A successful pitching coach in the Giants organization talks about coaching, catching, and the prospects he's working with.
The San Francisco Giants possess some of the best young pitching in the game, both at the big-league level and down on the farm, and one of the reasons has been the work of Ross Grimsley. Now in his eleventh season in the organization, Grimsley has helped to develop a multitude of young hurlers since joining the coaching ranks a quarter-century ago, most recently receiving plaudits for his influence on one of the top pitching prospects in the game, Madison Bumgarner. A crafty left-hander during his playing days, Grimsley logged 124 wins over 11 big-league seasons, including 18 with the Orioles in 1974, and 20 with the Expos in 1978. Currently the pitching coach at Double-A Connecticut, Grimsley talked about his time in the game, both on the mound and as a teacher.
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Responding to a reader's concern about lineups that lean heavily to the left and whether they help or hurt a team.
It's reader request week here at YCLIU. Thanks to subscriber Shaun, we'll start with the Phillies, but we'll end up traveling all around time and space. Earlier this week, Shaun wrote in to observe this:
Each team's got a list and is checking it twice, but not everybody gets everything they want this time of year.
As has been well-documented, the free-agent market has been extremely slow to develop; to date only 11 of the 171 players who filed for free agency have signed contracts. There is no word yet if Donald Fehr has asked Congress for a bailout.
Opening the Hot Stove League with a team-by-team look at wants and needs, plus news from around the big leagues.
Baseball is officially into the offseason now that the Phillies sit atop the sport after beating the Rays in a five-game World Series this past week, but everyone knows that there is really no such thing as an offseason. The champagne had barely begun to dry on the carpet in the Phillies' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park following their 4-3 win in Game Five when the first trade of the winter was consummated with the Marlins shipping first baseman Mike Jacobs to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez.
Don't stop believing in the AL Central, the Orioles' annual late-season wing-clipping, and instant replay on the job.
White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen was chatting with a group of reporters this past week, when the talk turned to analyzing the remaining schedules of the two contenders in the American League Central. Some felt that the Sox had the easier path to winning their first division title since 2005, a season in which they also won their first World Series since 1917. Others believed that the Twins had the clearer path to a second AL Central crown in three years.
Team USA is dealt in, the Yankees begin hoarding chips, and the White Sox hold.
The idea of sending a baseball Dream Team to the Olympics has been dead a while now. Major League Baseball would never consider shutting down its season for two weeks to send an All-Star team to an Olympiad, and furthermore, baseball will be discontinued as an Olympic sport after next month's games in Beijing. The opening ceremonies are August 8, and the baseball competition will be held from August 13-23. Thus, baseball will be taking a back seat to a lot of other sports in the Olympics. You have to search to find the games on television, and strain even further to find much coverage online or in print.
A conversation with the Indians prospect about becoming a southpaw early on, working on his craft, and differences between the major and minor leagues.
Not much has gone right for the Indians in 2008, but one bright spot on the year has been the pitching of Aaron Laffey. For two months, the 23-year-old left-hander was one of the most effective starters on the Cleveland staff since he was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo after Jake Westbrook went on the disabled list in late April. The native of Cumberland, Maryland has a 4.23 ERA in 16 starts, although his record stands at only 5-7 thanks to poor run support; he has allowed three earned runs or fewer seven times without earning a win. Laffey talked about his approach to pitching prior to a game at Progressive Field in late June.
With the trade deadline looming, which teams will make waves, and which will continue to flounder and drift?
Now that the All-Star Game is history and will go down as one of the more interesting Midsummer Classics in recent years, it's on to the non-waiver trading deadline as the game's next big event. Major league clubs have until 4 p.m. on July 31-just two weeks from today-to make trades without having to first secure waivers on players. While deals are often made after the deadline, they can be blocked by any club willing to claim a player.
Setting aside the teams doing the picking, who are the players who rate best in terms of talent and projection?
To be as clear as possible, this is not a prediction of how the players will be selected or any type of mock draft--you'll see that tomorrow. Instead, this is a ranking of talent in a similar vein of my off-season team-by-team rankings, based on the combination of ultimate ceiling and the chances to reach it.
The short list of lefty no-hitters in Red Sox history serves a reminder that talent trumps environment.
As Will Carroll wrote last night in Unfiltered, sometimes a no-hitter is more than a no-hitter. Jon Lester's thorough blanking of the Kansas City Royals on Monday night certainly qualifies as such. No-hitters have achieved often enough by pitchers both distinguished and less so that it's safe to say that these events, as wonderful as they are, are governed by pure chance. Unless you're Ron Necciai pitching a 27-strikeout no-hitter (in the Appalachian League, alas), the pitcher is subject to the same laws on balls in play that affect every other ballgame: if the ball is hit near where someone happens to be standing, it's an out, and the pitcher looks brilliant. If it's hit three feet behind the pitcher's mound and the batter has some speed, bye-bye history.