Article by: Zach Henley
Legends like Carl Yastrzemski, Vladimir Guerrero, Craig Biggio and Danta Bichette all made their marks in the game of baseball. Decades later, their own counterparts are looking to do the same.
1. Mike Yastrzemski
Mike Yastrzemski made his major league debut on May 25, 2019 for the San Francisco Giants. He went hitless but scored a run in the team’s loss against the Diamondbacks. Through August 12, 2019, the rookie has 12 home runs along with 38 RBI’s. 6 days later, the rookie tallied his first home run of his career. Mike Yastrzemski is the grandson of former Boston Red Socks great, Carl Yastrzemski. Mike has already passed his grandfather in their rookie home run totals and his stats now show potential to be a consistent player for years to come.
2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Free swinging Vladimir Guerrero started his career in Canada just like his son. Guerrero Jr. has started his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and has shown why he deserves all the hype that's surrounded him. After a somewhat slow start to his career, Vlad Jr. connected for his first home run of his career against the Giants. In the same game, he hit his second career home run and showed the league that he was here, and here to stay. In July, it was announced that Vlad Jr. would participate in the Home Run Derby. After setting the record for most home runs hit in the derby, he would lose to Mets rookie Pete Alonso. Vlad has shown that he his just like his father and looks to become the same type of player.
3. Cavan Biggio
Cavan Biggio is the son of hall famer Craig Biggio. Shortly after Guerrero Jr. made his debut, Biggio was called up and made his debut on May 24, 2019. His first hit didn’t come until 2 days later against the San Diego Padres. Later that game, he tallied his first big league home run. Biggio was selected in the 5th round of the 2016 draft. After great years in the minors, including Eastern League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, Biggio has shown that he has the talent to become an all star and make a name for his self in the game's highest level.
4. Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette has already broken records in his short time in the majors. Through August 6th, he became the first player to record 10 extra base hits within his first 9 games. He also became just the third player to record a double in 8 straight games while setting the Blue Jays record for the most hits by a rookie in his first 10 games. He also had an 11-game hit streak which also set the record in Blue Jays history.
Although these names might bring back some old memories, these guys are a part of the new generation of talent in the MLB. These guys might have legendary last names, but they're here to write their own story, and prove that they can play on baseball's biggest stage.
Article by: Justin Imler
This was about as close to a buzzer beater that we'll ever see in baseball. The Houston Astros waited until the very last second of the 2019 Trade Deadline to make their statement that one World Series title wasn’t enough, and they are out for more in 2019.
Last Wednesday the Astros took the MLB world by surprise when news broke out that they had acquired starring pitcher Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rumors were circling around what ended up being a fairly boring deadline, that several teams were still in play to acquire starting pitching. The most common team and pitcher in those conversations were the New York Yankees, and Giants’ starting pitcher and postseason legend Madison Bumgardner. However, the Yankees, remained completely quiet, and Bumgardner is still in San Francisco. Greinke’s name was circled in the mix here and there, but I don’t think anyone can say confidently that they saw this move coming.
Instead, it is the other American League powerhouse that made a major move right as time expired, and now, the Astros seem to be the clear favorite to win the World Series. Here’s how the blockbuster trade looked for both sides:
- SP Zack Greinke
- $24 million towards Greinke’s contract
- Four minor league prospects
1. 1B Seth Beer
2. RHP J.B. Bukauskas
3. RHP Corbin Martin
4. INF/OF Josh Rojas
When you look at where both franchises currently stand, this deal really seems to benefit both sides tremendously. The Astros are clearly in win-now mode. Coming off a 2017 World Series championship and having one of the most talented overall rosters in all of baseball signed for the next several years, they’re ready to add another title to their name in 2019, and an established starting pitcher in Greinke will surely help them obtain that goal.
The Diamondbacks on the other hand are stuck. They’ve been finishing around the .500 mark for the last several seasons, and if they want to take that next step, it might be time to start a minor rebuild. This deal pretty much confirms that plan, in acquiring several talented prospects, and alleviating themselves from the remaining $53 million of Greinke’s hefty contract. Greinke is obviously a very talented pitcher, and a nice asset to have in your rotation (10-4, 2.90 ERA this season), but Greinke alone isn’t going to get Arizona where they want to go.
Now let’s look ahead at the remainder of the 2019 season. The Houston Astros now have the best 3-man rotation in the league in Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. Also add Wade Miley into mix at the #4 spot, who the Astros like a lot, and has been pitching very well as of late (9-4 3.06 ERA). This rotation is set to carry this Astros team to a World Series birth in October and bring home their second title in three years. Not to toot my own horn too much, but the Astros were my World Series pick before the season began, and I’m confident in that pick now more than ever.
The Astros’ biggest competition this season will be the LA Dodgers, who have an equally balanced and talented lineup. As of right now, these two teams are tied for the best record in baseball, and if I had to guess, I’d say we are going to have a 2017 World Series rematch in just a couple months, and I can’t wait.
Article by: Zach Henley
After Saturday night’s win, the Phillies decided to option third baseman Maikel Franco to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Along with the demotion, the team has activated utility player Brad Miller from the IL. Franco, 26, is hitting .231 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI’s. The move comes after the Phillies beat the visiting Chicago White Sox. Franco overall went 1-3 with a single. Philadelphia is currently third in the NL East, tied with the Washington Nationals and 7 games back from the division leading Atlanta Braves. Franco has proven that he has the power, averaging 25 home runs and 86 RBI’s. The Achilles heel for the third baseman is the average. Last season, Franco had a career high .277 and tallied 22 home runs and 68 RBI’s (min. 100 AB).
In my opinion, this is a smart move for the team and their potential playoff push. Franco has been struggling all season, and after a promising start hitting in the 8th spot, he’s been disappointing. With this move, a couple of scenarios happen. Scott Kingery gets the chance to play every day and he’s been very consistent all year. With his demotion, Franco can work on hitting and changing his stance or swing in time for the playoffs. One other area the team needs to focus on is the pitching. Aside from Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, the last three starters in the rotation are all up in the air. Nick Pivetta should stay in the bullpen with Vince Velasquez, and the team needs to work on finding a consistent third starter and finding a closer that can be reliable.
Along with free agency, the team needs to break the bank a little more and try to shoot for Gerrit Cole. The starter is going to be 29 and has a good second half of his career left. The state of the Phillies is still in the air, as it always is, and the team needs to focus on finding ways to win down the stretch and and hopefully squeak into the playoffs and attempt to do some damage.
Article by: Harrison Weaver
A career win-loss record of 203-105, 3.38 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8-time All-Star, and a 2-time Cy Young Award winner. These are a few of the incredible career statistics of newly inducted Baseball Hall of Fame member Roy Halladay, or as many dubbed him, Doc Halladay, named after Wild West gunslinger himself. As of this past Sunday night, the late Roy Halladay would join the ranks of the elite in Cooperstown in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had an incredible 16-year career with both the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 1998, it was in the 2001 season that he really stepped into the spotlight with an impressive season boasting a 3.16 ERA, and then it was in 2002, when he was selected to his first All-Star game. After 5 more All-Star game appearences in the next 7 years, along with a Cy Young, Roy signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010 where he joined the elite pitching staff of Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt.
As a Phillies fan myself, I can speak to the excitement that everyone in Philly had with this all-time great roster. Headlined by the addition of Roy Halladay, we looked to be nearly impossible for opposing teams to score a lot of runs on. The Phillies unfortunately could not make the World Series with this team that struggled mightily on offense, but that doesn’t mean that Doc was anything elite. In his first three seasons with Philly, he made the All-Star game each year, and won his second Cy Young in 2010. Despite not making it deep in the postseason, he delivered on everything the fans and organization could have asked for and won over the hearts of Philadelphia well beyond his retirement in 2013.
Tragically, Doc passed away on November 7th, 2017 after crashing his plane in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving his family, friends, and the entire baseball world mourning. However, his legacy is carried on by his wife Brandy, and two sons Braden and Ryan whom he loved deeply. It was Brandy who gave Roy’s Hall of Fame speech on Sunday. She began by humbly thanking everyone, including teammates, coaches, team executives, team staff, and fans. She praised both the Blue Jays and Phillies for being so patient, faithful, and loyal to Halladay and his family as he went through the different stages of his career. The decision was made that Roy would be inducted without a logo on his cap, showing that he favored nor one city over the other, a true class act on the part of the Halladay family.
She then went on to speak about what kind of man he was off the baseball diamond. Roy was a true family man. According to Brandy, he was "the kind of brother who left cash in his pockets when he asked his sister to help with laundry, telling her she could keep whatever she found." As a father and husband, "He was a great coach, a nervous husband and father, only because he wanted to be as great and successful at home as he was in baseball." She continued to speak through tears throughout the course of the speech, and so elegantly and passionately praising family, friends, the organizations, and fans, all while doing such a great job of painting a beautiful picture of the kind of man Roy Halladay was.
In the end, Brandy did a perfect job of stepping up to the mound and delivering a commemorative Hall of Fame speech matching the beauty of a Perfect Game by her late husband. The Blue Jays have retired the #32, and the Phillies put the #34 on their Wall of Fame, while superstar Bryce Harper (who formerly wore #34 for the Nationals) elected to wear #3 because, quote, “He's somebody in this game that, you know, is greater than a lot of guys who have ever played it. A Hall of Famer. Somebody who played the game the right way. Was a great person and was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, being able to play across from him in 2012. So, for me, it’s Roy Halladay. He’s No. 34 and he’s what represents that number in Philly. And when you go in there and see his name on that flagpole in center field. It’s something that he should be remembered for.”
It’s clear that the respect and appreciation for Roy Halladay is endless, as love has poured in from everywhere upon his Hall of Fame induction. In addition, the Blue Jays drafted Roy’s son Braden with their 32nd round pick, the same number that Braden’s late father wore. Despite the last rounds of the MLB draft typically being irrelevant, this was a truly special moment that Braden and the Halladay family got to share together, and a really touching move by the Toronto Blue Jays organization. It’s amazing that in the face of such tragedy and devastation, the sports world always seems to find a way to support, care for, celebrate, respect, and remember delicate situations such as this.
You can find Brandy Halladay's full speech from Sunday below.
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Article by: Zach Henley
Every season there are break out rookies who take the league by storm. Some years are better than other years, but this year might be one of the best.
1. Pete Alonso: New York Mets
The first rookie in the spotlight is Pete Alonso for the New York Mets. Alonso has taken the national league by storm by crushing 30 home runs, which set a new team record and winning this year’s home run derby. Although the Mets have been struggling thus far this season, easily their biggest upside is the potential that Alonso has shown in his first year in the majors.
2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: Toronto Blue Jays
Following in his hall of famer father’s footsteps, Vlad Jr. is also playing in the north but for a different team. This team being the Toronto Blue Jays. After being the number one prospect and having one of the most anxious debuts, Vlad Jr. has shown promise and potential in a slow start for the rookie phenom. After only hitting 8 home runs since is his debut, he showed some serious power and energy in the home run derby. The slugger set the record for home runs hit with 91. Teaming up with Cavan Biggio, the Blue Jays have some serious talent and could become a home run team in just a few short years.
3. Austin Riley: Atlanta Braves
As the Atlanta Braves continue their success with one of the youngest teams in baseball, their secret weapon might be rookie Austin Riley. The 22-year-old outfielder came to the big leagues after Ender Inciarte went on the IL. In his first month as a major leaguer, Riley hit 7 home runs along with 20 RBI’s and helped Atlanta stay in the top half of the NL East standing. Since being called up, the rookie has showcased his power and clutch performances with runners on base. The biggest drawback to his game is his average and contact rate. Where there is power, usually comes with a lower average than a basic contact hitter. As the Braves seem to get better every game, look for Riley to become a star in the upcoming years.
4. Brandon Lowe: Tampa Bay Rays
The leading Rookie of the Year candidate has been a star for the Rays. After a couple of struggling years, the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be hitting their stride once again and they’re led by rookie Brandon Lowe. Supporting a .276 batting average along with 16 home runs, Lowe has helped the Rays stay in the playoff race and in contention with the Yankees for the division. Even though he's on the IL right now, Lowe will be coming off soon, and I think he'll lead the Ray into the playoffs, not just this year, but for years to come.
5. Fernando Tatis Jr.: San Diego Padres
Maybe the most exciting rookie and player to watch, Fernando Tatis Jr. is a human highlight reel. The shortstop, son of former player Fernando Tatis, had great fielding and baserunning skills. No other rookie has stolen home plate more than him and much like his gold glove teammate, Manny Machado, Tatis Jr. can make unbelievable plays from anywhere on the diamond. If Pete Alonso wasn’t in this year’s class and crushing home runs left and right, Tatis Jr. would be my pick for this year’s NL Rookie of the year.
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