A mechanical look at one of the highest-ceiling pitching prospects in baseball.
Robert Stephenson was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round (no. 27 overall) of the 2011 draft. Selected out of a northern California high school, Stephenson was the first prep pitcher to be popped in the first round by Cincy since Homer Bailey was taken with the seventh-overall pick in 2004. Stephenson began the 2012 season in extended spring training and did not make his professional debut until June of that year, but he cruised through rookie ball and spent two months with Dayton of the Midwest League. He returned to Dayton to begin the 2013 season, where Stephenson stepped on the accelerator and quickly rose up through the system.
A look at what the Cardinals could do to stay on top, and what their division rivals could do to catch them.
This is the fourth installment in the One Move series. If you'd like to check out any of the previous editions in this series, you can find them here: AL Central, NL West, AL East.
Chicago Cubs The Move: Trade for David Price
Originally, there was a detailed trade offer above. Upon further review, however, I don’t want this to be about whether the offer was good enough. The Cubs have the pieces to make the move, and while the Rays asking price might be too expensive for it to be a worthwhile move, there seems to be a middle ground that could work for both teams. I’m advising the Cubs to make this trade under the condition that it would fall in that middle ground. This means no, it will not consist of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Albert Almora. It also means that, no, it will not consist of Christian Villanueva, Kyle Hendricks, and Mike Olt. Instead, imagine a scenario that makes it hard for either team to pull the trigger immediately but in the end makes both organizations better.
The Reds second baseman is on the big-league trade block, and a deal out of Cincinnati is likely to be bad news for his fantasy value.
“Next year” is a common refrain these days, especially amongst fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers, though in reality, they’re just now joining the vast majority of fans in looking forward instead of at the here and now. There’s been plenty of coverage of the playoffs as their happening, recaps and previews dissecting the games and the decisions made therein. There’s even been the odd offseason splash with Jose Dariel Abreu signing with the White Sox, Alexander Guerrero’s expected signing with the Dodgers (third time’s the charm), and the inspiration for today’s article: Brandon Phillips’ placement on the trade block.
While he’s not the biggest name on said block (David Price), he might be the most likely to be moved given that it won’t require a king’s ransom in prospects to acquire him and the Reds may even be willing to eat some of the contract. The issue of course is what any team acquiring Brandon Phillips would actually be receiving. It’s likely at this point you’ve read about his overall decline in offense these past two seasons. It’s also likely that you know he’s a plus with the glove and that he’s what Vin Scully would call a “big butter and egg man” (he drives runners in). One of the pleasures I get in writing for BP is that it’s also likely that you (this specific audience) also know that RBI is a context-dependent statistic and that Phillips’ high totals in that category are inflated because he gets to hit behind two of the better on-base men in the business: Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.
Want to stick as a 21st-century skipper? Don't be like Baker.
Dusty Baker was fired on Friday, and few Twitter tears were shed. When a manager who’s perceived to be anti-analysis gets the axe, sabermetricians celebrate. It's about time, we think. All those bunts by position players, all those illogical lineups, all those refusals to bring in the closer with a tie game on the road. We said they didn’t make sense, and someone finally listened. Maybe Bob Castellini reads blogs! Ding-dong, the Dusty era is dead. We did it!
Well…no, probably not. Most managerial hirings and firings aren’t referendums on the industry’s acceptance of sabermetrics, or the result of what anyone on the internet says. Sure, Baker was known as one of the game’s most first- and second-guessable tactical managers, and sure, he’s now out of a job. Correlation, causation, etc. Maybe Baker was let go because the Reds felt his in-game decisions and reluctance to look at certain stats were costing them wins, but it’s not the only (or even the most likely) explanation.
The Pirates throw a left-handed sinkerballer against a lineup ill-suited for left-handers and sinkerballers; the Reds will try to ride their OBP stars to give Johnny Cueto a shot at postseason redemption.
With a weekend sweep in Cincinnati, the Pirates laid claim to home field advantage in Tuesday's NL Wild Card game, guaranteeing that playoff-starved Pittsburgh fans will see postseason baseball at PNC Park. In our comprehensive Wild Card preview, we'll do our best to divine whether the Pirates' surprise season will survive another rematch with the Reds. (Note: Neither team's Wild Card roster is set, so we'll update the article when the names are officially announced.)
Todd Helton plays his last home game, Billy Hamilton gets caught stealing, the A's are on a losing streak, and more.
The Wednesday Takeaway Todd Helton’s final appearance at Coors Field began ominously. The visiting Red Sox posted a three-spot in the top of the first, threatening to blow the Rockies away. Eventually, they would—but not before the 40-year-old first baseman had his say.