When it was first reported that the Cincinnati Reds had plans to convert Aroldis Chapman–known for his overpowering fastball, that’s been clocked up to 106 MPH–from closer to a starter, to begin the 2013 season, I couldn’t help but question the decision.
Chapman struggled a bit last year after pitching in multiple outings in a row, so I don’t understand what good would it really do to make him a starter. And now, with the recent comments from Chapman himself that he would prefer closing out games over starting, I question the change even more.
“In the beginning when I started closing, it was something I didn’t know,” Chapman stated in an interview. “But as I started throwing and getting into the late part of the game when the game is more exciting and has more meaning, I kind of liked it. Yeah, the adrenaline goes up and I like to be in that situation. I would like to be a closer, yeah, but there are some things that I can’t control.”
I understand that the Reds would like for Chapman to have a greater impact on the entire game, rather than just the ninth inning, but I feel they should just leave things the way everyone’s used to: With Chapman as their closer. That’s where Chapman feels the most comfortable, and where he has proven to be the most dominant–recording 38 saves off a 1.51 ERA, with 122 strikeouts in 71.2 inning pitched, last season.
To me, there’s too much uncertainty to have the move work out in the long run, especially with Chapman not fully on board.
In other news, Wil Myers was reassigned to minor league camp on Saturday, ensuring that he will begin the 2013 season with Triple-A Durham. Thus finally answering the question everyone had on their minds throughout the entire offseason, of whether or not Myers would break camp with the big league club.
Myers seems to be taking the news well, stating, “It was something I knew was going to come eventually. It wasn’t a surprise at all…I’m really looking forward to getting down there [to minor league camp] and getting some at-bats….I really enjoyed my time here, it was a blast. But now I’m ready to get down to business.”
While I somewhat disagree with the Rays’ decision, Myers beginning the year with Durham guarantees the opportunity for fans, like myself, to see the number four prospect in all of baseball in action. So I can’t really complain all that much.
The Reds have made the decision to leave Aroldis Chapman as their closer.
Below you’ll find a list of the home run milestones that *should* occur in 2013. I say should because there’s no guarantee that any given player on the list will reach the milestone; they could get injured, have a bad season, or whatever. I made the same type of list last season, and it was well-received, so I figured I’d post another one for this year.
In order to make the list, the player had to meet the following criteria:
You can’t be a pitcher. Although there are some pitchers that can hit home runs, you won’t find any on my list. Reason being is that they’re not everyday players.
You have to have hit at least one home run in the Major Leagues. There are several dozen players going into 2013 that haven’t hit an MLB home run, but adding them to the below list just didn’t make sense.
You have to be closing in on an even milestone, like 100, 200, 300, etc. I didn’t include anyone that’s a few homers away from number 50, 75, 125, etc. It just didn’t seem necessary.
The list is organized by player name, team, milestone they’re going for and how many home runs they are from that particular milestone:
2013 Home Run Milestones
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies–Home Run Number 100 (1 home run away)
Mark Ellis, Dodgers–Home Run Number 100 (1 home run away)
Scott Hairston, Cubs–Home Run Number 100 (5 home runs away)
Joe Mauer, Twins–Home Run Number 100 (6 home runs away)
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins–Home Run Number 100 (7 home runs away)
Russell Martin, Pirates–Home Run Number 100 (7 home runs away)
Ben Zobrist, Rays–Home Run Number 100 (8 home runs away)
Jose Reyes, Blue Jays–Home Run Number 100 (8 home runs away)
Shane Victorino, Red Sox–Home Run Number 100 (10 home runs away)
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox–Home Run Number 100 (10 home runs away)
Delmon Young, Phillies–Home Run Number 100 (11 home runs away)
Nate McLouth, Orioles–Home Run Number 100 (12 home runs away)
Garrett Jones, Pirates–Home Run Number 100 (13 home runs away)
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds–Home Run Number 100 (17 home runs away)
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates–Home Run Number 100 (18 home runs away)
Chris Davis, Orioles–Home Run Number 100 (23 home runs away)
Chase Utley, Phillies–Home Run Number 200 (1 home run away)
Adam LaRoche, Nationals–Home Run Number 200 (3 home runs away)
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies–Home Run Number 200 (7 home runs away)
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays–Home Run Number 200 (17 home runs away)
Mark Reynolds, Indians–Home Run Number 200 (19 home runs away)
Robinson Cano, Yankees–Home Run Number 200 (23 home runs away)
Torii Hunter, Tigers–Home Run Number 300 (3 home runs away)
Carlos Pena, Astros–Home Run Number 300 (23 home runs away)
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs–Home Run Number 400 (28 home runs away)
Albert Pujols, Angels–Home Run Number 500 (25 home runs away)
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM), located in Kansas City, Missouri, was first established back in 1990, originally functioning out of a one-room office. The museum has since grown in size, currently housed in a 10,000 square foot facility, in the heart of the KC Jazz district.
For the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, its main purpose is to preserve the history of African-American baseball, by continuing to provide those who visit with insight into the Negro Leagues. Not wanting to duplicate the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the NLBM acknowledges all Negro League players, instead of singling out the ones who had the biggest overall impact.
The most unique portion of the museum is the Field of Legends. A baseball diamond commemorating 10 of the first Negro League players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, for their Negro Leagues careers, the Field of Legends is made up of life sized bronze statues, of the players as they would have been seen on the field:
Martin Dihigo in the batters box, Josh Gibson behind the plate, Buck Leonard at first, John Henry “Pop” Lloyd at second, William “Judy” Johnson at short stop, Ray Dandridge at third, Cool Papa Bell in left field, Oscar Charleston in center field, Leon Day in right field and Satchel Paige on the mound.
President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Bob Kendrick, took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) Unlike the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which honors the best to ever play the game, the NLBM honors all Negro League players, regardless of their career statistics. Why did the NLBM decide to go about it that way rather than just include those players who had the biggest impact in the negro leagues?
It was far more important for us (NLBM) to preserve, celebrate and educate the public to a forgotten chapter of baseball and American history than it was to focus only on the stars of the Negro Leagues. The story of the Negro Leagues has never been properly documented in the pages of American history books, and collectively we felt that a museum dedicated to the entire story would have the most impact. The story itself is much bigger than the game of baseball. Baseball is merely a premise for more grandiose story of economic empowerment, leadership and ultimately the social advancement of America. It’s an all-en-composing history lesson. Our visitors not only witness the rise and subsequent fall of the Negro Leagues but they are able to simultaneously parallel the social rise of America.
By the time we established, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, through its Veterans Committee, had already started to recognize the exploits of some of the Negro Leagues biggest stars, so there was no need to duplicate or replicate what the Hall was already doing. The late Buck O’Neil was very passionate about the fact that there had already been enough separation in the game, and that the Hall of Fame was the proper place for all the people who made great contributions to our sport. So, as an institution, we became advocates for those who played in the Negro Leagues for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Of course, there was no greater advocate for inclusion than O’Neil.
2.) Since the museum’s opening in 1990, how has it grown in both physical size as well as the amount of historical information it provides on the history of the negro leagues?
We established the NLBM in a tiny, one-room office located in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz district in 1990. The late Buck O’Neil and Horace Peterson (who also established the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City), along with other former Negro League players living in the area, literally took turns to pay the monthly rent to keep those hopes and dreams of some day building an institution that would pay tribute to this inspiring and important chapter of American history. At that time, we had a few artifacts collected, but we knew from the onset that it would be the story that would drive this project. In November of 1997, we moved into our current home in the Museums at 18th & Vine (the American Jazz Museum is also a part of the complex), and now offers 10,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Negro League players and their families have generously donated items for display that helped bring the story to life and we’re constantly on the hunt for other pieces to add to our collection.
3.) Who’s the biggest name (baseball player, or general celebrity) to have ever visited the NLBM?
It’s tough to narrow it down to one, because we’ve been fortunate to welcome so many amazing celebrities through the years, including two American presidents in Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and other dignitaries such as: Retired Gen. Colin Powell and the First Lady Michelle Obama; legendary sports stars such as Jim Brown, Oscar Robinson, Barry Bonds, Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith and Kareem Abdul Jabbar; entertainers such as Geddy Lee, Harry Belafonte, Billy Dee Williams and Laurence Fishbourne. But my personal favorite was getting the opportunity to tour my idol, Hank Aaron. Mr. Aaron, of course, played in the Negro Leagues in 1952 with the Indianapolis Clowns before signing with the Boston Braves.
As a kid growing up in Georgia, I was, and still am, a big Braves fan. His epic chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record is still a milestone of my childhood, and when he hit the record-breaking home run, I remember circling the bases with him in the living room of our house and not being able to sleep that night because I was so excited for him. I met him for the first time in Denver, CO at the All-Star Game in 1998. The next year, MLB was celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Mr. Aaron’s breaking of Ruth’s record and in partnership with the Kansas City Royals, we were able to arrange a tour of the NLBM. Buck O’Neil was out of town and I drew the assignment of touring my idol. It’s the only time I’ve ever been nervous giving a celebrity tour. Afterwards, I joined Mr. Aaron and his wife, Billye, for Gates BBQ. I still consider it to be my greatest day in baseball!
4.) What’s something that a lot of people don’t know about the history of the negro leagues that you feel they should?
That they successfully operated for 40 years (1920-60). Most people assume that after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier that the Negro Leagues surely would have ended soon after that historic occurrence. It took MLB 12 years before every team had at least one Black player, with the Boston Red Sox being the last to integrate when the club signed Pumpsie Green in 1959. By 1960, the Negro Leagues ceased operations.
5.) Staying on the same general topic, nearly everyone knows who Jackie Robinson was, with many baseball fans having heard of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. Who are some of the lesser known players that played a big role in the history of the negro leagues?
You’re right; Paige, Gibson and Cool Papa Bell became mainstream names from the Negro Leagues, but there were so many great players that most fans have not heard about. Guys like:
Wilbur “Bullet” Rogan: Rogan began playing in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1920, and was one of the League’s first superstars. He was a legendary pitcher who earned his nickname “bullet” for his blazing fastball. Rogan was a tremendous athlete and when he wasn’t pitching he often hit clean up in the Monarchs batting order and played the outfield. He led the Monarchs to the inaugural World Series title in 1924. Rogan is now rightfully enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Oscar Charleston: Buck O’Neil called Charleston the “greatest baseball player he had ever seen.” Charleston was a do-it-all center fielder who began playing in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis ABCs. He excelled in every facet of the game and the old-timers in the Negro Leagues say that he was “Willie Mays before we ever knew who Mays was.” He combined the defensive of abilities of Tris Speaker, the tenacity of Ty Cobb and the bat of Babe Ruth, into one dynamite package.
Hilton Smith: Perhaps the greatest pitcher few people know anything about. Smith was a star pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs who was somewhat overshadowed by his charismatic teammate, Satchel Paige. Smith was every bit as good. The quiet, reserved Texan won 20 games or more in 12-consecutive years for the Monarchs, and was 6-1 in exhibition games against Major Leaguers.
Martin Dihigo: Nicknamed “El Maestro”, Dihigo was born in Cuba and is the most versatile player in baseball history. He could play all nine positions, and play them well. Dihigo is the only baseball player to be enshrined in five different countries’ baseball Hall of Fames: Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and United States.
6.) What’s your personal favorite portion of the museum? Why?
The Field of Legends. Naturally, I’m biased, but I think it is one of the most compelling displays in any museum anywhere in the world. The Field of Legends is a mock baseball diamond that houses 10 of 12 life size bronze sculptures of Negro League greats, cast in position as if they are playing a game. The statues on the field represent 10 of the first group of Negro League players to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for their Negro Leagues careers. The exhibition flows around the field, so our visitors can see the field, but they can’t walk out among those legendary baseball players until they’ve learned the history, at which time you’ve earned the right to “take the field” with 10 of the greatest baseball players to ever put on a uniform.
7.) What advice would you give to first time visitors of the NLBM, when it comes to how they should go about their self guided tour?
If possible, try to allot at least 90 minutes for the tour so that you can take in our featured videos in the Grandstand and Diamond Theaters. You could easily spend an entire day because there’s a great deal to enjoy. Artifacts, multimedia displays and fascinating text panels that set the tone for what America was like, but also triumphantly quantifies the passion, pride, perseverance that America’s unsung baseball heroes demonstrated in the face of adversity that ultimately changed our game but more importantly, changed our country.
Big thanks to Bob Kendrick for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on Twitter: @nlbmprez
The baseball world spent most of Saturday focused on the New York Yankees; more specifically, on Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Both played in their first official games since being injured last season–Jeter with a broken ankle, Rivera with a torn ACL–and, not all that shockingly, both had great Spring Training debuts. A good sign for the Yankees.
But the big news of the day wasn’t the debuts of two veteran Yankees, but rather the announcement by all time saves leader, Mariano Rivera, that the 2013 season would be his last.
“Now is the time”, stated the 43-year-old Rivera, in an early morning press conference. “I have given everything, and the time is almost ending. The thing that I have, the little gas I have left is everything for this year. After that, I’ll empty everything. There’s nothing left. I did everything, and I’m proud of it. That’s why it’s time.”
The time would have come at the end of the 2012 season, had Rivera not have suffered from a torn ACL. An injury which occurred while Rivera was shagging fly balls–his normal pregame routine–during batting practice in Kansas City. But, as expected, Rivera didn’t want to go out like that.
No, not Mariano Rivera. Wanting to go out on his own terms, he has far greater plans.
“The last game, I hope, will be throwing the last pitch in the World Series”, said Rivera. “That’s how I envision to be my last game of my last pitch on the mound. Winning the World Series, that would be my ambition.”
A great ambition indeed, but one that will be somewhat hard to pull off, in my opinion. As although I foresee the Yankees barely making the playoffs this year, with all of the injuries the team currently suffers, I’m not so sure they can make a deep playoff run.
For Mariano Rivera’s sake, I sure hope I’m wrong.
Having already broken a number of MLB records in his 18 seasons, all spent with the Yankees, the 12-time All-Star already has a resume to go out as one of the games’ greats, but a sixth World Series ring would obviously be icing on the cake.
It would truly make for a storybook ending to a storybook career.
Around a month ago, I blogged about the through the mail (TTM) autograph requests I was planning to send off to players during Spring Training. At the end of the post, I stated that I was going to be publishing a blog post every time I received back a couple autographs. Having received two more TTM autograph requests since my last update, I’ve now gotten back half of the requests I sent out, so I figured I’d post another update:
CASEY KELLY–PADRES ORGANIZATION
Casey Kelly is currently ranked as the number 69 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. He would probably be higher had it of not been for an elbow injury he endured for most of last season. An injury that limited Kelly to just 14 games pitched; 6 of which came in the majors. In the 6 games pitched at the big league level, Kelly went 2-3, with a 6.21 ERA, but showed signs of his readiness to be a major league pitcher. If Kelly doesn’t begin the season with the Padres, it would be a real shame. He has the ability to be an impact player for an improving Padres team.
JASON MOTTE–ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Although the ink from the autograph smudged off a bit in the mail, I’m very happy to add Jason Motte’s autograph to my collection. Topping out at 100, and regularly hitting the upper 90′s, Motte’s overpowering fastball is what makes him one of the best closers in the game. Last season, Motte saved a total of 42 games for the Cardinals, recording 86 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched, on a 2.75 ERA. This season should see Motte posting more of the same type of stats as last year.
I still have autograph requests out for Mariano Rivera, Adam Jones, Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pierzynski and Justin Masterson, so hopefully they’ll come back soon, so I can write about them; though there’s no guarantee they’ll come back at all.
We’re quickly approaching Opening Day, and so starts the predictions of where each team will finish in the coming year. Most of the time there’s always a team or two that comes along and completely throws off your predictions, but that’s what makes it fun. I’m going to be doing a seperate blog post on my predictions for how I feel each team will fare this season, in the next week or two, but for now I want to hear what you all think.
Cast your vote below for which team you feel is most likely to win each division in 2013:
The 2013 MLB regular season has begun, and the polls are now closed. Thanks for voting.
About a year ago, I made the statement that I’d love to take batting practice and play catch on a professional baseball field, should the opportunity ever present itself. Little did I know that there was a way to make my wish a reality, as the local Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Durham Bulls, hold a fan fest twice a year, giving fans the chance to participate in both of the activities I was looking to take part in.
When I first learned that there was such a thing as fan fest, in October of last year, I already had a vacation planned with my family, so I unfortunately couldn’t attend. Therefore, when it was announced that they were holding another one in March, I made sure to mark the date on my calendar.
I wasn’t going to miss it this time around.
Accompanied by my dad, I arrived at fan fest at 12:30, right at an hour and a half after the gates first opened:
With the line being so long (continuing further out of the frame in the picture above), we decided to go ahead and play catch first. So we made our way down the steps, and into the outfield:
All of the balls were being used when we first arrived–we weren’t told to bring our own, though I think most people did–however, a couple of kids were nice enough to let the both of us play catch with them, in a square formation, of sorts.
After the four of us played catch for around 30 minutes, the plan was to head to the batting cage, to take some hacks, but after watching a few people take their turn, it came to my attention that you only received five swings. Knowing that I would more than likely swing and miss on every pitch, I figured it wasn’t worth it. So after a stop in the Bulls’ dugout….
I continued my walk, ending up over by the blue monster….
I had a great time at Bulls fan fest. It’s something I’d recommend to anyone, if you’re ever in the area when they hold it. But then again, it’s hard not to have fun anytime baseball is involved.
All of the pictures were taken on my phone, so if they seem a bit blurry, that’s why.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the through the mail (TTM) autograph requests I was planning to send off to players during Spring Training. At the end of the post, I stated that I was going to be publishing a blog post every time I received back a few autographs, and now that I’ve successfully gotten back some of the requests I sent, I figured I’d go ahead and type this entry up.
Of the ten total TTM’s I sent off, I’ve received three of them back, with them being from:
STEFEN ROMERO–MARINERS ORGANIZATION
Stefen Romero’s 2012 season was truly remarkable. Batting .352 with 23 home runs and 101 RBI’s, including 34 doubles, between A+ and AA, Romero showed his ability to produce stats far above what’s generally expected from a 12th round draft pick. If he can keep on producing the same type of numbers in the coming season, it shouldn’t be too long before he’s helping out the big league club, up in Seattle.
DANNY HULTZEN–MARINERS ORGANIZATION
Danny Hultzen is currently ranked as the number 18 overall prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. Though a promotion from AA to AAA, mid-season, resulted in a bit of a struggle for Hultzen, overall, he had a decent 2012 season, posting a 9-7 record, with a 3.05 ERA. If Hultzen can find his groove again this season it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if he receives a call up from the Mariners towards the end of the year.
SONNY GRAY–ATHLETICS ORGANIZATION
Though he had a rocky 2012 season–going 6-9 with a 4.26 ERA–many are still thinking that Sonny Gray will eventually pan out to become the front line starter he’s projected to become. I have to agree, and certainly hope so. Gray ended the 2012 season with AAA, and as with Hultzen, if he can get his pitching consistency back under control, Gray could earn a job pitching for the Oakland A’s at some point this season.
I still have autograph requests out for Mariano Rivera, Adam Jones, Casey Kelly, Tyler Skaggs, Jason Motte, A.J. Pierzynski and Justin Masterson, so hopefully they’ll come back soon, so I can write about them; though there’s no guarantee they’ll come back at all.
Adam Greenberg was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 9th round of the 2002 draft. In the years following the draft, Greenberg averaged .284 a season, with an OBP near .400, over the course of four seasons (347 games) in the minor leagues, before receiving a call up to the Cubs, in July of 2005.
Making his MLB debut on July 9, 2005, Greenberg was beamed in the head by a pitch from Marlins’ pitcher Valerio de los Santos, which resulted in a mild concussion. Greenberg returned to the field for the Cubs’ AA minor league affiliate, a few weeks later, with the intention of rejoining the major league club, however, effects of the concussion still lingered. Effects that would end up keeping Greenberg from ever playing for the Cubs again.
Greenberg went on to play several more seasons in the minor leagues, but a second chance at an MLB at-bat wouldn’t come until 2012, when a fan-made petition allowed Greenberg the chance for one at-bat with the Miami Marlins. The at-bat came on October 2, 2012, against R.A. Dickey, with Greenberg striking out on three pitches. Despite striking out, Greenberg finally received his long awaited major league at-bat.
The Orioles have signed Greenberg to a minor league contract for the coming season, giving him yet another shot at making it back to the majors. You can be sure that Greenberg is going to do his absolute best to make it back, as he has a great work ethic, and a lot of people rooting for him. I, for one, hope he gets many more than one more at-bat in the majors.
Adam Greenberg–minor leaguer in the Orioles organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?
As far back as I can remember I had a bat and ball in my hand. Between family members, coaches and teammates, I had many baseball influences growing up.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
Don Mattingly, because of the way he carried himself on and off the field.
3.) You’re one of only six dozen, or so, Jewish players to ever make it all the way to the bigs. What does that mean to you, to be in such an elite category of players?
It is an honor to be included with such great company.
4.) Had you have gotten a career at-bat before being plunked in the head, do you feel things would’ve gone differently?
Yes, I think things would have turned out a lot differently.
5.) Cubs fan, Matt Liston, played a huge role in getting you your at-bat with the Marlins, as he formed a petition and was able to get thousands of fans to sign it. What did it mean to you to know that you had that kind of support from complete strangers?
The human spirit is amazing! To see such a great reception was amazing. Matt had reached out to me through a mutual contact that I trusted and I was surprised at the momentum he brought. I am very thankful for Matt, my fans and Miami for providing me with the opportunity to get back. A dream come true again.
6.) Would it have meant slightly more for you to have received your one at-bat in 2012 with the Cubs, as they were the team you made your MLB debut for, back in 2005?
I was thankful to be in a Major League uniform again and to have Miami sign me was amazing.
7.) Once it was made official that the Marlins were going to give you the one at-bat, what kind of thoughts were running through your mind?
I was excited to be there. My thoughts were to get on base and help contribute.
8.) On October 2, 2012, you came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth inning, against R.A. Dickey. How did you prepare to face Dickey? Did anyone give you any kind of advice as to how to face him, being that he’s a knuckleball pitcher?
There’s not a whole lot you can do to prepare for a knuckle-ball of his caliber. Prior to the at-bat I took a lot of flips and had few teammates toss me some knuckleballs. The advice I received from a lot of people was if it’s ‘high let it fly’….if it’s ‘low let it go!’
9.) Unfortunately, you struck out against Dickey, on three pitches, however you received a standing ovation from the crowd. What kind of emotions were you feeling during that moment, that although you struck out, the fans cheered you on as if you had blasted a home run?
I had mixed emotions. The excitement from the fans was electric. Regardless of the outcome it was still a win having that at-bat and being back in the Major Leagues.
10.) The Orioles signed you to a minor league contract in December, giving you another shot at making it back to the big leagues. What are your plans going forward? What are your goals once the season begins?
I continue to train hard. My goal for this season is to get back to the big leagues, contribute to Baltimore’s success by winning games and helping them get to a World Series.
11.) Favorite food? Favorite TV show?
Seafood….all of it! Seinfeld.
12.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
Have fun, stay within yourself and don’t ever give up.
Big thanks to Adam Greenberg for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @adamgreenberg10
The first players reported to Spring Training nearly two weeks ago, however, the first official games are taking place today. The Tigers are set to take on the Braves at 1:05 EST, with the Reds-Indians, Royals-Rangers and Padres-Mariners games all beginning at 3:05 EST. The remaining teams are all playing their first game on Saturday.
With the first official baseball games of the season starting up, I wanted to take the time to post a “top players” list, of sorts, but instead of making my own version of a top 10 list, or whatever, I decided to make a list of the top player for each year of age throughout Major League Baseball. Meaning, of the 20 year olds in MLB, I’ll list the player I feel is the overall best of them all. With the same holding true for the players age 21, 22, 23, 24, and so on.
The range of ages runs from 20 years old, with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, etc., all the way up to age 43, with Mariano Rivera. Just so you know, I’m going by the age each player will be to start the season. Therefore, a few players will be listed a year older than they currently are, due to them having a birthday between now and April 1st.
With there being SO many names, I’m not going to be listing my reasoning behind each pick; just a general list with players’ names. The player I feel is the best for their age category can be either a position player, or a pitcher:
20 years old: Bryce Harper
21 years old: Mike Trout
22 years old: Shelby Miller
23 years old: Giancarlo Stanton
24 years old: Stephen Strasburg
25 years old: Clayton Kershaw
26 years old: Felix Hernandez
27 years old: Evan Longoria
28 years old: Prince Fielder
29 years old: Miguel Cabrera
30 years old: Justin Verlander
31 years old: Josh Hamilton
32 years old: C.C. Sabathia
33 years old: Albert Pujols
34 years old: Cliff Lee
35 years old: Roy Halladay
36 years old: Michael Young
37 years old: David Ortiz
38 years old: Derek Jeter
39 years old: Ichiro Suzuki
40 years old: Andy Pettitte
41 years old: Henry Blanco
42 years old: Jason Giambi
43 years old: Mariano Rivera
So, there you have it. The best players by age, in my opinion, from 20 through 43, going into the 2013 season. Do you agree with my picks? If not, who would you pick to replace the name(s) you disagree with? Let me know in the comments section below.