The Cardinals look for bullpen help from their top starting pitcher prospect.
The Situation: With the worst bullpen in the major leagues as measured by ERA, the Cardinals are in desperate need for relief help. Just as they turned to right-hander Trevor Rosenthal down the stretch and in the playoffs last year, the Cardinals will again turn to a young, hard-throwing right-hander in Carlos Martinez.
Background: Previously known as Carlos Matias, Martinez failed a background inspection and was suspended for a year by Major League Baseball rather than being allowed to sign with the Red Sox in in 2009. After the suspension was up, the Cardinals gave him a massive payday, ponying up a $1.5 million signing bonus. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League in 2010, Martinez started 12 games en route to posting a miniscule 0.76 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 59 innings.
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St. Louis might not have Pujols, but they do have some prospects whose worst case scenarios are still pretty good.
Prospect #1: OF Oscar Taveras Background with Player: Industry sources Who: Signed for a low six-figure bonus in 2008, Oscar Taveras has blossomed into one of the minors' purest hitters, with offensive projections that could make him a perennial All-Star at the major-league level. With a violent, torque-heavy swing and an aggressive approach, the early word on Taveras was that the same characteristics that allowed him to hit .386 in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League would ultimately be his downfall against superior pitching, the kind that can use sequence and location to disrupt a hitter’s bat speed.
As it turns out, Taveras’s brand of violence is calculated, as he wields his weapon with a controlled fury; to the eye, his swing looks haphazard and aggressive to a fault, but his elite hand quickness and strength allow him to command his swing with more touch than is realized. He can barrel balls to all fields from all hands and has improved his pitch recognition skills, leaving him with an offensive skill set that has few weaknesses. The hit tool receives sevens and eights in reports, and some scouts have even put sevens on his future power, a tool that will continue to mature. His defensive game isn’t nearly as remarkable, but his routes and angles continue to improve, and he has logged time at all three outfield spots, which gives him some positional versatility. Taveras’s offensive potential is the truth, and if he hits his projections he will be a superstar. He isn’t a finished product, but his time in the minors is nearing its conclusion, as the 19-year-old Dominican is more than holding his own in Double-A and should compete for a job in the majors at some point in 2013.
The tater trots for September 7: Victor Martinez outpaces everyone, an interesting landing spot for Will Venable.
A few big home runs, a few ridiculously slow trots, and a few other memorable home runs (including a first-career home run and a pitcher home run) made Wednesday night a much more interesting night than it had any right to be.
A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.
The number of teams that could use an assist on their pitching staffs includes an unusual suspect.
For the seven of you who didn't get this news from Will Carroll yesterday, I've created a Twitter feed, @joe_sheehan. I have no real idea yet of how I'm going to use it, and in fact, I didn't expect to have this many "followers" so soon. Given all the time I'm spending at the park this year, I may send out messages from there. Or I might comment on games from home, or on something I read. Heck, I might just tell you where I stand in a Borgata Summer Open event. It's all new to me. For those of you who have asked... no, this doesn't mean I'm bending and getting a Facebook page. You can't make me.
Dan starts to bring it all home in his look at baserunning, as he tallies up each of his metrics and shows us the best and worst runners from 2000-2005.
So we've finally reached a turning point in our series on quantifying baserunning. Since mid-July we've developed a methodology and framework for crediting baserunners for advancing on ground outs (Equivalent Ground Advancement Runs, or EqGAR), advancing on outs in the air (Equivalent Air Advancement Runs, or EqAAR), and attempted stolen bases as well as pick offs (Equivalent Stolen Base Runs, or EqSBR). This week we'll look at total picture and evaluate which players got the most and least from their legs over the past six years.
A Pedro-Dontrelle matchup makes for a bonus edition of the Game of the Week.
For the Mets, the season has turned into an exercise in avoiding complacency and injury. While a 13 game division lead in early August does not guarantee a playoff spot, it's pretty darned close. The Postseason Odds Report has the Metropolitans with a 99.49% chance of winning the division, 99.83% of making the playoffs. So the Mets are trying to avoid any more bad cab rides, at least until October.
Each author's ballot may be found later in the article. Here, we neatly summarize the results. In each division standings table you'll find the average rank of the team, plus the standard deviation. The lower the standard deviation, the more in agreement the authors were about that team's place in the division standings. In our AL column, the Royals had a standard deviation of 0, meaning that all authors agreed they would finish last. And if it weren't for the rebellious, anti-establishment ways of one Keith Woolner, the Cardinals would notch a standard deviation of 0 on the other end of the standings.