The great Detroit rebuild of the 2000s may have been Dave Dombrowski's greatest achievement.
Nine years ago, the Tigers had the best record in baseball, just three years removed from being historically terrible. This is Part One of how this team came together under the guidance of now-departed GM Dave Dombrowski. This article originally ran on August 7, 2006.
There are so many ways to enjoy the game of baseball. If you're like most baseball fans--and certainly if you're like most fans who would frequent a site devoted to baseball analysis like this--there are few things about the game you enjoy more than the intellectual challenge of figuring out how to win. If baseball is a sport designed to appeal to barstool arguments like no other, it is because those arguments, from whether Mickey Mantle was better than Willie Mays to why Billy Beane's, ahhhh... stuff doesn't work in the playoffs, are exercises that really leave us arguing about what really makes a winning team.
The continuing story of how Dave Dombrowski began nearly a decade of winning in Detroit.
Nine years ago, the Tigers had the best record in baseball, just three years removed from being historically terrible. This is Part Two (read Part One first) of how this team came together under the guidance of now-departed GM Dave Dombrowski. This article originally ran on August 8, 2006.
A month after nabbing their franchise shortstop, the Tigers signed a franchise catcher, Ivan Rodriguez. On the surface, this made all kinds of sense; it's not often you get the opportunity to sign a surefire Hall of Famer who just turned 32. On the other hand, catchers age quickly, and Rodriguez caught more games (1564) before his 32nd birthday than anyone other than Johnny Bench, who was finished as a catcher by the time he turned 33 and was finished as a ballplayer when he was 35. While Rodriguez's 4-year, $40 million deal was eminently reasonable, it still represented a gamble in that it was likely the Tigers would never be competitive enough during the life of the contract to make the addition of Rodriguez meaningful.
There's no shortage of excitement about next Sunday's Futures Game in Cincinnati. In the meantime, here's a journey back to the game in 2009. See how many of these names you're very familiar with now. This article originally ran on July 12, 2009.
Having once been involved in the selection process for the Futures Game, I can tell you first-hand that it's not a simple process. Just like the All-Star Game, there are limitations imposed to ensure that each team is represented, and the US vs. World set-up creates additional challenges certain positions. Still, when the game kicks off (ESPN2 on Sunday at 2 pm ET), there will be plenty of top prospects in action, and for so many fans, it also represents the first time to get an actual look at players you've been reading about, at times for years, so here are some things to look out for.
Two of this year's breakout arms were college teammates at UCLA. Here's what their amateur scouting report said.
It's been over four years since Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer pitched out of the same rotation at UCLA. During their junior season, Jason Parks wrote up this report on both of them. This piece originally ran on Mar. 14, 2011.
After catching a few tracking sessions on the back fields of Surprise, I made the trek to Los Angeles to scout UCLA’s Friday and Saturday starters: Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. Scouting elite talent is always fun, and despite being easier than scouting talent that elicits a wide-range of opinion, it never gets old watching professional scouts, cross-checkers, scouting directors, and writers all look giddy after witnessing something special.
The worst team in baseball used to have the best farm system in baseball. Here's how it played out.
The Brewers have the worst record in baseball and appear to be at the bitter end of their contention cycle. Eleven years ago, it started with the best farm system in baseball. This piece originally ran on Feb. 8, 2013.
In three weeks or so, Jason Parks is going to publish his organizational rankings. Rankings like these, prospect writers will remind you, are a snapshot. They capture reality at a particular moment, the publication upon which that reality immediately shifts into something slightly different or significantly different. There’s no permanent truth for prospects.
The reasons not to bring in the all-time home run leader [were] little more than tissue-thin fictions.
If Barry Bonds does pursue a collusion case against MLB teams, as was reported Tuesday, he might want to include the following Joe Sheehan column in evidence. This piece originally ran on Feb. 24, 2008.
Hitting a baseball isn't the most difficult activity in sports—changing a long-standing culture is. For many years, a player was not officially diagnosed with a concussion unless there was a loss of consciousness. That started to change a few decades ago, but the physiological causes and long-term effects of concussions still were not fully understood. Thus, practices among players and non-medical personnel remained static.
Ten years before Arte Moreno's latest P.R. disaster came Arte Moreno's first P.R. disaster. Or was it?
In 2005, when Arte Moreno was still the fresh-faced owner best known for cutting beer prices, Neil deMause wrote about the clunky move to rename the team. The following ran originally on January 5, 2005.
And so it's official. To the legendarily doofy sports names of yore--the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis, the NFL's wartime Phil-Pitt Steagles--we can now add a new contender: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Would Yordano Ventura act this way if he pitched in the NL?
As many a pundit has pointed out this week, Yordano Ventura might not have so much fightin' spirit if he pitched in the NL and knew he had to bat. But does retaliation against pitchers really exist? Two years ago we looked at that question. This piece originally ran on March 15, 2013.
An accepted piece of baseball wisdom that I understood growing up is that a pitcher is less likely to go headhunting if he has to step into the box himself. As J.C. Bradbury and Douglas J. Drinen wrote in the 2007 article “Crime and punishment in Major League Baseball: the case of the designated hitter and hit batters,”
Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell or Javier Baez? We polled front office types and our prospect staff.
A year ago, when Addison Russell was still in High-A in the Oakland A's system, Jason Parks polled front office sources and the BP prospect staff about a simple question: Which elite shortstop prospect would they build their team around? With the call-up of Russell today, it's worth revisiting the responses.
The rise of the superstar shortstop prospect prompts preferential inquiries, as my email inbox, Twitter feed, and chat queues are continually maxed out with questions about Bogaerts, Baez, Correa, Lindor, and Russell, and if forced to choose, which one would I choose? The five chiseled heads on the modern Mount Rushmore of shortstop prospects (six if you go high on Mondesi) present a daily challenge of preference, a subjective exercise of forced selection tied to the realities of the present and the fantasies of the future, a tug-of-war we play with ropes made of tangible data, scouting memories of on-the-field motions, and the conceptual ideas of value and who will be most likely to achieve it.
Why does Willie Bloomquist get to have all the fun? Derek Zumsteg writes in with a handy-dandy guide to becoming an MLB ballplayer, and a fan favorite to boot.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you periodic blasts from BP's past. Derek's advice to aspiring fan-favorites ran as a "Breaking Balls" column in August 2004.
I'm going to risk stamping a giant red expiration date on this column in this introductory paragraph: Paris Hilton has a book deal, and her proposal includes "an abbreviated version of her instructions to anyone on how to become an heiress and live a privileged life." The first is "1. Be born into the right family. Choose your chromosomes wisely."