In a classic, one-for-one, baseball trade, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sent reliever Jordan Walden to the Atlanta Braves for starting pitcher Tommy Hanson. Hanson is owed a projected $4 million in arbitration and is under team control through 2015 while Walden makes the major league minimum and is under team control through 2016.
The explanation behind the title deals with the numerous afflictions that have ailed both pitchers in the past couple years. Hanson, a 22nd round draftee of the Braves in 2006, has had extensive history with shoulder and back problems. Last year, Hanson had two separate DL stints dealing with rotator cuff strain and shoulder tendinitis. This year, he dealt with a car-crash induced concussion and another DL stint with back strain. However, his persistent injury history is not even the biggest concern regarding Hanson's future big league success. His fastball velocity has correlated with his previous shoulder pain and has seen precipitous drops since his 2010 sophomore campaign. Since 2010, his average fastball velocity has dropped from 92.7 to 91.2 (2011) to 89.7 this past season. Not surprisingly, his performance has coincided with his shoulder issues and velocity decrease. From 2010, his ERA has increased 1.15 runs (3.33 to 4.48), his ERA+ has decreased 28 points (117 to 89), and his walks per nine innings has increased by 1.2 (2.5 to 3.7). By most means, he went from an above average starter to a mediocre below average one in a matter of two years.
Obviously, these are not favorable trends for any pitcher, let alone one with serious durability concerns. I am by no means an expert on pitching mechanics, but Hanson's delivery and short arm throwing motion (see below) seem awkward at best and could certainly be the basis for his shoulder ailments. Now, Hanson heads back to his hometown Angels, a team in desperate need for starting pitching after dealing Ervin Santana and letting Zack Greinke and Dan Haren walk as free agents. If… a big if… Hanson is healthy, he could be a more than serviceable starter and fill in solidly as a mid rotation guy.
Like Tommy Hanson, Jordan Walden has seen his performance suffer due to injury and velocity attrition. One year after saving 32 games in his rookie season, Walden entered the season as the team's closer. Yet, early season struggles (8.31 ERA in first month) quickly saw he demoted of the role in favor of Ernesto Frieri, only to then miss 35 games with an arm strain. Although Walden struck out an impressive 11.08 batters per nine innings and solid peripherals (3.02 FIP), the two ticks of fastball velocity lost since 2010 is quite concerning. Once again unsurprisingly, Walden saw his numbers drop as he finished the year with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings, while producing a slightly above average ERA+ of 110. One positive that differentiates
Walden from Hanson is the type of injury suffered. Shoulder issues tend to have high re-injury rates and more damning long term consequences, even more so for a starting pitcher. Walden's less serious bicep strain and injury risk in general should be mitigated by pitching in relief for shorter durations and in fewer total injuries.
Winner: Braves; Atlanta dumped a wrecked pitcher who's peripherals are all trending in the wrong direction for a decent middle reliever. Even if Walden happens to flame out, the chances of Hanson doing so are just as high and this trade could very well end up as a wash. In this case, the team that dumped the most money (Atlanta) would be the winners of this forgettable trade.
Loser: Angels; The Angels acquired the starter they desperately needed, but one I am very hesitant to pencil in for more than 10 or so starts. His injury, velocity, and command decline do not portend for future success. Although Walden will not be missed much in Anaheim, the Angels probably could have done better than Hanson.
11/2: Lou Gehrig only played one season in which he played every inning of every game.
11/5: Brady Anderson has more 50 home run seasons (1) than former HR King Hank Aaron (0, Aaron's career high was 47)
11/6: Hall of Fame broadcaster, Ernie Harwell, was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers from the minor league Atlanta Crackers for catcher Cliff Dapper. This marked the only occasion in which an announcer was traded for a player.
11/7: While Miguel Cabrera became the 12th man to win the Triple Crown (lead league in BA/HR/RBI) and first since 1967, Mike Trout became the FIRST PLAYER EVER in MLB history to hit 30 home runs, steal 45 bases, and score 125 runs in the same season.
11/9: On Thursday, Maicer Izturis signed a three year, $9 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. This was the first guaranteed multi-year contract handed out by General Manager Alex Anthopoulos to a free agent since 2009. That's over three years without handing out a single multi-year deal to a free agent.
11/12: The only pair of brothers to win the Cy Young is Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry and his older sibling, Jim Perry. Jim won the 1970 Cy Young while Gaylord won it in both 1972 and 1978.
11/13: On Monday, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout won the BBWAA's Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year award. Together, they have the highest combined WAR by any pair of rookies in Major League history (15.7 WAR). They replaced 1964 ROYs, Tony Oliva and Richie "Dick" Allen, who had a combined 15.1 WAR.
11/14: R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleball pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award.
11/15: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey became the first set of league MVPs to face off in the World Series since Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics and Kirk Gibson of the Los Angeles Dodgers clashed in the 1988 Fall Classic.
11/16: Buster Posey and Miguel Cabrera became the first pair to win the MVP while also leading their respective league in hitting since 1938. Jimmie Foxx (AL) and Ernie Lombardi (NL) captured both honors that season.
11/19: 2012 marked the first time in the history of MVP voting in which not a single Red Sox player received a vote.
11/20: Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson has grounded into the most triple plays with four
11/21: Hall of Famer Stan Musial coincidentally has 1815 hits at home and 1815 hits on the road. Happy 92nd Birthday Stan the Man!
11/22: Contrary to popular belief, Jackie Robinson was not the first colored player to play professional major league baseball. That honor goes to Moses Fleetwood Walker, who played for Toledo of the American Association in 1884.
11/24: Tim Raines reached base more often (3,977 times on base) than Tony Gwynn (3,955 times on base), despite having 536 fewer hits
11/26: The first full time baseball statistician was Alan Roth, who hired by the Dodgers in 1947
11/27: In 1981, the Cincinnati Reds won the most games in baseball, yet did not even reach the postseason. Due to the player's strike that season, playoff teams were selected from division leaders from each half of the season. The Reds finished a game behind the Dodgers in the first half and a game and a half behind the Astros in the second half.
11/28: Under Marvin Miller's watch as the MLBPA leader (1966-1982), player's annual salaries rose from $19,000 to $326,000. Today, the average annual salary stands at $3.4 million.
11/29: Shortstops Derek Jeter and Ozzie Smith have played a comparable amount of innings in their careers (21,977.2 for Jeter, 21,785.2 for Smith). During that time frame, Smith had 2,689 more fielding chances (assists plus putouts plus errors) than Jeter, even with a 200 inning deficit to Jeter. That comes out to about 150 more plays per season made by Smith than Jeter
11/30: Victor Starrfin is Japan's first 300 game winner
Yesterday, reliever Jonathan Broxton inked a three year, $21 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds. While this is relatively uneventful news in itself, the ramifications for this signing are significant. Earlier in the offseason, Cincinnati General Manager Walt Jocketty has stated that 2012 all-star and relief ace Aroldis Chapman would make a transition into the starting rotation if the club signed a proven closer. Now, with Broxton in the fold, all signs point to the Cuban defector starting for the 2012 NL Central Division Champs.
This past year, Chapman posted all-time great relief numbers with 15.32 K/9 (44% of all batters faced struck out), a miniscule 4.42 hits allowed per 9 innings, and 38 saves. Now, let's not forget, that fastball either
. According to Fangraphs' pitch value statistic, Chapman had the single best fastball of any reliever in baseball, one of which routinely sat in the high 90's. He was not even the original closer for the club as Chapman graduated into the role after season ending Tommy John surgery to initial closer Ryan Madson and ineffectiveness from Sean Marshall.
From then on, he was lights out for a bullpen that lead all of baseball in ERA and finished the season himself with a sparkling 1.51 ERA. He was the definition of a shutdown closer after years of inconsistent performances from the likes of Francisco Cordero and David Weathers. Now, with the signing of Broxton, arguably the game's most dominant pitcher is taking his talents to the rotation. Why?
Quite simply, throwing 200 innings is more valuable than throwing 70. For instance, Orioles closer Jim Johnson lead all of baseball in saves (50), but only threw 68.2 innings and produced 2.3 WAR. White Sox starter Gavin Floyd threw 168 innings, went a mediocre 12-11, had a 4.29 ERA and still managed to produce 2.3 WAR. As the evidence would have it, one of the best relief pitchers in baseball was just as a valuable as a league average starter. There are myriads of other examples that reflect the same notion that there is more value in innings than in closing. Even though relief pitchers throw innings of higher stress and leverage, that value just does not add up to what starting pitchers accumulate throughout the season. This realization of where the true value is has caused clubs to carry out their own experiments with their young pitchers. During the World Series runs of the 2006 Cardinals and 2008 Rays, Adam Wainwright and David Price were utilized as late-inning weapons while also gaining invaluable big league experience. However, in the following years, each of their respective clubs realized their potential as starters and let them mature into the aces they have become today. For additional evidence, Chris Sale's evolution from bullpen arm to legitimate frontline starter further exemplifies the possible benefit of such a move. However for every success, there have also been some been blatant mistakes (Daniel Bard, Joba Chamberlain, Neftali Feliz) in pushing this transition on these pitchers. Even after returning to the bullpen, Daniel Bard and Joba Chamberlain have been unable to recapture their previous dominance. What differentiates the successes and failures? Simply, it boils the ability to throw strikes.
Among the first legendary fastball pitchers was "Rapid Robert," Bob Feller
. Feller claimed he threw 108 mph
in his prime and in addition to throwing hard, he also had the reputation of having little idea where that ball was going. Feller posted poor walk numbers throughout this career, even leading the league on four separate occasions. How does this relate to Chapman? While you would not expect a guy who can throw over 100 to be a control artist, Chapman made serious progressions with his control in 2012. After a 2011 season in which he walked 41 batters in 50 innings (7.38 BB/9), he walked 18 fewer batters in 71.2 innings of work (2.89 BB/9). The thing most in common with the failed relievers turned starters is that most of them struggled with their control. For example, Bard had a 3.5 BB/9 and just last year, Neftali Feliz had a poor 4.3 BB/9 rate before moving into the rotation. If these pitchers could not stop walking batters as relievers, why would that change while dealing with diminished stuff and stamina as starters? Hint: it wouldn't. Pitchers such as Wainwright (2.6 BB/9) and Price (2.1 BB/9), who could control their pitches as relievers, have suggested that control over sheer force is more likely to lead to success in such a transition.
Also, another matter to take into account would be how much time was given to each pitcher in order to prepare for the upcoming season. A pitcher who knows immediately that he will be a starting pitcher the following year would in theory, have more time to get into "starting pitcher" shape so his body could handle the inning increase. For instance, Daniel Bard was in limbo for much of the offseason last year. Would he replace Jonathan Papelbon as closer or would he indeed become a starting pitcher? Not until December 29th (the day Andrew Bailey was acquired to become the closer) was it clear that Bard would transition to the rotation. Although this is just speculation, the late decision could very well have any ruined Bard's chance to condition well enough in time for the season. In addition to this increased time and preparation, Chapman also has the benefit of starting ballgames before. Chapman started in 63 of his 76 games in Cuba's Professional League, Serie Nacional
as well as 13 games for triple-A affiliate Louisville. However, this is the case with most pitchers to begin with, since most make the transition into the bullpen during the travels throughout the minor leagues. Regardless, Chapman has all the necessary tools: experience, command of his stuff, time to prepare,and a flat out dominant arm that should be ready to start for the Reds come 2013.
State of the Position:
What used to be the premier offensive position in the game has lost some of its luster over the past years. Despite the shortcomings of RBI, it serves as a good measure of how first basemen simply are not as good as they used to be. For example, there were eleven 100+ RBI first basemen in 2008 while only four first baseman eclipsed that mark in 2012. Injuries (Justin Mourneau, Ryan Howard), positional changes (Miguel Cabrera), and skill degradation (Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis) have all contributed to the slimming of the first base talent pool. Ironically, despite the talent loss, first base has become among the best paid positions in baseball. Lucrative contracts to Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, and Joey Votto have all contributed to this fiscally irresponsible splurge. As for the future of the position, only one first baseman (Jonathan Singleton) qualified for BTP's Top 100 list. One thing going for first base is that as players from other positions continue to age, many will pick up a first baseman's mitt to play the least physically demanding position in the game. This trend has already gained momentum as more and more catchers (Joe Mauer, Buster Posey) play the "cold corner" to save their legs and to keep their bat in the lineup. Anyhow, below is BTP's top 5 first baseman in the game today.5. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
The centerpiece of the mid-summer blockbuster between the Red Sox and Dodgers, Adrian Gonzalez remains one of the best first baseman in the game. However, Gonzalez enters the 2013 season not without questions about his own offensive abilities. He batted a solid, yet unspectacular, .299/.344/.463 with 18 home runs and 108 RBI as 2012 saw his walk rates and power numbers take significant hits. For example, from 2006-2011, Gonzalez averaged 31 HRs, 88 walks, 144 OPS+ (only 116 this year), and a .297/.380/.520 triple slash line. Additionally he saw his normally excellent walk rate decline substantially from 10.4% to a below average 6.1%. So while 2012 would be a good season for most, it fell well below his usual standards. Defensively, he continued to excel as one of the best fielders at his position with 15 defensive runs saved and a 17 runs above average according to Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). In order for Gonzalez to remain a top 5 first baseman, he needs to reverse the aforementioned batting trends that plagued him in 2012. His track record is what made him so appealing to the Dodgers when he was first acquired. He is familiar with NL West after playing much of his career in San Diego, and it is certainly plausible to see his numbers return to pre-2012 heights. I expect him to be about a 3.5 win player in 2013.
4. Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals (currently a free agent)
One of the major pieces of the National League Eastern Division Champions, Adam LaRoche had a career year in his age 32 season. For much of his career, LaRoche has provided decent offense with decent defense but took his game to new heights in 2012. He hit a career high 33 HRs, had a 128 OPS+, and hit a solid .271/.343/.510. Add in solid glove work that resulted in his first career Gold Glove, and LaRoche's impressive package of skills has set himself up beautifully for a big contract this offseason. However, like Gonzalez, LaRoche also has several questions . Can he repeat his career year or is his career year just that? Will his age (32 years old) factor into any future decline? That remains to be seen, but LaRoche's productive 2012 showed that he deserves to be recognized as one of the game's best at his position. I actually expect LaRoche and Gonzalez to have similar seasons so a 3.5-4 win season should not be too far out of reach.
3. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
One year into the third largest contract of all-time, Albert Pujols produced career lows across the board. What validates his ranking as the third best first baseman in the game is that Albert Pujols' poor play is still better than most players' best performance. He hit 30 HRs, drove in 100 runs, had a very respectable .285/.343/.516 slash line, and had a 141 OPS+. In addition, he had eight defensive runs saved to go along with his reputation as one of the best defenders at his position. However, his disturbing declines in every important offensive category have left concern in Pujols' future. His walk rate has dropped below average, his strikeout rate is the highest since his rookie year, and he had the lowest HR/FB rate of his career. While Pujols remains a solid hitter and fielder, gone are the days when Pujols reigned as the game's best player. Perhaps I am overstating his decline a bit but I foresee 2013 to be more comparable to 2012 than any year from his prime. He had 4.6 WAR last year and should be 4.5-5 win player next season.
2. Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
The offseason's second biggest signing had one of the biggest immediate impacts, as Fielder helped justify his hefty contract by the Tigers to their first pennant since 2006. Fielder provides some of the best offensive production in the league and has an excellent blend of hitting for average, power, and ability to get on base. For example, Fielder had a .313/.415/.528 with 108 RBI in 2012 batting behind league MVP Miguel Cabrera. Although his slugging percentage and power numbers (30 HRs, lowest total since rookie season) did take a bit of a hit coming to Detroit, Fielder still managed a 152 OPS+, good enough for third in the league. Defensively, he lacks what Gonzalez, LaRoche, and Pujols bring to the table and is a below average defensive player. Yet, his offensive ability makes up for his defensive shortcomings and I just simply have more confidence in his offense compared to the others heading forward. He should once again be around a 4.5-5 win player in 2013.
1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
The 2010 NL MVP had another extremely productive season in an injury shortened 2012 campaign, which was good enough for BTP to name him as the game's top first baseman. He lead the league in OBP (.474!) to go along with a .337 average, .567 slugging percentage, 44 doubles, and a 174 OPS+. His patience at the plate is unmatched (94 walks) with the only complaint of Votto's game being that he did not hit for a lot of power in 2012 (only 14 HRs). However, Votto has hit for good power in the past and his outage could simply be a result of the knee problems that caused him to miss 48 games. Defensively, Votto saved 9 runs and was 6.5 runs above average according to ultimate zone rating. Heading into his age 29 season, Votto should be experiencing his prime in the coming years. Votto has every desirable trait from a face of the franchise first baseman and assuming good health, could have a MVP caliber season in 2013.
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees
Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
To start our Positional Rankings, here are the top 5 backstops in baseball. Feel free to post comments regarding the lists. We appreciate the feedback and enjoy the rankings.
5: Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles)
The young phenom out of Georgia Tech has developed himself into a very good and consistent player at the major league level. He’s been, and will continue to be, a very important center-piece to the success of the Baltimore Orioles. Entering his fifth big league season, Wieters has been able to stay healthy as he has played at least 130 games each of the last three seasons. His career slash line sits at a very respectable .260/.328/.421. His home run power has been consistent the past 2 years with 22 and 23 in 2011 and 2012 respectively. His batting average took a dip down to .249 in 2012, however he was able to walk 60 times which is his career high. He also managed an OPS+ of 107 after posting a 110 OPS+ in 2011. Wieters has played very well behind the plate (knew I had to throw that phrase in there somewhere) with an total zone runs of 7, 10 and 9 for each of the past three seasons respectively. He has also improved his caught stealing percentage each year, throwing out 39% of runners in 2012. Wieters enters his prime years in 2013 and I predict that he improve in 2013. Look for him to be a 3.5-4 win player next season.
4: Miguel Montero (Arizona Diamondbacks)
The 28 year old Diamondbacks backstop has put together back to back very solid (nearly identical) seasons. Montero has been sturdy the past two years as well, playing in at least 140 games each year. He is coming off an impressive slash line of .286/.391/.438 with an OPS+ of 120 in 2012. His home run power tends to sit in the mid-teens with 16 in 2009, 18 in 2011 and 15 a year ago. One thing that noticeably improved for Miguel in 2012 was his plate discipline. He worked 73 walks last year with his previous career high at just 47. He did however strikeout 130 times, going over the 100 mark for the first time in his career. Overall his offensive production is very solid for anyone, and well above average for a catcher. Defensively, he has been terrific and amongst the league’s best. He has thrown out 32 runners each of the last 2 seasons. His caught stealing percentage is 40% and 42% in 2011 and 2012 respectively. His total zone rating has also been solid the past 2 years at 10 and 8 runs above average, respectively. He also was a well above average pitch framer going by Mike Fast's catcher framing data. When the whole package is put together, Montero should be about a 4 win player in 2013 as his consistency with the bat and glove has been a big key for him.
3: Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
Joe Mauer has been one of the best players in the game throughout his 9 year career, winning 3 batting titles and partaking in 5 all-star games. The number one overall selection out of high school in the 2001 draft is still just 29 years old as he heads into 2013. Mauer has been one of the best in the business at getting on base with a career OBP of .405. After an injury plagued 2011, Mauer bounced back and had a typical Joe Mauer all-star season in which he hit .319/.416/.446 with an OPS+ of 141. With consistency becoming a theme with these catchers, Mauer has been just that throughout his career. He has been able to stay on field (with 2011 being one exception), has batted over .300 in all but 3 of his 9 years and has never hit below .287. In addition his OBP has never dipped below .360 (2011) in a single season, and has been over a 100 OPS+ in every season. Mauer’s biggest campaign came back in 2009 when he won the American League’s most valuable player. That year he won what we here at BTP believe would be a better Triple Crown option, with a slash line of .365/.444/.587. He also led the league with a 171 OPS+ and that is all the more impressive considering Mauer’s postion on the field. Speaking of defense, Mauer has been very solid throughout his career. He has thrown out 32% of runners in his career. However, in 2012 he only caught 74 games and spit up his other games at DH and first base. 2012 also marked the first year in which Mauer’s defensive runs saved went under 0 at -6, which possibly hints at future time at first base. Although Mauer may be slowing down a bit at the catcher position, he is still among the league’s elite hitters in the game which puts him at number 3 on the catcher countdown. I would expect the Minnesota home grown product to be around a 4-5 win player in 2013.
2: Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)
With Yadier Molina, I think it is appropriate to begin with defense. The St. Louis backstop established himself as a defensive gem very early in his 9 year career. During his first full season in 2005, Molina threw out a whopping 65% of would be base stealers. He is also coming off an impressive season in which he gunned down 48%. His career defensive runs saved has amounted to 86 in his career with 36 combined runs saved the past two years. There’s no question Molina’s defensive skills are tops in the game right now, and expect more great glove work from Yadier in 2013. As for offense, Molina has always been solid for a catcher. However, in 2011 and 2012 he broke out as an elite offensive weapon for the Cardinals. In 2012 he batted a career high .315/.373/.501 with an OPS+ of 127. He was also able to steal a surprising yet impressive 12 bases which is also a career high. Molina has been impressive in the postseason for the Cardinals as well, leading them to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. He has a career .299/.352/.388 line in 63 career playoff games. Molina had a WAR of 6.7 in 2012, a difficult number to repeat in 2013. I still expect Molina to be an elite catcher and should be around a 5-6 win player.
1: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
The number one catcher heading into 2013 is also one of the best players in all of baseball period. He is just 25 years old and only has 2 1/2 years of experience in the major leagues. What he has accomplished in that short amount of time, howeve,r is what makes him the game’s best catcher. He is coming off a well-deserved Most Valuable Player award in 2012 after winning the Rookie of the Year in 2010. Many people thought it would take Posey a while to become the player he was in 2010 after a horrific knee injury in 2011 that limited him to just 45 games played that season. His critics were proved wrong as Posey hit .336/.408/.549 with an OPS+ of 172 in 2012. That knee injury proved to be a non-issue for Buster as he caught 114 games in 2012. He is an important reason as to why the Giants’ pitching staff was among the league’s best in 2012. He has never had a negative total zone run total or defensive run saved total in his career as a backstop and has a career TZR of 12 and DRS of 11. He has also thrown out 33% of baserunners in his career which is above league average (27%). Posey was an All-American shortstop at Florida State, making it all the more impressive that he was able to not only make a transition to catcher, but he was
able to thrive at a young age. It is also not a coincidence that Posey’s Giants won the World Series in both seasons Posey was healthy. Of course, in his injury year of 2011, the Giants did not even reach the postseason. Overall, Posey had a WAR of 7.2 in 2012 and look for him to be around that mark again in 2013.
A.J. Pierzynski (Free Agent, spent 2012 with Chicago White Sox)
Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)
A.J. Ellis (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Baseball is a game of inches. I'm sure most of you have heard this phrase, as baseball is one of those sports where one play can have a drastic effect on the game. Safe/out plays, trapped fly balls, and fair/foul calls are occurrences that happen in every Major League game. Yet, when these every game occurrences happen to be missed or incorrectly called, a large number of people remain content with the status quo. Tradition? Throw that out the window. The goal for any sporting official is to get the call CORRECT. Unless incorrect calls are part of the job description, why should we as fans and supporters of the game settle for anything less than perfection? The first professional baseball season was in 1869. Let me repeat that, 1-8-6-9. In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev finished his periodic table, Indian political activist Mohandes Gandhi was born, and Andrew Johnson was the President of the United States of America, only 4 years removed from the Civil War. Umpires were used because there was no better alternative. And, for the next 130 years, there was no better alternative. While, umpires have certainly improved their craft in the past 143 years, they are still far from perfect (they are humans, after all). Critics to instant replay quote the tradition of umpires in baseball. "The human element!", "How can you be so cold-hearted and take away the humanity of the game?" To me it is simple. Is the objective to get the call right or wrong? If it's to get the call right and if the "human element" happens to be a casualty, so be it. We have technology that is capable of verifying any play on the field in a matter of seconds. We are not stuck in that same 19th century world without electricity, televisions, and computers. We are in the 21st Century! Thankfully, there have been some strides toward implementing this technology into improving the game. Since 2008, instant replay was given the power to review and reverse boundary home run calls (fair or foul, whether it left the playing field, etc.). This is progress, but when millions of dollars are at stake for playoff games, even regular season games have tremendous importance and value. The current model just doesn't cut it.
On June 2, 2010, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from achieving just the twenty first perfect game in Major League history. You know the story, one out away from pitching immortality, Galaragga induced a ground ball to the first baseman, who then subsequently flipped the ball back to Galaragga for what should have been the final out of the game. However, the first base umpire, Jim Joyce, ruled the batter safe, despite irrefutable evidence showing that Galaragga beat the batter to the bag. Of course, this ended Galaragga's chance for a perfect game and created a tidal wave of controversy towards instant replay in baseball. About a month after this game, ESPN's Outside the Lines (ESPN's investigative team) conducted an analysis of every close play made by umpires during a two week span (excluding balls and strikes). The results: 1 in every 5 close plays are incorrect. That may or may not seem inconsequential, but when multiplied over a whole season, that is roughly 600 incorrect calls a season. Since when is a number like this acceptable? Another statement from the anti-replay crowd is that few, if anyone, feel instant replay should be implemented into baseball. In fact, Bud Selig, was quoted as saying he receives "almost no letters, calls, or thoughts on instant replay." Over the summer, Fangraphs conducted a poll asking its viewers their thoughts on instant replay. Its results: 91.5% of those who responded pushed for additional replay in some way, shape, or form. If Major League Baseball as a organization, and more importantly, as a business will not add replay for the good of the game, why can't they add replay for the fans? If fans are supportive of the idea, one would think that they would be more receptive towards attending a watching games. Clearly, replay would not only be good for the game but also from a business standpoint.
The argument for many detractors is that tradition is too important and that replay would slow the game to a standstill pace. To that, I present this question. If you were an umpire, would you rather get the call wrong, or have the ability to correct it with instant replay? Although I could find no such evidence of umpires thoughts on replay, one would assume that people would prefer to be right than wrong. The next point of debate would be how much time goes into fixing a call. While some would argue it would be a tedious and time consuming process, I think with today's technology, the correct call could be a made almost instantly. For every game, an additional umpire in the booth with full access to all videos of the game. Then, when a controversial call arises, that "replay" official could communicate with the umpires on the field and make the correct call in a matter of seconds. Even if it were to take a little longer than that, this process would surely be more timely than the manager going onto the field and protesting his case. Manager-umpire confrontations are usually minutes in length and are rarely overturned. Replay would be a win-win, in the sense that it would minimal amounts of time and that the calls would be corrected.
Baseball is about as American as hot dogs and apple pie. It is firmly implanted as the National Pastime and is a game rooted in the past and its tradition. Its popularity has extended into every (habitable) continent and is still growing today with a good part of that growth accredited to that very tradition for which it was founded on. All those idiosyncrasies are what makes the game so much fun. But we have reached a point where technology is not just some new fad but something firmly embedded into our daily lives. We have the opportunity to improve this already great game and take it to new heights and audiences. Yet, "tradition" remains the biggest roadblock to further use of instant replay. If tradition was still that important, why did we ever introduce night games, electronic scoreboards, new playoff formats, and the designated hitter? Because tradition is overrated.
The debate is over. Or at least the debate over who will win the American League Most Valuable Player is over. Miguel Cabrera won the intense competition with a landslide victory over my personal choice, Mike Trout. Not much more can be said about the cases for each candidate, as both camps have exhausted all resources trying to garner support for their cause. Cabrera followers have repeatedly cited his accomplishment of the prestigious (or meaningless, depending on your viewpoint) Triple Crown, his production down the stretch, and his team's ability to get into the postseason (notice I said "team's ability"). However, the Mike Trout faction has used analytical methodology to show that defense and baserunning do matter, and that Trout's offensive gap to Cabrera was marginal. Heck, even some of Trout's most ardent supporters have presented evidence that he was actually better offensively than Cabrera. Yet, while I personally do not agree with the decision, I understand why the voters voted the way they did. Simply, voters tend to reward players for being on postseason teams and historical accomplishment. Just looking at the past 21 American League MVP Award winners, 20 of them came from playoff teams. Clearly, playoff teams have a huge amount of weight when it comes to this honor. Then, of course, Cabrera went out and completed the first triple crown in 45 years. There's no debate the Miguel Cabrera had an excellent season, and if you would have asked me 10 years ago the triple crown winner did not deserve to win the MVP, I would have called you crazy. I'm not going to further delve into why Trout was better than Cabrera. The vote is over and there has been enough argument over the subject.
However, one point I would like to tackle and debate is the hypocrisy involved in arguments for many so called experts. Many of them hold the notion that Mike Trout is indeed the best baseball player on the planet, but somehow, inexplicably, he is not the league's Most Valuable Player. I have been as much of a spectator to this debate as anyone, and I have seen or heard numerous debates for each side. Yet, when esteemed analysts such as MLB Network's Tom Verducci, Larry Bowa, and Mitch Williams all say Trout was the best player, but not as deserving as Cabrera, I am left scratching my head. Even BBWAA AL MVP voter, Tim Kurkjian, stated that although Trout was the best player he has seen this year, Cabrera received his vote for the league's highest honor. Huh? These writers and analysts keep pointing out that Cabrera was more "valuable" than Trout. According to Merriam-Webster's, valuable is defined as "having monetary value" or "having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities." In other words, something that is the MOST valuable has the greatest monetary value and/or has the best traits and skills of a particular group. Why wouldn't the player who is considered the best in the entire sport, have the most monetary value or the most desirable abilities? Why wouldn't the best player have the most value, which in turn, makes his team as successful as possible? Why wouldn't the best player have the most impact on all phases of the game? This argument just continues to baffle me. To automatically assume that a player from a playoff team has more "value" than someone from a non-playoff team is lazy and flat-out ignorant. This assumption gives credit to a player for something he himself did not accomplish. The Tigers made the playoffs, not just Miguel Cabrera. What about Justin Verlander? What about Max Scherzer? What about Prince Fielder? Did they have no influence at all on the Tigers postseason run? According to many of the voters, their impact was dwarfed by Cabrera's seemingly godlike effort. Additionally, I suppose that they also feel that Cabrera had the power to manipulate the White Sox into losing 10 of their last fourteen games, consequently pissing away the division. If the White Sox win the Central, Cabrera does not make the playoffs, making the "value to team" argument moot.
Once again, this is no knock on Cabrera's season, his historic performance, and him as an individual. I absolutely feel Cabrera was the best hitter in baseball this year. But, even the most zealous followers to Cabrera's case would realize that he was vastly inferior to Trout's defense and baserunning prowess. Baseball is more than just hitting a round ball with a round bat. If you want to argue Cabrera's candidacy with pure logic and detailed supporting information, that is what makes this debate so much fun. Yet, the cop out taken by many writers seems to contradict what they consider to be valuable. My personal opinion on the matter is that many writers, analysts, and fans cannot separate what they know is right and what they want to believe is right. They still hold onto nostalgic things that they want to remain relevant (Triple Crown, Playoffs importance) despite knowledge of the contrary. Also, many of these people claim that only statistics support Trout's argument, yet they reverse their stance instantly and end up quoting Cabrera's Triple Crown (Stats!), clutchness (Stats!), and performance down the stretch (Stats!) to validate their vote. You cannot argue against statistics and then use it for evidence as part of your of argument, just like the whole "valuable" over best argument should be nonexistent. This hypocrisy needs to end. The line in the sand has been drawn. Pick a side and stick to it. - Aidan Flynn
Tuesday night brought the unexpected news of a major blockbuster between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. Akin to the Red Sox-Dodger deal in August, big names and big money is being moved between the two franchises, and should have huge ramifications for the futures of both teams. Although these consequences will be detailed later in the article, here are the details of the trade: the Toronto Blue Jays will acquire shortstop Jose Reyes
, right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson
, left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle
, outfielder Emilio Bonafacio, catcher John Buck
, and $4 million (Blue Jays will eat the other $167 million remaining on the contracts); the Miami Marlins will acquire shortstop Yunel Escobar
, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez
, minor league left-handed starter J
ustin Nicolino, minor league outfielder J
ake Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis
, and minor league right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani
The American League East just got even stronger, if you can believe that to be possible. The Toronto Blue Jays made themselves an instant force with one big blow, landing major talent from the Miami Marlins. The Jays are coming off just a 73 win season in 2012 and have already let manager John Farrell go to the Boston Red Sox. However, they have filled 2 gaps in their starting rotation and added a sparkplug shortstop in Jose Reyes. They have also received catcher John Buck, back for his second go-around with the club, and Emilio Bonifacio.
Let's start with the pitching. Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle are two guys that Toronto can immediately move to the front end of the rotation. Johnson has the talent to be a legitimate ace and he has shown that ability when he lead the league in ERA and ERA+ (2.30, 180) in 2010. The big question surrounding Johnson is his health and durability. He has only managed to throw 200+ innings once in his 8 year career. He is coming off a decent season in 2012 in which he had a 3.81 ERA and 104 ERA+ in 191.1 innings. The ability to be a 6+ WAR pitcher is there (2009 & 2010) for Johnson. The only question, once again, is his health and durability. However, durability is not a question for the other rotation piece Alex Anthopoulos picked up, crafty lefty Mark Buehrle. Buehrle returns to the American League after just one season in the senior circuit and is heading into his age 34 season. He has thrown at least 200 innings in a whopping 12 straight seasons, with his most serious injury being a day-to-day cut from opening a mayonnaise jar
. He has been extremely consistent with his production as well. He has never had a season with an ERA over 5 and just one season with an ERA over 4.28, with his career mark at 3.82. He also has had just one season (4.99 ERA, 95 ERA+) with an ERA+ of under 100. He will however give up his share of base hits despite tossing 2 career no hitters, one of which being a perfect game. He averages 234 hits per season. His command is very good, walking an average of 5.4% of hitters compared to the league average of 8.6%. When it's all set and done, the Blue Jays should be very pleased with these two additions to their starting rotation.
Offensively, Toronto has added some nice pieces as well. They have added two elite base-stealers to go along with Rajai Davis (40 SBs in 3 of his last 4 seasons). Reyes is coming off a 40 stolen base season while Bonifacio is coming off a 30 steal season. There's no question that the Jays now have the ability to cause havoc on the base paths night in and night out. However, despite this speed and talent, there are some question marks. With Reyes, he has struggled to consistently stay on the field throughout his career. From 2009-2011 he played in 36, 133 and 126 games respectively. However he is coming off a 160 game season in 2012, which is a good sign for where his health stand heading into 2013. Reyes can swing the bat as well, with a career line of .291/.342/.440. He is also one season removed from winning a National League batting title with a .337 average. Reyes has great tools as well defensively with a rocket for an arm, however he has struggled to be consistent. He has committed at least 15 errors at shortstop the past three seasons and has a career defensive runs saved total of -18 runs while coming off his career worst defensive season (-17) in 2012. He has also had a negative UZR over the past four seasons, with his 2012 mark at -2.8. As for Bonifacio, the question is getting on base. He owns just a .329 OBP, which has hindered his stolen base opportunites in the past. He is coming off a tough year in which he played just 64 games and hit .258/.330/.316 with 30 steals in 33 attempts. The Blue Jays are hoping Emilio can return to his break-out season of 2011 that saw him hit .296/.360/.393 with 40 steals in 51 tries. The Blue Jays also were able to snag veteran and former all-star backstop, John Buck. Buck is a guy who can backup J.P. Arencibia or fill in at DH here and there if needed. He had the best season of his career back in 2010 with the Jays, finishing at .281/.314/.489 while hitting 20 long balls. However, he has declined the past two seasons and is coming off a campain in which he hit .192/.297/.347 and 12 home runs in 106 games played. Considering where the Blue Jays finished last year, their fan base should be very excited to see this trade occur. Any team who can add Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck all in one trade has definitely improved for the upcoming season. -Nick Rabasco
What a season it has been for the Miami Marlins. An offseason that provided a state-of-the-art, publicly funded stadium, brand new uniforms, a re-branding of the franchise, star player signings, and the most obnoxious structure
in sports sent unprecedented excitement throughout a notoriously poor baseball community. Then, the regular season started. The Marlins went 8-14 in the first month and new manager Ozzie Guillen (hired to appeal to the Hispanic/Latino Miami population) outraged the entire city with his remarks
regarding his admiration of Fidel Castro, which resulted in a five game suspension. The Marlins would continue to struggle and finished with a worse record (69-93) than in 2011, despite having a payroll $44 million more in 2012.
It's clear 2012 was a season to forget for the Marlins, which prompted this major transaction. The two big major league players heading to South Beach are Yunel Escobar and Henderson Alvarez. Escobar, seemingly the model of inconsistency, suffered a horrendous offensive campaign with a 75 OPS+ and whose attitude resulted in a suspension following writing a homophobic slur on his eyeblack. Escobar has flashed his potential before (4+ WAR in 2009, 2011) but with his current makeup issues, one has to wonder if he'll ever return to that level of production. Alvarez, basically a replacement level starter in 2012 (.1 WAR) faced a steep decline from his solid rookie season. His superb K/BB rate in 2011 of 5.00 decreased dramatically to just 1.46 as he saw he BB rate increase and K rate decline. Not necessarily a good sign going forward for any pitcher. At this point, he should just be an innings eater for the Fish.
Among the minor leaguers the Marlins are receiving include highly-touted outfielder Jake Marisnick, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, and lefty Justin Nicolino. According to Baseball America, Marisnick is the team's second best prospect with claims of five tool potential. Although he only hit .249/.321/.399 this year, he has plus speed that he utilizes well in center field. He does have some swing n' miss in his game (100 K's), but his strength should at least allow him to have average power if the average does not come along. Hechavarria is among the best defensive shortstops in the minors, and is adept to making both the routine and flashy plays thanks to his cannon for an arm. His hitting ability remains suspect as his triple-A numbers were inflated by playing in hitter friendly Las Vegas and had just a .645 OPS in the majors. As for Nicolino, he profiles a decent mid to back end of the rotation option for the Fish in the near future. He is the classic soft tossing lefty that hits his spots on a routine basis (a la J
amie Moyer) and pitched very well (2.46 ERA, 1.5 BB/9, 8.6 K/9) in high A Lansing.
However, arguably the biggest prize of all for the Marlins is their newfound financial freedom, saving $160+ million in commitments over the next several seasons. This money could be used to reinvest in the free agent market (something I highly doubt in respect to last year's signings being a complete flop, but still possible) or could be used to lock up talent to long term deals such as 23 year old Giancarlo Stanton
(158 OPS+, 5.4 WAR, and league leading .608 SLG). Even that could be in question given Stanton's immediate reaction following the trade
, possibly discouraging him from staying in Miami long term. Now normally, trades that dumps unreasonable contracts and are able acquire cheap, young, talent is usually a clear win. Yet, it is not that cut and dry, given the circumstances surrounding the Marlins spending spree last year and the current state of their fan base. After the dismantling of World Series Championship teams and alienation of the baseball community on numerous occasions, 2012 was supposed to be a redemption for past mistakes and failures by ownership. This move only underscores previously ingrained thoughts that the current management group will not allow this team to be successful. Loria's clear ineptitude toward running a franchise has become flat out embarrassing and his continued mistakes have become laughable (unless you are a Marlins fan, my condolences). Don't get me wrong, I completely agree that if mistakes are made and the opportunity arises to wipe that slate clean, take advantage of it. Yet, it seems unlikely that Loria and the front office will reinvest that money into the on-field product given their previous history. At some point, for Marlins fans and just baseball fans alike, this act is getting old. -Aidan FlynnFirst Impressions:Winners: Blue Jays:
Toronto was able to add an all-star caliber shortstop, and two very solid pitching options that can fortify an injured riddled rotation in 2013. One concern going forward is the health of both the acquired players and the team in general, but on paper the Jays look to be major contenders for the American League East Division Championship.Losers: Miami Marlins:
Miami was able to hit the reset button, but have basically forfeited the 2013 season and the next several years in general. Lack of trust to reinvest money into the on-field product will have long-term repercussions on baseball in Miami. Do not be surprised if owner Jeffrey Loria is forced to sell the team in the near future. The alienation of the fans and its lack of desire to stay competitive makes this trade a loss for the Fish.
Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, and Wil Myers top Aidan's Top Prospect List.
At last, here are the top 3 prospects in baseball, with statistics and advanced scouting reports on each player. Hope you enjoyed the rankings as much as I did, and I will certainly try to include some prospect pieces in the near future. Later today, I will put up my top 100 prospects (without scouting reports) and my top farm systems in the game. Enjoy
3. Wil Myers , OF, Kansas City Royals, ETA: 2013: 2012 Levels: AA Northwest Arkansas (35 games), AAA Omaha (99 games) 2012 Numbers: Batted combined .314/.387/.600, with 26 2Bs, 37 HRs, 109 RBI
Baseball America's Player of the Year, Wil Myers broke out in a big way in 2012. After batting .254/.353/..393 in an injury plagued 2011, Myers showcased his power bat across the top two levels in the Royals minor league system. Myers has a strong body that generates easy plus power and also shows an advanced hitting ability that produces frequent loud contact. After being drafted as a catcher, Myers has transitioned well to the outfield, seeing time in both center field and right field. His strong arm, along with average range and jumps, should push him to right field within the next year or two. Currently, Jeff Francoeur is blocking Myers, but he should not stop the Royals from having Myers as their opening day right fielder. 2. Dylan Bundy , SP, Baltimore Orioles, ETA: 2013: 2012 Levels: A Delmarva (30 innings), High-A Frederick (57 innings), AA Bowie (16.2 innings), MLB Baltimore (1.2 innings) 2012 Numbers (Minors): 103.2 innings pitched, 2.08 ERA, 28 BB (2.4 BB/9), 119 K (10.3 K/9)
Bundy is a scout's dream for a pitcher. One of the most polished prep pitchers in recent memory and one of the best work ethics in the minors, Bundy more than lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him by dominating in his first professional season. Just during his stint with low-A Delmarva (30 innings), he struck out 40, walked two, allowed only 5!!! hits, and did not concede a single earned run. Bundy's repertoire includes a big time fastball that sits in the mid 90's while occasionally touching triple digits and also features good movement and sink. Additionally, he features a plus-plus curve (just ask Orlando Calixte
), and potential plus changeup that is extremely advanced for his age. As if he could not be any better, he has very good control while his command inside the strike zone is still improving. Also, he has put up these numbers despite the Orioles refusing to let him throw his best pitch, the cutter
. He will probably start the year in the minors, but should certainly see time in the big leagues at some point during the season. Bundy is the real deal and believe the hype. 1. Jurickson Profar , SS/2B, Texas Rangers, ETA: 2013: 2012 Levels: AA Frisco (126 games), MLB Texas (9 games) 2012 Numbers: Batted combined .278/.366/.455, 28 2Bs, 15 HRs, and 16 SBs
And the number one prospect in baseball is… Rangers shortstop, Jurickson Profar. A Little League World Series hero for his native Curacao, Profar was initially desired as a pitcher but the Rangers conceded and let him play his preferred position of shortstop. Just as Bundy is the ideal pitcher, Profar is about as good as it gets for a shortstop. Profar, a switch hitter, combines a plus hitting ability from both sides of the plate (although he is stronger with his more natural right side) and has a mature approach at the plate. He uses the entire field and has a line drive stroke that should allow him to hit for a high average and could be an eventual 70 or elite tool. Although he currently has only modest power, he could eventually grow into 20-25+ HR power with at least plenty of 2Bs.
Defensively, he makes the most of his strong arm (clocked as high as 95 mph off the mound) with tremendous accuracy to boot. In addition, he has very good range despite his average speed and his baseball instincts rank among the best in the minors. His makeup is off-the-charts as he is extremely mature, confident, and maximizes his talents. Just surviving against much older competition in double-A would have been considered a success, but ended up being the league's best shortstop and prospect
. Considering Profar's near readiness for the majors, the Rangers have an interesting problem on their hands. All Star shortstop and Profar's idol, Elvis Andrus, is currently blocking him, and second basemen Ian Kinsler just signed an extension earlier this year. One possible solution is to let free agent Josh Hamilton walk, and move the brittle Ian Kinsler to the outfield and implant Profar as the starting second baseman. Whatever the decision, Profar should be in the majors at some point in 2013, and could be the game's best shortstop by 2015.
1. Jurickson Profar, SS/2B, Texas Rangers
2. Dylan Bundy, SP, Baltimore Orioles
3. Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals
4. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
5. Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners
6. Gerrit Cole, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
7. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B/RF, Boston Red Sox
8. Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
9. Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners
10. Trevor Bauer, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
11. Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami Marlins (top picture)
12. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
13. Tyler Skaggs, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
14. Miguel Sano, 3B/RF, Minnesota Twins
15. Javier Baez, SS/3B, Chicago Cubs
16. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros (middle picture)
17. Shelby Miller, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
18. Nick Castellanos, 3B/RF, Detroit Tigers
19. Jameson Taillon, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
20. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
21. Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers
22. Travis D'Arnaud, C, Toronto Blue Jays
23. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (bottom picture)
24. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
25. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
26. Julio Teheran, SP, Atlanta Braves
27. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
28. Billy Hamilton, CF, Cincinnati Reds
29. Danny Hultzen, SP, Seattle Mariners
30. Matt Barnes, SP, Boston Red Sox
31. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Kansas City Royals
32. Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
33. Aaron Sanchez, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
34. Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
35. Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
36. Jackie Bradley, CF, Boston Red Sox
37. Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres
38. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
39. Nick Franklin, 2B, Seattle Mariners
40. Alen Hanson, SS/2B, Pittsburgh Pirates
41. Jedd Gyorko, 3B/2B, San Diego Padres
42. Alex Meyer, SP, Washington Nationals
43. Taylor Guerrieri, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
44. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
45. Mason Williams, CF, New York Yankees
46. Robert Stephenson, SP, Cincinnati Reds
47. Trevor Story, SS/3B, Colorado Rockies
48. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
49. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres
50. Casey Kelly, SP, San Diego Padres
51. Noah Syndergaard, P, Toronto Blue Jays (top picture)
52. Kolton Wong , 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
53. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies
54. Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles
55. Kyle Zimmer, SP, Kansas City Royals
56. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs
57. Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
58. Dan Straily, SP, Oakland A's:
59. Trevor Rosenthal, SP/RP, St. Louis Cardinals
60. Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals
61. Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox (middle picture)
62. Tony Cingrani, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds
63. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
64. Allen Webster, SP, Boston Red Sox
65. Addison Russell, SS/3B, Oakland Athletics
66. Eddie Rosario, 2B, Minnesota Twins
67. Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (bottom picture)
68. Aaron Hicks, OF, Minnesota Twins
69. A.J. Cole , SP, Oakland Athletics
70. Wilmer Flores, Inf, New York Mets
71. Max Fried, SP, San Diego Padres
72. Daniel Corcino, SP, Cincinnati Reds
73. Zach Lee, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
74. Chris Archer, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays
75. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
76. Brett Jackson, OF, Chicago Cubs
77. James Paxton, SP, Seattle Mariners
78. Clayton Blackburn, SP, San Francisco Giants
79. Yasal Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
80. Jesse Biddle, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
81. Delino DeShields, 2B, Houston Astros
82. Michael Wacha, P, St. Louis Cardinals
83. Luis Heredia, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
84. Tyler Austin, OF, New York Yankees
85. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (top picture)
86. Brad Peacock, P, Oakland Athletics
87. Kyle Crick, SP, San Francisco Giants88. Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants
89. Cody Buckel, SP, Texas Rangers
90. Slade Heathcott, OF, New York Yankees
91. Arodys Vizcaino, RP, Chicago Cubs
92. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals
93. Yordano Ventura, SP, Kansas City Royals
94. Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers (middle picture)
95. Brad Miller, SS, Seattle Mariners
96. Bruce Rondon, RP, Detroit Tigers (bottom picture)
97. Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins
98. Tyler Thornburg, P, Milwaukee Brewers
99. Miles Head, 1B/3B, Oakland A's
100. Robbie Erlin, SP, San Diego Padres