Posts Tagged ‘Garrett Jones’

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

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Rays Trade Akinori Iwamura To Pirates

November 4, 2009

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates got together and made a trade yesterday.

The Tampa Bay Rays sent 2B Akinori Iwamura to the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Jesse Chavez. The Pirates will assume all of the $4.85 million on Iwamura’s contract for 2010.

Akinori Iwamura

Iwamura is headed to Pittsburgh

For the Rays, they save the $650,000 buyout on Iwamura’s contract–which they would have had to have paid if they had just declined Iwamura’s contract option. Chavez will be under the Ray’s control until after the 2014 season.

I asked fellow Baseball Bloggers Alliance member and writer for AOL Fanhouse and the No.1 Pirates blog on the web, Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke, Pat Lackey what his initial thoughts were on the trade…

“It’s a short-term move for the Pirates, which I’m not exactly keen about given that the team’s focus should be down the road, but as short-term moves go, this isn’t a bad one.

“Iwamura fills an immediate need for the team at second base and can move around the infield as necessary when Pedro Alvarez is ready, depending on how he, Andy LaRoche, and Garrett Jones are playing. Jesse Chavez was one of the Bucs’ most reliable reliever last year, but his strikeout rate dropped a bit while he reined in his walks and he’s got a bit of a homerun problem.

“All told, the move might not help the Pirates past 2010, but it probably doesn’t hurt them much either.”

I agree with Pat.

Is Iwawura going to help the Pirates win a World Series? Probably not. But the Pirates are trying to build a team around speed and defense and Iwamura fits that bill.

Iwamura is one of the best fielding second baseman in baseball and should fill the gap left at second base when Freddy Sanchez was traded. Best case scenario for the Pirates–Iwamura plays his usual solid second base, hits .285, and the Pirates trade him in July to a contender for prospects.

As for the Rays, thanks to Ben Zobrist’s breakout year (.297/27/91/.405), they didn’t need Iwamura. But what they do need is bullpen help and Chavez gives the Rays a serviceable option out of the pen.

Chavez appeared in 73 games for the Pirates in 2008 posting a 4.01 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, and a 6.3 K/9 rate. Pat mentioned above that Chavez had a homerun problem. He gave up 11 big-flies in those 73 innings, which isn’t great for a reliever.

I expect the Rays to be very active this Winter. Trading Iwamura is just the start.

Florida Marlins Chris Coghlan Making A Strong Case For NL ROY

September 25, 2009

Over the last 10 years, the Florida Marlins have probably produced more young talent than any team in the major leagues. Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, AJ Burnett, Dontrelle Willis (at the time), Derek Lee, Mike Lowell, Juan Pierre, and Miguel Cabrera all became stars wearing teal and black.

As we all know, because the Marlins have a payroll that hovers around the $55.00 mark, they have not been able to keep any of their star talent. However, just because the Marlins can’t keep their talent (Hanley Ramirez might be the exception), doesn’t mean they have to stop producing talent.

The Marlins’ latest player to eventually-play-for-a-big-market-team — Chris Coghlan. Coghlan, went from so-so prospect to perhaps the favorite for National League Rookie of the Year.

Coghlan is having a great year

Coghlan is having a great year

In case you haven’t noticed, Coghlan leads all major-league rookies in hits (146), runs (75), average (.314), and OBP (.385). Coghlan also leads all of baseball in hits in the second half with 97.

While his defense hasn’t been stellar in leftfield (.980 fielding percentage, -10.3 UZR), you have to take into account that Coghlan played a grand total of one game in left in the minor leagues. Coghlan is a natural second baseman.

If you really think about it, Coghlan has become everything the New York Mets thought Daniel Murphy would be. Coghlan has become as solid hitter, who at least looks the part of a leftfielder.

If I had a vote for NL ROY, I would give it to Coghlan over Dexter Fowler, Colby Rasmus, Garrett Jones, or JA Happ.

Here are some other facts about Coghlan…

Age: 24

College: University of Mississippi

Drafted: 36th pick of the first round of the 2006 draft

Minor League Stats:

2006 Low Single A & Rookie: .297 with zero HR’s, 15 RBI, and a .368 OBP in 30 games.

2007 Single A+ & Single A: .287 with 12 HR’s, 82 RBI, a .378 OBP, and 24 SB’s in 115 games.

2008 Double A: .298 with seven HR’s, 74 RBI, .396 OBP, and 34 SB’s in 132 games.

2009 Triple A: .344 with three HR’s, 22 RBI, a .418 OBP, and nine SB’s in 25 games.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: N/A

Analysis: N/A

Fantasy Week In Review, July 13-20

July 20, 2009

Thanks to the official end of the first half of the 2009 baseball season, it was a short week last week. Some teams only played three games (I think the Detroit Tigers want a do over), while others played four.

Just because it was a short week, it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some solid fantasy performances. That being said – here at the fantasy studs, players who might be of concern, and the potential pickups for the week of July 13 – 20.

Fantasy Studs

Yunel Escobar – .500/2/8 with three doubles. This kid has so much talent it’s ridiculous. Hopefully he will now put it together at the major league level.

Jim Thome– .500/2/7/.615. Five years after he retires, Thome will be the most interesting Hall of Fame debate in quite some time.

Edwin Encarnacion– .583/2/6/.688. After missing most of the first half with an injury, Encarnacion is looking to have a big second half.

Raul Ibanez– .500/2/5. Ibanez picks up right where he left off in the first half.

Lackey pitched like an ace on Sunday

Lackey pitched like an ace on Sunday

Alfonso Soriano – .400/2/5. The Chicago Cubs really need this guy to wake up in the second half. So far he is off to a good start.

John Lackey– 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in nine IP. Lackey was outstanding yesterday vs. the Oakland A’s. I have Lackey on my fantasy team and this was a great sign for myself and other Lackey owners in the world of fantasy baseball.

Roy Oswalt– 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and five K’s in nine IP. Oswalt walked into Dodger Stadium and tossed the very rare complete game. Oswalt is a notorious second half pitcher (68-20, 2.86 ERA for his career), so fantasy owners should expect more of the same from Oswalt in the next couple of months.

JP Howell – Three saves, zero hits, zero walks, and four K’s in three IP. Howell has really stabilized the Tampa Bay Rays pen. He has nine saves and a 1.97 ERA on the season.

A quick note about Howell. Howell was drafted in the first round (31st overall) by the Kansas City Royals. The Royals traded him just two years later for Joey Gathright.

Just one of the many reasons why the Royals have had one winning season since 1994.

Reasons for Concern

Orlando Hudson – Hudson left Sunday’s game with soreness in his left wrist. It’s something that is not believed to be serious, but it is worth noting that this is the same wrist that Hudson had surgery on last year.

Keep an eye on this situation going forward.

Nelson Cruz Cruz fractured his right ring finger when he was diving back to first base in Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

Like Hudson’s injury, Cruz’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

Cruz was scratched from the lineup on Sunday and is considered day-to-day.

Mark DeRosa – Things have gone as badly as humanly possible for DeRosa since the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Mr. Versatility from the Cleveland Indians in June.

DeRosa started 0-9, then went on the 15-day DL with a wrist injury, and is now 0-6 since returning from the DL. That is 0-15 for those of you scoring at home.

Potential Pickups

Garrett Jones I wrote about Jones on Sunday. Jones is hitting .286 with seven HR’s in just 14 games. As long as he keeps hitting, he should get plenty of AB’s in Pittsburgh.

Jason Schmidt – Yes, Jason Schmidt is still alive. Do you want to throw up? Jason Schmidt made six starts in 2007, zero starts in 2008, and will make his 2009 debut tonight against the Cincinnati Reds and has made $46 million in that span.

I am not expecting much out of Schmidt these days. He is probably a four or five inning pitcher at this point in his career. He might get a cheap win over the Padres or the Nationals here and there, so he might be worth a pickup if you have a spot open on your roster.

So Just Who Is The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Garrett Jones?

July 19, 2009

Can you guess which Pittsburgh Pirates’ player has hit seven HR’s in his last 12 games going into last night’s action? Adam LaRoche? No. Did you guess the recently returning Ryan Doumit? Not him either. Did you think it was there rookie phenom Andrew McCutchen? A logical guess but he only has two HR’s on the year. Nate McLouth? Sorry, but he was traded last month. If you guessed Garrett Jones then you were correct.

Garrett Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates has hit seven HR’s in his first 12 games of the 2009 season. *Going into last night’s action against the San Francisco Giants, Jones had hit a HR in four straight games and hit five HR’s total in that span. Pretty impressive stuff.

Thanks to the All-Star game festivities, the Roy Halladay trade rumors, and because Jones plays on a team that only a select few care about this feat has gone pretty much unnoticed. Could you imagine for Jones hit seven HR’s in his first 12 games of the season while on the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, or Chicago Cubs? He would already have a statue outside of all three stadiums.

So you are probably wondering, just who is Garrett Jones? The natural assumption would be that since he plays for the Pirates, he must be an up-and-coming prospect? Well, he is not. Jones is actually 28-years old.

Jones has been killing the ball

Jones has been killing the ball

Garrett Jones was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 14th round of the 1999 draft. Outside of a cup of coffee with the Minnesota Twins in 2007 where he hit .208/2/5 in 31 games, Jones has been your classic Quadruple-A player.

A Quadruple-A player is a player who is good enough to carry in your minor league system, but not good enough to be a permanent fixture on a major league roster. Think Jeff Bailey of the Boston Red Sox or Jeff Manto, who is in the Quadruple-A Hall of Fame. Jones has spent the last 11 seasons in the minor leagues and the last five in Triple-A Indianapolis.

In those 11 seasons, Jones has hit .258 with 158 HR’s, a .312 OBP, and 629 RBI in 1,038 AB’s. As you can see, he never tore up the minor leagues and there is nothing there to suggest that Jones would get off to the start he has with the Pirates.

Not only does Jones have seven HR’s, but he has also hit .313, scored 11 runs, has nine RBI, an OBP of .365, three SB’s, and has a Pujolsian 1.199 OPS. So question is – can Garrett Jones keep this up? I would say it is very unlikely. Usually these things have a way of evening themselves out. However, in Jones’ favor is that everyone thought the Texas Rangers’ Nelson Cruz was a Quadruple-A player as well. I think things have worked out pretty well for him recently.

Regardless of whether or not Jones keeps this up or not, he has been a great story in the last two weeks and is already more successful than Corey Myers and BJ Garbe. They were the fourth and fifth picks of the first round in the 1999 draft who never even made it to the major leagues.

Just goes to show, you never know.

*Jones went 1-4 with a double in last night’s game against the San Francisco Giants ending his four-game HR streak.