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I Give The Captain More Accolades: Jeter To Play Last Game In The Bronx + Last Series In Boston

derek jeter

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead/Analyst – with assist to Jonathan Hacohen, Website Founder) 

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I understand the “Jeter Fatigue” that has gone on all year, and half of me just wishes that he never mentioned that he was done after the 2014 campaign.  I just hate giving any ammunition to the ‘hater’s’, and definitely when I have agreed it was overkill at some points.  

But then I would have missed his brilliant series at Safeco Field, that was worth the price of admission, if I hadn’t known it was his last year.

While he has struggled for some of this season, he had hits in his 1st AB, all three games of that series I attended, and reached base 9 times in 3 straight Yankee wins, giving me yet more memories for my favorite current Pinstriper.

I was there in person for that, and bought my only t-shirt of the year from a street vendor afterwards.

While everyone is not a Yankees fan. and are growing tired of the talk, this is the greatest Yankees player in my years of watching the sport. So, because I have a forum to write about him, Damnit I will!!

Sure I had grown up on Don Mattingly  (the last captain of the team prior to #2).. Heck…he is still my favorite player of ALL – Time, but Jeter came into the mix about the same time I graduated from high school.

I am sure I can say this about a lot of “Bronx Bombers’ fans my age.  I wanted to be a New York Yankee while playing organized baseball.  It was my dream.

Derek Jeter has lived the life all of us would have wanted as a Yankee Stadium ‘hero’. Read the rest of this entry

On the Verge: Brett Lawrie Call Up by Jays is Imminent

Thursday August 4, 2011


Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):  The Brett Lawrie rollercoaster started December 6th, 2010.  Lawrie was sent to Toronto in exchange for Toronto’s incumbent ace, Shaun Marcum.  Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos immediately said that Lawrie would be working out at third base, switching from second base.  This would be Lawrie’s third major position change in 3 years.  He was drafted out of Langley, BC by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1st round (16th overall) of the 2008 MLB draft.  That year, Toronto held the 17th pick, and it was said that they coveted him greatly.  They instead had to settle for college first baseman and current AAA prospect, David Cooper.

Lawrie hit .293 in spring training this year, while playing decent enough third base to warrant a discussion of keeping him on the roster.  However, Anthopoulos deemed he was not ready to play in the Major Leagues, and the fans in Toronto grumbled as the Blue Jays consistently put Edwin Encarnacion at third base to start the year.  Lawrie started off hot in AAA Las Vegas, and played good defense.  This still wasn’t enough, as the Jays asked him to be more patient and change his approach.  Lawrie did just that, and by May 31st, was hitting over .350 with power and walking more often than he had in the past.  When the Jays were on the brink of calling him up (see our Report from June 2nd), Lawrie was hit by an errant pitch on the back of his left hand.  Blue Jays fans collectively held their breath, and Lawrie declared it was a bruise.  Two days later when swelling subsided, it was found out that Lawrie had a non-displaced fracture.

When he finally returned to Las Vegas in the middle of July, Lawrie came right back to where he left off.  He is now hitting .352 with 18 home runs and 61 RBI.  More importantly, he has 26 walks and is playing much improved defense.  Now, the Jays’ faithful are continuing to call for him.  Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell have repeatedly said “he’s close” and that they want to get him everyday at bats before rosters expand in September.

Now, when Lawrie gets the inevitable call (my guess being Friday, August 5th, before the beginning of a road series in Baltimore), where will he play?  The Jays have Jose Bautista, one of the top three players in baseball at third base.  Well, the plan that Anthopoulos has set out is that Bautista would shift back to his preferred right field, creating a logjam of young and talented outfielders.  Travis Snider is 23 years old and he will play every day at one of the corner positions.  Colby Rasmus is 24 years old and will be in center for the foreseeable future.  That leaves Eric Thames, also 24, the corner outfielder who came out of seemingly nowhere to win the love and admiration of many fans, on the bench.  You could say that Thames can just DH because he isn’t the best fielder of the bunch (although more than adequate and constantly improving), but where does Edwin Encarnacion play then?  Encarnacion is one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball since the beginning of July.  He has 9 doubles, 4 home runs, and 14 RBI with 12 walks in 25 games over that span.  Thames most likely gets optioned to AAA to get every day at bats until rosters expand in September.  Here is how that lineup stacks up.

Yunel Escobar – SS
Colby Rasmus – CF
Jose Bautista – RF
Adam Lind – 1B
Edwin Encarnacion – DH
Travis Snider – LF
Brett Lawrie – 3B
J.P. Arencibia – C
Aaron Hill –  2B

If one of these players is traded, then there won’t be a problem.  The only other option barring a trade, is something that Anthopoulos has stated adamantly will not happen.  Moving Lawrie to second base and sitting former Silver Slugger Aaron Hill on the bench.  This could possibly be the best option available for both the short-term and long-term.  With Hill underperforming (ranked 20th out of 21 qualified 2nd baseman in WAR), and his $8M option for 2012 likely to be declined, Lawrie could slot into that spot for a very long time.  Anthopoulos has preached having talent and skill “in the middle of the diamond” and second base is a spot that sorely needs some stability after Hill’s last two years.  The only thing that could stop this movement is if Anthopoulos sees Hill, who is a good defender, as a guy who can turn his career back around.  If Hill were placed in the 9 hole, and changed his approach, he could be a very serviceable player there.  One idea that has been bandied around is that the Jays decline the option on Hill, and sign him to a much smaller deal to bring him back as the second baseman.

I honestly believe that Anthopoulos has the wheels turning, and with Encarnacion being so hot, many teams would love to take him on to make a push for the playoffs.  If Encarnacion is not in the picture, there is a spot for Thames as a full-time player.  He and Snider would probably split time between left field and DH, with Bautista in right, and Lawrie at third.

What gets lost in all of this, is that the Opening Day center fielder, might become a 5th outfielder.  Rajai Davis  has 33 stolen bases, and is playing better in a part-time role since Rasmus joined the team.  He will be reserved to being a pinch runner, and possibly a late inning defensive replacement for Thames.

The odd man out for this year seems to be Thames, even though the Blue Jays see him as a valuable asset for the long-term.  Whether that means for him to be on the field, or using him as a trade chip remains to be seen.  Lawrie will likely end up playing third base every day, proving why the Jays gave up Marcum for an unproven “troubled” prospect. 


***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  We highly encourge you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***


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Derek Jeter: New York Yankees Captain Joins the 3000 Hit Club

Saturday  July 9, 2011



MLB reports:   Only in New York.  Derek Jeter entered today’s play with 2,998 career hits.  Only two hits short of the magical 3,000 mark.  Up against tough lefty pitcher David Price of the Rays, there was no certainty that Jeter would achieve the mark today.  But this being Jeter, playing in New York in front of the Yankees faithful, you knew that the captain would not disappoint.  Jeter ended up putting on a show for the ages today that few will ever forget and cementing his place in history as one of the best Yankees of all time.

Jeter started off the afternoon with a lead-off single.  Coming up in the 3rd inning, one hit away from 3,000, Jeter took David Price deep for a home run.  The captain hit out of the park in every sense of the word.  After celebrating the accomplishment, Jeter proceeded to have three more hits and finish the day a perfect 5 for 5.  Jeter is only the second player ever to get five hits in getting to 3,000, Craig Biggio being the other in 2007.


To put this into perspective, let’s take a look at the exclusive 3,000 Hit Club that Derek Jeter has just joined:









Pete Rose



May 5, 1978

Cincinnati Reds




Ty Cobb



August 19, 1921

Detroit Tigers




Hank Aaron



May 17, 1970

Atlanta Braves




Stan Musial



May 13, 1958

St. Louis Cardinals




Tris Speaker



May 17, 1925

Cleveland Indians




Carl Yastrzemski



September 12, 1979

Boston Red Sox




Cap Anson



July 18, 1897

Chicago Colts




Honus Wagner



June 9, 1914

Pittsburgh Pirates




Paul Molitor



September 16, 1996

Minnesota Twins




Eddie Collins



June 6, 1925

Chicago White Sox




Willie Mays



July 18, 1970

San Francisco Giants




Eddie Murray



June 30, 1995

Cleveland Indians




Nap Lajoie



September 27, 1914

Cleveland Naps




Cal Ripken, Jr.



April 15, 2000

Baltimore Orioles




George Brett



September 30, 1992

Kansas City Royals




Paul Waner



June 19, 1942

Boston Braves




Robin Yount



September 9, 1992

Milwaukee Brewers




Tony Gwynn



August 6, 1999

San Diego Padres




Dave Winfield



September 16, 1993

Minnesota Twins




Craig Biggio



June 28, 2007

Houston Astros




Rickey Henderson



October 7, 2001

San Diego Padres




Rod Carew



August 4, 1985

California Angels




Lou Brock



August 13, 1979

St. Louis Cardinals




Rafael Palmeiro



July 15, 2005

Baltimore Orioles




Wade Boggs



August 7, 1999

Tampa Bay Devil Rays




Al Kaline



September 24, 1974

Detroit Tigers




Derek Jeter



July 9, 2011

New York Yankees




Roberto Clemente



September 30, 1972

Pittsburgh Pirates





Derek Jeter is only the 28th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits.  An incredible feat indeed.  To put it further into perspective, every member of the 3,000 Hit Club is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, with the exception of Biggio (not yet eligible), Jeter (active), and Palmeiro/Rose (steroids, gambling).  With 3,000 hits, a player almost guarantees his entrance to the Hall.  With the exception of Rose and Palmeiro, every member of the 3,000 Hit Club has been a first ballot HOFer since 1962.  Jeter certainly deserves all the attention that he is receiving today.  Not only did he reach the mark, but he did it on baseball’s stage in the true style of a superstar.


Looking at Derek Jeter’s career numbers, the man has definitely proven to be one of the game’s greats:

1995 48 5 12 0 7 3 11 .250 .294 .375 .669
1996 582 104 183 10 78 48 102 .314 .370 .430 .800
1997 654 116 190 10 70 74 125 .291 .370 .405 .775
1998 626 127 203 19 84 57 119 .324 .384 .481 .864
1999 627 134 219 24 102 91 116 .349 .438 .552 .989
2000 593 119 201 15 73 68 99 .339 .416 .481 .896
2001 614 110 191 21 74 56 99 .311 .377 .480 .858
2002 644 124 191 18 75 73 114 .297 .373 .421 .794
2003 482 87 156 10 52 43 88 .324 .393 .450 .844
2004 643 111 188 23 78 46 99 .292 .352 .471 .823
2005 654 122 202 19 70 77 117 .309 .389 .450 .839
2006 623 118 214 14 97 69 102 .343 .417 .483 .900
2007 639 102 206 12 73 56 100 .322 .388 .452 .840
2008 596 88 179 11 69 52 85 .300 .363 .408 .771
2009 634 107 212 18 66 72 90 .334 .406 .465 .871
2010 663 111 179 10 67 63 106 .270 .340 .370 .710
2011 280 40 72 2 22 24 33 .257 .321 .329 .649
17 Seasons 9602 1725 2998 236 1157 972 1605 .312 .383 .449 .832
162 Game Avg. 659 118 206 16 79 67 110 .312 .383 .449 .832

Derek Jeter, also known as Mr. November or Captain Clutch, has enjoyed a storybook career.  AL ROY in 1996, five gold gloves, 11 All-Star game appearances, a World Series MVP and All-Star game MVP,  4 Silver Slugger awards, 4 World Series rings…the list goes on and on.  For a man who grew up cheering for the Yankees, Jeter will one day have his plaque in Cooperstown and jersey retired in Yankee Stadium.  Although clearly on the decline at age 37, which started to show rapidly last year, Jeter proved today that he still has some big hits left in his bat.  Congrats to Yankee captain Derek Jeter, or as he will be known from now on, Mr. 3000. 



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MLB reports:  In 2005, B.J. (Bossman Jr.) Upton went first overall in the MLB draft to the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now shortened to “The Rays”).  The Kansas City Royals, with the second pick nabbed University of Nebraska sensation Alex Gordon.  After being named college player of the year and minor league player of the year, Gordon made his long anticipated major league debut on April 2, 2007.  The then 23 year old Gordon was the then star prospect for the Royals.  Comparisons to George Brett were prevalent and after unlimited success through collegiate ball and the minors, a quick adjustment was expected for Gordon.  A player with his skills and natural ability simply could not fail.  Or so many of the experts in baseball thought.  The next four years began a stream of injuries, hardships, trips to the minors and position changes for Alex Gordon.  A difficult road indeed. 

I was fortunate to watch many of Alex Gordon’s games in 2007.  The rookie third baseman ended up playing almost a full season that year and finished with six hundred plate appearances.  Fifteen home runs and sixty RBIs were seen as decent, but a .247 average and 41/137 BB/K ratio indicated that Gordon was still very much inexperienced and required seasoning.  In my estimation, Gordon simply needed some seasoning and getting further experience in baseball would help me grow into stardom.  I saw some very bad habits back in that rookie year, including impatience at the plate and instances of a lack of confidence in himself as he suffered through various slumps that year.  But in no means could any expert envision what would transpire over the next three years.

As the Royals continued to lose and fall in the standings, so did Alex Gordon’s stock.  After playing in 134 games in 2008, Gordon only played partial seasons in 2009 and 2010.  Injuries continued to mount and when Gordon was not in the minors or the DL, he was struggling in the majors.  Gordon actually fell to a .215 average in 2010 with a .671 OPS.  Stories continued to mount that as he was approaching the age of twenty-seven, his time in Kansas City was done and a change of scenery was needed.  To further cause insult to injury, Gordon’s defense at third base was considered so below average that the Royals moved him to the outfield in 2010.  Now an outfielder learning a new position and hoping to get his career on track, few people knew what to expect from Gordon in 2011.  But there were signs of a rebound coming.

The top factors behind an Alex Gordon breakthrough that I predicted for the 2011 season:

1) 27 years old:  This is the age when most players seem “to get it” and there was no reason why Gordon would be different.  After a great deal of exposure to the majors, I saw confidence more than anything else as the issue.  As long as Gordon was healthy, as long as he believed in himself, there was no reason for him not to produce.

2)  Talent:  Talent does not disappear and as a former College and Minor League Player of the Year, Gordon obviously has an abundance of skills.  When I read that Gordon was rated as the purest collegiate hitter in his class and George Brett is drooling over signing him, you know that the player is something special.  Many players have heart.  Many players have drive.  But few, if any players, have the talent that Alex Gordon has.  You can’t teach talent like his and as long as he was still young and playing, I was prepared to give Gordon the benefit of the doubt.

3)  Pressure is Off:  Gordon might have been one of the players that had too much expectations placed on him too soon and the goals set for him were almost too high that no player could reach them.  Being expected to turn around the entire Royals ball club and become the next George Brett is a lot of pressure.  I believe that the pressure got to Gordon and he cracked.  Now, going into 2011, switching to the outfield and not being expected to be the foundation of the Royals, Gordon was going to be able to simply go out and play his game.  His way.

4)  The next wave:  Going in line with the third point, the Royals have many prospects on the way.  Fans of the Royals and prospects know the names Moustakas, Hosmer and Myers, the big three expected to land in Kansas City over the next two years.  The media and fans have been clamouring for these prospects, which has created hope in Kansas City.  From a team that was playing the last few years with little optimism, 2011 was promising to be the start of something very special for the Royals.  Never discount the effect of winning or the hope of winning.  It certainly has a way of uplifting players.

5)  The vets:  With the addition of Jeff Francis, Jeff Francouer and Melky Cabrera, the Royals added role players who would be strong in the clubhouse and held mold a young, up-and-coming ball club.  One of the players most likely to benefit was Alex Gordon, who requires mentorship and assistance to build his career.  Rather than getting lost in the shuffle, Gordon could be re-invented and re-born into a major league star.

I wrote several pieces and conversed with many fans during the offseason touting the return of Alex Gordon.  The above factors being key in my mind, I saw Alex Gordon as the ultimate low risk, high reward player.  For all the talk that the Royals might trade Gordon, I could not foresee that any MLB could offer a sufficient return to the Royals to cut loose a player of his potential.  I was relieved to see that Gordon played full-time in spring training and would be in the Royals lineup every day starting opening day.  The results:  Gordon, 12 games into the season going into today’s action, is hitting .345 and has a .907 OPS.  Leading the league in hits with 19 and 7 doubles, clearly Alex Gordon is finally starting to arrive.  His Royals, with a 7-0 win over the Mariners today now stand at an imposing 10-4 record.  Gordon, now the #3 hitter in the lineup, had a 3-4 day with 3 runs and 2 RBIs.  To say that Gordon is starting to meet his potential is an understatement.  Royals fans and Gordon supporters are excited, as everything seems to finally be going right.

Further, with a bullpen of Soria, Crow, Collins and Jeffress, the Royals pitching in the late innings has been lock-down and the team overall has received the pitching and hitting necessary to excel.  But while the Royals and Gordon may be on a current high, warning signs are there for both.  From a hitting standpoint, pulling Gordon and Butler aside, the Royals seem to be scoring runs with smoke and mirrors.  I see little hitting for this team until the big-three hitting prospects arrive in the next two years.  From Gordon’s standpoint, despite his newly rediscovered hitting stroke, has an alarming 3/11 BB/K rate.  But striking out at a high clip with few walks, I am worried that Gordon is still continuing his free swinging ways and has not learned patience at the plate.  So when pitchers will find his weaknesses and exploit them, the base hits he gets right now will become outs.  I am by no means predicting doom and gloom for Gordon and the Royals, just showcasing potential red flags.  But given his strong start, as long as Gordon continues his adjustments and has confidence in himself, he should be strong by the time Moustakas/Hosmer/Myers arrive.

For those that were ready to put Alex Gordon in the Hall of Fame back in 2007, that prediction may never come to fruition.  Although it seems like he has been around forever, Gordon is still only 27.  With a strong work ethic, confidence and health, Gordon could very well play for another decade in the majors.  It is time to put the George Brett comparisons to bed.  Alex Gordon is his own person and player.  From the results so far from 2011, he is a pretty darn good one.  The hope and promise continue to be there for Gordon.  Here’s hoping 2011 will  be the year that he finally arrives.


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