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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 409

post #12241 of 73564
Just skimmed through and saw someone questioning a 100 game suspension. Sorry if its already been said, but MLB has a 3 strike approach against offenders.

Positive test 1: 50 games

2: 100 games

3: lifetime ban
post #12242 of 73564
Also, the Astros 6 game winning streak was snapped. What are the chances they lose 6+ in a row? haha
post #12243 of 73564

I hope Braun gets the hammer. Dude is a JOKE.

SINCE 2000....
SINCE 2000....
post #12244 of 73564
Now the Angels are losing to the Cubs, Scoscia might not make it through the weekend.
post #12245 of 73564
Originally Posted by Jbuch2 View Post

Yo this dude lied, won his first case on a damn technicality, he better be getting that Bonds Treatment and a 100 game suspension. Hell suspend the fool for the rest of the year, but now he's gonna get lucky cause this case will take months to get done.
post #12246 of 73564
That's why he stayed in Milwaukee, ain't no damn pressure on you from doing this
Hard Knocks Open Tough Locks

Hard Knocks Open Tough Locks

post #12247 of 73564
That's another problem as well.

Technically, Arod and Braun haven't been suspended prior so 100 games ain't gonna fly. ARod admitted in the past, and we all know what happened with Braun, but neither were suspended. They can't hit them with 100 games it's laid out in the CBA. I think they nailed it on sportscenter. MLBPA is gonna kill the commissioners office. Only way these suspensions will work is if these 20 some odd players just accept them and choose not to fight. Because as of now this seems like posturing by gump Selig.
One Last Ride
One Last Ride
post #12248 of 73564
I agree, I feel like the PA won't let suspensions happen without legit positive tests.
post #12249 of 73564
Originally Posted by TommyIceRocking View Post

so has A-Rod been on roids since he came into the league?

There have been rumblings that he's been on roids since H.S.
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
post #12250 of 73564
Originally Posted by JumpmanFromDaBay View Post

Melky and Colon have ties to this as well

Of course, they're Dominican. If I'm the commissioner, I'm testing all Dominicans. Sometimes I wonder if I'm juicing laugh.gifmean.gif
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
post #12251 of 73564
Matt Kemp has 2 homers... Puig has 2 homers LOL
post #12252 of 73564
Let me get this straight. Mike Aviles was tossed AFTER the game was over indifferent.gif
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
post #12253 of 73564
Originally Posted by GotHolesInMySocks View Post

Let me get this straight. Mike Aviles was tossed AFTER the game was over indifferent.gif

I know it sounds stupid, but players can still get tossed after the game. Obviously the game is over, but the player can still face a fine/suspension.
post #12254 of 73564
If Major League baseball doesnt have positive tests that correspond with the records, I dont see how the suspensions will fly.

The way the rule is written, suspensions come from positive "tests." And I know this next sentence may come off a little juvenile and basic, but the point stands. I dont see any rule stating players are not allowed to purchase banned substances. I know purchasing steroids is illeal by law, obviously. But follow me here. Couldnt a player say "yeah I bought that. It wasnt for me, it was for a friend." Without a positive steroid test, purchasing them does not definitively prove use. I mean, I've purchased a pack of cigarettes before. I've never a smoked a cigarette before in my life. See where I'm going with this?

Am I missing something here? Its been a long day. I'm not exactly sober.
post #12255 of 73564

Gonna be interesting to see how these new allegations play out.

post #12256 of 73564
Let me get this straight. Mike Aviles was tossed AFTER the game was over
It's even more embarrassing if you watched the whole game.

Red, strikes; green, balls.

post #12257 of 73564
My dude Yasiel Puig pimp.gif kid did work tonight.
LA Lakers x LA Dodgers x UCLA Bruins
LA Lakers x LA Dodgers x UCLA Bruins
post #12258 of 73564
Originally Posted by Lpheat22 View Post

Originally Posted by Sneaky View Post

Originally Posted by madj55 View Post

Anyone watching the CWS regionals? FAU just scored 6 in the 9th to take an 8-6 lead over UNC eek.gif



Went back in '06 when I was playing summer ball in Iowa, the girls from Miami devil.gif damn all the girls from everywhere devil.gif and it was fun as hell too, to bad I couldn't drink back then and the food smokin.gif

Iowa? Where at? nerd.gif
post #12259 of 73564
Originally Posted by Sneaky View Post

Originally Posted by Lpheat22 View Post

Originally Posted by Sneaky View Post

Originally Posted by madj55 View Post

Anyone watching the CWS regionals? FAU just scored 6 in the 9th to take an 8-6 lead over UNC eek.gif



Went back in '06 when I was playing summer ball in Iowa, the girls from Miami devil.gif damn all the girls from everywhere devil.gif and it was fun as hell too, to bad I couldn't drink back then and the food smokin.gif

Iowa? Where at? nerd.gif

I was playing for the Clarinda A's
MLB Los Angeles Dodgers
NFL Denver Broncos
NBA Los Angeles Lakers
USC Trojans
MLB Los Angeles Dodgers
NFL Denver Broncos
NBA Los Angeles Lakers
USC Trojans
post #12260 of 73564
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Chuck Finster View Post

That's another problem as well.

Technically, Arod and Braun haven't been suspended prior so 100 games ain't gonna fly. ARod admitted in the past, and we all know what happened with Braun, but neither were suspended. They can't hit them with 100 games it's laid out in the CBA. I think they nailed it on sportscenter. MLBPA is gonna kill the commissioners office. Only way these suspensions will work is if these 20 some odd players just accept them and choose not to fight. Because as of now this seems like posturing by gump Selig.

Someone told me it's in the CBA that if they lie about it, the first suspension is 100 games. IDK how reliable that is though.

I don't see anyone getting suspended this year. The appeals alone are going to take months.
post #12261 of 73564
Here's one key issue with this: MLB wants to hammer Braun and ARod hard. They are still pissed Braun got off on a technicality and they have many reasons to still be pissed at ARod, one being not wanting him to break the HR record and go through that charade again like Bonds did. Those dudes have huge targets on them. MLB is going all-in and has spent a ton of $$$ already investigating just this case.

I know nothing about how the MLB process works for final appeals with things like this but I would almost guess this is going to take over a year if not more especially if the PA decides to make this their massive stand.......and they will because this is going to be a media circus.

More from
A 100-game suspension is reserved for a second PED offense of the Joint Drug Agreement. It would be in play only if MLB officials determine that the players lied about their involvement in previous interviews and/or the officials confirm other so-called "non-analytical" offenses. The JDA does allow baseball to discipline players without a failed drug test when sufficient evidence exists to prove purchase, receipt or use of banned drugs.

Bosch's father, Dr. Pedro Bosch, was a key player in confirming the most infamous non-analytical offense in baseball's testing era. In 2009, Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games after investigators learned of a prescription from the elder Bosch for the banned substance human chorionic gonadotropin, a fertility drug for women that men can use to boost testosterone levels after steroid cycles. Ramirez's offense was recorded as a non-analytical positive, not a failed test.
post #12262 of 73564
Thread Starter 
The Fringe Five: Baseball’s Most Compelling Fringe Prospects.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Fringe Five is a weekly exercise (introduced in April) wherein the author utilizes regressed stats, scouting reports, and also his own heart to identify and/or continue monitoring the most compelling fringe prospects in all of baseball.

Central to this exercise, of course, is a working definition of fringe. Currently, for the purposes of this column, it’s any prospect who was absent from all of three notable preseason top-100 prospect lists. (A slightly more robust meditation on the idea of fringe can be found here.)

Three players retain their place this week among the Five: relentlessly effective Marlins left-hander Brian Flynn, Cardinals Double-A outfielder Mike O’Neill, and luminous mystery Burch Smith of the Padres organization.

Departing from the Five proper are two Mets prospects, actually: both infielder Wilmer Flores and right-hander Rafael Montero (although both still appear among the Next Five). Replacing the pair are two debutantes: young Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco and promising Nationals left-hander Robbie Ray.

All those points having been made, here are this week’s Fringe Five.

Brian Flynn, LHP, Miami (Profile)
After having posted one of the best strikeout-to-walk ratios (25:3 K:BB) among Southern League pitchers during his four starts with Miami affiliate Jacksonville, Flynn has now nearly approximated his Double-A success with New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, having recorded a 52:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 49.0 innings over eight appearances (all starts). Since the last edition of the Five, Flynn has made two starts, against both the Cubs’ and Rangers’ PCL affiliates, and posted the following line: 13.2 IP, 55 TBF, 15 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 14 H, 5 R.

Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia (Profile)
Though much less celebrated, Franco (a) is the same age as, (b) plays the same position as, (c) plays in the same exact league as, and (d) has posted nearly the exact regressed (although not park-adjusted) line as top-20 prospect Miguel Sano of the Twins. By way of illustration here are their defense-independent numbers, respectively. Sano: 229 PA, 13 HR, 27 BB, 58 K. And Franco: 234 PA, 11 HR, 15 BB, 32 K. Relative to Sano, Franco’s approach is more contacted-oriented, nor does he likely have Sano’s raw power. (And, in fact, upon further inspection, we find that Franco’s home park is of some benefit to right-handed power hitters, while Sano’s is decidedly not.) Still, he needn’t perform precisely like Miguel Sano to merit greater attention.

Mike O’Neill, COF, St. Louis (Profile)
As of the most recent edition of the Five, O’Neill had posted a walk/strikeout differential of 11.7% (17.8% BB, 6.1% K) — since which time he’s managed, in fact, to improve upon that figure slightly. Now 23 plate appearances and a 4:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio later, O’Neill’s differential has increased to 11.8%.

Robbie Ray, LHP, Washington (Profile)
Among every minor-league pitcher who (a) plays at High-A or above and (b) has made starts in at least half of his appearances and also (c) isn’t either Tony Cingrani or Danny Salazar — among those sorts of pitchers, Washington left-hander Robbie Ray has recorded the highest strikeout rate (32.9%). Originally a 12th-round pick out of high school by the Nationals in 2010, Ray’s success in 2013 is possibly a result of replacing his slider with a curve.

Burch Smith, RHP, San Diego (Profile)
In the two minor-league starts since his demotion — his first starts, it should be noted, at the Triple-A level — Smith has recorded an entirely serviceable 9:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10.0 innings and conceded an entirely reasonable three earned (and total) runs. Moreover, his rest-of-season Steamer projection remains quite optimisic. To wit: 50.0 IP, 8.50 K/9, 3.05 BB/9, 3.56 FIP, 0.5 WAR.

The Next Five
These are players on whom the author might potentially become fixated.

Wilmer Flores, IF, New York NL (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)
Rafael Montero, RHP, New York NL (Double-A Eastern League)
Danny Salazar, RHP, Cleveland (Triple-A International League)
Marcus Semien, SS/2B, Chicago AL (Double-A Southern League)
Ronald Torreyes, 2B, Chicago NL (Double-A Southern League)

Fringe Five Scoreboard
Here are all the players to have appeared among either the Fringe Five (FF) or Next Five (NF) so far this season. For mostly arbitrary reasons, players are assessed three points for each week they’ve appeared among the Fringe Five; a single point, for each week among the Next Five.

Wilmer Flores Mets 2B 7 1 22
Mike O’Neill Cardinals OF 7 0 21
Brian Flynn Marlins LHP 4 2 14
Marcus Semien White Sox SS 3 5 14
Burch Smith Padres RHP 4 1 13
Corban Joseph Yankees 2B 3 1 10
Danny Salazar Indians RHP 2 3 9
Chase Anderson Diamondbacks RHP 2 2 8
Rafael Montero Mets RHP 2 2 8
Ronald Torreyes Cubs 2B 1 3 6
Chad Bettis Rockies RHP 1 2 5
Joc Pederson Dodgers OF 1 2 5
Jose Ramirez Yankees RHP 1 1 4
Maikel Franco Phillies 3B 1 0 3
Robbie Ray Nationals LHP 1 0 3
Max Muncy Athletics 1B 0 2 2
Nicholas Kingham Pirates RHP 0 2 2
Nolan Fontana Astros SS 0 2 2
Victor Payano Rangers LHP 0 2 2
Brad Miller Mariners SS 0 1 1
Chris Heston Giants RHP 0 1 1
Clayton Blackburn Giants RHP 0 1 1
Garin Cecchini Red Sox 3B 0 1 1
Greg Garcia Cardinals SS 0 1 1
Taylor Lindsey Angels 2B 0 1 1
Zach Walters Nationals SS 0 1 1

The Angels Hit Rock Bottom.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Angels won 89 games last year despite starting Mike Trout in the minors. After they promoted at the end of April, they played .580 baseball the rest of the way. Over the winter, they added Josh Hamilton, but more importantly, they added the Houston Astros to the AL West. 19 games against the Astros was supposed to give the western contenders a significant advantage, as they could pencil in 12 or 13 easy wins against a team that wasn’t even trying to compete.

Whoops. The Astros just swept the Angels — in Anaheim — and have now beaten LA’s other expensive disappointment in seven of their first 10 match-ups. In fact, the Astros may end up being the primary reason that the Angels miss the playoffs.

Here’s the Astros record against the AL contenders they’ve played:

Oakland: 0-9
Boston: 0-4
Detroit: 1-6
Texas: 1-5
New York: 1-2
Cleveland: 1-2

Against the other six teams making a playoff run this year, the Astros have four wins and 28 losses. That is a .125 winning percentage. Against the Angels, they are 7-3. The Astros have won a third of their game against the Angels, who have only represented 17% of their schedule.

And, unfortunately for Jerry DiPoto and Mike Scioscia, there isn’t really an identifiable fix to their problems. During their early struggles, their pitching was atrocious, and it seemed like their lack of arms was their biggest problem. Now, though, Jered Weaver is back, Joe Blanton has stopped giving up six home runs per game, and the rotation actually looks okay, if still not exactly fantastic. Instead, their four game sweep came because their vaunted offense got shut down by the worst pitching staff that a Major League team has assembled in over a decade.

Going into the weekend, the average hitter going up against Houston’s pitchers had posted a .370 wOBA. For reference, Ryan Braun has a .374 wOBA this year, while Robinson Cano is at .368. That’s the kind of production that hitters have had against Houston’s pitching staff.

The Angels put up a .270 wOBA against the Astros this weekend. For that same reference, Brian Dozier has a .269 wOBA this year, while Pete Kozma is at .276. The Angels offense spent the weekend hitting like a backup shortstop against a bunch of pitchers who belong in Triple-A.

So, now, a little more than a third of the way through the season, the Angels are 25-33, and they’re 25-33 because Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have combined for 484 plate appearances and +0.0 WAR. Sure, that’s not the only reason — the pitching really was horrendous for a long while, and they have been hit by a bunch of injuries to key role players — but this team was built to score a bunch of runs with Pujols and Hamilton in the middle of the order. Pujols has a 93 wRC+, Hamilton’s at 81. Pujols has been approximately as effective at the plate as J.B. Shuck while Hamilton has hit in the same range as Erick Aybar.

These guys are going to hit better. The Angels are better than they’ve played. But, if (when?) they fall short of the playoffs again despite a strong improvement in the second half, they may very well point to this weekends sweep as the difference between playing in the wild card game and sitting at home watching.

With 104 games to go, the Angels need to win between 65 and 70 of their remaining games to have a realistic shot at taking one of the two wild card spots. At the low end, that’s a .625 clip, which translates into a 101 win pace over a full season. At the high end, that’s a .673 winning percentage and a 109 win pace. It’s easier to win more than 60% of your games in four months than in six months, but that is still an extremely high bar to clear.

Last year, exactly one team won more than 62.5% of their remaining games after this same spot in the season. Because the season started a little later, the comparable date in 2012 was June 7th. The Oakland A’s were 26-32 at this point last year, and they went on a 68-36 run to finish the season, ending up with 94 wins and the AL West division title. If the Angels could replicate that .654 run over the rest of their games, they’d end up with 93 wins and have a pretty good shot at one of the two wild card spots, and maybe even the division if Texas fell apart.

But, again, one team did that last year. The next best winning percentage was the Reds, at .623. Winning at that pace would get the Angels to 90 wins, which could very well be on the outside looking in given the strong competition for the wild card spots this year.

Right now, our rest of season forecast calls for the Angels to be the fifth best team in baseball over the next four months and still finish just 82-80. The projections think Pujols and Hamilton will start to hit, and they see improvements from the likes of Aybar, Callaspo, and the pitching. But, for the second straight year, it may very well be too little too late.

It’s not impossible for the Angels to dig out of the hole they’ve dug themselves. They are just 7 1/2 games out of the wild card lead with four months to play. The teams they are chasing have flaws too. But those teams didn’t fall flat on their face when handed a home series against the Astros.

post #12263 of 73564
Thread Starter 
Chris Davis’ Five Most Effortless Dinger Swings of the Season.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Chris Davis has had power for as long as he’s been a professional, and probably longer. His first year, in Low-A, he slugged .534. The next year he slugged .598. In Triple-A he slugged over .600. The power is what got Davis to the majors. But Davis now is taking things to new levels. It wouldn’t be right to say Davis has been hitting everything, because he’s missed quite a lot. But he’s hit more things than he used to, and that’s why he’s currently leading the majors in home runs, with 20. His isolated slugging percentage is more than double Adrian Beltre‘s career number. It’s more than double Robinson Cano‘s. It’s got 50 points on Babe Ruth‘s. If baseballs had snot in them, there would be a lot of snot on Chris Davis’ uniform.

Davis possesses what you might call “easy power.” Several people have characterized it as “effortless.” According to FanGraphs commenter farrpar, “He has the most effortless power in baseball, no doubt about it.” According to this guy, “Wow! Chris Davis! Effortless Grand-slam!!! Go O’s.” According to David Miller, “The thing about Davis is that his swing looks so effortless on homerun balls like the one he hit on Sunday.” According to OsLuvrInKy, “Gotta love it. His swings just look so effortless.” Last season, in fact, Davis hit a home run on a broken bat. Because Davis is all the some of the rage right now, I’ve decided to prepare a top-five list of his most effortless home-run swings of the 2013 season so far. One way to measure effortlessness would be biomechanical examination. Another way would be guessing.


•Date: April 3
•Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson
•HR Distance: 422 feet (data from ESPN Home Run Tracker)
•HR Speed off bat: 108.4 miles per hour

Unseen is here is there were runners on the corners. Davis looks like he’s simply trying to shoot the ball the other way. I remember high school baseball practices in which we had entire drills where we’d try to hit the ball to the opposite field. You’d basically cut down on your swing and throw your hands at the ball, and it’s entirely possible I had some terrible high school baseball coaches. It’s something we would try to do when we were trying to make something happen and move the runners around. Davis looks like he’s participating in such a drill, except he doesn’t really get the point of it:

“Now slap the ball past the shortstop.”

“Can I just hit a dinger?”

“That’s — that’s not really….”

“I’ll try it your way.”


“Whoops, I accidentally hit a dinger.”

Exerts as much effort as:
Opening a can of soup, with a can opener


•Date: May 24
•Pitcher: Ramon Ortiz
•HR Distance: 400 feet
•HR Speed off bat: 105.8 miles per hour

It’s almost a swing in slow motion. Except it’s not a swing in slow motion, because Chris Davis pulled a home run. The follow-through is so calm, so composed, so steady, so gentle. It’s a beautiful follow-through. It’s a follow-through that is of beauty. And it’s hard to imagine a guy having so smooth a follow-through if he just put everything he had into a swing. No, it looks as if Chris Davis were just practicing a swing and follow-through at 50% while standing in the box — and Ramon Ortiz happened to throw a baseball that hit Davis’ bat in the barrel by coincidence.

Exerts as much effort as:
Petting a nice cat


•Date: May 29
•Pitcher: Tyler Clippard
•HR Distance: 406 feet
•HR Speed off bat: 102.2 miles per hour

I don’t even know why Chris Davis has legs. Wait, no, that’s ridiculous, that’s not what I meant. Obviously he needs to move places. But as a batter, I feel like Davis’ legs could be asleep or removed and he’d still slug .650 without breaking a sweat. This is just Davis flipping the ball to center field, completely with his arms. This is a gentle game of tennis. Were it any other batter, you’d look at the .gif and assume “shallow pop-up.” Davis cleared rows. His swing ends up with him in perfect home-run-watching position. That’s probably not a coincidence.

Exerts as much effort as:
Almost getting up off the couch, then not


•Date: May 23
•Pitcher: Brandon Morrow
•HR Distance: 390 feet
•HR Speed off bat: 109.2 miles per hour

This is a swat. This is what a swat is. Broadly, swat is used to refer to any kind of home run. Were it used to refer to a specific kind of home run, though, it would be this kind. This is Chris Davis swatting at the baseball like one might swat at unwelcome mosquitoes near a lake. It’s as if Davis didn’t like the baseball being so close to him, so he used his hands to bat it away. It went screaming down the line for Davis’ second-fastest home run this season. Look at the catcher’s head. Tell me if he expected that to happen.

Exerts as much effort as:
Listening to the wind


•Date: April 28
•Pitcher: Sean Doolittle
•HR Distance: 419 feet
•HR Speed off bat: 104.3 miles per hour

Gary Thorne:

0-2 delivery, had to reach for that off the end of the bat, and look how far he hit it[...] one-handed, off the end of the bat.

I’ve accepted the fact that this home run is never going to make sense to me. I mean, I see everything happen. I trust my eyes, but I don’t understand how the first process leads to the ultimate result. I mean, for God’s sake:

What is that? A Texas-Leaguer to shallow center, right? A swinging bunt to the first-base side of the mound? A soft comebacker to Doolittle? No, stupid, that’s a 400-plus-foot home run. Davis was behind in the count 0-and-2, and Doolittle threw a breaking ball too close to take. Have to protect, yes? Davis protected, and he looked as if his entire mission was to make contact with the baseball, somehow, no matter how gently. So he reached out and tapped the ball and it went out of the ballpark. Even Davis must have been surprised by this home run. In the Ken Griffey Jr. game for N64 there was a cheat code such that Griffey would homer every time he came up. This swing is that cheat code in real life. Davis doesn’t have a game named after him, but he might soon, at this pace. And he won’t need a code to hit home runs, because he’ll just hit home runs, all the time, normally. If you look at the screenshot it’s like Davis literally swung in his sleep.

Exerts as much effort as:
Watching someone blink


Sometimes pitchers will pull back on their fastballs to get better command. At less than full effort, they figure, they’ll be better equipped to hit their spots. To the eye, it looks like Davis is taking this approach with his bat. It’s like he never swings 100% because he knows he doesn’t have to if he wants to hit the ball hard. At well below 100%, he can actually make a reasonable amount of contact. God help us if Davis ever does swing at 100% and he makes contact. We know Davis has never gotten all of a baseball because Davis has never caused a baseball and the surrounding baseball stadium to explode. It would be nice if things were to remain that way, even if it means my curiosity is left unsated.

Chris Davis is why that one strikeout-prone power prospect is still in your favorite team’s system. Most of the time, you end up with a guy who strikes out too much. Every once in a while, though, you’re left with someone able to amaze. No one in baseball makes homers look easier than Chris Davis. And now he’s decided he wants to hit more of them.

post #12264 of 73564
Thread Starter 
Q&A: Mickey Callaway, Indians Pitching Coach.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Mickey Callaway might be the MVP of the 2013 Cleveland Indians. The “P” in the acronym doesn’t stand for player — Callaway is the team’s pitching coach — but you get the point.

The Indians came into the campaign with a pitching staff full of question marks. The majority of prognosticators panned the clubs’ chances of competing in the American League Central for that very reason; their lineup was solid, but could they possibly prevent enough runs to keep up with the Tigers?

With Callaway’s help, they’re finding a way. Cleveland pitchers are currently fifth-best in the American League in runs allowed, ERA and FIP. They are also young. Of the 19 who have toed the rubber, only three have celebrated a 30th birthday. Callaway is no grizzled veteran himself. Just 38 years old, he is in his first season on a big-league coaching staff.

Callaway discussed aspects of the Indians’ organizational pitching philosophy — and several of his charges — when Cleveland visited Fenway Park in late May.


Callaway on his priorities: “If I have a pitching philosophy, it is you should be durable, prepared and aggressive. The aggressive part is attacking hitters and I feel almost everybody could do a little better job of that. Put the pressure on hitters at all times. We’ve been stressing getting ahead, whether it’s 0-0 strikes or 1-1 strikes. Make the other team beat you.

“The durability part is how we’re preparing every day — what we’re doing in the weight room and nutritionally; what we’re doing to take care of our arms; how we’re throwing bullpens and how many bullpens. There some days we do some light catch and others when we really get out there and long-toss. We’re seeing some of our guys doing more longer long-toss — maybe more than they‘ve ever done before. They seem to be responding well to that.”

On the organization‘s long-toss program: “Last year, I was the pitching coordinator, and the front office is obviously involved the decision-making process. We’re always looking for ways to get better and one of the ways we thought we could be a better organization when it comes to developing pitchers is by implementing a long-toss program. A few of us put our heads together, did a lot of studying, and came up with a quality long-toss program for our minor league guys.

“We don’t mandate anything up here in the big leagues. We kind of let the guys be comfortable with it, but it’s definitely something we’ve been stressing a little more — get out there, long toss, build some strength and endurance with your arm. What we’re trying to do is develop guys who have good routines that include a quality long-toss program to maintain arm strength.

“The specific routine — even in the minor leagues — depends on the individual and how his arm feels that day. Not everybody is going to be throwing the same distance. You’re going to throw to your max distance, and it might be 90 feet and it might be 280 feet. In the past, we had a 120-foot limit on our long-toss and we‘ve kind of taken that away. We’re encouraging guys to really get out there.

“How we determine the distance is, once you start breaking down mechanically to where you can’t maintain quality mechanics, you stop at that distance. You want to make sure you can make good throws.

“The mechanics are very different than they are off the mound. To really open up your shoulder, and condition your arm, you have to do some different things mechanically. Then, when you come back in, we make sure everything is back in line. We’ve gone out and opened up the shoulder — we’ve built some endurance — and now we get ourselves back where we want to be as far as command, and release point, to be effective on the mound.”

On Trevor Bauer: “He does all the things I was talking about. That’s one of the reasons we were very interested in obtaining him in a trade. He does some really good things. He’s obviously stayed healthy so far, and I’ve learned a lot from his routine, as far as implementation for younger guys and how to stress certain things.

“He’s put a lot of time and effort into his mechanics, and when it comes down to it, he gets himself into positions where he’s going to be healthy. When his foot touches the ground, his back elbow is below his back shoulder and his front side is really strong. Those are things that keep you healthy.

“As far as the walks go, one thing people need to realize is that Trevor is still a 22-year-old kid. When I was his age, I was walking a lot of guys too. The good thing is that he’s pitching at higher levels than most 22-year-olds are. They’re doing it in A ball, so nobody really hears about it.”

On bullpen sessions: “In the minor leagues, we really try to stress certain routines. Maybe throwing out of the stretch a little more, pitch usage, stuff like that. Once these guys get to the major leagues they kind of do their own, but we still stress routines. I’m here to monitor, not develop. Maybe I’ll help someone develop a routine, just to allow them to accomplish it on a daily basis.

“I hold them accountable. If they struggle one day, I don’t want them to come out and not do anything. That said, you can skip a bullpen. Ubaldo [Jimenez] at one point was throwing two bullpens between starts, and he’s gone the last two without throwing a bullpen. It depends on what guys need, and where they’re at mechanically and mentally. There’s no mandatory anything. We just make sure they keep their confidence level and their mechanics in order.”

On Ubaldo Jimenez: “A lot of determining what Ubaldo needs comes from discussions between the two of us. It’s me asking him how he feels and him expressing how he feels. We’ll come up with a plan as to how we’ll maybe adjust his routine — that five-day routine — or maybe add something into that five-day routine to keep him sharp.

“Right now, Ubaldo is pretty sound mechanically. It’s more a matter of keeping his confidence up. I think he’s done a great job of getting some confidence and we need to maintain that. We’ve been focusing on keeping a quick tempo in his delivery. Mechanics haven’t been a big issue.

“His mechanics aren’t exactly the same [as they were in Colorado]. I’d say most pitchers, four or five years later, are doing something a little different mechanically. We saw Ryan Dempster last night, and he doesn’t look the same as he did four or five years ago. There’s an evolution for pitchers.

“I will say that some of the mechanical things that were hurting Ubaldo last year… he’s kind of righted that ship. All we’re really stressing now is for him to quicken his tempo and to land more directly toward home plate. That has kind of fixed the things that were going bad mechanically.”

On Zach McAllister, Justin Masterson, and the off-arm: “Everybody’s fastball is different. For instance, Zach McAllister was at 89 to 92 most of last night, but hitters think it’s 96. There’s definitely something to be said about how the ball comes out and you can definitely tell, sitting in that dugout, if someone has his good stuff or not. With most of the pitchers, I can tell right when it leaves their hand if it’s going to be a good pitch or not. A lot of that is from whether they went through a solid delivery,

“Right now, [the most consistent delivery] is probably Justin Masterson. He’s been pretty solid the whole year. He went through maybe a two-game span where he wasn’t quite as good mechanically, but he was still good enough to not even mention anything. He just kept it going and got right back into the zone.

“I think the shoulder surgery Justin had in the off-season, coming into last year, played a huge part in what happened to him last season. The one thing I look at in Justin‘s mechanics is his front arm. That is kind of his key to getting where he needs to go. It is a really nice and strong elbow with a loose wrist. When he’s not doing that, he’s off, and I don‘t think he was able to do that consistently because of the
shoulder surgery.”

“The off-arm is one of the most important parts of a delivery. Any time you do something with one arm, you want to mimic it with the other. What I’m doing out here with this arm is going effect what I’m doing back there with that arm — this one is coming first and the other will follow. If I have a low lead arm, I might take the ball down and get a little deep. If I have a nice high front arm, then I’m going to get my arm up and get it where it needs to be, on time. That helps keep you healthy.”

On arm angles: “Most arm angles are natural. When you’re a kid and you grab something and throw it, that’s going to be how you throw most of your life. That’s definitely one of the more difficult things to change — if you want to change it — but people do it. I mean, a lot of guys have dropped down. More guys go from high to low slots than from low to high. But it’s definitely a challenge to change someone’s arm slot, just like it is to change the way you swing a bat.

“There can be a lot of factors involved when arm angles drop [unintentionally]. Anything you do different mechanically can cause your slot to drop a little bit. I would say if you’re not using your legs… that’s one of the things you’ll see late in games. A guy is getting deep into his pitch count and his legs get tired and kind of go away from him. Then his arm starts to drop.”

On Scott Kazmir; “He had probably gotten away from using his legs and creating some tilt. Now he looks very similar to what he did in 2008. He looks really solid. He has one of the very best deliveries on the team as far as how he uses his body, and his frame. He’s a smaller guy, and he maximizes his body, for sure.

“I do [look at old video of pitchers]. It matters. Not that we’re trying to get them back to what they were — I still believe in that evolution of a pitcher; that he’s going to change — but I do like to know what he did well when things were going well, and even what he did bad when things were going well. I like to get an overall sense of what their bodies are capable of doing when we’re trying to make a change.”

On leg kicks: “The main thing you want to do with your leg kick is create some momentum into your delivery so you can get your hips firing toward home as fast as possible. A lot of velocity and power comes from the speed of your hips off the rubber towards home. There’s a big correlation there.

“I don’t really work with anyone on raising or lowering their leg kick, but rather where they lift it. Instead of lifting it straight up and down, I like to see them lift it up to their back throwing-arm shoulder a little bit. That gets them to where they can lead with their hip — to where they can get some really good speed with their hips leaving the rubber.”

On Chris Perez: “He’s good, so I pretty much just leave him alone. I talk to him to make sure I know his mechanics in case he starts to struggle. He’s a great competitor and a guy I like having out there in the ninth inning.

“He has a great feel for the game. He’s probably our best student of the game out there in the bullpen. He pays attention to every pitch, so he’s prepared going into the game. He’s always got the right mindset. You’re going to get beat out there from time to time, but he gives himself the best opportunity to succeed. He also has a great feel for his mechanics.”

Dodgers Look to Yasiel Puig for Offensive Spark.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Yasiel Puig era begins now for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mired in a disappointing beginning to the 2013 season, the organization is looking to the 22-year-old outfield prospect with the hope of catching lightning in a bottle. A Cuban defector, Puig has just 63 games of North American professional experience under his belt, but he’s made the most of his time in the minor leagues . Well, at least in terms of his results at the plate. At Double-A this season, the young hitter produced a .313 batting average; 23 of his 46 hits going for extra bases.

Puig’s recent hot streak — a .355 average, six extra base hits, four steals and a 5-5 walk-to-strikeout rate in his last 10 games — likely helped seal the deal once injuries proved too much for the Dodgers’ 25-man roster. Trips to the trainer’s room have depleted the outfield depth on the roster — and the loss of impact hitters such as Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez has taken the thump out of the lineup. The Cuban should offer significant help.

I ranked Puig as the fourth-best prospect in the Dodgers’ system at the season’s start, but I considered him for the first overall ranking. At the time though, I said he was much “an enigma” with just 23 games of experience in the minors and not enough amateur or international background from his time in Cuba for me to jump on the bandwagon. He narrowly made my Top 100 prospects list — checking in at No. 99 — but was well below fellow 2012 signee and Cuban Jorge Soler of the Cubs, whom I saw more of last season. Baseball America ranked Puig second overall in the Dodgers’ system, while Baseball Prospectus had him first overall. Keith Law, of, had him third. In other words, we were all a little unsure of what to expect from the prospect but we knew he had talent.

Our very own Mike Newman saw Puig in the flesh a few times earlier this season and he came away with a mixed bag of emotions after watching him play. Mike recently wrote: “But is Puig ready? From a baseball standpoint, yes. From a maturity standpoint, perhaps not.” He noted the young player’s poor body language, lack of consistent hustle/laziness and his propensity for showing up umpires all cast an unnecessary shadow on Puig’s otherwise impressive resume and tools. During a controversial article published recently, Mike pointed to some of the things Puig needed to improve upon to improve his game.

My first impression of Yasiel Puig was he’s the “next generation” Yoenis Cespedes. Puig is bigger, faster, stronger and younger than the Athletics slugger. However he profiles with the same glaring weakness Cespedes did when scouting him in Arizona: breaking ball recognition.

Throughout the game, Puig flailed wildly at sliders which led to an early strikeout, as well as a two-strike count in his second plate appearance. Eventually, he gave up on the pitch and sat “dead red” fastball.

Mike later mentioned Puig’s lack of patience, as well as some rough areas in the field and on the base paths. In preparation for writing this article, I pulled up video on the Dodgers rookie from mid-May. In his first at bat of the game against the Cincinnati Reds’ Double-A affiliate, Puig turned around a first-pitch fastball for an absolute rocket of a single back up the middle. He was then thrown out trying to steal second base on a close play to end the inning. In his second at bat, he took a four-pitch walk and stole second base on the first pitch to the next batter — almost as if to prove himself. He later scored on a single.

In the top of the sixth inning, Puig fell behind 0-2 after swinging badly at a soft breaking ball. The Double-A pitcher — who also was a fringe prospect — then threw a mistake fastball that got too much of the plate and, despite being hit off the end of the bat, was deposited over the left field fence on another line drive. He finished off the extra-inning game with a fly-ball out, an intentional walk and a single. It was a solid showing by the man-child who physically reminds me of Albert Pujols when he was playing in the Midwest League (A-ball) as a little-known, 20-year-old prospect.

I expect Puig to have a strong start to his MLB career. He’ s flashed four or five tools, the ball makes a special sound off his bat and he’s physically mature. The big question for the young player will be his emotional maturity level and how well he’ll handle true adversity for the first time — and under such an intense spotlight in a baseball savvy marketplace.

One thing is for certain, it will be an entertaining show.

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Thread Starter 
An Inning with Mariano Rivera’s Command.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Here is a true sentence about Mariano Rivera. Though, for his career, he’s managed to strike out the same rate of batters as Arthur Rhodes, he’s issued a higher rate of walks than Carl Pavano, and he’s allowed the same BABIP as Armando Galarraga. Based on one’s associations, one might not read that sentence and conclude that Rivera is amazing. But then, who’s familiar with Pavano and Galarraga, and not Rivera? Rivera is amazing, for all of the reasons you know, and for additional reasons we haven’t yet even discovered. Rivera’s going to retire soon, at 43, and his ERA’s under 2. He’s walked as many batters this year as Shawn Tolleson, who has faced two batters.

Though Rivera didn’t invent the cut fastball, he made it a somebody. In Rivera’s hands, the cutter became a pitch with which everyone’s familiar. Rivera knows how to throw lots of other pitches, but he doesn’t take them into games. He just leans on the one pitch, and if another pitcher in baseball leans heavily on one pitch, we say he’s being Rivera-esque, at least in approach. It’s rare that a pitcher can have Rivera’s success, and it’s rarer still to be able to do it with one weapon — the list of such pitchers basically reads “Mariano Rivera.” Clearly, in order to do what he’s done, Rivera’s had to have impeccable command.

See, hitters know what’s coming. No pitcher in baseball is more predictable than Rivera, and unpredictability is a key for any pitcher’s success. But pitch identity is only one part, and pitch location is another. Rivera likes to alternate locations, and he hits his spots like nobody else. He puts his pitches in places where they’re difficult to square up, leading to all the weak contact. Rivera’s allowed a career .079 ISO. No other active pitcher with a long enough track record shows up under .100.

We don’t have a measure of “command.” We have only approximations and reputations. If asked which pitcher has the best command, though, I’d suggest Rivera, and you probably would, too. I’d think a little about Cliff Lee, but then I’d talk myself out of it. Lee’s command, I assume, is great. Rivera’s command, I assume, is nearly perfect, as humans go. Rivera’s the one active pitcher I’d trust to never issue a single walk if he didn’t want to. He’s the one active pitcher I’d trust to knock down a bad guy with a baseball during a bank robbery in which guns and other potentially injurious items are curiously unavailable. What Rivera wants to do, I figure he does.

So I’m going to give Rivera the Carlos Marmol treatment. Marmol has terrible command, so last week I watched an inning of his work and tracked how his pitch locations compared to the catcher’s targets. I’m going to do the same with Mariano Rivera, focusing on his Friday appearance against the Red Sox. Rivera threw 13 pitches and 11 strikes in an inning, allowing two hits and generating a strikeout. You’ll see 13 screenshots, with the pitch location, and a red dot indicating the presumed intended pitch location, set by the catcher’s glove. I can’t think of a way to examine command any better than this.

The same caveats as with Marmol: we don’t know what Rivera is usually like. We’re looking only at one inning, and 13 pitches, and it stands to reason command can waver, since it’s all based on mechanics and mechanics are complicated. We don’t know what an average looks like, and so this is an experiment without conclusions. But I’ve already prepared the screenshots, so I’ve no choice but to make use of them. Following, some pitches from Mariano Rivera, on Friday, May 31.

Cutter, good spot. If you want to be a jerk, you could say Rivera missed high, but it’s a matter of inches, and Rivera hit the desired edge. The point was to stay away from Jonny Gomes. Rivera succeeded.

Cutter, bit of a miss. The pitch still wound up in the vicinity, but it was higher and more over the plate than the previous pitch, and here Rivera was ahead in the count 0-and-1. Gomes hit the ball well, but flew out to left.

Cutter, pretty good spot. It’s hard to tell with the off-center camera angle, but this pitch was a little off the plate inside, and it came in north of Dustin Pedroia‘s belt. But it still went for a called strike, and Rivera hit the glove, if not the palm.

Cutter, miss. Pedroia, obviously, wasn’t going to crush this pitch, but it nearly put him on base, as Rivera missed high and in.

Cutter, miss. The idea was to give Pedroia something on the outside edge. Instead, Rivera threw a pitch belt-high over the plate.

Cutter, pretty good spot. Again, Rivera threw a pitch above the intended target — this was a pattern for him — but he hit the edge against David Ortiz and got the strike call. I wonder if Chris Stewart might make a habit of setting up below where he expects the pitch to go. Or, Rivera was just missing a little up.

Cutter, good spot. Stewart wanted a pitch around the belt on the inside edge. Rivera threw a pitch around the belt off the inside edge, but Ortiz grounded it into the outfield to put runners on first and second with one out.

Another cutter, another fine spot that was a little elevated. Rivera hit the proper edge, but Mike Napoli‘s a powerful guy, and he was the tying run. That’s a more dangerous pitch than Stewart called for.

Cutter, miss. Rivera wasn’t way off from the target, but ahead 0-and-1, he threw Napoli a pitch at the belt over the middle of the plate. Napoli liked what he saw; he just happened to swing through it, because the cutter’s a tough pitch, and Rivera’s cutter is a tougher pitch.

Cutter, similar miss. I don’t want to hold Rivera to a standard of perfection, and this wasn’t way off, but this was a fastball in an 0-and-2 count to a power hitter representing the tying run. It was, again, at the belt, and over the middle of the plate. Napoli struck out, and maybe there would’ve been some element of surprise, but in isolation I’m not a fan of this pitch, really. Hypothesis: with a runner on second, Stewart wasn’t setting a target until Rivera was already beginning his delivery. Could that in any way be distracting? Could that in any way have an effect on a pitcher’s command? Was Rivera working off of his own mental target?

Cutter, miss. Stephen Drew was to get a first-pitch cutter on the outer edge. Instead he got a first-pitch cutter on the inner half, not that it compelled him to swing. It wasn’t, at least, a bad eventual spot for Rivera. But it wasn’t the plan.

Cutter, same as some pitches before. Rivera nailed the edge, but the ball wound up more elevated than intended. Not by a lot, but by enough to make a difference. I’m thinking horizontal location is more important than vertical location. I’m open to being wrong. I don’t know how this could be tested easily.

Cutter, nailed it. Stewart and Rivera wanted to jam Drew inside, so that’s what they did, and Drew tapped back to the mound, where Rivera assisted on the final out. This pitch was off the plate, so it probably would’ve gone for a ball, but Drew would’ve expected it to tail back to the edge, so there was a strong impulse to swing. This pitch was more or less classic Mariano Rivera.

As with Marmol, I went into this blind, not knowing exactly what to expect. I figured Rivera would do a better job than Marmol of hitting his targets, and indeed, we don’t see the terrible misses. That’s hardly a surprise, and that’s what we all would’ve assumed. Only twice, really, did Rivera miss by a lot horizontally. But he routinely missed by a little bit vertically, and on a few occasions he missed over the plate when he was shooting for the edge. Looking through the screenshots, this wasn’t, for Rivera, a perfect inning, and it wasn’t a perfect inning in the box score, either. Rivera didn’t nail his spot every single time.

But we don’t know how Mariano Rivera ordinarily looks. And we don’t know what might make for a fair and reasonable standard. By how many inches can you miss your spot, and still be said to have hit your spot? How close to perfect is great? How close to great is mediocre? Should pitchers be given credit for missing “well”? At present, for me, these are unanswerable questions, but they’re remarkably fun questions to think about.

post #12266 of 73564
Thread Starter 
The Draft’s Biggest Flaw.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Major League domestic amateur draft takes place this week, kicking off with the first and second rounds on Thursday night, then continuing on with rounds 3-10 on Friday and rounds 11-40 on Saturday. We haven’t done a ton of draft preview stuff because that’s simply not our strength, and there are a lot of other places — Baseball America, most notably — who specialize in high quality draft coverage, and will give you all the information you need if you want to know who is going to be drafted where.

That doesn’t mean we don’t care about the draft, though. For the basics of the new draft system, you can check out Wendy Thurm’s first and second primers on how the setup works, and then J.D. Sussman asked whether or not we even need a draft to maintain competitive balance earlier this morning. Those pieces are worth reading.

I’m going to throw my hat into the ring of draft related articles, because I want to write about the order of picks in the 2013 first round, and because that selection order highlights the biggest problem with the current draft structure: the penalization of success.

Those who argue in favor of maintaining the draft for competitive balance reasons argue that, regardless of its other agendas, the draft does serve to push the best players to losing teams, equalizing the playing field to some degree. I agree that, overall, it is generally successful at helping redistribute talent to franchises who don’t have the same financial capabilities as some of the big market teams. However, the 2013 draft order shows that the system doesn’t always work towards that goal, and sometimes, the results of tying draft selection order to previous season winning percentage are just silly.

Here is the order of selections for the first 39 picks per Baseball America, which includes the first round and the compensation selections awarded to teams. The slot value for each pick is included for reference, and then I’ve also included the Forbes pre-season revenue estimates for each franchise as well.

Pick Team Reason Assigned Value Forbes Revenues
1 Astros Team Record $7,790,400 196M
2 Cubs Team Record $6,708,400 274M
3 Rockies Team Record $5,626,400 199M
4 Twins Team Record $4,544,400 214M
5 Indians Team Record $3,787,000 186M
6 Marlins Team Record $3,516,500 195M
7 Red Sox Team Record $3,246,000 336M
8 Royals Team Record $3,137,800 169M
9 Pirates For failure to sign Mark Appel $3,029,600 178M
10 Blue Jays Team Record $2,921,400 203M
11 Mets Team Record $2,840,300 232M
12 Mariners Team Record $2,759,100 215M
13 Padres Team Record $2,678,000 189M
14 Pirates Team Record $2,569,800 178M
15 Diamondbacks Team Record $2,434,500 195M
16 Phillies Team Record $2,299,300 279M
17 White Sox Team Record $2,164,000 216M
18 Dodgers Team Record $2,109,900 245M
19 Cardinals Team Record $2,055,800 239M
20 Tigers Team Record $2,001,700 238M
21 Rays Team Record $1,974,700 167M
22 Orioles Team Record $1,947,600 206M
23 Rangers Team Record $1,920,600 239M
24 Athletics Team Record $1,893,500 173M
25 Giants Team Record $1,866,500 262M
26 Yankees Team Record $1,839,400 471M
27 Reds Team Record $1,812,400 202M
28 Cardinals For loss of free agent Kyle Lohse $1,785,300 239M
29 Rays For loss of free agent B.J. Upton $1,758,300 167M
30 Rangers For loss of free agent Josh Hamilton $1,731,200 239M
31 Braves For loss of free agent Michael Bourn $1,704,200 225M
32 Yankees For loss of free agent Nick Swisher $1,677,100 471M
33 Yankees For loss of free agent Rafael Soriano $1,650,100 471M
34 Royals Competitive-balance lottery $1,623,000 169M
35 Marlins Competitive-balance lottery, from Pirates $1,587,700 195M
36 Diamondbacks Competitive-balance lottery $1,547,700 195M
37 Orioles Competitive-balance lottery $1,508,600 206M
38 Reds Competitive-balance lottery $1,470,500 202M
39 Tigers Competitive-balance lottery, from Marlins $1,433,400 238M

The team with the #2 pick in the draft is the Chicago Cubs. Forbes estimates their revenues at $274 million per year, and while Forbes’ estimates are almost certainly wrong, we don’t really care about the specific number as much as we do the relative distribution between franchises. That $274 million estimate ranks the Cubs #4 in all of baseball. By any definition of market size, revenue generation, or access to financial resources, the Cubs are a top tier MLB franchise. They pick second overall on Thursday.

Now, look at the #7 pick. The Boston Red Sox have a $336 million revenue estimate, second in baseball to only the Yankees. Again, by any kind of financial calculation you want to make, the Red Sox are a well off organization. They pick seventh, one spot ahead of the Kansas City Royals, who have estimated revenues almost exactly half of what Boston has access to.

We can keep going. The 11th pick belongs to the Mets, who have $232 million in estimated revenues. At #16, we have the Phillies, with $279 million in estimated revenues. The Dodgers ($245 million and owners with apparently no concern for the luxury tax) are picking 18th. The Tampa Bay Rays, the franchise with the lowest revenue estimate at $167 million, pick 21st. The A’s, who have the second lowest revenue estimate at $173 million, pick 24th.

That is, the Rays and Athletics do not pick in the 2013 draft until after Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles have made their selections. Major League Baseball has steadily been pushing both the cities of Tampa and Oakland to provide new publicly funded ballparks for these, noting that their ability to compete will be compromise without access to increased revenues. And yet, in the draft, Tampa and Oakland are picking behind five of the wealthiest franchises in the entire sport.

When the prevailing argument for the draft is that it is intended to help distribute talent to low revenue teams, it is tough to argue that the current model is well designed when the two lowest revenue teams are both picking at the back end of the first round, behind five of the financial behemoths that they apparently can’t compete with. And, because of the new bonus pool structure, the A’s and Rays actually have less money to spend in the 2013 draft than the Yankees, who have the seventh largest bonus pool of any team because of the two compensatory picks they got for losing Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano.

By bonus pool size, the Cubs are 2nd, the Yankees are 8th, the Mets are 10th, and the Red Sox are 12th. The Rays get basically the same overall amount to spend on their draft picks as the Rangers; the A’s get the same amount as the Phillies. If this is promoting competitive balance, then I’m the Prime Minster of England.

There’s no way around this simple fact: Tampa Bay and Oakland are being penalized for successfully building winning teams despite their disadvantages. The draft is taking away potential future value from those teams and redistributing it to the Cubs and Red Sox. That just doesn’t make any real sense.

Even if we accept that the league will never abolish the draft, so the basic structure of awarding players to teams in a sequential order is here to stay, we should at least consider changing the way in which those picks are distributed. MLB has already begun to hand out draft selections based on revenues with the competitive balance selections, and besides the selection that the Marlins traded away and now belongs to Detroit, you can see how those picks actually make some sense; extra selections were given to Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Miami. None of those teams were estimated to bring in more than $206 million in revenues.

If we can hand out extra picks based on team revenues in the name of competitive balance, why not hand out all picks based on a calculation that gets us to a similar point? MLB clearly has access to more and better information than Forbes, so they wouldn’t need to settle for just picking something as simple as a revenue estimate, but could develop a system that ensures that the lowest revenue clubs always pick near the top of the draft while the higher revenue clubs always pick near the bottom.

Maybe you base it on a rolling average over multiple years so that there is no incentive to reduce revenues to raise your spot in the draft order. Maybe you setup a system of tiers, where draft order can fluctuate based on winning percentage but teams have a net that they cannot escape. Or maybe you just eliminate compensation picks being tied to free agent signings and start giving the lowest revenue teams some picks of real value near the top of the first round.

There are a lot of different ways to modify the current system. What I do know is this: the Yankees don’t need to be compensated for losing free agents, and the Cubs don’t need to be compensated for being terrible. There’s no reason to punish Tampa Bay or Oakland for putting a winning team on the field, and the league shouldn’t be too interested in sending premium prospects to Boston and Chicago as rewards for wasting giant piles of cash. The sport has done a lot of work to promote parity and create a more level playing field than there has in the past, but on Thursday night, the first round of the draft is going to be a great example of why this particular system needs some upgrades.

Domonic Brown and Getting There.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Sunday afternoon, Domonic Brown did something he’s been doing a lot of lately. Brown faced Mike Fiers in the bottom of the first, with two on and two out. After a first-pitch curveball found the zone, Fiers missed three straight times, with a heater and a couple changeups. Brown scooted up in the box, and Fiers came inside with a cutter, or a slider, as if that detail’s important. Brown saw it, swung at it, and blasted it, way out to right field for a three-run dinger. It was Brown’s 14th home run in 32 starts. It was his 16th home run of the season. Brown is the National League leader in that category, after a spring in which people were concerned he might not find enough playing time.

Sunday afternoon, Domonic Brown did something he hadn’t done for a while. Brown faced Tom Gorzelanny in the bottom of the seventh, with one on and two out. After a first-pitch slider found the zone, Gorzelanny missed three straight times, with a slider and a couple heaters. The 3-and-1 pitch was a fastball that Brown went after and tipped for a strike. The next and final pitch was a slider that just missed, a little low and a little away. Brown watched it, and Brown walked — unintentionally — for the first time since April 30. Brown had just walked the day before, too, but that one was done on purpose.

It’s June, now, but it’s crazy what Brown managed to accomplish in May. No one in baseball hit more home runs than Brown’s 12. Only three players beat Brown’s slugging percentage of .688, and two players beat Brown’s isolated slugging percentage of .385. Brown also didn’t walk once. Only Endy Chavez and David Adams also didn’t walk once in May among regulars and semi-regulars, and they batted half as often. And they weren’t good. It’s weird, what Brown pulled off.

Month splits are stupid. Specific month splits are stupider. There’s nothing particular about a month, and there’s definitely nothing particular about May. But what month splits do is allow us to generate helpful trivia. Like this! I looked at the history of Mays, given at least 100 plate appearances. A total of 46 different times, someone has hit at least a dozen home runs in May. In Brown’s May, he didn’t walk one time. The next-lowest walk total among those dinger-hitters is six, by Ryan Howard (2006) and Bing Miller (1922). Meanwhile, there have been 12 Mays in which a player didn’t walk once over at least 100 plate appearances. In Brown’s May, he slugged 12 dingers. The next-highest dinger total among those non-walkers is five, by Carlos Baerga (1994). Domonic Brown had an unusual month, and it leaves us somewhat perplexed. Excited but perplexed.

Home runs, of course, are more important than walks. When a player’s hitting home runs like Brown has been, it doesn’t make sense to be critical of his walk total, because that’s just being critical for criticism’s sake. Brown hadn’t hit for this kind of power before, and it seems like he’s beginning to achieve his considerable potential. That’s the exciting part. But the walks matter because they’re indicative of a potentially unsustainable approach. Phillies fans don’t want Brown to be productive for a month. They want him to become the player he was supposed to become, and so one has to wonder what’s up. How is Brown doing this, and what’s going to come next?

If you ask Brown, or a lot of other people, you’ll hear that Brown’s finally getting a chance to play every day. It’s true that he’s been kind of jerked around in the past, which is probably unhelpful for the development of a top prospect. Now Brown’s getting comfortable in the bigs, and he’s starting to hit like it. The explanation is just that simple. But what does that comfort mean? Where does it show up in the performance numbers, besides just the results?

As always, we can show correlations without demonstrating causation. But Brown’s power success has come with an adjustment in approach. He’s changed himself to become more aggressive, and this table will show how:

Split O-Swing% Z-Swing% Contact% Zone% BB% K% wRC+
2010-2012 28% 68% 81% 46% 10% 19% 90
Apr-13 29% 69% 80% 45% 9% 18% 84
May-13 36% 77% 81% 50% 0% 19% 172

In May, Brown swung a lot more often than he used to. Maybe that much is obvious, just given that he didn’t draw a walk. Here’s another sampling of data, showing ten-game rolling Z-Swing% averages:

In the first half of May, Brown hit four homers. In the second half, he hit eight, and you can see a corresponding rise in his rate of swings at strikes. Brown says he’s more prepared to hit early-count fastballs, and the data supports the idea that Brown’s been more aggressive at the plate, generating encouraging results. He’s swung at more strikes, and while he’s also swung at a few more balls, he hasn’t been hacking. He’s been hitting, in the classic sense.

Now, used to be that people liked Brown in part for his ability to draw frequent walks. So there’s some measure of concern that Brown went a whole month without a single one. But there’s no such thing as an ideal, single batting approach. Previously, the more patient Brown under-achieved. The newer, more aggressive Brown has found success, and that’s what’s most important. The idea isn’t to make prospects succeed a certain way. It’s to make prospects succeed. Brown’s finally doing that.

He’s swung in 16 of 20 3-and-1 counts. Before this year, he swung in 29 of 53. He’s swung in four of 14 3-and-0 counts. Before this year, he swung in three of 23. And here’s the thing: pitchers will adjust to the new Domonic Brown. They’ll pitch him differently, and more carefully, and then there will be a greater number of walk opportunities. If Brown proves that he’s dangerous, he’ll get pitched around more. As he gets pitched around more, he should walk more. Walks can follow power, more than power can follow walks.

But that’s going to require an adjustment from Brown, too. A simple idea of plate discipline is swinging at strikes and laying off balls. A better idea is swinging well at the right strikes, and laying off the rest. Brown — now more aggressive — has hit for power, but he’s hit for a very certain kind of power. From the ESPN Home Run Tracker:

Brown’s been aggressively trying to pull the ball. He’s been looking for fastballs early in counts. Oftentimes, hittable pitches have been there, allowing Brown to have his success. There are now probably going to be more plate appearances when Brown doesn’t get the pitch he’s looking for. The challenge will be still getting something out of those plate appearances, whether it be walks or base hits. It’s going to be a time for controlled aggressiveness, and that might well be Brown’s final test.

Brown knows he’s going to be pitched differently, but that’s going to happen because he’s earned it. Baseball is a game that’s just constantly adjusting, in both directions, and Brown’s made an adjustment that’s gotten him closer to breaking through. Perhaps as a consequence of playing every day, Brown learned to go up to the plate with a different idea. Now pitchers are going to have a different idea, and we’ll see if Brown’s able to blend both power and walks. That’s the destination. Not a certain amount of power, or a certain amount of walks — appropriate amounts, based on what Brown’s given.

Dustin Ackley just got demoted by the Mariners, in part because they determined he was too passive at the plate. People loved Ackley’s ability to draw walks. Ackley’s going to have to earn those walks by punishing strikes. Domonic Brown is in the process of taking that step, and there are only so many steps.

Does Baseball Need the Draft?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Major League Baseball Rule 4 Draft begins this week. The modern draft was instituted in 1987, but a filtration system for entry-level talent existed before World War II. Today, the draft exists for two purposes — competitive balance and wage suppression, with the former being publicly cited as the reason for its existence but the latter being more of the actual motivation for the league. Let’s put aside the wage suppression issue for a minute, though — noting that nearly every corporation in America is essentially in the business of minimizing their labor costs — and focus on the competitive balance aspect of the draft.

To many, competitive balance is essential to their enjoyment of Major League Baseball. The satisfaction of these observers — fans — is directly related to the profitability of Major League Baseball. In other words, so long as fans are emotionally and economically invested in the sport, Major League Baseball will continue to profit.

The draft and revenue sharing are the two mechanisms in place to foster balance. Of course, Major League Baseball is the sole major American sports league without a salary cap. If the league removed the draft, some fear balance would erode and the American pastime would resemble the English Premier League. Whether said realization would have negative consequences is a contentious and interesting question for another day. For now, let’s assume that competitive balance is crucial to the league’s success.

Major League Baseball employs two distinct balancing techniques, the draft and revenue sharing, with distinct features. Wendy Thurm detailed the league’s revenue sharing procedure this winter after the Marlins’ firesale. The post is nothing short of a “must read” for collective bargaining nerds. Thurm writes:

“All 30 clubs contribute 34% of their Net Local Revenue to the base plan pool. The base plan pool is then distributed equally to the 30 clubs….[Then there is a supplemental plan.] The goal of the supplemental plan is to raise the overall percentage of revenue shared…from 34% (in the base plan) to 48%. But each [c]lub contributes a different amount to the supplemental plan, based on something a Performance Factor…”

Again, it’s a must read and Thurm explains other revenue sharing quirks that benefit small-market teams too. Remove all of the technical complexities and revenue sharing is a simple concept. Major League Baseball facilitates the transfer of profits from large-market to small-market organizations. Surely, a win for competitive balance — if the funds are reinvested.

Conversely, the draft structures entry-level talent procurement to benefit poorly preforming organizations, regardless of clubs’ finances. Should you be unaware of the new procedures, Thurm detailed them in a two part series over the last week.

Neither mechanism is without consequences. Revenue sharing contradicts America’s lust for capitalism. Why should the New York Yankees fund the Kansas City Royals’ operations? Typically, it would be offensive if one’s direct competitor asked for payroll funds. Of course, that assumes the big-market organizations and their ownership have earned their advantage over the competition. However, that is hardly the case. Major League Baseball and its owners have been gifted an anti-trust exemption and publicly financed stadiums by federal and state public officials. The former has an interesting history which can be attributed to Congressional inaction and judicial restraint. My favorite smirk inducing quote comes from Judge Cooper, who states, “The game is on higher ground; it behooves every one to keep it there.”

Well, not everyone. Due in large part to the anti-trust exemption and publicly financed stadiums Major League Baseball’s franchises operate within a unique goldmine. Ownership profits — so much so that revenue sharing is accepted — while Major League talent shares in those profits and fans get a superb product. Somehow the consequences of the draft are overlooked or even dismissed.

The draft serves competitive balancing purposes, but draftees suffer in the process. Draftees’ lack of rights are due to their lack of representation. Major League Baseball collectively bargains with the Players’ Association, of which draftees are not members. Without their interests being represented at the table, their interests are freely bargained away.

Ownership can cloak their adulation for the draft as a desire for increased balance, but their intent — or at least a major effect — is wage and movement suppression. The draft forces individuals to contract with specific teams if they are to enter the league.

The Players’ Association has a duty to its membership, not its potential future members. If the Association believes there is a chance salaries could increase due to strict rules regarding amateur spending, they will not resist. And they haven’t.

Many seem not to care that an intended consequence of the Collective Bargain Agreement is to suppress wages and prohibit movement of an unrepresented third party. The draft is deemed appropriate because it promotes competitive balance.

When discussing this topic in the past I’ve used the following analogy to put the consequences of the draft in perspective.

Imagine you have just graduated with your masters in accounting. You’re brilliant and have many desirable qualities. Instead of having the option to negotiate with any of the “Big Four” or other quality firms you are drafted by KPMG. KPMG tells you should you sign with them you will work in their Torabaz Khan Road office in Afghanistan. KPMG owns rights to your accounting career and if you want to have a career in accounting you need accept their offer, set at a heavily discounted rate by the industry. While considering their offer, KPMG informs you that you will remain in Afganistan or wherever they may assign you until you have proven yourself. The chance of proving yourself is small, maybe 25%. But, should you succeed you will be brought to New York to continue your career. Then, after working for several years at a discount, you will be eligible to negotiate with their competitors. Hopefully you are still useful.

For any other career a draft would be outrageous. When it comes to athletes few seem to care.

Removing draft eligible high school and college athletes from the open market greatly suppresses their earning potential and forces them to work and live for a specific team without choice. Today, the new pool system and its draconian penalties limit both parties from negotiating freely, decreasing draftees’ signing bonuses even further.

In baseball, more than any other sport, one’s first contract is greatly important because they may never get another contract. Even top prospects have an extremely high failure rate. For the majority of this season’s amateur draft class, their value will never be higher than it is on June 6th.

Years later, the prospects who develop into Major Leaguers still feel the effects of the draft due to today’s extensions craze. The suppressed signing bonuses and minimal wages minor leaguers earn increase their teams’ leverage when negotiating extensions. It’s impossible to say whether Evan Longoria or Chris Sale would have signed their extensions had they earned their fair market value when they entered the league, but it’s undeniable they would have had significantly more leverage when negotiating terms if they had more money in their pockets.

No one is crying for Longoria or Sale, but they were lucky. Consider the story of Matt Purke. According to Nolan Ryan, Purke had a pre-draft deal with the Texas Rangers for $6 million in 2009. However, Major League Baseball terminated the arraignment after they assumed an oversight role of the Rangers’ non-budged transactions. Unable to cash in after an inspired freshman year at Texas Christian University, Purke reentered the draft in 2011 after a shoulder injury. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the third round and signed a 4-year/$4.15M dollar major league deal which included a $2.75M signing bonus. It’s likely Purke’s earning potential will never be higher than it was in 2009.

Balance the desire for a level field of play against the draft’s effect on high school and college athletes. Is sacrificing their rights necessary to competitive balance? Hardly.

Major League Baseball, the Players’ Association and fans all have an interest in keeping the status quo. If draftees want a slice of the pie, it will need to come from a legal challenge. Last month, Jean-Louis Dupont announced he would bring an action against the Union of European Football Associations’ Financial Fair Play regulation on the following grounds: Restriction of investments; Fossilization of the existing market structure; Reduction of the number of transfers, of the transfer amounts and of the number of players under contracts per club; Deflatory effect on the level of players’ salaries; and consequently, a deflatory effect on the revenues of players’ agents (depending on the level of transfer amounts and/or of players salaries.

Dupont also notes the regulation’s infringement on fundamental freedoms of the European Union, “free movement of capital, free movement of workers, and free movement of services (player agents).”

Sound familiar?

Financial Fair Play is a different regulation with different ramifications, but Dupont’s lawsuit and the draft’s consequences share a common thread. Its generally accepted that wage and movement suppression is frowned upon. Should Dupont’s name sound familiar, that’s because he had success in a similar past action. In 1995, Dupont won a landmark players’ rights case on behalf of Jean-Marc Bosman before the European Court of Justice. Athletes’ rights are just as important as your own and it’s only a matter of time before the American courts hear a similar case.

In 1999, Commissioner Selig created a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to come up with a plan to address the competitive balance issues the sport was facing. Since that time, the league has greatly increased revenue sharing and instituted the luxury tax, flattening salaries between the top and mid-level franchises, helping create the current era of unprecedented parity in Major League Baseball. Given the success of competitive balance manipulation through revenue adjustments, it’s fair to wonder if the draft is really even necessary to achieve that goal.

While the draft may promote competitive balance to some degree, it’s worth noting that it was in place for the entirety of the time that the sport was dominated by a few marquee franchises. The draft’s relatively minor impact on competitive balance compared to increased revenue sharing means that perhaps the effects of eliminating the draft could be offset with further financial adjustments. If we could maintain the current level of competitive balance while doing away with draft, perhaps that would be the fairest outcome of all.

post #12267 of 73564

can teams terminate contracts for players caught using steroids?


Alex Rod is getting paid a whole lot of money, Yankees should have the option to cut that ****, if his name is on the list.


imagine Miguel Cabrera was taking them sick.gif

Edited by TommyIceRocking - 6/5/13 at 8:16am
post #12268 of 73564

Unless this guy can PROVE he injected these guys, how is MLB going to hand out any sort of suspensions? Circumstantial evidence and testimony from this idiot won't stand up in court.


Your drug tests failed. Miserably, if all of this is actually true. That's the real issue here.

post #12269 of 73564

Kemp is coming off of shoulder surgery mean.gif

Instagram: @beardekevin    old NT username VIL8R (since 09)    Lakers   Dodgers   Arsenal   LA Kings   UCLA


Instagram: @beardekevin    old NT username VIL8R (since 09)    Lakers   Dodgers   Arsenal   LA Kings   UCLA

post #12270 of 73564
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by eva94 View Post

Originally Posted by iLLoQuent aka DSK View Post

Give Kemp the MVP award that belongs to him, please.

Kemp was roided up too brah. Peep his production tanking man. These dudes make it so obvious mean.gif

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