Exploring the MLB by Bob Ryan

There is no question that the fans of the Lou are Cardinal fans….generally most games are “on” as we watch intently or while doing something else….we scrutinize the pitching changes, the lineup, the attitudes of the players….etc, etc…..but finding the stories of the MLB is like our explorers of the past finding a new continent….we see them from afar and hesitate to go deep into the country…so….let’s explore the MLB..

….a team being lost in the shuffle on the MLB land scape is the Seattle Mariners. Seattle is 46-26 …20 games over .500…yet still in 2nd place …behind the Amazing Astros….Seattle is led by Jean Segura… remember him…. at one time a Brewer….2nd in league with a .340 average, 5th in runs scored, 4th in stolen bases….traded to Arizona after Milwaukee…then AZ moved him to Seattle….Seattle signed him to a 5 year deal (with 6 year option)…still just 28 years old…Seattle also obtained Mitch Haniger with Segura…hard trade to figure from Az’s side of things….Segura his .319 for the D-backs and was 13th in MVP voting for the year?? Haniger…also in prime age, 27….has 16 HR, .269 average….btw….Haniger leads the AL in Outfield Assists in 2018!.. Seattle also sees the aged slugger Nelson Cruz still belting round trippers with regularity….Dee Gordon was sizzling at the start of the season…has cooled a bit but still keeps pressure on defense with his speed…Guillermo Heredia….is CF….can’t hit much but can play some defense….the Mariners are TERRIFIC in the bullpen… Alex Colome…recently acquired and former closer of Tampa Bay… sought by Cards last winter… is the 8th inning man now…he has 7 saves in 9 outings….the closer is Edwin Diaz….let me give you a taste of his stuff…in June…9.1 innings, 1 run, 14 strikeouts….in 3 of his last 4 saves…he’s faced 3 men in the 9th inning….now…that’s a closer.also Juan Nicasio will be returning from DL soon to strengthen 7th inning level…. so…it appears Seattle will be in there for the long run….btw….I couldn’t help but notice…some of the Starting pitchers ..one is Marco Gonzalez….I MUST admit…..I didn’t think that Marco “had it” to be a MLB pitcher but….check out these stats thus far…14 starts, 7-3, 79 inn, 82 hits, era 3.42, whip 1.28….his age startled me… he’s only 26 years old…Mike Leake is another…his numbers aren’t going to WOW you…but he’s there every 5 days…has 7 wins already….. don’t know if the pitching can hold out thru Sept for Seattle.

…btw….why didn’t the Cards REALLY go after Colome?  Cards need to give up some of those “prospects”…. Ya know my thoughts on prospects….it’s like prospecting….most of what you get isn’t really gold…so don’t expect EVERY prospect to “be the one”…would you trade Weaver now for Colome?  I know it’s too late…but….pull the trigger MO…worse thing that can happen is that you miss the target…but…if you don’t shoot….you won’t hit the target either!!

…the Washington Nats go out to obtain Kelvin Herrera from KC for some young players to strengthen their bullpen….gee…does anyone know of another  team that is really struggling in the bullpen and has failed with a $14m acquisition that needs bullpen help….the Cards could have cast aside Holland…go to a different KC relief hurler to help solve their bullpen woes….why do we keep playing the Memphis shuttle…there’s a reason those pitchers are in the minor leagues !

…..while we’re on the Nationals…..so Bryce Harper may have been lining up his chips for the mega-monster contract he expected as he entered his free agency after 2018…..not so fast…..Harper is hitting .212…swinging indiscriminately at any fastball….in or out of strike zone … lack of discipline would be a kind description…generally ..he’s been called, “ a selfish, losing player” recently in the press….not exactly a label that you want to wear around….often…. it seems athletes perform at their highest level leading up to their free agency year….with goal to increase the value of the huge contract waiting for them….not so thus far for Bryce Harper …but….he is completing a 2 years $35m contract this year….so….it isn’t like he’s “hungry” for that big money….he already has It .

….Boston Red Sox are actually doing what the Cards hope to do…..Xavier Bogarts, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi,  Jackie Bradley, Rafael Devers….all every day starters for the BoSox …. All were  drafted or signed directly by Boston!   Half of their every-day lineup was acquired via draft… true the free agent acquisition JD Martinez has provided Boston with a power slugger…but…..it’s the “farm” that’s saving the day…and saving money …. for Boston.  Martinez is a perfect fit for Fenway…his stroke plays well to both power alleys…22 HR, league leading 55 rbi’s AND a .315 average are incredible numbers… Funny… Martinez was originally by Houston…released after  a few years, hit .300+ for most of his 3+ years at Detroit… then was traded to Arizona last year…..they wanted him for the “run to the roses” in October…didn’t work out…free agency….now on the verge of being a super star.

…so most Cardinal fans keep looking @ NL Central and expect to see the Cubs on top….really, it’s amazing that they are as close as they are to Milwaukee…..check out these numbers…Rizzo .246, 11 hr; Bryant .281, 9 HR; Javier Baez .255 14 HR; Wilson Contreras .276, Ian Happ  .232…..yet with those stats and a team mark of .258, the Cubs are 4th in the MLB in average and 4th in runs scored….Cards are 16th @ .244!!….

….shockingly….Atlanta Braves are relevant again!….I mean….how long has it been since Maddux, Chipper and the boys dominated their division?…..no one….at least no one that I know….saw this coming….currently  in 1st place in the East … Freddie Freeman is being recognized as a super star, Nick Markakis has pushed himself out of the ordinary mode into a the league leading vote getter for the All-Star game….he’s never even BEEN in an all-star game previously…all this at 34 years of age…he’s in his 13th year in the MLB…lifetime .289 average..played 9 years @ Baltimore prior to his Atlanta stint..currently leads NL in hits….he’s been the league leader in 9 of his seasons at innings played in the field…so…..he’s a gamer….now though….he’s clearly  excited about being surrounded by some talent…some youthful, talented infielders around him…. 2B Ozzie Albies…hitting .286, 16 HR, 41 rbi’s, league leading 53 runs and league leading 21 doubles, just 21 years old…he was signed as an amateur when he was just 16 years old; SS-Dansby Swanson and 3B Ryan Flaherty. Swanson was the 1st choice of Arizona in 2015…traded by DBacks as part of Shelby Miller trade. Flaherty has been around the block…8th season in MLB…..probably caught up in the excitement of being on a winning team. Atlanta’s foursome of their starting staff all have 14 starts each…. being led by 25 year old lefty Shawn Newcomb 8-2, 2.70 era, 1.18 whip;  Mike Foltynewicz , 26 years old, 5-4 batters hitting .199 against him; 27 year old Julio Teheran,  5-4, batters hitting just .209 vs him; veteran Brandon McCarthy was obtained to add depth and experience to this staff…which he has done for the first 3 months of the season…..just as a comparison…Cards have 3 pitchers with 14 starts…Mikolas, Wacha, Weaver…so….not much difference 3 pitchers  vs 4 with 14 starts.

….the way that the game is played now….HR being the primary focus….maybe the MLB teams should back up….the more important factor is scoring runs (to win games)….the top 6 teams in scoring runs right now?   #1 Houston Astros-388; #2 Boston-371; #3 NYY-363; #4 Atlanta-344; #5 Cleveland—340;and #6 Cubs -337..aren’t these the leaders of MLB now?

…sad state of hitting in MetLand….highest batter …Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting a whopping .272…Brandon Nimmo is actually at .287 but he has about 100 less at-bats…so….he may not be considered a “full time” player….any more questions why NY Mets aren’t  winning?  Speaking of the Mets…what happened to Jay Bruce this year…..he’s “aged” quickly….hitting .212 with 3 home runs in 212 at-bats this year….boy…the Mets had counted on him….sorry…he’s done….

….some MLB BATTING numbers…with comments

….Top OB%(only batters over .400)–#1 Mike Trout .462; #2 Fred Freeman .427; Joey Votto .425; Mookie Betts .419…wow–.462….on base almost…almost half the time!!!

….RBI(must be over 50)—#1 JD Martinez—55, #2 Trevor Story-54, #3-4Mitch Haniger/Manny Machado-53, #5 Eduardo Suarez-52  ……Trevor Story & Eduardo Suarez….would have never guessed those two names

Runs—(over 50) #1 Mike Trout-60; #2 Mookie Betts-55; #3/4 Francisco Lindor/George Springer-54; #5-6—Ozzie Albies/Charlie Blackmon-53; #7-8 Tommy Pham/Jean Segura-52; #9 Andrew Benintendi-51; #10-11 Paul Goldschmidt/Edwin Rosario-53..I thought someone said that Goldschmidt was off to a bad start?

 

Bouncing to the NBA….

….2018 NBA Championships won the long-range Warriors demonstrated the “new” approach…..long ago….kick out passes often set up 3-pt shooters ….now the defenses are spread out so much to guard all of these 3-point bombers….the inside game benefits as players cut the basket for quick drop-down passes…the ever-changing world of adapting in professional sports.

…while we’re in the NBA…LeBron appears to be moving again…..to me…it seems like LA is the destination….he’s longing for the “big-time” adulation…where is but tinsel land? Btw….he was absolutely terrific in the finals of the NBA…he IS the class of the league right now.

….3rd NBA comment….THIS clearly is a record for me…….I hope that Michael Porter is ready for the grueling athletes of the NBA….I would be more concerned about his mental & emotional  steadiness than his athleticism.

 

You didn’t ask me but…here’s what I’d do against the Cards if I were an opposing manager……

 ….throw a  1st pitch strike of every AB to Matt Carpenter

…bunt on Carlos Martinez….early and often..

…challenge  Ozuna as often as possible while running the bases

….start a RHP with hopes of Dexter Fowler being inserted as a starting OF

…if Jose Martinez plays 1b…..trying drawing many throws to 1B from pitcher…..he’ll eventually miss one

…mostly breaking balls to Gyorko…any fastballs would be high & out of the zone

….dont’ throw strikes to Jose Martinez…..breaking balls that dip below the strike zone or high riding fastballs up & in

..1st pitch to tommy Pham…..inside fastball just above the waist or under his overhanging elbow…get ahead In count….then off speed down; fastball up

…only swing at strikes from Matt Bowman…most of his outs come on pitches outside of strike zone

…encourage batters…especially early in the game…to concentrate on swinging only at strikes…take as many pitches as possible….get into the Cards bullpen

…swing at 1st pitch from Jordan Hicks…it’ll be a fastball

…pray that  Brett Cecil comes into the game

 

In case you missed last week’s blog…loaded with Cards stuff..here’s the link ..

 http://prepcasts.com/breath-of-air-by-bpb-r/

 

I’d love to read YOUR thoughts….send them back to me in an email… or publish yourself just below this article…..our tour of the MLB has not concluded…..

Comments

  1. Jerry Heet says:

    Hi Bob, thanks for sharing your knowledge of baseball, your insights are very though provoking and make following the sport a lot more fun.

  2. Amazing how well Mariners are playing & ATL ⚾️

    Lebron may be the BEST player in NBA But hands down he’s the biggest WHINER
    in the NBA that has ever played the game

    Mike Trout hands down is the BEST Player in ⚾️

    I think Matheny gets Canned after All Star Break

    MB

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