The fight moves to Benghazi. If he lied, let’s nail the bastard to the wall.
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2012 is a year of E-commerce and that is thanks to the highly developed internet and the wide application of the computers. Many of the businessmen have fully recognized the business opportunity concealed in this platform, as a result, they decide to have a talk with B2C and to seek for a development in the [...]
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The Pirates have signed 27-year old righty swinging outfielder Darren Ford to a minor league deal. Ford played in 70 games in AAA-ball for the Mariners last year and he was 83 of 304 (.273 avg, .711 OPS) with 39 runs scored, 4 homers, 33 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. Ford last played [...]
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Hank Aaron 2006 Topps Heritage ‘Flash Back’ One of my favorite new collections that I have undertaken is my modern-issue Hank Aaron collection. I love picking up new cards of Mr. Aaron – and I do anything I can to … Continue reading →
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A couple days ago, the Blue Jays and Indians matched up for a trade that will not drastically affect either team, yet improved each of them. The trade was Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles, who headed to Cleveland, for Esmil Rogers. While Rogers had only been acquired by the Indians this past June, Aviles was acquired just a couple weeks ago in the deal that sent the Blue Jays now former manager, John Farrell, to the Red Sox.
Esmil Rogers pitched very well during his time as a member of the Tribe. From the time of the trade, Rogers threw 53 innings, had a K% of 24.9 and a BB% of 5.5, good for a superb 4.5 K/BB. Rogers has an electric fastball that averaged 95.5 MPH this past season and couples that with a nice slider. While he will most likely pitch in middle relief, you never know with the Blue Jays. Rogers will likely have a platoon split, and has had one, due to his slider, though he'd probably be able to produce as a number four starter for most teams.
His repertoire is not the only thing holding him back from being a capable starter. While pitching for the Rockies, Rogers had serious control issues that he seemed to have ironed out in his few months as an Indian, but you can never be sure. Also, his mechanics might be putting too much stress on his arm which might lead him to either lose effectiveness late in games, or be more prone to injury as a starter.
Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles look to both, at the least, have bench roles with the 2013 Indians. Gomes a 25 year old, is the first Brazilian born player to make it to the majors. He's extremely versatile having played catcher, first and third base and the corner outfield spots. Though he did play in Las Vegas, Gomes hit a robust .328/.380/.557, but had a not so great 7.5% BB rate and a sub-par 21.6% K rate. Gomes can definitely hang around the periphery of baseball for a while given his versatility and above average power. Improving his plate discipline could go a long way and might even buy him a chance at being an everyday major leaguer.
Mike Aviles is also an extremely versatile player, having played most of his career up the middle, he can also play third base and the outfield in a pinch. His main job on the Indians will be backing up injury prone shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, though by the end of the season it wouldn't surprise me if he had over 400 plate appearances. The Blue Jays parting ways with Aviles is a little surprising given that he was the frontrunner for their second base job. Aviles is probably very close to an average up the middle defender. He's probably slightly above average at second and slightly below average at shortstop. He's also a below average hitter, but not by much. All in all, an average fielder, below average hitter playing a premium defensive position is at least a league average, two WAR player if not more.
Altogether, this seems like a trade that will help both the Blue Jays and the Indians in 2013 and going forward. These types of trades involving intriguing yet unheralded players are great for the game of baseball. It gives these players the best opportunity to succeed and allows each team to improve without spending a lot of money or giving up prospects. Hopefully we'll be seeing a few more of these kinds of trades in the coming months.
Jim Palmer 2005 Donruss Studio ‘Leaf Certified Materials’ – #13/30 Oh, yeah – here is a pretty limited circulation card that I picked up of Jim Palmer. The card comes from the 2005 Donruss Studio set, and while there are … Continue reading →
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During the last week of the 2012 MLB season, 10 writers from Beyond the Box Score joined forces to create the greatest collaboration of baseball minds the world has ever known . This elite organization, known only as the BtBWAA, was formed for one and only one purpose: To conduct a player awards vote in which the truly meritorious take home the coveted hardware.
We've already announced our picks for MLB Executive of the Year, Silver Sluggers (AL, NL), and Gold Gloves (AL, NL). This week, we turn our attention to the Rookies of the Year, starting today with the American League.
Before we get to the results, a few words on the process. Voting began on October 1 (after 159 games had been played) and continued until October 5, with the balloting closing before the first playoff games started. Each writer voted for three candidates, with voting scored Each writer voted for three candidates, with ballots scored on a 5-3-1 basis.
Without further ado, here are the results:
In what might be the single biggest upset of the entire BtBWAA awards series, Mike Trout is our unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year. Give yourself a minute to digest that, folks. I know that probably blew your mind.
This is usually the part where I offer some analysis of the vote, but there isn't a whole lot to say here. So in step were we on this that seven of us (myself included) wrote in the exact same ballot: Trout, Darvish, Cespedes.
The offseason began with a battle between Tyler Colvin and Charlie Blackmon for the last outfield bench spot, a duel that early on Blackmon was expected to win. With Eric Young Jr. refusing to be ignored, the out-of-options outfield convert was pretty much assured his spot for at least the first few weeks of the season, leaving just the one bench outfield spot open. Both players performed admirably in Spring Training, but Colvin ultimately won the job, largely due to Blackmon's foot-related injury history setting him back. Colvin, who saw excess playing time as players like Todd Helton, Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez spent various amounts of time out with injury, qualifies as a starter and will be covered in another article. Young, Blackmon, Andrew Brown, Matt McBride and Rafael Ortega will be our focus today.
Eric Young Jr.
Eric Young Jr. entered the season on a lot of people's radar as a player wasting a roster spot. Young has had a history of struggling to perform both offensively and defensively at the MLB level, and many felt it was time to give up on the player. This was Young's first season devoted entirely to outfield play, as before Young spent time at second base where despite his athletic talents, he struggled to display his defensive capabilities. Young's speed makes him an automatic asset in any outfield position in terms of potential field covered. Did Young perform better defensively this year. The answer across the board seems to be yes. On the more casual side, Young made no errors in the outfield and showed much better use of routes to make plays. Similarly, on the metric hand, UZR liked Young everywhere but right field, despite a history of Rockies outfielders struggling to impress that system. Chalk this up as a net win for Eric.
Perhaps Young's most notable play this year came in August, the month where the Rockies as a whole best demonstrated their potential talent. Young's hot streak came to a sudden end as the outfielder joined half the rest of the team on the disabled list with an oblique injury. Young certainly made enough of an impression to retain his roster spot, and will likely be beginning 2013 as one of the two outfield reserves once again. He had by far his best professional season at the plate, maybe having something to do with his change in role. While not a full time starter in 2011, Young spent more time making starts during his time with the Rockies that season, giving him significantly more 2011 plate appearances despite actively participating in more games in 2012.
Young's on base skills and slugging results were both unexpectedly high, including a little spot of power emerging (Young demonstrated some minor power in the MiLB, but it had yet to translate to the majors; while four home runs isn't exactly anything to write home about in general, it's a significant step forward in this case.) The only notable negative for Young was a significant decrease in stolen bases. Young stole 14 bases, which while good for second on the team, is a significantly smaller rate than he demonstrated in 2011 or in the minors. The Rockies in general were not a running team last year, so perhaps we will see a return to this under new management and coaching next season.
After breaking his ankle and seeing his first major league action cut short in 2011, Charlie Blackmon entered spring training scorching hot, only to see his chance at a roster spot end as a nagging case of turf toe sprung up, and Tyler Colvin demonstrating his capabilities as a major leaguer weren't necessarily a 2010 fluke. Blackmon began the season on the major league disabled list, soon being activated and sent to the minors. He struggled with the Sky Sox, before seeing the foot problems return and going back on the DL. He rehabbed with the Tri-City Dust Devils for a few weeks before returning to regular play at AAA, this time looking more like himself. With the team struggling to fill the field at the MLB level, Blackmon earned himself another callup in August.
Like Young, Blackmon saw a notable improvement in the field, particularly in left. At the plate, Blackmon also took a big step forward. In his 2011 player review, I argued that Blackmon's MLB taste last year was ultimately a failure, despite the fact that he did a lot of little things right. This year, Blackmon showed improvement in most areas except perhaps plate discipline, as he struggled to take the walk, but he turned himself into a solid singles/doubles hitter that solidified his talent over some of the other candidates fighting for starting opportunities. The Rockies' outfield is still mighty crowded, and Blackmon is likely to need to fight for his roster spot again next Spring, unless the Rockies trade an outfielder.
Matt McBride, Rafael Ortega and Andrew Brown
The Rockies had three other faces appear in the outfield in a smaller capacity this year, two of whom made their MLB debuts with the club: Matt McBride, the fourth man in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade who also spend significant time at first base, and Rafael Ortega, a middle-top tier prospect who sneaked in his MLB debut at the end of the season as both Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler has joined the wounded on the home stretch. McBride had one of the best offensive seasons in Sky Sox history, and keep in mind that this is the year the humidor was installed down there. Though McBride, like many players in 2012, saw his contract purchased in advance of September, he had most definitely earned a chance at a September callup and would have seen his debut regardless of how the team was doing.
Ortega, on the other hand, was a bit of a fluke. Running low on players for the final two series on the season, the Rockies needed an outfielder that wouldn't waste a 40-man spot. The only two outfielders likely to be protected by the Rockies in the offseason were Ortega and Tim Wheeler, and while Wheeler is obviously closer to the majors overall, it was Ortega that got the call due to the fact that he was still playing baseball with the Rockies camp in Arizona, while Wheeler had not played since the AAA season ended three weeks earlier.
McBride's MLB debut was underwhelming, striking out a lot, walking very little and failing to translate any of his lower-middle tier power capabilities. McBride did not impress the defensive metrics at either first base or in the outfield. I had determined that McBride was an outright candidate this offseason, but the utility man survived the first wave of cuts. Ortega's extremely short sample that featured just one start is difficult to analyze with any sort of certainty, especially considering that Ortega isn't likely to be back in the majors until perhaps late 2014, but his debut against the Dodgers was certainly one of the most entertaining moments of the 2012 season for me. Despite the Rockies being blown out 7-1, Ortega was 2-3 with a speedy infield hit, walk and stolen base in his debut.
Finally, we come to Andrew Brown. Brown was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals early in the 2011/12 offseason before being outrighted soon after. He was retained on his MiLB contract, and being one of the only right handed power bats in the system anywhere near the majors, became one of the most likely midseason callups if ever needed. Brown has seen a short stint in the majors with St. Louis, and spent two longer stints with the Rockies in 2012. He put up decent power numbers, struck out a ton and was an adequate defender, enough for a small positive fWAR. Because of his skillset, I expected Brown to be retained on the roster this offseason, and so far this is the case.
I won't be doing grades this season. No matter how many times we'd try to frame our offseason player grades, someone would have a problem with them. This year, we've each been given our own freedom on how to represent what we think of each player. As I look at this collection of players, I see overall an average field of talent that perhaps overperformed in 2012, but could also feature much worse characteristics. Ortega still projects to be a possible starting center fielder one day, Blackmon could be effective as either a starter or a benchman moving forward, while Brown and especially Young have shown the team reasons to keep them in consideration for bench roles. Only McBride had a truly weak season from this group, and he has that balanced out by the incredible AAA performance that likely contributed to the team's decision to keep him for the time being.
Overall, while this is hardly a group of top tier baseball players, I like things about each of them and do not see outfield depth as a problem in this organization right now.
Today was a pretty big day for me, because it was the first time that I was able to vote. It was a pretty smooth experience, because I voted later in the morning so there weren't many people out there. When I received my ballot it made me really feel like I was an adult. I was finally able to give my say in something so important, and I thought that was really cool.
Throughout the country voting experiences vary. On the east coast it appears they were able to go with electronic voting. I heard that in Florida it takes around twenty five minutes to fill out a ballot, I was really surprised by that.
Someone told me this quote that they got in a card, and I thought it was perfect.
"Vote. Someone died for your rights to do it."
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter Follow @AKienholzBtB
ed note -- watching this one closely. we're looking for experiential descriptions, not politics. if we can't keep it cool, I'll nuke this and we can pretend it didn't happen. -jbopp
Matthew Kory of Baseball Prospectus makes an amusing argument for why Adrian Beltre should be the AL MVP: Baseball Prospectus | Out of Left Field: Can We Make Adrian Beltre the MVP?
In his career, most of which has come at first base, a decidedly easier position to play, Miguel Cabrera’s FRAA is -76.2. Adrian Beltre’s at third base is 64.6. That’s a difference of 140.8 runs, which without looking it up, is twice as many as the Astros scored this season. I think it’s fair to say that, watching Beltre and Cabrera play, Beltre was the better defender this season. Some may disagree, and I’m completely open to disagreement on the topic as long as those disagreeing realize they’re completely wrong.
the strong play of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Manny Machado in the majors in 2012 at such young ages is an argument that Hamilton could have the same type of success. I’d argue that it’s proof that he needs more time. Harper was so dedicated to the game of baseball that he left high school two years early in order to get to the majors at 19. Manny Machado was playing on USA Baseball’s national teams in his teens. Hamilton doesn’t have nearly the baseball background or pedigree of this trio.
Bill Petti of FanGraphs takes a great look into the most "Backward Starters" in baseball: The Most Backward Starters in MLB | FanGraphs Baseball
Not surprisingly, pitchers tend to go to a fastball of some sort in three-ball counts at least 70% of the time. Facing a 3-0 count, a pitcher wants to avoid walking the hitter and generally goes to the pitch they can control the best–most often, their fastball (94%). 2-0 counts draw a fastball 81% of the time, likely due to pitchers wanting to avoid a 3-0 count and all that comes with it.
Dave Schoenfield of ESPN SweetSpot presents his 2012 MLB All-Stars: Your 2012 MLB All-Star team - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
I've always thought Major League Baseball should announce an official end-of-season All-Star team. You could have different I've always thought Major League Baseball should announce an official end-of-season All-Star team. You could have different voting components -- 25 percent computer, 25 percent fans, 25 percent players and managers, 25 percent media, something like that. Make a big production out of it, get a sponsor, get the players to show up, televise it during one of the off days of the World Series and drum up some publicity for the game's best players.
Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation plays a hilarious free agent matchmaker with Josh Hamilton; gosh, I hope the Padres actually sign him: Free-agent matchmaker: Josh Hamilton - Baseball Nation
Josh Hamilton, San Diego Padre. It just rolls off the … actually, wait, no, it doesn't. But the Padres have just over $29 million committed to eight players on guaranteed deals. They have 11 more in various levels of arbitration, most of whom aren't big-ticket players. The rest of the bunch are on pre-arbitration deals. They can add $20 million or so without getting too close to the middle of the payroll pack.