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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – August 12, 2015

1988-dodgers-parade-3-getty.0

The Dodgers have the longest pennant drought of any California team. The fact that they did not make the big move for 2015 makes no sense to me.

Plus I imagine how their history would be different had they kept Pedro and Piazza.

It is an I Love LA episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Lorenzo Cain, Yasiel Puig, Carlos Rodon, Madison Bumgarner, Chris Davis, Todd Frazier, Williams Perez and Bryan Mitchell all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball



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Who Owned Baseball August 11, 2015 (Daily AL/NL Pitcher + Hitter MVP’s) + 2015 #WOB Standings

CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP

CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP

Lorenzo Cain went 4 for 4 with a double and a homer to lead the first place Royals to a 6-1 victory over the Tigers.

Yasiel Puig homered, tripled and drove in 5 runs as the Dodgers logged a much needed 5-0 win over Washington.

Carlos Rodon threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 walk and striking out 11 Angels batters, earning the 3-0 decision for the White Sox.

Madison Bumgarner threw a complete game allowing 5 hits and 1 walk and striking out 12 Houston batters, winning 3-1 in San Francisco.

They all owned baseball on August 11, 2015.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings, plus see who gained 1/2 WOB’s – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON OR SCROLL DOWN.


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2013 MLB Fantasy Keeper Rankings: Installment #1

Friday October 12th, 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 first installment of the 2013 fantasy keeper focus:

First Base:

Winner: Joey Votto

Honorable Mention: Paul Goldschmidt

First base is actually the most tenuous and hardest to predict position on this list.  Can we really expect Albert Pujols to be super-productive for another five years? He will be 33 next season and his struggles at the beginning of the year are certainly not encouraging. Then again, a .285/30/105/8 season is considered a major down year from him. And, we all know how much better he was after the brutal start. Edwin Encarnacion (.280/42/110/13) emerged into the mix and excluding Miguel Cabrera was the top option at first base. However, he is 29 years old and has just a career .815 OPS in eight seasons. Clearly he has made strides, but he is very tough to predict moving forward. (more…)

Jose Canseco: MLB Hero or Villain?

Thursday June 14, 2012

John Burns (MLB reports Intern Candidate):  The “Godfather” of steroids Jose Canseco has been through the depths of baseball controversy- from the start of his baseball career to this present day. 

Canseco is one of the few MLB players that admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his career. He was definitely though not the only player in his era to use steroids. Canseco wrote a book titled: “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big”, where he “snitched” on a large number of MLB players that were juicing at the time. Some of the MLB players that Canseco stated that were steroids users in his book: Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan González, and Roger Clemens to name a few.

Jose Canseco was a fan favorite in Oakland from 1985-1992 and then had another stint with the A’s in 1997. Canseco received many awards and achieved a number of milestones during his 16 years in the MLB; First player ever to join 40-40 club, 6 time All-Star, 2 time World Series Champion, 4 time Silver Slugger Award, AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and AL Comeback Player of the Year. Of course most of those awards are now tainted because of his use of steroids.

As crazy as this might sound I consider Jose Canseco a hero for cleaning up the game of baseball. Yes, he cheated- but he is one of the few who admitted it. In the process, he virtually cleaned up baseball by “ratting out” other MLB players. Most of the past or present MLB players highlighted by Canseco do not admit to taking steroids, even though there is sufficient evidence that many of them did. I believe Jose Canseco is great for baseball and he is the reason for baseball being clean. Or at least cleaner.

There are many people who believe that Jose Canseco is a bum who turned his back on the game of baseball. Everyone has a right to their opinion, as even Canseco himself on occasion has said that he would not have written his books had he known the long-term effects of the decision. But believe it or not, I strongly disagree with the Canseco critics. Don’t get me wrong, steroids are terrible for baseball and nobody should use them. But Jose Canseco admitted to his mistakes. Like I said earlier, many players still do not admit their errors to this day. This is one of the reasons why Jose Canseco has my respect. For not only telling the truth, but by cleaning up the sport I love.

Jose Canseco should be remembered as one of the men who helped save the game of baseball. Just imagine if Canseco didn’t sell out the players named in his literary works. You can’t tell me that guys like Mark McGwire would admit to any wrongdoing if they weren’t accused. At the end of the day, Jose Canseco should have the legacy of a great player, who made some dumb decisions. But he was man enough to admit when he was wrong and ended up fixing the game that he helped break in the first place.

Please e-mail us at: mlbeports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Carlos Correa: Welcome to the Houston Astros

Wednesday June 6th, 2012

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      Image Courtesy of Aol.Sportingnews.com

Brendan Henderson: Coming into this year’s MLB Draft, the main question people kept asking themselves was, “Who are the Houston Astros going to take with the first overall pick?” Many thought the Astros would go with college pitcher Mark Appel or the young centerfielder Byron Buxton from Appling County High School in Georgia. Instead of taking the players most people thought they would, the Astros took the young shortstop from the Puerto Rico, Carlos Correa. Was it a good move for the Astros? I will tell you what I think below. (more…)

MLB reports Monthly Power Rankings: May 2012

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you a monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few verses for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.

May Power Rankings

  1. Texas (19-10)  Josh Hamilton is clubbing the ball at his 2010 like AL MVP clip.  Yu Darvish appears to be the real deal.  Mike Napoli hits 8th on most nights. Michael Young might be the most under-appreciated hitter in the last decade.  Ian Kinsler is on pace for 162 runs.  If Nelson Cruz starts hitting and or Nathan rounds into form, than this team may blitz by every one.
  2. Tampa Bay (19-10) The pitching staff is incredible right now.  David Price is asserting himself as one of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Strong starts from Evan Longoria, Luke Scott and Carlos Pena have helped.  Joe Maddon may be the best ‘in-game manager’ of baseball now with Tony La Russa out of the Majors.
  3. Atlanta (18-12) The reason I have Atlanta rated so high is they are not even having a good year from Tim Hudson yet and Jair Jurrjens has been atrocious.  Still they sit near the top of the standings.  Chipper Jones has 21 RBI and Freddie Freeman has taken the next step so far with 26 RBI.  Last year the team had a lot of players with career worst years and they were only eliminated on the last day of the season.  This year may be different.
  4. St. Louis (18-11) You lose a franchise player like Albert Pujols and you spend half the money for Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal, who are finally hitting the numbers like the back of their bubble gum cards from 5 years ago.  Are we giving enough credit to Mark McGwire here? Lance Lynn has morphed into Chris Carpenter with his 6-0 start.
  5. LA Dodgers (19-10) Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball right now and may walk away with the triple crown this year.  Andre Ethier has matured into the RBI guy he needs to be.  Solid pitching by Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly have this team looking solid. Dodgers look good in the future when  the new ownership takes over. (more…)

Michael Pineda’s Early Demise

Saturday April 28th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Exactly one year ago today, Michael Pineda was just a few starts into his major league career. He had a fastball upwards of ninety-five miles per hour and seemed to be the next Felix Hernandez in the Mariners organization. It would have been impossible to predict where he is now and what he is going through. The Yankees announced Wednesday that Pineda would miss the rest of the season due to an anterior labrum tear in his shoulder and would need to undergo arthroscopic surgery. The best-case recovery time is 12 months, making a return for Opening Day 2013 nearly impossible.

       

A shoulder injury is one of the worst possible injuries a pitcher could have. Compared to elbow injuries and the recovery from Tommy John surgery, the recovery from a torn labrum is a much longer and tougher process. Pineda most likely suffered this injury due to fatigue from his large workload last year (171.0 IP). The good news for Pineda is that the rotator cuff is not damaged, and the surgery is successful 85-90 percent of the time. A couple of recent pitchers who recovered successfully from this type of surgery are Curt Schilling and Chris Carpenter. Schilling had a similar injury in 1995 when he was 28 years old, which caused him to miss most of the 1995 season. For Schilling, it only took ten months to fully recover and by May 1996, he was pitching again. Carpenter tore his labrum in 2003 and made a full recovery to come back to have a great 2004 season. Pineda’s return isn’t impossible by any means, especially because he just turned 23. Talk about a sophomore jinx for Pineda — he didn’t even get to start his sophomore campaign.


Unfortunately for the Yankees, their highly touted prize in the Jesus Montero trade must be placed on the disabled list for the rest of this season. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik claims he had no knowledge whatsoever about a possible injury for Pineda when he made the trade, so it seems that the Yankees just got unlucky. At the time of the trade, it seemed that both teams were getting a great deal for each of their needs. The Yankees needed pitching and got exactly that from Pineda with a solid 3.74 ERA in his Rookie year with 171.0 innings pitched and 173 strikeouts. This type of performance earned him All Star honors. The only concern was the large number of innings pitched, which, in my opinion, ended up doing him in. The Mariners, knowing that they were going to have sufficient pitching in the future with Felix Hernandez and highly regarded prospect Danny Hultzen, traded Pineda for Yankees prospect Jesus Montero who was ready to be on the big club after spending the majority of 2011 in the minors (tearing it up, I might add with an overall .308 average over a five-year span). For the anemic Mariners offense that needed some pop, Montero promised to help improve a club that, in 2011 ranked dead last in average, runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and 25th in home runs. This already perfect deal for the Mariners turned out even better sadly when Pineda went down with this injury.


Now the Yankees are stuck with an injured Pineda, and do not have Jesus Montero in their lineup (who was hitting .263 as of today, but hey, at least he’s playing). The Mariners also got pitcher Hector Noesi, who is also part of the Mariners’ rotation, and the Yankees received minor league pitcher Jose Campos, who has posted a 1.23 ERA so far for the Charleston RiverDogs Single-A team (I guess that’s the only silver lining for the Yankees). Five years from now when all of the players who were involved in the trade are established major leaguers, this may all be a distant memory. But right now for the Yankees, it hurts a lot.


**Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshanksy, MLB reports Intern candidate.  We highly encourage 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 Bernie on Twitter. (@BernieOlshansky)***

 

Please e-mail us at: mlbeports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Mike Adams Leads the Way – 2012 MLB Holds Leader

Thurday April 19th, 2012 

Ryan Ritchey:  Most teams are 12 games in to this 162 game season, with many teams having played close games in all 12. With that in mind I would like to check out the stat that no one really pays attention to (except some hardcore fantasy baseball fans)… that being holds. For those of you that don’t know what a hold, is let me explain. A hold by definition is when a relief pitcher enters the game in a save situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game without his team giving up the lead- with also not recording the save. That is a lot to take in at one time but it all works out in the end on the stat sheet.

Now that you know what a hold is, let’s take a look at the top ten relievers in holds:

10. David Hernandez ARI – 3 holds, Arizona has gone on a hot streak and it is because of their pitching. With Upton not producing, the pitching is taking most of the responsibility on their shoulders and are doing a great job. Hernandez in 7 appearances has 8 strikeouts to only 2 walks allowed. He also has one blown save. (more…)

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 15th, 2012

Sunday April 15th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week: (there are MANY great ones this week…better jump right in!)

 

Q:  How many triple plays were turned last year?  Wayne

MLB reports: Nice way to start off ATR Wayne. Four. Can you believe it? Four triple plays turned last year. Three in 2010, five in 2009, two in 2008 and four in 2007. Surprised? Me too. I thought they were more rare! Last year’s triple plays took place as follows:

(1) Indians turned a 3P against the White Sox on April 3rd

(2) Brewers turned a 3p against the Dodgers on August 15th

(3) Red Sox turned a 3p against the Rays in the 2nd game of a DH on August 16th (a day later!)

(4) The miracle Rays came back on September 27th to turn their own 3p against the Yankees.

 

Q:  Is it worth picking up Aroldis Chapman as a third reliever?!?  William

MLB reports:  Without a doubt. Yes. Are you kidding me? Grab him. Right now. Don’t wait. Now. Right now! As you can tell, I am high on Chapman. Long term, I see him as a starter. But for now, he is a reliever. I see him having some great save opportunities this year. Madson is done for the year. A ton of money is invested in Chapman and he has been nothing short of brilliant this season. In 4 games he has a 0.00 ERA. 11 strikeouts. 0 walks in 6 innings. Yes. As a third relieve, you cannot go wrong with Chapman. He has already vultured 2 wins. He can help you in so many ways. There will be ups-and-downs this year with Chapman, no doubts. But with pitchers around baseball dropping like flies, when you have a talented pitcher with huge upside, make sure he can find his way onto your team. (more…)

Marshall and Chapman to Solidify the Reds Pen

 

Thursday April 12th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey:  The Reds went out and got two relievers this year to help out in the back-end of their bullpen, with Francisco Cordero leaving. Those two pitchers were Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall. As I wrote in a previous article, Madson has gone down with Tommy John Surgery and now Sean Marshall will have to take over the closing duties. This puts a lot of pressure on Marshall to succeed because the Reds will likely play in many close games throughout the season.

With the injury to Madson, it changes a lot around in the rotation. In Spring Training Aroldis Chapman was getting his arm in shape to be a starter, since their was enough bullpen to shut down teams in late innings. That all went out the window with the Madson injury. Chapman is 2-0 and has 10 k’s in 5 innings pitched this first week of the season in the bullpen. So far…so good. (more…)

First Week of the 2012 MLB Season is in the Books: Fantasy Baseball Thoughts

Tuesday April 10th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): What an interesting first week of baseball, in both the real and fantasy world. What jumps out most to me; however, is the proof that you should never overpay for closers. Saves can be had on the waiver wire, which Hector Santiago, Fernando Rodney, Henry Rodriguez, and Brad Lidge each demonstrated in the season’s first week. Last week, if you recall, I told you to grab Alfredo Aceves as well as Lidge and Rodriguez. Although Aceves has struggled as closer (except for his save last night in Toronto), his value skyrocketed when he was named the closer and I was able to flip him for John Danks. In a surprise move, rookie manager Robin Ventura named rookie Hector Santiago closer for the White Sox. I had monitored this situation since spring training and owned Santiago. Again, as soon as he was named closer I traded him as well- this time for DL’d Tim Hudson. So, after a draft in which I was left thin in pitching, within one week I was able to add Hudson and Danks for two waiver pickups, to join Dan Haren, Matt Cain, Wandy Rodriguez, and Bartolo Colon for a now very formidable starting staff in a 15-team league. The point is: people will overpay for saves, especially as guys go down with injuries. Do your best to capitalize while you can!


On the same note, take advantage of some of the old timers or well-known players who are off to a good start. For instance, Rafael Furcal is off to a blazing start, and is a great add. At the top of the Cardinals lineup, he can be a great source for runs and stolen bases. With his name recognition, he might also be able to net you some great value. Chone Figgins fits this mold as well, but he has been so horrendous the past few seasons, it is tough to expect much of anything from him. A definite buy-low candidate.


What has really surprised me after the first week, are the surprise starting pitchers. There are a lot of intriguing names more than likely available on your waiver wire. Filling in for Chris Carpenter, Lance Lynn dominated the Brewers lineup and I actually expect him to pitch himself into the rotation even when Carpenter returns. Likewise, Jeff Samardzija had a great 2012 debut start with the Cubs and could be a great matchup starter. With 11 strikeouts and 8 1/3 innings against San Diego, Chad Billingsley reverted back to his old form. Perhaps he can put his 2011 struggles behind him…or just maybe the Padres lineup can make any pitcher look good.


Although we are only a week into the season, Matt Kemp is already trying to prove that 2011 was no fluke. Maybe he can repeat his MVP-like season. Another consensus top-five player, Miguel Cabrera looks primed for a huge year with a solid first week, and his value will truly rise to another level when he gains 3B eligibility in a few days. A slow start for Albert Pujols with the Angels, but I expect him to breakout in a big way, perhaps on the big stage against the Yankees this weekend. Oh, and Eric Hosmer is the real, real, real deal. He could easily finish as a top-ten player this year and is a legit five-category stud at just 22 years of age.


That’s all for this week! Remember, the season is just one week old, but you can use it to your advantage. Be active on the waiver wires and with trades, and if can make an upgrade, or what you would have thought was an upgrade during your draft two weeks ago, go ahead and do it!

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage 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 Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein)***

 

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage. 

The Factor12 Rating: Get to Know this Baseball Stat

Monday April 2nd, 2012

Josh Robbins (Guest Writer):  The Factor12 Rating (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers on 60ft6in.com.

  

F12 consists of the following twelve statistics incorporating every aspect of pitching:

Innings Pitched (IP); Strikeouts Minus Walks (SO-BB); Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP); Earned Run Average (ERA); Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP); Home Runs per 9 innings (HR/9); Walks per 9 innings (BB/9); Strikeouts per 9 innings (SO/9); Opponents Batting Average (OBA); Opponents On-Base Average (OOBA); Opponents Slugging Average (OSLG); Modified Base-Out Percentage (MBOP) has been adjusted to include wild pitches and balks.

  

The traditional strikeout statistic places too much value on a pitcher’s ability to retire a hitter via strikes.  In fact, strikeouts minus walks differential illustrates a clearer image of a pitcher’s true dominance over hitters and mastery of the strike zone.  In 1974, Nolan Ryan recorded a whopping 367 strikeouts while issuing a staggering 202 walks producing a 165 SO-BB differential.  Last season, Clayton Kershaw amassed 248 strikeouts and allowed only 54 walks equaling a 194 SO-BB differential.  On first glance, Ryan appears to be more dominant.  However, Kershaw was far superior in controlling the strike zone. (more…)

History, Baseball, Life: Connecting with the Baseball Lannings

Saturday March 31st, 2012

Paul Lanning (Guest Writer):  I first learned about a pitcher named Johnny Lanning back in the early 1990s when I started “managing” a fantasy team of old-time baseball players in something called “Bill James Classic Baseball” as a hobby my buddy Steve got me into when we were both working in the front office of the Albuquerque Dukes, then the Triple A affiliate to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  This was before the internet, and long before social media. Like with current fantasy baseball leagues, we had a salary cap and we drafted a full roster of players. The difference was that these players were all old-timers…players dating back to the very start of Major League Baseball in the 1800s. The games were played by some computer in Illinois, and we anxiously awaited printouts in the mail each week of the prior week’s box scores and stats.

Johnny Lanning

Tobacco Chewin’ Johnny” was a journeyman hurler with the Boston Bees and Pittsburgh Pirates before heading off to WWII. He’s pictured here after returning to the majors with the Boston Braves. (more…)

2012: The Year of the Tommy John Surgery

Thursday March 29th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Intern Candidate:  MLB reports):  The 2012 season hasn’t even begun and we are already talking extensively about Tommy John surgery. As a baseball fan, it is sad to see players go down and require this surgery. It is a long recovery back to the big leagues and sometimes the players are never the same. This is an injury that happens mostly to pitchers, because of how much stress they put on their elbows. This year is no different.

We are two weeks away from opening day and several pitchers have gone down with elbow injuries, both needing Tommy John. Two of those pitchers are Ryan Madson of the Cincinnati Reds and Joakim Soria of the Kansas City Royals. Madson who just signed with the Reds this offseason is hoping for a speedy recovery back to the bigs to make an impact in Cincy. For Joakim Soria, it’s a totally different story. This is his second go around with Tommy John Surgery (2003). (more…)

A Few Ways MLB can Make Stadiums More Tech-Friendly

Tuesday March 27th, 2012

Sam Evans: Major League Baseball has always been viewed as a classic American sport. In the last fifty years, the world has greatly changed… but for the most part, the game has remained the same. Today, in a modern world, baseball needs to make some simple adjustments to the fan’s experience in order to stay relevant.

Major League stadiums are just as nice, if not nicer, than NBA and NFL arenas and stadiums. In the last ten years, baseball fans have seen retractable roofs, pools in center field, and even weird dolphin home-run sculptures implemented in Major League stadiums. MLB has shown a commitment to bringing fans out to the ballpark. Despite baseball’s efforts, attendance still isn’t where it should be for THE major sport in the United States. (more…)

Changes That I Would Make To Improve Spring Training

Tuesday March 21st, 2012

Sam Evans: MLB’s Spring Training needs a makeover. They play too many games, and the games aren’t usually in ideal locations. If MLB were to use my suggestions, I believe that Spring Training would become a more respectable, revenue producing venue. (more…)

AL East: Value Picks, Up-and-Coming Players and Red Flags in Fantasy Baseball

Tuesday March 20th, 2012


Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): We saved the best for last in our sixth and final installment to prepare for your fantasy drafts. The Al East is by far the most talented and exciting division in Major League Baseball. At times there were fourth place teams, such as the Blue Jays and Rays, that would most certainly finish in first place in other divisions. However, what makes the AL East most fantasy-relevant is the changing of the tides and cycle of talent. Just as the A-Rod’s, Ortiz’s, Jeter’s, and Crawford’s are aging and not to playing up to their price or draft pick, the entire division, from top to bottom, has young talent that appear primed to outperform their projected draft value.


Instead of your run of the mill position-by-position rankings, I identify players who fall into the following three categories: value picks, buyer beware, and up-and-coming. The traditional rankings often do a disservice and give owners too close-minded of an approach, particularly in the ROTO format. An owner cannot have a clear-cut strategy and ranking system, as one must adapt to the circumstances on draft day. Remember that you are often building a team for five categories, and you cannot predict which categories you will need to target to offset weaknesses as the draft progresses. Therefore, the key to success is to understand which player’s are over and undervalued, by looking at determinants such as performance trends, offseason movement, and skill development. We are all aware of the fantasy studs, but the way to build a winning roster is to identify players who provide sneaky good value. (more…)

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…)

Daniel Bard: Future Red Sox Ace?

Thursday March 15, 2012

Rob Bland (Baseball Writer):  With most of Red Sox Nation knowing that big time closer Jonathan Papelbon would be leaving the team via free agency after the 2011 season, many thought that it would be a seamless transition to throw Daniel Bard into the mix as the closer for the foreseeable future.  However, new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington surprised many when he announced that Bard would be stretched out as a starter in the spring.

Now, it’s not the first time a good reliever has been turned into a starter, and many of them have turned into useful starters.  C.J. Wilson is just one of these successful conversions, having been the Texas Rangers’ closer from 2007-2009, then shifting into the rotation for 2010 and 2011.  Wilson earned 46 saves in those 3 seasons, and after his move to the rotation, he went 31-15 and accumulated 10.5 WAR, putting him in the upper echelon of starters.

This year, another closer for the Rangers will be shifting to the rotation in Neftali Feliz.  Many believe that he will struggle. But if C.J. Wilson, who was a decent reliever can do it, why not Feliz?  Why not Bard?

Bard has an electric fastball, averaging over 97 mph over his MLB career.  He also has a solid slider that sits around 84 mph.  Bard has induced ground balls at an extremely high rate; 48.6% over 197 IP.  Bard has lowered his walk rate, as well as HR/FB while maintaining an extremely low BABIP over the last two seasons, .215 and .224, respectively.

Bard hasn’t started a game since 2007 when he was in single-A ball.  He threw 75 innings of 7.08 ERA, striking out 47 and walking 78.  Obviously a lot of those control issues are behind him, as evidenced by his shrinking BB/9; 4.01, 3.62, and 2.96 in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively.  Bard has been able to get guys out with a fastball that touches 100 mph, and a plus slider.  The problem here is that he only ever threw one inning at a time, and thus rarely needed a third pitch.  According to brooksbaseball.net, in 2011, Bard threw his change-up 83 times, which is only 7.5% of all his pitches, in contrast to 64% on his fastball, and 25% on his slider.  He also threw 46 sinkers, around 4.1%.

In such a small sample size of changeups, one should definitely not get too excited over the results.  However, in 2011, Bard fared pretty well with his change-up.  He was able to induce swings on 48.19% of his changeups, and 25% of those were swing-and-misses.  His changeup was put in play 23% of the time, and had a ground ball rate of 63%.

In no way does this mean it is a good changeup. However, it does seem promising.  It is also possible that Bard just throws them at the most opportune time, and delivers when necessary.  It could also mean that he is incredibly lucky.

With Bard having to throw 6+ innings every 5th day, how will his arm hold up moving to the rotation?  Most relievers have a limit in their first years starting as to how many innings they will throw.

Brandon Morrow was moved to the rotation full time when he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, and was shut down after 146 innings in 2010, and threw only 179 innings in 2011. This year, there will be no limitations on the hard throwing righty, whose profile closely fits that of Bard.  Morrow can get his fastball in the upper 90s as well as having a devastating slider.  His success has been only moderate due to mediocre offerings in his curve ball and changeup.

Bard’s development as a starter rests mostly on the development of his changeup.  If he is able to use it more often and maintain success with it, he could be a solid starter this year and going forward.  The other extremely important thing to look at is whether new manager Bobby Valentine will limit his innings, or let him go for the full season, as the Rangers did with Wilson in 2010 (204 IP).

I see Bard throwing somewhere around 170 innings this year, and performing fairly well, getting acclimated to throwing every 5th day.  His changeup is developing, and if he harnesses it, he could be a deadly addition to a rotation that includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz.


***Today’s feature was prepared by Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage 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.***

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on FacebookTo subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Looking Back at the Careers and Legacies of La Russa and Torre

Wednesday March 14th, 2012

Sam Evans: Tony La Russa and Joe Torre were two of most successful managers of all time. They combined for over five thousand managerial wins, and there is no chance either manager won’t make the Hall-of-Fame. Two years ago, Torre retired, and after the Cardinals World Series championship in 2011, La Russa called it quits as well. Join me as we look back at the careers of two of the best managers the game of baseball has ever seen. (more…)

The Twins Need Justin Morneau

Sunday March 11th, 2012

Sam Evans: In this new era of baseball, you can’t make the playoffs without an above-average first baseman. Two years ago, the Twins had one of the best first basemen in the game and they won ninety-four games. Then, Justin Morneau got injured sliding hard into second base on July 7th, 2010. Morneau might not ever be the same after suffering this fatal concussion. The Twins witnessed how rough it was without Morneau, after suffering through a 99-loss season last year.

When the 22-year-old Morneau first broke the big leagues with Twins in 2003, he struggled miserably. Year by year after 2003, Morneau improved, leading him to the 2006 AL MVP award. The Twins, led by manager Ron Gardenhire, were slowly building an A.L Central dynasty. From 2003-2009, the Minnesota Twins won an average of eighty-eight games.

Without Morneau and Joe Mauer leading the Twins to the playoffs regularly, the Twins probably wouldn’t have Target Field. Justin Morneauhad six straight seasons of an OPS over .834. He was a leader in the clubhouse, and on the field. Morneau’s exemplary play didn’t fly under the radar nationally. He was a four-time All-Star, and a two-time Sliver Slugger award winner. Morneau was the most consistent player on the Twins, and without him, you can question if Target Field would exist. (more…)

Bob Gibson: Ranking the Cardinals Hurler Among the Greatest of All Time

Friday March 9th, 2012

Rob Bland:  Bob Gibson is, in Jonathan Hacohen’s mind, the best pitcher of all time.  To me, there is certainly in an argument for at least top-10, maybe top-5. But I have trouble actually justifying putting him ahead of Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Pedro Martinez and Walter Johnson.  Now, these pitchers played in different eras, so it is extremely difficult to compare them side-by-side.  

Bob Gibson pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals for parts of 17 seasons, racking up 251 wins against 174 losses.  He made his debut on April 15, 1959, and played his last game in September of 1975.  Six years later he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 337 of a total 401 votes (84%).  

Between 1961 and 1974, Gibson threw over 200 innings all but twice; 175.1 in 1967, and 195 in 1973.  He surpassed 250 innings pitched eight times, and 290 innings four times.  Needless to say, Gibby was a work horse.   (more…)

Vlad Guerrero is one of the Most Exciting Players Ever to Watch Live

Friday March 5, 2012


Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)-
 I love watching Vladimir Guerrero play baseball live in person.  I first saw him play in 1996 at the Big ‘O’ in Montreal. I think he swung at 9 balls in a row.  I am lucky enough to have seen him play about 20 games live since then.  Perhaps no other Major League Player has ever liked to swing the bat as much as Vlad (with a heavy apology here to Randall Simon, who swung his bat at one of the Sausages during a Miller Park race.)   Believe me, the television set does not do this man enough justice.

In 2005, I saw my first game at Angel Stadium.  It was Vladdy’s first year in with the Angels.  They were playing the Texas Rangers.  I think Kenny Rogers was pitching back with his original club.  He threw 3 intentional balls way outside to Guerrero in the bottom of the 1st.  On a 3-0 count, he bounced one to the plate.  Wouldn’t you know Vladdy was swinging on a 3-0 count? He smashed a ball off of the fence in left with a line drive about six feet off the ground!  I swear that Vlad would have been one of the best cricket players in the world had he played.  I am sure he has hundreds of hits similar to this in his career.

Vladimir was also an incredible fielder in his early years with the Expos.  He could throw a guy out from the wall in right field all the way to home plate.  It was unbelievable to witness such an amazing arm like this.  He was an all-round player with 5-tools.  He will be regarded more for his offense as some baseball historians say he is the best bad ball hitter since Roberto Clemente.  This is heavy praise for the future Hall of Famer.  While you never really think of Vladdy as lightning fast, he did steal 40 bases in 2002 for the Expos during his 2nd straight 30-30 campaign.  He only missed the 40-40 club by one home run.  (more…)

Shawn Griffith Interview: Call Him Griff… and a Future MLB Closer

Tuesday February 28th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:   We are definitely fortunate to have many of the Blue Jays top prospects appear here on the Reports. Perhaps because we are based out of Toronto. Or maybe the Jays just have some of the friendliest prospects in the game. Whatever the reason- today’s guest is no exception. Shawn Griffith is the latest Jays prospect to sit in the hot seats and talk ball with us. Griff was a 37th round pick of the Jays pack in 2009. Right after signing, Griff jumped right into pro ball and played for two different levels right off the bat. He finished his professional debut with some very obscene numbers. In 2009, Griff pitched in 25 games to the tune of a 0.53 ERA, 9 saves and a whopping 52 strikeouts in 33.2 innings. Try a 0.683 WHIP on for size to boot. Overall, in his 3 seasons, Griff has a formidable 9-6 record, 3.31 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and 66/147 BB/So in 117 innings pitched. Making it as far as high-A Dunedin in the last 2 seasons, the MLB reports crystal ball is seeing AA in Griff’s future. Get an apartment rented in New Hampshire Griff…as you will soon get to know what exactly a Fisher Cat is!

For a pitcher with a closer mentality and tools, we get to know Shawn Griffith today. From his time in George Mason to his 2012 outlook, this is the complete Shawn Griffith story. One of the most polite young men you will ever meet…and he even brings tea to the bullpen every game. Talk about a sophisticated reliever! On that note, we are proud to present our exclusive interview with one of the top Blue Jays reliever prospects, Shawn Griffith:

(more…)

Garrett Maines Interview: Jays Catcher Prospect- on that Minor League Grind Just Tryin to be Showbound!

Sunday February 26th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:   When you think “Blue Jays catcher”, the names Arencibia and d’Arnaud. Arcencibia is the Jay’s power hitting major league catcher, who has quickly become a fan favorite in Toronto. Travis d’Arnaud is one of the Jays top prospects in the minors- and actually, one of the top prospects in the game, regardless of pitching. With the Jays as an organization having some of the best catching talent in baseball, we are ready to throw more names in the mix. Back in December, we interviewed Jays catcher George Carroll. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays have a serious catching factory going, as we were lucky to get some time to speak to catching prospect, Garrett Maines. 

Drafted by the Pirates in 2009, Garrett chose to finish in school and finish his degree (way to go Garrett!) In 2010, Garrett signed with the Jays, after playing a season of indy baseball. After getting his feet wet in the Gulf Coast League in 2010, Garrett made it to Canada in 2011…playing for the Vancouver Canadians of the NorthWest League. Garrett really delivered in his 2nd professional season. He showed good pop, with 4 home runs in only 27 games. He hit .263, with a .337 OBP and .500 SLG, helping lead the Canadians to a league title. Clearly, this kid has some serious pop in his bat! Now going into 2012 and coming off a championship year, Garrett is hungry for more. After a hard offseason of workouts and preparations, Garrett is ready for 2012. Ready to take the next steps in climbing up the Jays organization ladder. Ready to work hard, offensively and defensively in becoming a solid all-around catcher. Remember the name Garrett Maines- this Jays prospect is going places! And if you need some quality baseball bats, give Garrett’s grandma a call. He comes from a serious baseball family! Today on MLB reports, we are proud to feature our exclusive interview with the man behind the mask, Garrett Maines:

(more…)

Michael Kickham Interview: Giants Lefty Prospect Starter- Kicking it into Gear

Saturday February 25th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:   How do the San Francisco Giants do it? When you think of quality starting pitching, the names Cain, Lincecum and Bumgarner are bound to enter the conversation. The Giants appear to have a factory where they are able to produce quality pitching prospects at will. Well, you know that we love discovering and analyzing top prospects on the Reports. We are fortunate to have found a great one in the Giants system. Starting pitcher (of course). Left-handed (of course). Stands 6’4″ (of course). Michael Kickham is a name that you will be hearing for many years to come in baseball. A 6th round pick of the Giants back in 2010, Kickham is going into his 3rd professional season. As a 22-year old in the South Atlantic League (A-Ball) in 2011, Kickham certainly looked like a poised veteran. He made 21 starts, throwing 111.2 innings. Kickham struck out 103 and only walked 37 batters, for a SO/BB ratio of 2.78…and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Considering the lack of depth of pitching in major league organizations these days, it baffles my mind how the Giants keep doing it. The key is two-fold. Good scouting/drafting and player development. Clearly the Giants knew what they were looking for when they drafted Michael Kickham. Now he is on the fast-track to joining Bumgarner and company in the Bay area. 

Get ready to learn the Michael Kickham story. From the draft to his journey thus far in the minors. Find out what makes a top MLB prospect tick. What motivates him and drives him to succeed. Michael Kickham gives us a peak into the mind of a pitcher…and a lefty one at that. Today on MLB reports, we are proud to present our exclusive interview with Giants prospect pitcher, Michael Kickham:

(more…)

Casey Bond Guest Blog: The Big Moneyball Oscars Giveaway!!!

Thursday February 23, 2012

Casey Bond-  Guest MLB Blog:  It’s getting to be that time of the year again…yes, I am sure you are thinking of baseball, and I agree.  Spring training seems like it was just yesterday for myself (it wasn’t really that long ago), and I was showing up with a fresh new rebuilt body after the long recouping off-season, along with a very positive outlook to start Spring Training off right. 

It was always a pleasure meeting new faces, even though they would be some of my competitors for positions in the organization, and having a camaraderie unlike any other.  Nothing quite beats the feeling of baseball in the air, with all of the sights, smells and sounds that come with it…

However, this year, it will be two-fold for myself as far as “that time of the year” goes.  I’m not only excited to see baseball making its annual round-trip back to the freshly groomed fields where many of my great friends will be and have been, but I’m also enjoying the season of awards in entertainment (as this industry has become my world).  I feel so fortunate to have baseball and the Oscars intertwine with one another, not to mention that the film I’ve had the pleasure to be in IS ABOUT BASEBALL.  A blessing is perhaps the only way to explain it.

WIth “Moneyball” up for 6 Academy Awards, of course our hopes are high to come away with some hardware.  What a perfectly timed Oscars it would be to coincide with the beginning of baseball.  It’s almost as if the film follows the timeline perfectly- from starting with the end of last season, and going all the way through Spring Training and the current season.  A passing of the torch from Film Award Season to Spring Training would seem perfectly aligned, if Moneyball could step away with an award.

Once again, I thank all of you MLB reports readers for the support you have shown.  This time of the year is a testament that baseball always lives on, and so do films and entertainment.  For them to intermingle together so well, at this exact time, is truly something special…

Casey (Twitter @CaseyBond)


NOW…For the Big Moneyball Oscars Giveaway, Courtesy of our good friend, Casey Bond:

Do you LOVE MONEYBALL? How would you love to own some MONEYBALL memorabilia? Then today is your lucky day! Casey is ready to send you a personally autographed photo from one of the MONEYBALL premieres he attended. So how do you get one of these pics into your collection? Simple. Head over to Facebook, log onto Casey’s Facebook page here, click the “like” button and write on Casey’s wall that MLB reports sent you. Then e-mail us at mlbreports@gmail.com with your Facebook name and mailing address. That’s it. Nothing to it! Then sit by your mailbox patiently. As soon as Casey can get his hands on some stamps, your MONEYBALL memorabilia will be on its way! (This offer applies to U.S. and Canada residents only, while supplies last)


A BIG MLB reports thank you to Casey Bond for returning back to us with his latest Guest Blog. For a Hollywood actor, producer and director with a busy schedule, we very much appreciate Casey taking the time to talk about Moneyball and its big upcoming night at the Oscars! Casey was also very generous in providing “The Big Moneyball Oscars Giveaway” as part of this feature. The man loves his fans and really knows how to create a buzz! In addition to following Casey on Twitter and “liking” his Facebook Fan Page, please make sure to bookmark his website (http://thecaseybond.com).  Casey will be CONSTANTLY providing personal behinds the scenes photos, videos, etc. of upcoming events that he will be a part of such as Red Carpets and Premieres! If you love Baseball and Hollywood, welcome to the world of Casey Bond!

(Editor’s Note:  Casey Bond was an outfielder in the San Francisco Giants organization. He left the diamond and became an actor on the silver screen. In Moneyball, Casey portrays former Oakland A’s pitcher, Chad Bradford. Moneyball was a best-selling book by Michael Lewis that became a hit Hollywood film in 2011. To grab your copy of Moneyball on DVD or Blu-Ray, get to your local video store or favorite on-line retailer like Amazon. Destined to be one of the finest cult classic baseball films of all time, Moneyball the movie needs to be in the DVD/Blu-Ray collection of every baseball fan!)


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A Tribute To Danny Tartabull

Sunday February 19, 2012

 Sam Evans: In the midst of all the great power hitters of the nineties, Danny Tartabull’s name often gets lost. This offensive-minded outfielder usually ended up on bad teams, but he found ways to put up strong numbers for most of his career

Tartabull was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1962. His father, Jose, played in parts of seven Major League seasons for the Athletics and Red Sox. Growing up under the lights of Hiram Bithorn stadium, and with a father who played professional baseball, there must have been pretty high expectations for Danny Tartabull. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round of the 1980 MLB amateur draft. The Bull’s first couple of seasons in the minors were pretty impressive. His numbers show that he demonstrated a great ability to get on base.  Nonetheless, Tartabull spent four seasons in the minors before he finally got at a shot at the majors with the Seattle Mariners. (more…)

Is Yu Darvish the Next Young International Baseball Superstar?


Monday, February 13th, 2012

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer) One of the first names I forgot in my blog about ‘young phenom pitchers’ taking the league, plus a city by storm was Fernando Valenzuela.  I immediately thought of another blog right after.  That is young International Phenom pitchers.  I picked 4 pitchers that hail from other places other than the USA to concentrate the story on.  I came up with Valenzuela from Mexico, Hideo Nomo from Japan, Eric Gagne from Canada and Juan Marichal from the Dominican Republic.  The 4 baseball players all flashed onto the scene as young pitchers, 3 of them dominating their peers from the get go.  Eric Gagne, the 4th member of this study, only started to dominate when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent him to the bullpen.   Speaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers, three of these four pitchers were both with the club when they started out.  It is a credit to their scouting staff.  There is a reason why no other team has turned out more ‘Rookie of the Year’ players in the last 30 years than the Dodgers. (more…)

“Wilpon’s Folly” by Howard Megdal: Baseball, Business and Legal Book Review

Sunday February 12, 2012

“WILPON’S FOLLY: THE STORY OF A MAN, HIS FORTUNE AND THE NEW YORK METS” –  BY HOWARD MEGDAL

(Bloomsbury:  2011)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  As I close my Google Books reader, I start to reflect on Howard Megdal’s latest book. I finished the book recently, but found myself going back to re-read certain parts over and over. Partly to comprehend the extent of the points within the book. But mostly because it was just damn interesting. Wilpon’s Folly broke new ground in several new ways for me. When I finished it, I felt more educated. I had a deeper understanding for the Mets, their ownership and troubles. I wanted to debate and discuss what I had read. All marks of another hit by one of the top rising baseball writers of our time. If you didn’t know the name Howard Megdal before, you certainly will know it after reading Wilpon’s Folly. Every important writer has their piece of work that puts them on the map, so to speak. Wilpon’s Folly is Howard’s masterpiece. (more…)

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