Posts Tagged ‘BJ Ryan’

Looking Back On Some Baseball Bets

October 5, 2009

Before the regular season started, I gave some predictions on some prop bets for the baseball season. Now that the regular season is almost over, I thought it would be a good time today to look back at some of those predictions I made.

All lines were curtesy of Bodoglife.com

Player Bets

Aubrey Huff. Over/Under 23 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Huff had 15 Hr’s

Dustin Pedroia. Over/Under 40 1/2 Doubles – I like the Over Pedroia had 48 doubles

Josh Beckett. Over/Under 14 1/2 Wins – I like the Over* Beckett won 17 games

Joba Chamberlain. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Under Chamberlain won 9 games

Derek Jeter. Over/Under .303 average – I like the Over Jeter hit .334

Evan Longoria. Over/Under 107 1/2 RBI – I like the Over Longoria had 113 RBI

BJ Ryan. Over/Under 34 1/2 Saves – I like the Under* Ryan had two saves

Zack Greinke. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Over Greinke had 16 wins

Miguel Cabrera. Over/Under 34 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Cabrera has 33 Hr’s

Gary Sheffield. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under Sheffield had 10 Hr’s

Bobby Abreu. Over/Under 99 1/2 RBI – I like the Under Abreu had 103 RBI

Brian Fuentes. Over/Under 32 1/2 Saves – I like the Under Fuentes had 48 saves

Ken Griffey Jr. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under Griffey Jr. had 19 Hr’s

Brett Myers. Over/Under 11 1/2 Wins – I like the Over Myers had four wins

Albert Pujols. Over/Under 117 1/2 RBI – I like the Over Pujols had 135 RBI

Adrian Gonzalez. Over/Under 29 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Gonzalez had 40 Hr’s

Randy Johnson. Over/Under 10 1/2 Wins – I like the Under Johnson had eight wins

Team Bets

Tigers. Over/Under 81 1/2 Wins – I like the Under* Tigers will have 86 0r 87 wins

Twins. Over/Under 83 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Twins will have 86 or 87 wins

Braves. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Braves won 86

Dodgers. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Dodgers won 95

Mets. Over/Under 89 1/2 Wins. I like the Under Mets won 70

Cardinals. Over/Under 82 1/2 Wins. I like the Over* Cards won 91

Giants. Over/Under 80 1/2 Wins. I like the Under Giants won 88

Royals. Over/Under 75 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Royals won 65

* indicates Best Bet

Not bad. I went three out of four on my “best bets.” I was really surprised the Tigers had the year they did. I definitely didn’t see it coming.

Overall, I went 16 for 25. That’s 64 percent for those of you scoring at home. If Cabrera can hit two Hr’s on Tuesday night, I can get up to 68 percent.

I think if you went to Las Vegas and won 64 percent of the time you would take it.

I will revisit the rest of my predictions after the season ends.

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JP Ricciardi Out As Toronto Blue Jays’ GM

October 3, 2009

Yesterday, I wrote that the Toronto Blue Jays had “massive team blow up” in the offseason written all over it. Well, the Blue Jays offseason blow up started this morning.

Ricciardi was fired as Jays GM

Ricciardi was fired as Jays GM

According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, JP Ricciardi was fired as Toronto Blue Jays’ GM. Assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos will take over on an interim basis.

“This was a tough decision and a difficult one for me personally as I have enjoyed J.P.’s friendship and his perspective on the game,” Jays acting president and CEO Paul Beeston said in a prepared statement. “J.P. has put an incredible amount of effort into improving the team and he has brought along a number of great young players. However, I feel that it is time for a change and accordingly we have decided to move on.”

Ricciardi was hired as GM in 2001 in hopes of restoring the Blue Jays to their glory years in the early-90’s. It never happened under Ricciardi’s watch.

The Blue Jays never won more than 87 games and only finished above third once with Ricciardi as the GM. Ricciardi will probably be remembered for three things as Blue Jays’ GM.

First, Ricciardi handed out some awful long-term contracts that became albatrosses as time went on. BJ Ryan – five years, $47 million. Alex Rios – six years, $64 million. And perhaps the most famous of all, Vernon Wells – seven years, $126 million.

Second, Ricciardi made some ill-advised comments towards OF Adam Dunn, who, at the time was playing for the Cincinnati Reds. Ricciardi appeared on Toronto sports radio show The Fan 590 and had this to say about Dunn.

“Do you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much? Do you know the guy doesn’t have a passion to play the game that much? How much do you know about the player? There’s a reason why you’re attracted to some players and there’s a reason why you’re not attracted to some players.

“I don’t think you’d be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here … We’ve done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn and there’s a reason why we don’t want Adam Dunn. I don’t want to get into specifics.”

It’s one thing for a GM to talk about his players, but for a GM to talk about another team’s player — that’s unacceptable. Ricciardi said he later apologized to Dunn, but Dunn refuted that claim.

The third and perhaps the lasting memory Blue Jay fans will have of Ricciardi, was his decision not to trade Roy Halladay at the July 31st trading deadline.

There were a lot of rumors in regards to the offers Ricciardi received for his prized pitcher. At the end of the day, Ricciardi rejected them all and decided to hold on to Halladay.

At the time, Halladay’s value was at his highest. Now, with Halladay a free agent after the 2010 season, the longer Halladay remains in a Blue Jay uniform, the less the Blue Jays are going to get for him.

Whoever replaces Ricciardi on a full-term basis will have their work cut out for them. It looks like the massive offseason blow up is underway.

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.

Bullpens Off To Rough Start In 09….

April 9, 2009

With a couple of exceptions like the Mets offseason blueprint working to perfection on Opening Day, the pitching out of the bullpen has been terrible so far in 2009. Blown leads, blown saves and overall just poor performances have managers reluctant to go to the pen late in the game. Let’s take a look at some of the bullpen disasters that have occurred in just 4 days of games….

Monday

Yankees vs Orioles

With the Orioles up 6-3, Chris Ray comes in and gives up a HR, a single, 1 walk and 2 runs in just 8 pitches. Score becomes 6-5 Orioles.

After the Yankees came all the back from a 6-1 deficit and made it 6-5, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney destroy any momentum they had by giving up 3 hits, 3 walks and 4 runs in just 2 innings.

Pirates vs Cardinals

With the Cardinals up 2-1 heading into the 9th, Jason Motte implodes in his 1st save opportunity. 1 inning, 4 hits, 4 runs and 1 blown save later, the Cardinals lose 4-2

Royals vs White Sox

It was all set up for the Royals. Gil Meche hurled 7 strong, give the ball to Farnsworth for the 8thand then close it out with Soria in the 9th. Things didn’t work out that way for the Royals. Farnsworth was terrible in the 8th inning. 4 hits and 1 giant Jim Thome 3 run HR gave the White Sox a 4-2 win.

Ryan blows a save

Ryan blows a save

Tuesday

Tigers vs Blue Jays

My lord is Brandon Lyon terrible. Lyon comes in trying to protect a 3-1 lead and the first batter he faces, Aaron Hill tags him for a 3 run HR. 4-3 Blue Jays.

After Aaron Hill gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead, Cito Gaston called on BJ Ryan to close out the game. Ryan, who looked like he was throwing the ball 50 mph gave up a massive HR to Brandon Inge. Game tied 4-4

Blue Jay fans didn’t need to worry because for some odd reason Lyon is still in the game. The Blue Jays go on to beat Lyon and win the game, 5-4.

Rays vs Red Sox

Josh Beckett looked like a man possessed for 7 innings on Tuesday. Francona then went to Okajima and Okajima promptly hits the first batter he sees and walks the next. 2 batters later it is 5-3 Red Sox.

Mariners vs Twins

I have no idea what happened to Brandon Morrow. With the Mariners up 5-3 in the 9th inning, Morrow retired the 1st 2 batters with ease. Then all of a sudden he lost it. Morrow walked 3 straight batters to walk the bases loaded. Miguel Batista came in, gave up 2 singles and the game was over. 6-5 Twins.

Yesterday

Braves vs Phillies

This was the mother of all bullpen disasters. The Braves were up 10-3 in the 7th inning!!!! In a spectacular performance Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan and Blaine Boyer gave up 3 hits, 4 walks and 8 runs in just 1/3 of an inning. What a clown show by those 3.

A’s vs Angels

The usually reliable Angels bullpen imploded yesterday. After Nick Adenhart pitched 6 marvelous innings in which he didn’t allow a run, the Angels bullpen allowed 6 runs in the final 3 innings. New Angels closer, Brian Fuentes allowed 4 hits, 1 walk and 3 earned runs in the 9th to take the loss. Here is what I wrote about Fuentes in my “Key Players On Each MLB Team” post…”I always viewed Fuentes as a nice lefty set-up guy rather than a Closer for a team trying to win a World Series. For those who argue Fuentes was on the Rockies team that made it to the World Series in 07. Remember, he lost the Closer’s job to Manny Corpas during that season and he wasn’t even the Closer when the season began last year. Fuentes will have a lot of pressure on him to replace the departed Francisco Rodriguez. If he can’t handle the pressure, the Angels will have to scramble to find a Closer.” Let’s see how Fuentes handles the pressure now that he has blown a save just 3 games into the season.

As you can see this has been a rough week for the bullpens so far. There is nothing more demoralizing to a team than a blown lead late in the game. Let’s see how how these teams and bullpens bounce back in the weeks to come.

Looking At Fantasy Closers Final…

April 4, 2009

There have been a lot of changes to the closer position over the last couple of weeks so let’s take a final look at Fantasy Closers 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. 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

13. 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

14. 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

15. Jason Motte, Cardinals – The only thing that will hold Motte back will be Tony LaRussa. It wouldn’t shock me if he gave some opportunities to Franklin and to Perez when he gets called up from Triple A. If LaRussa doesn’t screw around with Motte, then 30+ saves with an era in the mid-2’s is realistic.

16. 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. Ryan has been slow to start the season and could lose some save opportunities to Scott Downs.

Armando Benitez Division

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

17. Kevin Gregg, Cubs In a move that surprised a lot of people, Kevin Gregg was named the Cubs’ closer in 2009. Gregg had 29 saves for the Marlins last year but also blew 9. That is a lot of blown saves in 38 opportunities. Gregg melted down in the dog days of August when he had an 0-4 record, 3 blown saves and an era of 10.14. If he couldn’t handle the pressure in Miami how is he going to handle the pressure pitching under a microscope in Chicago? Gregg will get his saves early because the Cubs will be competitive in 2009 but I don’t see this ending well. I suspect Marmol will be closing games at some point during the season.

18. Brandon Morrow, Mariners – Morrow voluntarily moved to the bullpen in part to help him deal with diabetes which he was diagnosed with while he was in High School. If he can control this disease and I hope he can, there is no reason to think he won’t be effective. In 45 games as a reliever last year, Morrow had a 1.47 era. The only reason Morrow isn’t ranked higher is because the Mariners stink. Expect 20-25 saves with an era in the very low 2’s.

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

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

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

22. 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

23. 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. Hoffman will be starting the year on the DL and there is no time table for his return.

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

24. Troy Percival, Rays

25. Chad Qualls, Diamondbacks

26. Joel Hanrahan, Nationals

27. Heath Bell, Padres

28. Frank Francsico, Rangers

29. Fernando Rodney, Tigers – Rodney is your worst fantasy option headed into 2009. Not only does he close for a bad team but he has Brandon Lyon and rookie Ryan Perry looking over his shoulder.

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

?. 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. Carlos Marmol, Cubs

2. Scot Shields, Angels

3. JJ Putz, Mets

4. Scott Downs, Reds – Could get some saves early in the season.

5. Ryan Madsen, Phillies

6. Dan Wheeler, Rays

7. Leo Nunez, Marlins

8. Brandon Lyon, Tigers

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

Placing Some Baseball Bets…

March 28, 2009

I was surfing the web and I happened to come across Bodoglife.com, a site that allows you to place bets on various sporting events. I checked out the baseball section and noticed they had prop bets for both players and teams.

Here are the prop bets I like and don’t like for the upcoming season…

Player Bets

Aubrey Huff. Over/Under 23 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over

Dustin Pedroia. Over/Under 40 1/2 Doubles – I like the Over

Josh Beckett. Over/Under 14 1/2 Wins – I like the Over*

Joba Chamberlain. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Under

Derek Jeter. Over/Under .303 average – I like the Over

Evan Longoria. Over/Under 107 1/2 RBI – I like the Over

BJ Ryan. Over/Under 34 1/2 Saves – I like the Under*

Zach Greinke. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Over

Miguel Cabrera. Over/Under 34 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over

Gary Sheffield. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under

Bobby Abreu. Over/Under 99 1/2 RBI – I like the Under

Brian Fuentes. Over/Under 32 1/2 Saves – I like the Under

Ken Griffey Jr. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under

Brett Myers. Over/Under 11 1/2 Wins – I like the Over

Albert Pujols. Over/Under 117 1/2 RBI – I like the Over

Adrian Gonzalez. Over/Under 29 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over

Randy Johnson. Over/Under 10 1/2 Wins – I like the Under

Team Bets

Tigers. Over/Under 81 1/2 Wins – I like the Under*

Twins. Over/Under 83 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

Braves. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

Dodgers. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

Mets. Over/Under 89 1/2 Wins. I like the Under

Cardinals. Over/Under 82 1/2 Wins. I like the Over*

Giants. Over/Under 80 1/2 Wins. I like the Under

Royals. Over/Under 75 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

* indicates Best Bet

Team USA Adds Hawkins And Hanrahan…

March 2, 2009

In a follow up to my Team USA Losses Nathan post, it was announced today that Astros reliever LaTroy Hawkins will replace Nathan on the roster.

There is something I never thought I would write. “LaTroy Hawkins replaces Joe Nathan.” I understand Hawkins had a 0.43 era with the Astros last year but LaTroy Hawkins? Really? Team USA must be at the bottom of the barrel for available players.

Hawkins replaces Nathan on Team USA

Hawkins replaces Nathan on Team USA

I don’t see why Team USA felt the need to add another set-up guy to the roster when they already have Howell, Putz, Shields, Ziegler, Lindstrom and Thornton on the roster. I would have used Nathan’s spot on a starting pitcher. How about asking that Halladay guy if he would like to pitch?

In other Team USA news, Washington Nationals Closer Joel Hanrahan will replace BJ Ryan on the roster. Ryan pulled out of the WBC because he felt his “mechanics” weren’t right.

With Brian Fuentes missing the first round of the WBC because of “family issues” and with Joe Nathan and BJ Ryan out of the WBC, look for Team USA to use Jonathon Broxton as the closer throughout the tournament.

Team USA Loses Nathan….

March 1, 2009

It’s been a bad weekend for Team USA. On Friday they lost their starting CF in Grady Sizemore, on Saturday they lost starting RF Brad Hawpe and today they lost their Closer, Joe Nathan.

Nathan will miss the WBC

Nathan will miss the WBC

According to MLB.com Minnesota Twins Closer Joe Nathan will miss the WBC because of a sore shoulder. No replacement has been named yet for Nathan but there is no replacing Joe Nathan. Nathan, in my opinion is the best closer in the game not named Mariano Rivera. Team USA will now turn to either Brian Fuentes, BJ Ryan or even Matt Lindstrom to close games.

I will post who has replaced both Hawpe and Nathan as soon as Team USA makes the announcement.

Looking At Team USA’s Roster For The WBC…..

February 25, 2009

As I have written several times I am not a fan of the WBC. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t root for Team USA as I feel it is always important to route for your country any time you can. Tonight on the MLB Network, the final rosters were announced for the WBC. Let’s take a look at Team USA’s roster and what are there strengths and weaknesses.

Starting Pitchers

Jake Peavy, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Roy Oswalt

Relief Pitchers

JP Howell, Jonathon Broxton, Scot Shields, Brian Fuentes, Brad Ziegler, Matt Lindstrom, JJ Putz, BJ Ryan, Scott Thornton, Joe Nathan

Catchers

Chris Iannetta

Brian McCann

Infielders

Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, David Wright, Chipper Jones, Mark DeRosa

Outfielders

Brad Hawpe, Grady Sizemore, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson

 

Potential Lineup

1. Grady Sizemore, CF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Chipper Jones, DH

4. Ryan Braun, LF

5. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

6. David Wright, 3B

7. Brian McCann, C

8. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

9. Brad Hawpe, RF

 

Stengths

1. Bullpen – Team USA has put together a who’s who of top set up guys and closers. This is a smart move by Team USA because of the new pitch count rules for starters. Starters in the 1st round can only throw 70 pitches, 85 in the 2nd round and 100 in the semi-finals and finals. Knowing starters can only throw a certain amount of pitches in the WBC, Team USA built their team around it’s bullpen. They can match up against lefties late in the game with Fuentes and Thornton, if they need a strike out in the 7th inning they can bring in Lindstrom or Shields and if they need someone to close the game they can turn to either Broxton or Nathan. No team in the WBC has the bullpen Team USA does

2. Team Speed – Sizemore, Jeter, Pedroia, Granderson, Wright, Rollins and even Ryan Braun can steal a base. I think team speed is important in any type of baseball game but in particular an international game. Pitchers from countries such as Japan, Cuba, Venezuela, etc… usually take a little longer to get a pitch to home plate. Team USA can take advantage of this.

 

Weakness

1. Starting Rotation – I have no issues with Oswalt and Peavy, but is Ted Lilly and Jeremy Guthrie really the best Team USA can do?? Where is Lackey, Halladay, Lincecum, Lester, Haren, Webb or Greinke??? I understand there is a deemphasis on the starting rotation due to pitch counts but this is ridiculous. Lilly and Guthrie might not even get to 70 pitches. If Team USA doesn’t win, the starting rotation will be the reason.

 

Overall Analysis

This team from top to bottom is much better than the one that took the field in 2006 and they are determined to give a better showing than they did that year. Team USA will have their hands full with Venezuela, but at the end of the day I think they will win their group and go on to compete with Japan, Cuba and the Dominican Republic for the right to win the 2nd annual World Baseball Classic.

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