Posts Tagged ‘Javier Vazquez’

Starting Rotation: American League East

January 18, 2010

Update:

I would like to make a correction to this post. I would also like to apologize to Blue Jays fans for making this error.

Shaun Marcum will be starting for the Blue Jays in 2010, not Dustin McGowan. Both are coming back from injuries in 2009, but Marcum will get a chance to earn his starting rotation spot back in spring training.

Again, I apologize for this oversight.

Original Post

On the heels of our Starting Nine posts that debuted last week, I thought we would take a look at the other side of ball this week. This week, I wanted to take a look at each team’s starting rotation as presently constructed.

Like last week, each day I will look at one division in baseball until all the divisions are analyzed. And like last week, we will start this segment with the American League East.

The American League East lost one major pitcher this offseason (Roy Halladay), but also gained a pretty good pitcher (John Lackey). While the offenses in this division get most of the headlines, the pitching staffs are no slouches.

Here are the starting rotations for each American League East team as presently constructed.

New York Yankees

1. C.C. Sabathia, LHP

2. A.J. Burnett, RHP

3. Andy Pettitte, LHP

4. Javier Vazquez, RHP

5. Joba Chamberlain, RHP

Quick Take – The Yankees’ starting rotation got better in the offseason with the addition of Vazquez. He becomes a pretty impressive fourth starter. There is still some debate as to who will start in 2010–Chamberlain or Phil Hughes. I believe Chamberlain will start.

Boston Red Sox

1. Josh Beckett, RHP

2. Jon Lester, LHP

3. John Lackey, RHP

4. Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP

5. Clay Buchholz, RHP

Quick Take – Beckett might be the No. 1 starter, but this staff is really led by Lester. He will be a leading candidate for the Cy Young award in 2010. Lackey gives this staff incredible depth. Look for Dice-K to have a bounce back year.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. James Shields, RHP

2. Matt Garza, RHP

3. Jeff Niemann, RHP

4. David Price, LHP

5. Wade Davis, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation won’t miss the highly overrated Scott Kazmir in 2010. Garza has really turned the corner and has developed into a very solid No.2 pitcher. Starting rotation will only go as far as Price and Davis take them.

Baltimore Orioles

1. Kevin Millwood, RHP

2. Jeremy Guthrie, RHP

3. Brad Bergesen, RHP

4. Chris Tillman, RHP

5. Brian Matusz, LHP

Quick Take – The Orioles acquired Millwood to mentor this young staff and to eat up innings. Tillman and Matusz are two top prospects, who will have to earn their stripes pitching in the very tough AL East. The Orioles need Guthrie to really step up in 2010.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Ricky Romero, LHP

2. Scott Richmond, RHP

3. Brandon Morrow, RHP

4. Brett Cecil, LHP

5. Dustin McGowan, RHP

Quick Take – Any time a staff loses a pitcher of Halladay’s caliber, they are going to experience a major drop off. It looks like Morrow is going to start in Toronto, so perhaps he can realize his potential. Romero (and I think he is good) becomes the Blue Jays’ No.1 starter by default.

So that’s it for the AL East. Tomorrow, I will take a look at the American League Central, home of the reigning AL Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke.

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

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Saltalamacchia Pulled From Winter Ball Game With Injury

January 9, 2010

Update

I just wanted to update a story I covered about a month ago.

Saltalamacchia met with Dr. Greg Pearl on Friday morning and has been cleared to begin baseball activities yet again. As a matter of fact, Saltalamacchia felt so good yesterday, he joined fellow Rangers Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Craig Gentry for some batting practice with hitting coach Clint Hurdle.

The reason for Saltalamacchia’s set back in December? He came back to early. A procedure like the one Saltalamacchia had requires 12 weeks of recovery time and he tried to come back in about seven weeks.

Saltalamacchia should be ready for spring training and good to go for Opening Day.

Original Post

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Texas Rangers’ catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was pulled from his winder ball game in the Dominican Republic Wednesday because he was experiencing tingling and numbness in his right arm.

Saltalamacchia will be examined by the Texas Rangers’ medical staff on Friday.

Saltalamacchia's arm is acting up again

This injury is nothing new for Saltalamacchia. Towards the end of last season, Saltalamacchia came down with thoracic outlet syndrome. That’s a condition in which a rib bone pushes against an artery or nerve in the shoulder, causing tingling and numbness in the arm.

Saltalamacchia had surgery for the condition in September.

Saltalamacchia came over to the Rangers in the Mark Teixeira trade in 2007 and to be honest, I feel he has been a little bit of a disappointment so far in a Rangers’ uniform.

In 2009, Saltalamacchia hit just .233 with a .290 OBP in 310 AB’s. He really hasn’t yet to emerge as the offensive player many thought he would be.

In all fairness to Saltalamacchia, he is still only 24-years-old, so there is still plenty of time for him to develop into an offensive threat.

You know what’s funny? At the end of the 2008 season, the Rangers had Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Gerald Laird on the roster and everyone, including the Rangers thought they had a surplus of catching.

The Rangers sent Laird to the Detroit Tigers before the 2009 season. Then Saltalamacchia got hurt, so the Rangers needed a catcher.

The Rangers then went out and brought Ivan Rodriguez back to Texas. Now, if Saltalamacchia’s arm injuries persist, the Rangers might be forced to add another catcher this offseason.

This just proves there is no such thing as a surplus of anything in Major League Baseball. This is why I don’t think the Atlanta Braves should trade Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe.

They’ll trade one of them and in July and then the Braves will be looking for a pitcher because someone else got hurt or is not living up to expectations. It’s inevitable.

If the Rangers don’t feel comfortable about Saltalamacchia’s arm, they could always bring back Rodriguez for the 2010 season.

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

Tim Hudson Signs Extension With Braves

November 12, 2009

In a move that has been rumored for weeks, the Atlanta Braves and Tim Hudson made it official today when the former University of Auburn standout signed a three-year contract extension.

The three-year deal is worth $9 million per season and includes a club option for 2013.

Tim Hudson

Hudson got a 3-year extension

This deal doesn’t come without its risks. Hudson is 34-years-old and is coming off Tommy John surgery. The first two years of this deal will probably worth it to the Braves, but it’s hard to imagine a 37-year-old pitching like a $9 million pitcher.

The Braves felt confident in Hudson’s health after he went 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven starts at the end of last season. He also posted a 6.4 K/9 rate, which was his highest since 2001 with the Oakland A’s (6.9).

For his career, Hudson is an impressive 148-78 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 seasons.

With Hudson on board, the Braves right now have the deepest rotation in baseball. Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, Tommy Hansen, Kenshin Kawakami, and Hudson form a formidable bunch.

I said right now before because it’s very likely the Braves will trade one of these pitchers. Lowe and Vazquez are the two pitchers most likely to be dealt.

The Braves would love to get rid of Lowe’s contract and Vazquez would give the Braves the most value in return. The return the Braves are looking for would be a big time bat.

I love how the Braves are now shopping Lowe. The Braves missed out on AJ Burnett last year, so they overpay to get Lowe just to save face, and now they are trying to trade Lowe because his contract is an albatross.

That’s just called bad business.

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

Fantasy Week In Revew, Sept. 7 – 13

September 14, 2009

As hard as it may be to believe, there’s still fantasy baseball to be played. With fantasy football now in full swing, many people are forgetting that the fantasy baseball playoffs are in full swing.

Not me.

As always, here are the fantasy studs and the players who could kill your fantasy baseball hopes for the week of September 7th-13th.

Fantasy Studs

Billy Butler – .419/2/12 with one SB. It seems like Butler has been around forever, but he is only 23 years old. He could be in-line for a massive breakout season in 2010.

Russell Martin – .286/2/9/.385. It’s good to see Martin make a celebrity guest appearance in the fantasy stud column.

Juan Uribe – .409/3/7. Uribe has been red hot for the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the rest of the Giants’ offense hasn’t followed suit.

Raul Ibanez – .333/4/7. Ibanez hasn’t been the same since coming back from a groin injury a couple of months ago. Hopefully for the Philadelphia Phillies Ibanez is getting hot at the right time.

Javier Vazquez – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 17 K’s in 16 IP. Has anyone noticed the year Vazquez is having? If the Atlanta Braves gave him any run support, he would be right up there in the Cy Young race.

Pedro Martinez – 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 11 K’s in 14.2 IP. The good news — Pedro pitched eight shutout innings against the New York Mets. The bad news — it took him 130 pitches to do it.

Not sure how smart that was by Charlie Manuel leaving him in there for that long.

Jason Frasor – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and three K’s in 3.1 IP. Frasor is making the case to be the Toronto Blue Jays closer in 2010.

Joakim Soria – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and eight K’s in 3.2 IP. Soria has had a down year by his standards. A trip to the DL this year really hurt Soria.

Reasons for Concern

Alfonso Soriano – Soriano will miss the remainder of the season because of knee surgery. It’s been a pretty awful season for Soriano and for owners who depended on him.

I for one, have never been a fan of Soriano. Soriano will be 34 next year and I expect his production to be on a steady decline from here on out.

Brad Lidge – The Phillies officially removed Lidge from his closers duties. The plan is to have Lidge pitch in “low-stress” situations until he gets himself right.

Lidge has had six months to get himself right and if it hasn’t happened by now, I don’t think it will happen this year.

Tim Lincecum – Lincecum missed his last start because of back pain. His missed start caused a lot of fantasy owners first-round heartbreak.

The good news is that if you made it past the first round and have Lincecum on your team, he is expected to start tonight against the Colorado Rockies.

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.

Team USA Humiliated….

March 15, 2009

The team that was representing the country where baseball was invented was humiliated last night at the World Baseball Classic. Team USA was mercy ruled in a 11-1 loss to Puerto Rico last night. The last time I was witness to the mercy rule was when I was coaching Little League back in 2000.

This game was a disaster for USA on all levels. They made the remarkably average Javier Vazquez look like Tom Seaver for 5 innings (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K), Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton were throwing batting practice and their 1-5 hitters went a combined 1-15.

In my “Looking At Team USA’s Roster For The WBC” post, I wrote that “If Team USA doesn’t win the WBC, the starting rotation will be the reason.” Well, unfortunately that prediction so far seems to be holding water. Team USA’s starting rotation of Peavy, Oswalt, Lilly and Guthrie have a combined era of 10.69. That is not going to cut it when you are playing against some of the best players in the world.

Oswalt needs to step up tonight

Oswalt needs to step up tonight

Roy Oswalt gets the first crack at turning things around tonight in an elimination game against the Netherlands. If there is a team that can cure USA’s pitching problems, it’s the Netherlands. In 5 games so far in the WBC, the Netherlands has only scored 7 runs. 

If Oswalt and the rest of Team USA can’t turn it around against the Netherlands, it will be another WBC disappointment for the country that invented the game all the way back in 1846.

In other Team USA News

Orioles 2B, Brian Roberts will replace Dustin Pedroia for the rest of the WBC. Pedroia will miss the rest of the WBC because of a strained oblique muscle. While Roberts is a more than capable replacement, losing Pedroia is another blow to USA’s chances of winning the WBC. Since the original USA roster was announced, they have lost Sizemore, Nathan, Hawpe, Ryan and now Pedroia. That is a lot of talent to lose.