Bill Baer

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 06: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins hits a home run against the New York Mets in the sixth inning during a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 6, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

HardballTalk Home Run Derby predictions

7 Comments

The Home Run Derby starts shortly, broadcast on ESPN. The experts here at HardballTalk — Craig and I — are willing to look into the crystal ball and tell you exactly what’s going to happen.

Craig

First Round

Second Round

  • Trumbo over Cano
  • Frazier over Duvall

Finals

Frazier over Trumbo, BACK-TO-BACK, BABY!

Bill

First Round

  • Mark Trumbo over Corey Seager
  • Todd Frazier over Carlos Gonzalez
  • Giancarlo Stanton over Robinson Cano
  • Wil Myers over Adam Duvall

Second Round

  • Stanton over Trumbo
  • Frazier over Myers

Finals

  • Stanton over Frazier

Feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments. In the event either of us is right, you’re obligated to praise us for our genius. In the incredibly unlikely event we’re wrong, you’re forbidden from pointing this out. Rules are rules.

Nick Masset retires

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Nick Masset #49 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait at Spring Training photo day at Space Coast Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
2 Comments

Pitcher Nick Masset, who had been pitching for the Nationals with Triple-A Syracuse, has retired, according to the International League transactions page. MLB Trade Rumors has also confirmed that Masset has opted for retirement.

Masset, 34, posted a 4.71 ERA with a 19/13 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings at Syracuse. The Nationals had signed him to a minor league contract back in December.

Masset retires having pitched over parts of eight seasons in the majors, compiling an aggregate 4.06 ERA with 339 strikeouts and 175 walks in 403 innings.

Best of luck to Masset in his post-baseball life.

Must Read: Sean Casey’s anecdote about facing Clayton Kershaw

BOSTON - APRIL 13: Sean Casey #22 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after scoring a run against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on April 13, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
11 Comments

At The Players’ Tribune, former major leaguers Mark DeRosa and Sean Casey discuss the Home Run Derby, the Cubs, and pick their first-half award winners.

It should come as no surprise that for the Cy Young Award, both were in agreement that Clayton Kershaw has been baseball’s best pitcher thus far. The Dodgers’ lefty has a league-best 1.79 ERA, 0.727 WHIP, and has averaged better than 16 strikeouts for each walk.

In describing just how difficult it is to face Kershaw, Casey shared an anecdote, likely from 2008, his final year and Kershaw’s first in the majors.

Casey

I only faced him one time. Actually, I was the first guy he ever faced in a spring training game. I turned to Terry Francona and was like, “Who’s this guy?” And he shrugged and said, “He’s some minor leaguer off the back fields.” First pitch comes in at 97 on the outside black. I don’t even see it, I just hear a big thunk as it hits the catcher’s mitt. I look over at Joe Torre and he’s cracking up in the dugout. And I’m thinking, Who the hell is this guy?

DeRosa

Oh no.

Casey

Next pitch was a nasty knee-buckling hook for strike 2. I now look at the bench and Larry Bowa and Joe Torre are both laughing at me, and I’m thinking to myself, They must know something I don’t know. The next pitch was strike 3, but the ump called it a ball. Next pitch, Kershaw throws a ridiculous hook on the outside corner, and that was called strike 3. I never pulled the trigger on any pitch. It was the first time I had felt like a little kid in the big leagues in a long time.

It’s safe to say Casey isn’t alone in having made to feel that way by Kershaw.

Also interesting in the Players’ Tribune article is Casey’s counter-argument for putting Madison Bumgarner in the Home Run Derby. DeRosa expresses concern that a pitcher could suffer a common hitting injury like an oblique strain. Casey simply counters, “Yes, but on the other hand, it’s Bumgarner.”