Matt Harrison is one of several pitchers in the Texas Ranger’s organization who benefited from having a Hall-of-Famer of Nolan Ryan’s stature readily available. Derek Holland also took advantage of that luxury, meeting with Ryan after the 2012 season about ways he could improve his game. Holland then turned in his best season yet last year. Closer Joe Nathan cited Ryan as one of the reasons he signed with the Rangers two years ago.
[The news of Ryan’s resigning from his post as CEO at the end of the month caught the pitchers by surprise, and they understand the magnitude of the loss. “It’s pretty unexpected,” Harrison said. “To lose someone like him, it’s going to be hard, but we’re going to get through it. We’re going to have to move on like we always do.” Holland told ESPN.com that Ryan “was a mentor and a friend…. He helped me on and off the field. I’m devastated to hear the news that he’s retiring. I’m going to miss him.” ] —Drew Davison at the Ft Worth Star-Telegram
So they said
“Why shouldn’t the rest of the “clean” major leaguers speak out against PEDs? Because quite frankly, the dummies who continue to take steroids are getting caught. The system is working. Yes, they get to stay in baseball after they come back and continue making a pay check but if that is their beef, take it up with the players union.” —Zach Herman at Through The Fence Baseball
“I’ve covered professional sports since the late 1970s, and I’ve never seen a team like the 2013 Cardinals. I’ve never seen a team of players so close, so unselfish, so enthusiastic about reaching out. Veterans go out of their way to help ascending, younger teammates who are on track to take the veterans’ starting job — or at least a larger percentage of playing time.
“It is truly special,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “Perhaps even unique.” —Bernie Miklasz at the St Louis Post-Dispatch
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area reports that; “The Giants have presented a two-year structure to [Tim] Lincecum but talks haven’t progressed; assuming nothing gets done before the end of the World Series, the Giants plans to make him a qualifying offer (one year, almost $14 million) that would set them up to receive draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. But the Seattle native might be curious to see what level of interest his hometown Mariners will have in him – especially since they own a protected first-round draft pick and wouldn’t lose it. The Mariners had a scout following Lincecum and the Giants over the club’s last homestand.”
Draft and Prospects
How Long Does It Take for Top Prospects to Succeed in the Majors?
Scott McKinney of Beyond the Box Score has put together a detailed and very good study of the subject, and it deserves a full reading. The topic comes up when a prospect or rookie takes longer than anticipated to reach the majors, or when a team gives up hope on a young player, only to watch him blossom in a new environment. What should you expect from your team’s prospects and rookies? McKinney lists some conclusions he reached, which include:
“Prospects usually make you wait. They rarely have even league average seasons right away. Although it is unclear how much of this is because they are not yet average talent players, or because they are not given the opportunity to show how good they are over a full season of regular playing time.”
“Most top prospects (58.6%) blossom in their second or third major league season. But for any prospect, there’s a significant chance that he’ll blossom anywhere from his first to fifth season.”
“Top pitching prospects have their first league average MLB season a little earlier than position player prospects.”
“On average, you have to wait until a position player’s third season, after about 120 games and 440 PA for his first league average season.”
“On average, you have to wait until a pitcher’s second or third season, after about 33 games, 19 starts and 130 IP for his first league average season.”
“Age at first MLB call up is not a meaningful variable in how long it takes a top prospect to succeed in the majors.”
“Better prospects (by BA rank) succeed a little more quickly than lesser prospects, but the difference is not great”.”
Through the Fence Baseball’s 2014 MLB mock draft 2.0 draft order is set. Just click on the title to read the details. If all you care about is the Mariners’ pick, it is: “6. Seattle Mariners — Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (GA).
“There isn’t much to nitpick about the 6’-2” right-hander with all five tools. He has plus speed, an arm that has been clocked at 100 mph from the outfield and, with great bat speed, the power is coming fast. A two-way player with great stuff on the mound, his future is in the outfield where his speed and arm make him a legitimate center field prospect at the next level. Another kid who I got to see launch bombs out of Wrigley, as well as show off his arm with a strike to third base from centerfield, the Mariners would be getting a high character kid with as much talent as anyone in the 2014 MLB draft.”
—Dan Kirby, who also has done an interview with Michael Gettys, titled 2014 MLB draft watch: Q&A with Michael Gettys
Baseball Best Practice
Boston’s “big” free agent signings were Napoli, Victorino and Uehara, hardly the biggest names on market. Finding right fits sometimes provides more than star power. —Evan Grant at the Dallas Morning News
“Those of us in the front office, we know that not everything we do is going to work out,” said [Boston GM Ben] Cherington. “Obviously there are mistakes — my mistakes. Mistakes happen. When things are going well, you just sit back and try to enjoy it. We have a remarkable group of people in this clubhouse, John [Farrell] and his staff, and the medical staff, the players. They just set out to accomplish something and do it together — do it the right way. We’re just enjoying it. We’re along for the ride and we’re enjoying it.” —Ian Browne at MLB.com
By The Numbers
The Dodgers hit .234 during the six-game NLCS. The Cardinals hit .178. The Dodgers hit two more home runs than St. Louis. The Cardinals’ payroll was $116 million, $100 million less than that of the Dodgers.
Michael Wacha is the third rookie pitcher in major league history to win each of his first three starts of a postseason, joining Livan Hernandez (1997) and Babe Adams (three wins in the 1909 World Series). —Elias Sports Bureau
An average of 4.5 million viewers have watched the 30 MLB postseason games so far. That’s an increase of 8 percent from last year. —Drew Davison at the Ft Worth Star-Telegram
The Dodgers have beefed up their international scouting efforts to historic levels. They’re spending as freely as the rules allow. We’re not just talking about Yasiel Puig. They signed a 15-year-old left-hander, Julio Urias, out of Sinaloa, Mexico, who dominated alongside [their top draft pick] Chris Anderson at Great Lakes. They limited his innings because he is so young, but he had a 2.48 ERA. —Mark Saxon at ESPN LA
How Much Does A Win Really Cost?
Lewie Pollis at Beyond the Box Score has done a cogent, if not definitive, study of the value of a win in today’s marketplace that any executive, agent, player, or fan should read in detail because most folks are using the wrong numbers. Some of Pollis’ conclusions include:
*The win value figures hosted on FanGraphs (and thus adopted by a majority of analytically oriented writers and fans) are unreliable estimates of how much teams actually paid per win because they are based on incomplete data.
*The price of free agent wins is not growing at a consistent rate; rather, the historical year-to-year trends are characterized by minor fluctuations punctuated with occasional dramatic spikes.
*This year, a win cost about $7 million on the free agent market. This figure is significantly higher than the popularly accepted $5 million estimate, and that has significant implications for how players should be valued and transactions should be evaluated across the game.