together back to back good seasons, but beyond that, the Red Sox are now so loaded with talent that expectations are going to be sky high. As we’ve seen in baseball many times before (e.g. 2012 Miami Marlins) super teams on paper don’t always pan out. Let’s see if Farrell can get all the parts to mesh. Grade: B
After the ugliness of what is the history of Tigers playing third base, we move to what I am guessing is an easier decision with the Shortstop position. If you missed the greatest Tigers catcher, first baseman, second baseman, or third base, you can catch up at any point by clicking on the hyperlinks.
Again, the only qualifier in my process for determining the best positional Detroit Tiger is that they played at least five years as a Tiger with a majority of their games at that position. Qualifying for shortstop is Alan Trammell, Donie Bush, Billy Rogell, Harvey Kuenn, and (ahem) Deivi Cruz. We boot Deivi to start with his 6.0 WAR as a Tiger.
Here we go in chronological order of when the player was in Detroit…