2/20/18

This Just In -- New Met Ty Kelly

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In getting the old band back together fashion, the Mets have reacquired yet another player from their past -- Israel Word Baseball Classic veteran Ty Kelly who joins the club on a minor league deal.  The versatile Kelly has played middle infield and outfield positions for both the Mets major and minor league teams.  

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Mike Friere - David Wright - The Player

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Pic by Mack Ade
Mickey Callaway seems to be hitting all of the right buttons early in Spring Training and is "a breath of fresh air" compared to his predecessor.  So much so, that even the media seems to be enchanted by MC, which isn’t an easy thing to accomplish in the New York media market.  Granted, it is only a few days into ST and the position players have yet to start practicing, but a good start is better then a bad one.

With that said, our new manager went on the record earlier today and stated that he wants David Wright around the team as much as possible, as long as it does not interfere with his ongoing rehabilitation.  He cited DW’s leadership and his overall positive influence on the clubhouse, etc.  This is an excellent example of real leadership and an emphasis on open lines of communication between the front office, management and the players.   In other words, MC is actually doing what he said he would do, instead of simply “saying all the right things” at his first press conference.

Since part of the previous interview focused on our “Captain”, I started thinking about DW and all of the things that he has been through during the past few seasons.  

On a side note, if you have ever played “word association” with another person, it is a basic concept but it can reveal quite a bit about the other person’s mindset. The game is simple in that one person mentions a random word and the other person says the first word that immediately comes to mind.  For example, you could say the word “pizza” and the other person might reply “awesome”.   In DW’s case, if you played this game with a fellow Mets’ fan, the mention of his name would likely conjure up responses like “stenosis”, “injured” or “never coming back” (which is more then one word, but you get the point).

That is sad, because DW was one of the best players in all of baseball for an extended period but he will likely be remembered for what he was unable to do on the field, as opposed to what he had accomplished prior to his string of injuries.

In an effort to emphasize DW the PLAYER, here is a sampling of his statistical contributions prior to his injuries;

DW “broke into MLB” in 2004 as a 21 year old rookie and he played approximately one half of a season’s worth of at bats, giving everyone a glimpse of what was to come.  He became a fixture in the Mets’ infield from 2005 through 2014 before his injuries started to take their toll, causing him to miss large parts of the 2015 and 2016 season.

***If you divide his career at bats by 600 (roughly a full season), you get 11.45 “seasons” of playing time for DW, which is a convenient number to use as the divisor for his statistical averages.

Over the estimated 11.45 seasons, DW averaged the following line;

.296/.376/.491 (.867 OPS)

21 HR/ 85 RBI/ 17 SB and 83 R

4.36 WAR (and a slightly positive dWAR)

I would take that right now from Todd Frazier for the 2018 season!  

The statistics are impressive, despite his production tailing off as he became more affected by his condition.   He was an absolute “beast” during the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, putting up ridiculous statistics to include a “30/30” season that brought back memories of Howard Johnson’s best efforts.  It isn’t a stretch to think that if he stayed reasonably healthy, he would have been a strong candidate for induction into the HOF one day.

This is the DW that I prefer to remember when I hear his name, as opposed to the “shell” of a player that he has become due to his medical issues.  This version of DW should evoke words like "All Star" or "invaluable".  

Unfortunately (I hate to be negative), I think his best days are clearly behind him and it would be an absolute shock to see him well enough to even play again, never mind perform at his previously established levels.   Sort of like watching Tiger Woods play competitive golf and not coming close to playing like the magical player that he once was due to injuries.

Compounding DW's issue is the “albatross” of a contract that, in true Mets fashion, was signed JUST BEFORE his career went off the rails.  Perhaps a better way to think of his current contract is money owed for the wonderful eleven plus years that he provided for the team and it’s fans.

Whether he plays again or not, DW is still a valuable member of the organization and it is pretty cool to see our new manager recognize that fact.
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Tom Brennan - METS MINORS DARK HORSES: JAYCE BOYD

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Tom Brennan - METS MINORS DARK HORSES: 

JAYCE BOYD


It seems when an offensive player is evaluated in terms of offensive potential, statistics get extrapolated over 600 plate appearances in order to simulate what he'd do over the equivalent of a full major league season, so here goes:


For Las Vegas in 2017, 2012 6th rounder Jayce Boyd went to the plate 278 times and hit a surging .297; projecting his season totals up to 600 PAs would give you the following: 

39 doubles, 2 triples, 24 HRs, 100 RBIs, and a .371 OBP.

Even better, extrapolate to 600 PAs his numbers from July 1 forward and you get: 

.333, 43 doubles, 7 triples, 30 HRs and 130+ RBIs.  

Pretty sensational.

And yet, no one seems to ever discuss this formerly significantly injured dark horse as a current prospect.  

He's only played to outfield or DH since his thoracic surgery about 4 years back, so maybe he is incapable of playing 1B any longer due to impaired throwing ability...I am not sure.  


(P.S. I can't tell you how many times I told Boyd and Matt Harvey to stay away from Thoracic Park - they never listened to me, though, maybe because I am a dinosaur.  However, I am proud to say that I never clean with Ajax or Borax - Thorax works so much better on those sink stains).  Anyway:

In April 2015, Adam Rubin wrote this about Boyd, which makes it appear he can be a functional first baseman and presumably outfielder: 


  • ...Jayce Boyd is moving to the outfield. The Mets like Boyd as a 1B but are trying to diversify his positions because he is blocked at the major league level by Lucas Duda.  The previous year (2013) he underwent shoulder surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome. He is now throwing without pain. He also is showing improvement with the different throwing motion from the outfield.
With the bat, he kind of reminds me of the Natural - he hit like mad before the injury; playing time was drastically reduced during and after recovery from the injury; and finally had big, but part time, success at the dish years later in 2017.  

Why the added power? He started his minors career at just 185 pounds, but now is listed at 219, so he has added bulk which to me likely explains his 2017 power surge.

If he can in fact play a close-to-adequate 1B or OF, his righty bat could at some point come into play as a possible platoon partner with lefty Dominic Smith at 1B.  

Maybe Dark Horse Boyd can finagle his way to Citifield in late 2018 when rosters expand.  Just continue to improve at the plate and show he can still be adequate in the field.  And stay healthy.


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2/19/18

Tom Brennan: TEBOW - COMING TO A STADIUM NEAR YOU?

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Image result for tim tebow picture

Tom Brennan: 
TEBOW: COMING TO A STADIUM NEAR YOU?


TIM TEBOW 

Yeah, him. 

You know, the guy no one (but me) takes seriously.

Sandy Alderson in a weekend press conference said he believes TEBOW will be a major leaguer.  Everyone, pretty much, seemed shocked, skeptical.  Not me.

Twin T this off-season has gotten 15 pounds leaner and meaner, and worked out hard with master hitting expert (and fellow Christian) Daniel Murphy - I have no doubt their mutual faith is part of their bond.  

Tebow apparently has been picking Daniel's brain, and has altered his swing, presumably to generate more extra base power, which he is certainly strong enough to generate.  

REALLY SMART MOVE TO WORK OUT WITH MURPH.

As people often note that he hit in the .220's last year,  BUT I've said it before and will say it again...the Mets NEVER start a prospect's career in Full Season ball....Conforto? Alonso? Two of the Mets' best?  Both started in rookie ball Brooklyn. 

Most Mets draftees would've failed trying to do what Tebow did last year in A ball in his first season, except for Alonso and Conforto. Only those 2 would have hit as well.  IMO.  

And Conforto, in his year two, started out in St Lucie, where he hit .283/.350/.462 before a mid season promo to AA.  And he was a first round, top 10 draft pick.  Would Tebow, if he returned to St Lucie in his year 2, put up similar numbers?  Perhaps he'd put up better #'s.

Remember how poorly almost all the hitters did in Brooklyn the past 2 seasons?  Tebow outhit almost all of them, and against much tougher competition at higher levels.

I made the point recently that Kevin Kaczmarski started his career in rookie Kingsport after his collegiate days and hit .355...but in his second year, in Columbia and St Lucie, in the same  levels Tebow played in his 1st year, Kevin hit .280.

Sure, that's better than Tebow's year 1 numbers in Columbia and St Lucie, but it Kevin's his second year and he went pro straight out of college ball, not with a 10+ year layoff.  

Perhaps if Kevin K started his first season 2 levels higher in Columbia, he hits .220 there too...or less.  And I like Kevin as a prospect, especially if he adds some pop this year, so I am not denigrating him in any way here.  Just highlighting the challenge Tebow faced in his year 1.

Tebow in fact was hitting close to .280 for the season before his August 2017 deep swoon, which likely was hit-the-wall-related.  We've all heard of rookies who hit the wall...and Tebow, having not played baseball, suddenly played in 123 games and had almost 500 at bats.   And he was beaned on August 12, too - while not seriously hurt (he stayed in the game), it may have impacted him for a few weeks - I'm just speculating.

Tebow certainly has the size, and perhaps the ability, to hit like a recent former similar-sized Met, Lucas Duda. 

Lucas was criticized a lot, but it was to a large degree because he was correctly perceived as shy, retiring, and too cautious at the plate taking fat pitches - I think many of us felt he should have been better.

Tebow is far from shy and retiring, all can agree.  

It took quiet Duda almost 4 years to get to Citified for a September call up - Tebow is trying to do that in 2 years.  He has the intestinal fortitude and drive, IMO, to progress fast.

Enough said - I think Tebow will have a surprisingly good year in 2018 - how about .270/20/80 in AA and AAA?

And I will reiterate what I've opined before, we see him playing (at least on a limited basis) this September in Queens for the Mets.  

Time (and Sandy) will tell.  One thing he will do that no other 2018 call up could do - ring the sales register big-time - so he has a clear competitive advantage.

Or you could just continue to view him as a circus act.  If so, the circus will be coming to town before you know it.  I hear the popcorn rocks.


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Mike Fiere - More Labor Strife?

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While perusing Mack's Apples article this morning, I noticed that the "potential labor strife" that has been grumbled about of late has gained some traction and it seems that it will not go quietly into the good night (despite some recent movement in the free agent market led by the Mets of all teams). It's interesting because like most topics of discussion, there are many sides to the issue and your view usually depends upon your perspective.

From the outside, the casual fan's reaction to this "belly aching" is one of confusion because "those guys are getting paid millions of dollars to play a kid's game"!

For some perspective, the MINIMUM annual salary for a ballplayer in 2018 is roughly $545,000 dollars per year, which equates to approximately $262 dollars per hour (nice work if you can get it).  Even better, the AVERAGE annual salary for all of MLB for the 2018 season will be a shade over $4,400,000 dollars, or an absurd $2,116 dollars per hour!   This doesn't include additional sources of benefits and income like a healthy per diem on road trips (over $100 dollars per day), luxury accommodations, transportation (air, ground) and access to trainers that would cost the average citizen a ton of cash.

Delving a bit deeper, the AVERAGE annual household income for an American family is a shade under $60,000 dollars per year, or roughly $29 dollars per hour (for multiple earners). 

When you break the numbers down a bit, it  puts things into perspective, right?

Before anyone gets fired up, this is NOT a rant on how ballplayers make too much, etc.  I simply wanted everyone to see what the numbers actually look like before I start the second part of this article.   I TOTALLY understand that all of the players in question (even the fringe players) are infinitely better then any one of us "regular guys and gals" at this sport and that they deserve to be paid accordingly.  I am also NOT a shill for the Owners who likely have income streams many times larger then the listed statistics. 

What does bother me a little bit is that the source of this "potential labor strife" is the most recent edition of the MLB Labor Contract that was negotiated and agreed upon in December 2016.  For those of you who enjoy reading such documents, here is a link to the information (https://www.mlb.com/news/details-of-mlb-mlbpa-labor-agreement/c-210125462)

In short, the agreement was reached late in 2016 and it covers FIVE full seasons, terminating in December 2021.  The last time I checked, it is February 2018 and this season is only the second season of the five that are included in the listed deal.  You know, the deal that both sides AGREED to!  Perhaps there is a bit of "buyers" remorse on the players' part, but isn't it a bit early for "jockeying" to take place for the next deal that is still three and a half years from now?

Perhaps I am a bit "old school" but if you come to an agreement with someone, the expectation is that both sides "gave up a little to get a little".   Another term for this is "compromise" and every labor contract is a blend of what both sides want.  The current agreement falls under that philosophy and the fact that the Player's Union did not see the current situation unfolding is their fault, or more specifically the fault of their representatives that took part in the bargaining process.  The solution is to negotiate a better contract the next time around, not to act like a spoiled child and threaten to violate the terms of the current deal with a possible work stoppage almost immediately after it went into effect.

In my humble opinion, the main issue at play this off season comes down to a "cost/benefit" analysis and it can be used to analyze many different things.  For example, if you are selling a piece of real estate, or perhaps a random "bauble" at a garage sale, you try to price the item appropriately.  Ask too much and you will be waiting until you drop your price before the item sells.  If you price the item appropriately at the outset for the expectations of the market, your item is much more likely to sell quickly.

The current free agent market is over priced, plain and simple.  Teams are "waiting the situation out" until the prices come down a bit and the cost and benefit are in close proximity to each other.  Look no further then Jay Bruce's situation.   He was asking for too much money and/or too many years for his next contract when free agency began.  However, as time passed, his demands dropped to an acceptable level and the Mets made him an appropriate offer. 

Another issue is the penalties that accompany certain free agents who were offered and declined a qualifying offer from their previous team(s).  Who wants to sign Lance Lynn for an above market contract that will also cost you a second round pick in the next draft AND half a million dollars in International Bonus Pool money?   The answer is "no one" and that is why he is still seeking a new team, despite how talented he is.  It isn't so much "collusion" as it is poor "cost/benefit" ratios that are the product of the last labor deal.

Hopefully, clearer heads prevail and the next few seasons do not suffer from a work stoppage.  The time to air grievances and to ask for a better deal are AT the bargaining table and NOT fifteen months into a five year deal that has already been signed, etc.

My advise for the Player's Union is to find a better bargaining team next time.


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Reese Kaplan -- Much Ado About Nothing

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Athletes are like any other category of human beings.  You have winners and whiners.  The task for a manager is separating the two to try to stoke the fires of the winners and to minimize the malignancy of the whiners.  It seems that new field general Mickey Callaway has his first exercise in this regard in the person of Zack Wheeler.


Upon hearing the news that the Mets had signed Jason Vargas to start, Wheeler immediately announced, “I’m just here to be a starting pitcher. That’s what I’ve always been, and that’s what I’m going to be. When I’m healthy, I know I’m just as good as anybody out there, so that’s what I’m concentrating on.”

Maybe it’s just me, but in this hypersensitive, politically correct world in which we live everyone jumped to the conclusion that Wheeler was indeed whining, particularly when he added that he was not yet contacted by anyone within the organization about how this addition to the roster could impact his role.


Excuse me, but had he said, “Sure, Jason Vargas won 18 games last year and was an All-Star.  I haven't done diddly squat since getting hurt.  Tell you what, how about if I just throw in the towel and either head to the pen or to Las Vegas because he’s the better pitcher,” would we be congratulating him for being a team-first player?  No, he’d be roasted for being non-competitive.

Personally, I want to applaud Wheeler for essentially saying, “You’ll get the ball from my hand when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”  I personally hope Callaway can instill this type of hyper competitive attitude into everyone on the team.  It’s then his decision on how best to deploy the resources he has on hand on a nightly basis and when situations demand one particular skill set.


Similarly, the whole non-story about Donald Trump, Jr. being out at the same shark fishing trip that Callaway was on with the players seem to set a great many fingers furiously typing to condemn that “plan.”  Nowhere was it actually said that it was arranged for these two notable figures to be in the same place at the same time – in fact, quite the opposite was reported.  If I happened to walk into the same room where David Duke or Louis Farrakhan appeared, did that necessarily mean I agreed or endorsed what they stood for?

It is incumbent upon Callaway to set the tone about expectations and to communicate with his players, but I think media and blogging types anxious for something to write about are seemingly creating firestorms where none exist.  Let’s hope Callaway is as good as advertised when it comes to his handling of players and media. 

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2/18/18

2018 Draft - Weekend Pitcher Draft Prospect Results

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Merritt Island H.S. (FL) C/P (who I still believe will be drafted as one of the top catcher prospects), Mason Denaburg, struck out 10 TNXL Academy batters, in four innings this past Thursday night. It included the last four batters he faced. 93-96 in the 1st… 77-80 CB.



PG - Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central (Ga.) - In perhaps the most heavily scouted game of this young season, the No. 1-ranked prep prospect on the Perfect Game Top 250 Draft Prospects, Ethan Hankins, was wildly impressive in his first start of the season. The 6-foot-6 Hankins is the picture of projection even though he already features a fastball into the mid-90s. Against Buford for his first start, the fastball worked in the 92-95 mph range early on and sat comfortably in the 90-93 range throughout. Hankins has easy plus arm speed with incredibly smooth and effortless mechanics that reflect his transition to a professional starter as the next logical step. The life and command of the fastball was exceptional as the Vanderbilt commit showed consistent plus sinking life and could command to either side of the plate with ease, as Hankins only had one three-ball count all night and tossed three no-hit innings. Toward the end of last summer Hankins' breaking ball was getting evaluated as a 60 grade pitch by some and he used the curveball sparingly in his opening start. The pitch didn't live up to a plus rating, but he tossed a couple for strikes just to show it as he needed only the fastball to blow away the competition. Every Hankins start is sure to be a frenzy all spring, and if game one was any indication the attendance is going to be warranted with an outstanding performance.



Brady Singer Florida:   7.0-IP, 0-ER, 8-K, 1-BB, 0.00, WIN (1-0)

Jackson KowarFlorida:  7.0-IP, 2-ER, 6-H, 10-K, 0-BB, WIN (1-0)

Casey Mise Auburn:    6.0-IP, 0-R, 3-H, 7-K, 0-BB, 0.00, WIN (1-0)

Jason Bilous Coastal Carolina:  Sitting 92-96 with plus 83-86 slider…  5.0-IP, 1-R, 4-H, 9-K, 3-BB, Win (1-0)

Bryan Hoeing Louisville: 3.0-IP, 2-ER, 1-K

Sean Hjelle Kentucky:   6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K, Win (1-0)

Colton Eastman CSF:    4.1-IP, 4-ER, 3-K, 3-BB, LOSS (0-1)

Logan Gilbert Stetson:   91-93 mph in the top of the first - 77-78  CB

Blaine Knight Arkansas:   5.0-IP, 0-H, 0-R, 4-K, 2-BB, 0.00, Win (1-0)

Tristan Beck Stanford:    6.0-IP, 1-ER, 4-H, 5-K, 1-BB, WIN (1-0)

Nolan Kingham Texas:   8.0-IP, 0-R, 3-H, 10-K, 1-BB, 0.00, WIN (0-1)

Konnor PilkingtonMississippi State:   4.0-IP, 2-ER, 6-K, 0-BB, LOSS (0-1)

Steven Gingery – Texas Tech:    1 pitch... hurt... removed from game

Kris Bubic – Stanford:    5.0-IP, 3-H, 1-ER, 4-K, 0-BB

Cole SandsFlorida State:   5.0-IP, 2-R, 3-H, 9-K, WIN (1-0)

Shane McClanahan USF:   pitching comfortably at 93-96, touched 99 once in the first…  6.0-IP, 0-R, 11-K, 0.00, WIN (1-0)

Ryan Rolison Mississippi:   5.0-IP, 0-R, 2-H, 12-K, 0.00, WIN (1-0)
Tim Cate Connecticut:  5.2-IP, 4-ER, 7-K, 2-BB, Loss (0-1)

Taril Skubal Seattle:    5.0-IP, 4-ER, 4-K, 4-BB, LOSS (0-1)
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2018 Draft – Top 10 Left Hand Pitchers Available in the 2018 Draft

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                   2018 Draft – Top 10 Left Hand Pitchers Available in the 2018 Draft

  

    1.     Shane McClanahan          USF

When The Giants Come To Town - Shane McClanahan will be a redshirt sophomore at University of South Florida in 2018.  He is a thin whippy LHP listed at 6'1", 170 lbs with a big fastball that goes 93-96 MPH.  His main calling card is 104 K's in 74 IP as a Redshirt Freshman last season which has created some early buzz for the 2018 draft.  I wasn't able to find a scouting report of his other pitches.
On video, he has a slight frame that does look like it can fill out.  He has more of a "tall and fall" delivery with a 3/4 release.  Here is his full pitching line from 2017:

 4-2, 3.28, 74 IP, 35 BB, 104 K.

I have to say, he looks like a future lefty reliever to my eye.  He could be a SP if he fills out his frames and has enough secondary stuff.  No more than a second tier draft prospect for me.



     2.     Matt Liberatore                 Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)

PG Grade: 10 - Matthew Liberatore is a 2018 LHP with a 6-5 200 lb. frame from Peoria, AZ who attends Mountain Ridge HS. Very long and slender athletic build, extremely projectable physically. Easy low effort delivery with a 3/4's arm slot. Fastball topped out at 92 mph, gets consistent running and sinking action, works his fastball around the zone, velocity has improved from 85-88 most of last summer. Mid-70's curveball with tight spin and some sharpness, fading change up in the low 80's. Has the ability to mix his pitches up and get hitters off balance, hitters have never seen his stuff well, high performance pitcher. Excellent student, verbal commitment to Arizona. Selected for the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic.



    3.     Ryan Rolison                       Mississippi

When The Giants Come To Town - Ryan Rolison is a draft eligible college sophomore LHP from Ole Miss.  He's close to perfect size for a pitcher listed at 6'3", 200 lbs.  He started off his freshman year pitching in the bullpen but moved into the rotation as the season progressed and was Ole Miss' best pitcher by the end of the college season.  He followed that up with a terrific Cape Cod League performance and is poised for a breakout sophomore campaign and possible first round MLB draft stock.  Here are his 2017 stat lines:

2017(College):  6-3, 3.06, 61.2 IP, 24 BB, 64 K.
2017(CCL):  6-0, 1.54, 28 IP, 11 BB, 35 K.

One scouting report has his FB 89-93 and sitting at 91.  Another says his velocity ticked up toward the end of the CCL season reaching 94-95 consistently when he needed something extra.  His delivery is low-moderate effort which makes scouts think he can reach back for more when he needs to.  The delivery is a smooth and clean with a 3/4 arm slot reminiscent of Madison Bumgarner with a little less sweeping motion.  He commands the FB on both sides of the plate.  Some scouts think his best pitch is a 2-8 slurve.  His change up is rated as a work in progress, but I saw one on a video that had nice sink and a bit of a tail on the outside corner to a RH batter.  His goals for 2018 should be to lower his walk rate by about 0.5-1 BB/9.

My take: He does not have quite enough stuff to be a top of the draft prospect, but could be a nice high floor pick late in the first round or early second round.



    4.     Ryan Weathers                  Loretto HS (TN)

Road To Wrigley - Bloodlines run deep here as Ryan’s father, David Weathers pitched 19 seasons in the big leagues, winning 73 games and saving another 75 more for nine different teams. Ryan’s separator being he comes at hitters as a southpaw, with advanced command of his three-pitch arsenal and is ranked as one of the top pitchers in the 2018 class. He repeats his left-handed delivery well and pounds the strike zone with a consistent, low 90s fastball, downer curve and effective change. In this year’s Class A Championship in Tennessee, Weathers struck out 12 hitters in a 4-0 victory over Goodpasture and set a Tennessee state tournament record for most strikeouts, putting away 28 hitters in just 14 innings, helping Loretto win its first ever boys championship in any sport and the second overall in school history, joining the 1958 girls basketball team.



    5.     Konnor Pilkington             Mississippi State

When The Giants Come To Town - Konnor Pilkington LHP, College(Mississippi St.).  6'3", 225 lbs.

2017:  8-5, 3.08, 108 IP, 47 BB, 111 K.
2016 CCL:  2-1, 1.37, 39.1 IP, 12 BB, 33 K.

Pilkington is a large college lefty with a nice 3 pitch mix.  According to his MLB scouting report, his FB sits 88-93 and touches 96 MPH.  His best second pitch is a changeup.  His breaking ball tends to be slurvy.  He has a high release point with a steep downhill plane.  College pitchers tend to move up boards as the draft approaches.  Pilkington could easily break into the top 10 picks on draft day with a strong junior campaign.




    6.     Tim Cate                               Connecticut
When The Giants Come To Town - Tim Cate LHP, College(Connecticut).  6'0", 167 lbs.  2017:  4-3, 3.33, 75.2 IP, 31 BB, 102 K.  Small college lefty with a 3 pitch mix that gets lots of K's.  Could be a late first round value.




     7.     Steven Gingery                   Texas Tech

School website – 2017: Named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year by the league’s coaches … earned unanimous First Team All-Big 12 accolades … received Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors … National Pitcher of the Year by the College Baseball Foundation … Unanimous First Team All-American … first in program history … ABCA First Team All-American … Collegiate Baseball First Team All-American … NCBWA First Team All-American … Baseball America First Team All-American … D1 Baseball First Team All-American … Perfect Game First Team All-American … started in all 15 games he pitched during his sophomore campaign at Texas Tech … put together a team-leading 1.58 ERA … lowest at Tech since Corey Taylor’s 0.31 in 2015 … sixth-lowest in school history … achieved a 10-1 record, also a team-high … second-straight year a Red Raider had posted 10 wins … 10th time Tech has had pitchers register 10-win seasons in consecutive years … tossed a program-most 91.1 innings last season … rattled off 107 strikeouts, which also led the squad … first Red Raider with 100+ strikeouts since Chad Bettis (102) in 2010 … most in a season at Tech since Monty Ward had 151 in 1998 … issued only 29 walks and gave up just 16 earned runs on 60 hits .. 16 of his 60 hits allowed were for extra bases, as opponents hit just .186 against him … helped Tech post one of its two shutouts on the season … recorded 10 strikeouts on two separate occasions … struck out double digit hitters at Oklahoma on April 1 and at Kansas State on April 14 … had five or more strikeouts in all but one of his 15 appearances … gave up five of fewer hits in 11 of his 15 starts, including a two-hit game against Sam Houston State in his final appearance of the year on June 3 … one of four games giving up just two hits … RANKINGS … led the conference in ERA (1.58) … fifth in the NCAA in ERA … finished second among Big 12 pitchers and 13th in the country in wins (10) … had a WHIP of 0.97, putting him at second in the league and 26th in the NCAA



    8.     Luke Bartnicki                    Walton HS (GA)

PG Grade: 10 - Luke Bartnicki is a 2018 LHP with a 6-3 210 lb. frame from Marietta, GA who attends Walton HS. Broad shouldered physical build, plenty of present strength. Big hip turn delivery, fast arm coming through in an extended 3/4's arm slot, ball comes out easy and with minimum effort. Fastball topped out at 94, jumps on hitters due to lack of effort, very consistent in the strike zone with angle. Slider has shown tremendous improvement, sharp and late at 94 mph, potential plus pitch, can throw his slider to spots. Flashed two present plus pitches and the difference in his breaking ball is eye opening. Good student, verbal commitment to Georgia Tech. Selected for the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic.



     9.     Kris Bubic                             Stanford

School website – 2017: • Honorable Mention Academic All-Pac-12
• 2017 Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year
• 2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Summer Collegiate Baseball All-America
• Friday night starter, 15 starts (7-6, 2.79 ERA)
• Sixth in the Pac-12 in ERA (2.79) and strikeouts (96), led Stanford starters in both categories
• Second on the team with seven wins and 90.1 innings pitched
• Stanford won his last seven starts
• Did not allow a run in his last 16.0 innings of the season
• Career-high 8.0 IP, 11 K in Regional start vs. Sacramento State (June 1)
• Carried no-hitter into fifth and had 10 strikeouts in Opening Day start at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 16)
• Carried no-hitter into fourth and had 11 strikeouts in second start (Feb. 23 vs. Cal Poly)
• Struck out nine in 6.0 innings (0 ER) against Texas (March 2)
• Allowed just one run in 7.0 innings and earned win over No. 13 Arizona (April 27)
• Seven shutout innings and six strikeouts at Washington State (May 25)




     10. Nick Sprengel                    San Diego 

College Baseball Daily - The 6-foot-1, 185 pound lefty is a very projectable player with a solid frame and a smooth delivery. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but he can bump it up in to the mid-90s. Sprengel has struck out well over a batter an inning through his college career with 156 strikeouts in 147.1 innings pitched. However, his career WHIP of 1.39 is a bit high. Scouts would love to see him improve his command as a junior in 2018 and work on keeping hitters off base. Sprengel will be one of the top left-handed pitchers to come out of the college ranks in the 2018 MLB Draft.


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2/17/18

Mack’s Apples – Matt Reynolds, 2018 Stats Leaders, 2018 Labor Talks, PEDs, Brady Singer

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Good morning.


Federal Baseball on Matt Reynolds

In 33 games and 144 PAs at Triple-A Las Vegas in the Mets’ system in 2017, Reynolds put up a .320/.396/.484 line with nine doubles and four home runs.
Reynolds will likely compete for a spot on the bench, though with the likes of Wilmer Difo, Howie Kendrick, Brian Goodwin, and Matt Adams expected to claim roles, he’s probably a long shot to make the Opening Day roster.

With the addition of Reynolds, the Nationals now have 40 players on the 40-Man roster, and additional depth in the system.

Washington Post beat writer Chelsea Janes noted on Twitter that Reynolds has an option remaining.


Isportsweb projects the statistical leaders of the 2018 Mets –

        
   Batting Average: Michael Conforto: Projected 2018 Statistics: .283 BA, 20 HRs, 60 RBI

           Home Runs and RBIs: Jay Bruce: Projected 2018 Statistics: .249 BA, 35 HRs, 105 RBI

           Runs Scored: Yoenis Cespedes: Projected 2018 Statistics: .280 BA, 30 HRs, 85 RBI, 80 Runs

           Stolen Bases: Amed Rosario: Projected 2018 Statistics: .260 BA, 8 HRs, 30 RBI, 35 Steals


Collusion, Tanking,  Debt : Yes, Baseball Has A Dark Labor History, But 2018 Doesn't Feel Like -

The Collusion I, II and III grievances of the 1980s and what was called the “information bank,” which the owners used to tamp down salaries, eventually led to the downfall of Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and cost the owners $280 million (over half a billion dollars in today’s money). And with the ruling that players got the raw end of contracts when owners worked together to keep salaries down, the situation allowed — as just one example — Kirk Gibson to get out of his contract with the Detroit Tigers and sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. No collusion, no World Series Game 1 arm-pumping heroics by Gibson off Dennis Eckersley. In the 1985-86 offseason, of the 33 free agents available, 29 of them went back to their original clubs, and salaries decreased by 5%.1985 –


Baseball Agency Made Under-The-Table Payments To Players, Helped Provide Them PEDs -

          



ACES Baseball Agency is being sued by a former associate, Juan Carlos Nuñez, who says his former bosses encouraged him to make under-the-table payments to players and their families as well as help clients get steroids for bigger contracts. The lawsuit was filed today in New York State Supreme Court in Kings County.




Players To Watch in  College Baseball  -


         


         RHP Brady Singer, Florida - Singer enters the season projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Tigers in the Major League Baseball draft in June. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior made 19 starts, pitched 126 innings and went 9-5 in 2017. He made two starts in the College World Series, winning both and striking out 21 in 14 innings. He set a CWS finals record with 12 strikeouts against LSU in Game 1. Singer and fellow Gator Jackson Kowar, also expected to be a first-round pick, are joined by Tyler Dyson in one of the nation's most formidable weekend rotations.
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