December 5, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Devil Rays Articles
Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Devil Rays .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
10/21/2013: World Series workhorsesby Frank Jackson
10/20/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/19/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/19/2013: WPS Recap: NLCS, 10/18/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/17/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Bob Baileyby Bruce Markusen
10/18/2013: The 2013 Atlanta Braves and core WARby James Gentile
10/18/2013: The best rookies of the ‘60sby Chad Dotson
10/17/2013: The Screwball: What about Bob Lemon?by Azure Texan
10/17/2013: WPS Recap: LCS, 10/16/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/16/2013: WPS recap: LCS, 10/15/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/16/2013: How much do we know about pitcher value?by Jason Linden
10/16/2013: 10th anniversary: the Aaron Boone Gameby Chris Jaffe
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October 05, 2013
WPS recap: LDS, 10/4/2013As busy a day of October baseball as we can have. Opening ceremonies will be cut short so we can move straight to the game action.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Pirates 0 1 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 7 Cardinals 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 (Series tied 1-1) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pirates 7 31 28 3 14 5 3 1 0 Cardinals 13 4 5 5 8 8 7 1 1 WPS Base: 143.6 Best Plays: 36.6 Last Play: 0.1 Grand Total: 180.3
These aren't just getting boring as baseball games. These are getting boring as examples of what makes a boring baseball game. One team gets ahead early, and never lets the other one get close again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The most interesting thing about this game may have been the wind. It was fooling fielders all day. Deceptively mild-mannered fly balls suddenly took off like Superman and leaped tall fences in a single bound, or sometimes without bounding at all. The final insult was the infield pop that somehow carried past David Freese, letting Marlon Byrd take two bases on his hustle. (He'd score on two productive outs.)
The vaunted St. Louis performance with runners in scoring position deserted the Cardinals today. Pittsburgh shut them down, zero for five. The bigger part of the story was that the Pirates allowed them so few RISP opportunities.
With three other games to cover, I won't burn many more bits on this one. It does put Pittsburgh squarely back in the series, which puts the legions of Pirates fans squarely into the action for Game Three on Sunday. From what we heard from them in the Wild Card knockout game last Tuesday, that should be worth our attention.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Rays 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 Red Sox 0 0 0 5 3 0 0 4 X 12 (Red Sox lead series 1-0) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rays 5 15 5 24 5 2 1 4 0 Red Sox 12 11 6 76 14 0 0 0 X WPS Base: 181.1 Best Plays: 38.7 Last Play: 0.0 Grand Total: 219.8
This game had some actual juice, at least for an inning, because it had something the previous six in this series did not: a lead change. A bizarre lead change, but a thorough one that turned the spigot of excitement right back off by the next inning. I will get to the original inning in a bit.
Once again, we see how deceptive early impressions can be. Jon Lester strikes out the side to open the game—he actually struck out his first four batters—but gave up a home run in the second, and another in the fourth, to pop the bubble of invincibility. His counterpart Matt Moore didn't allow a hit through three, sparking that idle hope in the bosoms of myriad baseball fans. And then the fourth inning happened to him.
The Tampa Bay Rays are known these days as a smart team, smart in the front office, in the dugout, and on the field. But their defense in the fourth inning wound up two steps behind on every big play. Wil Myers let David Ortiz's deep fly ball drop for a ground-rule double. With the score tied, they let Jonny Gomes score from second on Stephen Drew's dribbler to first base. Then Sean Rodriguez overran Will Middlebrooks' ball hitting off the Green Monster and had it ricochet behind him, letting Drew score. Then catcher Jose Lobaton's dropped third strike kept the inning alive long enough for a fifth Boston run.
It was almost like midnight had struck, and they had turned back into the Devil Rays. It was also time for the big trend of the playoffs to resume, as Fenway fans began the derisive chant of Myyyyy-errrrrs! What hath Pirates fans wrought!
There was immediate suspicion that the Boston bullpen had coached Myers off the fly ball that he had lined up, then pulled away to watch bounce over the fence. Myers said otherwise: "I saw Des [Desmond Jennings] out of the corner of my eye and backed off. It was totally my fault." I'll take him at his word, that he's not covering by obeying the unwritten baseball rule that you don't talk about your opponents disobeying the unwritten rules (it makes you look whiny).
Then there's that other unwritten rule: Don't show up the other team by stealing in the late innings with a big lead. Jacoby Ellsbury did that in the eighth, his Red Sox up 8-2, on the way to piling on four more runs. That's something else the Rays may just have to shrug off.
But if David Ortiz takes a heater off his elbow tomorrow, we may have seen a reason or two why today.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Dodgers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 Braves 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 X 4 (Series tied 1-1) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dodgers 22 13 14 15 7 27 43 29 40 Braves 5 25 5 31 5 4 30 3 X WPS Base: 317.1 Best Plays: 49.9 Last Play: 7.5 Grand Total: 374.5
Yes! Finally! Thank you! It may not have been a great game, but it was a good game. It stayed close all the way through the middle innings; when one team finally leaped out to a multi-run lead, the other came back immediately to close the gap; even scoreless innings had enough action to hold a spectator's interest. The highest Win Percentage Added play of the game, in fact, was the double play that got Atlanta out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.
The pivotal play that most may remember is Atlanta substitute catcher Gerald Laird throwing out pinch-runner Dee Gordon on a ninth-inning steal attempt that quelled an L.A. rally. The play was awfully close: Shortstop Andrelton Simmons had his glove on Gordon's back as the ball was arriving, but it came off about the time the ball went into the glove. To my eyes, he had the ball and contact; to others, it wasn't clear-cut at all. That one could be picked over for a long time, depending on whether the Dodgers wish they had this game back.
After the Myyyyy-errrrrs! affair in Boston, it was good to hear a brief positive chant in Atlanta. Freddie Freeman, being talked up by the announcers as an MVP candidate, got a nice Fred-die! from the hometown folks early in the game, though it wasn't repeated, as Mr. Myers' chant was.
Craig Kimbrel came on for a four-out save, his first ever in the postseason, which gives me a chance to make an observation about him. In his three-plus seasons with the Braves, Kimbrel has recorded 139 regular-season saves, with 50 this year. If he stays healthy, there is every reason to believe he will have over 40 next year and put his career total past 180.
And at the end of the 2014 season when he does that, he will still be younger than Mariano Rivera was when he got his first major-league save. At 652 lifetime saves, Mariano is the king, but it may be that the heir is already among us. A lot of things have to go right for Kimbrel, but it would be tough to get off to a better start on the long chase.
Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F Tigers 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 A's 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 (Detroit leads series 1-0) WPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Tigers 38 2 4 5 4 6 2 9 3 A's 4 16 8 4 4 10 33 26 17 WPS Base: 195.8 Best Plays: 39.3 Last Play: 3.9 Grand Total: 239.0
And we go right back to the old pattern, with a moderate variation near the end. If you watched the Dodgers and Braves to the final pitch, took a quick bathroom break, then tuned into the Tigers and A's, you missed the Detroit offense. They jumped on Bartolo Colon early, then fizzled out as though exhausted by the effort. Oakland closed the gap in the seventh on Yoenis Cespedes' home run, so the last few innings were less of a WPS drought. The damage was done, though, and could have been undone only by a stirring comeback. The A's didn't have that in them.
Max Scherzer broke the recent pattern of pitchers dominating in the first inning, then coming unwound soon after. He compiled nine strikeouts through five innings, 11 for all seven that he pitched, and was one-hitting the A's after six. Colon did settle down after the first, holding Detroit scoreless the next five innings, so he completely reversed the pattern.
An idle thought crossed my mind as I watched Colon face Prince Fielder: Is this the greatest combined weight of pitcher and batter ever to face each other in the majors? Probably not. I think CC Sabathia has the edge in mass on Colon, or at least did at one time. CC, though, looks big and solid, but Bartolo is just sloppy fat.
There was a weak "MVP!" chant for Josh Donaldson when he first came to bat. Given the presence of Cabrera on the same field, the weakness can be understood.
Miguel Cabrera is obviously hurting. A ball he hit in the eighth inning went off Donaldson's glove at third. For most batters, this would have meant reaching on an error, but Donaldson calmly tracked down the ball, threw to first, and still got Cabrera by a couple of steps. If his hitting is as badly affected—and the announcers watching his plate technique believed so—he may actually be an impediment to the Tigers right now.
Jhonny Peralta, back from his Biogenesis suspension, pinch-hit in the ninth inning. The Oakland fans gave him a lusty round of boos. The same Oakland fans whose starting pitcher that night had been one-time suspended PED user Bartolo Colon. I reserve further comment.
So it took four games today, but we finally got a pretty good one. One hopes it won't take another quadruple-header to produce a fun one, but if we need it, we've got it. Pittsburgh and Atlanta evened up their series today, meaning all four series will be playing on Monday. So we get to do this again in three days!
Sleep? What's that? You can sleep in November.
Posted by: Shane Tourtellotte
June 04, 2012
Nats picked a great time to stinkThe Washington Nationals are leading the National League East by percentage points going into Monday's games. Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft begins Monday. These two events are not unrelated.
Two reasons the Nats are (finally) finding success are the contributions of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, two of the most hyped draftees in history. And Washington had the distinct pleasure of selecting these players with back-to-back No. 1 overall picks in the 2009 and 2010 drafts.
After dealing with Tommy John surgery that cost him more than a year's worth of starts, Strasburg has returned to the form he displayed when he first burst onto the major league scene. He is punching out 10.9 batters per nine innings with a 4.65:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, leading to a 165 ERA+. Traditionalists eat up his 6-1 record and 2.35 ERA.
Harper is tearing it up right of out gate, posting a .288/.380/.542 triple-slash line, good for a 148 OPS+. He's also walking nearly as often as he strikes out and making highlight-reel defensive plays with regularity.
Basically, these guys are living up to the hype, which is saying quite a bit given the lofty expectations placed upon them. The funny thing is, the Nationals wouldn't have either of these terrific players if they weren't so terrible a few short years ago. By posting awful 59-103 and 69-93 records in 2008 and 2009, Washington "earned" the first pick in both of the following year's drafts.
Yes, this is exactly how the draft is supposed to work. The worst teams from the previous season get the first shot at the top talent in the draft with the hopes of developing that talent into a cheap, young nucleus around which pricey free-agent pickups and savvy scrapheap acquisitions can be added. Ideally, these players all gel a few seasons down the road and the former doormat becomes a potential juggernaut. The Tampa Bay Rays are another example of how this is supposed to work.
But Washington had the additional benefit not only of back-to-back top picks, but also of having these two preternatural talents available and ownership's support to pay what it took to sign them, spending roughly $25 million on two kids with no professional experience. And while the Rays can pin some of their success on multiple No. 1 overall picks, only David Price has contributed directly to Tampa Bay's winning ways. The Rays also took Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young and Tim Beckham at the top of the draft, but none of those players did much to push the Rays to the top of the AL East.
Having the first pick is great—it's yielded such talents as Justin Upton, Joe Mauer, Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. over the last couple of decades—but using that pick on the right player is crucial. After all, Matt Bush, Bryan Bullington and Brien Taylor have gone No. 1, and nobody remembers any key on-field contributions they've made.
Draft well, develop your minor league talent, and spend wisely to supplement that talent. It seems so straightforward, but we all know it's not. Just ask the Pirates.
But when it works out—and the baseball gods bless you with two consecutive über-talents—things can come together very quickly. Just ask the Nationals.
Posted by: Greg Simons
October 31, 2011
Postseason predictions wrap-up
Twenty Hardball Times staffers made their predictions of how the 2011 postseason would play itself out. Some proved prescient, a few less so. Let's take a look at the rankings to see whose guesses came closest to, and shortest of, perfection.
Scoring was based on a 5-3-1 system similar to regular-season awards: If someone picked a Division Series correctly, that person received one point, choosing an LCS winner garnered three points, while being a fortune teller and predicting the World Series winner earned five points. (Nobody got those five points.)
Here are everyone's picks and the results, ranked by total points.
Click for more...
Posted by: Greg Simons
October 27, 2011
How good has Mike Napoli’s World Series been?With the World Series having shifted to St. Louis for good, we won't be able to hear the catchy "Na-Po-Li!" chant echo throughout Arlington anymore. However, Texas' catcher will still be heard and felt in a big way for the rest of the series and will likely be named series MVP if the Rangers close out their first world championship.
Mike Napoli has been so strong offensively in the eighth spot in the Rangers lineup that he's outperformed every player in this series except, perhaps, Cardinals hitter Albert Pujols. Even Pujols' batting average, RBI and slugging percentage don't match up to Napoli's production over the first five World Series games. In fact, if we look back at the cleanup hitters in the past five Fall Classics, it seems like Napoli has out-produced them all.
Slash Line HR RBI R XBH Napoli 2011 .308/.389/.846 2 9 2 3 C. Ross 2010 .235/.381/.471 1 2 5 2 Guerrero 2010 .071/.125/.071 0 2 0 0 A-Rod 2009 .250/.423/.550 1 6 5 4 Howard 2009 .174/.240/.391 1 3 3 3 Howard 2008 .286/.375/.762 3 6 3 4 C. Pena 2008 .118/.250/.176 0 2 1 1 M. Ramirez 2007 .250/.333/.313 0 2 3 1 M. Holliday 2007.294/.294/.471 1 3 1 1
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
October 18, 2011
LCS prediction resultsWith the World Series competitors set—and good luck to the Rangers and Cardinals—it's time to review how the Hardball Times' staff did in the League Championship Series and compare their picks to those of our readers' contest entries.
The champion picker among our readers—and the winner of a copy of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2012—is Eugene Douglas. He eliminated any need for a World Series-winner tiebreaker by being the only entrant to have a team actually in the World Series.
Eugene tied for the lead going into the League Championship Series by picking three Division Series winners—Detroit, Texas and Milwaukee. (Note Detroit: He's a Yankees fan.) So the Rangers won it for him, which is only proper because he works as a software programmer in Washington, D.C., where the Rangers once played....
The Annual, currently in production, will be available later this fall. We'll be sure to let you know on this site exactly when you can order yours.
There were a couple of mistakes in our previous article about Hardball Times staff picks, with "Prescient" Ben Pritchett already given credit for his pick of the Tigers winning the LDS, which put him in a three-way tie at that time. Additionally, Mat Kovach had correctly chosen the Cardinals over Philly, so he vaulted into a tie with Ben and Greg Simons with three LDS picked accurately.
In the LCS round, only Ben, Greg and Sam Hendrickson chose one of the World Series entrants correctly; Ben and Sam picked Texas, while Greg selected St. Louis.
Using a 1-3-5 scoring system, right now, Ben and Greg are tied with six points each. The only THT staffer who has a shot at getting another pick right is Sam, who chose Texas to win the Fall Classic. Check back after the World Series for the full results rundown.
Posted by: THT Staff
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