March 12, 2013
MLB Pre Game Bullpen Sessions

I have recently stumbled across Youtube channel of KengaJr24. He’s got a number of concert recordings that I’m not too concerned with. But if you wade through those, you’ll find several videos of top Major League pitchers throwing their warmup bullpens before starts at Fenway Park.

What’s cool about his videos is that he tapes from directly behind the pitcher warming up. You get a great view of their stuff that you won’t find very often. 

Yu Darvish

Justin Verlander

Felix Hernandez

He has some other pitchers posted, including David Price and CC Sabathia. Check out his channel and watch them all, you won’t be disappointed. 

February 15, 2013
Now carrying Warstic’s new line of Birch wood bats, check them out now at Derby Baseball.

Now carrying Warstic’s new line of Birch wood bats, check them out now at Derby Baseball.

January 29, 2013
Major League Players Linked to “East Coast Balco”

Big news has come out of the baseball world today, some Major League Baseball players were found to be clients of a Miami based anti-aging clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs. The names being released at this time are Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz and Bartolo Colon- ARod, Cabrera and Colon have previously been linked to PEDs. 

Anthony Bosch, the head of Biogenesis of America, was working with Manny Ramirez when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for banned substances. Biogenesis has been referred to as the “East Coast Balco,” the lab responsible for much of the steroid boom in the ’90s who famously had Barry Bonds as a client. 

Cruz and Gonzalez have never been suspected of PED use, however this does not bode well being grouped with these other rascals. None of these players have failed a drug test, so it will be interesting what the MLB does. An investigation will certainly be conducted and you can be sure that this will be talked about extensively for the foreseeable future. 

As a Ranger fan, it makes me sad to hear this about Nelson Cruz. He always has a smile on his face and seems like he genuinely has fun playing the game. Cruz is an easy player to root for. Hopefully he can make it through this unscathed, but I won’t hold my breath. He’s looking at a potential 50 game suspension, this could be devastating for the Rangers with them already being short on outfield depth.

This will take awhile to play out and more names will surely be released, so let’s sit back and enjoy the ride and hope your team’s players aren’t a part of this. 

Nelson Cruz in the 2009 ESPN Body Issue

January 18, 2013
Is Your Baseball Bat Legal???

As a person that sells baseball bats, often I am asked if a bat is legal for a certain league. More often than not, the question is about the BBCOR standards.  

BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) has been enacted for most leagues, including high school and college. All bats must pass this test in order to be eligible for game use. A bat will be BBCOR certified if it carries this stamp somewhere on the barrel:

BBCOR Certification Stamp

Ultimately, the goal of BBCOR was to try to make aluminum and composite bats perform more like wood bats for safety reasons. 

Many hitters have found that the new BBCOR bats do not perform as well as the prior standard, BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio). Some actually prefer to use a wood bat instead, which is allowed in college and high school play. It makes sense considering the goal is to make the aluminum bats act like wood.

When purchasing a composite wood bat, make sure they carry the BBCOR stamp because they are not legal without it.

BBCOR Wood Bat Stamp

At Derby Baseball, we only sell bats that are BBCOR certified. So rest easy and buy with confidence. 

If you have an aluminum bat and aren’t sure if it’s legal, Play It Again Sports has a neat little tool you can use to clear up any confusion.

January 9, 2013
The Stealth, part of Warstic’s Pro Designer Series, available now from Derby Baseball.

The Stealth, part of Warstic’s Pro Designer Series, available now from Derby Baseball.

January 2, 2013
Check out the newest bat model designed from Warstic. Get it now from Derby Baseball.

Check out the newest bat model designed from Warstic. Get it now from Derby Baseball.

December 6, 2012
Ranger Winter Meetings and Stuff

The 2012 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings have come to a close with not a whole lot of deals made.  There were plenty of rumors and speculation, but nothing was resolved when it came to the big fish in this year’s free agent class.  As a diehard Texas Rangers fan, I will focus my attention on what Jon Daniels and Co. were doing with their time in Nashville.

After a disappointing close to the 2012 baseball season, the Rangers front office were left with a number of question marks for the upcoming season.  An aging team is set to get a year older, a number of players were to become free agents, several players had disappointing seasons, and several young prospects are ready for the Big Leagues but are blocked by proven veterans.  Jon Daniels has his work cut out for him this offseason.

A few of these issues have already been resolved as of December 6th.  Scott Feldman's option was declined and he quickly signed with Cubs on a one year deal.  

Mike Napoli was lost to the Red Sox who signed him to a three year contract.  

The Rangers resigned catcher Geovany Soto for another season.  Soto had a horrific season at the plate, but the Ranger pitchers seemed to like him behind the plate.

The 2011 signing of reliever Joe Nathan after recently coming of Tommy John surgery was wildly successful, so the Rangers proceeded to make a similar signing for former closer Joakim Soria.  The Rangers expect Soria to be ready to pitch by the end of May.

Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, two important pieces of the Rangers bullpen, are both free agents and it seems unlikely either will be signed by the Rangers.  And it was announced that Alexi Ogando would be joining the starting rotation in 2013, meaning there are still spots to fill in the bullpen.  There are options to fill those spots from their Minor League system, but Ron Washington prefers a veteran presence in the pen.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens there.

The top two talents entering free agency this year are without a doubt Zach Greinke and Josh Hamilton.  Texas has been involved in all rumors surrounding these players and is seen as a potential landing spot for both.

It seemed after the way the Rangers’ and Hamilton’s season ended, that the sides were ready to part ways.  Cooler heads have prevailed and it looks as though both sides are willing to work together and potentially sign an extension.  Hamilton has met with the Mariners and Red Sox for negotiations, however he will give the Rangers an opportunity to match any offer he receives.  The Rangers have said they aren’t willing to go longer than 4 years, which could be a problem.

Nothing seems likely to happen on the Hamilton front until Greinke chooses his destination.  The Rangers have made it abundantly clear that he is their top priority and have entered into a bidding war with the Dodgers.  Insiders speculate that Greinke could sign the largest contract ever for a pitcher.  Don’t expect the Rangers to sign Hamilton and Greinke, but Nolan Ryan, the team’s president, hasn’t ruled out the possibility.  Look for this to be resolved by Christmas.

There has been a lot of noise about a potential blockbuster 3 or 4 team trade that Daniels is directing.  The ultimate result for the Rangers would be acquiring outfielder Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks.  They’d likely be giving up Elvis Andrus or a combination of prospects.  If this goes through, you’d have to assume Hamilton to Texas wouldn’t happen.

As of writing this post, it seems likely long time Ranger Michael Young will be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Young is coming off a historically bad season where he was the worst qualifying position player in the league, according to WAR.  Young could have some value for the Rangers entering the 2013 season as a bench bat or platoon player.  But Ron Washington’s past use of Young makes it very clear that it’s unlikely he’d be used in a lesser role.

It is an exciting time for a Ranger fan and it’s fun to see them playing such a large role in the Winter Meetings.  Whatever happens between now and the start of next season, the Rangers will look like a drastically different team than the one that’s been to the playoffs the last three years.

November 13, 2012
Better Wood Makes Better Bats

If you’re looking to get your first wooden baseball bat, the most important aspect of the bat is the quality of wood used to build it.  If you watch much baseball on tv, you will undoubtedly notice that most players use Louisville Sluggers or Marucci bats.  That may lead you to believe that those two companies make the best bats available, but that is not necessarily the case.

Not to sell Louisville Slugger and Marucci short, but the fact that their bats are so prevalent is a testament to their marketing teams.  There is no doubt that they make great bats, but they’re no different than any other bats you can buy.  All bat companies make the same models e.g. the 271, and offer essentially the same color and stain options.  They also using the same species of wood for the bats (wood is graded by quality, we’ll touch on that later).  Virtually, the only difference in the bats that you see the Major Leaguers using is the label.  

As previously mentioned, the wood used to make bats is graded by a number of criteria such as the number of grains, straightness of grains, slope of grain, etc.  The highest grade wood is reserved for Major League hitters, the next best is used in the Minor Leagues, and they work their way down from there.  The everyday consumer is at the bottom of the rung, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting bad lumber, it’s just not the best they have to offer.  Generally the lower quality of the wood, the more susceptible the bat is to break.  So if you want to use the bat you see Josh Hamilton swinging, you will not be getting the same quality of wood that he does, and you’ll be paying a premium for the label.  

Josh Hamilton gets jammed and breaks his bat

The biggest factor in making a great wood bat is the quality of wood used to make it.  It is of my opinion that buying bats from the biggest companies may not be the best idea, because their best wood is reserved for professional players.  The better route is to purchase a brand that has comparative pricing to the large companies but isn’t in the Major Leagues yet.  This would indicate that they are getting high quality wood, but since they don’t have professional clients or aren’t MLB certified, the average customer will be getting the good wood.  In our online store, we offer several companies that fit this profile.