Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Inge’

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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Chicago Cubs Ted Lilly Has Shoulder Surgery

November 5, 2009

This has been a big week for surgeries around baseball.

On Monday it was the New York Mets’ Jeff Francoeur going under the knife, on Tuesday it was the Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge and the mother of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham having surgery, and yesterday it was the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly getting repaired.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Cubs LHP Ted Lilly had shoulder surgery yesterday on his throwing shoulder. The surgery was performed by renowned surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum (I almost wrote Dwight there).

Lilly won’t begin throwing until four months from now and the Cubs don’t expect Lilly back until April.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said the Cubs were encouraged there was no significant damage to the labrum or rotator cuff, and said surgeon Lewis Yocum thinks there’s “a good possibility Ted would be pitching in April” if all goes well.

Despite having five less win in 09′ than in 08′ (12 to 17) and batting injuries in the second half of the year, Lilly actually had one of the best statistical years of his career. Lilly set career lows for WHIP with 1.056, ERA with 3.10, HR/9 with 1.1, and BB/9 with 1.8.

So what can fantasy owners expect out of Theodore Roosevelt Lilly in 2010?

I expect Lilly to be a serviceable, back-of-the-rotation, or spot starter in fantasy leagues next year. I really can’t see a soon to be 33-year-old, coming of shoulder surgery (even if it wasn’t major) having as good or even better season in 2010 than he did in 08′ or 09′.

I would expect Lilly to start around 25 games and have around nine to 10 wins and an ERA a little north of four in 2010.

Detroit Tigers Brandon Inge Has Surgery On Both Knees

November 4, 2009

According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Tigers 3B Brandon Inge had surgery on Tuesday to correct the patellar tendinitis in both of his knees. The surgery was performed by Dr. Stephen Lemos at the Detroit Medical Center.

Inge is expected to be ready by spring training.

Despite with pain that Inge described as “excruciating,” Inge still managed to play in an American League leading 161 games last season. Inge hit .230 with 27 homeruns and 84 RBI in those 161 games for the Tigers last season.

There is nobody who will question Inge’s toughness after last season, but fantasy owners will question which Inge they will get next season. Do they get the Inge who hit .286/21/58/.360 in the first-half or will they get the Inge who hit .186/6/26/.260 in the second-half?

Fantasy owners should probably expect to get someone in the middle with Inge in 2010.

Inge will be 33-years-old in 2010 and it’s pretty clear at this point what you are going to get out of Inge. You are probably going to get a guy with a low batting average (.230-.240), 20-25 homeruns, and an OBP somewhere around .315.

In terms of 3B fantasy rankings in 2010, I would say Inge falls somewhere between the 15 and 20. He makes for a serviceable backup on your fantasy team for next year.

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

Twins And Tigers Remind Us All What Is Great About Baseball

October 7, 2009

When people ask me what was the greatest baseball game I ever saw, I always say it was Game Six of the 1986 National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

The Mets won that game 7-6 in 16 innings to advance to the World Series. It was a game that was filled with so much drama, passion, and intensity that you could feel it with every pitch through the television set.

It was one of those rare sporting events that was so great, you know you were watching a classic as it unfolded and you would never forget where you were that day.

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Yesterday, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers gave everyone one of those games.

The Twins beat the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings in a one-game playoff to clinch the American League Central title. For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes last night there were no salaries, no free agency, no arbitration, and no steroids.

Last night it was about two teams playing their guts out and leaving everything on field. The Twins and Tigers not only captured the 58,088 screaming fans in the Metrodome, but they captured millions watching at home.

They captured four friends, who weren’t Twins or Tigers fan, but were so into the game that they were texting back and forth on practically every situation that occurred. We all knew we were watching one of the best games we ever saw.

They even captured non-baseball fans like the girl sitting next to me at the bar last night. I could tell she didn’t know the difference between a curveball or a beachball, but she was taken in by game. “I can’t believe they got out that” she said referring to Joe Nathan getting out of a first and third jam with one out in the ninth.

There will always be people out there who say athletes — and in particular baseball players don’t care because they get paid so much.

Tell that to Tigers’ 3B Brandon Inge, who played the majority of the second-half on a knee so bad, he will require surgery at the end of the year.

Tell that to Fernando Rodney, who gave everything he had for three innings last night when he is only used to pitching one and deserved a better fate.

Tell that to catchers Gerald Laird and Joe Mauer, who after catching nearly 400 combined pitches, were blocking balls in the dirt in the 11th and 12th innings so textbook that you could show them to any kid who wants to become a catcher.

Tell that to Orlando Cabrera, a guy, who for some reason goes from team to team and all he does is win.

Tell that to Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire, two of the class acts in baseball, who managed last night’s game like a father would manage his son in a Little League game.

Were there mistakes in this game? Sure there were. Alexi Casilla not tagging up properly in the bottom of the 10th. Ryan Raburn’s unnecessary attempt at a diving catch, which led to a Michael Cuddyer triple in the bottom of the 10th. Miguel Cabrera not running hard from the get-go on Inge’s chopper to second in the 11th.

In any sporting event — especially one that goes into extra innings,  you can question a play in the game or a player’s actions. However, that doesn’t take away from how great the overall game was.

The Twins and Tigers gave us a show that captivated baseball.

For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes, the Twins and Tigers reminded us all what is great about America’s National Pastime.

Live Blog: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

September 20, 2009

Despite not having one of the best players in baseball for the remainder of the year in Justin Morneau, the Minnesota Twins are making serious late-season push towards the playoffs.

Yesterday, the Twins cut the Detroit Tigers lead in the AL Central to just three games. With the AL Central race heating up, I thought I would do a live blog of today’s game between the two AL Central rivals.

Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Date: 9/19/09

Starting Lineups:

Detroit Tigers

1. Curtis Granderson, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 2B

3. Carlos Guillen, LF

4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

5. Aubrey Huff, DH

6. Magglio Ordonez, RF

7. Brandon Inge, 3B

8. Gerald Laird, C

9. Adam Everett, SS

Justin Verlander, P

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Cabrera, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Jason Kubel, RF

5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. Jose Morales, DH

8. Brian Buscher, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Carl Pavano, P

Top 1st

Dick Bramer and Rod Allen calling the game for Fox today. Glad to see Fox has their D team doing the game today. On the mound for the Twins is Carl Pavano who is 4-0 lifetime versus the Tigers.

Every New York Yankee fan just threw their remote at the TV.

First pitch of the game to Granderson is fouled off out of play. Granderson’s average is down to .250. He really needs to pick up here.

Maybe some other time as Granderson strikes out looking on three pitches.

Polanco rips a single up the middle. One on and nobody out for Guillen. Guillen has been hampered all year by injuries.

Jim Leyland, trying to create some offense put on a hit and run, but Guillen fouls the ball off. Polanco gets to second base anyway as Pavano throws a wild pitch.

Guillen goes down swinging as Pavano throws a nasty changeup to get Guillen. Two outs now.

On an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera bloops one to center. Polanco, running all the way with two outs — scores easily. Tigers take an early lead, 1-0.

Big two-out RBI for Cabrera.

Huff pops out to short to end the inning.

The Tigers push across a run and lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.

Bottom 1st

Cy Young award candidate Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. He gets Span to ground out weakly to first for the first out of the inning.

Verlander pacing himself with 96 mph fastballs to Cabrera. Verlander gets Cabrera to pop up to second for the second out.

Now comes up the 2009 AL MVP and one of the nicest athletes I have ever met, Joe Mauer.

My lord Mauer is awesome. Mauer just turns on a 96 mph fastball and launches one into the upper deck in rightfield. That ball was freakin’ crushed.

Game tied at one.

Kubel rips one, but right to Cabrera to end the inning.

But the Twins pull even, and after one in Minnesota, we are tied at one.

Top 2nd

I gotta tell ya, Ordonez’s bat looks slower than Gary Carter’s did at the end of his career. The Tigers are so pleased to be paying Ordonez $18 million next year. Worst contract in baseball next year, hands down.

Ordonez grounds out to third for the first out.

Ouch! Inge gets hit right on the elbow. That’s going to leave a mark in the morning.

Laird bloops one to right for a single. Inge stops at second. First and second with one out for Everett.

Everett hits a groundball in the hole between first and second, but Punto cuts the ball off and gets Everett at first. Inge and Laird move up a base.

Granderson, not wasting any time, swings at the first pitch and lines one deep to center, but Span tracks it down to make the catch. Granderson has had two AB’s and has seen four pitches. Way to work the count Curtis.

Bottom 2nd

Awesome crowd on hand at the Metrodome. It looks like there is a sellout.

Cuddyer flies out to deep center for the first out.

The ever-so-disappointing Young hits a seeing eye single up the middle.

If I were in the Twins dugout, I would say just sit on the fastball. Verlander’s curve is all over the place and he has yet to throw it for a strike.

Verlander can’t locate his fastball either as he walks Morales. First and second with one out for Buscher.

The Twins really could use a third baseman next year. Maybe Garrett Atkins makes sense for them. Verlander just overpowers Buscher and strikes him out on three pitches.

Wow, Punto is really battling Verlander. He has fouled off pitch after pitch.

Punto hits a grounder in the hole, but is robbed by a great defensive play by Cabrera. He dove to right, caught the ball, and then made a perfect throw to Everett to force out Morales.

After two complete, it’s the Tigers one and the Twins one

Top 3rd

Pavano is a first-pitch strike throwing machine. First-pitch strikes to nine of the 11 batters he has faced so far. Yankee fans are just fuming right now.

Polanco is such a professional hitter. Pavano throws an outside fastball and Polanco just goes with the pitch and serves it to rightfield for a single.

Guillen just looks like a shell of his former self. He pops up to third for the first out. My take on the Tigers so far is that they just look like an old team.

Cabrera rips one to rightfield for a single. Polanco stops at second.

Up is Huff who is sporting a nice beard. He kind of looks like a young Bert Blyleven. Ironically, Huff isn’t going to the Hall of Fame either.

Huff becomes the third Tigers batter this inning to go to the opposite field for a single. Huff’s single brings home Polanco and the Tigers lead 2-1. Cabrera stops at second.

It’s kind of weird. Pavano appears to be pitching well, but he has given up six hits in just 2.1 innings so far.

Ordonez really does stink. He taps one back to the mound and Pavano gets the force at second. That ball was hit so slowly that the Twins couldn’t turn two on the play.

Pavano escapes further damage as Inge hits a can-of-corn to center.

But the Tigers take a 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third.

Bottom 3rd

Fox just showed Ernie Harwell’s speech from Wednesday night. What a class act he is. He looks healthier at 91 than I do at 32.

Span starts off the inning with a single to left.

On an 0-1 count, Span tries to steal second and is gunned down by Laird. Laird threw a pea to second base. Span was out by a good foot.

Verlander throws his best offspead pitch of the day and strikes out Cabrera on a wicked changeup. Two outs.

Wow, Verlander’s curve isn’t working today, but his changeup is. He strikes out Mauer on a sweet changeup down and away.

After three, it’s still 2-1 Tigers

Top 4th

Just saw a commercial for Bud Light Golden Wheat. I bet that tastes awful. If regular Bud Light runs right through you, I can only imagine what Golden Wheat will do.

Laird flies out to shallow right for the first out.

Kick save and a beauty by Pavano. Everett hits one up the middle, the ball kicks off Pavano’s cleat to third, and Buscher gets Everett at first. Pavano wins that battle of former over-hyped Red Sox prospects.

Granderson singles to left. It seems the Tigers are taking an opposite field approach to hitting Pavano.

With Granderson running, Polanco just flicks his bat on a low and outside pitch and bloops one to right for a single. Granderson continues running and gets to third.

Another opposite field hit for the Tigers. The Tigers have eight hits and all of them are either up the middle or to the opposite field.

Guillen strikes out looking to end the inning. Not sure what Guillen was looking at or for. That pitch was right down the middle.

Bottom 4th

Fox just showed a view of the new Target Field. Can’t wait till Opening Day 2010 when it’s 25 degrees at game time.

Kubel grounds out to second for the first out.

Cuddyer swings at the first pitch and flies out to center for the second out.

Verlander pumps one up to 97 mph and strikes out Young. Hey look at that. Our first one-two-three inning of the day.

Top 5th

I have no idea what just happened. Cabrera hits a little flare to rightfield and Punto actually out-ran the ball, tried to turn around to catch it, and dropped the ball.

It goes down as a hit and another opposite field hit for the Tigers.

Huff chops one to short, but the ball is hit to slowly to turn two. Cabrera is forced at second for the first out.

Ordonez hits one sharply through the hole between short and third for a single. Huff stops at second. That is now 10 hits for the Tigers — all singles.

Inge bloops one down the rightfield line for a single. Good job by Kubel of trapping that ball. If that got by him, it might have gone for a triple.

Bases loaded for Laird. Pavano will try to get a double play ball from the slow footed Tigers’ catcher.

And right on cue, Laird hits into a tailor made six-four-three double play.

Pavano dances out of trouble again. It’s still 2-1 Tigers going into the bottom of the fifth.

Bottom 5th

Jose Morales leading it off for the Tigers. Morales loops one to left for a single.

Fox just showed Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants highlights. Brad Penny is getting rocked in LA. Not surprised. It was bound to happen.

Buscher has seen six pitches and six strikes. Again, he was overmatched and struck out. One out.

Punto hits a lazy fly ball to center for the second out.

Span swings at the first pitch and flies out to rightcenter for the third out. Verlander without his best stuff is shutting down the Twins.

2-1 Tigers after five.

Top 6th

Everett swings at the first pitch and pops it up to short.

Granderson hits one sharply to second, but Punto is all over it and gets Granderson at first. Two outs.

Let’s see if Pavano can get his first one-two-three inning. He does. Polanco grounds to third to end the inning.

If the Tigers lose this game they will be really kicking themselves in the but. They have had tons of chances to blow this game open.

Bottom 6th

I love Orlando Cabrera. I wish the Red Sox resigned him. He is just a winning player.

Cabrera, right on cue, singles to right.

Every time Mauer comes to the plate, there is an electricity in the air. That is how good he is right now. Every time he is up, you expect something to happen.

Good battle here between Mauer and Verlander. 3-2 count and Mauer has fouled off a couple of 97 mph fastballs from Verlander.

Another nice play by Miguel Cabrera. Mauer hit one into the hole, but Cabrera makes another diving stop. Since Orlando Cabrera was running, Cabrera just stepped on first for the out.

Great pitching by Verlander. Knowing Kubel is looking for a fastball, Verlander pulls the string and gets Kubel out in front and Kubel grounds weakly up the middle. Everett gets Kubel at first for the second out.

Cuddyer hits a two-hopper to second for the third out. The Twins strand a runner at third. This is where not having Morneau in the lineup kills the Twins

Top 7th

I can’t believe this John Mellencamp “This is our country” commercial is still playing. It’s sooooo 2007.

Pavano still in there for the Twins. Despite giving up what seems like 20 singles, he has pitched well today.

Guillen flies to Span for the first out of the inning.

Young makes a nice diving catch to rob Cabrera of a hit. Young has the fatest face with a body that doesn’t match. He is like the anti-Kirby Puckett.

Pavano gets Huff looking for strike three. That was a sweet slider that got the inside corner. So after not having a one-two-three inning through the first five — Pavano has retired six in a row.

Pavano’s day is probably done. Who do you think Yankees fans hate more? Pavano or Jaret Wright?

Bottom 7th

Holy shnikies! What a play by Inge. He extends to rob Young of a double, but Young beats Inge’s throw to first. Still, what a great play by Inge. That ball was ticketed for at least a double.

Carlos Gomez comes on to pinch run for Young. Speaking of Gomez, how bad has that Johan Santana trade been for the Twins?

Look for Gomez to steal at some point.

Morales flies out to left for the first out.

I have to tell you. I have been beyond impressed with Laird in this game. Gomez tried to steal second and Laird gunned him down. Laird has such a quick release.

Buscher grounds to second to end the inning. On a positive note, Buscher actually made contact against Verlander.

Top 8th

Jesse Crain comes in to replace Pavano. A solid effort from Pavano. Seven innings and only two runs. I think the Twins will take that every time.

Crain gets Ordonez and his beyond slow swing to ground to first for the first out.

Inge flies to Kubel in right for the second out. Crain throwing heat. He has been in the upper-90’s all inning.

Easy inning for Crain as Laird grounds out to second.

Bottom 8th

Verlander still on the mound for the Tigers. He has thrown 110 pitches so far. My guess is Leyland let’s him throw 160 pitches today if it means a Tigers win.

Verlander still has it as he blows away Punto for the first out.

Span gets the Twins going with a single down the leftfield line. Nice play by Don Kelly, who replaced Guillen in left to cut the ball off and hold Span to a single.

I am going to admit, I have no idea who Don Kelly is.

3-2 count now to Cabrera. Do you send Span? I would.

If I didn’t know who Kelly was before, I do know. Cabrera hits a routine flyball to left, but Kelly last the ball in the roof. The ball drops and Span ends up at third and Cabrera ends up with a double.

Leyland is going to ring this kid’s neck. Poor sap.

Mauer is being intentionally walked to load the bases for Kubel.

Big spot her for Kubel. Bases loaded with one out. This is Verlander’s game. He is pumping it up to 98 on the gun.

Kubel bloops one to left for a single and what great baserunning by Cabrera. He got an outstanding jump and scored behind Span to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

And with that hit, Verlander exits the game.

Brandon Lyon comes on to replace Verlander. I don’t care what his numbers are — he stinks.

BOOM!!! Who needs Morneau? Cuddyer just crushes one to leftcenter field. 6-2 Twins. I can’t believe there are people out there who think Lyon is good.

Gomez flies to rightcenter and Clete Thomas, who replaced Ordonez for defense makes a nice running catch for the second out.

This is the problem if the Tigers even make the playoffs. Even if Verlander gives you seven, solid innings, who is going to pitch the eighth? Lyon is going to pitch the eigth in Yankee Stadium? No thank you.

Lyon gets Morales swinging to end the inning. But the damage was done.

The Twins score five big runs and take a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.

Bottom 9th

Jose Mijares on to close out the game for the Twins. Mijares looks like a left-handed Juan Berenguer.

Mijares makes quick work of Everett, as Everett flies out to Span for the first out.

Boy, someone needs to talke to Granderson. His team is down by four runs and he goes up there swinging at the first pitch. He pops up to second for the second out.

Polanco keeps the Tigers alive as he doubles to leftcenter field.

With Ryan Raburn announced as the pinch-hitter for Don Kelly, Ron Gardenhire is going to make an unneccessary pitching change. He will bring in Matt Guerrier to face Raburn.

Can Mijares not get out Raburn? I mean come on.

Well, what I think doesn’t matter as Raburn grounds back to the mound to end the game.

Twins win 6-2 and now they are just two games back of the Tigers. The Twins won this three-game series and they will go for the sweep tomorrow.

Live Blog: MLB All-Star Game…

July 15, 2009

It’s been awhile since I have done a live blog, so what better time to do one than the 80th All-Star game in St. Louis. I have always been a big fan of the All-Star game, so this should be fun. I am just praying this game does not go deep into extra innings like last year’s game.

Game – American League vs. National League

Date – 7/14/09

Starting Lineups

American League

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Mark Teixeira, 1B

5. Jason Bay, LF

6. Josh Hamilton, CF

7. Michael Young, 3B

8. Aaron Hill, 2B

9. Roy Halladay, P

National League

1. Hanley Ramirez, SS

2. Chase Utley, 2B

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Ryan Braun, RF

5. Raul Ibanez, LF

6. David Wright, 3B

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Top 1st

Tim Lincecum deals the first pitch of the 80th All-Star game at 8:50 est time and it is ripped by Ichiro down the rightfield line, but foul.

Starting this game at 8:50 est. pretty much eliminates anyone under the age of 15 who lives on the east coast from seeing the end of this game – good job Bud Selig

Ichiro rips a single to right. He is such a good hitter. Being down 0-2 in the count didn’t phase Ichiro one bit.

OUCH!!! With two strikes, Derek Jeter gets hit in the hand with a changeup. Every Yankee fan just took a deep breath. Jeter appears okay.

Lincecumis really all over the place in this inning. He quickly falls behind Mauer 3-1.

Wow, what a quick play by Molina. Mauer hits a ball a foot infront of home plate, Molina pounced on it, and got Ichiro at third. Wright made a terrible throw to first, which pulled Pujols off the bag. Mauer would have been out with a good throw.

Teixeira hits a slow groundball that hits off of Pujols’ glove and goes into short rightfield. Jeter scores to make 1-0 American League.

That was a potential double play ball that Pujols mishandled. Some bad defense by the NL in the first inning. They should be out of this inning.

First and second with one out for Jason Bay.

Bay singles to center. Bases loaded.

Boy, the NL is really asleep on defense. Hamilton gets a hard groundball to first, Pujols gets Bay at second, but Lincecum is late covering first, and the run scores.

2-0 American League. We can eliminate Tim Lincecum from winning the MVP award tonight.

Michael Young grounds to Wright for the third out.

Not a very good start for the NL.

Bottom 1st

Hanley Ramirez leading off for the NL, hits a rope, but right to Aaron Hill. One out.

How many recruiting talks do you think Roy Halladay has gotten in the past two days? 40? 50?

Halladay gets Chase Utley to ground out to Teixeira. Two quick outs here in the bottom of the first.

Now here comes Pujols. Maybe he will make up for that terrible error he made in the top of the first.

Pujols hitting, Mauer catching, and Halladay pitching – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Michael Young is the man. Pujols hits a frozen rope to third. I mean a real screamer. Young snags it and casually throws to first to get Pujols. Now that is how you play defense.

After one it’s 2-0 American League

Top 2nd

Hill grounds to Ramirez for the first out.

Roy Halladay is hitting. I don’t think he planned on this happening. With the luck the Blue Jays have been having with injuries, Halladay will get clocked in the hand here.

He doesn’t and Halladay K’s for the second out.

A much better start to the second inning for Lincecum.

Ichiro hits a linedrive, but right at Braun in rightfield for the third out.

Bottom 2nd

Braun flies out to center for the first out.

President Obama is in the booth with McCarver and Buck. Obama is neck and neck with Bill Clinton as the president you would most want to hang out with.

Ibanez grounds to Hill for the second out. Halladay is making this look easy.

Even when Halladay gives up hits, he splinters bats. Wright bloops one to rightcenter for a hit. His bat shattered in a 100 pieces.

Victorino singles to right. First and second with two outs for Molina.

How about this. Molina singles to center, Wright scores, and Hamilton trying to throw out Victorino at third – hits him in the back and the ball rolls into foul territory.

Victorino scores andwe are tied at two. Molina goes to second on the throw.

Last night’s HR Derby champion Prince Fielder will hit for Lincecum.

Amazing how quickly things change in an inning. Halladay was crusing and a broken bat got a rally started.

Fielder smokes one down the leftfield line for a ground rule double. Molina scores and it is now 3-2 NL.

Ramirez grounds to Hill for the third out.

What an inning for the NL. Three runs with two outs.

After two complete in St. Louis, it’s 3-2 National League

Top 3rd

This is odd, Cardinals’ closer Ryan Franklin is in the game for the NL. I don’t think I have ever seen a closer come into an All-Star game this early before.

Jeter grounds to Utley for the first out.

Mauer lines to Pujolsfor the second out.

Teixeira grounds weakly to Pujols for the third out.

Well that was easy for Franklin. A very impressive inning.

Bottom 4th

Chicago White Sox lefty, Mark Buehrle into the game for the AL. With Buehrle pitching, this inning might last five minutes.

Utley hits a can of corn to center. One down.

Man, does Buerhle work quickly.

Pujols grounds to Teixeira for the second out. Teixeira showed his range on that groundball, as he played that way off the bag at first.

Braun grounds to Jeter at short and in less than five minutes the inning is over.

I wish more pitchers worked like Buerhle.

It’s still 3-2 NL after three.

Top 4th

We start the fourth and McCarver and Buck have been very tolerable tonight. It must be a full moon.

Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks is now in the game for the NL.

One pitch, one out. Bay flies out to Braun in right.

Hamilton flies out to semi-deep center.

Young singles to left. Michael Young loves playing in All-Star games.

Aaron Hill up. Every kid outside of Toronto just asked their dad “who is that?”

Hill grounds hard to Hanley Ramirez, but Ramirez gobbles it up, and gets Hill to end the inning.

Bottom 4th

Just saw a commercial for the new GI Joe movie. It looks terrible. I was a HUGE GI Joe fan growing up, so I hope the movie is better than it looks. I am not optimistic.

The Kansas City Royals’ Zack Greinke is in for the AL.

One pitch, one out. Ibanez pops up to Young at third.

I hope Greinke goes two innings tonight. It will let the world see who he is.

And this is why – Greinke throws a wicked slider to Wright to strike him out. That was nasty.

Greinke just toyed with Victorino. Got him to swing at a pitch in the dirt and two feet out of the strike zone.

One-two-three for Greinke

This game is moving rather quickly. Still 3-2

Top 5th

The next pitcher for the NL is the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley.

Carl Crawford hitting for Greinke.

Crawford hits a single to center. With Crawford at first and Molina behind the plate, this should be interesting.

What a great play by Chase Utley. Ichiro hits a ball between first and second, Utley gets the ball, pivots, andgets the lead runner in Crawford at second.

What a great play. Ichiro now at first with one out and Jeter up.

My roommate from college Odie just sent me a text “Ichiro is a dope, let crawford steal.” I agree. The fastest man in baseball is on first and Ichiro is up there hacking.

The NL is flashing some leather. Jeter hits on his classic inside-out balls to the right side, but Pujols dives andgets the lead runner at second.

The first inning must have been a wake up call for the NL.

This brings up Mauer with Jeter on first and now two outs.

Is Joe Mauer the best hitter in the game right now or what? Billingsley throws a curve on the outer half and instead of trying to pull the ball, Mauer goes with the pitch and laces it down the leftfield line.

Jeter running all the way, scores from first. We are now tied at three.

Pujols really wants to make up for that first inning error. He makes another diving stop off of a Teixeira groundball and flips to Billingsley for the third out.

Pujols saves a run, but the AL ties the game heading into the bottom of the 5th.

Bottom 5th

Edwin Jackson the new pitcher for the AL

What is the story with hitters swinging at the first pitch when there is a new pitcher in the game?

Molina on the first pitch grounds to short for out No. one.

Ryan Zimmerman up at the plate. Zimmerman replaced Wright in the top half of the inning and is batting in the pitchers spot.

Zimmerman just missed one. He flies out to deep centerfield.

Ramirez on the first pitch grounds out to Young at third.

Wow what an inning for Jackson. Four pitches and three outs. Not a bad day’s work.

3-3 still as we head to the bottom of the sixth

Bottom 6th

The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman into the game

The first batter he will face is the Orioles’ Adam Jones. Right now every Mariners’ fan is saying “I can’t believe we got rid of this guy.” Jones is hitting in Jason Bay’s spot in the lineup.

Jones hits a rocket to right, but Hawpe tracks it down at the warning track. One out.

Hoffman is not fooling anyone. Hamilton jumps all over the first pitch and singles to right.

Young hits a hard groundball, but right at Utley. After a brief bobble, Utley and Tejada are able to turn the four-six-three double play.

I was a little surprised Hoffman was used so early. I would have thought because he is the all-time saves leader, he would have been used to close out the game.

Bottom 6th

The Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez has been called upon to pitch for the AL.

Orlando Hudson will hit for Utley andmost likely come into the game to play second.

Okay, once again we are first pitch swinging. This game counts right Bud?

Hudson hits one deep to right but Adam Jones is there for the first out.

Pujolsgrounds to short for the second out.

Not too many people on the east coast get to see “King Felix” pitch, but he is a dandy. He really can become a legit ace. He has no-hit stuff every time he goes to the mound.

Justin Upton is now hitting for Ryan Braun. A great matchup here of two of the best young players in the game.

Another groundball to short. The sure-handed Jason Bartlett gets Upton to end the inning.

We are getting down to the nitty gritty as Gorilla Monsoon used to say.

Top 7th

Classy move by Charlie Manuel as he lets Pujols go out to take warmups andthen replaces him with Gonzalez so he can get a standing ovation from the Cardinal fans.

Francisco Cordero is the new pitcher in the game for the NL. He is the Cincinnati Reds’ lone representative for tonight.

Aaron Hill up for the third time and he flies out to Upton in in left.

Crawford up for the second time. On the first pitch he grounds to Tejada at short. Two outs.

Justin Morneau up for the AL. He replaced Teixeira at first and is hitting Ichiro’s spot.

That was a quick inning for Cordero. He gets Morneau to line weakly to Zimmerman at third.

Bottom 8th

My buddy Tom just sent me a text “Close game and these idiot managers are using pitchers for one inning each.” Kind of agree. With a lot of the pitchers having pitched on Sunday and after last year’s marathon, I am surprised pitchers aren’t going more than one inning.

A new inning, a new pitcher for the AL. Jonathan Papelbon is in the game for the AL.

OH WOW!!! Carl Crawford makes the play of the game so far. Brad Hawpe on Papelbon’s first pitch (of course) hit a fly ball deep to left and Crawford leaped over the wall to make the catch and rob Hawpe of a HR. Great catch.

Two pitches and two bombs off of Papelbon. Miguel Tejada flies out to deep right but Adam Jones is there to make the catch.

Papelbon is pitching to Victor Martinez. A sign of the future?

Papelbon is throwing his fastball at 89 mph. Someone should tell him this game counts.

Papelbon strikes out Jayson Werth to end the inning. That fastball was 94 mph, so Papelbon got into the groove towards the end of the AB.

It’s still 3-3 heading into the eigth and this game has extra innings written all over it. Lovely

Top 8th

Heath Bell is into the game for the National League.

The first pitch he throws is over the head of Jason Bartlett. Nice pitch.

Bell does better on his second pitch as he gets Bartlett to ground to short.

Curtis Granderson up for the AL. He crushes one to left and the ball  hits off the base of the wall. Granderson digs for third and he makes it.

Grandersonat third with one out and the infield comes in.

Victor Martinez is up and he is getting intentionally walked. That stinks for Martinez. Manuel is walking Martinez to get to Adam Jones.

HeathBell looks like his heart is racing a million beats per second.

Well, Manuel’s strategy backfires as Jones hits one to the warning track in right. Granderson scores to make it 4-3.

Kevin Youkilis is up for the first time and he promptly singles to center.

First and second with two outs for the Rays’ Ben Zobrist.

Bell gets Zobrist swinging, but the damage was done. One run on two hits and two runners left on base.

At the end of seven and a half, it’s the American League four and the National League three

Bottom 8th

New York native Joe Nathan in the game for the American League. The AL is going to go with Nathan for the eighth andthen Mariano Rivera for the ninth. The NL is in trouble.

The Braves and Ron Kittle impersonator, Brian McCann up at the plate to face Nathan.

McCannon a 2-1 pitch pops up to Martinez behindthe plate. One down here in the bottom of the eighth.

Zimmerman swinging at the first pitch, flies to right for the second out.

Here is the best player that nobody knows about – Adrian Gonzalez

FOX just showed Bud Selig with George Will. And there is your reason for a baseball team in Washington.

Good AB by Gonzalez. Down in the count 1-2 and he works a walk.

Another two out rally by the NL. Hudson singles up the middle and now we have first andthird with two outs.

Ryan Howard is coming up to pinch hit. Manuel was picking his spot for Howard and this is it. Very similar to the 2003 All-Star game in Chicago where Mike Scioscia was picking his spot for Hank Blalock in the late innings.

Blalock hit a pinch hit two-run HR off of Eric Gagne to give the AL the win.

They just showed Brian Fuentes warming up. Well, if he is not in the game to face Howard why on earth is he warming up?

Howard is swinging for the downs. Two fastballs, two Ruthian cuts, and now it is 0-2.

Hudson steals second. That’s kind of a good and bad move. Good in that it eliminates the double play and now a single scores two runs. Bad in that this might take the bat out of Howard’s hands.

No 2003 moment here as Howard swings at a pitch in the dirt for strike three.

We head to the ninth with the AL still clinging to a 4-3 lead

Top 9th

The next pitcher up for the National League is the New York Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez.

His first batter will be the Tigers’ Brandon Inge. Of course Inge swings at the first pitch and grounds to short.

Carl Crawford up. He is 1-2. With his catch and with nobody else really standing out tonight, he might win the MVP.

Striking out won’t help his cause. That was a great changeup by Krod.

Morneau rips one into the left-centerfield gap, Werth tracks it down, and makes the catch. What a catch by a guy who is normally not a centerfielder.

This is it. We head to the bottom of the ninth with the AL leading 4-3

Bottom 9th

If the NL is going to come back, they are going to have to do it against the best in the business in Mariano Rivera

Justin Upton will try to get things started for the National League.

Barlettis silky smooth at short. He made a tough, back-handed play look very easy. He gets Upton for the first out

Brad Hawpe, who was robbed of a HR by Carl Crawford will try to hit one a little further against Rivera.

Joe Buck just said Brad Hawpe is a very good defensive rightfielder. I am guessing Buck hasn’t seen Hawpe’s UZR lately.

Hawpe goes down looking on a perfect pitch on the outside corner.

Now it’s up to Miguel Tejada to keep it alive. He doesn’t.

Tejada pops up to Zobrist at second to end the game.

That’s a wrap. The American League wins again 4-3. The American League will have homefield advantage in the World Series.

Like I suspected, Carl Crawford wins the MVP award. This might be the first time in All-Star game history that a guy won the award for a catch.

It was a good game, well played, and it only took 2:31 to play. A little disappointed that Tim Wakefield didn’t get to pitch, but what can you do.

Over 3,000 words later, I am calling it a night. Good night everyone!!!

Fantasy Week In Review, July 6-12

July 13, 2009

Last week marked the final week of the official first-half of the season. For the first time in a long time, it seemed like there were more players we should be concerned with than there were fantasy studs. Never a good sign.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the players who have me concerned, and the potential pickups for the fantasy week of July 6 – July 12.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Ludwick – .481/4/15. It was better late than never last week for Ludwick, who finally decided to show up in 2009.

Jayson Werth – .292/4/11/.438. Not a bad way to celebrate your first all-star selection.

Pablo Sandoval – .333/3/11. The “King-Fu Panda” took his all-star snubbing out on NL pitchers last week.

Paul Konerko – .391/3/10. All three of Konerko’s HR’s came in one game last week. Still good enough to be a fantasy stud last week.

Adam Wainwright – 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 14 K’s in 16.1 IP. Ended the first-half of the season on a positive note for the St. Louis Cardinals by shutting down the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night.

Washburn has been dealin' this year

Washburn has been dealin' this year

Jarrod Washburn – 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and only gave up five hits in 16 IP. Washburn is making a serious push to land another big, free-agent contract in the offseason.

Josh Beckett – 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 11 K’s in 15 IP. Yesterday’s game against the Kansas City Royals was over when Beckett was doing his bullpen session before the game.

Rafael Soriano – Four Saves, eight K’s and a 0.00 ERA in four IP. Soriano has been lights out lately for the Atlanta Braves, and has taken the closer job from Mike Gonzalez.

Reasons for Concern

Torii Hunter – Placed on the 15-day DL with a strained groin. Hunter is eligible to return on July 22.

My concern here is that groin injuries are like hamstring injuries – they never seem to go away. Hunter did have 13 SB’s this year, so this might affect his stolen base numbers going forward.

Ryan Dempster – Placed on the 15-day DL because of a broken right toe. Dempster broke his toe when he tripped over the dugout rail after the Cubs beat the Brewers. That is classic.

Geovany Soto – Placed on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain. This really hasn’t been Soto’s year so far.

He got off to a terrible start, he is only hitting .230, and now he goes on the DL.

The Cubs and fantasy owners for that matter, need him in the second half to make some sort of contribution in order to win.

Jay Bruce – Placed on the 15-day DL with a fractured wrist. I had Bruce on this list before the wrist injury.

It was a terrible week for Bruce. First he was benched, then he comes back only to face Johan Santana, and then he breaks his wrist.

Bruce has struggled this year with a .207 average, but does have 18 HR and 41 RBI. Bruce has tremendous value in Keeper Leagues, so don’t give up on him just yet.

According to the Cincinnati Reds’ official Twitter page, Bruce will be out six- to-eight weeks.

Magglio Ordonez – Ordonez will now platoon in rightfield with Clete Thomas for the Detroit Tigers.

I am guessing the Tigers are determined not to let Ordonez reach his incentives so his $18 million extension won’t kick in.

Ordonez’s fantasy value is limited at best for the remainder of this year.

Andy Pettitte – Pettitte was 0-2 last week with a 10.45 ERA and gave up 12 runs in just 10.1 IP.

This almost seems like repeat from last year with Pettitte. Pettitte got off to a 10-7 start in 2008, but faded in the second half going 4-7 with an ERA over five.

Pettitte has been terrible his last two starts so this might start becoming a trend for the older Pettitte.

Johnny Cueto – Either this guy is hurt or he is just worn out. He is too good to be this bad over his last two starts.

Cueto in his last two starts is 0-2 with a 20.65 ERA and has given up 13 runs in 5.2 IP.

Keep an eye on Cueto (if you have started already) in his next couple of starts. If he continues to struggle, then there might be some cause for some major concern.

Potential Pickups

There are no potential pickups for this week.

How about a little prediction for tonight’s Home Run Derby. For those of you not aware, here are the participants…

Gonzalez will win the HR Derby

Gonzalez will win the HR Derby

Albert Pujols

Adrian Gonzalez

Prince Fielder

Ryan Howard

Carlos Pena

Joe Mauer

Brandon Inge

Nelson Cruz

I don’t like anyone in the AL, so that eliminates Cruz, Inge, Pena, Mauer.

Pujols is too easy, so I won’t pick him.

Fielder’s weight and stamina are a concern, so he is won’t last.

That leaves Gonzalez and Howard. Howard was born in St Louis, so I think he might feel the pressure.

The winner will be Adrian Gonzalez. Having spent his entire season trying to hit HR’s in the cavernous Petco Park, Busch Stadium will feel like a little league field to Gonzalez.

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?

Fantasy Week In Review 4/5-4/12

April 14, 2009

With the first week of the season in the books, it’s time to look at the players who have been fantasy studs, the players who you should look at to pick up and the players you should be concerned about.

Fantasy Studs

Evan Longoria – .481/5/10. Could he be headed toward an MVP season?

Miguel Cabrera – .467/3/10. It’s scary how much power Cabrera has.

Lind is off to a fast start

Lind is off to a fast start

Adam Lind – .400/3/12. If he is still available in your league than A. Your league is not very competitive and B. PICK HIM UP!!!

Troy Tulowitzki – .263/3/5/.440. Looks like last season was a fluke.

Roy Halladay – 2-0 3.86 era with 9 K’s in 14 IP. Nothing new from Halladay as the best pitcher in baseball continues to do his thing.

Josh Johnson – 2-0 0.57 era with 15 K’s in 15.2 IP. Might be the best pitcher on the best pitching staff in the NL East.

Aaron Harang – 1-1 0.64 era with 11 K in 14 IP. Pitched the very rare CGSO on Sunday.

Paul Maholm – 1-0 1.32 era with just 10 H in 13.2 IP. 2 starts, 2 quality starts. Only drawback is low K rate.

Reason for Concern

Cliff Lee – 0-2 9.90 era with 17 H and 10 K in 10 IP. A K per inning shows he still has his stuff but his location so far has been horrific.

Tim Lincecum – 0-1 7.56 era with 14 H, 6 BB, 10 K in 8.1 IP. What is concerning is the walks. 6 in 8.1 is not going to cut it. Like with Lee, it seems location is an issue. The 10 K’s in 8.1 IP is encouraging.

Brian Fuentes – 2 saves 12.00 era with 6 H in 3 IP. Already has blown 1 save and has looked shaky in his 2 other save opps. The Angels have other options so Fuentes might be on a short leash.

Hamels was rocked in Colorado

Hamels was rocked in Colorado

Cole Hamels – 0-1 17.18 era with 11 H in 3.2 IP. Hamels got rocked in Colorado. 260+ IP last year and elbow issues in spring training gives owners reason for concern.

Jason Motte – 0 saves 15.43 era with 7 H in 2.1 IP. Motte has had 2 save opps and has 0 saves. LaRussa has already given save opps to other relievers. Keep an eye on this situation. If Motte is not getting saves, he is not worth a roster spot.

Brandon Webb – 13.50 era and a trip to the DL. Webb visited Dr James Andrews. Never a good sign. As my friend Chad says, “Dr James Andrews = 2010.”

Jed Lowrie – .056/0/0. Lowrie is 1 for 18 so far this season. If he keeps this up, he will find himself on the bench when Lugo comes back.

Justin Upton – .000/0/0. I have no idea what Bob Melvin is trying to do to this kid? A 21 year old kid with all the talent in the world has only started 3 out of 6 games and when he does start he is batting 8th. This while Tony Clark and Eric Byrnes continue to get ab’s. Makes ZERO sense. Stick with Upton though. Either Melvin will get it or will be fired.

Potential Pick Ups

Emilio Bonifacio – .500/1/5 with 4 sb’s. The ultimate sleeper, Bonifacio tore up pitching in the first week. Look at my “Who is Emilio Bonifacio?” post for more on Bonifacio.

Adam Jones – .409/0/4 with 4 doubles and 7 runs. Tim Kurkjian loves him and that should be good enough for you to pick him up.

Nyjer Morgan – .423/0/5 with 3 sb’s and 5 runs. Juan Pierre Part 2. That means .270-.280 with 0 hr’s and 40-50 sb’s. If your league values sb’s, then Morgan is your guy.

Dexter Fowler – .385/2/3 1 sb in just 13 ab’s. I am confident in saying that Seth Smith is not the answer for the Rockies in LF. Look for the Rockies to move Spilborghs over to LF so Fowler can play in CF.

Brandon Inge – .269/4/7/.441. Inge qualifies as a catcher, which makes him a valuable player this year. If he keeps up this HR pace, he will be even more valuable.

Erik Bedard – 1-0 2.03 era with 15 K’s in 13.1 IP. My “Key” to the Mariners is off to a good start. If he can stay healthy, then he is a nice pitcher to have in any fantasy format.

Looking At Fantasy 3rd Basemen In 2009..

March 20, 2009

In honor of March Madness, I am going to do a tournament to determine who is the best fantasy 3B in 2009. This is a 36 player tournament and seeds are broken down from 1-8 in 4 regions. The 4 regions are the Mike Schmidt Region, George Brett Region, Eddie Mathews Region and the Brooks Robinson Region.

Since there are 36 players who will be participating in this tournament, the last 2 seeds in each bracket (8 players total) will play in a play-in game to determine who advances to the actual tournament. Let the tournament begin….

Mike Schmidt Region

Play In Game

Bill Hall vs Andy LaRoche. Winner – Andy LaRoche

Longoria is a #1 seed

Longoria is a #1 seed

1st Round

#1 Evan Longoria vs #8 Andy LaRoche

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #7 Scott Rolen

#3 Ryan Zimmerman vs #6 Mark Reynolds

#4 Chone Figgins vs #5 Mike Lowell

Winners – Longoria, Atkins, Zimmerman, Lowell

Analysis – Longoria hit 27 hr’s and drove in 85 runs in only 122 games in 08. Baring injury Longoria should put up 35+ hr, drive in 120+ runs and even swipe double digit steals in 09. He is the #1 seed in this region and should be one of the 1st 3B on your draft board.

Mark Reynold’s K’s (204 last year) were too much to overcome against Zimmerman, who should have a nice bounce back year. Figgins has been injury prone the last 2 years (hasn’t played in more than 116 games) and I believe his 07 season was a fluke. Lowell looks good this spring and that enables him to pull off the upset against Figgins.

Brooks Robinson Region

Play In Game

Eric Chavez vs Russell Branyan. Winner – Russell Branyan. It is pretty amazing how far Chavez has fallen in such a short period of time. Branyan qualifies as a 3B but will get 1st crack at being the Mariners everyday 1B. Maybe Branyan will be the Mariners version of Carlos Pena?

1st Round

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #8 Russell Branyan

#2 Chipper Jones vs #7 Casey Blake

#3 Aubrey Huff vs #6 Pablo Sandoval

#4 Mark DeRosa vs #5 Carlos Guillen

Winners – Rodriguez, Jones, Huff, DeRosa

Analysis – Despite probably missing the 1st month of the season, Rodriguez still remains 1 of the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. He still should be able to put up 30 hr’s and 90 rbi, which is better than most.

Chipper Jones, headed into his 16th season still has a lot to offer fantasy owners. His batting avg. has increased each of the last 3 years and he can single handily win you OBP in a head to head league.

Aubrey Huff is often over looked in fantasy drafts but all he did last year was smack 32 hr’s, drive in 108 runs and hit .304. Expect the same from Huff this year, as the Orioles will have a solid lineup in 2009.

George Brett Region

Play In Game

Jed Lowrie vs Chris Johnson. Winner – Jed Lowrie

1st Round

#1 David Wright vs #8 Jed Lowrie

#2 Chris Davis vs #7 Troy Glaus

#3 Adrian Beltre vs #6 Melvin Mora

#4 Alex Gordon vs #5 Jorge Cantu

Winners – Wright, Davis, Beltre, Gordon

Analysis – David Wright goes into 2009 as the #1 fantasy 3B. Wright has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting the last 3 years and that trend should continue in 2009. What separates Wright is 1. His durability (160 games played in 3 of the last 4 years) and 2. His ability to steal a base. Wright was a 30/30 man just 2 years ago. I don’t think he will go 30/30 again but 20 sb’s can be expected.

A lot has been expected from Alex Gordon ever since the Royals drafted him the 2nd pick overall in the 2005 draft. Gordon showed some progress last season by raising his avg. 13 points and his OBP by 37 points. If he can continue this trend maybe a .275/20/80 is doable in 2009.

Chris Davis has been the hot name going into fantasy drafts due to his 17 hr and 55 rbi performance in just 60 games last year. Is he another Kevin Maas or will he break out in 2009? I think hitting is contagious in that Rangers lineup and Davis will put up a nice .282/33/101 in 2009. Davis also qualifies as a 1B as well

One last note on this bracket. Jed Lowrie is probably the best #8 seed in this tournament. With Julio Lugo going down with a knee injury, Lowrie becomes the starting SS in a powerful Red Sox lineup. Lowrie qualifies as a 3B but has more value as a SS.

Eddie Mathews Region

Play In Game

Brandon Inge vs Josh Fields. Winner – Josh Fields. Fields wins based on his sleeper potential. You know what you are going to get with Inge…which isn’t very good

1st Round

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #8 Josh Fields

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #7 Joe Crede

#3 Kevin Kouzmanoff vs #6 Edwin Encarnacion

#4 Michael Young vs #5 Hank Blalock

Winners – Ramirez, Youkilis, Kouzmanoff, Blalock

Analysis – Aramis Ramirez has been one of the most productive 3B in the league since joining the Cubs in 2003. You can pretty much lock Ramirez in for 25+ hr’s and 100+ rbi every year.

Youkilis is the strongest #2 seed in this tournament and if Arod was out longer, would move into a #1 seed. Youkilis also qualifies at 1B but has more fantasy value at 3B. If your league has OBP as a category, then Youkilis (.380 or better 4 years in a row) is a must grab.

Blalock upsets Young in the first round because I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season.

Mike Schmidt Region – Sweet 16

#1 Evan Longoria vs #5 Mike Lowell

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

Winners – Longoria and Zimmerman

Analysis – Atkins batting avg, OBP, hr’s and rbi have dropped each of the last 3 years. That is not a good sign and to make matters worse, Atkins will be hitting in a lineup without Matt Holliday and has Ian Stewart breathing down his neck. Zimmerman will revert back to his 06 and 07 seasons when he averaged 22 hr’s and 100 rbi.

Brooks Robinson Region – Sweet 16

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #4 Mark DeRosa

#2 Chipper Jones vs #3 Aubrey Huff

Winners – Rodriguez and Jones

Analysis – I will bet a lot of money that DeRosa will not have 21 hr and 87 rbi again in 2009. Last year is what we call a “career year.” I look for more DeRosa like 15 hr and 65 rbi in 2009 and thus ending DeRosa’s tournament run.

Even knowing that Jones is going to miss at least 20 games, I would still take him over Aubrey Huff and that is the reason he advances.

Wright is a top 4 3B

Wright is a top 4 3B

George Brett Region – Sweet 16

#1 David Wright vs #4 Alex Gordon

#2 Chris Davis vs #3 Adrian Beltre

Winners – Wright and Davis

Analysis – Gordon might be improving but he is no match for Wright. Davis vs Beltre is an interesting matchup because Beltre is a free agent at the end of the year and you know what happened last time Beltre was a free agent. Beltre lit up baseball with a .334/48/121. I don’t think Beltre will put up those numbers but I think Beltre will be better than he was last year. However, Davis edges Beltre in the end due to his age (keeper consideration) and his potential for a great year.

Eddie Mathews Region

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #5 Hank Blalock

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #3 Kevin Kouzmanoff

Winners – Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis

Analysis – Ramirez and Youkilis advance pretty easily to the Elite 8. What hurts Kouzmanoff is his OBP. Last year it was a pretty pathetic .299. If Kouzmanoff can learn a little plate discipline, he would be more highly regarded in fantasy drafts.

Elite 8

#1 Evan Longoria vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #2 Chipper Jones

#1 David Wright vs #3 Chris Davis

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Rodriguez, Longoria, Wright, Youkilis

Analysis – Youkilis pulls off the upset due to him hitting in a better lineup than Ramirez and Youkilis’ ability to play 1B. Having players who can play multiple positions is a bonus to any fantasy roster. So the Final 4 is set with the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. Longoria, Rodriguez, Wright and Youkilis. These are the 4 guys who should on the top of your list come draft day.

Final 4

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 Alex Rodriguez

#1 David Wright vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Longoria and Wright

Analysis – Due to Arod’s injury Longoria gets the nod on draft day. In the other matchup in the Final 4, David Wright gets the edge on draft over Youkilis. Wright’s sb potential sets Wright apart.

Finals

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 David Wright

Winner – Wright

Analysis – Wright went into this tournament as the #1 3B and comes out of this tournament the #1 3B. If Wright is available to you on draft day, don’t hesitate to grab him.

I hope you enjoyed this fantasy 3B tournament and good luck in your NCAA Basketball bracket.