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2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 256

post #7651 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by macbk View Post

So Bay Area baseball now has two cheaters. And to think I was hoping Colon was having a crazy good season just on burgers and hot dogs laugh.gif .
Someone on the Padres is bound to slip next.
alien.gif
post #7652 of 77344
Why don't the Nats shut Strasburg down for the rest of the regular season since they have a playoff spot pretty much on lock, and bring him back in the post season?
post #7653 of 77344
Thread Starter 
Rust? They should be skipping some starts though.
post #7654 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by macbk View Post

So Bay Area baseball now has two cheaters. And to think I was hoping Colon was having a crazy good season just on burgers and hot dogs laugh.gif .
Someone on the Padres is bound to slip next.
3 cheaters tongue.gif
post #7655 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJs07 View Post

Why don't the Nats shut Strasburg down for the rest of the regular season since they have a playoff spot pretty much on lock, and bring him back in the post season?

My guess is that would do a lot more damage on his arm to shut him down for a month, then to restart him in the playoffs, which is a different beast. Kind of like when pitchers leave the game after a long rain delay, although, that wasn't the case for him the other day.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
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What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
Reply
post #7656 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaWEx5 View Post

I get you, but neither does "it looks like at this point they will be okay," help you win ballgames.
I wasn't sure what you meant with "better equipped." Better equipped to replace the cheater, or better equipped to continue winning and eventually making the playoffs?

Personnel. We are stocked with pitching depth. Giants don't have anyone to replace Melky.
A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

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A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

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post #7657 of 77344
Thread Starter 
MLB Future Power Rankings (16-30).
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Back in February, ESPN Insider brought you the first installment of the MLB Future Power Rankings. And now that we've had most of a season, the amateur draft and the trade deadline, we figure it's time for a revision.

CATEGORIES
MAJORS (full weight): Quality of current big league roster
MINORS (full weight): Quality and quantity of prospects in their farm system
FINANCE (2/3 weight): How much money do they have to spend?
MANAGEMENT (2/3 weight): Value and stability of ownership, front office and coaching staff
MOBILITY (1/3 weight): Do they have a lot of young, cheap players, or old, immovable guys?
For a full breakdown of the MLB Future Power Rankings methodology, click here.
We've once again asked our three top baseball analysts -- Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney -- to rank all 30 teams in five categories (see table) in an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years.



The better your rank in a given category, the more points you get, and the average point scores from the three voters are available in the bar graphs accompanying each team's section, rounded to the nearest integer. We weighted the categories and then gave each team a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with the score representing a team's percentage of total possible points. (For a detailed breakdown of the methodology used for the Future Power Rankings, click here.)



With each team's ranking, you'll also get a take from Buster, Jim and Keith. Buster will give an overview of the franchise's future, Jim will explain the biggest dilemma currently facing the team and Keith will highlight an intriguing aspect of the farm system.



Today we begin with teams ranked Nos. 16-30. On Thursday, we will reveal the top 15 teams with the brightest futures in baseball during the next five years.









16
Chicago Cubs
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 4


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

No reasonable Cubs fan expected a turnaround this summer, but it was a frustrating first year for the new regime. The Ryan Dempster trade talks became something of a debacle when the pitcher blocked deals, and then Matt Garza's injury wrecked his trade value. But the club has built a little positive momentum recently as it works out the final details of a long-term deal with shortstop Starlin Castro. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Cubs' biggest dilemma this offseason will be how to maximize trade return for Garza, Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano (if, in fact, the Cubs can move him). The Cubs were busy in their first year under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. They traded for Anthony Rizzo, drafted Albert Almora with their first pick in the 2012 draft, signed Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler and traded Dempster and Paul Maholm at the deadline. Unfortunately for Chicago, Garza will miss the rest of the season with a sore elbow, which means he won't be able to boost his trade value down the stretch. -- Jim Bowden


The System

The Cubs have added an enormous amount of talent since last offseason, including Cuban outfielder Soler, a toolsy athlete with great bat speed; right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from Atlanta after he had season-ending elbow surgery; and prep center fielder Almora, a plus defender with great feel to hit. -- Keith Law








17
San Francisco Giants
NL WEST FPR RANK: 3


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

The Giants have strong centerpieces in Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. But there are legitimate concerns about Tim Lincecum, the overall depth in the farm system and Pablo Sandoval. Lincecum is under contract for $22 million for 2013, which is also the last year of Barry Zito's $126 million deal, and after Sandoval seemed to get a handle on his weight issues in 2011, he got heavy again this year. More help is needed. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

San Francisco's biggest dilemma this offseason is what to do with Lincecum, who will be a free agent after 2013. If he finishes strong, do they sign him long term, or do they try to move him while he still has some value remaining? The Giants, as always, will also have to figure out a way to get a more balanced offensive attack throughout the lineup. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Two prep arms from last year's draft, Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn, hope to step in and fill the void left by last year's trade of Zack Wheeler, with both having very strong seasons as teenagers in full-season ball. Chris Stratton, a 2012 first-rounder who dominated the SEC with a plus slider this spring, could be a fast mover next year. -- Keith Law







18
Seattle Mariners
AL WEST FPR RANK: 4


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

In the past few years, the Mariners drafted Dustin Ackley and traded for Jesus Montero in an effort to construct a lineup that could properly support Felix Hernandez and Seattle's growing stable of pitchers, but clearly more help will be needed. There is mounting speculation, however, that the team will be sold. There is one bit of good news for the Mariners: Houston will soon join the AL West. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Mariners need to rebuild their outfield and find a long-term solution at shortstop without giving up their most coveted starting pitching prospects in Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen. If they can add some more young outfield bats, they could become the Rays or Nationals by 2014. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Catcher Mike Zunino, their first pick in the 2012 draft, may be fast-tracked, as he earned a late-summer promotion to Double-A, indicating that he could start 2013 there. Zunino is an offensive catcher but is solid enough on defense to stay behind the plate. Unfortunately, Seattle's trio of top starting pitching prospects -- Hultzen, Walker and James Paxton -- have all hit small speed bumps in their development this year. -- Keith Law







19
San Diego Padres
NL WEST FPR RANK: 4


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

The new owners paid a staggering $800 million for the franchise, and if they follow the lead of past Padres owners -- such as Tom Werner and John Moores -- there will be an initial bump higher in payroll, which would coincide with the blossoming farm system. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Padres' biggest dilemma is if their young starting rotation can come back from injuries, including Cory Luebke, Andrew Cashner, Anthony Bass and Juan Oramas. They also have to decide if they should move the fences in at Petco to make it a more balanced stadium, as it has become the opposite of Coors Field. Even under the new ownership of the first-class O'Malley family, the Padres must figure out how to win with less revenue as the Rays, Nats and A's are doing this year. The good news is San Diego has a great start toward that with one of the game's best young front offices and farm systems. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Bolstered by a strong draft loaded with high school pitching, the Padres' system remains the sport's best, even with injuries that cost two major pitching prospects, Casey Kelly and Joe Ross, most of their seasons and with the promotions of Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso. Their first pick in 2012, Max Fried, adds another high-upside arm to their stable of pitching prospects. -- Keith Law







20
New York Mets
NL EAST FPR RANK: 3


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

David Wright deferred his negotiations with the Mets until the offseason, when both sides will learn a lot about the direction of the franchise. If he signs, he'll probably cost something in the range of $20 million per year. If he doesn't sign, the Mets' offseason will be dominated by the issue of when it would be best to trade him. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The biggest dilemma facing the Mets is the situation with Wright. His club option will be picked up for 2013, but with free agency just 12 months away, the Mets either have to sign him long term or consider trading him if they can get a Herschel Walker-type package back. Conventional wisdom says the Mets should sign Wright because he wants to be there and is truly the type of leader you want to build your franchise around. That being said, GM Sandy Alderson doesn't have a history of showing loyalty to his team's star players, so this will be interesting to watch. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Matt Harvey has already arrived and is exceeding expectations, and Zack Wheeler is not far behind him, giving the team plenty of hope for its future rotation. It has also seen infielders Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte regain some prospect value, while 2011 first-rounder Brandon Nimmo has impressed in short-season ball. -- Keith Law







21
Chicago White Sox
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 2


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

The White Sox cut payroll and are perceived to have one of the weakest farm systems in the majors, and yet they still have a chance to win the AL Central this season. Some players are convinced manager Robin Ventura and his staff deserve a lot of credit for that. Ventura, it seems, has helped to buy time for GM Ken Williams to rebuild the 40-man roster. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

Chicago's biggest dilemma is how to improve its pipeline of position players in the farm system. Williams has done a terrific job trading spare parts for key players, like getting Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox, Francisco Liriano from the Twins and Brett Myers from the Astros. However, long term, Williams needs a strong system to make sure the major league team doesn't get old and to have the firepower to make bigger trades. The White Sox tried to trade for Zack Greinke, but they but fell short because their system just wasn't as strong as the Angels' or Rangers'.-- Jim Bowden


The System

First-rounder Courtney Hawkins, a hard-throwing, power-hitting outfielder from Corpus Christi, Texas, is the most exciting draft prospect to enter this system in years. He gives the White Sox a great chance to develop their first homegrown impact position player since they drafted Ray Durham in 1990 and Magglio Ordonez signed as a free agent in 1991. -- Keith Law








22
Philadelphia Phillies
NL EAST FPR RANK: 4


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

The organization's long-term and short-term plans can be defined in two words: Win now. The Phillies paid top-of-the-market dollars to Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and now they owe about $93 million to those three players and Roy Halladay. The credit card bills are coming due. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro became a seller at the trade deadline for the first time in his career, as he successfully dealt Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants while stockpiling inexpensive, controllable talent in return. This is a franchise that needed retooling, not rebuilding. Improving the bullpen depth and getting younger in the field without having to trade Halladay or Lee will be Amaro's biggest challenge.-- Jim Bowden


The System

Repeated losses of first-round picks for signing free agents and relatively meager signing budgets in the draft and internationally have led to the decline over the past few years of this system, which has also suffered this year from steps backward from starters Trevor May and Brody Colvin.-- Keith Law







23
Kansas City Royals
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 3


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

Rival executives are convinced that the Royals will be aggressive in free agency this winter in their search for a rotation that can properly complement a strong, young lineup. "They could be set up for Gil Meche II," one GM said. "They have to have someone to build around because they don't have it in their own system." -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Royals' dilemma is the same as it has been for a decade: They need to build a starting rotation that will allow them to compete with the Tigers and White Sox. GM Dayton Moore must make a painful deal or two from his bank of prospects to acquire pitching, like the Nats did last year for Gio Gonzalez and the Reds did for Mat Latos. Moore can't become gun-shy because of the horrible trade the Royals made last year, dealing Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Wil Myers leads a parade of offensive prospects in the system, which suddenly doesn't have the same pitching depth it seemed to have two years ago, the result of injuries and attrition. John Lamb returned to game action recently, making his first rehab start since Tommy John surgery in May of 2011, and could figure into the major league team's plans in 2013. -- Keith Law







24
Baltimore Orioles
AL EAST FPR RANK: 5


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

As the Orioles remained in contention into the middle of August, improbably, there was a debate within the organization about exactly how close this team is, regardless of how the standings read. Manny Machado was promoted from the minors to add immediate help, but some among the staff have cringed at the idea that top young prospect Dylan Bundy would be promoted. "We have to protect the future," a staffer said. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

Baltimore's biggest challenge is to improve the farm system enough that when it gets to the trade deadline in the next few years, GM Dan Duquette will have the trade weapons needed to make the necessary deals that will give this team a chance to compete with the AL East's elite in the future. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Still the most top-heavy system in the majors, led by Bundy, Kevin Gausman and the just promoted Machado, with very little depth even at the back of their top 10. Nick Delmonico could emerge as an elite prospect because of his bat, but he has had trouble staying healthy dating back to high school.-- Keith Law







25
Milwaukee Brewers
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 5

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

The front office feels very good about the club's everyday lineup as it moves forward with its planning. But now the Brewers have to find replacements for three-fifths of their 2012 Opening Day rotation, maybe the greatest challenge that Doug Melvin has faced since taking over as general manager. Other GMs felt that the Brewers picked the right prospects in the Zack Greinke trade. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Brewers' biggest dilemma is not to get caught in the middle of developing and winning, which requires patience. The Brewers tend to maintain a relatively young roster, primarily because they have trouble keeping players (Prince Fielder, CC Sabathia, Greinke) before they get old. They have already lost Greinke and will lose Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf at some point, so patience will be required with transitioning to minor league starters Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg, Mark Rogers, Taylor Jungmann, Ariel Pena, John Hellweg, Michael Fiers and Jimmy Nelson, who all have big league ability. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Nearly every top prospect in the system has taken a step back this year, and the team's draft in 2012 really lacked upside despite the presence of multiple extra picks from the loss of Fielder. -- Keith Law







26
Minnesota Twins
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 4


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

Terry Ryan returned as GM knowing the depth of challenge he was taking on because he had seen firsthand how thin the team's pitching is. "We need pitching," he said in mid-summer. "And lots of it." Recognizing the problem and fixing it are two different challenges, however. The new rules limiting draft and free-agent spending will slow the Twins' road to respectability. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

Twins ownership needs to remove the interim tag from Ryan as GM, then he needs to find an ace to lead the rotation ahead of the bright Scott Diamond. The Twins' farm system is surprisingly thin, and since the trade of Francisco Liriano to the White Sox they find themselves with a rotation of No. 4 and No. 5 starters after Diamond. The Twins will also have to be busy in the trade market, trying to move veteran players such as Justin Morneau and Denard Span as the club works toward rebuilding a starting rotation that currently has deemed it irrelevant. -- Jim Bowden


The System

The Twins added the top prospect in this year's draft, center fielder Byron Buxton, plus a number of hard-throwing prep arms. They also have seen steps forward from prospects already in the system, including 2008 first-rounder Aaron Hicks finally putting together a complete season at the plate, that included strong plate discipline. -- Keith Law







27
Miami Marlins
NL EAST FPR RANK: 5


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

It's hard to overstate how disastrous this year has been for the Marlins. The team performed terribly, greatly undercutting ownership's already-dubious effort to fill its new ballpark, and now GM Larry Beinfest is saddled with the two heavily back-loaded contracts of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, inhibiting the team's flexibility. Nobody would be shocked if Jeffrey Loria decided to sell the team, but there has been tremendous damage to his product. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Marlins have two issues to deal with. They have to deal with an image problem they created in South Beach after Ozzie Guillen's unfortunate comments earlier this season. And they must fight a poor reputation with future free agents after they decided to "sell" just four months after investing in Heath Bell, Buehrle and Reyes in one of the most impressive spending sprees last offseason. Their constant attempt to trade Bell a few months after inking him to a three-year deal will make most free agents want complete no-trade clauses to go to Miami. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Christian Yelich is one of the game's best pure hitters, a good athlete who just lacks the arm to play center but has a great swing and very advanced eye at the plate. The Marlins do have some intriguing arms in the low minors in Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley and Andrew Heaney, but the system has very little depth after those names. -- Keith Law







28
Houston Astros
NL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 6


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

The organization was rotted in its foundation, so a rebuilding was expected. But rival executives say the Astros didn't really add much substance in their new trades while joining the '62 Mets and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders as MLB laughingstocks. "There is value in winning some games," a longtime team president said. "You don't get bonus draft picks for being much worse than anybody else." -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Astros' biggest dilemma was deciding whether Brad Mills was their manager going forward. But they made that decision, firing Mills recently, and GM Jeff Luhnow will now search for someone better suited to developing an extremely young team in a division that next year will include the powerhouse Rangers and Angels and the up-and-coming A's and Mariners. -- Jim Bowden


The System

Houston's system was boosted by a very strong draft class -- led by shortstop (and probably future third baseman) Carlos Correa -- and by a number of depth-building trades that should give the Astros a steady supply of cheap relievers and bench players. -- Keith Law







29
Colorado Rockies
NL WEST FPR RANK: 5


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

It's hard to know what direction the Rockies will take, but it's clearly a different course, with GM Dan O'Dowd being shifted into a new role and the whole organization reassessing its pitching philosophy. Changes in the field staff are expected, and soon we'll know if the new plans involve the possible marketing of either Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Rockies must solve their Rubik's Cube and find a pitching formula that consistently works in Coors Field and maintains long-term health. They have tried to get pitching in free agency with Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton; they've tried to trade for it in Drew Pomeranz and Alex White; and they tried drafting their own. They've tried ground ball pitchers and strike out pitchers. Colorado has even tried science by putting the baseball in a humidifier. None of it has led to much success, however, and now the Rockies must find a way to quickly put together a competitive rotation so they don't waste the best years of Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and younger players such as Wilin Rosario, Nolan Arenado, Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutlege. They also need a long-term first baseman to replace Todd Helton. -- Jim Bowden


The System

The Rockies are one of the few organizations that doesn't run a complex-league team, so they have to send teenage prospects right to the Pioneer League, making the pro debut of Alabama high school outfielder David Dahl -- hitting .366/.407/.590 through Aug. 20 -- that much more impressive. -- Keith Law







30
Cleveland Indians
AL CENTRAL FPR RANK: 5


The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.


The Overview

This is a very dark time in this organization's long history. The Indians have been unable to find or develop the kind of viable starting pitching that small-market teams desperately need to contend, and meanwhile the economy in the Cleveland area continues to flounder. There are growing questions about franchise viability. -- Buster Olney


The Dilemma

The Indians have one elite prospect in shortstop Francisco Lindor and a farm system that has prospects, just not one with All-Star potential. Attendance and revenue figures are down and finances are tight. Those are problems that can't be fixed in one offseason. But one move the Indians should make is trading right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who is represented by Scott Boras and will be a free agent after 2013. The team also needs an impact bat and two starting pitchers. -- Jim Bowden


The System

A solid draft this year added some depth to a system that has been weakened over the years by fiscally conservative drafts, ones that emphasized lower-upside, signable college players. Lindor, their first pick in 2011, looks like a star in the making, an outstanding defender with surprising pop for his size. -- Keith Law

Future Power Rankings methodology.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
If you've been reading ESPN Insider's NBA coverage, you know that we ha've been doing Future Power Rankings for almost three years. We've run with the idea for MLB, but tweaked the process a little bit .



Like the NBA version, we asked our MLB experts, Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney, to rank all 30 franchises, from 1 to 30, in five categories. But because MLB organizations are run a bit differently than NBA clubs (and the leagues operate under different rules), the categories are different. For MLB they are:


Dan Szymborski
The above pie chart breaks down the weight each category was given in our rankings.• Majors: Quality of current big league roster



• Minors: Quality and quantity of prospects in their farm system



• Finances: How much money do they have available to spend?



• Management: Value and stability of ownership, front office and coaching staff



• Mobility: Do they have a lot of young, cheap players? Or old, immovable guys?



The average of the panelists' scores for each category are visible in the bar graphs for each team and are rounded to the nearest integer.



To come up with an overall score, we weighted the categories based on importance.



Major and minor league quality are given the most weight, finances and smarts are given 2/3 the weight, and mobility is given 1/3 the weight. So, for example, if everyone voted your team first in majors and minors, it would be worth 30 points, for finances and management that would be worth 20 points, and for mobility it would be 10.

The final scores are given on a scale from 0 to 100, representing a team's percentage of total possible points.



The scores and rankings are designed to reflect how well these clubs are set up for sustained success over the next five years.

A.J. Pierzynski: Our fantasy FB addiction.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
It is one of the most anticipated nights of the season for the 2012 Chicago White Sox. There will be yelling and screaming. There will be cursing. There will be mocking and booing. There will be blood, sweat and tears. It is the night of the annual White Sox fantasy football league draft.



Fantasy owners out there will understand what I'm talking about. People who don't get into fantasy football will ask: How can it mean that much? In the world of Major League Baseball, and especially the teams I have played on, it is serious business. The fantasy football league is how you can stay in touch with teammates and staff over the winter. Talk trash to guys all year long if you happen to win. It's basically bragging rights for an entire year.



The White Sox don't do an elaborate draft like you hear about on some teams. We keep it simple and just sit in a conference room and bang out the draft on computers with food and drinks. Don't let that fool you, though. My teammates and I take this as serious business. Sometimes too serious.




When you walk into the draft room, you always see certain things. Guys like Adam Dunn poring over something like 50 magazines and always saying how he knows every sleeper out there. Then there is Matt Thornton wearing his "Fantasy Football Legend" T-shirt, sitting by his computer running his 3,000th mock draft of the fall. One time, we even had to wait 45 minutes to start the draft because our assistant trainer, Brian Ball, and future Hall of Famer Jim Thome had to put on matching suits to announce their presence at the draft, because they had the first overall pick.



I don't get as into the draft as most guys do, because I outsource my team. I am the team owner, and unfortunately, not a very good one. Maybe the worst of all time. I hire our media relations person, Bob Beghtol, as my GM. He handles the draft and the day-to-day operations of my team. This scenario sounds easy enough: Show up, have some laughs and get a team picked for you, right? Well, it doesn't usually work out that way. Sure, any fantasy player makes mistakes in drafts, like Gavin Floyd drafting Travis Henry very early the year Henry was suspended for drug use (to Gavin's credit, he did keep Henry on the roster all year and almost made the playoffs).



We all have drafted a high pick who gets hurt and costs us, but I can honestly say that the mistake I allowed Bob to make last year might take the cake. He has a man-crush on Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding. Bob wanted to draft Kaeding really badly last year, as we had him on the team the year before, and he was great for us. The only problem was Bob wanted him in the fifth round. That is unheard of for a kicker, but Bob wanted to shake up the draft. I held him off until the sixth round, where even against my will, my GM selected his favorite kicker.



Bob took a beating in the draft room that night for a bad pick. After repeatedly telling him not to select Nate, I had to live with his decision. After all, I am the owner and the one who hired him. Everyone always feels great about their draft when they walk out of the draft room. It's human nature to think that you're the only guy who reads fantasy magazines and knows all the sleeper picks. For some reason, I had a bad feeling about our draft, especially Nate Kaeding.



Fast-forward a week to opening night in the 2011 NFL season. Our whole team is excited. Football is about to start, and the guys can't wait to see how big of geniuses we really are. The early games go off. Everyone is watching their guys and their stats. The late games are about to start. Bob and I have a good feeling since our team had a good early-day showing. We sit down to watch the Chargers game (we also had Ryan Mathews on our team). Here we go. The Chargers kick off; nothing to see here, right? Nothing except the sixth-round kicker we took blowing out his knee on the opening play of the season! To say Bob heard about that is an understatement.



As an athlete, I never want anyone to get hurt. As an owner, you can live with one mistake. My problem, as a fantasy owner, is that I continue to allow my GM to make mistakes.



In 2009, Bob decided to try to circumvent the rules by having a guy on injured reserve when he wasn't hurt. I tried to warn Bob before the game, but he didn't listen. Sure enough, he played and caught a pass, which automatically caused us to forfeit that game and gain exactly zero points for the week. Guess who missed the playoffs that year by one game, or 15 points?



In 2010, we needed a win to make the playoffs. Our QBs were Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Bob calls me in a panic; who should he start? I tell him "BIG BEN" -- he has a better matchup. Bob insists on playing Flacco. I tell him to "DO HIS JOB" and just win. Needless to say, Flacco has a bad week, Big Ben has a good week and we miss the playoffs again by a game. The hits just kept on coming. It's not Bob's fault, though. I understand now that it's my fault for allowing all of these things to continue to happen.



This year, however, is going to be different. I am planning to be much more hands-on, more of a Jerry Jones or George Steinbrenner type. I am going to hold my employees to a higher standard. Much higher.



It's starting early this year. I have my magazines. I have mock drafts. But I also have one thing no one else on the White Sox has: the No. 1 overall selection. I did my job at the annual draft lottery and garnered that pick with pure luck. Now, it is up to my front office, especially my GM Bob, to make sure that we hoist the trophy at the end of the year.



I can't wait for that night. I want those bragging rights.



Elsewhere


Note: The news and notes you see below come from Buster.



• Roger Clemens had a 12-1 record on July 18, 2001, and was not scheduled to pitch that day. The Yankees had played a late-night game in Philadelphia the night before and, in a crazy bit of scheduling, had a day-night doubleheader in Detroit that was slated to begin at 1 p.m.

The Yankees had arranged for a Triple-A starter, Adrian Hernandez, to make the start in Game 1 of the doubleheader, and because the team hadn't arrived at the hotel until daybreak that morning, no pregame batting practice was scheduled. Most of the veterans started arriving at about 11 a.m., Clemens among them, his face filled with sleeplessness -- which didn't really matter, because he wasn't supposed to pitch until the next day.

But shortly after Clemens arrived, he learned that Hernandez wasn't going to start because he had an upset stomach. Clemens immediately sought out pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre to ask for the ball -- demand it, really -- in Game 1 of the doubleheader.

Part of what drove him was the knowledge that the Yankees needed a starting pitcher for Game 1, but mostly it was out of competitive rage; he couldn't believe Hernandez had declined to take the ball for a major league start, regardless of how poorly he felt. On short rest and on short notice, Clemens went out and made it work, beating the Tigers.

So when I hear Clemens is making a start for an independent baseball team, I believe him when he says he's just going out to have fun. But if he has success -- if he makes up for his diminished velocity with an understanding of hitters' swings and their anxieties, and maybe intimidates the home plate umpire into giving him a little bit off each edge of the plate -- he will reach for more and more. That is his nature.

We'll see where it takes him. The video within the piece linked above shows that his pitching mechanics remain flawless.

• The Oakland Athletics are in a unique position in these last days of August. While teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels are desperate for starting pitching depth, Oakland has a surplus now that Brett Anderson is back.

If Oakland were to deal a starter, Brandon McCarthy would be the most likely candidate, and as of the end of last week, he hadn't yet been placed on waivers.

GM Billy Beane is probably the most likely GM to make trades with competitors, focusing more on getting something he believes makes the Athletics better rather than how a traded player might help a rival team.

But with only six weeks left in the season, and with Oakland fighting the Orioles, Angels and Tampa Bay Rays for a wild-card spot, the circumstances are slightly different. If the Orioles or Angels placed a claim on McCarthy and wanted to work out a trade for the right-hander, it would be very difficult for Oakland to deal him to either of those teams unless it received something really, really worthwhile in return.

McCarthy, 29, has made three starts since being activated off the disabled list, and on his way to free agency at year's end, he is 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 15 starts, with 21 walks in 94 innings. The guess here is that he'll finish the year with Oakland, which has protection against injury or other (and as the San Francisco Giants learned with Melky Cabrera, you never know what could pop up.)

From ESPN Stats & Information, how Anderson beat the Twins:



A. Anderson threw his breaking pitches 47 percent of the time, in line with his 48 percent average from last season.
B. Anderson's breaking pitches ranged from as low as 74 mph to as high as 84 mph. All five of his strikeouts with his breaking pitches came on breaking balls 81 mph or higher.
C. Before two strikes, Anderson threw his slower breaking pitches more, as those pitches averaged 78.5 mph. With two strikes, he mixed in his harder breaking ball, with his two-strike breaking pitches averaging 81.5 mph.
D. Twelve of the 16 balls in play against Anderson were hit on the ground, his second-highest percentage in the last two seasons.
E. All 21 of Anderson's outs were strikeouts, ground ball outs, infield air outs or made on the basepaths.
F. Twins hitters were 0-for-7 in at-bats ending with Anderson's fastball; they put six in play and didn't hit one out of the infield.



• The Seattle Mariners continue to play well, and Felix Hernandez continues to dominate. The Mariners are just 3.5 games behind the Angels.

• Cincinnati Reds shortstop prospect Billy Hamilton set a new modern-day record for stolen bases in the minor leagues, and he still has a lot of season left to go.

• Todd Frazier continues to help his chances for Rookie of the Year.

• The Orioles just keep hanging in there.

• Mark Reynolds was fined for his rant the other day.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats & Info



5: Swings for the Braves against Stephen Strasburg's changeup Tuesday night; they missed on all five.
8: Curveball strikeouts for Adam Wainwright on Tuesday; the Astros did not put one Wainwright curveball in play.
147: Stolen bases this season for Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, a new minor-league record.
3,256: Career hits for Derek Jeter after a leadoff home run Tuesday night, moving him past Eddie Murray for 11th on the all-time list; Jeter is now exactly 1,000 hits behind all-time leader Pete Rose.

• Assuming that the Washington Nationals stick to their plans with Stephen Strasburg, he has just a handful of starts remaining and is throwing better than ever; he shut down the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

From ESPN Stats & Info, how Strasburg won:

A. Strasburg's fastball averaged 96.2 mph, his fastest in more than two months. The Braves swung and missed at 10 of Strasburg's fastballs, one shy of a season high for him.
B. Strasburg threw just eight changeups but got four strikeouts with the pitch. The Braves missed on all five swings they took against the pitch.
C. He started 17 of 22 hitters (77 percent) with a first-pitch strike, his second-highest percentage of the season. He started ahead 0-1 to 16 hitters and retired 15 of them, nine by strikeout.

Ryan Flaherty: Adjusting to 'The Show'.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spring training was my first exposure to the major leagues, and I really wasn't sure what to expect. Being a Rule 5 pick is different, because either you make the team or you go back to the team you were with, which in my case was the Chicago Cubs. I had played with a couple of guys on the team in collegiate summer leagues, but I really didn't know anyone. Camp went really well, a lot of the older guys were really good as far as making me feel comfortable, and within a week all of the sudden you felt like you were part of the team.

It all led up to the day you dream about as a kid, to get told that you're going to make the team, and it was a special day. Buck told me in one of the last meetings of spring, in front of the team. Everyone said congratulations, after that I called my dad and my mom, I'll remember it forever. And then it was back to not knowing what to expect when the regular season started.



The highest level I had played in was Triple-A, and the big leagues are a whole different experience. The game itself is the same, but the surrounding parts are all different, the nice hotels and the chartered flights are a lot better. I was used to waking up at 6 a.m. and flying commercial with the team, but it's a lot easier here -- you just get on the plane and go. You also are in big cities, playing in big stadiums. So outside of the baseball, everything changes and is on a grander scale, but the game itself stays the same.



I think the speed of the game is something that you definitely have to adjust to. Everything is a little bit crisper and a little bit cleaner. You see talented players in the minor leagues all the way through, it's just that players execute better here, the speed is a little faster, and being a rookie, that's something you always try to adjust to.

One of the people that had the biggest influence on me here has been Nick Johnson. He is my locker mate, a guy with more than 10 years of experience and someone who has seen a lot of things, including the postseason, so he helped me with the little things that a rookie's supposed to know: you show up early, be ready to play, where to sit on the bus and the plane, etc. When we were on the road, he'd take me out to eat and tell me stories.



During the game, he would be on the bench with me a lot of the time, and I'd get to really pick his brain. Things ranging from trying to learn pitchers to understanding what he's thinking in certain situations. Really, the first two months he helped me survive up here and helped me get used to it. Unfortunately he's been injured, and I've lost that day-to-day resource a little, but he definitely helped me a lot.

Being a utility guy, it's a little bit of an adjustment at first. You go from your whole career in the minor leagues playing every day, and up here you have to adjust to different things. You play a lot of different positions, and you have to get early defensive work at different spots, you have to try to hit extra, maybe even stand in on a pitcher's BP session, just to track pitches. That work can help to compensate for not being in the lineup every day, so that when you are in the lineup you can do what you're expected to do.

Once the game starts, you usually pay as much attention as you can. There are a lot of good players, a lot of things going on up here, and you don't want to miss any of it. Teammates like Jim Thome are great to sit next to and try to pick their brain, or the coaches also might have a pointer for you -- there's always something that happens during a game that you can pick from just by paying attention and being into every pitch. Once the fifth inning comes around, things start changing and guys start to stretch because you don't want to have to go into a game cold after six innings. You want to be ready when you are needed, but usually the first few innings, you're down in the dugout, you're into every pitch, and even when you're in the tunnel or the batting cage inside, the TVs are on so you can stay aware of what's going on.

The year has been something special for sure. People didn't really have high expectations for the team coming into this year, but it's been a great season. A lot of why this team is where we're at right now is because of the camaraderie that we've built, and that has made this very special for a guy in his first year in the big leagues. The team stuff comes first, but I've been fortunate that personally there have also been some good moments.



I hit my first big league home run leading off the game on May 10, and we ended up hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs to start the game, which was incredible. It's been amazing to play with, and against, guys you grew up idolizing and being in stadiums that you grew up seeing on TV.



Elsewhere


Note: The news and notes you see below come from Buster.



• The Stephen Drew era is over in Arizona after the shortstop was traded to the Oakland Athletics late Monday night. The two sides had talked extensively about a possible Drew trade before the July 31 deadline, but the uncertainty about his recovery from his fractured right ankle and the remaining dollars on his contract led to an impasse.

But now the Diamondbacks are moving Drew and saving some money for the rest of this season, and Oakland gets another shortstop, someone who could augment the production that the Athletics have gotten from that position. The current offensive rankings of the Oakland shortstops:



OPS: 30th (.549)
OBP: 30th (.255)
HR: 18th (7)
Runs: 26th (43)

The trade surprised Drew, writes Sarah McLellan, and she mentions the critical remarks that Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick aimed at Drew earlier this year:

Kendrick questioned whether Drew was taking his time returning to the field, anticipating his upcoming term as a free agent instead of working for his current employer.


"It was one of those deals -- he said his peace, and he's an owner. He can say what he wants," Drew said. "Like I said, that's him, and I did everything I could to get back as soon as possible. My teammates know that. I'm sure everybody in our clubhouse knows that. It's unfortunate that I had that accident."


Drew still hasn't talked to Kendrick, but with a new address, his focus now shifts to helping the A's in their pennant race.


"That's part of the business, and I'm looking forward to going back to an ex-coach I had (Bob Melvin)," he said. "That's gonna be refreshing and a new start."


The Athletics are hoping that he'll come in and give a boost, writes John Shea.

• From Justin Havens of ESPN Stats and Info:

Forget the 2012 American League MVP award. Mike Trout is approaching the status of best season by an AL player in about two decades.



Most single-season WAR (AL position players, wild-card era)
2000: Alex Rodriguez -- 10.1
1996: Ken Griffey Jr. -- 9.5
2007: Alex Rodriguez -- 9.3
2005: Alex Rodriguez -- 9.3
1996: Alex Rodriguez -- 9.2
2004: Ichiro Suzuki -- 9.0
1997: Ken Griffey Jr. -- 8.9
2001: Jason Giambi -- 8.8
2002: Alex Rodriguez -- 8.6
2001: Bret Boone -- 8.5
2012: Mike Trout -- 8.4<<
>>Would finish with 11.1 WAR at current pace

• Bob McClure was given a permanent vacation from his job by the Boston Red Sox, as Gordon Edes writes. From the piece:

He knew his days were numbered and was just hoping to make it to the end of the season.


The humiliation had come earlier, during a radio interview Aug. 1, in which manager Bobby Valentine was asked a question about visits to the mound and in the course of answering it said, "When Bob McClure was on his two-week vacation. [pause] I'm sorry, not vacation, his two weeks away from the team. ..."


What Valentine tried to portray as a momentary slip is all that you need to know about the degree to which his relationship with McClure had deteriorated. McClure had taken an absence from the team to attend to a pressing medical emergency involving one of his toddlers. That is not the kind of circumstance that anyone would ever refer to as a "vacation." Unless, of course, Valentine's intent was to take a clear shot at a subordinate who had angered him by being incommunicado while he was away.


• The Washington Nationals won the first game of their most important series to date, as James Wagner writes. The Nats are hitting their stride, writes Thomas Boswell.

Dan Uggla made a late mistake.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates struck out 13 times.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats and Info



3: Games since 1900 in which each starting pitcher struck out 10 or more without walking a batter, including Monday's Giants/Dodgers game featuring Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw.
13: Starts this season by R.A. Dickey in which he's gone seven or more innings and allowed one or fewer earned runs, second-best behind Felix Hernandez.
401: Career home runs by Adam Dunn, tying David Ortiz for 49th most all-time.

• Madison Bumgarner won an important game for the San Francisco Giants, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, as Henry Schulman writes.


From ESPN Stats and Info, how Bumgarner won:


A) Bumgarner's slider was the key, as he gave up just two hits and recorded six strikeouts on his 51 sliders. Opponents are batting just .208 against his slider this year, a number that has decreased during the past three seasons, while the number of strikeouts he has recorded with the pitch continues to increase.
B) Bumgarner threw 20 sliders that were down-and-in to hitters without being in the strike zone (think below the knee). It's the second time this season that Bumgarner has thrown 70 percent of his sliders on the inner-third.
C) The movement Bumgarner had on his slider kept the Dodgers completely baffled. The Dodgers swung at 19 pitches outside the strike zone and also took 19 strikes looking. It's the third time this season that Bumgarner has gotten 19 chases and 19 called strikes in the same game (May 21 at Milwaukee, June 28 vs. Cincinnati).
D) Once Bumgarner got ahead in the count, the Dodgers were cooked. Bumgarner gave up just one hit on 50 pitches he threw after getting ahead of batters 0-1.



• Derek Jeter had four hits in Monday's game, giving him 3,255 in his career, tying Eddie Murray for 11th-most all-time.



Most four-hit games (past 25 seasons)
Ichiro Suzuki: 48
Derek Jeter: 44
Ivan Rodriguez: 44
Alex Rodriguez: 41
Dante Bichette: 41

Scouting the UA All-American Game.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The talent at the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field this past Saturday was very similar to the talent at the Perfect Game All-American Game from the previous Sunday, losing a small number of players to USA Baseball's U18 (18-and-under) team and adding a few names from the eastern half of the country as well as two Dominican prospects who can sign next July. The bigger difference was that the players generally looked fatigued on Sunday, probably the result of the game appearing at the end of a long summer calendar.



• One player who actually made himself some money was Jonathan Denney, a catcher from Yukon, Okla., who squared up three balls after a strong performance the previous week at the Area Code Games (where he hit a long home run and followed it with some major league-caliber showboating).

Denney's swing is very short and simple with enough rotation for him to drive the ball out; it's short enough from load to contact that he can hit pitches up in the zone on a line or rotate more to hit pitches down in the zone for power. He's a better hitter than receiver but it doesn't look to me like he has no chance to catch -- that is, there's at least enough of a possibility to consider him as a catcher heading into next spring.



• Kevin "KJ" Woods Jr., of Fort Mill, S.C., showed big power in BP but didn't have great at-bats during the game, and I am a little concerned that his swing is much more geared for power than for contact. It's very rotational and he has the strength to back it up when he squares the ball up, but he doesn't have great bat speed and you can see his hands drag slightly as he gets the bat head through the zone. His swing reminds me of that of Larry Greene, the Phillies' supplemental first-rounder in 2011, although Woods is taller and leaner and a better runner.



• The two star bats from Georgia, Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, both looked tired, as well, with less bat speed than they had the previous weekend, although still more than anyone else in the game. Frazier hit two doubles hard out to the gaps, including one on a left-handed pitcher's slider, although he was hobbled by leg cramps for much of the game. Meadows had a rougher day at the plate, with one hard-hit fly out and then a triple in the ninth of a curveball that righty Brett Morales left up in the zone, allowing Meadows to stay with it and line it down the left-field line.



• Catcher Brian Navarreto of Jacksonville plays for the same school (Arlington Country Day) that produced Cubs 2011 first-rounder Javier Baez, and he showed an average arm (above-average arm strength losing a little time on his release) and quick hands at the plate, adding to an already deep class of high school backstops.



• I didn't see a fastball clocked higher 92 mph all day, even though most pitchers were throwing just an inning and had the chance to air it out, a sign both of a weak crop of prep arms and of fatigue from the end of a long season. Of pitchers I haven't mentioned previously, Connor Jones of Great Bridge, Va., was solid, 88-91 with lots of hip rotation to generate arm speed; he gets on the side of the ball and as a result his slider was backing up on him during his outing. Lefty Chris Kohler of Los Osos, Calif., was 86-89 with a 71-73 mph curveball that had good shape but needed more velocity; his delivery looks pretty easy and he's got a good three-quarters arm slot to maintain depth on the breaking ball.



• Kentucky right-hander Clinton Hollon did not pitch as he continues to rehab from flexor tendonitis, making his outing at the East Coast Professional Showcase three weeks ago his last appearance of the summer. He'll still be a name to watch for next spring but teams will bear down on his medicals, as well.



• I'll wrap up the summer season on Tuesday with a brief ranking of the top players for next year's draft.

Ten rising prospect stocks.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There's been much debate over how the new collective bargaining agreement affects the draft, both in terms of how teams approach their picks and how players get paid. But the one aspect of the new rules that nobody is complaining about is how the new system -- which has a signing deadline in mid-July as opposed to mid-August -- gets draft picks playing professional baseball much sooner.



In previous years, a large number of first-round picks would not even make their pro debuts until the following year. This year, many prospects selected in the 2012 draft have gotten significant playing time at various minor league levels.



Here are 10 players selected early in the 2012 draft who already have moved the needle on their prospect stock since signing earlier this summer.




Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners


2012 draft: No. 3 overall




While it's hard to increase your stock when you are the No. 3 overall pick, one of the most attractive things about Zunino was the level of certainty he provided heading into the draft. He didn't look like a future surefire star, but he looked like nearly a lock to be an above-average everyday catcher, which in today's market is an extremely valuable commodity.

Zunino was flat-out too good for the short-season Northwest League, hitting .373 AVG/.474 OBP/.736 SLG for Everett. While it's the smallest of sample sizes, he went 6-for-16 with a pair of home runs in his first five games at Double-A Jackson. Not only is Zunino on pace to spend a majority of the 2013 season in the big leagues, solving Seattle's long-standing catching issues, but his power is translating to the pro level so far at a rate that was unexpected.




David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies


2012 draft: No. 10 overall



Dahl was drafted as a toolsy outfielder, but those tools have translated into skills surprisingly quickly. The rookie-level Pioneer League is a great place to put up big numbers, but Dahl's .366/.407/.590 line looks great in any league.



With a quick swing from the left side, Dahl combines contact ability with plus speed and gap power, already resulting in 10 triples to go with five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 54 games. He must improve his defense in center field and tighten up his approach at the plate, but in terms of pure hitting ability, Dahl has hit the ground running and could be in line for a big full-season debut next year in the low Class A South Atlantic League.




Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics


2012 draft: No. 11 overall



Russell was a late bloomer this spring, much of it revolving around his much-improved physical conditioning. His new frame not only helped his tools, it also said something to teams about the kid's makeup. The work he put in defensively also impressed scouts, as not only does he look like a shortstop physically, but he also has the actions of one.



Expected to spend his debut year in the complex league in Arizona, Russell forced Oakland's hand by hitting .415/.488/.717 in 26 games, and he impressed enough during two weeks in the college-heavy New York-Penn League to earn a late-year promotion to low Class A Burlington, the level at which he'll likely begin the 2013 season. With hitting ability and power, Russell offers rare upside for a middle infielder, and his immediate impact as a pro has been a pleasant surprise.




Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox


2012 draft: No. 13 overall



Hawkins slipped a few picks further than expected on draft day, and he already has pro scouts wondering why. With a prototypical right fielder's build and tool set, Hawkins proved enough in a five-week rookie-level Appalachian League stint as an 18-year-old to finish the year at full-season ball, where he's hit .314/.385/.543 in his first nine games for low Class A Kannapolis.



At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Hawkins certainly looks the part, but he has baseball skills as well, with the potential for plus power to go with an outstanding arm and at least average speed that has already produced 10 stolen bases. It's not saying a lot in a weak system, but Hawkins is already the White Sox's top position prospect.




Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers


2012 draft: No. 18 overall



The younger brother of Mariners infielder Kyle Seager, Corey was seen as a tough sign -- he had a scholarship to South Carolina -- but the suddenly free-spending Dodgers nabbed him and signed him quickly to an above-slot bonus of $2.35 million.



He's a bigger, more physical player than his older sibling but shares Kyle's short, simple swing from the left side. The younger Seager has impressed with his power potential while hitting .309/.375/.503 for Ogden in the Pioneer League. Currently at shortstop, he profiles as a third baseman, but a good one down the road. While he might take some time to fully develop, his path to Los Angeles is wide open.




Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals


2012 draft: No. 19 overall



After the big three college arms of Mark Appel, Kevin Gausman and Kyle Zimmer, all of whom went in the first five picks, there was a murky group of college pitchers lined up to go in the middle of the first round. Wacha was one of the more surprising drops from the group, falling all the way to 19, and while they have come in very short stints, his numbers in pro ball so far are out of this world.



After warming up in the Gulf Coast League, the Texas A&M product made four Florida State League appearances, whiffing 16 batters in eight innings while allowing one hit. Wacha then struck out six more hitters in three hitless innings in his Texas League debut last Sunday. It remains to be seen how his stuff will play once he gets stretched out next year, but so far Wacha's fastball has been firmly parked at 92-94 mph, touching 96-97, with both his curveball and changeup being plus pitches and the curve already looking better than the college version.



Wacha has showed great command and mound presence, and he's suddenly on the fast track to St. Louis with the potential to be one of the first starting pitchers from the 2012 draft to reach the big leagues.




Lewis Brinson, OF, Texas Rangers


2012 draft: No. 29 overall



Nobody questioned Brinson's upside heading into the draft, as he's a monster athlete with the potential for power, plus speed and impact defense in center field. But he was also seen as an extremely raw player, with some scouts even categorizing him as a project too risky for first-round consideration.



But since signing, Brinson has shown surprising -- almost shocking -- baseball ability in the Arizona League, hitting .299/.362/.540 in 48 complex league games with 12 stolen bases. With 34 of his 63 hits going for extra bases, Brinson already has begun to unlock his power in game situations. While he's struck out 65 times in 211 at-bats, that's actually a lower rate than what was expected. He's clicking much faster than predicted, and few, if any, 2012 draft prospects have seen their stock increase more than Brinson since being selected in June.




J.O. Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins


2012 draft: No. 32 overall



This Puerto Rican impressed amateur scouts all along with his stuff, especially his fastball, which sits in the low-to-mid-90s and has touched 98. The fact he's throwing hard as a pro doesn't shock anyone, but he's also mixing in a plus slider and showing outstanding location.



In his first 10 games, split between the Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues, Berrios has put up PlayStation numbers, including a 0.70 ERA and 43 strikeouts against just four hits in 25 2/3 innings. For a system that focuses far more on command and control than overpowering stuff, Berrios has the potential to give the Twins both.




Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers


2012 draft: No. 39 overall



Gallo had as much raw power as any player in the 2012 draft, and he's certainly showed it off so far as a professional. He needed just 43 games to set a new Arizona League record with 18 home runs, then he hit two more while driving in seven runs in his fourth Northwest League game. His 21 home runs already rank among the top 50 in the minor leagues, and they've come in just 173 at-bats.



Gallo's power is a pure 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and it might even go beyond that, as it's a special brand rarely seen at any level, especially in 18-year-olds. That said, it does come at a cost, as he's a strikeout machine, including 12 in his 19 at-bats for short-season Spokane, and his defense at third base has been ugly. Gallo is a rare talent who offers extreme upside but also carries a substantial amount of risk. Sometimes players like him turn into Giancarlo Stanton offensively, and sometimes they turn into Dallas McPherson.




Sam Selman, LHP, Kansas City Royals


2012 draft: No. 66 overall



Selman took a long time to establish his draft stock at Vanderbilt, as he didn't have a consistent role on the mound until this past spring. By the end of the college season, he was the team's best starter, and he's continued to blossom as a pro. While Selman is a bit advanced for the Pioneer League, he's also dominated the hitter-friendly circuit with a 2.06 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.



Selman possesses a long arm action that naturally hides the ball from hitters. His already plus velocity plays up because hitters can't pick up the ball well, and his slider shows some promise. He still needs to be tested at the higher levels, but his debut gives the Royals reason to be optimistic.

Explaining Bryce Harper's slump.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Bryce Harper has shown flashes of his superstar potential in his rookie season, and he's having one of the best age-19 seasons in baseball history. Baseball Reference has only four players ever producing more value (using their version of wins above replacement) at age 19, three of whom are Hall of Famers or headed there: Mel Ott, Ty Cobb, and Ken Griffey Jr. A solid finish even could put Harper ahead of Cobb. But after a strong start, Harper hasn't performed as well at the plate for the past two-plus months.



There are some specific reasons why Harper's performance has declined as the season has gone on, but there's also some obvious fatigue setting in, as Harper is playing through the longest season of his career and hasn't built up the endurance of a player in his mid-20s. Harper's all-out, all-of-the-time style of play could be a contributing factor as well. That said, we shouldn't be satisfied with fatigue as an explanation for what's happened to Harper the past two months.



[+] Enlarge

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Bryce Harper was 1-for-5 Tuesday and struck out to end the 11th.

Off his speed


Since his 0-for-7 day against the New York Yankees on June 16, when Yankees pitchers fed him breaking stuff throughout the 14-inning affair and punched him out five times, Harper has hit .221/.294/.343 as other teams followed that same approach. Harper's longstanding difficulty with "soft away" -- off-speed pitches thrown over or just off the outer half of the plate -- remains an issue for him, but in trying to adjust to hit those pitches, he's become more vulnerable to fastballs in, on or under his hands.

Earlier this season, he was more effective at plugging that hole on the outer half, but now he's leaning in and crouching more as the ball approaches the plate without lowering his hand load -- his shoulders drop, but he still pulls his hands back and up before starting his swing, and I think that's part of why he's so vulnerable now to the ball away, missing it entirely or rolling it over to second base.



Struggling with off-speed stuff away, especially from same-handed pitchers, is not an uncommon problem for young hitters in pro ball, and Harper, who won't turn 20 until October, reached the majors at an age when most players are either in A-ball (he's younger than Royals outfield prospect and 2011 top-five overall pick Bubba Starling, who is in the short-season Appalachian League) or are college freshmen. It might behoove him and the Nationals to have him work more on going the other way, even if it means deliberately forsaking some of his power in the short term so that his ability to recognize that those soft away pitches use the whole field improves. His pull power is easy and enormous, so even if he tries not to pull the ball for a few weeks, he won't lose that skill.



Southpaw problems


Harper's a liability at the plate right now against left-handed pitchers, hitting just .224/.291/.385 against them this season and just .132/.175/.283 against them since the All-Star break. Southpaws have stopped challenging him inside with fastballs because they can spin breaking balls that break down and away from Harper all day, and until he makes that adjustment mentioned above, learning to stay with them and hit them to left field, they'll continue to get him out at a rate that hurts the team. The Nats could platoon Harper with Tyler Moore, putting Jayson Werth in center on those nights, although that's not ideal for their defense. Adding a right-handed-hitting platoon outfielder who can handle centerfield would make sense for the team in the next 11 days, before the Aug. 31 trade deadline. I'm not a huge Andres Torres fan, but he seems like a possible fit.



The silver lining in all of this is that there's no reason to think Harper's long-term development has been harmed by the early promotion to the majors. For one thing, he hasn't struggled to make contact to the point where his entire approach might have changed out of desperation. For another, the team has done well enough that they could continue to give him at-bats and defensive reps all season without substantially reducing their chances to make the playoffs.



I also haven't seen anything from Harper that changes my long-term outlook for him. He's a future MVP candidate who should peak as a 40-homer hitter with strong OBPs, and will eventually be an above-average defender in right once he has had more reps to work on his reads. He's very athletic and has shown he can make adjustments at the plate, even if they're not happening as fast as we might want them to be.

What he's done as a 19-year-old is remarkable, even more so given how quickly he was pushed up the Nationals' system, with less than a full season's worth of minor league at-bats under his belt.



He'll be fine in the long term, but for the short term, the Nationals may want to consider sitting him against lefties to maximize their chances of winning the division.
post #7658 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJs07 View Post

Why don't the Nats shut Strasburg down for the rest of the regular season since they have a playoff spot pretty much on lock, and bring him back in the post season?

Shutting him down and bringing him back will almost certainly cause an injury which is what we're trying to avoid. We already moved him to the 5 spot in the rotation to see how much further that will take him and extended his innings from 160 to 180. He most likely won't pitch in the playoffs but it is what it is, can't risk the future for a single championship run.
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The goal is to get a championship. F the future you never know this might be as close as y'all get
post #7660 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpmanFromDaBay View Post

The goal is to get a championship. F the future you never know this might be as close as y'all get

This.

Such a dumb tactic. If he gets hurt then he gets hurt, you can't always avoid that. You're supposed to play to win today and in the present. You worry about the future after the season ends.
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post #7661 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr jordan04 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by macbk View Post

So Bay Area baseball now has two cheaters. And to think I was hoping Colon was having a crazy good season just on burgers and hot dogs laugh.gif .
Someone on the Padres is bound to slip next.
3 cheaters tongue.gif

Its so hypocritical when Dodger fans (specifically younger ones like the ones on NT) talk s*** to Giants fans (or any fans) about steroids. Every single piece of success the Dodgers have had in your lifetime has been 100% attributed to steroids, yet you wanna talk s*** like Dodgers dont use them.

Just funny to me.
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The PED Policy is a Joke in Baseball. You can go to your local GNC and get a supplement and test positive in the Drug test done by MLB.
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Thread Starter 
Might not be the same situation to most but look at Wainwright, same surgery and a big part of the Cards future. No mention of shutting him down after TJS.
post #7664 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpmanFromDaBay View Post

The PED Policy is a Joke in Baseball. You can go to your local GNC and get a supplement and test positive in the Drug test done by MLB.

This is true, however, why don't players ask to get the OK from the MLB before taking it?

Especially your team trainers and fitness guys, they should know what you should and not be taking.
LAKERS || DODGERS || LAKINGS
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post #7665 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpmanFromDaBay View Post

The goal is to get a championship. F the future you never know this might be as close as y'all get

Quote:
Originally Posted by 651akathePaul View Post

This.
Such a dumb tactic. If he gets hurt then he gets hurt, you can't always avoid that. You're supposed to play to win today and in the present. You worry about the future after the season ends.

Gotta agree w/ both of these quotes.

Also, has Strasburg said anything about this? As a competitor, this has to be KILLING him. You dude wants to be out there...especially in the playoffs.
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Beltre 3-3 with 3 HRs eek.gif
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Thread Starter 
Dude is probably the most underrated player of the last 10 years. Love his game pimp.gif
post #7668 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJs07 View Post

Gotta agree w/ both of these quotes.
Also, has Strasburg said anything about this? As a competitor, this has to be KILLING him. You dude wants to be out there...especially in the playoffs.

he said they'd have to pry the ball from his hand.


26-11, team avg/ops/slg all up w/o Votto. mean.gif

Cy Young Cueto
ROY Frazier
Chapman. sick.gif

8/8.5 game lead. pimp.gif
post #7669 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotHolesInMySocks View Post

I'll say it because i'm from there.
Dominicans are cheaters. mean.gif




mean.gif Another one bites the dust.
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post #7670 of 77344
As I said on twitter I don't see how the Reds aren't going to the World Series. They just have it going this year


I don't believe the NL will take it though
TEAM ECONOMICS

From Smith to Friedman, we know what's up


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TEAM ECONOMICS

From Smith to Friedman, we know what's up


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IX X XIII XIV XL XLIII Champions
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post #7671 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by 651akathePaul View Post

This.
Such a dumb tactic. If he gets hurt then he gets hurt, you can't always avoid that. You're supposed to play to win today and in the present. You worry about the future after the season ends.
I believe in the front office, they shut down Jordan Zimmermann after 160 innings last year after he had TJ surgery and he's the teams best pitcher this year. I'd rather not watch Strasburg go out there and hurt himself and then just have to think "what if" for the next 10 years. And even without Strasburg we can win now. Strasburg is a once in a lifetime talent and you don't jeopardize his future AND the teams future for this.
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Chris goddamn Sale

pimp.gif
post #7673 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringer Bell 32 View Post

Chris goddamn Sale
pimp.gif

FGCU in the building! He was nasty tonight, would love to see him throw in the playoffs!
post #7674 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxfury View Post

As I said on twitter I don't see how the Reds aren't going to the World Series. They just have it going this year
I don't believe the NL will take it though

They are very good but nobody is a lock for the world series.
post #7675 of 77344
With how weak the NL is this year, I'd pretty much bet anything on it
TEAM ECONOMICS

From Smith to Friedman, we know what's up


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IX X XIII XIV XL XLIII Champions
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TEAM ECONOMICS

From Smith to Friedman, we know what's up


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IX X XIII XIV XL XLIII Champions
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post #7676 of 77344
So we should start printing those World Series tickets then laugh.gif
post #7677 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildKYcat View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJs07 View Post

Gotta agree w/ both of these quotes.
Also, has Strasburg said anything about this? As a competitor, this has to be KILLING him. You dude wants to be out there...especially in the playoffs.

he said they'd have to pry the ball from his hand.


26-11, team avg/ops/slg all up w/o Votto. mean.gif

Cy Young Cueto
ROY Frazier
Chapman. sick.gif

8/8.5 game lead. pimp.gif

Wade Miley is ROY.
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
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What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
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post #7678 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by madj55 View Post

I believe in the front office, they shut down Jordan Zimmermann after 160 innings last year after he had TJ surgery and he's the teams best pitcher this year. I'd rather not watch Strasburg go out there and hurt himself and then just have to think "what if" for the next 10 years. And even without Strasburg we can win now. Strasburg is a once in a lifetime talent and you don't jeopardize his future AND the teams future for this.

Well, the Nationals weren't in first place last year either. And I would argue that winning a WS may only come once in a lifetime and you don't jeopardize a whole teams season because of speculating on your best players chances of getting injured.
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post #7679 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxfury View Post

As I said on twitter I don't see how the Reds aren't going to the World Series. They just have it going this year


I don't believe the NL will take it though

the NL will if the rangers make it back to the WS.
"what ch'all know 'bout dem Texas boys!?!"
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"what ch'all know 'bout dem Texas boys!?!"
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post #7680 of 77344
Quote:
Originally Posted by 651akathePaul View Post

Well, the Nationals weren't in first place last year either. And I would argue that winning a WS may only come once in a lifetime and you don't jeopardize a whole teams season because of speculating on your best players chances of getting injured.

What about jeopardizing his value to your team for the next five seasons? What about jeopardizing a player's career and future earnings? This a player whose development and health you're entrusted with. If they decided at the beginning of the season with input from his doctors that he should have an innings cap, why should they change their assessment based on how the season is going? Dr. James Andrews was on the radio just the other day saying that it was best to shut him down.

Not the best decision for the short term, but from a long term, business, and even moral perspective it's the right call. Teams should do right by their players, but I guess I naturally look at it from a player's perspective as opposed to a fan's.
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NikeTalk › NikeTalk Forums › The Lounge › Sports & Training › 2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions.