Around Major League Baseball
The 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, or first year player draft, is just a week away; June 6 to be precise. All 30 Major League teams have been scrambling for some time to fill their draft boards and rank more than a thousand amateur players from the college and high school levels. Roughly 1250 players will be chosen in the 40 rounds covering three days of the draft. Most of these players are unknown by even the staunchest of baseball fans, and very few will every make it to the Major League level.
Most teams have started a trend of drafting more college players; over the last two drafts, 70.1% of those drafted were taken out of college. This is because it is much easier to project college players, and college players have a much greater chance of making it to the Major League level. Of all high schoolers taken in the draft, only 5.6% of them have made it to the big leagues. Of all college players taken, 10.6% of them have made the big show, nearly double that of high school players. For pitchers it is even tougher to make the climb out of high school. This draft is stacked with college pitchers projected to go very high, the vast majority of top high school players are hitters, not pitchers. Only a few high school pitchers are first round projections this year.
Robert Barr grew up in the shadow of Mulcahy Stadium in Alaska. He watched the Alaska Baseball League grow from a series of town teams to one of the best collegiate baseball leagues in the country.
And he’s trying to bring that story to a wider audience.
By Bob Toth
The Cleveland Indians continue their early tour of the American League East as they head to Florida to begin a three-game, weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cleveland will spend 13 of their first 16 games going up against four different teams from the East. Only a three-game series next weekend with the Chicago White Sox will break up the eastern monotony. The Indians will play 13 consecutive games before their first day off of the season on Monday, April 15.
The young Tampa Bay Rays will look to keep pace in the competitive East. Counting this series against the Indians, the Rays will play just eight of their 27 April games against teams that had fewer than 85 wins in 2012. After an off day next Thursday, they will play 17 straight games.
By Christian Petrila
Opening Day is such a simple concept. It’s nothing more than the day of the first baseball games of the season.
Then why is it so different?
There’s just something about baseball’s beginning that just isn’t encapsulated in the NHL’s, NBA’s or NFL’s openers. Sure, the first games of the season are a big deal in those sports too. However, the feeling in the air just can’t compete with that of baseball’s.
With Spring Training underway throughout baseball, we will take a look at the offseason moves made by the other American League teams. Two teams will be reviewed each Sunday until the beginning of the regular season. Previous previews include: TEX/HOU; OAK/LA; SEA/TOR
By Bob Toth
Two teams have dominated the American League East for the better part of the last 15 years. For fans opposing the deep wallets and free spending that has occurred on the East Coast for so long, it marks a long period of torture and frustration watching two teams frequently duking it out with one another, both on and off the field, in an attempt to one-up the other.
The Boston Red Sox have had just one first place appearance in that span but have finished in second place in ten other years, including seven Wild Card births. They ended an 86-year drought in 2004 when they won the World Series and claimed a second in that time in 2007.
The New York Yankees have been the juggernaut of baseball, finishing in the top spot in the East in 12 of those 15 years. In both seasons that the club finished in second place, they made the Wild Card. They reached six World Series and won four of those matchups, the last coming in 2009 following the only season that the team did not make the playoffs since the 1994 strike.
The Yankees stood pat in the offseason though, looking for one more ride out of their highly successful, playoff-tested crew. The Red Sox start anew with another new manager after purging significant funds midway through the 2012 season on their way to a fifth-place finish. Can either of these long-time rivals prevail in what has become a well-balanced, well-funded, and competitive division?
With Spring Training underway throughout baseball, we will take a look at the offseason moves made by the other American League teams. Two teams will be reviewed each Sunday until the beginning of the regular season. Previous previews include: TEX/HOU; OAK/LA.
By Bob Toth
In 1977, two new franchises began play in the American League. The Mariners were the second incarnation in the city of Seattle in Major League Baseball history, as the city had lost its previous franchise – the Pilots – to Milwaukee, where they became the Brewers. The Toronto Blue Jays gave Canada their second major league franchise, joining the Montreal Expos at the time.
Their shared births into baseball are not their only similarities, as both great cities have seen significant stretches of struggles on the diamond after periods of great success throughout the 1990’s.
Will either of these previously linked franchises be able to make 2013 the year they break out and return to the postseason?
By Matthew Van Wormer
Well, after a long offseason, we’ve finally made it to the end of the weekly Offseason Swap Series that we started back in November. After hitting all the American League teams, we finished off with the Tribe’s Interleague opponents and this is the last one; the newly dressed, named and sheltered, Miami Marlins.
The Marlins made quite a splash in the offseason, reeling in players like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to try to help them improve upon what has been a roller coaster history. Could this be just another attempt at a purchased championship or are the Marlins looking at the long term for once? Here is what David Gershman from MarlinsDaily.com had to say in response to the questions I asked him.
By Matthew Van Wormer
Last season for the Cincinnati Reds was very much like last season for the Cleveland Indians. The Reds hovered around .500 all year long but just couldn’t get a push of wins to put them over the hump. Unlike the Indians, Cincy was consistent all year long and didn’t have the benefit of a hot start to give them a cushion over the rest of the competition. I got in touch with Steve, the Senior Editor of Blog Red Machine and asked him about the Reds and what they had in 2011 and what they can look forward to in 2012. Here’s what he had to say.
DTTWLN? #1 – In 2011 Cincinnati was hanging right around .500 all season long. Unfortunately, other teams in the division surged ahead of them to get into the playoffs. What were the Reds missing in 2011 to get them over the hump?
By Mike Brandyberry
It appears I have one last blog swap in me before handing the reigns back over to Matt Van Wormer for the final two before Spring Training. This week we talk with Pat Lackey who runs a Pittsburgh Pirates blog, Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? Not just are the Pirates close to Cleveland in proximity, but also in comparison in baseball economics. The Pirates have developed a young core of players and now find themselves trying to compete with bigger payroll teams in their division.
DTTWLN #1-The Pirates were a lot like the Indians in 2011, contenders for a while, then fading away in August and September. What happened to the Pirates that took them from first place in July to under .500 by season’s end?
By Mike Brandyberry
Like a starting pitcher in a big game, I thought I was done, but Matthew Van Wormer sat at the other end of the dugout and never gave me the hook, so I’m going back out to keep throwing. This week we talk with Greg Thurston of Climbing Tal’s Hill, a blog dedicated covering the Houston Astros. The Tribe will travel to Houston in late June to face a team deep in the rebuilding process, but it will be the first of many because the Astros will become American League foes in 2013. With so many changes taking place in Houston, let’s get to Greg’s thoughts.
DTTWLN #1-Last season was another tough one for the Astros. Two years ago, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman were traded away, and last season saw Hunter Pence dealt to Philadelphia. How are fans handling and reacting to a complete overhaul and rebuild?
By Mike Brandyberry
This season the Indians have five interleague opponents and we will try to get five good answers from each as we complete the final leg of our blog swap before heading into full-fledged Spring Training coverage. This week, we start with the World Series Champion, St. Louis Cardinals. You could argue that no team in baseball has made more news since the middle of September as the Cards. We caught up with blogger Daniel Shoptaw of the blog, C70 At The Bat, to talk about the Cardinals wild September and October and their offseason headlines.
DTTWLN #1-The Cardinals run to the 2011 World Series crown has to be one of the most improbable runs in baseball history, considering the September comeback, defeating the favored Phillies and the Game 6 comeback, twice. I have no idea how old you are, or when you became a Cardinals’ fan, but where in your sports life does this Cardinals run rank?
By Mike Brandyberry
The Texas Rangers have made two straight trips to the World Series, only to return home with no trophy. This year, they returned to the Lonestar State without the title and one of the worst heartbreaks in baseball history. If any franchise can relate to the World Series plight of the Rangers, it might be Indians fans, who still can’t shake the visions of that tragic Sunday evening in Miami in 1997.
DTTWLN #1-How do fans perceive the disappointing World Series loss, for the second straight year? The Rangers remind me of the Indians of the mid-90s who were so close. We have Jose Mesa as a scapegoat figure. What is the feeling with the fans?