julien's baseball blog

Some moves are slightly good. Some moves are slightly bad. I tell you about them.
Monday, April 30, 2007
 
table of contents: april
baseball is a wonderful, magical game, and it's been my pleasure to share it with you. on april 25, i completed my investigations. i limited the summary of my findings to truths about the game, because i am not interested in arguing with those who espouse current fads in analysis.

on april 23, i hated on bud selig.

on april 21, i discussed the pitcher injury epidemic.

on april 12, i talked about felix hernandez's start against the boston red sox the night before.

on april 5, i hated on philadelphia. actually, i anti-hated.

on april 2, i made some division predictions.

on april 1, i posted my top 50 prospects list.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
 
mission accomplished
well, i'm done. i've figured out baseball. i don't expect to do more blogging. i'm happy to answer questions, but i've never gotten many, so i don't expect them. my email address can be found in the faq.

most of my findings are contained in these pages, but i'll summarize them here. winning in baseball comes from two things: talent and strategy. talent can be judged with statistics and observation. strategy is judged mostly by observation, but some information can be found in the numbers. we'll talk about talent and then we'll talk about strategy.

talent. pitching talent is based on stuff, command, and control. stuff can be judged through observation. a pitcher who throws hard has obvious stuff. the other component of stuff is movement. if you watch enough games, you'll be able to recognize how pitches move and what constitutes good movement.

statistically, stuff shows up most in strikeout rates. i use contact percentage, because it separates out the results of bad control. strikeouts per innings pitched is useful, but it is compromised by the variability of hit rates. a hit is a failed opportunity for a strikeout, which does not show up in the strikeouts per innings metric.

stuff can also show up in power percentage (pow). these numbers are not easy to get for pitchers, so i usually use home run percentage (hrp). home runs per inning is also good. a player with a good sinker, for example, or a good curveball, will allow fewer home runs.

command is the ability to throw a pitch well. a curveball that curves, a slider that slides. pitchers with poor command often have high home run percentages (hrp) because their pitches hang in the zone.

control is the ability to throw a pitch where you want it. the most obvious measure of control is walk percentage (wal), but not walking people is not the only aspect of control. you also want to avoid home runs. combining walk percentage with home run percentage will give a good picture of control.

control is also important in strikeouts, though. good control allows you to get ahead in the count, which allows for more strikeout attempts. also, a pitch on the edge of the strike zone is harder to hit than a pitch in the middle of the strike zone.

hitting talent is based on pitch recognition, contact ability, and power. pitch recognition can be judged by observation. if you see a player laying off bad pitches, and taking good swings, you figure he has good pitch recognition. pitch recognition often shows up in walk percentage (wal) and power percentage (pow). a player who has good pitch recognition is more likely to drive one. sometimes players with good pitch recognition do not have good walk percentages because they are too aggressive. also, sometimes players with good pitch recognition do not have good power percentages because they are not naturally strong. they will have better than expected batting averages, though, assuming they can make contact.

contact ability is difficult to judge through observation. obviously, if a player is hanging in there against a dominant pitcher and consistently making contact, he has contact ability, but that situation does not often come up. results are so variable that it's hard to tell whether a player has talent, or is lucky. contact ability is best judged through contact percentage (con). a player with high contact percentage can obviously make contact. a player with a low contact percentage has trouble with contact, but if WAL and CON are both low the problem may not be contact, but an overaggressive approach.

if a player has low WAL and CON but high POW, this is the classic indicator of a player with talent who could increase his contact percentage with a patient approach.

power is best judged by power percentage (pow). players with more home runs than doubles tend to have an uppercut swing. an uppercut swing makes more sense as power increases. a player with high CON and high POW will have a high average.

defense can be judged by observation, and by various metrics such as clay davenport's work on baseball prospectus, or bill james's win shares.

strategy is difficult to measure with statistics. there are few analysts, and few players even, who understand strategy. strategy is a matter of game theory, on which there has been some statistical work done, and on game analysis, which is a matter of understanding the game and analyzing the decisions on a risk/reward basis.

baseball strategy is infinitely complex. here are the basics:

pitchers want to get ahead in the count. against patient hitters, that means you must throw strikes. against aggressive hitters, you don't necessarily have to throw strikes, but you still should early in the count because you don't want to get behind. everybody knows it's bad to get behind in the count, but many pitchers still do it. which means they don't understand how bad it is. kyle davies is terrible about this. it doesn't matter if you have bad control. you have to throw a strike. maybe he'll get a hit, but if he puts the ball in play, he might get out. if he walks, he won't. if you throw a strike he might hit a home run, but that's not so bad. it's only bad if there are runners on base. which there will be if you walk them.

so you have to throw strikes. you see kyle pitch against patient hitters, and the catcher sets up on the edge of the zone, and he misses the plate by a foot. there's no way the hitter's gonna swing at that. so you're starting off in a 1-0 hole. then he does it again.

then when you're behind 2-0 or 3-1, you have to make a perfect pitch. this is the most dangerous spot because the hitter knows what's coming, so he's more likely to hit it hard. so the thing you were trying to avoid, the hit, is now more likely, and the walk is more likely. this is death.

you just can't do it. you just can't get behind in the count. greg maddux understands this. so does david wells. so does curt schilling. many pitchers do not. those that do not are afraid of hits. you can't be afraid of hits. you have to give your defense a chance.

further examples of pitching strategy involve understanding the hitter and pitching in such a way as to keep the hitter off balance and exploit his weaknesses. this is an infinite subject. let's move on to hitting.

hitting. in general, you want a patient approach. there's a battle going on with the pitcher, and the way to win is to walk. your goal at the plate is to get the pitcher to walk you. you want to take any pitch that you cannot drive, and put the pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes. because throwing strikes is hard. make the pitcher work.

there are certain talented, aggressive pitchers against whom you have to swing hard at the first good pitch you see. but those are the exception. in general, you want to wait. the more wild the pitcher is, the more patient you want to be.

if a pitcher is committed to not walking you, you have to pick a pitch and hit it. but you should never swing at a pitch that is not in the middle of the zone, unless there are two strikes. pitchers throw pitches that are not strikes all the time, and batters let them get away with it because they swing. don't swing. if it's on the edge of the zone, still don't swing because you're not going to hit it hard.

most batters do not think strategically. they wanna get a hit, so they swing. they don't understand that to win is to get on base. even with a 3-2 count, you should strike out looking sometimes because you want to get on base. you take pitches to get on base.

most pitchers are afraid to throw strikes, because they're afraid of a hit. use that fear to your advantage. take a walk.

the biggest strategical problem for hitters is swinging at strikes that are not in the middle of the zone. you shouldn't swing at these pitches, because if you hit it, you'll probably be out, and if you don't you'll be behind in the count. if you take it, you still might walk. the biggest risk of swinging is that you might be out.

i know it's hard to recognize pitches, but when in doubt, take it. there's just too much swinging in the game. it makes it too easy on the pitchers.

further aspects of hitting strategy involve thinking along with the pitcher and making reads on his level of fear and aggression, to decide what the best opportunity is. ultimately, you want to score runs.

defensive strategy is easy to understand but takes a lifetime to master. you want to stand where the hitter is likely to hit it, and do what you can to get outs. your second priority is to prevent runners from moving.

defense is my favorite aspect of the game.

that concludes the summary of my findings. thanks to all my readers, because without an audience there is no expression.
Monday, April 23, 2007
 
bud selig is the worst commissioner in the history of baseball
apparently he's not gonna watch barry break the record.

he's not gonna watch because steroids are bad. bud selig did nothing to stop steroids in the 90's, when everything was haywire, and now he wants to blame barry bonds. barry bonds is a player. bud selig is the commissioner. the commissioner's job is to act in the best interests of baseball. waiting 10 years to stop steroids is not in the best interests of baseball.

also not in the best interests of baseball: pitcher injuries. pitcher injuries are an epidemic, and there is a solution. if i know about it, and i'm just some guy, the commissioner knows about it. if the commissioner doesn't know about it, he doesn't want to know. a commissioner who doesn't want to know what's going on is not acting in the best interests of baseball.

but the worst thing that happened under commissioner bud selig is the canceling of the world series. he canceled the fucking world series. from 1905 through 1993 they had a world series every year. 1994, no world series. what the fuck.

he also expanded the playoffs, which hurt the game and made teams play in the cold, but those things are minor. the big things are steroids, pitcher injuries, and the world series. he killed the world series.

bud selig is the worst commissioner in the history of baseball, but he doesn't care. all he cares about is the bottom line.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
 
we didn't pray hard enough for felix
as far as i can see, there's nothing else to talk about in baseball but the pitcher injury situation.

it has reached a crisis. pitchers are getting injured more than ever before.

and they're pitching less than ever before. it's clear that pitch counts are not the solution.

the funny thing is the solution has been there for 30 years. the solution is a pitching delivery that does not cause injury. it was developed by dr mike marshall, a kinesiology phd who won a cy young award in 1974, pitching 208 innings in 106 games.

he could have thrown every day. his delivery does not cause pain.

pettitte, wang, karstens, mussina, pavano . . . when does the madness stop?

the thing is it's not funny. it's time to listen to dr mike marshall. we haven't listened to him for 30 years but that's ok. it's time to listen to him. it's time to not worry about our jobs or feeling bad about all the pitchers whose arms we hurt. it's time to listen to him.

here's a radio interview where he says what he's been saying for thirty years. search for "mike marshall". it should be easy to find.

here's an article from the kansas city star that someone emailed to him, which he posted on his website:


The Marshall Plan

The former Cy Young winner teaches a different pitching motion, one that’s made him an outcast.

By SAM MELLINGER | The Kansas City Star

ZEPHYRHILLS, FL

Its 8:30 in the morning, rush-hour traffic is just getting serious, and already this is a good day. Mike Marshall bounds out of his beat-up, beige S-10 pickup, wipes his hands on the shoulders of his sweatshirt, and shuffles over to his 11 pitching students.

He is a former baseball star, but right now he’s Roger Ebert. He looks up from a clipboard at his college-aged students, his voice growing louder as he talks about “Amazing Grace,” the movie he saw last night.

These recommendations usually come so detailed the guys don’t go because they already know what happens. But not today. All he says is that this movie’s incredible.

“You spend your lifetime working on something that everybody ignores,” he says, “and then you’ll understand.”

Jeff Sparks, Marshall’s prize pupil who pitched briefly in the majors, is listening closely, the way he always does when Marshall talks.

“If you say it’s that good,” he says, “I’ll see it this afternoon.”

Mike Marshall turned 64 this past January. The years have taken the hair off the top of his head but none of his passion.

A lifetime of work plays out at the pitching academy he runs in what amounts to a large back yard off Highway 301, behind a white picket fence, across the street from the tow service. He is an outcast in the game he loves because of the work he does here.

A Cy Young Award and Ph.D. in kinesiology make Marshall, as a close friend says, “a peer group of one.” He is the butt of jokes within baseball, and the disrespect is mutual.

“Baseball’s been around what, 130, 140 years?” Marshall says. “They’re still teaching the same motion of the first guy who won a ballgame. There’s not one of them who knows anything of science. They think Sir Isaac Newton invented the Fig Newton, and that’s why he’s so revered.”

Marshall won’t apologize for the packaging in which he presents his thoughts. Ask him if he thinks his message would be better received if he toned down the delivery, and he’ll only grow more aggressive with his tone. He says “ignorance is ignorance” and that his only motivation in all of this is to eliminate arm injuries.

“It’s a real corner he’s in,” says Michael Greenisen, a close friend who works at NASA. “Mike lays it out, ‘This is the way it is,’ and if you don’t agree with it or can’t deal with it, that’s not his problem. But refute it. That’s the bottom line. If you don’t believe it, then refute it. The issue is they can’t, and it frustrates the hell out of him.”

Brian Sabean once hired Marshall as his pitching coach at the University of Tampa. Bill Stoneman pitched four seasons with Marshall in Montreal. Sabean is now the general manager for the Giants, Stoneman’s the GM for the Angels, and neither will return Marshall’s calls.

Back in 1974, Marshall broke records that still stand by pitching 208 1/3 innings in 106 relief appearances for the Dodgers. Their current minor-league pitching coordinator played college ball for Marshall, but he says the team won’t take him seriously either.

It’s difficult to get anyone to speak publicly about Marshall. Privately, they say Marshall does himself no favors with his abrasiveness and arrogance. But even so, baseball coaches and officials say the idea of radical and widespread change to the pitching motion is as impractical as it is unfeasible.

“It’s a little bit too extreme for my tastes,” says J.J. Picollo, the Royals’ director of player development. “It’s hard enough getting guys to agree on the four-seam fastball or two-seam fastball, let alone something that extreme.”

The price tag for 40 weeks at Marshall’s academy is about $3,000. It includes a bed in one of two on-site duplexes, and the lessons start with pronation — the key to all of this.

Marshall’s pitchers turn their wrists away from their bodies upon release, thumbs down — exactly the opposite of the traditional motion. Take a second to do this, and you’ll see it looks like an arm injury waiting to happen.

But Marshall’s research shows the same muscles used in pronation actually protect the elbow from muscle and ligament tear. He lost 12 degrees of motion both ways in his pitching elbow doing it traditional, then became one of the sport’s best pitchers and avoided serious arm problems doing it his way.

It’s a leap of faith, but one backed by biomechanics. His guys pitch seven days a week, year-round, a big difference from the caution used with most pitchers today. Marshall says he’s never had a student suffer any arm injury.

“And if they ever did,” he says, “I’d quit.”

The pronation release is easy to miss at first because it’s wrapped inside a delivery like nothing you’ve ever seen on a baseball field. Marshall sees a lot of wasted energy in that traditional motion.

Why should a right-hander bring his arm toward first base behind his back, swing it around toward third base, and then follow through back toward first? Instead of redirecting all that energy, why not keep it in a straight plane toward the plate?

This is what Marshall teaches, and the result is a rock-step straight back toward second base, then forward toward the plate — almost like in fast-pitch softball, except with an overhand release.

Directing all the bodily force the same way is why Marshall says he can add around 5 mph to anybody’s fastball. The different muscles in pronation are why he says arm injuries can be eliminated.

The workouts feature throwing 15-pound iron balls, twisting the handles of buckets filled with 20 pounds of concrete, and practicing their delivery with 25-pound wrist weights.

His students now are mostly guys who couldn’t get scholarships out of high school or are now rehabbing arm injuries. They work hard, but expecting these guys to pitch in the majors is like trying to win the Kentucky Derby with a pony.

“Everybody I’ve ever talked to that’s done Mike’s exercises has been better off for doing it,” says Tommy John, a former teammate. “And I don’t know anybody who’s ever hurt their arm doing it.”

Jeff Sparks turns 35 years old today and that makes him a relatively young man in most every walk of life. But Sparks wants to pitch for a living, and that makes him old and quickly running out of time.

He’s currently working the inside seasonal section as a customer service associate at Lowe’s, which is a long way from the big leagues. Earlier this year, he went to the Tigers’ open tryout for the sixth consecutive year, and he was ignored for the sixth consecutive year.

“I went over when I was done and I stood right next to (some coaches),” he says. “I said, ‘What’d you think? Pitches not good enough? What didn’t you like?’ None of them would answer me. The guy I asked turned his head and talked to the guy next to him. I walked over to that guy, he wouldn’t even look at me.”

This is a stark change from seven summers ago, when Sparks was a promising young reliever for the nearby Devil Rays. He struck out 41 batters in 30 1/3 innings and had a 4.15 ERA in 23 appearances for a franchise that’s always been desperate for pitching.

But in May 2000, against the Rangers, Sparks walked all three batters he faced on 14 pitches. He shook off catcher Mike DiFelice over and over, wanting to throw a screwball — the signature out pitch of Marshall and his disciples. By the time manager Larry Rothschild went to the mound, DiFelice was already there screaming.

The scene was all over TV that night, and Sparks was demoted to Class AAA the next day. There, Sparks clashed with his manager and was again demoted, this time to Class A. Tampa released him after the season.

Marshall’s students tend to take on his stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise that is at the crux of his inability to be heard. Sparks and Marshall have openly bad-mouthed both the Devil Rays and Rothschild, who declined comment for this story.

His ideas and beliefs leave no room for give-and-take. Ask Marshall about it, and he defiantly asks why he should compromise when he’s right and they’re wrong.

Eddie Bane worked in the Devil Rays’ scouting department when Sparks was in Tampa and still thinks Sparks could have had a long and productive career.

“But he was as stubborn as Mike,” Bane says. “And there was no way other than Mike’s way. That’s one of the things people would have a hard time with, including myself. With Mike, there’s only one way to do it.”

Marshall pitched for nine teams in 14 years, and even now, he talks about R-rated verbal arguments with coaches — like the time he used scissors to trim a team official’s suit pants into shorts after a disagreement.

Twenty-six years after retirement, Marshall’s baseball friends make up a short list. Near the top is Red Adams, Marshall’s pitching coach with the Dodgers, who always trusted Marshall’s methods.

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat, you know,” Adams says. “He had his strengths and he knew what those were, and he did a hell of a job for us.”

And that’s the other part of this, the reason Marshall’s credibility just won’t go away: his methods seem to work for most everyone who tries them.

Rudy Seanez first came to Marshall in 1989 after being a September call-up for the Indians. He didn’t convert completely, but took parts of Marshall’s workouts and mechanics and added nearly 10 mph to his fastball in one offseason.

The next spring, he made his first big-league roster out of camp and has pitched 15 seasons since. He gives much of the credit for his career to what he learned from Marshall.

“I had no idea how hard I was throwing until I got to spring training,” Seanez says. “That’s when I realized, ‘Man, this did wonders for me.’ It works. I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen it work firsthand on a couple of guys.”

It’s just shy of noon, and the day’s workout is complete. Marshall is standing outside his home, two blocks down Vinson Avenue from his academy, talking pitching and thinking about that movie.

This crusade so far has led him mostly nowhere. As long as legitimate big-league prospects won’t train with him, the chances of Marshall’s teachings going mainstream remain slim.

But he won’t quit now, not ever, and this brings him back to “Amazing Grace.” In the movie, William Wilberforce works tirelessly through the British Parliament in the 18th century, determined to end slavery in England. One character in the movie was an ex-slave trader turned minister and abolitionist.

“This guy lived with 20,000 ghosts of slaves he transported on his ships,” Marshall says. “It was horrifying him and to me, the message resounded. How do they live with the knowledge of all the pitching arms they’ve destroyed? Do they honestly believe they had nothing to do with it, that it wasn’t what they taught? Are they that ignorant?

“Yeah, I felt that connection.”


this was his response:


Thank you for sending me a copy of the article. It will give all my readers a chance to read what a reporter wrote after watching my baseball pitchers perform.

I love reporters. They come prepared. They ask the tough questions. They listen and watch carefully. They write both sides of the argument. I wish that we could have a series of debates where, like we were candidates for the Democratic or Republican nomination for President, reporters would question those of us who feel qualified to teach baseball pitching. Then, the parents of youth baseball pitchers could decide who knows what he is talking about.

I agree with you that, without ever talking with me, professional baseball people comment on my 'stubbornness. However, even with the epidemic of pitching injuries, they are the ones unwilling to even investigate the problem.

How, when they refuse to try to understand what I teach, can they comment on the value of what I teach?

Even though they believed that Jeff Sparks had the talent to have a long and successful major league career, because he knew that if he returned to using the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, then he would again injure himself and told them that, they released him. It was their way or the highway. That is the definition of stubbornness.


here's something else he said:


About a week before the Tampa Bay Devil Rays learned that I trained Jeff Sparks, Larry Rothchild said that Jeff Sparks had made the team, that he was a valuable pitcher out of the bullpen. Therefore, neither Jeff or I believe that he wanted to release Jeff. We believe that Chuck LaMar made that decision.

Three years earlier, I asked Chuck LaMar, the General Manage of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, to come to Zephyrhills, FL and watch how I train baseball pitchers. I promised him that I knew how to eliminate pitching injuries. To my surprise and his credit, he came.

He watched my wrist weight exercises and asked the baseball pitcher whether they hurt. He watched my iron ball exercises and asked the baseball pitcher whether they made him muscle bound. He watched my variety of baseball pitches and asked the baseball pitcher how long it took him to learn all those pitches.

Then, when the baseball pitcher finished his workout, he told the baseball pitcher that, if he continued to use my program, then he would never become a major league baseball pitcher and, without saying one word to me then or since, got in his car and drove away.

When, three years later, after Jeff Sparks had a 1.54 earned run average for his first twelve appearances, he learned that Jeff was the baseball pitcher that he watched train that day and he released him.


i can't verify the era, but the strikeouts are real. also, there is a video of jeff sparks destroying major league hitters.

so what can we say? chuck lamar blew it. but so did everyone else in the major leagues. so has everyone who has ever been associated with baseball. but we don't need villains. we need heroes. dr mike marshall is a hero.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
 
king felix
the stuff felix hernandez had last night was the sickest stuff i've ever seen. and it's not even close. there are a lot of articles about the game, but no one's really talking about the stuff. the stuff is good. they're saying that. but they're not talking about the stuff.

the curve ball. i don't know about the gun espn uses. it seems like they get faster all the time. but the curve ball came in at 87 mph. let's say it's three mph faster than the guns we're used to. that makes it an 84-mph curveball. that's still faster than anything i've ever seen. but numbers are not gonna describe it, because it's art. art cannot be described by numbers.

the bend on that curve ball was like a laser beam off a mirror. like paper folded over a table. i'm having trouble thinking of words to describe it. the thing bent. it didn't just bend. it creased. it was like a split-fingered fastball, but harder. it was unbelievable.

he was throwing it at eye-level and it was falling into the strike zone. usually that's a hanging curveball. but it could not be hit. players could not hit this curveball. i don't know how you throw that pitch. i thought a curveball had to be slow, or it wouldn't break.

he also threw a 93-mph slider. i've seen john smoltz throw it 90. i've never seen 93. with bite. everything he threw bit. the four-seam fastball flew two feet to the side. and it came in at 99. he also threw a straight change, at 89, and a sinking fastball. that sank.

it's time to pray for health. whatever god you have, pray for king felix's health. because if he stays healthy, he's gonna do amazing things. he's already done amazing things, and he's gonna get better.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
 
philadelphia boos
it's painful to watch a game in philadelphia. i'm not talking about the team, i'm talking about the fans.

baseball is difficult game to play. it requires concentration and optimism. booing only makes it harder.

philadelphia, do you want your team to win?

these players work hard. it's a special privelege to be in the major leagues, and they work hard every day to earn it. if you want then to win, you will support them.

just watching it on tv, it's hard to take. i want to hit the mute button to stop the crowd. a player makes a tiny mistake, or gets unlucky, and you boo. as a fan of baseball, it's sad to see. and as a fan of philadelphia, you should root for them. because if you boo, they will lose. a fan that loves their team will never boo.

for a city with a history of racism, it's time to stop the hate.
Monday, April 02, 2007
 
who's gonna win?
you love it.

you know you do.

nl east:
braves
mets
phillies
marlins
nationals

nl central:
brewers
cardinals
cubs
astros
reds
pirates

nl west:
diamondbacks
dodgers
padres
giants
rockies

al east:
red sox
blue jays
yankees
devil rays
orioles

al central:
indians
twins
tigers
white sox
royals

al west:
athletics
angels
mariners
rangers

toughest calls: mets/phillies, astros/cubs/reds, padres/dodgers, yankees/blue jays, indians/twins, mariners/rangers.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
 
top 50 prospects
last year's list

1. fernando martinez, of, mets
2. philip hughes, rhp, yankees
3. alex gordon, 3b, royals
4. justin upton, cf, diamondbacks
5. jarrod saltalamacchia, c, braves
6. elvis andrus, ss, braves
7. homer bailey, rhp, reds
8. adam miller, rhp, indians
9. jay bruce, of, reds
10. andrew mccutchen, cf, pirates
11. matt garza, rhp, twins
12. tim lincecum, rhp, giants
13. angel villalona, 3b, giants
14. carlos gomez, cf, mets
15. yovani gallardo, rhp, brewers
16. felix pie, cf, cubs
17. colby rasmus, cf, cardinals
18. billy butler, dh, royals
19. adam jones, cf, mariners
20. daric barton, 1b, athletics
21. adam lind, dh, blue jays
22. clayton kershaw, lhp, dodgers
23. cameron maybin, cf, tigers
24. jose tabata, of, yankees
25. andy laroche, 3b, dodgers
26. delmon young, of, devil rays
27. travis buck, of, athletics
28. donald veal, lhp, cubs
29. chris young, cf, diamondbacks
30. troy tulowitzki, ss, rockies
31. jeff mathis, c, angels
32. kurt suzuki, c, athletics
33. mike pelfrey, rhp, mets
34. ryan braun, 3b, brewers
35. brad lincoln, rhp, pirates
36. joey votto, 1b, reds
37. hunter pence, of, astros
38. evan longoria, 3b, devil rays
39. hank conger, c, angels
40. james loney, 1b, dodgers
41. alberto callaspo, 2b, diamondbacks
42. neftali feliz, rhp, braves
43. reid brignac, ss, devil rays
44. cesar carrillo, rhp, padres
45. curtis thigpen, c, blue jays
46. dustin pedroia, 2b, red sox
47. matt sulentic, of, athletics
48. philip humber, rhp, mets
49. dexter fowler, cf, rockies
50. corey wimberly, 2b, rockies

many more were close.

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