Three Up, Three Down took in the first week of baseball and found out a few things. The Atlanta Braves are very good at baseball like activities, and that Zack Greinke isn’t as big as Carlos Quentin. We recap our thoughts on the brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres and touch on the other injuries around baseball. The classic “3U3D Fantasy Special” is back and you might like what we have to say, especially if you’re already a cellar dweller in your league. Check it out and thank us when you start your climb to the top!
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After the Houston Astros dis–hey…stop laughing…it really happened–dismantled the Texas Rangers last night at Minute Maid Park, we had our first full day of baseball today.
Naturally, ESPN kicked it off with proof that they are extremely stubborn as a network, pitting C.C. Sabathia and the hobbled Yankees versus Jon Lester and the completely average Red Sox.
There were so many amazing moments in a long day of ball that it was hard to narrow down to just five. But here is our best shot at it. This is what we do at Three Up, Three Down. We write stuff on baseball-related activities for your enjoyment. So, enjoy!
5. Justin Jacks One
Welcome to Atlanta, where the playa’s play and Upton hits bombs like every day. No disrespect to Freddie Freeman, who also went mammo today, but this Justin Upton blast was put in orbit. And it’s not just a top moment because of the distance–the Braves outfield is the most freakish in baseball, and this is just the first sampling. The Braves faithful have been waiting for this moment since the original trade was made, and the little bro definitely didn’t disappoint.
4. Brewers Bailed Out
One of KP’s least favorite memories of the 2012 season was any blown save by John Axford and Co. If you see our tallest group member, give him a hug. Because Axford was at it again on Opening Day, giving up a no-doubter with two outs in the ninth to the Rockies’ Dexter Fowler, which tied the game. Fortunately for Milwaukee and the home fans, the Rockies pitching staff is deplorable and Jonathan Lucroy was able to score a walk-off sac fly and bail the bullpen out.
3. Bryce Decides Twice is Nice
If there was any debate that last year’s NL Rookie of the Year would suffer from a sophomore slump, he killed it quick. In his first two at-bats of the 2013 season, Bryce Harper absolutely crushed two Ricky Nolasco pitches and put them in the right field bleachers. I’m not buying that his second one has landed yet. In fact, it might currently be traveling over the Atlantic Ocean. Keep an eye out for it. The 20-year-old phenom is on pace for 324 jacks this year.
The late Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Stan Musial is being honored by the team with a cool, classy patch (pictured to the right) on their left sleeves in 2013. But the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hosted the Cards on Opening Day, pulled off a fantastic move by paying homage with a video tribute to Musial between innings. Unfortunately, I don’t have video for you, but the gesture itself was a true act of sportsmanship and remembrance of one of the greatest hitters and humans the world has ever seen.
1. Kershaw Goes Krazy
Let me set the stage: The defending champions travel to their heated rival’s new stadium and face their fancy new team in a battle between two of the best pitchers in the league. A pitcher’s duel turns into a one-man show as Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw not only throws a complete game, four-hit shutout, but hits a go-ahead home run that breaks a scoreless tie in the eighth inning. Unbelievable. And in a game that began with a well-choreographed first pitch skit from Dodgers heroes Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser. I have to take a second to brag, as humbly as possible. I tweeted THIS about five minutes before magic occurred. Of course it was a coincidence but it makes me believe in fairy tale endings, and reinforces our love of this magical sport.
Buckle up, baseball fans. This was just day one. Only 161 more regular season games to go! Vote below on which one of these moments should have been in the top five, or comment about any moments we missed!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
When we told you that Three Up, Three Down really loves baseball, we weren’t kidding. On Saturday, I watched the Oregon vs. USC football game until 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, at which point I switched away from one of the best games of the year to focus on MLB Network.
No, I’m not crazy – I just love baseball, and the Arizona Fall League’s (AFL) annual Rising Stars Game was on. For those of you that don’t know, the AFL is basically grad school for each team’s top prospects. All 30 MLB teams assign seven players to the AFL, comprised of six teams.
It’s basically a little extra work for the superstars of tomorrow. Last year, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper played in the Rising Stars Game. Mike Piazza, Roy Halladay and Stephen Strasburg are just a few of the alumni of the AFL. And the game in 2012 was no different, showcasing a plethora of talent we will be sure to see on Major League teams in the very near future, such as Detroit’s Nick Castellanos, who won the Futures Game MVP in July.
I’ve picked five winners and losers from the game yesterday – read on to see if one of your team’s top prospects made an impact!
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Hamilton was this game’s biggest draw, and he delivered big time. One of the few players to start and finish the game, Hamilton got to show off the speed that has made him Cincinnati’s top-rated prospect (Minor League record 155 steals in 2012 – that is NOT a typo) right from the get-go. After drawing a walk to lead off the game, Hamilton promptly stole second, stole third, and scored on a double two batters later. Hamilton also laid down a beautiful bunt that forced an errant throw, resulting in him coasting to third base on the play. Though he recently transitioned from shortstop to center field in order to take advantage of those wheels, Hamilton looked right at home, making a diving play later on in the game. This kid is undoubtedly a future star.
Michael Tonkin, Minnesota Twins
Jason Kubel’s brother-in-law had a very rough time against the elite hitters of the AFL. Tonkin pitched to five batters and didn’t get a single one out – instead, he allowed three hits, five base runners and four earned runs (five runs total) on 17 pitches. The 6-foot-7 22-year-old righty has really strong stuff, but melted in a big spot yesterday. To add to the disappointment for Tonkin, he was charged with a blown save, took the loss, and saw a 4-3 lead turn into an 8-3 deficit under his watch. Tonkin has a good, low-to-mid 90’s fastball and a pretty good slider – his 2.08 ERA and 97 K’s in 69 1/3 innings in Minor League ball this past season don’t lie – but he really fell apart in the Rising Stars Game.
Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres
Holy smokes, can the Padres’ number one prospect swing a bat! There’s a visibly arrogant swagger to Liriano’s game, but he walks the walk on the field, and proved it again last night. In five plate appearances, Liriano went 3-for-4 with two doubles, walked, drove in a run, and scored a run. He had great plate discipline and was being lauded by premiere minor league analyst Jonathan Mayo for his speed as well. The Padres may have a legitimate offensive threat in Liriano, as long as they can keep him grounded when he hits a slump in the big leagues.
Michael Almanzar, Boston Red Sox
It’s been a strange journey for Almanzar, a 21-year-old infielder from the Dominican Republic. When he was originally drafted, the Red Sox thought they were getting a future power hitter. And while he’s shown potential to pop a few out of the yard, he needs to put on some muscle. At 6-foot-3 and only 190 pounds, he has the frame of a guy who should be shooting the gap, yet the eye and the swing of a homer-happy free swinger. The Rising Stars Game proved to be a disaster for Almanzar, as he came up to bat twice, including in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded, and struck out both times. To his credit, Almanzar did have a good at-bat in the 9th, before caving to strike three.
Austin Romine, New York Yankees
Going 1-for-2 with a strikeout doesn’t sound like such a fantastic game, does it? But the Yankees’ farm hand narrowly missed a monster home run in his first at-bat, instead settling for a triple. Romine also was hit by a pitch in the left elbow and came around to score his second run of the game. The reason Romine is a winner here, is because the kid has suffered through injury after injury during his young career, and proved his toughness in front of a TV audience last night. The half inning before getting plunked, Romine took two hard foul tips off the body and walked both of them off. He’s a gamer, and proved it in Arizona – the Yankees will definitely be keeping a close eye on him in Spring Training.
Nick Ahmed, Atlanta Braves
Ahmed actually has a good-looking future, as he swatted 36 doubles and swiped 40 bags in 130 games in the Minors this season. I don’t know if his future with the Braves will be at shortstop, but he didn’t give them any reason to think so in this one-game sample size last night. Ahmed made a couple nice plays and redeemed himself later with a walk and a run, but he started the game with a strikeout at the plate and an ugly error in the field. I’m talking, line drive right to him, off the glove, into left field type of error. With guys like Andrelton Simmons and Tyler Pastornicky already ahead of him, Ahmed might be looking to learn a new position if he wants to break in with the big club.
Brian Goodwin, Washington Nationals
After the West team went up 2-0 in the top of the first, Goodwin sparked the East by hitting a leadoff homer, the only one of the game. The analysis on Goodwin is that he has legitimate five-tool potential. I can see why people might think so; Goodwin’s left-handed swing is extremely quick and he has the abilities to hit for average and power. He has decent speed and plays solid outfield defense, too. The Nationals may need to make room for this guy in their outfield very soon. My guess is he would supplant Harper in center field at some point in the next two seasons. Goodwin, who just turned 22 on Friday, had an OPS of .852 between two Minor League stops in 2012, and showed off his skills in Arizona going 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Jarred Cosart, Houston Astros
I was really excited to watch Cosart start this game, because I knew his reputation (a 2.60 ERA in the Pacific Coast League this year; electric fastball, good change-up, above average breaking ball and great command). He was a key piece, along with Rising Stars teammate Jonathan Singleton, in the Hunter Pence deal to Philadelphia in 2011. Cosart has been a top prospect in both organizations he’s played for since day one, but I was truly disappointed with his outing last night. Though the numbers weren’t bad (2 innings, 1 hit, 2 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout), he was missing his spots all day, going 3-0 on multiple batters across those frames. I had no doubt after watching that Cosart has the tools to be a good starter or a great reliever, but he really laid an egg in his start on Saturday.
Mark Montgomery, New York Yankees
Yeah, yeah. I hate putting two Yankees in the winner’s column as much as the next guy. But I can’t pretend I wasn’t very impressed with both prospects I have listed here. Though I probably could have chosen any reliever after the sixth inning on either squad (The 12 total pitchers entering in the 6th inning or later, combined: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K), I went with Montgomery for his dominant performance. The 21-year-old righty blew away the West team in his frame, striking out all three batters on 16 total pitches. His 1.65 minor league ERA and 16.1 K/9 are ridiculous, and I wonder if he has the make-up or velocity (tops out at 95 MPH) to some day fill Mariano Rivera’s shoes as the closer in the Bronx. Either way, I expect to see him getting big league action by 2014 at the very latest.
Anyone who didn’t watch the game!
Seriously. It’s not a cop-out. I’m not saying you should also sacrifice your college football or NFL, or even NBA watching during the MLB off-season, but don’t pass up an opportunity to watch some of the next great generation of baseball stars in action. Follow along with the AFL this winter and see how your team’s top prospects are handling some of the best minor league competition in all of baseball. Better yet, just follow the 3u3d blog and we’ll give you everything you need to know until Opening Day is back upon us. If you want to follow us on Twitter, you can find us @3u3d, and you can like us on Facebook at Three Up, Three Down. All the glorious baseball news you can stomach, right here, all winter long.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
In case you missed it, Jeremy wrote a piece last week making a case for five players (Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Juan Pierre, C.C. Sabathia and Adam Dunn) for the Hall of Fame. Check it out here! When in the process of narrowing the list to five, three unfortunate Cardinals players were left off.
We wanted to get perspective on those three players, so we turned to the biggest Cardinals fan we know! Former Three Up, Three Down podcast guest and 2012 MLB Fan Cave Top 30 Finalist Kelsey Shea is here today with a guest blog, detailing whether or not three of her team’s best players have a shot at Cooperstown. Take it away, Kelsey!
The St. Louis Cardinals are not exactly strangers to the Hall of Fame. In fact, a grand total of 38 players and 8 managers have both worn the historic birds on the bat and been inducted. And of course, there’s always talk of the two great presences lost by the team at the end of last year’s amazing World Series run: Tony LaRussa and a little old first baseman named Albert Pujols. But who currently on the Redbird roster might earn a ticket?
Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, and Matt Holliday, while maybe not long-standing fixtures in St. Louis, have each contributed greatly during their time under the Arch. And each came to town with an already-established, illustrious career. Let’s dive into some specifics…
The Case for Berkman:
Originally an enemy of the Cards, Berkman positioned himself as a favorite in Houston with his huge offensive numbers and his title as one of the “Killer B’s” alongside Astros royalty Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. But after fading in his later years, he endeared himself to St. Louisans with his contributions to a World Series title (his first) and a Comeback Player of the Year award.
Today, he remains on the DL for the rest of the 2012 season due to an unfortunate, recurring knee problem, leaving everyone wondering: is he done?
As far as accolades, Berkman is a six-time All Star with a habit for creeping into the MVP conversation. Although he never did get the MVP nod, he does hold the NL record for single season switch hitter RBIs with 136, and the NL record for single season switch hitter homers with 45…tied with another soon to be retiree and a sure Hall of Famer, Chipper Jones, for the latter. Berkman has a penchant for great postseason play, and let’s not forget The Big Puma also has another important and memorable attribute: a great nickname.
His numbers are impressive, though he fails to reach some key milestones with under 2,000 total hits (1,843) and less than 400 homers (360). He’s a .296 hitter, but are these HOF caliber? I’m not sure…We have to remember that he will be competing with likes of PED-free Chipper, Vlad Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Ken Griffey, Jr. Granted, the offensive monsters of the steroid era that ruled the game for the first eight or so years of his career rendered the ability to stand out no small feat.
Verdict: Not if he retires this year. His numbers just don’t match up to his competitors. And this one breaks my heart since he is probably one of the most likeable guys in the sport today. If anything gets him in, it will be his position as one of the game’s top switch hitters. However, without a few more seasons to boost his numbers, the Hall of Fame might be lacking one cuddly Puma.
The Case for Beltran:
Here we have another switch hitter, another former Cardinal killer, and another former Astro. But Houston was not the city that Beltran would call his baseball home if you asked him today. Spending the majority of his career in Kansas City with the Royals and in the Big Apple with the Mets, he has enjoyed many years near the top of the MLB’s premiere hitters list. And when Albert Pujols departed for Anaheim, Beltran was the Cardinals’ answer to their offensive hole.
He began his career with a Rookie of the Year award, and hasn’t slowed down much since. A seven-time All Star with one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger, Beltran has proven himself to be an extremely well-rounded player. He has also been a huge postseason threat, tying the record for most home runs in a single postseason, with eight in 2004.
He currently has 333 career homers, 2,049 hits, and a .282 average. But his most impressive numbers lie in his switch-hitting and base running abilities. This year, Beltran became the 1st player to hit from both sides (8th overall) and attain 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases. He is 6th all time in homers among switch hitters and he also holds the MLB title for highest stolen base percentage since 2000 at 87%.
At 35 years old, it’s safe to say he’s nearing the end of his career. The question lies in how many good years he has left…He’ll probably end with just under 3,000 hits, but 400 homers are definitely within reach.
Verdict: Yes. He will likely have to continue to show us the good stuff for at least 3 or 4 more years, and he’ll have to stay healthy, but I’d say he has a good shot. He has some honorable accolades and could possibly rank just under Chipper as far as his switch hitting numbers. His legacy will probably light the way to the Hall of Fame!
The Case for Holliday:
Holliday made a name for himself in Colorado before spending a short half season with the Athletics, and coming to St. Louis. Of these names, he is perhaps the biggest fixture on the Cards, this being his 4th year with the club. And did I mention, he’s currently putting together a quiet bid for the 2012 NL MVP?
He may lose out to Andrew McCutchen or Buster Posey this November, but he did have a monster year in 2007. He was NLCS MVP, runner-up for the NL MVP, and he led the league in RBIs and extra base hits with a Batting Champion title. And he’s remained a consistent threat at the plate, although his fielding might leave something to be desired…
His 229 homers, 1,511 hits, and .313 average will hopefully continue to grow. With perhaps five more good years left (he’s currently 32 years old), I wouldn’t really expect him to reach 400 homers or 3,000 hits, but he may come close. And we have to consider who he’s up against playing in the mid-2000’s and beyond. With Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, and many other big names, it will be a tough class when it comes to breaking into the Hall of Fame.
Verdict: Probably not. Unfortunately, Holliday seems to be one of those exceptional players who for the most part, goes unnoticed. And his Hall of Fame bid isn’t likely to be much different. Besides 2007, he just doesn’t have anything tangible to show for his consistent and superb play. I would like to hope he’ll prove me wrong and go on a tear for the next 5 or 6 years, but that remains to be seen.
Fell free to comment below! Did I make the right calls? Are there any other current Cardinals for whom you could make a case for Cooperstown? And don’t forget to VOTE!:
– Kelsey Shea (@KelseyShea11)
It’s official. The Dodgers and Red Sox have completed a ridiculous nine-player swap that sends first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and a whole bunch of crappy contracts to Los Angeles, in exchange for James Loney and some prospects to Boston.
Holy cow. Let me get this out of the way as a Dodger fan: WOOOOOHOOOOOO!
Okay, thanks. That being said, let me explain how this trade affects both teams, and then I’ll leave it up to you to vote which team got the better deal.
Here’s how it breaks down:
1B James Loney
SP Rubby De La Rosa (AAA)
SP Allen Webster (AA)
OF Jerry Sands (AAA)
IF Ivan De Jesus (AAA)
Los Angeles receives:
1B Adrian Gonzalez
SP Josh Beckett
OF Carl Crawford
UTIL Nick Punto
If you’re a casual baseball fan, you might think Wow, the Dodgers just scored 3 All-Stars!
Little do you know, Beckett and Crawford are owed big money for little production and spotty health over the last year or more. Punto is simply a utility player but a great clubhouse guy who can contribute to a winning team (just ask the 2011 Cardinals). Besides, it’s a huge upgrade over Juan Uribe and Adam Kennedy.
If Crawford comes back healthy from Tommy John surgery in 2014, he could be worth the money. Before being signed by Boston, Crawford was annually one of the better all-around players in baseball. Who knows – maybe a change of scenery does him well, but I don’t expect anything out of him.
Beckett has a chance to shine in L.A., but that’s based on a bunch of big “if’s” as well. IF Beckett stays healthy. IF he keeps the ball down. Worst case scenario, the Dodgers have a seasoned veteran with tons of postseason experience to help guide guys like Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang through a potential playoff berth. But, with Chad Billingsley’s possible elbow injury, adding a usually mediocre, formerly incredible starting pitcher is something sorely needed right now.
And do I really have to explain why Gonzalez was a great pick up? He hit .338 last year in Boston and has also been a perennial All-Star throughout his career. He can hit 30 homers, drive in 100 runs and bat .300 as his career numbers will attest to. Plus, he’s won multiple gold gloves at first base. So you’re telling me the Dodgers swapped a .250-hitting, powerless, smooth-fielding James Loney for a .300-hitting, powerful, smooth-fielding Gonzalez? I’ll take it.
Before I move on to analyzing what the Red Sox obtained in this deal, let me remind everyone of two things. If the Twitter world is the collective opinion of baseball fans, I’m seriously worried for the sanity of the sport’s fan base. So, here goes:
1) Money doesn’t matter. The new ownership of the Dodgers paid $2 billion to buy the team, and will be securing a $4 billion TV deal soon. They will over pay, and they openly admit it. Money is NOT an issue. They can take on all those big contracts and blow their noses with the $100 bills.
2) Telling me the Dodgers don’t have the pitching to win the division is not backed up by statistics. As of today, the Dodgers still have the second-best ERA in the National League as a team, two spots ahead of the pitching-heavy San Francisco Giants (also leading them in batting average against, strikeouts and quality starts). Until that changes, please don’t tell me the Dodgers have no pitching, because five months into the season those numbers are no longer “flukes.”
Back to business. Some of the prospects the Red Sox received might be no-names to the casual baseball fan. But let me tell you, Boston received a pretty good haul. In addition to ridding themselves of about $78.5 gazillion in salary, they picked up two high-ceiling starting pitchers and two hitters who have a shot at developing into legitimate every day players.
James Loney could also benefit from a change of scenery. Once considered an elite prospect, he looked well on his way to becoming a star about five years ago with the Dodgers. Then came a dip in power. Then a dip in average. A dip in RBI. Now, he’s one of the most average offensive bats you’ll find. Except he’s not even going to reach 10 home runs this season.
I love James Loney. He’s been one of my favorite players on the Dodgers for a number of years (I even have his jersey – oh, what to do with it now?!) and I hold a high value on defensive prowess, which he possesses a lot of.
I truly hope Loney does well in Boston. But with free agency looming in 2013, chances are he won’t be around for them anyway. Guys that will hang around are these three AAA and one AA players they acquired.
The one with the highest ceiling in my opinion is Allen Webster, the AA starter. He was an 18th-round draft choice in 2008 that many thought might have a better career down the road than Dodgers’ top prospect Zach Lee after both started to develop in the minors.
MLB.com ranks Webster their 65th best prospect in baseball right now, mostly due to a mid-90’s sinker, plus-curveball and plus-change. He really does have a great chance to be a future star in Boston.
De La Rosa is in the same boat – he just made his first appearance back with the Dodgers after a lengthy recovery from Tommy John. But before, during and after the surgery reviews about him were rave. He throws very hard: about an average of 95, just a bit higher than Justin Verlander’s average, and he has topped out at 99.
De La Rosa needs to work on his willingness to work the inside part of the plate, and gain confidence in his secondary pitches so hitters can’t sit on the heater. As he matures, these issues should be sorted out and De La Rosa could become a poor man’s Pedro Martinez if he doesn’t stray from the path mentally or physically.
Jerry Sands can play outfield or first base and has shown tons of promising power in the minors. That being said, the Pacific Coast League is notorious for inflating young players’ numbers because it’s such an offense-friendly league. In a few stints in the Majors with Los Angeles, Sands showed very infrequent flashes of potential. Most of his time was spent trolling around the Mendoza line with little power and plate discipline to show for it.
The same can be said for De Jesus. I believe he has more potential than Sands overall, but is a smaller-name player so goes unnoticed. De Jesus had some big appearances for the Dodgers in 2012 and could become a spark player for the Red Sox down the road if developed properly.
It’s hard to tell in a trade like this who “wins” per se. Loney for Gonzalez is an obvious win for the Dodgers. And for right NOW, I have to say L.A. won the trade. They are going for a World Series title, no matter the cost. But the fact that they got a huge left-handed bat, a potential number two starter and an improvement on the bench AND were able to keep Dee Gordon and Zach Lee, speaks for itself.
But, if Boston develops the four young players they received in the deal properly, we’re talking about one or two potential impact bats and the possibility of two middle of the rotation starters. Down the road, the Red Sox may be reloading for another big run.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
It’s like choosing between Christmas and 4th of July. Or Batman and Spiderman. The most badass actor in The Expendables. Coffee cake or angel food cake. Bieber or Miley!
The point is, both Felix Hernandez’ perfect game, and Matt Cain’s perfect game…were equally, legitimately, epically, incredibly awesome.
But which was more impressive?
Let’s break it down:
Hernandez was untouchable. One would have to be to throw one of only a couple dozen perfect games in the 140-something year history of Major League Baseball.
But striking out 12 batters on 113 pitches (77 for strikes) with a 1-0 lead has to count for something, regardless of how bad the opposing team’s offense is. And that opposing team’s offense just dropped 36 runs on an Angels team widely-hailed for having the best pitching staff in the league. And swept them in four games. On the road.
Hernandez had the 1-0 lead which adds a ton of pressure to the pursuit of perfection. Having a one-run lead will add pressure to the pursuit of anything. Although Felix probably takes the mound every day expecting he will have to toss a no-no just to get a win, the fact that he had to be flawless also garners extra consideration.
The stadiums in which the perfect games were thrown is a wash – AT&T Park and SafeCo Field are two of the best parks for pitchers in all of baseball. We can toss that factor out. But one stat that really stood out to me about Hernandez’ perfect game is that he struck out the side in the 6th and 8th inning, and had 8 of his 12 strikeouts in the last four innings.
That tells me that Felix realized part way through the fifth (he would later say he realized he had a shot at it in the fourth inning) that in order to maintain perfection, retain a shutout and win the ball game, he would have to turn up the after burners and go all Verlander on the Rays.
There is one big negative – the new trend of “Felixing?” Not cool. Not cool at all.
Matt Cain – Wednesday, June 13, 2012 – SF 10, HOU 0
Let’s start with the basics. Naturally, there were 27 up and 27 down. So like nine of us. Nine 3 up, 3 downs. No hits, no walks, no runs, no base runners, no errors (errorless…also like us!).
Cain struck out 14, so two more than Hernandez, and used an extra 12 pitches (125 in total, 86 for strikes) to do so. That being said, he had a 10-0 lead. The score differential both works for and against Cain. It means he had to sit in the dugout thinking about the perfect game, getting cold, etc. for much longer between innings. It also means that the only pressure-packed part of that performance was finishing the perfect game.
He didn’t have to worry about securing a win with such a big cushion. And why was the cushion so large? Let’s just say the Astros aren’t as…um…”offensively proficient”…as the Rays are.
Also, factor in the fantastic running, diving catch Gregor Blanco made in the 8th inning to preserve the perfecto, or the ball that was hit about 550 feet in the later innings that hit a wall of wind in deep left and nestled into Melky Cabrera’s mitt on the warning track.
Both pitchers were brilliant in their respective, historic outings. Hernandez threw more first-pitch strikes and got more swings-and-misses. Cain induced more foul balls, meaning the hitters likely were just more terrible at squaring pitches up in general. But they were close.
That being said, the Cain perfecto featured two more strikeouts overall, and there wasn’t as consistent a flow to the game.
In King Felix’s perfecto, he struck out the side in the sixth and eighth and still had less K’s than Cain. Also, Hernandez didn’t have to hit for himself and waste energy getting ready to hit, swinging in the on-deck circle, or having at-bats.
So you be the judge. Keep personal emotions out of it, people. Mariners fans, contemplate everything. Giants fans, be impartial and look at just the numbers and quality of competition.
Which perfect game was better. Felix Hernandez? Or Matt Cain? (sorry Phil Humber – just didn’t make the cut this year, buddy)
Comment on the issue here below, and VOTE in the poll!
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Last week in MLB, things started to even out a little bit. The Reds came back to Earth, the Angels took a small step backwards, and the Diamondbacks also recovered to normalcy.
All is right in the AL East, as the Yankees have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the division. In the AL Central and NL West, two teams are vying for first place in each and the races are as tight as we left them last week.
And despite another week of games, seemingly everyone outside of Colorado and Houston are still in the playoff race. That being said, here are this week’s official Three Up, Three Down MLB Power Rankings:
30. Houston Astros (38-78, 2-4 record last week, ranking last week: 30)
I’ll give the ‘Stros this: the two wins they were able to muster since we last met here were pretty awesome. Back-to-back walk-off wins against the Brewers at home is exciting, no matter how bad the team is. That being said, it took over 100 games to get their first walk-off? Eh…
29. Colorado Rockies (41-71, 3-3, 29)
The Rockies had to play the Giants and Dodgers, the leaders of the NL West, on the road for three games apiece. Splitting six is actually a huge moral victory for a team that is playing with half its normal roster right now. Colorado would be a player again if they could get some arms. In related news, breathing is good for you.
28. Chicago Cubs (44-69, 1-5, 28)
So, remember those cool top prospects I told you were coming up last week for the Cubs? Well Brett Jackson got three hits in his debut, then pretty much struck out the rest of the week. Josh Vitters hasn’t done anything on the offensive end. And the Cubs went 1-5. Whoops.
And they were doing so well. A 1-5 week will slide you the wrong way in the rankings, and despite the surprisingly efficient lineup, this pitching staff is in need of major work. Honestly, none of the young starters they’ve used in 2012 show a lot of promise.
26. Kansas City Royals (49-65, 4-2, 27)
I TOLD YOU THE ROYALS WERE GOOD! If only this was the first week of the season. As long as one of my main man crushes Billy Butler is leading the way, I will always have a soft spot for the Royals. That being said, despite moving up in the rankings, they are really, awfully terrible.
25. Cleveland Indians (53-62, 3-3, 25)
Remember when the Indians were in first place? Er…a good team? Er…even above .500? Those days are long gone. Considering the Tribe had an 0h-fer last week, this is a huge improvement. The best thing I can write about Cleveland is that they don’t have the distinction of the down arrow this week. It’s the small victories sometimes.
Stay classy, San Diego. The Padres are in sole possession of fourth place in the NL West now, thanks to a five-game winning streak! Good job, Padres. Good hustle. Good effort. I really have nothing exciting to say about this team. Can you tell? Moving on…
Another long, Jose Bautista-less week for the lone Canadian survivor in MLB. At least they have good, young pitching. Oh, wait. Er…at least they have Brett Lawrie. No? Damn. At least they have Joe Cart–what do you mean that was 20 years ago? Hmm…oh! AT LEAST THEY HAVE CALL ME MAYBE!
22. Miami Marlins (52-63, 3-3, 23)
Getting Giancarlo Stanton back means only one thing for the Marlins: their losses are going to be way cooler. Stanton has already made a huge impact back in the lineup, but Miami might still be looking at a last-place finish. What a poor choice for HBO’s “The Franchise.”
21. Philadelphia Phillies (52-62, 3-3, 24)
Honestly, the Phillies continue to play better since trading away Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton, but that’s probably more because Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are back than anything else. The annoying thing is that with a full healthy season from those two, the Phillies are still a legit playoff team, even after the mini fire sale.
20. Milwaukee Brewers (52-61, 3-3, 22)
The fact that the Brew Crew lost on two straight walk off hits against the Astros is reason enough to give this team their first big, red down arrow. Alas, they are spared, but the bullpen is truly atrocious. Please make sure you aren’t talking to a Milwaukee fan before complaining about your team’s bullpen.
19. New York Mets (55-60, 2-4, 18)
I don’t know why I bought into the 2012 version of the Mets any more than I did the 2010 or 2011. All three teams had solid first halves only to be a massive disappointment in the second halves. Even their coolest moment, a no-hitter by Johan Santana, was lame because of a blown call.
18. Boston Red Sox (57-59, 2-4, 17)
Jon Lester is finally coming around and Adrian Gonzalez is absolutely tearing it up, but it’s probably too little too late for the Red Sox. Despite ESPN’s best efforts at convincing you otherwise, the roster in Beantown just isn’t good enough to overcome a six-game Wild Card deficit.
17. Seattle Mariners (53-63, 3-3, 19)
You might see the record at ten games below .500 and think the M’s season has failed. Considering the low expectations and that pretty much everyone left on the roster is a rookie, this has been a very successful season in Seattle. Building on it and maintaining it are the next steps.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (58-57, 3-3, 16)
How about a round of applause for NL Rookie of the Year front-runner Wade Miley and his young pal Patrick Corbin? If not for these two hot shots, the D’Backs aren’t even in the hunt right now. Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton have struggled, but somehow they are hanging tough still.
I excused the Angels last week for stumbling, because they played two first place teams on the road and three of their four losses were in extras. This past week, they played the A’s and Mariners. And went 2-4. These are the divisional games L.A. must win to be taken seriously.
14. Oakland A’s (61-53, 3-3, 13)
Oakland is learning that living life in the fast line is harder than advertised. Despite continuing to play good baseball, some of their young stars are starting to crack. Plus, it doesn’t help that the Rangers went and took off. All that aside, they are still ahead of the Angels, which is a victory in itself.
13. Los Angeles Dodgers (62-53, 3-3, 10)
Don’t put Hanley in a corner, Ozzie Guillen! He will do mean things to your team. After Guillen either intentionally walked batters in front of Ramirez or neglected to walk him in situations that called for it, Ramirez picked the pitching of his former teammates apart. If he’s heating up, we’re talking about a two-horse race in this division.
12. Baltimore Orioles (62-53, 4-2, 14)
The Orioles are like the anti-Mets. A great first half story that is actually…still good in the second half? Weird. I don’t think most baseball fans are realizing how incredible the work is that Buck Showalter has done in Baltimore. Credit the offense and some of the pitching too, but Showalter has quietly turned this team into a formidable contender.
The Rays get knocked down, they get up again, you neverrrrr gonna keep them down. Okay, sorry – still upset that Chumbawumba wasn’t one of the British artists to make an appearance at the Olympic Closing Ceremonies last night. Huge snub. Bigger snub than forgetting how good the Rays really are. Oh, right. Evan Longoria is back. Can you tell?
10. Detroit Tigers (61-54, 2-4, 9)
I’m still confused as to why the Tigers are two games behind the White Sox in the division. I figured they’d be making reservations for October by now. There’s one tiny problem for anyone who plays Detroit in the coming weeks: Miguel Cabrera is in absolute beast mode. Poor pitchers.
The Giants put up 15 runs on the Cardinals in St. Louis last week. They split two on the road, then came home and dismantled the Rockies on Friday and Sunday. If Hunter Pence is settling in, this is probably the team to beat in the NL West. Ruh-roh!
8. St. Louis Cardinals (62-53, 2-4, 7)
After jumping six spots to the top ten last week, the Cards had a bit of a rough go this week. Splitting with the Giants at home isn’t terrible, but dropping two of three over the weekend to the Phillies is bad. Especially considering how tight the NL Central is. There is not a lot of room for error this late.
7. Chicago White Sox (62-51, 3-3, 8)
If the Tigers continue to play below their abilities, the Sox will be beneficiaries. I know they made some minor moves at the deadline, like bringing in Francisco Liriano and Brett Myers, but those moves will pay off. Speaking of obscure players lighting it up in Chicago, what is Alex Rios doing hitting over .300? What did you put in my water?
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (64-50, 2-4, 6)
With about 40 games left, the Pirates need to win 17 more to reach .500 for the first time since I was in diapers. I believe they will do it, but they have their sights set higher. A 2-4 week means no distance added between them and the third-place Cardinals. A 2-4 week also means a bigger deficit behind the first-place Reds.
5. New York Yankees (67-47, 4-2, 4)
New York is 20 games over .500 and it ain’t no thang. Forget that Mark Teixeira missed time and both Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia are on the DL. The gaps just get filled and there is more than enough offensive firepower to outscore other teams. One thing for sure will be strange: Derek Lowe in a Yankees uniform.
4. Atlanta Braves (66-48, 4-2, 3)
It must be immensely frustrating to be a Braves fan. Forget that they won a million straight division titles but only one World Series. Now they are playing unbelievably well and are still 4.5 games back in their own division. The pesky Nats aren’t going anywhere, so the Braves need to step it up even harder than usual. Yickitty!
3. Texas Rangers (67-46, 5-1, 5)
The world is not ending in Arlington after all. The Rangers are back, and with them come its star pupil, Josh Hamilton. The big lefty is back in the swing of things, and Texas took down some big opponents over the last week. This is going to be a scary team (again) in October.
2. Cincinnati Reds (69-46, 3-3, 1)
The good news: Cincinnati widened their lead on St. Louis and Pittsburgh by a full game, despite playing to a .500 clip last week. The bad news: Joey Votto needs another knee surgery. No big deal for now, considering how well they’ve played with him shelved, but when the playoffs roll around they need their star first baseman at full strength.
1. Washington Nationals (71-44, 5-1, 2)
Believe it. The Nationals are the best team in baseball. First to 70 wins and they earned every inch of it. Washington has two huge series coming up against the Giants in San Francisco this week and three at home against Atlanta to start next week. If they win four of those six, it might seal the division for them.
*Records current as play began on Monday, August 13th, 2012*
Do you agree with the rankings? Disagree? Want to punch us in the baseballs? Comment below to let us know how you really feel! And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Another week in the books and we saw some major shuffling, but mostly static across the board. The trade whirlwind is over, but moves are still being made through waivers. The Giants picked up Jose Mijares from the Royals, and the Dodgers snagged Joe Blanton from Philly.
Does those transactions move them up in the rankings? I’ll tell you one thing. The Tribe will continue its downward spiral. An 0-10 stretch and a punch less overall team will send a team nowhere but down. And how bout an 8-2 previous 10 for Atlanta, who climbs way up, despite being a Wild Card team.
As always, look for the three big, red down arrows for our biggest losers and the three big, green arrows for the biggest winners. Here are this week’s official Three Up, Three Down MLB Power Rankings:
30. Houston Astros (36-74, 2-8 in last 10, last week: 30)
The Astros have lost 30 of their last 34 games. Do I even need to say anything else? They are so by far the worst team in baseball, it’s almost funny. But then you feel bad for laughing. It’s just really awkward. The ‘Stros are a legitimate “threat” to lose 110 games.
29. Colorado Rockies (39-68, 2-8, 29)
Things are getting rockier and rockier (see what I did there?) in Colorado. They’ve had enough pitching woes as it is, but now Jonathan Sanchez and Christian Friedrich are down with injuries, joining their buddies Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer on the DL.
28. Chicago Cubs (43-64, 3-7, 27)
Believe it or not, games are about to get more exciting in Chicago despite the constant losing. Top prospects Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson were called up recently, and Cubs fans have to be interested in seeing what this new, young dynamic lineup can put together.
27. Kansas City Royals (45-63, 4-6, 28)
Every time the Royals lose a game, I cry a tiny bit. I can’t decide if I’m more just depressed for the fans of Kansas City who had a promising team on paper for once, or embarrassed at my own failed prediction. At least Billy Butler is still awesome.
26. San Diego Padres (47-64, 4-6, 24)
So, how does a team that goes 4-6 over the last 10 games jump two spots in the power rankings? Um…have you SEEN the San Diego beaches? Sorry, other states. The Friars still need a lot of help, but maybe them selling the team for $800 million is a good starting point.
That big old zero is not a good thing. It means the Indians have gone on to the field and looked more like the team at the beginning of the movie Major League more than a real, live baseball team. Out with Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon, in with the new, they say!
24. Philadelphia Phillies (49-60, 4-6, 23)
Philadelphia sold away half their roster at the trade deadline, then immediately won the first two games in August. And then they sucked again. Well, then…wasn’t that fun? Carlos Ruiz hit the DL, officially ending any comeback talk that might have been creeping out of Philly.
23. Miami Marlins (49-60, 4-6, 21)
Remember when the Marlins and Phillies were going to pit their fancy, expensive players against each other in a 162-game battle for NL East supremacy? I have to brag – I never fully bought into the hype. And it’s making me look dang good.
22. Milwaukee Brewers (49-59, 5-5, 26)
Ho-hum, the Brewers were average, and Ryan Braun did some cool things and Michael Fiers continued to be the most unknown rookie sensation this side of Saturn, and the bullpen is still terrible, and Milwaukee brews good beer and ten games under .500 means no playoffs.
21. Minnesota Twins (48-61, 7-3, 25)
The Twins have been surprisingly adept on offense since last week. Granted, playing the Indians will do that to you these days. But Ben Revere, Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham – these guys aren’t as bad as we originally though. With a pitching upgrade, they are a sneaky pick in 2013.
Womp womp! This just shows how incredibly valuable Jose Bautista is to the Jays. That being said, role players are showing some resiliency for this team. Against A’s closer Ryan Cook over the weekend, they hit game-tying homers in the top of the 9th. Two games in a row.
For the second straight week, the M’s are moving up in the world. I really like the make up and young talent on this team. I have a feeling they will be in contention in about two years, right when King Felix’s contract ends. When did the AL West become such a good division?
18. New York Mets (53-56, 5-5, 20)
After a horrendous first week in the rankings, the Mets climbed back a couple of spots to respectability with a 5-5 stretch over their last 10. The second half slide continues in general, but at least they aren’t so god-awful to watch lately.
17. Boston Red Sox (55-55, 6-4, 19)
I’m not necessarily on the bandwagon, but if the Red Sox reel off a 7-3 or 8-2 stretch of 10, you may see me chasing after it trying to jump on. We know the pitching is bad, but so what? They have offense for miles, even with Big Papi on the DL for a couple of weeks.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-54, 6-4, 16)
I truly thought the D’Backs were going to come in and stay hot for this week. But aside from a (very disheartening for me, I might add) sweep on the road against my Dodgers, they haven’t done much to allow total faith in this team. They are very, very close though.
15. Tampa Bay Rays (56-52, 5-5, 14)
While Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale continue to grab the headlines, David Price will continue to be the other best pitcher in the league and lead his offensively passive squad to a potential playoff berth. Hipster, tilted sideways hat and all.
14. Baltimore Orioles (58-51, 6-4, 15)
I hate being that guy, but I just don’t believe the O’s can carry this into the postseason. That being said, I AM definitely in the “let’s see them get a winning season” camp. Both goals are lofty, but 24 more wins will seal it! Come on Adam Jones, keep it up!
Not quite a complete fall from grace, but the A’s are showing that they are, in fact, beatable. Rookie (obviously) starter A.J. Jenkins hits the DL. Rookie (obviously) starter Dan Straily slides in without missing a beat. So much pitching, so little veteran experience. That will be their undoing.
12. Los Angeles Angels (59-51, 4-6, 10)
I dropped the Angels a couple of spots, mostly because the teams that passed them were a little bit better last week. They lost a couple tough ones in Arlington, but remain close in the division. Albert Pujols is still really, really good by the way. And don’t you forget it!
11. San Francisco Giants (59-50, 4-6, 9)
The Giants’ slide seemingly came out of nowhere. But the normally reliable starting pitching has faltered, and Hunter Pence hasn’t quite yet become accustomed to the new digs. San Francisco could be in big trouble playing the Cardinals on the road this week.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-51, 6-4, 8)
My Dodgers have hung around a half game out, and get the benefit of the doubt for two reasons here: First, it’s my favorite team. That’s how I roll. But in all seriousness, the Dodgers have been a slightly better offensive team over the last seven days than their rival Giants.
9. Detroit Tigers (59-50, 6-4, 12)
Justin Verlander just struck out 14 batters in a game. Still think they REALLY won’t win the AL Central? Come on, people. If Mike Trout doesn’t win MVP, there’s really only one other guy it could be. He goes by Miguel Cabrera and he likes to hit baseballs very far.
8. Chicago White Sox (60-48, 7-3, 11)
That being said, the Sox have done pretty dang well for themselves. Most teams crumble under my massive expectations, but the Youk-stah is helping keep them on top. For now. Wait until the soft middle of the August schedule is over before we get a real look at this team.
One of our biggest movers is St. Louis, who just keeps winning. Unfortunately for them, so does Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the two teams they are trailing in the division. But the Cards have the best offense in the Majors and continue to be buoyed by quality starting pitching.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (62-46, 6-4, 6)
Here’s our weekly “countdown to a winning season” team. The awesome, cuddly story that is Andrew McCutchen and his wild band of Buccos is now only 19 games away from that coveted .500 mark! If they don’t get there, it would be truly one of the biggest disappointments in sports history at this point.
5. Texas Rangers (63-45, 5-5, 4)
Ryan Dempster, Shmyan Shmempster. I still don’t understand the concept behind that weird speech style, but Dempster got shelled in his first American League start. Hopefully that’s not a harbinger of things to come, because Roy Oswalt is already a failed signing.
4. New York Yankees (63-45, 4-6, 3)
The Yankees continue to play average baseball with Alex Rodriguez on the DL. And you all thought he didn’t matter anymore! Just kidding. But Ivan Nova needs to step his game up, though I don’t think anyone is doubting them for winning the East again.
Big movers here, and it might be a surprise. I promise this isn’t just to get in our host Mapes’ good graces. The Braves really have been that good. Apparently as soon as Chipper Jones gets on Twitter, the bats start lighting up in Atlanta. By the way, what a MOVE getting Ben Sheets, huh?
2. Washington Nationals (66-43, 7-3, 2)
The team leading the Braves in the standings is none other than the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper has kind of faded away, but the pitching is still fantastic and Michael Morse is taking his turn manning the reigns of the offense. Hashtag, Natitude!
1. Cincinnati Reds (66-43, 7-3, 1)
My girlfriend currently hates me because I told her in March that no matter what she said about her beloved Cardinals, I was sticking with my preseason NL Central pick. And here they are, deserving of the top spot in the MLB Power Rankings for the second straight week. And yes, I’m sleeping on the couch.
*Records current as play began on Monday, August 6th, 2012*
Do you agree with the rankings? Disagree? Want to punch us in the balls? Comment below to let us know how you really feel! And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Wow, what a whirlwind week of baseball wheelin’ and dealin’ we’ve had. I’m exhausted just from trying to keep track of all the trades that went down in the past week or so. Some teams look completely different (helloooooo, Dodgers) and some we thought would get a face lift, look exactly the same (what’s wrong, Rays?).
But this is your home for all things deadline – where you can get every dirty detail of every trade that went down, plus a quick analysis of the deals. For the sake of brevity, only trades from July 24th through the end of the deadline are included. But, I won’t keep you waiting any longer…let’s get it rolling:
7/24 – Pittsburgh Pirates + Houston Astros
Pittsburgh acquires Wandy Rodriguez (SP)
Houston acquires Rudy Owens (SP), Colton Cain (SP) and Robbie Grossman (OF)
The Pirates’ pitching staff has been stellar all year, but they felt they needed more depth. In Rodriguez, they get a veteran who has been pedestrian at times, brilliant at others, overall one of the better catches on the pitching market. And Houston is on the fast track to 100 losses, so any young talent helps. They snagged three guys who were in the top 20 of the Pirates’ very deep minor league system.
Tampa Bay Rays + Arizona Diamondbacks
Tampa Bay acquires Ryan Roberts (3B)
Arizona acquires Tyler Bortnick (IF)
Roberts, otherwise known as Tatman by his legions of fans in Arizona, was designated for assignment before being traded to the Rays. It gives Tampa a much-needed bat with some pop at a position they don’t necessarily need help at when Evan Longoria is healthy. The D’Backs like what they see with Bortnick, but he was sent to Triple-A, so it clearly wasn’t a move they expected to impact the club in 2012.
7/25 – Los Angeles Dodgers + Miami Marlins
Los Angeles acquires Randy Choate (RP) and Hanley Ramirez (3B/SS)
Miami acquires Nathan Eovaldi (SP) and Scott McGough (RP)
The dividends of this trade has already paid off for both squads – the Dodgers swept the rival Giants in San Francisco last weekend, largely in part to Ramirez and his clutch hits. Choate has already come in and fended off opposing lefty hitters in a couple of appearances. And Eovaldi made a good first start in Miami. McGough is a bit of a project but has a high ceiling in Single-A. The Dodgers traded long-term guys for immediate help. Read more about this trade HERE.
7/27 – Los Angeles Angels + Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles acquires Zack Greinke (SP)
Milwaukee acquires Juan Segura (SS), Johnny Hellweg (SP), Ariel Pena (SP)
The Angels bolstered an already-scary rotation with the addition of former Cy Young winner Greinke. He joins Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver in Anaheim. The Brewers got quite a haul in return, as all three prospects were top ten in the Angels’ system. Pena’s name stands out because he had a 216.00 ERA in his Futures Game appearance this year. Oops! Just for the sheer ridiculousness of the Angels’ new rotation, they win this trade. Read more about this trade HERE.
Colorado Rockies + San Francisco Giants
Colorado acquires Charlie Culberson (2B)
San Francisco acquires Marco Scutaro (IF)
Neither team needed to make this move, but it happened anyway. Scutaro gives the Giants a quality, veteran utility player who will definitely not solve their offensive woes. At best, Scutaro will find random ways to be in the lineup as soon as Pablo Sandoval returns from injury. Culberson is a good prospect and has a shot at stardom if he continues to progress. This one is a toss-up.
7/29 – Chicago White Sox + Minnesota Twins
Chicago acquires Francisco Liriano (SP)
Minnesota acquires Eduardo Escobar (IF) and Pedro Hernandez (SP)
If the Sox think Liriano will be the added depth they need in the rotation to compete down the stretch, they are sorely mistaken. Brilliant occasionally, awful usually, Liriano was let go by the Twins because they just couldn’t take it anymore. They were able to pry a light-hitting, yet slick-fielding top-10 hitting prospect and a left-handed pitcher from Chicago. But the ultimate victory was ridding themselves of Liriano. Read more about this trade HERE.
Arizona Diamondbacks + Houston Astros
Arizona acquires Chris Johnson (3B)
Houston acquires Marc Krauss (1B/OF) and Bobby Borchering (3B/OF)
If you’re Houston…why not? You are selling everyone and their mothers anyway, so if a corner infielder is shipped away, bring in two others who are younger and can be molded however you see fit. Johnson hit a huge grand slam yesterday against the division rival Dodgers, so he’s already a D’Back hero. But this trade didn’t really hurt either team. Again, a default winner.
7/30 – Texas Rangers + Chicago Cubs
Texas acquires Geovany Soto (C) and cash
Chicago acquires Jacob Brigham (SP)
Another NL Central team going full fire sale, the Cubs gladly took the Rangers up on their offer to rid the club of a former Rookie of the Year in Soto, who had steadily declined both in health and production. Brigham is a pitcher the Rangers had pretty high hopes for that just wasn’t panning out. It looks like he’ll have to earn his way to the majors as a relief pitcher now. Texas designated Yorvit Torrealba in response to getting Soto.
Atlanta Braves + Chicago Cubs
Atlanta acquires Reed Johnson (OF), Paul Maholm (SP) and cash
Chicago acquires Arodys Vizcaino (RP) and Jaye Chapman (RP)
The Braves got a veteran utility outfielder and an underrated big league starter for two minor league relievers. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal. That being said, Vizcaino has an exceptionally high ceiling. He was the number two prospect in the Braves organization coming into 2012, but was sidelined and needed Tommy John surgery in March. Not yet 22, we could see the hard-throwing right hander closing out games at Wrigley Field by 2014.
Pittsburgh Pirates + Toronto Blue Jays
Pittsburgh acquires Travis Snider (OF)
Toronto acquires Brad Lincoln (RP)
This was a surprising and somewhat strange trade, but the Pirates got another high-potential bat in Snider, in exchange for a pretty solid reliever in Lincoln. Snider has great power potential but hasn’t put it together yet in the Majors. If he does, the Pirates got a steal. Lincoln is no slouch though. His 2.73 ERA in the Pirates’ bullpen this season opened some eyes, and the Blue Jays intend to let him try his hand as a set up man.
Seattle Mariners + Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle acquires Eric Thames (OF)
Toronto acquires Steve Delabar (RP)
I actually like what the Blue Jays are doing. They know they have the offense, but need to bolster the pitching staff in the rotation and bullpen. So they are trading high-potential, excess bats to bring in some quality bullpen help. Delabar is a good pick-up, and Thames won’t be missed in that lineup. For the Mariners, who are always looking for bats, they are hoping Thames continues to improve and becomes a legit power threat from the right side of the plate.
Seattle Mariners + Los Angeles Dodgers
Seattle acquires Logan Bawcom (RP) and Leon Landry (OF)
Los Angeles acquires Brandon League (RP)
The only reason the Dodgers made this move was because they were planning to move one of their current right handers in the bullpen, Josh Lindblom. League replaces Lindblom and is a slight upgrade, though it’s not a hugely noteworthy trade overall. The M’s pulled in a pretty good pitching prospect who needs a lot of work and a young, fast outfielder who has put up HUGE numbers at Single-A.
7/31 – Los Angeles Dodgers + Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles acquires Shane Victorino (OF)
Philadelphia acquires Josh Lindblom (RP), Ethan Martin (SP) and Player To Be Named Later/Cash
A trade between the two biggest movers netted each team a pretty good haul. The Dodgers were in desperate need of an upgrade in the outfield and at the very top of the lineup, and came away with both in one guy. Philly received a good set up man who can become great with some consistency in Lindblom. But Martin may be a steal, considering the solid year he’s having in Double-A. Read more about this trade HERE.
San Francisco Giants + Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco acquires Hunter Pence (OF)
Philadelphia acquires Nate Schierholtz (OF), Tommy Joseph (C), Seth Rosin (SP)
The Giants needed to answer their rivals’ big pick ups of Victorino and Ramirez, so they swung a move for a great all-around player in Pence. They lost a back up outfielder with a great arm in Schierholtz and their number two propsect in Joseph, but the immediate returns should more than make up for it. San Francisco is plenty deep at catcher for the foreseeable future, so Joseph was expendable. Great pick up for the Phils there though. Read more about this trade HERE.
Miami Marlins + St. Louis Cardinals
Miami acquires Zack Cox (3B)
St. Louis acquires Edward Mujica (RP)
This trade was completely unnecessary for the Redbirds, as their bullpen had been nearly impenetrable as of late. After slow starts, Mitchell Boggs and Mark Rzepczynski had turned it around and that relief corps was hot. Not that Mujica won’t just bolster it further, but did they really want to give up a top-five offensive prospect for a middle reliever? Miami scores again. Fire sale mode has worked wonders for the disappointing new-look Marlins.
Arizona Diamondacks + Boston Red Sox
Arizona acquires Scott Podsednik (OF) and Matt Albers (RP)
Boston acquires Craig Breslow (RP)
This isn’t much of a trade, despite all three players being Major League level. The Sox and D’Backs essentially swapped pretty good relievers, though Breslow is a lefty, Albers is not. So the Red Sox get the edge there. And while Arizona doesn’t necessarily need any help in the outfield, Podsednik can get on base and provide some speed. It’s the little things that will allow the D’Backs to climb back into the NL West race here.
Pittsburgh Pirates + Miami Marlins
Pittsburgh acquires Gaby Sanchez (1B) and Kyle Kaminska (RP)
Miami acquires Gorkys Hernandez (OF) and 2013 competitive balance draft pick
The Pirates continue to make under-the-radar moves that should help their playoff push in 2012. Sanchez was replaced by Carlos Lee in Miami, despite being mired in a similar slump as El Caballo. Hernandez goes to the Fish in a trade that really helps both sides. Sanchez has put up big numbers in the Majors in years past, while Hernandez has been a top prospect for Pittsburgh for a few years. Time will tell which team comes out on top.
Cincinnati Reds + Kansas City Royals
Cincinnati acquires Jonathan Broxton (RP)
Kansas City acquires J.C. Sulbaran (SP) and Donnie Joseph (RP)
I understand that the Reds didn’t want to be left out, but this is an embarrasment of riches. They didn’t need bullpen help. That being said, you can never have enough quality bullpen arms. I also understand that the Royals need pitching, but what if Joakim Soria isn’t back to full strength after he returns next season? They better hope Sulbaran, Joseph and Soria pan out, or they let a good closer walk for cheap.
New York Yankees + Pittsburgh Pirates
New York acquires Casey McGehee (1B/3B)
Pittsburgh acquires Chad Qualls (RP)
At the last second, the Yanks just had to do something. Anything. And they actually made a pretty shrewd move, getting someone the Pirates felt they didn’t need, in return for a veteran reliever. Qualls is good, he’s always been steady – but the Yankees might be laughing if McGehee can actually step in and fill the shoes of the crippled Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez for them. Pirates get another bullpen arm, Yankees get a power bat. Close call.
Texas Rangers + Chicago Cubs
Texas acquires Ryan Dempster (SP)
Chicago acquires Christian Villanueva (3B) and Kyle Hendricks (SP)
After weeks of drama, the curtain finally fell on the Cubs’ ace Dempster, who wound up in Texas. It makes you wonder if the Rangers already assumed Neftali Feliz was seriously injured (announced earlier today that he would need season-ending Tommy John surgery) before the trade was made. The Cubs stack the minor league system with two more guys who can be molded into very good players a couple of seasons down the road. Read more about this trade HERE.
Boston Red Sox + Cleveland Indians
Boston acquires Steven Wright (SP)
Cleveland acquires Lars Anderson (1B/OF)
Um. Who? I don’ t know. So I did a little research. The last trade before the deadline hit looks on paper as if it favors the Red Sox. Wright is a 27-year-old knuckleballing reliever who had a pretty nifty ERA in Double-A this season. If he comes around late like R.A. Dickey, who knows? And Anderson was formerly thought to be a top prospect, but has struggled in the minors. At only 24 years old, the Tribe is willing to take their chances.
Winner: Red Sox
There you have it folks. A run down of the last week of trading in Major League Baseball, leading up to the crazy finale of the trade deadline. Are you surprised at some of these trades? Anyone still in the same uniforms who you thought would have been moved?
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
If you missed Mapes’ midseason awards, shame on you! And now go check them out here. Using his blog as inspiration, here are my division’s midseason award recipients. Respect the West!
Rookie of the Year:
Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks – Was there really any doubt? Arizona’s lone All-Star representative has been rock solid in the rotation; a revelation, considering bigger names like Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs were supposed to be the big-name rookies making the jump to the D’Backs this season. Through his first 14 games started in 2012, the 25-year-old is 9-5 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. His K to BB ratio is pretty ridiculous, too. Miley has been huge with last year’s ace, Ian Kennedy struggling so much.
In the running: Elian Herrera, Dodgers/Jordan Pacheco, Rockies/Wilin Rosario, Rockies/Yonder Alonso, Padres
Melky Cabrera, OF, San Francisco Giants – We have a Matt Kemp/Carlos Beltran situation here in our own division folks! While the case could be made for Carlos Gonzalez, who is single-handedly carrying an awful team, Cabrera has really been the best overall player on a team just a half game back of first place. If the Giants stay in the race all season, Cabrera is a legitimate MVP candidate for the entire National League, let alone just the West. Not a bad trade, eh Giants fans? All-Star Game MVP Melky’s line thus far: .353/8/44/league-leading 119 hits
In the running: Andre Ethier, Dodgers/Buster Posey, Giants/Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies/Matt Kemp, Dodgers (let’s be real – if he stays healthy, he’s back in the thick of it)
Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants – Despite a plethora of solid pitching in this division, it has to be Mr. Perfect taking the first half honors. It’s been a long time coming for Cain, who has unfairly resided in the shadow of teammate Tim Lincecum for years. But if the season were to end right now, a very strong case for both Cain and Mets hurler R.A. Dickey would be made for the N.L. Cy Young overall. There’s certainly some stiff competition, but Cain’s 9-3 record, 2.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 118:24 K to BB ratio stands head and shoulders above the rest.
In the running: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers/Chris Capuano, Dodgers/Wade Miley, Diamondbacks/Ryan Vogelsong, Giants/Madison Bumgarner, Giants
Tune in for more divisional midseason awards in the days to come! KP, Angelo, Brian and Mapes will all be posting their own versions soon!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)