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Friday, August 26, 2016

Astros analysis: Third baseman of the future has to be Alex Bregman - Houston Chronicle

But Bregman’s performance - after a 1-for-34 start, he has raised his batting average to .231 - already has begun to force the front office’s hand, first evident when Gurriel appeared in left field during a minor league stint in which he had been expected to play only third base and DH. A month after his celebrated debut, Bregman has yet to start a big league game in left field, appearing in the outfield only once as part of an in-game substitution.

The question, then, is where to play Gurriel, a 15-year veteran of professional baseball in Cuba and Japan who has played third and second base almost exclusively. There is no doubt DH will be a part of his future, but limiting him to that wastes his ability to play the field.

Perhaps a left field/DH combo will be Gurriel’s positional landing spot. First base is another option, but what then of A.J. Reed? Reed has struggled in the majors this season, but 101 at-bats is too small a sample size to write off a player who came into this season regarded as the industry’s best minor league prospect at his position.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 26, 2016 at 06:31 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, yulieski gurriel

Mets try to salvage challenging season, but know changes are inevitable

At least he has a good perspective.

“They may fire me at the end of the year,’’ Collins told USA TODAY Sports, “but they have supported my ass the entire time I’ve been here. That’s why I’ve got no (complaints). None.

“Whatever happens at the end of the year, I’ll walk out of here with a smile on my face, and get ready for spring training, or get ready to play golf, either one.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: August 26, 2016 at 06:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Minnesota Twins’ Byung Ho Park has wrist pain examined

Disappointing so far.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 26, 2016 at 06:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: byung-ho park, twins

Shelby Miller’s demotion likely to delay free agency

Miller can’t complain. Well, he can, but I wouldn’t be sympathetic.

With Shelby Miller scheduled to make at least one more start with Triple-A Reno, it appears the Diamondbacks, whether they intended to or not, will gain an extra year of club control over the right-hander.

Miller, according to sources, has three years, 133 days of major-league service time. Assuming he isn’t promoted to the big leagues Thursday, the most days he could accrue the rest of the season is 38. That would bring him to three years, 171 days, which would be just one short of the number needed to be credited with a full year of service.

In that event, it would mean the soonest Miller could become eligible for free agency is after 2019; he would be eligible for arbitration in each of the next three seasons, assuming he spends the requisite time on the major-league roster in those years.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 26, 2016 at 06:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, shelby miller

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jeff Francoeur is Still Employed by a Major League Team

From Frenchy’s perspective, it’s just about a best-case scenario: You’ve gone from a hopeless, helpless last-place team to one in the thick of a wild card chase; you’ve been traded not only within your division, but you’re staying in the same time zone and avoiding major travel disruptions. It’s easy to see why he’s excited.

But what’s in it for the Marlins?

gehrig97 Posted: August 25, 2016 at 11:04 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jeff francoeur, miami marlins

MLB’s Hit-Tracking Tool Misses A Lot Of Hits | FiveThirtyEight

That’s still a lot of missed plays.

But that data isn’t always easy to analyze. Front office analysts I spoke with said that Statcast’s radars frequently lose track of batted balls on atypical trajectories — for example, with extremely high (popup) or low (chopper) angles. In 2015, Statcast failed to provide data on 13.4 percent of all batted balls; it’s gotten a bit better as time has progressed, dropping to 12.5 percent in the first half of 2016 to only 11.2 percent since July.

Without a complete track of the batted ball, the computers must extrapolate, and sometimes they fail to report any data on the trajectory or give implausible readings (exit velocities of zero, or improbable home run distances). They can also spit out velocity readings that are just plain inaccurate. These kinds of errors require extensive manual checking and correction for use by front offices, but for public use, such ambiguous batted balls are sometimes discarded.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 07:39 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, statcast

Dodgers land Ruiz from Phillies | dodgers.com

There goes Kershaw’s personal catcher.

The Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, Minor League pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later or cash considerations, the clubs announced on Thursday.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 05:42 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. ellis, carlos ruiz, dodgers, trade

Heyman - Dodgers On Amazing Kershaw-less Run

Heyman’s weekly notes column. He likes the Dodgers’ process (but doesn’t like the Astros) because, essentially, he’s a front-runner.

But while the rotation turns (like a soap opera), the bullpen Friedman formed is reminiscent of his high-achieving, no-name Rays pens, filled with unsung heroes, while the lineup has come together spectacularly. The pen comprised of star closer Kenley Jansen, unknowns (Casey Fien, Adam Liberatore) and reclamation projects (Joe Blanton comes to mind) has been the best in the N.L., and the lineup has produced the most runs in the second half, despite the loss of Andre Ethier and others. The team that last October looked overly dependent on Adrian Gonzalez and utility-man-turned-star Justin Turner now has the deepest, most relentless lineup in the league.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 05:20 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, notes

Three MLB stadiums to host World Baseball Classic games in 2017

The fourth installment of the World Baseball Classic takes place next spring and, as expected, three of the host ballparks will come from Major League Baseball. MLB revealed Thursday that WBC games will take place in Dodger Stadium, Marlins Park and Petco Park.

Dodger Stadium gets the top billing here, as it will host the semifinals and finals March 20-22. It previously held those two rounds in 2009.


Oakland A’s trade Marc Rzepczynski to Washington Nationals

The A’s announced this morning that LHP Marc Rzepczynski (1-0, 3.00) was traded to the Nationals, along with cash, for minor league 2B Max Schrock. Max Schrock, age 21 and taken out of South Carolina in the 13th round last year, seems like a weirdly excellent pickup. He’s the Nationals’ #17 prospect according to MLB.com, which sounds about right for a reliever trade in late August, but he’s having an incredible debut season.

Across A and High-A this year, he’s hit a combined .333/.378/.456 with 9 homers and 22 stolen bases over 543 PAs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 12:28 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, marc rzepcyznski, nationals, trade

From Bench to Benchmark: Jose Canseco Is Twitter’s Favorite Financial Analyst

I still prefer Wu-Tang Financial.

Into this vacuum slipped a muscle-bound former baseball outfielder who exposed baseball’s rampant steroid use and nearly blew off his middle finger with a handgun. Jose Canseco, who slugged his way through the major leagues, has now developed a cult following after some of his contrarian predictions about financial markets came true.

“He’s been pretty much spot on with the macro picture,” said James Mark II. The San Antonio-based stock and commodities trader first noticed Mr. Canseco’s tweets in February, after the ballplayer correctly predicted a rally in gold when many analysts were bearish.

“I read it and I was like ‘Hmm, we agree’ ” Mr. Mark added. Now he checks Mr. Canseco’s Twitter page regularly to view the latest prognostications.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 12:24 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: jose canseco

Heyman: Dodgers not desperate to trade Puig

The Los Angeles Dodgers have gauged interest in Yasiel Puig, but executives with interested teams say the Dodgers don’t appear desperate to trade Puig, and in fact have rebuffed offers.

Teams appear to be bottom feeding for Puig in the hopes that the Dodgers want to give him away, and while the Dodgers don’t seem anxious or even interested in calling him up to the major-league team, the impression rival executives have is that the Dodgers are clearly not of a mind to give him away.

While a Dodgers-connected person labeled it “doubtful” he’d appear with the Dodgers’ major-league team again this year, the Dodgers remain cognizant of his youth and extraordinary talent, which if anything has been re-affirmed in his brief stay so far with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where Puig has a slash line of .419/.479/.721.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 11:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, yasiel puig

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-25-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, August 25, 1916:

Manager Mathewson today announced that he had agreed to pitch his first game for the Reds at Chicago on September 4 when the opposing pitcher will be Miner [Mordecai] Brown for the Chicago Cubs.

It was the final major league game for two no-doubt, obvious Hall of Famers. Has there ever been a game in which two comparably great players played for the final time?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 10:55 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: christy mathewson, dugout, history, mordecai brown

Marlins acquire Jeff Francoeur from Braves in 3-way deal

Delta has non-stop flights to Miami daily!

The Marlins have acquired outfielder Jeff Francoeur in a three-way deal with the Braves and Rangers, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The deal will send shortstop Dylan Moore (from Texas) and catcher/first baseman Matt Foley (from Marlins) to the Braves and three international bonus slots (two from Miami and one from Atlanta) to the Rangers.

Francoeur, 32, recently cleared revocable trade waivers, making him eligible to be traded to any team. Miami has been looking for outfield help in the wake of Giancarlo Stanton’s potentially season-ending injury, and was linked to Carlos Gomez before Gomez signed with the Rangers.

Francoeur has hit .249/.290/.381 with seven home runs in 99 games with the Braves this season after signing a minor-league deal to return to Atlanta in late February

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 10:06 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jeff francoeur, marlins, rangers

Former Cy Young winner Éric Gagné signs with the Ottawa Champions

The Mascouche, QC, native will start the final game of the season on Sept. 5 against the Quebec Capitales. The 40-year-old Gagne was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1995 and made his debut with the team in 1999. He went on to become one of the most dominant closers in baseball, appearing in three all-star games, winning the 2003 NL Cy Young Award and at one point converting 63 consecutive save opportunities.

“I have been getting ready to pitch for three months and I’m really excited,” says Gagne. “I hope that it helps promote baseball and the Can-Am League in a city where they have a new team and have had a great season. It’s a great way to show appreciation to the fans that came out in Ottawa all summer.”

Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, where are they now

End of torturous rehab in sight for Rays’ Alex Cobb | Tampa Bay Times

In the 17 months since he first felt something amiss in his right arm that afternoon in Clearwater, in the 15-plus months since the Tommy John surgery to repair the tear in his elbow, in the nearly two months since he started pitching, and not particularly well, in minor-league games, Alex Cobb has remained singularly focused on getting back on the mound to start again for the Rays.

“I have a vision of when I’m going to get back, and I know it will happen,” Cobb said Wednesday. “I’ve worked too hard, I’ve done too much, I feel too good now for it not to happen.”

That return is finally in sight.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, injuries, rays

Swinging For The Fences: What Tim Tebow’s Baseball Past Says About MLB Hopes | NFL | NESN.com

Tebow had one thing going for him already, though: Raw, incredible power. Take the time Nease played a game at Florida Air Academy, of which future MLB star Prince Fielder was a recent graduate. “(Tebow) hits a baseball that bounces off a dormitory beyond left field,” Fagan recalls. “Their coach says, ‘I’ve never seen Prince Fielder do that.’ He hits another one over an equipment shed in right field. And the guy is like, ‘Holy crap, that’s the farthest I’ve seen anything hit in my life.’” Or the time a Colorado Rockies scout came to watch Nease’s star shortstop and got the Tebow Experience instead. “Tebow hits one from Nease’s home plate to beyond second base on the far softball field (about 400 feet),” Fagan says. “And (the scout) says to me, ‘Who is that guy?’”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:43 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: tim tebow

Why the Baltimore Orioles’ outstanding closer should not win the Cy Young | FOX Sports

Mariano Rivera never won a Cy Young Award; he finished second once, third three times. Rivera also never won an MVP, never even finished higher than ninth.

Relievers, on occasion, do win a Cy Young, an MVP, or even both. Eric Gagne captured the Cy in 2003, Dennis Eckersley the Cy and MVP in 1992, Willie Hernandez both in 1984. So, if you want to tell me that Orioles closer Zach Britton is a candidate for both honors this season, I won’t complain. But the argument for Britton is more an argument of convenience than an argument that actually is convincing. And as the discussion builds, both the sabermetric camp and the traditional Baseball Writers Association of America camp are guilty of overreaching.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:38 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award, orioles, zach britton

MLB, MLBPA move to help baseball in Puerto Rico. After hurting baseball in Puerto Rico.

Yesterday Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union announced that they will play games in Puerto Rico as part of a plan to develop and support baseball on the island. They likewise pledged $5 million for the creation of development programs in Puerto Rico and plan to stage special events there.

The press release about this made mention of Puerto Rico’s undeniably outstanding baseball tradition. What it did not mention is that, in the view of many, Major League Baseball itself harmed that tradition significantly when it decided to subject Puerto Rican players to the draft in 1990. A move that the MLBPA signed off on too, of course. Indeed, there’s a pretty strong argument that, if it were not for MLB and the MLBPA’s own acts, there would be no need to “develop and support” baseball in Puerto Rico like this at all.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: puerto rico

Q&A with Kim Ng, Senior Vice President, Major League Baseball

Kim Ng is a trailblazer. Since 2011, she’s been Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations, working under Joe Torre. When she was hired as the Yankees’ assistant general manager in 1998, she was the youngest in MLB history (at 29) to hold the position and one of only three women. She served the same role with the Dodgers for more than a decade. Before that, she was the youngest person and only woman to present salary arbitration cases. Many believe Ng (pronounced “Ang”) will become the first female general manager in a major sport.

In this Q&A with Excelle Sports, Ng talks about whether she wants to be a GM, the realities of being a woman in baseball, and whether the game will adopt an international draft.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:28 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball executives, front office, kim ng

Jose Fernandez pitches Marlins past Royals | MLB.com

I watched a Baseball Tonight clip of Fernandez in a few ABs. I was surprised by the number of sliders he was throwing. Checking out Brooks Baseball’s game breakdown shows that he threw 55 *curveballs*, 7 change ups, and 49 fastballs. I put asterisks around curveballs because it appears PitchFx classifies the giant break on his slider as a curveball. Anyway, for the year, Fangraphs PitchFx totals breaks down his season totals as 1189 four-seam fastballs 50%, 817 curves 34%, 296 changes 12%, and 71 two-seam fastballs 3%.

I don’t have the time right now to determine whether his breakdown last night is an aberration or a trend. If it’s just one game, it’s probably not a big deal. If it’s a trend I wonder how long his repaired elbow will be able to handle the stress of so many sliders.

- Jose Fernandez put an end to his slump in record fashion on Wednesday night, tossing seven dominant innings while striking out nine in the Marlins’ 3-0 victory over the Royals, snapping their nine-game winning streak.

With his nine strikeouts, Fernandez became Miami’s single-season strikeout leader, now with 213, eclipsing Ryan Dempster’s mark of 209 in 2000. But Fernandez’s 111-pitch outing ended with some caution as he limped off the mound with a cramp after striking out Christian Colon to end the seventh.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 07:23 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jose fernandez, marlins

Mark Teixeira: You Would Walk Gary Sanchez With Babe Ruth On Deck

Time to break out the hyperbole:

It is not a rare occurrence, except when the hitter being walked is in career game No. 21 and the batter behind him has 404 career home runs. The Seattle Mariners did not intentionally walk New York Yankees rookie sensation Gary Sanchez once Wednesday to face Mark Teixeira—they did it twice. And even Teixeira knew they had no choice.

“Shoot, if Babe Ruth is hitting behind him, you intentionally walk him,” said Teixeira after the Yankees’ 5-0 victory over the Mariners. “I mean, he is as hot as any player I have played with in my entire career. You just don’t see guys doing what he is doing. I don’t care how old he is.” Sanchez, 23, had crushed a solo homer in the first. In the fifth, the double Sanchez smashed down the third-base line was as hard a hit as you will ever see, according to Teixeira.

Sanchez is now batting .389 with nine homers and 16 RBIs in 72 at-bats. His OPS is 1.297. Only four other players have hit nine homers in the first 21 games of their careers. That is in baseball history.

Still, you have to get off to a pretty good start to have anyone comparing you to Babe Ruth after 21 games.


OMNICHATTER 8-25-16

Guaranteed OMNICHATTER Field

(Sorry about yesterday!)

Gamingboy Posted: August 25, 2016 at 07:21 AM | 107 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Conlon Collection Auction this Weekend

The archives of the famous Conlon Collection of baseball photographs is up for auction this weekend.  The article claims the winning bid could be a million dollars.  It should go for a lot more…....

pthomas Posted: August 25, 2016 at 07:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: conlon, history, photography

Five California League expansion options

Why it works: Oxnard is a sweet spot for minor league franchises in California, close enough to have a rabid fanbase of a major league team, but far enough (and along such a heavily-trafficked route) that many fans can’t get to the games. With baseball passion, beautiful scenery and a large fanbase to draw from, especially once nearby Ventura’s population is included, Oxnard checks the boxes for a successful minor league franchise.

Why it doesn’t: The area is so Dodgers-heavy, it would be tough to draw or maintain interest unless the team was a Dodgers’ affiliate. There are also plenty of other entertainment options to choose from—the beach, local wineries, Santa Barbara to the north and Los Angeles to the south—that would make it a challenge for a local minor league team to compete for entertainment dollars. Like most coastal cities in the state, the high cost of land makes building a stadium difficult.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2016 at 07:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: california league, minor leagues

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