Hunter Mense had some gifted teammates throughout his comparatively temporary enjoying profession. None had been extra gifted than a young person who glided by one among his center names. Now the assistant hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, Mense performed alongside Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton throughout their time collectively as Florida Marlins farmhands.
“I knew him as Mike,” Mense mentioned of the the 2022 All-Star Recreation MVP, who started going by his given first title after reaching the large leagues. “I bear in mind studying about, and him telling me that he may have performed D1 basketball or D1 soccer. He regarded extra like a D1 soccer participant than he’s ever regarded like a baseball participant.”
It goes with out saying that the Brobdingnagian famous person is a stupendously good baseball participant. In accordance with Mense, who doubles as Toronto’s minor-league hitting coordinator, Stanton’s work ethic was off the charts. Wanting to enhance defensively, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound outfielder would usually “drag a coach out to the sphere” and have him hit balls in his dirction earlier than batting observe.
Not surprisingly, Stanton additionally went the additional mile as a hitter.
“He was one of many first guys I bear in mind who would inform the coach, ‘Dial the machine up as agency as you may make it,’” recalled Mense. “If we had been going to be dealing with a man who threw 92 [mph] that night time, he needed it dialed as much as 97. One other factor I bear in mind is strolling into the [indoor] cage and the lights had been off. He was hitting off the tee. I requested him, ‘What are you doing?’ He mentioned, ‘Nicely, I determine if I can hit when it’s laborious to see, when the sport begins, it will likely be simple for me to see.’”
Stanton launched 39 house runs and had a .933 OPS as an 18-year-old when he and Mense performed collectively within the Low-A South Atlantic League. That was in 2008. By June 2010, “Mike” was within the huge leagues.
RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS
All 9 gamers within the Blue Jays lineup had scored at the least two runs via 5 innings in Friday night time’s shellacking of the Boston Purple Sox at Fenway Park. Toronto had totaled 25 runs by that point, making them simply the second workforce in MLB historical past to attain as many runs in so few frames. The Chicago Cubs had achieved so towards the Philadelphia Phillies on August 25, 1922. As was the case on Friday, each member of the Cubs lineup had scored at the least twice by finish of the fifth inning.
The Phillies, who trailed 25-6 via 4 innings, practically got here again to win. The sport ended with Cubs reliever Tiny Osborne placing out Bevo Lebourveau — the potential go-ahead run — with the bases loaded. The ultimate rating was 26-23.
I not too long ago occurred throughout an enchanting box score when wanting on the 1958 Milwaukee Braves season. That 12 months’s Nationwide League pennant winners gained 92 video games, and the most-historically-unique of them got here on June 4 towards the Giants at San Francisco’s Seals Stadium.
With two out within the prime of the ninth inning, Braves outfielder Wes Covington slugged a three-run homer to tie the sport 7-7. After a scoreless backside half, Milwaukee scored twice within the tenth to take a 9-7 lead, solely to have San Francisco reply with two-out, back-to-back solo house runs by Hank Sauer and Bob Schmidt to knot the sport at 9 apiece.
Within the prime of the tenth inning, the Braves regained the lead when Corridor of Fame left-hander Warren Spahn plated a run with a two-out, pinch-hit single. Gene Conley — a 6-foot-8 right-hander who gained NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in 1959, 1960, and 1961— then set down the Giants so as. The ultimate rating was Milwaukee 10, San Francisco 9.
As compelling as these sequences had been, it was the distribution of gamers crossing the plate that made the sport traditionally distinctive. The 19 runs had been scored by 19 totally different gamers — one thing that has in any other case by no means occurred in a big-league sport.
Two gamers share the document for many house runs by a participant born in Michigan. John Mayberry is one among them. Who’s the opposite?
The reply might be discovered under.
The nominees for the 2023 BBWAA Career Excellence Award are Bruce Jenkins (San Francisco), John Lowe (Detroit), and Gerry Fraley (Dallas). Outcomes of the voting will likely be introduced in December.
Longtime Pittsburgh sports activities scribe John Perrotto has been employed as the brand new Pirates beat author, and editor-in-chief, for Pittsburgh Baseball Now. Perrotto was a visitor on FanGraphs Audio this previous March.
Dwight Smith, an outfielder for 4 totally different groups from 1989-1996, died of congestive coronary heart and lung failure earlier this week at age 58. Smith — the daddy of former Blue Jays and Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. — gained a World Collection with the Atlanta Braves in 1995.
The reply to the quiz is Kirk Gibson. The previous Michigan State College Spartan (a Pontiac native) and Mayberry (a Detroit-born former College of Michigan Wolverine) every went deep 255 instances.
Who’re one of the best pitchers in Japan? I not too long ago requested that query to St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Drew VerHagen, who returned to MLB this 12 months after spending the 2020 and 2021 season with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
“There can be three, actually,” responded VerHagen, including that he was in NPB’s Pacific League and thus much less knowledgeable on Central League hurlers. “Roki Sasaki, pure stuff-wise, was perhaps essentially the most spectacular. [Koudai] Senga and [Yoshi] Yamamoto are the opposite two.”
Sasaki is the best-known of the three, having develop into a world sensation in baseball circles on the tender age of 20. VerHagen’s views on the opposite two had been therefore extra attention-grabbing to listen to.
Yamamoto — a 23-year-old right-hander with the Orix Buffaloes — has a 1.81 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 124 innings this season. He was even higher final 12 months, logging a 1.39 ERA with 206 strikeouts in 193-and-two-thirds innings.
“He’s acquired good velo — 94 to 98 — with a pleasant curveball and a little bit slider,” VerHagen mentioned of Yamamoto. “He’s filling up the zone. It’s laborious to check Japanese pitchers [to MLB pitchers], as a result of they’re so totally different, however he’s perhaps a [Walker] Buehler-type? Buehler is de facto nasty, so perhaps that’s not an incredible comp, however [Yamamoto] positively has great things.”
Senga is reportedly a powerful candidate to come back stateside subsequent 12 months. VerHagen was considerably less-bullish on the 29-year-old Fukuoka Softbank Hawks right-hander.
“I see Senga extra as a reliever [in MLB],” opined VerHagen, who had a 3.51 ERA over his two NPB seasons. “We’ll see. He’ll in all probability get a good alternative to begin, however I’ve by no means seen him go deep into video games regularly, the place he’s mixing three, 4 pitches. It’s extra like loads of heaters and perhaps one offspeed.”
Senga has a 1.70 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 101-and-a-third innings this season. Final 12 months he had a 2.66 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 84-and-two-thirds innings.
Rookie right-hander Ren Mukunoki got here inside one out of a no-hitter on Wednesday because the Orix Buffaloes beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 2-0.. The 22-year-old, making simply his second NPB begin, surrendered a single to Ryusei Sato on a 2-2 depend. The Fighters had been enjoying with out supervisor Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who has examined optimistic for COVID.
Koyo Aoyagi is 11-1 with a 1.37 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 111-and-a-third innings for NPB’s Hanshin Tigers. The 28-year-old right-hander went 13-6, 2.48 a 12 months in the past.
Casey Kelly is 12-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 104-and-two-thirds innings for the KBO’s LG Twins. The 32-year-old right-hander final pitched in MLB with the San Francisco Giants in 2018.
Felix Doubront is 6-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 65 innings for the Mexican League’s Saraperos de Saltillo. The 34-year-old southpaw final pitched in MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s in 2015.
Jose Zepeda is slashing .333/.403/.496 over 127 plate appearances with the Mexican League’s Guerreros de Oaxaca. A 21-year-old native of Santiago Ixcuintla, Mexico, Zepeda performed within the Toronto Blue Jays system earlier than being launched in Could 2020.
I opened a pack of 2021 Topps playing cards whereas taping Friday’s episode of FanGraphs Audio. Ellen Adair was the featured visitor, and because the actress and self-described baseball nerd is a hard-core Phillies fan, the concept was to have her share ideas on any Philadelphia participant inside. The second of the 16 playing cards within the pack was a Bryce Harper. The final was a younger pitcher who modified organizations finally summer time’s commerce deadline.
“It’s a tragic state of affairs with Spencer Howard,” Adair mentioned of the previous Phillies prospect and present Texas Ranger. “In some methods, it’s type of laborious to know what precisely occurred along with his improvement. It’s additionally unhappy to see that he hasn’t been significantly profitable with the Rangers, both. I want that there have been some form of lengthy German time period for the sensation that you’ve got a few younger participant after they’re traded away. On the one hand, you’re rooting for them to do nicely, since you had been invested in them doing nicely… Then again, in the event that they go away your group after which gentle the world on hearth, doesn’t that additionally suck?”
No. 1 on our Phillies Prime Prospects listing going into the 2021 season, Howard had a 5.81 ERA over 52-and-two-thirds innings throughout his temporary time with Adair’s favourite workforce. Since going to Texas, he has an 8.29 ERA over 46-and-two-thirds innings.
The most effective document within the minor leagues going into the All-Star break belonged to the Myrtle Pelicans, the Low-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs (59-28). The most effective document on the Triple-A stage belonged to the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) who had been 54-35.
David Festa is 8-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 72-and-a-third innings between Low-A Fort Myers and Excessive-A Cedar Rapids. The 22-year-old right-hander was drafted within the thirteenth spherical final 12 months out of Seton Corridor College by the Minnesota Twins.
Niko Kavadas is s slashing .292/.463/.609 with 22 house runs and a 196 wRC+ between Low-A Salem and Excessive-A Greenville. The 23-year-old first baseman was drafted within the eleventh spherical final 12 months out of the College of Notre Dame by the Boston Purple Sox.
Vaun Brown is slashing .344/.422/.633 with 20 house runs and a 173 wRC+ between Low-A San Jose and Excessive-A Eugene. The 24-year-old outfielder was drafted within the tenth spherical final 12 months out of Florida Southern Faculty by the San Francisco Giants.
Alejandro Osuna is slashing .317/.401/.466 with eight house runs and a 143 wRC+ for the Low-A Down East Wooden Geese. A local of Ahome, Mexico, the 19-year-old outfielder was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2020.
The San Diego Padres solely took one up-the-middle infielder on this 12 months’s draft, and that wasn’t till their penultimate choose. Within the nineteenth spherical, the A.J. Preller-led group chosen Spence Coffman, a shortstop out of Mississippi’s Tishomingo County Excessive College.
I broached the topic with the workforce’s President of Baseball Operations when he took questions from the media following the draft.
“I feel yearly is a little bit bit totally different,” mentioned Preller. “We’re no totally different than most groups in that we put a precedence on athletes up the center. However you by no means wish to drive something in a draft. Some years the board strains up. Some years, the place you might be whenever you’re selecting within the rounds, it doesn’t fairly line up from that standpoint.
“We’ve acquired loads of actually good infielders within the system,” Preller added. “Clearly, in the previous few years we’ve taken C.J. [Abrams, sixth-overall in 2019] and Jackson Merrill [27th-overall in 2021]. We’ve acquired some shortstops that may fly.”
Preller went on to say the Padres had been excited to get Coffman, a participant he known as “an under-the-radar sort,” in a later spherical. Scouting director Chris Kemp, who was additionally on the Zoom name, likewise spoke extremely of the draft’s 570th-overall choice.
LINKS YOU’LL LIKE
At Sports activities Enterprise Journal, Erik Bacharach wrote about how MLB’s worldwide technique may result in video games in South Korea.
Shannon Curley is among the many most influential folks within the Toronto Blue Jays group. David Singh wrote about her for SportsNet Canada.
The Rating’s Travis Sawchik presented a case for radical realignment and the tip of interleague play.
MLB.com’s Sarah Wexler told us about an exhibit at Dodger Stadium that honors the hidden legacy of Japanese American baseball.
RANDOM FACTS AND STATS
Tony Oliva batted .304 with 95 house runs in house video games. He batted .304 with 125 house runs in away video games.
David Ortiz batted .305 with 241 house runs in house video games. He batted .267 with 300 house runs in away video games.
Stan Musial famously had 1,815 hits in house video games and 1,815 hits in away video games. Musial additionally had 215 strikeouts, 19 stolen bases, and 19 caught-stealings as a left fielder, and 215 strikeouts, 18 stolen bases, and 19 caught-stealings as a primary baseman.
Alcides Escobar leads all energetic gamers with 58 profession triples. The Washington Nationals infielder is tied with 18 different gamers for 537th on the all-time listing.
The Nationwide League beat the American League 4-3 in 14 innings within the 1950 All-Star Recreation. Brooklyn Dodgers Corridor of Famer Roy Campanella caught all 14 innings for the successful aspect.
On at this time’s date in 1993, Anthony Young noticed his document drop to 0-13 because the New York Mets fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 in 10 innings. It was the right-hander’s twenty seventh consecutive loss, essentially the most for any pitcher in MLB historical past. 4 days later, he narrowly averted a twenty eighth straight when the Mets rallied for 2 runs within the backside of the ninth inning to beat the Florida Marlins. Younger, who completed his profession 15-48 with a 100 ERA+, was credited with the win.
Corey Koskie reached base thrice through HBP on July 27, 2004. The Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 7-3.
Gamers born on at this time’s date embody Norihiro Nakamura, who appeared in 17 video games and had 5 hits in 39 at bats for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005. A local of Osaka who starred for the Kintetsu Buffaloes previous to his temporary stint in MLB, Nakamura hit 404 house runs — together with 46 in 2001, and 42 in 2002 — throughout his NPB profession.
Additionally born on at this time’s date was Cotton Nash, a 6-foot-6 outfielder whose MLB profession comprised 13 video games with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins from 1967-1970. An All-American ahead on the College of Kentucky, Nash performed for the Los Angeles Lakers and San Francisco Warriors within the 1964-1965 season, and for the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels in 1967-1968.