This year’s All-Star Game starting pitchers, Justin Verlander and Matt Cain, are certainly both big names with excellent track records, but it’s interesting to note that the honor of starting an All-Star Game doesn’t always go to elite pitchers.
Obviously any pitcher who starts an All-Star Game is by definition having an excellent season at the time–so please hold onto those angry comments and e-mails–but here’s a list of some All-Star Game starters during the past 20 years: Esteban Loaiza, Terry Mulholland, Brad Penny, Charles Nagy, Kenny Rogers, Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Back in 2006 the game featured a scintillating Kenny Rogers-Brad Penny matchup and following Roger Clemens’ start in 2001 the American League had a five-year run in which they started Derek Lowe, Esteban Loaiza, Mark Buehrle, Mark Mulder, and Kenny Rogers.
Verlander-Cain is pretty damn good.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.