Tag:Daric Barton
Posted on: April 30, 2011 10:53 am
 

Barton struggling, contract talks to blame?

By Evan Brunell

BartonDaric Barton is known more for his glove than his offense at this stage in his career. While he can draw a walk with the best of them, his power hasn't developed as anticipated which ties up much of his value offensively in OBP and batting average.

Barton was making strides in that department to start the year, getting off to a .292 start in his first 14 games. Alas, he's 2-for-26 then and snapped a 16 at-bat hitlesss streak Saturday night with a single to put his overall average at .207. He's still been valuable with 18 walks, but his production is still a liability, especially in a power position like first base.

"I'm feeling different," Barton told the San Francisco Chronicle of his struggles. "I haven't been seeing the ball too well. I don't know if I'm pressing or not. I just feel weird. ... I don't feel like I'm playing up to my potential."

Barton's at the point where he believes he's thinking too much about his struggles and ways to fix it. 

"This game is definitely not for thinkers. It's more for dummies," he said jokingly, but with a grain of truth in it.

Barton has other things weighing on his mind too, such as a potential contract extension with Oakland. The lefty will be arbitration eligible for the first time after the year which has spurred the player and organization to discuss a multiyear deal, which would give Barton financial security for life. Many players don't like discussing extensions during the season, and Barton has a reason why.

"It's always in the back of your mind," Barton said. "It's not something you like to think about, but realistically, it happens."

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Pepper: Dangerous game for fans, too

Jose Salazar

By C. Trent Rosecrans


When I went to Class A game the other day, I sat in the front row just to film from that angle and I was shocked at just how close I was sitting -- and how little the fans around me were paying attention.

Of course, it's worse at the minor-league level and in spring training where the stadiums are smaller, but it's still dangerous at the big-league level. Last night in Los Angeles, a fan at the Dodgers game was hit by a foul ball from Matt Holliday and carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. [Associated Press ]

This spring, of course, Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was struck in the face by a foul ball and lost an eye.

On Friday, Salazar returned to manage the Lynchburg Hillcats.

This weekend, it was a feel-good story to see Salazar back in uniform, but it was so close to being different. [Lynchburg News Advance ]

STRANGE BALK -- Take a minute to watch this -- last night Justin Verlander tried to pick off Daric Barton at first, but caught a cleat in the dirt, so instead of making a bad throw to first, he threw home and hit David DeJesus. Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck ruled it a balk, awarding Barton second base. DeJesus later walked. Verlander said afterward, even he laughed at how it looked. [MLB.com ]

BRADEN LEAVES EARLY -- A's starter Dallas Braden left Saturday's game with shoulder stiffness after five innings. There's no update yet, but it could be bad news for the A's. [San Francisco Chronicle ]

AFRICAN-AMERICAN PARTICIPATION DECLINES
-- As teams honored Jackie Robinson this weekend, the Mets' Willie Harris finds the lack of African-Americans in the game "sad." Only 9.1 percent of major leaguers on opening day 2010 were African-American, while 20 percent were in 1995. Harris said he doesn't think MLB markets its top African-American stars, such as Torii Hunter, Carl Crawford and CC Sabathia, well enough. [New York Daily News

Rockies STARTER FALLS - - For the first time this season, a Rockies starter picked up a loss in the game. Jason Hamel was the first Rockies starter to earn an L, falling 8-3 to the Cubs and ending the Rockies' seven-game winning streak. [Associated Press ]

AND THERE'S THAT
--The other day White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he has the league's best bullpen, despite his relievers blowing six saves and converting just one. On Saturday, he said he knows he has a good defensive team, despite its 15 errors this season, 13 in the last 10 games. [Chicago Tribune ]
 
SPEAKING OF -- The A's lead the majors with 17 errors, including one more on Saturday. First baseman Daric Barton -- widely viewed as one of the best defensive first basemen in the game -- is tied for the team-lead with three errors. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has three, as well. [MLB.com ]

EARNING HIS KEEP -- Could this be the year Alfonso Soriano lives up to his promise and salary? Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs and 12 RBI. [Chicago Tribune ]

NO LEFTY -- The Dodgers don't have a left-handed reliever in their bullpen after Hong-Chih Kuo was place don the disabled list and replaced on the roster by right-hander Ramon Troncoso. [Los Angeles Times ]

ROYAL PEN -- One of the reasons the Royals are leading in the American League Central is their bullpen, well, almost all of their bullpen. In a reversal of expectations, only closer Joakim Soria, one of the best closers in baseball the last couple of years, has struggled. Manager Ned Yost said his closer is just "human" and should be fine. Still, the likes of Tim Collins, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow have impressed. [Kansas City Star ]

NEW PITCH -- Giants closer Brian Wilson is playing coy about a new pitch in his arsenal. Wilson, who will talk about most subjects, isn't discussing a new pitch he's throwing to right-handed batters. It may be a two-seam fastball, a cutter or even a screwball. [San Jose Mercury News ]

ATTENDANCE WOES -- This month six teams have set records for their lowest attendance since their current park opened -- the Braves, Indians, Mariners, Cardinals, Yankees and Twins. Overall attendance is down just two percent this year, which is less than I expected. [USA Today ]

HOW LOW CAN IT GO? -- Seattle is being hit particularly hard at the turnstiles. [Seattle Times ]

UBIQUITOUS OBLUQUE -- I missed this earlier this week, but heard Tim McCarver bring it up during yesterday's Mets-Braves games -- Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times wrote a great article about the oblique injury, noting 14 players had gone on the DL this year with an oblique injury. Also, before MRI technology improved to its current point, the injury had been called rib cage or abdominal injuries, the diagnosis is just better nowadays.

BIG DRAFT -- What if you had to pick from Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, Ricky Romero, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Pelfrey, Wade Townsend, Chris Volstad, John Mayberry Jr., Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz? The 2005 draft offered those choices. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ]

WRIGLEY GRIDIRON -- The Cubs and Northwestern want to continue playing football games at Wrigley Field, despite the challenges they faced this season. In the end, money wins. [Chicago Tribune ]

TUCSON HOME -- Padres owner Jeff Moorad said Tucson will be the Triple-A home for the Padres for at least another year and could be an option if the team isn't able to get funding for a park in Escondido, Calif. [Arizona Daily Star ]

A DIFFERENT MANNY -- Manny Ramirez changed when he went to Boston. [Akron Beacon-Journal ]

HOT DOGGIN' -- A look at the best and craziest hot dogs at ballparks this season. I'm thinking about getting that Meat Lovers Dog at Great American Ball Park later today. I'll take pictures. In the name of "journalism" of course. I'm also curious about the Bahn Mi Dog at Nationals Stadium and [SeriousEats.com ]

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:50 am
 

Guillen: 'I don't have any closer'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I don't really root for or against teams, but there is some fun as a blogger in the White Sox losing, because it means the most entertaining manager in the game, Ozzie Guillen may have something fun to say.

After the White Sox blew another lead on Wednesday, he had didn't disappoint:

"I don't have any closer," Guillen said. "I don't. Then we will see. From this point on, you just scratch your head and second guess yourself what you're doing wrong, bringing people to the mound with a  three-run lead for the third time and we can't hold the lead. That's not a good sign. 

"I see the same [stuff] you guys see. Exactly same [stuff.]

You can see the video of Guillen here:

 

The White Sox bullpen has been a disaster, blowing a late lead three days in a row. The White Sox were able to bounce back to win in extra innings on Tuesday. In just 12 games this season, the White Sox have blown six saves, four of them were blown by Matt Thornton. Chris Sale, who has the team's only save, also has a blown save.

Guillen said he went into Wednesday's game ready to use all three of his potential closers -- Sale, Jesse Crain and Thornton -- and he did just that.

After John Danks allowed just one run in eight innings, Sale allowed three straight hits to start the ninth, before he was replaced by Crain, who walked a batter and struck out another. Thornton came in with bases loaded and one out, gave up a bloop single to Josh Willingham to tie it before getting out of the inning, only to give up the lead in the 10th.

Back-to-back walks in 10th and then a single by Coco Crisp, Daric Barton, another single to score two more, giving the A's a 7-4 victory.

The only one, it seemed, that was stepping up their game was Guillen's son Oney, who actually had a good tweet on the situation.

Oney Guillen

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Defense costing teams early

Aubrey Huff

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday afternoon the sight of Aubrey Huff diving in right field was a joking matter. The night before he made a diving catch and then before batting practice his teammates put a faux-chalk outline of his dive in the Dodger Stadium grass.

A couple of hours later, it wasn't so funny.

In the first inning on Sunday, Huff dove on a Jamey Carroll liner which ended up a triple and helped the Dodgers score three in the inning. In the seventh inning, Huff also lost a ball over his head by Marcus Thames, good for another triple and driving in the go-ahead run.

One scout told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that the Giants defense is "going to be an issue."

The Giants made their decision leaving camp that their defense would be secondary to scoring runs, as the team kept rookie first baseman Brandon Belt on the roster -- and it's not Belt that's the problem, he's a good defender. It's that in order to keep Huff and Belt in the lineup, Huff went to right field. And as right fielder's go, he's showing he's a first baseman.

I don't actually fault Huff, he's going out there and giving it his best and doing what the team asks him to do -- ultimately, it's just a flawed strategy putting Huff in the outfield. When Cody Ross is ready to come off the disabled list -- which is still at least two weeks away -- the Giants will be better at that spot, but they'll also have a decision between Belt and Huff -- or benching Pat Burrell and keeping Huff in the outfield. That said, the Giants will still have Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

But it's not just the Giants that are struggling defensively.

RangersThe Giants' World Series opponents last fall started off their season with a fielding error on the first batter of the season when Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz.

The Cardinals seemed to be one team unconcerned about defense this offseason and could be concerned as the season goes along. The team added 35-year-old Lance Berkman, who hadn't played in the outfield since since 2007, to play every day in right field and got rid of one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, Brendan Ryan, and replaced him with an average second baseman in Ryan Theriot.

Theriot is the only National League player with two errors through Sunday's game, while in the American League one notoriously bad fielder (Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion) and one remarkably good fielder (Oakland's Daric Barton) have three errors each. 

There have been 68 errors this season through 46 games (following Sunday's games). That's only one more error than there was through 46 games last season (and 15 more than there was through 46 games in 2009).

That said, we all know errors aren't the best way to measure defense, there are plenty of examples of bad defense that didn't include an error in the boxscore.

On Sunday, the Cubs' defense let down closer Carlos Marmol. With one out and runners at second and third, Pedro Alvarez hit a dribbler to shortstop Starlin Castro who unloaded a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and the Pirates to get the win.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee has had two costly decisions in the team's sweep at the hands of the Reds. In the ninth inning of Thursday's opener, McGehee failed to tag Brandon Phillips going to third, setting up the Reds' walk-off victory. On Sunday, McGehee went home and failed to get an out on a Drew Stubbs chopper, which led to a game-turned three-run homer by Phillips in the fourth. And that's two entire instances of the Brewers' bad defense without mentioning Yuniesky Betancourt, who the team had to take to get Zack Greinke, but didn't have to make their everyday shortstop. According to John Dewan's +/- system, no defensive player in baseball has cost their team more runs over the last three seasons than Betancourt's -66.

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings noted BABIP (batting average on balls in play) over the first weekend was .300, while it was .291 last season. That stat tells you a ball in the field was more likely to be fielded a year ago than it was this weekend.

Now, we're just 47 games into the 2011 season, so it's way too early to make any real conclusions about errors and defense as a whole, but it is something to watch. 

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:39 am
 

Getting to know the A's

By C. Trent Rosecrans

MVP

Hideki MatsuiThe A's may have baseball's deepest pitching staff one-through-12, and if not, there aren't many teams in front of them. The team should have the pitching to contend in the American League West, but the problem may be scoring enough runs. 

Oakland was 11th in runs scored last season (663), ahead of only Cleveland, Baltimore and Seattle. Only the Mariners (101) hit fewer home runs than the A's (109) and had again the Mariners were the only team with a worse slugging percentage (.339) than the A's (.378).

Billy Beane's answer? Hideki Matsui.

Matsui signed a one-year deal worth $4.25 million and is expected to add some much-needed pop to the A's lineup. That said, Matsui is coming off a year with 21 home runs in Anaheim and moving into a less-friendly stadium in Oakland. It will be tough for Matsui to repeat his .274/.361/.459 slash line he put up last season (good for a 124 OPS+) with 21 homers and 84 RBI. But if he can come close to matching that production, he'll certainly help the A's score runs and contend in the AL West.

Player Oracle

Home Run Baker played with Waite Hoyt for the 1922 New York Yankees
Waite Hoyt played with Bert Haas for the 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers
Bert Haas played with Minnie Minoso for the 1951 Chicago White Sox
Minnie Minoso played with Harold Baines for the 1980 Chicago White Sox
Harold Baines played with Frank Thomas for the 2001 Chicago White Sox
Frank Thomas played with Daric Barton for the 2008 Oakland Athletics

Pop Culture

In 1972, Vida Blue appeared in four World Series games and also in Black Gunn, a blaxploitation film starring Jim Brown and Martin Landau.

Blue stars as Sam Green, who works at a parking lot and is interrogated by mob members about a robbery. Green is beaten up for not telling the mobsters anything. Brown's titular character, in the end, gets his bloody revenge.

Blue was also the subject of a song by Albert Jones in 1971, the year the left-hander won the Cy Young and American League MVP, going 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA.

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Posted on: November 11, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 11:10 am
 

MLB Facts & Rumors American League MVP

The major baseball awards will be announced next week, and the staff at MLB Facts and Rumors is making our choices this week. Today, David, Evan and Trent name their American League Most Valuable Player selections. As with the BBWAA awards, a first-place vote is worth 14 points, second place nine, third place eight and so forth, with 10th place getting one point.

The American League MVP would have been easy if the season ended int he first week of September, but that's when Josh Hamilton crashed into a wall and broke a few ribs, sidelining him for nearly a month. Was that enough to give Detroit's Miguel Cabrera the MVP? Or was Jose Bautista's 54-homer season good enough to win the honor?

AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Josh Hamilton David Andriesen
1. Josh Hamilton, Rangers
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
4. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
5. Robinson Cano, Yankees
6. Evan Longoria, Rays
7. Paul Konerko, White Sox
8. Carl Crawford, Rays
9. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
10. Joe Mauer, Twins

Hamilton led all of baseball in batting average and WAR (wins above replacement), while playing center field and dealing with nagging injuries. Yes, he only played 133 regular-season games, but Joe Mauer won last year with 135. Cabrera was scary good, finishing in the top
three in every Triple Crown category, but Hamilton played better with more on the line.

Evan Brunell
1. JoshHamilton, Rangers
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
4. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
5. Robinson Cano, Yankees
6. Evan Longoria, Rays
7. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
8. Carl Crawford, Rays
9. Paul Konerko, White Sox
10. Daric Barton, Athletics

Hamilton had a sublime season, leading baseball in batting average (.359) and slugging percentage (.633). In counting stats, his 30 HR and 100 RBI don't exactly blow anyone off the map, but don't forget he missed most of September.

C. Trent Rosecrans
1.  Josh Hamilton, Rangers
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
3. Evan Longoria, Rays
4. Robinson Cano, Yankees
5. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
6. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
7. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
8. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
9. Joe Mauer, Twins
10. Paul Konerko, White Sox

Hamilton missed most of September, but it didn't really mean anything to his team, because he was so good until that point that the Rangers had a cushion. There were other players with really good years, Cabrera and Cano among them, but they were still behind what Hamilton's amazing season. I think Longoria sometimes gets overlooked, but he doesn't deserve the nod over Hamilton. I do find it interesting that I'm the only one with a pitcher listed.

MLB Facts and Rumors American League Most Valuable Player
As good a season as Cabrera had, it's a runaway for Hamilton, who was unanimous in our small poll, followed by Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista. That said, expect Cabrera and maybe even Cano to garner first-place votes when the BBWAA announces its winners on Nov. 23, but Hamilton will still likely win by a comfortable margin.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Jeter wins another Gold Glove

Oh, as we complain again and again about the Baseball Writers Association of America and their votes for MVP and Cy Young, the coaches and managers once again show they're not a better committee to choose the biggest awards in the game.

Exhibit A: Derek Jeter, Gold Glover.

Derek Jeter Yep, Jeter won the Gold Glove again on Tuesday in a vote from American League coaches and managers. Derek Jeter with a -5.4 UZR/150, -13 runs saved and -17 plus/minus, was determined by the coaches and managers to be the best defensive shortstop in the American League. Among qualified players, only Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett (-13.8) and Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt (-9.2) had a worse UZR/150.

Sure, Jeter had just six errors, but the idea that errors tell you much about a player's defense is preposterous. It tells you who is able to make the routine plays best. That's well and good, but it has little to do with the best all-around defensive player. Jeter has the range of, well, a mediocre 36-year old defensive player. (You know how many times you see Jeter go into the hole and doing that leaping throw, but doesn't quite get the runner? Oh, what a gutty play, he doesn't get an E. Thing is, most other shortstops don't have to make that jump and get the runner.)

Who would be a better choice? Well, who wouldn't?

The Fielding Bible Awards had Chicago's Alexei Ramirez as its third-place finisher, and best among AL players. Ramirez's UZR/150 was 10.1, he had 16 runs saved and a 20 plus/minus.

In UZR/150, Ramirez was trailed by Oakland's Cliff Pennington (8.8), Baltimore's Cesar Izturis (5.8) and Texas' Elvis Andrus (0.3), among qualified players.

The Gold Gloves have been one of those openly mocked selections since a designated hitter won one in 1999 (Rafael Palmeiro). Defense, even in this day and age of advanced statistics, is still highly subjective, with reputation playing more of a role than production. That's what the Gold Glove tells us every year. It also tells us the coaches and managers have as much of a Yankee bias as the media is accused of having.

Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee infielder not to be awarded, even though the advanced statistics liked Oakland's infield much more.

Mark Teixeira won at first base, even though Oakland's Daric Barton was likely the best choice. Mark Ellis had the top UZR/150 among second basemen (12.7), but the winner was Robinson Cano (-0.9).  Also deserving at second would be Minnesota's Orlando Hudson (12.0 UZR/150). Hudson was the top AL vote-getter in the Fielding Bible Awards, while Ellis was behind him.

As for the outfield, that's probably where a Yankee was actually left off. Left fielder Brett Gardner had the best UZR/150 of any qualified outfielders with a 27.9. He also won the Fielding Bible Award in left field.

American League Gold Glove winners
P Mark Buehrle, White Sox
C Joe Mauer, Twins
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B Evan Longoria, Rays
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Carl Crawford, Rays
OF Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 8:50 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 8:52 pm
 

Is Daric Barton best first baseman in league?

Daric Barton How good does Athletics general manager Billy Beane think first baseman Daric Barton is? Let MLB.com relay the words:

"He showed himself to be, in my opinion, the best first baseman in the league."

Them's fighting words.

Let's get this out of the way first: Barton is not the best first baseman in the league when you consider total package, but he's up there. Most of Barton's value resides in his fantastic fielding -- a 14.3 UZR/150 and 20 defensive runs saves outpace the other contenders significantly. There's no question that Barton is one of the better fielders in the game, and after several starts and stops has also proven himself adept with the bat, although he has a long way to go in that regard to be one of the better hitting first basemen.

Barton led the American League with 110 walks, which gave him an excellent .393 OBP to go with a .273 batting average, but the major knock on Barton is his lack of power, and 2010 was no different. Barton's 33 doubles, five triples (four in Oakland's cavernous park) and 10 home runs gave him a .393 slugging percentage. Subtracting his slugging percentage from batting average gives him an isolated power mark of .131, down from 2009's .141 and second-last among all first baseman just in front of the Dodgers' James Loney.

Even though Barton doesn't have the power, he's just 25 with plenty of time to develop -- and he'll get that time.

"I was quite pleased with what he did there this year, and I have no intention of taking him off first base," Beane added.

-- Evan Brunell

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