Ex-pitcher John Farrell looks forward to his first season as the Blue Jays' manager, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.
John Farrell stands as a rare bird in baseball, and it goes beyond the fact that he will be in his first year of managing the Blue Jays next season. Farrell is just the second active manager who spent his playing career a pitcher; he joins the Padres' Bud Black, the 2010 National League Manager of the Year. It is only fitting because Farrell's career path to reach this point has been anything but conventional.
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The voice of the Blue Jays discusses getting into broadcasting and baseball in Toronto.
If you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jerry Howarth needs no introduction. The 64-year-old has been the radio voice of the Blue Jays for three decades—24 of those years paired with the late Tom Cheek—and few broadcasters in the game are more popular, or as respected. A graduate of the University of Santa Clara, Howarth grew up in San Francisco and is now a Canadian citizen and a resident of Toronto.
Rob McQuown adds three outfielders to the Value Picks list for September.
September Scramble: Mike Petriello accurately assessed that Desmond Jennings is unlikely to get playing time. But he's being added as a Value Pick anyway. Why? Loving the obvious answer here, he stole 37 bases in 458 plate appearances in AAA (with just 4 times caught). Combining all his minor-league time, Jennings has pilfered 171 bags in 1831 PA.
Combine Jennings' tremendous speed with the facts that Sean Rodriguez is hitting .257/.309/.405, right fielder Ben Zobrist has started four of his past 6 games at second base, incumbent center fielder B.J. Upton is hitting just .234/.321/.413, Dan Johnson is hitting under .200, Matt Joyce is hitting .222, and it's unclear what Brad Hawpe will do in the AL. Well, what the Rays have is a team that could find a use for a good offensive player... enter Desmond Jennings. Jennings is a great defensive center fielder, but the team has played him in the side fields in preparation of exactly this moment. His rate stats don't wow, with a mediocre Davenport Translation (DT) of .240/.313/.330 (.238 TAv). But with the abundance of lefty bats, he should start the majority of the games against left-handed starting pitchers. He should also get a lot of opportunities to pinch-run and/or play defense for some of the slower guys. The bottom line, however, is that whether or not he performs well at the plate, he's very very fast, and Joe Maddon likes to have his players steal bases. Few freely available players have the potential to impact a category in September the way Jennings does.
Some of the things Baseball Prospectus' resident injury expert ponders on a daily basis.
In the last 24 hours, I've had three men I really respect discuss three topics with me. One asked about pain and baseball. Another asked about the dangers of wall vs. player collisions. The last one asked about the cost of injuries. This is a bit of a change of pace for UTK, but it's all related, so I wanted to share the type of things I think about on a day-to-day basis.
The Diamondbacks' first-base coach and former Gold Glove third baseman discusses the intracies of fielding the hot corner.
Matt Williams hit 378 home runs and won four Silver Slugger awards, but the former Giants, Indians, and Diamondbacks third baseman is most proud of his Gold Gloves. A stalwart at the hot corner for 17 big-league seasons, Williams currently serves as Arizona’s first-base coach.
The Angels left-hander talks about his evolution as a pitcher and breaks down his repotraire in great detail.
Scott Kazmir is not unlike the little girl with the little curl. When he’s good, he’s very, very good. When he’s bad, he’s usually out of the game with a high pitch count by the end of the fifth inning. The Angels left-hander has unquestionably flashed brilliance since coming up with the Rays as a 20-year-old wunderkind in 2004, but just like the girl in the nursery rhyme, he has been maddeningly inconsistent. His first seven starts this year tell the same story, but the hard-throwing southpaw sees a light at the end of the tunnel. Only time will tell in which direction that train is headed.
A conversation with the voice of the Rangers about baseball in Texas, using stats in broadcasting, and answering the question, WWVSD?
Eric Nadel is a baseball-broadcasting legend in Texas. The radio voice of the Rangers is now in his 32nd year calling games in Arlington, making him the longest-tenured announcer in franchise history. A five-time winner of the state’s Broadcaster of the Year award, the 59-year-old Nadel is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
Rounding up the news on the varies LDS matchups, with a focus on the skippers.
This time last year, Jim Tracy was about as far removed from the postseason as a man who spent almost his entire adult life in professional baseball could get. That's because Tracy spent the 2008 season out of the game; he had been fired by the Pirates after the 2007 season following a two-year run as their manager, one that saw his teams go 135-189. Tracy had a house on a golf course in suburban Pittsburgh, and spent the year working on his game on the links when he wasn't watching his son play catcher at Duquesne University. Tracy's chances of managing in the major leagues anytime soon appeared slim. He was just focused on getting some kind of job in baseball.
The South Side slugger drops by to talk about his time with the Sox, the power hitters he's played with, and more.
Paul Konerko has somewhat quietly established himself as one the most prolific sluggers in White Sox history. The humble first sacker has never put up the gaudy numbers of a Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, or Magglio Ordonez-players who have overshadowed him in his 11 seasons on the South Side-but he has consistently helped to put runs on the board. A 1994 first-round pick by the Dodgers who came to Chicago via Cincinnati, Konerko currently ranks second in ChiSox history in home runs, and is third in RBI, total bases, and extra-base hits. As of mid-September, the 33-year-old Konerko's career numbers were a workmanlike .278/.352/.491 with 324 round trippers.
The Angels keep on rolling, the Nationals make their call on who's in charge, and the Rays go black to lighten the mood.
Their top three starting pitchers have spent time on the Disabled List. Their primary set-up reliever is out for the season after their record-setting closer left as a free agent in the winter. Their hard-hitting designated hitter has been plagued by injuries all season, and their center fielder missed more than a month; these injuries befell a lineup that lost its power-hitting first baseman to free agency in the offseason.