I cannot remember a night quite like last night that had me down in the dumps. The Miami Heat lost, and now are on the brink of elimination, which is short of their lofty expectations. Not only that, but the baseball player I despise the most, came … [visit site to read more]
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June started out well for the Phils as a 6-4 win over the Marlins got them three games over .500Read the Rest...
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Should Brayan Pena be playing a little bit more? Here's a quick performance and playing time breakdown.
Combined, Royal catchers are hitting .249/.273/.371, good for a .644 OPS, which is actually 11th best in the AL. Want to be horrified? Oakland catchers have hit .195/.250/.246. The American League average is .244/.314/.400. So yes, even though they're catchers and this is the new deadball era, we're giving away runs.
OBLIGATORY LINE ABOUT SALVADOR PEREZ BEING GONE AND ROYALS BEING .500 IF HE WAS AROUND AND OMG HE HAS SUCH AMAZING PEREZENCE BEHIND THE PLATE AND WOULD HIT .320 WITH LIFE-ALTERING DEFENSE !!!!!
I'm going to assume that Quintero is considered better behind the plate, because he can't hit and because Pena has never had a good defensive reputation. However, now that Pena has also shown very little ability to truly hit well himself, I expect his defensive reputation will creep upwards.
Pena, incidentally, has had a weird career. I ran through all my former Brave jokes when Dayton acquired him in 2009. He even slugged .442 in his first season with the team. However, it's like the Royals keep forgetting he's around. His career high in games played is 72. Sure, he's lost playing time to greats like Jason Kendall and Miguel Olivo, but he's also been benched in favor of Treanor!!!!!! and Quintero. This season, when Perez went down, the team's response was to go get Quintero, as part of the completely baffling Beourgeois (not even trying to remember how to spell it anymore) trade, which may have been the least sexy trade of all time.
And, depressingly, Quintero has, while being awful, actually been better than expected. He hit that random homer in the first week, and he's even managed some occasional doubles. In 2011 and 2010, he slugged .317 both years. Where have you gone John Buck?
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Before we get to our own audio, Toby David interviewed Lance McCullers Jr. yesterday on his show and he talked about everything from his draft selection, Scott Boras and his pitching style. It's an excellent interview, be sure to check it out if you find the time (15 minute interview).
Bobby Heck talking about the Astros haul in the first 15 rounds of the draft:
Lucas Harrell discusses his start
Justin Maxwell on his approach at the plate
Jose Altuve talks about facing Jamie Garcia
Brett Myers on his outing
If you have any comments or questions in regards to the podcast you can email the show at SBN.firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a question please be sure to include your name and where you're from. Also big thanks to those of you that have rated us on iTunes we really appreciate the feedback.
Hero of the Game: John Buck (.052 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Anibal Sanchez (-.179 WPA)
Play of the Game: In the forth, Dan Uggla homers (.122 WPA)
The Marlins come back home after spending the weekend in Philly, and lose game one of this series against another division rival, the Atlanta Braves. The loss was via the shut out. And even though any game can be dissected in 100 ways, this game came down to the following three players: Uggla, Hudson, and Sanchez. Dan Uggla hit two home runs. Tim Hudson continues to be a Marlins nemesis in throwing a complete game. And Anibal Sanchez suffers through his first bad start in 2012.
Uggla must approve of the new Marlins Park. In hitting two home runs Tuesday night, he now has hit 200 in his career. And his second home run of the night in the ninth inning was a super blast (432 feet). He actually hit the home run sculpture smack dab in the middle. And really that was all of the offense the Braves needed on a night where Tim Hudson pitches lights out. His final line says it all. In nine innings he only allows five hits, collects three strikeouts, while only throwing 108 pitches. In fact, his ground ball / fly ball ratio was great (14-10). The Braves have not been playing well recently. But they will get things turned around soon when the younger players follow the older veterans after performances like these.
"A game like that, you just have to turn the page and be ready for tomorrow," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. Good to see the skipper not read too much into this one. The Marlins, after all, won a road series from the Phillies over the weekend after sweeping the Nationals at home previous to that. So the team is playing well. They just didn't show up last night. And quite frankly, with all of the injuries, I worry about this happening a few more times until players start coming back. Remember the Marlins are without Bonifacio's speed, Kearns and his clutch hitting, and Gaby Sanchez and the stabilizing effect he brings to first base.
Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a bunt single in the third. And Dan Jennings got four outs on 24 pitches in relief. Plus, remember that the Marlins have been shut out before (this is their sixth of 2012). And while that is not so good, they have come back from this type of game in the past. So Tuesday night is done with, and now JJ pitches on Wednesday as he looks to even this series at a game apiece.
Like we do every year around this time, Talking Chop will bring you all the stories we can find that are of interest about the players drafted by the Atlanta Braves. These are often stories from local papers, but those are the folks who know these players the best.
On the left side of the main page of TC we'll keep up with which drafted players have been signed. They'll be added once we see a report that they have officially signed, or a report that says something about them not returning to school or agreeing to a dollar figure with the team, etc. The Braves won't release an official signed list for weeks, so we have to infer, but that has historically been pretty accurate. Four names have been added to that list thus far.
Below are links to local stories about each player, with a clipped passage from the article (draft round listed in parenthesis):
Lucas Sims (1): For newest Atlanta Brave, childhood dream comes true | 11alive.com (with video)
Sims' family knew one thing: after several years of being scouted and profiled on various web sites, their 18-year-old pitcher would almost definitely be selected early in Monday's draft. When the Braves became on the clock in the first round, Sims' ears perked up. "I paid a little extra attention and my heart started going a bit," he says. "The five minutes they were on the clock, I was just sitting there, really wanting the Braves to pick me."
Alex Wood (2): Braves pick UGA's Wood in second round | Online Athens
The new-look draft economics for might have impacted Wood’s selection by the Braves. Teams have a cap on the amount of money they can spend on bonuses for the first 10 rounds. Wood said that the Braves were willing to go above slot value to sign him. According to Baseball America , the bonus slot for the No. 85 pick is $583,300. "Once I didn’t go yesterday, the Braves had saved some money," Wood said. "We ended up calling several teams and telling them that we needed X-amount of money because the Braves were going to give me above slot and we ended up making it there. I know they really wanted me and I can’t be more excited right now for sure."
Many more after the jump:
Justin Black (4): Husker baseball recruit to go pro
Black, a center fielder from Billings (Mont.) West High School, was chosen in the fourth round of the draft by the Braves. "When they called, my mom answered and started crying, then I got on the phone and I started crying and we were all hugging and excited," said Black. Black’s father, Bo, said his son will sign for about $300,000 and the cost of a college education.
Blake Brown (5): West grad Brown drafted by Braves : Pantagraph.com | Central Illinois
The 179th pick overall, the 20-year-old Brown said he will sign with the Braves and forego his final season at Missouri. "They saw potential and tools that could be used in the future," Brown said. "They said I had a lot of room to keep growing. "I want to just keep learning and letting the natural ability take over … not pushing too hard and getting in my own way."
Josh Elander (6): Two Frogs Taken On Day Two Of MLB Draft - Texas Christian University Horned Frogs - Official Athletic Site
Elander was the 209th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. The junior catcher from Round Rock was recently named to the College Station Regional all-tournament team. He leads the team with 10 home runs this season and has tallied 42 RBIs. The only Frog to have started all 60 games this season, Elander is hitting .316 with a .521 slugging percentage and a .442 on-base percentage. On the bases, Elander leads the team with 14 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
David Starn (7): No. 13 Kent State Baseball’s Starn Selected In Seventh Round of 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft By Atlanta Braves: Kent State University Athletics
A former walk-on, Starn has blossomed into a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-America pick and Kent State's career leader in pitching victories (28) strikeouts (338) and innings pitched (329.0). Starn became the second straight Kent State arm to earn Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year recognition, 10th in program history and fourth under the tutelage of Birkbeck in 2012. He ranks as the conference's top pitcher with a league-best 2.01 ERA and 118 strikeouts – the most in a single season in Kent State history - to go along with a 10-3 record on the hill. In conference action, Starn was 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA and 74 strikeouts against just 18 walks.
David Peterson (8): Three Cougars Picked In Top Eight Rounds Of MLB Draft - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports
Converted to a closer in 2012, Peterson finished the season with a team-best 10 saves which ranked third in the conference. Peterson was picked for the midseason Stopper of the Year watch list and finished with a 3.40 ERA and a 1-3 record. He struck out 40 batters this season and finished with 211 for his CofC career, ranking third all-time. Peterson moved up 41 rounds from the 2011 draft where he was picked in the 49th round by the Houston Astros. He was also drafted out of high school in 2008 by the Cincinnati Reds in the 40th round.
Mike Dodig (10): The Daily Mail > Sports > C-GCC’S Dodig drafted by Braves
The Braves have been following Dodig Jr.’s career for a few years and decided to bring him down for a recent tryout, along with 11 other prospects — three of which were position players. "Playing on Turner Field was unbelievable," Dodig Jr. said of his experience. "It’s one thing to imagine playing there and completely another to actually do it. It was great." The Braves weren’t the only team interested in the C-GCC freshman, either. The Cincinnati Reds gave him a tryout as well, but Atlanta sprang first on Tuesday and Dodig Jr. could not be more happy with where he landed.
Nathan Hyatt (13) & Tyler Tewell (14): Braves Draft Hyatt, Tewell - Appalachian State Mountaineers | Official Athletics Site
In his only year as a closer, Hyatt set a single-season school record and fell just two shy of the program’s career record with 16 saves, which led the Southern Conference and ranked sixth nationally. The flame-throwing right-hander was 16-for-17 in save opportunities and allowed just 24 hits while striking out 29 in 27.1 innings of work. Tewell made the most of his first season as a full-time starter, finishing third in the Southern Conference with a .357 batting average to go along with 79 hits, 17 doubles and four triples (all team highs), six home runs and 45 RBI. He played 52 of his 59 games in right field for the Mountaineers this season but was drafted by the Braves to play his natural position of catcher. Hyatt and Tewell are both juniors and have the option of signing with the Braves by July 13 to begin their professional careers or returning to ASU for their senior seasons.
Alex Wilson (15): Braves select Wofford pitcher, former Landrum star Wilson | GoUpstate.com
"It’s really exciting," Wilson said. "Of course, I’ve always been a Braves fan." Wilson went to a workout at Turner Field only four days before Monday’s first round of the draft. "Something just felt right when I was there," Wilson said. "I was pretty nervous. It was a daunting task to go through. There were a lot of college baseball players and MLB talent evaluators. But once I was on the mound, it kind of all went away. I felt like it went pretty well."
Day three of the draft begins at noon.
One person familiar with the talks said Correa would not have OK'ed something for precisely $4 million and another person estimated the coming deal at between $4.5 million and $5 million.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a phone interview that Correa and his parents are coming to Houston Thursday, when he and agent Paul Kinzer are expected to work toward finalizing the deal. "I don't expect any difficulties,'' Luhnow said. "We hope to have a quick signing and get him onto the field, which is where he wants to be.''
Correa and his family are expected to travel to Houston on Thursday, where he and his agent Paul Kinzer will reportedly work with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on finalizing a deal. Though new draft rules cap the amount the No. 1 overall pick can be allotted at $7.2 million, Luhnow told Heyman in a phone interview that he does not "expect any difficulties" in coming to an agreement with Correa.
The 17-year-old shortstop out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy was a surprise top pick in the draft, with expected No. 1 Mark Appel dropping all the way to eighth because of monetary issues (read: Scott Boras). At 6' 4" and 190 pounds, Correa projects to be a middle-of-the-order power bat with an impressive arm and range at shortstop.
Houston Astros first baseman Carlos Lee could return from the disabled list in time to generate attention at the trade deadline, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that Brett Myers’ vesting option based on games finished could impact his trade value this summer.
The Astros would likely be more than welcome to the idea of trading Carlos Lee this summer. Lee is 35 years old, in the final year of his contract, and doesn’t figure into Houston’s future plans.
However, it was looking like it would be a challenge for the Astros to trade Lee even before the veteran landed on the DL. Lee is owed $18.5 million this season, hasn’t performed especially well thus far (.759 OPS), and has the ability to block trades to 14 teams:
Lee, now in the final year of that deal, maintains the right to block deals to 14 teams. Almost all of the clubs on his list are high-revenue clubs that possibly could afford his $18.5 million salary, according to a source with knowledge of the details. Among the teams Lee can veto: The Dodgers, who could possibly be interested in him at first base.
Despite these hurdles, Rosenthal believes a Lee trade could still be pulled off as the veteran is reportedly open to the idea of approving a deal.
Brett Myers’ $10 million option for 2013 will vest if he finishes a certain amount of games. Rosenthal believes this could impact the right-hander’s trade value this summer.
While the Astros haven’t revealed the exact number, Rosenthal estimates that Myers will have to finish roughly 40 to 50 games for his option to vest. The 31-year-old is currently on pace to finish 57 games.
This may not be an option if a team acquires Myers as a setup man this summer. However, if he is brought in to be a club’s closer they may have to rework his contract as the Milwaukee Brewers did with Francisco Rodriguez last summer.
Myers, who’s maintained an ERA and WHIP of 1.86 and 0.828 with 13 saves this season, will receive $500,000 each time he is traded and a $3 million buyout if his 2013 option is not exercised.
Each year, with the draft approaching, I look back at a previous draft to see how the players drafted have worked out. Essentially, most of the players that will be regulars in the majors will be up within five years of when they are drafted. So I will[...]
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There's something I don't think people realize about Craig Biggio. We know he was old for the 2004-05 runs, but he was also old during those 97-99 teams.
I don't mean actually old so much as baseball old. Biggio was 31 in 97 and 33 in 99. That's well past the traditional "prime" years we ascribe to players, which runs anywhere from 26 to 30.
Of course, every player is different and for stars like Biggio, that means seeing his prime last well into his 30s and saw him set a career high for doubles in a season when he was 33. That's when Biggio uncorked a season for the ages, hitting 56 doubles in 1999 to lead the league.
He hit .294/.386/.457 that season with 123 runs scored and 28 stolen bases for good measure. He also hit 16 home runs, which, you know, seems kind of pedestrian. But, it was the second time he hit 50 or more doubles in his career, following the 1998 season when he had 51. That means at Ages 32 and 33, he hit 107 of his career 668 doubles. That's 16 percent for my fellow liberal arts majors.
What's more, only 12 players have topped that 56 double season, but just five players have hit as many or more since 1950. The only player to hit more doubles and be older than Bidge? Tris Speaker. Pretty good company, I'd say.