Thursday, November 21, 2019

My Interview with Matt LaPorta

While I am crafting my update post, I wanted to post some of my interviews I've done recently. Here is one with former Cleveland Indians 1B Matt LaPorta. LaPorta, a former first round pick and Olympic medalist, currently lives in Tampa, Florida working as a mortgage consultant. Here is the link to our conversation:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

An Update: I'm Back

To those reading this and thinking that the blog has been hacked.... it hasn't. I figured I'd start this over again and update from time to time. Stay tuned for more. Lots has changed and I'm excited to restart this journey.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hit It Out Of The Byung-Ho Park

Hit It Out Of The Park

I'm back and better then ever. Kidding. I thought I would post an article since I have ample time and have been meaning to post one for quite some time now. This summer was one of the busiest I've had. I've also had a school year with substantial workload so I haven't had a lot of time to post. This article will just be a summary of the last six months and what I'm doing in the next couple of months. I've been playing a lot of baseball and basketball and have started working. I have started making photo edits on GIMP. For all those who don't know what GIMP is: GIMP is a free photo editing program that is similar to Photoshop (but cheaper!!). I will post some of my edits later (and you'll notice a theme). I also will be talking about the  Rule V Draft and how someone I know was drafted in it.

The Twins recently signed Byung Ho Park, the Korean slugging first baseman, who has hit 50+ homers in the past two years.

The main question is: Can he reenact his power to the major league level or will he be the next Tsuyoshi Nishioka? For all those who don't know- Tsuyoshi Nishioka was a heralded shortstop who batted .346 in 2009 and won the 2010 batting title. The Twins won the contract rights to him and paid $5.3M. They later signed a contract with Nishioka for three years, $9M w/a $4M team option or the Twins had the option to buy him out in 2014 for $250,000. The hype was similar to the Park signing- could this be the piece that helps the Twins become one of the top teams again? The 2011 season came and went and Nishioka was, to say the least, disappointing (see here). He batted a dismal .226 and only got 50 hits in 68 games. The Twins thought 2012 would be a bounce back year with higher expectations. It was the polar opposite. In the 6th game of the season versus Cleveland, Nishioka broke his leg- therefore rendering him useless for the rest of the season. After that, the Twins went 66-96 and [Ron] Gardenhire was fired two years later. On September 29th, 2012- Nishioka and management officially parted ways. Looking back on the signing, was it good for the Twins?

Nishioka had a NEGATIVE WAR. N-E-G-A-T-I-V-E. His WAR was -2.4 which is horrible. That signing could go down as one of the worst in Twins history. Byung Ho Park will play a vastly different role on this team. He will either occupy the first base position or play the designated hitter. Assume Mauer plays first base and Park gets some, but not a lot, of playing time at first base. Byung Ho Park will be the power source for this team, as the Twins have been lacking the home run stat for quite some time. Ever since Joe Mauer's knee injury, he has hit for less and less home runs each year. And to think we paid about $184M for him .....

 Anyway, Park should be a valuable asset if he turns out and produces like he did in South Korea. I'm predicting Park's stat line will be:

.287 AVG, 24 HR, 76 RBI

That would be an ideal stat line for Park, since Japan baseball varies significantly from the MLB. Park's stats (click here) were astronomical in Japan and he proved to be purely dominant. Park also brings to the table a series of eccentric bat flips (here and here) (he says he'll leave those back in South Korea). It will be interesting to see the learning curve on Byung-Ho Park. Safe to say, this has made a lot of fans excited this perspective season.

I've started making photo edits. I varied the opacity on each and tried the blend tool. GIMP is a free photo editing software that you can download onto your computer. I also learned that Microsoft Word can help eliminate the background. Here are some of my edits below:
Jose Berrios

Garin Cecchini

Ervin Santana

Cecchini #2

Byung Ho Park

Ho Park #2

John Ryan Murphy

Nick Gordon

Ervin "May the Force Be With You" Santana

Trevor May

Hope you guys enjoy these edits! Now I'm going to talk about something that some of you may remember. A part of my blog has been interviews (click here for the complete list) and I've interviewed a player named Maxx Tissenbaum (My interviews with him are here and here). We have been in close contact and he recently informed me that he was eligible for the Rule V Draft. The Rule V Draft is a draft for the teams who don't have 40 men on the roster, to draft prospects and to have them on their 40 man roster for the upcoming season. There is also the AAA phase and the AA phase. I was watching anxiously because Maxx was sleeping. Huh? Why would he be sleeping? He is playing for the Brisbane Bandits, an Australian Fall Baseball League. So it was 16 hour time difference. I saw his name pop up and immediately texted him. He was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the AAA phase. The AAA affiliate for the Marlins is the New Orleans Zephyrs. Tissenbaum has been stuck in High-A for the past two years and has clearly shown that he has been ready for the AA level and beyond. I'm glad he can finally get that opportunity. Anyway, I'm wrapping this blog up. I'm glad to be back blogging and glad to update content for you guys. 

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Interview with Donald Lutz- the first German developed player to play in the MLB

Donald Lutz

My interview with Donald Lutz went awesome. I interviewed him as a member of the Triple AAA Louisville Bats. Unfortunately, he was released about a week after this interview was taken place. Lutz is the first German developed player to play in the MLB.

Lutz played for the Cincinnati Reds. Lutz had a .211 career average over two years and had a .987% career fielding percentage with a -0.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Here's the rest of the interview- it was conducted over email (this is a direct transcript).

1. What's an interesting characteristic about you that no one on your team knows?

Haha I I've been around some of these guys for the past 7 years so they kinda know me pretty good!
2.  Who is your favorite German athlete besides yourself (meaning the athlete you admired/revered while you were in Germany)?

My favourite German athlete was always Dirk Nowitzki, not just because of all the success he had but the way he was on and off the field!
3. When was your first professional home run?

My first professional homerun I hit in 2008 I think in the Gulf Coast League against the Twins to complete my first cycle.
4. When was your first hit and who was it off of?

Not sure if you mean professional hit it first hit ever haha
But my first hit ever was an inside the park homerun in Germany
I hit a ball over the center fielders head and ran like crazy lol
5. When did you sign your first autograph?

I signed my first autograph 2007 when I signed my professional contract I also signed my friends reds hat
6.  One state in the U.S. you'd like to visit but haven't yet.... Why?

Just havnt had time yet or the opportunity to go there but one day I will!
Just heard good things about it and I love traveling the world!
7.  Who's your favorite old-time baseball player?

Funny thing is I don't really have one because I never even watched or heard anything of baseball until I was 15
8. If you had to assemble your starting lineup (all baseball players that have existed), who'd be on the team?

Let’s skip 8!

Lutz w/his awesome mustache

9. The most imposing pitcher you've faced this year is...?

Haven't really faced many guys this year due to injury!

10. Having a short stint in the Majors, how different is AAA life from Major League life?

It's really different in the majors you just get treated like a king everywhere you go!

11.  Who's the funniest guy on your team?

We had a bunch of funny guys on the team so I can't really point one out!

12. What's your favorite visiting ballpark in AAA?

I like Indy the most it's a really nice park and always fun to play!

13. What's the weirdest experience that has happened to you this year?

I had tommy john lol that was pretty weird.

14.  Where do you see yourself after baseball?

I can see myself being a financial advisor or built my own zoo!!

15.  Who's the best player you've seen come through Louisville?

Donald Lutz (myself)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Interview with Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown

My interview with Kevin Brown was awesome. Kevin Brown is a 24 year old outfielder from Northborough, Massachusetts who plays for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Pelicans are the Class A advanced affiliate for the Chicago Cubs. Brown went to Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  An interesting fact about Kevin Brown is that he's played at every minor league level (Rookie Ball, Single A, High A, Double AA & Triple AAA). Here's the rest of the interview!

1. What's an interesting characteristic about you that no one on your team knows?

 That both of my parents contributed to my baseball success. Most of the time, players say that their dad was their primary contributor to their baseball career. My mom was an excellent softball player.

2.  What was it like playing in the Cape Cod League?

It was an unbelievable experience. I played for the Orleans Firebirds. It was an unbelievable experience and a dream of mine because of how close I was to the fields as a kid.

3. When was your first professional home run?

It was in my rookie season in the Arizona League.  I was playing against the Cincinnati Reds in their spring training complex.

4. When was your first hit and who was it off of?

It was again in the Arizona League, but this time it was against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

5. When did you sign your first autograph?

When I signed my first pro contract, some of my buddies asked me for an autograph as a joke. 

6.  One state in the U.S. you'd like to visit but haven't yet?

I'd like to visit to California.

7.  Who's your favorite old-time baseball player?

Ted Williams. He's the greatest hitter that ever lived.

8. If you had to assemble your starting lineup (all baseball players that have existed), who'd be on the team?

P- Pedro Martinez

9. The most opposing pitcher you've faced this year is...?

It was Reynaldo Lopez

10.  What was it like playing for Bryant University?

Playing for Bryant University was an unbelievable experience. I'm so thankful for all of the staff who helped me, and it's just a beautiful campus out there in Rhode Island.

11.  Who's the funniest guy on your team?

Without a doubt, Ben Carhart.

12. What's your favorite visiting ballpark?

My favorite visiting ballpark I've played is the Birmingham Barons ballpark, Regions Field.

13. What's the weirdest experience that has happened to you this year?

My weirdest experience has defintely been how my coach told me that I needed to stay in Extended Spring Training, and then the next day I was flown to The Iowa Cubs ,   the Triple-AAA affiliate for the Cubs.

14.  Where do you see yourself after baseball?

I hope to coach collegiately or start my own business.

15.  Who are the best players you've seen come through Myrtle Beach or through any of the levels you’ve played at?

It was Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. They are both really talented.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Analyzing Baseball Prospects

I'm baaack!! I haven't posted in a long time, but here's a couple things I'm looking forward to that I'm doing this summer:

Tonight, I'm going to a Torii Hunter signing and I'm looking forward to it a lot. I'm also enjoying the prospect of going to the National Sports Collector Convention this summer is Chicago. It'd be my first time going to a card show since I started collecting.

Anyway, in this post, I'm going to be covering prospects and the top 5 for each team  for 2015. I will also give an indication on who I think the top prospect will be on each team and who has the highest ceiling/potential as well. I will also give an indication of the "impact prospect" on each team.

Here we go! Enjoy!

* means the top prospect
* means the highest ceiling/potenial on each team.
* impact prospect

Arizona Diamondbacks:

Archie Bradley*
Braden Shipley
 Touki Toussaint*
 Aaron Blair
Brandon Drury*

Atlanta Braves:

 Jose Peraza*
Mike Foltynewicz**
 Lucas Sims
Matt Wisler
 Max Fried

Baltimore Orioles:

 Dylan Bundy*
Hunter Harvey**
 Christian Walker
 Chance Sisco
Tim Berry

Boston Red Sox:

Yoan Moncada*
 Henry Owens
 Blake Swihart
 Manuel Margot*
 Rafael Devers*

Chicago Cubs:

 Kris Bryant*
Addison Russell*
Kyle Schwarber*
Albert Almora
 C.J. Edwards

Chicago White Sox:

 Carlos Rodon*
 Tim Anderson**
 Micah Johnson
 Spencer Adams
Francelis Montas

Cincinnati Reds:

Robert Stephenson*
Jesse Winker*
Michael Lorenzen*
Nick Travieso
Nick Howard

Cleveland Indians:
Francisco Lindor**
Clint Frazier*
James Ramsey
Tyler Naquin
Bradley Zimmer

Colorado Rockies:
Jon Gray*
David Dahl**
Eddie Butler
Ryan McMahon
Kyle Freeland

Detroit Tigers:
Steven Moya**
Derek Hill*
Kevin Ziomek
Austin Kubitza
Buck Farmer

Houston Astros:
Carlos Correa*
Mark Appel*
Colin Moran
Domingo Santana*
Vincent Velasquez

Kansas City Royals:
Raul Mondesi*
Kyle Zimmer
Brandon Finnegan**
Sean Manaea
Hunter Dozier

Los Angeles Angels:
Andrew Heaney*
Sean Newcomb**
Nick Tropeano
Joe Gatto
Roberto Baldoquin

Los Angeles Dodgers:
Joc Pederson**
Corey Seager*
Julio Urias
Grant Holmes
Alex Verdugo

Miami Marlins:
Tyler Kolek*
J.T. Realmuto*
Justin Nicolino
Jose Urena
Trevor Williams*

Milwaukee Brewers:
Orlando Arcia*
Clint Coulter
Kodi Mederios*
Jake Gatewood
Monte Harrison*

Minnesota Twins:
Byron Buxton*
Miguel Sano*
Alex Meyer
Nick Gordon*
Jose Berrios

New York Mets:
Noah Syndergaard*
Kevin Plawecki
Michael Conforto*
Steven Matz*
Brandon Nimmo

New York Yankees:
Aaron Judge*
Luis Severino*
Jorge Mateo
Ian Clarkin*
Eric Jagielo

Oakland Athletics:
Franklin Barreto*
Matt Olson
Matt Chapman*
Renato Nunez
Dillon Overton*

Philadelphia Phillies:
J.P. Crawford**
Aaron Nola
Maikel Franco
Tom Windle
Jesse Biddle*

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Tyler Glasnow*
Jameson Taillon
Austin Meadows*
Nick Kingham*
Josh Bell

San Diego Padres:
Hunter Renfroe*
Trea Turner*
Austin Hedges
Rymer Liriano*
Cory Spangenberg

San Francisco Giants:
Kyle Crick*
Tyler Beede**
Keury Mella
Christian Arroyo
Adalberto Mejia

Seattle Mariners:
Alex Jackson**
D.J. Peterson
Gabriel Guerrero*
Austin Wilson
Patrick Kivlehan

St. Louis Cardinals:
Stephen Piscotty*
Marco Gonzales
Rob Kaminsky**
Alex Reyes
Carson Kelly

Tampa Bay Rays:
Justin O’Conner*
Daniel Robertson
Willy Adames*
Adrian Rondon*
Blake Snell

Texas Rangers:
Joey Gallo**
Jorge Alfaro*
Nomar Mazara
Jake Thompson
Luke Jackson

Toronto Blue Jays:
Devon Travis*
Daniel Norris*
Dalton Pompey
Max Pentecost*
Jeff Hoffman

Washington Nationals:
Lucas Giolito*
A.J. Cole
Michael Taylor**
Erick Fedde
Brian Goodwin

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Baseball Pickups & Black Monday- NFL Style


First of all, I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. As I wrap my last article before the new year, I wanted to show everyone my new baseball PC (personal collection) pickups and give my thoughts on the Black Monday that is coming up in the NFL.  First, let's start with the pickups.

Baseball Pickups & Pulls
My family has a tradition of going out to hit the stores early before the post-Christmas rush comes. My sister had been waiting all week to get a giant Lego Friends set. Anyway, we went to Target to look for the set. I picked up three 2014 Bowman Platinum rack packs. I really wanted to open this product but never had a chance to. I was looking forward to opening that later. Then, we went to a local baseball collectible store called Fan HQ. I recommend checking it out if you live in the Eastern Minnesota region, the owners are very nice & reasonable with their prices. Anyway, I wanted to buy something nice because I saved up and had some Christmas money to spend. I immediately went to look at the autographed baseballs & their game used collection. I saw some nice baseballs and it took me a while to decide, because I wanted to decide if it was the right purchase if I was going to buy a mid to high end value baseball. I also was going to buy something else a little smaller, but not sure what I was going to get. I ended up getting one small item and a HUGE item. The smaller item was a Nick Gordon signed draft day 8 x 10, and the big one, well the picture can describe it for you.

BOOM! A Cal Ripken signed HOF baseball w/HOF 2007 inscription! It also was a bonus that it was double authenticated from Ironclad Authentics and MLB Authentication. The picture doesn't do this ball justice, We went home after that and I opened the three Bowman Platinum Rack Packs. The first pack, BOOM! I hit a Michael Ratteree Refractor Auto. Then, nothing for seven more packs. Last pack, I hit a Scott Schebler Refractor Auto. Those and the Dominic Smith green refractor base (016/399) were the hits. Here are the pictures of the BP autos and the Gordon 8 x 10.

Now, I'm going to cover the NFL Black Monday that is tomorrow. Black Monday, for those who don't know, is the day where NFL teams fire coaches and start fresh for the next season. Everytime there is a Black Monday, there is always one or two teams that will surprise the league. I will cover the teams by division. Teams in BOLD will be the ones I predict that will have changes. Let's start with the AFC:

AFC East:
  1. New England Patriots
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. Miami Dolphins
Joe Philbin will not be canned this year, but don't expect that they won't be making any moves. Their last playoff appearance was after 2008. They need major overhaul this year to satisfy the Miami fans.

4. New York Jets

This is a guarantee lock. Rex Ryan tells media outlets he expects to be fired and is already cleaning out his office. Expect the Jets to clean house and start fresh for the 2015 season.

AFC North:
No changes here. I would be surprised if anything happens.
  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. Cleveland Browns
AFC South:
  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. Houston Texans
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars
  4. Tennessee Titans
AFC West:
  1. Denver Broncos
  2. San Diego Chargers
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders will have to find their 19th head coach. Dennis Allen is still head coach, but it's inevitable that he'll be canned. The Raiders need to get a grip, because this will mark Oakland's 3rd losing straight season.

NFC East:
  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. New York Giants
  4. Washington Redskins
NFC North:
  1. Detroit Lions
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Chicago Bears

Expect the Bears to completely revamp everything. Coach Marc Trestman and the other coaches already know that they'll be fired. The Bears haven't had a losing season since 2009 and the GM and President will need to implement major changes for next year.

NFC South:

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West:

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. San Francisco 49ers
Pretty easy call here. Harbaugh is expected to take the Michigan job with a huge $48M dollar contract. It is expected he will confirm and his family will go to Ann Arbor on Tuesday.

4. St. Louis Rams

Please comment if you disagree or if you have any questions or if you're interested in any of my pickups.Thanks! Also, I'm taking items for Twinsfest on SUNDAY ONLY. If you're interested, please shoot me an email- and we can keep a correspondence. I also have an interview in queue that should be up by the end of the week.