Tag Archives: Starlin Castro

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

The NL Willie Mays Award


Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we will be voting over the coming weeks on our award winners for the regular season. Last week I posted my votes for the AL and NL Connie Mack awards, given to our managers of the year, and I wrote yesterday about my choice for the AL award.  I’ll be continuing on today with my choice for the National League’s top rookie, the Willie Mays award recipient.

I wrote about the overall rookie of the class over the weekend, and it is simply amazing just how good the National League’s rookie class is this season . These are in order from east to west (approximately), and I will have my final vote at the bottom.

Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Strasburg was easily the most hyped prospect to come up all season, and probably would have won this award had he not gotten injured during the season. He finished the season with a 5-3 record with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he missed the last 6 weeks of the season due to an elbow injury, and ended up having Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2011 season.

Jason Heyward (ATL)

Jason Heyward was widely viewed as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award at the beginning of the season, and was indeed who I had selected during the preseason. All he did was perform to the level that was anticipated out of him and more, posting a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in, 83 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. He was even voted in as an All-Star starter, but didn’t play due to injury.

Mike Stanton (FLA)

Mike Stanton was a surprise call up in June, and although he had never played above AA, still provided solid production in the 3 months he was up. He hit .259/.326/.507 with 22 home runs, 59 runs batted in, and 5 stolen bases.

Mike Leake (CIN)

Leake was a real surprise candidate, not just to be in this race but also to be on the roster since he had not actually pitched in the minor leagues. Leake started the season well, but ended up the season with an 8-4 record and a 4.23 ERA in 22 starts.

John Axford (MIL)

Axford established himself as the closer for the Brewers after Trevor Hoffman struggled mightily at the beginning of the season, and never really gave the job back. He finished the year with 24 saves and an 8-2 record to go with 76 strikeouts in just 58 innings pitched.

Starlin Castro (CHC)

Castro was another surprise call up, jumping from AA to the Majors in early May to help give the Cubs’ lineup a boost. He provided a .300 batting average with 10 stolen bases despite being just 20 years old. His fielding will need to improve, but that will definitely come with time.

Jaime Garcia (STL)

Garcia was a bit of an afterthought in the Cardinals’ rotation, and evolved into their 3rd most consistent starter behind aces Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. Garcia went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in his 28 starts this season.

Buster Posey (SF)

Posey was most definitely the firestarter for the Giants upon his call to the Show in May. All he did from there was hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 home runs and 67 runs batted in. He is now the cleanup hitter for a team that was in desperate need of a big bat throughout the season.

My Vote

  1. Buster Posey (SF)
  2. Jason Heyward (ATL)
  3. Jaime Garcia (STL)

It’s actually pretty scary to me just how many rookies should have been up for consideration that were left off of this list. Players like Neil Walker and Jose Tabata of the Pirates, Travis Wood of the Reds and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants all had significant rookie seasons, and would probably have won the award in many other seasons. But this class is definitely something special, and Buster Posey to me is the clear cut winner of this award. Despite playing in 50+ games less than Heyward, he put up comparable or better numbers in nearly every offensive category, and did so at a premium defensive position. There’s no doubt in my mind that the best rookie in the National League this season was Buster Posey.

The Season’s Top Stories: The Rookie Class of 2010


Throughout the month of October, I’ll be reviewing some of the top stories that were in the newly completed regular season. One of the biggest stories of the 2010 regular season has to be the rookie class that emerged throughout the season. This group of rookies could very well be a once in a generation group of players.

Starting Pitchers

The most hyped player to come into the Majors in a long time clearly was Stephen Strasburg, the top pick from the 2009 draft. The hype continued to build as the season progressed and it became clear that he would make his debut during the season. June 8th was the night, against the Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 earned runs. Strasburg nearly lived up to the hype, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in just 68 innings pitched. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely due to an elbow injury, and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. Strasburg will miss the 2011 season as well.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jaime Garcia will most likely finish near the top of the Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 13-8 record with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts for the Cardinals.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds came up and made an instant impact despite never pitching in the minor leagues. He started off hot, but trailed off a bit at the end and finished with an 8-4 record with a 4.23 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts).
  • His teammate Travis Wood came up on July 1st, and pitched well down the stretch for the Reds. He finished with a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA in just over 100 innings on the season.
  • Madison Bumgarner was called upon about halfway through the season to take the #5 spot in the Giants’ rotation, and ran with it from there. He went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts for the NL West champs.
  • Wade Davis of the Rays threw 168 innings of effective ball, posting a 12-10 record with a 4.07 ERA and 113 strikeouts.
  • Brian Matusz of the Orioles had been my preseason choice for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but unfortunately didn’t really pitch well enough to earn that award. Part of that was his team, as he went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 175 plus innings. His numbers should improve next season as the team matures under its new manager.

Relief Pitchers

Neftali Feliz didn’t make the starting rotation out of spring training for the Rangers, and it really looks like that could have been the best thing for both him and the team. Feliz was given the closer’s job on April 12th after Frank Francisco struggled in the first week, and never gave the job back. He finished the season with a 2.73 ERA and 40 saves along with a strikeout per inning of work.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jonny Venters helped to bring some stability to the back end of the Braves’ bullpen, appearing in 79 games and striking out 93 in just 83 innings. He looks like he could be a future closer in waiting for the Braves.
  • John Axford was called upon to fill in for a struggling future Hall of Famer in Trevor Hoffman, and never really gave the job back. He went 8-2 with 24 saves and a 2.48 ERA and 76 strikeouts in just 58 innings pitched for the Brewers.

Catchers

There was concern whether or not it might cost the Giants a chance at the playoffs by their decision to not call up Buster Posey until late May.  The top prospect played well enough to really make that decision look questionable, hitting .305/.357/.505 with 18 homeruns and 67 runs batted in. The team made the playoffs, and even traded their Opening Day catcher to make sure he played every day.

Other Top Performers:

  • Carlos Santana came up on June 11th, and proceeded to show why he was considered a top prospect overall. In just 46 games this season, he hit .260/.401/.467 with 6 homeruns and 22 runs batted in. His season ended on August 2nd when he broke his leg blocking the plate, but should return next season and become one of the top catchers in the league.
  • John Jaso remains one of the more unusual catchers in the league, as the Rays consistently hit him leadoff. His .372 OBP probably helped that a lot, and he split time with Kelly Shoppach during the season.

Corner Infielders

It was originally thought at the beginning of the season that 1B Justin Smoak of the Rangers would establish himself as the next great hitter to start in Arlington. He struggled mightily during the season, earning himself a demotion back to AAA and eventually his inclusion in the trade to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. Smoak ended up finishing the season with just a .218 batting average but 13 home runs. He should do better next season as well, and will likely be the given the starting 1B job by the Mariners.

Other Top Performers:

  • Ike Davis was surprisingly called up in mid April, and continued to hold the 1B job throughout the season for the Mets. He finished the year with a .264/.351/.440 line with 19 homeruns and 71 runs batted in.
  • Chris Johnson of the Astros was given the starting 3B job after Pedro Feliz struggled, and finished the year with a .308 batting average and 11 homeruns. He should go into 2011 as the prohibitive starter at the position.
  • Danny Valencia was called up at the start of June to play 3B, and never gave the job back. He hit .311 with 7 homeruns, and has provided solid defense for the Twins as well.
  • Pedro Alvarez was called up in mid June to replace the struggling Andy LaRoche, and gave glimpses into what his future holds. He hit .256, but did hit 16 home runs and drove in 64 in just 95 games.

Middle Infielders

Starlin Castro may well have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He started the season with the Cubs’ AA affiliate, hitting very well and was called up by the Major League team on May 7th to try and inject some more energy and offense into the lineup. Despite being just 20 years old, he hit .300 with 10 stolen bases on the season, and should continue to improve next season.

Other Top Performers:

  • Neil Walker was widely viewed as a bit of a lost prospect, stuck behind current starter Andy LaRoche and future starter Pedro Alvarez at 3B. The team instead asked him to try playing 2B, and his bat took off. He hit .296/.349/.462 with 12 homeruns and 66 runs batted in for the Pirates in just 110 games.
  • Ian Desmond was given the starting shortstop job for the Nationals out of Spring Training, and while he had his struggles with the glove (34 errors), his bat was solid with a .269 batting average, 10 homeruns, and 17 stolen bases.

Outfielders

The top prospect in the game coming into the season was widely viewed as Braves’ OF Jason Heyward, and he did not disappoint. He made the team out of Spring Training, which was unexpected, and proceeded to hit well across the season. He finished the year with a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases. The Braves are going to be extremely happy with Heyward’s production for years to come.

Other Top Performers:

  • Austin Jackson is likely going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting .293 with 27 stolen bases and playing good defense in centerfield for the Tigers all season long. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next year, as his full season numbers were propped up a bit by a huge start of the season this year.
  • Jose Tabata was a prospect that the Pirates received as a part of the Xavier Nady trade, and showed why he was so highly thought of. He played in 102 games, hitting .299 with 19 stolen bases and 61 runs scored.

In many seasons, nearly all of these rookies would have been Rookie of the Year awards recipients, but with so many top players this year some may not even get votes in the awards proceedings. I’ll be posting my votes for the AL and NL Willie Mays awards (Rookie’s of the Year) in the next few days as well.

Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 2


Back in January and February, I reviewed 30 minor league prospects, and made some predictions. With the season over at the Minor League level and nearly over at the Major League level, I figured now was a great time to look back at how I did. I posted my thoughts on the first 10 prospects yesterday, and will continue with 10 more today.

Christian Friedrich (COL)

In January, I predicted that Friedrich would start the season in AA for the Rockies, and post the following line: 9 – 5, 2.75 era, 165 innings pitched, 190 strikeouts, 55 walks. His actual line: 3-6, 5.05 era, 87 1/3 innings pitched, 78 strikeouts, 35 walks. Friedrich missed a fair amount of time during the season due to injury, which clearly nobody loves. He did average nearly a strikeout per inning, but clearly this wasn’t quite the performance the Rockies were looking for. I think that honestly he will return next season to AA to start the season.

Desmond Jennings (TAM)

Tampa Bay is notorious for taking it extremely slow with their prospects, and Jennings is no exception. He was not called up until right around September 1st, and clearly much later than the All Star break like I had thought. My prediction: .285/.365/.450, 5 homeruns, 35 rbi, 35 stolen bases (Majors – 3 months). He hit .278/.362/.393 with 3 homeruns, 36 rbi, 37 stolen bases in 109 games in the minors. He’s extremely likely to be the starting left fielder or right fielder to begin next season in Tampa, and should be a decent fantasy outfielder.

Jason Heyward (ATL)

What else is there to say about Heyward at this point? He’s going to be at worst top-2 in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, and hit .285/.400/.472 with 18 homeruns, 71 runs batted in, and 10 stolen bases in 133 games. I thought he would not make the team out of Spring Training, and was nearly right on with some of the numbers anyway: .285/.370/.470, 6 homeruns, 10 stolen bases in 80 games was my prediction. Heyward is going to be one of the best outfielders for years to come.

Starlin Castro (CHC)

Back in January, I figured he might get a call up to AAA after spending a majority of the year at AA. Oops, guess I didn’t know exactly what the Cubs would do. They called up their top prospect in May, and he definitely disappoint. In 116 games, he hit .304/.350/417 with 50 runs scored, 3 home runs, 41 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases. The power and fielding seem really likely to improve, and even the speed has gotten better over the length of the season.

Aaron Hicks (MIN)

Hicks came into the season as the top prospect for the Twins, and he really hasn’t done a lot to keep that ranking for next season. He posted a decent line (.279/.401/.428) with 27 doubles, 8 homeruns, 49 runs batted in, and 21 stolen bases. My prediction was pretty close (.280/.360/.430, 25 doubles, 8 homeruns, 25 stolen bases), but I thought he could do that at High-A. Instead, he repeated Low-A again this season, and it concerns me that they felt no need to promote him even at the end of the season.

A.J. Pollock (ARI)

Pollock had a completely lost season, as he missed the whole season with an injury. I think that once he’s back to playing next year, the predictions I made then could very well be similar.

Martin Perez (TEX)

It was a bit of a lost season for Perez as well, but I have to remind myself he is still just 20 years old. At AA, I thought that he would post the following line: 7-7, 3.30 ERA, 140 IP, 130 strikeouts, 45 walks. His actual line: 5-8, 5.96 ERA, 99 2/3 IP, 101 strikeouts, 50 walks. His FIP (4.24) indicated he pitched slightly better, but he definitely took a step back from the previous season. I think he’s very likely to start 2011 back at AA, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he still was promoted to AAA.

Brian Matusz (BAL)

With Matusz, I clearly underestimated how bad the Orioles’ offense would be this year. My prediction in January had Brian posting this line:  12-8, 3.75 ERA, 175 IP, 160 strikeouts, 45 walks. His actual through late last week: 8-12, 4.59 ERA, 162 2/3 IP, 126 strikeouts, 59 walks. I was a bit optimistic on his strikeout rate, and his walks as well. But I’ll be really interested to see what he does next year with the improvement the team has shown since hiring Buck Showalter.

Domonic Brown (PHI)

I thought Brown would not be above AA this year, and would have a great line: .290/.375/.500, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 25 stolen bases. He got a call up to AAA after 65 games, and ended up with a midseason callup as well due to some injuries in the Phillies outfield. He hasn’t really gotten a lot of consistent playing time, but he’s going to be a solid outfielder for the Phillies in 2011.

Daniel Hudson (CHW/ARI)

I really think that the White Sox blew this one. Hudson has been nothing short of amazing since being slotted into the Diamondbacks rotation, and has been much better than my original prediction: 5-5, 3.85 ERA, 110 IP, 95 strikeouts, 28 walks. His actual line: 7-2, 2.49 ERA, 86.2 IP, 79 strikeouts, 25 walks. Hudson really looks like he will be a solid #2/#3 starter going forward, with the potential to be a #1 starter if everything falls right.

Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – Majors and AAA


As we approach the Major League All-Star break, I’ve seen quite a few of the prospects I reviewed back in January who have already made an impact in the show.

Note: Each of these players are listed under the level that they are currently at, but will include their stats at all levels. All statistics are through Saturday’s games, and courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Majors

Carlos Santana (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 57 .316 .447 .597 39 13 51 6
Majors 20 .313 .438 .641 11 4 15 0

Carlos was called up on June 11th, and has continued to hit at a torrid pace ever since. I wrote back in mid-May that I thought he would be called up sometime after the expected Super-Two deadline, and that is pretty much exactly what happened. Over at FakeTeams, I ranked Santana as my 5th best catcher for the remainder of the season, and I think that’s probably pretty accurate. He’s going to continue to hit for an excellent average, and the power looks legitimate, even if there is some minor regression. At the end of last season, I owned the rights to both Carlos Santana and Buster Posey in my 14-team keeper league. During our minor league draft, I traded Posey for Ryan Westmoreland and a draft pick towards the end of the draft. That pick? Used to take Michael Pineda.

Mike Stanton (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 53 .313 .442 .729 42 21 52 1
Majors 20 .218 .271 .333 10 2 13 3

Stanton was called up on June 8th, in a much quieter debut than the other major rookie on that date, Stephen Strasburg. Stanton hasn’t quite shown the power in the Majors that he did in his minor league career to this point, but that was probably asking a bit much of the rookie. The 3 stolen bases to this point seem a bit out of place, as he only had 8 total in his 4 minor league seasons, but that could just be a fluke. I think that realistically he’s going to continue to experience some growing pains, and until the strikeouts get a bit more under control (33 so far in only 78 at bats), he’s going to continue to struggle.

Buster Posey (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 47 .349 .442 .552 3 6 32 1
Majors 29 .308 .330 .423 12 2 11 0

Posey was called up on May 29th, but strangely it was to play 1B for the most part. The Giants’ main concern was to get the top prospect’s bat into the lineup, and not worry too much about having him catch immediately. He has been playing nearly every day, but has only just now started to catch every day with the trade of former starting catcher Bengie Molina to the Giants. I will be interested to see how he continues to hit now that he will be catching every day, and it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on the pitching staff. Posey has been widely touted for his ability to work with a pitching staff, but until it actually happens there is always the chance of something going wrong.

Jason Heyward (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
Majors 71 .251 .366 .455 41 11 45 5

Heyward is currently on the disabled list for the Braves, after a thumb injury that occurred late in May apparently, but did not sideline him until late June. This is probably at least a part of the explanation as to why Heyward struggled so much in the month of June.  He was the prohibitive favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year award after the month of May, but if he is out for an extended period of time, this race could pretty easily get away from him with as many good rookies as there are this season.

Starlin Castro (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 26 .376 .421 .569 20 1 20 4
Majors 50 .269 .332 .365 17 2 18 1

Castro has been a bit of an enigma to this point in his Major League career. It was a big surprise that he was called up when he was, but it was thought he would be able to adapt pretty easily despite being only 20 years old. His average has been solid, but not amazing. But his power seems to have disappeared entirely, and his speed is not far behind it. The part that really concerns me about Castro is the fact that in 50 games, he already has 11 errors. Granted, you can’t get errors on balls you don’t make a play on, so this partially could be the reason he has so many. It seems unlikely to me at this point that the Cubs would send him down to improve, as the Cubs are going nowhere this season.

Brian Matusz (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
Majors 16 2 9 0 4.90 93.2 70 1.441

Matusz, it was hoped, would help to lead this team’s pitching staff this season along with veteran Kevin Millwood. Unfortunately, the Orioles’ offense and defense forgot to help with that. Matusz has a league worst 9 losses this season, but there are signs of hope. He has a strikeout rate of 6.83 per 9 innings, and his FIP is lower than his ERA (4.25 vs. 4.90), so there does appear to be hope for Matusz. Until this team starts hitting like they mean it, it’s probably going to be some tough-luck losses in the future for Brian Matusz.

AAA

Desmond Jennings (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 59 .298 .374 .428 45 1 21 20

Jennings has missed some time this season due to an injury, and it appears that the Rays are extremely unlikely to call him up this season. The Rays have done well with their starting outfield of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Ben Zobrist, and have had both Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez fill in as necessary. Jennings still looks like an elite prospect, and seems like to be up at the start of the 2011 season, as Crawford is still a free agent at the end of the season and seems unlikely to be resigned due to money concerns. I still think Jennings is an elite prospect, although I am wondering how long until the power comes.

Jesus Montero (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 74 .248 .319 .410 30 6 33 0

Back in January, I wrote that I thought the best thing for the Yankees to do with Montero would be to continue to leave him in the minors and allow him to develop as a catcher, so that they could use him as the long-term replacement to Jorge Posada following Posada’s eventual retirement. At this point, I would say that they need to figure out a different position for him long term. Montero is probably not ever going to be an elite caliber catcher, and with the Yankees having 3 excellent catching prospect also in the minors (Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy) in addition to Montero, they can probably work on letting him hit and just assume he is likely to end up either in the outfield or as a DH.

Domonic Brown (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 65 .318 .391 .602 50 15 47 12
AAA 11 .395 .415 .711 6 3 10 1

Brown is a player who is vaulting himself to the top of prospect rankings with his amazing performance down at AA. Clearly, if he can continue a majority of the pace he is on so far, he looks like he will be a perennial 30-30 threat with a high batting average. There have been rumors that the Phillies may try to move Jayson Werth to help improve other areas of the team and insert Brown into the everyday RF job, but that seems a bit rushed. I would like to see the Phillies leave Brown down at AAA for the rest of the season, and give him the opportunity to win the RF job out of Spring Training in 2011.

Dan Hudson (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AAA 16 11 3 0 3.57 88.1 102 1.211

Hudson has done everything that the White Sox had hoped and more, but unfortunately no one in the starting rotation is really pitching all that badly. The White Sox are correct to leave him down there starting if that is what they hope to use him for long-term, and at some point he is likely to get a shot. It would help if the Sox would fall out of the race, but Hudson could potentially be moved for a short-term piece if they think they still have a chance to win it all this season. I’m not sure where that would come from, but stranger things have happened.

Chris Carter (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 81 .242 .346 .497 55 17 58 0

Carter has been a bit of an enigma so far at AAA. The power is still there, although not to the same extent has it had been in AA. The batting average is clearly not where he was in AA, but with the amount of strikeouts that he normally racks up, this isn’t that much of a surprise. The concerning part to me is two fold – He hasn’t even attempted a stolen base this season after trying 19 times with 13 successes. Also, the strikeout rate has gotten worse, as he already has 94 strikeouts in only 81 games. The A’s don’t have a place to play him right now at the Major League level, and realistically, he’s not shown that he’s ready for it either. If the A’s were in the heat of the pennant race, they might have brought him up to provide some pop to the lineup, but since they aren’t, I don’t think he sees Oakland this season except when he passes it in his car.

Yonder Alonso (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 31 .267 .388 .406 19 3 13 4
AAA 51 .246 .283 .365 17 4 28 3

Alonso has become the subject of some trade rumors for the Reds, as he realistically should be a first baseman at the Major League level. Unfortunately, that position is manned by a potential MVP candidate in Joey Votto, and looks like it will be for quite some time. The Reds have been trying him in the outfield, but it appears that may be at least somewhat affecting his ability to hit at AAA, as he has struggled so far.

Michael Pineda (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 13 8 1 0 2.22 77 78 1.091
AAA 3 2 0 0 2.37 19 26 0.842

Pineda came into the season as a bit of an unknown, but is now rocketing up the prospect rankings for a lot of the experts as he continues his excellent performance from last season. He’s earned a promotion to AAA recently, and the poor performance overall by the Mariners makes me wonder if he may see a September call-up. The strikeout numbers have been dominant, with over 1 per inning so far at both levels. This one is really making me look pretty good so far in my keeper league.

Tomorrow, the rest of the prospects down at AA and below.

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 2010 Rookie Class


Every year we see some solid rookie players come to the Majors and have a major impact, and this year is no exception. Already we’ve seen at least half a dozen players who could legitimately win their Rookie of the Year award, along with a lot of impact players as well. Each of these players is still eligible to win the Rookie of the Year award, according to ESPN.com’s stats page. All these stats are through Sunday’s games, and the players are in order of what I believe their likelihood to win their respective Rookie of the Year awards.

American League

1. Austin Jackson (DET) – .328/.379/.444, 33 runs, 1 home run, 13 runs batted in, 7 stolen bases

Jackson was the centerpiece of the Curtis Granderson trade for the Tigers, and he’s been pretty much everything it was hoped he would, and more. I wrote in December that I thought the Tigers would end up winning this trade, and Jackson is going to be the lynchpin to whether or not that happens. The batting average has been extremely lucky to this point, as he is currently sporting a .458 BABIP. That said, he still should hit around .270-.280 and could end up scoring around 90 runs for the Tigers.

2. Neftali Feliz (TEX) – 1-1, 13 saves, 2 holds, 2.96 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 25 strikeouts, 5 walks, 24 1/3 IP

Since being installed as the closer for the Rangers, Feliz has pitched very well overall. His stuff really suits the closer’s role, as his fastball is dominant at right around 100 mph on a consistent basis. I think that Feliz could end up winning the Rookie of the Year if Jackson falls off precipitously or if the Rangers end up making the playoffs and Feliz stays as the closer all season long. Long term, it will be interesting to see if they ever convert him back to a starting pitcher, as his value is probably better there.

3. Mitch Talbot (CLE) – 6-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 24 walks, 66 2/3 IP

Talbot has been a very nice surprise for the Indians, as he was acquired in the Kelly Shoppach trade this past offseason. Plugged into the starting rotation, Talbot is finally getting a chance to show how good of a pitcher he can be. He may see some regression, as his FIP is over 5 and his BABIP is only at .251. Either way, the Indians did well here, and he could conceivably win 12-15 games in spite of how bad the Indians’ offense is. The walks are definitely a major concern though, as they are barely less than his strikeouts.

4. Wade Davis (TAM) – 5-4, 4.04 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 36 strikeouts, 29 walks, 55 2/3 IP

Another vaunted rookie from the Rays’ farm system, Davis has come in and pitched effectively in a tough AL East division. However, his secondary numbers (FIP of 5+, 82% strand rate) indicate that he’s likely to see a fairly stiff regression in the coming months. I think he’s going to finish the season as an effective, if not amazing pitcher. But he definitely appears to have a very bright future ahead of him, and I think that for this year he could end up winning 15 games on the strength of the Rays’ lineup.

5. Brennan Boesch (DET) – .330/.357/.585, 9 runs, 4 homeruns, 22 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

At the beginning of the season, it was thought that there would be a rookie from the Tigers in this race. Brennan Boesch was not the one everyone thought though. Boesch has come up and just hit and hit and hit as the replacement for the oft-injured Carlos Guillen. He’s hit so well to this point that Guillen, who recently returned from the disabled list, is being moved to 2B (where they had hoped rookie Scott Sizemore would play well) to allow Boesch to stay in the lineup everyday. His BABIP is high (.373), so there could be some regression, but he looks like he’s going to be a solid everyday player with the potential for double-digit power.

Other AL Candidates: Brian Matusz (BAL), Carlos Santana (CLE), John Jaso (TAM), Justin Smoak (TEX), Scott Sizemore (DET)

Each of these candidates, to me, has some warts that will keep them from winning this award unless something drastically changes. For Sizemore and Santana, the fact that they are still in AAA leads me to believe that they would have to ridiculously outperform the others to catch up for lost time. Smoak and Matusz, at least for the moment, are simply not performing up to the standard of the other candidates, and are unlikely at this point to catch them.

National League

1. Jason Heyward (ATL) – .292/.410/.578, 29 runs, 10 home runs, 38 runs batted in, 3 stolen bases

What else is there to be said about Heyward that hasn’t been said? I wrote about him as a prospect back in January, and predicted that he would hit .280/.370/.470 with 6 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 80 games. Even doubling that prediction to get him to around 160 games, that’s 12 homeruns and 20 stolen bases. While he’s not running as much as I thought, the power appears to be legitimate and the Braves are going to be extremely happy with him for a very long time. I don’t really see too much out there that would cause him to not win this award.

2. Jaime Garcia (STL) – 4-2, 1.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 48 strikeouts, 26 walks, 58 1/3 IP

Garcia made the rotation out of spring training, and has never looked back. Clearly the ERA is going to go up at some point during the season, but the rest of the numbers really look legitimate to me. He’s pitching in St. Louis, and I’ve learned to never bet against the coaching staff there either.

3. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – Will make ML debut June 8th.

The hype is real. Strasburg will not make his debut until June 8th, giving the rest of the rookies in this class a full two months of time to get ahead. That said, and even with the 100 inning limit that he is likely to be on, he could very well come up and post a sub-3 ERA and a strikeout per inning he pitches. He has looked that good.

4. David Freese (STL) -.314/.383/.453, 21 runs, 4 home runs, 31 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

It’s hard to put another position player this far down the list, but realistically all 5 of the top rookies in the NL would probably win the award in the American League this season. Freese won the 3B job out of spring training, but it really appeared that no one was particularly confident that he would be able to make it stick. But he’s been a very bright spot in the Cardinals lineup, and has played at least reasonable defense to this point.

5. Mike Leake (CIN) – 4-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 45 strikeouts, 25 walks, 66 IP

I was extremely surprised when Leake made the rotation out of spring training, but it really looks like the Reds knew what they were doing here (shocking, I know). Leake isn’t necessarily going to be a fantasy darling, as he probably isn’t going to strike out enough hitters to make him very valuable for that. But he has shown to this point that he is definitely a good Major League pitcher.

Other NL Candidates: Starlin Castro (CHC), Buster Posey (SF), Ian Desmond (WAS), Ike Davis (NYM), Gaby Sanchez (FLA), Jhoulys Chacin (COL)

Only Desmond and Sanchez made their respective teams out of Spring Training, and while they are both having good rookie seasons, their seasons do not compare to the 5 players discussed previously. Castro, Posey, and Davis have all added much needed energy to their teams, in addition to some offense, but unfortunately they will run into the same problem as Desmond and Sanchez, in that it is a very good rookie class this year.

The Month in Review – May 2010


Now fully 1/3 of the way into the season at this point, we’re starting to see some separation between the elite teams in the Majors and the rest of the league. Although there are very few teams who have been blown out of their races to this point, there are a couple still, and many more who are not far from having that problem either.

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

Now that we’ve started receiving the voting updates for the All-Star, I will start the lineups with that, and build the team around that. All stats are through Sunday’s games.

American League


American League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
C Joe Mauer MIN .329 .404 .465 25 2 24 1
1B Mark Teixeira NYY .221 .336 .390 31 8 34 0
2B Robinson Cano NYY .362 .405 .607 36 10 37 2
3B Evan Longoria TAM .325 .391 .577 35 10 42 10
SS Derek Jeter NYY .297 .340 .425 32 5 31 5
OF Ichiro Suzuki SEA .342 .393 .421 23 1 10 13
OF Carl Crawford TAM .321 .376 .500 38 4 24 16
OF Nelson Cruz TEX .327 .405 .729 19 10 34 7
DH Vladimir Guerrero TEX .332 .361 .560 29 12 44 4
American League Reserves
Pos
Name Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
1B Justin Morneau MIN .368 .488 .667 34 11 36 0
1B Miguel Cabrera DET .352 .427 .670 33 14 48 2
OF Alex Rios CHW .312 .368 .590 32 11 27 16
OF Shin-Soo Choo CLE .280 .385 .446 26 7 25 9
IF Kevin Youkilis BOS .298 .445 .573 45 10 29 1
DH David Ortiz BOS .272 .348 .581 21 11 31 0
IF Ty Wigginton BAL .288 .369 .565 23 13 32 0
C John Jaso TAM .310 .425 .448 12 2 19 0
SS Elvis Andrus TEX .311 .398 .350 35 0 13 18
3B Jose Bautista TOR .250 .369 .600 37 16 41 3
OF Vernon Wells TOR .301 .353 .602 34 13 36 2
DH Jose Guillen KC .250 .324 .479 31 11 33 1
1B Paul Konerko CHW .262 .366 .567 28 14 33 0
American League Pitching Staff
Role Name
Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Jon Lester BOS 6 2 0 72.7 2.97 1.13 77
SP Doug Fister SEA 3 2 0 62 2.03 0.95 26
SP Andy Pettitte NYY 6 1 0 58.3 2.62 1.22 36
SP Jeff Niemann TAM 5 0 0 64.7 2.37 1.05 41
SP Jered Weaver LAA 4 2 0 68.7 3.01 1.15 74
SP David Price TAM 7 2 0 66.7 2.57 1.14 50
SP Matt Garza TAM 5 3 0 69.7 2.97 1.15 57
SP Shaun Marcum TOR 5 1 0 73 2.59 1.03 60
RP Mariano Rivera NYY 0 1 10 16.3 1.65 0.73 13
RP Rafael Soriano TAM 2 0 14 20.3 1.33 0.84 16
RP Jose Valverde DET 1 1 12 20.7 0.44 0.92 16
RP Jon Rauch MIN 1 1 12 20 2.70 1.25 14
RP Andrew Bailey OAK 0 1 10 19.7 1.37 1.02 11

And from the Senior Circuit…

National League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
C Yadier Molina STL .258 .335 .346 8 2 28 6
1B Albert Pujols STL .310 .422 .572 31 12 38 3
2B Chase Utley PHI .277 .397 .520 35 10 24 2
3B Placido Polanco PHI .306 .342 .448 26 5 21 2
SS Jimmy Rollins PHI .341 .462 .634 11 2 7 2
OF Ryan Braun MIL .318 .385 .528 38 8 32 11
OF Shane Victorino PHI .262 .317 .461 29 8 33 10
OF Jayson Werth PHI .295 .369 .578 31 9 33 2
DH Andre Ethier LAD .392 .457 .744 25 11 38 0
National League Reserves
Pos Name
Team AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
C Rod Barajas NYM .270 .293 .539 21 10 28 0
2B Kelly Johnson ARI .270 .373 .563 34 12 25 5
3B Scott Rolen CIN .275 .344 .550 28 11 32 0
OF Jason Heyward ATL .301 .421 .596 29 10 38 3
1B Joey Votto CIN .312 .408 .553 29 10 33 6
3B Casey McGehee MIL .302 .365 .513 25 9 41 1
SS Hanley Ramirez FLA .298 .379 .484 27 8 26 6
1B Jorge Cantu FLA .281 .332 .479 25 8 36 0
3B Ryan Zimmerman WAS .299 .374 .571 26 10 27 1
OF Jason Bay NYM .293 .381 .447 33 3 23 7
OF Andrew McCutchen PIT .313 .380 .469 29 6 14 12
IF Ryan Theriot CHC .286 .315 .316 24 0 14 9
National League Pitching Staff
Role Name Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez COL 9 1 0 71.3 0.88 0.93 61
SP Roy Halladay PHI 7 3 0 86 1.99 0.99 70
SP Tim Lincecum SF 5 1 0 66 3.00 1.12 80
SP Jaime Garcia STL 4 2 0 55.3 1.14 1.14 45
SP Roy Oswalt HOU 3 6 0 69 2.35 1.01 69
SP Josh Johnson FLA 5 2 0 70 2.19 1.04 69
SP Carlos Silva CHC 7 0 0 60.7 3.12 1.10 42
SP Jon Garland SD 6 2 0 67 2.15 1.28 42
RP Heath Bell SD 2 0 14 23 1.17 1.30 30
RP Matt Capps WAS 0 1 17 24.3 2.96 1.32 23
RP Tyler Clippard WAS 7 3 0 34.7 1.82 1.14 40
RP Carlos Marmol CHC 1 0 11 24.7 1.46 1.14 49
RP Francisco Cordero CIN 1 3 15 25 3.60 1.48 20

It’s interesting to see how things change. For the most part, each team had a player that had distinguished himself from his teammates, and the rosters are not surprisingly similar to the ones I wrote up in April.

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP -  Miguel Cabrera (DET)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – David Price (TAM)
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

May 3-May 9
May 10-May 18
May 19-May 23

May 24-May 30

The month of May was dominated by two perfect games (the first time two have been thrown in the same season since 1880), some more prospect call ups (Starlin Castro), and further injuries (Grady Sizemore, Jimmy Rollins, Nelson Cruz). The Rays continue their dominance of the American League, as they will finish the month with the top record in the sport. The Reds have been the huge surprise, behind Joey Votto, a resurgent Scott Rolen, and rookie Mike Leake, they have the best record in the National League. The races are just going to continue to get more interesting as the months roll on here.

How are They Doing So Far? part 1


Over this week, I am going to look at how the prospects I reviewed during this offseason and see how they have done so far this season. Today I’ll be going over the players who are currently in either the Majors or at AAA. All statistics are through Sunday

Welcome to the Show

Jason Heyward (ATL): 28 games, .291/.410/.616, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 14 R, 16 walks, 26 strikeouts

Heyward was named the starting right fielder out of Spring Training, as he impressed nearly everyone who saw him down in Florida. He hasn’t let up since, and is well on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award. He’s been sidelined of late with a minor groin injury, and there has been talk as to whether or not he will need some time on the disabled list. He is already past the stats that I thought he would post in the Majors this season when I reviewed him. Whether or not his split numbers will stay that high remains to be seen, but he’s been a definite hit so far.

Jennry Mejia (NYM): 15 appearances, 13 2/3 IP, 0-2, 2.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 9 strikeouts, 7 walks

I was extremely surprised when the Mets put Mejia into the bullpen out of Spring Training. When I wrote about him during the offseason, I predicted (incorrectly) that he would not be in the Majors until 2012 at the soonest. Leave the Mets to make a liar out of me. However, I did also say that unless his control issues were managed, he’d struggle. 7 walks in 13 2/3 IP would qualify as struggling for me. The problem I really see at this point is that this seems likely to severely stunt his development. Long term his best value would seem to be as a starting pitcher, and he’s not going to develop as one until he goes back to the minors to get reps there. Now, there is the potential for the Mets to be grooming him as a closer-in-waiting for after the 2011 season, when Francisco Rodriguez will be a free agent again. But it just doesn’t seem to be the best answer for him.

Brian Matusz (BAL): 7 starts, 40 1/3 IP, 2-3, 4.91 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 33 strikeouts, 14 walks

Matusz was slated to start the season in the rotation for the Orioles, and has pitched  reasonably well so far. When I wrote him up, I thought that he would post a strikeout rate of 8.25 per 9 innings, and a walk rate of 2.3 per 9. So far, he’s at 7.425 strikeouts per 9 and 3.15 walks per 9. He hasn’t quite matched the numbers I predicted, but until his last start had pitched reasonably well all the same.

Starlin Castro (CHC): 3 games, .333/.333/.833, HR, 6 RBI, 0 walks, 1 strikeout

Castro was called up on Friday to help spark the offense. His callup also moved previous SS Ryan Theriot over to 2B, and potentially for good if Castro hits while he is here. It will be interesting if Castro has a lot of struggles, as he has not played at all at AAA, and did not play a lot at AA either for that matter.

AAA

Carlos Santana (CLE): 29 games, .309/.446/.526, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB, 22 walks, 19 strikeouts

Santana has gotten off to a hot start, and realistically I have to imagine he will probably be up to the big club as soon as the expected date to avoid making a Super-Two player passes. The player currently blocking him at the Major League level, Lou Marson, is not hitting worth anything, and is realistically just a place holder until they bring up Santana.

Buster Posey (SF): 29 games, .345/.434/.536, 4 HR, 20 RBI, SB, 16 walks, 18 strikeouts

Posey was sent down to AAA after Spring Training so that he could play every day. His offense could very well be needed at the Major League level sooner rather than later, but unless something changes with Bengie Molina, there really isn’t a good spot to play him. I’ve heard talk that Posey is athletic enough that he may be able to play 1B or RF potentially, but clearly his future is behind the plate. I still don’t entirely understand why they brought him up at the end of last season. Hopefully, they don’t bring him up just to sit on the bench.

Jesus Montero (NYY): 24 games, .244/.306/.378, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 16 strikeouts, 8 walks

He’s not quite hitting up to the level that he has in the past, but he is still very young, especially for his level. The Yankees are best suited by continuing to let him try to develop as a catcher, as his bat is probably ready for the Majors now. However, he is their long-term solution behind the plate, and he is going to need probably the majority of this season at AAA continuing his development. Thankfully (for him anyway) the Yankees do not need his bat at the Major League level at this point, and can let him do this.

Trevor Reckling (LAA): 6 starts, 33 IP, 3-1, 4.64 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 23 strikeouts, 23 walks

Reckling has struggled a bit to this point, as control has clearly become a massive issue. This had already shown itself in previous seasons, and to me he is going to have to get that under control before he can even be considered for the Majors. Good for the Angels is the fact that they do not need to rush him, as they have other pitchers who can be called upon if they need someone at the Major League level. I wrote back in January that I thought he would be in the Majors during 2011, and I think that’s probably still right. He really could use the full season down at AAA to work on the control issues.

Desmond Jennings (TAM): 12 games, .269/.387/.346, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 SB, 5 walks 5 strikeouts

Health remains the problem, as he’s only appeared in 12 games out of 29 possible so far. The Rays are taking an extremely conservative approach with him, as they have their outfield at the Major League level pretty well locked in for this season. His batting eye remains excellent, as well as the speed. I could very well see the Rays leaving him down in AAA at least until September, as they really don’t have any pressing need for him in Tampa.

Daniel Hudson (CHW): 6 starts, 29 1/3 IP, 4-2, 5.83 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 10 walks

Hudson was slated to the minors after Spring Training, as the White Sox have an extremely deep starting rotation, with Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, and Floyd at the top, and Freddy Garcia currently in the 5th starter role. I figured back in January that he would be up at some point this season, and I still think he will be. Garcia has not pitched particularly well, striking out 18 and walking 12 in 29 innings. He’s probably going to be given a lot of rope, but I would be surprised if he is still in the rotation come June 1st. Look for Hudson to be called up when that time comes.

Chris Carter (OAK): 29 games, .259/.354/.518, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 16 walks, 33 strikeouts

Carter has started his year in Sacramento, and while he is performing well, I have to imagine that the A’s are likely to keep him down there until at least midseason. The hard part is that for them to get Carter consistent playing time, he is going to need to play either 1B or DH. Current 1B Daric Barton has been solid this season, and appears very unlikely to lose his job. DH is a different concern, as that is currently being misused by the $66 million dollar man, Eric Chavez. The A’s are going to give Chavez every chance to succeed, and at this point he has managed to stay healthy, even if he hasn’t done well. Look for Carter to debut sometime after the All-Star break.


The Week in Review – May 3rd to May 9th


If the Playoffs Started Today

Texas (18-14) vs. Tampa (22-9)
New York (21-9) vs. Minnesota (21-11)

San Francisco (18-12) vs. St. Louis (20-12)
San Diego (19-12) vs. Philadelphia (19-12)

Last Week’s Top Performers

J.D. Drew (BOS) – .500/.552/.625, 5 RBI, 9 R
Alex Rios (CHW) – .464/.467/1.000, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R
Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – .450/.645/.800, HR, 2 RBI, 7 R
Vladimir Guerrero (LAA) – .360/.345/.840, 4 HR, 13 RBI, SB, 5 R
Jayson Werth (PHI) – .360/.407/1.000, 4 HR, 9 RBI, SB, 6 R
Joey Votto (CIN) – .417/.481/.833, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R
Aaron Rowand (SF) – .357/.400/.786, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R

Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)  – 1-1, 1.29 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 18 K, 14 IP
Jake Peavy (CHW) – 2-0, 1.20 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, 17 K, 15 IP
Scott Baker (MIN) – 2-0, 2.40 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 14 K, 15 IP
Adam Wainwright (STL) – 1-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 13 K, 14 IP
Jamie Garcia (STL) – 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 13 K, 12 IP
Neftali Feliz (TEX) – 4 SV, 4 IP, 4 K

Roster Movement and Job Changes

Disabled List:

  • Rafael Furcal, Rick Ankiel, Yunel Escobar, LaTroy Hawkins and Nick Johnson were all placed on the disabled list.
  • Esmailin Caridad and Conor Jackson were both activated from the disabled list.

Call Ups and Roster Changes:

  • Starlin Castro was called up from AA.

Top Stories and This Week’s Links

  • On Monday, the big news out of Philadelphia was when a 17-year old fan was tasered for running onto the field. Realistically, the response really doesn’t seem like as big a deal as it was made out to be. There’s a reason that the players were pretty happy with the response that was taken. That and probably images of Monica Seles being stabbed and that poor 1B coach being attacked in Chicago those years ago I am sure help them to think this.
  • On Tuesday, baseball lost an icon of broadcasting, as Ernie Harwell unfortunately lost his battle with cancer. The man was the only broadcaster ever involved in a trade, back in 1948.
  • On Thursday, baseball lost another Hall of Famer, with Robin Roberts passing away. Roberts was a 5-time 20 game winner for the Phillies back in the 50′s.
  • Friday was the call up of Starlin Castro by the Cubs, and he came through in a big way. He had a triple, a home run, and 6 RBI in his debut. Clearly he is not going to be this good every game, but it was a definite good start to the career. It was a bit scary to see that he is the first player born in the 1990′s to make his MLB debut.
  • My A’s are having a hard time drawing fans, which is nothing new. Even with the perfect game thrown by Dallas Braden on Mother’s Day, there were only 12,000 paid attendance, which even to me seems almost high. It’s really hard to get excited about going to the stadium, so realistically that’s a really big portion of a potential audience that they simply can’t draw. Until they get their stadium situation resolved, it’s not going to get better.