By: Noah Wright
The Giants went out and made some big trades during this off season, and acquired two former stars with Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. However, neither have panned out to what the team was expecting. Now The Giants sit 6.5 out of the division, and 6 out of the wild card. Their team could go down one of two paths. Retool or Rebuild. With enough reasons to do either, lets see what the more likely could be.
The Giants still have a solid core they could build around. The main player that they could build off of is Buster Posey. The all-star catchers’ power has slowly been dwindling, but he can still be relied on for a really good OBP, with a .365% this season, and average, with a .290 batting avg. His behind the plate defense is also a reliable asset. He currently has 9 DRS, and is worth 1.1 defensive WAR. Posey also has thrown out an above average 30% of runners trying to take a base off of him. Another piece that’s controllable through 2021 is first baseman Brandon Belt. Belt is having a career year with the bat. While Belt has spent time on The DL, he’s still batting .279/.372/.470 with 14 home runs, 43 RBI’s, and 129 wRC+. He continues to be a good 1B defender with 10 DRS, 4 UZR, and .5 defensive WAR. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is also having an outstanding season. His fielding continues to be a gold glove level play (9 DRS, .9 UZR, 1.4 defensive WAR), and his bat is coming alive this season. His batting line statistics of .285/.354/.444 are all career highs, along with is 114 wRC+. In the rotation, Madison Bumgarner is having a nice year, with a 3.06 ERA, 3.78 FIP, and 1.200 WHIP. However if he can stay healthy for a long period of time, he can be the ace we all know he can be. The same can be said with right hander Johnny Cueto, who’s only pitched in 9 games this season, but has a 3.23 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 1.113 WHIP, and low 2.2 walks/9 rate. The Giants have one more year in 2019 with Bumgarner, but have until 2022 with Cueto. In the bullpen, Hunter Strickland can be a very good late inning pitcher when he’s not punching doors. Former all-star closer Mark Melancon could be an all star once again if he can stay healthy. Lefties Tony Watson and Will Smith both have a year (Smith) and two years (Watson) left on their contract. If this team does decide to retool, they need to find a good outfielder. Hunter Pence and Andrew McCutchen are both on the final years of their contract, and on the decline. So far their best outfielder has been Gorkys Hernandez. The Giants have been connected to a few players in the trade market, like Billy Hamilton. However when off season time comes, I could see them being big spenders for outfielders. One name that comes to mind is Bryce Harper. Another, more possible name is D-Backs center fielder A.J. Pollock. One last outfielder they could go after is current Indian left fielder Michael Brantley. However, the team could use an internal solution like rookie/prospect Steven Duggar. They could also use another starter. Jeff Samardzija has been so-so since coming to The Giants. However this season has been his worst. So far, the right hander has a 6.25 ERA, 5.45 FIP, and 1.534 WHIP. His K/9 rate has also dropped to 6, and his walk rate has risen to 5.2. However, his struggles can be affected by injuries, as he’s only made 10 starts this season. Dereck Rodriguez (Ivan Rodriguez’s son) has come up to the majors, and performed fairly well in his rookie season. He currently has a 2.7 5 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.153 WHIP, and a 2.3 walks/9 rate in 59 innings this season. However, the 5 spot is a bit shaky. Derek Holland, Andrew Suarez, Chris Stratton, Ty Blach, and Tyler Beede have all taken a shot at the role with varying results. During the off season, The Giants could be interested in bringing in a solid back end piece like Jeremy Hellickson, or Anibal Sanchez. Or they could go after a pitcher that’s around middle rotation level like Gio Gonzalez, or Drew Pomeranz. Some infield positions are also an area of concern. Joe Panik has struggled this season, both with injuries and performance. This season, Panik has batted just .240/.309/.345 with 4 home runs and just 81 wRC+. Panik has also not reached positive marks in DRS, defensive WAR, or UZR since 2016. Internally, they could use Alen Hanson, or sign a player during free agency to pair with Panik. Joe does do fairly well against right handed pitching (.281/.347/.425 line), so at most, all that might be needed is a platoon partner. One option that could be looked at is current Dodger Logan Forsythe, as he has a .270/.344/.449 line against left handed pitching. However overall, this is not an issue the team needs to address with their utmost concern. At third base, a declining Evan Longoria mans the hot corner. Longoria turns 33 in October, and has been in a decline since 2014, and his last good season was 2016. However, Longoria still is controlled through 2023, and is being a fairly hefty amount for his performance. While it’s unlikely that they would be willing to spend on another third baseman when Longoria’s first year in SF has been mainly held back by injuries, they may go out and get a player they can rely on around the field, in case his injuries continue. One option is former teammate Eduardo Nunez. Marwin Gonzalez will also hit free agency this offseason too, who could be another potential target for The Giants.
While The Giants’ core is still a decent core, it’s aging, and not getting any younger. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Johnny Cueto, and Madison Bumgarner are all near 30, or over 30. Plus, their farm system isn’t great. They have no true elite prospect, except for maybe Joey Bart, but he was just drafted earlier this season.Even their MLB ready guys aren’t necessarily lighting up high level minors pitching, or doing amazing against high level minors batting. The first ones to go are likely going to be players on the last year of their contract. The biggest name being Andrew McCutchen. The next player to go will probably be Derek Holland, who’s been having a decent overall season, and could bring an experienced arm to a contender needing a long relief guy out of the pen, or a back end starter. Another arm The Giants will likely be willing to move at either this year’s deadline, or this off season is Tony Watson. Watson has been a big piece of their bullpen this season with a 2.12 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 1.007 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 rate, and 1.9 walk/9 rate. A team in desperate need of bullpen help, and especially since he’s a decent lefty, could be willing to give up at least one top 100 guy.The least likely I see The Giants moving is Bumgarner and Posey. However, I could see them trading both Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt. Both players could reel in at least one top 100 prospect, maybe even two, and could really help kickstart a rebuild.
As of right now, I do think The Giants have at least one more chance to go for the playoffs, but not this season. Their overall team isn’t completely ready to blow everything up. However, if they cannot add a few pieces this off-season, and can’t make the playoffs next season, I do see them entering a rebuild.
By: Jeffery Romeu
The Hawaiian born Jordan Yamamoto is ranked as the 17th best prospect for the Miami Marlins and was acquired in the trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers this past off-season. He is a strong pitcher with a diverse selection of pitches which is refreshing for an organization desperate for quality starter pitching after the tragic death of former Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. The Marlins have had various pitching busts before even reaching the majors such as former 2nd overall pick Tyler Kolek, but Yamamoto’s dominance in the minors may bring a new era for the Marlins on the mound.
Selected in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Yamamoto began his career in the Class-A Midwest League and was soon called up to Advance A due to his strong performance which included a 2.51 ERA in over 100 innings pitched. After being traded to the Marlins, Yamamoto posted ridiculously impressive numbers for the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Advance-A Florida State League which included a streak of over 40 innings without allowing a run. He was called up to Double A to play for the Jacksonville Suns after posting a 1.55 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 40 innings. He is currently on the DL but has started to begin throwing again in hopes of returning to the pitching rotation soon.
Yamamoto is listed as a possible future reliever due to his lack of plus pitch power and undersized statue, but I disagree. I believe that if Yamamoto continues to develop his three pitches (Fastball, Curveball, Changeup) and possibly add another, he will be a middle of the rotation pitcher. With all his pitches being slightly above average and overall strong swing and miss fastball, he will be a great asset to the Marlins in a few years. However, this isn’t the first time he’s been on the DL, so precautions may be needed in the future.
I personally have a lot of faith in Yamamoto and believe he will continue to thrive in the minors and one day the majors.
By Noah Wright
Jurickson Profar was long considered a big prospect in The Rangers system back in the early 2010’s. And when he came up, he showed promise, and hit a home run in his first big league plate appearance. However since then, his career has been derailed by many things. The biggest thing being injuries, and being mixed with under performance. But now Profar in 2018 is having a half decent season. Could this season be the start of something bigger for the utility switch hitter?
Before we get into how this could be the start of something bigger for Profar, we first have to see how he got here. Profar was originally signed by The Rangers as an amature free agent in 2009. Throughout his minor league career, Profar showed power, speed, contact, and fielding potential, with 2 seasons where he batted .280+ with double digits in stolen bases and home runs. This helped him rank among the top 10 prospects in all of baseball, and even ranking #1 a few times in the minors. When he got to the bigs, Profar showed up with a bang. In his first plate appearance, he hit a long ball against Zach Mcallister on September 2nd, 2012 at 19 years old. In 2013, Jurickson served mainly as a utility guy, as he saw time at second, third, short, and left field. However, Profar only batted .234/.308/.336 with 6 homers,26 RBI’s, and a very low 75 wRC+ in 324 plate appearances. Sure, it may not have been a great showing, but he was only 20, and had a future ahead of him. The Rangers also thought that he’d eventually grow into a regular role, and traded then second baseman Ian Kinsler so Profar could get more regular playing time. But his 2014 season was derailed once he was forced to undergo shoulder surgery, and would return by mid-June-ish. During his rehab, Profar injured his shoulder again, leading to him missing all of the 2014 season. Then once he underwent surgery again on his shoulder, Profar missed all of the 2015 season. Now it was 2016. Profar had now missed 2 whole seasons, and entered camp as a still fairly youthful 23 year old ball player. Jurickson was optioned to Triple-A to start the season, but eventually made his way back to the majors. However, Profar’s second showing to the bigs was very similar to his first. In 307 plate appearances, Profar batted a weak .239/.321/.338 with 5 home runs, 27 RBI’s, and just 78 wRC+. Now entering 2017, this was Profar’s chance to capitalize on playing time. Future Hall Of Fame third baseman was entering the season on The DL, which opened an opportunity for Jurickson. But he lost the position battle for third against Joey Gallo after he batted just .222/.290/.259 with no home runs and just 3 RBI’s in spring training, while Gallo batted .208/.311/.491 with 4 long balls and 9 RBI’s. Overall in 2017, Profar batted just worse than he ever did in the majors. In the 70 plate appearances he was in, Profar batted just .172/.294/.207 with no home runs, and just 5 RBI’s.
Entering the 2018 season, Jurickson seemed like an odd man out. Every infield position was filled. Beltre was entering the season healthy, and so was Elvis Andrus. Now Rougned Odor was the regular second baseman, and first base prospect Ronald Guzman was on the brink of being MLB ready, which pushed Gallo to the corner outfield. So to start the season, Profar was regulated to just a bench role, and couldn’t be demoted without being exposed to waivers first. However, that changed once Andrus, and Beltre missed some time with injuries, with Elvis missing a good portion of games. This opened a door for Profar and somewhat regular playing time. Between April 11th to June 18th (the time period that Andrus missed) Profar batted .250/.309/.473 with 8 home runs and 40 RBI’s in 246 plate appearances. While he necessarily didn’t go Jesus Aguilar during Elvis’ absence, he still did pretty good compared to his previous seasons. Overall this season, Profar is batting .247/.331/.430 with 8 home runs, 48 RBI’s, and 104 wRC in 372 plate appearances. He’s also seen time at every infield position and an inning in left field. His breakout season could lead to one of two things. The first being that he is traded to a contender where he plays a platoon role, and the other being he stays with The Rangers and could play a bigger role. The ladder of the two is the one I think is the more likely because Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus are free agents after the season, with the ladder the more likely leaving The Rangers after this season. Another thing that could open playing time for Profar is a trade where The Rangers deal Shin Soo Choo, which could be likely at this coming deadline. With more playing time, Profar’s production could improve, making him a more valuable asset, and hopefully another step in becoming the player many thought that he could be.
Profar was once the #1 prospect in all of baseball in the early 2010’s. Since then, it’s been a rough fall from grace. His career so far has been filled with under-performance and injuries. Now it’s 2018, and the former #1 prospect and 19 year old when he debuted is now a 25 year old utility guy who entered the season as potential DFA candidate. However, Profar has finally started to show some promise after receiving regular playing time. If Profar gets more regular playing time, he could slowly grow into the player that he was once predicted to be.
By: Noah Wright
The Brewers just made a deal with The Royals to acquire third baseman Mike Moustakas from KC for young outfielder Brett Phillips and pitcher Jorge Lopez. Now that The Brewers acquired Moustakas, it’s likely that they will move current third baseman Travis Shaw over to second base. For The Brewers, Moustakas is having an ok season so far. Overall he’s batting .249/.309/.468 with 20 home runs, 62 RBI’s, and 107 wRC+ in 417 plate appearances. His glove at third is also a thing to note. So far, he has 2 DRS, and is worth .3 WAR defensively with 2.4 UZR.
On the returning end of the deal, The Royals will receive 2 young players. The most notable being outfielder Brett Phillips. The Brewers originally acquired Phillips in the blockbuster deal that sent then all-star level outfielder Carlos Gomez and starter Mike Fires to The Astros for Phillips, Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, and Domingo Santana. While the 24 year old Phillips is having a down year, only batting .182/.350/.273 in 24 plate appearances in the majors, and owns a 2018 line of .240/.331/.441 in Triple-A this season, he did play very well in Colorado Springs last season, and showed some promise in the majors when he batted .276/.351/.448 with 4 home runs, and 12 RBI’s in his first 98 plate appearances. Phillips brings a dynamic power/speed combo, along with a cannon of an arm, ranked 70/70 according to Fangraphs. The inclusion of Phillips in this trade likely stems from the fact that The Brewers have a crowded outfield. Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich manning 2 OF spots, with a combination of Eric Thames, Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana (when he’s on The MLB roster) manning the 3rd spot. The other player The Royals got in the deal is right hander Jorge Lopez. Lopez is another former top prospect who’s fallen on hard times performance wise, as he has not pitched to an ERA or FIP below 4 since 2015 in the minors. Plus, he has also been inconsistent in the majors this season. Lopez currently has a 2.75 ERA, but a 4.28 FIP and 1.475 WHIP. He’s also been inconsistent with control too with a 5.9 walk/9 rate and just a 6.9 K/9 rate.
By: Noah Wright
The Rockies have struck a deal with The Blue Jays to acquire right hander Seung Hwan Oh. In exchange, The Jays will receive Sean Bouchard and Chad Spanberger. Both of whom are first base prospects. The big piece in this trade is righty Oh, who’s been having a nice bounceback season with The Jays. Overall, Oh has a 2.68 ERA, 3.03 FIP, and 1 WHIP. He’s also raised his K/9 to 10.5, and lowered his walk rate to an MLB career low 1.9 walks/9. While Oh has done pretty well overall this season, there’s one thing to point out. Oh shuts out right handed batters, and keeps them to a clip .168/.190/.269 this seasons. However, lefties crush him at a line of .315/.413/.537. Overall, Oh could really help a struggling Rockies bullpen. Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee have both seen a good amount of struggles. Even closer Wade Davis has an ERA and FIP above 4. The one piece that they have been able to rely on is Adam Ottavino. Now with Oh, The Rockies have a solid relief pitcher that they can rely on in high pressure situations.
On the other end of the deal, The Jays will receive two corner prospects that have experience at first base. The first being Chad Spanberger. Spanberg was drafted by The Rockies in the 6th round of The MLB draft last season, and is ranked as The Rocks 24th best prospect. This season in A-ball, Spanberg is batting .316/.364/.580 in 379 plate appearances. He also has 22 home runs, but shows he has some speed with 16 stolen bases. The other prospect The Blue Jays will recieve is Sean Bouchard. Bouchard can play first base, third base, and has seen time in the outfield corners this season. Drafted in the 9th round of the same draft as Spanberg, and same level of ball as Spanberg, Bouchard is currently batting .263/.335/.433 in 358 plate appearances, with 8 home runs, and 12 stolen bases.
By: Ethan Cushman
Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports
Yankee made a big move to bolster a bullpen that was already considered one of the best by adding LH relief pitching ace Zach Britton. Zach Britton has been hurt the last 2 years but he is healthy now and in 2016 he showed what he could do when healthy. During that season, Britton was a cy young candidate and had a 0.54 ERA with 47 saves. This season, Britton has a 3.45 ERA and 4.43 FIP. He is a lefty reliever which is helpful for the Yankees who have a dominant bullpen was full of righties with the exception of their closer Aroldis Chapman and Chasen Shreve. Also with a risk of the potential lack of starters on the market making it hard to find the right starter it is important to make sure you can shorten games with your bullpen. Britton is a rental though so the yankees may have to pay up if they plan to retain him for next year.
Now the Orioles also got a solid package in return for britton. Headlined by RHP Dillon Tate who currently ranks as baltimores #4 prospect. Tate was considered a consensus top 100 prospect before the 2016 season but injuries and struggles took him off and made him a touchable prospect and because of that he was the headliner for Carlos Beltran. But now he is pitching very well in double A posting a 5-2 record with a 3.38 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 15 starts. Personally I like tate and think he can profile at around a 2-4 starter range but likely on the higher side of that. They also got RH relief pitching prospect Cody Carroll. Once a much more lowkey name carroll started impressing in spring training and that has carried over to triple A as he has a 2.38 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 41.2 innings. Carol is considered one of the top relief pitching prospects in all of baseball. The last piece is LHP Josh Rogers. He isn't ranked in either top farm system but he is still solid as he has 3.95 ERA in triple A. I think he can be around your typical 5 starter.
By: Noah Wright
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
We all knew that Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Mike Moustakas, and Brad Hand would be in trade talks around the deadline. Each have had pretty good seasons, and they’re some big names. While there are still some big name guys, now that Hand, Britton, and Manny have been dealt, there are some names that have been tossed around in trade rumors that aren’t widely known around the league. Most of these players will probably go for cheap, and could be real game or even season changers for some teams. With that being said, there are 6 players that I’d like to analyze, and suggest where they could be heading.
1.) Mike Fiers
Fiers has had a solid year in his first season in Detroit. His first 111 innings in a Tigers uniform have produced a 3.49 ERA, and 1.243 WHIP. While his ERA looks good, his FIP is slightly worrying at 4.57. While his home runs/9 rate of 1.5 is also something to note, but he does have a career low 1.9 walk/9 rate, and 5.1 walk %. One team that I know will be interested in starters is The Yankees. However one deterent is the fact that Fires has a ground ball percentage of 39.4% this season. With a fairly hitter friendly park, they might pursue someone who can keep the ball on the ground, and in the park. Another potential suitor for Fires is his former team, The Brewers. The Brew Crew just lost lefty Brent Suter to an UCL injury, and Zach Davies still sits on The DL.
2.) Jose Bautista
4 years ago, you’d think that it would be insane to put Bautista in a list of under the radar and smaller names. However, Bautista isn’t the player he was a few years ago, but still a fairly productive batter. Since coming to The Mets, Bautista has hit .235/.396/.426 in 173 PA’s. While he may not be the power threat he once was, Bautista is still has a 18.8% walk rate between The Braves and Mets. He’s could be a valuable to any team needing a clutch bench bat too. He currently owns a .352/.510/.649 line in all 51 times he stepped to the plate with RISP. His numbers only get better when there are two outs. In his 25 appearances with 2 outs and RISP, Bautista is batting .333/.520/.667. His playoff experience, and corner versatility (RF/LF/3B/1B) will also add value to a contending team. Really any team in contention looking for a solid clutch bat could use him.
3.) Zach Duke
Duke has been a fairly impressive lefty out of The Twins bullpen. While his 3.75 ERA might not be standout, his 2.77 FIP suggests that he could greatly benefit from a better defense. What is impressive is that he hasn’t given up a home run in 36 innings of work. Plus, Duke has struckout 9.3 batters per 9 innings. While Duke struggles against right handed batters, he’s mainly worked as a lefty only, one out guy (LOOGY) this season. And he’s done pretty good at limiting left handed batters. Overall, lefties are hitting .241/.279/.293 in 61 plate appearances against Duke. One team I would like to see get Duke is The Pirates. Their only lefty, besides closer Felipe Vazquez is Steven Brault. An upgrade in bullpen lefty help could help a team on a roll. However, any team that was interested in Britton could be a landing spot for Duke, which could be a nice consolation prize from missing out on the former Oriole left hander.
4.) Jurickson Profar
The former #1 prospect in all of baseball is finally having an OK season after missing large portions of time, and below average play when he was healthy. So far this season, Profar is batting .247/.331/.430 with 9 home runs, 48 RBI, and 104 wRC+. He can also play every infielder along with left field. Another thing that adds to his value is his clutch hitting. With runners in scoring position, Profar is batting .270/.337/.528. He could be on the trading block, for The Rangers are clearly out of contention. However with Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, with the former likely leaving in free agency, the team may want to hold on to Profar for now. He still has control though 2020. One team that could be involved in trade talks for Profar is The Brewers. Milwaukee will be in the market for a middle infielder, but I could see them wanting to go after a more proven option. (UPDATE: This was written and edited before The Brewers acquired Moustakas)
5.) Tyson Ross
Ross signed a minor league contract with The Padres after struggling for The Rangers, and it’s paid off so far. His ERA/FIP of 4.29/4.48 and 1.288 WHIP may not be too impressive, but if it weren't for 2 bad games in where he gave up a total 15 runs in 7 innings, his ERA/FIP would be about 3.30/3.85. Plus, he’s only limited batters to a .233 average against. What is slightly concerning is that he has a career low full season 8.1 K/9, and career high 38.1% hard hit rate. The same potential teams that were interested in Wheeler, and Fires would probably show some intrigue in Ross.
6.) Kirby Yates
Yates is quietly having an amazing season. The Padres have showed that they’re willing to deal players, as they just dealt recently extended lefty Brad Hand. And Hand is having a season that pales in comparison to Yates. So far, Kirby Yates has a very very low 1.40/1.99 ERA/FIP, along with a .853 WHIP. He also has a 11.6 K/9, and only has walked about 2.6 per 9 in 38.2 innings of relief work. Yates is also good at limiting the long ball, with only 1 home run given up. While he has been so-so against left handed batters, it’s against righties when he dominates. Right handers only hit .075/.138/.213 in 87 plate appearances. Saying that he’s lights out against right handed batters is an understatement. The main contender for Yates I see for Yates, if The Padres decide to deal him, is The Braves. The Braves were connected to many different relief pitchers, and one of the things that interrupted their pursuit for Britton was that they did not want to give up any top prospects for a rental. However, Yates is controllable for the 2019, and 2020 season at a reasonable price. The Braves may be more willing to trade off prospects for a player with more control.
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By: Azard Earl
MLB Pipeline Twitter Page (@MLBPipeline)
As we are nearing the end of the month of July most of the top 50 prospect in this year’s international signing class have already inked their Minor League contracts for the 2019 season. In this recap I discuss the top five teams that did the best with their signings.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Garrett Cooper missed the last few games because of his recurring right wrist injuries. Now he has once again been placed on the DL. Cooper missed the majority of the first half of the season after getting hit by a pitch in early April and just recently came off the DL from a contusion on the same wrist. However, it was discovered that he has a possible wrist sprain or worse depending on what diagnosis the specialist gives him later this week. This has been an unfortunate turn of events for the Marlins and Cooper as he was seen as a replacement power hitter in which the Marlins hoped to use after losing Stanton and Ozuna. However, this tragedy gives way to an opportunity for the young speedster acquired from the Ozuna trade, Magneuris Sierra.
This won’t be the first time Sierra plays the majors. He played 22 games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and produced .317/.359/.317 along with 2 stolen bases. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has even described him as fast as former Marlins Dee Gordon even though Sierra has had an on and off season in the minors. He will be promoted to the major with .260/.287/.341 plus 14 stolen bases but given the tough year most Marlins prospects have had in 2018, it will be interesting to see how Sierra flares in the majors. It is likely that he will be a constant leadoff hitter for the Marlins which will be a relief as the Marlins have rotated between a few players in the leadoff spot.
While prospects like Pablo Lopez have been decent in their time in the majors, players like Lewis Brinson has struggled greatly and is currently nursing a bruised hip. After multiple solid outings for Caleb Smith, he was placed on the DL for what will likely be the reminder of the season due to his Grade 3 Lat strain which will require surgery to repair. Finally, flame thrower Tayron Guerrero is expected to start throwing in the minors for an anticipated return and so is Drew Rucinski. Yet, it is obvious that this season the prospects for the Marlins have not performed as many would have hoped. As of now, most of the players received on the fire sale haven’t worked out.
By: Noah Wright
Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
The Angles entered the season with hope that they would be playoff contenders. While they were likely just gonna be a Wild Card Contender, it wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility if they took the division. And at the beginning of the season, it looked as if they could be #1 in The AL West. They got off to a hot start in April, and by mid-May, they were 25-16. However, it’s been a slippery slope for The Angles since then. A slew of injuries is mainly to blame to them falling to below .500, as Ohtani, Kinsler, Cozart, Pujols, Shoemaker, Richards, and Kenyan Middleton are just a few big names to land on the DL at least once this season. With The Angels falling out of contention this season, what’s the future hold for The Halos?
On The 25-Man:
The Major League roster is still headlined by Mike Trout, who’s having a Mike Trout year. Behind him, Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons back a fairly old, weak, and very brittle line-up. Kole Calhoun is usually a decent producer who can be relied on to produce a line around .260/.330/.430 line with 20 home runs, 70 RBI’s, and pretty good defense. While his defense is still above average this season, Calhoun is only batting .185/.237/.315 with 9 homers and 26 RBI’s in 283 PA’s. However, he did spend a few weeks on The DL in early-mid June, and has performed around expected since coming off The DL. Over his last 98 PA’s, Calhoun is hitting .264/.316/.586 with 8 home runs, and 15 RBI’s. Second Baseman Ian Kinsler is one of many other players that has spent time on The DL. The now 36 year old started to decline last season, and it’s only gotten worse since. In his 361 plate appearances in his first season in an Angles uniform, Kinsler is batting .221/.280/.366 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI’s. While his offense is on the decline, his defense has still been useful, with 10 DRS, 1.4 defensive WAR, and 7.9 UZR. Their converted from short to third base man Zack Cozart has also dealt with struggles with his bat, glove, and staying healthy. Cozart has only 253 plate appearances, and it plans on staying that way, as Cozart will likely spend the rest of the season on the DL after undergoing left shoulder surgery. However, Cozart is under contract until 2020. Then there’s Albert Pujols. Pujols hasn’t had a truly good season since his first season with The Halos back in 2012, and he’s been on the decline since. At this point in his career, Pujols is only in it to reach milestones, like his 3000th hit, and 600th home run. While he can still be relied on to reach 25+ home runs, and have a good RBI total, he is another one of The Angles’ injury casualties. Going into pitching, Shohei Ohtani has been one of the bright spots for both hitting and pitching. The rookie has had a great season with the bat, and the arm. In the batters box, Ohtani is batting .283/.362/.524 with 7 long balls, and 22 RBI’s. On the mound, Ohtani has pitched to a 3.10 ERA, 3.27 FIP, and 1.135 WHIP. But what seems like two dozen other players on their roster, Ohtani spent some time on The DL, and just started to start a pitching program to rehab his pitching arm. The rest of the rotation has looked pretty good though. Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs are both having quality years, and the first time that they’ve been mostly healthy for most of the season in what seems like in forever. Rookie Jaime Barria, when he’s in the majors, has done pretty good. However, they have lost two major pieces to the rotation in Matt Shoemaker, and Garrett Richards to injuries, again. The pen has been OK too. The closer’s role has been a bit of a hot potato game. The Halos entered the season with Blake Parker, and Cam Bedrosian sharing the closer role. After Parker ending April with an ERA above 4, and Bedrosian blew a few saves, the role was then passed to Kenyan Middleton. For a while, Middleton looked to be the longtime answer for The Halos, but then he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. After his injury, Parker was handed back the closer role, and it’s been that way since, and he’s done a decent job in that role. On the season, Parker has a 3.05 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and 1.195 WHIP in 44 and a third innings. His 2.8 walks/9 rate, and 10.2 K’s/9 rate have also been decent all season. Behind Parker and Bedrosian, and Middleton when he’s healthy, Jose Alvarez, Justin Anderson, Noe Ramirez, and Hansel Robles formed a solid mid relief corps.
Young players in the pipeline:
The Angles haven’t had a good farm system in recent years, but it has gotten better. Their #1 prospect, Jo Adell is ranked #36 of top the top 100. He’s spent the season in low/high A, and has done pretty well. In 332 PA’s, Adell is batting .314/.366/.591 with 17 homers, 66 RBI’s, and 12 stolen bases. Adell is a speed/power threat, and ranks as an above average outfielder with a good arm. Their #2 prospect is 18 year old Kevin Maitan, who they signed after MLB forced The Braves to release some of their illegally signed international prospects. The #74 prospect has spent all 114 plate appearances in rookie ball, and has batted .262/.307/.374 with 3 homers, and 12 RBI’s. The switch hitter’s ceiling has been compared to Chipper Jones, and his floor has been seen as Miguel Sano. The Halos’ 3rd best prospect is Jahmai Jones. Jones has been converted from an outfielder to a second baseman, and the transition with his bat hasn’t been so smooth. He’s spent time in High-A and double-A ball this season. His combined 398 PA’s between the two leagues has resulted in just a .226/.332/.375 line, with 9 home runs, and 40 RBI’s. While he has been fairly underwhelming this season, Jones still has 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts, and 148 wRC+. He’s been estimated with a very high floor of major league production. Jones, now 20 years old, is estimated to make the bigs in 2019. Their 4th top 100 prospect is outfielder Brandon Marsh. Marsh, 20 years old, is rated as the #86 best prospect in The MLB. He’s spent all 408 plate appearances this season in in both low and high A ball. Overall, Marsh is batting .273/.366/.412 this season with 6 long balls, 56 RBI’s, and 13 stolen bases. Marsh also is rated as a good fielder, with a well above average arm. The Angles’ 4th and final top 100 prospect is right hander Griffin Canning. Canning has moved through The Angles system quite rapidly. This is his first season of profesional play, and he’s already rocketed from high A ball, to Triple-A. Between all 3 levels, Canning has a combined 80 and two thirds innings in where the 22 year old pitched to a 3.46 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, but a very very low 1.64 FIP. He’s also allowed just 3 long balls. Griffin’s fastball, slider, and curve all are ranked around above average. Canning also has a changeup to add to his pitching selection, and descent control. Past their 4 top 100 guys, first base prospect Matt Thaiss has shown promise with his bat. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Thaiss is batting .287/.339/.499 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI’s. He’ll likely make his debut later this season, and will probably be
So overall, what does the future hold for The Angles? Right now, they’re still in a position in where they can retool, and try again next season if they don’t turn things around this season. Zack Cozart, Tyler Skaggs, Mike Trout, Matt Shoemaker, and Andrelton Simmons are all controlled through the 2020 season, with Heaney being controlled through 2021. Justin Upton is controlled through 2022 as well. While Ian Kinsler, Martin Maldonado, and Garrett Richards are the only major pieces that are going to be free agents after this season, most of their big cogs are controllable for a few more years. If The Angles do lose some of their pieces in FA, they do have a few guys coming through the farm that could be ready in a few years, or even later this season. One thing that really does throw a wrench in future signings/plans is Albert Pujols’ contract. The 1B/DH is owed $28-$30 million until 2021. His contract could prevent future signings, which could stand as a problem if they decide to retool. In the end, The Angles future could be bright if they can retool. They still have a handful of valuable pieces under control for 3-4 more seasons, and with a decent farm system, The Angles could be in contention again as soon as next season.
By: Noah Wright
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Last night, it was announced that The Oakland A’s and had a deal in place to acquire right Jeurys Familia from The Mets. Around 5 PM Eastern Time, the deal had been completed, and The Mets sent the righty over to The West Coast. In return for Familia, The Mets will receive righty Bobby Wahl, and third baseman William Toffey. Wahl is probably the biggest piece The Mets received in the trade. Last season, Wahl saw minimum major league action. Over his first and only seven and two thirds innings in the bigs, Wahl had a 4.70 ERA, 3.03 FIP, and 1.565 WHIP. While Wahl’s first few major league innings were a bit bumpy, he’s excelled in the upper minors. Wahl has spent all 39.2 innings in Triple-A this season, and has a good 2.27 ERA to go with a 2.52 FIP, and .86 WHIP. Wahl also has an exceedingly great 14.75 K/9 rate, and decent 3.86 walk/9 rate to go with it. The other prospect, William Toffey, is a 23 year old third baseman currently in high-A ball. The A’s drafted him in The 2017 MLB Draft in the 4th round. Through all 197 plate appearances on the season, Toffey has a .244/.357/.384 batting line. He currently has 5 home runs and 32 RBI’s.
On the other end of the deal, The A’s will receive a very good late inning arm in Familia. While it’s unlikely that he will take over the 9th inning role, as Blake Treinen is having an outstanding season, Familia will be another arm that The A’s can greatly rely on, along with Lou Trivino, and Yusmeiro Petit. Familia has had a nice bounceback season from an injury filled, and 15 game suspension in 2017. Serving as The Mets’ closer this season, Familia has recorded 17 saves. His base numbers are good looking as well, with a 2.88 ERA, 2.54 FIP, and 1.230 WHIP in 40 and two thirds innings. Another thing that looks pretty good is his per 9’s. His 9.5 K/9 sits around career average, and his 3.1 walk/9 rate is his lowest since 2015. Familia also has just a .2 homeruns/9 rate this season, showing that he can keep the ball in the park. However, the hard throwing righty is a free agent after the season.
By: Noah Wright
GENE J. PUSKAR/AP PHOTO
Matt Holliday was a staple in The Rockies, and Cardinals lineup for many years, just as Todd Helton, and Albert Pujols were for The Rox and Cards. The outfielder had a long, and productive career for both teams, along with a half of a season with The A’s, and a season with The Yankees in where he played an impactful role both on and off the field. While he was one of the best at the time in his prime, Holliday could still not make The Hall. So with that being said, let's look at Matt Holliday’s Hall Of Fame Case.
Matt Holliday was originally drafted by The Rockies in the 7th round of the 1998 MLB Draft, and made his debut on April 16th, 2004. While he did go 0-3 in his debut game against The St. Louis Cardinals, his rookie season would be much more promising. In his first 439 plate appearances, the then 24-year old batted .290/.349/.488 with 14 homers, 57 RBI’s, and 104 wRC+. His decent debut season earned him 5th place in Rookie Of The Year voting. Holliday would follow up his rookie campaign with many more productive seasons, but let's look at how Holliday’s overall career stacks up, and how it can, or cannot make The Hall Of Fame. To start, Holliday is just one of 87 players with a slugging percentage above .500. His .511 slugging percentage ranks 64th all time, which is above Hall Of Fame sluggers like Eddie Matthews, and Harmon Killebrew. Holliday was also pretty good at getting on base too. His .378 on base percentage ranks 125 all time, and 65th among all outfielders. Over his career, Matt recorded 1217 RBI’s. His 1000+ RBI’s is another feat that has only been reached by 285 players. His 1217 RBI’s ranks 125th among all time players, which is just 8 RBI’s short of Gary Carter’s all time amount. Another thing worth mentioning is his performance at, and away from The Rockies home field. While Holliday was greatly helped by The Coors Factor early in his career, he did adapted once he left The Rockies. Overall with The Rox, Holliday hit .319/.387/.552 with 128 homers, and 483 RBI’s between ‘04-’08. After he left Colorado, Holliday hit .287/.374/.485 with 186 home runs, and 734 RBI’s. It is clear that he had the better stats in the mountains, his performance didn’t fall off a cliff like some players do once they leave Colorado. Holliday’s best season was probably his 2007 campaign. In that season, Holliday batted for a .340/.405/.607 batting line in 713 plate appearances. To go along with his league leading batting average, Holliday also led the league in RBI’s with 137. He may not have been close in homerun total to win The Triple Crown (as Prince Fielder had 50), Holliday still blasted 37 long balls. That coupled with his 151 wRC+, and 6 WAR that season, the outfielder finished 2nd in MVP voting, and won a Silver Slugger. In his prime, which I would consider 2006 to 2013, Holliday was a consistent producer at the plate. In each season between ‘06 to 2013, Holliday hit at least 20 home runs with 75 RBI’s, and a line of .295/.379/.490. His lowest wRC+ between that time span was a way above average 139, and his lowest WAR was 2.3. Even into his later years Holliday was still a decent producer. In his last season, Holliday played with The New York Yankees, and played role of being a veteran presence in the club house, and also helped with his bat for the first half of the season. For his first 276 plate appearances as a Yankee, Holliday hit 15 home runs, and drove in 47 RBI’s with a line of .262/.366/.511. While sickness and injuries derailed the rest of his season, Holliday still hit 19 home runs on the season. Holliday has a good amount of awards too. In his career, Holliday has made 7 all star game, and has won a World Series Ring in 2011. Matt also has another post season award with The 2007 NLCS MVP in his name. Holliday also has 4 Silver Sluggers, and has gotten MVP votes in 7 different seasons.
There’s more than enough reasons to see why Holliday should make The Hall, but let’s look at some reasons why he may not get in. First, you have to look at his home run total. Holiday, for being known as a power hitter, only hit 314 homeruns in his 14 season career. That puts him at 128th all time. His career WAR is also a thing to note. Holliday racked up a 44.1 WAR in his career, which ranks at just 403 all time. His low WAR can be attributed to his lackluster defense in his career. While Holliday’s offense was worth nearly 50 WAR across his 14 seasons of play, he was worth -12.6 WAR defensively, and -37 defensive runs saved in 14,488 and two thirds innings in left field. Holliday’s post season numbers are another thing that could affect his Hall chances. Sure, Holliday had some good post season series, but overall, his numbers aren’t that impressive. With a batting line of just .245/.302/.422 with 13 homers and 37 RBI’s in 305 plate appearances, nothing really stands out.
In the end, when everything is said and done, I do see Holliday making The Hall Of Fame eventually. Even if it is on his last ballot. Holliday was a solid producer out of the line-up for too long to overlook it. His accomplishment of being productive after The Rockies traded him, sending him away from Coors, is a feat that not many former Rockies have overcome. Coupled with his ability to stay as a productive enough bat later in his career, Holliday has a really good chance to receive a Call To The Hall.
By: Noah Wright
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
This morning, it was announced that The Cleveland Indians acquired Padres’ All-Star lefty Brad Hand, and breakout righty Adam Cimber. In exchange The Padres will receive top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. Overall, the trade seems pretty fair, if you ask me. Both teams receive pieces that they need, and want.
Let's look at what The Indians received from The Friars. The Indians return really helps them bolster back end of their bullpen. The biggest arms The Indians were relying on this season being Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen, have both been inconsistent, both in health and performance. Both Allen and Miller have ERA’s over 4. Their FIP’s, with Miller’s being 3.35, and Allen’s being 4.46. The most worrying thing about Miller’s performance is his 6.3 walks/9 rate. However, this trade brings them 2 arms that will help them both now, and in the next few years. To start, Hand is having a decent season. While this season has been a step down from last season for the lefty, Hand is still has a 3.03 ERA, 3.17 FIP, and a 1.083 WHIP in 44 and a third innings as The Padres’ closer. To add on, his strikeout rate is at a career high at 13.2. Hand also adds value with his contract, as he is can be affordably controlled through the 2021 season. While Hand may be the biggest name The Indians acquired today, you could make an argument that Cimber is having the better season. The submarine righty has a 3.17 ERA, 2.32 FIP, and 1.076 WHIP in his first 48 and a third innings of his career. Cimber also has just a 1.9 walk/9 rate to go with a 9.5 K/9 rate.
The Padres got a really good prospect in return for their 2 best relief pitchers. Francisco Mejia has had a really good season so far in Triple-A. Overall, Mejia has produced a .279/.328/.426 and 110 wRC+ line in 336 plate appearances, all in Triple-A. While Mejia isn’t known for his power, he still has 7 long balls and 45 RBI’s. On MLB’s top 100 prospect list, Mejia ranks #15 currently. Mejia’s weakest part of his game is his defense. MLB puts his defense at 45 overall on their prospect list, however he has thrown out 35% of runners trying to steal off of him. Padres do have one of the best defensive catchers in the league in Austin Hedges, and will likely keep him there. With Hedges blocking the catching position, The Padres will likely move Mejia to either third base, or a corner outfield spot, as he’s seen time at third last season, and time in the grass this season.
Overall, the trade is pretty fair for both teams. The Indians bring in much needed bullpen reinforcements, while the rebuilding Padres receive a prospect that could really help them in the long run. The trade could also help The Indians stay in contention for a handful of more seasons than before this trade.
By: Enrique Medina
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Dodgers have officially acquired 4-time all star Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles for a package of 5 prospects, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The deal was reported to have gone through a “possible snag” where some of the prospects going to Baltimore had problems with their physicals, according to reports from Steve Phillips. The whole situation was solved quickly as the deal is now complete.
In the deal the, the Orioles acquired Dodgers #4 prospect, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer, third baseman Rylan Bannon, right-handed reliever Zach Pop, and third baseman Breyvic Valera.
Diaz, the centerpiece of the trade, made headlines on Sunday being the 2nd player ever to hit 2 homeruns in the Futures Game. The 21 year old outfielder has a .314 batting average with 6 Home Runs, 30 RBI’s along to go with a .905 OPS on the year with Double-A Tulsa. Diaz provides Baltimore a young prospect that has very hits for good contact and is a solid fielder with above average speed. Over time the power may come, but is a good overall fit for Baltimore.
Also notable in the deal, Bannon has compiled a .296 batting average with 20 home runs and 61 RBI’s in Single-A. While Kremer (the #28 prospect in the Dodgers farm system before the deal), has a 6-3 record with a 3.03 ERA, and 126 strikeouts in 86 innings for Double-A Tulsa.
Pop this season has a 1.04 ERA in his time with Double-A and Single-A where opponents have hit .168 against him and Valera has a .284 batting average this season with 6 home runs and 25 RBI’s.
With the deal, the Dodgers are getting Machado, who seems to be having arguably his best season offensively speaking in his career to date through the first half. Machado already has 24 home runs, 65 RBI’s, and a .963 OPS while hitting .315 this season. He will be added to a lineup that already has a resurging Matt Kemp, surprise story Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner among others. His presence to the lineup will undoubtedly make the LA lineup one of the most feared in baseball. The acquisition of Machado could now well also make the Dodgers the favorites to win the NL West and the NL Pennant.
The deal made perfect sense for LA after the loss of shortstop Corey Seager for the year to a UCL injury. Machado will fill in at shortstop and possibly third as Dave Roberts has discussed it to him, potentially forcing Chris Taylor to move to either 2nd base or back to the outfield. If all goes well in his time in LA too, there could even be a really good shot Machado can stay with the Dodgers and sign a long term deal in free agency with them.
Ironically enough, Machado’s first 2 series with the Dodgers are against the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies, 2 of the teams that were most in talks with the Orioles along with LA.
Now 10 years after acquiring Boston Red Sox’s Manny Ramirez, could this be Mannywood Part 2 in Los Angeles?
By: Noah Wright
Jeff Roberson- AP
One of the best breakout seasons so far in The 2018 season has to be Miles Mikolas. The guy has been an absolute stud in The Cardinals rotation. However, Mikolas hasn’t always been an ace level pitcher. He’s had to take a winding road from the day he was drafted, to the 2018 All Star Game. But how did Mikolas become this ace?
Mikolas was originally drafted by The Padres in the 7th round in the 2009 draft. In 2009, Miles mainly worked as a starter with 15 of the games he played, 11 of them being games that he started. Overall, Mikolas did so-so. In his 53 innings as a professional pitcher, Miles had an unimpressive 5.94 ERA, and 6.6 K/9 rate, but only walked 1.53 batters per 9, gave up just .2 homeruns/9 and had a 3.32 FIP. After his first taste of professional baseball work, Mikolas was moved to the bullpen, and functioned as a late inning man. In each of his seasons between 2010 to 2013, Mikolas saved 44 games, never had an ERA above 3.25, and 3 out of the 4 seasons saw him record a FIP of 3.82 or lower. While he may have been a productive minor league relief pitcher, Mikolas never showed up on any top 100 prospect lists, and never made any Padres’ top prospect lists. Mikolas made his debut on on May 5th 2012. In his first inning of work in the bigs, Miles allowed 1 earned run, a walk, and a hit, but struck out two batters. Overall, Mikolas pitched in 32 and a third innings in the majors, having a 3.62 ERA, 4.86 FIP, 4.2 walks/9, and just 6.4 K’s/9. In 2013, Miles only saw an inning and two thirds, and mainly spent time in the minors. In November 2013, Mikolas, along with Jaff Decker, was traded to The Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Alex Dickerson. Miles’ stint with The Pirates was short, and only lasted a month and 5 days before he was then traded to The Rangers for first baseman Chris McGuiness. With The Texas Rangers, Mikolas returned to working as a starter. He started 10 games during 2014, but did not perform well in those 57 and a third innings of work. Overall, Mikolas had a 6.44 ERA, 4.47 FIP, and 1.430 WHIP. While he showed some of that control he displayed in the minors, with a 2.8 walk rate, Mikolas had a 1.26 home run per 9 rate, the highest he had in his professional career. After the season, The Rangers released Mikolas on November 20th, 2014. Overall in his first MLB stint, Mikolas recorded a 5.32 ERA, 4.81 FIP, and 1.423 WHIP in 91 and a third innings across 3 seasons.
This is when the interesting part of Mikolas’ career starts. 5 days after The Rangers he was released by The Rangers, Mikolas signed with The NPB Yourmori Giants. Over in Japan, Mikolas thrived. In his first season over seas, Miles had a 1.92 ERA, 2.88 FIP, and very low .897 WHIP in 145 innings. His control was outstanding, as he had just a 1.4 walk rate, and .5 long ball rate. The biggest highlight of his first season was his 4 complete games, with 2 being shutouts. Mikolas performed well in his second season, but missed some time, as he started only 14 games. However, his best season has to be his last season over seas in 2017. Mikolas pitched 188 innings for The Yourmori Giants, and recorded a 2.25 ERA, 2,38 FIP, and .984 WHIP. He also lowered his walk rate to a full-season career low 1.1, and rose his K rate to a full season career high 9. After showing what he can do overseas, Mikolas came back to The United States. His performance caught the eyes of many MLB teams, and The St. Louis Cardinals proved to win the sweepstakes for the right hander.
On December 5th, 2017, The Cardinals finalized a 3 year deal for the right handed Miles Mikolas. And so far, Mikolas has been a bargain for The Cards. His first half of the season is recapped by a 2.79 ERA, 3.25 FIP, and 1.047 WHIP in 119 and a third innings. Mikolas continues to show the amazing control with a 1.5 walk rate, and .6 home run rate. He’s been better than some proven aces this season too. His ERA is lower than Zack Greinke’s (3.18), and just .03 points higher than Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Batters only are hitting a weak .233 against him. He’s kept bats quieter than Phillies ace Jake Arrieta (.246), and Indians’ Carlos Carrasco (.250). His overall numbers, and the fact that he’s pitching better than a handful of aces that received ace status seasons ago, gave him a nod to the 2018 All-Star Game
While Mikolas’ story is nice, how exactly has he become an ace level pitcher? To find that out, you have to look at his pitch selection, and pitch usage. While Mikolas didn’t experience a jump in velocity, as he sat around 95-96 in his original MLB Stint, and now sits around 96-97, it’s his use of his pitches. According to Fangraphs, Mikolas heavily relied on his fastball in 2014, throwing it around 37% of the time. In 2018, Mikolas is only throwing it about 28% of the time. The pitch that he relied on the least that he throws a significant amount more is his cut fastball. During the ‘14 season, Miles only threw it 12% of the time. Now, he throws it nearly twice as often, at 21%. Miles also has a change-up. He’s never relied on it too much in either 2014 (9%) or now in 2018 (6%), it is notable because Mikolas added a 5th pitch in 2014, a slider that he used 16% of the time. 5 seasons later, it’s his second most used pitch at 24% usage.
Miles Mikolas has been one of the best breakout stories in 2018. Of the night of the all-star game that Mikolas was supposed to be a part of, but missed it to witness the birth of his children. Mikolas has been a great pitcher to watch. In his first taste of big league action since returning from a stint overseas, Mikolas has shown that he can be just as good as guys with the names of Zack Greinke and Corey Kluber. Now that we’re entering the Post All-Star Game beak, it’ll be fun to see if he can continue to pitch like an ace for the rest of the season.
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By: Jeffery Romeu
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Let’s starts by mentioning the dreaded fire sale this offseason which doomed the Marlins to become one of the worst teams in baseball. Nowadays, everyone knows who the Marlins traded since fire sales are basically associated with the organization. Guess what happened after all the trades? Surprise! They are one of the worst teams in baseball. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, the Marlins will only be contending for high draft picks for the foreseeable future and likely trading away any high salary players for prospects. Now, let’s take a look back at the Marlins first half of 2018! The Good, The Bad, and The Surprises.
The best player for the Marlins in the first half of the season is hands down, All-Star Catcher JT Realmuto. As the sole representative for the Marlins in the 2018 All-Star Game he has encapsulated an impressive .310 batting average, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs, .902 OPS, and rest base runners out over 90% of the time. He has proven to be the most valuable Marlins this season and has reportedly been in talks for a long-term deal with the team.
Another Marlins who is playing his first full year with the team and has continued to leave a mark on the team is rookie Brian Anderson. Last year Anderson played for about a month during the September call ups and proved his deserved a shot in the majors and this year he has become a legitimate contender for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Anderson has a .288 batting average along with 8 home runs and 49 RBI's, but what is most impressive is his fielding percentage in both the outfield and 3rd base which is over .990. This versatile player can only get better and is likely become a home hold name in the coming years.
The bullpen of the Marlins is lights out! I was going to place this as a surprise, but in reality, all these players have proven themselves to be dependable in previous years. Kyle Barraclough has become one of the baseball’s best closers and is being desperately chased by teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers. With a strong 1.28 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 44 games, he has drawn plenty of attention throughout the league’s teams who need bullpen support. In addition, Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley have also been inquired about due to their consistency on the mound. Both have an ERA in the high 2 and a whip of about 1. While the future of the Marlins bullpen is in question, for now, they have been near unhittable.
If I would have told you the Marlins were going to play a top 50 prospect for an entire year at center field, most people would expect some struggle on the field and at the plate. However, Lewis Brinson has been very disappointing. Acquired by the Marlins in the trade for Christian Yelich, Brinson has been struggling since his first game. With a batting average of .186 and being on pace to strikeout over 150+ it is clear to say that he isn’t major league ready. Now, he has hit 10 home runs and knocked in 30 runs, but it is unknown if this prospect will be in the majors in 2019.
Wei-Yin Chen is probably one of the worst contracts the Marlins have ever agreed to. 5 years – $80 Million, but he has spent the majority of the time in the DL and when he does pitch he allows around 5.75 runs. This player will never stop being on this bad list. Nothing much to say but, terrible deal, below average player, and not a good arrangement overall.
The minor league pitching prospects for the Marlins have been a disaster. Their 2013 2nd overall draft pick Tyler Kolek hasn’t returned from his injuries and their 2016 7th overall pick Braxon Garrett is out with Tommy John Surgery and will most of the 2018 season. Trevor Rogers their 2017 13th overall pick has a 7.01 ERA in Advanced Single – A and their 2016, 3rd Round pick Zac Gallen has a 4.05 ERA in Triple A. Obviously the Marlins have recently called up pitchers such as Sandy Alcantara, Merandy Gonzalez, and Pablo Lopez, but due to their limited time in the majors there isn’t a sufficient data sample to determine if they are a bust or a win for the Marlins so far. But, the pitchers who are still in the minors are likely never to reach the major due to their injuries, numbers, or lack of talent.
Derek Dietrich! Wow! .288 batting average, 11 home runs, 32 RBIs, .805 OPS and a near perfect 1.000 in fielding all his 4 positions. Where did he come from? Every Marlins fan has known that Dietrich was a solid and dependable player, but this year he has exploded into a leader in the team. It is also fun to note just how much fun he looks like he is having everyday he is on the field! Pushing for this man to continue to produce in the 2nd half.
Brad Ziegler (Reliever) has been unhittable since his demotion to the middle reliever role after his multiple blown saves as a closer. Overall, he does have a 4.40 ERA, but as a middle reliever his ERA falls to around 2. It was a surprise to see a struggling Ziegler get back into shape with a minor role change. It is unlikely he will finish the year as a Marlins due to trade rumors, but for now he has been doing well as a reliever.
When Stanton was traded to the Yankees, Starlin Castro was shipped to Miami and he wanted out. There were rumors at the time that he wouldn’t even show up to spring training or fan fest because of his desire to play for a contender and not rebuilding team. However, Castro has proven to be one of the best players on the team even with his heart being elsewhere. Posting a .291 batting average, 37 RBIs, and gold glove caliber season on defense, Castro has continued to show the MLB that he is one of the best second baseman in the league. Again, it is unlikely he will finish the year as a Marlins, but he can’t say he hasn’t enjoyed his time as a fish.
The Marlins have a record of 41 – 57, which makes them the 4th worst team in baseball. However, if I am being honest, I expected the Marlins to win just 40 games this year. 41 wins before the All-Star break is impressive in book with this team.
Uniform change back to teal! Anniversary weekend at Marlins Park was so much fun! Large crowds, classic Marlins players, and best of all, teal uniforms. Jeter, trust me, THE TEAL IS STILL FOR REAL!
By: Noah Wright
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Post All-Star break is when the most exciting things in baseball mainly happen. Blockbuster trades are made, award candidates make a push for the award they’re going for, playoff teams solidify their spot in October, and teams just out of contention make a final push to get to extend their season. Some storylines can really unfold after The All-Star game, and could be the most important, or best storyline in the entire season.
1.) Do The Mets trade Syndergaard and DeGrom?
The NY Mets’ 2 aces, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom have been in trade rumors for weeks. And it’s completely possible that both are traded by the deadline. The Mets are way out of contention for The NL East at 13.5 games out of the division (and have a worse record than The Marlins), and are 13 games out of the wildcard. That, along with a core that’s not getting any younger, it’s clear that The Mets should be sellers at the deadline. While the first ones to go will likely be veterans like Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Bautista, Syndergaard and DeGrom will likely be the next to go. If The Mets do trade their 2 aces, they’ll kick off a rebuild in a big way, and the team, or teams receiving either DeGrom or Syndergaard will likely be playoff teams, and should give them a force in the rotation that could carry them deep into the postseason.
2.) Will Jesus Aguilar continue to produce the way he has?
One of the biggest surprises of the season has been Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar. The guy has absolutely been killing it since stepping into the regular 1B role. Entering the break, Aguilar is batting .298, has a .995 OPS, with a league leading 24 homers, and .621 slugging %. His 159 wRC+ is also higher than that of MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Freddie Freeman. However, Aguilar only went 2-15 in the 5 game series against The Pittsburgh Pirates, with one of his hits being a homerun. That along with the fact that he could suffer from Home Run Derby Fatigue could make some fans wonder if Aguilar will continue to produce at MVP levels with his bat after the break.
3.) Will Max Muncy continue to produce?
Max Muncy is in a situation like Aguilar, but worse. Muncy never showed the potential, or power that Aguilar did. Muncy didn’t even play a game in The MLB last season. However, he’s batting .271/.409/.604 in 279 PA’s. He also has 22 home runs, 41 RBI’s, and an outstanding 171 wRC+. But what he does have in common with Aguilar, other than surprise producers, is that he’s participating in The HR derby tonight, and like with many players, he could suffer from Derby Fatigue.
4.) Where will Manny Machado land?
It seems like months now that we’ve heard about rumors surrounding Manny Machado. And only one thing is certain: Machado will end the season with a different team. Who that team is though, it still up for debate. Early on in the season, you could probably say that The Dodgers will be the most likely to get the all-star Oriole. Now you may say that The Brewers or Phillies will land Manny. But that’s not the only teams in the Machado sweepstakes. The Indians, Yankees, and Braves are all still in the race for Machado. Even The D-Backs have been in some Machado rumors too. Wherever the all-star shortstop/third baseman lands, it’ll definitely put a big boost in whatever lineup he is traded to, and could help carry that team in a deep playoff run.
5.) NL West is very undecided.
The NL West it probably the most competitive division in baseball right now. No team, except for The Padres, are out of the race. While The Dodgers lead the division, it’s only a .5 lead over The Diamondbacks, who could make a few trades to help push them over the top. However, The Rockies are only 2 games behind The Dodgers, and their rival, The Giants are only 4 games out of division contention. It may come down to whoever made the best deals at the deadline to decide who wins the division.
6.) Mariners vs Athletics: Who takes the second AL Wild Card spot?
It’s pretty decided that it’ll be either The Red Sox or Yankees who take the first wildcard spot. But the 2nd spot doesn’t have a clear winner. The Mariners are currently in the lead, but only by 3 games. The other team: division rival The Athletics. The A’s have a very good, and young team. One that could make a playoff spot. However, The Mariners are just as good. The A’s may need more starting pitching behind Manea, but The Mariners could use some players to back-up James Paxton. Like The NL West, it could come down to whoever makes the best deals at the deadline.
7.) AL MVP: Who takes home the trophy?
AL MVP is gonna be a fun race to watch. It’s easy to say that Mike Trout should get it, and while he may be the favorite to receive the award, it’s his to lose, and with so much competition, it’s easy to see why he could lose it. Mookie Betts is having an outstanding year, and could be a 30/30 guy with a .350+ average. His OPS also leads The AL. Jose Ramirez is almost a certain 30/30 guy with an OPS of 1.000+ as well. New Red Sox slugger JD Martinez has a chance to win The Triple Crown. He currently leads the league in long balls, RBI’s, and is .031 points behind Mookie Betts for the league lead. Even then, Aaron Judge, Francisco Lindor, Giancarlo Stanton, or 2017 MVP Jose Altuve could get on a hot streak, and force themselves into MVP talks.
With so many storylines that could completely unfold post ASG break, it’s clear to see why the second half is the most exciting time to be a baseball fan. As we head down the stretch of the rest of the season, it’ll be fun to see all the playoff races, and award races that will take place between now, and the end of the season.
By: Noah Wright
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
In a shocking move, The St. Louis Cardinals have decided to fire now former manager Mike Matheny. He, along with hitting coaches Jon mabry and Bill Mueller have all been let go by The Cardinals.
The Cardinals released a statement on twitter. In their statement, The Cards’ President Of Baseball Operations Jon Mozeliak stated that “These decisions are never easy, but we felt that a change in leadership was necessary as the team prepares to enter the second half of the season”. For now, The Cardinals will put bench coach Mike Shildt in the managers position. (you can read the full statement here: https://twitter.com/Cardinals/status/1018332556578754560)
The Cardinals originally hired Mathenly in November of 2011. After being named manager, Matheny led the club to playoff appearances between 2012-2015, with the biggest highlight being leading the team to The World Series in 2013, but not able to win a ring against The Red Sox that season. Overall, Mathenly has the 5th best manager record in all of Cardinals history, with a 591-473.
However, Matheny hasn’t been all that great as of recently. The former manager was in some controversy when veteran closer Bud Norris apparently was “mercilessly riding” blazing fastball rookie Jordan Hicks. Mathenly became involved when he stated that Norris was “Exposed to a different generation of players”. This caused fans to conclude that the manager sided with Norris, and did not take the situation more seriously. Mathenly was also criticized over bullpen use, and his double switch decisions. Another thing that likely factored in Mozeliak decision is The Cardinals current situation. The Cardinals just got off to an 8-2 loss to The Reds, which drops their record to 47-46.
By: Noah Wright
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Angels keep getting hit with the injury bug with another player hitting the DL. Yesterday The Angles announced that first baseman Albert Pujols will be placed on The DL with left knee inflammation. In his place on the roster, The Halos will recall infielder Jose Fernandez and outfielder Jabari Blash. Going back to Triple-A will be Michael Hermosilla.
On the season, Pujols is batting for a .251/.291/.423 batting line in 368 plate appearances. While he only be a shell of the former slugger he once was in his prime, ‘The Machine’ still has 16 home runs, and 52 RBI’s on the season. On the defensive side, Pujols is having an ok year with the glove. In 408 innings at first, Pujols has 2 defensive runs saved, and just a -.3 defensive WAR.
The most notable thing to add is that Pujols is the 14th player to join The Angels disabled list, and the 18th player to make at least one DL trip this season that’s on The Halos’ roster.
By: Noah Wright
Adam Hunger/Getty Images
The Yankees veteran left hander CC Sabathia has been a very dominant pitcher in recent history. In his time with The Indians, Brewers, and Yankees, Sabathia has had a very good career, one that could make The Hall Of Fame. However, there’s still a good case that he won’t get a call to Cooperstown. With that being said, let's look at CC Sabathia’s chances at The Hall Of Fame.
Let's start with why Sabathia does make The Hall. First, Sabathia has a 61.5 career WAR (according to Baseball Reference). This ranks 56th all time in pitcher WAR. Sabathia outranks Hall Of Famers like Hal Newhouser, and other Yankee legend Whitey Ford. CC also has a good amount of K’s. With 2921 strikeouts and counting, Sabathia ranks 17th all time, and has a chance to get to 3000 K’s before the end of the season. If he reaches that milestone, CC would be one of 17 total players with 3000 or more strikeouts. By the end of his career, Sabathia should pass Hall Of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, and could pass Curt Schilling in that department. Sabatia has just a 1.25 WHIP, which ties with 10 other players, but most notably all time strikeout leader Nolan Ryan. Another thing that helps Sabathia’s Hall Of Fame chances is his recent success. In the last 2 seasons, Sabathia has seemed to find a new way of getting batters out. In 243 innings, Sabatia has a 3.56 ERA, along with a low 2.9 walks per 9 rate. Though his 4.47 FIP can indicate his fielding has helped him a good amount, Sabathia is still a serviceable backend starter even into his late 30’s. Throughout CC’s career, he’s been able to keep bats quiet from both sides of the plate, with righties only hitting a weak .256/.310/.399 in 11,211 plate appearances, and lefty batters hitting a worse .230/.291/.349 in 3052 plate appearances. Sabathia has also won a multitude of awards. His most known award is his 2009 ALCS MVP award, and also won a World Series Ring the same year. CC has gone to 6 all-star games in his 18 year career. Another important thing to mention is that he finished 2nd place in Rookie Of The Year Voting in 2001. His most important award has to be his 2006 Cy Young award with The Cleveland Indians, beating out Red Sox ace Josh Beckett (who finished in 2nd place), and now sadly deceased Blue Jay ace Roy Halladay (who finished in 7th place). In that season, Sabathia pitched in 241 innings, and recorded a 3.21 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and a 1.141 WHIP. While he didn’t have standout strikeout numbers with a 7.8 K’s per 9 ratio, he still had an amazing 1.4 walk per 9 rate, and a league leading 5.65 strikeouts per walk ratio. Sabathia almost won The Cy Young award again in 2010 when he finished 3rd in voting, with then Rays’ ace David Price (who finished 2nd), and Mariners’ righty Felix Hernandez winning the award. While he may not have won it that season, Sabathia still had a better WAR than David Price, who I mentioned finished above him in Cy Young Voting. In his career, CC has finished 5th place or higher in voting 5 separate times. While he may have won The Cy Young in 2006, and nearly won it again in 2010, his best season has to be the 2008 year. During that season, the lefty split time between the Indians and Brewers, and he pitched very similarly to when Verlander was traded to The Astros last season. While his overall numbers that season with The Indians weren’t great, as he had a 3.83 ERA, 3.41 FIP, and 1.234 WHIP in 122 and a third innings with The Indians, it wasn’t until he was traded to The Brewers, with Rob Bryson, Matt LaPorta, and Zach Jackson in exchange for Michael Brantley, when CC really started to perform. In Milwaukee, Sabathia pitched for a miniscule 1.65 ERA, 2.44 FIP, and 1.003 WHIP in 130 and two thirds innings. He lowered his walk rate to just 1.7, and homerun rate to .4. The most notable thing about his time with The Brewers is that he started 17 games, and 7 of them he went the distance, and pitched all 9 innings. So in all 253 innings he pitched that season, Sabathia had a combined 2.70 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 1.115 WHIP, .7 homers, 2.1 walks, and 8.9 K’s per 9, to go with 10 complete games and 5 shutouts, which almost all the stats are full season career bests. The innings pitched is still an active player single season high. Sabathia ended up finishing in 5th place for NL Cy Young Voting, and it was the only time he finished in the top 10 of MVP voting at 6th place. Overall in his prime years, which I would consider from the 2006 season to the 2012 season, Sabathia had a 3.14 ERA, 3.20 FIP, and 1.162 WHIP, showing that he didn’t tg help him. That along with a decent 8.2 K per 9 rate, a 2.2 walk per 9 rate, and just .8 home runs per 9 in 1591 and two thirds innings in that 7 season period show that his prime years were some amazing years in recent history.
While Sabathia has more than enough reasons to get a Call To The Hall, there are some things that could prevent him from making it. The first, and most notable thing to point out is his career ERA, which is 3.69. While it isn’t a bad ERA at all, it doesn’t necessarily shout Hall Of Fame either. It ranks 271 of all time. His FIP is a similar situation as well. With a 3.71 FIP, he doesn’t even rank in the top 500 of MLB players, and he sits with Gene Conley tied for 573rd place. CC has also never been a big strikeout pitcher, indicated by his career 7.7 K per-9 ratio, and never having a full season where that rate reached above 8.9, or having back-to-back seasons with 200+ K’s. However, Sabathia isn’t the most control effective starter. He currently has a 2.7 walk per 9 rate, which ranks 461st all time. Another thing that hurts Sabathia’s case is, while he has been an effective pitcher for most of his career, there have been times when he wasn’t even a top 20 guy. For example, Sabathia, while he finished 2nd in Rookie Of The Year Voting, and made 2 all-star appearances between 2001 and 2005, Sabathia didn’t have a true ace level season until 2006 when he was 25. In that 5 season time period, the lefty had one year when he had an ERA below 4, and even then, it wasn’t amazing at 3.60 in 197 and two thirds innings. Overall, Sabathia pitched in 972.2 innings in the 2001 to 2005 seasons, and recorded a 4.10 ERA, 3.98 FIP, and a 1.317 WHIP. His perfierials also were not great either with a 3.5 walk per 9 rate, 9 strikeouts per 9, and a just 1.99 strikeout per walk rate. Sabathia also suffered a similar downturn between 2013 and 2016. In those 4 seasons, CC only had one season when his ERA reached a below 4 mark, with a 3.91 ERA in 179.2 innings in 2016. Sabathia also suffered a season ending injury early into th 2014 season, in which he pitched in 8 games. However, he didn’t pitch well in those 8 games, for he had a 5.28 ERA, 4.78 FIP, and career highs in his home runs per 9 innings rate at 2, and hits per 9 rate at 11.3 in 46 innings. While Sabathia also had a 9.4 K per 9 rate, and 2 walk per 9 rate that season, the bads really outweigh the goods. Overall between 2013 and 2016, CC recorded a lack luster 4.54 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.377 WHIP, along with a high 1.3 home runs per 9 rate. Sabathia also doesn’t have fantastic overall postseason numbers. Overall, CC has a 4.20 ERA, 4.64 FIP, and a high 1.528 WHIP in 126 and a third postseason innings. Notably, his postseason walk rate is 4.3. While they’re not Clayton Kershaw bad, they’re not Madison Bumgarner good.
Sabathia has had a very good career if you look at it. Sure his ERA and FIP numbers may not be the best, but his other numbers and feats, like his strikeout total which will likely reach 3000+ before the end of his career, and his recent rebound of going from has been starter to solid backend piece, you can see why he has a good chance of getting a call to The Hall. When everything is said and done, I do see Sabathia making it to Cooperstown, but probably not on his first 3 or 4 ballots. I’d predict CC makes it in on his 5th-8th ballot or later, but eventually, he will likely make The Hall.
Photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images
With July now among us and the all star game less than a week away, it is officially trade deadline season. After a rough start to the year, the Dodgers have turned it around and now sit in 2nd place in the NL West as of today. The turnaround has now put the Dodgers in a position to be buyers during the trade deadline throughout the month. With that said let's take a look at the latest rumors and buzz surrounding the Dodgers with the trade deadline approaching.
Latest on Machado Rumors
Bob Nightengale of USA Today had reported that the Dodgers were “aggressively pursuing” Manny Machado, shortstop of the Baltimore Orioles, but noted that the Orioles wanted pitcher and no.10 prospect Dustin May included in any sort of deal for Machado.
It later came out Monday that the Dodgers offered their no.1 prospect Alex Verdugo and no.8 prospect Yadier Alvarez in a potential deal for Machado, in which they declined. Sources later revealed that Baltimore wanted catcher and no.2 prospect Keibert Ruiz, no.10 prospect Dustin May, or even infielder and no.12 prospect Gavin Lux in any trade, which may have come as a surprise to some. At this point though, the Dodgers may have shifted their focus past Machado as they are now looking into other infield options as well.
An addition of Machado would no doubt improve a Dodgers offense which hit 55 home runs in June, a franchise record. The biggest question surrounding a potential deal will be whether Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi are willing to give up top prospects in the deal, something Friedman has never really done in his time in Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.
With even more recent rumors of the Yankees and Brewers among other teams being involved in talks for Machado, if the Dodgers are seriously in contention to get him, it would be essential to go all in now instead of waiting, before it’s too late.
Dodgers Looking at Other Infield Options Other Than Machado
Jeff Passan reported Monday amidst recent trade talks for Manny Machado, the Dodgers are exploring other infield options, looking beyond Machado.
The notable names LA has been talking to teams about are most notably Scooter Gennett from the Reds, Brian Dozier from the Twins, and Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets.
Gennett, who is having a breakout year hitting .322 with 14 home runs, 58 RBI’s, and a 2.7 WAR with the Reds would be a valuable option at 2nd base, giving more firepower and quality at-bats down the stretch of the year to an already solid lineup. Dozier meanwhile, who has been in trade rumors surrounding the Dodgers over the past few seasons, would seemingly give another viable power bat to a lineup that already has 8 players with 10 plus home runs. Then, Cabrera, unlike the other two players, provides even more depth to a team already loaded with it, as he could play multiple positions in the infield while providing solid production offensively as he already has 16 home runs on the year with a .280 average.
A move for either of the 3 could be huge as they could potentially bring huge impacts down the stretch and it allows the Dodgers to have more leeway with who they want to move in a deal, therefore potentially being just enough to make Friedman, Zaidi, and crew strike a deal.
Dodgers Acquire Dylan Floro, Zach Neal, and International Signing Bonus Pool Space from Reds.
With a recently struggling bullpen, the Dodgers made a move last week with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire relievers Floro and Neal on July 4th. Floro will be more of the bigger impact bullpen arm that the Dodgers are looking for as with the Reds so far this season he’s posted a solid 2.72 ERA with opponents hitting only .275 average off of him. As for Neal, he may not be expected to pitch, as in only one appearance this season he posted a 9.00 ERA and opponents have hit .400 against him. The move gives the team more options now to attempt to improve their bullpen down the stretch.
By: Jeffery Romeu
Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire
This previous offseason, the Marlins front office basically dismantled the powerful lineup of the team for borderline average prospects. While it is unfair to determine that players like Jorge Guzman (Advanced-A), Magneuris Sierra (Triple-A), and Sandy Alcantara (Majors/Triple-A) aren’t high-quality players due to their lack of player time in the majors, there is more than enough sufficient evidence to prove that they will not match the productivity of Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich, and Gordon. With that in mind, the Marlins should be very cautious not to throw away even more quality pieces for flashy prospects with no real proven promise.
Brad Ziegler: ERA – 4.50 WHIP – 1.34 Record – 1 – 5 (Reliever/Closer)
Contract: Final year of $16M for 2 years
Ziegler is an interesting case for the Marlins, simply because as a closer, he ranged from average to bad. But as a reliever he has been solid. However, it is the last year of his contract and unless the Marlins magically turn into Murders Row after the All-Star break, they are not contending for anything but a quality pick in next year’s amateur draft. In that case, it would be a good idea to deal him before the deadline. The Dodgers have expressed interest in trading for him, but he won’t have a return of a top 50 prospect. So, in my opinion I believe it would be better to get a young player who has proven himself in the majors already or trade for Julio Urias and some hit friendly prospects.
Kyle Barraclough/Drew Steckenrider/Adam Conley
Contracts: All are under control until 2022
Arguably the crown jewel for the Marlins this season are the three young bullpen pitchers who frequently prove themselves to be quality arms for any team. All three players have generated the attention of teams like the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Indians for their possible playoff runs, yet I believe this situation is pretty straight forward for me. Unless any teams offer a top 50 prospect or multiple of their organization’s top prospects like the Red Sox have by offering Michael Chavis and Matt Collins, the Marlins should simply refuse. All three players are under control until 2022, are affordable, and could be important for the Marlins to build around in the future. Now, while it is unlikely the Marlins will contend anytime soon, if the Angels in the Outfield decide to visit Marlins Park in Little Havana, I’d love to see Barraclough’s slider spin even further.
JT Realmuto: BA - .317 HR – 12 RBI – 44 & 98% of the time catches runners stealing
Contract: Under control until 2021
The Marlins sole All-Star and possibly the best catcher in the MLB. Unless you convince the Blue Jays to give up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or the Braves to give up Ronald Acuna Jr. you should probably build around this one and trade him when you don’t want to offer him a long-term deal in or before 2021.
Starlin Castro: BA - .297 HR -7 RBI – 34 & doesn’t want to play for the Marlins
There is no debate that the Marlins should deal Castro and his big contract since the Marlins are not contending and Castro has stated multiple times he doesn’t want to stay in Miami. Trade him for some quality prospects, at this time the Marlins have made him available, but no team has publicly expressed their interest for his services. He might have to endure the extreme sun, daily rain showers, and of course the amazing traffic of Miami for a little longer.
Bottomline – The Marlins should be sellers at the trade, as I mentioned various times before, they are not contending so they might as well do the one thing Jeter will never admit he’s doing and “REBUILD”!!!!
With the somewhat recent news that Demarcus Cousins has joined the Golden State Warriors for 5 Million Dollars, a lot of baseball fans have become concerned with their own sport. There were some fans calling for the salary cap, which I made a whole video on by the way, and there were others that were concerned that a team like the Yankees or the Red Sox could gather a bunch of free agents and create a super-team of their own. But do not fear baseball fans, because in this article, I am going to be explaining why a “Warriors” situation could not happen in baseball ever again.
Now first, we need to describe what a “Warriors” situation is. We aren’t talking about just a dynasty here. We are talking about complete domination to the point where you know who the champion is before a single game has even been played.
Some of you may have noticed the word “Again” in the title. And that is there because there was a version of the Warriors in baseball. Enter In: The New York Yankees.
The Yankees dominated Major League Baseball in the 1950s. They won the 1949 world series, and also the 1950, 51, 52, 53, 56, and 58 World Series. It got to the point that the Yankees were so dominant, attendance in the National League was much higher, since in the AL everybody knew that at the end of the day, the Yankees would end up on top. But there are a few reasons why a team as dominant as the Warriors or the 1950s Yankees couldn’t happen in baseball ever again.
#1 - The Draft: Ahh yes, the MLB Draft. The place where you draft your future franchise star, unless you’re the Rangers. Sorry Rangers. But seriously, this is the place where bad teams get the chance to draft the best young talent to turn their franchise around. But the thing is, the MLB draft didn’t exist until 1965. So before that, teams could just sign players off the street. Mickey Mantle, who is one of the greatest Yankees ever, signed with the Yankees just after his high school graduation. Also, scouting is so much better now as well, that is would be a challenge for teams to miss on a guy like Mantle. And in the draft, there are picks known as “compensation picks” that are given to teams when a certain free agent leaves that team. Also, it is not like the compensation picks don’t mean anything. The Angels received a compensation pick in 2009 because guess who, the Yankees, signed Mark Teixeira in free agency. And with that pick, the Angels selected outfielder from New Jersey, Mike Trout. And I’m not nitpicking here either, there are plenty more instances of superstars being drafted with compensation picks.
#2 - Baseball Randomness: Baseball is one of the hardest sports to predict a winner in. There are hundreds if not of possibilities for every single batter. For example, on a 0-0 count the pitch could be, a strike, a ball, a single, a double, a hit by pitch...do you see where I’m going with this? But in basketball, per possession, the simple version is you can score 2 points, 3 points, or 0 points. Basketball is more skill based, it is less situational then baseball is. Author Michael Mauboussin explains this concept in his book The Success Equation. Michael uses a statistical technique that ranks different sports by the contributions of luck and skill in each sport. As you can see by the chart (below), basketball takes more skill, and baseball is more on the luck side than basketball. Now obviously baseball skill does matter, I wouldn’t expect a team like the White Sox to sweep the Yankees in an 11 game series based off of luck, but hey, you never know. They could get a little lucky.
Chart Via: Vox
#3 - Free Agency: Yes baseball does not have a salary cap however, there is a system in place to keep some sort of balance in free agency, and it is called the competitive balance tax, aka. the luxury tax. Teams will do almost everything they can to avoid the luxury tax. That's why during this past off-season when Arrieta and J.D. Martinez were asking for massive contracts, teams like the Giants and the Dodgers stayed away, to try and avoid the luxury tax. And that brings me into my next point...
Number 4 - Players Are About Getting That Bag (Money): As seen by this most recent off-season, players are willing to wait on their contracts until they get paid whatever the amount they think they should get. And since there is no set amount for a max contracts, players are told by their agents what they should expect, and if they don’t get that offer, then they are willing to wait. Of course players do care about winning. However, if a good team is offering them $5 million a year, while other mid-level teams are offering $15-20 million, it would be hard for anyone to pass up on that mid-level team offer. And also another thing to keep in mind, unless you are a superstar player, then you can’t live off of your shoe deal alone in the MLB. In the NBA, you see guys that haven’t even played a game yet signing a 5 year shoe deal (Marvin Bagley III). So all of the money for players in the MLB, basically comes from contracts.
And before we finish I just wanted to say, even with all of these different restrictions and situations, the occasional dynasty will still happen, but they won’t be that common. And I suppose a baseball version of the Warriors is possible. But will it happen? No.
By: Noah Wright
Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
In a slightly surprising move, The Houston Astros have optioned closer Ken Giles to triple-A for the time being. Giles was originally acquired by The Astros in the deal that brought him over from The Phillies for Vince Velazquez, Mark Appel, Brett Oberholtzer, and 2 other minor league players. While the hard throwing righty, performed very well in the regular season last year, he hasn’t been the same since struggling in the postseason. This season, Giles stats are kinda all over the place. To start, he has a 4.99 ERA, but a 2.25 FIP in 30 and two thirds innings. He has a career low .9 walks/9, but a career low strikeout rate. While Giles also has a career high 10.6 hits/9, he has only given up 2 home runs. However his stats may not be the only reason he was demoted, as we have seen him beat himself up after giving up a home run to Yankees’ catcher Gary Sanchez, and have recently heard about outbursts against manager A.J. Hinch.
In his place The Astros will recall lefty Cionel Perez. Right hander Hector Rondon will likely take over the closer role, but has already seen more and more time at the closing out games. The Stros also have other decent options behind Rondon as Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, and Collin McHugh have also had decent seasons so far as well.
By: Noah Wright
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports
The Home Run Derby is MLB’s way of showing the game’s best power hitters, like with Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and Prince Fielder. However, if you’ve noticed the past few years, there’s been a trend. Less and less star players are doing The Home Run Derby. I think the main culprits of this trend are 2 things.
The first thing that started this trend is coaches and players do not want to risk injury. An example of this is when Giants’ Bruce Bochy didn’t want ace Madison Bumgarner in 2016. While it may be a different situation with your pitcher, the reason is still there. Some may say that injury is rare on swinging, and it is, but no team is willing to risk their star player on a swing, and on a freak injury like the time Adam Wainwright swung, and hurt himself after the swing. You could also say that ‘well they could hurt themself in the all star game on a swing, so then should they not go to the all-star game?’ However, it is a way different situation. A player in an all-star game will likely only see one at bat, and only swing at a 3-5 pitches at most. In the derby, they’re swinging for the fences, at dozens of pitches, for up to 10+ minutes. With that, let's get into the second point.
The next point I want to get into is a player going into a slump because of the homerun derby. While there are always a handful of players that go into a slump after the all-star break, but there is always at least one guy who goes into a huge slump post-break. Last season, Aaron Judge entered the break with a .329/.448/.691 with 30 homers, and 66 RBI’s, and looked like A Triple-Crown candidate. After Judge participated in, and won the derby, Judge batted .228/.391/.548 with 22 home runs and 48 RBI’s. While his second half was still really good, it’s clear that he took a step down in the second half. Mark Trumbo, a 2016 home run derby participant, batted a good .288/.341/.582 with 28 longballs, and 68 RBI’s before The All-Star break. However, Trumbo fell off a cliff in the second half with .214/.284/.470 line, and 19 home runs. Maybe it’s fatigue, but whatever it is, players don’t want to be one that suffers from derby fatigue.
In the end, we’ve already seen Aaron Judge turn down doing the derby this season. Bryce Harper, while he hasn’t done that great this season, has still hit 22 home runs, and is considered a current star, was reluctant to do the derby, only if he made the All-Star Game, which he has. With Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, and Max Muncy the only 4 that are confirmed going to do the derby, with Schwarber and Baez just being announced to do the derby, it won’t be a surprise if players with star names J.D. Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Paul Goldschmidt, and Giancarlo Stanton don’t do the derby when the bracket is announced on later today.