Padres Future Comes Into Focus In Majors

May 23, 2017 By Kyle Glaser 

image: http://www.baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Margot-Renfroe-2017-Getty.jpg

 

Manuel Margot, center, and Hunter Renfroe, right, celebrate a recent win with Travis Jankowski (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—In the midst of an increasingly lost season, the Padres’ future is beginning to coalesce at the major league level.

The Padres promoted No. 11 prospect Carlos Asuaje from Triple-A El Paso on Tuesday, and manager Andy Green said No. 9 prospect Dinelson Lamet will make his first career start on Thursday against the Mets.

With Manuel Margot in center field and Hunter Renfroe in right, four of the Padres’ top 11 prospects entering this season are now on the big league roster with the moves.

“It’s good to see young guys that you’ve played with before and come up with make it to the big leagues,” Renfroe said. “Obviously it’s a thrill to be here yourself. It’s a thrill to be playing with this many guys and to be in the same clubhouse as the guys you came up with. It’s fun.”

The present is unpleasant for the Padres. The own baseball’s worst record at 16-30 as well as an MLB-worst minus-85 run differential, a performance in line for a team that was widely expected to be the majors’ worst this season.

But there have been signs of promise. Margot leads all major league rookies in hits and has played a solid center field. Renfroe has rebounded from a brutal April to post an .832 OPS since May 2. Austin Hedges, a four-time Padres top 10 prospect now in his first full season, leads National League catchers with eight home runs.

And now with Asuaje and Lamet coming up, the first wave of Padres prospects is getting settled in the big leagues.

“The teams that get young talent at the major league level, there are growing pains. There are learning curves,” Green said. “Right now there is a learning curve (but) I like the intensity with which they’ve been attacking games here recently. I think they’ve been doing some really good things.”

Lamet is particularly notable as the Padres’ top pitching prospect above high Class A. The 24-year-old righthander went 3-2, 3.23 with 50 strikeouts in 39 innings at Triple-A El Paso this year and marks the beginning of what the Padres hope will be a steady rise of live-armed pitchers through the organization.

“It’s good stuff, it’s a live arm, it’s the kind of stuff that can shut an offense down,” Green said. “He’s a guy that’s had quality outing after quality outing at Triple-A with a ton of punchouts. We feel really good about how he’s throwing the ball and we felt like it was the right opportunity to give him a chance.”

The Padres will, in all likelihood, take their lumps this season. But the steady drip of top prospects being added to the big league roster provides a glimpse of hope for the future.

“It’s really great because now they’re realizing their dream the way I have,” Margot said through a translator. “They’re young guys but they deserve to be here. We all worked hard through the minor leagues together and to have everyone here is great.”

 


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With access to advanced metrics, hitters are digging in to go deep

Steve Gardner , USA TODAY Sports Published 1:24 p.m. ET March 23, 2017 | Updated 2:55 p.m. ET April 2, 2017

 

(Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

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The statistical revolution in Major League Baseball has yielded some significant breakthroughs in run prevention, most recently in the areas of defensive shifting and pitch framing.

But no matter how the numbers are crunched, there’s no defense against a ball that leaves the field of play.

As recently as 2014, scoring dropped to its lowest level in 33 years. But as pitchers have continued to throw harder and become more dominant, hitters have figured out the home run might be the one weapon they have that can help even the playing field.

The last two seasons have seen scoring turn upward, and in 2016, the rate of 1.16 home runs per game was the second highest in baseball history (incrementally behind the 1.17 per game in 2000).

Former manager Earl Weaver’s mantra of “pitching, defense and three-run homers” has never been a more effective strategy for winning games.

Alongside the advancement of defensive statistics, hitters are using advanced statistics to maximize their ability to go deep. And if need be, they’re changing their approaches at the plate to do so.

“The whole goal is to hit the ball hard,” says Baltimore Orioles DH Mark Trumbo, who led the majors last season with 47 home runs.

“The defenses have changed … You want to hit it hard, but you also want to hit it high, too. I’m not saying sky-high pop-ups, but hitting the ball on the ground with the way teams are scouting players, it’s not terribly desirable.”

With Trumbo leading the way, the Orioles led the majors in home runs. Their total of 253 was 28 more than the second-place Seattle Mariners.

The surge in home runs has been a direct result of hitters no longer worrying as much about how many times they strike out. Even with two strikes, they’re taking their hacks. The Orioles’ Chris Davis tied for 11th place with 38 homers while at the same time leading the majors with 219 strikeouts.

But when they do make contact, as Trumbo says, elevation is essential.

Trumbo, Davis and Manny Machado combined for 122 home runs, more than any trio on any other team. And all three players had fly-ball rates of more than 42%, which put them among the top 25 in the majors.

FLY BALL PERCENTAGE: 2016 MLB leaders (via Fangraphs)

“There’s just a lot of good things that can happen when you hit it hard and you hit it in the air,” Trumbo says. “I think that’s something if you watch Manny, you watch (Josh) Donaldson, (Edwin) Encarnacion, all these guys that are doing a lot of damage, I doubt too many of them are hitting too many ground balls.”

Sure enough, Encarnacion (42 homers, .528 slugging percentage) and Donaldson (37, .549) both had fly-ball rates of 41%, safely putting them inside the top 40 of 146 qualified hitters.

“They have a nice ability to square balls up, find gaps and hit it over guys’ heads. At the end of the day, guys are doing a lot of damage, and that’s how they’re doing it,” Trumbo says.

It’s all about physics

All it takes is one listen to New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling’s signature call to know what it takes to hit a home run. It is high … It is far … It is ... gone!

Using high-definition cameras in every ballpark that record the movement of not only the ball but every player, MLB’s Statcast technology can now tell us how high and how hard a ball needs to be hit before it’s gone.

Home runs are a product of two factors Statcast measures that are publicly available: Exit velocity and launch angle.

Simply put, a ball has the best chance to become a homer if it’s hit at a certain minimum speed and at the optimal angle in the air. From there, it’s all physics.

“I want to get the ball elevated, off the ground and try to hit gaps,” says Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy.

In 2015, the first season Statcast results were collected from every major league game, the numbers confirmed some things most observers already knew: Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit the ball harder than anyone else in the game.

The single hardest-hit ball in each of Statcast's two seasons of existence have come off the bat of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton: 120.3 mph in 2015 and 123.9 in 2016. (Photo: Jesse Johnson, USA TODAY Sports)

His average exit velocity (the speed of the ball off the bat) was 98.6 mph, nearly 4 mph greater than No. 2 Miguel Sano. Not surprisingly, Stanton’s average home run distance of 425 feet also ranked first.

But now that Statcast is able to measure the second component, launch angle, we get a better idea of what it takes to maximize — as Trumbo says — the “damage.”

Players are taking notice.

“I won’t look at it for every ball I hit. But let’s say I’m going through a little bit of a slow time where my batting average or my numbers aren’t equaling what I’m doing, I’ll take a peek at that and just see if those are consistent,” Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez says. “If I see my launch angles are off, then it’s like, OK, there is something wrong.”

Last season, Tom Tango, Senior Data Architect at MLB Advanced Media, came up with a new way to combine both elements.

The stat — called “Barrels” to represent hitting the ball on the sweet spot, or barrel, of the bat — identifies balls hit with the optimal exit velocity (EV) and launch angle (LA) to produce a home run.

Those numbers are an EV of 98 mph or greater and an LA of 26-30 degrees.

One of the true measures of any stat is how well it explains what we see or think we see with our own eyes. In this case, the 2016 league leaders in Barrels reads like a who’s who of top sluggers.

Barrels leaders, 2016

1. Miguel Cabrera 72
2. Nelson Cruz 68
3. Mark Trumbo 67
4. Khris Davis 65
5. David Ortiz 62
T6. Mike Trout 57
T6. Evan Longoria 57
8. Chris Carter 56
9. Freddie Freeman 54
T10. Chris Davis 53
T10. Kris Bryant 53
12. Edwin Encarnacion 52
13. Josh Donaldson 51
14. Matt Kemp 50
T15. Mike Napoli
T15. Justin Upton 48

Source: BaseballSavant.com

Obviously, not all of those barreled balls went for home runs. The metric doesn’t take into account, for instance, the direction the ball is hit, the impact of the weather, great defensive plays and other factors.

However, according to MLB.com, “During the 2016 regular season, balls assigned the Barreled classification had a batting average of .822 and a 2.386 slugging percentage.”

That’s doing some serious damage.

Taking the next step

With a deeper understanding of the physics of hitting, some players are using the numbers to take their games to the next level.

“When I was in New York, they were really big on exit velocity,” Murphy recalls. By working with hitting coach Kevin Long, teammate Lucas Duda was able to go from a 15-homer homer hitter in 2013 to 30 homers the following year.

Murphy had been an excellent contact hitter throughout his major league career, but late in the 2015 season the work he was doing with Long began to yield dramatic results.

After hitting 14 home runs in the regular season, Murphy exploded in the playoffs, hitting .421 with seven homers and being named the Most Valuable Player in the National League Championship Series as the Mets advanced to the World Series.

He says it all comes down to one simple concept: “The harder you hit the ball, hopefully the more opportunity you have to create your own holes.”

Murphy’s another graduate of baseball’s school of flight. His fly-ball rate has gone from 29% to 36% to a career-high 42% over the past three seasons.

“For me, if I hit the ball really hard and the first thing it does is hit the ground, it’s going to eliminate some of that velocity, thus making it easier for the fielders to catch it,” Murphy says.

His slugging percentage the past three seasons shows he’s succeeding: .403, then .449 and finally .595 last season, second in the majors behind only David Ortiz.

“We’re trying to hit it as hard as we can and get it elevated over the infielders, and hopefully we can get it over the outfielders, too,” he says. “The numbers are bearing out what we’ve all been trying to do since we were kids, which is hit the ball as hard as we can.”

 

Finding a security blanket

Martinez had his own career transformation in 2014 after he was released by the Houston Astros. Needing to do something different to return to the majors, he completely overhauled his swing and caught the eye of the Detroit Tigers.

He earned a promotion, continued to rake and never relinquished his starting job in the outfield thanks to his newfound power.

Martinez hit 23 home runs in 123 games that season, then followed it up with a 38-homer, 102-RBI breakout in 2015.

Although the stat hadn’t been created yet, Martinez barreled the ball more than any other player that season. His 76 were four more than runner-up Mike Trout.

For him, the advanced stats can serve as a type of security blanket.

“There was a point last year when I was hitting like .250, but I looked at my launch angles and my exit velo and it was good. It was fine. It was right where it normally is,” he says. “So it’s almost a sense of not to panic. It’s more of a comfort, the hits will come. Everything is in the right spot right now.”

Injuries limited Martinez to 120 games and 22 home runs last year, but he posted the same .535 slugging percentage he had in his breakout 2015 season. Similarly, his total number of Barrels was down, but when averaged per plate appearance he was still among the top 15 in the majors.

There is a danger in getting too reliant on the numbers, however.

“It’s probably more useful in finding players that might help you than using it as a teaching tool,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus says. “You can’t go to a player and say, ‘Hey, your launch angle is a little bit high. Can you see if you get on top of the ball a little more?’ That’s not how hitting works.”

But it does help if the stats add to an overall understanding of the game. Some major league teams prefer that their scouts not look at Statcast information and other advanced metrics because it could affect their evaluation of a player.

The idea is to keep scouting separate from analytics until it’s time to weigh them all together. Other organizations want their scouts to have as much information as possible to make their evaluations.

Again, it’s the best of both worlds when the numbers and the eye test say the same things.

In addition to Martinez, the Tigers had two other hitters in the top 15 last season in Barrels per plate appearance. Being familiar with advanced metrics, one reporter asked Ausmus if that fact surprised him.

“We’ve got one of the best hitters in the history of the game,” Ausmus responded in reference to perennial All-Star Miguel Cabrera.

He thought for a brief moment.

“I’d guess J.D. is one of ’em.”

“(Justin) Upton is probably up there in exit velocity; launch angle I’m not so sure. Nick (Castellanos) maybe?”

Sure enough, Cabrera was second overall — hitting the ball on the barrel in 10.6% of his plate appearances. Castellanos was 12th at 8.3% and Martinez 14th at 8.1%.

“It’s great to throw out numbers and act like they’re important,” Ausmus says. “There’s gotta be a way to use them. Those numbers are more useful in putting a team together as opposed to coaching a player.”

Fantasy implications

Ah yes, putting a team together. Although their rosters change some from year to year, major league teams have a core group of players they have to build around.

Fantasy owners, on the other hand, have much more freedom to pick and choose which players they want on their rosters.

Could some of these Statcast numbers and advanced metrics help uncover hidden value? It’s possible.

Last season’s leader in Barrels per plate appearance was Oakland Athletics outfielder Khris Davis, who finished just ahead of Cabrera, at 10.7%.

Barrels/PA leaders, 2016

1. Khris Davis            10.7%
2. Miguel Cabrera        10.6%
3. Gary Sanchez        10.5%
4. Nelson Cruz        10.2%
5. Mark Trumbo        10.0%
6. David Ortiz            9.9%
7. Byung Ho Park        9.4%
8. Giancarlo Stanton        9.1%
9. Ryan Howard        9.1%
10. Chris Carter        8.7%
11. Mike Trout        8.4%
12. Nick Castellanos        8.3%
13. Evan Longoria        8.3%
14. J.D. Martinez        8.1%
15. Trevor Story        8.0%
16. Pedro Alvarez        8.0%
17. Chris Davis        8.0%
18. Rickie Weeks Jr.        7.8%
19. Tommy Joseph        7.8%
20. Freddie Freeman        7.8%

Source: BaseballSavant.com

Davis also ranked fourth in Exit Velocity on line drives and fly balls, an important element in finding gaps in the outfield. And according to Fangraphs, his 39.1% rate of hard-hit balls ranked 18th.

HARD HIT PERCENTAGE: 2016 MLB leaders (via Fangraphs)

Wondering if Gary Sanchez and Trevor Story were flukes in their abbreviated rookie seasons?

Statcast says they hit the ball squarely on a consistent basis. Sanchez was especially good at generating a high exit velocity with his 97.8-mph average on line drives and fly balls, just behind the A’s Davis and tied with the Blue Jays’ Donaldson for fifth place.

Story’s 95.1-mph EV wasn’t among the league leaders, but his 47.1% fly-ball rate was one of the highest in baseball. And his hard-hit percentage (44.9%) was right behind Ortiz’s MLB-best 45.9%.

 

Another interesting name on the list is the Philadelphia Phillies’ Tommy Joseph, who will take over the job at first base full-time this season following the departure of Ryan Howard. He also had an elevated 45.1% fly-ball rate.

And finally, Statcast mighty have uncovered a potential deep sleeper: Byung Ho Park of the Minnesota Twins. Although a hand injury limited him to 62 games and he hit only .191, Park did make remarkably solid contact when he did connect.

In addition to ranking seventh in Barrels per plate appearance, he placed in the top 10 in exit velocity (97.2 mph) on line drives and fly balls.

For all the excitement this spring over Eric Thames’ 47 and 40 home runs in Korea the past two seasons, it’s easy to forget Park hit 53 there in 2015 and 52 in 2014.

Plus, Park is healthy and raking this spring, while Thames has been merely ordinary.

While it’s possible to draw any number of conclusions from the information available today, it’s important to remember the numbers are much better at telling us what already has happened — and not always so helpful in telling us what’s going to happen.

Hitters, as well as pitchers, are always making adjustments.

“The cool part of the game is no one’s just accepting something anymore just because someone says it. There’s ways to make it valid, and there’s numbers out there to show it,” says Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock.

“You can do your own homework now. You can make your own decisions based on what the stats are giving you and the numbers they’ve crunched. That part I really do enjoy — you’re your own coach now because of what’s out there.”

4 career lessons Bill Belichick wants millennials to know (including his own kids)

Suzy Welch

 Thursday, 13 Apr 2017 | 6:01 AM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Bill Belichick on leadership, winning, and Tom Brady not being a 'great natural athlete'  

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Few careers are as storied as Bill Belichick's 42-year run.

He started studying football footage and going on scouting trips at the age of 7 with his father, Steve, an assistant coach at Annapolis. He landed his first NFL coaching gig at 21.

Since then, across seven professional teams and five Super Bowl victories, the New England Patriots head coach has gone through every career rite of passage imaginable — from being fired (in Cleveland) to being hailed as a hero (pretty much everywhere else).

And while his story is hardly typical, its many twists and turns have left Belichick with strong views about how to create a successful professional journey — no matter your playing field.

In a recent interview with CNBC at his favorite lunch (and dinner) joint, Mission BBQ, Belichick offered four of his top career lessons for today's young people.

Patrick Smith | Getty Images

1. Make sure your career is motivated by one thing and one thing only: Love

"If there is something that's your passion when you're young, do it. Let everything else take care of itself," he says. "Don't pick a career for money, or some other reason. Do what you love, because it will never feel like work."

Incidentally, all three of Belichick's millennial children, aged 25 through 31, are pursuing careers in coaching. Sons Stephen and Brian, are with the Pats, and his daughter, Amanda, is the women's lacrosse coach at Holy Cross.

Watch the full interview: Bill Belichick on leadership, winning, and Tom Brady not being a 'great natural athlete'

Belichick was noticeably unenthused when asked what he would have done for a career if football hadn't been an option. Business, he finally replied, without much conviction.

But a bit later, speaking about the path he did take, his intensity revived. "What I love about football is the game," he says, "the speed, the contact, the strategy. That's all combined. It's a brilliant game."

Elsa | Getty Images

2. Recognize that a talent deficit can be overcome with hard work and self-awareness

OK, so you chase your dream career and find out that, well, you're good, but not especially great, at it. Take heart, says Belichick, from the example of Tom Brady, who, to put it plainly, "is not a great natural athlete ... not even close."

"But nobody's worked harder than Tom," Belichick says. "He's trained hard. He's worked hard on his throwing mechanics, on his mental understanding of the game. He's earned everything he's achieved."

Success, in other words, even becoming an all-time great like Brady, "is not all about talent," says Belichick. "It's about dependability, consistency, being coachable, and understanding what you need to do to improve."

See also: Bill Belichick plays word-association game with 'Deflategate,' 'Aaron Hernandez' and 'the media'

He does add one caveat: If you happen to have a talent deficit, you can never let up in your quest to overcome it. Even with five Super Bowl rings, "Tom still continues to work hard to improve on a regular basis," Belichick says. "That's part of his self-awareness."

Jeff Zelevansky | Getty Images

3. Have the courage to fight for your crazy-great ideas

Belichick will tell you that one of the defining moments of his career came when he was just 24 and an assistant coach for the 1-4 Detroit Lions. After studying and visualizing a particular formation over and over again, he was convinced it was unstoppable against the team's next opponent, the 4-1 New England Patriots.

There was only one problem: It was an unconventional play, to put it mildly, and he worried that a new coach suggesting a new idea was destined for skepticism, if not worse.

Long story short, Belichick meticulously made the case for the formation to the Lions' head coach — and the team went on to defeat the Pats by three touchdowns in a huge upset.

See also: Bill Belichick reveals his 5 rules of exceptional leadership

The lesson, Belichick says, is to get out there with your big ideas. Don't talk yourself out of them, or self-edit, or wait for another day, "just because somebody else hasn't done it, or just because it's not normal.

"If you believe in it, don't be afraid to use it."

Adam Glanzman | Getty Images

4. Put away your social media, and put your energy into building real relationships

He calls them "SnapFace" and "ChatRun" and "InstaBook" maybe as a joke, maybe not. Either way, you can be certain Belichick hates social media, and he says it's for a simple reason.

Success, he believes, comes from relationships with people you know personally, not from strangers who "like" you online. In fact, he traces his own career achievements to the many coaches, football analysts, players, and others in his sport that he took the time to know authentically.

Belichick is famous for having an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of football, and is said to know the game's X's and O's better than any coach who's ever lived. So it's a bit unexpected to hear him talk so ardently about the primacy of relationships.

"In the end, success is more about who you know than what you know," he says. "Because everyone teaches you something. You listen to everyone, and bit by bit, you figure things out."

Again, a caveat: Make sure, Belichick says, you're not just connecting with the people you think might help you, like the "top people and bosses." Rather, he says, "the people who are your peers, or, a lot of the time, the people who are under you, are really, I'd say, the more important relationships."

As for his own career, the 64-year-old Belichick says he has no plans to retire anytime soon. Mention the word "legacy," and you get a look that suggests there are many more seasons ahead.

"That's for another time," he says. "We're on to 2017."

More from Suzy Welch

ABCA Anaheim 2017 Recap

There are two heavens on earth. One is in a ball field with corn stalks for the outfield fence on a little farm in Iowa. The other is the non-stop baseball event known as the ABCA Convention. Featuring unbelievable speakers and every product known to the sport it was four days of learning about every part of the game and seeing the newest tech and apparel out there. Upon leaving the conference it took a couple weeks to absorb all of the information and realize that no one knows everything, but there's a lot of coaches that know something about the game. If you're a player, parent or coach, you succeed in this game by continuing to learn and be a student of the game on and off the field. Below is the list of speakers that we were fortunate enough to hear speak, as well as some photos of the event.

 

The 2017 ABCA Convention in Anaheim was a resounding success. The 73rd annual meeting included 25 clinics listed below as well as the two special presentations by Diamond Kinetics and Turface Athletics. The ABCA clinics are presented by ATEC.

The videos from the 2017 clinics are available at ABCAvideos.org.

2017 ABCA Convention Clinic Speakers - Anaheim

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017  

Gary Gilmore, national champ Coastal CarolinaLiving the Dream

Casey Dunn, SamfordProgression Drills for Power: Building an Aggressive Approach

Marty Lees, Washington StateDouble Plays, Feeds & Turns

Wes Johnson, ArkansasBuilding the Foundation of Your Pitching Staff

Glenn Cecchini, Barbe High School (LA)Building Champions in Life Through Baseball

Jay Johnson, ArizonaDeveloping a Complete Offense and Hitting Approach

Tanner Swanson, WashingtonMindful Drill Progressions for Effective Catcher Skill Development

Mike Barwis, New York MetsA Holistic Approach to Baseball Strength & Conditioning

Andy Green, San Diego PadresManaging Baseball

Jerry Weinstein, Wareham GatemenA System for Controlling the Running Game

Mervyl Melendez, Florida InternationalBuilding a Successful Baseball Program

Jake Boss, Michigan StateWinning With Consistent Outfield Play

Motion Technology Session with Diamond Kinetics 

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017  

Jim Schlossnagle, TCUBuilding a Winning Program

Todd Gongwer, Author/CoachThe Pursuit of your BEST in Leadership

Steve Springer, Quality At BatsHow to Get Your Players to Compete with Confidence When They're Not Getting Hits

Mike Roberts, Chicago Cubs/Cotuit KettleersSprinting and Base Stealing: Turning the Diamond into a Track and Rhythmic Footwork into Stolen Bases

Scott Manahan, Bishop Watterson H.S. (OH)Indoor Preparation for the High School Season

Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt
Paul Mainieri, LSU
John Savage, UCLAChampionship Coaching Panel

Dan Sheaffer, Princeton RaysThe Art of First Base Play

Nate Trosky, Trosky BaseballMaking Plays!

Dennis Rogers, Riverside City College
Eddie Cornejo, UC Santa Barbara
Rolando Garza, Pepperdine
Youngjin Yoon, Lotte Giants (Korea)Teaching/Coaching Dynamics and Specific Skill Set Development

Groundskeeper Session with Turface Athletics featuring Greg Elliott (San Francisco Giants)

Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017  

Greg Moore, Cal State NorthridgePitching Mechanic-Less

Rusty Stroupe, Gardner-WebbCharacter and Ethics in the Sport of Baseball

Mike Curran, Esperanza High School (CA)Offensive Baseball – Stealing Runs

Matt Husted, Wheaton College (IL)

It's Your Arm!

As we are in the middle of the off-season I wanted to share some insight from Driveline Baseball on rest and suggestions for year round baseball activity. Since we live in a place that gives us access to 365 days of throwing outside it can be a huge advantage if you have a throwing plan, but can also lead to arm stress and potential injury. Driveline, who partners with Jaeger Sports, does not suggest to continue to throw year-round off of a mound and just started max-intent pull-downs with their professional clients this week. It is important to have a schedule on when to rest and when to throw and as Alan Jaeger says, "Listen to your arm."

I highly suggest that pitchers who threw a lot in the fall should take a few weeks to recover and stay off of a mound. However, that leaves plenty of time for Plyocare balls, Jaeger bands, and other drills and workouts to prepare for the spring. Elite's Off-Season Training Program Phase II will offer an On-Ramp throwing program in January to help pitchers get their arms in shape after resting and educate on the best practices to keep the arm healthy during the season. We know that overuse of young pitchers contributes to injury, so make sure that you are monitoring your own throwing on and off the mound throughout the year.

After all, it's your arm!

Below is an excerpt from Driveline's, "Hacking the Kinetic Chain":

Yearly Suggestions: The 10,000 Foot View
A yearly outlook on training may be a grander scale than you are used to. As you climb the ladder of baseball, it becomes more and more important to see the road far ahead of you. There’s generally no problem with a short-term outlook when you’re throwing 75 MPH and you’re on the bench in high school, but professional pitchers who have a more stable level of ability must start thinking about the next off-season’s training plan well before it arrives. Much of this is centered around rest or time away from training.
Rest is an interesting subject that has incredible complexity to it. Many leading medical organizations and baseball training industry figure heads have blanket recommendations for how much time to spend away from throwing a baseball, yet few – if any – of these recommendations are based on actual physiological research; rather, the research is culled from longitudinal surveys with little control for external variables. The rest guidelines are not based on data collected about anatomical variations, training loads, or physical adaptations, but rather well-intentioned but naïve assumptions about stress.
Make no mistake – the professional pitcher who starts in February and pitches 200+ innings through October needs significant time away from throwing a baseball. He is near the top of his game, has little to gain by adding increased stress, and likely needs to attenuate considerable accumulated central nervous system fatigue. However, giving the same recommendation to an uncommitted high school pitcher entering his senior year is ridiculous – he probably only threw 40-60 innings, he does not throw nearly as hard, he has a lot to lose if he steps away from throwing for 2-3 months, and he is nearing the end of his career without drastic change. This is often referred to as a “risk-reward” tradeoff, but even this particular negative label is overly simplified.

Driveline Baseball’s Year-Round Suggestions
We adhere to very few hard and fast rules, but there is one major thing that should be avoided – pitching year-round, whether it is competitive or just throwing bullpens throughout the entire off-season. Pitchers who live in warm weather climates will often be pressured to throw for the high school, summer team, fall ball, winter showcases, and then prep for the next year’s high school season while toeing the mound the entire time. Too much stress accumulates on this schedule while throwing off of a slope. Research is mixed on whether or not a sloped surface adds additional stress to the soft tissue of the arm. We believe it does and the fact of the matter is that gains are hard to come by if you can’t take extended time away from competition. Without the opportunity to ignore pitchability and required to focus on the skill of pitching, getting better as a pure thrower and building physical ability becomes nearly impossible.
Placing additional focus on recovery protocols is extremely important as you become a better pitcher. As you build velocity, you require higher amounts of training to produce supercompensation so you can throw harder, throw more strikes, and increase your breaking ball spin rates. However, this higher amount of stress then also demands that recovery protocols become more and more relevant. It is very common to see a pitcher who has never had arm pain start to build velocity and assume that what he did in the past will continue to keep him healthy. What professional pitchers eventually learn is that higher output training, while exciting, isn’t the end-all be-all of training. A lot of the work is “boring” active and passive recovery to ensure that every time the pitcher toes the rubber, he has close to 100% of his best stuff – and that when he is ready to train hard, that he can do so free from injury for months on end.
As Mark Twight, owner of Gym Jones and famous for training the athletes from “300” and “300: Rise of an Empire”, has said himself: “Recovery is more than 50% of the process.”

Hedges emerges as Padres' catcher

By Bill Center / San Diego Padres |

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres' future at catching became much clearer last week.

Austin Hedges is the man.

Not only did the Padres trade last year's starter, Derek Norris, to the Washington Nationals for prized Minor League pitching prospect Pedro Avila, they non-tendered reserve catcher Hector Sanchez.

The 24-year-old Hedges is the Padres' catcher, although he has yet to prove he can hit Major League pitching. And the No. 2 is Christian Bethancourt, whom the Padres are grooming to be a hybrid catcher-pitcher-outfielder.

They could add another backup catcher this offseason. That would allow them to make an even stronger commitment to developing Bethancourt for his unique role. The Padres could carry three -- or 2 1/3 - catchers in 2017.

But it is clear that Hedges, who has coveted skills behind the plate, is the Padres' catcher moving forward.

The presence of Hedges at Triple-A El Paso last season made catching one of the strongest positions in the Padres' system. But his promotion to the Major League job changes that part of the equation.

Austin Allen is the only catcher ranked among the Padres' top 30 prospects and he will likely start this season at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Rocky Gale is the only other catcher currently in the system with Major League experience -- and that is limited to 11 cameo appearances in 2015.

So, Hedges is the man.

When it comes to the handling of pitchers and the ability to throw out runners, there is no question that the Padres' second-round pick in the 2011 Draft can do the job. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Hedges has great defensive skills.

That was very apparent in 2015 when then 22-year-old Hedges caught in about a third of the Padres games. Pitchers, notably Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy, raved about Hedges' skills behind the plate.

Hedges threw out 16 runners on 49 stolen-base attempts. His catcher's earned run average of 3.85 was the third-best mark among Major League rookie catchers with 300 innings or more behind the plate. It was also the third-best mark ever by a Padres rookie catcher.

But Hedges hit only .168 in 137 Major League at-bats in 2015 with three homers and 11 RBIs. Hedges hit only .125 in 24 late-season at-bats last year -- lowering his Major League average to .161 in 161 at-bats with the Padres.

Defense is not an issue with Hedges and never has been. Even as a high school player in 2011 in San Juan Capistrano, some scouts said his defensive skills were close to being Major League ready. Hedges will do the job behind the plate.

The question remains offense, although he hit .326 with 28 doubles, a triple, 23 homers and 97 RBIs in just 384 at-bats with Triple-A El Paso over the 2015-2016 seasons. He also had a .361 on-base percentage and a .583 slugging percentage for a .944 OPS as a Chihuahua.

So Hedges will get a chance to show what he can do both offensively and defensively as a Padre in 2017 as a 24-year-old -- still the age when most players are reaching the Major Leagues.

Behind the plate as a catcher, Hedges is superior to Norris. Offensively, well, Norris hit only .186 last season with 14 homers and 42 RBIs.

However, catchers are more susceptible to injuries than many players. Hedges, for example, missed more than a month at El Paso last season after having surgery to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his right hand.

Bethancourt, 25, looked to be developing into a solid backup last year. But the Padres are now looking at the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder as a pitcher and outfielder as well as a catcher. Bethancourt has power. He hit six homers with 25 RBIs in just 193 at-bats last year. But his role for 2017 is undefined as the Padres investigate the "hybrid" possibilities.

So the need for a third catcher is real. Right now, there isn't a third catcher on the 40-man roster.

Prospects: The best catching prospect in the Padres system becomes the 22-year-old Allen, the Padres' fourth-round pick in the 2015 Draft out of Florida Tech. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound, left-handed hitter is ranked the Padres' 25th-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com. He hit .320 with 22 doubles, seven homers and 61 RBIs for Class A Fort Wayne in 2016 before finishing the season with Double-A San Antonio. He was a Midwest League regular-season and postseason All-Star. Could he jump Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and start the season in San Antonio? Possibly, because there are not a lot of other options above him.

Gale, 28, is the only other catcher with Major League experience in the Padres system and hit .278 at El Paso with Hedges last year as well as splitting time with Ryan Miller at San Antonio. A.J. Kennedy shared the catching duties at Lake Elsinore last season with Jose Ruiz, who has since transitioned into a pitcher.

Deeper in the system are some interesting youngsters.

Sixteen-year-old Venezuelan Alison Quintero was considered the No. 22 prospect in all of Latin America when he signed with the Padres last July. Another Venezuelan is 18-year-old Jose Lezama, who hit .259 with a .373 on-base percentage last summer for the Rookie-level Arizona Padres. Mexico native Bryant Aragon, 18, hit .243 while moving from the Dominican Republic to the Arizona League last summer. Chris Mattison, 22, hit only .162 for Class A Short-Season Tri-City last summer after being a 16th-round pick out of Florida's Southeastern University.

Overview: Defensively, the Padres are set with Hedges behind the plate. Offense is still a big question, although the pressure to perform won't be great, as Padres catchers hit .198 in 2016 with a .253 on-base percentage and a .602 OPS. A third catcher could still be added to the mix, especially if Bethancourt is developed into a hybrid catcher-pitcher-outfielder.

ABCA Barnstorming Event - Cal St Fullerton

The last stop on the ABCA Barnstorming tour was at Cal St Fullerton this past Sunday and it was better than I expected and I went it looking to learn a lot. Held inside the hitting facility down the RF line we listened to seven speakers ranging from practice organization and having fun to simplifying drills and focusing on mental practice with your team. Overall it was a great day to learn more about the game and how to be a better coach. We'll be attending the 2017 ABCA Convention in Anaheim from January 5-8 to listen to clinicians and speakers all across the board in professional and amateur baseball. I wanted to recap and share some highlights from each speaker and post some photos of the notes they passed out and what I gathered from their talks. Below is a summary of the day: Rick Vanderhook | Cal St Fullerton Head Coach - Catch play is all about defense - it is the move overlooked part of practice. Warmup to throw, not throw to warmup. - Everything is routine oriented. Once players know where and what they do then they need to "DO what they are supposed to do" - Infields need to line themselves up. You won't be able to hear "left or right" in a big game. - Infield fungo should be 90 seconds each drill then switch. infielders need to learn to throw from different angles. - alignment and cuts is a relay race. outfielders need to take care of the ball. fullerton won 2 college world series because of dropped balls before a throw back into the cutoff man! - college freshman need two above average pitches for a strike - a fastball and a change up. - high school catcher's don't throw 1.7 to second base. mlb average last year was 1.92 for 2016. catchers need to throw a 2.0 to second and let pitchers handle keeping them close. Dan Keller | Lifeletics and Dugout Captain - When doing drills follow these steps: 1. Discuss 2. Give example 3. Repetition 4. competition 5. have fun - know why you coach or why you play. almost all players will not be in the mlb so they need to learn life skills. Scott Picker | Former Cypress College Head Coach - ask players for feedback. ask players to give a starting lineup offensively and defensively. - his personal philosophy is never play double play depth unless it ends an inning with risp. allow more range for middle iNF. Blake Hawksworth | Cal St Fullerton Assistant Coach - goal: 2 strikes out of first 3 pitches. - keep the routine. pace of catch play is deliberate. Don Sneddon | Santa Ana College Head Coach - simplify everything. players must trust the coach and trust the drill. - have a minimum play level. a standard of play. when it's early or the team is down they need to go up to that level. when there is too much adrenaline in a big game they need to go back down to that level. - find a way to get ready to play every day. physically and mentally. - know how to fail .body image is huge! control your body. - players must have confidence in 1&3, Bunt D, Alignment. Alan Jaeger | Jaeger Sports - breathing and moving creates energy. - impact the person, not just the athlete. - you become what you practice. practice to get into the zone. - the zone is: non future/past, pure immersion, empty and quiet, opposite of life - 2 parts to the mental game: 1. Game management 2. mental practice - identify your process and be great at it. everything else is secondary. everything else is drama. - drama is endless. the zone is confined and knowable. figure out what needs to happen to execute successfully. - if overthinking or stressing out - you are not in the zone. the zone does not allow drama. - athletes need to be able to default to their process to get into the zone.

The last stop on the ABCA Barnstorming tour was at Cal St Fullerton this past Sunday and it was better than I expected and I went it looking to learn a lot. Held inside the hitting facility down the RF line we listened to seven speakers ranging from practice organization and having fun to simplifying drills and focusing on mental practice with your team. Overall it was a great day to learn more about the game and how to be a better coach. We'll be attending the 2017 ABCA Convention in Anaheim from January 5-8 to listen to clinicians and speakers all across the board in professional and amateur baseball.

I wanted to recap and share some highlights from each speaker and post some photos of the notes they passed out and what I gathered from their talks. Below is a summary of the day:

Rick Vanderhook | Cal St Fullerton Head Coach

- Catch play is all about defense - it is the move overlooked part of practice. Warmup to throw, not throw to warmup.

- Everything is routine oriented. Once players know where and what they do then they need to "DO what they are supposed to do"

- Infields need to line themselves up. You won't be able to hear "left or right" in a big game.

- Infield fungo should be 90 seconds each drill then switch. infielders need to learn to throw from different angles.

- alignment and cuts is a relay race. outfielders need to take care of the ball. fullerton won 2 college world series because of dropped balls before a throw back into the cutoff man!

- college freshman need two above average pitches for a strike - a fastball and a change up.

- high school catcher's don't throw 1.7 to second base. mlb average last year was 1.92 for 2016. catchers need to throw a 2.0 to second and let pitchers handle keeping them close.

Dan Keller | Lifeletics and Dugout Captain

- When doing drills follow these steps: 1. Discuss 2. Give example 3. Repetition 4. competition 5. have fun

- know why you coach or why you play. almost all players will not be in the mlb so they need to learn life skills.

Scott Picker | Former Cypress College Head Coach

- ask players for feedback. ask players to give a starting lineup offensively and defensively.

- his personal philosophy is never play double play depth unless it ends an inning with risp. allow more range for middle iNF.

Blake Hawksworth | Cal St Fullerton Assistant Coach

- goal: 2 strikes out of first 3 pitches.

- keep the routine. pace of catch play is deliberate.

Don Sneddon | Santa Ana College Head Coach

- simplify everything. players must trust the coach and trust the drill.

- have a minimum play level. a standard of play. when it's early or the team is down they need to go up to that level. when there is too much adrenaline in a big game they need to go back down to that level.

- find a way to get ready to play every day. physically and mentally.

- know how to fail .body image is huge! control your body.

- players must have confidence in 1&3, Bunt D, Alignment.

Alan Jaeger | Jaeger Sports

- breathing and moving creates energy.

- impact the person, not just the athlete.

- you become what you practice. practice to get into the zone.

- the zone is: non future/past, pure immersion, empty and quiet, opposite of life

- 2 parts to the mental game: 1. Game management 2. mental practice

- identify your process and be great at it. everything else is secondary. everything else is drama.

- drama is endless. the zone is confined and knowable. figure out what needs to happen to execute successfully.

- if overthinking or stressing out - you are not in the zone. the zone does not allow drama.

- athletes need to be able to default to their process to get into the zone.

 

- Coach Reinsel

Cubs End 108-Year Wait for World Series Title, After a Little More Torment

CLEVELAND — If you are going to endure years — no, generations — of futility and heartbreak, when you do finally win a World Series championship, it may as well be a memorable one.

The Chicago Cubs did just that, shattering their 108-year championship drought in epic fashion: with an 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7, which began on Wednesday night, carried into Thursday morning and seemed to end all too soon.

When the Indians rallied with three runs in the eighth inning — including a two-out, two-strike, two-run thunderbolt of a home run by Rajai Davis off closer Aroldis Chapman — the Cubs found a way to beat back the ghosts of playoffs past.

After a brief rain delay following the ninth inning, they pushed two runs across in the 10th inning on a double by Ben Zobrist, the Series’s most valuable player, and a single by Miguel Montero.

The Cubs then had to hold their breath in the bottom of the inning when Davis hit a run-scoring single to pull the Indians to a run behind. But reliever Mike Montgomery replaced Carl Edwards and got Michael Martinez to hit a slow roller into the infield. Third baseman Kris Bryant scooped it up and threw across to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

As the ball made its flight across the diamond, the stadium went silent for one of only a few times all night — and only until it settled into Rizzo’s glove. Then the huge contingent of Cubs fans erupted, and the players raced to the middle of the infield to celebrate.

“We’re world champions,” Rizzo said in the alcohol-soaked visitors’ clubhouse after he had taken a break from embracing the actor Bill Murray. “The Chicago Cubs are world champions. Let that sink in.”

Thousands of fans lingered for nearly an hour after the game, moving into the field level of the stadium, waving the ubiquitous W flags, singing the victory anthem “Go Cubs Go” and roaring when Rizzo held up the ball he had caught for the final out.

One fan held a sign: “Now I can die in peace.”

That sleep will no longer be tortured by old memories — of collapses in 1969, 1984 and 2003, and talk of curses of black cats, billy goats and Steve Bartman, the fan who infamously interfered with a foul ball in the playoffs.

“If you want to believe in that kind of stuff, it’s going to hold you back for a long time,” Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said. “I love tradition. I think tradition is worth time mentally, and tradition is worth being upheld. But curses and superstitions are not.”

On Wednesday night, the Cubs did not so much beat the Indians as survive them.

The heart-stopping end to the series — and the 108-year wait — carried with it an additional historical perk. The Cubs became the first team to rally from a three-games-to-one Series deficit since Kansas City did so in 1985 and the first to do it on the road since Pittsburgh in 1979.

Meanwhile, in this matchup of long-suffering franchises, the Indians’ suffering will carry on longer. They have not won since 1948 — and the excruciating way in which they suffered the defeat, with three consecutive losses — will take its place atop a list that until now was topped by the 1997 World Series, in which the Indians lost a ninth-inning lead, and eventually the Series, to Florida.

When the Indians retreated to their clubhouse during the rain delay, lockers were covered in plastic and Champagne was made ready.

“It’s going to hurt,” said Indians Manager Terry Francona, who called it an incredible game. “It hurts because we care, but they need to walk with their head held high because they left nothing on the field. And that’s all the things we ever ask them to do. They tried until there was nothing left.”

The Indians had overcome all season — the 24th-highest payroll in baseball was dented by injuries to outfielder Michael Brantley and pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco and the loss of two players to drug suspensions — and they fought uphill all night, never taking the lead on Wednesday.

To win, the Cubs beat two of the most dominant pitchers in this postseason — the Indians’ ace, Corey Kluber, and their versatile reliever Andrew Miller — who gave up more runs on Wednesday than they had allowed in the entire postseason. They then had to bounce back after Davis’s home run.

The roller coaster of a game took place in an unusually neutral environment, with so many of the Cubs’ passionate and well-heeled fans finding their way into the stadium. The crowd of 38,104 was evenly split, and the two groups of fans spent the evening alternating full-throated roars, robbing the environment of any lulls. Not even the 17-minute rain delay affected their spirits.

They were the latest to witness the Cubs, who won 103 games in the regular season — the most in baseball — showing their mettle during the playoffs.

They rallied from four runs down in the ninth inning to eliminate San Francisco, which had won 10 consecutive elimination games. After being shut out for 21 consecutive innings by Los Angeles in the National League Championship Series, they rebounded to win three in a row — beating Clayton Kershaw in the clincher.

When the Cubs went to Wrigley Field on Sunday knowing they would have to win three in a row, Rizzo lightened the mood. He arranged for the “Rocky” movies to be played on all of the televisions in the clubhouse and then shadowboxed around the room while half dressed.

Rizzo’s message: The Series was going the distance.

“It was like a heavyweight fight, man,” Zobrist said. “Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out. The Indians never gave up, either, and I can’t believe we’re finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy.”

When the rain delay took effect after the ninth inning, Jason Heyward convened a player meeting in the weight room. He reminded everyone to forget about what had transpired and said that they would find a way to win.

“Everyone was fired up, and I didn’t expect that,” Montgomery said. “I expected everyone to be frustrated, down on themselves, down on the team. We just blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning with two outs. The next thing I know, everyone’s like, ‘We got this.’”

When the tarp was removed from the field, Kyle Schwarber began the 10th with a single to right off reliever Bryan Shaw, and Albert Almora pinch-ran for him. Bryant, who had homered in the previous two games, drove a ball deep to center that Davis caught on the warning track. It was far enough to allow Almora to tag up and take second. Shaw then walked Rizzo intentionally.

Zobrist sliced a two-strike pitch for a double into the left-field corner, scoring Almora and sending Rizzo to third, and the usually composed Zobrist pumped his fists wildly and screamed as he arrived at second base ahead of the throw.

After Addison Russell was intentionally walked, Montero followed with a single that brought home Rizzo. The runs took Chapman — who had gotten the final eight outs and thrown 42 pitches on Sunday to keep the Cubs alive — off the hook.

When he replaced Jon Lester in the eighth, with a runner at first and two outs, it was quickly apparent that he was spent. He allowed a run-scoring double to Brandon Guyer before Davis hit his two-run homer. The lead that the Cubs had built largely on the legs of home runs by Dexter Fowler, Baez and David Ross — the 39-year-old catcher who had said he would retire after the game — was gone.

The drama, however, was not.

By BILLY WITZNOV. 3, 2016

ELITE Pitching Off-Season Training Program

ELITE Pitching will be offering group off-season training programs for pitchers who want to work hard and learn how to take their game to the next level. We will be offering 3 Phases that include velocity training, mental preparation, throwing patterns, and arm care.

Get ready to understand the pitching motion more in depth through the following:

  • Plyocare ball exercises to remap parts of a delivery using overloaded implements to provide better kinesthetic awareness throughout the throwing motion.
  • Jaeger band stretches before and after throwing used to activate the external rotators and biceps, get blood flowing to the shoulder in general and to kickstart the recovery process.
  • Medicine ball, kettle bell, body weight workouts, and explosive moves to strengthen legs/core and increase overall fitness level.
  • Visual cues through slow-motion video and analysis to show pitchers proper technique.

Our program is designed for pitchers who are willing to learn and implement the latest research and drills into their motion and understand the functions of the body during warm up, throwing, and cool down. Each phase of our program is designed for the off-season pitcher to help maintain and improve your skills.

Pitching mechanics will not be discussed in detail as this is a program designed to maintain and strengthen pitcher's arms and bodies during the winter. For private training, please contact Ryan Reinsel for more information.

PHASE I

  • Details: $100/per player for (4) 60 minute sessions.
  • Number of pitchers: Minimum 4 - Max 6
  • Dates: 11/29, 12/6, 12/13, 12/20
  • Time: TBD

PHASE II

  • Details: $100/per player for (4) 60 minute sessions.
  • Number of pitchers: Minimum 4 - Max 6
  • Dates: January 2017
  • Time: TBD

PHASE III

  • Details: TBD

EBS Player and Elite client Austin Hedges called up to San Diego Padres

MLB.com | @AJCassavell | September 21st, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- The future is quickly becoming the present for the San Diego Padres, as the organization promoted four highly touted young hitters from Triple-A El Paso on Wednesday.

Outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot, second baseman Carlos Asuaje and catcher Austin Hedges arrived in San Diego before Wednesday's game against Arizona. So, too, did a pair of lefty relief arms in Buddy Baumann and Jose Torres.

The Padres held off on calling up some of their top prospects until the conclusion of the Triple-A playoffs, which ended Tuesday night with El Paso's 3-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Memphis.

None of the four were in Wednesday's lineup, but Padres manager Andy Green expects all of them to start Thursday night against the Giants.

"They have an opportunity to become a part of our core," Green said. "I think that's the message that should be out there right now. We're hopeful that they're our core group of guys. As you think about talent arriving at this level, they're our first wave, and how they perform on this field will determine how much of the core they are, going forward."

Margot (the club's No. 2 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com), Renfroe (No. 3) and Asuaje (No. 20) will be making their Major League debuts.

Hedges, who is thought by many to be the club's catcher of the future, is no longer considered a prospect because of the service time he accrued in 2015. But he has yet to play a big league game this season. Renfroe will play exclusively right field, Green said, while Margot and Travis Jankowski will split time in the center. Torres -- whose first appearance will be his big league debut -- and Baumann provide some left-handed depth in the Padres' bullpen.

"It's an exciting time for them," Green said. "These guys, especially the ones that are coming up for the first time, they've earned this right to be here. All of them have done very well, and we're all very excited to get them."

Added Asuaje: "We keep a tight-knit group down there, and for us all to be called up at the same time, it's awesome. I think it's great for the organization as a whole."

The Padres had to clear room on the 40-man roster for Renfroe and Asuaje, who needed to be added before the Rule 5 Draft in December anyway. To do so, the club designated utility men Patrick Kivlehan and Nick Noonan for assignment.

Green confirmed that barring anything out of the ordinary, there will be no further callups this month.

The six Padres who arrived Wednesday played an integral role in El Paso's first Pacific Coast League championship. The Chihuahuas defeated the Oklahoma City Dodgers in four games, with Saturday's thrilling finale going 11 innings.

"I think it added so much value for us and gave us so much experience," Asuaje said of the playoff run. "Building a winning culture here in San Diego is what we want to do. I think it starts in the Minor Leagues and hopefully we can bring that up here to the Major Leagues."

Ranked No. 27 in MLB, the 21-year-old Margot is the most highly touted prospect to join the club this month. He batted .304/.351/.426 with 30 steals for El Paso, while drawing rave reviews on defense.

"It's a dream that you have since you were a little boy," Margot said through an interpreter. "So to be able to be here, it's a dream come true for me."

Renfroe, baseball's No. 41 overall prospect, was named the MVP of the Pacific Coast League, after batting .306/.336/.557 with 30 home runs this season.

As for Hedges, although he's no longer considered a prospect, few young catchers are thought of in such high regard. The 24-year-old batted .326/.353/.597 with 20 homers -- despite missing more than a month with a broken bone in his left hand.

"It was definitely frustrating at first when I hurt my hand," Hedges said. "… But to be able to come back and end up having a pretty good year, I was really pleased with how I bounced back and the adjustments that I made."

Asuaje took home PCL Rookie of the Year honors this season, batting .321/.378/.473. Like Margot, Asuaje was acquired from the Red Sox in the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston.

All four will be given the chance to win a starting job next spring. So in essence, their audition for a 2017 roster spot begins Wednesday.

"I think without a doubt they're all competing for a starting job next year," Green said. "I don't think any one of them has it in their back pocket, either. I think they're all out here; they all have something to prove. They've proved it every level they've played at, and that's why they're here. They've got to prove it here too."

EBS Player Adam Plutko called up to Cleveland Indians

Nearly two weeks after Adam Plutko last pitched for the Columbus Clippers -- the Cleveland Indians' Triple-A affiliate -- he received the call every baseball player dreams of. The problem: He was in the middle of his friend's wedding.

"They had literally just finished saying 'I do,'" Plutko told reporters.

Plutko, 24, assumed his season was over when the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs. He returned home, enjoyed a few days off and traveled with his wife and parents to California for the wedding.

When the Indians' head of player development first called, he ignored it, assuming it was an exit interview. When he kept calling back, Plutko knew something was up. He answered and found out he was heading to the majors.

Now he joins the Indians recently-depleted pitching staff in the midst of a pennant race. Pretty decent excuse to leave a wedding early.

For EBS Players

Please review the game assignment dates and the roster for any conflicts. Any roster corrections will be made at report time.  

An updated roster will be sent to all of the college coaches and scouts in attendance.

Please report at the correct time and day, this is crucial for the event to run smoothly, so PLEASE be sure to arrive on the correct day(s) corresponding with the PDF linked below.

Remember to have your waiver printed and signed by a parent for the locations you will be attending. If you fail to sign and turn in the waiver, you will NOT be able to participate. UCI waiver and UCLA waiver are linked here.

What to Wear & Bring to Event:

EBS JERSEY will be Issued on Site
Grey Pants
Black Belt
Black Socks
Black Undershirt
All Baseball Gear
Metal BBCOR Bat
High School Hat
Lunch / Water / Snacks

UC Irvine Anteater Ballpark: Thursday August 4th & Friday August 5th, First Pitch 6:05 PM

Anteater Ballpark UCI
4000 Mesa Road
Irvine, CA 92617

*Parking is available in the Mesa Parking Structure, Anteater Ballpark is adjacent to the structure
* Please plan for the structure to be busy due to the L.A. Rams training at UCI.

UCLA Jackie Robinson Stadium: Friday August 12th, First Pitch 6:05 PM

Jackie Robinson Stadium
100 Constitution Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Player Rosters: Download

Player Report Times

BLUE TEAM (B)
2:15 PM Position / Two Way Players Report (With SIGNED WAIVERS)
4:30 PM Pitchers Report (With SIGNED WAIVERS)

RED TEAM (R)
3:05 PM Position / Two Way Players Report (With SIGNED WAIVERS)
4:45 PM Pitchers Report (With SIGNED WAIVERS)

Please contact me via text, call or email ONLY if you have any question or a matter that is urgent in nature.

We look forward to having another great Elite Baseball Series.  

See you at the yard.