Chief Wahoo Two

S.Samek

During the Cleveland Indians run to the world series the chief wahoo controversy came up.

 

I was on the side of the coin that wanted to see the logo removed.

 
The time has finally come. Recently it was announced that after 2018 Chief Wahoo will no longer see time on uniforms.

 

 

I fully agree with this. Though sources say this may only come because of intense pressure from MLB, or the fact that the Indians will host the 2019 all-star game.
Either way its good to see the logo go. Put the uniform drama away and focus on the on the field product.

 
Would be interesting to see what replaces it, if anything. I think the red C should be sufficient though if not a bit boring.

 
Should be interesting to see if this triggers another wave of logo changes. I don’t see that being the case ,but it may happen.

 

 

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Pittsburgh Pirates Trades Cole/McCutchen

S.Samek

After not doing too much, so far in the off-season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made two deals in the past couple of days. These are headline level deals.

The first involves Gerrit Cole, heading to Houston for four players.

 
The first player and you could say headliner of this deal is Colin Moran. Moran plays both third and first base, but is looked to be inserted in the former. He ranks as the fourth best prospect in the Pirates system at the moment. He split this season at triple a and the majors. During his 11 games in the majors he hit .364 with a homer and three rbi. Moran was also named a midseason triple a all-star after hitting .308 with 18 home runs this season.

 

Moran should get the nod to start at third base, especially with the uncertainty of Jung Ho Kang. Granted he is unproven, but looks to have a strong upside as a former first round pick.

 

Two arms came to the Pirates in Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz.

 

Musgrove is a potential starter for the Buccos. In the major leagues he sports an 11-12 record and 4.52 era and was used primarily in the bullpen. However, he is another first round pick and a former top 100 prospect.

 

He won’t replace Cole, at least not this year, but could be a future arm to watch.

 

Feliz is a bullpen arm with numbers that don’t look good. He has a 5.13 era for 98 games in the majors. Yet he strikes out a lot of hitters. Feliz punched out 70 in 48 innings this year and 95 in 65 innings in 2016. The Pirates like him as a potential late-inning arm.

 
I could see this kid being a potential steal, maybe the next setup man, or closer for the Pirates. I like the upside if he can turn it around. His fast ball averaged 96 mph, so he could be a power arm for the Bucs in the future.

 

The final piece in the trade is outfielder Jason Martin. Martin becomes the Pirates 18th ranked prospect. He saw time at advanced a and double a last season, where he hit .278 with 18 home runs and stole 16 bases.

 
This is a good additional piece to the trade. He has some upside, but if it doesn’t pan out he wasn’t the center piece of it anyway.

 

Now Houston gets the Pirates number one starter in Cole. Cole is a good pitcher and at time dominant. He just isn’t an ace. This Season he went 12-12 with a 4.26 era. Cole allowed a career-high 31 home runs in 2017.

 
However, he was 59-42 with a 3.50 era while making 127 starts in five seasons in Pittsburgh. Houston gets an established veteran starter at the cost of a few talented, yet unproven youngsters.

 
This is a good deal for both teams at least on paper and should be interesting to watch.

 

Andrew McCutchen was the second big name sent packing as he was traded to San Francisco. The package the Giants are sending includes bonus money, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds and pitcher Kyle Crick.

 

Reynolds was the Giants number four prospect at the time of the deal. He played at three levels of a ball this year with a .312 with 16 homers and 43 rbi stat line. He plays a bit of every outfield position. He also participated in the futures game this year.

 
I think this is a decent pick up. He is still a couple years away, but should make for an interesting prospect to watch.

 

Crick is another pitcher that saw time at triple a and in the majors this season. He was used in the bullpen where he put up a 2.76 era prior to his promotion. In the majors he had a 3.06 era with 28 strikeouts in 32 and one-third innings.

 
He is a former top prospect, but sits as number 16 in the current rankings. He could be another quality arm ready sooner rather than later for Pittsburgh.

 

McCutchen departs after hitting .279 with 28 homers and 11 steels last season. He was an anchor in the Pirates lineup and an MVP contender. He was the face of the franchise and a big part in getting the Pirates back to the playoffs.

 
He will be missed. However, I think if you want to respect McCutchen you let him play where he is wanted. He just isn’t at the level he once was and his fan support seemed to dwindle. This move lets him play for a contending team and Pittsburgh gets a couple players for the future.
Disappointing move yes, needed a second yes.
Overall, I think the moves look ok on paper and give me hope for the future, they just have to pan out.

 
Thank you, Cole, and McCutchen though for some great memories and good luck with your new teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Organization All-Stars 2017.

S.Samek

The best minor league players in the Pittsburg Pirates system were honored with milb.com organization all-star status.

 

Infield

Today I take a look at the selection to see what’s good and who deserves their status.
At the Catcher Position you have Jacob Stallings. Stallings saw time at triple a and a very short stint in the majors. He hit .301 with 16 doubles, four home runs and 38 rbi.

 
Being as catcher is one of the weaker positions in the Pirates system and that Elias Diaz has graduated from being a prospect make this an easy choice.

 
At first base Edwin Espinal was honored. Espinal hit .294 with 15 home runs and 86 rbi. Both of these totals ranked near the top of the organization leaderboard. Sadly, they let him walk in free agency. Well-deserved all-star spot.

 
At second base it was Pablo Reyes. Reyes was an on base machine for the Altoona Curve with 115 hits and 51 walks during the season. Reyes may not be well known and plays at a position with more depth, but isn’t entirely out of the mix after a season like that.

 
At shortstop it’s Cole Tucker. Tucker saw time at high a and double a in 2017. Tucker hit .275 with six home runs and 50 rbi. Tucker also swiped 47 bases this season, up from just six last year.

 
Shortstop is a position of depth for the Pirates, but Tucker could still be that future shortstop for the big-league Pirates.

 

At Third base the all-star is Ke’Byran Hayes. Hayes is the fourth ranked Pirates prospect. While Hayes has been injury prone in the past this year was better. He played in 108 and hi .278 with two homers and 43 rbi. Good to see him get on the field healthy and showing his stuff.

 

 

Outfield

In the Outfield its Jordan Luplow, Chris Bostick and Edison Lantiqua.

 
Luplow was the Pirates minor league player of the year and saw time in the majors this year. He hit .302 with 23 homers, best in the system. Luplow could be in Pittsburgh to start next year and absolutely earned every accolade he gets.

 
Bostick had a good season despite no real expectations. He hit .294 with seven homers and 57 rbi with 33 doubles at Triple A Indianapolis.

 
Lantiqua played for Bristol this season, so he is unknown to most Pirate fans. Though he showed he maybe a future top 30 prospect by hitting .307 with four homers and eight steals during 48 games this season. He routinely topped offensive categories for Bristol this year and could be a breakout candidate in 2018.

 
At the utility position Albert Baur was selected. Baur played at West Virginia in the South Atlantic League and hit .298 during the season after spending two seasons in short season a ball. His campaign included 117 hits, 31 doubles and 65 rbi, all near the top of the Pirate system leader boards. Baur could be another unranked, yet sleeper player to watch.

 

 

Pitchers

The right-handed pitcher for the Pirates comes as no surprise, despite a talented system with plenty of depth at the position. Hammer Down favorite and number two Pirates prospect Mitch Keller earned the spot.
Keller made 23 starts, including six at double a. This included clutch starts in the double a playoff, where he went 2-0 with a 1.10 era. Keller is most likely going back to Altoona to start 2018, but after a stint in the AFL is primed to make a run toward starting in Pittsburgh real soon.

 
The best left hander in the system is Steven Brault. Brault is often time thrown in the mix as a fifth starter in Pittsburgh after making four starts and pitching in 11 games for the big club. He went 10-5 with a 1.94 era at triple this season. This earned him the Pirates minor league pitcher of the year award. Great pick for an all -star honor.

 
Tate Scioneaux was the all-star reliever for this team. He was Altoona’s closer after the promotion of Montana Durapau. He went 14 of 17 in save opportunities while pitching 83 innings with a 2.44 era. Scioneaux is another unranked prospect, but could surprise a lot of people if he keeps putting up good numbers.

 
Overall the list is pretty good. It’s just a little alarming that more ranked prospect don’t appear on this list. Though it adds some variety to the players to watch list.

To compare with the 2016 list check here.

MILB Rebrands for 2018

S.Samek

In this post I talked about the new names the Gwinnett Braves were considering. Now they officially have a new name: The Gwinnett Strippers.
The name comes from a popular fish in Lake Lanier.
The logo looks sharp with a red, green and blue color scheme. They even have an alternate logo with a worm on a hook. That’s pretty funny.
The logo set looks on pair with most minor league offerings. The name is unique, but not super over the top. It maybe doesn’t draw the attention of some of the wackier names, but does a good job of not being to pedestrian.
That and it gets another super common and boring Braves name out of the Atlanta System.

Speaking of changing names from that of the parent club, we have the former Tampa Yankees. They selected a team name from the history book the Tampa Tarpons.

The logo looks like kind of a generic fish. Though Tarpons is a cool name. Also points for how the Yankees color scheme looks so good in the main logo. Complete with a pinstripe background.

The Hudson Valley Renegades changed appreances as well. They now have another new set of logos complete with a raccoon swing a bat.
I must admit I don’t thing they really needed a change. To me the logos look a bit smoother than the old one, but don’t really change the brand with a must have logo for a hat.
Though I do enjoy how they have a set up for their season 25 anniversary by showcasing the team colors throughout the years in a set of three logos. They look very well done and impressive.

Speaking of sharpening their image we have the Augusta Green Jackets. The golf themed moniker gets a sharp new upgrade. This was due a long time ago, but as they are set to get a new stadium it’s the perfect time to adopt a new logo.

The little duffer bee dons a silly little gold cap in a mostly dark green logo. Its silly fun and looks good to boot.

So far, I am pleased with this years first wave of rebrands from minor league baseball. Interested to see what else is in store.

 

 

 

NLDS 2017 Preview

S.Samek

We have four teams left in the National League. Let’s take a closer look at each division series matchup.
First is LA and Arizona. This is an NL West division battle, set up by Arizona’s win over Colorado, also of the NL West.
LA is no stranger to the playoffs and winning. This year they would win the President’s trophy for best regular season mark with 104 wins. This was 11 better than the Diamondbacks total.

According to ESPN the Dodgers have the best fielding team left in the tournament and best roster. If you have a roster than boasts, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood, Cody Bellinger and more you deserve that mark.
Bellinger stands out because of his success against Zac Greinke. Bellinger hit .293 against him this year with a .655 slugging percentage.

Arizona should rely on Greinke and Robby Ray to win them games pitching. Paul Goldschmidt and J.D Martinez should care the Snakes offensively. The pair mashed 36 and 29 homers respectively during 2017.

Though Goldschmidt struggles against Kershaw to the tune of .227 career and 0-5 during 2017 against him.

The bullpen may be a bit shaky, especially with closer Fernando Rodney. Big reason why the snakes pen is ranked seventh of eight remaining teams in bullpen war.

Though recently the Diamondbacks have the Dodgers number, winning the last six in a row. It won’t be enough as La wins this series

Second offering is the defending world series champions Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. This is a matchup of the two teams that emerged in rather weak divisions.
Chicago may still have a bit of a spark from winning it all last year. They also have Kris Bryant, Antony Rizzo and company hitting well for them. They also returned Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester to the staff that took it all last year. They will be a tough out in this round.

The Nationals were five games better than the Cubs, with 97 wins. They did this with a core of Bryce Harper. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. With an improved bullpen from trades this team looks complete and ready to compete.

Harper should have an advantage over Arrieta, as he hit left handers .322/.433/.654 this season. It should be close, but Washington has just enough to sneak by.

2017 ALDS Preview

S. Samek

Moving past the wild card game to set up each division series. Here would be my pick for team s advancing to the Championship series. Starting with the American League.
Our first match up is the Indians and Yankees. The Yankees are fresh off an 8-4 win in Tuesdays wild card game. While Luis Severino did not look good in that game it shouldn’t matter as the Yankees bullpen looked good. Severino should be able to rebound and pitch closer to the dominance he saw during the regular season if he is needed in this series.

Aaron Judge, homered in the wild card game and had 52, tops in the American League during the regular season.  Gary Sanchez hit 33 homers as well. The power is there for New York.

Cleveland wins plan and simple. The won last year’s American League championship and lost in the World series final game. They won 102 games this season, most in the American League and second most in all of MLB.

They own the record for wins in a row all time as they strung together 22 wins during the season. They have a 42-8 record in the past 50 games.
They pitch well. Indians bull pen has the best era, while their starters have the second best. Cory Kluber leds this staff with a 1.62 era in his last 23 starts.

The Indians can hit too. Edwin Encarnacion had the big stick with 38 homers this year. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez also combine for 62 long balls this season. If the Yankees have power, so do the Indians.

Cleveland has a 58.3 percent chance to win according to ESPN and I agree. Indians win.

Next matchup is Houston and Boston.

Houston won 101 games, third best overall record. The have four great pitchers in the rotation, led by Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. They have strong hitters like Jose Altuve, Josh Reddick and George Springer. They are a complete team built to compete.

The Red Sox won the East division and 93 games. The have a rotation with Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello. Offensively they have Mookie Betts and his 24 home runs. Betts does well against ground ball pitchers, like Keuchel and should be able to give Boston a nice boost on offense.

think Houston’s depth in the rotation should be able to send them on, when combined with a strong hitting core. Astros take this series.

 

 

 

 

Wild Card Predicts 2017

S.Samek

As the calendar tunes from September to October it means its football season right. Not quite as its baseball playoff time. The first game of the playoffs goes down tonight with the American League Wild Card Game.

This matchup is the Twins and Yankees. The Twins seem to be big under dogs in this one. The Yankees seem to have an advantage at most of the positions on the field.

The Bronx Bombers also won six games more than the Twinkies. During the most recent series between the two It was New York sweeping a three-game set.

The Pitching matchup seems to be getting the most attention. The Yankees are sending Luis Severino against Ervin Santana. Severino is dominate with a 2.98 era against Santana’s 3.36. It’s not a huge difference, but maybe just enough of an edge to give the Yanks the win.

If era isn’t it would be the stakeout numbers. Severino sends hitters back to the dugout at almost a 30 percent clip. This is ten percent better than Santana. That’s about a third of Twins hitters not getting on base. You don’t get on base you don’t score. No runs scored, you don’t win the game.

Santana doesn’t also fare well in Yankee stadium. He is 0-5 with a 6.43 era there.

Minnesota does have Byron Buxton to watch though. Buxton hit .253 with 16 homers and 51 rbi during the year. However, he is hitless against Severino.

New York counter punches with Aaron Judge. Judge had 52 long balls this season while hitting .284.

Gary Sanchez also has 33 homers for New York, making there no shortage of power for the Yankees. Santana has also given up seven homers while pitching in Yankee stadium, so there’s plenty to be worried about if you’re a Twins fan.
Yankees win this one.
In the second wild card game the National League has the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona won 93 games to Colorado’s 87 games. Both finishing behind the 104-win Dodgers. It’s the same Dodgers that loom on the horizon for the winner of this game.
Colorado should make this a competitive game with big hitters such as Charlie Blackman, Noland Arenado and Carlos Gomez. Gomez has homered five times and has 14 hits in 42 at bats against Zac Greinke, who looks to get the ball for Arizona.

The Snakes have Paul Goldschmidt and a resurging J.D Martinez to help power them. This should be enough to overcome the Rockies. This one should be close though.