Things sure seem to be falling into place for the Baltimore Orioles these days. Buck Showalter has the team just a half game out of first place in the very tight American League East. Scout Dave Jennings’ draft picks Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis and Xavier Avery all look to be top level MLB stars. Even Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy whom the team picked up from other MLB clubs are high level players in the league.
This brings us to the MLB draft and Jennings’ newest selection, Kevin Gausman. Gausman is not news to MLB. You may not know this but he was drafted out of high school by the L.A. Dodgers in the sixth round in 2010. However, he elected to go to college instead.
Of course he didn’t just go to college; he went to LSU of the SEC, playing for a team with a great history and a brutal schedule.
He was actually working out with minor league pitchers when he got the LSU offer and he didn’t blink an eye.
“I couldn’t imagine being in the Minor Leagues when I was 19. I was pretty immature and really didn’t know anything about pitching. And I didn’t have a pitching coach, so that was something that was huge. Continue reading
When you think of clutch hitting, you think of a team’s best player always having a knack for driving in runs when the game is on the line. Like David Ortiz always hitting a late inning home run when the Red Sox were winning their two World Series rings several years ago. Or the best player in baseball, Josh Hamilton, driving in runs to give the Rangers a late inning lead. Or David Freese hitting a huge home run and triple in Game 6 of the World Series last year. That was clutch!
The big question is are these players considered clutch, or is their specific performance considered clutch?
Technically, every player in baseball has shown a knack for performing under high stress situations on their way to becoming a major league player, so they all can be considered clutch at some point. But over the course of a season or career there is very little evidence to show that a player consistently outperforms his established level of ability in clutch situations. The evidence comes in the form of a statistic called Clutch. Continue reading
The Cubs front office has been preaching the importance of the MLB Draft for the past few weeks, and when Theo Epstein took over as President last fall his mandate was that the Cubs will be a consistent winner built from successful drafts and player development.
On Monday night, the Cubs took the first step towards fulfilling that mandate when the Cubs drafted Florida prep outfielder, Albert Almora with the sixth overall pick in the MLB draft. Long on the Cubs radar as Theo’s scouting department have watched Almora blossom with Team USA, having been named the MVP in the under-18 Pan Am Games this past summer.
When the Cubs were on the clock presumptive top pick Mark Appel, the power pitcher from Stanford, was still on the board and I had wondered if the Cubs had seen enough of the right hander to be swayed from taking their guy Almora in favor of the polished pitcher.
I would have liked to been in the Cubs war room when they were making their pick to see if Appel was considered, or if they had their mind made up when they woke up that morning. Continue reading