McBrayer’s NL Central Projections

Once again this year the Cubs will be pushed down to the basement of the NL Central. With the Astros moving to the AL West the NL Central just got better. I tend to believe the top three teams this year will be the Reds-Cardinals and Pirates. The Brewers will try to make a push towards third place but the Pirates have enough power to rise above. With the likes of McCutchen, Alvarez and Jones they should have at least 95 home runs between the three of them. The two dominant teams will be the Reds and the Cardinals. With injuries plaguing the Cardinals I give the Reds the edge for first place and it will be a battle. These two teams will make the Central look respectful once again instead of being called NL Comedy Central.

1. Reds
2.Cardinals
3. Pirates
4. Brewers
5. Cubs

McCarver’s One last Stand

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this article this evening that Tim McCarver will be retiring after the 2013 season. Why wait one more year? Oh I forgot what an egotistical wanna be sports caster would want a farewell tour before he leaves. Oh the drudgery. I want to share this article from the LA Times that was written by Joe Flint on McCarver’s last hurrah into the sundown.

Legendary baseball broadcaster Tim McCarver is stepping down from his job as Fox‘s lead baseball analyst after this season.
A former catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, McCarver has held the job since 1996, when the network acquired rights to broadcast the national pastime. He has also covered games for NBC, CBS and ABC and spent many years calling New York Mets games.
“Although I am neither tired of broadcasting baseball nor have I in any way lost my interest in baseball, with which I have been associated as a player and broadcaster for 55 years, it’s time to cut back,” McCarver said in a statement. On a conference call with reporters, McCarver added the decision was “not a tough call” nor a “sad thing.”
Occasionally criticized for being long-winded and dwelling on details, he is also considered one of the sharpest analysts to have covered the game.
“McCarver lives up to John Madden’s credo for great sports analysis – the great ones tell you what you’re seeing, but not seeing,” said David Hill, the former chairman of Fox Sports who is now a senior executive at parent company News Corp. “His knowledge and love for the game is going to take a long time to be equaled. He leaves big shoes to fill.”
Fox is leaving the door open to McCarver to come back and do work for the network and its soon-to-launch Fox Sports 1 cable channel. McCarver said he didn’t know whether he would take up the offer.
“I want to travel to Italy and take cooking classes there,” McCarver said, adding his health is fine. “I plan on living a very long life.”
Joe Buck, who worked side-by-side with McCarver, said, “He’s every bit as important to me as my dad.” Buck’s dad was sports broadcaster Jack Buck, who also worked with McCarver.

LA TIMES  Joe Flint

McBrayer’s NL East Prediction

1. Atlanta Braves

2. Washington Nationals

3. Philadelphia Phillies

4. New York Mets

5. Miami Marlins

I believe the battle of top dog in the NL East will be between the Braves and the Nationals. With the Upton Brothers and Jason Heywood, the Braves would be a formidable team to oust the top heavy Nationals team. I give the Braves an edge to pass by the Nationals.

Wainwright Signs For Five Years

As the mighty Chris Carpenter misses the 2013 season a new leader rises to his mark as the new leader as the Cardinals #1 in its rotation. The five year deal takes Wainwright up to 2018 thats valued $100 million. The talks came to a close this afternoon as both parties parted their ways. He is now the Cardinals Ace and ready to take on 2013. I had feeling this would come to an end before the season started.

Shelby Miller Named 5th Starter

It finally happened…………Cardinals named Shelby Miller their 5th starter today. Joe Kelly the other competitor will most likely become the long man in the bullpen. Matheny met with Miller and Kelly today to let them know his decision. It was reported that Miller said “I am very humbled” and “This is unbelievable news”. I am also happy to see this decision made at this time. So I guess we are set with Wainwright, Westbrook, Garcia, Lynn and Miller. This rotation looks good.

McBrayer’s 2013 AL Division Predictions

Well its that time of the year again when I try to predict the American League Standings for 2013. So please sit back and relax as I attempt to put my baseball brain to the test. Would love to hear your thoughts from my predictions.

AL EAST

Toronto Bluejays
Tampa Bay Rays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Boston Redsox

AL CENTRAL

Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals…..yes I said it KC Royals
Chicago Whitesox
Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Indians

AL WEST

Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros

WILD CARD SPOT 1

Los Angeles Angels

WILD CARD SPOT  2

Tampa Bay Rays

Lohse Lands with Brewers

 
The long wait is finally over for Kyle Lohse. After the end of his career with the Cardinals he became a free agent all the way up the last week of Spring Baseball. He had signed a deal with the Brewers for three years at $33 million. There is also a $1million bonus for incintives. The Brewers will now give up their 17th draft pick while the Cardinals will still have their 28th pick overall.

The Second Coming of Mitch Harris

Spring has just sprung and its snowing here in St.Louis but in Jupiter, FL the Cardinals are under a sunny sky playing against the Mets. This isn’t any ordinary game this is Mitch Harris’s first appearance with the Cardinals as a relief pitcher. His story is very unique, a story that needs attention.

Here is an article that Rob Rains wrote in regards to Mitch Harris:

 The Cardinals will welcome 79 pitchers to their minor-league spring training camp on Monday, all bringing with them the hopes and dreams that one day they will pitch in the major leagues.

All have their own stories to tell of how they have reached this point in their careers, but for 78 of the 79, their story cannot compare to the journey that Mitch Harris has taken to finally get to his first spring training, nearly five years after he was drafted by the Cardinals.

“When you have a lifelong dream, you want to get there as quick as you can, but sometimes other things need to go on before you can get there,” Harris said. “You have to have patience and believe that God has put this plan in place for a purpose. Sometimes it takes a little longer than you anticipate and you just have to trust that it’s going to work out for the best.”

What went on in Harris’ life was his commitment to spend five years on active duty in the Navy after his 2008 graduation from the Naval Academy. A right-handed pitcher who stands 6-foot-4, the Cardinals made Harris their 13th round choice in the draft that year, knowing it likely would be a few years before Harris was able to change careers.

Neither Harris nor the Cardinals thought it would be five years. Twice Harris applied for early release from his active duty commitment, with the difference in service time added on to his reserves assignment, but both times his request was denied.

He never gave up hope and tried to stay as baseball-ready as possible, including playing catch on the deck of a ship during one of his three deployments at sea.

Now 27, Harris is grateful the Cardinals are giving him the opportunity to pursue his dream.

“We’re intrigued to see what we have,” said John Vuch, the Cardinals’ director of minor league operations. “He was a guy we liked a lot back when we drafted him. He’s certainly a quality individual, and is definitely impressive the way he carries himself. That’s one of the things we really like about him and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Harris was drafted by the Braves after his junior year, but at that point decided to continue his Naval career. His fastball measured between 92 and 94 miles an hour and some draft experts estimated he would have likely been a second or third-round pick without the military commitment.

Harris finally got an early release from his Navy commitment in January, and moved to Florida so he could work out at the Roger Dean complex on a regular basis. He, like the Cardinals, is eager to see how he compares to the competition.

“I want to see how my body reacts and I know the competitiveness that I have will kick in and push it to the next level,” Harris said. “I don’t want to set any expectations. My goal is to come out and pitch the best I possibly can. Because of my age I would like to move up as quickly as I can, but I don’t think at this point there is anything I can’t do.”

Vuch said there are no age restrictions on where Harris can play when the regular season begins, and the organization likely will be a little more aggressive with him considering his age.

“We have to see where he is from a competitive standpoint and that will dictate where he goes more than his age,” Vuch said. “Once we see him face hitters we will get a feel for where he is. If we feel he is able to jump right in and face more advanced competition, that’s where he will go.”

The team does not matter to Harris. All he cares about is that all of his sacrifices and hard work the past five years will finally be coming true. He got to spend a few weeks in extended spring training last year while on leave from the Navy but that was different, because he knew he was not going to a team and would be going back to the Navy.

“You don’t even know how much I appreciate this,” Harris said. “I told the guys last year, ‘I will be a good teammate but I promise you if I hear you complaining or saying that you are taking something for granted, I will be the first one to jump all over you because you don’t understand how many guys would love to be in your shoes.’

“There are guys fighting every day for the freedoms we have here and I won’t ever complain while I am out here. I am going to enjoy it and have a blast.”

Harris also said he is playing not only for himself, but for all of his fellow servicemen who have stayed by his side during his Navy years, encouraging him not to give up on his dream.

“I think back a lot to the guys I served with and I keep in touch with them on social media,” Harris said. “I think it’s a big deal to know they have someone to look up to. If they have something they have their mind set for, they can always push for it. Don’t give up, set your mind to it and they can do it.

“I want the guys I served with to have somebody to follow and celebrate with me as we go through this together. It is one of those brotherhood kinds of things – if you’ve been there and done that, it’s something bigger than just a story. It’s a journey a lot of people have kind of gone through with me, and I want to keep it that way.”

It was through the help of those friends, and their encouragement, that Harris never lost hope that one day he would play baseball for the Cardinals. He knew when he made the decision to finish his commitment to the Naval Academy what was required, and he has no regrets about that decision – however his baseball career turns out.

“Growing up in a small town in North Carolina I had no idea what the Naval Academy was,” Harris said. “The only thing I knew about the Navy was that my grandpa was in it in World War Two. There wasn’t a whole lot of understanding what it was I was getting into my freshman year. Then they start teaching you the history and drilling into you the importance and respect of what the military is, and what it stands for, and what this country is founded on, and you can’t let that go.

“It was something that was real important to me and I knew the time I put into it, the time my family put into it, meant a lot. Both my grandpas are World War Two vets. It was something I really wanted to do, to fulfill my commitment.”

During his nearly five years of active duty, Harris went on three long deployments, traveled to more than 30 countries and was involved in numerous operations.

“You never really know if you are in danger,” he said. “There were some times that we had some guys close to the ship and had some ‘threats’ but never were we in any imminent danger like the guys are in Afghanistan and other places that go through attacks every day,” Harris said. “I never considered myself in harm’s way. I could never imagine what those guys on the ground go through. I have more respect than you can imagine for those guys.”

As he looks back at his military career, and begins his life in baseball, Harris realizes that he came away from the last five years with one life lesson he never wants to forget.

“Make the best out of the small things and really learn to enjoy the things that sometimes you take for granted,” Harris said.

Inside Baseball with Rob Rains

Edgar Renteria Retires

After an absence of one year out of Major League Baseball Edgar Renteria calls it quits. With spending six years out of sixteen with the Cardinals he still has the most tenure at shortstop as a Cardinal in the past thirteen years. His reason for retiring is due to wanting to spend more time with his family. His accolades includes being a two time World Series MVP with the Marlins in 1997 and again with the Giants in 2010. He also appeared in the World Series with the Cardinals in 2004. He also appeared as an All-Star short stop with the Cardinals in 2000, 2003 and 2004.
Renetria also has the honor of being the best Major League Baseball player out of Columbia with having a WAR of 28.9. We sure did love him in St.Louis. I am just wondering who will top Edgar’s tenure? Pete Kozma?   uggghhh

Here Comes Man-Ram Jr.!

Today I came across an article on Yahoo Sports Blog “Prep Rally” about Manny Rameriz Jr. I was surprised the age of this kid already. So I am reposting the article:

When the Major League Baseball campaign kicks off in April, there will not be a Manny Ramirez on a roster to be found anywhere, depriving the league of crazy antics and, perhaps, creaky-need hits. Yet, if one prep prospect continues his development apace, there may be a Manny Ramirez in The Show soon. The difference is that this one has a Jr. at the end of his name.

As reported by Perfect Game, Manny Ramirez Jr. has emerged as a star for the IMG Academy elite baseball team, a unit based out of the Bradenton, Fla., sports training academy. Most recently, Ramirez Jr. bashed his way to a .522 batting average, 15 RBI and nine runs scored in leading IMG to the Cleats Sports Classic Invitational title.

IMG is an academy program in Bradenton that also incorporates a full high school experience for its students. All the players on the IMG team go to school just like the high schools they compete against, though they do get to spend a bit more time working out and developing sports specific skills.

Most notably, Ramirez Jr. stepped up when it mattered most, delivering a grand slam and a two-run double in IMG’s 9-1 victory against Desert Ridge (Az.) High in the Cleats Classic championship game. If there is any doubt about Ramirez Jr.’s raw power, it can probably be answered with this video of Ramirez Jr.’s other homer at the event, against Tuscon (Ariz.) High.

While Ramirez Jr. isn’t considered one of the top 20 prospects in the current senior class of 2013, he is a consensus top-250 player with plenty of physical tools. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Central Arizona Community College signee could still see his stock rise to a decent draftable position, or he could spend a year or two playing junior college baseball before trying to follow in his father’s footsteps at the next level
Whichever path he takes, the younger Ramirez Jr. has made it clear that he’s living for the moment in his final high school campaign, as he told Perfect Game following his stunning tournament performance.

“I just love this team and we just have great chemistry together,” Ramirez Jr. told the site. “We just stuck together and fought through it.”

article written by Cameron Smith