May 4, 2016

What’s New About the 2016 Nationals

April 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Many of the players are the same but there appears to be something very different about the 2016 Nationals. Bryce Harper is at the center of the lineup and like everyone on the team, he looks as if he may have an even better season in 2016 than his MVP season last year. What is […]

Lazzari’s 2016 MLB Predictions

April 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Ahhh, yes, spring is in the air and it’s time for that annual crapshoot better known as baseball predictions. And if you ever come across a sportswriter/columnist who is EXTREMELY comfortable with his/her picks, then that scribe HASN’T been following the game long enough. Here’s how they MAY finish in 2016, my friends……… AL EAST […]

White Sox Opening Day: Snowflakes, Fistfights and Fault Lines

April 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chicago White Sox opened the 2016 season by winning three-of-four in Oakland due to great pitching, timely hitting, smart defense and a suspect opponent. The Sox then came home to Chicago’s South Side and were greeted by a winter blast which they only made worse with a woeful performance. The Sox looked cold in […]

What Should Be Expected from the Houston Astros in 2016?

April 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

After a surprisingly successful season in 2015, expectations for 2016 are for an even better year.  Sports Illustrated has picked the Astros to beat the Cubs in the World Series.  One of the bookmaking sites in Las Vegas,, has quoted the Astros odds of winning the World Series at 13-1, better than those for […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1914 Season Replay

April 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Miller Huggins is listed on the Reds roster for the duration of his career while the Senators claim Clyde Milan and the Tigers declare Eddie Cicotte. I calculated […]

A Conversation With Former Negro League All-Star Ernie Johnson

April 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

  I had the opportunity and good fortune to interview former Negro League All-Star Ernie Johnson a few years ago. Ernie was one of those guys who was perhaps just a few years ahead of his time. Johnson signed with the Monarchs in 1949 as a 20-year-old pitcher. His salary was $200 a month with […]

Out of Options Heading North To DC

March 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It is nearing the end of Spring Training, rosters are being finalized, and final cuts made. Players around the leagues who have impressed during the spring but do not have a path to the Majors are being sent to minor league camp unless of course they are “out of options.” The Washington Nationals have plenty […]

Major Minnesotans: Tim McIntosh

March 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Tim McIntosh was born on March 21st, 1965. The 1983 graduate of Hopkins High School played three seasons at the University of Minnesota before being selected in the 3rd round of the ‘86 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. McIntosh played in five games with the Brewers in 1990, making his Major League debut on September […]

Major Minnesotans: Brad Hand

March 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Miami Marlins pitcher, Brad Hand, was born on March 20th, 1990. The Marlins drafted Hand in 2008 in the 2nd round (52nd overall) out of Chaska High School. In his senior season at Chaska, the lefty went 8-2 with 2 saves, allowing only 6 earned runs in 68 innings for an 0.61 ERA. At the […]

Major Minnesotans: Hy Vandenberg

March 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

March 17th is the birthday of Washburn High School (Mpls) alumnus and Major League pitcher, Harold “Hy” Vandenberg, born in 1906. He made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1935 at age 29, though he wouldn’t win his first game until 1940 with the New York Giants, and his 2nd not […]

From the “Tired” Seats Arose a Mysterious Stranger

March 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The vast electronic sports pub was abuzz with Bryce Harper’s heartfelt soliloquy about our “tired” national pastime. Youth has been fettered, Harper complained, by the rusty traditions of yore. Harper sang the opening bars of his song thusly: “Oh to cavort and cavil, like Lebron flying through the air;  free us to go from first to […]

The Last Ride of Baseball’s Dalton Gang

March 11, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

According to history books, the outlaw Dalton Gang terrorized the old west for several years in the 1890s. Baseball had its own version of the Dalton Gang in the 1950s and early 1960s and–at least according to the oral legend passed down in dugouts, clubhouses and team buses–they were only slightly less terrorizing in their […]

Baseball America Ranks 7 Houston Astro Prospects in Top 100

March 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

With thirty major league teams, each could expect to have 3 or 4 prospects ranked in the top 100.  In 2016, Baseball America has ranked 7 Houston Astro prospects in their top 100.  Four teams failed to place a prospect in the top 100, the Angels, Mariners, Marlins and Orioles.  In 2015, the Astros had […]

First to Worst: The Phillies’ Free Fall And How It Could Have Been Avoided

March 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Imagine the frustration of Philadelphia Phillies fans who tuned in the fifth and deciding game of the 2015 American League Division Series between Texas and Toronto. Lifting a bat in the Texas lineup was slugger Adrian Beltre. Toeing the rubber for the Rangers was ace hurler Cole Hamels. It was a painful reminder of what […]

All-Time Best Lines From Baseball Movies

March 1, 2016 by · 3 Comments 

Although the weather has started to warm up some places and baseball teams have gathered in camps across Florida and Arizona, we are still awaiting the start of baseball games for 2016. While we wait, baseball movies provide a reasonable alternative. With that in mind, I decided to offer my list of best lines from […]

Saying Goodbye to Ian Desmond

February 29, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

When the news that Ian Desmond signed with Texas was announced in the Washington front office, there must have been cheering all round. He nets the Nationals a first round pick in the June Rule 4 draft, the nineteenth pick overall. There had been worry that Desmond might not sign until such date as it […]

Trea Turner Comparables

February 21, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Jimmy Rollins stands only 5′ – 7″ but to date he has fashioned a 16-season career that saw him bat lead-off for the Philadelphia Phillies over a span in which they went to the playoffs five consecutive seasons and carried home a World Series Championship in 2008. Speed and sure hands were his best skills […]

Spring Training Tradition Catches on at Hot Springs

February 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Catcher Emmett Rogers became the first Arkansas-born player to reach the majors when he played for the Toledo Maumees of the American Association on April 19, 1890. He would be the only player from the state to appear in a 19th century game. Arkansas’ enduring baseball tradition dates back to the formation of the Little […]

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2015?

February 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Numerous methods have been devised to measure offensive performance.  The most common are batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average.  Since none of these averages provides a complete picture by itself, a more comprehensive measure of offensive performance is useful.  Such a measure would include the following elements: The ability to get on base. The […]

Critiquing the 2016 Projections for the Washington Nationals

February 12, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

We are more than six weeks from the first official games of the 2016 season. Then, the day to day performance of players in the long grind of the season will determine what of these hot stove fantasies has any meaning whatsoever. No disrespect intended, but FanGraph’s “ZiPS” and “Steamer” projections are very handy to […]

Chapman/Kimbrel and the History of Relief Aces

February 1, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 2015, it is inarguable that the Red Sox had a poor season.  Yes, they did play better in the last two months (is it coincidental that this was when John Farrell was out being treated for cancer?) but they still ended up below .500 and out of contention in the AL East.  Although the […]

Bob Davids SABR Chapter’s Annual Meeting

January 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The SABR members of the Mid-Atlantic gathered together yesterday to test the proposition that one Washington area chapter, so conceived, could long endure without its Baltimore contingent. No shots were fired and more than 125 persons attended the very excellent and entertaining session, including many first timers. It was altogether fitting that new officers having […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1913 Season Replay

January 28, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. Therefore, Rabbit Maranville is listed on the Braves roster for the duration of his career while the Superbas claim Nap Rucker and the Cardinals declare Babe Adams. I calculated revised […]

A 1901 All-Star Team

January 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Toward the end of the 1901 Connie Mack and Clark Griffith picked a “champion team” of the American League, judged by the work done by players at each position. The two men agreed at seven positions: 1b: Frank Isbell, Chicago 2b: Nap Lajoie, Cleveland ss: Wid Conroy, Milwaukee 3b: Jimmy Collins, Boston rf: Fielder Jones, […]

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1938 Negro National League

January 25, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 1938 the Homestead Grays solidified their dominance of the Negro National League. Winning both halves at a trot, Cumberland Posey’s powerhouse team had essentially killed off interest in the league by September. At the end of the season a playoff scheme involving the top four teams was introduced, but the Grays pulled their team […]

Three Times at Bat For the Nationals and Nothing to Show

January 23, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Washington Nationals made offers to all three of the elite free agent outfielders on the market: Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Yeonis Cespedes. In at least two instances it is clear from the press reports that Washington offered more money than other clubs in on the bidding. But all three players went elsewhere. The […]

Baseball’s Early Days Trace Back to New York

January 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

No state can claim a bigger share of baseball history than New York, starting with the belief that the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was the first organized baseball team. Fittingly, a player named Austin Knickerbocker (born in Bangall, N.Y.) made it to the majors, although he played just 21 games. Alexander Cartwright, […]

Examing the Hall of Fame Vote

January 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

1. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected. Griffey received votes from 99.3% of the writers, a new record. 2. Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines received over 70% of the vote and are well positioned to be elected next year. It will be the 10th and final year for Raines on the ballot.   […]

Triple Milestones 2015

January 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Offensive production in the major leagues increased slightly in 2015. The number of runs and home runs per game increased in 2015 and batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average also increased in 2015 after steadily declining since 2000. Year Runs/Game HR/Game BAVG OBA Slugging OPS Triple Milestone Hitters 1990 8.51 1.58 .258 .324 .386 […]

California Leads the Way in Producing Stars, Nicknames and Trailblazers

January 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Frontier prospectors discovered “there’s gold in them thar hills,” but today’s prospectors are more interested in mining for five-tool baseball players. Baseball’s Gold Rush has been ongoing in the Golden State for several decades, as California has produced more major league players than any other state (2,150 through the 2015 season, about 748 more than […]

When Is Too Much Scott Boras, Too Much?

January 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Washington Nationals sign Stephen Drew officially as their utility infielder, it will mean they currently have seven Scott Boras clients on their likely 25-man roster. That is 28 percent of all players or slightly more than one-in-four. Is it too much? For purposes of comparison, of the two World Series teams in 2015, […]

Rating the 2016 Hall of Fame Candidates Based on Win Shares

January 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the first items of business in baseball each year is the announcement of players elected to the Hall of Fame.  This leads to lots of speculation and a little analysis prior to the announcement which is scheduled for January 6, 2016. Many systems exist for evaluating player performance.  One such system, the Win […]

The Sunday Notes: Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

January 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

So, 2015 is now a permanent part of our history as 2016 will take baseball shape this week when we find out who the writers voted into the Hall of Fame. If you will allow me this time around, instead of giving you a few links to read I thought I would share a few thoughts […]

5 Big Questions and Predictions for the 2016 Boston Red Sox

January 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As the last notes of Auld Lang Syne evaporate into the atmosphere, and 2016 stretches its wings for the first time, the realization that spring training is mere weeks away starts to settle in. Although the Boston Red Sox made a significant splash this offseason to upgrade their roster after consecutive disappointing seasons, they are […]

Dave Henderson (1958-2015)

December 27, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Dave Henderson passed away Sunday at fifty-seven. In my years of sportswriting that has to be one of the saddest sentences written. Why? Ken Dryden, the legendary goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, is attributed with the following quote. When asked what he thought was the golden age of sport, he answered, “whenever you are fourteen. […]

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