David Hensley San Diego State

David Hensley does it all

San Diego State shortstop David Hensley has been making plenty of noise during his time with the Aztecs, especially this season.

Last week, Hensley came up big in a doubleheader against San Jose State. In the second game, Hensley had a career-high five RBIs with four hits and three runs.

The Aztecs are 36-17 and second in the Mountain West Conference. For the season, Hensley is currently hitting .308 with three home runs and 28 RBIs. He also had a 29-game on-base streak early in the season as well, an accomplishment Hensley said reflects all the work he has put in at San Diego State.

“It’s a big accomplishment. I think that just shows everything I’ve worked for over these past four years at school,” Hensley said. “I try to do my best to fulfill that spot at the two-hole in the batting order and get on base as much as I can and give our team a chance to get some runs in across the board.”

Along with his bat, Hensley is quite the defender. In his career at San Diego State, he has played every position except catcher. Last season he played mostly in right field. This season he switched to the team’s primary shortstop.

There are not many guys who can comfortably play every position like that. Hensley said what helped him was the fact he was always bouncing around positions when he was growing up. He usually played with kids older than him and would fill in any empty position on the field.

“I used to jump around a lot and play with guys a little bit older than I am, so I would never have a set position if that makes sense, somewhere I play all the time,” he said. “So every time I go out and see these guys, I’m always playing in the outfield, playing in the infield, going where they need me. I think that over time that helped me develop as an athlete and as a baseball player.”

Early years

Hensley grew up playing a lot of different sports, but baseball was his main one. He began playing baseball at a young age in San Diego, California. His dad also used to play and got him interested early on.

Hensley’s dad saw some abilities in his son early on and encouraged him to stick with it and take things more seriously. Hensley credits his dad for helping him develop a love for the game.

David Hensley San Diego State

Hensley has played every position except catcher with the Aztecs. (Photo by Kelly Smiley)

“I think him letting me know that early, sticking with me, making sure I was on track to be where I needed to be and have the preparation I needed at that time to compete and excel, I think it built me up to have a real love for the game and a passion,” Hensley said.

Hensley enjoyed a great high school career at Patrick Henry High School in San Diego. He earned three varsity letters and served as team captain in all three of those seasons. In his senior year, he hit .320 with two home runs, 26 RBIs and 22 runs scored. He also hit .370 as a junior and .350 as a sophomore.

He attracted some attention from big schools like UCLA and Arizona. However, he did not receive many offers, and his grades in school were not the greatest either. Hensley said a lot of people believed he was looking to be drafted in the MLB rather than play in college.

“I didn’t really have a lot of offers coming out of high school. I had a lot more draft opportunities I guess than I did actual scholarship opportunities,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people thought that I wanted to go to college out of high school because of the position I was in. And not being the best student, I think that a lot of people passed on me.”

San Diego State coach Mark Martinez saw the potential in Hensley and came to his house one day to talk and give him an offer. Hensley said being able to play in his hometown meant a lot to him.

“It wasn’t until my senior year that I got a call from coach Mark Martinez,” Hensley said. “I came home one day from school, and they were sitting in my living room. He asked me if I wanted to be an Aztec. I guess that’s something I worked for my whole life, and being able to stay in my hometown, nothing meant more to me than that.”

College life

Hensley saw some action in his freshman season, appearing in 24 games, including 19 starts. He batted .257 with eight RBIs and 12 runs.

David Hensley San Diego State

Hensley hit a career high .357 in his junior year. (Photo by Kelly Smiley)

Hensley was much more involved in his sophomore season, as he became a full-time starter on the Aztecs. He batted .276 with a home run, 20 RBIs and 20 runs. Hensley also enjoyed a team-high 13-game hitting streak that season where he hit .386.

Henley’s junior year was even better. He led the team in batting average at .357, which also ranked 12th in the Mountain West that season. He also hit three home runs, drove in 31 runs, scored 36 more and stole seven bases.

In his senior year, Hensley is hitting .308 with three home runs, 28 RBIs and 37 runs. He has also seen action as a pitcher this year. In five appearances, he has thrown six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. He also has four strikeouts, a walk and a save.

The future

Hensley has definitely made a great case for why he should be drafted into the MLB. In his four years at San Diego State, he has proven he can pretty much do it all. He is a great contact hitter at the top of the order and can play almost anywhere a team would need him.

Hensley said his versatility is one of his greatest strengths.

“That is a positive for me in the draft because you get somebody who is available to do multiple things instead of just a one-position player or a pitcher only,” Hensley said. “Kind of give them a little bit of a utility. Not a lot of guys get in as utility I don’t think too much nowadays.”

As far as what he still needs to work on, Hensley said he needs to continue to get stronger and keep his body in the best shape possible.

“Physically, I think I need to get stronger,” he said. “Just putting on some weight, sticking to it, making sure I keep my body healthy and give myself the best opportunity to succeed.”

The 2018 MLB draft will take place June 4-6. It will be interesting to see where Hensley lands. He definitely brings a lot to the table at the plate and on the field.

After life in baseball, Hensley would like to get involved in marketing and promotions in the music industry.

 

Featured image by Kelly Smiley

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2018 MLB All-Star Game

2018 All-Star Game: Player watch

Every year, the MLB All-Star Game showcases the best the big leagues have to offer. Fans gather around for the yearly festivities to not only enjoy the show, but also to root for their favorite players on the rosters. Several household names are finding their ways to the break. But several lesser-known names are presenting their cases for a spot in the lineup.

Here is a very early look at some unfamiliar faces looking to get into Washington D.C. as a 2018 All-Star. Whether it is a rookie off to a hot start or a veteran finding a big break, these are the ones to watch out for as July 17 approaches.

All-Star Game: American League

There are several players looking to get on the AL roster for this year’s All-Star Game. One that should not be overlooked is Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger.

2018 MLB All-Star Game

American League All-Star roster potentials

This season, Haniger currently boasts 10 home runs and 32 RBIs, along with a .288 batting average. Though he has yet to go yard in the month of May, the 27-year-old presents a sound case for a spot on the AL lineup.

Another player from the AL West turning heads this year is Jed Lowrie. The 34-year-old Oakland A has cashed in 36 RBIs and nine home runs. He also holds a .329 batting average, the best of his career. Lowrie has no doubt found his big break in 2018. But to gain a spot on the list, he will need to keep swinging.

He may be a 29-year-old rookie, but Hector Velazquez is turning into one of this season’s most ferocious pitchers. He currently stands undefeated on the mound, in addition to a 2.10 ERA. Though he is currently on the disabled list, Velazquez will no doubt continue to light it up for the Boston Red Sox.

Nicholas Castellanos of the Detroit Tigers is another name to keep a lookout for. He is posting career bests in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Castellanos also leads the Tigers in RBIs over future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.

All-Star Game: National League

Though many players are deserving of recognition, the NL roster can only fit so many players. The first player making his case to return this season is A.J. Pollock of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

2018 MLB All-Star Game

(Photo from wikipedia.org)

Pollock has not enjoyed the All-Star perks since 2015, which is his only selection. But he is definitely a strong candidate for a roster slot in 2018. Pollock has belted 11 home runs and 33 RBIs, plus a respectable .293 batting average. Pollock will need to step it up if he wants to get votes for the roster.

Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies could be a favorite for the NL Cy Young Award. That is definitely a sound enough argument for an All-Star Game appearance as well. He boasts a 6-1 record in his nine starts. He also holds a 1.99 ERA, the fourth best in the NL. As Philly looks to take over the NL East, Nola will also look to continue dominating.

Colin Moran of the Pittsburgh Pirates is another player looking for his first All-Star selection. Moran currently leads all NL rookies in batting average and on-base percentage. He may not be a known home run hitter, but underestimating him in the batter’s box will cost one dearly. Not to mention he has also tallied 21 RBIs this season.

Moran and the Pittsburgh Pirates look to keep bringing the pain as they look to take hold of the NL Central.

Until Then

Keep in mind, these are only a handful of names looking to hit the field in the All-Star Game in Washington D.C. Not to mention that the game does not start for another two whole months. Surely, there will be more players making a case at a slot on the roster.

Unfortunately, space on the lineup is limited. Until that day comes, we will look forward to those stepping up and presenting their cases to be on this year’s All-Star team. Until that day comes, play ball!

 

Featured image from federal baseball and USA TODAY Sports

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Boston Red Sox slump

The fall of the Boston Red Sox

A little over a month ago, the Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball. They were sitting over four games ahead of the AL East and rolling on both sides of the ball. But since April 20, they are 11-12 and have fallen a game back of the mighty New York Yankees.

The Red Sox are 5-5 in their last 10 and just cannot seem to beat the Oakland Athletics (1-4 this season). The quality starts and the offense have not slowed down, but the bullpen has had a tough time nailing down close games.

The situation

Prior to April 20, the Boston Red Sox were 17-2, playing some of the best baseball in the league and sitting comfortably atop the AL East. Since then they have free fallen. David Price, Hector Velazquez and Carson Smith have all been in and out of the disabled list, hitters have gone cold and besides Craig Kimbrel, it seems like the back end of the bullpen is more than struggling.

There is not really one true problem to point to with the Red Sox so far. Although it was impossible for them to keep up their early season torrid pace, no one had them going 11-12 following a 17-2 start.

David Price

Boston Red Sox slump

David Price (Photo from Boston Sports Journal).

Well here we are with David Price again. Price has a 4.89 ERA with just two quality starts out of his eight. He is averaging the lowest total amount of pitches thrown per start of any Red Sox starter this season. He is averaging a walk every two strikeouts.

He is on pace to have the highest ERA of his career and is already rapidly approaching his season averages for runs allowed, and he has only pitched 42.1 innings.

Obviously it is early in the season, but Price has yet again struggled for the Boston Red Sox. He is on pace to have his worst statistical season of his career.

Hector Velazquez

One of the best pitchers on the staff might not be one that casual baseball fans have heard of. Hector Velazquez is quietly going about his work and has a 2.10 ERA through 25.2 innings.

He has started two games and appeared in eight others. He has given Boston’s offense a chance to shine. He is 5-0 this season, has kept the ball in the ballpark and also has not handed out free passes. He has quietly been one of the best pitchers on staff, and the Red Sox cannot get him back fast enough.

The top of the lineup: The good

1. Mookie Betts, 2. Andrew Benintendi, 3. Hanley Ramirez, 4. J.D. Martinez, 5. Xander Bogaerts.

The top five of the Red Sox order has been the most consistent thing there is.

Andrew Benintendi is on an eight-game hitting streak where he is hitting over .360. Mookie Betts has hit three leadoff home runs this season and is sitting squarely in the MVP conversation. Hanley Ramirez, outside of his recent woes, has been hitting around .300 and is seemingly knocking a runner in every single night. J.D. Martinez is hitting well over .300 and is proving that he is not just a power hitter, but one of the best overall hitters in all of baseball. Finally, Xander Bogaerts has been the most consistent hitter this season. The five of them account for 130 of the Red Sox 213 RBIs thus far.

The pen

There has been some good in the Red Sox bullpen. However, as the Sox are rotating pitchers in and out, the pitchers have hiccuped. Carson Smith was just recently placed on the 10-day disabled list. He was having a solid first half to the season before hurting his throwing shoulder.

The long relief pitching has struggled for the Red Sox. In 19 1/3 innings, Heath Hembree has given up 11 runs. Brian Johnson, who has been in and out of the bullpen, has given up 14 runs in 21 innings. Steven Wright, who has finally returned from injury, has given up two runs in two 1/3 innings. In other words, when the Red Sox are down in a game, they struggle to get back in it. The long relief pitchers have struggled to pick up the starters when they have struggled.

The Boston Red Sox are not a good come-from-behind team this season. In games that Rick Porcello and Chris Sale start, they have seemingly dominated this season. Due to the fact that the two starters can almost always be counted on, the Red Sox always jump out to an early lead. Just to speak the obvious, everyone is more relaxed when a lead is acquired early in a game.

 

Featured image by AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez

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2018 Cy Young Award watch

MLB: 2018 Cy Young Award watch

In the game of baseball, no position is as praised or scrutinized as the pitcher. The pitcher has to ward off batter after batter and keep as many off base as possible. The pitcher also has to work with varying amounts of run support in the process. For those few who are the coolest under this kind of pressure, the Cy Young Award awaits.

This watch will highlight some of the early favorites to win the coveted hardware in 2018. Will there be a new, young ace reigning supreme? Will there be a veteran looking to expand his trophy case? These are some notable aces making their cases this season.

Cy Young Award Watch: American League

2018 Cy Young Award watch

(Photo from Sports Illustrated)

The Houston Astros house several pitchers off to a great start, as well as the first stop of this Cy Young Award watch. Picking just one from this bunch was difficult, but ultimately, Charlie Morton takes the marginal lead here.

Yes, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole boast lower ERAs than Morton (both below 2.00). However, Morton has more wins and an undefeated record to his name.

Morton has no doubt found his footing in Houston, rocking a 19-7 combined record in his two seasons as an Astro. As a pitching unit, the Astros lead the American League in ERA and batting average surrendered. Morton’s role has become a huge part of this feat.

Over in the AL East, Luis Severino of the New York Yankees has entered the conversation as well. The 24-year-old has tallied a 6-1 record on the mound this season. He has also surrendered a meager 2.14 ERA in his nine starts this season. Severino’s arm has more than helped the Pinstripes as they look to take over the division. If he can remain hot, he will end up in many more All-Star rosters and Cy Young Award conversations to come.

Another AL East arm to keep an eye on for the hardware is Boston’s Rick Porcello. Though Chris Sale holds a better ERA, Porcello remains undefeated this season. Porcello retains a 2.79 ERA, plus a 5-0 record in 51 2/3 innings pitched. Porcello and the rest of the Red Sox rotation will need to stay hot with their archrivals on their tail. As for Porcello, a second Cy Young Award to his name would not hurt.

Cy Young Award Watch: National League

Over in the NL East, The Washington Nationals are now on a tear. In the NL Cy Young conversation, Max Scherzer is among the first names to pop up. It is not very hard to see why.

2018 Cy Young Award watch

(Photo from SI.com)

“Mad Max” currently sports a 7-1 record, along with the second lowest ERA in the National League.

But it does not stop there. Scherzer’s ERA has been below 2.00 in each of his starts this season. The 33-year-old ace is now eyeing a third Cy Young Award in a row, which would be the fourth of his career.

Another NL East name has entered the fray, from the Philadelphia Phillies. Meet right-hander Aaron Nola.

The 24-year-old has put together a 6-1 record with a 1.99 ERA this season. Not to mention he is undefeated in the month of May with a 0.89 ERA. Nola has shown significant improvement throughout his career. It is very likely he will be at the All-Star game in D.C. But if Nola can remain this imposing from the mound, the Cy Young Award, and possibly a playoff spot, will be a sight for the sore eyes of the Phillies faithful.

Over in the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals are fighting for the division with Milwaukee and Pittsburgh (all within only 0.5 games of each other). Pitcher Miles Mikolas of the Cards has done his part to keep the Cards in the race. Mikolas boasts a 5-0 record with a 2.51 ERA this season. He has also yielded a mere .233 batting average in his seven starts. With pitchers like Mikolas on board, the St. Louis pitching staff has become one the most ferocious rotations in the big leagues, with the third lowest ERA in baseball.

As the Seasons continues…

There are plenty of candidates worthy to be mentioned in the Cy Young Award conversation. At any time, unknown faces can become household names, if not take over the spotlight completely. As the season continues, the race for the playoffs, as well as yearly player accolades, will intensify with time.

 

Featured image from Baseball-Almanac.com

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For many children that have grown up playing sports, they have all dreamed of one day making it into the pros at one point. Baseball is one of the most popular destinations for this kind of journey. The rookie class of 2018 is now living out that life-long dream on the big stage.

In this rookie watch, we will be taking a look at the rookies that are making impacts in their inaugural seasons. Establishing their commanding presences, these guys have made their cases early in the “Rookie of the Year” conversations. Whether from the pitcher’s mound or the batter’s box, these rookies are looking to command the respect of the league.

rookie watch: American League

The Boston Red Sox pitching staff has established itself as among the elite in 2018. One of many names blazing on the mound is 29-year-old righty, Hector Velazquez.

MLB rookie watch

(Photo by AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Do not let the age fool you. Velazquez has given no quarter this season. He boasts a 4-0 record, the best of all AL rookies. He also leads the pack with a 2.38 ERA. Though only starting his MLB career, Velazquez is a can’t miss contender for AL Rookie of the Year, and potentially a Cy Young Award. Boston’s lineup is stacked, but Velazquez has become a vital asset keeping the Red Sox on top.

Speaking of stacked lineups, The New York Yankees are slugging it out with Boston for the AL East. The Pinstripes have become a batting terror this season, and home of the next name in this rookie watch. Meet Gleyber Torres.

Though he is not a home run hitting master, Torres has nevertheless made his presence felt. The 21-year-old second baseman leads all AL rookies in batting average and on-base percentage. He has also hit 11 RBI in his 16 games in the big leagues. With New York closing in on Boston, Torres can be an x-factor if he can continue this kind of batting.

You might be asking, “How come I have not mentioned Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels yet?” Relax, he is still the leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year in virtually everyone’s book. His 3-1 pitching record and .344 batting average have definitely put him among the brightest young stars of 2018. On top of that, Ohtani has belted 14 RBIs and only yielding a .213 batting average from opposing batters. Enough said.

Rookie Watch: National League

The first player in our NL rookie watch is starting to get his name out as a Los Angeles Dodger. Meet right-handed pitcher, Walker Buehler.

MLB rookie watch

(Photo from Sports Illustrated)

Buehler is currently boasting a 2-0 pitching record this season, along with a 1.13 ERA. He has accomplished this within the 16 innings he has pitched so far. The rest of the Dodgers, however, cannot seem to break out from their slow start to the new campaign. Not to mention their legendary ace, Clayton Kershaw, is on the disabled list. Buehler and company will have to step up to keep the Dodgers’ playoff hopes alive.

In the NL East, the Atlanta Braves hold a very thin lead in their division. One rookie that has helped Atlanta to the top is a familiar name around the league: left fielder, Ronald Acuña Jr.

Acuña currently leads all NL rookies in batting average and slugging percentage. Plus, his fielding abilities are razor sharp for his age, having yet to record an error this season. Not only will he be a contender for NL Rookie of the Year but also could be a Gold Glove winner in the not-so-distant future.

Returning to the NL West, Christian Villanueva has turned into a formidable power hitter for the San Diego Padres. However, he has entered a slump in recent games, including a .040 batting average in his last seven. Despite this, Villanueva continues to lead all rookies in both home runs and RBIs. If he can get his batting average back up, the 26-year-old third baseman can help brighten up San Diego’s offense, as well as its season.

Looking ahead

Winning the Rookie of the Year Award can push a player to stardom. It can also preview a bright future for the baseball club. But let us not forget that we have seen some of the game’s greatest not win this particular honor. Not to mention that anyone can enter a cold streak at any time. For all of the new guys, we wish nothing but the best in their baseball careers.

 

Featured image by Karl L. Moore and baseballamerica.com

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Matt Harvey Traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Devin Mesoraco

After being designated for assignment on Saturday, Matt Harvey will be moving from the Big Apple to the Queen City.

The deal will be Devin Mesoraco and cash going to the Mets for Matt Harvey.

Both players have had injury plagued careers. Also they both received major contracts after a great season. Weirdly enough their careers are very similar in most respects and both teams needed upgrades at these positions.

Mesoraco had a 2014 season where he was an All-Star, batting .273 with 25 homeruns and 80 rbi. The Reds assumed they had their catcher of the future and gave him a major contract. Sadly hip and shoulder injuries derailed his career as he hasn’t played in more than 60 games in a season. He is signed through this season and making a little over $13 million. One can assume he will take over the starting catching duties for the Mets.

As for Harvey he had Tommy-John surgery after an All-Star year in 2013 and came back and had an even better 2015 but then needed shoulder surgery in 2016 and has never really been the same since. Like Mesoraco the Mets assumed that Harvey would be a perennial All-Star and even possibly their ace for a long time to come. He is also signed through 2018 for about $5.6 million.

Unlike Mesoraco, Harvey has had his off the field issues. He became a superstar in one of the biggest cities in the world. The pressure of being famous may have gotten to Harvey as there were issues with partying and other distractions. This culminated with different arguments about his role, his managers, and his team. With the move to Cincinnati one can assume the pressure to perform and constantly be in the spotlight will be alleviated.

This trade could work out very well for all involved. The Reds have struggled developing their young pitchers and if they can get Matt Harvey to even be half of what he was then they will be happy. New York as stated before was looking for catching help and if Mesoraco can stay healthy then he could be a very valuable asset as he joins former teammates Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce.

Mesoraco will join the Mets tonight and the Harvey will join the Reds when they travel to Los Angeles.

MLB players to watch out for

MLB players to watch out for in May

As the month of May rolls onward, the MLB has beheld several players on the diamond looking to get their names out there. While some have picked up where they left off in April, others are eager to strike big this time of year. The season is still young, but already, new and familiar faces are catching fire immediately. These are some to watch out for in April.

This time around, we will not be focusing so much on the household names, such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Jose Altuve. We will be highlighting some players not as popular as the previously mentioned that have been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks. These are some players who we might see in the All-Star Game this July, and potentially more in the future.

pitchers to watch out for

The Tampa Bay Rays are trying to find a consistent winning rhythm, though they have won six of their last 10. One pitcher helping the team stay in the race is Jake Faria.

MLB players to watch out for

Jake Faria of the Tampa Bay Rays  (Photo from Wikipedia)

The 24-year-old currently rocks a 3-1 record in 2018. Though his ERA is a little higher than desired, Faria has shown great improvement throughout this season. If he continues this, Faria can be the next elite arm in the AL.

As for the rest of the Rays’ pitching staff, more work must still be done. But Faria and the rest of the staff will need to keep firing to catch up with the surging Yankees and Red Sox.

Speaking of the Red Sox, Rick Porcello has shown no mercy from the pitcher’s mound. He remains undefeated this season, in addition to a 2.14 ERA. The 29-year-old ace also has an AL CY Young Award under his belt, and is a frontrunner to take the coveted hardware again in 2018.

The rest of Boston, on the other hand, is a well-oiled machine in the pitching department. But the Red Sox must keep their foot on the throttle with the Yankees hot on their tail.

Over in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have taken the lead in the Central Division. 26-year-old Carlos Martinez has been one of many assets to St. Louis’ success this season. He has chalked up a 3-1 record and 1.40 ERA. The Cardinals boast one of the most dominant rotations in the entire MLB. Martinez is a big reason for that.

batters to watch out for

The Boston Red Sox, as a team, lead the American League in batting average. One of several reasons why is one of the newer Red Sox players this season: J.D. Martinez.

MLB players to watch out for

(Photo from MassLive.com)

This season, Martinez has belted eight home runs and 27 RBIs. He also has a .349 batting average. Although teammate Mookie Betts has garnered more attention, Martinez has become one of the players to watch out for in the batter’s box. Fail to prepare for this left fielder, and he will make you pay dearly.

The next player making splashes at the plate is A.J. Pollock of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his last seven games, Pollock has put up four home runs and eight RBIs, not to mention a .423 batting average.

His season numbers are 10 home runs and 29 RBIs with a .306 batting average. Pollock and the Diamondbacks will need to keep it up if they want to remain at the top of the National League.

Over in the NL East, the race for the top is very tight. One of the teams fighting for the top spot is the Atlanta Braves, where you will find Nick Markakis. The two-time Gold Glove winner is heating up in the batter’s box, with a .344 batting average. His 25 RBIs and six home runs are nothing to sneeze at either. With the NL East race neck-and-neck, Markakis and company will need to take every opportunity possible to get ahead.

Still to come

New weeks and new games await, and every player is looking for a chance to shine under the lights. As we await the upcoming games, we anticipate more players to watch out for on the radars of fans and analysts alike. Whoever it might be, we will be hopeful to see them in the All-Star Game in Washington D.C.

 

Featured image by AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

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Is Ichiro retiring?

On Thursday afternoon it was announced that Ichiro Suzuki was retiring and moving to a front office role with the Seattle Mariners. A little while later his agent, John Boggs, announced that he was not retiring and was just shifting roles with the club for this year and even hinted at a possible return for next season, which includes a season-opening series in Japan.

Boggs said via Ken Rosenthal, “He’s not retiring. He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 is yet to evolve.”

While the status of Ichiro’s future is up in the air, for the rest of this season he will be an assistant to the GM. The Mariners have stated that they love what he brings to the club, they just won’t be putting him in games any longer.

The Japanese legend returned to the Mariners organization this offseason after not being with the club since the first half of the 2012 season. He was traded to the Yankees and since has also played for the Miami Marlins.

Since rejoining the Mariners this season, the 44-year-old has played in 15 games and hit .205. His struggles at the plate are likely what led management to move him into a front office role.

Ichiro played 18 years in Major League Baseball after coming over from the Japanese League. In his 18 seasons, he hit .311 and had 3,089 hits. He had 1,278 hits in Japan, which added to his hits in America totals 4,367, which is the most ever for a professional baseball player, although the MLB record holder is Pete Rose with 4,256 hits.

In addition to his hitting accolades, Ichiro made 10 All-Star Games and won one MVP, Rookie of the Year, 10 Gold Gloves, two Batting Titles, three Silver Sluggers and one All-Star Game MVP.

Even if this is the end of the list of his accomplishments, it’s not a matter of if he’ll be in the Hall of Fame, but when.

 

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players to watch out for in May

MLB power rankings

With a new month of baseball rolling, some teams have found to jump ahead of the pack. Both the American and National Leagues have seen squads entering May red hot. While other teams are looking to improve these next few weeks, others look to continue winning like they have in April. These are the teams atop of our own MLB Power Rankings.

Some have a commanding presence on the pitcher’s mound. Others have made their marks from the batter’s box. Then there are those who let little get past their fielding. Whatever these squads have done to remain victorious has worked at say the absolute least. As of right now, these are the teams making noise and strong cases for spots in October early.

MLB Power Rankings: American League

1. Boston Red Sox (22-8)

MLB Power Rankings: Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz, (AP Photo/Steve Nesius).

There are several reasons why the Boston Red Sox are the top dogs of the American League. The Boston Red Sox lead the AL in batting average as a team. At the same time, they boast one of the league’s stingiest pitching rotations and fielding corps. It doesn’t hurt that their current manager was once a Red Sox player and World Series champ himself.

2. New York Yankees (20-10)

The New York Yankees have won nine of their last 10 games, the best outing in that span. The Pinstripes owe it mostly to their thunderous batting crew, who share a lead in the American League for home runs belted, and lead alone in RBI’s. Along with a solid pitching season so far, the Yankees are looking to remain on fire in May.

3. Houston Astros (20-12)

The reigning World Series champions are looking to pick up where they left off in 2017. So far, the Astros have the AL’s best pitching unit and fielding squad at once. Houston has constantly shown why some view them as the favorite to win it all again in 2018.

4. Los Angeles Angels (18-12)

These two squads are making big splashes in 2018. For Los Angeles, the one-two punch of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani has taken the league by storm. However, the Halos have won four of their last ten games. I do not believe this isn’t something they can’t overcome with their pitching and fielding rosters.

5. Toronto Blue Jays (17-13)

The Toronto Blue Jays have made their presence felt in the batter’s box, being tied in the AL for most home runs as a team. However, their batting average will need improvement in order to prolong their fireworks displays. Toronto’s pitching crew will need to step as well, especially when they have division rivals in the Red Sox and Yankees to compete against.

MLB Power Rankings: National League

MLB Power Rankings: National League

Diamondbacks manager, Torey Luvollo (Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

1. Arizona Diamondbacks (21-8)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have the most dominant pitching core in the National League, plus one of the best fielding defenses. Last season, the Diamondbacks entered October as wild card winners, in Torey Luvollo’s first season as the skipper. Now, they have the Division title and more in their sights.

2. Atlanta Braves (18-11)

With a number of rookies hungry to strike it big on board, Atlanta has entered the National League playoff conversation. Not to mention that they’ve won seven of their last ten games. Atlanta currently leads the NL in team batting average and RBI’s. Continuing their momentum should give the Braves the lead in the NL East before even they know it.

3. New York Mets (17-11)

The New York Mets are looking to turn things around from their 2017 campaign. So far, they’ve done well in doing so. Stats wise, their batting and pitching run around the middle of the pack. But to return to its 2015 days, New York will have to kick it up a few notches to get back to October.

4. Milwaukee Brewers (19-13)

The Milwaukee Brewers are duking it out with the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central. The Brewers have a merciless pitching roster, but also a fielding unit in need of improvement. Not to mention, Milwaukee leads the NL in errors. They have the lead in their division, but only a small one.

5. Chicago Cubs (16-12)

The Chicago Cubs have won seven of their last ten games. A big part of their good fortunes is their pitching lineup, whose boasts a more than solid ERA in the NL. However, the Cubs will need to clean up their fielding to keep men off base. Not to mention, the Milwaukee Brewers are not making it easy for the Cubs to take the NL Central.

Moving Forward

As the new month thunders onward, teams will be looking for improvements in lacking areas to keeps wins coming. Some will hit slumps, and some will starts winning bursts: while others will look to remain hot like they have in April. There might be new teams eager to shake up MLB Power Rankings from across the league. In the meantime, PLAY BALL!

Featured image courtesy from wikipedia.org

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MLB players of the month

2018 MLB: April’s greatest hits

The first month of the 2018 MLB season is approaching its final act. The league has seen struggling teams and players trying to find their footing. But on the flip side, we have seen several players dominating right out of the gates. Today, we will be taking a look at some of April’s greatest hits.

These greatest hits are a list of some names starting off red hot in the first few weeks of the season. It seems that the league cannot stop talking about them. Repetitive? Maybe. But these names have grabbed the attention of the entire for good reason.

Here are some of my picks of “Player of the Month,” “Rookie of the Month,” and “Manager of the Month” from both the American and National Leagues.

April’s greatest hits: American League

Player of the Month

The New York Yankees are starting to kick it up a notch, winning their last nine games. With a high-powered batting order, it is no coincidence. Leading the charge from the batter’s box is shortstop, Didi Gregorius.

MLB players of the month

(Photo from wikipedia.com)

Gregorius has caught fire with his bat in April, tallying 10 home runs and 30 RBIs, along with a .340 batting average. He currently leads the AL in RBIs and is tied for the most home runs. As a team, the Pinstripes lead the AL in home runs and RBIs. No. 18 is most certainly a big part of the Yankees offense, which is why he is my pick for “Player of the Month” for April.

Rookie of the Month

My leading candidate for AL “Rookie of the Month” is Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. I mean, how can it not be him? Ohtani has belted four home runs to go with 12 RBIs this month. On top of that, No. 17 has a 2-1 record on the mound.

Yes, his ERA is over 4.00, but let’s be honest, even the most elite pitchers have a bad day once in a while. To call this an impressive start to Ohtani’s rookie season would be an understatement.

Manager of the Month

Returning to the AL East, the Boston Red Sox remain at the top. The Red Sox have a stingy fielding corps, a relentless batting crew and a formidable pitching rotation.

They also have my pick for “Manager of the Month” for April. In his first as skipper, Alex Cora has played almost every note perfectly in 2018. Cora has found ways to keep winning, and has adapted to most situations. Boston now boasts the best record in the AL, but with the rival Yankees on a tear, Cora will have to keep up the winning ways.

April’s greatest hits: National League

Player of the Month

My pick for “Player of the Month” comes from the pitcher’s mound. It was not an easy decision to make, but Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals takes my vote. The 33-year-old righty has tallied a 5-1 record and a 1.62 ERA. In addition, opposing teams have only managed to scrape up a .156 batting average against him. The three-time Cy Young award winner is eyeing a fourth, and it is not hard to see why.

Rookie of the Month

The San Diego Padres are struggling to find momentum in the NL West. But one Padre has stood as a one bright spot at the batter’s box. Third baseman Christian Villanueva is my pick for the National League “Rookie of the Month.”

MLB players of the month

(Photo from USA Today)

Villanueva has caught fire with his bat. So far, he has eight home runs and 18 RBIs to his name. He also boasts a .329 batting average.

The rest of the Padres, however, will need to wake up. San Diego, as a team, has put together a .228 batting average, which is 13th out of 15 NL squads.

Manager of the Month

The Arizona Diamondbacks hold a healthy lead in the NL West. Manager Torey Lovullo has steered the team in the right direction since taking over last season. Not to mention he manned the helm and took the team to the Wild Card last season.

Returning to the playoffs may not seem so difficult if Lovullo can keep it up. With the team at 19-8, the best record in the NL, Lovullo and company have substantial momentum to build off of for the next games to come.

a new month approaches

Several great players have struck it big in April. These names a few of April’s greatest hits. As May approaches, some players look to remain hot, while others look to break out of their cold streaks. But like everyone else, I cannot wait to see who kicks it into gear in May.

 

Featured image from Wikipedia

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