Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Zimmerman’

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

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

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Jim Riggleman Expected To Be Named Washington Nationals Manager

November 12, 2009

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman via Twitter, the Washington Nationals are expected to name Jim Riggleman as manager.

Riggleman took over for Manny Acta with 75 games remaining in the 2009 season after Acta was fired by the Nationals. Riggleman went 33-42 in those 75 games.

Jim Riggleman

Riggleman gets another shot with the Nationals

Here is why I think Riggleman is the perfect fit for the Nationals:

To endure as much losing as Riggleman has done as a manager in his career and not to have lost his mind, tells me he is the right man for the job in Washington.

Look at Riggleman’s track record as manager in the major leagues:

San Diego Padres, 1992-1994: 111-179, .385 winning percentage

Chicago Cubs, 1995-1999: 374-419, .472 winning percentage

Seattle Mariners, 2008: 36-54, .400 winning percentage

Washington Nationals, 2009: 33-42, .440 winning percentage

That’s a lot of losing my friends. And in Washington, he is probably going to endure some more losing.

The Nationals could have hired Tony LaRussa, Tommy Lasorda, or Miller Huggins to manage this team and they still wouldn’t win. Even the best managers have to have talent to win and this team doesn’t have enough talent to win right now.

The Nationals have a decent core with Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Ian Desmond, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, and hopefully in the future Stephen Strasburg. But this team doesn’t have nearly enough pitching and defense to win in 2010 or even in 2011.

Until the Nationals acquire more talent either through the draft, trades, or free agency then Riggleman is going to have a tough time winning games in Washington.

Hey, look at the bright side–at least Riggleman knows how to handle losing.

I guess that counts for something.

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

National League Hands Out Some Gold Gloves

November 11, 2009

Yesterday, the American League handed out their Gold Glove awards. Today, the National League handed out their Gold Gloves.

Let’s take a look at who won in the National League:

C. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals – .995 fielding percentage, 40 percent caught stealing percentage

1B. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres – .995 fielding percentage, 3.8 UZR

2B. Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers – .988 fielding percentage, -3.3 UZR

SS. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies – .990 fielding percentage, 2.7 UZR

3B. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals – .963 fielding percentage, 18.1 UZR

OF. Michael Bourn, Houston Astros – .992 fielding percentage, 8.6 UZR

OF. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers – .995 fielding percentage, 2.5 UZR

OF. Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Phillies – .997 fielding percentage, -4.1 UZR

P. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals – 1.000 fielding percentage

Apparently, there are no good defensive left fielders in the game of baseball these days. The American League didn’t have a Gold Glove left fielder and now the National League doesn’t have a Gold Glove left fielder.

It’s really just silly.

How can you reward three center fielders and not reward a right fielder for defensive excellence? Jayson Werth is the best defensive right fielder in the National League and he should have been rewarded for it.

I disagree with three of the choices the voters made.

How does Victorino win the Gold Glove? It seemed like every other game he was misjudging a flyball. Like I said earlier, Werth would have been a better choice as a right fielder, or, if you must have three center fielders win the award, Mike Cameron would have been a better choice.

I am not fond of the Hudson selection. I would have gone with Chase Utley. And that has nothing to do with Utley being a superior offensive player.

Utley is a very good fielder, but he is so good offensively, that it overshadows his defense.

The last change I would have made would be with Rollins. Troy Tulowitzki would have gotten my vote. He is the best defensive shortstop in the National League and should have been rewarded for it.

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

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!!!

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?

10 Things We Learned In May….

June 2, 2009

The month of May is in the books, and it was quite the month. We saw one of the biggest stars in the game get suspended for using performance enhancing drugs, a couple of managers get the axe, some teams making surprising runs to the top and some great individual performances.

Here are the top 10 things we learned in May….

Zimmerman had a 30 game hitting streak

Zimmerman had a 30 game hitting streak

10. Joe D’s 56 game hitting streak is going to be really hard to break. One of the great early stories of May was Ryan Zimmerman’s pursuit of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak record. Zimmerman made it to 30 games before having his streak stopped in San Francisco. Everyone got wrapped up in Zimmerman’s attempt, but what is amazing is that he still would have had to get a hit per game for another full month if he wanted to break the record.

Joe DiMaggio is safe for now. Speaking of Yankee players….

9. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia earned their money.After a dreadful month of April, high-priced Yankee free agents Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia really turned it on in May. Teixeira hit .330 with 13 HR’s and 34 RBI at the plate, while CC Sabathia went 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA on the mound.

While Sabathia is in pinstripes, his former team is doing just fine without him…

8.  The Brewers can win without Sabathia and Sheets. Many people thought that after the Brewers lost both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the offseason, they would regress this year. Not so fast. The Brewers are in first place and doing it with pitching.

The Brewers are fifth in the NL with a 3.98 staff ERA and their bullpen, led by Trevor Hoffman is second in the NL with a 3.22 ERA.

Staying in the central time zone….

7. Joe Mauer might be the best player in the game. Mauer came off the DL and just started tearing the cover off the baseball. In the month of May, Mauer hit a ridiculous .414 with 11 HR’s, 32 RBI, 27 runs scored and a .500 OBP. All that while playing maybe the hardest position in sports. That being a catcher.

Back in March, I wrote a post “Five players to start a franchise with.” Joe Mauer might be #1 after this season is over. Despite his great month of May, the Twins are trying to catch the Detroit Tigers.

That is because….

6. Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce was a steal for the Tigers. Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce was one of the more under-the-radar trades in the offseason. That trade is under-the-radar no longer. Jackson has been a stud for the Tigers and is one of the main reasons the Tigers are in first place at the end of May.

Jackson is 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA. What has been one of the keys to Jackson’s success? Throwing strike one.

Here is a free pitching lesson kids. Your best pitch isn’t a fastball or a curveball or a changeup. It’s strike one. Throw strike one and your career as a pitcher will be much better off.

When the count is 0-1, hitters are batting .182 against Jackson. When the count is 1-0, hitters are batting .275. That is almost a 100 point difference.

While Jackson has the Tigers in first place in the AL Central….

5. The Rangers are for real in the AL West. After about 25 years, the Rangers have finally realized that pitching and defense wins. The Rangers are in first place in the AL West by 4.5 games and are doing it with improved pitching and defense.

The Rangers are fifth in AL in defense with a .986 fielding percentage and are sixth in the AL with a 4.34 team ERA. Their defense has been solidified by one of the leading Rookie of the Year candidates, Elvis Andrus.

On the subject of rookies…

Price made his debut in May

Price made his debut in May

4. There is a lot of young talent in baseball. In the month of May we saw an influx of young talent come to the majors. Top prospects David Price, Matt LaPorta, Fernando Martinez, Daniel Bard, Mat Gamel, Gerardo Parra and of course Matt Wieters all made their season and in most cases, major league debut in May.

That is a pretty impressive group and we still might see Clay Buchholz (Red Sox), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Gordon Beckham (White Sox) and Tommy Hanson (Braves) in June. Right now Gerardo Parra is off to the best start for the Diamondbacks, hitting .319 with 1 HR and 16 RBI in 16 games.

While Parra has been a bright spot for the Diamondbacks, the rest of the team struggled….

3. It was a bad month for managers in the NL West. Both Bob Melvin of the Diamondbacks and Clint Hurdle of the Rockies got the axe in May. I agreed with the Melvin firing because something clearly needed to be done. However, hiring the VP of Player Development, AJ Hinch didn’t make sense to me.

On the other hand, I was torn about the Clint Hurdle firing. I saw reasons for keeping him and I saw reasons for firing him. The Rockies fired Hurdle and replaced him with bench coach, Jim Tracy. Again, a move I didn’t agree with.

Staying in the NL West…

2. Jake Peavy really likes San Diego. The biggest hot stove story in May was the potential trade of Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox. In the end, Peavy exercised his no-trade clause and rejected the trade to Chicago. Peavy clearly wants to stay in the NL and in a pitcher’s ballpark and Chicago is neither.

I still think Peavy will eventually be traded, but he is making it awfully tough for Padres GM, Kevin Towers.

Again staying in the NL West, the #1 thing we learned in May was….

1. Manny will always be Manny. Manny Ramirez, one of the biggest stars in the game was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Ramirez blamed medication that a doctor prescribed to him for a personal issue. You know, that ole chestnut.

After quitting on the Red Sox last year, Manny got exactly what he deserved. Manny is eligible to return to the Dodgers the first week of July.

That’s a wrap for the month of May. It was a great month and things should only get better in June. One last fact about the month of May. Since 1995, 64 percent of the teams in first place at the end of May made the playoffs.

That means out of the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Phillies, Brewers, and Dodgers two of those teams are most likely to miss the playoffs. Which teams will it be? Time will only tell.

Fantasy Week In Review 5/4-5/10….

May 11, 2009

Good afternoon everyone!!! Hope everyone had a great weekend and again a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. It was a crazy week last week in fantasy baseball, with the Manny Ramirez suspension stealing most of the headlines. But there were other players last week who were worthy of headlines, either good or bad. Let’s take a look….

Fantasy Studs

Ryan Zimmerman – .469/1/6. Zimmerman currently has a 28 game hitting streak going and hasn’t been going 1-4 in the process either. Zimmerman in this streak has been tearing the cover off the baseball.

Damon has carried the Yankees

Damon has carried the Yankees

Johnny Damon – .419/5/15. If it weren’t for Damon, the Yankees would be 7 games under .500.

Jason Bay – .379/4/14. Bay is quickly becoming one of the most clutch players in the American League.

Adam Dunn – .345/4/10. Dunn impressed me with his play during the WBC and is making the most of a terrible situation in D.C.

Ryan Braun – .458/3/12. Is there ever a time when Braun doesn’t come through in the clutch?

Joe Saunders – 2-0 with a 1.15 era and 13 K’s in 15.2 IP. Saunders’ CGSO against Zack Greinke was one of the better pitching performances I have seen in quite a while.

Eric Stults – 2-0 with a 1.23 era and 1 CGSO. Stults is still available in most leagues and since he plays on a good Dodger team, he should be picked up. He could be a good source of wins.

Rick Porcello – 2-0 with a 0.75 era and 8 K’s in 12 IP. Porcello is growing up rather quickly in Detroit.

Maybin will be running in AAA

Maybin will be running in AAA

Reasons for Concern

Cameron Maybin – .202/1/3 in 84 AB’s this season. My pick for ROY was sent down to the minors today. I don’t agree with this move but apparently the Marlins feel he needs to improve things in Triple A.

Jimmy Rollins – .182/0/2. It’s really starting to look like his 2007 MVP season was the fluke, not his 2008 season.

Lance Berkman – .184/7/16 in 103 AB’s this season. The HR’s and RBI are there but the .184 avg for Berkman this late in the season is concerning. Berkman now has a bad wrist which has heightened his slow start.

Jon Lester – 1-1 with a 8.74 era and 16 H, 16 K’s in 11.1 IP. The Red Sox really rode Lester hard towards the end of last year. It looks early on that all those innings last year have caught up to Lester this year. He is clearly not as sharp so far as he was at this time last year. The 16 hits and 16 K’s in 11.1 IP shows the inconsistency of his pitches this year.

Matt Capps – 0-1 with a 36.00 era. I can get over the 1 bad appearance last week but his elbow has been acting up which is concerning. Capps threw a successful bullpen session on Sunday but with an elbow injury, you just never know.

Injury News

Joakim Soria – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a sore right shoulder. This has been going on now for a while with Soria, so it is no surprise he landed on the DL. I am very concerned with this injury because it’s a strain in the rotator cuff and that could lead to something more serious. Juan Cruz will replace Soria as the Royals’ closer.

Aramis Ramirez – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a seperated right shoulder. Ramirez will be most likely 8 weeks with this injury. That is a devastating blow not only to your fantasy team, but more importantly the Cubs. Ramirez’s replacement will be Aaron Miles so don’t get too excited. If you are the Cubs right now, how much do you miss Mark DeRosa?

Brian McCann – McCann was activated from the DL on Friday and has gone 5-11 with 1 HR and 4 RBI since returning. He should be in your lineup everyday. He also sports now Ron Kittle like glasses which are fun for everyone.

Looking At Fantasy 3rd Basemen In 2009..

March 20, 2009

In honor of March Madness, I am going to do a tournament to determine who is the best fantasy 3B in 2009. This is a 36 player tournament and seeds are broken down from 1-8 in 4 regions. The 4 regions are the Mike Schmidt Region, George Brett Region, Eddie Mathews Region and the Brooks Robinson Region.

Since there are 36 players who will be participating in this tournament, the last 2 seeds in each bracket (8 players total) will play in a play-in game to determine who advances to the actual tournament. Let the tournament begin….

Mike Schmidt Region

Play In Game

Bill Hall vs Andy LaRoche. Winner – Andy LaRoche

Longoria is a #1 seed

Longoria is a #1 seed

1st Round

#1 Evan Longoria vs #8 Andy LaRoche

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #7 Scott Rolen

#3 Ryan Zimmerman vs #6 Mark Reynolds

#4 Chone Figgins vs #5 Mike Lowell

Winners – Longoria, Atkins, Zimmerman, Lowell

Analysis – Longoria hit 27 hr’s and drove in 85 runs in only 122 games in 08. Baring injury Longoria should put up 35+ hr, drive in 120+ runs and even swipe double digit steals in 09. He is the #1 seed in this region and should be one of the 1st 3B on your draft board.

Mark Reynold’s K’s (204 last year) were too much to overcome against Zimmerman, who should have a nice bounce back year. Figgins has been injury prone the last 2 years (hasn’t played in more than 116 games) and I believe his 07 season was a fluke. Lowell looks good this spring and that enables him to pull off the upset against Figgins.

Brooks Robinson Region

Play In Game

Eric Chavez vs Russell Branyan. Winner – Russell Branyan. It is pretty amazing how far Chavez has fallen in such a short period of time. Branyan qualifies as a 3B but will get 1st crack at being the Mariners everyday 1B. Maybe Branyan will be the Mariners version of Carlos Pena?

1st Round

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #8 Russell Branyan

#2 Chipper Jones vs #7 Casey Blake

#3 Aubrey Huff vs #6 Pablo Sandoval

#4 Mark DeRosa vs #5 Carlos Guillen

Winners – Rodriguez, Jones, Huff, DeRosa

Analysis – Despite probably missing the 1st month of the season, Rodriguez still remains 1 of the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. He still should be able to put up 30 hr’s and 90 rbi, which is better than most.

Chipper Jones, headed into his 16th season still has a lot to offer fantasy owners. His batting avg. has increased each of the last 3 years and he can single handily win you OBP in a head to head league.

Aubrey Huff is often over looked in fantasy drafts but all he did last year was smack 32 hr’s, drive in 108 runs and hit .304. Expect the same from Huff this year, as the Orioles will have a solid lineup in 2009.

George Brett Region

Play In Game

Jed Lowrie vs Chris Johnson. Winner – Jed Lowrie

1st Round

#1 David Wright vs #8 Jed Lowrie

#2 Chris Davis vs #7 Troy Glaus

#3 Adrian Beltre vs #6 Melvin Mora

#4 Alex Gordon vs #5 Jorge Cantu

Winners – Wright, Davis, Beltre, Gordon

Analysis – David Wright goes into 2009 as the #1 fantasy 3B. Wright has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting the last 3 years and that trend should continue in 2009. What separates Wright is 1. His durability (160 games played in 3 of the last 4 years) and 2. His ability to steal a base. Wright was a 30/30 man just 2 years ago. I don’t think he will go 30/30 again but 20 sb’s can be expected.

A lot has been expected from Alex Gordon ever since the Royals drafted him the 2nd pick overall in the 2005 draft. Gordon showed some progress last season by raising his avg. 13 points and his OBP by 37 points. If he can continue this trend maybe a .275/20/80 is doable in 2009.

Chris Davis has been the hot name going into fantasy drafts due to his 17 hr and 55 rbi performance in just 60 games last year. Is he another Kevin Maas or will he break out in 2009? I think hitting is contagious in that Rangers lineup and Davis will put up a nice .282/33/101 in 2009. Davis also qualifies as a 1B as well

One last note on this bracket. Jed Lowrie is probably the best #8 seed in this tournament. With Julio Lugo going down with a knee injury, Lowrie becomes the starting SS in a powerful Red Sox lineup. Lowrie qualifies as a 3B but has more value as a SS.

Eddie Mathews Region

Play In Game

Brandon Inge vs Josh Fields. Winner – Josh Fields. Fields wins based on his sleeper potential. You know what you are going to get with Inge…which isn’t very good

1st Round

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #8 Josh Fields

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #7 Joe Crede

#3 Kevin Kouzmanoff vs #6 Edwin Encarnacion

#4 Michael Young vs #5 Hank Blalock

Winners – Ramirez, Youkilis, Kouzmanoff, Blalock

Analysis – Aramis Ramirez has been one of the most productive 3B in the league since joining the Cubs in 2003. You can pretty much lock Ramirez in for 25+ hr’s and 100+ rbi every year.

Youkilis is the strongest #2 seed in this tournament and if Arod was out longer, would move into a #1 seed. Youkilis also qualifies at 1B but has more fantasy value at 3B. If your league has OBP as a category, then Youkilis (.380 or better 4 years in a row) is a must grab.

Blalock upsets Young in the first round because I believe Blalock will have a year similar to is .276/32/110 of 2004 season.

Mike Schmidt Region – Sweet 16

#1 Evan Longoria vs #5 Mike Lowell

#2 Garrett Atkins vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

Winners – Longoria and Zimmerman

Analysis – Atkins batting avg, OBP, hr’s and rbi have dropped each of the last 3 years. That is not a good sign and to make matters worse, Atkins will be hitting in a lineup without Matt Holliday and has Ian Stewart breathing down his neck. Zimmerman will revert back to his 06 and 07 seasons when he averaged 22 hr’s and 100 rbi.

Brooks Robinson Region – Sweet 16

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #4 Mark DeRosa

#2 Chipper Jones vs #3 Aubrey Huff

Winners – Rodriguez and Jones

Analysis – I will bet a lot of money that DeRosa will not have 21 hr and 87 rbi again in 2009. Last year is what we call a “career year.” I look for more DeRosa like 15 hr and 65 rbi in 2009 and thus ending DeRosa’s tournament run.

Even knowing that Jones is going to miss at least 20 games, I would still take him over Aubrey Huff and that is the reason he advances.

Wright is a top 4 3B

Wright is a top 4 3B

George Brett Region – Sweet 16

#1 David Wright vs #4 Alex Gordon

#2 Chris Davis vs #3 Adrian Beltre

Winners – Wright and Davis

Analysis – Gordon might be improving but he is no match for Wright. Davis vs Beltre is an interesting matchup because Beltre is a free agent at the end of the year and you know what happened last time Beltre was a free agent. Beltre lit up baseball with a .334/48/121. I don’t think Beltre will put up those numbers but I think Beltre will be better than he was last year. However, Davis edges Beltre in the end due to his age (keeper consideration) and his potential for a great year.

Eddie Mathews Region

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #5 Hank Blalock

#2 Kevin Youkilis vs #3 Kevin Kouzmanoff

Winners – Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis

Analysis – Ramirez and Youkilis advance pretty easily to the Elite 8. What hurts Kouzmanoff is his OBP. Last year it was a pretty pathetic .299. If Kouzmanoff can learn a little plate discipline, he would be more highly regarded in fantasy drafts.

Elite 8

#1 Evan Longoria vs #3 Ryan Zimmerman

#1 Alex Rodriguez vs #2 Chipper Jones

#1 David Wright vs #3 Chris Davis

#1 Aramis Ramirez vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Rodriguez, Longoria, Wright, Youkilis

Analysis – Youkilis pulls off the upset due to him hitting in a better lineup than Ramirez and Youkilis’ ability to play 1B. Having players who can play multiple positions is a bonus to any fantasy roster. So the Final 4 is set with the 4 best fantasy 3B in baseball. Longoria, Rodriguez, Wright and Youkilis. These are the 4 guys who should on the top of your list come draft day.

Final 4

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 Alex Rodriguez

#1 David Wright vs #2 Kevin Youkilis

Winners – Longoria and Wright

Analysis – Due to Arod’s injury Longoria gets the nod on draft day. In the other matchup in the Final 4, David Wright gets the edge on draft over Youkilis. Wright’s sb potential sets Wright apart.

Finals

#1 Evan Longoria vs #1 David Wright

Winner – Wright

Analysis – Wright went into this tournament as the #1 3B and comes out of this tournament the #1 3B. If Wright is available to you on draft day, don’t hesitate to grab him.

I hope you enjoyed this fantasy 3B tournament and good luck in your NCAA Basketball bracket.

The “Key” Player For Each MLB Team…

March 3, 2009

Every year each fan takes a look at their favorite team and says…”If this guy can come back from a poor year or come back from an injury, then my team has a chance.” Every team has that “key” guy that can make a difference in the season. The guy that, if he steps up, can be the difference between being  just another team or a playoff contender.

In part 1 of this column we will attempt to identify the “key” player for all 16 National League teams. Part 2 of this column will be posted tomorrow and will cover all 14 American League teams.

Teams are listed by division.

NL East

Braves – Jeff Francoeur. Francouer was pretty dreadful last year hitting .239/11/71/.294. The Braves need Francoeur to return to the 25 hr, 100 rbi guy he was in 06 and 07 in order to contend with the Phillies.

Lindstrom anchors the Marlins pen in 09

Lindstrom anchors the Marlins pen in 09

Marlins – Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom takes over as the Marlins Closer and they need him to anchor the bullpen in order to have a chance. Nothing is more demoralizing to a young team than a blown save.

Mets – Luis Castillo. I don’t think there has been a player hated this much by Mets fans since Gregg Jefferies. If Castillo can give the Mets anything this year, there lineup will have a lot more depth. If not, there will be a huge void at 2B for the second straight year.

Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman. It’s hard to find a “key” for a team expected to finish in last place. However, Zimmerman is the face of this franchise and the Nationals need him to regain is 06 .287/20/110 form in order for them to have any hope for the future.

Phillies – Chase Utley. Utley is coming off of hip surgery which monitors watching in April. If he can regain his 07 first half form (.291/25/69), then the Phillies will back in the World Series mix once again. If not, then they have a HUGE hole in the middle of that order.

NL Central

Astros – Mike Hampton. Hampton returns to the team that gave him the most success back in the late 90’s but without the spacious Astrodome. The Astros are going to need Hampton to give them at least 20 starts this year because after Oswalt, the Astros starting rotation is mediocre at best. If the Astros can get 20+ starts out of Hampton, they might be able to make there annual 2nd half run in the NL Central.

Brewers – Manny Parra. I have no doubt that Gallardo can handle the pressure of replacing Sabathia, so Parra becomes the key for the Brewers. If Parra can step up, handle his control issues (75 bb in 166 IP) and go from 10 wins in 08 to 14-15 wins in 09…the Brewers will be in business once again.

The Cardinals need Carpenter to bounce back

The Cardinals need Carpenter to bounce back

Cardinals – Chris Carpenter. After the Cardinals grossly overused Carpenter in 05 and 06 (463.1 IP), he has only made 4 starts in 07 and 08.  Early returns on Carpenter have been positive, so if the Cardinals can get 20-25 starts from their former ace, they will challenge the Cubs in the NL Central.

Cubs – Milton Bradley. As I have written several time before, I am not a fan of the Bradley signing. However, with DeRosa and Edmunds absent from the Cubs lineup, they need Bradley to stay healthy and produce. If not, the Cubs lineup all of a sudden looks very weak.

Pirates – Craig Hansen. Why is Hansen, a middle reliever the “key” to the Pirates this season? Because the former 1st round pick out of St Johns was one of the key players in the 3-way trade between the Red Sox-Pirates and Dodgers last season. Hansen needs to develop in order for Pirates fans to believe that they didn’t give away one of their star players for nothing once again.

Reds – Aaron Harang. After Reds Manager Dusty Baker decided to use Harang for 4 innings on 3 days rest in a meaningless game against San Diego in May, Harang’s season went downhill. If the Reds are to contend in the NL Central, Harang has to return to his 2007 16-6 form.  

NL West

DiamondBacks – Max Scherzer. The 11th pick in the 2006 draft out of Missouri will start the year as the Diamondbacks #5 starter. If Scherzer can give the DBacks 170 innings and 8-10 wins, they will be a serious contender in the weak NL West.

Kershaw is the key for the Dodgers in 09

Kershaw is the key for the Dodgers in 09

Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw. Regardless of what Manny Ramirez does, the Dodgers still need someone in their starting rotation to step up. Kershaw might be that someone. With 100 big league innings and 21 starts under his belt, Kershaw has all the talent and ability to be a #1 starter. If Kershaw can get to 150+ innings and 25+ starts, the Dodgers will have a nice 1-2 punch with Kershaw and Billingsley.

Giants – Pablo Sandoval. The Giants need all the help on offense they can get and if Sandoval can hit like he did in his 41 game audition last year then the Giants will have a much better lineup. Sandoval hit .345/3/24 in those 41 games last year.

Padres – Chase Headley. With the Padres in rebuilding mode, they need some of their young talent to start producing. Headley is a great young talent who spent most of 2008 learning how to play the OF. If Headley can start to realize his potential, the Padres will have a nice trio of A. Gonzalez-Kouzmanoff-Headley to build on.

Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when Tulowitzki went down last year with multiple injuries, the Rockies went down with him. If the Rockies want any chance of competing for a playoff berth, they need Tulowitzki to return to the .291/24/99 form he showed in 2007.

So there you have the “key” player for each NL team in 2009. Do you agree? If not, who do you believe is the “key” player for your favorite team?