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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 237

post #7081 of 72993
^Brewers are stupid tho...this is the same team that had the falling-down routine after Prince Fielder's walk-off HRs. %#++ outta here w/ the complaints.
post #7082 of 72993
Brewers are clowns.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7083 of 72993
I like Rizzo so far.  smiley: laugh
post #7084 of 72993
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

^Brewers are stupid tho...this is the same team that had the falling-down routine after Prince Fielder's walk-off HRs. %#++ outta here w/ the complaints.

Agreed. Baseball's unwritten rules are unwritten for a reason.
post #7085 of 72993
Mike Trout is a disgusting human being.
post #7086 of 72993
He's a beast.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7087 of 72993

Watched most of the game. He's just %$$#!*# everywhere. I love it.
post #7088 of 72993
Worked late, but I just had to make it out to Camden today to see Trout (and my dude Hammel).

Despite the battering, I'm really glad I did.

post #7089 of 72993
Originally Posted by Kevin Cleveland

Mike Trout is a disgusting human being.

I love him. Sucks he plays for the +@#%### Angels... 30t6p3b.giffrown.gif
post #7090 of 72993
Originally Posted by Mr Marcus

dude was just relieved ......the unwritten baseball rules is what makes it annoying at times


Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
Hip Hop is dead. There is no "savior".
post #7091 of 72993
He might already be my favorite player in the league. It's him or McCutchen. Former center fielder bias. smiley: laugh
post #7092 of 72993
Originally Posted by Nowitness41Dirk

Originally Posted by Kevin Cleveland

Mike Trout is a disgusting human being.

I love him. Sucks he plays for the +@#%### Angels... 30t6p3b.giffrown.gif

Co-sign. laugh.gif30t6p3b.gif
post #7093 of 72993

although I think that catch is overrated simply because it was him that made it but the defense/hitting/base-running is a pleasure to watch every day.
post #7094 of 72993
Giants Shuting out Dodgers for the Whole Series eek.gifpimp.gif
post #7095 of 72993
Originally Posted by bbllplaya23

Originally Posted by Nowitness41Dirk

Originally Posted by Kevin Cleveland

Mike Trout is a disgusting human being.

I love him. Sucks he plays for the +@#%### Angels... 30t6p3b.giffrown.gif

Co-sign. laugh.gif30t6p3b.gif

smiley: pimp
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
post #7096 of 72993
%**#+$+ Mike Trout tho.
Instagram. | just my art and photography. #NT will follow back. Also Flickr.
Instagram. | just my art and photography. #NT will follow back. Also Flickr.
post #7097 of 72993
Marlins need to get their #+# together
Bonifacio needs to come back soon too
post #7098 of 72993
Thread Starter 

Profile: Trevor Bauer, D-Backs.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

The situation: With /">')" cache="true" content="tabs#ppc" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="6383" instance="_ppc" tab="null">Joe Saunders heading to the disabled list with a shoulder injury, the /">')">Arizona Diamondbacks made the highly anticipated move of calling up Trevor Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's draft, who will make his major league debut by starting on Thursday. Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, Bauer ranked second in the minor leagues with 116 strikeouts in 93 innings, to go with a 2.23 ERA.

[+] EnlargeTrevor Bauer
AP Photo/Darron CummingsTrevor Bauer has the tools to make the quick transition from the draft to the majors.

Background: While he was part of a UCLA rotation that included eventual No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole (Pirates) last spring, Bauer was statistically the best pitcher in college baseball last year, finishing his junior year with a 1.25 ERA and a Pac-10 record 203 strikeouts in just 136⅔ innings. Beyond his numbers, his rituals in between starts have garnered just as much attention. He is a proponent of long tossing, throwing from outfield pole to outfield pole before games, and he also works out with giant rubber bands as part of resistance training.

What he can do: Bauer can miss bats at any level with a wide assortment of offerings. Using a delivery that features an exaggerated stride and lightning-quick arm action, Bauer has a 93-95 mph fastball that can bump a bit higher at times, and he backs up the pitch with an outstanding curveball, as well as a plus slider and deceptive changeup. He also can vary the grip on his fastball to add cutting or sinking action to the pitch, and hitters never know what's coming. Because of the speed in his delivery, he can get out of sync at times, leading to problems with control and efficiency. He's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings this year, and in his eight starts for Triple-A Reno, he's averaged 101 pitches for every six innings he's thrown.

Immediate big league future: There is no debate that Bauer has star-level stuff, and he should rack up plenty of strikeouts immediately. The question is how many innings he will throw. He still has a tendency to get too cute with the depth of his arsenal at times when he should simply be attacking hitters, and with his pitch count being monitored, he'll need bullpen support to get wins. With Arizona's injury woes, Bauer looks like he's up to stay, and even with his issues he's among the best fantasy rookie pickups going forward.

Long-term: Bauer will be good now and is likely five years away from peaking. He has the talent to turn into a consistent All-Star and possibly even a future Cy Young candidate. No matter which ceiling he reaches, 200-plus strikeouts will be a constant.

Midseason prospect promotions.

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We still don't know when Player X is going to get called up, as injuries and ineffectiveness at the big league levels -- and the constant service-time calculations -- can play a far larger role in these decisions than simply a prospect's performance.

One thing we can get some clues from, however, is the flurry of promotions that come at midseason. Here are 10 players who recently were promoted, and a breakdown of how that affects their path to the majors.


Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox
Nobody should have been surprised to see the Red Sox select shortstop Deven Marrero in the first round this year, as they've made a habit of selecting players who entered the spring as a potential top-10 pick but then slipped. Anthony Ranaudo hasn't exactly worked out, but Bradley sure has so far. After showing a line drive bat, outstanding approach and hitting .359/.480/.526 in 67 games at high-Class A Salem, he was moved up to Double-A Portland. A plus defender in center, Bradley is suddenly on pace to reach Boston by next September, if not earlier.


Cody Buckel, RHP, Texas Rangers
A second-round pick in 2010, Buckel had a 2.61 ERA in his full-season debut last year. He exploded in the first half of 2012 with a 1.47 ERA at high-A Myrtle Beach and 94 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings, while limiting Carolina League hitters to a .186 average. Buckel doesn't have monster stuff, but his fastball and changeup both grade out as above-average, and all of his pitches play up due to outstanding command. He doesn't have star-level upside, but he's on the fast track as a potential No. 3 starter after beginning the second half at Double-A Frisco.


Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
Only hitters are supposed to dominate in the California League, but Cingrani went against the grain by putting up a 1.11 ERA in 10 starts for high-A Bakersfield, with 71 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings. A third-round pick last June as a senior out of Rice, scouts wondered how well Cingrani's arsenal would work at the upper levels. His fastball and changeup are both plus pitches, but his slider is well below average. He's been good, but not nearly as dominant in four starts at Double-A Pensacola; a majority of talent evaluators believe he could be in the big leagues next year with a move to the bullpen.


Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
The top overall pick in last year's draft, Cole was consistently good at high-A Bradenton, which, given the inconsistency of his UCLA career, was quite a surprise. Most expected dominant starts mixed with duds, and he had few of each. Now at Double-A, Cole has the potential to make some noise with the Pirates next spring and should make his debut at some point in the 2013 season.


Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Los Angeles Angels
A first-round pick in 2010, the Angels had been taking it slow with Cowart, who signed for $2.3 million as a third baseman when most teams preferred him as a pitcher. He didn't make his full-season debut until this spring, but then he lasted just 66 games at low-A Cedar Rapids while hitting .293/.348/.479. Now playing for high-A Inland Empire in the much more hitter-friendly California League, Cowart could go from a slow mover to a position prospect who reaches Double-A before his 21st birthday.


Corey Dickerson, OF, Colorado Rockies
Dickerson hit 32 home runs last year for low-A Asheville, but that looked to be the product of a park that adores left-handed power, as 26 of those homers came at home; he slugged just .363 on the road. While Dickerson had problems showing the same power at high-A Modesto to start the year, he still hit .338/.396/.583 in 60 games, but he's off to a slow start at Double-A Tulsa. As a bat-only prospect limited to left field, Dickerson has to hit to maintain his prospect status.


Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners
Franklin's stock took a dip in 2011. After a breakout year in 2010, big things were expected with Franklin heading to High Desert, but mononucleosis sapped his strength, and he struggled at the plate. He got all of his stock back and then some with a .322/.394/.502 first-half at Double-A Jackson. More offensive fireworks at Triple-A Tacoma this summer suddenly could make him the favorite to be the 2013 Opening Day shortstop in Seattle.


Miles Head, 3B, Oakland Athletics
Part of the return from Boston for Andrew Bailey, Head had some of the loudest numbers in the minor leagues during the first half of the season, hitting .382/.433/.715 in 67 games. That earned him a more-than-logical promotion to Double-A Midland, but scouts still aren't quite sure what to do with him because of his weird profile. He's short, stocky, unathletic and right-handed, a combination rarely seen in major league impact players. All he can do is keep hitting, but the A's have no obvious solution at the infield corners, so Head could be closer than expected to getting an opportunity to be part of the solution.


Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners
The only thing surprising about Hultzen's promotion to Triple-A Tacoma was the fact that it took so long. After allowing five earned runs in his pro debut, the second overall pick in last year's draft allowed just five more in his next 12 starts, finishing his Double-A Jackson run with a 1.19 ERA. Some would argue that the most big league-ready player in the 2011 draft was ready for Triple-A to begin the season, and he won't need 13 more starts to reach the big leagues.


Dan Straily, RHP, Athletics
One of this year's biggest breakouts among pitchers, Straily had 108 strikeouts in just 85 1/3 innings at Double-A Midland, and his scouting reports are nearly as impressive. His 91-94 mph fastball, slider and changeup all are projected as possible plus pitches, and his command and control are also above-average. Not bad for a 24th-round pick in 2009. After firing seven shutout innings with eight more strikeouts in his Triple-A debut, Straily has gone from nice organizational arm to potential September call-up.

Trade targets for the Dodgers.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

The ambulance chasers will be on the phone, one evaluator noted after the New York Yankees lost CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte in the span of about four hours Wednesday. What the evaluator meant is that any team looking to dump a veteran player with a bad contract will be calling the Yankees, just in case they're ready to jump.

Ned Colletti, the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, would probably love to get more of those calls today. He would probably appreciate having more options than he does right now, as he looks to apply a little defibrillation to his team's fading offense. Andre Ethier is now out, and Matt Kemp isn't going to be back for a few more weeks. The Dodgers have been shut out in their last three games, and in the month of June, only the Miami Marlins have scored fewer runs.

Colletti has been calling around asking for help, and the team's new ownership is ready to make suitable deals when they become available.

Here's the problem: There are staggeringly few options in the market right now, and even fewer attractive possibilities, with so few teams having declared themselves as sellers. But there are still some players the Dodgers could be interested in:

Jeff Francoeur, Kansas City Royals: Kansas City prospect Wil Myers appears ready and thinks about a promotion every day, and if he's called up, Francoeur would theoretically become expendable. But as of Wednesday afternoon, Francoeur had a .702 OPS, which ranked 51st among 60 outfielders, and given the nature of his contract and the type of player that he is, making a trade would be tough. He's owed about $9 million for the rest of his deal, which runs through next year, and given his lack of production this year, the Dodgers will probably want the Royals to absorb at least some of the money -- and the Dodgers likely wouldn't give up anything decent for him.

Is this Kevin Youkilis II? Not at all. Because while Youkilis was generally unhappy, Francoeur has an important presence in the KC clubhouse. Why would the Royals simply give away a healthy player whom they're already going to have to pay, anyway?

And while some Royals fans are clamoring for Myers with the presumption he'll be an upgrade, consider what's happened this year with Eric Hosmer, who has had a tough season despite the fact that he continues to be regarded as one of the top young players in the majors. There's no guarantee that Myers will hit right away, which means that KC won't be in the giveaway business with Francoeur.

Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs: He's owed about $46 million, and Chicago is certainly prepared to eat a whole lot of it. But Soriano is an incredibly streaky player, he is limited to left field, and if the Dodgers traded for him, there's probably as good of a chance that he would be part of the problem as there is that he would be part of the solution. Imagine the Dodgers playing the next month with Soriano and Bobby Abreu on the corners?

Chase Headley, San Diego Padres: He'd be a great fit for the Dodgers in every way, giving them some positional flexibility. But the Padres might not be wild about trading within their own division -- the history of trades between these two teams is a lot like Yankees-Mets -- and San Diego's franchise is currently in the final stages of being sold. The process for any significant deal might slow down, unless the Dodgers were willing to overpay.

Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays: Yes, he's eligible for free agency after this season, and he's having a strong year, and he'd be a nice fit. But it's probably far too early for Toronto to start dumping players, and prying Encarnacion away from the Jays right now would cost the Dodgers' sticker price, plus 25 percent. And L.A. really doesn't have a very good farm system.

Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels: Oh, sure, the Angels would probably be open to a conversation about Wells, who is owed about $50 million for the next 2 1/2 seasons, and the Dodgers wouldn't have to give up any prospects for him. But there is an open question about whether Wells can still play right now.

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins: He's owed about $22 million for the rest of this year and next year, and there is such significant injury risk because of his concussion history that some executives simply don't believe any team would make a move for him.

Carlos Lee, Houston Astros: He could play first base and be an RBI guy for the Dodgers, but in the past, he's told the Astros he would not approve a trade; he's happy being close to his ranch.

Bryan LaHair, Cubs: Month to month, his OPS has gone from 1.251 to .792 to .666. He is 3-for-35 against left-handers, and there are concerns about his defense.

Boston Red Sox leftovers: In the next couple of weeks, Boston will get back Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, and so the Red Sox could have a surplus of outfielders with Daniel Nava and Ryan Sweeney. But there is no guarantee that Crawford's elbow will hold up under the stress of playing every day, and the Red Sox would want something decent in return -- maybe more than the Dodgers would want to give up.

Hanley Ramirez, Miami Marlins: Miami owner Jeffrey Loria spoke to his players last week, so it's probably far too early for him to think about dumping players. Ramirez is owed $40 million and is hitting .260, and they'd want significant return for one of Loria's favorite players.

Daniel Murphy, New York Mets: Here's someone who could be a nice fit. The Dodgers have bullpen help, which the Mets need, and the price for Murphy wouldn't be prohibitive now, because he's had an off year. But Murphy had always hit before this year, and the Mets have long thought his best position is actually third base, where L.A. has a need.

The bottom line: Colletti is going to have to work through some less-than-perfect options.

From ESPN Stats and Info, more on the Dodgers' slide:

The Dodgers went 1-8 during their nine-game road trip and are now tied with the San Francisco Giants for first place in the NL West.

Dodgers/Giants win percentage by month this season
June: .440/.640
May: .571/.517
April: .696/.545

From Elias Sports Bureau: It's the first time the Dodgers have ever been shut out in a series sweep of three or more games. The last time the Dodgers were shut out three straight times came back in August 2007 against the Diamondbacks and Reds. The Giants' sweep of the Dodgers in San Francisco comes just a week after the Dodgers were swept by the Athletics across the bay in Oakland. In the two series combined, the Dodgers were outscored 24-2.


• This is great: Giancarlo Stanton is going to be in the Home Run Derby. His third-base coach hopes to pitch to him, writes Joe Capozzi.

• On the morning that the Angels summoned Mike Trout to the big leagues, they were 6-14. Since then, these are the pertinent numbers:

Angels' W-L: 36-19
Trout's batting average: .344, best in the AL
Trout's hits: 75
Trout's walks: 21
Trout's runs: 47
Trout's extra-base hits: 24
Trout's stolen bases: 21

In addition, Trout has been a dominant defensive player, as exhibited by the incredible catch he made Wednesday.

Josh Hamilton was the prohibitive favorite at the end of May to win the AL MVP Award, but as of today, Trout might be running neck and neck.

Torii Hunter had a big day.

• With Daniel Hudson out for the year, Arizona's pitching depth is going to be challenged, writes Nick Piecoro.

Aroldis Chapman was read the riot act, writes Paul Daugherty. Dusty Baker wasn't in the mood to joke about the somersaults.

• Brian Cashman, general manager of the Yankees, said over the phone on Wednesday, "I believe in Freddy Garcia." He went on to explain why he isn't going to rush out and make a deal in the aftermath of injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte, and he acknowledged that during his 15 seasons as GM of the Yankees, he's become more and more conservative about midseason deals. Adam Warren is getting the ball later this week.

All of that does not preclude the possibility that the Yankees could look to add pitching in a trade in the next 33 days, before the July 31 deadline. One pitcher who might make some sense is Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins, who has thrown well of late. If his next team doesn't like his work as a starter, he could always be moved into a reliever role.

The Twins were beaten again, and the team's struggles might nudge it closer to making moves.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. Andrew Cashner will return to start today.

2. The Detroit Tigers are carrying a second hitting coach for the rest of the year.

3. The Cleveland Indians picked up a player on waivers, writes Paul Hoynes.

4. Hideki Matsui could've been used in a key situation and wasn't, as Marc Topkin writes.

5. The Philadelphia Phillies are calling up a veteran reliever.

Dings and dents

1. The progress of Sergio Santos is very slow.

2. Brett Anderson, on the other hand, is making steady strides toward a return to the big leagues.

3. The Seattle Mariners hope that Kevin Millwood will be able to make his next start, writes Geoff Baker.

4. Chris Carpenter is looking for answers, writes Derrick Goold.

5. Luke Scott is coming back, and he is badly needed.

6. Jose Altuve could be back this weekend.

7. Gerrit Cole got smoked.

8. Nick Johnson got hurt.

NL West notes

Tim Lincecum looked like himself in finishing off a sweep filled with shutouts, as Henry Schulman writes. He talked his way into staying in the game, as Scott Ostler writes.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Lincecum won:

A) Lincecum threw off-speed pitches 59 percent of the time, his second-highest percentage this season. Dodgers hitters were 2-for-14 with five strikeouts in at-bats ending with a Lincecum offspeed pitch.
B) The Dodgers missed on 17-of-33 swings against Lincecum's off-speed pitches, the first time this season an opponent has missed on more than half its swings against Lincecum's off-speed offerings.
C) The Dodgers put nine of Lincecum's off-speed pitches in play, six of which were hit on the ground.

• The Padres' hitters came up empty.

• The Colorado Rockies were lit up again.

AL West notes

Jarrod Parker was The Man for Oakland.

• The Mariners had a frustrating day.

Roy Oswalt is still undefeated, because the Texas Rangers crushed it.

AL Central notes

Doug Fister had a bad day.

Billy Butler and the Royals just keep hanging around: He hit a big home run against the Tampa Bay Rays.

• The Indians were swept.

Adam Dunn and the Chicago White Sox erupted.

NL Central notes

• The St. Louis Cardinals stumbled in the final game of their road trip.

• The Milwaukee Brewers won and steered around a sweep.

• Day 2 of the Anthony Rizzo Era didn't go as well.

• Mike McKenry and the Pittsburgh Pirates managed to hold off a late surge.

NL East notes

• The Marlins stopped the bleeding.

• The Atlanta Braves used the long ball.

• The Washington Nationals did something they hadn't done in seven years. Michael Morse is starting to relax.

Ryan Zimmerman seems to have been greatly aided by an injection.

Chase Utley hit a homer, and it went downhill from there.

• The New York Mets broke out in a big way.

AL East notes

Ricky Romero got roughed up, as Ken Fidlin writes.

Jason Hammel hurt his All-Star chances, writes Dan Connolly.

• The Red Sox closed out a strong homestand with a victory, writes Brian MacPherson. David Ortiz continues to kill the ball.

By The Numbers

From ESPN Stats and Info

3: Opposite-field hits for Mike Trout Wednesday; he had three all of last season.
4: Mets with at least four RBIs Wednesday, the fourth team since RBIs became official in 1920 to have four players drive in at least four.
6: Home runs this June for the Dodgers; 11 players across the league have more in the month.
13: Home runs this June for Jose Bautista, most ever by a Blue Jays player in one month.
21: Hits for the White Sox, tied for second-most in a game by any team this season.


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Will Francoeur be dealt?

10:27AM ET
Jeff Francoeur | Royals

The minor league apprenticeship of Wil Myers is nearing a conclusion and the Kansas City Royals could call up the top outfield prospect at any time.

Myers, a third-round pick in 2009, entered Wednesday leading the minor leagues with 24 home runs along with a .327 average and 63 RBI. But Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star cautions that a promotion is unlikely to happen before the All-Star break.

The promotion of Myers will only add to the speculation that Jeff Francoeur will be expendable, especially since the Dodgers will be looking for an offensive boost following three straight shutout defeats in San Francisco. Francoeur, however, is hitting just .263 and is owed around $9 million for the rest of his deal, so the Royals may get far from a king's ransom in return.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney says there is no guarantee Francoeur will be a summer rental:

- Doug Mittler

Buster Olney
Francoeur staying in KC?

"Is this Kevin Youkilis II? Not at all. Because while Youkilis was generally unhappy, Francoeur has an important presence in the KC clubhouse. Why would the Royals simply give away a healthy player who they're already going to have to pay, anyway? And while some Royals fans are clamoring for Myers with the presumption he'll be an upgrade, consider what's happened this year with Eric Hosmer, who has had a tough season despite the fact that he continues to be regarded as one of the top young players in the majors. There's no guarantee that Myers will hit right away, which means that KC won't be in the giveaway business with Francoeur."

Scoring drought in LA

9:58AM ET
Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers limped home from San Francisco Wednesday after failing to score a run in a three-game series against the Giants, the first time that has happened in the history of the storied rivalry.

Already missing All-Star Matt Kemp, the Dodgers lost Andre Ethier after one at-bat to a left oblique injury that could land him on the disabled list. Ethier, injured on a check swing, will undergo an MRI on Thursday.

While the Dodgers would love to add a bat, there are "incredibly few" middle-of-the-order options available on the trade market, Buster Olney tweeted Wednesday. The likes of Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano are available, but they no longer are difference makers.

The Dodgers have been linked in the past to Houston's Carlos Lee, so maybe those talks could pick up steam. Lee has a limited no-trade clause and the Astros would be looking for the Dodgers to absorb plenty of what is left on his $18.5 million salary for 2012.

Oln ey has more on the Dodgers in Thursday's blog:

- Doug Mittler

Buster Olney
Slim pickings in LA?

"Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has been calling around asking for help, and the team's new ownership is ready to make suitable deals when they become available. Here's the problem: There are staggeringly few options in the market right now, and even fewer attractive possibilities, with so few teams having declared themselves as sellers."

Progress for Anderson

9:34AM ET
Brett Anderson | Athletics

There is more encouraging news on Oakland lefthander Brett Anderson, who threw off a bullpen mound Wednesday for the second time since experiencing a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Anderson will throw again Sunday in Texas.

Manager Bob Melvin did not offer a timetable for Anderson rejoining the rotation, but it will certainly be after July 14, the one-year anniversary of his surgery, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Anderson's return will only increase the healthy competition on a young staff that currently includes Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and Travis Blackley.

- Doug Mittler

If Millwood misses time

9:13AM ET
Seattle Mariners

Right-hander Kevin Millwood left his start Wednesday after aggravating a groin injury, the second time he's done so in the past month or so. He was replaced in the game by Hisashi Iwakuma, who could potentially get a start next time around if Millwood can't answer the bell.

The Mariners are still hoping Millwood can make his next start Monday, reports Geoff Baker.

Other options include Blake Beavan, who started the season in the rotation but was optioned to Triple-A earlier this month. Prospect Danny Hultzen was just promoted to Triple-A and is slated to make his second start there this Thursday, but the Mariners may prefer to hold off on calling up the left-hander for another few weeks or more, both for development purposes and to stave off service time concerns.

If Millwood hits the disabled list and Iwakuma gets the nod, the Mariners are likely to call up reliever Steve Delabar, who has spent most of the season in the big leagues, but could also summon prospect Carter Capps, who is now in Double-A Jackson.

- Jason A. Churchill

Olney: Murphy a fit in LA

9:01AM ET
Daniel Murphy | Mets

We mentioned Wednesday that second baseman Daniel Murphy has been out of the starting lineup all four times the Mets have faced a left-handed starter in the past week, leading to speculation that he may be on his way to being part of a lefty-righty platoon.

Manager Terry Collins told Adam Rubin that is not necessarily the case, adding Murphy may start Thursday against Dodgers southpaw Chris Capuano.

Murphy did make a case to stay in the lineup, at least against righthanders, by belting a pair of homers in a 17-1 rout of the Cubs.

Murphy has seen his playing time reduced since Ronny Cedeno came off the disabled list. ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney says Murphy might be a fit for a team out west:

- Doug Mittler

Buster Olney

Could Murphy land in Hollywood?

"Murphy is someone who could be a nice fit in LA. The Dodgers have bullpen help, which the Mets need, and the price for Murphy wouldn't be prohibitive now, because he's had an off-year. But Murphy had always hit, before this year, and the Mets have long thought his best position is actually third base, where L.A. has a need."

Carpenter to see a specialist

8:46AM ET
Chris Carpenter | Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals were cautiously optimistic that Chris Carpenter's ailing shoulder was healing to the point where the ace righthander would be making a minor league start within a week.

That timetable has been scrapped after Carpenter still experienced weakness following a 34-pitch throwing session Friday in Kansas City. Carpenter, still searching for answers, will see a nerve specialist Thursday in Dallas, reports Derrick Goold.

GM John Mozeliak has recently said that knowing Carpenter's availability by July 1 would influence the players he pursues at the trade deadline. Carpenter's shaky status should only intensify the Cardinals' quest to land another starting pitcher.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported the Cardinals are interested in Cubs starter Matt Garza, who is under club control through 2013. If the Cardinals are thinking bigger, the Brewers' Zack Greinke and the Phils' Cole Hamels could be pursued as expensive short-term rentals.

- Doug Mittler

End of the line for Houston train?

8:02AM ET
Houston Astros

Big changes are coming to Houston, where the Astros are under new ownership and preparing for a move to the American League in 2013. When all is said and done, the train above left field at Minute Maid Park might not be going along for the ride.

Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle reports new owner Jim Crane, who already plans to remove Tal's Hill (the sloped wall in center field) from the Astros' home park, may scrap the signature train as well as part of an overhaul franchise overhaul. The train could be a casualty of a new set of signs above the Crawford Boxes and Home Run Alley.

- Doug Mittler

Scott expected back Thursday

7:42AM ET

The Tampa Bay Rays are expected to welcome designated hitter Luke Scott back to the lineup as soon as Thursday's opener of a weekend series against Detroit, says Vinnie Duber of

The 34-year-old Scott, who hasn't played since June 8 because of back stiffness, finished his rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham earlier this week. Scott's return will likely reduce of the role of Hideki Matsui, who will become more of a pinch-hitter and back-up outfielder.

- Doug Mittler

Cubs and White Sox pursue Puig

7:30AM ET

Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, a 21-year-old outfielder, has been declared a free agent and could finalize a deal with a major league club by Friday, reports's Jesse Sanchez.

Puig could get a contract similar to that of Jorge Soler, who received a nine-year, $30 million deal from the Chicago Cubs earlier in June.

The Cubs and White Sox are believed to be among the teams seriously interested in Puig, says Phil Rogers in Thursday's Chicago Tribune.The reason for such a high price? Well, aside from his age and talent, there's a key timing factor that could give Puig a lot of leverage. The new regulations set forth by the CBA allow clubs all of $2.9 million to spend on international free agents (including Cuban defectors), but that doesn't kick in until Monday. So if Puig is declared a free agent before then, teams will be fighting over his rights -- and have more money to spend.

As for other teams expected to be after Puig,'s Enrique Rojas mentions - among others - the Dodgers, Yankees,Giants and Phillies.

- Doug Mittler

Bronx rotation problems

7:18AM ET
New York Yankees

The New York Yankees absorbed a painful 1-2 punch Wednesday, first placing CC Sabathia on the disabled list with a left groin injury and then losing Andy Pettitte to a fractured left fibula that will sideline him for six weeks.

Sabathia is only expected to miss a few starts, but the injury to Pettitte requires some shuffling. The Yankees plan to first look from within while general manager Brian Cashman will stay in touch with other GMs, writes Andrew Marchand.

As our Buster Olney noted Wednesday, the Yankees will give Freddy Garcia, David Phelps and Adam Warren a shot to show they are starters. On Monday, Garcia will pitch in Pettitte's place in Tampa Bay. The Yankees specifically sent Phelps, despite a 2.94 ERA as a major-league long man, down to the minors earlier this season to fill such a position.

Francisco Liriano could be someone the Yankees could have interest in as a starter or reliever, but Olney said on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" that Cashman is not involved with any talks as of now.

Two guys who surprisingly aren't in the picture are highly-rated prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. Betances is 3-5 with a 6.39 ERA at Triple-A, while Banuelos is on the DL with a sore elbow. On the year, Banuelos is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA, also at Triple-A.

As for a historical comparison, Cashman brought up 2005, when he needed three starters at the All-Star break to replace Chien-Ming Wang, Kevin Brown and Carl Pavano.

As for other trade options, the Yanks could inquire about Cubs righties Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, who are rumored to be available. Lefty Wandy Rodriguez of the Houston Astros could also be trade bait.

ESPN's Stephania Bell has more on Sabathia's injury:

- Doug Mittler and Jason A. Churchill

Stephania Bell

Yankees taking precaution

"As a southpaw, Sabathia's injury is on his stance leg, which demands power and control while balancing on a single limb. The adductor and hip flexor muscles must then be able to properly stretch or lengthen as he transfers weight toward the right leg when releasing the ball. At 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, the demands on the stabilizing muscles are not insignificant. Given those demands, it is imperative that Sabathia's injury heal properly so this does not turn into a chronic issue. As the evolution of understanding these injuries comes about, it is becoming more apparent that chronic tears or defects in the core musculature, particularly groin or abdominal injuries located near their attachment on the pelvis, may ultimately require surgical intervention. The good news is that this is reported to be the mildest variant of a muscle strain. Rest and proper rehabilitation can help prevent this from becoming something more severe. A look around the league reminds us that a number of stars have been lost for significant portions or even all of the season. The team that emerges victorious in the postseason may well be the team with the most players left standing. So the Yankees will sit Sabathia now in the hope that he will be standing on the mound for them this fall."

Replacing Hudson in Phoenix

6:37AM ET

Daniel Hudson has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, writes Steve Gilbert, an injury that generally results in Tommy John surgery and at least nine months out of the game.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have called up left-hander Patrick Corbin to take Hudson's place on the roster and it seems likely he'll also take Hudson's starts, at least in the short term.

Once Joe Saunders is ready to return from the disabled list, the club could choose the veteran over the rookie, but even after calling up Trevor Bauer to make his big-league debut this week, the D-backs still have a front line prospect they could summon in southpaw Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs started the Southern League All-Star Game against Seattle's Danny Hultzen and has been solid all season. Barring a trade that adds starting pitching, Skaggs appears to have a good chance to see the majors sometime in July or August.

The Hudson injury is likely to linger well in 2013, too, so any moves made for pitching this summer should reflect such a need.

- Jason A. Churchill

post #7099 of 72993

Do not want any of those guys laugh.gif

These guys were not meant to compete. I've done a good job remembering that even when they were at the top of the standings. They're simply not a good club. They suck, and while it's taken some time, it's finally showing.

Puig signs with LA
post #7100 of 72993
Thread Starter 

Minor League Standouts and Players of Note.

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Spoiler [+]

The minor leagues are a vast landscape of prospects, fillers and veterans. Each year, players from all three of those category impact the major leagues — sometimes for the better, sometimes not. But before they make their September callups or injury replacements, let us familiarize ourselves with some of the standouts.

International League (AAA)
IL Leaderboards

Brad Eldred (.374 OBP, .695 SLG, .465 wOBA, 197 wRC+)

The 31-year-old Eldred is currently slugging away in the Tigers minor league system. Like Dan Johnson (173 wRC+) with the White Sox, Eldred would probably require multiple injuries before getting consideration at first base. The Tigers have both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, while the Sox have a trio in Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and now Kevin Youkilis. So barring a cavalcade of injuries — or an age of enlightenment in which Delmon Young is no longer a DH in Detroit — Eldred will probably not get a steady shot with the Tigers. A September callup should be a no-doubt move, though.

* * *

Jack Cust (.405 OBP, .502 SLG, .406 wOBA, 157 wRC+)
Cust had an underwhelming 64 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2011, the net result of which was a return to the minor leagues, this time with the Yankees. Cust is now putting up his best numbers since 2007, when he was a Padres minor leauger, about to get traded to Oakland for a massive career resurgence. He was 28 then, and now that he’s 32, the retirement clock is ticking. The Yankees might like him off the bench in September, but if a fringe team finds themselves desiring a relatively low-risk gamble, Cust could probably be had on the cheap.

Chris Tillman (3.63 ERA, 2.98 FIP)

The 24-year-old Tillman got fairly blown up in his first three seasons in the majors, but now, after starting the year in Triple-A, Tillman leads the IL in FIP. He’s got his best numbers since 2007, when he was in High-A, and he’s looking like the player the Orioles had hoped he was. If the Orioles’ team ERA (3.81) matched their team FIP (4.06), then Tillman might have already made a showing this season.

Pacific Coast League (AAA)
PCL Leaderboards

Yusmeiro Petit (3.25 ERA, 2.69 FIP)

He has not been in the majors since 2009, but Yusmeiro Petit has seemingly changed his game way for the better. He dominated the Venezuelan League this winter, and now he is leading the PCL in FIP — the PCL, my friends! One has to think Petit is on the shortlist for an injury callup if and when the Giants need some starting pitching or swing man relief. If not, I feel Petit might reach the majors with another team. At age 27 — and in a hitter’s league — he has to be raising some brows.

Adam Eaton (.455 OBP, .520 SLG, .442 wOBA, 164 wRC+)
Jacob Elmore (.463 OBP, .528 SLG, .444 wOBA, 166 wRC+)

Eaton (23) and Elmore (25) are basically the same person offensively. They live on contact hitting; they are young speedsters; and they are both playing for the Indians Triple-A affiliate for the first times in their careers. Eaton, an outfielder, and Elmore, an infielder, both have the kinds of skills that make them safer bets in the PCL. Remember, the PCL made Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez and countless others look like home run champs in the making. Eaton and Elmore don’t hit for power, but earn their bacon on the base paths — and with great efficiency. Eaton is the prospect between the two of them, but Elmore’s strong performance could very likely net him a September callup.

Justin Christian (.432 OBP, .540 SLG, .427 wOBA, 155 wRC+)

He’s already in the majors, but we’ll talk about him anyway. The 32-year-old Christian, like the Eaton/Elmore duo, is a speed demon. Even at the age of 32, Christian still has wheels. He put up 36 steals in 2011, despite getting only 281 PA. The last time he got 500+ PA (2006 with the Yankees Double-A affiliate), he stole 68 bases while getting caught only 13 times. He’s likely slowed down since then, but nonetheless can add a special dimension to the Giants lineup and bench.

Mexican League (AAA)
ML Leaderboards

The Mexican League is quite a different animal. I personally cannot recall the last time a player of great renown came from the Mexican League — it seems to function as a resting place for many Latin American stars on the decline, rather than a farm ready for harvest. It also is a league that skews towards offense, with smaller and funny-shaped parks, I’m told.

That being said, there are few players too intriguing to resist. These guys may not make it to the MLB, but they at least deserve a shot in the IL or PCL next season:

Leonardo Heras (.398 OBP, .557 SLG, .413 wOBA, 140 wRC+)

He has speed, power, and age on his side. Only 22 and ranking among the best hitters in the league, Heras is looking elite in a league that is 6 years older than him on average. If this is not the kind of player the ML exists to find, then who is?

Hector Rodriguez (2.59 ERA, 2.90 FIP)

At age 27, this lefty leads the (qualified) league with a 26.2% K-rate (over 2 points higher than the next closest pitcher) and ranks second with a 2.90 FIP (65 FIP-minus). His walk rate (9.3% BB-rate) is 11th-worst in the league, but his age, handedness, and overall degree of success as a starter means he could very possibly be an MLB swing man or LOOGY — at least — in the near future.

Andres Meza (4.07 ERA, 3.64 FIP)

He is 9th in the league with a 3.64 FIP, but what sets Meza apart is that he’s 2.6 years younger than the league at age 25. He has improved his K-rate in each of his three seasons in the league, and could potentially make for some excellent starting pitching depth or a bullpen swing man. And if the 3.64 FIP does not sound impressive, remember that this is a league with an average of 4.45 FIP — so he’s sporting an 82 FIP-minus (not adjusted to park).

Pablo Menchaca (4.50 ERA, 2.68 FIP)

Menchace (24 years old) spent his first few years in the Padres minor league system as a starter. Despite a 4-start-stint in the rotation this season, he has pitched primarily in relief — and looked sharp doing so. He has a 60 FIP-minus despite posting forgettable numbers the previous season. His 24.0% K-rate should draw a few eyes when Spring Training rolls around again next season.

And for giggles:

Jose Cabrera (1.14 ERA, 1.31 FIP)

The 40-year-old Jose Cabrera is in fact the Jose Cabrera who played briefly for the Astros and Brewers. He has a 29 FIP-minus, a 36.0% K-rate, and 2.6% BB-rate through 31.2 IP. No one can hold a candle to him in Mexico right now.

Pounding the Zone: Walk Rate Peripherals.

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When we look at a hitter that’s struggling to produce, we have plenty of peripherals at our disposal. When we look at a pitcher that’s struggling with his control, we have… two? We have his zone percentage, and we have his first-strike percentage. We can compare those to the league average and hope we have a sense of how important either is to his walk rate going forward.

Well, let’s see how well these things correlate to walk rate. Why not.

Seemingly, zone percentage is the most important number. You want to have a better walk rate? Throw the ball in the strike zone. Of course the two are related, but you might be surprised about the slope of the line describing their relationship:

Yeah that’s not a heck of a slope. The r-squared value for this relationship is .0875, meaning that zone percentage describes just short of 9% of the variance in walk rate. There’s a general relationship between the two, but this means that there are plenty of wild guys like Danys Baez in 2002, who hit the zone 56% of the time while walking 11.3%, and plenty of good control guys like Mark Buehrle last season, who hit the zone 43.1% of the time while walking 5.2% of the batters he faced. Zone percentage is just a general guide.

Why is this? It might be because pitchers with exceptional stuff can get batters to chase on pitches — that’s not a pitch in the strike zone, but it’s a strike, not a ball. Maybe we can find our low-zone-percentage, low-walk-rate hurlers and look at their o-swing percentage? Taking pitchers with a below-average zone percentage (we’ll use 49%) and an above-average walk percentage (we’ll use 8.5%), we get a group of 91 pitchers that averaged swings on 29.57% of their pitches outside the zone compared to the league average o-swing of 28.06%. But if you limit the list to only those with a better-than-average contact percentage, the list gets (smaller and) more interesting:

Season Name Zone% pfx BB% O-Swing% pfx Contact% pfx
2012 Stephen Strasburg 45.30% 6.40% 33.50% 71.90%
2012 Johan Santana 44.40% 8.50% 28.60% 73.20%
2010 Francisco Liriano 48.00% 7.20% 34.00% 73.50%
2012 Edwin Jackson 46.30% 7.00% 30.60% 74.40%
2012 CC Sabathia 48.10% 6.40% 34.00% 74.90%
2009 Ryan Dempster 46.70% 7.70% 31.50% 74.90%
2010 Tim Lincecum 48.50% 8.50% 31.10% 75.10%
2009 Tim Lincecum 49.00% 7.50% 30.30% 75.30%
2011 Mat Latos 48.00% 7.80% 31.30% 75.30%
2012 Dillon Gee 46.80% 6.60% 33.10% 75.60%
2011 Zack Greinke 45.80% 6.30% 29.80% 75.70%
2010 Shaun Marcum 48.70% 5.40% 33.80% 75.80%
2012 Shaun Marcum 47.50% 7.60% 31.10% 75.80%
2011 Matt Garza 48.10% 7.50% 33.90% 76.10%
2011 Chris Capuano 47.70% 6.60% 32.20% 76.50%
2010 Hiroki Kuroda 48.60% 5.90% 32.20% 76.60%
2011 Shaun Marcum 44.70% 6.90% 31.40% 76.60%
2011 Jaime Garcia 48.60% 6.10% 31.70% 76.70%
2008 Jake Peavy 48.30% 8.30% 28.90% 76.70%
2012 Gavin Floyd 48.50% 6.30% 29.20% 77.00%
2012 James Shields 46.40% 7.30% 34.20% 77.00%
2012 Matt Garza 48.70% 6.70% 30.30% 77.30%
2008 Brandon Webb 47.40% 6.90% 32.50% 77.30%
2009 Zack Greinke 48.10% 5.60% 30.30% 77.80%
2011 Hiroki Kuroda 47.80% 5.90% 30.90% 78.20%
2011 Yovani Gallardo 46.20% 6.80% 28.10% 78.50%
2010 Randy Wells 45.30% 7.50% 30.60% 78.50%
2012 Dan Haren 48.10% 5.50% 29.70% 78.70%
2012 Josh Johnson 46.10% 7.60% 28.90% 78.90%
2010 Wandy Rodriguez 46.80% 8.30% 29.90% 78.90%
2011 Dan Haren 47.60% 3.50% 34.10% 79.20%
2008 Derek Lowe 43.30% 5.30% 28.80% 79.20%
2012 Chad Billingsley 48.70% 8.20% 26.20% 79.20%
2012 Hiroki Kuroda 46.20% 7.60% 26.80% 79.30%
2009 Adam Wainwright 49.00% 6.80% 30.20% 79.40%
2011 Derek Lowe 36.90% 8.40% 31.10% 79.70%
2010 Johnny Cueto 48.80% 7.20% 27.70% 79.80%
2012 Felix Doubront 48.20% 7.80% 29.40% 80.20%
2011 Wandy Rodriguez 46.30% 8.50% 31.10% 80.20%
2010 Chris Carpenter 48.10% 6.50% 29.10% 80.30%
2010 Brett Myers 48.50% 7.10% 29.50% 80.30%
2010 Derek Lowe 37.80% 7.40% 31.10% 80.30%
2011 Tim Hudson 46.00% 6.30% 29.10% 80.40%
2008 Todd Wellemeyer 48.90% 7.70% 29.90% 80.40%
2012 Jon Lester 45.70% 6.70% 29.40% 80.50%
2012 Zack Greinke 43.80% 5.40% 28.80% 80.60%
Group Average 46.79% 6.93% 30.65% 77.56%
League Average 49.86% 8.48% 28.06% 80.66%

Now that we’ve narrowed our list to those pitchers that pitch in the zone less than average but still have better-than-average walk rates — and also garner more whiffs than average — we get a stronger result. These pitchers get whiffs on swings outside the zone, and that helps mute the effect of zone percentage on walk rate.

We still have first-strike rate to fall back on. It makes sense that fewer at-bats that start 0-1 will end up in a walk (4.6% vs the league average of 8.2%), but it also seems that if it was that easy, everyone would just throw strikes on their first pitch.

Here, the r-squared is .435, meaning that first-strike percentage is much more important to walk rate. It explains almost half of the variance in walk rate! That’s pretty impressive. After all those years hearing about the importance of getting strike one and pounding the zone — now we know which is more important.

As a bonus, the size of the circles in this last graph was determined by the pitcher’s zone percentage. As you can see, the bigger circles (better zone percentage) are clustered on the lower part of the graph. Perhaps, with the two together (and o-swing% and contact%?), we can find an equation for expected walk percentage. I’ll just have to go math up a little before we can get there.

The Rockies Should Trade Michael Cuddyer.

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Michael Cuddyer will remain a member of the Colorado Rockies. Even though the team has allegedly received numerous calls about the veteran outfielder, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd has insisted that Cuddyer isn’t going anywhere. But with the Rockies already 13.5 games back, and Cuddyer struggling, O’Dowd may want to reconsider.

When Cuddyer signed his three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Rockies this off-season, there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm about the move. Though Cuddyer had been a useful player throughout his career, he was also overrated. And as Matt Klaassen pointed out when he analyzed Cuddyer’s deal in December, there were better outfielders on the market that signed for significantly less money. Even if Cuddyer played well, he was likely to be overpaid. Trading him now could allow the Rockies to reap some benefits after handing out a poor contract this off-season.

But Cuddyer has struggled to live up to expectations this season. The 33-year-old is hitting just .261/.316/.486. Plate discipline has never been one of Cuddyer’s strengths, and this year his 7.8% walk rate is even worse than normal. He’s also striking out more often. Cuddyer’s strikeout rate has jumped to 20.2% this season, his worst performance in the category since 2006. A look at Cuddyer’s plate discipline charts confirms those struggles. Cuddyer’s been more aggressive at the plate, but has made less contact than normal this season. Each of Cuddyer’s swing rates (O-Swing%, Z-Swing% and Swing%) are up this season. But all of Cuddyer’s contact rates (O-Contact%, Z-Contact% and Contact%) are down. Cuddyer’s SwStr% has jumped to 9.7, which explains why he’s struck out more often. Pitchers seem to be getting ahead of Cuddyer early in the count, as his F-Strike% is to 63.1% this year.

Cuddyer has regressed while playing in arguably the best hitters park in the game.

Park Factors K BB 1B 2B 3B HR wOBA
Coors Field 90 91 105 118 166 120 112
Target Field 96 102 101 103 97 95 101

Cuddyer moved from Target Field — which suppresses home runs for righties, but mostly plays neutral — to Coors Field, arguably the best hitters park in the game. And while Cuddyer’s overall numbers have been down, they are inflated by his performance at Coors Field. Cuddyer is currently hitting .294/.364/.529 at home, and just .223/.260/.438 on the road. Without that Coors Field boost, Cuddyer’s slash line wouldn’t be good enough for teams to take interest. Take away Coors Field, and Cuddyer has been a below-average offensive player this season.

Cuddyer has a reputation as a great guy and a team leader, which is one of the reasons O’Dowd may keep him on the team. But in order for this team to compete, they are going to need useful, young players to build around. If teams have legitimate interest in Cuddyer, the Rockies could flip him for a useful cog that might be around when the team is able to compete again. O’Dowd has already built a solid foundation around Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and getting more young talent around them should be his biggest priority right now.

Cuddyer is in decline. He’s surviving only because he’s been able to hit in one of the friendliest hitters ballparks in the game. And even though his numbers have been good at home, the team isn’t going to contend this season. He’s exactly the type of player that Rockies should be shopping at the deadline. But O’Dowd better change his mind soon, because once other teams start to realize Cuddyer’s performance this season is built on smoke and mirrors, the calls are going to stop.

Stat Nerd NL All-Star Roster.

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We did the AL earlier this afternoon, so now we’re tackling the 34 man rosters for the National League. Quick primer in case you didn’t read the AL post — I value first half performance (even flukes) since I see the game as a reward for the players, every team gets a representative, and injured guys are not considered. On to the picks, with starters listed first.

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Ellis, Buster Posey

Don’t need four catchers, but can’t leave any of these guys at home. The first two would be legitimate MVP candidates if not for some first baseman in Cincinnati, and Ellis and Posey have been huge factors in their team’s success as well. They all deserve to go.

Apologies To: Miguel Montero.

First Base: Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt

Hey National League First Baseman Not Named Joey Votto – you suck. Okay, Goldschmidt is having a solid enough year, but the lack of depth behind Votto at the position in the NL is pretty staggering. There are seven qualified NL first baseman with less than +0.6 WAR. Essentially half the team’s in the NL are getting nothing from their first baseman. Let’s move on.

Apologies To: Fans of NL teams who have to watch their league’s first baseman hit.

Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Dan Uggla, Aaron Hill

A pretty balanced group here, with Phillips getting the starting nod mostly because his track record suggests he’s probably the best of the three. While this is a performance reward, when the performance is this close, tie goes to the best guy.

Apologies To: Jose Altuve, who is in if he’s healthy.

Shortstop: Jed Lowrie, Starlin Castro, Jose Reyes

Lowrie’s an easy pick, but it gets a bit tougher to pick the reserves after that. Castro gives us a needed Cubs representative and is pretty much in line with the rest of the non-Lowrie guys, so he gets a spot. Reyes isn’t far back of the group in 2012 performance while being a worthy player based on talent, but I wouldn’t argue much if you wanted to swap him out for one of the others.

Apologies To: Ian Desmond, Rafael Furcal, Jimmy Rollins

Third Base: David Wright, Chase Headley, David Freese

Mostly cut-and-dried here, with Wright as the obvious starter, Headley as the obvious Padres representative, and Freese getting the last spot due to nothing more than personal preference. I’d have no problem with anyone who wanted to change out Freese for someone else out of the pile of similar players.

Apologies To: Aramis Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez

Outfield: Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Michael Bourn, Bryce Harper

There are about 15 deserving candidates here, so the apologies list could span a couple of pages, but I took nine so that one of them could serve as the DH – probably Beltran. The first eight guys are all clearly deserving on performance, while Harper gets in as something of a good-for-the-game selection. He’s played well enough that it’s not a charity selection, and having him and Trout make their first all-star games together will simply make the event more fun. This is the one case where I’m going with fan spectacle over pure player performance, and thankfully, Harper has played well enough that he’s not a ridiculous pick on his own merits.

Apologies To: Matt Holliday, Dexter Fowler, Martin Prado, Andre Ethier, Jay Bruce

Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain, R.A. Dickey, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Gio Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, James McDonald

The NL has so many good starting pitchers that I’ve decided that I just can’t exclude as many as I did in the AL, so the NL’s bullpen is going to be almost entirely made up of starters. Really, which of these eight guys don’t deserve to go? Even among the guys who I’m already apologizing to, there are legitimately strong cases for a spot on the roster. The NL might want to consider just bring 33 pitchers and Joey Votto just to be fair to the NL starting pitching field.

Apologies To: Wade Miley, Ryan Vogelsong, Lance Lynn, Cole Hamels, Madison Bumgarner

Relief Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel

Probably the two best relievers in baseball right now, so my regrets to all the good setup guys in the NL — sorry, you were aced out by ridiculous starting pitching performances this year.

Apologies To: Tyler Clippard, Matt Belisle, Many Many Others

What Happened to Ricky Romero.

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Right now, like as this is being written, Ricky Romero is in the process of getting bombed by the Red Sox. The 27-year-old lefty just finished an inning in which he gave up a double to Dustin Pedroia between two walks before an error and a few groundouts allowed singles from Mike Aviles and Darnell McDonald to plate some runs. Six runs in all. So far all the balls in play have been ground balls — his bailiwick — but something is still off.

Going into the start today, the primary culprits were not at fault. The batting average on balls in play that Romero has allowed this year is higher than the one he allowed last year, yes. But the ‘new’ number is .252 and last year’s number was .241. That’s not the problem. Neither can we blame a velocity drop. Well, he’s down a tick from 92.1 mph to 91.1 mph, but his career velocity is 91.5 mph on the fastball. That’s not the problem, either. He’s using his curveball a little more than he has in the past, but are we going to blame his two-run difference in ERA on 55 extra curveballs this year? It doesn’t look like he’s altered his pitching mix much otherwise, so that doesn’t look like the problem.

The obvious difference comes in his walk rate, and even in today’s big inning, the walks were a problem. Romero walked 10.3% in his rookie season, then he walked 9.3% in his decent followup, and 8.7% in his breakout season last year. Now his walk rate is at a career-worst 11.3%. You have to go back to his first shot at Double-A (in 2007) to find a walk rate that bad. Look at his strike zone stats, and you’ll notice that he’s close to league average at finding the zone (43.3% this year, 45.4% career, 45.4% is the league average this year). It’s probably not those 32 pitches outside the zone that separate him from league average. He is, however, showing a career low in first-strike percentage (52.8%) that’s well below league average (59.7%) and his own average (57%). Perhaps a renewed emphasis on strike one would solve many of Romero’s woes.

On the other hand, his current walk rate is not an extreme outlier. His career walk rate in the minor leagues was 9.7%, which is worse than average. But he was getting enough ground balls and strikeouts to make that walk rate work then. It’s not working that well right now, and there’s a general regression in his other peripherals that is contributing to the problem.

His swinging strike rate is under league average for the first time (8.0%, 8.9% is league average, 9.2% for his career). So it makes sense that he’s lost a couple ticks of his strikeout rate (16.9% this year, 18.9% career). His ground-ball rate is at a career-worst (53.4%, 54.5% career). He’s giving up a career-worst number of home runs off of his fly balls (17.1% HR/FB, 12.5% career). Some of this is luck. None of it, by itself, would sink a player completely. All of it, together, has reduced his effectiveness.

Lastly, there’s the issue of expectations. Pitch to a 2.92 ERA in the AL East over 225 innings and you’re an ace. Pitch to a 4.20 FIP/3.80 xFIP/3.78 SIERA in the AL East over 225 innings, though, and you’re a horse. Considering those numbers describe the same season, perhaps we should just have been expecting a horse. And, given the Blue Jays’ pitching health woes right now, perhaps it’s okay if their ace is actually a horse right now.

Stat Nerd AL All-Star Roster.

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On Sunday, the rosters (minus the 34th guy, who is voted in by the fans after the announcement) for the 83rd All-Star game will be announced, and you can be sure that next Monday will be full or discussion over who should and shouldn’t have been included. We’re just going to move up the discussion a few days, though, and so this afternoon I’m presenting the rosters I would select if I have complete and total authority and I was so shallow that I used that authority to select rosters for the All-Star Game. This is a weird hypothetical, but let’s go with it for now.

One quick note – I’m a guy who believes that the All-Star Game is more of a reward for the players than a spectacle for the fans, though it is obviously both at the same time. As such, I place more importance on first half performance than some others who feel that the game should always just be filled with the best players of their time, regardless of how they did in the first three months of the season. If a guy has three fluke months, I’m not keeping him out just because I don’t think he can keep it up. First half totals aren’t the only factor, but for me, they’re the biggest one.

Oh, and we’re playing by the rules, so every team gets a representative, deserving or not, and injured players were not considered since they’re, you know, injured. On to the rosters, with the starter listed first.

Catchers: Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Mauer’s had a nice bounce back season and is one of the few things going right in Minnesota this year. Wieters has been up-and-down at the plate but is a monster defensively, and Salty has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the year in Boston. All three are deserving on their own merits, and none of them are here because we needed a representative for their team.

Apologies To: Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski

First Base: Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder, Edwin Encarnacion

Konerko is one of the main reasons the White Sox are atop the AL Central and is a pretty easy pick to serve as the starter this year. Dunn’s resurgence deserves recognition, as does the pretty fantastic performance being put up in Toronto by Encarnacion. Fielder is the only representative of the guys you’d expect to be here, as Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez are notably absent, but they just haven’t played like All-Stars this year.

Apologies To: No one. It’s not a very good year for first baseman.

Second Base: Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist

The Yankees second baseman has pulled away from the pack, but Kipnis and Zobrist are both deserving candidates. Kinsler has faded after a hot start, but with 34 man rosters, there’s room for a quality player having a solid first half, especially since Zobrist can function as a utility guy and play multiple positions.

Apologies To: Ian Kinsler

Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera

You could make a case for Cabrera as the starter, but Andrus is having a fantastic year as well, and is definitely the better defender of the two. Besides, you can bring Kipnis and Cabrera in at the same time and have them take over as the AL’s middle infield tandem, which is kind of fun.

Apologies To: Alcides Escobar, Derek Jeter. Escobar made the cut before I realized I had 35 guys, so he was the last cut, and I wish I had room for him.

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Moustakas

Beltre is cementing himself as one of the game’s premier all around players, providing his usual combination of good offense and great defense. Cabrera’s offense is down but still All-Star worthy, and Moustakas is one of the best breakout stories of the year.

Apologies To: Brett Lawrie, Kyle Seager

Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Austin Jackson, Josh Willingham, Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick

Apologies To: Matt Joyce, Seth Smith, Alex Gordon, Colby Rasmus, Curtis Granderson

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz

The easiest selection in the sport. Big Papi is deserving and has little competition among regular DHs.

Apologies To: Billy Butler

Starting Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Jered Weaver, David Price, Jason Hammel, Jake Peavy

Verlander’s a no-brainer, but there’s a lot of nits to pick after that. Price and Hammel get extra credit for pitching in the AL East, and the White Sox duo have to overcome a tough park to pitch in as well. There are other deserving candidates, but with a large field to pick from, you have to draw lines somewhere.

Apologies To: C.J. Wilson, Felix Hernandez, Matt Harrison

Relief Pitchers: Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, Tom Wilhelmsen, Chris Perez

Nathan and Rodney have both been astonishingly good after being somewhat written off, and both deserve credit for rejuvenating their careers this season. Perez hasn’t allowed a home run all year, which is why he leads the AL in saves and is a deserving selection, while Wilhelmsen is both a terrific reliever and the most deserving member of the Mariners roster. If you found room for someone from Seattle elsewhere on the roster, you could argue for any number of other deserving candidates, but since we filled out the team without any Mariners before now, Wilhelmsen gets the call.

Apologies To: Jim Johnson, Scott Downs, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Soriano, Scott Atchison, Countless Others

Cuban OF Yasiel Puig Declared Free Agent.

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Cuban outfielders have been a hot commodity over the past year, and another young Cuban defector was declared a free agent on Tuesday evening and is now able to sign with any major league team, according to Jesse Sanchez of

Twenty-one-year-old Yasiel Puig has long attempted to make his way to the United States. In fact, he was suspended from playing in the Cuban Serie Nacional this past season due to attempting to defect. He successfully did so this summer, establishing temporary residency in Mexico, and is expected to agree to terms rather quickly in hopes of signing prior to July 2, when the new CBA regulations  will severely limit international spending.

The vast majority of the attention amongst Cuban outfielders centered around Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, and it should have. Puig possesses raw power — and actually showed game-power back in the 2010-2011 season with 17 home runs — but Ben Badler of Baseball America recently noted that the most recent scouting reports on the young outfielder have been extremely underwhelming.

Despite those disappointing reports and the fact that Puig has not played organized baseball in a year, teams will absolutely be lining up to ink him to a minor-league deal. Badler writes that the Texas Rangers have shown interest, and Jesse Sanchez hears from industry sources that five teams have expressed “serious interest

post #7101 of 72993
Thread Starter 
BTW, I feel like I'm the only one who thinks Bauer is going to get abused in the majors laugh.gif
post #7102 of 72993
"Jarrod Parker is the only pitcher other than Gooden since 1918 to give up one or no runs in nine of his first 13 big-league starts."

Not too bad for the kid. pimp.gif But he does walk a lot of guys. He's going to have to cut those walks down if he wants to continue to succeed. 
post #7103 of 72993
Originally Posted by Proshares

BTW, I feel like I'm the only one who thinks Bauer is going to get abused in the majors laugh.gif

Well, he will be pitching in the NL West.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #7104 of 72993
Should we give Trout his own thread?

post #7105 of 72993
4 Straight Shutouts by Giants pimp.gif
post #7106 of 72993
Against the Dodgers I could see, but didn't have them shutting out Cincinnati....Giants showing everyone how it's done....Again!
post #7107 of 72993
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by RaWeX05

Originally Posted by Proshares

BTW, I feel like I'm the only one who thinks Bauer is going to get abused in the majors laugh.gif

Well, he will be pitching in the NL West.

Yea but the kid has no command of the strike zone and little control of his pitches this year, I think they rushed him a little.  Way more excited about Cashner being back and attempting to start.

I could see them shutting Cincy down when they're playing in SF.

post #7108 of 72993
Thread Starter 
Kimbrel’s Historic Pace.

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Craig Kimbrel is really freakin’ good. While his blown save in the final game of the 2011 season gave him a bit more fame for the wrong reasons, Kimbrel has been downright tremendous in his young career. He has only gotten better this season, and at just 24 years old, still stands to improve a bit. Improvements beyond his current performance would make for one scary closer against whom almost nobody would reach base.

Kimbrel has now logged 126.2 innings in his career, and has the following marks: 1.71 ERA, 1.46 FIP, 15.3 K/9, 42.7% K/PA, 45.4% groundball rate. He has an 83.5% strand rate, a .157 opponents average and a 1.01 WHIP, even with a relatively high walk rate. But he’s getting better in that area as well, as his walk rate has decreased each year: from 18.2% to 10.5% down to his current 9.1% mark.

Whether we’re looking at the career numbers of all relievers in the history of baseball, or pitchers through their first three or four seasons, Kimbrel ranks ahead of everyone in most important categories. This is only his third season — and second full year — in the majors, but he is off to a historic start. It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest that, through three years and 120+ innings, Kimbrel has the best numbers of anyone ever.

Starting with a comparison of his young career to those of all other pitchers to log at least 120 innings, Kimbrel’s 1.71 ERA ranks 0.11 runs ahead of Ed Walsh on the leaderboard. Strictly looking at relievers, Kimbrel’s ERA is 0.20 runs better than Ernesto Frieri. Mariano Rivera, the gold standard, ranks third among relievers with a 2.05 ERA but falls further down the list due to a 5.51 ERA in a rookie season in which he made 10 starts. Kimbrel’s 1.46 FIP ranks almost a half-run ahead of second place Rube Waddell (1.92). Among relievers, the second spot belongs to Sergio Romo‘s 2.27 career rate.

Using our contextual FIP- and ERA- numbers, Kimbrel still fares tremendously. His 38 FIP- is the best of all time using the 120+ innings cutoff, and far behind him in second place is Strasburg at 52. His ERA- of 45 also ranks at the top of the list, ahead of Mo’s 49.

Lastly, Kimbrel’s 42.7% K/PA is far and away the best rate of all time. Behind him on the list is Billy Wagner, who finished his career as Kimbrel’s mentor, and with a 33.2% strikeout rate. Only eight pitchers in major league history have a strikeout rate above 30%, and the seven non-Kimbrels all range from 30.9%-33.2%. Interestingly, but not totally surprisingly, six of those eight pitchers are still around (Kimbrel, Frieri, Romo, Stephen Strasburg, David Robertson and Brad Lidge). Wagner retired recently as well. The only other pitcher on that list is Rob Dibble. Even with strikeout rates up and more pitchers surpassing the 30% plateau these days, nobody is even close to Kimbrel.

However, comparing his short career to the full careers of other pitchers isn’t as telling as how he fares relative to others through their first three or four years in the league. Wagner and Lidge, for instance, may have started off similarly to Kimbrel before slowing down as their careers progressed.

Using the same 120 inning cutoff, and restricting the sample to pitchers in their first four seasons (to get at least three full seasons for guys who threw, say, 5.2 innings in their technical first season), Kimbrel still comes out on top. The top five non-Kimbrel strikeout rates through a pitcher’s first four seasons (120 IP minimum) are:

Name K/PA
Billy Wagner 36.6%
Brad Lidge 34.9%
Rob Dibble 33.9%
Francisco Rodriguez 33.2%
Troy Percival 32.5%

Strasburg is basically tied with Percival and both Robertson (31.1% from 2008-11) and Frieri (32.1% from 2009-12) aren’t far off the leaderboard.

But nobody in baseball history has gotten off to such a strikeout-happy start as Kimbrel. It remains to be seen how Aroldis Chapman factors into this equation, but as it currently stands, Kimbrel is pitching at a level of effectiveness through his first three seasons rivaled by next to nobody in the history of the game, and striking batters out at literally an unprecedented pace.

Is Baseball Getting Too Expensive For Kids?

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week ago, John Sickels wrote an interesting blog post, more of a musing than an analysis:

A) At the amateur level (high school, college, etc.), baseball is primarily a game for the children of wealth and the upper middle class. Do you think that is true or false?

B) If you accept that A is true, is that good for the sport and what, if anything, should be done about it?

I accept his proposition. I played Little League baseball for five years or so, and I was a growing boy — I remember how many pairs of cleats and clean white jerseys and pants and metal bats and gloves I went through, to say nothing of the summer camps, the days at the batting cages, and the dues for the league themselves, much of which probably went to the trophy I invariably got for showing up every year. This despite the fact that I was, as many of my readers no doubt will have guessed, no good at all.

Because I wasn’t any good at all, my parents saved on things like travel (because I certainly wasn’t traveling), personal instruction, or the “metal contraption
post #7109 of 72993
Detroit needs another bat.
post #7110 of 72993
Rangers keep rolling. pimp.gif

Martin Perez makes his debut as a starter tomorrow night. Can't wait to see what he's got.
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