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.

  • Prospect Heat Check: Why baseball's draft takes so long to produce stars

    Never will baseball's amateur draft pack even a fractional amount of the intrigue football's and basketball's do because of the delayed-gratification factor. The luckiest baseball players – not the best, but the most fortunate – bide their time for a year in the minor leagues. And the rest spend years of what amounts to letting their tannins soften.

    Maybe – and a big maybe – one or two players drafted this week will arrive in the major leagues this season. And another couple next year. Baseball's development system is a long game, and the finest talents take their sweet time to arrive. Even someone as preternaturally good as Carlos Correa, the Houston Astros' new shortstop, spent nearly three full years in the minor leagues despite going No. 1 overall in 2012. While most of last year was lost to injury, Correa wasn't going to arrive in Houston even if he were healthy.

    So the theme of this draft, and every draft, is patience. Stars will emerge over the next half-decade. For now, though,

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  • 10 Degrees: Fan safety is paramount, and baseball is failing badly at it

    Whenever Susan Rhodes goes for a run, she passes by a park with a baseball field, and anxiety courses through her body. All it takes to remind her of the worst moment of her life – when the barrel of a baseball bat helicoptered into her face and broke her jaw – is the simple sight of a dirt-covered diamond.

    "I would never in a million years go to another baseball game," Rhodes told Yahoo Sports on Sunday from her Los Angeles-area home. "Never, never, never. It's a freaky feeling when I even see it. I have flashbacks."

    Tonya Carpenter remains in a hospital after being hit in the head with a broken bat at a Red Sox game. (AP)Tonya Carpenter remains in a hospital after being hit in the head with a broken bat at a Red Sox game. (AP)

    The effects of Rhodes' injury – suffered from the spiraling detritus of a broken bat flying into the stands at Dodger Stadium – tormented her for years. And even now, as a Boston-area woman named Tonya Carpenter remains in a hospital in serious condition after getting struck in the head by a catapulting barrel Friday – Rhodes wonders why baseball still refuses to run protective netting around the most perilous areas for broken bats as well as line-drive balls.

    "In front

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  • The tale of Salvador Perez and his bargain-basement deal

    Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is the best bargain in the big leagues, his five-year, $7 million contract with three club options running through 2019. And like Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun, all standard bearers who signed young, Perez is hoping to renegotiate his deal in the near future.

    “I want to stay here,” Perez told Yahoo Sports. “I want to spend my career here. That’s the team that gave me an opportunity when I was 16 years old. …

    “I don’t like to think about that [contract]. But in the back of my head, I start to think about it. Hopefully, they can do something different to me.”

    Salvador Perez is perhaps the best value in baseball. (Getty)Salvador Perez is perhaps the best value in baseball. (Getty)The 25-year-old Perez, the leading vote-getter in American League All-Star balloting, is on the cusp of his third All-Star Game and has won back-to-back Gold Gloves. Among players 25 and younger, he has the seventh-most Wins Above Replacement, behind Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman – three of whom have

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  • Why Cleveland has the best – and most futuristic – rotation in baseball

    Part of life as a small-market, low-revenue team like the Cleveland Indians is experimentation. Papering over mistakes with more cash simply isn’t an option, so it forces creativity, ingenuity and, most important, unanimity. No organization in baseball embraces and applies new ideas quite like the Indians, and what’s already the richest starting staff in the game is bound to get better because of it.

    With Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, who starts Thursday night in a series-wrapping game against Kansas City, the Indians have four of the most desirable – and rarest – commodities in baseball: hard-throwing, strikeout-producing, young, under-control starting pitchers. The single most misleading statistic of the 2015 season is the ERA of Indians starting pitchers.

    Trevor Bauer thinks the Indians' rotation can rival some of history's best. (Getty)Trevor Bauer thinks the Indians' rotation can rival some of history's best. (Getty)Take that alone, and the Indians’ staff is downright awful: 4.42, which ranks 20th in baseball. Strip away the Indians’ mediocre gloves, though, and use what pitchers can control – home runs, walks

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  • 10 Degrees: Trade season will be a test for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

    The Philadelphia Phillies, an ill-constructed, iller-conceived punch line of a baseball team, are gearing up to enhance their disastrousness even further. June is nigh, which gives us the gift of trade season, that glorious intersection of truth, fiction and feverish, carpal tunnel-inducing refresh-button clicks on MLB Trade Rumors.

    Starring in this summer’s show is Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies’ general manager who has overseen the systematic implosion of a franchise that won five consecutive National League East titles. A half-decade streak of dominance is impressive. The ability to turn upwards of half a billion dollars into a pair of 73-win seasons and wherever this year ends up when it’s done circling the toilet bowl is eminently tougher.

    How Amaro has kept one of the best gigs in baseball is the sort of business-school case study that belongs alongside New Coke. The Phillies have the worst run differential in baseball at minus-70 and are on pace to lose 102 games – and that’s

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  • 10 Degrees: The next baseball revolution is here, and spin is in

    Sometime this summer, Major League Baseball’s website plans on unveiling the treasure trove of information its new Statcast system has collected. For anyone interested in the game, from geeks to casual fans, the data dump represents a watershed moment: Baseball is reigniting the ability to better understand things thought long understood.

    Already, thanks to MLB’s At-Bat app and the enterprising Daren Willman of BaseballSavant.com, we’ve seen a smattering of information on the speed of batted balls. The data has been illuminating in a vacuum – the idea that Giancarlo Stanton has hit two balls 120 mph this year and they’ve gone for a single and double is just fun to know – but there’s not enough there to establish patterns and understand what, exactly, we can glean from exit velocity.

    Coming in June, MLB Advanced Media hopes, are leaderboards that include batted-ball data as well as numbers that haven’t been leaked for public consumption: the spin rate on pitches. For years, a Danish

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  • Baseball teams making a mockery of Selig Rule

    The Selig Rule is a sham, a mandatory decree to promote minority hiring that conveniently ignores the mandate part, and the active disregard of it by Major League Baseball teams reached its nadir Monday when the Miami Marlins followed the path of their brethren and hired another white guy with zero managerial experience without bothering to interview another candidate.

    That the Marlins were involved in a farce of one variety or another came as no surprise. By naming general manager Dan Jennings their field manager, they copied the trend pervading baseball: handing important jobs to novice candidates while the commissioner’s office continues to rubber-stamp a systemic snuffing-out of minorities.

    New Marlins manager Dan Jennings speaks during his introductory news conference Monday. (AP)New Marlins manager Dan Jennings speaks during his introductory news conference Monday. (AP)With every trip to White Guys ‘R’ Us, baseball reinforces a dangerous idea that, even if not rooted in truth, lives understandably in the subconscious of every minority inside the game: The glass ceiling still exists, and it seems to get lower by the hire. Used to be the fear was not getting the

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  • 10 Degrees: Breaking down MLB's upcoming free-agent class – the greatest, and most expensive, ever

    In less than six months, the greatest free-agent class in baseball history will hit the open market and obliterate spending records. More than $2 billion in guaranteed money will be lavished on players, crossing that particular ceiling for the first time because of a group with unprecedented depth and top-heaviness.

    There is a chance that the 18 players listed below will crack $2 billion by themselves. It's a safe bet that together they'll exceed $1.5 billion. And considering the record spending for a free-agent class came two years ago around $1.9 billion – and that the names below do not include Wei-Yin Chen, Yovani Gallardo, Hisashi Iwakuma, Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, John Lackey, Mat Latos, Tim Lincecum, Justin Morneau, Daniel Murphy, Mike Napoli, or a single relief pitcher in a market where relief pitchers make bank – the amount by which the record is smashed could be substantial.

    And that's not even including potential Cuban defectors or Japanese and Korean players who enter

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  • 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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