Results tagged ‘ Pittsburgh Pirates ’
Move over Alicia Keys, these boys are on fire in the month of May:
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Texas Rangers
.347/.407/.796, 17-49, 11 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 8 RBI
Long overlooked as an asset in the Rangers order, Moreland appears to be establishing himself as a valuable piece to a Hamilton-less Rangers offense. His left-handed power is needed in the middle of an order that features Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz along with switch-hitting DH Lance Berkman. Moreland is 27 and in the midst of his prime. While he does feature a pretty ugly .662 career OPS against left-handed pitching, that number has bumped up to .789 in 2013, so he could still make an interesting career out of playing in Texas. He could certainly turn his recent hot streak into a total breakout.
.340/.393/.720, 17-50, 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB
After taking the world by storm last season, Trout started the season slower than some fantasy nerds would have liked, posting a .261/.333/.432 triple slash in the first month of the season. He is picking things up, though, in May, displaying the power and speed that made baseball enthusiasts drool last season. Trout could be on his way to posting numbers like this over the rest of the season. Just imagine what he would be doing if Josh Hamilton was alive and breathing for the Angels…if only he could pitch, the Angels might not look like such an embarrassment.
.522/.542/.783, 12-23, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Do you need a sleeper? The Pirates are pretty loaded in the outfield with Andrew McCutchen in center and Starling Marte in left; however, right field is a little…Travis Snider-y. Snider is still just 25 but he is under-performing, again, as the Pirates primary right fielder in 2013. His .267/.347/.356 is very weak and Tabata is heating up with the weather. Tabata, himself just 24, is another floundering former top prospect, but his ability to use the gaps and his speed would make him an asset in real-life and fantasy baseball. Clint Hurdle is an interesting manager, to say the least, so it will be interesting to see if he sticks with a strict platoon or gives Tabata a chance.
Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins
.447/.552/.660, 21-47, 13 R, 10 2B, 5 RBI
Mauer continues to prove that his 2009 power surge and MVP season was an anomaly. The Twins are floating around .500 due to Mauer’s production and a whole lot of crappy pitching. If the club was serious about contending, they probably would have done something about Vance Worley and Kevin Correia being their No.1 and No.2 starter prior to the season. With a lot of their talent in their 30′s, including Mauer, the club will be hard pressed for a quick recovery. Oswaldo Arcia has been a nice addition but to even float around being mediocre, Mauer may have to hit .447 over the rest of the 2013 season. He’s hot and he’s a hitting machine.
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners: 2-0, 3 GS, 0.82 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 22 IP, 20:3 K:BB
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1-0, 3 GS, 0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20:5 K:BB
Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox: 2-0, 3 GS, 1.16 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 19:2 K:BB
Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, Washington Nationals: 3-0, 3 GS, 1.19 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20:2 K:BB
Patrick Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: 3-0, 3 GS, 0.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 16:10 K:BB
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: 2-0, 2 GS, 0.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 15 IP, 18:1 K:BB
Scott Feldman, RHP, Chicago Cubs: 2-0, 3 GS, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 22 IP, 21:5 K:BB
- Why the Texas Rangers need to stick with Mitch Moreland is in Baltimore (sportsblogs.star-telegram.com)
- Beltre and Moreland lead Rangers past Athletics in 10 innings (miamiherald.com)
- Closing Time: The case for Mitch Moreland (sports.yahoo.com)
With the season underway and some fans already looking forward to next year, even this early, it is a good time to look down on the farms for some names that you should get to know. Everyone knows who Wil Myers, Dylan Bundy, and Oscar Taveras are at this point, so these are players performing at elite levels who may not be household names…yet.
Ventura tends to be overlooked due to his height. Despite being just 5’11″ and 180 pounds, the soon-to-be 22-year-old with a mid-to-upper 90′s fastball is doing all that he can to create some hype and become one of the top prospects in baseball. Prior to the 2013 season, Ventura was ranked by Baseball America as the No.85 prospect and by MLB.com as the No.60 prospect in baseball. While he could end up in the bullpen due to his reliance on his dominant fastball and excellent curve, he could still improve his changeup enough to become a rotation fixture in Kansas City. His last two starts have been absolutely dominant in Double-A, as he has a 0.00 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and a 20:5 K:BB in 11 innings. Tim Lincecum, Whitey Ford, and Pedro Martinez had some success as pitchers under six feet tall, so don’t squash the idea that Ventura could dominate as a starter.
Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox
The anti-Ventura, Owens is a 6’6″ left-hander with three solid pitches in the Red Sox organization. While other young pitchers, like Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, and Brandon Workman, are thriving in the system’s higher levels, Owens is dominating in High-A and demonstrating statistics that match his skills, something that wasn’t true last season. Owens is missing more bats and, while he won’t turn 21 years old until July, could see a few starts in Double-A this season. The Red Sox have to be excited about the progress that he has shown this season.
Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox
Cecchini is Owens’ teammate with High-A Salem, and while he doesn’t possess the normal hitting skills of a dynamic corner infielder, he is seems to be a robotic producer. Cecchini currently leads the Carolina League in total bases, and while he has just four home runs, his 19 extra-base hits, 10 stolen bases, and .468 on-base percentage show the type of talent that he has. At 22, it may be time to wonder if he’ll be able to produce enough pop to be valuable at third, especially with the Red Sox potentially moving Xander Bogaerts off of short in the future; however, hits 38 doubles last season could turn into home runs as he continues to fill his 6’2″ frame. He’s a pure hitter and possesses sabermetric skills that the Red Sox front office is known to drool over.
D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Minnesota Twins
This is really digging deep, but after striking out 10 while not allowing a run over seven innings in his last start, Baxendale could finally get noticed. A 10th round pick out of Arkansas in the 2012 MLB Draft, Baxendale was moved to starting pitcher this season by the Twins. Due to the club’s horrific starting pitching, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move quickly if he continues to have this type of success. His strikeout rate isn’t going to overwhelm you, but the fact that he doesn’t allow many free passes is very encouraging. The only scouting reports that I’ve seen on him mention a 3/4 arm slot, an 88 to 91 mph fastball, and an average to solid slider and curve, but his ability to thrive while pitching in the tough SEC while at Arkansas as a reason to not count him out. Mound presence and confidence can go a long way in success, and Baxendale’s early results show that he could become useful for the Twins.
Rob Refsnyder, 2B, New York Yankees
You have to assume that Robinson Cano isn’t going to be leaving New York anytime soon, and it is questionable as to whether he will ever move off of second base if or when he does sign a long-term extension with the Yankees; however, what are the Yankees going to do if Cano doesn’t re-sign with the club? Nearly all of their top prospects are outfielders and with the club sitting on the declining skills and lofty contracts of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, will the club look for an expensive free agent option to replace him if he does leave? Robert Refsnyder doesn’t have a name that should be familiar to anyone, but if he continues to hit the way that he has this season, he could quickly become a part of the Yankees’ plans. A 5th round pick out of the University of Arizona in the 2012 MLB Draft, Refsnyder won the Most Outstanding Player award in the 2012 College World Series by leading the Wildcats to the title. While his introduction to professional ball in 2012 wasn’t fantastic, he did show solid on-base skills and a little bit of speed. He has already been promoted to Tampa this season and he has responded with a 1.055 OPS in his first 20 games after posting a .933 OPS in 13 games in Low-A. He is short on home run power but he does have solid gap power, speed, and excellent plate discipline. If he maintains this production, it wouldn’t be too crazy to see him as a second baseman and leadoff hitter for a Cano-less Yankees team in a couple of years.
Roberto Osuna, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Osuna just turned 18 years old in February and, while most boys his age are gearing up for high school graduation and prom night, Osuna is pitching for the Lansing Lugnuts and overmatching his competition in Low-A. At 6’2″, 230 pounds, Osuna has a solid frame that seems capable of handling a lot of innings, which could still grow. Hopefully, it wouldn’t grow like Bartolo Colon…Regardless, Osuna has very good stuff, he appears to have very good control, and if he keeps the ball in the park, he could be a tremendous asset for the Blue Jays. After several trades this winter to upgrade their club (which hasn’t worked out so well), the club could use an excellent season from Osuna to rebuild their minor league system.
Stetson Allie, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Taken in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft after posting a 1.29 ERA with 134 strikeouts in 60 innings as a senior in high school, the Pirates had hoped that they had another first round talent in Allie, after taking Jameson Taillon earlier in the draft. Allie didn’t pan out, as he posted some horrific numbers while on the mound (7.76 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, 29:37 K:BB in 26.2 IP) before he was moved to first base. While it didn’t go so well last season, the 2013 season has been a bit kinder to him. It is still the Sally League (Low-A) and Allie is 22 years old, but he is showing very good power and is second in the league in total bases. He is a long way off and he has a lot to prove, and his age could become a factor in the Pirates philosophy in moving him through the organization, as well. He does live, though, and you have to root for a guy who had such tremendous stuff and lost it so abruptly.
Starling Marte can’t be this good.
Entering Thursday night, Marte has posted some impressive numbers:
After a solid introduction in 2012 with the Pirates (.257/.300/.437, 14 extra-base hits, 12 SB in 182 plate appearances), the future would appear to be bright for the 24-year-old Dominican outfielder; however, there appears to be quite a bit of inflation in his overall numbers. Take a look at Marte’s production in the minors:
While nothing stands out as drastically underachieving, it is noteworthy to know that during his six seasons within the Pirates minor league system, Marte was only ranked as a top 100 prospect in one season, 2012 (No. 73 by Baseball America and No. 40 by MLB.com). While many players can fly under the radar before proving to be very successful, it is possible that scouts saw flaws which led to his inability to create an incredible amount of hype for himself.
The 2011 season seemed to be his minor league breakout season. His .332/.370/.500 line with 58 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases were impressive, which led to the pre-2012 rankings by Baseball America and MLB.com, but in 2012, his strikeout rate jumped back over 20 percent (21.1 percent) after being at a career low 17.5 percent in 2011. The silver lining in his 2012 season is that his walk rate increased to 6.5 percent in 2012 from the 3.8 percent that Marte had in Double-A in 2011.
Since reaching the professional ranks, Marte has maintained his poor plate discipline, despite his solid overall numbers. In 326 career plate appearances, Marte has a 24.8 percent strikeout rate and a 4.6 percent walk rate. On top of that, Marte has swung at 36.7 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone and, while he makes contact on 75.4 percent of all pitches that he swings at. Not everyone is Joey Votto, but will Marte be able to maintain his solid production as advance scouts provide details in how to approach him in the future?
Marte has something which could allow him to maintain success. Speed. His .404 BABIP is another of his inflated statistics, but he already has seven infield hits, which is tied for fourth in MLB, and he’ll be able to get on base and create runs, even if he doesn’t maintain his current, astronomical BABIP.
But the major issue is: what is Starling Marte likely to become?
While Vladimir Guerrero got by without tremendous gifts in plate discipline, is that a reasonable comparison?
Guerrero never struck out more than 95 times in a season (in 1998, his age-23 season) while holding a career 10.9 percent strikeout rate and an 8.1 percent walk rate. His early, immediate production (he had a .960 OPS with 38 home runs and 109 RBI in his second full season) shows the talent level differential between he and Marte, as well. While Marte swings and makes contact on 75.4 percent of all pitches, Guerrero did so on 80.7 percent (from 2002 through 2011) while swinging at 43.7 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone, including hitting several pitches off of the ground.
Guerrero was a generational talent, and at the age of 38, he doesn’t seem to have an opportunity to continue his career. He was, quite possibly, the best, worst swinger in the history of the game. At times, it seemed like he would turn around and swing at a pitch thrown behind him, and make excellent contact! For that reason, even top prospects, like Oscar Taveras, should not be compared to him, and certainly not a player with such drastic differences as Starling Marte would have when compared to Guerrero.
As a non-gambling man, I would still put my money on a nice, smooth, settling back to Earth period for Starling Marte in the 2013 season. Unless he just figured everything out, like, say, Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers, that is one thing, but he isn’t a superstar and he wasn’t ever expected to be. If you own him in fantasy leagues, I would consider selling while the helium still seems to be getting pumped into the Marte balloon, and if you don’t own him, stay very, very far away.
Andrew McCutchen is still the Pirate outfielder of choice, and, despite lesser numbers to this point, there is no reason to think that the face of the Pirate organization is going to change anytime soon.
With the season underway and some fans already looking forward to next year, even this early, it is a good time to look down on the farms for some names that you should get to know. Everyone knows who Wil Myers, Dylan Bundy, and Oscar Taveras are at this point, so these are players performing at elite levels who may not be household names…yet.
Salazar had Tommy John surgery and missed nearly two full seasons of development, but since returning for good in 2012, he has a 2.48 ERA over 116.1 innings, a 1.11 WHIP, and a 119:36 K:BB (3.31 K:BB). The Indians, who seemed to have a lot of depth at starting pitcher during the spring, are in need of some talent at the major league roster. Justin Masterson and Zach McAllister have pitched well, but injuries and inconsistency, especially from Ubaldo Jimenez, brings a need of some sort of stability. The Indians could use a little youth and homegrown talent in their rotation, and if Salazar continues pitching this well, he’ll be on his way to Cleveland sooner than later. A 43:9 K:BB in 28.2 innings is downright dominant.
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Gibson was an elite talent when he was drafted 22nd overall in the 2009 MLB draft out of the University of Missouri. His stock had fallen a bit due to a stress fracture in his elbow. He proved that he was healthy in 2010 before needing Tommy John surgery in 2011. After rehab, he returned in 2012 with some mediocre numbers, and while his statistics don’t look fantastic this year in Rochester, he has had a couple of short, rough outing out of the six that he has made, allowing five earned runs twice in a little over four innings in two different starts. If you ignore those two starts, Gibson has a 1.99 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and 20:8 K:BB over 22.2 innings. The Twins will look for a little more consistency from Gibson before giving him a call, but he would immediately become one of the top two pitchers in their rotation, if not the best.
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Pimentel doesn’t have a tremendous track record, but when you have a 0.30 ERA after five starts, you’re going to start getting noticed. Acquired from the Boston Red Sox as part of the Joel Hanrahan trade, Pimentel isn’t going to get the hype that Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon garnish, but he appears to have enough stuff to be a decent back-end of the rotation arm. He certainly needed to thrive after not really doing much good since the 2010 season. Since this is his third season in Double-A, maybe expectations should be tempered, even after a tremendous start, but if it continues, he’ll continue to peak interest.
Josmil Pinto, C, Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are notoriously slow in their development of players. While they have Joe Mauer locked up for the next century with a seemingly unmovable contract (don’t tell Boston that after last season’s mega-deal), he could move to first base if or when Justin Morneau leaves via free agency for Pinto. At 24, he’s a little on the old side for Double-A, and his numbers overall haven’t been spectular throughout his development, things took a nice turn last year. His plate discipline and gap power seemed to increase, and he has carried that over nicely this season, with 11 extra-base hits and a .938 OPS for New Britain. Ryan Doumit is the “other catcher” on the Twins roster, so if Pinto continues to hit, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him become a useful piece to the Twins roster.
Erik Johnson, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Johnson may not post dominant strikeout numbers, but his ability to keep runners from scoring is impressive. As he has moved up, his tits per nine has dropped at each level and he is not a little over a strikeout per inning, as well. Now in Double-A, the White Sox No.3 prospect, according to MLB.com, appears to be taking another step towards Chicago. While the club mourns the loss of Gavin Floyd to Tommy John surgery, Johnson could become an option later in the 2013 season, especially if he continues to dominate the opposition. The 2011 2nd round pick out of the University of California is certainly worth tracking.
Derek Dietrich, 2B, Miami Marlins
A smart acquisition by the Marlins this offseason in the Yunel Escobar deal, Dietrich is an under-the-radar prospect who seems to do nothing but hit, while playing a premium middle infield position. He was the Marlins No.8 prospect coming into the season (MLB.com), and he is currently 5th in the Southern League in total bases. He appears to have taken a drastically improved approach at the plate, as well, having taken 15 walks already after walking 32 times all season in 2012. With Donovan Solano ahead of him in Miami and a very weak group of talent there, especially with Giancarlo Stanton hurt, Dietrich could make an impact later this season, especially if he continues to rake the way that he has to this point in 2013.
Burch Smith, RHP, San Diego Padres
How can you be the 20th ranked prospect (MLB.com) in a pretty weak system, when you’re fastball sits 93-95 while touching 97 and you post numbers as absurd as Smith has? The guy has a 174:33 K:BB over his last 160 innings, and while his 3.85 ERA looks inflated from 2012, he was pitching in the hitter’s paradise California League. Sure, his secondary stuff may be lagging, but Tony Cingrani has looked pretty solid in the majors and throughout his minor league career using a fastball at alarmingly high rates. The fact that dynasty league fantasy baseball players may not be familiar with him is also surprising, considering he will be pitching half of his games in San Diego. Smith has dominated this season, and for a 14th round selection out of Oklahoma, the 6’4″ right-hander has been a smart investment by the Padres.
- Eric Mack: Fantasy baseball Prospect Watch — Marcell Ozuna’s surprise major league debut (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- 2013 Predictions and Useless Guesses (thebaseballhaven.mlblogs.com)
- Sizzling Future Stars: Minor League Report, 4/24 (thebaseballhaven.mlblogs.com)
In 109 career starts heading into Friday night, Homer Bailey was 37-33 with a 4.59 ERA. In those 109 starts, he had one shutout, way back on May 12, 2010 against, who else, the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh.
Friday night, Bailey earned his second career shutout while tossing the seventh no-hitter of the 2012 MLB season. It shouldn’t be too shocking that it came on the road, and, especially, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
First of all, over his career, Bailey had been much better on the road:
Home: 18-19, 5.13 ERA, 60 starts, 344 innings, 286:130 K:BB, 52 HR allowed, 1.49 WHIP
Road: 19-14, 3.95 ERA, 49 starts, 287 innings, 204:91 K:BB, 26 HR allowed, 1.29 WHIP
In five starts at PNC Park in his career, home of the Pirates, heading into Friday, Bailey was 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA, 36 innings, 21:11 K:BB, zero home runs allowed, and a 0.92 WHIP.
Now, Bailey is a ridiculous 5-0, with a 1.40 ERA in 45 innings, posting a 31:12 K:BB, still having allowed zero home runs, and a slick 0.76 WHIP in his six career starts in the Steel City.
Bailey’s absurd home and road splits will probably be a concern for Cincinnati Reds fans, who will have to wait and see what happens in the Queen City, during the NLDS, when Bailey foots the rubber at Great American Ballpark against the San Francisco Giants in a little over a week. If only they could move the game to Pittsburgh, the Reds may be better off.
Here are some guys who have been playing extremely well since the All-Star break:
Buster Posey, C, Giants
.443/.485/.705, 7 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI in 61 AB
David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
.468/.583/.702, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI in 47 AB
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics
.423/.461/.718, 4 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB in 71 AB
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
.424/.513/.667, 4 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI in 66 AB
Mike Trout, OF, Angels
.394/.463/.775, 5 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 5 SB in 71 AB
Josh Rutledge, SS, Rockies
.381/.394/.683, 6 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB in 63 AB
Josh Willingham, OF, Twins
.300/.402/.657, 1 2B, 8 HR, 19 RBI in 70 AB
Ryan Ludwick, OF, Reds
.321/.387/.768, 5 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 18 RBI in 56 AB
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
.384/.444/.753, 6 2B, 7 HR, 15 RBI in 73 AB
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds
12 G, 11 SV, 11.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 H, 24:2 K:BB
David Price, LHP, Rays
3-0 in 4 starts, 1.91 ERA, 28.1 IP, 36:8 K:BB
Jason Vargas, LHP, Mariners
4-0 in 4 starts, 2.00 ERA, 27 IP, 14:10 K:BB
Ben Sheets, RHP, Braves
3-0 in 3 starts, 0.50 ERA, 18 IP, 15:5 K:BB
So says the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the No.8 overall selection, Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, in the recent MLB Draft didn’t sign a contract with the Bucs before the 5:00 PM EST deadline on Friday. Appel returns to the Cardinal for his senior season, hoping to cash in on another solid season to give himself a raise in the 2013 MLB Draft.
There are a few problems with this:
1) What if Appel loses his stuff and doesn’t dominate, causing a slip in the draft?
2) What if Appel’s elbow or shoulder pops and he misses the season, which would cause a slip in the draft?
3) What if Appel has Scott Boras as an agent next season and he slips further than he did this year in the draft?
Mark Appel is taking a huge risk with this move. If his ultimate goal in life was to play professional baseball, then this wasn’t about the money. But it was. It always is when you hire Scott Boras to be your agent. The Pirates offered Appel $3.8 million, well-above the $2.9 slot recommendation.
Due to the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, “Teams may only sign Draft picks to Minor League contracts and will be taxed and/or penalized for exceeding the designated signing bonuses (previously called slot recommendations) for the sum of their picks in the first 10 rounds.” Teams are handcuffed when it comes to signing players with high demands, as clubs are forced to pay significant penalties when they go over the recommended slots.
Can Appel really think that he is going to get more money? If Appel has Boras again in 2013 and he falls in the draft due to signability, which was an issue this season and was ultimately true, what happens? This could be a slippery slope for Appel.
The story of Matt Harrington returns…
- 2000 – Drafted by the Colorado Rockies 7th overall. Agent Tommy Tanzer wanted a $4.95 million signing bonus (more than the 1999 1st overall pick, Josh Hamilton), but the Rockies offer a $4 million bonus and a guaranteed call-up by the end of the 2002 season. Not a bad deal for a high school kid, right? Nope. Harrington doesn’t sign and goes to Independent Leagues, where he struggles, to keep his arm fresh.
- 2001 – Harrington drops Tanzer and signs on with Scott Boras. Harrington is drafted in the second round, 58th overall, by the San Diego Padres. He is offered $1.2 million to sign, but Boras wanted twice as much. Harrington, again, doesn’t sign and goes back to struggling in the Independent League.
- 2002 – Harrington was selected in the 13th round, 374th overall, by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They were offering the $5,000-200,000 bonuses that were standard for that area of the draft, but, again, Harrington didn’t sign.
- 2003 – Harrington was selected in the 24th round, 711th overall, by the Cincinnati Reds. There aren’t numbers available for what he was offered, but, again, Harrington didn’t sign.
- 2004 – Harrington was selected in the 36th round, 1,089th overall, by the New York Yankees. Harrington would need rotator cuff surgery and the Yankees didn’t even offer him a contract.
In 2009, Amy Nelson of ESPN reported that Harrington was working at a Costco store in the tire department. He was making $11.50 per hour.
Greed isn’t anything new in the free agency era, otherwise you wouldn’t have seen Johnny Damon leave the Boston Red Sox for the New York Yankees after the 2004 World Championship season. However, greed in MLB never seemed so apparent until Scott Boras came along. Before Boras arrived, free agency was to give players the right to be “free” from being lifers for teams, being limited to whatever the team that signed them was willing to give them. Then, Boras started making waves.
- 1988 – Andy Benes, represented by Boras, signs for a then-record $235,000 signing bonus upon being drafted by the San Diego Padres.
- 1989 – Ben McDonald, selected No.1 overall by the Baltimore Orioles, receives the first multi-year major league contract ever given to a baseball-only amateur, a $1.01 million deal with a $350,000 signing bonus.
- 1990 – Todd Van Poppel, selected 14th overall by the Oakland A’s, gets a guaranteed $1.2 million major league contract with a $500,000 signing bonus
- 1991 – Brien Taylor, selected No.1 overall by the New York Yankees, gets a record $1.55 million signing bonus.
- 1993 – Alex Rodriguez goes against Scott Boras’ advice and takes $1.3 million fro the Seattle Mariners. Boras was demanding $3 million.
- 1996 – Boras finds a loop-hole that allows Matt White (7th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants) and Bobby Seay (12th overall pick by the Chicago White Sox) to become free agents. White gets $10.2 million and Seay gets $3 million from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as free agent signings. MLB is forced to change rules.
- 1997 – J.D. Drew rejects a $3 million offer from the Philadelphia Phillies after being drafted 2nd overall. Boras tries to make Drew a free agent, but MLB changes the rules so that he isn’t. Drew re-enters the draft in 1998 and is selected 5th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. Drew signs for $3 million.
- 2000 – Landon Powell gets his GED in his junior year and enters the MLB Draft (like Bryce Harper). He went undrafted due to eligibility questions…or was it Scott Boras? He went to the University of Southern California and was drafted in 2004 (24th overall) by Oakland.
- 2007 – MLB changes the signing deadline for draft picks to August 15 due to the long waiting periods for Boras clients like Jered Weaver and Jason Varitek.
The list goes on and on and you can find all of Boras’ antics HERE, and it will certainly continue to grow. Scott Boras is an excellent agent, but he is not great for baseball. He does what he is supposed to do: he gets the best deal for his player. It is debatable as to whether he is always getting the best deal, especially in cases like Mark Appel.
Is the calculated risk of re-entering the MLB Draft going to work out in this case? After all, Appel was just 18-10 with a 3.22 ERA in 271.1 innings at Stanford, including his 10-2 season in 2012, when he posted a 2.56 ERA in 123 innings. Not that those numbers are bad, but it isn’t like he is a generational talent like Mark Prior or Stephen Strasburg were coming out of college. What if the talent is better next season? This year’s draft was supposed to be weak, with high-talent high school players, but not too many top-notch college guys.
Boras strikes again. We’ll see how valuable Mark Appel’s Stanford degree is if he flops, and we’ll definitely be watching to see if his arm is as impressive when he battles the PAC-12 in 2013.
Back before the humidor, the Colorado Rockies were capable of padding their stats by launching balls out of Coor’s Field through the thin air in their 81 home games. We saw Dante Bichette become a force and Mike Hampton became a pitcher who didn’t matter anymore, along with Denny Neagle. Today, there are still some hitter-friendly ballparks, but you’ll see some of the guys below taking advantage of some home field love below.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
.405/.507/.793, 18 2B, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 4 SB, 28:24 K:BB in 116 AB at home
.331/.468/.529, 12 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 26:31 K:BB in 121 AB on the road
Votto has been an absolute freak in 2012, posting an MVP-like .367/.468/.658 line. It doesn’t really matter where he is this season, the Reds new franchise player is unstoppable.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies
.382/.441/.733, 6 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 5 SB, 29:13 K:BB in 131 AB at home
.288/.344/.508, 9 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 5 SB, 24:10 K:BB in 118 AB on the road
CarGo is still taking advantage of the thin air in Denver despite the humidor. He is an excellent all-around player on his own, but he may not be capable of substantial numbers without the Coor’s Field effect.
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians
.371/.389/.743, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB, 4:1 K:BB in 35 AB at home
.125/.125/.125, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 3:0 K:BB in 24 AB on the road
It is only 59 at bats, but the Indians could have the power bat that they need for the middle of their order…when they play at home. Chisenhall doesn’t turn 24 until October and he has a bright future, but he has some flaws, especially with plate discipline and left-handed pitching. But…hey, he can hit at home!
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
.350/.385/.570, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 6 SB, 19:6 K:BB in 100 AB at home
.326/.409/.484, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 13 SB, 22:13 K:BB in 95 AB on the road
Trout has been more than anyone expected since finally getting his opportunity with the Angels. You can’t call anything about his game weak, he is clearly an excellent hitter, runner, and he is a well above average outfielder, too.
Angel Pagan, OF, San Francisco Giants
.338/.389/.451, 6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 SB, 20:11 K:BB in 133 AB at home
.261/.289/.410, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB, 21:6 K:BB in 134 AB on the road
San Francisco’s home park is not typically thought of as a hitter’s paradise, but Pagan really thrives there. He has better power numbers and run-production on the road, but he is also not as patient. Either way, Pagan is a beast at home in 2012.
R.A. Dickey, RHP, New York Mets
6-0, 1.20 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 52.1 IP, 54:13 K:BB in 7 home starts
5-1, 2.89 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 46.2 IP, 49:8 K:BB in 7 road starts
You can’t say Dickey without smiling and the Mets wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the NL East without the 37-year-old Cy Young front-runner.
Chris Capuano, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
5-0, 1.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 46.0 IP, 46:13 K:BB in 7 home starts
3-2, 4.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 40.1 IP, 34:18 K:BB in 7 road starts
Capuano has dominated at Dodger Stadium, but has been about as good as his career statistics outside of that. Capuano is struggling mightily in June with a 4.24 ERA…since when is that awful?…but when compared to his dominating April and May, his 1-1 record in April seems so pedestrian. Don’t jump ship on him yet!
Tom Milone, LHP, Oakland A’s
5-1, 0.99 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 45.2 IP, 19:8 K:BB in 6 home starts
2-4, 7.42 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 43.2 IP, 33:16 K:BB in 8 road starts
Milone may have the worst home-road split in baseball, but he has been fantastic at home. You have to wonder which pitcher he is and whether he will even things out by being absolutely horrible and really good…maybe even just decent when he is at home or on the road. The soft-tossing lefty is just 25, so we have time to see what he really is.
A.J. Burnett, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
4-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 42.2 IP, 36:9 K:BB in 6 home starts
3-2, 7.18 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 22:15 K:BB in 5 road starts
Burnett is 6-1 with a 4.02 ERA in his last 9 starts for the Pirates, but he has a split that has rivaled Milone’s terrible home-road split. Burnett’s inconsistency is well documented in his 14 year career, and it is more of the same this season. You could argue that some of his stats would make him an asset at the trade deadline, but as teams look at his production on the road, they will be scared off.
Zack Greinke, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
4-0, 1.08 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 41.2 IP, 52:8 K:BB in 6 home starts
3-2, 4.96 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 45.1 IP, 43:12 K:BB in 8 road starts
Greinke will be a rich man when he signs this winter as a free agent. With that being said, his splits are just not very good in 2012. Clearly, Greinke is dominant at home. Maybe Greinke has some issues pitching on the road that go back to his anxiety disorder that he had earlier in his career. From 2009-2011, Greinke had a 29-8 record and a 2.99 ERA in 49 starts and a 13-20 record and 3.72 ERA on the road in 45 starts. The 2012 stats fall in line with his last 94 starts prior to this season, so he is and will be dominant at home.
It is early and top prospects are adjusting, like Bryce Harper and his current .222/.276/.333 slash in Triple-A, while guys you’ve possibly never heard of are posting some eye-popping numbers. Here is a look at some of those guys performing well early on.
Brad Miller, SS, Mariners, High-A
.371/.463/.914, 13 for 35, 12 R, 3 2B, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 9/6 K/BB
Miller is a lefty swinging college bat out of Clemson. He is playing the whole season at the age of 22, and he should be advanced and hitting well, but the California League may result in Miller becoming a legend. Miller is now hitting .398 in 88 professional at bats, so he is someone to monitor this year, even if he has Nick Franklin ahead of him in the Mariners system at short.
Alen Hanson, 2B, Pirates, Low-A
.412/.474/.824, 14 for 34, 11 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB, 6/4 K/BB
Henson is a long way off, but he has a solid eye and solid speed, while seemingly spraying the ball all over the field. He is a switch hitter and he looks like he could be a potential leadoff hitter for the Bucs down the road. Neil Walker is under team control until 2017, but if he becomes too expensive through arbitration, Pittsburgh could toss the job Henson’s way in 2015.
Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins, Low-A
1-0, 1.64 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 11 IP, 5 H, 18/4 K/BB
Fernandez is a known name as the Marlins first round pick from 2011. The youngster from Cuba is a high upside arm that turns 20 in July. He could be a fast mover in the Marlins system, especially if he keeps pitching like he has in his first two starts.
Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers, High-A
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 10 IP, 4 H, 16/3 K/BB
Buckel has only thrown 111 2/3 innings but he now has a 145/31 K/BB. He is another chip in an absolutely loaded Rangers system. He’ll be 20 in June, but he seems to be picking up where he left off from last season when he posted a 2.61 ERA and 120/27 K/BB 23 games (17 starts).
Andrew Chafin, RHP, Diamondbacks, High-A
2-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11 IP, 5 H, 18/2 K/BB
The California League eats pitchers for breakfast, so when a guy dominates there, like Tyler Skaggs did last year, you need to take notice. Chafin is a college arm, so he’ll be 22 this year, and he had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and missed the entire season. The Kent State product was the 43rd pick in the 2011 draft and he does seem to have the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, with a plus fastball and slider. If he develops his change, he could become much more.
A.J. Griffin, RHP, Athletics, Double-A
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP, 11 IP, 2 H, 16/2 K/BB
Griffin is 24, a 2010 13th round pick out of San Diego by the A’s. In 2011, Griffin pitched at four levels, finishing with an 11-7 record, 3.47 ERA, 160 2/3 innings pitched, and a 156/32 K/BB. Not overly impressive until you look at his splits. He was impressive early on, posting a 9-3 record, 2.71 ERA, 122 2/3 innings pitched, and 128/19 K/BB between 20 Low-A and High-A starts. He didn’t fare as well at the higher levels (2-4, 5.92 ERA), which is why he’s back in Double-A this year. He has solid breaking stuff and very good control, so he could be a back-end starter, possibly a Joe Blanton-like innings eater.