You Just Might Be A Fantasy Baseball Player

Hedley

As Hedley Lamarr (or maybe Chase Headley) once said, “My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.” So, with Spring Training upon us, and with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy –

 

> If the sign in the supermarket said “Rotisserie Chicken” and it caused you to not spend that extra dollar on groceries, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re more interested in Hunter Renfroe than Hunter Renfrow, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Marc Rzepczynski’s nickname is “Scrabble”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your elbow was fine but you decided to have Tommy John Surgery to see how long the rehab takes, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Coco Crisp hasn’t been hit by a pitch since 2011 (over 2,700 plate appearances), you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If the fact that only Sandy Koufax could help your pitching stats causes you to always use 32-second intervals cooking food in the microwave, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your neighbor brags about his 4×4 and you reply by saying you prefer 5×5, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Padres infielder’s nickname should be “Jumbo” Schimpf, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re acquainted with “Lenny The Legend”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the difference between Danny Santana, Domingo Santana, Ervin Santana & Johan Santana, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you invited Brandon Phillips to stay in your guest room and he invoked his 10 & 5 rights, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Ahchoo was a man in tights and Shin-Soo Choo is a man in stirrups, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve ever hacked into the Astros’ computer system, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know it’s d’Arnaud and not D’Arnaud, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that the Brewers have a prospect who has a first name of “Brett” and a middle name of “Maverick”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think there’s a chance that Mallex Smith could be a distant relative of “Suitcase” Simpson, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If Cam Bedrosian’s Father was once the closer on your team, you just might be a veteran Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the difference between Cristhian Adames & Willy Adames, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re walking through the woods when someone yells “Snake” and you yell back “I prefer Auction”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the whereabouts of Dariel Alvarez, Dario Alvarez, Henderson Alvarez, Jose Alvarez & Pedro Alvarez, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you told your fiancé that you’re willing to marry her but that you want an opt-out after two years, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If someone refers to a girl as a “Keeper” and you ask if she qualifies at more than one position, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you were offered a part-time job with a salary of $17,200 but turned it down because you thought you were worth $30,000, then went crawling back to the original company and they gave you $18,000 so you wouldn’t like an idiot to your co-workers, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you believe that Chris Archer was the best 9-game winner in baseball, you just might a Fantasy player.

 

> If the team names “Okrent Fenokees”, “Sklar Gazers”, “Cary Nations” & “Pollet Burros” are familiar to you, you just might be a long-time Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re philosophical about the playing time for Socrates Brito, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think the best thing about the Super Bowl is that it’s the last Football game of the season, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Homer Bailey has the worst first name for a Pitcher, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re hoping that Jett Bandy will be a stealth pick at your draft, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the whereabouts of Kyle Crick, Kyle Elfrink, Kyle Blanks, Kyle Gibson, Kyle Hendricks and Kyle Kendrick, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve ever used the word “Eh” in a conversation with Tim McLeod, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you watch a movie that stars Ben Kingsley and you’re motivated to check Trace Wood’s Long Gandhi website, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think the Mayo Clinic is where Jonathan spends the off-season looking at minor-league video, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think “Black Magic Woman” is only a song by the wrong Carlos Santana, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that a Barcalounger is a chair and a Barraclough is a set-up guy, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your podiatrist diagnoses you with a callous and it causes you to wonder if Jim has finished the top 100 prospect list yet, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve signed a petition to have Bill James’ countenance added to Mt. Rushmore, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you went to farmersonly.com to look for a scouting report on Buck Farmer, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If the term “Pleskoff Prospect” is meaningful to you, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you realize that Wily Peralta’s name is not pronounced the same as Wile E. Coyote’s name, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you see graffiti that says “Jesus Is The Answer” and you wonder if the question is, “Who Is Matty & Felipe’s Brother?”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Schoop is pronounced “Scope”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If Noah Syndergaard added 15-20 pounds of upper body mass during the off-season and you added 15-20 pounds of lower body mass during the off-season, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you clearly know that Lazarito is not a villain in the next Marvel super-hero movie, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you believe that Wilin, Welington, Dioner and Yasmani are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re secure in the fact that you’ll never run into Steve Clevenger at a civil rights rally, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re having dinner at a Morton’s Steakhouse and immediately wonder about the condition of Charlie’s hamstring, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve applied for one of the new Visas to Cuba, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you are secure in the fact that Lord Zola is not a character created by J.R.R. Tolkien, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your girlfriend’s name is Betty Jo but you’ve started calling her Melvin, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your employer uses a company called ADP to process payroll and your paycheck causes you to wonder if you can get a quality Closer in Round 7, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you are aware that both Mookie Betts and John Burkett have bowled perfect 300 games, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If it is no surprise to you that Kris Davis hit more Home Runs than Chris Davis, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Joe is “Mauer” and Brandon is “Maurer”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Kevin Quackenbush should pitch for the Long Island Ducks, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If none of your friends would even consider tuning in to “Mad Dog” Russo, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the difference between Hunter Dozier, Hunter Renfroe, Brian Dozier, Bryan Morris & Hunter Morris, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you drafted Justin Verlander just to keep Kate Upton happy, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re sure that Pete Seeger, Bob Seger, Kyle Seager & Corey Seager are all talented, you just might be a folk / rock Fantasy player.

 

> if you know that Rougned Odor has a ball-playing Brother who is also named Rougned Odor, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Starlin, Alcides, Adeiny & Asdrubal are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If something tells you that Zack Godley & David Goforth should be pitching for the same team, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know how to spell Oberholtzer, Foltynewicz, Tropeano, Scheppers, Tepesch, Pierzynski, Nieuwenhuis & Szczur, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If a conversation with Jason Collette would be more interesting than one with Toni Collette, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you ponder whether Brad Hand has ever watched video of Rollie Fingers, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If the kids are watching “Kung Fu Panda” and you think the lead character should lose weight, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Bo Bichette is Dante’s son and was named after Bo Jackson, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you believe that the new “Rotoman” Superhero action movie will be in 3-D, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you see that the White Sox 3B has a Spring injury and you start yelling “down goes Frazier”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you wonder why the Mexican restaurants in Kansas City don’t serve Moose Tacos, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that meeting Billy Beane would be more exciting than meeting Brad Pitt, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the difference between Ryan Wheeler, Tim Wheeler, Zelous Wheeler & Zach Wheeler, you’re definitely a Fantasy player.

 

> If Ron Shandler has replaced James Patterson as your favorite author, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve changed your name from Mike to Giancarlo, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If the song “Camptown Ladies” makes you think of Lucas Duda, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If someone tells you they live on Huston St. and you immediately think about Saves, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Jon Gray’s ERA in Denver was lower than Sonny Gray’s in Oakland, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the difference between Jarred Cosart, Kaleb Cowart and Zack Cozart, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your wife isn’t concerned about you visiting Asian websites because she knows you’re scouting baseball prospects, you are obviously a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re not sure Yoenis Cespedes is worth $110 Million, but you’re sure he’s worth at least $25, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Yovani, Aroldis, Ubaldo, Jhoulys, Odrisamer & Anibal are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you see the movie “Platoon” and immediately start thinking about Cameron Maybin & Ben Revere, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the stats of John Smiley and Drew Smyly, you just might be a long-time Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Dane, Eury, Jorge & Rubby are all named De La Rosa, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know more quotes from Dylan Bundy than from Al Bundy, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If the total bill every time you shop at Costco is $260, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If the Devo song “Whip It” comes on the radio and you think about a pitcher’s ratio, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Scott Feldman, Trevor Rosenthal, Alex Bregman, Joc Pederson, Kevin Pillar & Craig Breslow are all on your team, you just might be a Jewish Fantasy player.

 

> If the names Leonys, Taijuan, Kolten, Rymer & Xander are familiar to you, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your only link to opera is that you once saw Alfredo Figaro pitch, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think Steve Moyer has better velocity than Jamie Moyer, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think the movie “Ender’s Game” is a documentary about Inciarte getting an extension from the Braves, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Stolmy, Josmil, Mauricio, Yorvit & Koyie are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If your Zen Master plays a guitar, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Yuniesky spells it “Betancourt” and Christian spells it “Bethancourt”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you are in possession of the MRI on Garrett Richards’ elbow,  you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you absolutely hate it when Managers decide to give their closers some work in non-save situations, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you drive all the way to Las Vegas in March to see Greg Ambrosius, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you bruise your knuckles and immediately think about R.A. Dickey, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think Brett Gardner could be related to Steve Gardner, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Brian Kenny is the smartest guy on MLB Network, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> On a related note, if Harold Reynolds drives you bonkers, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think Perry is a better Capt. Hook than Christopher Walken or Dustin Hoffman, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Ryan Mountcastle is not a character from a British movie, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Boog Powell was secretly an Alou brother but didn’t want to be called “Boog Alou”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you are perfectly clear on the fact that “Saltalamacchia” is not tonight’s special at that upscale Italian restaurant, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’re excited about Ian Desmond’s’s new altitude, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you plan on drafting both Taijuan Walker & Jameson Taillon so your squad has a “Taijuan Taillon Rotation”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think twice when you hear the name Matt Duffy, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you have zero interest in the members of the Rockies starting rotation, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you go to a seafood restaurant and can’t bring yourself to order the (Mike) Trout, (Tim) Salmon, (Anthony) Bass, (Mike) Carp, Catfish (Hunter) or (Bobby) Sturgeon, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the difference between Clay Aiken and Brady Aiken, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If someone you know names their son Rajai and you assume the kid will be fast, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Doug Dennis is funnier than most stand-up comics on HBO, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you wonder how a prospect with the name Carter Kieboom could only hit 4 Home Runs, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If a politician brings up the topic of inflation and you wonder why he isn’t also concerned with position scarcity, you just might be a keeper-league Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve never forgiven Barbara Hershey for shooting Roy Hobbs, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If Brian Feldman has ever been your auctioneer, you just might be an expert-level Fantasy player.

 

> If have zero interest in middle relievers, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Joe Montana was a football player but also know that Steve Nebraska was a baseball player, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you suffer a personal injury and call Rick Wilton for a diagnoses, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Tyler Flowers could be related to Ray Flowers, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that the term “Elvis Has Left the Building” means the Rangers Shortstop hit a Home Run, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know that Jean Segura, Dee Gordon, Dayan Viciedo & Didi Gregorious are not females, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you and your wife exchanged dollar figures but still ended up going to arbitration, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If Jeff Erickson is your favorite radio personality, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you meet someone named Roberto but keep calling him Fausto, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you believe that Jhonny Peralta’s long-term contract with the Cardinals caused Brian Walton to change his name to “Bhrian”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think that Bartolo Colon is the first player to report to Spring Training “in the worst shape of his life”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you know the true identities of CarGo, LoMo, K-Rod, J-Roll, J-Up & V-Mart, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you’ve ever tried to buy something with “Patton Dollars”, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you offered your girlfriend a qualifying offer but she still opted for free agency, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If someone uses the term “Wise Guy” and you think of Gene McCaffrey instead of Joe Pesci, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you went clubbing with Yasiel Puig in Oklahoma City, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If Jeff Winick represented you in salary arbitration, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> If you think a “Sale Price” is getting Chris for less than $25, you just might be a Fantasy player.

 

> And, finally, if Draft Day is your favorite day of the year, you have become a true Fantasy player.

 

 

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Revising Your Bucket List

sidd-finch

For those of you under the age of 50, the name George Plimpton might not be that familiar. If, however, you were coming of age in the 60’s, the late author and editor was consistently in the limelight of pop culture and sports. Long before the idea of “Fantasy” sports, his books and articles were unique in that he invented a genre known as “participatory journalism”. He used his connections and celebrity to take part as an amateur in professional sporting and entertainment events and then shared the experience with his readers in books and magazines. For old-school Rotisserie Baseball players, we even have him to thank for “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” written for Sports Illustrated in 1985.

 

A few years ago, PBS aired a wonderful documentary on his life and it brought back so many memorable moments from his career. In the final segment, however, his son read a list of items from Plimpton’s “Bucket List” including one about learning to throw a knuckleball. That exercise struck me as a little strange because if there was ever someone who spent their life living out a “Bucket List”, it was George Plimpton. After all, he got in the boxing ring with Light-Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore, he pitched to Willie Mays at the All-Star Game, he played Quarterback in training camp for the Detroit Lions (creating the best-selling book “Paper Lion”), he was in goal for the Boston Bruins in an exhibition game against the Flyers (stopping Reggie Leach on a penalty shot) and suited up for the Boston Celtics. As if sports weren’t enough to fill his life, he was also close friends with most of the great writers of the era and part of the inner circle of the Kennedy family. The one participatory event in his life that he never chronicled in print was the fact that he pried the gun from the hand of Sirhan Sirhan after Robert Kennedy was shot.

 

At a certain point in your life, creating a “Bucket List” will be a natural phenomenon. And, if you’re a sports fan, many of the items will be self-explanatory. “Visit Augusta in Early April” might not mean much to some people, but it’s a clear goal to many. With all that being said, unless you’re Morgan Freeman and end up sharing a hospital room with multi-millionaire Jack Nicholson, you probably won’t put a check-mark next to a significant number of items on your list. In thinking about Plimpton’s list, maybe a better exercise is to review how many wonderful moments we’ve experienced up to now and not dwell so much on the ones not yet achieved. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to challenge each of you to make up a list of the items that already have that check-mark. And, to keep it light, utilize sports as your source for the project.

 

Being as I have the floor, the Old Duck will go first. Let’s hope yours is even better.

 

> Watching Ted Williams hit a historic home run at Fenway Park ( #400 July 1956). Crossing home plate, he spit in the direction of the press box.

 

> Playing Pebble Beach on a beautiful Spring day with my best friend (May 2006).

 

> Bowling a perfect 300 game (1964, 1965, 1972 & 1995).

 

> Receiving a Varsity letter in High School sports (Wheelchair Basketball, 1962). I was on crutches for a year due to hip surgery and attended a school for the physically handicapped.

 

> Traveling to Toronto and visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame (1994).

 

> Experience being “mooned” by rowdy fans at Yankee Stadium (1988). And I wasn’t even wearing a Red Sox cap.

 

> Seeing a rookie named Bill Russell change the face of the NBA when he scored only two points but completely dominated the Knicks at Boston Garden in a 114-78 Celtic victory (January 1957).

 

> Collecting over 200 autographed Sports Illustrated covers and getting to meet some of the greatest athletes in the world during the process. Ernie Banks was the nicest and Dave Parker was the rudest (1985-2005).

 

> Walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge on a spectacular Summer night to watch the Pirates play at PNC Park (2006).

 

> Making a Hole-In-One (178 yard 7-Wood, June 2006).

 

> Traveling to Kansas City and visiting the Negro League Museum (2006).

 

> Being in the crowd at the Forum in Los Angeles on the night Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd goal to break Gordie Howe’s record (March 1994).

 

> Witnessing George Brett’s 3000th hit at Angel Stadium in Anaheim (September 1992).

 

> Traveling to St. Augustine, Florida and visiting the World Golf Hall of Fame (2008).

 

> Watching Sandy Koufax pitch a shutout at Dodger Stadium (1965).

 

> Attending MLB games at over 25 different ballparks (1959-2014).

 

> Completing a 1956 Topps Baseball Card Set (1990).

 

> Traveling to Cooperstown and visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame (2006).

 

> Doing volunteer work at the Los Angeles Urban League and having the thrill of meeting, and talking with, Ray Charles (1972). I know it’s not sports-related, but c’mon…it was Ray Charles!

 

> Attending the opening game of a World Series (1974).

 

> Meeting Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and telling him how much I hated the Montreal Canadians when I was a kid growing up in Boston. He smiled and said, “We sure kicked their ass, didn’t we?” (1986)

 

> Spending the month of March watching Spring Training games every day (2006-    ).

 

> Traveling to Springfield, Massachusetts and visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame (1998).

 

> Attending a Rose Bowl game (Wisconsin vs. UCLA 1999).

 

> Watching the Rams “Fearsome Foursome” scare the daylights out of QB’s at the L.A Coliseum (1966).

 

> Sitting in a luxury suite at Camden Yards on a night when Cal Ripken Jr. hit a Home Run (1993).

 

> Competing on the same lanes with bowling legends Dick Weber & Earl Anthony (1985).

 

> Going on the court at Staples Center prior to a Lakers game and shooting free-throws to help raise money for charity (2001).

 

> Being a participant in the first-pitch ceremony on the field at Dodger Stadium (2006)…I was the Catcher. It was also “Old-Timers Day” and Maury Wills & Steve Garvey were not impressed with my skills.

 

> Witnessing Hall of Fame jockey Johnny Longden’s last race as he brought home George Royal in a stretch duel at Santa Anita Park in the 1966 San Juan Capistrano Handicap. At age 59, that brought his win total to 6,032.

 

> Capturing a Fantasy Baseball Championship in competition with some of the best experts in the industry (2005, 2009, 2011, 2012). Honestly, just being in a league with these guys would have made the list.

 

> Being in Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus the night Lew Alcindor played his first collegiate basketball game (1965).

 

> Looking out over the rocky coastline along the Pacific while playing Poipu Bay Golf Club in Kauai (1996).

 

> Crossing the frozen tundra to tour the Packers Hall of Fame in Green Bay on a perfectly bleak Winter afternoon (1994).

 

> Attending the Olympic Games (1984).

 

> Spring Training road-trips to Arizona with my baseball buddies, four games and eight teams in three days (1980’s & 90’s).

 

> Visiting the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame prior to a game at Great American Ballpark (2006).

 

> Taking in the unforgettable atmosphere of minor league baseball in places like San Antonio, Louisville, Buffalo, Jacksonville & Rancho Cucamonga.

 

> Getting to see both Bob Cousy and Magic Johnson pass the basketball (1958, 1985).

 

> Having lunch at Harry Carey’s restaurant before an afternoon game at Wrigley Field (1991).

 

> Being a speaker on the same convention program with Billy Beane and talking with him about “Moneyball” (2005).

 

> Getting the opportunity to write about baseball and other topics that I love (2012-     ).

 

> Becoming a member of the Dana-Farber Society, which raises money for “The Jimmy Fund”. It is the official charity of the Red Sox and is dedicated to saving the lives of children with cancer (2011).

 

OK…your turn.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pursuit Of Trivia

56-feller

Do you have any idea how much baseball information there is in your brain? For even casual fans, numbers like 60 & 61, 714 & 715, 56 & .406 in ’41, 300 & 3,000 are forever part of the sport’s landscape. Statistics are what separates baseball from every other sport. Even avid followers of basketball can’t recite the all-time scoring numbers and football fans are stuck with over 50% of the positions having no real stats at all. Beyond all the famous history, baseball also leads the world in trivial information. Many a bar bet has been won or lost on the answer to a baseball quiz, as in “Which Pitcher threw a no-hitter and didn’t lower his ERA”? The answer, of course, is Bob Feller who hurled a no-hitter on opening day in 1940.

 

So, to have some fun as Spring Training begins, here’s a look at stats you don’t know. In other words, useless information that does you no good at all but might make you smile when you see a familiar name from the record books.

 

> Ty Cobb, Mel Ott & Al Kaline all reached 1,000 hits before they turned 25…Mike Trout didn’t.

 

> Former Senators & Tigers SS Ed Brinkman had over 6,000 major league AB’s and hit .224.

 

> Harold Baines had 113 RBI’s in 1985 but didn’t have another 100 RBI season (103) until 1999…a 14 year gap.

 

> Padres OF Phil Plantier had 100 RBI’s in 1993 but only had 292 RBI’s in his entire career.

 

> Mike Potter had 23 career AB’s in 1976-77 with the Cardinals and never got a major league hit.

 

> Rickey Henderson hit leadoff home runs in both games of a doubleheader for the A’s in 1993…Brady Anderson did it for the Orioles in 1999.

 

> Hank Aaron & Eddie Mathews hit home runs as teammates in the same game 75 times.

 

> Ron Fairly hit 215 career HR’s but never hit 20 in a season.

 

> While with the Dodgers, Tommy Davis hit a home run three times to give Sandy Koufax a 1-0 win…including a walk-off against Bob Gibson in 1962.

 

> Cardinals Pitcher Adam Wainwright hit a home run on the first major league pitch he ever faced (2006).

 

> In April of 2000,  the Angels Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon & Troy Glaus all homered in the same inning twice.

 

> In April of 1986, Padres Pitcher Craig Lefferts hit a walk-off HR in the 12th inning to beat the Giants…it was the only home run of his 12-year career.

 

> In April of 1999, the Cardinals Fernando Tatis hit two Grand-Slams in the same inning against the Dodgers. And, both were off Chan Ho Park…who was on my Fantasy team at the time!

 

> In 1948, Ted Williams had three plate appearances in the same inning against three different pitchers.

 

> In 1953, Gene Stephens (filling in for Williams, who was in Korea) became the first player to have three hits in one inning.

 

> In 1962, the Mets Frank Thomas was hit by the pitch twice in the same inning.

 

> In 2004, Ichiro Suzuki had 264 hits and 225 of them were Singles.

 

> In 1961, when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s HR record by hitting 61, he had zero intentional walks.

 

> In 1962, Harmon Killebrew hit .243 and led the AL in RBI’s with 126.

 

> In 2003, the Tigers Ramon Santiago finished last in the AL in BA, HR & RBI’s thus winning the Triple Crown Loser Award…Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith did the same for the Padres in 1979.

 

> In 1963, Red Sox OF Carl Yastrzemski led the AL in both Hits & Walks.

 

> In 1977, the Twins Rod Carew won the AL batting title by 52 points (.388) over the Angels Lyman Bostock (.336).

 

> Between 1969 and 1978, Bobby Bonds had 30-30 (HR & SB) seasons five times and played for five different teams.

 

> In 1978, Pirates SS Frank Taveras had 654 AB’s with 0 (zero) home runs.

 

> In 1995, Rockies OF Dante Bichette hit 40 HR’s and only walked 22 times.

 

> In 1960, the Tigers Charlie Maxwell hit five (5) extra-inning home runs.

 

> In 1948, Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner of the Pirates hit 31 HR’s at home and only 9 on the road.

 

> Babe Ruth broke the single season home run record in 1919 (29), then again in 1920 (54), 1921 (59) and 1927 (60).

 

> During his major league career, Todd Zeile hit home runs for 11 different teams.

 

> Ray Boone and his son Bob combined for 256 lifetime home runs…Ray and his grandson Bret combined for 403.

 

> Hall of Fame Catcher Carlton Fisk hit 72 home runs after the age of 40.

 

> In three consecutive seasons, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson hit .408, .395 & .373 but didn’t win the batting title in any of the three (1911, 1912 & 1913).

 

> In 1947, Braves Pitcher Johnny Sain won 21 games and hit .346 (37-for-107).

 

On the pitching side…

 

> Warren Spahn had 20 or more Wins in 13 separate seasons…and 10 of them came after the age of 30!

 

> Nolan Ryan registered at least 5 Wins in 26 consecutive seasons.

 

> Hoyt Wilhelm won 124 games in relief.

 

> Gene Garber lost 108 games in relief.

 

> Andy Pettitte pitched 18 seasons and never had a losing record.

 

> Steve Barber issued 10 or more walks in a game four times!

 

> In 1958-59, the Pirates Roy Face had 22 consecutive Wins.

 

> Bert Blyleven won 15 games by the score of 1-0.

 

> Tom Seaver started on opening day 16 times.

 

> Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts allowed 505 Home Runs!

 

> Sandy Koufax pitched for 12 years and held opposing hitters to a Batting Average of .205.

 

> Pedro Martinez pitched for 18 years and held opposing hitters to an On-Base Percentage of .276 (Koufax was at .285).

 

> In his 1974 Cy Young Award season with the Dodgers, Mike Marshall pitched in 106 games and finished 83 of them.

 

> Bob Feller had 36 complete games in 1946.

 

> In the Mets inaugural season of 1962, Roger Craig lost 24 games (he had 10 Wins).

 

> Bob Gibson’s 1968 ERA of 1.12 is just ahead of Christy Mathewson (1.14 in 1909) and Walter Johnson (1.14 in 1913).

 

> In 1985, the Cardinals John Tudor pitched 10 Shutouts…he only had 6 others in his 12-year career.

 

> Pitching for the Mets in 1994, Bret Saberhagen had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11-to-1. Last season, Clayton Kershaw’s ratio was 15.6-to-1 (172 K’s & 11 BB).

 

> In 1966, Tony Cloninger of the Braves threw 27 Wild Pitches and led the NL in Walks, but finished with a winning record (14-11).

 

> Jose Lima started 33 games in 2000 and 32 games in 2005…his ERA in those seasons was 6.65 & 6.99.

 

> Bobo Newsom’s 5.08 ERA in 1938 was the highest ever for a 20-game winner.

 

> In 1916, Babe Ruth pitched 323 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a home run.

 

> Steve Carlton’s 27 Wins for the last-place Phillies in 1972 equaled 46% of their 59 team wins.

 

> Wally Bunker of the Orioles won 19 games in 1964 when he was 19 years old.

 

> Pitching for the Mariners in 1980, Mike Parrot had a record of 1-16…the year before, he was 14-12.

 

> The 1971 Orioles had four 20-game winners…Dave McNally, Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer & Mike Cueller.

 

> Juan Marichal had six seasons in which he had 20 Wins, 200 Strikeouts and an ERA below 3.00.

 

Good luck on the bar bets.

 

 

Rattling Your SABR Defensively

arenado-card

When it comes to baseball, there are casual fans, hometown fans, old-school fans, know-it-all fans, rabid fans and people like me. I’m a 365 day-a-year fan who enjoys all the nuances of the actual game as well as all the minutia of the hot stove season. A day doesn’t go bye when I don’t check the transactions or think about free agent signings or muse about the topic of my next blog. And, I’m not at all apologetic about my passion for the game because it has been a wonderful distraction in my life. As a wise man once said, “Life is more worthwhile when you can be passionate about something trivial.”

 

For me, being a member of The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) is a delightful extension of my fandom. The brilliant people who write for the Society always make me think and open my eyes to the endless history of this great game. So, when they recently published their “SABR Defensive Index” (SDI) for 2016, it got me thinking about how far we’ve come in the last thirty years in regards to judging defensive excellence on the field. For many years, I was a critic of the annual Gold Glove awards because they never seemed to based on reality, only reputation. The final straw was in 1999, when Rafael Palmiero only played 34 games at 1B (and 128 at DH) but still won the AL Gold Glove. Of course, he won it in ’97 & ’98, so he must still be the best 1B in the league, right?

 

Since then, researchers have created defensive metrics that quantify the performance of major league players on the field, so we’re getting closer to the truth. Currently, the SDI ratings are incorporated into the Rawlings Gold Glove selection process and account for about 25% of the results when added to the votes from managers and coaches. So, let’s look at the SDI results and how they compare to the actual Gold Glove winners for 2016. The SDI numbers represent defensive runs saved relative to the league average at the position.

 

> American League

 

* C – Salvador Perez – At age 26, the Royals backstop won his 4th consecutive Gold Glove and it was richly deserved…his 8.7 SDI was tied for the best rating with James McCann of the Tigers.

 

* 1B – Mitch Moreland – Won the Gold Glove and it was certainly deserved, as his 6.2 rating was easily the best number.

 

* 2B – Robinson Cano – It’s not often that you’ll find three candidates with statistics this close. Cano’s 8.6 was essentially the same as Jason Kipnis and Gold Glove winner Ian Kinsler (both at 8.5).

 

* 3B – Adrian Beltre – The 5th Gold Glove for this future Hall-of-Famer, even at age 37, his skills (14.6) were significantly better than Kyle Seager & Manny Machado

 

* SS – Francisco Lindor – His first Gold Glove at age 22 and no one else was close to his rating of 18.5.

 

* LF – Brett Gardner – Probably the weakest position as only three players had a positive number…Gardner won the Gold Glove with a number of 8.0.

 

* CF – Kevin Kiermeier – He and Kevin Pillar are so much better than all their peers, it’s almost embarrassing. Kiermeier got the award with 14.6, while Pillar had 11.7…nobody else was over 6.

 

* RF – Adam Eaton – Lost the Gold Glove to Mookie Betts even though his rating was slightly higher…21.4 – to – 19.3. The next highest number was 3.6!

 

> National League

 

* C – Buster Posey – Won the Gold Glove and his rating (15.2) was so much better than anyone else, it would be a disservice to mention another name.

 

* 1B – Anthony Rizzo – His first Gold Glove with a number of 8.6…Wil Myers was next at 6.6.

 

* 2B – Joe Panik – This may have been a surprise when he won the award, but it was warranted with a 8.5 rating. Four time winner Brandon Phillips had a negative number for 2016.

 

* 3B – Nolan Arenado – Four seasons into his career and four Gold Gloves, this time with a rating of 12.2. Justin Turner was a close second at 11.1.

 

* SS – Addison Russell – Russell and Brandon Crawford were far and away the best NL Shortstops and Crawford got the hardware. The final numbers were 17.2 & 15.6 respectively.

 

* LF – Adam Duvall – Starling Marte will take his Gold Glove to CF in 2017, but Duvall’s first season was impressive with 9.1. Marte was next at 6.4.

 

* CF – Ender Inciarte – Another clear reason why Dave Stewart should not have been a GM. Inciarte won the award with a number of 16.4…Billy Hamilton was second

 

* RF – Jason Heyward – Easily the best at his position with a 14.9 rating that was more than double the runner-up. It was his fourth Gold Glove in the last five years

 

> In case you’re curious, here’s a list of the defensive players with the worst ratings…in other words their defense was “offensive”.

 

* AL – Kurt Suzuki C…Eric Hosmer 1B…Johnny Giovatella 2B…Yunel Escobar 3B…Brad Miller SS…Melky Cabrera LF…Carlos Gomez CF…J.D. Martinez RF

 

* NL – Nick Hundley C…Joey Votto 1B…Daniel Murphy 2B…Jake Lamb 3B…Alexei Ramirez SS…Jayson Werth LF…Andrew McCutcheon CF…Yasmani Tomas RF

 

What about Pitchers, you ask? Well, Dallas Keuchel had the second best rating in the AL and won the Gold Glove while Zack Greinke captured the hardware in the NL despite finishing third behind Bartolo Colon & Jake Arrietta.

 

Don’t forget to take your glove to the ballpark.

 

The Best Hitters of 2017

alou

50+ years ago, if a baseball fan was asked who the best hitters were, the only significant resource would have been the sports section of the Sunday newspaper. Somewhere in the back pages, there was a long, slender list in very small type showing all current major league players. And those players were ranked by their BA (Batting Average) because that had historically been the benchmark for position players.

 

Looking back at 1966, we find that the top five BA’s belonged to Matty Alou (.342), Manny Mota (.332), Felipe Alou (.327), Rico Carty (.326) & Dick Allen (.317). Fine players all, but were they the five best hitters in baseball? Not when you consider that the two MVP winners (Roberto Clemente and Frank Robinson) finished 6th & 7th. Matty Alou, for example, had 2 HR’s & 27 RBI’s in 535 AB’s. Even OBP (On-Base Percentage) would have been a better gauge, as the top five were Ron Santo (.412), Joe Morgan (.410), Robinson (.410), Allen (.396) & Al Kaline (.392).

 

As modern baseball analytics have evolved, one of the most accepted statistics has become OPS (On-Base % + Slugging %). Not only does it prioritize getting on base, it also adds the concept of moving more runners around the bases. After all, Slugging Percentage is defined as Total Bases /At Bats. Old school fans might question the veracity of the stat but baseball history tells the tale. The five highest lifetime OPS numbers belong to Babe Ruth (1.16), Ted Williams (1.12), Lou Gehrig (1.08), Barry Bonds (1.05) & Jimmie Foxx (1.04). There are only two other hitters with a number over 1.00… Hank Greenberg and Rogers Hornsby.

 

With Spring Training around the corner, here’s one Duck’s opinion on the top dozen hitters for 2017 based on their projected OPS from a highly respected Fantasy website…

 

1) Joey Votto, Reds 1B, .989 OPS – Still gets criticized for his plate discipline and will probably lead all of baseball in Walks (100+). Like Ted Williams, he won’t expand the strike zone to satisfy writers and broadcasters.

 

2) Mike Trout, Angels OF, .971 OPS – 20 years from now, people will be describing his career as “once in a generation”. His consistency and still youthful age (25) makes him the consensus #1 hitter in Fantasy drafts.

 

3) Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 1B, .934 OPS – Even in his mid-30’s this future Hall-of-Famer is still a force.

 

4) Paul Goldschmidt, D’Backs 1B, .920 OPS – Incredibly consistent performer in the batter’s box and also won a Gold Glove in 2015. Oh, by the way, he also swiped a total of over 50 bases the last two seasons.

 

5) Freddie Freeman, Braves 1B, .916 OPS – His age 26 season in 2016 produced a .968 OPS, so it appears that his performance has reached another level.

 

6) Kris Bryant, Cubs 3B, .914 OPS – Rookie of the Year in ’15, MVP in ’16…finally a prospect who exceeded the hype.

 

7) Nolan Arenado, Rockies 3B, .903 OPS – Yes, some of the stats are fueled by altitude, but he’s only 25 and had a .832 OPS on the road last season.

 

8) Bryce Harper, Nationals OF, .901 OPS – It seems like most observers are hedging their bet and projecting something between his ’15 & ’16 performances. As in, “can’t be as good as ’15 or as bad as ’16”.

 

9) Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 1B, .898 OPS – The face of the championship Cubbies, look for 30+ HR’s and 100+ RBI’s.

 

10) Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays 3B, .896 OPS – Even geniuses like Billy Beane sometimes make mistakes.

 

11) Nelson Cruz, Mariners OF/DH, .891 – He was doubted because of juicing, then he was too old, then his numbers were going down after moving from Baltimore to Seattle. The last two seasons, he’s hit 87 Home Runs.

 

12) Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins OF, .890 – Nobody questions the skill, but the over/under is probably about 475 AB’s.

 

Did your favorite player get left off the list? The next four are all over .875…Matt Carpenter, Edwin Encarnacion, Mookie Betts & Daniel Murphy. Or maybe some youngsters take the next step? We’ll all be watching.

 

Teddy Ballgame

56-williams

 

A while back, I wrote a column called “70 Reasons Why I Love Baseball”. If I had to add a 71st reason, it would be the opportunity to be around real baseball fans.

 

In the 1991 film, “City Slickers”, Billy Crystal’s character is sitting around the cattle-drive campfire discussing baseball with the other guys. The one girl in the conversation says, “I like baseball. I just never understood how you guys can spend so much time discussing it. I mean I think the game is great but I don’t memorize who played 3B for Pittsburgh in 1960”. The guys then yell in unison, “Don Hoak!”

 

That is the atmosphere here today with this group of people. All I have to do is say “.406” and you immediately know who I’m talking about.

 

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Boston going to Fenway Park, watching and idolizing Ted Williams. So, today, we’ll spend a few minutes talking about my childhood hero. If you’re ever in Surprise, you have an open invitation to come to my home and see “The Williams Shrine” including autographs, memorabilia and baseball cards

 

BIO

 

  • Born 1918…San Diego
  • Signed 1936
  • ’37 San Diego (age 18) – .291, 23 HR
  • ’38 Minneapolis (age 19) – .366, 43 HR, 143 RBI’s, Triple Crown
  • MLB Debut 1939
  • 1939-1960
  • Hall of Fame 1966 (282/302 ballots)

 

STATS

 

  • ’39 – .327 & 145 RBI – 4th in MVP
  • ’40 – .344 – led AL in Runs & OBP
  • ’41 – .406, 37 HR, 147 BB – 2nd in MVP, as DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak swayed the voting…there was no Sacrifice Fly rule at the time or he would have hit.411…prior to 1888, when a walk counted as a hit, his BA would have been .540
  • ’42 – .356, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 145 BB – 2nd in MVP to Joe Gordon despite winning the Triple Crown…OPS+ was 217-to-155…WAR was 10.6-to-8.2
  • ’43-’45 Military
  • ’46 – .342, 1.164 OPS – MVP
  • ’47 – .343, 32 HR, 114 RBI – 2nd in MVP to DiMaggio despite winning Triple Crown…OPS+ was 205-to-154…WAR was 9.9-to-4.8
  • ’48 – .369, 1.112 OPS – 3rd in MVP behind Boudreau & DiMaggio
  • ’49 – .343, 43 HR, 159 RBI, MVP
  • ’50 – Injured, 28 HR in 89 Games
  • ’51 – .318, 144 BB, led AL IN OBP & Slugging
  • ’52 – Korea – John Glenn was his wingman

 

“He did a great job as a pilot. He wasn’t out there moaning all the time or trying to duck flights or anything like that. He was out there to do a job and he did a helluva job. Ted only batted .406 for the Red Sox…he batted a thousand for the Marine Corps and the United States”.

 

 

  • ’53 – Korea, August / September stats = .407, 13 HR’s in 110 AB’s at age 34
  • ’54 – 117 Games, .345 – Bobby Avila won the batting title at .341 because Ted was walked 136 times and didn’t have enough AB’s to qualify…the rule has since been changed
  • ’55 – 98 Games, .356
  • ’56 – .345 & .479 OBP
  • ’57 – .388 with a 1.257 OPS to finish 2nd in MVP to Mantle…Ted was 38
  • ’58 – .328 (6th Batting Title) & 1.042 OPS
  • ’59 – 103 Games, .254
  • ’60 – 113 Games, .316, 29 HR including #521 in his final AB against Jack Fisher

 

Lifetime Stats

 

  • BA .344 (7th)
  • OBP .4817 (1st)
  • Slugging .6338 (2nd to Ruth)
  • OPS 1.1155 (2nd to Ruth)
  • 2021 BB, 709 SO
  • WAR 123.1 (11th)
  • Runs Created 2382 (6th)
  • OW% .857 (Ruth .858)
  • Projection – 3,553 Hits, 701 HR

 

BASEBALL CARDS (Value in EX 5 condition)

 

  • 1939 PLAYBALL RC – $2,000
  • 1951 BOWMAN – $275
  • 1954 BOWMAN (replaced by Piersall) – $900
  • 1954 TOPPS (2) – $275 each
  • 1955 TOPPS – $220
  • 1956 TOPPS – $180
  • 1957 TOPPS – $185
  • 1958 TOPPS – $165
  • 1958 TOPPS ALL-STAR – $50
  • 1959 FLEER (80 CARD SET) – $800
  • MODERN CARDS

 

 

FISHERMAN – Sear’s spokesman, HOF in 2002

 

JIMMY FUND – Dana Farber Cancer Institute

 

ROBERT REDFORD – THE NATURAL – ROY HOBBS #9

 

1936 YANKEE SCOUTING REPORT – “Williams is a very slow lad, not a good OF and just an average arm. There is big doubt whether Williams will ever be fast enough to get by in the majors as an OF. His best feature now is that he shows promise as a hitter, but good pitching so far has stopped him cold”.

 

HALL OF FAME INDUCTION SPEECH (’66)

 

> “I’ve been a very lucky guy to have worn a baseball uniform, and I hope some day the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in some way can be added as a symbol of the great Negro League players who are not here only because they weren’t given a chance”.

 

QUOTES

 

  • I’ve seen six or eight guys in my life that I thought absolutely had as much ability as I did. Still, they didn’t do all that well. Why not? Intenseness. Those guys would see something 40 different times and not get anything out of it. The next guy sees it in his own mind and uses it…that’s the difference.
  • I have to rate Feller as one of the all-time greats. Fast, just deadly fast. Feller, Whitey Ford, Bob Lemon, Eddie Lopat & Hoyt Wilhelm – the five toughest pitchers I ever faced.
  • Mickey Mantle was the greatest single ballplayer of all the athletes I’ve ever met. He was as down to earth as anyone. Never had a braggadocios vein in his body. He could do everything…hit farther than any body, switch hitter. But he thought everybody in the world was better than him.
  • The bigger people are in life, the more big-league they are. That’s been my experience…you meet less shits the higher up you go.
  • Hitting is 50% above the shoulders.
  • If I was paid $30,000 a year, the least I could do was hit .400
  • Rogers Hornsby gave me the single greatest advice of hitting I ever got…wait for a good pitch to hit.
  • Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.
  • Ya gotta be ready for the fastball.
  • Pitchers are dumb. They don’t play but once every four days. They’re scratching their ass or pickin’ their nose or somethin’ the rest of the time. They’re pitchin’, most of them, because they can’t do anything else.
  • Sixty feet six inches…if it had been two feet either way, it would have changed the whole thing.
  • I’m a real smart son of a bitch. I’m an old dumb ballplayer and a real smart son of a bitch.
  • My goal was to have people say, “There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived”.

 

A baseball writer once asked a blind fan why he came to the game instead of just listening to the radio at home and he replied, “I love the sounds of the game when Ted comes up”.

 

 

Watch Your P’s & Q’s And The MLE’s

14-healy

For Fantasy players, prospects are a passion and a plight. This time of year, we scour lists from Baseball America, MLB.com, magazine annuals and numerous websites that claim to have that crystal ball. The reality is that each season’s top 100 list includes a logjam of bums who will never make an impact on your team or their MLB employer. Do the names Rick Ankiel, Paul Wilson, Brandon Wood, Joba Chamberlain & Jesus Montero sound familiar? They should because, over the last 20 years, they’ve each been one of the top three prospects in baseball.

 

In our ongoing quest to find talent, we look at pedigree (in terms of draft position or contract), athleticism, roster opportunity, scouting reports and statistics. One of those statistics should be Major League Equivalents (MLE’s). Originally outlined in 1985 by Bill James, the concept is to evaluate minor league statistics and create a reasonable expectation of how they would correlate to major league performance. A number of analytic sites have formulas in place to determine these outcomes and while no one statistic is carved in granite, it’s another item for your Fantasy toolbox.

 

Looking back at some of the surprising players from 2016, it’s interesting to see what their MLE’s looked like from 2015. It’s a reasonable guess that these guys weren’t highly valued in your Draft last Spring, but they turned out to be the kind of bargains that help win leagues…

 

> Keon Broxton, Brewers OF – Not a top prospect and already in his age 26 season, the ’15 minor league numbers showed the potential for 30+ SB’s. He had 23 SB’s in 75 games last season.

 

> Adam Duvall, Reds OF – Another late bloomer, his 2015 MLE’s showed a poor batting average but the equivalent of 28 HR’s. In 150 games with Cincinnati, he hit .241 with 33 HR’s.

 

> Ryon Healy, A’s 3B – His projected 7 HR’s in AA from ’15 wasn’t that impressive on the surface, but a predicted 82% contact rate jumped off the page. After getting called up in ’16, he hit .305 in 269 AB’s with 13 HR’s.

 

> Travis Jankowski, Padres OF – His lower minors equivalents for ’15 included 23 SB’s, 82% contact rate and 9% walk rate. After 30 SB’s in San Diego last year, he may have earned a starting job.

 

> Tyler Naquin, Indians OF – The ’15 MLE’s showed 6 HR, 11 SB’s & a .272 BA. In 321 AB’s for the Tribe last season – 14 HR’s, 6 SB’s, .296 BA.

 

> Ryan Schimpf, Padres 2B – At A-Ball in ’15, he projected a lousy BA, but 20 HR’s and a 10% Walk rate. For the Friars in ’16 – .217 BA & 20 HR’s in 276 AB’s.

 

Wouldn’t you have loved these six guys at single-digit prices in an auction or late round picks in a snake? As we head toward the 2017 season, let’s look at some top prospects with solid MLE’s along with a few that might be flying under the radar. The number represents where they are on the current MLB.com top 100 prospect list.

 

> Cody Bellinger, Dodgers 1B (#32) – This is the guy they wouldn’t give up to get Brian Dozier. At age 21, his MLE’s showed 24 HR power.

 

> Lewis Brinson, Brewers OF (#14) – Only 22, he’s already displaying a nice power / speed combination (13/12).

 

> Willie Calhoun, Dodgers 2B (#87) – Built more like a fire hydrant than a middle infielder, he projected 26 HR’s at AA.

 

> Dylan Cozens, Phillies OF (NA) – A 235 lb. former football player, he projected 37 HR’s & 17 SB’s at AA.

 

> Dustin Fowler, Yankees OF (NA) – Not even in the top ten on the Bronx Bombers list of prospects, he still projected 13 HR’s, 25 SB’s and a .271 BA at AA.

 

> Manny Margot, Padres OF (#26) – Projected 21 SB’s and a 86% contact rate at AAA and should be the starting CF in 2017.

 

> Austin Meadows, Pirates OF (#9) – Intriguing power/speed (10/15) CF at age 21.

 

Last year at this time, this column touted two guys who were not in top 95 prospects…Trevor Story & Max Kepler. Hope they were on your team.