History UsefulNotes / Baseball

26th Jun '16 7:30:43 PM SSJMagus
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* '''David Ortiz''' is the Boston Red Sox' designated hitter and the newest member of the 500-homer club, reaching the milestone in 2015. While he isn't always their best statistical player in any given season, he's certainly been their most recognizable and famous player for the past decade, similar to Derek Jeter being the heart and soul of the Yankees. He's somewhat of a rarity among designated hitters in that he hardly ever plays in the field- most American League teams, if they even employ a single full-time DH rather than rotating the position among several different players, will have them also play plenty of games (at least 20-30ish) as a non-DH. And with most of the other full-time DH's, they hardly ever play in the field either because they're really old, have suffered injuries that robbed their fielding ability but not their hitting, or both (Jim Thome, for example). While Ortiz is now getting up there in age, he never even played a substantial amount of games in the field even when he was younger (generally just no-DH games in National League stadiums), simply because he's an epically terrible fielder. Still, he's an amazing hitter, and his 50 home run season in 2006 remains the only 50 HR season by a Designated Hitter. In 2013, David Ortiz won the World Series MVP Award for his excellent play during the championship games and the postseason as whole, including hitting a clutch grand slam during the 8th inning of Game 2 against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. He has announced that he plans to retire following the 2016 season.

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* '''David Ortiz''' (also known by his nickname "Big Papi") is the Boston Red Sox' designated hitter and the newest member of the 500-homer club, reaching the milestone in 2015. While he isn't always their best statistical player in any given season, he's certainly been their most recognizable and famous player for the past decade, similar to Derek Jeter being the heart and soul of the Yankees. He's somewhat of a rarity among designated hitters in that he hardly ever plays in the field- most American League teams, if they even employ a single full-time DH rather than rotating the position among several different players, will have them also play plenty of games (at least 20-30ish) as a non-DH. And with most of the other full-time DH's, they hardly ever play in the field either because they're really old, have suffered injuries that robbed their fielding ability but not their hitting, or both (Jim Thome, for example). While Ortiz is now getting up there in age, he never even played a substantial amount of games in the field even when he was younger (generally just no-DH games in National League stadiums), simply because he's an epically terrible fielder. Still, he's an amazing hitter, and his 50 home run season in 2006 remains the only 50 HR season by a Designated Hitter. In 2013, David Ortiz won the World Series MVP Award for his excellent play during the championship games and the postseason as whole, including hitting a clutch grand slam during the 8th inning of Game 2 against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. He has announced that he plans to retire following the 2016 season.
26th Jun '16 6:53:29 PM SSJMagus
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** ''Starting pitchers'' are usually the most effective pitchers on the roster, and are the ones who begin each game. Statistically speaking, the starting pitcher is usually the most significant factor in whether a team wins or loses the game, and they are paid accordingly. While pitchers once pitched entire games, most teams will now keep pitch counts, and try to replace a starter at around 100 pitches or if he becomes ineffective before that. Pitching is a strenuous activity--one of the most strenuous in sports--and a major league pitcher will often require four to five days to recover in between games. Anything less is ''seriously'' damaging to both physical and mental health. Teams typically maintain a rotation of five starting pitchers, and over the course of a season will move pitchers in and out of the rotation to account for injuries or loss of effectiveness.

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** ''Starting pitchers'' are usually the most effective pitchers on the roster, and are the ones who begin each game. Statistically speaking, the starting pitcher is usually the most significant factor in whether a team wins or loses the game, and they are paid accordingly. While pitchers once pitched entire games, most teams will now keep pitch counts, and try to replace a starter at around 100 pitches or if he becomes ineffective before that. Thus, pitching a complete game will now only even be attempted if the starter is pitching spectacularly even into the late innings. Pitching is a strenuous activity--one of the most strenuous in sports--and a major league pitcher will often require four to five days to recover in between games. Anything less is ''seriously'' damaging to both physical and mental health. Teams typically maintain a rotation of five starting pitchers, and over the course of a season will move pitchers in and out of the rotation to account for injuries or loss of effectiveness.
17th Jun '16 10:50:59 PM Cally
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* '''Pete Rose''' broke Ty Cobb's career hits record, and somewhat coincidentally, is about as well-liked as Cobb was. (He's still revered in Cincinnati, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone from another city who likes him.) Gambled on baseball (after he retired and became a manager), which caused him to be banned from the sport and made ineligible for the Hall of Fame. He was proven to bet on his own team, though he swears to this day that he always bet on them to win. Thus, whether or not this is a fair judgment remains one of baseball's open debates. (Before [=PEDs=] came along, gambling was considered the single biggest scourge of the sporting world. Going back to the Black Sox scandal, betting on baseball ''at all'' is prohibited, so it's academic if your name isn't Bill James). While Cobb sharpened his spikes, Rose is well known for once running over opposing catcher Ray Fosse, separating the catcher's shoulder. This would have been acceptable play had it not happened in the All-Star Game, which at the time was a meaningless exhibition. (While the incident did not end Fosse's career as is often reported - he stayed in the lineup during the second half of the season, and played eight more seasons, three as a starter and one as an All-Star - he was never again as good as he was prior to the injury.)

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* '''Pete Rose''' broke Ty Cobb's career hits record, and somewhat coincidentally, is about as well-liked as Cobb was. (He's still revered in Cincinnati, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone from another city who likes him.) Gambled He gambled on baseball (after he retired (as a player and became a manager), which caused him to be banned from the sport and made ineligible for the baseball Hall of Fame.Fame when he would have been elected easily for his achievements. He was proven to bet on his own team, though he swears to this day that he always bet on them to win. Thus, Since the original ban on gambling was made to prevent players from intentionally losing games, whether or not this Pete Rose's ban is a fair judgment remains one of baseball's open debates. (Before [=PEDs=] came along, gambling was considered the single biggest scourge of the sporting world. Going back to the Black Sox scandal, betting on baseball ''at all'' in any way is prohibited, with a lifetime ban for betting on games you have a role in, so it's academic if your name isn't Bill James). James.) While Cobb sharpened his spikes, Rose is well known for once running over opposing catcher Ray Fosse, Fosse in a run into home plate, separating the catcher's shoulder. This would have been acceptable play had it not happened in the All-Star Game, which at the time was a meaningless exhibition. (While the incident did not end Fosse's career as is often reported - he stayed in the lineup during the second half of the season, and played eight more seasons, three as a starter and one as an All-Star - he was never again as good as he was prior to the injury.)
17th Jun '16 7:23:40 PM Cally
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* '''[=RA=] Dickey''' is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was drafted in the first round of 1996 for the Texas Rangers before a medical exam discovered his throwing arm completely lacked an ulnar collateral ligament (he was either born without one, or it was weak enough to have withered away in his youth). This mystified doctors, who said he should be experiencing intense pain from merely turning a door-knob, let alone pitching a baseball. In the end, the Rangers still signed him, but at a drastically reduced price ($75,000 instead of $810,000). He had an underwhelming early career until he decided in 2005 the only way to stay competitive was to develop into a knuckleball pitcher. It took years for him to develop it, during which he was passed around various teams, including the occasional stay in the minors, but he ended his first full season for the New York Mets in 2011 with an ERA of 3.28, which was 12th best in the entire National League. His performance peaked in 2012 when he became the first and only knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young award and finished the year with an ERA of 2.73. After this, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where his performance sort of leveled off from spectacular "ace"-level numbers to an ERA averaging around 4.00. He's still notable as one of ''only two'' pitchers currently in the major leagues to use a knuckleball as their primary pitch (the other being Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox). He is very much OneOfUs, and uses either the [[Franchise/StarWars Imperial March]] or the opening to ''Series/GameOfThrones'' as his warm-up music. At age 40, he became the oldest player to make a postseason debut when he pitched as a starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth game of the American League division series against the Texas Rangers.

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* '''[=RA=] Dickey''' is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was drafted in the first round of 1996 for the Texas Rangers before a medical exam discovered his throwing arm completely lacked an ulnar collateral ligament (he was either born without one, or it was weak enough to have withered away in his youth). This mystified doctors, who said he should be experiencing intense pain from merely turning a door-knob, let alone pitching a baseball. In the end, the Rangers still signed him, but at a drastically reduced price ($75,000 instead of $810,000). He Their expectation was that he would quickly suffer an injury and retire. That didn't happen, but, he had an underwhelming early career until he decided in 2005 the only way to stay competitive was to develop into a knuckleball pitcher. It took years for him to develop it, perfect the pitch, during which he was passed around various teams, including the occasional stay in the minors, but he ended his first full season for the New York Mets in 2011 with an ERA of 3.28, which was 12th best in the entire National League. His performance peaked in 2012 when he became the first and only knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young award and finished the year with an ERA of 2.73. After this, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where his performance sort of leveled off from spectacular "ace"-level numbers to an ERA averaging around 4.00. He's still notable as one of ''only two'' pitchers currently in the major leagues to use a knuckleball as their primary pitch (the other being Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox). He is very much OneOfUs, and uses either the [[Franchise/StarWars Imperial March]] or the opening to ''Series/GameOfThrones'' as his warm-up music. At age 40, he became the oldest player to make a postseason debut when he pitched as a starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth game of the American League division series against the Texas Rangers.
16th Jun '16 12:12:43 AM KYCubbie
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* '''UsefulNotes/JackieRobinson''' was an African-American who played in 1947 for the Dodgers after African-Americans had been informally banned from the major leagues for 60 years. After this, the other major league teams slowly integrated. So naturally, he's a pretty big deal, especially since he was an excellent player throughout his 10-year career. His number, 42, was retired across Major League Baseball in 1997, the only player to receive that honor, with two exceptions: First, players who wore 42 at the time were allowed to keep wearing it (Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who retired at the end of the 2013 season, was the last player to wear it),[[note]]Rivera, by the by, is considered to have been a fitting man to wear the number last, as a dark-skinned Panamanian who has devoted himself to many good causes, including better integration of Hispanic players into the league. Jackie's widow Rachel, now in her nineties, strongly approved of Rivera being the last player to wear her husband's number.[[/note]] and second, every player in the game wears it on April 15, the anniversary of Robinson's Major League debut. The number has become associated with Robinson so much that [[Film/FortyTwo a movie about his life]] simply had the number ''42'' as its title. Contrary to what some might say, Robinson did ''not'' refuse to leave Brooklyn when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles; rather, he had already gotten quite old and ill for a ballplayer and was retiring anyway (to become an executive at the Chock full o'Nuts coffee company) before the rumors that the Dodgers would move came out.[[note]]Robinson was actually ''from'' Southern California, having been raised in Pasadena and attended UCLA before World War II; had he stayed with the Dodgers, he would've probably appreciated the move.[[/note]]

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* '''UsefulNotes/JackieRobinson''' was an African-American who played in 1947 for the Dodgers after African-Americans had been informally banned from the major leagues for 60 years. After this, the other major league teams slowly integrated. So naturally, he's a pretty big deal, especially since he was an excellent player throughout his 10-year career. His number, 42, was retired across Major League Baseball in 1997, the only player to receive that honor, with two exceptions: First, players who wore 42 at the time were allowed to keep wearing it (Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who retired at the end of the 2013 season, was the last player to wear it),[[note]]Rivera, by the by, is considered to have been a fitting man to wear the number last, as a dark-skinned Panamanian who has devoted himself to many good causes, including better integration of Hispanic players into the league. Jackie's widow Rachel, now in her nineties, strongly approved of Rivera being the last player to wear her husband's number.[[/note]] and second, every player in the game wears it on April 15, the anniversary of Robinson's Major League debut. The number has become associated with Robinson so much that [[Film/FortyTwo a movie about his life]] simply had the number ''42'' as its title. Contrary to what some might say, Robinson did ''not'' refuse to leave Brooklyn when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles; rather, Angeles. By the end of his career, he had begun to show symptoms of diabetes (and would be diagnosed with the disease mere months after his retirement), and had already gotten quite old and ill for a ballplayer and was retiring anyway planned to retire (to become an executive at the Chock full o'Nuts coffee company) before the rumors that the Dodgers would move came out.[[note]]Robinson was actually ''from'' Southern California, having been raised in Pasadena and attended UCLA before World War II; had he stayed with the Dodgers, he would've probably appreciated the move.[[/note]]



* '''Alex Rodriguez''' of the NY Yankees was baseball's highest paid player from 2001, when he signed a 10-year, $250 million contract with the Texas Rangers, to 2014, when his salary was exceeded thanks to larger contracts given to Clayton Kershaw and Miguel Cabrera. A shortstop in the first half of his career with the Mariners and Rangers, he moved to third base upon being traded to the Yankees in 2004, as the Yankees already had Derek Jeter at shortstop. His status as one of the game's all-time greats has never been in any doubt; he was a prime MVP candidate every year from his age-21 season in 1996 to about 2010 (he won the award three times, and arguably should have won more), when age and injuries started to rob him of some of his skill. His large contract combined with the fact that he used performance-enhancing drugs several times throughout his career make him one of baseball's most passionately disliked figures. His most passionate haters are mostly fans of the Red Sox (because he's a Yankee, because a trade that might have brought him to Boston instead of New York in 2003 failed, and for some in-game incidents, most notably slapping the ball out of Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove in the 2004 ALCS) or the Mariners (because he started in Seattle, then left after the 2000 season and signed the aforementioned massive contract). But even some Yankees fans hate him, for nebulous reasons ranging from "he's cold and distant" to "he hasn't played in a World Series" (not true after 2009) to "he doesn't deliver big hits when you need them" (an assertion not backed up by statistics), to opting out of his contract during the last game of the 2007 World Series (the Yankees weren't playing in it, having been eliminated in the first round of the postseason, but the timing still attracted lots of criticism) to sign a slightly bigger 10-year contract with the Yankees shortly after, to his recent decline in production, among others. Known by his nickname "A-Rod", but prior to 2009 his lack of postseason performance led to detractors (including within the Yankees lockerroom) to call him "A-Fraud", and his admission in 2009 to having used steroids earlier in his career while playing for the Rangers inevitably led to him being called "A-Roid". Injuries have slowed his production tremendously in the last couple of years, leading many to consider his days of being an elite player to be over. He was banned for the 2014 season due to allegedly obtaining (and using) large amounts of [=PEDs=] from Biogenesis, a now-closed South Florida "anti-aging clinic". That said, he had a bit of a resurgence after coming back in 2015, joining the 3,000-hit club and passing Willie Mays to go into fourth on the career home run list along the way.
* '''Rob Manfred''' succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner in January 2015. Manfred first worked with MLB as an outside counsel in 1987, became a full-time MLB employee in 1998, and became Chief Operating Officer at the end of the 2013 season. His first significant headlines came after the the 2015 season when he shot down Pete Rose's latest bid for reinstatement to MLB.

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* '''Alex Rodriguez''' of the NY Yankees was baseball's highest paid player from 2001, when he signed a 10-year, $250 million contract with the Texas Rangers, to 2014, when his salary was exceeded thanks to larger contracts given to Clayton Kershaw and Miguel Cabrera. A shortstop in the first half of his career with the Mariners and Rangers, he moved to third base upon being traded to the Yankees in 2004, as the Yankees already had Derek Jeter at shortstop. His status as one of the game's all-time greats has never been in any doubt; he was a prime MVP candidate every year from his age-21 season in 1996 to about 2010 (he won the award three times, and arguably should have won more), when age and injuries started to rob him of some of his skill. His large contract combined with the fact that he used performance-enhancing drugs several times throughout his career make him one of baseball's most passionately disliked figures. His most passionate haters are mostly fans of the Red Sox (because he's a Yankee, because a trade that might have brought him to Boston instead of New York in 2003 failed, and for some in-game incidents, most notably slapping the ball out of Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove in the 2004 ALCS) or the Mariners (because he started in Seattle, then left after the 2000 season and signed the aforementioned massive contract). But even some Yankees fans hate him, for nebulous reasons ranging from "he's cold and distant" to "he hasn't played in a World Series" (not true after 2009) to "he doesn't deliver big hits when you need them" (an assertion not backed up by statistics), to opting out of his contract during the last game of the 2007 World Series (the Yankees weren't playing in it, having been eliminated in the first round of the postseason, but the timing still attracted lots of criticism) to sign a slightly bigger 10-year contract with the Yankees shortly after, to his recent decline in production, among others. Known by his nickname "A-Rod", but prior to 2009 his lack of postseason performance led to detractors (including within the Yankees lockerroom) locker room) to call him "A-Fraud", and his admission in 2009 to having used steroids earlier in his career while playing for the Rangers inevitably led to him being called "A-Roid". Injuries have slowed his production tremendously in the last couple of years, leading many to consider his days of being an elite player to be over. He was banned for the 2014 season due to allegedly obtaining (and using) large amounts of [=PEDs=] from Biogenesis, a now-closed South Florida "anti-aging clinic". That said, he had a bit of a resurgence after coming back in 2015, joining the 3,000-hit club and passing Willie Mays to go into fourth on the career home run list along the way.
* '''Rob Manfred''' succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner in January 2015. Manfred first worked with MLB as an outside counsel in 1987, became a full-time MLB employee in 1998, and became Chief Operating Officer at the end of the 2013 season. His first significant headlines came after the the 2015 season when he shot down Pete Rose's latest bid for reinstatement to MLB. However, he would later allow the Reds to enshrine Rose in the team's Hall of Fame and formally retire his number in 2016.



* '''Josh Hamilton''' is a standout hitter, now once again playing for the Texas Rangers after having spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. While he's been in the league in some form or another for a long time - he was taken by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, and reached the big leagues in 2007 after many years of struggles with drugs and alcohol - he really only started to get attention when he started playing for Texas - his dominance at the plate is cited as one of the key factors in their 2010 turnaround. In the 2008 Home Run Derby, he hit a record 28 home runs in the first round, though the amazing performance ended up working against him; by the final round, he had tired himself out slugging so many home runs that he ended up losing to Justin Morneau (as the home run totals were reset for the finals). Early (and later) in his career, he's dealt with his addiction to alcohol - because of this, when the Rangers won the division and their two playoff series in 2010, they celebrated with ginger ale instead. After the season, Hamilton would be named the American League MVP for 2010. His reputation has been tarnished, however, due to his game breaking performance in the winner of the American League West deciding game in 2012 where he notably fumbled a ball that allowed in the runs that broke the then tie between the Rangers and the Athletics. He also got off to a very bad start in his first season with the Angels and though he started hitting better at the end, his final numbers were well below what he'd done with the Rangers. Just before the 2015 season, he suffered a relapse of his addiction, which, combined with his generally subpar performance during his time in Los Angeles, eventually led the Angels to trade him back to the Rangers for virtually nothing. Hamilton began to show some flashes of returning to his previous form in the last half of 2015, but is expected to miss the entirety of the 2016 season due to knee surgery.

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* '''Josh Hamilton''' is a standout hitter, now once again playing for the Texas Rangers after having spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. While he's been in the league in some form or another for a long time - he was taken by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, and reached the big leagues in 2007 after many years of struggles with drugs and alcohol - he really only started to get attention when he started playing for Texas - his dominance at the plate is cited as one of the key factors in their 2010 turnaround. In the 2008 Home Run Derby, he hit a record 28 home runs in the first round, though the amazing performance ended up working against him; by the final round, he had tired himself out slugging so many home runs that he ended up losing to Justin Morneau (as the home run totals were reset for the finals). Early (and later) in his career, he's dealt with his addiction to alcohol - because of this, when the Rangers won the division and their two playoff series in 2010, they celebrated with ginger ale instead. After the season, Hamilton would be named the American League MVP for 2010. His reputation has been tarnished, however, due to his game breaking performance in the winner of the American League West deciding game in 2012 where he notably fumbled a ball that allowed in the runs that broke the then tie between the Rangers and the Athletics. He also got off to a very bad start in his first season with the Angels and though he started hitting better at the end, his final numbers were well below what he'd done with the Rangers. Just before the 2015 season, he suffered a relapse of his addiction, which, combined with his generally subpar performance during his time in Los Angeles, eventually led the Angels to trade him back to the Rangers for virtually nothing. Hamilton began to show some flashes of returning to his previous form in the last half of 2015, but is expected to miss the entirety of the 2016 season due to after knee surgery.
5th Jun '16 11:46:03 AM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* '''Josh Hamilton''' is a standout hitter, now once again playing for the Texas Rangers after having spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. While he's been in the league in some form or another for a long time - he was taken by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, and reached the big leagues in 2007 after many years of struggles with drugs and alcohol - he really only started to get attention when he started playing for Texas - his dominance at the plate is cited as one of the key factors in their 2010 turnaround. In the 2008 Home Run Derby, he hit a record 28 home runs in the first round, though the amazing performance ended up working against him; by the final round, he had tired himself out slugging so many home runs that he ended up losing to Justin Morneau (as the home run totals were reset for the finals). Early (and later) in his career, he's dealt with his addiction to alcohol - because of this, when the Rangers won the division and their two playoff series in 2010, they celebrated with ginger ale instead. After the season, Hamilton would be named the American League MVP for 2010. His reputation has been tarnished, however, due to his game breaking performance in the winner of the American League West deciding game in 2012 where he notably fumbled a ball that allowed in the runs that broke the then tie between the Rangers and the Athletics. He also got off to a very bad start in his first season with the Angels and though he started hitting better at the end, his final numbers were well below what he'd done with the Rangers. Just before the 2015 season, he suffered a relapse of his addiction, which, combined with his generally subpar performance during his time in Los Angeles, eventually led the Angels to trade him back to the Rangers for virtually nothing. Hamilton began to show some flashes of returning to his previous form in the last half of 2015.
* '''Justin Verlander''' of the Detroit Tigers was one of the best, if not the best pitcher in the game a few years ago, although his poor performance during the 2014 season has cast doubt on whether that's the case anymore (he continued to struggle coming into 2015, but seemingly regained at least some of his form in the last part of the season). Playing for the Detroit Tigers, he pretty much walked away with the 2011 American League Cy Young by winning the Pitching Triple Crown: most wins (24), strikeouts (250) and lowest ERA (2.40). He was instrumental in the Tigers running away with the American League Central division title. He won the American League MVP award that season as well, which is seldom awarded to a pitcher because of strong feelings that it should go to an everyday player, and not one who plays every four or five days. He came within a hair of winning a second straight Cy Young in 2012, finishing second to Tampa Bay's David Price in the closest Cy Young vote since 1969.

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* '''Josh Hamilton''' is a standout hitter, now once again playing for the Texas Rangers after having spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. While he's been in the league in some form or another for a long time - he was taken by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, and reached the big leagues in 2007 after many years of struggles with drugs and alcohol - he really only started to get attention when he started playing for Texas - his dominance at the plate is cited as one of the key factors in their 2010 turnaround. In the 2008 Home Run Derby, he hit a record 28 home runs in the first round, though the amazing performance ended up working against him; by the final round, he had tired himself out slugging so many home runs that he ended up losing to Justin Morneau (as the home run totals were reset for the finals). Early (and later) in his career, he's dealt with his addiction to alcohol - because of this, when the Rangers won the division and their two playoff series in 2010, they celebrated with ginger ale instead. After the season, Hamilton would be named the American League MVP for 2010. His reputation has been tarnished, however, due to his game breaking performance in the winner of the American League West deciding game in 2012 where he notably fumbled a ball that allowed in the runs that broke the then tie between the Rangers and the Athletics. He also got off to a very bad start in his first season with the Angels and though he started hitting better at the end, his final numbers were well below what he'd done with the Rangers. Just before the 2015 season, he suffered a relapse of his addiction, which, combined with his generally subpar performance during his time in Los Angeles, eventually led the Angels to trade him back to the Rangers for virtually nothing. Hamilton began to show some flashes of returning to his previous form in the last half of 2015.
2015, but is expected to miss the entirety of the 2016 season due to knee surgery.
* '''Justin Verlander''' of the Detroit Tigers was one of the best, if not the best pitcher starting pitchers in the game a few years ago, although in the late [=2000s=] and early [='10s=]. However, his poor performance during the 2014 season has cast doubt on whether that's the case anymore (he he could keep it up; he continued to struggle coming into 2015, but seemingly regained at least some of his form in the last part of the season).season. Playing for the Detroit Tigers, he pretty much walked away with the 2011 American League Cy Young by winning the Pitching Triple Crown: most wins (24), strikeouts (250) and lowest ERA (2.40). He was instrumental in the Tigers running away with the American League Central division title. He won the American League MVP award that season as well, which is seldom awarded to a pitcher because of strong feelings that it should go to an everyday player, and not one who plays every four or five days. He came within a hair of winning a second straight Cy Young in 2012, finishing second to Tampa Bay's David Price in the closest Cy Young vote since 1969.



* '''Bryce Harper''', an outfielder for the Washington Nationals, made his debut in 2012, on the same day that Mike Trout was called up for the first time that year. While he had an impressive beginning to his career, he did tail off later in the year. Overall, however, he still had a good year- perhaps the best year ever for a 19-year-old- earning an All-Star selection and easily winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. He has occasionally been compared to fellow young phenom outfielder Mike Trout- coming into 2012, Harper and Trout were widely considered the best prospects in the game and hailed for their incredible talents and potential. Like Trout, Harper possesses the tools to excel at all aspects of the game and has had success at a very young age. However, those comparisons didn't quite seem to hold up for their first few years in the league, when Trout put up otherworldly numbers while Harper wasn't able to get quite the same level out of his talent. He also suffered a few injury-related setbacks. That changed in 2015, when Harper had a historically great offensive season despite still only being 22 years old, winning the NL MVP and looking every bit as good as Trout- maybe even better. Has an interesting and [[LoveItOrHateIt polarizing]] reputation amongst fans and other players, particularly in 2016 after an interview where he made his intention use his career to shift the culture of baseball to allow for more personality and freedom of expression without the antiquated unwritten rules of the game getting in the way. Depending on your view of Harper, this painted him as somewhere in between a punk that [[SeriousBusiness dishonored the game]] and a [[BlitheSpirit well-needed breath of fresh air looking to shake up a sport that had gone stale.]] After his MVP season, views on him as a player range from HypeBacklash[[labelnote:*]]''This guy's not nearly as good as everyone keeps saying he is.''[[/labelnote]] to WorthyOpponent[[labelnote:*]]''I don't like him[=/=][[TheRival his team]], but you gotta tip your cap to the guy.[[/labelnote]] and, to some managers, even TheDreaded [[note]](when he's on his hotter streaks, some teams just avoid pitching to him altogether.)[[/note]]
* '''Stephen Strasburg''', a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, Strasburg made his debut in 2010. He was on his way to an impressive rookie year when damage to his elbow forced him to undergo surgical repair. He briefly returned at the end of 2011, then returned in full force in 2012 and was impressive again. However due to concerns about overtaxing his surgically repaired elbow so soon after the surgery, his season was ended early by management. This was controversial among the press and the fans, especially after the Nationals were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. However, time will tell if this will have been something that helped him in the long run; he had two solid seasons after that (despite a brief stint on the DL in 2013), but his career hit something of a nadir in the first half of 2015. Former Tigers star Max Scherzer was brought into D.C. on a long, lucrative contract, causing many to question whether the signing signaled a lack of faith in Strasburg to be the staff ace going forward.[[note]]The Nats' front office might have explained that they were already anticipating the loss of another of their young pitchers, Jordan Zimmermann, who was known to want to play closer to his home state of Wisconsin. They turned out to be right; Zimmermann received a massive contract in 2016 - ironically with the same Detroit Tigers team that had lost Scherzer to the Nationals the year before.[[/note]] Strasburg initially didn't do much to assuage those questions, with him spending large chunks of the season on the DL and woefully ineffective when he ''did'' pitch. This caused many to seriously begin questioning whether Strasburg would ever be able to reach and maintain the elite level expected of him when he was first drafted. However, he returned from his second 2015 DL stint having [[TookALevelInBadass taken a noticeable level in badass]]. In May of 2016 (his contract year) [[DidntSeeThatComing somewhat shockingly]] signed a 7-year contract to stay in Washington.

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* '''Bryce Harper''', an outfielder for the Washington Nationals, made his debut in 2012, on the same day that Mike Trout was called up for the first time that year. While he had an impressive beginning to his career, he did tail off later in the year. Overall, however, he still had a good year- perhaps the best year ever for a 19-year-old- earning an All-Star selection and easily winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. He has occasionally been compared to fellow young phenom outfielder Mike Trout- coming into 2012, Harper and Trout were widely considered the best prospects in the game and hailed for their incredible talents and potential. Like Trout, Harper possesses the tools to excel at all aspects of the game and has had success at a very young age. However, those comparisons didn't quite seem to hold up for their first few years in the league, when Trout put up otherworldly numbers while Harper wasn't able to get quite the same level out of his talent. He also suffered a few injury-related setbacks. That changed in 2015, when Harper had a historically great offensive season despite still only being 22 years old, winning the NL MVP and looking every bit as good as Trout- maybe even better. Has an interesting and [[LoveItOrHateIt polarizing]] reputation amongst fans and other players, particularly in 2016 after an interview where he made his intention use his career to shift the culture of baseball to allow for more personality and freedom of expression without the antiquated unwritten rules of the game getting in the way. Depending on your view of Harper, this painted him as somewhere in between a punk that who [[SeriousBusiness dishonored dishonors the game]] and a [[BlitheSpirit well-needed breath of fresh air looking to shake up a sport that had gone stale.]] After his MVP season, views on him as a player range from HypeBacklash[[labelnote:*]]''This HypeBacklash[[labelnote:*]]"This guy's not nearly as good as everyone keeps saying he is.''[[/labelnote]] "[[/labelnote]] to WorthyOpponent[[labelnote:*]]''I WorthyOpponent[[labelnote:*]]"I don't like him[=/=][[TheRival his team]], but you gotta tip your cap to the guy.[[/labelnote]] "[[/labelnote]] and, to some managers, even TheDreaded [[note]](when TheDreaded[[labelnote:*]]When he's on his hotter streaks, some teams just avoid pitching to him altogether.)[[/note]]
altogether[[/note]].
* '''Stephen Strasburg''', a starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals, Strasburg made his debut in 2010. He was on his way to an impressive rookie year when damage to his elbow forced him to undergo surgical repair. He briefly returned at the end of 2011, then returned in full force in 2012 and was impressive again. However due to concerns about overtaxing his surgically repaired elbow so soon after the surgery, his season was ended early by management. This was controversial among the press and the fans, especially after the Nationals were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. However, time will tell if this will have been something that helped him in the long run; he had two solid seasons after that (despite a brief stint on the DL in 2013), but his career hit something of a nadir in the first half of 2015. Former Tigers star Max Scherzer was brought into D.C. on a long, lucrative contract, causing many to question whether the signing signaled a lack of faith in Strasburg to be the staff ace going forward.[[note]]The Nats' front office might have explained that they were already anticipating the loss of another of their young pitchers, Jordan Zimmermann, who was known to want to play closer to his home state of Wisconsin. They turned out to be right; Zimmermann received a massive contract in 2016 - ironically with the same Detroit Tigers team that had lost Scherzer to the Nationals the year before.[[/note]] Strasburg initially didn't do much to assuage those questions, with him spending large chunks of the season on the DL and woefully ineffective when he ''did'' pitch. This caused many to seriously begin questioning whether Strasburg would ever be able to reach and maintain the elite level expected of him when he was first drafted. However, he returned from his second 2015 DL stint having [[TookALevelInBadass taken a noticeable level in badass]]. In May of 2016 (his contract year) [[DidntSeeThatComing somewhat shockingly]] signed a 7-year contract to stay in Washington.



* '''Félix Hernández''' is a pitcher who has spent his entire career thus far with the Seattle Mariners. Since his breakout season in 2009, he has become one of the best pitchers in the game, winning the AL Cy Young award in 2010 and throwing a perfect game in 2012. He routinely ends up in the top 5 of most pitching statistics, with the notable exception of Wins. Because the Mariners have had some of the worst hitters in baseball for several years, he often fails to win games in which he pitched well simply because the Mariners don't score many runs, and has a reputation for often losing games by scores like 1-0 and 4-2 (though he also wins some of those games 1-0 or 4-2). Because of this, he had a win-loss of record of 13-12 when he won the Cy Young Award in 2010 (the worst win-loss record any Cy Young-winning starting pitcher has ever had). He is known for usually being incredibly consistent in his performance- he broke a somewhat obscure record in 2014 by going 16 straight starts with at least 7 innings pitched while allowing 2 runs or fewer in each start. He had somewhat of a down year in 2015, thanks in part to some lingering ankle issues.

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* '''Félix Hernández''' is a pitcher who has spent his entire career thus far with the Seattle Mariners. Since his breakout season in 2009, he has become one of the best pitchers in the game, winning the AL Cy Young award in 2010 and throwing a perfect game in 2012. He routinely ends up in the top 5 of most pitching statistics, with the notable exception of Wins. Because the Mariners have had some of the worst hitters in baseball for several years, he often fails to win games in which he pitched well simply because the Mariners don't score many runs, and has a reputation for often losing games by scores like 1-0 and 4-2 (though [[ThrowTheDogABone he occasionally also wins some of those games 1-0 or 4-2).4-2]]). Because of this, he had a win-loss of record of 13-12 when he won the Cy Young Award in 2010 (the worst win-loss record any Cy Young-winning starting pitcher has ever had). He is known for usually being incredibly consistent in his performance- he broke a somewhat obscure record in 2014 by going 16 straight starts with at least 7 innings pitched while allowing 2 runs or fewer in each start. He had somewhat of a down year in 2015, thanks in part to some lingering ankle issues.



* '''Johan Santana''' is a pitcher who was a huge part of the Minnesota Twins' recent sucess. During the mid-2000's, he was one of the best pitchers in the game, winning Cy Young Awards in 2004 and 2006 and coming close to winning another in 2005. He was traded to the Mets in 2008, and has since become an injury magnet, missing large parts of almost every season he spent with the Mets (and all of 2011 and 2013), although he did become the first pitcher in Mets history to throw a no-hitter in 2012. His luck hasn't gotten any better after becoming a free agent, having had season ending injuries with both the Orioles in 2014 and Blue Jays in 2015 after signing minor league contracts with them.

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* '''Johan Santana''' is a pitcher who was a huge part of the Minnesota Twins' recent sucess. success in the mid-[=2000s=]. During the mid-2000's, those years, he was one of the best pitchers in the game, winning Cy Young Awards in 2004 and 2006 and coming close to winning another in 2005. He was traded to the Mets in 2008, and has since become an injury magnet, missing large parts of almost every season he spent with the Mets (and all of 2011 and 2013), although he did become the first pitcher in Mets history to throw a no-hitter in 2012. His luck hasn't gotten any better after becoming a free agent, having had season ending injuries with both the Orioles in 2014 and Blue Jays in 2015 after signing minor league contracts with them.



* '''David Freese''', currently a third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was a true [[AHeroToHisHometown Hero to His Hometown]] during his days as a UsefulNotes/StLouis Cardinal, having grown up in a suburb just a few miles from their stadium. He's best remembered for his amazing performance in the 2011 NLCS and World Series that won him the MVP of both series. In particular, he's remembered for the game-tying triple he hit in game 6, [[DownToTheLastPlay with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the ninth and the Cardinals down by two]], and the walk-off home run he hit two innings later. Unfortunately, he's only been about average since St. Louis traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in 2013.

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* '''David Freese''', currently a third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was a true [[AHeroToHisHometown Hero to His Hometown]] during his days as a UsefulNotes/StLouis Cardinal, having grown up in a suburb just a few miles from their stadium. He's best remembered for his amazing performance in the 2011 NLCS and World Series that won him the MVP of both series. In particular, he's remembered for the game-tying triple he hit in game 6, [[DownToTheLastPlay with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the ninth and the Cardinals down by two]], and the walk-off home run he hit two innings later. Unfortunately, he's only been about average While he hasn't able to regain his previous level of success since St. Louis the Cardinals traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in 2013.2013, he's still been a relatively solid player overall.



* '''Billy Beane''' is the Oakland Athletics' General Manager, as well as a former major league outfielder. Entering the sport with high expectations due to his high school success, he performed poorly for most of his professional career, barely qualifying for a major league spot, and ultimately retired at the age of 27, accepting a job with the A's in the front office. Constrained heavily by Oakland's small budget, he constantly has to come up with ways to find players that are being undervalued by the rest of the league for Oakland to compete. He's mostly been successful, particlarly during the early 2000's, when Oakland was practically the only team to embrace sabermetric principles, and they had 4 straight playoff appearances. His job got harder when the rest of the league copied his ideas, but he's been able to keep Oakland reasonably competitive recently by finding other ways to stay ahead of the game. Creator/BradPitt played him in ''Film/{{Moneyball}}'', a movie that followed the A's 2002 season.

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* '''Billy Beane''' is the Oakland Athletics' General Manager, as well as a former major league outfielder. Entering the sport with high expectations due to his high school success, he performed poorly for most of his professional career, barely qualifying for a major league spot, and ultimately retired at the age of 27, accepting a job with the A's in the front office. Constrained heavily by Oakland's small budget, he constantly has to come up with ways to find players that are being undervalued by the rest of the league for Oakland to compete. He's mostly been successful, particlarly during the early 2000's, [=2000s=], when Oakland was practically the only team to embrace sabermetric principles, and where they had 4 straight playoff appearances. His job got a lot harder when the rest of the league copied his ideas, but he's been able actively working to keep Oakland reasonably competitive recently by finding find other ways to stay ahead of the game.game, and still has been able to give Oakland a few surprisingly competitive seasons. Creator/BradPitt played him in ''Film/{{Moneyball}}'', a movie that followed the A's 2002 season.



* '''Troy Tulowitzki''' is best known for his career as the Colorado Rockies' shortstop. He's perhaps the best power-hitter in the game among shortstops, a position that typically lacks power (especially after the end of the steroid era) and this, combined with his amazing defense, have caused him to be widely considered one of the best shortstops, if not the best shortstop, in the game. Sadly, he's also frequently injured, playing in more than 150 games in one year only twice, and as some of his detractors will note, his power numbers are partially a product of the immensely power-hitter-friendly Coors Field. He gained a small amount of internet fame in 2013 when a gif of a line drive he hit being caught thanks to an amazingly quick reaction from Marlins pitcher José Fernández [[MemeticMutation circulated around for a while]]. A few days before the 2015 trade deadline, he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays, due to the Rockies being last place in their division.
* '''Yasiel Puig''' is an Cuban outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After signing a large 6-year contract with them in 2012, he began to tear up the low minor leagues and had an absolutely incredible 2013 spring training that probably would have led to a big league call-up if the Dodgers hadn't already had three highly-paid all-star outfielders in Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. He continued destroying minor league pitching and eventually ended up in the big leagues in June following some injuries in the Dodgers' outfield. He proceeded to crush major league pitching almost as much as he had crushed minor league pitching, hitting over .400 in his first month, and came very close to getting an all-star selection despite only playing for about a month before the 2013 all-star game. He continued to go on a tear in 2014, but his 2015 season was completely derailed thanks to hamstring issues. His raw talent and incredible speed and power are virtually unmatched, and he often puts his talents to good use- but he also makes frequent mental errors on the bases and in the field, overthrowing infielders by 10 feet almost as much as he makes incredible plays to get people out. He also gets some hate from other players for infractions of the "unwritten rules of baseball", like his exaggerated bat flips on home runs, and his part in the Dodgers' celebration of their 2013 NL West Title—they clinched it with a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks and celebrated in Arizona's pool just beyond the outfield wall after the game.
* '''Andrew [=McCutchen=]''' is an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates and is one of the best all-around players in the National League, excelling at virtually every aspect of the game. In 2013, he won the NL MVP and led the Pirates to their first playoff berth and first winning season since 1992, ending what had been the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in the history of MLB- or any other major sport. He was also well-known for his long dreadlocks, until he had them all cut off for a charity auction before the 2015 season. This among other charitable acts, as well as having another great season in 2015, resulted in him winning the Roberto Clemente Award, one of the most prestigious awards in professional baseball. And Roberto Clemente being a legendary Pittsburgh Pirate makes the award even more special.

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* '''Troy Tulowitzki''' is best known for his career as the Colorado Rockies' shortstop. He's He was perhaps the best power-hitter in the game among shortstops, a position that typically lacks power (especially after the end of the steroid era) and this, combined with his amazing defense, have has caused him to be widely considered one of the best shortstops, if not the best shortstop, in the game. Sadly, he's also frequently injured, playing in more than 150 games in one year only twice, and as some of his detractors will note, his power numbers are partially a product of the immensely power-hitter-friendly Coors Field. He gained a small amount of internet fame in 2013 when a gif of a line drive he hit being caught thanks to an amazingly quick reaction from Marlins pitcher José Fernández [[MemeticMutation circulated around for a while]]. A few days before the 2015 trade deadline, he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays, due to the Rockies being last place in their division.
* '''Yasiel Puig''' is an Cuban outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After signing a large 6-year contract with them in 2012, he began to tear up the low minor leagues and had an absolutely incredible 2013 spring training that probably would have led to a big league call-up if the Dodgers hadn't already had three highly-paid all-star outfielders in Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. He continued destroying minor league pitching and eventually ended up in the big leagues in June following some injuries in the Dodgers' outfield. He proceeded to crush major league pitching almost as much as he had crushed minor league pitching, hitting over .400 in his first month, and came very close to getting an all-star selection despite only playing for about a month before the 2013 all-star game. He continued to go on a tear in 2014, but his 2015 season was completely derailed thanks to hamstring issues. His raw talent and incredible speed and power are virtually unmatched, a sight to behold, and he often puts his talents to good use- use - but he also makes frequent mental errors on the bases and in the field, overthrowing infielders by 10 feet almost as much as he makes incredible plays to get people out. He also gets some hate from other players for infractions of the "unwritten rules of baseball", like his exaggerated bat flips on home runs, and his part in the Dodgers' celebration of their 2013 NL West Title—they clinched it with a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks and celebrated in Arizona's pool just beyond the outfield wall after the game.
* '''Andrew [=McCutchen=]''' is an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates and is who has been one of the best all-around players in the National League, excelling with the tools to excel at virtually every aspect of the game. game (even if his fielding isn't what it used to be). In 2013, he won the NL MVP and led the Pirates to their first playoff berth and first winning season since 1992, ending what had been the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in the history of MLB- MLB - or any other major sport. He was also well-known for his long dreadlocks, until he had them all cut off for a charity auction before the 2015 season. This among other charitable acts, as well as having another great season in 2015, resulted in him winning the Roberto Clemente Award, one of the most prestigious awards in professional baseball. And Roberto baseball (Roberto Clemente being a legendary Pittsburgh Pirate himself just makes the award even more special.special).
5th Jun '16 11:09:51 AM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* '''Bartolo Colón''' is currently the oldest active player in baseball and the longest-active pitcher, having pitched since 1997. He was a moderately successful pitcher early in his career, pitching for the Indians, Expos, White Sox, and Angels between 1997 and 2005, making a few all-star appearances. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award, although many think he only got that award because he led the league in wins, a generally poor indicator of pitcher performance- most other pitching statistics would say he was good that year, but not the best pitcher in the league, and maybe not even the best pitcher on his own team. In any case, his career was sadly derailed for a few years after that by arm injuries, and he struggled to pitch well or stay on the field. He successfully made a comeback with the Yankees in 2011, though, not quite returning to his old skill level but pitching effectively, nonetheless. In years since, he's remained a fairly average pitcher, but he's been much more famous for his excessive weight and, since joining the New York Mets in 2014 and having to hit regularly, his comical plate appearances, where he frequently flails wildly at pitches and swings hard enough to make his helmet fall off. His goofy swings were once half-jokingly cited by Rob Manfred as a good reason to not bring the DH to the National League, because that would rob fans of the entertainment of watching Bartolo try to hit. Although he's usually been pretty terrible at the plate, he occasionally gets decent results, and he managed to hit his first big league home run on May 7, 2016, a few weeks shy of his 43rd birthday, the oldest age ever at which a player hit his first big league home run.

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* '''Bartolo Colón''' Colón''', currently a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, is currently the oldest active player in baseball and the longest-active pitcher, having pitched since 1997. He was a moderately successful pitcher early in his career, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, and Anaheim Angels between 1997 and 2005, and making a few all-star appearances. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award, although many think he only got that award because he led the league in wins, a generally poor indicator of pitcher performance- performance - most other pitching statistics would say he was good that year, but not the best pitcher in the league, and maybe not even the best pitcher on his own team. In any case, his career was sadly derailed for a few years after that by arm injuries, and he struggled to pitch well or stay on the field. He then successfully made a comeback with the Yankees in 2011, though, not quite returning to his old skill level but pitching effectively, effectively nonetheless. In years since, he's remained a fairly average pitcher, pitcher (though that's actually kind of impressive considering that almost 90% of his pitches are 84-91 mph fastballs, meaning that he relies almost exclusively on his ability to locate pitches), but he's been much more famous for his excessive weight (which nonetheless hasn't stopped him from being a surprisingly effective fielder who provides his fair share of defensive highlights) and, since joining the New York Mets in 2014 and having to hit regularly, his comical plate appearances, where he frequently flails wildly at pitches and swings hard enough to make his helmet fall off. His goofy swings were once half-jokingly cited by Rob Manfred as a good reason to not bring the DH to the National League, because that would rob fans of the entertainment of watching Bartolo try to hit. Although he's usually been pretty terrible at the plate, he occasionally gets decent results, and he managed to hit his first big league home run on May 7, 2016, a few weeks shy of his 43rd birthday, the oldest age ever at which a player hit his first big league home run.
5th Jun '16 10:56:21 AM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* '''Stephen Strasburg''', a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, Strasburg made his debut in 2010. He was on his way to an impressive rookie year when damage to his elbow forced him to undergo surgical repair. He briefly returned at the end of 2011, then returned in full force in 2012 and was impressive again. However due to concerns about overtaxing his surgically repaired elbow so soon after the surgery, his season was ended early by management. This was controversial among the press and the fans, especially after the Nationals were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. However, time will tell if this will have been something that helped him in the long run; he had two solid seasons after that (despite a brief stint on the DL in 2013). His career hit something of a nadir in 2015. Former Tigers star Max Scherzer was brought into D.C. on a long, lucrative contract, causing many to question whether the signing signaled a lack of faith in Strasburg to be the staff ace going forward.[[note]]The Nats' front office might have explained that they were already anticipating the loss of another of their young pitchers, Jordan Zimmermann, who was known to want to play closer to his home state of Wisconsin. They turned out to be right; Zimmermann received a massive contract in 2016 - ironically with the same Detroit Tigers team that had lost Scherzer to the Nationals the year before.[[/note]] Strasburg didn't do much to assuage those questions, with him spending large chunks of the season on the DL and woefully ineffective when he ''did'' pitch. This caused many to seriously begin questioning whether Strasburg would ever be able to reach and maintain the elite level expected of him when he was first drafted. He returned from his second 2015 DL stint having [[TookALevelInBadass taken a noticeable level in badass]]. In May of 2016 (his contract year) [[DidntSeeThatComing somewhat shockingly]] signed a 7-year contract to stay in Washington.

to:

* '''Stephen Strasburg''', a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, Strasburg made his debut in 2010. He was on his way to an impressive rookie year when damage to his elbow forced him to undergo surgical repair. He briefly returned at the end of 2011, then returned in full force in 2012 and was impressive again. However due to concerns about overtaxing his surgically repaired elbow so soon after the surgery, his season was ended early by management. This was controversial among the press and the fans, especially after the Nationals were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. However, time will tell if this will have been something that helped him in the long run; he had two solid seasons after that (despite a brief stint on the DL in 2013). His 2013), but his career hit something of a nadir in the first half of 2015. Former Tigers star Max Scherzer was brought into D.C. on a long, lucrative contract, causing many to question whether the signing signaled a lack of faith in Strasburg to be the staff ace going forward.[[note]]The Nats' front office might have explained that they were already anticipating the loss of another of their young pitchers, Jordan Zimmermann, who was known to want to play closer to his home state of Wisconsin. They turned out to be right; Zimmermann received a massive contract in 2016 - ironically with the same Detroit Tigers team that had lost Scherzer to the Nationals the year before.[[/note]] Strasburg initially didn't do much to assuage those questions, with him spending large chunks of the season on the DL and woefully ineffective when he ''did'' pitch. This caused many to seriously begin questioning whether Strasburg would ever be able to reach and maintain the elite level expected of him when he was first drafted. He However, he returned from his second 2015 DL stint having [[TookALevelInBadass taken a noticeable level in badass]]. In May of 2016 (his contract year) [[DidntSeeThatComing somewhat shockingly]] signed a 7-year contract to stay in Washington.
3rd Jun '16 12:42:07 PM xXwindsofchangeXx
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* '''José Bautista''', an outfielder, spent the early part of his career going between a lot of different teams, frequently getting cut for bad performance. Then he joined the Blue Jays. The rest is history: "Joey Bats" became one of the best hitters in the game, leading MLB in home runs in 2010 and 2011. He didn't hit nearly as many in 2012 and 2013, though, as injuries prevented him from playing for several months, but he was still near the top before getting injured. Since then, he's returned to being a solid and consistent player, and he managed to take first place on the Blue Jays all-time home run list in 2015 despite a lingering right shoulder injury (which still didn't stop him from playing in almost every game that year).

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* '''José Bautista''', an outfielder, spent the early part of his career going between a lot of different teams, frequently getting cut for bad performance. Then he joined the Blue Jays. The rest is history: "Joey Bats" became one of the best hitters in the game, leading MLB in home runs in 2010 and 2011. He didn't hit nearly as many in 2012 and 2013, though, as injuries prevented him from playing for several months, but he was still near the top before getting injured. Since then, he's returned to being a solid and consistent player, and he managed to take first place on the Blue Jays all-time home run list in 2015 despite a lingering right shoulder injury (which still didn't stop him from playing in almost every game that year). Gained national headlines for his series-clinching three-run homer in the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers. Many, however, remember his celebratory bat flip more than the home run itself, and the resulting debate about whether it was an appropriate piece of flair for such a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, or if it was UnsportsmanlikeGloating. The fallout from this incident carried over to the following season when the two teams played each other again. A Rangers pitcher [[BestServedCold threw a pitch into Bautista's back]], and on a subsequent play, Bautista responded with an aggressive slide into the second baseman (such a slide had been made ''illegal'' because of another incident in the 2015 postseason where a player had his leg broken). This resulted into a shoving match between Bautista and [[DavidAndGoliath much smaller Rangers 2B Rougned Odor]], which escalated after Odor threw a solid right rook that caught Bautista flush and [[MemeticMutation quickly became fodder for internet humor]]. A bench-clearing brawl ensued.
3rd Jun '16 12:25:43 PM xXwindsofchangeXx
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* '''Bryce Harper''', an outfielder for the Washington Nationals, made his debut in 2012, on the same day that Mike Trout was called up for the first time that year. While he had an impressive beginning to his career, he did tail off later in the year. Overall, however, he still had a good year- perhaps the best year ever for a 19-year-old- earning an All-Star selection and easily winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. He has occasionally been compared to fellow young phenom outfielder Mike Trout- coming into 2012, Harper and Trout were widely considered the best prospects in the game and hailed for their incredible talents and potential. Like Trout, Harper possesses the tools to excel at all aspects of the game and has had success at a very young age. However, those comparisons didn't quite seem to hold up for their first few years in the league, when Trout put up otherworldly numbers while Harper wasn't able to get quite the same level out of his talent. He also suffered a few injury-related setbacks. That changed in 2015, when Harper had a historically great offensive season despite still only being 22 years old, winning the NL MVP and looking every bit as good as Trout- maybe even better. Has an interesting and [[LoveItOrHateIt polarizing]] reputation amongst fans and other players, particularly in 2016 after an interview where he made his intention use his career to shift the culture of baseball to allow for more personality and freedom of expression without the antiquated unwritten rules of the game getting in the way. Depending on your view of Harper, this painted him as somewhere in between a punk that [[SeriousBusiness dishonored the game]] and a [[BlitheSpirit well-needed breath of fresh air looking to shake up a sport that had gone stale.]] After his MVP season, views on him as a player range from HypeAversion to WorthyOpponent and, to some, even TheDreaded (when he's on his hotter streaks, some teams just avoid pitching to him altogether.)

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* '''Bryce Harper''', an outfielder for the Washington Nationals, made his debut in 2012, on the same day that Mike Trout was called up for the first time that year. While he had an impressive beginning to his career, he did tail off later in the year. Overall, however, he still had a good year- perhaps the best year ever for a 19-year-old- earning an All-Star selection and easily winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. He has occasionally been compared to fellow young phenom outfielder Mike Trout- coming into 2012, Harper and Trout were widely considered the best prospects in the game and hailed for their incredible talents and potential. Like Trout, Harper possesses the tools to excel at all aspects of the game and has had success at a very young age. However, those comparisons didn't quite seem to hold up for their first few years in the league, when Trout put up otherworldly numbers while Harper wasn't able to get quite the same level out of his talent. He also suffered a few injury-related setbacks. That changed in 2015, when Harper had a historically great offensive season despite still only being 22 years old, winning the NL MVP and looking every bit as good as Trout- maybe even better. Has an interesting and [[LoveItOrHateIt polarizing]] reputation amongst fans and other players, particularly in 2016 after an interview where he made his intention use his career to shift the culture of baseball to allow for more personality and freedom of expression without the antiquated unwritten rules of the game getting in the way. Depending on your view of Harper, this painted him as somewhere in between a punk that [[SeriousBusiness dishonored the game]] and a [[BlitheSpirit well-needed breath of fresh air looking to shake up a sport that had gone stale.]] After his MVP season, views on him as a player range from HypeAversion HypeBacklash[[labelnote:*]]''This guy's not nearly as good as everyone keeps saying he is.''[[/labelnote]] to WorthyOpponent WorthyOpponent[[labelnote:*]]''I don't like him[=/=][[TheRival his team]], but you gotta tip your cap to the guy.[[/labelnote]] and, to some, some managers, even TheDreaded (when [[note]](when he's on his hotter streaks, some teams just avoid pitching to him altogether.) )[[/note]]
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