Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Stat of the Day: BABIP

Welcome to the first installment of Friday Stat of the Day, designed to provide a brief introduction to some of the advanced metrics (or concepts really, even if the math isn't that hard) used often by statheads, Bill James-o-philes and blogger geeks (but increasingly more by mainstream media, which is encouraging) to evaluate player performance beyond the standard statistical categories.

We'll kick it off with something that actually isn't too hard to grasp from a numbers perspective but actually can be very helpful in evaluating the current success or failure of a pitcher. BABIP stands for batting average on balls in play, and it essentially measures the percentage of all balls in play that go for hits against a certain pitcher. Home runs aren't counted as a "ball in play," nor are strikeouts obviously, so it largely boils down to all batted balls that a defender would theoretically have a play on. Here's the formula:

where H is hits, HR is home runs, AB is at bats, K is strikeouts, and SF is sacrifice flies.

Seems pretty simple, right? So why is this important?

Basically, looking at a pitcher's BABIP can be used as an indicator that a pitcher is having a fluky season - either a) that they are pitching way over their heads and getting lucky that many of the balls in play simply aren't dropping for hits or that they are benefiting from stellar defense; or b) that they are not pitching nearly as poorly as their win-loss record or ERA (generally regarded by sabremetricians as two of the worst ways to evaluate pitching performance) might suggest, meaning that balls in play are finding more gaps than they normally would or they are being victimized by defensive ineptitude. Extremely high or low BABIPs are not sustainable, and as the short Wikipedia blurb on the subject notes, "those whose BABIPs are extremely high can often be expected to improve in the following season, and those pitchers whose BABIPs are extremely low can often be expected to regress in the following season." Bottom line is that it depends mostly on defense and luck, rather than pitching skill.

So for some real-life examples, let's take a look at the BABIP of a few notable pitchers this admittedly still young season. To keep things in perspective, Baseball Prospectus says that an average BABIP is around .290. I'll highlight a few pitchers at both the top and bottom end of the spectrum.

Getting screwed:
Now here's an interesting example. As of May 21, with a minimum of 30 IP, the pitcher with the highest BABIP was none other than last year's Cy Young winner and (sic) favorite Tim Lincecum, sitting at a hefty .389. Lincecum's line on the season however, is far from a disaster - 3.03 ERA, 4-1 record, 84 Ks in 65 IP. What does this tell us? Number one, the best way to avoid having a high BABIP really hurt you is to miss a ton of bats, at which Lincecum is one of the best. But number two, we should expect his numbers to improve (sick, I know) as his BABIP regresses to the mean.

Following Timmay! at .388 and .382 are Jon Lester and Ricky Nolasco respectively, and although obviously not in the same category as Lincecum, Tim Dierkes notes that they each probably deserve ERAs around 4 rather than the 6.51 and 7.78 they currently sport.

Riding the wave:
One interesting highlight at the other end: Edinson Volquez. Currently sitting at .211. Volquez is putting together a decent season so far, but a lot of people thought that he would regress after a monster year last year. Obviously there are many more factors that go into something like that, not the least of which is probably fatigue from throwing 196 innings at his age, but this is an interesting stat. He's still missing bats at 45K in 48 IP, but his fortuitous BABIP might suggest that tougher times lie ahead. Not to say that last season was all smoke and mirrors, though as his BABIP last year was a very average .303. Make of this what you will.

So in summary, BABIP isn't a perfect, all-powerful or super-predictive stat, but it can help point out some of those guys who are overperforming and underperforming. Check it out for yourself if you wanna know more.

Note: For an interesting analysis of BABIP from a hitter's perspective, here's a good article.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wieters Watch

For all of those people waiting for the Matt Wieters debut, well, you only have 3 more days (if you count today) to wait. The Orioles announced that Matt Wieters will make his Major League debut on Friday at home against the Detroit Tigers.

Ok ok, the news has been out pretty much all day, but my writing partners were busy and I was too so we missed the immediate scoop. Wieters hasn't exactly been lighting it up in the minors as of late, but hopefully he'll do well in his first Major League stint.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Prospect Notes, Other Notes

Buster Olney reported today by way of this article that David Price was finally be called up to the Tampa Bay Rays and will make his first start today against the Cleveland Indians. Price hasn't exactly been 'lights out' lately at Triple-A, but with the struggles the Rays have been having lately, perhaps they are just looking for a spark.

Some Twins related news:
  • For the 4th time this year, a MLB player hit for the cycle, this time it was Michael Cuddyer of the Twins who hit for the cycle in 4 at-bats last Friday. He is the second Twins player to do it this year (the other was Jason Kubel) and I doubt it even hit the radar screens of most baseball fans because the feat received so little coverage. Cuddyer hit his triple on his last at-bat of the night, a broken bat shot down the 3rd base line. The pieces of the bat we collected and shipped to Cooperstown according to the ESPN recap. And do you want to talk about hot, here's Cuddyer's batting line the past 4 games: 9 for 17, 6Rs, 2HRs, 8RBI, oh, and he had back-to-back 4-hit games. That's even hotter than the ridiculous Joe Mauer.
  • Minnesota has scored 43 runs in their last 4 games. The Twins staff has given up 9 runs in their last 4 games. Damn.
  • A couple of other bright spots for the Twins over the weekend were Anthony Swarzak's 7 inning shutout performance against the Brewers in his Major-League debut. The Twins could definitely use another reliable arm in their rotation after some early-struggles by the likes of Liriano and Baker. Speaking of Baker, he pitched a near complete-game on Sunday, 8.1 innings of what should have been 1-run ball, but he gave up a 2-run dinger to Prince Fielder before being taken out to let Joe Nathan finish the game. It was, by a country-mile, Baker's best outing of the year and right now, it looks like the Twins rotation is coming around to what most thought they would be out of the gate. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
I'll let (sic) take care of Yankees notes. I've been getting non-stop crap from him since the Twins' embarrassment last weekend. Though it wasn't quite a walk-off, the Yankees got a taste of their own medicine yesterday. Anyway, that's it for the Memorial Day post. Here's a salute to those who serve in our military and put their lives on the line so that we remain free.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So we didn't want to announce anything in case it didn't happen, but we're very excited to bring to you an e-interview with Twins pitching star Pat Neshek. Pat broke into the Majors with the Twins in 2006 at the age of 25. He pitched in 32 games that year and established himself as one of the premiere set-up men in the Game, compiling a 2.19 ERA and a 4-2 record that season, a season in which the Twins won their division only to exit in the first round of the playoffs. In 2007, Pat continued his winning ways appearing in 74 games with the Twins which was good for 5th most appearances by any reliever in the league. Pat was so dominating in 2007 that he was on the ballot for the final all-star spot (he eventually lost out to Okajima). He ended up going 7-2 that season as the primary set-up man for the Twins with a sparkling ERA of 2.94. Unfortunately for the Twins, and Twins fans, Neshek suffered a tear in his UCL early on in the 2008 campaign and eventually elected to have Tommy John surgery. Pat will be out this season as well but we are all eagerly awaiting his return in 2010.

At any rate, he's a cool guy, a hometown guy, grew up in Brooklyn Park, MN and went to this author's high school (Park Center High School). He's an avid baseball card collector and overall fan of the game and he runs his own blog chronicling his own Major League experience which can be found here: On The Road with Pat Neshek This is way too much of me talking though, so here's the interview:

Let's start with some word association to get the blood flowing, I'll give you a topic, give me a word, or two:
1.) Ron Gardenhire - Reminds me of Santa Claus
2.) Game 163 (last year) - tease
3.) Manny Ramirez - Tough Hitter - Bad Decision
4.) Zack Greinke - Raw - Dominating
5.) Target Field (next season) - Boo
6.) New Yankee Stadium - Thank God the old one is gone
7.) AJ Pierzynski - weirdo
8.) VORP - A Great Concept
9.) Being a Major Leaguer - My dream
10.) Park Center High -  Green & Gold

Alright, now for some bonafide questions:
1. What have been the most physically and demanding aspects of your rehab?
Doing the same things everyday for a year...mentally you have to stay fresh

2. You have a unorthodox delivery, have you been (or will you be) forced to alter your mechanics at all since the surgery?
Nope, I hate that question. Go to wikipedia and look at all the guys that are currently in the bigs that have had comes out to nearly 1 of 8 guys in the Show have had it...For me I feel like I got worn out and didn't get enough rest. My arm has went through a lot coming up through the minors it's amazing it lasted that long.

3. What is your daily routine like for an average night game when you're healthy and playing?
Before I got hurt it was get to the field around 2-3 pm. Do fan mail for an hour. Head out to bp, stretch and catch. get done with that around 5:15. Come in and eat dinner, listen to a scouting report if it's the 1st game of the series. Once done with that I will watch video of the guys I'm facing and try to find out how to k them and learn what they like to hit. After that get dressed and get ready for the game.

4. As a pitcher, do you still enjoy taking batting practice and do you sometimes practice hitting?
I really don't like BP anymore.  It seemed like the last couple years doing it I became really sore in my forearms and I didn't like having weird soreness...We practice hitting before interleague.  I think I would be a good hitter if I got to practice for a couple months...right now I'm a joke if I stepped up to the plate.

5. I know you're a big fan of the game despite the fact that you are in the Bigs, but in your opinion who has the best pitch, fastball, slider, whatever, in the Majors?
Roy Halladay dominates every year he pitches...whatever he does impresses me.

6. A lot of baseball players (especially) are superstitious, do you have any superstitions, or rituals that you do, to ensure your success?
2 pieces of bazooka in my back right pocket and when I get up to get ready to come in they go in my mouth. That's about it.

Thanks Pat!!! We really appreciate it!

Prospect Roundup: Nada.

None of our prospects played yesterday. Sad times. There were no AAA games yesterday, and I don't know why Montero was held out. Tomorrow's Roundup ought to be hefty though. Check back in later for some sweet livebloggin'.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Live Blog Clarion Call

I'm putting out the call for a liveblog tomorrow. I hope DomeDog and AK47 will join me in chronicling some of the day's action. On tap:

Philly @ Cincy, Texas @ Detroit, Twins @ ChiSox, Cleveland @ KC.

If they can't get going for a Twins v. Chicago game, then what's it gonna take?

Liveblog, son. Liveblog.

Prospect Roundup: Wieters and Wallace

An abbreviated Prospect Roundup today as Wieters and Wallace are the only two guys who have done shit in the last two days. I guess everyone else took the first part of the week off. Let's get to it:

Wieters -
On 5/18 went 0/3 with a K and an RBI. On 5/19 Wieters went 2/4 with a R. Getting closer and closer to call-up time.

Wallace -
On 5/18 went 3/6 with 2Ks. Good for the old average. On 5/19 went 2/3 with a BB. His season line is now .471/.500/.521, which easily beats Wieters so far on the year. An unheralded, but very productive, prospect.

Price, Feliz, Brackman, Montero all DNP.

Future HOFer? Johnny Damon

If you like what you're reading here, check out the rest of the blog: THE BAT SHATTERS

I'll be honest, I've never been a really big fan of Johnny Damon, mostly because I still have some residual hatred from his days with the Boston Red Sox. However, anyone who actually looks/looked like the caveman from the Geico commericals, deserves pity. I'm coming around on Damon now, mostly because I have him on my fantasy baseball team and he has been raking so far this year. I was trying to think of a player for another installment of Future HOFer? and I decided to check Damon's numbers out and was surprised by what I found. Given Damon's body of work so far and taking into account his age, he has a legit shot at reaching bonafide HOF numbers by the time he retires. Check out some of his vitals (provided, as always, by Baseball Reference):

2,025 Gs
.290 Career Avg.
.794 Career OPS
2,319 Hs
1,408 Rs
942 RBI
193 HRs
365 SBs

Given that Damon is 35 and still has a few seasons of solid production ahead of him (if he stays healthy, of course), it is likely that Damon could approach 3,000 hits, 1,600+ Rs and 400+ SBs. Those numbers would at least put him in consideration for the HOF. The area of Damon's resume that is lacking is clearly the RBI category and also the fact that Damon has only played on two All-Star teams during his career. Also, there is the fact that Damon has spent the ladder part of his career playing on Red Sox and Yankees alongside no-doubt HOFers like Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, A-Rod, Curt Schilling, etc and has been 'in the shadows' so to speak.

Moving to the Yankees was the best move Damon ever made, and shaving the God-awful (no pun intended there) manginess that used to be on his head was the best decision he ever made. I still find it hard to believe that Damon spent 7 season languishing away with the Royals and Athletics, I have to imagine that his overall stats would be a bit better had those years been spent with better teams. Anyway, I'm rambling, there's my case, I think Johnny has at least an outside shot at the HOF if he continues on his current pace for the next 3-5 seasons. Here's a more palatable picture of him.

Monday, May 18, 2009


That David Price gif just gave it to me. I will be sending The Bat Shatters my medical bills.

Prospect Roundup: Roundup the Prospects

This Prospect Roundup is brought to you by one of the most common elements in the universe: the walk-off Yankee win.


David Price went 5IP yesterday, giving up two walks and King a measly 9. Measly or ridiculous, I can't decide. Looks like his struggles are behind him. Now we will watch Tampa surrender a few more wins by keeping him in the minors and letting Jeff Niemann continue to suck. No big deal, its not like the AL East is competitive.

Matt Wieters followed his 2 HR bonanza last Thursday with another HR on Friday, going 2/3 with 1HR, 2RBI, 1BB, 1R and a K. On Friday, he went 1/4 with a R and a K. That one hit was a triple. Go Wieters go! His season line is now .280/.376/.477. Coming on strong now.

Sweet Jesus Montero went 0/2 with a BB, an RBI and a K on 5/15. He followed that on 5/16 by going 2/5 a double and a K. On 5/17 he went 0/3 with a BB and a K.

Brett Wallace continues to tear it up in AAA. On 5/16 he went 3/4 with a double, 2R and an RBI. On 5/17 he went 0/4 with 2 Ks. It happens.

Finally Andrew Brackman had a meh outing on 5/16, going 5IP with 5H, 2ER, 2BB and 2Ks. His season line is now 42.2IP, 42H, 19ER, 17BB and 40Ks. That's a K/9 of 8.44 and a K/BB ratio of 2.36. I'd like to see that latter ratio nudge higher by him cutting down on the BBs. Only 3 in his last 13 IP.

That concludes today's Roundup, brought to you by "Yankees win...THUUUUUU YANKEES WIN!"

Feliz DNP.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Why I HATE AJ Pierzynski

Fuck you AJ. I didn't like you when you were a Minnesota Twin, I was glad when you were traded to the Giants, and the fact that you were then traded to the White Sox has only served to seal forever my hatred of you. For years I've tried to put my finger on why it is that I hate you and basically it comes down to this: you pretend to be a great baseball player, but all of it is a facade to cover over the solidly average career you've had. Here's the evidence.

1,125 Gs
3971 ABs
.284 lifetime average, for a catcher, pretty good, but certainly not great
486 career runs
510 career RBI
102 career HRs
.326 career on-base percentage
blah, blah, blah

Those stats might look deceivingly good, so let look at who Baseball Reference compares him to:
- Paul LoDuca
- Bengie Molina
- Michael Barrett (ironic)
- Todd Walker

Those are recognizable names, but no one's nominating for them for MVP or 'player of the year' awards.  Trust me, if you've ever heard AJ talk, you would think he was best god-damn baseball player in the world.  And apparently, his smugness extends beyond the field, take a look at these:

The guy's allowed to have fun, but he just looks like a douchebag, hanging out with girls who appear to be WAY out of his league (no pun intended). In the third picture, the guy to the right of AJ is clearly annoyed by him.

So all this goes to show that my hatred of AJ is really baseless, I don't have many reasons, but I can tell you unequivocally that he is my least favorite player in baseball. On that sunny summer day in Chicago when Michael Barrett punched AJ in the face, I lived vicariously through Barrett.  Him punching AJ in the face was me punching AJ in the face and it was damn enjoyable. Here's another picture for posterity.

Prospect Roundup: Feliz Is Not Hurt

Neftali Feliz returned to the bump last night after an 11 day absence. The rest proved helpful, as he went 5IP, giving up 1ER on 1H, a home run to Chad Huffman. He struck out seven and walked a lonesome 1 batter. Damn right Neftali. Do your thing.

Matt Wieters. I have been on your case about the power outage, but no more good sir, no more. 2/5 with 3R, 2HR, 4RBI and 1K. Welcome back. We're still looking at weeks until the call-up.

Brett Wallace went 2/5 with 1R and a double.

Brackman, Montero and Price DNP.

It is fun to see some of these guys really heat up.

Jacoby Ellsbury should be in AAA. That is all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Prospect Roundup with a Vengeance

Sweet Jesus Montero
5/8: 1/4 with a walk and 2Ks.
5/9: 2/5, 2 doubles, with 2RBIs.
5/11: 2/4 with a R, a triple, and 2RBIs. Big man legging out the triple, love it.
5/12: 2/4 with a R, a K, and 2RBIs.

now for 5/13...D Day...

5/13: 4/5 with an RBI. Good lord.

His season totals: .336/.392/.563, an OPS of .955. This is an improvement, an improvement! on his 2008 numbers: .326/.376/.491, an OPS of .868. So Montero gained OBP and power when he moved up a level in the minors. This guy is for real.

Imagine what he'll look like when he starts doing bicep curls once a week. Pictures all from and commenter Andy. Hope they don't mind.

David Price
Still on that pitch count limit, Price went 4.2IP on 5/12, giving up 4H, 2ER and striking out 5. They have really limited his innings and pitches: only 26 IP on the year.

Neftali Feliz
Has not pitched since 5/3. Don't know what the story is on him.

Andrew Brackman
Brackman had himself a very fine game on 5/11, going 8IP, giving up 7H, 2ER, walking only one batter, and striking out 9. That's the kind of breakout game you love to see.

Matt Wieters
5/8: 0/3 with a BB
5/9: 2/4 with a double, 2RBIs, and 2R
5/10: 1/2 with 2BBs, a double and a K
5/11: 1/3 with a BB and a K
5/12: 0/5
5/13: 0/4

Not exactly making his case, is he? The OBP is nice, but the last part of the tripleslash is a bit bothersome: .263/.366/.368. No reason to sour on him long-term, obviously; the power will come.

Matt LaPorta
So far with the Indians, LaPorta is 4/18 with 3BBs. Of those 4 hits, 1 was a HR and 1 was a double. His tripleslash is .222/.364/.444, which isn't actually all that bad. Not everyone can be Ryan Braun (click through and check his rookie year stats).

And finally, our latest addition to the Prospect Roundup, Sir Brett Wallace...
5/8: 0/3 with a BB and 3Ks. Way to go Brett!
5/9: 0/4 with a K. Time to drop him...
5/10: 2/6 with a double and 2R. Ok, maybe not.
5/11: 3/4. NIiiice.
5/12: 1/4 with a K.
5/13: 0/3 with 2BB, 1R and 1K.

His tripleslash for the year: .282/.403/.431, and OPS of .834. Not too shaaaaaaaby.

Next up on the Peep This Prospect: my current favorite non-Yankee prospect and strikeout fiend Tommy Hanson.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Take that Ellsbury...

The fact that Jayson Werth "stole for the cycle" last night is getting almost zero coverage compared to Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home a few weeks back is further proof of the media's East Coast Bias. Werth's effort culminated in a brilliant steal of home that was much less close than Ellsbury's. Also, Werth can say he is one a handful of people on this Planet that have seen Ryan Howard steal a base in a major league game (he's only done it 3 times). As others have speculated, I think the Art of Stealing Bases is making a comeback this year and I think it's good for the Game.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Parks & Recreation #2: Wrigley Field

I realize these are a bit out of order, but I got the pictures for the other game earlier than I got the ones for this game. In the future, they'll be in order.

Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

Date: May 3rd, 2009

Cost: 2 tickets, 10 rows up from the Cubs dugout = $143

Number of beers consumed: 4 1/2??

Ballpark Rating: 10/10

We got even luckier than just getting to go to the game. It happened to be the day that the Cubs chose to retire the numbers of Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins (both #31) and so we got there extra early to catch some BP and the retirement ceremony. Watching BP was kinda fun for me, I don't usually get to the park early enough to catch it, but it was cool to see the players all relaxed and joking around. There ceremony was kinda cool, I mean, you're talking about two 300-game winners and the whole ambience of history at Wrigley. I guess I will always be able to say that I was at the first game that they raised the #31 up on the foul poles at Wrigley. Anyway.

The game was a good one, Nolasco v. Zambrano. The bottom of the 5th was particularly wild, Zambrano legged out a bunt and managed to get hurt, Pinella was walking up and down the bench asking "who wants to go out and run?" This guy from behind me yelled, "Put me in Coach!!" which got a hearty laugh from all of us around him. Harden ended up leaping out of the dugout and, well, he picked a good time to run because later on, with the bases loaded, Derrick Lee stepped up to the plate and blasted a grand-slam to center and the capacity crowd went APE SHIT. It was so much fun, high-fives all around, defeaning crowd noise, you would have thought a black man had just been elected President...wait. I digress. The game was a blast, we stayed for the entire thing, did the whole "Go Cubs Go" song at the end, great day for baseball and a great game to be lucky enough to attend. Here's the pics.

Catchin' BP

Seated (L to R): Ron Santo, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins. At the mic: Len Casper

Seated Left: see above, seated left of center: Greg Maddux

Maddux Accepting and paintings unveiled.

Fergie and Maddux on the mound

Future HOFer Hanley Ramirez...again.

View from our seats.

The Scoreboard

The last At-Bat.

Cubs Win.

Parks & Recreation #1: Coors Field

Welcome to a new feature here on The Bat Shatters where the authors, and really anyone who would like to, can chronicle a trip to the ballpark.

Where: Coors Field, Denver, CO

Date: May 10th, 2009

Cost: 2 tickets, Section 117, 2nd Row = $60

Number of beers consumed: 1 (wasn't feeling too great)

Ballpark Rating: 8/10

The game was kinda boring, it was a 3-2 affair on a somewhat dreary Sunday afternoon. The ballpark was beautiful, probably one of the nicer ones I've visited. The seats are really what made the day, 2nd row from the field and the seats pointed in toward the diamond which made from optimum comfort. I got talking to a guy in front of me, he said that season tix in that section were $450/year. I know the Rockies suck, but that is a steal to see 81 games a year. Overall, I enjoyed myself, but the ballpark was almost void of any atmosphere. There were alledgedly 30K people there, but it felt like there was 10K. Here's some pics.

The Entrance

Seat View

Giant Scoreboard, staple of the newer parks.

Future HOFer, Hanley Ramirez

Rockies Win, yay.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Strasburg throws no-no.

Stephen Strasburg threw a no-no tonight against Air Force, striking out 17. Boras is licking his chops. Dude is impressive. He should stop pitching now; save the bullets for his September call-up. I'd love to see him in the bigs this year.

He's Back

Alex Rodriguez returns tonight. I'm beyond pumped.

Peep This Prospect: Brett Wallace


In honor of A-Rod's return to the Yankee lineup, I thought I would find a member of the next wave of Major League 3rd basemen, and we'll start with Brett Wallace who is currently playing for Double-A Springfield in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Wallace was the 9th pick in the 1st round of the 2008 MLB Draft and has so far been raking through A-ball and AA-ball.


Quad Cities (A)MWL.32741153285081525173200.418.490.908

Springfield (AA)TXL.36713491318503112700.456.6531.109



As you can see, Wallace is a pure hitter with decent power and a so-so eye. In college he played for Arizona State where he won the Pac-10 Triple Crown twice in three seasons. Oh yeah, his college career .398 average wasn't bad either. The downside to Wallace is his defense which is somewhat suspect and might be due, in some part, to his size. As ESPN puts it, "he isn't "fat," just oddly proportioned, with huge, muscular legs that make him look less athletic than he actually is."

Though Wallace has little chance of making the Cardinals roster this year, he could be an impact player down the road, especially since Troy Glaus looks to be on his last legs for the cardinals (currently on the DL after surgery) and the Cardinals don't have any other 3rd basemen with anywhere near the potential that Wallace has. We'll keep our eye on him. In his game last night, Wallace went 3 for 5 with no RBI or Rs. So far on the young season he's batting .283 with 5 HRs and 16RBI in 25 games.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh crap...


More to follow.


So the rumor mill is churning on this one, and initially I'd heard everything from steroids to recreational drugs. But now it seems we have a culprit - HCG. What is HCG you say? Well read on. The NY Daily News (among other sources, including ESPN) came out with the following:

"Despite Ramirez's claims in a statement released by the MLB Players Association that he was suspended for something other than a steroid, a source told the Daily News that the suspension was for a post-steroid cycle drug called Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, or hCG.

Former slugger and admitted longtime steroid user Jose Canseco was detained at the Mexican border last fall and charged with possession of hCG, which helps a player re-establish normal testosterone production after extensive steroid use. It also helps combat testiclular atrophy and is similar to the fertility drug Clomid, which was used by several BALCO clients, including Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds." it sounds like he didn't TECHNICALLY take steroids (well it sounds like he probably did, but let's say he didn't get busted for it in this case), but tested positive for a drug that usually follows steroid use. But couldn't he have been prescribed it for a legitimate reason? According to Wikipedia, "Typical uses for hCG in men include hypogonadism and fertility treatment." So, unless he's impotent, basically, it sounds like, no. And even if it was, which the likelihood looks ever slimmer and slimmer, the bottom line is that as one of the biggest stars in MLB, you better make sure that you and your doctor check, recheck and triple check everything he's giving you against the banned substance list. "I didn't know what I was taking, my doctor said it was OK" is not an excuse, not even close.

It doesn't seem like he's putting up much of a fight, accepting the suspension without even an appeal. Personally, I could care less about Manny Ramirez as a player. He's never been very likable, and I'm not going to be that sad that he's missing 50 games. What I DO care about is the fact that this is another blemish on the game, another thing that detractors and haters will point to as a reason baseball is a sham. I don't share those convictions, but my faith is a little more shaken.

Prospect Roundup: DNP

Sweet Jesus Montero DNP. Don't know why.

David Price, Neftali Feliz, Andrew Brackman all DNP.

Matt LaPorta DNP.

Matt Wieters DNP. However, I missed the fact that he played in a doubleheader on 5/5. I only listed the stats from one game in which he went 1/3, a single. He went 2/3 in the second game, knocking in a run. His BA is up to .290 now. Just awaitin' the power...Any day Matt.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This guy hates Brian Cashman

How do you Yankees fans feel about your own GM? Agree? Disagree?

I'm so Fricken Excited!

I have no reason to like Alex Rodriguez other than he's a fixture of my fantasy baseball team and he's been sitting on the DL since the beginning of this year. According to Yankee sources, Alex may be back by this weekend and so far, he's been hitting pretty well in his extended spring training starts. Anyway, I had to tell someone, I'm sure Yankee fans are equally excited to have him back.

The Prospects Have Returned

Lots of prospects to update you on so let's get to it.

Matt Wieters -
5/1 - 2/4 with 1R and 2BBs. Good day for the OBP, that's for sure.
5/2 - 0/4 with a K. About that OBP, fella...
5/3 - 2/5 with a double. 1R, 1RBI.
5/4 - Off-day
5/5 - 1/3. That's all she wrote.

Wieters isn't hitting for a whole lotta power so far this month. It's a bit disconcerting. His season line triple-slash is .290/.363/.377. Those first two numbers are good, the SLG is what concerns me.

Sweet Jesus Montero -
5/1 - 1/4 with a solo HR. 1RBI, 1R
5/2 - 0/3 with a BB and a K.
5/3 - 1/4 with a double; 1 RBI and 1K.
5/4 - 0/2 with a walk and a K.
5/5 - 1/3 with a double, a walk and a K.

Season line: .312/.379/.548; OPS of .927. That's just filthy.

Sir David Price -
5/2 - 3.2IP, 4H, 2ER, 3BB, 1K. Dude is just biding time til he gets called up. He's on a pitch count limit and everything. Call his ass up already and get it over with. He's wasting away. Cheap bastards.

The Man the Myth Neftali Feliz
5/3 - 5IP, 6H, 4ER, 2BB and 7Ks. That's a lot of Ks; the ER are a bit high. This would be a good time to read a scout's evaluation of the game. Unfortunately I can't find one of those. Thanks Obama.

Andrew Brackman
5/5 - 4IP, 2H, 1ER, 3BB and 3Ks. Still having control issues, but the K rate is nice!

2009 MLB Amateur Rule IV Draft 1st Pick of 1st Round -
5/1 - 8IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 12Ks. It's losing the shock value at this point. How about the season line:

10-0. 78IP. 13R. 12ER. 15BB. One Hundred and Forty-Seven Strikeouts. K/9 rate? 17.01 strikeouts per nine innings. K/BB ratio? 9.8Ks for every 1 walk. Folks, it don't get much better than that. For fun, I present to you this:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Peep This, ahem, Prospect? Matt LaPorta

Matt LaPorta was recently called up from Double-A and joined the Cleveland Indians for his first major league game on Sunday. LaPorta was the cornerstone of the trade the Indians made last year sending CC Sabathia to the Brewers. He was selected in with the 7th pick in the 2007 draft, a class which also included the likes of David Price, Matt Wieters, and Rick Porcello. In his first major-league game he was up against the recently resurrected Justin Verlander, going 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. He recovered nicely Monday, hitting his first major-league home-run, a 2-run shot, against the Blue Jays. Box Score

LaPorta is stacked with talent, just check out his 2007-2008 minor league batting line, 131 Gs, 136Hs, 332B, 34HRs, 105Ks, 57BBs, and a .285 AVG. That is one hell of a batting line, even if there are a few too many Ks in there. During his senior year of college he was even better, compiling a .402 AVG with 20 homers in only 52 games. Why was he called up so early you ask? The Indians, because of injuries are currently carrying a 14-man pitching staff which left only 2 bench players so skipper Eric Wedge and the Indians decided to see what they had in this young kid (he's 23), despite the fact he's only played 1 1/2 seasons of minor league ball. Source

In a article written over at Beyond the Box Score about a year ago, Peter Bendix compared LaPorta to Ryan Braun and even suggested then that the Brewers might trade their young power hitter because of a lack of room for him. According to Peter, LaPorta is a below-average defender which would have made him odd-man-out in Milwaukee because they were already set on corner-outfielders and a 1st baseman. The trade ended up working out with the Indians and I think LaPorta will be a much better fit in the American League because of the DH spot. LaPorta is a pure hitter, I'm anxious to see what he does these first few weeks in the big leagues.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Prospect Roundup: Double Dosage

Missed the Roundup yesterday, which only means one thing: DOUBLE DOSAGE. Double dosage sounds like Double Dare, which makes me think of the following phrase:

"We'll take the physical challenge!"

Indeed you will. Let's get to tha numbaz...

Matt Wieters - On 4/29 went 1/4 with an RBI, a BB and a K. Kind of weak, truth be told. Still awaiting that power surge. On 4/30 went 1/5. A single. Ok then.

David Price, Neftali Feliz, DNP

Sweet Jesus Montero - Followed his 4/28 performance with an 0/4 with 2Ks. It happens to the best of 'em. On 4/30 went 0/3 with a BB.

Andrew Brackman pitched on 4/30 and went 5 innings, giving up 7H, walking 3, giving up 4R, only 2 of which were earned, and striking out 6. OK, enough bullshit Brackman. It's time for a good outing.

I'm also issuing the clarion call for more Prospects. They can be a long piece like Peep This Prospect or a quick hit. It don't matter; we need more.