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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Cardinals Newsbeat

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top 10 prospects: Cardinals still rich with pitching : Sports

Power “is one of the bigger problems in the system,” Manuel wrote in the chat. “We list (Paul) DeJong (as) ‘best power’ in the system currently.”

I advocated for DeJong to be in the Top 10 for that reason. He’s one of the few in the “best tools” section of the rankings not to crack the Top 10. But that “best tools” also illustrates the Cardinals’ situation with position players why and it’s the free-agent market for them this winter: Nick Plummer, just drafted, is considered the “best hitter for average” already in the organization. Magneuris Sierra, who struggled at Low-A before righting his season at rookie level, is the teams “fastest baserunner,” “best athlete,” “best defensive outfielder,” and “best outfield arm.” It’s worth noting here that in this Top 10 and these “best tools” surveys the Cardinals are compared only against themselves. Sierra might have the 11th-best outfield arm in the minors, but if none of the top 10 are in the Cardinals’ organization he’s the best here.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 06:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, prospects

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cardinals plan to go shopping : Sports

“How long can you take the body blows?” Mozeliak said. “That’s why thinking about outside markets and understanding that maybe it’s time to be more aggressive there might make sense. … If we’re compelled to do something that may be a little bit out of our comfort zone, it could happen from time to time.”
“What I’m talking about is do you have enough on the front end?” Mozeliak said. “Pitchers get labeled as 1 (ace), 2, 3, 4, and 5, and what I’m trying to make sure that we have the balance throughout that. When I say ‘horsepower’ — it’s a competitive division and you look at matchups. I think Carlos Martinez is ready to step up. (Michael) Wacha we certainly agree is capable of that. Then are we backfilling with more innings-eaters? Or is there something else we could supply?”
The Cardinals, in the past decade, have built their constant contention on their organizational depth. They rely on an ability to identify, cultivate, and then harvest internal options to fill major-league needs — all to avoid “chasing in external markets.” Mozeliak stressed that they are going in that direction this winter not only because of Lynn or the rise of the Cubs, but also because of opportunity.

“I wouldn’t say urgency. I would say that’s what we do,” Mozeliak said. “My point is things happen. We adjust. You’re not going to make irrational decisions just because you think the division is extraordinarily difficult. You have to stay disciplined to your process.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 12, 2015 at 07:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lance Lynn injured, has Tommy John surgery |

Well, this explains it.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 09:07 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, lance lynn, tommy john surgery

Cardinals’ Top Prospect Alex Reyes Suspended For Drug Use -

Put down the joint, kid.

Alex Reyes, the Cardinals’ fireballing righthander who is the team’s No. 1 prospect and was the top prospect in the Florida State League, has been suspended for 50 games for drug use, MLB said Monday.

Reyes was suspended without pay for testing positive for the second time for a drug of abuse, meaning recreational drugs rather than performance-enhancing drugs.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 06:30 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: alex reyes, cardinals, prospects

Friday, November 06, 2015

Milwaukee - Baseball Prospectus: NL CENTRAL’S TOP-50 PROSPECTS

Baseball Prospectus breaks down the Top 50 by division.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 07:47 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, cubs, pirates, prospects, reds

Monday, October 26, 2015

The complicated legacy of Oscar Taveras : Sports

It’s been a year.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2015 at 10:58 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, oscar taveras

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cubs hit six home runs, win Game 3 of NLDS |

It was beautiful.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:49 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, playoffs

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cardinals notebook: Wide strike zone no longer big part of game strategy : Sports

On Saturday, Maddon remarked how even though “it’s a structured strike zone, (but) it’s always interpreted differently by whomever is behind the plate.” What limits the umpires, Matheny has said several times, is the use of technology such as FoxTrax for broadcasts and the similar grid tech that Major League Baseball uses to grade umpires. The benefit, Matheny said, is “more accountability and should be more consistency.” The drawback is the diminishing importance of a catcher who is “no longer rewarded for all those years of working to catch because he gets the exact same strike zone.” Matheny used to have umpires tell him he couldn’t get the low strike anymore despite making it look good.

“That’s my job,” he said.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2015 at 10:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, strike zone

Bunt-happy Joe Maddon leads the charge in wild Cubs’ victory | Chicago Sun-Times

Bunts for all my friends!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs

Saturday, October 10, 2015

In battle of big-game hunters, John Lackey outduels Jon Lester | Chicago Sun-Times

If only the Red Sox could get pitchers this good, maybe they would make the playoffs.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2015 at 09:02 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, playoffs

Cubs’ offense stalls in Game 1 loss as wide strike zone hampers approach

That’s not exactly saying Cuzzi had a great game, but it’s not enough to get Maddon in trouble, either. Instead, let’s look at data courtesy of Inside Edge scouting services: The Cubs had six strikes called on 47 pitches out of the zone. Of their six strikeouts looking, four came on pitches outside the zone. That’s a big number. Meanwhile, the Cardinals saw two of 48 pitches outside the zone called for strikes, with one coming on a called strike three.

“I voiced my opinion a couple times, but apparently it was the same zone for both sides, and I really can’t complain about that,” Maddon said.

In any case, six of 47 called outside the zone against the Cubs is even higher than Cuzzi’s normal percentage of pitches called strikes that aren’t. He was around 10 percent during the regular season.

In the playoffs Maddon should have gone with Montero and Montero and Lester should have worked with each other a few times during the season.  This is playoff baseball there is no room for personal catchers

McCoy Posted: October 10, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs

Friday, October 09, 2015

Molina is ‘ready to go’ : Sports

All hands on deck!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, playoffs, yadier molina

Harry Caray forever linked to both Cardinals and Cubs - Chicago Tribune

Holy cow!

“Boy, oh boy,” Caray would cackle with that slight gargle in his voice. “The Cubs and Cardinals playing meaningful games in October? This must be heaven, right?”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Cubs Edge toward Destiny as WS Fave Jays Open ALDS

Rational Pastime’s playoff simulator now projects the Cubs as 34% favorites to represent the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic, and 5:1 to win it all… Among today’s American League contenders, the Toronto Blue Jays remain big favorites at 2:1…

Summary of projections:

TOR 3:1
CHC 5:1
HOU 5:1
LAD 8:1
KCR 11:1
NYM 12:1
STL 13:1
TEX 16:1

J-Doug Posted: October 08, 2015 at 01:41 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: alds, astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, nlds, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, world series

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Cardinals explain the Molina factor : Sports

That is because he is many things for the Cardinals. Simmons told the Cardinals’ Gameday Magazine that Molina “could be the pitching coach, he could be the hitting coach and he could be the manager … (and) still be the catcher.” Molina is the “added brainpower out there for us,” general manager John Mozeliak said. For pitchers, Molina is a confidence reservoir. Young pitchers, like Michael Wacha, have described how Molina comes to the mound to recharge them, relax them or redirect them. Wacha admitted that sometimes “a little butt-chewing is what gets me going.” Few are as good at shepherding a pitcher through October as Molina.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2015 at 12:36 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, playoffs, yadier molina

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays Big Favorites as 2015 MLB Postseason Begins

It begins again: Rational Pastime projections for the 2015 postseason. Tonight, the RP model has the Houston Astros as slight favorites over the New York Yankees. Were these teams evenly matched, the Yanks would be favored 54-46, thanks to home field advantage. However, my RP Score system believes that the Astros are a better team.

As for the rest of the playoffs, the model—which relies on the Log 5 equation and Matt Swarz’s numbers for home field advantage—picks the Toronto Blue Jays to win it all as nearly 2:1 favorites.

J-Doug Posted: October 06, 2015 at 04:19 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, pirates, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, yankees

Friday, October 02, 2015

Cardinals, already with 100 wins, can finish as stingiest team since 1969

Being smart and having good players goes a long way.

This year’s St. Louis pitching staff and defense have been stingier than any club in 46 years. They’ve allowed 513 runs in 159 games, which projects to 523 runs at season’s end.

It’s a startling statistical accompaniment to the major leagues’ only 100-win season.

“I don’t think there’s any special formula that we’ve come up with or anything,” third baseman Matt Carpenter said, “but I think we have a group of guys that are throwing the ball really well and guys behind them who make plays.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 02, 2015 at 11:17 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cardinals Insider: Heyward’s value adds up in many ways : Sports

Heyward will likely join a market that has outfielders with more power, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton, and some standout aces, lefty David Price and possibly Greinke. No standout will be as young as him. Not one can invite bets on his upside like he can.

Among his peers in right field, Heyward ranks sixth in average, 16th in slugging percentage (.433), and 11th in OPS (.785). The corner outfield positions have traditionally been power sources. Five of the top 10 in homer totals this season belong to right fielders. Six of the 20 batters with at least 90 RBIs are right fielders. The likely NL MVP, Bryce Harper, plays right field. Heyward has not had that elite production. He leads in the subtler arts. His 21 Runs Saved on defense are the best at his position. His 6.4 BaseRunning (BsR), a measure of bases added via steals and athleticism, leads all right fielders and is fourth among outfielders. (For kicks: his 90.86-mph average on throws from the outfield ranks fourth.) These facets accessorize his offense and give him a 5.8 Wins Above Replacement, second at right field to only one player. Harper leads the world with a 10.1.

“That’s his real strength – how many different ways he can help you win a game,” Holliday said of his teammate. “If you have a player who can help you win the game in many ways, he would be valuable in any era. Sure there was a time when guys were hitting 45 homers in the corner outfield spots. But they probably weren’t contributing in other ways that he does. I think his kind of player was valuable 15 years ago, it’s valuable now, and it might even be more tangible statistically than ever. Maybe his style of play gets more attention.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 27, 2015 at 09:16 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jason heyward

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Carlos Martinez hurts shoulder in first inning |

This doesn’t sound good.

The Cardinals can only hope that a special season for first-year starter Carlos Martinez did not come to an abrupt and unfortunate end on Friday night, when he walked ever so slowly to the dugout, his glove over his face, seemingly as an attempt to hide the raw emotion.

The severity of the right shoulder tightness that prompted Martinez’s exit seven pitches into what ended up as a 4-3 Brewers win will become clearer after an MRI exam and further evaluation on Saturday. It seems unlikely that Martinez would make his next scheduled start on Wednesday, given this latest scare and the pitcher’s already heavy workload as a first-year starter. But the club will have a key role for him in October, if he can go.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 26, 2015 at 11:24 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, carlos martinez

Carlos Martinez is the ace of Cardinals staff |

2015 Postseason beast?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 26, 2015 at 07:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, carlos martinez

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cubs’ Theo Epstein supports Joe Maddon’s stand against Cardinals Way - Chicago Tribune

Most great organizations have a handbook to promote consistency within their systems. If any of you have copies of your organization’s document, I would very much like to get a copy for a project that I’m working on.

Epstein said it was not so much a knock on the Cardinals Way but an affirmation the Cubs aren’t going to back down.

“The way they run their shop and their front office, just because we hate them doesn’t mean we can’t respect the job they’ve done for almost 100 years,” he said. “But I think the Cubs Way is starting to develop a certain reputation too.

“Things have gone pretty well here the last few years, and there are probably some organizations looking at how we do things and they might want to copycat some of it too.”

The wisecracks were flying like Asian carp when Epstein brought up the Cubs Way concept in 2011. When the team distributed a pamphlet to players at the start of spring training in 2012. When Epstein called it a “living, breathing thing” that would evolve.

“The Cubs Way really boils down to the people,” he explained that day. “The players, obviously, but then all the scouts, all the people in the minor leagues, here in the big leagues.

“It’s more than words on a page. It comes down to how deep we dig to get connected to players, to teach the game the right way, how much we care, how committed we are, how we treat each other in the front office, the coaches, the players, how hard we work.”

Having never seen the pamphlet, I can’t quantify its success. But the best two teams in baseball right now might be the Pirates and Cubs, and only one will advance past the wild-card game and play the Cards in the National League Division Series.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 22, 2015 at 08:49 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs

Friday, September 18, 2015

Joe Maddon compares Cardinals to Tony Soprano after Rizzo hit

“I’m really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there,” Maddon said after the game. “We did not hit their guy on purpose. That was an absolute mistake.

“To become this vigilante group that wants to get their own pound of flesh, that’s absolutely insane, ridiculous and wrong. We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.”

Voodoo... Posted: September 18, 2015 at 09:31 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, fights

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Biggest offseason questions |

Dan O’Dowd asks some tough questions.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 02:05 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, free agency, giants, mariners, mets, orioles, white sox

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yoenis Cespedes is no one-man show, but with his flair for the bright lights, his amazing 2015 run and his ability to make everyone better, there is just something about the guy | FOX Sports

The latest Robothal.

Meanwhile, the next decision on Cespedes—the free-agent decision—will carry the biggest stakes yet.

One rival exec said he initially believed that Cespedes would command $80 million, but now believes that the outfielder’s contract will exceed $130 million.

A long, expensive deal could prove a mistake, considering that Cespedes turns 30 on Oct. 18. Then again, there is something about him, isn’t there?

Ask the 2014 Athletics. Ask the 2015 Mets.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yadier Molina: The constant in the Cardinals’ decade of dominance

“I’ll put it to you this way,” former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons, now a Seattle Mariners special assistant, told USA TODAY Sports. “Molina could be the manager of the team. He could be the pitching coach. He could be the hitting coach. And he could catch the game.

“I’m convinced he could do all four of those things at the same time. His awareness is unparalleled to anybody in today’s game.

“And if you go strictly by defense,” says Simmons, a member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame, “he’s the best catcher I’ve ever seen in my life. Ever.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 10, 2015 at 09:54 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, yadier molina

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