Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2009 World Series Game Six Here

The Yankees are back on top!

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the Minnesota Twins

If you’re anything like me your fantasy baseball drafts are coming up either sometime later this month or early next month. Some people like to draft as soon as Spring Training begins or even before, which I never understood FYI, but to each their own I guess. So much can happen between now and then. So many sleepers can emerge and so many stars can get injured while prospects can stand up and make a name for themselves making it impossible for the team to ignore. This is especially the case on small market teams that cannot simply outbid everyone else for a player’s services in free agency, a team like the Minnesota Twins perhaps.

Gone are the days of Johan Santana, Joe Mauer in his prime, Justin Morneau the MVP and Torii Hunter the spider and in are players such as Phil Hughes, former Yankee John Ryan Murphy and Korean import Byung-ho Park. 

Park was an absolute monster of a home run hitter during his last two seasons in Korea as he led the Korean Baseball Organization with 52 and 53 home runs respectively in 2014 and 2015. Even if the pitching is different and less difficult in Korea you have to think Park will run into at least 25 straight fastballs here in the states and could push 30-40 home run power. That’s hard to ignore in fantasy baseball, even if it comes with a .250 average and mediocre defense at first base. 

John Ryan Murphy will presumably be the everyday catcher in Minnesota but it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly to expect out of the young right-hander. I did like what I saw personally out of Murphy during his time in New York though. He showed a bit of power and he is a line drive hitter that is capable of a .275 average with plenty of doubles, on-base percentage and home runs if you don’t grab one of the top tier catchers in your draft. He’s a big risk to take and a relative unknown but I love the line drives that his swing produces and I think he can be a serviceable MLB catcher. 

Finally you have the defacto, or infacto depending on how you look at it, ace of the Minnesota Twins in Phil Hughes. Hughes was a monster in his first season with Minnesota as he rarely allowed a walk while striking out a healthy amount along the way. Hughes took a bit of a step back in 2015 and is no longer being relied on as the ace of the Twins staff, that distinction now belongs to Ervin Santana. If you need an ace don’t reach too high for Hughes but if you need around a 10.0 K/9 and 15 or so victories Hughes would be a great grab in the middle-to-later rounds. 

Those are your Minnesota Twins, hopefully one or two of them can help you own your Fantasy Baseball draft and league this season. Have a good night everyone!

What Will MLB Look Like in 10 Years?

Think about this for a second, as we sit here waiting on the snow to melt and the calendar to change and the 2016 regular MLB season to kick off just how much has changed in the last 10 seasons? How did Major League Baseball look back in the 2006 season when the Yankees were just beginning their downslide out of the Dynasty and when Joe Torre was just starting to feel the hot seat in the dugout? What was the state of the Yankees like when George Steinbrenner was aging and was finally willing to give some of the power back to Brian Cashman rather than fiddling with the day to day operations? Look at the Yankees lineup, only one man stands here on both lineup cards in Alex Rodriguez. Imagine how different this team will look and how different the landscape of Major League Baseball will look in another 10 years or so.

Commissioner Rob Manfred took over the top job in the sport from Bud Selig a little over one calendar year ago and look how much he has changed already. Instant replay has not only been enacted but expanded as well. Protective netting is going up around all 30 MLB ballparks to protect the fans, pace of play is being tweaked and pitch clocks are being used in the minor leagues. There’s also talk of adding the DH position to the National League, expanding the brand into Mexico, London, Cuba and other hot spots across the globe and streaming of MLB games is even going to become a thing in China of all places in 2017. The game and the brand is changing while the sport remains the same but what about in another 10 years?

Will we even have or need umpires? Honestly in 10 years we probably will but who is to say we will before my life comes to an end? With all the cameras and technology flying around the ballpark these days what’s the need?

You want to talk about MLB International, where do you think the games will be played in another 10 years? Whether regular season games or exhibition games as a part of spring training schedules I can totally see games being played all over Europe, South America, Canada, Asia, hell why not even Australia? The game is more global than it’s ever been and there are no signs of slowing down.

How does one grow a global game in a global market? International free agents help but within 10 years I feel like we will absolutely have an international draft that will happen after the regular season. You will still have your amateur draft in June but after the season while the Winter League games and leagues are being played there will be an International Draft as well.

Any game, any time, any device on any part of this green planet. If you thought MLB TV was great wait until you see the future. No more being blacked out because your local FOX station didn’t pick up your local game and no more using the whole “I was out of the country” as an excuse to miss a game. Everything will be at your fingertips and the Jetsons will be jealous.

Finally I think we may be seeing steps, even baby steps, in the self-driving vehicle department. Audi has already released a self-driving and self-parking car and many brands have cars that can parallel park themselves but how does this affect baseball? You ever try to park at the parking lots right up there close to the stadium? Easy way to drop 50 bucks or more for top games, I know I paid $40 in Atlanta to see the Yankees last year and that was with a mile and a half walk at least. With cars that can drive and park themselves new stadiums may opt to have parking farther away from the stadium and fill the closer sections with merchandise stands and concessions.

Will any of these happen? That I obviously cannot predict, I’m far from a prophet, but these are some of the things I can see happening in the sport in the next 10 years. I hope I’m still here ranting and raving and blogging about it then to tell you all I told you so. To the future, Marty!

In the Zombie Apocalypse Which Yankees Would I Want on my Side?

The month of February can be an eventful one in a guy’s life when you look at the big picture. First and foremost it’s the month that Valentine’s Day falls on so either you get to share the day with the love of your life, or the one you think is the love of your life anyway, and you’re happy or you’re the guy laughing at all the suckers being forced into buying the roses and chocolates and expensive dinners just because the calendar says so. You also have pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training camp and full team workouts while on this blog specifically you have the beginning of Prospects Month (two days away!). The most important part of February of all may be the fact that the AMC television program The Walking Dead comes back on this month as well which got me to thinking, what members of the Yankees would I want with me when the zombie apocalypse breaks out?

The key to any survival is getting in quick and getting out quicker so you’re going to need some speed, why not start at the top with Jacoby Ellsbury? For some reason he’s always reminded me of Glenn in the way that he could go on supply runs and never seem to get caught or die. Just as long as he doesn’t steal Maggie away from me…

Speaking of Maggie, who I find to be one of the most beautiful people on this planet, the player’s wife who would have to play Maggie and who is showcased on the Wives & Girlfriends section of the site would have to be the wife of Mark Teixeira. Although I’m a sucker for a brunette.

Back to the whole surviving thing though and as much as I like to think of myself we’re going to need a leader. We’re going to need our Rick. We’re going to need someone there that will do whatever it takes to not only survive but to flourish. We need a captain. Brian McCann is probably one of the biggest leaders on this team I know and one of the most intimidating figures on the team, ask Carlos Gomez.

For every Ying you need a Yang, the spiritual calm. The Morgan of the group. Didi Gregorius fits that mold quite well I think.

And finally every constable needs an assistant, a Michonne who is not afraid to get things done but also has the calm about her in the heat of the moment to keep the hot-headed McCann in line when necessary. Andrew Miller. 

We may have to let Miller grow his hair out again….

Meet a Prospect: Carlos Corporan

The latest member of the New York Yankees second wave of reinforcements is former Texas Rangers backup catcher Carlos Corporan. After tweeting out “Corpy Day” on every day that he got to start in Texas the young catcher will look to bring his talents and awesome tweeting skills to the Bronx after signing a minor league deal with the club. Corporan will receive an invitation to spring training and will compete directly with Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez for the honor of backing up Brian McCann this coming season. Many of you may know Corporan already but for those who don’t allow me to introduce you to the latest New York Yankee. This is Meet a Prospect, the Carlos Corporan Edition.

Carlos Fernando Corporan was born on January 7, 1984 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Even as a young child Corporan stated he wanted to play professional baseball when he grew up and he took that mindset with him to Lake City Community College where he played for the school’s baseball team. Corporan was a shortstop then but it was at Lake City where he converted to a catcher and caught the attention of the Milwaukee Brewers who took him in the 12th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft.

Corporan stayed in the Milwaukee farm system until finally getting his first call up to the Major Leagues in 2009 after Mike Rivera sprained his ankle and was forced to the disabled list. Corporan got a single at bat with the Brewers and made the most of his opportunity as he laced his first MLB hit off shortstop Paul Janish. After the 2009 season Corporan filed for free agency and ended up signing a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks with a similar invitation to spring training. Corporan spent the 2010 season with Arizona before latching on with the Houston Astros for the 2011 season on yet another minor league deal and another invitation to spring training.

Corporan played sparingly for the Astros in 2011 and 2012 before getting his first real shot at the major league level in 2013. Corporan played in a total of 64 games that season and hit for a .225 batting average with seven home runs and 20 RBI. That was enough to warrant one more season in Houston before being designated for assignment before the 2015 season. The Rangers acquired Corporan after the DFA and Corpy spent the season backing up Robinson Chirinos before electing for free agency once again this season. That is when the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman came calling with another minor league deal and yet another invitation to spring training.

Good luck Corpy and welcome to the family.

Quick Hit: Top Fantasy Sleepers for 2016

As the Hot Stove season comes down from a rapid boil to a simmer the fantasy baseball season begins to heat up as spring training draws closer. We have discussed many times this winter already ways to improve your late pick draft strategy in hopes of winning those later rounds and in turn your leagues and this morning I want to talk about a few sleepers that I have in mind for my own personal draft. Some are big names and others are at least recognizable names but many of them had down or irregular seasons in 2015, something I cannot see these players making a habit of in 2016. If you’re worried about your draft then give this a read and maybe even a bookmark to keep handy for your draft day, maybe it will help you!

Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto fit the same mold here because both are coming from either hitting friendly ballparks or somewhat neutral ballparks in terms of hitting vs. pitching. They won’t have that problem in San Francisco as AT&T Park is one of the biggest and best pitching ballparks in all of Major League Baseball. What is an upper deck shot inside Yankee Stadium doesn’t seem like it would reach the warning track in San Francisco making what Barry Bonds did there all the more special. If either are there later in the draft then snatch them up. Both of them.

The same can be said for starter, turned relief pitcher turned starter again Rich Hill. Hill came back into the league last season with the Boston Red Sox and pitched well enough to get a team like the Oakland Athletics to give him a shot as a starting pitcher. Hill should enjoy pitching inside the Oakland Coliseum more than he enjoyed the wacky dimensions inside Fenway Park. His defense behind him in Oakland, other than at shortstop with Marcus Semien, should be solid as well. He’s a good late round pick if you need wins.

Brett Lawrie is entering his prime years finally at age 26 and will be shifting to one of the more hitting friendly parks in U.S. Cellular Field. Lawrie will be eligible at first and third base for the White Sox this season and should see enough playing time at both positions to justify a real late pick.

Speaking of favorable park switches you have to think that Mark Trumbo and his power will enjoy hitting at Camden Yards and Oriole Park, ask Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/30: The Yankee Years

On this day in 2009 Joe Torre was on CNN's Larry King Live answering questions about his new book "The Yankee Years." The book caused a firestorm of reaction from former players, fans, and the Yankees organization just a week after its release.

Also on this day in 2007 The Yankees agreed to help establish baseball academies in China and sent coaches, scouts, and player development staff over to give a hand. Randy Levine, the Yankees team President, committed the Yankees to help the Chinese Baseball Association develop young talent while also trying to promote baseball to a community that does not know baseball.