Projecting the AL playoff race

The red-hot Royals - a MLB-best 20-7 in August, and winners in 18 of 22 since the acquisition of the Rally Mantis, have gone from 51-58 to 69-62 and just two games out of the second Wild Card in just a little over three weeks. The Royals playoffs chances have increased from 6% to 22% in a week, and I’ve been looking at remaining games on the schedule at all of the competitors for all five of the AL playoff spots. I took the remaining games and figured out approximately how many they’d win based on how they have done overall on the season and how they’ve been playing of late (August schedule). This is really too simplistic of a way to do this. I thought it would favor the Royals too much because of what they’ve done in August. I was right, of course, but there have been a lot of really good August records for all of the contenders (maybe that's why they're contenders), so it wasn’t as drastic as I thought it would be. Maybe I should have done a combination of July/Aug to offset how [Read more...]

When it rains, it pours for Billy Butler

After enduring a week of criticism and backlash regarding the thumping he took at the hands of Danny Valencia, Butler finds himself in an ongoing battle in the media and with fans alike. A number of former teammates have come to the defense of Danny Valencia, including Eric Hosmer, and Mike Sweeney was added to the list of those going on the offense toward Billy. “When I saw that Billy and Danny got in a fight, it did not surprise me. Billy is a great-hearted guy. He’s like a 31-year-old kid that can hit, that wakes up and says I’m going to go out and get two hits today. Sadly, whether we win or lose, it wasn’t at the top of the list for Billy, as far as my experiences with him. But he’s a great-hearted guy, he’s just not a team guy. I felt the same with Danny.” Valenica himself, a known clubhouse cancer, as Sweeney alluded to - and multiple teams giving up on him despite producation is proof of that - but for whatever reason, Butler is the victim of mob mentality attacks, not [Read more...]

Stolen Signs? Royals Have Zero Excuse

In today's press conference, Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez revealed to the media that his recently shelled counterpart, Johnny Cueto, had suspected the Blue Jays of stealing signs in the previous evenings offensive onslaught. Cueto was tagged for eight runs and was only able to record six outs in the process. This also included four walks, which are notoriously difficult to obtain through sign stealing, but none the less…here we are. Aside from the entirely separate expose regarding the ever growing laundry list of items contributing to Cueto's lack of performance, the topic at hand is the aid of stolen signs by the Blue Jays at home. There are dozens…hundreds of articles on the subject. There is no need to link any, just Google "Jays Stolen Signs" and you will have reading for hours. In short, the Jays offensive numbers at home are incredible in comparison with their road splits while their pitching seems to suffer a much less drastic effect of playing in Toronto. A curious [Read more...]

The best player EVER for each MLB organization

One of our readers, Bill Martinie, compiled a fantastic list of the best player for each organization. We asked him to go in to a little more detail on each player, and this is what he came up with: *** With MLB’s recent campaign to designate a “franchiser four” for each organization, I was reminded of a list I keep compiled on my desk that attempts to name the greatest player ever for each currently existing MLB franchise. They only rule is it has to be for an extant franchise, although it can be for any team within that franchise’s history (for example Walter Johnson for the current Minnesota Twins franchise although he played for the first Washington Senators). I tried to find some statistical basis for a player’s being designated all time champ of his team, but in the end a wave of subjectivity washes over any attempt like this. For example, Barry Bonds has the greatest numbers of any player maybe ever…but Willie Mays gets my vote for all time Giant and I am sticking to that [Read more...]

Three Ways to ‘Improve’ the All-Star Game: How does USA vs. the World sound?

There was a lot of chatter, including from national writers, about the All-Star’s Game’s selection process, ways to fix it, so on and so forth, mainly because of the voting of Royals fans. Royals fans, who at one point were on pace to vote in EIGHT starters into the All-Star Game, used the “don’t hate the player, hate the game” rally cry. And, we’re right. It is the system that is broke. No, there was not any cheating, no hacking the All-Star vote. Yes, there was some ballot stuffing, but it was within the rules that MLB allows. So, don’t cry foul when it’s not a foul. All of a sudden a tradition is all of a sudden wrong because a fan base makes a mockery of a system that the league itself put in place? In the end, the nation caught up in voting, and it all worked out. Omar Infante did not get voted in, although it went down to the last week before he was finally passed. And the Royals still had a franchise record four starters and seven total players elected to the 2015 All-Star [Read more...]

As two more Royals lose their All-Star voting leads; here’s a statistical analysis of the Royals All-Star “candidates”

Yesterday, just four days before All-Star balloting ends and seven days before the All-Star starters are named, the Royals had five would-be starters, if that voting ended now. This is two weeks after the Royals peaked with EIGHT leaders. Last week, Miguel Cabrera passed Eris Hosmer at first base, joining Mike Trout as the only non-Royals leading the fan voting. Seven is still an insane number. It hasn’t happened since the 1957 when the Reds had seven voted in, but MLB Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and after an investigation claimed voting fraud on behalf of Reds fans, where half the votes came from Cincinnati, and took away two starters, Gus Bell and Wally Post, replacing them with legends Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Bell remained in the game as a reserve and Post missed the game with an injury. The five starters the Reds sent is still tied for the most for position players, tied with the Yankees in the very first game in 1933 (Yankees also had the starting pitcher in that game, [Read more...]

Everyone just calm down, Royals aren’t getting screwed out of All-Star votes

I feel it necessary to clarify the potentially misleading headlines you've been reading. When MLB says they've cancelled more than 60 million all-star votes, that means they've been doing it throughout the process and that's just what the running total is at. They didn't just cancel 60 million votes yesterday, and the totals you've been seeing have been the official totals with none of the cancelled votes ever being published at any time. Also, for those who are too lazy to read anything more than a headline before jumping to conclusions, MLB has stated that the roughly 20% of votes that have been cancelled is typical compared to years past. So no, this isn't some sort of unusual behavior for baseball fans. It just so happens that it's Royals fans whose votes are being thrown out - and counted legitimately - this year. So in other words, if MLB didn't closely monitor illegitimate voting, the Royals' players would probably have even bigger leads. But as it stands - barring any [Read more...]

NFL hires Sarah Thomas as first female official; should MLB follow suit?

Friday is now a day that will go down in sports history. On Friday April 3rd, 2015, the NFL announced that Sarah Thomas would be the first female official in the league. This would make the NFL the second of the big three American sports that have at least one female referee/official. The only other major U.S sport that doesn’t have a female official is the MLB. It’s been a long time coming for the NFL, and now that it’s happened, is it time for baseball to follow suit? For years, women have fought for equal rights and opportunities. It’s the 21st century, and for the most part, things are equal. There are, however, naysayers to the whole ordeal. Why though? If a woman can serve in the military, why shouldn’t she be able to be a referee in professional sports? Sure, women can’t be directly involved in combat, but they’re likely put into the situation some day. They make decisions that can have a huge impact on how a fight is won and lost. Newsflash: It’s not the 1930s anymore. Get [Read more...]

Are the new Pace-of-Play rules good for MLB?

It was announced today that Major League Baseball would be making a few changes to the game for this upcoming season regarding pace-of-play. Last year, Bud Selig implemented the replay rule, and one would surmise that these changes were made in effort to balance out the time lost when reviewing a manager challenge. In 2014, the averaged length of game was three hours and two minutes, which is the longest recorded time in MLB history. The three changes made will make a significant impact, but will they have the positive impact that new commissioner, Rob Manfred, was going for? The best place to start with is the rule that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter's box when at the plate. If you didn't happen to notice that this rule is written in the MLB Rule-book, Rule 6.02 (sub-section B) states, “Once a batter has taken his position in the batter’s box, he shall not be permitted to step out of the batter’s box in order to use the resin or the pine tar rag, unless there [Read more...]

Mt. Rushmore of Most-Hated Baseball players

It is fun to hate. That is part of what makes sports great. So, we wanted to find out who are the most hated players in baseball. So here are the results of our new Mt. Rushmore series. No surprise that AJ Pierzynski and his douchebaggery was the top vote-getter out of 27 nominees. The final results were: AJ Pierzynski In a Men’s Journal survey, Pierzynski, a professional irritant who has been a thorn in the Royals side for years now, was voted “most hated player” with 34% of the votes. “He likes to talk a lot of sh**, and I’ve heard he’s a bad teammate,” one National League told Men’s Journal. “He’s been a prick to guys on his own pitching staff. Basically, if you haven’t got five years in the big leagues, he treats you like you’re a peasant. He’s that kind of guy.” He can be hard-headed with teammates, and grating on opponents. He runs over the pitching mound after making outs. He sometimes steps on the hitter’s bats. He has been known to show up opponents. He has been in a [Read more...]