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Philip Humber: Where Does White Sox’s Perfect Game Rank All-Time?

White Sox pitcher Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history on Saturday afternoon, dominating the Seattle Mariners for nine innings without allowing a single baserunner. 

Few clubs in baseball are as exclusive as the perfect game club; with just 21 (22, if you include Armando Galarraga’s botched no hitter in 2009) members, it remains one of the premier pitching achievements of all time. 

But just how perfect was Humber’s gem? Where does it rank in the club? Let’s take a look at every perfecto thrown in the modern era and figure out just where the 29-year-old righty’s falls on the list. 

So grab your rosin bag and practice shaking off the catcher, and let’s get started, shall we? 

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Milwaukee Brewers: Will Brewers’ Improved Pitching Translate to Postseason Run?

Milwaukee Brewers Enter 2011 With Improved Rotation, But Is It Enough To Get Them Into the Playoffs?

The Milwaukee Brewers have had one of the most potent lineups in baseball over the last five seasons. Led by outfielder Ryan Braun and first baseman Prince Fielder, the Brew Crew have bashed and blasted many of the league’s top rotations into submission. 

However, there’s a reason why they have just one postseason berth in that span: pitching. The Brewers have never been able to find the right balance of hitting prowess and fireballing pitchers to make a consistent push to October. 

In 2011, the Brewers may have rectified that situation, grabbing Royals’ ace Zack Greinke and Blue Jays righty Shaun Marcum. But, will it be enough to take home the coveted postseason berth this fan base craves?

The offense will still score runs, behind boppers Braun, Fielder, Corey Hart, Casey McGehee, and even second baseman Rickie Weeks. They don’t always hit for average, but they’ve got good speed on the basepaths when they do get on base. 

The rotation has improved, although they do have issues. Greinke could be out until the end of April with a cracked rib, and without him, the Brewers lack a reliable fifth starter to complement Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson. With him slotted in behind Gallardo, it’s tough to find a real flaw in the Brewers’ rotation, although Narveson could do with a lower ERA. 

The real issues come from the bullpen, which is still as much of a black hole as ever. Other than closer John Axford, this team has nothing resembling a reliable bullpen arm, meaning that while their starters can keep them in games when their bats aren’t blasting, the bullpen could take them right back out of those games. 

In the end, I think the bullpen will be the biggest issue the Brewers will have to overcome. If they can piece together some semblance of a ‘pen, they could win the division. If they don’t, things could get interesting really fast in Milwaukee. 

Prediction: Milwaukee’s starters and offense are more than enough to keep them in the thick of the Wild Card race this season. Their bullpen ensures they probably won’t contend with the Reds at the top of the NL Central, but expect the Brew Crew to make a return trip to the playoffs this season as the Wild Card. 

For more baseball news, check out 2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Veterans and Rookies You Might Have Forgotten

2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Why Aaron Hill Is a Great Value Pick

2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers Include Blue Jays Slugging Second Baseman

Coming into the 2010 season, few second basemen were as highly regarded in fantasy circles as Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill, and with good reason. He was fresh off a breakout campaign in which he hit .286 with 36 home runs and 108 RBI, as well as scoring an impressive 103 runs. 

However, things quickly hit the skids for Hill last season, as his batting average was barely above the Mendoza line, and his runs scored and on-base percentage were both at career low levels. He still hit 26 home runs, but the .205 average forced many a wary owner to cut Hill loose, and he enters 2011 as a mid-draft pickup in most leagues, if not later than that. 

So, what do we make of Hill’s sudden inability to get on base? Was it just an outlier season, an exception to the rule, or the start of something much more frightening for owners? 

Given Hill’s anemic batting average on balls in play last season, which was just .196, there are indicators that perhaps he was the victim of the worst luck baseball had seen last year. He was finding a lot of gloves, and because of that, his average bottomed out. 

Will Hill hit .300? No; even in his breakout campaign of 2009, Hill hit .286, and he’s never hit .300 in the big leagues. 

But, given his terrible BABIP and the fact that there was nothing really wrong with the second baseman’s swing, you can bet he’ll deliver another fantastic season in 2011, and with second base so thin this year, he’s well worth the risk. 

Expect an average in the .280 range and between 25 and 30 home runs from Hill, as he bounces back from what was a miserable campaign. 

For more baseball news, check out MLB Predictions 2011: Division Winners and Breakout Stars to Watch

2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Veterans and Rookies You Might Have Forgotten

We’re barely 24 hours away from the start of the 2011 fantasy baseball season, and that means it’s time to take a look at some potential sleepers!

A sleeper is a player picked well beneath where his level of potential production dictates he should be taken. It doesn’t mean just late-round players who could result in high production, but guys who have slipped beyond where they should in most drafts. 

We’re giving you some of the players who could easily wind up being forgotten, overlooked, or undervalued by your league, the players whose production could easily outdo their meager draft position. 

From rookies like Pedro Alvarez or J.P. Arencibia to veterans like Scott Baker or Aaron Hill, these are the low-risk, high-reward players who could mean the difference between a league championship and a finish in the middle of the pack. 

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MLB Predictions 2011: Who’s Playing Opening Day? Who Wins in October?

It’s time to make some 2011 MLB predictions!

As Opening Day inches slowly closer (just six days away now!), and teams get their rosters more set to go, the attention of many fans shifts to their teams’ lineups and hopes for the coming season. 

Who will make a run to the postseason? Who will overachieve, and who will disappoint? 

To help answer those questions, we’re breaking down the Opening Day rosters of every Major League club, as well as providing some insight into teams’ hopes for the coming season. 

So, grab your stirrups and fill out your lineup cards, and let’s get rolling, shall we? 

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Albert Pujols: 10 Reasons ‘The Machine’ Is in for a Monster Season in St. Louis

Albert Pujols is set to become a free agent after the 2011 season, as the St. Louis Cardinals’ sweet-swinging first baseman’s self-imposed contract deadline came and went. No new contract was signed. 

Without a new deal, our focus shifts to Pujol’s production in the coming season. 

Given the unprecedented contract situation, and a dip in Pujols’ batting average, there are those who wonder if the megastar can put together another spectacular season in 2011. 

However, those arguments don’t really hold much water. For instance, why would Pujols stop performing just because of his contract? 

Need proof? Here are 10 reasons why you can bet that Albert Pujols about to deliver another season for the ages. 

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Albert Pujols: 10 Reasons He’ll Be Staying With the St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols, the best hitter in all of baseball, the man no one thought would reach free agency, appears to be headed in that direction barring “a miracle,” according to sources in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

The sweet-swinging first baseman appears set to become a free agent at the end of the 2011 season, as his contract negotiating deadline is set to pass at noon Wednesday.

But don’t think that Pujols’ presence on the open market means that he’s headed out of St. Louis. In fact, most baseball people still think that the slugger isn’t going anywhere.

For further proof that Pujols is staying put, we’re bringing you 10 reasons why you’ll be seeing him in a Cardinals uniform this season.

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MLB Power Rankings: Breaking Down Baseball’s Top 100 Prospects

MLB power rankings have been popping up across the baseball landscape in recent weeks, as the day pitchers and catchers report to their respective spring training camps creeps slowly closer. 

Spring training isn’t just about seeing baseball’s established stars get ready for the season; it’s also about getting to see some of your favorite team’s best young talent fighting to prove they’re ready for a shot with the big club, rather than stagnating in the minors. 

But with so many minor leaguers and upcoming rookies, how can you know who to follow? 

Look no further than our list of baseball’s top 100 prospects. These are the guys who would qualify for the Rookie of the Year award in their division—which means they’ve had fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues. 

You won’t see Washington Nationals sensation Stephen Strasburg, Cleveland Indians stud catcher Carlos Santana, or several other big-name youngsters on this list because of that, but you will see some of the best talent Major League Baseball’s farm system has to offer.

Some of them are close to the big leagues, but may not be top-tier talents, while others are still at least a couple of years from the bigs but have incredibly high ceilings. 

Without further ado—let’s get to it, shall we? 

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MLB Rumors: Ranking the Winners and Losers of the 2010 Winter Meetings

There are MLB rumors swirling all around as the winter meetings draw to a close. Teams are taking stock of where they stand, what they need to do and what they actually can do in the months ahead.

While there are plenty of big name players still to be signed (there’s this Lee guy many of you may have heard of), there was a flurry of activity during baseball’s winter meetings. With the dust settled, who improved their chances in 2011?

We’re bringing you the 10 winners and 10 losers from the 2010 winter meetings.

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Carl Crawford: Race Still Wide Open, Yanks Make Bid For Speedster

Carl Crawford might be the most talented free agent outfielder out there, which can only mean one thing: the Yankees are out to get him. 

As has been the case on a regular basis over the years, the Yankees reportedly entered the Crawford sweepstakes by meeting with the speedy outfielder’s agents, although they haven’t put forth an offer yet. 

Crawford’s speed on the basepaths is renowned, as is his hitting acumen. He’s a career .296 hitter, with 409 stolen bases to his credit. The 29 year old outfielder is also still in the midst of his prime, and hit .307 with 19 home runs, 90 RBI and 110 runs last year. 

The Yankees aren’t alone in what is perceived as the most wide open free agent race of the season, as the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox also have their eyes on Crawford. The Angels, in particular have made Crawford a top priority this offseason, and have every intention of trying to sign him.

For more free agent news, check out Cliff Lee: Is Any Pitcher Really Worth a Six-Year, $140 Million Contract? 

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