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MLB looking at head safety for pitchers


MLB looking at head safety for pitchers

With several high profile cases of pitchers being struck in the head by batted balls, Major League baseball is moving quickly towards improving safety on the mound. According to the Associated Press, MLB is looking at liners for pitchers’ hats and other options to prevent head injuries.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy suffered a fractured skull and a brain contusion in September after taking a ball off the head. The league tells AP the event increased the urgency to improve safety.

"After that, it kind of pushed up our timetable," MLB senior vice president Dan Halem said. "We decided to fast track it."

In Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night Detroit Tigers pitcher Doug Fister was hit in the head by a line drive, but continued pitching after examination by the training staff. After broadcaster Tim McCarver opined on television that pitchers should wear helmets several players took to Twitter in disagreement. 

One of those players happened to be Nationals shorstop Ian Desmond who was quoted in the article by the Associated Press.

"Helmets for pitchers??? Really," he said.

The same article pointed out how Desmond himself had been involved in scary incident last season when a liner hit by the shortstop struck Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio in the head. Nicasio broke his neck when he fell on the mound.

Desmond is a position player, but the potential mandate is just as unpopular with pitchers. Both Vance Worley and Barry Zito expressed displeasure in the piece about possibly wearing head gear on the mound.

The league says they will try to do something that won’t impair a pitcher’s ability and weight will likely be an issue. This would likely rule out any sort of helmet, at least in the traditional sense. One proposal involves lining hats with the material Kevlar which is used for bullet proof jackets.

It doesn’t sound like anything will be imposed for the 2013 major league season, but something could be tried for the minors. Either way, it sounds like an inevitable measure for Major League Baseball as they try to prevent a serious head injury happening to one of their players. McCarthy’s case was a bad one and they don’t want to see something worse.

What do you think, should pitchers be required to wear protective head gear when on the mound?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.


Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.