Tag Archives: Jose Reyes

Season Preview: NL East


Onto the National League, starting with the East division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central and AL West.

Last Year’s Records
Philadelphia – 97-65
Atlanta – 91-71
Florida – 80-82
New York – 79-83
Washington – 69-93

Notable Additions

Atlanta – Dan Uggla

Florida – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Javier Vazquez, John Buck

New York – Brad Emaus, Ronny Paulino

Philadelphia – Cliff Lee

Washington – Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Tom Gorzelanny

Notable Losses

Atlanta – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Derrek Lee, Melky Cabrera, Takashi Saito

Florida – Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, Ronny Paulino

New York – John Maine, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano

Philadelphia – Jayson Werth

Washington – Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn

My Thoughts

Atlanta – This is a playoff team from last year that has upgraded itself at 2B (Uggla), and will look for growth from Jason Heyward in his second season. The team will plug in Freddie Freeman to start at 1B, and hope that he can have even a partially similar season to Heyward’s rookie year. The pitching remains solid, behind Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, and Jair Jurrjens. The biggest role that seems to be up in the air coming into Spring Training is the closer, with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters competing for the job.

Florida – As they prepare to move into their new stadium in 2012, this is a young team who should continue to be exciting for the next few seasons. It appears that 3B Matt Dominguez is likely to be the starter this year, despite not playing a single day in the Majors yet. However, the loss of Dan Uggla‘s bat in their lineup could cause a major hole in terms of power and run production. They’re also hoping that Javier Vazquez will rebound with a return to the NL East, and also provide some more veteran leadership with Josh Johnson in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that they stand a great chance of winning the division, but they could surprise some people in a tough division.

New York – With new GM Sandy Alderson on board, 2011 is going to be a partial rebuilding season. They did not make any substantial changes to their roster, and will look to get bounceback seasons from players like Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes instead. Ace Johan Santana is expected to be out until midseason, and the team is going to be looking for nice performances from Chris Young and Chris Capuano.

Philadelphia – The Phillies went out and made what was probably the biggest surprise move of the offseason, inking Cliff Lee to a 5 year, $120 million contract. With their four aces in the starting rotation, they definitely look like the team to beat in the NL East. However, the injuries are already starting to pile up, as Chase Utley has yet to play in Spring Training, and potential right fielder Domonic Brown will miss 3-6 weeks after having hand surgery. If this team can stay healthy, I don’t think there’s a team in the NL that can compete with them. But that is a gigantic if.

Washington – The Nationals made one of the biggest splashes in the free agent market, and it was completely unexpected. Jayson Werth signed a 7 year contract with the team, and will play right field for the first few years of the contract. The team is still not ready to compete, but they will look for continued growth from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. Jordan Zimmermann will also look to have an injury free campaign, and while they will miss Stephen Strasburg this season, he should be back in 2012 from his injuries.

Overall Thoughts

The NL East really comes down to the two teams at the top of the pile. The Braves and Phillies really seem like they will be the only teams that are likely to win the division or the Wild Card. The Mets and Nationals just simply aren’t ready, and I don’t believe that the Marlins are ready to compete quite yet either.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Philadelphia
2. Atlanta
3. Florida
4. Washington
5. New York

Who Are the Faces of the Franchise? NL East Edition


Time to start looking at the Senior Circuit, beginning with the 5 teams in the East…

  • Braves – This one has to be Chipper Jones as of right now. He’s easily the longest tenured Brave, has been with the team his entire career, and has been an excellent player throughout. I could see this role going to either Brian McCann or Jason Heyward when Chipper finally decides to hang them up.
  • Marlins – For better or worse, it’s definitely Hanley Ramirez for the Marlins. The largest contract in the history of the team was given to Hanley, and was well deserved based on his performance. The only thing I can remember even remotely being negative around him was when his previous manager called him out for a lack of hustle.
  • Mets – David Wright and Jose Reyes really stand out to me for the Mets. I’d be more inclined to give the nod to Wright since he has not been injured nearly as often as Reyes in recent years, and it could continue that way with Reyes potentially being a free agent after this season.
  • Phillies – This one’s actually a lot more difficult than I would have thought it would be. There are so many big name players on the Phillies now that picking one by themselves is very difficult. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Roy Halladay could all vie for this role, but I think for now it has to be Ryan Howard. The former MVP seems to be out front for the organization more than any other player, including Halladay.
  • Nationals – Last year, I would have said it had to be Stephen Strasburg. But with his injury, and the gigantic contract given to Jayson Werth, Werth has to be the de facto face of the franchise. It remains to be seen whether or not he can live up to the expectations that come with a contract that size, but for now it’s definitely on him to try.

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Shortstop


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. Next up is the review of my SS rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jimmy Rollins
4. Ben Zobrist
5. Derek Jeter
6. Jose Reyes
7. Jason Bartlett
8. Elvis Andrus
9. Marco Scutaro
10. Alexei Ramirez
11. Ryan Theriot
12. Asdrubal Cabrera
13. Miguel Tejada
14. Alcides Escobar
15. Cliff Pennington

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Derek Jeter
4. Alexei Ramirez
5. Jose Reyes
6. Stephen Drew
7. Alex Gonzalez
8. Marco Scutaro
9. Rafael Furcal
10. Ben Zobrist
11. Omar Infante
12. Juan Uribe
13. Miguel Tejada
14. Elvis Andrus
15. Ian Desmond

I also mentioned J.J. Hardy, Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, and Everth Cabrera as potential deep league plays, and specifically to avoid Rafael Furcal.
From my preseason rankings, Cliff Pennington (19), Ryan Theriot (21), and Jason Bartlett (23) all finished in the top 25. Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Alcides Escobar all finished outside of the top 25.
Free Agents: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Juan Uribe

What We Saw

  • Despite missing part of the season, Troy Tulowitzki pretty clearly had the best season of anyone with SS eligibility. His September was definitely one to remember as well. I imagine we might see some rankings next year with him ahead of Hanley Ramirez, but I’m not sure I could go that far yet. But I definitely wouldn’t fault people who do that.
  • Derek Jeter had what was widely considered to be a down year for himself in 201, and still finished 3rd in Yahoo’s rankings. While the batting average was definitely down, he still had double digit steals and home runs, and scored 111 runs. Still a lot of value there.
  • So much for my thought that the fantasy value of Rafael Furcal was less than zero. Oops. He would have been higher up in the final rankings had he played more games, but I’m not sold he would have kept up that production if he had.
  • Jimmy Rollins is going to be a very nice value pick to some people next year, but I definitely don’t trust him to either stay healthy or to be productive when he is healthy. It is telling that he fell outside the top 25 at a position as shallow as SS.
  • Ian Desmond and Starlin Castro both strike me as players who will be in the top 15 for 2011, if not potentially top 10 players. They should improve with a full season under their belts.
  • Overall, the position is probably at one of its most shallow points. It seems to fall off pretty quick once you get past the top 5 or so, and you kind of end up with a lot of players who do 1 or 2 things, but not all 5.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jose Reyes
4. Derek Jeter
5. Alexei Ramirez
6. Stephen Drew
7. Jimmy Rollins
8. Ian Desmond
9. Elvis Andrus
10. Starlin Castro

Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 3


Part 3 of the 2003 BA Almanac Series takes a look at the Top 20 Prospect Lists created by BA for each of the minor leagues.

Players on More than One List

Brandon Phillips – Eastern League (AA) and International League (AAA)
Aaron Heilman – Eastern League (AA) and International League (AAA)
Mark Teixeira – Texas League (AA) and Florida State League (High-A)
Jose Reyes – Eastern League (AA) and Florida State League (High-A)
Hanley Ramirez – NY Penn League (SS-A) and Gulf Coast League (Rookie)

#1 Overall in Each League

International League – Carl Crawford (TAM)
Pacific Coast League – Jesse Foppert (SF)
Eastern League – Jose Reyes (NYM)
Southern League – Jake Peavy (SD)
Texas League – Mark Teixeira (TEX)
California League – Rocco Baldelli (TAM)
Carolina League – Sean Burnett (PIT)
Florida State League – Mark Teixeira (TEX)
Midwest League – Joe Mauer (MIN)
Sally League – Gavin Floyd (CHW)
NY-Penn League – Hanley Ramirez (BOS)
Northwest League – Andy Sisco (CHC)
Appalachian League – Jeff Francoeur (ATL)
Pioneer League – James Loney (LAD)
Arizona Rookie League – Felix Pie (CHC)
Gulf Coast Rookie League – Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

My Thoughts from the Lists

When you look at the two AAA lists, I find it interesting to see how their careers have gone:

  • All-Stars: 12 out of 40
  • Solid Major League Regulars: 14 out of 40
  • Cup of Coffees: 14 out of 40
  • Never Made It: 0 out of 40

I believe that Major League teams view players who make it to AAA as at least a reasonable chance to play in the Majors, so this doesn’t really surprise me that none of BA’s top 40 failed to play in the Majors for at least 1 game.

Of course, there are definitely some players who had less than stellar careers that come from this list, including:

Overall though, this class of 40 prospects is pretty solid, with perennial All Stars Carl Crawford and Chase Utley probably considered to be the best of the group.

Some other notes:

  • The Eastern League had 9 future MLB All-Stars out of their top 10 in 2002. The lone player who has not made an All-Star team: Aaron Heilman
  • The Pioneer League (Adv. Rookie) had a surprising amount of MLB regulars with 11 of their 20 listed playing big roles with teams now, including Prince Fielder, James Loney, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • The Northwest League (Short-Season A) only had 2 players with a measurable impact this season: Ricky Nolasco and Fred Lewis.
  • The California League had 13 players who have had a solid impact in the Majors, including Josh Hamilton, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, and Bobby Jenks.

Overall, it’s really interesting to me to see what hindsight can tell us now that it has been nearly 8 years since this was published. Looking at the performance that the players on the list provided, it is pretty clear to me that the prospect lists were very accurate at the time, and clearly reflected a lot of research on the whole by the staff over at BA. But them, just like the rest of us, are pretty much guessing sometimes when it comes to prospects and how they will turn out once they get to the Majors, if they get there at all.

Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 2


One of the things that Baseball America does every year as a part of their Almanac is release a pair of minor league All-Stars, regardless of level. I thought it was interesting to see who some of the top players from the 2002 minor league season were, and which ones have established themselves as regulars in the Major leagues. I am only looking at the 1st Team members from 2002.

Major League All-Stars

C Victor Martinez – Martinez has clearly become one of the top hitting catchers in the Major Leagues, with his most recent All-Star appearance this season. In 2002, he hit .336 with 22 homeruns and 85 runs batted in for the Indians’ AA team in the Eastern League.

3B Mark Teixeira – It’s hard to remember sometimes that Teixeira was actually a 3B while in college and in the minors. Teixeira split the 2002 season between the Florida State League and the Texas League, but hit .318 with 19 HR in only 321 plate appearances between the two levels.

SS Jose Reyes – Reyes was only 19 years old in 2002, but still stole 58 bases and scored 104 runs in his time between the Florida State League and the Eastern League. He would be in the Majors the following season, and has been the catalyst in the Mets’ lineup ever since.

Major League Regulars

1B Lyle Overbay – While Overbay has not necessarily had an amazing career, he has remained a solid first baseman wherever he has played. In 2002, he drove in 109 runs and hit .343 for Tucson in the PCL. He is currently with the Blue Jays, although it remains to be seen if he will be traded before the July 31st deadline.

2B Scott Hairston – Hairston has only just recently started receiving regular playing time, as a member of the Padres. In 2002, he hit .345 with 22 HR, 98 RBI, and 10 SB.

OF Rocco Baldelli – Baldelli was BA’s minor league player of the year for 2002, as he vaulted through 3 levels of the minors from High-A all the way to the International League in AAA. Sadly, his career has been derailed by mitochondrial myopathy, a rare disease which there is no cure for. From Baldelli himself:

“Literally my muscles fatigue to the point where they’re burning, then severe burning, then they cramp up. They can seize up just after what I would call minimal exercise.

He currently works in the Rays’ front office, and it sounds like he hopes one day to play again.

DH Brad Hawpe – Hawpe has been out in the Rockies’ outfield for the majority of the last 7 seasons, hitting 22 or more homers in each of his last 4 seasons. He has made 1 All-Star Appearance as well, but is currently in a bit of a platoon for the Rockies. In 2002 he hit 22 HR and 97 RBI to go with his .347 batting average in the Carolina League.

Cups of Coffee

OF Robb Quinlan – Quinlan has been up and down between the Angels and AAA Salt Lake City every year since 2003, but has never been able to establish himself as an everyday player for the team. The most games he has appeared in with the team is 86, which he did in 2006.

OF Michael Restovich – Restovich never really caught on with any of the 4 teams he played for in his 6 year Major League career, never playing in more than 66 games in any one season. I think he was probably a bit of a casualty of not getting a chance, as he had Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, and Shannon Stewart all playing in the OF for the Twins in that 2003 season.

SP Sean Burnett – Burnett did not make his debut with the Pirates until the 2004 season, and then proceeded to run into all sorts of arm problems. He missed all of the 2005 season, and parts of the 2006 through 2008 seasons as well. He is now with the Nationals working out of their bullpen. It is interesting to note that Burnett is only 27 years old in 2010, and went 13-4 with a 1.80 ERA in the Carolina League in 2002 as a 19 year old.

SP Joe Roa – Roa is a bit of an unusual case, as he had been in the majors for parts of 3 different seasons when he went 14-0 for the Phillies’ AAA affiliate. He did end up being called up during the 2002 season, making 11 starts and having reasonable success. 2002 unfortunately was pretty easily his best season in his career, and was out of baseball after the 2005 season.

SP Kirk Saarloos – Saarloos went 12-1 with a 1.54 ERA between the Astros’ AA and AAA affiliates in 2002, and even made 17 starts for the Astros in 2002. His best season in his career probably came in 2005 when he went 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA for the Athletics. He last appeared in the Majors in 2008, and spent the 2009 season with the Indians’ AAA team.

SP Billy Traber – Traber went 17-5 with a 2.94 ERA between AA and AAA for the Indians in 2002, and made his major league debut with the club in 2003. He missed all of the 2004 season due to injuries, and pitched parts of the 2006-2009 seasons in the Majors with 3 clubs. He is currently pitching for the AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

RP Joe Valentine – I remember Valentine being included in the trade that acquired Jose Guillen for the Athletics in 2003. The Athletics had acquired him as a part of the Keith Foulke trade after the 2002 season where Valentine had saved 36 games for the White Sox AA affiliate. Valentine appeared in games in 2003, 2004 and 2005 for the Reds, and has been pitching in either independent ball or the Mexican League since 2007.

Overall, this group of prospects is kind of what you would expect: a mixed bag. You have some clearly top tier players in Martinez, Teixeira and Reyes. But you also have quite a few players who had a very minimal impact in their time at the Majors.

All Star Roster Review


These were my predictions for the All-Star rosters that I posted back on Saturday, representing my final thoughts on who I thought would make the team. Looking at how my predictions went, I am actually reasonably pleased with how they turned out.

Correct selections:

AL: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria, Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Cabrera, Ty Wigginton, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Vernon Wells, Cliff Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz, Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, Neftali Feliz

NL: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward, Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez, Martin Prado, David Wright, Scott Rolen, Jose Reyes, Corey Hart, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Matt Capps, Brandon Phillips

Incorrect:

AL Backup Catcher: I chose Mike Napoli as who I thought would be there, not really looking at Victor Martinez since he was injured at the time I made the pick. I’m not sold I agree with John Buck as the replacement for Martinez over Napoli, but it’s not a brutal choice. I think overall Napoli is going to have a better season, but they are pretty similar so far.

AL Backup Infielders: Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis are in the final vote, and in their place on the roster are Ian Kinsler (the replacement for Dustin Pedroia) and Alex Rodriguez. Part of the issue I had here was that I was not aware that the teams were required to take a utility player, which is where Wigginton fits on the roster. As a result, I didn’t take a 2B. I also didn’t include Pedroia because of his injury status, but he’s definitely deserving. A-Rod is also having a pretty good year, and I think this was my own personal bias. Knowing that the Yankees’ manager is managing the All-Star team, I probably should have seen that one.

AL Backup Outfielders: I think Choo would have made the team had he not gotten hurt just prior to the announcement, but when I made the selection it wasn’t for sure yet what his status was. Torii Hunter was selected as the only initial Angels’ player, and I think he’s definitely deserving as well. I do have a hard time looking at Jose Bautista on that roster with Alexis Rios who did not make the team, and is hitting better. The fact that the Blue Jays had Vernon Wells as well seems really odd to me. I don’t know how the player vote went (as he may have been a selection that was made by them), but it seems like a bit of an omission. Brett Gardner is having a great year, and he’s probably the player I would have left off in lieu of another infielder had I known I needed one.

AL Backup Designated Hitter: David Ortiz is probably more deserving than Jose Guillen was, but I knew I needed a Royal and liked a lot of the other relievers available more than Joakim Soria.

AL Pitching Staff

  • Jered Weaver was added to the roster in place of C.C. Sabathia (who will start on the Sunday prior to the All-Star game), which was the most glaring omission to me.
  • Andy Pettitte was added to the roster to replace the injured Clay Buchholz, but they did not have him on the initial roster.
  • The exclusion of Shin-Soo Choo due to injury required the Indians to have an All-Star on the pitching staff, and they went with Fausto Carmona instead. Look, someone had to be selected from the Indians, but it just shows how badly the rest of that team played.
  • Rafael Soriano was added to the roster to replace Mariano Rivera, who will rest instead of playing in the game.
  • I initially had Trevor Cahill as the replacement on the roster for the injured Shaun Marcum, who did not make the team. As a result, I also had Andrew Bailey on the initial roster as the A’s lone representative. They went with Matt Thornton of the White Sox, who is having an excellent season and is well deserving of the honor.
  • Phil Hughes is in the roster spot that I had for Colby Lewis. I think both are having excellent seasons and this is more of Girardi picking his guy when there are two similar players. I can understand that.

NL Backup Catcher: They selected Brian McCann over Miguel Olivo, and I don’t think that was a bad choice. Olivo is having a very nice offensive season, but McCann is the catcher for an excellent pitching staff on the first place Braves. The Capitol Avenue Club had a great post last week about how many times McCann has been snubbed when he was having amazing offensive seasons, so it is good to see a little bit of balance here.

NL Backup Infielders:

  • Clearly, the most glaring omission is the selection of Ryan Howard over Joey Votto. Howard is having a fine year, and I can even understand wanting to reward your player when you’re the manager. But clearly someone should have been left off the roster in place of Joey Votto who is having an MVP caliber season for the Reds. He is in the final vote (along with 4 of my All-Star selections), and I hope he gets in somehow. The Reds are a first place team, and Votto has clearly been their best player to this point.
  • I am not really worried about the missed selection of Placido Polanco, as I had already replaced him on the roster with Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is on the final ballot, but I don’t think he’ll end up making the team.
  • Omar Infante as the utility player makes sense based on his 2009 season, but I really wonder if there wasn’t some other player that could have been selected that could play more positions. I will say this much: His selection makes a whole heck of a lot more sense once Charlie Manuel came out and said they needed the utility player. I mean, even the player himself thought he was being notified he had been traded, not made the All-Star team.
  • I didn’t have Troy Tulowitzki due to his injuries, and the replacement ended up being Jose Reyes. I’m still not sold that Reyes is necessarily the right selection, but I don’t think he’s a poor one either.
  • Leaving Troy Glaus off the roster seems to me like it’s just a crunch at 1B. I understand it, but he’s been a boon for the first place Braves.

NL Backup Outfielders:

This is where I differed most from the actual team, as I missed 5 of them. 3 of them were the lone representatives for their team, so there’s three matching incorrect pitchers as well.

  • I picked Andrew McCutchen as the lone Pirates representative, and the team selected Evan Meek to represent them instead. Looking at the game as a winnable game, Meek is probably the more important player to have, and he is having an excellent season as well.
  • I picked Roy Oswalt as the lone deserving rep from the Astros, and they chose Michael Bourn instead. Bourn is having a reasonably good season, but I completely disagree on this one. I think his spot on the pitching staff was held by Yovani Gallardo, who could end up being replaced due to his injury anyway.
  • Chris Young instead of Justin Upton. As I looked at the numbers again, they got that one right. Young is having the better season pretty easily at the moment.
  • Matt Holliday was chosen over Colby Rasmus, and whoever made that selection got it wrong. I think that Holliday was selected a lot on his 2009 second half, as he’s only been hot of late in 2010. Rasmus will get his shot someday though.
  • Jayson Werth I think is the player who got crunched as a result of the lone Cubs’ representative, Marlon Byrd. Byrd is having an excellent season, and I think he’s a good pick.
  • Carlos Gonzalez is also in the final vote, and I think he’s the player who ended up getting crunched by the utility player needing to be on the roster. I don’t think they have made a selection to replace the injured Jason Heyward yet, and think Gonzalez would be the first choice. Hopefully anyway, as he’s having an amazing year.

NL Pitching Staff:

  • Chris Carpenter and Yovani Gallardo both made the roster, leaving my choices of Roy Oswalt and Mike Pelfrey off the roster. Neither pitcher is having a bad year, and the choices are solid ones. Gallardo is likely to be replaced on the roster due to injury, so one of them may still end up making the team.
  • The bullpen is a complete mess to me. How the Padres only got one representative overall, and no pitchers is beyond me. Heath Bell is in the final vote, but should probably be there regardless. I chose Luke Gregerson as my middle reliever, and Charlie Manuel chose Arthur Rhodes of the Reds. His choice is a good one here I think, as Rhodes may be having the best season of his career.
  • Billy Wagner is on the final vote ballot, and Carlos Marmol was left off the roster since Marlon Byrd is representing the Cubs. In their places, Jonathan Broxton and Brian Wilson were selected. Neither of these two are necessarily bad choices, just not necessarily the ones I would have made based on the current season. It does appear, however, that Manuel is managing to win the game, and I probably would trust both Broxton and Wilson more than Marmol.

Overall, I got 43 out of 68 correct. It has been a really interesting experiment to see how close I can get to predicting the teams, and next season I think the thing to remember to look at will be who is managing the teams. Had I done that, I probably would have gotten another 3-4 players correct. I think next year’s goal will be to get over 80% of the roster correct, especially now that I know about the utility player rule as well.

In terms of the roster makeup itself, Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis stand out to me as the players who are the most deserving to be on the team but are not on there as of yet. I will be shocked if Votto doesn’t get onto that roster somehow, and a bit disappointed too.

My Final All-Star Predictions


Happy 4th of July to everyone! With the voting and teams to be announced today, I wanted to update what I thought would happen with the Major League All-Star teams prior to that:

These teams were created with the same rules that the managers in the game are required, that being 34 man rosters with 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Each team must also have a representative. The starters are based on the last voting results that were publicized.

Italicized selections are on the disabled list currently, and have been replaced with another player on the roster.

American League:

Starting Lineup
C – Joe Mauer (MIN)
1B – Justin Morneau (MIN)
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY)
3B – Evan Longoria (TAM)
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY)
OF – Carl Crawford (TAM), Ichiro Suzuki (SEA), Josh Hamilton (TEX)
DH – Vladimir Guerrero (TEX)

Bench:

C – Mike Napoli (LAA)
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET), Paul Konerko (CHW), Kevin Youkilis (BOS)
2B – Ty Wigginton (BAL)
3B – Adrian Beltre (BOS)
SS – Elvis Andrus (TEX)
OF – Alexis Rios (CHW), Vernon Wells (TOR), Shin-Soo Choo (CLE), Brett Gardner (NYY)
DH – Jose Guillen (KC)

Pitching Staff:

Starters – Cliff Lee (SEA), David Price (TAM), Jered Weaver (LAA), Jon Lester (BOS), Colby Lewis (TEX), Andy Pettitte (NYY), Shaun Marcum (TOR), Trevor Cahill (OAK), Clay Buchholz (BOS)
Relievers – Mariano Rivera (NYY), Neftali Feliz (TEX), Rafael Soriano (TAM), Jose Valverde (DET), Andrew Bailey (OAK)

National League

Starting Lineup
C – Yadier Molina (STL)
1B – Albert Pujols (STL)
2B – Chase Utley (PHI)
3B – Placido Polanco (PHI)
SS – Hanley Ramirez (FLA)
OF – Andre Ethier (LAD), Jason Heyward (ATL), Ryan Braun (MIL)
DH – Joey Votto (CIN)

Bench:

C – Miguel Olivo (COL)
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (SD), Troy Glaus (ATL)
2B – Martin Prado (ATL), Brandon Phillips (CIN)
3B – David Wright (NYM), Scott Rolen (CIN), Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
SS – Jose Reyes (NYM)
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Jayson Werth (PHI), Justin Upton (ARI), Corey Hart (MIL), Colby Rasmus (STL), Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

Pitching Staff:

Starters – Roy Oswalt (HOU), Ubaldo Jimenez (COL), Roy Halladay (PHI), Josh Johnson (FLA), Tim Lincecum (SF), Tim Hudson (ATL), Adam Wainwright (STL), Mike Pelfrey (NYM)
Relievers – Luke Gregerson (SD), Heath Bell (SD), Matt Capps (WAS), Billy Wagner (ATL), Carlos Marmol (CHC)

Overall, I am actually a bit surprised just how difficult this process can be. There are a lot of players that are deserving of an All-Star appearance who are going to be crunched because of the requirement to have a representative from every team.  If I were to guess, I would be surprised if I got more than 60% right. I will post my review of the All-Star rosters, along with how I did with this final prediction (and the others as well) on Thursday.

Original Draft Series: #26 – New York Mets


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

Team #26: New York Mets

General Managers(since 1994)

Joe McIlvaine (1994-1997): 283-298
Steve Phillips (1998-2003): 502-469
Jim Duquette (2004): 71-91
Omar Minaya (2005-Current): 427-383

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 1 3 1 6 4 3 2

The Mets have actually had some pretty solid years over the past 16 seasons. With a trip to the World Series in 2000,  and 3 playoff appearances overall, the Mets have done well with what they’ve had. The key being that as time has progressed since 1994, they have continued to spend money in addition to developing players, sometimes one to the detriment of the other. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Josh Thole 2005 – 13th Rd 5 17 gm, .321/.356/.396, 9 RBI, SB, 2 R Currently with Org.
1B Ike Davis 2008 – 1st Rd (18) 2 51 gm, .258/.346/.451, 8 HR, 22 RBI, SB, 31 R Currently with Org.
2B Ty Wigginton 1998 – 17th Rd 6 288 gm, .270/.327/.440, 29 HR, 131 RBI, 20 SB, 137 R Traded to PIT – 7/30/04
3B David Wright 2001 – 1st Rd (38) 9 4 All Star Appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
910 gm, .308/.388/.519, 152 HR, 611 RBI, 130 SB, 585 R
Currently with Org.
SS Jose Reyes Int’l FA – 1999 11 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
851 gm, .284/.336/.430, 66 HR, 348 RBI, 318 SB, 587 R
Currently with Org.
LF Angel Pagan 1999 – 4th Rd 7+2 181 gm, .293/.345/.446, 10 HR, 71 RBI, 31 SB, 102 R Purchased by CHC – 1/25/06
CF Carlos Gomez Int’l FA – 2002 5 58 gm, .232/.288/.304, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 12 SB, 29 R Traded to MIN – 2/2/08
RF Nelson Cruz Intl FA – 1998 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 8/30/00
SP Scott Kazmir 2002 – 1st Rd (15) 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to TAM – 7/30/04
SP A.J. Burnett 1995 – 8th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 2/6/98
SP Mike Pelfrey 2005 – 1st Rd (9) 5 37-33, 4.25 ERA, 334 K, 212 BB, 565.2 IP, 1.448 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brian Bannister 2003 – 7th Rd 3 2-1, 4.26 ERA, 19 K, 22 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Traded to KC – 12/6/06
SP Jonathon Niese 2005 – 7th Rd 5 5-4, 4.27 ERA, 74 K, 36 BB, 97 IP, 1.505 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Hisanori Takahashi Int’l FA – 2010 1 5-2, 3.48 ERA, 52 K, 20 BB, 54.1 IP, 1.325 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jenrry Mejia Int’l FA – 2007 3 0-2, 3.04 ERA, 16 K, 13 BB, 26.2 IP, 1.575 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Octavio Dotel Int’l FA – 1993 6 8-3, 5.38 ERA, 85 K, 49 BB, 85.1 IP, 1.383 WHIP Traded to HOU – 12/23/99
RP Aaron Heilman 2001 – 1st Rd (18) 7 22-33, 4.24 ERA, 395 K, 185 BB, 450.1 IP, 1.328 WHIP Traded to SEA – 12/11/08
RP Matt Lindstrom 2002 – 10th Rd 8 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 11/20/06
CL Heath Bell Amateur FA – 1998 8 1-5, 4.92 ERA, 105 K, 30 BB, 108 IP, 1.472 WHIP Traded to SD – 11/15/06
BN Kaz Matsui (2B) Int’l FA – 2003 3 239 gm, .256/.308/.363, 11 HR, 75 RBI, 22 SB, 106 R Traded to COL – 6/9/06
BN Daniel Murphy (1B) 2006 – 13th Rd 4 204 gm, .275/.331/.437, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 4 SB, 84 R Currently with Org.
BN Lastings Milledge (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (12) 4 115 gm, .257/.326/.414, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 4 SB, 41 R Traded to WAS – 11/30/07
BN Jesus Flores (C) Int’l FA – 2002 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Rule 5 Draftee – WAS – 12/7/06
BN Guillermo Mota (RP) Int’l FA – 1990 6 + 2 5-2, 4.66 ERA, 66 K, 23 BB, 77.1 IP, 1.241 WHIP Rule 5 Draftee – MON – 12/9/06
BN Ryota Igarashi (RP) Int’l FA – 2009 1 0-1, 10.03 ERA, 4 K, 9 BB, 11.2 IP, 1.971 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 20 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). With success comes a lack of top-10 picks, as they have had only 4 picks in those drafts. They have actually done reasonably well in the 1st round, 14 of the 20 making it for at least 1 game to the Majors. Clearly, the biggest success to this point has been 3B David Wright, who has posted a 27.2 career WAR already, despite being only 27 years old. Unfortunately, they haven’t always known what to do with their first rounders, as the player with the second highest Career WAR to this point is the notorious Scott Kazmir, traded away in 2004 for the player equivalent of 5 baseballs and some pine tar.

International Free Agency

The Mets have been extremely active in the International markets, with both professional free agents (Matsui, Takahashi) and amateur free agents (Reyes, Dotel) having success. There have been a few however, who are either too new still (Igarashi, Mejia), or never really did much for the team itself (Flores, Cruz). Overall, there is definitely an effort being made organization wide to try to ensure that they are tapping every talent pool possible.

Overall Grade

I am leaning towards C- here. While there have been some stunning success stories (Wright, Reyes), there have also been players who essentially brought nothing to the table for the Mets (Kazmir, Flores, Cruz). And while at least a few of these players who did not play for the team brought back useful players (Burnett was used to acquire Al Leiter), the fact that so many of these players were not in a Mets uniform when they had success leads me to rank them down this low. As you will probably see in the next few teams, these teams are all kind of bunched together, and if you had one ahead of another, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree.

Team Preview – New York Mets


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Rod Barajas SP 1 Johan Santana
1B Daniel Murphy SP 2 Oliver Perez
2B Luis Castillo SP 3 John Maine
3B David Wright SP 4 Mike Pelfrey
SS Jose Reyes SP 5 Jon Niese
LF Jason Bay Bullpen
CF Carlos Beltran CL Francisco Rodriguez
RF Jeff Francouer RP Ryota Igarashi
Bench RP Pedro Feliciano
OF Gary Matthews Jr. RP Kiko Calero
1B Mike Jacobs RP Sean Green

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
LF Jason Bay Free Agency 1B Carlos Delgado Free Agency
C Rod Barajas Free Agency RP J.J. Putz Free Agency
RP Ryota Igarashi Free Agency RF Gary Sheffield Free Agency

Top Prospects: Fernando Martinez (OF), Jennry Mejia (P), Reese Havens (2B)

2009 Review

The Mets spent most of the 2009 season adjusting to their new stadium and futilely attempting to avoid injuries. They lost significant playing time from SS Jose Reyes, 3B David Wright, OF Carlos Beltran, and 1B Carlos Delgado during the season. Needless to say, their on-field performance didn’t turn out so good, as they finished 70-92, 23 games out of 1st in their division. Probably their best performances on offense last season came from David Wright (.307/.390/.447, 10 HR), and Carlos Beltran (.325, 10 HR, 11 RBI). Daniel Murphy led the team with 12 HR on the season.

Citi Field played like a pitchers park for the hitters, but it didn’t seem to help the pitching staff. Staff ace Johan Santana pitched well (13-9, 3.13), but only made 25 starts last year. The rest of the rotation was an ineffective mess, with the best performance of the group probably coming from John Maine (7-6, 4.43 ERA) in his limited starts. All in all, it was a pretty poor year for the Mets unfortunately. There had been speculation that they may fire either manager Jerry Manuel, GM Omar Minaya, or even both. Both men are still on the job though, with a lot to prove.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Mets signed the 2nd best outfielder on the free agent market this season, committing 4 years and $66 M to LF Jason Bay. They have also given the everyday job at 1B to Daniel Murphy, and are hoping that they will be able to get a full season out of most of their star players this year. Unfortunately, the injuries have already started to hit them, as CF Carlos Beltran will miss the first month of the season as he recovers from off-season surgery. It remains to be seen how effective SS Jose Reyes will be this season, as he tries to return from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of last season.

For the Mets to have a chance of competing in the division, they will need marked improvements from all of their starting pitchers. For Santana, they need him to make a full season worth of starts. For the rest of the rotation, they need to pitch better. Maine was the only pitcher with an ERA under 5, and none of them were particularly effective last year.

There is a little help coming, as Fernando Martinez should be able to contribute by mid-season, and P Jennry Mejia (who I wrote up earlier in the offseason), could potentially see some time late in the season as well.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Coming into last season, you had 2 bonafide first rounders in David Wright and Jose Reyes. Concerns surrounding the two of them this year have dropped them in the rankings, but I think that Wright will have a bounceback season. The power should still be there, as he’s only going to be 27 this season. OF Carlos Beltran, SP Johan Santana, OF Jason Bay, and RP Francisco Rodriguez will be owned in nearly every league as well. Watch for Fernando Martinez if he gets the call to the Majors, as he could be a cheap source of stolen bases.

Prediction for 2010

The Mets really do not look like a contender this season, and I have serious doubts that they will be competitive next season either. They have a lot of bloated contracts that have been given to players that are either not performing to their expected standards. And there’s not a lot of Major-League ready talent down in the Minors. It could be a couple years before they challenge the Phillies again.

75-87, 4th in the NL East

Fantasy Preview – Shortstop


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 15 Shortstops for 2010

1. Hanley Ramirez – FLA
R HR RBI SB AVG
101 24 106 27 .342
Ramirez set career highs in batting average and runs batted in in 2009, and is still only 26 years old heading into the season. Ramirez provides excellent value in all 5 categories, and I could see him potentially getting back into 30-30 range this season as well. While I think that the batting average would suffer somewhat with an increase in power, he’s still far and away the best shortstop for fantasy purposes coming into the 2010 season.



2. Troy Tulowitzki – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
101 32 92 20 .297
Tulowitzki has been a bit of a mixed bag the last few seasons, as I’m sure owners who had him in 2008 would attest. As a result, he fell on draft day last year, and 2009 owners got a great value out of Troy. Tulowitzki is also another young shortstop (still only 25), and could conceivably see more growth as both a power hitter and a run producer. I think he can very easily achieve numbers similar to his 2009 season again.



3. Jimmy Rollins – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
100 21 77 31 .250
Rollins will look to rebound this season, as he had a terrible first half of the season. Dragging down his average last season was his batting average on balls in play (.251), which if it regresses closer to the mean, should improve his average between 20 and 30 points. I think that the rest of the numbers are probably pretty close to spot on for a 2010 season as well, with potentially a few more steals due to being on base more often.



4. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at 2B and OF
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
I talked about Zobrist in the 2B preview. I think that the positional flexibility puts him slightly ahead of players with similar numbers at this position. I also think he’s going to have to be drafted slightly higher than his stats would normally suggest.



5. Derek Jeter – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
107 18 66 30 .334
Jeter was a bit of a shocker last season, as he posted numbers that approached his career high in multiple categories, all at the age of 35. I think he was partially helped by the new Yankee Stadium, but I also think that Jeter can post similar numbers again this year. The power may drop slightly (think 15 instead of 18), but the average is not that far out of his normal range, and neither is the speed or runs. The Yankee lineup is going to create a lot of runs, and Jeter near the top of the order will be in line to score a lot of them as well.



6. Jose Reyes – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
18 2 15 11 .279
Nearly everyone who drafted Jose Reyes last year was hurt pretty badly as a result of it. Shut down by a leg injury, Reyes played in only 36 games last season, and posting reasonable stats for him in that time. All reports seem to indicate that Reyes is back to 100%, and if so, is a threat to steal 50 bases and hit 15 homers again. Watch for reports during spring training regarding his ability to run. If there are problems during spring training with that, I’d be extremely concerned. I have him ranked here because of the upside related to that speed.



7. Jason Bartlett – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
90 14 66 30 .320
Bartlett posted an excellent season for the Rays last year, posting career highs in all 5 categories. Of some concern to me are two peripheral statistics. His line-drive percentage spiked to 26%, from a career mark of around 20%. Also, his BABIP was a career high .364, up from his 2008 season mark of .330. The speed appears legitimate, although I would draft Bartlett with caution. If you expect him to post a similar season to 2009, you could be in for a rude awakening.



8. Elvis Andrus – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
72 6 40 33 .267
Andrus posted an excellent rookie season last year, and should see some growth potential this season. Andrus will enter the 2010 season at only 21 years old, but I think he will have the potential to score more runs, and even see a slight improvement in his steals and batting average as well. I don’t believe he has yet begun to approach his potential.



9. Marco Scutaro – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
100 12 60 14 .282
Scutaro improved on his 2008 campaign by cementing himself in the discussion for fantasy shortstops. He’s not likely to provide a huge amount of homers or steals, but will provide value in all 5 categories. I think that the move to Boston, with their better lineup and with the Green Monster in LF will help him, as he tended to pull most of his homeruns last year. I think that he could conceivably score more runs and have more RBI as well. Even at 34, I think there is still some upside in Scutaro.



10. Alexei Ramirez – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
71 15 68 14 .277
Ramirez improved on his plate discipline last season, and while it didn’t show in his batting average or power, it bodes well for him to continue to improve. I think that Ramirez has the potential to post a 20-20 season, although I am not 100% sure it will be this season. I’d be pretty happy with the season he posted last year. He’s probably going to fall closer to where he should be drafted this year, due to the loss of the positional flexibility he had coming into the 2009 season. But he’s still a solid value shortstop, and owners should be pretty happy with the results he provides.



11. Ryan Theriot – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 7 54 21 .284
The Riot posted a solid season last year, but there is something of some concern I noted in some of his other statistics. 2009 was the first season that his walk total was substantially lower than his strikeout total (51 BB/93 K). This was also easily the highest strikeout total he’s had as a Major Leaguer. I think that if he can cut down the strikeouts back toward the totals he has posted in the past (50, 58), his average could approach .300 again. Which would be really helpful, as I don’t believe he’s going to necessarily hit more than 5 homers this season.



12. Asdrubal Cabrera – CLE
Also qualifies at 2B
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 6 68 17 .308
I also wrote about Cabrera in my 2B rankings. I think he provides a good value at SS, and will provide some value in all 5 categories. He seems to be getting a lot of hype this offseason, so he may end up being drafted earlier than expected.



13. Miguel Tejada – BAL
Will qualify at 3B after 5 starts
R HR RBI SB AVG
83 14 86 5 .313
I actually didn’t write up Tejada at 3B, as I thought his value wasn’t that high compared to some of the other players at the position. Tejada seems unlikely to post more than about 15 homers at this point, but should be the beneficiary of more chances to score and drive in runs in the Orioles lineup. The average should stay similar, and the positional flexibility he will possess after the first week of the season will be a nice bonus as well. But I don’t think he’s going to approach the numbers he posted in his MVP season unless he starts counting other players’ stats as his own.



14. Alcides Escobar – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
20 1 11 4 .304
Escobar has been handed the starting SS job in Milwaukee after the trade of J.J. Hardy. He looks to be a speedster, who I could see stealing 30-40 bases with the playing time he’s going to receive. Do remember though that he is still a rookie, and will likely see some struggles as a result. Over the span of the season, he should approach 90 runs and a .290 batting average. There’s some upside here, but he’s probably not likely to become either Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins for a couple of years, if ever.



15. Cliff Pennington – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
27 4 21 7 .279
Another upside play, Pennington looks to me like a threat to steal 20+ bases in a full season. He’s unlikely to show a lot of power, as the 7 homeruns he hit last year between AAA and the Majors was his career high. Another thought of some concern would be the fact that the A’s aren’t exactly well known for producing a whole lot of runs. At this point in the rankings though, I’d rather have some upside, and Pennington does have some.


After my top 15, there’s still some potentially useful players. J.J Hardy of the Twins stands out as someone to monitor during spring training. This is a player who posted back to back 20+ homer seasons back in 2007-2008. If you’re still looking at this point for a shortstop, Stephen Drew and Yunel Escobar will provide some value in most categories without necessarily killing you in others. In the speed demon group, you’ve got Everth Cabrera, who is a cheap source of steals. You may have noticed a specific “name” player who I haven’t really mentioned at this point, and that’s Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers. Furcal, to me, looks like a player who has transitioned into a better real-life player than fantasy player. He does provide some value though, and is another player to keep an eye on during the season.

Tomorrow I will continue on with my team previews, as I review the American League Central this week, starting with the Chicago White Sox.