Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dodgers, Kershaw agree on big contract

The Dodgers and star southpaw Clayton Kershaw have reportedly agreed to a record breaking 7-year 215 million dollar contract. The deal will pay out 30 million per season if it is a balanced contract.

Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in baseball as he has 2 Cy Young awards and will be 26 on Opening Day. The lefty went 16-9 last season with a 1.83 ERA in 236 innings pitched. He punched out 232 while walking 52. In his career he is 77-46 with a 2.60 ERA with 1206 strikeouts and 393 walks in 1180 innings pitched

I think the deal is a good one for the Dodgers as Kershaw has proven he is durable and can pitch at elite status. The only concern I would have is if he gets injured down the road but I do believe he will stay healthy and perform at a high level/

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dallas Braden retires

Braden celebrates after completing his Perfect Game (Photo Credits: Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The former Oakland A's pitcher who hurled a perfect game of Mothers Day has retired. Dallas Braden announced his retirement saying his shoulder was "a shredded mess".

Braden, 30, last pitched in the MLB in 2011 pitching 18 solid innings before a torn capsule was discovered in his shoulder and he missed the rest of the 2011 season and the entire 2012 season. In August of 2012 Braden had surgery to repair his rotator cuff. He was let go by the A's after the 2012 season and didn't pitch in 2013 so he decided to retire.

Braden finishes with a 26-36 record with a 4.16 ERA in 491.1 innings striking out 305 while walking 141. His best season was 2010 when he pitched a perfect game and was 11-14 with a 3.50 ERA in 192.2 innings.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Yankees sign Scott Sizemore

The New York Yankees have signed infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league contract. Sizemore has played in 2 games since 2012 suffering 2 torn ACLs. In his only substantial playing time in 2011 he played in 110 games and compiled a .245/.342/.399 with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs.  He posted an above average range factor last year at 2B for the A's/Tigers. The former top prospect will compete for a role in the Yankees infield.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Free Swinging Prospects

When a MLB team drafts a 5-tool player they expect them to be a superstar. That always isn't the case and a large part of that has to do with plate discipline.

Take Corey Patterson for example, drafted by the Cubs in 1998 and was projected to be a superstar. But he had one problem: he had no plate discipline.In his first pro season he struck out 18% of the time and walked 5% of the time. A concerning rate but Patterson did hit well so it wasn't as noticed and corrected as it should have been.

When Patterson made his MLB debut in 2000 he struck out 14 times in 47 plate appearances and walked only 3 times leading to a .167/.239/.333. In his first substantial amount of playing time with the Cubs Patterson struck out 142 times in 628 plate appearances (22%) and walked only 19 times (3%) an extremely concerning rate.

After an injury-shortened 2003 Pattersons plate discipline began to hurt him as teams began to realize how he rarely takes any walks. He was still collecting hits but was quickly turning into a bust. After 2005 he was traded to the O's for 2 prospects (Carlos Perez and Nate Spears).

After his 2-year stint with the Orioles Patterson bounced around from team to team never living up to his true potential.

What lesson does this teach? It shows that issues with plate discipline need to be corrected immediately. Not when the player is struggling in the big leagues. As soon as it is recognized as an issue the player needs to receive instructions on how to approach each at bat. Too many prospects careers have been ruined by not learning how to approach each at bat and it isn't right. Something that could be potentially corrected so easily is ignored and it ruins players careers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Did the Home Run Derby mess up Chris Davis?

In 2013 Chris Davis had a record setting season hitting .286/.370/.634 with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs. But before the All-Star Break Davis was hitting .315/.392/.668 with 37 home runs and 93 RBIs. He played in the 2013 Home Run Derby and was eliminated in the semifinals. After the All-Star Break he didn't return to his first half form hitting .245/.339/.515 with "only" 16 home runs. It raises some questions about the Home Derby and its effects on players swings because the players could adjust their swing for the derby but not adjust it back for the regular season.

In 2012 Prince Fielder actually improved after the home run derby taking his .299/.380/.505 slash line in the first half to a .330/.448/.558 second half. But Andrew McCutchen who didn't make it past the first round was hitting .362/.414/.625 with 18 home runs in 81 games. In the second half McCutchen hit only .289/.355/.475 with 13 home runs in 76 games.

I think the reason some players struggle after the home run derby when they participate is that they change their natural swing and try to hit more home runs which causes them to have troubles adjusting back and pitchers adjust to their hitting ability.