Tag Archives: Mark Prior

The Month in Review – August


With the roster deadline now past, we look to the final month of the stretch run for the playoffs.

By my own count, here’s the teams I still think have a decent chance of making the playoffs. I’m including teams in their division if they are still in the wild card race.

AL East: New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox (albeit slightly)
AL Central: Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins
AL West: Texas Rangers

NL East: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds
NL West: San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP –  Josh Hamilton (TEX)
NL MVP – Joey Votto (CIN)
AL Cy Young – C.C. Sabathia (NYY)
NL Cy Young – Adam Wainwright (STL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Austin Jackson (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Buster Posey (SF)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

August 2-August 8
August 9-August 15
August 16-August 22
August 23-August 29

August was yet another busy month for stories as we get down to the final sprints of the playoff push.

  • Injuries to key players were a big story, with the most disappointing name to hit the disabled list being Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg will need Tommy John surgery, and will most likely miss the 2011 season in addition to the rest of the 2010 season. It’s been a very up and down year for Strasburg, and I know that I look forward to seeing him when he returns from this. There has been a lot of comparisons between the last pitcher touted this highly, and how his career path went. I think it’s a bit early to compare him to Mark Prior though.
  • Francisco Rodriguez will miss the remainder of the season after getting into a fight with his girlfriend’s father and hurting his pitching hand. Nothing about this looks good for Rodriguez, and it will be interesting to see what happens as next season approaches.
  • Roger Clemens was indicted on charges in the middle of the month, of lying to Congress. We’ll see how this plays out, but the thing that I know for sure is that it is extremely unlikely it plays out quickly. I imagine we’ll still be talking about this story in a year or two.
  • Milestone homeruns came for Alex Rodriguez (600) and Albert Pujols (400) this month as well.
  • Lou Piniella had previously announced his retirement effective the end of the season, but decided to move that plan up to August 22nd so that he could help with the care of his mother. We’ll miss you, Lou.
  • We’re seeing a bonafide Triple crown chase in the National League, as Albert Pujols and Joey Votto are tied for at least 2nd in all 3 major categories. I think Votto has to be the MVP if the Reds win the division, and I don’t think that changes if Pujols were to win the Triple Crown instead of Votto.

What’s Coming in September and in the Future

September is (other than obviously the last month of the regular season) going to be a slightly less busy month here at JBB. We’ll have a Week-in-Review post on the 6th, 20th, and 27th, and I’ll be finishing up the Original Draft Series with the last 6 teams spread over the first 3 weeks of the month, along with a review of the whole series. Trade retrospectives will conclude for the season with a series of posts about the firesale that happened after the 1997 Marlins’ World Championship. After the minor league season ends, I’ll take one more look at how the performance of the prospects I reviewed back in January.

Once the season ends, I am planning on taking a few days to evaluate what will be next and what I’ll be writing about for the offseason. I do plan on having another awards prediction column once the regular season ends like last year.

If you missed the announcement a couple of weeks ago, I have become a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance in July, and am looking forward to working with their community of bloggers. My first such post was some trade deadline thoughts I got from a trio of the bloggers over there, and you can read it here.

Thanks again to all the readers, and if you’re enjoying the writing, please feel free to either write a comment on the posts, and take a few seconds to become a fan of Jason’s Baseball Blog on Facebook. You can do that here.

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Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 4


Part 4 of the 2003 BA Almanac Series takes a look at their 2002 Top 100 Prospects list. The list in the book is just that: A list, with each player listed, and the highest level that they reached in the 2002 season. It’s actually really interesting to me to look at it, as it can give further perspective on the level of risk involved with any prospect.

My Thoughts on the List

Out of the top 100, 32 were what I would consider to be solid Major Leaguers. These are, in my mind’s eye, players who started in the Major Leagues, and would have for a lot of teams had they been with them instead. The interesting thing to note is how many of them did this with teams they were not listed with. These include:

Looking at the top 5, all 5 of them had at least some large amount of playing time in the Majors, but they’ve all had some interesting paths in their careers:

1. Josh Beckett (FLA) – Beckett helped pitch the Marlins to a World Series victory in 2003, and provided solid seasons for the team through 2005 before being traded to the Red Sox in part to acquire future face-of-the-franchise Hanley Ramirez.

2. Mark Prior (CHC) – Prior burst onto the scene in 2002 with 147 strikeouts in only 116 innings pitched, and went even further in 2003 with an 18-6 record and 243 strikeouts in 211 innings pitched to help lead the Cubs to the NLCS. Sadly, the pitcher who supposedly had “the perfect mechanics” apparently still could get injured. Baseball Reference kind of puts the perfect line to it unfortunately, as it says that his last game was on August 10, 2006. He is still trying to comeback, but at this point it remains to be seen if he will ever be able to get on a team again.

3. Hank Blalock (TEX) – Blalock was an All-Star in his second and third seasons with the Rangers, and hit 25 or more homeruns in 3 straight seasons during that time. Unfortunately for him, injuries also derailed his career to some extent, as he has missed time in each of the last 4 seasons. He did rebound nicely in 2009 with 25 homeruns in only 123 games, but hit just .234 in that time. He was recently released by the Rays, and is still looking for a job.

4. Sean Burroughs (SD) – Burroughs was best known for playing in the Little League World Series coming into his Major League career, and unfortunately that accomplishment could still be his crowning baseball achievement. He did hit for a nice average a couple of times, but never really developed the power that it was thought he would. He was out of baseball by 2007.

5. Carlos Pena (OAK) – Pena was traded during the 2002 season by the Athletics after getting off to a slow start. He was with Detroit for a couple of seasons, who (along with the Boston Red Sox) both chose to release Pena at one point or another. These moves have been Tampa’s gain, as he went to Tampa and immediately became an MVP candidate (2 top 10 finishes in a row), and has hit 30 homeruns or more in each of the 3 full seasons there.

It is interesting to me to see how some of them were such colossal misses. With prospects, it’s bound to happen, and there are some pretty stunning examples of players who just never lived up to the hype:

  • 9 – Drew Henson (NYY)
  • 14 – Ryan Anderson (SEA)
  • 16 – Nick Neugebauer (MIL)
  • 25 – Ty Howington (CIN)
  • 32 – Corwin Malone (CHW)

I have to be honest with you, I’ve never heard of either Howington or Malone. Looking at their profiles on Baseball Reference can help to explain that a bit – they never played a day in the Major Leagues.