Tag Archive | "MLB"

MLB: A Look Back at 2014 Predictions

With the playoffs kicking off I thought it would be a fun project to take a look back at who I predicted would win. Here is my post from March.

I picked the Dodgers to win it all, which is still a decent pick. I actually picked four of the five National League teams, although I didn’t necessarily get them right in who wins and who makes it in via the Wild Card. In the American League, I only got two of the five.

Here were my picks in March:

AL East
1. Tampa Bay Rays (I still want to write Devil Rays)
2. *Boston Red Sox

AL Central
1. Detroit Tigers

AL West
1. Texas Rangers
2. *Oakland A’s

I couldn’t have been more off on the Rangers, but you can never predict injuries. The AL East I was totally wrong as well only getting Detroit and the A’s as a Wild Card. I predicted Tampa Bay over Detroit in the ALCS. One of those teams might make it there, but if I had to pick right now Detroit wouldn’t make it that far.

NL East
1. Atlanta Braves
2. *Washington Nationals

NL Central
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. *St. Louis Cardinals

NL West
1. Los Angeles Dodgers

My Atlanta Braves let me down this year. I think this was more of a homer pick than any other. I actually have LA defeating Pitt in the NLCS with LA winning it all in six games. I’m still confident that LA might make the World Series but time will tell. My picks this  year were much better than in the past. It will be interesting to see just how good they turn out in the end.

If you had to pick today, who do you think would win?

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A Few Thoughts on the Great Tony Gwynn

For the past few days we have all seen some great tributes to the great Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn. He will definitely be missed but I feel a lot of the tributes are overlooking one thing. His impact at the amateur level.

As we all know now, and many may not have known before, Gwynn was the head coach of the San Diego State University Aztecs. It was here that he made a profound impact on, not only the game, but on the lives of young men. SDSU may not have reached the powerhouse status of some other California schools, but it made great strides while he was at the helm. He led them to the NCAA tournament three times (2009, 2013, 2014). It was the first time they reached the postseason since 1991.

Gwynn’s love of baseball was something that was simply fun to watch. As a guy who grew up not watching much Padre baseball, he was always one I loved, but disliked seeing because he was so good, watching play my favorite team the Atlanta Braves.

When I picture Gwynn I see two things. First of all, I see him lining a baseball into the left-centerfield gap for a stand up double. He was such a great hitter and used all the field so well. I always wondered how many home runs he would have hit if he just decided to load up and pull the ball more. But that wasn’t him. Secondly, I remember well him with Ted Williams at the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston. That was one of the great moments in baseball history during my lifetime and probably will never be matched.

I do not want to get into an argument about how great a hitter Tony Gwynn was. He was great. Or if he was better than this player or that player. Gwynn had one of the best swings I’ve ever seen and was simply an amazing hitter for anyone’s generation. His numbers speak for themselves. That is where I will leave that.

If you have a few minutes I highly recommend you checking out the MLB video of the Padres tribute. It was a touching moment and I loved that they included the Aztecs in the tribute, even his Aztec jersey in the dugout. You can watch it here.

Over at Friarhood.com you can purchase a t-shirt in honor of Tony Gwynn. They have two very cool shirts with proceeds going to a charity. They do great work over there covering the Padres. Below is the graphic on one of the shirts.


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Book Review: Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball’s Best Neighborhood by Kevin Kaduk

Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com:

Wrigleyville is the well known area surrounding the ever popular summer spot of Wrigley Field. There are restaurants and bars and plenty of baseball fans to be found on a summer afternoon. Many baseball fans have wondered what it would be like living in the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field for a summer of baseball and fun. One such fan did so. And he wrote a book about it.

Kevin Kaduk’s Wrigleyworld: A Season in Baseball’s Best Neighborhood is the story of Kevin’s summer in Chicago. The former Kansas City Star sportswriter, and current editor of Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog, gives us a peak into life in Wrigleyville.

I admit I was quite excited when I first saw the book for sale. Although it came out in 2006, I did not find it until about a year ago. Recently I finally got the chance to pick it up from a used book store and give it a read. Sadly, I have to admit it was a letdown.

Kevin starts off telling us about how the idea came about. He was off writing about  high school sports in Kansas City, which he freely admits not likely very much although he liked who he worked with and for. I found it a bit annoying to listen to his complaining of a good job in a good city. I can fully understand the longing to be somewhere else though. He decided to take action.

Leaving Kansas City he took up residence a few blocks from Wrigley Field and set about writing about his encounters.

Some of the things I enjoyed reading about. Getting a glimpse about what it was like to deal with scalpers day in and day out was interesting. I’ve always found scalpers to be interesting people.

He also had run ins with the ballhawks out on Wavelyn and Sheffield. The ballhawks are the guys who wait for homeruns to leave Wrigley Field in order to collect a souvenir. I always thought it would be interesting to take in a game with the ballhawks. He was there the same season when there was a movie being made about them as well, Ballhawks.

However, what stood out to me the most about the book was it was more of a barhopping, girl chasing, conquest seeking journal. I was interested in learning about the establishments that surround Wrigley, and Kevin does a good job providing information on them, including some interesting backgrounds. That aside, there was a bit too much about drinking and chasing women.

If he was going to talk about the drinking, I would have rather heard some interesting stories from the bleachers. He includes a little of this, but not enough for my liking to be honest.

One thing I felt that was lacking, but I understand why, was the lack of information and stories about the rooftops overlooking Wrigley Field. He does try a few times to get onto the roofs, but in the end there is little information other than how hard or expensive it can be.

Overall it is a decent book. If you are a diehard Cubs fan, I would say go get it and give it a quick read. It isn’t that long and it’s an easy read. However, do not think that this is the book to read to gain valuable insights and secrets into the fabled Wrigleyville.

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2014 MLB Predictions

Every year people throw out predictions for the year. I love doing this as well even though I never come close to what actually happens. It is not an easy thing to do to predict how teams will perform over six months time. But alas it is still a fun thing to do. So here we go, the Baseball de World 2014 MLB Predictions.

* Wild Card Teams

AL East

1. Tampa Bay Rays (I still want to write Devil Rays)
2. *Boston Red Sox
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. New York Yankees
5. Toronto Blue Jays

This might be the most closely contested division in baseball. From one to four the separation won’t be that much. I like the Rays to win the division based on their good young pitching and hitting and their leader Joe Madden.

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins

The upper part of this division is good. I’m not sold completely on the Royals like some others I have seen. However, the last two teams are terrible. It is Detroit’s division to lose and the Indians will make it close most of the season but I see the Tigers claiming the Central crown again.

AL West

1. Texas Rangers
2. *Oakland A’s
3. Anaheim Angels
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Houston Astros

Okay, so this may be a bit of a homer pick. I kept going back and forth between the Rangers and A’s with the other team getting the wild card. I know the Rangers pitching is hurt but I think the guys filling in will do better than most expect. Plus everyone that is hurt will not be out too long aside from the Dutch Oven.

AL Wild Card Game – Boston over Oakland
AL Division Series – Detroit over Boston & Tampa Bay over Texas
AL Championship Series – Tampa Bay over Detroit

NL East

1. Atlanta Braves
2. *Washington Nationals
3. Miami Marlins
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. New York Mets

Again this might be a bit of a homer call, but I think both the Braves and Nationals make the playoffs. I know the Braves have some issues with the rotation, but I think they have enough in some good young arms to keep in the race. Plus I think their offense will be better this year. I mean B.J. Upton can’t be as bad as last year can he? Braves fans better hope not.

NL Central

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. *St. Louis Cardinals
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Chicago Cubs

I really hate to give the Cards the Central crown even though they may be the best team. I think both the Pirates and Cards make the playoffs with the rest of the league battling for mediocrity. The Reds may be decent and surprise some people, but the Brewers and Cubs will be terrible.

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. San Diego Padres
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

Top to bottom I think the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. Will they beat themselves again this year? It remains to be seen but they will be in the playoffs.

AL Wild Card Game – St. Louis over Washington
AL Division Series – Los Angeles over St. Louis & Pittsburgh over Atlanta
AL Championship Series – Los Angeles over Pittsburgh

World Series – Los Angeles Dodgers over Tampa Bay Rays in six games.

Posted in MLB, N. AmericaComments (1)

Australia Releases Final Roster to Face Diamondbacks and Dodgers

Baseball Australia has announced the final roster for the team that will meet the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 20 and March 21. The team, newly named Southern Thunder, is led by MLB pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith (Arizona Diamondbacks) and former MLB outfielder Trent Oeltjen (Sydney Blue Sox).

Joining Oeltjen in the lineup will be power hitting Stefan Welch (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Walker (Milwaukee Brewers). The team features several other players with MLB experience including Luke Hughes and Justin Huber.

The Southern Thunder will take on the Dodgers on Thursday March 20th before taking on the Diamondbacks on Friday March 21st.


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Possible Changes in the Posting Process for Japanese Players

David Lennon of Newsday.com has reported that changes are apparent in the Japanese player posting system. They are reporting that the changes could come as early as November.

The new process will be more player-friendly and could greatly benefit Rakuten Golden Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka.

The current process features a bidding process where the highest bidder from MLB has the right to negotiate with the player.  The winner of the sealed bidding process has a specific window to negotiate and sign the player. However, that all could change very soon.

One proposal has the player being allowed to choose three teams among the top bidders with the player then allowed to negotiate with the team he would like to play for.

You can read more from the Newsday.com article here.

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Texas Rangers to Hold Fundraiser for Christopher Lane Memorial Fund

Nearly a month has passed since the tragic death of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane was maliciously murdered by “bored” teens.

There have been numerous benefits set up to honor the teen who was playing college ball in Oklahoma. And now another is being set up by the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the Wives Club are going to hold a special fundraiser during a game with the Angels on September 28th. Part of the proceeds will go toward the Christopher Lane Memorial Fund.

The fund was set up by friends and the Essendon Baseball Club of Australia to help pay for funeral and travel costs to repatriate Christopher. However, the fund raised over $150,000 and will now create an ongoing legacy using the raised funds.

During the Rangers fundraiser fans will be able to purchase grab bags for $50, $100, or $200 that will contain autographed items from Rangers players. In addition to the grab bags, a silent auction is being set up for autographed jerseys of Australian born players Travis Blackley and the A’s Grant Balfour.

For more information you can visit TexasRangers.com.

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How Big is the Home Field Advantage in the World Series?

Since the 7-7 tie at the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee, the winner of the Summer Classic has been awarded home field advantage for the World Series. So the fans decide the players of the teams that play for the advantage in the biggest series of the year. But how big of an advantage is it?

Let’s take a look at how the home and visiting teams have done over the course of time.

The current format of 2-3-2 started in 1924, with the exception of three years. In 1943 and 1944, the World Series used a 3-4 format due to World War II travel restrictions. And in 1994, there was no World Series due to the strike. Over those 85 World Series the team with the home field advantage have won 50 times. That is just 58.8% of the time. That may not seem like a huge advantage, and mathematically this might be a small sample size, but if I’m in the series I’ll take any advantage I can get.

However, if we look at more recent trends, the team with home field advantage has won 24 times since 1981. That is 31 World Series and a rate of 77.4%. Perhaps when MLB decided to give the winner the home field, they were looking at recent trends.

You might be thinking, well it only matters if they go to a Game 7. While I would disagree that it is more than that, let’s take a look at how teams have done in Game 7’s.

Since 1924 the World Series has gone to a Game 7 a total of 24 times. The team with the home field advantage has a record of 18-16. There was a huge shift in this trend since 1980. Prior to that year, the home team went 9-16 in Game 7’s. Since, they have gone 9-0.

While trends will change from time to time, the current trend leans heavily on the home team.

But what has happened since the change after the 2002 All-Star Game? The home team has gone 7-3 and won the only Game 7 that has been played since then.

So does having home field really give a team the advantage? I’ll leave that for you to decide. It may not be as big as people think, but I do think there is something to it in the end. There are so many outside factors that go into each series that will determine the winner. The home field is just one of those many factors.

Should the fans vote in the All-Star players to determine who gets home field advantage? That’s another story for another day that we will look at soon, but I’d love to hear what you think.

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Royals Sign Italian Marten Gasparini to Record European Signing Bonus

Tuesday was the first day 16-year olds could sign professional baseball contracts, and the Kansas City Royals didn’t waste time making a splash. They signed switch-hitting Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini for a European record $1.3 million bonus. The previous bonus record had been $800,000 when Max Kepler signed with the Twins just four years ago.

Gasparini is considered by many as the best prospect to ever come out of Europe. He played for his home country of Italy in both the 15U and 18U IBAF Baseball World Championships.

He has appeared on everyone’s international prospects list including ranking #4 on MLB.com’s list and #12 on the Baseball America list.

He will once again play for his home country this summer before joining the Royals organization in September for the Instructional League.

Photo: FIBS

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MLB All-Star Futures Game Rosters Announced

Press Release Major League Baseball
Rosters Feature 11 Former First Round Picks; World Team Includes Players from 10 Different Countries and Territories Outside the United States
Rosters for the 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game were announced today by Major League Baseball.The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which is now in its 15th year, features the top Minor League prospects competing in a nine-inning contest as part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday. The U.S. Team leads the all-time series, 8-6. The game will begin at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) and can be viewed live on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and MLB.com.SiriusXM, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of Major League Baseball, will provide live play-by-play coverage of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on MLB Network Radio (XM channel 89; Sirius channel 209) in addition to SiriusXM’s other comprehensive live coverage from New York. The game will also be available to SiriusXM subscribers on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for smart phones and mobile devices and online at SiriusXM.com. Taco Bell All-Star Sunday is the first of three days of All-Star events at Citi Field, culminating with the 84th All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 16th.

Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League Clubs, selected the 25 players currently on each team. Each Major League organization is represented and players from all full-season Minor Leagues were eligible to participate.

The teams feature 11 former first round draft picks (U.S. – 10; World – 1), eight players picked in Compensation Round A (all U.S.) and four second round picks (all U.S.). Among the 11 first round picks, six were selected in the 2011 Draft, three in the 2010 Draft and two in the 2012 Draft. The World Team features players from 10 different countries and territories outside the 50 United States. The Dominican Republic is represented by 13 players, followed by Colombia (2), Cuba (2) and Puerto Rico (2). Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Panama, Taiwan and Venezuela are each represented by one player on the World Team.

For the first time, fans will determine the final player on both the U.S. and World Team rosters by casting their votes in the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists (#FuturesFinalists) ballot, available exclusively on MLB.com/futuresfinalists and the Club sites. Fans may begin voting immediately and cast their ballots until Sunday, June 30th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

The five candidates for the U.S. are: OF Tyler Austin (Trenton/NYY; #VoteAustin); OF Nick Castellanos (Toledo/DET; #VoteCastellanos); 3B Garin Cecchini (Portland/BOS; #VoteCecchini); OF Courtney Hawkins (Winston-Salem/CWS; #VoteHawkins); and OF Brandon Nimmo (Savannah/NYM; #VoteNimmo). The players vying for the final roster spot on the World Team are: SS Javier Baez (Dayton/CHI; Puerto Rico; #VoteBaez); 1B Ji-Man Choi (Jackson/SEA; South Korea; #VoteChoi); SS Carlos Correa (Quad Cities/HOU; Puerto Rico; #VoteCorrea); 3B Renato Nunez (Beloit/OAK; Venezuela; #VoteNunez); and 2B Rougned Odor (Myrtle Beach/TEX; Venezuela; #VoteOdor).

In addition to voting on the web, fans also may use their mobile phones to cast votes via text message. To receive the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot, text the word “VOTE” to 89269. Individual player votes may be cast directly via text by sending a player’s code to 89269. For example, Text “U3″ to vote for U.S. Team Player 3. Player codes are as follows: Austin (U1), Cecchini (U2), Castellanos (U3), Hawkins (U4), Nimmo (U5), Baez (W1), Choi (W2), Correa (W3), Nunez (W4) and Odor (W5). All votes are final. Standard rate text messaging fees apply (check with mobile carriers for details).

The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will last nine innings, and in the event of a tie, a 10th inning will be played. The game will not go longer than 10 innings, regardless of the score. Players and coaches will be outfitted in special SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game jerseys and will wear caps of their Major League organization with a SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game logo embroidered on the side.

The Minor League Baseball Umpires who will work the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game are Pat Hoberg (home plate) of the Pacific Coast League, Gabe Morales (first base) of the International League, Ryan Goodman (second base) of the Southern League and Nic Lentz (third base) of the Eastern League.

Ninety-nine players have competed in both the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. In 2012, 30 Major League All-Stars were alumni of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Nine players – Jose Altuve, Adam Dunn, Neftali Feliz, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper, Francisco Liriano, Evan Longoria, Ben Sheets and Geovany Soto – appeared in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and were named to the All-Star Game in the following season.

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Major League Baseball Opens 2014 Season in Sydney, Australia

For the first time in MLB history, the season will open up in Australia come 2014 when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks open the season in Sydney.

The two-game series will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22-23.

Both teams will open the doors to their training schedule as they will be in Australia for six days but play only two games.

This is a huge deal for Australia where baseball is slowly growing. There have been 31 Australian Major Leaguers over the years, and one currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Peter Moylan.

The Australian Baseball League was reborn during the 2010-2011 season. The league consists of six teams spread out around the country with one in Sydney.

The Major League games will take place after the 2013-2014 ABL season which runs from November to February. This will only hope to keep the baseball game growing both helping the ABL and the Australian National Team.

What it is guaranteed to help is the economy in Sydney. Bringing in money and improvements to the Sydney Cricket Ground which will be renovated to meed Major League standings prior to the opening series.

The games will also take place during the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants that took place at the same venue.

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MLB Advanced Media, YouTube Team Up to Offer Fans More Baseball

Archival footage to include thousands of hours of videos, in-season highlights and classic games; Two daily live games also accessible in select countries

Press Release Major League Baseball

MLB Advanced Media, L.P. (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, and YouTube today announced they’re teaming up to offer fans an expanded array of licensed Major League Baseball video content on the official MLB.com YouTube channel.

MLBAM, which has been streaming live and on-demand video on MLB.com for more than a decade, originally joined YouTube in 2005 as one of the earliest YouTube Sports partners. In 2010, MLBAM began offering full-game archives and highlight reels on a YouTube channel accessible exclusively in Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Russia. The updatedMLB.com Channel on YouTube expands much of that content to a global audience.

This MLB.com YouTube channel will include highlight clips from every MLB game in 2013 as well as thousands of hours from MLBAM’s archives. In-season highlights will be available approximately two days after the respective games have been completed. Videos from MLB.com’s Baseball’s Best Moments library also will be included.

MLBAM also will live stream two live games daily during the regular season, available for free and accessible exclusively outside of its core live video distribution territories: North America, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

“Fans around the world are getting more Major League Baseball video than ever before on YouTube, continuing to make YouTube a daily sports destination,” said Frank Golding, Director of North America Sports Content Partnerships.

“Expanding our partnership with YouTube provides another platform for extending the reach of the thousands of hours of archived baseball content in our library and for delivering live baseball games via the Internet to fans in new markets around the world,” said Kenny Gersh, Senior Vice President, Business Development, MLBAM.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 41-50

We have finished looking at the international players on the bottom half of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List. Today we start in on the Top 50.

In case you missed one of the other posts, there are here:

#51-60 International Players

#61-70 International Players

#71-80 International Players

#81-90 International Players

#91-100 International Players

Yasiel Puig, of, LAD – #47

Yasiel Puig hails from Cienfuegos, Cuba having defected in 2012. He is still young, 22, and has a lot of upside yet a lot to prove.

He missed the entire 2011-2012 season in Cuba (it runs during the winter months) after being suspended for trying to defect after playing at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. He didn’t sign until late June of last year so he has only a little time in the minors here.

However, this year he started out at Double-A Chattanooga where he has done quite well in just 14 games. So far this year he has hit four home runs and posted a line of .333/379/.648 so far.

He has good speed and shows good instincts but needs to work on his route running a bit. He is still young and learning while becoming acclimated to the US. He has a strong arm and has even drawn comparisons to the likes of Matt Kemp on his athletic ability.

Julio Teheran, p, ATL – #44

Julio Teheran, from Cartagena, Colombia, is no stranger to the Baseball America Top 100. This is his fourth year on the list dropping considerably after a poor 2012 season. After both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, he was ranked as the #5 prospect in all of baseball.

Teheran had a break out year in 2011 posting a 15-3 mark with an ERA of just 2.55 at Triple-A. He got his first taste of the big leagues that year but struggled a bit. His ERA ballooned to over five in 2012 in Triple-A, but has shown flashes of brilliance.

In 2013, Teheran has started the year as the Braves 5th starter and has had an up and down season already. He has the stuff to be a top of the line starter, but hasn’t shown the consistency at the MLB level so far.

Hyun-jin Ryu, p, LAD – #42

Ryu comes from Incheon, South Korea and has been pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization for the past few years where he has been a star. In 2010, he posted a 16-4 record with a 1.82 ERA for one of the worst teams in the KBO, the Hanwha Eagles.

The Dodgers won the bidding for Ryu this past offseason and have already put him into the starting rotation where he hasn’t disappointed. So far in 2013, he is 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five starts.

Ryu won’t overpower you with a 95+ mph fastball, but he knows how to pitch and has a good assortment of pitches that he can control. Look for him to be a solid #3 or #4 for years to come with the possibility that he could even become a #2 starter down the line with some more experience.

He is just 26-years old and signed a six-year contract, so the Dodger will control him during his most formidable years.

Oswaldo Arcia, of, MIN – #41

Oswaldo Arcia signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2007 out of Anaco, Venezuela. He has since worked his way up to a call up from the big league club earlier this season.

He started 2013 in Triple-A and simply dominated in the short time he was there hitting .394 with three home runs in ten games. Since being called up, Arcia has hit a pair of home runs in ten games.

Scouts love his bat and see him evolving into a 30-doubles and 20-homer guy down the line.

It’s unclear how long he will remain in the big leagues, but it appears clear that while he is there, he will play.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 51-60

I know we are a month into the season, but that doesn’t change the fact that these guys are still prospects. So we continue our look at the international players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List.

We have looked at the following already:

#61-70 International Players

#71-80 International Players

#81-90 International Players

#91-100 International Players

Now we take a look at #51-60

Gary Sanchez, c, NYY – #57

Gary Sanchez hails from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is high on the prospect list for the New York Yankees ranking #3 after the 2012 season. The 20-year old catcher has drawn a lot of praise for his defensive abilities behind the plate.

Sanchez has shown some power hitting 18 home runs a year ago splitting time between Low and High-A ball. He has had a good start to the year so far in Single-A Tampa in the Florida State League getting on base at a .356 clip and smashing four home runs in the first 17 games.

Over his career he has thrown out 30% of would be base stealers. Look for him to make the move to Double-A at some point this season, and he could make his MLB debut in 2014 or 2015 if he continues to develop.

Gregory Polanco, of, PIT – #51

Polanco is also out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The  21-year old outfielder had a breakout year in 2012 posting a line of .325/.380/.455 while hitting 16 home runs and stealing 40 bases.

He finished the 2012 season in Low-A ball and was moved up to High-A this season where he is still hitting. So far through 23 games, Polanco is hitting at a .318 clip and has stolen nine bases.

If he continues this pace, he might earn a promotion to Double-A Altoona later in the year. After the 2012 season, Baseball America rated him as the best athlete, best defensive outfielder, and the best hitter for average in the Pittsburgh system.

Coming up tomorrow, players #41-50

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MLB: German Donald Lutz to Make Major League Debut

Donald Lutz will become the first German to make it to the Big Leagues out of the MLB Europe academy when he makes his Major League Debut sometime in the next day or two. He got the call yesterday, but is still waiting to be assigned to the big league club.

Lutz, welcomed by the Cincinnati Reds on Twitter today, will soon make his Major League debut.


Lutz was born in the United States, but at the age of one left for Germany where he grew up. Lutz played for Germany in last year’s WBC Qualifier that took place in Regensburg, Geramny. During the Qualifier, Lutz played first base and hit .308 during the four games.

He is rated at the best power hitter in the Reds organization by Baseball America, and is a Top 20 prospect. He was signed in 2007 as a free agent, and progressed through the Reds organization ever since.

In 2012, Lutz split most of his time between High-A and Double-A ball where he combined to hit 22 home runs while posting a .269/.336/.517 line. He has struggled a bit so far this year hitting just .211, but he has hit five home runs in 21 games.

I had the chance to see Lutz play with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos earlier this season. During that game Lutz went 1-for-3 with one of the hardest hit home runs I’ve ever seen. He hit a low line drive over the right-field fence that might have knocked it down had it been a little lower.

Lutz has not been activated as of the time of this post, but it looks like it could happen tonight corresponding with Chris Heisey’s injured hamstring that will probably land him on the 15-day DL.

We wish him luck whenever he gets his chance. I know he has the support of an entire country behind him.

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MLB Working Toward Worldwide Amateur Draft for 2014

Bud Selig said he would like to institute an worldwide amateur draft for 2014.

Under the labor contract, MLB has until June 1 to notify the player’s union of its intent to hold an international draft next year. The union would then have until June 15 to veto it.

The MLB Draft is held each year in June and consists of 40 rounds plus compensatory picks. Starting in 2007, the MLB Draft has been televised.

Currently to be eligible for the draft one must be a resident of the U.S., Canada, or a U.S. Territory (such as Puerto Rico).

An international draft would make players in other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, eligible for the draft. Currently each team has an international bonus pool with which to sign players outside of the MLB Draft.

Many people think that since the inclusion of Puerto Rico into the MLB Draft, the sport has been seriously hurt there. Puerto Rico was added to the draft in 1990 and ever since the sport has been in a downward spiral.

Will including other places like Venezuela and Dominican Republic hurt the sport in those areas? Only time will tell as officials from both MLB and the Player’s Association work together on a possible international draft in 2014.

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Major League Baseball Says It Will Not Change Schedule to Accommodate the Olympics

Baseball was an Olympic sport from 1992-2008 before it was dropped from the London Games.

The sport has been on a campaign to get it back into the Olympics for the 2020 Games. However, that effort might have taken a blow as MLB has said it will not change its schedule to accommodate the Olympics.

IOC President Jacques Rogge has said the sport needs to make its best players available just like they are in hockey and basketball.

The IOC board will meet next week to select one or more sports to put up for consideration by the IOC General Assembly for possible admission into the 2020 Games.

The international baseball and softball federations are merging in an effort to better their chances of being chosen by the IOC for inclusion in future Olympic games.

The sport has started its own international event in 2006 called the World Baseball Classic. Earlier this year the WBC was played for the third time with the Dominican Republic winning its first title (Japan won the first two).

So if baseball is to win its bid to be re-included in the Olympics, it will be without major help from MLB.

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Today in Baseball History – April 25

April 25, 1904

New York Highlanders pitcher Jack Chesbro won his first game of the season. He would go on to set the American League record with 41 victories.

He would finish the year with a record of 41-12 and an ERA of just 1.82. He threw 48 complete games and six shutouts over 454.2 innings of work.

April 24, 1976

Chicago Cubs outfielder Rick Monday saves an American flag from two people who ran onto the field and tried to burn it. It happened in the fourth inning of a game at Dodger Stadium.

April 25, 1995

Major League Baseball returned after a 257-day labor dispute that saw the 1994 season without a World Series.

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Today in Baseball History – April 23

April 23, 1903

The New York Highlanders defeat the Washington Senators 7-2 earning the first win in franchise history. The franchise would stay with the Highlanders name until the 1913 season when they changed it to the Yankees.

April 23, 1903

Ted Williams goes 4-5 and hits the first home run of his career in a 12-8 loss to Philadelphia at Fenway Park.

April 23, 1954

Hank Aaron hits his first Major League home run at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis as the Braves win 7-5 in 14 innings. The home run came off of Vic Raschi.

April 23, 1964

The Houston Colt .45’s Ken Johnson becomes the first pitcher to lose a nine-inning no hitter when second baseman Nellie Fox commits an error allowing the only run. The Cincinnati Reds win the game 1-0.

April 23, 1999

The St. Louis Cardinals Fernando Tatis sets a new record when he hits two grand slams in the same inning (the third). The Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park became the first player in the century, and second ever, to give up two grand slams in an inning.

Born on this day:

1921 Warren Spahn

1977 Andruw Jones

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Today in Baseball History – April 17

April 17, 1929

Babe Ruth and actress Claire Hodgson are married. The wedding takes place at 5 am to avoid crowds. In his first at-bat in the next game, Ruth hits a home run off of Red Ruffing.

April 17, 1934

Casey Stengel manages his first game. His Brooklyn Dodgers lose to the Boston Braves 8-7. Stengel would go on to win 1905 games with four different franchises including 7 World Series titles with the New York Yankees.

April 17, 1947

Jackie Robinson gets his first of 1,518 hits in the Dodgers 12-6 win over the Boston Braves. The hit came off of Glenn Elliot.

April 17, 1963

Mickey Mantle hits a 565-feet home run off of Chuck Stobbs of the Washington Senators. It was the longest home run in Griffith Stadium history.

April 17, 1979

The Oakland A’s beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5 in front of a crowd of only 653 fans.

Born on this day:

1967 Marquis Grissom

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Today in Baseball History – April 16

April 16, 1929

Hall of Famer Earl Averill of Cleveland becomes the first American League player to hit a home run in his first at bat off of Detroit Tigers hurler Earl Whitehill. The Indians would win 5-4 in 11 innings.

Averill would go on to hit 238 career home runs with a career high of 32 in both 1931 and 1932.

April 16, 1940

Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller throws the first Opening Day no-hitter since 1909. He beats the Chicago White Sox 1-0 at Comiskey Park.

April 16, 1972

Rookie Cubs hurler Burt Hooton no-hits the Phillies winning 4-0. It was only the fourth game Hooton pitched at the Major League level.

April 16, 1978

Bob Forsch of the St. Louis Cardinals no-hits the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals win 5-0 in the first of two no-hitters tossed by Forsch.

April 16, 1989

Kelly Gruber becomes the first Toronto Blue Jay to hit for the cycle in a 15-8 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Born on this day:

1903 Paul Waner

1955 Bruce Bochy

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Today in Baseball History – April 15

April 15, 1918

Babe Ruth leads the Boston Red Sox to a 7-1 victory against the A’s on Opening Day. Ruth led the Sox on the mound, not from the batters box, as Ruth allows just four hits in a complete game victory.

April 15, 1947

In one of the biggest events in the history of US sports, Jackie Robinson plays in his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger. He goes 0-for-3 but handles a new position just fine, first base. The Dodgers defeat the Boston Braves 5-3 in the historic game.

April 15, 1972

Reggie Jackson has a mustache in the A’s 4-3 11 inning win over the Twins. He is reported to be the first player with facial hair since 1914.

April 15, 1993

Andre Dawson becomes the 25th player to hit 400 home runs when he hits a solo home run over the Green Monster in Boston off of Indians pitcher Jose Mesa. Dawson would finish the ’93 season with 13 home runs. He would finish his career with 438 home runs.

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MLB: 2013 Season Simulation with OOTP 14

One of the hottest selling games every year is Out of the Park Baseball where you can control a team down to every detail. With the release of the game this week and baseball kicking off, I thought we would see what a simulation of the season through OOTP ’14 would bring us. This is what we got.

Final 2013 Standings:
AL East
1. x-Toronto Blue Jays 89-73
2. New York Yankees 84-78
3. Boston Red Sox 79-83
4. Baltimore Orioles 77-85
5. Tampa Bay Rays 74-88

AL Central
1. x-Cleveland Indians 88-75
2. z-Detroit Tigers 87-76
3. Chicago White Sox 78-84
4. Minnesota Twins 77-85
5. Kansas City Royals 64-98

AL West
1. x-Oakland Athletics 90-72
2. z-Los Angeles Angels 88-74
3. Texas Rangers 82-80
4. Seattle Mariners 82-80
5. Houston Astros 63-99

NL East
1. x-Atlanta Braves 95-67
2. Washington Nationals 81-81
3. Philadelphia Phillies 79-83
4. New York Mets 76-86
5. Miami Marlins 66-96

NL Central
1. x-St. Louis Cardinals 102-60
2. z-Cincinnati Reds 90-72
3. Pittsburgh Pirates 79-83
4. Milwaukee Brewers 79-83
5. Chicago Cubs 68-94

NL West
1. x-San Francisco Giants 103-59
2. z-Los Angeles Dodgers 87-75
3. San Diego Padres 79-83
4. Colorado Rockies 73-89
5. Arizona Diamondbacks 72-90

In the playoffs, both L.A. teams lost in the Wild Card game as Detroit and Cincinnati moved on to the next round.

Divisional Series
Detroit (3) vs. Oakland (2)
Cleveland (3) vs. Toronto (2)
Cincinnati (3) vs. San Francisco (2)
Atlanta (3) vs. St. Louis (0)

League Championship Series
Cleveland Indians (4) vs. Detroit Tigers (0)
Atlanta Braves (4) vs. Cincinnati Reds (3)

World Series
Cleveland Indians (4) vs. Atlanta Braves (3)

In a rematch of the 1995 World Series, Cleveland took on Atlanta but this time the outcome was different.

Season Awards:

AL Gold Gloves
Pitcher: R. A. Dickey (Toronto Blue Jays)
Catcher: Jose Molina (Tampa Bay Rays)
First Baseman: Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels)
Second Baseman: Dustin Ackley (Seattle Mariners)
Third Baseman: Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays)
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar (Kansas City Royals)
Left Fielder: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)
Center Fielder: Peter Bourjos (Los Angeles Angels)
Right Fielder: Shane Victorino (Boston Red Sox)

NL Gold Gloves
Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Catcher: Ryan Hanigan (Cincinnati Reds)
First Baseman: Ike Davis (New York Mets)
Second Baseman: Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati Reds)
Third Baseman: Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals)
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Left Fielder: Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves)
Center Fielder: Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee Brewers)
Right Fielder: Jay Bruce (Cincinnati Reds)

Rookie of the Year
AL – Nick Franklin (Seattle Mariners) .246/15/51
NL – Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati Reds) .237/2/44 – 97 runs scored & 105 stolen bases

Cy Young Award
AL – Justin Verlander 16-7/2.61
NL – Madison Bumgarner 19-5/2.60

AL – Miguel Cabrera .325/34/120
NL – Jay Bruce .285/43/122

So there you have it. A computer simulation to see how the 2013 season might turn out. OOTP ’14 will be available later this week. You can pick up a copy of the program for PC or Mac below. We invite you to check out the #1 baseball simulation game on the market. Create yourself as a manager and start from the low minors to work your way up, or just start with the big league club and see if you can win the World Series.

Buy OOTP Baseball 14 PC & Mac



Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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MLB: Free Browser Themes for 2013

Are you a fan who sees your favorite team color in everything? Or are you a baseball fan that covers everything with your team colors?

If that is the case, then MLB has something you’ll enjoy. They have released browser themes for all 30 MLB teams, so everytime you log in  you’ll see your favorite team’s colors. Plus they are now interactive keeping you up to date with scores, breaking news, and highlights. In addition to all the news, you’ll receive exclusive promotions from MLB.

The themes are available for Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. In addition all 30 teams are available in one location.

It is the perfect compliment to all the jerseys, caps, t-shirts, bats, and balls from your favorite MLB team.

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