It looks like Major League Baseball finally got their man, and 19 others to boot. Following the 2011 season Ryan Braun was named National League MVP. Later still in 2011, word leaked to ESPN that Braun had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and would receive a 50-game suspension to begin 2012. The case was dropped on a technicality then, but has come back to haunt him.
This is the Baseball section.
A thoughtful minor league broadcaster and friend shared a theory this past week on why Major League teams don’t work as hard to develop talent in American inner-city communities as they do in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela and it got us thinking about how prospect development and the draft in general is handled by professional ball clubs. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler explains.
Evan Longoria is a candidate to win the American League’s MVP award, but where exactly does the man fall among the game’s greatest? Harlan Ambrose takes a thorough look at the numbers behind Longoria’s unassumingly dominant 2013 campaign, arguing that not only is he among the game’s best, he quite possibly already could be.
Between Jimmy Negrych and Chris Bootcheck, the International League’s most productive hitter and most effective pitcher, arguably, are non-prospects. This is far from unusual. In Triple-A, prospects are often outnumbered by journeymen, role players, veterans and free agents, floating freely between organizations, continuing to chase their own Major League dreams. The Majors are, after all, right there, one step above the International League! How do such circumstances affect the atmosphere in the clubhouse?
The Mississippi River has flooded parts of the Quad Cities stadium parking lot, encroaching on the ballpark and the downtown streets of Davenport, Iowa. This, not first overall MLB draft choice Carlos Correa, is the type of headline that’s dominated River Bandits media coverage for the past few weeks. Is baseball in April, unpredictable weather and all, worth it?
With all this talk about the must-watch storylines that have already unfolded in this young Major League Baseball season, it’s been easy to overlook the battle that the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros are fighting for the title have cellar dweller in the big leagues. While the Astros make a compelling case, few have mastered futility as well as Jeffrey Loria.
The actual fictional book edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” according to the inimitable Douglas Adams, “has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover. But there is no official Guide to the Baseball Season, and so panicking comes easily.
The Sacramento River Cats are cracking down on individuals who misspell their name in print. From Rivercats to RiverCats and everywhere in between, perpetrators will be issued a $1 fine that will be donated to charity. The press release has Jesse Goldberg-Strassler contemplating the rest of the quirks of the world of baseball team names.
It’s not always easy to be a Houston Astros fan. Now that the franchise boasts a miniscule $20 million payroll, a mark smaller than 20 different individuals in professional baseball, they’ll have their work cut out for them dealing any sort of damage on the diamond. Still, with hew boss Jim Crane calling the executive shots, it may not be long before we start seeing signs of life from the classic club. A new league and new look are only the beginning.
The WBC symbolizes the dawn of a new year of baseball, but it’s not without its share of criticism. Harlan Ambrose takes a good look at the Classic’s strengths, weaknesses and everything in between.