Tagged: Giants

DavidStearns

Official Trade Deadline Press Releases

Chronologically, in case you missed them, here are the official press releases sent out today by the Brewers regarding the two trades they made involving Will Smith, Jonathan Lucroy, and Jeremy Jeffress.

First, the trade that sent Smith to the San Francisco Giants.


BREWERS ACQUIRE PITCHING PROSPECT PHIL BICKFORD AND CATCHER ANDREW SUSAC FROM GIANTS

Left-Handed Pitcher Will Smith Headed to San Francisco

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Phil Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for left-handed pitcher Will Smith. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

Bickford, 21, was selected by San Francisco in the first round (18th overall) of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. He entered the 2016 season ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the Giants organization. He is currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the top prospect in their organization (65th overall in baseball), and appeared in this year’s All-Star Futures Game in San Diego.

Bickford this season went a combined 5-6 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts between Class-A Augusta (11 GS, 3-4, 2.70 ERA) and Class-A San Jose (6 GS, 2-2, 2.73 ERA). He has held opponents to a .208 batting average (70-for-336, 5 HR) with 105 strikeouts in 93.0 innings pitched. He made his professional debut last season, going 0-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts with the Rookie Arizona Giants. He produced 32 strikeouts in just 22.1 innings pitched as he held opponents to a .169 batting average (13-for-77, 0 HR).

Susac, 26, was batting .273 (57-for-209) with 8 HR and 36 RBI in 58 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season. He has Major League experience with the Giants, batting .240 (53-for-221) with 6 HR and 33 RBI in 87 games from 2014-15. Selected by San Francisco in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Susac was a member of the 2014 world champion Giants.

Smith, 27, was acquired by Milwaukee from Kansas City on December 5, 2013 in exchange for outfielder Norichika Aoki. He went 9-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 1 save in 181 relief appearances as a Brewer, including 1-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 27 outings this season.


 

And the trade with Texas…

BREWERS ACQUIRE TWO HIGHLY-TOUTED PROSPECTS FROM THE RANGERS

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Right-Handed Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress Headed to Texas

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Lewis Brinson, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz and a player to be named from the Texas Rangers in exchange for catcherJonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“While it is extremely difficult to part with players the caliber of Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress, we are excited to add more young and talented players to the organization as we continue to build toward future winning seasons in Milwaukee,” said Stearns.

Stearns added, “We would like to thank Jonathan for his seven years of not only All-Star play on the field, but for the leadership and dedication that he and his wife, Sarah, displayed throughout the community. We also would like to thank Jeremy for his contributions to the Brewers, particularly his admirable work as a first-time closer this season.”

Brinson, 22, entered the 2016 season ranked by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com as the second-best prospect in the Rangers organization. He is currently ranked 30th and 21st, respectively, in all of baseball by those outlets.

Brinson was selected by Texas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .237 (72-for-304) with 11 HR, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 77 games at Double-A Frisco this season.

Ortiz, 20, entered the 2016 season ranked by Baseball America as the fourth-best prospect in the Rangers organization. He entered this season ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the fifth-best prospect in their organization and currently ranks third. He is currently ranked 74th and 63rd, respectively, in all of baseball by those outlets.

Ortiz was selected by Texas in the first round (30th overall) of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He went 4-6 with 3.48 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) between Class-A High Desert (7g, 6gs, 3-2, 2.60era) and Double-A Frisco (9g, 8gs, 1-4, 4.08era).

Lucroy, 30, batted .284 with 79 HR and 387 RBI in 805 games during seven seasons with the Brewers (2010-16), including .299 (101-for-338) with 13 HR and 50 RBI in 95 games this season. The two-time All-Star (2014 and 2016) was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Jeffress, 28, returned to the Brewers in 2014 and has gone 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 27 saves (all this season) in 148 relief appearances during that stretch. He was originally selected by Milwaukee in the first round (16th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” Rankings Entering 2016

Each year I compile MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” which airs annually before the regular season begins.

Beginning in 2014, I decided to supplement those rankings by giving you a place to find all of the Top 10 Right Now positional rankings as well. I continued that last year with the 2015 rankings.

I’ll add to this post as the episodes air on MLB Network over the next few weeks.

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, the rankings for both Centerfielders and Shortstops were revealed. With January 21st came First Basemen and Starting Pitchers. On January 28th we’ll get Third Basemen and Left Fielders. February 4th and February 11th will reveal the remaining positions of Second Baseman, Right Fielders, Catchers, and Relief Pitchers.


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Centerfielders Right Now”

  1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  2. A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
  4. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Jason Heyward – Chicago Cubs
  6. Adam Eaton – Chicago White Sox
  7. Kevin Kiermaier – Tampa Bay Rays
  8. Randal Grichuk – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Carlos Gomez – Houston Astros
  10. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Centerfielders is Eric Byrnes. On the CF show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of two of the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Trout, McCutchen, Cain, Pollock, Jones, Heyward, Gomez, Joc Pederson (LAD), Kiermaier, Eaton

Byrnes: Trout, McCutchen, Pollock, Cain, Jones, Jackie Bradley, Jr. (BOS), Heyward, Kiermaier, Kevin Pillar (TOR), Eaton

James: Trout, McCutchen, Pollock, Jones, Heyward, Cain, Kiermaier, Eaton, Charlie Blackmon (COL), Gomez

Gennaro: Trout, McCutchen, Pollock, Cain, Eaton, Heyward, Bradley Jr., Kiermaier, Jones, Grichuk


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Shortstops Right Now”

  1. Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
  2. Troy Tulowitzki – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
  4. Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
  5. Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
  7. Addison Russell – Chicago Cubs
  8. Marcus Semien – Oakland Athletics
  9. Andrelton Simmons – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  10. Didi Gregorius – New York Yankees

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Shortstops is Bill Ripken. On the SS show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Correa, Crawford, Tulowitzki, Bogaerts, Simmons, Peralta, Corey Seager (LAD), Lindor, Erick Aybar (ATL), Gregorius

Ripken: Crawford,  Correa, Tulowitzki, Lindor, Russell, Bogaerts, Ian Desmond (free agent), Seager, Peralta, Simmons

James: Correa, Bogaerts, Tulowitzki, Lindor, Simmons, Andrus, Desmond, Crawford, Cabrera, Jose Reyes (COL)

Gennaro: Correa, Lindor, Crawford, Bogaerts, Simmons, Tulowitzki, Seager, Adienny Hechavarria (MIA), Russell, Peralta

Petriello: Correa, Crawford, Bogaerts, Lindor, Tulowitzki, Simmons, Seager, Russell, Peralta, Gregorius


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 First Basemen Right Now”

  1. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
  3. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  4. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
  5. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays
  6. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
  7. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  8. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
  9. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Brandon Belt – San Francisco Giants

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the First Basemen is Carlos Peña. On the 1B show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Goldschmidt, Votto, Cabrera, Rizzo, Abreu, Encarnacion, Freeman, Gonzalez, Davis, Belt

Peña: Goldschmidt, Cabrera, Abreu, Rizzo, Encarnacion, Votto, Eric Hosmer (KC), Gonzalez, Davis, Albert Pujols (LAA)

James: Goldschmidt, Cabrera, Rizzo, Votto, Encarnacion, Davis, Freeman, Hosmer, Gonzalez, Abreu

Gennaro: Goldschmidt, Votto, Rizzo, Cabrera, Encarnacion, Davis, Freeman, Hosmer, Belt, Abreu

Petriello: Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Votto, Cabrera, Encarnacion, Davis, Abreu, Freeman, Gonzalez, Hosmer


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Staring Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs
  3. Zack Greinke – Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. David Price – Boston Red Sox
  5. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
  6. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
  7. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians
  8. Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
  9. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  10. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
**Note: Jose Fernandez does not have enough innings pitched over the last two seasons to qualify for the Shredder’s list.

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Starting Pitchers is John Smoltz. On the SP show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kershaw, Arrieta, Greinke, Sale, Scherzer, Keuchel, Jose Fernandez (MIA), Jacob deGrom (NYM), Wainwright, Matt Harvey (NYM)

Smoltz: Kershaw, Arrieta, Scherzer, Keuchel, Greinke, Price, Madison Bumgarner (SF), deGrom, Sale, Harvey

James: Kershaw, Greinke, Scherzer, Arrieta, Bumgarner, Price, Sale, Kluber, Jon Lester (CHC), Cole Hamels (TEX)

Gennaro: Kershaw, Greinke, Arrieta, Sale, Bumgarner, Fernandez, Gerrit Cole (PIT), Keuchel, Carlos Carrasco (CLE), Scherzer

Petriello: Kershaw, Greinke, Arrieta, Sale, Keuchel, Scherzer, deGrom, Price, Cole, Fernandez


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”

  1. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
  3. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  4. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
  5. Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
  7. Jung Ho Kang – Pittsburgh Pirates
  8. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
  10. Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Third Basemen is Mike Lowell. On the 3B show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Donaldson, Bryant, Machado, Beltre, Arenado, Carpenter, Seager, Matt Duffy (SF), David Wright (NYM), Frazier

Lowell: Donaldson, Arenado, Machado, Bryant, Carpenter, Frazier, Beltre, Seager, Mike Moustakas (KC), Evan Longoria (TB)

Vince Gennaro (President of SABR): Donaldson, Arenado, Machado, Bryant, Carpenter, Frazier, Beltre, Duffy, Moustakas, Kang

Bill James: Donaldson, Arenado, Machado, Bryant, Carpenter, Seager, Longoria, Beltre, Frazier, Duffy

Mike Petriello: Donaldson, Machado, Arenado, Bryant, Carpenter, Beltre, Seager, Moustakas, Duffy, Longoria

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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now”

  1. Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians
  2. Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Justin Upton – Detroit Tigers
  4. Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets
  5. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
  6. David Peralta – Arizona Diamondbacks
  7. Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins
  8. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Corey Dickerson – Tampa Bay Rays (traded from COL 1/28)
  10. Brett Gardner – New York Yankees

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Left Fielders is Cliff Floyd. On the LF show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Marte, Gordon, Upton, Cespedes, Brantley, Holliday, Gardner, Peralta, Kyle Schwarber (CHC), Yelich

Floyd: Cespedes, Upton, Brantley, Marte, Gordon, Peralta, Schwarber, Khris Davis (MIL), Yelich, Gardner

James: Upton, Brantley, Cespedes, Marte, Peralta, Melky Cabrera (CHW), Gardner, Yelich, Gordon, Colby Rasmus (HOU)

Gennaro: Brantley, Gordon, Cespedes, Holliday, Peralta, Upton, Schwarber, Yelich, Marte, Gardner

Petriello: Cespedes, Gordon, Marte, Upton, Michael Conforto (NYM), Schwarber, Yelich, Brantley, Holliday, Peralta

Also, for what it’s worth, Brian Kenny said that Khris Davis “just, just missed” his Top 10.



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Relief Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals
  2. Dellin Betances – New York Yankees
  3. Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
  4. Andrew Miller – New York Yankees
  5. Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
  6. Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Ken Giles – Houston Astros
  8. Tony Watson – Pittsburgh Pirates
  9. Darren O’Day – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Relief Pitchers is Dan Plesac. On the RP show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Davis, Betances, Chapman, Giles, Miller, Kimbrel, Melancon, Britton, Watson, O’Day

Plesac: Davis, Chapman, Betances, Miller, Jeurys Familia (NYM), Britton, Kimbrel, Melancon, Kenley Jansen (LAD), Trevor Rosenthal (STL)

James: Davis, Kimbrel, Chapman, Rosenthal, Melancon, Betances, Giles, Miller, Familia, Allen

Gennaro: Britton, Jansen, Miller, Chapman, Allen, Betances, O’Day, Giles, Davis, Familia

Petriello: Chapman, Davis, Jansen, Kimbrel, Britton, Miller, Betances, Allen, Familia, Melancon


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now”

  1. Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
  2. Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners
  3. Joe Panik – San Francisco Giants
  4. Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
  5. Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh Pirates
  6. Ben Zobrist – Chicago Cubs
  7. Neil Walker – New York Mets
  8. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  9. Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins
  10. Logan Forsythe – Tampa Bay Rays

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Second Basemen is Harold Reynolds. They also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cano, Altuve, Zobrist, Jason Kipnis (CLE), Kinsler, Walker, Gordon, Pedroia, Brian Dozier (MIN), Howie Kendrick (LAD)

Reynolds: Cano, Altuve, Kinsler, Pedroia, Brandon Phillips (CIN), Gordon, Dozier, Zobrist,  Rougned Odor (TEX), Walker

James: Altuve, Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, Forsythe, Dozier, Gordon, Kipnis, Walker, Zobrist

Gennaro: Kipnis, Altuve, Panik, Kinsler, Gordon, Pedroia, Zobrist, D.J. LeMahieu (COL), Cano, Kolten Wong (STL)

Petriello: Altuve, Cano, Kipnis, Gordon, Zobrist, Kinsler, Pedroia, Panik, Walker, Odor



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”

  1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  2. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. JONATHAN LUCROY – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

  4. Francisco Cervelli – Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Stephen Vogt – Oakland A’s
  6. Brian McCann – New York Yankees
  7. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  8. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  9. Derek Norris – San Diego Padres
  10. Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias.

Each episode will also provide at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers is Dave Valle. They also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Posey, Martin, LUCROY, Perez, Molina, Vogt, d’Arnaud, McCann, Cervelli, Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

Valle: Posey, Molina, Perez, Martin, LUCROY, Grandal, McCann, d’Arnaud, Jason Castro (HOU), Vogt

James: Posey, Perez, McCann, Martin, Molina, LUCROY, Miguel Montero (CHC), Norris, Vogt, Cervelli

Gennaro: Posey, Molina, Martin, Grandal, LUCROY, d’Arnaud, Cervelli, Montero, Vogt, Perez

Petriello: Posey, Martin, Grandal, Cervelli, McCann, Perez, Yan Gomes (CLE), Molina, LUCROY, d’Arnaud


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now”

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias.

Each episode will also provide at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Right Fielders is Eric Byrnes. They also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

  1. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
  2. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
  3. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox
  5. J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers
  6. Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
  7. George Springer – Houston Astros
  8. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
  9. Miguel Sano – Minnesota Twins
  10. RYAN BRAUN – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Kenny: Harper, Stanton, Bautista, Betts, Martinez, Sano, Springer, Hunter Pence (SF), Cruz, Shin-Soo Choo (TEX)

Byrnes: Harper, Stanton, Bautista, Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Martinez, Springer, Curtis Granderson (NYM), Betts, Pence, Cruz

James: Harper, Bautista, Stanton, Betts, Martinez, Cruz, BRAUN, Gonzalez, Kemp, Jay Bruce (CIN)

Gennaro: Harper, Bautista, Stanton, Cruz, Martinez, Granderson, Betts, Gonzalez, Springer, Pence

Petriello: Harper, Stanton, Bautista, Cruz, Betts, Springer, Sano, Choo, Gonzalez, Martinez

MLB Network’s Top 100 Players Right Now Entering 2015

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As I did last year, and the year before, and the year before that, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.

They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Friday, February 27th. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.

As always, I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. The Brewers had six players on the list entering 2012. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9. Entering 2013, the Brewers only had three players featured on the list (at the time it was revealed). Yovani Gallardo repeated his position at 72, Aramis Ramirez jumped all the way up to 32, and Braun settled in at 6. Kyle Lohse made last year’s list as well. As for 2014, just three players once again. Jean Segura checked in at 60, Carlos Gomez debuted at 44, and Ryan Braun dipped to 24.

The criteria for the list remains the same:

  • Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2014
  • Projected 2015 performance
  • Defensive position
  • Accolades
  • Intangibles

Here now are the Top 100-1* Players as listed by MLB Network:

100. Joe Mauer – 1B – Minnesota Twins

99. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

98. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers

97. Prince Fielder – 1B – Texas Rangers

96. Yordano Ventura – RP – Kansas City Royals

95. Pablo Sandoval – 3B – Boston Red Sox

94. Ben Zobrist – 2B – Oakland Athletics

93. Adam Eaton – OF – Chicago White Sox

92. Gerrit Cole – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates

91. Devin Mesoraco – C – Cincinnati Reds

90. Russell Martin – C – Toronto Blue Jays

89. Jake Arrieta – SP – Chicago Cubs

88. Lance Lynn – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

87. Kenley Jansen – CL – Los Angeles Dodgers

86. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

85. Andrelton Simmons – SS – Atlanta Braves

84. Nolan Arenado – 3B – Colorado Rockies

83. Chris Carter – 1B – Houston Astros

82. Jeff Samardzija – SP – Chicago White Sox

81. Starling Marte – LF – Pittsburgh Pirates

80. Jose Fernandez – SP – Miami Marlins

79. Christian Yelich – LF – Miami Marlins

78. Julio Teheran – SP – Atlanta Braves

77. Alex Cobb – SP – Tampa Bay Rays

76. Jayson Werth – LF – Washington Nationals

75. J.D. Martinez – RF – Detroit Tigers

74. Todd Frazier – 3B – Cincinnati Reds

73. Neil Walker – 2B – Pittsburgh Pirates

72. Carlos Santana – 1B – Cleveland Indians

71. Salvador Perez – C – Kansas City Royals

70. Sonny Gray – SP – Oakland Athletics

69. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals

68. Doug Fister – SP – Washington Nationals

67. Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves

66. Nelson Cruz – DH – Seattle Mariners

65. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals

64. Josh Harrison – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates

63. Ryan Braun – RF – Milwaukee Brewers

62. Yasiel Puig – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers

61. Aroldis Chapman – CL – Cincinnati Reds

60. Matt Harvey – SP – New York Mets

59. Masahiro Tanaka – SP – New York Yankees

58. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers

57. Kyle Seager – 3B – Seattle Mariners

56. Yan Gomes – C – Cleveland Indians

55. Matt Kemp – RF – San Diego Padres

54. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – New York Yankees

53. Anthony Rizzo – 1B – Chicago Cubs

52. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox

51. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

50. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

49. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays

48. Hunter Pence – RF – San Francisco Giants

47. Hisashi Iwakuma – SP – Seattle Mariners

46. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals

45. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers

44. Jason Heyward – RF – St. Louis Cardinals

43. Jon Lester – SP – Chicago Cubs

42. Carlos Gonzalez – RF – Colorado Rockies

41. Jhonny Peralta – SS – St. Louis Cardinals

40. Greg Holland – CL – Kansas City Royals

39. Wade Davis – RP – Kansas City Royals

38. Carlos Gomez – CF – Milwaukee Brewers

37. Justin Upton – LF – San Diego Padres

36. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox

35. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals

34. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves

33. Victor Martinez – DH – Detroit Tigers

32. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds

31. Anthony Rendon – 3B – Washington Nationals

30. Jose Altuve – 2B – Houston Astros

29. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals

28. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

27. Hanley Ramirez – LF – Boston Red Sox

26. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants

25. David Price – SP – Detroit Tigers

24. Bryce Harper – RF – Washington Nationals

23. Jonathan Lucroy – C – Milwaukee Brewers

22. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles

21. Michael Brantley – LF – Cleveland Indians

20. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers

19. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals

18. Josh Donaldson – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays

17. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies

16. Johnny Cueto – SP – Cincinnati Reds

15. Corey Kluber – SP – Cleveland Indians

14. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

13. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – Arizona Diamondbacks

12. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays

11. Max Scherzer – SP – Washington Nationals

10. Robinson Cano – 2B – Seattle Mariners

9. Jose Abreu – 1B – Chicago White Sox

8. Buster Posey – C/1B – San Francisco Giants

7. Miguel Cabrera – 1B – Detroit Tigers

6. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates

5. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox

4. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins

3. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners

2. Mike Trout – CF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

Ryan Braun has been revealed as the 63rd best player in Major League Baseball “Right Now” entering 2015. As the criteria for the rankings weights 2014 the most and pretty much only relies on the last three years of stats at all, this is an understandable position for Braun right now. I have a feeling though that at this time next year Braun will have rebounded a bit.

Carlos Gomez moves up six spots from 44 last year to check in at 38. I’d rather have Gomez than Justin Upton at 37.

And due to a Twitter tease, we know (or at least Brewers fans do) that Jonathan Lucroy will be number 23 when they get there.

I’ll update more once I see who is around the Brewers, but that’s the only three I expect to make the list.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” Rankings Entering 2015

Each year I compile MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” which airs annually before the regular season begins.

Beginning last year, I decided to supplement those rankings by giving you a place to find all of the Top 10 Right Now positional rankings as well.

I’ll add to this post as the episodes air on MLB Network over the next few weeks.

On Thursday, January 15, 2015 the rankings for both Centerfielders and Shortstops were revealed. January 22nd had both Right Fielders and Left Fielders. Starting Pitchers and First Basemen will be revealed on January 29th. Lists for Relief Pitchers and Second Basemen came on February 5. Catchers and Third Baseman round things out on February 12.


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Centerfielders Right Now”

  1. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  2. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  3. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. CARLOS GOMEZ – MILWAUKE BREWERS
  5. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
  6. Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees
  7. Adam Eaton – Chicago White Sox
  8. A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
  9. Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
  10. Denard Span – Washington Nationals

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Centerfielders was Darryl Hamilton. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Trout, McCutchen, Puig, 4. GOMEZ, Jones, Ellsbury, Cain, Pollock, Eaton, Leonys Martin (TEX)

Hamilton: McCutchen, Trout, 3. GOMEZ, Puig, Jones, Ellsbury, Eaton, Cain, Marcell Ozuna (MIA), Span


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Shortstops Right Now”

  1. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
  2. Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Ian Desmond – Washington Nationals
  4. Jose Reyes – Toronto Blue Jays
  5.  J.J. Hardy – Baltimore Orioles
  6. Jordy Mercer – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Erick Aybar – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  8. Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox
  9. Jed Lowrie – Houston Astros
  10. Andrelton Simmons – Atlanta Braves

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Shortstops is Bill Ripken. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Tulowitzki, Peralta, Reyes, Simmons, Desmond, Brandon Crawford (SF), Hardy, Jimmy Rollins (LAD), Starlin Castro (CHC), Aybar

Ripken: Tulowitzki, Desmond, Hardy, Simmons, Castro, Crawford, Peralta, Ramirez, Aybar, Rollins


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now”

  1. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
  2. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
  4. Jason Heyward – St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Michael Cuddyer – New York Mets
  6. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
  7. Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
  8. Brandon Moss – Cleveland Indians
  9. Matt Kemp – San Diego Padres
  10. J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Right Fielders is Cliff Floyd Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Stanton, Bautista, Harper, Heyward, Kemp, 6. RYAN BRAUN (MIL), Shin-Soo Choo (TEX), Pence, George Springer (HOU), Gonzalez

Floyd: Stanton, Bautista, Kemp, Harper, Moss, Martinez, Pence, Kole Calhoun (LAA), Heyward, 10. BRAUN


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now”

  1. Hanley Ramirez – Boston Red Sox
  2. Jayson Werth – Washington Nationals
  3. Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians
  4. Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
  6. Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
  7. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  8. Corey Dickerson – Colorado Rockies
  9. Justin Upton – San Diego Padres
  10. Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Left Fielders is Eric Byrnes Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Gordon, Marte, Brantley, Werth, Upton, Ramirez, Holliday, Brett Gardner (NYY), Cruz, Melky Cabrera (CHW)

Byrnes: Brantley, Upton, Werth, Gordon, Holliday, Marte, Cruz, Dickerson, Ramirez, Yoenis Cespedes (DET)


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Staring Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  3. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
  4. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
  6. Johnny Cueto – Cincinnati Reds
  7. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians
  8. David Price – Detroit Tigers
  9. Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
  10. Jordan Zimmermann – Washington Nationals

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Starting Pitchers is John Smoltz Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kershaw, Hernandez, Sale, Scherzer, Wainwright, Kluber, Cueto, Yu Darvish (TEX), Jon Lester (CHC), Anibal Sanchez (DET)

Smoltz: Kershaw, Sale, Bumgarner, Scherzer, Hernandez, Cueto, Lester, Wainwright, Price, Kluber


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 First Basemen Right Now”

  1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  2. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
  4. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
  5. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
  6. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays
  7. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
  8. Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox
  9. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  10. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the First Basemen is Carlos Peña. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Goldschmidt, Cabrerea, Abreu, Votto, Rizzo, Freeman, Gonzalez, Encarnacion, Santana, Prince Fielder (TEX)

Peña: Cabrera, Goldschmidt, Abreu, Encarnacion, Gonzalez, Albert Pujols (LAA), Justin Morneau (COL), Votto, Freeman, Rizzo



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Relief Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals
  2. Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals
  3. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
  4. Dellin Betances – New York Yankees
  5. Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres
  6. Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
  7. Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates
  8. Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox
  9. Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Tony Watson – Pittsburgh Pirates

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Relief Pitchers is Dan Plesac. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kimbrel, Holland, Chapman, Betances, Davis, Uehara, Huston Street (LAA), Steve Cishek (MIA), Kenley Jansen (LAD), Andrew Miller (NYY)

Plesac: Kimbrel, Chapman, Betances, Davis, Holland, Jansen, David Robertson (CHW), Britton, Street, Uehara



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now”

  1. Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners
  2. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  3. Ben Zobrist – Oakland Athletics
  4. Neil Walker – Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
  6. Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
  7. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Dodgers
  8. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
  9. Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins
  10. SCOOTER GENNETT – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Second Basemen is Harold Reynolds. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cano, Altuve, Walker, Utley, Zobrist, Kinsler, Pedroia, Kendrick, Dozier, Jason Kipnis (CLE)

Reynolds: Cano, Pedroia, Altuve, Kinsler, Kendrick, Brandon Phillips (CIN), Dozier, Dee Gordon (MIA), Omar Infante (KC) , Kolten Wong (STL)


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”

  1. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  2. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh Pirates
  4. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
  5. David Wright – New York Mets
  6. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
  7. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  8. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  9. Juan Uribe – Los Angeles Dodgers
  10. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Third Basemen is Mike Lowell. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Beltre, Donaldson, Wright, Longoria, Rendon, Carpenter, Seager, Todd Frazier (CIN), Arenado, Manny Machado (BAL)

Lowell: Beltre, Donaldson, Rendon, Wright, Longoria, Harrison, Arenado, Seager, Carpenter, Pablo Sandoval (BOS)



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”

  1. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  2. JONATHAN LUCROY – MILWAUKEE BREWERS
  3. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Yan Gomes – Cleveland Indians
  5. Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
  6. Devin Mesoraco – Cincinnati Reds
  7. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  8. Brian McCann – New York Yankees
  9. Derek Norris – San Diego Padres
  10. Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers is Dave Valle. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Posey, Molina, Lucroy, Martin, Perez, Mesoraco, Gomez, Carlos Ruiz (PHI), McCann, Norris

Valle: Molina, Posey, Perez, Lucroy, Martin, Gomez, Mesoraco, McCann, Ramos, Mike Zunino (SEA)

So there you have it. All 10 positions worth ranking in MLB by the Shredder and the MLB Network personalities.

There were five Brewers among the 100 names listed by The Shredder in 2014. They were: Carlos Gomez (CF, 6th), Jean Segura (SS, 5th), Ryan Braun (RF, 2nd), Aramis Ramirez (3B, 7th), and Jonathan Lucroy (C, 6th).

Which Brewers will be ranked by The Shredder heading in 2015? Turns out fans in Milwaukee get three this year. Carlos Gomez (CF, 4th), Scooter Gennett (2B, 10th), and Jonathan Lucroy (C, 2nd).

Brewers 2015 Cactus League Schedule Released

Here’s the 2015 Spring Training schedule! Cactus League action, come for the scorpion stings, stay for the cactus spines in your foot!

Below is the official press release with all of the dates/times/opponents.

Here are the quick hit highlights:

  • P&C (and my annual viewing of the movie Major League) is officially set for Friday, February 20th
  • Position players must report by Wednesday, February 25th
  • Open with an exhibition against the UW-Milwaukee Panthers baseball team
  • Gone is the traditional Maryvale opener against the Oakland Athletics. (Related to the Nashville Sounds re-affiliation?)
  • No Miller Park exhibitions in 2015

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the team’s 2015 Spring Training schedule, which consists of 31 Cactus League games, including 16 at Maryvale Baseball Park.

The Brewers will open the spring schedule on Wednesday, March 4, against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team at Maryvale Baseball Park. This will mark the first time the Brewers will face a collegiate team in an exhibition game since 1983 when they played the Arizona State University men’s baseball team. It will also mark the first-ever contest between the Brewers and the Panthers.

The Brewers will host their National League Central rival Chicago Cubs on Saturday, March 14. The spring slate includes one scheduled split squad date on Sunday, March 15 vs. the Oakland Athletics at Maryvale Baseball Park and also against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Following an off day on Monday, March 16 – the first of two off days (also off on Monday, March 30) – the Brewers will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a game against the San Diego Padres in Peoria on Tuesday, March 17.

The Brewers will play three night games this spring. They include Friday, March 13 against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex (7:05 p.m. local start time); Tuesday, March 24 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Talking Stick (6:40 p.m.); and Friday, March 27 with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. All other spring games are day games, most of which will begin at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time (the games on Thursday, April 2 and Saturday, April 4 will begin at 12:05 p.m.).

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training on Friday, February 20. All position players have a report date of Wednesday, February 25. The first full workout is scheduled for Thursday, February 26.

Tickets for the Milwaukee Brewers’ home Spring Training games will go on sale at 9 a.m. CT on Monday, December 8 at Brewers.com and by phone at 800-933-7890. Normal business hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT. Sales at the Maryvale Baseball Park Box Office will begin on Monday, February 9, 2015. Tickets are available in four seating areas: Field Box ($23), Infield Reserved ($17), Outfield Reserved ($13) and Lawn Seating ($8). In addition, there will also be a limited number of advanced parking passes available for $5.  Information on Spring Training Season Tickets can be obtained by calling the Milwaukee Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000.

Please note that games and times are subject to change. (Home games are in bold.)

Date     Time (CT)     Opponent     Location

Wednesday, March 4

2:05pm – UW-Milwaukee – Maryvale

Thursday, March 5

2:05pm – LA Angels of Anaheim – Tempe

Friday, March 6

2:05 pm – Los Angeles Dodgers – Maryvale

Saturday, March 7

2:05 pm – Texas Rangers – Maryvale

                DAYLIGHT-SAVING TIME BEGINS MARCH 8

Sunday, March 8

3:05 pm – Los Angeles Dodgers – Camelback Ranch

Monday, March 9

3:05 pm – Kansas City Royals – Maryvale

Tuesday, March 10

3:05 pm – Cincinnati Reds – Maryvale

Wednesday, March 11

3:05 pm – San Francisco Giants – Scottsdale

Thursday, March 12

3:05 pm – Colorado Rockies – Maryvale

Friday, March 13

9:05 pm – Seattle Mariners – Peoria

Saturday, March 14

3:05 pm – Chicago Cubs – Maryvale

Sunday, March 15

3:05 pm – Oakland Athletics – Maryvale – SPLIT-SQUAD

3:05 pm – Texas Rangers – Surprise – SPLIT-SQUAD

Monday, March 16

OFF DAY

Tuesday, March 17

3:05 p.m – San Diego Padres – Peoria

Wednesday, March 18

3:05 pm – Kansas City Royals – Surprise

Thursday, March 19

3:05 pm – San Francisco Giants – Maryvale

Friday, March 20

3:05 pm – Arizona Diamondbacks – Maryvale

Saturday, March 21

3:05 pm – Texas Rangers – Surprise

Sunday, March 22

3:05 pm – Chicago White Sox – Maryvale

Monday, March 23

3:05 pm – Colorado Rockies – Talking Stick

Tuesday, March 24

8:40 pm – Arizona Diamondbacks – Talking Stick

Wednesday, March 25

3:05 pm – Oakland Athletics – Maryvale

Thursday, March 26

3:05 pm – Seattle Mariners – Maryvale

Friday, March 27

9:05 pm – Cincinnati Reds – Goodyear

Saturday, March 28

3:05 pm – Cleveland Indians – Maryvale

Sunday, March 29

3:05 pm – Oakland Athletics – Mesa

Monday, March 30

OFF DAY

Tuesday, March 31

3:05 pm – Cincinnati Reds – Maryvale

Wednesday, April 1

3:05 pm – Chicago Cubs – Mesa

Thursday, April 2

2:05 pm – San Diego Padres – Peoria

Friday, April 3

3:05 pm – Cleveland Indians – Goodyear

Saturday, April 4

2:05 pm – Cleveland Indians – Maryvale

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Why I’m Rooting For the American League

Let’s get this out of the way at the top. Thank you, San Francisco Giants! Thank you, NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner. Thank you, Hunter Pence. Thank you, Santiago Casilla. Thank you, Pablo Sandoval. Thank you, Yusmeiro Petit. Thank you (and congrats), Tim Hudson. Thank you even to Buster Posey.

Thank you, Michael Morse for tying that one game.

Thank you, Travis Ishikawa for walking the birds off the field.

I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today without the efforts and success of the San Francisco Giants. You can drop the #EvenYear hashtag on social media. You can thank a blossomed ace in Bumgarner. You can shower praise on Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff. It’s all deserved. It’s all warranted. “THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT!”

And as happy as I am today that the senior circuit representative in this year’s Fall Classic plays its home games outside the state of Missouri, my desire for Giant victories ended when that ball left Ishikawa’s bat.

So why am I rooting against them starting tonight? I like the Giants just fine. I like most of their players. Only Angel Pagan really gets my dander up, and he’ll miss this series with injury anyway. So this isn’t about the Giants.

As far as leagues go, I absolutely prefer the National League game to that of its younger brother. The Designated Hitter should be done away with (though I realize it never will be). The strategy and timing of the NL game makes for a beautiful, and sometimes sickening, dance where decisions feel like they loom larger. You can’t always just pitch a guy until he’s done. Maybe you have to lift a pitcher early because of a key offensive spot. Maybe you try to stretch a guy farther because his spot is due up next half inning. Et cetera. There is so much more that goes into it. It’s more interesting and more fun, in my ever so humble opinion.

I’m a stump for the NL way of life. My team plays in the National League, for what that’s worth.

So, again, I ask: Why am I rooting against the Giants?

Well, to be fair it’s about rooting for Kansas City more than it is about rooting against San Francisco.

Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Norichika Aoki. All former Brewers. All good guys who I enjoy watching succeed. But pulling for the Royals is deeper than just that connection. Doug Henry and Dale Sveum. Both former Brewers. Both members of KC’s coaching staff. I like that, and personally like Sveum as a coach, but certainly wouldn’t use that as a reason to cheer for one team over another. Ned? Not even a little bit.

So instead of continuing to tell you why I’m not rooting for them, even though they are fine reasons should you choose to use them, here’s why I am.

I look at the 2014 Kansas City Royals and I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.

It’s not a perfect 1:1 on the field, of course, but the similarities even at that micro level are interesting. It’s more about how they go about their business on the field, the lights out bullpen, trading away young and controllable talent for a shot at the brass ring, the payoff of a long-term plan. You can take it one step farther and compare to 2008 in Milwaukee where the Brewers faltered down the stretch while trying to hold off other teams for the Wild Card. In 2008 there was only the one Wild Card spot available, but the Brewers held off the Mets to win it by just one game. In 2014, Kansas City got the home game by just one game over Oakland (who held off Seattle by just one game).

Kansas City rode years of awfulness to amass a bunch of young talent in their system. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon (drafted the same year as, and ahead of, Ryan Braun, by the way), Wil Myers, the list goes on. In fact, you could almost mark the 2005 draft which got the Brewers the final “homegrown” piece to their playoff runs in Braun as the start of the Royals turnaround. In that way, they’ve been a few years behind the Brewers’ blueprint. Get a bunch of young, talented guys in the system with a goal to hit the Majors at roughly the same time, supplement with free agents, and when the moment is right, make a big trade (or two) at the big league level by sending out minor leaguers to go for it.

Let’s break that down, in case you aren’t agreeing with me.

Milwaukee: Drafted Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun. Traded away Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley (and more)) for CC Sabathia in 2008. Traded away Cain, Escobar, Jake Odorizzi (and more) for Zack Greinke in 2011. Traded Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum in 2011. Supplemented with veterans: 2011 -Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell, Jerry Hairston, Takashi Saito. 2008 – Gabe Kapler, Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, Ray Durham, (ironically) Counsell.

Kansas City: Drafted Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, Billy Butler, Greg Holland. They scouted international amateurs like Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, Yordano Ventura. Traded away Zack Greinke to acquire several young pieces. Flipped Odorizzi with Wil Myers to acquire James Shields and Wade Davis. Supplemented with veterans like Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Josh Willingham, and Jason Frasor.

I think I’ve made my point.

Their offensive games differ, to be sure, as the Brewers hit home runs at a great pace in 2011 and the Royals are more about speed and getting hits that raise the ol’ BABIP. But the rotations were similarly solid from top to bottom, but the real crux of what sent me down this comparison exercise are the late inning relievers.

2011 Brewers:

  • Closer: John Axford (1.95 ERA / 2.41 FIP / 46 saves / 1.140 WHIP / 10.5 K/9)
  • Setup man: Francisco Rodriguez (1.86 ERA / 2.23 FIP / 1.138 WHIP / 10.2 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: LaTroy Hawkins / Takashi Saito (Combined: 2.28 ERA / 1.200 WHIP / 6.1 K/9)
    • (the Brewers used two veterans so as to keep them fresh)

2014 Royals:

  • Closer: Greg Holland (1.44 ERA / 1.83 FIP / 46 saves / 0.914 WHIP / 13.0 K/9)
  • Setup man: Wade Davis (1.00 ERA / 1.19 FIP / 0.847 WHIP / 13.6 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: Kelvin Herrera (1.41 ERA / 2.69 FIP / 1.143 WHIP / 7.6 K/9)

Six inning games are easier to win than nine inning games. Both of these teams had/have that game-shortening bullpen that general managers are yearning to cobble together each and every off-season.

I won’t lie to you though. The former Brewers being on the Royals certainly helps me root for them. In fact, it led to a series of tweets (@BrewerNation) with commentary how the team with the most former Brewers on it was winning every series (and even every game for a while) in the 2014 Postseason.

Market size, payroll relative to MLB’s elite, a fan base desperate for a winner after more than 25 years of missing the playoffs, that their last pennant was won in the 1980’s — these are all comparisons between the two franchises that help me see them in such a similar light.

But when it comes down to it, when all the dust has settled, at the end of the day, when all the clichés have been dropped…

I’m rooting for the 2014 Kansas City Royals because I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers and what might have been.

The comparisons can stop there, though, because this Kansas City team won the two games which that Milwaukee team didn’t. The Royals won their pennant and now have a chance to win another World Series, while the Brewers still seek their first championship.

But if these Royals can get the job done, it offers renewed hope that my team can one day get back and accomplish the same.

And that’s worth rooting for more than anything.

MLB Network’s Top 100 Players Right Now Entering 2014

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As I did last year, and the year before, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.

They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Friday, February 21st. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.

As always, I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. There were six Brewers on the list entering 2012. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9. Last year, the Brewers only had three players featured on the list (at the time it was revealed). Yovani Gallardo repeated his position at 72, Aramis Ramirez jumped all the way up to 32, and Braun settled in at 6. Kyle Lohse made last year’s list as well.

My early prediction? The Brewers could have six (6) this year (Braun, Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, Jonathan Lucroy) but I think Garza falls short for sure. (UPDATE: Looks like the Brewers will only have three again. Ramirez and Lohse both fall off the list and Lucroy gets no love either.)

The criteria for the list remains the same:

  • Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
  • Projected 2014 performance
  • Defensive position
  • Accolades
  • Intangibles

Here now are the Top 100-1* Players as listed by MLB Network:

100. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees

99. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds

98. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers

97. Andrelton Simmons – SS – Atlanta Braves

96. Shane Victorino – RF – Boston Red Sox

95. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Detroit Tigers

94. Gerrit Cole – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates

93. Shelby Miller – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

92. Michael Wacha – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

91. Trevor Rosenthal – CL – St. Louis Cardinals

90. Patrick Corbin – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks

89. Clay Buccholz – SP – Boston Red Sox

88. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants

87. Josh Donaldson – 3B – Oakland Athletics

86. Joe Nathan – CL – Detroit Tigers

85. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles

84. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals

83. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox

82. Koji Uehara – CL – Boston Red Sox

81. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies

80. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

79. Pedro Alvarez – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates

78. Salvador Perez – C – Kansas City Royals

77. Carlos Santana – C/3B – Cleveland Indians

76. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

75. Eric Hosmer – 1B – Kansas City Royals

74. Hunter Pence – RF – San Francisco Giants

73. Michael Cuddyer – RF – Colorado Rockies

72. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves

71. Anibal Sanchez – SP – Detroit Tigers

70. Jason Kipnis – 2B – Cleveland Indians

69. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals

68. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants

67. Greg Holland – CL – Kansas City Royals

66. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals

65. Matt Carpenter – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals

64. Brian McCann – C – New York Yankees

63. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles

62. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals

61. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

60. JEAN SEGURA – SS – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

59. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers

58. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals

57. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

56. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals

55. Hisashi Iwakuma – SP – Seattle Mariners

54. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

53. Allen Craig – RF – St. Louis Cardinals

52. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers

51. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – New York Yankees

50. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays

49. Jayson Werth – RF – Washington Nationals

48. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals

47. Carlos Beltran – RF – New York Yankees

46. Prince Fielder – 1B – Texas Rangers

45. Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves

44. CARLOS GOMEZ – CF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

43. Wil Myers – RF – Tampa Bay Rays

42. Shin-Soo Choo – LF – Texas Rangers

41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals

40. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers

39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays

38. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

37. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals

36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds

35. Aroldis Chapman – CL – Cincinnati Reds

34. Joe Mauer – 1B – Minnesota Twins

33. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers

32. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

31. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers

30. Chris Davis – 1B – Baltimore Orioles

29. Manny Machado – 3B – Baltimore Orioles

28. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox

27. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox

26. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves

25. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets

24. RYAN BRAUN – RF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

23. Yasiel Puig – RF – Los Angeles Dodgers

22. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals

21. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles

20. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins

19. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox

18. Jose Fernandez – SP – Miami Marlins

17. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants

16. Hanley Ramirez – SS – Los Angeles Dodgers

15. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

14. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals

13. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies

12. Max Scherzer – SP – Detroit Tigers

11. Carlos Gonzalez – CF – Colorado Rockies

10. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays

9. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – Arizona Diamondbacks

8. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds

7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners

6. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers

5. Robinson Cano – 2B – Seattle Mariners

4. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates

3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B – Detroit Tigers

2. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Mike Trout – CF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

So that’s the list! Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think. Did your favorite player make the list? Was he too high? Too low?