Monday, June 16, 2014

Veteran Jason Kubel released by the Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins released veteran outfielder Jason Kubel who continually under-performed this season. In his prime, Kubel possessed decent power. Only two years ago in 2012, Kubel hit a career-high 30 home runs for the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, 2013 was a horrible season for Kubel. His slugging dropped from .506 to .317 with the Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians.


Kubel came up through the Twins' organization and spent 7 years with the team before heading to Arizona in 2012. In 2014, he returned to Minnesota once again, winning a spot on the roster out of spring training. In 45 games this season, Kubel is hitting only .224 and slugging .295. 

In his career, Kubel is a .262 hitter with 140 home runs.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Is Jimmy Rollins a future hall of famer?

The question was posted on reddit.com/r/baseball, and I agree with the consensus there that Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Not only does he not belong right now, I don't think he should be inducted even if he plays another five seasons of solid baseball.

Don't get me wrong, Jimmy Rollins has had a great career and it is remarkable how consistent he has been with both his bat and his glove. However, most of his offensive statistical achievements are volume-based, meaning that he's put up good hits numbers because of his many at bats rather than superstar ability. Rollins is a lifetime .268 hitter, but his OBP is a measly .328. In fact, he has never hit above .300 for an entire season in his career. He has accumulated 2,235 hits in his career, but most of those are a result of his many at bats. Batting leadoff and refusing to take pitches to walk will give him a lot of hits even if his batting average is mediocre.

To give credit to Rollins though, he has hit a fair number of extra base hits in his career. He has slugged .425 for his career, which is good for a shortstop, but he has played his whole career in Citizens Bank Park for the Phillies. He has only hit 20+ homers four times in his career although he has led the league in triples four times. Rollins' speed has also been an asset over his career, helping him compile 436 stolen bases.

Defensively, Jimmy Rollins has had a great career, but his defensive peak from 2008 to 2010 shows he only has an average UZR of 23.8, significantly less than the other great defensive shortstops of the last 15 years (Omar Vizquel had a peak of 36.3 and Adam Everett of 49.7).

Unfortunately for Rollins, his playoff stats are lackluster as well. He is a .250 hitter in the playoffs, and he hit only .227 in the Phillies' World Series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and .217 in their loss to the New York Yankees in 2009.

Overall, Jimmy Rollins is a prime candidate for the Hall of the Very Good. Unless, he reaches 3,000 hits, which is itself a volume-based stat, I find it very unlikely he will make the Hall of Fame.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda out until at least August according to Joe Girardi

When asked about the status of Michael Pineda and his injured shoulder/back, Joe Girardi said, "I would think August is probably realistic." After being suspended for pine tar use, Pineda got injured during a simulated outing. The Yankees kept him out for a couple weeks, but he experienced pain once again. Even if Pineda recovers from his injury by late June or July, he still needs 4-6 weeks to regain his pitching form.

Girardi expects Pineda to be back in August, so hopefully that means when he's done with all of his rehab outings. Unfortunately, Pineda does not have the best injury history. Shoulder issues have kept Pineda out of the rotation for the last two seasons, but he seemed to have overcome these issues this season. After a superb spring training, Pineda won a spot in the starting rotation, and began the season 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA.

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New York Yankees sign relief pitcher Health Bell to minor league contract

The New York Yankees have had a decent bullpen this season, but Brian Cashman believes he can find treasure in a garbage dump. Health Bell, the 36 year old right handed relief pitcher, agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees and will be pitching in AAA Scranton.

Bell used to be one of the premier relievers in baseball. From 2009 to 2011, Bell saved at least 40 games with the San Diego Padres, including a 47 save season with a 1.93 ERA. Following his success with the Padres, Bell signed a 3 year $24 million contract with the Miami Marlins.

Bell was horrible to be honest. In 2012, with the Marlins, he saved 19 games with an ERA of 5.09. This prompted the Marlins to trade him to the Arizona Diamondbacks the very next season. Bell actually pitched better, saving 15 games with a 4.11 ERA. Not amazing, but better than his horrendous 2012 season. In 2014, the Diamondbacks traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays. However, the ceiling collapsed on Bell. He pitched to a 7.27 ERA in 17 1/3 innings pitched.

The Rays released Bell, and the Baltimore Orioles picked him up. Bell had a 4.22 ERA in 10 2/3 innings for the Orioles' AAA team in Norfolk. Now with the Yankees, Bell is on his third AL East team in this season alone.

This is a low risk signing for the Yankees, but not much is expected.

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Chase Whitley pitches well again, New York Yankees defeat Seattle Mariners 6-3

The New York Yankees are not especially known for their development of young talent, particularly starting pitchers and hitters. Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy all failed with the Yankees, but Hughes and Kennedy did manage to find success in Minnesota and Arizona respectively.

However, a call up this year, Chase Whitley, has pitched quite well. The 25 year old righty is 2-0 on the season with a 2.41 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. In the six games he's started this season, the Yankees have won five of them. In his first four outings, Whitley was limited to five or fewer innings. Joe Girardi thought Whitley would just be a mediocre starter who would need the bullpen to support him for four or more innings.

But again and again, Whitley excelled. Whitley went 7 innings against the Kansas City Royals and 7 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners, allowing only 2 earned runs in both starts.

In last night's start against the Mariners, Whitley struck out 6 batters, while only throwing 82 pitches--a remarkably efficient outing. In the 8th, Whitley retired right fielder Endy Chavez and center fielder James Jones, but Girardi pulled him in favor of Matt Thornton to face Robinson Cano. Cano hit a two run homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners 4-2 loss to the Yankees two days ago.

Derek Jeter helped the Yankees out with 3 hits and drove in 2 runs. Jacoby Ellsbury and Alfonso Soriano also both drove in 2 runs as well to help the Yankees win 6-3.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka Dominates Seattle Mariners

New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka struck out 11 and allowed two ER in his complete game victory over the Seattle Mariners. Mark Teixeira provided the offense with a three run homer in the 5th. Tanaka cruised through eight innings before allowing a double to catcher Mike Zunino and a single to shortstop Brad Miller. However, Tanaka got Cole Gillespie to line out to end the inning.

In the ninth, center fielder James Jones reached on an infield single, but it probably should have been ruled an error on Brian Roberts. Then, Robinson Cano, former Yankees superstar, came to the plate and hit a home run to deep left center. The score was Yankees 4-2 Mariners now, and Tanaka looked a bit frustrated.

However, he didn't let the home run faze him that much. Tanaka came back strong and struck out third baseman Kyle Seager and first basemen Logan Morrison looking to end the game. After recording his 10th and 11th strikeouts of the game, Tanaka walked off the mound with his second complete game of the season, improving to 10-1.

Tanaka now leads the league with a 2.02 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He's struck out 103 in 93.2 IP.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Former A's and Dodgers Pitcher Bob Welch Dies from Heart Attack

Former pitcher Bob Welch passed away yesterday from a heart attack at the age of 57. Welch is known for striking out Reggie Jackson in the 1978 World Series, contributing to the Las Angeles Dodgers' 1981 World Series Run, and his 1990 Cy Young season.

Welch won 211 games and lost 146, striking out 1969 along the way. He pitched to a 3.47 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. In his best seasons, Welch was borderline unhittable. In 1978, he entered the league at the age of 21 with the Dodgers as a starter and a reliever. Two seasons later, Welch became a full time starter, and didn't look back. Welch spent 10 seasons with the Dodgers before signing with the Oakland Athletics. He spent seven seasons with the Athletics organization. In his 1990 Cy Young season with the Oakland Athletics, Welch went 27-6 with a 2.95 ERA in 238 IP. Injuries and fatigue slowed Welch after that, forcing him to retire in 1994 at the age of 37.

Welch had no shortage of playoff experience. He pitched in the playoffs in eight seasons. In 1978, 1981, 1988, 1989, and 1990, he made it to the World Series with the Dodgers for the first two and Athletics for his last three. He won his two World Series rings in 1981 and 1988, but his accomplishments in the 1990 season cannot be overlooked. Despite a sweep at the hands of the underdog Cincinnati Reds, Welch still led his team to the World Series. The 1988 World Series was interesting because Welch was going to start in game three before the earthquake hit. Regardless, the A's defeated the San Francisco Giants in 4 games.

Bob Welch was a great pitcher that won't be forgotten.

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