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MLB

25 Year Old Wins Derby; Proves He’s an All Star

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25 Year Old Wins Derby; Proves He’s an All Star

New York Yankees outfielder, Aaron Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby on Monday night at Miami Park, where he out hit Miguel Sano, of the Minnesota Twins 11-10. Judge proved himself to be an All Star and be able to become a huge power-hitter at the plate. However, he has been faced with many obstacles in his time, starting with his quadriceps femoris. After being selected by the New York Yankees in the 2013 MLB Draft, Judge signed with them and received a $1.8 million signing bonus. Due to the fact that he tore a quadriceps femoris muscle while participating in a base running drill, this incident kept Judge out for the rest of the 2013 season after being drafted. His stats show that he is All Star worthy and that he is one of the best rookies in the MLB.

In 2014, after dealing with an injury, Aaron Judge made his “professional debut” with the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A South Atlantic League). During his first season with the RiverDogs, Judge swung a .333 BA, .428 OBP, .530 SLG, and hit nine home runs with 45 RBIs in 65 games. Following his time with the RiverDogs, he was promoted to the Tampa Yankees (Class A-Advanced Florida State League) during the remainder of the 2014 season. He finished his season with them, swinging a .283 BA, .411 OBP, .442 SLG, and hitting eight home runs with 33 RBIs in 66 games. Aaron Judge stated that “It’s all about 25 guys pulling the same rope and getting the job done…if one guy doesn’t get it done, we’ve got 24 guys behind them,” and he has proven to himself, his team and his family that he is the guy to “get it done” and keep grinding until he reaches the MLB.

After swinging a hot bat down with the RiverDogs and Tampa Yankees, he was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he batted a .224 BA, .308 OBP, .373 SLG, with just eight home runs with 28 RBIs in 61 games in 2015. Because Aaron Judge is so young and hot right now, he finished the rest of his season in Triple A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Judge started his 2016 season again with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, where he had swung a .270 batting average, 19 home runs, and 65 RBIs in 93 games. Since he was climbing the latter quickly swinging a hot bat, Judge ended up being one of many players who was called to participate in the “International League All-Star Team.” However he didn’t end up playing in the Triple-A All-Star Game, because he sprained his knee, putting him on the disabled list and preventing him from playing. Judge ended up finishing his season swinging a .270 BA, .366 OBP, .489 SLG, with 19 home runs, and 65 RBIs in 93 games. After that, the New York Yankees promoted him to play at Yankee Stadium for the rest of 2016, where he struggled batting a .179 BA, .263 OBP, .345 SLG, with four home runs and 10 RBIs. He was recalled up to the Yankees in 2017 where he surprised everyone and swung a hot bat again, where he hit a .329 BA, .448 OBP, .691 SLG with 30 home runs and 66 RBIs in just 84 games.

All and all, this 25 year old rookie has proven himself to be an All Star in just a short amount of time. “Every time I go up there to hit, I feel like that’s going to be my moment” said Aaron Judge. With that positive attitude, Judge could not only be an All Star this year, but he could also be a candidate to win the Triple Crown this year.

Sports Fan since a kid, Mascot for Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. This is a great opportunity that I get to have and I can't wait to see what is to come in the future.

MLB

ScienceBall: How Major League Baseball Took Steroids

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As Bill Nye’s theme song told us: Science rules and inertia is a property of matter. So why don’t we get a little scientific?

There have been whispers of conspiracy surrounding Major League Baseball and the inordinate increase in home runs, in recent years. We all know that the MLB conducts thorough and scrupulous drug tests; PED’s are presumed to be out of the question. So what could have caused this increase in dingers?

The term “juicing the ball” has been thrown around loosely, almost in a satirical manner. This has come from the media. The MLB has made no formal, nor vociferous, statement concerning any deliberate tampering with their baseballs. But the truth is out there…

These allegations, surrounding the home run spike, come on the coattails of a numbers problem for the MLB: The TV ratings are bad. We the old-heads may still be watching, but the hip-youth are turning elsewhere for their sports entertainment. Preseason football killed Red Sox games, and it almost invariably beat local MLB broadcasts around the country. Wouldn’t it make sense for commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball brass to look for a way to stimulate TV ratings with the younger demographics? And what does everybody appreciate and find entertaining: Power.

Here’s where I have to admit that I have a tinge of a conspiracy theorist in me: I do. But, this “juiced-ball” ball phenomena is redolent of the steroid era. That’s alarming. Hitters are inexplicably hitting more home runs. Yeah, yeah I get the “whole evolution of the athlete theory”. This spike is too extreme to be attributed to improved mechanics and players being more educated. It just doesn’t make sense. Especially when juxtaposed with the not so far-gone PED age of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Moneyball

At this point in the 2017 MLB season, home runs per game (HRPG) are higher than they have been ever before. That’s right, even when Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were swinging it, they weren’t swinging it like this. HRPG has rapidly shot up since the 2015 season. If you look at 2-year intervals, the increase that we’re appreciating, since just 2 years ago, is much greater than any difference we’ve ever seen in such a span.

Let’s go back to 1998. Steroids are just starting to circulate through clubhouses. Ah, what a time to be alive! My dad always says “go look at Barry Bonds’ rookie card, then look at him in the late 90’s.” To say the dude put on some weight would be a massive understatement. He looked like he ate himself. But by the numbers, the HRPG for the 1998 MLB season was 1.04. By the 2000 season, in 2 years, it was jacked up to 1.17. Steroids are a helluva drug. That’s a 13% increase in home runs. After public outcry and the commencement of a witch-hunt, HRPG precipitously dropped back to 1.04 by 2002. Now, stay with me here.

In the 2015 season, the average for home runs per game was a normal 1.01. Fast-forward to now, with the 2017 regular season schedule all but completed, the HRPG is at 1.27. Much like the steroid era disparity, in 2 years the average has increased by 26%. That is twice as severe of an increase than the one we saw back when the players were juicing. So, clearly, someone, or something, has to be juiced here.

Scienceball

I brought this topic up casually to a nerdy know-it-all friend of mine, and he made an interesting suggestion. Very placidly and definitively he said, “they’re dehydrating the baseballs”. Of course, this sounded stupid, at first. I’ve had dehydrated fruit, and it’s pretty good, but why would anyone want dehydrated baseballs? He explained that, by dehydrating the baseballs, one could manipulate what is scientifically referred to as the “coefficient of reciprocity” or COR.

In laymen’s terms: It would make the ball “bounce” more violently. Every object on Earth harbors a certain amount of moisture. A water-logged ball does not bounce as well as a dry ball. The more dehydrated a baseball becomes, the greater it will bounce. Remember Sammy Sosa’s corked bat? Little did he know that he was influencing the COR of baseballs, only with a different piece of equipment. You’ll hear announcers say when the air is dry and hot, that the ball will “fly” during the game. That’s when the ball is naturally dehydrated.

Another piece of information, that expounds on this hypothesis, is the so-called “blister epidemic” in the MLB. This year, venerated pitchers such as Jake Arrieta, Rich Hill, and many others have complained of the mysterious formation of blisters on their fingers. These guys are not rookies. They’re forming blisters, years and years into their respective careers, in ways they’ve never formed them before. Hypothetically if the ball was dehydrated, it would have a more coarse and abrasive texture. The ball would have a surface that could easily induce blistering, after re-gripping and throwing it 100+ times per game.

Think about it: You would see no superficial change in the baseball’s appearance if it was dehydrated. MLB “ball-handlers” (for lack of a better term) would simply toss the baseballs into a baseball oven, before each game. Sadly there’s really no way to corroborate this theory unless you’re employed by the MLB and you can testify to doing this. If so please speak up. That would be cool.

In Reality

Again, this is all unconfirmed and is an unresearched conspiracy theory. The unfortunate thing about “eras” is that fans (and sometimes even players) don’t know when they are in one. We watch for the love of the game, and sometimes it’s best not to know how the sausage is made.

For now, we can say that it has been an exciting and action-packed season. Giancarlo Stanton is on track to be the first player to hit 60 home runs, since 2001. And it’s been fun to watch him as he attempts to accomplish this feat. But we can’t ignore suspicions. The spike in home runs, that we are appreciating this year, is not unprecedented. It is just much greater than its predecessor.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Batting or Pitching More Concerning?

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Red Sox

Red Sox Batting or Pitching More Concerning?

Tonight NESN will be broadcasting the game in virtual reality (for those who care). Wow, how futuristic! But before we let NESN get all virtual reality on us, let’s take a more realistic look at this exasperating Red Sox team. Most recently, they’ve been questionable on both sides of the baseball. But which element will ultimately be more detrimental to our hunt for postseason glory: The arms or the bats?

We are now in the month of September. Playoff baseball lies near on the horizon. There are only 24 games left on the schedule, and we are up by a tenuous 2.5 games on the Yankees. The heartbreak of losing that series, this past weekend in the Bronx, still lingers in the minds of fans.

It is undeniable that the Red Sox have faltered as of late. They are a measly 7-8 in their last 15 games. Our guys have been underperforming. And this is certainly not the time to ease off the gas-pedal. Despite the lead in the division, we have not secured a playoff birth just yet.

Both our pitching and our hitting has waxed and waned, like a candle in the wind. There appears to be an emotional dichotomy in this clubhouse. Some games, this Sox team takes the field clamoring to hear the words “play ball”. But almost just as often, we see a bunch of players who appear to be disinterested and defeated out of the gate. It makes you wonder if they have what it takes to be successful on the biggest stage.

Don’t get it twisted: Dave Dombrowski wants to win immediately. He’s not here for an unglamorous “rebuild”. Over the past 2 years, Dombrowski has assembled a competitive postseason team. He’s done this through aggressive trading, with a tenacious business approach. He’s surrounded our homegrown talent with bonafide star-power. On paper, we have one of the most formidable teams in the MLB.

We’ve all performed the eye-test. The Red Sox making a playoff run in 2017 should be safely presumed, right? Sure. But just how far should we expect them to go in October?

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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It certainly has been a scintillating week in Boston sports. We saw the completion of the biggest Celtics trade since the Big 3. The Sox went on a tear, then proceeded to get torn asunder in the Bronx. Our, Super Bowl winning and perfection projected Patriots are preparing to play their season opener next Thursday. How are we gonna tackle all of this news?

Don’t fret: It’s Friday. That means it’s time for “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

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