Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas- Baseball Style

Merry Christmas from More Hardball!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

R.I.P. Ryan Freel

Ex-MLB utility player, Ryan Freel, committed suicide yesterday at the age of 36.

Freel was best know for his speed, having swiped 143 bases over parts of 8 seasons with the Blue Jays, Reds, Orioles, Cubs, and Royals.  He last saw Big League action in 2009 in Kansas City.  His career slash line was .268/.723 and Baseball-Reference.com has his career earnings listed as $11.55M.

Freel lived his life with reckless abandon, having been nailed twice for DUI, talking to an imaginary "Farney" while on the field, and making daring catches that others would not risk.

Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Are the Tampa Bay Rays Fiscally Stupid?

The Tampa Bay Rays are infamous for their penny-pinching ways.  They've been successful in their frugality.  However, today they went and signed a shitty pitcher to a 1 year deal worth $3.25M with another $1.85M available via incentives, and they don't even really have room on their staff for him.

I'm talking about Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez.  Back in 2007 he went 19-8 with a 3.07 ERA, that's really good.  ERA's since then- 5.44/'08, 6.32/'09, 3.77/'10, 5.25/'11, and 7.53/'12.  Aside from 2010, he's been complete crap.  For his career he has a 53-69 record with a 4.64 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, all with Cleveland.

Not only has Hernandez completely sucked for the past two seasons, he also aged three years last offseason, after it was uncovered that he lied on his birth certificate and wasn't Fausto Carmona, as he was previously known as.  So, what the hell were the Rays thinking?  What is the purpose of this signing?

Their rotation is pretty set with David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Neimann, and Alex Cobb.

The bullpen has Joel Peralta, Fernando Rodney, and Jake McGee for sure, so I guess he could slot in there, but $3.25M is a hefty price for a guy that hasn't pitched much in relief during his career and hasn't been effective for the past half decade.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Hanukkah- Baseball Style

Baseball menorah...
Baseball dreidel...
Baseball yarmulke...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Astros Get Rule 5 Steal

The jump from Double-A to the Majors is not an easy one, but that's just what the Houston Astros' Rule 5 selection Nate Freiman is going to do in 2013. The 8th round selection by the San Diego Padres in 2009 out of Duke University has done nothing but hit at every level along his minor league journey. Freiman stands 6'7" and weighs 225 pounds, so his frame suggests great power. Through 4 minor league seasons he's amassed some nice stats: .294/.847, 483 G, 280 R, 551 H, 131 DBL, 71 HR, and 368 RBI. He turns 26 years old on the last day of the calendar (December 31st) and has a legitimate shot at seeing significant time at 1st base and DH next season.

A .250/.750 season with 15 HR and 70 RBI is not a stretch, and if Houston gets that, they'll be pleased.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Hello NFL Week 13

The NFL playoff picture for some teams is becoming clear, whereas for others it remains murky.  The Atlanta Falcons have already secured their future (11-1) by knocking down the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.  Sunday and Monday remain in play for Week 13 of the NFL season though, and here's a preview of some of the games...

If you're looking to make some money, visit Sportsbetting.ag for a pleasant and worthwhile betting experience.

Week 13 NFL Previews:
*Philadelphia Eagels (3-8) at Dallas Cowboys (5-6), this is a "battle" of two teams that have vastly underperformed expectations this season.  Look for the Cowboys to win this game, because Philly hasn't had a win since the calendar flipped to October.

*Houston Texans (10-1) at Tennessee Titans (4-7), the Texans attempt to keep pace with the Falcons for best record in the NFL, and that seems like a safe assumption.

*Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Chicago Bears (8-3), an interesting match-up, because Hawks' rookie 3rd round pick QB Russell Wilson has been improving with every game, but the Bears defense is just too strong, especially at Soldier Field.

*New York Giants (7-4) at Washington Redskins (5-6), with the Skins fighting for their playoff lives and RG3 being a human highlight reel, they might just pull off the victory this week.

*Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7), this might be an ugly game to watch, but at least Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts is making some late season strides.  The Bill are the victors here though.

*San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) at St. Louis Rams (4-6-1), these teams look to break the tie from their previous contest earlier in the season.  The 49ers will prevail, despite a bit of quarterback controversy.

*New England Patriots (8-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-6), this has the makings of an old fashioned Wild West shootout...of course they're playing on the East Coast though.  The Pats are on a roll, but the Dolphins still have something to play for.  Don't bet on this game, because I believe it's a push.

*Arizona Cardinals (4-7) at New York Jets (4-7), on the surface this may appear as two lackluster teams playing a meaningless game, but the Cards are the better team and will win, and the Jets will continue their downward spiral (remember their Thanksgiving debacle).

*Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Detroit Lions (4-7), the Colts with QB Andrew Luck have been getting dare I say "lucky" lately, but the Lions are angry with the NFL for causing them a win on Thanksgiving Day due to some horrible calls.  Therefore, I'm going with them to pull off the upset.

So, there you have it, some of the featured games of the NFL this week.  Have fun viewing.  Have fun betting.  Enjoy...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving- Baseball Style

Happy Thanksgiving from More Hardball!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reunited- Juan Pierre and the Marlins

Nearly 10 years later to the day to that the Florida Marlins first acquired Juan Pierre, he returns to them, this time in Miami on a 1 year $1.6M contract.  A decade ago (November 16, 2002), the Marlins got both Pierre and Mike Hampton in a trade with the Colorado Rockies.

He'll fill the leadoff void for the Fish and presumably play LF.  Last year with the Phillies he hit .307/.721 with 37 stolen bases, so the ability to get on base and make things happen is still there despite being 35 years old. 

Pierre's previous time with the Marlins was a successful one, having won a World Series in 2003 and batting .303/.732 with 296 runs scored and 167 stolen bases over 3 seasons.

Good luck, buddy.  It was fun having you on my beloved Phillies last year and watching your work ethic and love of the game. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ruben Rivera was a Screw-Up

Ruben Rivera is best known for being Mariano Rivera's cousin, which is quite possibly the only thing he's ever done right in his life. When with the Yankees, he was released because the players voted him off the team after being caught hocking Derek Jeter's glove and bat to a sports memorabilia dealer. Below you can see what Giants broadcaster Jon Miller described as "the worst baserunning in the history of the game". What a screw-up!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Collection of Phillies Hotties

The City of Brotherly Love has some fine lookin' ladies...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pascual Perez Fatally Stabbed

Former MLB pitcher, Pascual Perez, was fatally stabbed during a robbery at his residence in the Dominican Republic earlier today. He was 55 years old.

Pascual debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1980 and later went on to play for the Montreal Expos, Atlanta Braves, and New York Yankees.  In his 11 MLB seasons he posted a 67-68 record with a 3.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP over 1244.1 innings pitched, that's what the back of his players reward card would read.  He was an All-Star with the Braves in 1983.

His brothers Carlos Perez and Melido Perez also played in the Majors.

*Story via FoxSports.com

Monday, October 29, 2012

Astros New Logo Leaked

Behold the new logo of the Houston Astros for the 2013 season, their first in the American League. This logo was leaked accidentally over the weekend, as it wasn't supposed to be unveiled until this Friday (November 2nd). Oops.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

With 80's Relics Gone, 90's Vets All That Remains

Sadly the era of Major League Baseball from the 1980's officially dies in 2012 with the final seasons of Jaime Moyer and Omaz Vizquel.  Those two artifacts had been hanging on since 1986 and 1989 respectively.  However, their days in the summer sun has come and gone and the veterans from the 1990's are now the decade we hold onto.

The following is a list of "active" players.  Some of them are holding on by the threads of their jersey, and others could possibly retire.  A few are still going strong, but that is a small group.  Go ahead, lay you eyes on the players who debuted in the 90's.

*Listed by season and team in which they debuted.

Jim Thome/CLE

Miguel Batista/PIT

Darren Oliver/TEX

Alex Rodriguez/SEA

Jason Giambi/OAK
Jason Isringhausen/NYM
LaTroy Hawkins/MIN
Andy Pettitte/NYY
Derek Jeter/NYY
Mariano River/NYY

Migue Cairo/TOR
Scott Rolen/PHI
Jamey Wright/COL
Bobby Abreu/HOU
Livan Hernandez/FLA
Raul Ibanez/SEA
Andruw Jones/ATL

David Ortiz/MIN
Paul Konerko/LAD
Todd Helton/COL
Torii Hunter/MIN
Derek Lowe/SEA
Mark Kotsay/FLA
Kevin Millwood/ATL
Chris Carpenter/TOR

AJ Pierzynski/MIN
Bruce Chen/ATL
Aramis Ramirez/PIT
Carl Pavano/MON
Eric Chavez/OAK
Roy Halladay/TOR
Placido Polanco/STL
Carlso Beltran/KCR
Ryan Dempster/FLA
Andrian Beltre/LAD
Mark DeRosa/ATL

John McDonald/CLE
Tim Hudson/OAK
Chad Durbin/KCR
Vicente Padilla/ARI
Alfonso Soriano/NYY
Ramon Hernandez/OAK
Adam Kennedy/STL
Carlos Lee/CWS
Freddy Garcia/SEA
AJ Burnett/FLA
Rod Barajas/ARI
Guillermo Mota/MON
Lance Berkman/HOU
Kyle Farnsworth/CHC
Jose Molina/CHC
Joe Nathan/SFG
Randy Wolf/PHI
JC Romero/MIN

Monday, October 15, 2012

Steady Stats- Robinson Cano

Consistency is an attribute in baseball that teams' love from their players.  Robinson Cano has been a pillar of steady stats over the last 4 seasons.  He has at least 159 games, scored 103 runs, 188 hits, 41 doubles, 25 homeruns, and hit .302 since 2009.  That's impressive. 

Games Played:
2009 - 161
2010 - 160
2011 - 159
2012 - 161

Runs Scored:
2009 - 103
2010 - 103
2011 - 104
2012 - 105

2009 - 204
2010 - 200
2011 - 188
2012 - 196

2009 - 48
2010 - 41
2011 - 46
2012 - 48

2009 - 25
2010 - 29
2011 - 28
2012 - 33

Batting Average:
2009 - .320
2010 - .319
2011 - .302
2012 - .313

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Statistical Consistency- Shelley Duncan

Shelley Duncan just elected for free agency and any team that signs him can count on 11 homeruns and 29 runs scored.  Bank on it.


Not when he has scored 29 runs and clubbed 11 homeruns in each of the last 3 seasons (all with the Cleveland Indians).

Those numbers are perfect replicas, but Duncan does have more consistency statistically as well, just not as exact.

Shelley Duncan's Last 3 Seasons:
#-# = span, (#) = range
Games: 76-85 (9)
At Bats: 223-232 (10)
Hits: 47-58 (11)
RBI: 31-47 (16)
Walks: 19-28 (9)
Doubles: 10-17 (7)
Stolen Bases: 0-1 (1)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Legend of Fernando Rodney

2012 will certainly be a year to remember for Fernando Rodney. He was left out in the cold of winter during last offseason, but luckily for both him and the Tampa Bay Rays, they reached out for his services (a 1 year contract for $1.75M and an option for 2013 at $2.5M). Going into the season, he was looked at as nothing more than a veteran presence in their bullpen. After an injury to incumbent closer Kyle Farnsworth, manager Joe Maddon was forced to employ someone else in the 9th inning. That honor was bestowed upon Fernando Rodney and the rest is history.

Fernando Rodney just finished one of the best seasons by a relief pitcher in the history of the game.  His ERA was so minuscule that you might need an electron microscope to see it.  He rarely allowed runners to reach base, and when they did, they were stranded.

The Stats:
ERA - 0.60
WHIP - 0.78
G - 76
IP - 74.2
K - 72
SV - 48

He only allowed 5 earned runs during the entire season.  Many starting pitchers allow that in one outing.  Rodney was named to his first All-Star team and will likely garner some Cy Young votes.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

2012 MLB All-Rookie Team

The 2012 MLB season was a tremendous one for rookies.  Many tough decisions had to be made in regards to constructing a 25-man roster.  There were also a handful of rookies that missed the minimum plate apparence or innings pitched requirement that had fantastic rookie years (ex- Matt Harvey and AJ Griffin).

(200 Plate Appearance Minimum)
Wilin Rosario/COL - .270/.843, 67 R, 19 DBL, 28 HR, 71 RBI, 4 SB.
Yasmani Grandal/SDP - .297/.863, 28 R, 7 DBL 8 HR, 36 RBI.

First Base:
Anthony Rizzo/CHC - .285/.805, 44 R, 15 DBL, 15 HR, 48 RBI, 3 SB.

Second Base:
DJ LeMahieu/COL - .297/.742, 26 R, 12 DBL, 4 TRPL, 2 HR, 22 RBI.

Third Base:
Todd Frazier/CIN - .273/.829, 55 R, 26 DBL, 6 TRPL, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 3 SB.

Zach Cozart/CIN - .246/.687, 72 R, 33 DBL, 4 TRPL, 15 HR, 35 RBI, 4 SB.

Mike Trout/LAA - .326/.963, 129 R, 27 DBL, 8 TRPL, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB.
Yoenis Cespedes/OAK - .292/.861, 70 R, 25 DBL, 5 TRPL, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB.
Bryce Harper/WSH - .270/.817, 98 R, 26 DBL, 9 TRPL, 22 HR, 59 RBI, 18 SB.
Norichika Aoki/MIL - .288/.787, 81 R, 37 DBL, 4 TRPL, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 30 SB.

Matt Carpenter/STL - .294/.828, 44 R, 22 DBL, 5 TRPL, 6 HR, 46 RBI.
Donovan Solano/FLA - .295/.717, 29 R, 11 DBL, 3 TRPL, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 7 SB.
Will Middlebrooks/BOS - .288/.835, 34 R, 14 DBL, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 4 SB.

1) Mike Trout/CF
2) Norichika Aoki/DH
3) Yoenis Cepedes/LF
4) Wilin Rosario/C
5)Todd Frazier/3B
6) Bryce Harper/RF
7) Anthony Rizzo/1B
8) DJ LeMahieu/2B
9) Zach Cozart/SS

(100 IP Minimum)
Wade Miley/ARI - 194.2 IP, 16-11, 144 K, 3.33/1.18.
Jarrod Parker/OAK - 181.1 IP, 13-8, 140 K, 3.47/1.26.
Yu Darvish/TEX - 191.1 IP, 16-9, 221 K, 3.90/1.28.
Miguel Gonzalez/BAL - 105.2 IP, 9-4, 77 K, 3.25/1.21.
Lucas Harrell/HOU - 193.2 IP, 11-11, 140 K, 3.76/136.

(40 IP Minimum)
Junichi Tazawa/BOS - 44 IP, 1-1, 45 K, 1 SV, 5 HLD, 1.43/0.95.
Ryan Cook/OAK - 73.1 IP, 6-2, 80 K, 14 SV, 21 HLD, 2.09/0.94.
Kelvin Herrera/KCR - 84.1 IP, 4-3, 77 K, 3 SV, 19 HLD, 2.35/1.19.
Nate Jones/CHW - 71.2 IP, 8-0, 65 K, 7 HLD, 2.39/1.38.
David Phelps/NYY - 99.2 IP, 4-4, 96 K, 2 HLD, 3.34/1.19.
Jarrd Hughes/PIT - 75.2 IP, 2-2, 50 K, 2 SV, 12 HLD, 2.85/1.15.
Robbie Ross/TEX - 65 IP, 6-0, 47 K, 9 HLD, 2.22/1.22.

Honorable Mentions:
Jordan Pacheco/COL, Josh Rutledge/COL, Stephen Lombardozzi/WSH,  Martin Maldonado/MIL, Yonder Alonso/SDP, Hector Sanchez/SFG, Quitin Berry/DET, Jesus Montero/SEA, Kirk Nieuwenhuis/NYM, Chris Carter/OAK, Mike Baxter/NYM, Elian Herrera/LAD, Manny Machado/BAL, Josh Donaldson/OAK, Jordany Valdespin/NYM, Hisashi Iwakuma/SEA, Joe Kelly/STL, Mike Fiers/MIL, Scott Diamond/MIN, Travis Blackley/OAK, Jose Quintana/CHW, Tommy Millone/OAK, Wei-Yin Chen/BAL, Matt Moore/TBR, George Kontos/SFG, Jim Miller/OAK, Hector Santiago/CHW, Cody Eppley/NYY, Steve Delebar/SEA/TOR, Dale Thayer/SDP, Lucas Luetge/SEA, Brad Brach/SDP, Duane Below/DET, Sean Doolittle/OAK.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Two Decades Worth of Losing- The Pirates

Remember in July when the Pirates were flying high, dipping in and out of 1st place in the NL Central?

Remember in July of last season when the Pirates were flying high, dipping in and out of 1st place in the NL Central?

Two seasons in a row the Pirates have quickly downward spiraled out of relevance.  The pitching went to shit and the bats continued not to hit.  This is now 20 consecutive losing seasons.  That is horrible.  Two decades worth of losing in Pittsburgh and that trend doesn't have much hope of stopping anytime soon. 

Their pitching staff isn't good enough.  Their offense isn't good enough.  Their manager isn't good enough.  I feel bad saying this, but they suck.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Al Alburquerque is Awesome!

Al Alburquerque is phenomenal.  The man returns from an arm injury he suffered during his rookie season in Detroit and has been lights out for the Tigers ever since.  He has a 0.00 ERA over 11.2 IP so far this season.  For his career he has 47 appearances, 55 IP, 6-1 record, 82 K, 1.47 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and a 2.5 WAR (which is outstanding for a relief pitcher).

If the Tigers are able to capture the AL Central division championship, I'm sure Leyland will lean heavily on Alburquerque in the playoffs, especially since Jose Valverde has been faltering recently (or all season long).  Imagine a game where it goes either Verlander, Scherzer, or Fister to start, then to Alburquerque, then Benoit, then Valverde.  That's scary good!

The Tigers acquired Alburquerque in 2009 for Jeff Baker.  Gotta say, that was a steal.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rick VandenHurk is a Terrible Pitcher

Rick VandenHurk is a terrible pitcher.

There, I said it.  Someone had to.

The 27 year old right-hander from the Netherlands is in his 6th MLB season.  Not sure how he continues to latch on with teams and get called up to the Majors, but he does.  His career ERA is 6.11 with a 1.64 WHIP over 49 appearances, 35 of which have been starts.  For his career, he has a -1.3 WAR, meaning he's worse than a replacement level pitcher.  That number would be much lower too, if not buoyed by his only mediocre season in 2009 when he registered a 0.8 WAR with the Marlins. 

Currently VandenHurk is pitching batting practice for the Pirates.  That's the kiss of death right there.  No way they finish the season above .500 now (it'll be their 20th straight losing season if so).

Not only does he suck at pitching, he's even worse at the plate- .021 batting average (1-47 w/ 31 K).

This season alone he's been in the Blue Jays, Indians, and Pirates organizations.  When will everyone get the hint that this guy is bad?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Joe Nathan- One of the Best

Joe Nathan is one of the best closers in MLB history.  I know, that probably surprises you.  He's converted 90% of save opportunities over his 12 year career, only blowing 32 saves.  His career ERA is 2.85, WHIP is 1.10, and he has 50 W to go along with his 291 SV (currently ranked 25th all-time).  As a typical closer, he strikes out better than a batter per inning (826 K:784 IP).  His career WAR is 22, which is stellar given he's only a 1-inning reliever.  His winning percentage is fantastic (65.8%), which would rank him 18th all-time if he had 100+ decisions.  He's a 5 time All-Star.  Hell, he even hit 2 homeruns back in his early days as a starting pitcher with the San Franciso Giants.  In fact, he didn't become a closer until his first season in Minnesota.  Also, consider he's missed significant time (full seasons) due to arm injuries.  This man is a beast!  That's why I begged my beloved Phillies to sign him this offseason, but instead they vastly overpaid for Papelbon and the Rangers got the deal of the offseason with Nathan.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kimbrel vs. Chapman

Who is the top reliever in the game?  If your answer was either Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman, it would be difficult to call you incorrect.  Kimbrel is helping the Braves to the playoffs as a Wild Card and Champman is shutting the door on wins for the NL Central leading Reds.  Each are having phenomenal seasons.  Who is the best?  Lets take a look at the numbers...

Kimbrel - 48
Chapman - 60

Kimbrel - 48
Chapman - 64

Kimbrel - 86
Chapman - 113

Kimbrel - 32
Chapman - 33

Kimbrel - 1.13
Chapman - 1.27

Kimbrel - 0.65
Chapman - 0.72

Kimbrel - 0
Chapman - 5

Kimbrel - 0
Chapman - 6

K per 9 IP:
Kimbrel - 16.1
Chapman - 15.9

Kimbrel - .117
Chapman - .135

Kimbrel - .339
Chapman - .422

Kimbrel - 2.4
Chapman - 3.5

Blown Saves:
Kimbrel - 2
Chapman - 4

Kimbrel - 1
Chapman - 4

The Cuban Missile gets my votes for best reliever in baseball, but Kimbrel has got quite the resume too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Under the Radar Batters

The following is a 13-man offense built with has-beens and surprises.  Some are ex-prospects that stocks plummeted, but have found their groove again.  With their performances they're likely playing themselves into a future role with their club in 2013 or priming themselves for free agency. Think the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and Seattle Mariners would like this lineup better than their current one?

*Minimum 100 plate appearances.

*Stats through games played on Monday, August 27th.

Starting Lineup:
1. Scott Podsednik/CF/BOS - .375/845
2. Josh Rutledge/SS/COL - .344/.944
3. Justin Ruggiano/RF/MIA - .314/.959
4. Andy Dirks/LF/DET - .337/.905
5. Matt Carpenter/1B/STL - .310/.875
6. Todd Frazier/3B/CIN- .293/.902
7. Pedro Ciriaco/2B/BOS - .353/.855
8. Chris Carter/DH/OAK - .259/.916
9. John Jaso/C/SEA - .283/.875

Roger Bernadina/OF/WSH - .308/.800
Eric Young Jr./OF/COL - .316/.825
Kevin Frandsen/UTL/PHI - .351/.827
AJ Ellis/C/LAD - .282/.812

*This is an extremely versatile team too, with many players equipped to man multiple positions.  Ruggiano and Bernadina can play all 3 spots in the OF.  Ciriaco can play SS and 3rd.  Carter can play 1st.  Carpenter can play 3rd.  Frazier can play 1st. This would allow the manager to mix-and-match a lot.

Honorable Mentions:
Craig Gentry/OF/TEX, Michael McKenry/C/PIT, Greg Dobbs/3B/MIA, Jordan Pacheco/UTL/COL, Brandon Moss/OF/OAK, Luis Cruz/UTL/LAD, and Bryan LaHair/UTL/CHC.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Leading the Majors in Screw Ups

The Colorado Rockies are suffering through a terrible season.  Pitching staff sucks.  Defense sucks.  The offense isn't as potent as it needs to be.  They're just bad.

They lead all of Major League Baseball in screw ups- errors and wild pitches.  Giving up that many extra outs and extra bases is not a good thing in that stadium.  96 errors, 69 wild pitches, and 53 unearned runs allowed.  Ouch!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates- Holy Unbelievable Stat!

Like any baseball geek, I enjoy perusing the stats.  Today I came across something that nearly shocked the pants right off me.  The Pittsburgh Pirates catchers have only thrown out 9% of would be base thieves  Holy crap that's bad! 

There has been 97 successful stolen base attempts against the Buccos.  Out of the 107 attempts, the catchers have only nabbed 10 of them.  Somebody go rustle Ivan Rodriguez out of retirement and get them some real defense behind the plate. Michael McKenry at least is carrying his weight by hitting. Rod Barajas, on the other hand, just sucks. Gotta imagine if the Pirates had component backstops that they'd have a couple more wins this season.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ending the Season with a Zero ERA

Here at More Hardball we love the minutiae of baseball and one of our favorite "stats" to track is pitchers carrying a 0.00 Earned Run Average.  At the beginning of the season, Mariners' rookie Lucas Luetge, carried that distinction into the middle June.  Now the final month and a half of the season is upon us and a new crop of pitchers are making their 2012 debuts and are in contention for ending the year with a 0.00 ERA.  Lets check out the candidates...

*Stats through games played on August 18th.  Only pitchers on 25-man rosters are included.

Zero ERA Club:
Cody Allen/CLE - 11 G, 13 IP, 9 K, 1.15 WHIP
Chad Jenkins/TOR - 5 G, 7 IP, 3 K, 0.29 WHIP
Jeremy Jeffress/KCR - 6 G, 5 IP, 5 K, 2.00 WHIP
Donnie Veal/CHW - 4 G, 4 IP, 7 K, 0.25 WHIP
Tom Layne/SDP - 4 G, 3.1 IP, 7 K, 0.60 WHIP
Andrew Bailey/BOS - 3 G, 1.1 IP, 3 K, 1.50 WHIP

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Resurrection of Eric Chavez

At one time Eric Chavez was a premier third baseman, but then injuries curtailed his production and time spent on the field and he was basically left for dead.  He was so good at so young of an age that it's hard to believe he's in his 15th MLB season at the age of 34.  He began his career as a 20 year old with the Oakland Athletics back in 1998.  In 2002 he had a breakout season, batting .277/.850 with 26 HR and 86 RBI.  From that point onward, he went on a string of 6 solid seasons at the plate and win the field.  He had a power bat that was good for knocking in runs and his defense was highly regarded as he won 6 straight Gold Glove awards while manning the hot corner.  However, things started falling apart in 2007, and by the time his contract (6 YR/$66M) expired with the A's after the 2010 season , nobody wanted him.  He had to settle for a minor league contract with the Yankees and while helping them make the playoffs, still only produced a .676 OPS.  He was only a shell of his former self.  Chavez was considering retirement this past offseason.  The Yankees coaxed him into returning and thank goodness for them he did.

2012 has marked the resurrection of Eric Chavez.  He is currently batting .303/.909 over 79 games, with 13 HR and 31 RBI while filling in for injured stars like Alex Rodriguez at 3rd base and Mark Teixeira at 1st.  He still plays quality defense too!

He's signed to a bargain bin price of $900K, so suffice to say he's in line for a bigger payday when he hits free agency this upcoming offseason  Given his injury riddled past and elderly age, a 2 year contract might be hard to obtain, but somebody might go 2 YR/$6M on him and hope to get lucky.

Career stats: .268/.820, 774 R, 299 DBL, 245 HR, 844 RBI.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Double-A Leaderboard

*Stats for games played through Sunday, August 12th.

AVG - .322 - Brock Holt/Pirates
OPS - .977 - Mike Olt/Rangers
R - 82- Aaron Hicks/Twins
DBL - 37- Hunter Morris/Brewers
TRPL - 16 - Engel Beltre/Rangers
HR - 28 - Mike Olt/Rangers
RBI - 100 - Just Bour/Cubs
SB - 42 - Jeff Kobernus/Nationals

ERA - 2.20 - Chris Heston/Giants
WHIP - 0.90- Edwar Cabrera/Rockies
G - 51 - Josh Sullivan/Rockies
IP - 143.2 - Zeke Spruill/Braves
K - 136 - Matt Magill/Dodgers
W - 13 - Nicholas Struck/Cubs and Barret Loux/Rangers
SV - 23 - Keith Butler/Cardinals
HLD - 14 - Eric Fornataro/Cardinals

Friday, August 10, 2012

Minor League Leader Board (Triple-A)

September is just around the bend, where MLB rosters expand to any player on the 40-man roster. Triple-A baseball is the last stop on the minor league ladder to success, and the players below can probably count on a promotion (many of them already have been called up).

Triple-A Batting:
AVG - .382 - Adam Eaton/Diamondbacks
OPS - 1.093 - Alex Castellanos/Dodgers
R - 110 - Adam Eaton/Diamondbacks
DBL - 39 - Adam Eaton/Diamondbacks
TRPL - 13 - Starling Marte/Pirates
HR - 29 - Mike Hessman/Astros
RBI - 90 - Ryan Wheeler/Diamondbacks
SB - 39 - Luis Duragano/Braves

Triple-A Pitching:
W - 12 - John Ely/Dodgers, Eric Hacker/Giants, Scott O'Sullivan/Blue Jays, Zach Duke/Nationals
ERA - 2.12 - Tyler Cloyd/Phillies
WHIP - 0.90 - Justin Germano/Red Sox
G - 54 - Cory Burns/Padres
IP - 146.1 - Matt Shoemaker/Angels
K - 146 - John Ely/Dodgers
SV - 21 - Josh Wall/Dodgers, Jonathan Albaladejo/Diamondbacks