Posts Tagged ‘Jake Peavy’

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

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Starting Rotation: American League Central

January 19, 2010

Yesterday, I looked at the starting rotations of each American League East team. Today, I will look at the starting rotations for each American League Central team.

The American League Central is home to some of the best young pitchers in the game. As a matter of fact, five out of the last six AL Cy Young award winners have come from the Central.

Here are the starting rotations of each American League Central team as presently constructed.

Minnesota Twins

1. Scott Baker, RHP

2. Nick Blackburn, RHP

3. Kevin Slowey, RHP

4. Carl Pavano, RHP

5. Francisco Liriano, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation is littered with No.2 and No.3-type starters. However, Liriano can be a No.1 if he can regain his form prior to Tommy John surgery. Despite their lack of a true No.1 starter, this rotation has plenty of depth.

Chicago White Sox

1. Jake Peavy, RHP

2. Mark Buehrle, LHP

3. Gavin Floyd, RHP

4. John Danks, LHP

5. Freddy Garcia, RHP

Quick Take – The White Sox have the best pitching staff that nobody ever talks about. Danks is a very good No.4 starter. I will be interested to see how Peavy adjusts to the AL over the course of an entire season. Garcia will battle Dan Hudson for the No.5 starter spot in spring training.

Detroit Tigers

1. Justin Verlander, RHP

2. Rick Porcello, RHP

3. Max Scherzer, RHP

4. Jeremy Bonderman, RHP

5. Armando Galarraga, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has more questions than answers going into 2010. Verlander threw more pitches than any other pitcher in baseball last season (3,937). How is that going to affect him in 2010. Will Porcello experience a sophomore slump? Can Bonderman and Galarraga bounce back in 2010?

Kansas City Royals

1. Zack Greinke, RHP

2. Gil Meche, RHP

3. Luke Hochevar, RHP

4. Kyle Davies, RHP

5. Brian Bannister, RHP

Quick Take – This staff is led by the great Greinke, who was last year’s AL Cy Young award winner. Nobody expects him to repeat last year’s performance in 2010, but he shouldn’t be that far off. The Royals need Hochevar to step up. This is a big year for him.

Cleveland Indians

1. Jake Westbrook, RHP

2. Fausto Carmona, RHP

3. Justin Masterson, RHP

4. David Huff, LHP

5. Aaron Laffey, LHP

Quick Take – For the most part, this is a young rotation, but it’s not very good right now. Carmona has been one of baseball biggest mysteries over the last couple of years. Having watched Masterson over the last couple of years with the Red Sox, I feel be is better suited to be in the bullpen.

Tomorrow, I will look at the American League West. The West is home to one of the top young pitchers in the game Felix Hernandez. Not only will teams in the West have to worry about Hernandez in 2010, but will have to contend with him for years to come.

More on that story later.

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

White Sox Continue To Add, Trade For Juan Pierre

December 15, 2009

Guess which team has been the most aggressive this offseason?

The New York Yankees? Nope. The Los Angeles Dodgers? Not even close. The Boston Red Sox? Maybe.

How about the Chicago White Sox? Bingo.

On top of adding Jake Peavy and Alex Rios towards the end of last season, the White Sox have added Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, JJ Putz, and now they have added Juan Pierre this offseason.

According to various sources, the White Sox have acquired Pierre from the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league pitchers. The Dodgers will get to pick two minor league pitchers from a list provided by the White Sox.

Pierre is waving goodbye to LA

Pierre has two-years and $18.5 million remaining on his contract. However, the Dodgers will pay $10 million of Pierre’s contract. The White Sox will pay Pierre $3 million in 2010 and $5 million in 2011.

The White Sox are really being aggressive this offseason. There is no reason for the White Sox not to be aggressive playing in the weak AL Central.

The Cleveland Indians are rebuilding, the Kansas City Royals are a mess, and the Detroit Tigers are selling off pieces left and right. That leaves just the White Sox and Minnesota Twins to compete in the AL Central.

Does Pierre put the White Sox ahead of the Twins in 2010? Probably not because I really don’t see how the White Sox are better because of this trade.

Player A hit .308 with zero home runs, a .365 OBP, a .392 Slugging Percentage, and 30 stolen bases in 2009.

Player B hit .304 with seven home runs, a .353 OBP, .412 Slugging Percentage, and 30 stolen bases in 2009.

The difference between these players is negligible. Player A is available via trade and Player B is available via free agency. So if all things are pretty much equal, wouldn’t you go with the player that is going to cost you less?

Player A is Pierre and Player B is Scott Podsednik.

I have no idea what prospects the White Sox are giving up. But I don’t care if they include me in the deal–a prospect is still a prospect and a prospect is a commodity.

Why give up two prospects and pay Pierre when they could have had essentially the same player (Podsednik) for no prospects and probably less than what they are paying Pierre?

I don’t get it.

I like the fact that the White Sox are being aggressive, but sometimes they would be better off making the simpler move. The simple move here would be to just re-sign Podsednik.

As for the Dodgers, this is a pure salary dump. The Dodgers are in such a financial mess right now that saving $8 million is a big deal for them right now.

I’ll update this story once it’s confirmed what prospects are going to the Dodgers.

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

San Diego Padres Hire Jed Hoyer As GM

October 24, 2009

I guess the farewell lunch the Boston Red Sox held for Jed Hoyer today kind of gave it away huh?

According to various sources, the San Diego Padres have hired Red Sox Assistant GM Jed Hoyer to be their new GM. Hoyer replaces Kevin Towers who was fired at the beginning of the month.

New Padres' GM Jed Hoyer

New Padres' GM Jed Hoyer

Hoyer joined the Red Sox front office at age 28, where he helped to build Boston’s rosters and assisted in contract negotiations.

In 2005, when Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino had a lover’s quarrel and Epstein took a ten week hiatus, Hoyer along with Craig Shipley, Bill Lajoie, and Ben Cherington took over the GM duties for the Red Sox.

Their most famous trade they pulled off was for Josh Beckett. The Red Sox sent Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia to the Florida Marlins for Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota.

Hoyer now becomes the eighth GM in Padres history and he has his work cut out for him. The Padres finished 20 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in fourth place in the NL West this year with a 75-87 record.

Not only does Hoyer inherit a team that finished 20 games out of first place, but he will also be faced with the decision on whether or not to trade star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, who was the subject of trade rumors at this year’s trade deadline has one more year remaining on his contract with a club option for 2010. Gonzalez, like his former teammate Jake Peavy, can attract a significant amount of prospects for a team looking to rebuild.

Ironically, the Red Sox, Hoyer’s now former employer were the hottest team on Gonzalez’s tail in July. I’ll just throw this out there. New GM’s in any sport have a tendency to trade with people they know when they first start.

If the Red Sox really want Gonzalez and Hoyer decides trading him would be best for the Padres, then a deal between the Red Sox and Padres would seem likely.

Hoyer is 35 and grew up in New Hampshire. Hoyer attended Wesleyan University where he was a pitcher and still holds the school record for saves in a career.

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

Fantasy Week In Review, September 14-20

September 21, 2009

For the majority of fantasy baseball leagues, the playoffs are well underway. Since most leagues don’t allow pickups during the playoffs unless someone is injured, I am not going to list the potential pickups for this week.

Here are the fantasy studs and players who might be ruining some teams playoff chances.

Fantasy Studs

Miguel Olivo:.253/4/13. What was amazing about Olivo’s performance last week was that he walked three times. That accounted for a quarter of his walks for the 2009 season. Olivio has walked just 14 times this year.

Michael Cuddyer: .292/4/11. Cuddyer is filling in just fine for the injured Justin Morneau.

Wieters has turned it on in September

Wieters has turned it on in September

Matt Wieters: .480/2/10. Wieters has finally come around. It appears Wieters is getting more comfortable at the plate with each passing game.

Mark Teixeira: .520/2/9. Teixeira is making one last push for the AL MVP award.

Jason Bay: .471/3/9. Bay got off to a torrid start, slowed down in the middle months, and is now turning it on again.

Cliff Lee: 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA with 15 K’s in 20 IP. After a couple of rough starts, Lee bounced back nicely last week.

Jake Peavy: 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA and 13 K’s in 12 IP. It’s good to finally talk about Peavy on the field, rather than an off the field injury. Peavy still has his good stuff as his 13 K’s in 12 IP indicates.

Joe Nathan: Four saves with a 2.45 ERA and six K’s in 3.2 IP. With the Minnesota Twins on a hot streak, Nathan has been the beneficiary of some increased save opportunities.

Reasons for Concern

Roy Oswalt: The Houston Astros shut down their ace last week for the remainder of the season because of lingering back soreness. Was Oswalt another casualty of the World Baseball Classic.

In 2009, Oswalt had the lowest wins of his career (8), highest ERA of his career (4.12), had a higher WHIP than last year (1.241), and his K/9 rate dropped from last year (6.8 in 2009 and 7.1 in 2008).

With a full winter’s rest, I expect Oswalt to bounce back in 2009.

Is Hudson out of a job in LA?

Is Hudson out of a job in LA?

Orlando Hudson: It looks like Hudson will be splitting time with Ronnie Belliard the rest of the way. Hudson has struggled in September, only hitting .250 with a .690 OPS. Belliard, on the other hand has been raking this month.

Belliard is batting .308 with an impressive .903 OPS and is second on the team in RBI with 13.

If you have a better option at second base than Hudson–go with him.

Remember, you can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theghostofmlg

2009 All-Fantasy Bust Team

September 16, 2009

With most teams having roughly 18-20 games left on their schedule, I think its’ safe to say we know by now which players were surprises and which players were busts in 2009.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the All-Fantasy Breakout Team. As for today, I think we will take a look at who were the fantasy busts in 2009.

These are the players who owners drafted very high in hopes that these players would lead their team to fantasy supremacy in 2009. Instead, these players fell flat on their faces because of various reasons and cost owners hundreds of dollars.

Without any further adieu, here is the 2009 All-Fantasy Bust Team sponsored by the Julio Lugo, Co. “Nobody Knows Sucking Like A Lugo.”

Honorable Mentions – Chris Iannetta, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, JJ Hardy, Rick Ankiel, Kevin Gregg, Garrett Atkins, Lance Berkman, Alfonso Soriano, Manny Ramirez, Jake Peavy

CatcherGeovany Soto, .222/10/40

After winning the 2008 National League Rookie of the Year award with a .285/23/86 hitting line, many owners expected a repeat performance from Soto in 2009. Not so much.

Davis has not lived up to the hype

Davis has not lived up to the hype

First Base – Chris Davis, .216/19/49

This was a close call between Lance Berkman and Chris Davis, but because Davis was so ridiculously over-hyped, Davis wins it. Everyone’s preseason man-crush has fallen flat on his face in 2009.

Things got so bad for Davis that he was sent to the minors in the middle of the season. That my friends, is a bust.

Second Base – Mike Fontenot, .232/9/40

Second base was the hardest position to pick a fantasy bust because so many two-baggers are either having breakout years or their typical years. Fontenot on the other hand, is having neither.

At this point in the season, Fontenot has roughly 100 more AB’s than last year and has the same amount of HR’s (nine), RBI (40), six less runs scored, and his average is 72 points lower than last years.

Not what the Cubs or fantasy owners were expecting this year.

Shortstop – Jose Reyes, .279/2/15

I had a dilemma with this pick. Do I pick the guy who has just sucked all year in JJ Hardy? Or do I pick the guy who has missed the majority of the year with an injury in Jose Reyes?

I will go with Reyes because Reyes, who was taken in the first two rounds in most leagues and crippled a lot of fantasy teams this year. Reyes went on the DL on May 26th and was never heard from again.

Third Base – Alex Gordon, .202/4/12

This was supposed to be the breakout year for Alex Gordon. That’s what I was telling myself when I drafted Gordon in my league. Instead, 2009 has been a disaster for the Royals young third baseman.

Gordon got off to an awful start in April, then had hip surgery, came back, got sent to the minors, and now is back up again. I am not even sure if Gordon is worth keeping in my Keeper League at this point.

Outfield – Milton Bradley, .260/12/39

It seemed like everyone knew this was going to happen except Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry. Bradley is like the movie GI Joe. Sure, we all knew it was going to suck, but we kind of wanted to see it any way just to see how bad it was going to be.

I mean 39 RBI in 121 games? Pathetic

Outfield – Josh Hamilton, .270/10/49

Hamilton was the feel good story of the 2008 season. His performance in the HR Derby was stuff of legend and he put up a .304/32/130 hitting line.

2009 has been a lost season for Hamilton. He has been hurt the majority of the year and really never found his groove at the plate.

Outfield – Magglio Ordonez, .296/7/40

From 2006-2008, Ordonez averaged 24 HR’s and 115 RBI. In 2009, Ordonez’s power has vanished faster than the storyline’s on Entourage.

Very puzzling how Ordonez has kept his average up, but has lost all his power.

Liriano has been a bust in 2009

Liriano has been a bust in 2009

Starting Pitcher – Francisco Liriano, 5-12 with a 5.71 ERA

Like Alex Gordon previously, this was supposed to be the year for Liriano. He was two years removed from Tommy John surgery, the Minnesota Twins were expected to compete in the AL Central, and at 25, Liriano was going to mature into an ace.

None of the above happened. Liriano is one of the main reasons the Twins are not in first place and is now pitching out of the bullpen

Starting Pitcher – Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-5 with a 8.23 ERA

Matsuzaka won 18 games in 2008. Going into last night’s action, Matsuzaka has won a grand total of 1 game in 2009.

Fantasy owners can thank Bud Selig’s marketing ploy, otherwise known as the World Baseball Classic for this.

Starting Pitcher – Brandon Webb, 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA

Last year, Webb was 22-7 with a 3.30 ERA and finished second in the Cy Young voting for the second year in a row. All fantasy owners got out of Webb this year, was one lousy start.

Webb was the third overall pick in my league and in most leagues went in the first two rounds. If your first or second pitcher taken doesn’t win a game during the season, it usually spells doom for your team.

Closer – Brad Lidge, 0-7 with a 7.18 ERA and 10 blown saves

Despite having 29 saves this year, Lidge has been a fantasy disaster all season. He doesn’t have a win, he leads the majors in blown saves, and has killed fantasy owners all year long in the ERA category. His WHIP is 1.823 which is not helping the situation either.

Fantasy Week in Review August 24 – 30

August 31, 2009

Between my birthday, Kendry Morales doing his best Mark Teixeira impersonation for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the New York Yankees making a mockery of the term “starting pitcher” there was a lot going on last week.

Like every week, here are the fantasy studs, the many players who are of fantasy concern, and the potential pickups from the fantasy week of August 24th – 30th.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Howard – .393/5/12. The big man is making his annual late season push for MVP.

I need to see Prince go yard next Monday

I need to see Prince go yard next Monday

Kendry Morales – .462/3/11. Speaking of MVP candidates, Morales is right up with Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, and Derek Jeter for AL MVP.

Prince Fielder – .259/3/11/.375. I will be in Milwaukee next week to see the Brewers and I am banking on Fielder hitting one of his signature bombs.

Matt Kemp – .360/3/8 with two SB’s. While Manny Ramirez continues to putz around for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kemp and Andre Ethier continue to carry them.

Zack Greinke – 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 20 K’s in 17 IP. The Zack Attack is back! He completely dominated the Seattle Mariners yesterday at Safeco. He is back as the leader for the AL Cy Young.

Adam Wainwright – 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 12 K’s in 14 IP. Though I am not sure he will win the award, but Wainwright is making a nice run at the NL Cy Young.

He currently leads the NL in wins with 16.

Sean West – 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and nine K’s in 12 IP. I would like to see West go deeper into games, but he came up big yesterday in a must win game against the San Diego Padres.

Jonathan Papelbon – Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and seven K’s in 3.2 IP. Papelbon is still shaky at times, but when he needs a strikeout he has no problem getting it.

2009 has not been Peavy's year

2009 has not been Peavy's year

Reasons for Concern

Jake Peavy – For those fantasy owners who were hoping Peavy would help their team down the stretch, it’s not looking to good. You kind of get the feeling this is not Peavy’s year.

Peavy has been hurt all year and now he was removed in the forth inning of his rehab start because of soreness in his pitching elbow on Saturday.

Peavy will have his elbow examined later today.

Roy Halladay –  Since the July 31 trading deadline, Halladay is 2-4 with an ERA of 4.71. Very un-Halladay like.

I have watched his last two starts against Tampa and Boston and while his body was on the mound in those starts, his mind was in Colorado, Baltimore, Paris, the Uganda, or anywhere else in the world.

I have never seen Halladay miss his spot as many times as he did against Tampa and Boston. He wasn’t even close a lot of the times. I think Halladay just wants to finish the season and then prays he gets out of Toronto in the offseason.

Joba Chamberlain – The newest “Joba Rules” have rendered Chamberlain useless for fantasy owners for the remainder of the season. Chamberlain pitched three innings yesterday and that was by design.

I have never seen in all my years of watching baseball a starting pitcher only throw three innings by design. Somewhere Jack Morris is sticking bamboo shoots underneath his fingernails.

Chad Qualls – Qualls was hurt on the final play of the game yesterday trying to get out of the way of a linedrive hit right at him. It’s never a good sign when someone says “You can see the dislocation” as AJ Hinch said yesterday.

Qualls is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee today, but it doesn’t look good.

Potential Pickups

Juan Gutierrez – Not only does Gutierrez sound like a kicker on any NFL team during the 80’s, he might also be the Arizona Diamondbacks closer if Qualls is out for an extended period of time.

Gutierrez is 3-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 53 games for the Diamondbacks this year.

White Sox Acquire Alex Rios From Blue Jays…

August 11, 2009

Teams receive gifts in baseball in a myriad of ways. They can receive a gift win courtesy of an error, or they can get a gift in the form of a player in a trade who was a throw in and that player turns out to be a solid contributor, or a team can get a gift by having a team take a massive contract off of their hands.

Well, all the praying Toronto Blue Jays’ GM JP Ricciardi must have done to the gods of taking bad contracts off a GM’s hands paid off. Today, the Chicago White Sox took Alex Rios and the six-years and $60 million left on his contract off the Toronto Blue Jays by claiming Rios off of waivers. This is a massive gift to the Blue Jay organization.

For the Blue Jays, this was like Easter Sunday. This isn’t as good as Christmas because for the Blue Jays, Christmas would be getting rid of Vernon Wells’ contract. Easter, you still get a gift (Easter basket, chocolate, etc..) and it’s still a pretty good day.

Rios is now the White Sox problem

Rios is now the White Sox problem

Rios is a classic underachiever in my opinion. He was never going to live up to expectations in Toronto. I wrote a couple of months ago the Blue Jays should trade him.

The Blue Jays now have roughly $10 million per year over the next six-years to play with . In today’s economy, you can do a lot with $10 million. If Ricciardi chooses not to spend money on free agents, he can use the new found money to try to resign Roy Halladay.

Why would the White Sox take this contract off the Blue Jays’ hands? I think there are a trio of reasons.

1. Without looking at where Rios is going to play, where he is going to bat, etc… Right off the bat I think the White Sox are hoping Rios will emerge with a change of scenery. This has classic change of scenery scenario written all over it.

Rios is still only 28 and has plenty of time to turn it around.

2. In the short term, Rios could play centerfield for the White Sox. Though Scott Podsednik has reemerged this year with a .297 avg and 17 SB’s, at the end of the day Rios should (let me reemphasize “should”) provide more offense in the White Sox lineup.

With adding the Rios contract and the Jake Peavy contract a couple of weeks ago, the White Sox have added over $100 million in payroll.

I thought we were in the middle of a recession?

3. In the long term, Rios might the White Sox starting rightfielder in 2010. Jermaine Dye and the White Sox have a mutual option for 2010. My guess is Dye and the White Sox part ways opening the door for Rios to start in rightfield for the White Sox.

Fantasy Week In Review, 6/8-6/14…

June 15, 2009

It was a really interesting second week of June. It seemed there was no in between. Either the performance was really great or really terrible.

As always here were the studs, the players who have me concerned and the potential pickups from the week of 6/8 – 6/14.

Fantasy Studs

Torii Hunter – .368/4/8. Any player who hits three HR’s in one game is definitely a stud.

Jason Kubel – .381/4/6/.480. While Mauer and Morneau get all the attention, Kubel has been a force for the Twins this season.

David Wright – .520/1/2. The power isn’t there for Wright, but the average certainly is. Wright also stole three bases last week.

Pablo Sandoval – .480/2/5. Yes, the Giants actually have hitters on their team.

Jim Thome – .400/3/7/.609. Year after year, Thome produces. Thome will be one of the most fascinating Hall of Fame debates in the next 10 years

Brad Bergesen – 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and just 10 hits allowed in 17 IP. The Orioles have a bright future and Bergesen is a big part of that future.

Jose Contreras – 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and just three hits allowed in 16 IP. Where is this coming from? It’s like 2005 all over again for Contreras.

Jered Weaver – 2-0 with a 1.20 and 11 K’s in 15 IP. Weaver has really stepped up for the Angels this year and is throwing his name in the hat for the Cy Young award.

Reasons for Concern

Roy Halladay – Halladay left Friday night’s game with a groin injury. It doesn’t appear to be to serious and Halladay might start against the Nationals on Saturday.

The concern I have is that groin injuries are like hamstring injuries. They just linger and never really seem to fully go away. This is an injury that I will be following closely.

Jake Peavy – Peavy was placed on the 15 Day DL with a strained tendon in his right ankle. Padres trainer, Todd Hutcheson thinks Peavy could miss as many as 12 weeks with this injury.

Peavy is 6-6 with a 3.97 ERA on the season, so it’s not a typical Peavy season. Perhaps Peavy will stop pitching in the WBC. I am just sayin’.

Howie Kendrick – Kendrick was demoted to Triple A Salt Lake over the weekend. Ouch!!! Kendrick had a hitting line of .231/4/22 with a pathetic .281 OBP in 186 AB’s for the Angels.

I think now we can officially put an end to the “Howie Kendrick will win a batting title” nonsense that we have been hearing for the last five years.

BJ Upton – Upton hit .200 with no HR’s, no RBI and 12 K’s last week. He is now has a hitting line for the season of .218/3/15. If he didn’t have 24 SB’s, he would be completely useless at the plate.

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Upton is still affected by the offseason shoulder surgery that he had.

Potential Pickup

Rick Ankiel – Ankiel has been a huge disappointment so far this year. I even drafted him over Johnny Damon in my draft based on Ankiel having a breakout year. Good one Adam.

However, Ankiel had a nice week last week. He hit .360 with one HR and four RBI. I still think he can have a big second half, so it might be a good time to pick him up now before he goes on a tear.

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.