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Young Yankees Relievers Poised to Make Big Impressions

If there’s two things being treated as a given from Yankees’ critics, it’s that they have a weak farm system and did not address the bullpen this winter, particularly with the departure of Mariano Rivera. While the Yankees dedicated hundreds of millions to a new starter, a new outfield, a new backstop and some infield stop gaps, the biggest signing on the reliever side of the house might have been Matt Thornton, a lefty specialist with a straight fastball who couldn’t quite cut it in Boston last season. But as he so often... 
 

Gray, Cingrani, Paxton: Young Pitchers Impressing in 2014

Young players stole the show in 2013, and just four days into the 2014 season, several young pitchers are already making their mark. Youthful hurlers Michael Wacha, Jose Fernandez, and Chris Archer have turned in strong outings after making good showings in 2014. In addition, Sonny Gray, Tony Cingrani, and James Paxton had excellent first outings. Here’s a more in-depth look at what these three pitchers did in their first go-round in 2014. The 24 year-old Gray, a Vanderbilt product, made his mark in 2013, striking out 25.7 percent of hitters... 
 

New York Yankees Show Their Flaws Early

The New York Yankees spent a lot of money this winter on covering up a lot of flaws for a team who overachieved to win 85 games. And if you were to look back at the 2013 Opening Day lineup and compare it to today, you would see just how far the team has come. Only Brett Gardner was in the lineup this season and last season during the first game of the season and four hitters from last season aren’t even in the major leagues anymore. An additional two are now backups on the Yankees’ bench. Suffice it to say the Yankees have come a long... 
 

Yagervis Solarte, Michael Pineda, Lead List of Early Yankees’ Standouts

With their most turnover in five years, the Yankees have an especially important spring to monitor. Unlike the last few seasons when New York was perfectly moderate in its winter dealings, the Yankees went on a spree this off season, needing to add some stability before a spring full of auditions and new opportunities. While Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Mccann, Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Beltran are certainly new to the Pinstripes, their respective roles were solidified before March ever rolled around. Three of them will be in the lineup through at least... 
 

Jordy Mercer: Pirates Look to Turn Shortstop Position into Strength

Clint Barmes, Ronny Cedeno , Jack Wilson, Mike Benjamin, Pat Meares, Lou Collier, Kevin Elster. Those names all have two things in common. 1) Over the last 15 seasons, they have been starters on opening day for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  2) Not one of those players were above average or even average Major League hitters Heading into the 2014 season, the Pirates look to change that, as they have named Jordy Mercer their starting shortstop. Mercer, 27, was drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft. Mercer replaces Clint Barmes, who manned the position... 
 

What Would a Starling Marte Contract Extension Mean to the Pirates?

Unless you consider a fifth-starter reclamation job and a handful of wait-and-see organizational promotions exhilarating, it’s been an awfully quiet offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not so for the Atlanta Braves, who earlier this winter signed the future core of their franchise to five contract extensions totaling 27 years and over $280 million in just over two weeks’ time. Pittsburgh is never going to be a big-market club, and no amount of fireworks nights or even legitimate home sellout streaks will take them into the same economic... 
 

Five MLB Pitchers That Are Bounceback Candidates

Every year there are a handful of pitchers who fans would like to give up on. Whether it be injuries, age, poor performance, or some combination of the three, these hurlers have caused baseball aficionados to lose faith in them. 2013 saw John Lackey and Scott Kazmir rescue their careers by having strong seasons. These players likely went undrafted in most fantasy leagues. The Cleveland Indians brought Kazmir in on a minor league deal, and the Boston Red Sox had all but given up on Lackey. Looking forward to 2014, which pitchers are good bounceback... 
 

Pirates Stockpiled Arms Before Rule Change On Slot Draft Picks

Before the new management regime in Pittsburgh, the Pirates were notoriously bad, even laughable when it came to drafting and developing players. Neal Huntington accepted the GM position for the Pirates in 2007. Shortly after, Huntington along with a few other GM’s around the leage employed a strategy that has brought about rule changes for all of Major League Baseball. Teams that were not willing or simply could not spend the money needed to land top tier free agents began to spend more and more in the draft. According to Jorge L. Ortiz at USA... 
 

The St. Louis Cardinals Rotation: A Good Problem to Have

The St. Louis Cardinals had one of baseball’s better starting rotations in 2013. They finished the regular season with a team ERA of 3.42, and 13.6 fWAR. Only their division rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, could top their team ground ball rate of 48.1 percent. Behind Adam Wainwright and rookie sensation Michael Wacha, the Cardinals rode strong pitching all the way to the World Series, where they fell at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. Looking to the 2014 season, which is mercifully fewer than six weeks away, the Cardinals appear to have... 
 

Pirates’ Liriano, Cole to Provide a Genuine Top of the Rotation

Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that Francisco Liriano would be the team’s Opening Day starter for the 2014 season. “[Liriano] is another guy that models the behavior we want to instill in others,” Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said of the announcement. “He does it a different way than Cutch, but he does it. Every day he does it. “He’s a man you can depend on, and many times I share with these players, the greatest ability you can have day in and day out is your dependability, and we have that in Francisco.” If the timing... 
 

What Should the Dodgers Do With Their Outfielders?

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a lot of money tied up in their outfield. Matt Kemp is owed $128 million over the next six seasons. They’re on the hook with Andre Ethier for at least $70 million in the next four years, and Carl Crawford will chew up $82 million in that span as well. Then, there is the young and inexpensive phenom Yasiel Puig, who will earn at least $35 through 2018. That’s a lot of money, and a lot of years for the trio of Kemp, Ethier, and Crawford. Based on his remarkable 2013 season, Puig looks to be a sure-fire starter,... 
 

Depth of Red Sox Farm System Provides Flexibility For Future

Winning consecutive World Series championships is a daunting challenge in today’s era of Major League Baseball. It is so rare that the last team to accomplish the feat was the New York Yankees, which captured a third straight crown in 2000. Bolstered by a strong core of veteran players, and a deep rotation and bullpen, the Boston Red Sox appear legitimately poised to repeat in 2014. One of the team’s greatest strengths was illustrated when MLB.com recently released in Top 100 Prospect List entering the 2014 campaign. The Red Sox have... 
 

MLB News: Seven Extension Candidates Before Season Starts

With Spring Training mercifully around the corner, it’s that time of the year when teams start negotiating contract extensions. Clayton Kershaw started off the extension season with a deal that guarantees him $215 million, and the Atlanta Braves recently agreed on a lucrative deal with first baseman Freddie Freeman that will keep him under team control through his age-31 season while guaranteeing him approximately $100 million of new money. Here are some players that are good candidates for contract extensions before the season begins.  Max... 
 

What is A.J. Burnett Worth to the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Once A.J. Burnett stated that he will be putting off retirement for at least another year, he became the best available pitcher on the free agent market. Typing that sentence seems a little odd considering that it was only two years ago that the New York Yankees paid the Pittsburgh Pirates to take Burnett off their hands. In December of 2008, Burnett signed a five year, $82.5 million dollar deal with the Yankees. His first year went well, and he posted an park-adjusted ERA 12 percent better than the league average with a 21.8 percent strikeout... 
 

Three Teams That Could Be Turnaround Stories in 2014

Nearly every year, a team that wasn’t a contender the previous year comes out of the woodwork and surprises everybody by making the playoffs. Last season it was the Cleveland Indians who improved from 68-94 to 92-70, and claimed a Wild Card berth. The previous year the Baltimore Orioles surprised pundits by putting together their first winning season since 1997, and vaulting their way to the Wild Card playoff with a 93-69 record. The Boston Red Sox made a huge turnaround from a 69 win 2012 season to win 97 regular season games and the... 
 

Six Hitters That Could Bounce Back in 2014

Every year there are a handful of hitters, whether the young and talented or the formerly successful, that most people want to give up on. In 2013 we saw outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino have impressive seasons at the plate after mediocre 2012 campaigns. Jacoby Ellsbury and Troy Tulowitzki returned to top form after spending most of 2012 on the DL. Marlon Byrd rebounded from a horrific 2012 year to post career-best numbers in 2013. The fortunate (or prescient) fantasy owner or General Manager reaped the benefits of seeing these... 
 

Xander Bogaerts, Rookies That Could Make Big Impact in 2014

Baseball is full of exciting young players right now, and nothing is more exciting than seeing a young player help carry his team into the playoffs. Last year saw big contributions from rookies such as Wil Myers, a 22 year-old who produced 2.4 fWAR and won the AL Rookie of the Year award despite playing only 88 games for the Wild Card Tampa Bay Rays. Jose Iglesias got off to a blazing start for the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the Detroit Tigers and served as the starting shortstop for the AL Central champs. Pitchers Sonny Gray,... 
 

Stephen Strasburg Will Again Lead Loaded Nationals Rotation

The Washington Nationals had a disappointing 2013 season. After winning a major-league best 98 games in 2012, they missed out on the playoffs. Late season surge notwithstanding, they finished 86-76, ten games back of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, and four games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the Wild Card hunt. However, it would be hard to blame the Nationals starting pitching for the team’s struggles. Even with Dan Haren‘s longball troubles and the inability to establish a No. 5 starter, they finished 8th in... 
 

Pirates Coaching Staff Faces Familiar Task Fixing Edinson Volquez

The Pittsburgh Pirates have many young arms beginning to infiltrate the major league ball club and many still working their way through the system. Until there are enough home grown pitchers to fill out the rotation, management has gone the ‘low risk’ route in free agency. Signing pitchers with high upside and low contracts have been commonplace since 2010, many working out in the Pirates favor and some not. The ones that have not, obviously did not cost the Pirates much in return. The Pirates have consistently been able to take pitchers... 
 

For Cincinnati Reds, its a New Year, New Season

For the second consecutive season, the Cincinnati Reds carried high hopes into the postseason last October. For the second consecutive season, they were dismissed from the playoffs earlier than expected. Editor’s Note: This “New Year, New Season” post on the Cincinnati Reds is part of a series where Baseball News Source columnist Jeff Louderback chronicles each Major League team as spring training draws nearer. After falling in the wild card game to Pittsburgh, the Reds fired manager Dusty Baker and replaced him with Bryan Price, the club’s... 
 

Michael Wacha, Sonny Gray, and Kevin Gausman Comparison

Young hurlers Michael Wacha, Sonny Gray, and Kevin Gausman all got their first taste of the big leagues in 2013. All three are college pitchers and former first-round draft picks. Gray was selected 18th overall out of Vanderbilt in the 2011 Draft. Gausman was the fourth overall pick from LSU in the 2012 Draft, and Wacha went 18th from Texas A&M in that same draft. Gray and Wacha were very successful in their limited regular season innings. Over 64.0 innings and 10 starts, Gray pitched to a 2.67 ERA and 2.70 FIP, striking out 25.7 percent... 
 

Atlanta Braves Quiet Offseason Heading into 2014

After capturing the National League East last season, the Atlanta Braves‘ World Series hopes were abruptly dashed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Though they raced to a 96-66 record, the 2013 campaign ended in disappointment for a club expected to play deep into October. In 2014, the Braves are counting on bounceback seasons from B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla, and a successful return from Tommy John surgery for starting pitcher Brandon Beachy. They would also like to see the projected outfield of Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward... 
 

St Louis Cardinals: More Moves Before Spring?

Every offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals lose valuable veterans and somehow seemingly always manage to find capable replacements, either through acquisitions or from their productive farm system. The reigning National League champions will have to duplicate that feat again in 2014. Editor’s Note: This “New Year, New Season” post marks the second in a series where Baseball News Source columnist Jeff Louderback will chronicle each Major League team as spring training draws nearer. The Cardinals are well-positioned to defend their NL title... 
 

Gerrit Cole and Danny Salazar, Aces on Your Radar

Who were two hardest throwing starting pitchers in baseball in 2013? The correct answer is Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Danny Salazar of the Cleveland Indians, who each averaged a touch over 96 miles per hour. Miami Marlins hurler Nathan Eovaldi would have been a sufficient answer as well, but he’s far less interesting. Cole and Salazar made waves in their somewhat limited major league innings in 2013 with their big-time stuff. I’ll go out on a limb and say both are bona-fide aces in 2014. The question is, which... 
 

Boston Red Sox: New Year, New Season, A Look Ahead

Editor’s Note: This “New Year, New Season” post marks the opener in a series where Baseball News Source columnist Jeff Louderback will chronicle each Major League team as spring training draws nearer. Last year at this time, the Boston Red Sox were a team of newfound hope. After a dismal 2012 campaign that saw them finish with a 69-93 record and a last place finish in the American League East, the Sox had a new manager and second-year general manager Ben Cherington was crafting a roster of complementary players to surround a core... 
 

The Best Low-Profile Moves of the MLB Offseason

With nearly all the big name free agent position players off the board, the rest of the hot stove buzz looks like it will revolve around Masahiro Tanaka and the rest of the free agent pitching market. Plenty of high-profile moves have been made so far. Some look better than others. Brian McCann looks like a great fit with the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers might regret the Shin-Soo Choo signing pretty soon, and given the rest of their offseason, it’s unclear as to what the thought process behind the Seattle Mariners acquisition... 
 

Is Jackie Bradley Jr. Ready to Be an Everyday Player ?

Jackie Bradley Jr. is not Jacoby Ellsbury – figuratively and literally. Now 30, Ellsbury is one of the best base stealers in Major League Baseball, and he is proven leadoff hitter who is productive at the plate, disruptive on the basepaths and graceful in center field. The veteran of seven Major League seasons parlayed his success for the Red Sox into a seven-year, $153 million contract with the New York Yankees earlier this season. Just 23, Bradley has plus speed, but he is not as fast as Ellsbury. And though he has more raw power at the plate,... 
 

Comparing Masahiro Tanaka With Yu Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka

On Christmas Eve, the Rakuten Golden Eagles finally decided to post ace pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. After weeks of negotiations, the MLB and the NPB agreed on a posting system that set a limit of $20 million. Previously there had been no limit to the amount a team could bid for negotiation rights. While the Eagles would have preferred to hang onto Tanaka for another year and post him in 2014 before he hit free agency in 2015, Tanaka’s desire to pitch in the states won out. Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Golden Eagles in 2013,... 
 

Tigers Banking on Pitching Talent from 2013 MLB Draft Going Forward

The Detroit Tigers have made their fair share of deals to address pitching this winter. After trading starter Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals, inking closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal, adding former Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain, the Tigers also made sure other teams knew that 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer was available for the right deal, in one of this winters biggest head scratchers. All those moves notwithstanding we need only to look the 2013 MLB Draft to see that the Tigers may have had a plan all along. The Tigers... 
 

Yankees Offseason Should Be Reminder of Success

It’s mind-boggling to be a Yankees fan and to watch the sport as a whole closely. Being a Yankees’ fan is like nobody ever being happy for you even though you work hard everyday because your Dad had a major connection for you when you graduated from college. Sure, you work as many hours as your co-workers, you’re ambitious, you have goals and your bosses love your work ethic, but your friends all hold a grudge and despite everyone’s flaws, they all choose to look at yours because you were given an opportunity they don’t... 
 

Red Sox – Yankees Rivalry Regaining Passion?

In most cases, when I write a baseball column, I do so as an objective professional journalist without reference to my team of choice, which is the Boston Red Sox. This column is an exception – an exuberantly striking exception. The reason? After back-to-back seasons that have seen the storied Red Sox-Yankees rivalry lose its passion, the annual clash between two of baseball’s oldest clubs regained fire when Jacoby Ellsbury agreed to a seven-year, $153 million contract with New York earlier in the week. Those of you who are not Red Sox... 
 

Yanks Sign McCann, Rays Sign Molina and So it Goes

Two teams in the American League East needed catchers this off season and both filled the need within a day of each other last week, albeit using vastly different strategies.  The New York Yankees signed free-agent Brian McCann to a five-year $85 million deal. The Tampa Bay Rays re-signed Jose Molina to a two-year deal worth $4.5 million. And so it goes in the American League East. The two deals reaffirm the differences between a big market team and a small market team. The difference in living large, and just getting by. McCann, who turns 30... 
 

Avoid Ervin Santana – Breaking Down The Numbers

Free agent pitcher Ervin Santana is seeking a $100 million deal. That’s unlikely to happen. For various reasons, Santana is the riskiest pitcher in the free agent market. Pitchers tend to be risky, especially those on the wrong side of 30, but several factors in Santana’s profile make him even riskier. Santana had a good 2013 season with the Kansas City Royals. He threw 211 innings, with a 3.24 ERA. This was a big improvement on the previous year when he managed a bloated 5.16 ERA and a 5.63 FIP that was easily the worst in the majors. Throwing... 
 

Qualifying Offers Roulette: Perfect Offseason Approach for Yankees

The New York Yankees are one of just two teams who extended three qualifying offers this off season. Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano are all in QO limbo right now and all three, most recently, are unlikely to accept. The Yankees are trying to make an honest effort to reset tax calculations in 2014 but also convince its fans they are competing, but also yet have an eye towards consistent contention in the future, a concept which can only be built with better drafts. To the last point, New York took a new philosophy towards the... 
 

A-Rod Tested Positive in 2006: Here’s Why We Still Care

Alex Rodriguez allegedly failed a drug test for a banned stimulant in 2006, a good three years after he previously claimed he had stopped taking PEDs. Granted, the details behind the stimulant are unclear and it’s yet another piece of evidence against A-Rod’s character mysteriously leaked to the media. Does it ultimately matter? Not really. We know A-Rod cheated and it’s pretty clear he did it for a long-time regardless of the actual time frame. We also know he is taking on MLB head to head with his 2014 pay check on the line.... 
 

Edwin Encarnacion’s Fantastic Year for Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion had another great year with the bat in 2013. He posted a .272/.370/.534 line with a 148 wRC+ that was 6th in the AL. This was on the heels of a 2012 season where Encarnacion managed a 151 wRC+. In his late-career resurgence, Encarnacion has become the rarest of players, a power hitter that rarely strikes out. Only Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera had more home runs than Encarnacion’s 36. The previous year, Encarnacion slammed 42 home runs. Meanwhile, Encarnacion struck out in only 10% of his plate... 
 

Cardinals Matt Carpenter and His Playoff Woes

St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter had a great regular season. The former 13th round draft pick put up a .318/.392/.481 batting line. He led all second basemen in batting average and on-base percentage, and trailed only Robinson Cano in slugging percentage. His 7.0 fWAR was the sixth best in the majors. All in all, he has a solid case for NL MVP. Carpenter’s production is especially amazing considering that he signed for $1,000 as a fifth-year senior out of Texas Christian University back in 2009. However, the 2013 playoffs... 
 

David Ross Key to Red Sox Victory

The Boston Red Sox downed the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Monday night. Starting pitchers Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright each dominated, combining for 17 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 24 swings and misses. The game took just three hours. Red Sox catcher David Ross was essential to the victory. The 36 year-old veteran produced two hits, including the go-ahead double off Wainwright in the top of the 7th inning. The double was the biggest play of the game, increasing the Sox’ historical chances of winning from 55 to 80 percent. It came on a 1-2... 
 

Boston Red Sox: Felix Doubront’s Quality Outing

Yet another crazy game. Last night ended on a walkoff obstruction call, this one ended on a pickoff play. Never before had a playoff game ended on one of those plays. Horrible decision making once again played a big role. St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had the option to pinch hit for starting pitcher Lance Lynn with runners on first and second with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning. Matheny let Lynn hit, and the scoring opportunity ended when he flew out to right fielder Daniel Nava. He surrendered a run in the fifth,... 
 

Boston Red Sox’ Quintin Berry Is a Speed Demon

Boston Red Sox pinch runner Quintin Berry is playing for his third different team in 2013. On Opening Day, the Detroit Tigers sent Berry down to Triple-A. After putting up a .168/.278/.234 line, he was designated for assignment two months later. The Kansas City Royals snatched him up, and optioned him to Triple-A. He didn’t fare much better in their farm system, managing a .222/.343/.292 line. Finally, at the end of August, the Red Sox swapped the erratic journeyman relief pitcher Clayton Mortensen for Berry. He appeared in 13 games,... 
 

Boston Red Sox’ Koji Uehara Continues Run of Dominance

Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara was named ALCS MVP after closing out a 5-2 comeback victory over the Detroit Tigers Saturday night. Uehara threw six scoreless innings in the series, with nine strikeouts and no walks. Uehara’s 2013 campaign was one of the most dominant in reliever history. After Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan struggled and then were lost for the season, the 38 year-old reliever took over the closer role towards the end of June. He never looked back, and at year’s end, Uehara had a 1.09 ERA, with a 38.4% strikeout... 
 

Boston Red Sox’ David Ross Does the Little Things

After signing a two-year deal last offseason, Boston Red Sox 36 year-old catcher David Ross only played 36 games this year, due to a couple concussions. Nevertheless, he’s started two games in each of Boston’s playoff series. In his own way, Ross is a major factor in Boston’s success. David Ross is criminally underrated. Only once has he received 300 or more plate appearances in a season, and that was back in 2007. He succeeds in areas of the game where traditional statistical analysis has been slower to value. While he possesses... 
 

St. Louis Cardinals Relievers Bringing Heat in NLCS

Despite posting a .134/.190/.175 batting line through the first four games of the NLCS, the St. Louis Cardinals have a 3-1 series lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their bullpen has played a large role in the series. They have surrendered just one run in 14 innings, with 13 strikeouts. Rookie Carlos Martinez and second-year man Trevor Rosenthal have provided more than half of these innings, without surrendering a run. These two flamethrowers have kicked it up a notch this postseason. Each pitcher averaged right around 97 miles per hour during... 
 

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, Dazed and Confused

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig had a sensational 2013 regular season. After a June callup, Puig set the baseball world on fire, posting an otherworldly .436/.467/.713 line in his first month. He didn’t maintain that pace, but still, at the end of the year, only Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, and Chris Davis could top Puig’s 160 OPS+. He followed up his excellent regular season with a strong NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, hitting .471/.500/.529, and helping the Dodgers advance to the NLCS. The first two games of the... 
 

2013 NLCS Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Hall of Famer and philosophical laureate Yogi Berra may have said it best, “in baseball, you don’t know nothing.” Contradictions aside, it may be plausible to assert that baseball is a game founded on the principle of unpredictability. Nothing is envisaged or definitive in nature, except perhaps for the ever-popular element of surprise. As we approached the postseason this year, that element of surprise was found to be alive and well, taking a strong embodiment in the form of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Perennial struggles have defined baseball... 
 

Lets Not Forget, Tigers Justin Verlander is Still Dominant

A lot has been made of the Oakland Athletics’ decision to start Sonny Gray in Game Five over Bartolo Colon, who had the second-lowest ERA in the AL this year. I fully agree with the Athletics’ decision for the simple reason that I believe Gray is better. However, with all the discussion about Gray, people are overlooking the man who will take the mound opposite him, Detroit Tigers hurler Justin Verlander. Much was made of Verlander’s so-called off year in 2013. Sabermetric evangelist/blowhard Brian Kenny suggested the Tigers... 
 

Cardinals David Freese’s Homerun Off Pirates Gerrit Cole

The St. Louis Cardinals downed the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Wednesday night. The biggest play of the game was third baseman David Freese hitting a two-run homer off of Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in the second inning to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead. The Cardinals win probability shot up to 74 percent after Freese’s blow. Anybody can tell you that Freese hit a big homerun. I want to hone in on the rarity of what he did. First of all, Gerrit Cole doesn’t surrender homeruns too often. In 117.1 innings, he surrendered just seven homeruns.... 
 

Rays Jake McGee and His Fastball

Tampa Bay Rays left-handed relief pitcher Jake McGee has one pitch, a fastball. Okay, he also throws a “cutter”, but he uses the fastball on 93% of his pitches in 2013, the highest rate of any pitcher in the MLB. It’s a pretty good fastball, and McGee gets up to 99 mph, while averaging 96-97 mph with the heat, a mark that only a handful of pitchers can top. McGee, who was drafted by the Rays out of high school in the 5th round back in 2004, came up to the big league club in 2010. Since then, he has steadily increased his fastball... 
 

Pittsburgh Pirates Gerrit Cole’s Devastating Slider

Pittsburgh Pirates rookie hurler Gerrit Cole will start Game 2 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. The rookie hurler posted a 3.22 ERA in 117.1 innings, with a 21.3% strikeout rate and a 6.0% walk rate. His FIP of 2.91 was even with teammate Francisco Liriano and just a shade behind A.J. Burnett. Cole has gotten better as the season has progressed. His second half ERA is just 2.85, compared to 3.89 in the first half, and his strikeout rate has leaped from 14.5% to 25.3%. He had a 1.69 ERA in September, with a whopping 32.1% strikeout... 
 

2013 ALDS: Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics Pitching Analysis and Preview

For the second straight year, the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics will meet in the American League Division Series. It will be just the third time in postseason history that both teams will face one another, the first occurring in the 2006 American League Championship Series where the Tigers swept the Athletics in four games. However, the Athletics will look to reverse the losing trend that has plagued their last two postseason meetings with the Tigers. This time around, the Athletics have a healthier Yoenis Cespedes, a more seasoned rotation... 
 
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