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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Bird Logos

S.Samek

Tis the season for turkeys and turkey bowl games. How better to celebrate than taking a look at the best related logos in sports to turkeys: Birds. Even though Pittsburgh Dad denies the intimidating power of the bird mascot.

10. Toledo Mud Hens.

9. Orleans Firebirds.

8.Idaho Falls Chuckers.

7. Lancaster Jet Hawks.

6. Great Lakes Loons.

5. Aberdeen Iron birds.

4. Tucson Roadrunners.

3.Bakersfield Condors.

2. Rochester Honkers.

1. Anaheim Ducks/Mighty Ducks.

 

 

Sports Collections

Throwback to some of the coolest sports merchandise.

S.Samek

When I was a kid not only did I watch sports, I would collect them. Yes, I collected the standard baseball cards, but a couple other things too.

 
The first of which are the baseball helmets from Dairy queen. The ones that you could get when you ordered a sundae. It even had a display with each of the divisions, so you could keep the standings.

 
I have eight of them including a Montreal Expos one. They are still available, but maybe a bit forgotten about.

 
No doubt one of the most popular stadium giveaways of all time is the bobble head. A while back Post brand cereals took advantage of this by offering mini bobble heads of current MLB stars.

 
I remember always begging for the Oreo o’s or the like just so I could collect them. Even though most often the cereal became neglected after two, or three bowls and was left to become stale. Didn’t matter to me, I collected seven MLB stars, with a couple of them becoming hall of famers.

 
The final novelty I remember collecting is the mini team mugs. One could be had for .50 out of the toy machines at Walmart, or the grocery store. Yet again I ended up with seven from both the NFL and MLB.

 
They have come in handy too. I keep them on my baseball bat shaped shelf with a lot of my collectables and trophies. Actually, all the collectables mentioned in this post make their home on that shelf. Then I take my collection of baseballs and sit them on top of the mugs. Making for a pretty neat holder.

 
Note I didn’t and don’t collect these for the value. They aren’t worth much even several years after release. It was just a fun way to have merchandise from different teams.

 

 

 

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.

 

Post 100

By S. Samek

Hard to believe, but Hammer Down has reached 100 posts. This post has a bit more of the celebratory than the informative. Taking a look at our best posts and any of significance so far.
Starting off of course with the first post ever written. This was my post on Mitch Keller as a top Pirates prospect. It was a fun post to write and has enjoyed some success as far as being viewed. Check it out here.
Next let’s keep with milestones and hit up post 99. It’s a piece on UBA expansion into Los Vegas. It’s based off the relative success on my post talking about the league may do well with an expansion in Portland, Maine. Read them here.
Moving on let do some editor’s choice. This would be my all-star team of some of the best posts we have to offer so far.
Our first pick is a couple options on Jose Fernandez. Both were incredibly well written by two excellent classmates and writers. Give them some love here. And Here.

Next would be the most popular post by views on the blog. Talking about rank Pirates closers here. A good read worth seeing why it’s so popular.
Another favorite of mine was one from a couple weeks ago. I never thought I would cover something as wild as snail racing. Here it is though, good for a laugh, or two.
This is one I just feel really proud of. A bit disappointed it hasn’t been viewed much.  Support it there if you please.
While it has been a great run it would not have been possible without a lot of people. A lot of great classmates of mine contributed to the foundation of this blog. It would be missing a lot if it wasn’t for them. So many thanks to them, they know who they are.
I also want to than the fans and followers. It’s always so rewording to know someone appreciates the time and effort spent on these posts. Thank you fans.
What’s next you ask? Well here’s to another 100 posts I hope. I really was surprised to get this far. It almost was a done for blog in December. Though I made it through a tough couple of months and have done a decent job so far.

I’m happy with the consistent up-ward direction of the blog. Looking to keep it that way and keep expanding best I can. Thanks again to all for your continued support.

His Honor

Yankees rookie is on many radars.

By S. Samek.

The New York Yankees a team of money. Known to flash the cash at whatever free agent can come their way. Yet what if I told you the Yanks did it the old-fashion way and have a home-grown talent dominating the game today.

The domination comes in the form of rookie outfielder Aaron Judge. Judge is hitting at a .344 clip with 21 home runs and 47 RBI. All of those are top marks in the American League.  The 21 homers are a league-wide best. Throw in additional top marks for runs scored, walks, total bases and the dominance is real.

Judge is coming off a week where he hit .500. Got on base at a .600 while slugging 1.00. The Yanks won five of the six contests and led the American League East.  The impressive week gave Judge the nod as player of the week for the first time in his career.

 

This comes on the heels of Judge being named AL rookie of the month for both April and May.

If that doesn’t get your attention his power should. On Sunday June 11,2017 Judge hit 495 feet, clearing the left field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. It was the second longest tracked home run ever, sense 2015 and the longest homer in the majors this year.

 The power looks to be real too. By homering 21 times to date, Judge has already amassed a career high in homers. Judge hit 56 homers in the minor leagues, with 39 of them coming in the past two seasons. 27 of those round trippers came at the triple a level. Think twice pitchers before throwing the high heat.

Judge was a great player in the minors. Three times he was selected as an Milb.com Yankees organization all-star. In 2014, he received an invitation to play for Scottsdale of the Arizona Fall League for advanced prospects. Judge made the AFL all-prospect team for his play with Scottsdale, while also being an AFL player of the week award. Then in 2015 Judge was selected for the Futures game as a member of the Scranton/WB Railriders. The first call to the majors came on August 13,2016 when the Yankees selected his contract.

Judge suited up in 27 games during that final month of 2016. He hit .179, but had 4 home runs and 10 rbi. Though an oblique strain sent him to the 15-day DL. Now the injury looks to be behind him and the numbers are improving.

Judge’s stellar season has gained the attention of fans league wide. Judge has the led in the All-star game vote for the American league outfield. His over a million and 250 thousand and 500 votes is the top mark in the American league for any position. To capitalize on this success Judge has earned his own cheering section. The section has been dubbed the Judge’s chambers and sits in right field. Fans wear judges robs and receive foam gavels that say “All Rise.”  True intimidation factor for opposing right fielders. Judge approves of the section too.

 

Can’t wait to see this guy in the all-star game. Should he win the triple crown, Judge can easily put a stamp on Rookie of the Year as well. No jury deliberation needed on that one.

 

Challenge One

Issued By S. Samek

Deciding to change it up with content. Below are some links to YouTube videos from a channel called TPS, or total pro sports. In these videos, there is a different naming challenge to conquer. I ran through the challenges below and recorded the following scores. I am passing on the challenge to Hammer Down readers and fans. Can you best the Hammer Down Sports Blog Staff?

Here are the rules I followed during the challenge. You have one view per video to attempt the challenge. You can start naming during the commercial break before a video should one occur. The challenge ends when the video has run out. The challenge should occur in writing. The goal is to gain the points by naming the correct teams before they are said in the video. If you get an answer from the video the point will not count. Gather the most points possible. No googling, internet, or phone help allowed either.  Teams of friend are allowed to brainstorm, but are still subject to the same above rules. Some videos also are broken down into segments by league. If you get other team names while working on a different league they count, but after all the leagues teams have been named in the video you can’t count those for points. Again, name the teams before they are mentioned in the video to score the points.

After attempting the challenge post your results by commenting on the post in WordPress, or via Facebook, or Twitter. Good luck on the challenge.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Rt2m_me3U. 2 of 6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyoGgHICZGk 10 of 11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-1z8g4lj2k 9 of 15

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GelG2m6LTjc 10 of 12

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TKeSQACff8 10 of 12

Total score 41 of 56 73%