Tag Archives: Shaun Marcum

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

Season Preview: AL East


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

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

Notable Additions

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Losses

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

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

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

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

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

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Trade Review – Zack Greinke to the Brewers


After all of the posturing that was coming out about what the Royals were looking for in return for 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, it appears that a trade came together pretty quickly. Jim Breen over at Bernie’s Crew broke the story last evening, and the trade that appears to have been finalized was Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2 M going to the Brewers in exchange for SS Alcides Escobar, OF Lorenzo Cain, SP Jake Odorizzi, and SP Jeremy Jeffress.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have really improved their starting pitching with both the acquisition of Shaun Marcum and now Zack Greinke. Their rotation now consists of Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson most likely, which could well be the top starting rotation in the NL Central, and probably 3rd in the NL behind the Phillies and the Giants.

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Trade Review: Shaun Marcum to the Brewers


The Winter Meetings hadn’t even officially kicked off and there had already been two trades, one gigantic one, and another which is a pretty decent sized one as well. I already wrote up the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but another one that came together pretty quickly on Sunday evening was the Brewers’ acquisition of Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Shaun Marcum in exchange for 2B prospect Brett Lawrie.

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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

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Season Previews in Review: American League East


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’ll be going a division at a time, starting with the American League East.

Baltimore Orioles

Predicted Record: 70-92            Actual Record: 66-96

It was a tale of two seasons for the Orioles, as they spent the first half of the season clearly as the worst team in all of baseball. Nothing seemed to go right for the team, and it ended up costing manager Dave Trembley his job before too long. This left interim skipper Juan Samuel to try and right the ship, while the Orioles also continued to look for his (and Trembley’s) replacement. By the August 31st trade deadline, the team had managed to ship just one of its movable pieces for prospects with Miguel Tejada being traded to the Padres. But they had also hired Buck Showalter to manage the team, and the team has already seen a drastic improvement. This record would have actually been much further off if not for the late-season turnaround.

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Original Draft Series: #4 – Toronto Blue Jays


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

Team #4: Toronto Blue Jays

General Managers(since 1994)

Pat Gillick (1994): 55-64
Gord Ash (1995-2001): 541-575
J.P. Ricciardi (2002-2009): 642-653
Current GM: Alex Anthopoulos

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 0 0 0 1 9 3 3

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C J.P. Arencibia 2007 – 1st Rd (21) 3 6 gm, .217/.217/.522, 2 HR, 4 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Casey Blake 1996 – 7th Rd 3 14 gm, .256/.293/.385, HR, RBI Selected off waivers by IN – 5/23/00
2B Orlando Hudson
1997 – 43rd Rd 8 1 Gold Glove
462 gm, .270/.328/.418, 35 HR, 201 RBI, 19 SB
Traded to ARI – 12/27/05
3B Michael Young 1997 – 5th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 7/19/00
SS Felipe Lopez 1998 – 1st Rd (8) 4 134 gm, .240/.293/.399, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 9 SB Traded to CIN – 12/15/02
LF Reed Johnson 1999 – 17th Rd 8 610 gm, .281/.342/.410, 42 HR, 234 RBI, 28 SB Released – 3/23/08
CF Vernon Wells 1997 – 1st Rd (5) 13 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger
1367 gm, .279/.328/.472, 215 HR, 794 RBI, 89 SB
Currently with Org.
RF Alex Rios
1999 – 1st Rd (19) 10 2 All Star Appearances
809 gm, .285/.335/.451, 81 HR, 395 RBI, 112 SB
Selected off waivers by CHW – 8/10/09
DH Adam Lind 2004 – 3rd Rd 6 1 Silver Slugger
475 gm, .271/.323/.470, 76 HR, 270 RBI
Currently with Org.
SP Shaun Marcum 2003 – 3rd Rd 7 35-24, 3.83 ERA, 559.2 IP, 451 K, 178 BB Currently with Org.
SP Roy Halladay
1995 – 1st Rd (17) 14 2003 AL Cy Young Award, 6 All Star Appearances
148-76, 3.43 ERA, 2046.2 IP, 1495 K, 455 BB
Traded to PHI – 12/16/09
SP Ricky Romero 2005 – 1st Rd (6) 5 24-17, 3.95 ERA, 358 IP, 294 K, 148 BB Currently with Org.
SP Brett Cecil
2007 – 1st Rd (38) 3 18-11, 4.35 ERA, 240 IP, 105 K, 45 BB Currently with Org.
SP Chris Carpenter
1993 – 1st Rd (15) 9 49-50, 4.83 ERA, 870.2 IP, 612 K, 331 BB Released – 10/9/02
RP Brandon League 2001 – 2nd Rd 8 7-10, 4.09 ERA, 202.1 IP, 154 K, 73 BB Traded to SEA – 12/23/09
RP Mark Hendrickson 1997 – 20th Rd 6 12-9, 4.94 ERA, 195 IP, 97 K, 52 BB Traded to TAM – 12/14/03
RP Alfredo Aceves Int’l FA – 2001 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Purchased by Mex. League – 4/24/02
RP Casey Janssen 2004 – 4th Rd 6 14-19, 4.12 ERA, 268.2 IP, 163 K, 70 BB Currently with Org.
RP Kelvim Escobar Int’l FA – 1992 11 58-55, 4.58 ERA, 58 SV, 849 IP, 744 K, 394 BB Left via Free Agency – 10/26/03
CL Brandon Lyon 1999 – 14th Rd 3 6-8, 5.40 ERA, 125 IP, 65 K, 34 BB Selected off waivers – 10/9/02
BN Cesar Izturis
Int’l FA – 1996 5 46 gm, .269/.279/.388, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 8 SB Traded to LA – 12/13/01
BN Aaron Hill 2003 – 1st Rd (13) 7 1 All Star Appearance, 1 Silver Slugger
748 gm, .273/.328/.429, 85 HR, 350 RBI, 22 SB,
Currently with Org.
BN Travis Snider 2006 – 1st Rd (14) 4 161 gm, .248/.318/.434, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 6 SB Currently with Org.
BN Gabe Gross 2001 – 1st Rd (15) 4 84 gm, .226/.316/.326, 4 HR, 23 RBI Traded to MIL – 12/7/05
BN Kevin Cash
Amateur FA – 1999 5 101 gm, .173/.222/.262, 5 HR, 29 RBI Traded to TAM – 12/12/04

June Amateur Draft

The Blue Jays have done better than just about any team with finding and maintaining first round talent. Last year’s rotation featured 3 first round picks (Halladay, Romero, and Cecil), and this season’s lineup features 3 starters from the first round as well (Hill, Snider, Wells). The only position where they are particularly weak is catcher, simply because J.P. Arencibia has not been called up to stay and start yet for the Jays. The key with the Blue Jays has to be their ability to develop pitching, as shown by Marcum, Halladay, Romero, and Cecil. There were even more pitchers who have been at least serviceable in the Majors who were not included because I simply ran out of room. Clearly, not all the moves have been winners (Carpenter, Lyon, Rios), but the team has done extremely well all the same.

International Free Agency

The Blue Jays have not done a whole lot in the international markets, instead choosing to spend their money on draft picks. That said, there really isn’t a lot to like in terms of international free agents here. Kelvim Escobar is really the only player who has become any kind of success in the Majors, with Aceves limited to middle relief only.

Overall Grade

A. The Blue Jays have done poorly in the international markets, but with the amount of talent they have been getting out of the draft, it wasn’t really necessary to have. They’ve established themselves as one of the premier teams when it comes to identifying and developing pitching talent, but don’t get near enough credit for it. In addition, they have also managed to develop Major league starters at nearly every position on the diamond, with some solid players left in reserve as well. They are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the teams to this point.

All Star Roster Review


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

Correct selections:

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

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

Incorrect:

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

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

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

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

AL Pitching Staff

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

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

NL Backup Infielders:

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

NL Backup Outfielders:

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

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

NL Pitching Staff:

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

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

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

Week in Review – June 28th to July 4th


If the Playoffs Started Today

League Leaders

Batting Average – Justin Morneau – .344
Runs – Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 65
Home Runs –  Jose Bautista (TOR) – 21
Runs Batted In – Vladimir Guerrero (TEX) – 70
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) – 30

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 14
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) – 23
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.82
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) – 124
WHIP – Cliff Lee (SEA) – 0.95

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Dallas Braden, Shaun Marcum, Jason Varitek, Manny Delcarmen, Luke Scott, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jason Heyward, Victor Martinez, Joel Zumaya, Shin-Soo Choo, Will Venable, Manny Ramirez,

Return from the Disabled List: J.J. Hardy, Tim Stauffer, Jair Jurrjens, Matt Diaz, Chad Billingsley, Bud Norris

To the Minors: Max Ramirez, Dontrelle Willis,

Called Up: Edwin Encarnacion, Marc Rzepczynski, Dustin Moseley, Josh Bell, Dexter Fowler, Michael Brantley,

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • I think that the biggest surprise of the week has to be the firing of both manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes in Arizona on Thursday. Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBTradeRumors wrote up a pretty solid post with some gathered reactions around the Majors about this, and Mark Polishuk of MLBTradeRumors also had a pretty good write up of the history of both men with the Diamondbacks.
  • July 2nd was the start of the international free agent signing period, and there was a surprisingly large amount of action out of the Athletics, who signed 3 players out of Venezuela according to MLBTradeRumors.
  • The Phillies and the Red Sox both seem to be walking MASH units, as the Phillies lost All-Star 2B Chase Utley for 8 weeks with a thumb injury, and 3B Placido Polanco to the disabled list as well. Over in Boston, they can’t buy a break that doesn’t hurt them, as they lost both Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek to the disabled list this week.
  • The All Star teams were announced on Sunday morning. I wrote up my predictions late on Saturday of who I thought would make the team, and the one thing that stands out to me more than any other is the snub of both Joey Votto and Jered Weaver. I will have more of my reactions up on Thursday.
  • Stephen Strasburg made two starts, and it looks like the league may be starting to catch up a little bit, as he struggled in his start on Saturday. He’s going to be just fine long term, and I think these struggles are what the National were hoping he would have while in the minors.
  • The Diamondbacks struggled really badly on Saturday, committing 6 errors with the “B” team of Tony Abreu and Rusty Ryal both playing out in the field. Even Vin Scully didn’t have a whole lot to say that was good about how they played, but was pretty happy the Dodgers won.

From the Twitter Followers

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

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday and Wednesday: Midseason Prospect Review – I will be taking a look at the players that I reviewed back in January and February to see what they have been up to so far, and see which ones have progressed, and which ones are having some difficulties.

Thursday: My Review of the All-Star Rosters – I will look at the announced All-Star rosters, some snubs and undeserving players, and comparing them to the rosters I built as a part of my Month in Review on last Thursday.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Frank Viola to the Mets – The trade, completed midway through the 1989 season, had a pretty significant impact on the pennant races for that year, and I’ll take a look back at how each team ended up doing overall in the trade, and what return they got.

My Final All-Star Predictions


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

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

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

American League:

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

Bench:

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

Pitching Staff:

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

National League

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

Bench:

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

Pitching Staff:

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

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