Blogs: Baseball

23-Year-Old Joc Pederson Can Handle Anything MLB Throws at Him

joc pederson dodgers

He's only a 23-year-old rookie, but this California kid has already shown — through his work ethic and performance — that he can handle anything the majors might throw at him.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse, which is occupied by some of the biggest stars in the baseball universe, can be a tough place for a rookie. Veterans seem to delight in giving young players a hard time with jokes and pranks. On Rookie Dress-Up Day two years ago, for example, they made Yasiel Puig wear a Gumby costume and Hyun-Jin Ryu dress up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

The Dodgers have been particularly hard on their new rookie centerfielder, Joc Pederson. They make Pederson lug the clubhouse speakers on road trips. They hijacked his walk-up song, leaving Pederson — a hip-hop fan — to approach the batter's box to boy band hits from One Direction. And on a road trip to Chicago, they made Pederson go on a Starbucks run in full uniform and cleats. Bystanders stared as he walked out juggling 10 drinks.

"We like to try to embarrass him as much as we can," says third baseman Justin Turner. "It keeps things light in the clubhouse. And we can do it because we know he can handle it."
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Todd Frazier Wins Home Run Derby In Front of Hometown Crowd

2015 home run derby todd frazier

Last night’s Home Run Derby had a lot of people wondering: How is this going to go? There was a new format — timed rounds, not ones based on outs — plus a seeded bracket that pit some of baseball’s heaviest hitters in a March Madness-like elimination contest.

Turned out, it went great. And that was thanks in no small part to the winner, Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier, who dazzled the hometown crowd.
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Patrick Andres

2015 Home Run Derby: Preview and Predictions

2015 home run derby picks

The Home Run Derby is one of baseball’s most popular events. Showcasing the game’s finest power hitters, the Derby has been held every year except one since 1985, when it showcased Hall of Famers such as Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg, and Cal Ripken Jr. For many years, the format was simple: hit the most home runs before recording 10 outs and you were the winner. 

This year, however, the game has changed.

Instead of 10 outs, there’s now a time limit on each hitter. Each player will have five minutes to swat as many big flies as possible. Additionally, the Derby will have a bracket format, as players are seeded and will try to hit more homers than their opponent. (Kid Reporter Max Surprenant has more on the new Home Run Derby format.)

This year’s Derby features its fair share of big names: Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, to be specific. But it also has a slew of young stars, like National League rookies Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson, the first rookies to compete in the Derby since Evan Longoria in 2008.

Here’s a look at the matchups in the Home Run Derby, along with predictions as to how they will play out:
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Maxwell Surprenant

2015 Home Run Derby: What You Need to Know

2015 home run derby bracket
Jose Bautista takes a cut in the 2014 Home Run Derby

Major League Baseball’s best players are in Cincinnati this week for the 2015 All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic will be held Tuesday at Great American Ballpark, the home of the Reds. But the festivities begin tonight at 8 p.m. with the 30th anniversary of the Home Run Derby. And if you’re planning on tuning in (or maybe even watching it in person), there are some changes to the format you need to know about.

In the past, batters would get 10 outs to hit as many home runs as possible. Anything that was out of the park in fair territory was considered a homer. Anything other than a home run was called an out. This year, that all changes.
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Brian Yancelson

Jose Altuve and the Astros are Winning — And Having Fun While They’re At It

jose altuve houston astros

Jose Altuve, the Houston Astros’ 25-year-old second baseman, is coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history. He became the first Astros player to win a batting title, with an average of .341. He set a club record with 225 hits, which broke Hall of Famer Craig Biggio’s record of 210. Altuve also led the Majors in multi-hit games, three-hit games, and led the American League with 56 stolen bases. 

On and off the field, Altuve has become a role model for young baseball players. Kids are frequently discouraged from playing certain sports because of their size. Despite being 5’6”, Altuve never doubted his talents. It’s his mentality of working hard that has gotten him to where he is today. 
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Evan Bergen-Epstein

The Mariners’ Kyle Seager is Finally Appreciated But Still Underrated

kyle seager mariners

The hot corner is arguably the hardest position to play on the baseball diamond. Whether you’re fielding screaming line drives hit down the line, charging soft bunts and throwing on the run, or making the longest throw to first in the infield, a third baseman needs a very unique and complete set of skills. Add in the expectation of being one of the best hitters on the team, and very few can do this job better than Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager.

Despite being selected for his first All-Star Game and winning the American League Gold Glove Award at third last year, Seager is not a household name. He is often overshadowed even on the Mariners by second baseman Robinson Cano, rightfielder and designated hitter Nelson Cruz, and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez. 
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2015 MLB All-Star Game Starters Announced

Baseball’s best players will descend on Cincinnati next week for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. And last night, the league revealed who will be starting the Midsummer Classic.

Thanks to a record-breaking 620 million fan votes (cast entirely online), these are the players who will first to hit the field on Tuesday, July 14:
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