What would happen if several hitters and pitchers of interest faced each other for full seasons?
As we talked about on Monday, Mike Trout has hit Felix Hernandez very well. After his first-inning home run on Opening Day, Trout is now hitting .441/.447/.794 in 38 plate appearances against Hernandez since being called up to the majors for good in April 2012. The question for the day, then, is this: How well should Mike Trout do against Felix Hernandez?
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Jason finds wonderment, enlightenment, and Mayor Raul Mondesi at a showcase in the Dominican.
I’m up early, blurry eyes from the evening’s bottle, wearing thin the flooring as I pace in anticipation of my journey. I’m set to participate in a flight to Santo Domingo, where I will stand on a box to see over the giants of the international industry. I’ve been on my hands since the instructional league, watching baseball through the magic of memories, months of electronic paper pushing and phone dialing that have made my eyes sad and lonely from the disconnect. My baseball lover, I’ve forgotten your scent.
The music for the mood is a heavy-hearted and ethereal attempt at “The Killing Moon” performed by Nouvelle Vague. A cover song I use to cover me in this moment. I’m taken.“So cruelly you kissed me. Your lips a magic world.” My ears are content and I’m in an exit row window seat. The inevitable query arrives and I’m provocative about my ability to aid in the unlikely event of an emergency. As it turns out, nobody finds comfort in the assurance that I will provide hero hands if an unlikely event happens to demand a hero. The steward’s take on my services is spoken in the universal language of disdain. I return to my float.
Teams know their own prospects best, so should it be a red flag if they're willing to trade a top one? History suggests it is so.
Winning baseball teams—at least the ones without exorbitant payrolls—are usually powered by young, cost-controlled talent. And in the land of cost-controlled talent, the top prospect is king. Not only do elite prospects stand a good chance to be stars, but they promise to provide that production—which would cost a fortune to obtain from a free agent—for the league-minimum salary or something close to it.
Since top prospects are such valuable commodities, teams are reluctant to trade them without receiving huge hauls in return, so we rarely see them change organizations before they’ve had a chance to sink or swim in the majors. That’s why it was so strange to see two top prospects—Wil Myers and Trevor Bauer, each of whom either is now or has recently been a top-10 prospect in baseball—on the movethis week.
Pedro's flawless repetition made his unparalleled career possible.
The greatest pitchers of the previous generation were dominant on a historical level, and the peak performance of Pedro Martinez might have been the greatest spectacle that the game has ever witnessed. He may have lacked the longevity of Roger Clemens, the consistency of Greg Maddux, or the biological advantages of Randy Johnson, but Pedro introduced the world to an unrivaled combination of intensity, precision, and power that baffled major-league hitters for over a decade.
Martinez lacked the size of his legendary counterparts, but efficient mechanics and incredible athleticism allowed him to get more out of his sub-six-foot frame than pitchers half a foot taller. His effectiveness was enabled by exceptional command of an explosive array of pitches, and he required ideal efficiency to maximize the impact of his pitching career. One need look no further than Pedro's brother, Ramon Martinez, to conceptualize the difference between raw genetic gifts and athletically-trained ability.
Do pitchers who play in full-season leagues at age 17 or 18 often find success, or is there still no such thing as a pitching prospect?
As part of last week’s Prospects on the Bubble series, we looked at hitters who had played full seasons at advanced Class-A as 17- or 18-year-olds. A number of readers asked about pitchers who have done the same thing, and the results (using a minimum of 100 innings pitched) are significantly less impressive in terms of both quantity and quality.
The former general sits down to talk about guiding a cash-strapped team, trading Pedro Martinez, and how much front offices have changed.
Jim Beattie won't be in Indianapolis for this year's Winter Meetings, but the erstwhile Expos and Orioles General Manager knows what goes on behind closed doors when his former brethren convene to talk trade. It was at the meetings 12 years ago that Beattie, then in charge of a financially-strapped Expos franchise, reluctantly laid the groundwork for trading Pedro Martinez to the Red Sox.
A review of the mound magician's storied career and what he brings to the table tonight.
It is a credit to the quality of the respective careers of Pedro Martinez and Andy Pettitte that tonight's World Series matchup, in a time well past each pitcher's prime, still elicits such excitement and potential. Pettitte has been a great pitcher through much of his career, but his numbers look like those of an amateur next to Pedro, who has been one of the best pitchers to take the mound in baseball's modern era. Much of Pedro's dominance is in the past though, and the two hurlers stand on more equal footing these days-though as Pedro's Game Two start showed us, he's still got a trick or two up his sleeve, even against one of the most talented offenses in the league.
A rundown of the highs and lows of Game Two of the World Series, told by a man sitting in the bleacher seats.
My season came full circle on Thursday night. Back on April 3, I got my first look at the new Yankee Stadium via the park's unofficial opener, a Friday night exhibition against the Cubs for which I was in the right field bleachers. Having spent last fall detailing my mixedemotions regarding the old ballpark's passing, and the winter kvetching about the way me and my crew were being treated, it was with more ambivalence than excitement that I watched that game and beheld the billion-dollar boondoggle. "It feels as though the team put some idealized hybrid of Yankee Stadiums I and II on a steroid regimen, then stuck it in the middle of Times Square," I wrote, "Pure sensory overload-bright flashing lights with sound surrounding you from every angle, and a ginormous scoreboard video dominating the action on the field."
The Game One showdown between star southpaws, and tonight's matchup features a recently phoaled Phillie.
In yesterday's chat, Bronx Banter's Alex Belth asked me, "Is there any particular pitching matchup that you are looking forward to in the series?" I responded that the matchup I was most looking forward to was between CC Sabathia and Ryan Howard, particularly given the prospect of the big man pitching three times for the Yankees in a seven-game series, and the slugger's less-than-sterling reputation against southpaws. "I think that matchup will tell us something about what's going to happen over the next four to seven games," I wrote.
The Phillies' newfound depth in the rotation might give the club another springboard for post-season success.
The Boston Red Sox entered the season with a surplus of starting pitchers under contract, some of whom were considered to be locks in the rotation, with others serving as insurance policies, spot starters, or deadline chits. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Daisuke Matsuzaka were considered locks, and the final two spots were to split up between Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny, Clay Buchholz, John Smoltz, and Justin Masterson. What a difference a few months make. Dice-K has disappointed and attributed issues to training regimens lost in translation. Wakefield landed on the disabled list with back issues after getting his invitation to the All-Star Game. Penny has shown signs of life but is in the midst of a flaky, up-and-down campaign. Smoltz performed poorly enough that the team actually felt it necessary to sign Paul Byrd, and Masterson joined the Tribe as the main attraction in their return on Victor Martinez. Suffice to say, best-laid plans as they pertain to starting pitching depth are in no way guaranteed to come to fruition, and an abundant supply can become scarce almost overnight.
With a tip of the cap to a tip from the beat, an expanded series preview of a key mid-week matchup.
As each of his On the Beat columns draw to their close, John Perrotto highlights a short list of three- or four-game sets worth keeping an eye on. The series are not chosen at random, and tend to boast either compelling storylines or intriguing pitching matchups. In an attempt to be synergistic, I thought it would be fun every now and again to pick a series touted in his column and go to town creating series previews, in essence scouting the series as a whole as opposed to a key player or two. The Phillies and Cubs showdown that will be contested from tonight through Thursday serves as the perfect starting ground, as it features both storylines and intriguing matchups, with the former largely encompassing the latter. In fact, the storylines surrounding the pitching matchups were so topsy-turvy that I wrote this entire piece on Sunday and had to drastically revise it Monday afternoon in light of developments.