Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top MLB Players Under 25

Keith Law posted his list of the top 25 players in MLB under the age of 25. His rule is that they can't turn 25 at any point in this season. The Red Sox had two make the list in Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts

Betts is listed at #5 while Bogaerts is listed at #8. Two top ten guys who are both position players at key spots like CF and SS is pretty impressive and bodes well for the future.

There was not one New York Yankee to make the list however the Braves seem poised to go back to the formula that worked in the 1990s. They have three guys on the list, all pitchers. Shelby Miller at #21, Julio Teheran at #22 and Alex Wood at #23. The dismantling of the Braves this past offseason was disheartening especially living here in Braves Country, but the future does appear to be bright.

The top 4 on the list are Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Clay Buchholz: The Mental Midget

As I went through my twitter timeline last night I saw a lot of angry tweets from Red Sox fans as they endured watching Clay Buchholz pitch. It made me sigh in relief. I used to be one of those people. Those days are gone. I officially gave up on Clay Buchholz ever becoming a top pitcher last year. Curt Schilling has been saying this for a while now, he has the stuff just not anything in between his ears.

Opening Day did make me raise my eyebrows a bit, I even thought to myself that maybe I was wrong. Maybe the role as "ace" will transform his fragile head. Nope. Clay is the classic front runner. He is great when he is feeling great, all his pitches are working and the umps are giving him the calls. Give him a just a little adversity and he folds like a cheap suit.  Much like the Daisuke Matsuzaka era, I can't stand even to watch Clay pitch. I did watch Opening Day, only because it was Opening Day. However, I make a conscious choice not to watch games in which he pitches. I still follow the score on twitter and my various MLB apps, but I am not going to subject myself to watching him throw a pitch from the mound. It is excruciating. The good news is that when he does get shelled early and the bullpen is called early, I can start watching the game and catch a good bit of it like last night for example. Give up on him Red Sox fans, it will make games like last night easier to deal with, it has for me. As for the angry tweets, stop them. It is a lost cause.  The funny ones? Keep those coming.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chris Rock on Blacks in Baseball

Is the future of baseball in trouble? Chris Rock uses humor and a lot of truth to talk about why black people no longer follow baseball and why baseball could have some issues in the future because of it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is Major League Baseball Snubbing Roger Clemens?

I have come full circle and I am home again. It is good to see you Roger Clemens.

Roger Clemens was my boyhood hero. He could do no wrong. Roger didn't ask out of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, John McNamara took him out against his will. Roger didn't leave Boston, Dan Duquette shoved him to Toronto. I always defended Roger especially against the likes of Will McDonough and his attacks on my hero who he labeled The Texas Con Man.

Then it all changed, Roger became a Yankee and then he started lying and lying and acting as if everyone was as dumb as he turned out to be. I would become a Roger Clemens basher and it was fun.

It is changing again and it has to do with Major League Baseball and their Franchise Four promotion they are doing for this year's All Star Game. In case you haven't heard, each baseball franchise has eight all time great players listed on an online ballot and the fans vote for the four best, The Franchise Four. You can also write in a player's name if he is not listed as one of the eight.

The other part of the voting is the Franchise Four; Greatest Living Players. The fans vote for this as well. MLB lists eight of the greatest living players on an online ballot and the fans decide which four are the best. There is also an area once again where you can write in a player's name who is not listed.

This will all culminate in what is sure to be a great ceremony at the All Star Game in Cincinnati this July and it appears that MLB wants nothing to do with Roger Clemens.

Roger Clemens is not listed on the ballot for the Boston Red Sox or The Greatest Living Players. Maybe his career doesn't measure up to be on either of those ballots? Let's take a look.

The Red Sox ballot consists of Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Jim Rice, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Cy Young.

Roger Clemens has the third highest WAR, while playing for the Red Sox, in Red Sox history. Only Yaz and Ted Williams amassed a higher WAR in their Red Sox careers.

The Greatest Living Players ballot consists of Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez and Willie Mays.

Roger Clemens has a career WAR of 140.3 which puts him behind only Mays, Aaron and Bonds on the best career WAR among living players.

Maybe they are keeping him off the ballots as a way to punish him for the steroid issue, I would not have an issue with that except Barry Bonds shows up on three ballots. He is on the Greatest Living Players ballot along with the Giants and Pirates ballot. Is there really a difference between Bonds and Clemens? I actually think they have the same exact circumstances, both great players before they took PEDs and then they became immortal players thanks to their chemically enhanced numbers.

I hate to defend Roger but how can a guy with the 8th highest career WAR in MLB history along with the 9th most wins in baseball history not be on a single ballot? I know you can write his name in if you choose but not being listed puts him at a very distinct disadvantage. Has it been done on purpose? It seems so, yet Bonds doesn't seem to be getting the same treatment. Maybe this is MLB's way of making me a Roger Clemens fan again. I am back to defending The Rocket. So go write in his name in the name of justice, well...maybe we shouldn't use the word justice when defending Roger.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Is Mookie Betts the Next Nomar Garciaparra?

It is Mookie's world and we are all just paying rent. Has there ever been a more exciting player in Red Sox history? I can't think of one in my lifetime. The closest I can think of is Nomar Garciaparra.

In his prime, Nomar could take over a game with his bat and his glove. All you have to do is look at the 1999 postseason to see that and in particular Game 5 of the ALDS vs the Indians.

Despite Nomar's greatness and dominance, Mookie just seems on a different level. He used Opening Day at Fenway Park to rob a home run of all people Bryce Harper, he then stole two bases on one play and then for good measure sent a shot over the Monster for a three run homer. There have been and will be greater players than Mookie, and this is just the start of his career, but he is quickly becoming one of those guys, one of those guys who is worth the price of admission all by himself.

In case you missed it, here are the highlights from the Mookie show yesterday

Pawtucket and Greenville Stocked with Talent

Keith Law ranked the best rosters in minor league baseball and not surprising the Boston Red Sox have two minor league teams on the list.

The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Greenville Drive are loaded with future Red Sox stars and both made Keith Law's list of the most talented minor league teams this year. Here is what Keith Law had to say about both of them.

Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A)

Six of my top 10 Red Sox prospects from late January (before Yoan Moncada signed) will start the season with the Pawsox, including three of the team's five starters in Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez and Matt Barnes, as well as their top overall prospect, catcher Blake Swihart. Fourth starter Brian Johnson is no slouch himself and might have the highest floor of any of their pitchers; he's a four-pitch guy with command who doesn't have a huge fastball or single dominant pitch. The Pawsox can play an all-prospect infield, with Garin Cecchini and Deven Marrero both potential average regulars, and Sean Coyle and Travis Shaw at least likely to get some big league time as emergency call-ups or bench players. The outfield has Jackie Bradley Jr., who has exhausted his rookie eligibility (meaning he's ineligible for my prospect lists) but whom I still project to end up someone's every-day centerfielder, as well as 27-year-old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, too old for my rankings but technically a rookie and likely to spend most of this year in the Red Sox's outfield.

Greenville Drive (Class A)

The Drive will have a good problem in a few weeks once Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada arrives from extended spring training; they'll have him, third basemen Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis, and shortstop Javier Guerra all fighting for playing time at three infield spots. Moncada was a shortstop as well, but won't play there in the long term, likely moving to second or third base, but the logjam probably means we'll see all four players switch positions frequently and get some time at DH too. Outfielder Nick Longhi has real power potential from the right side, signing with the Red Sox for an over-slot bonus of $440,000 in the 30th round in 2013. The rotation has their second pick from last year, right-hander Michael Kopech; 2012 fourth-rounder Ty Buttrey, who received a first-round bonus but has yet to deliver on his promise; and lefty Williams Jerez, signed as an outfielder in 2011 but converted to the mound after 2013, showing immediate arm strength and surprising control out of the chute.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Miley and Leon are Perfect Together

Friday night turned into an epic Red Sox/Yankees game but before it got crazy the story was Wade Miley. I had my doubts about Miley coming into the season. National League pitch to contact pitchers coming to the AL East usually does not end well. It still might get ugly, but he was impressive in his first start, more than that, he was a delight to watch. He worked quickly, threw strikes and pitched to contact. He was the anti- Daisuke Matsuzaka and much different than how Clay Buchholz pitches on most nights.

Sandy Leon made his first start behind the plate on Friday. I was also impressed. He did not get a hit but he is your classic great defensive catcher. Christian Vasquez is going to be tough to replace but Leon is awful impressive behind the plate. He made an incredible throw to nail Bret Gardner trying to steal second base and thwart a Yankee rally. At the time, it seemed like one of the final nails in the Yankee coffin. That final nail of course did not come for several more hours.

Are Miley/Leon going to be paired together all season? It looks that way and I am looking forward to seeing it again.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Yankees are Still The Measuring Stick

The so called experts have the Yankees not contending in the AL East this year, don't be fooled. This Yankee team is much better than people think and they may just be the best in the division. I hate to be the bearer of bad news on this, but the Yankees are not going away.

They have the best bullpen in the division and their rotation is very good. Do they have questions? Of course they do, they also have a lot of talent.

The difference is this year they are playing the underdog role. They have no pressure on them. There are people talking about how the Mets are getting ready to take over New York City. This is a bad scenario for Red Sox fans. The season series starts tonight. Don't sleep on these Yankees.