Posts Tagged ‘Gerardo Parra’

Starting Nine: National League West

January 16, 2010

Last but least in our Starting Nine series, is the National League West. Usually known as being the worst offensive division in baseball, the NL West has improved offensively this offseason.

The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have added offensive pieces this offseason and as long as the young Colorado Rockie hitters continue to improve, they will always be dangerous.

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

Colorado Rockies

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Carlos Gonzalez, LF

3. Todd Helton, 1B

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

5. Brad Hawpe, RF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Chris Iannetta, C

8. Clint Barmes, 2B

9. Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Quick Take – This lineup is the class of the NL West. This lineup has everything you want–speed, power, and patience. Look for Carlos Gonzalez to have a breakout year and become everyone’s mancrush when it comes to fantasy baseball.

San Francisco Giants

1. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

4. Aubrey Huff, 1B

5. Mark DeRosa, LF

6. Aaron Rowand, CF

7. Buster Posey, C

8. Nate Schierholtz, RF

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Quick Take – It’s hard to make up a lineup when every guy in that lineup is the same. This lineup has very little power, very little speed, and not a single person that scares an opposing pitching.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. James Loney, 1B

3. Manny Ramirez, LF

4. Matt Kemp, CF

5. Andre Ethier, RF

6. Casey Blake, 3B

7. Russell Martin, C

8. Blake DeWitt, 2B

9. Chad Billingsley, P

Quick Take – I originally had Ethier in the two-hole and Loney in the six-hole like the Dodgers had in the NLCS last year. I didn’t like that lineup then, and I don’t like it now. Ethier is better served in a RBI position in the lineup.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Gerardo Parra, CF

2. Stephen Drew, SS

3. Justin Upton, RF

4. Mark Reynolds, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Conor Jackson, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

8. Dan Haren, P

Quick Take – With the addition of LaRoche and a healthy Jackson, this lineup all of a sudden looks very deep. Upton is only getting better and he will be a MVP candidate in 2010.

San Diego Padres

1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. David Eckstein, 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Kyle Blanks, lF

5. Chase Headley, 3B

6. Nick Hundley, C

7. Will Venable, RF

8. Tony Gwynn, CF

9. Chris Young, P

Quick Take – Kevin Kouzmanoff was traded to the Oakland A’s less than 24 hours ago, so now there is zero reason to pitch to A. Gonzalez in 2010. With Kouzmanoff gone, this is a big year for Headley. Look for newly acquired Scott Hairston to platoon with Gwynn in center.

Well that’s it for our Starting Nine series. I hoped you enjoyed it. I will update this series as the regular season approaches.

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

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Fantasy Week In Review, June 15-21…

June 22, 2009

Last week was a week for the first baseman in the National League to shine. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Derek Lee all had monster fantasy weeks.

We also saw the final straw for Daisuke Matsuzaka, a classic New York Mets injury situation and the possible end of everyone’s man crush in Texas.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the players who have me concerned and the potential pickups for the fantasy week of June 15-21.

Fantasy Studs

Albert Pujols – .389/4/11/.522. If teams continue to pitch Pujols, then there is a good chance Pujols can compete for the triple crown in the National League.

Lee is finally getting hot

Lee is finally getting hot

Prince Fielder – .391/2/11/.483. Big Prince should start making travel plans for St. Louis in July.

Derek Lee – .364/4/9. Nice for Derek Lee to join us this year.

B.J. Upton – .429/2/9 with two SB’s. Bossman Junior turned into the Big Bossman last week. He also hit one of the longest homeruns in Citi Field so far on Sunday.

Josh Johnson – 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA with just 10 hits in 16 IP. Johnson is slowly but surely becoming one of the best pitchers not only in the NL, but in all of baseball.

AJ Burnett – 1-1 with a 0.68 ERA and 16 K’s in 13.1 IP. I guess last week was one of those “glimpses of greatness” that Burnett says he shows.

Jose Valverde – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and four 4 K’s in four IP. Valverde is back and still remains one of the best closers in the NL.

David Aardsma – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and seven K’s in three IP. David Aardsma is a serviceable fantasy closer in 2009. What is this world coming to?

Reasons for Concern

Jose Reyes – Here is all you need to know about the way the New York Mets handle injuries. On Friday Mets GM Omar Minaya said Reyes started “running on the treadmill.” On Saturday, Reyes said he has done nothing of the sort. Can you now see why there is concern about Reyes coming back?

For fantasy owners who have Reyes on their team, don’t expect a return anytime soon.

Reyes has been on the DL since May 26th.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – Two weeks ago, I wrote that me and my buddy Odie thought Dice-K was toast. After his last poor excuse for a start against the Braves, not only is Dice-K toast, but now is extremely burnt toast.

Dice-K was placed on the 15 Day DL with a mild right shoulder strain. I don’t expect to see Dice-K until August. Fantasy owners can thank Bud Selig’s marketing ploy, AKA: The World Baseball Classic for this.

Mr. Whiff

Mr. Whiff

Chris Davis – .050/1/1. Okay, sooner or later something has to give with everyone’s preseason fantasy man crush. Davis had one hit last week (a HR) and struck out 9 more times bringing his total to 101 in just 222 AB’s on the season.

Davis is batting .194 and with top prospect Justin Smoak tearing up Double A pitching to the tune of .325/6/25/.444 in 41 games, I am not sure how much longer the Texas Rangers can stay with Davis.

Gerardo Parra – .148/1/3 with 10 K’s. Parra got off to a red hot start hitting .319 in May. However, things have been different for this talented rookie in June. Parra is hitting just .212 and has only five extra base hits this month.

Have pitchers finally figured out Parra or is he in just a slump? July should tell us a lot about Parra. Keep an eye on him to see if he continues to struggle.

Potential Pickups

Jason Frasor – With BJ Ryan sucking and with Scott Downs going on the DL, Frasor becomes the defacto closer in Toronto. Frasor does have a 2.19 ERA on the season, so he should be in line for a couple of saves while Downs is out.

10 Things We Learned In May….

June 2, 2009

The month of May is in the books, and it was quite the month. We saw one of the biggest stars in the game get suspended for using performance enhancing drugs, a couple of managers get the axe, some teams making surprising runs to the top and some great individual performances.

Here are the top 10 things we learned in May….

Zimmerman had a 30 game hitting streak

Zimmerman had a 30 game hitting streak

10. Joe D’s 56 game hitting streak is going to be really hard to break. One of the great early stories of May was Ryan Zimmerman’s pursuit of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak record. Zimmerman made it to 30 games before having his streak stopped in San Francisco. Everyone got wrapped up in Zimmerman’s attempt, but what is amazing is that he still would have had to get a hit per game for another full month if he wanted to break the record.

Joe DiMaggio is safe for now. Speaking of Yankee players….

9. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia earned their money.After a dreadful month of April, high-priced Yankee free agents Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia really turned it on in May. Teixeira hit .330 with 13 HR’s and 34 RBI at the plate, while CC Sabathia went 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA on the mound.

While Sabathia is in pinstripes, his former team is doing just fine without him…

8.  The Brewers can win without Sabathia and Sheets. Many people thought that after the Brewers lost both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the offseason, they would regress this year. Not so fast. The Brewers are in first place and doing it with pitching.

The Brewers are fifth in the NL with a 3.98 staff ERA and their bullpen, led by Trevor Hoffman is second in the NL with a 3.22 ERA.

Staying in the central time zone….

7. Joe Mauer might be the best player in the game. Mauer came off the DL and just started tearing the cover off the baseball. In the month of May, Mauer hit a ridiculous .414 with 11 HR’s, 32 RBI, 27 runs scored and a .500 OBP. All that while playing maybe the hardest position in sports. That being a catcher.

Back in March, I wrote a post “Five players to start a franchise with.” Joe Mauer might be #1 after this season is over. Despite his great month of May, the Twins are trying to catch the Detroit Tigers.

That is because….

6. Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce was a steal for the Tigers. Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce was one of the more under-the-radar trades in the offseason. That trade is under-the-radar no longer. Jackson has been a stud for the Tigers and is one of the main reasons the Tigers are in first place at the end of May.

Jackson is 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA. What has been one of the keys to Jackson’s success? Throwing strike one.

Here is a free pitching lesson kids. Your best pitch isn’t a fastball or a curveball or a changeup. It’s strike one. Throw strike one and your career as a pitcher will be much better off.

When the count is 0-1, hitters are batting .182 against Jackson. When the count is 1-0, hitters are batting .275. That is almost a 100 point difference.

While Jackson has the Tigers in first place in the AL Central….

5. The Rangers are for real in the AL West. After about 25 years, the Rangers have finally realized that pitching and defense wins. The Rangers are in first place in the AL West by 4.5 games and are doing it with improved pitching and defense.

The Rangers are fifth in AL in defense with a .986 fielding percentage and are sixth in the AL with a 4.34 team ERA. Their defense has been solidified by one of the leading Rookie of the Year candidates, Elvis Andrus.

On the subject of rookies…

Price made his debut in May

Price made his debut in May

4. There is a lot of young talent in baseball. In the month of May we saw an influx of young talent come to the majors. Top prospects David Price, Matt LaPorta, Fernando Martinez, Daniel Bard, Mat Gamel, Gerardo Parra and of course Matt Wieters all made their season and in most cases, major league debut in May.

That is a pretty impressive group and we still might see Clay Buchholz (Red Sox), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Gordon Beckham (White Sox) and Tommy Hanson (Braves) in June. Right now Gerardo Parra is off to the best start for the Diamondbacks, hitting .319 with 1 HR and 16 RBI in 16 games.

While Parra has been a bright spot for the Diamondbacks, the rest of the team struggled….

3. It was a bad month for managers in the NL West. Both Bob Melvin of the Diamondbacks and Clint Hurdle of the Rockies got the axe in May. I agreed with the Melvin firing because something clearly needed to be done. However, hiring the VP of Player Development, AJ Hinch didn’t make sense to me.

On the other hand, I was torn about the Clint Hurdle firing. I saw reasons for keeping him and I saw reasons for firing him. The Rockies fired Hurdle and replaced him with bench coach, Jim Tracy. Again, a move I didn’t agree with.

Staying in the NL West…

2. Jake Peavy really likes San Diego. The biggest hot stove story in May was the potential trade of Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox. In the end, Peavy exercised his no-trade clause and rejected the trade to Chicago. Peavy clearly wants to stay in the NL and in a pitcher’s ballpark and Chicago is neither.

I still think Peavy will eventually be traded, but he is making it awfully tough for Padres GM, Kevin Towers.

Again staying in the NL West, the #1 thing we learned in May was….

1. Manny will always be Manny. Manny Ramirez, one of the biggest stars in the game was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Ramirez blamed medication that a doctor prescribed to him for a personal issue. You know, that ole chestnut.

After quitting on the Red Sox last year, Manny got exactly what he deserved. Manny is eligible to return to the Dodgers the first week of July.

That’s a wrap for the month of May. It was a great month and things should only get better in June. One last fact about the month of May. Since 1995, 64 percent of the teams in first place at the end of May made the playoffs.

That means out of the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Phillies, Brewers, and Dodgers two of those teams are most likely to miss the playoffs. Which teams will it be? Time will only tell.

Fantasy Week In Review 5/25-5/31….

June 1, 2009

The month of May brought us a lot of great performances, and the last week of the month was no exception. As always here are the fantasy studs, the players who might be a concern, players who hit the DL and the potential pickups from the week of 5/25-5/31.

Fantasy Studs

Luke Scott – .444/6/14/.524. Luke used the force and was by far and away, the hottest player in the majors last week.

Mark Teixeira – .357/3/10. Teixeira continues to rake hitting in front of Arod.

Adrian Gonzalez – .333/4/10/.500. I still haven’t figured out why teams pitch to him.

Ryan Howard – .333/4/10. Howard is starting to hit HR’s in bunches. He has scary power.

Nick Blackburn – 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Blackburn beat the Red Sox and Rays in the same week. That is a good week.

John Maine – 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, 9 K’s in 12 IP. Back to back impressive outings against the Nationals and Marlins.

Yovani Gallardo – 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 15 K’s in 13.1 IP. Gallardo has established himself as the ace of the Brewers’ staff.

Brad Lidge – 4 saves with 5 K’s and a 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP. A very nice bounce back week for Lidge, who was a concern two weeks ago.

Reasons for Concern

Fausto Carmona – 0-1 with 11 hits, 8 walks, and a 15.19 ERA in 5.1 IP. It appears Carmona’s 2007 was the fluke, not 2008. I am really surprised the Indians keep sending Carmona out there. He has been terrible. Those 5.1 IP were in two starts by the way. Ouch.

Francisco Liriano – 0-2 with 18 hits and a 10.13 ERA in 8 IP. Liriano hasn’t been the same since his Tommy John surgery a couple of years ago. My guess is the Twins keep sending him out there but it appears Liriano has a short leash in games.

Aaron Harang – 1-1 with a 10.61 ERA with 22 hits in 9.1 IP. Dusty Baker must really not like Harang. Last year Baker had Harang pitch in extra innings on three days rest in a meaningless game in May in San Diego. This year, after a two hour and three minute rain delay, Baker had Harang return to the mound to complete the fifth inning.

I understand Baker wanted Harang to get the win (Reds were leading 6-3 at the time), but that is ridiculous. Baker ruined Harang’s season last year and I hope he hasn’t done the same this year.

Josh Hamilton – Hamilton is off to a slow start this year and was 3 for 23 on the Rangers latest homestand. Today he will go for a MRI to find out exactly what is going on with his groin injury.

This injury has been lingering for some time now, so it’s about time Hamilton gets some answers. Hamilton had a great first half and a slow second half in 2009. Perhaps it’s the complete opposite this year.

Injuries

There were a rash of injuries at the beginning of last week. I wrote about those injured players here. Here are some other players who also landed on the DL last week.

Khalil Greene – Placed on the 15 Day DL because of an anxiety disorder. Zack Greinke and Dontrelle Willis suffered from the same disorder, so hopefully Greene can come back from this. There is no time table for Greene’s return.

Carlos Quentin – Placed on the 15 Day DL because of plantar fasciitis. I wrote about this injury here.

Joey Votto – Placed on the 15 Day DL because of stress related issues. Apparently Votto is dealing with stress that is linked to his struggles dealing with an inner ear infection. Now, I don’t want to sound insensitive because I have never had an ear infection but, is an inner ear infection really that stressful? Something is not adding up here.

Grady Sizemore – Placed on the 15 Day DL with inflammation in his left elbow. Sizemore has been a HUGE disappointment so far hitting only .223 on the season. Sizemore will not swing a bat or throw a ball for two weeks. He is ruining a lot of fantasy teams this year.

Potential Pickups

Gerardo Parra – Parra has done nothing but impress since being called up in early May. Parra has hit .319 with three doubles and three triples in 16 games. Parra appears to have an everyday job in Arizona either as a leftfielder or centerfielder so he is worth the pickup, especially in keeper leagues.

Gordon Beckham – It appears the White Sox are growing tired of Josh Fields at third because Beckham is starting to play games at third in the minors. Once Gordon gets comfortable at third he will be in the majors playing that position. Gordon is a top prospect, so picking him now before another owner does might be a smart move.

Andrew Bailey – Even though it’s not official, it looks like Bailey has replaced Brad Ziegler as the A’s closer. Bailey is already 4-0 with two saves and a 2.23 ERA, so he is definitely worth a pickup.

Gerardo On Par(ra) In Debut….

May 15, 2009

The Arizona Diamondbacks promoted OF Gerardo Parra (no relation to the Brewers Manny Parra) from Double A and he wasted no time in making an impact for the Diamondbacks. In Parra’s 1st major league AB, he smacked a 1-1 pitch from Reds’ pitcher Johnny Cueto over the RF fence for a HR. With that HR, Parra became just the 100th major leaguer to hit a HR in his first ever AB.

Parra hits 1st HR in 1st AB

Parra hits 1st HR in 1st AB

Parra is the latest “babyback” to be inserted into Arizona’s lineup. He played CF in place of the struggling Chris Young. However, with Conor Jackson on the DL, Parra should be playing LF on a regular basis. I say “should” because the way the DBacks think (IE: hiring AJ Hinch as manager) who knows how much playing time he will get. What I do know is the DBacks would be fools right now to play Eric Byrnes over Parra.

Here are some other facts about Gerardo Parra…..

Age

22

College

None – Went to Santa Barbara Del Zuila HS in Venezuela

Drafted

None – Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004

Minor League Stats

2007

Single A: .320 avg with 6 HR’s, 57 RBI and 24 sb’s in 110 games

Single A+: .284 avg with 2 HR’s, 14 RBI and 1 sb in 24 games

2008

Single A+: .301 avg with 2 HR’s, 19 RBI and 12 sb’s in 50 games

Double A: .275 avg with 4 HR’s, 33 RBI and 16 sb’s in 73 games

2009

Double A: .361 avg with 3 HR’s, 22 RBI and 7 sb’s in 29 games

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: #91 out of the top 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Parra has good hands and takes a short path to the ball, hitting to all fields and making solid adjustments to off-speed stuff. He’s a plus glove in a corner outfield spot with a 65-70 arm, and should be at least average in center. As a center fielder, he should be an everyday player because he’ll hit for average and get on base, but if he has to move to a corner for any reason, his lack of power will be a problem. He’s short to the ball but his swing plane is very flat and he has no loft in it, resulting in a lot of ground balls but not enough power. That’s not an easy adjustment to make to a hitter’s swing, but it’s not impossible, and Parra is strong enough to hit 20 homers in the big leagues if his swing would permit it. The defensive value will get him there regardless.”