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Tag:Andre Ethier
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:10 pm
 

34th man candidates revealed

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Not only is Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen left off the National League roster, he's not even on the ballot for the 34th roster spot with online voting at MLB.com. Here are the five candidates from each league for the last spot on their respective All-Star squads.

American League

Alex Gordon, Royals

Adam Jones, Orioles

Paul Konerko, White Sox

Victor Martinez, Tigers

Ben Zobrist, Rays

National League

Michael Morse, Nationals

Shane Victorino, Phillies

Andre Ethier, Dodgers

Todd Helton, Rockies

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks 

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Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Votto, Fielder to battle for NL starter at 1B



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Although St. Louis' Albert Pujols still leads the voting at first base for the All-Star Game, the race for first base will likely come down to two other National League Central first basemen, Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.

Even if Pujols hangs onto his lead over Votto and Fielder, he went on the disabled list on Monday with a forearm fracture and is unlikely to be available for the July 12 All-Star Game at Phoenix's Chase Field. However, All-Star rules stipulate if a voted starter in unavailable, the honor goes to the second-place finisher at the position.

In the next-to-last National League balloting update before the July 3 announcement of roster, Pujols is second in total votes for NL players behind Milwaukee's Ryan Braun. Braun leads the voting with 3,034,057 votes while Pujols has 2,806,864 votes.

Joey Votto is second in balloting among first basemen, narrowly edging the Brewers' Prince Fielder 2,270,211 to 2,066,327. Both Votto and Fielder certainly have convincing arguments. Votto, the reigning NL MVP, leads the NL in on-base percentage (.449) and is third in batting average (.327), while Fielder is second in the league in OPS (1.031), is tied for the league lead with 20 home runs and leads the league with 61 home runs.

The second base spot has a similar split between a Red and a Brewer, with Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips leading Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks 2,286,378 to 2,094,502 with Weeks closing in.

Philadelphia's Placido Polanco leads Atlanta's Chipper Jones by more than a million votes at third base, while Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki has a respectable lead over the Mets' Jose Reyes at shortstop. The Braves' Brian McCann leads the Cardinals' Yadier Molina by nearly half-a-million votes. The outfield's top three are Braun and the Cardinals' duo of Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday. The Dodgers' Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, along with the Reds' Jay Bruce, are the next three in line.

Complete balloting is up at MLB.com.

The American League update will be released tomorrow.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
 

Looking back at second-round picks

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done. 

The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.

Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.

Astros: Perhaps the team's best player right now, outfielder Hunter Pence, was the 64th overall pick in 2004. 

MLB Draft

Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Dave Bush in 2002 is probably the team's best second-round pick since taking Derek Bell in 1987.

Brian McCannBraves: Current first baseman Freddie Freeman was selected with the 78th overall pick in 2007, but the best pick was easily 2002's No. 64 overall pick, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann.

Brewers: The Brewers took Yovani Gallardo with the fifth pick of the second round in 2004.

Cardinals: In 2001, the team took Dan Haren with the 72nd overall pick. More recently, Jon Jay was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).

Diamondbacks: A's starter Brett Anderson was Arizona's second-rounder in 2006. He was part of the big trade that send Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: The Dodgers got future closer Jonathan Broxton with the 60th overall pick in 2002.

Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.

Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.

Mariners: Recently-demoted Orioles starter Chris Tillman was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 second-rounder Rich Poythress, who had 31 homers in Class A last season.

Mike StantonMarlins: It wasn't until the 12th pick of the second round -- and 76th overall -- for someone to pick up Mike Stanton in 2007. 

Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)

Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.

Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.

Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins was the team's second-rounder in 1996, going 46th overall.

Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.

Rangers: The only player taken by the Rangers in the second round of the last decade to make the majors is Jason Bourgeois.

Rays: The Rays famously took Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall in 1999, but their second-round pick that year was pretty good too -- Carl Crawford.

Red Sox: How about Justin Masterson (2006), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jon Lester (2002)?

Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.

Rockies: For recent vintage, Seth Smith (2004) is the pick, but you can go back a few years and pick Aaron Cook (1997).

George BrettRoyals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.

Tigers: The Tigers took Brandon Inge with the 14th pick of the 1998 draft as a catcher out of Virginia Commonwealth. In 1976, Alan Trammell was the second pick of the round.

Twins: A nice run of arms earlier in the decade with Kevin Slowey (2005), Anthony Swarzak (2004), Scott Baker (2003) and Jesse Crain (2002). Frank Viola was the team's second-rounder in 1981.

White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.

Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 3:49 pm
 

NL All-Star balloting update: Cards lead way



By Matt Snyder


Major League Baseball has issued a press release with the first All-Star balloting update of the season, and the NL starting lineup would include three Cardinals if the voting ended right now. The leaders by position (including three outfielders, of course): Albert Pujols, Brandon Phillips, Placido Polanco, Troy Tulowitzki, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. (Full ballot update at MLB.com)

A few things immediately jump out:

- Jose Reyes is the most qualified candidate at shortstop, despite Tulowitzki's hot start. Reyes leads the NL in hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases and is hitting .335 with an .876 OPS. He doesn't even have half the votes Tulo does. Oh, and Jimmy Rollins (.265 with a .698 OPS) is second. At least Reyes is in third, but it's odd to see a player in New York so under-represented in the voting.

- The starter at first base has gotta be Joey Votto over Pujols. It's not even close this season. Votto is second, trailing by about 182,000 votes. Prince Fielder (third) and Ryan Howard (fourth) should also be ahead of Pujols. Remember, it's for the 2011 season.

- Speaking of which, Chase Utley is third in voting at second base.

- Dodgers outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have very strong cases in the outfield, and they check in at spots four and five in the voting, respectively. Still, who are you going to bump between Braun, Holliday and Berkman? Maybe we can petition to move Braun to third base in order to maximize the offense?

- The biggest snub appears to be Jay Bruce. The young Reds' slugger was been an absolute man-child in May and leads the NL in home runs, RBI and total bases. He's 12th place in votes for outfielders. Looks like Reds fans need to get over to MLB.com and support their team. Phillips leads at second because there aren't many good candidates, but Votto and Bruce should be starting and aren't yet in that position.

- Obviously, Posey can't start because of his season-ending injury and NL manager Bruce Bochy will name a replacement if Posey wins the voting. So the catcher voting -- at least as long as he's at the top -- is irrelevant.

Voting continues on MLB.com through June 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET. There will be an update on AL voting Wednesday.

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Pepper: Scorching Hafner could hit DL



By Evan Brunell


HAFNER HURT: Indians DH Travis Hafner is hitting like it's 2006, as the oft-injured DH is roaring along at a .345/.409/.549 clip with eight doubles and five home runs in 127 plate appearances.

Sure, that average is over his head, but he's still geared up to have a quality season. It's about time, as Hafner has been one of the game's most overpaid players as he succumbed to injuries following his four-year, $57 million deal signed during the 2007 season. He's been a major reason why Cleveland finds itself in first place, and has helped fend off any type of decline that could have happened once Grady Sizemore hit the disabled list.

Unfortunately, Hafner may be joining Sizemore on the DL with a sore oblique. He was taking swings in the batting cage prior to Wednesday's game when one swing left him unable to swing any more. After being a late scratch, Hafner plans to get the injury checked out Friday with a MRI.

"One of the big things was how it felt [Thursday] morning," said Hafner. "It wasn't worse. That's kind of encouraging."

Obliques are the scourge of baseball these days, and unfortunately for Hafner, he's probably going to have to go on the DL and could be out for a month or more. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

LEYLAND'S BACK
: Jim Leyland still lives in Pittsburgh, but he hasn't been back in the stadium as an opposing manager since 2006, his first year with the Tigers. Leyland, of course, is well known for his 11 years managing the Pirates in the glory days, back when Barry Bonds was manning left field. (MLive.com)

RJM:
A nice story about Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia's night on Thursday. Romero went seven strong while J.P. Arencibia crushed a home run that eventually gave the team a 3-1 victory. Both players were reeling from the passing of a two-year-old fan after a battle with leukemia. (Toronto Star)

UNPRECEDENTED:
Jose Bautista's leap from last man on the bench to the best hitter in the game is still tough to wrap one's head around. But it's not the last time such a leap has been made. The closest comparable? Seattle's Bret Boone, who jumped in relevancy from 1999-2001. Of course, the likelihood that Boone used steroids is high, but unless you're really reaching or just hate Bautista/the Blue Jays, the same questions are not there for Bautista. (Fangraphs)

TURNING THE CLOCK BACK:
It's always entertaining to see players wear throwback uniforms. Sometimes these uniforms are preferable to the current set... sometimes they're nice memories or a way of learning more about history. Sometimes, they make us burst out laughing. History's being profiled Saturday when the Red Sox and Cubs wear 1918-era uniforms. (Boston Globe) Here's a look at what you can expect -- the 1918 uniforms of the BoSox and the 1918 road uniforms for the Cubs. And yes, no logo for the Red Sox.

FLIPPING THE BIRD
: Sometimes I wonder if we take ourselves a little too seriously. Andre Ethier, who was slightly irritated with a photographer prior to Monday's game, flipped him the bird before adding the other hand to the equation. Ethier joked about the situation before Thursday's game before issuing a standard mea culpa. "I wasn’t [angry] at all. If you’re going to stand there and take the same picture for 15 minutes, what’s the difference between the first and the 15th minute? It just got kind of annoying. I guess I slipped up, and that temper you guys sometimes like to write about, got ahead of me and I didn’t use my head and use the best judgment in that situation. I made a mistake of it and it’s unfortunate." Don't we have better things to worry about? (Los Angeles Times)

DISLIKED:
Are the Cardinals the most disliked team in baseball? Let's look at the evidence. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

WHERE'S ALLIE?
When talking about Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects (try saying that four times in a row), the conversation invariably turns to Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie. Except that Allie is nowhere to be found on the stats pages. That's because he's been at extended spring training, working on his windup and a lack of control. Things have progressed to the point where he is nearing game action. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

LIND ETA:
Adam Lind won't be back with the Blue Jays for at least 10 days and is still a week away from baseball action in his recovery from a sore back. (Sportsnet via Twitter)

WHO'S OUT IN BALTIMORE? When Alfredo Simon returns to the Orioles' bullpen on Sunday, someone's gotta go. Bet on one of Brad Bergesen or Chris Tillman, as Jeff Zrebiec writes. Both -- especially Bergesen -- have been very poor in the rotation and the team can go with four starters for several days because of Brian Matusz's looming return late next week. (Baltimore Sun)

JOHN SMOLTZ RULE: John Smoltz effected a rule change in minor-league baseball while on a rehab assignment with the Red Sox in 2009. Now, major-league pitchers on rehab starts down on the farm can use major-league baseballs in games. (MLBlogs.com)

TWITTER CLOSED: Tony Sanchez closed his Twitter account amid what we thought were the Pirates being too sensitive about players going on Twitter and expressing a personality. However, Sanchez closed his account on his own (although a stern talking-to from the brass didn't help). Sanchez was benched three games for criticizing umpires. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

GOLD: A pretty neat promotion the Angels are putting on in which fans will get an autographed baseball from a player. Those lucky enough to end up with a gold baseball will then get to meet that player and get four tickets to another Angels game. (Orange County Register)

DL-BOUND: Joe Blanton is returning to the DL and will take Shane Victorino with him. The Flyin' Hawaiian has been hobbled the last few days and now the Phillies have decided they can't wait for him to heal much longer. Don't expect Domonic Brown's promotion, as GM Ruben Amaro continues to hold Brown back. (Wonder if it has to do with service time?) Anyways, expect either Delwyn Young or Ronnie Belliard to get the spot. (CSNPhilly.com)

NO MORE TOBACCO: The call to ban all types of tobacco in baseball only got stronger with the Diamondbacks' CEO Ken Kendrick calling for such a ban. (Arizona Republic)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 19, 2011 5:30 pm
 

On Deck: Posada in lineup, field



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jorge PosadaPOSADA IN THE FIELD -- Jorge Posada will use a mitt in a game for the first time this season, but it'll be the first baseman's type, not the catcher's model. Posada will start his 16th career game at first base, while Mark Teixeira moves to designated hitter. Posada, for the record, will be batting seventh. Because of Wednesday's 15-inning game, the Yankees didn't take batting practice or infield, which Posada said he'd like to have gotten in advance of his first start at the position (or any real position) this season. Posada played some first in spring training and has been taking grounders there this season. Yankees at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Andre EthierSTRUGGLING -- Andre Ethier is no stranger to streaks this season, lodging a 30-game hitting streak earlier this season. However, his current streak is nothing to brag about. Over the last five games, he's 0 for 17 with five strikeouts. He's just 1 for 6 in his career against tonight's starter, San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner. Ethier is hitting just .235/.264/.314 against lefties this season, with all four of his homers coming off right-handers. Since hitting in his 30th straight game on May 6, Ethier is 7 for 42, hitting .167/.239/.238. Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Aaron HarangDR. JEKYLL AND MR. HARANG -- One of the feel-good stories of April was the return of Aaron Harang. Now with his hometown Padres and away from homer-happy Great American Ball Park, Harang looked like the 2006-07 version of the right-hander, going 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his first four starts as a Padre. The Next four starts, well, not so good -- 1-2 with an 8.46 ERA. Tonight he faces a familiar foe, Milwaukee, in his new spacious Petco home. Harang is 5-5 with a 4.65 ERA in 21 starts against the Brewers, but he may fare better when some of those Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder shots miss the seats. Brewers at Padres, 10:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 6:13 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 1:01 am
 

Impressive, yet underrated, streak ends for Votto

By Matt Snyder

You may not have noticed, what with all the hoopla Andre Ethier got for his 30-game hitting streak, that Joey Votto had reached base all 33 games in 2011 entering Sunday. But he had. And that streak for the Reds' first baseman was snapped with an 0-4, two strikeout game at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.

Why so much less attention? It's not like we have some slap hitter diving in front of pitches to scrap his way on base. Votto entered Sunday hitting .345 with a .476 on-base percentage, 27 runs, eight doubles, a triple, five home runs, 18 RBI and a 1.037 OPS. His league-leading 29 walks helped keep the streak alive, but his 40 hits helped as well.

It's true that it's harder to get a hit than to simply get on base, which is why OBP's are always higher than batting average. But it's also true that in many cases, a walk is just as good as a hit. In fact, I could argue a walk is better than a single at times. If there is no one on base, working a seven-pitch walk is much more detrimental to a pitcher than a seeing-eye groundball base hit on the first pitch.

I also believe that it's the traditionalist mindset. The number 56 -- Joe DiMaggio's record hitting streak -- is one of those sacred numbers in sports. Do you know the record for consecutive games on base? I'm guessing no. I was able to find that Ted Williams had an 84-game on-base streak and that's the record, but it took some digging to find the information. That's not the case if you want to find anything on DiMaggio's 56. It's one of the easiest historical feats to find on the Internet.

Maybe it's that it feels more manly to get a hit than to take a walk. You know, the "swing the bat, you [insert chosen expletive]" mindset. We've all heard that at some time or another. Maybe even said it.

Maybe it's that Votto wasn't as close to the record as Ethier was -- though I'd argue hitting streaks start to gain steam in the press once they hit double digits.

Whatever the reason, hitting streaks seem to be far more important to the masses than on-base streaks. I'd just like to give credit to someone for avoiding outs rather than completely disregarding walks like it doesn't help the team -- as I've said before in arguing for on-base percentage to overtake batting average as the most mainstream rate stat.

Regardless of the sentiment of either side of the argument, Joey Votto is having a huge season and just had a really impressive streak snapped. He deserves credit and fanfare, even if an on-base streak is not as universally embraced as a hitting streak.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 6, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 4:38 pm
 

On Deck: Three streakers on the way

Andre Ethier



By Matt Snyder

Let's find a common theme for tonight's on-deck circle. Since we can't ignore Mr. Ethier and the hitting streak that has held the sports world hostage for the past week or so, let's go with the longest winning and losing streaks after Ethier.

Yes, Ethier is in the lineup Friday night for the Dodgers and hitting in his customary No. 3 slot. He told reporters (via Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com) that his elbow feels good enough to play through the pain, and that he's not feeling the pressure of the streak.

"I want to get a hit every at-bat no matter what, anyway," Ethier said, meaning that the streak doesn't alter his approach toward each individual at-bat.

ETHIER STREAKING: He takes his 29-game hitting streak into Queens, as the Dodgers square off against the Mets this weekend. Jonathon Niese (1-4, 4.71) is the starting pitcher for the Mets. Ethier's never seen Niese, which tends to slightly favor the pitcher, if anything. That isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but there is some bad news, statistically, for Ethier. Niese is left-handed. Ethier's been far worse in his career against lefties than righties and this season it's been more of a disparity. He's hitting .229 against southpaws and .429 against right-handers. His career marks are .246 (left) and .312 (right). For whatever it's worth, he's also been awful in New York (.161 at Shea Stadium and ..217 at Citi Field). Basically, the stats say there's a decent chance the hit streak ends Friday evening -- but those lie on plenty of occasions. It's entirely plausible he keeps things going.

Braves STREAKING: The Braves have won five in a row, though they've barely made up any ground because the Phillies have won six of seven. Naturally, head-to-head games are the perfect remedy, and the Braves will get their chance this weekend, traveling to Philadelphia for a series. Game 1 pits Derek Lowe (2-3, 3.72) against Cliff Lee (2-2, 3.66). A three-game sweep could get the Braves within 1 1/2 games (of course, the Marlins would probably have first by then), but if the Braves lose the series, they'll fall back a pretty sizable amount. Fortunately it's only the first week of May. Lots of season to go. Still, there's no reason to dig a big hole and I'm guessing the Braves view this as a pretty big opportunity.

Brewers STREAKING: Here's a negative streak. The Brewers -- who still have hopes of winning the NL Central in Prince Fielder's walk year -- have lost six straight games and continue to see players dropping like flies. The good news is the Brewers are still only 4 1/2 games out in the Central and get to face the division-leading Cardinals this weekend. The festivities get underway Friday night in St. Louis, where Randy Wolf (3-2, 2.39) hopes to put a stop to the Brewers six-game losing streak. The offense better be ready to step up as well, because Jaime Garcia (3-0, 2.48) toes the slab for the NL's top offense -- and that's with Albert Pujols having a relative off-year.

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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