One of the stranger results of the new CBA is that suddenly teams that cried poor in the past are finding the money to sign players at the deadline. Instead of trading Greinke the Brewers instead have offered him a $100 million contract, and the Padres may try and lock up a couple of their assets long term. The reason for this sudden change in mood is being given as the teams weren’t getting offered what they wanted in prospects so now they want to sign the good players they have.
I can’t stop myself from thinking that this isn’t right. When teams were being offered a few decent prospects with high upside that almost never make it they are fine trading a player, but when offered players with less upside that might not make it they suddenly find the gold at the end of the rainbow. None of this makes a lot of sense to me as where was all this money when the Brewers were on the verge of losing Prince Fielder to free agency. If I was a fan of one of these teams that is now keeping players instead of trading them because they aren’t being offered enough in prospects I would start to wonder about that organization.
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Last season I went to watch the Bowie Baysox before Manny Machado arrived, and therefore wasn’t expecting to see any decent prospects, but one person stood out to me. The first baseman and clean-up hitter for the Baysox was Joe Mahoney, and when his bat made contact with baseball it created a noise seldom heard in the minors. The major league crack of the bat. Not the typical dull thud of wood meeting waded up wet newspaper that is normally heard in the minors, but a true crack. All Joe Mahoney did that day was hit line drives.
The next time I would have the pleasure of watching Mahoney play baseball was in Surprise, Arizona as part of a trip to watch the Arizona Fall League. During the game I witnessed in Surprise Mike Olt continued his assault on AFL pitching with a homer and a couple other extra base hits, but slightly less impressive than Olt’s power display was that of Mahoney who once again hit line drives all over the field.
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What do the following things have in common? A pitch to contact pitcher, a defensive specialist in basketball, and a catch and throw catcher? They are all euphemisms for guys that aren’t very good at what they do. That isn’t saying they aren’t better than the rest of the population of humanity, but when compared to their peers these terms have been made up to make guys who generally aren’t very good sound useful.
Once again we are having the debate about pitching to contact because Steve McCatty is saying words and some people don’t like those words. In many ways he is right. A few years back there was a book written about the Oakland A’s and how they managed to win ball games despite a lack of funds. Part of that book was about how on offense it is more important to not make outs than anything else. Then reaching base via a walk, a hit, a HBP, or catcher’s interference are all good things, and making an out is always a bad thing. Another part of the book was how the opposite was true. That ground ball outs are just as good as other types of outs when it comes to pitching, and that is why Oakland signed Chad Bradford and used him as their bullpen Ace.
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As the baseball season has progressed to the halfway point one question has continued to bug me, “What is this place?” I have asked myself that question so many times this season watching the Washington Nationals that it is starting to look like it is time to accept that the Nats have arrived, and that place they have arrived to is first place. So far in 2012 the Nats have spent 73 days in first place. In their magical season of 2005 they spent 20 less days in first place. Even if the Nationals can’t maintain that pace and fall out of first before season’s end this looks to be the best season the team has played since moving to Washington.
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With the month of June in the books, let’s take a look back at all the mayhem that emerged from the bullpen.
Aroldis Chapman entered the month of June with but just one blown save on the year. However, when the smoke of June lifted, Chapman now stands near the upper echelon of unreliable relievers with a total of four blown saves. His three blown saves in June is tied for the most on the month, but his hijinks earlier on in the month where he celebrated a successful save situation with two grade school-like tumbling somersaults, he’s pretty much on the radar of all batters who want nothing more than to see him blow more saves as opposed to other relievers.
But if Chapman wants to be the cock of the walk, he’s going to have a little bit of a challenge in catching the man who leads the Majors in blown saves. The top spot was deadlocked at five blown saves for most of May, but right at the very end, one man emerged among the dogpile to claim the top spot. Seattle’s Brandon League now has the title for most blown saves on the year with six, and his closest competition in Philadelphia’s Chad Qualls, was designated for assignment, meaning League might be “safe” for a little while.
More stats and analysis, after the jump. Read more »
It is once again that time of year where teams that are losing start dealing their aging veteran and expiring contracts to teams that are winning. It is one of the more fascinating times in the world of baseball but also one of the most annoying. When fans start looking at what they want for the rentals on their team or the rentals they want to acquire they make a lot of assumptions and hardly ever base anything on facts. What they base these trades on is an assumption that teams are going to want multiple prospects off of a team’s pre-season top ten prospects ratings from places like Baseball America.
The very first thing that is wrong with that is it is based on last season’s stats. There are new players that have emerged and some that were overlooked in years past. Now being a Nationals fan I am most familiar with their minor league system and top prospects list. Of the pre-season Nats top prospect list three of them were traded for Gio Gonzalez, three of them are on the DL, and two are in the majors playing quite well for the Nationals. But nowhere on this list are good players with major league potential like Tyler Moore, David Freitas, Jason Martinson, Eury Perez, and Nate Karns. None of those guys were that highly thought of before the season began, but all of them have performed well in 2012 and easily have the potential to be good major leaguers for someone.
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Whenever a team has terrible starting pitching sooner or later someone will write a column on how they should start the game with their closer on the mound to let the game settle into its groove, and then bring in a pitcher designed to go three or four innings. It is one theory on how to solve the issue of bad starting pitching. Most starting pitchers are bad because they give up runs when facing a line-up for a second or third time.
The Rockies weren’t getting good starting pitching and their starters weren’t going deep into games, so they did something equally as radical as starting the game with a closer. The Rockies ended their struggles to find a fifth starter by going to a four man rotation and then capping the starter at 75 pitches. In order to have this work and then still effectively use a bullpen that has been one of the best in baseball the Rockies have a second pitcher also on a rotation who will come in after the starter and throw 50 pitches. It is an odd experiment, but the Rockies weren’t winning the in the conventional manner which put them in the perfect position to do something radical.
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