October 2013

Short List Of Potential Managers

As I indicated in a previous edition of BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD, I think a manager plays great significance in the outcome of a baseball game.

As I look at the baseball landscape today, I have identified several potential managers I feel have the temperament, the experience and the knowledge to guide a team for the coming season. I think each can handle a pitching staff and the personalities and egos of 25 diverse men. Those are critical qualifications in my book.

While those are all important components for success, I think communication is the key. Communicating with players and staff, the media and the fan base is crucial to guiding a smooth and steady ship.

In no particular order, here is my list of potential managers:

Tony Pena- With Joe Girardi having renewed his contract with the Yankees, this is the perfect time for the very likable Pena to get serious consideration to return to the bench. A previous Major League manager and a highly successful coach with the Yankees, Pena managed the Dominican Republic to the 2013 World Baseball Classic championship.

Pena is personable and outgoing. As a very successful big league catcher, Pena knows the game. He should get serious consideration to return to the dugout.

Like Pena, Brad Ausmus was a very successful catcher. He is intelligent, knows the game and has the personality to lead a group of men.

Short on experience, Ausmus is long on the intangibles that make a manager successful. He is articulate and confident. He is personable and charismatic. And of greatest importance, he has been there and done that. He’s played the game at the highest level, helping lead his team into a World Series.

The third catcher to make my list is Sandy Alomar, Jr.

Alomar has been mentioned before, but now is his time. Having him lead a club will result in a steady ship with players being well prepared.

Alomar has been in the game a long time and has the respect of his peers. He knows the fine points of winning baseball games.

Jim Fregosi is a name from the past. I think he would be outstanding on a club that is looking for a veteran voice tough enough but fair enough to get the best from his players.

Fregosi has a long resume’ of success and has the ability to lead men in a way that extracts the best qualities from each. His experience matters. His demeanor matters.

Matt Williams was a very tough, fair player. He wanted the best from himself and his teammates. More than anything, he’s an excellent teacher. He has the ability to dish out “tough love” while understanding what players are going through. I think Matt Williams will make an outstanding manager.

Manny Acta has never had a chance with a championship quality team -or anything even close. I think Acta will be very good with the type of club that has the same passion for the game he has. He wants to win. He is articulate and very genuine.
And Acta knows the game extremely well.

Chili Davis has been a hitting coach and has sat next to the best managers in the game. I have no idea if he wants to manage, but I think he has enough fire inside to want to be part of a winner. Davis is a long time baseball man with knowledge and instincts for the game that lead to success.

John McLaren never really got a chance to manage with the Mariners. He has the type of personality and game knowledge that can be very helpful to a young and developing club in particular. John knows everyone in the game and is greatly respected for his insight and player evaluation skills. He’s a sleeper.

Phil Garner has experience as a Major League manager that could be invaluable to a club looking to cross the finish line. I think he can bring good communications skills and in-game management to a young club or one on the brink of a championship.

Terry Pendleton is another baseball lifer with the experience and knowledge to lead a clubhouse of men. He has learned at the side of some fantastic managers in Atlanta. Like some of the others, Pendleton would be a sleeper pick, but I think he can do the job and do it well.

That’s my list for now. In each case, I believe the person will be capable of handling a pitching staff and a group of diverse players.

That’s it. I’m done.

Final Four Edition

Justin Verlander used a full arsenal of fastball, slider, curve and changeup to keep those big Oakland hitters off balance most of the night. As the game progressed, he just got tougher and tougher. Pacing and tempo are the keys. High fastballs don’t hurt against home run hitting clubs.

Can’t fault Bob Melvin for turning to Sonny Gray for the big game. He had come up big at the end of the season. It didn’t matter who pitched against Verlander. But where did Gray’s curveball go after the first inning? I’m just asking.

Miguel Cabrera hit an inside fastball. The Red Sox will be keeping the ball away from him I believe. It’s tough for him to extend and get his lower body into the swing. Still hurting.

Even though the Red Sox have an outstanding rotation, I like the Tigers starters in the seven game series. But I like the Red Sox bullpen much more than the Tigers pen.

Jim Leyland may stick with a starter a bit longer than usual because of the issues in the Tigers pen.

Even with Cabrera, Prince and VMart, I like the length and balance of the Red Sox lineup better. And there really is no answer for David Ortiz. Plus, he’ll see a bunch of right-handed pitching.

Starters=Tigers, Bullpen=Red Sox. Defense=Red Sox, Lineup= Red Sox. My winner?
The Tigers. I’m a starting pitcher kinda guy.

Tigers have to be patient against Jon Lester and take some pitches.

Cardinals have an amazing organization with balance throughout the roster.

Carlos Beltran lives for games like this. So does Mr. Holiday. And how do you beat Adam Wainwright? He has tremendous sink on the ball. Everything moves. I like Rosenthal at the end of the game.

While the Dodgers have balance and tremendous starting pitching, they will be missing a critical component. Kemp is an important parts of both the offense and defense.

Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu are a dynamic trio and tough to beat. Any one of them can stop the bleeding of a two-game losing streak (should it ever come to that). I don’t think the Cards match up with that rotation.

When it’s all said and done, these are four wonderful teams representing their fans and their cities at the most exciting time of the year.

Starters=Dodgers, Bullpen=Cardinals, Defense=Cardinals, Lineup=Dodgers. My winner? The Dodgers because of the starting pitching.

So, I see the Tigers and Dodgers in the World Series. But-and here’s the but. Any of those four teams have the players and the manager to survive a seven game series.

With great pitching, little things will be crucial. Mistakes will be magnified. Pitchers will have to adjust to the hitters, hitters will have to adjust to pitchers and both will have to adjust to the umpires.

I’ll be tweeting throughout the ALCS and I hope you’ll follow me @BerniePleskoff.

I’m done for now.

An introduction

Welcome to My World of Baseball. Everyone-and I mean everyone-is welcome. No age, gender, height, weight, or any other restrictions are permitted. My World is for everyone. My World is Our World.

For as long as I can remember, the first thing I have done every morning is sit down and read about baseball. I invite you to pour a cup of coffee, turn on your computer and check out BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD.
My goals are simple. I want us to celebrate baseball together. I want this to be the best baseball blog available. And I’d be honored if you participate. If you wish-please leave comments, suggestions and questions. I’ll always try to respond.

I have lots of opinions on matters of baseball. This will sort of be written from a “stream of consciousness.” I’ll just share what I’m thinking.

Even though I watch baseball all the time, I still see things I’ve never seen before. Like our fingerprints, no two games are alike. Something different happens in every game we watch.

In my opinion, baseball has never been more exciting to watch. Yes, I loved and admired the players and teams of my developing years. But the players today are amazing. I can’t really describe their talent. They’re fearless. They’re mature. And they have more passion than they show. Most love the game as we love the game.

Here are some things that I’m thinking about as I write this:

I’m wondering how happy Shin-Shoo Choo will be in the coming off-season. He is a free agent. Everything went well for him this past season. He hit for average, hit for power, got on base, stole bases, played solid defense and did everything the Reds needed of him as a leadoff hitter. He didn’t get to progress in the postseason, but at least he was there. So many teams can use him. But the price will be steep. Congratulations Mr. Choo.

One of the best trades of the season came when the Indians obtained Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles from Toronto for Esmil Rogers. The trade helped both clubs. All three players figure in the plans for their respective teams next season.

I’m very concerned about the shoulder of Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando. He just didn’t look like he was finishing his pitches at the end of the season. He looked hurt.

We don’t hear much about him due to the great players on his own team, but Juan Uribe made a fantastic contribution to the Dodgers. Now he has a chance to get another ring. He’s a clutch player and a tremendous asset in the clubhouse.

From a scouting perspective, Hunter Pence doesn’t do anything correctly regarding his hitting and throwing mechanics. But he gets the job done. And done very well. He just looks awkward in the process. What a great year he had.

Josh Donaldson just doesn’t get the credit he is due. Like Adrian Beltre, he flies under the radar. Both are so good. Add Chris Johnson to that list. They just go about their business without much fanfare. All three had great years.

Two players on the Houston Astros I really enjoyed watching this season were left-handed outfielder Marc Krauss and left-handed starter Brett Oberholtzer. They offer their team energy and ability as possible building blocks in specific roles.

The game of baseball is changing so quickly. From the three-run homer, we are moving to great pitching, defense, bunting and gap doubles. It’s every bit as exciting as the long ball. Especially for true baseball fans like us. We just want our teams to have the right recipe for success.

I’ll never quite understand why we get blessed when we sneeze? Sit on an airplane or stand in a crowd of complete strangers. Sneeze. Wait a second. You’re bound to hear, “Bless You.” Thank you. What’s up with that? It’s very kind. And appreciated. But these are complete strangers. I’m just wondering.

A manager can win six or seven games by making the correct in-game roster moves or by handling the bullpen properly. Of course it helps to have good players, but don’t ever think a good manager doesn’t matter.

I use fastball velocity as a guide throughout an entire game. I want to see if velocity has decreased or even increased inning to inning. Command and movement on pitches is still must important, but velocity matters when used in comparison inning to inning.

I find myself doing this: When I meet someone that doesn’t speak English, I tend to speak to them in a much louder voice. Much louder. And they still can’t understand me. What’s up with that? Just a natural reaction, I guess.

Just a hunch. I think if replay is, in fact approved and used, we’ll find the umpires to be correct more than we think.

Thanks for reading BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD. Please come back. And please read my scouting profiles on MLBPipeline.com. You can follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff. I’d really like to have you as a follower.

I’m done for now. And Welcome To Our World.