Posts Tagged ‘AJ Pierzynski’

Starting Nine: American League Central

January 12, 2010

Yesterday, I took at the starting nine position players for each American League East team. Today, I will cover the starting nine position players for each American League Central team.

Remember, these lineups are as of today. Obviously these will change as the offseason continues. I will update these lineups as the season approaches.

Here are the starting lineups for each American League Central team:

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Joe Mauer, C

3. Justin Morneau, 1B

4. Michael Cuddyer, RF

5. Jason Kubel, DH

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. J.J. Hardy, SS

8. Brendan Harris, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Quick Take – The Twins have as good a one through five as anyone in baseball. They desperately need a third and second baseman. Orlando Hudson would be a nice addition.

Chicago White Sox

1. Juan Pierre, LF

2. Gordon Beckham, 2B

3. Carlos Quentin, RF

4. Paul Konerko, 1B

5. Alex Rios, CF

6. Alexei Ramirez, SS

7. A.J. Pierzynski, C

8. Mark Teahen, 3B

9. Mark Kotsay, DH

Quick Take – Perhaps there is no lineup that is harder to put together than the White Sox’s. This lineup could go in nine different directions. They need a DH and bringing back Jim Thome would make sense.

Detroit Tigers

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Carlos Guillen, DH

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Magglio Ordonez, RF

5. Brandon Inge, 3B

6. Ryan Raburn, LF

7. Gerald Laird, C

8. Adam Everett, SS

9. Scott Sizemore, 2B

Quick Take – Another hard lineup to put together. Jackson and Sizemore could flip-flop in the order. I don’t see a reason to ever pitch to Cabrera.

Kansas City Royals

1. Scott Podsednik, CF

2. David DeJesus, LF

3. Billy Butler, 1B

4. Jose Guillen, RF

5. Alex Gordon, 3B

6. Alberto Callaspo, 2B

7. Josh Fields, DH

8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

9. Jason Kendall, C

Quick Take – This lineup is going to have a hard time scoring runs. This year might be make or break for Gordon.

Cleveland Indians

1. Azdrubal Cabrera, SS

2. Michael Brantley, LF

3. Grady Sizemore, CF

4. Shin-Soo Choo, RF

5. Travis Hafner, DH

6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B

7. Matt LaPorta, 1B

8. Lou Marson, C

9. Luis Valbuena, 2B

Quick Take – I like putting Brantley in the two-hole because of the speed and high OBP ability he showed in the minors. Sizemore moves down to the three-hole and takes on the role of a run producer.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the American League West.

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

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Picking My 2009 American League All Star Team…

June 17, 2009

Yesterday, I picked my 2009 National League All Star team. So today, I will pick my 2009 American League All Star team.

Like yesterday, I will follow the same rules that American League manager, Joe Maddon has to follow. I will pick 33 players and each team in the American League has to have a representative.

Starters

C. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

1B. Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

2B. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

SS. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

3B. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

OF. Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox

OF. Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

OF. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners

SP. Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals

Much like the National League, there were six positions set and three up for debate. At first base you can debate that Kevin Youkilis or Mark Teixeira could start for the AL. But if you look at the stats, Morneau is having a better all around year than both Youkilis and Teixeira.

Greinke gets the start for the AL

Greinke gets the start for the AL

At second base, I choose Ian Kinsler of Aaron Hill based on Kinlser having more HR’s, RBI and SB’s than Hill. Hill wasn’t too far behind in the HR and RBI category and is batting almost 40 points higher than Kinsler.

You could make the case for Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander to be the starting pitcher for the American League. I choose Greinke because of his almost record breaking April and he still leads the AL in ERA.

Reserves – Pitchers

Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers

Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox

Jonathon Papelbon, Boston Red Sox

Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

Scott Downs, Toronto Blue Jays

Andrew Bailey, Oakland A’s

Picking the reserve pitchers in the AL was not an easy task. The most glaring omissions were Cliff Lee (2.88 ERA), Erik Bedard (2.47 ERA), and Brian Fuentes (leads AL in saves with 17).

The A’s needed a representative, which knocked Lee out of the game.

I also would have loved to put Frank Francisco and his 0.47 ERA on the team, but he has not pitched in about a month and is currently on the DL.

Reserves – Position Players

C. Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians

C. AJ Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox

1B. Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox

1B. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees

2B. Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays

SS. Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays

3B. Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers

3B. Michael Young, Texas Rangers

UTIL. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays

OF. Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers

OF. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

OF. Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays

Zobrist will be stretching in St Louis

Zobrist will be stretching in St Louis

If picking the reserve pitchers was not an easy task, then picking the reserve position players was an impossible task. I really don’t envy Joe Maddon.

I had to leave off stars like Miguel Cabrera, Adam Lind, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Markakis, Johnny Damon, Russell Branyan and Chone Figgins. All of those players have a legitimate case to be on this team.

Here is the player breakdown by team:

4. Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

3. Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers

2. Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners

1. Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s

What do you think of this team? Anyone I left off you feel should be on this team?

The Real 10 Most Hated Players In Baseball List

April 6, 2009

One of the great things about the internet is that any idiot like myself can pick up a laptop, start a blog or a website and give an opinion. Someone can formulate an opinion on anything from the best looking women, celebrities, recipes to who is going to be selected with the 1st pick in this coming NFL Draft. I choose to write and give my opinion about baseball. Now the things I write and give my opinions on are not gospel. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong and there are always going to be people who disagree with what I write. That is one of the drawbacks of starting a blog, you open yourself up for criticism. If you have noticed I have not commented on other people’s blogs or sites because I feel everyone is entitled to an opinion. At the end of the day it’s just someone’s thoughts, no big deal. However, I came across an article yesterday that really has me confused and I feel I need to comment on.

I was on Ballhype.com, which a site that gives you the ability to view posts from sports blogs from across the web (yes, my blog is on there). One of the posts I came across was Askmen.com’s “Top 10: Major League Baseball Players To Hate.” Interesting topic and was something I was anxious to read. After I read the article, I am wondering if the person who wrote this article knows anything about baseball or has even watched a game in their life?

On this list was Josh Hamilton?? The reason? “It’s a feel good story only Disney could concont” and “The only issue with Hamilton is that he makes a normal guy who can’t go into the office after a few too many scotch and sodas at happy hour look like a p#*sy..” Words can’t even describe how rediculous this is. Hamilton is hated so much that 50,000+ New Yorkers gave him a standing ovation during last year’s Home Run Derby. But wait, it gets better.

Also on this list is Ryan Braun. Ryan Braun? Why would anyone hate Ryan Braun? The reason…”He seems impossible to hate, which is good enough reason to hate him.” I am really starting to wonder if Askmen.com did any research prior to writing this article.

#7 on the list is Joel Zumaya. Nobody cares enough about Joel Zumaya to hate him. Really? Joel Zumaya one of the top 10 most hated players in baseball?

#5 on the list is David Wright. Now I can understand if you are a Phillies, Braves or even a Yankees fan that you might have a dislike for the Mets 3B. But here is one of the reasons that Askmen.com gave…”He collects double goody-two-shoes bonus points for his David Wright Foundation, which provides aid and assistance toward the health, emotional development and education for children in need.” Wow, the guy does charity work. What a bastard!!!

For a site that claims they get over 7MM readers a month, I would think they would have a better baseball person writing for them. Any way you slice it, this Top 10 is just not cutting it. So it got me thinking. Who are the most hated players in baseball?

Here is my Top 10 Most Hated Players In Baseball list. Teams and fans hate playing against these guys because they are the grinders, the guys who do the little things, they will always get the big hit and they will do anything for their team to win. Not because they are a great comeback story. I will do my list position by position. Of course, this is just my opinion. Disagree if you like…. 

C – AJ Pierzynski, White Sox – Just a bad-ass. He’ll fight you as Michael Barrett will point out and a noted wrestling fan, would suplex anyone on the Twins if he got a chance. Teams hate him while his teammates love him.

1B – Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox – Youkilis is so intense that he is sweating like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter before the 1st pitch of the game. Makes fans and players of opposing teams crazy with the way he grinds out ab’s. The modern day Paul O’Neill.

2B – Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox – Nobody likes a guy who is 5’7″ who acts like he is 6’4″. He is pesky, does all the little things and is just a winner. As small as he is, he always comes up big in the clutch. And oh yeah, he was the MVP last year.

Jeter will always be hated

Jeter will always be hated

SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees – The starting SS for the Yankees will always make a “Most Hated” list (unless you are writing for Askmen.com). Say what you want about Jeter, but when the game is on the line you can put it in the bank that he will come up with a clutch hit. I feel silly saying that Garciaparra was better than Jeter back in the day. Kind of how Yankee fans feel now when they said Cano was better than Pedroia.

3B – Chipper Jones, Braves His real name is Larry, he goes by Chipper and he is enemy #1 amongst Mets fans. Jones has killed the Mets during his career, but he has killed most teams as well during his great career. The face of those great Braves teams in the 90’s and nobody likes someone who is this good and wins all the time.

LF – Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks – The “Crash Test Dummy” has to be on this list. He is always hurt because he plays so hard. He would literally run into a wall to win the game. 

CF – Shane Victorino, Phillies – Was a key cog in the Phillies postseason run last year. The “Flyin Hawaiian” does all the little things to win a game. Plays great defense, steals a base, hit a clutch HR, get under the other team’s skin and as the Dodgers found out in the NLCS…all of the above.

RF – Denard Span, Twins – There has to be a Twins player on this list. Teams hate playing against the Twins because they do everything right. As a fan, it’s infuriating because you know they will never beat themselves. Span fits perfectly into the Twins system of solid baseball and a guy who teams and fans hate to play against.

SP – Roy Halladay, Blue Jays – Why is Halladay on this list? Because there is a 66% chance your team is going to lose when he pitches. If he ever played on a good team it would be closer to 90%. He is the best pitcher in baseball and he makes it look so easy.

Util – David Eckstein, Padres – The pure definition of overachiever, Eckstein looks more like your accountant rather than a World Series MVP. Eckstein is famous for fouling off pitches, which drives fans and opposing pitchers crazy.

Hope you enjoyed this list and ENJOY OPENING DAY!!!

Looking At Fantasy Catchers in 2009….

February 16, 2009

There might be no other position in baseball where the difference between #1 and #30 is so great. That is the dilemma fantasy owners face when it comes time to draft a catcher. If you don’t get one of the 10 best, then you are really stuck picking from the bottom of the barrel. To make sure you don’t draft the bottom of the barrel guy, here are the 2009 fantasy rankings for catchers.

Johnny Bench Division

These are the best of the best at the catcher position. These are the guys you want to draft as your #1 catcher

1. Joe Mauer, Twins – Despite offseason kidney surgery, Mauer remains the #1 fantasy catcher in baseball. The 2-time batting champ won’t get you home runs, but will get you rbi’s, obp, avg and hits.

2. Brian McCann, Braves

3. Geovany Soto, Cubs

4. Russell Martin, Dodgers – Martin slipped a little in 2008 by posting lower avg, hr and rbi totals than he did in 2007. I expect Martin to have a bounce back year in 2009 and Martin does steal bases (49 career sb’s in 3 seasons) which makes him unique amongst catchers.

5. Chris Iannetta, Rockies – Ladies and gentleman, your 2009 fantasy breakout catcher. In only 333 ab’s in 2008, Iannetta posted a .261/18/65/.390 line. At 25 and now the Rockies #1 catcher headed into the season, Iannetta should break out in 2009. If Iannetta can get to 140 games caught, expect a .275/24/85/.380 stat line.

Ted Simmons Division

These catchers are a notch below the top 5 but can serve as #1 catchers on your fantasy team. Like Ted Simmons, these catchers don’t grab the headlines but can put up some nice stats for your team.

6. Bengie Molina, Giants – Quick, how many people knew that Molina put up a .292/16/95 line last year? The best hitting Molina brother had close to 100 rbi last year…amazing. The reason Molina doesn’t crack the top 5 is because he is 34 and will be hard pressed to duplicate last season. .278/15/75 is more likely for Molina this year.

7. Victor Martinez, Indians

8. Mike Napoli, Angels – Napoli smacked an impressive 20 hr in just 227 ab’s last season for the Angels. Napoli is not the best defensive catcher in the world, which hurts his playing time. If Napoli can improve behind the plate, it will mean more ab’s. 25-30 hr’s is not out of the question for Napoli in 2009.

9. Ryan Doumit, Pirates – Occasionally the Pirates will have someone who makes a top 10 list. Because Doumit plays on the Pirates, he flew under the radar last season. He posted a nice .318/15/69 while playing in a career high 116 games. Doumit never hit more than .274 with 9 hr’s in a season before last season so there is a chance that last season was a fluke. I don’t think it was. Look for Doumit to post similar numbers again in 2009.

Terry Steinbach Division

Much like Steinbach for most of his career, these catchers are good for 10-15 hr’s and 50-60 rbi.

10. Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks

11. Jorge Posada, Yankees – After having a career year in 2007, Posada missed much of the 2008 season with a shoulder injury. Now at 37, Posada is at the tail end of his career and his .338/20/90 2007 might have been his last great fantasy season. Look for Posada to have a season similar to his 1999 season. Which was a .245/12/57 line.

12. Ramon Hernandez, Reds

13. AJ Pierzynski, White Sox

14. Brandon Inge, Tigers – Inge is slated to be the Tigers opening day 3B headed into 2009 but he does qualify at the catcher position based on his work from last season. Inge has much more value as a catcher than he does a 3b. 10-15 hr’s and 50-60 rbi is realistic for Inge.

Terry Kennedy Division

The very last guys you want to take before you head down Desperation Rd.

15. Dioner Navarro, Rays

16. Kelly Shoppach, Indians – Shoppach enjoyed a breakout season in 2008 due mainly to the absence of Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner. Now with both players back, it will be difficult for Shoppach to crack the lineup. However, it’s worth taking a flier on Shoppach because if Hafner can’t make it back from injury, then he might get some time at DH.

Tony Pena Division

If any of these guys are your #1 catcher headed into the season, then you might be in serious trouble.

17. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers

18. Gerald Laird, Tigers

19. Jason Varitek, Red Sox

20. Yadier Molina, Cardinals

21. Kenji Johjima, Mariners

22. Kurt Suzuki, A’s

23. Miguel Olivo, Royals

24. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays

25. Jason Kendall, Brewers

26. Nick Hundley, Padres

27. Brian Schneider, Mets

28. John Baker, Marlins

29. Humberto Quintero, Astros

30. Jesus Flores, Nationals

31. Gregg Zaun, Orioles

Matt Wieters Division

32. Matt Wieters, Orioles – This is Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria part 3. Clearly ready for the majors, Wieters will most likely start the season off in AAA because the team wants to delay an arbitration year. When he is eventually is called up, Wieters has the ability to be a top 5 catcher. A switch-hitting catcher with his power comes along only so often. If you are in a keeper league and need a catcher, Wieters should be your #1 choice.

So there you have the catcher fantasy rankings for 2009. As you can see, almost half the league is undraftable. Make sure you get 1 of those top 10 guys, because if you get stuck with Brian Schneider, then it might be a long season ahead.