Posts Tagged ‘Joey Votto’

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


Reds Get Good News, Edinson Volquez To Begin Throwing

December 31, 2009

There is more than one way for a fan to receive good news in the offseason about their favorite team.

The most common way during the offseason for a fan to receive good news is through a trade or free agent signing. But another form of good news could come from a star player progressing well from an injury.

Volquez is on the comeback trail

The Cincinnati Reds and their fans got that type of good news yesterday.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Inquirer spoke to Reds’ Assistant GM Bob Miller yesterday. While they talked about a variety of topics concerning the Reds, the topic of Edinson Volquez’s rehab came up.

“The reports are good,” Miller said. “He’s worked hard and got in great shape. That helps.” Volquez is about to begin throwing soon.

This is very good news for Reds fans.

For those of you who are not familiar with what happened to Volquez, he underwent Tommy John surgery last August. I am fully confident that Volquez can make a complete comeback and be a top of the rotation starter yet again.

Tommy John surgery is as common to pitchers these days as them hearing from a pitching coach “Bend your back” or “Don’t let your shoulder fly open.”

The list of pitchers who had Tommy John surgery stretches a mile long. Pitchers like Chris Carpenter, A.J. Burnett, Josh Johnson, Ryan Dempster, Kenny Rogers, and Randy Wolf have all had Tommy John surgery and have enjoyed success afterwards.

Volquez wants to return in 2010 by June, but I doubt that will happen. There is no reason for the Reds to rush the 26-year-old back and risk further damage. I am guessing Volquez returns around late August, early September.

He will probably start off in the bullpen just to get his feel for the game back and then make a couple of starts towards the end of the year. That seems to be the pattern most teams take with pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery.

A lot of people are picking the Reds as a darkhorse team in 2010. Without Volquez for a full year, I think it is going to be tough for them. I believe they are a year away.

When Volquez comes back and along with Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Yonder Alonso, the Reds could be the team to beat in the NL Central in 2011.

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

Fantasy Week In Review, September 21-27

September 28, 2009

This is it kids — the final week in the regular season and of course, the final week in fantasy baseball. For those of you playing for your league championship this week, good luck.

Here were the fantasy studs and the potential pickups from the fantasy week that was September 21-27.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Howard: .375/2/14. It seems that the big man always heats up down the stretch. A hot Howard spells trouble for opposing teams in the playoffs.

Ortiz has bounced back from a slow start

Ortiz has bounced back from a slow start

Marlon Byrd: .320/3/11/.433. Byrd is having the best year of his career and is a free agent at the end of this season — convenient.

David Ortiz: .280/3/10/.419. Despite everything Ortiz has been through this season, he still has 27 homeruns and 94 RBI on the season.

Alex Rodriguez: .350/3/8 with three SB’s. Rodriguez and Ortiz on the same list. It’s like a PED festival here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Joey Votto: .560/1/8. Votto had 11 runs scored and 10 doubles last week. In five years he will be on the ballot for entry into the Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars.

Adrian Gonzalez: .321/2/8/.441. Six months into the season and still haven’t figured out why opposing teams pitch to him.

Zack Greinke: 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 13 K’s in 13 IP. Hasn’t Greinke been on this list every week? If you have a vote and don’t vote for him for the Cy Young, you should have your voting privileges revoked.

Joe Blanton: 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA and 13 K’s in 12.2 IP. Blanton has quietly been the Philadelphia Phillies most consistent pitcher this year.

Tom Gorzelanny: 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 16 K’s in 12 IP. Gorzelanny is going his best to win a spot in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation in 2010. Remember, he did win 14 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007.

Gorzelanny could be a nice sleeper in 2010.

Rafael Soriano: Three saves with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in 3.1 IP. Soriano had 16 career saves coming into 2009. In 2009, Soriano has 27 saves and has the highest K/9 rate of his career (11.9/9).

Potential Pickups

Paul Bako: Need a catcher for the last week? Take a look at Paul Bako (something I never thought I would write). He hit .381/1/3 last week in 21 AB’s.

Ronnie Belliard: Belliard is getting regular playing time in Los Angeles. Last week he hit .409/1/3 with seven runs scored.

Jay Bruce: For those of you who dropped Bruce after his injury — shame on you. Bruce has keeper potential and has turned it on as of late.

Bruce hit .500/2/7/.611 last week in 14 AB’s.

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Drew Stubbs Arives In Cincinnati…

August 20, 2009

Thankfully the Cincinnati Reds placed OF Willy Taveras on the 15-Day DL. I know that’s harsh, but I know Reds’ fans and myself could no longer watch Dusty Baker play him on a regular basis for reasons only known to Baker.

Then again this is not surprising considering Baker thought Corey Patterson was the Reds’ answer in centerfield at one point.

Stubbs is the future CF'er for the Reds

Stubbs is the future CF'er for the Reds

Hopefully Reds’ fans no longer have to worry about the Taveras’s and Patterson’s of the world patrolling centerfield because top prospect Drew Stubbs has arrived in Cincinnati.

First, Stubbs has no relation to legendary Los Angeles Dodgers’ OF of the 1980’s Franklin Stubbs for obvious reasons. If you watch a Reds’ game from now until September, you will what I am talking about.

Second, Dusty Baker has already said Stubbs will play on a regular basis from here on out. Stubbs is the future starting centerfielder for the Reds and has some serious speed to burn. Stubbs is lightning quick and should be at the top of the Reds’ lineup for years to come.

With Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and now Drew Stubbs the Reds have a nice core to build on for the future.

Here are some other facts about Drew Stubbs…

Age: 24

College: University of Texas

Drafted: Eighth pick of the first round of the 2006 Draft

Minor League Stats

2006 Rookie: .252 with six home runs, 24 RBI, 19 SB’s, and a .368 OBP in 56 games

2007 Single A: .270 with 12 home runs, 43 RBI, 23 SB’s, and a .364 OBP in 129 games

2008 Single A+, Double A, & Triple A: .277 with seven home runs, 57 RBI, 33 SB’s, and a .371 OBP in 131 games

2009 Triple A: .268 with three home runs, 39 RBI, 46 RBI, and a .353 OBP in 107 games

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 89 out of 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Stubbs has been a different player since the middle of 2007, when he started squaring the ball up more consistently and showing the raw power that has always been in his bat but was barely evident when he was an amateur.

He will always strike out often because his swing is long and he expands the zone significantly when he gets behind in the count. Stubbs’ athleticism shines through on the bases and on defense; he’s a 70 runner and a 70 fielder in center with an above-average arm.

If everything clicks, he could be Mike Cameron with even more speed, although there’s a more probable scenario where he hits less than Cameron but still provides baserunning value and plus defense.”


Joey Votto And Grady Sizemore Activated From DL…

June 23, 2009

Just a quick fantasy update here. Two of my favorite players in baseball have been activated for their team’s games tonight.

The Cincinnati Reds have activated 1B Joey Votto for tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Votto was hitting .357 with eight HR’s and 33 RBI when he went to the DL. If he hadn’t gone to the DL, he probably would have been an All-Star this year.

Votto is Canadian, so this couldn’t have come at a better time since the Reds are playing the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Cleveland Indians have activated OF Grady Sizemore for tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was feared that Sizemore might be lost for the season when he first went on the DL, so this is good news for Indian fans.

Sizemore was hitting just .233 when he went on the DL, so maybe the time will help Sizemore get back on track.

Sizemore and Votto are two of the best players in the game when healthy, so they should be activated on your fantasy team before tonight’s games.


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.


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.


Looking At Fantasy 1st Basemen In 2009…

March 27, 2009

It’s time to take a look at the big boys of baseball….the 1st basemen. There are some serious sluggers in this group of 1st basemen which include Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder. In honor of the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania (April 5th from Reliant Stadium), let’s see who the top fantasy 1st basemen are. 4 Horseman style!!!

Ric Flair Division

These are the world champions. The best of the best. Look for these guys early in your draft and let them drive your limousine. WOOOOOOOOO!!!

Ric Flair

Ric Flair

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals. With Arod shelved for 1 month, Pujols is clearly the best player in baseball headed into 2009. He should go either 1 or 2 in your draft. If he is still there after that, grab him!!

2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. If Pujols doesn’t go #1 it is because someone took Cabrera instead. Now that Cabrera has adjusted to the AL, he should be a force in 2009. If the Tigers can compete in the very average AL Central, Cabrera might be in line for the MVP.

3. Lance Berkman, Astros. One of the most consistent hitters in baseball. You know what you are going to get with Berkman. .300 avg, 25-35 hr’s, 100 rbi’s and an obp hovering around .400

4. Mark Teixeira, Yankees. As I wrote in my first ever post here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham, “The Unexciting Teixeira,” I felt Teixeira was highly overrated. That thought hasn’t changed but he will put up .300/30/110 hitting in the Yankees lineup. With Arod out, it will be interesting to see how Teixeira reacts to being “the man” in New York.

5. Justin Morneau, Twins. Morneau has finished in the top 2 in MVP voted 2 out of the 3 years and there is no reason to think he won’t put up MVP numbers in 2009. His numbers might suffer if Mauer misses significant time, but not to the point where you would be turned off by him.

6. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. Youkilis had a career year in 2008 putting up a .312/29/115/.390. I think Youkilis can repeat those numbers in 2009. Youkilis qualifies as a 3B and a 1B

Arn Anderson Division

Solid. Dependable. Never the star on the team but someone you knew always produced. Like Arn Anderson, these next 6 guys fit that description.

7. Ryan Howard, Phillies. Howard would be higher if A. he didn’t kill your team with K’s (199 the last 2 years) and B. he didn’t kill your team in batting avg. and obp. I am not trying to kill Howard, but know what you are getting into before drafting him. Great hr’s and rbi’s. Below average avg., obp and a massive amount of K’s.

8. Prince Fielder, Brewers. Seriously, go back to eating meat!!!

Mr. Dependable

Mr. Dependable

9. Derrek Lee, Cubs. OK Cubs fans, Derrek Lee is not going to return to his 2005 form when he hit .335/46/107 ever again. At this point in his career, Lee is a .300/20/90 hitter. Which is good but nowhere near his 2005 season.

10. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Gonzalez is quickly moving into the Paul Molitor category of “if he played in NY, he would be a superstar.” How good is Gonzalez? He drove in 119 runs on a team that only scored 637. That is incredible. Gonzalez is getting better with age and should have no problem putting up .281/33/110 in 2009.

11. Chris Davis, Rangers. Everyone’s mancrush headed into 2009. The term “sleeper” no longer applies to Davis because I think even my mother knows who he is. Davis will put up his numbers hitting the Rangers lineup but don’t jump the gun and draft him too early.

12. Joey Votto, Reds. Love this guy. The runner up in the ROY voting should improve on his .294/24/84 in 2009. The 25 year old, who hits like a seasoned 29 year old will be an All Star in 2009. You heard it here 1st.

Barry Windham Division

Windham was a great, great wrestler but is often overlooked when talking about the best wrestlers of all time. Mainly because he was overshadowed by Ric Flair and left the WWF right before it exploded in the late 80’s. Don’t overlook these next 6 guys as they can be solid contributors to your team.

13. Garrett Atkins, Rockies. Many people don’t realize that Atkins played 61 games at 1B last season so he qualifies at both 1B and 3B. Atkins’ hr’s, rbi, avg and obp have dipped each of the last 3 years so don’t go crazy over Atkins. Expect a .285/25/95 season from Atkins in 2009.

14. Carlos Pena, Rays. Interesting note…In the same amount of ab’s (490) in 2008, Pena had 15 less hr’s, 19 less rbi’s, and hit 35 points less than he did in 2007. So the question is can he hit like he did in 2007 in 2009? Ummm no. 2007 for Pena was one of those magical seasons that won’t be repeated. Expected something similar to his 2008 of .247/31/102 in 2009.

Huff is Windham

Huff is Windham

15. Aubrey Huff, Orioles. If anyone screams Barry Windham it’s Huff. Often overlooked but nobody realizes he just put up a .304/32/108 last season and qualifies at both 1B and 3B.

16. James Loney, Dodgers. Loney quietly drove in 90 runs last year with the Dodgers. Loney should benefit from having Manny Ramirez in the lineup for a full year. 100 rbi’s is a possibility in 2009.

17. Adam Dunn, Nationals. Dunn played in his postseason during the WBC. Now he will go play for the last place Nationals and hit .240/42/105/.380. Dunn also qualifies as an OF.

18. Hank Blalock, Rangers. I am higher on Blalock than most. I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season. Blalock also qualifies as a 3B.

Steve McMichael Division

Now you are getting into some of the shakier 1B options out there. McMichael was a mediocre member of the 4 Horsemen and these next 6 guys would be mediocre members of your team.

The mediocre McMicheal

The mediocre McMicheal

19. Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks. Doesn’t Conor Jackson look and sound like he should be better than he is? He looks like he should be a .290/25-30/90-100 type guy. But instead he is a .290/15/75 type guy.

20. Adam LaRoche, Pirates. One of the few draftable Pirates, LaRoche has hit more than 20 hr’s in each of his last 4 seasons and more than 85 in each of his last 3.

21. Carlos Delgado, Mets. Let’s get this out of the way right now, Carlos Delgado is not going to hit .271 with 38 hr’s and 115 rbi’s again. It is just not going to happen. .255/26/92 seems more like it.

22. Jorge Cantu, Marlins. After being useless in 2006 & 2007, Cantu surprised everyone with a 29 hr and 95 rbi season in 2008. Cantu will not sneak up on anyone again in 2009 and I expect a little drop in 2009.

23. Pablo Sandoval, Giants. Another “sleeper,” Sandoval qualifies at 1B, 3B and in some leagues may qualify as a C. Sandoval hit .345 in 145 ab’s last year and with a full season under his belt a .310/15/80 is not out of the question. Just don’t expect obp as Sandoval only walked 4 times in those 145 ab’s.

25. Billy Butler, Royals. I have Butler this high for 2 reasons. 1. His age, he is only 23 and 2. His potential. If you are in a keeper League and can afford to let Butler develop on your bench while occasionally giving him a spot start against left-handed pitching (.340 the last 2 seasons), then it might pay dividends in the future.

Paul Roma Division.

Roma was the worst member in 4 Horsemen history. These last guys are your worst options for fantasy 1st basemen

26. Paul Konerko, White Sox. Terrible year last year and he is not getting any younger

27. Jason Giambi, A’s. Giambi will give you hr’s and obp and that is about it.

The worst of the horsemen

The worst of the horsemen

28. Mike Jacobs, Royals. Start only against righties and don’t complain about your team’s obp (.299 for Jacobs last season) after you draft him.

29. Casey Kotchman, Braves. A younger version of Lyle Overbay

30. Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great hitter?

31.Todd Helton, Rockies. Smoking the ball this spring (.423/4/11 in just 26 ab’s) but can his back hold up?

32. Carlos Guillen, Tigers. Guillen will qualify at 3 positions this year (1B, 3B and OF) but has age caught up with this versatile player?

33. Gabby Sanchez, Marlins. Potential Rookie of the Year candidate

34. Kendry Morales, Angels. The has big holes to fill replacing Teixeira

35. Russell Branyan, Mariners. This years Carlos Pena?

36. Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks. In a battle for playing time in the desert but could still hit between 10-15 hr’s.

37. Nick Johnson, Nationals. Mr. Injury. At least you will get obp with him.

38. Ryan Garko, Indians. Will be really hard pressed for playing time.

39. Travis Ishikawa, Giants. Officially your worst choice as a fantasy 1B. If you draft him, just call it a day