Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Pence’

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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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