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MLB Predictions: Elvis Andrus and the Top Player 25 and Under on Each MLB Team

Major League Baseball has always been about player development and young stars stepping up when the game is on the line.

For many teams, that young talent is hard to come by. 

This list takes a look at the top players for each franchise under 25 years old.

The rankings will be based on division, starting with the American League East and progressing through the entire MLB.

The list begins with the Baltimore Orioles.

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MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Teams That Should Pursue Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano has been on top of many recent MLB trade rumors, and teams all around the league seem to be questioning his availability.

Pitching in the Major Leagues can help take a franchise to the top and acquiring a player like Liriano could make or break a team that is looking toward the postseason.

The following are ten teams that could eventually make a deal for the pitcher and should be very interested in his market value.

The list begins with the Atlanta Braves…

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New York Mets: A Look at Johan Santana’s Fall from Baseball Glory

Johan Santana announced today that he may not pitch at all during the 2011 baseball season.

Santana was once one of the most sought-after pitchers in the entire Major Leagues and signed with the New York Mets as one of the most highly regarded players in all of baseball.

Drawing huge contract offers and loads of media praise, Santana looked destined to become one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time.

Since leaving for New York a few short years ago, Santana’s career has taken a significant downturn, and now, the former All-Star barely has a career to hang his hat on.

This is a look at Johan Santana and his career since leaving the Minnesota Twins.

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MLB Power Rankings: A Look At The Best Third Basemen For Each MLB Franchise

Third base may arguably be the hardest position to play in all of professional sports. Hitters at the peak of their power strokes ripping line drives only 90 feet away and smoking ground balls can make it tough for even the best of athletes.

The following list of players counts down the best third basemen for each franchise in the MLB.

The Players are in no specific order as their accomplishments and trends are closely influenced by the era in which they played in.

Hitting lead-off, the Seattle Mariners…

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MLB Hot Stove: Los Angeles Angels Land Vernon Wells in Blockbuster Trade

On Friday the Los Angeles Angels landed former All-Star center fielder, Vernon Wells, in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays will receive catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera, both of whom have only one year left on their current deals.

Wells will be waiving his no-trade clause with Toronto as the Angels will be forced to pay him an owed $86 million over the course of the next four seasons.

After other attempts at landing key free agents this offseason, the Angels have now successfully compiled one of the best starting outfield lineups in the major leagues with former All-Star Tori Hunter in right field and Bobby Abreu in left.

In 2010, Wells played in a total of 157 games and had a batting average of .273.

Wells took much criticism from the Canadian media in recent seasons as his power numbers took a significant decline from 2007 to 2009.

Wells’ 31 home runs in 2010 was his third-highest career total since he was called up to the majors in 1999. Wells also had a total of 41 doubles, which was his second-highest career total behind his 49 double season in 2003.

Toronto now opens some significant cap room heading into the upcoming season(s) as it seems that the Jays are now entering a total rebuilding phase and looking to unload their highest contracts.

The key to Wells’ success within Los Angeles will be his ability to now build on a very successful 2010 season as well as his ability to fit into his new role in the middle of possibly one of the best lineups in all of baseball.

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Aaron Laffey To Replace David Huff in Cleveland Indians Rotation

The Cleveland Indians announced on Tuesday that Aaron Laffey will become the fifth starter in the Indians rotation, replacing recently demoted David Huff.
Aaron was sent down a few weeks ago in order to build up stamina in hopes to returning to a starting role.  Friday against the Cincinnati Reds, he will get that chance. In Laffey’s last major league outing, he struggled to make it through an inning and a third while allowing six earned runs on two hits. Laffey is also yet to start a game at the Major League level but started four games for Columbus during his minor league stint.

Over the course of Laffey’s four minor league starts, Aaron posted a record of 0-1 but struggled with his control. Walking hitters has been Laffey’s downfall all season long as he walked 13 hitters in 20 appearances while with the Indians, and he walked 15 in only four appearance’s with the Clippers.

In the 2010 season, Aaron has posted an ERA of 5.61 and has surrendered 30 hits over 25 and two-thirds innings. One positive point to make about Laffey is that he has done a great job keeping hitters in the ballpark, only surrendering one home run this season and only 21 over the course of his career.

Laffey’s career Major League numbers to date include 44 starts, 290.1 innings pitched, an ERA of 4.49, and a total win/loss record of 16-19 (including relief appearances).

Many Tribe followers assumed that a young pitcher, Carlos Carrasco, would be the man to replace Huff in the starting rotation. Carrasco has pitched particularly well at the Triple-A level, posting a 5-3 record while striking out 65 batters.

Huff and Carrasco will have to wait to get another opportunity at the big league level but fortunately for them, their opportunities may come sooner than later. If recent trade rumors involving pitcher Fausto Carmona become true, then another spot in the rotation will need to be filled.

On a team that is struggling to make it through to September, opportunities for young players become frequent in the later summer months. If Carmona is shipped away, and if other members of the rotation continue to struggle, fans could be seeing Huff, Carrasco and even others at the Major League level quicker than they think.

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Indians’ Matt LaPorta Aims to Get Back on Track With Triple-A Columbus

Heading into this season, many people surrounding the Indians organization hoped that Matt LaPorta would mold himself into a key part of the rebuilding offense.

A young talented prospect, LaPorta finished the 2009 season in fourth place for slugging percentage in the International League and tied for 11th in home runs with 17 longballs to his credit.

Matt also played a total of 52 games for the Tribe last season, covering two different trips up to the Majors. 

During the end of the 2009 season, LaPorta played in the final 39 games collecting 6 home runs, 17 RBI, and an average of .273. Those numbers were good enough to lock him into a spot on the 2010 roster and also gave Indians’ fans many reasons to be optimistic.

Fast forward to present day and LaPorta’s situation within the Cleveland organization is much different. In 2010, Matt only managed to compile a .218 average over the course of 35 games and only had one home run to his credit.

Among the many struggles that Matt went through over the early course of this season, none could be much worse than his performance at home.

Within the familiar confines of Progressive Field, LaPorta only hit .157. Not exactly the numbers that the organization was looking for.

Because of a lack of production and consistency, LaPorta was sent down to Triple-A Columbus last week.

In many cases, being demoted from the “big team” can be very harsh on a player’s confidence and overall attitude but luckily for Cleveland, the result was completely opposite.

Over the course of the seven games, LaPorta has had with Columbus, Matt has hit .407 with 5 home runs and 9 RBI. Not only has this propelled life throughout the Clippers, it has also seemed to give Matt the overall kick to get himself back on track.

If LaPorta can put up consistent numbers against the Triple-A competition, expect him to be back with the Indians sometime in July until the end of the season.

With the team slowly becoming more focused on development than contention, younger players will begin to get time at the big league level in hopes to find talent for seasons to come.

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Cleveland Indians Prospect Carlos Santana To Make Tribe Debut This Summer

According to, Indians top prospect Carlos Santana is expected to make his Major League debut sometime this summer and could be in the majors as early as the all-star break. The 5’11” catcher is said to be the best player within the Indians farm system and the Tribe hopes that he may be able to deliver the spark that the Cleveland offense desperately needs.
Before any Cleveland fans get too excited, there are some things to know about Carlos Santana. First off would have to be that Cleveland  does not expect him in the majors until sometime in late July to early September. That means that there will be no immediate help for the offense in short term.
The second thing that most Tribe fans should know is that Santana is far from being the next Victor Martinez, but not as far as some may think. Santana has only been a catcher since 2007, when he was with the L.A. Angels organization. Even though some say his defense lacks major league ability, his offensive capabilities match Martinez’s very well.
So far in 2010, Santana has hit .316 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI for the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. Experts say that Carlos struggles against left-handed pitching but makes up for it with his superior ability to hit right handers. So far this season, Carlos has hit .237 against southpaws but .350 against righties.
Bringing up Santana will give the Indians some interesting options behind the plate. Current Tribe catchers Lou Marson and Mike Redmond have both been significantly struggling at the plate hitting only .190 and .208 respectively. Having Santana in the mix will ultimately cause one of these players to either be released or sent down to the minors.
Assuming that Redmond is the player to be let go, Marson will more than likely become the back-up for Santana as Cleveland enters the ending stretch into September and October.

Marson is the same age as Carlos, and most Tribe experts believe that they will benefit off of the competition for more playing time. Also Assuming that Santana takes over the starting role, it is expected that Marson would still get most of his opportunities against left-handed pitching.

Cleveland seems desperate for someone to breathe some life back into the struggling organization. For most Tribe fans, the promotion of Santana will be a bright spot in a season that seems to have had a very dark cloud hanging overhead ever since opening day. Hopefully Carlos can come into 2010, get some solid work, and become a piece of the rebuilding puzzle during the coming seasons.

Who is Carlos Santana?

Born on April 8, 1986 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2004
Named the top Cleveland prospect in 2010 by Baseball America 2009 Eastern League MVP 2008 Califonia League MVP Class A Adv. Offensive Player of the Year 2008
2009 MLB Futures Game Selection

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Is Trading Travis Hafner on the Horizon for Struggling Indians?

In the midst of a clearly dismal season for the Cleveland Indians, a complete overhaul of the organization is well underway.

After trading key players like CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez last season, the Indians entered the 2010 season with a sense of optimism and many new faces filling out the roster. Those good feelings from opening day seem like years ago for many fans who have watched the Tribe fall to a disappointing 21-36 on the year.

Among the many disappointments the Tribe faithful have seen this year is the resurgence, or lack thereof, of DH Travis Hafner to be near the top.

After two injury plagued seasons in 2008 and 2009, many Indians fans hoped that Travis would return to his old “Pronk” form.

But that has just simply not been the case.

So far this season, Hafner is hitting .243 with only four home runs and 18 RBI, including a miserable .088 average over his last 10 games.

So where has the Hafner of old gone? Travis has simply not been the same ever since his amazing 2006 season where he hit .308 and tallied 42 home runs.

In 2007, Hafner signed a four-year, $57 million contract extension that keeps him in Cleveland until the end of the 2012 season.

With Cleveland focused on rebuilding and Hafner’s lack of production, many are beginning to wonder if he will be the next big name shipped out of town.

Because of his large contract, moving Hafner would be difficult even if the Indians wanted to. A team would have to have great faith in Hafner to believe that he can turn his numbers around and take on his financial burden.

Travis is scheduled to make $11.5 million this season and next season, and does not have near the amount of trade value he once held years ago. Cleveland’s inability to trade Hafner over the last few seasons directly leads to other valuable contracts being shipped out by the organization. 

While the Indians were trying to pay Hafner’s large salary, the contracts of Martinez, Lee, and Sabathia became more expendable, which ultimately resulted in their departure.

Cleveland is going to continue to have a rough road with Hafner as long as his production remains sub-par.

Many Tribe fans, including myself, have been waiting patiently for the return of the “Pronk” we once knew. If those numbers don’t return within the next two seasons, it is possible that we may see another big name shipped away from Cleveland.

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Rebuilding through the 2010 MLB Draft: Cleveland Indians Own 3 Picks in Top 100

Cleveland Indian fans can see a sparkle of hope today as the 2010 MLB Draft is set to kick off. The tribe holds the No. 5 pick of the first round and most mock draft experts expect them to take LHP Drew Pomeranz out of the University of Mississippi.

Pomeranz will not receive nearly as much attention as 17-year-old phenom Bryce Harper (expected to go No. 1 to the Nationals), but should still bring a smile to Cleveland fans’ faces if he is in fact taken with the 5th overall pick. Over his career at the U of Miss., Pomeranz has compiled a 12-7 record with an ERA slightly under 4.00.

Given, these are not outstanding numbers, but Drew is only 20 years old and is improving on his numbers every year.

Rebuilding through the draft is something the Indians are going to have to focus on if they expect to get back to their 2007 form, which took them all the way to the ALCS. Teams like the Tampa Bay Rays have built nearly all of their recent successes on drafting skilled players and working them through the Minor League system.

For a team that is concerned with spending and is used to spending small market money, building a team through the farm system and drafts is the main, if not the only option.

Cleveland management will have their work cut out for them early in the 2010 draft. Owning three picks in the top 100 gives Cleveland a great opportunity to improve their farm system and get players that can make an impact down the road.

The key is to make sure you draft the correct players—easier said than done for Indian regimes over the last two decades.

Some of the more notable Indian first-round draft picks since 1990 have included Manny Ramirez (1991), Paul Shuey (1992), Jaret Wright (1994), and CC Sabathia (1998). Current Indians Trevor Crowe and Jeremy Sowers were also drafted by the team in 2004 and 2005.

Cleveland has failed to draft a significant impact player in the first round for the franchise since the addition of Sabathia in 1998. After the talents of Sabathia, Victor Martinez, and Cliff Lee were shipped off last season, Cleveland has struggled to fill the voids with younger talented players.

Even though the 2010 draft will not have an immediate impact on the team, it should be a useful tool in order to bring life back into the organization. Only time will tell if the 2010 draft picks will help bring the Indians back up to the top of the AL Central.

In the meantime fans will just have to sit back and wait to see if Cleveland will spend some money on key free agents or keep trying to develop young “talents.”


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