See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

See the fireworks Cardinal Red Baseball created by blogging on WordPress.com. Check out their 2015 annual report.

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

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Cardinals talking to Rockies

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Well it looks as if the Cardinals are now looking for a power hitting outfielder, according to Jon Morosi….34 mins agoView on Twitter#STLCards engaged in trade dialogue with #Rockies about outfielders. Gonzalez, Blackmon, Dickerson are available. @FOXSports Just a few weeks ago I recall that the Cardinals were interested in Carlos Gonzalez, does this mean that the Cards are kicking the tires of other Rockies outfielders before settling with Cargo. A few things to think about Cargo is that he is injury prone and his production numbers are skewed due to the thin air atmosphere. Would the Cardinals take a risk by trading for him. The asking price for him would also be high. One pitcher the Rockies would want is Fort Collins favorite son Marco Gonzales and maybe a MLB ready first baseman….Matt Adams. I also think Charlie Blackmon would also be a great choice due to his base stealing speed and his left handed power bat that can give us plenty of hits

It’s Official Mike Leake a Cardinal

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The Cardinals finally got there man!  Cardinals signed Mike Leake to a  five-year contract worth a total of $80 million from the Cardinals, and it includes a no-trade clause and an option for 2021, not bad

Leake, 28, was 11-10 with a 3.70 ERA (106 OPS+), 1.16 WHIP and 119 strikeouts in 192 innings for the Reds and Giants last season. The right hander has been pretty durable, only hitting the DL for minor injuries twice in his career. He’s topped 190 innings in each of the past three seasons.

Leake is a typical command right-hander, featuring a four-pitch mix without a single knockout pitch but with good life on his two-seamer and a solid-average curve. His fastball was 88-91 mph early and 87-90 in the sixth inning, with a hard, late tailing action that makes it more effective than a typical fastball with fringe-average to average velocity.

His curve has a short two-plane break and appears to pop out of his hand, with a break that accelerates as it comes toward the hitter. He throws a hard changeup around 82 mph with a slight tailing action and showed a slider around 79-80 mph with decent tilt. He commands all four pitches and throws strikes, and works very quickly. He’s a good athlete who plays some outfield for ASU and fields his position well as a pitcher.

Leake’s delivery is compact with just a little head movement at the end as he releases the ball. His arm is quick and its path behind his body isn’t long, partly due to the fact that he separates his hands early as he moves them down from their peak point in his windup.

Press Conference at 2pm

Source: MLB

 

Mike Leake a Cardinal?

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I don’t want to get too excited due to anything could happen to spoil the possible signing of Mike Leake. Been following a few pundits until I received this…. 15m15 minutes agoTo be clear: I am not reporting a done deal with Leake. His reps at BHSC and STL GM Mozeliak have not responded to comment requests.

The Cardinals have emerged as a strong contender to sign him, according to multiple industry sources. Leake is said to be looking for a 5-year deal, though it is unconfirmed at this time that he will receive one. Requests for comment from both the Cardinals and Leake’s agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council, went unanswered on Monday night.

 

Lee Smith Needs another Save

 

 

 

acesmithIn 1991 I remember attending a lot of Cardinals games despite having an up and down season that ended up as a second place team. This team had some exciting players like Ray Lankford’s 44 stolen bases, Todd Zeilie’s 81 RBIs and of course Lee Smith’s 47 saves. In 1991 Lee Smith received the Rolaids Relief Award for his 47 saves and also appeared in the All-Star game. What a fun season it was watching the Big Man mow down his opponents. Now Smith is facing being dropped by the Hall of Fame ballot.

Under the current rules, players may now only appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for a maximum of 10 years. Lee Smith, however, will be on the ballot for 15 years because he was grandfathered in following the rule change. This is his 14th year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Smith has lost some support in recent years, no doubt due to the crowded ballot. He received 42.3 percent of the vote in 2002, his first year on the ballot, and topped out at 50.6 percent in 2012. Last year it was only 30.2 percent, however. Seventy-five percent is needed for induction.

Smith was something of a bridge between old-school closers (multi-inning saves on the regular) and modern closers (ninth inning only). He led the league in saves four times (1983, 1991, 1992, 1994), and during his heyday from 1982-91, Smith had a 2.79 ERA (142 ERA+) with a 1.23 WHIP in 903 1/3 innings across 545 appearances.

All told, Smith saved 478 games in his career and was the all-time saves king from 1993-2006, until being passed by Trevor Hoffman. He was the first pitcher to reach 400 career saves and is currently third on the all-time saves list behind Mariano Rivera (652) and Hoffman (601).

Smith was selected to seven All-Star Games in his career. He received Cy Young votes in four seasons and finished as high as second in the voting — Smith was second to Tom Glavine in 1991. He also had top-five Cy Young finishes in 1992 and 1994. Smith received MVP votes in four different seasons as well.

While the BBWAA has been more open to voting for relievers in recent years — there are only five relievers in the Hall of Fame (Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckerlsey, Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage) and three have been inducted since 2004 (Eckersley, Sutter, Gossage) — they’ve only voted for true pioneers.

Wilhelm and Fingers were among the first dominant relievers in history, and both spent long stretches of time as baseball’s all-time saves king. Eckersley was the first modern one-inning closer. Gossage was a multi-inning fireman on several pennant winners and Sutter is credited with being the first to use the split-finger fastball.

Smith is a bridge between eras, like I said earlier. He did the multi-inning fireman thing like Gossage and the one inning closer thing like Eckersley. He didn’t revolutionize the game with a new pitch like Sutter, but Smith did own the all-time saves crown for more than a decade like Wilhelm and Fingers. And yet, voters have yet to really get behind him.

According to Jay Jaffe’s JAWS system, Smith falls well short of the established Hall of Fame standard for relief pitchers, both in terms of overall value and peak value. Then again, JAWS says both Sutter and Fingers fall short of Hall of Fame caliber, so take it with a grain of salt.

As of this writing, @NotMrTibbs has collected 71 public Hall of Fame ballots and Smith has appeared on 24, or 33.8 percent. Again, 75 percent is needed for induction, and again, Smith continues to sit well below the threshold. It does appear he will receive at least the five percent of the vote needed to stay on the ballot another year.

This is Smith’s second-to-last year on the Hall of Fame ballot, and unless there’s a sudden spike in his voting total next year, it’s unlikely the BBWAA will vote him into Cooperstown. Smith would be eligible for selection by the Expansion Era Veterans Committee, which meets every three years.

Source: Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

2016 NCAA Baseball Pre-Season Poll

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If you are a NCAA Baseball fan like I am you might want to read the article I have attached. The teams I follow includes, Texas A&M, UCLA, Missouri State, and Cal State-Fullerton. The following article is written by baseballnews.com

TUCSON, Ariz. — Armed with one of the top pitching staffs in the USA, six returning position player starters and the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, Florida is ranked No.1 in Collegiate Baseballnewspaper’s Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I pre-season poll presented by Big League Chew bubble gum.

The Gators tied for third at the 2015 College World Series and feature four players who are potential first round draft picks in next June’s Major League Baseball Draft, including:

• 6-foot-7, 230-pound LHP A.J. Puk who touches 99 mph with his fastball. Last season he was 9-4 with a 3.81 ERA, 104 strikeouts and 35 walks.

• RHP Logan Shore who throws a mid-90s fastball and last season was the ace of the staff with an 11-6 record, 2.72 ERA, 84 strikeouts and 24 walks.

• CF Buddy Reed, an outstanding outfielder, who hit .305 with 14 doubles, 47 RBI and swiped 18 bases.

• RHP Dane Dunning who has a mid-90s fastball and posted a 5-2 record, 4.03 ERA and struck out 55 batters with 23 walks over 60 1/3 innings last season.

Plus, Florida returns Louisville Slugger Co-Freshman of The Year C/DH J.J. Schwarz who hit .332 with 18 homers, 16 doubles 73 RBI.

The pre-season poll factors in voting by NCAA Division I coaches across the nation, how a team finished last season, returning position player starters and pitchers, potential draft picks along with the quality of its recruiting class that came to school last fall.

Over the last three years, Florida has landed the most impressive recruiting classes of any program in the nation as the Gators ranked No. 1 in 2013, No. 3 in 2014 and No. 1 in 2015, according to Collegiate Baseball’s annual analysis. Those three classes have included a combined 21 drafted players and a number of All-Americans.

O’Sullivan has led the Gators to the College World Series four times in the past six years highlighted by a runner-up finish in 2011 and third place in 2015, three Southeastern Conference titles in the past six years (2010-11-14), as well as eight NCAA Tournaments in a row.

Winning a national championship is something the Gators have never done in baseball, and the 2016 Florida ball club is equipped to win it all.

Collegiate Baseball’s NCAA Division I
Fabulous 40 Pre-Season Poll
(As of Dec. 21, 2015)

Rank Team (2015 Final Record) Points
  1. Florida (52-18) 495
  2. Louisville (47-18) 492
  3. Vanderbilt (51-21) 489
  4. Miami, Fla. (50-17) 487
  5. Texas A&M (50-14) 484
  6. Louisiana-Lafayette (42-23) 483
  7. Louisiana St. (54-12) 481
  8. Oregon St. (39-18-1) 480
  9. Virginia (44-24) 475
10. UCLA (45-16) 473
11. Mississippi St. (24-30) 469
12. Cal. St. Fullerton (39-25) 467
13. California (36-21) 466
14. Oregon (38-25) 463
15. Texas Christian (51-15) 461
16. Florida St. (44-21) 460
17. Missouri St. (49-12) 457
18. Houston (43-20) 455
19. Tulane (35-25) 453
20. Rice (37-22) 451
21. Georgia Tech. (32-23) 449
22. North Carolina (34-24) 446
23. Michigan (39-25) 444
24. Arkansas (40-25) 443
25. Oklahoma St. (38-20) 438
26. Stony Brook (35-16-1) 436
27. Notre Dame (37-23) 434
28. Maryland (42-24) 432
29. Kentucky (30-25) 430
30. Pepperdine (32-29) 427
31. Dallas Baptist (46-15) 425
32. College of Charleston (45-15) 423
33. Coastal Carolina (39-21) 421
34. Missouri (30-28) 419
35. South Carolina (32-25) 417
36. San Diego St. (41-23) 414
37. South Alabama (37-20) 411
38. Winthrop (40-19) 409
39. Texas Tech. (31-24) 407
40. Texas (30-27) 405

 

 

 

 

Cardinals talking with Rays about Odorizzi

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Yesterday Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the Dodgers  are in talks with the Rays regarding Jake Odorizzi. This morning Jon Morosi reports that the Cardinals and Rays are discussing a trade that would send a starting pitcher from Tampa to St. Louis. It just so happens that Jake is from a small town in Illinois named Breese which happens to be an hour away from St. Louis. At the young age of 25 he posted a 3.35 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 169 1/3 innings in an excellent second full season in Tampa Bay. I tend to think that Odorizzi would make a great addition since he will be under control for the next five years if the Cardinals do trade for him.

Odorizzi arsenal of pitches include includes a fastball in the 90-91 mph range, a slurve and a changeup that’s gotten better over time. A former Royal farmhand, Odorizzi beat out Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos to emerge with a rotation spot this spring, and based on his massively improved control at Triple-A, he’s ready to be a viable big league hurler. Odorizzi has had trouble against lefties, so bear this in mind when he faces a team that leans in that direction. Originally taken 32nd overall by Milwaukee in 2008, he’s been very durable in his career (and could remain as such thanks to a very smooth, easy delivery) and hasn’t shown any alarming weaknesses, but has periodically had issues with the long ball.

Source: MLBTraderumors

Matt Holliday our New First Baseman?

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During the 2015 season it was suggested that the Cardinals were interested in moving Matt Holliday to first base. There was much resistance from Holliday to make that move. According to Jon Heyman, Holliday must have had a change of heart as he has been reportedly spotted working out at first base at the Cardinals’ spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla. By moving Holliday to first base means that the Cardinals are actively looking to fill the left field position. With Holliday’s move to first base would also lengthen his career with the Cardinals. This would also help with moving Alex Gordon to his natural position if they are able to sign him. I just wonder what would they do with Matt Adams since they already have a bench hitter Brendan Moss. Would a trade including Matt Adams help bring in a starting pitcher that is needed to fill that void, we shall see

Molina Gets Second Thumb Surgery

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Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has undergone a second operation on his injured left thumb and will be in a cast for four to five weeks.

The second surgery took place because Molina was still experiencing discomfort in the thumb. The first operation came in mid-October after the Cardinals were eliminated by the Cubs in the NL Division Series.

The team is hopeful that the eight-time Gold Glove winner and seven-time All-Star can return by opening day. After the first procedure, they had anticipated he would be ready for spring training.

The 33-year-old Molina returned for the playoffs after injuring the thumb while tagging out the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo at the plate in Chicago on Sept. 20.