Tag Archives: Andy LaRoche

Season Preview – NL Central


Time to look at the 6 team NL Central division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL East.

Last Year’s Records
Cincinnati – 91-71
St. Louis – 86-76
Milwaukee – 77-85
Houston – 76-86
Chicago – 75-87
Pittsburgh – 57-105

Notable Additions

Chicago – Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood

Cincinnati – Edgar Renteria

Houston – Clint Barmes

Milwaukee – Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Takashi Saito, Mark Kotsay

Pittsburgh – Lyle Overbay, Garrett Atkins, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel

St. Louis – Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman

Notable Losses

Chicago – Sam Fuld, Tom Gorzelanny

Cincinnati – Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Harang

Houston – Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino

Milwaukee – Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun

Pittsburgh -  Zack Duke, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge

St. Louis – Brendan Ryan, Pedro Feliz, Brad Penny, Jeff Suppan

My Thoughts

Chicago – The Cubs had a very disappointing season last year, and went out and tried to plug some of those holes this offseason. Bringing in Carlos Pena on a 1 year contract, despite its cost, looks like a very nice signing for a power bat. The acquisition of Matt Garza brings a young, cost-controlled high-end starting pitcher to their rotation, but at the cost of top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, and others.  I am not sold that this team will compete this year, as they will need bounceback performances from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano to really end up in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati – The defending NL Central champions, the team has lost Aaron Harang and will hope that the combination of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and others will be able to pitch complete seasons this year. The team returns nearly every player from last season’s title, but I don’t think that it is a slam-dunk that they will just run away with the division again this year.

Houston – Talk about a rebuilding effort. Here’s a team which has very few high-end prospects in the system right now, who also does not have a lot of higher-quality players at the Major League level either. There are some quality players in Hunter Pence and Brett Myers, but there’s not a lot of hope for the 2011 season. They will look to get a solid rookie season out of last year’s acquisition, Brett Wallace, but you have essentially gathered a group of mid-level players who can fill out a roster, but are unlikely to compete as a group for a division title, let alone a league championship

Milwaukee – And within the same division, you have a team who has gone all-in for 2011. The Brewers have traded nearly all of their top prospects in order to improve their pitching staff, and did so with the acquisitions of Marcum and Greinke. It’s not a great sign that Greinke is hurt already, but he should return in mid April and only miss a few starts. The bigger story throughout the season will be whether or not they fall out of contention and attempt to trade Prince Fielder before the deadline. They definitely remain a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh – For a team that lost 105 games last year, they actually have a lot to look forward to. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is poised to become one of the best young players in the Majors, and 2nd year players Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both will look to build on their solid rookie years. They aren’t likely to compete this season, but there’s hope for Pirates fans that is starting to show itself at the Major League level.

St. Louis – The biggest story out of St. Louis up until the start of Spring Training was whether or not Albert Pujols would sign a contract extension prior to the start of the season, and unfortunately it’s no longer the current top story out of their camp. With Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright out for the season with Tommy John surgery, they will now look to replace at least some part of his production in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that this team, as constructed, can compete for the division title. They will need everything else to fall just right for them to win this division.

Overall Thoughts

The NL Central really has the look of a wide open division. If things fall just right, 4 of the teams could conceivably win the division this season. That said, I’m not sold that things will fall right for all of them, but it should be intersting to watch regardless.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Milwaukee
2. Cincinnati
3. St. Louis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

Original Draft Series: #8 – Los Angeles Dodgers


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #8: Los Angeles Dodgers

General Managers(since 1994)

Fred Claire (1994-1998): 397-347
Kevin Malone (1999-2001): 249-237
Dan Evans (2002-2003): 177-147
Paul DePodesta (2004-2005): 164-160
Ned Coletti (2006-Current): 349-299

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 0 7 6 4 4 2 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Russell Martin 2002 – 17th Rd 8 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
667 gm, .272/.365/.396, 54 HR, 300 RBI, 66 SB
Currently with Org.
1B Paul Konerko 1994 – 1st Rd (13) 4 55 gm, .212/.271/.298, 4 HR, 16 RBI Traded to CIN – 7/4/98
2B Blake DeWitt
2004 – 1st Rd (28) 6 230 gm, .262/.340/.379, 12 HR, 86 RBI, 5 SB Traded to CHC – 7/31/10
3B Adrian Beltre Int’l FA – 1994 10 1 Silver Slugger
966 gm, .274/.332/.463, 147 HR, 510 RBI, 62 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/28/04
SS Juan Castro Int’l FA – 1991 8+1+1 270 gm, .205/.258/.271, 3 HR, 32 RBI, SB Traded to CIN – 4/1/00
LF Shane Victorino 1999 – 6th Rd 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Selection of PHI – 12/13/04
CF Franklin Gutierrez Int’l FA – 2000 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 4/3/04
RF Matt Kemp
2003 – 6th Rd 7 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
588 gm, .289/.338/.472, 81 HR, 310 RBI, 101 SB
Currently with Org.
DH James Loney 2002 – 1st Rd (19) 8 586 gm, .292/.350/.442, 53 HR, 337 RBI, 24 SB Currently with Org.
SP Ted Lilly 1996 – 23rd Rd 2+1 4-0, 1.29 ERA, 28 IP, 26 K, 4 BB Traded to MON – 7/31/98
SP Edwin Jackson
2001 – 6th Rd 4 6-4, 5.50 ERA, 75.1 IP, 48 K, 39 BB, 1.566 WHIP Traded to TAM – 1/14/06
SP Clayton Kershaw 2006 – 1st Rd (7) 4 24-20, 3.24 ERA, 436 IP, 448 K, 210 BB, 1.298 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Hiroki Kuroda
Int’l FA – 2007 3 25-28, 3.66 ERA, 448 IP, 321 K, 104 BB, 1.203 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Chad Billingsley 2003 – 1st Rd (24) 7 1 All Star Appearance
57-37, 3.58 ERA, 780 IP, 703 K, 338 BB, 1.365 WHIP
Currently with Org,
RP Hong-Chih Kuo Int’l FA – 1999 11 1 All Star Appearance
12-15, 3.34 ERA, 5 SV, 250.1 IP, 290 K, 101 BB, 1.194 WHIP
Currently with Org.
RP Joel Hanrahan 2000 – 2nd Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Left via Free Agency – 10/15/06
RP Dennys Reyes Int’l FA – 1993 5 2-7, 4.16 ERA, 75.2 IP, 69 K, 38 BB, 1.533 WHIP Traded to CIN – 7/4/98
RP Takashi Saito Int’l FA – 2006 3 1 All Star Appearance
12-7, 1.95 ERA, 81 SV, 189.2 IP, 245 K, 52 BB, 0.912 WHIP
Left via Free Agency – 12/12/08
RP Jonathan Broxton 2002 – 2nd Rd 8 2 All Star Appearances
23-16, 2.96 ERA, 77 SV, 367.1 IP, 483 K, 144 BB, 1.171 WHIP
Currently with Org.
CL Joakim Soria Int’l FA – 2001 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 10/12/04
BN Andy LaRoche
2003 – 39th Rd 5 62 gm, .217/.348/.316, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB Traded to PIT – 7/31/08
BN Delwyn Young 2002 – 4th Rd 6 110 gm, .267/.331/.394, 3 HR, 10 RBI, SB Traded to PIT – 7/31/08
BN Xavier Paul 2003 – 4th Rd 7 55 gm, .230/.281/.333, HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB Currently with Org.
BN Miguel Cairo Int’l FA – 1990 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SEA – 11/29/95
BN A.J. Ellis
2003 – 18th Rd 7 38 gm, .159/.213/.183, 10 RBI Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Dodgers have done really well of late, getting a lot of their first round picks to the Majors in short order. Their current pitching staff relies on both Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, who were both first round picks in the past 8 seasons. Blake DeWitt, recently traded to reacquire Ted Lilly, was also a first round pick, but he has not been quite the performer they expected yet. James Loney was also a first round selection, and has become a solid Major League regular. The team has also done well with other rounds, getting All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton (2nd), Gold Glove outfielder Matt Kemp (6th), and Delwyn Young (4th), who was used to help acquire Manny Ramirez during the 2008 season. Even some of the later round picks have been productive, with catcher Russell Martin being the best of the later round picks. There even have been some excellent players who didn’t really play much with the team, with both Paul Konerko and Shane Victorino becoming All-Star caliber players with different organizations.

International Free Agency

The Dodgers have always been considered to be one of the leaders in looking for new talent markets, and international free agency has done well for them as well. While they have had more success with some of the professional free agents they have signed (Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda), they have also seen some success with signing young players out of both the Latin American countries as well as the Asian markets. Adrian Beltre had probably the best single season of any of the IFAs, earning himself a huge free agent contract after a 48 homerun seasonin 2004. They have also had some players who kind of got away who have turned into solid Major Leaguers, with Franklin Gutierrez and Joakim Soria the highest profile ones.

Overall Grade

A-. The Dodgers, who generally have a lot more money to play with than a lot of organizations, still do very well to build their team from the inside, and add pieces as needed. They have had their few players who were essentially given up on (Victorino, Soria), but they generally haven’t missed on too many of their high level prospects. The team has also had quite a few homegrown All-Stars, with Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Takashi Saito all representing the Dodger Blue. They also have a lot of high end prospects on their way in the minors, led by Dee Gordon, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin and Jerry Sands, and should continue to be competitive in the NL West.