Wilmer Flores says his ankle is 100% since the injury and that 2015 will be a season he will never forget thanks to the fans.
With spring training around the corner, I wanted to take a look at a couple of young players for each team that I think will have a larger impact in 2016. We’ll start with the American League and move to the National at the end of the week.
Manny Machado, SS – How does a guy who collected 102 runs, 181 hits, 30 doubles, 35 homers, and 86 RBI make more of an impact? Simple, the kid is currently just 23 and I think he’ll continue having better plate discipline where he can build on his career .281 batting average (.286 in 2016). This is based on a jump in walk ratio as he went from a career high 5.7% in 2014 to 9.3% in 2015. Some sites are predicting a large drop in power, however again, I think because of age, he’s just developing his gap power as there was a huge boost to in his career percentage (9%) of extra base hits in 2016 (9.3%), yet the home runs jumped from a career high of 14 in 2013 to 35 last season.
Sandy Alderson checked in with WOR’s Pete McCarthy and commented on the roster, having Cespedes back in Queens, and Harvey’s appearance on Watch What Happens Live!
Last week I stopped off at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for a couple of hours to see what was going on if anything and to see what players may have already shown up to get a jump on spring training. I have not been out earlier this year because the weather here in SW Florida has been a bit strange this year. A couple of weeks ago we had a tornado about a mile from the condo in Cape Coral and a few days later they had another tornado touch down in Ft. Myers not too far from Page Field. Cape Coral which is just across the river from Ft. Myers has had almost 13″ of rain in January and they average under 2″ of rain, so it has been a wet January. February has started out cool and windy (for this area anyway) with temperatures in the low to mid 60’s and our average is 75 for this time of the year.
When I got to the ballpark there were a couple of people buying spring training game tickets as I headed towards the back fields where I would expect to find the action if there was going to be any. The rest of the story can be seen here.
What does the alarming Tommy John surgery rate mean for the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Spring training is less than two weeks away for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which means reports will soon start pouring in of players suffering season-ending injuries and surgeries, specifically Tommy John surgery.
According to a database maintained by Jon Roegele, there have been 1,169 such surgeries since its namesake first went under the knife of Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974.
If it seemed like the Pirates were plagued by the surgery bug in 2015, that’s because they were.
In the Jim Benedict era, the former assistant to the general manager, critical to pitcher development in the organization, the Pirates had 33 players from the Dominican Summer League up through the majors lose time to Tommy John surgery just since 2009.
From 1974 to 2008, they had just 15. In fact, no team has had more since 2009.
What can the team do to stop this disturbing trend?
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Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of. The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over.
It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury.
When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team. I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager.
Honestly, no one could hit the guy. As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him.
Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams. There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher.
He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004. Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk.
Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing junk until they are finished high school.
There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude.
Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while. The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly.
If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching!
Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter. Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite.
Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.
I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time.
This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years. Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.