Tag Archives: Ryan Theriot

Season Preview – NL West


We’re up to the last division left to review with the NL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West,  NL East, and NL Central.

Last Year’s Records
San Francisco – 92-70
San Diego – 90-72
Colorado – 83-79
Los Angeles – 80-82
Arizona – 65-97

Notable Additions

Arizona – Xavier Nady, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Colorado – Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Felipe Paulino

Los Angeles – Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

San Diego – Brad Hawpe, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang

San Francisco – Miguel Tejada

Notable Losses

Arizona – Ryan Church, Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb

Colorado – Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Jeff Francis

Los Angeles – Russell Martin, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Chris Young

San Francisco – Jose Guillen, Edgar Renteria

My Thoughts

Arizona – Under the leadership of new GM Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have already begun the process of rebuilding by trading away Mark Reynolds and letting Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb leave via free agency.  They seem extremely unlikely to compete this season, but will look for improvements from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

Colorado – The Rockies spent their offseason spending money on contract extensions, as both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were signed to long term contract extensions. The team also did well to re-sign some of their free agents, most notably Jorge de la Rosa. This really seems like a team to me that has the chance to compete for the division title, providing they get a few breaks to go their way. They will look for a repeat performance from Ubaldo Jimenez and improvements from Jhoulys Chacin and Dexter Fowler as well.

Los Angeles – With the ownership situation in a state of partial disarray, the Dodgers didn’t really go out and spend a lot of money this offseason. They did resign free agent starter Ted Lilly, but otherwise did not make any large acquisitions. The pitching staff is excellent, but they will look for a bounce back season from Jonathan Broxton as the closer. The Dodgers are another team that seems to me like they can compete, providing they catch a few breaks.

San Diego – The biggest news out of the Padres this offseason unfortunately was the trade of star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They have cut payroll down to a very minimal amount at this point, and could look to move closer Heath Bell if they fall out of contention. I am not seeing a repeat of last year’s 90 win performance out of this group of players, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to be terrible either. They will look for Mat Latos to build on his excellent 2010 season and try to take another step forward, but there’s a lot of questions after him in the rotation.

San Francisco – The reigning World Champions only had one slightly major acquisition (Tejada), but did well to resign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Their pitching could conceivably be better than last year, with Madison Bumgarner making a full season of starts this year. 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey will be up for the full season this year, and top prospect Brandon Belt is not likely to be in AAA for very long either. This is a team that could compete for the NL crown again.

Overall Thoughts

The NL West has the Giants at the top, and then a lot of question marks behind them. I honestly think that any of the teams at 2 through 4 could finish in any order in those spots.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. San Francisco
2. Colorado
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
5. Arizona

Season Preview – NL Central


Time to look at the 6 team NL Central division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL East.

Last Year’s Records
Cincinnati – 91-71
St. Louis – 86-76
Milwaukee – 77-85
Houston – 76-86
Chicago – 75-87
Pittsburgh – 57-105

Notable Additions

Chicago – Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood

Cincinnati – Edgar Renteria

Houston – Clint Barmes

Milwaukee – Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Takashi Saito, Mark Kotsay

Pittsburgh – Lyle Overbay, Garrett Atkins, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel

St. Louis – Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman

Notable Losses

Chicago – Sam Fuld, Tom Gorzelanny

Cincinnati – Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Harang

Houston – Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino

Milwaukee – Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun

Pittsburgh –  Zack Duke, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge

St. Louis – Brendan Ryan, Pedro Feliz, Brad Penny, Jeff Suppan

My Thoughts

Chicago – The Cubs had a very disappointing season last year, and went out and tried to plug some of those holes this offseason. Bringing in Carlos Pena on a 1 year contract, despite its cost, looks like a very nice signing for a power bat. The acquisition of Matt Garza brings a young, cost-controlled high-end starting pitcher to their rotation, but at the cost of top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, and others.  I am not sold that this team will compete this year, as they will need bounceback performances from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano to really end up in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati – The defending NL Central champions, the team has lost Aaron Harang and will hope that the combination of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and others will be able to pitch complete seasons this year. The team returns nearly every player from last season’s title, but I don’t think that it is a slam-dunk that they will just run away with the division again this year.

Houston – Talk about a rebuilding effort. Here’s a team which has very few high-end prospects in the system right now, who also does not have a lot of higher-quality players at the Major League level either. There are some quality players in Hunter Pence and Brett Myers, but there’s not a lot of hope for the 2011 season. They will look to get a solid rookie season out of last year’s acquisition, Brett Wallace, but you have essentially gathered a group of mid-level players who can fill out a roster, but are unlikely to compete as a group for a division title, let alone a league championship

Milwaukee – And within the same division, you have a team who has gone all-in for 2011. The Brewers have traded nearly all of their top prospects in order to improve their pitching staff, and did so with the acquisitions of Marcum and Greinke. It’s not a great sign that Greinke is hurt already, but he should return in mid April and only miss a few starts. The bigger story throughout the season will be whether or not they fall out of contention and attempt to trade Prince Fielder before the deadline. They definitely remain a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh – For a team that lost 105 games last year, they actually have a lot to look forward to. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is poised to become one of the best young players in the Majors, and 2nd year players Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both will look to build on their solid rookie years. They aren’t likely to compete this season, but there’s hope for Pirates fans that is starting to show itself at the Major League level.

St. Louis – The biggest story out of St. Louis up until the start of Spring Training was whether or not Albert Pujols would sign a contract extension prior to the start of the season, and unfortunately it’s no longer the current top story out of their camp. With Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright out for the season with Tommy John surgery, they will now look to replace at least some part of his production in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that this team, as constructed, can compete for the division title. They will need everything else to fall just right for them to win this division.

Overall Thoughts

The NL Central really has the look of a wide open division. If things fall just right, 4 of the teams could conceivably win the division this season. That said, I’m not sold that things will fall right for all of them, but it should be intersting to watch regardless.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Milwaukee
2. Cincinnati
3. St. Louis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

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

Original Draft Series – Team # 17 – Chicago Cubs


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

Team #17: Chicago Cubs

General Managers(since 1994)

Ed Lynch (1994-2000): 439-516
Andy MacPhail (2000-2002): 155-169
Jim Hendry (2003-Current): 587-545

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th or 6th
0 0 4 3 2 3 2 7

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Geovany Soto 2001 – 11th Rd 9 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, 1 All Star Appearance
333 gm, .265/.358/.460, 45 HR, 162 RBI, SB, 131 R
Currently with Org.
1B Jake Fox 2003 – 3rd Rd 6 89 gm, .252/.305/.457, 11 HR, 45 RBI, 26 R Traded to OAK – 12/3/09
2B Ryan Theriot 2001 – 3rd Rd 9 583 gm, .287/.352/.361, 14 HR, 170 RBI, 98 SB, 319 R Currently with Org.
3B Casey McGehee 2003 – 10th Rd 5 9 gm, .167/.160/.208, 5 RBI, R Selected by MIL – 10/29/08
SS Starlin Castro Int’l FA – 2006 4 45 gm, .265/.322/.348, 2 HR, 16 RBI, SB, 16 R Currently with Org.
LF Tyler Colvin 2006 – 1st Rd (13) 4 73 gm, .283/.333/.553, 10 HR, 27 RBI, 24 R Currently with Org.
CF Corey Patterson 1998 – 1st Rd (3) 7 589 gm, .252/.293/.414, 70 HR, 231 RBI, 86 SB, 293 R Traded to BAL – 1/9/06
RF Kosuke Fukudome Int’l FA – 2007 3 1 All Star Appearance
361 gm, .260/.366/.405, 27 HR, 136 RBI, 22 SB, 182 R
Currently with Org.
SP Carlos Zambrano Int’l FA – 1997 13 108-74, 3.58 ERA, 1377 K, 723 BB, 1607 IP, 1.310 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Ricky Nolasco 2001 – 4th Rd 4 No Major League Appearance with Org. Traded to FLA – 12/7/05
SP Jamie Moyer 1984 – 6th Rd 4 28-34, 4.42 ERA, 313 K, 194 BB, 490.1 IP, 1.475 WHIP Traded to TEX – 12/5/88
SP Jon Garland 1997 – 1st Rd (10) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CHW – 7/29/98
SP Kyle Lohse 1996 – 29th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIN – 5/21/99
RP Michael Wuertz 1997 – 11th Rd 11 13-7, 3.57 ERA, 270 K, 128 BB, 262.1 IP, 1.346 WHIP Traded to OAK – 2/2/09
RP Kyle Farnsworth 1994 – 47th Rd 11 22-37, 4.78 ERA, 467 K, 224 BB, 478.2 IP, 1.446 WHIP Traded to DET – 2/9/05
RP Will Ohman 1998 – 8th Rd 5 6-8, 4.33 ERA, 166 K, 84 BB, 160 IP, 1.419 WHIP Released – 10/30/03
RP Scott Downs 1997 – 3rd Rd 1 + 1 4-3, 5.17 ERA, 63 K, 37 BB, 94 IP, 1.638 WHIP Traded to MIN – 11/3/98
RP Kerry Wood 1995 – 1st Rd (4) 13 1998 Rookie of the Year, 2 All Star Appearances,
77-61, 3.65 ERA, 1407 K, 577 BB, 1219.1 IP, 1.250 WHIP
Free Agency – 10/31/08
CL Carlos Marmol Int’l FA – 1999 11 1 All Star Appearance,
16-17, 36 SV, 3.32 ERA, 425 K, 225 BB, 341.2 IP, 1.279 WHIP
Currently with Org.
BN Eric Hinske (OF) 1998 – 17th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 3/28/01
BN Sam Fuld (OF) 2004 – 10th Rd 6 79 gm, .282/.403/.388, HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 20 R Currently with Org.
BN Micah Hoffpauir (1B) 2002 – 13th Rd 8 138 gm, .264/.323/.453, 12 HR, 43 RBI, 2 SB, 42 R Currently with Org.
BN Eric Patterson (2B) 2004 – 8th Rd 4 20 gm, .239/.308/.348, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 5 R Traded to OAK – 7/8/08
BN Brendan Harris (3B) 2001 – 5th Rd 3 3 gm, .222/.300/.333, 1 RBI Traded to MON – 7/31/04
BN Randy Wells (P) 2002 – 38th Rd 8 15-16, 3.72 ERA, 170 K, 70 BB, 254.1 IP, 1.337 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Cubs have had some very solid success stories out of the draft, with Kerry Wood pitching well for the team for over 13 years. Unfortunately, a lot of the first round picks have been a mixed bag at best. You have 1998 1st rounder Corey Patterson, who never really came to be the player that the Cubs had thought he would. You have 1997 first rounder Jon Garland who was traded away to the crosstown White Sox for essentially nothing. And of course there’s the story of can’t-miss phenom Mark Prior, who was derailed after a couple of great seasons by injuries. In the last few years, you have players who have provided some value to the team, but many who have not done a whole lot for the organization as a whole. Some credit is due to the Cubs’ player development department, as there have been a lot of Major League regulars who have gone through the system at one point or another.

International Free Agency

The Cubs have done fairly well with the international markets. Carlos Zambrano (personality concerns aside) has probably been the best player they have signed out of a foreign country, and Carlos Marmol has really evolved into a top-flight reliever. Starlin Castro looks like he will have the potential to be a top tier shortstop with some more development as well. The biggest dollar signee that they have had out of the international markets is Kosuke Fukudome out of Japan. Fukudome has been a reasonably good outfielder to this point, but is probably not playing to the level that the Cubs had hoped when they gave him a 4 year, $32 million contract after the 2007 season.

Overall Grade

C+ – Overall the Cubs have done pretty well with developing players, and there were actually quite a few players (Sean Marshall, James Russell, among others) that were left off this roster but who are currently with the organization and have done reasonably well to this point in their careers. Unfortunately, they are also just as likely to have traded away useful players, and in many of these trades I don’t believe that they did all that well to get the returns and get what they needed to compete. Obviously, the product on the field has not quite been what they were looking for either, as the championship drought continues into its 102nd season.

The Month in Review: April 2010


Well, we are a little over 1/6th of the way through the season, and we’ve seen quite a bit already. At the end of each month, I will go over  some of the larger stories, name my season-to-this-point All-Star teams, and my season-to-point award winners.

All-Star Teams

I plan on following the same guidelines given to the managers of the All-Star game when selecting my teams for each month. Those would be:

  • 34 man rosters, 21 position players, 13 pitchers
  • Each team must be represented

Beyond that, I plan on not necessarily using any voting that may or may not have occurred yet, because to me, the voting is always biased toward the larger market teams.

American League

Starters
C – Joe Mauer (MIN): .345/.406/.500, 1 HR, 13 RBI
1B – Paul Konerko (CHW): .297/.413/.784, 11 HR, 21 RBI
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY): .400/.436/.765, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB
3B – Evan Longoria (TAM): .341/.400/.602, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY): .330/.354/521, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Vernon Wells (TOR): .337/.396/.717, 8 HR, 16 RBI, SB
OF – Carl Crawford (TAM): .337/.390/.551, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB
OF – Nelson Cruz (TEX): .323/.419/.758, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 5 SB
DH – Jose Guillen (KC): .304/.337/.609, 7 HR, 19 RBI, SB

Reserves

C – Jorge Posada (NYY): .310/.394/.638, 5 HR, 12 RBI
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET): .344/.427/.615, 5 HR, 25 RBI
1B – Justin Morneau (MIN): .347/.490/.640, 5 HR, 17 RBI
1B – Kendry Morales (LAA): .295/.347/.523, 6 HR, 16 RBI
2B – Dustin Pedroia (BOS): .302/.343/.573, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB
IF – Ty Wigginton (BAL): .308/.395/.631, 6 HR, 12 RBI
SS – Alex Gonzalez (TOR): .289/.317/.629, 7 HR, 19 RBI
OF – Shin-Soo Choo (CLE): .317/.429/.500, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB
OF – Brett Gardner (NYY): .323/.397/.385, 6 RBI, 10 SB
OF – Austin Jackson (DET): .364/.422/.495, HR, 7 RBI, 5 SB
OF – Scott Podsednik (KC): .350/.418/.375, 8 RBI, 8 SB
OF – Andruw Jones (CHW): .259/.394/.630, 6 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB

Pitchers

Matt Garza (TAM): 4-1, 2.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 35 IP
Francisco Liriano (MIN): 3-0, 0.93 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 29 IP
Jered Weaver (LAA): 3-0, 2.53 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 34 K, 32 IP
Colby Lewis (TEX): 3-0, 2.76 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 38 K, 32 2/3 IP
Zack Greinke (KC): 0-2, 2.56 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 27 K, 31 2/3 IP
John Danks (CHW): 3-0, 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 26 K, 29 IP
Ricky Romero (TOR): 2-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 31 K, 36 IP
Felix Hernandez (SEA): 2-1, 2.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 31 K, 36 1/3 IP
Justin Duchscherer (OAK): 2-1, 2.89 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 18 K, 28 IP
David Aardsma (SEA): 0-1, 8 SV, 2.79 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 11 K, 9 2/3 IP
Jose Valverde (DET): 0-1, 7 SV, 0.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 6 K, 12 IP
Mariano Rivera (NYY): 0-0, 7 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 9 K, 9 IP
Jon Rauch (MIN): 1-0, 7 SV, 1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 K, 10 IP

National League

Starters

C – Geovany Soto (CHC): .340/.500/.528, 3 HR, 7 RBI
1B – Albert Pujols (STL): .345/.430/.655, 7 HR, 19 RBI, SB
2B – Kelly Johnson (ARI): .313/.404/.750, 9 HR, 18 RBI
3B – Pablo Sandoval (SF): .368/.433/.575, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB
SS – Rafael Furcal (LAD): .309/.378/.420, 6 RBI, 8 SB
OF – Ryan Braun (MIL): .355/.430/581, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 6 SB
OF – Colby Rasmus (STL): .323/.463/.708, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Andre Ethier (LAD): .329/.407/592, 6 HR, 19 RBI
DH – Kosuke Fukudome (CHC): .344/.443/.641, 5 HR, 16 RBI, SB

Reserves

C – Miguel Olivo (COL): .291/.333/.600, 5 HR, 13 RBI, SB
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (SD): .288/.408/.563, 6 HR, 16 RBI
2B – Chase Utley (PHI): .275/.431/.550, 6 HR, 15 RBI, SB
2B – Dan Uggla (FLA): .295/.364/.534, 5 HR, 14 RBI, SB
3B – David Wright (NYM): .273/.430/.506, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB
3B – Jorge Cantu (FLA): .311/.354/567, 5 HR, 23 RBI
SS – Ryan Theriot (CHC): .337/.370/.386, 12 RBI, 5 SB
SS – Troy Tulowitzki (COL): .304/.350/.435, 1 HR, 13 RBI, SB
OF – Matt Kemp (LAD): .278/.333/.546, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Marlon Byrd (CHC): .348/.366/.584, 4 HR, 16 RBI, SB
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT): .299/.352/.443, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 10 SB
OF – Jayson Werth (PHI): .325/.402/.584, 3 HR, 14 RBI, SB

Pitchers

Ubaldo Jimenez (COL): 5-0, 0.79 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 31 K, 34 IP
Tim Lincecum (SF): 4-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 43 K, 35 1/3 IP
Roy Halladay (PHI): 4-1, 1.80 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 33 K, 40 IP
Mike Pelfrey (NYM): 4-0, 0.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 19 K, 26 IP
Barry Zito (SF): 4-0, 1.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 24 K, 35 1/3 IP
Josh Johnson (FLA): 2-1, 3.19 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 34 K, 31 IP
Tommy Hanson (ATL): 2-2, 2.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 33 K, 29 IP
Jamie Garcia (STL): 2-1, 1.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17 K, 26 IP
Adam Wainwright (STL): 4-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 30 K, 38 IP
Heath Bell (SD): 1-0, 7 SV, 1.80 WHIP, 1.40 WHIP, 16 K, 10 IP
Matt Lindstrom (HOU): 0-0, 6 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 11 K, 10 IP
Francisco Cordero (CIN): 1-1, 9 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13 K, 13 1/3 IP
Matt Capps (WAS): 0-0, 10 SV, 0.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 15 K, 13 1/3 IP

Overall, both of these teams ended up being a pretty fair representation I think. For most of the teams, there was at least one clear All-Star. Only with the Athletics and Astros did I really struggle particularly. It is interesting to see just how many excellent performances there were in April.

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP – Evan Longoria (TAM)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – Francisco Liriano (MIN)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Austin Jackson (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Jason Heyward (ATL)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

April 4-11
April 12-18
April 19-25
April 26-May 2

To me, the stories that really dominated baseball were the emergence of the new rookie class (Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward, Mike Leake), Big Carlos Zambrano being sent to the bullpen, and the struggles of the Red Sox early on. Feel free to look through the weekly links to see some of the other top stories last month. We also saw the hot start of the Rays, and a no-hitter from Ubaldo Jimenez. Nothing quite like baseball.

The Week in Review – April 19 to April 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

New York AL (WC) vs. Minnesota (C)
Oakland (W) vs. Tampa Bay (E)

San Francisco (WC) vs. Philadelphia (E)
San Diego (W) vs. St. Louis (C)

Last Week’s Top Performers

Kendry Morales (LAA) – .542/.593/.917, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
Marlon Byrd (CHC) – .500/.517/.615, 5 RBI, 6 R
Justin Morneau (MIN) – .576/.607/.952, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
Ryan Theriot (CHC) – .500/.548/.643, 6 RBI, SB, 5 R
Paul Konerko (CHW) – .450/.542/1.150, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R
Kurt Suzuki (OAK) – .429/.500/1.071, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R
Mark Reynolds (ARI) – .421/.500/1.000, 3 HR, 11 RBI, SB, 5 R
Michael Bourn (HOU) – .316/.519/.368, 7 R, RBI, 7 SB
Chase Headley (SD) – .364/.417/455, 5 R, 5 RBI, 5 SB

John Danks (CHW) – 2 W, 16 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 14 K
David Price (TAM) – W, 14 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12 K
Brad Penny (STL) – 2 W, 14 2/3 IP, 1.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7 K
Brandon Morrow (TOR) – W, 13 IP, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16 K
Kevin Slowey (MIN) – W, 13 1/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11 K
Matt Lindstrom (HOU) – 4 SV, 2.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 2 K
Francisco Rodriguez (NYM) – 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 7 K

Roster Movement and Job Changes

Disabled List:

  • Returning This Week: Aaron Hill, Brian Fuentes, Ted Lilly, Lance Berkman
  • Going On the DL: Vicente Padilla, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Mathis, Carlos Guillen, J.A. Happ, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron

Promotions and Demotions:

  • Promoted: Justin Smoak, Ike Davis
  • Demoted: Mike Jacobs, Chris Davis

Top Stories and This Week’s Links

  • On Monday, the Mets finally ended their experiment with Mike Jacobs, sending him to the minors and calling up top prospect Ike Davis. Davis wasted no time, going 2-4 in his first game.
  • Bleacher Report writes about their plan for ML realignment. An interesting read, but not really a whole lot more workable than any other plan that has been announced to this point.
  • Around mid-day on Tuesday, Twitter started lighting up that a Major League player was going to be receiving a 50-game suspension for violating the drug policy. As the day progressed, we were finally informed it was SP Edinson Volquez of the Reds. A little bit of an oddity, Volquez can serve the suspension while on the disabled list. Since he is recuperating from Tommy John surgery and is unlikely to return prior to August, it hurts him more in the pocketbook than anything.
  • Also on Tuesday, the Rangers went nuts on the basepaths, stealing 9 bases in the first 5 innings of their game against the Red Sox. Sadly, even though they were stealing on C Victor Martinez and SP Tim Wakefield all over the place, they ended up losing that game.
  • On Wednesday, manager Lou Piniella announced that when SP Ted Lilly returned on Saturday from the disabled list, SP Carlos Zambrano (of the $18+ M annual contract) would be going to the bullpen. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to the baseball world. Big Z made his first relief appearance on Saturday, getting a hold in 1 1/3 IP.
  • Thursday marked another demotion for Rangers’ 1B Chris Davis. Struggling again, the Rangers decided to bring up top prospect Justin Smoak, who had been hitting extremely well at AAA.
  • Also on Thursday, the Pirates should have stayed home. Since they lost 20-0, it probably would have been a little less painful than being there.
  • Saturday had a bit of a scary moment, as Pirates’ starter Chris Jakubaskas was hit in the head with a line drive. He was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, and I have not heard anything about him other than that.

Team Preview – Chicago Cubs


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Geovany Soto SP 1 Carlos Zambrano
1B Derrek Lee SP 2 Ryan Dempster
2B Mike Fontenot SP 3 Ted Lilly
3B Aramis Ramirez SP 4 Randy Wells
SS Ryan Theriot SP 5 Tom Gorzelanny
LF Alfonso Soriano Bullpen
CF Marlon Byrd CL Carlos Marmol
RF Kosuke Fukudome RP John Grabow
Bench RP Jeff Samardzija
IF Jeff Baker RP Sean Marshall
OF Xavier Nady RP Carlos Silva

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
CF Marlon Byrd Free Agency RF Milton Bradley Trade (SEA)
SP Carlos Silva Trade (SEA) IF Jake Fox Trade (OAK)
RP Kevin Gregg Free Agency

Top Prospects: Starlin Castro (SS), Josh Vitters (3B), Esmailin Caridad (P), Brett Jackson (OF)

2009 Review

The Cubs came into 2009 expecting to be the class of the NL Central. Injuries to key players (Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez), and poor production by others (Geovany Soto, Milton Bradley) led the team to an 83-78 record, finishing 7.5 games behind the rival Cardinals. The season really was a bit of a mess, as drama surrounding Milton Bradley hung over the team for a majority of the season, leading to his suspension in September, and eventual trade in the offseason.

The Cubs did have a few bright spots though. On offense, 1B Derrek Lee (.306, 35 HR, 111 RBI) led the way, and SS Ryan Theriot performed well also (.284, 21 SB, 7 HR). In the rotation, Ted Lilly (12-9, 3.10), and Ryan Dempster (11-9, 3.64) both pitched very well. The surprise of the season was probably rookie pitcher Randy Wells, who posted a 12-10 record with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Cubs spent most of their offseason trying to rebuild their clubhouse culture. They were able to rid themselves of RF Milton Bradley, but were forced to take back the equally bad contract of SP Carlos Silva. They signed good-clubhouse guy Kevin Millar to a minor league deal, and could have him on the team as a backup for a few positions. Overall, this team is expected to perform this season. Their pitching, led by Carlos Zambrano, will be solid once Ted Lilly returns from his injury (mid-April is the current ETA). They will be looking for bounceback seasons from both C Geovany Soto and LF Alfonso Soriano, as well as a full season of performance from 3B Aramis Ramirez. The NL Central is not a particularly tough division this season, as neither the Astros or Pirates are expected to be particularly competitive. But the Cubs are getting older, as 6 of their everyday players will be over 30 during this season. They could be looking at a rebuilding effort in the coming seasons if they are not performing to expectations.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The best of this group is probably SP’s Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells, and 1B Derrek Lee. 3B Aramis Ramirez should be fine now that he returned from his injury, and should also be a top-10 3B. OF Marlon Byrd had a great season last year, although I’m not 100% sold he can repeat that again. In deeper leagues, I would look at both SS Ryan Theriot, who will provide some runs and steals, and 2B Mike Fontenot. If Fontenot can successfully hold onto the job, he should provide some solid stats for deep leagues.

Prediction for 2010

The Cubs are hoping that this is the season they are finally able to win a World Series, and I think that the team they have built can at least compete for that. They may need a little luck, as the top of the division is kind of bunched together, but I think that they have the pitching to sustain.

87-75, 1st in the NL Central

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.