Building a roster for Safeco

From the moment Jerry Dipoto became general manager of the Seattle Mariners, he’s emphasized the need to build a roster capable of taking advantage of the expansive Safeco Field dimensions. As I see it, the 48-year-old executive envisions a foundation of athletic and accomplished players, who are adept at reaching base and wreaking havoc through productive aggressiveness on the bases. Equally important are outfield defenders who can run down balls in Safeco’s spacious outfield. In Dipoto’s world, a run save is as valuable as a run scored. To be honest,…

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Is Schwarber ready for showtime?

It seems like every other week this season the Chicago Cubs have been able to call up a blue chip hitting prospect that has been shredding minor league pitching. First, it was talented third baseman Kris Bryant who started the year at Triple-A to make a marginal improvement to his defence. Next was middle infielder Addison Russell, acquired in last summer’s Jeff Samardzija blockbuster. Could last year’s first round selection, Kyle Schwarber, be next? Schwarber, selected No. 4 overall in last June’s amateur draft, wasted no time making his impact…

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Draft Watch: Regionals Weekend

Corvallis: Oregon State, UNLV, UC Irvine, North Dakota State The top-ranked Beavers were rewarded with a pretty soft field of competition, and getting to the Super Regionals should be a cakewalk for them. Michael Conforto is the clear top prospect in this pool, and arguably the best pure hitter in all of college baseball, although he cooled off a bit at the end of the season. If UNLV’s Eric Fedde had not gone down with Tommy John this would have been a lot more interesting matchup, but the Fedde-less Rebels…

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Draft Watch: College bat battle

For much of the amateur season the draft chatter has very much been about the arms, and rightfully so. North Carolina State lefty ace Carlos Rodon, Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede, LSU horse Aaron Nola, prep lefty Brady Aiken and flamethrowing righty Tyler Kolek each serve as surefire first-round talents, possibly all in the top 10 come June. Pitching is where it’s at for the class of 2014, and the majority of the intrigue regarding everyday players is centered around prepsters such as Alex Jackson, Jacob Gatewood and Michael Gettys, though…

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Draft Watch: Freeland and Other Arms Heating Up

Heading into last weekend, Jeff Hoffman had seen his stock slip steadily after a run of several consecutive sub-par outings. The ECU right-hander turned that around in a big way last weekend with arguably his best start of the year against one of the better lineups he has faced all season. Hoffman went eight frames against Rice, allowing just one walk and yielding a single run. But perhaps most importantly, Hoffman snapped off some of the best curveballs he has thrown since his breakout summer on the Cape. Hoffman also…

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Draft Prospect Watch: Aces draw soft landings

It’s opening weekend of college baseball and that means the “draft season,” if there really is such a thing, is under way, too. And yes, there really is such a thing. D-1 schools generally play four games per week — occasionally five — with three coming over the weekend and one coming mid-week. You’ll hear the term “Friday starter” a lot in college ball, which is another word for an ace. That pitcher isn’t always the best draft prospect, but he is the anchor of the staff and usually the…

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