Baseball

#15 talking Berrios

After watching Jose Berrios pitch yesterday it impressed me so I knew I had to talk about him today. If I recall correctly I actually picked him to be my “player to watch” for the rookie of the year award last year. He’s been a top prospect for a couple years and I like his work ethic, he will be pretty good in the majors in my opinion. The last couple years he has been considered a 4 A player, meaning too good for AAA but still struggles in the majors. After he struggled big time last year in the majors he looks like he finally turned the corner this year.

It’s easy to see what I mean, Jose Berrios through three starts this year is 3-0 with a 1.66 era. That doesn’t look like a 4 A pitcher to me those look like the numbers of a legitimate ace in the making. At just 22 years old this former top prospect is starting to reach his potential. He throws mid 90’s with a devastating slider, the potential was always there he’s just finally tapping into it a little. Like I said I like his work ethic, he has a good head on his shoulders, after last year he wanted to show that he belongs in the major leagues. He started this year in AAA and worked on his change up which is now a plus (above average) pitch and another weapon for Berrios. He doesn’t throw quite as hard but he seriously reminds me of Jose Fernandez (RIP), just the brilliance of his slider and the chance being a legitimate weapon. So based on his first three starts Jose Berrios is looking like he has figured it out. Watch out for the first place Minnesota Twins they have the talent to make the AL central very interesting.

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Baseball

#14 this version of Trout

I couldn’t really think of anything to write about today so I’m going to write/rant a little about Mike Trout, something I’ve been thinking about for a couple weeks. More specifically I want to write about how his game has changed the last couple years, in my opinion for the better. I’m not saying Mike Trout himself is getting better, was already crazy talented, it’s more that his mindset has changed. Before I get into it I have to say something, why on earth are pitchers still trying to get him out with pitches down in the zone? He is a great low ball hitter, his uppercut makes hitting a low pitch way too easy, I’ve noticed that (since he came up) that he can’t touch a fastball up in zone. Not just the upper 90’s fastball up either he has problems with the mediocre 89-90 mph fastballs that are up, but yet they still throw him low breaking/offspeed stuff? I just don’t get it.

Sorry for the rant I’ll get into it now. My point to this post is to talk about how Mike Trout has changed his game. Those of you who know me or have read this blog the last couple years know that I don’t think Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. Yes, Trout puts up great numbers almost every year but when you look at his tools, they’re obviously good but I just think there are a few players out there with better all around tools. The point I’m trying to make is Mike Trout went from a .280 hitter with 40 bombs but would strike out 180-200 times to the more all around player that’s a legitimate 30 homers 30 stolen bases threat. Hitting well over .300 while going 30/30 is so much better than just being a traditional homer or strikeout kind of power hitter. How many legit 30/30 guys are out there? Not that many. How many traditional power hitters that strike out a bunch? Those are a dime a dozen. Like I said I really believe that it’s simply just his mindset, he decided after a couple years of just being a regular power hitter that he wants to put the ball in play more and that can help a batting average tremendously. In turn he’s on base more and to help the team he’s stealing more bases. And this is the new Mike Trout and when people say this Mike Trout is the best player in baseball it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Something to keep an eye on though, his swing percentage is the highest it’s ever been he’s still a disciplined hitter but still.

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Baseball

#13 an ace is coming

First, I have to apologize for Tuesday I was sick and had to take a sick day but I’m back and ready to talk/write about baseball. Today I’m going to write about an upcoming ace that doesn’t get talked about as much as he deserves. I honestly believe Dylan Bundy is just getting started and people don’t really know about the year he’s having so far. The new ace in Baltimore is pitching against the Tigers as I write this.

Before I get into what I think about Bundy let’s take it back to 2012, a 19 year old baby face with an electric arm makes his debut. I don’t think he pitched an entire inning, only 1 or 2 outs, during this stint in the majors but he was just a 19 year old kid. You have to carve up the minors for a pitcher to get to the majors so soon, it doesn’t happen all that often. Fast forward a couple months, he’s named the number 2 prospect in all of baseball to begin the 2013 season. Starting the season in the minors (like most prospects do) and hurts his elbow and ends up having Tommy John surgery. Fast forward again to just last year, after battling his way back from TJ surgery and multiple other injuries Dylan Bundy is finally back in the majors at 23 years old. Being out of minor league options the Orioles can’t send him to the minors without putting him on waivers first, and they don’t want to do that because somebody else will definitely claim a former top prospect. So for the first half of the season he was mainly a bullpen guy, and then after the all star break Baltimore started stretching him out and transitioning him back into the starter role. Now this year he’s fully back to being a starter, getting out of the gates hot at 5-1 with a 2.26 era in 51.2 innings. The one thing I don’t like is that his fastball is sitting in the 91-93 mph range instead of the electric 94-97 range. It could very well be because it’s still early in the year, once the weather warms up he could start throwing harder I’ve seen pitchers do that. The point of this post was to spread some light on his great season so far because nobody else is talking about him.

Update: he gave up 6 runs in a loss to the Tigers so yup I’m a jinx.

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Baseball

#12 Strasbeard

I could easily rant on about Matt Harvey and his 3 day suspension but I decided not to. For 1 I don’t really like Matt Harvey and 2 the reasoning behind it is so ridiculous and sad that I’m not interested in dedicating a whole post to that drama. I’ve been waiting to write about Stephen Strasburg for awhile and since he pitched last night I thought today was a good day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I like showing off, showing my knowledge of all baseball instead of just the Nats and people thinking I’m just a fan boy. Just to be clear, Strasburg grew a beard over the offseason and Strasbeard is his new nickname at least until he shaves.

First I have to point out that this year Strasburg is throwing only out of the stretch. Like a hitter having a big leg kick before he swings a pitcher’s wind up is basically a timing mechanism. Taking the wind up out of his arsenal just helps him focus on his mechanics and repeating his delivery regardless if a runner is on base or not. Now you might think no wind up might make him throw a little slower, but it’s actually the complete opposite his fastball is averaging around 96 mph and topping out at 98. So he still has the nasty stuff and he’s pitching like the normal Strasburg at 3-1 with a 3.2 era 45 strikeouts and 13 walks, so what’s changed? Well the only thing I’ve really noticed is he’s working later into games. Going 6-7 innings every time out so far, because of the new no wind up thing he is doing a good job of limiting big innings so far this year. He’s not perfect he’ll still give up a few runs every now and then, but what I mean is when people are getting hits he isn’t going out there trying to strike out everybody, trying to be too fine, and eventually the wheels fall off. He’s just continuing to pitch his game. The book on Strasburg the last couple years has been swing early because you definitely don’t want to get to 2 strikes with this guy. This year his attitude is like “this is how I pitch and I’m not changing my game plan” I like this mindset. So far so good.

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Baseball

#11 a surprise AL team

Well the New York Yankees are off to a 21-9 start and surprising some people, not me obviously but some people. Ok that’s a lie, I saw them as an above .500 team but I didn’t see them having the best record in the AL at any point during the season. I’ve wrote a full post about Aaron Judge just last week so I’m not going to focus this post on him, or any other player for that matter, but more on the Yankees as a whole.

I’m not saying that I’m completely shocked that the Yankees are doing great, because they have a decent team. I knew they were going to be able to out slug some teams but it does come as a surprise when you say the Yankees have the best record in the AL. If you look at some of their hitters they have a nice looking lineup. Brett Gardener is doing his thing, so is Jacoby Ellsbury even though he’s kind of injured right now. In my opinion it’s not the veterans that are part of the Yankees offensive success lately, it’s the question marks. What I mean by that is the guys that no one really knew what to expect to start the season. Like Chase Headly and Starlin Castro? Nobody saw those two getting off to the hottest starts of their career. The old guy they brought in, Matt Holiday? Surprise he’s off to a great start as well. Fresh off the DL Didi Gregorious and Gary Sanchez? Hopefully they can repeat the years they had last year. See what I mean the offense is clicking right now because of the question marks. The reason why this start is kind of a surprise is because of the pitching staff. Masahiro Tanaka is the ace without question, but after him there is no one. Pineda? Way too inconsistent. The rotation doesn’t really have anybody but the bullpen is top notch. Clippard? Betances? Chapman? Yeah that’s a pretty good ‘pen. With the very good farm system I thought the Yankees were 1-2 years away from being serious competitors. But with this start I think it’s possible they make a couple trades to ship off these hot veterans to make some room for these young kids to show what they can do. With this start the Yankees might of pushed up their window and might be ready to compete this season.

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Baseball

#10 judgement day

Today I’ll be writing about the Yankees young stud and physical monster, Aaron Judge. I’ve been thinking about writing about him for awhile now and he just won the AL rookie of the month award so I thought today was a good day. Now before I get into what I think about the Judge I just have to mention as I’m writing this he has 13 homers, he may have 15 by the time I finish this.

Standing at 6’8″ and 270-280 pounds, Aaron Judge looks like an NBA forward rather than an MLB right fielder. I could just end this post right there, I’ll write a little more but his size should tell you everything you need to know. He got his feet wet in the MLB last year but this year he’s the Yankees starting right fielder. He has been around the 30th-50th ranked prospect over the last few years, even though he’s doing great at the MLB level so far this year he was never a high ranked prospect because he only really has one plus tool. And surprise that’s his power. Judge is a big boy with big boy power and from a scouting point of view that’s he’s only above average tool everything else is just average or below. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out if you’re as big as Aaron Judge is you’ll most likely be able to swing a baseball bat pretty hard. He has such a quick swing and makes really hard contact, he’s always been that kind of guy. He’s already 25 years old and that’s a little old for a rookie but it’s not because he just now figured it out, the real reason is because (for some reason) the Yankees brought him along super slowly. He has a lot of swing and miss to his game, like most power hitters, so I personally don’t see him being this monstrous all season. It helps that he plays 81 games at the little league field A.K.A. Yankee stadium.

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Baseball

#9 Thor

Today I want to write a short post, well more of a rant, about the Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard. He resembles the superhero Thor so that’s why he’s called Thor. A little back story on this rant, he started on Sunday against the Nationals but left with only one out in the second inning in obvious pain. He already gave up 5 runs he wasn’t throwing a no-hitter or anything but still. It’s not the fact that he got injured that makes me want to write about him today it’s what lead up to it.

I know I’m a Nats fan but I’m not wishing for the Mets and Syndergaard to get injured or anything. They are a fragile team, and when healthy they are also an extremely streaky team. That’s why I was surprised when some experts were picking them to win the NL east but back to Syndergaard. So Syndergaard had his original start pushed back because of a “sore arm” and then on Friday he said no to a MRI. He said no. I understand nobody really likes a MRI but when your employer ask you to do something they’re not really asking they’re telling you to. They’re paying you a lot of money to play a game for a living the least you can do for them is take a stupid MRI. Because he was their ace the Mets just let it go. You can hear the displeasure of the Mets because they thought something was wrong but Noah didn’t want a MRIi. My guess is Syndergaard already knew something wasn’t right but because he’s a competitor he wanted to pitch through it. Well it didn’t work out like that and now the Mets are ace-less for the foreseeable future because he has a partially torn lat muscle.

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