This weekend saw Trevor Bauer make his Triple-A debut, Dylan Bundy doing it again (with "it" being almost indescribable) and Tim Alderson regaining prospect status.
Tim Alderson, RHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Alderson was once a hot commodity. A first-round pick by the Giants in 2007, the six-foot-six right-hander burst onto the prospect scene by putting up a 2.79 ERA in the California League as a 19-year-old thanks to average velocity and fantastic command, but the velocity began to slip, and his career seemed to go downhill after a trade to the Pirates for Freddy Sanchez. After a six-plus ERA in 2010 and a move to the bullpen last year, he was all but off the radar. Except a funny thing happened this year, as Alderson changed his approach and took up an arm conditioning program that included long-tossing, and this spring his 85-88 mph suddenly jumped to 90-92. After dominating out of the Altoona pen, he moved to the rotation this month, and on Sunday he fired seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits and touching 93; at just 23, and after a Sunday promotion to Triple-A, he's suddenly a prospect again as a potential back-end rotation piece.
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Reviewing the best and worst first-half position players on each team.
In the numerical sense, the halfway point of the season arrived about a week ago. However, the All-Star break marks the arbitrary end point of the first half, bringing a few days of festivities and vacations to the forefront. That period of inactivity in games that matter offers a window into the frozen stats for each team, allowing us to see who is leading the charge and who is failing the team so far.
In order to determine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, I’ll enlist the aid of the Wins Above Replacement metric. Next time, we’ll cover the pitchers, but for today, it’s all about the position players.
It's a series that will feature superb pitching staffs, and one team will come away with a long-awaited title.
In baseball as in literature, archetypes tend to be formulaic, proof that fiction falls short of reality when it comes to the power to describe any one thing in shorthand. The need, indeed one of the great benefits of the human mind is to identify patterns, and to peg things that fall within those patterns, or to re-evaluate the pattern as a whole to create some new rubric, some new way of explaining things. Take our current post-season slate: instead of a much-anticipated rematch between the Evil Empire and the Phillies' a-bornin' senior-circuit dynasty, last week we got the pleasure of witnessing imperial ambitions utterly overthrown in both leagues.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
One expert's educated guesstimate on how things will go down later today.
This one could be a mess folks, and it's all about bonus demands at this point. Right now, you have as many as four high school pitchers-Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, and Shelby Miller-looking for big, big money, with the first three all telling teams they're looking for Rick Porcello-level deals (or more). This has the potential to blow the first round wide open, and turn it into into a very college-oriented first 30 picks, with numerous top talents falling to later picks than initially expected. One team picking in the top ten I spoke to this morning said he still had very little idea of who was going to be picked ahead of his club's choice.
A slumping Cubs squad squares off against a Pirates team already planted in place in sweet home Chicago.
Thanks to the vague benefits of interleague play, the Cubs came back to Chicago having endured a brief, ugly road trip to St. Louis and San Diego before jetting back to the Windy City to face a Pirates team that had been knocking around town over the weekend. In the course of losing two of three games on the South Side, the Bucs' offense had been shut out by Gavin Floyd and Clayton Richard, scratched out a run against Mark Buehrle, and barely slipped in a win to avoid the sweep with a ninth-inning rally off of Bobby Jenks on Sunday.
The Cubs had endured the even more humiliating indignity of six straight losses during their journey, in no small part because the offense managed five runs in total, a slump so complete it earned Kosuke Fukudome a mini-benching. When Ryan Freel is labeled a godsend, you know things aren't merely ugly, they're so coyote ugly that, where the offense is concerned, you're boxing helena. Things have become so desperate that consideration's been given to whether putting Alfonso Soriano back at second base might help punch things up on an otherwise punch-drunk ballclub. As such fancies go, I would suggest a trip to all of the brave talk about putting Soriano in center back when he signed. Thinking back on that, I suppose November's a time for dreaming, what with Christmas still in the future; in contrast, late May is when you're supposed to be settling in with what you have, not pretending that your left fielder's a transformer because you don't like what you've got now that he's long since out of the wrapper.