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nmigliore

2013 MLB Thread

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Such an annoyance to see so much attention paid to the Biogenesis saga and suspensions when baseball has so many great stories going on. In case anyone hasn't noticed, Mike Trout is at it again, putting up an EVEN BETTER season than last year. But check out this note from Fangraphs on where Trout ranks against Hall of Famers through their age-21 season. You don't even have to pay attention to their WAR, just look at their offense (wRC+) and where Trout ranks among them, it's pretty insane.

 

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/happy-22nd-birthday-mike-trout-2/

 

That list is Mike Trout and nine players in the Hall of Fame. Through this point in his career, Trout has been better than all of them. This is only considering what a player does at the plate, and ignores Trout’s contributions in the field and on the basepaths.

 
To this point in his career, Mike Trout has been Ted Williams if Ted Williams was fast.
Edited by nmigliore

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Don't even know what to say to that, except it's nuts. Hopefully he stays healthy and has a long career. Could end up being a legend.

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River Ave Blues: Scott Boras has ideas for fixing the draft and free agency

 

This is a blog post in reaction to a guest piece Boras did for ESPN. I actually find myself agreeing to some of his ideas on some levels, though I only saw 2 points out of Boras' initial piece and not sure what else he addressed specifically.

 

 

Problem: Qualifying offer system limits market for older players
Solution: Players age 31 and older do not require draft pick compensation

This is definitely an issue and I think Boras' idea to allow teams to still get a compensation pick for losing a player, while the team signing the player over the age threshold gets to keep their 1st round pick. Seems like a fair trade to the teams and players though I'd rather see the age threshold around 33.

 

 

Problem: Inflexible draft pools with slot values for each pick in the top ten rounds
Solution: No spending limits for the first round

I understand the need for the draft pool but I still think it's weird that the system promotes teams having to take 2-3 players each who aren't top 10 talents in the top 10 rounds. With 1st rounders eating up the bulk of the teams draft pools, I'd rather see that be an uncapped round so teams can truly draft on talent and not have to worry about tough signs. Let the teams spend a ton in the 1st rounder and keep the draft pool for rounds 2-10 I suppose.

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Mike Trout: 612 PA .335/.433/.575 .430 wOBA 180 wRC+ 3.9 Fld 9.4 WAR
Miguel Cabrera: 570 PA .355/.446/.676 .470 wOBA 202 wRC+ -15.5 Fld 7.4 WAR

I fully expect Cabrera to win MVP, but damn, defense and quality of teammates should count for something! Cabrera is an atrocious fielder while Trout, who is only slightly above average this year, dropping off from last year's 13.3 Fld, still get's the job done.

The Tigers rank 1st by wRC+ (115) while the Angels are 4th (107) but I would argue that Cabrera gets a lot more opportunities due to his spot in the order, plus he has better teammates around him thus giving him more RBI and R opportunities and making him less important to the Tigers than Trout is to the Angels.

 

Min. 400 PA, the Tigers have 5 guys (excluding Cabrera) with a wRC+ of 107 or higher. Min. 400 PA, the Angels have 3 guys (excluding Trout) with a wRC+ of 103 or higher. The Angels 2nd and 3rd best hitters min. 400 PA are Kendrick (116 wRC+) and Pujols (110 wRC+). Like wise the Tigers have had 3 guys above Kendrick (Peralta 125, Fielder 121, Hunter 117), with Jackson at 111.

 

In no way am I trying to discredit the amazing year Cabrera has had once again. I just think there should be more to voting the MVP than HR's and RBI's.

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fiesty, part of the problem is, though sabes are starting to make inroads with fans, as long as someone's coming to bat and we see "batting avg, OB%, home runs, RBI", and not much else on TV, many fans (and even writers) will continue to think of ballplayers purely in these terms, and as far as fielding goes, will see some guys as good fielders and others as bad fielders, without looking at the numbers that help flesh out what "good" and "bad" truly are.     

 

If sabes are ever really going to take hold of the majority of the baseball fan community, they need to be listed right along the traditional numbers, and explained to people multiple times; for most people, these numbers represent a radical departure from the numbers they're force-fed by most outlets (TV #1 among them), and it will take time to re-train their brains to accept these numbers that expand on the traditional stats that they're used to.  Casual and even many ardent fans see wOBA and wRC+ and xFIP and other acronyms and their eyes bug instantly.  Some sabermetricians are part of the problem too...instead of instructing their fellow uninitiated fans as to what these newer ways to measure ballplayers actually mean and how they're derived, there's almost a snobby "You don't get it, you're not part of the club" mentality, and I think that turns some people off to sabermetrics almost instantaneously.   

 

Will sabes ever start to get the TV time they desperately need?  Sadly, probably not...I get the feeling it will be always be "batting avg, OB%, home runs, RBI", with occasional sprinkling in of SLG%, OB%, OB+SLG, and BABIP.  For pitchers, we'll get home and away splits, and BAA vs. lefties and righties, maybe a few other things.  But as far as spreading sabes around goes, it's probably going to have to be fans educating other fans.  I think networks are resistant to discuss baseball in anything other than "standard" terms.

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976

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I do think Trout gets the MVP last year if Cabrera only wins 2/3 of the Triple Crown, but his achievement was so historic (plus his team made the playoffs) they had to give it to him.  Cabrera's probably not going to win the Triple Crown this year but Trout's team is so far out of the race - unlike last year when they at least were on the periphery of it - they'd vote Cabrera or Chris Davis over him anyway most likely.  There's just not enough buzz around Trout this year the way there was last year because the Angels stink.

Edited by NJDevs4978

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Trying to quickly type up a response so this may be me rambling a bit...

CR76:

My rant is more aimed at the writers (BBWAA) than fans since the writers get to vote on it and as professionals I wish they would be more open to actually using their brains. I mean, especially with the NY media, it's like all the beat writers more often than not constantly write the same stories/narratives and just change the words up slightly. Baseball is entertainment to most fans so I can't really get on them if they don't want to learn about it since it's supposed to be leisure for them. To be honest I suck at math and hate numbers but for some reason sabermetrics appeals to me.

I doubt sabermetrics will never end up on TV all that much and honestly it doesn't bother me since I never thought they would. I was surprised to see wRC+ on the Yankee Stadium scoreboard in pre-game though. I just wish the people paid to follow the sport would be more open to embracing sabermetrics. I'm not saying to full on embrace it and discount all the traditional stats, but at least make it part of the conversation for awards and such.

On the other point, while some people into sabermetrics are snobby, I also think a lot of fans refuse to even have a conversation with people that like sabermetrics. I've tried to nicely explain what I know (I don't consider myself an expert by any means) but I'm often met with nothing but insults for hours afterwards.

 

NJDevs4978:

Sadly I do agree with you that Trout being an a bad team will probably mean guys like Chris Davis (no disrespect intended) do get more consideration than him. I just wish MVP was awarded based more on overall individual achievement with some context put in on team, in which case, I think what Trout has done on a bad team is remarkable. I know that won't be the case though.

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Some great playoff races shaping up right now.

 

5 of the 6 divisions seem settled; I can't see any chance the Red Sox, Tigers, A's, Braves, and Dodgers don't win their respective divisions. The NL Central, however, is still very much up for grabs with the Cardinals holding a narrow 1 game lead over Pittsburgh and 2.5 game lead over Cincinnati. All three teams are very likely going to the playoffs (Fangraphs' playoff odds give them all at least a 98% chance), but under the new playoff format, we all know how significant it is to avoid the Wild Card game. 

 

The Nats have been surging of late (9 wins in their last 10, including a twin bill sweep of the Braves yesterday), but remain 4.5 behind Cincy for the 2nd wild card spot. Their playoff odds remain incredibly low (2.7% per Fangraphs), but keep an eye on them and the Reds for a little bit longer. Making up a 4.5 game lead with just 11 to play is incredibly difficult, but crazier (or just as crazy?) things have happened: in 2011, with 11 left to play, the Cardinals (eventual World Series Champions) were -- ready? -- 4.5 games behind the wild card-leading Braves.

 

Still, that wild card race is only mildly interesting at best since the Nats face very poor odds. The real wild card race is in the AL where Texas and Tampa Bay are trading blows for home-field advantage in the Wild Card game while the Indians are nipping at their heals (0.5 games back) and teams like the Orioles (2.0 GB), Yankees (3.5 GB), and Royals (3.5 GB) remain a little further behind but still not quite out of it. Texas in particular has been a disaster, starting September 3-12 highlighted by a 7-game losing streak that they just ended last night. Texas entered September up a couple games in their division. Now, the division is all but lost, and their playoff odds are essentially a coin flip. 

 

Should be a fun final two weeks.

 

---

 

This is kind of an apropos of nothing, but check out how stacked the rookie class of the NL is: Yasiel Puig (392 PA, .331/.401/.539), Jose Fernandez (172.2 IP, 2.19 ERA, just turned 21 in July), Hyun-Jun Ryu (technically shouldn't be a rookie but 3.03 ERA over 181 IP), Julio Teheran (174.2 IP, 3.14 ERA), Shelby Miller (161.1 IP, 3.01 ERA), Gerrit Cole (105.1 IP, 3.33 ERA), Tony Cingrani (104.2 IP, 2.92 ERA). That doesn't even account for other high profile prospects who debuted like Zack Wheeler (3.42 ERA), Christian Yelich (112 wRC+), Anthony Rendon (97 wRC+), Michael Wacha (2.81 ERA), Tyler Skaggs (3.96 xFIP), etc. I could go on and mention other NL rookies like Juan Lagares, A.J. Pollock, and Nolan Arenado who have fell short offensively but have produced exceptional defense to be worth 2-3 wins. What a class.

 

Puig has been awesome but I think Fernandez should win the NL RoY award. Check out his numbers since June 1st: 120.1 IP, 37 walks, 135 strikeouts, 1.50 ERA. Opponents hit .161/.234/.224 against him in that time frame. Wow. And again, this is a kid who didn't turn 21 until the last day of July. Among starting pitcher seasons age-20 or under since 1962, Fernandez's 2013 ranks 6th in fWAR*, 2nd in ERA, and 2nd in strikeout percentage.

 

* - sorry, have to get some unabashed Doc Gooden love in here: his 1985 and 1984 rank #1 and #2 on this list, and each season essentially doubled the value of Fernandez's 2013. Insane. 

 

---

 

Fiesty already talked about it, but man, what a season for Mike Trout, hitting the 10+ win threshold for the second year in a row, and actually improving at the plate to a 180 wRC+, up from the 166 mark of last year. Yet he'll get robbed of the MVP (again), despite having the credentials to win in a landslide (again). 

Edited by nmigliore

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Trying to quickly type up a response so this may be me rambling a bit...

CR76:

My rant is more aimed at the writers (BBWAA) than fans since the writers get to vote on it and as professionals I wish they would be more open to actually using their brains. I mean, especially with the NY media, it's like all the beat writers more often than not constantly write the same stories/narratives and just change the words up slightly. Baseball is entertainment to most fans so I can't really get on them if they don't want to learn about it since it's supposed to be leisure for them. To be honest I suck at math and hate numbers but for some reason sabermetrics appeals to me.

I doubt sabermetrics will never end up on TV all that much and honestly it doesn't bother me since I never thought they would. I was surprised to see wRC+ on the Yankee Stadium scoreboard in pre-game though. I just wish the people paid to follow the sport would be more open to embracing sabermetrics. I'm not saying to full on embrace it and discount all the traditional stats, but at least make it part of the conversation for awards and such.

On the other point, while some people into sabermetrics are snobby, I also think a lot of fans refuse to even have a conversation with people that like sabermetrics. I've tried to nicely explain what I know (I don't consider myself an expert by any means) but I'm often met with nothing but insults for hours afterwards.

 

NJDevs4978:

Sadly I do agree with you that Trout being an a bad team will probably mean guys like Chris Davis (no disrespect intended) do get more consideration than him. I just wish MVP was awarded based more on overall individual achievement with some context put in on team, in which case, I think what Trout has done on a bad team is remarkable. I know that won't be the case though.

 

The sabermatricians have had some success.  OPS is pretty standard fare these days and it seems pretty accepted that OBP is a more useful stat than batting average.  I'm reflexively skeptical about most things, but even I accept it.

 

From my view though, the hardcore sabermatricians biggest problem is their arrogance, by which I don't mean being snobby.  They feel they can measure everything, to the point of measuring something that can't logically be measured, i.e. WAR.  Unless you can recreate the world, you simply cannot measure how many games a particular player helps you win or lose, unless you're talking about a pitcher, and even that's dicey.   The other problem with WAR is that it's only as good as the sum of its parts, and those don't really add up.  Trying to measure how good one is in the field is an impossible task.  You can't really measure how many runners an outfielder prevents from attempting to advance or how many "great" fielding plays someone makes.  If they just admitted these shortcomings, I would respect them more. 

 

If you watch South Park it kind of reminds me of the episode where they make fun of Ancient Aliens.  It starts out with one Ancient Aliens program saying, "did aliens take part in the first Thanksgiving? We just don't know."  The next episode then says, "most historians now agree that Thanksgiving was a feast attended by pilgrims, native ameericans and aliens".   Sort of like WAR includes things like fielding, which is difficult to measure.  But we all know this guy is better because his WAR is better. 

 

But even if WAR is really "correct", don't expect it to have any major inroads when it comes to MVP voting.  You need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how it works and that's even if you're smart enough to grasp the nuts and bolts.   Think about it this way, do you think there are more than fifty fantasy baseball leagues in the world that have WAR as a component?  If not, you should hardly expect too many sports writers -- that probably never took a course on statistics -- to do the same thing either.  The more you think about it, it's amazing that it has made the inroads that it has. 

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I don't follow the NL but it looks like it's been an interesting year there. I'm definitely hoping an NL team beats any of the AL teams in the WS since I hate the likes of the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Indians, Royals, Rangers, and to a lesser extent A's (would only be happy for Beane). Wouldn't mind seeing Don Mattingly finally getting his ring even if its with the Dodgers.

-------------------

One thing that I think is crazy about Trout is the tremendous value the Angels are getting out of him. Salary vs. WAR:

2012: $0.4825M vs. 10 WAR
2013: $0.51M vs. 10.1 WAR and counting

Original signing bonus was just $1.215M. Plus he isn't arbitration elgible until 2015 and a free agent until 2018. Though I'm sure both sides will look into a long term deal so Trout can get his money sooner and the Angels can get out of 2 or 3 free agent years. Just because I hate the Angels I'd like to point out that they are paying Josh Hamilton $15M for 1.5 WAR so far this year.

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Here is an interesting article from a few days ago that shows how the Pittsburgh Pirates have embraced sabermetrics and helped use the data to change their organizational philosophy, especially when it comes to fielding and shifts. Interesting how old school guys have started to adapt to data and new school philosophies in MLB front offices and dugouts. 

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I don't follow the NL but it looks like it's been an interesting year there. I'm definitely hoping an NL team beats any of the AL teams in the WS since I hate the likes of the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Indians, Royals, Rangers, and to a lesser extent A's (would only be happy for Beane). Wouldn't mind seeing Don Mattingly finally getting his ring even if its with the Dodgers.

-------------------

One thing that I think is crazy about Trout is the tremendous value the Angels are getting out of him. Salary vs. WAR:

2012: $0.4825M vs. 10 WAR

2013: $0.51M vs. 10.1 WAR and counting

Original signing bonus was just $1.215M. Plus he isn't arbitration elgible until 2015 and a free agent until 2018. Though I'm sure both sides will look into a long term deal so Trout can get his money sooner and the Angels can get out of 2 or 3 free agent years. Just because I hate the Angels I'd like to point out that they are paying Josh Hamilton $15M for 1.5 WAR so far this year.

-------------------

Here is an interesting article from a few days ago that shows how the Pittsburgh Pirates have embraced sabermetrics and helped use the data to change their organizational philosophy, especially when it comes to fielding and shifts. Interesting how old school guys have started to adapt to data and new school philosophies in MLB front offices and dugouts. 

 

Albert Pujols was also greatly disappointing before he got shut down (110 wRC+, 0.7 WAR); only 8 years and $212M to go! Yikes.

 

I'm not too shocked that Hamilton has struggled. His approach has always been hack-at-everything which made him prone to some really ugly stretches. Add in aging and the injury and addiction history and he stuck out as a guy to avoid this offseason. 

 

The Angels have a ton of money committed to Hamilton, Pujols, Weaver, and Wilson but I think we'll see an extension for Trout eventually; he's just too special of a talent to ever let approach free agency and the Angels are still loaded with cash. 

 

re: Pirates/shifts - funny to see that, I actually just read that this morning. I've always liked Neal Huntington, it's great to see Pittsburgh doing smart things -- from the draft (no more Bryan Bullingtons), signings (Russell Martin deal remains one of the biggest steals of the previous offseason), trades, and the in-game stuff like defensive shifts -- and also being competitive after so many dreadful years. The fans deserve it. They are definitely going to be my team to cheer for in October.

Edited by nmigliore

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re: Pirates/shifts - funny to see that, I actually just read that this morning. I've always liked Neal Huntington, it's great to see Pittsburgh doing smart things -- from the draft (no more Bryan Bullingtons), signings (Russell Martin deal remains one of the biggest steals of the previous offseason), trades, and the in-game stuff like defensive shifts -- and also being competitive after so many dreadful years. The fans deserve it. They are definitely going to be my team to cheer for in October.

Not to hijack the regular MLB thread but what a miss by Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine. Cashman wanted Martin back but Hal was too cheap to give the extra few mil to re-sign Martin when the Yankees had no decent alternative option. Yankees may be in one of the WC spots if not for that (along with punting RF by re-signing Ichiro - another Hal/Levine move against Cashman).

Russell Martin: .229/.330/.381 .318 wOBA 103 wRC+ 13.5 Fld 4.1 WAR

Yankees C: .218/.293/.305 .272 wOBA 64 wRC+ 2.2 Fld 0.8 WAR - 26th worst in MLB

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Billy Hamilton is pretty awesome. Just came in to pinch-run in the 9th in the opener of this critical Reds/Pirates series, stole a base, and scored the tying run (from 2nd) on an infield single. He now has more stolen bases (10-of-10) than plate appearances (9). He's also already in the top 10 in the NL in wSB, Fangraphs' cumulative base-stealing value stat. 

 

According to this article from J.J. Cooper (Baseball America), one scout said Hamilton's 1st-to-2nd steal time betters Ricky Henderson in his prime. 

 

Who knows if he'll ever hit enough to play everyday but he's already an enormously fun (and unique) player to watch.

Edited by nmigliore

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Billy Hamilton is pretty awesome. Just came in to pinch-run in the 9th in the opener of this critical Reds/Pirates series, stole a base, and scored the tying run (from 2nd) on an infield single. He now has more stolen bases (10-of-10) than plate appearances (9). He's also already in the top 10 in the NL in wSB, Fangraphs' cumulative base-stealing value stat. 
 
According to this article from J.J. Cooper (Baseball America), one scout said Hamilton's 1st-to-2nd steal time betters Ricky Henderson in his prime. 
 
Who knows if he'll ever hit enough to play everyday but he's already an enormously fun (and unique) player to watch.

 

I read yesterday that Choo was open to remaining in Cincy but the emergence of Hamilton may push him out. Hamilton looks like an exciting player and while he didn't hit in AAA, it was his first year there and he has decent numbers all over his minor league career (though small sample sizes for A+ and AA). I take it he's also great defensively?

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I haven't personally seen him in the field yet but have read that he was making a smooth transition from the infield (he just started playing CF last fall). It's easy to imagine him becoming a defensive asset with his speed. 

 

The bat is going to be the big question mark, as he whiffs a bit too much for a guy with very limited power. His profile isn't so dissimilar to Emilio Bonifacio who has bounced around the league as super-utility type with speed as his best asset. Hamilton's speed is in a class of its own, so that's not a completely fair comparison, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he has a similar career path. 

Edited by nmigliore

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Dreadful series for Baltimore in Tampa Bay this weekend. They lost a tough one in 18 innings on Friday and have scored just 2 runs over these last two days. They sit at 4.5 out of the final WC spot with just 7 games to go. Yankees took 2/3 from the Giants but lost the finale which dropped them to 4 games out with 6 to go. KC took 2/3 from Texas but sits 3.5 out with 7 to go. It seems like a pretty bleak outlook for all of these teams.

 

In addition to the Rays, the Indians were big winners this weekend, sweeping the Astros and now sitting with 1.5 game lead on the Rangers for the final WC spot (this sure seems like a 2-horse race for the final spot). Cleveland's remaining schedule? 2 vs the White Sox and 4 @ the Twins. That's about as soft as it gets. Texas fortunately gets the Astros for 3 and then the Angels for 4, who I'm sure would just love to stick it to Texas.

 

In the NL, the Cards watched the Reds/Pirates beat up each other while they took care of business vs Milwaukee to enter the final week with a 2 game lead in the Central. The Reds/Pirates remain tied for homefield advantage in the Wild Card Game but each team still has a shot at the division. With the AL WC shaping up to be a 2-team race for the final spot (with the Indians as likely winners due to their lead and softer finish) this NL Central insanity will probably be the most interesting playoff race to watch over this final week..... and it all culminates with the Reds/Pirates meeting AGAIN for 3 (in Cincy) to end the season next weekend. Here's to hoping the division is still up for grabs by next weekend and Reds/Pirates 2.0 doesn't become a more boring (if still entertaining) "Who Gets Homefield Advantage In the Wild Card Game?" series.

 

The Dodgers, Braves, Red Sox, and A's all wrapped up their divisions while Detroit will do so very shortly. Enjoy the final week.

Edited by nmigliore

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Fantastic piece on Mike Trout by Rany Jazayerli of Grantland: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9715559/mike-trout-quest-mvp-great-performance-major-leaguehttp://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9715559/mike-trout-quest-mvp-great-performance-major-league

 

I don't want to excerpt just one thing because there is a ton of great stuff in there. Go read it. 

Edited by nmigliore

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Just got to read that piece on Trout, really well done.

 

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9727367/mlb-commissioner-bud-selig-retire-2014-season

 

As expected Selig is retiring after 2014. I may not like him and a lot of things he has done but after enduring the wrath of Gary Bettman, I will never complain about another commissioner.

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So as we enter the weekend, the NL Central race is basically over: the Cards, facing the Cubs, need just a win or Pirates' loss to clinch the division with 3 games to go. The Pirates' division odds may be hopeless but they are up a game on the Reds for homefield advantage in the NL Wild Card Game. The two teams will meet in a 3-game series starting tomorrow.

 

The finish to the AL WC race should be a little more exciting. The Rays and Indians just keep winning -- 7 in a row for each team with their wins tonight. Despite the eliminations of Baltimore, New York, and Kansas City earlier in the week, Texas continues to hang in the race with 4 straight wins themselves, highlighted by a walk-off win tonight on a Jurickson Profar homer to begin their final series vs the Angels. The Rays are up 2 games on Texas with 3 to play, so they are basically in at this point, though a rough series in Toronto could lead to them losing homefield advantage in the AL Wild Card Game. The real playoff race, however, will be Cleveland vs Texas, though I still think Cleveland walks away with it because of their lead (+1 game lead) and easier opponent (Minnesota). 

 

The playoffs are only 5 days away!

Edited by nmigliore

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Kind of big news regarding Cuban players:

 

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/major-changes-could-come-for-cuban-talent/

 

The market for Cuban players—and the way that major league teams are able to scout them—could be on the verge of significant overhaul.

 

Mexican League officials are in discussions with the Cuban government to import top Cuban players to play in the Mexican League next season. Those players, Baseball America has learned, would play in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional, during the winter, then could play in Mexico during the spring and summer.

 

More meetings are expected to occur within the next month to hammer out the mechanics of how Cuban players could be brought to the Mexican League, whose teams are not affiliated with major league organizations, even while the league is technically a member of Minor League Baseball.

 

The system could potentially allow the Cuban government to make money off the players by leasing their rights to a Mexican team, while the players would be allowed to make a salary from their Mexican club, something they receive little of in Cuba. After the Mexican League season, the players would return to Cuba.

 

 

Cuba can make some nice money off of this and MLB scouts can get a better look at these Cuban players too. Mexican League teams can't just sell Cubans to MLB teams like they could with other players, but you have to wonder if we eventually see that. Cuba is losing lots of star players to defection and of course receiving nothing in return. At least with this they would get some money in return for essentially loaning their stars to the Mexican League during their offseason (they play during the winter).

Edited by nmigliore

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Kind of big news regarding Cuban players:

 

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/major-changes-could-come-for-cuban-talent/

 

 

Cuba can make some nice money off of this and MLB scouts can get a better look at these Cuban players too. Mexican League teams can't just sell Cubans to MLB teams like they could with other players, but you have to wonder if we eventually see that. Cuba is losing lots of star players to defection and of course receiving nothing in return. At least with this they would get some money in return for essentially loaning their stars to the Mexican League during their offseason (they play during the winter).

 

Not to make this political, but that the government sees any person, much less a baseball player, to be leased out as a form of revenue is a bit creepy.

 

To the main point, I can't see this lasting very long.  If the players that are going to Mexico are any good, they're taking the first chance they can to defect.  I think Cuba shuts down the program shortly after that.

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Tomorrow has shaped up to be a wild finish to the regular season in the AL. 

 

First off, the Sox are the #1 seed, leaving the Tigers and A's to meet in the ALDS next Friday. But the wild card..... wow. The scintillating Rays have lost two in a row while the Indians and Rangers have kept up their winning ways, leading to the Indians to have +1 game lead on the Rangers and Rays, both of whom are tied for the 2nd wild card spot. The Indians are the only team guaranteed to play beyond tomorrow as of right now; the worst that can happen to them is a loss with the Rays and Indians winning, which would mean a tiebreaker game on Monday in Cleveland. Bill Chastain of MLB.com lays out the possibilities:

 

If the Rays win what could be a make-or-break game on Sunday in Toronto against the Blue Jays, they can't yet be eliminated from postseason contention. A three-way AL Wild Card tie at the end of play on Sunday would require two tiebreaker games, the first of which would take place between the Rays and Indians in Cleveland on Monday. The loser of that game would head to Arlington to play the Rangers on Tuesday to determine who would oppose Monday's winner in Wednesday's AL Wild Card Game. If the Rangers and Indians lose on Sunday and the Rays win, finishing the day in a tie with Cleveland, no tiebreaker would be necessary; Tampa Bay would host Cleveland for the Wild Card Game. If all three contenders play to the same result on Sunday, the Rays and Rangers would play a one-game tiebreaker in Arlington, based on Texas' four wins in the seven-game season series between the two clubs.

 

How fun would it be to see 3 games (two tiebreakers, one actual AL Wild Card Game) to determine who faces Boston in the ALDS next Friday? That's what I'm pulling for here. Either way, tomorrow is going to be crazy. Here are the probable pitching matchups:

 

Rays (@ Blue Jays, 1pm ET): Matt Moore vs Todd Redmond

Indians (@ Twins, 2pm ET): Ubaldo Jimenez vs Scott Diamond

Rangers (vs Angels, 3pm ET): Yu Darvish vs Jason Vargas

 

In the NL, the Cardinals clinched their division Friday and with the Pirates taking the first two of their series vs the Reds, they've clinched homefield advantage for Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game. I guess if there is one race left, it's to determine the #1 seed/who avoids the Dodgers between the Cardinals and Braves. But with all due respect to that, nobody is going to give a sh!t tomorrow. All eyes will (as they should) be on the Rays, Indians, and Rangers.

Edited by nmigliore

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I hope the A's beat the Tigers in the ALDS for obvious reasons.

The 3 game scenario is fascinating. I'd rather see the Indians eventually move on to play and hopefully defeat the Red Sox. In the end I'm pulling for whoever comes out of the NL though.

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Indians beat the Twins and clinched homefield advantage for the AL Wild Card Game. The Rays almost blew a 7-0 lead but held on to guarantee themselves another game. Pressure is on the Rangers to win to force a tiebreaker game (they're currently winning 3-2 in the 7th). If they lose, it's Indians vs Rays as the Wild Card Game. 

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And to top off a fun day, Henderson Alvarez gets a no-hitter in the strangest way possible: a walk-off run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th. And nice that he got to do in front of a GIGANTIC crowd (for the Marlins anyway).

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