But with Max Scherzer coming off of a no-hitter in his last start, in which he was one plunked batter in the ninth away from a perfect game, many people began to wonder if Scherzer could become the second pitcher to accomplish the amazing feat.
Going up against a subpar Phillies roster, Scherzer appeared to have everything going in his favor, having allowed a mere one hit — a bloop single back on June 14th that kept him from a no-hitter then — over his last 18 innings pitched.
As predicted, Scherzer was dominant to start the game, carrying a perfect game through five full innings for the third straight start, helping to extend his hitless innings streak to an amazing 16 innings.
But it wasn’t meant to be, as Freddy Galvis of the Phillies rocketed a double down the line in the sixth innings to stop Scherzer’s bid at history. Even so, Scherzer didn’t let the hit shake him that much, as although he would allow four more hits in the game, as well as two runs — ending the National’s starters streak of 48 innings without an earned run — he still picked up his third straight start with a win, giving him 100 career victories altogether.
Not a bad night at all.
With his terrific string of starts as of late — six hits and two runs over his last 26 innings pitched — Max Scherzer now sits with a 9-5 record and a 1.79 ERA on the year. If he can keep pitching the way he has been lately, the Cy Young award is nearly a lock.
Throughout the history of this blog, July has been one of my busiest writing months.
With the All-Star break and all the surrounding activities to blog about, as well as the other various news stories, the coming month will likely once again be one filled with entries. As always, I wanted to give a brief overview of what to expect.
Like I have for the past few years, on July 1st I’m going to post a blog entry on the latest leaders in various categories around Major League Baseball. Then, following a blogging break of around 12 days due to a mission trip I’m going on to Montana, during which I won’t be blogging at all, I’ll be back at blogging full force.
Following my return, my first post will be either on my thoughts on who made the All-Star teams or which players were selected to participate in the home run derby. It all depends on when both are announced. I’ll then publish an entry on the players I feel are the frontrunners for each major award at the All-Star break.
So, all in all, it should be a busy, but fun, month of blogging.
When Derek Jeter homered for his 3,000th career hit, the moment was magical. When Alex Rodriguez did the same on Friday night, the moment was controversial. The fans cheered, they acknowledged the historic moment, but there was a lingering feeling that things just weren’t the same.
Although Rodriguez has played in 63 games since returning from a season long performance enhancing drug suspension in 2014, the air around A-Rod is still rather bad. The majority of baseball fans have vowed to never get over his PED use and don’t see the milestone as much to celebrate. While I agree to an extent, A-Rod’s 3,000th hit is still something to stop and think about for a moment.
After all, only 28 other players in the history of Major League Baseball have ever recorded 3,000 or more hits in their careers — 28 out of over 18,000 players. In addition, Mike Schmidt and Derek Jeter are the only other players to record their 3,000th hits on a home run. So the hit by A-Rod shouldn’t be completely overlooked.
But at the same time, the moment won’t ever be seen in the same light as it should have been if A-Rod had remained clean. Rodriguez is creeping up towards 700 home runs, and is one of only five players to record 3,000+ hits and 500+ homers, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro. He’s one of the all-time greats. Rodriguez should be getting celebrations around baseball, but instead he’s getting booed by many of the fans everywhere he goes.
And rightfully so. I don’t agree that a player who recorded 3,000 hits clean and one who used PED’s throughout their career should be looked at in the same light, even if it is a remarkably rare achievement. But, thankfully, it shouldn’t be too long before we get the chance to wholeheartedly celebrate a player reaching 3,000 career hits: Ichiro Suzuki, who is just 114 hits away.
Although we don’t yet know who the captain for the American League and National League home run derby team is going to be, I wanted to go ahead and give my take for which players I’d like to see in the home run derby up in Cincinnati on July 13th. Assuming the rules change from 2014 that saw an additional player being added to each league’s derby team stays the same, I selected the five players from each league that I wanted to see in the derby.
While there are some players that I left off, for one reason or another, I feel the players I selected would make for a great 2015 home run derby, as they all have to ability to hit a good amount of home runs as well as doing so for big power. With the 2015 home run derby just over three weeks away, here are the players I’d most enjoy seeing take part:
Nelson Cruz: Of all the players from the American League to choose from, this was the easiest of them all. Nelson Cruz led all of baseball in home runs back in 2014, and is well on his way to finishing near the top again. Although Cruz can hit tape measure shots, I think he would do well in the derby due to his ability to hit numerous home runs as well. He would put on a show.
Josh Donaldson: Donaldson isn’t that widely known as a slugger, but he has been a breakout player over the past few seasons, and is having a great year with the Blue Jays this season. Donaldson can really launch the ball a long way, and I think that he would stand a shot at winning if he can find a groove and stick with it. Having him in the derby would definitely be fun.
Mark Teixeira: This isn’t the most obvious of picks, as Teixeira has been up and down over the past few years, but he is having a good season this year, and he should be in the home run derby. Somewhat surprisingly sitting in the top five of the American League in homers, Teixeira would be a general sleeper pick for the derby, but if he could get things going, he would last awhile, I believe.
Mike Trout: There truly isn’t anything in baseball that Mike Trout isn’t good at, and that includes hitting home runs. Trout is currently one of the most well known and liked players in baseball, and having him take part in the derby would get more people to watch. And I feel that they would be treated to a show, as Trout would likely hit several long homers on his pursuit of the title.
Edwin Encarnacion: Josh Donaldson’s teammate, Edwin Encarnacion, can hit a ball just as far, if not farther, than nearly every other player in the big leagues. It’s that ability to launch balls a great distance that I think would make him great for the derby. He would be able to put on a show, hitting balls deep into the stands, and would stand a good chance at making it deep into the derby.
Paul Goldschmidt: Goldschmidt is well on his way to having a great season yet again, and that includes posting a large number in the home run category. Goldschmidt has the ability to hit numerous home runs in addition to hitting them a great distance, and that makes him perfect for the home run derby. He would represent the National League extremely well in the competition.
Todd Frazier: Frazier would be on my list of derby participant regardless of the fact that his team is hosting the All-Star festivities, as he has great stats that warrant the selection. However, it is an added bonus that Frazier is a Red, and that would inevitably make him a fan favorite among the crowd. Frazier might not win, but he will give the fans an extra something to cheer for.
Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton was the favorite to win the 2014 derby by nearly everyone, but he disappointed to say the least. But although he didn’t win, Stanton hit balls further than nearly all of his competition and was still able to put on a show. With him having another great year, I think Stanton would do better in the derby and deserves another shot at winning the whole thing.
Joc Pederson: The fact that Pederson is merely a rookie and is launching home runs as if he’s been in the majors for a decade is remarkable. And that’s why he deserves to be in the derby. Pederson would likely hit balls farther than anyone with the exception of Stanton, and he would be able to put on a great show. Therefore, having Pederson in the derby is something I’d really like to see happen.
Bryce Harper: Harper surprised some people in the 2013 derby with how well he did, and with him having such a good season this time around, I think he should be in the derby once again. Harper isn’t liked by some around the baseball world, but his talent can’t be denied. If Harper can find a pace he’s comfortable with, I think he stands a really good shot at the derby crown.
So, those are my picks for who I’d like to see in the 2015 home run derby up at Great American Ballpark on July 13th. Odds are that not all of them will be selected, but I truly hoped the majority of them are in the derby. Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Who would you like to see participate? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Over the past several seasons, teams around Major League Baseball have been looking more and more towards their top prospects to make it to the big leagues and make an immediate impact on their club. The most recent examples of that being Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo and Carlos Correa, who all made it to the bigs within three years of getting drafted and are all now beginning to make a difference with their team. With that in mind, there are several players ranked in the top 100 prospects right now who could be making impacts but haven’t been called up for one reason or another.
Francisco Lindor is the first player on my list, as although he hasn’t been dominating offensively in the minors, he has been heating up as of late. His defense is already big league ready, but it’s his bat that has been developing in the minors. But now that he is batting in the upper .200’s, I feel he is ready. He may not get the call for a few more weeks, but I expect to see him up before the All-Star break, as the last place Indians could use his presence at shortstop.
Henry Owens is another prospect who would really help out his big league team. Currently with an ERA just over 3.50, Owens is the type of player who could spark the Red Sox’ struggling rotation. After making several offseason moves, it appeared that the Sox would be bound for another great season, but things aren’t panning out that way, thanks in large to their underperforming rotation. Owens could play a big role in helping that.
Despite having just three games started above Double-A, Luis Severino is a pitcher who could help the Yankees out a lot. Admittedly, they are doing just fine without him, as they are currently in first place, but they could always use another good arm in their rotation to help get them into October. In reality, it is more realistic to wait until closer to the end of the season to move up Severino, but he would definitely be an impact even now.
The second Red Sox pitching prospect on my list, Brian Johnson could also bolster the Red Sox rotation along with Henry Owens. While there is the issue of where to place them with the rotation the Sox already have, the Sox’ rotation is horrible at the moment. Of their four starters with 12 starts, the lowest ERA is 4.07, with the other three with an ERA above 5.00. That isn’t getting the job done, and I feel that the addition of Johnson would help them out.
Some honorable mentions that didn’t make my list include Byron Buxton, Corey Seager, Jose Peraza and Steven Matz. All of them are having great seasons down in the minors, but I feel they each need a little more time before they get called up to the big leagues and begin to help their teams. In the end, however, they will all likely have impacts at the major league level for many years to come.
Brendan Rodgers, Dansby Swanson and Carson Fulmer were ranked as the number one, two and three draft prospects going into Monday’s 2015 first-year player draft, but they went in a completely different order than predicted. While Swanson and Rodgers were in fact taken in the top three picks, Fulmer didn’t go until the eighth pick, with Alex Bregman moving up a few spots to the top three.
Dansby Swanson went first overall, getting drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Although he wasn’t the top choice heading into the draft, there’s no real surprise why the Diamondbacks took Dansby Swanson number one overall. This past season at Vanderbilt, Swanson hit .348 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI’s, helping to lead his team back to the College World Series for the second straight season. With the D-backs not very deep at the shortstop position at the big league level, Swanson should progress quickly if he can stay healthy and post decent numbers.
Alex Bregman went second overall, getting drafted by the Houston Astros.
Despite the fact that the Astros’ number one overall pick from 2012, Carlos Correa, made his big league debut at shortstop on Monday night, the Astros decided to pick up fellow shortstop Alex Bregman as the number two overall pick. Bregman hit .312 and recorded 37 stolen bases this past season at LSU, and has drawn comparisons to Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. While Bregman has stated a desire to remain at shortstop, he may find himself shifting to second in the future with Correa blocking his way.
Brendan Rodgers went third overall, getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies.
Brendan Rodgers was ranked the number one overall prospect heading into the draft, but he stuck around until the third pick. The selection of Rodgers made history, as it was the first time in the history of the draft that three shortstops were taken as the top three picks. Coined as the best power hitting shortstop since Carlos Correa, Rodgers hit .360 with 8 homers this year at Lake Mary high school. With his ability to hit for power, and with a plus arm at short, Rodgers should have a long career in the majors.
The remainder of the draft saw many surprises. A lot of players went higher than anyone expected, while others stuck around longer than many thought they would. But that usually happens every year with the draft.
The rest of the 1st round of the 2015 draft, following the first three picks, went as follows:
4. Rangers: Dillon Tate
5. Astros: Kyle Tucker
6. Twins: Tyler Jay
7. Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi
8. White Sox: Carson Fulmer
9. Cubs: Ian Happ
10. Phillies: Cornelius Randolph
11. Reds: Tyler Stephenson
12. Marlins: Josh Naylor
13. Rays: Garrett Whitley
14. Braves: Kolby Allard
15. Brewers: Trent Clark
16. Yankees: James Kaprielian
17. Indians: Brady Aiken
18. Giants: Phil Bickford
19. Pirates: Kevin Newman
20. Athletics: Richie Martin
21. Royals: Ashe Russell
22. Tigers: Beau Burrows
23. Cardinals: Nick Plummer
24. Dodgers: Walker Buehler
25. Orioles: D.J. Stewart
26. Angels: Taylor Ward
27. Rockies: Mike Nikorak
28. Braves: Michael Soroka
29. Blue Jays: Jon Harris
30. Yankees: Kyle Holder
31. Giants: Chris Shaw
32. Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes
33. Royals: Nolan Watson
34. Tigers: Christin Stewart
35. Dodgers: Kyle Funkhouser
36. Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle
Lottery Round A
37. Astros: Daz Cameron
38. Rockies: Tyler Nevin
39. Cardinals: Jake Woodford
40. Brewers: Nathan Kirby
41. Braves: Austin Riley
42. Indians: Triston McKenzie
Make sure to follow the list of players above as the majority of them begin their professional careers. Odds are at least a few of those names will become MLB All-Stars, with the possibility that some may become a future Hall of Famer. You never know what can happen when you have so much young talent entering their given MLB organizations, and that’s reason enough to pay close attention to them all.
Set to air live on MLB Network Monday night, and continuing through June 10th on MLB.com, the draft has become a bigger focus each and every year as time has gone by. With teams now counting on their first few picks to make it to the big leagues within a couple of years and have an immediate impact, choosing the right player for your organization has become a huge deal.
Already, two of the top picks in last year’s draft — Carlos Rodon and Brandon Finnegan — have made it to the majors, with numerous former first round picks making solid runs toward a big league call up this season.
This year’s draft is the 50th anniversary of the first draft back in 1965, and it has a fairly even mix of both pitchers and position players, making it a difficult decision as to whether to select a future ace or a future star slugger as a team’s first pick. But no matter which one teams choose, they’re likely to have that person making a big impact shortly down the road.
As I did last year, I’m planning to blog about the results of the draft, along with a few of my thoughts, the day after the first round takes place. With the first five picks going to the Diamondbacks, Astros (compensation for not signing their first pick from the 2014 draft), Rockies, Rangers and Astros, it should be interesting to see how teams play things, depending on their overall biggest needs that they need to fill for the future.
Though I’m not going to give any predictions for the order in which the players are chosen (I’m by no means a draft expert), I do want to talk a bit about the “experts’” picks for who will likely be some of the first off the board.
For the number one overall pick, there is no player that everyone whole heartedly agrees upon as being the number one pick, but for the most part people are banking on it being high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers has been at the top of many draft orders for the better part of the season, with him looking to become the first high school shortstop since Carlos Correa in 2012 to be the number one overall pick. With his strong arm and power bat at the shortstop position, it’s no wonder that he’s so highly thought of.
But there’s another draft prospect who is thought highly of as well. Dansby Swanson, a fellow shortstop currently with Vanderbilt, is projected to go second overall in the draft, but if the D-backs decide to do so, he could quite possibly be taken in front of Rodgers. While Swanson doesn’t have the same arm strength as Rodgers or the same pop in the bat, he may be able to hit for a higher average over the course of his career.
On the pitching side of things, Carson Fulmer is the highest ranked pitcher in the draft. Currently ranked as the third overall projected pick, you never know if the Diamondbacks will decide to pick up a star pitcher in the making instead of a position player as the number one pick. Like Swanson, Fulmer is finishing out his season with Vanderbilt, and with his above average fastball, great curveball and developing changeup, he could turn out to be a front of the rotation pitcher for years to come.
No matter which player is taken number one overall on Monday night, the entire draft is sure to be fun to watch. With so much fantastic talent, from position players to pitchers, the 2015 draft should turn out to be an extremely good one.
Any time a top ten prospect in all of baseball makes his major league debut, fans are likely to take note. But unfortunately, more often than not, an extremely hyped prospect usually fails to live up to the high expectations — at least early on — and underperforms in their debut.
A recent example of that being Kris Bryant, who after hitting 43 homers in the minors last year was expected by Cubs fans to catch on immediately as the Cubs’ biggest power threat. Instead, he went hitless with three strikeouts in his debut. (Given, he’s found his groove now.)
But underperformance isn’t always the case in a player’s debut.
Rangers’ top prospect, Joey Gallo, received the call up from Double-A for Tuesday’s game to take the place at third base of the injured Adrian Beltre. Following his 42 home run minor league performance in 2014, Gallo had picked up right where he left off in the minors this season (coming after a missed month due to ankle surgery), having hit .314 with 9 homers and 31 RBI’s in the minors so far in 2015.
But unlike some players who fail to have their minor league success translate right away, Gallo’s success immediately carried over to the majors, as in his very first career at-bat on Tuesday against the White Sox, Gallo rocketed a two-run single into left field. Following that, he proceeded to blast a moonshot homer into the second deck in his next at-bat, giving him four RBI’s for the game — the most in Rangers’ franchise history for a player’s debut.
However, Gallo wasn’t finished yet. In his third time at the plate, Gallo hit a long double to center field that hit off the wall, giving him a perfect 3-3 record for the game. While he would later strike out with the bases loaded, and draw a walk in his fifth plate appearance, Gallo’s presence was definitely made known in the Rangers’ 15-2 blowout win over the White Sox.
Though it’s an extremely small sample size, Joey Gallo performing so well in his debut is extremely promising, both for him and the Rangers. Gallo is set to remain in the bigs just until Adrian Beltre returns to take his spot at third. But if Gallo can keep up his hot hitting, it may be tough for the Rangers to send him back down.
Still, Gallo will get his chance to prove himself, as Beltre is expected to be out for roughly two weeks. That’s a lot of games for Gallo to either keep standing out or show that he still needs seasoning down on the farm. But whatever happens in the coming weeks, Gallo certainly didn’t disappoint on Tuesday night.
At just 21 years old, a lot of people made statements regarding the fact that they felt Gallo was being rushed to the majors, and that he wasn’t ready yet. While I agreed with that somewhat, I’ve seen Gallo in person and saw first hand that he is a special talent. And there is now no denying that he can handle the pitching that comes at the major league level.
After blasting 40 homers in 2013 and 42 last season, Gallo looks to be heading for a long career as one of baseball’s most promising future left handed power hitters. Although the Rangers are struggling at the moment for the most part, with a lineup that includes Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton and now Joey Gallo, the Rangers seem to have a lot of power hitting lefties on their hands.
That’s always a good problem to have.
With the first two months of the 2015 MLB season in the books, I thought I’d take the first day of the new month to recap the season thus far. It’s been exciting as well as disappointing, depending on how you look at it and who you’re rooting for.
But instead of talking about the events that have taken place so far this year, I decided to make a list of different categories and beside them name the player(s) that leads that particular category. I’ve done lists like these for the past several years, and they have been well received, so I decided to do it again.
The following lists are categorized into hitting and pitching, but not AL or NL:
MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – HITTING
Most Games Played – Marcus Semien (53)
Most At-Bats – Dee Gordon (207)
Most Hits – Dee Gordon (78)
Highest Average – Dee Gordon (.377)
Highest OBP – Bryce Harper (.469)
Highest SLG – Bryce Harper (.724)
Most Runs – Josh Donaldson (43)
Most Doubles – Four players tied for most (17).
Most Triples – Paulo Orlando (5)
Most Home Runs – Nelson Cruz and Bryce Harper (18).
Most RBI’s – Giancarlo Stanton (44)
Most Base On Balls – Bryce Harper (44)
Most Strikeouts – Chris Carter (69)
Most Stolen Bases – Billy Hamilton (21)
Most Caught Stealing – Dee Gordon (7)
Most Intentional Base On Balls – Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt (10).
Most Hit By Pitch – Anthony Rizzo (13)
Most Sacrifice Flies – Stephen Vogt (5)
Most Total Bases – Nelson Cruz (128)
Most Extra Base Hits – Josh Donaldson (29)
Most Grounded Into Double Plays – Casey McGehee and Andrelton Simmons (12).
Most Ground Outs – Nori Aoki (89)
Most Number Of Pitches Faced – Mookie Betts (925)
Most Plate Appearances – Jason Kipnis (238)
MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – PITCHING
Most Wins – Bartolo Colon and Felix Hernandez (8).
Most Losses – Four players tied for most (7).
Best ERA – Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller (1.48).
Most Games Started – Twenty players tied for most (11).
Most Games Pitched – Jeremy Jeffress (27)
Most Saves – Glen Perkins (19)
Most Innings Pitched – Dallas Keuchel (81.2)
Most Hits Allowed – Jerome Williams (78)
Most Runs Allowed – Kyle Lohse (45)
Most Earned Runs Allowed – Kyle Lohse (45)
Most Home Runs Allowed – James Shields (15)
Most Strikeouts – Corey Kluber (96)
Most Walks – Aaron Sanchez (37)
Most Complete Games – Four players tied for most (2).
Most Shutouts – Felix Hernandez and Shelby Miller (2).
Best Opponent Avg. – Shelby Miller (.175)
Most Games Finished – Glen Perkins (23)
Most Double Plays Achieved – Kyle Gibson (13)
Most Wild Pitches – Scott Feldman, Aaron Sanchez and C.J. Wilson (7).
Most Balks – Johnny Cueto (4)
Most Stolen Bases Allowed – Tyson Ross (21)
Most Pickoffs – Julio Teheran and Alex Wood (4).
Most Batters Faced – David Price (314)
Most Pitches Thrown – Cole Hamels (1,169)
Nearly every day, at least one pitcher — if not multiple pitchers — has a fantastic outing. But that wasn’t what made Noah Syndergaard’s afternoon on Wednesday a very special one.
As the number ten overall prospect in all of baseball, Mets fans have been looking forward to his arrival for quite some time, but I’m not sure they ever expected a performance out of Syndergaard that they received in just his fourth big league start.
Syndergaard pitched 7.1 strong innings, allowing zero runs over that stretch, but it was what he did at the plate that amazed people. Syndergaard went 3-3 on the day, including a 427-foot blast to left center field.
With his 7+ dominant innings and three hits that included a homer, Syndergaard becomes the first pitcher to accomplish those feats in the same game since 2001, as well as the first Mets pitcher in three years to hit a homer. Not bad for a 22-year-old with around a month of major league experience.
But good hitting and good pitching is nothing new for Noah Syndergaard. Over the course of his minor league career, Syndergaard holds a 3.16 ERA as well as a .270 batting average. Through four big league starts, he has posted a 2.55 ERA and is 4-9 in his at-bats. Truly remarkable for such a young pitcher.
With a rotation that includes the likes of Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, with Steven Matz soon to be in the mix, the Mets look to be good in the young pitching department for quite some time. But while all of their starters can put up a good outing, I’m not sure any of them can swing the bat quite the way Noah Syndergaard does.