Jon Denney heads a deep class of prep-school catchers in a draft for which the collegiate crop is thin.
The catching crop is deep at the prep ranks and light among the collegians this spring. Below is a look at some of the top names to know for the June draft, beginning with the cream of the catching crop.
Cream of the Crop
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A recap of the first half's best, worst, and most exciting games.
Today is the stupidest day of the year (and you’re not far behind, tomorrow, so stop looking so smug). The Wednesday after the All-Star Game is the one day on the calendar without any major sports, which makes it extremely stupid. I’m more concerned with the utter lack of baseball games (save your Triple-A All-Star Game, people), and this year is even worse as the break has been extended through Thursday.
I am torn on this change. Usually there are six or seven games on Thursday, which is entirely unfair to the teams who have to play while others get another day of rest. Selfishly, I was always glad to see baseball return, but how was that not an all-or-nothing day? They landed on the side of nothing, so we’re stuck with two baseball-free days. This is like giving Jesse Pinkman a wheelbarrow full of meth for nearly three months and then none for two days. This isn’t going down from wheelbarrow to radio flyer red wagon to a bucket full to a handful; it’s going from wheelbarrow to zero.
Losing Manny Ramirez for a quarter of the season isn't automatically a death knell. Pedro Martinez has just one good start against a good opponent this year, but that's the scheduler's fault. I'm hardly off the hook for advancing the claim that he won't make it to ten starts, and if losing Martinez was one of my major theories about what would lay hope low in Beantown, losing Ramirez for a month and a half might make you think I'd peg this as the beginning of the end.
Placed OF-R Manny Ramirez on the 15-day DL (fractured finger); purchased the contract of UT-B Bry Nelson from Pawtucket. [5/14]
Rewinding the tape to the results of last year's Opening Day reveals equal parts prophecy and unintentional humor.
Nothing says Opening Day quite like a forecast for 40-degree drizzle, but that's what most of us who aren't smart enough to be Padres fans can look forward to as we head to the park (or the office*) today. (The same goes for a few other scattered souls—like Massachusetts native Marc Normandin—who are smart enough to root for the Padres but not smart enough to live within 3000 miles of San Diego.) Even though Opening Day bunting doesn't inspire the same emotions when viewed through a curtain of freezing rain, a new season's arrival is something to celebrate no matter what the weather (which could always be worse).
We know that today's events have little bearing on the rest of the season. Still, after been deprived of meaningful baseball for so long, it's only natural to be tempted to ascribe undue importance to every early outcome, treating each first game as a microcosm of the upcoming season for the teams and players involved. To help us resist that forward-looking impulse, let's look back at last year's Opening Day activities with an eye toward whether they could have told us anything about what lay in store. In hindsight, Opening Day results can appear either strangely prophetic or unintentionally humorous. Let's look back at the events of April 5th, 2010—the first day on the 2010 schedule with something approaching a full slate of games—and retroactively assess some observations that could have been made at the time, alternating between the spot-on and the off-base.
With the Fall Classic now upon us, the staff at Baseball Prospectus shares their most memorable World Series moments.
Every baseball fan has a special World Series memory, whether it's Willie Mays' catch, Bill Mazeroski's home run, Brooks Robinson's defense, Kirk Gibson's limp around the bases, or Derek Jeter becoming the first-ever Mr. November. With the World Series opening tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco with the Giants facing the Texas Rangers, many of our writers, editors, and interns share their favorite memories of the Fall Classic.
Taking an in-depth look at a two-inning stint by Francisco Rodriguez in order to understand why he threw certain pitches.
What follows is a story of a pitcher who lost command of his fastball, and a hitter who approached him as if he could throw it to a teacup. The Mets were clinging to a 3-1 lead over the Giants on July 18 as their game entered the late innings at AT&T Park. After another eight-frame master class from Johan Santana, Mets manager Jerry Manuel called on Francisco Rodriguez to lock down a victory. It was a game the Mets desperately needed; they opened the second half of the season by scoring just four runs in their first three games, and if the week following this game is any indication, they aren’t good enough to waste Santana’s brilliance and still make a run at the postseason.
Now that we’ve set the scene, let’s think along with its principal players, and observe how Rodriguez and his opponents adapt—or fail to adapt—to the Mets closer’s uncharacteristic lack of a reliable fastball. We’ll follow K-Rod’s two innings in hopes of learning a thing or two about the mysterious art of pitch sequencing, and see how the information Rodriguez sends with each pitch of this outing may be more predictive of what he’ll throw next than simply relying on his overall tendencies.
Lima Time as a standard for evaluation, reinforcing the Red Sox, the Tigers slip by an Inge, and more.
Using a pitcher's rate of SNLVAR, Kazmir's season has been a disaster of massive proportions, one that rates about 4.8 on the Keough scale, something that for the moment suits my purposes for describing starting pitcher inadequacy, using Matt Keough's appalling 1982 season as a baseline for starting pitcher-related terrors visited upon a team's unhappy fans over a full season. This isn't really especially fair of me, in that Keough doesn't hold the single-season low for a starter with 30 starts in a campaign, but 1982 was a horrifying disappointment, and the man was beaten with a regularity that made me think that he was the drum, and the entire American League was Keith Moon.