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MLB Transformers: The Ultimate Hitter’s and Pitcher’s Parks

Originally posted July 17, 2010:

Something to read while you are waiting for the perfect, bright, and vivid double rainbow or you are jamming out to the double rainbow remix (seriously, if there are only two links you click in this entire blog ever, it should be those two). Or you are waiting for the great Chicago Cubs fire sale (you could get a life-size, life-like Aramis Ramirez to fill out your personal trophy case for a small chunk of change).

Growing up Transformers was one of my favorite cartoons. It was so futuristic. Based on a robot war of good vs evil, the Autobots and Decepticons, the two spacecrafts crashed on earth four million years ago. A volcano eruption awakened (or rebooted) the sets of robots and they continued their war on Earth. I can even remember pushing around my Optimus Prime and Bluestreak action figures around the house blowing up my sisters’ Barbies. Heck, we had more than twenty guys crammed into my freshman dorm room watching the 1986 Transformers: The Movie (which has the best 80’s soundtrack that played through the entire movie) on my top-of-the-line desktop computer. Now, the new Transformers movies have a bunch of action and some awesome digital effects (not to mention a great looking cast). The new movies gave me an idea. What if all the MLB stadiums could transform into two completely different stadiums. One that benefits hitters, while the other benefits pitchers.

Most of you have heard how Colorado’s Coors Field is a hitter’s park and how San Diego’s PetCo Park is a pitcher’s park, but has anyone ever thought to build the Ultimate Hitter’s and Pitcher’s parks? What if someone took every active MLB stadium and transformed them into ultimate stadiums, similar to Bruticus Maximus. Well… we did just that here at Kings of Cork. Not only did we take into account stadium fence distances (we did not account for wall height, just distance) but we also accounted for location and foul territory. And you may be surprised to find what stadiums contribute to the Ultimate Stadiums.

The Ultimate Pitchers Park: Decepticon Park

The new trend in MLB stadiums is to create excitement for fans and the game. And as the true home run king, Henry Aaron, said the most exciting hit in baseball is the triple. Thus, more stadiums are designing obscure fence lines to give the ball unpredictable caroms causing the outfielders to trip over their own feet resulting in a triple for the batter. This usually leads to deeper ball park fences as well to limit the number of home runs and increase the amount of physical energy used to get around the bases (less home run trots and more sprints, unless of course you are the Cincinnati Reds Adam Rosales and you sprint around the bases on a HR anyways).

Most parks don’t want to eliminate the home run, but they want to boost the difficulty of the field just enough to make the games more exciting. So what if we took all 31 (including Hiram Bithorn Park in Puerto Rico the Marlins play on from time to time) and combined all the fence lines but only kept each fence location that resulted in the longest playable field. The definition of ‘playable field’ is the amount of earth between home and the fence. Thus, it does not take into account the height of the wall. Sure, you may argue that the height of the wall should matter, but does it really? For example, a ball hit on a rope to a CF wall of 400ft but the height of the fence is 18ft will most likely carom off the wall as an extra base hit vs being a home run for a 8ft tall fence at 410ft. But take that same scenario and make it a fly ball, the ball would still hit off the taller fence, but the deeper fence would allow a possible play on the ball by the outfielder. Yes there is a bunch of physics that could argue both sides; but because we didn’t want to spend a year running the scenarios through our simulators (and because Hit Tracker supplies their field models as distance to the wall), we will assume the deeper the fence, the more pitcher friendly the park will be.

What would this ultimate park look like… below is a representation with the corresponding stadium next to it’s portion of the wall. Notice the several nooks and crannies out in right center field… a nightmare for not only a hitter looking for a home run but for a fielder trying to read a ricochet.

The Ultimate Pitchers Park

The Ultimate Pitchers Park

(stadium dimensions and home run data were found at HitTracker.com)

Here are some interesting facts about the Decepticon park:

  • Both left and right field corners come from Wrigley. Combine the distance (355ft down left, 353ft down right) with the Ivy and the 16ft walls, pitchers will be more than willing to give up shots down the line that their fielders can make plays on.
  • Left field to left center comes from PNC Park in Pittsburgh which makes the power alley 389ft from home. That will take a good poke from any batter to hit one out of the stadium near the gap.
  • Coors Field may be considered a hitter’s park, but it’s also boasts one of the most spacious outfields and owns the deepest portion from left center to center field in the big leagues. Its power alley is 390ft to 420ft on a straight line to center.
  • Center field is almost entirely owned by the new Comerica Park with the exception to the trademark hill from Minute Maid Stadium just slightly right of dead center. Comerica’s left and right center nooks are close to 430ft, while Minute Maid’s hill is at 435ft straight away center.
  • The Mets’ new home field, Citi Field, was made to be pitcher friendly (and Jason Bay has proven that with his power decline). Therefore, it’s no surprise to see Citi Field’s fence owning the first (about 410ft) and fourth (about 385ft) right field crevices from center field.
  • AT&T Park has a piece of its same high right field wall in both the Ultimate Pitcher’s and Ultimate Hitter’s park (which you will see below). This portion in right center is a lefty’s nightmare by making the power alley 421ft from home.
  • Turner field owns the largest section of wall in right center from 390ft to 400ft before trailing off into…
  • Fenway is the other park that has portions of its outfield wall in both ultimate parks as well. The curvaceous right field portion makes for an interesting look and gives right field some distance at 380ft.
  • If every single home run of the 2513 hit so far this 2010 MLB season were hit exactly the same in this park, they would result in about half as many home runs.
  • With the help of some cheap photo editing and Google Earth’s 3D warehouse, below is a 3D model of what the Ultimate Pitcher’s Park may look like from an aerial view (click the photo for a larger view).
Decepticon Stadium

The Ultimate Pitcher's Park

But we won’t stop simply at the distance of the fence creating the most pitcher friendly environment. Let’s explore the location of the stadium and the foul territory.

Foul Territory: The logic is simple; the more foul territory a field has, the more opportunity fielders have to make a play on a ball hit into the foul territory. Which active stadiums boast the largest areas of green between the foul lines and the fans… Well, the portion behind home plate would belong to the new (and old since measurements were kept the same from the “house that Ruth built”) Yankee Stadium with 84ft from home to the back stop. This provides plenty of room for catchers to roam for foul balls, but it’s also a curse for “Wild Things” passed balls which could lead to more runners advancing. The rest of the foul territory would belong to the Coliseum’s football accommodating foul territory. Just look at the room down both the 1st and 3rd base lines. As mentioned above, the area is so large due to the requirement of accommodating the Oakland Raiders as well (the foul territory was actually reduced in size during the 1996 renovations). This spacious foul territory has been found to reduce batting averages by 5 to 7 points. Not only that, but the larger amount of grass outside the lines allows pitchers to pitch fewer pitches and try to force hitters to hit more foul balls for outs.

Location: We can rule out the Mile High City on this one. Most everyone with an 8th grade education knows that an object will fly further through air that is less dense. So the lower the altitude, the more dense the air, the more drag on the ball, thus less distance. Out of the cities that have current MLB stadiums, six cities are less than 25 feet above sea level (Boston – 20ft, Seattle – 10ft, Philadelphia – 9ft, Miami – 15ft, San Diego – 13ft, Washington – 25ft). But elevation isn’t the only aspect that makes air less dense, humidity plays a large factor. Less humidity results in a higher density air due to the fact that a water molecule has less mass than both Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules. So a drier city results in more drag on the ball. Out of the six cities listed above, the driest city is Philadelphia at an average humidity of 76% during the AM and 55% during the PM hours. Thus, Decepticon Park would be located in the City of Brotherly Love. But, the ultimate location would be Death Valley, CA. At 282ft below sea level, it is the lowest elevation in the US and has a very low average humidity. If the location of the Ultimate Pitcher’s park was in Death Valley, CA and the winds of Chicago were also incorporated, this stadium would be impossible to hit at.

The Ultimate Hitter’s Park: Autobot Stadium

A hitter’s park is defined as the opposite of a pitcher’s park. It is where hitters thrive and enjoy the soaring statistics of home runs, RBIs, and inflated batting and slugging percentages. One of the most recent cases that prove the surrounding baseball environment can greatly impact players’ statistics is Jason Bay. This past offseason, Jason Bay went from hitter friendly Fenway (with the short left field for righties) to the gargantuan Citi field. Bay went from averaging 31 HR over the past five seasons to only have 6 HR through the All-Star break in 2010. Sorry Bay fans (and Bay fantasy owners), he will not be slugging more than 20 HR this season.

Compared to the Ultimate Pitcher’s park, the Ultimate Hitter’s park is not quite as diverse or exciting. Using the same process and assumptions as the Pitcher’s park, the 31 MLB stadiums were combined and the shortest distance to the combined fences were kept. What is left looks something like this:

The Ultimate Hitters Park

The Ultimate Hitters Park

Here are the facts on Autobot stadium:

  • Left field is no surprise with the Fenway’s Green Monster being the shortest left field wall at 315ft down the line and about 325ft to straight away left. Pop flies and line drives won’t be caught if hit deep enough. Instead players will have standup singles.
  • At the transition of the Green Monster to the shorter fence in Fenway’s left center, a small section of the Coliseum sneaks in at about 370ft before Fenway’s left center fence continues to center field.
  • A small portion of the Coliseum fits into center field at 390ft before the new Nationals Park goes from dead center to slightly short of right center with their electronic scoreboard.
  • The Coliseum, even with its vast foul territory, is quite a short field and the left side of the right field power alley is the last bit of the Coliseum in the Ultimate Hitter’s park before the short porch in Yankee Stadium’s right field becomes the shortest RF fence in the bigs at 344 ft.
  • The right field fence is surprisingly made up of the same two stadiums that make up a portion of the right field fence in the Ultimate Pitcher’s park. AT&T park makes it a breeze for hitters to hit water balls into McCovey Cove, where kayakers wait with fishing nets. The right field corner directly down the line belongs to Fenway at 302 ft. Coincidently, in both the Ultimate Hitter’s and Pitcher’s parks, the right field and left field lines belong to the same stadium (Fenway for the hitter’s and Wrigley for the pitcher’s)

Foul Territory: As mentioned above, not as much diversity and interesting fence lines like the Ultimate Pitcher’s park. But it would still be interesting to watch big hitting teams like the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Rangers hit at a ball park like this. Scores would push upwards to double digit runs for both teams and the rules may need to be changed back to the original rule of a team must score 21 runs to win. The foul territory for the Ultimate Hitter’s park would be as small as possible to get foul balls out of play quicker. Thus, this stadiums foul territory would come from two stadiums: one of the oldest and one of the newer stadiums. The foul territory down the lines would belong to Boston’s Fenway Park. Boston likes their fans up close and personal (that and so they can rain louder boo’s on their opponents). Combine Fenway’s foul territory outside the lines with the backstop from San Francisco’s AT&T park and there will be very few foul ball plays (AT&T’s backstop is a meager 48ft from home plate).

Location: Similar to the pitcher’s park above, location matters. Of course, there is little surprise where the highest elevation exists among current MLB stadiums. That belongs to the Mile High City, Denver, CO home of Coors field. Air humidity can’t even factor into this decision as the second highest stadium is at 1082 ft above sea level (Chase field). But where would the ultimate location be… Mt. Whitney, CA at 14,505 ft. That’s right, the Ultimate Pitcher’s park, which would be located in the Badwater Basin in Death Valley CA, and the Ultimate Hitter’s park would be located only 76 miles apart. Sure the highest elevation in the US is Mt McKinley, but the temperature there is almost never above freezing. That makes it hard to play baseball even in the Ultimate Hitter’s park.

What might the stadium look like… Here is a batter’s eye view of what the Ultimate Hitter’s park could look like at the dish (click the photo for a larger view).

Autobot Stadium

The Ultimate Hitter's Park

Like it was mentioned above, this field has nothing exciting as the right field in the Ultimate Pitcher’s park. But, I would still enjoy seeing any slug fest at a stadium like this. However, it would be very hard for the home team to secure any big pitchers and some teams have a hard enough time with this already. I would prefer to watch a game at the Ultimate Pitcher’s park over this one; or the two stadiums could be combined into one park that would be similar to the old Polo Grounds. Now that would be awesome.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise… Enjoy.

Quick Hits: April 9

Things that I noticed in the first few days of the baseball season:

  • Wrigley Field was a shit show Opening Day
  • Sonny Gray looked fantastic taking a no-no into the 8th
  • Who do Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez think they are? Two homers each on Opening Day
  • Rain or Shine, Cubs weren’t playing on Tuesday because of Opening Day shit show
  • Mat Latos got rocked by the rebuilding Braves. 7 Runs in 0.2 innings. Could be a long season for the Marlins
  • Brett Lawrie defied Moneyball. He scored a Golden Sombrero by striking out 4 times on Tuesday while only seeing 12 pitches… That’s called patience
  • Adrian Gonzalez looked like a Padres again with 3-homers in Wednesdays game
  • Cubs and Cards played a barn burner on Wednesday. 2-0 Cubs win with 5 total hits in the entire game
  • Tigers have scored 22 runs in 3 games. Think they have something to prove in the AL Central this season
  • Billy Hamilton is really fast. Really, really fast. He has 7 stolen bases already. Thats a pace of 370+ for the season
  • Not to be out done by Lawrie, Evan Gattis has 2 golden sombreros this season… and in back-to-back games
  • ARod is back! Hit HR #655 on Thursday

Prince Crowned King for Second Time

Did we all enjoy the show? This is what our site plays for. But instead of 1 day, we live for this 185 days of the year.

Mr Prince Fielder becomes the first multiple season HR Derby winner to win the competition as both a member as the National League and the American League. Prince started off slow but thanks to both of the team captains (who combined for 1 total home run), Prince qualified for round two and then lit off the fireworks.

Thanks to Prince who hit 11 homers in the final two rounds (and team Wet Bats), I’ll be enjoying a 6-pack and fish fry. Although rumor is it may be some Mountain Creek (DamnGoodBeer.com) and Tilapia. Baseball side bets always make the greatest game even greater.

Prince became the first player to win the event both as an American and National leaguer. And now he remains only 1 win away from tying the all-time Derby Champion leader… the Kid, the great Ken Griffey Jr.

Fielder didn’t only win the 2012 HR Derby, he blasted the longest home runs out of any player this year… five longest and probably had 9 of the top 10 furthest. Granted, Kemp and Cano only combined for 1 HR. And Cano got a very harsh welcome to the midwest (he was booed more than Fielder in Arizona when he failed to select Justin Upton last year at Chase field).

I’ve got nothing to say about Kemp, but I do have a question for the rest of the ‘fans’ who voted him into the All-star game… Are you happy?

Can’t wait for the second half of the season. And root, root for the National League tomorrow in the All-Star game!

#LUUUUUUUUUC

While you and your band mates take a break from arguing who missed their strum, another great Sunday of baseball needs some summarizing (the past few weeks have been busy as summer plans have kicked in at full strength).

  • Brewer Mash-up: The injury plagued Milwaukee Brewers have been beatable at home in 2012 (10-11), which is something they weren’t in 2011 (57-24). Losing Alex Gonzalez and Mat Gamel for the entire season and Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez are slumping, the Brewers offense has been anything but exciting to watch. Until they unleashed their pent up offense on the Twins today. With 16 runs on 17 hits, they didn’t even need Greinke on the mound (who has never earned a loss when he starts at Miller Park… never). What makes the 16 runs amazing is that the Brewers’ skipper put his hot hitting catcher in the cleanup spot behind Braun today. And Lucroy kept his bat’s fire going by hitting in 7RBI with 2 homers (1 a grand-slam). I’m hoping the twitter trend picks up after today. Make sure you have 9-U’s in your tweets… #LUUUUUUUUUC!
  • One Man Arm-y: It’s been awhile since we have discussed Strasburg, so let’s jump right in to today’s game. Strasburg is on track to be an elite pitcher. He’s already showed us that. Currently, he is sitting at a 2.25ERA/1.02WHIP with 64K’s in 53IP, no one can really touch him. What made today’s performance even more memorable for Stras was that he took a hanging curve yard. Yes, Strasburg doesn’t give up homeruns but he will hit them. This wasn’t a Yovani Gallardo performance but still impressive. Stras did leave this game with arm tightness so it will be interesting to see what the Nats do when he reaches his 160IP cap in 2012. If the Nats are in the playoff chase, there is no way you bench a pitcher of this caliber. Time will only tell.
  • Fish vs Fish: South Park taught us to never go Bass to Trout. What happens when Bass pitches to Trout, well Mike Trout took an Anthony Bass’ pitch and deposited it into the left field bleachers (Not to be outdone by a fellow fish name, Mike Carp went yard as well today). Mike Trout is quietly putting up a strong RoY campaign. And by quiet, we mean he isn’t drawing the publicity that Harper is taking on. Trout is a better player at this point and I stick to my earlier posts. You want Trout on your team over Harper right now.
  • The next “K Kid”: This week we said goodbye to “The K Kid” but almost got to knight a new one. Kerry Wood announced his retirement on Friday and came into the game to strike out the only batter he faced with 3 pitchers, which is a very fitting way for him to leave the game. For those who don’t remember, Kerry Wood became 1 of 5… FIVE… pitchers to ever record more than 20 strikeouts in a single game. The list includes Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson (extra innings), and Tom Cheney (21 in extra innings). Kerry Wood did it in 1998 against the Astros and gave up only 1 hit. Even more impressive, he did it when he was only 20-years old. He is only the 2nd pitcher to every record as many strikeouts in a game as his age (Bob Feller is the only other pitcher who got 17k’s at the age of 17 in 1936). Well we bid Kerry Wood a fond farewell, Max Scherzer gave Sunday hit best Kerry Wood impersonation only 2 days after Verlander came 2-outs shy of his 3-rd career no-hitter. Scherzer is either lights out or serving up gopher balls in his outings. There is almost no middle ground. Well, Sunday was a lights out performance. He threw 7-innings and struckout 15 Pirates. Its too bad he used 115 pitches to get through his 7-innings. He had a legitimate shot at being #6 on an amazing list that’s more elite than the “Perfect Game”.
  • Giants’ Studs shouldn’t cover home: We all remember what happened last season to a Giants’ star athlete that tried to block the plate as an opponent charged home. Fool Posey once, shame on you. Fool Posey twice, shame on him. Well, Posey learned his lesson but now Lincecum has received the wrong end of an opponent bulldozing home. On a wild pitch in the 4th inning, Lincecum did his duty to cover home. He covered home by basically sitting on it, which earned Lincecum an early exit. There is no word on the extent of the collision, but it didn’t look good. The only thing Giants’ fans and fantasy owners can hope is that Lincecum has his usual 5 days off to recover. Stay tuned for more news.
  • Searching for the Savoy Special: Josh Hamilton hit 9-homers in one week earlier in the month of May, which included a 4-home run night on May 8th (only the 16th player to complete this feat). What many may not know is that these home runs were all with the same bat… his “Wonderboy” you could say. Well on Mother’s Day, Hamilton switched to a pink bat for Breast Care Awareness. The pink bat didn’t have the force and Hamilton went back to his beloved Louisville Slugger. However, the bat didn’t make it through the game and fractured. It received a proper burial and is now enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame. But now Hamilton is homerless in his last 8 games over the past week. Hamilton needs to find his “Savoy Special”, and soon.

More baseball news and stories coming soon…

Inside The Acquisitions Stadiums: Prince Fielder

Football has come to an end. And if you are a regular here at the Kings of Cork, you may know my opinion on the football season. There may be a possibility that ESPN Sportscenter will cover a baseball story soon (look at that, Baseball Tonight on my DVR. Play, play, play!!!). This means baseball is in the air so make sure you sign up for the 2012 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby reminder email list at the bottom of the sign-up page if you weren’t a member of the Derby in 2011.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the quiet off-season on the Kings of Cork site doesn’t mean all the MLB off-season commotion will go ignored on the site. For the next few months, I will cover the off-season acquisitions that will have the most impact. The most impact on the MLB season. The most impact on the teams involved. The most impact on your fantasy and derby teams. So let’s step into the Acquisition’s Stadiums which will hopefully be more informative than a James Lipton interview.

Prince follows father's footsteps to Motown

The Acquisition’s Stadiums are proud to welcome Prince Fielder.

Prince wasn’t the top free agent name this year but I’m covering him first because he also affects the second ‘guest’ to this series of posts. Let’s talk about his new team to begin:

  • Why do the Tigers need Prince when they already have Miguel?

Wow, was I wrong last February. The Cubs will be but the Tigers won’t be taking any chances this season. They went All-In in this offseason poker game with a $214Mil raise. By acquiring a HUGE bat, they aren’t going to let the Yankees or Rangers bully them any longer. They added a top-3 2011 MVP player to a team that already has the 2011 AL MVP in Verlander and a top-5 2011 MVP in Cabrera. The Tigers already had the 4th highest run producing offense in 2011 (only behind the RedSox, Yankees, and Rangers). But by adding Prince, they will not only replace the loss of V-Mart but bring in Cecil’s long lost fans. Still, the Tigers have some major offensive holes. There outfield is a mix and match of Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, Don Kelly, and Brendon Boesch. And no one knows who the DH will be (really, that should be Fielder). But I can’t wait to watch Prince tear up that short right porch in the Bronx. The AL Central is now the defending AL Central champs’ to lose.

  • What does this mean for Prince?

Prince is heading back to his childhood. Back to his memories of hitting the ball out of the Tigers stadium as a kid. Some people say how Miller Park is more home run friendly than Comerica, but that is BS. Sure Miller Park is typically slightly ahead of Comerica in HR power rankings, but both have been as high as 6th on the list and lower than 20th in the past 5 seasons. Prince will still bat with the MLB MVP in front of him (calling it right now, Cabrera is 2012 MVP) so his run production and pitch selection will be about the same. He does get the chance to hit chip shots out of more homer friendly parks (Camden, Yankee, and Fenway) but they aren’t directly in his division either. He also has to contend with a better ‘Fielder-shift’. Why will the shift be better in the AL? Typically, the defensive liabilities in the NL get to play 1B (*cough* Fielder *cough*). But in the AL, they get to play DH. Yup, they don’t even have to be in the field. So when Fielder tries to hit those laser beams past an immobile 1B, he won’t get quite as lucky has he may have in the NL. In the end, it doesn’t mean a whole lot for Prince. His numbers aren’t going to change a whole lot so he will still be a top-20 fantasy option with a new DH eligibility at some point this season.

  • What does this mean for Miguel Cabrera?

Cabrera - The new #1 fantasy player

What this means is… Miguel Cabrera is the new #1 overall Fantasy Baseball Superstar (you already saw me give him the 2012 MVP award above). He’s the no doubter at the #1 draft pick. If he falls to 2 or 3 in your draft, you just got a steal. Why? Cabrera will not only be eligible at 1B, but most likely 3B. And he now has Prince protecting him at the middle of the line-up. As a result, his RBI, Runs, and HR totals are going to do nothing but increase. He’s going to get the opportunity to swing more often and at better pitches because pitchers won’t want to walk him to face Prince. I’m telling you… don’t hesitate at drafting Miguel if you get the opportunity.

  • What does this mean for Boesch and Jackson?

Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch are going to benefit from Prince’s addition. Those two are projected to be the #1 and #2 batters in the Tigers lineup. This translates to them being the main beneficiaries to Cabrera seeing better pitches and Fielder’s raw power. That is as long as the two outfielders can figure out how to get on base. Austin Jackson is a career 0.271 batter and Brennan Boesch is a career 0.269 batter. Austin had 181 strikeouts which puts him in the top 25 for most strikeouts in a season (right along with my idol, Jose Hernandez). Austin still managed 90 runs and Boesch had 75 in 2011. I believe they will both top 100 runs this season because they will be told to watch a lot more pitches to try and produce base runners for the big guys batting 3 and 4. I also believe that Austin Jackson won’t top 20 stolen bases this season (he had 22 last year). The Tigers will be trying to keep as many base runners on base for Cabrera and Fielder, so limiting the amount of runners being picked-off means less opportunities for Austin Jackson. If you play in a league with OBP, Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch are going to increase in value with Fielder coming into the lineup. Their OBP will rise, their run totals will rise, and the only decrease will be in Jackson’s SB totals.

  • What does this mean for the Brewers?

The Brewers are losing one of the players that redefined baseball in Milwaukee. The Brewers went from not finishing above 0.500 for 12 straight seasons to making 2 appearances in the playoffs in the past 3 years (Brewers fans rejoice). With Fielder leaving and trading LaPorta to the Indians for CC, the Brewers have a large pair of pants hole to fill at firstbase and in the clean-up spot of the batting order. Bring in Aramis. Aram will partially fill the hole at clean-up but could produce close to the same numbers if and only if he stays healthy and rebounds from previous years of disappointment. He definitely won’t be as robust as Fielder (Fielder has only missed 13 games in his career and only 1 in the past 3 seasons), but he had a higher BA and 40 less Ks than Fielder in 2011. Meanwhile, firstbase will need to be covered by some of the players mentioned down below.

  • What does this mean for Ryan Braun?

Ryan Braun is facing a 50-game suspension, but we won’t talk about that until the results are official (pending a recount of hanging chads). When Braun does get a chance to bat this season, he probably won’t get as many good pitches to hit. If I were a pitcher, I would rather take my chances against a struggling Aramis versus a guy on Horse Testosterone who was named NL MVP. Aram should still do a decent job of protecting Braun but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Braun’s all around offensive numbers drop a bit. He will still be an elite player, but losing the vegetarian slightly hurts his fantasy value. Lower HR, RBI, and BA even if he gets a chance to play in all 162 games.

Mat Gamel Has The Power

  • What does this mean for Mat Gamel and Corey Hart?

Mat Gamel and Corey Hart are the pure beneficiaries on the Brewers organization losing Prince. Gamel rakes in minor ball (2011-28HR, 96RBI, 0.300+ minor career BA) but hasn’t found his stroke in the bigs. He will get the first opportunity in spring training to claim his first starting job in the majors. He’s a 3B by trade but like Braun, he is a defensive liability at the hot corner. So if you are looking for a late round flier, Gamel is worth a risk. If he finds that sweet stroke, you may be holding a trophy at the end of the season. Rumors are swirling as well that Gamel may be spelled of tough lefty pitching by Corey Hart. Hart was a disappointment last season after a huge 2010 campaign (26HR but only 63RBI). But if he gets that chance to gain 1B eligibility, his fantasy value increases. Multi-position eligible players are a gold mine. It allows you to meet the maximum games played at each position. Plus if the injury plague hits, they are usually a band-aid for a while the wound can clot.

  • What does this mean for you?

Let’s recap… Prince: Same player, different team, stats should transfer almost equally. Cabrera: New #1 fantasy player, multiple position eligibility, HR/RBI/BA will spike. Austin Jackson/Brennan Boesch: Runs/BB/OBP will increase, SB drops. Braun: Hurt in everyway, HR/RBI/BA drops, still elite player, just expect a dip in stats. Gamel: Finally gets a full-time shot, power/BA is there, just needs to prove it in the Majors. Hart: Multiple position eligibility, increase in RBI back to 2010 numbers.

Stay tuned for our next guest: Albert Pujols.

Kings of Cork 2011 All-Stars

Something to entertain you while you allegedly choke down 69 hot dogs on the Nation’s Birthday.

It’s the 2nd week of July which can only mean one thing… there’s no football, there’s no basketball, there’s no hockey, and there’s no more tennis. The last sport standing is baseball. The bad news.. the season is half over and coming soon to a city near you is a fantasy football agreement.

But, in a few days, you will be able to admire the 2011 season MLB greats. Voted on by us fans, we get to watch the league’s best duke it out for Bud Selig’s Love home field advantage in the World Series. Seriously, what ever happened to letting games end in a tie. As kids we are taught to have good sportsmanship, but all Bud taught me was that every game has to mean something ever since “the incident” from the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee.

With the All-Star game fast approaching, we also get to admire this season’s big boppers with a mild twist from season’s past. This year for the Home Run Derby, the MLB selected team captains to pick 3 other players each to compete in the competition (mainly because the league couldn’t convince any player to participate).

I’ll cover the Home Run Derby topic later this weekend, what this article is about is this season’s Home Run Derby All-Stars. If you only wanted to select the top hitters in the league, what would the lineup look like of the ultimate slugfest team. Forget defense, forget pitching, this is strictly about hitting the ball as far as you can every time you grab a hold of the bat.

Before I announce this season’s All-Star All-Power team, I have a little pop quiz for you. Below is a photograph of 10 positions (the batter counts as the DH). Each position has a player in the 120+ baseball history that has hit more single season home runs than any other player at that position (Centerfield had a tie but it was broke by the player who had fewer plate appearances in the season that they hit the record). To be eligible for the position, the player had to play at least 50% of his career games at that position. How many can you name? You can find the answers by simply clicking on each player’s position from the classic NES RBI Baseball game screenshot. Edit: Removed jpeg due to issues.

Back to this season. Below is your starting lineup for the MLB team that has the most power in 2011 (as of July 8th):

  • Zach Duke – Pitcher – The former Duke of Second Place!!! Pittsburgh, now of Arizona, can hardly brag. He has limited power but as a pitcher he does have this season’s current home run lead with 2. Yep, that’s correct, the league leader in home runs for a pitcher is two. What do you expect, he’s paid to pitch, not to hit. His home run total for his 6 year MLB career… also, two.
  • Brian McCann – Catcher – The backstop for the Duke is the Braves’ starting All-Star catcher. He has hit 14 homers so far which is tops for the catcher’s spot. He’s hit 8 of those round trippers in June so he may just be starting to heat up.
  • Mark Teixeira – 1B – Big Tex isn’t even going to play on July 12th. His name was left of the All-star team but his 25 home runs so far this season leads the power heavy position at firstbase. It’s no surprise that the Yankee’s have at least one name on this list, but it’s definitely not the only one.
  • Danny Espinosa – 2B – Also snubbed a spot on July 12th’s lineup, Espinosa has hit 16 dingers so far this season. Odds are if you own him in any fantasy leagues, you did not have this guy on your team after the draft. He is tied with the starter for the National League (Rickie Weeks) but Espinosa has a significantly lower amount of plate appearances this season.
  • Mark Reynolds – 3B – No surprise here. Mark Reynolds is a beast of a player and he’s paid per home run, not per strikeout (he holds the single season record of most strikeouts in a season). He also didn’t find a spot on the All-star roster but his 0.230 batting average may have something to do with it. Still, he has hit 20 home runs this season which is the most at the hot corner.
  • Troy Tulowitzki – SS – At least Tulo is a reserve this year. He’s also about to get rolling since he seems to be a second half performer. Who can forget last season’s ridiculous 15 home runs in September. He currently has 17 home runs this season and hasn’t hit more than 4 in a month besides April. It’s only a matter of time before the ball starts finding the bleachers for Tulo.
  • Jose Bautista – OF – Where did this guy come from? He hit a league leading 54 home runs last season and is currently leading the league again with 29 long balls. Fans are taking notice of this guy since he just received a record 7.4 million votes for the most votes all-time by a player. He previously had 59 career home runs and in his past two seasons he has eclipsed that mark. And has only failed to lead the league in home runs for 48 days of the past 230 regular season days (dating back to May 23, 2010).
  • Curtis Granderson – OF – I told you there would be another Yankee. Granderson is on pace to destroy his career best home runs in a single season (which is 30 in his last season as a Tiger). He currently has 25 home runs and recently has been a popular replacement for Justin Morneau in the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby. He also found a roster spot on the 2011 All-Star game (no surprise either as the Yankees win most popularity contests).
  • Lance Berkman – OF – Welcome back to relevance Big Puma. You may have been snubbed by the Yankees, but you have been reborn in the arches of St Louis. He will get to strut his stuff in the All-Star game on Tuesday and rightfully should. He has 23 home runs so far this season after posting only 14 last year. He’s threatening his career record of 45 which he hit in 2006. As long as it isn’t against the BrewCrew, I’m rooting for Fat Elvis.
  • David Ortiz – DH – The captain of the 2011 AL Home Run Derby team seems to have picked a brilliant team. All four of his team members hit home runs on July 7th, including him. He now leads the DH roll with 18 moonshots. Big Pappi is the man and I’m glad to see him swinging the big stick again after almost being left to die with 1 home run in April and May of 2009. I hope he hits well enough on Monday for a chance to win back to back Home Run Derby Championships.

Remember to tune into the slug fest this Monday, July 11th. I like all the contestants this year but I will secretly be rooting for the BrewCrew members.

It Could Be, It Might Be… It Is, A Home Run!


(If this clip doesn’t look familiar, I expect you to go to MLB.com and watch one of the greatest moments in baseball history)

With the first pitch of the season looming in the near future, its time for us to start thinking about home runs. After all, that is what this website was created for in the first place.

Opening day is on a Thursday for the first time since the 1970’s (no, I cannot remember that one) and we are blessed with five games versus the typical one game for opening day. Most of us are Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs fans and two-thirds of us get to enjoy a game on Thursday (sorry Cubs fans).

The Braves at the Nationals and Tigers at the Yankees are the two early games on opening day and, most likely, a home run will be hit (Yankee stadium is a launching pad) in one of these games.
So what I really want to know is who do YOU think will hit the first home run of 2011:
[poll id=”4″]

Don’t agree with any of the choices? Tell me who you think will mash the first home run in the comments section below.

Well everyone was wrong (maybe the ‘other’ was right but they didn’t say who they thought it would be)… Jason Heyward for the second time in his TWO year career, hit a Homer in his first At Bat of the season. His was the first of 2011 by hitting it in the second inning off of Livan Hernandez.

What’s The Logic Behind Rooting For Your Favorite Baseball Team?

Something to read while waiting for the spring to actually arrive during Spring Training.

Just a quick post about an item sent to me on what I thought was good enough to share with the rest of the team.

Click on the photo for a larger image.
Baseball Flow Chart

I take no credit for this. All of it goes to the InterpretationByDesign.com guys… and The Master Batters for emailing it to me.

Rookies Say “Go Big or Go Home”

In the past week, MLB rooks have taken a stand against the simple stats and are rewriting the record books. In fact, three of them are starting a new trend for Generation Y and have made the official move to making your first MLB home run not a solo shot but a grand slam. That’s right, three have hit grand slams this week as their first MLB homers. Two did it in their first game. One did it on the first pitch they saw.

So who are these mystery three. Let’s start with the most recent.

  • Mike StantonIf you haven’t heard of this top prospect yet, he is the next coming of Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn. A very powerful, even more free swinging batter with little concern of setting the single season strike out record. He is one of the Marlins top prospects who got his Major League call-up on June 8. He hasn’t wow’ed anyone by any means yet… that was until tonight. On his 32nd MLB at-bat, he had the bases loaded against the Rays Matt Garza. He battled his way to a 3-2 count when he lifted a high fast ball to left field. The crowd reacted similar to Jason Heyward’s first home run. But Stanton’s was a grand slam. He helped knock Garza out of the game after 1 1/3 innings and 71 pitches. Now that he’s broken the ice, you should expect many more long balls from him in years to come.
  • Aaron Cunningham – I don’t know a lot about this guy, but I do know he made his first home run even more impressive than Stanton’s. In his first Major League game on Tuesday June 15 on his 3rd ever Major League at-bat, Cunningham came up with the bases loaded against Brett Cecil (who has been white hot this season for the Blue Jays). He knew what he had to do for Generation Y… and he did. His first MLB home run was also a grand slam.
  • Daniel Nava – Of course, the Boston Red Sox player has to show everyone up. Nava came to the plate for his very first at bat on Saturday June 12 with the pond full. On the very first pitch Nava saw, he took it yard. That’s right, after one pitch, Nava was 1-1 with 4 rbi’s and an OPS of 5.00. I hate to say it, but there’s no where to go now but down, Nava.

Is it just me or is 2010 the year of the rookie because these three aren’t the only rookies making a splash this year. Here’s a list of players making major contributions in their first year:

For the Rest of the Story: Follow the Jump…

Another Perfect Game…. Kind Of

Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game only 4 days after Roy Halladay… sort of. He pitched a legitimate perfect game tonight on June 2; but with 2 outs in the top of the 9th, the Tigers pitcher got Jason Donald to ground out to first.

Check out what happened here.

Unbelievable, an obvious blown call on the last out of a perfect game. This was after Austin Jackson made a remarkable running, over the shoulder catch to save the perfect game in the top of the 9th.

So here is the question, and it has come up before during Dallas Braden’s perfect game when Longoria tried a bunt single to break up the no-no, if this was the 3rd inning, would anyone care as much? What if he pitched a shutout from that point forward in the 3rd, would anyone care? I can tell you this… Detroit is rioting right now. They haven’t had a good reason to riot since 1967.

This was an obvious blown call that could have capped off the most remarkable start to the MLB season in history. It would/should have been three perfect games, one no hitter, and the fourth perfect game in 10 months if you include Mark Buehrle’s late last season.

Alas, we will have to settle on watching one of the most dominating pitcher starts in history in Ubaldo Jimenez.