Mike Trout

Presenting the minor league stolen base leaders


Here’s a list of the current stolen base leaders in the minors, topped by a couple of very good prospects.

1. Billy Hamilton (A- Reds): 52 SB, .233/.294/.325 in 240 AB
2. Gary Brown (A+ Giants): 32 SB, .335/.407/.487 in 269 AB
2. Tyler Graham (AAA Giants): 32 SB, .269/.339/.358 in 201 AB
4. Rymer Liriano (A-, A+ Padres): 31 SB, .267/.338/.428 in 236 AB
5. Daniel Carroll (A+ Mariners): 30 SB, .351/.406/.421 in 235 AB
6. Anthony Gose (AA Blue Jays): 29 SB, .249/.346/.369 in 225 AB
6. Travis Witherspoon (A- Angels): 29 SB, .215/.277/.320 in 247 AB
8. Reymond Fuentes (A+ Padres): 28 SB, .299/.351/.357 in 244 AB
9. Reggie Keen (A- Brewers): 25 SB, .263/.313/.379 in 224 AB
9. Jeff Kobernus (A+ Nationals): 25 SB, .260/.303/.349 in 235 AB
11. Andrew Means (A+ Reds): 24 SB, .265/.328/.374 in 211 AB
11. Felix Sanchez (A- Red Sox): 24 SB, .238/.321/.300 in 210 AB
11. Jonathan Villar (A+, AA Astros): 24 SB, .250/.341/.400 in 220 AB
11. Carlos Willoughby (A- Giants): 24 SB, .276/.374/.344 in 250 AB
15. Mike Trout (AA Angels): 23 SB, .330/.434/.565 in 209 AB
15. Ray Kruml (AA Yankees): 23 SB, .268/.316/.329 in 228 AB

This kind of list is always going to have a lot of non-prospects, but some very good ones make the top 15 here, including the game’s best prospect in the high minors.  Trout has been brilliant as a 19-year-old in Double-A, amassing a .998 OPS through 57 games. About the only flaw in the game is that he’s not hitting a lot of doubles (just nine so far to go along with eight triples and eight homers).  However, he makes up for that by often taking second after his singles and walks.

Hamilton is far out in front despite having a disappointing season to date.  Baseball America rated him as the game’s No. 50 prospect after he hit .318/.383/.456 in Rookie ball in 2010, but the 20-year-old has really struggled since moving up to full-season ball. His 64/20 K/BB ratio is particularly problematic given that he doesn’t have much power at all.  Still, Hamilton is a shortstop, and he’s not going to have to be all that strong of a hitter to turn into a quality regular.

Gary Brown isn’t a fabulous basestealer — he’s been caught 14 times to go with his 32 successes — but he is looking like an excellent prospect.  He looked like something of a project coming out of Cal State Fullerton, so he’s blowing away expectations by hitting .335 in his first full season.

I’m not a Gose fan, and I think Fuentes and Villar are probably the next best prospects here.  Fuentes was the third player to go from Boston to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal last year. Villar and Gose were both part of the Astros’ haul from the Phillies for Roy Oswalt, but Gose was then shipped to Toronto for Brett Wallace.

Veteran’s Committee candidates for the Hall of Fame announced

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has announced the candidates for Veterans Committee consideration for the 2016 Hall induction class. The VC sorts its ballot by era, with each year’s candidates representing a different part of baseball history. Up for consideration: Pre-Integration Era candidates.

Here are the candidates, with short bios paraphrased from the Hall of Fame’s actual press release because, really, who alive who is not a baseball historian is super-familiar with many of these guys?

Doc Adams: a member of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845 who helped standardize the game’s tools and contributed to the establishment of the shortstop position. May actually be the inventor of “grit.” I mean, I don’t know this for sure, but he is a white shortstop, so . . .

Sam Breadon: Owned the Cardinals from 1920 until 1947. Hired Branch Rickey and helped create the blueprint for the modern farm system with minor league clubs owned or controlled by the parent club. Which, to be fair, wasn’t necessarily the best deal for a lot of folks, even if it was a good deal for baseball owners.

Bill Dahlen: Shortstop from 1891-1911 for the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. He was a power hitter for his era. Not that his era was known for power. When he retired he was the All-Time Home Run King. With . . . 84.

Wes Ferrell: Pitched for 15 seasons from 1927-1941, compiling a 193-128 record for a lot of teams, though doing his best work for Boston. A six-time 20-game winner, including winning 25 games twice. As far as wins/ERA politics go, he was Jack Morris before Jack Morris and was probably a good bit better than Jack Morris.

Garry Herrmann: President of the Cincinnati Reds from 1902 to 1927 and chairman of baseball’s ruling National Commission from 1903 to 1920. Gets credit for helping bring the AL and NL together and starting the World Series. Demerits for running a conflict-of-interest-riddled National Commission which was disbanded in favor of the Commissioner system following the Black Sox Scandal, maybe?

Marty Marion: Thirteen seasons in the majors, 1940-50, 1952-53, batting .263 with 36 home runs and 624 RBI at shortstop. Mostly with the Cardinals. Was named the 1944 N.L. MVP Award winner, twice also finishing in the top 10. Considered one of the best fielding shortstops of his era. His prime almost perfectly coincided with the war years, which may have taken the shine off of some of his offensive numbers during that stretch, but he was considered a top shortstop, at least with the glove, for a long time after the war too.

Frank McCormick: Eight-time All-Star and the 1940 National League Most Valuable Player with the Reds. A first baseman, his comps are Sean Casey-types.

Harry Stovey: An outfielder in the National League and the American Association in the 1880s and 1890s, leading his league in home runs five times and runs scored four times. His pic at the Hall of Fame site is of a wood engraving. Baseball is old, you guys.

Chris von der Ahe: Owned the original St. Louis Browns franchise – now the Cardinals – from 1881 through 1899 “and demonstrated his visionary qualities with entertainment options at games.” No word on whether he invented The Cardinal Way.

Bucky Walters: Pitched 19 seasons in the major leagues, from 1934-1950, compiling a 198-160 lifetime record. Mostly with the Reds. Won 27 games once. Was the MVP as a pitcher in 1939, which is pretty sweet.

As the Hall notes, Dahlen, Ferrell, Marion, McCormick, Stovey and Walters are included for their contributions as players, the other four are inclusions for their off-field careers.

The Pre-Integration Era ballot is determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee of the Hall of Fame, which is comprised of several historians and journalists. They are: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Jim Henneman (formerlyBaltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (MLB.com); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

The results of the voting will be announced at the Winter Meetings in early December.

Starts times of postseason games announced


Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.

Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.

This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.

Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.

And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:

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