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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Blue Jays front office will turn the other cheek to Marcus Stroman as team rebuilds with youth | The Star

I would agree with this a little more if they didn’t keep Guerrero down last year. You are not speeding up a player’s development by keeping him in the minors longer than he needs to play there.

“Whenever you’re thinking about trying to rebuild with a sense of urgency, you’re trying to accelerate time frames, you’re trying to move it as fast as you can, there is an opportunity cost,” Shapiro says. “If you’re not committing to playing young players, two things don’t happen: One, you don’t find out about them, are they capable of being core players that you’re going to build around in the future? And two, you’re delaying their ability to transition and then develop into major-league players.

“The reality is, for us to ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:11 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, marcus stroman

Miller Park sales tax could end next year

I guess it’s time for a new park!

The five-county sales tax that financed the construction and operation of Miller Park is set to end a year from now.

Members of the board that oversees the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District voted Tuesday to proceed with plans to end the Miller Park stadium tax by March 2020.

The 0.1 percent tax, paid by residents and visitors in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Racine counties, has been in effect since 1996.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers

Mets’ Tim Tebow improving, will be major leaguer: scouts, Cano

Scouts have noticed improvement in a scout’s way.

“I will say this, he’s gotten a lot better on the offensive side,’’ said one scout at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, where the Mets were bashed 8-1 by the Marlins. “His defense is still too much like a football player in left field.”

Another scout added: “You know what, I was rooting against him at the start three years ago, but I have to say he has improved and just as importantly, he has said all the right things and done the right things. As an extra guy he might be the kind of good because he is not a negative force.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:57 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, tim tebow

Now with D-backs, Adam Jones eager for fresh start

“It was very humbling,” Jones said of the support. “I’ve played a lot of major league baseball games and against a lot of guys and the lasting relationships I’ve had throughout the game and the All-Star teams, it’s great that guys have my back. I’ve been a formidable force in the game. I know last year wasn’t the greatest year but it happened and I’m just glad to turn the page. I’ve got a new opportunity here so let me go try and maximize my opportunity.”

Jones batted .281 with 24 home runs and 93 RBIs in 145 games with the Orioles last season and his defensive statistics showed a decline. Was his value hurt because he didn’t grade well with the analytics folks?

“I don’t know,” Jones said. “All I know is ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: adam jones, diamondbacks

The 2019 Orioles Are One Of The Most Anonymous Teams In MLB History

The 2018 Baltimore Orioles were so bad that we questioned whether they belonged in the major leagues at all. They were our runaway pick for worst pro team of the year, going far beyond the many wannabe Astros and Cubs who’ve jumped on the tanking fad in recent seasons.

Amazingly, things might get even worse this year. Since the middle of last season, Baltimore has traded away established veterans Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach, and watched as others such as Tim Beckham, Caleb Joseph and Adam Jones departed in free agency as well. Now there are only three remaining members of the Orioles’ lineup with even two years of MLB service time heading into 2019: Jonathan Villar, Trey ...

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QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Pirates’ Dickerson proud about his defensive improvement

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Corey Dickerson came to the Pittsburgh Pirates with the reputation of being a good hitter and poor defender.

The starting designated hitter for the AL in the 2017 All-Star Game while with Tampa Bay, Dickerson was used in the outfield in only 93 games last year.

Traded to the Pirates, he committed one error in 266 total chances last year and won a Gold Glove award for his play in left field.

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: corey dickerson, defense, pirates

Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr. in A’s-Mariners first-pitch ceremonies

The A’s are opening up the 2019 season on the road. Not in Seattle. Not in Texas. Not in the United States. Not even in Toronto.

Once again, the A’s season starts in Japan. Oakland will play two exhibition games against professional Japanese teams before their first regular-season game is scheduled for March 20, a week before the rest of the league, against the Mariners in Tokyo.

And when the games begin, two greats will be in the batter’s box. A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will step in during the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1, followed by Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. in the next game.

Rickey has to prepare- there’s a greater-than-zero chance he’ll play for the Marlins by the end of the season.

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: first pitch, ken griffey jr., rickey henderson

Preseason 2019 MLB Power Rankings

Spring Training is underway, and you know what that means.

It’s time for preseason power rankings!

As we take a look around Major League Baseball to try to take stock of where everyone stands, one thing immediately jumps out.

The top three teams in baseball likely reside in the American League. After that group? Eight of the next nine are in the wide-open National League.

Link to the power rankings in the article- but I must warn you that it is in slideshow form.

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: power rankings

Red Sox relief prospect Durbin Feltman compared to All-Star closer by American League scout

If 21-year-old relief prospect Durbin Feltman lives up to expectations, the bullpen won’t be an area of concern much longer for the Red Sox.

Boston’s third-round pick of last June’s MLB draft has turned heads at camp this spring. In fact, one American League scout even compared Feltman to a three-time All-Star closer after watching him take the mound in a minor-league game Monday.

“He was 94 [mph] with plus downer curveball,” the AL scout said, per WEEI. “Good aggressiveness. Arm action not the same, more effort, but the fastball and curveball shape remind me of a young [Mark] Melancon.”

Of course, this would mean more if there weren’t so many relievers in the All-Star Game.

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: durbin feltman, mark melancon, prospects, red sox, relief pitching

Alex Bregman still remembers the one ball that didn’t drop

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Yes, yes, yes, that ball drops and maybe everything’s different.

That ball drops and maybe the cold and drizzly morning in December is unchallenged, and the last rep goes undone, and then in the middle of March when everybody else has had enough swings he doesn’t ask for five more pitches. And then five more. And doesn’t hit that last one to the horizon.

That ball drops and when he wakes up from surgery maybe he doesn’t shout “Goggins!” into the phone, Goggins being David, the Navy SEAL who writes about “taking souls” and being “willing to suffer,” the guy on the other end of the phone being the bemused Houston Astros trainer.

Worse still, the ball doesn’t remember him at all….

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, spring training, the one that got away

Astros pitcher Francis Martes, recovering from Tommy John surgery, suspended 80 games for PEDs

Astros pitcher Francis Martes – currently recovering from Tommy John surgery – was given an 80-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

Martes tested positive for clomiphene, a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball said in a release Tuesday.

The 23-year-old didn’t pitch in the majors in 2018, but made 32 appearances (four starts) for Houston in 2017. Martes underwent Tommy John surgery in August and wasn’t expected to return to game action until late in the year, if he returned at all this season.

He’s not trying to become pregnant, is he?

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, francis martes, peds

Rebuilding Royals embark on The Process 2.0: ‘We’re going to change the game again’

The Process 2.0 is similar in leadership, and also in philosophy. The Royals got away from this for a few years, most notably when they chased power with Brandon Moss. But here they are, back to speed and athleticism, with a few important updates.

Primarily: The baseball operations department believes it can, will and must do a better job of developing starting pitchers. They covered that with a rocket-ship bullpen the last time, but now the rest of baseball has copied that part of the plan. The specifics change, but the broader charge remains: Do what others aren’t.

“Dayton changed the game four or five years ago when he decided spending money on starting pitching was not going to be productive for our situation,” Yost said. “So ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza ([most of] March 2019)

Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among 50 people charged in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, according to court documents unsealed in Boston on Tuesday.

The alleged scam focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment.


2019 March Madness thread

I estimate only 6-8 Primates care about March Madness, but with their own thread they won’t detract from what this site is really about:  the 10-12 Primates who care about the NBA.

(Link is to a Yahoo bracket group)

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 82 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, college basketball, ncaa, off-topic

A’s unfazed by slow springs for Matt Chapman, Khris Davis - SFChronicle.com

You don’t read about players working themselves into baseball shape during Spring Training often these days.

In addition, Chapman just plain needs to get back into baseball condition.

“I’m late to the party because I didn’t get to work out and train like these guys did all offseason,” he said. “So I’m kind of getting my body back in shape, get my baseball skills back where they need to be. But I feel like I’m getting stronger. My shoulder is better for sure, some of the scar tissue in my thumb is breaking up. I’m feeling more and more normal. My legs are starting to feel more like they’re under me.

“Everything’s coming together that I was a little nervous about a month ago. The trainers kept telling me, ‘Don’t ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, matt chapman

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mets’ Tim Tebow sent to minor league camp, politely declines swing advice from Jose Canseco - CBSSports.com

“I appreciate it, anybody wanting to work with me is humbling, he’s a great one at it. But we have a lot of great coaches here,” said Tebow to reporters, including Tim Healey of Newsday, when asked about Canseco’s offer Tuesday. He expertly defused the situation. Well done.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 11:46 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: jose canseco, mets, tim tebow

Texas Rangers: ‘Mimic’ Maid Park? Here’s why Rangers’ new ballpark doesn’t look like Astros’ stadium in Houston | SportsDay

It’s still shocking to me a new ballpark is coming for the Rangers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 11:34 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Fantasy Sports, Respect for the Game, and the Real Value of Fake Teams – Pitcher List

I like to win. The competition isn’t my only motivation but it’s a pretty big part of why I play. Playing in keeper simulation leagues for the past 41 years has pushed me to better understand how good and championship teams are built; it has been the fuel that drives my quest for knowledge about baseball.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, simulations

Ranking the Accuracy of Last Year’s Projections [2019 Edition] - Mr. Cheatsheet - Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools and Research

A projection system can be best overall by his method but still not be the best system for a fantasy player to use to pick his players. When I play fantasy, although I use conservative projections to help with the overall valuation of players, what makes my team a winner is picking more guys who beat their projections/expectations than my opponents do. The outliers and differences between systems help me to identify those undervalued players who put my team in the money.

Once again, the Pod projections came in and stole Steamer’s glory. When it comes to non-combined projections, it seems that Pod validates itself as one of the best choices out there. Steamer, of course, is no slacker here because they were the best at projecting both ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: projections

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-12-2019

El Paso Herald, March 12, 1919:

Earl seems to be a favorite name for ball players nowadays, though the name once was coupled with boys who wore long yellow curls and all that. Pittsburg has Earl Hamilton, the Browns Earl Smith. The Giants also have an Earl Smith and the Yankees have Earl Baldwin. The White Sox have Earl Kiser and Cincennati [sic] has Earl Neale.

I couldn’t think of a recent Earl, so I looked it up. The most recent big league Earl was Earl Snyder, a corner infielder who had a cup of coffee with the Indians in 2002 and four AB with the ‘04 Red Sox.

The most recent Earl to play 100+ MLB games was Earl Williams, who played from 1970-1977. Earl Wilson (1959-1970) and Earl Stephenson (1971-1978, 54 career games) are the ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Kevin Kiermaier will never change, and that’s a good thing

All told, he’s lost 170 games to the disabled list the past three years.

And, in between, he’s been one of the most dynamic players in the game.

“He’s the best in centerfield, and I don’t think it’s close,” said Rays pitcher Blake Snell. “I mean, Jackie Bradley Jr. is unreal. (Kevin) Pillar is unreal. But to me, there is no one like KK. Now, with how hard he plays, he’s going to get hurt. There’s no way around that. He really will run through a wall for you. But that’s what got him here, and it’s what will keep him here.”

Kiermaier is, however, at a bit of a crossroads in his career. Later this week will be the two-year anniversary of his six-year, $53.5 million contract that remains the second-largest in Rays ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:58 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin kiermaier, rays

Reds roster moves likely won’t help, but here’s hoping they do

The downside to striving for competitive balance is disengaging a lot of revenue generation from winning. The MLBPA really needs to get its act in order.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:50 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: reds

Is Sale’s fastball on the up-and-up? Hitters say yes - Sports - providencejournal.com

The big question is, can he stay healthy enough to pitch all year?

Based on the way hitters talk about and react to Sale’s pitching, there are times it seems his mechanics are near perfect. Yet he continues to find things to work on. In a recent bullpen, Pedro Martinez was giving Sale some feedback on his change-up, which Sale welcomes since he feels Martinez’s was “one of the best, no doubt.”

In addition to talks with Martinez, along with both Bannister and Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie, Sale has figured out exactly what needs to be done to keep his change-up consistent, along with his fastball and slider.

“The key for me with my change-up is, because I throw (from a lower arm slot), sometimes my hand will get flat,” ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, red sox

Why Yankees’ Aaron Judge is changing his two-strike approach

Read the whole thing.

Much like Ted Williams espoused, there is a science to hitting, and Judge is a student of the game and his swing.

“I think that is where a lot of guys actually get messed up, with their leg kick,’’ Judge said. “There are so many times I tell myself not to worry about it and still get messed up. My swing is pretty simple the way it is, just with a little leg kick and stuff like that, but there are times in the season I don’t even know what [the front leg] is doing. I feel like I am on time but I keep getting beat so I will have the chance to go back to the no stride, where it is kind of a rock to get into my hip and then swing, it’s simple.

“For me, I can always go back to something simple that will ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, yankees

Why Willson Contreras’ makeover might hold key to Cubs’ season

The Cubs need a lot of their young players to improve this year if they hope to prove PECOTA wrong.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:44 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, willson contreras

Varsho slowing down to get quicker behind plate

One of the main things scouts thought Varsho needed to work on most coming out of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was his throwing behind the plate. He’s already made good progress, having thrown out 39.5 percent of potential base stealers in 2018, but he continues to work hard with coaches like Robby Hammock on his throwing.

“Everything about my game I have to keep improving,” Varsho said. “Throwing was a really big thing, just learning how my timing and rhythm with being able to transfer the ball, just to slow it down so my transfer can be clean and quick and I can have an accurate throw.”

That might sound counter-intuitive, slowing down to be quicker, but Varsho’s tendency to rush his throws has been one of his biggest areas of focus. ...Read More...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: daulton varsho, diamondbacks, prospects

New Hires, New Tech Might Give Twins One of MLB’s Best Player Development Systems - Minnesota Twins - Articles - Homepage - Twins Daily

Here, minor-league players will have almost every swing, pitch, throw and catch tracked.

The number of people gathering data has grown exponentially from the previous season. Then again, the number of tracking devices has also grown exponentially.

The Trackman units have been hanging on the fencing behind home plate at the three large fields for several seasons. The many Rapsodo 2.0 devices are new this year, as are the multiple high-speed cameras. Hitters have Blast motion sensors attached to their bats and will undergo a 4D body movement sensor session in the covered batting cages before the day’s activity starts.

Meanwhile, when live at-bats begin, standing behind the pitcher’s mound are Twins employees, protected by screens, ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 08:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: player development, twins

Blue Jays bullpen construction depends on the answers to three questions

When teams have little chance of contending, like the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays do, they rarely invest much in the bullpen.

Though the interchangeability of relievers can often be overstated, when you’re trying to put together a winning core you generally focus on position players, then starters, then relievers. Good bullpen arms aren’t easy to come by, but they aren’t as rare as good starters and they can always be found midseason if you’re making a run.

As a result, it probably should come as no surprise that the Blue Jays’ bullpen is neither expensive nor star-studded — and although the club would never say this publicly, almost every reliever they’ve assembled is far more valuable to them as a trade chip than a player in ...

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QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, bullpens, clayton richard, david phelps, elvis luciano

Brewers players consider Bob Uecker one of their own, including divvying up playoff money

PHOENIX — One of the factors that has kept Bob Uecker in the radio booth for the Milwaukee Brewers well into his 80s is the manner in which players have treated him as one of their own.

But, when the players put their money where their mouths were last November, it stunned Uecker, moving him to the brink of tears.

When deciding who would get full playoff shares after the Brewers advanced within one game of the World Series, the players voted to give one to Uecker, which was worth $123,000. Giving a full share to a team broadcaster, even a Hall of Famer, is basically unheard-of in baseball but showed once again that “Ueck” is considered one of the boys.

*Considers doing same for Joe Buck, albeit with an entirely different purpose in ...

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QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bob uecker, brewers, playoff shares

SLUGFEST: Jose Canseco accuses A-Rod of cheating on J-Lo

Jose Canseco threw former Yankee great Alex Rodriguez a curve ball when he accused the slugger of cheating on new fiancee Jennifer Lopez.

The former Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics star claimed on Twitter that A-Rod was hooking up with Canseco’s ex-wife Jessica.

He tweeted: “Watching World of Dance watching J.Lo text Alex Rodriguez little does she know that he is cheating on her with my ex-wife Jessica poor girl she has no idea who he really is.”

Ever get the feeling that you’ve woken up in a soap opera, and can’t figure out why?

 

QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, cheating, jose canseco

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