Posts Tagged ‘Erik Bedard’

Mariners Bring Back Erik Bedard

February 7, 2010

Erik Bedard is one of the great teases in baseball. He is a left-handed pitcher with a ton of talent. There are very lefties in the game that have the stuff that Bedard has.

The problem is, he is always hurt. Not only is he seemingly always hurt, but some–including myself–have questioned his mental makeup. I believe he is one of the pitchers that would rather win in a small market than win in a big market.

Bedard has been a tease in Seattle

Bedard was involved in one of the most lopsided trades in recent years when he was sent from the Baltimore Orioles to the Seattle Mariners for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Kameron Mickolio, and Chris Tillman. This trade has set the Orioles up for years to come, while Bedard has been a disaster in Seattle.

In two seasons, Bedard only made 30 starts and has gotten hurt every year. This is why Bedard is a tease. When he has been on the mound in a Mariners’ uniform he has pretty good for them.

In those 30 starts, Bedard had a 3.25 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and averaged 9.8 K’s/9. Not bad at all.

Bedard’s 2009 season ended at the end of July because of a shoulder injury. Bedard eventually needed shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bedard. He was entering his free agent year and at 30-years-old, Bedard could have been inline for one more big pay-day.

Bedard didn’t get the big payday because his injury will sideline him until at least May. However, he will be returning to the place that I didn’t think he would return to.

According to Marc Brassard of Le Droit, Bedard has re-signed with the Mariners. The deal is for one-year and 1.5 million plus incentives with an $8 million mutual option for 2011.

If Bedard reaches all his incentives in 2010, he could earn around $8.5 million.

I am really surprised Bedard is returning to the Mariners in 2010. After his two injury plagued seasons, I didn’t think the Mariners would bring him back.

Then I got to thinking, the Mariners need all of the pitching help they can get. The Mariners actually needed Bedard.

Yes, I know Seattle has a lethal one-two punch at the top of their rotation in Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, but what do they have after that? Ian Snell? Ryan Rowland-Smith? Doug Fister?

None of those guys strike fear in anyone. If the Mariners go into a three game series with those three pitching, they would be underdogs in all three games against most teams in the American League.

Now you can tell me that the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series with really only two starters and you would be correct. Outside of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks had nothing that year.

However, there is one big difference between what the Mariners have and what the Diamondbacks had in 2001–offense. Whether it was legit or not, Luis Gonzalez did hit 57 home runs that year and finished third in the MVP voting.

They also had Reggie Sanders who hit 33 home runs that year and Matt Williams, when healthy, was still capable of hitting the long ball. Mark Grace also hit .298 with .386 OBP.

Those players were able to bail their bad pitchers out because they could score more runs than their opponents. I don’t see that with this Mariners’ lineup.

If and that is a big if, Bedard can come back around mid-season, he would give the Mariners the third pitcher they need and a big lift as the season goes on.

Bedard will be entering his eighth season in the major league and has a career record of 51-41 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP with the Orioles and Mariners.

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

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Random Thoughts From Around Baseball

January 29, 2010

Since there is nothing going on so far today in baseball, I thought I would just give some random thoughts from around the majors.

Orlando Cabrera is deciding between the Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals today. The guy is a winner and will get a chance to win next year if he signs with the Rockies.

I can’t believe there was a “sweepstakes” for Derrick Turnbow. The guy hasn’t been good in four years. The Florida Marlins were the luck winner of the Turnbow “sweepstakes.”

On this day two years ago, the New York Mets traded for Johan Santana. Despite not making the playoffs in his two years with the team, Santana has been everything the Mets hoped he would be.

Santana was acquired by the Mets 2 years ago today

I waiting in line for Shake Shack today at Madison Square Park in NYC in 16 degree weather. Yeah, it’s that good.

Sticking with the New York theme, the Mets are getting crushed in the Big Apple right now. They have had a rough offseason and a lot of fans are losing faith in his ownership group.

Ken Griffey Jr. apparently got “ripped” this offseason. I still think the Seattle Mariners need a better DH option in 2010.

Thanks to injuries, Erik Bedard has probably cost himself close to $75 million the last two years. Ouch.

I would say it would be a major upset if the Cleveland Indians land Orlando Hudson. I still think the “O-Dog” ends up on the Nationals.

Watching Nolan Ryan’s seventh and final no-hitter from 1991 on the MLB Network now. From the first pitch, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t stand a chance that night. Glenallen Hill looked as befuddled as any hitter I have seen at the plate against Ryan that night.

Francisco Liriano was dominant in the Dominican Winter League. In the final game of the DWL World Series, Liriano struck out 10 in five innings and was consistently in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball.

The Caribbean World Series starts next Tuesday. Those games will be on the MLB Network starting at 2:30 pm ET. Always good talent in those games.

My trivia team is still in first place after two weeks. Questions are much harder than the ones we were faced with in Milwaukee.

Tim Wakefield expects to be a full-time member of the Boston Red Sox rotation in 2010. Umm yeah, I am not sure about that one Tim. Unless Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, or Clay Buchholz get hurt (knock on wood), he will be used an old-fashion swing man.

I still haven’t figured out why the Chicago White Sox didn’t bring Jim Thome back. They need a DH and he could have helped.

That’s all for now. Have a good weekend everyone!!!

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

Free Agent Primer: What To Look For This Offseason

November 19, 2009

At 12:01 tomorrow morning, the free agent signing period begins in baseball. Will you see players signing with teams at 12:05 like in the NFL and NBA? No, you won’t.

This will be a very long offseason in baseball. Just like last year, you will see some quality players still available going into the month of February. And just like last year, you are going to see GM’s try to wait out players hoping to get their version of a Bobby Abreu deal.

With the free agent signing period just a mere 12 hours away, here is a free agent primer on this year’s batch of free agents.

Best Free Agent Starting Pitcher: John Lackey. The same people who are concerned with Lackey being “injury prone” are the same people who thought Adrian Peterson was “injury prone” coming out of Oklahoma.

Kind of silly.

Best Free Agent Hitter: Matt Holliday. Holliday is the best hitter in a weak free agent hitting class. I am not sold on Holliday being paid like a franchise player, but he will be.

Best Free Agent Relief Pitcher: Rafael Soriano. Soriano is only 30-years-old and is entering the prime of his career. 12.1 K/9 in 2009 is very impressive.

Biggest Free Agent Hitter Bust: Marco Scutaro. I am sorry, but I just don’t see it from this guy. He has been a scrub all his life and now at 34-years-old he is worth a mutli-year deal? No thanks.

Biggest Free Agent Hitter Bust II: Chone Figgins. This is Juan Pierre Part II. Some team is going to give this guy a four-year, $42 million deal and regret it from the first day. In the third year of this deal he will be a pinch runner off the bench.

Biggest Free Agent Starting Pitcher Bust: Joel Pineiro. Back in August I wrote about how teams should stay away from Pineiro. My feelings towards him haven’t changed. He has Jeff Suppan and Kyle Lohse written all over him.

Biggest Free Agent Relief Pitcher Bust: Brandon Lyon. If a team signs Lyon as an eighth inning, set-up guy, I have no problem with that. But if a teams signs him to be their closer, all bets are off.

If you go into 2010 with Lyon as your closer, you are pretty much telling your fan base we have no shot to win in 2010.

Perfect Match Most Likely To Happen: Mark DeRosa to the Philadelphia Phillies. When you look at the Phillies team and then you look at the type of player DeRosa is, this is a perfect match. DeRosa is a “baseball player” and on a team filled with “baseball players,” DeRosa fits in perfectly.

Perfect Match Most Likely NOT To Happen: Orlando Hudson to the New York Mets. Hudson wanted to play for the Mets last year and it didn’t happen. He wants to play for them again this year and it won’t happen again.

Hudson is just what the Mets need, but since Luis Castillo and his horrific contract are holding down the fort at second base, Hudson will need to look for work somewhere else.

Biggest Free Agent Surprise: Jason Bay will not be back with the Boston Red Sox. As I told my buddy Odie, Bay is like the girl in high school who appears all sweet and innocent, but has slept with the entire football team.

Bay won't be a Red Sock in 2010

Everyone thinks because Bay is a soft-spoken nice guy and has thrived in Boston, he will just accept whatever Theo Epstein offers him and money doesn’t matter–not the case. I think Bay gets a five-year deal from another team and takes the years and the money and runs.

And I wouldn’t fault him for that.

Player Who Will Make The Most Money Who You Never Heard Of: Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is the 22-year-old Cuban defector, who is a starting pitcher and just happens to throw 100 mph. It looks like it will be a two-team race for Chapman’s services–the Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

This is Jose Contreras Part II.

Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter: Xavier Nady. Last year, I correctly predicted that Russell Branyan would be the 2007 version of Carlos Pena–a journeyman guy, who finally gets a chance to start and has a big year.

Nady is that free agent this year. Let a small market team sign him to a one-year deal, let him play 1B/DH and watch him hit 30 home runs.

Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter Part II: Troy Glaus. Glaus is relatively young at 33 and just two years ago hit 27 home runs and had an .856 OPS. Can he play third at this point in his career? Probably not.

But he can probably play first or DH and still be a power threat at a very low-cost.

Best Low-Rick, High Reward Pitcher: Ben Sheets. Sheets missed all of the 2009 season because of flexor tendon surgery. But Sheets should be 100 percent healthy by the start of spring training and I think could have an impact in 2010.

Remember, Andy Pettitte had the same surgery in 2004 and he has fully recovered from the injury. A team like the Texas Rangers would be wise to sign him to an incentive laden deal.

Pitchers Who Have To Stay In The NL In Order To Be Successful: Randy Wolf and Brad Penny. American League teams should really stay away from these guys. Hopefully both of these guys know where their bread is buttered and won’t pull a Jeff Weaver after the 2006 season.

Bedard won't work in New York or Boston

Big Market Teams Should Stay Away: Erik Bedard. Bedard just strikes me as a guy who would rather pitch in Kansas City and not be bothered than pitching in a pennant race in New York of Boston.

Worst Pitcher To Be This Offseason: Kevin Gregg. Gregg is a Type A free agent and he stinks. Very bad spot to be in.

Worst Hitter To Be This Offseason: Jermaine Dye. Dye is a Type A free agent, is 37-years-old, and can’t play a lick of defense. He is a DH in a strong DH market. I think it will be a while before a team looks at Dye.

Hitter Who Should Get More Love, But Won’t: Mike Cameron. Despite being 37-years-old, all Cameron is going to do is play a Gold Glove caliber center field, hit around .265, and hit 20-25 home runs.

Something tells me because of his relationship with CC Sabathia, Cameron signs with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Pitcher Who Should Get More Love, But Won’t: Jon Garland. Why Garland was sitting the bench, while Hiroki Kuroda was starting playoff games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year is beyond me.

I know wins for pitchers are overrated, but all Garland does is win. That does count for something. He is going to win games and pitch 200 innings. Teams could do a lot worse.

The Milwaukee Brewers would be smart to sign him.

Best Utility Player: Jamey Carroll. Great club house guy, who can play second, third, left, and right. Every team could use a player like Carroll on their roster.

Non-Tender Candidate Sleeper: Kelly Johnson. On December 12th, hundreds of players will not be tendered contracts. The sleeper out of this bunch–Kelly Johnson.

Johnson was put in Bobby Cox’s doghouse in Atlanta in 2009, but in 2007 he had an OPS of .831 and in 2007 he had an OPS of .795. He is a classic change of scenery guy.

You can find a full list of this year’s free agents here.

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

Seattle Mariners Get Some Good News

October 20, 2009

Let’s talk about an American League team other than the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a second shall we?

There was a very small, but yet very big transaction yesterday for the Seattle Mariners.

According to the Seattle Mariners’ official website, catcher Kenji Johjima will opt out of the remaining two years on his contract and return to Japan. Now you might be asking yourself right now “Who cares? It’s Kenji Johjima.”

Johjima is heading back to Japan

Johjima is heading back to Japan

The reason this is such a big deal for the Mariners is because Johjima had $16 million remaining on his contract. $8 million in 2010 and $8 million in 2011.

How high do you think Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik jumped when he heard this news?

In the last two years, Johjima has hit just .235 with 16 HR’s and a .281 OBP. Johjima was so bad in 2009, he  was splitting time with Rob Johnson, a lifetime .205 hitter towards the end of 2009

$8 million in this down economy is the equivalent of maybe $15 million in a good economy. There is a lot of things Zduriencik can do with that money.

With Miguel Batista’s ($9 million), Adrian Beltre’s ($12 million), Erik Bedard’s ($7.75 million), and now Johjima’s contract off the books, the Mariners should be major players in the free agent market this Winter.

With a couple of right moves, the Mariners can be serious contenders in 2010.

Now if they can get Carlos Silva’s contract off the books, they will really be in business.

All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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

Fantasy Week In Review, August 10-16…

August 17, 2009

I can’t believe there is only about a month and a half left in the baseball season. Just as important, most most leagues there is only about 2 weeks left in the regular season.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the many players who have me concerned, and the potential pickups for the fantasy week of August 10 – 16.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Howard – .391/4/11/.500. Howard is starting to heat up, but with only 30 homeruns he will be hard pressed to hit 45+ homeruns for the the forth straight year.

Troy Tulowitzki – .407/3/10. At the beginning of the year, I wrote a piece “Can Tulo bounce back?” Yes, he can.

Hunter Pence – .290/4/10. Pence hit a HUGE HR against the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. The fact that he refuses to walk is concerning (zero walks last week), but as long as he keeps hitting like this, nobody will have a problem.

Jonny Gomes – .400/4/9. Gomes was the latest player to hit three HR’s in a game when he hit three HR’s against the Washington Nationals last week.

Gonzalez raked last week

Gonzalez raked last week

Gomes could be this year’s version of Nelson Cruz. Cruz helped a lot of fantasy teams down the stretch last year.

Adrian Gonzalez – .633/3/8. I still haven’t figured out why teams (especially ones in contention) pitch to him. Makes no sense to me.

Randy Wolf – 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA and 13 K’s in 15.2 IP. Wolf came up aces yesterday for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wolf has a .600 lifetime winning percentage in September and October, so expect Wolf to continue his success down the stretch.

Cliff Lee – 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 12 K’s in 15 IP. Third straight week Lee has been a fantasy stud. I think Lee really, really, really likes the National League.

Jorge De La Rosa – 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 20 K’s in 13.1 IP. You could like to see De La Rosa get his innings up, but he has been one of the main reasons the Colorado Rockies are leading the NL Wild Card race.

Reasons for Concern

Erik Bedard – Bedard is this year’s Ben Sheets. He is a free agent after the season and was in-line for a nice payday in the offseason, but season ending surgery derailed any chance of that happening.

Bedard had surgery on Friday to fix a torn labrum and an inflamed bursa. He might might not be ready for Opening Day in 2010.

Joba Chamberlain – 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA. The New York Yankees are sometimes like the trust fund baby who, if they just played it straight everything would work out. But every now and then, the trust fund baby does some drugs and screws it all up.

This is what the Yankees have done with Chamberlain. Chamberlain came out of the All-Star break firing on all cylinders, he was pitching better than he ever was before, and then the Yankees started screwing around with his rest because of some silly pitch count limit.

Chamberlain now has a 6.75 ERA in August. Keep tabs on this situation. If the Yankees continue to mess with Chamberlain, he might not have as much fantasy value down the stretch.

Penny was terrible on Saturday night

Penny was terrible on Saturday night

Brad Penny – 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 14 hits allowed in 11.2 IP. The Brad Penny experiment is starting to get old in Boston in a hurry.

Penny’s performance on Saturday night was embarrassing. Penny was mentally not into the game and allowed the Texas Rangers to run all over him (six SB’s while Penny was on the mound).

If Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka came back in September, I would imagine Penny would be out of the rotation.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Placed on the 15-Day DL with a sore right arm. I was watching the game Friday night between the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers and I was wondering what the heck was wrong with Saltalamacchia?

He was having such a hard time throwing the ball back to the pitcher. I guess I now know why. Saltalamacchia was only batting .239 before this injury, so he might not be missed to much on your fantasy team.

David Wright – Placed on the 15-Day DL with post-concussion symptoms. I saw David Wright get hit in the head with a Matt Cain 94 mph fastball as it happened, and didn’t think Wright would make it back to his feet.

The ball hit him flush in the helmet. Though Wright was placed on the only the 15-Day DL, don’t expect Wright back in 2009. There is no reason for him to play with the New York Mets so far our of the playoff race.

Potential Pickups

Any pitcher vs. the New York Mets – With now David Wright out of the lineup, the Mets might have the worst lineup in baseball. Their best hitter might be Jeff Franouer and he has a .296 OBP for the season.

Here are the pitchers who will face the Mets this week:

Joe Martinez, Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, Cole Hamels, JA Happ, Pedro Martinez

Jordan Zimmermann To Have Tommy John Surgery…

August 11, 2009

The Washington Nationals just can’t catch a break. According to the Washington Post, Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann will have season ending ligament replacement surgery – otherwise known as Tommy John surgery.

Not only will Zimmermann miss the rest of the 2009 season, but he might miss all of the 2010 season as well. Based on pitchers in the past who have had Tommy John surgery, it usually takes a pitcher a year and a half to fully recover from the procedure.

This is a huge blow to the Nationals.

Zimmermann, who is only 23-years-old was supposed to be one of the cornerstones of the Nationals’ starting rotation along with John Lannan and hopefully Stephen Strasburg.

Zimmermann should be ready to go in 2011

Zimmermann should be ready to go in 2011

Zimmermann was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA on season, but showed great promise and had 92 K’s in 91.1 IP.

If there is anything positive to take out of this, it is that with the advancements in this procedure, Zimmermann should be able to not only pitch again, but make a full recovery. When Zimmermann returns at the age of 25, he will have his whole career in front of him.

If Zimmermann wants to feel better about things all he needs to do is place a phone call to Joakim Soria, Kerry Wood, Josh Johnson, Chris Carpenter, Erik Bedard, or AJ Burnett. They are just some of the many pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery and have gone on to have successful major-league careers.

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire George Sherrill…

July 30, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers, while still pursuing a trade for Roy Halladay, switched their attention for a second to the back-end of their bullpen. This afternoon the Dodgers acquired Baltimore Orioles’ closer George Sherrill for minor-leaguers Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.

With Jonathan Broxton already firmly entrenched as the Dodgers’ closer, Sherrill becomes the Dodgers’ primary eighth inning guy. Sherrill thrived in a middle-relief role with the Mariners in 2007 (2.36 ERA in 73 games), so I don’t think going from a closer to an eighth inning guy will affect him like it did Eric Gagne and JJ Putz when they made the move.

Sherrill is headed to lala land

Sherrill is headed to lala land

Sherrill came to the Orioles in the extremely lopsided Erik Bedard trade last year and in a year and a half was sensational for the Orioles. If you really think about it, Sherrill was just an extra in that trade and all he has done is save 51 games in 94.2 innings for the Orioles. He also was an All Star in 2008.

Despite Sherrill’s 20 saves and 2.40 ERA in 2009, it made sense for the Orioles to trade him. Sherrill is 32-years old and the Orioles were out of the race this year and next year figures to be a rebuilding year as well. Sherrill is under team control until 2011, so his value was the highest now.

In return, the Orioles get the Dodgers eigth best prospect in 3B Josh Bell according to Baseball America. Bell is a slugging third baseman who was hitting .296 with 11 HR’s, 52 RBI, and had a .386 OBP for Double-A Chattanooga. With current third baseman Melvin Mora becoming a free agent after the season, it’s possible Bell will compete for the starting job in 2010.

The Orioles also received RHP Steve Johnson. Johnson was drafted in the 13th round of the 2005 draft and in five years in the minors Johnson was 29-26 with a 4.25 ERA and had 397 K’s in 408.2 IP. Johnson projects to be reliever in the majors.

The Erik Bedard trade is looking better for the Orioles by the day. Adam Jones is already becoming a star in this league, top pitching prospect Chris Tillman made his major-league debut last night and after two very productive seasons from Sherrill, the Orioles flip him for two prospects.

Baseball’s Best Starting Rotation: Midseason…

July 8, 2009

In the next installment of the Baseball’s Best: Midseason” series, we are going to take a look at baseball’s best starting rotation. The starting rotation is the backbone of any team and now we are going to see which team has had the best starting rotation for the first half of the season.

Baseball’s best starting rotation will be judged on four categories – ERA, Innings Pitched, WHIP, and OPS. As you noticed, I did not include wins as a category. My reasoning is that wins doesn’t necessarily reflect how good a pitcher – or a rotation for that matter really is. Just look at Javier Vazquez’s  and Dan Haren’s years for proof of that.

Each category is worth 10 points. If a team isn’t in the top 10 for that particular category, that team received zero points.

In my preseason edition of baseball’s best starting rotation, the San Francisco Giants had the No.1 rotation in baseball.

10. – 6. Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs

5. Seattle Mariners – 22 points

ERA – Five

IP – Zero

WHIP – Ten

OPS – Seven

"King Felix" has been an ace this year

"King Felix" has been an ace this year

Analysis – Before you saw this post, if you had to guess who was the only American League team to finish in the top five who would it be? The New York Yankees? Boston Red Sox? Detroit Tigers? Well, as you can see it is the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners are led by their version of the “Big Three.” Felix Hernandez has become a legitimate ace and has gone 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA and 114 K’s in 116.2 IP. Free-agents to be Erik Bedard (2.50 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and Jarrod Washburn (3.06 ERA, 90 hits in 105.1 IP) have really stepped up and pitched well for the Mariners in the first half.

4. Atlanta Braves – 25 points

ERA – Seven

IP – One

WHIP – Eight

OPS – Nine

Analysis – The Braves spent the entire offseason trying to revamp their starting rotation, and it has paid off. The Braves rotation goes five deep and features three starters who have sub-three ERA’s.

Javier Vazquez, who was acquired in the offseason from the White Sox has really been the ace of this staff. Despite a lack of run support which has cost him plenty of wins this year, Vazquez has a 2.95 ERA and has been one of most consistent pitchers in baseball. He has 12 Quality Starts in 18 games.

The Braves also have gotten a solid season from Jair Jurrjens (2.91 ERA) and have gotten a nice lift from top prospect Tommy Hanson (2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP).

Offseason free-agent signings Derek Lowe (4.56 ERA) and Kenshin Kawakami (4.46 ERA) round out the rotation.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers – 27 points

ERA – Nine

IP – Zero

WHIP – Nine

OPS – Ten

Analysis – The Dodgers’ starters rank second in ERA (3.67), second in WHIP (1.26), and first in OPS Against (.684). It might be really nice to pitch in Chavez Ravine. Dodger Stadium can even turn Jeff Weaver and Eric Milton into respectable pitchers.

The Dodgers have been really led by three pitchers in the first half – Chad Billingsley, Randy Wolf, and Clayton Kershaw.

Billingsley is the ace of this staff and has pitched like it so far this year. Billingsley is 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA and has held right-handed batters to a ridiculously low .588 OPS throughout the first half of the season.

The Dodgers have also gotten Hiroki Kuroda back from injury and he has chipped in with a respectable 3.94 ERA and a very good 1.01 WHIP.

2. St. Louis Cardinals – 28 points

ERA – Eight

IP – Ten

WHIP – Four

OPS – Six

Analysis – I was shocked to see the Cardinals so high on this list. I wouldn’t expect a staff that features the likes of Todd Wellemeyer and Brad Thompson to be one of the best in anything. It just goes to show you how valuable Pitching Coach Dave Duncan really is to the Cardinals’ organization.

As long as the Cardinals can keep Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright healthy, this staff will give the Cardinals a chance to win. Carpenter has been lights out this year with a 2.32 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP, and nine Quality Starts in just 12 starts.

Wainwright has also been impressive this year. The Cardinals’ righty is third in baseball with 122.1 IP and sports a 3.09 ERA in those 122.1 IP.

Lincecum leads the Giants' staff

Lincecum leads the Giants' staff

1. San Francisco Giants – 34 points

ERA – Ten

IP – Eight

WHIP – Six

OPS – Eight

Analysis – The Giants’ starting rotation was the preseason No. 1 and at the midway point in the season, they remain No. 1. I guess it helps to have the two leading Cy Young candidates on the same staff – Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

Lincecum and Cain have been the best one-two punch in baseball with a combined 19-4 record with 1.14 WHIP, 234 K’s, and a 2.33 ERA in 236.1 IP. If they keep this up we might have to change “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” to “Lincecum and Cain and pray for rain.”

The Giants also can turn to two former Cy Young award winners to start games in Barry Zito and Randy Johnson. Zito has pitched better this year and has held batters to a .247 batting average this year.

Johnson, even at the age of 45 can still get it done. Johnson has a WHIP of 1.32 and has still been able to strike out 80 batters in 90.1 IP this year.

Tomorrow I will take a look at baseball’s best outfield.

*Please note all stats were calculated before today’s action.

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.

10 Things We Learned In April….

May 1, 2009

The first month of the baseball season is in the books and even though most teams played only 22 or 23 games we have learned a lot in a very short period of time. Here are the top 10 things we learned in April.

10. There will be no 84′ Tigers this year. The 1984 Tigers got off to a 35-5 start and essentially clinched the division the first week of May. The Cardinals and Dodgers are tied with the largest division lead with a 3.5 game lead in their division. This is because….

9. There is parity in baseball. It seems like revenue sharing is working. Out of 30 teams in baseball, 13 teams are either 2 games over, 1 game over, 1 game under or at .500. Speaking of parity… 

8. The AL Central might be a coin flip. The Royals, Tigers, White Sox and Twins are all separated by 1 game. All 4 teams are flawed and this division again should go down to the final week of the season. The Indians, who many predicted to win this division are 4 games out in last place. Which reminds me…

7. The Nationals are really bad. The Nationals are a mess and really the only team in baseball that is out of it in April. I won’t put the Astros in that class because they have a track record of making serious runs in the 2nd half of the season. The Nationals are 5-16 and one of the worst defensive teams I have ever seen. They lead the majors currently with 22 errors. Things are so bad for the Nationals, even when they have a lead they can’t hold it. The Nationals have blown 7 out of 10 save opportunities. Staying in the NL East….

6. Things haven’t changed for the Mets. Even the opening of Citi Field home of the ? hasn’t made Mets fans forget the last 2 years. Forget that the Mets have a 9-12 record, there’s a negativity that surrounds this team and all the players can feel it. Just ask David Wright who right now looks to be trying to hit the ball 600 ft on every pitch just to get the fans off his back. This team reminds me of a lot of those Red Sox teams from 1995-2002. The Mets needed a Kevin Millar or Eric Byrnes. Sticking with the New York market….

Coors East?

Coors East?

5. The Yankees built Coors East. The Yankees spent $1.5 billion on a new stadium and somehow didn’t factor in wind currents. Amazing. The new Yankee Stadium has turned into Coors Field East. 28 HR’s have been hit in only 7 games at the new stadium. 20 of those HR’s have been hit to RF where the wind current resides. Unfortunately because of the Yankees astronomical ticket prices there haven’t been as many fans at the stadium as the Yankee’s brass had hoped to see those HR’s. Speaking of the fans….

4. The economy hasn’t affected baseball as much as people thought….yet. It was feared that because of our dreadful economy that fans wouldn’t fill the ballparks this year. But thanks to a wonderful article by ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, we have seen that attendance is the same this year as it was last year. I think the real test for baseball will be in August and September when teams start falling out of the pennant race. Did someone say pennant race?….

Bedard has led the M's in April

Bedard has led the M's in April

3. The Mariners could win the division. The Mariners lost 101 games last year and many, including myself thought they would repeat that performance this year. But with solid pitching from Bedard, F. Hernandez and Washburn the Mariners find themselves with a 13-9 record anda 2.5 game lead over the Rangers. In a very weak AL West, the Mariners might be able to steal the division. The Mariners are going it with pitching and so is Kansas City. That is because….

2. Zack Greinke is a stud. How good has Greinke been? Here is one scout’s take on Greinke “It’s hard to think of another power guy withthis kind of command andfeel with four different pitches. He’s Greg Maddux — with a much better fastball.” Pretty impressive. Greinke went 5-0 with a 0.50 era, 44 K’s in just 36 IP. Greinke is not a secret anymore as he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. When was the last time a Royal’s pitcher was on the cover of SI? I am serious. Who was it? David Cone? Bret Saberhagen?

I think the #1 thing we all learned this April was….

1. Don’t take life for granted. Even if you don’t follow baseball you know about the tragedy of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart. Adenhart was just 22 years old when he was killed in a car accident on April 9th after pitching 6 solid innings against the Detroit Tigers earlier in the night. I think everyone took a step back and realized how precious life is when they found out the news of Adenhart.

So there you have the top 10 things we learned in April. I can’t wait to see what happens in May and what we will learn about that month.