Mike Oz

  • Ned Yost explains why he didn't pick A-Rod for the AL All-Star team

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 56 mins ago

    If you were rooting for anarchy to breakout on MLB's All-Star roster announcement day, then you were disappointed to learn that Alex Rodriguez was named neither an AL All-Star reserve Monday, nor was he one of the five competitors put in the "Final Vote" race.

    Has A-Rod been good enough to warrant All-Star inclusion? That's quite debatable, but some people think so. His OPS, for example, is .902 and that's 14th best in baseball, better than All-Star starters Josh Donaldson, Buster Posey, Albert Pujols and Lorenzo Cain. A-Rod's hitting .284 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs. Pretty good. Better than almost anybody expected from him. 

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    Roster flexibility, eh? Well, A-Rod has had two hip surgeries, so flexibility isn't necessarily his thing these days. That's a joke, but seriously, A-Rod is mostly a DH nowadays.

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  • You know how many Royals were voted All-Stars starters by MLB players? Zero

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    The process by which we determine who starts the MLB All-Star game is completely up to fans. If you've been paying attention the last two months, you know this quite well. It was hard to miss all the handwringing about how many Kansas City Royals players might start because of their fans' feverish online ballot-stuffing.

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    In the end, four Royals were voted as starters — catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon. As many as eight Royals were leading their positions just a few weeks ago, so four Royals seems like a fair enough compromise between over-eager K.C. clicksters and the rest of baseball.

    But you know who wasn't nearly as keen on Kansas City's All-Star class? MLB players.

  • Jon Lester gets a hit. Finally.

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    Lester was 0-for-66 for his career when he stepped to the plate Monday night against St. Louis Cardinals starter (and former teammate) John Lackey. Lester put a good swing on Lackey's offering and smacked it back at the mound, where it ricocheted off Lackey. Lester arrived safely at first base, with a history-beating base hit.

    It raised his career batting average from .000 to .015. Impressive indeed. If you count the playoffs, this was Lester's first hit in 72 at-bats. He set the record for most at-bats without a hit in May, passing former San Diego Padres pitcher Joey Hamilton, who started his career 0-for-57 before getting a hit in 1995. The longest 0-for in baseball now belongs to Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis, according to ESPN Stats & Info, who is 0-for-30 to start his career.

    But, hey, at least Jon Lester finally got a hit.

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  • Robinson Cano says he's been battling a stomach illness for nearly a year

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 10 hrs ago

    Robinson Cano hasn't played like a $24 million man this season for the Seattle Mariners. He's hitting .248, far below his career batting average of .306, with five homers and 27 RBIs. He's one of the reasons the Mariners are a disappointing 38-44 and in fourth place in the AL West.

    As it turns out, though, this isn't a run-of-the-mill baseball slump. Nor is it a typical decline for a former star. Cano, 32, admitted to USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz, in a Spanish-language interview, that he's been battling a stomach problem for almost a year and the results have been draining. 

    Cano was in the midst of his sixth All-Star season last year when he started experiencing stomach discomfort in August. With the Mariners in the playoff chase, he didn't get it checked until their season was over, in October. Cano said he was told he had a common parasite, which was treated with antibiotics, but he was left with acid reflux to this day.

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  • Cardinals fire scouting director as drama thickens in MLB hacking scandal

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    From The Post-Dispatch's Robert Patrick and Derrick Goold:

    Correa has admitted hacking into a Houston Astros database but said it was only to verify that the Astros had stolen proprietary data, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

    Correa did not leak any Astros data, and is not responsible for additional hacks that the FBI has alleged occurred or leaking any data, said the source.

    A lawyer representing Correa released a statement to The Post-Dispatch on Thursday that denied any wrongdoing and pointed the finger back at the Astros:

    "Mr. Correa denies any illegal conduct. The relevant inquiry should be what information did former St. Louis Cardinals employees steal from the St. Louis Cardinals organization prior to joining the Houston Astros, and who in the Houston Astros organization authorized, consented to, or benefitted from that roguish behavior."

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  • Jose Fernandez returns from Tommy John surgery, hits homer, wins at life

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    The afternoon dubbed #JoseDay didn't start out as the Miami Marlins hoped, but by the end of it, Jose Fernandez had his first MLB win in more than a year, six strikeouts and he managed to hit a baseball over the fence.

    So, #JoseDay, as it turned out, was pretty excellent.

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    The homer by Fernandez was part of a four-run fifth inning by the Marlins and that's what eventually — just as much as his pitching — contributed to the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Giants.

    He finished the game after six innings, throwing 89 pitches and allowing seven hits and three runs.

    Credit to Fernandez, even though he wasn't at his absolute best on the mound, he figured out a way to make #JoseDay a home run.

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  • The second coming? Vlad Guerrero Jr. signs with Blue Jays

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    We loved free-swinging Vladimir Guerrero during his playing days and soon enough, we'll see if we love the sequel.

    Vlad Guerrero Jr., the most recognizable name in this year's international free-agent class, which was allowed to begin signing with MLB teams Thursday, has agreed to join the Toronto Blue Jays. According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, Vlad Jr. is getting a $3.9 million deal from the Jays that should allow him to start his baseball career in Canada like his famous father.

    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. at the @BlueJays facility in the Dominican Republic. So proud! pic.twitter.com/YDgXAnZsBU

    The moment Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became a Toronto Blue Jay! He is worth the hype everybody! pic.twitter.com/dwzjxJckNa

    Vlad Jr. #27, what else would you expect? @BlueJays pic.twitter.com/yCvGl85wxl

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  • Bryce Harper bares all for ESPN's 'Body Issue,' still loves cookies

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Good news, dudes and dudettes, you can still get as ripped as Bryce Harper and love donuts and cookies.

    The Washington Nationals slugger is one of the star athletes who agreed to strip down for ESPN's "Body Issue" this year (as evidenced by the photo at right). He joins Prince Fielder and Matt Harvey as MLB players who have bared all for ESPN in the past few years.

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  • The five longest homers of June, with twice the Joc and Giancarlo

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 5 days ago

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    Joc and Giancarlo, that pair sounds like it could be a lot of things — a melodic rap duo, for instance, or twin sons of a move star. Maybe a pair of chefs with a hip food truck.

    They're also the two guys who ruled baseball's home-run distance game in June. We're talking, of course, about Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. And now that the calendar has flipped to July, it's time for The Stew, like we always do, to look at the longest homers from the month that just ended. 

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    Here's the entire top five list with details and data from MLBAM's very precise Statcast tracking system:

    1. HANLEY RAMIREZ, JUNE 21, 480.53 FEET Hanley only hit three homers in June, a month in which he missed time with a hand injury, but he made this one count. 

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  • Next up? Miguel Sano reportedly gets called up to the Twins

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    At this rate, we're going to run out of high-profile prospects! OK, not really, but baseball's year of prospect continues with another big bat headed to the big leagues.

    Miguel Sano, the freakish third baseman in the Minnesota Twins organization, is the latest to get the call, reports MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. After losing 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, the Twins sent Kennys Vargas to Double-A, a move that had some mouths in Minnesota watering for Sano. And it will be so, reportedly.

    Just heard from a well-placed source that Miguel Sano will be getting the call up to the Twins.

    Sano is a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic who swings a big stick. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 240 pounds, so he's very much an imposing physical specimen. Sano had been crushing the ball in Double-A lately, hitting .329 in June with a 1.090 OPS and six homers.

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