Tag:Fernando Perez
Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 11:44 am

Rays, Cubs agree to Matt Garza deal

GarzaIn what is suddenly becoming an ultra-competitive NL Central, the Cubs are poised to add starter Matt Garza from the Rays, as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports.

The deal is not yet 100 percent done as procedural matters (such as physical exams) have to be completed, but the players have been agreed upon. Chicago will essentially empty its farm by sending starting pitcher Chris Archer, who was the Cubs' minor league pitcher of the year along with shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, outfielder Brandon Guyer and catcher Robinson Chirinos.

Additional players may be part of the deal, with Knobler reporting the names of Sam Fuld from the Cubs and Fernando Perez from the Rays as the additional names. Both are outfielders. ESPN.com's Bruce Levine also adds that a minor-league pitcher from Tampa Bay may also be included in the deal.

Garza, who tossed a no-hitter and is eligible for arbitration for the third time (with another year of team control ahead), should sniff $5 million or more after making $3.35 million in 2010. The recently-turned 27-year-old hurled 204 2/3 innings for the Rays, posting a 3.91 ERA. His whiff rate dipped to 6.6 per nine off of a 8.38 K/9 showing in 2009, but also improved his command. His stuff should play up nicely in the National League with a mid-90s heater.

GM Jim Hendry has been of the opinion that the Cubs are only a few moves away from contending, and Garza would be the third such move after first baseman Carlos Pena and reliever Kerry Wood signed on. The cheap deal by Wood -- at just $1.5 million for a year -- likely freed up the money to pursue Garza.

Archer split 2010 between Double- and Triple-A, posting a cumulative 2.34 ERA in 142 1/3 innings, punching out 149. He was recently named the Cubs' top prospect by Baseball America. He profiles as a future No. 2 starter.

Lee, the No. 4 prospect in the system according to BA, was projected to bump Starlin Castro to second base upon promotion to the majors. Clearly, that has changed as Lee now has a clear path to the majors in Tampa as Reid Brignac can shift to second eventually. The left-hander is still a ways away, playing 2010 as a 19 year old for Class A and hitting .282/.354/.351 in 551 plate appearances.

Guyer ranked No. 10 on the top prospect lists as the 24-year-old (25 on Jan. 28) batted .344/.398/.588 in 410 plate appearances for Double-A, cranking 13 home runs. He could be part of the competition for the left- and right-field spots.

Chirinos is old for a top player, but the 26-year-old backstop hit .326/.416/.583 in 380 plate appearances between Double- and Triple-A. He could contend for a major-league spot, battling Kelly Shoppach for time behind the dish. Chirinos can hit, but he can also field, with BA tabbing him the best defensive catcher in the system.

Fuld (29-years-old) and Perez (28-years-old in late April) are old for the minors, but both are fleet of foot -- especially Perez. Fuld has a better stick, hitting .272/.383/.394 in 440 Triple-A PA while Perez hit an embarassing .223/.280/.299 in 429 Triple-A PA that seems like an aberration. Both figure to be backup outfielders, with the switch motivated by a change of scenery. 

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com