By: Noah Wright
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Pirates’ closer Felipe Vazquez’s bullpen role may be in jeopardy after a heartbreaking blown save last night against NL Central Rival, The St. Louis Cardinals. The game ended with a walk-off homerun from Yairo Munoz who hit it off a Vazquez 95.8 MPH fastball. This has not been the only time Vazquez has struggled this year, as this is his fourth blown save. Last year he was an extremely dominant pitcher, even not giving up an earned run in the entire month of July, to now having his role in jeopardy. His struggles have had Pirate fans wondering, what happened to Felipe Vazquez?
On Sunday, it was reported Felipe felt soreness in his left forearm (throwing arm). It has been apparent all year that something was wrong with his throwing arm. Vazquez’s signature pitch is his blazing fastball. Last year, his fastball averaged in the 98-100 MPH range. His performance and velocity with the fastball in 2017 rivaled that of Aroldis Chapman. This year, Vazquez’s fastball has averaged in the 95-97 MPH range. Vazquez also claimed the fastest pitch thrown by someone not named Chapman in 2017, at a whopping 102.6 MPH. So far in 2018, Vazquez has barely touched 100 MPH a few times this season. With his lack of velocity, Vazquez can’t blow the fastball by batters like he did last year. It has also caused his strikeout rate to dip from 10.51 last year, to 9.27 this year. The injury may also be affecting his control as well, with his walk rate rising a whole 1.24 points from last year to this year.
With his apparent injury, dip in velocity, and loss of control, it is likely Felipe will require a DL stint. While it’s not official, I predict he will be placed on The DL by the end of today.
BY: Zane Miller
PHOTO CREDIT: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
The Reds defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 on Wednesday afternoon, salvaging one game of their three game series as the Diamondbacks won on Monday and Tuesday night.
“We got six RBIs from our corner outfielders,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “You never can ask for that. But you've got to get production from your corner outfielders.”
The Diamondbacks pulled out to an early lead as first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hit a two run homer and left fielder David Peralta had an RBI single in the first inning, followed by a solo home run by catcher John Ryan Murphy in the third. However, the Reds picked things up in the fourth as left fielder Adam Duvall hit a grand slam home run in the fourth to tie the game up. The team then continued the momentum into the sixth as right fielder Scott Schebler had a two run shot to give the Reds their first lead of the game. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI single, as the Reds went on to win 7-4.
Reds starting pitcher Sal Romano earned the win with five innings pitched while allowing four earned runs on seven hits but no walks. Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin allowed six earned runs on eight hits and a walk as he was saddled with the loss. Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias picked up the save.
The Reds will have an off-day on Thursday before taking on the San Diego Padres on the road on Friday night.
By: Noah Wright
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Charlie Morton; you probably know him as the ace-like starter for The Houston Astros, but if you’re a Pirate fan like me, you probably wonder “how did this happen?”. Currently, Morton has a 2.04 ERA, which would be just 2 points higher than 2 time Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, good for 3rd place in AL ERA. He’s also got a pretty good FIP of 3.32, showing that it’s not his defense completely carrying him. His strikeout rate is at a career high at 10.9 K/9, and has a pretty good walk rate at just 3.1 walks/9 in 61.2 innings this year. But how exactly did he go from back end rotation arm at best, to an ace level pitcher and World Series hero? I have theory that could explain just why he’s the pitcher he is today, and explain why he struggled for the first part of his career.
Morton was used the wrong way
If you’ve been a Pirate fan for any of the past 5-8 seasons, you probably remember announcers calling Charlie Morton Ground Chuck, for his tendency to get ground balls. If you look at Morton today, you’d probably think he’s strike-out Chuck. This is where I think The Pirates misused Morton. The Pirates wanted Morton to be a pitch to contact and while he did just that, with a ground ball % of 50%+ each season he pitched over 100+ innings with The Bucs, he still struggled somewhat, with an overall 4.39 ERA, and 4.03 FIP, with just 6.3 K/9 in his Pirate career. Once Morton left The Pirates, Charlie’s strikeout rate, and performance rose. Once he signed with The Phillies, Morton’s K/9 rate was 9.9. His fastball velocity also went from the low-90’s to the mid-to-high 90’s. Though his ERA was 4.15, he would have finished with a career low 3.09 FIP, but was limited to 17.1 innings and then suffering a hamstring injury, which kept him out for the year. Another thing to point out about Morton’s 2016 season is that he started to use his cutter at at a consistent rate, first time he did that since 2011, and started to use his curveball a high rate.
Morton signed on with The Astros the next year, and he continued with a similar performance. His velocity stayed in the mid/high 90 range, while his K/9 kept at a steady 10, and his ERA/FIP also was a decent 3.62/.3.46.
My point is, Morton has been a strikeout pitcher from the start. His best minor league seasons were when he had a K/9 rate of 8+. His best major league seasons have been when his K/9 rate were above 9. The Pirates used Morton wrong. Whether it was manager Clint Hurdle, or pitching coach Ray Searage who wanted Morton to work as a ground ball pitcher, it didn’t work that well as to when Morton became a strikeout pitcher
By: Noah Wright
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins will likely be placed on The DL after fouling a pitch off his chin, resulting in a broken jaw in Monday’s game. It is unknown the exact amount of time Hoskins will spend on The DL. Hoskins came to The Show with a bang last year, blasting 18 homeruns in his first 212 PA’s, and batting .259/.396/.618 playing both LF and 1B. The slugger however has not found that success with the bat this year; as he is batting just .233/.363/.415 with 6 home runs and 28 RBI’s in 216 PA’s. While he’s never been known so much for his glove, Hoskins is also underperforming in the grass. The former first base prospect has -9 DRS, -1.2 defensive WAR, and a -1.3 UZR. However, Hoskins is producing an above average 115 wRC+, and had an excellent April, batting .303/.457/.528 with 4 homeruns and 19 RBI’s.
Hoskins’ injury could open up more playing time for Nick Williams, who was sharing time in RF with fellow outfielder Aaron Altherr. But, Williams has been struggling at the plate; as he’s batted just .229/.308/.410 in 117 PA’s. The Phils could also use rookie Scott Kingery could also see a handful of playing time in the grass, but has also been struggling in the batters box.
By: Noah Wright
Kathy Willens / AP
Brewers hard throwing lefty relief pitcher, Josh Hader, has made headlines, for he is having a historically great season for a relief pitcher. The former top prospect is pitching better than anyone expected, with a 1.15 ERA, .67 WHIP, .94 FIP, a 3.27 walk/9 rate (total 12), and an out of this world 18 K/9 rate (total 66!) all in 33 innings. Compared to other fantastic seasons by relief pitchers, how does Hader compare? Let’s find out.
To start with, Hader already has a 1.5 WAR, in 33 innings of play. In comparison, Trevor Hoffman’s highest WAR season was 4.1 WAR in 1998, in 73 innings of work. He’s also on pace on having more WAR than Francisco Rodriguez had in his 62 save season, a single season record, with 2.5 WAR in 2008 with just 68.1 innings pitched. Legendary closer, Mariano Rivera had a WAR of 5 in his second year in 1996, in 107 innings, as he worked as a long relief pitcher that season. While Hader has a pretty outside shot at reaching 5 WAR this season, it’s not completely out of reality. In a more modern season, Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen had a season for the ages in 2017, where he recorded a 1.32 ERA, .746 WHIP, 1.31 FIP, while only walking 7 in 68.1 innings, and striking out 109, which resulted in 3 WAR. Hader is easily on pace to reach 3 WAR by the end of the season.
Then, there’s Hader’s ridiculous strikeout rate. In 33 innings pitched, Hader has 62 strikeouts, which results in a historic 18 K/9 rate, and a whiff% somewhere between 23-25%. Last year, teammate Corey Knebel had a 14.9 K/9, and Kenley was right behind him with 14.4 K/9. The last player to have a K/9 higher than 15 is Aroldis Chapman, who reached 17.7 K/9 in 54 innings in 2014. He’s also got more strikeouts than a handful of starters, even some that are considered strikeout pitchers. His greatest achievement with the K isn’t his 17.4 K/9 rate, but his outing on April, 30th. On this night, Hader would pitch an outing for the ages, as he struck out 8 in 2 and two-thirds innings, striking out every batter he faced, and earning the save. In comparison, hall-of-fame lefty, Randy Johnson once pitched 7 relief innings, and struck out 16 batters.
Batters can’t figure out Hader either. Opponents only have a .171 BABIP against him, and Hader doesn’t let the ball out of the park when he gets hit, with just a .6 HR/9 rate, and a 9% HR/FB rate. It’s also not like patient batters can hit off of him right now either, as Hader has a 3.27 walks/9 rate, a 9.2 walk %, and 33% of his pitches have been a ball.
To sum it all up, Josh Hader has been absolutely historically dominant this season. Not only is the lefty Brewer striking people out at a video game-ish rate, but he also knows where the strike zone is. Just to add on, this 25-year old phenom is rivaling hall of fame players with his impressive single game feats, and he’s making MVP-level batters look foolish.
by: Zane Miller
Photo Credit: Jamie SABAU/Getty Images
The Reds lost the second game of their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night 5-2, clinching the series victory for the Diamondbacks.
The Reds got on the board first as second baseman Scooter Gennett drove in a run on a first inning RBI groundout, but the Diamondbacks responded in the bottom of the inning as first baseman Daniel Descalso hit a two run home run. The Diamondbacks then continued the offense into the third inning with an RBI double from second baseman Ketel Marte and an RBI sacrifice fly by third baseman Jake Lamb, who also added another run in the fifth by taking advantage of a Reds throwing error. The Reds would get a run back in the sixth as third baseman Eugenio Suarez hit a solo homer, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Diamondbacks went on to take the 5-2 win.
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley allowed two earned runs, six hits and two walks over six innings, earning the win, while Reds starter Luis Castillo went five innings, giving up four earned runs, four hits and three walks in the loss. Diamondbacks reliever Brad Boxberger earned the save.
The teams will finish off their series on Wednesday afternoon.
By: Ethan Cushman
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
The Astros have placed starting catcher, Brian McCann on the 10-day DL. Reports are saying he has suffered a sore knee, which he has encountered before. Despite Brian McCann hitting a weak .219/.313/.351, he's been valued as a leader of a really good pitching staff with a lot of breakout stars. Plus McCann has caught 32% of runners trying to steal on him this season. With the injury to McCann, Max Stassi who has batted a decent .300/.371/.525 in 89 PA's this season will likely get most of the playing time until further notice, and The Astros have selected Tim Federowicz contract to add more depth.
by: Zane Miller
photo credit: Bob Levey/getty images
The Reds fell in the first game of their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-5 on Monday afternoon, as the Reds continue to try to turn around their west coast road trip.
The Reds got on the board first with an RBI single by left fielder Adam Duvall in the second inning, but the Diamondbacks responded in the bottom of the inning with left fielder Socrates Brito taking advantage of a fielding error to get a run home, followed by a three run home run by shortstop Nick Ahmed to give the team an early 4-1 lead. The offense continued for the Diamondbacks in the fourth as catcher John Ryan Murphy hit a solo homer and Ahmed drove in another run on an RBI groundout. In the fifth, however, the Reds got an RBI double from third baseman Eugenio Suarez and a three RBI double by Duvall to close the gap to within one. However, the Diamondbacks would come back in the bottom of the inning with a three run homer by right fielder Chris Owings, then again in the sixth with an RBI double from pinch hitter Ketel Marte and an RBI groundout from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks would tack on another run in the eighth on a bases loaded walk by third baseman Jake Lamb and go on to take the 12-5 victory.
“It was one of those ones where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said.
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Matt Koch went five innings giving up five earned runs, 11 hits and one walk, but was still able to earn the win. Reds starter Homer Bailey struggled, allowing six earned runs on six hits and one walk in the loss.
The teams will play again on Tuesday night.
By: Noah Wright
The Pirates have gotten off to a surprising start, going 28-24 to start the season. They’ve even held first place at one point. While The Bucs have been on a downturn, losing 3 straight series, they are still in a good spot. Management has been more reluctant to pull the trigger on guys, like George Kontos after blowing a few holds, but still are stubborn on some other decisions. If The Pirates can do the following, they can easily sustain their success, and stay in contention
1.) Stop starting Gregory Polanco every day.
I think Gregory Polanco is a good teammate, and has shown the potential to be just as good of a player, but until he can start picking it up, Polanco should not be starting every day. So far on the season, the right fielder has hit .209/.324/.424 in 205 PA’s. He’s also not helping too much with his glove, with -5 DRS, -.8 defensive WAR, and a very uncharacteristic -3.6 UZR. He’s also made 85.3% contact with pitches inside the strike zone, a career low since 2014 (his rookie year). Right now, rookie top prospect Austin Meadows has shown he deserves everyday playing time. In his first 30 PA’s, Meadows has hit .433/.433/.867 with 3 homeruns. Until Meadows cools down, or Polanco starts to show he deserves playing time, Meadows should get the nod until further notice.
2.) Stop giving Michael Feliz so many late inning opportunities, and let one of the better options try a later role a few times.
Michael Feliz was one of the pitchers The Pirates got in return for Gerrit Cole. On the season, Feliz has an increased 5.31 ERA, along with a 4.09 walks/9 rate, and .327 opponent babip. Feliz also lost the game on Sunday giving up 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 hit, and only getting one out until Felipe Vasquez had to come in, and try (but failed) to clean up his mess. Until Feliz figures things out, he should be regulated to a middle-relief/low leverage role, and Richard Rodriguez should see more action in Feliz’s former role. Rich-Rod has been lights out this season, with a miniscule 1.40 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 1.4 walk/9 rate, and a robust 14.4 K/9 rate, in 19.1 innings of work. In all the games Rodriguez has played, 6 out of the 19 he’s pitched in, The Pirates were either winning, or losing by 3 or more runs. Kyle Crick, who The Pirates got in return for Andrew McCutchen from The Giants, has also pitched well, and deserves more action in later innings.
3.) Use some of the young players that have performed, and stop relying on Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova as much.
Nick Kingham, who showed he has all-star potential, has been recalled from triple-A, and optioned back to the minors twice, while Jameson Taillon, and Ivan Nova continue to underperform. While both have showed ace potential in the past, The Pirates rely too much on them to carry the rotation. While both have shown ace potential a few times this year, both right now have an ERA over 4.50, and FIP’s over 4. I also hope that they leave Joe Musgrove in the rotation, so long as he is performing good.
4.) Do something about the bench.
Right now, The Pirates’ best bench bat is Elias Diaz, and while he’s performing very well with the bat, he is an outlier to other bench bats. Corner infield/outfielder Jose Osuna has showed potential at the major league level, and is performing very well at Triple-A, batting .359/.409/.628 in 89 PA’s. Sean Rodriguez also should be regulated to just a late inning defensive replacement role. The Pirates also do not have any lefty bench power, with Adam Frazier being the only lefty on the bench. It would not hurt to sign first baseman/left fielder Adam Lind to a one year deal to help the bench.
5.) At the deadline, get a solid starter.
I’m not saying they should dump every prospect they have into acquiring Clayton Kershaw if The Dodgers’ keep losing, and decide to sell off some pieces, but get someone who can help their rotation. Like I said earlier, they need to stop relying so much on Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon, and let some of the young guys pitch. But they could also add a guy who can eat some innings, and do it effectively. Rangers will likely be looking to trade Bartolo Colon by the deadline, if they haven’t already. He’d be a cheap pitcher who would not cost a big prospect names. A’s Trevor Cahill is also in a situation like Colon, has performed well, and would cost just about the same as Colon.
The Pirates hot start has caught the attention some attention, as the fans,including me they were predicted to not even be close to where they are right now. They’ve done this by pulling the trigger on players before it was too late, like George Kontos being DFA'd after struggling, and moving Edgar Santana into his former role. But they need to do more in order to sustain this success, and they have the opportunity to further build off of it as well.
By: Noah Wright
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Orioles all-star shortstop/third baseman is nearly a guarente to end the season with another team, for he is on the last year of his contract, and on a struggling team as of now. Machado had been moved to shortstop this year, and so far, he has batted better than season’s past, with a .327/.339/.619 line to go along with 14 home runs and a league leading 44 RBI’s. While his shortstop defense has been somewhat underwhelming (-8 DRS, -.5 defensive WAR, -3.1 UZR), he has always rated as a way above average third baseman, but has previously stated he didn’t want to move back to third. With his status up in the air, and multiple teams looking for a bat like him, let's look at some possible suitors for Manny Machado.
1.) LA Dodgers: With all-star shortstop and MVP candidate having to undergo season ending Tommy John Surgery, and having enough prospects to make a trade like this, it seems The Dodgers are the perfect candidate to make a trade for Machado. The one thing is, The Dodgers are 23/28 and could potentially be sellers if they do not increase production from their pitching, and offense.
2.) NY Yankees: The Yankees have enough prospect depth to make a trade for Manny, but like stated earlier, Machado wants to stay at short, and Didi Gregorius is blocking that right now. While they could move Didi to third, rookie Miguel Andujar has been performing well as of lately. If Andujar’s productions takes a fall off a cliff, The Yankees could be more interested in Machado, but right now, I do not see them making a trade for him.
3.) Phillies: The Phillies have been somewhat surprise contenders for The NL East, which has put them in talk about being buyers at the deadline. Like The Yankees and Dodgers, The Phillies have a deep enough farm to acquire Machado, and room on the line-up/roster to do so, with current third baseman, Maikel Franco being inconsistent with his bat, and shortstop J.P. Crawford in The DL, and has experience at third, second base as well.
4.) Cubs: The Cubs shortstop, Addison Russell, while he has a very good glove (7 DRS, 1 defensive WAR, 3.1 UZR), has struggled with the bat. So far this year, Russell is batting .253, but with a .701 OPS. The Cubs could use the Machado’s bat, but do not have nearly as deep of a farm system as previously mentioned teams, and The Orioles are likely to be looking for prospects.
5.) Atlanta Braves: Like The Phillies, The Braves have been surprise contenders for The NL East, though have been using patchwork at third base until top prospect, Austin Riley is ready. Currently, The Braves have used Ryan Flaherty (mainly), Johan Camargo, Jose Bautista (until they released him), and Charlie Culberson at the hot corner. While Ryan Flaherty has produced well enough (.275/.368/.376) to stay at the hot corner for now, The Braves could use an upgrade, and they have enough prospects to make a trade for a big name player, Machado wants to stay at short. It is possible The Braves could move current young shortstop Dansby Swanson to the hot corner for part of the season, but it is unlikely.
6.) St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals infield offense has been somewhat underwhelming, with Paul DeJong and Jose Martinez the only ones batting above .250/.315/.470, and DeJong is on The DL right now. While The Cards do not have the farm systems of teams like other potential suitors for Machado, they do have prospects they could deal.
Manny Machado, who is currently on the last year of his contract, is also on The Orioles who are currently struggling. It is all but confirmed he will be on another team by the end of the season. There are also a handful of teams that have the potential to acquire the all-star shortstop/third basemen.
By: Ethan Cushman
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Yanks reworked there rosters on Saturday; trading minor league catcher Erik Kratz to the Milwaukee Brewers and releasing 1st baseman Adam Lind. They have also optioned utility player Ronald Torreyes to triple a to make room for Greg Bird. Adam Lind fell into the Yankees lap this offseason after hitting .303/.362/.513 with 14 HRs and 59 RBI's. Despite the good batting line, he was hurt by the slow market and the Yankees scooped him up on a minor league deal. But with Greg Bird back he was never going to get a shot. The most surprising move was sending fan favorite Ronald Torreyes to Triple-A. He hits in high leverage situations all over and the fans and players love him. sadly because of roster construction the Yankees decided for now he will be the odd one out. The Yankees will likely bring him back in the near future though. But now the Yankees have Clint Fraizer, Tyler Wade, Brandon Drury to go along with Torreyes in Triple-A.
By: Ethan Cushman
AP Photo/Rich Schultz
Greg Bird has been injured for many parts of the past 3 seasons but in the times he's been healthy he has shown the potential of a great hitter. But Greg Bird must come back and prove he can stay healthy. If he can he is a great addition to a lineup. going into the year the one and only complaint you could have with the Yankees lineup was the small lack of lefty power. Cashman and Boone thought Didi with Bird and the combination of Gardner at the top of the lineup would be enough lefty power. But with Bird hurt then there started to be major concerns about the lefty power. And now with Didi struggling Bird is a welcome addition to the lineup. Now who will be the odd man out. Unfortunately for him Tyler Austin despite him showing good potential will likely be the odd man out. they will likely cut a pitcher for now but eventually Austin will get sent to triple a. But maybe this is for the best he needs to learn how to hit righties or else he will be a platoon player. Also I talked about in a previous article about players we could get maybe this stockpile at first with Neil Walker as well could allow Cashman to pick up a player with Austin being included in the package. Many teams would like to have a future first baseman with 20-30 hr potential. Austin has also shown that he is a grinder and will work through other challenges in this case work on hitting righties. He was once a consensus top 100 prospect but he injured himself many times into ireivency and he was eventually DFA’ed. But he worked through it to get to where he is today. Therefore if the Yankees decide to trade him he could draw a nice return/ be a big piece in acquiring a really good player. But as for Bird he will get his chance for the rest of the year to produce and be a big part of a run which the Yankees hope will result in #28.
5/25/2018 0 Comments
By: Noah Wright
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier today, it was announced that The Mariners have acquired Alex Colome and Denard Span from The Tampa Bay Rays for right handers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, because of how early in the season the trade was made, and The Mariners not being one of the teams speculated in rumors with Colome.
Alex Colome, 29, was originally a starting prospect for The Rays, but took over the closer role in 2016. Since being moved to that role, Colome has thrived, recording a 2.63 ERA, 9.4 K/9 rate, 2.8 walk rate, a .7 HR/9 rate, and a 3.16 FIP, along with 84 saves in 129 innings between 2016-2017. Colome has somewhat struggled in 2018. In 21.2 innings of work, Colome has worked for a 4.15 ERA, and a career high walk rate at 3.3 walks/9. However, the closer may find better fortune if he has a better defense behind him, as he has recorded a 2.69 FIP, a career low.
Outfielder, Denard Span was also included in this trade. The Rays acquired Span from The Giants during the off-season in the Longoria-Arroyo trade. Span, the former Twin, National and Giant has produced middling results since coming to Tampa. So far, the 34 year old has produced a .238/.364/.385 line in 173 PA’s. His OBP is the highest it has been since 2015, when he played 61 games with The Nats.While his defense has slowly deteriorated over the past few seasons, Span posted positive marks in DRS (1), highest UZR (-2.7) since 2013, and highest defensive WAR (exactly 0) since 2014 (also 0).
The two prospects The Rays got in return were Andrew Moore, and Tommy Romero. Moore, 23, was drafted by The Mariners in the 2nd round (72nd overall) in 2015 MLB Draft. Moore has seen limited time in The MLB, with 59 innings in 2017 under his belt. In those 59 innings, Moore struggled, with a 5.34 ERA, 2.1 homerun/9 rate, with just 4.7 K/9, and a 5.65 FIP. However, Moore did post a 1.153 WHIP that season, and has performed well in double-A this season (3.04 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.5 walks/9, 1.1 HR/9, and a 1.033 WHIP). Romero, 20, was drafted by The Mariners last year in the 15th round. In his time split between rookie-ball (last year), and A-Ball (this year), The right hander has pitched in 87 innings (22 games/11 starts), with a 2.47 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 1.122 WHIP.
By: Noah Wright
MICHAEL DWYER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Red Sox announced they announced earlier today that they have activated second baseman Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list. More surprisingly however, is that they have DFA’ed first baseman Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez owns a .254/.313/.395 batting line, and is owed $22 million this season.
It was previously speculated that utility catcher, Blake Swihart, would be DFA’ed, as he requested to be traded a few weeks ago, and he has not been performing well when given time. The Sox though DFA’ed Hanley Ramirez instead. The former shortstop had signed on with The Red Sox during the 2014-2015 off season, and signed a 4 year deal, plus a vesting option for 2019. Hanley started off the season well, hitting .330/.400/.474 with 3 homeruns and 17 RBI’s in 110 PA’s in April, but suffered in May, hitting an abysmal .163/.200/.300 in 85 PA’s.
While Ramirez has had a struggle through May, the move still comes as a surprise; as Hanley has been a decent producer at the plate as soon as 2016, and even in April this year, and the aforementioned Swihart has been struggling, and pitcher Brian Johnson has been struggling as well.
By: Noah Wright
USA Today Sports
Batting average has always been a decent way to determine a players batting ability, but in the new age of stats, and percentages, average has somewhat been discredited (not that average is useless anymore) to measure the true value of a batter. This has led to power hitters who don’t hit for average, but are patient hitters being called a three-true-outcome hitter, and being viewed differently because of it. Here, I will discuss the three-true-outcome theory, what is it, and why it’s useful.
What is the three-true-outcome theory?:
The three-true-outcome theory describes a batter who doesn’t hit for average, and strikes out a lot, but also draws a handful of walks, and hits for a great deal of power (K, walk, HR, being the 3 outcomes). You can identify a three-true-outcome hitter by someone who has a lower batting average, but decent OBP, and high slugging %. I would say the poster boy for this theory is Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn had 5 seasons where he batted under .250, walked at least 100 times, struck out at least 100 times, and hit 25+ home runs. Dunn overall has a .237 batting average, but a .364 OBP, .490 slugging %, with a 15.8% walk rate, and a 28.6% career K-rate.
Why is it useful?:
Like I said earlier, in the past, average has been a good way to determine a player’s ability in the batter’s box. This theory is a fairly modern baseball theory, and it also shows why batting average is not the best stat to use when comparing a player’s batting ability. While average is not completely useless, it doesn’t paint the full picture.
Cheslor Cuthbert’s 2016 batting-line: .274/.318/.413
Jake Lamb’s 2016 batting-line: .249/.332/.509
This is where the three-true-outcome theory comes into play:
Average would tell you that Cuthbert had a better season with the bat than Lamb, and while Cuthbert saw around 45 less AB’s than Lamb, Lamb had an OBP that was 14 points higher than Cuthbert’s, showing he drew a handful of more walks, and a slugging % that’s nearly 100 points higher, showing he hit more home runs, and more extra-base hits, the two stats this theory focuses on the most. The only thing Cuthbert did better with the bat that season compared to Lamb is hit more singles, and while singles are important, how productive is a hitter who just hits singles?
By: Noah Wright
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
White Sox catcher, Wellington Castillo, was hit with an 80-game suspension for PED use. Castillo signed a 2 year deal with The White Sox during the off-season. Castillo has produced a solid .267/.309/.466 line in his first 132 PA’s of the 2018 season. Castillo has been an average defender behind the plate (-5 DRS, 0 defensive WAR). He has also continued to throw runners out at a decent rate, at 32% of runners caught stealing this year.
Internally, The White Sox will likely use back-stop Omar Narvaez for now. They also have top prospect Zack Collins in double-A, but it’s likely they won’t rush him to the majors right now. The club could also look for options outside the organization. Carlos Ruiz and Geovany Soto still sit on the free agent market. They could also make a trade for a temporary solution. Padres’ back-up catcher A.J. Ellis has gotten off to a decent start, and Red Sox Blake Swihart could be DFA’ed soon, and Swihart had previously stated that he was requesting a trade.
UPDATE: White Sox claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from The A’s. This waiver claim, and the recent promotion of minor league catcher, Alfredo Gonzalez, gives The White Sox more depth after Castillo’s suspension.
By: Zane Miller
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
The Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Thursday afternoon, as the Reds took the series two games to three and got their first series victory against an NL Central opponent.
The Reds got on the board in the third inning as third baseman Eugenio Suarez got a grand slam home run to immediately give the Reds a 4-0 lead early. In the fifth, it was Reds right fielder Jesse Winker who added a solo homer to make it a 5-0 game. However, the Pirates would make a strong comeback effort in the second half of the game as first baseman David Freese hit a two run home run in the sixth and center fielder Austin Meadows also hit a two run shot in the ninth, but it would not be enough as the Reds won 5-4.
Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo went six innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits and a pair of walks on the way to the win. Pirates starter Ivan Nova went five and a third innings allowing four earned runs, seven hits and two walks on the way to the loss.
The Reds will next play on Friday night on the road against the Colorado Rockies.
By: Zane Miller
Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire
The Reds lost their second game of their three game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 in 12 innings on Wednesday night.
“That was a great ballgame, a great effort by everybody involved,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “Unfortunately, we have to say that in a losing cause.”
The game started out with the Pirates scoring in the first inning on a two run shot from catcher Francisco Cervelli, where the lead remained until the Pirates added to it in the fifth with an RBI single by left fielder Corey Dickerson. In the sixth, Pirates starting pitcher Chad Kuhl got in on the action as well with an RBI single to make it a 4-0 game.
However, the Reds responded in the bottom of the inning as second baseman and best offensive player for the Reds this season Scooter Gennett hit a solo homer, followed by a big eighth inning in which Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez hit an RBI sacrifice fly, pinch hitter Alex Blandino cut the lead in half with an RBI single and shortstop Jose Peraza got an RBI single to tie the game up. With nobody scoring in the ninth, the game was sent into extra innings.
With neither team scoring in either the tenth or eleventh innings, the Pirates had the go-ahead run across as second baseman Josh Harrison hit an RBI triple, but the Reds were unable to respond in the bottom of the 12th as the Pirates took it 5-4.
Kuhl went six innings, allowing one earned run over six innings on five hits and one walk, taking the no decision. Reds starter Homer Bailey went five innings allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and three walks, also getting a no decision. Pirates reliever Steven Brault took the win, while Reds reliever Dylan Floro was hit with the loss.
The teams will finish out the series on Thursday afternoon.
By: Zane Miller
David Kohl, USA TODAY Sports
The Reds won the first game of a three game homestand against the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 on Tuesday night, as the team looks for their first series sweep against a National League Central opponent.
While the game started out with an hour-long rain delay, it didn’t take long once play got underway for the Reds to score, with a pair of RBI doubles by second baseman Scooter Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez to make it a 2-0 game.
However, in the fourth, the Pirates got on the board as third baseman Colin Moran hit a solo homer, but the Reds came back in the fifth with Gennett swatting a grand slam home run to add to the Reds advantage. In the seventh, Pirates center fielder Austin Meadows hit a solo home run, but the Reds finished it off in the bottom of the inning on an RBI sacrifice fly from Gennett to make it a 7-2 win.
Reds starting pitcher Matt Harvey pitched six innings, with just one earned run allowed on three hits on two walks for his first win as a Red. Pirates starter Jameson Taillon also pitched six innings but gave up six earned runs, eight hits and one walk in the loss.
“He's gotten better as he went along,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said of Harvey. “Tonight was his third outing; it was the best of the three. The others were good, but to get him deeper in the game tonight and pitch out of trouble and get better as he went along was very encouraging.”
The teams will face off once again on Wednesday night.
By: Noah Wright
AP / Kathy Willens
Many young players have already made their debut this year, and some have seriously impacted their team with their performance in a good way. Some came into the season as potential Rookie Of The Year Candidates, while others weren’t even close to being top 100 prospects. Here are 7 rookies that have performed exceptionally well to start the year. (this list is in no particular order)
1.) Gleyber Torres (2B): Ranked as MLB’s 4th best prospect, Torres is living up to his hype. In his first 94 PA’s of his career, Torres has hit an outstanding .321/.389/.571, along with 6 home runs. He’s also performed well with the glove, with 5 DRS, .6 defensive WAR, and -.6 UZR.
2.) Miguel Andujar (3B): The Yankees’ other top prospect has more than held his own to start the 2018 season (made his debut last year). While he has not produced at the same level as Torres, Andujar has batted a solid .286/.296/.483. He may not be a big contributor with the glove (-6 DRS, -.5 defensive WAR, -3.5 UZR), Andujar is sure helping in the power numbers with a .483 slugging % and .197 ISO.
3.) Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH) LA Angels: The two way Japanese phenom had questions on how he’d perform with batting, and pitching in The States (but there more questions about his bat). Ohtani has put all those questions to rest so far this year. The 23-year old has batted a very good .321/.367/.619 including 6 home runs and 17 RBI’s in his first 90 PA’s. Ohtani is also performing well on mound. In his first 40.1 innings of work, Ohtani has pitched to a 3.55 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, 3.27 FIP, while striking out 11.6 K’s and limiting walks to just 3.1 BB/9.
4.) Colin Moran (3B): The corner infielder The Pirates got in the Gerrit Cole trade has performed well so far, as he’s platooned with David Freese at third base. In his first 139 PA’s of the season, Moran has hit .286/.381/.437, while showing decent plate discipline. Moran has been right around average so far with his glove, with 0 DRS, 0 defensive WAR, and -3.6 UZR.
5.) Christian Villanueva (3B): Since taking over at third base for The Padres late last year, Villanueva has performed very well. So far into the 2018 season (150 PA’s), Villanueva has batted .244/.320/.556 with 12 home runs, and 26 RBI’s. His home run and RBI total top all rookies right now. Though like Moran, Villanueva has been about average with fielding at the hot corner, with 0 DRS, 0 defensive WAR, and -2.7 UZR.
6.) Johnny Field (OF): Field is the only one on this list who hasn’t appeared on a top 100 prospect list, only making The Ray’s top 30 list once in 2015 (#30). He’s been a very good surprise to The Tampa Bay Rays, as the 26-year old has batted .308/.348/.554 with 4 homeruns, and 8 RBI’s in 70 PA’s. He’s also been good in the outfield with 4 DRS, .4 defensive WAR, and 2.6 UZR.
7.) Tyler Austin (1B): With Greg Bird on The DL, The Yankees called up Tyler Austin to take his spot for now. He’s made the best with his time in The Majors this year, batting .247/.308/.557 with 8 home runs and 23 RBI’s in 107 PA’s. He’s also been ok with the glove, recording 0 DRS, -.1 defensive WAR, and -.6 UZR.
By: Zane Miller
John Minchillo, AP
The Reds fell in the final game of their four game series against the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Sunday afternoon, making it a three out of four series in favor of the Cubs.
“Maybe we'll look back and say we were fortunate to win a game in that series," Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. "But when you're playing at home, you'd certainly like to win more than that for your home fans.”
The game began with the Reds getting on the board with an RBI single in the first inning by right fielder Scott Schebler, however there would not be much offense from the Reds from that point on as the Cubs came back in the second as left fielder Kyle Schwarber hit a two run homer to give the Cubs the lead, followed by shortstop Javier Baez hitting a solo homer. In the fifth, Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist drove in another solo shot to make it a 4-1 lead, which they added to in the seventh on an RBI sacrifice fly from center fielder Albert Almora Jr. as well as an RBI single by first baseman Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs the 6-1 win and the series victory.
Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish pitched six innings, giving up just one earned run on two hits and three walks to earn the win. Reds starter Tyler Mahle gave up four earned runs, seven hits and a pair of walks in the loss.
The Reds will next play on Tuesday night at home to start their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
By: Zane Miller
AP Photo/John Minchillo
The Reds and the Chicago Cubs split the second and third games of their series in a doubleheader on Saturday, as the Reds took the afternoon game 5-4 in 11 innings, while the Cubs came back to take the night game 10-0.
The afternoon game, which was rescheduled from a rainout on April 3rd, saw Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett drive in an RBI single in the first inning to put the team ahead early, however, the Cubs came back in the third as third baseman Kris Bryant got an RBI double to tie the game up. In the fourth, Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez grabbed an RBI sacrifice fly to put the Reds back in front, but the lead would not last long as Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks had an RBI double to tie the game back up. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds got the lead back once more as Gennett hit an RBI single and Suarez got an RBI double to make it a 4-2 game, but the Cubs got two runs of their own in the eighth, with right fielder Ian Happ getting a solo home run and first baseman Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI double, eventually sending the game to extra innings.
The teams would go scoreless until the Reds had a chance to take the win with the bases loaded and one out, which center fielder Billy Hamilton took advantage of by drawing a walk to drive in the winning run and make it a 5-4 victory in 11 innings.
Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo went five innings, allowing one earned run, six hits and five walks in the no decision, while Hendricks also had a no decision with three earned runs, six hits and two walks in five innings. Reds reliever Dylan Floro earned the win, while two Reds relievers, David Hernandez and Raisel Iglesias, each had blown saves. Cubs reliever Justin Wilson was faced with the loss.
The night game would be much less competitive, as the Cubs got on the board first in the third as Bryant hit an RBI groundout. They came right back in the fourth as Happ hit a solo homer, followed in the fifth by a two RBI double by Rizzo and three RBI triple by center fielder Jason Heyward to bust the game open. In the seventh, Heyward drove in another run with an RBI sacrifice fly, then getting an RBI sacrifice fly from Rizzo in the eighth, then tacking on an RBI double from center fielder Albert Almora Jr., who came into the game late as a defensive replacement, in the ninth inning as the Cubs went on to win 10-0.
Cubs starter Jose Quintana earned the win with seven innings pitched, allowing just one hit and four walks, while Reds starter Sal Romano took the loss with five innings pitched allowing seven earned runs on six hits and six walks.
The teams will finish off the series on Sunday afternoon.
By: Zane Miller
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images
The Reds fell in the first game of their four game series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night 8-1, in a game that was rain delayed for over an hour and a half before getting underway.
The Cubs bats got off to a hot start after the rain delay, with first baseman Anthony Rizzo, catcher Willson Contreras and shortstop Addison Russell all connecting on RBI singles in the first inning to give the Cubs an early 3-0 advantage. The Cubs would score another run in the third with second baseman Javier Baez hitting into a run-scoring double play. In the fifth, they continued to add to their advantage with left fielder Kyle Schwarber smacking an RBI double and starting pitcher Jon Lester getting an RBI sacrifice bunt that eventually forced opposing starter Homer Bailey out of the game. The Reds wouldn’t go quietly in the bottom of the inning, as left fielder Adam Duvall hit a solo homer, but that would be all the offense the Reds would get as Baez added an RBI single in the eighth and Rizzo tacked on another run in the ninth taking advantage of a fielding error.
The teams will play in a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning with an afternoon game and finishing with a night game.
By: noah Wright
Matt Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers
There has been an epidemic sweeping the MLB: Tommy John Surgery. Since the beginning of 2016, there has been 50 Tommy John Surgeries (pitchers and position players combined). For comparison, between 1995-2000, there was a recorded 34 Tommy John surgery procedures, again on position players and pitchers combined. The recent spike in TJ surgeries has led to a big question: “Why has the rate of players undergoing Tommy John surgeries risen so rapidly in the past few years?”.
To start with, what is Tommy John Surgery? The first MLB player to undergo the surgery is Tommy John (hence where the name has came from), a LHP that played between 1963, and 1989 . The surgery attempts to reconstruct a damaged UCL, which is located in The Medial Elbow.
Now let's look at some theories why this surgery has been on the rise:
The first theory why this Tommy John epidemic has started is because of the increase of velocity the past few years. Back in the 90’s, and even into the early 2000’s, it was rare to come by a guy that consistently threw 97 MPH. Today, it seems every team has at least 2 or 3 guys who can touch 95-97 consistently. If you think about pitchers today, what is your typical late-inning pitcher? Usually it’s a guy who hits 95+, and racks up a lot of strikeouts. Even a large amount of starters are able to throw their fastball into the mid-to-high 90’s. In 2008, the average fastball velocity was 90.9 MPH. In 2017, the average velocity was nearly 93 MPH. Pitchers are putting more strain on their arm than before, and are doing so from a young age, until their 20’s and 30’s.
This brings me to my next point: players are starting younger, and younger, and playing more and more. Today, I’m sure you could find a local summer league, fall league, and a winter baseball camp/clinic. Kids are starting to pitch more frequently now than before, and this is the start of wearing out their arm. Like I said earlier, these kids start pitching from a young age, and keep doing so into their 20’s, 30’s, and some into their 40’s. After decades of pitching nearly all year around, their arm muscles wear out, leading to surgeries like Tommy John surgery.
Tommy John surgeries have been sweeping the MLB, to the point to where it has become somewhat of an epidemic. This epidemic has caused many young star players like Corey Seager, Taijuan Walker, Trevor Rosenthal and Drew Smyly to miss long periods of time.
Duvall drives in three RBI as Reds defeat Giants
By: Zane Miller
AP Photo/John Minchillo
The Reds took down the San Francisco Giants 6-3 on Wednesday afternoon in the final game of their three game series to avoid a sweep after losing on Monday and Tuesday night.
The Reds got on the board in the first inning with first baseman Joey Votto smacking an RBI single and left fielder Adam Duvall driving in a three run home run. However, the Giants would get back into the game in the bottom of the inning as right fielder Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI double and first baseman Pablo Sandoval got an RBI sacrifice fly. The Giants cut the lead in half in the third as left fielder Brandon Belt got a solo homer, but the Reds restored the two run lead in the fifth as Votto came home on a passed ball. They then tacked on a run in the seventh as second baseman Scooter Gennett got a solo homer as the Reds took the 6-3 win.
Reds starting pitcher Matt Harvey went four innings, giving up three earned runs, seven hits and no walks in the no decision, while Giants starter Andrew Suarez allowed four earned runs on eight hits and one walk in the loss. Reds reliever Jared Hughes took the win as Raisel Iglesias took the save.
The Reds will have an off-day on Thursday before embarking on their next series at home on Friday night against the Chicago Cubs.