Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Lee’

Starting Nine: National League Central

January 15, 2010

Next up in our Starting Nine series is the National League Central. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, there haven’t been any big-time offensive additions to this division. As a whole, this might be the weakest offensive division in baseball (yes, even passing the NL West).

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for all six teams in this division as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Skip Schumaker, 2B

2. Brendan Ryan, SS

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Colby Rasmus, CF

8. David Freese, 3B

9. Chris Carpenter, P

Quick Take – Re-signing Holliday was crucial to this lineup. Despite having Holliday and Pujols in the three-four spot, this lineup will only be as dynamic as Rasmus and Freese takes them.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Corey Hart, RF

7. Gregg Zaun, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Yovani Gallardo, P

Quick Take – The Brewers sacrificed some offense for defense in 2010. This isn’t the powerful Brewers’ lineup of the last couple of years. There are a lot of automatic outs from seven through nine.

Chicago Cubs

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF

2. Kosuke Fukudome, RF

3. Derek Lee, 1B

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Marlon Byrd, CF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Ryan Theriot, SS

8. Mike Fontenot, 2B

9. Carlos Zambrano, P

Quick Take – This lineup is getting old in a hurry. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Soto can come back from disappointing 2009 seasons, the Cubs could be in business in 2010. However, I still think they are going to be hard pressed to score runs in 2010.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Drew Stubbs, CF

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Jay Bruce, RF

5. Scott Rolen, 3B

6. Ramon Hernandez, C

7. Paul Janish, SS

8. Chris Dickerson, LF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Quick Take – This lineup looks good for now and even better for the future. If Bruce can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year in 2010. I would like someone better than Janish at SS, but top prospect Todd Frazier isn’t ready to take over just yet.

Houston Astros

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Kaz Matsui, 2B

3. Lance Berkman, 1B

4. Carlos Lee, LF

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Pedro Feliz, 3B

7. J.R. Towles, C

8. Tommy Manzella, SS

9. Roy Oswalt, P

Quick Take – This six through nine is brutal. It’s hard to have a top offense when the bottom part of your lineup is this bad. Top catching prospect Jason Castro is not too far away, so this is Towles’ last stand with the Astros.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF

2. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

3. Garrett Jones, 1B

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Andy LaRoche, 3B

6. Lastings Milledge, LF

7. Ryan Church, RF

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Zach Duke, P

Quick Take – I think in order to maximize their offense’s potential, the Pirates will play Jones at first and Church in right instead of playing Jones in right and Jeff Clement at first. The Pirates’ offense will be better in 2010, but will still have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis.

Last, but not least, tomorrow we will take a look at the National League West.

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

Houston Astros Hire Brad Mills As Manager

October 27, 2009

After Manny Acta spurned the Houston Astros to take the Cleveland Indians manager position, the Astros had to go to Plan B.

Plan B was Brad Mills.

Mills was hired today to be the next manager for the Astros. Mills replaces Cecil Cooper who was fired with 13 games left in the season. Former Astros manager Phil Garner and interim manager Dave Clark were finalists for the position.

Brad Mills

Mills was Francona's right-hand man in Boston

Mills has spent the last six seasons as the bench coach for Terry Francona and the Boston Red Sox. Francona and Mills were teammates and roommates at the University of Arizona.

Mills also spent 11 seasons as a manager in the minor leagues with the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Will Mills make a great major league manager? That I don’t know. There is no way to tell who will be a great manager and who will fall flat on his face.

Here is what I do know. Mills is going to have a tough time winning in Houston if the talent he is managing doesn’t get better.

The Astros are in a bad spot right now. They are an aging team with bad contracts and are short on minor league talent. That’s usually a recipe for disaster.

Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, and Roy Oswalt all have huge contracts and are all at the back-end of their careers. The Astros do have Jason Castro and Bud Norris as young and up-and-coming players, but who knows if they can be solid players on the major league level.

Just like with Acta in Cleveland, the Astro fans are going to need to be patient with Mills. They are going to have to judge him on how he handles his players and can he get the most out of the talent he has to work with?

Mills takes over a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in four years and finished 74-88 last year.

Fantasy Week In Review, July 20-26…

July 27, 2009

It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for a fantasy week in review. Was it me or did it seem like more player went on the DL than normal last week? Every day it seemed like two players were going to miss 15 days.

That being said, here at the fantasy studs, the many players who show reasons for concern, and the potential pickups from the fantasy week of July 20-26.

Fantasy Studs

Justin Morneau – .333/5/11/.455. Leading candidate for the 2010 Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players who if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars induction ceremony.

Jeff Francouer – “Frenchy” is digging his new team. It’s only a matter of time before Francouer hits his toe on his bedpost by accident, the New York Met’s team doctors diagnose him with a stubbed toe, and two weeks later his toe for some reason needs to be amputated.

Carlos Lee – .333/2/10. Anyone else know that Lee has averaged 30 HR’s for his 11 seasons in the majors? I guess that is why he is making $18.5 million this year.

Matt Holliday – .556/2/10 with seven doubles. Whether he is hitting in Oakland or St. Louis, Holliday is red hot right now.

Mark Buehrle – 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, zero hits, zero walks in 9 IP. The man through a perfect game – enough said.

John Lannon – 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA and give up one run in 17 IP. When you give up just one run in 17 innings, you should have two wins. Such is life playing for the Washington Nationals.

Cliff Lee – 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and eight K’s in 16 IP. Lee is pitching again like the Cy Young winner he was last season. It’s still possible those were the last two games Lee has pitched in an Indians’ uniform.

Mariano Rivera – Three saves, zero hits, a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 IP. Sometimes you just have to sit back in amazement in regards to how easy Rivera makes pitching look.

Reasons for Concern

John Smoltz – 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, 18 hits, and 11 K’s in 10.2 IP. While at 42, Smoltz is a great story – it’s just not working in Boston right now.

Smoltz is consistently missing his target and paying for it. The Boston Red will have a serious decision to make once Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka return from the DL.

Ted Lilly – Lilly got smacked around by the Philadelphia Phillies and then went to the DL. Not only does Lilly have a sore left shoulder, but he is also going to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Talk about a double whammy.

Lilly is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Lance Berkman – Berkman was placed on the 15-day DL with is strained right calf. Berkman has killed fantasy owners this year.

Berkman hasn’t had a typical Berkman year to date, and then when he gets going – he lands on the DL. The injury doesn’t appear to be too serious as Houston Astros GM said “If we were in late September then our approach might be different.”

Jose Guillen – Not only does Guillen suck, but now he sucks and is on the DL. Sucking and being on the DL is no way to go through life son.

Guillen was placed on the 15-day DL with a partial tear of his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

Guillen was only hitting .245 with nine HR’s and 40 RBI, so this should be no big loss.

Colby Rasmus/Rick Ankiel – With the acquisition of OF Matt Holliday and with Ryan Ludwick finding his stroke, there is only one spot left in the Cardinals’ OF for two players.

Ankiel started all three games against the Phillies, but knowing the way Tony LaRussa operates, Rasmus will start all four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be hard to count on either of them for solid fantasy production for the remainder of the season.

What the heck happened to Ankiel as a hitter? His career as a hitter parallels that of the “Real Sex” series on HBO. Remember when that show first came out? It was great. Hot girls everywhere and it was definitely worth watching without sound so your parents wouldn’t catch you watching it.

Now? That show is awful. All they show is old couples in their 60’s going to some swingers retreat in Arizona. Completely unwatchable.

That is Rick Ankiel. He got off to a great start by hitting .285 with 11 HR’s in 47 games in 2007 and he hit .270 with 20 HR’s in the first-half of the 2008 season.

He has gotten gradually worse since. Now he is hitting .236 with a .290 OBP and is killing any chance of a big contract in the offseason. Just terrible.

Potential Pickups

Michael Saunders – Saunders was the Number two prospects in the Seattle Mariners’ organization according to Baseball America. Prior to his callup, Saunders was hitting .310 with 13 HR’s and 32 RBI in 64. games for Triple-A Tacoma.

If you are in a Keeper League, it might be worth it to consider Saunders. I don’t think the Mariners called him up just to ride the pine.

Picking My 2009 National League All Star Team…

June 16, 2009

One of my favorite events of the year is the major league baseball All Star Game. Do I think that home field advantage in the World Series should be decided by the winner of the All Star game? No, I don’t. But I still the event regardless.

The mid-summer classic offers fans the opportunity for fans to see the best players in the game all on the field at the same time. It’s quite a scene.

With the All Star game exactly one month away from yesterday, I am going to put together my All Star game roster. Today I will do the National League and tomorrow, I will pick the American League All Stars.

Of course I will follow the same rules that this year’s National League manager, Charlie Manuel has to go by. A roster of 33 players and each team in the National League has to be represented.

With out any further adieu, here is my National League All Star Team:

Starters

C. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

1B. Albert Pujols, St Louis Cardinals

2B. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

SS. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins

3B. David Wright, New York Mets

OF. Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies

OF. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets

OF. Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies

SP. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

There were six selections that were pretty obvious. The three players that are worth debating are Hanley Ramirez at SS, Brad Hawpe in the OF and Matt Cain as the starting pitcher.

I gave the slight edge to Ramirez over Tejeda at SS based on Ramirez having a higher OPS and more SB’s. Does anyone realize what a graet year Brad Hawpe is having? .337/9/47 is mighty impressive. I gave him the slight edge over Ryan Braun.

Cain is 9-1 and in my opinion, has been the most consistent NL starter, so he gets the nod over Santana and Billingsley.

Reserves – Pitchers

Johan Santana, New York Mets

Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks

Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins

Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers

Heath Bell, San Diego Padres

Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

Ryan Franklin, St Louis Cardinals

After last year’s marathon, I decided to go with 13 pitchers instead of 12. I also went with more starters because of what happened last year. The toughest ommissions were Jason Marquis (8 wins), Zach Duke (7-4 3.10 ERA), Yovanni Gallardo (2.88 ERA) and Brian Wilson (17 saves)

Reserves – Position Players

C. Yadier Molina, St Louis Cardinals

C. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies

1B. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres

1B. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

2B. Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates

2B. Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers

SS. Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros

3B. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

OF. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

OF. Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks

OF. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF. Carlos Lee, Houston Astros

Some of the notable position players I had to leave off the roster were Chipper Jones, Adam Dunn (couldn’t have two Nationals on the roster), Hunter Pence (hard call between him and Lee) and Ryan Howard.

Here is the player by team breakdown:

4. New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, St Louis Cardinals

2. Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros

1. Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies

What do you think? Anyone I leave off who you feel was deserving?

Fantasy Week In Review, 6/1-6/7…

June 8, 2009

Is this baseball season flying by, or is it just me? I can’t believe we are already in the second week of June. It seems like yesterday that I was talking spring training.

It was a really interesting fantasy week this past week. We saw some top prospects get the call up, we saw some great performances by some surprising players and we saw the best pitcher in the game do his thing.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the players who have me concerned and some potential pickups from the week of 6/1-6/7.

Fantasy Studs

Ian Stewart – .480/4/12. Stewart should be playing everyday. It’s starting to look like that may be the case.

Carlos Lee – .407/2/9. One of the more consistent run producers in baseball, who never gets noticed.

Matt Holliday – .417/2/9/.517. Holliday is starting to heat up. This is helping his trade value come July 31st.

Lyle Overbay – .533/2/8/.632. A great week for Overbay, who has had a relatively disappointing season.

Roy Halladay – Two starts, two wins, two complete games, 2.00 ERA. To good.

Erik Bedard – 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 11 K’s in 11 IP. Bedard has reverted back to his 2006 & 2007 form (28-16 with a 3.46 ERA). If Bedard keeps this up, he will get himself a nice payday in the offseason.

Vin Mazzaro – 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 13.2 IP. Mazzaro hasn’t allowed a run in his first two major league starts. That is pretty impressive.

Brian Wilson – Three saves, six K’s and a 0.00 ERA in 3.1 IP. I don’t like Wilson’s four walks in 3.1 innings, but other than that he was rock solid this week.

Reasons for Concern

Fausto Carmona – On Monday of last week, I wrote that I was surprised the Indians were continuing to start Carmona. On Friday of last week, the Indians woke up and decided not to send Carmona to the mound anymore. In fact, they sent him all the way down to the Arizona Rookie League.

I am guessing Carmona won’t be back with the Indians any time soon. Therefore, you should drop Carmona from your fantasy team.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA and gave up 16 hits in 10.2 IP. I am not interested in hearing how he only gave up one run against the Tigers. He was terrible and he was equally as terrible on Sunday against the Rangers.

My buddy Odie and I believe Dice-K might be toast this year. He went all out for the WBC and it looks like it might come back to haunt the Red Sox during the regular season.

Manny Parra – 0-1 with a 13.97 ERA and gave up 19 hits in 9.2 IP. Parra is now 3-7 with a 6.86 ERA this year. Hitters are batting .300 against him and he has walked 38 batters in 63 innings. That is way to many baserunners.

There is talk of sending Parra down, so keep an eye on him in his next couple of starts. If he doesn’t pitch well, then it might be adios for him with the Brewers.

Alex Rios – .176/1/2. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a great player? He has never hit more than 24 HR’s, never had more than 85 RBI and has never hit higher than .302 in any season in the major leagues. That is remarkably average.

Rios desperately needs a change of scenery and after this ugly incident with a fan, he might get that change of scenery. If you are at work, you might want to have the volume on your computer on low to watch this video.

Potential Pickups

Antonio Bastardo – 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his first two major league starts. Bastardo has filled in nicely for the injured Brett Myers. As long as he keeps pitching like the way he has, he will continue to start in Philly.

CJ Wilson – Current closer, Frank Francisco might need another trip to the DL in order to get him healthy. If that is the case, CJ Wilson would be first in line to get some saves.

Ricky Nolasco – If the person in your league who had Nolasco was stupid enough to drop him when he was sent down to the minors, pick him up. Despite getting the loss, Nolasco dodged enough bullets (he did give up 10 hits in seven innings) and pitched well against the Giants yesterday.

I think Nolasco has figured things out and should pitch much better than he did in April and May from here on out.

Possible Replacements For Delgado….

May 16, 2009

I always believed a good GM prepared for days and months in advance for Plan B, just in case Plan A doesn’t work out. In this case, plan A was that Carlos Delgado, the slugging 1st baseman of the New York Mets would be a fixture at 1st base and would slug 25-30 HR’s and drive in 100+ runs in 2009. In recent days it looks as if plan A is not going to happen for the Mets. In baseball’s latest injury from hipgate (seriously, what is going on with all the hip injuries lately? Utley, Arod, Lowell, Gordon, etc…Has someone looked into this? It’s crazy.), the New York Post is reporting that Carlos Delgado’s season may be in jeopardy because of a hip injury. Specifically, Delgado has an impingement in his right hip, a small bone spur in the hip and a partial tear of an unspecified area of the hip. To quote my buddy Sean at work…”That sounds terrible.”

Now, it hasn’t been announced that Delgado’s season is over, nor has he even been put on the DL. However, we here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham are always like to plan ahead and are always willing offer our assistance to any GM, so we would like to help Omar Minaya with a Plan B.

Another hip injury victim

Another hip injury victim

Here are potential options for the Mets, just in case Delgado is out for the season and the Mets have to resort to Plan B.

Internal Options

Daniel Murphy – The most logical everyday choice. Murphy played 3B in the minors and even played 13 games at 1B when he was in Double A Binghampton. I always believed if you can play 3B, you can play 1B.

Fernando Tatis – Has played 1B in Delgado’s absence. More of a bench/spot starter at this point in his career. Not an everyday player.

Michel Abreu- Currently the Mets’ 1B in Triple A Buffalo. Hitting .212/2/10 with a .246 OBP. Not one of the Mets top prospects.

Nick Evans – Evans had a cup of coffee with the Mets last year but was so dreadful in Triple A (.093 avg) this year, that they sent him down to Double A. Not a candidate to get called up.

Fernando Martinez – If the Mets move Murphy to 1st, the Mets could call up Martinez to play LF. Martinez is currently the Mets’ #1 prospect and is hitting .281/4/20 through 33 games in Triple A.

External Options

Nick Johnson, Nationals – The Nationals stink, Johnson is making $5.5MM and he is a free agent at the end of the year. If and that is a BIG IF, Johnson could stay healthy, he would be a perfect fit in the #2 hole behind Reyes. I thought Johnson would have been perfect for the Royals in the offseason but that is for a whole other post.

Aubrey Huff, Orioles – One of the more underrated players in baseball, Huff is making $8MM this year and is a free agent at the end of the year. Orioles would move him in the drop of a hat.

Garrett Atkins, Rockies – Played 1B last year but has been terrible so far this year. Teams are concerned with his 3 year splits of .266 avg on the road and .346 avg at home. The Rockies would love to move his $7.05MM salary so they can put Ian Stewart at 3B full-time.

Ryan Garko, Indians – What the heck happened to this guy? 2 years ago he was hitting 20+ HR’s and now he can barely get playing time. Garko doesn’t figure into the Indians’ future plans as I can see them moving Victor Martinez over to 1B full-time once Carlos Santana is ready. They also have LaPorta, who can play 1B. Garko is still only 28.

Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks – It appears the Diamondbacks are in free fall and would be willing to trade some spare parts. Tracy’s health is a concern but he did hit 20 HR’s in 2006. Has $3.75MM remaining on his contract for 2009.

Jorge Cantu, Marlins – Would the Marlins trade Cantu to a division rival this early in the season? Probably not. However, Cantu is making $3.5MM this year and probably $5MM-$6MM next year, which is like $10MM in Marlin terms. That might be enough to trade him to the Mets.

Those are the internal and external 1st base candidates for the Mets. Now, if the Mets decide to put Murphy at first, they are going to need a better LF than Sheffield or Tatis. Possible OF’s that might be available are…

Carlos Lee, Astros

Matt Holliday, A’s

Magglio Ordonez, Tigers

Jermaine Dye, White Sox

One problem the Mets will have acquiring either a 1st baseman or an OF is that their farm system isn’t the best in the world. Baseball America has them ranked 17th amongst the 30 teams. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do if Delgado is out for an extended period of time or perhaps this year. Hopefully this post gave the Mets some options for Plan B.