Tag Archives: Austin Jackson

Season Previews in Review: American League Central


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East previously, and now it’s on to the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox

Predicted Record: 84-78            Actual Record: 88-74

This team’s record ended up slightly better than I thought it would, but actually finished in the same spot in the standings I believed that they would. They got solid pitching as usual, but not as much from Jake Peavy once he suffered a season ending injury. The move to second base for Gordon Beckham seemed to cause him some serious struggles throughout most of the season, and he didn’t seem to get his bat back until after the All-Star break.

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The AL Willie Mays Award


Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we will be voting over the coming weeks on our award winners for the regular season. Last week I posted my votes for the AL and NL Connie Mack awards, given to our managers of the year. I’ll be continuing on today with my choice for the American League’s top rookie, the Willie Mays award recipient.

I wrote about the overall rookie of the class over the weekend, and it occurred to me that the group from the American League is pretty clearly a lot weaker than the Senior Circuit’s group, but there are still some solid rookies worthy of consideration. These are in order from east to west (approximately), and I will have my final vote at the bottom.

Wade Davis (TAM)

Davis was slotted into the Rays’ starting rotation out of spring training, and performed solidly as the #4 starter for the team. He threw 168 innings, striking out 113 and walking 65 batters while posting a 12-10 record and a 4.07 ERA. Some of his secondary numbers show a bit of luck (4.79 FIP). His strikeout rate did drop however from his career rates in the minors to this point, so he could see some improvement in the coming seasons.

Brian Matusz (BAL)

Matusz was my original choice back in the preseason as the most likely person to win the award, but he was let down to some extent by his team. Matusz threw 175 2/3 innings, posting a 4.30 ERA and a 10-12 record. His 143 strikeouts and 63 walks weren’t stunningly good, but he also appears to be a bit unlucky (4.05 FIP, .304 BABIP). Clearly, his run support wasn’t amazing (2.68 per start), and as a result of the win total should improve going into next season if all other numbers hold steady.

Austin Jackson (DET)

Jackson was the main acquisition of the Tigers in the Curtis Granderson trade during last offseason, and was slotted into as the starting center fielder for the Tigers. He got off to an extremely hot start, hitting .364/.422/.495 with 20 runs scored and 5 stolen bases in the month of April. He cooled off some as time progressed, and finished the season with a .293/.345/.400 line, 103 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases. He also played excellent defense for the Tigers in center field all season long.

Danny Valencia (MIN)

Valencia was brought up in early June to play 3B for the Twins, and simply never gave the job back. In just 85 games, he hit .311 with 7 home runs, 40 runs batted in, and played solid defense for the Twins down the stretch.

Neftali Feliz (TEX)

Feliz barely fell under the rookie requirements for last season, and remained eligible for the award again in 2010. He started the season by being put into the bullpen as a setup man, and took over as the closer after only 1 week of games. He clearly took the job and ran with it, finishing with 40 saves, striking out 71 batters to just 18 walks. He also posted a 0.880 WHIP and a 2.73 ERA, and helped to lead the team to the playoffs this season.

My Vote

  1. Neftali Feliz (TEX)
  2. Austin Jackson (DET)
  3. Wade Davis (TAM)

When I looked at all the players that were eligible, Feliz stood out as the clear winner to me. While I generally would be more inclined to give the vote to a position player as they have a larger impact on a day to day basis on the team, Feliz helped to solidify the team’s bullpen and the team really started to take off once they had moved him to the back of the bullpen. While the rest of the players had solid seasons, Feliz clearly had the largest impact as a rookie on his team, and set a record for the most saves ever by a rookie. He’s my vote for the AL Willie Mays award.

The Season’s Top Stories: The Rookie Class of 2010


Throughout the month of October, I’ll be reviewing some of the top stories that were in the newly completed regular season. One of the biggest stories of the 2010 regular season has to be the rookie class that emerged throughout the season. This group of rookies could very well be a once in a generation group of players.

Starting Pitchers

The most hyped player to come into the Majors in a long time clearly was Stephen Strasburg, the top pick from the 2009 draft. The hype continued to build as the season progressed and it became clear that he would make his debut during the season. June 8th was the night, against the Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 earned runs. Strasburg nearly lived up to the hype, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in just 68 innings pitched. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely due to an elbow injury, and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. Strasburg will miss the 2011 season as well.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jaime Garcia will most likely finish near the top of the Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 13-8 record with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts for the Cardinals.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds came up and made an instant impact despite never pitching in the minor leagues. He started off hot, but trailed off a bit at the end and finished with an 8-4 record with a 4.23 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts).
  • His teammate Travis Wood came up on July 1st, and pitched well down the stretch for the Reds. He finished with a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA in just over 100 innings on the season.
  • Madison Bumgarner was called upon about halfway through the season to take the #5 spot in the Giants’ rotation, and ran with it from there. He went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts for the NL West champs.
  • Wade Davis of the Rays threw 168 innings of effective ball, posting a 12-10 record with a 4.07 ERA and 113 strikeouts.
  • Brian Matusz of the Orioles had been my preseason choice for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but unfortunately didn’t really pitch well enough to earn that award. Part of that was his team, as he went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 175 plus innings. His numbers should improve next season as the team matures under its new manager.

Relief Pitchers

Neftali Feliz didn’t make the starting rotation out of spring training for the Rangers, and it really looks like that could have been the best thing for both him and the team. Feliz was given the closer’s job on April 12th after Frank Francisco struggled in the first week, and never gave the job back. He finished the season with a 2.73 ERA and 40 saves along with a strikeout per inning of work.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jonny Venters helped to bring some stability to the back end of the Braves’ bullpen, appearing in 79 games and striking out 93 in just 83 innings. He looks like he could be a future closer in waiting for the Braves.
  • John Axford was called upon to fill in for a struggling future Hall of Famer in Trevor Hoffman, and never really gave the job back. He went 8-2 with 24 saves and a 2.48 ERA and 76 strikeouts in just 58 innings pitched for the Brewers.

Catchers

There was concern whether or not it might cost the Giants a chance at the playoffs by their decision to not call up Buster Posey until late May.  The top prospect played well enough to really make that decision look questionable, hitting .305/.357/.505 with 18 homeruns and 67 runs batted in. The team made the playoffs, and even traded their Opening Day catcher to make sure he played every day.

Other Top Performers:

  • Carlos Santana came up on June 11th, and proceeded to show why he was considered a top prospect overall. In just 46 games this season, he hit .260/.401/.467 with 6 homeruns and 22 runs batted in. His season ended on August 2nd when he broke his leg blocking the plate, but should return next season and become one of the top catchers in the league.
  • John Jaso remains one of the more unusual catchers in the league, as the Rays consistently hit him leadoff. His .372 OBP probably helped that a lot, and he split time with Kelly Shoppach during the season.

Corner Infielders

It was originally thought at the beginning of the season that 1B Justin Smoak of the Rangers would establish himself as the next great hitter to start in Arlington. He struggled mightily during the season, earning himself a demotion back to AAA and eventually his inclusion in the trade to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. Smoak ended up finishing the season with just a .218 batting average but 13 home runs. He should do better next season as well, and will likely be the given the starting 1B job by the Mariners.

Other Top Performers:

  • Ike Davis was surprisingly called up in mid April, and continued to hold the 1B job throughout the season for the Mets. He finished the year with a .264/.351/.440 line with 19 homeruns and 71 runs batted in.
  • Chris Johnson of the Astros was given the starting 3B job after Pedro Feliz struggled, and finished the year with a .308 batting average and 11 homeruns. He should go into 2011 as the prohibitive starter at the position.
  • Danny Valencia was called up at the start of June to play 3B, and never gave the job back. He hit .311 with 7 homeruns, and has provided solid defense for the Twins as well.
  • Pedro Alvarez was called up in mid June to replace the struggling Andy LaRoche, and gave glimpses into what his future holds. He hit .256, but did hit 16 home runs and drove in 64 in just 95 games.

Middle Infielders

Starlin Castro may well have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He started the season with the Cubs’ AA affiliate, hitting very well and was called up by the Major League team on May 7th to try and inject some more energy and offense into the lineup. Despite being just 20 years old, he hit .300 with 10 stolen bases on the season, and should continue to improve next season.

Other Top Performers:

  • Neil Walker was widely viewed as a bit of a lost prospect, stuck behind current starter Andy LaRoche and future starter Pedro Alvarez at 3B. The team instead asked him to try playing 2B, and his bat took off. He hit .296/.349/.462 with 12 homeruns and 66 runs batted in for the Pirates in just 110 games.
  • Ian Desmond was given the starting shortstop job for the Nationals out of Spring Training, and while he had his struggles with the glove (34 errors), his bat was solid with a .269 batting average, 10 homeruns, and 17 stolen bases.

Outfielders

The top prospect in the game coming into the season was widely viewed as Braves’ OF Jason Heyward, and he did not disappoint. He made the team out of Spring Training, which was unexpected, and proceeded to hit well across the season. He finished the year with a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases. The Braves are going to be extremely happy with Heyward’s production for years to come.

Other Top Performers:

  • Austin Jackson is likely going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting .293 with 27 stolen bases and playing good defense in centerfield for the Tigers all season long. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next year, as his full season numbers were propped up a bit by a huge start of the season this year.
  • Jose Tabata was a prospect that the Pirates received as a part of the Xavier Nady trade, and showed why he was so highly thought of. He played in 102 games, hitting .299 with 19 stolen bases and 61 runs scored.

In many seasons, nearly all of these rookies would have been Rookie of the Year awards recipients, but with so many top players this year some may not even get votes in the awards proceedings. I’ll be posting my votes for the AL and NL Willie Mays awards (Rookie’s of the Year) in the next few days as well.

Original Draft Series: #6 – New York Yankees


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

Team #6: New York Yankees

General Managers(since 1998)

Gene Michael (1994-1995): 149-108
Bob Watson (1996-1997): 188-136
Brian Cashman (1998-Current): 1177-763

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
5 7 15 12 3 1 0 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Jorge Posada 1990 – 24th Rd 20 5 All Star Appearances, 5 Silver Sluggers
1693 gm, .277/.378/.481, 260 HR, 1015 RBI
Currently with Org.
1B Nick Johnson 1996 – 3rd Rd 7+1 272 gm, .249/.378/.414, 33 HR, 121 RBI Currently with Org.
2B Robinson Cano
Int’l FA – 2001 9 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, 869 gm, .308/.346/.490, 113 HR, 487 RBI, 19 SB Currently with Org.
3B Mike Lowell 1995 – 20th Rd 3 8 gm, .267/.267/.267 Traded to FLA – 2/1/99
SS Derek Jeter 1992 -1st Rd (6) 18 1996 AL Rookie of the Year, 11 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves
2271 gm, .314/.385/.454, 234 HR, 1128 RBI, 320 SB
Currently with Org.
LF Alfonso Soriano Purchased from Japan – 1998 5 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
501 gm, .284/.322/.502, 98 HR, 270 RBI, 121 SB
Traded to TEX – 2/16/04
CF Austin Jackson 2005 – 8th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to DET – 12/8/09
RF Brett Gardner
2005 – 3rd Rd 5 278 gm, .271/.361/.368, 8 HR, 82 RBI, 79 SB Currently with Org.
DH Hideki Matsui Int’l FA – 2002 7 2 All Star Appearances
916 gm, .292/.370/.482, 140 HR, 597 RBI
Left via Free Agency – 11/9/09
SP Andy Pettitte 1990 – 22nd Rd 17 3 All Star Appearances
203-111, 3.97 ERA, 2522.1 IP, 1812 K, 817 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Phil Hughes
2004 – 1st Rd (23) 6 1 All Star Appearance
29-16, 4.16 ERA, 342 IP, 300 K, 120 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Ian Kennedy 2006 – 1st Rd (21) 3 1-4, 6.03 ERA, 59.2 IP, 43 K, 37 BB Traded to ARI – 12/8/09
SP Daniel McCutchen
2006 – 13th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to PIT – 7/26/08
SP Chien-Ming Wang
Int’l FA – 2000 9 55-26, 4.16 ERA, 670.2 IP, 310 K, 197 BB Non-Tendered 12/12/09
RP Phil Coke 2002 – 26th Rd 7 5-3, 3.74 ERA, 131 IP, 110 K, 43 BB Traded to DET – 12/8/09
RP Tyler Clippard 2003 – 9th Rd 4 3-1, 6.33 ERA, 27 IP, 18 K, 17 BB Traded to WAS – 12/4/07
RP David Robertson 2006 – 17th Rd 4 8-5, 4.07 ERA, 121.2 IP, 157 K, 65 BB Currently with Org.
RP Joba Chamberlain 2006 – 1st Rd (41) 4 17-13, 3.80 ERA, 3 SV, 340.2 IP, 345 K, 141 BB Currently with Org.
RP Jose Contreras Int’l FA – 2003 2 15-7, 4.64 ERA, 166.2 IP, 154 K, 72 BB Traded to CHW – 7/31/04
CL Mariano Rivera Int’l FA – 1990 20 11 All Star Appearances
74-54, 2.20 ERA, 555 SV, 1140.2 IP, 1047 K, 265 BB
Currently with Org.
BN Francisco Cervelli
Int’l FA – 2003 7 125 gm, .263/.318/.331, HR, 43 RBI Currently with Org.
BN Ramiro Pena Int’l FA – 2005 5 144 gm., .256/.288/.312, HR, 28 RBI, 10 SB Currently with Org.
BN Melky Cabrera Int’l FA – 2001 8 569 gm, .269/.331/.385, 36 HR, 228 RBI, 44 SB Traded to ATL – 12/22/09
BN Shelley Duncan 2001 – 2nd Rd 8 68 gm, .219/.290/.411, 8 HR, 24 RBI Left via Free Agency – 11/25/09
BN Marcus Thames
1996 – 30th Rd 6+1 71 gm, .298/.369/.539, 12 HR, 32 RBI Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Yankees have really not done very much in the draft, and there’s probably two main reasons for that: 1) They generally have picks later in the round due to all this winning, and 2) They’ve had a tendency to sign Type-A free agents and lose their draft picks as compensation. That said, they still have found some very good players through the draft. Clearly the best one has to be Derek Jeter, who will end up in the Hall of Fame one day. Of late, they’ve gotten solid performance or value out of recent 1st rounders Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy. Jorge Posada was someone who I thought was an international free agent, but was actually drafted and has clearly been elite at times as well.

International Free Agency

The Yankees have done their best work in the international free agent market, with so many players found out of the Dominican Republic and of course Japan as well. So many of them have either turned into excellent players themselves (Rivera, Matsui, Cano), or have been turned into key players at the time (Contreras, Soriano, Cabrera). Clearly, not all of their work in this market has been amazing (See Igawa, Kei), but with the amount that they spend on payroll they clearly have the ability to absorb any issues.

Overall Grade

A. The Yankees receive my first grade of A, mostly because the team has managed to find homegrown players for nearly every position and part of the rotation. That said,  I think they are behind the rest of the teams left because they simply have the ability to absorb such large contracts and can literally outbid other teams if they want a player bad enough. I do think it has been interesting to watch over the past few seasons as the team has really made a concerted effort to not just trade away all their prospects for veterans.

Midseason Review


We are halfway through the season and as happens every year, it doesn’t quite go exactly as we all thought it would.

Right before the season started, I wrote up my preseason predictions of how I thought the playoffs and awards would go:

American League

Correct so far: New York Yankees
Incorrect so far: Boston Red Sox (Tampa Bay Rays), Minnesota Twins (Chicago White Sox), Seattle Mariners (Texas Rangers)

National League

Correct so far: None
Incorrect so far: Philadelphia Phillies (Atlanta Braves), Chicago Cubs (Cincinnati Reds), Los Angeles Dodgers (San Diego Padres), St. Louis Cardinals (Colorado Rockies)

League Leaders at the Half

Batting Average: Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Josh Hamilton (TEX) – .346
Runs: Carl Crawford (TAM) – 70
Hits: Martin Prado (ATL) – 121
Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 24
Runs Batted In: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 77
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre (CHW) – 32

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 15
ERA: Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.70
Strikeouts: Jered Weaver (LAA) – 137
Saves: Joakim Soria (KC) – 25

The Top Stories

The Year of the Pitcher Again?

The pitchers look like they may have gained back some of the advantage again versus the hitters, as we’re seeing a lot of amazing performances out of both elite and non-elite pitchers.

Starting Pitchers with an ERA under 3.00: 17
Starting Pitchers with 10+ wins: 12
Starting Pitchers with a FIP under 3.00: 6
Starting Pitchers with a WHIP under 1.10: 14

And of course, there’s the no-hitters:

Let’s not forget Armando Galarraga either, and his near-perfecto on June 2nd.

Ken Griffey Jr Abruptly Retires

Almost randomly,  Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement on June 2nd. I wrote up my thoughts on his career shortly after the announcement, but the long and short of it remains that Griffey always seemed to be having more fun than anyone else on the field, and was really a joy to watch play, no matter what he was doing.  I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going into the Hall of Fame at first opportunity.

Sadly, the story was lost among the Armando Galarraga near perfect game, as it happened about an hour after the announcement. Hopefully the Mariners will have him back at some point before the end of the season to really give him a great sendoff.

The Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

The Mariners were widely predicted to win the AL West on the strength of the arms of Felix Hernandez and offseason acquisition Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, the team has floundered quite a bit, to the point where it became only a matter of time for the Mariners to start selling off the pieces, including their newly acquired ace Lee. The trade discussions centered around the unlikely competitors of the Reds, Twins, and Rangers, along with the usual suspects (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays). Nearly every top prospect in their systems was mentioned as the potential trade pieces in return. It was even stranger when the Mariners had come to a deal with the Yankees, only to have that one fall apart and be replaced by a trade with the Rangers. I wrote up what I thought of the trade, and really liked it for both teams involved.

Break Up the Reds and the Padres!

Completely unexpectedly, the Reds and the Padres are both leading their divisions as we approach the All-Star break. The Padres are doing it with the best pitching in the Majors, led by young phenom Mat Latos (10-4, 2.45) and top power hitter Adrian Gonzalez (.301, 18 HR, 56 RBI). The Reds are being led by MVP candidate Joey Votto (.315, 22 HR, 60 RBI, 1.014 OPS), and a resurgent Scott Rolen (.292, 17 HR, 57 RBI). I honestly think that barring some unexpected injuries or other unusual circumstances, both teams have the talent available to hold on to their leads throughout the rest of the season.

3 Teams, A Maxiumum of 2 Spots

The AL East continues to improve every single year, as the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees have been trading 1st through 3rd in the division back and forth all season. Through Friday’s games, all 3 teams have the 3 top records in the American League. Clearly, this presents a problem, as only 2 of them can make the playoffs. Someone is going to have to separate themselves at some point, but I’m not sure when that is going to happen. The Rays got off to a hot start, but have struggled of late. The Yankees got off to a slow start but have come on strong and now lead the division. Even the Red Sox are only 5 games back despite having suffered an unusually high amount of injuries. Someone is going to be sitting at home unhappy despite potentially winning 90+ games in that division.

Managers Available for Hire

We could be looking at potentially having nearly half the teams in the Majors change managers by the start of the 2011 season. 4 teams have already gotten the ball started, with Fredi Gonzalez (Marlins), Trey Hillman (Royals), Dave Trembley (Orioles) and A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks. In addition, major skippers like Joe Torre of the Dodgers and Lou Piniella of the Cubs are both in the final year of their contracts, and it appears that more and more that neither man is likely to return. And of course, there is the expected retirement of the Braves’ Bobby Cox and Blue Jays’ Cito Gaston after this season as well. Invariably, there will be some other managers that could lose their jobs before the start of next year, and my own speculation leads me to think that potentially teams like the Brewers, Pirates, Athletics and even the Mariners could all potentially see new managers as well.

The Rookie Class of 2010

It seems like this year’s rookie class is by far one of the best in many years. The season started out with Atlanta Braves’ OF Jason Heyward making the team out of Spring Training, and has not let up ever since. 13 of Baseball America’s Top 20 prospects have already made their debuts, and many of them are seeing a lot of success.

  • Carlos Santana of the Indians is hitting .284 with 5 HR and 16 RBI since being called up on June 11th.
  • Buster Posey of the Giants is hitting .333 with 6 HR and 20 RBI while playing both catcher and first base.
  • Tyler Colvin of the Cubs has hit 12 homeruns in part time playing time so far this season.
  • Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch of the Tigers have been going back and forth for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Jackson got off to a hot start, but Boesch has passed him at this point. Boesch is leading all rookies with 12 homeruns and 48 runs batted in, and also is hitting .345.
  • Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins is quietly hitting .299 with 9 homeruns and 38 runs batted in.
  • Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals has exceeded all expectations, posting an 8-4 record with a 2.17 ERA and 80 strikeouts so far.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds surprised everyone by coming up without playing a single game in the minors and has a 6-1 record with a 3.53 ERA.
  • Neftali Feliz of the Rangers has stabilized the back end of their bullpen, recording 23 saves and earning himself an All-Star appearance.

Other top prospects that have come up as well: Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Alcides Escobar of the Brewers, Ike Davis of the Mets, and Justin Smoak of the Rangers… er Mariners.

Clearly though, the most anticipated debut didn’t come until June 8th…

Strasburg

June 8th was the Major League debut of the phenom, Nationals’ top prospect Stephen Strasburg. His starts in the minors were selling out every time through. He was sent down to the Minors after Spring Training to work on his performance with runners on base. As if he was actually allowing any of those down there. His minor league numbers (AA and AAA): 11 starts, 7-2, 1.30 ERA, 65 strikeouts to 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched. At times, his stuff looked absolutely dominant, but the concern remained: Could he repeat this performance at the Major League level?

For the most part, the answer to that question is a resounding Yes. His debut against the lowly Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 walks, and a victory in 7 innings. So far, he has a 3-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 61 strikeouts in just 42 2/3 innings pitched. He has had some games where his control has been less than stellar, including the 5 walk performance against the Indians. I have to admit, I thought that he would have some struggles when he got up to the Majors, but I didn’t anticipate the excellent performance overall that he has given to this point. The longer that Jason Heyward stays on the disabled list, the more likely it becomes that Strasburg will win the Rookie of the Year award for the National League. He simply looks dominant out there in nearly every start, and the stuff he throws is simply amazing. I hope he can stay healthy long term, as he is really going to be something special if he can.

Overall Reactions

After so many games being played, it has been a really good season to this point. As it seems to happen every season, there are some things that don’t go the way everyone expects, but it definitely makes it more interesting when there are new stories that emerge over the span of the season. It looks like it’s going to be a good race in many of the divisions, and could go down to the wire.

No post on Tuesday this week, and I’ll be back with a new post on Wednesday.

The 2010 Rookie Class


Every year we see some solid rookie players come to the Majors and have a major impact, and this year is no exception. Already we’ve seen at least half a dozen players who could legitimately win their Rookie of the Year award, along with a lot of impact players as well. Each of these players is still eligible to win the Rookie of the Year award, according to ESPN.com’s stats page. All these stats are through Sunday’s games, and the players are in order of what I believe their likelihood to win their respective Rookie of the Year awards.

American League

1. Austin Jackson (DET) – .328/.379/.444, 33 runs, 1 home run, 13 runs batted in, 7 stolen bases

Jackson was the centerpiece of the Curtis Granderson trade for the Tigers, and he’s been pretty much everything it was hoped he would, and more. I wrote in December that I thought the Tigers would end up winning this trade, and Jackson is going to be the lynchpin to whether or not that happens. The batting average has been extremely lucky to this point, as he is currently sporting a .458 BABIP. That said, he still should hit around .270-.280 and could end up scoring around 90 runs for the Tigers.

2. Neftali Feliz (TEX) – 1-1, 13 saves, 2 holds, 2.96 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 25 strikeouts, 5 walks, 24 1/3 IP

Since being installed as the closer for the Rangers, Feliz has pitched very well overall. His stuff really suits the closer’s role, as his fastball is dominant at right around 100 mph on a consistent basis. I think that Feliz could end up winning the Rookie of the Year if Jackson falls off precipitously or if the Rangers end up making the playoffs and Feliz stays as the closer all season long. Long term, it will be interesting to see if they ever convert him back to a starting pitcher, as his value is probably better there.

3. Mitch Talbot (CLE) – 6-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 24 walks, 66 2/3 IP

Talbot has been a very nice surprise for the Indians, as he was acquired in the Kelly Shoppach trade this past offseason. Plugged into the starting rotation, Talbot is finally getting a chance to show how good of a pitcher he can be. He may see some regression, as his FIP is over 5 and his BABIP is only at .251. Either way, the Indians did well here, and he could conceivably win 12-15 games in spite of how bad the Indians’ offense is. The walks are definitely a major concern though, as they are barely less than his strikeouts.

4. Wade Davis (TAM) – 5-4, 4.04 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 36 strikeouts, 29 walks, 55 2/3 IP

Another vaunted rookie from the Rays’ farm system, Davis has come in and pitched effectively in a tough AL East division. However, his secondary numbers (FIP of 5+, 82% strand rate) indicate that he’s likely to see a fairly stiff regression in the coming months. I think he’s going to finish the season as an effective, if not amazing pitcher. But he definitely appears to have a very bright future ahead of him, and I think that for this year he could end up winning 15 games on the strength of the Rays’ lineup.

5. Brennan Boesch (DET) – .330/.357/.585, 9 runs, 4 homeruns, 22 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

At the beginning of the season, it was thought that there would be a rookie from the Tigers in this race. Brennan Boesch was not the one everyone thought though. Boesch has come up and just hit and hit and hit as the replacement for the oft-injured Carlos Guillen. He’s hit so well to this point that Guillen, who recently returned from the disabled list, is being moved to 2B (where they had hoped rookie Scott Sizemore would play well) to allow Boesch to stay in the lineup everyday. His BABIP is high (.373), so there could be some regression, but he looks like he’s going to be a solid everyday player with the potential for double-digit power.

Other AL Candidates: Brian Matusz (BAL), Carlos Santana (CLE), John Jaso (TAM), Justin Smoak (TEX), Scott Sizemore (DET)

Each of these candidates, to me, has some warts that will keep them from winning this award unless something drastically changes. For Sizemore and Santana, the fact that they are still in AAA leads me to believe that they would have to ridiculously outperform the others to catch up for lost time. Smoak and Matusz, at least for the moment, are simply not performing up to the standard of the other candidates, and are unlikely at this point to catch them.

National League

1. Jason Heyward (ATL) – .292/.410/.578, 29 runs, 10 home runs, 38 runs batted in, 3 stolen bases

What else is there to be said about Heyward that hasn’t been said? I wrote about him as a prospect back in January, and predicted that he would hit .280/.370/.470 with 6 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 80 games. Even doubling that prediction to get him to around 160 games, that’s 12 homeruns and 20 stolen bases. While he’s not running as much as I thought, the power appears to be legitimate and the Braves are going to be extremely happy with him for a very long time. I don’t really see too much out there that would cause him to not win this award.

2. Jaime Garcia (STL) – 4-2, 1.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 48 strikeouts, 26 walks, 58 1/3 IP

Garcia made the rotation out of spring training, and has never looked back. Clearly the ERA is going to go up at some point during the season, but the rest of the numbers really look legitimate to me. He’s pitching in St. Louis, and I’ve learned to never bet against the coaching staff there either.

3. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – Will make ML debut June 8th.

The hype is real. Strasburg will not make his debut until June 8th, giving the rest of the rookies in this class a full two months of time to get ahead. That said, and even with the 100 inning limit that he is likely to be on, he could very well come up and post a sub-3 ERA and a strikeout per inning he pitches. He has looked that good.

4. David Freese (STL) -.314/.383/.453, 21 runs, 4 home runs, 31 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

It’s hard to put another position player this far down the list, but realistically all 5 of the top rookies in the NL would probably win the award in the American League this season. Freese won the 3B job out of spring training, but it really appeared that no one was particularly confident that he would be able to make it stick. But he’s been a very bright spot in the Cardinals lineup, and has played at least reasonable defense to this point.

5. Mike Leake (CIN) – 4-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 45 strikeouts, 25 walks, 66 IP

I was extremely surprised when Leake made the rotation out of spring training, but it really looks like the Reds knew what they were doing here (shocking, I know). Leake isn’t necessarily going to be a fantasy darling, as he probably isn’t going to strike out enough hitters to make him very valuable for that. But he has shown to this point that he is definitely a good Major League pitcher.

Other NL Candidates: Starlin Castro (CHC), Buster Posey (SF), Ian Desmond (WAS), Ike Davis (NYM), Gaby Sanchez (FLA), Jhoulys Chacin (COL)

Only Desmond and Sanchez made their respective teams out of Spring Training, and while they are both having good rookie seasons, their seasons do not compare to the 5 players discussed previously. Castro, Posey, and Davis have all added much needed energy to their teams, in addition to some offense, but unfortunately they will run into the same problem as Desmond and Sanchez, in that it is a very good rookie class this year.

The Month in Review – May 2010


Now fully 1/3 of the way into the season at this point, we’re starting to see some separation between the elite teams in the Majors and the rest of the league. Although there are very few teams who have been blown out of their races to this point, there are a couple still, and many more who are not far from having that problem either.

All-Star Teams

I plan on following the same guidelines given to the managers of the All-Star game when selecting my teams for each month. Those would be:

  • 34 man rosters, 21 position players, 13 pitchers
  • Each team must be represented

Now that we’ve started receiving the voting updates for the All-Star, I will start the lineups with that, and build the team around that. All stats are through Sunday’s games.

American League


American League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
C Joe Mauer MIN .329 .404 .465 25 2 24 1
1B Mark Teixeira NYY .221 .336 .390 31 8 34 0
2B Robinson Cano NYY .362 .405 .607 36 10 37 2
3B Evan Longoria TAM .325 .391 .577 35 10 42 10
SS Derek Jeter NYY .297 .340 .425 32 5 31 5
OF Ichiro Suzuki SEA .342 .393 .421 23 1 10 13
OF Carl Crawford TAM .321 .376 .500 38 4 24 16
OF Nelson Cruz TEX .327 .405 .729 19 10 34 7
DH Vladimir Guerrero TEX .332 .361 .560 29 12 44 4
American League Reserves
Pos
Name Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
1B Justin Morneau MIN .368 .488 .667 34 11 36 0
1B Miguel Cabrera DET .352 .427 .670 33 14 48 2
OF Alex Rios CHW .312 .368 .590 32 11 27 16
OF Shin-Soo Choo CLE .280 .385 .446 26 7 25 9
IF Kevin Youkilis BOS .298 .445 .573 45 10 29 1
DH David Ortiz BOS .272 .348 .581 21 11 31 0
IF Ty Wigginton BAL .288 .369 .565 23 13 32 0
C John Jaso TAM .310 .425 .448 12 2 19 0
SS Elvis Andrus TEX .311 .398 .350 35 0 13 18
3B Jose Bautista TOR .250 .369 .600 37 16 41 3
OF Vernon Wells TOR .301 .353 .602 34 13 36 2
DH Jose Guillen KC .250 .324 .479 31 11 33 1
1B Paul Konerko CHW .262 .366 .567 28 14 33 0
American League Pitching Staff
Role Name
Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Jon Lester BOS 6 2 0 72.7 2.97 1.13 77
SP Doug Fister SEA 3 2 0 62 2.03 0.95 26
SP Andy Pettitte NYY 6 1 0 58.3 2.62 1.22 36
SP Jeff Niemann TAM 5 0 0 64.7 2.37 1.05 41
SP Jered Weaver LAA 4 2 0 68.7 3.01 1.15 74
SP David Price TAM 7 2 0 66.7 2.57 1.14 50
SP Matt Garza TAM 5 3 0 69.7 2.97 1.15 57
SP Shaun Marcum TOR 5 1 0 73 2.59 1.03 60
RP Mariano Rivera NYY 0 1 10 16.3 1.65 0.73 13
RP Rafael Soriano TAM 2 0 14 20.3 1.33 0.84 16
RP Jose Valverde DET 1 1 12 20.7 0.44 0.92 16
RP Jon Rauch MIN 1 1 12 20 2.70 1.25 14
RP Andrew Bailey OAK 0 1 10 19.7 1.37 1.02 11

And from the Senior Circuit…

National League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
C Yadier Molina STL .258 .335 .346 8 2 28 6
1B Albert Pujols STL .310 .422 .572 31 12 38 3
2B Chase Utley PHI .277 .397 .520 35 10 24 2
3B Placido Polanco PHI .306 .342 .448 26 5 21 2
SS Jimmy Rollins PHI .341 .462 .634 11 2 7 2
OF Ryan Braun MIL .318 .385 .528 38 8 32 11
OF Shane Victorino PHI .262 .317 .461 29 8 33 10
OF Jayson Werth PHI .295 .369 .578 31 9 33 2
DH Andre Ethier LAD .392 .457 .744 25 11 38 0
National League Reserves
Pos Name
Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
C Rod Barajas NYM .270 .293 .539 21 10 28 0
2B Kelly Johnson ARI .270 .373 .563 34 12 25 5
3B Scott Rolen CIN .275 .344 .550 28 11 32 0
OF Jason Heyward ATL .301 .421 .596 29 10 38 3
1B Joey Votto CIN .312 .408 .553 29 10 33 6
3B Casey McGehee MIL .302 .365 .513 25 9 41 1
SS Hanley Ramirez FLA .298 .379 .484 27 8 26 6
1B Jorge Cantu FLA .281 .332 .479 25 8 36 0
3B Ryan Zimmerman WAS .299 .374 .571 26 10 27 1
OF Jason Bay NYM .293 .381 .447 33 3 23 7
OF Andrew McCutchen PIT .313 .380 .469 29 6 14 12
IF Ryan Theriot CHC .286 .315 .316 24 0 14 9
National League Pitching Staff
Role Name Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez COL 9 1 0 71.3 0.88 0.93 61
SP Roy Halladay PHI 7 3 0 86 1.99 0.99 70
SP Tim Lincecum SF 5 1 0 66 3.00 1.12 80
SP Jaime Garcia STL 4 2 0 55.3 1.14 1.14 45
SP Roy Oswalt HOU 3 6 0 69 2.35 1.01 69
SP Josh Johnson FLA 5 2 0 70 2.19 1.04 69
SP Carlos Silva CHC 7 0 0 60.7 3.12 1.10 42
SP Jon Garland SD 6 2 0 67 2.15 1.28 42
RP Heath Bell SD 2 0 14 23 1.17 1.30 30
RP Matt Capps WAS 0 1 17 24.3 2.96 1.32 23
RP Tyler Clippard WAS 7 3 0 34.7 1.82 1.14 40
RP Carlos Marmol CHC 1 0 11 24.7 1.46 1.14 49
RP Francisco Cordero CIN 1 3 15 25 3.60 1.48 20

It’s interesting to see how things change. For the most part, each team had a player that had distinguished himself from his teammates, and the rosters are not surprisingly similar to the ones I wrote up in April.

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP -  Miguel Cabrera (DET)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – David Price (TAM)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Austin Jackson (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Jason Heyward (ATL)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

May 3-May 9
May 10-May 18
May 19-May 23

May 24-May 30

The month of May was dominated by two perfect games (the first time two have been thrown in the same season since 1880), some more prospect call ups (Starlin Castro), and further injuries (Grady Sizemore, Jimmy Rollins, Nelson Cruz). The Rays continue their dominance of the American League, as they will finish the month with the top record in the sport. The Reds have been the huge surprise, behind Joey Votto, a resurgent Scott Rolen, and rookie Mike Leake, they have the best record in the National League. The races are just going to continue to get more interesting as the months roll on here.

The Month in Review: April 2010


Well, we are a little over 1/6th of the way through the season, and we’ve seen quite a bit already. At the end of each month, I will go over  some of the larger stories, name my season-to-this-point All-Star teams, and my season-to-point award winners.

All-Star Teams

I plan on following the same guidelines given to the managers of the All-Star game when selecting my teams for each month. Those would be:

  • 34 man rosters, 21 position players, 13 pitchers
  • Each team must be represented

Beyond that, I plan on not necessarily using any voting that may or may not have occurred yet, because to me, the voting is always biased toward the larger market teams.

American League

Starters
C – Joe Mauer (MIN): .345/.406/.500, 1 HR, 13 RBI
1B – Paul Konerko (CHW): .297/.413/.784, 11 HR, 21 RBI
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY): .400/.436/.765, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB
3B – Evan Longoria (TAM): .341/.400/.602, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY): .330/.354/521, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Vernon Wells (TOR): .337/.396/.717, 8 HR, 16 RBI, SB
OF – Carl Crawford (TAM): .337/.390/.551, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB
OF – Nelson Cruz (TEX): .323/.419/.758, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 5 SB
DH – Jose Guillen (KC): .304/.337/.609, 7 HR, 19 RBI, SB

Reserves

C – Jorge Posada (NYY): .310/.394/.638, 5 HR, 12 RBI
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET): .344/.427/.615, 5 HR, 25 RBI
1B – Justin Morneau (MIN): .347/.490/.640, 5 HR, 17 RBI
1B – Kendry Morales (LAA): .295/.347/.523, 6 HR, 16 RBI
2B – Dustin Pedroia (BOS): .302/.343/.573, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB
IF – Ty Wigginton (BAL): .308/.395/.631, 6 HR, 12 RBI
SS – Alex Gonzalez (TOR): .289/.317/.629, 7 HR, 19 RBI
OF – Shin-Soo Choo (CLE): .317/.429/.500, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB
OF – Brett Gardner (NYY): .323/.397/.385, 6 RBI, 10 SB
OF – Austin Jackson (DET): .364/.422/.495, HR, 7 RBI, 5 SB
OF – Scott Podsednik (KC): .350/.418/.375, 8 RBI, 8 SB
OF – Andruw Jones (CHW): .259/.394/.630, 6 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB

Pitchers

Matt Garza (TAM): 4-1, 2.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 35 IP
Francisco Liriano (MIN): 3-0, 0.93 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 29 IP
Jered Weaver (LAA): 3-0, 2.53 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 34 K, 32 IP
Colby Lewis (TEX): 3-0, 2.76 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 38 K, 32 2/3 IP
Zack Greinke (KC): 0-2, 2.56 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 27 K, 31 2/3 IP
John Danks (CHW): 3-0, 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 26 K, 29 IP
Ricky Romero (TOR): 2-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 31 K, 36 IP
Felix Hernandez (SEA): 2-1, 2.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 31 K, 36 1/3 IP
Justin Duchscherer (OAK): 2-1, 2.89 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 18 K, 28 IP
David Aardsma (SEA): 0-1, 8 SV, 2.79 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 11 K, 9 2/3 IP
Jose Valverde (DET): 0-1, 7 SV, 0.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 6 K, 12 IP
Mariano Rivera (NYY): 0-0, 7 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 9 K, 9 IP
Jon Rauch (MIN): 1-0, 7 SV, 1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 K, 10 IP

National League

Starters

C – Geovany Soto (CHC): .340/.500/.528, 3 HR, 7 RBI
1B – Albert Pujols (STL): .345/.430/.655, 7 HR, 19 RBI, SB
2B – Kelly Johnson (ARI): .313/.404/.750, 9 HR, 18 RBI
3B – Pablo Sandoval (SF): .368/.433/.575, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB
SS – Rafael Furcal (LAD): .309/.378/.420, 6 RBI, 8 SB
OF – Ryan Braun (MIL): .355/.430/581, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 6 SB
OF – Colby Rasmus (STL): .323/.463/.708, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Andre Ethier (LAD): .329/.407/592, 6 HR, 19 RBI
DH – Kosuke Fukudome (CHC): .344/.443/.641, 5 HR, 16 RBI, SB

Reserves

C – Miguel Olivo (COL): .291/.333/.600, 5 HR, 13 RBI, SB
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (SD): .288/.408/.563, 6 HR, 16 RBI
2B – Chase Utley (PHI): .275/.431/.550, 6 HR, 15 RBI, SB
2B – Dan Uggla (FLA): .295/.364/.534, 5 HR, 14 RBI, SB
3B – David Wright (NYM): .273/.430/.506, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB
3B – Jorge Cantu (FLA): .311/.354/567, 5 HR, 23 RBI
SS – Ryan Theriot (CHC): .337/.370/.386, 12 RBI, 5 SB
SS – Troy Tulowitzki (COL): .304/.350/.435, 1 HR, 13 RBI, SB
OF – Matt Kemp (LAD): .278/.333/.546, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Marlon Byrd (CHC): .348/.366/.584, 4 HR, 16 RBI, SB
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT): .299/.352/.443, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 10 SB
OF – Jayson Werth (PHI): .325/.402/.584, 3 HR, 14 RBI, SB

Pitchers

Ubaldo Jimenez (COL): 5-0, 0.79 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 31 K, 34 IP
Tim Lincecum (SF): 4-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 43 K, 35 1/3 IP
Roy Halladay (PHI): 4-1, 1.80 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 33 K, 40 IP
Mike Pelfrey (NYM): 4-0, 0.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 19 K, 26 IP
Barry Zito (SF): 4-0, 1.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 24 K, 35 1/3 IP
Josh Johnson (FLA): 2-1, 3.19 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 34 K, 31 IP
Tommy Hanson (ATL): 2-2, 2.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 33 K, 29 IP
Jamie Garcia (STL): 2-1, 1.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17 K, 26 IP
Adam Wainwright (STL): 4-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 30 K, 38 IP
Heath Bell (SD): 1-0, 7 SV, 1.80 WHIP, 1.40 WHIP, 16 K, 10 IP
Matt Lindstrom (HOU): 0-0, 6 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 11 K, 10 IP
Francisco Cordero (CIN): 1-1, 9 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13 K, 13 1/3 IP
Matt Capps (WAS): 0-0, 10 SV, 0.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 15 K, 13 1/3 IP

Overall, both of these teams ended up being a pretty fair representation I think. For most of the teams, there was at least one clear All-Star. Only with the Athletics and Astros did I really struggle particularly. It is interesting to see just how many excellent performances there were in April.

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP – Evan Longoria (TAM)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – Francisco Liriano (MIN)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Austin Jackson (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Jason Heyward (ATL)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

April 4-11
April 12-18
April 19-25
April 26-May 2

To me, the stories that really dominated baseball were the emergence of the new rookie class (Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward, Mike Leake), Big Carlos Zambrano being sent to the bullpen, and the struggles of the Red Sox early on. Feel free to look through the weekly links to see some of the other top stories last month. We also saw the hot start of the Rays, and a no-hitter from Ubaldo Jimenez. Nothing quite like baseball.

The Week in Review: April 26th – May 2nd


If the Playoffs Started Today

New York AL (16-8) (WC) vs. Minnesota (16-9) (C)
Texas (13-12) (W) vs. Tampa Bay (18-7) (E)

San Francisco (16-10) (WC) vs. St. Louis (17-8) (C)
Philadelphia (14-10) (E) vs. San Diego (16-9) (W)

This Week’s Top Performers

Albert Pujols (STL) – .571/.654/.857, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, SB
Adrian Beltre (BOS) – .520/.556/.640. 3 RBI, 2 R
Austin Jackson (DET) – .483/.531/.655, HR, 2 RBI, 9 R, 2 SB
Kosuke Fukudome (CHC) – .476/.633/1.048, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R
David Freese (STL) – .440/.481/.760, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 R, SB
Alfonso Soriano (CHC) – .400/.500/1.100, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
Robinson Cano (NYY) – .440/.481/1.000, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – .391/.444/783, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 3 SB

Zack Greinke (KC) – 15 IP, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 11 K
Francisco Liriano (MIN) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 19 K
Josh Johnson (FLA) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 20 K
Justin Verlander (DET) – W, 14 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 K
Yovani Gallardo (MIL) – 2 W, 13 IP, 0.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 15 K
Clay Hensley (FLA) – 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, 13 K

Roster Movement and Job Changes:

Disabled List:

  • Returning this Week: Ian Kinsler, Aaron Rowand
  • Going On the DL: Brett Anderson, Nelson Cruz, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Hammel, Pat Neshek, Curtis Granderson

Promotions and Demotions:

  • Coming: Wilson Ramos, Brad Bergesen, Mike Aviles, Alfredo Simon, Max Ramirez, Jhoulys Chacin
  • Going: Jim Johnson, Alex Gordon, Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • On Monday, it was announced that the Cubs and White Sox would play their interleague series for the Crosstown Cup trophy. The winner would be whichever team won the most games, or if they tied, who won the last game. To me, this is just posturing, as this rivalry was pretty intense. I’ve been in Chicago the weekend of one of these series, and you can feel the tension in the air.
  • Also on Monday, the Phillies announced that they had signed slugging 1B Ryan Howard to a 5 year, $125 million contract extension. The reaction across baseball seemed to be that this was a terrible signing. The bigger impact seems to be what this does for other free agent 1B after 2011 like Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols. I think as a result of this we could very well see our first $30+M annual average contract, and even potentially our first $300 M total contract.
  • Dents are starting to show in the armor of one of the greatest closers ever, as Trevor Hoffman proceeded to blow 2 saves in as many days to the Pirates on Tuesday and Wednesday. Manager Ken Macha said he will be sticking with him, and I would think that if anyone has earned the right to an extremely long leash, it’s Hoffman.
  • MLB and the Players’ Union approved changes to the All-Star Game, but nothing of particular substance. Included: DH every season, an extra player (bringing the rosters to 34 with 13 pitchers). The most important change is that pitchers who pitch on the Sunday prior to the All-Star Break will be replaced on the roster with pitchers who have not pitched that day. Overall, some decent changes. Could this be a small enough break that we may see the NL push to adopt the DH full-time as well?
  • Jeff Passan over at Yahoo Sports wrote up a very interesting article about the impact that the new immigration law passed in Arizona could have on baseball at large. I am not sure exactly whether or not this SHOULD be impacting baseball, but it has already started to some extent, as there were protesters at the Cubs-Diamondbacks game in Chicago over the weekend. This is probably an issue that will not be clear of baseball anytime soon.

Tomorrow I will have a month-in-review post up for the recently completed April. It will also include my All-Star teams after one month.

The Week in Review – April 12-April 18


It’s been a pretty busy week, what with a 20 inning game, a no-hitter, and some really excellent performances.

If the Playoffs Started Today (Which Clearly, They Don’t)

Tampa Bay (WC) vs. Minnesota (C)
Oakland (W) vs. New York (E)

St. Louis (C) vs. Philadelphia (E)
Florida (WC) vs. San Francisco (W)

Last Week’s Top Performers

Shin-Soo Choo (CLE) – .579/.680/1.211, 3 HR, 11 RBI, SB, 5 R
Jose Guillen (KC) – .462/.500/.885, 3 HR, 5 RBI, SB, 7 R
Brett Gardner (NYY) – .385/.529/.385, 5 R, RBI, 4 SB
Denard Span (MIN) – .381/.552/.524, 8 R, 3 RBI, 3 SB
Ty Wigginton (BAL) – .348/.385/.913, 6 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI
Derek Jeter (NYY) – .500/.500/.955, 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI
Ivan Rodriguez (WAS) – .476/.500/.714, 7 R, 7 RBI, SB
Dan Uggla (FLA) – .464/.484/.821, 7 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Chase Utley (PHI) – .333/.481/1.048, 8 R, 5 HR, 8 RBI
Matt Kemp (LAD) – .333/.414/.875, 8 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI, SB
Andre Ethier (LAD) – ..423/.464/.769, 4 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI

Adam Wainwright (STL) – 17 IP, 1.06 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 2 W, 16 K
Matt Garza (TAM) – 16 IP, 0.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 2 W, 10 K
Ricky Romero (TOR) – 16 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, W, 18 K
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – 12 1/3 IP, 2.19 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, W, 16 K
Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 9 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, W, 7 K (no-hitter)
Felipe Lopez (STL) – 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP

Roster Movement and Job Changes

The biggest changes involved all the disabled list movement:

  • Chris Getz of the Royals was placed on the disabled list, and Alex Gordon was activated to take his spot on the roster.
  • Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies was placed on the disabled list, with Juan Castro replacing him in the lineup. Rollins should be out a few weeks.
  • Esmailin Caridad of the Cubs was placed on the disabled list
  • Aaron Rowand of the Giants was placed on the disabled list.
  • Brian Roberts and Felix Pie of the Orioles were both placed on the disabled list. It sounds like Roberts may be out for an extended period of time.
  • Kelly Shoppach of the Rays.
  • Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays
  • Brian Fuentes of the Angels was placed on the disabled list, and Fernando Rodney immediately filled the closer’s role for him.

Also of some note last week was that 2nd year pitcher Brett Anderson signed a contract extension that could take him through the next 6 seasons. Risk on both sides, but I think that the A’s have probably locked up an ace for these next 6 seasons at minimal cost.

Top Rookie Performers

Jason Heyward continues to be the story, as he is now hitting .302/.423/.581 with 3 HR and 15 RBI in just the first two weeks of the season. He finished up last week with a 3-rbi day yesterday, including a walk-off 2 run single. At this rate, I would be shocked if anyone was able to keep up with him for the Rookie of the Year. Jamie Garcia of the Cardinals had a good outing as well, throwing 7 shutout innings during Saturday’s 20 inning matchup.

In the American League, Austin Jackson of the Tigers has gotten off to a hot start, hitting .340/.389/.500 with 9 runs and 5 rbi. Of some concern is the fact that he has struck out 15 times to only 4 walks so far, but he is producing well at the top of the lineup to this point.

Top Stories and This Week’s Links

  • The biggest story of the week was the first no-hitter of the season, thrown by Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies on Saturday. He did this in spite of walking 6 batters throughout the game. And apparently on Sunday he went for a 6 mile jog to help clear his mind for his next start.
  • The Cardinals and Mets put on a clinic in poor lineup and bench management on Saturday. Their game went 20 innings, during which time the Mets ran out of players, warmed up their closer nearly every inning from the 8th onward, and had the starter from 2 days’ prior come on to get the save. However, the Cardinals won the award for the worst performance, as they ran out of pitchers after the 17th inning. So come the top of the 18th inning, 3B Felipe Lopez was called on to pitch, and managed to get through the inning without allowing a run. So in the 19th, they moved Lopez back to 3B and put the new 3B Joe Mather in for the next 2 innings, where he gave up 2 runs and ended up taking the loss.
  • Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports has a really good article about what a simulated game is. It’s a really interesting read for anyone who has heard the term but wasn’t sure what it meant exactly.
  • Vin Scully marked his 60th year with the Dodgers. He is retiring at the end of this season, and even though I’m not a Dodger fan, it is truly remarkable that Scully has continued to work with the Dodgers for all these years.