Tonight, my All Star team is going to make its way to Ocala, Florida for the Southeast Regional Tournament, where we will play the best teams from other states. Depending on whether or not I have access to a computer in Ocala, I may not be able to get any more blogs out this week.
City of the Day
Dothan, Alabama. 4 Players, 2 Active. First Player: Mickey McGowan (1948).
The Peanut Capital of the World has only produced four players, but two of them happen to be active and doing very well. The first player to come out of Dothan, which is situated just 26 miles from the tri-state border with Georgia and Florida, was Mickey McGowan, a pitcher who made three appearances for the Giants in 1948, posting a 7.36 ERA at age 26. Another player did not come out of Dothan until David Kelton in 2003, and he finished his 18 game career with just three hits for a .136 average. P.J. Walters is a pitcher with the Twins who is 4-2 with a 6.47 ERA over his four year career. He has never pitched more than eight games in a season, but his minor league success (51-36, 3.99 ERA) and relatively young age at 27 could lead to future impact in the bigs. By far the greatest player to come out of the Circle City is Matt Cain, who is 79-76 with a 3.30 ERA over his eight year major league career. His breakout year was 2009, when he was 14-8 with a 2.89 ERA over 33 starts. He has dominated ever since, and is on pace for his best year this year. Including a perfect game he threw earlier in the season, he is 10-3 with a 2.80 ERA over 20 starts. Cain has not pitched a single inning in the minors since he was 20 back in 2005.
Cubs traded Paul Maholm (9-6, 3.74 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, age 30) and Reed Johnson (3 HR, 16 RBI, .302 AVG, 2 SB, age 35) to the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino (2011: 1-1, 4.67 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, now aged 21) and minor leaguer Jaye Champan (3-6, 3.52 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 7 saves at AAA, age 25).
Blue Jays traded Travis Snider (3 HR, 8 RBI, .250 AVG, 0 SB, age 24) to the Pirates for Brad Lincoln (4-2, 2.73 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 1 save, age 27).
Cubs traded Geovany Soto (6 HR, 14 RBI, .199 AVG, 0 SB, age 28) to the Rangers for minor leaguer Jacob Brigham (5-5, 4.28 ERA, 1.35 WHIP at AA, age 24).
Mariners traded Brandon League (0-5, 3.63 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 9 saves, age 29) to the Dodgers for minor leaguers Leon Landry (8 HR, 51 RBI, .328 AVG, 20 SB at High Class A, age 22) and Logan Bawcom (4-4, 2.03 ERA, .197 BAA, 20 saves at High Class A and AA, age 23).
Rockies traded Marco Scutaro (4 HR, 30 RBI, .271 AVG, 7 SB, age 36) to the Giants for Charlie Culberson (0 HR, 1 RBI, .136 AVG, 0 SB, age 23).
Blue Jays traded Eric Thames (3 HR, 11 RBI, .243 AVG, 0 SB, age 25) to the Mariners for Steve Delabar (2-1, 4.17 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, age 29).
Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales became the third player in history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning.
In my opinion, though, the Braves acquired a pair of legitimate major leaguers, they over-payed. Paul Maholm can beef up the rotation and Reed Johnson will shore up the outfield, but Arodys Vizcaino is a top prospect destined for a great future and Jaye Chapman has a future as a bona fide reliever. Maholm gives the Braves a horse who averages six innings per start. Right now, he is on one of the better stretches of his career, giving up five earned runs over his last 45 innings for an ERA of 1.00, lowering his season total from 5.38 to 3.74. After spending his entire eight-year career in the NL Central with the Pirates and Cubs, he will play for a contending team for the first time. His best start of the year came on June 29, when he tossed 8.1 shutout innings on just four hits and a walk. Johnson can play anywhere in the outfield, and looks to be a backup for Jason Heyward, Michael Bourn and Martin Prado while also offering a consistent bat off the bench. He owns a .284 career average, and has hit at least .300 four times in the last seven years.
The main return is Arodys Vizcaino for the Cubs. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in Spring Training, the Dominican native remains a top prospect. Over his four-year minor league career, he is 19-15 with a 2.91 ERA over 65 games (50 starts). He does not turn 22 until November, and could break the Cubs roster out of Spring Training in 2013. Jay Champan is a closer at AAA Gwinnett, holding a 3.25 ERA with nine saves over 83 games at Gwinnett over the past two seasons. Over 242 career minor league appearances, he holds a 3.93 ERA and 28 saves.
Geovany Soto's Cubs tenure comes to an end after eight years. He is best remembered for his 2008 Rookie of the Year, when he hit 23 home runs, knocked in 85, and batted .285 at the age of 25. He has not had much success since, his only good year being 2010, where he hit 17 home runs and batted .280. He looks to team with Mike Napoli behind the plate now that Yorvit Torrealba has been designated for assignment.
In return, the Cubs got minor league right hander Jacob Brigham, who is 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts for AA Frisco. The 24-year-old figures to fit into Chicago's future rotation, maybe late in 2013. Despite a 27-42 career minor league record, he holds a 4.40 ERA. For Class A Short Season Spokane in 2007, he was 5-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 15 starts.
Red Sox (52-51) beat the Tigers (54-49) 7-3.
Orioles (54-49) beat the Yankees (60-42) 5-4.
Diamondbacks (52-51) beat the Dodgers (56-48) 7-2.
Braves (58-44) beat the Marlins (47-55) 8-2.
A's (56-46) beat the Rays (53-50) 4-3 (15 innings).
Cubs (43-58) beat the Pirates (58-44) 14-4.
Nationals, Phillies, and Rockies didn't play.
Top Scorer: Angels beat the Rangers 15-8.
AL East: Yankees (60-42, .588 WPCT). AL Central: White Sox (55-47, .539). AL West: Rangers (59-42, .584).
NL East: Nationals (61-40, .604). NL Central: Reds (61-41, .598). NL West: Giants (55-47, .539).
AL Wild Cards: A's (56-46, .549) and Angels (56-47, .544). NL Wild Cards: Braves and Pirates (58-44, .569).
Bottom Team: Astros (35-69, .337). Longest W Streak: Braves, 6 games. Longest L Streak: Giants and Royals, 5 games.
Offensive: AVG: Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), .368. Home runs: Adam Dunn (White Sox), 31. RBI: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) and Josh Hamilton (Rangers), 84. Stolen bases: Mike Trout (Angels), 31.
Pitching: Wins: R.A. Dickey (Mets) and David Price (Rays), 14. K's: Felix Hernandez (Mariners), 153. ERA: Ryan Vogelsong (Giants), 2.22 (129.2 innings, 32 earned runs). Saves: Joel Hanrahan (Pirates) and Jim Johnson (Orioles), 31.
Offensive: Darwin Barney (Cubs): 3-5, triple, home run (5), 4 RBI, 3 runs, AVG up .005 from .265 to .270, hitting streak to 2 games (6-9, .667 AVG).
Pitching: Hisashi Iwakuma (Mariners): Win (2-2), 8 innings, 1 earned run, 4 hits, 3 walks, 13 K's (50), ERA drop: 0.46 runs from 4.56 to 4.10.
Worst Pitching Performance: Mike Leake (Reds): Loss (4-7), 1.2 innings, 5 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 1 K (79), ERA jump: 0.32 runs from 4.12 to 4.44.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage