Bryan LaHair: What to Expect from the Cubs’ Opening Day First Baseman

by Shaun

The Cubs are giving Bryan LaHair, 29 and a career minor leaguer, his shot as a major league regular in 2012.  The first base job is LaHair’s to lose going in to the season.  What are reasonable expectations for this minor league journeyman with only 65 major league games under his belt?

In LaHair’s previous 219 major league plate appearances, he posted a .262 batting average, a .335 on-base and a .395 slugging with 22 walks and 58 strikeouts.  LaHair came to the plate 150 times at age 25 with the Seattle Mariners in 2008.  The other 69 plate appearances were with the Cubs last season.

LaHair’s minor league performance indicates that there’s a good shot he can legitimately hold down a major league first base job.  In 4,051 plate appearances he’s hit .295/.362/.503 while walking 376 times and striking out 869 times in 970 games.

The strikeouts indicate he’s not destined for greatness in the majors at an advanced age, for someone getting his first shot.  His hit tool, at least according to the metrics, doesn’t seem to be anything special.  However, his walk rate in the minors is far from hopeless and he displayed some power.  He’s had his contact problems but he walks at a respectable rate and, when he does hit the ball, he’s shown an ability to hit it with some authority.  These are signs that he probably can draw enough walks and get enough hits and extra-base hits to hold down first base offensively at something close to average production.

LaHair’s athleticism is at least good enough to allow him to play 188 games in the outfield throughout his minor league career.  That’s not necessarily an indication that he’ll be anything more than a serviceable to average first baseman in the majors but at least it’s a good sign.  If nothing else, his minor league managers think he has enough range to cover the outfield, which is a sign he’ll do fine at first base.

Looking at the total package, we should probably expect something around what Freddie Freeman or Eric Hosmer did last season, 1-2 Wins Above Replacement.  If we are optimistic, a 2011 Gaby Sanchez type season is a possibility, something around 3 WAR.

Twitter: @PayneBall

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119 Responses to “Bryan LaHair: What to Expect from the Cubs’ Opening Day First Baseman”

  1. John Says:

    “LaHair’s minor league performance indicates that there’s a good shot he can legitimately hold down a major league first base job.”

    The Chicago Cubs currently still being counted as a Major League team after like a decade of Jim Hendry indicated that he can legitimately hold down a major league first base job.

    The NL Central will have a couple new 1B’s, as Mat Gamel will be manning first base for the Brewers. Mat Gamel turns 27 in June. He’s had a couple big-time AAA years (admittedly, in the PCL) but was blocked at 1B by Fielder, and at 3B by a total inability to field that position.

  2. Chuck Says:

    Now two comments have disappeared…hmmm.

    Guess who got hurt again…Grady Sizemore. “Unlikely” for opening day due to a back strain.

    It should be noted both LaHair and Gamel share the same trait when considering them for their respective opening day rosters. A trait which carries more weight than their own abilities as players.

    They are both out of options.

  3. Raul Says:

    David Ortiz changed his diet and is down 20 pounds.
    Frankly, it’s good for him to make a lifestyle change. I think we all struggle with it. There’s some shady science behind Ortiz’s diet though.

    Still, it seems that more baseball players are slimming down in recent years. Whatever the reasons, I applaud it. Back in the day baseball players had to be agile and athletic. Not sure when that went out the window but it did for a long time.

  4. Jim Says:

    Given that players of Ortiz body type take on the shape of Haystack Calhoun from an off season training routine consisting of bowling and beer drinking (I’m looking at you Kent Hrbek), Papi losing 20# should be considered a step forward for baseball. And in Detroit, fans are hoping that Fielder and Cabrera notice.

  5. Jim Says:

    Saw the article on Justin Morneau, where he talks about the possibility of retiring if the concussion aftereffects do not diminish.

  6. Cameron Says:

    “There’s some shady science behind Ortiz’s diet though.”

    You mean the fact he drinks a lot of juice?

  7. Cameron Says:

    All seriousness, though. This is my last post in KC. Might not be able to post as much until my comp gets shipped in sometime next week or week after.

    See y’all. Been a blast.

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    Best of luck, Cameron! Congrats, I hope everything works out!

  9. Chuck Says:

    Good luck, Cameron.

  10. JohnBowen Says:

    Chuck, you headed to camp?

  11. Chuck Says:

    Yes..have to be over there at 11:30, which I guess is 1:30 your time.

  12. JohnBowen Says:

    Best of luck man, hope it works out well!

  13. Chuck Says:

    It was OK, typical first day at any job..making sure your ID’s worked (they didn’t), make sure you can log into the team’s on-line servicing systems (no problem), get your ID badge and parking pass (check) and your daily schedule (ditto).

    I did see the player who has been in the news the last couple of days.

    It’s human nature, when you make a mistake (or knowingly get away with something) to go overboard in the opposite direction to make up for it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a five year old who gets busted with his hand in the cookie jar who cleans his room every day for a week, or the 35 year old guy who comes home a little late with questionable red marks on his collar and who blows his paycheck on flowers and jewelry.

    This player has a reputation of not being “fan friendly”, he rarely signs autographs or stops for pictures, yet, today, he walked through a double sided barricade 20 feet long and signed and posed for a half hour. Even some long term team employees were shocked, and I heard terms like “image rebuilding” and “damage control” as the reasons why.

    If you’re accused of something and have to deal with negative reactions for a couple of months, and are subsequently “vindicated”, you wake up the next morning like nothing ever happened, because you knew of your innocence all along and were confident in whatever justice system you were facing.

    If you wake up the next day and go out of your way to do something you’ve NEVER done before it’s almost like an apology, because you know in your heart and mind you’re guilty despite the verdict.

    Our collective opinions are meaningless, but when full time employees who’ve been around longer than he has go out of their way to express surprise at behavior changes, that should tell you more than some agent written press release.

  14. John Says:

    Braun’s image is tainted.

    Whether or not he’s innocent, he has to work on repairing it, and signing autographs for the only people in the world who believed in you is a good place to start.

  15. Chuck Says:

    Why is his image tainted..he was found innocent.

    You go to work Monday and there are two security guards at your desk and they escort you to the boss’s office, where he informs you that you’ve been accused of sexual assault by the cashier in the cafeteria and you are now suspended without pay.

    Two weeks from now you get a call from the boss, he tells you that the cashier admitted under oath the relationship was consensual and you are free to return to work with no marks on your record and you’ll be paid for the time missed.

    If you go to work tomorrow and intentionally go out of your way to do anything you’ve never done before, you are admitting guilt.

    Your reputation is built on everything that happened BEFORE the accusation, so why change…unless you’re trying to cover the truth.

    By the way, up close and in person, Braun doesn’t seem as big as he does on TV.

    John Axford, on the other hand, is a large human.

  16. Mike Felber Says:

    This may well be. Though could he not be doing this out of relief, & to fix his image, even if he is innocent & his conscience clean?

    re; wight loss: Chuck, the stats seem to all show that the vast, overwhelming majority of folks do not keep off weight they lose. many gain more. Given how much food & temptation we have, & the way fat cells are basically reprogrammed to “re-fill” by evolution, do you think that without a technological advance or blocker, that we will ever as a society have anything like 1/2, or even 1/4 of the folks who try to lose weight keep it off?

    Because for decades now we are getting fatter, & few who lose weight with sensible diet & exercise have the psychological wherewithal to stay in shape. Some lean are in poor shape, but it seems the by far greatest predictor of weight is what you are already, ’cause very few who get fat then stay lean.

  17. John Says:

    @15, in your scenario, co-workers – at least some of them – are going to think otherwise -because of infornation they heard first.

  18. Chuck Says:

    You’re right Mike, at least in theory.

    You are a few years younger than I, my father was born in late 1932 and my mother in early 1933, so both are products of the depression and the subsequent rebuilding of the economy.

    Dinners in our house as a kid were the same as when they were a kid, and assumedly when my grandparents were kids…meat (protein) potatoes (starch) and a vegetable.

    Today, we feed our kids processed, man made foods or McDonald’s or foods that are flash frozen with so many preservatives the ingredient list on the label is almost as big as the package itself.

    This is why we are fatter than ever, and why it’s so hard now to maintain a consistent weight.

    Not to mention what TV and the internet has done to PE and after school activities.

    Calories don’t make us fat, it’s what’s IN the calorie.

    (BMI is stupid)

    We are advancing every day as a nation with technological breakthroughs, the consequence to that is we are regressing from a health standpoint because there are fewer physical jobs and opportunities for fitness.

  19. Chuck Says:

    OK, John, maybe so..but why would YOU care what they think?

    You’re in line at the convenience store buying a seven dollar six pack and the cashier tells you, in front of ten other people in line that your credit card was declined.

    Are you embarrassed?

    And if so, why?

    You know you paid your last bill..you know you have enough credit, you know you entered your zip code correctly..so you did nothing wrong, right?

    So, why give a shit what a stranger thinks?

    Just like you don’t give a shit what I say about Tim Raines.

    If you know you are right, if you know the one night stand was consensual, why would you give the slightest fuck what anyone else thinks or says?

    If Player X believed he was innocent, he would have shown up yesterday and read his little speech, then showed up today and treated the fans like shit, just like he has done for the last six years.

  20. John Says:

    @19, in 15-20 years, Ryan Braun is going to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, and if he keeps performing at this level, he’ll be deserving of enshrinement. That, alone is a good reason to repair his image.

    He also owns a number of establishments in the Milwaukee area. He has a clothing line. Ergo, he has a ton of reasons to get the general public to like him. He’s been a marketable player and wants to keep that alive.

    Look at guys like Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant.

    That, and maybe he just wants to thank the only people who believed him all along. I dunno.

    All I’m saying is that an innocent man wouldn’t go back to being un-fan-friendly because he knows his reputation has takeb a hit, whether deserved or not. He has to earn it back.

  21. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes, & Chuck, not everyone is as secure as presumably you are, re: your last example. In fact, the vast majority of folks would be embarrassed about a CC decline in front of strangers, regardless of “innocence”. The psychology of shame is stronger when accused of illegal & abusive activity. It would be the rare man, falsely convicted of a serious crime, who would not feel shame & humiliation. This is frequently spoken of by those later exonerated, & a legitimate basis for law suits.

  22. Mike Felber Says:

    It’s gotta also be the total calories consumed & burned. Though processed, fake & high sugar/high refined flour foods effect blood sugar in ways that increase appetite. And often go together with high fat foods.

    The rate of folks keeping off weight is SO low though. Even the sensible, non-scam diets & good exercise overwhelmingly fail. Then places like weight watchers have sound principles, though not only historically do not stress exercise enough, they sell a product line full of chemicals. Terrible “food”.

    You combined this with our evolutionary tendency to conserve fat, I just do not know how much better the general population is going to do in staying relatively lean. Being pretty fit & not too fat is more realistic for most.

  23. Raul Says:

    “It would be the rare man, falsely convicted of a serious crime, who would not feel shame & humiliation”

    Reminded me of Mike Tyson.
    He’s more innocent of rape than Kobe Bryant.

  24. Chuck Says:

    “It’s gotta also be the total calories consumed & burned.”

    From an average shopper’s standpoint that’s true. It’s also false, which is WHY we are where we are with a general increase in obesity and overall decline in health.

    “Though processed, fake & high sugar/high refined flour foods effect blood sugar in ways that increase appetite.”

    Our bodies can’t tell the difference between natural and artificial sugars. What we get from a serving of store bought pasta is the same as we get from an apple.

    Sugar is sugar.

    “And often go together with high fat foods.”

    Hard to eat a Whopper without a bun, but subtracting the bun won’t make much difference.

    “Even the sensible, non-scam diets..”

    All diets are scams..especially the one’s you pay for, like Jenny Craig or Nutri-System, and my personal favorite..the Atkins Diet.

  25. John Says:

    Do you pay for the Atkins diet? I thought you just give up carbs.

    Which, if you’re even remotely active, is silly.

  26. Bob Says:

    “He’s more innocent of rape than Kobe Bryant.”
    Absolutely

  27. Bob Says:

    Put this here and not on the N.L Central thread. Derek Lowe said he would like to return to Boston next year and does not care if he is a starter or reliever. The Braves could not get Boston to eat up a chunk of his salary this past off-season.

  28. Bob Says:

    @ 25. I think Chuck meant the guys book.

  29. JohnBowen Says:

    I wonder how the Indians feel about Derek Lowe looking ahead to next season.

    I also wonder if Derek Lowe still wants to come back to Boston now that they’ve banned booze in the clubhouse.

  30. Bob Says:

    @ 29 LOL

  31. Bob Says:

    I am hoping Justin Masterson feels the same way as Lowe with regards to playing in Boston.

  32. Jim Says:

    Came across this Bill James article advocating Dwight Evans as a HoF’r
    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7555836/an-open-letter-mlb-hall-fame-dwight-evans-rightful-place-cooperstown

    I don’t agree that Evans’ had a HoF career, though I do believe that he should have received more consideration than the got (dropped from the ballot after 3 years). The fallacy in James’s argument is that it is not Evans’ standing in relationship to his contemporary right fielders that is the measuring stick for HoF credentials, but hes standing compared to all other players.

    You can make the argument that only Winfield was a better right fielder than Evans during the 70’s & 80’s, but that doesn’t make Dewey a HoF’r

  33. JohnBowen Says:

    He’s on the borderline; I think I would vote no.

    He definitely should’ve got more consideration than he did – and I believe he definitely merited more support than Jim Rice. Pretty similar offensive numbers…possibly a slight edge to Rice…but Dewey blows him out of the water as one of the best outfielders of his day, while Rice was a weak outfielder-turned-DH.

  34. Raul Says:

    People choose whatever argument suits them, Jim.

    This is in NO WAY to debate Tim Raines, but often you’ll see him compared to other leadoff hitters…or other left fielders of his time…or other left fielders in history, or other players from the 1980s.

    Depending on the premise one wants to set up, they can create an argument for or against practically any player.

    Dwight Evans was a really good player for a long time. I really don’t know. Maybe he does belong. Maybe he doesn’t but he makes a stronger case than some guys who are already elected.

    In 1997 when Evans first appeared on the ballot, he received just 5.9% of the vote. By comparison, Dave Parker, also in his first year received 17.5% despite no apparent statistical advantage except that Parker was the 1978 NL MVP and Evans didn’t win any in his career.

    Evans would get to 10.4% the next year and Parker to 24.5%.

    1999 would be the year that did Evans in, as the Hall of Fame elected Nolan Ryan, George Brett AND Robin Yount. And Evans would drop to 3.6% and off the ballot. In fact, the Top 6 vote-getters would ultimately get elected with the aforementioned 3 and Carlton Fisk, Tony Perez and the late Gary Carter. Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter and Bert Blyleven would ultimately make it as well, though it should be noted that Steve Garvey led every one of them in the voting in 1999.

    Parker would take a hit, dropping to 16.1% in 1999 but would remain on the ballot for the maximum 15 years…always hovering between 10-20% before coming off just last year.

    I don’t mean to dwell on a comparison between Parker and Evans, but both men started their careers at the same time, ended it at the same time, had similar numbers (Evans had the edge) yet how does Evans drop after 3 years and Parker stays for 15? I think it’s a fair question. I mean certainly 1 MVP Award can’t mean THAT much, right?

  35. Mike Felber Says:

    I agree Evans is borderline, & that for HOF purposes you must cast the broader net. I had seen that article,& the point about doing many things well, rather than one thing great, applies to Dewey. Parker had the obvious flashy counting stat seasons.

  36. Mike Felber Says:

    “It’s also false” is unclear Chuck. I suppose you mean that the composition of the diet, when & how much is eaten at a time, effects how many calories are stored or burned. Like breaking them up into more meals keeps the metabolism faster.

    Is it really true that all sugars are the same? I accept that processed sugars are about the same. Artificial sweeteners are a whole other health mess. But do you think that all the talk about high fructose corp syrup being gad for you several ways, including ratcheting up appetite, is wrong? I know that there is some real evidence for the “deniers” here.

    But is not natural sugar, like from an apple different at all from refined sugar? Besides the obvious factor that adding sugar to products OR tends to mean you get much more of it. While most should limit juices, would you say that besides the nutrients, a glass of OJ is the same as a glass of sprite? Calorically they are about the same, since all sugar.

    But do you not believe that natural sugar like fructose leads to less spikes in blood sugar> ONE thing that limits this at least is that you get the fiber in an apple or whole grain bread, so that limits how quickly the sugar is released, i.e., the glycemic index is lower. This normalizes energy levels, & leaves you feeling more satiated. Refined flour & processed sugars leave us craving more when we “crash”, right?

    Most diets are el stupido. But a “diet” can be any sensible plan in eating moderately & wisely. Some times the word is used to describe a regional approach to eating-these can be very healthy. The Mediterranean diet has a nice balance of whole foods, & oils, & is around 30% fat. Far eastern native diets also are healthy, natural, plant foods & fish heavy, & though they have much white ric e, are overall very good, doing so though much lower in fat.

    Some “modern” diets seem good overall, but may have a senseless element. “The “Caveman” diet stresses whole foods, & if you also keep your meats lean & natural like cavemen, this seems good. Though the idea that not even whole grains are advised seems dumb, & may leave you with too low healthy carbs.

    Like the foolish Atkins diet, treating all kinds of fat the same, escewing significant carbs, keeping you in ketosis.

  37. Raul Says:

    http://nybaseballdigest.com/2012/02/27/nats-set-bar-for-wright-that-mets-might-not-be-able-to-reach/

  38. Bob Says:

    Wright is also about 2 years older than Zimmerman.

  39. Bob Says:

    The Reds extended Sean Marshall’s contract through 2015.

  40. Raul Says:

    Happy 26th birthday, Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo is a good young pitcher but has not really taken that next step to put him into the upper tier of starting pitchers in the game. Hopefully for the Brewers, Gallardo can do so in 2012. Milwaukee surely needs him to if they want to take over the NL Central and establish themselves as serious postseason contenders to the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Happy 28th birthday, Denard Span. Span came up as a rightfielder and would eventually take over Carlos Gomez’s position as the Twins’ starting centerfielder. But he would utlimately prove to be marginally better on the offensive side of the game. It is worth noting that in 2002, Span was a 1st round selection, going 20th overall — ahead of such names as Jeremy Guthrie, Jeff Francoeur, Joe Blanton, Matt Cain and the great Jeremy Brown.

    Happy 44th birthday, Matt Stairs. Recently retired, Stairs would play 19 seasons in the Majors — quite an accomplishment for a guy who wasn’t a full-time player until he was 29. The Professional Hitter is your all-time leader in pinch-hit home runs. Stairs is a high school hockey coach in Maine.

    Happy 63rd birthday, John Wockenfuss. A 47th round selection in 1967, Fuss enjoyed 12 seasons in the Majors as a part-time player — mostly with Detroit. Some interesting connections with Wockenfuss… In 1973, as a minor leaguer, he was traded with Mike Nagy from Washington to St. Louis for Jim Bibby. Jim Bibby was NBA star Mike Bibby’s uncle. In 1984, Wockenfuss was traded again, from Detroit with Glenn Wilson to Philadelphia for Dave Bergman and Willie Hernandez. The Tigers would win the 1984 World Series and Hernandez took home the AL Cy Young award. Bergman wouldn’t have quite as great a season, though he did something impressive nonetheless.

    From Wikipedia:

    On June 4, 1984, Bergman came to bat in the 11th inning with two men on base and two outs in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Bergman fouled off seven pitches, and on a full count hit the 13th pitch of the at bat into the upper deck at Tiger Stadium for a walk-off, three-run home run. In his book, Bless You Boys, Detroit manager, Sparky Anderson, wrote, “Tonight I saw the greatest at bat in my life…Bergie fouled off seven pitches and then picked one practically off the ground and drilled it into the upper deck in right. What a battle! Bergie was up there a full seven minutes.”

  41. Bob Says:

    Happy birthday Dave. He, like Stairs, also coached hockey ( assistant) at one point. Albeit, his sons team.

  42. Bob Says:

    Oops. Sorry. Happy birthday John Wockenfuss.

  43. Raul Says:

    Maybe Justin Morneau will follow suit should he retire.

  44. Bob Says:

    There is a thought.

  45. Raul Says:

    Not sure how I missed this commentary on Johnny Damon by former DC contributor Joe Delgrippo…

    http://nybaseballdigest.com/2012/02/18/johnny-damon-can-take-his-whining-and-lying-to-another-town/comment-page-1/

  46. Bob Says:

    Wow. Are these players going to be forced to retire?
    1. Damon?
    2. Varitek?
    3. Vlad?
    Or will some team call post St. Patrick’s day?

  47. Bob Says:

    Speaking of which, Varitek will retire officialy on Thursday.

  48. Raul Says:

    I really didn’t think Vladimir Guerrero was finished, but I guess he is.

  49. Bob Says:

    1. Francona said the beer ban COULD backfire. As opposed to saying it will.
    2. The Wilpons say they have enough cash to own the team for a long time.
    3. Joel Zumaya is mulling retirement.
    4. Have a good night.

  50. Chuck Says:

    So, I went over to see the Darvish phenomenon in person today.

    Gates open at ten, and when I pulled into the lot, there were maybe 40 people standing outside waiting, and cars were pulling in behind me. Now I get that the Rangers are two time defending AL champs and extra fan support would be expected, but that was crazy.

    When we get inside there are practice fields on both sides, with the main practice areas further up. You could see the crowd of Japanese media hanging around, waiting for Darvish to finish calisthenics. (In fairness, there are two other Japanese pitchers in camp, although neither would warrant any attention IMO).

    There were so many people around the Rangers had to hire police protection, there were two cops following Darvish wherever he went, and there were others around the complex. (There was one assigned to Josh Hamilton, who didn’t look all that happy about it, either).

    After warming up, the pitchers went across to another field (about a 20 foot walk) for PFP, they were doing live bunt drills. I could see Darvish talking with pitching coach Mike Maddux and Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, so it appears he has a good understanding of English, despite there being two interpreters with him.

    From PFP, they went to the bullpen area, where he warmed up for a BP session along with Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Harrison, and Derek Holland.

    From there, he went right back over to the same field where the PFP was, and through a session to a handful of minor league hitters (four righties and one lefty).

    He was clearly dominating them, I remember two hard hit balls on the ground and there was just one fly ball to the OF, and it was an opposite field popup to short right center.

    I could hear him talking on the mound, he said “cutter” to the catcher once, and “sorry” to a hitter after a pitch go away from him. I could also see him talking and gesturing to the coach who was with him counting his pitches, one time he extended his hand with his index and middle finger stretched out and made a downward movement, which I could assume to be he’s either learning a two seamer, or the Rangers are working with him on a grip change on something. He doesn’t have much of a changeup, his arm slows noticeably and a couple got away from him, so maybe that’s it.

    After his session, the coach and his catcher went out and talked with him, patted him on the back and shaking hands, then he walked back over to the bullpen area where the water and gatorade jugs were. He took his hat off and threw it on the ground with his glove when a coach came over and said something to him, which he apparently didn’t understand. One of his interpreters went over, but Holland beat him there and I could read his lips, “have to run”, so they walked over to the exercise area (behind a covered wall, the reporters didn’t know he had left). He comes out the other side and the camera guys take off, so did Darvish and Holland.

    It was pretty funny watching them tripping over each other every time Darvish changed fields and especially when he was done, it was a good fifty yard spring to the back of the complex, watching these Japanese media guys trying to run while carrying 30 pound cameras or boom microphones was worth a ticket.

    They were all over the place, Darvish was STANDING STILL listening to Maddux go over the bunt signs and cameras were going off everywhere, and every time he moved they would be pushing and shoving trying to get the best shot.

    And then there were the groupies…Japanese girls with six inch heels trying to run through wet grass, one girl hit a soft spot and her shoe stayed in the ground, by the time she got it out and cleaned off Darvish had gone and she was near hysterical.

    From there I walked to another field and watched the big boys play; Hamilton, Cruz, Murphy, Andrus and Beltre were in the same hitting group against Feliz. There was more contact here obviously, Feliz hung a breaking ball to Murphy who took him deep. I would have liked to have seen Darvish against these guys, but he’s new in town and working on other stuff other than baseball, if he drills some AA utility player so what, if he breaks Hamilton’s arm with a pitch I imagine that wouldn’t go over very well.

    From a delivery standpoint I was impressed, moreso than by watching him on video (because I could see him from different angles instead of just one).

    He has a relatively short stride for a big guy, which is good. (His height is legit..both Harrison and Ogando are listed as 6′4″ and Darvish was at least as tall as they were standing next to them).

    His stride was consistent, he didn’t over-stride to drive his fastball down in the zone or shorten it to get some extra bite on his breaking stuff.

    He also has the same hesitation when he bring his hands over his head in his wind-up that all Japanese pitchers seem to have, but it’s not excessive like Dice-K or Hideo Nomo used to have. He also doesn’t hesitate at all from the stretch like they do either.

    I think some type of hesitation is good for a tall pitcher, it’s so easy for them to get out of whack in their delivery because it takes them longer naturally to make the same movements a shorter pitcher has to.

    (The Yankees could fix Dellin Betances’ command issues by simply implementing a brief hesitation at the top of his delivery).

    All told, I was there maybe an hour and fifteen minutes. I drove across the parking lot to Royals camp, I wanted to catch Bubba Starling if I could. After walking around for ten minutes, I saw Ned Yost signing autographs for some tourists, so I went over and asked him if Starling was in camp yet. He said yes, but he was with the minor leaguers and they don’t drill until noon. I checked my watch and it was 11:15, so I started to leave.

    I saw some of the main guys hitting; Francoeur, Butler, Escobar, Derrick Robinson and Lorenzo Cain.

    I went over next to the entrance gate to the field (which is roped off) and as I get there Robinson and Cain walk by leaving, with Chris Getz going on. As he goes by me, I feel something bounce off my leg, I look down and see a pair of sunglasses. I though Getz or one of the other guys dropped them, I picked them up and turned around, and standing two feet in front of me is Alex Gordon. He says, “those are mine”, I hand them to him, he says, “thanks”, I said, “no problem” and he takes off.

    He jumps in the cage and lines the first pitch up the middle off the pitching screen, then the next one one hop off the left center field fence (off a lefthander, some dude named Verdugo).

    At that point, I call it a day.

  51. Raul Says:

    That’s awesome.

  52. JohnBowen Says:

    Great stuff, Chuck.

    “He also has the same hesitation when he bring his hands over his head in his wind-up that all Japanese pitchers seem to have, but it’s not excessive like Dice-K or Hideo Nomo used to have. He also doesn’t hesitate at all from the stretch like they do either.

    I think some type of hesitation is good for a tall pitcher, it’s so easy for them to get out of whack in their delivery because it takes them longer naturally to make the same movements a shorter pitcher has to.”

    Do you recommend that from the stretch too, or just the wind-up? You mentioned that he didn’t bother with it from the stretch.

    I’ll be very curious to see how Darvish adjusts to the Majors. Pitching in the Texas heat is going to be an adjustment for sure – don’t all Japanese teams pretty much exclusively play in domes?

  53. JohnBowen Says:

    Damon and Guerrero are the most notable DH’s out there.

    What are Toronto’s plans for that position? Last year, they mostly used Edwin Encarnacion.

  54. Raul Says:

    They’re still using Encarnacion.

    If Guerrero is determined to play this year, maybe some team could inquire mid-season if there are injuries. Minnesota appears to be the only opportunity.

  55. JohnBowen Says:

    That could work, I suppose. Not sure Guerrero will want to play with the Twins if they’re out of the race, but they cleared up the Thome/Cuddyer/Kubel logjam.

    The guy’s just a couple years removed from a solid season in Texas. His numbers were probably inflated by ballpark/protection, but still, it’s not like this guy is a walking corpse.

  56. Chuck Says:

    “Do you recommend that from the stretch too, or just the wind-up?”

    Just the wind-up, because when pitching from the stretch you’re essentially eliminating half your delivery motion.

    The problem with tall guys out of the wind-up is you start back, then turn your body as you start your forward motion towards the plate.

    If your transition from backwards to forwards is too fast, it causes your upper body to lag behind your lower body. To compensate, you have to bend your back AWAY from the plate to catch your balance, which raises your release point, with the end result being all your pitches miss up in the zone.

    This isn’t as much a problem for shorter guys (like Tim Lincecum or Roy Oswalt) because pitches “up in the zone” for them are still strikes to most hitters.

    For a tall guy like Darvish and especially Betances, who is 6′8″, it’s virtually impossible for him get a high strike.

    In Japan;

    Most opposing teams are so close travel is high speed train charters, there are few trips requiring air travel.

    Most teams do play in domes, and even though there are some games outdoors, the temperatures there (and thus the humidity) wouldn’t be as high as in Dallas in the summer.

    Pitchers throw on five day’s rest, not four.

    The schedule is shorter.

    Competition, competition, competition.

  57. JohnBowen Says:

    Cool. I was just about to ask about Timmy Lincecum, but that makes sense – don’t have to worry about losing the high strike.

  58. Raul Says:

    Written like a 13 year old, but the comparison in responses near the end is…interesting.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/mlb/article_external/maybe_new_york_yankees_alex_rodriquez_respects_ryan_braun_herpes/10138276

  59. Chuck Says:

    Kate Conroy..come college kid who started on Bleacher Report..she’s a tool.

    “Oh, look at me, I have a computer and a website, that makes me cool.”

    Sure, until you start writing.

  60. Raul Says:

    “college kid who started on Bleacher Report..”

    Does not surprise me one bit, LOL

  61. Cameron Says:

    Great stuff Chuck. Spend another day at Royals camp when ya can. I’m curious to see what happens with these guys.

  62. Mike Felber Says:

    Very nice work Chuck, thanks!

  63. Bob Says:

    Chuck, thanks.

  64. Bob Says:

    John, about a week ago you said draws suck in chess, or something like that. Goto chessgames.com and do today’s quiz.

  65. Raul Says:

    Ah, so John isn’t really a douchebag. He’s a chess player. So all these jerky comments I’ve read over the years were just him channeling his inner Bobby Fischer. My bad.

    #TrollingComment

    BTW, that HBO documentary on Bobby Fischer a few months back was really good.

  66. Bob Says:

    I am assuming there are at least 3 of us who enjoy the game. And I had to cheat on today’s quiz. Monday- Wednesday are supposed to be easy, kind of like crossword puzzles. But today, I failed and failed badly. Sometimes a draw is better than a loss.
    And the documentary was good.

  67. Bob Says:

    Gary Sheffield has become an agent.

  68. Bob Says:

    He represents Jason Grilli and Josh Banks.

  69. Raul Says:

    Happy 24th birthday, Aroldis Chapman. After defecting from Cuba, Chapman signed a 5-year, 25.5 million dollar deal with the Cincinnati Reds. There’s no question that Chapman has a powerful arm and can reach the mid-to-high 90s with his fastball. But he’s been plagued with control issues, having walked 41 batters in 50 Major League innings in 2011. It is worth noting that despite being billed as a future starting pitcher, Chapman has started just 16 of the 117 games he’s appeared in between the Major and Minor leagues.

    Happy 82nd birthday, Frank Malzone. Malzone was a 6-time All-Star during the 1950s and ’60s with the Boston Red Sox. In his first full season, he hit .292/.323/.427 with 103 RBI finishing 2nd in the AL ROY voting to the Yankees’ Tony Kubek — and frankly, Malzone was robbed. He also tied the record for assists by a third baseman in a game with 10 that year. Frank Malzone is the answer to a good trivia question: Who was the last player to win a Gold Glove at 3B before Brooks Robinson started his 16-year run?

    Happy 29th birthday, Jeff Niemann. Niemann is one of those guys that seems like a prospect waiting to breakout, despite the fact that he’s a 4-year Major League veteran. To be fair, Niemann IS listed at 6′9, 260 pounds and it’s widely accepted that very tall players take a while to master their mechanics. That said, he’s likely topping out as a back-end starter. He posted a 4.06 ERA last year with Tampa in 135 innings. Ideally, you’d like to get more innings out of your 5th guy, but if he can post a similar ERA with 35-40 more innings, I think a lot of teams would accept that from their 5th starter.

    Happy 31st birthday, Brian Bannister. Bannister was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2002 in the 45th round, but would eventually go in the 7th round the next year with the New York Mets. Prior to 2006, Bannister looked like a pretty good prospect but struggled in his limited Major League appearances with the Mets. Traded to the Royals, he showed potential, going 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 165 innings. Unfortunately, things would only get worse from there — perhaps a product of becoming familiar to batters, or simply the curse of playing for some awful Kansas City Royals teams — as his ERA would balloon to 6.34 in 2011. Apparently, Bannister is an avid photographer and is the founder of a studio (Loft 19 Studios) in Phoenix, Arizona. According to Wikipedia, his work was featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, and American Photo.

  70. Raul Says:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7625905/ryan-braun-case-sample-collector-says-followed-protocols

  71. JohnBowen Says:

    @70, from the article:

    “”Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday. Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3,” Laurenzi said.”

    False.

    76th and Layton, basically a stone’s throw away from Miller Park. He even could’ve stopped in at Hooters on the way home.

    I also wanna know why MLB refused when Braun offered a sample of his DNA to confirm the contents of what was supposedly his urine.

    Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen?

    @64, I don’t recall saying that. I said that batting average treats walks as if they were a draw in chess (neither a win nor a loss) and that that’s silly.

    As far as actual chess goes, I would say a draw is pretty good if you’re playing someone far better than you.

  72. Raul Says:

    You’re conveniently leaving out the fact that even though Braun was initially offering to provide a sample of his DNA, he later backed off from that offer.

    Also, it should be noted that what the man said is that there was no FedEx that would ship that day. Not that there was no place that was open (or that he thought was open). And given the knowledge that all parties involved agreed that they do not want samples sitting in FedEx facilities, he promptly took it home — in accordance with past procedures.

    Look. There’s no way around this. Braun and everyone can argue about procedure. But there are undeniable facts.

    1. Braun saw the samples sealed.
    2. The three tamper-proof seals were received un-tampered with.
    3. Braun declined to question the validity of the test results.

    While he did not come out and specifically accuse anyone of tainting his sample, there is absolutely no other conclusion you can come to. He absolutely HAS to be implying that someone tainted it.

    Therefore, it stands to reason that anyone who believes Braun is innocent must believe that someone tainted his sample.

    The only other possibility, is that you believe he tested positively — that you believe in the test results — but that he did not intentionally seek out to ingest synthetic testosterone.

    Make your choice between the two.
    There is no 3rd option.

  73. JohnBowen Says:

    Where are you seeing that he backed away from the offer to provide a DNA sample?

  74. Raul Says:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7608360/milwaukee-brewers-ryan-braun-wins-appeal-50-game-suspension

    “Sources also told Munson that there was doubt over whose urine was actually being tested. Braun offered to take a DNA test to confirm whose urine was in the sample, but Major League Baseball declined. However, an MLB source told ESPN’s Mike Golic that Braun’s side backed off of the offer to take a DNA test.”

  75. Bob Says:

    John, perhaps I mis-quoted you. Just thought today’s quiz was a difficult one. At least it was for me.

  76. JohnBowen Says:

    I assume the catch is that Black has to sacrifice both rooks to salvage a stalemate @ 64.

  77. Bob Says:

    I’ll chime in again on the Braun fiasco, since it is not a contenious issue for me in comparison to others.

    1. Does it bother people that his name was leaked? It does me.
    2. When Manny got nailed, the lab knew what drug he was taking. No such claim has been determined in this case.
    3. How do we know that baseball lost on a “technicality”? Has Shyam Das said so? I have no idea why MLB baseball lost, but it did.

  78. Bob Says:

    @ 76. Correct. I could not figure that out today.

  79. Raul Says:

    1. Yes, Braun’s name should not have been leaked. It’s a failure of the process. That said, does that really change the result of the test? No. It does not.

    2. Um, ok.

    3. Because the science of the test was not in question. The results were not in question. Shyam Das hasn’t given an explanation for his decision. The likely belief is that he agreed that the test didn’t get to the lab in a speedy manner — per the process agreed upon between MLB and the players, and as such it is a failure of protocol. But for all intents and purposes, the integrity of the test (based on the fact that no one directly questioned it) is intact even though the implication is that it isn’t.

  80. JohnBowen Says:

    The science of the test was questioned, insofar as there was a question of what happened to the urine in 44 hours that it was inexplicably unaccounted for.

    Maybe Braun did withdraw the DNA offer and that would be pretty damning. But frankly, ESPN has been trying to cover its own bullshit since the day the story broke, so I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they were just covering their own ass on this. “Someone told Golic” .. ok.

    Someone told me that Braun is 100% innocent and that MLB is just trying to prove a point. You can trust me, I’m 100% objective on this matter. I swear.

    What, not buying that?

  81. Bob Says:

    In his own way did Braun not question the science of the test when he said: look my times going from home to second and first to third showed no improvement?
    I really am looking forward to the comments Das will make.

  82. Bob Says:

    John, I adhere to the philosophy it is “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” William Blackstone

    Have a good night.

  83. Raul Says:

    Oh.
    Right.
    Ok.

    @ #80

  84. Chuck Says:

    Brian Kenny’s commercial for MLBNetwork’s saber slanted “Clubhouse Confidential”.

    “Baseball’s a physical game built on intangibles, however, here, we prefer to focus on the tangibles, baseball’s not a simple game.”

    When you remove the intangibles it is.

  85. Chuck Says:

    Worst show on TV, bar none.

    “The Situation” is a more credible TV personality than Brian Kenny.

    Today they’re talking about innings counts.

    They mentioned Mark Prior, Dwight Gooden and Mark Fidrych.

    Three guys whose shortened careers had nothing to do with their innings or pitches.

    Embarrassing.

  86. JohnBowen Says:

    Of course you hate that show.

    Kinda counters your “sabermetrics is dead” theory.

  87. JohnBowen Says:

    I think it’s just common sense to not have a pitcher throw 140+ pitches immediately after surgery.

    It’s not babying. It’s being not-stupid.

  88. Chuck Says:

    “Kinda counters your “sabermetrics is dead” theory”

    LOL

  89. Raul Says:

    If it wasn’t for drugs, Gooden would be in the Hall of Fame. He isn’t a guy who was forced out by injuries.

    Fidrych had knee and shoulder injuries.

    Prior had an achillies injury, was hit in the elbow by a hit off Brad Hawpe and later had Tommy John surgery.

    Jake Westbrook had Tommy John surgery in 2008. In 2007 and 2008 he’d made 30 starts combined and had 6 starts where he threw more than 110 pitches. His career high innings pitched in a season is 215.

    In 2006 and 2007, Chris Capuano started a combined 59 games and of those, he eclipsed 110 pitches in a game 6 times. He got Tommy John surgery for the 2nd time and missed the 2008 season. His career high innings pitched in a season is 221.

    I’m sure they were effectively ruined into surgery by their managers.

    Shin Soo Choo had Tommy John surgery. So did Kelly Johnson, Matt Holliday, Paul Molitor and others.

    I’m sure they too were throwing too many innings.

    The fact of the matter is this ——- pitching, by its very nature is conducive to injury. It’s not a natural motion to throw overhand with that kind of force.

    The only pitcher I’ve heard of that rarely got injured was Tom Glavine — I think he didn’t go on the DL until he was like 42.

  90. JohnBowen Says:

    After making 4 combined starts from 2007-2008, the Cardinals pitched Carpenter for 190 IP in 2009, even though he was pitching better than pretty much anyone in the league.

    Then, he was back up to 230+. He led the league in IP last season.

    Seems like a sensible transition coming off an injury, no?

  91. brautigan Says:

    Except John, you’re creating fantasy and saying it is something that it is obviously not.

    Chris Carpenter had 5 starts prior to June 4th, 2009. From June 4th on, Carpenter had 23 starts, the amount you would expect from someone in the regular rotation. So, in other words, Carpenter was coming back from injury, but once he was good to go, he was pitched as often as not. In fact, he threw more innings per outing in 2009 than he did in 2010. In fact, in 2009 he threw over 100 pitches in 12 contests, and the following year, he completed that feat 18 times.

    If there was a “sensible transition”, it is not in the form that you described.

  92. Raul Says:

    Perhaps.
    But Carpenter could have pitched 150 and gotten hurt, it wouldn’t have been because of the Cardinals.

    People like to act like pitch counts and innings counts are the driving factors behind injuries. The fact is, they aren’t.

    Pitchers get hurt all the time. Relievers get hurt all the time. Infielders, outfielders get hurt all the time.

    It’s on an individual basis. And you can’t even categorize players by height and weight and assume they’ll get hurt or that they won’t.

  93. brautigan Says:

    Tim Collins is listed as 5′7 and 170 pounds.

    Bobby Shantz won the 1952 MVP trophy as a pitcher for the lowly Philadelphia Athletics.

    Bobby Shantz was listed as 5′6 and 139 pounds.

  94. Raul Says:

    No such thing ever happened.
    Bobby Shantz is not the name of a Major League pitcher.

    Bobby Shantz is the name of a guy who should be a wedding singer.

  95. John Says:

    “In fact, in 2009 he threw over 100 pitches in 12 contests, and the following year, he completed that feat 18 times.”

    Sounds right…

    “In fact, he threw more innings per outing in 2009 than he did in 2010.”

    More innings, yes…you’ve got me there.

    But he threw more pitches per start in 2010, which is exactly what you’d expect.
    “But Carpenter could have pitched 150 and gotten hurt, it wouldn’t have been because of the Cardinals.”

    Right, but there are ways to minimize injury risk.

    I just think throwing a ton right after a surgery is stupid and a good way to increase that risk.

    I also think it’s stupid to make 100 an arbitrary point for any non-ace, regardless of a plethora of other factors that should go into deciding when to yank’em.

  96. Raul Says:

    PEORIA, Ariz. — Pro scout and one-time Seattle Mariners director of player development Frank Mattox has died at age 49.

    The Mariners announced Mattox’s death on Monday morning. According to the team, Mattox passed away at his Peoria home on Sunday night.

    Mattox had spent 18 seasons in the Mariners organization. He was promoted to scouting director in 1998 and was named director of player development in 2004. In 2008, Mattox asked to go back to scouting and had worked as a major league scout ever since.

    Mattox, who played seven years of minor league ball in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, is survived by his wife and three children.

  97. Mike Felber Says:

    Chapman “can reach”in the mid 100’s, listed at 105 & 106-though the latter was under 103 on the pitch/fx reading. I wonder just how accurate the various measurements are, & which ones over & under rate guys. I have never heard this established before-that Ryan & Feller both threw pitches around 108. I do not think that this is established. And measurements were prmitive in rapid Rober’s day. Over 100 sure, how fast, who knows. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/671695-aroldis-chapman-and-the-15-fastest-pitches-ever-recorded

    Maybe Braun did not contest the results themselves because there is no method to prove this. Let’s say you take a test, score absurdly, historically high, & you are clean for a lifetime. What are you going to use to credibly argue that?

    I do not know if he was, & I agree his privacy should not have been compromised. Though i wonder if taking the wrong thing, medicinal or a supplement without intending to cheat, could have spiked his level that high. Except as I previously pasted from a chemist, the ratios that seemed so distorted might have been a result of transitory fluctuations or small measuring errors. He claimed it was the rations, not total T-Levels, that were off & could be misleading.

    I am confident…That i do not know what happened. Though i cannot see how the samples with seals intact could have been tampered with.

  98. Raul Says:

    It doesn’t mean anything whether a pitcher throws 95 or 105.
    Once you get to 94, batters have a real hard time catching up to it. A guy who can hit 94 when he needs it, and a guy who can hit 98 will be equally effective.

    Common sense tells you that it’s not the speed, but the movement and the change of speed between pitches that matters.

    Most pitchers who break hit the upper 90s and 100s tend to actually not be very good. They’re usually relief pitchers or guys that flame out quickly.

    If you look at great successful pitchers who could throw hard, almost without exception you’ll find that they were known to have excellent secondary pitches.

    Pedro Martinez could hit 97 at times but his change-up was what made him great.
    Doc Gooden had his curve.
    Randy Johnson had the slider.

    Aroldis Chapman has no secondary pitch of any quality. It’s why the Reds use him largely as a reliever and it’s why none of the large market teams (for which 25.5 million over 5 years is a drop in the bucket) passed on him when he was available.

  99. Mike Felber Says:

    I agree with most of that Raul. Though it does mean something to get right what speed a guy can reach, 1st to be factual & accurate.

    Next, it may not be common sense to those who do not experience it, himans are wowed by big #s-but sure, movement, LOCATION, & pitch selection/variety matter-more.

    But there is additive value in being faster. 1st, 105 has almost never been reached. If Chapman could hit that all the time, even if he did nothing else different, he would be more effective. Though yes, there is a limit to HOW good.

    But just bringing great heat can get you to the Show, even if only decent-mediocre at other things. Like being well over 7′ in basketball w/a giant wingspan: with just decent skills, you can be at least a reserve center, & if you are “only” around 6′ 9″ you would not make it at all.

    Most pitchers, or any athletes in a Pro sport, tend not to be great. But some outlier abilities & just decent talent elsewhere can let them at least compete at the top levels. Ernie Shavers,with his limited boxing skills & endurance, is a good boxing analogy. A legitimate contender, not a man likely to hold a HW title-well, in that golden age at least. His 1 punch fire power always could win a fight.

    My avatar had no great-we,, he had a change up. And approaching the end of his career in the ‘25 World Series he showed an excellent curve. But he overwhelmingly threw heat, was the most dominant pitcher ever.

    Now in this era he would not stand out quite so much. But his raw speed, movement & location would still be enough to be excellent at least.

    I recall listening to a car radio along W 57th Street & they announced Pedro as hitting 98 & 99.

  100. Bob Says:

    Raul, I eagerly your write-up of players born on Laep Day. If you fail, you will not get another shot for four years.

  101. Bob Says:

    Anthony Rendon told a reporter he is “Comfortable” at second base. So Zimmerman at 3rd and Rendon at second for fantasy players who want a second baseman in fantasy keeper leagues.

  102. Bob Says:

    I meannt Leap Day. Sorry.

  103. Chuck Says:

    My wife’s birthday is today.

  104. Bob Says:

    Raul, we demand a write-up. Chuck what year did you draft her? Shit, is it legal to give her a glass of wine? Let her vote? I highly doubt it.
    But nonetheless, Mrs. Johnson, Happy Birthday.

  105. brautigan Says:

    We used to laugh at the radar guns at PGE park in Portland. I swear, if I went out there and lobbed one in at home plate, the radar gun would read 90.

  106. Chuck Says:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120228&content_id=26903422&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  107. Raul Says:

    Happy 36th birthday, Terrence Long! Long was taken by the Mets in the 1994 draft that saw them with 3 1st round selections: Paul Wilson (1st overall), Terrence long (20th) and Jay Payton (29th). A solid talent, Long apparently came up at the wrong time. In an era where players were bulking up and hitting 35 homers a year like clockwork, doubles hitters who played solid defense weren’t exactly in high demand. After just 3 games with the Mets in 1999, he was shipped to Oakland for Kenny Rogers. Long had a solid 1st season in Northern California, hitting .288/.336/.452 in 138 games enroute to a 2nd place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, but his time in Oakland would get worse. And with Billy Beane firmly entrenched in his obsession with on-base percentage, Long soon played himself off the team. He would be sent down the freeway to San Diego (along with Catcher Ramon Hernandez) for Mark Kotsay. The change of scenery appeared to do Long some good. He hit .295/.335/.420 — but with only 3 home runs that year, San Diego moved him to Kansas City where Long continued to decline. After one year in Kansas City, he was granted free agency in 2006. Cincinnati signed him for 6 weeks and released him. The very next week the Yankees signed him but played him just 12 games and with that, his career was over — at the age of 30…or 7…depending on how you choose to look at it.

    Happy 88th birthday, Al Rosen! Your 1953 AL MVP, Rosen spent 10 years with the Cleveland Indians, and I’m sure that when the movie “Major League” was released and Harry Doyle promoted “Die Hard Night: Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant!”, I imagine he had Al Rosen in mind. Rosen didn’t start appearing in games until he was 23, wasn’t a full-time player until he was 26, but it should be noted he served 4 years in the Navy from ‘42-’46. After retirement, Rosen became a stock broker. Later on he’d rejoin MLB as COO of the Yankees and Astros, and later President and General Manager of the Giants who were division and pennant winners in the late 1980s. Word is that Rosen was an amateur boxer in his youth and quite sensitive about insults regarding his Jewish heritage (no surprise, given the times) and he’d threaten to beat up anyone who insulted him. Of note: when Rosen won the AL MVP in 1953, he led the league in Homers, Runs and RBI. He missed the triple crown by 1 point.

  108. Bob Says:

    So I was perusing another site, and someone said good luck getting the union to agree to drug testing when the current CBA expires.

  109. Raul Says:

    Whatever.

    The MLB will just paint the Players Association as wanting PEDs back in the game.
    The PA will paint MLB as incompetent and liars.

    They’ll compromise to have WADA do the testing, Olympic style.

  110. Raul Says:

    Interesting take on the Yankees and Michael Pineda…

    http://nybaseballdigest.com/2012/02/29/phil-hughes-and-the-yankees-rotation/

  111. Cameron Says:

    So far, the only MLB parks I know that rig their radar guns are Cincinnati and Detroit, the respective homes of Aroldis Chapman and Joel Zumaya.

  112. Bob Says:

    Raul, come labor Day, who do you think will be the 2nd and third best starters for thwe Yankees?

  113. Raul Says:

    I’d like to answer that question after Spring Training, but I will say Michael Pineda and Phil Hughes.

    I think Ivan Nova is more of a Chien Ming Wang-type.
    Good, over-achieving — but ultimately a back-end guy.

  114. Bob Says:

    Fair enough.

  115. Bob Says:

    Post 98 reminded me of Kevin Saucier for some reason. A look back at his career.

    203,2 innings pitched.
    104 walks
    94 k’s
    15 hit batters, which was why he retired. Afraid of killing someone with his fastball.

  116. Chuck Says:

    #113

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  117. John Says:

    @113, interesting comparison.

    Ivan Nova struck out just 98 batters last season.

    Wang struck out just 180 batters total from ‘06-’07 (the two years he was a 19-game winner.

  118. Cameron Says:

    Aw man, Rest In Peace Davy Jones of The Monkees.

  119. Bob Says:

    “Daydream believer” is one of my 3 favorite songs.

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