Monday, May 15, 2017

Joey Gallo has arrived, and everyone will bow before the home run power he brings

First off, I always believed in Joey Gallo. I always wanted to see him become a star, and always believed that he would. Not everyone has been so charitable. 

In his 2015 taste of the MLB he showed everyone what his game was. Everyone knew what he was billed as, and he delivered on the billing. Everyone knew the 2015 taste was just a taste.

2016 came and Joey got another shot to show the future. He hit one gigantic home run, and then he struck out nearly every single time he got to bat afterwards. He looked lost. He looked terrible. He looked like someone one should trade for whatever you could get in return.

No one ever doubted he could hit balls 500 feet. He can and he does. People love to see that shit, it brings in fans. People stop what they are doing to watch Gallo bat. It is going to be just that way. 

Well, he looked so bad in 2016 I also thought if we could trade Gallo and Profar for Chris Sale, well? Sounds like the best thing to do. Sale is kicking ass in 2017, as expected, by the way.

Gallo? Beltre got hurt, and he has damned well stayed hurt in 2017. Today is the day after Mother's day, and Beltre's 2017 debut is...where? Who knows? Anyway, everyone in Texas years for Beltre to get back in our lineup. But since he has been gone, the real Joey Gallo has been here.

Gallo has proven himself. Only that humongous Aaron Judge person, an even larger fella than Joey, has more home runs. Gallo isn't going anywhere. He's staying. I swear it.

So Beltre will come back at some point. He'll be the team captain, he'll hit, he will be the best 3rd baseman we've ever had. That's just what Adrian Beltre does. It is who he is. Adrian Beltre is a future Hall of Fame player.

Right now Gallo is doing a very passable job at 3rd base. Where will he be when Beltre comes back? He may get time at 1st base. Mike Napoli simply must raise his batting average. Gallo may get time in left field. We shall see.

 

Joey Gallo's home run swing in his Major League debut

Who is Joey Gallo? He's the biggest power hitting prospect in Major League Baseball

Joey Gallo is a super prospect. He's practically a legend, and his time is yet to get here. Think of an airport, and big jets taking off and flying high high high in the sky, and then out of sight. This is the way to think of Joey Gallo and his possibilities in baseball.
Joey Gallo is a home run guy. He hits the ball very far, very often. He also swings and misses a lot. This is just the way things go with big power guys like Gallo. Lots of empty swings, and lots of long long home runs.
When we say Joey Gallo is the biggest power hitting prospect in Major League Baseball, we aren't talking about how large of a human specimen he is. He is a large man though, and we also are not saying he is in Major League Baseball. He did get to play some for our Texas Rangers in 2015, but he may or may not start the 2016 season with the big club. If he does not, then he will almost certainly be playing for the Texas Rangers in Triple A ball.
Source

Where will Joey Gallo be in 2016?

Joseph Nicholas Gallo is just 22 years of age at this writing. He stands six feet and five inches tall, but looms larger in the plans and dreams of Major League Baseball, and all its fans. He weighs two hundred and thirty steroid free pounds, and the weight on his shoulders is his alone to carry. He carries the weight into the on deck circle as he loosens up to face a pitcher, and he carries the weight, plus the weight of a large wooden bat, into the batter's box, where he already knows every eye is going to be on him.
Joey Gallo is from Las Vegas, but he's all Hollywood on the big show. Everyone talks and talks about Gallo and his baseball bat. Don't overlook Joey on the field though. No, he's not going to replace the future MLB Hall of Fame Adrian Beltre at 3rd base too soon, but Joey has too good a throwing arm, and too good a glove to just be a first baseman or a designated hitter. No true baseball fan could ever root for an injury to Adrian Beltre, but should he get injured, as he did last season, then we'll likely get to see some more of Joey Gallo in 2016.
We'll probably get to see him some regardless, you know how it goes, rosters are expanded at times. You get to see some of the team's future during roster expansion. Everyone wants to see Gallo and his big swinging future, but nobody much wants to wait for it. Gallo has an easy smile, and it is as big as his frame or his swing. He doesn't look too stressed out about anything, but who can say how he feels after he swings and misses at strike three? The problem isn't going away, and nobody thinks that. Home runs are his business, and home run hitters often swing and miss.
Gallo is also getting some time in at left field. Of course big injury plagued Josh Hamilton did own the position, but that is supposedly a thing of the past too now. The Rangers signed Ian Desmond to fill the hole, and what do you know? Desmond is another bigtime strikeout swinging for the fences type. So we've also got the notion here in town that should Desmond and Hamilton be down with injuries, then we could see Joey Gallo in left field sometime.

Major League Baseball's #8 prospect, Joey Gallo

Joey Gallo and Chris Davis

As big a prospect as Joey Gallo is, he's still in the layaway plan. In fact there is something called simply, the Joey Gallo Plan. That's what we're dealing with here, a guy with so much upside they name plans after him. The whole deal is they don't want to rush the guy to the Major Leagues, have him struggle, and suffer with the psychology for it all.
The idea is to let him mature at Triple A ball. Thing is, he's thumping balls over fences and striking out there at the same clip he was at the big show. What to do?
Last year Gallo had 108 Major League at bats and that in 123 plate appearances. He hit six home runs. So on an average of 500 official at bats, he hits 30 home runs, everyone should be happy, right? Especially if he hits the same .204. The problems come in with the projections when you figure at the rate we've seen, with around 500 MLB at bats, Gallo shatters all existing records for strikeouts by a hitter in a season with over 250 of them.
The big deal is we've seen all of this, exactly this before in Texas. He had a name then, and he's got the same now, and we're not talking about Joseph Gallo, we're talking about Chris Davis. It was a damned painful thing to see at the time, but in the end, Chris Davis is one of the top power hitters in Major League Baseball. He led the American League in home runs and strikeouts last year.
The point of everything is that when Gallo makes contact, exciting things happen. Gallo has to make contact more often to get the chance to play full time in the Major Leagues. They've invested 2.25 million dollars in the man as a signing bonus, and everyone is on the edges of their seats. His power is rated at 80 grade, and 80 is the highest grade MLB gives a player for any particular skill.

Joey Gallo rounds the bases after hitting a home run in his second Major League at bat


Joey Gallo and the Three True Outcomes

Somehow, or really, it isn't so surprising considering all the new technology available in this world, baseball has become even more of a statistic freak's sport than it already was. Among the new terms and terminologies you will hear these days, especially if you are so dull you listen to sports talk radio shows, is the notion of three true outcomes.
What the hell is going on here? What is this all about? It is like this: walk, strikeout, or home run. There, that is all there is to it, those are the three true outcomes for a hitter. So you can see how Joey Gallo figures into this, he's a three true outcomes slugger. He's hardly the only one there has been, or will be.Mark McGwire comes to mind here, so do more recently retired men such as Jim Thome, and Adam Dunn. So long as the slugger in question is getting enough walks, which are thought to be a byproduct of the big home run swingers, and the fear they implant in the minds of pitchers, then their on base percentage should be enough to warrant their presence in the lineup, and this despite all the strikeouts.
Our current projections based on Gallo's MLB history figure him for about 70 walks in a season should he get 500 official at bats, and this places his on base percentage, with a .200 batting average, at about .300. Following the projections this gives Gallo around 70 runs scored. Would it be worth it? We'll wait and see, and for Gallo, he also has some heat on his back in the Rangers prospect arena, with Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Donnie Baseball, The Great Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly as manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers

'Donnie Baseball,' or Don Mattingly, has been a star player, coach, and manager

One of the problems in Major League Baseball which needs addressing is the distinctions between who is or who isn't a Hall of Fame worthy person. The MLB as an entity or possibly it is the Hall of Fame as an institution; they seem to want to create a big distinction as to whether a person was a player, a media person, or a coach or manager.
But many a baseball media person was once a player. Some of them were once players, and then moved to coaching staff.There are people who were players, then team staff, and then went on to baseball media.
So a person should be eligible for the baseball Hall of Fame even were their playing careers not deemed worthy. Because in total, the playing career, the post playing career in management or media; these things add up.
You associate Don Mattingly with Major League Baseball. Probably lots of persons who are even in the Major Leagues today never knew Don Mattingly as a professional baseball player, they've only known him as a coach or a manager.
I knew Donnie Baseball Mattingly as a player. No, I never met Don Mattingly. I was a baseball super-fan, and still am. I saw Don play baseball live several times. I saw him on television dozens of times.

Don Mattingly was an elite athlete

The problem, if you choose to think of it that way, is Don's career statistics as a baseball player don't measure up to the kind of numbers we're used to seeing these days for Hall of Fame inductees. His stats aren't sexy enough. Maybe Don should have used steroids. Everyone else was doing it.
But Don Mattingly was an elite Major League player for some years. His elite years just happened to go into decline before Don Mattingly ever entered into his years where he'd normally have been in his athletic prime. He hurt his back. Or rather, his back just hurt. Turned out he was born with a degenerative back problem. So there was no healing the back.
He lost his ability to swing as fluidly and as quickly. He lost his power for it. Don wasn't a big guy, he was a guy with outstanding hand to eye coordination, and a very fluid swing. Don was listed at six feet even, and just 175 pounds. So you can see how a back injury would rob him of power numbers.

More than just a great hitter

Don Mattingly wasn't just a great hitter. He was an above and beyond the fold fielder. He also had no problems playing various and sundry fielding positions. His flexibility and willingness to do whatever his team needed him to do was surely something to be admired from his fellows.
This is another of the major problems with baseball's statistical obsession. Hitting stats or offensive stats are forever valued more than fielding statistics. But fielding wins games or loses games in the same ways offense does.
But the 1980s was a time known for being full of persons with bad hair. I'm not saying dapper Don Mattingly had bad hair, but I am saying he had issues with his hair. Or maybe he didn't have issues with his hair, but his team's management surely did. Now I liked Don Hitman's hair. I also liked Twisted Sister, so you can't say I have a lot of class when it comes to judging men's hair.

Don Mattingly as a senior in high school, 1979

Donnie Baseball had a lot of success as a young baseball player

Donald Arthur Mattingly is as American as apple pie. He's from Indiana. He was becoming a baseball star around the time John Cougar Mellencamp dominated FM radio with his Midwestern heartland rock and roll.
Don became known as The Hitman, and also Donnie Baseball. Not everyone who becomes well known in baseball gets a nickname that sticks. Don got two. I think this is a testament to how well liked he always was, and still is.
Don got to debut and play some in 1982, but that was just a bit of a taste. They do it like that. Bring a kid up and let him get a taste for motivation, and also for the team to make some evaluations. They send him back down, and let him work hard so he can come back. Don cam back in 1983, and this was his official rookie season.
Donnie baseball is famously ambidextrous, probably could have been a switch hitter. He could certainly throw well with both arms. He was a pitcher in school. Was a part of a championship little league team. He also played some second base.
Things got serious in high school. Don was part of a team that won 59 straight baseball games. Can you imagine having such an expectation of winning at anything? Well, Don was damned good. The rest of the team was too. They won a state championship, then the next year finished as runner up. So there were eyes on Don from the time he was in high school. Even though Don was small.
Don Mattingly holds a lot of state records for high school baseball still. He accepted a scholarship to go to a university and play baseball. The Yankees came calling, and Don answered them instead. He got a fat bonus for those days, $23K.

Big expectations on both ends for Don Mattingly and the New York Yankees

You don't fault a kid for having high expectations for himself. But Don set his bar very very high. Unrealistically high, actually - he expected to have a .500 batting average in the Yankees class A farm system. He disappointed only himself by batting .349. I hope he didn't take that too hard. In any event, it didn't matter much, as he hit for a higher average in 1980 than he had in the short 1979 A ball action.
Despite Don's prolific batting averages, scouts were concerned about his lack of power hitting, and his lack of running speed. I bet don was modeling himself after persons like Rod Carew, and George Brett more than Lou Gehrig. Probably the Yankees have unrealistic expectations for people, but then again they're the 3rd biggest money sports franchise on planet Earth.
First base is a position where throwing left handed is optimal. First base is also a position usually reserved for big dudes with lots of power. The Yankees thought maybe Don would be a better fit at second base, he could throw right handed too.

Don Mattingly breaks out big in 1984 and 1985

Donnie Baseball's 1982 showcase with the Yankees didn't amount to much. He got to deal with his flutters. In 1983 he played first base and the outfield on a part time basis. He hit a respectable .283 that year. It was 1984 when Don became the hit-man.
Don was helped out in his 1984 campaign by a thing that drives the great athletes - competition. He competed with the great Dave Winfield for most of the season for the American League batting title. The highest average in the American League. Don won the contest on the very last day of the season. Don hit-man Mattingly's .343 average wasn't the only thing he would lead the American League with. He also led in hits and doubles. The old worries about his power were gone, as Don made some adjustments to his swing to create more lift. He hit 23 home runs in 1984, and with all the doubles he wound up second in the league in slugging percentage.
As fine a year as Donnie Baseball had in 84', he'd have a better year in 85'. He'd wind up winning the American League MVP award. He was just 24 years old. The hitman increased his power numbers at the expense of some batting average. He led the AL in runs batted in with 145. The total was the most by a lefty batter since Ted Williams had had 159 in 1949. He also led the league in runs batted in by a total of 21. Nobody had had such a big lead over the next guy since 1953. Don hit 35 home runs too. He placed 1st in doubles, and second or third in a number of other offensive categories. He always was a clutch hitter too. His batting average increased a good deal when there were two outs and runners in scoring position.
Don was also recognized for his superior fielding ability. He got his first of 9 total gold glove awards that year. He played second base and third base sometimes too. He played the positions left handed. This is very rare in Major League Baseball - someone playing second or third base as a left handed thrower.
While not hitting baseballs, Don Mattingly was still thinking about hitting baseballs in the dugout.
While not hitting baseballs, Don Mattingly was still thinking about hitting baseballs in the dugout.

Was Donnie Baseball robbed of the AL MVP in 1986?

As good as Don the hitman had been in 1985, he was maybe even better in 1986. Many feel Don should have won the MVP in 1986 too, and that he was unfairly snubbed. the award went instead to Roger Clemens. Clemens also won the Cy Young. Wasn't the Cy Young the MVP for pitchers? Many think it unfair and just plain wrong to award a pitcher a season MVP award.
Mattingly had a monster year in 1986. This was not yet the steroid era. Nobody ever accused Don of messing about with performance enhancing drugs anyway. He played in every Yankee game, all 162 of them, led the AL in plate appearances, hits, doubles, slugging percentage, OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) OPS+, and total bases. Setting offensive records on the New York Yankees team is hard to do. Don set new records in 1986 for hits in a season, and doubles in a season.

1987, Don's back injury and decline

Again in 1987 Don Mattingly had a fine year. Here's the only portion of the tale where I fit in. I was at one of the games in which Don hit home runs in 8 straight games. It was a game at the old Arlington Stadium, which was torn down later to build The Ballpark in Arlington. The Ballpark is now called Globe Life Park. So I got to witness one of Don's home runs in the 8 game home run streak. I think it was the 8th game. So I believe I was there when he set the MLB record for consecutive games with a home run. I was 13 years old though. So my memory could be fuzzed over a tad. Anyway, Ken Griffey Jr. later tied that record.
In 1987 Don also set a record by hitting six grand slams in the season. During the season it was reported that Don had hurt his back while playing around in the clubhouse. Don denies the story, but almost certainly late in 1987 his back had started bothering him. He likely was trying to think of how and when he could have hurt himself. In retrospect it is known he didn't injure himself, he had a congenital back problem. Don had another fine year in 1987, but his numbers were lesser than before. The offensive decline would increase in the coming years.
With the glove in hand Don was a force to be reckoned with on the playing field. His defensive ability never declined with his back condition. Don Mattingly's career with the Yankees was the time span where the Yankees never made it to a World Series. It is a bizarre bit of fact. Don excelled the one post season he got to participate in, but he's the one Yankee great you think of who never saw a World Series game.
Don never became a bad hitter. He continued to hit for a good average, but with his injured back he could no longer create enough torque in his swing to knock balls deep into the gaps or over the fences often. He mostly became a slap hitter. Kinda like Wade Boggs but with less of a batting average. The fact he never performed in a World Series with the Yankees may have hurt his chances for induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown the most.
But Donnie Baseball only retired from playing. He retired after the 1995 season, and was replaced by the very capable Tino Martinez.
The Don Mattingly monument at Yankee stadium.
The Don Mattingly monument at Yankee stadium.
They didn't call him Donnie Baseball for lack of love for the game. Baseball was Don's life. The Yankees were the life he'd almost always had as an adult. He probably never considered playing for another team. He wasn't forced into retirement. What was probably more painful for him than his back was his declined performance, and the knowledge that he had been so much better. He'd been a league MVP. Should have been MVP twice.
So Don went on with the Yankees. As a batting instructor. There's not many men who have become batting instructors who had ever batted so well as Don once had. Before becoming the official batting instructor or batting coach for the Yankees he was special instructor during spring training. Don so loved the game that he's give it his life, really. He did spring training as the special instructor for seven years, then he became the hitting coach on the Big League team. The Yankees set their all time high season record for home runs under Don Mattingly as hitting coach. This was the steroid era.
So after three seasons of high praise for batting coach, Don moved to the more prestigious bench coach position. You have to wait for a shot at any position on the New York Yankees. Even had you once been a Yankee MVP. But when the coveted manager position became available, the Yankees passed over Don Mattingly.
Baseball legend Don Mattingly managing the Miami Marlins in 2016
Baseball legend Don Mattingly managing the Miami Marlins in 2016

Donnie Baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

No doubt it hurt Don to not get offered a manager's position in the Yankees organization. Don doesn't quit though, and he really freaking loves baseball. He followed Joe Torre to Los Angeles. He became their hitting instructor. Then he shifted to another job in the Dodgers organization.
Joe Torre retired. Don became the Dodgers' manager. He got to coach some of the best players in the game. Clayton Kershaw comes to mind here, and so does Zack Greinke. Kershaw gave Don glowing praise. Clayton is the golden boy of baseball right here and right now.
From March 2011 to the end of the 2015 season Don would manage the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mr. Baseball had a lot of success with the Dodgers, they did very well under him, but they never went to a World Series. Don and the Dodgers parted ways after the 2015 season, but Donnie Baseball loves him some baseball. So now in 2016 Don Mattingly will be coaching the Miami Marlins and the great Giancarlo Stanton.
So Don Mattingly didn't get to have a Hall of Fame career as a player. He never got to play in a World Series. He may yet get to manage a team into one. The man has dedicated his soul to baseball. Hopefully someday and in some way he'll be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York. Never bet against the hitman. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Big Bartolo Colon Rocks On In 2017

He is over forty three years old, and he weighs somewhere around three hundred pounds. Almost every pitch he throws is a fastball. No, they aren't so fast any longer, but he can put them just about right where he wants them to be. He is Bartolo Colon, and at one time he was the hardest throwing starting pitcher in all the Major Leagues.

Two hundred and thirty four career victories, and I hope he learns the knuckle-ball and pitches until he's well past fifty years. I'd love to see him get three hundred wins, but it won't happen. He could still make the HOF, you never know.

He turned in yet another first rate season in 2016, and now he's off to yet another new team, this time it is the Braves in Atlanta. Bart Colon is the last remaining player who once played for the Montreal Expos. He's the last of the Mohicans.

Bartolo Colon

You have to admire Bartolo Colon. How could you not? He is now 42 years old, and still a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. Yes, this has been done before, but not often. Bartolo isn't done yet. Who knows how long he may be able to go on? Personally, I hope he learns the knuckleball, or something, and pitches into his 50's.
Longevity is something I admire in a person. 42 isn't old for a human, but it is for a professional baseball player. Especially, it is old for a pitcher. But Colon has adapted over the years. He'll be the first to tell you. At one point, years ago, Bartolo Colon was known as the guy who threw the most pitches in the upper 90 mile per hour and 100 mile per hour range of all pitchers in the Major Leagues. He did that for a season or three, but Bartolo was just a thrower of a pitcher then. Nowadays, he barely breaks 90 miles per hour at all.

Bartolo Colon is one very successful human being

You can measure a person's success in many different ways. But if you measure it by looking at where someone came from, and where they got to, then Bartolo Colon's success is tremendous. He grew up very poor in the Dominican Republic. When you are as poor as the Colon family was, you probably don't realize how poor you are, as your whole community is just as poor. Bartolo grew up working 12 hour days picking beans and fruit. As did the rest of his family, and many another community member too.
But look where Bartolo has gone from there. He's a millionaire many times over now. He's a United States citizen, and at 42 years of age, is maybe a better pitcher than ever before. He certainly provides a role model for a New York Mets pitching staff, and Colon is the one man there who's ever experienced the kind of transitions he has. Those flame throwers on the Mets staff, Syndergaard and DeGrom, they're going to get older too someday. I bet they'll never forget the time they've spent with Bartolo Colon. What a great role model Colon must be for young pitchers!

Young Bartolo Colon with the Cleveland Indians

Bartolo Colon with the Cleveland Indians

Colon's career began with the Cleveland Indians organization. He was signed by them in 1993 and sent to A ball, where he did quite well, and won 13 games. This earned him a promotion. By 1997 he had made it to the Indians AAA ball club, and he threw a no-hitter for their AAA team at Coca-Cola Field. Before the 97' season was done Colon would be in the Major Leagues.
Though his numbers were far from good in his initial half season with Cleveland, he would certainly improve. One oddity is Colon has the MLB record for pitches thrown in a single at-bat. In a 1998 game he threw 20 pitches to a batter before finally striking out the tenacious man.
The Cleveland Indians were quite good in 1998, and they made it to the post-season. Colon got a start in the ALCS, and threw a winning complete game, allowing just one run. Colon was a legitimate starting pitcher workhorse in 1998. He went 14-9, with a 3.71 ERA. He threw 204 innings too.
1999 was a breakout season for Colon. He won a lot of games that year, going 18-5 for a .783 winning percentage. He pitched over 200 innings for a second consecutive year, and he only allowed 185 hits in his 205 innings pitched.
In these early years Bartolo Colon was one of the hardest throwing starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. His average fastball speed was the fastest in the Big Leagues at least one season. He was officially documented at 100 miles per hour a few times in 1999, and afterwards too. But Colon would tell you he was just a thrower then. He could barely throw any pitch other than a fastball. He was doing better than you would expect for someone who's every pitch was in the same range of velocity.
Colon's best seasons as a power pitcher, i.e., someone who strikes out a lot of batters, came with the Cleveland Indians in 2000 and 2001. Both seasons he struck out over 200 batters. Bartolo was a winning pitcher for Cleveland, and outside of his first half season, always posted a winning record. He had a terrific won/loss record in 2002 for Cleveland, but was traded to the Montreal Expos.

Bartolo Colon with the Montreal Expos

Source

Colon splits 2002 between Cleveland and Montreal, and he wins 20 games in total

Another interesting fact about Bartolo Colon is he is the last player in Major League Baseball to have been a member of the Montreal Expos. The team, of course, does not exist any longer, but long lived pitcher Colon pitches on. Bartolo Colon is a very positive sort of person. In interviews, he has only positive things to say. Perhaps this trait contributes to longevity in athletics? I would suspect so. Colon says he loved playing in Montreal.
He had a terrific year the year he spent divided between Cleveland and Montreal. He went 20 wins and 8 losses, winning ten games in Cleveland, and ten for the former Canadian team. He had also progressed into a guy who a team could rely on to pitch a lot of innings. He had thrown 222 innings his last full season in Cleveland, and the year he split between Cleveland and Montreal, he threw 233 total innings.

2003 with the Chicago White Sox

Colon would spend 2003 with the White Sox of Chicago. He had another winning season. He went 15 wins and 13 losses. Which may not seem so wonderful, but baseball is a team sport. Bartolo had a very respectable earned run average of 3.87. He also pitched a lot of innings, posting a career best total of 242 innings pitched, and 9 complete games.

Bartolo Colon with the Angels

Bartolo Colon with the Angels

Bartolo Colon is a well traveled pitcher. With the Anaheim or Los Angeles (depending on which year you look at it, the team didn't move anywhere, they just changed where they designated the team to be located, even though the location didn't change. Make sense? Of course it doesn't.) Colon would reach the highest and maybe, the lowest points of his long career.
I have no explanation for why teams traded Colon so frequently. It always seemed to work in his favor, and not theirs. But Bartolo is a happy and positive sort of man, and so, who can hurt him? If it is permitted for me to hazard a guess, I would guess his large size makes him appear to be less athletic than he actually is. Call it body bias or something. Colon is a very large man. He is listed as weighing in, now, at 285. I suspect the weight is more or less correct. But Bartolo was always large. Of course he was smaller when he was much younger. He is also only five feet and eleven inches tall. So he does not have what you would call the ideal body for pitching. But then again, Bartolo is still pitching today, and will soon be 43 years old. So maybe MLB scouts should start taking notice that not every great pitcher needs be built like Justin Verlander.
In 2004 Colon had yet another winning season. He's over his career rather reliable for putting out a winning record. He won 18 games and lost 12. This is good for a .600 winning percentage, and when you have that sort of number as a winning percentage, you will certainly find employment in Major League Baseball. The thing was, Bartolo's ERA in 2004 was a rather horrible 5.01. So in that regard, he had a poor season. But again he pitched over 200 innings.
2005 was the season where Bartolo joined the greats in that he won a Cy Young award. He seemed to have everything together that year, and he won 21 games, losing 8. His earned run average in 05' was a much more typical, for him, 3.48. He again pitched over 200 innings, and the total was 222.2. His .724 winning percentage was superlative. As the years had wore on, Colon was much less of a strikeout pitcher, and much more of a control pitcher. He still and always has thrown fastballs at least 90% of the time. Some 4 seem fastballs, some 2 seem sinking fastballs. He does have a change of pace and a slider, but those are seldom used.
In the 2005 post-season Colon partially tore his rotator cuff. So his 2006 season was largely spent on the disabled list, and when he did get to pitch, he wasn't himself. He had a losing record in 2006. This was not a healthy Bartolo Colon. The man affectionately called either Big Bart or Big Sexy, was hurting for the first time in his career. Bartolo would have a better year in 2007 with the Angels, but he again spent a lot of time on the DL, and he posted another losing record.

Big Sexy with the Boston Red Sox

Big Bart and the Boston Red Sox

The Angels gave up on Bartolo Colon, even after he showed them the best he had to offer. A torn rotator cuff is no small matter for an aging pitcher. So in defense of the Angels management, there was reason to believe Colon could not recover.
Perhaps people giving up on him added fuel to his fire? All great athletes love to compete, and Colon came from a poor background in the Dominican Republic, and so how could he ever stop working as hard as he could to play a game as wonderful as baseball, and in the Major Leagues where he made so much money?
The Red Sox of Boston gave Colon a minor league deal. They wanted to see if he still had gas left in his tank, and he showed them he certainly did. He threw a one-hitter for the Red Sox AAA team in Pawtucket. So he was soon on the Big League team. Sometimes a man has to put family matters above all else, as is right, as he should. Bartolo ended his career with the Red Sox by leaving for the Dominican Republic while the season was still on. He had personal matters to attend to. His choice should be respected.

Bartolo Colon had his second sting with the Chicago White Sox in 2009


2009 with the Chicago White Sox

When you think of pitchers in any league of baseball. You need to realize the human body wasn't designed over the millions of years to throw baseballs over, and over, and over again. It is an un-natural sort of thing for a Homo sapien to be spending his time doing. But such is the nature of many sports and many other activities humans are involved in in this ever increasingly complex world we share.
All that to say Colon, as he advanced in years, had more and more problems with his arm and shoulder. In 2009 the White Sox gave him one million dollars to compete for a spot in their starting rotation. Colon had a very nice winning percentage in his career, and a strong work ethic, and stronger desire to play, so the million bucks was a reasonable risk for such a workhorse starting pitcher as Big Bart. He'd had surgery in the off-season to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. He made the team as the 5th starter in the rotation, but his season didn't go so well as he and the Sox may have liked.

Big Bart goes to New York City, and pitches for the Yankees

Bartolo Colon with the New York Yankees

As so often happens, a player who's been a winner over the course of his career, winds up in New York, playing for the Yankees. Gotham's finest. You love them, or maybe you hate them. That's just how it goes with the Yankees.
The Empire State wasn't where Bartolo spent 2010 in uniform. He didn't play in 2010. He spent the entire season recovering from injuries. But he still burned to play baseball. Such is to be admired. Colon could have surely retired comfortably at any time, but he loved the game. Big Sexy loves baseball. This is how you have a long career, a successful career, and at anything. You keep pursuing it because you love it. Colon would pitch for the Yankees in 2011. He had a controversial stem cell implant. His controversial surgery was scrutinized by MLB brass. Why? The surgery he had usually involved human growth hormone. But the surgeon didn't use it with Bart.
He attempted a comeback. With the Yankees. The biggest team in the Big Leagues. The brightest of all bright lights. Supposedly, Big Sexy showed up to spring training 30 pounds overweight. How can you be 30 pounds overweight when you are always at least 30 pounds overweight? Maybe he was 60 pounds overweight. Doesn't matter, he made the team. No, he would not yet return to winning form. He had some very bright moments, moments where he proved he could still compete. He finished the season with 8 wins and 10 losses and a respectable earned run average of around 4 runs per 9 innings.

Bartolo Colon with the Oakland Athletics


Bartolo Colon, throwing strikes with the Oakland Athletics

The Oakland Athletics gave Colon 2 million bucks to play for them in 2012. As the game of baseball has progressed, it has advanced in statistical analysis in ways the players of old may have struggled to comprehend. Everything is tracked, everything is measured. What is and isn't valuable, truly valuable in terms of success for a player and for a team, these things have been reckoned anew. Colon threw 38 consecutive strikes in a game, it was figured to be the most consecutive strikes a pitcher threw in a game since 1988.
Colon ran into some trouble with Major League Baseball brass. He tested positive for a performance enhancing drug, synthetic testosterone. He was suspended for a whopping 50 games, but that is the standard suspension for a PED positive piss test these days, ask Nelson Cruz. Anyway, the Athletics asked Bartolo back for the next season, and it was agreed upon too.
Pitchers and other players who've lasted as many seasons as had Bartolo at this point in his career, have often had to make many adjustments to make up for their declining skills. You know how it goes, it is possible for a man to do at 35 or even 45 what he could do at 25, but it isn't likely because the same man would have to work much harder as he advances in age to keep up his physical ability. Nolan Ryan is the ultimate example to us all insofar as a man maintaining his physical ability to the utmost late into his middle age years. Nolan Ryan was sort of like T.H. White's Lancelot in this way. But Colon was never truly a strikeout pitcher. A power pitcher - he wasn't ever really one.
He made the All Star team for the 3rd time in 2013. He'd had a wonderfully successful first half of the season. But the entire season was a resounding success. Colon had returned after years of nagging injuries and problems to top form. He recorded a record of 18 wins and 6 losses. His earned run average was a superlative 2.65. The best ERA he'd had since 2002!

Big Bart Colon with the New York Mets

Bartolo Colon and the New York Mets.

What makes the Bartolo Colon story so inspiring is how he's just never ever gave up. Many many pitchers who've probably had more talent have come and gone during Bartolo's career. But Big Sexy is still here, still pitching. And why is that? Because he loves the game more than the others did in a lot of cases. He had more will to continue. Most players don't miss an entire season and come back - except in the instance of Tommy John surgery, and Bartolo hasn't had that injury.
The Mets signed the ever like able Colon for two years at a total of $20 million bucks. He's certainly given the team their money's worth too. With the Mets he's become the 3rd pitcher from the Dominican Republic to eclipse 200 total wins. The other two are in the Hall of Fame, hello? Colon is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame. His longevity and tenacious pitching self make him a possible. He now has more wins than persons like Curt Schilling, who many of us believe deserves to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
Colon did what Colon does in 2014. He pitched over 200 innings and posted a winning record. But his 2015 season was where the real fun came in. Colon, inning eating workhorse that he has so often been, got a decision in his 26th straight game in which he started. The Mets won big in 2015, making it all the way to the World Series. Colon did lose a game in the World Series, but he became the oldest pitcher to ever do so. There is certainly much to be applauded in this distinction of his. He finished the 2015 season at 14 wins and 13 losses. The Mets signed Colon for another round in 2016, and thus far, Big Sexy is still Sexy. I hope to God he does very very well, and comes back again next year. Bartolo Colon is an inspiration to us all, my friends. Lets wish him the best. Thanks for reading.

Big Power Pitching Lefty, David Price

You don't have to be a Red Sox fan to be a little worried about David Price's left arm. I'm worried, but not overly so. As a life long baseball fan I'm invested in seeing David turn in a fine performance again in 2017. It's best he not rush it though.

He's still just 31 years old. He is averaging sixteen wins and two hundred and seventeen strikeouts per year. That's quite good in today's age of limiting pitchers to fairly strict pitch counts.

Five seasons he's had well over two hundred Ks now. With his young age and his skills not in decline, we hope David can catch three thousand Ks and somewhere close to three hundred wins before he hangs it up. It's been said by some there would never be another three hundred game winner. Myself, I'm terribly saddened by such notions, and want to see them destroyed. So I'm rooting for David Price this year, and every year. 

 

Big lefty David Price

David Price is a big shot in today's Major League Baseball

David Price is a baseball celebrity, and in the realms of words on the web, he appears to be an easy going guy. He probably is, when he isn't on the baseball diamond. Between those white lines and standing on that hill though, David Price is a high ranking race horse. You don't bet against him too often, not with your own money.
Price is a big commodity in the baseball community. He is six foot six inches tall, and is well known to pack some of the best left handed stuff on the mound there is. He's been used as a hired gun. A rent an Ace. Hey, baseball players live for the competition, and want to be on the biggest stage, and you often see David standing right there on the mound, center of the screen of your tv.
You also see David working very, very quickly. Besides having elite pitching stuff, David paces the game, and he paces the games to move very fast. You can imagine he is in impeccable physical condition. I'd imagine you imagine right.
I'm no psychologist. Sports or otherwise, I would think the way Price controls the pace of the game, the way he dominates the batter's at bat with his demanding schedule, I would reckon this all affects the batter psychologically. The guy in the batter's box has to subconsciously think, 'gosh damn, this David Price fella isn't messing about, he wants to get this done, and so I must align myself to his scheduling.' So the batter is already in submission when he's rushed to meet David's pace.

David Price at Vanderbilt University


David Price has been a dominating pitcher since he was in high school

David Taylor Price is all American. He's Tennessee tall. Does his home state proud.
He has two older brothers. He says he learned to hate losing any sort of competition for having to compete against his brothers. Isn't it neat how family life sometimes frames our forever? It seems to be working out on David's end.
He grew up a Braves fan. The Braves used to have some fabulous pitching staffs. But David admired David, David Justice. Price pitched in high school, and you can imagine clearly he stood out as a pitcher. He did.
David Price was drafter right out of high school, but he's an intelligent man, and took an academic scholarship to Vanderbilt University instead. That's right, he went to college on a book smarts scholarship. David was so into his schooling at Vanderbilt that he threatened to quit baseball to concentrate on his studies. Well, we're glad that didn't happen. At this point I'm sure David is too.
When you are as tall, and athletically built as is David Price, the expectations are you'll be able to throw baseballs 100 miles per hour, and not just every blue moon, either. David has this rare ability, but he especially did as a younger man than he is now. He overwhelmed college hitters. He racked up large strikeout counts. He got a lot of recognition, and you can be sure Major League scouts were salivating, dreaming they'd be the one to get a feather in their caps for signing David Price.
His freshman and sophomore years were astounding, but his junior year he set records. But the record he broke was one of his own. This is the orbit of David Price at Vanderbilt University. He mostly had to look to himself for competition.

David Price with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays


David Price becomes a very wealthy young man before he even makes the Major Leagues

Realistically, you have to realize David Price knew he would become a wealthy man at a young age for his athletic ability. Persons who are capable of throwing 100 mile per hour fastballs half the night are hard to come by. Persons who are left handed and can do this, even more difficult to find. Price had a goldmine of an arm, and likely knew it. Luckily, he took care of himself, and was also genuinely interested in his studies. So many young athletes these days falter by the wayside, like Josh Hamilton had done. Well, price could wait for his big payday. Gaining intellectual and athletic maturity were what was important.
But when the day came, the day someone would coax David into signing a professional contract, David would become a very rich young man. Would he prove to have been worth that money? Or would he be just another promising athlete who blew out his life? David probably never wondered which sort he would be. He probably knew all along he'd become Cy Young winning Major League superstar hurler.
It was August 15, 2007. The check offered David for a signature and promise to become a part of the Devil Rays organization was a record breaking check. David was used to breaking records, but this one would nearly insure him financial stability. It was certainly more money than most men ever see in their entire lives, were their incomes over the years combined. The total value of his contract was $11.25 million dollars.

Barack Obama meets some stars from the Tampa bay Devil Rays, including David Price


David Price - he's a big deal early in his Major League career

David would breeze through the Devil Rays minor league system as balls he threw would breeze by minor league hitters' bats. His fastball was averaging 98 miles per hour. Too good to waste, his talent debuted in the Major Leagues against the New York Yankees on September 14, 2008.
The post-season rolled around and Price was chosen to stay with the Big League club. He pitched throughout the post season, and got to play in the World Series, despite the paucity of his Major League experience. He was surely a big deal, as he wound up announcing Presidential candidate Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Tampa.
Though Price had been an important part of the Devil Rays 2008 post season team, he'd still only be a rookie in 2009. But his 2009 season went rather well, and he established himself as a Big League starting pitcher. As much money as had been invested into David Price, you can well imagine he was handled with kid gloves, whether they were needed, or not. David started roughly 2/3rds of a seasons worth of games, and he produced a very nice record of 10 wins and 7 loses. Oh, his earned run average was bigger than he'd have liked, and he had fewer strikeouts than innings pitched. But David learns quickly. He would prove what kind of lefty he was in 2010.

David Price 2010-2012. Becoming a Cy Young winner

Price pitched to the level of staff ace in 2010, and his statistics for the season show it. He won 19 games during the regular season, and his earned run average was a sparkling 2.72. The only drawback or lack to his 2010 season was how he was out-dueled twice in the playoffs by the Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee.
Maybe being outdone by Lee left a lingering psychological scar, for David didn't do nearly so well in 2011. But baseball is a team sport. Price had a losing record for 2011. He won 12 games, but he lost 13. His earned run average inflated, but was still very good, especially for a man who had started 34 games, and pitched over 200 innings. David recorded over 200 strikeouts for the first time in 2011. He finished with 218 Ks in 224.1 innings.
It has long been recognized an athlete comes into his athletic prime around his 27th year. This doesn't always hold to be true, but in the general sense, it is a truth. So in David's 27th year, in 2012, he pitched a Cy Young award winning season.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, now just known as the Rays, are a new baseball franchise. Certainly they are new when compared to the older ones, such as the Yankees. Anyway, David won 20 games in the season, becoming the Devil Rays first pitcher to do so. He also tied for MLB lead in wins with the total. Besides the wins, his earned run average was a sparkling 2.54. David won 20 games, but he lost few enough to have the highest winning percentage in the league, He won .800%, struck out another 205 batters, and established himself further as one of the premier left handed starters in baseball.

David Price, traded to the Detroit Tigers in late 2014

David Price is traded to the Detroit Tigers

In 2013 Price wouldn't put up the same sort of performance as he had the previous season. By this point his was a basically automatic All Star selection or recognition. He would spend some time absent the rotation with minor injuries. Throwing baseballs one hundred miles per hour, is an unnatural sort of vocation. Even for a young man, some time will be down time.
He made 27 starts for the Rays in 2013, and he posted a winning record of 10 wins and 8 loses. He would not throw 200 innings in 2013, nor would he strike out 200 batters, and his earned run average would rise to a more human but still very respectable 3.33.
2014 would prove to be a much more productive season for comrade David Price. Though he would spend most of the season with his Tampa Bay Rays, before the season was complete he would find himself traded to another fine, all American city, and fine old baseball organization, the Detroit Tigers.
He started 2014 out strong as ever. At one point he had 5 straight starts of 10 or more strikeouts. David is a harder thrower, usually, than is Chris Sale. But there is the most aptly comparable left handed starter who we can compare with David Price.
On July 31, 2014 a major bit of trading was orchestrated where Price wound up pitching for the Detroit Tigers, joining one of the dominant starting rotations then in the game. What horror it must have been for a team to face Max Scherzer one night, and then David Price the next.
For the season, David's record insofar as wins vs losses go, wouldn't be his most impressive; but his power pitching statistics were astounding. He led the Major Leagues with 271 strikeouts, and a WHIP of just 1.08. David was by then a very established and durable power arm. He also led the Major Leagues in innings pitched, with 248 and 1/3.

David Price with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015


David Price 2015 and beyond

David Price, throughout his career, has been very very consistent. Consistently good. Oh, his won and loss record wasn't always sterling, but this is because baseball is forever a team sport. A pitcher usually does not win a game all on his own. Actually, never.
So teams who want to win will gravitate to someone like Price, who has the great stuff of a rotation ace. He pitches deep into games, and an inning eating starter is forever such a blessing for a team to have.
The Tigers put their money up to show the wanted David as an integral part of the team. They awarded him $19.75 million for the 2015 season in salary arbitration. This was a record breaking salary figure for salary arbitration. This was also not the first time David Price had broken a payout record. But who's counting?
2015 saw David's 5th All Star team. Surely it won't be his last. Again in late July, David was traded to a contending team. He may or may not love the moving from city to city, but he certainly loves the game of baseball, and the competition against the best baseball players on winning baseball teams. He pitched wonderfully down the stretch for the Toronto Blue Jays, a team powered by great bats such as Joey Bautista, and 2015 AL MVP winner Josh Donaldson.
For the 2015 season David would finish with 18 wins and 5 loses, and a very low earned run average of 2.45. He'd finish second in the Cy Young voting behind only Dallas Keuchel. As the 2015 season was a salary arbitration season, David was now free to pursue another huge payout from the free agent free market. He scored large, as you would expect, by signing with the Boston Red Sox for $217 million dollars over seven years. As you imagined, the great power pitcher David Price again set a record for his very high price. God Bless America, and thanks for reading.