Posts Tagged ‘Ted Lilly’

Starting Rotation: National League Central

January 22, 2010

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

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

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

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Chris Carpenter, RHP

2. Adam Wainwright, RHP

3. Kyle Lohse, RHP

4. Brad Penny, RHP

5. TBD

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

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Yovani Gallardo, RHP

2. Randy Wolf, LHP

3. Dave Bush, RHP

4. Doug Davis, LHP

5. Jeff Suppan, RHP

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

Chicago Cubs

1. Carlos Zambrano, RHP

2. Ryan Dempster, RHP

3. Randy Wells, RHP

4. Ted Lilly, LHP

5. Tom Gorzelanny, LHP

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

Cincinnati Reds

1. Bronson Arroyo, RHP

2. Aaron Harang, RHP

3. Johnny Cueto, RHP

4. Homer Bailey, RHP

5. TBD

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

Houston Astros

1. Roy Oswalt, RHP

2. Wandy Rodriguez, LHP

3. Brett Myers, RHP

4. Bud Norris, RHP

5. Brian Moehler, RHP

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Paul Maholm, LHP

2. Zach Duke, LHP

3. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP

4. Charlie Morton, RHP

5. Kevin Hart, RHP

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

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

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Ben Sheets To Hold Audition Next Tuesday

January 14, 2010

Hoping to attract more interest on the free agent market and perhaps a bigger contract, former Milwaukee Brewers’ ace Ben Sheets is holding essentially what becomes an open audition next Tuesday at the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe according to ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian.

According to Kurkjian’s source, six to 10 teams will be in attendance scouting Sheets. I think this is a pretty smart move by Sheets and his agent.

Sheets will throw for teams on Tuesday

Sheets is perhaps the highest risk and highest reward pitcher out of all the high risk pitchers left on the market. At least Erik Bedard pitched last season.

Sheets was on the shelf all of last year.

Sheets missed the entire 2009 season with a torn flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. Sheets thought he might be able to come back after the All-Star break, but never made it back.

In 2008, Sheets made 30+ starts for the first time since 2004. He went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA and struck out 158 in 198.1 innings. However, it was in his final start of the 2008 season trying to get the Brewers in the playoffs, where Sheets torn his flexor tendon.

If Sheets’ arm does feel “fantastic” as he said, then he has everything to gain with this audition. If Sheets shows he still has the velocity and the “stuff,” he and his agent can engage in a bidding war, which will only raise his price.

I would highly doubt Sheets would hold this audition if he wasn’t ready to go. If he is not ready, then him and his agent are the two dumbest people involved in the baseball industry. Well, they would be second and third behind Mark McGwire.

One of the six to ten teams that will view Sheets on Tuesday will be the Chicago Cubs. And that’s where I think Sheets ends up. Ted Lilly won’t be available until late April, early May, so the Cubs could use another pitcher to add depth in their rotation.

However, no matter how well Sheets throws on Tuesday, don’t expect him to get anything more than a one-year, incentive laden deal.

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

Chicago Cubs Ted Lilly Has Shoulder Surgery

November 5, 2009

This has been a big week for surgeries around baseball.

On Monday it was the New York Mets’ Jeff Francoeur going under the knife, on Tuesday it was the Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge and the mother of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham having surgery, and yesterday it was the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly getting repaired.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Cubs LHP Ted Lilly had shoulder surgery yesterday on his throwing shoulder. The surgery was performed by renowned surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum (I almost wrote Dwight there).

Lilly won’t begin throwing until four months from now and the Cubs don’t expect Lilly back until April.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said the Cubs were encouraged there was no significant damage to the labrum or rotator cuff, and said surgeon Lewis Yocum thinks there’s “a good possibility Ted would be pitching in April” if all goes well.

Despite having five less win in 09′ than in 08′ (12 to 17) and batting injuries in the second half of the year, Lilly actually had one of the best statistical years of his career. Lilly set career lows for WHIP with 1.056, ERA with 3.10, HR/9 with 1.1, and BB/9 with 1.8.

So what can fantasy owners expect out of Theodore Roosevelt Lilly in 2010?

I expect Lilly to be a serviceable, back-of-the-rotation, or spot starter in fantasy leagues next year. I really can’t see a soon to be 33-year-old, coming of shoulder surgery (even if it wasn’t major) having as good or even better season in 2010 than he did in 08′ or 09′.

I would expect Lilly to start around 25 games and have around nine to 10 wins and an ERA a little north of four in 2010.

Fantasy Week In Review, July 20-26…

July 27, 2009

It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for a fantasy week in review. Was it me or did it seem like more player went on the DL than normal last week? Every day it seemed like two players were going to miss 15 days.

That being said, here at the fantasy studs, the many players who show reasons for concern, and the potential pickups from the fantasy week of July 20-26.

Fantasy Studs

Justin Morneau – .333/5/11/.455. Leading candidate for the 2010 Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players who if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars induction ceremony.

Jeff Francouer – “Frenchy” is digging his new team. It’s only a matter of time before Francouer hits his toe on his bedpost by accident, the New York Met’s team doctors diagnose him with a stubbed toe, and two weeks later his toe for some reason needs to be amputated.

Carlos Lee – .333/2/10. Anyone else know that Lee has averaged 30 HR’s for his 11 seasons in the majors? I guess that is why he is making $18.5 million this year.

Matt Holliday – .556/2/10 with seven doubles. Whether he is hitting in Oakland or St. Louis, Holliday is red hot right now.

Mark Buehrle – 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, zero hits, zero walks in 9 IP. The man through a perfect game – enough said.

John Lannon – 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA and give up one run in 17 IP. When you give up just one run in 17 innings, you should have two wins. Such is life playing for the Washington Nationals.

Cliff Lee – 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and eight K’s in 16 IP. Lee is pitching again like the Cy Young winner he was last season. It’s still possible those were the last two games Lee has pitched in an Indians’ uniform.

Mariano Rivera – Three saves, zero hits, a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 IP. Sometimes you just have to sit back in amazement in regards to how easy Rivera makes pitching look.

Reasons for Concern

John Smoltz – 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, 18 hits, and 11 K’s in 10.2 IP. While at 42, Smoltz is a great story – it’s just not working in Boston right now.

Smoltz is consistently missing his target and paying for it. The Boston Red will have a serious decision to make once Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka return from the DL.

Ted Lilly – Lilly got smacked around by the Philadelphia Phillies and then went to the DL. Not only does Lilly have a sore left shoulder, but he is also going to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Talk about a double whammy.

Lilly is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Lance Berkman – Berkman was placed on the 15-day DL with is strained right calf. Berkman has killed fantasy owners this year.

Berkman hasn’t had a typical Berkman year to date, and then when he gets going – he lands on the DL. The injury doesn’t appear to be too serious as Houston Astros GM said “If we were in late September then our approach might be different.”

Jose Guillen – Not only does Guillen suck, but now he sucks and is on the DL. Sucking and being on the DL is no way to go through life son.

Guillen was placed on the 15-day DL with a partial tear of his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

Guillen was only hitting .245 with nine HR’s and 40 RBI, so this should be no big loss.

Colby Rasmus/Rick Ankiel – With the acquisition of OF Matt Holliday and with Ryan Ludwick finding his stroke, there is only one spot left in the Cardinals’ OF for two players.

Ankiel started all three games against the Phillies, but knowing the way Tony LaRussa operates, Rasmus will start all four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be hard to count on either of them for solid fantasy production for the remainder of the season.

What the heck happened to Ankiel as a hitter? His career as a hitter parallels that of the “Real Sex” series on HBO. Remember when that show first came out? It was great. Hot girls everywhere and it was definitely worth watching without sound so your parents wouldn’t catch you watching it.

Now? That show is awful. All they show is old couples in their 60’s going to some swingers retreat in Arizona. Completely unwatchable.

That is Rick Ankiel. He got off to a great start by hitting .285 with 11 HR’s in 47 games in 2007 and he hit .270 with 20 HR’s in the first-half of the 2008 season.

He has gotten gradually worse since. Now he is hitting .236 with a .290 OBP and is killing any chance of a big contract in the offseason. Just terrible.

Potential Pickups

Michael Saunders – Saunders was the Number two prospects in the Seattle Mariners’ organization according to Baseball America. Prior to his callup, Saunders was hitting .310 with 13 HR’s and 32 RBI in 64. games for Triple-A Tacoma.

If you are in a Keeper League, it might be worth it to consider Saunders. I don’t think the Mariners called him up just to ride the pine.

Picking My 2009 National League All Star Team…

June 16, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Starters

C. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

1B. Albert Pujols, St Louis Cardinals

2B. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

SS. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins

3B. David Wright, New York Mets

OF. Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies

OF. Carlos Beltran, New York Mets

OF. Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies

SP. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

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

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

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

Reserves – Pitchers

Johan Santana, New York Mets

Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks

Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins

Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers

Heath Bell, San Diego Padres

Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

Ryan Franklin, St Louis Cardinals

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

Reserves – Position Players

C. Yadier Molina, St Louis Cardinals

C. Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies

1B. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres

1B. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

2B. Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates

2B. Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers

SS. Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros

3B. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

OF. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

OF. Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks

OF. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF. Carlos Lee, Houston Astros

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

Here is the player by team breakdown:

4. New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, St Louis Cardinals

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

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

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

The WBC And The Affects On Pitching Part 2..

May 18, 2009

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

Cueto is off to a good start

Cueto is off to a good start

Pitcher-Record-ERA

Jose Arredono – 1-0 5.51 era

Johnny Cueto – 4-1 1.93 era

Felix Hernandez – 4-2 3.53 era

Ubaldo Jimenez – 3-4 4.73 era

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

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

Ian Snell – 1-5 4.93 era

Roy Oswalt – 1-2 4.50 era

Ted Lilly – 5-2 3.27 era

Jonathon Sanchez – 1-3 5.06 era

Jake Peavy – 2-5 4.30 era

Jeremy Guthrie – 3-3 5.21 era

Scot Shields – 1-3 7.90 era

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

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

JP Howell – 0-2 2.81 era

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perez is having a terrible 2009

Perez is having a terrible 2009

John Grabow – 1-0 5.29 era

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

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

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

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

Team USA Humiliated….

March 15, 2009

The team that was representing the country where baseball was invented was humiliated last night at the World Baseball Classic. Team USA was mercy ruled in a 11-1 loss to Puerto Rico last night. The last time I was witness to the mercy rule was when I was coaching Little League back in 2000.

This game was a disaster for USA on all levels. They made the remarkably average Javier Vazquez look like Tom Seaver for 5 innings (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K), Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton were throwing batting practice and their 1-5 hitters went a combined 1-15.

In my “Looking At Team USA’s Roster For The WBC” post, I wrote that “If Team USA doesn’t win the WBC, the starting rotation will be the reason.” Well, unfortunately that prediction so far seems to be holding water. Team USA’s starting rotation of Peavy, Oswalt, Lilly and Guthrie have a combined era of 10.69. That is not going to cut it when you are playing against some of the best players in the world.

Oswalt needs to step up tonight

Oswalt needs to step up tonight

Roy Oswalt gets the first crack at turning things around tonight in an elimination game against the Netherlands. If there is a team that can cure USA’s pitching problems, it’s the Netherlands. In 5 games so far in the WBC, the Netherlands has only scored 7 runs. 

If Oswalt and the rest of Team USA can’t turn it around against the Netherlands, it will be another WBC disappointment for the country that invented the game all the way back in 1846.

In other Team USA News

Orioles 2B, Brian Roberts will replace Dustin Pedroia for the rest of the WBC. Pedroia will miss the rest of the WBC because of a strained oblique muscle. While Roberts is a more than capable replacement, losing Pedroia is another blow to USA’s chances of winning the WBC. Since the original USA roster was announced, they have lost Sizemore, Nathan, Hawpe, Ryan and now Pedroia. That is a lot of talent to lose.

Looking At Team USA’s Roster For The WBC…..

February 25, 2009

As I have written several times I am not a fan of the WBC. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t root for Team USA as I feel it is always important to route for your country any time you can. Tonight on the MLB Network, the final rosters were announced for the WBC. Let’s take a look at Team USA’s roster and what are there strengths and weaknesses.

Starting Pitchers

Jake Peavy, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Roy Oswalt

Relief Pitchers

JP Howell, Jonathon Broxton, Scot Shields, Brian Fuentes, Brad Ziegler, Matt Lindstrom, JJ Putz, BJ Ryan, Scott Thornton, Joe Nathan

Catchers

Chris Iannetta

Brian McCann

Infielders

Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, David Wright, Chipper Jones, Mark DeRosa

Outfielders

Brad Hawpe, Grady Sizemore, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson

 

Potential Lineup

1. Grady Sizemore, CF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Chipper Jones, DH

4. Ryan Braun, LF

5. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

6. David Wright, 3B

7. Brian McCann, C

8. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

9. Brad Hawpe, RF

 

Stengths

1. Bullpen – Team USA has put together a who’s who of top set up guys and closers. This is a smart move by Team USA because of the new pitch count rules for starters. Starters in the 1st round can only throw 70 pitches, 85 in the 2nd round and 100 in the semi-finals and finals. Knowing starters can only throw a certain amount of pitches in the WBC, Team USA built their team around it’s bullpen. They can match up against lefties late in the game with Fuentes and Thornton, if they need a strike out in the 7th inning they can bring in Lindstrom or Shields and if they need someone to close the game they can turn to either Broxton or Nathan. No team in the WBC has the bullpen Team USA does

2. Team Speed – Sizemore, Jeter, Pedroia, Granderson, Wright, Rollins and even Ryan Braun can steal a base. I think team speed is important in any type of baseball game but in particular an international game. Pitchers from countries such as Japan, Cuba, Venezuela, etc… usually take a little longer to get a pitch to home plate. Team USA can take advantage of this.

 

Weakness

1. Starting Rotation – I have no issues with Oswalt and Peavy, but is Ted Lilly and Jeremy Guthrie really the best Team USA can do?? Where is Lackey, Halladay, Lincecum, Lester, Haren, Webb or Greinke??? I understand there is a deemphasis on the starting rotation due to pitch counts but this is ridiculous. Lilly and Guthrie might not even get to 70 pitches. If Team USA doesn’t win, the starting rotation will be the reason.

 

Overall Analysis

This team from top to bottom is much better than the one that took the field in 2006 and they are determined to give a better showing than they did that year. Team USA will have their hands full with Venezuela, but at the end of the day I think they will win their group and go on to compete with Japan, Cuba and the Dominican Republic for the right to win the 2nd annual World Baseball Classic.