Posts Tagged ‘Juan Pierre’

Starting Nine: American League Central

January 12, 2010

Yesterday, I took at the starting nine position players for each American League East team. Today, I will cover the starting nine position players for each American League Central team.

Remember, these lineups are as of today. Obviously these will change as the offseason continues. I will update these lineups as the season approaches.

Here are the starting lineups for each American League Central team:

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Joe Mauer, C

3. Justin Morneau, 1B

4. Michael Cuddyer, RF

5. Jason Kubel, DH

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. J.J. Hardy, SS

8. Brendan Harris, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Quick Take – The Twins have as good a one through five as anyone in baseball. They desperately need a third and second baseman. Orlando Hudson would be a nice addition.

Chicago White Sox

1. Juan Pierre, LF

2. Gordon Beckham, 2B

3. Carlos Quentin, RF

4. Paul Konerko, 1B

5. Alex Rios, CF

6. Alexei Ramirez, SS

7. A.J. Pierzynski, C

8. Mark Teahen, 3B

9. Mark Kotsay, DH

Quick Take – Perhaps there is no lineup that is harder to put together than the White Sox’s. This lineup could go in nine different directions. They need a DH and bringing back Jim Thome would make sense.

Detroit Tigers

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Carlos Guillen, DH

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Magglio Ordonez, RF

5. Brandon Inge, 3B

6. Ryan Raburn, LF

7. Gerald Laird, C

8. Adam Everett, SS

9. Scott Sizemore, 2B

Quick Take – Another hard lineup to put together. Jackson and Sizemore could flip-flop in the order. I don’t see a reason to ever pitch to Cabrera.

Kansas City Royals

1. Scott Podsednik, CF

2. David DeJesus, LF

3. Billy Butler, 1B

4. Jose Guillen, RF

5. Alex Gordon, 3B

6. Alberto Callaspo, 2B

7. Josh Fields, DH

8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

9. Jason Kendall, C

Quick Take – This lineup is going to have a hard time scoring runs. This year might be make or break for Gordon.

Cleveland Indians

1. Azdrubal Cabrera, SS

2. Michael Brantley, LF

3. Grady Sizemore, CF

4. Shin-Soo Choo, RF

5. Travis Hafner, DH

6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B

7. Matt LaPorta, 1B

8. Lou Marson, C

9. Luis Valbuena, 2B

Quick Take – I like putting Brantley in the two-hole because of the speed and high OBP ability he showed in the minors. Sizemore moves down to the three-hole and takes on the role of a run producer.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the American League West.

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

Advertisements

Chicago Cubs Find Their Center Fielder, Sign Marlon Byrd

December 31, 2009

Center field as really been a black hole for the Chicago Cubs during the 2000’s.

They started off the decade with the legendary Damon Buford and over the last 10 years have had players like Gary Matthews Jr., Corey Patterson, Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson, Jim Edmonds, and Kosuke Fukudome patrol center field.

Either players they had playing center weren’t very good overall (Patterson), or not very good defensively (Soriano), or were a short-term solution (Edmonds). Today, the Cubs hope they have finally found a long-term solution to their center field problems–at least for the next three years.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago, the Cubs have signed former Texas Ranger Marlon Byrd to a three-year, $15 million contract. Not a bad start to the new year for Byrd.

Byrd is the latest Cubs' CF

I hate sitting on the fence with these type of free agent deals, but I am very torn on this one. Half of me sees the positives to this deal and the other half sees the negatives.

As far as the positives go, I definitely see a few.

First and foremost, the contract is not an albatross. A three-year deal at essentially $5 million a year will not break the Cubs’ bank. What’s the harm in paying your starting center fielder $5 million a year?

Second, the signing of Byrd allows Fukudome to move to his natural position of right field. Fukudome looked out of place in center last year and this move will improve the Cubs’ outfield defense.

Byrd isn’t the best defensive center fielder in the world, but having him in center and Fukudome in right is an improvement over Fukudome in center and Milton Bradley in right.

Lastly, Byrd is coming off a career year with the Rangers in 2009. Byrd hit .298 with 20 home runs and played in a career high 146 games in 2009.If Byrd can produce those numbers with the Cubs, then this is a great deal for the Cubs.

And it’s with that last paragraph, where I start having my doubts about Byrd.

Haven’t we seen this act play out before us time and time again? A mediocre player has a career year in his free agency year, earns a nice contract, and then never lives up to that deal.

That scenario has been a time honored tradition in baseball for the last 25+ years.

Byrd’s only other year of significance in he majors was back in 2003 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played in 135 games that year hitting .303 with seven home runs, a .784 OPS, and 11 stolen bases.

Since that year, Byrd has been a fringe starter/forth outfielder with the Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Rangers. Byrd never lived up to the hype that made him one of the Phillies’ top prospects in the early-2000’s.

Ironically for me, Byrd has a lot of former Cub Gary Matthews Jr. in him. Matthews too, was a fringe starter/forth outfielder for most his career, then had one great year with the Rangers in his free agency year, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed him to a huge contract.

Now Byrd’s contract isn’t nearly as bad as Matthews was, but the similarities are there.

Another concern I have about Byrd is his home and road splits. Last season in Texas, his home OPS was .873 and his road OPS was .740. That is a huge difference.

Byrd was the Cubs’ first big signing of the offseason and they will need a lot more than him to get where they need to be. I look at the Cubs’ roster as of today, and I feel it’s significantly worse than it was just two years ago.

Unless a lot of Cubs’ players have bounce back years in 2010, it looks like next year is going to be another frustrating one in Wrigleyville.

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

White Sox Continue To Add, Trade For Juan Pierre

December 15, 2009

Guess which team has been the most aggressive this offseason?

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

How about the Chicago White Sox? Bingo.

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

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

Pierre is waving goodbye to LA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Player A is Pierre and Player B is Scott Podsednik.

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

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

I don’t get it.

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

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

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

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

Florida Marlins Chris Coghlan Making A Strong Case For NL ROY

September 25, 2009

Over the last 10 years, the Florida Marlins have probably produced more young talent than any team in the major leagues. Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, AJ Burnett, Dontrelle Willis (at the time), Derek Lee, Mike Lowell, Juan Pierre, and Miguel Cabrera all became stars wearing teal and black.

As we all know, because the Marlins have a payroll that hovers around the $55.00 mark, they have not been able to keep any of their star talent. However, just because the Marlins can’t keep their talent (Hanley Ramirez might be the exception), doesn’t mean they have to stop producing talent.

The Marlins’ latest player to eventually-play-for-a-big-market-team — Chris Coghlan. Coghlan, went from so-so prospect to perhaps the favorite for National League Rookie of the Year.

Coghlan is having a great year

Coghlan is having a great year

In case you haven’t noticed, Coghlan leads all major-league rookies in hits (146), runs (75), average (.314), and OBP (.385). Coghlan also leads all of baseball in hits in the second half with 97.

While his defense hasn’t been stellar in leftfield (.980 fielding percentage, -10.3 UZR), you have to take into account that Coghlan played a grand total of one game in left in the minor leagues. Coghlan is a natural second baseman.

If you really think about it, Coghlan has become everything the New York Mets thought Daniel Murphy would be. Coghlan has become as solid hitter, who at least looks the part of a leftfielder.

If I had a vote for NL ROY, I would give it to Coghlan over Dexter Fowler, Colby Rasmus, Garrett Jones, or JA Happ.

Here are some other facts about Coghlan…

Age: 24

College: University of Mississippi

Drafted: 36th pick of the first round of the 2006 draft

Minor League Stats:

2006 Low Single A & Rookie: .297 with zero HR’s, 15 RBI, and a .368 OBP in 30 games.

2007 Single A+ & Single A: .287 with 12 HR’s, 82 RBI, a .378 OBP, and 24 SB’s in 115 games.

2008 Double A: .298 with seven HR’s, 74 RBI, .396 OBP, and 34 SB’s in 132 games.

2009 Triple A: .344 with three HR’s, 22 RBI, a .418 OBP, and nine SB’s in 25 games.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: N/A

Analysis: N/A

Baseball’s Best Outfield: Midseason…

July 12, 2009

In the third of the four part “Baseball’s Best: Midseason” series, I am going to take a look at which team has baseball’s best outfield.

In order to figure out which team has had baseball’s best outfield in the first half, I used four categories – OPS, Runs Created, UZR, and Fielding Percentage. It’s just not all about offense. In order to be tops on this list, you also need to be a quality defender.

The stats were calculated for all three individual outfielders, then added together, and then I divided the stats by three to figure out the team’s total in that particular category.

Each category was worth 10 points. If a team didn’t finish in the top 10, that team received zero points.

For teams that use a platoon in an outfield position, such as the New York Yankees with Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera in centerfield, I used the stats for the player who has played the most games at that position. In the Yankees case – Brett Gardner.

In the preseason edition of this, the Milwaukee Brewers had the best outfield in baseball. Let’s see who is No. 1 at the midway point in the season…

10 – 6. Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros

5. Los Angeles Dodgers – 23 points

Outfield – Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier

OPS – Six

RC – Four

UZR – Seven

FP – Six

Analysis – Of course the Dodgers were hurt in this by the 50-game suspension of Manny Ramirez. I am guessing if Manny had played in 47 of those games, the Dodgers would be a little higher on the list.

Kemp should've been an All-Star

Kemp should've been an All-Star

However, Juan Pierre stepped in nicely in left. Pierre’s OPS is very similar to Ethier’s (.805 to .807) and has played a tremendous leftfield as his 1.000 fielding percentage and 6.2 UZR suggests.

Matt Kemp has been solid, both offensively and defensively. Kemp has created 52.7 runs and has a very impressive 10.1 UZR playing centerfield for the Dodgers.

I still think Kemp should have been an All-Star this year.

4. Milwaukee Brewers – 27 points

Outfield – Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, Corey Hart

OPS – Eight

RC – Seven

UZR – Eight

FP – Four

Analysis – The Brewers’ outfield can hit with anyone. They finished third in OPS (.844) and fourth in Runs Created (52.3). When you have a player like Ryan Braun (.954 OPS)  in your outfield, you will usually finish towards the top in most offensive categories.

The outfield is rounded out by one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game, Mike Cameron and one of the top up-and-coming players in the game, Corey Hart.

This is one of my favorite outfields in baseball. They have the offense in Braun, the defense in Cameron, and a guy who can do a little of both in Corey Hart.

3. Boston Red Sox – 30 points

Outfield – Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, JD Drew

OPS – Seven

RC – Eight

UZR – Five

FP – Ten

Analysis – While the Milwaukee Brewers have an outfield that offers a little bit of everything, so do the Boston Red Sox. Bay, Ellsbury and Drew each bring something different to the table.

Bay is the bopper (63.2 Runs Created), Ellsbury is the speed and defense guy (.994 Fielding Percentage), and Drew is the steady rightfielder who seems to do everything well (.858 OPS, 5.0 UZR, .993 Fielding Percentage.)

While the Red Sox’s UZR is in the middle of the pack, when they have the opportunity to catch the ball, they do. Their Fielding Percentage of .996 was tops on this list.

2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 31 points

Outfield – Juan Rivera, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu

OPS – Nine

RC – Nine

UZR – Nine

FP – Four

Analysis – The Angels’ outfield has really carried the team throughout the first half of the season. Not only have they gotten great a contribution from the newly acquired Bobby Abreu, but they are getting a career year from Juan Rivera, and an MVP type season from Torii Hunter.

The Angels ranked second in OPS (.888), Runs Created (54.6), and UZR (6.0).

How smart do the Angels look for signing Bobby Abreu to that discounted contract in the offseason? Almost as dumb as they look for giving Gary Matthews Jr. that ridiculous contract a couple of years ago.

1. Philadelphia Phillies – 33 points

Outfield – Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth

OPS – Ten

RC – Ten

UZR – Four

FP – Nine

Ibanez leads the best OF in baseball

Ibanez leads the best OF in baseball

Analysis – I guess when you send three outfielders to the All-Star game you have to be No. 1 on this list. Ibanez, Victorino, and Werth will all be participating in the mid-summer’s classic in St. Louis.

The star of this group have been Ibanez. Ibanez’s 1.027 OPS ranks fourth in baseball and is higher than anyone mentioned in this post. If he hadn’t gotten hurt, his stats might be even better.

Victorino and Werth are gritty, gamers, who oh by the way can really hit. Werth has been responsible for creating 60. 5 runs, which ranks him fourth (Braun, Bay, Crawford) out of any of the players on the teams in this post.

Like Werth, Victorino has gone from solid contributor to All-Star this year. With Jimmy Rollins struggling, Victorino has been the spark plug for the Phillies this year. Victorino has put up a very solid .858 OPS so far this year.

So that’s it for baseball’s best outfield. The next and final installment of this series will cover baseball’s best infield.

*All stats were calculated prior to Saturday’s action.

There Is No Place Like Home….

May 6, 2009

When I was writing my “Baseball’s Best Home Field Advantage” post, the thought of Dodger Stadium being in that class never even crossed my mind. The fans aren’t on top of you like Fenway, there is no environment advantage like Coors and it certainly isn’t as loud as the Metrodome in Minnesota. I always viewed Dodger stadium as just a great pitcher’s ballpark where fans only show up after the 3rd inning. In other words, nothing special. But after the Dodgers tied a major league record by winning their 12th straight at home to start season with a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers are proving that Dodger Stadium is quite the home field advantage.

A great home field advantage?

A great home field advantage?

During this 12 game home winning streak, the Dodgers are beating teams into submission. The Dodgers have a 2.39 team era and are hitting .320 with a .399 OBP. I don’t care if you are playing the California Penal League, if you have a team era of 2.39 you are going to win games. The best part of this streak if you are a Dodgers fan is that all 12 wins have come at the expense of the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres and Giants. It’s hard to lose the division if your division rivals can’t beat you at home.

Overall the Dodgers currently have the best record in the majors with a 20-8 record. They are getting contributions from the likes of Juan Pierre (.367/.406), Mark Lorretta (.375/.444) and Ramon Troncosco (0.98 era in 18.1 IP). You know things are going well when Jeff Weaver has a 1.00 era in 9 IP this year. If the Dodgers are going to get solid contributions from Jeff Weaver, then the Dodgers might as well start making postseason plans today.

What makes the Dodgers start so scary is that they are getting nothing from Furcal (.248 avg), Loney (.270/0/8) and Martin (.222/0/8). Once those guys get going, look out. Speaking of get going, is any hitter going to get going against Jonathon Broxton? Doing my best Kramer impersonation….Not bloody likely. I thought Broxton would have a “Mark Davis 89” type season this year and he has done nothing so far to change my view. Broxton is 3-0 with 8 saves and a ridiculous 16.07 K/9 rate. When you have a guy like Broxton at the end of the game it makes everything else that much easier.

If the Dodgers continue their dominance at home, I am going to have to think about revisiting my Baseball’s Best Home field post to include Dodger Stadium. For the Dodgers right now, there is no place like home.