“That Ain’t Chuckie’s Game. Chuckie Hacks on 2-0” | Former MLBbro Speedster Chuck Carr Transitions At Age 55

“That Ain’t Chuckie’s Game. Chuckie Hacks on 2-0” | Former MLBbro Speedster Chuck Carr Transitions At Age 55

On Monday, former MLBbro Chuck Carr passed at age 55, succumbing to a bout with cancer. The former speedster who had a knack for stealing bases, accumulated 144 thefts over his eight-year MLB career, including 58 in 1993 as a member of the Florida Marlins. Carr played for four other teams (NY Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros) but it was the Marlins who released a statement about his death.

 “We are saddened to hear the passing of Chuck Carr. One of the original Florida Marlins. Chuck quickly engrained himself as a fan favorite as he was often seen making catches in the outfield or speeding around the bases. We send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

 

Carr Was An Original Marlin

 

After three subpar seasons with the Mets and Cardinals, Carr was taken in the 1992 MLB expansion draft by the Marlins. In their first year of existence, the franchise struggled to a 64-98 record, which was expected. But Carr’s elite baserunning and auspicious glove work helped him stand out. 

 

 

In 1993, Carr led the NL in stolen bases with 58, which is still fourth all-time in a single season in franchise history. The speedy centerfield also finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting. In many cases, he was the lone bright spot for an expansion Florida Marlins team trying to compete with the dominant Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and other NL juggernauts.

In the infamous 1994 strike-shortened season, Carr tallied 32 stolen bases and was on pace to break his own record from the prior season.

That style of play immediately earned Carr the respect of his opponents. He was a game-wrecker and a handy offensive weapon for a team struggling to manufacture runs. 

Carr Also Helped The Astros Win The Division In 1997

In Carr’s final season in the majors, he played for the Brewers and Astros. In one of his more memorable moments, during a game with the Brewers, the free-swinging Carr shrugged off a take sign, swung on a 2-0 pitch and popped out.

 In typical Carr fashion here’s what he told reporters.

 “That ain’t Chuckie’s game. Chuckie hacks on 2-0.”

 He was released by the Brewers shortly thereafter.

 

 

That’s who he was, and that approach allowed him to go yard off of Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz in the 1997 NLDS, as a member of the Astros. His arrival after being released, helped the Astros win the NL Central division. In his career he tallied 435 hits, 234 runs, 81 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs, 123 RBI, and those 144 base thefts. Most importantly he is part of a lineage of Black baseball players that have made the game of baseball exciting and marketable. RIP to MLBbro Chuck Carr.

Major League Baseball Announces Eight Player Contemporary Baseball Era Committee Hall Of Fame Ballot | Barry Bonds, Albert Belle and Fred McGriff Get Cooperstown Life Preserver

Major League Baseball Announces Eight Player Contemporary Baseball Era Committee Hall Of Fame Ballot | Barry Bonds, Albert Belle and Fred McGriff Get Cooperstown Life Preserver

On December 4th, MLB’s Contemporary Era Committee will come together during the Winter Meetings to vote on which players will make it into Cooperstown. This group is comprised of some MLBbro legends who probably should have been inducted a long time ago.  Barry Bonds, Albert Belle and Fred McGriff aka “The Crime Dog.” The voting is for players who didn’t make it in during their ten-year run on the ballot and those who started their careers after 1980.

The biggest name on this ballot is MLB’s Home Run King, who failed to make it in. In January, the single-season record-holder for homers (73) only got 66 percent of the required 75 percent vote needed to make it to Cooperstown, affectionately ending his run on the ballot. But with Monday’s news, Bonds, Belle and McGriff have new life. Although the prognostications are still pretty bleak, there is a chance that Bonds gets his just due.

 

 

Ortiz Getting In And Not Bonds Caused A Stir

When former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz got his call to the Hall in his first year of eligibility, it caused Bonds’ former manager and 2022 World Series champion Dusty Baker to speak out about it.

“Same way Jeff Kent didn’t get in. Same way Pete Rose didn’t get in. Same way Roger Clemens didn’t get in.

 “The voters supposedly like guys of high character, guys with no marks or suspicions about their reputation — or maybe it’s how you treated the media.”

 “MLB is more partial to Boston and New York and the East Coast teams; we always have to see what New York or Boston is going to do before we can determine what time we’re going to be on TV.”

Baker is saying East Coast bias played a role in Bonds failing to get the necessary Hall of Fame votes over the past decade. Some believe that Bonds will never have his name called because of the controversy surrounding his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. That’s been the sticking point with Bonds not getting in from 2013-2022.

ESPN MLB analyst Jeff Passan called it a failure that Bonds didn’t get in. Passan was also quick to set the record straight when Yankees slugger Aaron Judge broke the AL home run record this past season. He proclaimed that Bonds’ single-season record is valid and still the official mark. 

 

 

Belle And McGriff Are Also Hoping For That Call

Standing at the plate, gripping his bat tightly and staring with incredible intensity…menacing even, Albert Belle was possibly the most fearsome hitter in the American League for a decade.

The numbers don’t lie. The five-time Silver Slugger award winner finished in the top five of the AL most valuable player voting in five out of six seasons from 1992 to 1998.

 

As a full-time left fielder and designated hitter for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles, Belle averaged 37 home runs and 120 RBIs per season with 95 runs scored. His .295 career batting average, 381 home runs, and 1239 RBIs should be enough to put him among the all-time greats, but voters have never given Belle strong consideration.

His strained relationship with the media, the Indians, off-field troubles, and his essential disappearance from the game after the 1993 season have overshadowed the excellence of the only player to hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season.

As MLB evolves and metrics change the way the game is packaged, the Black baseball player continues to fight its way back into baseball’s bloodstream. In reflection, we can fully appreciate just how great some of these overlooked Black and Brown Hall of Famers were.

Crime Dog Fred McGriff, he was a true professional his entire career, but he never received more than 40 percent in any of his ten years on the ballot.

McGriff hit 493 homers in his MLB career. Clean homers. But baseball’s HOF voting committee doesn’t deem the vaunted slugger worthy of HOF induction. His career has been described as “subtle” and “very good” but not “elite”. He might end up with more homers than any PED-free player to never make Cooperstown.

McGriff was just never a transcending personality. He was tall and his bat was thundering, but few folks put the words “great” and “Fred McGriff” in the same sentence. Some say McGriff was overshadowed by the prolific stars of his era. Others hoping to get the call via this route include Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling.

 

 

Of the eight nominees no one is more deserving than Bonds who in his career was a 14-time All-Star and won seven MVPs. Add-in 762 home runs, 2,558 career based on balls and other numerous accolades.

“The Consistency Is Going To Come” | Astros Prospect Zach Daniels Playing Well In Arizona Fall League

“The Consistency Is Going To Come” | Astros Prospect Zach Daniels Playing Well In Arizona Fall League

The Houston Astros organization is currently playing in its fourth World Series in the last six seasons. That despite losing key pieces like outfielder George Springer, shortstop Carlos Correa and pitcher Gerrit Cole over the last couple of seasons. But that’s why they’ve become the standard franchise in baseball over that timeframe. They found other pieces to step in and replace those key cogs. That comes from having a great farm system loaded with talent at many different positions.

 One player currently developing in the Stros farm system is outfielder Zach Daniels, a talented player chosen in the fourth round of the 2020 five-round MLB Draft. Daniels was able to overcome early struggles in college and then make the cut in a year where the draft was severely shortened. At Tennessee, he sputtered through his first two seasons, only to bounce back in his COVID-19 shortened junior season with splits of .357/.478/.750 in just 17 games played.

 Daniels is performing well in the Arizona Fall League, showing that unique blend of speed, raw power and supreme athleticism.

 Daniels, the Astros 29th-ranked prospect hit a 481- foot moonshot homerun that registers as the longest dinger hit by an Astros player in 2022. That distinction was previously held by slugger Yordan Alvarez who’s 469-foot shot in May sent shockwaves through the RingCentral Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics.

 Daniels told reporters this, following his big homer ….

 “It’s probably the longest in my career. Probably one of the top exit velos for my home runs, too. So definitely a big home run for me.”

 

 

Daniels Has Above Average Raw Power: Struggles With Off-Speed Pitches

Throughout his Tennessee career, Daniels displayed solid power, but he also matured with his approach to the plate. Daniels started to understand how making contact and allowing pitchers to provide the power, rather than swinging for the fences, can actually produce more favorable power results. 

 You let him be the power, to be honest. I can’t take credit,” Daniels said. “But, definitely, you have to shorten up and then just let him supply the power. You don’t have to try too hard or hit it as hard.”

 

 

The next step in Daniels’ development is to become better at hitting the off-speed pitches. Until then, he’s going to have problems as pitchers will continue to throw him junk they know you can’t hit.

Daniels Needs To Look No Further Than Jeremy Peña For Motivation

Daniels was fortunate to be around Astros rising star Jeremy Peña during the spring. In fact, both were routinely part of the same hitting group. While Peña earned a job from the jump and has blossomed into one of the stars of this Astros World Series run, Daniels has a little more work to do. Seeing Peña win the 2022 ALCS MVP is also good for Daniels, as it allows him a first-hand look at what hard work and dedication to your craft can do. Daniels is now even mimicking Peña’s plate discipline and stance.

“It’s kind of lay back and rotate as I go,” said Daniels explaining Pen’s style. “That allows me to make an in-game adjustment a little bit better and let’s my bat come through the zone a bit cleaner too as well.”

This MLBbro has all the tools, but he’ll need to show consistency to reach the Majors as Peña has already done. If he does, he could provide another power bat and solid glove for the Astros.

“He’s Got Great Feel, Great Instincts At Shortstop” | Royals Intrigued By 6-Foot-6 Rookie Austin Charles

“He’s Got Great Feel, Great Instincts At Shortstop” | Royals Intrigued By 6-Foot-6 Rookie Austin Charles

When the Kansas City Royals drafted the rangy 6-foot-6 Austin Charles with the last pick of the 20th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, many believed his high end was as a two-way star sort of in the mold of Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani.

 

“It’s Just A Mold Of Clay That You Can Build And The Ceiling Is Very High” | Royals Draft Two-Way Sensation Austin Charles In The 20th Round

 

But that seems to be pipe dream as the team plans to develop him strictly as a position player and not as a pitcher. Meaning he could become one of the tallest shortstops to ever take the infield of in a Major League game.

Charles nearly returned to college at UC Santa Barbara, but he and the Royals agreed right before the August 1 deadline. With the intriguing prospect in tow, the Royals are now focused on developing him into another in the growing trend of tall shortstops around MLB.

During a visit to the Royals training complex in Surprise, Arizona, Charles says he realized he was more than ready for professional baseball.

“The visit just opened my eyes to see what they’re doing. I knew it was a good organization and fit.”

 

 

 Charles Is Part Of Growing Trend Of NBA-Size Shortstops

Playing shortstop requires great instincts and feel, and that’s something the Royals say Charles possesses. The team’s hitting coordinator Drew Saylor raved about the Charles’ abilities and traits he possesses.

“He’s got great feel, great instincts at shortstop, and Iove his internal clock. He does a really good job with his first-step reads and he creates pretty good angles for himself.”

Saylor also complimented Charles’ work ethic and resiliency for a young player.

Charles Has Captivating Raw Power

At 6-foot-6, with very long arms, Charles will have to learn to adjust to off-speed pitches. But with the proper plate work and development, Saylor believes they can get Charles to work a specific zone.

“Because he has that natural strength. He has the potential to be a guy who can possibly mishit balls and still hit them really, really, really far …. He’s just continuing to know where his swing plays, and just the small adaptations that are needed to different shapes in the strike zone.

 

 

“The most exciting part for me is just the curiosity and the energy he brings to the ballpark every day. It’s infectious,” Saylor added. 

Charles hopes to follow in the footsteps of other tall shortstops like rising Pirates star Oneil Cruz, who stands 6-foot-7.

Royals have accumulated some nice pieces for the future, including second baseman Samad Taylor, whom Charles could team with to form a nice duo down the line.

“He Looked Really Good” | 2022 MLB Draft No.3 Overall Pick Kumar Rocker Finally In His Safe Haven

“He Looked Really Good” | 2022 MLB Draft No.3 Overall Pick Kumar Rocker Finally In His Safe Haven

The last two years have been a whirlwind for Rangers No.8 prospect and the 2022 MLB Draft No.3 overall pick Kumar Rocker.

The former Vanderbilt Commodores star became the first pitcher to toss a no-hitter in the Super Regional round of the 2019 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. He also would go onto win both of his starts in the College World Series, being named MOP of the tourney.

In many aspects he was either the No.1 or No.2 pitching prospect along with teammate Jack Leiter.

 After being selected No.10 overall by the New York Mets in the 2021 MLB Draft, Rocker should have been on top of the world, about to take the Big Apple by storm and join an already talented pitching staff.

 

 

 The Mets did a complete about face and Mets decided against signing Rocker due to uncertainty about his health. Shoulder concerns put Rocker under the knife in September 2021, and it’s been a long rehab back. It didn’t take long for Rocker to move off the board in the 2022 MLB Draft.

The talented bro was selected No. 3 overall by the Texas Rangers, who are elated to bring a rare talent such as Rocker into its pitching-strapped organization. 

Rocker Makes MLB Debut In Arizona Fall League: Taking It Slow

Rocker took the mound in the AFL on October 4th. While the burly, power-pitching phenom didn’t have the command and control he’s used to having, he still showed that bulldog grit he displayed during his illustrious college career.

The velocity on Rocker’s pitches were there and the command will come.

Rangers/ Saguaros catcher Cody Freeman was thoroughly impressed with Rocker, and he raved about his what he has in his arsenal.

“He looked really good. He was around the zone a little bit, but he got back in there and pounded it. He’s going to be something special.”

“He’s a strike thrower and he has some nasty stuff, as you could tell.”

Rocker has ace abilities and the Rangers are hoping he could one day be that for their staff.

 

 

 Rocker Showed More Improvement In Second Start

 After a promising first start, Rocker was even better in his second AFL appearance. This time tossing two innings, instead of one, Rocker was more locked in and the extra inning allowed him more opportunities to test out some of his other pitches.

He struck out two batters and walked two, the walks are all a product of rust, as he just missed the third called strike on one of the walks. His fastball hovered around 94-96 MPH and maxed out at 97.

This outing he dabbled with his change-up and his best pitch, which is his slider. The pitch he overwhelmed hitters with in the CWS and made MLB scouts salivate.  

Following his performance Rocker told reporters this ….

“I was just in the zone more. The changeup was good, the slider was good. The fastball, I’m still getting the timing for that just to get everything synched up.”

Rocker says he has no expectations for his performance in the AFL. The MLBbro is just happy to be back on the mound. His minor setbacks have definitely given him an even deeper appreciation for the sport that’s provided him with so much opportunity.

“I’ve got no expectations for (the AFL). I just want to have a good time and keep winning ballgames with this team.”

Rocker is expected to take the mound four more times in the AFL, and his usage is also expected to ramp up a little more each time out.