June 27, 2016

Who Is Adam Duvall, and Why Is He Suddenly a Big Deal?

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The trade deadline swap between the Reds and Giants last summer featured Mike Leake as the centerpiece, but it’s another player involved in the trade that ended up making it significant. Adam Duvall is tied for second in the Majors with 20 home runs and has been one of the lone bright spots on the […]

Forty Years Ago The Bird Had His Coming Out Party on a Monday Night

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Forty years. Does it seem that long? Not to those who witnessed it. They can remember the emotion–and fun–just like it was yesterday. June 28, 1976 Mark Fidrych, aka The Bird, had the biggest coming out party in the history of Monday Night Baseball. Fidrych was a local phenom in Detroit, but the rest of […]

Hardball Retrospective – 1915 Season Replay 

June 17, 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, Babe Ruth is listed on the Red Sox roster for the duration of his career while the Indians claim Ray Chapman and the Browns declare George Sisler. I […]

What Happens with the DC Strangler in Rehab

June 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

On Sunday the Washington Nationals were behind to the Phillies 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The bases were loaded for Jayson Werth with two out and two strikes when he singled to center field to plate two runs for the walk-off win. Talking to MASN commentator Dan Kolko about what it had […]

Rule 4 Draft and Baseball on Television

June 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of my favorite MLB, Inc. events is the Rule 4 Amateur Draft and it is getting better all the time. There are no ratings for the 2016 event that I could find, but personally, I watched much more of the proceedings than any year previously–in case anyone is listening. The first round talent seemed […]

The Curious Case of Clay Buchholz

June 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week it was announced that longtime Red Sox mainstay and two-time all-star Clay Buchholz would move to the bullpen after a dreadful start to the 2016 season. While Buchholz will likely be a frontrunner to fill the rotation spot left after the demotion of fellow struggling starter Joe Kelly, the move should be a […]

Getting a ‘Bum’ Rap

June 6, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

In 2014, Madison Bumgarner piqued the interest of baseball fans when he told reporters he wanted to participate in the Home Run Derby. In baseball’s greatest spectacle of power, the idea of letting a pitcher participate may seem like a novelty. But Bumgarner has compiled a legitimately impressive power resume, and if the time has […]

How Many 20-Game Winners will there be in 2016?

June 5, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

Much has been said in recent weeks about Clayton Kershaw’s impressive start in 2016. And deservedly so, as he has an 8-1 record, 1.46 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and 109 strikeouts and only 6 walks in 92.7 IP. But beyond Kershaw, there seem to be a lot of pitchers having outstanding seasons so far. As we […]

Astros Show Some Life in Late May

June 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

After treading water for most of May with a 10-11 record, The Houston Astros came to life by winning 7 of 8 games for the rest of the month. The streak was kicked off by a 3-game sweep in Houston against the Baltimore Orioles when the Astro pitchers struck out a record 52 batters in […]

The Pirates Can Contend in 2016, but Only If…

May 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pittsburgh Pirates, the team I chose as my favorite when I was a six-year old in 1979, have finally become a consistently good team these past few years. They’ve not been able to get to the World Series, and 2016 could be more of the same — since the National League has no shortage […]

Reviewing the Pete Rose Literature

May 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Pete Rose frequently said that he wrote more books than he read and that is probably true. He has had more major release books published than any baseball player of his era. With Cincinnati fans looking forward to the return of their prodigal son–for induction into the team’s Hall of Fame–this summer, I thought this […]

Strasburg’s Emergence Worth the Wait?

May 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There were a half dozen TV trucks outside the Altoona Curve’s stadium, all aiming their signal at the stars. The stands were packed and all the attention was focused on the first of the “Once in a Lifetime” talents the Washington Nationals signed after wandering in the desert for three seasons. Stephen Strasburg was hyped […]

A-Hunting We Did Go

May 18, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

It was a cold, gray Saturday afternoon on the South Side, not a good day for a ballgame, and that was just as well because the White Sox were in New York. The game was being shown on the TVs scattered about the picnic area beneath the outfield of U.S. Cellular Field as Sox fans […]

Lazzari’s Vault: Remembering “Rapid Robert”

May 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The numbers are staggering: 266 victories, over 3,800 innings pitched, 279 complete games, twelve one-hitters—all while missing nearly four seasons due to military service. Oh, he was also a World War II hero (gun captain on the USS Alabama), World Series champion, and an eventual baseball Hall of Famer. When I first heard about the […]

Astros Falter in April

May 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

After a surprisingly strong showing in 2015, expectations for the Astros were even higher in 2016.  It didn’t happen in April as the team finished the month with a record of 7-17.  The only major league team with a worse record was the Atlanta Braves at 5-18.  The Astros did not win 2 games in […]

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, Vegasinsider.com, 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 […]

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