January 2014

Offseason Tracker / Inbox (9)

– The Cubs signed Jason Hammel to a one year deal.
-David Ortiz is looking for a One Year Deal with Boston.

       This weeks inbox is #AskBen, #AskBorja or #AskNiko week. Direct your question to one of our Hosts! Use the Hashtag of your choice and your question in the comments section!

        Also, tomorrow we will re-air “Baseball Prime” The show that lists the best players at each position!

As Spring Training Looms…. More FA’s sign

More Free Agents are expected to sign today:

– Bruce Chen is close to signing a one year deal with the Royals
– The Royals are in the market for another starter to replace Ervin Santana.
-Stephen Drew is not getting more than a 1 year deal from any team.
Spring Training starts in a week:
– A lot of players have gone to there respective teams camps already. 
– The D-Backs will be the first team to report; on Feb 6 th

Michael Young Retiring

Michael Young, the 7-time all-star third basemen, has decided to retire.Young has been hinting at retirement the entire offseason, so it didn’t surprise most. But it still surprised and disapointed me a lot. Young, at 37, is still completly healthy, while Lance Berkman, who retired yesterday also at age 37, has been dealing with bad knee issues. Age 37 is not that old, and Young hasn’t shown many signs of decline. He combined to hit .279 for the Phillies and Dodgers in 2013, which is not a typical Michael Young season, but still by most standards is not that bad. Also, the Dodgers have reportedly offered Young a contract to return to LA, and other teams still have interest in Young. But this is mostly a family issue. When Young was talking about the possibility of retiring, he mentioned his desire to have more family time, which is typical for a ballplayer. Still, by choosing to retire, Young may have lost his chance to make the hall-of-fame. He has been in the league since 2000 with Texas, and played their until 2012. After playing with Philadelphia and LA in 2013, Young has spent 14 years in the bigs. Most of the time, 14 years is not long enough to make into the hall-of-fame. He has been one of the most consistent and versatile(has played every infield position) players of his era, and clearly has more left in the tank. To this point, Young has 2,375 hits for a batting average of .300, and has hit 185 home runs. Maybe a couple more solid seasons, and Young could’ve reached 3,000 hits, and therefore would have easily punched his ticket to Cooperstown.

Pepper Show (S1-E8) Blooper Special!

Enjoy an episode of bad puns, Loud Voices, Mistakes, Laughes , and of course Baseball!

The "Big Puma" Calls it Quits

Lance Berkman, one of the best Houston Astros hitters in franchise history, and one of the finest switch-hitters in baseball history, has announced his retirement. The first baseman just broke the news this afternoon. Berkman has been dealing with knee problems for the past 2 seasons, playing only 73 games in 2013 with Texas and 32 games for St. Louis in 2012. His first season in the bigs was in 1999 with Houston, where he played until 2010 after a mid-season trade to the Yankees. He signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2011, and won the only championship of his career that year. That was his last healthy season. Berkman is 37, which is not that old, but the injuries have been too much. In 15 seasons, Berkman has 1, 905 hits for a .293 average, and has 366 home runs. But if you look at some of the other stats that aren’t paid attention to as much, you will see his value goes way beyond the power. Berkman has only 1,300 strikeouts his entire career, which is only 99 more than his walk total (1,201). Not many hitters can avoid the K and walk often at the same time, the way Berkman did. Still not quite hall-of-fame numbers, but we won’t forget the Big Puma.

Berkman from both sides of the plate:

From a statistical point of view (1)

I am obsessed with stats. Though that sentence is very broad, I am telling the truth. The statistical world mystifies me. I enjoy writing down players stats, and using stats in predictions. During February, I am going to take you on a statistical journey. Today, I am going to look at Clayton Kershaw’s stats, and tell you what I observe. Lets look at the stat that stat-haters dread, WAR (Wins Above Replacement). WAR means how many wins the player gave you above the next candidate to get the job. A sister stat to this is WAA (Wins Above Average) which mainly applies to pitchers. Kershaw, over his 6 Year MLB career has a 22.9 WAA. In 2013 alone, he averaged a 6.0 WAA, which is the highest of his career, and might of got him last years Cy Young Award. The other candidates for NL Cy Young were Jose Fernandez and Adam Wainwright. Lets compare there stats. Fernandez, who won NL Rookie of the Year last year, had a 4.9 WAA. While it is less than Kershaw, 4.9 for a rookie is amazing, and with all the other stats out there, you can say Fernandez deserved the Cy Young. Now to Wainwright. In 2012, Wainwright had a -0.2 WAA, and was still considered the ace of the Cardinals. This means that WAA is not the best stat to use, as it can be misleading. However, in 2013, Wainwright got to a 4.2 WAA, which was a huge increase over 2012. So, how do you calculate WAA? Simple you take the percentage of W-L%  then subtract .500 then multiply by the number of games played. Hope you enjoyed this!

MLB Approves new "Protective Cap" for pitchers

The 2013-2014 Offseason has been memorable, with foreign signings, 10 Year contracts, Rule changes (Instant Replay), and lots more. Well, now we can add another event to the offseason, new Protective Caps are now optional for pitchers. They will help stop concussions, and make pitchers more defensive. These new caps are heavier and bulkier, and so far aren’t catching the players eyes. Brandon McCarthy, a victim of being “drilled” in the head, will NOT wear the new cap. I expect this to slowly evolve into the game. MLB’s hope is that in 2020, at least 66% of pitchers are wearing the cap. The caps will be legal effective this Baseball season.

Here is a video attachment:(Click Here)

Pepper Inbox -8

Post about spring training. What’s the best about it? The Pepper Show airs this Thursday at 3PM.

Also, the awnser to te trivia challenge was Larry Walker. Walker won the NL MVP in 1995, which was the Rockies third year as a Baseball Team! Pepper Trivia returns next Monday with an all new question!!
In other news Pepper just hit its 7,000th View. I’m excited to start our 2nd Season in covering MLB News!

MLB Top Prospects

As the 2014 season nears, I’m going to take a look at some of MLB’s top prospects that have a chance of making the opening day roster.

Byron Buxton- The Minnesota Twins OF prospect took the minor leagues by storm last year and is MLB.com #1 ranked prospect. I expect him to be in a Twins uniform by opening day.

Oscar Taveras- Many people pick him for NL ROY and he is the St. Louis Cardinals #1 prospect. He is described as a 5 tool player and could be the next Albert Pujols

Xander Bogaerts- This Red Sox prospect is still eligible as a rookie. A kid with world series expierience under his belt. No one knows what to expect from this 3B in a full year.

Taijuan Walker- The best SP prospect is in the Mariners organization. Being compared to Felix Hernandez is alot to live up to, but in what we saw from his stint last year, He will be in Seattle’s opening day rotation.

Kris Bryant- The Cubs 3B prospect is very interesting considering he has no pro experience besides the AFL. he is considered one of MLB’s best prospects but I think he needs a year in the Minors

Noah Syndergaard- Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler and now Syndergaard. If this kid can produce in 2014 the Mets will have a nice rotation on their hands.

Jameson Taillon- This Pirates pitcher impressed many scouts by pitching a solid game for team Canada against the US in the 2013 WBC. With Pittsburgh being a playoff team now, and the loss of AJ Burnett, I think it is the perfect time for Taillon to enter the rotation.

Mark Appel- The top pick of last year’s draft, Appel still needs some time to develop. Considering the Astro’s situation, It wouldn’t shock me if he was on the opening day roster.

Dylan Bundy- MLB’s next big pitcher was supposed to be called up by mid 2013. Tommy John surgery has halted his progress, but we will see how he comes back.

Where Will the Remaining Free Agents End Up?

Surprisingly, as close as we are to spring training, there still are some key free agents left on the board. Why is this? A lot of the free agents left are not huge difference-makers, but they have high prices and are not willing to settle for less. Also, some free agents left require draft-pick compensation, which is where the team that signs the free agent has to give up one of their early picks in the draft to the free agent’s former team. Not many teams are willing to do that for a decent player. Anyway, here are my predictions for the new homes of the remaining key free agents:

Starting Pitcher Bronson Arroyo to the Yankees. New York still has a weakness in the last spot of their rotation, after Tanaka, Nova, Kuroda, and Sabathia. They have not been afraid to spend this offseason, and Arroyo seems like a good fit and is not too expensive. The only problem is that Arroyo will have to cut his awesome long hair for the clean-shaven Yankees. 
Starting Pitcher Ervin Santana to the Orioles. If Baltimore wants to compete, they need to address their awful starting rotation. Their offense is good, so if they can sign Santana and maybe someone else to fix their pitching problems, they can challenge Boston, Tampa, and New York in the east. 
Starting Pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have made it clear recently that they want to compete, and they have the young talent to do it, but they still need a big free agent starter to help their pitching staff. Jimenez is still young, so he would fit in well with the up-and-coming Cubs. This would help fix the Cubs rotation issues.
Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Mariners. After the signings of sluggers Robinson Cano and Corey Hart, the Mariners have also made it clear that they want to compete. The starting rotation is good, but after Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, there are young guys who have talent, but might not be ready for the rotation. The signing of Burnett would help anchor the back end of Seattle’s rotation, and would make them serious contenders in the west.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz to the Royals. Kansas City had their first successful season in a while last season, before falling just short of the playoffs. If they want to stay in contention in the tough AL central, they need to add a big bat, and Nelson Cruz is a great choice. Their pitching is already good, and they already signed outfielder Norichika Aoki. If they can sign Cruz, that would really improve their offense and then they could challenge Cleveland, and maybe even Detroit.
Good closers avaliable include Andrew Bailey, Fernando Rodney, Joel Hanrahan, and Rafael Betancourt.