Tag Archives: Justin Verlander

Who are the Faces of their Franchise? AL Central Edition


Next up in my look at each organization’s Face of the Franchise is the AL Central…

  • White Sox – I think that at this point it has to either be Paul Konerko or Mark Buehrle. Both players have been with the team a long time, and both are known for being with the team as well. Buehrle may have gotten himself into a little bit of hot water earlier in the week regarding his comments about Michael Vick, but I think either would fit this title. Continue reading

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Starting Pitchers


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

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 25)

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The AL Walter Johnson Award


Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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

2010 was definitely a season for top tier pitching, and the American League definitely had its’ share of excellent pitchers. The hard part for me is that there is no clear cut pitcher who is head and shoulders above the rest of his counterparts. Before going into the candidates themselves, let’s go over a bit of what I think the top pitcher should represent:

Wins, Losses, and Run Support

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

ERA, WHIP, FIP, SIERA, and WAR

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

Strikeouts, Walks, and Innings Pitched

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

Intangibles

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

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

Name Team W-L ERA WHIP K BB IP SIERA FIP WAR
Jon Lester BOS 19-9 3.25 1.20 225 83 208 3.20 3.13 5.6
C.C. Sabathia NYY 21-7 3.18 1.19 197 74 237 2/3 3.75 3.54 5.1
David Price TAM 19-6 2.72 1.19 188 79 208 2/3 3.82 3.42 4.3
Justin Verlander DET 18-9 3.37 1.16 219 71 224 2/3 3.43 2.97 6.3
Francisco Liriano MIN 14-10 3.62 1.26 201 58 191 2/3 3.02 2.66 6.0
Cliff Lee SEA/TEX 12-9 3.18 1.00 185 18 212 1/3 3.03 3.06 7.0
Trevor Cahill OAK 18-8 2.97 1.11 118 63 196 2/3 4.16 4.19 2.2
Jered Weaver LAA 13-12 3.01 1.07 233 54 224 1/3 2.97 3.06 5.9
Felix Hernandez SEA 13-12 2.27 1.06 232 70 249 2/3 3.19 3.04 6.2

Continue reading

Original Draft Series – Team # 19 – Detroit Tigers


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

Team #19: Detroit Tigers

General Managers(since 1994)

Joe Klein (1994-1995): 113-146
Randy Smith (1996-2002): 466-666
Dave Dombrowski (2003-Current): 529-606

Team Performance

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

The Tigers have actually had a surprisingly low amount of success. When I started to think about the Tigers’ performance over the last 15 years, I thought that they had done reasonably well at some point during the time. I knew that the team had some pretty horrendous seasons (2002 comes to mind), but I was a big surprised at how bad some of the other years had been as well. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Alex Avila 2008 – 5th Rd 2 69 gm, .253/.342/.437, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB, 19 R Currently with Org.
1B Jeff Larish 2005 – 5th Rd 5 74 gm, .242/.323/.404, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 2 SB, 25 R Currently with Org.
2B Scott Sizemore 2006 – 5th Rd 4 30 gm, .206/.297/.289, HR, 8 RBI, 12 R Currently with Org.
3B Brandon Inge 1998 – 2nd Rd 12 1 All Star Appearance
1221 gm, .237/.306/.295, 129 HR, 522 RBI, 40 SB, 469 R
Currently with Org.
SS Ramon Santiago Int’l FA – 1998 6+5 485 gm, .249/.316/.342, 19 HR, 122 RBI, 26 SB, 170 R Traded to SEA – 1/8/04
LF Ryan Raburn 2001 – 5th Rd 9 301 gm, .258/.320/.441, 25 HR, 106 RBI, 12 SB, 112 R Currently with Org.
CF Curtis Granderson 2002 – 3rd Rd 7 1 All Star Appearance
722 gm, .271/.343/.482, 109 HR, 321 RBI, 73 SB, 461 R
Traded to NYY – 12/8/09
RF Brennan Boesch 2006 – 3rd Rd 4 49 gm, .337/.389/.624, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 2 SB, 24 R Currently with Org.
DH Cameron Maybin 2005 – 1st Rd (10) 2 24 gm, .143/.208/.265, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB, 8 R Traded to FLA – 12/4/07
SP Justin Verlander 2004 – 1st Rd (2) 6 2006 Rookie of the Year, 2 All Star Appearances
73-48, 3.92 ERA, 833 K, 316 BB, 936 IP, 1.271 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Rick Porcello 2007 – 1st Rd (27) 3 18-16, 4.59 ERA, 122 K, 74 BB, 1.440 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jair Jurrjens Int’l FA – 2003 4 3-1, 4.70 ERA, 13 K, 11 BB, 30.2 IP, 1.292 WHIP Traded to ATL – 10/29/07
SP Jeff Weaver 1998 – 1st Rd (14) 4 39-51, 4.33 ERA, 477 K, 209 BB, 714.2 IP, 1.311 WHIP Traded to NYY – 7/5/02
SP Brian Moehler 1993 – 6th Rd 9 48-52, 5.07 ERA, 446 K, 227 BB, 809 IP, 1.397 WHIP Traded to CIN – 7/23/02
RP Joel Zumaya 2002 – 11th Rd 8 13-11, 5 SV, 2.96 ERA, 209 K, 112 BB, 206.2 IP, 1.345 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Ryan Perry 2008 – 1st Rd (21) 2 1-5, 4.32 ERA, 78 K, 50 BB, 83.1 IP, 1.536 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jason Frasor 1999 – 33rd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances Traded to LAD – 9/18/02
RP Burke Badenhop 2005 – 19th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 12/4/07
RP Fernando Rodney Int’l FA – 1997 12 15-30, 4.28 ERA, 314 K, 170 BB, 330 IP, 1.424 WHIP Free Agency – 11/5/09
CL Francisco Cordero Int’l FA – 1994 5 2-2, 3.32 ERA, 19 K, 18 BB, 19 IP, 1.947 WHIP Traded to TEX – 11/2/09
BN Omar Infante Int’l FA – 1999 8 494 gm, .253/.298/.386, 32 HR, 154 RBi, 34 SB, 192 R Traded to CHC – 11/12/07
BN Cody Ross 1999 – 4th Rd 5 6 gm, .211/.286/.421, HR, 5 RBI, R Traded to LAD – 4/1/04
BN Scott Moore 2002 – 1st Rd (8) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CHC – 2/9/05
BN Andres Torres 1998 – 4th Rd 6 81 gm, .214/.264/.282, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 8 SB, 31 R Free Agency – 4/22/04
BN Trever Miller 1991 – 1st Rd (41) 5 0-4, 9.18 ERA, 8 K, 9 BB, 16.2 IP, 2.22 WHIP Traded to HOU – 12/10/96

June Amateur Draft

The Tigers have had some really good luck with their top picks of late, with Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello both providing solid performance so far at the Major League level. In addition, top picks Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin were both used to acquire current MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera. They are starting to show some value out of their picks in recent years, with Scott Sizemore, Brennan Boesch, and Alex Avila all starting to bear fruit. One of the keys for the Tigers has been their willingness to pay over slot to their top picks of late, as they have had players who have fallen to them as a result of other teams’ unwillingness to pay those top picks.

International Free Agency

The Tigers haven’t really had a whole lot of success in the international market of late. They had some solid pick ups with Fernando Rodney and Francisco Cordero, but aside from Jair Jurrjens, they haven’t really had any impact signees in a while. Granted that international signees take longer to bear fruit, but even their top-10 from Baseball America doesn’t have a whole lot of IFA signees on it.

Overall Grade

I give the Tigers a grade of C. They have had some excellent draft picks (Verlander, Weaver, Inge, Granderson), and have turned a few others (Miller, Maybin, Cordero) into solid players via trades. There are still some gaps in this roster, with players who have not played for the Tigers or very little for the Tigers, but overall it is a solid roster.

The Week in Review: April 26th – May 2nd


If the Playoffs Started Today

New York AL (16-8) (WC) vs. Minnesota (16-9) (C)
Texas (13-12) (W) vs. Tampa Bay (18-7) (E)

San Francisco (16-10) (WC) vs. St. Louis (17-8) (C)
Philadelphia (14-10) (E) vs. San Diego (16-9) (W)

This Week’s Top Performers

Albert Pujols (STL) – .571/.654/.857, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, SB
Adrian Beltre (BOS) – .520/.556/.640. 3 RBI, 2 R
Austin Jackson (DET) – .483/.531/.655, HR, 2 RBI, 9 R, 2 SB
Kosuke Fukudome (CHC) – .476/.633/1.048, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R
David Freese (STL) – .440/.481/.760, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 R, SB
Alfonso Soriano (CHC) – .400/.500/1.100, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
Robinson Cano (NYY) – .440/.481/1.000, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – .391/.444/783, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 3 SB

Zack Greinke (KC) – 15 IP, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 11 K
Francisco Liriano (MIN) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 19 K
Josh Johnson (FLA) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 20 K
Justin Verlander (DET) – W, 14 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 K
Yovani Gallardo (MIL) – 2 W, 13 IP, 0.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 15 K
Clay Hensley (FLA) – 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, 13 K

Roster Movement and Job Changes:

Disabled List:

  • Returning this Week: Ian Kinsler, Aaron Rowand
  • Going On the DL: Brett Anderson, Nelson Cruz, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Hammel, Pat Neshek, Curtis Granderson

Promotions and Demotions:

  • Coming: Wilson Ramos, Brad Bergesen, Mike Aviles, Alfredo Simon, Max Ramirez, Jhoulys Chacin
  • Going: Jim Johnson, Alex Gordon, Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • On Monday, it was announced that the Cubs and White Sox would play their interleague series for the Crosstown Cup trophy. The winner would be whichever team won the most games, or if they tied, who won the last game. To me, this is just posturing, as this rivalry was pretty intense. I’ve been in Chicago the weekend of one of these series, and you can feel the tension in the air.
  • Also on Monday, the Phillies announced that they had signed slugging 1B Ryan Howard to a 5 year, $125 million contract extension. The reaction across baseball seemed to be that this was a terrible signing. The bigger impact seems to be what this does for other free agent 1B after 2011 like Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols. I think as a result of this we could very well see our first $30+M annual average contract, and even potentially our first $300 M total contract.
  • Dents are starting to show in the armor of one of the greatest closers ever, as Trevor Hoffman proceeded to blow 2 saves in as many days to the Pirates on Tuesday and Wednesday. Manager Ken Macha said he will be sticking with him, and I would think that if anyone has earned the right to an extremely long leash, it’s Hoffman.
  • MLB and the Players’ Union approved changes to the All-Star Game, but nothing of particular substance. Included: DH every season, an extra player (bringing the rosters to 34 with 13 pitchers). The most important change is that pitchers who pitch on the Sunday prior to the All-Star Break will be replaced on the roster with pitchers who have not pitched that day. Overall, some decent changes. Could this be a small enough break that we may see the NL push to adopt the DH full-time as well?
  • Jeff Passan over at Yahoo Sports wrote up a very interesting article about the impact that the new immigration law passed in Arizona could have on baseball at large. I am not sure exactly whether or not this SHOULD be impacting baseball, but it has already started to some extent, as there were protesters at the Cubs-Diamondbacks game in Chicago over the weekend. This is probably an issue that will not be clear of baseball anytime soon.

Tomorrow I will have a month-in-review post up for the recently completed April. It will also include my All-Star teams after one month.

Fantasy Preview – Starting Pitchers Part 1


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 25 Starting Pitchers

1. Tim Lincecum – SF
W ERA IP K WHIP
15 2.48 225.1 261 1.047
Lincecum is coming off back-to-back Cy Young Awards, and is still extremely young. The unorthodox delivery will always be of some concern, but he has had success with it to this point, and in staying healthy while using it. He really should have won more than 15 games last season, but you’re not really looking for wins specifically at this point. To me, Lincecum is far and away the best starting pitcher at the start of the season, and could very well end up with a repeat of his 2009 season again in 2010.


2. Roy Halladay – PHI
W ERA IP K WHIP
17 2.79 239 208 1.126
After all the speculation that Halladay would be moved during the 2009 season, it was a small surprise to see him actually moved during the offseason. But I really like what this does for his value for 2010. His lineup is going to provide him with a ton of runs, and Halladay also gets the bonus of getting to face the Nationals and the rest of the National League as opposed to having to face the juggernauts in New York and Boston a half-dozen times. I think he could actually improve on these numbers, and I think he’s going to give Lincecum a run for the money for the Cy Young Award this season.


3. Felix Hernandez – SEA
W ERA IP K WHIP
19 2.49 238.2 217 1.135
Hernandez really put it all together last season, finishing 2nd in the AL Cy Young voting to Greinke. The Mariners have made a concerted effort to improve the defense behind their pitching staff for 2010, adding Casey Kotchman at 1B and Chone Figgins at 3B. I think that Hernandez can actually see slight improvements in his numbers this season. My only concern for King Felix would be that he may not necessarily get as many wins, but you really shouldn’t be chasing wins to begin with.


4. C.C. Sabathia – NYY
W ERA IP K WHIP
19 3.37 230 197 1.148
Sabathia is simply a true pitcher. He’s going to be out there for as long as they will allow him, throwing as many pitches as he needs to get through a start. I actually think that the win total could also have the potential to be even higher this season, and the strikeouts higher as well. He’s always going to have a pretty good amount of run support, and his ERA and WHIP should stay in a similar range to last year.


5. Zack Greinke – KC
W ERA IP K WHIP
16 2.16 229.1 242 1.073
Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award last season, edging out Hernandez and Sabathia both. I think he’s going to see a slight regression, as the ERA and WHIP were amazingly low. But we’re still talking about a pitcher who will end up with a sub-3 ERA and a WHIP around 1.15 or less. Oh, and the strikeout per inning is always a good thing too. Greinke really appears to have conquered his demons regarding the spotlight, and seems like a pretty safe bet to have another great season.


6. Dan Haren – ARI
W ERA IP K WHIP
14 3.14 229.1 223 1.003
Haren really seems to be a tale of two pitchers: He always has a very good first half, and a not-as-great second half. Just keep that thought in the back of your mind when drafting him. The fact that despite poorer performance in the second half, these were the numbers he posted, tells you how good the numbers were in the first half. Haren is also about as steady as it comes also, having posted excellent performances overall for each of the last 4 seasons.


7. Adam Wainwright – STL
W ERA IP K WHIP
19 2.63 233 212 1.210
Wainwright posted an excellent season last year, narrowly losing out on the NL Cy Young award last season. His peripheral numbers (.309 BABIP, 0.66 HR/9) indicate to me that there’s a very good chance he’ll repeat these numbers again in 2010.


8. Justin Verlander – DET
W ERA IP K WHIP
19 3.45 240 269 1.175
Verlander definitely announced his presence again in 2009, and my only question about him is this: Will he be able to repeat what he did in 2009, or will he regress back to the 2008 version? I think he’s a lot more likely to stay at the 2009 level, and could end up as a top-5 pitcher potentially.


9. Jon Lester – BOS
W ERA IP K WHIP
15 3.41 203.1 225 1.230
Lester’s personal story is a very good one, but the fantasy implications of his 2009 season are much more interesting for my purposes. I think that there is a reasonable chance he will actually improve on his numbers, both the ERA and WHIP. The Red Sox have done a very good job of improving their defense, and have managed to keep their offense in solid shape as well. Even his health concerns from the beginning of the 2009 season have been put to rest, and he should help lead the Red Sox for many years to come.


10. Chris Carpenter – STL
W ERA IP K WHIP
17 2.24 192.2 144 1.007
The only concern I have with Carpenter is the same one that he has nearly every season: health. Carpenter only pitched 192 innings last season, and I think it is unlikely he will get much past 200 IP this season as well. The strikeout rate seems to have dropped some, but his ERA and WHIP have been low enough that the fact that he’s “only” struck out around 7 per 9 innings is not really that relevant to me. But do remember that Carpenter is not without risk.


11. Josh Johnson – FLA
W ERA IP K WHIP
15 3.23 209 191 1.158
With a freshly signed contract extension, Johnson knows he’s going to be pitching in Florida’s spacious stadium until they move to the new one. 2009 was the first season really able to stay healthy for the full season. The value is definitely there with Johnson, as even when he was not healthy, his numbers were in line with what he accomplished last season. But he’s another pitcher that I would say has a slightly more than average risk for injury.


12. Matt Cain – SF
W ERA IP K WHIP
14 2.89 217.2 171 1.181
Cain, very quietly, had a very good season last year. And even though he didn’t show it in the win totals for a second straight season, his components indicate that he’s definitely for real. He may see some regression with regard to his ERA, but he should still be around 3.50 or so.


13. Johan Santana – NYM
W ERA IP K WHIP
13 3.13 166.2 146 1.212
Santana was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise very poor Mets team in 2009. I think that there is a very distinct possibility that Santana pitches a full season this year, and vaults back into the top-10 of starting pitchers. The only number I don’t think improves is his win total, but that is more to do with what I think of the Mets than anything.


14. Javier Vazquez – NYY
W ERA IP K WHIP
15 2.87 219.1 238 1.026
So Vazquez is back in New York, and I think that this is going to adversely affect the numbers he will provide for fantasy owners. He’s still likely to strikeout around a batter per inning, but it concerns me that he’s not going to be able to face the Nats and the other National League lineups. I think he still posts an ERA around 3.50 and a WHIP around 1.2, which will both be excellent. But don’t let yourself get caught bidding on Vazquez on the assumption that he’s going to duplicated 2009, because I just don’t see that happening.


15. Josh Beckett – BOS
W ERA IP K WHIP
17 3.86 212.1 199 1.192
Beckett seems poised to repeat the success he had in 2009, and should provide you with some solid value in all categories. I don’t think there is a lot of upside from the numbers he posted last year though, and even a chance of some regression in WHIP as well.


16. Wandy Rodriguez – HOU
W ERA IP K WHIP
14 3.02 205.2 193 1.240
The numbers appear to be, for the most part, real. The ERA could possibly go up from last year, but the WHIP and strikeouts appear legit. The other thing that I was thinking with Wandy was the fact that it seems unlikely he will win more than the 14 games he did last season. The Astros don’t look particularly good, and that will affect his final numbers slightly.


17. Ubaldo Jimenez – COL
W ERA IP K WHIP
15 3.47 218 198 1.229
Jimenez’s 2009 season was an improvement on 2008, mostly due to him cutting down his walk rate from 4.67 per 9 to 3.51 per 9 innings in 2009. If he can continue that lower walk rate, I don’t see any reason why he can’t perform to the same level in 2010.


18. Cliff Lee – SEA
W ERA IP K WHIP
14 3.22 231.2 181 1.243
Lee has had a whirlwind couple of seasons, having now been traded twice in the span of 5 months. His numbers could see some improvement by moving from Philadelphia to Seattle (mostly due to improved defense and ballpark), but the fact that he will be facing AL lineups again drops him from being a top-10 pitcher in my opinion. He’s still going to be an excellent pitcher, and he’s still going to provide solid numbers across the board. But I think I would rather have some other pitchers first.


19. Jake Peavy – CHW
W ERA IP K WHIP
9 3.45 101.2 110 1.121
Peavy came back late in the season from his injuries and pitched extremely well. He is another pitcher who could very well end up as a top-10 pitcher if he pitches a full season in 2010. But the fact that it took a majority of 2009 to recover from these injuries concerns me, as well as his adaption to pitching outside of Petco. I believe that he’s going to be solid as long as he’s healthy, and potentially elite also. He is not a product of Petco Park, but the place certainly didn’t hurt him as a pitcher.


20. Clayton Kershaw – LAD
W ERA IP K WHIP
8 2.79 171 185 1.228
Kershaw put it all together last season, and still has a lot of room for growth. He’s only going to be 22 years old this season, and should hopefully see him top 200 innings this year. The win total should improve as well, as he pitched a lot better than only getting 8 wins. My only real concern with Kershaw is how he will adjust to trying to throw that many innings. The potential dropoff is still well worth the risk in my opinion, as the upside for Kershaw remains huge.


21. Yovani Gallardo – MIL
W ERA IP K WHIP
13 3.73 185.2 204 1.314
Gallardo pitched the majority of the season last year for the first time, and posted some excellent numbers as a result. I think that he can approach 200 innings this season, but could potentially see a slight regression in ERA and WHIP due to a slightly lower BABIP (.288). The strikeouts are legit, and I could see the wins potentially improving as well. Gallardo is the unquestioned ace of the Brewers staff at this point.


22. Ricky Nolasco – FLA
W ERA IP K WHIP
13 5.06 185 195 1.254
Nolasco’s ERA really appears to be an outlier. Both his BABIP (.336) and FIP (3.35) indicate that the ERA was extremely unlucky. You’re looking at a pitcher who will approach 200 innings, and post excellent numbers in strikeouts, WHIP, and ERA this time around.


23. Matt Garza – TAM
W ERA IP K WHIP
8 3.95 203 189 1.261
Garza appears extremely unlucky in terms of wins. He did post a career high in strikeouts, which was more in-line with his minor league stats. His ERA may be a bit higher this year, but I think he still is right around 4.00.


24. Tommy Hanson – ATL
W ERA IP K WHIP
11 2.89 127.2 116 1.185
The only thing that is keeping me from ranking Hanson higher is the fact that he has not yet done it over a full season. But he’s going to be really good, and will probably post an ERA closer to 3.75 than the 2.89 he posted last season. A lot of upside here though to be sure.


25. Brandon Webb – ARI
W ERA IP K WHIP
0 13.5 4 2 2.00
Talk about a lost season. Webb pitched 4 innings in his first start, and never made it back to the team during the season. But the upside of Webb is a definite top 10 pitcher who could post 200 IP with a sub 3.50 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and 175 strikeouts. The risk of injury is the only thing keeping him from being higher up.

Tomorrow I will continue on with my team previews, as I review the American League West this week, starting with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

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

AL Cy Young Award in Review


It was just announced that Zack Greinke has won the 2009 AL Cy Young award. Let’s take a look at each of the players receiving votes, and how their seasons went.

Voting (first place)

Greinke: 134 (25)
Felix Hernandez: 80 (2)
Justin Verlander: 14 (1)
C.C. Sabathia: 13
Roy Halladay: 11

Zack Greinke
Zack posted an extremely dominant season, starting out 6-0 and never looking back. He finished the season with 16 wins (the least of any Cy Young award winner ever), a 2.16 era, 6 complete games, 3 shutouts, 242 strikeouts, and a 1.07 whip. A dominant season by any stretch, and most likely there would have been no doubt about this if he had played in a major market, or for a contending team.

Felix Hernandez
King Felix probably would have won a Cy Young with this season just about any other year. 19-5 with a 2.49 era, 217 strikeouts, a 1.14 whip, 2 complete games, 1 shutout on a 3rd place team. And he’s still only 23 years old. I know it doesn’t seem like it since he’s been in the majors for parts of 5 years already.

Justin Verlander
Verlander had what may have been his best season so far, finishing with a 17-5 record and anchoring the Tigers’ pitching staff to within one game of the playoffs. Some of the other eye-popping numbers: 269 strikeouts, a 3.45 era, 1.18 whip, and 3 complete games in 240 innings pitched. He improved nearly every key stat a pitcher can improve in a single season, seeing a lower walk total, higher strikeouts, and lower era.

C.C. Sabathia
Sabathia had a very good year, proving that a good pitcher can still go to the Big Apple and own the place. A World Championship in year 1, Sabathia anchored the depleted Yankee rotation with a 19-8 record, a 3.37 era, 1.15 whip, and 197 strikeouts in 230 innings pitched this year. Another player who might have won a Cy Young in a different year, the Yankees will more than get their money’s worth out of Sabathia.

Roy Halladay
Every year, it seems Halladay ends up in this discussion. This is the 4th straight year that Halladay has received votes for this award. Subjected to a summer of trade rumors, Halladay still went 17-10 with a 2.79 era, 1.13 whip, a league-leading 9 complete games and 4 shutouts, and 208 strikeouts in 239 innings for the Blue Jays. I’m not sure where he pitches come the beginning of April, but it’s safe to say at this point that Roy is going to take the ball, and keep his team in the game at all times.

This is the 4th straight Cy Young winner to come from the AL Central division (Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee). Hopefully this won’t be the 4th one to leave the division in the years afterward.