Category Archives: MLB Jerseys 2020

Hernan Iribarren Jersey

Under the warm, clear skies at Louisville Slugger Field on Tuesday, 34-year-old Hernan Iribarren admitted he was thankful.

Thankful for the phone call he received from the Cincinnati Reds in mid-January. For the opportunity to return to the Louisville Bats as a player-coach, helping out in the batting cages, in the clubhouse, and occasionally on the field.

And for one last chance to play a game he called a “blessing.”

“It’s kind of a different role but I’ll be able to play and that’s great,” said Iribarren, who has already played 1,478 professional games across 14 seasons. “This is going to be my last year. … Hopefully we get a winning season here in Louisville.”

The Bats open the 2019 campaign Thursday. Louisville plays seven games on the road at the Toledo Mud Hens and then Columbus Clippers before returning to Slugger Field for the home opener on April 11 against the Gwinnett Stripers.
In his sixth year with the Triple-A Bats, Iribarren’s retirement tour will come during one of the more intriguing seasons in the franchise’s history.

More: Tebowmania is set to come to Louisville Slugger Field this summer

The team added new manager Jody Davis, a former longtime MLB catcher. The roster features several returners, as well as the addition of a handful of players with MLB experience. And they’re reaping the rewards of the Reds’ improved farm system, headlined by top prospect Nick Senzel, who will start in Louisville.

Meanwhile, off the field, the club is celebrating its 20th season at Louisville Slugger Field. And they’ll do so with a number of promotions, including mint julep-themed uniforms, a bobblehead dedicated to the Kizito Cookie lady, and improved food selection.

Iribarren, who ranks third in franchise history in hits, is hoping that all amounts to the perfect storm to help the team post its first winning season since 2011 and first playoff appearance since 2010.

“(Davis) is all about winning,” he said. “He knows we have to develop. But he made it clear, we’re here to win. Of course we want to get to the big leagues, but while we’re here, we’re going to try to win. … I think he’s going to be a great presence to bring a winning team to Louisville.”

Read this: When is Louisville Bats Opening Day? Everything you need to know

While Davis admitted that’s not the team’s No. 1 goal — it’s getting “all these guys to Cincinnati.” But after returning to Kentucky from the team’s spring training facility, he said Tuesday that his first impression of his new ball club is that they’re hungry.

“Everybody wants to win and when we put the uniform on and the umpires come out here, you’re trying to win the game,” said Davis, who was previously the Bats hitting coach in 2016-2017. “We’re here. We’re in Triple-A. We’re going to make the best of it and try to win.”

Outside of Iribarren, there will be a number of recognizable faces playing at Slugger Field in 2019. Of the 28 players listed on the team’s preliminary roster, 18 have MLB experience, and seventeen have played with Louisville before.

That latter number includes Senzel, who is ranked by as the sixth-best prospect in the game. The 23-year-old outfielder is hoping his second season in Louisville goes better than his last. His 2018 was over by June thanks to a combination of vertigo, a fractured finger and bone spurs in his elbow.

This year is already off to a similar start. After competing for the Reds’ center field job in spring training, he was optioned to the minors despite batting .308 with six doubles and four stolen bases. His agent called the move an “egregious case of service-time manipulation.” The Reds said service time wasn’t a factor in their decision.

After his demotion, Senzel sprained his ankle sliding into second base during a minor league game. He’s in a walking boot while rehabbing at the team’s spring training facility in Arizona. He’s likely rejoin the Bats when he’s healed.

Davis said Tuesday that Senzel is “still a couple of weeks away” but that he’s making progress. While Senzel came up the system as a third baseman and second baseman, the plan is still to play him in center field when he returns.

“It’s really going to hurt not having him here to start,” Davis said. “You know when you’re completely shut down like he is, it’s going to take time. It’s time we don’t want to see him away but, you know, it’s baseball and we got to fight through it.”

Davis said the service time concerns “shouldn’t be a problem now” because of the injury. If Senzel spends 16 days with the Bats — a near-certainty after the injury — it will push back the year he’s eligible for free agency by one year.

“He’s really been unlucky the last two years,” Davis said. “Last year he was probably getting ready to be called up. This year, totally unfortunate. Shouldn’t be a problem now if we can get him healthy.”

Iribarren, who has been around the game a decade and a half, said that he sees the service time issue from both perspectives; he said it “sucks” for the players but that it’s smart for the team.

As for Senzel, for whom he has served as a mentor, Iribarren said he doesn’t expect him to be in Louisville long, mainly because of his confidence.

“It sucked that he got hurt but he’ll be okay,” Iribarren said. “He’s just going to come here for a short period of time and then go back and help the big league team.”

Davis and Iribarren pointed to a number of other players to watch on the team.

You may like: Louisville baseball scores eight unanswered runs, beats rival Kentucky

Toru Murata Jersey

It’s always fun to keep an eye on familiar players who’ve taken their talents across the pond. Now that the 2019 season is in the books, it seemed an opportune time to check in. Numerous former big leaguers and others of note are playing abroad, many of them thriving in Asia’s top leagues.

We’ve seen foreign stints help spur big league revivals from quite a few players. Eric Thames, Miles Mikolas, and Chris Martin are among those that played significant roles in the 2019 MLB campaign. Whether any of the players covered below will do so remains to be seen, but there’s certainly a path.

We started by looking at position players and pitchers in South Korea’s Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) before turning to the hitters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Remember, teams in these leagues face limits on the number of non-native players they can carry on a roster. That creates a lot of pressure to secure big production from those roster spots, which often spurs mid-season change.

Here’s a 2019 wrap on the NPB’s hurlers from abroad …

The Saitama Seibu Lions slugged their way to the best record in the Japan Pacific League, but they got some of their best innings from imported pitchers. Former Dodgers and Athletics righty Zach Neal turned in 100 1/3 innings of 2.87 ERA ball after spending some time with their minor league affiliate early on. He could be eyeing a return to the Majors, though a 4.6 K/9 rate in Japan is a red flag even if it’s accompanied by a pristine 1.3 BB/9 mark. Righties Kyle Martin and Deunte Heath, who had quite brief stints with the Red Sox and White Sox, respectively, helped the Lions as well. Martin notched a 3.67 ERA in 41 2/3 innings (albeit with 28 walks), while Heath chipped in 31 1/3 innings of 3.73 ERA ball and averaged 9.8 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9.
Mariners fans surely remember Cuban-born lefty Ariel Miranda, who started 40 games for them from 2016-18. Now 30, Miranda tossed 86 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and notched a respectable 4.19 ERA in a hitter-friendly league, though he carried an unsightly 58-to-48 K/BB ratio. Dutch righty Rick van den Hurk hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2012, having carved out a career between the KBO and NPB. He only pitched 17 2/3 innings for the Hawks this season but turned in a 3.12 ERA and a terrific 22-to-2 K/BB ratio. Given his track record there — 3.50 ERA in nearly 500 NPB innings — the 34-year-old could be in Japan to stay. The Hawks also enjoyed 57 2/3 innings of 3.90 ERA ball from Japanese-born southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada, who was with the Cubs from 2014-15 before returning to Japan. At 38 years of age, he’s still chugging along.
Former Twins righty Alan Busenitz and former Indians righty Frank Herrmann formed a dominant setup combo for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Busenitz chipped in 51 frames with a 1.94 ERA with 7.9 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9. Herrmann’s 3.04 ERA and 49-to-16 K/BB ratio in 47 2/3 innings hardly went unnoticed, either. Herrmann will turn 36 early next season, but Busenitz is still just 29.
The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters didn’t benefit much from former big leaguers, as right-hander Johnny Barbato struggled through 32 innings. Avid Indians fans may remember right-hander Toru Murata, who pitched 3 1/3 innings for the Tribe in ’15 after spending several years in their minor league system. He chipped in 34 innings with a 3.18 ERA but walked nearly as many hitters (21) as he struck out (22). Former Cubs righty Justin Hancock tossed seven innings but was hit hard. Padres diehards may remember minor league righty Bryan Rodriguez, who tossed 91 1/3 innings of 3.25 ERA ball for the Fighters.
Left-hander Andrew Albers, formerly of the Twins and Mariners, was dominant for the Orix Buffaloes in 2018 but took a step back with a 5.83 ERA in in 63 1/3 innings. The Buffaloes, however, received a seventh strong season from perhaps forgotten Cardinals righty Brandon Dickson, who posted a 3.03 ERA in 35 2/3 frames and has racked up 856 innings of 3.32 ERA ball since first signing with the Buffaloes back in 2013. Orix also picked up former Pirates prospect Tyler Eppler prior to the 2019 season, and after spending some time with the Buffaloes’ minor league club, he emerged with a 4.02 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings.
The 2019 Yomiuri Giants received innings from four former big league pitchers: Taylor Jungmann, Rubby De La Rosa, Scott Mathieson and Ryan Cook. Jungmann struggled to an ERA just over 6.00 in 44 1/3 innings, while De La Rosa fared best (2.25 ERA in 25 innings). Mathieson, now 35, was limited to 22 2/3 innings of 4.37 ERA ball but has been a consistently impressive presence in the Giants’ bullpen since 2012 (2.46 ERA, 54 saves in 431 frames). Cook tallied just 15 innings and surrendered eight runs.
Lefty Edwin Escobar’s biggest claim to fame in affiliated stateside ball might’ve been being included in a trade for Jake Peavy, but the 27-year-old has become a force in Japan. In his third season overseas, he turned in 75 1/3 innings of 2.51 ERA ball with 10.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 for the second-place Yokohama DeNa BayStars. Former Cubs righty Spencer Patton took a step back after a dominant 2018 with the BayStars, tossing 36 2/3 innings but posting a 5.15 ERA. He did rack up 45 punchouts in that time. And former Nats lefty Sammy Solis made a brief 2019 cameo with the Yokohama club as well, tossing 4 1/3 innings with one run allowed.
Right-hander Randy Messenger, of mid-2000s Marlins/Giants/Mariners fame, has become one of NPB’s best starters but struggled a bit in his age-37 season (4.67 ERA in 79 innings). But with more than 1600 innings of 3.13 ERA ball in a decade’s worth of time in Japan, he’s left a legacy with the Hanshin Tigers and been compensated handsomely for his efforts. The Tigers also received 103 2/3 innings of 4.69 ERA ball from righty Onelki Garcia, who tossed a combined 7 1/3 innings between the Dodgers and Royals in MLB. Hanshin was also a who’s-who of former Cubs, with righties Pierce Johnson, Kyuji Fujikawa and Rafael Dolis logging significant time. Johnson was brilliant, notching an immaculate 1.38 EA with 14.0 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 in 58 2/3 frames. Fujikawa (1.77 ERA) and Dolis (2.11 ERA) split closing duties and combined for 35 saves in 111 1/3 innings (both split almost evenly).
Former big league righties Casey Lawrence (Mariners) and Johnny Hellweg (Brewers) made extremely fleeting appearances with the Hiroshima Carp, who boasted perhaps the most impactful foreign pitcher in the league: lefty Kris Johnson. The former Twins/Pirates hurler has been flat-out dominant in five seasons with the Carp, totaling 756 1/3 innings with a 2.54 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 since making the jump. He’ll turn 35 next week, but it’s perhaps worth noting that the former Sawamura Award winner’s record contract is expiring.
Remember situational lefty Enny Romero? He’s not only starting games for the Chunichi Dragons, he’s doing so fairly well. In 116 frames this year, he posted a 4.26 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9. Fellow southpaw Joely Rodriguez, who spent parts of two seasons with the Phillies, overwhelmed NPB hitters with a 1.64 ERA, 11.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 55 2/3 frames out of the Dragons’ pen. Even Daisuke Matsuzaka — yes, that Daisuke Matsuzaka — tossed 5 1/3 innings with the Dragons at the age of 39, but he didn’t fare well. To this point, however, he’s announced no plans to retire.
Lastly, the Yakult Swallows had five former big leaguers suit up for them: righty David Buchanan, right-hander Scott McGough, southpaw David Huff, righty Ryota Igarashi (blast from the past!) and right-hander Albert Suarez. Buchanan paced the group at 99 2/3 innings, though his 4.79 ERA wasn’t much to behold. McGough notched 11 saves and a 3.15 ERA, however, while Huff continued his strong overseas career with a 3.97 ERA. Igarashi is still going strong with a 2.98 ERA at age 40, and Suarez yielded just three runs in 17 2/3 innings.

Bruce Konopka Jersey

Rowing as if they were made for this, the Penn Varsity Lightweights went hell-for-leather off the start into the strong headwind, built a huge lead, and then held on to claim their first win in the Varsity Eight since Gerald Ford was president. Perhaps more surprising than the win was the fact that the Quakers did it out of Lane 6; a monumental win, soup to nuts.

One person who was not necessarily surprised was Penn coach Colin Farrell. “I think this was a year where it seemed any team could win it,” he said. “It was really competitive all year, and you saw that this morning in the heats. We came here to try to win the race; that was our goal the whole year. I don’t think what the other teams are doing today really changed our approach. We made some adjustments after the heat, they did a really good job executing it.”

Like Gladstone, Farrell paid tribute to the dynamic in leading to the day’s results. “I came to Penn to try to change the culture here and help this team get to the top, so it’s the day we’ve been working to for five years,” said Farrell. “At some point, it may hit me that we actually did it, but it’s been the mission all along.”

Perhaps fittingly, Penn was racing in the “Bruce Konopka ’78″ today; Konopka, the longtime coach of the Penn Lights, was in the boat the last time Penn won the event.

It’s almost a cliché by now, but the EARC Lightweight league is so deep that, if you are not on your toes, you can be out of the game pretty quickly. Cornell, the top-seeded Varsity eight, was on the wrong end of a four boat canvas finish in the heats and was relegated to the petite final, along with 5-seed Harvard.

On the clock, the Cornell lights posted a slightly faster time in the Petite than Penn did in winning the Grand 15 minutes later, so the duels for lightweight supremacy are likely to go another round at the IRA.

In a collegial move in a very collegial league, the Cornell lights were quick to give Penn (and Cornell alum Farrell) their due.

Cornell won the Lightweight 2V, and after the racing, Cornell assistant coach Bill Brumsted reflected on the challenges of preparing athletes for racing in a league where the racing is so deeply competitive.

“I think getting the athletes to wrap their heads around the reality of the level of competition is always a challenge, even when you’re having a successful regular season,” said Brumstead. “You need a systematic approach, and I would say we still tweak it on a year to year basis based off of what we see as opportunities. Definitely a challenging league to be a part of. And rewarding.”

The lightweight 2V trophy is officially named the “Cornell Trophy,” so whenever Cornell wins the 2V there’s extra mirth on the podium.

Despite not winning an event outright, the Yale lights threw down three silver-medal finishes to claim the Jope Cup for lightweight points.

“This is pretty full circle for me, we won this is 2016, my freshmen year,” said Yale captain Matt Matejka. “Especially after last year when we were not near this cup, to finish this year with what I believe is the deepest team we ever had, is incredibly special. Every boat did their job to get these points. Penn drove hard after us in every event all day, and we did our job to hold them off. Every one of our athletes medaled today, either gold or silver.”

Did the raging headwind make things even more difficult for the lightweights? Not everyone thought so. “I’d say it’s a myth,” said Navy’s Matthew Pentaleri, stroke of Navy’s winning Lightweight 3V. “Keep it high, and blade in, blade out, hang on it, and then it’s just a pretty simple sport.”

Yale claimed the lightweight 4V, and Harvard the 5V.

Ed Weiland Jersey

SIOUX FALLS — Suzie Weiland passed away unexpectedly due to a hemorrhagic stroke on June 29, 2019 at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD surrounded by family and friends. She was 66.

Susan Jane (Gustman) Weiland was born August 23, 1952 in Plainview, NE, to Milton and Gertrude “Trudy” (Urwiler) Gustman. She graduated from Plainview High School in 1970. After completing dental assistant certification, Suzie worked for several dental practices throughout her life.

On September 22, 1979, after a blind date in March of that year, she was united in marriage with Ed Weiland, in Plainview, NE. They were married for almost forty years. After the birth of their son Josh in 1981, they moved to Watertown, SD.

Her hobbies and interests were many. From tending to her flowers to knitting blankets and scarves, she also had a love for playing piano and singing. Suzie was an active member of the P.E.O., a devoted member of Peace Lutheran and had a strong faith in her Lord and Savior. She enjoyed living out this faith by helping fulfill the various needs of the church and loving others just as she was loved.

Suzie was well-known for her ability to connect with people and create numerous friendships. Among the bonds closest to her heart were those she had with her granddaughters. She was their “Nana Suzie” who filled their lives with love, adventure, and many laughs.

Grateful for having shared her life are her husband, Ed; son, Josh, daughter-in-law, Corrie; granddaughters, Tessa and Atlee; brothers, Mike (Sherry) Gustman, Fred (Jan) Gustman, Carroll (Janet) Gustman; sister-in-law, Jackie Warner; and many special aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and older brother Paul.

After her late brother became an organ recipient, Suzie was inspired to become an organ donor. She fulfilled this commitment with the donation of her lungs, kidneys, and liver to four individuals.

Funeral Services will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 8, 2019, at Peace Lutheran Church, 5509 W. 41st Street, Sioux Falls.

The family will be present to greet friends from 2:00 to 4:00 Sunday afternoon at Miller Southside Chapel, 7400 S. Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Ham Iburg Jersey

Pete Alonso smacked a rookie-record 53 homers and Yordan Alvarez helped slug the Astros to within a victory of a World Series championship en route to near-unanimous selections as league Rookies of the Year in 2019. Several other first-year players stood out as well, with Mike Soroka placing fifth in the Majors in ERA and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eloy Jimenez showing why they ranked as the game’s top three prospects entering the year.

Which rookies will make the biggest impact in 2020? Not only did we present a leading candidate for each of the 30 teams last month, but we also surveyed front-office officials for their opinions as part of our 2020 Pipeline Poll, the results of which we’ll reveal over the next few days.

Among other topics, we asked the executives, “Which prospect will contribute the most in 2020?” Here’s what they had to say:

1) Gavin Lux, SS/2B, LAD, (35% of votes)
2) Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK, (19%)
3) Brendan McKay, LHP/DH, TB (15%)
4) Jo Adell, OF, LAA (8%)
5) Sean Murphy, C, OAK (8%)
6) Luis Robert, OF, CWS (8%)
7) Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B, BOS (4%)
8) MacKenzie Gore, LHP, SD (4%)

L.A.’s Lux leads the way

Besides winning the poll, Lux garnered 90% of the votes given to National League prospects. The 20th overall pick in the 2016 Draft hit .347/.421/.607 with 26 homers and 10 steals between Double-A and Triple-A last season, becoming the first middle infielder age 21 or younger to post a 1.000 OPS in the upper Minors since Gregg Jefferies in 1987. He also came within .001 of on-base percentage of leading all Minor League shortstops in all three slash stats for the second straight year.

Lux has made consistent contact from the left side of the Ham Iburg plate since he entered pro ball, and he began to take off once he got stronger and began using his legs more in his swing. He’s a solid to plus runner who has the tools to get the job done at shortstop, though he has had issues with his throwing accuracy in the Minors and some scouts believe he profiles better at second base. That’s probably where he’ll play with the Dodgers, who have Corey Seager at shortstop and whose best second baseman last year (Max Muncy) is better suited for first base.

Los Angeles showed enough faith in Lux to give him 19 starts during a September callup and three more in the NL Division Series after he pinch-homered in the opener against the Nationals. He became the youngest player to hit a playoff pinch-homer in MLB history and the youngest Dodger (surpassing Cody Bellinger) to homer in the postseason.

Southpaws will duel for top spot in AL

Our survey respondents were split between two left-handers as the top rookie Ham Iburg candidates in the American League, with Luzardo nosing out McKay by a single vote. Luzardo wouldn’t even be in this discussion if rotator-cuff and lat strains hadn’t shut him down for much of 2019, though he did make it to Oakland in September and was spectacular (1.50 ERA, .119 opponent average, 35 percent strikeout rate) in his first taste of the Majors.

Luzardo owns a pair of well above-average pitches in his power sinker and fading changeup, while both his curveball and slider are solid offerings. His pitchability is as good as his stuff, enabling him to reach the big leagues at age 21 despite having Tommy John surgery as a high school senior in 2016 and not being fully turned loose in pro ball until 2018. The A’s also placed him on their postseason roster in October, and he provided three scoreless innings against the Rays in a wild-card loss.

McKay went No. 4 overall in the 2017 Draft as the first player who could have been a top-10 pick as both a hitter and a pitcher since Dave Winfield in 1973. Though his pitching has proven more advanced than his hitting in pro ball, the Rays continue to envision him as a legitimate two-way player. He needed just 165 innings in the Minors before debuting in Tampa Bay, where he logged a 5.14 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 49 innings and went 2-for-10 with a homer before serving a relief role in the AL Division Series.
Ham Iburg
His path to an Opening Day roster spot is less clear than those of Lux and Luzardo, but McKay is big league-ready with a solid four-pitch repertoire (highlighted by his fastball and cutter) and quality command. He also has a ceiling of .275 hitter with 25 or more homers per season, though he’s further away from that than he is at reaching his upside as a No. 3 starter.

Freddie Benavides Jersey

MONTERREY, Mexico – The Reds departed on their road trip to Mexico on Thursday afternoon, but it turned into a quasi-homecoming for bench coach Freddie Benavides.

For Saturday’s series opener at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey, Benavides was expecting around 20 family members in the crowd. Benavides grew up in Laredo, Texas, and still lives there in the offseason. It’s about 140 miles from Monterrey, so his wife and two daughters made the drive to see him on Friday’s off day.

Some of his wife’s relatives are from Reynosa, Mexico, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Monterrey. Benavides distributed his allotment of tickets and other relatives bought their own tickets to Saturday’s game.

“It’s good to get close to home,” Benavides said. “I didn’t get to go home. I didn’t want to deal with the traffic and stuff going back and forth. It’s good to get some family I haven’t seen in a while. It’s good.”

Acting manager Freddie Benavides fills in for suspended Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell (25) in the third inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. The Reds led 4-0 after five innings. (Photo: Sam Greene)

Benavides is in his sixth season on the Reds’ major league staff. He managed Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins while David Bell served a one-game suspension. He was the club’s infield coach in 2014-15 and the first-base coach from 2016-18.

It was Benavides’ first trip to Monterrey in several years and he was blown away by how much it’s changed. His paternal grandmother was originally from Monterrey.

“I came for a wedding back in the day, but I haven’t been over here in a long, long time,” he said. “This has really changed since I’ve been here.”

The best part of the schedule for Benavides’ family was Friday’s off day, which allowed Benavides and his relatives to spend a lot of time together.

“It’s beautiful,” Benavides said. “We went out sight-seeing. My daughter had an itinerary for us yesterday, so we went out sight-seeing and different places. It was really fun.”

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos was the only Mexican-born player on either team. He represented Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Gallegos told that the Mexico Series in Monterrey was a great opportunity for kids to watch games because they don’t have an opportunity to watch in the U.S.

Benavides said his family had the trip circled on their calendars after it the Reds announced they were playing in Mexico for the first time in franchise history last summer.

“They were excited,” Benavides said. “(One daughter) left school for this trip. They were not going to miss it.

“The only one who didn’t make it was my son because he’s playing college ball (at Arkansas-Little Rock), so he stayed in Arkansas. My girls made it. My wife. Then my sister. My dad, he didn’t want to take the drive. He watches on TV, so he stayed back. It’s good to see cousins and different people.”

Benavides hoped to enjoy dinner with some relatives following Saturday’s game, depending on the length of the game. He was just grateful that the trip helped bring some family members together that he hadn’t seen in a long time.

“Even though it’s not home,” he said, “it feels good.”

Scarborough Green Jersey

Bobby Dalbec isn’t the only one who has high expectations for himself in the 2020 Major League Baseball season. The Boston Red Sox prospect is among the rookies MLB executives expect to “contribute the most” next season, according to poll results’s Jim Callis published Friday. Dalbec finished in seventh place, garnering 4 percent of the vote. “Dalbec offers well above-average raw power and arm strength, Scarborough Green and despite solid defense at the hot corner he won’t displace Rafael Devers and instead will compete for the Red Sox’s first-base job,” Callis wrote. Dalbec is among eight players the Red Sox invited to next week’s Rookie Development Camp and he’ll begin the season on Boston’s 40-man roster. The dedication he has shown in his offseason workouts and his stellar play for Team USA at the Premier12 Tournament have impressed Red Sox officials and manager Alex Cora, who said last month at the MLB winter meetings he expects Dalbec to make in impact “sooner than later for us.” Words and expectations won’t guarantee Dalbec either shines in Boston or even spends the entire season with the big-league club. However, offseason admiration from near and far likely will fuel hopes of both happening. Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer or @mkomard, his Facebook page or NESN Soccer’s Facebook page.

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Scarborough Green

Bobby Vaughn Jersey

Bruce DuQuesnay shot a perfect hundred to top a massive field of 130 shooters on Sunday at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore. He is only the second gunner to shoot 100 in sporting clays in Jamaica.

DuQuesnay was very pleased with his performance. “I feel good. It was a great day. Targets were on the softer side but I enjoyed it. Today was a day that I kinda focus on my mental side of things to make sure that I was doing the right technique, reading the birds the right way and just focus on every bird one at a time.”

He said that it was not all easy though as there were some hard “true pairs” stations that challenged him.

DeQuesnay mentioned his mentor, uncle Peter McConnell, who was the last person to shoot 100 in sporting clays at the club about 15-20 years ago. That was the only other time that someone shot 100 in sporting clays in Jamaica.

“I am actually ecstatic about my performance today,” he added. Interestingly McConnell provided the prize that DuQuesnay selected during the award ceremony. DuQuesnay also had high praises for Khaleel Azan, who taught him the sport.

Top female shooter Wendy McMaster was in fine form as she posted her best score ever when she shot 90 to win the Ladies Class and claim second place in her class (C Class), where she competes among the men for top honours.

“It’s my highest score in sporting clay tournament and I feel very, very happy,” she said.

“I always feel exceptionally good when I am improving. It’s not an easy sport, it’s mostly men and I am competing against the men and I am happy that I placed second in my class today. The highest shot 94 and I was just a tap behind the winner of my class and I am happy.”

McMaster indicated that her goal for 2020 is be the first female to qualify for the Super Six at the nationals (the final event for the National Shotgun Championship).

President of the Jamaica Skeet Club Jordan Samuda commented on the year.

“I can’t say enough. This year has had some ups and downs, but it had more ups than downs, and it’s been a great year. We’ve had greater participation [and] greater membership. The Christmas Hamper this year is a testament to that. We’ve had more participants than we have ever had before, and I am looking forward to 2020 to even have a bigger turnout. Our membership is growing, junior membership is growing, our hot shots programme is growing. It’s going to be a great year.”

The top three in the various classes were: A Class — Chris Ziadie 96, Craig Simpson 96, and Danzell Knight 95. B Class — Jordan Samuda 95, Alex Cunningham 93, and Zachary Harris 93. C Class — Todd Lazarus 94, Wendy McMaster 90, and Adam Harris 89 and Dominic Simpson 89. D Class — Richard Todd 99, Toby McConnell 88, and Zaniel Knight 86. E Class — Andrew Simpson 84, Winston Quest 84, and Jason Watt 78. Ladies Class — Wendy McMaster 90, Renee Rickhi 76, and Marguerite Harris 70. Hunters or Beginners Class — Joshua Lyn 82, Bobby Vaughn 78, and Chris Fung Chung 77. Juniors — Danzell Knight 95, Todd Lazarus 94, and Peter MaFood 91. Sub Juniors Class — Ryan Lue 73, Aliana McMaster 70, and Noah Azan 70.

Art Hoelskoetter Jersey

Mookie Betts continues to do big things with the Boston Red Sox as the All-Star outfielder avoided arbitration with the club Friday by agreeing to a record $27 million deal for 2020, according to multiple reports.

The previous record to avoid arbitration was the $26 million than Nolan Arenado agreed to with the Colorado Rockies last year before he was locked up to an eight-year, $260 million extension during spring training.

Betts, 27, will move Art Hoelskoetter into his free-agency years following the 2020 season. The 2018 MVP batted .295 with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs over 150 games in 2019, while leading the American League with 135 runs scored. That came one season after he led the Red Sox to a World Series title by batting .346 with 32 home runs and 80 RBIs.

Betts is a career .301 hitter over six seasons, all with the Red Sox. He has 139 home runs and 470 RBIs and his play in right field has earned him four consecutive Gold Glove Awards 2016-19). He also has been named to the AL All-Star team in each of the past four seasons.
Art Hoelskoetter
–The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration with Kris Bryant and agreed to a $18.6 million deal for the 2020 season with the All-Star third baseman, according to multiple reports.

Bryant still has another year in arbitration remaining for 2021, although that situation is pending a service-time grievance filed by the 28-year-old over the team’s decision to delay his arrival to the major leagues in 2015. That numbers game effectively delayed his first free-agent year by one season.

Bryant batted .282 with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs in 147 games in 2019. He is a career .284 hitter with 138 home runs and 403 RBIs, making the National League All-Star team three times while winning the MVP in 2016 and the rookie of the year in 2015.

–The Oakland Athletics avoided arbitration with Marcus Semien and will pay $13 million in 2020 to the shortstop that finished third in American League MVP voting when he batted .285 with 33 home runs and 92 RBIs. The 29-year old’s 747 plate appearances led the American League.

The club also avoided arbitration with right-hander Liam Hendriks ($5.3 million), outfielder Mark Canha ($4.8 million), left-hander Sean Manaea ($3.75 million), outfielder Robbie Grossman ($3.7 million) and right-hander Chris Bassitt ($2.25 million).

–The Cleveland Indians avoided arbitration with Francisco Lindor and agreed to a $17.5 million deal with the shortstop, according to MLB Network. Lindor, 26, who has been mentioned in trade rumors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, batted .284 in 2019 with 32 home runs and 74 RBIs.

–The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a three-year, $22 million extension with outfielder David Peralta, taking the Gold Glove winner’s contract through the 2022 season, according to multiple reports.

Peralta was arbitration eligible for the final time this winter, with the new extension now taking his deal through his first two free-agent years. The 32-year-old batted .275 with 12 home runs and 57 RBIs during a season that was limited to 99 games because of right shoulder issues.

Over six career seasons, all with the Diamondbacks, Peralta is a .290 career hitter with 85 home runs and 330 RBIs.

–The Cincinnati Reds avoided arbitration with right-hander Trevor Bauer and agreed to a $17.5 million after the deadline-deal acquisition went a combined 11-13 with a 4.48 ERA in 34 starts with the Cleveland Indians and Reds lasts season. Bauer, 28, was 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts with the Reds alone.

–The Chicago White Sox avoided arbitration with five players, including closer Alex Colome, who will earn $10.5 million in 2020 after he recorded 30 saves in 33 chances. Also agreeing to a deal at $5.6 million was outfielder Nomar Mazara, who was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers.

Other players to agree were utility man Leury Garcia ($3.25 million), left-hander Carlos Rodon ($4.45 million) and right-hander Evan Marshall ($1.1 million).

–The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a deal with infielder Jedd Gyorko, who batted just .174 with two home runs and nine RBIs in just 62 games with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers last season, The Athletic reported. Terms of the deal were not announced.Art Hoelskoetter

Gyorko, 31, is a career .245 hitter with 112 home runs and 353 RBIs for the San Diego Padres, Cardinals and Dodgers in a seven-year major league career.

–The Seattle Mariners claimed infielder Sam Haggerty off waivers from the New York Mets. Haggerty, 25, was designated for assignment in December. He made his major league debut in 2019 for the Mets, seeing action in 11 games.

The Mariners also avoided arbitration with three players: outfielders Mitch Haniger and Mallex Smith, and right-hander Sam Tuivailala.

–Field Level Media

Bob O’Farrell Jersey

Mike Trout is squarely in the passing-Hall-of-Famers-in-career-WAR-every-few-days period of his career. He is still 27.

If I tell you that 27-year-old Mike Trout has more career WAR than, say, Barry Larkin, you could hear it as an incredible tribute to Trout, but you could also hear it as a diminishment of Larkin — and if we diminish Larkin, we diminish the power of the tribute. To really appreciate Trout, it helps to appreciate just how incredible the Hall of Famers he is passing were and to understand how it is plausible that Trout is already actually more valuable than they were.

Trout started July with 69.5 career WAR. With another fantastic month — he hit .286/.392/.821, ended July leading the American League in WAR and raised his career mark to 71.1 — he passed eight more Hall of Famers. In Trout’s honor, we will consider those eight.

Ed Delahanty, 69.7 career WAR (70th all time among position players)

How good Delahanty was:

1. Across the decade of the 1890s, these are the statistical categories in which Ed Delahanty led all of Major League Baseball: Hits, total bases, doubles, slugging percentage and OPS+. He was second in homers, RBIs, triples and WAR. He was third in runs scored. He was fourth in batting average. He was ninth in on-base percentage, 13th in stolen bases and 19th in walks. He had an excellent defensive reputation. Over the course of a decade, he was either the best or the second-best baseball player in the world, behind Billy Hamilton.

2. “Delahanty was a five-tool player long before the term came into use,” his SABR bio says, and there’s one way his Baseball-Reference page looks more like Trout’s than perhaps any other great player: The distribution of his black ink, which signifies when he led his league in something. Like Trout, Delahanty didn’t just lead the league in power stats, or speed stats, but in almost everything at some point or another. He led the league in average, and in OBP, and in slugging percentage — all in different years. He led the league in homers, doubles and triples, all in different years. He never led the league in walks, though he finished in the top six four times, and never in runs, though he finished third, fourth and fifth twice. He led in RBIs, in hits and over and over in OPS (not that he knew it at the time). In his final full season, he hit .376/.453/.590, all three leading the league, and then — just 42 games later — his career ends, and all the stats stop. And that’s probably what he’s most famous for.

3. In 1903, when he was 35 and coming off one of his best seasons, Delahanty died. It’s one of baseball’s most shocking deaths and enduring mysteries. He was on a train near Niagara Falls. He was drunk — his personal life had been falling apart — and then belligerent. He got kicked off the train. He walked out onto a bridge over the Niagara River. He got in a scuffle with a night watchman, escaped the watchman’s grasp and went over the edge of the bridge and died. It’s not really known what happened: Did he fall in his drunkenness or did he jump? Was he suicidal, as some circumstantial evidence suggests? What sort of tragedy was this? It’s never been known. “His naked body (except for tie, shoes and socks) was found 20 miles downstream at the base of Horseshoe Falls — the Canadian portion of Niagara Falls — seven days later,” the SABR bio concludes. He was, at the time, one of the five greatest baseball players who had ever lived.

How Trout is plausibly better, already: The playing time gap between Trout and Delahanty is considerably smaller than for most of these Hall of Famers. Delahanty only played about 50 percent more games than Trout has already, and his first four years were quite poor. Delahanty’s best year would be Trout’s sixth best.

Gary Carter, 70.1 WAR (69th)

How good Carter was:

1. It’s incredible what catchers used to be asked to do, and Carter even more than most. In 1982, he started 151 games at catcher. Only one catcher since World War II has ever started more, and only two catchers in this decade have started more than 137 (and none more than 143). He took 650 of his team’s 693 plate appearances at the position that year, and if you don’t think that all took a toll on his stats and his career, just look at the splits: He hit .313/.391/.588 in the first half, .271/.370/.429 in the second. “I’m on that burnout pace,” he admitted at the time, citing Johnny Bench as an example. “I feel it in the mornings. Sometimes, it takes me a half-hour to get out of bed. There are days when I can’t walk down the stairs without stretching and popping my legs back into shape.”

2. But the next year — 1983, when he was 29 — he had, arguably, the best defensive season in catching history, 27 runs better than average. Only seven catchers over the past century have even cracked 20. It marked the end of a remarkable run of eight years and more than 100 runs saved on defense.

From a Sports Illustrated profile at the time: “Backup Catcher Tim Blackwell says Carter ‘frames the ball,’ that is, catches it with such a smooth movement of the mitt that every close pitch appears to be a strike, a technique he learned from former Expo Coach Norm Sherry. He can glance at a scouting report and within five minutes conduct a team meeting on it. He’s not merely competitive; he’s aflame…. ‘I like being called the best catcher in baseball. Nobody remembers Number 2.’”

3. His positive attitude was legendary. He talked to everybody — batters, reporters, fans on the edges of the stands — constantly. He estimated that he signed as many as 100,000 autographs a year. “Carter may be that rarest of humans — a truly happy man,” that SI profile said.

How Trout is plausibly better, already:Very few catchers can stay at an All-Star level deep into their 30′s, and Carter was no exception. He had 11 seasons as an above-average player, while Trout already has eight. Carter ranks 107th all time in MVP shares, which is very good. Trout already ranks 11th, and when he wins it this year he’ll likely jump into the top five. Carter’s career-high OPS+ was 146. Trout’s career low is 168. Carter’s best season, by WAR, would be Trout’s sixth best.

Bobby Wallace, 70.3 WAR (67th)

How good Wallace was:

1. Wallace is the 21st Hall of Fame hitter Trout has passed this season, and it’s a strong bet he’s the least recognizable name of them all. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of him. Consider this: “There was one of the greatest ball players in the world, and the chances are that half the young fellows of today never heard of him.” That was written by Honus Wagner, just six years after Wallace retired.

It seems fairly damning to his greatness than the young fellows of the day held him in low regard. But Wagner was writing about Wallace because he was naming him to his all-time team, as the shortstop (with Wagner presumably excluding himself from consideration). Which is pretty supportive of his greatness.

2. “He was such a perfect machine I reckon they just sort of considered Wallace as belonging at short and never thought about giving him a boost,” Wagner reasoned about Wallace’s lack of publicity. “He was so generally good as not to be noticed. Wallace was as sure a fielder and pegger to first as ever lived. He was never regarded as a heavy hitter but he was one of the surest men in a pinch that I ever have seen. To my mind Bobby Wallace was the best shortstop we ever had on making double plays and on coming in for slow-hit grounders. He had studied every batter so that he knew where they would hit certain pitches and he would be right on top of the ball. He was so perfect in this that a lot of folks thought him born under a lucky star. It wasn’t luck at all. He had figured it out that way. Wallace could cover as much ground either to his right or left as anybody — and probably more. I used to wish that I could do some of the tricks that Bobby did. Yes, I have taken into consideration his lack of hitting, and still I select him as the grand All-American shortstop of all time.”

3. He wasn’t a terrible hitter or anything. It’s hard for us to know what to make of hitting stats from such a profoundly different era, but his OPS was better than league average and he was often in the top 10 in doubles or triples (and twice in slugging percentage). But his legacy is as a defender, not just a great one but an innovative one: He’s generally credited with inventing the now-standard continuous motion of fielding and throwing. As Wallace described: “As more speed afoot was constantly demanded for big league ball, I noticed the many infield bounders which the runner beat to first only by the thinnest fractions of a second. I also noted that the old-time three-phase movement, fielding a ball, coming erect for a toss and throwing to first wouldn’t do on certain hits with fast men … it was plain that the stop and toss had to be combined into a continuous movement.”

Fun detail: Wallace retired to become an umpire, but he didn’t like it and returned to playing.

How Trout is plausibly better, already: It’s hard to find any real way to put Mike Trout and Bobby Wallace on the same scale. Trout has eight times more home runs in his career than Wallace had. Wallace played in an era when making 60 errors qualified him as the league’s best shortstop. Wallace played for a team that, after he left, went 20-134 the next season. It’s all too different to truly compare. But his best season, by WAR, would be Mike Trout’s sixth best.

Frankie Frisch, 70.4 WAR (66th)

How good Frisch was:

1. Frankie Frisch played 19 seasons in the majors and collected 2,880 hits.Ronald Acuna Jr.will pass Frisch’s career strikeout total by the end of this season.

Obviously, it was a very different era. But even relative to his peers, by an index stat like strikeout-percentage-plus, Frisch is one of the 30 or so greatest contact hitters ever, and in an era when contact hitting was the skill people valued.

2. In 1927, as a second baseman, he was 37 runs better than average on defense, according to Baseball-Reference. We, of course, don’t have the range of metrics to assess defense then that we do now. It’s all very foggy. But by range factor — which measures how many chances a player had per game, presumably due in large part to his own range — Frisch reached nearly one more ground ball per game than the average second baseman. He set the all-time record for assists that year, a record that still stands today.

3. In “TheGlory Of Their Times,” an oral history of early-century baseball, the catcher and manager Bob O’Farrell says: “The greatest player I ever saw? Oh, I don’t know, there were so many great ones. Guys like Paul Waner, Hornsby, Alex, Terry, Hubbell, Ruth, Vance, Mel Ott, Rixey, Roush. There were too many great ones to say any one is the greatest. Although I’ll say this; the greatest player I ever saw in any one season was Frankie Frisch in 1927. That was his first year with the Cardinals, when I was managing him. He’d been traded to St. Louis for the man of the hour, Rogers Hornsby, and he was on the spot. Frank did everything that year. Really an amazing ballplayer.”

How Trout is plausibly better, already: For all of Frisch’s not striking out, he had very little power during an era when power was easy. Trout passed him in career homers by the time he was 23. He passed him in career walks this year. Frisch’s best season, by WAR, would be Trout’s fifth best.

Barry Larkin, 70.4 WAR (65th)

How good Larkin was:

1. Put him in New York, give him slightly better health, and he might be the most famous superstar of the era:

Larkin: .295/.371/.444, 116 OPS+

Derek Jeter: .310/.377/.440, 115 OPS+

Larkin was the better defender, the more effective baserunner, and even — in a much smaller pool of at-bats — the better postseason performer:

Larkin: .338/.397/.465 (78 plate appearances)

Jeter: .308/.374/.465 (734 PAs)

2. He ranks seventh all time in baserunning runs, with 80 more than average and not a single season in negative territory despite his playing until he was 40.

3. Larkin did everything right, nothing wrong. That was his thing. I once found that he’s probably the best player in history who never led the league in any major offense category. As he put it, in a profile in Sports Illustrated in 1995, the year he won the NL MVP: “I consider myself an amoeba man. I’ll assume any shape to help the team. If the team needs someone to lead by example, I do that. If it needs someone to steal, I do that. If it needs someone to bunt or move a runner from second to third, I do that.”

To really appreciate how strong the sense of Larkin as a do-no-wrong guy was, though, follow me to the insane continuation of that section in the SI profile. After Larkin says he’ll do anything the team needs him to do, his third-base coach, Ray Knight, chimes in with this anecdote:

“Knight recalls a recent game in which Larkin came to bat in the first inning with no outs and runners on first and second. As Gant waited on deck, Larkin glanced at Knight, who gave him the hit sign. Larkin bunted. Strike one. Knight put on the hit sign. Larkin bunted. Strike two. Knight flashed yet another hit sign. Larkin bunted. Strike three. On the dugout steps, Red manager Davey Johnson shook his head in disbelief. ‘Barry knew we were having trouble scoring, and he wanted to get runners in scoring position for Ron,’ says Knight. ‘The point is, Barry’s thoughts are pure.’”

Just think of how powerful the experience of watching Larkin, being on the same team as Larkin, must have been if that anecdote can be offered as a positive. Just total faith in Larkin. That’s what it was like watching him in the 1990s.

How Trout is plausibly better, already: During the decade Larkin was at his offensive peak — from 1989 to 1998 — he only averaged 123 games per season, thanks to some poorly timed injuries and the 1994 strike. All those missed games cost him a dozen or so WAR that would have held Trout off for another season. His best season, by WAR, would be Trout’s seventh best.

Ron Santo, 70.5 WAR (64th)

How good Santo was:

1. When he was a high school senior, Santo says, the Cubs’ head scout told him “there’s no way you’re ever going to be a third baseman in the major leagues, son.” They drafted him as a catcher. But Santo improved from not very good at the position, in his early 20′s, to extremely good. He won five Gold Gloves.

2. Here’s another story from when he was young: In 1959, when he went to rookie camp, Rogers Hornsby was the Cubs’ hitting instructor. “At the conclusion of the three-week camp, Hornsby assembled the prospects in the bleachers. He went down the line, critiquing each player: ‘You might as well go home’; ‘You won’t get by A ball’; ‘Forget A ball, you won’t get past C ball.’ He got to Santo and said, ‘You can hit in the big leagues right now.’”

A year later, Santo was a league-average hitter as a 20-year-old rookie. In the deadest era of offense of the past century, he would hit 30 homers four straight years, and lead the league in walks four times, winning Gold Gloves the whole time. From ages 24 to 27 he produced 35 WAR, the eighth-most ever across those ages, behind seven pantheon names.

3. For a couple of decades, Santo was arguably the best eligible player not in the Hall of Fame. Various reasons were posited for the snub: Third basemen have historically been overlooked by voters, a lot of his value came from walks, which were also historically overlooked, he played for mostly mediocre teams, and he had irritated too many writers and peers with his habit of celebrating victories with a leaping heel-click (which was popular in Chicago, less so elsewhere). “Santo was never quite sure where to direct his disappointment, but he knew that somebody had screwed him out of his spot in baseball’s Hall of Fame,” Phil Rogers eulogized in 2010. It was a shame, because it was never a given that Santo would live long enough for voters to get it right: He’d been battling Type 1 diabetes for most of his life, had already outlived his life expectancy by many decades, had lost both legs to the disease, and had helped raise tens of millions of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He died in 2010, and was inducted in 2012.

How Trout is plausibly better, already:In 1964, Ron Santo was the National League’s second-best hitter. He played an important defensive position, and he was better than average at it. You put that together and it’s 8.9 WAR, a titanic season, an MVP season most years, better than any number of Hall of Famers have ever done. That is Trout’s average season so far: 8.8 WAR, an average that will go up as he adds to his total this year. Every year he’s the best hitter in his league, at an important defensive position, which he plays better than average (while also adding baserunning value). Which is just all to say the answer to this question isn’t about Santo — it’s that Trout more or less matches the typical Hall of Famer’s best year every year. Santo’s best season, by WAR, would be Trout’s fourth best.

Alan Trammell, 70.7 WAR (63rd)

How good Trammell was:

1. There are five components to Baseball Reference’s WAR model: Hitting runs, fielding runs, baserunning runs, double-play runs (the ability to avoid double plays) and positional runs (an adjustment for the difficulty of the position the player plays). Of the 50 Hall of Famers who have debuted since 1955, only four had positive values for all five of those categories: Larkin, Ryne Sandberg, Ken Griffey Jr. and Trammell.

2. Trammell’s Hall of Fame candidacy always seemed stronger than writers gave credit for — he was elected by the veterans committee — but he seems to be a victim of his particular peers. In the 1980s, he was the second-best offensive shortstop, slightly behind Cal Ripken and miles, miles ahead of No. 3. (But as Gary Carter once said: Nobody remembers No. 2.) He was arguably the second-best defensive shortstop too (or maybe third), but behind Ozzie Smith — the greatest defensive shortstop of all time. He did win three Silver Slugger awards and four Gold Gloves, but he never started an All-Star Game.

3. Trammell “does have one fault,” Steve Wulf wrote in 1983. “He’s a klutz. ‘He is the world’s worst eater,’ says First Baseman Enos Cabell. ‘You better sit on his left side or else he’ll spill on you.’ Says Third Baseman Tom Brookens, ‘Alan has to Scotchgard all his pants.’ Says Castillo, ‘His hands are like Mel Tillis’ speech: Mel stutters when he talks, but he sings perfectly. If it’s not a baseball, Alan drops it.’”

How Trout is plausibly better, already: Trout’s on-base percentage is higher than Trammell’s slugging percentage. Trammell’s best season, by WAR, would be Trout’s sixth best.

Johnny Mize, 70.9 WAR (62nd)

How good Mize was:

1. Mize was so good. Over a nine-year stretch, these are Mize’s MVP finishes: 10th, 12th, 2nd, 2nd, 9th, 5th, 16th, 3rd, 17th. Except, right in the middle of that run, he enlisted in the Navy and missed three seasons to serve during WWII. It’s no stretch at all to assume he lost three MVP-level seasons. What’s absolutely wild is that Hall of Fame voters didn’t seem to care; he never topped 50 percent of the vote and had to be inducted by the veterans committee almost 30 years after he retired, presumably because his career home run and RBI totals weren’t quite as high as other Hall of Fame first baseman. Wild.

2. Since 1901, Mize is 16th all time in OPS and 13th all time in OPS+. He was a better hitter than Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Hank Greenberg and Edgar Martinez. He had a masterful blend of power (he was large, for the time, and often swung a huge bat) and bat control. Adjusted for era, he’s seventh all time in isolated power, and of the six batters ahead of him, only Ted Williams had a lower strikeout rate. His defensive reputation at first base was enough to earn him the nickname “The Big Cat.”

3. According to his obituary in The New York Times, he also “took special pleasure in laying a perfect bunt down the third-base line.” Data aren’t complete for his career, but sure enough, he got at least seven down for hits.

How Trout is plausibly better, already: Because Mize missed those three years for the war, and spent the final four years of his career as a part-timer on great Yankees teams, he really only had 10 full seasons. They were incredible seasons, among the greatest offensive seasons ever. But Trout is still a better hitter: Mize is 13th all time in OPS+, but Trout is fifth. His best season, by WAR, would be Trout’s sixth best.

Who’s next: Harry Heilmann, though at Trout’s regular pace it could take a few weeks to get there.
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