Cleat Geeks

The Reds Made A Trade, But The Marlins Are Making A Statement

The Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds finalized an interesting trade that says something for both teams. The trade was RHP Ryan Lillie was traded from the Marlins to the Reds. Don’t know who that is? You would not be alone. But, the interesting thing is what it means for the two teams and where they are in their current rebuilding plans.

Ryan Lillie was a fifth round selection in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft by the Marlins. Lillie is an interesting prospect as he has pitched in 3 different levels for the Marlins, but none above High A. Yet, the success he has had looks good. His overall win/loss record does not look great, but that is because in 2017 he did not get a win, and had 5 losses. Yet, in that winless season in 35.2 innings Ryan struck out 34 batters while walking only 6 in 12 games with 7 starts. In his second year in the Marlins organization every game he appeared in was a start. 22 starts increasing his innings to 117.2 with 110 strike outs and 24 walks. But, what may be most impressive is that he had 2 complete games, and not just complete games, but complete game shutouts. Lastly, in his total innings pitched of 153.1 he only gave up 13 home runs. Rather important in a hitters paradise like Great American Ball Park.

Image result for ryan lillie baseball

Photo by; Lifestyle Sports 101

What did the Reds give up? International signing bonus pool money, how much is unknown. But, with this move, the Marlins, who were already second in MLB with available international bonus money, are making a statement. What is the statement? They are trying to be a big player, along with some other teams, in the international market. Let me explain.

The Miami Marlins are looking to make a splash on the international free agent market this off-season, and they have specific targets. Those targets are Victor Victor Mesa, his brother Victor Mesa Jr. and fellow Cuban pitcher Sandy Gaston. With this in mind, they have sought any possible avenue to get an advantage. Speaking of which, includes that the Marlins hosted Mesa’s showcase, as well as that of his brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston.

The Miami Marlins got rid of a somewhat interesting prospect in Ryan Lillie, but the end game could make that move worth it. Of course, they have to land the top international prize in Victor Victor Mesa, his younger brother Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston first. They may not have to land all 3, but they need to land 2 out of the 3 to make this trade worth it, especially if Lillie becomes a big league pitcher, as the Reds think he can become.

The Call to the Majors, Week Ending June 20

June 14, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Chris Bassitt Pitcher Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Carlos Ramirez Pitcher Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Nick Rumbelow Pitcher Tacoma (AAA) Seattle (MLB)
Robert Whalen Pitcher Tacoma (AAA) Seattle (MLB)

 

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June 15, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Corban Joseph Infielder Norfolk (AAA) Baltimore (MLB)
Tanner Scott Pitcher Norfolk (AAA) Baltimore (MLB)
Tyler White 1st Basemen Fresno (AAA) Houston (MLB)
Brandon Maurer Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Kyle Farmer C/Infielder Oklahoma (AAA) Los Angeles (NL) (MLB)
Jake Jewell Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Felix Pena Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Eduardo Paredes Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Merandy Gonzalez Pitcher Jacksonville (AA) Miami (MLB)
Taylor Motter INF/OF Rochester (AAA) Minnesota (MLB)
Jonathan Loaisiga Pitcher Trenton (AA) New York (AL) (MLB)
Luke Voit 1st Basemen Springfield (AA) St. Louis (MLB)
Jose Trevino Catcher Frisco (AA) Texas (MLB)
Brandon Mann Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)
Yohander Mendez Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)

 

 

June 16, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
John Lamb Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Franklin Barreto Infielder Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Yacksel Rios Pitcher Lehigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Jack Thompson Pitcher Lehigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Pierce Johnson Pitcher Sacramento (AAA) San Francisco (MLB)
Ryan Rua Outfielder Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB

 

Image result for ryan rua texas rangers

Photo by; FanRag Sports

June 17, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Luke Jackson Pitcher Gwinnett (AAA) Atlanta (MLB)
Shane Bieber Pitcher Columbus (AAA) Cleveland (MLB)
Evan Marshall Pitcher Columbus (AAA) Cleveland (MLB)
Wily Peralta Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Rosell Herrera Outfielder Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Adalberto Mondesi Infielder Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Scott Barlow Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Adrian Houser Pitcher Colorado Springs (AAA) Milwaukee (MLB)
Josh Lucas Pitcher Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Yovani Gallardo Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)

 

 

June 18, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Rob Zastryzny Pitcher Iowa (AAA) Chicago (NL) (MLB)
Clint Frazier Outfielder Scranton/Wilkes Barre(AAA) New York (AL) (MLB)
Austin Davis Pitcher Lehigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Jose Osuna Outfielder Indianapolis (AAA) Pittsburg (MLB)
Kelby Tomlinson 2nd Basemen Sacramento (AAA) San Francisco (MLB)
Ricardo Rodriguez Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)

 

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Photo by; McCovey Chronicle

June 19, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Caleb Joseph Catcher Norfolk (AAA) Baltimore (MLB)
Robby Scott Pitcher Pawtucket (AAA) Boston (MLB)
Jackson Stephens Pitcher Louisville (AAA) Cincinnati (MLB)
Heath Filmyer Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Freddy Peralta Pitcher Colorado Springs (AAA) Milwaukee (MLB)
Tim Peterson Pitcher Las Vegas (AAA) New York (NL) (MLB)
Pierce Johnson Pitcher Sacramento (AAA) San Francisco (MLB)
Lourdes Gurriel 2nd Basemen Buffalo (AAA) Toronto (MLB)
Jefry Rodriguez Pitcher Syracuse (AAA) Washington (MLB)

 

June 20, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Johnny Barbato Pitcher Toldedo (AAA) Detroit (MLB)
Mitchell Walding Pitcher Leigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Jake Barrett Pitcher Reno (AAA) Arizona (MLB)
Adam Frazier 2nd Basemen Indianapolis (AAA) Pittsburg (MLB)

As you can see by the list, most of the players that were called up to the Major Leagues in the past week have been pitchers. A lot of the time, these are just one or two day call up’s because someone in the bullpen was overworked. There were no players called up this week that were in the top 50 prospects to begin the year.

 

Notable Performances:

Jonathan Loaisiga was called up to the major leagues on June 15th for the New York Yankees. Before he was called up, he pitched in six games in AA and four games in A ball this season. In Single-A Tampa, Loaisiga had a 3-0 record posting a dominate 1.35 ERA. Loaisiga performed just as well in AA for Trenton, posting a 3-1 record with a 4.32 ERA. Loaisiga made is MLB debut on the day he was called up, and he pitched a gem of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched 5 shutout innings allowing three hits, four walks, and struck out six. In Loaisiga’s second start on June 20 against the Seattle Mariners, he pitched 3.2 innings and he allowed 3 runs, on six hits while striking out four and walking two. His season ERA sits at 3.12, in the two games that he pitched.

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Photo by; New York Post

Lourdes Gurriel was called up again to the major leagues on June 19th for the Toronto Blue Jays. During his time in the minor leagues this season, both in Triple A Buffalo and Double A New Hampshire, Gurriel played in 39 games with a triple slash line of .307/.333/.490 with an OPS of .824 and six home runs. Playing up in the majors has not fared for the young Gurriel so far. He is posting a triple slash line of .206/.229/.309 in 20 games while also posting a .537 OPS and two home runs. Gurriel has shown that he can compete in the minors, now he is trying to show that he deserves to be up in the majors, and will hopefully be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays for years to come.

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Photo by SportsNet

A final notable call up for this week is another New York Yankee, and if you follow baseball you’ve heard his name before, outfielder Clint Frazier. There are rumors surrounding Frazier that he will either be a cornerstone of the Yankees outfield for years to come, or he is only being called up so he can audition for other MLB teams come the trade deadline. In 42 games in the minors this year, most of which at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Frazier has played in 42 games posting a triple slash line of .302/.387/.550 with an OPS of .937. Frazier has also added eight home runs to those eye opening numbers. With the call to the Majors, Frazier has played in 5 games this year with a triple slash line of .364/.533/.455 with an OPS of .988. Frazier has been playing well no matter where he goes. This doesn’t seem like a permanent move to Frazier, not yet at least, but sooner rather than later he will be off this list, and in the Majors for good.

Image result for clint frazier new york yankees

Photo by FanRag Sports

So that’s the Call to the Majors for this week fans. I hope you’ve enjoyed this segment, and hope you aren’t sitting by the phone waiting for your Call to the Majors, it may be a little farther out than some of the players in the Minors.

Jeter Has $9 Million Reasons To Cut Marlins Payroll

Image result for derek jeterThe Miami Marlins were recently purchased by an investment group that included Derek Jeter. That group then named Jeter Chief Executive Officer of the Marlins after they were approved by MLB to purchase the club. The Jeter lead Marlins wasted little time cutting payroll. First, they traded Dee Gordon to Seattle for 3 minor leagers and international bonus slot money. In so doing, they were able to dump his 3 year almost $40 million dollar contract which has a 4th year of either a $14 million team option or a $1 million buyout. They then replaced Gordon with Starlin Castro but in the same deal gave up a guy named Giancarlo Stanton. A couple weeks later, the Marlins also traded away Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals for 4 minor leager. Ozuna is in his 2nd year of arbitration. He made $3.5 million last year in his 1st year of arbitration and is more than likely going to get a hefty raise. He becomes a free agent in 2020 and is represented by Scott Boras. With those 3 moves the Miami Marlins now have an expected payroll of well under $100 million dollars.

They finished 2nd in the division last year, and before all the trades, most people thought the Marlins were in a position o add a couple players and compete for a Wild Card spot in the National League. In a division owned by the Washington Nationals, but the division also does not have any other team making significant off-season moves. Therefore, was it really a smart business decision to cut the Marlin’s payroll?

Related imageWe may have the answer for you, and it too involves CEO Derek Jeter. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald Jeter will make $9 million dollars in bonuses over the next 5 years if the Marlins are profitable in each of those 5 seasons. His bonus structure is broken down this way; $2 million in 2018, $1,7 million in 19, $1,1 million in 2020, and $2 million in both 21 and 22. Jeter, who makes an annual salary of $5 million before any of the previously bonuses, already raised some eyebrows with the team not only cutting payroll, but in the process cutting some long time Marlins.

But, I really don’t see a problem rewarding your CEO if your company turns a profit. Tons of companies do the same thing every year. Some, even reward their CEO’s every quarter rather than just once a year. It is the way business is done. CEO’s make their investors money, therefore in return the inventors then reward the CEO of the company. This process promotes sustained financial growth and profit. We as fans want our teams to win, investors believe winning is making money.

Into The Cardinals Nest: How Will The Marcel Ozuna Deal Impact The Cardinals?

It took a while but the St. Louis Cardinals have made their biggest off-season move yet on Tuesday when they acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. This is a welcome development for many Cardinal fans that hope the team will improve dramatically in 2018. Time will tell if he is the big bat the Cardinals need but it is a promising sign of good things to come.

Image result for marcell ozuna

Marcell Ozuna had a banner year in 2017 with the Marlins. He had 124 RBIs and a .312 batting average. He also had 37 home runs that year so he has some punch to his bat that the Cardinals need. The Cardinals got Ozuna in a trade for pitcher, Sandy Alcantara, right fielder Magneuris Sierra, and a few other pitching prospects in Zach Gallan and Daniel Castano. Sierra made a small impact when he made his major league début for the Cardinals in 2017. He had two stolen bases in 2017 with 10 runs and 5 RBI’s. Sierra’s departure is a tough one but also  a necessary one for a deal as big as Ozuna’s.

The Cards received Ozuna at very little cost to them. With some time and resources remaining before the season starts, they have time to make even bigger moves than the Ozuna deal if they like. The Cardinals would be best served reducing their outfielder surplus and strengthening their shaky bullpen. They could even try for another big bat like Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson. Donaldson will be tough to get because the Blue Jays really want to keep him. Still, the possibilities are endless when it comes to improving the Cardinals even further.

Image result for marcell ozuna

The Ozuna deal is good for the Cardinals. He is a great hitter that had a pretty good run with the Marlins last year He is not the answer to the Cardinals’ problems on his own However, with  a few more impact players and some small changes to their bullpen, they have potential to become division favorites again. Cardinal fans have good reason for optimism heading into next year.

Into the Cardinals Nest: Should the Cardinals get Giancarlo Stanton?

Ever since the 2017 season ended, rumors have swirled around about where Miami Marlin outfielder Giancarlo Stanton may end up. The two main front-runner teams in the race for Stanton are the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. However some Cardinal fans are split on whether Stanton should wear Cardinal red or not.Image result for giancarlo stanton

On one hand, the Cardinals are in search of the one big impact bat that will put them over the top in the division. There is no reason to believe Stanton would not fit the bill. He hit the ball fairly well in 2017 with 59 home runs and a staggering 136 RBI’s. He has tremendous power and  would give the Cardinals’ opponents something to fear when he steps up to the plate. It would also get the fans excited for the coming season if he were to sign with the Cardinals because they will have the impact bat they wanted for a long time.

On the other hand, the Cardinals already have plenty of outfielders. Adding Stanton would not do much to fix the issue. Also, Stanton is one of the few stars the Marlins have. It is not likely he would want to play for a team that is on a slow decline. This could sour a lot of the Cardinal faithful on him. His contract would be pricey as well so some star Cardinals’ players would surely be on the trading block. Unloading Aledmys Diaz to the Blue Jays may help make a big trade but the Image result for giancarlo stantonproblem is that very little on 2017’s Cardinals team worked. It is a big risk for the Cardinals to pin all the division hopes on Stanton when good baseball is a team effort.

In the end, while the possibilities are there for Giancarlo Stanton to become a Cardinal, the bad news is that it is improbable at best. He is a star but the Cardinals should work on trying to find another impact bat somewhere other than the outfield that won’t cost so much. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but the Cardinals can find a great hitter somewhere else. Cardinal fans should hope for the best but be ready for plan B.

Did Jeter Make A Wrong Right?

Back in September, Derek Jeter, then not yet officially the Marlins owner, had outgoing team president David Samson fire Marlins special assistants Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, Tony Perez and Jack McKeon. People in the baseball world and “regular joe” fans alike did not look at those moves as positive ones for the organization, nor did they like the idea of having the guy who you let go do the same to beloved Marlins who to the fans were almost like family members.
Jeter later claimed that the whole thing was nothing more than a big misunderstanding. Not only did he say that, but he did offer Conine and the other their jobs back, just not in the same capacity as they enjoyed before the Jeter lead group took over. Conine, known as “Mr. Marlin,” has rejected the offer,reports the Miami Herald. Here was Conine’s reaction
“To say I’m disappointed, that I won’t have a role in this organization, yeah, I’m disappointed . . . I spent 7 1/2 years as a player and the last nine years as someone working with the organization. I’ve always considered myself a Marlin. I’m a member of this community. I want to see them win again. I want to see them get back to the World Series and the playoffs.”
Image result for jeff conine marlins
But, before we all go crazy and again bash Jeter and the Marlins, the article notes that Conine previously had input in baseball decisions, sitting in on meetings about trades and signings and stuff. He was also in uniform before games, serving as something of a pregame coach, even though he was not formally on the coaching staff. Jeter, had a different role in mind for Conine, one with a reduced role. He wanted Conine to be in uniform at spring training only plus he was no longer involved in baseball operations discussions. His new role was going to be serving instead as a team ambassador. But, with a reduced role and reduced duties comes a reduced salary. His pay would be cut from $100,000 a year to $50,000 a year.
Jeter owns the team now. And no matter if Conine is a great guy, or “Mr. Marlin” if he wanted to make sure that he still had a say in the day to day operations of the club, then he should have ponied up some of the $37.6 Million that he earned in his playing days (not counting what he has made being “Mr. Marlin” from the Marlins) and joined in Jeter’s ownership group. I understand that he lives in Miami, that he played for and is passionate about the club, but he received a fair offer from the new Marlins, and he turned it down. End of story.
Now, initially Jeter handled the situation wrong. And, I would bank truth be told, he probably did not want Conine with the team. But, he realized his mistake and tried to make it right with a reduced role, and a reduced salary. I don’t have a problem with the way Jeter handled round 2. Let’s see if there is a round 3.

NL Postseason Projections

With the baseball season quickly approaching the off-season and many playoff spots are still up in the air. I am going to give my take on who I believe will win there respected division and who will earn the two wild card spots.

Washington has already clinched their playoff spot in the NL East with a record of 89-57. That is a 21 game lead over the Miami Marlins.

Who will win the NL Central? How about the Milwaukee Brewers? The Brewers are one of the hottest teams offensively as they have a team average of .221 and have hit a total of 202 home runs. They have scored 648 runs but have given up 631 runs as they have posted a record of 75-69 which is 3rd in the East behind St Louis and the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers will snag the NL West. I believe the Dodgers can continue to impress in the West as they have a record of 94-52 but only have a 9.5 game lead ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers have hit a slump as they have lost 8 of their last 10. At one point recently the club went 15-1 and then followed it up by going 1-15. They also lost 11 straight games at one point, which is the worst in L.A. history. Rookie Cody Bellinger has a batting average .267 and has hit 36 HRs as well as 83 RBIs. The Dodgers also have a good pitching group as they have Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish. Kershaw has a 16-3 record with an ERA of 2.15 while Yu Darvish has a record of 8-12 with an ERA of 4.25.

So I am going Nationals, Dodgers and Brewers.

National League
East W L PCT GB E# WCGB L10 STRK HOME ROAD LAST GAME NEXT GAME
y-Washington 89 57 .610 7-3 W1 44-30 45-27 9/14 vs ATL, W 5-2 9/15 vs LAD, 7:05 PM
Miami 68 78 .466 21.0 E 11.5 1-9 L5 36-35 32-43 9/14 @ PHI, L 0-10 9/15 vs MIL, 8:10 PM
Atlanta 66 79 .455 22.5 E 13.0 6-4 L1 33-39 33-40 9/14 @ WSH, L 2-5 9/15 vs NYM, 7:35 PM
NY Mets 63 83 .432 26.0 E 16.5 5-5 L4 33-41 30-42 9/14 @ CHC, L 6-14 9/15 @ ATL, 7:35 PM
Philadelphia 57 89 .390 32.0 E 22.5 5-5 W3 31-37 26-52 9/14 vs MIA, W 10-0 9/15 vs OAK, 7:05 PM
Central W L PCT GB E# WCGB L10 STRK HOME ROAD LAST GAME NEXT GAME
Chi Cubs 80 66 .548 5-5 W3 43-32 37-34 9/14 vs NYM, W 14-6 9/15 vs STL, 2:20 PM
Milwaukee 77 69 .527 3.0 14 2.5 6-4 W2 41-33 36-36 9/13 vs PIT, W 8-2 9/15 @ MIA, 8:10 PM
St. Louis 77 69 .527 3.0 14 2.5 8-2 W1 42-32 35-37 9/14 vs CIN, W 5-2 9/15 @ CHC, 2:20 PM
Pittsburgh 68 79 .463 12.5 4 12.0 3-7 L2 39-34 29-45 9/13 @ MIL, L 2-8 9/15 @ CIN, 7:10 PM
Cincinnati 63 84 .429 17.5 E 17.0 5-5 L1 36-36 27-48 9/14 @ STL, L 2-5 9/15 vs PIT, 7:10 PM
West W L PCT GB E# WCGB L10 STRK HOME ROAD LAST GAME NEXT GAME
x-LA Dodgers 94 52 .644 2-8 W2 52-23 42-29 9/13 @ SF, W 4-1 9/15 @ WSH, 7:05 PM
Arizona 85 62 .578 9.5 7 +5.0 6-4 W2 48-27 37-35 9/14 vs COL, W 7-0 9/15 @ SF, 10:15 PM
Colorado 80 67 .544 14.5 2 7-3 L2 41-31 39-36 9/14 @ ARI, L 0-7 9/15 vs SD, 8:40 PM
San Diego 65 81 .445 29.0 E 14.5 4-6 L3 39-35 26-46 9/13 @ MIN, L 1-3 9/15 @ COL, 8:40 PM
San Francisco 57 91 .385 38.0 E 23.5 3-7 L2 33-40 24-51 9/13 vs LAD, L 1-4 9/15 vs ARI, 10:15 PM

Two of the teams I believe can win the Wild Card could be the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rookies both of which play in the NL West with the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have posted a record of 85-62 while holding a 5 game lead for the First Wild Card spot. The Rockies have a record of 80-67 as they are vying for the last spot holding a 2.5 game lead about the St Louis Cardinals. Arizona has a star studded pitcher in Zach Grienke with a record of 16-6 and a 2.99 ERA. The Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeman has a record of 11-10 and an ERA of 4.03. The Rockies have scored 738 runs and have allowed 688 runs against them while the Diamondbacks have bolstered 714 runs through the season and have only allowed teams to score 578 against them.

National League
Division Leaders W L PCT WCGB WCE # L10 STRK LAST GAME NEXT GAME
E – ( y ) Washington 89 57 .610 7-3 W1 9/14 vs ATL, W 5-2 9/15 vs LAD, 7:05 PM
C – Chi Cubs 80 66 .548 5-5 W3 9/14 vs NYM, W 14-6 9/15 vs STL, 2:20 PM
W – ( x ) LA Dodgers 94 52 .644 2-8 W2 9/13 @ SF, W 4-1 9/15 @ WSH, 7:05 PM
The top two Wild Card teams from each league make the postseason and play each other in a one-game playoff.
Wild Card Teams W L PCT WCGB WCE # L10 STRK LAST GAME NEXT GAME
Arizona 85 62 .578 +5.0 6-4 W2 9/14 vs COL, W 7-0 9/15 @ SF, 10:15 PM
Colorado 80 67 .544 7-3 L2 9/14 @ ARI, L 0-7 9/15 vs SD, 8:40 PM
Milwaukee 77 69 .527 2.5 14 6-4 W2 9/13 vs PIT, W 8-2 9/15 @ MIA, 8:10 PM
St. Louis 77 69 .527 2.5 14 8-2 W1 9/14 vs CIN, W 5-2 9/15 @ CHC, 2:20 PM

These are my predictions for who wins their divisions based on how I have seen their seasons playing out. I am still certain that the Dodgers and/or Nationals could be finding the most success as a franchise come the postseason.

SABERmetrics Sunday: Stanton’s Super-Slugging

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has been one of baseball’s best pure power hitters this decade. The 27-year old slugger has 252 home runs a .912 OPS in his career and is hitting his prime with a career year so far in 2017. He had been battling a number of injuries the past few years playing in only 74 games in 2015 and 119 games last year. This year he has stayed on the field and his next game Sunday will tie his total games played last year.

Image result for giancarlo stanton 2017

The big story is his current total of 44 home runs, which leads all of baseball. His other advanced numbers are pretty darn good as well. It is easy to say he is the favorite player in the National League to look up MLB statcast numbers on him seeing his 92.8 average exit velocity on his titanic home runs, his furthest coming on August fourth off R.A. Dickey at 477 feet at an exit velocity of 115.5 MPH. Now lets look at his other advanced numbers.

118 games – .379 OBP / 1.021 OPS / 158 wRC+ / 33.1% HR-FB ratio / 11.8% BB / 23.4% K / .294 BABIP / 4.6 WAR 

There is not as much to break down, it is pretty self explanatory. The guy hits the ball for extra bases at an outstanding rate, he walks at an above-average rate and gets on base at a rate which just shows how good of a hitter he is in addition to having the ability to destroy the ball. With most power hitter he strikes out a lot, always has, but makes up for it with everything else. His production and value has earned him the 4.6 WAR and rising. His BABIP is interesting because BABIP does not count towards home runs, so many of his batted balls do not even count towards it. Not much else to say than Stanton is an absolute monster.

 

Ichiro Will Be A Marlin In 2017

The Miami Marlins need some good news. Their season ended with the tragic death of Jose Fernandez and a season falling just short of a play-off birth. Yesterday the team made two moves official that point to better and happier times. The Miami Marlins made Martin Prado‘s three-year extension official. We all knew that was happening. They also made another move: they exercised Ichiro Suzuki‘s option for 2017.

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Ichiro will cost the Marlins $2 million next year. It will be the third straight year he’s made that much for Miami. In the two seasons to date, he’s hit .257/.314/.323 in 803 plate appearances across 296 games. His 2016 was better than that — .291/.354./,376 — and he picked up his 3,000th major league hit during the season. He did fall off considerably in the second half, however.

Ichiro will turn 43 this month, so there is a very, very good chance that he will not replicate his decent 2016, let alone his strong first half of this year. But at only $2 million, it’s not a risk to keep a well-loved future Hall of Famer on board who, if things break just right, could still give you some decent part time production.

Ichiro is just a likable player, he is someone you rout for. I have never met him, never even received the opportunity to see him up close or get his autograph, but he is guy I will stop channel surfing for to watch his at bat. I am not sure why. But, I feel like the Marlins as a team are kind of the same way. I really don’t have a personal connection to the team. I have really only interacted with one of their current players, Prado, as he spent time with the Diamondbacks, which is where I live. I must take a sentence and say Prado is a professional leader and that I would endorse him to be the next manager of the Diamondbacks today!

The Marlins, with Ichiro, are to me, what a shinny spinner must be like to a fish.

Jose Fernandez The Biggest “What Could Have Been”

September 25th started the same as any regular Sunday in Major League Baseball: the sun rose, the world awoke from its sleep, and fans from all 30 fanbases prepared and looked ahead, just as the players did, to some late September baseball as the sun begins to set on the 2016 regular season schedule.josefernandezbirthdeath

Little did anyone know that Major League Baseball, as well as the sports world in general, would soon be shaken to its very core as news broke early in the day that Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez had perished in a boating accident during the wee hours of the morning in Miami Beach. He was just 24 years old.

A universally loved player around the majors, tributes poured in throughout the day, including heartfelt Instagram posts from fellow Cuban defectors such as Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, as well as teammates Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins and Braves cancelled the final game of the series as an overwhelmed Don Mattingly and company struggled with the death of a close friend, brother, and teammate.

The death of an active player is always an event that shakes the respective league to its core, something we thankfully hadn’t seen since the Angels lost young pitcher Nick Adenhart to a car accident early in the 2009 campaign. But the response to Fernandez has already had a much larger impact around the league (disclaimer: no disrespect to Nick Adenhart is intended). Why?

Because, without a doubt, we are now looking at the biggest “what could have been” in the history of modern baseball.

At only 24 and, despite injuries that took away most most of two of his four career seasons, it can be argued that Fernandez was already on a track for Cooperstown. He arrived with a bang in 2013, posting a 2.19 ERA with 187 strikeouts (9.7 K/9) in 28 starts, finishing with a record of 12-6. He surrendering just 47 runs (42 earned) in 172 2/3 innings, posting a WHIP of 0.979 and placing himself at 6.3 wins above replacement. He finished in the top tier of many of these categories along with, among others, Clayton Kershaw. He won all but four first-place votes in the NL Rookie of the Year vote, defeating Yasiel Puig in a landslide victory.

Tommy John surgery sidelined Fernandez for much of 2013 and 2014, limiting him to just 116 1/3 innings in 19 starts over those two seasons. But he was still effective enough when he was able to pitch. He posted a 10-3 record with an ERA of 2.71, paired with 149 strikeouts (11.5 K/9), just 27 walks, and a WHIP of 1.066. This small sample size still showed he had his chops and that he had nowhere to go but up once he regained his full health.

Fernandez didn’t just go up when he returned full-time in 2016. He launched into the baseball stratosphere.

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Fernandez’s 2016 season, his first full one since his rookie campaign, was a glimpse of what his career was going to be. He was 16-8 through 29 starts, holding an ERA and WHIP of 2.86 and 1.12, respectively. He was second in the NL with 253 strikeouts (with a league-leading 12.5 K/9) to just 55 walks through 182 1/3 innings.

He was slated to start Sunday but his next start was pushed back to Monday. It never came.

In four seasons Fernandez accumulated 38 wins, 589 strikeouts, and a career 2.58 ERA. No starting pitcher holds a lower ERA in this span.

But, aside from his eye-popping on-field statistics, there is one thing that everyone who knew Fernandez took away from his short career more than anything else: the unbridled joy that he brought to the field on every single game day.

In tributes from players around the league almost every single one recalled the joy that exuded from him, still playing and enjoying baseball with the excitement of a little leaguer in a professional league. He was loved around the league and held a close bond with fellow Cuban josefernandezsmilingdefectors such as Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jose Iglesias.

Baseball fans everywhere, not just Marlins fans, but Cubs, Orioles, White Sox, and Tigers fans, to name just a few, are shocked by the news. In fact, as the Marlins visited Detroit earlier this season I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that Fernandez wouldn’t be starting in either game in the series. Had I known that would be my only opportunity to see him pitch I would have thought differently.

Playing the “what if” game is always risky, but so many events that were all but destined to transpire will never happen.

The pitcher primed to take the spotlight from Clayton Kershaw will never see his chance to do so. The Marlins, destined to return to prominence behind their Fernandez-led pitching staff, will be left to pick up the pieces as they begin a new search for their rotation cornerstone. His teammates will be without the million-dollar smile that could bring bountiful joy to the field, clubhouse, and dugout with his presence alone. His unborn child will never know him. The league and fans of baseball will never see the entirety of seemed sure to be a hall of fame career. History will never be able to fully remember what could have been one of the greatest pitchers of the last 40 years.

Though nothing above can ever be certain, there is one thing that, at this moment, is for sure: the baseball world will mourn, as America’s pastime has lost a truly special individual in Jose Fernandez.

Thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the Fernandez family and the Miami Marlins organization.

 

 

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