DETROIT (AP) — Doug Fister will miss his scheduled start Saturday night for the Detroit Tigers because of tightness in his right groin.
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#4 PuRP Tyler Matzek (2009, 1st round) has been a roller coaster prospect to say the least, and it is almost as if last season wasn't insane enough for the lefty. He returned in 2012 emboldened and started exceptionally well, carrying and ERA under 3.00 into June. But his June ERA was over 5.00, his July ERA was 8.00, and coming into last night, his August ERA was 11.00, pushing his season figure into the 5's. The one skill that had never abandoned him ever before (missing bats) evaporated.
Then came last night. For just the second time in 47 career starts, Matzek didn't walk a batter. (The first time was in his previous start). Yes, he's on a two-start walkless streak. For just the third time, he went seven innings without allowing a run. He also struck out ten, the second-most in his career. Just as his season started to spiral out of control, Matzek went out and produced the best start of his career. Figure that one out. If there is anything to knock Matzek on last night, it is to note that the Stockton Ports are the worst offense in the California League. No one in the lineup is hitting over .265 despite a decent home park for offense, the team batting average is dead last, and the 49-79 team is three runs away from being worst in the league. Since Miles Head is now in AA, those numbers actually paint an overly optimistic picture of the offense if anything. Still, the Rockies needed to see this sort of performance from Matzek.
#12 PuRP Rafael Ortega (2008, DR) filled up the box score as well, hitting for the first three legs of the cycle in his first three at-bats and stealing a base. He also comitted an error (just his second) but made up for it with his 18th outfield assist. Those assists all California League outfielders by six, despite missing the season's first two weeks, and matches his total in Asheville in 2011. This is the reason to be particularly excited about Ortega, who has a solid bat and speed, but can not only play center field, he does it very well. Tim Smalling (2011, 15th round) hit a two run home run.
Brandon Hynick (2012, MiLB FA) wasn't missing bats, but the Arkansas Travelers still never reached their destination of home plate last night. Over seven innings, Hynick allowed nine hits and a walk while striking out just one. He was bailed out by two outfield assists from #14 PuRP Corey Dickerson (2010, 8th round), one of which led to a truly rare 7-5-3 double play. With one out, Hynick allowed back to back singles, with the lead runner attempting to take third base on a hit to left. Dickerson gunned him down, then #1 PuRP Nolan Arenado (2009, 2nd round) turned and fired to first to nab the runner straying off first. Dickerson hit a solo homer in the fourth to give Tulsa lead it would not relinquish, while Arenado and Ben Paulsen (2009, 3rd round) pushed across runs in the sixth on a sac fly and single, respectively.
The Tourists fell behind 5-0 after two innings thanks to the ineffectiveness of Vianney Mayo (2007, VZ) and the infield defense behind him. The offense punched back though in a big way in Savannah, and Asheville came away with a one run win. Four Tourists had three-hit games, including #13 PuRP Will Swanner (2010, 15th round); Taylor Featherston (2011, 5th round), who had two doubles; HM PuRP Sam Mende (2011, 31st round), who was a triple shy of the cycle; and David Kandilas (2008, Australia). Every member of the Asheville lineup had a hit except Ryan Casteel (2010, 17th round), who struck out four times. Nelson Gonzalez (2007, DR) and Jefri Hernandez (2008, DR) kept the San Gnats off the scoreboard while securing the final 11 outs.
The Dust Devils faced Kyle Ottoson last night, a pitcher who has been drafted five straight years from four different schools, finally signing in 2012 with the Padres. He is also one of five players to ever get drafted from my high school. Last night, Tri-City got to him with a three-run third inning that started with two bunt singles and an infield hit. All three runners scored in the inning, on a wild pitch, #16 PuRP Rosell Herrera (2009, DR) sac fly and Francisco Sosa (2007, DR) single. Ben Hughes (2011, 10th round) was a little better, allowing three runs over 5.1 IP. Herrera scored the winning run when he struck out to lead off the eighth yet reached on a wild pitch, got bunted over, stole third and scored on a single from Derek Jones (2012, 8th round). Seth Willoughby (2012, 4th round) struck out the side for his seventh save.
Following the 13-hour bus ride from to Helena, David Dahl (2012, 1st round) has taken two games off (he is not hurt). The Rockies did not miss him Tuesday, but his absence was noticeable last night. Grand Junction's offense sputtered to two runs on five hits, with Matt Wessinger and Jason Stolz accounting for four of the five hits. Stolz tripled and scored one of Grand Junction's runs. Matt Carasiti was effective, allowing three runs (two earned) in 5.2 IP, done in by a two run shot in the third.
Antonio Senzatela (2011, DR) allowed a run, but only one, as his DSL-leading ERA sits now at 0.72. The Orioles managed eight baserunners in his five innings. Wilson Soriano, Miguel Dilone, Jairo Garcia and Wilkyns Jimenez each had three hit games.
The Sky Sox game was postponed when the Sky Sox' flight from Las Vegas to Tucson was cancelled and the team failed to secure a new flight to deliver them to Arizona by gametime. It will be made up as a doubleheader tomorrow, with Game 1 of the five game set moved to today at 6:05MDT.
We know that the front office likes analytics. So, you figure it has to be a plus if a managerial candidate understands and uses sabermetrics, and is willing to use data provided by the analytical staff in on-field decisions. I'll try to suggest some managerial candidates who fit welll with sabermetrics.
How about another Maddon coach? Hickey has been the Rays' pitching coach for 6 years, and prior to that, he was the Astros' pitching coach during the Astros' 2004 and 2005 playoff years. He was the pitching coach for the only Astros AAA team to win the Triple A World Series, and was previously named the Astros' Player Development Man of the Year. Hickey's pitching staffs in Tampa Bay have been outstanding, and he has quietly become one of the longest tenured pitching coaches in the major leagues. Hickey was a standout pitcher at UT-Pan American.
Lovullo is the first base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, Fangraphs' third ranked sabermetric team, and managed minor league teams in two sabermetric oriented organizations, the Indians and Red Sox. A 47 year old former second baseman, he has managed Triple A teams for both the Red Sox and Indians. He also was interviewed for the Red Sox, Indians, and Pirates manager position. He has a .520 W/L record over a 9 year minor league managerial career.
Wakamatsu currently is the bench coach for Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Wakamatsu was manager of the Seattle Mariners, a sabermetric team under GM Jack Zduriencik, in 2009 and 2010. Ty Van Burkleo, whom Luhnow appointed as interim hitting coach, was Wakamatsu's bench coach in Seattle. Wakamatsu was a bench coach for the Texas Rangers and Oakland A's prior to his tenure in Seattle. Wakamatsu's name seems to come up with some frequency when sabermetric teams are searching for managers.
Wakamatsu had a tremendous rookie season as the Mariners' manager, winning 85 games--a 25 game improvement over the previous year--and becoming only the 13th manager in ML history to guide his team to a winning record after a 100 loss previous season. The Mariners had high hopes for 2010, but returned to their losing ways, leading to Wakamatsu's dismissal before the season ended. Wakamatsu has many challenges in 2010, including an expensive free agent, Chone Figgins, whose performance fell off a cliff, and dealing with playing time for local legend Ken Griffey, Jr., who also was at the end of his career and had fallen off a cliff before that season. Griffey retired on June 2 of 2010, but he had shown anger over his diminished playing time, and the strained relationship between Wakamatsu and Griffey reportedly divided the clubhouse. Oddly, Griffey initially blamed Wakamatsu when a local newpaper photographer caught Griffey snoozing in the clubhouse at the same time that Wakamatsu was looking for Griffey to pinch hit. Wakamatsu, by the way, is the first Asian American manager in major league history. He was a starting catcher for the Arizona Sun Devils.
I won't spend a lot of time discussing the background of Manny Acta, the current manager of the Cleveland Indians, because I have no reason to believe that he is available. The Indians were either leading their division or within a few games of the AL Central lead for much of the season, but have fallen out of contention during the last month. Would the Indians fire him because the team fell out of contention? I think this is doubtful, but that probably is the only way he becomes available. However, more to the point of this article, Manny Acta is one of the few managers who openly discusses the benefits of sabermetrics. Furthermore, Acta has a history as a minor league player and manager in the Astros' system, and has strong connections to the franchise. Acta is described as a young, charismatic, and innovative manager, which should put him near the top of many lists. And he was at the top of the Astros' manager list during the last interviews. Reportedly the Astros were willing to offer the manager job to Acta, but the negotiations got hung up over whether the contract length would be 2 or 3 years. He subsequently accepted the Indians' offer. At the time, Stephen Higdon reacted with this article explaining why losing Acta shows that Drayton McLane doesn't get it.
I normally wouldn't list Tim Bogar, the Red Sox bench coach, because David already discussed him in the article about former Astros' players who might be manager candidates. But AppyAstro brought up this interesting point in the comments: sabermetrics proponents should be excited about the fact that Bogar was quality control coordinator for Joe Maddon and the Rays. That's true. And it's also true that Bogar was considered a valuable part of a sabermetric oriented Red Sox organization. Want more evidence that Bogar has a sabermetric tilt: he not only attended the second annual sabermetrics conference in Boston; he also presented a new offensive value statistic that he developed. Bogar also has a strong background in managing and player development at the minor league level, including a stint with the Astros' farm system. Bogar earned the manager of the year award for each league in which he managed. According to news reports, Bogar and Bobby Valentine have not gotten along well in Boston. He may want a change of scenery.
You?ve probably heard by that the Orioles lost 12-3 to the Texas Rangers last night, as Tommy Hunter and Kevin Gregg set off the fireworks for them ? in a historically bad way.
Tommy Hunter, in a typical Hunter start, gave up three homers; however, was terrible on Wednesday night.
Adrian Beltre, who can be one hell of a hitter, slammed three home runs ? including doing two in a nine-run fourth inning ? to send Texas to an easy victory. Tommy Hunter gave up two of them to Beltre and Kevin Gregg gave up the other. Mitch Moreland also had a grand slam homer off Hunter in the fateful fourth inning.
It was just not good for Baltimore at all last night. The only bright side for the Birds was that Nick Markakis drove in three runs and had three hits. Well, the rest of the team frankly didn?t do much at the plate.
Derek Holland (8-6), who started for Texas, earned the win and pitched seven innings for the victory. He gave up three runs.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Hunter has given up 32 HOMERS this season. That?s just awful. Considering he spent some time in the minors, that feat is even far more amazing to fathom.
Hunter just could not get the pitches over the plate, and when he did, they were high. Of course, Texas?s powerful hitters made him pay big-time. The fourth inning was horrendous and for one night brought flashbacks of the past with this team.
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Bronson Arroyo dominated all of the Phillies other than Domonic Brown last night, holding the Phils to three hits overRead the Rest...
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Game 1 vs. Giants After a disappointing first two games to the series, the Braves managed to avoid a sweep with a 5-1 win over the Nationals in the series finale Wednesday. Kris Medlen pushed his scoreless streak to 21 innings with seven shutout innings, and Martin Prado doubled twice to lead Atlanta. The Braves [...]
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Last week I was witness to a very impassioned internet debate that very shockingly drifted from a civil and reasoned exchange of opinions to a bizarre and vulgar bout of name-calling rather quickly. Before spiraling out of control, however, one[...]
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As the Rockies current streak of success began, I pointed out that it was still mostly the offense that had been carrying the day. Small gains in the starting rotation had been negated by a step back by the bullpen, meaning the Rockies still had to squeak out 7-6 victories. In the last week, however, the bullpen has come back into form and the rotation has taken another step forward with the return of Jhoulys Chacin. The major differences in pitching between the Rockies of the last couple weeks and the Rockies at the beginning of the season are
Pretty much all of the above points wrap around the middle bullet in the list, the dramatic increase in the Rockies GB% (from around 45% for 2012 overall to 56% the last two weeks) has suddenly made the team's out production on defense an efficient operation. Suddenly we're seeing starters reaching six innings, seeing the steady flow of opposing runners moving around the basepaths stopped, and most importantly seeing the team win.
The Cardinals, who just extended noted wormkiller Jake Westbrook, have been leading the league in GB% all season, and are probably the model staff for the Rockies to emulate. In that respect we can see where Colorado's staff still can make up some ground to get to a contention level, notably in reducing the amount of walks currently being allowed by Alex White, Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Chatwood. Over the remainder of the season, Rockies pitchers that maintain a high GB rate and low BB clip might gain an advantage over the rest of the pack when it comes to 2013's starter competition
With all of the Miami Marlins' pitching prospect putting up huge numbers wherever they go pitchers like Jose Urena sometimes get lost in the mix. However, with the progress Urena has made this season, he deserves more attention due to his fabulous numbers in Greensboro and improved velocity. Still just twenty years old, Urena has had one of the top five seasons amongst pitchers in the South Atlantic League.
Jose Urena stands around 6'3'' and weighs roughly 170 pounds. Because Urena does have a projectable frame, as he adds weight, his velocity and numbers could see a spike. He also needs to improve his balance if he gains weight because even at his current weight, his landing point can be inconsistent.
Urena's fastball sits around 94-95 MPH, but I have gotten reports that he has touched 96 and 97 multiple times this season. Last season, Urena was barely throwing 95, let alone touching 97. If used only as a reliever, I feel confident that Urena could dial his fastball up to 98 or even 99 MPH.
Urena also throws a changeup and a slider, both of which are developing slower than his fastball. His slider is his outpitch, but he doesn't have as much command of it as other pitchers. If Urena reaches his potential, he will need to work on these two pitches a lot more.
In 2010, Urena pitched in eighty-two innings in the GCL. Urena stood out that season due to his crazy-low walk rate (0.76 BB/9) and of course, his plus velocity. Last year, Urena pitched in Low-A Jamestown for fifteen starts. His BB/9 saw dramatic increases over his GCL number. Also, Urena only struck out 5.94 batters per nine innings, which isn't very good, even in the NYPL.
This season, Urena has had a huge season in Greensboro. In twenty-five appearances (twenty starts) Urena has a 3.14 ERA with a 3.56 K/BB. Urena was used as a reliever back at the start of the season, but he proved he can pitch in the rotation fairly quickly. Urena has already pitched 126 innings for Greensboro, which is much more than his previous career-high of 82 in 2010.
Jose Urena has the ceiling of a #3 starter. That's a pretty valuable prospect in any organization. Even though the Marlins appear to have plenty of high-ceiling pitching prospects, things never go as planned, and Urena could take advantage of his opportunity. Jose Urena is my favorite Marlins' sleeper prospect, and with his performanc this season, and lack of attention, he should be yours as well.
In 1996, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter began the Turn 2 Foundation to promote healthy[...]
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