Archive for January, 2009

Orioles Should Trade For Rich Hill….

January 31, 2009

It has been rumored that the Cubs and Orioles are discussing a Rich Hill trade. If I was the Orioles I would move on this as quickly as possible. Hill is a classic “change of scenery” guy. Hill will never regain his confidence as long as he is in the Cubs organization and a change of scenery would do him good.

In 2007 Hill was a rising star in the Cubs organization going 11-8, striking out 183, while only giving up 170 hits in 195 innings. Much was expected of Hill headed into the 2008 season but a case of “Mark Wohlers” disease raised the ire of Lou Pinella and Hill was sent down to the minors.

Now, with Hill out of options the Cubs are looking to unload the 28 year old lefty. If the Orioles were to acquire Hill this would be a zero risk deal for them. Maybe Hill can never regain his 2007 form, maybe be can. But for a low level prospect and Hill’s salary of $445,000, it’s a risk the Orioles should definitely take.

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Brewers Rotation Looks To Rebuild….

January 31, 2009

Last year the Milwaukee Brewers made the post-season for the first time since the “Harvey Wallbanger” Brewers of 1982 made it all the way to the World Series. A lot of the Brewers success last year was fueled by their starting rotation. The Brewers finished 3rd in starters era in 2008 and were led by staff aces, CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets.

2009, however poses a new challenge for the Brewers rotation. Sabathia took the Yankees money and ran and Sheets is a free agent still looking for a team. So can the 2009 Brewers starting rotation replace those 24 wins Sabathia and Sheets left behind? Let’s take a look at the Brewers 5 man rotation headed into 2009.

1. Yovani Gallardo Gallardo missed most of the 2008 season with a torn ACL he suffered during a May 1st start against the Cubs. Gallardo was able to make it back in September and started 2 out of the 4 games against the Phillies in the NLDS. Fully healthy headed into 2009, Gallardo will be counted on to replace Ben Sheets and be the staff’s ace. That is a lot to ask a 23 year old.

If there is one thing Gallardo has done in his brief time in the majors, is prove that he can pitch. In 20 starts in 2007, Gallardo was 9-5 with a 3.67 era and in just 4 starts last year, Gallardo had a 1.88 era. If Gallardo can give the Brewers 30 starts in 2009, then 15 wins and an era in the mid-3’s is very attainable for this young superstar.

2. Manny Parra – Parra is probably best known for his August scuffle with teammate Prince Fielder. That is unfortunate because Parra is a very talented young pitcher. The Brewers 2007 Minor League Pitcher of the Year will be asked to have the same success in 2009 as he did in the first half of 2008. Parra was 8-2 with a 3.78 era in the 1st half before he suffered a 2nd half swoon which resulted with a trip to the bullpen.

The key for Parra is to harness his control (75 BB in 166 IP) and stay ahead in the count. When Parra was ahead in the count he had a 3.25 era and when he had a batter either 0-1, 1-2 or 0-2, they hit .214 against Parra. I think inconsistency still might plague Parra in 2009 but 10-13 wins and an era in the high 3’s is doable

3. Jeff Suppan – Suppan turned a miracle performance as the 2006 NLCS MVP into a 4 yr $42MM contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. What have the Brewers gotten in their 1st 2 years of this investment? A 22-22 record and a 4.79 era. This should be surprising to no one as Suppan has always been a mediocre pitcher as his lifetime record of 128-123 indicates.

Suppan at this point in his career should be a #4 or #5 starter. Unfortunately for the Brewers he is their #3. Expect Suppan to put up 9-10 wins, 10-12 losses and an era hovering around the 5 mark for 2009

4. Dave Bush – Bush has been a pretty serviceable pitcher for the Brewers going 33-31 in his 3 years with the club. Bush’s biggest moment as a Brewer came in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Phillies in a must win game. Bush hurled 5.1 solid innings only allowing 1 run on 5 hits and got the win to keep the Brewers alive for at least one more day.

Bush has more potential at this point in his career than Suppan so a surprise year could always happen. But I doubt it. Bush will most likely go his usual 12-10 with an era of 4.20 in 2009

5. Seth McClung –This is where the Brewers could use some help. McClung belongs in the bullpen but because of lack of depth, McClung will the be the #5 starter headed into 2009. McClung shined down the stretch for the Brewers in 08 posting a 1.10 era in 16 innings in Sept and Oct. Of course most of those innings were tossed from the pen.

5-8 wins should be expected from McClung in the #5 spot in the rotation. If the Brewers are in contention come July, Doug Melvin wouldn’t be shy about pulling the trigger. That would allow McClung to be back were he excelled in 2008…..the Bullpen

As you can see the Brewers starting rotation isn’t as in shambles as everyone makes it out to seem. While there is no denying they will miss Sabathia but if Parra continues to develop and Gallardo becomes the ace everyone think he can be, the Brewers might be in contention for a playoff spot yet again in the National League

Red Sox Re-sign The Captain….

January 30, 2009

As reported first by Jon Heyman of SI.com, Jason Varitek has re-signed with the Boston Red Sox for 1 yr $5MM deal with an option for 2010.

the captain will be returning for his 14th season in a Red Sox uniform

the captain will be returning for his 13th season in a Red Sox uniform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Varitek is back where belongs. Behind the plate, catching for the Boston Red Sox. I am not sure why this took so long. No team was going to sign a 36 year old catcher and on top of that give up a 1st round pick because Varitek was a Type A Free Agent. If Varitek wasn’t the captain of the Red Sox and hadn’t meant so much to the team, there is a chance Varitek could have been facing a similar situation to that of Ivan Rodriguez, which would be being forced into retirement.

The re-signing of Varitek doesn’t mean the Red Sox still won’t pursue a long-term option at catcher. One thing Theo Epstein has always tried to do when assembling the Red Sox is try to be better than “major league” average at each position. The duo of Jason Varitek and Josh Bard are currently below major league average.

Look for the Red Sox to continue their pursuit of Miguel Montero and Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Weighing In On The Garland Signing….

January 29, 2009

One of my favorite writers, Rob Neyer likes the Diamondbacks signing of Jon Garland.

One of my favorite sites, Fangraphs.com hates the signing.

So where do I weigh in with the Diamondbacks signing of RHP Jon Garland to a 1 year deal with a mutual option for 2010? I agree with Rob Neyer and like this signing.

Now I know all about the negatives with signing Garland. K/9 in decline, high era of 4.90 in 08, is he better than Randy Johnson at this point? and a ground ball pitcher with potentially a bad infield defense behind him.

While I am much of a fan of stats as the next baseball fan, sometimes you have to throw them out the window. Despite not looking pretty the majority of the time, all Garland does is win. He is 106-89 lifetime and was clutch in the White Sox World Series run of 2005.

Garland will be Arizona’s #3 starter (behind Webb and Haren) headed into the season. I will take 12-14 wins, 200+ innings and a guy who just knows how to win from my 3rd starter any day of the week

Looking At Fantasy Closers In 2009…

January 29, 2009

I have always considered closers like kickers in the NFL. There are 5 or 6 great ones, some very good ones, some good ones and then there are ones I wouldn’t draft for my worst enemy. By using this theory, I have ranked all 30 current closers into different divisions. The guys who you should definitely take and the guys you shouldn’t.  Let’s take a look were the current crop of closers will fall in 2009.

Dennis Eckersley Division

These are your cream-of-the-crop, top closers headed into 2009. These guys are #1 closer material in any fantasy league

1. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets – Krod, who broke Bobby Thigpen’s record for saves with 62 in 2008 with the Angels will now attempt to close out games in Flushing. While many people point to Krod’s diminished strike out rate (declined every year since 04) and his rising BAA (increased every year in the majors), it’s not like Krod had 62 saves with a 4.50 era. Krod’s era was still a dominant 2.24. With the Mets offering their closers plenty of save opportunities (72 in 08), Krod figures to close 45-50 games in 09.

2. Mariano Rivera, Yankees – Many thought the 2007 was the beginning of the decline for the great Rivera because of a 3.15 era (highest since he became a reliever). 2008 proved that was anything but the case. The 39 year old had one of the best seasons of his career, netting 39 saves with a paultry 1.40 era. If all is well from off-season shoulder surgery, Rivera once again will be one of the top closers in 2009.

3. Joe Nathan, Twins – Nathan, one of the most consistent closers in baseball had another stellar year in 2008 with 39 saves anda 1.33 era. You can pretty much pencil in the Stony Brook product 35-40 saves with an era under 2.

4. Joakim Soria, Royals – “The Mexecutioner” burst onto the scene in 2009 for Royals posting 42 saves with a nice 1.60 era. The 24 year old has been practically unhittable since reaching the majors in 2007 as he has only given up 85 hits in 136.1 innings. Soria should be a top 5 fantasy closer again in 2009

5. Brad Lidge, Phillies – Lidge had a season for the ages in 2008, going a perfect 41/41 in save opportunities. While I don’t expect Lidge to be perfect again in 2009, he should once again be one of the top closers in baseball as the Phillies figure to contend in the NL East.

6. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox –The Red Sox closer set a career high in saves in 2008 with 41. Fantasy owners only concern with Papelbon would be he threw a career high 79.1 innings last year including the post season. Look to see what Papelbon does in April. If he is strong through April, then a typical Papelbon season is in order

Tom Henke Division

The next 4 are right under the great closers but will still put up solid numbers for you in 2009

7. Jose Valverde, Astros – Finished 2nd in baseball in saves with 44, high era of 3.38 but lots of K’s with 83

8. Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers –With Saito off to Boston, Broxton takes over as the full-time closer in LA. 35-40 saves with 80+ K’s is more than doable in 2009

9. Francisco Cordero, Reds –With the Reds improved in 2009, Cordero might reach the 40 save mark. Something Cordero has done twice before. Unfortunately, Cordero’s usually high era will leave him out of the top 6

10. Kerry Wood, Indians – One of the better season signings in baseball, Wood gives something Cleveland hasn’t had in a very long time….A LEGIT CLOSER. There is always an injury risk when picking Wood but if healthy Wood is certainly a top 10 closer. I like 35+ saves for Wood in 2009

Jeff Montgomery Division

The perfect #2 fantasy closer. These next 5 guys are perfect #2 closers

11. Bobby Jenks, White Sox – How does a guy who throws 98 mph only strike out 5.55 guys every 9 innings? Just doesn’t make sense.

12. BJ Ryan, Blue Jays – Ryan isn’t the strike out pitcher he used to be but he still knows how to save a game. Pencil in 30+ saves again for Ryan in 2009.

13. Huston Street, Rockies –I am on the Huston Street bandwagon this year. A fresh start with the Rockies and this being an odd year, Street should have a nice bounce back year. Street, like Bret Saberhagen pitches very well in odd years

14. Brad Ziegler, A’s – Ziegler burst onto the scene last year by starting off his career with a 39 inning scoreless streak. I expect Ziegler’s era to increase from 1.06 to around the high 2 mark in 09. With the A’s very much improved expect Ziegler to register 25-30 saves

15. Brian Fuentes, Angels –I am not sold on Fuentes as most people are. He lost his closers role in 07 only to gain in back in 08. With Shields and Arredando looking over Fuentes’ shoulder it will be interestingto see how Fuentes fairs. The Angels offer a lot of opportunities for saves so 30+ saves with an era in the high 2’s is not out of the question

Armando Benitez Division

These guys can get you saves but when you need them the most they will blow a big one in September

16. Brian Wilson, Giants – 41 saves, 4.65 era in 2008

17. Trevor Hoffman, Brewers – It will be weird to see Hoffman in a Brewers uniform. At this stage of his career Hoffman will get his saves, perhaps 25-30 with an era of around 4.50

18. Matt Capps, Pirates – Good for 15-25 saves on once again a very bad Pirates team

19. Mike Gonzalez, Braves – Had 14 saves in 36 games in 2008. High era of 4.28. Injury always a concern with Gonzalez

20. George Sherrill, Orioles –1st time closer in 2008, Sherrill had 31 saves before an injury ended his season. Lots of hits and a high era is something to be wary of in 2009

Al Reyes Division

These closers are usually 8th inning set-up types that are forced into the closers role because the team has no one else. These are the guys you only draft if you desperately need to fill a closers spot

21. Brandon Lyon, Tigers

22. Dan Wheeler, Rays

23. Chad Qualls, Diamondbacks

24. Heath Bell, Padres

25. Ryan Franklin, Cardinals

26. Joel Hanrahan, Nationals

27. CJ Wilson, Rangers

28. Tyler Walker, Mariners – With the Heilman trade yesterday, it looks like Walker might get the 1st shot at the closers role. Officially the worst closer in baseball headed into 2009.

Octavio Dotel Division

These are the 2 question marks going into the season. Great as 8th inning set up guys but are now asked to close games. Big difference between the 8th and 9th innings. These guys can either be in the Tom Henke division or the Armando Benitez division

?. Carlos Marmol, Cubs – Only 3 other relievers were in more games than Marmol was in 2008. Will the over use of last year come back to bite the Cubs this year? I am not sure if Marmol has the mental make up to be a closer, especially in Wrigleyville. I will go with 33 saves, an era in the low 3’s and a lot of tums for Sweet Lou

?. Matt Lindstrom, Marlins – As I wrote in my post about the Marlins, Lindstrom is the X factor for the team in 2009. I like Lindstrom more than Marmol because of less pressure in Florida and Lindstrom proved he can do the job by going 5-5 in September. I like 25 saves and an era in the mid 2’s for Lindstrom

Norm Charlton Division

Top set up guys who are waiting in the wings and could fill in adequately if something happened to the current closer

1. Kevin Gregg, Cubs

2. Scot Shields, Angels

3. JJ Putz, Mets

4. Ryan Madsen, Phillies

5. Grant Balfour, Rays

Mark Davis 1989 Division

This is for the one guy who I will think have that ridiculous year, seemingly out of nowhere. Good the year before and this year explodes on the scene

Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers –As I mentioned earlier, I really like Broxton this year. The Dodgers offered their closers 55 save opportunities last year, so racking up saves shouldn’t be a problem for this 24 year old. Playing in the NL West, the worst division in baseball should help Broxton dominate in 2009

Baseball’s Best Defensive Catchers…

January 28, 2009

In the next installment of “Baseball’s Best” we’ll take a look at baseball’s best defensive catchers. Having a great defensive catcher behind the plate makes all the difference in the game of baseball. Having a guy behind the plate who can block balls in the dirt, throw out runners and can handle a pitching staff from top to bottom is a luxury few teams have.

However, there are 10 teams that have guys behind the plate who I consider the best at what they do. In order to see who the best is, I used a point system based on 4 categories. Unlike the baseball’s best bullpen post where the highest point total determined the best, in this case the lowest point score determined the best.

The 4 categories are as followed:

1. Errors – 10 points

2. Passed Balls Allowed – 10 points

3. Caught Stealing % – 10 points

4. CERA (Catchers ERA) – 10 points

10 – 7. Yadier Molina, Bengie Molina, Brian Schneider, Kurt Suzuki

5 (tied). Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks (24 Points) – Not only did Snyder arrive at the plate in 2008 (.237/16/68/.348 ) but Snyder also arrived withthe glove as well. Snyder was the only catcher in baseball last year who qualified for the fielding % title to have a perfect fielding % of .1000 and Snyder also finished 4th in CERA with 3.85

5 (tied). Dioner Navarro, Rays (24 Points) – Navarro isn’t spectacular in any category but is good in all 4. One of the keys to the Rays World Series run last year, Navarro threw out 38% of would-be base runners in 2008.

4 (tied). Joe Mauer, Twins (19 Points) – As we all know Mauer is one of the best hitters in baseball. His 2 batting titles in the last 3 years prove that. But what many people don’t know is that Mauer is one of the best defensive catchers in the game as well. Mauer won his 1st Gold Glove (I’ll talk about the Gold Glove later) in 2008 and only made 3 errors in 886 total chances.

4 (tied). Jason Kendell, Brewers (19 Points) –  If there was a workhorse award for a catcher, Kendell would win it going away. Kendell caught more games than any other catcher in baseball last year (149) and caught more innings than any catcher in baseball (1,328.1). Catching the most games doesn’t make you a great defensive catcher but throwing out 42% of base runners does. Kendell also had an outstanding CERA of 3.86 in 2008

2. Jose Molina, Yankees (15 Points) – Living in NY I have had the opportunity to watch a lot of Yankee games in the last couple of years and I can tell you first hand the difference between Jorge Posada and Jose Molina defensively is the difference in looks between Oprah Winfrey and Heidi Klum. Molina had a banner year defensively in Posada’s absence in 2008. Out of these 10 catchers, Molina finished 1st in caught stealing % (44%), 2nd in CERA (3.70) and 7th in errors (3). It will be interesting to see how many games Molina plays in 2009 due to a returning Posada. One thing you can’t argue, the Yankees are a much better defensive team when Molina is in the lineup.

1. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays (13 Points) – Barajas had an amazing 2008 behind the plate. Barajas finished 1st in CERA (3.31), 10th in passed balls allowed (2) and 7th in errors (4). What is impressive is that those 2 passed balls came in 785 innings. Barajas started 90 games last year but should see more playing time in 2009 with the departure of Gregg Zaun to the Orioles.

A couple of things that I realized as I was doing this:

1. How amazing are the Molina brothers? To have 3 brothers who are all in the major leagues and to have all 3 brothers play the catching position, one of the hardest positions in sports is truely amazing. Are there any 3 brothers in any sport who played the same position?

2. How on earth did Yadier Molina win the Gold Glove last year? As I was doing this I started to realize that Molina was actually pretty bad defensively last year. In just 114 games behind the plate, Molina made more errors (10) than any other catcher in baseball not named Russell Martin, had one of the worst CERA’s (4.25) and had just as many passed balls as Jason Kendell and Giovani Soto in 200 less innings caught. I guess the Gold Glove doesn’t mean as much as it used to

Pettitte’s Fantasy Value…

January 27, 2009

The New York Yankees today re-signed Andy Pettitte to a 1 year, $5.5MM deal with the potential to reach $12MM if Pettitte reaches certain incentives. Pettitte returns to the Yankees as their 4th starter behind CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang and AJ Burnett. He should be no higher than your 4th pitcher on your fantasy team either.

Pettitte, who will be 37 in June had a dismal 2nd half last year going 4-7 with a 5.35 era. However, he still managed to win 14 games on the season. With the Yankees offense figuring to score a lot of runs yet again in 2009, Pettitte should have no problem reaching the 13-14 win mark in 2009. At this point in his career, wins will be only category Pettitte will be valuable in.

Pettitte’s BAA (Batting avg. against) has increased every year since 2004 and his era was almost a half a run higher (4.54) last year than in was in 2007. This trend would make you think his era would increase yet again in 2009. Last year also marked the 3rd straight year Pettitte gave up 230+ hits. Yet another trend that should be expected to continue in 2009.

Here what you should expect from Pettitte in 2009:

W – 13

L – 12

era – 4.80

IP – 195

H – 234

K – 140

Marlins Looking For Another Playoff Run….

January 26, 2009

There are a lot of things you can buy for $32MM. You can buy this Miami Penthouse for $22MM and have $10MM left over for furniture, you can buy Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol for 1 year or if you are a really big racing fan you can buy Jeff Gordon.  But for the Florida Marlins $32MM might buy them a division title in 2009.

$32MM is the projected 2009 payroll for the Marlins in 2009, by far the lowest in baseball. However, despite the lack of payroll the Marlins may be competing for the NL East division title with the Mets, Phillies and Braves. The Marlins are looking to build off of their solid 84-77 record in 2008 but like every team in baseball, the Marlins have their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s look at the 2009 Marlins

Strengths

Power – In 2008 the Marlins ranked 2nd in the NL in hr’s (208), tied for 3rd in slugging % (.433) and 5th in runs (770). Despite the loss of Mike Jacobs and his 32 hr, the Marlins should have no problem hitting the long ball in 2009. The 2009 version of the Marlins lineup could feature 6 guys who could hit 20+ hr’s. Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu, Jeremy Hermida and Dallas McPherson all could pop 20+ hr’s this year

Starting Pitching – The next wave of young flame throwers developed by the Marlins is upon us.  Led by Ricky Nolasco the Marlins rotation this year goes 5 deep and all their pitchers have tremendous potential.

Ricky Nolasco – The staff ace, Nolasco enjoyed a breakout year last year going 15-8 with a 3.52 era in 212.1 innings

Josh Johnson – Power throwing righty returned from injuries in 2008 and went 7-1 with a 3.61 era

Chris Volstad – The 16th pick of the 2005 draft, Volstadwent 6-4 in his rookie year in 2008 with a 2.88 era in 14 starts for the Marlins

Anibal Sanchez – Career 14-9 record with a 3.86 era. Threw a no-hitter against the Diamondbacks in 2006

Andrew Miller – The key pitcher in the Miguel Cabrera trade, the former 1st round pick may have more potential than anyone on the staff

Weaknesses

Defense – To say the Marlins are bad defensively would be an understatement. They ranked 2nd in the NL in errors with 117 andfinished tied for last in fielding % with a .980 mark. Things don’t expect to get better in 2009 with an infield of Cantu, Uggla, Ramirez and McPherson all below average defenders.

Contact – No team in the NL struck out more than the Marlins did in 2008. The Marlins failed to make contact with 2 strikes, 1,370 times. By far and away the most in the NL. Teams that have trouble advancing runners, working pitchers and getting runners home from 3rd with less than 2 outs because of strike outs, usually have a tough time winning baseball games

X-Factors 

Cameron Maybin – If Andrew Miller was the key pitcher in the Miguel Cabrera trade, then Cameron Maybin WAS the key. The 21 year old former Futures Game Selection will be given every chance to be the Marlins starting CF in 2009. In a brief cup-of-coffee with the Marlins in 2008, Maybin hit .500 in 32  along with 4 stolen bases. Bill James projects Maybin a .276/16/58 hitter with 32 stolen bases and 86 runs scored. If the Marlins get this from Maybin in 2009, watch out

Matt Lindstrom – Lindstrom takes over the Marlins closing role after last year’s closer, Kevin Gregg was shipped to the Cubs. After Gregg melted down in August (0-4, 10.13 era), Lindstrom was made the closer in September and responded. Lindstrom in a small sample size in September went 5-5 in save opportunities with a 1.74 era. If Lindstrom can have continued success in the closers role, it will stabilize the rest of the pen

Outlook

The Marlins are built more like a beer league softball team with bombers and poor defense rather than a division winner. The difference however is the Marlin’s pitching staff won’t be serving up softballs in 2009. The 2009 Marlins will only go as far as their starting pitching and defense will take them.

Look for the Marlins to battle with the Phillies for the NL East title.

Not bad for $32MM.

Brandon Lyon As A Closer?….

January 25, 2009

It was reported by the Detroit Free Press that the Detroit Tigers have signed free agent pitcher Brandon Lyon to a 1 year, $4.25MM contract and will compete for the team’s closer role. While agree signing Lyon might help the Tigers improve their 27th ranked bullpen (they need all the help they can get), I don’t believe Lyon should be competing for a closers role on any team.

Bottom line: Brandon Lyon can’t close. There are certain pitchers who are made for the 8th inning and there are certain pitchers made for the 9th inning. Lyon falls into the category of 8th inning pitchers.  The proof is in the pudding. All you need to do is look at Lyon in 05 and 08 when he was a closer….

                       IP       H       K       SV       ERA       BAA

05                  29.1    44      17     14       6.44       .341

08                  59.1    75      44     26       4.70       .301   

…..And when he was a set-up man in 06 and 07

                      IP        H       K      HLD      ERA      BAA

06                  69.1    68      46     23        3.89      .258

07                  74        70      40    35        2.68      .251  

Eric Karabell  set the bar at over 30 saves for Lyon. I will take the under on that bet. Even if Lyon does win the closer job, the chances of him keeping it for the entire year are slim. If Lyon couldn’t close out games in the NL, what makes anyone think he can close in the AL.

Baseball’s Best Home Field Advantage….

January 24, 2009

I woke up this morning and turned on the MLB Network to watch their “Hot Stove” program. During the show Harold Reynolds said the Twins had the best home-field advantage not only in baseball but in all of sports. That is a pretty bold statement. Now I am not sure if I agree with the Twins having the best home-field advantage in ALL of sports, as you can make the case for Duke’s Cameron Indoor,  Green Bay’s Lambeau Field or Seattle’s Quest Field. However, this got me thinking…who has the best home-field advantage in all of baseball?

There are a lot of teams in baseball that have no home-field advantage such as the Marlins, Rangers and Padres but there are 10 teams that when a team steps on their field there is a definite advantage. Let’s see who they are

10 – 6: Orioles, Indians, Phillies, Brewers, Cardinals

5. Coors Field, Rockies – Since Coors Field opened in 1995, the Rockies have been one of the best home teams in baseball as their lifetime record of 628 – 518  at Coors Field indicates. But what gives the Rockies a tremendous home-field advantage is what gives all teams from Colorado (Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche) an advantage….The altitude. Coors Field is 1 mile above sea level and when teams come in for a short 3 game series, it’s hard to adjust to the altitude change.

4. Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Angels – Angels Stadium(previously called Edison International Field) really came alive during the Angel’s 2002 World Series run. That year fans and the Yankess, Twins and Giants were introduced to the Rally Monkey, 43,250 fans wearing red and thundersticks. Those factor make Angels Stadium a nightmare for teams to play.

3. Yankee Stadium, Yankees – The tradition, the ghosts and raucous new yorkers give the Yankees the ultimate home-field advantage in October.  I don’t think there is a pitcher on the planet who would find it easy to get the final 3 outs against the Yankees in October. Just ask Byung-Hyun Kim. I would have the Yankees higher if A. 2004 didn’t happen and B. they weren’t moving into a new stadium. It will be interesting to see if the ghosts moved over to the new stadium or if they were left behind.

2.Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox – 456 (and counting) consecutive sellouts, the crowd right on top of the players, and the presence of the Green Monster make Fenway Park an opposing place for visiting teams. Having a sold out crowd every game gives the Red Sox an advantage during those dog days of July and August. Red Sox captain Jason Varitek echoes those sentiments….

           “Just, every day, they’ve brought excitement,” Varitek said. “You have a lot of days throughout a season — you’re dragging, down, you’re tired, you’re sore, you’re hurt — and that energy sometimes brings you through those tough moments.”

While the Rockies, Angles, Yankees and Red Sox have good home-field advantages, they don’t have the best one. That honor goes to….

1. The Metrodome, Twins – One of my earliest memories of baseball was Kent Hrbek’s grand slam against the Cardinals in game 6 of the 1987 World Series. That game was played in the Metrodome and I remember thinking to myself as I watched that game, “wow, these fans are loud.” The Twins won that game and have won all 8 World Series games played in the Metrodome. The Homer Hankies, the fast turf, the white dome and of course perhaps the loudest fans in baseball make the Metrodome the ultimate home-field advantage for the Twins. Unfortunately, the Twins will be moving into a new stadium in 2010, Target Field which will be an outdoor stadium. Once the Metrodome closes its doors for baseball, the best home-field advantage will be closed with it.

It’s not often I agree with what Harold Reynolds opinion but in this case I believe he correct in saying the Twins have the best home-field advantage in baseball.