Red Sox Recalls Betts and Sends Bradley Down

 

Boston Red Sox have sent rookie CF Jackie Bradley Jr. down to AAA to refocus himself and hopefully get himself back on track. Top prospect Mookie Betts will be called up to fill in at CF now that Bradley was sent down.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has struggled to hit in the majors only getting 75 hits in 387 plate appearances, or a .216 BA. That is the lowest BA by an American League CF with at least 300 PA’s since Mike Cameron’s .210 BA in 1998. He also struck out 111 times which is about 28% of his total at-bats. On the plus side Bradley’s defense was stellar this year leading the league in defensive assists with 13 and having a UZR of 16.9. Bradley is likely to get a call up with the rosters expand and his spectacular defense may earn him a spot as a regular, if he can learn to hit for contact and use his very good speed.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
2014 8.0% 28.7% .216 .288 .290 .578 .075 .311 .263 60 1.5

 

Mookie Betts has the potential to be a great all around great player in the future. Betts had a brief stint in the majors earlier in the season but the team didn’t really give him a fair shot. He only was given a 19 game “audition” in the majors and he, at least in my opinion, didn’t really get a fair shot. In the majors he didn’t really get started that only hitting .250/.298/.364 in 48 plate appearances with 1 HR and 1 SB. In the minors Betts faired far better hitting .335/.417/.503 with 5 HR’s and 11 SB in 211 plate appearances. If Betts can transfer his impressive BB% of 12.3% in the minors to the majors he could do better than he did his first time around.

Mookie Betts

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
2014 4.2% 12.5% .250 .298 .364 .662 .114 .270 .296 83 -0.1

 

For more up to date baseball info you can follow me on Twitter @Jbiesiada

Adam Dunn All But Done?

Adam Dunn All But Done?

In an interview with the official White Sox website Adam Dunn said he’s in serious thoughts about if he will play next year or not.

“It’s just like anything,” Dunn said. “You’re used to doing something your whole life, and I know it’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m fortunate to be able to put myself in this situation at a pretty young age to make the call. There’s nothing bad about that. I’m not sad about that. I’m actually pretty happy about it.

 

When asked if he had to answer the question now about his retirement he said his answer would be “None of your business.”

Dunn has had a very successful career being one of the best power threats in the game. Having a very high career BB% at 15.9 and a very high career K% at 28.5%; these stats are such an extreme that players that are similar to him are known as “Adam Dunn Lites.” His slash line is a quite the oddity, .238/.365/.492, ranging from well below average BA to a very strong .365 OBP and a .492 SLG. Dunn’s real success story is the 459 total career home runs, a number very few players reach. If Dunn retires it does beg the question: Does Adam Dunn belong in the Hall of Fame?

Adam Dunn

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS HR ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
2014 15.4% 29.7% .227 .350 .442 .793 19 .215 .287 .349 119 0.3
2013 12.5% 31.1% .219 .320 .442 .762 34 .223 .266 .331 105 -0.2
Career 15.9% 28.5% .238 .365 .492 .858 459 .255 .286 .368 123 22.9

 

For more up to the date baseball info you can follow me on Twitter @Jbiesiada

Lucas Giolito’s MiLB Success

(Asscioated Press)

(Asscioated Press)

After publishing a revised, “Top 100 Prospect” list just a few weeks ago, many minor league ball players increased their rankings and some also decreased. One notable player that made somewhat of a drastic increase was Nationals’ number one overall prospect, Lucas Giolito. Giolito was originally named MiLB’s eleventh overall prospect on the improved list, however, due to Oscar Tavares’ permanent call-up, each prospect moved up a slot.  Thus, Giolito is now Minor League Baseball’s tenth overall prospect, better yet, MiLB’s second overall pitching prospect.

The 16th-overall pick in the 2012 First Year Draft, was considered one of the best prep pitchers available and signed with the Washington Nationals’ shortly after. Although Giolito suffered from a sprained ulnar collateral ligament which would sideline him for a huge majority for the 2012 season, he returned for action in the 2013 season. Though the timeline was short, he recovered from his Tommy John surgery in July of 2013 and appeared in 11 games, with a 2-1 record and a 1.96 earned run average. Reappearing in the 2014 season, Giolito has shown to be a premium pitching prospect thus far.

Now pitching for the Nations’ Full Class-A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, Giolito is 10-2 holding his opponents to a batting average of .197. Meanwhile, in his 2014 Single-A stint, the 6’6″ right-hander has a 2.20 ERA, and allowed 24 earned runs through 98.0 innings pitch. Similarly, Giolito struck out 110 batters while walking 28, weighing his SO/W ratio out at 3.93. On top of that, one of MiLB’s top pitching prospects has a .833 winning percentage and a WHIP of 1.039, just a bit over 1.000.

Giolito, since performing in in the 2014 All-Star Future’s Game in mid-July, is dominating the South Atlantic League with his six game winning streak. Likewise, Giolito is clinging to a five-decision winning streak that dates all the way back to the month of June.

According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, “Giolito has gotten stronger as he gets further away from his surgery and has as much potential as any pitcher in the Minor Leagues. He showed as much in 2014, making the Futures Game.

Giolito throws his fastball in the mid- to upper-90s, often reaching 100 mph. He throws a hard, 12-to-6 curveball that is almost as good as his fastball. His changeup isn’t as well developed as his other two pitches, but it has the potential to be a third above-average Major League offering. He has good command and an advanced feel for pitching.”

While Giolito has had a plentiful amount of severe injuries, he is looking like a top tier pitcher that will slowly but steadily make his way through the Nats’ farm system.

 

 

 

Time for the Yankees to go get Yu Darvish

espn.go.com

espn.go.com

Yu Darvish has cleared waivers and is now eligible to be traded, now is the time for the Yankees to go get the Rangers pitcher. The Yankees are still in the pennant race and with the return of Michael Pineda and an improving Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees would put themselves in a situation where Darvish would solidify the rotation.

The Yankees are not a team that has a wait until next season attitude and not making the playoffs last season makes the fan base even more on edge this season. Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees front office are also on the edge as Hal wants his team to “step it up”.

Brian Cashman is starting to feel the most heat from the Yankees not being in the playoffs, if the season ended today. Cashman needs to find a way to get this Yankees team into the playoffs, as this is the last season of his current 3 year contract. Adding Darvish for a September run should be that answer.

There are concerns over Darvish health, but for me it looks like Darvish is frustrated with the Rangers current situation, and he doesn’t want to pitch through pain for a team not going to make the playoffs.

What do the Yankees have to trade for Darvish? Everyone says the Yankees do not have the prospects to make this kind of trade. How about Shane Greene, Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams or Tyler Austin. You would have to consider David Phelps or Adam Warren as possibilities in a trade. Yankee fans don’t want Dellin Betances to be traded and I agree with that assessment, as he is the present and future bullpen stud.

Now is the time for the Yankees to reestablish themselves as a contender, and getting Darvish now would rejuvenate the fan base and put themselves in position to capture a World Series Championship. Let’s see what Cashman does over the next two weeks and if Hal is willing to let him open the checkbook a little more.

Follow OPSN CO-Founder and CEO Vince Lombardi Jr. On Twitter

Tigers Call up Jim Johnson

Detroit Tigers have purchased the contract of former closer Jim Johnson and will likely pitch in the bullpen as a relief pitcher and won’t close. Johnson’s injury may very well be a reaction to the recent injury of Joakim Soria. Johnson hasn’t really shown much improvement in the minors since his signing giving up 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings of work, admittedly very, very small sample size. Johnson was released by the Oakland A’s only a few weeks ago.

Johnson has regressed quickly since being the All Star closer of the Baltimore Orioles. What caused Johnson’s down turn is still somewhat of a mystery since nothing in the numbers really can tell us what exactly is wrong with him. Right handed batters and left handed batters are pretty much having their way with him so it could be a mechanics issue. He hasn’t seen any rise in fly ball rate but the ground ball rate has been trending down the last 2 years from 62.3% in 2012, his All Star year, to this year at 55.9%. What has been trending in the opposite direction is the number of line drives he’s given up; Johnson had a 16.4% in 2012 and it has really skyrocketed to 22.4% this year. Value wise all his pitches are negative at this point and if this does end up being a mechanics issue I don’t see a easy fix for that.

Jim Johnson

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BAA WHIP BABIP ERA ERA- FIP FIP-
2014 6.37 5.27 1.10 .346 2.10 .393 7.24 193 5.28 142
2013 7.17 2.30 0.64 .271 1.28 .327 2.94 72 85 3.45
Career 6.00 2.84 0.59 .259 1.31 .298 3.49 83 3.71 88

Charlie Morton to DL

 

Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Charlie Morton has been placed on the 15-day DL for right hip inflammation. The move was made official just before the game last Sunday and Gerrit Cole will likely take the place of Morton and pitch on Wednesday. This is another blow to the Pirates who have been really hurting when in comes to injuries having lost Andrew McCutchen only a week ago.

Morton is currently 5-12 and hasn’t won a game since the All-Star break. Looking at the numbers its very interesting to see how different the first half and second half numbers is. The biggest difference seems to be the K/9, which was 7.54 in the first half, but has dropped off quite a bit and Morton has a second half K/9 of 5.45. Luckily for him the walks remain strong but they are trending up having a BB/9 of 3.17 in the first half and have slowly raised to 3.55 in the second half and are approaching a danger zone. Teams seem to find him more hittable with a big jump in BAA rising from .225 to .305.

Morton’s overall numbers are strong but at this stage of the season teams care less about season stats and care more for the last few weeks’ stats. Given this injury it is fair to say he may have been suffering from issues for a little while and could have had an effect on him. Another possibility is the injuries of the team have caught up to him as well and the defense behind him has gotten weaker. To defend this we look at the GB% he’s had and in fact he’s generated more ground balls in the second half and lowered his fly balls by 4%. When Morton comes back from the DL he should fit right back into the rotation and we can see if either of these were the issue.

Charlie Morton

Splits

K/9 BB/9 BAA WHIP BABIP ERA FIP OBP OPS wOBA
1st Half 7.54 3.17 .225 1.19 .274 3.32 3.79 .319 .652 .296
2nd Half 5.45 3.55 .305 1.58 .355 5.73 3.77 .382 .780 .351

Scherzer and AL Cy Young Conversation

latimes.com

latimes.com

As Fox Sports Detroit Detroit Tigers game analyst Rod Allen would say, Max Scherzer was on one Thursday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

The Tigers right-handed ace struck out a season-high 14 against the Buccos over eight shutout innings, recording his American League-leading 14th win in the process.

With Scherzer’s dominant start Thursday, last year’s AL Cy Young award winner has now gone eight innings in two consecutive outings, and has allowed only seven hits and one earned run in his last 16 innings pitched.

Equally impressive is the fact that the strikeout artist has recorded 25 punch outs in his last two starts, with 11 coming on August 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The reigning Cy Young award winner is not just making batters swing and miss at a premium rate, as he’s failed to allow more than three earned runs in all of his last 10 times taking the mound as the Detroit starting pitcher. In fact, his last time permitting more than three came on June 17 against the pesky Royals, who tagged the frontline arm for 10.

If you don’t believe those numbers truly tell the tale of Mad Max’s dominance over his last 10 outings, let me also tell you this: The righty has allowed a total of 10 runs in the past seven times he’s taken the hill, equating to less than one and a half runs allowed per game.

Does Scherzer’s recent run mean he’s on the verge of adding a second Cy Young to his trophy shelf?

Well, first let’s look at the other candidates for the award.

Based on wins above replacement, King Felix of the Seattle Mariners is the clear-cut favorite as he’s been worth six wins above replacement – the most among AL starting pitchers and the second-most in baseball among starting arms behind LA Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

As for Detroit’s soon-to-be free agent hard-throwing hurler in Scherzer, he has the third-most WAR for pitchers plus the eighth-most among all major leaguers.

Two divisional rivals of Scherzer trail the righty by less than half a run in WAR – White Sox towering lefty Chris Sale and Indians right-handed ace Corey Kluber, meaning that three of the game’s best starters pitch in the AL Central.

WAR isn’t the only sabermetric stat of note which can be used to determine the dominance , or lack thereof, of a starting pitcher, however.

Fielding independent pitching is also a key stat to consider when analyzing the overall success of a big league arm.

To no surprise, the top two pitchers in terms of WAR are the same two who top the list for FIP, in LA’s Kershaw with an FIP below two and the M’s Hernandez with a mark under two and a half.

The only other hurlers with an FIP under two and a half are the AL Central’s own Kluber and Sale.

With an earned run average nearly one whole run less than Scherzer, a WHIP of under one plus a strikeout per nine innings rate equal to Mad Max’s, I would say that “The Condor” in Sale is the most dominant ace in the Central.

Additionally, Scherzer’s not even truly the best right-handed ace in his own division, as the Tribe’s go-to, top of the rotation hurler owns a better strikeouts per walks ratio plus an ERA which is more than half a run better than the Tigers ace.

Simply put, Kluber and Sale have pitched more like Cy Young caliber arms than the AL’s best pitcher in 2013 thus far this season.

And this is without even mentioning that the lanky lefty of the ChiSox possesses the lowest hits per nine innings mark of all ML arms with less than six and a half per game.

If that’s not enough already to exemplify the dominance of the southpaw, let me also point out that he sports the best ERA+, which measures out to an earned run average that is 197 points better than the 2014 league average.

So this year, I don’t believe there’s any question that the South Side of Chicago’s top arm has been the second best pitcher in the Junior Circuit behind only the 2010 AL Cy Young winner in King Felix.

However, there’s reason to be concerned about the Venezuelan product’s candidacy for a second piece of hardware.

The King’s bid might have been halted by an injury he suffered in his start Saturday night against Detroit.

He exited the outing after being hit in the hip by an Ian Kinsler groundball in the fourth inning, which effectively ended his streak of 16 consecutive starts in which he went at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer.

Despite the sore hip, the King is expected to make his next start, and he should remain the AL Cy Young favorite unless the injury proves to be more severe.

Do you guys expect the King to reign supreme once again in 2014 by becoming a two-time Cy Young champ? Or is it time for the torch to be passed from the Seattle workhorse to a less experienced frontline arm like Kluber or Sale?

Express your opinion by leaving a comment in the comments section below.

Also, vote in the poll below to let us know who you think will be crowned Cy Young in the Junior Circuit, if it’s not the masterful Emerald City righty.

Follow OPSN contributor Vito Chirco on Twitter @VitoJerome for more of his opinions on all the latest MLB happenings.

Talent Comparisons: Griffey vs Harper

Bryce Harper

            I’ve wanted to look at younger players using stats but small samples or a player just not reaching that potential we know he has always held me back. This issue popped up when I decided to make an article on Bryce Harper, a player that has great potential but only seems to periodically reach it then slump. So what I decided to do is to look at his skill set and find a comparison to said player. Today were going to be looking at Bryce Harper and Ken Griffey Jr. at each of their 21 age year.

Bryce Harper

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
2014 10.9% 28.2% .257 .340 .390 .730 .133 .350 .322 104 0.4

 

Ken Griffey Jr.

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
1991 11.2% 13.0% .327 .399 .527 .926 .201 .347 .399 148 6.9

 

There are some big differences between the two but to be fair Harper isn’t going to play nearly as many games as Griffey did. Harper is currently at 62 games and if he played every game for the rest of the season he’d end up with 91 compared to Griffey’s 154. The injuries seem to be to have hurt Harper’s production this year but once again we have seen the flashes of glory we expect from him.

Griffey was more developed quickly than Harper has so far and we see an advanced command of the plate having a BB% and K% that are almost identical to each other. Griffey was also able to generate more power than Harper simply looking at their ISO where Griffey has 68 points on Harper. Comparing HR’s to each other Harper’s measly 6 is far from Griffey’s 22 but Harper has hit 20 and 22 his pervious season so we could say this is hiccup in his development.

This is sadly as far as we can go with the number since many saber stats weren’t tracked until around 2000. When it comes to Harper compared to Griffey I would say we have to be patient with him. Griffey was a special case where he was able to reach his potential right off the bat while Harper is going to have to take some time to develop. I am a firm believer in Harper’s skills and his talent and while this year may be a loss for him I expect some good things next year.

“The Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig

sabr.org

sabr.org

As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become a huge phenomenon in the United States, and has made people become aware of this horrible disease, the disease is also named Lou Gehrig’s disease. That is because New York Yankees legend and Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig died from ALS, at the age of 37, on June 2, 1941.

As I like to do, I want to give you a perspective on Lou Gehrig the player.

On June 1, 1925 Lou Gehrig would enter a game as a pinch hitter for Paul “Pee Wee” Wanninger and play 2,130 consecutive games as his last game would be April 30, 1939. A record which would stand until September 6, 1995, when Cal Ripken Jr. would break it.

Gehrig started his Yankees career in 1923, but in the ’23 and ’24 seasons, he would only play 23 games total. Once inserted into the lineup in 1925 and playing in 126 games, Gehrig would bat .295 hit 20 home runs and drive in 68 RBI. The 20 home runs would put Gehrig in a tie for 10th in the American League.

The 1926 season Gehrig wouldn’t have the home run numbers as he would only hit 16, but he would bat .313, drive in 109 runs, score 135 runs, hit 47 double and a league leading 20 triples.

Then the famous 1927 season with the Murder’s Row New York Yankees, Gehrig would put up one of the most amazing seasons ever. He would bat .373, hit 47 home runs, drive in 173 RBI, score 149 runs, hit 18 triples, produce 218 hits, a .765 slugging percentage and league leading 52 doubles, which would enable him to win his first of two MVP awards.

The 11 seasons from 1927 until 1937 Gehrig’s numbers are off the charts. Over that span he would bat .350 or higher in 6 seasons, hit 40 or more home runs in 5 seasons, drive in 140 or more runs in 9 seasons, score 130 or more runs in 9 seasons and have 200 or more hits in 8 seasons.

The 1931 season Gehrig would bat .341, hit 46 home runs, drive in 184 RBI, score 163 runs while collecting 211 hits. He is one of two players to have 160+ RBI and runs scored in a season, with the other being Babe Ruth.

Gehrig would go on to win the triple crown in 1934, he would bat .363, hit 49 home runs and drive in 166 RBI, while also leading the league in on-base (.465) and slugging (.706) percentage.

Gehrig would win his second MVP award in the 1936 season while batting .354, hitting 49 home runs and driving in 152 runs. He would also score a remarkable 167 runs scored, which is 4th all-time for a single season.

At the age of 36, Gehrig’s career would end with him just playing 8 games in the 1939 season, but over a career he would compile a .340 batting average, 493 home runs, 1995 RBI, 1888 runs scored, 534 doubles, 163 triples, .447 on-base percentage and a .632 slugging percentage.

On July 4, 1939, Gehrig would give his “The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech. I want to end this article by posting that speech, but remember to visit www.alsa.org and donate what you can to help cure this terrible disease named after a great man.

Here is the speech.

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine looking men as are standing in uniform in this ballpark today? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift—that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies—that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter—that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body—it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed—that’s the finest I know.

So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.

Follow OPSN CO-Founder and CEO Vince Lombardi Jr. On Twitter

Pedro Martinez says Yes to Clemens and Bonds

 

In the ever-heated steroid battle Pedro Martinez threw his hat into the ring.

“With all due respect to everybody that votes, I’ll have to say Roger and Barry Bonds are two guys that I think had enough numbers before anything came out to actually earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.”

 

Martinez went on to say:

“I’m not quite sure 100 percent how close they will be before all the things came out, but in my heart, if you asked me before any of that, I would’ve said, ‘Yes, 100 percent,’ without looking back.”

 

“It wasn’t just the individual performances. [It was] how they dominated the time that they came up and stayed in the big leagues until those things happened. I believe they have a legit chance, and I think, with time, the voters will take into consideration what they did previously.”

 

Not to long ago Tony LaRussa came out in favor of letting players that have either tested positive for steroids or were accused of steroid use to be allowed into the hall.

The one oddity that I noticed about Martinez’s a comment is at no point does he actually bring up the steroid issue is in any way using that in his decision. Since both Clemens and Bonds are accused of steroid use to bolster their numbers in some way. Will his words have any sway over the voters? Sadly I highly doubt it. As a firm believer that both do indeed belong in the Hall of Fame I’ve noticed that the voters are slow to forget and even slower to forgive both Bonds and Clemens for treatment of the press outside the game.

Do they deserve to be in the Hall? Well here’s their career numbers and you can decide for yourself.

Barry Bonds

BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
Career 20.3% 12.2% .298 .444 .607 1.051 .309 .285 .345 173 164.0

 

Roger Clemens

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BAA WHIP BABIP ERA ERA- FIP FIP- WAR
Career 8.55 2.89 0.66 .226 1.17 .284 3.12 70 3.09 70 139.5

 

 

For more up to date baseball news and info you can follow me on twitter @Jbiesiada

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