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Cade Kreuter Interview: Padres Prospect Returns To The MLB Reports!

Monday December 3rd, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen ( Lead Baseball Columnist): 

Last February we introduced you to Cade Kreuter.  As part of the interview, we learned all about the “Crocodile Hunter.” A third generation baseball prospect and a member of the Miami Hurricanes, Cade was getting ready to make his own mark on the game. 

Now a member of the San Diego Padres organization, Cade has a bright road ahead. We talked about many facets of his career. From joining the Padres, to playing multiple positions, his offseason in the Dominican and much more. Being around the game his whole life, Cade knows what he needs to do to succeed. 2013 will be his first full season in professional baseball. At 21 years of age, he has his whole career ahead of him. We will be certainly be watching his progress with great anticipation!

Today on MLB reports, we bring you our interview with Padres’ prospect and 3rd generation player, Cade Kreuter: 

MLBR:  Congrats on joining the Padres!  What was the process like joining them?

CK:  Well, as you may know, I missed my entire junior season at The U this past year due to a broken left foot caused by a foul ball I hit off of it in practice the day before our season opener. I was misdiagnosed with a deep bone bruise for the first month of my injury so that was a setback right there for me. I went understandably undrafted after my junior season, after really only playing almost 1 full season out of 3 years in college. But, I felt it was still time for me to move up and play pro ball. I knew another season at The U was not what was best for me. I was contacted by the Padres and they asked me if I was interested in doing a workout and possibly signing as a free agent. I jumped at the opportunity and made the most of it. Later that week I signed and headed to Peoria, Az for the rookie ball season! Read the rest of this entry


2013 MLB Fantasy Keeper Rankings: Third Base

Tuesday October 16th, 2012

Peter Stein:  Now that the 2012 season is over, it is time to start thinking about the 2013. For many owners, that includes deciding on keepers, although keeper systems vary from league to league. In some leagues, keepers can be held onto for an indefinite period of time, while others build upon the previous year’s draft value. Regardless of your league’s keeper setting, this piece identifies the top keeper player at each position. I chose a time period of five years; therefore, the player at each position should produce the most total fantasy value over the course of the next five years. That is, of course, assuming another Mike Trout doesn’t jump onto the scene.

Here is the second installment of the 2013 fantasy keeper focus:

Third Base

Winner: Miguel Cabrera

Honorable Mention: Chase Headley, David Wright, and Ryan Zimmerman

We all know about Cabrera’s ridiculous offensive achievements in 2013. The only complaint about Cabrera is his defense at third base. However, the Tigers seem to be doing just fine right now. Even though he may not always look pretty, Cabrera has held his own defensively. Furthermore, he doesn’t look like he will be switching positions anytime soon with Fielder at first and Victor Martinez likely to DH next season. Read the rest of this entry

Post Chipper Jones Era: Is David the Wright Solution?

Saturday September 22nd, 2012


John Burns:  As you all know, the almighty Chipper Jones will be retiring from baseball after this season. He is it calling it quits after 19 seasons in the Majors. The 40 year-old Chipper Jones has been one of the best players in baseball for a longtime. With his outstanding career numbers, it is no question that one day he will be inducted into Cooperstown. A lock to be a first-ballot inductee. Jones has been part of Atlanta’s organization for 22 years after being drafted number first overall to the Braves in the 1990 MLB Draft.  That is a lot of years at the hot corner, as well as some time spent in the outfield.

How will Atlanta recover without Chipper playing third every day? Are there any possible replacements? Besides his play on the field, can his leadership be replaced? This might shock a lot of you… but could David Wright be the one to replace Chipper in Atlanta? Read the rest of this entry

Pedro Alvarez: Finally Meeting The Hype in Pittsburgh

Saturday September 15th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: Pedro Alvarez is starting to turn the corner. Taking the next step. But, early career struggles had insiders, fans, writers, and everything in-between, labeling him as a “bust”. Let’s not forget that he was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft. So pressure and expectations are sky-high for him, and that’s not anything out of the ordinary. That’s a common theme with almost all high MLB draft picks. Alvarez, however, didn’t meet or exceed those expectations when he first broke into the majors, which caused some concern throughout the club.

In an article on Baseball America, one writer called him “the biggest waste of hitting talent in draft history”. That’s a pretty bold statement especially from a respected baseball publication.  Sure, if it came from some snobby fan, then a statement like that would simply be shrugged off. That wasn’t the case, however. And believe it or not, that bold statement was pretty precise. Harsh? Yes. True? You bet. Yes Alvarez was young, but there were too many red flags to ignore at this stage of his young career. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago White Sox: Should They Pick Up Kevin Youkilis’ Option?

Monday August 27th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  The Chicago White Sox weren’t expected to be in the race this late in the season, but hey, here they are, 2.5 games ahead of the favorite Tigers in the American League east division. A big piece to their success has been Kevin Youkilis, who came over from Boston during the final week of June. Red Sox fans refer to him to leaving as a curse, while White Sox fans refer to him as a spark. Sure, his overall numbers aren’t anything to write home about (.254/.380/.469), but third baseman are hard to come by these days, especially experienced ones. And Youk is as steady as they come, health permitting. Youkilis, who has a $13 million option that comes into play once the season concludes, will likely gain a fair amount of interest should Chicago let him test open waters. However, Chicago shouldn’t give him the opportunity to test the market.

OK, so he might not be worth $13 million. But who will skipper Robin Ventura pencil in at third base of Youkilis leaves the windy city? They might as well forget about finding someone in free agency as the pickings are slim. David Wright could headline the group. Unless the Mets pick up his option (which they will), in which case he will only come through trade or in free agency in another year. Also, GM Kenny Williams would have to enter a bidding war with the Mets and several other clubs who have a hole at the hot corner to obtain Wright. Then, the rest of the crop boils down the likes of Placido Polanco, Mark Reynolds, and Brandon Inge. Any intriguing options in that group? I don’t think so. Read the rest of this entry

Can Miguel Tejada Provide Any Value for the Orioles in 2012?

Tuesday May 15th, 2012

Sam Evans: He’s baaaack! Miguel Tejada’s career has gone down the path that most MLB superstars travel as they get older. Once the best-hitting shortstop in the league, Tejada has now morphed into a weak-hitting veteran who can no longer get on base as easily. However, Tejada can still provide value to a rebuilding team who needs a veteran middle infielder to back up their young starters. The Orioles recently signed Tejada to a low-risk minor league deal, and he has a decent chance of playing in the majors before mid-season.

Miguel Tejada used to be a truly outstanding hitter. From 2001 to 2006, Tejada didn’t miss one game. As a primarily offensive-minded player, Tejada has been nominated to six All-Star games, one of which he was named MVP. He’s also won a Home Run Derby and two Silver Slugger awards. Not to mention, Tejada was the 2002 A.L. MVP, and he has tallied four 30+ home run seasons. However, after the 2006 season, Tejada started to show signs of his age. Read the rest of this entry

Pablo Sandoval Is Going to Have His Best Season Ever in 2012

Sunday March 4, 2012

Sam Evans: Last year, the Giants won eighty-six games and finished eight games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the N.L. West. They did this despite not having their best catcher for most of the year and losing their best hitter for forty-five games. 2012 however is a new year. If the Giants hope to win their division, Pablo Sandoval needs to stay healthy.

Pablo Sandoval has shown some outstanding potential. Last year, in only 117 games, Sandoval had a .909 OPS and a 12.3 UZR. First of all, his UZR last year was outstanding. UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is far from a perfect defensive statistic, but it can be useful in finding how well a player covers the area around their position. Sandoval ranked 2nd among 3B’s in UZR.

When I first saw Sandoval play on TV a couple of years ago, I was astonished that he was even in the major leagues. He is 5’11’’ and weighs roughly 245 pounds.  In 2008, Sandoval played seventeen games at first base, twelve games at third, and eleven games at catcher. He looks like he doesn’t belong on the baseball field, but he plays like a perennial All-Star. He’s unlike any athlete I’ve ever seen, and it is a joy to watch him play baseball. Read the rest of this entry

Zach Johnson Interview: The Baseball Prospect Road from Oklahoma to Houston


Thursday February 9th 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Today on MLB reports, we are joined by Zachary Johnson (Zach)- Houston Astros prospect. Zach completed his first professional season last year, playing for the Tri-City ValleyCats. Name sound familiar? It should! Back in December, we had the chance to interview Zach’s teammate, Neiko Johnson (no relation apparently). Born in California, Zach attending Oklahoma State University. After getting drafted by the A’s in 2010, Zach did not come to terms and was later drafted by the Astros the following year. A 15th round selection of the Stros, the right-hand hitting Johnson plays first, third and second. After getting his feet wet last season, Zach Johnson is looking forward to the upcoming year. With a young, rebuilding Houston squad- plenty of opportunity will be available in the coming years for the Astros brightest prospects. Zach Johnson is definitely looking to get to Houston one day. Heck, when you growing up watching Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, while looking up to Chase Utley- clearly you are setting the standards high. Learn Zach’s baseball story from university, the draft and making it to pro ball. You may think you know the name Zach Johnson. But you might be thinking of another sport (golf). We are baseball-only on MLB reports and for us, there is only ONE Zach Johnson. In today’s exclusive interview with us, get to know this up-and-coming Astros prospect:

Read the rest of this entry

Adrian Beltre is Playing Himself into Hall Of Fame Consideration

Monday January 9, 2012

Doug Booth-  Baseball Writer:  With today being the official day the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) to finalize the 2012 Baseball Hall Of Fame inductees, I thought some more about Adrian Beltre as a potential candidate when he is finished playing the game.  At first glance, Beltre would not seem like a viable candidate but I intend to plead his case for him.  Adrian Beltre was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers while he was playing high school baseball at the age of fifteen.  The Los Angeles Dodgers would later be suspended for a year from the Dominican Republic when this was revealed. However, this was a minor price to pay for securing such a great prospect.  Beltre played in the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball Academy in his own country before heading to the minor leagues.  His minor league career was short-lived as he was called up as a teenager in 1998 at the age of 19.  Beltre struggled with Major League pitching that year hitting .215, but showed some power with 7 HRs and 22 RBIs in only 195 AB.  Beltre won the third base position out of training camp in 1999 and never looked back.  Beltre then enjoyed 5 solid seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, providing great defense and above average power.  It was 2004 that was his breakout year.

At age 25, Adrian Beltre had one of the greatest years of all-time offensively for a third baseman.  Included in his numbers were:  .334 with 48 HRs and 121 RBIs, 200 hits and 104 runs.  Beltre had a slugging percentage that year of .629.   Adrian finished second in MVP voting to Barry Bonds.  Beltre picked a perfect season to explode considering it was his free agent season.  The Seattle Mariners came calling with a 5-year $64 Million deal.  The Seattle Mariners had also signed Richie Sexson that year to try and compete in the AL West for 2005.

The move did not pay off at the start, with Beltre struggling in the 1st half of the season. Yet there was a nice second half of the year, as he still managed to put up 19 HR’S and 87 RBI.  Beltre was frustrated with his first year although he had optimism towards the future, citing the League switch (as it was hard to have a handle on pitchers you never had faced before).  The next three years, Adrian cracked 76 HRs and drove in 265 RBIs.  His average fluctuated a little between .260 to .280. Amongst the numbers that favored Beltre was that he hit 109 doubles in those 3 years.  This next point is playing in certain ballparks can make a huge difference.  As my regional team, I watched Beltre play for his entire Seattle Mariners career.  I would say half of his doubles at home were launched off the fences of Safeco Field.  Had Beltre played in a ballpark more offensive friendly, we are talking about a player capable of hitting 30-35 HRs every year.  When you add up all of the extra base hits for Beltre, he is always in the top 10-15 every year.  With 2010 coming, and finishing an injury plagued 2009 campaign for the Mariners, Beltre picked his worst year for a bad season (with him set to become a free agent for the 2nd time in his career).  The Boston Red Sox finally came calling with a 1-year $10 Million contract.

Adrian Beltre was an outstanding fit at hitter-friendly Fenway Park, posting remarkable numbers of a .321 AVG with 28 HRs and 103 RBIs. It was another impressive season for doubles with 49 (which led the league).  This was the second 80 Extra Base hits season of his career. Some would tell you that Adrian Beltre was the MVP of the Boston Red Sox in 2010, and that his absence from the team in the 2011 year was the main reason why the Red Sox struggled to start the season before missing the playoffs on the final day of the season.  Adrian Beltre took his offensive talents to Texas for 2011, signing a 6-year $96 Million Contract.

Beltre tore it up in Arlington last season. Despite missing 38 games, Beltre clubbed 32 HRs and drove in 105 RBIs while carrying an Avg of .296.  Beltre continued his torrid offensive pace in the playoffs, where he even had a 3-home run game in the ALDS versus the Tampa Bay Rays!  Later in the World Series, Beltre hit a home run where he fell to his knees.  At age 32 and with 5 seasons left in his contract with the Texas Rangers, this slugger shows no sign of slowing down.  His career numbers are already impressive at .276 with 310 HRs, 1113 RBIs and 430 doubles.  If Beltre can amass another 140 HRs, 170 doubles and 390 RBIs during these upcoming years(a yearly average of 28 HRs, 34 doubles and 78 RBIs), then you are talking about a guy that will have career numbers of 450 HRs, 1500 RBIs and 600 doubles.  Those statistics would garner the man some serious consideration for the Hall of Fame… and he may not even be done playing after that.  Beltre should have about 2800 hits by the time he is done as well. Beltre is also known as being one of the best defensive third baseman of late, which has culminated in 3 gold gloves over the last 5 years. With Beltre’s Gold Glove potential every year, there is no reason to think he will not win a couple more of these awards.  

In the end, Beltre could have historical numbers for a third baseman, surpassed by only a select few like Mike Schmidt. I think it is very important for the writers of the BBWAA to talk to all of the announcers/broadcasters of all major league teams about the potential BBHOF candidates out there, as a guy like Adrian Beltre might just slip through the cracks.  Ron Santo’s 2012 induction might just be a preview to the kind of third baseman who will one day join the fraternity. If you look up Beltre’s numbers as of today, their career numbers are already eerily similar.

*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website,*** 


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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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