Brewers

Baseball, a Game of Failure


-David S.-

Baseball = Failure

In response to a feature article on Bleacher Boy in the newspaper, The Journal Times, I am reposting a topic that was highlighted.

I am always reminded that baseball is a huge game of failure.  Great hitters hit a .300 average.  Look at it this way, it means you FAIL 70% of the time.  That’s a huge percentage.  You are guaranteed to fail.  If while at bat, you advance a runner and he gets into scoring position, but you get out, do you fail?  Absolutely not.  Your batting average will be lower, which may look bad on the surface.  However, you are part of a team whose goal is to score runs.  Let’s say the winning run is on third and you crush the ball to the outfield and the fielder makes an amazing play.   You don’t fail because your goal is to hit the ball solidly and you succeeded.  You tip your cap to the defender and try again.  This unfortunately is a scenario that’s happened to me many times.  Another scenario would be if there is a full count and bases are loaded in the last inning.  You strike out.  Yes, this is failing, but it’s part of the game.  It happens to everyone.   No matter how hard you try, the game of baseball will always win.  So you will always face adversity, but it is how you respond to it that makes the difference between good players and great ball players!

Negative Thinking = Contagion

On my traveling baseball team, many of the kids get very upset after committing an error or not batting well.  ( Parents, it doesn’t help if you’re screaming or putting pressure on your kid.)  If this ever happens to me, I just try my best to be positive and to keep my head up as well as encourage teammates.  Otherwise, this can cause you to play horribly because you are not in a good mental mood.  If one person starts having a bad attitude, it spreads like a disease.  Everyone starts getting upset and frustrated and the team starts to fade. The other team smells this frustration and  takes advantage of it and then uses it against you.  They will crush you to pieces.  I’ve seen this happen to my team numerous times.  Kids crying, helmets thrown, missed grounders, bad throws -it’s ugly.  I’ve heard that scouts hope to see errors when looking at players.  They want to see how a player handles mistakes mentally and how/if they can recover.  My advice:  Let it go!  Don’t  mix offense and defense.  Leave the error on the field.  Leave the strikeout in the batter’s box.   Each player needs to find what works for them – so learn to forgive yourself and move forward!!!  And “PLAY BALL!!”

Tim Tebow Comes Out Of Retirement…For The MLB!


-David Strobach-

Former NFL QB and Heisman winner, Tim Tebow, has decided to pursue a career in professional baseball.  This is completely SERIOUS. So serious that he plans to hold a workout for MLB teams later this month and he’s been reportedly training over the past year in Arizona to refine his skills since he last played as a junior in high school in 2005.  At Nease High School, Tim Tebow was an all-state baseball player who raked .494.  Below is Tebow pictured in high school. Mark DeRosa jokingly said on MLB Network that he swings like Mark Teixeira.

(Courtesy of The St. Augustine Record)

 

Not convinced yet?  Tebow’s agents, Jimmy Sexton and Nick Khan,,  are working with Brodie Van Wagenen, the co-head of CAA Baseball, to make his baseball dream come true.  Van Wagenen said in a statement, “This may sound like a publicity stunt, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have seen Tim’s workouts and people inside and outside the industry – scouts, executives, players and fans – will be impressed by his talent. As an agent, I have a genuine respect for how hard it is to succeed at the game of baseball and a true admiration for those who possess the talent to play it at the Major League level. Tim’s tool set is real.”

 

The reactions revolving around Tebow’s baseball dream have been mixed…

 

Former Major Leaguer Gary Sheffield and 9-time All-Star has been impressed with Tebow:

Chad Moeller, a former MLB catcher has had great things to say about Tebow, “I am beyond impressed with Tim’s athleticism and swing, and it goes without saying that he has shown a high level of discipline and strong work ethic. I see bat speed and power and real baseball talent. I truly believe Tim has the skill set and potential to achieve his goal of playing in the Major Leagues, and based on what I have seen over the past two months, it could happen relatively quickly.”

 

Tom Kotchman, former Los Angeles Angels scout said to WEEI-AM, “We wanted to draft him, but he never sent back his information card. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise we were going to take him.”

An Independent League team has even offered Tebow a contract:

The White Sox AA affiliate, the Birmingham Barons joined in on the fun with a Michael Jordan reference:

Adam Jones, Greg Swindle, Dontrelle Willis aren’t too sure about Tebow:

 

https://twitter.com/GregSwindell/status/763031491651723264

Tim Tebow will continue to be ridiculed for his choice, but that won’t stop him.  He’s dealt with media crap his whole career.  Tim Tebow is the role model every kid should strive to be.  He is incredibly hard working, committed and persistent as well as a fantastic all around man.  I am rooting for him to make it. Is it likely? Odds are against him but anything is possible and I would love nothing more than to see Tebow prove everyone wrong!

Fan Failures on All-Star Vote


-David Strobach-

The annual All-Star Game rosters are out and the fickle fan vote has resulted in some poor choices once AGAIN!

 

I actually really like how the AL votes panned out.  I agree with most main starters that the fans picked here.  Miggy could very well be starting over Hosmer at first, but Hosmer has been incredible.  Many may be fuming over the fact that Astros SS Carlos Correa isn’t in the game, but Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor have been two of the best players in the game.  The AL SS position is incredibly strong and Correa simply has not been as good as the two that are in the game.  It’s great to see Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright (2.68 ERA) deservedly make the roster.

Lindor has been a major sparkplug for the thriving Indians (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Although I thought the fans did a good job with the AL, it is embarrassing for the NL showing.  The entire Cubs infield starting is ridiculous.  Don’t me wrong, I am a Brewers fan but I am not being biased here because some facts and stats offer up some better some options.   Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant deserve to start, they are some of the best in the league.

Addison Russell starting…you gotta be kidding me! He’s hitting .242/.337/.418 with an OPS of .754 and 11 home runs.  The fans voted him to start over Corey Seager! Seager is hitting .303/.363/.537 with an OPS of .900 and 17 home runs.  Seager is a reserve and is  currently the BEST shortstop in the NL and beats Russell in almost EVERY WAY!  By no means is Russell a bad player, but there’s not a chance in the world he should be starting.  Trevor Story (.257/.324/.530 with an .854 OPS and 19 home runs) is a final vote candidate so he may make it, but he could have been on the team easily over Russell  The slick fielding and most underrated player in baseball, Brandon Crawford (.271/.344/.425 with an OPS of .769 and 8 home runs) would have been a better choice too. It is impossible to say Russell is the top NL SS.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Second baseman, Ben Zorbist, has been stellar this year, but starting over reserve Daniel Murphy….c’mon.  Zorbist is hitting .291/.399/.474 with an OPS of .873 and 12 bombs while Murphy has arguably been the best hitter in baseball and is leading the league in hits (101) and average with .345/.384/.574 and an OPS of .957 and 14 home runs.  Zorbist should be the reserve here.

Love em or hate em, Ryan Braun (final vote candidate) should have been a sure thing starter for the All-Star Game. He could still get in the game, but it is absurd he isn’t starting.  He leads all NL outfielders in batting average and is slashing .322/.378/.533 and an OPS of .912 and 13 dingers.  He’s arguably also been the best outfielder in the NL and more than deserving for an All-Star spot. It makes total sense that fans may not vote for Braun because of the PED cloud hanging over his head, which is a big reason why the fan vote itself needs to end because this game matters.

The MLB All-Star Game winner’s league earns World Series home field advantage which is huge.  Baseball’s “best” is not being truly represented by the fans for a game of significant value.  I think most Cubs fans would agree they would rather have Seager up to win the game than Russell.  Teams should have full control of their World Series destinies, including who has home field advantage and not let fans put that in otherplayers hands.  The MLB needs to do one or the other: take away the fan vote or take the value from the game.

 

 

Rosters below:

AL Starters

C Salvador Perez, Royals (highest total vote getter)
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B Jose Altuve, Astros
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
OF Mike Trout, Angels
OF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

 

AL Reserves

C Stephen Vogt, Athletics
C Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
3B Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
IF Eduardo Nunez, Twins
OF Carlos Beltran, Yankees
OF Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF Mark Trumbo, Orioles
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

AL Pitchers

RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays
LHP Cole Hamels, Rangers
RHP Danny Salazar, Indians
LHP Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP Steven Wright, Red Sox
RHP Dellin Betances, Yankees
RHP Brad Brach, Orioles
RHP Zach Britton, Orioles
RHP Alex Colome, Rays
RHP Wade Davis, Royals (injured)
RHP Will Harris, Astros
RHP Kelvin Herrera, Royals
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox
LHP Andrew Miller, Yankees

 

NL Starters

C Buster Posey, Giants
1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs

NL Reserves

C Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
C Wilson Ramos, Nationals
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
1B Wil Myers, Padres
2B Daniel Murphy, Nationals
SS Corey Seager, Dodgers
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
IF Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF Odubel Herrera, Phillies
OF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
OF Adam Duvall, Reds

NL Pitchers

RHP Jake Arrieta, Cubs
LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants
RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
RHP Jose Fernandez, Marlins
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (injured)
LHP Jon Lester, Cubs
RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RHP Julio Teheran, Braves
RHP Jeurys Familia, Mets
RHP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
RHP Mark Melancon, Pirates
RHP A.J. Ramos, Marlins
RHP Fernando Rodney, Padres/Marlins

 

 

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Who is the True “Hit King,” Rose or Ichiro?


-David Strobach-

Ichiro Suzuki lined a double off San Diego Padres pitcher  Fernando Rodney for his 4,257th hit of his baseball career from Japan and Major League Baseball which combined passed Pete Rose for all-time hits.  In Japan Ichiro had 1,278 hits and 2,979 MLB hits.  Many people are crowning Ichiro the “Hit King” which is spurring much debate, is Ichiro the true “Hit King,” or is it Charlie Hustle?

 

Ichiro right away was his respectable humble self saying, “For me, it’s not about the record, it’s about my teammates and the fans.”  He has always been a such a humble and great man.  He did not claim himself as “Hit King” or boast about it in any way.

Ichiro’s iconic at-bat routine will forever be remembered- Nick Wass/Associated Press

Pete Rose made his opinion known to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale saying,

“It sounds like in Japan they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high school hits. I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.”

As much as this pains me to say it, I agree with Pete Rose.  All of Ichiro’s hits in Japan shouldn’t be in consideration when talking about MLB records.  It is incredible that Ichiro has hit that much in his career and even more incredible that he is approaching 3,000 MLB hits after coming into the Majors as 27 year-old.  Pete Rose, however, should still be considered MLB’s “Hit King” because he hit all 4,256 of them in the MLB.  He really does have a strong point that I agree with concerning the type of play here and in Japan.  The talent is simply better here and they are completely different leagues.  There’s reason tons of Japan players dreams are to play in the MLB.   Only MLB stats should be in consideration when talking about MLB records.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Ichiro deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and should be considered to be one of the greatest hitters the world has ever seen.  Not only has he been one of the greatest, but Ichiro is an international icon.  Many around the world will recognize the name Ichiro.   He plays with all his heart and has made great contributions to the MLB.  I am not trying to take anything away from his stellar career, but unfortunately, the one and only Charlie Hustle deserves the title, “Hit King,” not Ichiro.

Let’s all enjoy the major milestones of future Hall of Famer:

 

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The Revelation of Jonathan Villar


-David Strobach-

Brewers shortstop, Jonathan Villar, has been nothing short of a revelation.   He was supposed to be just a gap shortstop until top prospect, SS Orlando Arcia, made his way up.  He was acquired this past off-season from the Astros in exchange for minor league RHP Cy Sneed.  Jonathan Villar has been a stud for the Brew Crew this year. Why is no one talking about him?  Let’s see just how good Villar has been.

Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America

Villar, only 25 years old, is slashing .296/.387/.426 with an OPS of .813, 5 home runs, and a league leading 23 stolen bases.  Jonathan has exceptional on-base skills with his .387 OBP.  As soon as he gets on first, it’s almost a sure bet he’ll be swiping second.  Villar has been hitting around .300 all year and it is far enough into the season to say he is no fluke.  He’s challenging pitchers with every aspect of his game.  His most underrated tool is his defense.  Defensively, Villar makes the plays and is always smooth at short.

FanGraphs states in their post on Villar: “Villar is on pace to hit 13 home runs, steal 60 bases, and bat .292. That’s 2014 Jose Altuve, but more power and less batting average.” That’s a pretty darn good way to look at how well he has been performing.  Mentioning Jose Altuve‘s name in the same sentence as Villar’s shows what kind of player he has been.  If you would like a more advanced breakdown on his success, I encourage you to read FanGraphs work.

From a fantasy perspective, ESPN fantasy baseball has him ranked as the seventh player in all!  Pretty amazing for a huy that was only supposed to be “gap player.”

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

What makes Villar even more valuable is that not only is he playing All-Star caliber baseball, he’s young (25) and controllable (Brewers control through 2020).  David Stearns, Brewers GM, has said time and time again how his main goal is to find young controllable talent and he has found quite a hidden gem in Jonathan.  Villar should be a valuable core in the Brewers rebuild by moving positions (probably 3rd) when Arcia comes to take his spot. Let’s all applaud David Stearns for this fantastic find.

 

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Snoop Dogg Shows That Weed, Gin N’ Juice Don’t Work As PEDs


-David Strobach-

Rapper Snoop Dogg recently threw out the first pitch at the San Diego Padre’s game.  He reminded us all that smoking weed and drinking gin and juice do not work as PEDs. 🙂  Check out his first pitch below:

 

 

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To Trade or Not To Trade: The Case of Jonathan Lucroy


-David Strobach-

Milwaukee Brewers catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, was already one of the hottest names on the trade market and with his return this year to elite status, everyone has an eye on him.  The tough question for the Brewers is whether to trade Lucroy or not.  Let’s examine the pros and the cons.

 

To Trade

Milwaukee’s farm system is already among the best in the league and a Lucroy trade would make it a top 3 farm system with ease. Catchers who rake and field their position well are rare so Lucroy’s value is through the roof.  He is currently hitting  316/.372/.539 as of June 6, with 9 bombs and an OPS of .911 after a DREADFUL 2014. The Brew Crew would receive an elite prospect package, adding to the already impressive group of  players featuring Orlando Arcia, Brett Phillips,  Josh Hader, and Trent Clark.  The Brewers also have the 5th overall pick in the upcoming draft, bolstering the farm even more.  Luc’s contract is incredibly team friendly, making him even easier to move.  The future is already bright, but with a trade and draft here, it gets even brighter, looking at possible young stars. Lastly, Lucroy has expressed interest in being traded to a winning team.

Top Prospect: Orlando Arcia Benton Reed/Biloxi Shuckers

To Not Trade

Jonathan Lucroy is a fan favorite with the “LUUUUUCCCC,” chants heard every at-bat.  It’s hard to give up one of the faces of the franchise that is so well liked.  Everyone thought the Brewers were going to be quite dreadful while rebuilding this year, but they’ve actually been playing well. They are working their way back to .500 with only a few games under now.   The bullpen has showed it’s elite with the likes of Tyler Thornburg, Blaine Boyer, Will Smith, and the dominance of closer Jeremy JeffressJimmy Nelson is coming into his own and looks like he could be a 1, 2, or 3 for the rotation for years to come.  Overall,  the rotation has been serviceable other than the liability of Wily Peralta on the mound.  Ryan Braun has returned to his old self and is having one of the best years of his career.  Hernan Perez keeps hitting his way into the line up and Aaron Hill has heated up since his rough start.  Jonathan Villar has been an absolute stud, hitting over .300, leads the league in stolen bases, and plays an exceptional shortstop.  Lucroy is a core player and a leader.  Finding another catcher like him is almost impossible. He could be vital in developing young pitchers and will be a valuable bat in the line up.  With the revelation of Villar and the elite bullpen, the Brewers could become more competitive sooner than people think.  Top prospect Orlando Arcia will soon be playing gold glove caliber D at short and hopefully Villar gets moved over to second because his bat has to stay in the line up.  A Braun, Phillips, and Domingo Santana outfield could be great.  Josh Hader is showing ace flashes featuring an ERA under 1. It’s hard to put a timeline on young prospects like Trent Clark, but let’s say these prospects I’ve talked about make their way up within 3 years, it could make the Brew Crew competitive.  Lucroy would be a central piece for the years to come if he can be retained.  The Brewers are quietly putting together a solid core that Luc is crucial to.

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

My Verdict: To Not Trade

I see Luc being  too valuable down the road to trade! The Brewers with their solid play this year may convince him to want to stay.  He is more valuable to the Brew Crew for the years to come to help anchor a line up as well as help develop up and coming pitchers.  He is one of the few “veteran” leaders on the team along with Braun – which also helps sell tickets.  This is an incredibly tough decision that David Stearns will have to make.  Would I be upset if he was traded and they received a great return?  Absolutely not, I  can accept their wanting to position the team for the future.  Either way, there are positives and negatives to keep Luc. Personally, I would miss him – and so would my sister who cherishes his autograph and catches because of him.

What would you do as GM?

 

 

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