Posts Tagged ‘Josh Hamilton’

Starting Nine: American League West

January 13, 2010

The next division up in our Starting Nine series is the American League West. This division has undergone the most change from top to bottom this offseason, so it will be interesting to see which lineup looks the best headed into the season.

Here are the starting lineups as presently constructed for the American League West:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1. Erick Aybar, SS

2. Bobby Abreu, RF

3. Torii Hunter, CF

4. Kendry Morales, 1B

5. Hideki Matsui, DH

6. Howie Kendrick, 2B

7. Juan Rivera, LF

8. Brandon Wood, 3B

9. Mike Napoli, C

Quick Take – This lineup will miss Chone Figgins at the top of the lineup to an expect, but despite the Angels’ losses, this lineup is still pretty deep. Any lineup that has Napoli batting ninth should be able to score some runs.

Seattle Mariners

1. Ichiro, RF

2. Chone Figgins, 3B

3. Milton Bradley, LF

4. Jose Lopez, 2B

5. Ken Griffey Jr. DH

6. Franklin Gutierrez, CF

7. Casey Kotchman, 1B

8. Jack Wilson, SS

9. Rob Johnson, C

Quick Take – This lineup after the first four hitters is pretty bad. I don’t care how many runs you prevent in the field, you need to score runs to win. The Mariners need a better DH than Griffey Jr.

Texas Rangers

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Michael Young, 3B

3. Josh Hamilton, LF

4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH

5. Nelson Cruz, RF

6. Chris Davis, 1B

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

8. Elvis Andrus, SS

9. Julio Borbon, CF

Quick Take – I love this lineup. I like Borbon in the nine-hole acting like a second leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup. The key to this lineup will be health.

Oakland A’s

1. Coco Crisp, CF

2. Rajai Davis, LF

3. Ryan Sweeney, RF

4. Jack Cust, DH

5. Daric Barton, 1B

6. Kurt Suzuki, C

7. Eric Chavez, 3B

8. Mark Ellis, 2B

9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Quick Take – This is the worst in the American League (yes, worse than the Kansas City Royals) and perhaps the worst in baseball. There isn’t a guy in this lineup that would start on the Baltimore Orioles. Michael Taylor better make it to the A’s soon.

Tomorrow, I will dive into the National League and look at the National League East.

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

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Rangers Sign Vladimir Guerrero, Add To Their Roster Of High-Risk, High-Reward Players

January 10, 2010

Since the beginning of the offseason, the Texas Rangers have been in search of a right-handed, DH type bat. They had a trade worked out with the Boston Red Sox for Mike Lowell, but that trade was nixed and they have looked at free agents like Jermaine Dye and Vladimir Guerrero.

Yesterday, they finally found their right-handed bat.

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers have signed former Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim DH/OF Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year, $5 million contract plus incentives.

Vlad will be impaling in Texas in 2010

Guerrero becomes the third former Angel to sign with a division rival this offseason. Guerrero will join Darren Oliver in Texas and Chone Figgins signed with the Seattle Mariners earlier in the offseason.

This is a pretty interesting move by the Rangers. If I had my choice between Guerrero or Dye, I would have chosen Dye. I just think at this point in their careers, Dye is the better option. But I have no idea what Dye was asking for or if he is still searching for a multi-year deal.

Vlad is a shell of his former-self at this point. He will be 35 in February, his OPS has dipped three years in a row, he runs like Mark Eaton towards the end of Eaton’s career, and he only played in 100 games last year.

I don’t think Vlad has much left in the tank. We all saw last year in the playoffs he couldn’t catch up to good fastballs and he can no longer hit the bad pitch out of the strike zone on a consistent basis like he used to.

Perhaps he can find the fountain of youth in Arlington, where a lot of hitters come alive playing in that hitter friendly ballpark. I would guess Vlad will hit fifth or sixth in the Rangers’ lineup and serve as their primary DH in 2010.

While the Rangers certainly do have a talented roster, they have collected too many high risk, high reward players for my liking. Just think about all the injury prone players they have on their roster.

Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rich Harden, Matt Harrison, Frank Francisco, and Guerrero. Those are a lot of players and star players to worry about over the course of a 162 game schedule.

We have seen in the past–especially last year–injuries taking there toll on the Rangers as the season progresses. 2010 looks to be more of the same for Texas.

Guerrero will be entering his 15th year in the major leagues and has a career .321 average with 407 home runs and won the MVP award in 2004 with the Angels.

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

Recapping The Rule 5 Draft

December 11, 2009

Today, Major League Baseball held its annual Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft takes place around this time every year at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Rule 5 Draft, here is a great overview courtesy of Baseball America’s Alan Schwarz:

“Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.

“Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.

“But here’s the kicker: To prevent teams from drafting players willy-nilly, each Rule 5 pick must be kept in the major leagues the entire following season or be offered back to his former team for half of the $50,000 selection price. Few players are ready for such a jump, so only about 10-15 get picked each year. Fewer still last the whole season in the big leagues.

Now you might be thinking why would I care about a draft were the players aren’t good enough to make a team’s 40-man roster? Well, you should care because some of the best players in the game today were taken in the Rule 5 Draft.

Santana was a Rule 5 Draft pick

Johan Santana, Joakim Soria, Shane Victorino, Josh Hamilton, and Dan Uggla are all current players who were taken in the Rule 5 Draft. Past players who were taken include All Stars George Bell, Kelly Gruber, Bobby Bonilla, and Roberto Clemente.

So as you can see, a team can definitely find a diamond in the rough in this draft.

Here is a recap of the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft:

1. Washington Nationals: Jamie Hoffmann, OF. Drafted from Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Pittsburgh Pirates: John Raynor, OF. Drafted from Florida Marlins

3. Baltimore Orioles: Benjamin Snyder, LHP. Drafted from San Francisco Giants

4. Kansas City Royals: Edgar Osuna, LHP. Drafted from Atlanta Braves

5. Cleveland Indians: Hector Ambriz, RHP. Drafted from Arizona Diamondbacks

6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Zachery Kroenke, LHP. Drafted from New York Yankees

7. New York Mets: Carlos Monasterios, RHP. Drafted from Philadelphia Phillies

8. Houston Astros: Jorge Jimenez, 3B. Drafted from Boston Red Sox

9. Oakland A’s: Robert Cassevah, RHP. Drafted from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

10. Toronto Blue Jays: Zechry Zinicola, RHP. Drafted from Washington Nationals

11. Milwaukee Brewers: Chuck Lofgren, LHP. Drafted from Cleveland Indians

12. Chicago Cubs: Michael Parisi, RHP. Drafted from St. Louis Cardinals

13. Tampa Bay Rays: Armando Zerpa, LHP. Drafted from Boston Red Sox

14. Seattle Mariners: Kenekoa Texeira, RHP. Drafted from New York Yankees

15. San Francisco Giants: Steven Johnson, RHP. Drafted from Baltimore Orioles

16. St. Louis Cardinals: Ben Jukich, LHP. Drafted from Cincinnati Reds

17. Philadelphia Phillies: David Herndon, RHP. Drafted from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

A couple of notes about this draft:

– Not every team had a pick because not every team had an open spot on the 40-man roster.

– The Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels had the most players taken with two each.

– The Rule 5 Draft is usually pitching centric and this year was no different. Out of the 17 picks, 14 were pitchers.

– Jamie Hoffmann was traded by the Nationals to the Yankees to complete the Brian Bruney trade.

– Benjamin Snyder was traded by the Orioles to the Rangers to complete the Kevin Millwood trade.

– Jorge Jimenez was traded by the Astros to the Marlins to complete the Matt Lindstrom trade.

– You can find the Triple-A and Double-A phase of the draft here.

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

Curtis Granderson: What’s His Trade Market?

November 12, 2009

One of the biggest shocks coming out of this weeks general manager’s meeting in Chicago was that the Detroit Tigers have let it be known that OF Curtis Granderson could be had in a trade.

This was shocking to everyone because I don’ think the word trade and Granderson have ever been used in the same sentence. Why would the Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski look to trade Granderson?

Here are some of the contracts the Tigers are paying in 2010:

Nate Robertson: $10 million

Dontrelle Willis: $12 million

Carlos Guillen: $13 million

Jeremy Bonderman: $12.5 million

Magglio Ordonez: $18 million

That’s *$65.5 million committed in 2010 to a bunch of players who probably aren’t worth $15 million. Since those contracts are untradeable, the Tigers are looking to trade some of their more valuable pieces.

Curtis Granderson

Granderson could be on another team in 2010

Hence, the Granderson and Edwin Jackson trade rumors.

For a GM to say a player can be had and for him to actually trade that player are two different things. But if a team were to look into trading for Granderson, what are they getting?

I did this last month with Brad Hawpe, so let’s now look at the trade market for Granderson. What are his pros, his cons, and what teams could be interested in the Tigers’ center fielder.

Pro’s

I think we can all agree on that Granderson is one of the great ambassadors for the game of baseball. He is extremely smart, he extremely well spoken, he has worked for TBS during the playoffs, and has traveled all across Europe promoting baseball.

Off the field, he is everything a team would want.

On the field, he is no slouch either.  Last year, he set a career high with 30 home runs and continues to be one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. He also is one of the more durable outfielders in the game as he has averaged 155 games played over the last four years.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Granderson is his contract. Granderson is due only $5.5 million in 2010, $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012. Granderson also has a club option for $13 million in 2013.

That is a very reasonable contract for a guy who is only 28-years-old and in the prime of his career.

Cons

While Granderson’s power numbers have increased over the last two years, everything else offensively seems to have declined.

His average has gone from .302 to .280 to .249 in the last three years

His OPS has gone from .913 t0 .858 to .780 in the last three years

His walk percentage decreased from 11.4 percent in 2008 to 10.2 percent in 2009. Not good for a leadoff hitter.

You really have to start wondering if Granderson thinks he is a legit power hitter? His groundball percentage was 29.5 percent in 2009. By far and away the lowest of his career.

It’s like he has Willie “Mays” Hayes syndrome.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Granderson, now let’s take a look at what teams would be interested in trading for Granderson.

Chicago Cubs: Anytime you have Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley manning the corner outfield spots, you have one of the worst outfield defenses in baseball.

Granderson would give the Cubs a plus outfielder and someone who could track down balls that Soriano and Bradley couldn’t get to. Kosuke Fukudome is basically a fourth outfielder at this point.

Born in Illinois, Granderson would be perfect for the Cubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks: If the Diamondbacks are willing to pick up Brandon Webb’s $8.5 million option and they are looking to sign pitchers on multi-year deals this offseason, then trading for Granderson is not the craziest thing in the world.

A Chris Young for Granderson swap might make sense for both teams. Granderson would bring leadership to the Diamonbacks locker room, which is something they desperately need with all of their young talent.

Young would provide a young, low-cost replacement for Granderson.

New York Yankees: Granderson would be a great fit in the media capitol of the world. He would also be a major upgrade over Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. Both of whom are fourth outfielders.

A package including David Robertson would be a good start for the Tigers.

Texas Rangers: With Marlon Byrd and Andruw Jones free agents, the Rangers could use a center fielder. Now, they do have Julio Borbon who can play center field and they could put David Murphy in left and Nelson Cruz in right in 2010.

But if they can get Granderson, then they can put him in center, put Borbon in left, and Cruz in right. This would give the Rangers a superior fielding outfield and would allow Murphy to move into a outfield/platoon roll.

Of course, in both scenarios Josh Hamilton would be the DH for the Rangers.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox need a center fielder, but there is a better chance of me playing center field for the White Sox than Granderson.

What is fascinating, is that if this was five years ago the Tigers would have no problem finding a suitor for Granderson. But now, there are so many teams who have young, good center fielders, that the market for a player like Granderson is pretty thin.

There is probably more talent now at the center field position than there has been in the last 25 years. From Grady Sizemore to Drew Stubbs to Matt Kemp to Andrew McCutchen, baseball is flooded with talented center fielders.

I am going to say, at the end of the day,  there is a 10 percent chance Granderson gets traded.

*All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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

Michael Young Strains Hammy And Strains The Texas Rangers Playoff Hopes

September 3, 2009

There was some bad news out of Texas yesterday.

According to the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, Texas Rangers 3B Michael Young will be out at least two weeks and possibly more with a strained hamstring. This is a HUGE blow to a Rangers ballclub that is fighting for a playoff spot.

Young's injury hurts the Rangers playoff chances

Young's injury hurts the Rangers playoff chances

Not only are the Rangers going to miss Young’s bat in the lineup, but more importantly they are going to miss his leadership on the field. I have the same feelings towards the Rangers’ lineup as I do the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation — you can probably plug anyone in there and they would be somewhat successful.

I am confident the Rangers will replace Young’s bat on some level, but it’s hard to replace “the man” on the team in a middle of a pennant race. Young plays everyday, is one of the most professional players in the game, and when he is not out there, it hurts any team that he is on.

The Rangers have been a resilient bunch all season under my pick for AL Manager of the Year Ron Washington. They have been able to survive a down year and injuries to Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler has been hurt at times, and they have had to deal with the growing pains of having such a young starting rotation.

I am not sure the Rangers will surive losing their leader for the stretch run. It might be too much to ask.

Live Blog: MLB All-Star Game…

July 15, 2009

It’s been awhile since I have done a live blog, so what better time to do one than the 80th All-Star game in St. Louis. I have always been a big fan of the All-Star game, so this should be fun. I am just praying this game does not go deep into extra innings like last year’s game.

Game – American League vs. National League

Date – 7/14/09

Starting Lineups

American League

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Mark Teixeira, 1B

5. Jason Bay, LF

6. Josh Hamilton, CF

7. Michael Young, 3B

8. Aaron Hill, 2B

9. Roy Halladay, P

National League

1. Hanley Ramirez, SS

2. Chase Utley, 2B

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Ryan Braun, RF

5. Raul Ibanez, LF

6. David Wright, 3B

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Top 1st

Tim Lincecum deals the first pitch of the 80th All-Star game at 8:50 est time and it is ripped by Ichiro down the rightfield line, but foul.

Starting this game at 8:50 est. pretty much eliminates anyone under the age of 15 who lives on the east coast from seeing the end of this game – good job Bud Selig

Ichiro rips a single to right. He is such a good hitter. Being down 0-2 in the count didn’t phase Ichiro one bit.

OUCH!!! With two strikes, Derek Jeter gets hit in the hand with a changeup. Every Yankee fan just took a deep breath. Jeter appears okay.

Lincecumis really all over the place in this inning. He quickly falls behind Mauer 3-1.

Wow, what a quick play by Molina. Mauer hits a ball a foot infront of home plate, Molina pounced on it, and got Ichiro at third. Wright made a terrible throw to first, which pulled Pujols off the bag. Mauer would have been out with a good throw.

Teixeira hits a slow groundball that hits off of Pujols’ glove and goes into short rightfield. Jeter scores to make 1-0 American League.

That was a potential double play ball that Pujols mishandled. Some bad defense by the NL in the first inning. They should be out of this inning.

First and second with one out for Jason Bay.

Bay singles to center. Bases loaded.

Boy, the NL is really asleep on defense. Hamilton gets a hard groundball to first, Pujols gets Bay at second, but Lincecum is late covering first, and the run scores.

2-0 American League. We can eliminate Tim Lincecum from winning the MVP award tonight.

Michael Young grounds to Wright for the third out.

Not a very good start for the NL.

Bottom 1st

Hanley Ramirez leading off for the NL, hits a rope, but right to Aaron Hill. One out.

How many recruiting talks do you think Roy Halladay has gotten in the past two days? 40? 50?

Halladay gets Chase Utley to ground out to Teixeira. Two quick outs here in the bottom of the first.

Now here comes Pujols. Maybe he will make up for that terrible error he made in the top of the first.

Pujols hitting, Mauer catching, and Halladay pitching – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Michael Young is the man. Pujols hits a frozen rope to third. I mean a real screamer. Young snags it and casually throws to first to get Pujols. Now that is how you play defense.

After one it’s 2-0 American League

Top 2nd

Hill grounds to Ramirez for the first out.

Roy Halladay is hitting. I don’t think he planned on this happening. With the luck the Blue Jays have been having with injuries, Halladay will get clocked in the hand here.

He doesn’t and Halladay K’s for the second out.

A much better start to the second inning for Lincecum.

Ichiro hits a linedrive, but right at Braun in rightfield for the third out.

Bottom 2nd

Braun flies out to center for the first out.

President Obama is in the booth with McCarver and Buck. Obama is neck and neck with Bill Clinton as the president you would most want to hang out with.

Ibanez grounds to Hill for the second out. Halladay is making this look easy.

Even when Halladay gives up hits, he splinters bats. Wright bloops one to rightcenter for a hit. His bat shattered in a 100 pieces.

Victorino singles to right. First and second with two outs for Molina.

How about this. Molina singles to center, Wright scores, and Hamilton trying to throw out Victorino at third – hits him in the back and the ball rolls into foul territory.

Victorino scores andwe are tied at two. Molina goes to second on the throw.

Last night’s HR Derby champion Prince Fielder will hit for Lincecum.

Amazing how quickly things change in an inning. Halladay was crusing and a broken bat got a rally started.

Fielder smokes one down the leftfield line for a ground rule double. Molina scores and it is now 3-2 NL.

Ramirez grounds to Hill for the third out.

What an inning for the NL. Three runs with two outs.

After two complete in St. Louis, it’s 3-2 National League

Top 3rd

This is odd, Cardinals’ closer Ryan Franklin is in the game for the NL. I don’t think I have ever seen a closer come into an All-Star game this early before.

Jeter grounds to Utley for the first out.

Mauer lines to Pujolsfor the second out.

Teixeira grounds weakly to Pujols for the third out.

Well that was easy for Franklin. A very impressive inning.

Bottom 4th

Chicago White Sox lefty, Mark Buehrle into the game for the AL. With Buehrle pitching, this inning might last five minutes.

Utley hits a can of corn to center. One down.

Man, does Buerhle work quickly.

Pujols grounds to Teixeira for the second out. Teixeira showed his range on that groundball, as he played that way off the bag at first.

Braun grounds to Jeter at short and in less than five minutes the inning is over.

I wish more pitchers worked like Buerhle.

It’s still 3-2 NL after three.

Top 4th

We start the fourth and McCarver and Buck have been very tolerable tonight. It must be a full moon.

Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks is now in the game for the NL.

One pitch, one out. Bay flies out to Braun in right.

Hamilton flies out to semi-deep center.

Young singles to left. Michael Young loves playing in All-Star games.

Aaron Hill up. Every kid outside of Toronto just asked their dad “who is that?”

Hill grounds hard to Hanley Ramirez, but Ramirez gobbles it up, and gets Hill to end the inning.

Bottom 4th

Just saw a commercial for the new GI Joe movie. It looks terrible. I was a HUGE GI Joe fan growing up, so I hope the movie is better than it looks. I am not optimistic.

The Kansas City Royals’ Zack Greinke is in for the AL.

One pitch, one out. Ibanez pops up to Young at third.

I hope Greinke goes two innings tonight. It will let the world see who he is.

And this is why – Greinke throws a wicked slider to Wright to strike him out. That was nasty.

Greinke just toyed with Victorino. Got him to swing at a pitch in the dirt and two feet out of the strike zone.

One-two-three for Greinke

This game is moving rather quickly. Still 3-2

Top 5th

The next pitcher for the NL is the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley.

Carl Crawford hitting for Greinke.

Crawford hits a single to center. With Crawford at first and Molina behind the plate, this should be interesting.

What a great play by Chase Utley. Ichiro hits a ball between first and second, Utley gets the ball, pivots, andgets the lead runner in Crawford at second.

What a great play. Ichiro now at first with one out and Jeter up.

My roommate from college Odie just sent me a text “Ichiro is a dope, let crawford steal.” I agree. The fastest man in baseball is on first and Ichiro is up there hacking.

The NL is flashing some leather. Jeter hits on his classic inside-out balls to the right side, but Pujols dives andgets the lead runner at second.

The first inning must have been a wake up call for the NL.

This brings up Mauer with Jeter on first and now two outs.

Is Joe Mauer the best hitter in the game right now or what? Billingsley throws a curve on the outer half and instead of trying to pull the ball, Mauer goes with the pitch and laces it down the leftfield line.

Jeter running all the way, scores from first. We are now tied at three.

Pujols really wants to make up for that first inning error. He makes another diving stop off of a Teixeira groundball and flips to Billingsley for the third out.

Pujols saves a run, but the AL ties the game heading into the bottom of the 5th.

Bottom 5th

Edwin Jackson the new pitcher for the AL

What is the story with hitters swinging at the first pitch when there is a new pitcher in the game?

Molina on the first pitch grounds to short for out No. one.

Ryan Zimmerman up at the plate. Zimmerman replaced Wright in the top half of the inning and is batting in the pitchers spot.

Zimmerman just missed one. He flies out to deep centerfield.

Ramirez on the first pitch grounds out to Young at third.

Wow what an inning for Jackson. Four pitches and three outs. Not a bad day’s work.

3-3 still as we head to the bottom of the sixth

Bottom 6th

The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman into the game

The first batter he will face is the Orioles’ Adam Jones. Right now every Mariners’ fan is saying “I can’t believe we got rid of this guy.” Jones is hitting in Jason Bay’s spot in the lineup.

Jones hits a rocket to right, but Hawpe tracks it down at the warning track. One out.

Hoffman is not fooling anyone. Hamilton jumps all over the first pitch and singles to right.

Young hits a hard groundball, but right at Utley. After a brief bobble, Utley and Tejada are able to turn the four-six-three double play.

I was a little surprised Hoffman was used so early. I would have thought because he is the all-time saves leader, he would have been used to close out the game.

Bottom 6th

The Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez has been called upon to pitch for the AL.

Orlando Hudson will hit for Utley andmost likely come into the game to play second.

Okay, once again we are first pitch swinging. This game counts right Bud?

Hudson hits one deep to right but Adam Jones is there for the first out.

Pujolsgrounds to short for the second out.

Not too many people on the east coast get to see “King Felix” pitch, but he is a dandy. He really can become a legit ace. He has no-hit stuff every time he goes to the mound.

Justin Upton is now hitting for Ryan Braun. A great matchup here of two of the best young players in the game.

Another groundball to short. The sure-handed Jason Bartlett gets Upton to end the inning.

We are getting down to the nitty gritty as Gorilla Monsoon used to say.

Top 7th

Classy move by Charlie Manuel as he lets Pujols go out to take warmups andthen replaces him with Gonzalez so he can get a standing ovation from the Cardinal fans.

Francisco Cordero is the new pitcher in the game for the NL. He is the Cincinnati Reds’ lone representative for tonight.

Aaron Hill up for the third time and he flies out to Upton in in left.

Crawford up for the second time. On the first pitch he grounds to Tejada at short. Two outs.

Justin Morneau up for the AL. He replaced Teixeira at first and is hitting Ichiro’s spot.

That was a quick inning for Cordero. He gets Morneau to line weakly to Zimmerman at third.

Bottom 8th

My buddy Tom just sent me a text “Close game and these idiot managers are using pitchers for one inning each.” Kind of agree. With a lot of the pitchers having pitched on Sunday and after last year’s marathon, I am surprised pitchers aren’t going more than one inning.

A new inning, a new pitcher for the AL. Jonathan Papelbon is in the game for the AL.

OH WOW!!! Carl Crawford makes the play of the game so far. Brad Hawpe on Papelbon’s first pitch (of course) hit a fly ball deep to left and Crawford leaped over the wall to make the catch and rob Hawpe of a HR. Great catch.

Two pitches and two bombs off of Papelbon. Miguel Tejada flies out to deep right but Adam Jones is there to make the catch.

Papelbon is pitching to Victor Martinez. A sign of the future?

Papelbon is throwing his fastball at 89 mph. Someone should tell him this game counts.

Papelbon strikes out Jayson Werth to end the inning. That fastball was 94 mph, so Papelbon got into the groove towards the end of the AB.

It’s still 3-3 heading into the eigth and this game has extra innings written all over it. Lovely

Top 8th

Heath Bell is into the game for the National League.

The first pitch he throws is over the head of Jason Bartlett. Nice pitch.

Bell does better on his second pitch as he gets Bartlett to ground to short.

Curtis Granderson up for the AL. He crushes one to left and the ball  hits off the base of the wall. Granderson digs for third and he makes it.

Grandersonat third with one out and the infield comes in.

Victor Martinez is up and he is getting intentionally walked. That stinks for Martinez. Manuel is walking Martinez to get to Adam Jones.

HeathBell looks like his heart is racing a million beats per second.

Well, Manuel’s strategy backfires as Jones hits one to the warning track in right. Granderson scores to make it 4-3.

Kevin Youkilis is up for the first time and he promptly singles to center.

First and second with two outs for the Rays’ Ben Zobrist.

Bell gets Zobrist swinging, but the damage was done. One run on two hits and two runners left on base.

At the end of seven and a half, it’s the American League four and the National League three

Bottom 8th

New York native Joe Nathan in the game for the American League. The AL is going to go with Nathan for the eighth andthen Mariano Rivera for the ninth. The NL is in trouble.

The Braves and Ron Kittle impersonator, Brian McCann up at the plate to face Nathan.

McCannon a 2-1 pitch pops up to Martinez behindthe plate. One down here in the bottom of the eighth.

Zimmerman swinging at the first pitch, flies to right for the second out.

Here is the best player that nobody knows about – Adrian Gonzalez

FOX just showed Bud Selig with George Will. And there is your reason for a baseball team in Washington.

Good AB by Gonzalez. Down in the count 1-2 and he works a walk.

Another two out rally by the NL. Hudson singles up the middle and now we have first andthird with two outs.

Ryan Howard is coming up to pinch hit. Manuel was picking his spot for Howard and this is it. Very similar to the 2003 All-Star game in Chicago where Mike Scioscia was picking his spot for Hank Blalock in the late innings.

Blalock hit a pinch hit two-run HR off of Eric Gagne to give the AL the win.

They just showed Brian Fuentes warming up. Well, if he is not in the game to face Howard why on earth is he warming up?

Howard is swinging for the downs. Two fastballs, two Ruthian cuts, and now it is 0-2.

Hudson steals second. That’s kind of a good and bad move. Good in that it eliminates the double play and now a single scores two runs. Bad in that this might take the bat out of Howard’s hands.

No 2003 moment here as Howard swings at a pitch in the dirt for strike three.

We head to the ninth with the AL still clinging to a 4-3 lead

Top 9th

The next pitcher up for the National League is the New York Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez.

His first batter will be the Tigers’ Brandon Inge. Of course Inge swings at the first pitch and grounds to short.

Carl Crawford up. He is 1-2. With his catch and with nobody else really standing out tonight, he might win the MVP.

Striking out won’t help his cause. That was a great changeup by Krod.

Morneau rips one into the left-centerfield gap, Werth tracks it down, and makes the catch. What a catch by a guy who is normally not a centerfielder.

This is it. We head to the bottom of the ninth with the AL leading 4-3

Bottom 9th

If the NL is going to come back, they are going to have to do it against the best in the business in Mariano Rivera

Justin Upton will try to get things started for the National League.

Barlettis silky smooth at short. He made a tough, back-handed play look very easy. He gets Upton for the first out

Brad Hawpe, who was robbed of a HR by Carl Crawford will try to hit one a little further against Rivera.

Joe Buck just said Brad Hawpe is a very good defensive rightfielder. I am guessing Buck hasn’t seen Hawpe’s UZR lately.

Hawpe goes down looking on a perfect pitch on the outside corner.

Now it’s up to Miguel Tejada to keep it alive. He doesn’t.

Tejada pops up to Zobrist at second to end the game.

That’s a wrap. The American League wins again 4-3. The American League will have homefield advantage in the World Series.

Like I suspected, Carl Crawford wins the MVP award. This might be the first time in All-Star game history that a guy won the award for a catch.

It was a good game, well played, and it only took 2:31 to play. A little disappointed that Tim Wakefield didn’t get to pitch, but what can you do.

Over 3,000 words later, I am calling it a night. Good night everyone!!!

Fantasy Week In Review, June 29 – July 5…

July 6, 2009

I hope everyone had a great July 4th weekend!!! It was finally nice out for more than one day here in the northeast so the bbq’s were grilling, the beach was crowded, and the softball’s were flying.

Last week was a very intriguing week in fantasy baseball. We finally saw everyone’s preseason man crush get crushed and we saw one pitcher who is trying to make a run at something that only two other pitchers (Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson) have done in the National League – win back to back Cy Young awards.

Here are the fantasy studs, players who have us concerned and the potential pickups for the week of June 29 – July 5.

Fantasy Studs

Derek Lee – .250/4/12. Lee only had seven hits during the week, but four of them cleared the fence. That is being efficient.

Albert Pujols – .429/3/8/.571 and one SB. The look on David Weather’s face when Pujols hit the grand slam off him on Friday was priceless.

Casey McGehee – .370/2/10. McGehee is doing just fine filling in for Rickie Weeks.

Shin-Soo Choo – .409/3/9. Any guy who has seven RBI in one game is a fantasy stud.

Marlon Byrd – .450/3/9/.556. Byrd has filled in nicely for Josh Hamilton. Now with Chris Davis being sent down (more on that later), Byrd should continue to get AB’s.

Oswalt was a stud last week

Oswalt was a stud last week

Roy Oswalt – 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 14 K’s in 17 IP. Oswalt got off to a slow start, but has really turned it on as of late.

Ricky Nolasco – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 20 K’s in 16 IP. It looks like Nolasco’s time in the minors served him well. Good to see him back to his 2008 form.

Tim Lincecum – 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 17 K’s in 16 IP. Lincecum is making a serious run at his second consecutive Cy Young award. If the season ended today, I would vote for him.

Reasons for Concern

Chien-Ming Wang – The New York Yankees placed Wang on the 15-Day DL with a right shoulder strain. At this point, I am confident in saying this isn’t Chien-Ming Wang’s year.

From his early season struggles, to being put in the bullpen, and now to being put on the 15-day DL this season has been a disaster for Wang. He is 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA this season.

There is no time table for Wang’s return.

Randy Johnson – Johnson left Sunday’s game against the Astros with a left shoulder strain. Johnson is going for an MRI today.

Hopefully for Johnson owners, the MRI is just a precautionary move. If it’s anything more, there is a good chance Johnson could be placed on the DL.

Davis was finally sent down

Davis was finally sent down

Chris Davis – Well, well, well everyone’s preseason man crush finally crushed the hopes of fantasy owners across the world. Davis was sent down to Triple-A in order to make room for the returning Josh Hamilton.

Davis was batting just .202 this season and was leading baseball in strikeouts with 114. I am guessing this won’t be the last we will see of Davis this year.

Potential Pickups

Ryan Sadowski – Two starts, two quality starts, two wins, and more importantly – zero runs allowed in 13 innings. As long as he is pitching in the very pitcher friendly AT&T Park, Sadowski has a chance.

As long as he keeps pitching the way he has, he will stay in the rotation for the San Francisco Giants.

Alfredo Aceves – With Chien-Ming Wang headed to the DL, Aceves becomes the likely choice to replace him in the rotation.

I will ignore that Aceves has the most inappropriate nickname in baseball “Ace,” and focus on what he can bring to your fantasy team. With the Yankees’ offense rolling, Aceves should be in line for some five inning, seven to four victories.

Softball Update

It’s been awhile since I have done a softball update, so I thought I would give one today. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Vipers. The players we lost from last year’s team that made the finals is starting to show in the lineup. Not being able to score runs in softball is probably the most frustrating thing ever.

We started off 4-1 and now we sit at 6-4 through 10 games.

As for me, I am hitting .520 with three HR’s, nine RBI, and seven runs scored in 25 AB’s. Very Miguel Cabrera-like. I am also fielding like Miguel Cabrera would if he was to play shortstop, but that is a different story.

Two big games for the Vipers this week, so I will give another update next Monday.

Rangers Will Survive Without Hamilton Update…

June 9, 2009

Update – According to the Dallas Morning News, Josh Hamilton will have surgery on Tuesday to repair a partial tear in his abdominal muscle. Hamilton is expected to miss four to six weeks.

This news doesn’t change my views on the Rangers’ season. The Rangers will be just fine for the next month and a half and I still think they will be in first place when he comes back. I fully expect Hamilton to have a monster second half of the season.

Orginal Post

The Rangers yesterday placed Josh Hamilton on the 15 Day DL with an abdominal strain. Hamilton could miss anywhere from two weeks to two months. That is kind of a wide range, but there is a possibility of surgery if the injury doesn’t improve in two weeks. While losing Hamilton for an extended period of time would be a tremendous loss for the Rangers, all is not lost.

While losing Hamilton for an extended period of time would be a tremendous loss for the Rangers, all is not lost.

Let’s take a look at Hamilton’s contributions to the Rangers so far—they really haven’t been much.

First, Hamilton has only played in 68 percent (35 out of 51) of the Rangers’ games this year. Second, when he has been in the lineup, Hamilton hasn’t been up to the standards he set during the first half of last year.

Hamilton has put up a .240/6/24 hitting line this year and has a dreadful .290 OBP. Granted, Hamilton has played most of the season hurt, but there is no excuse for having only a .290 OBP.

Despite Hamilton’s limited contributions, the Rangers have the second-best record in the AL with a 30-21 mark and currently have a 4.5 game lead in the AL West, so it’s not as if the Rangers have been dependant on Hamilton to win games.

The Rangers have enough good hitters to make up for the time Hamilton may miss.

The Rangers still have four very capable OFs who can hit with anyone. Nelson Cruz is putting up a .295/15/39 line and may be an All Star this year. Marlon Byrd has found a second life with the Rangers and has turned into a very good fourth OF type player. Byrd has hit .303 with four homers and 24 RBI so far this season.

Speaking of second lives, Andruw Jones is back, kids. After being left for dead by the Dodgers and the rest of baseball, Jones has hit .282 with five homers, 14 RBI, and a very, very solid .415 OBP in just 25 games. Jones isn’t a CF anymore, but he has turned himself into a more than capable RF of LF.

The Rangers also have David Murphy, whom they acquired from the Red Sox in the Eric Gagne trade two years ago.

Now, before everyone says that Murphy is only batting is .237 this year and can’t cut the mustard, remember, Murphy did hit .275 last year with 15 home runs and 74 RBI in just 108 games. Over a 162-game season, that’s a 22 home run and 110 RBI pace. Not too shabby.

Let’s also take a step back here for a second. I am not suggesting the Rangers won’t miss Hamilton at all. For me to suggest that would be the height of comedy. Hamilton is the leader of the Rangers and has a certain “aura” about him that makes his teammates gravitate toward him. Any time a team loses their leader, it hurts.

But I do think the Rangers will be able to survive without Hamilton, and I will say this: Whenever Hamilton does comes back, whether that is in two weeks or two months, the Rangers will still be in first place.

Rangers Will Survive Without Hamilton…

June 3, 2009

The Rangers yesterday placed Josh Hamilton on the 15 Day DL with an abdominal strain. Hamilton could miss anywhere from two weeks to two months. That is kind of a wide range, but there is a possibility of surgery if the injury doesn’t improve in two weeks. While losing Hamilton for an extended period of time would be a tremendous loss for the Rangers, all is not lost.

While losing Hamilton for an extended period of time would be a tremendous loss for the Rangers, all is not lost.

Let’s take a look at Hamilton’s contributions to the Rangers so far—they really haven’t been much.

First, Hamilton has only played in 68 percent (35 out of 51) of the Rangers’ games this year. Second, when he has been in the lineup, Hamilton hasn’t been up to the standards he set during the first half of last year.

Hamilton has put up a .240/6/24 hitting line this year and has a dreadful .290 OBP. Granted, Hamilton has played most of the season hurt, but there is no excuse for having only a .290 OBP.

Despite Hamilton’s limited contributions, the Rangers have the second-best record in the AL with a 30-21 mark and currently have a 4.5 game lead in the AL West, so it’s not as if the Rangers have been dependant on Hamilton to win games.

The Rangers have enough good hitters to make up for the time Hamilton may miss.

The Rangers still have four very capable OFs who can hit with anyone. Nelson Cruz is putting up a .295/15/39 line and may be an All Star this year. Marlon Byrd has found a second life with the Rangers and has turned into a very good fourth OF type player. Byrd has hit .303 with four homers and 24 RBI so far this season.

Speaking of second lives, Andruw Jones is back, kids. After being left for dead by the Dodgers and the rest of baseball, Jones has hit .282 with five homers, 14 RBI, and a very, very solid .415 OBP in just 25 games. Jones isn’t a CF anymore, but he has turned himself into a more than capable RF of LF.

The Rangers also have David Murphy, whom they acquired from the Red Sox in the Eric Gagne trade two years ago.

Now, before everyone says that Murphy is only batting is .237 this year and can’t cut the mustard, remember, Murphy did hit .275 last year with 15 home runs and 74 RBI in just 108 games. Over a 162-game season, that’s a 22 home run and 110 RBI pace. Not too shabby.

Let’s also take a step back here for a second. I am not suggesting the Rangers won’t miss Hamilton at all. For me to suggest that would be the height of comedy. Hamilton is the leader of the Rangers and has a certain “aura” about him that makes his teammates gravitate toward him. Any time a team loses their leader, it hurts.

But I do think the Rangers will be able to survive without Hamilton, and I will say this: Whenever Hamilton does comes back, whether that is in two weeks or two months, the Rangers will still be in first place.