MLBdirt Has Partnered With Field Rush!

Field Rush

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Field Rush and will be covering everything baseball related for their awesome site.

Andrew Martin has his first history notes article up and Field Rush is doing a Chris Davis Rookie Card giveaway in honor of our partnership.

Please bookmark and check out FieldRush.com daily as our posts will be part of their site from hear on out.

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Baseball Notes for June 17, 2013: MLB and Its Hypocritical Stance on Brawls

MacWilliams

Although a major brawl last week between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks resulted in eight suspensions and a dozen fines, the incident is yet another reminder of what a joke on-field fights and the subsequent reaction of Major League Baseball have become.

Tempers flared after Dodgers’ rookie sensation Yasiel Puig was hit in the face by a pitch, followed by a back-and-forth retaliatory actions by both sides.

Managers Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson were banned for one game each, while Dodgers’ hitting coach Mark McGwire earned two games because of behavior which resembled an enraged rhinoceros. The punishments are more of a show than punitive in nature. It seems that MLB’s reaction to such incidents is really an unsaid acceptance that brawls are good for business because of the attention they draw. If baseball truly wanted to crack down on on-field fighting, they could do so very easily. Their insistence in staying with the status quo indicates a sanctioning of loosely-controlled violence that spices up games. No matter how egregious brawls are, suspensions and fines are generally light and often reduced upon appeal (although it is rare that an explanation is given in such cases). Continue reading

MLB’s Most Overrated and Underrated Players

Wainwright

Discussing the most over and underrated players in baseball is an annual exercise that creates a lot of spirited debate and reaction. There’s no scientific formula to determine or verify who falls where; just opinion, eye-tests and carefully manipulated stats to prove points. That being said, the best reason to do it is because it’s fun.

Here are some players I believe are among the most over and underrated in the game today. Continue reading

What the Kris Bryant Draft Means for The Cubs

Kris

Thursday, at the Major League Baseball draft, the Chicago Cubs made a surprising move by not drafting the power arm of Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma after the Houston Astros chose Mark Appel from Stanford with their first overall pick. It was assumed by many that they would pick whomever the Astros would not take. They instead chose Kris Bryant from San Diego with their second pick.

I like them taking Bryant once Appel was off the board. While Gray is a great power arm that hits 100 mph with his fastball, Bryant has huge power and out homered a majority of the other Division I colleges by himself as he hit 31 home runs in only 228 ABs that will have an immediate impact in the middle of the lineup when his time is to be in Chicago.

It’s no secret the Cubs need some better arms in the organization. They’ve made some pretty picks in the last two years with Pierce Johnson and Duane Underwood last year and Dillon Maples in 2011. If you take out Maples couple of real bad starts, both he and Johnson have been pitching well. Underwood will be pitching for the short season Boise Hawks later this summer. It should be known that after the Bryant pick they did pick up pitchers with 19 of their draft picks this year. I haven’t had a lot of time to delve into those picks yet to see if there were any good arms in those picks, though it is worth noting a lot of these kids are college pitchers rather than kids being drafted out of high school. I like this move too.

What does this move mean for the Cubs? Continue reading

Baseball History Notes for June 10, 2013

Braun

The big news of the week in baseball was an ESPN Outside the Lines report that Major League Baseball is seeking to suspend 20 or more current players for their involvement with the now defunct Biogenesis of America clinic. Tony Bosch, the company’s founder, agreed to provide MLB with documents to help their cases. Players including Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera are all reported to be those in the crosshairs, with more details of the whole mess still to come.

The report indicated that suspensions could be as long as 100 games if MLB gets its way. However, want and reality could be two completely different things. The MLB Player’s Union immediately issued a statement declaring their intent to vigorously defend the players in the investigation, and will use their considerable power to minimize any punitive damage. It’s a situation that is highly unlikely to be determined quickly, but will probably play out in courtrooms and boardrooms for an indeterminable amount of time.

Regardless of the length of possible suspensions, the damage has already been done to the reputations of the players involved in the scandal. No matter how much you believe or don’t believe steroids and PEDs are cheating, the amount of lying and general scumbaggery (I made this word up specifically for this situation) on the part of these players has completely impugned their character. No matter how far they can hit a ball or fast they can throw a pitch, their greatest attribute as players and human beings has been irrevocably shattered. Continue reading

When Jay Bruce Pulls the Ball Good Things Follow

Houston Astros v Cincinnati Reds

On May 7th the Cincinnati Reds slugging right fielder Jay Bruce was hitting a paltry .246/.296/.345 with a single home run in more than 150 plate appearances. His unintentional walk rate (after subtracting the two plate appearances) was 5.3% and he was striking out in nearly one-third of his plate appearances. Needless to say, Bruce was not off to a good start.

Luck is not to be blamed for Bruce’s poor start due to his .370 BABIP which is well above his sub-.300 career mark coming into the season. Bruce seemed to be too aggressive at the plate, seeing 3.79 pitches per plate appearance.

Bruce’s power outage was likely due to his “all-field” approach. Usually, when a player starts using the entire field, the result is a better triple-slash. In Bruce’s case, it appeared to only give him a few more singles and a higher BABIP. Take a look at his spray chart from Opening Day to May 7th: Continue reading

Baseball Notes for June 3, 2013

Brett

One of baseball’s all-time heroes officially returned to the game this week. The slumping Kansas City Royals hired Hall of Famer George Brett, the greatest player in franchise history, to be the team’s new hitting coach.

The Royals, who spent big to bring in veterans like James Shields and Ervin Santana during the offseason, entered the year with playoff aspirations. However, after an 8-20 May, they are back in last place in the AL Central. Brett is being brought in to not only try and provide a spark, but to also buy the team some time. Royals’ fans admire nobody more than Brett. He may be able to create some good will while the team tries to get back on track and salvage their season.

***Speaking of Brett, he was mentioned for his kindness in a recent story about “Door George,” an aging Cleveland-area strip club bathroom attendant. Continue reading