9 Things We Learned at Nationals Park On A Tuesday In June

This past Tuesday, Jake and I attended our first major league baseball game of the 2013 season. We watched the Arizona Diamondbacks lose to the Washington Natitudes 7-5 after nine innings of surprisingly mediocre baseball.

Boring game recaps be damned; here are the nine things we learned from this night of based ballz.

1. Wade Miley Is Almost Definitely Related To Miley Cyrus

During batting practice, we were kindly heckling some Diamondbacks players in right field as they shagged fly balls and probably talked about dirty things. At one point, Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley simultaneously drifted back for a fly ball. Kennedy grabbed it, but it was a near collision. After criticizing for their lack of communication, we finally had Wade’s attention. We had to ask.

“WADE ! ARE YOU RELATED TO MILEY ?!”

“What ?”

“You know…Miley…”

“Oh yeah…she’s my sister.”

Case closed.

2. Trevor Cahill Is Large

20130628-142408.jpg

When the D-backs starter for the night emerged from the dugout, we were surprised by the sheer size of him. He’s listed at 6″4 220 lbs but he looked to be the biggest player on the team. Just a big dude.

3. There Is No Minimum Height To Be On the Washington Nationals Grounds Crew

20130628-142250.jpg

We were sure this was Jose Altuve just doing some adorable charity work, but it seems to just be some lucky kid tasked with carrying a hose around. Sidenote: The Fox Sports West reporter at the bottom of the picture looked remarkably unhappy for the entire game.

Continue reading

The Best Home Runs of the 2012 Regular Season

Before CFB existed, I did a bit of baseball writing for my own amusement. Shortly after the Giants defeated the Tigers to capture the 2012 World Series Championship, I was craving more baseball. So with the help of the incredible HitTracker, I delved into my 21 favorite home runs of the 2012 regular season. So here they are, reproduced for CFB. Enjoy.

BALL GO FAR

Giancarlo Stanton Hits A Baseball 494 Feet:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=23980563&c_id=mlb

This is the first of Stanton’s multiple appearances on this list, and with good reason. The guy is a tank. He’s laughably strong, and whether you wanna credit Coors Field with the distance of this bomb, it was still the longest home run of the entire season. Something always worth watching in these home run clips is the catcher’s reaction as soon as the ball is hit. The slow-mo shot at :39 of Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario jerking his head away in disappointment is just hilarious. I also like the left fielder just hopelessly watching the ball fly into the seats. Sums up the Rockies’ season pretty well. My favorite part has to be at :11, the fan that looks legitimately angry to have not caught the ball. Dude, do you see where you’re sitting ? You’re like 50 rows up in dead center field !

Edwin Encarnacion’s Upper Upper Upper Upper Decker:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=24391923&c_id=mlb

Edwin Encarnacion showed up last year with a decent track record of major league power, but not THIS kind of power. This dinger was Edwin’s 36th of the year, and this dinger was just stupid. I’m not entirely sure if the pitcher/victim, JP Howell, fell down after the pitch (:03) in fear that his life/career might be in danger, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me. Sure, hanging 80 MPH sliders down the pipe usually get crushed, but like this ? Nah.

Nelson Cruz Is A MONSTER:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22002055&c_id=mlb

Nelson Cruz isn’t really that good of a baseball player anymore, but he can still hit the ball really freakin’ far. Before the pitch, Cruz, like most hitters in a 3-0 count, doesn’t look very interested. Most batters should, and often do take the next pitch no matter what. However, if fringy reliever Bobby Cassevah puts it on a tee for you, you should probably do what NC-17 does here. I’m extremely amused by the left fielder running back as if he even has a CHANCE at catching it. Not so much. I also love Elvis Andrus’ awkward high-five attempt with a distracted Michael Young at :40.

Cameron Maybin Apparently Has Power:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22789511&c_id=mlb&topic_id=vtp_interstate

Maybin’s power hasn’t quite developed the way some scouts envisioned, but he’s still young, and there’s still time. However, in this July contest, Maybin unleashed one of the more shockingly distant homers of the year. 3-1 count, Trevor Cahill throws an 89 MPH meatball, and Maybin does the rest. The fan that retrieves the ball at :16 is great. I noticed the left fielder started running back towards the ball and then was quickly like ohhhhhhhh nevermind around :08. Always the little things.

Nelson Cruz Punishes A Guy Named Frieri (almost a good pun):

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=23548781&c_id=mlb&topic_id=vtp_interstate

Ernesto Frieri was freakishly albeit unsustainably good once traded to the Angels from San Diego, and this wasn’t even a bad pitch. 95 low and in, and Nelson golfed it WAYYYYYYYY back, like way back way back. Just demolished. At :38, Pujols is like, “Yo man, anywhere but there. Seriously.”

Justin Maxwell Does What Most People Do In Coors Field Except A Lot Farther:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21848667&c_id=mlb

Justin Maxwell can hit baseballs really far, sometimes. He can’t do much else, but any moderately compelling skill will get you a spot on the Astros. Point being, the dude can do things like this, and that’s worth something. The most astounding part of this video is the absurd number of Rockies fans in attendance for an Astros-Rockies game. Good for them, though. If you pause the video at :06, you’ll see a common sight for Rockies fans. Pitcher looking down in dismay, batter happily beginning his trot around the bases. Oh, Rockies :(

Luis Mendoza Gives Up A Home Run To Travis Hafner Because Duh:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20645461&c_id=mlb

Besides the fact that he looks like he really has to poop before he pitches, Luis Mendoza is one of those pitchers that you watch simply because you know he’s gonna give up a bomb like this. In this case, Travis Hafner just obliterates this pitch over everything in right field. I can just imagine a KC fan with seats in right, waiting for a home run ball after countless Jeff Franceour fly outs. “Oh here finally a ball that’s hit towards me yay here it comes oh no wait not that far oh man the Royals just stink :( ”

BJ Upton Hits A Foul Ball Over 9,000 Feet:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25277779&c_id=mlb

The player known as Bossman hit a career high 28 homers last year, but this foul ball might actually be more impressive than any of those. I don’t really know what to say. I’m highly entertained by the fan who gets the ball at :13 and is just like “okay, so that happened” and then his buddy giving him a pat on the back. Those guys are like 200 feet up at the back of the dome !!! BJ’s facial expression at :22 is just priceless.

FUCKING LASERS

Jamie Moyer Throws A 72 MPH Fastball To Giancarlo Stanton; Hilarity Ensues:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21638519&c_id=mlb

Easily one of the more famous home runs of the 2012 season, this bomb came off of Stanton’s bat at a ridiculous 122.4 MPH. So many things to discuss, with the broken scoreboard, the fact that holy shit Jamie Moyer was still pitching, the fact that seriously what did you think was gonna happen, etc etc. I’ve watched this several dozen times now, and what I notice is the catcher at the VERY beginning. He’s looking over at the Rockies dugout, where he presumably just got the sign for what pitch the put down for Moyer. And then Moyer threw whatever the hell that was. I mean, come on. Of course 22 (!!!) year old Giancarlo Stanton was gonna hit a grand slam off of 49 (!!!) year old Jamie Moyer. Of course.

Giancarlo Stanton Hits A Cole Hamels Change-up Really, Really, Really Hard:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22718959&c_id=mlb

Cole Hamels has one of the more devastating change-ups in baseball, but this is a prime example of what can quickly go horribly wrong if you keep it over the plate to the wrong guy.

Hanley Ramirez Hits A Double To Center Field Oh Wait That Is Actually A Home Run How Did He Do That:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=23109939&c_id=mlb

Hanley had quite a disappointing season with the Marlins before being traded to the Dodgers for a bag of chips and Nate Eovaldi, but this home run stands alone as the one that I genuinely still can’t comprehend how it got out of the park. Off the bat, it looks like a double, maybe even a single to the left-center field gap. But no. Oh no. This just kept going and going and going. The unsuspecting female fan shielding her face from the ball at :07 is funny, but you can’t blame her. She had three and a half seconds from the moment Hanley made contact to when that baseball was coming straight for her face. Unreal bat speed, with the vintage Hanley follow-through and leisurely trot around the bases to boot. Awesome.

Justin Upton Makes You Want To Draft Him Too High In Every Fantasy League For The Rest Of Time:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=24609089&c_id=mlb

Not too much to say here, other than that it is really difficult to hit home runs at Petco Park and Justin Upton made it look embarrassingly easy. It’s such a sweet swing. The thing that throws me off here is at :38 when the announcer says Upton “didn’t try to do too much” with the pitch. That’s a baseball phrase that usually applies to a single poked through the hole between third and short, not a 430 foot bomb to center field in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball.

If that’s Upton “not trying to do too much”, I wonder what it looks like when he DOES try to do “too much”. Oh yeah, it’s this (BONUS CLIP aka my favorite home run of all time):

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=13723163

Justin Upton is just the best.

Adam Jones Takes #NATITUDE To A Whole New Level:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22528001&c_id=mlb

Often times when home runs are hit, you have a second or two to admire them as they head towards the seats. In this case, Jones just pulls it as hard as he possibly can and then a second later it hits the foul pole. Home run. Not much time to process what actually happened. It’s important to note where the catcher sets up for the pitch (low and away), and where the unfortunate ball actually ended up (right down the freakin’ middle). “Taking advantage of a rare mistake by Edwin Jackson”, proclaims the announcer. Yeah, no. Not so rare. This happens quite often.

Rickie Weeks Still Has Ridiculous Bat Speed Despite Hitting .230: 

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20484059&c_id=mlb

The Weeks brothers, both Rickie and Jemile, have been known to have an incredible amount of bat speed. This is a solid example, as Rickie drills one and almost kills an innocent and most likely depressed Cubs fan sitting right next to the left field foul pole. The home run is cool, sure, but the thing I noticed is how excited the fan is to have the ball at :10 … and then seeing the ball thrown back on the field at :16. It’s Wrigley tradition to throw the ball back when the homer is from another team, but in this case, the fans with the ball genuinely look happy to have caught it ! Don’t give into peer pressure ! I bet they miss that baseball. Anyway, yeah. Rickie Weeks can still do things like this.

Yoenis Cespedes Has CORE STRENGTH:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22473041&c_id=mlb

This was one of the most exciting home runs of Oakland’s confusingly epic season of walk-offs, and it’s really something. The amount of torque Cespedes produces in this swing is just crazy, and he almost ends up on one knee, much like Adrian Beltre does after the majority of his swings. When Cespedes takes his helmet off at :23, you get a solid sense that he really hasn’t done much to maintain those eyebrows at all in his 27 year existence. But that’s the way he likes them. Ain’t nobody gonna tell him otherwise.

Melky Cabrera Does Something Interesting Before Getting Suspended For Steroids Ugh Why Melky Why:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21740411&c_id=mlb

Here we have former San Francisco Giants enigma Melky Cabrera hitting a home run off of former Marlins ace Josh Johnson. Johnson actually hits his spot perfectly, but in a(nother) season of improbable Melky things, this improbable Melky thing was bound to happen. When he hits it, Melky has this brief look of “oh crap, didn’t mean to do that”, as the ball sails towards foul territory. But like most of the bombs in this category, it just kept going.

STUPID HIGH

Michael Cuddyer Hits A Pop Up To The Shortstop But Oh Wait We Are In Coors Field So It’s A Homer: 

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=23428725&c_id=mlb

If there was ever a video that briefly defines the Coors Field effect, this is probably the one. Michael Cuddyer basically hits a pop fly. Everyone on the field assumes it’s a pop fly. The pitcher, Jose Arredondo, doesn’t even turn around at first. The third baseman and the shortstop actually point up as if to signal a pop fly at :02. Lucky for Cuddyer, he’s in Colorado. I’d be a huge proponent of a remix entitled “Tell Me How I’m Supposed To Post An ERA Under 5.00 With No Air” – Jordin Sparks featuring Skrillex and the entire Rockies pitching staff. Yeah, that should totally be a thing.

Asdrubal Cabrera Hits It Really High; Accidentally Produces Dinger:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21577599&c_id=mlb

Asdrubal, oh Asdrubal. Something odd that I notice about many home runs hit at Progressive Field is that the camera always pans WAY up to the point where for a second you’re like “oh my god he hit that ball 600 feet didn’t he”. This is a perfect example. If you pause the video at :05, you might think that ball is the farthest home run in the history of the world. Granted, this was indeed one of the highest hit home runs of the year with an apex of 137 feet, but Indians broadcasts do this ALL the time, and it drives me nuts. In reality, it was just over the right field wall.

Jed Lowrie Does What Most Small Scrappy White Kids Dream They Could Do At Minute Maid Park:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21187035&c_id=mlb

This one is just absolutely hysterical. Everything about it. Scrawny little Jed Lowrie golfs a shitty pitch about 320 feet into the hilariously short porch in left field at Minute Maid Park. This has to be the least impressive home run of all time and I just love it. It was even ruled a double before they reviewed it ! I’m sure the umpires saw it and were like “no no no no there is no way this should actually count as a home run… *watches replay* … damn”. It was over the fence by a few inches. Also, where else can the ball bounce off the left field wall and be fielded by the shortstop ?! The best part for me is big fat Carlos Lee rumbling around third base. This actually might be one of the funnier things I saw all year. When the ball is first hit, you can see Lee walking confidently towards third base at :03, assuming it’s a home run. When the ball caroms off the wall, Lee quickly realizes “oh shit, I should probably score”. WITH A LEAD, it took Carlos Lee 13.2 seconds to score from second base. For comparison sake, on July 15th, Reds superfreak Billy Hamilton, who broke the minor league record for stolen bases last year with 155, hit an inside-the-park home run for Double-A Pensacola. It took him 13.8 seconds to round the bases. Just hilarious.

Billy Hamilton’s inside the parker:

http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=23065785&source=MILB

Miguel Cabrera Hits A Baseball While Chone Figgins Attempts To Play Left Field:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20942345&c_id=mlb

This one is much like the oppo-taco Miggy hit off Matt Cain in Game 4 of the World Series, except significantly funnier because Mariners. First, we see Chone Figgins trying his best to track this fly ball from :03 to :09, with no avail. Then you notice the pitch location on the FoxTrax at :35, which makes it look like the pitch was either going to hit him, or go behind him. It seems a bit exaggerated. Also, Hector Noesi is awful.

Todd Helton Hits A Walk-Off Home Run And Oh By The Way The Ball Was In The Air For Seven Seconds:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20631483&c_id=mlb

As a Rockies fan, this was probably the best moment of the season. It meant nothing in the grand scheme of things, but then again, none of this stuff does. It was a walk-off home run after an obnoxiously long rain delay, as evidenced by the lack of fans and messy infield. Basically, this was the highest hit ball of the 2012 season, with an unfathomable apex of 162 feet. Much like the Asdrubal homer, if you pause the video at :08, you might think the ball is actually going to leave the stadium, never to return. Sure enough, the ball landed about three feet beyond the right field fence, barely to the left of the foul pole. It had a relatively unimpressive True Distance of 366 feet, but it was by far the most exciting and dramatic hit of CLOLorado’s tragically disastrous season, and I’m glad it happened. Sidenote: I love the guy who has the ball at :20, wearing an Indians jacket (?!?!).

Josh Hamilton Hits Another Stupid Josh Hamilton Home Run:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21344977&c_id=mlb

Josh Hamilton did a lot of completely nonsensical things this year, like hitting four home runs in one game. While that was obviously more impressive, I found this one notable because of the bizarre angle at which the ball comes off the bat. When the ball leaves the screen, it looks like it’s headed towards space. Hard to fully understand it without watching it, but of course that’s the entire point of this whole thing, so watch the video ! What happens at :32 is something I began noticing in the middle of the 2011 season. It seems that whenever a Ranger hits a home run, especially at home, he returns to the dugout to an audible hyena like squeeling that I’m 97% sure is Ian Kinsler. You can hear it :38 when you see Hamilton giving an unseen teammate a high-five and just…I don’t know.

***

So there. My 22 (21) favorite home runs of the 2012 Major League Baseball regular season. I’d like to conclude this piece with my all-time favorite home run call. This was actually from the 2011 season, but it’s absolutely fantastic, and I wanted to share it. Take it away, Brandon.

Brandon Inge Hits A Walk-Off Home Run, Sends Everybody Home:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?c_id=mlb&content_id=19054689&query=game_pk%3D289074

perkins lawl

#GlenPerkinsFace

The Cespedes Family Barbecue 2013 Season Previews

Yes, we’re already two weeks into the season.

But we’re lazy/busy high school teenagers that are working with a seven hour time difference soooooooooooooooooooo

Here, in all their glory, are the team by team previews for the 2013 season. They include haikus, CFB names, .gifs, puns, and horrible, horrible jokes. We hope you enjoy.

Click on the team name to see the preview (duh).

AL EAST

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

AL WEST

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

NL EAST

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Washington Nationals

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers

Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

PART 3: The Best of International Baseball Nomenclature

Click here for Part 2.

***

COUNTRY: Panama

No available image online (he probably doesn’t exist)

Player: RHP Euclides Bethancour

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERCLERDERS BERTHERNCER

CFB Name: Youk Lids Beth Anchor

Name Unscrambled: Seduce Centaur

Player: IF Ashley Ponce

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERSHLER PERNC

CFB Name: A Sheep Once

Name Unscrambled: Leash Cone

Player: OF Jahdiel Santamaria

ERMAHGERD Translation: JERDERL SERNTERMAHRER

CFB Name: Chawed Hell Santa Mario

Name Unscrambled: Jailed Samaritan

***

COUNTRY: The Philippines

Player: IF Leighton Pangilinan

ERMAHGERD Translation: LERGHTERN PINERLERNERN

CFB Name: Late On Pan Jillian

Name Unscrambled: Thong Planning

Player: OF Saxon Omandac

ERMAHGERD Translation: SERXERN ERMAHNDERC

CFB Name: Sex On On My Dick

Name Unscrambled: Ox Nomad

Player: OF Jonash Ponce

ERMAHGERD Translation: JERNERSH PERNC

CFB Name: Joe Nash Ponds

Name Unscrambled: Johns ? Nope

***

COUNTRY: South Africa

Player: IF Gift Ngoepe

ERMAHGERD Translation: GERFT NGERP

CFB Name: .gif Nick Opi

Name Unscrambled: Fig Pong

alessio

Player: OF Alessio Angelucci

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERLERSER INERLERC

CFB Name: Alex Theo An Gel Deucy

Name Unscrambled: Seals Angelic

Player: OF Faizel Moosa

ERMAHGERD Translation: FERZERL MAHS

CFB Name: Fay Sell Moose Ah

Name Unscrambled: Fail Moo

***

COUNTRY: Thailand (if you actually expected pictures…you’re crazy. Here’s proof we’re not making these up).

Player: IF Jittipong Chong-On

ERMAHGERD Translation: JERTERPIN CHINERN

CFB Name: Titty Pong Thong On

Name Unscrambled: Tiptoing Congo

Player: IF Paramutt Meepakdee

ERMAHGERD Translation: PERERMAHT MAHPERKDER

CFB Name: Pair A Mutt Me Pack D

Name Unscrambled: Trauma Peaked

Player: IF Sanyalak Pitpatpinyo

ERMAHGERD Translation: SERNERLERK PERTPERTPERNER

CFB Name: Sand Ya’ll Yak Pit Pat Pin Yo

Name Unscrambled: Alaska Pinto

***

PART 2: The Best of International Baseball Nomenclature

Click here for Part 1.

***

COUNTRY: Great Britain

estevenson

Player: RHP Estevenson Encarnacion

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERSTERVERNSERN ERNCERNERCERN

CFB Name: Teste Van Zone Acorn A Scion

Name Unscrambled: Oneness Cocaine

Player: IF Aeden McQuery

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERDERN MCQERER

CFB Name: Aiding McKiwi

Name Unscrambled: Dean Mercy

Player: OF Bradley Marcelino

ERMAHGERD Translation: BRERDLER MAHRCERLERN

CFB Name: Bread Lemur Ceiling O’

Name Unscrambled: Dryable Cornmeal

***

COUNTRY: Israel

Player: RHP Shlomo Lipetz

ERMAHGERD Translation: SHLERM LERPERTZ

CFB Name: Slow Mole Lip Pets

Name Unscrambled: Homo Pile

Player: C Nick Rickles

ERMAHGERD Translation: NERCK RERCKLERS

CFB Name: Nig Riggles

Name Unscrambled: Ink Lickers

Player: OF Robbie Widlansky

ERMAHGERD Translation: RERBER WERDLERNSKER

CFB Name: Row Bee Wide Land Ski

Name Unscrambled: Bribe Swankily

***

COUNTRY: New Zealand

Player: C Beau Bishop

ERMAHGERD Translation: BER BERSHERP

CFB Name: Bob I Shop

Name Unscrambled: Be Posh

Player: IF Boss Moanaroa

ERMAHGERD Translation: BERS MAHNERER

CFB Name: Bozemon Arrow

Name Unscrambled: Sob Moron

Player: IF Daniel Lamb-Hunt

ERMAHGERD Translation: DERNERL LERMB-HERNT

CFB Name: Daniella Munt

Name Unscrambled: Nailed Blam-Hut

***

COUNTRY: Nicaragua

uber paz

Player: RHP Uber Paz

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERBER PERZ

CFB Name: You Burp As

Name Unscrambled: Rub Zap

Player: IF Ofilio Castro

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERFERLER CERSTR

CFB Name: Awful Leo Cats Row

Name Unscrambled: Fool Tacos

Player: IF Cheslor Cuthbert

ERMAHGERD Translation: CHERSLER CERTHBERT

CFB Name: Chest Lork Us Bert

Name Unscrambled: Horse Butcher

***

PART 1: The Best of International Baseball Nomenclature

If you couldn’t already tell, we love names here at Cespedes Family Barbecue. They’re fun, fascinating and provide us with far more material than you could ever imagine. When the rosters for this year’s World Baseball Classic were released, it was obvious we were gonna see some awesome names from around the globe. We were not disappointed. This six part series will take a look at the best of the best of the best. And no, we aren’t making any of these up. Enjoy !

***

COUNTRY: Colombia

Player: IF Iggy Suarez

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERGER SERERZ

CFB Name: Eh, Geese War Is

Name Unscrambled: Gig Arse

Player: IF Giovanny Urshela

ERMAHGERD Translation: GERVERNER ERSHERL

CFB Name: Gio Van Knee Hershey La

Name Unscrambled: Agony Haulers

Player: OF Steve Brown

ERMAHGERD Translation: STERV BRERN

CFB Name: Steve Brown

Name Unscrambled: Vest Born

***

COUNTRY: Czech Republic

Player: RHP Boris Bokaj

ERMAHGERD Translation: BERERS BERKERJ

CFB Name: Bores Bo Cage

Name Unscrambled: Ribs Job

Player: OF Martin Drong

ERMAHGERD Translation: MAHRTERN DRIN

CFB Name: Mar Tender Wrong

Name Unscrambled: Train Dong

Player: IF Petr Cech

ERMAHGERD Translation: PERTR CERCH

CFB Name: Pee Turdcheck

Name Unscrambled: Pet He

***

COUNTRY: France

Player: RHP Leonel Cespedes (I mean come on, obviously)

ERMAHGERD Translation: LERNERL CERSPERDERS

CFB Name: Lee Own Else Speed Is

Name Unscrambled: Lone Secedes

Player: RHP Eloi Secleppe

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERLER SERCLERP

CFB Name: L. Wah Sea Clap Ay

Name Unscrambled: Oil Peels

Player: IF Florian Peyrichou

ERMAHGERD Translation: FLERERN PERERCHER

CFB Name: Flo Rida Pikachu

Name Unscrambled: Final Euphoric

***

COUNTRY: Germany

Player: LHP Enorbel Marquez

ERMAHGERD Translation: ERNERBERL MAHRQERZ

CFB Name: E. Normal Mark Is

Name Unscrambled: Noble Azure

Player: IF Maximilian Boldt

ERMAHGERD Translation: MAHXERMAHLERN BERLDT

CFB Name: Maximal Ian Bolt

Name Unscrambled: Mailman Old

Player: IF Jendrick Speer

ERMAHGERD Translation: JERNDRERCK SPER

CFB Name: Gender Ick Sphere

Name Unscrambled: Inked Pees

***

Avril Lavigne Threw Two Ceremonial First Pitches; Let’s Over-analyze Them

While rival Kelly Clarkson has sung more Star-Spangled Banners in her career, my favorite Canadian (sorry Joey Votto), Avril Lavigne, leads another category of pre-game traditions: the ceremonial first pitch. She’s thrown two; one during the 2009 season in Toronto, and one in Tampa Bay during the 2011 season (the same night she later performed a disastrous concert and got booed off the stage for cursing everyone out). I’ve decided to take the analytic approach to these occurrences. I’ve obviously .giffed them, and at the end I’m gonna throw some 20-80 grades on Avril’s pitching mechanics with the help of the all-knowing Doug Thorburn (pitching guru at Baseball Prospectus).

This was Avril’s first pitch in Tampa Bay:

To start, she’s standing about 10 feet in front of the mound, so we know her arm strength isn’t exactly a plus tool. But she plants her right foot somewhat correctly, and fires an eephus-like dart to then Rays reliever Adam Russell. At first I thought it was JP Howell, who currently wears number 39 for the Rays. And then this little meet and greet happened:

JP Howell is only 6″0 tall and 190 lbs. I know Avril is small. But if that’s Howell, she’s a legal midget…and I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. The player who Avril is actually posing with looks legitimately twice her size. Sure enough, it’s Russell (then number 36), who is listed at a ridiculous 6″8 and 255 lbs. Makes more sense.

We are fortunate to have a side angle for this pitch, which is an essential view when evaluating top pitching prospects such as Avril Ramona Lavigne. She takes the ball out of her glove awfully early, almost like a right-handed Brian Fuentes, except not at all.

This action shot gives us a better sense of what pitch Avril was throwing:

Hard to judge, considering how tiny her hands are, but it looks like a palmball/change-up hybrid grip, as also evidenced by the late arm-side run the pitch shows. I’m almost positive Juan Francisco would swing at it.

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Let’s move on to Avril’s other ceremonial first pitch.

Again, we see her throwing from closer than where the mound actually is, except in this case, they even moved the plate up for her. It’s a big breaker. This shot of her right after the release is incredibly informative:

You usually want your glove pointing to your target when you’re pitching, but it’s not like Avril gives a shit. Her fingers are actually indicating some type of knuckleball variation, which could explain the intense movement, and also why the Jays would trade for RA Dickey three years later.

More curiously, this is what Avril did after she threw the pitch:

It seems to be her version of Aroldis Chapman’s infamous somersault.

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Balance (55): It’s pretty solid, as her low effort delivery allows her to not fall down and completely embarrass herself. It’s unquestionably better than Carlos MarmLOL, and she also keeps her head relatively aligned with the rest of her body throughout the delivery.

Momentum (45): It’s eh. Her stride is certainly strong, which helps, but when you consider how limited/non-existent the leg kick is, it’s hard to go higher for this one.

Torque (30):  Very poor. One would hope that she could maintain at least one other similar quality to Aroldis, such as the elite torque that he produces with his max-effort delivery, but I guess not. There’s just not a lot of pushing that baseball forward. Needs improvement.

Posture (80): She’s essentially standing straight up until she releases the ball, so I gotta hand her an elite grade for posture. It’s unclear if she knows that she’s supposed to lift her leg at all, but hey, posture is posture is posture. Whether it’s accidental or not.

Release Distance (30): There’s zero leg kick whatsoever, and that kinda dooms this grade from the start. I’m tempted to throw at least a 4 on this one, seeing as the amount of movement she gets on the pitch (due mostly to gravity, but whatever) even with the horrendous release is extremely impressive. The pitch in Toronto shows uncanny similarities to Sergio Romo’s slider. But unfortunately, she’s really not releasing it anywhere close to the optimal point in her delivery, thus the below-average grade.

Repetition and Timing (20):  You say small sample size, I say this is a complete disaster and a serious disappointment. These two pitches were thrown at completely different angles, release points…even the arm action was different. Sure, we’re only looking at two pitches ever, but the huge mechanical discrepancy between the two is just bad. Let’s be honest…she’s probably gonna have to move to the bullpen.

 

#CFB

Baseball America 2013 Best Tools Compilation: The Pitchers

Dylan Bundy

There are an endless number of sites devoted to baseball prospects, and while I think it’s safe to say our personal favorite here at CFB is Baseball Prospectus, the other giant in the internet world of prospecting, Baseball America, does something extremely fascinating every year to go along with their Top 10 lists. They take 15 tools, from Best Hit Tool to Best Outfield Arm, and assign one player from each organization one of these distinctions. Over the past few months, I’ve been compiling them in a spreadsheet as the team lists have come out. They concluded with the San Francisco Giants last week, so all the Best Tools have been handed out. It should be noted that some of these lists came out before certain trades, so you will see some players (new Marlin Justin Nicolino, for example) on teams that they no longer play for. However, I think a general compilation of these tools is helpful and interesting to look at.

We’ve seen the offense and the defense, so let’s take a look at the pitchers.

A breakdown by handedness:

Best Fastball: 29 RHP’s and 1 LHP

Best Curveball: 24 RHP’s and 6 LHP’s

Best Slider: 24 RHP’s and 6 LHP’s

Best Changeup: 17 RHP’s and 13 LHP’s

Best Control: 21 RHP’s and 9 LHP’s

AL EAST

AL east pitching

AL CENTRAL

AL central pitching

AL WEST

AL west pitching

NL EAST

NL east pitching

NL CENTRAL

NL central pitching

NL WEST

NL west pitching

Baseball America 2013 Best Tools Compilation: Defensive Tools

Jose Iglesias doing Jose Iglesias things.

There are an endless number of sites devoted to baseball prospects, and while I think it’s safe to say our personal favorite here at CFB is Baseball Prospectus, the other giant in the internet world of prospecting, Baseball America, does something extremely fascinating every year to go along with their Top 10 lists. They take 15 tools, from Best Hit Tool to Best Outfield Arm, and assign one player from each organization one of these distinctions. Over the past few months, I’ve been compiling them in a spreadsheet as the team lists have come out. They concluded with the San Francisco Giants last week, so all the Best Tools have been handed out. It should be noted that some of these lists came out before certain trades, so you will see some players (new Marlin Jake Marisnick, for example) on teams that they no longer play for. However, I think a general compilation of these tools is helpful and interesting to look at.

Last week we looked at the best offensive tools. Today, we look at the defensive side of things.

A positional breakdown:

Best Defensive Infielder: 23 SS’s, 5 2B’s and 2 3B’s

Best Infield Arm: 17 3B’s and 13 SS’s

AL EAST

AL east defense

AL CENTRAL

AL central defense

AL WEST

AL west defense

NL EAST

NL east defense

NL CENTRAL

NL central defense

NL WEST

NL west defense

Baseball America 2013 Best Tools Compilation: Offensive Tools

Oscar Taveras

There are an endless number of sites devoted to baseball prospects, and while I think it’s safe to say our personal favorite here at CFB is Baseball Prospectus, the other giant in the internet world of prospecting, Baseball America, does something extremely fascinating every year to go along with their Top 10 lists. They take 15 tools, from Best Hit Tool to Best Outfield Arm, and assign one player from each organization one of these distinctions. Over the past few months, I’ve been compiling them in a spreadsheet as the team lists have come out. They concluded with the San Francisco Giants last week, so all the Best Tools have been handed out. It should be noted that some of these lists came out before certain trades, so you will see some players (new Met Travis d’Arnaud, for example) on teams that they no longer play for. However, I think a general compilation of these tools is helpful and interesting to look at.

We’ll start with the offensive tools: Best Hit, Best Power, Best Strike Zone Discipline, Fastest Baserunner and Best Athlete. Enjoy !

A positional breakdown:

Best Hitter for Average:

  • 11 outfielders
  • 9 third basemen
  • 4 shortstops
  • 4 second basemen
  • 1 first baseman
  • 1 catcher

Best Power Hitter:

  • 12 outfielders
  • 7 third basemen
  • 6 first basemen
  • 3 catchers
  • 2 shortstops

Best Strike Zone Discipline:

  • 12 outfielders
  • 6 shortstops
  • 5 third basemen
  • 5 first basemen
  • 2 second basemen

Fastest Baserunner:

  • 24 outfielders
  • 5 shortstops
  • 1 second baseman

Best Athlete:

  • 26 outfielders
  • 2 third basemen
  • 1 shortstop
  • 1 right-handed pitcher

AL EAST

AL east offense

AL CENTRAL

AL central offense

AL WEST

AL west offense

NL EAST

NL east offense

NL CENTRAL

NL central offense

NL WEST

NL west offense