Tag Archives: Mark Teixeira

Fantasy Rankings in Review – First Basemen


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 1B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Ryan Howard
6. Joey Votto
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Kendry Morales
10. Adrian Gonzalez
11. Derrek Lee
12. Justin Morneau
13. Adam Dunn
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Carlos Pena

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Paul Konerko
5. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Aubrey Huff
8. Ryan Howard
9. Nick Swisher
10. Adam Dunn
11. David Ortiz
12. Martin Prado
13. Prince Fielder
14. Billy Butler
15. Adam LaRoche

I also mentioned Adam LaRoche, Paul Konerko, Billy Butler, Garrett Jones, Lance Berkman, Chris Davis, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, James Loney, Justin Smoak, and Chris Carter as players potentially having value this year.
From my preseason rankings, Kevin Youkilis (19), Derrek Lee (21), James Loney (24), and Justin Morneau (25) all finished in the top 25. Mark Reynolds, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Pena did not make the top 25 at the end of the season.
Free Agents: Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena
What We Saw

Buster Posey’s season was better than anyone even thought. He finished at #23 in the 1B rankings for Yahoo, which is clearly an elite offensive position. Wow.

I thought Joey Votto would do extremely well this season, but clearly this was above and beyond what I thought either. I think he’s going to start next season as a top 10 player overall.

Talk about a walk year improvement. Paul Konerko went nuts this year, and finished with 39 homers and 112 rbi. He’s a free agent, and while they want him back in Chicago, it remains to be seen where he will end up. But he’s clearly not as done as we all thought he was.

Aubrey Huff is another free agent who should get paid this offseason after an excellent performance in San Francisco. Part of his value was having 7 stolen bases this season, which seems unlikely to continue. I just can’t convince myself that he’s particularly likely to repeat the overall performance in 2011.

Injuries really had an effect on the 1B depth, with Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau, and Troy Glaus all missed time during the season. It didn’t help that players like Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena all struggled during the season.

Justin Morneau really concerns me for next season, due to the fact that he still has not been able to do any baseball activities since suffering that concussion in Toronto. He could potentially provide a very nice value for fantasy owners next year, but he won’t end up on any of my teams most likely.

Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be the topic of trade rumors throughout the offseason, and I think that if he gets traded to anywhere else practically, he’s going to provide even more offense than he did this season, which seems like it should be impossible.

Overall, some of these rankings were pretty easy (I’m pretty sure it takes no brains to rank Pujols at #1), but some of these players clearly underperformed (Fielder, Reynolds, Pena). I think that Youkilis would have finished above the #8 spot I had believed at the beginning of the season had he not gotten injured. Not a terrible job on these, but definitely some work to be done next season.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Ryan Howard
7. Prince Fielder
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Paul Konerko
10. Adam Dunn

The AL Stan Musial Award


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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), the Goose Gossage awards (Top Reliever), and the Walter Johnson awards (Top Pitcher). Only one set of awards left to give out, and it’s the big one: The Stan Musial award, given to each league’s most valuable player.

Every season there seems to be a real debate as to what should be considered for the league’s most valuable player. It’s become pretty clear that there is (or at least should be) a difference between who is the best player and who was the most valuable to his team this season. Well, here’s my criteria (at least how I see it anyway):

Value to their Team

It becomes extremely hard for me to argue that a player who has a great season on a team with a lot of great players is more valuable than a player who has a great season on a team that doesn’t have a lot of good players on it. When I look at it, I start looking at how the team would perform without the player. If the player I am looking at were to miss extended time, would their team be able to easily replace what he does, or would they struggle until he returned to form?

The Complete Player

It becomes extremely important in my opinion, that for a player to be the most valuable player, they have to provide at least some value on both sides of the game. Clearly, there is value to a player who plays excellent defense in addition to a player who hits extremely well. To me, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a player needs to steal a lot of bases and hit a lot of home runs on the offensive side, but they should clearly be pretty close to elite for what they do. And in terms of players who are primarily designated hitters, to me they have to be far and away the most obvious candidate for them to get a lot of votes. While it is a position in the game, I think that it is important to find a way to offset the value they are not providing in the field.

Pitchers

I tend to view pitchers the same way as designated hitters in terms of the most valuable player. They would need to be unbelievably dominant to move ahead of top level position players.

The Big Stats

At this point, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore what the statistics tell us overall. It becomes hard to argue that there isn’t a judgment to be made when looking at value with regard to home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, runs batted in, and batting average, among many others. That said, it is something I look at, but it doesn’t become a spot where I just make a judgment based entirely on the statistics.

With all that (phew!), here’s my top candidates for the AL Stan Musial award. Players are listed from east to west, and my vote will be at the bottom. For this award, it’s a 10 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.

Continue reading

Original Draft Series: Team #9 – Texas Rangers


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

Team #9: Texas Rangers

General Managers(since 1994)

Tom Grieve (1994): 52-62
Doug Melvin (1995-2001): 568-548
John Hart (2002-2005): 311-337
Jon Daniels (2006-Current): 401-409

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Ivan Rodriguez Int’l FA – 1988 14+1 10 Gold Gloves, 10 All Star Appearances, 6 Silver Sluggers, 1999 AL MVP
1507 gm, .304/.341/.488, 217 HR, 842 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/28/02
1B Mark Teixeira 2001 – 1st Rd (5) 6 1 All-Star Appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
693 gm, .283/.368/.533, 153 HR, 499 RBI, 11 SB
Traded to ATL – 7/31/07
2B Ian Kinsler
2003 – 17th Rd 7 2 All Star Appearances
591 gm, .282/.355/.469, 89 HR, 311 RBI, 101 SB
Currently with Org.
3B Edwin Encarnacion 2000 – 9th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CIN – 6/15/01
SS Fernando Tatis Int’l FA – 1992 6 155 gm, .264/.301/.378, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 9 SB Traded to STL – 7/31/98
LF Laynce Nix 2000 – 4th Rd 6 240 gm, .241/.278/.414, 28 HR, 112 RBI, 6 SB Traded to MIL – 7/28/06
CF Scott Podsednik 1994 – 3rd Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 10/8/95
RF Julio Borbon
2007 – 1st Rd (35) 3 145 gm, .281/.326/.368, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 29 SB Currently with Org.
DH Carlos Pena 1998 – 1st Rd (10) 3 22 gm, .258/.361/.500, 3 HR, 12 RBI Traded to OAK – 1/14/02
SP C.J. Wilson 2001 – 5th Rd 9 24-25, 3.84 ERA, 52 SV, 438.2 IP, 389 K, 199 BB Currently with Org.
SP Colby Lewis
1999 – 1st Rd (38) 5+1 21-23, 5.21 ERA, 331.2 IP, 281 K, 159 BB Currently with Org.
SP Edinson Volquez Int’l FA – 2001 6 3-11, 7.20 ERA, 80 IP, 55 K, 42 BB Traded to CIN – 12/21/07
SP Ryan Dempster
1995 – 3rd Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 8/8/96
SP John Danks 2003 – 1st Rd (9) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CHW – 12/23/06
RP Derek Holland 2006 – 25th Rd 4 10-15, 6.00 ERA, 162 IP, 131 K, 57 BB Currently with Org.
RP Ramon Ramirez Int’l FA – 1996 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 6/4/98
RP Nick Masset 2000 – 8th Rd 4 0-0, 4.15 ERA, 8.2 IP, 4 K, 2 BB Traded to CHW – 11/23/06
RP Tommy Hunter 2007 – 1st Rd (54) 3 18-10, 4.62 ERA, 200.2 IP, 115 K, 57 BB Currently with Org.
RP Danny Herrera 2006 – 45th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CIN – 12/21/07
CL Darren Oliver 1988 – 3rd Rd 10+2+1 54-48, 5.12 ERA, 892.1 IP, 576 K, 389 BB Currently with Org.
BN Travis Hafner
1996 – 31st Rd 6 23 gm, .242/.329/.387, HR, 6 RBI Traded to CLE – 12/6/02
BN Aaron Harang 1999 – 6th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 11/17/00
BN Justin Smoak 2008 – 1st Rd (11) 2 70 gm, .209/.316/.353 8 HR, 34 RBI Traded to SEA – 7/9/10
BN Chris Davis 2006 – 5th Rd 4 224 gm, .249/.299/.460, 38 HR, 117 RBI, 3 SB Currently with Org.
BN Hank Blalock
1999 – 3rd Rd 10 2 All Star Appearances
910 gm, .269/.329/.465, 152 HR, 535 RBI, 13 SB
Left via Free Agency – 11/5/09

June Amateur Draft

The Rangers have had some pretty good success in the draft, with Mark Teixeira being the clear top performer from that group of players. Ian Kinsler was a very nice late round pick who has turned out really well. Some of the players haven’t quite turned out when they were moved (Dempster, Danks, Harang, Pena), but some of the better players that they have traded have really returned a lot of value. The Teixeira trade alone netted them 5 great prospects, many of whom have turned into solid major league players as well. Trading Smoak appears to have already had dividends as they acquired Cliff Lee as a part of it, and Nix was traded to acquire Carlos Lee for a stretch run a few seasons ago.

International Free Agency

The Rangers have done pretty well in international free agency as well, with Ivan Rodriguez being the clear cut top player acquired in that manner. Hard to argue when he’s going to be a sure fire Hall of Famer. There’s not a ton of other international free agents from the system, but Edinson Volquez was traded (along with Danny Herrera) to acquire AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, who has become critical to the success of the team at this point.

Overall Grade

B+. There are a lot of excellent players who have come through this system, and some very solid players who were used to acquire other important players. While they didn’t get a ton in return for players like Ryan Dempster, John Danks, and Scott Podsednik, the return for some of the better players (Teixeira, Volquez) has more than made up for it. The fact that they also have a lot of the same players in their system, and a very highly rated system of prospects coming tells me that the success they have been having this season should continue for years to come.

Week in Review – July 19 to July 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (59-38) vs. Texas Rangers (58-41)
Chicago White Sox (53-44) vs. New York Yankees (62-35)

San Francisco Giants (56-43) vs. Atlanta Braves (57-41)
St. Louis Cardinals (55-44) vs. San Diego Padres (58-39)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 75
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 27
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 88
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 35

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) and Brian Wilson (SF) 29
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.61
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 147
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Ben Sheets, Aaron Laffey, Luis Atilano, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Dustin Nippert, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Sweeney, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez,

Return from the Disabled List: Mat Latos, Ryan Ludwick, Sergio Mitre, Brian Roberts, Josh Beckett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Yovani Gallardo, Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Nate McLouth, Jed Lowrie, Will Venable, Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez, Clay Buchholz, Luis Castillo, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Matt Wieters,

To the Minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Oliver

Called Up: Cedrick Bowers, Alex Gordon, Jose Arredondo, Scott Sizemore, Armando Galarraga

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being enshrined for their performances. Back in December, I wrote up my thoughts on whether Dawson was a Hall of Famer or not. (I thought he was)
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th homerun of his career this week, and will earn $6 million extra when he hits #600 due to a clause in his contract. Good for him.
  • The Mariners are really looking like a mess, and I am thinking it is probably going to cost manager Don Wakamatsu his job before the end of the season. On Friday night, he got into a shouting argument in the dugout with Chone Figgins over Figgins’ lack of effort on a play in the 5th inning of that night’s game. I actually agree that Wakamatsu did the right thing by yanking Figgins from the game, but teams don’t fire players very often for this kind of stuff.
  • The Moneyball movie has begun shooting finally, with Brad Pitt set to play GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill to play Paul De Podesta, and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing manager Art Howe. Having been through the 2002 season as an A’s fan, and having read the book, this one’s going to be interesting. I’m wondering if the movie reopens the stats vs. scouts argument wounds again.
  • Major League Baseball, very quietly, announced that minor leaguers will now be tested for HGH in addition to all the other things they are already tested for. I’d be shocked if the next collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have this test in it for Major Leaguers as well.
  • The Angels made the big moves this week with acquiring 3B Alberto Callaspo first in the week and then making the huge splash with acquiring SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for 4 prospects. Really like the trade for the Angels, hate it for every other team in the division (including my A’s).

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

From the Hall of Very Good: HOVG posted a series of articles looking at the next group of players to be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (so far). Excellent reads from all of them.

From the Daily Something: Bill had a guest post from Jeff Polman which went ahead and played out the remainder of the 1994 season via Strat-o-Matic baseball. It’s a really interesting read, and Strat-o-Matic is something I keep reminding myself that I might enjoy when I have some more time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: A series I had not finished up from earlier in the month, the Original Draft Series, is a group of posts where I look at what an organization’s major league team could have looked like had they held onto every player that they either drafted or signed to their first professional contract. There may be 3 posts this week on this, or there may be 6 if I am feeling ambitious.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Johan Santana to the Mets. This one’s a bit newer than a lot of the trades I have reviewed previously, but the players in the deal have pretty much finalized what their value in the trade is going to be, so it’s ready to be looked at I believe.

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
Baseball from the drop down list.
* 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

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.

Early All Star Voting Thoughts


Well, the first set of All Star votes have been released, and I figured now was a good time to go over them and some of my thoughts on the whole process.

You can find the AL voting here, and the NL voting here, but here’s who they have listed as the starters as of Monday:

American League National League
C Joe Mauer C Yadier Molina
1B Mark Teixeira 1B Albert Pujols
2B Robinson Cano 2B Chase Utley
3B Evan Longoria 3B Placido Polanco
SS Derek Jeter SS Jimmy Rollins
OF Ichiro Suzuki OF Ryan Braun
OF Carl Crawford OF Shane Victorino
OF Nelson Cruz OF Jayson Werth
DH Vladimir Guerrero

Well, as seems to be the standard, there are a lot of Yankees. What is interesting to see is how many Phillies there are as well. I’m not sure if they have been doing any specific campaigns in Philadelphia to push their guys for the All-Star game, but something seems to be causing all those votes. Realistically, the only players who stand out to me right now as not really playing well enough to earn this honor are Teixeira and Rollins. Teixeira is still hitting only .207/.324/.374, and appears to be off to his worst start ever.

The issue I have with the All-Star game is that you have two concerns here: The voting, which is a popularity contest essentially, and the fact that the game decides who gets home-field advantage in the World Series. First, the voting. It seems like recently that there have been players getting voted to start in the All-Star game that done very little in this season to earn this honor. As a result, there ends up being some player that is left off of the roster because a player was voted in that probably doesn’t belong. Generally it seems like these players end up getting taken care of due to either injuries or players opting out for any number of reasons. However, it seems to me that most years there is some player who is a gross oversight for the roster.

The second problem started when the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie. Ever since, it seems like MLB has been trying to find a way to make the game more compelling. As a result of this thinking, they now give home field advantage in the World Series to whichever league wins the game. To me, they are trying to make this game important to the rest of the season, which it really should not be. The game is not managed the same way, the players don’t play it the same way as a regular season game, and at this point it seems really unfair to ask a manager to manage it like it were a regular season game.

To me, the All Star game really should be about showcasing the top players of the game. It really should have a similar role to the way the NBA All-Star Game is, where the game is kind of this free-for-all where the players are having fun, and that while who wins the game is important, it’s not all that important. One of the things I enjoy the most is seeing all the pomp and circumstance related to the start of the game, watching the players get introduced to either the adoration or scorn of the local fans.  It is an exhibition, and really should continue to be one. Hopefully at some point MLB will figure out that the team that plays the best during the regular season should get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But I will watch the game and enjoy it until they do all the same.

Team Preview – Texas Rangers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia SP 1 Scott Feldman
1B Chris Davis SP 2 Rich Harden
2B Ian Kinsler SP 3 Colby Lewis
3B Michael Young SP 4 Tommy Hunter
SS Elvis Andrus SP 5 Derek Holland
LF Josh Hamilton Bullpen
CF Julio Borbon CL Frank Francisco
RF Nelson Cruz RP C.J. Wilson
DH Vladimir Guerrero RP Neftali Feliz
Bench RP Darren Oliver
C Taylor Teagarden RP Chris Ray
OF David Murphy RP Brandon McCarthy

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Rich Harden Free Agency C Ivan Rodriguez Free Agency
DH Vladimir Guerrero Free Agency SP Kevin Millwood Trade (BAL)
RP Chris Ray Trade (BAL) 3B Hank Blalock Free Agency

Top Prospects: Justin Smoak (1B), Marin Perez (P), Tanner Scheppers (P)

2009 Review

The Rangers came into the 2009 season with the same problem that they have had in many of the past seasons: not enough pitching. They had been coming off of a rebuilding effort, and were unlikely to be particularly competitive in the weaker AL West division. So much for that theory. The Rangers finished 87-75, good for 2nd in the AL West. They were led by excellent performances by 2B Ian Kinsler (31 HR, 31 SB), RF Nelson Cruz (33 HR, 20 SB), and 3B Michael Young (.322, 22 HR). Offense was not really considered likely to be the problem for the Rangers, but first year pitching coach Mike Maddux was able to help improve bring out the best in starter Scott Feldman. Feldman finished with a 17-8 record, leading the staff. The rebuilding efforts also started to show some returns, with SS Elvis Andrus and RP Neftali Feliz both having a large impact on their season. Both players were acquired in the Mark Teixeira trade from two seasons prior.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Rangers looked to help address what was perceived to be a weakness in the rotation, signing free agents Rich Harden and Colby Lewis to help anchor the rotation with Feldman. They will also see young OF Julio Borbon start the season as the starter, and should provide quite a bit of speed at the top of the Rangers batting order. I really liked the signing of Vladimir Guerrero, as he should provide a lot of power out of the DH spot.

The AL West has become surprisingly competitive, as the Rangers finished in 2nd place last year. They actually look like they will be competitive, but I think that they will need ace-level performance out of Rich Harden, and a solid 3rd starter in Colby Lewis. Neither of these things are a given unfortunately. The offense will carry this team most likely, but they’re going to need some excellent pitching. They do have more help coming potentially, although it seems more likely to be on the offense side with Justin Smoak.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

2B Ian Kinsler, 3B Michael Young, and LF Josh Hamilton are the top fantasy players in terms of ranking. Hamilton is coming back from what was essentially a lost season, and will be moving from CF to LF. Julio Borbon is the reason for this move, and should also provide quite a bit of fantasy value.  On the pitching side, Scott Feldman is a pitcher I would actually be concerned about, as a lot of his fantasy value last season came from his high win total. Another to watch: Colby Lewis is coming off of two very good seasons (albeit in Japan), where he posted excellent strikeout rates. He should be someone to watch for in your drafts as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Rangers have definitely improved since the start of last season, and should still be considered to be working on their rebuilding efforts. They should compete in the division, but I think that unless they have a lot of luck go their way, they are not going to win the division. But look out for them in 2011 as well.

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

Team Preview – New York Yankees


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

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

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

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

2009 Review

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

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

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

Team Outlook for 2010

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

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

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

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

Prediction for 2010

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

97-65, 1st in the AL East

Fantasy Preview – First Basemen


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 First Basemen for 2010

1. Albert Pujols – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
124 47 135 16 .327
If someone wants to try to argue that Pujols shouldn’t be the #1 overall player in fantasy baseball coming into the season, they’re free to do so. However, I’m not going to try that. He provides an excellent batting average, excellent power and runs batted in, scores a ton of runs, and even managed to steal 16 bases last season. Even if he cuts the steals down, he’s far and away the top player in fantasy starting this season.


2. Miguel Cabrera – DET
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 34 103 6 .324
It’s hard to remember sometimes that Cabrera will only be turning 27 years old this season. He is about as consistent as they come for a .320+ batting average, 30+ homers, and 100+ rbi. He had a bit of a tumultuous off-season, but look for his focus to be good as always when he hits the field again.


3. Prince Fielder – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 46 141 2 .299
Prince has really vaulted himself into another category of first basemen here, as the power and rbi totals were both at the top of the leaderboards for last season. The high average was a bit of a jump from his previous best, and although he may have a slight regression, I can’t imagine it’s going to be any more than 10 points. The only reason I don’t have Fielder ahead of Cabrera is that you could end up with the Fielder who gave you 34 homers and 86 rbi in 2008 as opposed to the monster from 2009. Another consistent season along those lines would be enough to move him ahead in my books.


4. Mark Teixeira – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 39 122 2 .292
With Big Tex, you draft him and remind yourself that he’s going to produce amazingly for 5 months. It’s that first month that you have to suck up and deal with to get it though. Last April was not so great for Tex again (.200, 3 HR, 10 RBI), but still didn’t really affect his season totals. Teixeira is another player who is pretty much a lock for 30 HR/100 RBI every season, and in the Yankees lineup will provide high amounts of runs as well. A great, solid fantasy first baseman.


5. Ryan Howard – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
105 45 141 8 .277
The only real “flaws” in his game as a fantasy player are a slight lack of speed (8 stolen bases last year was the first time over 1 in a season), and that he’s not a .300 hitter. But do you really need him to be with the rest of those numbers? He’s going to score a lot of runs in the high-powered Phillies lineup, and he’s the biggest masher they have. He’s a very good bet for 40 HR/120 RBI, which there’s not that many players that are going to give you that. And the average is definitely good considering all that, right?


6. Joey Votto – CIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
82 25 84 4 .322
This is where you tell me my wheels have come off, right? I can’t possibly have put Joey Votto above such luminaries as Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, and Lance Berkman, right? Well, I have, and here’s why. Votto missed about 25 games last season due to off-days and the death of his father. When he was playing, he admitted himself that he was not himself, and was out of it while dealing with this and the social anxiety that came with it. And in spite of all these things, he still posted an excellent season. Which leads me to believe that he’s going to be even better this year. In spite of a high batting average on balls in play (.373), I think the power is legitimate. So I could see a 30 HR, .295 hitter instead of a 25 HR, .322 hitter. Still very good.


7. Mark Reynolds – ARI
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 44 102 24 .260
I don’t think he’s the 40 homer run hitter necessarily, and I don’t think he’s going to turn into a pumpkin either. I can see a 30 homer, 20 steal season with a .250 average. The fact that he’s eligible at 3B also makes him a very nice option to have on your roster. He’s a nice upside play though, as he could potentially repeat the 40 homers as well.


8. Kevin Youkilis – BOS
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
99 27 94 7 .305
Another personal favorite, Youkilis not only qualifies at two positions, but provides value in all 5 categories. Obviously, 7 steals isn’t a lot of value necessarily, but since you’re likely to get between 25-30 homers and almost 100 runs score with it, he’s a win-win. The numbers are all similar to his previous season’s numbers, so I’m fairly confident he can repeat them again. Especially with a Red Sox lineup that may actually have improved from last year’s version.


9. Kendry Morales – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
86 34 108 3 .306
Morales came into the league last season, and probably won quite a few leagues for his owners. Finally given regular playing time, Morales didn’t disappoint. I would normally be a bit concerned about a sophomore slump here, but I think that if he’s able to stay on the field all season like he did in 2009, he should have no problem producing similar numbers. Of some concern is the fact that the Angels lost leadoff man Chone Figgins via free agency, but I don’t believe that his RBI total will drop drastically as a result.


10. Adrian Gonzalez – SD
R HR RBI SB AVG
90 40 99 1 .277
It’s amazing how deep 1B is, with a 40 homerun hitter falling all the way to 10th on my rankings. Gonzalez provides no speed, and is unlikely to produce a higher batting average than he did last season. But the power is real, and could be epic if he gets traded midseason to anywhere that plays better than Petco Park. Something to track as the season progresses, as he hit 28 of his 40 homers away from Petco last season, along with a .306 average. If he does get traded, he could potentially vault into the top 5 of first basemen, or even higher.


11. Derrek Lee – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 35 111 1 .306
On a team that really didn’t do very well, Lee quietly had a very good season last year. Continuing this in 2010 would not really be that much of a stretch. The lineup for the Cubs is at least as good as it was last season, so RBI and R opportunities will probably remain similar. The home run total is not really out of range either, as he’s hit 30+ homers 4 times. Obviously, I’d love to see him start stealing bases like he has in the past, posting double-digit steal seasons 4 times as well. However, that ship may have sailed, and my lack of confidence in that to change leaves him here at 11.


12. Justin Morneau – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
85 30 100 0 .274
Kind of scary that my 12th best first baseman still had a bit of a down season, only hitting .274 and scoring 85 runs. The run total should improve with J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson added to the lineup. His batting average should improve some as well, but I’m not sold it will get all the way back to .300. But a 30 hr/100 rbi season should be expected out of him, and combined with all that, he could potentially have some upside here.


13. Adam Dunn – WAS
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 38 105 0 .267
Dunn is about as consistent as it gets also, with last year’s home run total (38) only being 2 less than he had hit in each of the previous 4 seasons. He’s going to give you nearly 40 homers, and 100 rbis every season. His run total should improve slightly due to the lineup for the Nationals improving with the addition of Pudge Rodriguez, although his batting average could see a drop back to the .250 range.


14. Pablo Sandoval – SF
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 25 90 5 .330
Kung-Fu Panda had a breakout season last year, posting great value in 3 categories and solid value in the other 2. I think that with the improvements made to the Giants’ lineup this offseason, he could potentially reach both 100 runs scored and 100 rbi. I think his average may fall back to earth slightly, but will probably still be above .300. Odds are that you’ll end up using him at 3B for any fantasy team you own him on, but the additional flexibility is nice as well.


15. Carlos Pena – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 39 100 3 .227
Man, that batting average sure is ugly. But underneath it is a batting average on balls in play that was well below his career BABIP. So there should be a little improvement on that front. My only concern for the 2010 season is how he has recovered from the broken wrist that ended his season in 2009. If he’s 100% healthy, I can see him very easily returning to 40+ homers and driving in 120 this coming season. But the risk is what drops him down this far on my rankings.



Here’s the odd thing about the first base position. Even after the top 15, there are still definitely useful players if you don’t end up getting a top-tier guy early. You’ve got 20 home run hitters in Adam LaRoche (25), Paul Konerko (28), Billy Butler (21), Garrett Jones (21), Lance Berkman (25) Chris Davis (21), and Michael Cuddyer (32). You’ve got guys who drove in 80+ runs in Berkman (80), Todd Helton (86), Butler (93), Konerko (88), LaRoche (83), James Loney (90), and Cuddyer again (94). You’ve got .300 hitters in Helton (.325), Butler (.301), and Victor Martinez (.303). You even have a 10 steal guy in Garrett Jones. And that’s without even mentioning top-flight prospects like Justin Smoak (TEX) and Chris Carter (OAK).

My advice for this position is simple: Unless you’re getting one of the elite players (top 6 or so), you can probably wait, and see what your needs are as you progress through the draft. If you’re lacking power, it’s going to be there. If you’re looking for average, it’s going to be there too.

Sunday’s position for review: 2B