Normal Earphones Are Custom Printed To Fit Your Ears

normal-earphones

Ears are like fingerprints: no two are alike. Earphones on the other hand tend to come mass-produced in one shape only. This means you’ll either get an ok fit, or a terrible fit, but rarely will you get an exact fit. Normal Earphones hope to change all that by allowing you to make custom 3D-printed buds. Just take a picture of your ears with your smartphone, send it to the company for processing and less than 48h later they’ll be in your hands. They use “nerdalicious software and 3D printing to sculpt each one-of-a-kind pair”, while also integrating some high-end components to match their custom fit with quality sound. At $200 for the pair, we sure hope they mean that.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 1.35.10 PM

[ Product Page ]

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Texas Rangers Are Now Selling 2-Foot-Long Taco at Globe Life Park in Arlington

Even the food is big in Texas. 

The Texas Rangers made headlines a couple of years ago by introducing the 2-foot-long hot dog. Now the team is selling something even more ridiculous.

Globe Life Park in Arlington is now home to the "Tanaco," a 2-foot-long taco. It won't be cheap for fans, however: The Tanaco costs $26.

Just how many Jack In The Box tacos can you buy for one Tanaco

The name "Tanaco" makes you wonder how the New York Yankees didn't come up with this idea first. After signing phenom Masahiro Tanaka in the offseason, the Yankees would have been wise to name an item at the concession stands after the pitcher.

[Darren Rovell]

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

The Strip Club Cash Cannon Does Exactly What You Think

cash-cannon

You wanna make it rain, don’t ya? You could just go to your local gentlemen’s club and flip your singles out old-school style. But you wouldn’t be a self-respecting geek if you didn’t use some kind of contraption to automate the process. The Cash Cannon is just that. A tacky looking pink device whose only job consists of shooting out $1 bills in quick succession. You’re not gonna make it rain, you’re gonna make it pour! Whether this will win you the affections of a lady of ill repute is yet to be determined, but it’ll cost you only $59 to find out.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ ThisIsWhyImBroke ]

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Scouting Reports for Seattle Mariners Prospects in the 2014 Futures Game

The present is exciting for the Seattle Mariners, but the future also looks bright with two representatives at the 2014 MLB Futures Game, which is scheduled for July 13 at Minnesota's Target Field.

D.J. Peterson and Gabby Guerrero were selected to participate from the Mariners’ system and will oppose each other Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis. They join Taijuan Walker and James Paxton as notable Mariners to participate recently in the event.

As the Mariners value homegrown offensive prospects highly, Peterson and Guerrero will be closely monitored in the Futures Game and beyond. Both are ranked in the top four of Seattle’s farm system among positional players by MLB.com.

Peterson and Guerrero will have relatively similar skill sets with a couple of key distinctions on display at the Futures Game.

 

All stats via FanGraphs.com unless otherwise noted.

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Some Day, Microwaves Will Count Calories For You

ge-microwave

Whether you’re trying to get fit by counting calories, or you’re just curious about what the damage will be from that home-made double-dipped deep-fried triple bacon burger, there are a number of tools on the market to come to your aid. But none of these will directly measure the amount of calories present in your food; they instead rely on databases of known values in oder to estimate the caloric content of your meal. GE, however, is working on a microwave that will be able to analyze the specific portion it heats, measuring the caloric content exactly.

Matt Webster, the senior scientist in diagnostic imaging and biomedical technologies at GE Research determined that it’s possible to get an accurate calorie estimate using just three pieces of data—fat content, water content, and weight. The calories from all the other constituents of food—such as sugar, fiber, and protein—can be approximated by subtracting the water and fat weight from the total weight.

In this fashion your oven could determine the caloric content of your food as it heats and send that information to your smartphone for tracking. The tech currently only works with blended foods, though the company is trying to develop their technique to work on everything. If successful, it would be more accurate than some other similar products recently introduced into the market that only analyze the surface of a dish, a method that works great with an apple but not so much with something like a burrito. There’s no word on when or even if this will ever see the light of day.

[ MIT Tech Review ] VIA [ Engadget ]

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Dark-Horse MLB Awards Contenders as 2014 All-Star Break Approaches

As the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game approaches, the major narratives of the season have been well-established. Alongside the best teams (Oakland and the Dodgers), disappointing squads (Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays), a hierarchy of dominant players has set the stage for respective chases at individual glory. 

Over the next three months, expect to hear chatter about Mike Trout taking home the first of many AL MVP awards, Troy Tulowitzki bringing an NL MVP to Coors Field, and the best pitchers in baseball—Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw—running away with the AL and NL Cy Young crowns, respectively.

Yet, with just less than half of the season to play, not every projected award winner will continue to play at a high level. Injuries or dips in performance could arrive, opening the door for dark-horse candidates to emerge and take home the hardware.

Here are the six players to watch over the next three months. By November, don't be shocked if one or more takes home a major award from the 2014 season.

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Yasiel Puig Wags Finger After Amazing Throw Neutralized by MLB Review

The Los Angeles Dodgers stormed out of the gates at Comerica Park on Tuesday night, bum-rushing the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander for five runs in the first inning.

Everything seemed to be going in the Dodgers’ favor until a reversed call in the bottom of the second sparked a 90 degree shift in momentum.

It all began when Yasiel Puig made another of his patently stunning throws. The Dodgers outfielder snagged a rebounding ball hit by Torii Hunter off the right-field wall and sent it rocketing toward second. Hunter, who had run for a double, was called out on a close tag by Dodgers second baseman Miguel Rojas.

While the Dodgers celebrated, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus came out to challenge the call. Thus began an interminably long review session.

Minutes ticked by and replays of the tag were shown over and again, but camera angles made it difficult to tell if Rojas managed to swipe his glove on Hunter before his foot hit the bag.

After more waiting, the call finally came in: Hunter was safe. 

Naturally, this didn’t sit well with Puig, who stalked back huffily into the outfield, at one point turning around to wag a finger.

The message was clear: You don’t do that to Puig

The Tigers went on to score five runs of their own in the second inning, using the overturned call as a springboard for a charge of their own. Ausmus later told the press that the review in Detroit’s favor changed everything for his team.

“That’s how replay has changed the game,” Ausmus said, per The Associated Press (h/t USA Today). “It probably changes the entire inning, really. They have one out and nobody on as opposed to a runner on second, no outs.” 

Detroit grabbed this tipping point and ran for the horizon, tallying 14 total runs and allowing the Dodgers only one hit after the review. 

It was an astounding play on Puig’s part, but something changed in the Dodgers after their young star had his cannon throw neutralized. Detroit’s bats came alive while Puig faltered to find similar magic to his second-inning sling.

He attempted another long-distance bomb in the seventh but overthrew two cut-off men and allowed Miguel Cabrera an RBI triple. 

Sometimes it’s just not your day.

 

Follow me on Twitter for more sports and pop culture news.

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Boston Red Sox’s 2014 Trade-Deadline Strategy Blueprint

The Boston Red Sox are 39-51, in last place in the AL East and tied for the sixth-worst record in all of baseball. They've lost 50 games before the All-Star break for the first time since 1966 and have a 2.4 percent chance of making the postseason, according to Baseball Prospectus' postseason probability metric. They are 10.5 games out of first place, coming off a home stand in which they went 1-7 and boast the fourth-worst offense in all of baseball.

All of this makes the Red Sox's trade-deadline blueprint simple: They must do everything they can to open up playing time for their next wave of talent.

There was a time not so long ago when the decision to sell was not so cut and dry. Just 10 days ago, the Red Sox finished up a series in which they took two of three from the New York Yankees and were headed home just six games out of first place. There was much talk of Ben Cherington looking to add talent to the team at the deadline, rather than purge it of veterans, and there was a bit of optimism remaining.

That sense is gone now, and rightfully so. 2014 is a lost season, and the sooner the Red Sox accept that and create opportunity for their plethora of talented youngsters, the better

Rather than starting with who the Red Sox should send off, let’s take a look at who they should be providing opportunities for on a daily basis.

The first two names that come to mind are obvious but worth mentioning, nonetheless—Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley should play nearly every game for the rest of the season, and they should do so at their natural positions.

The Red Sox have a host of third base options, and Bogaerts was clearly displeased about moving to the hot corner. Moving him back to shortstop gives the Red Sox a little less than half a season to evaluate his defense there and would likely make him happier, too.

Bradley has lost playing time to the likes of Grady Sizemore, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Mookie Betts this year. That should stop now. Bradley is finally showing signs of life at the plate, is already one of the two or three best defensive outfielders in baseball and is an important part of this team’s future. He should be playing every day, even against left-handers.

The subsequent moves here are obvious: the Red Sox should move Stephen Drew and Gomes. Drew was a worthwhile gamble when the Sox signed him back in June, but there’s no reason to keep him any longer. Even if he fetches a minimal return, the Red Sox should cut their losses and move Bogaerts back to his natural position. Gomes provided a major spark to the 2013 championship team, but he’s a journeyman corner outfielder who plays on the short side of a platoon. There’s no reason to give him more plate appearances (PA) at the expense of younger players.  

Next, the Sox must consider the development of Betts and Christian Vazquez, both of whom should be playing every day either in the majors or in Triple-A. Betts has played sporadically since his call-up from the minor leagues, and that’s not good for anyone. He looks unsure of himself in the outfield, and it’s nearly impossible for him to develop a rhythm at the plate this way. He should be playing every day in left or right field, or he should go back to Pawtucket.

Vazquez doesn’t have a ton left to prove in Triple-A, but the way catchers develop, leaving him there for a majority of the year isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Still, it would be equally reasonable to see what Vazquez can do at the major league level and to begin familiarizing him with the MLB staff. 

Moving Gomes already frees up some space for Betts until Shane Victorino comes back, and moving Drew actually helps his case, too, since it means Brock Holt would see more time in the infield. The solution for getting Vazquez more playing time is simple—the Red Sox should trade A.J. Pierzynski, who brings nothing to the table at this point, or designate him for assignment.

Next, and perhaps most trickily, come Holt and Will Middlebrooks. The former has cemented himself as an important part of the Red Sox organization moving forward, albeit we’re not quite sure in what role. He’s served admirably as Boston’s leadoff man, but he’s not going to keep hitting like this forever. Still, he deserves to play every day given his performance, whether his plate appearances come at third base or from a corner outfield spot.

Middlebrooks is set to return from a long stint on the DL in short order, and he’ll receive what is perhaps his last chance to solidify himself as a starter in Boston. It will be tough to find consistent at-bats for Middlebrooks, but it’s something the Red Sox need to do this season in order to assess what they have moving forward. Even if Middlebrooks gets some time at DH and first base to spell David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, his bat should find itself in the lineup regularly.

Subtracting Drew and Mike Carp from the equation opens up roster spots for Holt and “WMB,” though to be honest, it will still be difficult for these two and Betts to coincide on the roster. Nevertheless, the solution here is likely to have WMB and Holt let their play determine who sees the most at-bats, and it’s pretty obvious who’s likely to come ahead in that battle.

Finally, that brings us to the rotation, where Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa have both earned rotation spots, and where Anthony Ranaudo and Henry Owens are knocking at the door.

Workman has been unspectacular but solid as of late, and the Red Sox could learn much about his status moving forward if they afford him another 10 or so starts this year. He’s still a safe bet to perform as a No. 4/5 starter. De La Rosa has considerably more upside but comes with more risk, too. Still, he’s also performed well in limited MLB duty this year, and the Red Sox will learn more from letting him start in the majors than they will from shuttling him back and forth between Boston and Pawtucket.

With Felix Doubront already in the bullpen, Jake Peavy is the most obvious candidate to be dealt. As The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham and many others reported Tuesday, a Peavy deal seems likely, and the right-hander has already spoken to Cherington about the possibility of being moved.

Subtracting Peavy would allow both Workman and De La Rosa to pitch every fifth day in Boston unless their performance dictates they should be removed. And if one falters, that creates an obvious opportunity for Ranaudo. Plus, such a move would also create a Triple-A rotation spot for Henry Owens, who has absolutely nothing left to prove in Portland.

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned what the Red Sox should expect to receive for any of the players above, and that’s because, in all honesty, the return is of secondary importance. Other than Peavy and maybe Drew, none of the players listed above are likely to fetch much of use on the trade market.

But what’s more important is that moving these players gives the Red Sox a chance to develop and evaluate their next wave of talent, and to make decisions that will have serious ramifications on their aspirations next year.

The 2014 season is all but over for the Red Sox, from a competitive standpoint. Now they should use the trade deadline to ensure that the players who will still be here in 2015 gain experience.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Every MLB Team’s Trade Deadline To-Do List

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is right around the corner, and, while we have already seen one blockbuster deal between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics, there should be plenty more action between now and then.

The following article breaks down all 30 MLB teams' 2014 trade deadline to-do list, and you will see the following four terms used when referring to potential moves:

  • Trade: A player that should be traded, due to an expiring contract or his status on a rebuilding team.
  • Shop: A player that could be traded, but only if the price is right.
  • Add: A clear area of need a contending team should address.
  • Explore: A potential area of need a contending team could address, and one worth at least exploring options for at the deadline.

So, with that made clear, here is a rundown of what all 30 MLB teams need to do in order to have a successful trade deadline.

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MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Pitchers at Every Minor League Level

Few things thrill fans like watching a homegrown talent toe the rubber for their favorite big league club and shut down the opposition.

But before they can dominate in front of tens of thousands of fans every fifth day, pitchers need to prove themselves in the minor leagues.

More than three months into the minor league season, pitchers at every level are opening eyes with their performances on the mound, some more so than others.

That said, here's a look at the hottest and coldest pitching prospects at each level of the minor leagues.

 

Statistics are accurate through July 7 and come from MLB.comMiLB.comBaseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com, except where otherwise noted.

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Under the Knife: MLB Injury Analysis on Encarnacion, Sabathia, Votto and More

I feel a bit more optimistic about injuries than I have in a while. I showed you the Motus Sleeve last week, but that's hardly the only new thing coming into baseball to try to help in the battle. I might have been a bit early calling 2014 the "Year of the Sensor," but things like the Sleeve and the new MLB Statcast (which really needs a catchier name) are going to revolutionize things.

But they won't do it all at once. The PITCHf/x system was introduced to baseball a couple of years ago, and it took a while before anyone really understood how to analyze the mountains of data coming out of it. Now, that system is changing, and the flood of data just keeps coming. Perhaps the next thing baseball needs after sensors is a big filter, but it's more likely that the "Big Data" solutions will be the first try. 

Bloggers, if you want your next chance to move to the front office, start prepping to parse sensor data. The first to get to interesting solutions will be the next Josh Kalk or the next Dan Fox. Overall, it's going to be very good for baseball, especially if this round of data helps us figure out how to stay healthier. We're not there yet, so let's look around the league...

 

Edwin Encarnacion

The Toronto Blue Jays aren't telling us much about the quad strain for Edwin Encarnacion, but they are giving us enough to understand what's going on. With Encarnacion on the DL and the Jays saying he'll miss two to four weeks, noted here by the National Post,  the likelihood is that he has a Grade II strain. The timeline fits.

The only thing that really doesn't fit is that Encarnacion said that he felt a pop. That's a very vague thing, but when it's meaningful, it usually indicates either a tendon or ligament coming loose. A full-on muscle tear (rupture) is usually so painful that the descriptions are more like "searing" than "pop." With minimal swelling, it looks like Encarnacion felt something but that he avoided the worst.

About that swelling: It's another sign. Early indications were that Encarnacion would need to wait until Monday or even later to have an MRI. Instead, they were able to do it early on Sunday, indicating that the swelling wasn't a problem or was easily controlled. 

All in all, there are more positives than negatives. Encarnacion is on the DL, but even that will be minimized by the All-Star break. The question now is whether Encarnacion can come back quickly enough to avoid a rehab stint and more lost time. Don't think that the home run chase won't enter into the timeline, either; it will. 

 

Joey Votto

Joey Votto heads back to the DL with what CBS Sports tells us the Reds are calling a "distal quad strain." This isn't a lie, but it's one of those terms that sounds informative but isn't. Distal is simply a direction. Closer to the body is proximal; farther from the body is distal. The knee is more distal than the hip, so the Reds are merely saying that Votto has an injury nearer the knee.

However, this is a clue. Also at the distal end of the quadriceps are a number of tendons. An injury to a tendon is a strain, the same term as an injury to a muscle. However, tendon strains tend to be more inflammatory (tendonitis) and can become chronic (tendonosis). A tendon strain usually indicates a traumatic injury, which we know isn't the case.

We also know that Votto is dealing with a situation that the Reds once said "couldn't get worse." That sounds like a manageable condition, something like a patellar tendonitis. We may not know what it is specifically, but there are clues.

More concerning is the functional issue. Votto hasn't been playing well, and during his series of knee surgeries a few seasons ago, he struggled to get back to normal function even after the knee was cleared. This seems precisely to that pattern, indicating that maybe this is much more about Votto's function than any significant setback physically.

There's no question he's on the DL and will be into at least mid-July. Everything past that is a relative unknown. Given what we do know and all we don't, Votto is suddenly very risky.

 

CC Sabathia

As Bob Dylan once sang, "things have changed." At this time last week, things looked pretty positive for CC Sabathia and the Yankees. He was heading toward another rehab start, and the team was mapping out how he'd fit back into the rotation. Then Wednesday, Sabathia's knees had swollen back up and he was shut down, with Mark Feinsand filling in the details.

Sabathia was scheduled to visit Dr. Andrews with initial reports signaling that would come on Monday. As yet, there have been no announcements, but no news isn't good news when it comes to this. It could be that Sabathia's knees are still too swollen to do a good exam and set of images. If so, that would be a huge negative.

Dr. Andrews isn't a microfracture guy, but it's easy enough to refer Sabathia to someonethat is, if that's the case. One source I have told me that Sabathia's agents consulted with Dr. Brian Cole, a White Sox doctor who has performed some advanced knee procedures, including a meniscus transplant on a minor leaguer. While Jose Martinez hasn't moved up much, he wasn't much of a prospect to begin with, and he hasn't had issues with his knees. 

Could Sabathia be heading toward being the first major leaguer to try it? That's unclear. Athletes seldom want to be the first or even early test cases. Tommy John's situation was unusual, but with the lack of success with microfracture in baseball, Sabathia may be forced to make a similar choice. At this point, it's safe to drop Sabathia in all formats, including keeper leagues. We won't know enough until spring training to make him a good lock.

 

Jaime Garcia

I'll ignore the drama here on Jaime Garcia as much as I can and focus on the physical. After coming back from shoulder surgery and struggling to stay healthy, Garcia developed symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. We're still learning about this condition, which is truly a repetitive stress injury. While you may know it as the injury that sidelined Chris Carpenter, it's often seen in actual carpenters. (Wonder why? Think about hammers.)

While TOS is little understood, one of the patterns that's developing is that there's two clear types of conditions that are both called TOS. Garcia is dealing with the type that impinges the nerves rather than the vascular system. Neither is good, but there seems to be a bit better return rate with nerve impingement, though given Garcia's other issues, it's tough to take this in isolation.

The drama with the communication and the frustration of GM John Mozeliak (noted by MLB.com) is interesting in ways, but probably won't have much of a bearing on this. Garcia is staying in St. Louis for surgery, a bit of a surprise given that this is relatively specialized and the likelihood that Garcia's Cardinal career is effectively over. That the Cards medical staff got anything out of him from his previous shoulder problems shouldn't be diminished by this last problem.

 

Brady Aiken

Since the news broke yesterday that Brady Aiken, the overall No. 1 pick in this year's draft, hadn't passed the Astros' physical, not much has changed, but the fact that Aiken isn't taking a reported $5 million tells us that there's some question. Either way, Aiken's not likely to head to UCLA this fall.

The question is really more one of risk. If a third of pitchers will end up with Tommy John surgery, there's plenty of pitchers signing without the discount that will lose a year. The Astros are smart enough to know this, and even the possibility of having two early picks in next year's draft isn't worth the headaches of losing a 1-1. 

Aiken (and all draftees) have until July 18th to sign, and this one might take that long. This is less about the elbow now and more a simple negotiation. While I'll be interested to see how they handle Aiken once he signed, I do think what we know about Tommy John surgery means that the risk is very limited.

 

Jeremy Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson is back in the Rays rotation after missing the first half of the season while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. The Tampa Bay Times gave some nice notes on how the return was managed well, if conservatively, which is nothing new for the Rays. Hellickson's first start back on Tuesday night went well, though he didn't go very deep. There's little doubt he'll expand on that over the next few starts.

If he's solidly back in the rotation as expected, he will either solidify the Rays as they try to surge back into contention or anchor the rotation once David Price is gone. Either way, he's key to the Rays. This is probably your last chance to pick him up, though he's only owned in seven percent of Yahoo! leagues.

 

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole came back from a shoulder issue and ended up right back on the DL. That's never good, but Cole's new problem isn't directly related to the old one. Instead, the lat strain is likely a compensation issue. Even a minute change, inside or outside, can create new problems up and down the kinetic chain. With as much force as Cole is generating on every pitch, this is an even bigger risk.

The interesting thing here is that this is a perfect test case for the Motus Sleeve, which we know is being tested by the Pirates. Using the Sleeve during his rehab would put the Pirates and Cole in a better position to succeed. Right now, it's a nearly singular advantage.

 

Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver left his Monday start with tightness in his lower back. Weaver has had minor issues in the past , but it never became much more serious. The Angels will give him a couple days of treatment to see how he responds and with the All-Star break coming, don't be surprised if they bump his next scheduled start back to give him even more rest, as the Los Angeles Times notes is being considered. Matt Shoemaker, who came in when Weaver left Monday, would be the most likely to take that spot start. 

 

Justin Masterson

Justin Masterson hits the DL with a knee injury that the Indians haven't given a lot of specifics on, as noted by Cleveland.com. It sounds like meniscus or maybe articular cartilage, but it's the effects that have been the problem.

Masterson has been bad for a couple weeks, and now, perhaps it was just adjustments to a sore knee. You could maybe wonder why Masterson pitched through it, but there are reasons to try up to a point. This one passed it, and we'll see if they can get him back to right.

Power sinker guys like Masterson haven't been durable, but he's more than a one-pitch guy. He's worth taking a chance on if someone bails out on him.

 

Michael Bourn

Another hamstring injury for Michael Bourn shows just how tough it is for a speed player to come back from a significant hamstring injury. Bourn has been able to get back on the field, but not stay there. The Indians are going to have to figure out how to keep him healthy, which is going to start with some rest. Lonnie Soloff is one of the best at dealing with precisely this injury—he worked with Ken Griffey Jr. in Cincinnati—so there's hope. What there may not be is time or speed. 

 

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco has been pitching since spring training with a sore elbow. Tests showed it to be a flexor strain, which shouldn't be that big a deal. What is a big deal is that Ron Gardenhire basically came out and told everyone that he liked that Nolasco hid the injury. Mike Berardino let Gardenhire's words speak for themselves here. Comparing an injury to a broken bat? I don't even know what that means, but I'm not sure Gardenhire does, either.

Trust between players and a medical staff is key, and the longtime Twins manager essentially stuck a knife in his ATs. The macho culture of sports tends to feed on itself, but the old-school Gardenhire is proving that with a young and rebuilding team, it might be time for the team to say school's out.

 

Bronson Arroyo

There's no odometer on a pitchers's arm. Bronson Arroyo was one of the most durable pitchers in all of baseball, so when he went to Arizona this year, the thought was that he'd be a stable base for some of their young pitchers (at least the ones they hadn't traded away). Instead, he's headed for Tommy John surgery

My question is whether there's a proximate cause. Did Arroyo simply wear out his arm over time and the D'backs bought at the wrong point (and did Cincinnati know something?) or did something change?

There's no real answer here, and Arroyo's not the most introspective of pitchers, so we probably won't know. That lack of data capture is one of the reasons we haven't seen a real change in the injury rate. If nothing else, we need to at least ask why.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2014 MLB All-Star Game: Game Info, Complete AL and NL Rosters

The times are changing in the MLB.

This is most apparent by the 2014 MLB All-Star Game rosters, which tout a noticeable 25 first-time All-Stars, a breath of fresh air in an event that does much to compete with similar festivities put on by other leagues.

To go along with the relative fresh take on the proceedings is the fact that the Baltimore Orioles will field three players in the contest, while the Oakland Athletics, owners of the best record in the league, will bring a total of six players to the roster.

Let's take a look at the full roster and details surrounding the event.

 

2014 MLB All-Star Game Roster

 

Game Info

What: 85th MLB All-Star Game

When: July 15, 5:30 p.m. ET

Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: Fox Sports

Online: MLB TV

 

Debutants to Watch

Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

Finally.

The spectacle in Minneapolis will be mostly remembered as Derek Jeter's final foray at the event, but Yasiel Puig leads a class of new entrants looking to leave its mark on the game.

A far cry from a year ago, when Puig had hardly been in the league a month and was the subject of a major push by fans to get him in—to no avail, obviously—the 23-year-old outfielder wound up being one of the three leading vote-getters in the outfield.

Given his elite numbers, it's no wonder:

Puig, in all of his bat-flipping glory at the plate, also happens to be one of the best defenders, routinely making highlight-reel plays in the outfield, such as the one captured by the MLB on Twitter:

A name to watch in all facets, Puig kicks off what is sure to be a lengthy and fruitful track record at the All-Star game in Minneapolis. Don't miss out.

 

Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

Say hello to the guy who can steal the show and go down in history.

Were it not for a brief stint on the shelf with an injury, Jose Abreu would surely be far and away the MLB home-run leader. Through 73 games, the first baseman hit 27, a number that allowed Abreu to etch his name into the history books, as MLB Stat of the Day notes:

Two weeks on the disabled list did not prevent him from other eye-popping numbers, either. In 76 games, he has 69 RBI, 17 doubles and a .281 average. But it's his ability to go yard that will put Abreu over the top in the minds of many as he plays beneath the national microscope. 

Of course, all that truly matters to him is soaking up the moment with his family looking on from the stands, as Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times illustrates:

For a rookie, Abreu has come quite a long way in a short period of time. He has a chance at the 85th edition of the Midsummer Classic to only further continue the story of his growing legacy.

 

Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds

Everyone knows Todd Frazier.

That Frazier, the hero of the 1998 Little League World Series:

Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2007, Frazier has blossomed into a stellar player and will make his first All-Star Game appearance after batting .293/.356/.499 with 17 homers.

While the overwhelming narrative is Jeter's bow out of the event, an underrated element of the proceedings is Frazier's reconvening with the New York legend, as Cincinnati Redlegs points out:

In the midst of his best year as a pro with plenty of room to grown, it would be a reach to call the game a passing-of-the-torch moment, but it is still a critical part of Frazier's growing stardom.

 

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Cincinnati Reds: Playing Pre-Deadline Trade-or-Keep with Top Prospects

The Cincinnati Reds will have some interesting decisions to make soon as the July 31 MLB trade deadline quickly approaches.

The team is built on its starting pitching, which currently boasts the No. 4 ERA in baseball at 3.26.

Its reliever corps, however, has been suspect at best—at least prior to the eighth inning. 

Cincinnati's bullpen is 9-12 with a No. 24 ERA of 3.96. That, of course, reflects a lot of Triple-A names pitching in the absence of key bullpen members early on. Still, the bullpen has been less-than-reliable for the majority of the season.

Then there's the offense: Is it good or bad?

The Reds are No. 10 in the National League in runs scored overall, but they were No. 3 in the month of June. Guys like Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier are trying to make the offense talk a moot point with their performances.

So what will they do at the deadline?

Their farm isn't exactly bursting with MLB-ready talent, but the organization has some coveted pieces that could be dealt for more talent for the second-half push.

Here are the Reds' top-five prospects, and whether the Reds should keep or trade them by the deadline.

 

All stats and rankings courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com unless otherwise noted and are current as of July 9, 2014.

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San Francisco’s oppressed motorists are fighting for change

They’ve been silent too long. 

The battle for San Francisco’s streets in action. Credit: Aude at Wikimedia Commons

Drivers in San Francisco have been having a hard time of it. All the public parking spaces created since the 1990s have been for cyclists. There’s no longer any requirement to build parking spaces for new houses and apartments. The transport agency even made them (gasp!) pay for parking on Sundays (mayor Ed Lee abandoned the policy after a year). 

But fear not – for like countless downtrodden, voiceless groups before them, the city’s motorists have come together to fight back. Earlier this week, a group called “Restore Transportation Balance” delivered a ballot initiative to the town hall, demanding a change in policy to pay more attention to the poor, ignored motorist. Ballot initiatives can be proposed by individuals or interest groups and are then voted on in a local election. To qualify, they need to collect 9,702 (yes, 9,702) signatures from locals, but, just to be safe, this one had 17,500.

In an editorial for SFGate, Bill Bowen, a member of the Restore Transportation Balance team, described the initiative’s backers as “a coalition of neighbourhood activists, small businesses, first responders, disabled advocates, parents, churchgoers and just plain folks”. Their proposals include:

  • Funding for car park construction;
  • A freeze on parking meter and garage charges for five years;
  • No parking charges on Sundays, holidays, or outside working hours;
  • Motorist representation on the Municipal Transportation Agency board; 
  •  A requirement that “traffic laws should be enforced equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks”.

This last, somewhat passive aggressive demand is presumably directed at the over-mighty interest groups which have dominated the city’s transport agenda for far too long: bikes, pedestrians and the city’s street cars. The initiative is in part a backlash against another ballot in the election, a horrific proposal for a $500m bond to be spent on new public transport and to make the streets bus and bicycle friendly.

According to the annual TomTom traffic survey, San Francisco is the second most congested city in the US – a fact the coalition of motorists blames on the introduction of cycle lanes. That said, it’s also been rated the second most walkable city in the country by website Walk Score, based on how close schools, businesses and other amenities are to each other.

The proposals will both be voted on in November. Until then, the war rages on. 

This is a preview of our new sister publication, CityMetric. We'll be launching its website soon - in the meantime, you can follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

Cincinnati Reds’ Trade Deadline Strategy Blueprint

The Cincinnati Reds are in a curious position where it can be difficult to assess whether they will be buyers or sellers at the upcoming July 31 trade deadline.

The club currently sits at 48-42 and are 3.5 games back of the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers and one game back of the second NL wild-card spot. However, the Reds have been wildly inconsistent this year—better of late, however—and could just as easily find themselves with a near double-digit deficit to make up in the division.

The most likely scenario has the Reds looking to add pieces at the deadline in an attempt to make their third straight playoff appearance. So, for the most part, we'll be looking at deals to help strengthen the Reds' current roster. However, we'll also explore a few deals that could get the Reds the prospects they desire to retool and make a run in 2015.

Over the course of this article, I'll break down the Reds' biggest areas of need, give some prospect names who could be of use in possible trades, assess big leaguers with the potential to be moved in the event the Reds become minor sellers, possible targets and some suggested deals.

Let's get started.

 

All stats are current through play on July 8, 2014 and are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com unless otherwise noted.

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Home Run Derby 2014: Breaking Down Biggest Sleeper Participants

Sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Bautista are all part of the 2014 Home Run Derby.

Big surprise.

American League captain Bautista selected Cespedes, Adam Jones and Brian Dozier, while National League captain Troy Tulowitzki chose Stanton, Yasiel Puig and Todd Frazier. All eight participants hit from the right side of the plate, which is likely a testament to Target Field’s pitcher-friendly dimensions in right and right-center field.

Each team will receive an addition fifth member Thursday.

Casual baseball fans who are used to the game’s most prolific sluggers in the Home Run Derby may be a bit confused to see that Frazier and Dozier are competing, but there is a reason these under-the-radar candidates are part of the field. 

Let’s dig into a few more details on the sleepers of the event.

 

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

Dozier’s selection was no doubt influenced by the fact that the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will take place in Minnesota. After all, these types of events are for the fans, so credit Bautista for the pick.

That Dozier is a second baseman who stands at less than 6’0" only makes this more of a Cinderella story. 

Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com and Parker Hageman of Twins Daily offered Dozier’s response to the selection and a tidbit for his batting practice pitcher:

Dozier will become the sixth Minnesota Twin of all time to compete in the Home Run Derby, joining the likes of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, Gary Gaetti and Tom Brunansky. Morneau famously won the event in old Yankee Stadium in 2008 in a contest that will always be remembered for Josh Hamilton’s power display in the early rounds.

Dozier has to be considered a candidate to win this thing because of his familiarity with the stadium. In fact, nine of his 16 home runs entering play Tuesday came at Target Field, and he has a particular affinity for driving the ball down the left field line.

He will be able to avoid the deep caverns in right-center field and stay in contention.

Dozier’s 16 home runs were tied for 12th in the American League entering play Tuesday, but his 31 homers since June 16 of last season are an impressive 15th in the majors. 

If nothing else, he will have the home crowd behind him as he puts on a show.

 

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds

Frazier was chosen for his first All-Star Game this year in addition to this honor, and his 17 home runs were good enough for fifth place in the National League entering Tuesday’s action. 

Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports thinks Frazier just may take the whole thing:

Frazier will become the eighth different Cincinnati Red to compete in the event, joining Dave Parker (who won the first one in 1985), Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O'Neill, Ron Gant, Reggie Sanders and Ken Griffey Jr.

He certainly seemed pleased with his selection, via C. Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com:

It's pretty cool. I'd like to thank Tulowitzki for even considering me. It's going to be a lot of fun, especially making the All-Star team, and now there's even more excitement the day before. Hopefully I don't put a goose egg up there, hopefully I can represent a little bit.

Perhaps adding to Frazier’s excitement is the fact that he will have his older brother as his batting practice pitcher.

Frazier may not win the Home Run Derby, but with him, it is more about the distance the homers travel than the actual frequency.

He averages 401 feet per home run and even drilled one an astounding 446 feet earlier in the year, via Matt Snyder of CBS Sports. What’s more, he once hit a home run when he lost control of the bat, and it appeared as if he simply threw his bat at the ball. 

Sure, the fans will be thrilled by the player who hits the most homers, but the one who can hit the longest will certainly earn their support as well. No pressure Frazier.

 

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It has been the World Cup of the individual, but Germany showed us the power of the team game

Germany, superbly well drilled, provided the perfect example of the superiority of the team game with their 7-1 evisceration of Brazil’s emotionally overcharged individuals in the semi-final.

The German team celebrate their fourth goal against Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semi-final. Photo: Getty
The German team celebrate their fourth goal against Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semi-final. Photo: Getty

This has been the World Cup of the individual. More than in any World Cup since the 1980s, teams in Brazil have been carried by one creative talent. Argentina have relied on Lionel Messi, Colombia have relied on James Rodríguez, Brazil relied, until his injury, on Neymar and even the Netherlands have been reliant on the pace of Arjen Robben. More than anything else, that explains why this has felt like such a strange, old-fashioned World Cup.

The 1970 competition in Mexico was heralded as the beginning of a bold new age. It was the first World Cup broadcast live by satellite and in those indistinct images from Mexico there was something revolutionary. Here were Brazil, golden shirts shimmering in the sunshine, playing a brand of football barely imaginable to British eyes. It was slick, skilful and joyous and was assumed to be the future. It turned out it was the past.

The football that had been seen in England in 1966 was the football of the future. In the late 1950s and 1960s, the sport became increasingly systematised: sides would play less as collections of individuals than as a unit. This mechanisation was no less beautiful than the previous style but it was a different kind of beauty – the collective play of the Dutch or the Dynamo Kyiv of Valeriy Lobanovskyi, rather than the dribbling and flair of a Garrincha or a Pelé. As the Swedish academic Tomas Peterson put it, football took in a second order of complexity. It began to be played with a knowledge of its workings: modern football was to old football as Picasso was to Gainsborough.

The most significant change was pressing, the systematised hunting of the man in possession in packs. It was something made possible by better nutrition (and drugs) in the late 1960s and 1970s and by improved understanding of structures on the pitch – the realisation that a properly organised side could use the offside trap to squeeze the play in such a way that opponents could be left, in effect, unmarked, and so more men could be committed to ball-winning.

At club level, that has made the game more tactically sophisticated but since the coming of systematisation, international football has lagged behind. A club coach can work with his players every day for ten months of the year, building the mutual understanding necessary for the integration this approach demands. At national level, a coach has his players for perhaps three or four days, five or six times a year, plus a couple of weeks before major tournaments. Inevitably, most choose a lowest-common-denominator approach, packing men behind the ball and getting the defence right – since a coach will always be blamed far more for defensive than for attacking failings.

The result is that recent World Cups have yielded roughly half a goal per game fewer than the Champions League. That’s why the group stages of this World Cup, which yielded an average of 2.83 goals per game, were such a surprise. With occasional exceptions – Iran, Russia – teams attacked relentlessly. It was as if sides were caught up in a sense of collective freedom with the defenestration of Spain and their controlled passing approach in their 5-1 defeat to the Dutch.

Some were rapt in the romantic fervour of those early games and suggested that this was the spirit of Brazil at work – that everybody had caught the jogo bonito attitude. More likely, not least because few sides have played less beautifully than Brazil in this tournament with their tactical fouling and unnerving desperation for victory at any cost, this was a familiar pattern: trends in the club game usually take five years or so to filter through to the national game.

Over the past five years, it has become increasingly common for teams to try to win the ball back high up the pitch, to initiate transitions as quickly as possible, taking pressing to a new level. Quick transitions mean players breaking at pace against defences that aren’t set, and that leads to more chances and more goals. It’s no coincidence that the Premier League has averaged over 2.7 goals per game in each of the past four seasons, the first time those levels have been reached since the 1980s.

When two high-pressing teams meet, the result can be stalemate, the game squeezed into a narrow sliver either side of halfway. In this World Cup, though, the result has often been glorious anarchy and, with defences less rigid than usual, skilful individuals have been able to exert a powerful influence. The great creators have become celebrities, supported by hysterical fans who act in a way more associated with Justin Bieber devotees. Perhaps that is the result of the globalisation of the game and the emergence of a new wave of fans with few geographical or cultural reasons to support a particular club, and who prefer to attach themselves to individuals. Or perhaps it is to do with the way the game is presented and the growing demand for soap opera with easily identifiable heroes and villains. Either way, from a tactical point of view, it feels regressive. Germany, superbly well drilled, provided the perfect example of the superiority of the team game with their 7-1 evisceration of Brazil’s emotionally overcharged individuals in the semi-final.

In the last 16 and quarter-final, goals per game were down to 1.33 in normal time, which, beyond regression to the mean, is probably indicative of two things. First, that coaches have had longer to organise their defences but also that the better national teams are closer to assimilating the most intriguing recent development in the club game: the counter-counter, stymying the transitions that have become a key feature of so many sides’ attacking, even if, in the less sophisticated world of the international game, that translates to little more than sitting deeper to keep men behind the ball. Even in the individuals’ World Cup, a system has come to assert itself.

2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Predictions for Starting Pitchers of Midsummer Classic

The 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and the excitement went through the roof when the rosters for the National and American leagues were announced.

With some of the biggest names in MLB taking the field at the same time—including several of the top starting pitchers in the world—there is guaranteed to be enough action to satisfy every baseball fan. 

Here is the full 2014 MLB All-Star roster and predictions for the starting pitchers.

 

Predictions for Starting Pitching

There is no doubt that being voted to an All-Star Game is a great honor for any player, but starting pitchers are under an incredible amount of scrutiny.

While hitters are forced to face several of the top pitchers in the league, the starting pitchers must stare down some of the most dangerous hitters in the history of the sport.

Regardless of how well a starter has performed thus far in 2014, squaring off against the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and others is a daunting task.

Several elite relief pitchers made the All-Star teams, but the coaching staffs will look to save them for eighth- and ninth-inning duty. With plenty of depth and talent on both sides when it comes to starting pitchers, fans should expect around two innings out of each of the top stars and one inning of work or less for the rest.

Red Sox coach and American League manager John Farrell told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com about his game plan for his roster at the All-Star Game:

We'll do everything we can to make sure everyone makes an appearance, particularly the position players. That may be a little bit more controllable than the pitching side of things. But at the same time, there are a lot of people who will look back on this game, on this event, as a contributing, pivotal moment in their postseason run.

Now that one coach has shared how he views using pitchers, here is my official prediction for the starting pitchers:

It is uncertain which starter will get the nod for the first inning, but Masahiro Tanaka deserves it most on the American League side, and Clayton Kershaw deserves it most on the National League side.

How about Tanaka vs. Kershaw as a potential head-to-head matchup?

Starting with the AL, Tanaka should lead one of the most talented starting groups in recent memory. Add Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish, and there is little doubt that Farrell can get at least six innings out of his top three pitchers.

Max Scherzer is the biggest liability out of the possible starters, and fans shouldn’t be shocked to see Farrell get at least one inning out of Red Sox starter Jon Lester. When the game reaches the eighth and ninth innings, expect the American League to turn to its stacked bullpen for relief.

On the NL side, the team will use more of a committee approach. While Kershaw and Adam Wainwright deserve to go two innings apiece, pitchers such as Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner should only be used for one inning.

With a relief staff consisting of Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Francisco Rodriguez, there is no need to push the starting pitchers beyond their abilities.

There is so much talent on both teams that fans will be treated to an amazing display of pitching acumen regardless of who starts and how many innings each pitcher racks up.

 

Stats via MLB.com.

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Mike Trout’s AL MVP Quest Poised to Finally End in 2014

We all know that Mike Trout’s toolbox is limitless. The magic of the guy is that he continually flashes new tools.

Much like opposing teams study spray charts and advance scouting reports looking for miracles to defend him, Trout pores over the Doppler.

“He’s like a weatherman,” teammate Josh Hamilton says. “He loves storms.”

When the Angels were in Kansas City last month wondering whether they were going to be able to beat a monster thunderstorm and get that night’s game in, Trout kept them updated.

“It’s coming,” he told teammates. “It’s coming.”

Batting practice came and went, the Angels returned to their clubhouse and there was Trout with the latest.

“It’s coming,” Trout warned. “It’s coming.”

Sure enough, that night, the heavens opened and the Angels and Royals were stuck with two long rain delays that dragged out the game for more than seven hours.

“Somebody said, ‘Look, he’s a six-tool player!’” Hamilton says, chuckling. “I told him, ‘If you bunted a little more, you’d be a seven-tool player.

Five tools, six, seven…as Trout races toward his third All-Star Game in three seasons and surely, finally, his first AL MVP award, who’s even counting anymore?

When he steps onto Target Field in Minnesota on Tuesday night, July 15, he will become only the fourth American League outfielder with three All-Star selections before the age of 23, joining Mickey Mantle (1952-1954), Al Kaline (1955-1957) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1990-1992).

“It’s pretty special to be in the conversation with those names,” says Trout, who turns 23 on August 7. “It means a lot.”

At 22, Trout this summer is doing what to mere mortals would be the impossible: Following two seasons in which he finished second in MVP voting to the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera despite ranking arguably as the game’s best overall player, he is even better in 2014.

With the Angels finally catching the momentum of his vapor trail—they owned the second-best record in the majors on Tuesday at 52-36—this should be the season that Trout wins the first of what should be multiple MVP awards.

“I don’t know how you can improve too much when the guy does stuff that nobody in the history of baseball has done,” Angels ace Jered Weaver said. “But the sky is the limit. He keeps producing more than before.”

“In 2012, he had more volume in stolen bases,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “But you weren’t getting the impact in the batter’s box that you’re getting this year. Which is absurd to say because in 2012, he had great impact in the batter’s box.

“He’s finding ways to expand the upper reaches of how good he can be. I hate to use a cliche, but I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He led the AL with a .995 OPS into Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jays, ranked second with 48 extra-base hits and third with a .596 slugging percentage and 190 total bases.

He is on pace for a career-high 350 total bases. He is the only major leaguer this season with at least 20 homers, 20 doubles and five triples.

And more than halfway through the summer, Trout is easily on pace for a third consecutive campaign with an OPS of .950 or higher, something only two players in history have done through their age-22 season: Ted Williams (1939-1941) and Jimmie Foxx (1928-1930).

Nobody then or now had as much impact at the plate, on the bases and in the field at age 22 as Trout.

And yet...

“He’s better this year,” Angels bench coach Dino Ebel said. “I see it physically. I see it mentally. He gets better every game.

“Even in the dugout, you hear him talk about the game, what he sees, what he thinks is going to happen. To be that young and have a mind like that, it’s off the charts.”

This spring, Ebel, at Trout’s request, spent hours working to improve Trout’s arm.

“For years, and it gets back to the player, it’s been known that the softest of his five tools is his arm,” Dipoto said. “So he went and made it better. That might be the hardest thing to do, for a player, at this stage. And he went and did it.”

Even now, during the season, every other series, home or away, Ebel runs Trout through drills designed to improve his accuracy when throwing to the bases. And Trout diligently performs exercises designed by Dr. Frank Jobe, the renowned orthopedist, to strengthen his arm and shoulder.

“Before, his arm was below average,” Ebel said. “Now, it’s average to plus, more plus—with plus accuracy.”

He led the league as a rookie with 49 steals in ‘12. He picks his spots more now, with both Albert Pujols and Hamilton hitting behind him, and has swiped 10 bags this summer without being caught once.

Best of all, in the Angels’ eyes, the most important stat in the world to Trout is wins. He cannot get away from MVP talk, so controversial were his two second-place finishes to Cabrera, but does his best to deflect it.

“I’m not thinking about that,” he said. “I’m more worried about the team winning.

“At the end of the year, it would be huge. But the only things on my list right now are things to help the team win. We like where we are.”

Trout’s engaging, infectious enthusiasm has helped the young Angels gain confidence and play better, and it’s even helped loosen up the perpetually serious Pujols. Far more than any potential MVP award, what Trout mostly is interested in promoting this week is teammate Garrett Richards' campaign in the AL’s Final Vote for the All-Star Game.

The two were drafted together in 2009 and came up through the minor leagues together.

“You know, it’s gone by so quickly,” Trout said, pondering the idea of his third All-Star Game. “Me and Garrett were just talking yesterday, it seems like yesterday that me and him were in Salt Lake City and Cedar Rapids.

“It’s pretty crazy.”

What impresses Richards over and over is that as Trout’s star has ascended as if by rocket fuel, he’s remained the same guy who practically knew the first name of each Domino’s pizza deliveryman back in Triple-A.

“On and off the field,” Richards said. “Generous. Very unselfish. He hasn’t changed one bit.”

Richards tells some very entertaining stories about how much Trout likes to eat and the quantities he devours.

“Anything having to do with wings,” Richards said. “He can eat an unbelievable amount of wings. I’ll be sitting there watching, and it’s unbelievable.”

In other words, same feeling most of us get when watching Trout go over the fence to bring another home run back…or wallop a walk-off homer, as he’s done twice this year. Though, to some, the legend of Mike Trout far exceeds that.

“I don’t feel comfortable talking about October in July when you have Mike Trout hitting game-winning homers every other night,” Oakland GM Billy Beane memorably quipped after acquiring starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs in an effort to strengthen the Athletics’ grip on the AL West.

“He’s bigger, stronger and faster than everybody else at this level,” Angels catcher Chris Iannetta said. “Some of the stuff he can do, nobody else can do. He stays inside the ball really well, but a lot of guys stay inside the ball really well.”

Is it any wonder Trout seems to have a permanent smile on his face and talks over and over about having fun? Guys blessed with such extraordinary gifts, they don’t feel the stress so many of the rest of us do.

“I didn’t want to say that,” Iannetta said, grinning. “He definitely has fun out there.”

He and the Angels both, following two bitterly disappointing summers. Finally, October and an MVP award are looking better each week.

“It’s got to happen,” Richards said of Trout and the MVP. “You can only finish second so many times.”

It’s coming, just like that thunderstorm in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago. You know it’s coming.

“He’s a weather guy,” Ebel said, grinning. “He told me, ‘When my career is over, I’m going to go out and chase tornadoes.’ Like in one of those cars, he wants to go chase tornadoes.”

The tornadoes, they won’t have a chance.

 

Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. He has over two decades of experience covering MLB, including 14 years as a national baseball columnist at CBSSports.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball here. 

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MLB Futures Game 2014: Pro-Player Comparisons for Each Prospect

Many of baseball's top prospects will be on display in this year's MLB Futures Game at Minnesota's Target Field, which will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. Until then, we'll continue to break down all the players from the U.S. and World teams' rosters.

By now, most of you hopefully know that I typically try to stay away from comparing prospects to major leaguers; it can be a misleading exercise, as any number of things can happen to affect a player's developmental timeline and overall projection.

However, considering we'll be viewing the future of the sport just a few days before the actual All-Star Game, I thought I'd take a (conservative) stab at comparing this year's Futures Game participants to well-known big leaguers, both past and present.

With that said, here are the pro-player comparisons for each prospect in this year's Futures Game.

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