Tag Archive | "Ivie"

KC Royals’ Spring Training Report: Full Update of Surprises, Busts and Injuries

The Kansas City Royals have had an eventful spring.  For the first time in recent memory, the team is feeling the stress of a team that is expected to win.

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Winning brings its share of scrutiny, and The Royals have certainly found themselves in the spotlight.  Some players have excelled and been a pleasant surprise for the team.  Some have fizzled under the pressure and face uncertain futures.  Others have found themselves injured, either seriously or mildly, and have many questioning the team’s depth.

Some teams simply hope for a quiet spring to prepare for the long season.  If that was the goal for the Royals, it may be a difficult road ahead.

Mike Moustakas Leads a Group of Positive Surprises

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The surprises of the spring start with the production of a young man that the team desperately needs to perform well this season. Mike Moustakas, a player that the team has been anticipating to be a big part of the offense for multiple years, has seemingly arrived with the chip on his shoulder that the team wants him to have.

Moustakas leads, or is tied for the lead, with all regulars this spring in hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and batting average. He is slugging an amazing .921 and is second on the team with six walks. His offensive performance this spring has the team very hopeful that he can be a breakout star in the regular season.

Moustakas is not the only surprise this spring, however. On the mound, Yordano Ventura came in to camp ready to compete for the final spot in the starting rotation. The electricity that flowed through this young man when he took the mound this spring was something very few people could have predicted.

Ventura proceeded to pitch just over 15 innings to date, striking out 15 hitters while only walking one. He has held opposing batters to a .185 batting average, and he has posted a 0.72 WHIP. Ventura, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com among others, has been named to the team's starting rotation after his dominance in spring training.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com.
Follow him on Twitter to talk baseball all season.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Grading the Performance of St. Louis Cardinals’ Top Prospects at Spring Training

Spring training offers a preview of what the 2014 season holds for the teams around Major League Baseball.  It also gives a glimpse of the future of the organizations as prospects take the field and show off their talents in front of the big league coaching staffs.

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The Cardinals have their share of prospects, and the folks over at Cardinals Farm do a great job of keeping fans up to date on the various players and their production.  Recently, they identified the top prospects in the organization.  Their top five were as follows:

  1. Oscar Taveras
  2. Carlos Martinez
  3. Kolten Wong
  4. Stephen Piscotty
  5. Marco Gonzales

With that in mind, it is time to grade each of those prospects on their production to this point in spring training.  As Opening Day draws near, the report cards are starting to be handed out.

Let’s take a look and see who’s making the grade.

Marco Gonzales Receives an Incomplete for His Brief Appearance

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The No. 5 prospect on the list, Marco Gonzales has one major thing on his side: He is young. A 2013 draft pick, Gonzales was likely in camp with the big league club simply to get some experience in the clubhouse with the veterans.

Less than a season after being drafted, it would be unfair to grade Gonzales on his production on the field. He did see action in one game, pitching in less than two innings while walking three batters, surrendering two hits, yielding two runs and ultimately being saddled with the loss. To say his outing was not the best would be an understatement.

But for a young man seeing his first action in a big league environment, Gonzales stood proud. Assigning a grade to such a short stint would be cruel, to say the least. For now, Gonzales is simply acknowledged for being here and given the grade equivalent of a participation trophy.

Gonzales' current grade: Incomplete

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com
Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things baseball throughout the season.

Posted in Cardinals, MinorsComments (0)

I-70 Baseball Founder Bill Ivie Leaves Yahoo To Join Bleacher Report

Throughout the 2013 season, fans have flocked to Yahoo Sports Contributor Network to read the commentary of i70baseball’s founder Bill Ivie.

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Over 700,000 people read the 60 articles Ivie contributed to the latest venture by Yahoo Sports.  Ivie contributed articles about the St. Louis Cardinals and WWE Wrestling during his time providing his unique commentary to the internet giant.  His content was often met with the ire of readers leaving comments, leading some to believe that he was not a fan of the team and must be another New York based sportswriter that did not follow the team closely.

The decision was made by Yahoo on September 17th to remove Ivie from his assigned beats.

Today, Bill Ivie’s first article has arrived on his new home, Bleacher Report.  His first article, which takes a look at the Dodgers being the team the Cardinals should fear the most in the 2013 playoffs, can be read over at that site currently.

Fewer than 15 percent of applicants are accepted to write for Bleacher Report and Ivie shows a great amount of enthusiasm to be joining that roster.

“The biggest question was where to go next after Yahoo.  I sent many feelers out and talked with many respected people in the industry and Bleacher Report seemed like the most logical fit.  I’m excited for what the future holds there and I hope that fans will find my content to be of the same level they have always come to expect.” — Bill Ivie

Ivie will contribute to various areas of sports news for Bleacher Report, including his continual coverage of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals.  Expect to see commentary on WWE as well as many other subjects from him in the very near future.

About Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report (B/R), a division of Turner Sports, is a leading publisher of original and entertaining sports content and one of the fastest growing sports media Web sites in the U.S. Since launching in 2008, B/R’s Web site has grown to an audience of more than 10 million monthly unique visitors. The company’s distinguished editorial team leads more than 2,000 contributors, and directs Bleacher Report’s unique data-driven approach to creating and programming content. The result is first-rate sports commentary that gives B/R’s audience the stories they want to read in real-time around the teams and topics they are most passionate about.

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (0)

The St. Louis Cardinals Acquire Reliever From Milwaukee

BREAKING – The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired John Axford from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a player to be named later, according to the team and first noted by Kary Booher of the Springfield News Leader.

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Axford, the once mighty closer for the Brewers, has served as the team’s eighth-inning guy for the majority of the 2013 season.  His performance has been far from his former, dominant self.  He is allowing greater than 1.5 runners per inning pitched and has already surrendered as many home runs this year as he has in any other year.  His strikeout rates are down, though his walk rates appear to be steady.  He is a work horse type pitcher that has already appeared in 62 games this season and does add some veteran relief to the back end of the bullpen.  He does produce a solid ground ball rate just below 44% and the Cardinals are probably hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by putting him back into meaningful ball games.

Axford is in his arbitration years as a “Super Two” player, which leaves him under team control through 2016.

Far from the move that most fans or pundits believe to be the one the Cardinals needed to make, it does inject a new and steady arm to the bullpen for a relatively low cost, depending on the prospect heading to Milwaukee.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (1)

Ichiro Reaches Musial Numbers

The New York Yankees’ outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, reaches an amazing plateau last night.

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With a single to left field, Ichiro had his 4,000th hit of his professional career.  That’s a number that has only been accomplished in Major League Baseball by two individuals, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.  The problem is, Ichiro did not reach that level in the big leagues.

The 4,000 hits of Ichiro’s professional career span his time in Japan as well as his time in Major League Baseball.  When you combine his 2,722 hits in his MLB career with his 1,278 hits in Japan, Ichiro has reached that mystical 4,000 hit mark.  When you look at it that way, and The Hall Of Very Good did just that here, Ichiro is not the third man to reach that number.  He’s the seventh.

There are some names of importance and some names that beg the question “Who?”, but most importantly to Cardinal fans, there’s a name of historical proportions.

Stan “The Man” Musial had 4,001 hits in his professional career.

That’s a career that started with three minor league seasons as a pitcher before moving to the outfield.  It’s a career that saw an entire season lost while he served his country proudly in World War II.

One of the game’s greatest hitters, and the Cardinals’ greatest ever, achieved 4,001 hits in his career while spending four seasons not hitting.

It is hard to say what Musial would have achieved with those four seasons back.  Even harder to predict what he would have done in today’s environment.  None of this is to say that Ichiro is anything less than a Hall Of Fame outfielder.  Maybe it’s to say just how good he has been.

With his next hit, Ichiro will tie Stan Musial for number of hits in a professional career.

That is the epitome of elite company.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!, InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (0)

Jack Clark Says Albert Pujols Juiced

It sure didn’t take long for Kevin Slaten and Jack Clark to open up the doors to controversy on the new 920 AM.

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The subject of performance enhancing drugs is clogging sports talk radio, and for good reason.  The Biogenesis scandal has brought it back to the forefront of everyone’s mind.  When Kevin Slaten brought it up on the air and suggested that he always suspected Albert Pujols of using, Jack Clark was quick to jump in with his thoughts.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch broke the story this morning and you can read Dan Caesar’s take by clicking here.

Clark states that Pujols former trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, offered to provide Clark with steroids as a part of his exercise routine.  Mihlfeld went on to explain how well it was working for Pujols, whom he had been working with since college and projected to be a “big star” someday.

Is this shocking to anyone?  I mean, we all want Pujols to have played a clean game over the years and believe that he was the super-human he portrayed to be early on in his career, but are we sticking our collective heads in the sand?

I can recall Pujols final season here in St. Louis.  In June of that year, he broke his arm in a play at first base.  We we warned that he would miss time and that he would take some time to rebuild his strength based on the type of injury .  It would cause a good portion of his season to be a struggle.  He was slated to miss 4-to-6 weeks with the injury but i70baseball’s Mike Metzger noted in this article that he recovered in just over two weeks, referring to his recovery as much quicker than that of a “mere mortal”.

Pujols did some amazing things while he was in St. Louis and I sincerely hope he did them the right way.  He was exemplary on and off the field.  He was a childhood hero to many fans.

Say it ain’t so, Albert.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
He is a freelance writer that publishes work for InsideStl and Yahoo Contributor Network as well.
Follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (2)

Life Without Yadi, Berkman’s Future, And A Historical Week

Last night, I took my place at the microphone for the UCB Radio broadcast and spent a half an hour talking baseball to the masses.

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If you missed it, I discussed concerns of life without Yadier Molina behind the plate and why I think the injury is worse than what the Cardinals are letting on.  I took a look into the future for Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols and the injuries the two former Cardinals are dealing with.  I spoke briefly on the Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis situation and how it could impact labor relations if Bud Selig is not careful.  I also took a look into a historical situation that the Cardinals may be able to dubiously achieve later today.

If you missed the episode, you can listen live online by clicking this link.

Join me live next Wednesday night at 10 p.m. as I will once again host the show as we start the stretch run.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (0)

The Steal Of Home

It is one of the lost plays in baseball.  Stealing home plate is a risky and dangerous move.

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Stealing home has been attempted by very few players at and accomplished by even less.  What we are talking about here is not the “stolen base” that one gets when he is the runner on third in a double steal.  It’s not the “stolen base” that a player gets when he advances during a pick-off attempt.  The straight steal of home by a runner on third is a thing of beauty.

It’s rare and usually requires the stars to align in a specific way.  A lefty on the mound is a good start.  A right handed hitter improves the chances.  A great amount of speed and precise timing for the runner are imperative.

Here is the video from MLB.com

The stars aligned on Tuesday night and Houston Astros’ rookie Jonathan Villar broke for the plate.  He surprised the announcers.  He surprised the pitcher.  He surprised the cameramen.  He even surprised his own hitter.  And he was safe.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can read more of his thoughts on the Yahoo Contributor Network and discuss baseball with him on Twitter.

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Aaron Rodgers Bet On Ryan Braun’s Innocence

Public figures should be careful who they rally around.

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Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, considers Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun his friend.  They run a successful restaurant in Wisconsin together, 8-twelve MVP Bar and Grill.  They are possibly the most recognizable sports figures in their home state.

So, when Ryan Braun was accused of using performance enhancing drugs, Rodgers naturally came to his defense.  Rodgers accused the media and MLB of taking a “guilty until proven innocent” stance.  When Braun’s case was decided and the slugger was cleared of the accusations, Rodgers took to Twitter to show his support.

Fans reacted, some positively to Rodgers’ support.  Others lashed out.  One fan called Rodgers out and asked point blank “you really believe he didn’t you PED’s???? “.

It is Rodgers’ response that is drawing attention now that Braun has accepted MLB’s 65 game suspension for PED use and his involvement in the Biogenisis case.  You see, Rodgers was so confident in his friend’s innocence, he put his money where his mouth is.

For those wondering, that’s over $8 million worth of salary.

No one expects Rodgers to “pay up” on a bet that he didn’t actually make.  No one thinks the quarterback is actually going to sacrifice his salary because another athlete refused to play the game clean.

Maybe Aaron Rodgers will be more careful who he puts his faith in next time.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

Posted in Featured, MLBComments (1)

Yahoo: Albert Pujols Deserves Respect

I am well aware that the headline to this article puts me in the minority and will cause me to face the ire of Cardinal Nation, but I cannot help it.

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I wrote over at Yahoo! tonight about the facts behind my standpoint that Albert Pujols deserves respect from Cardinal fans.

He gave the St. Louis Cardinals, their fans, and myself 11 years of amazing baseball memories.  Meanwhile, he made one bad choice – to leave the team.

I don’t feel the choice outweighs the memories.

There was a commercial that aired a few years back that pointed out that the generation of fans before myself got to watch Bob Gibson pitch, Lou Brock run, and Ozzie Smith field.  My generation?  We got to watch Pujols do…everything.

That’s the player he was.  Dominant, game changing, something never seen before, and the guy that you knew could do something you never thought possible on any given day.

Fans will react in many different ways when the see Albert on their screens this week wearing a uniform other than a Cardinals one in a game the Cardinals are a part of.  Some will shrug it off.  Some will be full of hatred and spit whatever vile phrases that come to mind.

I’ll choose to take a page from Jack Buck.

Pardon me while I stand and applaud.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)