Posted on June 17, 2013 by Andrew Martin
Although a major brawl last week between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks resulted in eight suspensions and a dozen fines, the incident is yet another reminder of what a joke on-field fights and the subsequent reaction of Major League Baseball have become.
Tempers flared after Dodgers’ rookie sensation Yasiel Puig was hit in the face by a pitch, followed by a back-and-forth retaliatory actions by both sides.
Managers Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson were banned for one game each, while Dodgers’ hitting coach Mark McGwire earned two games because of behavior which resembled an enraged rhinoceros. The punishments are more of a show than punitive in nature. It seems that MLB’s reaction to such incidents is really an unsaid acceptance that brawls are good for business because of the attention they draw. If baseball truly wanted to crack down on on-field fighting, they could do so very easily. Their insistence in staying with the status quo indicates a sanctioning of loosely-controlled violence that spices up games. No matter how egregious brawls are, suspensions and fines are generally light and often reduced upon appeal (although it is rare that an explanation is given in such cases). (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Arizona Diamondbacks, Brawls, Charlie Sands, Don Mattingly, Don Sutton, Don Zimmer, Jeff Burroughs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark McGwire, Matt Williams, Ozzie Smith, Pedro Martinez, Sparky Anderson, Steve Garvey, Yasiel Puig | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 14, 2013 by Andrew Martin
Discussing the most over and underrated players in baseball is an annual exercise that creates a lot of spirited debate and reaction. There’s no scientific formula to determine or verify who falls where; just opinion, eye-tests and carefully manipulated stats to prove points. That being said, the best reason to do it is because it’s fun.
Here are some players I believe are among the most over and underrated in the game today. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Adam Wainwright, Aramis Ramirez, Brett Anderson, Brett Lawrie, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Trumbo, Phil Hughes, Starlin Castro | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 10, 2013 by Charlie Nehl
Thursday, at the Major League Baseball draft, the Chicago Cubs made a surprising move by not drafting the power arm of Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma after the Houston Astros chose Mark Appel from Stanford with their first overall pick. It was assumed by many that they would pick whomever the Astros would not take. They instead chose Kris Bryant from San Diego with their second pick.
I like them taking Bryant once Appel was off the board. While Gray is a great power arm that hits 100 mph with his fastball, Bryant has huge power and out homered a majority of the other Division I colleges by himself as he hit 31 home runs in only 228 ABs that will have an immediate impact in the middle of the lineup when his time is to be in Chicago.
It’s no secret the Cubs need some better arms in the organization. They’ve made some pretty picks in the last two years with Pierce Johnson and Duane Underwood last year and Dillon Maples in 2011. If you take out Maples couple of real bad starts, both he and Johnson have been pitching well. Underwood will be pitching for the short season Boise Hawks later this summer. It should be known that after the Bryant pick they did pick up pitchers with 19 of their draft picks this year. I haven’t had a lot of time to delve into those picks yet to see if there were any good arms in those picks, though it is worth noting a lot of these kids are college pitchers rather than kids being drafted out of high school. I like this move too.
What does this move mean for the Cubs? (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs, Cody Ransom, Darwin Barney, Dillon Maples, Duane Underwood, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Josh Vitters, Kris Bryant, Luis Valbuena, MLB Draft, Pierce Johnson, Prospects, Starlin Castro | 4 Comments »
Posted on June 10, 2013 by Andrew Martin
The big news of the week in baseball was an ESPN Outside the Lines report that Major League Baseball is seeking to suspend 20 or more current players for their involvement with the now defunct Biogenesis of America clinic. Tony Bosch, the company’s founder, agreed to provide MLB with documents to help their cases. Players including Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera are all reported to be those in the crosshairs, with more details of the whole mess still to come.
The report indicated that suspensions could be as long as 100 games if MLB gets its way. However, want and reality could be two completely different things. The MLB Player’s Union immediately issued a statement declaring their intent to vigorously defend the players in the investigation, and will use their considerable power to minimize any punitive damage. It’s a situation that is highly unlikely to be determined quickly, but will probably play out in courtrooms and boardrooms for an indeterminable amount of time.
Regardless of the length of possible suspensions, the damage has already been done to the reputations of the players involved in the scandal. No matter how much you believe or don’t believe steroids and PEDs are cheating, the amount of lying and general scumbaggery (I made this word up specifically for this situation) on the part of these players has completely impugned their character. No matter how far they can hit a ball or fast they can throw a pitch, their greatest attribute as players and human beings has been irrevocably shattered. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, Darryl Strawberry, Don Mattingly, Dwight Gooden, George Foster, Howard Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Kevin Mitchell, Lenny Dykstra, Melky Cabrera, PEDs, Rafael Santana, Ray Fisher, Rick Aguilera, Ryan Braun, Steroids, Ted Williams, Tim Teufel, Tony Bosch | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 7, 2013 by Jonathan C. Mitchell
On May 7th the Cincinnati Reds slugging right fielder Jay Bruce was hitting a paltry .246/.296/.345 with a single home run in more than 150 plate appearances. His unintentional walk rate (after subtracting the two plate appearances) was 5.3% and he was striking out in nearly one-third of his plate appearances. Needless to say, Bruce was not off to a good start.
Luck is not to be blamed for Bruce’s poor start due to his .370 BABIP which is well above his sub-.300 career mark coming into the season. Bruce seemed to be too aggressive at the plate, seeing 3.79 pitches per plate appearance.
Bruce’s power outage was likely due to his “all-field” approach. Usually, when a player starts using the entire field, the result is a better triple-slash. In Bruce’s case, it appeared to only give him a few more singles and a higher BABIP. Take a look at his spray chart from Opening Day to May 7th: (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Cincinnati Reds, Jay Bruce | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 3, 2013 by Andrew Martin
One of baseball’s all-time heroes officially returned to the game this week. The slumping Kansas City Royals hired Hall of Famer George Brett, the greatest player in franchise history, to be the team’s new hitting coach.
The Royals, who spent big to bring in veterans like James Shields and Ervin Santana during the offseason, entered the year with playoff aspirations. However, after an 8-20 May, they are back in last place in the AL Central. Brett is being brought in to not only try and provide a spark, but to also buy the team some time. Royals’ fans admire nobody more than Brett. He may be able to create some good will while the team tries to get back on track and salvage their season.
***Speaking of Brett, he was mentioned for his kindness in a recent story about “Door George,” an aging Cleveland-area strip club bathroom attendant. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Branch Rickey, Brooklyn Dodgers, Casey Stengel, Eddie Basinski, George Brett, James Shields, Kansas City Royals, Leo Durocher, Mark Grace, Mickey Mantle | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 28, 2013 by Daniel Marino
The Mets are playing as poorly as Met fans expected they’d play. There were no high expectations this season. This was to be a rebuilding year for the young Mets. But as we watch this team, we see no exuberance coming from this team. Instead of watching the young and the restless, we are watching the young and the listless. Met fans are prepared for a long season, but they are now left wondering whether the bright future is, in fact, near. Many of their future stars have regressed rather than progressed. With that said, it’s time for the Mets to make some moves. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Dan Warthen, Dave Hudgens, Ike Davis, Jeremy Hefner, Josh Satin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LaTroy Hawkins, Lucas Duda, New York Mets, Ruben Tejada, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 27, 2013 by Andrew Martin
The 2012 season saw Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera win the Triple-Crown with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. Although it’s hard to fathom, he may be headed to an even better season this year, which could see him make history.
Cabrera is currently hitting .385 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI. He ranks first in the American League in batting and RBI, and is second in home runs. If he were to repeat the Triple Crown, he would not only be the first player to ever win consecutive Triple-Crowns, he would also join legendary Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams as the only players to accomplish the feat more than once.
Another mark Cabrera is eyeing is the all-time RBI record. To date, he is on pace to finish the season with 192, which would break the major league record of 191 set by Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Hack Wilson in 1930. While RBI has seen its reputation tarnished in the advancing sabermetric world, the possibility of Cabrera unseating Wilson to set a new standard would still be a big deal. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Babe Ruth, Baseball History, Dock Ellis, Hack Wilson, Jerry Remy, Miguel Cabrera, Rogers Hornsby, Sandy Koufax, Ted Williams | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 20, 2013 by Andrew Martin
I had such a good time going over baseball history links last week that I decided to do it again! Here’s hoping this can become a regular feature, as the cool nuggets just continue to pile up. I’ll try to continue bringing a blend of topics to keep it fresh and interesting. As usual, thanks for reading!
***Baseball has had a lot of mascots over the years, ranging from obnoxious to downright entertaining. But none were more buxom or lascivious than Morganna, the Kissing Bandit. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Bo Jackson, Cal Ripken Jr., Glenn Burke, Honus Wagner, Jackie Robinson, Johnny Bench, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Wohlers, Morganna, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Vladimir Guerrero | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 13, 2013 by Andrew Martin
Baseball in just about any context is a good thing. During the regular season, the attention of fans is typically riveted to the on-field action, but there are many fascinating nuggets of baseball awesomeness hidden all over in the form of its history. You just have to know where to look to find them. To help you on your way to discovering some of the delights from baseball’s past, I have dug up some items that should both engross and entertain.
Baseball is a game that can be enjoyed as much in the moment as it can be in projecting its future and discovering its past. Without further ado, let’s see how well I can do at putting the historian in “Baseball Historian.” (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Boston Red Sox, Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey, Otis Nixon, Steve Carlton | Leave a Comment »