Archive for June, 2009

Joey Votto And Grady Sizemore Activated From DL…

June 23, 2009

Just a quick fantasy update here. Two of my favorite players in baseball have been activated for their team’s games tonight.

The Cincinnati Reds have activated 1B Joey Votto for tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Votto was hitting .357 with eight HR’s and 33 RBI when he went to the DL. If he hadn’t gone to the DL, he probably would have been an All-Star this year.

Votto is Canadian, so this couldn’t have come at a better time since the Reds are playing the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Cleveland Indians have activated OF Grady Sizemore for tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was feared that Sizemore might be lost for the season when he first went on the DL, so this is good news for Indian fans.

Sizemore was hitting just .233 when he went on the DL, so maybe the time will help Sizemore get back on track.

Sizemore and Votto are two of the best players in the game when healthy, so they should be activated on your fantasy team before tonight’s games.

Advertisements

The Jonathan Sanchez Experiment Needs To End In San Francisco…

June 23, 2009

Thanks to the MLB package on cable and a pretty light schedule in the major leagues, I got to watch Jonathan Sanchez pitch for the San Francisco Giants against the Oakland A’s last night. After painfully watching Sanchez for 5.1 IP last night, I have come to this conclusion – The Jonathan Sanchez experiment needs to come to a sudden end in San Francisco.

Sanchez has been in the majors now for four years, and the reality is, he is not good. In four years, Sanchez has a lifetime record of 15-26 with a 5.26 ERA, an absurd 172 walks and opponents have a .359 OBP against him in 316.2 IP. All this while pitching in one of the most pitching friendly ballparks in baseball, AT&T Park. Just terrible.

Sanchez is just like Oliver Perez

Sanchez is just like Oliver Perez

He started off his career in the bullpen, and he stunk there. The Giants moved him into the starting rotation last year, and he has been equally as bad. He walks everyone, even the guys he doesn’t walk seem to have a 3-2 count, and watching him pitch is beyond frustrating. So what exactly do the Giants see in Sanchez?

Here is what the Giants see in Sanchez. They see a 26 year old, lefthanded pitcher, who throws a fastball in the 90’s, and has struck out 316 batters in 316.2 IP. Sanchez is a classic case of a team looking at the “what could be,” instead of the “what is.” Note to the San Francisco Giants – The New York Mets saw the same thing in Oliver Perez.

That is who Sanchez reminds me of, Oliver Perez. A guy who has all the tools, and who has struck out more than a batter per inning in his career (1,047 K’s in 1,021 IP). The worst part about these pitchers is that every pitching coach, every manager, and every team thinks they can fix them. And just like Perez, Sanchez can’t be fixed. He needs to be sent to the minors.

The Giants lost to the A’s last night 5-1, and Sanchez’s record fell to a disappointing 2-8. The Giants have a legit chance to make the playoffs this year. Right now, Jonathan Sanchez is not helping those chances.

New York Mets’ Carlos Beltran Headed To The DL…

June 22, 2009

According to WFAN in New York, the New York Mets will place OF Carlos Beltran on the 15 Day DL. Beltran went for a MRI today on his right knee and apparently, there was something serious enough to warrant a DL stint for Beltran. The Mets handling of injuries the last two years have been comical at best, so the explanation of why Beltran is going to the DL should be one for the ages.

First it was Carlos Delgado, then it was Jose Reyes, and now it is Carlos Beltran. The Mets offense is built around four players. The other is David Wright. When three of those four players go down, it’s almost impossible to win at the major league level.

Look at the lineup the Mets are rolling out tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a joke…

  1. Alex Cora
  2. Daniel Murphy
  3. David Wright
  4. Fernando Tatis
  5. Ryan Church
  6. Omir Santos
  7. Jeremy Reed
  8. Luis Castillo
  9. Tim Redding

The Mets will recall Fernando Martinez to replace Beltran on the roster.

Fantasy Week In Review, June 15-21…

June 22, 2009

Last week was a week for the first baseman in the National League to shine. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Derek Lee all had monster fantasy weeks.

We also saw the final straw for Daisuke Matsuzaka, a classic New York Mets injury situation and the possible end of everyone’s man crush in Texas.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the players who have me concerned and the potential pickups for the fantasy week of June 15-21.

Fantasy Studs

Albert Pujols – .389/4/11/.522. If teams continue to pitch Pujols, then there is a good chance Pujols can compete for the triple crown in the National League.

Lee is finally getting hot

Lee is finally getting hot

Prince Fielder – .391/2/11/.483. Big Prince should start making travel plans for St. Louis in July.

Derek Lee – .364/4/9. Nice for Derek Lee to join us this year.

B.J. Upton – .429/2/9 with two SB’s. Bossman Junior turned into the Big Bossman last week. He also hit one of the longest homeruns in Citi Field so far on Sunday.

Josh Johnson – 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA with just 10 hits in 16 IP. Johnson is slowly but surely becoming one of the best pitchers not only in the NL, but in all of baseball.

AJ Burnett – 1-1 with a 0.68 ERA and 16 K’s in 13.1 IP. I guess last week was one of those “glimpses of greatness” that Burnett says he shows.

Jose Valverde – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and four 4 K’s in four IP. Valverde is back and still remains one of the best closers in the NL.

David Aardsma – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and seven K’s in three IP. David Aardsma is a serviceable fantasy closer in 2009. What is this world coming to?

Reasons for Concern

Jose Reyes – Here is all you need to know about the way the New York Mets handle injuries. On Friday Mets GM Omar Minaya said Reyes started “running on the treadmill.” On Saturday, Reyes said he has done nothing of the sort. Can you now see why there is concern about Reyes coming back?

For fantasy owners who have Reyes on their team, don’t expect a return anytime soon.

Reyes has been on the DL since May 26th.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – Two weeks ago, I wrote that me and my buddy Odie thought Dice-K was toast. After his last poor excuse for a start against the Braves, not only is Dice-K toast, but now is extremely burnt toast.

Dice-K was placed on the 15 Day DL with a mild right shoulder strain. I don’t expect to see Dice-K until August. Fantasy owners can thank Bud Selig’s marketing ploy, AKA: The World Baseball Classic for this.

Mr. Whiff

Mr. Whiff

Chris Davis – .050/1/1. Okay, sooner or later something has to give with everyone’s preseason fantasy man crush. Davis had one hit last week (a HR) and struck out 9 more times bringing his total to 101 in just 222 AB’s on the season.

Davis is batting .194 and with top prospect Justin Smoak tearing up Double A pitching to the tune of .325/6/25/.444 in 41 games, I am not sure how much longer the Texas Rangers can stay with Davis.

Gerardo Parra – .148/1/3 with 10 K’s. Parra got off to a red hot start hitting .319 in May. However, things have been different for this talented rookie in June. Parra is hitting just .212 and has only five extra base hits this month.

Have pitchers finally figured out Parra or is he in just a slump? July should tell us a lot about Parra. Keep an eye on him to see if he continues to struggle.

Potential Pickups

Jason Frasor – With BJ Ryan sucking and with Scott Downs going on the DL, Frasor becomes the defacto closer in Toronto. Frasor does have a 2.19 ERA on the season, so he should be in line for a couple of saves while Downs is out.

Defense And The Bullpen Fueling The Colorado Rockies Hot Streak…

June 22, 2009
How would you like your favorite team to lose to the Colorado Rockies today? Would you like them to be beaten senseless, like the Rockies beat the St Louis Cardinals 10-1 on June 6th? Maybe you would like it better if the Rockies beat them in a close game, wire to wire like they beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on June 17th? Or perhaps you would prefer for your team to lose to the Rockies in their final at-bat, like the Rockies beat the Pirates on June 20th?

These are the questions that fans and teams alike are asking when they now face the buzzsaw known as the Colorado Rockies. That’s because the Rockies have won 16 out of their 17 games and are winning games in every way possible.

The Rockies are now 36-33 and have thrown their hat into the middle of the Wild Card race. How have the Rockies turned their season around? Many will point to the firing of Clint Hurdle on May 29th. Under new manager Jim Tracy, the Rockies are 18-5. While there is no arguing that Tracy has made an impact on the Rockies, I am going to look two other reasons why the Rockies are rolling – Defense and the bullpen.

First, the Rockies inserted rookie and super-athlete Dexter Fowler in the starting centerfield spot. Fowler can cover a ton of ground in the spacious Coors Field and has stabilized the outfield defense. He is able to get to balls that Ryan Spilborghs normally couldn’t get to.

Dexter Fowler

Dexter Fowler

This move allowed Spilborghs to move to leftfield, where he is much better suited. Brad Hawpe is still a below average fielder in right (-7.3 UZR and a 1.8 RF), but as Meatloaf once said “Two out of three ain’t bad.” Having Spilborghs in left and Fowler in center, allows Fowler to cheat more towards right center, so he can get to balls Hawpe can’t.

The second move the Rockies made to sure up the defense was to insert Ian Stewart for the player formally known as Garrett Atkins at third, and put Clint Barmes at second full-time. With Stewart and Barmes in the infield, along with the steady Todd Helton at first and the potential Gold Glove winning Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, the Rockies have one of the best defensive infields in baseball.

One of the big keys to winning baseball games, especially in Coors Field, is not give the team more than three outs in an inning. With this new defense, the Rockies are playing sound, defensive baseball and are making teams work for their runs.

The other key to the Rockies’ recent success has been there bullpen, particularly my boy, Huston Street. I say my boy because before the season, I predicted a nice bounce back year for the former University of Texas star.

Street has been on fire

Street has been on fire

There is a lot to be said for a team that has a stable closer to nail down a save in the ninth inning. It allows all the other relievers to fit into their own roles. Nobody is questioning what their role is in the pen.

Street has 16 saves in 17 opportunities this year and has really turned it on in the months of May and June. In May, Street was six for six in save opportunities with a 0.82 ERA. In June, Street is 1-0 with eight saves and a 2.79 ERA. Street has now recorded either a save or a win in 10 of his last 11 appearances.

This isn’t the first time the Rockies have gone on a streak like this. As we know, the Rockies won 20 out of 21 games in 2007 to make their first ever World Series appearance. Is there going to be another “Rocktober” in Colorado? We will just have to wait and see, but right now the Rockies are on one serious roll.

CC Sabathia Leaves Game With An Injury…

June 21, 2009

New York Yankees’ ace CC Sabathia left today’s game against the Florida Marlins with one out in the second inning because of an apparent injury. I say “apparent” because even watching the game, I am not sure exactly what was wrong with the big lefty.

After his last warm up pitch, Joe Girardi came to the mound with the Yankees’ trainer to check on CC. The YES Network showed a replay of that pitch, and nothing looked unusual.

Sabathia went on to face two batters in the second inning. Cody Ross hit a rope to centerfield for the first out. Then Sabathia gave up another rope to Brett Carroll, but this one went for a double.

What is bizarre is that after the double, Girardi and the trainer went to the mound again to check on Sabathia. You could hear Sabathia say “I am fine, I am fine.” Apparently he wasn’t because Sabathia was lifted from the game.

More on this story as it develops…

Now Playing Power Forward For The San Diego Padres, Kyle Blanks…

June 21, 2009

On Friday, the San Diego Padres called up 1B/OF Kyle Blanks to the big club. Blanks is a big-time prospect for the San Diego Padres – literally. He is 6’6″, 285 lbs. Blanks could probably play center or power forward on most NBA teams.

Blanks looks like a cross between Bartolo Colon and Andre the Giant. I would pay big money to see him play leftfield in the outfit that Andre the Giant wore when he turned bad. You know, the black trunks with the single strap across his chest – Or as me and my friends refer to it as “The Roussimoff Strap.” It would be classic.

How would you like to get a headbutt from this guy?

How would you like to get a headbutt from this guy?

But in all seriousness, Blanks is a masher and has the potential to be a very good player. He should add much needed pop to a relatively weak Padres’ lineup. In his major league debut on Saturday night, Blanks batted fifth and went 1-for-3 with a single.

My concern with Blanks is going to be his defense. Normally a first baseman, Blanks was converted into a leftfielder because Adrian Gonzalez will be occupying first base for the Padres for the foreseeable future. I am not sure how a guy 6’6″, 285 lbs is going to play leftfield in the extremely spacious Petco Park.

Here are some other facts about Kyle Blanks…

Age: 22

College: Yavapai College. Yavapai College is in Arizona for those of you, like me who have never heard of the school.

Drafted: 42nd round of the 2004 Draft

Minor League Stats

2005 Rookie Ball: .299 with seven HR’s, 30 RBI and a .420 OBP in 48 games

2006 Single A: .292 with 10 HR’s, 52 RBI and a .382 OBP in 86 games

2007 Single A+: .301 with 24 HR’s, 100 RBI and a .380 OBP in 119 games

2008 Double A: .325 with 20 HR’s, 107 RBI and a .404 OBP in 132 games

2009 Triple A: .283 with 12 HR’s, 38 RBI and a .393 OBP in 66 games

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 54 out of 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Blanks is a big human being — he’s listed at 6-6, 270 pounds, and it wouldn’t shock me to hear either figure was low. The size means two things: he has a huge strike zone, and he has raw power. Blanks has defied the odds on a guy his size by making contact and hitting for average, reducing his strikeout rate and raising his batting average two straight years despite moving up a level each year; he has good hand-eye coordination and his swing is less long than you’d expect from a 6-6 hitter.

He has a simple approach at the plate, but because he doesn’t stride into the ball, he doesn’t make maximum use of his bulk, and has less raw power than a hitter his size should have.

In the field, he’s limited to first base but should be no worse than average there; he moves around well and it’s obviously hard for anyone this side of Chuck Knoblauch to throw one over his head. His home run output hasn’t been bad — San Antonio’s a tough place to hit — but it should be better; if the Padres can get him to use his whole body better, he’ll have a chance to be a star, but it’ll probably be somewhere else with Adrian Gonzalez standing in front of him.”

I would also like to take this time to wish all the fathers out there a happy Father’s Day. Or, in the words of the immortal Ralph Kiner… “On Father’s Day, we again wish you all a happy birthday.”

Magglio Ordonez Benching Not All About Performance…

June 19, 2009

According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland has benched Magglio Ordonez “indefinitely.” What is going on this year with sluggers being benched? First it was David Ortiz, then it was Garrett Atkins (still benched) and now it is Magglio Ordonez.

Why is Magglio Ordonez being benched you ask? He is hitting .273 which isn’t terrible, but he only has two HR’s and just 22 RBI. On the year he only has 11 extra-base hits and has a pathetic slugging percentage of .343.

Ordonez was benched

Ordonez was benched

How bad has Ordonez been? His .343 slugging percentage is lower than powerhouses Asdrubal Cabrera (.427), Kurt Suzuki (.395) and Coco Crisp (.378). Not bad for the $18MM+ that the Tigers are paying Ordonez this year.

When asked about the benching, Leyland said, “I’m going to get him away from it.” He’s beating himself up. Just let him breathe a little bit and see what happens.”

Sounds quite like the speech Terry Francona gave when he benched David Ortiz earlier in the year. But unlike Ortiz, it doesn’t seem like Leyland plans on putting Ordonez back in the lineup anytime soon.

There is also could be another factor in this benching – Ordonez’s contract. The Tigers have club options for Ordonez in 2010 ($18MM) and 2011 ($15MM). The club option in 2010 is guaranteed if Ordonez has:

  • 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in 2009, or
  • 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in 2008-2009

My guess, and it’s just an educated guess, is that the Tigers will do everything they can to prevent Ordonez reach those milestones. $18MM for a 35-year-old player who has declining production is not a good contract, especially in this economy.

All player contract information is curtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Colby Rasmus: Your 2009 NL Rookie Of The Year?

June 19, 2009

Going into 2009, there were a lot of great young hitters expected to compete for the Rookie of the Year award in both leagues. We heard names like Cameron Maybin, Matt Wieters, Gordon Beckham, Travis Snider, Jordan Schafer and Elvis Andrus. But the hitter who is having who is having the best rookie campaign so far for a hitter is St Louis Cardinals’ OF, Colby Rasmus.

Heading into Friday’s action, Rasmus leads all rookies in HR with seven and RBI with 26. He also sports a .272 average and has scored 28 runs in 60 games for the red birds. Rasmus has always been a top prospect for the Cardinals, and now he is getting the opportunity to make an impact at the major league level.

The NL ROY?

The NL ROY?

His impact was felt on Wednesday night against the Detroit Tigers. Rasmus went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI in the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over the team they defeated in the 2006 World Series. The most impressive thing about Rasmus’ night is that his two RBI’s gave the Cardinals a lead on two separate occasions. That is some solid clutch hitting.

Rasmus, as long as he stays in the lineup (with LaRussa you never know) should get plenty of good pitches to hit, hitting in front of Albert Pujols. If he keeps this up, he might just be your 2009 National League Rookie of the Year.

Here are some other facts about Colby Rasmus…

Age: 22

College: None. Went to Russell County High School in Seale, AL.

Drafted: 28th pick of the first round in the 2005 Draft

Minor League Stats

2005 Rookie Ball: .296 with seven HR, 27 RBI, 13 SB’s and a .362 OBP in 62 games.

2006 Single A: .310 with 11 HR, 50 RBI, 17 SB’s and a .373 OBP in 78 games.

2006 Single A+: .254 with five HR, 35 RBI, 11 SB’s and a .351 OBP in 53 games.

2007 Double A: .275 with 29 HR’s, 72 RBI, 18 SB’s and a .381 OBP in 128 games.

2008 Triple A: .251 with 11 HR, 36 RBI, 15 SB and a .346 OBP in 90 games.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 12 out of 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Don’t hurt yourselves jumping off the Colby Rasmus bandwagon, OK? Rasmus played his entire injury-plagued 2008 season in Triple-A at age 21, and by the time he made a few adjustments and started hitting, he hit the disabled list twice and played just five more games before the season ended. (After an 0-for-22 stretch in mid-May, Rasmus hit .336/.444/.517 over 171 plate appearances until he hurt his groin on July 1.)

The scouting report on Rasmus hasn’t changed: He still has quick hands and gets the bat to the ball quickly, projects to have plus power, is an above-average runner, plays a solid center field, has the arm to play right, and shows a generally advanced feel for the game given his age.

He also has a history of good plate discipline and solid contact rates. So, please, before you send him off in endless trade proposals, remind me again what’s not to like here?”

Raul Ibanez Heads To The DL…

June 18, 2009

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the Philadelphia Phillies will place Raul Ibanez on the 15 Day DL because of a strained groin.

It’s been a pretty brutal week so far for valuable fantasy players going on the DL. Roy Halladay, Erik Bedard, Scott Downs and now Raul Ibanez have all landed on the DL this week.

Ibanez is out for 15 days

Ibanez is out for 15 days

Ibanez is probably the leading candidate for the MVP award in the National League, so this is a significant loss to your fantasy team and more importantly, to the Phillies. However, the Phillies are one of the few teams in baseball that can overcome a loss like this.

When you have Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino in your lineup, you should be able to survive without Ibanez for 15 days.

The Phillies are expected to call up John Mayberry Jr to take the place of Ibanez. Mayberry hit just .222 in his three game audition in late May. He did however, hit his first major league HR and drive in three runs in those three games.

Mayberry Jr doesn’t offer much fantasy value because A) he will be sent down as soon as Ibanez is healthy and B) even if you are in a Keeper League, unless Mayberry Jr gets traded, there is no place for him to play on the Phillies.

I would say take a pass on Mayberry Jr for now.