Tag Archives: Garrett Atkins

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: #5 – Colorado Rockies


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

Team #5: Colorado Rockies

General Managers(since 1994)

Bob Gebhart (1994-1998): 512-559
Dan O’Dowd (1999-Current): 769-852

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Chris Iannetta 2004 – 4th Rd 6 333 gm, .236/.355/.440, 48 HR, 178 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Todd Helton 1995 – 1st Rd (8) 15 5 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers
1906 gm, .324/.423/.556, 331 HR, 1230 RBI, 36 SB
Currently with Org.
2B Chone Figgins
1997 – 4th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to LAA – 7/13/01
3B Garrett Atkins 2000 – 5th Rd 9 773 gm, .289/.354/.457, 98 HR, 479 RBI Non Tendered – 12/12/09
SS Troy Tulowitzki 2005 – 1st Rd (7) 5 1 All Star Appearance
528 gm, .290/.362/.481, 78 HR, 302 RBI, 40 SB
Currently with Org.
LF Matt Holliday 1998 – 7th Rd 10 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
698 gm, .319/.386/.552, 128 HR, 483 RBI, 66 SB
Traded to OAK – 11/10/08
CF Juan Pierre 1998 – 13th Rd 4 359 gm, .308/.356/.371, 110 RBI, 100 SB Traded to FLA – 11/16/02
RF Brad Hawpe
2000 – 11th Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance
816 gm, .280/.374/.492, 118 HR, 464 RBI, 13 SB
Released – 7/26/10
DH Ian Stewart 2003 – 1st Rd (10) 7 378 gm, .247/.333/.456, 54 HR, 180 RBI, 13 SB Currently with Org.
SP Ubaldo Jimenez Int’l FA – 2001 9 1 All Star Appearance
48-34, 3.51 ERA, 690.2 IP, 611 K, 300 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Aaron Cook
1997 – 2nd Rd 13 1 All Star Appearance
68-58, 4.42 ERA, 1210.1 IP, 506 K, 370 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Jake Westbrook 1996 – 1st Rd(21) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 11/18/97
SP Jeff Francis
2002 – 1st Rd (9) 8 55-48, 4.72 ERA, 871 IP, 595 K, 284 BB Currently with Org.
SP Jhoulys Chacin
Int’l FA – 2004 6 7-10, 3.80 ERA, 118.1 IP, 125 K, 61 BB Currently with Org.
RP Jamey Wright 1993 – 1st Rd (28) 6 35-52, 5.40 ERA, 791.2 IP, 381 K, 387 BB Traded to MIL – 12/13/99
RP Matt Daley Amateur FA – 2004 6 1-2, 4.09 ERA, 72.2 IP, 72 K, 27 BB Currently with Org.
RP Franklin Morales Int’l FA – 2002 8 7-9, 4.95 ERA, 127.1 IP, 93 K, 75 BB Currently with Org.
RP Esmil Rogers Int’l FA – 2003 7 2-2, 5.28 ERA, 59.2 IP, 52 K, 21 BB Currently with Org.
RP Greg Reynolds 2006 – 1st Rd (2) 4 2-8, 8.13 ERA, 62 IP, 22 K, 26 BB Currently with Org.
CL Manny Corpas Int’l FA – 1999 11 12-16, 3.93 ERA, 34 SV, 286 IP, 206 K, 80 BB Currently with Org.
BN Clint Barmes
2000 – 10th Rd 10 649 gm, .254/.300/.405, 61 HR, 285 RBI, 39 SB Currently with Org.
BN Seth Smith 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 319 gm, .277/.352/.495, 35 HR, 119 RBI, 7 SB Currently with Org.
BN Eric Young Jr 2003 – 30th Rd 7 62 gm, .238/.301/.298, 4 RBI, 17 SB Currently with Org.
BN Dexter Fowler 2004 – 14th Rd 6 253 gm, .255/.351/.398, 8 HR, 66 RBI, 39 SB Currently with Org.
BN Juan Uribe
Int’l FA – 1997 6 672 gm, .251/.293/.431, 87 HR, 324 RBI, 16 SB Traded to CHW – 12/2/03

June Amateur Draft

The Rockies have really capitalized on their draft picks, getting a lot of good players out of the first 5 rounds of the draft every season. Todd Helton is probably the best player that the Rockies have ever had, but right behind him are also Jeff Francis, Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, and Brad Hawpe in terms of great players out of the draft. Nearly every position in the starting lineup also had a player who was reasonable to be on the bench for this group as well (Barmes, Smith, Uribe). I really like how this team has developed, and has also gotten better by moving Holliday prior to his free agency for Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street both.

International Free Agency

The Rockies haven’t been nearly as active in the international market as some other teams, but the players that they have gotten seem to have done very well for the team. Ubaldo Jimenez has developed into a definite #1 starter, and Manny Corpas has closed for the team in the past. While there are still a lot of works-in-progress, especially Franklin Morales and Esmil Rogers, the team seems to be going about the international market the right way.

Overall Grade

A. The Rockies have done well overall in both markets, and developed a very good team for this purpose. Nearly every player in their lineup was a potential All-Star when they were in their prime, and the Rockies caught quite a bit of those years as well. Their starting rotation is solid, and the bullpen is full of serviceable pitchers as well. Honestly, I even like their bench, as these players would probably be starters for a lot of the teams below them in the rankings.

Free Agency Review – C/1B/3B


All week, I will be recapping the free agency signings this offseason, by position. Today’s group: Catchers and Corner Infielders (1B, 3B)

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Catchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Bengie Molina SF SF 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Olivo KC COL 1 $2.5 M
Ivan Rodriguez TEX WAS 2 $6 M
Jason Kendall MIL KCR 2 $6 M
Gregg Zaun TAM MIL 1 $2.15 M
John Buck KC TOR 1 $2 M
Brian Schneider NYM PHI 2 $2.75 M
Yorvit Torrealba COL SD 1 $1.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Rod Barajas (TOR)

There really wasn’t a lot of available jobs for catchers this offseason, as realistically 5 jobs were vacated by free agents. Bengie Molina probably did the best, in my opinion, as he got the highest annual salary ($4.5 M), and managed to go to a team that has a very good prospect waiting in the wings. Of some concern was the fact that Molina had an even better offer on the table from the Mets, and turned it down anyway. Ivan Rodriguez was probably my favorite signing for a specific team, as he should be a real help to the Nationals rotation and lineup with his experience, and his winning track record. Nearly all of these signings are of the low-risk, high-potential variety, and no really big contracts either.

First Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Adam LaRoche ATL ARI 1 $6 M
Aubrey Huff DET SF 1 $3 M
Nick Johnson FLA NYY 1 $5.75 M
Troy Glaus STL ATL 1 $1.75 M
Jason Giambi COL COL 1 $1.75 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Russell Branyan (SEA), Carlos Delgado (NYM), Hank Blalock (TEX)

This year’s crop of free agent first basemen really didn’t have a lot of high-end talent, with Branyan and LaRoche probably having the best seasons of any of the players available. As a result, we saw exclusively 1 year contracts for most players, and some still looking for work. Branyan is really the biggest surprise, although his published demands early on during the offseason may have scared away a lot of teams. Next year’s class of 1B free agents is extremely strong, including Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Pena. This may also have contributed to the lack of long contracts, as teams may not want to tie up the position for next season’s bonanza. Another group of lower-risk, higher-potential contracts that if they don’t work, will not really cause any problems for the teams that signed them.

Third Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Mark DeRosa STL SF 2 $12 M
Adam Kennedy OAK WAS 1 $1.25 M
Chone Figgins LAA SEA 4 $36 M
Adrian Beltre SEA BOS 1 $10 M
Melvin Mora BAL COL 1 $1.3 M
Garrett Atkins COL BAL 1 $4.5 M
Pedro Feliz PHI HOU 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Tejada HOU BAL 1 $6 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Joe Crede (MIN)

3rd base actually had some solid free agent signings, with some big dollars as well. Beltre got the highest annual salary at $10 M from the Red Sox. That contract actually seemed like a bit of a surprise, as the Red Sox still have Mike Lowell who will now be relegated to bench duty. Figgins was the cream of the crop of this group, and got a well-deserved $36 M contract from the Mariners. The other signing I really found interesting was the Miguel Tejada signing. Tejada has never played 3B before, but will be moving to the position in his return to the Orioles. It looks like a really good value signing for the Orioles, and provides some more veteran leadership in the Orioles clubhouse.