• Getting Blanked

    • Primary Sources – The Circle of Scouting Life

      By Jack Moore in Primary Sources on Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

      Men like Hugh Alexander, baseball men will tell you, are the bedrock of the sport. Alexander was a baseball lifer, a superscout near the top of the Philadelphia Phillies hierarchy, considered one of the best organizations in baseball during the 1980s, at the twilight of Alexander’s career. A widely syndicated 1983 story by Philadelphia writer Bill Conlinsaid Alexander, then 66 and a part of the baseball world for half a century, “personified baseball.” He was, as Conlin wrote,...

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    • Who Are The Fastest Men In Baseball?

      By Scott Johnson in Billy Hamilton, Mike Trout, Riffin' And GIFfin' on Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

      It’s always fun to compare the skills of athletes, so let’s take a look at the fastest baseball players in the league right now. We timed each runners speed from the crack of the bat at home plate to when their foot touches the bag at first.

      These 6 players had the fastest times. Also, huge thanks to our MLB Features writer Drew Fairservice for the insight to each player’s speed.

      6. Elvis Andrus (4.15 seconds)

      Elvis Andrus of the...

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    • The Yankees Superlative Rotation Turns Heads

      By Drew Fairservice in CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees on Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

      The Yankees shut out the Chicago Cubs Tuesday behind a dominant pitching performance. Check that: the Yankees shutout the Cubs twice on Tuesday behind two dominant pitching performances. Yankees starters combined for 13 strikeouts and two walks over 14 innings behind a nice start from Michael Pineda and an incredible outing from Masahiro Tanaka.

      If faced with the prospect of digging in against pitchers of this calibre in a doubleheader, former Cubs great Ernie Banksmight not be so...

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    • Can we trust the process? An Interview with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow

      By Drew Fairservice in Houston Astros on Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014

      There is no room for moral ambiguity when you’re the general manager of a Major League Baseball club. Your job is to improve the team, improve the product, and ostensibly build the bottom line by improving your club’s chances of winning.

      Winning solves all ills, even though sometimes it takes a lot lot of losing to create an environment conducive to winning. When Jeff Luhnow took over as general manager of the Houston Astros, he inherited a club in transition.


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    • The Red Sox Versus The Injury Bug

      By Drew Fairservice in Boston Red Sox, Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli on Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014

      One prevailing mythology regarding the 2013 Boston Red Sox runs along the lines of “everything went right.” It is true that they hit on a high number of their free agent signings and received bounce-back seasons from John Lackey and others, but the injury bug bit the Sox as hard as anyone last season.

      Of their position players, only Dustin Pedroiamanaged to play in 150 games or more, even though he did so with a ligament injury in this...

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    • The Jedd Gyorko Contract Stares Into the Void

      By Drew Fairservice in San Diego Padres, Trades And Signings on Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2014

      There is no risk in ripping the San Diego Padres. They’re a franchise bobbing in a vast sea of Dodger blue and Angels red, fighting for their sliver of market share with an underwhelming roster. I wouldn’t say their fanbase is disengaged but ripping the Padres doesn’t make many waves.

      That goes double when the topic at hand is a cheap pre-arbitration contract for an unsexy player. There is nothing really to gain. But the deal is worth mentioning, because...

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    • A Welcome Casualty of the Replay System: On-Field Tantrums

      By Jack Moore in Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, Play of the Week on Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2014

      At this point, it is clear that Major League Baseball’s new replay system leaves something to be desired. This weekend’s Yankees-Red Sox series saw an odd play in which Yankees shortstop Dean Anna was obviously tagged out at second base per the replays played on the Fox Sports 1 broadcast. However, MLB replay headquarters either didn’t have the same angles as the broadcast or they flat-out missed the call, as the play was upheld after replay.

      The next night, the...

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    • Why Jackie Robinson Day is Still Important

      By Drew Fairservice in Getting Serious on Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2014

      Tuesday is an important day on the Major League Baseball schedule. Jackie Robinson Day honors one of the most compelling men to ever play the game, a man who taught baseball lessons it consistently fails to heed, even some 65 years later.

      Jackie Robinson is lauded for his bravery, his perseverance, and his humanity as he travelled a nearly impossible road to the big leagues, riding superstar talent and character to become a starter for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

      Tuesday is...

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    • My Approach: Carlos Beltran

      By Drew Fairservice in Carlos Beltran, Kansas City Royals, My Approach, New York Yankees on Monday, Apr. 14, 2014

      Write out a list of the best outfielders of the past 30 years. How many names do you scribble down before you get to Carlos Beltran? In all likelihood, most of those players haven’t produced more than Beltran has since the turn of the century. In the expansion era, very few outfielders have put up numbers like Beltran. Among center fielders, the list shrinks even more.

      Carlos Beltran is one of the most talented baseball players in recent memory,...

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    • Monday Morning Memo – The Crew

      By Drew Fairservice in Madison Bumgarner, Milwaukee Brewers, Monday Morning Memo on Monday, Apr. 14, 2014

      It’s simple. The Brewers have the best record in baseball for three very obvious reasons, unrelated to the fact that we’re 12 games into the season.

      1) The Bullpen is untouchable.

      How good has the Brewers bullpen been so far? As a group, they’ve allowed three runs. One home run, total. Milwaukee’s relief corps has thus far walked just eight batters, compared to 43 strikeouts. That’s good!

      Jim Henderson, Francisco Rodriguez, Tyler Thornburg, and Will Smithhave...

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    • Seven Teams That Can Save Joe Mauer From Minnesota

      By Drew Fairservice in Getting Blanked Special, Joe Mauer on Friday, Apr. 11, 2014

      Joe Mauer is one of the best players in Minnesota Twins’ history. By Wins Above Replacement, he is either in the top six now or will be by the end of an average Joe Mauer season.

      He won the American League MVP in 2009, claimed the AL batting crown three times, and led the Twins to the playoffs in three of his 11 big league seasons.

      And Twins fans seem to hate him. Maybe not hate, but they expect more...

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    • The Pot At The End Of The Rainbow

      By Jack Moore in Moneymoneymoney, Primary Sources on Friday, Apr. 11, 2014

      San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, according to a 1986 United Press International report, was the “pot at the end of the rainbow” for baseball scouts. The city of 123,000 had produced 270 major leaguers over the past 15 years, including 21 on rosters for the 1986 season.

      “They’re hungry,” Dodger vice-president Al Campanis told UPI reporter Aurelio Rojas. “They have fairly good builds. They want to get fame and acclaim and money to eat and in that country...

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    • Michael Pineda and Upholding The Crud Code

      By Drew Fairservice in Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, New York Yankees on Friday, Apr. 11, 2014

      Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees pitched very well last night, contributing six innings and seven strikeouts to a 4-1 win over the world champion Red Sox. For the first four innings or so, he pitched with something stuck to his right hand. Something that didn’t belong there. Something that looked an awful lot like pine tar.

      Pine tar has its uses, but when we see it on the pitching hand of a big league starter, it’s hard to...

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    • How MLB treats children like commodities, and we all go along for the ride

      By Dustin Parkes in Prospectin' on Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014

      For years, baseball fans believed that on July 22, 1887, 14-year-old Fred Chapman pitched in a Major League game for the Philadelphia Athletics against the Cleveland Blues. The youngest player ever to appear at such a high level threw for five innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.

      For 21st-Century fans, it was a funny anecdote from a distant past when child labor laws barely existed and Major League Baseball wasn’t earning billions of dollars from television deals....

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    • Baseball’s Newest and Dumbest Rule: Schrödinger’s Catch

      By Drew Fairservice in Scorn, Umpires on Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014

      Catch and throw. The essential elements of the game of baseball. Same as it ever was for 130 years. Some catches are hard and some are easy, but the act of catching the baseball has been very similar forever. Glove technology changed the dynamic but catching a baseball is really the same now as it was in Ty Cobb’s day.

      Until 2014, that is. For a strange rule change, or at least a league-wide change in the reading of the...

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    • The Ressurection of Victor Martinez

      By Drew Fairservice in Detroit Tigers on Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014

      There was a time, not even one year ago, that it appeared Victor Martinez might be on his way down. For the better part of three months in 2013, VMart was terrible. He had no power and no position, a DH unable to produce much offense.

      And then, suddenly, he was fine. Better than fine, really. Victor Martinez started the second half of the season and was good as new.

      (Min 300 PA) Since the 2013 all-star break, what batter...

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    • The Ongoing Ryan Zimmerman Tragedy

      By Drew Fairservice in Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals on Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014

      There was a time when Ryan Zimmerman was one of the best, up-and-coming third basemen in baseball. He hit the ground running his rookie year, posting above-average offensive numbers in his age-21 season. He improved offensively every year, though injury robbed him of some time in 2008. He responded with back-to-back superstar level seasons, asserting himself as one of the game’s premier third baseman.

      His early production at the hot corner placed him among the best in baseball history across...

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    • Ryan Braun And the Wrong Side of History

      By Drew Fairservice in Drugs, Ryan Braun, Scorn on Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014

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      You have to give the man credit – he knows how to make an impression. In fact, the video above recalling his three-homer day at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia contains several moments that are too good to be true.

      Before he launches his first homer of the day, the on-field cameras pick up a leather-lunged Phillies fan screaming “CHEEEEDURRR!” right before Braun takes Kyle Kendrickdeep. Then, later in the highlight pack, the...

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    • Derek Jeter’s Problematic Defense is a Problem

      By Drew Fairservice in Derek Jeter, New York Yankees on Tuesday, Apr. 08, 2014

      This isn’t news. Derek Jeter‘s defense has long been a flashpoint. There is no right answer to the “is Derek Jeter a good defender” question but there is a wrong answer: “it won’t matter to the Yankees.”

      It will matter to the Yankees. It already matters to the 2014 Yankees.

      It is wholly unfair to grab one play out of context and hold it up as an example of a player’s defensive shortcomings. Fall down range doesn’t have to...

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    • Week One Fun – The Irregulars

      By Drew Fairservice in Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Sample Size Theatre on Tuesday, Apr. 08, 2014

      Despite all the rainouts and postponements, the baseball season is a week old. Most teams have six games under their belt, some seven, and the poor old Tigers have played just five.

      It is obviously way too soon to draw any grand or sweeping conclusions about the year. There are hot starts and cold April slumps well under way, but nothing one good day at the dish can’t fix. Any time a couple base hits can raise your batting average...

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    • The Strategic Elements of Replay Challenges Managers

      By Jack Moore in Play of the Week, Umpires on Monday, Apr. 07, 2014

      Plenty of words and pixels have been devoted to Major League Baseball’s new instant replay system. Whether you think of it as the game’s savior or as merely another stepping stone to a dull, anti-septic, technocratic future, it is here to stay, and debating its worthiness is pretty played out already one week into the season.

      Instead, let’s talk about an overlooked and perhaps even unexpected aspect of the replay system: the strategic knowledge of managers will be tested in...

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    • Monday Morning Memo: The Return

      By Drew Fairservice in Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday Morning Memo, Roy Halladay on Monday, Apr. 07, 2014

      Roy Halladay returned to Toronto, just for one night, to deliver the first pitch before the Jays’ home opener on Friday. The smitten crowd showered the former Jays ace with a rousing, heartfelt ovation as he rushed out to the mound, acknowledged the roars, tipped his cap to the visiting Yankees, and threw a cutter to Mark Buehrle, the ceremonial catcher and Halladay’s opposite number for many a beat writer’s dream – the two hour pitchers duel.

      It was...

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    • What We Learned From Masahiro Tanaka’s Debut

      By Drew Fairservice in Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees on Saturday, Apr. 05, 2014

      Mashiro Tanaka made his highly-anticipated debut tonight for the New York Yankees, starting against the Blue Jays in Toronto’s home opener. With a throng of Japanese media on hand on top of the typically large New York contingent and a sold-out crowd, it was the perfect storm.

      #TANAK did not disappoint under the watchful eyes of the Yankees “universe.” His final line looks great (7IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts, 0 walks) but failed to capture how truly in control Tanaka...

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    • The Ten Worst Options for 2014

      By Drew Fairservice in Getting Blanked Special, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins on Friday, Apr. 04, 2014
      Uspw_212785-copy-246x175 is in its 12th season of existence, a wonderful service and piece of technology that allows fans to watch their favorite team no matter their geographic location.

      That is what and how should primarily be used – to follow your favorite team. So do that, watch them with hope in your heart.

      But it also enables hardcore baseball fans to watch all the other, out-of-market games. They can track their fantasy players or watch their second favorite team,...

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    • Primary Sources: The Athletes Remain Undaunted

      By Jack Moore in Primary Sources, Ryan Braun on Friday, Apr. 04, 2014

      Dr. Lawrence A. Golding was one of the first academic voices in the discourse of drugs in sports. Golding, now retired, owned the title of “Distinguished Professor” at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s Department of Kinesiology. Before that, from 1958 through 1976, Golding was at Kent State University, where he became Director of the Applied Physiology Research Laboratory and performed a number of experiments and interviews aimed at figuring out exactly what drugs — like amphetamines and steroids — do...

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Scoreboard for April 19