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Posts Tagged ‘MLB’

Stephen Strasburg Finally Signs With Nationals

Posted by Gene Morris on August 18, 2009

According to a report on ESPN.com, Stephen Strasburg, the #1 overall selection in the 2009 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals, has agreed to a record breaking deal worth a record $15.67 million over four years.

Strasburg, who pitched for the San Diego State Aztecs in the NCAA last season, throws his fastball upwards of 100 MPH.  But the real reason he smashed the record with the highest deal for a draft selection is because of his “adviser”, Scott Boras.

Before the signing period for draft picks begin, Major League Baseball announces a slotting system that they hope for teams to follow.  But big market clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox routinely blow the slot money out of the water in order to obtain the best young talent.  Teams that strictly follow the leagues slotting system put themselves at an extreme disadvantage.  Unlike the NBA and NFL draft, players are very often passed over because a team doesn’t believe it will be able to sign the prospect, and they instead go with a safer pick.

If Strasburg had not signed with the Nationals this evening, he would have been eligible to enter into the 2010 draft.  The Nationals would then be awarded a compensation pick, which in this case would have been #2 overall.  With far and away the worst record in the league, the Nationals would almost assuredly end up with the top 2 selections, but would not have been able to select Strasburg again.

The consensus #1 overall pick in 2010 is high school junior Bryce Harper, a catcher who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated earlier this year.  Now fans in Washington can begin dreaming of a battery consisting of Strasburg and Harper.  That should be fun.

Here’s video of Strasburg striking out 23 in a game against Utah.

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Josh Willingham Joins Exclusive Group With Two Grand Slams In One Game

Posted by Gene Morris on July 28, 2009

Finally some positive news coming out of Washington about the Nationals. Despite being 31-68 and 27 games out in the NL East, Josh Willingham provided some history last night for the Nats.

Willingham became one of just 13 players in major league history to hit two grand slams in one game.

The 12 others…

List of Players who hit two grand slams in one game, via Wikipedia

List of Players who hit two grand slams in one game, via Wikipedia

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A’s Trade Holliday to Cardinals for Package Headlined by Brett Wallace

Posted by Gene Morris on July 24, 2009

After acquiring outfield Matt Holliday from the Colorado Rockies during the off season, the Oakland A’s shipped the free agent to be to the St. Louis Cardinals for three minor leaguers, including third base prospect Brett Wallace.

Wallace, the former Arizona State Sun Devil, was drafted 13th overall by St. Louis in 2008.  The two other prospects the A’s received were pitcher Clayton Mortenson and outfielder Shane Peterson.

Holliday got off to a slow start, hitting only .240 in April, but has raised his average to .286 on the season and is hitting .338 in July with three home runs and 14 RBI’s.

Keith Law of ESPN.com believes the deal is a win-win for both teams, noting that the package the A’s received is greater than what they gave up to Colorado in the offseason.  (Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez, and Greg Smith.)

From Law on ESPN Insider…

In exchange, Oakland gets a strong package of prospects, headlined by third baseman Brett Wallace, the 19th-best prospect in the minors coming into this season and a top-10 prospect in the minors right now. Wallace is a left-handed hitter with a tremendous approach, above-average power, and — unlike a lot of left-handed-hitting prospects — has no trouble hitting left-handed pitching.

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Yankees Win Again, Tie Red Sox for AL East Lead

Posted by Gene Morris on July 21, 2009

The American League’s eastern division is far and away the best in baseball.  Just look at the top five teams in terms of run differential through July 20.

  1. LA Dodgers  +99
  2. Red Sox  +79
  3. Rays  +79
  4. Phillies +67
  5. Yankees +65

The Yankees have won four games in a row coming out of the all-star break, pushing their overall record to 55-37, the same as the Sox.  Tampa Bay is just 4.5 games back with a record of 51-42.

The Yanks lead the American League with 504 runs, but tonight won by a score of 2-1 for the third straight game.  On a day when Chien-Min Wang suffered a slight injury setback it was important to get good starting pitching from both Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte, and  both came through with strong performances.  (Chamberlain allowed only one run and three hits in 6.2 innings, Pettitte allowed only one run over 7.1 innings and had a season high eight strikeouts.)

Add in the fact that the Blue Jays are 9.5 games back but still have a +34 run differential, and the Orioles have an explosive offense led by young stars Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and uber-prospect Matt Weiters, and it’s easy to see just how good the Yankees, Sox, and Rays are.

At this point it looks like one of them will be the wildcard, but that’s testament to those three teams more than a knock of the rest of the league.

And before long the Orioles may jump into the same league as the top three teams because of the pitching prospects coming through their system as this article by Kevin Goldstein of baseball prospectus points out.

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