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MLB Then and Now: How Today’s Superstars Would Have Fared Across Eras

Imagine Clayton Kershaw dealing at the height of the Steroid Era or Mike Trout lining up in center field for the New York Yankees during their post-war dynasty.

Thanks to the magic of the proprietary B/R baseball time machine, we have the good fortune of doing just that.

We’ll set the time and we’ll adjust the date, as we drop five of the game’s current megastars into past eras that were perfectly suited for their respective skill sets. For each of those five, we’ll compare them to one of the giants of that by-gone time.

We begin with a trip way back to the dawn on modern baseball when one of the best October aces—not just of today but in history—would have been right at home.


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MLB Players Finding Their Own Lane in the Postseason

From Javier Baez to Clayton Kershaw, there has been no shortage of emerging talents and established megastars who are stealing the show this October. 

Beginning with the Chicago Cubs’ electric infielder and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ indomitable ace, let’s take a look around the baseball world to zero in on the five big leaguers who have taken over the postseason and helped carry their respective clubs onward toward the Fall Classic.

The five players who crack this list have either rewritten the storyline from playoffs past or are in the midst of churning out an entirely new script. Two of those five share the same American League clubhouse of a team that has been defying logic throughout its postseason run. 

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The Top Rookie Performances in MLB Postseason History

As rookie stars Corey Seager, Kenta Maeda and Tyler Naquin get set for the MLB postseason, there’s a question that begs answering: Which first-year standouts have authored the best October showings in baseball history?

Before we set out to answer that question and rank the rookies, let’s break down the selection criteria and just who exactly is eligible for this list.

The idea here is to focus on a given player’s entire body of work. For that reason, the rankings only include players from the Division Series era because those players had an extra round to stack up numbers and polish their respective resumes.

All of the players who made the grade had monster postseason performances, so the tiebreaker was the magnitude of the moment. The higher the stakes, the more credit a player got.

Subsequently, the vast majority of players on this list were members of World Series-winning teams. Additionally, several of them had rookie teammates who also landed a spot in the top 10.

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Full-On Power: The Top 8 Power Sluggers in the Game This Season

When it comes to sluggers, there’s been no match for Boston Red Sox designated hitter and first baseman David Ortiz in 2016.

Big Papi leads all big leaguers in slugging percentage, doubles, extra-base hits and Isolated Power (ISO). It’s that final category that carries the most significance in this debate.

When it comes to judging power, there’s no better stat for doing so than ISO. Just consider how FanGraphs defines it: “Isolated Power (ISO) is a measure of a hitter’s raw power and tells you how often a player hits for extra bases.”

According to FanGraphs, the average MLB player clocks in with an ISO of .140, and a mark of .250 is considered “excellent.” On this list, everyone has an ISO of .278 or higher.

Using ISO as our measuring stick, let’s take a look at the mashers who join Ortiz in the rankings of the top power hitters of 2016.


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Latin-American Countries Producing the Most MLB Players

From David Ortiz to Johnny Cueto to Jose Bautista, the Dominican Republic is an MLB star-producing factory unlike any other.

This season, Big Papi, Johnny Beisbol and Joey Bats are among the 106 Dominicans who have graced the biggest stage with their presence.

In the rankings that follow, we take a look around the Latin American world to zero in on the five countries that have supplied the most major leaguers in 2016.

In addition to ranking the countries in order of total number of players, we highlighted all the veteran heavyweights like Ortiz and the rising youngsters like Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Yes, They’re Back: 8 MLB Teams Who Are Better Than Last Year

What a difference a year has made for David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox.

In 2015, the club landed in the cellar in the American League East—15 games behind the division-winning Toronto Blue Jays. This year, as the third month of the season rolls along, the Red Sox own the second-best winning percentage in the circuit.

The AL East heavyweights are the most improved team of 2016, but they’re far from the only rejuvenated squad this year.

In order to rank the most improved teams of 2016, we zeroed in on three key factors:

  • How well their new trade/free-agent additions have performed
  • How successfully key returning players have bounced back from underwhelming performances in 2015
  • How much room for improvement each team had

That last bullet point is a big one because some clubs—like the Red Sox—had much more room to grow than others.

The idea here is to focus on teams that are “back.” As a result, only teams that missed out on the postseason in 2015 were eligible for inclusion.

The Red Sox are the only club from the AL East that made the cut, but three teams in the National League East landed spots in the rankings that follow.

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5 Keys to the Chicago Cubs Getting on a Track to the World Series

It’s no secret how the Chicago Cubs have raced out to the best record in the majors.

The National League Central club, who pegs as the early Fall Classic favorites, has scored the most runs in baseball and given up the fewest.

Thanks to that potent offense and stingy pitching staff, the Cubs own a 24-6 mark after sweeping aside the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals. As ESPN’s Baseball Tonight noted via Twitter, the last time the Cubs owned such a record was 1907, when the team won the World Series.

So, just what exactly does this year’s squad need to match the accomplishments of the 1907 club? Naturally, it all starts with Jake Arrieta, but the staff ace is far from the only pitcher who the club will have to rely heavily on in the upcoming months.

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6 Technological Advances That Are Changing Major League Baseball

When it comes to trendsetting technological advancements, no sport does it better than Major League Baseball.

Much of the credit for the sport’s tech savvy approach goes to the vision of commissioner Rob Manfred. The boss of baseball fully grasps just how critical embracing technology is to the long term health of the game.

“I think that the next big question for us, is how we make sure that baseball is passed on to the next generation,” Manfred said, per R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports. “I think that technology issues … are a huge part of that. We’re making very extensive efforts to use technology.”

From the introduction of virtual reality goggles to the rise of the burgeoning MLB Advanced Media empire, these tech initiatives have not only made baseball far more accessible for fans but have also fundamentally changed the landscape of the sport.

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Keys to the Washington Nationals Getting Back on Track to the Playoffs

As the Washington Nationals learned in painful fashion just a season ago, in the bigs, everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

While the neighboring New York Mets rose as the power in the the National League East, a flood of injuries combined with underwhelming play by just about everyone not named Bryce Harper ensured that the Nats would be left out of the October conversation.

After so much went wrong in 2015, Washington will need a lot to go right if the team is going to vault back into the postseason picture in 2016.

It all starts with the reigning MVP, but the Nats will also need a bounce-back season from another emerging star who was also an MVP factor not that long ago and some steady leadership from the new boss in town, Dusty Baker.

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Ranking the Best Latin American Baseball Players

From rising superstar Carlos Correa to established giant Miguel Cabrera, there are no shortage of ultra-talented big leaguers vying for the top spot in the rankings of the best Latin American baseball players.

Before we run down the top 10, let’s first lay out just who exactly qualifies for this list and explain what we mean by “best.”

For the purpose of this exercise, only players who were born in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking nations south of the United States were eligible for inclusion.

When it comes to the best, the idea was to rank the players who will be the most productive and make the most significant impacts in 2016.

In the ranking process, the most important factor was 2015 stats—both traditional and advanced. We also took the given player’s larger body of work into consideration—especially to help distinguish between major leaguers with similar credentials.

As it turns out, Correa was the youngest player to make this list, but he wasn’t the only Houston Astro who earned a spot in the club.

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