Tag Archives: Johnny Damon

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago – 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago – Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

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Season Preview: AL East


With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made.

Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96

Notable Additions

Baltimore – Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer

Boston – Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

New York – Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez

Tampa Bay – Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Chris Archer

Toronto – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Scott Podsednik, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis

Notable Losses

Baltimore – Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Boston – Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Bill Hall

New York – Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood

Tampa Bay – Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit

Toronto – Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Scott Downs

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Free Agent Signing – Victor Martinez to the Tigers


We have the first major piece to fall into place from free agency this offseason, with the news that catcher Victor Martinez has agreed to a 4 year, $50 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.

It appears, according to MLBTR, that Martinez was offered both a 3 year and 4 year deal by the Red Sox, but for less money than the Tigers offered. 

From the Tigers’ Perspective

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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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Week in Review – August 23 to August 29


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (79-50) vs. Texas Rangers (73-57)
Minnesota Twins (75-56) vs. New York Yankees (80-50)

Philadelphia Phillies (73-57) vs. San Diego Padres (76-53)
Cincinnati Reds (75-55) vs. Atlanta Braves (75-55)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .356
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 95
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 42
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 107
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 51

Wins –  C.C. Sabathia (NYY) 18
Saves – Rafael Soriano (TAM) 38
ERA – Clay Buchholz (BOS) 2.21
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 200
WHIP – Mat Latos (SD) 0.98

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Jeff Clement, Scott Feldman, Guillermo Mota, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Ohlendorf, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton,

Return from the Disabled List:  Geovany Soto, Matt Treanor, Wade Davis, Kevin Cash, Carlos Gomez, Jeff Niemann, Matt Watson, Jim Johnson

To the Minors: Wellington Castillo, Sam Fuld, Taylor Teagarden, Travis Buck, Mike Ekstrom, Anthony Slama, Matt Watson, Mike Minor, Glen Perkins,

Called Up: Casper Wells, Micah Hoffpauir, Chris Valaika, Matt Carson, Fernando Salas, Ryan Roberts, Cameron Maybin, Sam LeCure, Collin Balester, Scott Maine, Alex Cora, Franklin Morales, Jordan Zimmermann, Juan Francisco

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The biggest story in the sport this week, unfortunately, was the injury to phenom Stephen Strasburg. After it was all said and done, it sounds like he’s going to need the dreaded Tommy John surgery, and will miss 12-18 months. I do find it interesting how much grief that the Nationals have received related to this, and I don’t believe that there is anything that they could have done any differently. I also find it interesting the amount of chatter about whether or not he may not pitch in the Majors ever again. To me, this seems almost ridiculous based on the success rate that has been achieved on this surgery in the past. Time will tell, but I think he’ll come back and should be good to go by 2012.
  • Indians’ prospect Hector Rendon is going to be needing the dreaded surgery as well, and I know I had viewed him as a potential keeper for my deep fantasy league until this came up. Check back on him in 2012 also.
  • Deadspin ran a group of posts in which they had managed to get their hands on the financial statements of a few of the “poorer” teams in the Majors, notably the Marlins and the Pirates. There’s been a lot of flack aimed at both of them, and it sounds like it may also end up costing the Marlins some extra money as the city of Miami is unhappy with the amount of profit the team is making considering they are publicly financing a new stadium for the team. There’s a great writeup of an interview with a CPA by PiratesProspects (via MLBTradeRumors), and Kristy Dosh over at It’s a Swing and a Miss had a great writeup about it as well.
  • Jose Bautista continues to hit homeruns at a rather ridiculous rate considering his past performance, and of course was “accused” of being on steroids last week. I find it extremely interesting, and tend to agree with Jeff Sullivan’s post over at Lookout Landing: why do we initially jump to this conclusion, and why is it not as big of a deal when a reporter with a newspaper makes the accusation?
  • The Twins acquired closer Brian Fuentes from the Angels on Friday, and Fuentes took his parting shot on the way out of town. I think that the fact that they booed him had more to do with the fact that he didn’t pitch well, not the fact that they didn’t like you. 6 losses, 3.76 ERA, and 42 walks in 93 innings generally don’t make anybody all that happy with their closer, regardless of how many saves (71) they record in 2 seasons.
  • Johnny Damon was claimed by the Red Sox, and there was some debate whether or not he would waive his no-trade clause to return to Boston. Well, he didn’t. Probably better for everyone involved that didn’t happen.
  • Roy Oswalt ended up playing in the outfield in an extra-inning game this week after the Phillies ran out of position players and Ryan Howard was ejected. Wezen-Ball had a very interesting write up of the last few times that a pitcher has played the field.
  • It was finally determined on Sunday evening, most likely after his ejection after seeing one pitch in the game, that Manny Ramirez would simply be given to the White Sox after being awarded their waiver claim for him. Ought to be interesting to see him and Ozzie interact.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting team #7

Wednesday: Month in Review for the month of August.

Saturday:  I’ll be starting a month-long (once a week) series on the group of trades that were made by the Firesale Marlins from the end of their championship run in 1997 through the following season. Part 1 will be up on Saturday.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ’Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
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* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Original Draft Series: Team #28 – Kansas City Royals


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

Team #28: Kansas City Royals

General Managers(since 1994)

Herk Robinson (1994-2000): 489-576
Allard Baird (2001-2006): 386-586
Dayton Moore (2006-Present): 209-277

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 0 0 1 3 4 8

While this team has not seen success on the field, there are more players than I would have imagined who achieved success in the Majors after being drafted or signed by the Royals. I think that what put them ahead of the White Sox to me was the caliber of the top players listed on this team, and the performance that they gave while still in a Royals uniform. You have a Rookie of the Year award winner (Beltran), and of course last season’s Cy Young Award winner (Greinke). All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Paul Phillips 1998 – 9th Rd 9 58 gm, .258/.271/.364, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R Released 12/12/07
1B Billy Butler 2004- 1st Rd (14) 6 438 gm, .297/.353/.457, 46 HR, 235 RBI, 1 SB, 191 R Currently with Org.
2B Mark Ellis 1999 – 9th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
3B Alex Gordon 2005 – 1st Rd (2) 5 346 gm, .249/.331/.413, 38 HR, 142 RBI, 28 SB, 165 R Currently with Org.
SS Mike Aviles 2003 – 7th Rd 7 172 gm, .295/.323/.424, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 9 SB, 98 R Currently with Org.
LF Johnny Damon 1992 – 1st Rd (35) 9 803 gm, .292/.351/.438, 65 HR, 352 RBI, 156 SB, 504 R Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
CF Carlos Beltran 1995 – 2nd Rd 9 1999 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star Appearance
795 gm, .287/.352/.483, 123 HR, 516 RBI, 164 SB, 546 R
Traded to HOU – 6/24/04
RF David DeJesus 2000 – 4th Rd 10 847 gm., .288/.360/.429, 61 HR, 383 RBI, 47 SB, 489 R Currently with Org.
DH Mike Sweeney 1991 – 10th Rd 16 5 All-Star Appearances
1282 gm, .299/.369/.492, 197 HR, 837 RBI, 50 SB, 700 R
Free Agency – 10/30/07
SP Zack Greinke 2002 – 1st Rd (6) 8 2009 AL Cy Young Award, 1 All-Star Appearance
52-61, 3.75 ERA, 828 K, 243 BB, 977 IP, 1.265 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Luke Hochevar 2006 – 1st Rd (1) 4 18-30, 5.68 ERA, 240 K, 125 BB, 362.2 IP, 1.45 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jeremy Affeldt 1997 – 3rd Rd 9 17-22, 4.77 ERA, 281 K, 178 BB, 399.2 IP, 1.519 WHIP Traded to COL – 7/31/06
SP Billy Buckner 2004 – 2nd Rd 3 1-2, 5.29 ERA, 17 K, 16 BB, 34 IP, 1.559 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07
SP Tim Byrdak 1994 – 5th Rd 6 0-4, 8.27 ERA, 26 K, 24 BB, 32.2 IP, 2.204 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/00
RP Carlos Rosa Int’l FA – 2001 9 0-0, 3.21 ERA, 7 K, 3 BB, 14 IP, 1.143 WHIP Traded to ARI – 5/1/10
RP Chad Durbin 1996 – 3rd Rd 6 11-22, 6.01 ERA, 140 K, 106 BB, 262 IP, 1.573 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/02
RP Kiko Calero 1996 – 27th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Organization Free Agency – 11/21/02
RP J.P. Howell 2004 – 1st rd (31) 2 3-5, 6.19 ERA, 54 K, 39 BB, 72.2 IP, 1.541 WHIP Traded to TAM – 6/20/06
RP Brian Sanches 1999 – 2nd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to SD – 8/26/03
CL Mike MacDougal 1999 – 1st Rd (25) 7 10-14, 50 SV, 3.88 ERA, 162 K, 76 BB, 174 IP, 1.437 WHIP Traded to CHW – 7/24/06
BN Kila Ka’aihue (1B) 2002 – 15th Rd 8 14 gm, .280/.357/.400, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R Currently with Org.
BN Mitch Maier (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (30) 7 217 gm., .252/.330/.335, 5 HR, 63 RBI, 9 SB, 73 R Currently with Org.
BN Dusty Hughes (P) 2003 – 11th Rd 7 1-3, 4.03 ERA, 31 K, 18 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Matt Treanor (C) 1994 – 4th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 7/29/97
BN Blake Wood (P) 2006 – 3rd Rd 4 0-0, 15 gm., 4 K, 5 BB, 15.1 IP, 1.109 WHIP Currently with Org.

The Royals have had an awful lot of poor finishes, and as a result a lot of very high draft picks in the first round. The Royals do have a lot of hope coming, in the form of the last 4 1st round picks, pitchers Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 3B Mike Moustakas. It is a bit nice to see that all of their top picks since the 2004 season (with the exception of Matthew Campbell) are still either on their roster or in their minor league system.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 24 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). At least some part of this is a result of the fact that the Royals were consistently trading away their type-A free agents to be prior to their reaching free agency, and as such not receiving the compensation picks related to this. That said, they have definitely had a mixed bag of results in recent years. In 2001, you have Colt Griffin, a highly coveted prospect out of high school who could never really improve his control and was out of baseball before the age of 23. In 2000, you have Mike Stodolka, a high school pitcher who flamed out as a pitcher after 6 seasons, and failed as a 1B/OF prospect for the following 3 seasons after that. But in 2002, you have Zack Greinke, and in 2004 you have Billy Butler. There have been quite a few players who at least provided a reasonable return on their first round picks for the Royals.

International Free Agency

I only found one player who the Royals had signed as an international free agent for their roster who was currently in the Majors, Carlos Rosa. Clearly, the Royals have been missing this market for players for quite some time at this point, and unless they make more than a threadbare effort to find players in these countries, they will continue to miss some of the top prospects in the game.

Overall Grade

I think I have to give them a C-. Clearly, there are some high quality players that were developed in the Royals’ system at one point or another (Beltran, Greinke, Damon), and solid major league regulars (Ellis, Butler, Dejesus). Unfortunately, they’ve either never held onto these players at the same time or been able to put together any more than 83 wins in a season to this point. Some of their misses in the draft were pretty stunningly bad in the last 15 years, but overall their ability to scout and develop players is only slightly below average.

Trade Retrospective – Johnny Damon


Next up on the trade retro writeups is the trade that brought Johnny Damon (and Mark Ellis) to the Oakland Athletics. On January 8, 2001, as a part of a 3-team trade, the Athletics acquired OF Johnny Damon, IF Mark Ellis, and P Cory Lidle, the Devil Rays acquired OF Ben Grieve, and the Royals acquired SS Angel Berroa, C A.J. Hinch, and CL Roberto Hernandez.

The Background

The Royals had developed another fine player in Johnny Damon. In the 2000 season, he had posted a .327/.382/.495 line with 16 home runs, 88 runs batted in, and a league leading 46 stolen bases. However, they also knew that he would be eligible to file for free agency after the 2001 season, and were extremely unlikely to be able to resign Damon to a long term contract extension.

The Athletics were coming off of their first division title in over 5 years, having beaten the Mariners to the division title by a 1/2 game. However, they had been eliminated in the first round by the Yankees, and over the span of the season had not really received a lot of “leadoff-type” production from their leadoff hitters.

The Devil Rays continued to hope to improve their team, and were looking to get better production out of their outfield.

The Moving Pieces

For Oakland, Damon was slotted in as the starting center fielder, pushing the previous center fielder, Terrence Long, to the left field spot vacated by Grieve. Mark Ellis was sent to the minors, and would be sent to AAA despite only playing 7 games at AA in the previous season. Lidle was penciled in as the 5th starter for the Major League club.

In Kansas City, Roberto Hernandez was put into the closer’s role, and it was hoped would help to stabilize the back end of their bullpen. Hinch was to be the backup catcher for the Royals, while Angel Berroa was sent to the Royals’ High-A affiliate.

Tampa slotted Ben Grieve in as their every day right fielder and expected him to be a key hitter in their lineup.

What Happened Next

The A’s improved on their previous season’s win total, winning 102 games but finishing 2nd in their division to the record-tying Mariners 116. They were the AL wild card, and drew the Yankees again. While Damon did not have a season quite like his 2000 season, he still posted a very respectable .256/.324/.363 line with 9 homeruns, 49 runs batted in, 27 stolen bases and 108 runs.

The Royals continued to slide to the bottom of the standings, winning only 65 games in 2001. Hernandez pitched reasonably well, recording 28 saves, but posting a 4.12 ERA.

The Devil Rays also took a step backward, losing 100 games again in 2001. Grieve hit alright, but was not quite as expected. He hit .264/.372/.387 with 11 homeruns, 72 runs batted in, and 7 stolen bases.

The Net Moves

Oakland – First Level

  • Damon only spent the 2001 season with the A’s, before leaving via free agency. His leaving did spawn quite a few stories later on though, as the A’s received 2 compensation draft picks for his leaving. These picks were in the group that were discussed in the Moneyball book, and were used specifically to select OF Nick Swisher and IF Mark Teahen. His 2001 season posted a 2.7 WAR.
  • Mark Ellis has been in Oakland since 2002, mostly as the starting 2B. In 880 games, he has posted a .265/.333/.406 slash line with 80 homeruns, 372 runs batted in, 48 stolen bases, and 475 runs. In each full season he has played, he has posted a minimum of 1.2 WAR.
  • Cory Lidle spent the 2001-2002 seasons with the Athletics in the back end of their rotation. In the 2 seasons, he posted a 21-16 record with a 3.74 ERA in 59 starts. He threw 380 innings, struck out 229 batters and walked 86. After the 2002 season he was traded to the Blue Jays for minor leaguers Chris Mowday and Mike Rouse.

Tampa Bay – First Level

  • Ben Grieve spent 3 seasons in Tampa, but never really lived up to the expectations of his performance upon his arrival. He hit .254/.364/.399 with 34 home runs, 153 runs batted in, 15 stolen bases, and 162 runs scored. He became a free agent after the 2003 season, and left Tampa. It does not appear that Grieve earned the Devil Rays any draft pick compensation.

Kansas City – First Level

  • Angel Berroa made his debut with the Royals in 2001, but did not become a regular until 2003, when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award.  He was with the Royals through 2007, and posted a .263/.305/.384 line with 45 home runs, 235 runs batted in, 50 stolen bases and 293 runs scored in 627 games. He was traded during the 2008 season to the Dodgers for minor leaguer Juan Rivera, who has not played in the Majors.
  • A.J. Hinch spent 2 seasons as the backup catcher for the Royals, getting into a total of 117 games and posting lackluster numbers. He was released after the 2002 season.
  • Roberto Hernandez also spent 2 seasons with the Royals, both as their closer. In 116 appearances, he posted an 8-16 record with 54 saves and 185 strikeouts in 218 innings pitched. He filed for free agency after the 2002 season. It does not appear that the Royals received any compensation picks for losing Hernandez.

Oakland – Second Level

  • Nick Swisher spent 4 seasons with Oakland, mostly split between CF, RF, and 1B. He hit .251/.361/.464 with 80 home runs and 255 runs batted in. His 2006 and 2007 seasons were both 3.8+ WAR, but was traded after the 2007 season to the White Sox for OF Ryan Sweeney and minor league pitchers Fautino de los Santos and Gio Gonzalez.
  • Mark Teahen never played for the Athletics, but was included in the Carlos Beltran trade made during the 2004 season.

Oakland – Third Level

  • Ryan Sweeney has been in the Majors with the A’s since 2008, and has hit reasonably well to this point. So far, he has hit .293/.349/.395 with 12 homeruns, 15 stolen bases, and 119 runs batted in. Both of his full seasons thus far have been 2+ WAR each.
  • Gio Gonzalez had been going back and forth between Oakland and AAA Sacramento last season, but appears to have finally stuck this season. So far with the A’s, Gonzalez is 12-14 with a 5.43 ERA. He’s struck out 189 batters in 187 1/3 innings, but has also walked 105 so far.
  • Fautino de los Santos continues to be a bit of an enigma, as he is still very young, and has not pitched very much for the A’s minor league affiliates.

Overall Reactions

At the time, this seemed like a reasonable enough trade. But in the end, it really looks like the Devil Rays (now the Rays) got fleeced pretty badly. They gave up a starting pitcher who was respectable at least (Lidle), a solid all-around infielder (Ellis), and a closer (Hernandez) to get an outfielder who really didn’t play all that well once he got to Tampa (Grieve). The Royals at least got some value out of Berroa for a few seasons, and Hernandez as well. The winners of this trade, clearly, appear to be the A’s. Not only did they get a season of Damon, but they also got quite a bit of production out of the players that they received in return for losing him to free agency. Throw in that they also got Ellis who has become an all-around solid 2B for the A’s, and to me it’s a slam dunk that the A’s did the best on this trade. Unfortunately it seems that a lot of the trades that were made during the Chuck LaMar era in Tampa Bay ended similarly to this.

Fantasy Preview – Outfielders


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 45 Outfielders for 2010

1. Ryan Braun – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
113 32 114 20 .320
What’s not to love about Ryan Braun the fantasy outfielder? He gives you elite runs and RBI, excellent power and batting average, and great speed. And he’s still young, and has the potential to improve even more. Seriously, Braun is a top-5 talent right now for fantasy, and would definitely be on the short list of players I would want to start a franchise around. I am extremely confident that Braun could give you all those stats again in 2010.


2. Matt Kemp – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 26 101 34 .297
As good as Braun has been, Kemp vaulted up into the same tier after his excellent 2009 season. Kemp is another top-10 type player who is going to provide you great value in all 5 categories. Honestly, I think that Kemp would actually put up better numbers than Braun if he didn’t play so many of his games in the spacious parks of the NL West. And he’s only going to be 25 to start the 2010 season. Another player on the short list to start a franchise around.


3. Matt Holliday – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 24 109 14 .313
Holliday started off slow last season while in Oakland, but really turned it up once he arrived in St. Louis. I’m sure that having that Pujols guy as protection for you in the batting order doesn’t hurt, but I think that the Holliday we saw in the second half is legit. I can see him posting another season of 100 runs scored, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, and probably 10 steals, all while hitting around .320 again. I don’t think that Holliday has any drop-off related to the gigantic contract that he signed in the offseason, but it may be something to watch for.


4. Carl Crawford – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 15 68 60 .305
I put Crawford here because I think there is still some upside for him. I think that he’s probably not going to hit more than the 15 HR he hit last season, but I think there’s actually the potential for his SB total to increase on the career high he set last season. An elite basestealer who I believe has the potential to approach the 75-80 range, and post solid-to-great values in some other categories, and there’s a lot to like here. Something to keep an eye on will be his contract situation, as there remains the possibility for him to be traded midseason if the Rays fall out of it and cannot get him signed to an extension.


5. Justin Upton – ARI
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 26 86 20 .300
Upton really started showing us the potential we had all been hearing about last season. Despite missing almost 3 weeks in August due to injury, he still posted a 20-20 season, and was on pace to score 100 runs and drive in 100 also. And he’s still only going to be 22 years old this season. I think he probably has a 30-30 season in him at some point, but for this season, I think he probably posts a 25-20 season. He’s missed time in each of the last 2 seasons related to strains, so I’d be at least aware of that possibility, but I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into it when you’re drafting him.


6. Torii Hunter – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 22 90 18 .299
This is probably where you ask how on earth I can have Hunter this high. He missed over 30 games last season, and still put up an excellent season. While I don’t think that he necessarily will hit quite as well as he did last year, I can see a 90 run, 27 HR, 100+ RBI, 20 SB season with a .290 average. I’m a sucker for players that contribute well to all 5 categories. Although that could be all fantasy players. The Angels will look to him to really lead this team, as Chone Figgins and Vlad Guerrero are both gone. This is Hunter’s team, and I think he’ll thrive in the role.


7. Jacoby Ellsbury – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 8 60 70 .301
Elite basestealer. Normally this is not going to be enough to get a ranking nearly this high. (Keep an eye out how much further Michael Bourn is to see that). But Ellsbury drives in runs at a reasonable rate, scores runs at a great rate, hits for a high average, and even provides some power. I think that if you draft Ellsbury, you’re pretty much able to ignore speed for quite a while after that. I think there’s actually some room for growth in his numbers this season with the changes that they have made to the lineup in Boston.


8. Jayson Werth – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 36 99 20 .268
I didn’t realize how good of a 2009 season that Werth had. He saw a spike in his fly-ball percentage (44% LY vs. 40% career), which probably lead to the increased homerun total. I don’t think he necessarily hits 36 again, but I think a 30-20 season is very reachable for Werth. The batting average is probably going to be in the same range, but with him likely to approach 100 runs and 100 RBI again, there’s quite a bit to like. I don’t necessarily prescribe to this idea, but he is also in a contract year. Something to file away in the back of  your mind.



I think this starts the next tier of outfielders. Werth was probably the last of the “elite” outfielders, in my opinion.

9. Grady Sizemore – CLE
R HR RBI SB AVG
73 18 64 13 .248
Sizemore probably hurt some of your fantasy teams pretty bad last year. Try to remember that the stats he didn’t give you last year have no affect on the quality he could potentially bring you this season. After offseason elbow and abdomen surgery, Sizemore has been cleared to practice at full-speed. I think that he sees a rebound to numbers close to his 2008 season, when he was a 30-30 outfielder. The slight risk I see based on the injuries of last year are what keep me from putting Sizemore back into the top 5 for outfielders.


10. Adam Lind – TOR
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 35 114 1 .305
Lind was one of the few bright spots on the 2009 Blue Jays, as he posted great numbers across the board. You’re not going to get speed from him, but the high average and excellent power more than make up for it. I think that Lind has a very good chance of repeating his 2009 season. He will be 26 this season, and I think that at some point in his career he’s going to top 40 HR in a season.


11. Bobby Abreu – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 15 103 30 .293
Abreu is one of those players who never really comes to mind when talk begins of the best fantasy players, and the only reason I can think that is lies with his homerun total. He’s not particularly likely to hit even as many as 20 homeruns anymore, but he’s a professional hitter. He’s going to hit right around .300, score right around 100 runs, drive in right around 100 RBI, and steal between 25 and 30 bases. A very solid outfielder.


12. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at 2B and SS
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
I also wrote about Zobrist in my 2B rankings. I think I have him ahead of some of the outfielders due simply to the positional eligibility he provides. It seems unlikely to me that any team is going to be using him in the OF, but there’s always the chance.


13. Andre Ethier – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
92 31 106 6 .272
The Dodgers have some pretty good outfielders, don’t they? Ethier posted career highs in runs, HR and RBI last season. I think there’s actually room for improvement on the batting average front as well, which could very well leave you with an outfielder with 100 runs, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB and a .285 average. Which also seems amazing considering all the time spent in the parks of the NL West. Ethier seems like he will be a hot commodity on draft day, and could go earlier than anticipated. Those owners may well end up extremely happy with that decision.


14. Curtis Granderson – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 30 71 20 .249
I think that Granderson has an even bigger season now that he’s playing at new Yankee Stadium. The place played like a bandbox last season, and I think there’s a very good possibility that between that and being in the better Yankee lineup, Granderson scores 100 runs, hits 35 HR, and drives in 90 runs. Even the batting average seems like it has the potential to head up to the .265-.270 range.


15. Shin-Soo Choo – CLE
R HR RBI SB AVG
87 20 86 21 .300
Choo helped to make up for some of the dropoff in performance from Grady Sizemore last year, and I think he actually can build on this performance. I can see getting closer to 100 Runs and RBI this season, providing the Indians lineup performs even slightly better than last year. Something interesting about Choo: At some point before he turns 30, he’s required to do 2 years of military service since he is a citizen of South Korea. It has happened in the past that players have been excused from this, but it’s something to keep an eye on if you are playing in a keeper league.


16. Adam Dunn – WAS
Also Qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 38 105 0 .267
I wrote about Dunn in my 1B rankings. He’s a lock to give you 35+ HR and 100+ RBI. Even the run total could see improvement on last year. Quietly, a very solid player.


17. Jason Bay – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 36 119 13 .267
I don’t think that Jason Bay gives you these numbers again. If I did, he’d be in my top 10 outfielders. I think he sees a drop off in runs (probably to the 85-90 range), HR (probably toward 25-30), and RBI (probably to the 90-95 range). I just don’t have a whole lot of faith in the idea that Jason was not helped by playing at Fenway Park. Just remember that when you’re drafting him, you’re probably not going to get the same stats as last season.


18. Ichiro Suzuki – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 11 48 26 .352
Ichiro remains a hitting machine, posting a .352 average and 225 hits despite missing almost 20 games during the span of the season. I think that he approaches 100 runs again, and could reach 40 steals potentially. But I wouldn’t bank on more than 25 steals and 8 homers out of Ichiro. He seems to be able to hit homers when he desires to, but is just as happy getting singles and stealing the bases instead. Pairing him with a high-power, low average group of hitters could be a good strategy to use Ichiro with.



I’d say that at this point, nearly everyone in this next group could be moved around based on what you think you need at that point in your draft. They’re all very similar to me in terms of value, and it’s really your preference.

19. Carlos Beltran – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
50 10 48 11 .325
Beltran missed half of the season last year due to injury, and was having a very good season when he got hurt. If he’s 100% healthy, I could see him returning to his 100 run, 20 HR, 100 RBI, 20 steal form of previous years. I think that the ranking of him here is very aggressive considering that he seems unlikely to stay healthy for the full season. Definitely a lot of upside, and possibly a top-10 outfielder if he meets that upside.


20. Shane Victorino – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
102 10 62 25 .292
Victorino had a good well-rounded season, posting solid numbers in all categories. I think that Victorino is a lock to score 100 runs again in that powerful Phillies lineup. I also think he could steal over 30 bases again this season, and even possibly hit a few more homeruns as well.


21. Nelson Cruz – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
75 33 76 20 .260
I had no idea that Cruz had this good of a season last year. 2009 was really the first time Cruz got a full season at the Majors, and he provided a solid season as a result. My biggest concern with Cruz would be that he may have already peaked, as he turned 29 during the 2009 season. I think that he has some room for growth this year in batting average, and also possibly in runs as well.


22. Carlos Lee – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
65 26 102 5 .300
Lee isn’t going to steal double digit bases any more, and he seems really unlikely to score 100 runs again. He seems like an ideal candidate for the “Name not performance” award. He does have some good solid value still, as he’s practically a lock to hit 30 HR and 100 RBI with a .300 average. But I don’t think he’s a top-10 outfielder anymore, and it seems like there’s bound to be someone who will draft him like he is. I do think he does score closer to 80 runs this season as well, which still makes him a solid fantasy outfielder.


23. Michael Cuddyer – MIN
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 32 94 6 .276
I originally had thought about Cuddyer as a candidate for my top-15 first basemen, but he ended up in the notes at the bottom instead. Cuddyer had a very good year last year, posting a career high in HR last season. I think he can repeat similar power (probably 30 or so), and conceivably repeat similar numbers in all other categories as well. I think he’s also has a pretty good chance at getting to 100 runs and 100 rbi again this season. Something to watch for: Cuddyer is going into the season as the starting RF, but has also played 1B and 3B previously for the Twins. If Nick Punto struggles really badly, I could see them conceivably moving Cuddyer if they feel that they can get better production with Jason Kubel in RF and Jim Thome as the DH.


24. Raul Ibanez – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
93 34 93 4 .272
Ibanez posted an amazing first half of the season, showing quite a bit of power (22 HR through June), but fell off a bit in the second half. That split concerns me, as he hit 12 in the second half. It is what keeps me from ranking him higher, as I think he’s probably more likely to hit 25 HR than 35. Ibanez will be 38 years old by the end of the 2010 season, and I just don’t think he can keep up this kind of performance for another season.


25. Adam Jones – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
83 19 70 10 .277
Adam Jones is already showing just how good the return was on the Erik Bedard trade. He only played in 119 games last season, and I think that if he can stay healthy for a full season, he will post a 25-15 season with 90+ runs and RBI. The key to this whole theory being that he can stay healthy. Just remember to include that in your thoughts when drafting Jones.


26. Jason Kubel – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
73 28 103 1 .300
Kubel posted what was easily his best season to this point. The power is legitimate, and I can see him being good for 100 RBI again. I’m not 100% sold that he can repeat his batting average, partially due to a jump in his BABIP (.327 in ’09 compared to .295 in ’08 and .305 in ’07). While it’s not a huge spike, it could very well be the difference between him posting a .295 average and a .275 average. I do think that the run total could potentially see a little bit of growth, but probably not a whole lot more than 80 or so. He’s another player who I think could be forgotten about on draft day.


27. Hunter Pence – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
76 25 72 14 .282
Pence looks to me like he’s got a pretty good chance of repeating his 2009 season, as he essentially repeated his 2008 season, but with a slightly higher batting average. Pence was able to cut down a bit on his strikeouts in 2009 (18% vs. 21% career), and also increased his walk rate as well. I think that the thing that really appears to be holding Pence back is his own team. He really doesn’t seem likely to improve his run or RBI totals with the lineup that the Astros have built. It just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that good.


28. Manny Ramirez – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
62 19 63 0 .290
Ramirez really wore down at the end of last season (.255/.379/.459 in the 2nd half), and that concern keeps me from ranking him too highly. Obviously, there’s a huge amount of upside possible with Ramirez, as he could conceivably post a 100-30-100-.300 season. I just won’t be the one to pay for it, because I’m a little wary of that not happening.  But if you’ve gotten some players with low risk, he could be worth it when he’s going to be drafted.


29. Andrew McCutchen – PIT
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 12 54 22 .286
McCutchen only played in 108 games last season, due to not being called up until the beginning of June. Once there, he cemented himself as the starting center fielder for the years to come in Pittsburgh. McCutchen could conceivably get to 100 runs, 20 homers, 80 rbi, and 30 steals if it all falls correctly for him. He’s a very good young player, and he’s only going to get better. He may see a little bit of an adjustment period with it being his sophomore season, but I think he eventually becomes a top-15 outfielder on a consistent basis.


30. Michael Bourn – HOU
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 3 35 61 .285
The speed is legitimate. Beyond that, it’s all a bit risky to me. He posted a career high batting average of .285 backed by a BABIP of .366. I think that there’s some chance of regression, but the .366 BABIP is not brutally out of line with his minor league numbers (.335 at AA, .353 at AAA). He’s not going to provide a lot of RBI or even more than the 3 HR he hit last season. But I think there’s still a chance he steals even more bases. Just try to temper your expectations on Bourn. The Astros’ lineup worries me a bit still, but as the leadoff hitter he should have the best chance to score of anyone on that team.


31. Nate McLouth – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
86 20 70 19 .256
I actually like McLouth a lot for this season. Providing that you can get him at the right point in your draft. He missed some time last season, and could see a return to a 20-20 season again. The batting average is a bit of a drag, and it doesn’t appear to be that far out of his expected range unfortunately. He posted similar per-game numbers with both teams last season, so I’m not inclined to believe that he’s going to post a much better season due to spending the full year in Atlanta.


32. Carlos Quentin – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
47 21 56 3 .236
Quentin is another player who is coming back from an injury, and missed quite a bit of time as a result. He also posted an extremely low BABIP last season (.221 vs .278 in 2008), which should lead him to an increase in batting average if he regresses closer to his norm. I think that there’s a lot of upside here as well, with the potential for a 100-30-100 season out of Quentin. But he’s missed time in both seasons with the White Sox due to injuries, and the concern around these leads me to rank him lower than his talent probably would justify. I would want the potential to be that much higher as a result.



From this point on, you’re really getting into need. For me, all the players remaining are all extremely similar in terms of the value they provide to a fantasy team. Just figure out where you are needing some stats, and go from there.

33. Carlos Gonzalez – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
53 13 29 16 .284
Gonzalez appears to finally be showing the promise that made him the highlight of both the Dan Haren and Matt Holliday trades. Despite only playing in 89 games last year, he still posted excellent numbers. And he comes into Spring Training with what appears to be a very good chance to be an everyday player. In a full season, I think he can post 100 runs, 20 HR, 75 RBI, and 25 SB with a good average. The only real concern I have for Gonzalez is that the Rockies seem to have too many solid outfielders (Hawpe, Spilborghs, Fowler, Smith), and as a result could see a loss of some playing time potentially for Gonzalez. Something to monitor in Spring Training if you get him. But I love the upside, and think he’s going to be extremely popular this season.


34. Johnny Damon – DET
R HR RBI SB AVG
107 24 82 12 .282
I don’t believe. He’s not going back to the Yankees, and I don’t believe in the homeruns or the runs scored based on him not being there. Someone is probably going to get a decent value on him, as he’s still out there as of this writing. Once he signs,  I think that he could conceivably score about 85-90 runs, hit 15-20 HR, and steal 10+ bases. But I don’t think that there’s a lot of upside for him without playing in that Yankee juggernaut.


35. Nick Markakis – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 18 101 6 .293
Markakis is one of those players that I think ends up doing well on his name, as opposed to his actual numbers. I don’t see a full repeat of the numbers he posted last season, but I can see another 85 runs and 90 RBI season. The problem I keep running into is the power. Even with a spike of almost 8% in his fly ball rate, he hit even less homeruns. There’s still the potential for growth since he’s only going to be 26 during the 2010 season, but I’m not necessarily taking the risk. For me, the upside for Markakis appears to be what he did last season. Which is good, but not amazing. And for upside, I’d rather take some other players first.


36. Alex Rios – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 17 71 24 .247
He can’t be as bad as that batting average, right? I think he may rebound this season, but it really speaks to me that the Blue Jays were willing to give up on the talent for just salary relief. He has the potential to post a 25-25 season I think, but at this point the risk that he continues to be what he did in Chicago (.199/.229/.301) is what keeps me from drafting him like he could do that.


37. B.J. Upton – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 11 55 42 .241
The batting average is a concern, especially since his BABIP of .310 was actually fairly solid. I think he could very well hit .250 again. The steals are nice, but I’m not convinced that he could give you a 20-20 season again. I’m not really sold he will give you 40 steals again, but I think he’s got a better shot of that. Strikeouts remain a problem, as he had 152 last season against only 57 walks. If he can improve that ratio, he could see some improvement, but I’m not inclined to believe it will happen.


38. Josh Hamilton – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
43 10 54 8 .268
Hamilton is probably one of the higher-upside high risk players you could draft. If he’s back to 100% healthy (both mentally and physically), he could be an elite outfielder again. But this remains a player who has missed significant time in 2 of the last 3 seasons. And while I do have to remind myself that he is still developing, I’m averse to the risk in this case. I’ll let someone else take the chance on him. If he does perform to his potential, he could post an 85 run, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 steal season with a .280 average. But the odds of that seem really low to me.


39. Alfonso Soriano – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
64 20 55 9 .241
The Cubs would probably like a do-over on this contract. Soriano missed quite a bit of time last season due to injury, and will look to rebound in 2010. His batting average should improve, as he posted a BABIP about 20-25 points lower than his career norms. I think that he’s more likely to have a similar season to 2009, with probably about 80 RBI instead of 55, and a few more homeruns as well. But I think that his days as a top-10 outfielder are over, and I don’t think he steals more than 15 bases this season. At this point he’s just not quite the same player he once was.


40. Brad Hawpe – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
82 23 86 1 .285
Hawpe is always knocked as a player who benefits from playing at Coors Field, but the dropoff between home and away does not seem that severe to me. (.297/.397/520 at home, .275/.372/.518 on the road). Something to watch about Hawpe would be whether or not the Rockies consider moving him mid-season. There was rumor that he may get moved during the offseason, but remains with the Rockies. I think they’d have to hold onto him unless they’re blown away by whatever is offered, as he remains a solid power hitter. I don’t think the upside to get to 100 runs or 100 RBI is there for Hawpe, but he’s still likely to provide solid production in 4 categories. Probably a fair 2nd outfielder or great 3rd outfielder for a fantasy team.


41. Franklin Gutierrez – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
85 18 70 16 .283
Gutierrez quietly had a very solid season last year. he’s not going to provide top-tier stats in any category, but he will provide you with value in all 5 categories. I think he has the potential to post a 20-20 season at some point in his career, but I’m not convinced it will be this season. But he should still give you about 15 HR and 15 steals to go with a solid batting average and run totals.


42. Denard Span – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
97 8 68 23 .311
Span finally got consistent playing time, and made great use of it. Span probably drops slightly in batting average this season, but we’re talking about him still being around .300, so it’s not really that much of a drop. He’s not likely to be a power hitter, probably providing no more than the 8 homeruns he had last season. But if you pair him with someone like Adam Lind or Adam Dunn, he’s going to be a great balance and give you solid production from a 3rd outfielder.


43. Juan Rivera – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
72 25 88 0 .287
Rivera was healthy for the most part in 2009, and his numbers really showed it. He cemented himself as a starter in the Angels’ outfield last year, and with the trade of Gary Matthews Jr., this is unlikely to change. I think he’s going to provide similar numbers again in 2010. Reasonable power, and some solid run-production. He’s what I would call a “bland” player, in that none of the stats that he provides really stand out. But you need players like this on your team just like you need the ones that provide elite values.


44. Juan Pierre – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
57 0 31 30 .308
Pierre has finally been freed from the bench in Los Angeles, and will be a starter in Chicago. I don’t think he’s going to give you 60-70 steals anymore, but I can see him getting into the 50’s potentially with the Sox. He could very well get back to around 85-90 runs as well. And you should know better than to expect even a single homerun. But he’s likely to give you a solid batting average to go with those other stats. I think he adjusts to the American League just fine, as he has quite a track record of performance at this point in his career.


45. Nolan Reimold – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
49 15 45 8 .279
As you get down into the 40s for outfielders, you’re mostly looking for upside. Or maybe that’s just me. Reimold only played a little more than half the season, and I think he could pretty easily post a 20-15 season with a full season. The upside is 85 runs, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 15 steals. Something to watch for is how the playing time sorts itself out. Reimold is probably going to lose a little playing time to Felix Pie, but could also see some time at 1B or DH as well. I can’t imagine that the Orioles think that Pie is the better long-term play, but I don’t imagine that they’ll ask me either. Not that they should.



From here, you’re really going to be looking for specific skills or stats. You’ve got lots of steals out there if you need them: Rajai Davis (41), Nyjer Morgan (42), Dexter Fowler (27). But for me, I tried to avoid players who didn’t provide at least reasonable value in 3-4 categories. There’s still some upside plays, with Vladimir Guerrero and Jay Bruce both having the potential to be special this season.

The one thing that I did notice is this: More than any other position, nearly every outfielder provides value with stolen bases. This seems unusual to me, and it’s something to keep in mind when you’re drafting. There are a lot of positions that don’t provide speed particularly well, but outfield is not one of them.

Tomorrow I will continue on with my fantasy previews, with the first half of my starting pitcher rankings.

Team Preview – Detroit Tigers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Gerald Laird SP 1 Justin Verlander
1B Miguel Cabrera SP 2 Rick Porcello
2B Scott Sizemore SP 3 Max Scherzer
3B Brandon Inge SP 4 Jeremy Bonderman
SS Adam Everett SP 5 Nate Robertson
LF Johnny Damon Bullpen
CF Austin Jackson CL Jose Valverde
RF Magglio Ordonez RP Joel Zumaya
DH Carlos Guillen RP Phil Coke
Bench RP Ryan Perry
C Alex Avila RP Bobby Seay
OF Clete Thomas RP Zach Miner

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
CF Austin Jackson Trade (NYY) CF Curtis Granderson Trade (NYY)
SP Max Scherzer Trade (ARI) SP Edwin Jackson Trade (ARI)
P Daniel Schlereth Trade (ARI) 2B Placido Polanco Free Agency
RP Jose Valverde Free Agency RP Brandon Lyon Free Agency
LF Johnny Damon Free Agency RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency

Top Prospects: Austin Jackson (OF),  Jacob Turner (P), Casey Crosby (P)

2009 Review

The Tigers’ 2009 season was a very good one for the team, which unfortunately ended after a loss in game 163 to the Twins. The Tigers finished 86-77, 1 game back of the Twins for the AL Central crown. Led by manager Jim Leyland, the Tigers started off the season with the unexpected release of DH Gary Sheffield, despite being owed over $10 M for the season. Another surprise was that top prospect Rick Porcello, all of 20 years old, made the opening day rotation despite only being in the minors for one season, at high-A.

The Tigers got some excellent performances out of their players, especially in the rotation. SP Justin Verlander led the rotation with a 19-9 record, 3.45 ERA and 269 strikeouts, with offseason acquisition Edwin Jackson providing excellent innings as well (13-9, 3.62). Porcello did well also, posting a 14-9 record with a 3.96 ERA. 1B Miguel Cabrera led the offense again, posting a .324 batting average to go with his 34 HR and 103 RBI.

The Tigers unfortunately endured some distractions during the season. Among them were the decision by Jim Leyland to keep SP Justin Verlander on regular rest toward the end of the season so that he would be slotted to start the last game of the season on regular rest, and giving the ball to rookie Rick Porcello should they have to play into the playoffs. Another huge distraction during the last week of the season was 1B Miguel Cabrera’s arrest early on October 3rd. The Tigers had been in full-force collapse to that point, as they had a 3 game lead on the Twins with only 4 games to play.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Tigers spent a large portion of the offseason trying to shave payroll some, and succeeded by moving CF Curtis Granderson to the Yankees as a part of a huge three team deal. They have slotted in prospect Austin Jackson to replace Granderson in CF, and will sorely miss Granderson’s bat. They’ve gone younger, with 2B Scott Sizemore coming into spring training as the starter at 2B. This team is going to be built around their excellent pitching. Look for them to have a very dominant top 3, with Verlander, Porcello, and newly acquired Max Scherzer.

My main concern with this team is the amount of unknowns. 2B Scott Sizemore and CF Austin Jackson are both rookies, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to provide similar production to the players they are replacing. Will Rick Porcello hit a wall after such a huge jump in innings pitched last season? Will Max Scherzer be able to stay healthy this season, and will Justin Verlander be able to repeat his excellent 2009 season? This is a team that has a lot more questions than answers at this point, and I feel like they will need a lot of things to break their way to end up at the top of the division in 2010.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

SP Justin Verlander and 1B Miguel Cabrera are far and away the best fantasy players on this team, with CL Jose Valverde providing value with the amount of saves he gets. Beyond that, there’s a lot of players that will be useful in deeper leagues (Sizemore, Laird, Inge) and players who are high-upside, high-risk types (Jackson, Porcello, Scherzer). A player to watch during spring training would be Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman is trying to come back from a lost season due to injury, and did provide good value as a starter when he was healthy previously. New addition Johnny Damon will look to repeat his excellent 2009 season, but I can’t really foresee that occurring. He’s going to be 36 this season, and will be going from the extremely hitter friendly Yankee Stadium to Comerica, which should play a lot more neutral.

Prediction for 2010

The Tigers have retooled, and are making a run at the division again in 2010. However, I don’t think that this team as constructed is necessarily going to be good enough to catch either the Twins or the White Sox. They’re going to need some unexpected performances from someone on this team, and it’s never a good thing to have to rely on getting those.

82-80, 3rd in the AL Central

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