Category: Sports Blog

American League Non-Roster Invitees


By: Max Zuiker

Every year there is that one impact player not set to be on the major league roster. This particular person whether it be a high prospect, an aging veteran who is looking for one last shot or that kid no even recognizes, can have tremendous impact throughout the season. Non-roster invitees are a great way of including non-roster players to compete for a spot heading out of spring training. I’ll give you an inside look from team to team on who I believe is the best spring invitee is.

AL EAST:

BOSTON: Carlos Marmol- Marmol had between 93 and 138 k’s from the 2008-2011 seasons and is credited to 117 career saves. The problem for Marmol is his lack of control. If he can replicate what he did early in his career Boston might have a solid late inning man in Marmol.

NYY: Drafted in the first round in 2013, Arron Judge might make the big league cut finally. With the loss of Greg Bird and all the aging stars it’s time for the Yankees to turn to Judge.

BALTIMORE: Drafted 22nd overall in 2013, Hunter Harvey is a kid who should get a good look this spring.  Starting pitching was a problem for Baltimore in 2015 and losing ace Wei-Yin Chen in free agency will only increase the chances of seeing Hunter in an O’s uniform very soon.

TAMPA BAY: Remember flame thrower Johnny Venters? Venters took a minor league deal this off season as he hopes to be healthy for the first time in over three years. Over his three seasons with the Braves (2010-2012), Venters was one of the best set up men in all of baseball posting a solid 15-10 record with a 2.23 ERA.

TORONTO: I feel like the Blue Jays have a knack for acquiring a below average player and making them in to a star. Look at the cases of Jose Batista and Edwin Encarnacion both ok players who are now 40+ home run threats every year. I think Dominic Brown a former all-star is a guy who should intrigue Blue Jay fans. He is only 28, so there is plenty of upside with a player like Brown.

AL CENTRAL:

CLEAVELAND: Jaba Chamberlain has had an interesting career would like to see him as the Indians 7th inning guy.

CHICAGO: This is easy Jimmy Rollins. Great to see Jimmy be able to compete for starting SS job. The all-star veteran has logged 465 stolen bases with over 2400 hits in his career.

DETROIT: For Casey McGehee this might be his last change for romance. Casey had a sold 2014 in which he played in a 160 games for the Marlins and notched 177 hits with .355 OBP. However, last year was a disaster for McGehee who batted a weak .198 and only had 47 hits in 109 games.

MINNESOTA: Owning a 36-20 record with an ERA just under three Jose Barrios is a kid Twins fans should be ecstatic for. Barrios has the stuff of a true major league ace and is only 21 years old. Look for him to compete for the 5th starter job.

KANSAS CITY: Coming off a World Series title the Royals are bringing plenty of veteran pitchers to camp with them. It is John Lannan’s name that caught my eye. I feel if there is any team that could revive Lannan’s career it would be Kanas City. Look for Ned Yost to work his magic.

AL WEST:

TEXAS: Robinson Cherinos and Chris Gimenez are looking like the favorites to start at catcher for the Rangers in 2016. However, Michael McHenery should be considered as an option. He is just one year removed from a .315 AVG and .398 OBP season. I think he would make a solid back up and perhaps catch Cole Hamel or Yu Darvish on a regular basis.

LA ANGELS: With many of the Angels starters coming off the books at the end of the season, watch out for the Angels third best prospect… Nate Smith. The lefty look to have a promising future in the majors. I’m convinced if he has a great spring then he will open with the team in 2016. Since being drafted in 2013, Nate is 23-16 with a 3.50 ERA.

HOUSTON: Having the 10th most wins and 9th most strikeouts in Astro history, Wandy Rodriguez is planning to try and prolong his career with the team that originally signed with. Rodriguez comes in with a 97-98 career record, seeing time with the Pirates and Rangers as well. Wandy figures to be a good insurance policy as the Astros are filled pitching across the board.

OAKLAND: Franklin Barreto is Oakland’s top prospect. He is currently ranked 18th among all prospects according to mlb.com He was the center piece to the Josh Donaldson trade a year ago. Plenty of upside for the young shortstop who batted over .300 and had 102 hit over 90 games in his first pro year.

SEATTLE: 39 year old Joel Peralta will try and secure a roster spot this spring. Prior to his one year stint with the Dodgers in 2015, Peralta was one of the more durable relif pitchers in the league. From 2011-2014 Peralta averaged 74 games pitched per season. Over his long career Peralta is 19-34 with a 3.94 ERA.

 

MLB Offseason Winners


By: Max Zuiker

Every offseason there are a couple of teams that really make a push to improve their ball club. There was plenty of action to go around this offseason, let’s take a look to see who made the most of their offseason.

  1. Chicago Cubs: This is an extremely easy pick for me. After winning last year’s offseason the Cubs made plenty of splashes over the past few months. Coming off a 97 win campaign the Cubs we the most aggressive team spending roughly $280 million dollars in offseason signings (Jason Heyward 8yrs $184mil, Ben Zobrist 4yrs $56mil, John Lackey 2yrs $32mil, Dexter Fowler 1yr with option $13 mil guaranteed). The Cubs traded Starlin Castro to the Yankees for Adam Warren a solid young pitcher who figures to be a late inning piece to the Cubs pen. They were aggressive with one year deals and minor deals as well. They re-signed Trevor Cahill who was impressive down the final stretch, also re-signed lefty Clayton Richard. The scooped up veteran Shane Victorino, Matt Murton, Manny Parra, and Aaron Crow as valuable insurance policies. With the players added this winter the Cubs should be a prime position to end their 107 year losing streak.
  2. Chicago White Sox: As much as the Cubs added their foes on the south side put themselves in a prime position to contend in 2016. The Sox are coming off a disappointing 2015 campaign in which they only produced 76 wins after a major makeover last winter. The first notable move for the south siders was declining the option on catcher Tyler Flowers and scooping Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro to replace him. Moving on from Alexi Ramirez was a good move too as they would have been over paying a declining player. They added shortstop Jimmy Rollins whose best years are behind him but he is a steal of a deal at $2mil, Rollins comes to the Sox with 465 steals and over 2400 career hits. Mat Latos was another great signing the Sox made. For only $3mil the Sox could have a hidden gem if Don Cooper can work his magic, maybe Latos can contribute 11-14 wins for the south siders. Obviously by adding Todd Frazier, Brett Lawerie, Navarro, Avila and Rollins should help the Sox score more runs in 2016 after ranking dead last in 2015.
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks: This is a no brainer as well. Adding Zack Grienke and Shelby Miller were two prime moves made by the D’backs. With Grienke, Miller and Patrick Corbin, Arizona might have the best 1-2-3 punch in the game. Adding set-up man Tyler Clippard gives the D’backs a durable late inning man before Brad Zeigler comes in to shut the door. These moves should help them take over the NL West, which they have not one since 2011.

 

National League Non-Roster Invitees


By: Max Zuiker

Every year there is that one impact player not set to be on the major league roster. This particular person whether it be a high prospect, an aging veteran who is looking for one last shot or that kid no even recognizes, can have tremendous impact throughout the season. Non-roster invitees are a great way of including non-roster players to compete for a spot heading out of spring training. I’ll give you an inside look from team to team on who I believe is the best spring invitee is.

NL EAST:

ATLANTA: Trading Shelby Miller earlier this winter landed the Braves with Dansby Swanson. Swanson was taken number one overall in the 2015 draft. This season might be a long one for Braves fans but the arrival of Swanson should bring fans in the stadium in 2016.

NY METS: Roger Bernadina anyone????

WASHINGTON: Until his injury that cost him all of 2015, Bronson Arroyo is attempting to make a comeback at age 39. From 2005-2013 Arroyo logged at least 200 innings. After the collapse of the Nasty Nats last year, Arroyo provides much needed veteran depth to the starting rotation.

MIAMI: Dylan Axelrod is going to try and make the team as the fifth starter. He has spent the majority of his career in the minors and I believe he will hit his peek with the Marlins in 2016.

PHILADELPHIA: During the winter they traded closer Ken Giles to the Astros and in return they scooped up Mark Appel as part of the deal. Appel was taken number one overall in 2013. This will probably be a slow year for the Phillies, so Appel should appeal to the fan base.

NL CENTRAL:
CHICAGO CUBS: Remember Matt Murton? Yes he has not played in a single game since 2009 but batted over .300 in his six years in Japan. I think Murton will make a great 5th outfielder for the club.

MILWAUKEE: I’m sure Brewer fans remember Chris Capuano, who won 18 games with them in 2005. Chris struggled mightily last year, but is looking for one more opportunity. This makes sense because the Brew Crew is lacking in pitching in general and Capuano can fill as a starter or reliever.

  1. LOUIS: With Yaddy to open the year on the DL most likely, the Cards are going to take an extensive look at the catcher core. Drafted 86th overall in 2012, Carson Kelly is my pick to click for STL. The Cardinals always have a knack to get the most out of their home grown talent. I believe that Carson will have an impact in STL in 2016.

PITTSBURG: The Pirates have a crowed out field as is, however I believe there is a spot for Matt Joyce who struggled in 2015. Joyce is a guy who can play the corner spots decently and will add a left handed bat to the bench in 2016.

CINCINNATTI: With Jay Bruce probably on his way out of Cincinnati, Jesse Winker could find himself at the top of the depth chart. Winker was taken 49th in the 2012 draft. He hit .282 with a .390 OBP in 123 games at double A last year.

NL WEST:

LA DODGERS: With the loss of Zack Grienke to Arizona the Dodgers are in need of starting pitching. Brandon Beachy’s name comes to mind. Beachy was an all-star caliber pitcher before injuries tampered with his career. Can he help the Dodger revamp their starting rotation?

ARIZONA: After pitching only 7 1/3 innings last year relief pitcher Wesley Wright is going to try to prove himself worthy of a bullpen role. He can be a good lefty swing man in 2016. The D’backs need him to preform if they want to make a run at the NL west. The bullpen was problematic for Arizona in 2015.

SAN FRANCISCO: An all-star in 2011, Rickey Romero is trying to rejuvenate his career with the Giants. While I don’t see him starting, I do think he could be used as a lefty swing man. He looks to replace Jeremy Affeldt.

SAN DEIGO: Just a few years ago Philip Humber tossed a perfect game. Last year he did not pitch. Does the 33 year old righty have anything left in the tank?

COLORADO: The Rockies are trying to stock pile on outfielders. The guy to watch this year is David Dahl. Dahl was drafted 10th overall in 2012. I think with his power combo that he will fit nicely at Coors field.

A no-hitter is the most dominant a pitcher can be in a single game of baseball.


by: Aaron Graff

Saluki baseball (2-3) won its home opener against the Western Illinois Leathernecks (0-4) 4-1. Junior left-handed pitcher Joey Marciano flirted with a no-hitter for SIU.

He faced the minimum amount of batters possible through five innings and kept the possibility of the no-no alive through six innings. No base runner got passed second base through then. He surrendered his first hit to sophomore infielder Colton Pogue in the seventh inning.

“It crossed my mind, but I didn’t really think about [having a no-hitter],” Marciano said.

Coach Ken Henderson said he would not get an individual no-hitter no matter what though because it is early in the season.

“He wasn’t going any longer,” he said. “I assure you that never went into our thinking. His health is more important than a no-hitter at this time. He wasn’t going to finish that game. No way. His pitch count was getting up there.”

Marciano earned his first win at the Division I level on 6 2/3 innings pitched, one hit, four walks and four strikeouts.

“He was himself today,” Henderson said. “He was so amped up last week. He was going 1,000 miles an hour last week. Today he looked composed. He was under control.”

Western Illinois junior Preston Church suffered the loss with 6 innings pitched, six hits, one walk and one strikeout. He allowed all four runs, but only two of them were earned.

The two unearned runs came in the first inning. Redshirt sophomore infielder Connor Kopach led off with a triple. He scored with two outs on a dropped third strike throwing error by catcher Mark Garton. Sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan reached and scored later that inning.

Garton was pulled from the game after the next half inning.

Scoring halted until the fourth inning when the Salukis picked up two more runs. Blackfan singled and moved into scoring position on a ground ball from sophomore left fielder Greg Lambert. Sophomore Hunter Anderson doubled in Blackfan and scored on an RBI from sophomore catcher Nick Hutchins.

The Salukis failed to capitalize on an opportunity in the fifth. Junior shortstop Will Farmer doubled. Kopach tried laying down a sacrifice bunt to advance Farmer, but he popped up to the new catcher, junior Adam McGinnis, for an out.

Farmer however noticed that the infield moved so far in, that he had an open opportunity to take third base anyway. He did not move on from third.

The Leathernecks finally scored their first run on an RBI triple from their best hitter, freshman shortstop Chris Tschida, scoring sophomore outfielder Erik Maki.

Junior Anthony Shimkus provided 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing one earned run on one hit, one walk and one strikeout.

Sophomore closer Ryan Netemeyer earned his second save of the year with a perfect inning, striking out one.

Colan Borchers provided two inninigs of scoreless relief for Western. He allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two.

The Salukis play game two of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday at  Itchy Jones Stadium.