Posts Tagged ‘Adam Dunn’

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Austin Kearns Signs Minor League Deal With The Indians

January 5, 2010

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Not that ever Austin Kearns was ever really mighty, but he was once one of the top prospects in the game. Now, 10 years later, he is barely hanging on.

Today, Kearns signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.

I have to admit, I was a big Kearns fan back in the day. I really was on the Kearns’ bandwagon in the early 2000’s.

Kearns never materialized in Cincinnati

I, along with the Cincinnati Reds organization, thought Kearns and Adam Dunn would be the cornerstones of great Reds’ teams for years to come.

Kearns was drafted with the seventh pick in the 1998 draft and made his debut in 2002. Kearns came out firing that season and it looked like all the hype surrounding Kearns was real.

Kearns hit .315/.407.500 with 13 home runs in 107 games and finished *third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Unfortunately, that was the last productive season for Kearns in a Reds’ uniform.

Injuries limited Kearns’ playing time and even when he was in the lineup, he failed to give the Reds anything like he did in 2002. The Reds dream outfield of Kearns, Dunn, and Ken Griffey Jr. never materialized.

In 2006, Kearns was sent to the Washington Nationals along with Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner for Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris, and Daryl Thompson. Just after fours years after looking like a star, Kearns was no longer wanted in Cincinnati.

In his first full year in Washington in 2007, Kearns played in 161 games and hit .266 with 16 home runs and a .765 OPS. It appeared all Kearns needed was a change of scenery.

However, Kearns went back into the same injury habit in 2008 and 2009 that ruined his career in Cincinnati. Kearns in those two years played a total of 166 games and hit a stellar .209.

The Nationals even started Kearns at the beginning of the 2009 season in order to build up his trade value. That strategy didn’t work as Kearns hit just .230 in April and May.

Now at the age of 29, Kearns is nothing more than a fringe major league player hoping to get one more shot at the big leagues.

Kearns is yet another example of how top prospects are never a sure thing in baseball.

*2002 NL ROY – I took a look at the voting break down for this award and I couldn’t believe that none of the players who received votes that year had a lasting impact in the major leagues.

Jason Jennings, Kaz Ishii, Brad Wilkerson, Mark Prior, Josh Fogg, Damian Moss, Ryan Jensen, etc…all received votes and none of which accomplished much in the majors.

As a matter of fact, out of the 11 players who received votes, only Kearns, Fogg, and Jennings were on major league rosters in 2009. 2009 was only seven years after fact. Very surprising.

Prior had a superb 2003, but injuries ended his career before it even began. 2002 was just more proof that being considered for the ROY is not a spring-board into a successful career.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Jim Riggleman Expected To Be Named Washington Nationals Manager

November 12, 2009

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman via Twitter, the Washington Nationals are expected to name Jim Riggleman as manager.

Riggleman took over for Manny Acta with 75 games remaining in the 2009 season after Acta was fired by the Nationals. Riggleman went 33-42 in those 75 games.

Jim Riggleman

Riggleman gets another shot with the Nationals

Here is why I think Riggleman is the perfect fit for the Nationals:

To endure as much losing as Riggleman has done as a manager in his career and not to have lost his mind, tells me he is the right man for the job in Washington.

Look at Riggleman’s track record as manager in the major leagues:

San Diego Padres, 1992-1994: 111-179, .385 winning percentage

Chicago Cubs, 1995-1999: 374-419, .472 winning percentage

Seattle Mariners, 2008: 36-54, .400 winning percentage

Washington Nationals, 2009: 33-42, .440 winning percentage

That’s a lot of losing my friends. And in Washington, he is probably going to endure some more losing.

The Nationals could have hired Tony LaRussa, Tommy Lasorda, or Miller Huggins to manage this team and they still wouldn’t win. Even the best managers have to have talent to win and this team doesn’t have enough talent to win right now.

The Nationals have a decent core with Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Ian Desmond, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, and hopefully in the future Stephen Strasburg. But this team doesn’t have nearly enough pitching and defense to win in 2010 or even in 2011.

Until the Nationals acquire more talent either through the draft, trades, or free agency then Riggleman is going to have a tough time winning games in Washington.

Hey, look at the bright side–at least Riggleman knows how to handle losing.

I guess that counts for something.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Washington Nationals Officially On The Clock

September 29, 2009

Not only did the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-1 victory yesterday over the Los Angeles Dodgers prevent the Dodgers from clinching the NL West, but also did something else as well. With the Pirates victory, the Washington Nationals will have the worst record in baseball in 2009 and will have the number one pick in next year’s June draft.

Harper could be a National in 2010

Harper could be a National in 2010

Both the Pirates and the Nationals have six games remaining and even if they finish with the same record, the Nationals earned the first pick thanks to the Pirates winning the season series four games to three.

Believe it or not, the Nationals thought they could compete in 2009. They were very aggressive in the free agent market, pursuing — foolishly perhaps — Mark Teixeira, Orlando Hudson, and eventually signing Adam Dunn to a two-year deal. They also signed Joe Beimel and traded for Josh Willingham in hopes of improving their team.

Unfortunately, the 2009 season for the Nationals has been a disaster. General Manager Jim Bowden resigned before the season started, Manager Manny Acta was fired in July, they can’t play defense, they have no starting pitching outside of John Lannan, and their bullpen has been abysmal all season.

2010 will mark the fourth year in a row the Nationals will have a top-10 pick. 2010 will also mark the second year in a row they will have the number one overall pick. As we all know, in 2009, the Nationals drafted and signed Stephen Strasburg out of San Diego State.

All signs point to another Scott Boras client (Strasburg being the first), Bryce Harper being the number one pick in the 2010 draft. Regardless if the Nationals take Harper or not, they have to and I mean HAVE TO hit on these top picks in order to compete in the future.

All the Nationals have to do is look to the Kansas City Royals and the Pirates as examples of teams that haven’t hit on their draft picks year after year.

Fantasy Week In Review, August 3-9…

August 10, 2009

We are getting down to the “nitty gritty” as the late, great Gorilla Monsoon used to say. We are right in the middle of the dog days of August and there is only about a month and a half left in baseball’s regular season and fantasy season.

Even if you feel you might be out of it, there is still some time to make some moves and make one last push. As always, here were the fantasy studs, the players who were a little off last week and some potential pickups from the week of August 3 -9…

Reynolds has been mashing lately

Reynolds has been mashing lately

Fantasy Studs

Mark Reynolds: .448/6/10. Is anyone realizing the year Reynolds is having? If the Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t so terrible, he would be getting MVP consideration.

Elijah Dukes: .348/1/11. Hopefully Dukes has gotten it together. It would be a big boost to the Washington Nationals if he did.

Adam Dunn: .375/4/9/.483. If the Nationals were smart, they would trade Dunn in the offseason and get some solid value for him. Are you listening Dayton Moore?

Billy Butler: .538/2/10. It has taken Butler longer to develop than the Kansas City Royals had hoped, but he has taken massive steps forward this season.

Carl Pavano: 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 10 K’s in 15 IP. Gets traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Minnesota Twins and then goes out and throws a gem for the Twins on Sat. Every Yankee fan just choked on their coffee.

Cliff Lee: 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 13 K’s in 14 IP. I think every pitcher should pitch in the NL just once so they can see how much of a difference it is.

Clayton Richard: 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA and eight K’s in 13.2 IP. I had Richard as a potential pickup last week and he has done nothing to disappoint since. This guy will be a good pitcher in San Diego.

Mike MacDougal: Four Saves with a 0.00 ERA and three K’s in Four IP. That’s three fantasy studs for the Washington Nationals last week for those of you scoring at home.

Reasons for Concern

David Ortiz: .056/0/0. Ortiz has one hit in his last 18 AB’s. Ortiz had a brief spurt in June where he batted .320 with a .409 OBP, but other than that he has been terrible this year.

With his age (33) and with the steroid allegations weighing on his mind, you have to wonder if Ortiz will have anything left for the last month and a half of the season.

BJ Upton/Justin Upton. It was a bad week for the brothers’ Upton last week. First, Justin Upton landed on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain and then older brother BJ was dropped to ninth in the order. I am not worried about Justin so much as I am with BJ.

BJ Upton called the move to ninth a “kick in the face.” Really BJ? Last time I checked you were batting .239 with a .314 OBP. Let me know what you have done this year to deserve to stay in the leadoff spot.

Unless he goes off on a tear, I am going to consider this a lost season for Bossman Junior. If you have BJ Upton in a Keeper League format, hold on to him as he could be in line for a huge bounce back season next year.

Aaron Cook: Cook will miss his start next start on Tuesday because of what he is calling turf toe. How on earth does a pitcher get turf toe?

He is scheduled to start on Saturday, but keep an eye on this. Remember, turf toe ended Dion Sanders’ career.

Holland threw a CGSO yesterday

Holland threw a CGSO yesterday

Potential Pickups

Derek Holland: I said from day-one that Holland reminds me of Steve Avery. The good Steve Avery on the Atlanta Braves, not the bad one on the Boston Red Sox.

Yesterday, Holland tossed the very rare complete game shutout against a tough Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lineup. If you are in a Keeper League, he is definitely worth picking up.

I think he will be a good one.

Softball Update

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, The Ghost of Moonlight Graham was going to donate $50 to the V Foundation for Cancer Research for every homerun hit during the fifth annual Ocean Beach Softball Tournament was taking place in Ocean Beach, NY.

With the tourament concluding yesterday, I am proud to say that we raised $2,100 for cancer research. There were 42 HR’s hit in the tournament including six by tournament MVP Eric Samulski (1B/OF Trinity University, 2003-2007) and Matt Manewal (P Yale University, 1996-2000).

I chipped in with three big flies (all grand slams by the way) in five games.

Thanks to everyone who played this year and we are already looking forward to next year’s tournament and raising even more money for the V Foundation.

As July 31st Approaches, What Do The Contenders Need Update..

July 28, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what do the contending teams around baseball need at the July 31st trading deadline. With already a couple deals taking place and the trading deadline just a couple of days away, I thought I would update this post.

Here are the needs of the 21 contending teams and who they could potentially target.

Philadelphia Phillies

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Phillies are going for it again and are looking for a big time pitcher.

The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Brad Penny, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

Florida Marlins

Needs – Bullpen. With Lindstrom out, the Marlins need help in the pen.

Potential Targets – Chad Qualls, Juan Cruz, Matt Capps, John Grabow, George Sherrill

Lee is very popular these days

Lee is very popular these days

Atlanta Braves

Needs – Leftfield. The Braves have already traded for Nate McLouth and Ryan Church, but their offense could use another bat.

Potential Targets – David Dejesus, Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff

New York Mets

Needs – Leftfield, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Mets should not be contenders, but in New York, there is no such thing as sellers.

Plus, after Omar Minaya’s press conference yesterday, it’s official – Omar Minaya is out of his mind.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, Luke Scott, David Dejesus, Aubrey Huff

St Louis Cardinals

Needs – The Cardinals acquired Mark DeRosa and then acquired the best hitter on the market in Matt Holliday. The Cardinals also acquired Julio Lugo from the Boston Red Sox

I don’t think the Cardinals have any prospects to deal to make another trade.

Potential Targets – None

Milwaukee Brewers

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Brewers’ starting rotation has fallen apart recently. Offense is not the issue with this team.

The Brewers have already acquired Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Chicago Cubs

Needs – Bullpen. The Cubs just need the players they already have to play better. They could use another arm in the pen.

The Cubs have signed BJ Ryan

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Danys Baez, Jamey Wright

Houston Astros

Needs – Third Base, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Astros are now in the thick of the NL Central and Wild Card race. With Lance Berkman going on the DL, the Astros could now use a solid bench player for insurance.

Problem Astros will have making trades is that their farm system is not that good.

I love Mark Teahen for the Astros. Can play 1st, 3rd, 2nd, and the outfield.

Potential Targets – Jon Garland, Brian Bannister, Doug Davis, Bobby Crosby, Mark Teahen

Cincinnati Reds

Needs – Offense. With Jay Bruce now out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured wrist, the Reds are desperate for offense. They should really be sellers, but they are still only 7.5 games out of first in the NL Central.

Potential Targets – Mark Teahan, David Dejesus, Marco Scutaro, Scott Rolen

Los Angeles Dodgers

Needs – Bullpen. With Roland Belasario out with an inflamed elbow (it was only a matter of time before Joe Torre blew someone’s arm out) and Jonathon Broxton suffering from a toe injury, the Dodgers could use some insurance in the pen.

The Dodgers have also been linked to ace’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, John Grabow, George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Ron Mahay, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

San Francisco Giants

Needs – Offense. The Giants can use all the offense they can get.

The Giants acquired Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians last night.

Potential Targets – Jermaine Dye, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, Josh Willingham

VMart could be traded

VMart could be traded

Colorado Rockies

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. Everyone thought the Rockies would be sellers at this point, but they are the leaders of the Wild Card race. As usual, the Rockies could use some pitching help.

The Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt from the Cleveland Indians.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Ian Snell, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Takashi Saito, Danys Baez, Miguel Batista

Boston Red Sox

Needs – Offense. I don’t want to hear the Red Sox are fourth in baseball in runs scored – they need offense.

The Red Sox acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chris Duncan from the St Louis Cardinals last week.

Potential Targets – Victor Martinez, Mark Teahan, Jack Wilson, Orlando Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Roy Halladay

New York Yankees

Needs – Starting Pitching, Bullpen. The Yankees are having back of the rotation issues right now and they could use another arm in the pen. The Yankees have been linked to Halladay, Cliff Lee, Washburn and Bronson Arroyo.

The Yankees have already traded for Eric Hinske

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Joe Beimel, John Grabow, Cliff Lee, Bronson Arroyo, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Tampa Bay Rays

Needs – Starting Pitching, Catcher, Right Field. I still think the Rays could use another solid, depandable arm in the pen, but they seem to have targeted Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

They are also looking to upgrade the Gabe Gross/Gabe Kapler platoon in right and also at the catcher position. Dioner Navarro has been disappointing this year.

Potential Targets – Jamey Wright, Danys Baez, Mark Teahan, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez

Detroit Tigers

Needs – Bullpen, Offense. The Tigers have two top of the rotation starters in Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. However, after watcing them versus the Yankees, I think they could use another bat

I also think they could use another arm in the pen to go along with Rodney. Joel Zumaya recently landed on the DL.

Potential Targets – Matt Capps, Ron Mahay, John Grabow, Mike Gonzalez, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Jarrod Washburn

Minnesota Twins

Needs – Middle Infield. Freddy Sanchez makes so much sense it’s scary.

Potential Targets – Freddy Sanchez, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Marco Scutaro

Where will Doc land?

Where will Doc land?

Chicago White Sox

Needs – Starting Pitching. Kenny Williams already tried for Jake Peavy, will he go after Roy Halladay?

The White Sox have already acquired reliever Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. For the first time in a long time, the Angels offense is not the problem. The Angels need bullpen help in the worst way and of course, they might be in on Roy Halladay.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Scott Kazmir, John Grabow, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Beimel, George Sherrill

Texas Rangers

Needs – Starting Pitching. Isn’t it always about pitching with the Rangers? The Rangers have the farm system, but do they have the money? That is the question with the Rangers.

The Rangers bullpen might get a boost with Neftali Feliz. He has been pitching from the stretch recently and is preparing for a bullpen stint with the Rangers for this year.

Potential Targets – Doug Davis, Brad Penny, Brian Bannister, Ben Sheets (free agent), Takashi Saito, George Sherrill, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee.

Seattle Mariners

Needs – Third Base, Leftfield, Shortstop. The Mariners might hold the key to the trading deadline. The have potentially one of the most desirable pitchers on the market, if the Mariners should pack it in – Jarrod Washburn.

Erik Bedard picked the worst time to go on the DL for the M’s.

The Mariners are 51-47 and 7.5 games back of the Angels in the AL West. They have dropped 3.5 games in the standing since this original post. I still see them trying to add instead of giving up players.

They have already acquired 3B Jack Hannrahan from the A’s.

Potential Targets – Garrett Atkins, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jack Wilson, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Cabrera, David DeJesus

So there are the 21 teams and the players they might be interested in. Who do you want your favorite team to target? Let’s discuss.

Fantasy Week In Review 5/4-5/10….

May 11, 2009

Good afternoon everyone!!! Hope everyone had a great weekend and again a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. It was a crazy week last week in fantasy baseball, with the Manny Ramirez suspension stealing most of the headlines. But there were other players last week who were worthy of headlines, either good or bad. Let’s take a look….

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Zimmerman – .469/1/6. Zimmerman currently has a 28 game hitting streak going and hasn’t been going 1-4 in the process either. Zimmerman in this streak has been tearing the cover off the baseball.

Damon has carried the Yankees

Damon has carried the Yankees

Johnny Damon – .419/5/15. If it weren’t for Damon, the Yankees would be 7 games under .500.

Jason Bay – .379/4/14. Bay is quickly becoming one of the most clutch players in the American League.

Adam Dunn – .345/4/10. Dunn impressed me with his play during the WBC and is making the most of a terrible situation in D.C.

Ryan Braun – .458/3/12. Is there ever a time when Braun doesn’t come through in the clutch?

Joe Saunders – 2-0 with a 1.15 era and 13 K’s in 15.2 IP. Saunders’ CGSO against Zack Greinke was one of the better pitching performances I have seen in quite a while.

Eric Stults – 2-0 with a 1.23 era and 1 CGSO. Stults is still available in most leagues and since he plays on a good Dodger team, he should be picked up. He could be a good source of wins.

Rick Porcello – 2-0 with a 0.75 era and 8 K’s in 12 IP. Porcello is growing up rather quickly in Detroit.

Maybin will be running in AAA

Maybin will be running in AAA

Reasons for Concern

Cameron Maybin – .202/1/3 in 84 AB’s this season. My pick for ROY was sent down to the minors today. I don’t agree with this move but apparently the Marlins feel he needs to improve things in Triple A.

Jimmy Rollins – .182/0/2. It’s really starting to look like his 2007 MVP season was the fluke, not his 2008 season.

Lance Berkman – .184/7/16 in 103 AB’s this season. The HR’s and RBI are there but the .184 avg for Berkman this late in the season is concerning. Berkman now has a bad wrist which has heightened his slow start.

Jon Lester – 1-1 with a 8.74 era and 16 H, 16 K’s in 11.1 IP. The Red Sox really rode Lester hard towards the end of last year. It looks early on that all those innings last year have caught up to Lester this year. He is clearly not as sharp so far as he was at this time last year. The 16 hits and 16 K’s in 11.1 IP shows the inconsistency of his pitches this year.

Matt Capps – 0-1 with a 36.00 era. I can get over the 1 bad appearance last week but his elbow has been acting up which is concerning. Capps threw a successful bullpen session on Sunday but with an elbow injury, you just never know.

Injury News

Joakim Soria – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a sore right shoulder. This has been going on now for a while with Soria, so it is no surprise he landed on the DL. I am very concerned with this injury because it’s a strain in the rotator cuff and that could lead to something more serious. Juan Cruz will replace Soria as the Royals’ closer.

Aramis Ramirez – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a seperated right shoulder. Ramirez will be most likely 8 weeks with this injury. That is a devastating blow not only to your fantasy team, but more importantly the Cubs. Ramirez’s replacement will be Aaron Miles so don’t get too excited. If you are the Cubs right now, how much do you miss Mark DeRosa?

Brian McCann – McCann was activated from the DL on Friday and has gone 5-11 with 1 HR and 4 RBI since returning. He should be in your lineup everyday. He also sports now Ron Kittle like glasses which are fun for everyone.

Looking At Fantasy 1st Basemen In 2009…

March 27, 2009

It’s time to take a look at the big boys of baseball….the 1st basemen. There are some serious sluggers in this group of 1st basemen which include Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder. In honor of the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania (April 5th from Reliant Stadium), let’s see who the top fantasy 1st basemen are. 4 Horseman style!!!

Ric Flair Division

These are the world champions. The best of the best. Look for these guys early in your draft and let them drive your limousine. WOOOOOOOOO!!!

Ric Flair

Ric Flair

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals. With Arod shelved for 1 month, Pujols is clearly the best player in baseball headed into 2009. He should go either 1 or 2 in your draft. If he is still there after that, grab him!!

2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. If Pujols doesn’t go #1 it is because someone took Cabrera instead. Now that Cabrera has adjusted to the AL, he should be a force in 2009. If the Tigers can compete in the very average AL Central, Cabrera might be in line for the MVP.

3. Lance Berkman, Astros. One of the most consistent hitters in baseball. You know what you are going to get with Berkman. .300 avg, 25-35 hr’s, 100 rbi’s and an obp hovering around .400

4. Mark Teixeira, Yankees. As I wrote in my first ever post here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham, “The Unexciting Teixeira,” I felt Teixeira was highly overrated. That thought hasn’t changed but he will put up .300/30/110 hitting in the Yankees lineup. With Arod out, it will be interesting to see how Teixeira reacts to being “the man” in New York.

5. Justin Morneau, Twins. Morneau has finished in the top 2 in MVP voted 2 out of the 3 years and there is no reason to think he won’t put up MVP numbers in 2009. His numbers might suffer if Mauer misses significant time, but not to the point where you would be turned off by him.

6. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. Youkilis had a career year in 2008 putting up a .312/29/115/.390. I think Youkilis can repeat those numbers in 2009. Youkilis qualifies as a 3B and a 1B

Arn Anderson Division

Solid. Dependable. Never the star on the team but someone you knew always produced. Like Arn Anderson, these next 6 guys fit that description.

7. Ryan Howard, Phillies. Howard would be higher if A. he didn’t kill your team with K’s (199 the last 2 years) and B. he didn’t kill your team in batting avg. and obp. I am not trying to kill Howard, but know what you are getting into before drafting him. Great hr’s and rbi’s. Below average avg., obp and a massive amount of K’s.

8. Prince Fielder, Brewers. Seriously, go back to eating meat!!!

Mr. Dependable

Mr. Dependable

9. Derrek Lee, Cubs. OK Cubs fans, Derrek Lee is not going to return to his 2005 form when he hit .335/46/107 ever again. At this point in his career, Lee is a .300/20/90 hitter. Which is good but nowhere near his 2005 season.

10. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Gonzalez is quickly moving into the Paul Molitor category of “if he played in NY, he would be a superstar.” How good is Gonzalez? He drove in 119 runs on a team that only scored 637. That is incredible. Gonzalez is getting better with age and should have no problem putting up .281/33/110 in 2009.

11. Chris Davis, Rangers. Everyone’s mancrush headed into 2009. The term “sleeper” no longer applies to Davis because I think even my mother knows who he is. Davis will put up his numbers hitting the Rangers lineup but don’t jump the gun and draft him too early.

12. Joey Votto, Reds. Love this guy. The runner up in the ROY voting should improve on his .294/24/84 in 2009. The 25 year old, who hits like a seasoned 29 year old will be an All Star in 2009. You heard it here 1st.

Barry Windham Division

Windham was a great, great wrestler but is often overlooked when talking about the best wrestlers of all time. Mainly because he was overshadowed by Ric Flair and left the WWF right before it exploded in the late 80’s. Don’t overlook these next 6 guys as they can be solid contributors to your team.

13. Garrett Atkins, Rockies. Many people don’t realize that Atkins played 61 games at 1B last season so he qualifies at both 1B and 3B. Atkins’ hr’s, rbi, avg and obp have dipped each of the last 3 years so don’t go crazy over Atkins. Expect a .285/25/95 season from Atkins in 2009.

14. Carlos Pena, Rays. Interesting note…In the same amount of ab’s (490) in 2008, Pena had 15 less hr’s, 19 less rbi’s, and hit 35 points less than he did in 2007. So the question is can he hit like he did in 2007 in 2009? Ummm no. 2007 for Pena was one of those magical seasons that won’t be repeated. Expected something similar to his 2008 of .247/31/102 in 2009.

Huff is Windham

Huff is Windham

15. Aubrey Huff, Orioles. If anyone screams Barry Windham it’s Huff. Often overlooked but nobody realizes he just put up a .304/32/108 last season and qualifies at both 1B and 3B.

16. James Loney, Dodgers. Loney quietly drove in 90 runs last year with the Dodgers. Loney should benefit from having Manny Ramirez in the lineup for a full year. 100 rbi’s is a possibility in 2009.

17. Adam Dunn, Nationals. Dunn played in his postseason during the WBC. Now he will go play for the last place Nationals and hit .240/42/105/.380. Dunn also qualifies as an OF.

18. Hank Blalock, Rangers. I am higher on Blalock than most. I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season. Blalock also qualifies as a 3B.

Steve McMichael Division

Now you are getting into some of the shakier 1B options out there. McMichael was a mediocre member of the 4 Horsemen and these next 6 guys would be mediocre members of your team.

The mediocre McMicheal

The mediocre McMicheal

19. Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks. Doesn’t Conor Jackson look and sound like he should be better than he is? He looks like he should be a .290/25-30/90-100 type guy. But instead he is a .290/15/75 type guy.

20. Adam LaRoche, Pirates. One of the few draftable Pirates, LaRoche has hit more than 20 hr’s in each of his last 4 seasons and more than 85 in each of his last 3.

21. Carlos Delgado, Mets. Let’s get this out of the way right now, Carlos Delgado is not going to hit .271 with 38 hr’s and 115 rbi’s again. It is just not going to happen. .255/26/92 seems more like it.

22. Jorge Cantu, Marlins. After being useless in 2006 & 2007, Cantu surprised everyone with a 29 hr and 95 rbi season in 2008. Cantu will not sneak up on anyone again in 2009 and I expect a little drop in 2009.

23. Pablo Sandoval, Giants. Another “sleeper,” Sandoval qualifies at 1B, 3B and in some leagues may qualify as a C. Sandoval hit .345 in 145 ab’s last year and with a full season under his belt a .310/15/80 is not out of the question. Just don’t expect obp as Sandoval only walked 4 times in those 145 ab’s.

25. Billy Butler, Royals. I have Butler this high for 2 reasons. 1. His age, he is only 23 and 2. His potential. If you are in a keeper League and can afford to let Butler develop on your bench while occasionally giving him a spot start against left-handed pitching (.340 the last 2 seasons), then it might pay dividends in the future.

Paul Roma Division.

Roma was the worst member in 4 Horsemen history. These last guys are your worst options for fantasy 1st basemen

26. Paul Konerko, White Sox. Terrible year last year and he is not getting any younger

27. Jason Giambi, A’s. Giambi will give you hr’s and obp and that is about it.

The worst of the horsemen

The worst of the horsemen

28. Mike Jacobs, Royals. Start only against righties and don’t complain about your team’s obp (.299 for Jacobs last season) after you draft him.

29. Casey Kotchman, Braves. A younger version of Lyle Overbay

30. Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great hitter?

31.Todd Helton, Rockies. Smoking the ball this spring (.423/4/11 in just 26 ab’s) but can his back hold up?

32. Carlos Guillen, Tigers. Guillen will qualify at 3 positions this year (1B, 3B and OF) but has age caught up with this versatile player?

33. Gabby Sanchez, Marlins. Potential Rookie of the Year candidate

34. Kendry Morales, Angels. The has big holes to fill replacing Teixeira

35. Russell Branyan, Mariners. This years Carlos Pena?

36. Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks. In a battle for playing time in the desert but could still hit between 10-15 hr’s.

37. Nick Johnson, Nationals. Mr. Injury. At least you will get obp with him.

38. Ryan Garko, Indians. Will be really hard pressed for playing time.

39. Travis Ishikawa, Giants. Officially your worst choice as a fantasy 1B. If you draft him, just call it a day

 

 

USA vs Netherlands…

March 16, 2009

I would like to introduce a new category on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham called Inside The Lines. I am going to a do a running blog during select games and the idea is to give analysis of a game or games as they happen.

Since tonight is an elimination game for Team USA, I thought I would start the category off with tonight’s USA vs Netherlands tilt.

Starting Lineups

Netherlands

1. Kingsale, CF

2. Decaster, 2B

3. Simon, 1B

4. De Jong, DH

5. Engelhardt, LF

6, Rooi, 3B

7. Van’t Klooster, RF

8. Jansen, C

9. Schoop, SS

Van Den Hurk, P

USA

1. Rollins, SS

2. Roberts, 2B

3. Jeter, DH

4. Youkilis, 1B

5. Wright, 3B

6. Dunn, RF

7. Braun, LF

8. Iannetta, C

9. Granderson, CF

Oswalt, P

Top 1st

Oswalt comes out firing with 4 straight fastballs and K’s Kingsale to lead off the game. Solid start for Oswalt. Oswalt looks to have good velocity as all 4 pitches were in the mid-90’s.

Oswalt gets the Netherlands 1-2-3 as Braun makes a sliding catch to rob Simon of a base hit to end the first.

Bottom 1st

Not sure I get USA’s lineup. Jeter batting 3rd? Braun batting 7th? It appears Davey Johnson had to adjust his lineup due to a Chipper Jones injury. Jones will miss the rest of the WBC with an oblique strain.

After a Jimmy Rollins pop-up, the new man on the team, Brian Roberts ropes a single to right. With Jeter up maybe a hit and run right here.

Jeter walks, runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out for Youkilis. No hit and run which is not surprising since Davey Johnson is a wait for the 3 run HR manager. Van Den Hurk was clearly rattled by the threat of Roberts stealing 2nd. Van Den Hurk right now is all over the place. 2-0 to Youkilis and already up to 22 pitches for the inning. Van Den Hurk walks Youkilis. Bases loaded and 1 out for Wright.

On the first pitch Wright gets a sac fly to right. Roberts scores to make it 1-0 USA. Though Wright got a sac fly, I disagree with his approach. Van Den Hurk just walked 2 guys in a row and Wright goes up there and swings at the 1st pitch. A little baffling.

Dunn goes down swinging to end the 1st. Good 1st inning for Team USA.

Top 2nd

De Jong singles up the middle to get the inning started. Oh man what a great play by Rollins to start the double play. Dives to his left, backhand flips to Roberts and Roberts fired to Youkilis to turn the double play.

On the very next pitch, Dunn tracks a ball down and runs into the bullpen wall to make the catch. USA flashing some leather in the 2nd. Through 2 innings Oswalt has thrown less than 20 pitches. Looking good.

Bottom 2nd

Braun starts off the inning with a solid single to left. ESPN just showed the crowd at Dolphin Stadium. It looks like there is maybe 10,000 in the stands. Pretty disappointing crowd. Besides the obvious answer of weather, I question why baseball would put games in Miami? The Marlins don’t draw so why would the WBC?

Braun gets gunned down trying to steal 2nd on a rediculous throw by Jansen. He threw out Braun from his knees. Great throw.

After an Iannetta strike out, Van’t Klooster misplays a ball in right and Granderson ends up on 2nd. Good hustle by Granderson.

Rollins just crushes one to right field. 3-0 USA. Van Den Hurk threw a mediocre 2-1 fastball down the middle and Rollins crushed it.

Roberts hits a frozen rope down the right field line. So far the addition of Roberts is paying off as he is 2-2.  Jeter grounds out to SS to end the inning.

3-0 USA after 2.

Top 3rd

Oswalt just made Van’t Klooster look really silly. Struck him out on 3 pitches. 1st an error in right and now a K on 3 pitches. Rough night so far for Van’t Klooster.

Netherlands SS, Schoop is 0-18 in the WBC. Do they not have a backup? Make it 0-19 as he strikes out on a nasty curve ball from Oswalt.

Kingsale singles and now it is 1st and 2nd with 2 outs for the Netherlands. Decaster singles sharply to right and now the bases are loaded with 2 outs.

Randall Simon is swinging out of his shoes right now. He is either going to hit one 450 ft or K. He does neither and pops up to Rollins. With the Netherlands offense struggling, that might have been their best opportunity to score.

Bottom 3rd

Juan Carlos Sulbaran replaces Van Den Hurk. This kid is 19 and will be facing Youkilis, Wright and Dunn. When I was 19, I was barely passing an accounting class.

After a Youkilis ground out, Wright rips a single to left. It looks like Wright has got his stroke down. Has hit the ball solid twice tonight.

Dunn hits a rare ground ball but is able to beat out the double play with some nice hustle. Dunn is proving JP Ricciardi wrong by the game.

Braun flies out to center and it is still 3-0 USA after 3.

Top 4th

De Jong hits a soft grounder to 3rd but for some reason Wright nonchalantly throws to first and throws the ball into the ground. Not sure why Wright did that…E5.

A little dribbler in front of home plate and Iannetta throw a pea to first to nail Engelhardt. De Jong advances to 2nd.

Van’t Klooster hits a squibber between 3rd and SS and beats out the throw from Wright. Runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 out. For the second straight inning the Netherlands is threatening. Oswalt is already up to 68 pitches, so if anything, at least they are making Oswalt work.

Oswalt throws a nasty curve to strike out Jansen to get out of the inning. Hawkins was warming up so I am wondering if Oswalt is done for the night. At 70 pitches, I am sure the Astros are hoping that Oswalt doesn’t push himself.

Bottom 4th

I love this Tim Lincecum commercial for 2K9 Baseball. Very well done.

Iannetta starts off the inning with a walk. He is slowly becoming one of my favorite players in the game.

Rollins is hitting the cover off the baseball as he triples to the gap in CF. Kingsale played that pretty poorly but none the less, a rocket by Rollins scores Iannetta. 4-0 USA. Rollins now has a triple and a HR, the 2 hardest parts of a cycle. I am just sayin.

Netherlands has the infield in with Roberts at the plate, who has hit 2 ropes tonight. Good luck with that Mr. Infielder. With the infield in, Roberts decides to hit over everyone with a 400 ft shot off the wall in CF. Roberts triple scores Rollins. 5-0 USA. Roberts now has a triple, double and a single. He needs a HR for the cycle. I am just sayin.

The Netherlands is going to the pen and it looks like the clock is going to strike midnight for this cinderella story. Michiel Van Kampen is now in for the Netherlands. This guy might have the most hurky-jerky delivery I have ever scene. He reminds me a little of Oakland A’s and Team USA pitcher, Brad Ziegler.

After a Jeter walk, Youkilis hits a soft grounder to SS but the Netherlands can’t turn two as Youkilis hustles down the line. Roberts comes in to score and it is 6-0 USA.

Wright grounds out to end the inning and after 4 it is 6-0 USA. USA is playing with a sense of urgency that I have not seen them play with before in this WBC.

Top 5th

LaTroy Hawkins comes in and replaces Oswalt. Good effort from Oswalt who grinded out 4 innings without his best stuff.

ESPN is interviewing Bert Blyleven who is the Netherlands pitching coach. I am sure at some point during this interview Blyleven is going to complain about not getting into the Hall of Fame.

Hawkins sets the Netherlands down 1-2-3. You know things are going well when Hawkins breezes through an inning.

Bottom 5th

David Bergman is now in for the Netherlands and is greeted by an Adam Dunn rope to RF.

Bergman is getting smoked as Braun rips a ball to left. My guy Iannetta bloops a single to left and now the bases are loaded. Netherlands right now is playing like they are a bunch of Triple-A players.

Just when I say that Randall Simon makes a great play to throw out Dunn at home. Simon threw the ball from his back and the ball rolled to home. The fact that he was able to get the ball to home was pretty remarkable.

Rollins hits a sac fly to CF to score Braun. 7-0 USA and Rollins now has 4 rbi on the night.

Diegomar Markwell is in for the Netherlands. Since Markwell is a lefty, that will force Roberts to turn it around and bat righty. With Roberts going for the cycle, Markwell throws 4 pitches out of the strike zone. Bases loaded with Jeter coming to the plate.

Jeter is really having a battle with Markwell. Fouling off pitch after pitch. After a long AB, Jeter grounds to 3rd and leaves the bases loaded.

7-0 USA after 5.

Top 6th

Scot Shields is in for Team USA. Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe were talking about how important Shields is to the Angels bullpen and Sufcliffe wonders who is going to close for the Angels now that Krod left. Umm memo to Sutcliffe, the Angels signed Brian Fuentes in the offseason.

Shields is getting roped. After 2 hard hit singles, Wright makes a diving play at 3rd and throws out the runner at 1st. That play probably saved a run.

2 outs now with runners on 1st and 2nd.

Shields is able to get out of the jam and the Netherlands can’t score again. You can start to see the look of defeat on the faces of Team Netherlands.

Bottom 6th

Leon Boyd is in the game for the Netherlands. He has been the Netherlands closer throughout the tournament but with the Netherlands down 7-0, there is no reason to save him for the 9th.

Adam Dunn is a horse!!! Dunn hits a big-fly over the CF fence to make it 8-0 USA. Man is Dunn strong. He just flicked his wrists and the ball went 400 ft.

Other than the Dunn moon shot, USA went down pretty quietly against Boyd. 8-0 USA after 6.

Top 7th

Brad Ziegler becomes the 4th pitcher for Team USA. Ziegler doesn’t throw hard (1st pitch 74 mph) but his sidearm delivery makes for a deceptive motion.

After getting the 1st out, Ziegler allows back to back singles. It seems like the Netherlands has gotten runners on every inning but has not been able to push anything through. Maybe they can push one through in this inning.

Decaster smacks a double to RF and the Netherlands finally pushes across a run. 8-1 now USA. Runners now on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Ziegler just doesn’t look right out there. It almost seems like he is trying to push the ball instead of throw it.

Ziegler gets out of the inning without further damage due to the nice recovery by Rollins to throw out de Jong at 1st. Rollins bobbled the ball, stuck with it and fired a rocket to get the out. Nice play.

8-1 USA headed into the bottom of the 7th.

Bottom 7th

19 year old Dennis Neuman is in for the Netherlands. Neuman is property of the Boston Red Sox and seems to have a pretty live arm. For a kid in rookie ball, this must be a pretty amazing experience for Neuman.

With Granderson at 1st and 2 outs, Brian Roberts is coming to the plate with a chance to hit for the cycle. This will probably be his last chance. Roberts didn’t get anything he liked and took a walk. What a great night for Roberts, 3-3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and 1 rbi. Not a bad debut.

Jeter grounds to 3rd and after 7 it is 8-1 USA

Top 8th

Marlins pitcher, Matt Lindstrom is now in for Team USA and is promtly greeted by a HR by Engelhardt. 8-2 now USA.

WOW!! Lindstrom just threw one at 95 mph behind Rooi. The Netherlands is hot!!! That pitch was definetly on purpose.  I guess Lindstrom didn’t like the way Engelhardt admired his HR from home plate. I like this from the Netherlands. They won’t be bullied around by the USA and they won’t go down without a fight.

Both benches were warned which is a pretty dumb thing umpires do. I believe the team who is being thrown at should have a chance to retaliate with no repercussions. With a warning, that opportunity is taken away.

Lindstrom has really incited the Netherlands. They are all up on the bench and it wouldn’t surprise me if despite the warning, someone in the USA lineup gets plunked.

The Netherlands pushes across another run to make 8-3. All of a sudden, the Netherlands is learning how to hit.

Uh oh, Davey Johnson and the trainer come to the mound to check on Lindstrom. Apparently there is an injury. Such a weird outing for Lindstrom. He gives up a bomb, throws behind someone, gives up another run and now is being taken out of the game because of injury. 

John Grabow comes on to replace Lindstrom with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd. Grabow comes in and walks Kingsale. You are up by 5 runs, stop putzing around and just throw the ball down the middle.

Grabow gets out of the inning without further damage and after an eventful top of the 8th, USA leads 8-3.

Bottom 8th

Berry Van Driel is now pitching for the Netherlands. Let’s see if he throws at someone. It would shock me if he didn’t because right now he looks like a man possessed.

He didn’t throw at Youkilis, instead he threw 4 pitches nowhere near inside and walked him.

McCann pinch hitting for Braun doubles off the wall and scores Youkilis. 9-3 USA. Iannetta flies out to right and leaves McCann at 2nd.

So nobody was thrown at and we go to the top of the 9th with USA leading 9-3.

Bottom 9

Apparently Team USA is short of LF’s, so Brian McCann will stay in the game and play LF. According to Dave O’Brien, McCann has never played LF in either the minors or majors. I am sure the Braves are beyond thrilled McCann is doing this.

Jonathon Broxton is on to close the game for Team USA. Broxton is throwing heat. His last pitch was 98 mph. Another pitch at 99 mph. Another pitch at 99 mph. This is silly.

Broxton gets Engelhardt to ground to SS to end the game and Team USA wins 9-3 and stays off elimination for at least 1 more game.

Koudos to the Netherlands who nobody believed would make it this far. Outside of tonight, they pitched well, fielded well and really impressed me with how they played the game. The goal of this tournament is to increase the popularity of baseball across the world and in the Netherlands, the sport of baseball has never been more popular.

Looking Back At Some Predictions….

March 11, 2009

Here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham I have a section called “The Crystal Baseball.” I use this section to make some predictions on players, teams and games. I wanted to revisit some of the predictions made earlier in the year because I feel it is important to be held accountable for the predictions I make.

Here are the results of some of the predictions I made…

“Where Will They End Up?” was a post that tried to predict where the remaining top free agents will land. Here are the results

1. Derek Lowe

Predicted – Braves

Signed With – Braves

2. Oliver Perez

Predicted – Mets

Signed With – Mets

3. Adam Dunn

Predicted – Nationals

Signed With – Nationals

4. Manny Ramirez

Predicted – Giants

Signed With – Dodgers

5. Orlando Hudson

Predicted – Nationals

Signed With – Dodgers

6. Bobby Abreu

Predicted – A’s

Signed With – Angels

7. Orlando Cabrera

Predicted – Angels

Signed With – A’s

Results – 3/7 = 42%

Not bad at 42% but not great. I should have nailed the Manny to the Dodgers signing. I definitely over thought that one.

Now that the first round of the World Baseball Classic is in the books, let’s take a look how I did in my“Predictions for the WBC” post….

Round 1 Winners Predicted

Japan, Korea, Cuba, Puerto Rico, USA, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela

Round 1 Winners In The WBC

Japan, Korea, Cuba, Puerto Rico, USA, Netherlands, Mexico, Venezuela

Results – 7/8 = 88%

The Dominican Republic really let me down. I had them winning the whole tournament. It’s kind of like when the team you had going to the Final Four gets knocked out by a #13 seed.

So in the predictions that I have made that have yielded actual results I am 10/15, which is 67%. The goal for the year is to be between 55-65%. It’s a high goal but I am feeling good about this baseball season.