Daily Archives: November 22, 2016

Free Agent Michael Saunders Is the Best Value Fit for Giants, Phillies

Michael Saunders isn’t one of the flashier names in this year’s free agent class, but that doesn’t mean that he will not be an important contributor to a competitive team in 2017.

Saunders is coming off of the best year of his career. The 29 year old outfielder cooled off a bit in the second half, but he socked 24 home runs and hit .253 en route to his first All Star game as a member of the Blue Jays.

Saunders, a former Mariners 11th round pick, can handle both corner outfield spots and did a lot to dispel the notion that he struggles mightily against left handed pitching over the last 8 months: in 2016 he put up a .927 OPS and 8 homers against lefties.

That said, he’s a .235 lifetime hitter, who has never had more that 57 RBIs in a season and had never hit more than 19 homers before 2016. He is no longer a stolen base threat (he stole 21 in 2012), and has never produced more than 2.4 WAR in a season. He also missed most of 2014 and nearly all of 2015 with injuries.

So what are you getting if you sign Michael Saunders this winter? Well, you’re getting  a chance – a chance at some serious outfield power numbers (via both homers and doubles), a halfway decent OBP,  and a pretty consistent everyday player for the lower half of your lineup at likely a pretty decent price.

To continue reading about Michael Saunders’ fit with the Phillies and Giants, please click on over to Off The Bench Baseball.

5 Advanced Stats That Show The Best Could Still Be Ahead For Mike Trout

After bringing home the American League Most Valuable Player award for the second time in his young career, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is in elite company. But is there reason to believe the best is yet to come for the 25-year-old?

It doesn’t seem like he could actually get any better at this point, but some advanced statistics show that’s not an entirely crazy statement. Which is pretty crazy in itself.

With five full years in the big leagues under Trout’s belt, he’s already accomplished plenty:

The years he didn’t win the AL MVP? He placed second in the voting, which is the first time any player has done that to start their career. He also joins Barry Bondsas the only players to finish in the top two of voting for five consecutive years…ever.

Trout has played at an elite level since 2012 – the lowest fWAR he’s produced in a full season of play was 7.9 back in 2014. Him getting better sounds preposterous, but that’s exactly what Buster Olney said he’s doing last week on the Baseball Tonight podcast.

After looking at his year-by-year progression in the following five areas, it’s not hard to believe the best is yet to come for Trout.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

The Final Word on 2016: New York Yankees

It has only been a couple short weeks since the Cubs clinched game 7 in Cleveland on the 2nd November and ended their 108-year curse. Yet the ruthlessness of Major League Baseball is evident in the fact that Theo Epstein, just named Executive of the Year in the biggest understatement of the 2016 season, is already back to work.

The Cubs, clearly the best team in baseball, are once-again looking forward to next year, so think how the other 29 GMs must be feeling. As soon as Michael Martinez grounded one to Kris Bryant at third and the ball reached the mitt of a jubilant Anthony Rizzo waiting at first, the off-season began. But to move forward you must first reflect.

That’s the purpose of this series of posts, highlighting the highs and lows, strengths and flaws of each franchise in turn during 2016. From this we can begin to evaluate what each club’s offseason might look like, which gaps will be addressed first and who might upset the apple-cart in 2017. This week we’re starting with the AL East:

New York Yankees:

2016 recap: In what could have easily been a bleak season for the 4th placed Yankees, an extensive clear-out of veterans including Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira means that Yankees fans have plenty to be optimistic about heading into the new year. Finishing 84-78 saw the Yankees fall just short of a playoff berth that they flirted with briefly in the final months of the season.  The best part of the year, however, might not have even come on the field. Brian Cashman dominated the trade deadline, gobbling up highly touted prospects to stock the farm-system up strongly. Furthermore, the performances of rookie phenom Gary Sanchez restored some much-needed spark, youth and vigor to Yankee stadium, 2016 may be viewed as a turning point for this franchise in the next few seasons.

Offseason agenda: Don’t expect too much this offseason, the Yankees will surely have their eyes on the star-studded free-agent class of 2018. But much can be done this winter to build some strong foundations.

Please click on over to offthebenchbaseball.com to continue reading about The Yankees offseason agenda. 

The Final Word on 2016: Boston Red Sox

It has only been a couple short weeks since the Cubs clinched game 7 in Cleveland on the 2nd November and ended their 108-year curse. Yet the ruthlessness of Major League Baseball is evident in the fact that Theo Epstein, just named Executive of the Year in the biggest understatement of the 2016 season, is already back to work.

The Cubs, clearly the best team in baseball, are once-again looking forward to next year, so think how the other 29 GMs must be feeling. As soon as Michael Martinez grounded one to Kris Bryant at third and the ball reached the mitt of a jubilant Anthony Rizzo waiting at first, the off-season began. But to move forward you must first reflect.

That’s the purpose of this series of posts, highlighting the highs and lows, strengths and flaws of each franchise in turn during 2016. From this we can begin to evaluate what each club’s offseason might look like, which gaps will be addressed first and who might upset the apple-cart in 2017. This week we’re starting with the AL East:

Boston Red Sox:

2016 recap: As a Red Sox fan myself it is challenging to know what to conclude about 2016. A resurgence was expected after the signing of David Price to headline the rotation, but a division title nevertheless proved a satisfying result for Red Sox nation. But the languid, tepid even, performances against the Indians confirmed a worrying trend of inconsistency during 2016. When the bats were hot this Red Sox squad was unbeatable, frequently putting double figures on teams throughout the year, but when the bats were cold… yikes. This might seem a harsh criticism of a young team on an incredibly strong bounce back year from being basement dwellers in 2015. But the postseason proved that this team is still some way from where it wants to be, even before losing David Ortiz.

Please click on over to offthebenchbaseball.com to continue reading about the Red Sox offseason agenda. 

The Final Word on 2016: Baltimore Orioles

It has only been a couple short weeks since the Cubs clinched game 7 in Cleveland on the 2nd November and ended their 108-year curse. Yet the ruthlessness of Major League Baseball is evident in the fact that Theo Epstein, just named Executive of the Year in the biggest understatement of the 2016 season, is already back to work.

The Cubs, clearly the best team in baseball, are once-again looking forward to next year, so think how the other 29 GMs must be feeling. As soon as Michael Martinez grounded one to Kris Bryant at third and the ball reached the mitt of a jubilant Anthony Rizzo waiting at first, the off-season began. But to move forward you must first reflect.

That’s the purpose of this series of posts, highlighting the highs and lows, strengths and flaws of each franchise in turn during 2016. From this we can begin to evaluate what each club’s offseason might look like, which gaps will be addressed first and who might upset the apple-cart in 2017. This week we’re starting with the AL East:

Baltimore Orioles:

2016 recap: A decision not to use star reliever Zach Britton in the AL wild-card has rightly left some Orioles fans wondering what might have been – and that’s a significant dampener on what was a successful 2016 for the Orioles. Securing third place in a super-competitive AL East and losing the lottery that is the wild-card game must not be considered a failure given the payroll situation in Baltimore, annually competing with the free-spending Red Sox and Yankees.

Please click on over to Off The Bench to check out the Baltimore Orioles’ offseason agenda.

Major League Baseball Fan Foul Ball Fatalities in Context: Soccer, Tour de France and Racing FAR More Dangerous to Fans than Foul Balls

a foulballzAfter Andy Zlotnick commented on my Twitter feed and compared baseball to the X-Games and “Reality TV”, as he did in the HBO Real Sports episode I discussed in an earlier two posts (PART I and PART II), I started to wonder if baseball really is as dangerous to spectators and players as people keep claiming. The counterargument is predicated on the idea that 1750 fans are injured every year at Major League Baseball games. That’s the number Bryant Gumbel indicated in Real Sports and it’s the number a lot of others also misrepresent. They assume that is the number of fans hit by balls and bats each season. It’s actually the number of fans injured in relation to a ball or bat. That is, fans often injure themselves going for a ball or ducking out of the way of an errant bat.

All this got me to wondering. As it turns out baseball is one of the safest for spectators and participants. With a rounded up number of 2000 fans injured in relation to a foul ball or bat, and considering one fan in 100+ years has died, I started looking at other fan fatalities in other sports.

THE DEADLIEST SPORTS

Soccer is by far the most deadly professional sport. It has riots. Over 800 people have died over the last 20 years as a result of hatred between fans who’ve gone on to pummel one another to death after a match. Baseball fans tend to riot only when their team wins the World Series, and while a few fans have died as a result of riots, we don’t come close to 800 deaths.

READ MORE AT FOULBALLZ.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Twenty-Five Detroit Tigers “Things” That I Am Thankful For

tigers-mount-rushmore

With Thanksgiving a couple days away, I wanted to share twenty-five Detroit Tigers “things” that I am thankful for…

  1. Mike Illitch and his commitment to win
  2. Miguel Cabrera
  3. Justin Verlander’s bounce back season
  4. Sparky (Sparky Anderson)
  5. Witnessing the ’84 team
  6. Going to games with my dad and now my son

Continue reading at Sons of ’84

What next for the Tigers?

Is it finally time for the men from Detroit to turn away from Mike Ilitch’s title-chasing instincts? We look to one of the betting markets’ likely ‘big movers’.

What was the story last season?
The Tigers made some serious splashes in the 2015 off-season, signing Justin Upton, Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey as well as swinging a trade for closer Francisco Rodriguez. With some of the team’s cornerstone players (Cabrera, Verlander, Martinez) beginning to enter their twilight years, the front office clearly felt that the time was now. It was not. The Tigers were never really in the division race and although they stuck around in the wildcard hunt they fell 2.5 games short at 86-75.

Full article at Batflips & Nerds.

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