Tag Archives: Zack Greinke

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 Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, 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. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago – 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago – Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

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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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Free Agent Review – Cliff Lee to the Phillies


Wow. That’s pretty much all I can say.

With the news overnight that there may have been as much as $50 million left on the table by one Clifton Phifer Lee, it has been a complete shock to see that Cliff Lee has agreed to sign with the Phillies. The terms appear to be for 5 years, $115 million dollars, with an option for a 6th year that might be reasonably achievable.

From the Phillies Perspective

Honestly, I’m not sure I understand this entirely. Clearly, Lee is more than $10 M better than Joe Blanton ($20M salary for Lee, $10.5M for Blanton), but this seems a bit excessive. Adding Lee now brings them a 4th ace to go with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt for next season. The part that could really kill the Phillies long term is the amount of money they have tied up. The Phillies will most likely have the highest payroll of any team not playing in the Bronx next year, and have a ton of money committed to their roster already for 2012, 2013, and 2014.

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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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Original Draft Series: Team #28 – Kansas City Royals


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

Team #28: Kansas City Royals

General Managers(since 1994)

Herk Robinson (1994-2000): 489-576
Allard Baird (2001-2006): 386-586
Dayton Moore (2006-Present): 209-277

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 0 0 1 3 4 8

While this team has not seen success on the field, there are more players than I would have imagined who achieved success in the Majors after being drafted or signed by the Royals. I think that what put them ahead of the White Sox to me was the caliber of the top players listed on this team, and the performance that they gave while still in a Royals uniform. You have a Rookie of the Year award winner (Beltran), and of course last season’s Cy Young Award winner (Greinke). All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Paul Phillips 1998 – 9th Rd 9 58 gm, .258/.271/.364, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R Released 12/12/07
1B Billy Butler 2004- 1st Rd (14) 6 438 gm, .297/.353/.457, 46 HR, 235 RBI, 1 SB, 191 R Currently with Org.
2B Mark Ellis 1999 – 9th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
3B Alex Gordon 2005 – 1st Rd (2) 5 346 gm, .249/.331/.413, 38 HR, 142 RBI, 28 SB, 165 R Currently with Org.
SS Mike Aviles 2003 – 7th Rd 7 172 gm, .295/.323/.424, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 9 SB, 98 R Currently with Org.
LF Johnny Damon 1992 – 1st Rd (35) 9 803 gm, .292/.351/.438, 65 HR, 352 RBI, 156 SB, 504 R Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
CF Carlos Beltran 1995 – 2nd Rd 9 1999 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star Appearance
795 gm, .287/.352/.483, 123 HR, 516 RBI, 164 SB, 546 R
Traded to HOU – 6/24/04
RF David DeJesus 2000 – 4th Rd 10 847 gm., .288/.360/.429, 61 HR, 383 RBI, 47 SB, 489 R Currently with Org.
DH Mike Sweeney 1991 – 10th Rd 16 5 All-Star Appearances
1282 gm, .299/.369/.492, 197 HR, 837 RBI, 50 SB, 700 R
Free Agency – 10/30/07
SP Zack Greinke 2002 – 1st Rd (6) 8 2009 AL Cy Young Award, 1 All-Star Appearance
52-61, 3.75 ERA, 828 K, 243 BB, 977 IP, 1.265 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Luke Hochevar 2006 – 1st Rd (1) 4 18-30, 5.68 ERA, 240 K, 125 BB, 362.2 IP, 1.45 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jeremy Affeldt 1997 – 3rd Rd 9 17-22, 4.77 ERA, 281 K, 178 BB, 399.2 IP, 1.519 WHIP Traded to COL – 7/31/06
SP Billy Buckner 2004 – 2nd Rd 3 1-2, 5.29 ERA, 17 K, 16 BB, 34 IP, 1.559 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07
SP Tim Byrdak 1994 – 5th Rd 6 0-4, 8.27 ERA, 26 K, 24 BB, 32.2 IP, 2.204 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/00
RP Carlos Rosa Int’l FA – 2001 9 0-0, 3.21 ERA, 7 K, 3 BB, 14 IP, 1.143 WHIP Traded to ARI – 5/1/10
RP Chad Durbin 1996 – 3rd Rd 6 11-22, 6.01 ERA, 140 K, 106 BB, 262 IP, 1.573 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/02
RP Kiko Calero 1996 – 27th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Organization Free Agency – 11/21/02
RP J.P. Howell 2004 – 1st rd (31) 2 3-5, 6.19 ERA, 54 K, 39 BB, 72.2 IP, 1.541 WHIP Traded to TAM – 6/20/06
RP Brian Sanches 1999 – 2nd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to SD – 8/26/03
CL Mike MacDougal 1999 – 1st Rd (25) 7 10-14, 50 SV, 3.88 ERA, 162 K, 76 BB, 174 IP, 1.437 WHIP Traded to CHW – 7/24/06
BN Kila Ka’aihue (1B) 2002 – 15th Rd 8 14 gm, .280/.357/.400, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R Currently with Org.
BN Mitch Maier (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (30) 7 217 gm., .252/.330/.335, 5 HR, 63 RBI, 9 SB, 73 R Currently with Org.
BN Dusty Hughes (P) 2003 – 11th Rd 7 1-3, 4.03 ERA, 31 K, 18 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Matt Treanor (C) 1994 – 4th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 7/29/97
BN Blake Wood (P) 2006 – 3rd Rd 4 0-0, 15 gm., 4 K, 5 BB, 15.1 IP, 1.109 WHIP Currently with Org.

The Royals have had an awful lot of poor finishes, and as a result a lot of very high draft picks in the first round. The Royals do have a lot of hope coming, in the form of the last 4 1st round picks, pitchers Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 3B Mike Moustakas. It is a bit nice to see that all of their top picks since the 2004 season (with the exception of Matthew Campbell) are still either on their roster or in their minor league system.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 24 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). At least some part of this is a result of the fact that the Royals were consistently trading away their type-A free agents to be prior to their reaching free agency, and as such not receiving the compensation picks related to this. That said, they have definitely had a mixed bag of results in recent years. In 2001, you have Colt Griffin, a highly coveted prospect out of high school who could never really improve his control and was out of baseball before the age of 23. In 2000, you have Mike Stodolka, a high school pitcher who flamed out as a pitcher after 6 seasons, and failed as a 1B/OF prospect for the following 3 seasons after that. But in 2002, you have Zack Greinke, and in 2004 you have Billy Butler. There have been quite a few players who at least provided a reasonable return on their first round picks for the Royals.

International Free Agency

I only found one player who the Royals had signed as an international free agent for their roster who was currently in the Majors, Carlos Rosa. Clearly, the Royals have been missing this market for players for quite some time at this point, and unless they make more than a threadbare effort to find players in these countries, they will continue to miss some of the top prospects in the game.

Overall Grade

I think I have to give them a C-. Clearly, there are some high quality players that were developed in the Royals’ system at one point or another (Beltran, Greinke, Damon), and solid major league regulars (Ellis, Butler, Dejesus). Unfortunately, they’ve either never held onto these players at the same time or been able to put together any more than 83 wins in a season to this point. Some of their misses in the draft were pretty stunningly bad in the last 15 years, but overall their ability to scout and develop players is only slightly below average.

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 26th – May 2nd


If the Playoffs Started Today

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

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

This Week’s Top Performers

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

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

Roster Movement and Job Changes:

Disabled List:

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

Promotions and Demotions:

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

Top Stories and Weekly Links

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

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

Fantasy Preview – Starting Pitchers Part 1


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 25 Starting Pitchers

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Team Preview – Kansas City Royals


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Jason Kendall SP 1 Zack Greinke
1B Billy Butler SP 2 Gil Meche
2B Alberto Callaspo SP 3 Brian Bannister
3B Alex Gordon SP 4 Luke Hochevar
SS Yuniesky Betancourt SP 5 Kyle Davies
LF Scott Podsednik Bullpen
CF Rick Ankiel CL Joakim Soria
RF David Dejesus RP Juan Cruz
DH Jose Guillen RP Robinson Tejeda
Bench RP Kyle Farnsworth
IF Chris Getz RP Roman Colon
IF Josh Fields

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
CF Rick Ankiel Free Agency RF Mark Teahen Trade (CHW)
LF Scott Podsednik Free Agency 1B Mike Jacobs Free Agency
2B Chris Getz Trade (CHW) C John Buck Free Agency
3B Josh Fields Trade (CHW) CF Coco Crisp Free Agency
C Jason Kendall Free Agency C Miguel Olivo Free Agency

Top Prospects: Mike Moustakas (3B), Eric Hosmer (1B), Aaron Crow (P), Mike Montgomery (P), Wil Myers (C)

2009 Review

The Royals were not really expected to compete in 2009, and they pretty much performed to those expectations. They finished the season at 65-97, good for a 4th place tie in teh AL Central. But they definitely had some bright spots. C Miguel Olivo posted a career high 23 HR to lead the team. 1B Billy Butler had an excellent season at the plate, posting a .301 average with 21 HR and 93 RBI. Easily the best performance by a Royal came from SP Zack Greinke, the AL Cy Young award winner. Greinke put it all together in 2009, posting a 16-8 record with a 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts. Unfortunately, the only other pitcher on the staff that performed remotely well was closer Joakim Soria, who saved 30 games and posted a 2.21 ERA.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Royals came into the offseason with a lot of holes to plug (C, CF, LF), and did well to get some high-upside players for a couple of those positions. I liked the signing of Ankiel and Podsednik, as they are both low-risk, high-upside signings. If they don’t work out, they only spent about $5 M on the two players, and are only committed to them for the 2010 season. The most confusing move that they made was the signing of Jason Kendall. Kendall is a good catcher for a young pitching staff, and that part makes sense to me. It’s a good thing, in fact, because he’s highly unlikely to provide any offense at all. That’s essentially a black hole for offense. And this is on a team that has very little offense to speak of.

The team is hoping that the starting rotation will improve this season, and will also be giving reliever Kyle Farnsworth an opportunity to try to start in spring training. After Greinke, they have a lot of pitchers that should improve, but I’m not sure how much. Meche is probably very similar to what he performed like last year. Hochevar remains a mixed bag, with a lot of potential, but hasn’t really seen it show up yet. Bannister and Davies both seem to be reasonable innings-eaters, but not a whole lot else. Another player that the Royals are hopeful will rebound is 3B Alex Gordon. Gordon has been touted for a long time, and has been inconsistent at the Major League level to this point.

They do have some solid players coming down the line in Crow and Montgomery, but both are pretty far away still. It also remains to be seen how the long term plan works in Kansas City, as their best prospects realistically play the same positions as the young talents they already have. They really don’t have a whole lot of prospects for the outfield, and for a team that has had as many high draft picks as the Royals have, the minor league system seems unusually thin.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Realistically, the only players on the  Royals I’d want to own are Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Billy Butler. Beyond that, the offense is a pretty big black hole. The pitching staff is not a whole lot better. My only upside players I see are Scott Podsednik, who could provide some steals, and Rick Ankiel, but only if he can return to his power form.

Prediction for 2010

The Royals aren’t going to compete this year. I’m not 100% sure that they’re going to compete in the next 3 years. It seems really likely to me that some point in the next 2 years, general manager Dayton Moore is going to lose his job, because the performance is really not getting it done. I know it takes time to rebuild  a system as bare as the Royals, but at some point they’re going to need to see improvement at the Major League level.

72-90, 4th in the AL Central