Jeff Passan

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Jeff Passan is an award-winning columnist who has covered baseball since 2004. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Georgia asst. coach apologizes for criticizing former recruits after MLB backlash

    A University of Georgia baseball coach apologized Saturday for an email sent to recruits in which he demeaned players who had forgone college for professional baseball, underscoring the fight for top talent as the June draft approaches.

    Scott Daeley, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Georgia, sent multiple emails to the parents of recruits committed to the school starting next season laying out the case against signing with a pro team if drafted. In the most recent email, one of two obtained by Yahoo Sports, Daeley focused on six former Georgia recruits who instead signed with major league teams and had struggled or not yet made the big leagues.

    The email, sent April 21 and first reported by Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs, reached the scouting community this week and inspired a significant backlash, angering scouts whose jobs often conflict with college coaches. While both sides acknowledge significant lobbying exists, baseball executives down to rank-and-file scouts were

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  • Prospect Heat Check: Astros have a crown jewel

    The countdown for Carlos Correa is on, the excitement palpable for the Houston Astros to deploy the game’s best middle infield. That’s not being presumptuous. It’s the truth in 2015, when offense has degraded to the point Zack Cozart has the best OPS among qualified shortstops by nearly 100 points.

    Correa is a marvel, an almost-unfair complement to Jose Altuve, two anchors around whom the Astros can continue to build their grand experiment. By this time next month, Correa may not be in the minor leagues anymore, so allow us the opportunity to lead off the season’s first Prospect Heat Check with him. It’s a look around the minor leagues at who’s hot, who’s not and, in Correa’s case, who’s next.

    Carlos Correa, 20, has all the tools to be a star. (Getty)Carlos Correa, 20, has all the tools to be a star. (Getty)1. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros, Triple-A: The Astros spared the Texas League any further indignity after Correa torched it for a month to the tune of .385/.459/.726 with seven home runs, 32 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 15 tries. His promotion to Triple-A sets the stage for his arrival at 20

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  • 10 Degrees: The reckoning of Bryce Harper is upon us

    This is Bryce Harper, the one so many of us have breathlessly touted as the next big thing for years, to much chuckling and consternation. It started when he was a teenaged cover boy, continued as he blew through the minor leagues like a kiss, hastened when he became the youngest player to debut in nearly 15 years, grew with his All-Star-level talent, shriveled as his performance didn’t quite match it and left him here, 22 years old, grown up and ready to dominate like his destiny foretold.

    It doesn’t always work out that way, of course, so to see Harper doing everything Harper was supposed to do (hit monster home runs) and even more (take walks like he’s Barry Bonds) is the story of this baseball season. As Mike Trout does Mike Trout in his inimitable fashion, Harper’s game of catch-up is going rather well, thank you very much.

    Another two-hit day Sunday left Harper’s slash line this season at .300/.435/.655 with a National League-leading 11 home runs and MLB-best 27 walks. Trout is

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  • How Mike Moustakas learned to stop worrying and beat the shift

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The reinvention of Mike Moustakas started over the winter, when he sidled up to a tee or stood in for a soft-toss session. Every ball he hit went to the left side. Moustakas always relied on his hands, quick as a mousetrap, to help him punish baseballs, and in this case they were of particular importance, because without their cooperation he was bound to be the same ineffective hitter of a year earlier.

    What drove the Kansas City Royals' third baseman to this place was an abdication of pride, a grand survival instinct and a realization that he loves playing baseball enough to change. Forever a pull-happy left-handed power hitter, Moustakas no longer could be that if he wanted to be an effective major leaguer, because the widespread defensive shifting he saw last season defeated him, and doubling down wasn't the answer.

    "Last year, I was really stubborn," Moustakas said. "I didn't think I could get beat by the shift. I felt like I could hit through it. I realized I

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  • The new Miguel Cabrera is just like the old one: hitting and having way too much fun

    In a hotel lobby last week, David Price was chatting with his parents when Miguel Cabrera came over to say hello. He was on his way to grab a car to the ballpark. First he needed to fetch a package, so he meandered over to the bellhop desk, acquired the box and opened it. Inside was a royal-blue boxing robe. Cabrera slipped it over his shoulders, modeled it for Price, scampered out to the car and wore it to the ballpark.

    Price didn't ask whether he got it because of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight or to needle their opponent that night, the scuffle-happy Kansas City Royals. It didn't really matter. This was just another story for Price to add to his running list of how his trade to the Detroit Tigers turned into an opportunity to watch one of the best right-handed hitters ever do things with a bat few can do – and in the clubhouse, too.

    "It's been the coolest thing about being here: seeing Miggy every day," Price said. "I'll always have the utmost respect for him, but seeing what he is

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  • The radar gun never lies. It is baseball's ultimate arbitrator, impartial by nature and honest to the point of brutality. It has rendered every Jered Weaver start this season a festival of incredulity, as if there's no way he really could be throwing this slowly.

    Only here we are, in May, four full weeks of the baseball season past, and Weaver – 20-game winner and Cy Young runner-up within the past half-decade – is averaging around 83 miles per hour with his fastball. Considering the biggest in-season leap from April to the end of the year last year was 1.2 mph, the prospect of the 32-year-old Weaver regaining his velocity grows unlikelier by the day.

    In certain parts of Texas, Weaver's fastball could travel along the interstate at its regular speed and not even draw an eye-blink from a state trooper, let alone a ticket. Of the 101 regular starting pitchers this season who throw changeups, 63 have intentionally slow pitches that move faster on average than a Weaver fastball. Since

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  • 10 Degrees: Cubs are contenders as rookies thrive amid standout class

    Mark Prior was viral before viral existed, appointment viewing before the DVR, the proto-prospect. Certainly there were next big things before Prior, but his arrival with the Chicago Cubs hailed a shift in baseball, and especially baseball fandom, toward a culture in which fetishizing players before they've taken a single at-bat or thrown a single pitch in the major leagues is not just validated but expected.

    With the Chicago Cubs' cadre of prospects causing -gasms of all manner and variety at Wrigley Field, it's amazing to think Prior prompted the same sort of frenzy in a world without social media and hashtags. May 22, 2002, wasn't #PriorDay; it was the arrival of the No. 2 pick in the draft from the year before, one of the most polished college pitchers in memory, a 21-year-old who struck out 79 over the 51 minor league innings he needed before arriving. Chicago teemed with excitement and expectation that night and showed why it's every bit the equal of New York and San Francisco

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  • Sources: Angels nearing deal to send Josh Hamilton to Rangers

    The Los Angeles Angels are nearing a deal that would send outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Texas Rangers, ending a tenuous relationship that boiled over after a drug relapse and reuniting the one-time star with the team with which he won an MVP award, industry sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Josh Hamilton enjoyed his best seasons with the Rangers. (AP)Josh Hamilton enjoyed his best seasons with the Rangers. (AP)The Rangers are expected to pay around $15 million of the more than $80 million that is owed to Hamilton through 2017, with the Angels paying the difference, sources said.

    While the return for Hamilton is unknown, it ends weeks of discussions that at one point centered on a potential buyout of  Hamilton’s contract, sources said.

    Hamilton’s Super Bowl weekend relapse followed two underperforming seasons with the Angels, and owner Arte Moreno and other team officials repeatedly voiced displeasure with Hamilton – particularly after he won a grievance and avoided suspension for violating the drug program put in place more than a decade ago.

    Now 33, Hamilton turned into a superstar in Texas, where the Rangers

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  • The Mets are back, and they want to show they're the best team in New York

    Baseball is better when the New York Mets are good, when they're winning 11 straight games and sporting the best record in the major leagues and giving the Subway Series the sort of juice it warrants. Meaningful April baseball is a tried-and-true oxymoron, and yet here we are, with baseball's biggest, baddest franchise ready to play host to the little brother that may well be its superior.

    Not since 2008 have the New York Yankees and Mets faced off during a season in which both teams were playoff contenders, a drought attributable to the Mets and Mets alone. Rebuilding carries a particularly palpable stench, and it affixed itself to the Mets for far too long. Exactly zero Mets on the active roster played in that last Subway Series of consequence. The only Yankees are Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner.

    Their divergence since is stark, and it speaks to the care with which the Mets have constructed themselves. Forget the winning streak, which is dotted with mediocre opposing starters.

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  • 10 Degrees: Should Yanks pay A-Rod $6M bonus for reaching Willie Mays' 660 HR mark?

    Trouble always finds Alex Rodriguez, even when he's doing everything he can to avoid it. Of the many surprises since the baseball season dawned in February, among the unlikeliest has been A-Rod, good citizen. He took his punishment for steroid use, lying and general chicanery, mended his body and returned as an exemplary teammate who happens to be swinging like a near-prime version of himself.

    Every whit of success comes with a price, of course. With his four home runs this season – every one of them a no-doubter, lest anyone think he's just sneaking balls over the fence – Rodriguez stands two swings away from tying Willie Mays' 660 mark for fourth on the all-time home run list. Once he hits the mark, it triggers a clause in his contract that calls for a $6 million bonus. Alex Rodriguez is two homers shy of tying Willie Mays' all-time mark of 660. (AP) Alex Rodriguez is two homers shy of tying Willie Mays' all-time mark of 660. (AP)

    Lest you think it ends there, just remember: This is A-Rod, and these are the New York Yankees, and the sight of him wearing the uniform of a team he dislikes is just as amusing as the team that dislikes writing him

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