Author Archive

2010 MLB All-Star Game Live Blog: Updates, Commentary From Midsummer Classic

It’s a sad day for baseball and the Yankees especially as long time owner George Steinbrenner passed away this morning. The historic career of Steinbrenner has been covered throughout the day and he will be honored prior to the first pitch at the All-Star game. The Yankee’s players will be wearing a black armband to represent Steinbrenner tonight. 

This will be the place to get your All-Star fix and converse about the game as it happens. I’ll be giving updates after every significant moment happens in the game and you can feel free to comment on the game below.

The American League has won the past 12 meetings and home field in the World Series is up for grabs. If your team has playoff aspirations and has a chance for the World Series, this game could change the outcome of those October contests. Be sure to take it all in as the best players in the game are honored in front of us all.


Matt Capps gets the win, Matt Thornton gets the loss, and Jonathan Broxton gets the save. It’s been fun, hope everyone enjoyed the blog. For more from me, you can follow me on twitter @Ben_Duronio.

Brian McCann is elected All-Star MVP! As a Braves blogger, this is especially awesome to see. McCann is going to get some of the national recognition that he has deserved for the past few seasons. 

National League 3 – American League 1. 

Ian Kinsler flies out to the right centerfield gap and the National League takes it for the first time in 13 years by the score of 3-1! 

John Buck lofts a single in front of right fielder Marlon Byrd, but Byrd picks the ball up and throws it to first while spinning and falling to get Ortiz out at first, a truly fantastic play.

Broxton sits Beltre down with a 99 mph fastball for the first out.

David Ortiz leads the inning off with a single, tying run now stepping to the plate in the form of Adrian Beltre.

Jonathan Broxton is in to try and save out the game in his team’s home town, albeit in the other stadium.

Bottom of the 9th, 3-1 NL:

Another strikeout for Valverde who celebrates in an odd and irritating way. On to the bottom of the ninth.

Valverde strikes out Young as well with another strikeout via his nasty splitter.

Jose Valverde is on to face Michael Bourn. Valverde runs through Bourn and strikes him out with a split-finger fastball.

Top of the 9th, 3-1 NL:

MLB home run leader Jose Bautista pops up to end the inning. The AL will have one more shot to come back in the ninth.

Scott Rolen uses his soft hands to take in a Paul Konerko grounder and throws him out at first for out number two.

Brian Wilson is on for the NL, facing the young shortstop Elvis Andrus. Wilson gets ahead 0-2 and throws a waste pitch high, then gets Andrus to ground out to Phillips for the inning’s first out.

Bottom of the 8th, 3-1 NL:

Rolen flys out to left to end the inning. Quick work for Soriano who has had a great season as closer of the Rays.

Rafael Soriano enters and gets Adrian Gonzalez to fly out to left and Joey Votto to fly out to center. Scott Rolen now up.

Top of the 8th, 3-1 NL:

Wainwright throws some slick breaking balls and strikes Hunter out to strand both runners, still 3-1 for the NL entering the top of the eighth.

Wainwright walks Kinsler which brings up Vernon Wells, the winning run. Wells hits a grounder to Furcal but they can only get the force at second. First-and-third with one out for Torii Hunter.

John Buck smokes one into left field as Matt Holliday drops a catchable ball. It was a tough play and it was hit deep to left, but he should have come down with it.

Wainwright quickly takes care of Swisher with one of his devastating curveballs. One out in the seventh.

Former closer Adam Wainwright is on to face the AL, with Nick Swisher getting his first cuts of the day. 

Bottom of the 7th, 3-1 NL:

Andrew Bailey replaces Thornton, Rafael Furcal now up with McCann on second base. Furcal walks as Brandon Phillips has a chance to extend the NL lead. Bailey strikes out Phillips on a nasty breaking ball to end the inning.

Brian McCann hits a bases clearing double to make it 3-1 for the NL.

Byrd wins the battle with a walk, but the NL still needs another base runner to tie the game up. Lefty Brian McCann now on to face Thornton, who has a .172 avg against lefties.

Thornton gets Young to pop-up to fellow White Sox Paul Konerko, now first-and-third with one out. It’s a Chicago vs. Chicago matchup with Thornton facing Cub’s representative Marlon Byrd.

Girardi removes Hughes for Matt Thornton and Charlie Manuel counters by hitting Chris Young for Andre Ethier.

Matt Holliday getting his first at-bat of the game and he too singles up the middle as Rolen speeds to third base, making it first-and-third with one out.

Scott Rolen up now and he singles to center off of Hughes.

Phil Hughes on to pitch to Joey Votto, who pinch-hits for Howard, and grounds out to the second basemen, Ian Kinsler.

Top of the 7th, 1-0 AL:

Capps strikes out Ortiz and we move into the seventh.

Hamilton singles to right field and “Big Papi” follows. Charlie Manuel removed Halladay for Matt Capps, and Joe Girardi pinch-runs Jose Bautista for Josh Hamilton.

Paul Konerko is up and he strikes out with Elvis Andrus stealing. McCann double clutched and threw it late, but Andrus overslid the bag and he was tagged out by Phillips.

Halladay enters and Derek Jeter drops in a single in front of the diving Marlon Byrd. Jeter is lifted for pinch-runner Elvis Andrus. Rafael Furcal is now at shortstop and Brandon Phillips is at 2nd.

Bottom of the 6th, 1-0 AL:

Adrian Gonzalez is getting his first at-bat and he rolls over to Ian Kinsler for a 4-3 putout.

Martin Prado pops up to Derek Jeter after a long at bat. 

Lester is facing Ramirez and gets him to hit a grounder right back at him, 1-3 putout. 

Ian Kinsler, John Buck, Vernon Wells, and Jon Lester all enter the game. 

Top of the 6th, 1-0 AL:

Bell gets Hunter to fly out to Ethier after Carl Crawford stole second base. On to the next half, let’s see if the NL can tie it back up.

Crawford hits a one hopper to Hanley Ramirez and he throws to third to get Mauer who was trying to advance. It was a poor baserunning decision by Mauer. Kuo exits with Heath Bell coming in to face Torii Hunter with a man on first and two outs.

Cano breaks the tie with a sacrifice fly driving in Evan Longoria, 1-0 AL.

Mauer taps a grounder to Kuo who airmails it into right field making it men on second and third with nobody out.

Kuo walks Longoria after getting him to an 0-2 count. Now up is Mauer and Kuo has allowed no hits to left-handers this season.

Hong-Chi Kuo enters to face Evan Longoria as Marlon Byrd and Matt Holliday are now in the outfield as well, Byrd in center with Ethier moving to right.

Bottom of the 5th:

With a full count to McCann, he launches one to the warning track and Verlander manages to get out of it with the game still scoreless.

Corey Hart swings at no good pitches and strikes out, stranding Wright at third for the time being. It’s up to Brian Mccann, who is pinch-hitting for Molina, to get the run in.

Ethier lines it to right field so hard that Wright is forced to stay at third. Hamilton made a strong through a bit up the line, but it was probably the right move to keep Wright at third with one out.

On a full count to Braun, Verlander strikes him out to bring up Andre Ethier, who is for some reason still playing in centerfield.

Wright steals second as Mauer’s throw sails into centerfield. Wright didn’t realize it though and is still at second base.

Justin Verlander enters and immediately gives up a single to David Wright. Ryan Braun up next, trying to do it with the bat as well as the glove.

Top of the 5th:

Guerrero hits a soft liner to Gonzalez and Johnson exits with two very impressive innings.

Hamilton slaps a liner to left field and Ryan Braun makes a phenomenal catch to rob him of a single. His wrist rolled over and it looked like it could have been painful, but Braun’s a tough boy — great catch.

Johnson still on the mound, faces Miguel Cabrera who grounds out to David Wright. Pitching has ruled thus far.

Adrian Gonzalez moves to first, replacing Pujols.

Bottom of the 4th:

Ryan Howard rolls over to second base and Lee is sitting down almost as fast as he got up.

Cliff makes Pujols look silly, striking him out on three pitches. It’s hard to make Albert look that bad.

Lee quickly forces a Martin Prado ground out and here comes Pujols. Also, Torii Hunter has entered the game in centerfield, replacing Ichiro. Hamilton moved over to right field.

The new Texas Ranger, Cliff Lee, is on to pitch for the AL.

Top of the 4th:

Jeter was late on a fastball and almost poked it by the first base bag but it was just foul. Jeter gets brushed back once again before Johnson freezes him on a 3-2 breaking ball.

Johnson looks very impressive as he strikes out Ichiro on a fastball outside of the zone.

Huge right-hander Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins is up to pitch now for the NL. Johnson gets Carl Crawford to line out to David Wright.

Bottom of the 3rd:

Hanley Ramirez steps up for the second time and quickly grounds into a 6-4 force out to Derek Jeter.

The lightest hitting starter on either lineup, Yadier Molina, hits a single up the middle for the NL’s second hit.

Big Corey Hart steps up to the plate. Hart hit 13 homers in round one of the Home Run Derby last night. Pettitte gets ahead of him 0-2 and throws a fastball just outside. Hart chases a low-and-away pitch as Pettitte strikes out his second batter in a row.

Ethier strikes out on three pitches. The veteran Pettitte made quick work out of the left-hander.

Top of the 3rd:

Jimenez gets out of it as Robinson Cano hits a weak grounder to fellow second basemen Martin Prado and is thrown out at first. On to the next inning where New York Yankee Andy Pettitte will enter the game.

Mauer quickly lines out to centerfield. Andre Ethier is out there when Corey Hart probably should be as at least Hart has played the position in the Majors before.

Evan Longoria smacks a double to left field and Jimenez is in trouble once again. Last year’s MVP Joe Mauer is up to try and break the scoreless tie.

Vlad Guerrero steps up to a nice ovation once again. The free swinging Guerrero chases a fastball in the dirt as Jimenez records a strikeout. 

Bottom of the 2nd:

Ryan Braun just misses a double as the ball was foul by a few inches. Braun then grounds into a 5-4-3 double play as he breaks his bat and makes it an easy play for third basemen Evan Longoria.

Third basemen David Wright slaps a liner to second that eats up Robinson Cano once again. Cano couldn’t rebound as he did with Prado and Wright has the first hit of the day for the NL.

Ryan Howard opens up the second and whiffs against Price. No surprise really, Howard has struggled mightily against left-handers throughout his career.

Top of the 2nd:

Jimenez buckles down and gets ahead of Hamilton 0-2 before forcing Josh to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. On to the top of the second.

Potential triple crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, steps up and bloops a single as Derek Jeter moves to third. First and third for the AL with Josh Hamilton coming up to the plate. Jimenez will have to wiggle out of this jam if he wants to match Price’s first inning goose-egg.

Jimenez brushes Jeter back on 2-0 and almost takes his head off, then walks him on six pitches. Jeter is the first batter on base today.

Ubaldo Jimenez steps up to the mound and quickly gets Ichiro to pop-up to Ramirez in shallow left field. The late Bob Sheppard announces Derek Jeter, awesome to hear his voice at this game.

Bottom of the 1st:

Albert Pujols was late on a fastball as well and roped one unto right-center, but the speedy Ichiro was able to track it down and take extra bases away from “The Machine.” Price looked good in the first, now it’s time to see the young Ubaldo Jimenez take the mound.

Prado slaps a liner to second base and ate up Robinson Cano, but it was hit hard enough to give Cano time to throw him out. Price’s fastball has had both hitters swinging through the zone later than they would like.

Price gets Ramirez to ground out as he was late on a high-90’s fastball. Price is obviously amped to be starting this game. Martin Prado up to bat now, the NL leader in batting average.

David Price pitches to Hanley Ramirez and officially becomes the first ever No. 1 overall draft pick to start an All-Star game as a pitcher. 

Top of the 1st:

Rod Carew throws a strike for the first pitch, we’re ready to get the game going! 

Coming up is a moment of silence for “The Boss.”

Very emotional moment as baseball honors the “All-Stars Among Us.”

The ovation for Vlad was incredible. They obviously love their former DH and miss him dearly. It’s great to see fans respect him despite moving to another team in their division.

Torii Hunter and Jered Weaver got a ton of applause in their home stadium while the Yankees got booed to death. There were some big cheers for certain players outside of Los Angeles such as Jason Heyward and Heath Bell, but Bell’s was probably due to plenty of San Diego residents hiking up to L.A.

The players are being announced, starting with the NL coaches and players. The NL team is very young, as Jayson Stark points out, all eight elected NL starting position players are under 30.

As the game goes on, I will update the lineup. Many players will be subbed in at different times and at different positions, so the lineups below will be altered throughout the night.


American League:

1. Torii Hunter, CF, SEA

2. Derek Jeter, SS, NYY

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET

4. Josh Hamilton, RF, TEX

5. David Ortiz, DH, BOS

6. Adrian Beltre, 3B, BOS

7. John Buck, C, TOR

8. Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX

9. Vernon Wells, LF, TOR

SP. Rafael Soriano, RHP, TB

National League:

1. Rafael Furcal, SS, FLA

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B, ATL

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, SD

4. Joey Votto, DH, CIN

5. Scott Rolen, 3B, CIN

6. Matt Holliday, LF, MIL

7. Andre Ethier, RF, LAD

8. Marlon Byrd, CF, MIL

9. Yadier Molina, C, STL

SP. Brian Wilson, RHP, SF

Read more MLB news on

Atlanta Braves Lineup And Rotation Midseason Report Cards


Originally posted at The Bravesologist




The Braves lineup is markedly better than most projected to start the season. Certain players have stepped their game up tremendously. The offense has prospered despite a lack of production from others. Baseball is an odd sport. Some years players produce numbers far better than expected while others perform poorly and seemed destined to be non-tendered. Here is the report card for the lineup.



Martin PradoA


.325 AVG, .367 OBP, .484 SLG, .851 OPS, 10 HR, 25 2B, 2 3B, 16.8 bRAA, 115 wOBA+


Martin has had an unbelievable first half this season and has been one of thebiggest keys to the Braves great first half. Prado’s ability to get hit after hit and put himself into scoring position over 35 times has ignited this offense. What’s funny about it all is that Prado has really just done what he has always done. His wOBA+ for the past three years is 112, 115, and 112, right along pace with his current 115 mark.


Jason HeywardA-


.251 AVG, .366 OBP, .455 SLG, .821 OPS, 11 HR, 13 2B, 3 3B, 16.7 bRAA, 120 wOBA+


Before Jason’s thumb injury he was a legitimate MVP candidate. His OPS was near the top of the league and his memorable late inning hits were crucial as the Braves moved up in the standings. His plate patience has been incredible, walking 42 times in just 303 plate appearances. He has an isoOBP over .100 and an isoSLG over .200. I fully expect Heyward to bounce back to form once he returns from the DL.


Troy GlausB+


.254 AVG, .361 OBP, .441 SLG, .802 OPS, 14 HR, 13 2B, 12.1 bRAA, 112 wOBA+


Glaus has been the power right-handed bat that many were hoping to get in trade this offseason. With Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe being expendable, a big right-handed left fielder or first basemen seemed attainable. The Braves ended up trading Vazquez for Melky Cabrera and prospects, but the Glaus signing has turned into one of the best value picks of the offseason across the Majors. He has had some big clutch hits including a game-tying home run against the Philadelphia Phillies and a walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals. Glaus has stayed relatively healthy as well, which was one of the big questions heading into the season.


Brian McCannB


.267 AVG, .380 OBP, .447 SLG, .827 OPS, 10 HR, 16 2B, 10.9 bRAA, 113 wOBA+


Brian has had better seasons in the past, but he has increased his patience and is continuing to be one of the top hitting catchers in all of baseball. He is only 15 walks away from surpassing his career high as he has 42 already this season. McCann and Glaus have made for a great cleanup platoon and have been fortunate to have guys like Prado, Heyward, and Chipper Jones getting on base regularly in front of them.


Chipper JonesC+


.252 AVG, .378 OBP, .393 SLG, .771 OPS, 6 HR, 16 2B, 4.8 bRAA, 106 wOBA+

Chipper has had an odd couple of months at the plate. The first two months he was getting on base at a very high rate but not hitting for much power. Over the past month and a half, Chipper has had a lower on base but is hitting more doubles and homers. He could definitely be performing better, but at his age I believe this is what you can expect out of him.


Melky CabreraD


.259 AVG, .316 OBP, .348 SLG, 3 HR, 13 2B, 1 3B, -4.0 bRAA, 95 wOBA+

Melky hasn’t been very productive this season at all. He has had some spurts of success, including a go-ahead home run against the New York Mets last weekend, but for the most part he has struggled. He’s on pace for a similar amount of plate appearances as last year and his numbers are down across the board. He’s played close to every day due to his ability to switch hit and play all three outfield spots but he will likely see his role reduced again when Heyward returns.


Yunel EscobarF


.238 AVG, .334 OBP, .284 SLG, .618 OPS, 0 HR, 12 2B, -8.9 bRAA, 90 wOBA+


Yunel has seen a dramatic decrease in his production this season and has been close to worthless offensively. He has walked a good amount, as usual, and has kept his strikeouts down, but he has hit for close to no power and his on base has suffered due to a low batting average. He has put himself into scoring position just 17 times and he is staring at a career low fly ball percentage.

Nate McLouthF


.176 AVG, .295 OBP, .282 SLG, .577 OPS, 3 HR, 9 2B, -9.2 wOBA, 84 wOBA+


Much like Escobar, McLouth has done nothing offensively this year when many expected him to improve. He was better than average last year with the Braves despite popular belief, but he has done nothing offensively aside from one walk-off win this year. The concussion he received against the Diamondbacks was unfortunate, but time off may have been the best thing for him at the time. Hopefully he can return to being at least a decent center fielder when he comes off the DL.


Overall Grade: B+


The reason for the grade is the expectancy. Currently, the Braves are sixth in runs in the NL but many believed pre-season that limited offensive production would be their downfall. Prado, Heyward, and Glaus have been incredible and McCann has done his job, which has made for a very formidable top of the lineup. The improved plate discipline across the lineup is one of the biggest reasons for this team being in first place.





The Braves rotation has been a reason for their success midway through the season. Having five reliable starters is an asset that many teams overlook. The majority of teams slot their starters one through five and have top heavy rotations, but the Braves have done it differently the past two years.

The performances of the starters have taken pressure off of the bullpen and bats. Here are the first half grades for the six starting pitchers.


Tommy HansonA-


102.3 IP, 104 K, 34 BB, 3.35 FIP, 16.9 kS%, 12.4 pRAA, 123 tRA+


Tommy is the ace of this staff and has thrown the ball better than he did last season. His strikeouts and walks are actually up while his ERA and WHIP have suffered. The raise in those two almost meaningless statistics is due to his BABIP being the highest in the NL and second highest in the majors at .349. There is really no doubt that Tommy is the best pitcher on this staff — please don’t let the publicized stats make you think differently.


Tim HudsonB


121.1 IP, 61 K, 43 BB, 4.32 FIP, 11.0 kS%, 5.9 pRAA, 110 tRA+


Hudson has been fortunate on batted balls, posting the lowest BABIP in the NL at .232. He hasn’t pitched nearly as well as his publicized numbers would have you suggest. The defense has played well behind him and he has been able to be successful despite having lower strikeout and higher walk totals than he is used to. His ground ball skills may be a reason for his low BABIP, but even if you factor that in, it’s not enough to explain it being such an absurdly low number. Hudson will either regress or pitch better in the second half to keep his numbers down.


Kris MedlenB-


68.2 IP, 47 K, 13 BB, 4.38 FIP, 14.9 kS%, -4.4 pRAA, 87 tRA+


Medlen hasn’t been as great as a starter as many would believe, but he has still been pretty solid. Despite his overall numbers as a starter, he has posted a 3.83 xFIP and a 3.78 xFIP in June and July respectively. His overall FIP as a starter is pretty high due to his mark being 5.40 this month, but when you normalize the home run to fly ball ratio you can see he is actually pitching better than the aforementioned numbers would suggest. He doesn’t walk many batters and if he can continue to pound the strike zone he will have success.


Kenshin KawakamiC


82.1 IP, 57 K, 28 BB, 4.29 FIP, 11.3 kS%, -3.8 pRAA, 91 tRA+


Kenshin was removed from the rotation, but he has had a similar season to Derek Lowe. Lowe’s perception as a consistent innings eater combined with his lofty contract and name factor are why Kawakami was moved to the bullpen and Lowe was never even an option. Kenshin hasn’t been great, he’s been below average, but he has posted a 4.35 xFIP in May and June. He’s better than his face stats suggest.


Derek LoweC


113.2 IP, 70 K, 44 BB, 4.24 FIP, 12.1 kS%, -4.7 pRAA, 92 tRA+


Lowe is not worthy of his contract, but as a back-end starter he is successful. He throws a ton of innings and keeps the team in ball games. It’s certainly better than the Kyle Davies of the world that the Braves have dealt with in previous seasons. As I mentioned in the introduction, the Braves have five starters who are solid and Lowe, despite his poor performance since joining the Braves, is no different.


Jair JurrjensD+


35.0 IP, 25 K, 16 BB, 4.71 FIP, 15.2 kS%, -1.8 pRAA, 90 tRA+

Jair’s injury kept him out for a majority of the year but when he has pitched he hasn’t been very good. It seems as though his leg injury may have been a product of his spring arm injury and that he was never fully healthy when he was pitching in the beginning of the season. It’s a reasonable argument and he has pitched well in the first two starts since returning. Regardless, he hasn’t helped the team as was expected. You can’t blame him for the injuries, but the injuries hurt his production and overall numbers.


Overall Grade: B


The rotation for the most part has been strong. It hasn’t been the dominant force it was last year, mostly due to Jurrjen’s injury and the loss of Javier Vazquez. Medlen’s and Jurrjen’s stats are a smaller sample size and they should improve. Medlen’s numbers as a reliever would suggest that he is better than his line currently states. Look for the rotation to continue to succeed. More specifically, look for Tommy Hanson to have a great second half.

You can find more from Ben at The BravesologistTalking ChopRoto Experts, or on his twitter @Ben_Duronio

Read more MLB news on

Atlanta Braves: Over Bobby Cox’s Tenure, Bench Production Coincides With Winning

Originally posted at The Bravesologist

This season, the Atlanta Braves are in first place despite getting close to no offensive production from their shortstop and center-field positions.

Their rookie right fielder, while productive for the first two months, has been a weak spot since the beginning June when Jason Heyward first injured his thumb.

To top it off, the right-handed portion of their left-field platoon has been injured for a majority of the season.

Most teams would be buried if two talents like Nate McLouth and Yunel Escobar flopped in the first half, but not a Bobby Cox team.

With the Braves being hurt by injuries and poor play at many different positions, it is surprising that this offense can still be as potent as it is.

The key components to keeping the offense productive have been Omar Infante, Eric Hinske, Brooks Conrad, David Ross, and to an extent, Melky Cabrera.

Hinske has moved into the left-handed role in the left-field platoon, and although he has slumped lately, he has produced well.

The flexibility of both Infante and Cabrera has also helped in covering up the problems the Braves have faced in the outfield.

Cabrera’s best suited as a fourth outfielder and not everyday play.

Since being removed from everyday play in left field against righties, Cabrera has seen his production increase.

After having an awful May, Cabrera has been at least league average in on-base abilities since, which is all you can really ask for from a fourth outfielder.

Infante has played everywhere in the field and his play so far this month has made up for Heyward’s absence from the top of the lineup. Infante has had either two hits or two RBI in each of the Braves wins this month.

Last night, both shined in the victory and even hit back-to-back home runs to give the Braves the lead. As surprising as that is, it isn’t surprising that the Braves bench has been key in the first half of the season.

In the past, Cox has gotten Lonnie Smith, Brian Hunter, Deion Sanders, Charlie O’Brien, Tony Graffanino, Gerald Williams, Eddie Perez, Randall Simon, Wes Helms, Matt Franco, Julio Franco, Mark DeRosa, Eli Marrero, Wilson Betemit, Charles Thomas, and Ryan Langerhans to all provide offensive value from the bench during the Braves run of 14 straight division titles.

Those players never had much more production after, if any, in other places aside from DeRosa and, to a marginal extent, Tony Graffanino. These players weren’t the reasons for the Braves success, but their production gave the team a great boost, for sure.

The ability to have flexible players who can fill in and produce when called upon gives a team the ability to adapt when poor play or injuries do occur.

Baseball is a random sport.

Some players have off years when they are expected to perform well and the reasons vary from player to player. This has happened this season and it has happened in the past.

While the ’90s Braves avoided the injury bug for the most part, there were cases when players were called upon, and they performed even better than expected.

One thing Bobby Cox has always been able to do is get the most out of his fringe starters and bench players. I’ve stated this on numerous occasions in the past and even before this season.

Hinske, Matt Diaz, Ross, Infante, Cabrera, and Conrad make for a very productive group that are far from black holes when put into the lineup.

Each has a niche, whether it is plate patience, defensive flexibility, power, or the ability to hit a pitcher with a certain handedness well.

While it is easy to criticize some of Bobby Cox’s in-game management decisions and bullpen decisions, as I most definitely have done, he puts his backups in positions to succeed.

Infante’s career OPS+ is 87, but with the Braves it is right at 100 over 773 plate appearances. In 234 plate appearances over the past two seasons, David Ross has an OPS+ of 124 and has 21 extra-base hits.

Diaz was nothing until he came to the Braves, and now he has a 111 OPS+ over 1368 plate appearances.

The bench management is the most overlooked part of Bobby Cox’s game. The Braves won because of pitching in the ’90s, but what they also got great performances from unexpected players.

Cox knows how to utilize them the correct way and get more out them than any other manager. When looking back on Bobby’s career, there is probably nothing he did better than manage his bench players and fringe starters.

Regardless of whom he had on the bench, he made sure that they were ready to play and ready to produce, which has helped get the Braves to October in the past and certainly looks like it will help them get there once again this year.


You can find more from Ben at The Bravesologist, Talking Chop, or on his twitter @Ben_Duronio

Read more MLB news on

Notes on Atlanta Braves: Heyward, Diaz, Kawakami, Medlen, and Jurrjens

Originally posted at The Bravesologist.


Jason Heyward:

After being tested by a hand specialist yesterday, Jason Heyward has been placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to Sunday, when he pinch-ran for Eric Hinske.

Heyward has had the injured hand since May and his play obviously diminished due to the injury (.181/.287/.245). The DL is probably the right move to make. If he is going to have to play with it for the full season, it makes sense to give him time to rest and get it at least close to healthy.

Having Heyward out of the lineup hurts offensively and defensively. The top of the lineup had no easy outs with Prado, Heyward, Jones, McCann, and Glaus at the top. All have very high on base percentages and have been the key cogs in the lineup all season. With Heyward out, Melky Cabrera becomes the regular right fielder and, unless Cox alters the lineup, will also man the two spot.

Matt Diaz:

Matt Diaz is being called up to replace Heyward, so at least the Braves should get a bit better against left-handed pitching. The outfield now has numerous options against both righties and lefties. Against righties, a combination of Eric Hinske, Gregor Blanco, and Melky Cabrera is likely best. Against lefties, Omar Infante, Melky Cabrera, and Matt Diaz is probably the most efficient group. I don’t expect Bobby to handle it this way, though. Most likely, Blanco will stick in centerfield almost full-time with Cabrera staying in right. Hinske and Diaz will probably platoon and Infante will get spot starts in the outfield and infield as usual.

If Diaz can produce like we have seen from him in the past and Blanco can continue to get on base, this outfield alignment may be a bit more productive than they have been as of late.

Kenshin Kawakami:

In a move that must have been a very difficult decision, Kenshin Kawakami has been demoted to the bullpen to make room for Kris Medlen. As i mentioned in past articles, either decision had merit. If Medlen were moved to the bullpen, his innings would be limited and the bullpen would be strengthened. If Kawakami were moved to the bullpen, we would have the better pitcher throwing more innings in Medlen.

Jair rejoining the rotation alongside Medlen means that we are replacing one of our worst starters with one of our best starters from the previous year. If Kris were the one to be removed, we would be replacing one of our best starters this year, this was the right decision.

Kris Medlen:

I was vying to keep Medlen in the rotation pretty heavily as the deciding day day neared. I just believe Medlen is significantly better than Kawakami and his 3.70 K/BB ratio as a starter justifies that notion. Kris’ change up is far-and-away the best on the team and his fastball sets it up nicely. Medlen’s numbers may eventually dip a bit, but overall I think he should continue to act as one of the top three starters on this team. Medlen’s 0.90 WHIP in June lead all starters by a significant margin, with Tim Hudson finishing second at 1.21.

Jair Jurrjens:

Jair Jurrjens replacing Kawakami should mean an even more sturdy rotation, but there is a chance that Jurrjens is not quite ready yet. He has pitched rather poorly at Gwinnett in his rehab starts (6.38 ERA and a 1.36 K/BB ratio in 24 innings).

Jurrjens will face the Nationals on Wednesday and the Phillies in Philadelphia on Tuesday if all goes accordingly. Unless the Braves alter the rotation, he would just miss pitching again before the All-Star break and likely pick it back up at home against the Brewers at the start of the second half.


Overall, there was some good news and bad news in the past day. The Braves were able to beat Stephen Strasburg thanks to a tremendous pitching performance by Tim Hudson and they took advantage of the National’s spotty defense. Jair Jurrjens will return on Wednesday and Kris Medlen gets to stay in the rotation. Matt Diaz will return to the team and hopefully better the offense against left-handed pitching. Unfortunately, the likely All-Star, Jason Heyward will miss 14 more days including the All-Star game.


You can find more from Ben at The Bravesologist  , Talking Chop  , or on his twitter@Ben_Duronio

Read more MLB news on

The Left Side Of The Braves Bullpen May Be The Best In Baseball

As Ken Rosenthal reports , the Braves are stocked deep in pitching, which is no surprise to any Braves follower.

What he mentions in the article that caught my eye was that he sees the Braves’ left-handed side of the bullpen as potentially the best in the game.

“The left side of the ‘pen—Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Billy Wagner—might be the best in the game,” said Rosenthal.

Over the past two seasons, Bobby Cox has gone away from his traditional approach of keeping one and possibly two left-handed relievers on the roster, with Billy Wagner entrenched as the closer. This was a similar case at the start of last year with Mike Gonzalez closing games and Boone Logan and O’Flaherty as middle relievers.

Lately, Jonny Venters’ role has increased due to Takashi Saito’s injury and the lack of production from other middle relievers. In addition to Saito being injured, Peter Moylan has performed poorly as of late (8.81 ERA in 7 appearances spanning 3.1 innings). This has put added pressure on Venters to produce, and aside from a few bumpy outings, he has certainly run with the increased role.

Here are the stats from all three lefties this year. The top number is their overall and the bottom is against left-handed hitters.

Billy Wagner : 4-0, 26 G, 25.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 2.93 xFIP, 13.50 K/9, 3.91 BB/9, 11 SV

vs. LH: 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3.61 xFIP, 9.95 K/9, 4.26 BB/9

Eric O’Flaherty : 2-1, 32 G, 25.2 IP, 2.10 ERA, 3.42 xFIP, 7.71 K/9, 3.16 BB/9

vs. LH: 13.1 IP, 2 ER, 2.28 xFIP, 9.45 K/9, 1.35 BB/9

Jonny Venters : 2-0, 23 G, 27.2 IP, 0.98 ERA, 3.57 xFIP, 10.08 K/9, 5.20 BB/9

vs. LH: 16.1 IP, 0 ER, 2.86 xFIP, 12.71 K/9, 3.18 BB/9

Both Venters and O’Flaherty have been much better against lefties than righties. Wagner has had better numbers against right-handers but has a much smaller sample size. Wagner pitches strictly the final inning, whereas Venters and O’Flaherty are brought in to pitch in certain situations. Obviously, that will allow O’Flaherty and Venters to pitch to more lefties, where Wagner will be forced to face whomever is due up in the ninth.

With an entirely right-handed rotation, teams usually stack as many left-hand options as reasonably possible against the Braves. This means, later in games, guys like Venters and O’Flaherty will get their opportunities—and when they get them, they certainly produce. Between the three lefty relievers, they have thrown a combined 36 innings and allowed just two earned runs.

The combined ERA against left-handed hitters of Billy Wagner, Jonny Venters, and Eric O’Flaherty is 0.52.

It would take a great deal of research to find out if their are any comparable left-handed reliever groups in the league, but at best they can only match what these three have done.

Read more MLB news on

The Complexity of Articles Is Pushing Fans From Sabermetrics

Newer stats are moving to the mainstream—there is no question about it. The general fans are starting to understand more and more as the years pass. OPS (which is still VERY basic) is starting to become a generally recognized statistic, and we are starting to see better metrics pushed to the masses.

The more that the common sports sites push these statistics, the more the mainstream will begin to understand and accept them.

It is a slow process—which is quite aggravating given the simplicity of what we are trying to get across. One statistic simply tells a much fuller story than another. It’s not too difficult of a concept, and if explained appropriately, people will understand.

This is the case with nearly every “old school” statistic compared to the contemporary ones. Batting average, RBI, fielding percentage, etc… They all tell a much smaller portion of the story than the contemporary numbers.

The problem, I am beginning to realize, isn’t the difficulty of understanding the statistics, but the difficulty in the read itself. People reading about sports don’t want to take time to read long-winded articles with numbers, explanations, and comparisons spread throughout them.

They want their information, and they want it quickly.

It isn’t that the general sports fan is avoiding new numbers for the sake of staying “old school,” but that the people trying to explain the numbers themselves are writing these articles to impress others in the business and have other agendas more important than educating the masses. The more business like the article is and the more in-depth the analysis in the piece is, the more they feel they have accomplished.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Some people stick around and read the articles and learn, and others just skim through them and miss the entire point of the article. It is hard to put blame on the writer for fully explaining himself, but they simply aren’t pushing their product the correct way, in my opinion.

These same people who have alternate agendas are the ones who get upset at those who speak of the sport with flawed opinions.

Well, if you want to educate the masses, speak to the masses. Speaking to yourself and to the rest of the saber-driven community only further segregates the “new” and “old school.”

The reason for the ignorance we see from the “old school” is the smug nature of the “new school.”

I don’t wish to point out certain sites or certain writers to get my point across; they are spread throughout the web.

Not all saber-driven blogs are operated in this nature, and again, I enjoy reading them because I care to take the time out of my day and want to learn as much as I can. However, the masses don’t.

With the attention span of the average American shrinking by the second, the quicker the point gets across the better. The saber community needs to realize that in order to get the masses on your side, you must appeal to them. The appeal is a quick, informative read. Even though it may be difficult to get an entire case study posted in one article, posting a link to that study in a smaller article may be a wiser way to go.

I know, this article is long-winded itself and it seems as if I’m contradicting myself. But in this case, I’m aiming this towards the saber community and they, obviously, don’t have a problem with reading a thousand words and understanding certain opinions.

Paul Lebowitz  (@PRINCE_OF_NY  on twitter) wrote an article today pointing out how pompous some of the “stat zombies,” as he calls them, can be. The knowledge they have is useful, but their means of operation is becoming a problem. Altering the opinions of the general consensus is not easy to do, and rather than doing it in a condescending manner, a more genuine and simplistic approach would be more affective.


Read more MLB news on

MLB Draft 2010 Live Blog: Results and Info on This Year’s Picks

It’s June 7, and that means the first year player MLB first year player draft is finally upon us. The likes of Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., and Joe Mauer have all gone first in the MLB draft.

This year, it will be Bryce Harper.

Harper memorably dropped out of high school last year and got his G.E.D. so that he could play in junior college and be draft eligible this year. Harper should be a junior in high school and would not be draft eligible until the completion of his senior year. If he went to a traditional college rather than a junior college, he would be obligated to stay for three years before being allowed to enter the draft. However, since he dropped out and attended junior college, and the rules for N.C.A.A. players are not the same for JUCO players, he is draft eligible this year.

With that said, teams find diamonds later in the draft as well. The rest of the teams across the league have the opportunity to find a great talent who may be the star of their respective rotations or lineups. Guys like Chase Utley, Jason Heyward, and C.C. Sabathia have outplayed their draft positions.

Find out if your team finds one of these types as I update after each pick and give a quick scouting report that I have complied through research over the past few months and videos accumulated online. Most of the reports are combinations found online from,, and

Look back after each pick and I’ll have the player plus the report up for the first round and supplemental first round. 


1. Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, OF, College of Southern Nevada, 6″3, 205 lbs.

This pick comes as no surprise to anyone. Harper is easily the most talented player in the draft and some say he has more power in his bat than any amateur they’ve seen. Harper ended the season with 31 home runs and an on base percentage well over .500 while stealing 20 bags. The biggest surprise about this pick is that they announced him as an outfielder.


2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Jameson Tailon, RHP, The Woodlands Hills High School (Texas) 6”6, 225 lbs

Tailon is an 18-year-old giant, standing at 6”6, 225 pounds and hits the high nineties with his heater. He throws all four pitches with his curveball being his second best at this point. 


3. Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado, SS, Brito Private High School (Florida) 6”2, 180 lbs

Machado does everything pretty well on the field. He’s got good bat control and grades out pretty well defensively, offensively, and athletically. He’ll stay at shortstop and his lanky 6”2, 180 lb frame seems to be the prototype shortstop of the present and future. 


4. Kansas City Royals: Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton, 6”0, 180 lbs

He could move to 2B but could stay at SS as well. His bat plays well for his position. He’s not very quick and most of his value offensively comes from his bat control gap type power


5. Cleveland Indians: Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Mississippi, 6”5, 231 lbs

Pomeranz stands at 6”5 and he weighs 231 lbs, so he is a very big pitcher to say the least. He has a fastball, curveball, and changeup which all have the potential to be recognized as plus pitches. 


6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M, 6”5, 220 lbs

Loux packs a low-90’s heater with some good movement on it. In the age of the changeup, he probably has one of the most developed changes in the draft. If he focused more on his fastball and changeup combination I think he’d have more success. I’m not too big of a fan of his breaking balls. Personally, I would dump one and work extensively on the other to have a decent third pitch to counteract a great fastball and changeup combination. 


7. New York Mets: Matt Harvey, RHP, North Carolina, 6″4, 225 lbs

Harvey sits at the mid-90’s which is awfully impressive. He doesn’t have the best control or the best secondary stuff, but a big college right hander who throws in the mid 90’s is obviously what the the Mets were looking for.


8. Houston Astros: Delino DeShields Jr., 2B, Woodward Academy (Georgia), 5”9, 175 lbs

DeShields is the son of former Major Leauger Delino DeShields Sr. He was known for his outfield skill  in highschool, but he can play the infield as well. He’s full of speed defensively and on the basepaths. He’s a straight speed and defense type player who has solid bat control and can hit liners around the field. You know exactly what you are getting with DeShields, an athletic player who will tear up the basepaths. 


9. San Diego Padres: Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley High School (Florida) 6”4, 190 lbs

Whitson already throws in the mid-90’s and throws a slider and changeup to compliment his heater. Personally, I’d like a longer stride but he throws hard regardless. His fastball and changeup both come down about 10 mph off of his fastball.


10. Oakland Athletics: Michael Choice, OF, Texas-Arlington, 6”1, 215 lbs

Right now, Choice is a twinge outfielder. He could end up on the corners but could end up in center if he improves his range as well. His bat, obviously, would play better in center than anywhere else. Aside from Harper, most powerful bat drafted, in my opinion.


11. Toronto Blue Jays: Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech, 6”6, 218 lbs

McGuire throws in the low-90’s and has really hard slider to boot. He gets his slider up to 85-86 mph and has exceptional command. I like him better than others who have went before him. He’s got three solid pitches, including his changeup, he throws strikes and has good command, and has great size. What’s not to like?


12. Cincinnati Reds: Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami, 6”2, 210 lbs

Grandal is a switch-hitting catcher with good size and decent athleticism for the position. His bat and overall skills probably don’t equate to his draft position, but the fact that he catches and switch-hits makes him a mid first rounder. 


13. Chicago White Sox: Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast University, 6”5, 175 lbs

The 21-year-old, 6”5 175 lb Sale has a fastball in the low-to-mid nineties with a solid curveball and changeup. He’s recognized as a mentally strong pitcher with a great arm and a lanky frame. 


14. Milwaukee Brewers: Dylan Covey, RHP, Marantha High School (California), 6”2, 200 lbs

Covey packs a miid-90’s fastball with downward movement and a curve and changeup as his secondary pitches. His curveball is well ahead of his changeup developmentally and he’s got a solid build to him. 


15. Texas Rangers (for Matt Purke): Jake Skole, OF, Blessed Trinity High School (Georgia), 6″1, 185

Skole was injured for most of the year. He’s very raw right now and was a two sport athlete. He was a star football player on top of being a skilled and talented baseball player. This is a risky pick based on future production, but safe pick based on signability.


16. Chicago Cubs: Hayden Simpson, RHP, Southern Arkansas, 6″0, 175 lbs

Hayden Simpson is a right-hander and was a division 2 beast last season. He throws a mid-90’s fastball and two breaking balls. is an absolute surprise to get picked in the mid first rounds. He’s not quite as popular of a name as most of the players drafted before him. 


17. Tampa Bay Rays: Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet High School (Washington) 6″0, 203 lbs

Sale is a corner outfielder and a shorter one at that. He’s short but has a pretty big frame and packs a lot of power. He’s probably got the second best power stroke in the draft behind Harper.


18. Los Angeles Angels (for Chone Figgins): Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Cook County High School, 6″3, 180 lbs

Coward was mostly valued as a pitcher. He wanted to play every day, but his asking price may be too much for the Angels to get. The Angels have a plethora of picks later on, so they can take a risk like this. He’s a switch-hitter offensively and has a short righty swing a long lefty swing, both which are powerful. 


19. Houston Astros (for Jose Valverde): Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Minooka Community (Illinois), 6″4, 190 lbs

Foltynewicz is a sinkerballer who can get it up to about 95 mph. His changeup is a solid secondary pitch while his breaking ball is lagging behind at this point. With work in the minors, he should develop into a reliable and consistent pitcher. 


20. Boston Red Sox (for Billy Wagner): Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State, 6”3, 195 lbs

He’s a pretty big secondbasemen but I think he has the athleticism to stick there. On the Red Sox, however, he will move to the outfield most likely. He’s got a decent amount of power but it’s more like gap power than home run power. He’s very fast.


21. Minnesota Twins: Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State, 6”2, 195 lbs

His fastball sits pretty much at 90mph so he doesn’t have overpowering stuff. He throws a curveball and changeup to compliment the fastball but the fastball works more like a sinker. I see a Tim Hudson comparison in there somewhere despite throwing a curveball rather than a slider. 


22. Texas Rangers: Kellin Deglan, C, R. E. Mountain (Canada), 6″2, 200 lbs

Deglan is a lefty hitting catcher with very good bat control and decent power. He’ll be a decent defensive catcher, but most of his value relies in his skills with the bat and hit line drives. 


23. Florida Marlins: Christian Yelich, OF, Westlake High School (California), 6”4, 190 lbs

Most saw Yelich as a first basemen prior to the draft. Yellich is pretty small for a first basemen, but the lefty-hitting, righty-throwing first basemen/outfielder should grow into his body as he ages. I think he turns into more of a power hitter while some think he remains a bat control guy as opposed to a pop hitter. He could stay at a corner outfield spot regardless of whether he develops the power, he’ll get on base.


24. San Francisco Giants: Gary Brown, OF, Cal State Fullerton, 6″1, 180 lbs

He’s a speedy centerfielder who only moved there this season. Nearly his entire game is speed and he will need to develop more patience to use it affectively. He’s got really good bat control but again, his patience needs to be better developed. 


25. St. Louis Cardinals: Zack Cox, 3B/2B, Arkansas, 6″0, 215 lbs

Cox is a small third basemen in comparison to most major leaguers, standing at just 6”0. He made the move to second base which obviously increases his value. He’ll be a left-handed hitting second basemen with a decent amount of pop and great bat control. He’s known to be pretty slow in comparison to most second basemen, but his bat is what makes him a first rounder. I’m surprised he has slipped so far.


26. Colorado Rockies: Kyle Parker, OF, Clemson, 6″1, 200 lbs

Parker was Clemson’s starting quarterback and there are serious signability questions at this slot. It is very odd that the Rockies seem to go after college quarterbacks (Helton, Smith, and now Parker), but Parker’s athleticism cannot be denied and he would be a very productive hitter if he were to sign. 


27. Philadelphia Phillies: Jesse Biddle, LHP, Germantown High School (Pennsylvania), 6″6, 225 lbs

Jesse gets the chance to play for his home town team. He has a fastball that sits around 88 mph and his changeup is probably his strongest out pitch right now. The Phillies decided to go with a projectable lefty from their area. 


28. Los Angeles Dodgers: Zach Lee, RHP, McKinney High School (Texas) 6″4, 195 lbs

I would be shocked if the Dodgers are able to sign Lee, especially with their financial situation in flux. Lee is a top high school quarterback who is set to go to L.S.U. next season and unless the Dodgers pony up the cash to keep Lee, he’ll stick to football.


29. Los Angeles Angles (for John Lackey): Cam Bedrosian, RHP, East Coweta High School (Georgia), 6″1, 195 lbs. 

Bedrosian is the son of former Major Leaguer Steve Bedrosian. He has a low 90’s fastball with a curveball and a changeup that have the potential to grade out well. He’s very signable. 


30. Los Angeles Angles: Chavez Clarke, OF, Marietta High School (Georgia), 6″1, 190 lbs

He’s a leadoff hitter in the pros and has a ton of speed. He’s a switch-hitter who hits low liners and grounders with regularity. He’s still very young and should have time to improve his baseball skills as he’s a pretty raw talent right now. He’s perfect for the Angels style of play. 


31. Tampa Bay Rays (for LeVon Washington): Justin O’Conner, C, Cowen High School (Indiana), 6”1, 190 lbs

O’Conner is straight talent. He’s learning the catcher position part-time and his value at that position obviously skyrockets. His arm is tremendous and his hitting is decent to this point. He’s a great athlete with a ton of potential. He doesn’t quite have the experience, but his skills on the baseball field and athleticism are worth noting. 


32. New York Yankees: Cito Culver, SS, West Irondequoit High School (New York), 6″2, 175 lbs

Most see him as an outfielder, but the Yankees drafted him as a shortstop. He’s a switch hitting and long player he has a good deal of projectability. He’s got a rocket arm defensively and he is very athletic. 


Supplemental first-round:


33. Houston Astros: Mike Kvasnicka, 3B, University of Minnesota, 6″2, 210 lbs

Switch hitting third basemen with a pretty solid bat overall. Defense needs some work but he’s very athletic. 


34. Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Barstow High School (California), 6″3, 175 lbs

Strong fastball with electric stuff. He’ll develop into his body a bit more and fill out before reaching the majors. 


35. Atlanta Braves: Matt Lipka, SS, McKinney High School (Texas), 6″1, 190 lbs

Lipka was Zach Lee’s wide receiver at McKinney. He’s an athletic player who may need to move from shortstop in the future.


36. Boston Red Sox: Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State, 6”0, 185 lbs

He’ll be a corner outfielder in professional baseball. He’s pretty quick and can hit the ball over the fence anywhere in the ballpark. His problem is his small stature for a corner outfielder. He’s pretty quick and throws the ball well defensively. 


37. Los Angeles Angels: Taylor Lindsay, SS, Desert Mountain High School (Arizona), 6″0, 170 lbs

Lindsay is a lefty hitting shortstop with a very solid bat. He’s a quick hitter and may be a future second basemen. 


38. Toronto Blue Jays: Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Legacy High School (Texas) 6″6, 215 lbs

Syndergaard is big right hander with a lot of downward motion on his fastball. Decent secondary stuff, lots of upside.


39. Boston Red Sox: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Louisiana State, 6”7, 230 lbs

Ranaudo is a really tall right hander who uses his height to his advantage. He throws from a pretty hard slot and has a ton of downward motion due to his height. His secondary stuff is questionable but if he can keep the ball down his arm slot should make his curveball more deceptive. 


40. Los Angeles Angels: Ryan Bolden, OF, Madison Central High School (Mississippi), 6″3, 190 lbs

He’s a straight athlete with a big right handed bat that could be a power bat as he develops. He throws lefty and bats righty. 


41. Toronto Blue Jays: Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel, 6”4, 235 lbs

Asher sits in the low 90’s and features a slider and changeup as well. He’s a big pitcher and uses his legs to his advantage. To me, he looks like a bullpen pitcher with his repertoire.


42. Tampa Bay Rays: Drew Vettleson, OF, Central Kitsap High School (Washington), 6”1, 185 lbs

Vettleson pitches and plays the outfield, and it is currently unsure of which he’ll stick at. I think he’ll be an outfielder. He’ll be a corner guy if he does decide to hit. If he pitched, he’s a switch pitcher which is really rare to see. Obviously, he is a very athletic player.


43. Seattle Mariners: Taijuan Walker, RHP, Yucaipa High School (California), 6″5, 200 lbs

Walker is an extremely athletic multi-sport athlete. He’s got great stuff and projectability. He was a tremendous basketball player. 


44. Detroit Tirgers: Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy High School (Florida), 6”4, 210 lbs

Castellanos is one of those players that does everything pretty well without doing anything in particularly that great. He’s pretty projectable as a hitter but he will never be a star. I think by the time he would reach the majors he would have learned a few other positions for flexibility. I feel that he hit just enough to stick at any corner but won’t be someone in the top of your lineup. He could prove me wrong though.


45. Texas Rangers: Luke Jackson, RHP, Calvary Christin High School (Florida), 6″2, 180 lbs 

He’s got solid stuff with the ability to be a middle of the rotation starter. 


46. St. Louis Cardinals: Seth Blair, RHP, Arizona State University, 6″2, 190 lbs

Very good fastball and slider combination which makes him a bullpen option. He’s talented with decent control but great backend type stuff. 


47. Colorado Rockies: Peter Tago, RHP, Dana Hills High School (California), 6”1, 160 lbs

He’s got that kind of electric stuff you hear people talk about. He’s small and skinny but throws the ball in the low-to-mid 90’s. He’ll develop stuff as he progresses through the minors and I don’t really like any of his secondary stuff just yet. With that said, he’s just 17 and extremely talented. He could end up being a steal in the late first round, but I understand why teams wouldn’t take him earlier. There are surer bets that are ahead of Tago.


48. Detroit Tigers: Chance Ruffin, RHP, Texas, 6″1, 185 lbs

Ruffin was a dominant college closer and will be in the back-end of a bullpen in no time. The Tigers are wise to go after a player so close to the majors. 


49. Texas Rangers: Mike Olt, 3B, Connecticut, 6″2, 210 lbs

Olt plays shortstop and third and has a decent bat that could play at third. It would play better at shortstop should his defense progress.


50. St. Louis Cardinals: Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Henderson High School (Texas), 6″4, 180 lbs

Dual sport athlete, committed to playing quarterback at Baylor. He’s a great athlete and has some very impressive stuff combined with solid size. 


For more on the draft you can follow me on twitter @Ben_Duronio

Read more MLB news on

The 10 Biggest MLB Draft Busts of the Last 25 Years

With the MLB Rule 4 First Year Player Draft coming on June 7, my content manager and I thought it would be wise to give you the ten biggest draft busts in the past 25 years.

There have been numerous first overall picks who have gone on to have stellar major league careers since 1985.

You may recall Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones and most recently, Joe Mauer winning major league MVP awards. Also, they were all number one picks in the draft.

With the number one pick, you are looking for the closest to a lock you can get, but sometimes the players just don’t pan out. With that said, here are the ten biggest busts since 1985.

Begin Slideshow

Atlanta Braves in Position To Make Move, All NL East Teams Within Three Games

The Mets, Marlins, and Nationals are all three games behind the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies, while the Braves are 2.5 back.

Either this speaks to how good the division is compared to what many thought, or it speaks to how many flaws the Phillies truly have and how average the division is.

Prior to the season, the Phillies were projected to win the East by a majority of the baseball world. The prediction seemed rather accurate when you consider how much success the Phillies have had the past two years, as they have made the World Series in both seasons and won in 2008.

The problems that I and many other NL East followers saw were a less than stellar bullpen with little to no depth and a rotation with more back end types than front end. Injuries have been the biggest problem for the Phillies, but as of late it has surprisingly been their bats that have gone cold rather than their bullpen blowing late leads.

It is only a matter of time until the Phillies get it together at the dish, but with Brad Lidge, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Madson on the shelf, it is time for one of the other NL East teams to make a move on the Phillies.

The Braves are in prime position to do so.

With a series against the Marlins coming to a close and Tim Hudson on the mound against Ricky Nolasco, followed by a six-game home stand vs. both Pennsylvania teams, the Pirates and the Phillies, the Braves have a big seven games ahead of them.

With a 13-6 record at home, including six walk-off victories, the Braves have shown that winning in Turner Field is going to be tough for any visitor to do. The Braves put together a good series against the Pirates last week, and with Derek Lowe, Kris Medlen, and Kenshin Kawakami going, it sets the Braves up perfectly against the Phillies with both Tommy Hanson and Hudson getting starts against the division’s top team.

The NL East is all jumbled up right now, and each team must recognize the importance of surpassing the Phillies while they are still rather injured. The Braves still boast the most consistent rotation in the division, making it easy to give them the best shot to hang around until later in the season of the rest of the 24-win NL East teams.

Atlanta has been playing great as of late, and the trend must continue through June, a notoriously rough month for the Braves season after season, if they wish to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

Read more MLB news on

The 10 Best MLB Seasons in the First Year of a New Stadium

Baseball stadiums come and go with regularity as of late. In small and big markets alike, teams are scrambling to build more suites and have the most up-to-date technology.

A perfect example of this is last year’s New York Yankees and this year’s Minnesota Twins. The Yankees were able to come away with yet another World Series title in the grand opening of the new Yankee Stadium and the Twins are off to a strong start in their new outdoor Target Field.

This sparked my and my content manager’s interest and got us wondering which teams have had the most success in their first season in a new stadium.

The rules are simple, in the first season in which your team plays, which teams went the furthest or won the most regular season games.

While researching, an interesting team and stadium came up, the 1994 Cleveland Indians. The Indians opened what was then called Jacobs Field in 1994, but no playoffs were held that season due to the strike. The league got started up again the following season and the Indians made it to the World Series, eventually losing to the Atlanta Braves in six games. I decided not to include the Indians due to them opening the stadium in 1994, but in their first season in which the playoffs were held they did have a better season than some on this list.

The decisions were difficult and there have definitely been some legendary ballparks with some great first seasons, take a look and see if your team’s inaugural year made the list.

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress