In what was an unconventional playoff game, the Boston Red Sox eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 3-1 in Tampa. Boston joins the Los Angeles Dodgers as 2 of the 4 teams to make it to the next round of the postseason. For Boston this is the first time they made it to the ALCS since 2008 and for the Dodgers its the first time they have moved on to the NLCS since 2009.
What makes this Red Sox victory so unconventional? Perhaps the fact that Rays skipper Joe Maddon used 9 pitchers in this game, setting a postseason record for most pitchers used in one game. This was no extra inning game either, this was your regular 9 inning affair. It was known that Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson would get a short leash. Hellickson threw a perfect 1st inning but in the 2nd he gave up a hit and walked 2 men with no outs leading to his exit. From there Maddon had put together an interesting carousel of pitchers including starter Matt Moore.
Boston starter Jake Peavy went 5 2/3 innings giving up 5 hits, 1 earned run and striking out 3. He did his job and the bullpen did theirs, including a wonderful performance by Craig Breslow who many Red Sox players say he was the game MVP for keeping the Sox in a close game having been down by 1. Red Sox turned in a small rally in the 7th and get the go ahead run off a wild pitch from Joel Peralta. Tazawa and Sox closer Uehara threw brilliantly as they have done all year to seal a spot in the ALCS for the Boston Red Sox.
There are a few notable things in this series. Boston took 8 walks and gave up zero in game 4 of the ALDS. The bullpen was excellent. Shane Victorino was hit 4 times tying a postseason record. Jacoby Ellsbury went 9 for 18 including 4 stolen bases and David Ortiz went 5 for 13 and clubbed 2 home runs. All the means to fend off a hungry Tampa Bay Rays ball club.
The Boston Red Sox will meet the winner of Fridays game 5 winner between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers.
A big part of baseball for me is watching young talented prospects develop and learn the game through the minor leagues. Some develop into some of the best hitters and pitchers, some settle into bench roles or middle relief and others don’t meet expectations or fizzle out. Baseball is grueling, brutal and one of the toughest sports to play. Despite some people thinking it’s like watching grass grow.
Everyone has their favorite little all stars that are prime to brake out and i’m sure many of you lurk the top 100 baseball prospects list year to year like I do. Here’s a list of guys that are having themselves a strong season as they try to make a name in baseball.
Peter O’Brien, C, New York Yankees – Originally drafted by the Rockies in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft. Peter chose not to sign and attend the University of Miami. The following year in the 2012 draft, the Yankees drafted him in the 2nd round, 94th overall and he signed with the bombers. He’s a 6’3 righty catcher with power. He’s down in single A Charleston and tearing the covers off baseballs. He’s hitting a slash line of .333/.404/.640 with 11 homeruns and 41 RBI’s in 51 games. What’s also impressive is that he clubbed 22 doubles in that time.
Max Muncy, 1b, Oakland Athletics – Max was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 41st round of the 2009 draft coming out of high school. He chose not to sign and attend Baylor instead. Then in the 2012 draft, Max was selected in the 5th round by the Oakland A’s. Not an overly large first baseman, being only 6 foot but this kid has some power. There is one thing that sticks out to me from his rookie season last year at single A Burlington and this year at high A Stockton. In roughly about the same amount of games, in 2012 he hit 20 doubles and 4 HR’s. This season he’s translated that swing in a big way, hitting 9 doubles and a whopping 18 HR’s. Couple that with his .303/.422/.539 slash line and 61 RBI’s. But perhaps his best feature is the fact that he has more walks than strikeouts, 47:46 which is huge for a developing young ball player. Keeping my eye on this kid.
Anthony Ranaudo, P, Boston Red Sox – The first rounder from 2010 is making heads turn again. He struggled in 2012 with the Portland Sea Dogs posting a 6.69 ERA and basically walked everybody. This season he’s back at AA Portland and it seems that he’s adjusted quite nice. In 12 starts, Ranaudo posted a 2.12 ERA, only allowed 41 hits in 67 innings with a K:BB of 76:21. Looks like Boston has an ace in the making here and this dude is 6’7″. SIX SEVEN!
Rafael Montero, P, New York Mets – This kid amazes me. I think the Mets really have something in this arm. He hails from the Dominican Republic and signed with the Mets in 2010. What intrigues me is that he’s only walked 43 in 271.2 innings in his minor league career. In AA Binghamton, Montero posted a 2.43 ERA with a WHIP of .915 and a nice 9.7 K per 9. There is a reason why the Mets called him up to AAA Las Vegas and in 2 starts he’s pitched quite well. Don’t expect the Mets to call him to the majors just yet because of his innings but who knows, it’s baseball.
Opening day has arrived! Today is the first full scheduled Major League games, as yesterday the Houston Astros defeat the Texas Rangers 8-2 in their American League Debut at home. I couldn’t be anymore happier for Bo Porter, Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros. It was Bo’s first win as a manager and the 4,000th win for the franchise.
Here is a quick list of Opening Day standouts as there are many games still underway.
Justin Maxwell, HOU CF – Justin went 2 for 3 with one walk, 2 triples, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored for the mighty Astros.
Colin Cowgill, NYM CF/LF – Duuuude, the fan favorite “Reverse Cowgill” fantasy team name does more than humor the fantasy crowd. Colin smacked a grand salami going 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored en route to a Mets win over the Padres.
Bryce Harper, WSH LF – I cant wait to watch Harper highlights this year, I mean seriously though. Right off the bat (pun!), he hits 2 homeruns in his first 2 at bats? He becomes the youngest player in MLB history to do such a feat.
Stephen Strasburg, WSH SP – Doesn’t even give the Marlins a chance going 7 strong innings, giving up 3 hits, 0 walks and 3 K’s. MONEY.
Jackie Bradley JR, BOS LF – I love this kid. Totally bats his way into the starting lineup for the Sox. He may not of got a hit in his debut, but he did walk 3 times. The same amount of times Carl Crawford walked last year for the Red Sox.
Jeff Samardzija, ChC SP – Many predicted big things from the ex wide receiver this year for the Cubbies and he is currently tied for first in all the Majors in wins. He pitched a gem, tossing 8 innings with 1 BB, 2 hits and 9 K’s over the Pirates.
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brew crew topped the Rockies in the first extra inning game this season off a Jonathan Lucroy SAC fly.
There’s a ton more baseball to watch, including the first inter-league matchup ever between the Reds and Angels. Later!
Fresh off a thrilling 2012 season, we are about a few weeks into spring training. Perhaps no ballplayer is as thrilled to be in Arizona or Florida than a young kid looking to better their career and showcase their talents. I love seeing the raw talent that these guys have and to watch them grow and learn right in front of your eyes. Some go on to the bigs and do great things, while some completely fizzle out. That’s what the minors are there for, right? Aside from the few top standouts like Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Gerrit Cole or Oscar Taveras, here’s some prospects I’m looking forward to see in 2013 leaving me Fully Torqued.
Jackie Bradley, CF – Boston Red Sox picked Bradley in the 1st round 40th pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of South Carolina. In his first full season, Jackie topped out at AA Portland. Between high-A and AA, Bradley hit .315/.430/.482 with 42 doubles, 9 HR, 63 RBI’s, 24 steals in 124 games. Importantly is that he can take a walk, 87 last year. He’s not overly powerful but some of those doubles could turn into HR’s. It appears he doesn’t need much more time in the minors and will be with the Red Sox perhaps by the years end. It’s been said that he will be the guy to replace Jacoby Ellsbury after the season.
Archie Bradley, SP – I love this kid. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Bradley with the 7th overall pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft right out of high school. Big frame on this kid (6’4″/225lbs). He was a quarterback in high school and some say that he probably has the highest ceiling in the Diamondbacks organization. I believe it. He’s a work in progress as he has to adjust to the game a bit more. In 27 starts at single-A last season, Archie went 12-6 and owned a 3.84 ERA with 152 K’s in 136 innings. He needs to work a bit on his control, walking an alarming 84 batters. He keeps the ball in the park though and will likely start at high A ball this season.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B – The Houston Astros nailed in on the head nabbing Singleton from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade. In a full year (131 games) at AA Corpus Christi, Jonathan hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 HR’s and 79 RBI’s. He struck out an average of once per game but still walked 88 times. He is no doubt the franchise piece for the Astros for years to come at first base. If he hadn’t been caught with pot and being suspended 50 games, he might of seen the majors sooner. There is no need to rush him and I could see him winning the starting gig as soon as opening day 2014.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B – Perhaps the most underrated prospect on this small list. He owns a career .319/.385/.529 line in the minors and after crushing the ball in AAA last season, he doesn’t really have much left to prove. I’m hoping Jedd wins the second base job in San Diego and he sure deserves it. His defense is improving, as he was a third baseman by trade. But we know for now that Chase Headley isn’t going anywhere. Don’t expect him to hit that career minor league slash line he owns, but I can see him flirting around .280 in the majors. He doesn’t walk as much as I’d like but he’s still a fun player to watch.
There’s plenty of great young talent in baseball and this is only 4 of them. Check out MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list for 2013. It’s quite beautiful. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued.