Tag Archives: Brett Myers

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

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Starting Pitchers


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. You can find my preseason rankings here and here. Next up is the review of my SP rankings.

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 25)

1.     Roy Halladay
2.     Adam Wainwright
3.     Felix Hernandez
4.     Roy Oswalt
5.     Ubaldo Jimenez
6.     Jered Weaver
7.     David Price
8.     Josh Johnson
9.     Cliff Lee
10.  Mat Latos
11.  C.C. Sabathia
12.  Jon Lester
13.  Justin Verlander
14.  Matt Cain
15.  Tim Hudson
16.  Clayton Kershaw
17.  Trevor Cahill
18.  Clay Buchholz
19.  Cole Hamels
20.  Chris Carpenter
21.  Jonathan Sanchez
22.  Tim Lincecum
23.  Brett Myers
24.  Johan Santana
25.  Ted Lilly

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The NL Walter Johnson Award


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Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we have been voting on our award winners for the regular season. Previously I have announced my votes for the Connie Mack awards (Best Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays awards (Top Rookie), and the Goose Gossage awards (Top Reliever). Now we’re starting to get down to the big boys, as I take a look at my vote for the National League’s top pitcher, the Walter Johnson award recipient.

As good as the pitching was in the American League, the sheer quantity and quality of the candidates in the National League may be even better. So many excellent season out of the league’s top pitchers lead me to believe that there had definitely been a shift of the balance towards pitchers in the National League.  Before going into the candidates themselves, let’s go over a bit of what I think the top pitcher should represent:

Wins, Losses, and Run Support

The top pitcher doesn’t necessarily need to lead the league in wins, as they are pretty clearly not a great indicator of how a pitcher actually fared. That said, they aren’t worthless either, and I think that it’s important to acknowledge that the goal of the game is to win. But with the shift to specialists out of the bullpen, I think that a pitcher has less control than he has ever had over wins. While we as baseball analysts try to find a way to establish what a pitcher is truly responsible for and what he is not, it is impossible to ignore that run support given to a pitcher also plays a key piece of wins. A pitcher could throw a perfect game, but if the team doesn’t score any runs for him in the game, he won’t necessarily still earn himself a win.

ERA, WHIP, FIP, SIERA, and WAR

I’ve discussed before why ERA is a deceiving statistic, and I think it will definitely show itself to be true as we review the cases for the top pitchers. But coupled with advanced statistics like FIP, SIERA, and WAR, I think we start to get an idea of whether or not a pitcher was truly dominant, a bit lucky, or somewhere in between. They provide value to look at, but can’t be the end all of statistics to look at. WHIP falls a bit in the same category for me as well.

Strikeouts, Walks, and Innings Pitched

Strikeouts and walks are really two of the few things that a pitcher can really exert control over. More strikeouts generally are a good thing, and less walks are always a good thing. They are also taken into the picture by me and are given weight along with the other statistics. Innings pitched to me represent not only the trust that the manager of their team places in their ability to get out of jams, but also their ability to get outs.

Intangibles

There’s always a little bit of the human element to pitching, and I think it’s important to look at some of the things that aren’t necessarily measurable. These can include, but are definitely not limited to: whether the pitcher is in the playoff race, what kind of stories are occurring around the team, and even the role that the pitcher is being asked to fill.

With all that (phew!), here’s my top candidates for the NL Walter Johnson award. Players are listed from east to west, and my vote will be at the bottom. For this award, it’s a 5 person ballot. Also, when you’re talking about the best of anything, it invariably ends up a bit nit-picky when it comes to differentiating candidates. Everyone on this list had a great season, and it just comes down to trying to determine small ways in which one was better than the rest. There’s not a whole lot to say about each player as a result, and so instead here are the statistics that I looked at for each player, and then I’ll go into my logic for my decision.

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Original Draft Series: #11 – Philadelphia Phillies


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

Team #12: Philadelphia Phillies

General Managers(since 1994)

Lee Thomas (1994-1997): 258-325
Ed Wade (1998-2005): 643-652
Pat Gillick (2006-2008): 266-220
Ruben Amaro Jr (2009-Current): 93-69

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Carlos Ruiz Int’l FA – 1998 12 440 gm, .256/.347/.390, 27 HR, 165 RBI, 10 SB Currently with Org.
1B Ryan Howard 2001 – 5th Rd 9 2005 NL ROY, 2006 NL MVP, 3 All-Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
836 gm, .281/.373/.578, 245 HR, 721 RBI
Currently with Org.
2B

2000 – 1st Rd (15) 10 5 All Star Appearances, 4 Silver Sluggers
963 gm, .294/.380/.518, 172 HR, 622 RBI, 88 SB
Currently with Org.
3B Scott Rolen 1993 – 2nd Rd 9 1997 NL ROY, 1 All Star Appearance, 3 Gold Gloves
844 gm, .282/.373/.504, 150 HR, 559 RBI, 71 SB
Traded to STL – 7/29/02
SS Jimmy Rollins 1996 – 2nd Rd 14 2007 NL MVP, 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger
1456 gm, .273/.329/.437, 150 HR, 646 RBI, 335 SB
Currently with Org.
LF Pat Burrell 1998 – 1st Rd (1) 10 1306 gm, .257/.367/.485, 251 HR, 827 RBI Left via Free Agency – 11/6/08
CF Michael Bourn 2003 – 4th Rd 4 122 gm, .268/.340/.362, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 19 SB Traded to HOU – 11/7/07
RF Marlon Byrd
1999 – 10th Rd 6 256 gm, .271/.332/.377, 13 HR, 79 RBI, 13 SB Traded to WAS – 5/14/05
DH Domonic Brown 2006 – 20th Rd 4 7 gm, .259/.241/.296, 6 RBI, 1 SB Currently with Org.
SP Cole Hamels 2002 – 1st Rd (17) 8 1 All Star Appearance
55-41, 3.65 ERA, 824 K, 233 BB, 875.2 IP
Currently with Org.
SP Randy Wolf
1997 – 2nd Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
69-60, 4.21 ERA, 971 K, 437 BB, 1175 IP
Left via Free Agency – 11/1/06
SP J.A. Happ 2004 – 3rd Rd 6 14-5, 3.11 ERA, 159 K, 84 BB, 217 IP Traded to HOU – 7/29/10
SP Brett Myers
1999 – 1st Rd (12) 10 73-63, 4.40 ERA, 21 SV, 986 K, 413 BB, 1183.2 IP Left via Free Agency – 11/6/09
SP Gavin Floyd 2001 – 1st Rd (4) 5 7-5, 6.96 ERA, 75 K, 64 BB, 108.2 IP Traded to CHW – 12/6/06
RP Robinson Tejeda Int’l FA – 1998 7 4-3, 3.57 ERA, 72 K, 51 BB, 85.2 IP Traded to TEX – 4/1/06
RP Alfredo Simon Int’l FA – 1999 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SF – 7/30/04
RP Kyle Kendrick 2003 – 7th Rd 7 31-18, 4.58 ERA, 196 K, 125 BB, 430.2 IP Currently with Org.
RP Ryan Madson 1998 – 9th Rd 12 41-27, 3.86 ERA, 19 SV, 449 K, 167 BB, 539 IP Currently with Org.
RP Taylor Buchholz 2000 – 6th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to HOU – 11/3/03
CL Brad Ziegler 2003 – 20th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 3/28/04
BN Carlos Silva
Int’l FA – 1996 7 8-1, 3.83 ERA, 89 K, 59 BB, 171.1 IP Traded to MIN- 12/3/03
BN Jason Donald 2006 – 3rd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 7/29/09
BN Lou Marson 2004 – 4th Rd 5 8 gm, .286/.375/.476, 1 HR, 2 RBI Traded to CLE – 7/29/09
BN Nick Punto 1998 – 21st Rd 5 77 gm, .223/.273/.272, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB Traded to Min – 12/3/03
BN Jason Michaels 1998 – 4th Rd 7 383 gm, .291/.380/.442, 21 HR, 100 RBI, 6 SB Traded to CLE – 1/27/06

June Amateur Draft

Well, they’ve done very well in the first few rounds of the draft. Clearly, adding players like Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Brett Myers in the first round is going to help. But the team has done well in the next 3 rounds as well, getting Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Scott Rolen, and Randy Wolf. This is one of the first teams that I can remember where I was able to put a solid major league regular into nearly every spot in the lineup and into the starting rotation, and it’s almost entirely from the draft. But they’ve also done well in later rounds, with Domonic Brown being the highest potential of anyone they’ve drafted after the 10th round so far. Even the players that they drafted that have not done a whole lot (Jason Donald, Lou Marson) were both used to acquire Cliff Lee in 2009.

International Free Agency

They have not been as active in international free agency as some teams, but with the success they’ve had in the draft, it’s not as glaring as a problem. The team has only had two success stories from the IFA markets in Carlos Silva and Carlos Ruiz. While it’s not a lot, there’s a lot of hope for Ruiz yet.

Overall Grade

B+. With 2 home grown MVPs, and quite a few players who would be welcome on any team in Chase Utley, Scott Rolen, and Cole Hamels, the team has done extremely well at not only scouting these players, but developing them and getting production for their own team out of them as well. The only weakness is the bullpen, but I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that the bullpen is something that any team can fill in with a little diligence. The fact that they have solid regulars at every lineup position, and 5 excellent starting pitchers leads me to give them this good grade.

Team Preview – Houston Astros


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C J.R. Towles SP 1 Roy Oswalt
1B Lance Berkman SP 2 Wandy Rodriguez
2B Kaz Matsui SP 3 Brett Myers
3B Pedro Feliz SP 4 Brian Moehler
SS Tommy Manzella SP 5 Bud Norris
LF Carlos Lee Bullpen
CF Michael Bourn CL Brandon Lyon
RF Hunter Pence RP Matt Lindstrom
Bench RP Jeff Fulchino
IF Jeff Keppinger RP Tim Byrdak
OF Jason Michaels RP Chris Sampson

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brett Myers Free Agency SS Miguel Tejada Free Agency
RP Brandon Lyon Free Agency RP Jose Valverde Free Agency
3B Pedro Feliz Free Agency RP LaTroy Hawkins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jordan Lyles (P), Jason Castro (C), Jiovanni Mier (SS)

2009 Review

The Astros posted a very poor campaign in 2009, finishing in 5th place in the division with a 74-88 record. This performance cost manager Cecil Cooper his job with about 2 weeks to go in the season. The team was not good on offense, but did have a few bright spots. CF Michael Bourn really came into his own, posting a .285 batting average with 61 steals and 97 runs scored. LF Carlos Lee hit .300 with 26 HR and 102 RBI. RF Hunter Pence had his best year so far, hitting 25 HR and stealing 16 bases along with a .282 batting average. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez posted an excellent year, going 14-12 with a 3.03 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched. And closer Jose Valverde recorded 25 saves to go with a 2.33 ERA.

Unfortunately, the top performers were not nearly enough to counteract some of the poor performances across the field. Starters Brian Moehler, Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Felipe Paulino made 80 starts between them, and all posted ERAs over 5. 2B Kaz Matsui played solid defense, but hit .250 with only 9 HR and 19 SB. The Astros were also reliant on Geoff Blum to man 3B for most of the season, where he hit .247 with 10 HR. There appeared to be a severe lack of ability at some positions, at least for what you would expect out of a team trying to contend for a division title anyway.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Astros made a few moves this offseason, but almost all of them were to plug holes that were either made by outgoing free agents or that had already been there previously. Brett Myers is a good low-risk high-reward type pitcher, and will hopefully be able to return to his 200 innings pitched form. They have improved their defense at 3B and SS with Pedro Feliz and rookie Tommy Manzella. They will hope for a rebound year from both 1B Lance Berkman and SP Roy Oswalt.

For me, this team just doesn’t look like it is going to score enough runs. They have essentially black holes at C, 2B, and SS. 3B is really not a lot better either. The back end of the bullpen (Fulchino, Byrdak, Sampson) is not bad, but it’s not particularly amazing either. This really appears to be a team that is middling at best within their division.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The Astros’ outfield is the best place to find solid fantasy players, as all three (Lee, Bourn, and Pence) are all ownable in all league formats. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez is the best of the group, and SP Roy Oswalt is a player I might take a chance on, as he has performed in the past, just not this last season unfortunately. 1B Lance Berkman is also someone to watch, although he will start the season on the disabled list. The best sleeper of this bunch is probably Brett Myers, as he could potentially post a 200 strikeout season if he returns to form. That’s a big if to me though.

Prediction for 2010

The Astros appear to have a plan in place on how to improve, but they’re not going to get there this season.

73-89, 5th in the NL Central