Future Star or Future Benchwarmer? Why Top Prospects are Traded in the MLB

By: David Miron

Reading Time: 5 minutes

On December 6th, 2016, the Boston Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada, the number three overall MLB prospect, as well as a package of other prospects to the Chicago White Sox for Chris Sale.[1]The very next day, the Washington Nationals traded for Adam Eaton, giving up a bundle that included the number five overall prospect, Lucas Giolito.[2]In each of these trades, a player with seemingly endless potential, a player highly regarded by the Baseball America prospect rankings, changed hands. Thus, the first thing that comes to mind is why? Was the return great enough? Was there internal conflict? Did the trade fill a hole in the depth chart? These blockbuster moves merit an analysis of their underlying motivations through which we can hopefully answer some key questions, the most important of which being why is it that a team would trade a player regarded by many to be the future of their franchise?

Continue reading “Future Star or Future Benchwarmer? Why Top Prospects are Traded in the MLB”

What’s the Number?

By: Ryan Thoms

Reading Time: 5 minutes

After one of the most peculiar and slow progressing Major League Baseball free agency periods in recent memory, the free agent class of 2018 is set to be stacked, especially with one of baseball’s most dynamic players, Bryce Harper, set to hit the open market for the first time. After Harper’s monstrous 2015, which saw him win the NL MVP, he dropped off significantly in 2016. Despite his 2017 freak injury in the season’s final months, Harper was able to bounce back nicely in every statistical category. However, 2018 was a mixed bag for Harper as he struggled with consistency and had trouble reaching his full potential with the bat.  Below is a table of Harper’s four most recent seasons and his career accolades:

Continue reading “What’s the Number?”

2018 NL Cy Young Race: Aaron Nola

By: Robb Dehney

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Phillies fans entered the 2018 season with largely the same expectations as those of any fanbase suffering through a rebuild. Following a102-win campaign in 2011, the Phillies had descendedinto irrelevancy, bottoming out in 2015 with 63 wins and 99 losses. That year, they also traded long-time ace and 2008 World Series hero Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers. The future faced by the franchise could only be described as bleak, yet in reality, the seeds of future success had been sown. Though Hamels was gone, a then 22-year-old rookie hurler by the name of Aaron Nola would soon take his place. Little did the team know that its 2014 first round pick would go on to become an upper echelon starter, a stopper, a staff ace, and a Cy Young worthy pitcher.

Thus far in the season, the club has far exceeded expectations, though it has struggled recently. The Braves maintain what has become a significant edge for the division lead, but both clubs are far ahead of schedule in what was expected to be a pair of arduous rebuilds with the Phillies in contention until recently. It is in this context that we witness the rise of the next great National League pitcher. In recent years, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer have cast Cy Young size shadows over the league, combining for five of the last seven awards for the Senior Circuit’s top pitcher (Scherzer also won the American League Cy Young award in 2013). The status quo has been challenged this year with newcomers who have inserted themselves into the Cy Young conversation.

Continue reading “2018 NL Cy Young Race: Aaron Nola”

NL MVP Race – Paul Goldschmidt

By Ryan French

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Paul Goldschmidt, a household name only in the greater Phoenix region, is a true anomaly in the baseball world. How can a Major League Baseball player slashing .299/.399/.532 for his career be left relatively unknown? East coast bias? Teammates overshadowing him? The answer: The Diamondbacks haven’t been relevant in a long time. As we will explore in this article, the only knock against Goldschmidt is his lack of publicity.

Continue reading “NL MVP Race – Paul Goldschmidt”

NL MVP Race – Giancarlo Stanton

By Lee Goodman

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone with a basic knowledge of the game of baseball is aware of the power of the long ball. With one swing of the bat, the whole vibe of the ball park changes. Fans cheer, players throw their arms up in celebration, and the jumbotron flashes celebration messages. However, can this effect be quantified?

In general, 2017 saw a giant uptick in the consistency of homeruns, as sluggers surpassed the benchmark of 5,694 home runs set in 2000. With the influence of supposedly “juiced” baseballs and the notorious Statcast giving sluggers a distinct advantage, one simply couldn’t watch a game this season without seeing a ball fly into the outfield stands. As the season comes to a close for more and more teams, many disappointed fans will turn their attention to the league MVP races.

Continue reading “NL MVP Race – Giancarlo Stanton”

NL MVP Race – Anthony Rendon

By Maddie McNamee
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the race for the National League MVP award, there is one name that seems to be constantly overlooked: Anthony Rendon. His smile, hair, and humor check off all the boxes for likeable player, but his humbleness may keep him from earning the credit he is due. Rendon is known for doing his best to avoid attention from the media, as he attempts to stay grounded and away from the celebrity lifestyle. However, one can only avoid so much publicity. Rendon’s standout 2017 season is hardly something that should be brushed under the rug, and it is time he is recognized for his MVP worthy talent. Continue reading “NL MVP Race – Anthony Rendon”

NL MVP Race – Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado

By Ryan Thoms
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado both enjoyed marvelous seasons for the Colorado Rockies, who made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The NL MVP race is tight with players like Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton leading the way due to their career seasons. Here is a comparison of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon with Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton in the main offensive categories:

Continue reading “NL MVP Race – Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado”

Catch 22: Assessing the Dominance of the Indians Historic Win Streak

By: Ryan Kelly

Reading Time: 8 minutes

After the Indians took an early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Bronx Bombers, I thought it appropriate to look back at their first-place regular season finish in remembrance of the season that was.  When looking back, one thing comes to mind: the streak.  From August 24th to September 14th, Cleveland rattled off a remarkable 22 straight wins, breaking the 2002 Oakland Athletics American League win streak under the orchestration of Mr. Moneyball, Billy Beane.  As I sat in my dorm room and watched the improbable, come-from-behind 22nd victory against the Royals, I thought to myself just how dominant Cleveland seemed to be over this four-week stretch.  But how historically dominant were they?  Where does this remarkable stretch stack up against some of the greatest win streaks in the history of American professional sports?

Continue reading “Catch 22: Assessing the Dominance of the Indians Historic Win Streak”

How Much a Curveball Spins Does Not Correlate with Success at the Major League Level

By Ryan Thoms

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Every kid that grows up with the aspiration of being a pitcher in the sport of baseball starts out learning how to throw a normally gripped fastball. With the exception of a few anomalies, such as knuckleballers, being able to command one’s fastball and execute it profoundly is a major key to any pitcher’s success as they develop and move forward from little league style baseball into the more competitive travel ball and high school level of play. Eventually having a solid fastball is not enough to be successful once hitters become stronger, develop timing skills, and learn the ins and outs of the strike zone. This is where the development of breaking pitches comes into play and the curveball is one of the first pitches that is experimented with by young pitchers.

Continue reading “How Much a Curveball Spins Does Not Correlate with Success at the Major League Level”