Tag Archives: Hideki Matsui

Season Preview: AL West


Time to move to my own team’s division, as I take a look at the AL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East and AL Central.

Last Year’s Records
Texas – 90-72
Oakland – 81-81
Los Angeles – 80-82
Seattle – 61-101

Notable Additions

Los Angeles – Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi

Oakland – Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden, Brandon McCarthy

Seattle – Miguel Olivo, Jack Cust

Texas – Adrian Beltre, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Napoli, Brandon Webb

Notable Losses

Los Angeles – Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Scot Shields

Oakland – Rajai Davis, Vin Mazzaro

Seattle – Russell Branyan, Jose Lopez

Texas – Cliff Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Frank Francisco

Continue reading

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.

Team Preview – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Mike Napoli SP 1 Jered Weaver
1B Kendry Morales SP 2 Scott Kazmir
2B Howie Kendrick SP 3 Joe Saunders
3B Brandon Wood SP 4 Joel Pineiro
SS Erick Aybar SP 5 Ervin Santana
LF Juan Rivera Bullpen
CF Torii Hunter CL Brian Fuentes
RF Bobby Abreu RP Fernando Rodney
DH Hideki Matsui RP Scot Shields
Bench RP Rich Thompson
C Jeff Mathis RP Sean O’Sullivan
IF Maicer Izturis RP Sean Palmer

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency DH Vladimir Guerrero Free Agency
DH Hideki Matsui Free Agency SP John Lackey Free Agency
SP Joel Pineiro Free Agency 3B Chone Figgins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Trevor Reckling (P), Hank Conger (C), Peter Bourjos (OF), Mike Trout (OF)

2009 Review

The Angels were the class of the AL West last season, winning the division by 10 games. They were led on the offense by Torii Hunter (.299/.366/.508, 22 HR 90 RBI, 18 SB), Bobby Abreu (.293/.390/.435, 15 HR, 103 RBI, 30 SB), and Kendry Morales (.306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 108 RBI). The pitching staff was led by Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75 ERA), Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60), and John Lackey (11-8, 3.83). The Angels met the wild-card Red Sox in the division round of the playoffs, and swept them pretty handily. This led them to the AL East Champion Yankees, and unfortunately were eliminated in 6 games.

Morales finally showed the promise that had been talked about, and actually performed similarly to the man he replaced in Mark Teixeira. Free agent signee Bobby Abreu brought another solid performance as well, and first-year closer Brian Fuentes led the league with 48 saves. Late season acquisition Scott Kazmir rebounded from his poor performance while in Tampa with a 2-2 record and 1.73 ERA in 6 starts.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Angels needed to address some rather glaring holes during the offseason, most notably with free agents John Lackey and Chone Figgins signing with other teams. They started before the season even ended by acquiring SP Scott Kazmir from the Rays. I think that they did very well to get DH Hideki Matsui to replace some of the production of outgoing DH Vladimir Guerrero, and adding Joel Pineiro to their rotation should also give them some solid innings toward the back-end of the rotation.

The one need that I think that they didn’t really address was the loss of Chone Figgins. Brandon Wood is currently slotted in to replace Figgins at 3B, and should provide some excellent power now that he’s being given the chance to play full time. But I don’t think that the Angels have really got a player that can hit at the top of the order and provide that type of production like Figgins.

The pitching staff is now led by Jered Weaver, and slots in solid started behind in Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, and Joel Pineiro. The bullpen I believe will be the same strength, as they have signed Fernando Rodney to help fill the innings that Jose Arredondo was throwing, and could potentially close if something were to happen to Brian Fuentes.

I don’t think that they will see a lot of promoted prospects from their top lists, as many of their best prospects are still at AA or below. Brandon Wood should be really exciting to see with full-time playing time, and has the potential to hit 30 homers at some point.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Top players for the Angels for fantasy purposes include 1B Kendry Morales, C Mike Napoli, CF Torii Hunter, RF Bobby Abreu, and SP Jered Weaver. In deeper leagues, SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, and DH Hideki Matsui should all provide some value as well. The Angels have two high-upside players available in my opinion: SP Scott Kazmir and SP Ervin Santana. Both of them have the potential to strikeout a batter per inning, and post solid numbers. They have both done it in their past, and could definitely do it again.

Prediction for 2010

The AL West has gotten better, and while it hasn’t been a huge jump forward, that coupled with the slight step back of the Angels, leads me to think that this division is really wide open. The Angels have become known for outperforming the Pythagorean expected win-loss record, so it wouldn’t really surprise me for them to outperform it again. I think that they will finish extremely close to the top, if they don’t win it all. As of right now, I think the Angels will finish 2nd, but it’s going to be extremely close.

86-76, T-2nd in the AL West

Team Preview – New York Yankees


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Jorge Posada SP 1 C.C. Sabathia
1B Mark Teixeira SP 2 A.J. Burnett
2B Robinson Cano SP 3 Andy Pettitte
3B Alex Rodriguez SP 4 Javier Vazquez
SS Derek Jeter SP 5 Chad Gaudin
LF Brett Gardner Bullpen
CF Curtis Granderson CL Mariano Rivera
RF Nick Swisher RP Phil Hughes
DH Nick Johnson RP Joba Chamberlain
Bench RP Alfredo Aceves
OF Randy Winn RP Damaso Marte
C Fernando Cervelli RP Boone Logan

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Javy Vasquez Trade (ATL) SP Chien-Ming Wang Non-Tender
CF Curtis Granderson Trade (DET) OF Melky Cabrera Trade (ATL)
1B Nick Johnson Free Agency DH Hideki Matsui Free Agency
RP Boone Logan Trade (ATL) LF Johnny Damon Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jesus Montero (C/DH), Austin Romine (C), Manny Banuelos (P), Slade Heathcott (OF)

2009 Review

The Yankees came into the season not knowing exactly how their year would go. Alex Rodriguez would miss the first month of the season recuperating from an injury, and it was unclear how new Yankees Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett would perform. The Yankees had outspent the entire rest of the league in the offseason, and expectations were that they would win a World Series. After a semi-slow start (12-10 in April), the Yankees went completely nuts and never really looked back. They finished the season with a 103-59 record, winning the AL East by 8 games.

The Yankees were lead by the Captain, SS Derek Jeter, who had one of the best seasons of his career (.334, 18 HR, 30 SB), and 1B Mark Teixeira (.292, 39 HR, 122 RBI). Sabathia (19-8, 3.37 ERA) led the rotation which saw a lot of movement during the season behind Burnett and Pettitte.

The Yankees performed well in the postseason, sweeping the Twins before defeating the Angels 4-2 in the ALCS. While the World Series against the Phillies took 6 games to win, the Yankees did win it pretty handily, with Cliff Lee winning the only two games for the Phillies.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Yankees may have actually improved themselves this offseason, which considering that they won the World Series, is saying something. They’ve brought more stability to their rotation, adding Javy Vasquez, and replaced the production of LF Johnny Damon by acquiring CF Curtis Granderson. Whether or not Nick Johnson will provide what Hideki Matsui did remains to be seen, but he shouldn’t be a particularly big dropoff if he doesn’t. I think that their only real glaring problem could be at the very back end of the starting rotation. I slotted Chad Gaudin in there right now, although it will most likely be Joba Chamberlain. The Joba rules will probably be adjusted again this season, and allow him to get closer to 200 IP, if not going past it entirely. However, the inconsistency of that spot in the rotation could be of some concern. The good news for the Yankees is that they have lots of people that they can draw from to help fill that slot (Gaudin, Hughes, Aceves).

Brian Cashman has really done well again this offseason to help address some of the major problems that appeared with the major league team. The Yankees are constantly known for spending unbelievable amounts of money, but recently they have done well in how they have spent that money. They don’t rely too heavily on their farm system, which means that the players that they do develop (Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson) can be moved to help get other pieces that they will need along the way. As long as the ownership continues to allow him to do his job, and trust that he and his staff know what they are doing, the Yankees will always be competitive for not only the AL East, but the American League as a whole, and the World Series as well.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Lots of fantasy goodness here, with 3B Alex Rodriguez and 1B Mark Teixeira headlining this group. Nearly every position will provide solid fantasy value, with 2B Robinson Cano, C Jorge Posada, SS Derek Jeter, CF Curtis Granderson, SP C.C. Sabathia, SP A.J. Burnett, SP Javier Vasquez, and RP Mariano Rivera all expected to be drafted in most leagues. Even players like RF Nick Swisher and 1B/DH Nick Johnson will provide value in most leagues. There’s always a lot to like for fantasy with Yankee players.

Prediction for 2010

The Yankees have to be the prohibitive favorite to repeat as World Series champs in my opinion, but I will leave my predictions for how the playoffs will work out for another day. At this point, let me just say that I think they will be right in the thick of it again this season.

97-65, 1st in the AL East

Free Agency Review – OF/DH


Continuing on with my review of the 2010 free agent class, today’s positions are the outfielders and designated hitters.

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

Corner Outfielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Jason Bay BOS NYM 4 $66 M
Matt Holliday STL STL 7 $120 M
Xavier Nady NYY CHC 1 $3.3 M
Randy Winn SF NYY 1 $1.1 M
Marlon Byrd TEX CHC 3 $15 M
Bobby Abreu LAA LAA 2 $19 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Johnny Damon (NYY), Jermaine Dye (CHW)

What an unusual offseason. Holliday gets $120 M from the Cardinals, despite appearing to have no other offers even remotely as large or as long. Bay takes about $6 M more than the Red Sox offered, and goes to a park which I have to imagine is not going to be as good for him as a hitter as Fenway was. And then there is the case of Johnny Damon. As of this writing, Damon is STILL unsigned. He was looking for a very large contract, with 3-4 years in length and a large quantity of money. After the season he had last year, he appears to have been well within his rights to ask for it, too. Unfortunately, no one’s willing to pay it. Which makes the contract that Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels look that much better.

Center Fielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Rick Ankiel STL KC 1 $3.25 M
Scott Podsednik CHW KCR 1 $1.75 M
Coco Crisp KCR OAK 1 $5.25 M
Mike Cameron MIL BOS 2 $15.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Center fielders did alright this offseason, with Mike Cameron receiving the best contract overall. He’s going to be playing LF for the Red Sox most likely, although they’d probably be better served moving Jacoby Ellsbury instead. Crisp was added to the A’s outfield in spite of the logjam that was there when the offseason started, and the move makes a lot more sense now that they were able to move a couple of their excess outfielders. Both Podsednik and Ankiel aren’t going to play CF for the Royals, but I could see them splitting their time out there, and potentially in RF in place of Jose Guillen as well.

Designated Hitters
Name Old New Years Total $
Jim Thome LAD MIN 1 $1.5 M
Vladimir Guerrero LAA TEX 1 $5 M
Hideki Matsui NYY LAA 1 $6.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Not surprisingly, there were not a lot of designated hitters available, and jobs for them either. Matsui did well to take Guerrero’s old job, and get a nice salary for 2010. I really like the signing for the Angels, as Matsui is the definition of a professional hitter. Should fit in well with the rest of the lineup and the roster. Guerrero could very well have an excellent season in Texas, although I think Texas probably would have been better served using that money for other spots on the roster besides a player who cannot play the field any longer. Thome’s signing was under the radar, and also fits really well with his new team. He brings a professionalism and veteran leadership to the Twins that they don’t have a lot of at the moment.

Tomorrow’s free agency review: Starting Pitchers