Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Sweeney’

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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Oakland A’s Bring Back Jack Cust

January 8, 2010

As much as Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane is trying to change the A’s into a more speedy, athletic team, he never misses an opportunity to go back to his Moneyball roots.

Yesterday, the A’s brought back a classic Moneyball player. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s have re-signed OF/DH Jack Cust to a one-year contract. The one-year deal is for $2.65 million plus incentives.

Cust will be back with the A's in 2010

After the A’s traded for Jake Fox and signed Coco Crisp, many including myself, didn’t think there was a chance that Cust returned to the A’s in 2010. But the A’s need power and Cust can certainly supply that.

Over the last three years, Cust has averaged 28 home runs a year and a .378 OBP. Though his OPS has dipped three years in a row, he probably becomes the A’s top power source in 2010.

My guess is Rajai Davis, Crisp, and Ryan Sweeney will play left, center, and right for the A’s in 2010. Daric Barton will play first base. And Cust will split time at DH with Fox, depending on the matchup.

Cust’s OPS was 200 points higher against right-handed pitching (.830 vs. .631), so playing him against righties and Fox against lefties makes the most sense. I think A’s fans will be happy just as long as Cust doesn’t see any part of the field.

Cust will be 31 next week and will be entering his ninth season in the major leagues. He has a career .239 average with 89 home runs and a .374 OBP.

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

Coco Crisp Heads To Oakland

December 24, 2009

If you need any further proof that baseball is making a dramatic shift from building a team with slugging DH-types to pitching and defense, all you need to do is look into what the A’s are doing in Oakland.

As we all know, A’s GM Billy Beane was the focal point of the book Moneyball. The “Moneyball” philosophy was to build a team around sluggers, who walked a lot and of course, hit for power. Speed and defense was not part of the equation.

Now that is all changing. Beane is building a team in Oakland that is becoming–in a word–athletic.

Crisp will be throwing punches for the A's in 2010

Recent case in point–the signing of OF Coco Crisp. Yesterday, the A’s signed Crisp to a one-year, $4.75 million contract. There is also a club option for $5.75 million for 2011.

Crisp, along with speedster Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney should give the A’s a very athletic outfield in 2010.

I had the opportunity to watch Crisp play every day as a member of the Boston Red Sox from 2006-2008 and I really felt sorry for the guy.

Crisp looked like a breakout star in 2005 when he hit .300 with 16 home runs and 15 stolen bases with the Cleveland Indians. Crisp really started to look like a breakout star when he got off to a great start in Boston hitting .333 in April.

Then Crisp broke his finger and it was all down hill from there.

Crisp never recovered from that broken finger in Boston and he never lived up to expectations. Jacoby Ellsbury started to emerge as the center fielder of the future in Boston and Crisp was shipped off to Kansas City for reliever Ramon Ramirez.

Crisp’s one year stay in Kansas City was uneventful as best. Crisp played in only 49 games for the Royals hitting a pedestrian .226. His season was cut short when a shoulder injury ended his season.

Crisp is healthy now and should be the A’s starting center fielder in 2010 with Davis moving to left. Scott Hairston will either move to the bench or be traded. There doesn’t seem to be a spot for him on the A’s roster right now.

Crisp will be 31 next year and has a lifetime .277 average with 137 stolen bases in eight major league seasons

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