2014 MLB Mock Draft 2.0

Here’s my second shot at it…

1. Houston – Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
2. Miami – Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, GA
3. White Sox – Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, TX
4. Cubs – Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
5. Minnesota – Tyler Beede – RHP, Vanderbilt
6. Seattle – Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, CA
7. Philadelphia – Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, SC
8. Colorado – Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State
9. Toronto – Nick Gordon – SS, Olympia HS, Florida
10. Mets – Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
11. Toronto – Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
12. Milwaukee – Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State
13. San Diego – Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
14. San Francisco – Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, CA
15. Angels – Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, CA
16. Arizona – Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
17. Kansas City – Max Pentecost, C, Kennessaw State
18. Washington – Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs HS, FL
19. Cincinnati – Braxton Davidson, OF, Roberson HS, TX
20. Tampa Bay – Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
21. Cleveland – Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
22. Dodgers – Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
23. Detroit – Michael Gettys, Gainesville HS, GA
24. Pittsburgh – Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, FL
25. Cleveland – Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville
26. Boston – Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS, GA
27. St Louis – Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS, GA

Baseball is Different Now, Just Like it Always Was

Baseball’s, “Opening Day” has arrived, on the heels of the nastiest U.S. winter in 35 years. As sure as robins flying north and ads popping up from tax preparation firms, the beginning of the Major League Baseball season will always mean the arrival of Spring.

Player contracts have gotten bigger, spawning conversations of, “How much is too much?”, and, “Money has ruined the game”, just as it had so many times before.

Older fans are sure their now-retired heroes were far more gallant and deserving than the spoiled athletes of today, while younger fans just want to know what the score is.

You see, things don’t change as much with baseball as some would have you believe. The names change, the stadiums change, and the prices are too high for a hot dog, no matter which two teams are playing, but this is still just baseball, doing what it has always done.

Kids are certain they’ll catch a foul ball today, umpires are still very obviously biased and blind, and marketing teams are still trying to sell you more ice cream and one more t-shirt.

This is baseball, this is America, and this is what we do.

Whether you watch on television, listen on the radio, or stream online – enjoy your team, and enjoy the season. Spring has arrived, the parking lot attendants are in place, and the lights are all checked and ready. Better weather is coming, new memories will be made, and somewhere along the way another hero will make another bad decision, causing a temporary explosion of outrage until it’s the next guy’s turn.

It’s baseball, and it is what you make of it. Remember games of catch with Dad, Grandpa, or your best friend from 5th Grade. Remember when heroes were heroes, or convince yourself that a new one is forming right before your eyes.

The experience is yours, and that’s all that really matters. Baseball is flawed, baseball is sometimes corrupt, sometimes aggravating, and other times passionate and giving. All of this is because baseball is human, which will always be its best feature.

Here’s to all of you, enjoying all of baseball – sometimes wondering why you do, other times wondering how anyone could not.

BitB 2014 MLB Mock Draft

I hear from a lot of scouts, and from some of the guys who get paid to write about minor leaguers and amateur players, so I decided to work up my first ever mock draft. I hope I gave your team the guy you want…

1. Houston Astros – Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
2. Miami Marlins – Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
3. Chicago White Sox – Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
4. Chicago Cubs – Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, Texas
5. Minnesota – Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
6. Seattle – Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, California
7. Philadelphia – Jacob Gatewood, SS/3B, Clovis HS, California
8. Colorado – Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, California
9. Toronto – Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS, Florida
10. New York Mets – Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, South Carolina
11. Toronto – Touki Toussaint – RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy, Florida
12. Milwaukee – Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State
13. San Diego – Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, California
14. San Francisco – Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
15. LA Angels – Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
16. Arizona – Braxton Davidson, OF, TC Roberson HS, North Carolina
17. Kansas City – Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS, Georgia
18. Washington – Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, Florida
19. Cincinnati – Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
20. Tampa Bay – Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
21. Cleveland – Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State
22. LA Dodgers – Mike Conforto, OF, Oregon State
23. Detroit – Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville
24. Pittsburgh – Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
25. Oakland – Michael Cederoth, RHP, San Diego State
26. Boston – Brad Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
27. St Louis – Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV

RIP, George “Boomer” Scott

George Scott, who played first base for the Red Sox and Brewers, has died, at age 69.

Scott was a big, power hitting man, who set the standard for defense at his position during his prime – winning eight Gold Glove awards.

RIP, “Boomer”, thanks for the memories!

Excellent Analysis of PED Hypocrisy, and the “God Complex” it has Spawned

Excellent analysis, Ryan Braun deserves it, but come on already…get down off your crosses people. Curt Schilling absolutely destroyed Ryan Braun on TV the other night because what he did affected the Diamondbacks in the playoffs. Mr Schilling, Lenny Dykstra was on your ’93 Phillies team that went to the Series, and he was a tad larger than he had been in New York. Manny Ramirez has come back hot, what, 3 times now? Manny was Curt’s teammate when they won it all in Boston. Shred Braun, but enough with the, “I can’t believe he did this” routine…baseball let this happen for decades, and now they’re incredulous? Don’t waste my time. www.mikesciosciastragicillness.com/2013/07/23/nothings-ever-as-simple-as-it-seems-when-it-comes-to-ped-suspensions/

Matt Garza vs Kyle Lohse

Last ten starts…(Garza has only made 11 this season)

Matt Garza, 6-1, 3.41 ERA

Kyle Lohse, 5-1, 2.63 ERA

Garza is signed through the end of this season, meaning, any team trading for him, is bargaining for 12-13 starts total, before he is eligible to leave.

Lohse is signed for two years beyond this season.

Garza has made 11 starts this season, Lohse has made 20.

Garza made 18 starts last season, Lohse made 33.

Supposedly, 5-6 teams have pursued a trade for Garza in the last few weeks, while literally no one has been linked to Lohse.

The only logical explanation I can give is, perhaps the Brewers have told teams Lohse is not available.

Leo Durocher Quote

 

“If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I’d trip her. Oh, I’d pick her up and brush her off and say, ‘Sorry, Mom,’ but nobody beats me.” -Leo Durocher

The Future of Yovani Gallardo

This July, we’re seeing Yovani Gallardo‘s name in articles all over the web. The trade rumors are there, since his Milwaukee Brewers have fallen flat on their faces this season, but there’s another topic that deserves more attention than the trade possibilities.

Whether Gallardo is dealt this month or not – “What does the future hold for Yovani Gallardo?”

Prior to this season, Gallardo had established himself as a 200-inning, 200-strikeout pitcher in the big leagues, who could be counted on for 15 wins and an ERA under 3.7. That’s not the best in the business, but it is a far above average Major League starting pitcher. Still just 27, you would think trading Gallardo would be the last thing on the minds of Milwaukee’s management team.

Gallardo’s not having that same season this year though, his ERA sits at 4.85, and while he hasn’t seen a spike in walks or home runs allowed, he velocity is down a bit, and with it, his strikeout rate has slipped as well.

If you’re the Brewers – what do you do? If you’re a team looking to trade for a starting pitcher…what do you do?

Here are what I consider to be the most important facts, when considering Gallardo’s dip in performance, and its implications for his future:

Gallardo participated in the World Baseball Classic this spring. During the WBC, and in Spring Training upon his return, Gallardo looked fine. He had command of his pitches, and he looked like a pitcher who was ready to lead his team again this season. I have to wonder, with the change in preparation, and the extra workload – was there an impact on his velocity to begin the season? In the early weeks of the campaign, Gallardo’s velocity was sitting at 89-90 MPH, down from 92-94 in years past. In recent weeks, Gallardo is still not, “popping the glove”, the way he once did, but his velocity is up a bit, now consistently at 91-92 MPH. I think the WBC absolutely did lead to a “dead arm” period for Gallardo, which seems to be correcting in recent weeks.

Gallardo did not allow an earned run in three consecutive June starts, after a start in which he cruised through six innings against Oakland, before allowing a big inning in the 7th. In that game, he allowed 4 ER in the 7th, without recording an out – just like that – his line for the day showed 5 earned runs in 6 innings, even though he had recorded 18 outs in the game before he ran into trouble. That stretch showed one bad inning in four games.

In his next start, following the three with no earned runs, Gallardo’s defense had a horrible game in Wrigley Field, chasing the ball all over the yard, and putting extra stress on the pitcher. Gallardo clearly didn’t have his best stuff that day, but he got no help from his mates either, leaving with 3 earned runs, and 2 unearned runs in 4 innings pitched vs Chicago.

The next start was a true mess, Gallardo was lit up by the Washington Nationals in his one truly bad outing in recent weeks. There’s no excuse for that game, he just didn’t have it, and he was hit hard.

His last start, against the Mets, again, has a stat line that suggests Gallardo wasn’t effective – he wound up allowing 4 earned runs in 6 innings – but take a closer look.

One of the runs allowed in that game was an opposite field solo home run off the foul pole by Mets catcher John Buck. It counts, but it won’t happen again anytime soon, and the final earned run Gallardo was stuck with belongs squarely to the Brewers defense. Left fielder Logan Schafer fielded a base hit, and attempted to throw out the lead runner, who was advancing to third base. A good throw gets that runner, a smart throw holds the trailing runner at first base. The throw was wide, allowing the runners to reach second and third base. The next batter, John Buck again, hit a ground ball through the middle, and both runners scored. With smarter play behind him, Gallardo allows one less earned run in that inning. In that game, Gallardo’s command was sound, except for the occasional batter, and his velocity was 91-92 all night.

Twice that I can think of this season, once each against St Louis and Oakland, Gallardo rolled through the early innings of a game, and was then hit very hard with no warning, like he’d just hit a wall. In April of this year, Gallardo was arrested for drunken driving in Milwaukee, with a blood-alcohol level of .22, which is nearly three times the legal limit. I don’t know if Gallardo did something foolish that night, or if he has a drinking problem, but I do know he has tended to be hit harder as games progress this season, and he had the DUI. I think Gallardo’s issue may be a simple case of WBC particpiation, and lack of conditioning. I think he still has the stuff to get big league hitters out, but he doesn’t have the stamina to finish the deal that he’s had in the past. I don’t know this for a fact, but his instant implosions this season, coupled with his DUI, make me think the man may not be doing what he needs to do to compete at the highest level.

If I were the Brewers, I would make him available for trade right now, but I would make a team meet my price. Gallardo is young, he’s signed at an affordable rate for the next two seasons, and he may be an off-the-field change or two from becoming the sort of pitcher he had been before this season.

If I were a GM considering a deal for Gallardo, I wouldn’t hesitate to go get him. I would not trade a truly elite prospect to get him – no one I thought would become a #1 starter or future MVP candidate. I wouldn’t hesitate to offer two good, quality prospects for him – guys who would be solid, 5-year contributors for Milwaukee. Perhaps a projected #3 starter, with a good, solid position player who will start in the big leagues – plus perhaps a future bench player or bullpen arm.

Arizona has been mentioned as a team that would like to trade for Gallardo. Honestly, I think this a good match, and if the two teams are willing, a deal could be done quickly.

Arizona has two elite pitching prospects – Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley, if it was me, I would give up neither one. I would offer third baseman Matt Davidson, who projects to be a good, solid starter in the major leagues, and pitcher David Holmberg, a lefty who projects to be a #3 starter in the majors. To get it done, I’d add a young relief pitcher, such as Evan Marshall or Jake Barrett.

If the Brewers can’t get a deal like that, there’s no reason to deal Gallardo. He’s young, experienced, affordable, and talented, there’s just no reason to take any less than that for a pitcher of his type who seems like a good bet to return to form.

Whether he’s traded or not, I expect Gallardo to be closer to what he was last year than what he was in April of this year going forward. He may not ever get all of his prior velocity back, but there’s still plenty of ability and youth on his side. If he’s not a 16-game winning, 200-strikeout pitcher anymore, I see no reason why he can’t be a 14-game-winning, 4-ERA pitcher next season.

Carlos Gomez is a Bad Man, Man

Tonight, Carlos Gomez robbed his 4th home run of this season. This one, hit by Joey Votto, would have given the Reds a one-run lead in the ninth inning, instead, it was the final out in a Milwaukee victory.

Gomez also had a spectacular catch, running up the hill in Houston as he turned his back to the plate. This man is a phenomenal defender.

The Pitcher I’d Want Right Now…is Kyle Lohse

Let me adjust my GM hat here…if I’m looking to trade for a starting pitcher right now…I would have more interest in Kyle Lohse than either Yovani Gallardo or Matt Garza.

Lohse is really pitching well, and he’s under club control beyond this season. My guess is, someone is already pushing for him. Some will say teams won’t want his contract, but look at what just happened with Ricky Nolasco. Teams were offering better prospects if the Marlins would pick up some of the money, or lesser prospects if they had to pay all of the money themselves.

The Brewers have already committed to a total of 33 million for Lohse, that’s done. They could agree to pay part of what he’s still owed, to get a deal done. It gets Milwaukee out of part of the money, and it gets some good talent over there, while getting the other team a good, experienced pitcher, who won’t leave after two months of baseball.

If I wanted a quick deal for this season, sure, I’d ask about Garza. If I wanted a young, affordable pitcher, who will be here again next year, I’d ask for Gallardo. If I wanted the best combination of results, and contract, right now, that’s Kyle Lohse.

Depending on how high a team is willing to go with prospects, Lohse plus a bullpen arm, would probably get the Brewers their best return right now, both John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez have been outstanding of late. I’d watch for Arizona, the Dodgers, Cleveland, and possibly both Texas and Boston to ask for Lohse and a reliever. Someone will probably get Garza first, because it’s an easier deal to work out, but once he’s gone, this is actually the deal I expect to see.

The thing starts with a team offering lower prospects for Lohse, Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin says he has to have more. The other team mentions the money left on Lohse’s deal, so Melvin adds a reliever to the mix, to get the other team into the prospects he wants. The other guy wants the reliever too, so he moves his offer some, but he says he still can’t take on that money.

In the end, either the other guys stop right there, paying Lohse’s contract, while giving the group of prospects they want to give…good, but not as good as it might have been, or the Brewers put some dollars on the table, to get the prospects they really want.

We’ll see what happens, but I’d bet on it.