stolen bases

Put Pitchers in the Derby!


-David Strobach-

Recently in the media there have been tons of buzz about a pitcher possibly being in the Home Run Derby. Specifically, a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner . Noah Syndergaard, aka “Thor,” has expressed interest in this event as well as Jake Arrieta.  Also, Adam Wainwright wants a part in the derby.  Should the MLB have a pitcher’s Home Run Derby or let them hit with the big boppers?  The answer to either question is YES, absolutely.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

This is something baseball needs.  It’s a breath of fresh air to the All-Star break and would be wildly entertaining. The new derby rules the MLB put into place were a fantastic addition last year, but this would make the event even better.  Having either a pitcher derby or throwing some in with everyone else would make the event must-see T.V.  The MLB has even discussed the possibility having a pitchers derby.  It would probably make more sense to only add a pitcher or two to the mix of all other players.

It is totally understandable for teams and managers to be worried about the health of the pitchers if they partook in this.  It’s the ony arguemnt on why pitchers shouldn’t be included.  It’s safe to to say all of Chicago would be furious if Arrieta went out there swinging out of his shoes, causing a severe oblique strain.  No team wants their ace going down for a fun little show.  It’s risk that has to be taken for every player that participates.

Out of all players, I truly believe MadBum could give everyone a run for their money in the derby.  Some players are mesmerized by his batting practice sessions.   He’s simply a BEAST or “ox-strong, farm-bred,” as Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson described him.  After all, he has homered twice off one of the greatest pitchers of our time, Clayton Kershaw.  Watch, in awe as MadBum drops two bombs off the star lefty.  If these two swings don’t influence you to put him in the derby, I don’t know what will.

 

 

Imagine MadBum sailing balls into the sand of Petco Park, Thor using his hammer to crush balls out and Arrieta hitting bombs off of Western Metal Supply Company in left field.  Talk about a the best All-Star event ever.  Baseball, it’s time for pitchers to be involved in the Home Run Derby!

 

What would you think of this?  Should they be included or have their own derby?

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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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David Stearns Finding Hidden Gems For The Brewers


-David Strobach-

David Stearns has been making quite a splash in the MLB since becoming the youngest GM, at age 30, for the Milwaukee Brewers in order to help them rebuild.  Other than the splashy Segura move, Stearns has made some under-the-radar moves that could positively impact Milwaukee baseball.  A team like the Brewers is not rebuilding from a dominant, star studded team.  They are rebuilding from the ground up.  It’s important for a rebuilding team to acquire young, cheap, and controllable talent.  David Stearns has been quietly acquiring some low budget, former top prospects under our noses. However, all that’s heard in the media is the Segura trade and Lucroy rumors.  These players below are low-risk, high-reward for the Brew Crew.  I do believe Stearns could be up to something, uncovering some cheap valuable talent that could turn out to be hidden gems.  Meet Garin Cecchini and Rymer Liriano.

 

Garin Cecchini 3rd/1st and LF

Age: 24

 

In 2014, at Triple-A, Cecchini had a very average year, but 2015 is what really made the Red Sox want to move on from the once top prospect with the awful slash of .213/.286/.296 and a OPS of .583. The Milwaukee Brewers decided to scoop him up acquiring him for cash considerations.  3rd base couldn’t be any more shallow for the Brewers and adding Garin seems more like a depth and competition move.  I feel David Stearns could be uncovering a very solid player in here in Cecchini.

 

Pic from: nesn.com

 

Look past his dreadful year to see his potential.

 

Garin Cecchini was once one of the Red Sox’s top prospects before 2014, ranked #51 by Baseball Prospectus.  He plays third base, first, and some outfield. Cecchini’s slash was .322/.443/.471 with an OPS of .915 split between A/AA. These are very good numbers that prove he can handle the bat well.  This shows where the top prospect status comes from.  Cecchini also possesses some speed as he stole 51 bases at the Single A level.  He is a not a complete burner with his speed, but runs well.  Getting on base has always been the strongest aspect of his game.  Pure hitting and his on base expertise has always been praised in scouting reports.  Cecchini is average defensively, not great. Garin has good size at 6’ 3” but his size doesn’t translate into power.  In fact, he has never hit more than 7 home runs at any level in professional baseball.  His lack of power may not be a huge factor for the Brewers at this point regarding the 3rd base position for them since it is so shallow. Scouts have always raved about him and Stearns sees something worthwhile in him.

 

Keith Law scouted Cecchini saying, “He showed he could really hit, projecting as a consistent .300-plus hitter whose future hit grade is a 65 or a 70.”

 

Baseball Prospectus describes him, “Excellent hand/eye coordination; natural bat-to-ball skills; hit tool could end up well above average.”

 

A change of scenery could rejuvenate his career.  Let’s say he bounces back, makes the Brewers and slashes around .285/.390/.425.  That would result in quality player for the Brewers to have. Maybe as he figures things out in a few years, he could be up around .300,  This could all very well be wishful thinking, but Cecchini has had scouts raving about him for reasons. There is definitely a reason to keep an eye on this young man.  It sometimes takes players a little while longer to figure it all out and David Stearns is hoping Garin finds his mojo with the Brew Crew.  Third base is his to win and hopefully that inner top prospect talent comes back for him.  This was literally a no risk, high reward move for Milwaukee, and that reward could be a quality 3rd baseman.  If he still struggles, then nothing is lost.

 

Rymer Liriano OF

Age: 24

 

Rymer Liriano, a toolsy outfielder the Brewers acquired from the San Diego Padres for left-hander  Trevor Seidenberger. Liriano is a very intriguing player to look into.

 

Bernie Pleskoff  wrote in 2014, “That fall, what I saw daily from Liriano was a rare mix of power and speed tools for a player his size. Along with his potent bat and better-than-average speed for his 6-foot, 230-pound frame, Liriano flashed a much-better-than-average arm from right field. In fact, he threw so hard, his mechanics and velocity may have even contributed to the need for his career-interrupting elbow surgery last year. At the time of his operation, Liriano was ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Padres’ organization. He is currently ranked No. 6 on San Diego’s Top 20 Prospect list.”

Pic from: eastvillagetimes.com

 

In 2014 he slashed  .291/.361/.473 with 14 home runs and an OPS of .836 between AA/AAA.  In the 14 games he played at AAA,  he hit a whopping .452 which led his Major League call-up that year.  Then, in 36 games with the Padres, Liriano struggled mightily hitting, .220/.289/.266 with an OPS of .555.  This poor play resulted in his demotion back to AAA for the 2015 season.  Last year, he had similar numbers to those of 2014, even slightly better, .292/.383/.460 with an OPS of .843 and 14 bombs as well.  To show his speed, in 2011, Liriano had 66 stolen bases.

Liriano has a very unique skill set and could be a special player.  His numbers at Triple-A were great in 2015 and for the position the Padres are in, it is baffling  they would trade him right now.  He is a player with an immediate chance to positively impact a team with many tools.  It is unclear where he would fit in with the Brewers in the outfield right now, but could definitely compete for time in center field.  Liriano showed his talent last year and could translate it to the Major League level with the Brewers.  With his track record of minor league success and various tools,  Rymer Liriano could end up being a gem for Milwaukee.

 

These two moves are both low risk, high reward.  It seems that these  transactions could be great for the Brew Crew.  Let’s hope these two players pan out and David Stearns could look like a genius to us all.  If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

 

All stats from: Baseball-Reference.com

 

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The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas Day 12


-David S.-

It’s day twelve of The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas! This is the final one! Creds to Baseballism.  Enjoy!

On the twelfth day of Christmas baseball gave to me:

Twelve fastballs humming,

Eleven pitchers pitching,

Ten runners sliding,

Nine fielders creeping,

Eight coaches yelling,

Seven K’s a swinging,

Six bats a breaking,

Five World Series Rings,

Four knuckle curves,

Three bullpens,

2 catcher’s gloves,

and a white pearl on a hitting tee.

Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!!

The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas Day 11


-David S.-

It’s day eleven of The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas!  Creds to Baseballism.  Enjoy!

On the eleventh day of Christmas baseball gave to me:

Eleven pitchers pitching,

Ten runners sliding,

Nine fielders creeping,

Eight coaches yelling,

Seven K’s a swinging,

Six bats a breaking,

Five World Series Rings,

Four knuckle curves,

Three bullpens,

2 catcher’s gloves,

and a white pearl on a hitting tee.

The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas Day 10


-David S.-

It’s day ten of The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas!  Creds to Baseballism.  Enjoy!

On the tenth day of Christmas baseball gave to me:

Ten runners sliding,

Nine fielders creeping,

Eight coaches yelling,

Seven K’s a swinging,

Six bats a breaking,

Five World Series Rings,

Four knuckle curves,

Three bullpens,

2 catcher’s gloves,

and a white pearl on a hitting tee.

The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas Day 9


-David S.-

It’s day nine of The Twelve Days of a Baseball Christmas!  Creds to Baseballism.  Enjoy!

On the ninth day of Christmas baseball gave to me:

Nine fielders creeping,

Eight coaches yelling,

Seven K’s a swinging,

Six bats a breaking,

Five World Series Rings,

Four knuckle curves,

Three bullpens,

2 catcher’s gloves,

and a white pearl on a hitting tee.

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