Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Cueto’

Starting Rotation: National League Central

January 22, 2010

Today, I am going to take a look at the starting rotations for each National League Central team.

Pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Roy Oswalt call this division home. This division has quality pitchers throughout.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League Central team as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Chris Carpenter, RHP

2. Adam Wainwright, RHP

3. Kyle Lohse, RHP

4. Brad Penny, RHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – This rotation is very top heavy with Carpenter and Wainwright leading the way. Carpenter’s health is key. If he is healthy, the Cardinals will be favorites to win the division. I like the Penny signing. The Cardinals don’t have a candidate for the fifth starter right now, so look for them to sign someone.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Yovani Gallardo, RHP

2. Randy Wolf, LHP

3. Dave Bush, RHP

4. Doug Davis, LHP

5. Jeff Suppan, RHP

Quick Take – With the additions of Wolf and Davis, this rotation is vastly improved from 2009. Wolf and Davis will give the Brewers innings. Look for Gallardo to continue to develop into an ace. Suppan will battle with Manny Parra for the No.5 starter spot.

Chicago Cubs

1. Carlos Zambrano, RHP

2. Ryan Dempster, RHP

3. Randy Wells, RHP

4. Ted Lilly, LHP

5. Tom Gorzelanny, LHP

Quick Take – This might be the most overrated pitching staff in baseball. Dempster has had one good year in the last seven years and was not worthy of his contract. It’s up in the air whether or not Lilly will be ready for Opening Day. I am starting to wonder if all those innings Zambrano threw earlier in his career is coming back to haunt him now?

Cincinnati Reds

1. Bronson Arroyo, RHP

2. Aaron Harang, RHP

3. Johnny Cueto, RHP

4. Homer Bailey, RHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – This rotation will really miss Edinson Volquez in 2010. Volquez might pitch in 2010, but not until towards the end of the season. Arroyo and Harang are prime trade candidates. The Reds’ No.5 starter spot is open right now. I don’t think it will be Aroldis Chapman to start the season.

Houston Astros

1. Roy Oswalt, RHP

2. Wandy Rodriguez, LHP

3. Brett Myers, RHP

4. Bud Norris, RHP

5. Brian Moehler, RHP

Quick Take – From where this rotation was at the beginning of 2009, the Astros have come a long way. Astros need Oswalt to have a bounce back year. Norris showed potential last season, but needs to cut down on his walks and needs to show development next season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Paul Maholm, LHP

2. Zach Duke, LHP

3. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP

4. Charlie Morton, RHP

5. Kevin Hart, RHP

Quick Take – I really feel bad for Maholm and Duke. If they were on better teams, they would be more recognized and people would know how good they are. Morton came over to the Pirates in the Nate McLouth trade and at 26, he needs to step up and prove he belongs in the major leagues.

Tomorrow, I will have the final installment of this series and take a look at the division where pitching dominates–the National League West.

Advertisements

Fantasy Week In Review, August 17-23

August 24, 2009

Lot’s of big news in the world of fantasy baseball last week. A couple of potential Keeper League players were called up, there is a new closer in Chicago (about time), and everyone’s preseason man crush will be returning in Texas.

Here are the fantasy studs, the players who have had their fantasy value fall, and the potential pickups for the fantasy week that was August 17 – 23.

Fantasy Studs

Brian Roberts – .379/4/8/.471 with three SB’s. Roberts had a MONSTER week last week. Roberts remains one of the top fantasy second basemen in the game today.

David Ortiz – .400/3/10/.500. Ortiz was hitting the ball so hard last week that he had AJ Burnett talking to himself on the mound.

Hideki Matsui – .261/4/10. Matsui won’t give you average at this point in his career, but he will still hit the long ball and can drive in runs.

Jayson Werth – .440/5/9. Werth is starting to heat up again. When Werth is hot, he brings the Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup to a whole other level.

Adam LaRoche – .419/4/9. One of the most notorious second-half hitters in the game today, LaRoche’s 2009 is no different.

Your 2009 NL Cy Young winner?

Your 2009 NL Cy Young winner?

I still haven’t figured out the Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman trade for the Boston Red Sox.

Chris Carpenter – 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 14 K’s in 15 IP. Carpenter is making a serious run at the Cy Young award and I think if the season ended today, he just might win it.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 14 K’s in 16 IP. Jimenez outdueled Tim Lincecum yesterday and is clearly the Colorado Rockies’ ace heading down the stretch.

Jose Valverde – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and six K’s in four IP. Valverde is making up for the time he missed in the first-half because of a calf injury.

Reasons for Concern

Francisco Liriano – Placed on the 15-day DL because of “left arm fatigue.” I put left arm fatigue in quotes because I just think the Minnesota Twins needed an excuse not to start him.

Liriano is 5-12 with a 5.80 ERA this season and has been one of the main reasons why the Twins are not where they are supposed to be in the AL Central.

Liriano hasn’t been the same since he had Tommy John surgery and has limited fantasy value until he can prove he can pitch effectively on a game to game basis.

Johnny Cueto – Placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. Cueto was terrible in his last eight starts before winding up on the DL.

Cueto was 0-6 with a Tim Stoddard-like ERA of 10.63. This is the second year in a row that Cueto has broken down in the second half.  This is something to consider when drafted Cueto next year.

Kevin Gregg – Who in the Chicago Cubs’ front office thought it was a good idea to make Kevin Gregg their closer? I thought this would be a disaster from the beginning.

After melting down in San Diego last week (Florida Marlin fans are all too familiar with this), the Cubs have removed Gregg from his closer duties.

Gregg has zero fantasy value going forward.

Potential Pickups

Matt LaPorta – LaPorta was called up for a second time by the Cleveland Indians last week and unlike the first time LaPorta got the call, he is actually playing.

LaPorta hit .333 in four games for the Indians last week. LaPorta has a ton of Keeper League potential, so picking him up now might pay off in the future.

Drew Stubbs – If you are looking for stolen bases, Stubbs might be your guy. Another player with Keeper League potential, Stubbs had 46 SB’s in Triple-A before being called up to the Cincinnati Reds.

He projects to be the Reds’ starting centerfielder for the future.

Carlos Marmol – Thanks to Kevin Gregg’s now annual August meltdown, Marmol takes over as the closer for the Cubs.

Marmol is a little too shaky for my liking, but he should be able to pick up a couple of saves down the stretch.

Back but better than ever?

Back but better than ever?

Chris Davis – After hitting .335 with six HR’s for the Oklahoma City Redhawks, Davis is expected to be called back up to the Texas Rangers this week.

The Rangers have tweaked Davis’ batting stance and now think his early season struggles are behind him. Davis is not guaranteed to start, but could potentially take AB’s away from Hank Blalock.

Fantasy Week In Review, July 6-12

July 13, 2009

Last week marked the final week of the official first-half of the season. For the first time in a long time, it seemed like there were more players we should be concerned with than there were fantasy studs. Never a good sign.

As always, here are the fantasy studs, the players who have me concerned, and the potential pickups for the fantasy week of July 6 – July 12.

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Ludwick – .481/4/15. It was better late than never last week for Ludwick, who finally decided to show up in 2009.

Jayson Werth – .292/4/11/.438. Not a bad way to celebrate your first all-star selection.

Pablo Sandoval – .333/3/11. The “King-Fu Panda” took his all-star snubbing out on NL pitchers last week.

Paul Konerko – .391/3/10. All three of Konerko’s HR’s came in one game last week. Still good enough to be a fantasy stud last week.

Adam Wainwright – 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 14 K’s in 16.1 IP. Ended the first-half of the season on a positive note for the St. Louis Cardinals by shutting down the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night.

Washburn has been dealin' this year

Washburn has been dealin' this year

Jarrod Washburn – 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and only gave up five hits in 16 IP. Washburn is making a serious push to land another big, free-agent contract in the offseason.

Josh Beckett – 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 11 K’s in 15 IP. Yesterday’s game against the Kansas City Royals was over when Beckett was doing his bullpen session before the game.

Rafael Soriano – Four Saves, eight K’s and a 0.00 ERA in four IP. Soriano has been lights out lately for the Atlanta Braves, and has taken the closer job from Mike Gonzalez.

Reasons for Concern

Torii Hunter – Placed on the 15-day DL with a strained groin. Hunter is eligible to return on July 22.

My concern here is that groin injuries are like hamstring injuries – they never seem to go away. Hunter did have 13 SB’s this year, so this might affect his stolen base numbers going forward.

Ryan Dempster – Placed on the 15-day DL because of a broken right toe. Dempster broke his toe when he tripped over the dugout rail after the Cubs beat the Brewers. That is classic.

Geovany Soto – Placed on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain. This really hasn’t been Soto’s year so far.

He got off to a terrible start, he is only hitting .230, and now he goes on the DL.

The Cubs and fantasy owners for that matter, need him in the second half to make some sort of contribution in order to win.

Jay Bruce – Placed on the 15-day DL with a fractured wrist. I had Bruce on this list before the wrist injury.

It was a terrible week for Bruce. First he was benched, then he comes back only to face Johan Santana, and then he breaks his wrist.

Bruce has struggled this year with a .207 average, but does have 18 HR and 41 RBI. Bruce has tremendous value in Keeper Leagues, so don’t give up on him just yet.

According to the Cincinnati Reds’ official Twitter page, Bruce will be out six- to-eight weeks.

Magglio Ordonez – Ordonez will now platoon in rightfield with Clete Thomas for the Detroit Tigers.

I am guessing the Tigers are determined not to let Ordonez reach his incentives so his $18 million extension won’t kick in.

Ordonez’s fantasy value is limited at best for the remainder of this year.

Andy Pettitte – Pettitte was 0-2 last week with a 10.45 ERA and gave up 12 runs in just 10.1 IP.

This almost seems like repeat from last year with Pettitte. Pettitte got off to a 10-7 start in 2008, but faded in the second half going 4-7 with an ERA over five.

Pettitte has been terrible his last two starts so this might start becoming a trend for the older Pettitte.

Johnny Cueto – Either this guy is hurt or he is just worn out. He is too good to be this bad over his last two starts.

Cueto in his last two starts is 0-2 with a 20.65 ERA and has given up 13 runs in 5.2 IP.

Keep an eye on Cueto (if you have started already) in his next couple of starts. If he continues to struggle, then there might be some cause for some major concern.

Potential Pickups

There are no potential pickups for this week.

How about a little prediction for tonight’s Home Run Derby. For those of you not aware, here are the participants…

Gonzalez will win the HR Derby

Gonzalez will win the HR Derby

Albert Pujols

Adrian Gonzalez

Prince Fielder

Ryan Howard

Carlos Pena

Joe Mauer

Brandon Inge

Nelson Cruz

I don’t like anyone in the AL, so that eliminates Cruz, Inge, Pena, Mauer.

Pujols is too easy, so I won’t pick him.

Fielder’s weight and stamina are a concern, so he is won’t last.

That leaves Gonzalez and Howard. Howard was born in St Louis, so I think he might feel the pressure.

The winner will be Adrian Gonzalez. Having spent his entire season trying to hit HR’s in the cavernous Petco Park, Busch Stadium will feel like a little league field to Gonzalez.

Picking My 2009 National League All Star Team…

June 16, 2009

One of my favorite events of the year is the major league baseball All Star Game. Do I think that home field advantage in the World Series should be decided by the winner of the All Star game? No, I don’t. But I still the event regardless.

The mid-summer classic offers fans the opportunity for fans to see the best players in the game all on the field at the same time. It’s quite a scene.

With the All Star game exactly one month away from yesterday, I am going to put together my All Star game roster. Today I will do the National League and tomorrow, I will pick the American League All Stars.

Of course I will follow the same rules that this year’s National League manager, Charlie Manuel has to go by. A roster of 33 players and each team in the National League has to be represented.

With out any further adieu, here is my National League All Star Team:

Starters

C. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

1B. Albert Pujols, St Louis Cardinals

2B. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

SS. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins

3B. David Wright, New York Mets

OF. Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies

OF. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets

OF. Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies

SP. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

There were six selections that were pretty obvious. The three players that are worth debating are Hanley Ramirez at SS, Brad Hawpe in the OF and Matt Cain as the starting pitcher.

I gave the slight edge to Ramirez over Tejeda at SS based on Ramirez having a higher OPS and more SB’s. Does anyone realize what a graet year Brad Hawpe is having? .337/9/47 is mighty impressive. I gave him the slight edge over Ryan Braun.

Cain is 9-1 and in my opinion, has been the most consistent NL starter, so he gets the nod over Santana and Billingsley.

Reserves – Pitchers

Johan Santana, New York Mets

Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks

Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins

Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers

Heath Bell, San Diego Padres

Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

Ryan Franklin, St Louis Cardinals

After last year’s marathon, I decided to go with 13 pitchers instead of 12. I also went with more starters because of what happened last year. The toughest ommissions were Jason Marquis (8 wins), Zach Duke (7-4 3.10 ERA), Yovanni Gallardo (2.88 ERA) and Brian Wilson (17 saves)

Reserves – Position Players

C. Yadier Molina, St Louis Cardinals

C. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies

1B. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres

1B. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

2B. Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates

2B. Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers

SS. Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros

3B. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

OF. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

OF. Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks

OF. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF. Carlos Lee, Houston Astros

Some of the notable position players I had to leave off the roster were Chipper Jones, Adam Dunn (couldn’t have two Nationals on the roster), Hunter Pence (hard call between him and Lee) and Ryan Howard.

Here is the player by team breakdown:

4. New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, St Louis Cardinals

2. Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros

1. Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies

What do you think? Anyone I leave off who you feel was deserving?

The WBC And The Affects On Pitching Part 2..

May 18, 2009

Back in January, I wrote a post title “The World Baseball Classic And The Affects On Starting Pitching.” I wrote the post to show that most pitchers who pitched in the WBC in 2006 had a worse era that season than they did in 2005. Now that we are over 30 games into the season and the WBC is well behind us, I think is now a good time to see how some of the WBC pitchers are fairing this season.

Cueto is off to a good start

Cueto is off to a good start

Pitcher-Record-ERA

Jose Arredono – 1-0 5.51 era

Johnny Cueto – 4-1 1.93 era

Felix Hernandez – 4-2 3.53 era

Ubaldo Jimenez – 3-4 4.73 era

Rafael Perez – 0-1 15.19 era. Optioned to Triple A in May.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – 0-1 12.79 era. On the DL since April with Shoulder Fatigue.

Ian Snell – 1-5 4.93 era

Roy Oswalt – 1-2 4.50 era

Ted Lilly – 5-2 3.27 era

Jonathon Sanchez – 1-3 5.06 era

Jake Peavy – 2-5 4.30 era

Jeremy Guthrie – 3-3 5.21 era

Scot Shields – 1-3 7.90 era

JJ Putz – 1-2 3.86. Is currently pitching with a bone spur in his right elbow.

Joakim Soria – 1-0 2.08 era and 7/7 in saves. Currently on the 15 Day DL because of a sore shoulder. Royals GM, Dayton Moore wonders if the WBC led to Soria’s issue.  “I don’t think it helps,” Moore told the Kansas City Star. “We couldn’t control his work. If you can’t control a pitcher’s workload and you can’t script their preparation during spring training, it’s a problem.”

JP Howell – 0-2 2.81 era

Joel Hanrahan – 0-1 5.51 era and 3/6 in saves

Jonathon Broxton – 4-0 1.50 era and 9/11 in saves

Matt Lindstrom – 1-1 5.40 era and 7/9 in saves

Heath Bell – 1-0 0.00 era and 9/9 in saves

LaTroy Hawkins – 1-1 2.70 era and 5/7 in saves

Brad Ziegler – 0-0 3.86 era 4/5 in saves

Perez is having a terrible 2009

Perez is having a terrible 2009

John Grabow – 1-0 5.29 era

Oliver Perez – 1-2 9.97 era. Placed on the 15 Day DL because of a knee injury. In reality it was because he is terrible.

So that is 24 pitchers with a combined 37-41 record on a 5.08 era. Now can all these poor starts be solely attributed to the WBC? Absolutely not. That wouldn’t be fair saying that was the case. However, I do believe there is some connection between these poor starts and pitching in the WBC. Out of those 24 pitchers, it seems only Johnny Cueto, Heath Bell and Jonathon Broxton have pitched in the WBC and have pitched exceptionally well in 2009.

There is no evidence to suggest that the WBC is going away any time soon.  So when the next WBC comes around and if you see a pitcher on your favorite team on the roster, don’t expect a good year out of him.

*Please note all stats were calculated prior to Sunday’s games.

Predictions For The WBC….

March 5, 2009

With the 1st game of the World Baseball Classic slated to start at 4:30 AM est tomorrow morning (yes, you read that correctly) with China vs Japan, it’s time to make some predictions for the tournament.

First Round – Double elimination and 2 countries advance in each of the 4 pools.

Pool A

Countries – China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan

Pool Winners – Korea & Japan

Pool B

Counties – Australia, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa

Pool Winners – Cuba & Mexico

Pool C

Countries – Canada, Italy, USA, Venezuela

Pool Winners – USA & Venezuela

Pool D

Counties – Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico

Pool Winners – Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico

Round 2 – Double elimination and 2 countries advance in each of the 2 pools.

Pool 1

Countries – Korea, Japan, Cuba, Mexico

Pool Winners – Japan & Cuba

Pool 2

Countries – USA, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico

Pool Winners – USA & Dominican Republic

Semi-finals & Finals – Single elimination & 2 countries advance to the finals.

Semi-Finals

Countries – Japan, Cuba, USA, Dominican Republic

Winners – Japan & Dominican Republic

Finals

Countries – Japan & Dominican Republic

Winner – Dominican Republic

Ortiz will power the Domincan Republic to a WBC win

Ortiz will power the Domincan Republic

Led by David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Jose Reyes and Jose Guillen, the Dominican Republic has more than enough offense even without Albert Pujols and perhaps Alex Rodriguez. There pitching staff isn’t too shabby either. Cincinnati Reds young guns Edison Volquez and Johnny Cueto head up the starting rotation while Juan Cruz and Jose Arredondo cover the back end of the staff.

Those are some of the reasons why I believe the Dominican Republic will win the 2nd annual World Baseball Classic. As for team USA, at the end of the day I think all the players they lost will eventually come back to haunt them in the semi-finals.

Enjoy the games everyone!

The World Baseball Classic And The Affects On Pitchers…

January 20, 2009

Bud Selig has done a lot of good things for the game of baseball since he became acting commissioner in 1992. Selig realigned the divisions, introduced the Wild Card, helped baseball get through the strike of 1994 and was instumental in formulating a revenue sharing model. However, Selig has done a couple of things over the years that I have questioned. Home-field advantage in the World Series is decided by the winner of the All-Star game, introducing inter-league play(I believe it takes away from the World Series ), he allowed the steriod-era to happen and most recently he organized the World Baseball Classic 

Much like Inter-league play, the World Baseball Classic is good for the fans but not good for Major League Baseball. Fans are intrigued by the World Baseball Classic because not only will the World Baseball Classic give fans the opportunity to see their favorite MLB players play for their respective country but the tournamant will also give fans the opportunity to see the top players from across the world who they may not be familiar with. Remember in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, the world was first introduced to Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome.

That being said, the World Baseball Classic is a bad idea for Major League Baseball. The main reason….PITCHING. A major league pitcher whether a starter or reliever, is the most unique position and most precious commodity in sports.  General Managers spend millions on trying to find it by any which way possible. Whether it be signing a major league talent, scouting Japan or the Dominican Republic or by going to the local High School General Managers are always looking to improve their clubs through pitching. So when you have that pitching you have to take care of it like you are taking care of your baby.

The pitching position is such a precious commodity because with just one pitch and one tweak of the arm, your career could be over. Just ask Mark Prior. What the World Baseball Classic asks pitchers to do is throw unnecessary pitches at a time when most pitchers are not ready to throw….In Spring Training. 

I am sure Cubs ownership is thrilled with the fact that injury-prone Rich Harden will be pitching for team Canada, I am sure the Reds ownership are doing jumping jacks in their office because their 2 young guns, Edison Volquez and Johnny Cueto are pitching for the Dominican Republic and I really think the Twins are beyond ecstatic that their ace Fransisco Liriano, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery is pitching for the Domincan Republic as well.

How worried should these teams be? Let’s take a look at team USA’s pitching staff from the 2006 World Baseball Classic and compare their respective era’s in 2005 and 2006

Player                                                  2005          2006

Jake Peavy                                            2.88              4.09

Dontrelle Willis                                    2.63              3.87

Al Leiter                                                6.13             DNP

Roger Clemens                                      1.87              2.30

Todd Jones                                             2.10              3.94

Brian Fuentes                                         2.91              3.44

Joe Nathan                                             2.70               1.58

Huston Street                                         1.72               3.31

Brad Lidge                                             2.29               5.28

Chad Cordero                                         1.82               3.19

Scot Shields                                           2.75                2.87

Mike Timlin                                           2.24                4.36

Gary Majewski                                       2.93                4.61

As you can see, except for Joe Nathan every pitcher who tossed for team USA in 2006 had a higher era than they did in 2005. I don’t think this is just a mere coincidence. When pitchers are taken out of there routine at the beginning of the season, it affects them for the entire season.

I hope team USA’s pitching staff in 2009 World Baseball Classic fairs better in the regular season than predecessors. If not, Mr Selig will have a tough time convincing anyone, especially owners the World Baseball Classic is a good for Major League Baseball.