MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Favorite mistakes: Hitters who devour meat

Sano led MLB with 1.159 slugging percentage on fat pitches in 2015

Favorite mistakes: Hitters who devour meat

Among the many reasons Major League hitters are having a tougher time putting runs on the board these days is that pitchers simply aren't giving them much to work with. According to pitch tracking data, the percentage of pitches in the strike zone has fallen consistently each year from 2010's 50.4 percent to 2015's 47.8 percent, and that's a big deal, because we've learned that making contact on pitches in the zone as compared to outside it is among the most important things a hitter can do.

So if a hitter actually does get a fat pitch -- or a mistake, or a meatball, or one served on a platter, or whatever you want to call it -- he'd better be ready to do something with it, because he's not likely to get such a lucky opportunity again. But before we run down the best in baseball at taking advantage of the chances offered, an important question arises: What is a mistake, from a pitcher's point of view? We can't always know what a pitcher's intent is, and there's not necessarily one characteristic that always applies to identify those pitches.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

10 to watch from MLB's international showcase

Eight countries represented for first time at two-day event

10 to watch from MLB's international showcase

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Major League Baseball wrapped up its fifth annual International Prospect Showcase on Thursday with a celebration of the present and a look toward the future of the event.

The two-day showcase at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal featured 59 teenage prospects who will be eligible to sign when the international signing period begins on July 2. The eight countries represented -- the Bahamas, Colombia, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela -- was a record number for the event. What started as a matchup between the top 25 players from Venezuela versus the top 25 players from the Dominican Republic in 2012 could eventually feature prospects from such places as Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Australia rides combined gem to Qualifier final

Former Mariner Rowland-Smith and Co. keep South Africa at bay

Australia rides combined gem to Qualifier final

SYDNEY -- Four pitchers combined to strike out 11 as Team Australia (2-0) moved within one win of returning to its fourth World Baseball Classic following a 4-1 win over South Africa (1-1) on Friday night at Blacktown International Sportspark.

New Zealand (1-1), which eliminated the Philippines (0-2) with a 17-7 win on Friday, will play South Africa on Saturday at 2:30 a.m. ET/6:30 p.m. local time. The winner of that game will face Australia in the Qualifier championship at 2 p.m. local time Sunday (10 p.m. ET Saturday). Fans can watch all games live on MLB Network, MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com.

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Niall Adler is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ex-Boston farmhand's 7 RBIs keep Kiwis alive

Moanaroa goes 4-for-5 with a homer in mercy-rule win over Philippines

Ex-Boston farmhand's 7 RBIs keep Kiwis alive

SYDNEY -- Former Red Sox prospect Boss Moanaroa went 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and seven RBIs to make a winner out of 18-year-old American high schooler Jimmy Boyce (1-0) and give New Zealand (1-1) a 17-7 mercy-rule win in eight innings over the Philippines (0-2) in a World Baseball Classic Qualifier elimination game on Friday at Blacktown International Sportspark.

"This was basically our last chance," said Moanaroa. "We said in the changing room, 'This is our final chance. Let's enjoy it and have fun.' And that's what we did."

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Niall Adler is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A definitive Orbit Prank Power Ranking

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A definitive Orbit Prank Power Ranking

Unless you've been living under a particularly baseball-averse rock for the past 12 months, you know about the Houston Astros. They're young, they're exciting, they have Carlos Correa , and after coming within six outs from an ALCS appearance last season, the arrow is only pointing up. (Did we mention they have Carlos Correa?)

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Return to form could be on deck for Desmond

Free agent set for next chapter of career after dip in production

Return to form could be on deck for Desmond

Not that long ago, Ian Desmond's free agency would have been greeted with a sizable number of potential employers, offering lucrative contract offers.

Desmond was, after all, a shortstop who could hit, hit with power, run, and impress on defense. He was one of the reasons that the Washington Nationals won the National League East in 2012 and '14 and were on the brink of establishing themselves as an elite team.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Goldy sets the fantasy standard at first base

Rizzo, Miggy, Abreu among other safe bets at offense-friendly position

Goldy sets the fantasy standard at first base

In recent seasons, fantasy owners have come to rely on first base as one of the last outposts of premium power production. But in 2016, the list of premier players at this position is not as deep as past years. Unless owners have a specific sleeper in mind, pouncing on one of the top options in the early rounds could be a sound strategy.

Tier One: Paul Goldschmidt

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moustakas gets 2-year deal from Royals

Moustakas gets 2-year deal from Royals

The Royals agreed to terms with their final arbitration-eligible player Thursday, when they and third baseman Mike Moustakas agreed to a two-year contract. The deal is reportedly worth a combined $14.3 million, with Moustakas set to earn $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

Kansas City continued its streak of avoiding arbitration hearings during Dayton Moore's tenure as general manager. The Royals have now gone 10 consecutive seasons settling all cases before a hearing.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No dispute atop Network's catcher rankings

Posey rated No. 1 by The Shredder, both analysts

No dispute atop Network's catcher rankings

Behind every great pitcher is a great backstop, and while the hurler traditionally consumes much of the spotlight, today's crop of catchers is stacked with elite talent and some of the game's biggest stars.

As MLB Network continues to chronicle the best players at each position, the network turned its attention behind the plate Thursday, unveiling its list of the top 10 catchers. The rankings are based on results from "The Shredder" -- an algorithm based on player performance that accounts for both offense and defense that was put together by MLB Network's research department "without emotion or bias." Host Brian Kenny and guest host Dave Valle also provided their top 10s.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB Network's top right fielders can slug

Harper, Stanton, Bautista land in top 3 of each ranking

MLB Network's top right fielders can slug

Right field is home to some of the game's top hitters, as evidenced by the fact that the position ranked second behind only first base last year in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. Though the reigning National League Most Valuable Player hails from right field, he has plenty of competition when it comes to sorting out the best right fielders in the game.

MLB Network attempted to make sense of the madness Thursday night, relying on results from "The Shredder" -- an algorithm based on player performance that accounts for both offense and defense, which was put together by MLB Network's research department "without emotion or bias." Host Brian Kenny and guest host Eric Byrnes also provided their top 10s.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New, cooler spring jerseys, caps available

MLB shows off on-field Flex Base designs for all 30 clubs

New, cooler spring jerseys, caps available

It is almost time for Zack Greinke to suit up for the D-backs, Todd Frazier for the White Sox, David Price for the Red Sox, Justin Upton for the Tigers, Johnny Cueto for the Giants, Jason Heyward for the Cubs, and all those other new faces in new places.

Shop now for new Flex Base Spring Training gear

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cuban phenom Lazarito nearing decision

9 teams show strong interest in 16-year-old outfielder

Cuban phenom Lazarito nearing decision

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Lazaro "Lazarito" Armenteros, one of the most dynamic young talents to come out of Cuba in recent memory, is close to deciding on his future.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder is expected to make a decision on where he will sign soon, about one month after Major League Baseball declared him a free agent.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yankees, Red Sox join forces for charity

Rivals come together for fundraiser in New York

Yankees, Red Sox join forces for charity

The Yankees and Red Sox are one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, with decades of history between the two Major League franchises. But for one evening, front office executives from both clubs partnered up for a joint fundraiser at NYY Steak in New York on Thursday.

Boston's vice president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and New York's general manager Brian Cashman were both in attendance for the event, "A Conversation with Baseball Rival Clubs," which benefited the New York Yankees Foundation and the Red Sox Foundation. The evening featured a Q&A session, and World Series trophies and rings were on display from the Yankees' 2000 and '09 championships and Boston's titles in '04 and '13.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boyce gladly risks prep status to pick up WBC win

Washington high schooler makes most of time with Team New Zealand

Boyce gladly risks prep status to pick up WBC win

SYDNEY -- For an 18-year-old American high school kid, the world stage is a dream come true. Add to that a win that keeps your native New Zealand alive in the World Baseball Classic? For Kiwi right-hander Jimmy Boyce, pitching 7,700 miles away from home, it gets a bit more complicated.

First, to the ballgame at hand Down Under. New Zealand had just surrendered the lead with three runs and was trailing, 7-4, with two outs in the sixth inning of the elimination game at Blacktown International Sportspark. The Mount Si High Wildcat came on and surrendered a single before getting former Mets and Marlins outfielder Chris Aguila on a called third strike.

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Niall Adler is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox reportedly in on Desmond

White Sox reportedly in on Desmond

Shortstop Ian Desmond, who continues to languish on the free-agent market, could soon find a home on the South Side of Chicago. The White Sox are among the teams considering a deal with Desmond, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on Thursday.

The White Sox would appear to be a natural fit for Desmond. Tyler Saladino currently tops the club's depth chart at short, but the 26-year-old batted just .225/.267/.335 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 68 games as a rookie in 2015.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beloved MLB.com reporter Tom Singer passes away

Beloved MLB.com reporter Tom Singer passes away

With news like this, there is crying in baseball.

Tom Singer, among the first journalists hired at MLB.com, passed away suddenly on Monday at his residence in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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Dinn Mann is Executive Vice President, Content for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Why are a handful of Kansas ghost towns named after former Major Leaguers?

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Why are a handful of Kansas ghost towns named after former Major Leaguers?

It started with a dentist.

Well, it started with a University of Pennsylvania student who decided to try something new in 1878 and became the first enrollee in the school's brand new dentistry program. Albert Bushong, D.D.S. graduated four years later. Obviously, when you're earning a medical degree, you want to spend your summers doing something relaxing.

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Dodgers said to be shopping Guerrero

29-year-old from Cuba hit .233 in 106 games last season

Dodgers said to be shopping Guerrero

The Dodgers are attempting to trade infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero and have talked to "numerous" clubs about the possibility, FoxSports.com reported on Thursday. The club has not commented on or confirmed the report.

Guerrero, a native of Cuba, signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in March 2014. His four-year, $28 million deal runs through 2017 but also stipulates that if he is traded, he can become a free agent at the end of that season. Additionally, Guerrero cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues without his consent.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tim Lincecum is reportedly working out at a 'secret location' -- so where on Earth is he?

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Tim Lincecum is reportedly working out at a 'secret location' -- so where on Earth is he?

With just a week to go before pitchers report to Spring Training, Tim Lincecum is still without a baseball team to call his own. But now, word comes that he's been working out and is ready to show off his skills in hopes of landing a job. 

Only problem: He's in a "secret location" as Jon Heyman reported on Thursday night: 

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Sharon Robinson shares in father's legacy

MLB icon's daughter visits with children at Nats' academy

Sharon Robinson shares in father's legacy

WASHINGTON -- Sharon Robinson had some eye-opening experiences Thursday. The daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson went to the Library of Congress and then took a tour of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.

Going to the Library of Congress was the first order of business for Robinson, as her father's memorabilia and letters were on display.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Desmond not the future for White Sox

Chicago better off grooming shortstop prospect Anderson

Desmond not the future for White Sox

Is J.B. Shuck attached to No. 20? Would the White Sox fourth outfielder give his number up if his team signed Ian Desmond?

There's only one way to find out, right? But we may never know.

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Phil Rogers joined MLB.com in 2013 and has covered Major League Baseball since 1984. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glenn Hubbard's snake-draped baseball card will be memorialized as a bobblehead this summer

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Glenn Hubbard's snake-draped baseball card will be memorialized as a bobblehead this summer

On June 24, the Lexington Legends, Class A affiliate of the Royals, will be giving away a Glenn Hubbard draped in a snake bobblehead. We can only hope that Hubbard, now the bench coach for the Legends, will be on hand with another snake wrapped around his shoulders for the game. 

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Inbox: Will Cano burst from gate?

Beat reporter Greg Johns answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Cano burst from gate?

With Spring Training just around the corner, let's open the Inbox and answer fans' questions.

Robinson Cano broke his toe last offseason and had a slow start. Do you think he starts off better this season?
-- Tyson M., Maple Valley, Wash.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

10 crucial spring battles for fantasy owners

10 crucial spring battles for fantasy owners

Major League teams take Spring Training position battles seriously, understanding that a correct call in March could lead to participation in October. Similarly, wise fantasy owners will keep tabs on battles across the Grapefruit League and the Cactus League, looking for an edge to fill their roto and head-to-head rosters. Let's take a look at 10 competitions to monitor over the next month-plus.

1. Astros first baseman
After non-tendering all-or-nothing slugger Chris Carter, Houston may be left with Carter clone Jon Singleton as its Opening Day first baseman. The native Californian can rip roundtrippers, but his strikeout-prone ways may not be the best fit in a lineup that already whiffs at a great rate. As a result, prospect A.J. Reed could push Singleton during Spring Training. After hitting .340 with 34 homers and 127 RBIs in the Minors last season, Reed will be an attractive mixed-league option as soon as he reaches the Majors.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nova eager to earn his spot in Yanks' rotation

Righty knows 'pen a possibility, wants to regain command from early in career

Nova eager to earn his spot in Yanks' rotation

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ivan Nova understands that he does not have the luxury of a guaranteed rotation spot, but as the Yankees right-hander eyes a bounce-back campaign in his second year removed from Tommy John surgery, he has made his preference clear.

"I'm a starting pitcher; I'm not a reliever," Nova said on Thursday. "But like I say, it's their decision. Whatever they tell me to do, that's what I've got to do. Maybe I can feel bad going into the bullpen, but what does that change? Nothing, I've still got to go to the bullpen."

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fenway goes Xtreme with 140-foot ski ramp

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Fenway goes Xtreme with 140-foot ski ramp

You have entered an alternate dimension, one where soda sprays from drinking fountains and parkour has replaced the car as humanity's preferred means of travel. It is a more Xtreme dimension.

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deGrom willing to talk potential long-term deal

All-Star pitcher discusses his willingness to negotiate a contract extension

deGrom willing to talk potential long-term deal

NEW YORK -- The Mets insist they're willing to talk about long-term deals with their young starting pitchers. And Jacob deGrom, at least, says he's prepared to listen.

"I'm a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that," deGrom told the New York Post this week at Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla. "You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It's something I'd have to look into and make sure I agree with it.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs remodel rotation with Greinke, Miller

Club adds reliever Clippard, middle infielder Segura

D-backs remodel rotation with Greinke, Miller

PHOENIX -- The D-backs made the most surprising free-agent signing this offseason when they inked Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million deal, and they further signaled their commitment to be competitive in 2016 by trading for right-hander Shelby Miller.

Those two highlight a host of newcomers the D-backs will have in camp. Part II of the D-backs' Spring Training preview takes a look at some of the new faces:

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is the next HOF-bound Royals player on the roster?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from Royals fans

Inbox: Is the next HOF-bound Royals player on the roster?

KANSAS CITY -- Royals fans once again delivered some terrific questions for the latest inbox.

Pitchers and catchers report a week from today, so let's get to it:

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.