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Posts Tagged ‘World Series’

imagesWith spring training a little over a month away, and pitchers reporting in two weeks, the regular season is just around the corner.  Those rusty shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, hammies, groins and legs will soon enough turn into a trip to the big leagues or another season down on the farm.  Each spring promising youngsters get a shot at making the big league in exhibition games, veterans earn their respect, and players on their last legs attempt to prove that they still have the right “stuff.”

What is often over looked by the gigantic free agent signings are prospects that have been developing and maturing in the minors.  The draft, team development of players, and the Rule 5 draft are ignored because of this “WIN right now at all cost” mentality (Think of the Yankees).  Interestingly, if you look at the Philadelphia Phillies roster five (C. Ruiz, R. Howard, C. Utley, J. Rollins, P. Burrell) of their eight position starters were drafted by Philadelphia, and four (C. Hamels, K. Kendricks, B. Myers, A. Eaton), of their six (they traded for Joe Blanton) starters were also drafted by the Phillies.

Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell, and Hamels were the core of that 2008 World Championship team.  That is building from within.  The [Devil] Rays, contrary to popular belief, were not as built from within (though trading their prospect helped them receive key parts [i.e. Delmon Young for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett]).  Only four of their starting eight was drafted by the Rays (E. Longoria, BJ Upton, C. Crawford, J. Gomes), and two of their five main starters (J. Shields and A. Sonnanstine) were drafted by the Rays.  Now this isn’t awful, but just not as many as the Phillies.
*Just for comparison sakes, the Yankees did have 8 players on their everyday roster that they drafted.

Though, the draft is not an exact science (only 16 of the 43 top pick in the draft have been all stars, two have never play a game in the big leagues, and only two have been Rookie of the Year), building a team through the draft is essential to having a winning team.  Trading picks away for the present only creates problems for the future.  Building from within has always proven to lead to great results.

The most interesting thing to notice about the two World Series teams is their mlb_vwt3_swpayroll ($43,820,598 [Rays] to $98,269,881 [Phillies]).  That is more than double.  Granted, the Phillies spent heavy in the off-season and trades, while the Rays decided that they would be a bit more frugal.  The huge signings by the Yankees may look like brilliant ideas today, but does not guarantee a playoff birth, let alone a winning record (the top three payrolls did not even make the playoffs).

Obviously, drafting doesn’t equate a title run, or a title.  Nevertheless, the Rays and Phillies made to WS without a $100 million cap, and the Brewers made the playoffs within that same category.  The free spending owners, and the high rolling sports agents may be rich, but as they say “A ring is more important than all the records in the world!”

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The Rays sweep Boston, A-Rod passes Jimmie Foxx, the White Sox extend their winning streak to 7, Lance Berkman accepts invitation to participate in the Home Run hitting contest (whichis going to ruin his season) but what really caught my eye is the All-Star voting. What a waste of everyones time. When the two leading outfield candidates for the NL are Alfonso Soriano and Ken Griffey Junior you know something is wack.  Braun shouldn’t have to battle out Alfonso Soriano who is hurt and an old star that isn’t hitting like a deserving starting All-Star should.  In 5th place is Matt Holliday, who is an extremely talented player, but when you were gone for 2 weeks and players like Nate McLouth who is given not credit is barely in the top 15 in voting you know you have a popularity contest.  Why should I watch a game when the best players aren’t really showcased.  Instead, I am watching the best players from the media hyped markets play a realistically meaningless game (stupid Bud Selig to make the winning league have home field advantage in the World Series.  What kind of drugs do you have to be on for that thought to even cross your mind?).  I am going to save your eyes the rest of my endless rant that would cripple any 20/20 you might have.

Hiroki Kuroda- After spending time on the DL his first start back he threw 7, 5-hit, shutout innings against the Astros. In two starts against the struggling ‘stros he has thrown 13.2 innings allowing 6 hits, 1 run, 4 walks and 6 strike outs with a ERA and WHIP under 1. His next start is at home against the Braves. Although he was roughed up back on April 20th, he is a much better pitcher at home than on the road. Look for another impressive start on Monday.

Matt Capps- Was placed on the DL today, and it is expected for him to miss at least 2 months with a bum shoulder. This could explain his recent pathetic outings (5 blown saves in last 7 opportunities).

Carlos Marmol- Maybe I jinxed him, or maybe his mechanical flaw was destined to bring him down to Earth, but he has given up 8 earned runs in his last 5 innings of work after allowing a 3 run homer to Ray Durham last night (although he did pick up his second win on the season). He has also walked 8 batters in this time frame too. I am thinking that Lou Piniella has overworked him this year. He has thrown 48 innings so far this year in 43 appearances. That brings him close to a pace of 95 innings and 85 appearances. That is a lot of work for a man of his stature. Though if he can figure out what is wrong with his mechanics than I don’t worry about how the next 45 or so innings will go.

Nick Blackburn- How ’bout that, another good outing for Mr. Blackburn. If you look at his last 8 starts you will see that for each poor outing he has followed them with 2 decent starts (if not quality starts). If your league still has him hidden under some of the other WW Fodder, scoop up this gem.

Chipper Jones- Maybe the sources I found were a bit off (but who can blame them, this is still of course Chipper “Fragile-handle with care” Jones) as he hits his 17th homer this season in a losing effort against the recently floundering Phillies

Xavier Nady- Hit 2 homers to lead the Pirates over the Reds. The summer months have never been good to Nady, and maybe just maybe he could repeat lasts years July when he went .321/.363/.512 (most of that slugging was by doubles). However, realistically he is a April-May player with sagging numbers the rest of the year.

Jay Bruce- He hit a solo and 3-run homer last night, hitting in the lead off spot for the ninth time this season. The 2-hole is where he has hit for success at this level (.435/.527/.652 compared to .126/.157 /.188 in all any other batting spot). After last nights game he is 6/15 in his last 4 games with 4/2/5. However, he is still striking out too much (34 time in 130 at-bats (26%)).

Chase Headley- Hit his 4th home run on the season for the Padres lone run of the game extending his hit streak to 8 games. Although during this streak his average is still sitting at .254 because each game he is only getting 1 hit. This shows some good contact day-in and day-out, so his average could improve towards the .280-.290 range (he hit .294 or better all 3 years of minor league ball except for rookie ball).

Troy Tulowitzki- Went 1/3 for the 5th straight game hitting his 3rd homer of the season, and 2nd since coming off the DL. I truly think that we have the Troy of old back in our midst. Look for another second half explosion from this cool soCal native.

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