Some teams that could be buyers could have a harder time landing certain targets because of problems on the farm.
I was talking to a front office executive last week who was lamenting the disappointing season of a certain highly regarded prospect in the system. He's the kind of prospect who could have helped his team put together an attractive trade package, but not anymore. It's important to keep in mind that prospects serve two purposes for an organization. The first, obviously, is to produce at the big-league level for the parent team. The second, and equally important purpose at this time of year is to acquire big-league talent for a playoff run. With that in mind, here are some players whom their parent clubs wish were in a different place as they try to get deals done.
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Brian McCann's hot streak has the Braves on a roll heading into the break
The Weekend Takeaway
On Thursday, Ben Lindberghpicked three players to rise and three to fall during the second half of the schedule, based on BABIPs, past performances, and expectations. One of his three risers was Brian McCann—and, right on cue, the Braves catcher has hit a home run in each of the team’s last four games.
Thanks in part to McCann’s efforts, the Braves enter this week on a four-game winning streak with things looking up for the second half. Fredi Gonzalez’s team is 46-39 at the break, four games behind the division-leading Nationals, and currently penciled in as the second Wild Card. That puts the Braves on an 88-win pace, but a hot summer from McCann would help them exceed it.
What do the Nationals, Braves, and Mets need heading into the deadline, and where might they find it?
With a little less than a month to go until the non-waiver trading deadline, talks between teams are heating up. In a seven-part series, several BP authors will be covering the needs, potential fits, and more for the contenders in each division, as well as a rundown of the top 10 player trade targets. Today, we take a look at the NL East.
A look at how the Nationals are trying to get more out of their television deal
To get to the heart of this messy matter, one needs to start at the beginning. The creation of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) was the direct effect of negotiations between MLB and Orioles owner Peter Angelos to allow the relocation of the Montreal Expos to the Washington, D.C. market. Angelos was vehemently opposed to the move, saying that while the location proposed in the Nation’s capital would not infringe on baseball’s physical territory outlined in the MLB Constitution (see page 15), it would carve a hole in the Orioles’ television territory and take a massive dent out of TV revenues. The compromise was the creation of MASN. The Orioles initially controlled 90 percent equity in the regional sports network, while over a 23-year period the Nationals’ equity would grow to just 33 percent. Currently, the Nationals have a 13 percent equity stake. In terms of that being an equitable arrangement, the question becomes, “Do you give that much control of MASN to the Orioles or not allow the Expos to relocate to Washington, D.C.?” The answer was more or less, “We’ll choke on the equity stake, just let us (the Expos) into Washington, D.C. and let us become the Nationals.”
Into this mix has been the skyrocketing increase in television rights fees that began with the Texas Rangers’ $3 billion, 20-year deal that was mirrored by the Angels and has since set the market. The Padres—who, based on Nielsen, are the 28th largest Designated Market Area (1,077,600 television homes)—are on the verge of completing a deal with FOX Sports San Diego in which the club will receive a 20-year television deal that could top out at as much as $1.2 billion and has $200 million in up-front equity. Such a rights deal would pull in $50 million annually.
The Yankees' double switch on Saturday leads to a dumbshow in the outfield.
In the eighth inning of Saturday's Yankees-Nationals game, Joe Girardi attempted to double switch. The goal was to replace pitcher Cory Wade with Boone Logan, shift DeWayne Wise from left to right field, and bench Andruw Jones in favor of Jayson Nix. But the Yankees, being an AL team, don't double switch often. All hell broke loose.
Max examines all the factors that influence pitch velocity, lays out his simple and complex approaches to making PITCHf/x information more accurate, and determines how hard the Nationals are really throwing.
Cooling off the radar guns No more calling Strasburg's 91 mph pitch a 'changeup'. It's disheartening to like 98% of the rest of us for whom 91 is a 'fastball'.—@BMcCarthy32
Bryce Harper has already impressed with his play, but on Sunday, he made a similarly strong statement about his much-maligned makeup.
We thought we knew Bryce Harper pretty well even before he arrived in the big leagues. We saw him on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was 16. We watched him dominate against older amateur competition, get drafted first overall, and hold his own against professional players several years his senior. Presented with Harper’s on-field exploits and the testimony of talent evaluators, we never questioned his skills, except to wonder whether he was merely great or the most promising prospect ever.
Our only serious questions concerned his makeup, and Baseball Prospectus was the source of some of the most concerning quotes. Two years ago, Kevin Goldsteinwrote, “It’s impossible to find any talent evaluator who isn’t blown away by Harper’s ability on the field, but it’s equally difficult to find one who doesn’t genuinely dislike the kid.” Kevin repeated a scout’s assessment that Harper had “top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents.” He quoted one front-office official who said, “He’s just a bad, bad guy. He’s basically the anti-Joe Mauer.”
The Nationals have garnered headlines for their managerial situation lately, but the team deserves consideration as well.
Last week, we discussed the intriguing downfall of the Florida Marlins, but an equally intriguing upswing occurring this season is the rise of the Washington Nationals. Thanks to a stretch of 12 wins in 14 games and a 17-7 June record, they ascended from being declared playoff-dead a few weeks ago to a third-place standing in the National League East. The Nationals have not necessarily beaten the best competition during this time period; their recent hot streak has come at the expense of three of the worst teams in baseball in the San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners. Still, the story of a team that has occupied the cellar of the NL East in all but one season since its relocation succeeding at reaching a standard of decency not seen from the franchise since 2005 has had some odd twists and turns along the way.
The Nationals have come a long way since, well, being the Natinals and an NL laughingstock. Just two seasons ago, the team was coming off a second consecutive 100-plus loss season, but things were on the rise in Washington. Two consecutive first overall draft picks yielded two of the most-heralded prospects in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, and those two were supposed to join forces with Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, and the rest of the roster to form a strong contender in 2013 or 2014. However, the core the Nationals currently have assembled is doing a decent job of carrying the team right now. The club currently has four players with over 2.0 WARP on the season, a claim only nine other teams can make as of Saturday evening. When stacking those players against the rest of the NL East, the Nationals rank appropriately.
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
In the Nationals' and Orioles' battle for the local fan base, the team that blinks first may stand to gain the most.
This past month, I moved back up I-95 from Washington to Philadelphia, where I’d spent all but the previous eighteen months of my life. There has been only one major-league franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since the Athletics forsook Philly in 1955, but as I discovered during my sojourn in the District, many baseball fans in the DC area have been torn between the Baltimore Orioles, for whom many of them grew up cheering, and the Washington Nationals, who emigrated from Montreal in 2005. Neither team has been good during their years of geographic coexistence, and the metropolitan area has not seen a playoff game since 1997, but both teams have slowly begun to develop the young talent necessary to compete. Although animosity stemming from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ opposition to a Washington franchise has cost the O’s some fans, many in the DC area have yet to determine their allegiance.