MLB

2017 MLB.com articles

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Machado

10/21: Jackson, Lindor up for Esurance awards

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Engel’s glove

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Kiermaier’s glove

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Coghlan

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Best Fan Catch

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Best Fan Catch

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Best Fan Catch

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Andrelton

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote Musgrove, Springer

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Pham, Martinez

10/21: Betts, Devers are MLB #AwardWorthy

10/21: #AwardWorthy: Vote for Harper, Rendon

10/21: #AwardWorthy Beltre up for Personality of the Year

10/11: Gardner’s patience pays off late for Yankees

10/11: ‘Excited’ to advance, Yanks celebrate ALDS win

10/5: Judge struggles vs. Tribe’s curves in Game 1

10/4: Seasoned Gardner set to guide Baby Bombers

10/2: Brewers’ Derby in crowd during Vegas shooting

10/2: MLB announces Wild Card, Division Series umps

10/1: Before they were postseason bound: Indians

9/27: D-backs, OF prospect Patino close to deal

9/26: Indians seal home-field advantage in ALDS

9/26: Cubs lined up for Central clinch on MLB.TV

9/19: Sale, Sox go for sweep vs. Orioles on MLB.TV

9/18: O’s mourn death of farmhand Gonzalez

9/17: Tribe edges Royals behind EE, crisp Kluber

9/17: Flag raised as part of Tribe’s clinch celebration

9/17: Tribe to raise flag before Kluber faces Royals

9/16: Repeat after CLE: Tribe lands crown again!

9/16: Lindor’s extra-base hit streak sets club mark

9/16: Lindor, Indians win, then clinch AL Central title

9/16: Guyer sidelined after aggravating wrist issue

8/18: Twins promote No. 23 prospect Garver

8/18: Heaney returns from Tommy John on MLB.TV

8/17: New England, Southwest win LLWS openers

7/26: Moncada, Devers, Brinson hit 1st career HRs

7/24: Deadline looming, Cozart peaking at right time

7/24: Santana HRs as lefty, righty; Indians rolling

7/24: DeSclafani makes rehab start in Rookie League

7/23: Tribe rediscovering benefits of home cooking

7/23: Kluber’s 14-K gem helps Indians sweep Jays

7/23: Ramirez’s versatility a boon to Tribe’s bullpen

7/22: Salazar dominates with fastball in return

7/22: Lindor’s walk-off HR sparks happiest trot ever

7/22: Tribe to use 6 starters this turn through rotation

7/9: Kluber, Fulmer to close down season’s first half

7/8: Clevinger bests JV again; Brantley clutch in win

7/8: Kipnis exits with right hamstring injury

7/8: Santana rejoins Tribe after birth of daughter

7/7: Cards prospect reaches third on infield popup

7/6: Sale, Sox take on rising Rays on MLB.TV

7/5: Rays, No. 31 Draft pick can’t agree to deal

6/23: King Felix vs. Astros highlights MLB.TV slate

6/22: Surprise power: 30-year-olds tops in HR rate

6/22: Red Sox sign 2nd-round Draft pick Brannen

6/15: Roberts maintaining confidence in Hill

6/15: Indians’ bats erupt in rout of Dodgers

6/15: Bellinger interested in potential Derby showing

6/15: Hill, Tomlin to meet when LA tries to sweep Tribe

6/14: Dodgers shut down Urias due to shoulder issue

6/14: Puig suspended one game, fined for gesture

6/14: McCarthy, Kluber set to square off in Cleveland

6/13: Puig: I ‘stooped to their level’ with gesture

6/13: Kershaw tops Tribe after Bellinger bests Miller

6/13: Pederson back, but A-Gon lands on DL

6/7: Strasburg, Kershaw clash for first time on MLB.TV

6/6: Bone bruise in knee sends Travis to DL

6/6: D-backs place slugger Tomas on DL

6/5: Report: E-Rod advised to rest 3-4 weeks

6/5: No-no doubt: Volquez nets NL Player of Week

5/28: Bats thump Bucs as Harvey finds groove

5/28: Taillon sharp in rehab start at Double-A

5/27: Harvey, Glasnow clash in series finale

5/27: Cutch swinging hot bat after pushing reset

5/26: deGrom’s stellar start, Walker’s 2 HRs lift Mets

5/26: Cutch returns to lineup in the sixth hole

5/25: The Indians tried to stop Billy Hamilton by dropping a bag of quicksand at his locker

5/15: Robertson meets Robertson in Cleveland

4/5: Indians unveil Progressive Field upgrades

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2016 MLB.com articles

11/1: Crisp celebrates birthday with Game 6 start

10/31: Return to AL rules boosts Tribe’s lineup, defense

10/30: Fans optimistic as World Series returns home

10/29: Fans rock in Cleveland as Tribe rolls in Chicago

10/28: Tribe fans watch, celebrate at Progressive Field

10/26: Salazar shakes off rust in relief appearance

10/26: Walking dread: Tribe gives Cubs easy access

10/25: Ramirez’s bat awakens with 3 hits in Gm. 1 win

10/24: Ramirez arrives in time to help Tribe’s run

10/19: Title town? Cleveland fans toast ALCS win

10/18: Return to defensive excellence key for Tribe

10/18: DYK: Facts and figures from ALCS Game 4

10/18: Tale of the Tape: Merritt, Estrada square off

10/17: DYK: Facts and figures from ALCS Game 3

10/17: Tale of the Tape: Kluber faces Sanchez

10/15: Tomlin’s curveball-heavy strategy successful

10/15: Kids join the fun at Cleveland Play Ball event

10/14: Indians in good position after preserving bullpen

10/14: Kipnis’ gem keeps Kluber’s escape act intact

10/10: Tribe fans could get used to this

10/7: Indians’ bullpen gets needed break in Game 2

10/7: Indians strike 1st with 4-run 2nd against Price

10/6: Perez makes splash in 1st postseason game

10/6: Family man: Francona’s dad throws out first pitch

10/5: Indians create, donate to Larry Doby Youth Fund

10/2: Arenado, Carter tie at 41 for NL home run title

10/2: Susac’s first ’16 HR lifts Crew in 10th

10/2: Cravy, Marquez meet as Brewers, Rockies close ’16

10/1: Carter lifts Crew in extras with 41st HR

10/1: Rockies eye series win as Hoffman faces Peralta

9/30: Weiss out to ensure LeMahieu’s batting title

9/30: Arenado hits No. 41 as Rockies beat Brewers

9/22: Dodgers host Rox in bid to close in on division

9/21: RBI-leader Arenado’s slam catalyzes Rockies

9/21: Cards overpowered by Rox, can’t gain WC edge

9/21: Cole OK, but sits after being hit during BP

9/20: Blackmon sets Rockies’ mark for leadoff RBIs

9/20: Waino’s 4 RBIs help Cardinals tie for top Wild Card

9/19: Bottom of order comes up big for Cards

9/19: Cards hold off Rox, tie for 2nd Wild Card

9/19: Matheny enjoys managing at Coors Field

9/18: Reynolds out for season with broken left hand

9/18: Murphy shows off power during big league stint

9/18: 5-run 4th leads Rockies to sweep of Padres

9/18: Bettis, Rockies go for sweep of Padres in finale

9/17: Gray’s 16 K’s lead Rockies past Padres

9/17: Gray looking for better result against Padres

9/17: Marquez set for first big league start Wednesday

9/16: Descalso a vital veteran presence for Rockies

9/16: Hoffman’s emergence reminds Weiss of Gray

9/7: Hamstring strain forces Parra to exit game

9/7: Giants stung by Rockies’ 9th-inning walk-off rally

9/7: Butler seeing results from changes to delivery

9/7: Rockies bring smiles to Children’s Hospital

9/7: CarGo earns Clemente nomination for charitable work

9/6: Weiss: Anderson’s success not limited to Coors

9/6: Giants scratch and claw to maintain WC edge

9/6: Rockies call up five to bolster roster depth

9/5: Bettis bests Giants for Rockies’ first CG of ’16

9/5: Raburn exits with left foot contusion

9/5: Rockies grateful for player’s union on Labor Day

9/5: CarGo slams as Bettis shuts out Giants

9/4: Gray laments allowing game to get away

9/4: Blackmon still dealing with back stiffness

9/4: Parra earning time at first base with Rox

9/4: D-backs rally late to win series from Rockies

9/3: D-backs ride 5-run third, hold off Rockies

9/3: Rockies welcome 96-year-old fan to Coors

9/3: Estevez, Ottavino rebound for Rockies ‘pen

9/2: Rockies slam D-backs with late 7-run surge

9/2: De La Rosa, Rockies open weekend set vs. Ray, D-backs

9/2: 7 Rockies prospects set for Fall challenge

9/2: Tapia among Rockies’ roster reinforcements

9/2: Rockies go gold for child cancer awareness

9/1: Weiss has drawn full support from players

8/31: Bullpen lets Rockies’ big lead slip away late

8/31: Cardullo hits slam, but Rox denied DH sweep

8/31: After 1st HR on 29th b-day, Cardullo hits slam

8/31: Rox blank Dodgers behind Anderson’s gem

8/31: Chatwood tapped to start Saturday

8/31: Rox get back Reynolds sooner than expected

8/31: Dodgers, Rockies to pit rookies in first game

8/30: Rain forces doubleheader on Wednesday

8/30: Mundell named South Atlantic League MVP

8/30: Chatwood nears return, could create logjam

8/29: Gray outduels Maeda as Rockies top Dodgers

8/29: Parra gets 1,000th hit; Cardullo notches first

8/29: Qualls still working to bounce back from illness

8/22: Lester to cross Petco Park off list vs. Jackson

8/21: Russell ‘at the top of his game’ with 2-HR showing

8/21: Arenado’s 2 HRs lead to Rockie day for Cubs

8/21: No major setback after foul tip off Soler’s knee

8/21: NL 3B stars face off in Cubs-Rockies finale

8/20: Montgomery impresses in first Cubs start

8/20: Bryant hits blast as Cubs sour Hoffman’s debut

8/20: Rockies’ Hoffman draws Cubs for Major League debut

8/19: Despite loss, dream debuts for Pena, Zastryzny

8/19: Cubs’ streak ends despite Fowler’s feats

8/19: Rain delaying first pitch of Cubs-Rox opener

8/19: Maddon gives Heyward the weekend off

8/19: Lackey, Rondon headed to disabled list

8/17: Anderson, Rox open set vs. Hendricks, Cubs at Coors Field

8/17: Wolters a different hitter since All-Star break

8/17: Freeland making case for Majors rotation spot

8/17: Strasburg, Gray square off to wrap series

8/17: LeMahieu’s hit streak ends at 8 straight ABs

8/16: DJ spins near-cycle to spur Rox past Nats

8/16: Rox call up Bergman, place Chatwood on DL

8/16: Bettis, Gio seeking rebounds in Nats-Rox tilt

8/15: Harper’s big hit saves Max as Nats nip Rox

8/15: Rox weigh options if Chatwood (back) hits DL

8/14: Hoffman making case for call to Majors

8/9: Rox, Rangers to continue Interleague tilt in Texas

8/9: Blackmon belts 7th leadoff homer of season

8/9: Rangers tap Rockies with another late rally

8/9: Ottavino to assume closer role from Estevez

8/8: Griffin, Chatwood each looking to rebound at Coors

8/8: Rangers stun Rockies with rally in ninth

8/7: Cervenka excited to join Marlins’ playoff push

8/7: 3-chiro: 3B for 30th to reach 3,000 hits!

8/7: Marlins roll on Ichiro’s historic day

8/7: Marlins’ ex-Yanks laud A-Rod’s career

8/7: Ichiro eyes 3,000th hit in Marlins-Rockies rubber match

8/6: Stanton’s long-distance area code: 504 feat

8/6: Pinch by pinch: Ichiro a hit away from 3K

8/6: Marlins add lefty Cervenka in deal with Braves

8/6: Marlins rally in 9th to turn tables on Rockies

8/5: CarGo, Descalso return to starting lineup

8/4: Bettis takes leadership role with Rockies’ staff

8/4: Birthday bash nothing new for Reynolds

8/4: CarGo OK after turning ankle on 2-homer night

8/3: Descalso’s experience could be key for Rockies

8/3: Dodgers to recall Stewart to take on Rockies

7/24: Surging Rox set to tackle important road trip

7/24: Weiss shares memories of Griffey, Piazza

7/24: Healthy again, McGee’s velocity returning

7/24: Anderson shows competitive fire in win

7/23: Braves’ Jenkins set for first Coors Field test

7/23: Oberg recalled to bolster Rockies ‘pen; Qualls to DL

7/23: Anderson looks to capitalize on Braves’ aggressiveness

7/23: Rockies hang on after Gray’s gem vs. Braves

7/22: Rockies break routine, take infield practice

7/22: Change in strategy benefits Bettis

7/21: Logan unconcerned as trade rumors swirl

7/21: Youngsters Gray, Teheran ready for rematch

7/20: Archer fans 11, delivers quality start in victory

7/20: Rays’ hits parade keeps Rockies at bay

7/19: McGee eager to face former Rays teammates

7/19: Inclement weather delaying start of Rays-Rox

7/19: Anderson, Story send Rockies past Rays

7/18: Miller uses break to get healthy … and married

7/18: Rays-Rockies series opener delayed by rain

7/10: Bullpen an area clearly in need of a boost

7/10: Rupp has four RBIs in Phils’ rout of Rockies

7/10: Eflin, Chatwood square off in first-half finale

7/10: Rusin throws sim game as next step in rehab

7/10: De La Rosa hopes to slow Freeman in Atlanta

7/9: Rockies’ rookie dings Phillies for first win

7/9: Gray’s comfort level at Coors Field is evident

7/8: Eickhoff, Anderson look to conquer Coors

7/7: Final Vote: Make Story an All-Star; vote or tweet until 2 MT

6/30: Wolters emulating catching idols behind the plate

6/30: Norris to make Dodgers debut vs. Rockies

6/29: Blue Jays conquer Rox behind Sanchez, Donaldson

6/29: Blue Jays, Rockies close series with young arms

6/28: Blue Jays wale on Rockies after hailstorm

6/28: Happ, Butler square off in Jays-Rox series

6/28: Dahl, Hoffman, Tapia picked for Futures Game

6/28: CarGo vaults Tulo on Rockies’ HR list

6/27: Story, LeMahieu improving, won’t need DL

6/27: Sizzling stretch nets Blackmon Player of Week nod

6/26: LeMahieu, Story injured in Sunday’s win

6/26: CarGo hits slam, Reynolds’ HR walks it off

6/26: Rockies still envision Butler as a starter

6/25: Corbin-Bettis matchup wraps series

6/25: Wolters blasts first homer on career day

6/25: Pitch, Hit & Run event a family affair

6/25: Rox win behind big days from De La Rosa, Wolters

6/24: D-backs rally in 9th to take wild one from Rox

6/24: Miller opposes De La Rosa as D-backs/Rox continues

6/24: Rookies Bradley, Anderson step into spotlight at Coors

6/24: Butler gives up 2 HRs but helps save bench

6/23: Ahmed delivers in nick of time for D-backs

6/15: Arenado belts 20th homer as Rox stay hot

6/15: Nova, Bettis to match up to wrap two-game set

6/15: CarGo still rising in All-Star ballot ranks

6/15: Rox, Marlins to begin weekend series in Miami

6/13: Rockies’ annual golf tourney a rousing success

6/12: Rox edge Padres in Anderson’s superb debut

6/11: Estevez named Rox closer after shutdown 9th

6/11: McGee to 15-day DL with left MCL sprain

6/11: CarGo, Chatwood lead Rox over Padres

6/11: Gray finds success with changeup vs. Padres

6/10: Myers’ 3-run HR caps Padres’ comeback vs. Rox

6/9: De La Rosa dazzles with four perfect frames

6/9: LeMahieu powers Rockies’ rout of Pirates

6/3: Disappointment lingers after series loss to Reds

6/3: Suarez leads power surge vs. Rockies

6/2: Logan could return to ‘pen Monday

6/2: Chatwood struggles with fastball command

6/1: Lamb silences Rockies’ potent offense

6/1: Chatwood looks to keep on rolling

6/1: LeMahieu seeing uptick in extra-base hits

6/1: Story making bid to start in All-Star Game

5/31: LeMahieu, Parra, CarGo fall 3B shy of cycle

5/31: Rockies club 7 homers to drub Reds

5/31: Motte being eased back into action

5/30: Rox’s Gray, Reds’ Moscot match up at Coors

5/30: Descalso on fire since return from DL

5/30: Rockies honor military on Memorial Day

5/30: Reds rip 5 HRs, outslug Rockies at Coors

5/29: Giants double down to take series from Rockies

5/29: Blackmon working to improve vs. elite lefties

5/28: Rockies looking to break through vs. Cueto

5/28: CarGo’s hard work to escape slump pays off

5/28: Rehabbing Ottavino has fun facing hitters

5/27: Rockies hoping to solve Bumgarner

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2016 Baseball Preview

Click here to download/view

Today is my favorite day of the year: the day I’m done with all my work on my annual baseball preview.

I’ve written these baseball previews every year going back to seventh grade, and after 10 years, this will be my last preview as I head off into the real world (yikes).

This season’s preview is 35 pages with all the usual analysis, scouting reports, and advanced stats along with breathtaking design from Microsoft Word. As always, the preview is 100 percent free, so feel free to pass it along to a friend or two or twelve.

It’s been a pleasure writing the past 10 years, and I’ll really miss writing these, although I won’t miss the sleepless nights.

Ten years ago, my first preview had David Ortiz on the cover, and I correctly picked the Red Sox to win the World Series. Fitting, then, that my final preview also features David Ortiz on the cover.

Did I pick the Red Sox to win the World Series again? Go find out for yourself.

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2015 Baseball Preview

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My 2015 Baseball Preview is finally here just in time for the season to start. The Cubs host the Cardinals tomorrow night, so this is your chance to read up on the season ahead before the first pitch is thrown.

This year’s edition comes in at 67 pages with all the usual analysis, advanced stats, and scouting reports you’ve seen in past years. And as always, the preview is absolutely free, although I do accept Venmo payments and free food.

This preview has a focus for each team on how to build a championship team. In each team’s section, I look at how they were built, why they made the decisions they’ve made, and how they will move forward.

Finally, thank you so much for reading my preview (or at least giving me a page click). It took a lot of sleepless nights, but I’ve truly enjoyed working on this for the past five months.

I hope you enjoy perusing it, and I hope your team does well this year.

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2014 Baseball Preview

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.58.46 PM

Click here to download/view

I didn’t quite beat the first game of the season because Major League Baseball scheduled the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to play in Australia eight days before any other team plays, but here’s my 2014 Baseball Preview in all its glory.

This year’s edition is 70 pages long, almost double last year’s 38-page preview. There are some other changes from last year’s preview that I talk about in the introduction, but I figure most people are just going to skip to their favorite team, so I’ll just go ahead and explain them here. Then again, there’s a good chance you’ve already opened the preview and headed straight towards your favorite team.

The 2014 Baseball Preview uses a lot more statistics than past previews have, so I’ve included an in-depth glossary for sabermetric terms just three pages into the preview. You should probably read that if you want to fully understand each team’s capsule.

I’m also excited to say that the preview focuses heavily on a retrospective analysis of wins system (RAWS) I’ve created that helps explain how well teams actually did the year before. There’s a big ol’ explanation of how RAWS works and what it means with all the data laid out.

Additionally, I got a good deal of front office input from different front team executives and scouts across Major League Baseball, so that will bring another perspective into this preview.

Finally, thank you so much for reading my preview. I put in over five months of work on this, and it’s my favorite project of the year. For the eighth year in a row, I won’t be charging anything for my baseball preview, but I’d appreciate it if you sent it along to a friend or two or twenty.

Enjoy.

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2014 Top 50 MLB Prospects

In case you’re wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a while, it’s because I’ve been busy finishing up my 2014 Baseball Preview. And school, of course. That.

In the mean time though, I’m releasing a sneak peak of the preview, which should come in around 70 pages this year. Just like the last three years, I’m releasing my top 50 prospect list with scouting reports for each player. The actual preview will feature top 10 lists for each team–as always–along with individual grades

I’m not sure yet if the preview will be out by the 22nd, when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks play two games in Sydney, Australia, but it will definitely be out in advanced of Opening Night on the 31st. Until then, enjoy looking at the future stars of baseball. There’s some hope for you, Astros, Twins, and Cubs fans.

Notes:

  • 29 players return from last year’s top 50 prospects list, three more than last year.
  • 13 players graduated to the majors.
  • 9 players fell off the top 50 list from last year, and the three highest-rated ones were Red Sox or Yankees.
  • Of the 21 new players to the list, 7 were selected in the 2013 draft.
  • 12 of the top prospects were taken in the first round of the 2012 draft, the most among any draft.
  • Only six of the 41 players who were drafted were taken outside the first round: Tyler Glasnow (5th round), Joc Pederson (11th), Garin Cecchini (4th), Jonathan Singleton (8th), Austin Hedges (2nd), and Billy Hamilton (2nd round).
  • Just like Jurickson Profar made the leap from 9 to 1 last season, Byron Buxton went from 9 to 1 this year. Taijuan Walker probably won’t make the leap next year because he’ll almost certainly lose his rookie eligibility.
  • Javier Baez made the biggest jump, going from 27 to 4.
  • Despite the fact that they are technically rookies, I did not include Masahiro Tanaka or Jose Abreu because they’ve already played in professional leagues for several years.

Positional Breakdown

  • 2 Catchers
  • 1 First Baseman
  • 5 Third Basemen
  • 7 Shortstops
  • 9 Center Fielders
  • 2 Right Fielders
  • 21 Right-Handed Pitchers
  • 3 Left-Handed Pitchers

Team Breakdowns

  • The Astros, Cubs, Pirates, and Red Sox each had four players.
  • The Dodgers, Indians, Orioles, Royals, and Twins each had three players.
  • The Mets, Reds, and Rockies each had two players.
  • The Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Nationals, Padres, Phillies, Rays, and Tigers, each had one players
  • The Angels, Brewers, Rangers, White Sox, and Yankees need a better farm systems.

1. Byron Buxton

CF Twins mlb_buxton_byron_65
H/W: 6’2″ 189 2013 Ranking: 9 Age: 20 Level: High-A
Buxton has a sky-high ceiling with all five tools ranging from plus to plus plus. He displays plus raw power, which should come in, considering his great approach at the plate, too. With all of that at a premium position, he’s the best prospect in baseball.

2. Xander Bogaerts

SS Red Sox mlb_bogaerts_xander_65
H/W: 6’3″ 185 2013 Ranking: 5 Age: 21 Level: MLB
What makes Bogaerts special isn’t just his elite bat (both the hit and power tools), it’s also great approach at the plate. He has every tool except speed, which is just average. With his athleticism, he’ll be good enough defensively to stick at short for most of his career.

3. Carlos Correa

SS Astros mlb_correa_carlos_65
H/W: 6’4″ 205 2013 Ranking: 10 Age: 19 Level: A
One of the youngest players in the 2012 draft when he was taken #1 overall, Correa has an incredibly advanced approach considering his age and is a great fielder. His bat is plus and he’ll develop bigger power as he fills out, although his size may bump him to third.

4. Javier Baez

SS Cubs mlb_baez_javier_65
H/W: 6′ 195 2013 Ranking: 27 Age: 21 Level: AA
Baez’s calling card is his incredible bat speed, which leads to his big-time power. He’s solid defensively, and his strong arm can play at thid. Because he lacks much patience, he probably will never hit for a very high average.

5. Oscar Taveras

CF Cardinals mlb_tavares_oscar_65
H/W: 6’2″ 200 2013 Ranking: 3 Age: 21 Level: AAA
Taveras’ 2013 was mostly lost due to an ankle injury that never fully healed. When healthy, he’s got plus power with a bat that should hit .300. He’s a free swinger that rarely strikes out or walks, and he’s solid defensively, but probably best suited for right field.

6. Addison Russell

SS Athletics mlb_russell_addison1_65
H/W: 6′ 195 2013 Ranking: 21 Age: 20 Level: AAA
Russell has one of the best bats in the minor leagues with above-average power and speed to go with it. He’s got great hands defensively and lost bulk so that he can stick at shortstop, although that hasn’t affected his bat. Excellent approach at the plate.

7. Archie Bradley

RHP D-Backs mlb_bradley_archie_65
H/W: 6’4″ 225 2013 Ranking: 23 Age: 21 Level: AA
Bradley is exactly what you want in a pitching prospect: he’s got a hulking frame–he had a scholarship offer to play quarterback at Oklahoma–with a plus plus fastball and curveball. Although he’s close to the majors, his changeup and command could use sharpening.

8. Francisco Lindor

SS Indians mlb_lindor_francisco_65
H/W: 5’11” 175 2013 Ranking: 25 Age: 20 Level: AA
Lindor has four of the tools, although his power tool is non-existant right now (he may end up with solid gap power eventually). With one of the best gloves in the minors, great on-base skills, and an excellent approach beyond his years, he’s close to Majors.

9. Taijuan Walker

RHP Mariners mlb_walker_taijuan_65
H/W: 6’4″ 210 2013 Ranking: 17 Age: 21 Level: MLB
His upside is tremendous with his big frame and great athleticism. His motion is easy with a fastball into the upper-90s and a knockout cutter. His curveball didn’t look quite as sharp as it did the year before, and his new motion has not been very effective.

10. Kris Bryant

3B Cubs mlb_bryant_kris_65
H/W: 6’5″ 215 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 22 Level: High-A
Bryant has monstrous power from the right side and should be able to hit for average too. Few third basemen are as big as him, so he may end up in right field, where his strong arm would play well. With a fairly polished bat, he’s not too far from the majors.

11. Miguel Sano

3B Twins mlb_sano_miguel_65
H/W: 6’3″ 195 2013 Ranking: 13 Age: 20 Level: AA
His volume of strikeouts will limit batting average, but Sano has light tower power. That, along with good patience make him a stud. Sadly, he had to have Tommy John surgery, keeping him out for most if not all of this season, which may signal a move to first.

12. Dylan Bundy

RHP Orioles mlb_bundy_dylan_65
H/W: 6’1″ 195 2013 Ranking: 4 Age: 21 Level: MLB
After reaching the majors in his first year and being the top pitching prospect in the game, he missed 2013 with Tommy John Surgery. Bundy should return to form with 99 mph heat and outstanding off-speeds and command, but total recovery isn’t guaranteed.

13. Jameson Taillon

RHP Pirates mlb_taillon_jameson_65
H/W: 6’6″ 235 2013 Ranking: 8 Age: 22 Level: AAA
With great size, plus velocity, a knockout breaking ball, and plus control, Taillon has the makings of a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Unfortunately, without much deception, batters have an easier time seeing his the ball out of his hands, and his overthrows his changeup.

14. Gregory Polanco

CF Pirates mlb_polanco_gregory_65
H/W: 6’4″ 220 2013 Ranking: 36 Age: 22 Level: AAA
Polanco possesses all five tools, headlined by plus plus defense and speed. His shortened swing still has the same power, and has an excellent approach at the plate, maintaining high contact rates. He’s getting better reads on balls in the outfield this year.

15. George Springer

CF Astros mlb_springer_george_65
H/W: 6’3″ 200 2013 Ranking: 22 Age: 24 Level: AAA
Springer is a true five-tool player with supreme power and speed with great center field defense. Not only that, but he takes plenty walk, although he gets in trouble with whiffs. The only reasons he isn’t ranked higher is because of his age and two-strike approach.

16. Mark Appel

RHP Astros mlb_appel_mark_65
H/W: 6’5″ 190 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 21 Level: A
The top pick in the 2013 draft, Appel has three plus pitches with solid command of each and great projection. In his extra year in college, he became more willing to attack the inside part of the plate; he’s nearly MLB-ready and a future top-of-the-rotation starter.

17. Lucas Giolito

RHP Nationals mlb_giolito_lucas_65
H/W: 6’6″ 225 2013 Ranking: 28 Age: 19 Level: Low-A
Giolito had the chance to be the first high school pitcher taken first overall last year before needing Tommy John surgery, and he’s fulfilling that promise now. With two plus plus pitches (fastball and curveball) he has ace potential. His changeup still needs work.

18. Jonathan Gray

RHP Rockies mlb_gray_jonathan_65
H/W: 6’4″ 255 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 22 Level: High-A
He consistently throws 100 mph and has a nasty slider, which should be enough to carry him to the majors. His changeup is improving, although his command needs work. With his size, long stride, and quick arm action, it’s hard not to see a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

19. Robert Stephenson

RHP Reds mlb_stephenson_robert_65
H/W: 6’2″ 190 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: AA
Stephenson bursted onto the scene last year as a future ace with an upper-90s fastball and plus plus curveball. He does have a slightly funky delivery, but despite that and missing time with a nagging hamstring injury, he displays great command.

20. Kevin Gausman

RHP Orioles mlb_gausman_kevin_65
H/W: 6’3″ 190 2013 Ranking: 32 Age: 23 Level: MLB
Gausman looks like a top-of-the-rotation starters purely beacuse of his great fastball and changeup, but his breaking ball still needs work. His numbers in the majors don’t match his tools because his command wasn’t quite ready for The Show yet.

21. Kyle Zimmer

RHP Royals mlb_zimmer_kyle_65
H/W: 6’3″ 215 2013 Ranking: 34 Age: 22 Level: AA
With two plus plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, along with a changeup and slider that could end up as plus, Zimmer has some of the best stuff in the minors. Last season was cut short by some shoulder issues, which shouldn’t be a huge deal going forward.

22. Eddie Butler

RHP Rockies mlb_butler_eddie_65
H/W: 6’2″ 180 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 23 Level: AA
Butler’s fastball rides up to 98 mph with both sink and tail to it. Matched up with a plus slider and hard screwball-like changeup at a three-quarters slot, and Butler is rather hard to hit. Butler’s stuff allows his to get a high number of both strikeouts and ground balls.

23. Noah Syndergaard

RHP Mets mlb_syndergaard_noah_65
H/W: 6’6″ 240 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: AA
Syndergaard is consistently clocked up to 98 mph with a potentially plus changeup and slider. He has a great workhorse frame with a nice downward plane in his delivery. He has good control, although he’s struggled a bit against left-handed batters.

24. Corey Seager

SS Dodgers mlb_seager_corey_65
H/W: 6’4″ 215 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 20 Level: High-A
Seager hits for power thanks to great mechanics and a big frame. But that big frame may get in the way of playing short because it cuts down on his mobility, although he has good hands and arm strength. He’d be a plus defender at third, where his brother Kyle plays.

25. Aaron Sanchez

RHP Blue Jays mlb_sanchez_aaron_65
H/W: 6’4″ 190 2013 Ranking: 37 Age: 21 Level: High-A
Sanchez gets plenty of ground balls with plus sinker and curveball, although his strikeout numbers have consistently been dropping. He has ace potential because of his stuff, but he lacks good control or command, a problem which may stem from his delivery.

26. Albert Almora

CF Cubs mlb_almora_albert_65
H/W: 6’2″ 180 2013 Ranking: 41 Age: 19 Level: A
Almora is an outstanding defender in center, which has more to do with great instincts than speed. He has a great approach at the plate with a plus bat, and he may or may not develop more power later. Almora doesn’t have the biggest upside, but he’s very safe.

27. Andrew Heaney

LHP Marlins mlb_heaney_andrew_65
H/W: 6’2″ 190 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 22 Level: AA
Heaney’s arsenal has ticked up recently with a plus fastball and slider to go with a potentially plus changeup. He still has good command despite his slighlty-below three-quarters slot delivery that he doesn’t totally follow through on.

28. Kyle Crick

RHP Giants mlb_crick_kyle_65
H/W: 6’4″ 220 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: High-A
Crick racks up a ton of strikeouts on his plus fastball and breaking ball, although his changeup is far behind his other two pitches. he has a great frame for throwing plenty of innings, but he has some command issues, potentially relategd to his high-effort delivery.

29. Jorge Soler

RF Cubs mlb_soler_jorge_65
H/W: 6’4 215 2013 Ranking: 45 Age: 22 Level: High-A
Soler signed with an MLB team less than three weeks before Yasiel Puig did, and they have similar skill sets. He’s very raw but possesses outstanding hand speed with plus power and a plus arm. Soler also tends to be aggressive to a fault at the plate.

30. Maikel Franco

3B Phillies mlb_franco_maikel_65
H/W: 6’1″ 180 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: AA
Franco has excellent plate coverage and rarely strikes out, uncommon for a player with his power. His lack of walks isn’t good, but the bigger concern is that a lack of speed or lateral quickness may force him to move to first, where he can’t show off his strong arm.

31. Yordano Ventura

RHP Royals mlb_ventura_yordano_65
H/W: 5’11” 180 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 22 Level: MLB
Ventura has all sorts of upside with a fastball up to 100 mph and a plus power curve, but he also has lots of downside. His 5’10” size makes him rather home run-prone because of the lack of a downward plane on his delivery. His small stature also leads to iffy durability.

32. Tyler Glasnow

RHP Pirates mlb_glasnow_tyler_65
H/W: 6’7″ 195 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 20 Level: A
Glasnow’s velocity has reached the upper 90s now that he’s filling out his frame, and he has a pair of strong breaking balls to go with it. His command and control aren’t nearly at the same level as his off-speeds, and he’s only faced A-Ball hitters, but he’s got promise.

33. Jackie Bradley Jr.

CF Red Sox mlb_bradley_jackie_65
H/W: 5’10” 195 2013 Ranking: 33 Age: 23 Level: MLB
Bradley is top-notch defender because of great instincts and solid speed, and he also has a plus bat. He was overhyped after an outstanding 2013 Spring Training, but he’s patient with some power. He gets into trouble on inside pitches when he over-extends his swing.

34. Nick Castellanos

3B Tigers mlb_castellanos_nick_65
H/W: 6’4″ 210 2013 Ranking: 31 Age: 21 Level: MLB
After spending a year in the outfield, Castellanos gets to make the transition back to his natural third base, where he was at best average. His value comes in his bat, which is plus, and his plus raw power. Although he lacks speed, his bat will carry him.

35. Travis d’Arnaud

C Mets mlb_darnaud_travis_65
H/W: 6’2″ 195 2013 Ranking: 16 Age: 25 Level: MLB
With the bar so low for a starting Major League catcher, d’Arnaud looks like a future All-Star with great defense and intriguing power. His only issue is a complete inability to stay healthy. He’s only had more than 300 at-bats just twice in his seven-year pro career.

36. Austin Meadows

CF Pirates mlb_meadows_austin_65
H/W: 6’3″ 200 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 18 Level: 19
Big, athletic frame with shocking speed for his size. His swing is nice with good mechanics and fast wrists, and he should grow into big power. He has four of the five tools–his arm isn’t great, although it’s certainly adequate–and he has real star power.

37. Kohl Stewart

RHP Twins mlb_stewart_kohl_65
H/W: 6’3″ 195 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 19 Level: Rookie
Stewart was the top prep arm selected in the 2013 draft and almost went to Texas A&M, where he would have been a quarterback as well as a pitcher. He’s very athletic with a four-pitch mix featuring a plus slider and fastball, although his command still needs polish.

38. Joc Pederson

CF Dodgers mlb_pederson_joc_65
H/W: 6’1 185 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: AA
Pederson has all five tools, although none of them are as good as those of players higher on this list. Power and speed are his two main calling cards, and he has the arm to play right field. He needs improve against left-handed hitters, but he’s a low-risk prospect.

39. Garin Cecchini

3B Red Sox mlb_cechhini_garin_65
H/W: 6’2″ 200 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: AA
Above anything else, Cecchini can flat out hit. He’s got a great approach with great instincts both at the plate (leading to good plate discipline) and on the bases, which helps him out-performs his average tools. He’s improved defensively but will never be plus.

40. Henry Owens

LHP Red Sox mlb_owens_henry_65
H/W: 6’6″ 205 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 21 Level: AA
Owens has a big, lanky frame and is fairly projectable with a chance to add more weight. His stock got a big boost with his velocity ticking up for his fastball and curveball in addition to already having a knockout changeup. He does, however lack great command.

41. Austin Hedges

C Padres mlb_hedges_austin_65
H/W: 6’1″ 190 2013 Ranking: 46 Age: 21 Level: AA
Few catchers in the minors are as strong defensively as Hedges is. That alone makes him a high-probability prospect, and he’s shown big raw power, as well. How well that translates into games will determine his value, although he already has high contact rates.

42. Clint Frazier

RF Indians mlb_frazier_clint_65
H/W: 6’1″ 190 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 19 Level: Rookie
Frazier was one of the two big prep bats from Georgia along with Meadows, and he has more power, thanks to outstanding bat speed. While he eclipses Meadows in power, he’s an average runner and below-average fielder, so his value is all in the bat.

43. Billy Hamilton

CF Reds mlb_hamilton_billy_65
H/W: 6′ 160 2013 Ranking: 24 Age: 23 Level: MLB
Billy Hamilton is the fastest to ever play baseball. He’s had 356 steals in the last three seasons, including going 13-for-14 in the pros. His bat was average in the minors and hasn’t fared well against top pitching, and he has no power, although he’s a plus fielder.

44. Raul Mondesi

SS Royals mlb_mondesi_raul_65
H/W: 6’1″ 165 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 18 Level: A
Despite being 16 years old for half the season, Mondesi held his own in a league with everyone much older than him. He doesn’t have his dad’s power, but he’s very toolsy. He’s already a great defender and should develop a plus bat from both sides of the plate.

45. Julio Urias

LHP Dodgers mlb_urias_julio_65
H/W: 5’11” 160 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 17 Level: A
Urias was already throwing 95 mph at age 16 with plenty of time to grow vertically and horizontally. Even at his young age, he has plus control and a plus curveball, although he may become fly ball prone if he doesn’t outgrow his small frame. High-risk high-reward.

46. Trevor Bauer

RHP Indians mlb_bauer_trevor_65
H/W: 6’1″ 190 2013 Ranking: 14 Age: 23 Level: MLB
Bauer’s stock plummeted as he lost all his control last year, but he has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. His fastball consistently sits 96-97 with three off-speeds ranging from average to plus. There are makeup questions, but fixing his command is key.

47. Lucas Sims

RHP Braves mlb_sims_lucas_65
H/W: 6’2″ 195 2013 Ranking: NR Age: 19 Level: A
Sims already has a plus fastball and curve after his first full season in pro ball with an improving changeup to go with it. He still has room to add a little more weight, which could lead to a boost in velocity. He has a quick arm action, despite atypical delivery.

48. Jonathan Singleton

1B Astros mlb_singleton_jon_65
H/W: 6’2 235 2013 Ranking: 30 Age: 22 Level: AAA
2013 was lost for Singleton because he missed the first 50 games with a suspension for marijuana use and came back in poor shape. He still has a similar upside with massive power and an intriguing bat. Assuming he’s back in shape, he has soft hands on defense.

49. Hunter Harvey

RHP Orioles mlb_harvey_hunter_65
H/W: 6’3″ 195 2013 Ranking: IE Age: 19 Level: Low-A
Harvey was the 21st pick in the 2013 draft, but he looks like one of the better picks now. He has projectable velocity and promising off-speeds but a ways to go in terms of development before he makes it to the Majors. He has bloodlines; his dad, Bryan, was a closer.

50. Taylor Guerrieri

RHP Rays mlb_guerrieri_taylor_65
H/W: 6’3″ 195 2013 Ranking: 41 Age: 21 Level: A
Tommy John surgery will keep Guerrieri out for most of this season, but when he’s healthy, he’s absolutely dominant with a fastball up to 97, a plus curveball, and great control. Recovery from surgery is never assured, but he has the makings of an ace.

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Categories: MLB | Leave a comment

World Series Preview with Jackson Martin

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: October. We have the baseball playoffs, football is in full swing, college football is heating up, and the NBA is about to begin. Oh, and the Red Sox are back in the World Series.

I’ve shared the first two parts to my three-part playoff preview with Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report, and now we have the third one.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the Red Sox are in the World Series. Fortunately for me, they are. Add those together you get to look forward to a nice clash of excited optimism and snark.

And finally, before I send you off to read the article over on Jackson’s site, how can you not root for the Red Sox after Koji Uehara’s kid Kaz’s interview?

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All The Articles I Forgot To Post

I write about sports a lot, and I occasionally forget to post my articles. Here’s your place to find all the articles I didn’t post from the past two months.

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Friday, October 11

Previewing the MLB Playoffs with Jackson Martin: League Championship Series

Jackson and I go head-to-head in round two of our baseball playoffs preview. I don’t brag too much about beating him 4-0 last week.

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Tuesday, October 8

COLUMN: Why Franklin should leave Vanderbilt

I write a column that Vanderbilt fans won’t like about why James Franklin should go to USC if he gets a job offer. I got a nice endorsement from commenter bill cherry: “What a great article from a Vandy STUDENT news source….a bunch of big freaking nerds.”

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Tuesday, October 1

Explaining the Vanderbilt running back rotation

Without Zac Stacy, the Commodores don’t have one feature back and are instead going with a three-headed running attack. Here’s your guide to what is going on in Nashville.

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Tuesday, October 1

Commodores heat up against Blazers

I covered my first Vanderbilt football game from the press box, and the Commodores won 52-24 against UAB. That bodes well for the Georgia game I’m covering next week, right?

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Tuesday, September 17

Vanderbilt men’s basketball lands four-star guard

Vanderbilt landed its second four-star recruit in shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis, who went to my rival high school, Charlotte Christian. They’re on pace to have their strongest recruiting class since 2011.

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Tuesday, September 3

FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: News and notes from Monday’s football press conference: Week 2

Ah, the first in a series of weekly news and notes from the Monday football press conferences. A series that lasted one week.

Categories: College Basketball, College Football, MLB | Leave a comment

Previewing the MLB playoffs with Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report

Playoff beard? Playoff beard.

Playoff beard? Playoff beard.

It’s a day late, but I wrote a preview of the first round of the MLB playoffs with good friend and fellow Russell-Rice scholar Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report. As you’ll see in the intro, we would’ve gotten the article out earlier, but some school-related issues came up.

If you’re a fan of one of the playoff teams, you’ll be happy to see that we disagree on every single series. That tends to happen when we talk sports.

Instead of copying the whole thing here and editing the introduction, I’ll just send you to his site, which has some great stuff that I haven’t helped with.

Stay tuned as the playoffs progress, where there definitely won’t be any gloating about who picked series better.

(Ha, the Red Sox won Game 1 by 10.)

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I Am an A-Rod Fan

Congrats, Major League Baseball, you’ve turned NCAA on us.

Major League Baseball eschewed the 21st century by embracing human error over getting calls correct, but they’ve outdone themselves with the Biogenesis case.

MLB set off on a poorly cloaked witch hunt for two of the biggest name (rumored) steroid users: Ryan Braun, who avoided an earlier PED suspension on a technicality, and Alex Rodriguez, who is just universally hated. The league paid known sleazebag Anthony Bosch for information from his sketchy health clinic, although they previously identified him as having highly questionable information.

Finally, they settled on a 65-game suspension for Braun and nailed 12 more players with 50-game suspensions. Then they dropped a 211-game bomb on Alex Rodriguez.

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MLB has botched the A-Rod case so badly, that I’m actually rooting for him. And I hated A-Rod.

They’ve mishandled this whole case so badly that they’ve made me a fan of the most hated player in sports.

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA agreed on a Joint Drug Agreement, which states that any player who fails a test or has possession of a PED is to be suspended 50 games after his first offense, 100 games after his second offense, and given a lifetime suspension on the third offense.

MLB circumvented the JDA already when they slapped Braun with a 65-game suspension, but they mutually agreed to that ban. A-Rod’s 211-game suspension completely oversteps baseball’s jurisdiction according to the JDA and CBA.

Alex Rodriguez clearly didn’t do a good thing. He was the Chosen One. It was said that he would destroy steroids, not take them. Bring balance to the sport, not leave it in darkness.

But now Major League Baseball has found a way to make a cheater into a sympathetic villain, just like Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi.

So what makes whatever A-Rod did more than 4 times worse than what the other Biogenesis players did? If he did use HGH in recent years, what makes him so special that he’s given a suspension 146 games longer than any other previous one?

The short answer: there’s no reason.

MLB says that part of the reason for the excessive length is because he tampered with baseball’s investigation. Well Melky Cabrera did the same thing–and created a fake website in an attempted coverup–and only got 50 games. MLB clearly has a vested interest in getting Rodriguez away from the game.

The Yankees get out from under around $33.5 million in salary plus millions more in luxury tax–more money they can spend. MLB gets Rodriguez–who’s been nothing but bad press for the sport recently–away from baseball and momentarily away from the record books.

While it’s clear that Major League Baseball is overstepping its bounds–which leads to the MLBPA’s appeal that will last until November or December–this isn’t the real issue.

Alex Rodriguez breaking rules–and he hasn’t even failed a drug test–is a micro issue. MLB’s rules on PEDs is the macro issue.

What we need to be doing now is looking at why steroids are banned. A-Rod technically cheated because the rules said he wasn’t allowed to use a substance. Cheating by definition is breaking rules. So why are steroids illegal?

It’s easy to see why substances that are harmful to players’ health should be illegal. You’re asking players to sacrifice their own health to keep up with the Joneses. Furthermore, it creates a culture in which young, impressionable kids feel they have to renounce their future health to compete and earn a scholarship.

But what about non-harmful supplements? Protein shakes seem to be widely accepted because they have no known downside but help build muscle. Aspirin stops pain and similarly has no major side effects. No one thinks they should be illegal.

As Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan put it: “If one player is taking synthetic testosterone to heal faster and another player is getting his blood spun and reinjected into him to heal faster, why is the former banned and the latter welcomed? Because the government says so? The government also says marijuana is illegal, and baseball players on the 40-man roster can take bong rips galore without penalty.”

The core issue isn’t that steroids are bad because they’re banned. That’s begging the question. The real issue is that harmful performance enhancers create a bad culture, while non-harmful performance enhancers just, well, enhance your performance like drinking that protein shake or taking a dietary supplement do.

We know that athletes will do whatever they can to gain a competitive edge. Catchers frame pitches to get extra strikes. Ray Lewis sprayed deer antler velvet under his tongue. Bartolo Colon had bone marrow stem cells injected into his elbow. Hell, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays openly used amphetamines, and Gaylord Perry used a banned spitball, and they’re accepted with open arms into the Hall of Fame. Yet steroids are the spawn of the devil.

Nothing gets people up on their moral high horse like steroids, but it would be hard to turn down a pill that makes you 50% markedly at your job, especially if it means escaping poverty in a third-world country.  Really, using modern medicine isn’t much different than any other type of cheating in the past, even if known cheater Perry would have you think otherwise.

You know what the real crime is, right? Babe Ruth never got to face Latino and black pitchers. Ask Daniel Tosh.

Baseball needs to re-evaluate what is banned and what isn’t based on potential health risks. Because if something like deer antler spray has no health risk, what’s the difference between it and a protein shake? It’s just a rose by another name.

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