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Jim Furtado
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ex-pro baseball player arrested in Corona double murder

A former pro baseball player was arrested Friday in a double murder case in Corona.

Brandon Martin was being sought after the bodies of two men were found inside a home in the 1000 block of Winthrop Drive Thursday night.

Martin once had a bright future as a pro baseball player. Now, the 22-year-old is suspected of murdering his 64-year-old father Michael Martin and 62-year-old Barry Swanson, a sub-contractor for ADT Security.
Neighbors were in shock over the identity of the suspect. Martin is well-known in Corona sports circles. In 2011, the one-time baseball star was the 38th pick in the Major League draft out of Santiago High School.

Man, I remember that kid. Really good defender. Going from the supplemental first round to a double-murder charge in only four years is one hell of a fall.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 Minor League Player Of The Year: Blake Snell -

Not bad for the Rays number eleven prospect entering the season.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 09:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blake snell, prospects, rays

Friday, September 04, 2015

As Kiermaier emerges, should Rays seek long-term deal? | Tampa Bay Times

I like Kiermaier. I’m not sold on his value being this high based on on his defensive WAR. Among other issues, defensive WAR has the same problem as stats like RF/9 and RBI. It’s still far too dependent on opportunity.The current WAR systems are still too much of a mix of context-neutral and context-laden statistics to tell me whether a player is most valuable or the best player, two entirely different questions. In assessing value in a particular season, like in the MVP discussion, context is important. When trying to ascertain who the best player is, for estimates of future value, context needs to be stripped away. So, when I see a writer use high WAR number in one season, especially based on defensive WAR, I have difficulty buying the argument.

Some already consider Kiermaier among the game’s best. The Wins Above Replacement metric calculated by that factors in defense has Kiermaier as the seventh most valuable position player in the game, with a 6.4 WAR. That’s behind league MVP candidates Bryce Harper (8.0) and Josh Donaldson (7.6), behind All-Stars Mike Trout (7.5), Paul Goldschmidt (7.5), Joey Votto (6.7) and Lorenzo Cain (6.6), and behind no one else.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2015 at 08:01 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin kiermaier, rays

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Process Report » Evan Longoria’s Contract

To calculate present value you need to discount future dollars. To do this we need the player’s salary, the number of years and an interest rate. After some discussion in the previously linked thread I have decided to use 5.3% for the discount rate due. Some legwork showed that his is a reasonable figure due to a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.3% for the fifty highest paid players between 2000 and 2015 using the USA Today Salary Database. I’m also estimating that a dollar per win on the open market right now is $7.25M, which is somewhat arbitrary. Scale up or down as you see fit. This initial peg is inflated year-over-year using that same 5.3% inflation rate. While Evan is going to receive checks totaling $118.5M over this time frame he’s really “only” going to be able to buy a little more than $93M worth of AK47s or Camaros or kind bud. That’s still a lot of money, but you’re talking around 20% in savings because you’re paying so far away.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 02, 2015 at 10:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: evan longoria, rays

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rays Tales: A struggle to develop position-player stars | Tampa Bay Times

Richie Shaffer last week joined an exclusive club — more exclusive than you’d think — when he became just the 26th position player in 20 years to be drafted, signed and developed by the Rays and debut in the majors with them.

The Rays expect great things, of course, from Shaffer, who was their top pick in the 2012 draft. And if he pans out as projected, he will be part of an even smaller group, as of that 26 the Rays have produced only two homegrown All-Star position players, OF Carl Crawford and 3B Evan Longoria.

Among the other two dozen that made it to the majors, only a few could loosely be considered impact players — Aubrey Huff (as much for what he did after leaving the Rays), B.J. Upton, Rocco Baldelli (in a career shortened by illness).

Jim Furtado Posted: August 10, 2015 at 06:13 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, sabermetrics, war

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Process Report » To Pull Or Not To Pull

A look at the results.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 05, 2015 at 06:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, sabermetrics

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tampa Bay prospect Brent Honeywell pitches four-hit shutout for Charlotte Stone Crabs |

A complete game 107 pitch start is something that doesn’t happen in the minors very often.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2015 at 07:24 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: brent honeywell, rays

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tripping Off the Power: Evan Longoria and the Sudden Decline of a Superstar «

Although it’s not much of a move, I can see how Longoria stands a little taller in the clip. I don’t see the change in hip movement. Does anyone else see it?

“In 2013, his front hip would get well out in front of his body,” Parker said. “This position primes the big muscles in his hips and legs to whip the top half of his body to the ball. In 2015, that angle isn’t as aggressive, so he hasn’t tapped into the same muscles to help power his swing.”

Parker also notes that Longoria “has pushed his hands forward compared to the still behind-his-back shoulder location of his 2013 swing.” In 2013, he says, Longoria “could save the strength in his upper body to drive through the baseball because his legs did all the work early in the swing. In 2015, his legs aren’t helping him drive his swing as much, so he has to push his hands to the ball, which is a less powerful movement pattern.”

In the following GIF of a 2013 Longoria homer, Parker sees the hitter’s hips acting as a hinge, with his shoulders closer to his knees than they are in the subsequent GIF of a 2015 homer, in which Longoria stays upright longer.

To my untrained eye, those differences seem slight, bordering on undetectable. To Parker’s, they’re significant but fixable. It’s possible, though, that any mechanical adjustment Longoria has made is an attempt to compensate for a loss of bat speed, which slows inexorably with age.[Emphasis added]

Jim Furtado Posted: July 18, 2015 at 07:41 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: evan longoria, rays

Friday, July 10, 2015

Quick pitch: How the most inventive team in baseball is at it again - Yahoo Sports

I would think if you were going to try and limit your starters’ innings in this way, you’d move to a four-man rotation.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 10, 2015 at 09:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen usage, rays, sabermetrics

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Brian McCann’s Three-Run Homer in 12th Helps Yankees Walk Off With a Victory - The New York Times

Trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by 5-3 in the 12th inning on Friday night, Teixeira had an opportunity to ignite a rally with runners on first and third and one out. Suddenly, fireworks began going off outside the Stadium, minutes before the Fourth of July officially began, and Teixeira responded with a run-scoring single.

Moments later, McCann capped the show with a three-run homer to right field, propelling the Yankees to a 7-5 win, their first walk-off victory of the season.

“It’s one of the best feelings that you can possibly have,” McCann said of hitting the winning home run.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2015 at 10:23 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, yankees

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Rays to activate Moore, option Krauss |

Matt Moore starts against Corey Kluber and the Indians today. It’s Matt Moore is back day!

Jim Furtado Posted: July 02, 2015 at 08:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt moore, rays

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Royals and Rays are reinventing how teams use starting pitchers and it’s going to drive baseball traditionalists crazy

They call him Captain Hook.

The key to the success of both teams has been an unusually high usage of relief pitchers, or maybe more accurately, a minimized usage of starting pitchers. However, unlike the trend in recent decades of using starting pitchers less in an attempt to avoid injuries, the Rays and Royals are not limiting the number of pitches being thrown, but rather, they are limiting the number of batters the starting pitchers are facing to in order to increase their effectiveness…..

The starters for the Royals and the Rays both average fewer than 90 pitches per game. That’s a number that would seem absurd to those baseball traditionalists who lament the loss of an era when starting pitchers regularly threw 110+ pitches and 130-140 was not unheard of.

Again, these are not starting pitchers who are being taken out of games early because they are getting shelled. Rather, they are pitching well and are still being taken out early. These are two of the best pitching staffs in the AL on two teams leading their divisions.

So far in 2015, there have been 209 games in which a starting pitcher has completed fewer than 6.0 innings despite giving up two or fewer runs. Of those, 37 (18%) have been by Rays (25) or Royals (12) starters.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 24, 2015 at 09:15 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen usage, rays, royals

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Robothal: Rays’ will to win overcomes any obstacle in their path

Robothal is hitting .500 in yesterday afternoon’s columns.

The point is, Tampa Bay is competing, as Tampa Bay always competes, even as Rays owner Stuart Sternberg describes the team’s current run as “beyond improbable.”

Sternberg, in speaking to reporters, was referring to all of the injuries, all of the rookies. But really, the Rays expected to be good last season, when many of us picked them to win the division, if not reach the World Series. Injuries and poor performance in high-leverage situations—some of which was attributable to poor luck—sunk them to 77-85.

Maddon left for the Cubs, Friedman for the Dodgers. The Rays reconfigured their front office, shifting Matt Silverman from team president to president of baseball operations and promoting Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander to VPs. The new group then hired a first-time manager, Kevin Cash, and at some point made the decision that defined their 2014-15 offseason.

They still liked their team.

So, rather than simply acquire future pieces, the Rays also traded for present value—similar to what Friedman did when he sent David Price to the Tigers and acquired Smyly, infielder Nick Franklin and shortstop prospect Willy Adames.

Jaso came back in the deal that sent Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Athletics, a deal in which the Rays also landed shortstop prospect Daniel Robertson and outfield prospect Boog Powell.

More telling, the Rays acquired outfielder Steven Souza from the Nationals for two prospects, shortstop Trea Turner and pitcher Joe Ross, whom they landed as part of the Wil Myers trade.

While the futures of both Turner and Ross are bright, the Rays wanted Souza’s immediate 25-homer potential. Good call—Souza leads the club with 13 homers, eight stolen bases and 30 walks.

Not every move is proving as fortuitous—Asdrubal Cabrera, signed to a one-year, $7.5 million free-agent contract, is playing above-average shortstop, but batting only .204 with a .547 OPS. But the Rays’ pro scouting director, Matt Arnold, has helped the team succeed on the margins. Butler, Elmore and reliever Ron Belisario signed as minor-league free agents. Ramirez arrived in a trade from the Mariners for lefty Mike Montgomery. ...

No Maddon, no Friedman, and the Rays march on.

It’s not beyond improbable. It’s typical Tampa Bay.

JE (Jason) Posted: June 20, 2015 at 08:43 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: first place, injuries, ken rosenthal, rays, small market, trades

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tampa Bay Rays’ Steven Souza hits ‘Little League home run’

Baseball is a kid’s game, as they say. And sometimes the adults look like kids when they are playing.

Case in point: This bunt hit by Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza during Wednesday’s game against the Nationals. Thanks to some horrific fielding, Souza rounded the bases and got a “Little League home run.”

Zach Posted: June 18, 2015 at 12:56 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: fielding, little league, nationals, rays

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Brad Ausmus boils over after replay goes against Tigers

The umpires are consulting with “angels”?

“After viewing all relevant angels, the Replay Official felt that he could not definitely determine that the runner touched home prior to being tagged,” home plate umpire said through a pool reporter.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 17, 2015 at 07:56 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, tigers

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tampa Bay Rays Looking To New Tech To Study Pitching

But does it measure The Will to Win?

So, it comes with little surprise that the Rays and markerless bio-mechanics company KinaTrax have announced a deal that will allow the Rays to keep track of their pitchers’ form. The two organizations released a statement today, saying that KinaTrax will install a software-hardware product suite in Tropicana Field for use in the 2015 MLB season.

The system will be able to track a pitcher’s mechanics in real-time during a game. It does not use any sort of device that a pitcher must wear, but will be able to capture a pitcher’s “joint angles, bone displacements and velocity metrics” from afar.

Then, the system will use motion capture analytics to ascertain whether or not a pitcher’s form will make him prone to injury. The suite in Tropicana field will also be able to tell whether a pitcher’s form is hurting his performance.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2015 at 01:32 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mechanics, pitching, rays, technology

Monday, June 08, 2015

Rays feel no extra pressure with higher-than-usual draft pick | Tampa Bay Times

The pressure comes AFTER the draft, if the players you picked don’t produce.

“I’ve never felt pressure in this job in that regard. If you start looking at it in that regard, you start making decisions for the wrong reasons. And we’ve never done that here in the 10 years I’ve been in this position with this group.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 08, 2015 at 07:18 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Friday, May 29, 2015

Grant Balfour Leaning Toward Retirement

If Balfour’s career is coming to a close, he’ll finish with a 30-23 record, 84 saves and a 3.49 ERA in 539 2/3 innings. The hard-throwing righty averaged 9.5 strikeouts and 4.2 walks per nine innings over a 12-year big league career split between the Twins, Rays, Athletics and Brewers.

Best MLB Aussie ever?

eddieot Posted: May 29, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: grant balfour, rays

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rays Cash on umpiring: “It’s terrible ... It’s embarrassing” | Tampa Bay Times

Tell us how you really feel, Kevin. Fine in 10…9…8…7…

“Terrible. Terrible. It’s embarrassing,’’ he said. “We spend so much time on pace of play, let’s just the damn call right on the field. It’s terrible. They ought to be embarrassed. Feels like we got beat twice tonight.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2015 at 08:32 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, umpiring

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The 10 Cheapest Teams of the Last 10 Years

5. 2007 Florida Marlins: 71-91

Actual salary: $30.5 million / Translated salary: $35.4 million
Highest-paid player: Miguel Cabrera / $7.5 million
Players over $1 million: four
Best position player: Ramirez / 5.3 WAR / $0.4 million
Best pitcher: Sergio Mitre / 2.3 WAR / $0.38 million
It’s hard to think of a more quintessentially Marlins team. Okay, actually, it’s not—you’ll see a few Marlins teams that are even more Marlin-y down below. This team, though, certainly looked like it had the young core of a perennial contender: Ramirez, Cabrera, Johnson, Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, all 24-and-under. It’s hard to imagine a core this great getting away from any team other than the doggone Marlins.

Also only 25 at the time, with a ceiling as high as the sky and 16.2 career WAR under his belt before this season started was Dontrelle Willis. Oh Dontrelle, how we miss you. This would be the last season that Willis would throw 100 major league innings — plus he was fifth on the whole team in wRC+.

4. 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 66-96

Actual salary: $24.1 million / Translated Salary: $28 million
Highest-paid player: Crawford / $4.12 million
Players over $1 million: six
Best position player: Carlos Pena / 5.5 WAR / $0.8 million
Best Pitcher: Kazmir / 5.1 WAR / $0.42 million
This isn’t the only year this is the case, but in 2007, Florida’s two teams barely combined to create the salary of a single mid-market team. In Tampa, this was the last year that the team was called the Devil Rays and it was also the last time they weren’t the coolest doggone team around, what with their storming into the 2008 World Series the next year.

In case you forget why that 2008 team was so surprising, things were still pretty rowdy with this 2007 version. Breakout contenders do not, for instance, tend to have players like Elijah Dukes taking hundreds of plate appearance. They tend to not have 5.53 staff ERAs. But, doggone it, that’s what happened. By 2008 Opening Day the Rays’ payroll nearly doubled, up to $43.7 million, with the team paying (comparatively) big bucks for Troy Percival and Cliff Floyd in free agency.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2015 at 10:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, marlins, padres, payrolls, rays, royals

Saturday, May 23, 2015 Rays 5, Athletics 2

The Rays don’t seem to be attracting much notice this season and I wanted to highlight them. They lost their GM and manager during the offseason, traded away various players including ones who had been a key component of the team in the past, and didn’t make any big splashy free agent signings (as usual). Things haven’t been easy during the season either as Alex Cobb went out for the year without throwing a pitch, Drew Smyly only made three starts before going on the DL and is out for at least two more months, and Matt Moore won’t be back until sometime in June. Despite all this they’re in first place by a game and a half a little more than 1/4 of the way through the season. Whether they can keep it up remains to be seen (I’m guessing Logan Forsythe won’t keep that 136 OPS+ going) but so far they’re doing pretty damn well and deserve some notice.

Jim Wisinski Posted: May 23, 2015 at 10:11 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

DRaysBay: The Rays attendance problem is getting worse

With the help of savvy scheduling, the Rays are hosting the Yankees mid-week, and normally that’s a strong draw, but it’s supposedly a doubly-strong draw with A-Rod in the house and the Yankees leading the division. The Tampa Bay community is saturated with Yankees fans of old, so the numbers were anticipated to be decent this week. Instead, the opposite has happened:

- Attendance was at it’s lowest ever in franchise history for a Yankees game on Tuesday night, at 10,619.

- Then last night, the attendance was announced at 10,417 for the new all-time low featuring New York.

Of course, last night’s number was surely compounded by the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting Montreal and winning their division in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the number is still rather close to Tuesday’s figure when the hockey team was travelling. Unless fan interests intersect directly with the NBA playoffs, of which the closest team playing is 500 miles away, then there’s not a good excuse.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2015 at 03:18 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, montreal, rays, stadium

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rays brass says stadium can spur urban renaissance


Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld told a St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce lunch crowd Tuesday that baseball is the only sport that can create “its own sense of place” due to its 81-game home schedule.

“No other sport can do that,” Auld said.

Auld touched briefly on the long-running stadium impasse between the team and the St. Petersburg City Council, repeating the Rays’ mantra that a new stadium has to be good for the team and the region.

A new stadium could spark development, help solve the Bay Area’s mass transit quandry and create jobs, he said.

The City Council has scheduled a workshop to discuss the stadium situation for May 28.  Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and Mayor Rick Kriseman, who saw his attempt to ink a deal scuttled by council in December, say they’re not likely to negotiate during the regular season.

The Rays have long said they need to evaluate possible stadium sites in Tampa and other parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.  They have a use agreement to play at Tropicana Field that expires in 2027.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2015 at 03:07 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: new stadiums, rays, st. petersburg, subsidies, urban renewal

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rays’ Drew Smyly likely to need season-ending surgery | Tampa Bay Times

More bad news for the Rays.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 10, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: drew smyly, rays

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