Baseball

#22 no hitter Wednesdays

First there actually were no no hitters yesterday/last night but there were two “close” ones that I’d like to talk about. The two I would like to write about today is Max Scherzer’s game against the Marlins and Justin Verlander against the Mariners. I might get into a little rant about Verlander’s start just a fair warning. Just a funny tidbit, I’m sure Tiger fans will love this, just a few years ago the Tigers had both Scherzer and Verlander.

Before I get into that I read earlier today that the Cubs are sending Kyle Schwarber down to AAA. Jason Heyward is heading to the DL also, means more playing time for Almora and Baez. This might be the chance the Cubs need to start turning it around.

I’ll start with Max Scherzer because there’s less of a chance of me going full rant mode. So Scherzer and the Nats were facing the Miami Marlins for the last game of the series yesterday afternoon in Miami. And I knew in the second inning Max had his A+ stuff, I knew something special could easily happen today. 6 batters 6 strikeouts in the first two innings, the fastball was coming out his hand easy at 96 mph he slider looked unhitable. He didn’t allow a hit through 7.1 innings, and a come backer that was a little too high and knicks off of Max’s glove and there goes the no hitter. It’s too bad he had no hit stuff but that’s baseball.

Now about Verlander, I’ll try to keep this short I promise. Verlander has his good stuff working as well, had a perfect game as a matter of fact, gets to the 6th inning and Jarrod Dyson bunts for a base hit. YOU DO NOT BUNT FOR A BASE HIT WHEN THE PITCHER HAS A NO HITTER. Baseball players get that. I get why he did it that’s part of his game and I’m not mad at Dyson what so ever but it doesn’t go down too easy, don’t really like it. If it was the ninth inning I’d be seriously mad but it was only the 6th inning so I can let it slide. But current and former baseball players will get it.

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Baseball

#21 Torres time will have to wait

Today I want to write about how the Yankees top prospect (and currently MLB’s number 2 overall) Gleyber Torres got injured and will be out the rest of the year. It’s really too bad, before the injury I thought the 20 year old shortstop would be making his debut in the Bronx fairly soon. He was working on third base, where the Yankees struggle, so I thought it was coming a lot sooner than most expected. Before I get into Torres I want to mention a couple things, not really much to say so I guess you can consider them “notes.”

What was with that slide Rizzo? Last night Anthony Rizzo slid/ran over the catcher at home plate trying to score on a sac fly. And honestly I don’t care, that’s how the game use to be played until they changed the rules to protect the catcher. Usually Joe Maddon is considered a genius (this year not so much) but his comments last night were incredibly dumb and ill informed. I know he was just defending his player but Rizzo had a clean lane to slide he went out of his way to initiate contact. Go back and watch the tape if you don’t believe me.

Don’t you hate it when some players get more attention than others? Last year (and the beginning of this year) people would not shut up about Gary Sanchez and his power, “so fast to 20 homers” “among the best ever.” And then there’s Cody Bellinger who’s literally THE fastest ever to 21 homers in MLB history, and yet nobody is really talking about him. What’s up with that?

At just 19 years old he won the Arizona fall league MVP just last year, Gleyber Torres certainly has great potential. He has very quick feet and an excellent arm looking a lot older in the field, he simply knows where to be. He’s just one of those players where it just looks like everything comes super easy to him, especially on defense. I was in Arizona and witnessed him with my own two eyes and it still surprises me he was only 19. I personally believe in his power potential right now he’s more of a gap to gap doubles kind of hitter, but I think as he grows up a little more he can transition that to homerun power. The reason why I’m talking about him is because he injured himself sliding head first into home (always a bad idea) and needs Tommy john surgery which will unfortunately cut his season short. But the silver lining it’s his non throwing elbow so it shouldn’t effect his future arm strength any. It’s still funny the Cubs gave up Torres in the Aroldis Chapman trade last years and then the Yankees sign Chapman back in the offseason anyway, I think it’s safe to say the Yankees won that trade.

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Baseball

#20 the struggling Cubs

Now that the draft has came and went I really have nothing planned to write about today. After I saw the Cubs lineup yesterday I got a little made so I feel a good rant coming on, is that ok? Before I start don’t come at me with “you’re just a Cub hater” no I’m really not I still believe they can win the NL central. I’m just a realist and I have some problems with the way the Cubs have constructed their lineup recently. And no this isn’t about batting Rizzo leadoff, that doesn’t bother me at all.

How to start? Ok, first Ian Happ needs to be sent back to AAA. He’s only hitting .200 yet he hits first, second, or cleanup in the lineup, he does have 7 homers but who cares when you’re only hitting .200? Speaking of Happ, because he’s the usual center fielder for whatever reason Albert Almora is just a bench player. Almora is hitting .286, the highest average on the Cubs, could win a gold glove and he’s just a bench player playing once every 3 or 4 games. Speaking of bench riders let’s talk about Javy Baez. Baez has gold glove potential like Almora and he also has 30 homer potential but yet he’s used sparingly too. Zobrist hitting .220 and Russell hitting .215 are so much better than Baez at .250 (sarcasm.) Russell playing through his struggles I understand because he’s a slick fielding shortstop, but Zobrist isn’t and he still plays more than Baez. Yes, Baez is going to strike out that’s just the kind of player he is but don’t act like you have such a problem with it and then turn a blind eye to Kris Bryant’s strikeouts. Now I saved the worst hitter for last because I got plenty to say, onto Kyle Schwarber. The dude is hitting .170 why is he still starting? Back in 2015 he only hit .240 yet every Cubs fan was impressed by him why? I didn’t see it he just looked like a strikeout or homer guy, nothing special those guys are a dime a dozen. Last year he tears his ACL which pretty much put the end to him possibly being a catcher, so now primarily an outfielder. An outfielder hitting .170. I’m not going to pretend he doesn’t have a pretty swing, its very quick and it creates plenty of power. When the Cubs drafted him fourth overall in 2014 everyone, including myself, thought that was an over reach they could’ve gotten someone more talented. You ever wondered why? Maybe he’s peaked, maybe the league has figured him out.

My point to this post, start Baez and Almora! The Cubs can still win if they actually make some legitimate changes, batting Rizzo leadoff is not enough.

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Baseball

#19 draft results

Last night was the MLB draft’s first and second round and now that it’s done and over with I have a couple notes on it. This should be a relatively short post, but no guarantees because once I get talking about prospects I could just go on forever.

I have to mention the first overall pick, Royce Lewis. Lewis being taken 1/1 surprised me as well as most of the guys covering the draft. Not knocking Royce Lewis’s talent level but it was kind of a shock the Twins took a high school shortstop at number 1. He’s at least 3 years away and I personally thought they’d take someone who can make the majors quick so he can help them win now not three years down the road. Now about Royce Lewis, he is super talented and he’s one of those players that you can’t wait until he gets major league coaching and his potential can fly through the roof. He is kind of like a less powerful Javy Baez, he looks like he has more contact ability too but once he faces better pitching who knows, but he has electric tools and an electric personality just like Javy and like Baez he doesn’t have a legitimate position. He has played center field, second base, and shortstop the last three years and each year he won Gatorade high school player of the year.

One of my favorite pics of the draft was the Astros first pick, J. B. Bukauskas. The RHP from the university of North Carolina was the 7th best ranked draft prospect but slid to 15 where the Astros snatched him up. The Tar Heel (more than likely former Tar Heel) throws in the 94-97 mph range with a plus slider/curve that sits in the mid 80’s. Why I like him is because I think he could of gone number 1 but he slid to 15, and he’s actually compared to current Astros pitcher Lance McCullers. They both have fairly similar stuff. I do not think Bukauskas is the most talented pitcher ever but I honestly believe he can make it to the majors pretty quick.

I’ve already wrote about Hunter Greene so I’m not going to go into depth about him. But I want to say I think he went to the perfect team, the Cincinnati Reds with the number 2 pick. He still gets to hit even though he’s probably focusing on pitching now.

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Baseball

#18 draft topics

I planned on writing about this topic for a few days now but I know if I said something there’d be a fight or something that I had to cover. What I want to write about today is what I think will happen at the MLB draft on Monday night, and a couple players who I think you should keep an eye out for. There is a couple players, that should go very early in the first round, that simply jump off the page when you read up on them. I think this is an extremely deep draft and even the teams without a top 10 pick can get a very talented player later in the first round or even the second round.

My first player to watch is RHP/SS Hunter Greene, he comes from Norte Dame just a high school in California not the college. At 17 years old he has hit 102 mph on the gun, yup you read that right. But that’s not his only claim to fame he can also be a first round pick at shortstop. Not too surprising in little league for the star pitcher to also be the best hitter and play shortstop, but usually they’re not as good at both as the case with Greene. He has a good quick swing and he can really pick it at short, but his arm is something special from a high schooler so I think his future is on the mound. From the little I’ve seen on Greene he has a clean and effortless delivery, and also has a good head on his shoulders. The Minnesota Twins have the first pick and I don’t see them taking Greene, even though he’s the best talent available, because their window for winning is coming up. With Sano, Buxton, Kepler, and Berrios already in the majors I think the Twins will take a college pitcher number 1 so he’ll get to the majors quickly.

Now this second kid is a little more likely to go number 1, it’s the LHP/1B from Louisville Brendon McKay. Yes, another two way player. Unlike Greene though I think McKay is better off as a hitter than on the mound. This kid has such a pretty left handed swing, I wouldn’t say it’s as pretty as Ken Griffey Jr’s swing but he’s on the level with Joe Maur and Michael Conforto. I think he has one of the better bats in the draft and can throw 90-94 mph off the mound. First base is an easy enough position to continue being a two way player even in professional baseball. How cool would it be if the Twins took McKay number 1 and played him at 1B/DH then once every five days let him start on the mound? You don’t see that very often. By no means is he a look at number 1 I just think he has a higher probability than Greene.

And number 3 player to watch is Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright. Standing at 6’4″ 220 pounds the right hander has the frame to be a workhorse in the majors. Vanderbilt has had so many pitchers taken in the first round in recent years that I can’t even count them all, they know pitching. 94 mph heater coupled with his frame I think it’s a recipe for a future frontline starter. Unlike most college pitchers he can still get better, his delivery is not bad but it could be smoothed out a little, which could make his stuff better. He also has that Max Scherzer demeanor on the mound, very pumped up and gets very intense.

These 3 are also top 3 draft prospects on MLB.com but they’re the 3 I like as well.

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Baseball

#17 congrats to all

There have been a few note worthy things that have happened in baseball recently, so today I’m going to write a post that highlights them all instead of a long post about just one subject. I’ve been pretty good at keeping them about one subject so far this year but there is plenty I could write about today so I figured I’ll just write a paragraph about each subject.

First and foremost I’ve got to congratulate Albert Pujols for joining the 600 homerun club. More people have walked on the moon than hit 600 homers in the majors, that is such an interesting fact. Even though he has to share the club with obvious juicers, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez, it is still an incredible feat. The machine is 37 years young, the future hall of famer would only need to hit 20 homers a year for the next 5 years to join the even more exclusive 700 homerun club. It’s possible.

Another career feat to congratulate, Clayton Kershaw has joined the 2,000 strikeout club. It’s not too exclusive of a club but it’s impressive because of what it means for the future, in my opinion at least. Kershaw is still only 29 years old, he isn’t even over the hump yet he has a lot of pitches left in that left arm of his. Pitchers are more of an injury risk than position players, they can just hurt something very small and it can derail the rest of their career, just look at Mark Prior’s career. So if Kershaw can stay healthy there is a good chance he can reach 3,000 strikeouts. Knock on wood.

And of course I have to mention the no-hitter that happened over the weekend. Edinson Volquez fired the first no-no of 2017 against a good hitting Diamondbacks team, and only needed 98 pitches to do it. Throughout Volquez’s entire career he’s either been hot or cold, you know he’s either an above average pitcher or someone that makes you wonder why he’s still in the rotation no real in between. He’s 2-7 this year but yet he has the only no-hitter this year, that makes my point. It’s still impressive to throw a no-hitter no matter who you are so congratulations Edinson.

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Baseball

#16 Harper vs Strickland

Before I get into this post, let’s be honest it’ll probably be a rant, I feel like I should apologize for skipping Tuesday. I had some family in town and my brother had a baseball game so I took a vacation day. And besides this will be a short post, I HATE RELIEVERS COMING IN JUST TO THROW AT GUYS, there done. Just kidding I’ll get into the specifics of this situation.

First, a little backstory back in the 2014 NLDS Bryce Harper hit two mammoth blasts off of Hunter Strickland. That’s it seriously. That’s the reason he hit him 3 years later. I’m sorry that is seriously sad, Strickland gave up 5 homers that postseason when the giants won the World Series. So in other words he sucked, got beat twice by Harper, both of the homers Strickland stared down Harper as he rounded the bases, the second homer gave the Nats the lead and when Harp got back to the dugout he was giving high fives to everyone and being real animated nothing new you know. And apparently that set off Strickland and he can stay mad for three years. Yes, I’m a Nats fan you can call me biased I don’t care personally I like that it went down. I think Strickland is just a sad guy with a hurt ego, but nobody charges the mound anymore you don’t see Nolan Ryan getting Robin Ventura in a headlock while knocking his teeth out in today’s game. If you want to point fingers though point them at Buster Posey, the Giants catcher didn’t move an inch after he hit him, Harper started walking down the first base line jawing at Strickland like most players do after they get hit but he realized Posey wasn’t holding him back so he ran out there and threw a couple punches. You can tell by Posey’s, and the entire Giants bench, reaction that it was 2-0 game in the 8th inning Strickland was just being a selfish little man with a bruised ego. I know Posey is getting a lot of attention for this but honestly he didn’t agree so he didn’t want to clean up his mess “you want to hit him with 98? You deserve to get punched a couple times.” I would not be surprised at all if Strickland is traded soon. The helmet throw was great there were ex players on twitter like “you throw helmets by the ear flap not the brim, Bryce you should know better.”

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