Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Schwarber’

With pitchers and catchers just reporting the St. Louis Cardinals got some bad news already. The Cardinals top pitching prospect and the #6 rated minor league prospect overall Alex Reyes needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2017 season. An MRI revealed a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.Reyes had the MRI on Tuesday after letting the Cardinals of elbow discomfort. The scan was examined by team physician Dr. George Paletta; who confirmed that Reyes requires Tommy John surgery. The images have been sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, but the Cardinals do not expect the diagnosis to change. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Reyes will likely have the surgery on Thursday. It will be performed by Paletta. Reyes first notified the Cardinals of arm discomfort late last week, and the club recommended the imaging scan after running Reyes through a physical exam at their spring training complex. Reyes has been pitching with a compromised ligament in his right elbow since at least 2013; when he was diagnosed with an elbow strain. Reyes will no longer pitch for the Dominican Republic team in next month’s World Baseball Classic. Reyes pitched in 12 games last season for St. Louis making 5 starts. He pitched a total of 46 innings going 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 1.57 and getting 1 save. Reyes was expected to contribute at the major league level this season, but his role hadn’t been decided yet. While it was never announced you have to believe there was a plan in place to limit his innings this season be it as a starter or out of the bullpen. Not that you ever want to lose a player for the season this early, but the Cardinals do have Lance Lynn returning from Tommy John surgery which cost him the entire 2016 season. St. Louis also has 23 year old prospect Luke Weaver who made 8 starts for them last season to help in the rotation if needed. Weaver was 1-4 in those 8 starts with an E.R.A, of 5.70 over 36 1/3rd innings. Weaver did make one relief appearance last season.

Kyle Schwarber has said that he wants to continue to catch and the Chicago Cubs cane out yesterday and said that they will allow him to do some catching this spring. Schwarber  tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in the third regular season game in 2016 was examined by the Cubs medical staff yesterday and if they clear him he’ll catch one or two days a week this spring. Schwarber miss all but those first three games of the regular season, but he did return to serve as the Cubs designated hitter in the World Series. Schwarber will have to wear a brace on his left knee this season and possibly the rest of his playing career. The Cubs are working on creative ways for Schwarber to work with the catchers and not put any unnecessary stress on his knee. Coming into the 2017 season Wilson Contreras looks to be the Cubs starting catcher with Miguel Montero being his back up. If Schwarber can catch he could be a very valuable 3rd catcher for the Cubs.

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is scheduled to miss 6 weeks. Love began suffering from a sore left knee Saturday against the Denver Nuggets and sat out from the Cavaliers game Tuesday. An MRI on Sunday didn’t reveal any structural damage, but Love sought out a second opinion. If Love is out the 6 weeks he should be able to return at the start of April and that would give him 7 games to get ready for the playoffs. That actual should give Love enough time to test the knee out and get back into game shape. Love is currently 3rd on the Cavaliers in scoring averaging 20 points a game. He is the teams leading rebounder grabbing 11.1 per game. Love is also one of the Cavaliers best 3-point shooters making 38.4% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland is 38-16 and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. Will they still be in 1st place when Love returns? More importantly does it matter at all where the Cavaliers are seeded come playoff time? You have to think that even if the Cavaliers fall into 2nd or even 3rd place they would still be the clear favorites to win the conference and go to the NBA Finals.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild 1-0 last night, but they may lose Antoine Vermette to a suspension after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso. After losing a face off with 7:33 left in the 3rd period Vermette slashed the leg of the linesman. This earned Vermette a 10 minute penalty for game misconduct and an ejection for abuse of an official. NHL Rule 40.3 explains that a player will receive a 10 game suspension for deliberately applying physical force to an official in any manner. Vermette’s slash fits into this category. Just last season Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames received a 20 game suspension for cross-checking a ref on his way back to the bench. Wideman’s suspension was later reduced to 10 games through an appeal. Vermette is in his 13th NHL season, but this is his 1st one with Anaheim. In 58 games this season Vermette has 22 points on 8 goals and 14 assists, but is a -10 for +/- this season. There is no timetable for an NHL ruling on Vermette’s slash, but you have to think there will be a suspension involved with this incident.

For the Super Bowl the Atlanta Zoo had a bet with the Rhode Island Roger Williams Park Zoo that the loser would name a baby animal after the winning team’s star quarterback. The Atlanta Zoo paid off there bet by naming a Madagascar hissing cockroach Tom Brady. The animal to be named had been agreed upon between the two zoo’s since it was expected the loser of the bet would be bitter. The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video Monday, including a tiny Tom Brady.

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I’m sure by now you know that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. They had there parade yesterday in Chicago and they’re estimating that 5 million people attended. When Theo Epstein took over the Cubs in October of 2011 he torn the team down and rebuilt it. I’m not sure how many people remember this, but the Houston Astros started their rebuilding process a season before the Cubs did. The Astros did make a playoff appearance in 2015. They beat the New York Yankees 3-0 in the wild card game and advanced to the ALDS. The Astros had a 2 games to 1 lead in that series, but eventually lost 3 games to 2 to the Kansas City Royals. The Astros stumbled a bit last season finishing 3rd in the AL West with a record of 84-78. Since both of these teams where on the same track I thought we’d take a look at how they ended up being built.

In the 2010 draft the Astros took Delino Deshields Jr. #8 overall. The Cubs who weren’t rebuilding yet took Hayden Simpson with the 16th pick. Deshields Jr. never played for the Astros as the Texas Rangers selected him in the 2014 Rule 5 draft. Simpson never pitched above high Class-A and was out of baseball after the 2013 season. The Cubs had the #9 pick in the 2011 draft and they took Javier Baez. This was not a Epstein draft pick as he didn’t take the team over until October. The Astros selected George Springer two picks after Baez at #11. Baez has had short stint with the Cubs in 2014 and 2015, but in 2016 he played in 142 games. He’s been called a super utility player by the Cubs as he played all 4 infield spot and 2 games in leftfield. Baez was also named the Co-MVP of the NLCS. Springer also debut in 2014 and finished 8th on Rookie of the Year voting. He lost time to injury in 2015, but came back to play in all 162 games last season. It looks like both teams found long term players in this draft. In 2012 the Astros had the 1st pick in the draft and they used it on shortstop Carlos Correa. With the 6th pick in the draft the Cubs selected Alberto Almora Jr. Correa is considered one of the if not the best young shortstop in baseball. He debuted in 2015 playing in 99 games and winning the Rookie of the Year award. Almora Jr. saw his first major league action in the 2016 season playing in 47 games. Almora Jr. was on the Cubs post season roster; so he’ll get a ring. Correa looks to be a star for a long time, but the book is still out on Almora Jr. In the 2013 draft the Astros had the 1st pick and the Cubs where right behind them at #2. The Astros used that 1st pick on pitcher Mark Appel while the Cubs went with Kris Bryant. Appel has yet to make it to the major league. In December of 2015 the Astros traded Appel to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a 7-player deal that brought reliever Ken Giles back to Houston. Appel was injured last season making 8 starts for Lehigh Valley the Phillies Triple-A team. After the issues of when Bryant should be brought up ended he went on to play 15 games in 2015 and win the Rookie of the Year award. Bryant has been an All-Star in both of his major league season and has a chance to be named the 2016 MVP. The Astros where able to turn Appel into relief help that they needed, but when you pick a guy #1 you expect him to anchor your staff for years. Bryant on the other hand looks to be a long time fixture in the middle of the Cubs line up. In the 2014 draft the Astros again had the #1 pick in the draft and they went pitching again taking Brady Aiken. The Cubs selecting 4th in the draft surprised everyone with the selection of Kyle Schwarber. Aiken and the Astros where never able to agree to contract terms. There was some issues over Aiken’s arm and he did end up having Tommy John surgery. Aiken ended up re-entering the in 2015 where the Cleveland Indians picked him in the 1st round with the 17th pick. Schwarber spent about a year and a half in the minors before being brought up to DH in an inter-league series. He did so well that he never went back to the minors. Schwarber ended up playing in 69 games in 2015. He only played 2 regular season games in 2016 because of a knee injury, but he made it back to be the Cubs DH in the World Series. I understand that the Astros didn’t want to pay a injured pitcher top dollar, but why did they draft him with the 1st pick then. The Bottom line with Schwarber is he can hit. If the Cubs can find a position for him he can be a big time run producer for them. Since Houston was unable to sign Aiken they received a compensation at #2 and then had their own pick at #5. With the 2nd pick the Astros took Alex Bregman and then with the 5th pick they selected Kyle Tucker. The Cubs had the 9th pick in this draft and took Ian Happ. Bregman made his major league debut last season paying in 49 games. Tucker is still working his way through the Astros minor league system. He spent most of the season in Class-A, but was moved up to High Class-A at the end of the season. Happ is also working his way to the big leagues. Happ started last season in High Class-a, but was called up to Double-A. While the jury is still out on both Tucker and Happ; Bregman has shown that he can play at the major league level and it’s been reported that the Astros may try him as their everyday leftfielder next season. As the teams improve you’ll notice there draft positions get lower. In last seasons draft the Cubs didn’t have a 1st round pick as it went to the St. Louis Cardinals for the Cubs signing of John Lackey. The Astros where picking at #17 and they selected Forrest Whitley. Obviously Whitley’s career is just beginning as he’s pitched in just 8 Rookie League games. It will be a few years before we know how this draft pick worked out for Houston.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Cubs didn’t select one pitcher with a 1st round pick. The Astros have taken three and two didn’t work out. Appel is now with the Phillies. Aiken never signed and is now with the Indians and Whitley was just drafted.

So how did the Cubs build their starting rotation? Jon Lester was signed as a free agent to a 6-year $155 million dollar deal with an option for a 7th year in 2014. Jake Arrieta was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade. John Lackey was signed as a free agent to a 2-year $32 million dollar deal before the 2016 season. Kyle Hendricks was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers and Jason Hammel was signed as a free agent to a 2-year $20 million dollar deal with an option for a 3rd year in 2014. Hammel has also factored in the Cubs success as he was part of the a trade that sent Hammel and Jeff Samardzjia to the Oakland A’s for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily. McKinney ended up being part of the deal with the New York Yankees that brought Aroldis Chapman.

It appears as though the question is do you draft pitching or do you sign pitching. Both have there draw backs. If you miss on a draft pick you get nothing out of that player, Now if you miss on a free agent signing paying a player big money who you’re not getting anything out of them. As teams try to rebuild; the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers started rebuilding this past season it will be interesting to see if they go the draft route with pitchers or if they’ll invest in free agents. Since most leagues are copycat leagues you have to expect that teams will look to sign starting pitching. Of course signing the right starting pitching will be the key to teams success.

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Hey there, Chicago!
I relish the opportunity to wax on about the San Francisco Giants here on SportsTimeRadio because simply put, the Giants and your Chicago Cubs are destined to meet in October. At least put it this way, the Giants will be there and I expect you’d back that up with a resounding, “Don’t you worry about our Cubs.”
First off, I’m sorry to see Kyle Schwarber go down especially the way the whole play unfolded. San Francisco lost Hunter Pence the first week of spring training last year and the team never fully recovered. Of course, Pence means much to the soul of the Giants but still, here’s hoping that Schwarber is back on the diamond in the most timely of manners. No team nor its fans wants to get a leg up on another club through injury.
Looking at the Cubs’ complete roster though, with its depth, leaves me to believe that my opening statement is accurate: The Giants and Cubs will compete against one another in the 2016 playoffs. The last time that happened was in 1989, when San Francisco prevailed four games to one, only to lose to the Oakland A’s in the infamous Earthquake Series.
I first appeared on this show in November of 2014, when Dan called to ask about my “Dynasty” piece on the Giants. I had written that three titles in five years, while stellar, did not make a dynasty because the rule of thumb is continuous success over a decade. That’s ten years, not five.
Since then I have appeared every few weeks when there are some lively topics to bat around, not so often when there isn’t much going on. When Pablo Sandoval was in the news only a year ago in December, with all of his palaver about wanting a new challenge in Boston, I was chiming in with my nickel’s worth routinely. I see now that the rotund one is back in the news with his recent disharmony with Boston management.
I feel bad for The Panda because he was so easy to like, but like the tragic hero, he has a flaw. His flaw is not so much the excess weight he carries around, but the fact that he refuses to acknowledge that the weight is the albatross that keeps him so locked into his decline.
For the Giants, of course, it meant that Matt Duffy was able to step right into the slot and not only make fans forget Pablo, but introduce us to “The DuffMan!” Duffy is now in his second season and fits in well with the all home-grown Giants infield.
Most recently, the decision to keep the red-hot Trevor Brown over Andrew Susac as Buster Posey’s back-up behind the dish, has paid off handsomely. The UCLA grad from Newhall, California has produced an early line of .385/1.154/1.538; in thirteen at-bats, the rookie has five hits, three of them big flies. 
The Giants like Posey’s offensive numbers much more when he is playing first, but they also like those three world series rings that Posey has delivered. Buster wasn’t playing first base when his three-time underdog Giants beat some pretty impressive American League powers to acquire their three rings.
I imagine there are Cubs fans who are keeping an eye on Jeff Samardzija for a variety of reasons. Though The Shark may have worn out his welcome in the home town, he has been embraced by the Giants, who have a reputation for rolling out the red carpet for new arrivals. It doesn’t hurt that Samardzija will be pitching half his games at AT&T Park, with one of the best pitching coaches in the game in Dave Righetti.
The Cubs have been ranked number one amongst MLB’s elite since the first preseason power polls were released. Nothing has occurred to change that. The Giants have hovered somewhere in the middle of the top-ten so far.
I imagine both teams are exactly where they would like to be. I know the Giants relish being the underdog and it still amazes/amuses me that they frequently get so little respect. 
Respect is a commodity that must be earned and the Giants have three recent titles in their resume that assures me they have the necessary credentials. Recent success does not guarantee continued success, but it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. 
See you next time.
Mark 

How was your Week?

Posted: August 22, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball
Tags: , , , ,

Since we talk about sports on the podcast, anyone who listens doesn’t know that I’m a sucker for bad horror movies. Last night I got sucked in by a movie title called Sexy Evil Genius. Luckily this terrible movie ended in time for me to catch the last 2 innings of the Los Angeles Dodger/Houston Astros game. I had been receiving updates through my tablet since the top of the 6th inning; so I knew Houston’s Mike Fiers had a no-hitter going. I got to see Carl Crawford strike out swinging for the 1st out of the 8th inning. After Crawford Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson both struck out looking. The Astros went down 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the 8th inning and that may have been a good thing for Fiers as he didn’t have a ton of time to sit in the dugout and think about the 9th inning. Jimmy Roliins led off the 9th inning for the Dodgers and it looked like he was going to break up the no-hitter when he hit a 2-2 fastball to right-center field that looked like it was going to be a hit. Jake Marisnick was tracking it, but was running out of room and it looked as though the ball was going over his head. Marisnick was able to track the flyball down and make the catch for the 1st out of the inning. The recently acquired Chase Utley was next up for the Dodgers. Utley was ahead in the count 2-0. On the 3rd pitch of the at bat Utley flew out to Marisnick, but it was a much easier play than the one he had to make on Rollins flyball. Now it was just Josh Turner standing between Fiers and a no-hitter. Turner had a good swing on the first pitch in his at bat, but fouled it off. The 2nd pitch was a ball and Turner swung and miss at the 3rd pitch; so the count was 1-2. Fiers threw a Cutter that missed to make the count 2-2 and it looked like he was almost over throwing, but who could blame him. The 5th pitch of Tuner’s at bat was a fastball that he swung at and missed for the final out of the game. Fiers improved his record to 6-9; he struck out 10 while walking 3. It took Fiers 134 pitches to record his no-hitter. Obviously it was the 1st no-hitter of Fiers young career, but it was also his 1st career complete game. The Astros gave Fiers all the run support he’d need in the bottom of the 2nd inning when with 2 outs Chris Carter singled to leftfield and Marisnick followed that with his 6th home run of the season to left-center field giving Houston a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the 6th inning the Astros gave Fiers an insurance run as Evan Gattis hit a solo home run his 19th of the season. Gattis home run also came with 2 outs and making the score 3-0 which is how it ended. Fiers was appearing in his 4th game for the Astros; 3 of which were starts after being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers along with Carlos Gomez on June 30th. The Astros gave up 4 players, 3 minor leaguers Josh Hader, Adrian Houser and Brett Phillps along with outfielder Domingo Santana who had appeared in 14 games for the Astros Before being traded. Last night was Fiers 75th career pitching appearance 59 of which have been starts. He has a career record of 22-28 with an E.R.A. of 3.57. Fiers no=hitter and Houston win along with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s 9-2 lost to the Toronto Blue Jays helped extend the Astros lead in the A.L. West to 3 1/2 games over the 2nd place Angels.

I heard a really interesting debate on the MLB Network the other day.  It was about catchers and the question was; who would you want Buster Posey or Yader Molina? Since there where no really  parameters set on how anyone had to answer the question it worked out to Posey being the choice, but just because he’s 5 years younger than Molina. I have no issue with that choice as they are both great players and at the top of their position, but what I was wondering was; who’s the next catcher you’d want? Russell Martin was a prized free agent this off season and while he does have 15 home runs which id tied for 5th among catchers this season he is hitting .244. Would you take Martin or how about another veteran like Brian McCann who’s leading all catchers in home runs with 21 and is 2nd in R.B.I.’s with 74, but his average is .241. Maybe you’d like to go with a younger guy; so how about 25 year old Salvador Perez who’s hitting .255 with 17 home runs and 50 R.B.I.’s. Of course you would have to look at their defense and pitch framing, but all 3 Martin, McCann and Perez are very good there. Maybe you would be interested in having a guy like Matt Wieters behind the plate and he is going to be a free agent this off season. Remember that Wieters is coming off of Tommy John surgery and has caught just 34 games this season as the Baltimore Orioles are being very careful with him. Wieters is hitting with 5 home runs in 170 at bats this season. Where would players like Yasmani Grandal, Blake Swihart, James McCann or Travis D’Arnaud rank on your list? They’re all young up and coming catchers, but don;t forget that D’Arnaud has had some injury issues. Oddly there may actually being a choice staring you right in the face; Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber has shown he can hit at the major league level, but the Cubs didn’t think he was going to be able to catch in the majors; so he played a lot of outfield in the minors last season. After being brought up for a short stint as a Designated Hitter (DH) for inter-league play in June Schwarber was called back up on July 17th and his bat has kept him in the majors since. Schwarber has played in 38 games this season; 6 as a DH, 13 as an outfielder, 7 in pinch hitting duty and 12 as a catcher. Schwarber is hitting .294 with 10 home runs, but the question is will he be a catcher down the road? Adding confusing to the Schwarber situation is that the Cubs have Miguel Montero under contract for $14 million next season and they also have Jon Lester’s personal catcher the 38 year old David Ross under contract for next season at $2.5 million. I guess it’s something will have to watch this off season, but the main question still is before you can choose Schwarber is will he catch?

So maybe you have Posey #1 and Molina #2 or Maybe you like Molina in the #1 spot and Posey in the 2nd spot. What I want to know is who do you have as your 3rd, 4th and 5th catcher?

So how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

You can also listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkradio.com