Posts Tagged ‘Edwin Jackson’

Brandon Webb Throws Off A Mound, Feels Good

February 10, 2010

Last year I did a two-part series on the “key” players for each team. A “key” player is a type of player that had an injury plagued or down season the year before and if he can make a come back, then the team would be much better off.

I plan on continuing this two-part series again this year and I will give you a little preview today. The “key” player for the Arizona Diamondbacks is RHP Brandon Webb.

Webb threw off a mound yesterday

Webb fits my “key” player title to a tee.

From 2005-2008, Webb was not only one of the top pitchers in the National League, but in all of baseball. In those seasons, Webb was 70-37 with a 3.23 ERA and won the NL Cy Young in 2006. In 2007 and 2008, Webb finished second in the voting.

Pretty impressive.

However, the 2009 season was a lost season for Webb. He made his first start of the season, got rocked by the Colorado Rockies, and never pitched again.

Webb went on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis and eventually needed surgery on his right shoulder. Now trying to make a comeback, Webb finally returned to the place where he has had the most success in his life–the pitcher’s mound.

For the first time since having shoulder surgery last August, Webb threw off a mound yesterday. Webb threw 20-25 pitches at Chase Field in Arizona and said he felt good afterwards.

“I’m right where I expected to be,” Webb said in a statement through the Associated Press. “Having not been on the mound in a year, I am pleased with how I felt.”

The Diamondbacks will take it slow with Webb in spring training, giving him extra days rest between starts and throwing sessions. If Webb doesn’t have any setbacks in spring training, he should be ready to go for Opening Day.

This is very, very good news for Diamondback fans. Arizona has added some nice pieces this offseason, but in order for the Diamondbacks to compete for the NL West title or a Wild Card spot, they need Webb to stay healthy in 2010.

Here is what I wrote about who I think Webb can be back in November:

“Webb’s career is really starting to remind me of Orel Hershiser’s. Hershiser was a sinker-ball pitcher, who logged a lot innings, won a Cy Young, and in the middle of his career underwent rotator cuff surgery.

Sound familiar?

Hershiser was a good pitcher after the surgery, but never was the dominate pitcher he once was. I think Webb can be the same pitcher Hershiser was post-surgery.

That means a pitcher who can still log a lot of inning, strikes out few, has a high WHIP, but can still gut his way out to 10-15 wins.”

The Diamondbacks will only go as far as Webb goes in 2010. If he can make a successful comeback, then Arizona will have a nice three-headed monster with Webb, Dan Haren, and Edwin Jackson. If Webb suffers any setbacks next year, then Arizona will have a massive hole to fill in their rotation.

That is why he will be the “key” player for the Diamondbacks in 2010.

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

Starting Rotation: National League West

January 23, 2010

The last last starting rotations I will look at are the starting rotations of the National League West. It’s no surprise that nine out of the last 11 NL Cy Young award winners have come from the West.

With the divisions big ballparks and offensively challenged lineups, the NL West is a pitcher’s dream. Any pitcher worth their salt, would love to pitch in this division.

Here are the starting lineups for each National League West team as presently constructed.

Colorado Rockies

1. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP

2. Aaron Cook, RHP

3. Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

4. Jeff Francis, LHP

5. Jason Hammel, RHP

Quick Take – I like this rotation, but I don’t love it. I would love for the Rockies to add one more reliable pitcher like Jon Garland. Francis returns to the Rockies after missing the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury. Cook is really underrated.

San Francisco Giants

1. Tim Lincecum, RHP

2. Matt Cain, RHP

3. Barry Zito, LHP

4. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – Linceum and Cain form one of the best one-two punches not only in the NL, but in all of baseball. Lincecum is aiming for his third straight Cy Young award. There is a big dropoff after Lincecum and Cain. I am not sold on Sanchez.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Chad Billingsley, RHP

2. Clayton Kershaw, LHP

3. Vicente Padilla, RHP

4. Hiroki Kuroda, RHP

5. James McDonald, RHP

Quick Take – Which Billingsley will show up in 2010? The one that was an All Star in the first half of 2009 or the one that faded in the second half? Dodgers need him to come back strong next season. This rotation will miss Randy Wolf , who pitched well for them down the stretch in 2009.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Dan Haren, RHP

2. Brandon Webb, RHP

3. Edwin Jackson, RHP

4. Billy Buckner, RHP

5. Ian Kennedy, RHP

Quick Take – Can Webb come back in 2010? That is the big question surrounding this rotation. If he can, the Diamondbacks will be in business in 2010. Jackson needs to pitch like he did in the first half with the Detroit Tigers, not the second half. Kennedy thinks he is a great pitcher, now he gets a chance to prove it.

San Diego Padres

1. Chris Young, RHP

2. Clayton Richard, LHP

3. Kevin Correia, RHP

4. Mat Latos, RHP

5. Tim Stauffer, RHP

Quick Take – Gone is staff ace Jake Peavy, but in is Latos and Richard. Richard pitched well last year (5-2 with a 4.08 ERA) for the Padres after coming over in the Peavy trade. Latos is a top prospect, who showed glimpses of brilliance in his first stint at the majors.

That concludes my starting rotation series for this week. I will revisit each starting rotation as the regular season approaches.

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

Diamondbacks Continue To Add Pieces, Sign Adam LaRoche

January 16, 2010

Very quietly, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a very active offseason.

They were involved in the big three team trade with the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers that netted them Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, they added Bobby Howry and Aaron Heilman to their bullpen, they signed Kelly Johnson to play second base, picked up Brandon Webb’s option, and now they have added a first baseman who has averaged 26 home runs over his six-year career.

LaRoche is headed to the valley of the sun

As first reported by Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Diamondbacks have signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. This deal also includes a $7.5 million mutual option for 2011.

This is a pretty good pickup by the Diamondbacks. And a pretty good deal for them considering it was reported that LaRoche turned down a two-year, $17.5 million contract from the San Francisco Giants about a week ago.

As long as Diamondback fans can be patient with LaRoche, they should like the end product. LaRoche is known throughout baseball as one of the slowest starters in the game.

In his career, LaRoche has a .252 average with a .773 OPS in the first half of the season. In the second half, LaRoche turns it on to the tune of a .300 average with a .909 OPS.

It’s really amazing how LaRoche starts off slow every year. It’s like once the All-Star break hits he turns into Will Clark.

LaRoche’s slow start and hot finish usually averages out to about .270 with 25 home runs every year. That’s probably what you can expect out of him at this point.

The LaRoche signing allows the Diamondbacks to do a couple of things.

First, it allows them to put Conor Jackson in left field full time. Jackson missed most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever. He appears healthy now and even tore up the Dominican Winter League to the tune of a 425/.561/.589 batting line in 94 AB’s.

Second, this move ends the Eric Byrnes’ era in Arizona. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic is the reporting the Diamondbacks have designated Byrnes for assignment. The Diamondbacks will have 10 days to either trade him or flat-out release him.

This will be a big hit to the mid-market Diamondbacks as Byrnes is set to make $11 million in 2010. Byrnes’ first two years in Arizona (2006 & 2007) were considered a success. In those two years, Byrnes played in 303 games and hit .277 with 47 home runs, 75 stolen bases, and an .805 OPS.

He even finished 11th in the MVP voting in 2007.

After the 2007 season, Byrnes signed a three-year, $30 million deal and its been all down hill from their. In the last two years, Byrnes has played in only 136 games and has amassed a .218 average with 14 home runs and a .653 OPS.

It appears his wreckless playing style has taken a toll on him. After all, his nickname was the “Crash Test Dummy.”

Byrnes could definitely latch on with another team as a fourth outfielder, who is good for a clubhouse. His style of play and personality would fit well with a team like the Minnesota Twins or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

With the moves the Diamondbacks have made in this offseason, they have positioned themselves to make a run at the NL West division title.

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

Fantasy Impact: Arizona Diamondbacks’ Edwin Jackson

December 28, 2009

I think I am going to make today a very fantasy focused day on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Earlier in the day I talked about the fantasy possibilities of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Brandon Wood. Now I will talk about Arizona Diamondbacks’ RHP Edwin Jackson.

Jackson should do well in the NL West

Jackson came over the Diamondbacks in the big three-way trade that sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees and Max Scherzer to the Detroit Tigers. While many–including myself ripped the trade from a Diamondbacks perspective–I want to take the time to look at the fantasy impact of the key player the Diamondbacks got in the trade.

This will Jackson’s second tour of duty in the NL West. While many people just remember Jackson as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers, he actually started out his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.

Jackson didn’t have great success with the Dodgers, but I expect him to have a much better go around in the NL West this time around. My logic is pretty simple for this–the NL West is the most pathetic offensive division in baseball.

Any time you can pitch against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants and pitch in AT&T Park, Petco Park, and Dodger Stadium the majority of the time, your numbers will improve. There is a reason why nine out of the last 11 National League Cy Young award winners are from the NL West.

Over the last two years, Jackson is 27-20 with a 3.99 ERA and 269 K’s in 397.1 innings in the AL. However, Jackson has really slipped in the second half over those two years.

In the second half over the last two years, Jackson has a 5.11 ERA. What is really concerning is that Jackson has played on two contenders the last two years and has faded when his teams have needed him the most.

The Diamondbacks could be a dark horse contender in 2010, so I wonder if the pressure will get to him for a third year in a row? While I don’t like the fact that Jackson has faded the last couple of years, there is a lot of things I do like about Jackson in 2010.

Like I said, he is going to the AL from the NL, which is always a plus. The Diamondbacks should improve upon their 70-win season in 2010. And I also like the fact that he is going to be a No. 3 starter in 2010, which means he won’t be facing other team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

I expect Jackson to go 13-10 with a solid 3.40-3.50 ERA in 200+ innings. Jackson has never been a big strikeout guy, so expect around 150-160 K’s in those 200+ innings.

With those numbers, Jackson should be a very solid No. 3 fantasy starter in most fantasy formats in 2010.

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

Who Were The Winners For This Year’s Winter Meetings

December 11, 2009

Now that Baseball’s Winter Meetings are officially over and we have all had a chance to catch our breath, lets take a look at the five teams who really improved themselves over the last four days.

5. Baltimore Orioles. I really liked the addition of Kevin Millwood for this ball club in 2010. Millwood is exactly what this team needed.

Millwood improves the O's

The Orioles only had one pitcher in 2009 (Jeremy Guthrie) throw more than 124 innings. Millwood should come in and eat some much-needed innings for the Orioles and provide some leadership for the Orioles’ young starters.

All the Orioles had to give up for Millwood was Chris Ray. Ray and his 7.27 ERA won’t be missed from the Orioles’ bullpen.

4. Detroit Tigers. I know when a team gives up the type of person and player Curtis Granderson is, they usually aren’t considered winners. But the Tigers did really well in their three-way trade with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Tigers got three top prospects in Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth and got another left-handed pitcher for their bullpen in Phil Coke.

Jackson will replace the departed Granderson in center field and Scherzer will replace Edwin Jackson, who was shipped to the Diamondbacks in the Tigers rotation.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays finally acquired a closer they so desperately needed. The Rays acquired Rafael Soriano from the Atlanta Braves for Jesse Chavez.

Soriano now gives them stability in the back of the pen. Over the last four years, Soriano has a 2.76 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and has averaged 10.3 K’s/9 in 221.2 IP.

2. Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers went into the winter meetings wanting to improve on two areas–the starting rotation and the bullpen. In a span of about three hours, they accomplished both.

On Wednesday, the Brewers inked LHP Randy Wolf to a three-year, $29.75 million contract to improve the starting rotation and then signed RHP LaTroy Hawkins to a two-year, $7.5 million contract to improve the bullpen.

Did the Brewers perhaps overpay a little for Wolf and Hawkins? Maybe, but Milwaukee isn’t Miami, L.A. or even Chicago. The Brewers sometimes have to overpay to get people to come to Milwaukee.

In a span of three hours, the Brewers made themselves contenders again in the weak NL Central.

1. New York Yankees. The rich get richer huh? The Yankees wanted to get more athletic this offseason and accomplished that goal when they traded for Granderson.

Granderson is a perfect fit in NY

With his personality and his ability to drive the ball to right field, Granderson is a perfect fit in New York. The Yankees can now either re-sign Johnny Damon to play left or they can let Damon walk if he is asking for too much money and let Melky Cabrera play left field.

Either way, the Yankees’ outfield defense will be improved in 2010.

The Yankees were also able to re-sign LHP Andy Pettitte to a reasonable ($11.5 million) one-year deal. As I have said before, outside Mariano Rivera, Pettitte has been the second most important Yankee over the last 14 years.

There is no more reliable postseason pitcher in today’s game than Pettitte.

If you notice, I don’t have the losers of the winter meetings because I don’t necessarily feel a team has to do something during the four days. Waiting and picking your spots doesn’t make you a loser.

However, if there was one loser based on the moves they did make during the four days it would be the Diamondbacks. They gave up way too much to acquire E. Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

They better be right with their thinking that Scherzer doesn’t translate into a starting pitcher.

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

Granderson To The Yankees A Done Deal, What Are The Diamondbacks Thinking?

December 8, 2009

The first blockbuster move of the offseason has taken place.

According to Jon Heyman, via Twitter, the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a three-way trade. The deal will be officially announced once medical records check out.

Here is the breakdown of the trade:

Yankees get: Curtis Granderson

Tigers get: Phil Coke, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth

Diamondbacks get: Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy.

My initial take on this is–great for the Tigers, very good for the Yankees, awful for the Diamondbacks.

When I wrote my “Curtis Granderson: What’s His Trade Market” piece a couple of weeks ago, I had the Yankees as a likely destination for the Tigers’ center fielder. As a matter of fact, I also had the Diamondbacks on that list as well.

Granderson is headed to the Yankees

Granderson should do extremely well in New York, both on and off the field. He is very smart, well spoken and could see his life outside the game grow.

Despite his OPS declining three straight years (.913 t0 .858 to .780), Granderson should thrive in the Yankees’ lineup. Plus, with his new power approach at the plate, Granderson should find the right field at the new Yankee Stadium more appealing than Comerica Park.

The trade for Granderson also gives the Yankees a lot of options moving forward. They can put Granderson in center and re-sign Johnny Damon or if Damon leaves, they can put Melky Cabrera in center and put Granderson in left.

This move really hurts Damon’s negotiating power with the Yankees. Now if he wants more money and more years from the Yankees, the Yankees can just walk away.

The Tigers I feel did very, very well in this deal. They were able to shed Granderson’s and Jackson’s salary and get a lot of quality back in return.

To get top prospects Austin Jackson, Scherzer, and Schlereth in return is very impressive. The acquisition of Scherzer to me was a steal by the Tigers.

Why the Diamondbacks traded him is beyond me. Scherzer was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft and last year in 170.1 innings, Scherzer struck out 174 batters and only gave up 166 hits.

This kid is a stud and can easily replace the production given by E. Jackson. With Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Rick Porcello in the Tigers’ rotation, the Tigers will have three flame throwers at the top of the rotation.

Schlereth, who was the Diamondbacks’ third best prospect going into 2009 according to Baseball America and Coke give the Tigers two lefties to put in their bullpen.

With Austin Jackson, the Tigers get the Yankees best prospect going into 2009 according to Baseball America and a replacement for Granderson in center. A lot people will say Jesus Montero has passed Jackson, but Jackson is a top prospect non the less.

In 2009 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Jackson hit .300/.354/.405 with four home runs and 24 stolen bases in 132 games.

As for the Diamondbacks, this trade is a disaster for them. I have no idea what they are trying to do.

To give up two of your best prospects for two middle of the road pitchers is puzzling at best.

I have never been a fan of E. Jackson. It seems like for the last two years, he has gotten off to great starts then wilts in the second half when his teams need him the most.

I don’t want to hear about Kennedy.

Kennedy seems to me another product of the Yankee prospect hype machine–a guy who is an average pitcher that just because he is a “Yankee” people assume he will be great.

The Diamondbacks are in rebuilding mode and yet, they got older and acquired a more expensive player in E. Jackson. It makes no sense.

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

Edwin Jackson Steps Up For The Detroit Tigers

September 23, 2009

Having lost three out of their last four games and with the Minnesota Twins breathing down their necks, the Detroit Tigers needed somebody to step up last night against the Cleveland Indians. That person last night was RHP Edwin Jackson.

Last night, in front of a raucous 25 fans at Jacobs Field, Jackson pitched seven strong innings in a 3-1 victory against the Indians. Jackson scattered seven hits and allowed zero runs in those seven innings of work. Jackson also walked three and struck out two in the winning effort.

Jackson stepped up last night

Jackson stepped up last night

This was quite the contrast to what Jackson has given the Tigers recently. In case you haven’t noticed, Jackson has struggled lately. Jackson’s ERA has gone up every month this year and in September his ERA was 6.12 coming into this start.

Along with Jackson’s ERA increasing every month this year, his slugging percentage against has increased every month since May. Going into last night’s start, Jackson’s slugging percentage against in September was .505.

Of course this has to do with Jackson’s increased homerun rate. From April to June, Jackson gave up a total of seven homeruns. From July to last night’s start, he has given up 18 homeruns. Perhaps it’s just dead arm that a lot of pitchers go through late in the season or it might have more to do with Jackson throwing 3,066 pitches this year.

Remember, Jackson faded down the stretch for the Tampa Bay Rays last year. Jackson had a 7.90 ERA last September and pitched himself right out of the postseason rotation for the Rays.

This is why Jackson’s start last night was so impressive. It was almost like he jumped in the DeLorean and went back to April. Despite giving up seven hits, only one of them was for extra-bases–a first inning double by Shin-Soo Choo.

If the Tigers are going to hold off the Twins in the AL Central, they need players like Jackson to step up down the stretch.

Last night was a good start.

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!!!

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?

Who Got The Better Of Some Offseason Trades?…

June 3, 2009

This past offseason we saw a lot of teams wheeling and dealing. There were some blockbuster trades, like the Matt Holliday trade and there were some under-the-radar trades, like the Edwin Jackson trade that are proving to be difference makers.

Now that we are two months into the season, let’s take a look at some of the offseason trades that took place, and which team (so far) has gotten the better of the trade.

The Trade: Matt Holliday traded from the Rockies to the A’s for Huston Street, Greg Smith and Carlos Gonzalez

Advantage: Colorado Rockies

Analysis: After a really slow start, Holliday has turned it on as of late. Holliday is putting up a .275/7/30/.368 hitting line. However, Holliday was brought to the A’s so the A’s could win. The A’s aren’t winning and they are in last place in the AL West.

Another factor in why this is advantage Rockies, is that because of Holliday’s slow start, it doesn’t look like A’s GM Billy Beane will get more back than they gave up, if they decide to trade him at the deadline.

The Rockies got three players for Holliday and all three have performed well for Colorado so far this season. The key to this deal was Carlos Gonzalez and he is putting up Ruthian numbers in Triple A. Gonzalez is hitting .348 with 10 HR’s and 59 RBI in 46 games.

The Rockies could also trade Huston Street (3.38 ERA 8 saves) at the deadline for prospects.

The Trade: Edwin Jackson traded from the Rays to the Tigers for Matt Joyce

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Analysis: This might be the steal of the offseason. Jackson, along with Justin Verlander have become one of the best one-two punches in the AL. Jackson is currently 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA and has an impressive eight quality starts in 11 total starts.

Matt Joyce on the other hand, has spent the majority of the season in the minors. Granted Joyce did hit .315/5/27/.408 in Triple A, but he has not nearly made the impact that Jackson has had.

The Trade: Coco Crisp traded from the Red Sox to the Royals for Ramon Ramirez.

Advantage: Even

Analysis: Probably the most even trade of the offseason. Both players have done exactly what their teams have asked them to do. This is a very rare occurrence in baseball or in any sport for that matter.

The acquisition of Crisp allowed David Dejesus to shift to LF, which has stabilized the Royals’ outfield defense. Crisp has played a very solid CF, which his 2.9 UZR indicates. The Royals would like Crisp to hit better (.233/3/14), but he does have 11 steals to pace the Royals.

Ramirez has been a rock in the Red Sox bullpen. He is 4-2 with a 1.33 ERA and has seven holds in 24 games. Ramirez has been a very good bridge to closer, Jonathon Papelbon.

The Trade: Mark DeRosa traded from the Cubs to the Indians for Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub.

Advantage: Indians

Analysis: When this trade happened back in December, I thought it was a steal for the Indians. Now that we are in June, I still think the Indians got the better of the Cubs, but not by much.

DeRosa has been solid for the Indians, but the Indians are in last place and look to be seller at the trading deadline. One of the players the Indians might be selling is DeRosa. DeRosa has hit .266 with 8 HR’s and 33 RBI so far this and since he can play multiple positions, he has a lot of value.

Even though Stevens (0-2 1.80 ERA in 19 games), Archer (2-0 1.29 ERA in 9 starts), and Gaub (2-1 3.50 ERA) have pitched well in the minors, the Cubs miss DeRosa’s bat and more importantly, his versatility dearly. Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles have not been able to fill DeRosa’s shoes so far.

The real winner of this trade will not be determined until we find out how the prospects the Indians get for DeRosa fare (he will be traded) and how the three prospects the Cubs got from the Indians turn out.

The Trade: Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira traded from the White Sox to the Yankees for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez

Advantage: Yankees

Analysis: The Yankees bought low on Swisher and have gotten great results so far. Not only does Swisher have 10 HR’s and 31 RBI, but has loosened the normally uptight Yankee clubhouse and has brought a “Kevin Millar” type attitude to the bronx.

Many people don’t know the Yankees also got Kanekoa Texeira (no relation to Mark) in this trade as well. Texeira is 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA for Double A Trenton.

Wilson Betemit has been useless for the White Sox.  He is batting .209 and doesn’t fit in the White Sox long-term plans. Jeff Marquez has been terrible in Triple A. Marquez is 0-4 with a 14.54 ERA in four starts. Nunez has been a little better posting a 1-0 record with a 2.97 ERA in 16 games in Double A.

The Trade: Khalil Greene traded from the Padres to the Cardinals for Mark Worrell

Advantage: Nobody

Analysis: Khalil Greene – .200/2/14. Currently on the 15 Day DL

Mark Worrell – 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA

Enough said.

The Trade: JJ Putz, Sean Green and Jeremy Reed traded from the Mariners to the Mets for Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Mike Carp, Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera. Joe Smith traded from the Mets to the Indians. Franklin Gutierrez traded from the Indians to the Mariners. Luis Valbuena was traded from the Mariners to the Indians.

Advantage: Mariners

Analysis: This trade involved three teams and 12 players. At the end of the day, I like the Mariners side of this deal. They were able to restock their farm system with Carrera and Carp (Carp is hitting .302/9/26/.419 in Triple A, by the way) and the players they got for the major league team have made valuable contributions.

Endy Chavez has hit .284 while swiping eight bases and Jason Vargas is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and has two quality starts in four starts. The Mariners were also able to flip Heilman to the Cubs for Garrett Olson and Ronny Cedeno. I’ll chalk that one up as a win for the Mariners as well.

JJ Putz and Sean Green have been terrible for the Mets. Putz is 1-4 with a 4.76 ERA and already lost his role as 8th inning set-up guy to Bobby Parnell. Green has been even worse. He has a 6.95 ERA with an 0-2 record. Jeremy Reed is nothing more than a 4th OF/defensive replacement type player.

Joe Smith has been useless for the Indians (7.11 ERA in 9 games) and is currently on the DL. Luis Valbuena looks like a promising second base prospect and put up a .321/3/13/.436 hitting line in Triple A this year.

Valbuena was just recently called up.

So there you have it. There were a lot of trades involving a lot of players and it looks like the Rockies, Indians, Tigers, and Mariners have gotten the better of their deals so far.

I will revisit this post at the end of the year to see if anything has changed.