Daily Archives: March 12, 2016
On January 5, 2016, Eric Young Jr. quietly signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers with an invitation to spring training in the big-league camp. I say quietly because most reporters gave the signing an obligatory two or three paragraph article after it was first mentioned December 31, and finalized a few days later. Of course there is more to this signing than meets the eye since his father once played for the Brewers. So today on the blog I’d like to provide a bit more depth and backstory than has been reported so far. To tell Junior’s story, first let’s go back and take a look at his father’s story and stint with the Brewers. Eric Young, or ‘EY’ as he was nicknamed and will be referred to going forward, had a pretty good career in the big leagues and played for 15 seasons all told. He was born in Brunswick, New Jersey, and stuck around to play both baseball and football at Rutgers. EY decided to pursue a career in baseball and was drafted in the 43rd round of the 1989 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yup, you read that right – the 43rd round.
With two spots open in the bullpen, Josh Smoker is hoping he can prove his worth and snag a spot on the big league roster. But what makes his story interesting is not that he hits 97 mph on the gun at spring training, but rather the events that took place to get him there.
Smoker was a former #1 draft pick for the Washington Nationals, but injuries would lead to shoulder surgeries and eventually his release from the team in 2012. After playing for the Frontier League in 2014, and proving his shoulder was better than before, MLB teams were still not interested enough to take a look at Josh and retirement seemed on the horizon.
If the New York Mets had any plans of giving themselves a shot at returning to the World Series, many fans and analysts felt that re-signing Yoenis Cespedes was necessary.
After all, his impact on the lineup and how it produced last season was impossible to ignore (stats via ESPN):
|Before Trade||After Trade|
|Runs per game||3.5||5.4|
Without him, what New York accomplished wouldn’t have happened. Having Cespedes back this year lengthens the lineup and makes it a lot more dangerous, but there can be an argument made that he’s not the most important piece.
For me, that honor gets bestowed upon Lucas Duda.
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The 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook is now available for purchase and is already drawing great reviews! When I introduced the Houston Farm System Handbook in 2015, almost all of the reviews were of the 5-star variety (one person raved that they loved it but only gave it 4 stars).
Astros Announcer Bill Brown complimented me on doing “a masterful job cataloging tons of information on the Astros prospects” and really liked the portability of an e-book.
As good as that 2015 Handbook was, the 2016 version should prove to be even more valuable to prospect fans everywhere with the addition of a “Beyond the Top Prospects” depth chart.
On March 17 the second qualifier of the World Baseball Classic will start. Mexico will host the Czech Republic, Germany and Nicaragua during this four day event.
The stadium where the tournament will be played is generally known as Estadio Nido de los Aguilas but it goes by the name of its sponsor Estadio B-Air. The stadium was constructed in 1976 and serves as the home of the Mexicali Aguilas of the Mexican Pacific League (one of the winter leagues in Mexico). The stadium has a capacity of 19,500 and meets all the needs of the modern professional ball player.
Normally Mexico is the clear favorite to win this Qualifier.
THE LONDON TRIP!
The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast is on the road and going international! The first podcast from London, England. I talk about the city, their strange coins and how some of baseball can be traced back to The Prince of Wales of all people.
Make sure to drive on the correct side of the street on this global episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
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On March 17 the third qualifier of the World Baseball Classic will start. Panama will host Columbia, France and Spain during this four day event.
The stadium where this four day event will be played is Rod Carew Stadium, which served as stadium for the 2011 World Cup final which was won by the Netherlands. Also the 2012 Qualifiers were played in this stadium as Brazil surprisingly beat Panama 1-0 in the final. The stadium’s official name is Estadio Nacional de Panamá. The stadium was constructed in 1999 and has a capacity of 27,000. Shortly before the Qualifiers start, the Yankees and the Marlins are scheduled to play two exhibition games at the stadium.
This group may have three favorites to advance to the main tournament: Colombia, Spain and Panama.