Tag Archives: Brandon Phillips

Week in Review – August 9 to August 15


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (71-46) vs. Texas Rangers (67-49)
Minnesota Twins (68-50) vs. New York Yankees (72-45)

San Francisco Giants (67-52) vs. Atlanta Braves (68-49)
Cincinnati Reds (67-51) vs. San Diego Padres (69-47)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .362
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 86
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 36
Runs Batted In – Alex Rodriguez (NYY) 97
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 45

Wins – Adam Wainwright (STL) and Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 17
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) 35
ERA – Adam Wainwright (STL) 1.99
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 182
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.93

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Cristian Guzman, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chipper Jones, Adam Rosales, Jason LaRue, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, Geovany Soto, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria, LaTroy Hawkins, Rich Harden

Return from the Disabled List:  Mark Teahen, Carlos Guillen, Stephen Strasburg, Kyle Lohse, Homer Bailey, Travis Hafner

To the Minors: Jess Todd, Dayan Viciedo, Brad Mills, Jeremy Hermida, Travis Wood, Will Rhymes, Ramon Troncoso

Called Up: Michael Bowden, Eric Young Jr, Chris Carter, Jeff Larish, Mark Melancon, Jeremy Hellickson, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mark Rzepczynski

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • Some extremely strange news out of New York during the week with Mets’ closer Francisco Rodriguez being arrested for allegedly assaulting his father in law. He returned to the team on Saturday and has stated that he will seek out anger management counseling after the incident. Let’s hope he can put this behind him, and soon.
  • Chipper Jones‘ career may be over after tearing his ACL on an excellent play he made during Tuesday’s game. He had surgery on the injury on Saturday, and is hoping to make a comeback in 2011.
  • The Wild-Card leading Rays took a pair of hits to their rotation this week with both Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann going on the disabled list on the same day this week. However, they are one of the few teams that can handle this loss to some extent, as Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine were both moved into the rotation in their place.
  • Stephen Strasburg returned from the disabled list on Tuesday, and proceeded to get shelled. He did pitch better in his start on Sunday though, and I’m wondering at this point when he gets shut down for the year.
  • Further proof of the volatility of prospects as Oakland’s top international signee from a couple of years ago, Michael Ynoa, will need Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2011 season. To date, he’s thrown 9 innings in his professional career.
  • Jonathan Broxton was removed from the closer’s role by the Dodgers on Friday, as he continues to struggle in his appearances. Hong-Chih Kuo will get the majority of opportunities for now, and I have to imagine that at some point Broxton will return to the role this season.
  • Brandon Phillips really made some noise in the critical series between the Reds and Cardinals at the beginning of the week, and unfortunately most of it was not good for his team. Between the comments he made and the bat tap on the shin guards of Yadier Molina which lead to the brawl in Tuesday’s game, it didn’t really go all that well for Phillips. Oh, and he had a poor performance as well, which really didn’t help things.
  • Apparently the Orioles should have hired Buck Showalter a lot sooner, as the team has gone on a hot streak since he was installed in the manager’s job. Since being hired, the O’s are now 9-3 since Showalter took over the team, after winning only 32 of their first 107 games.
  • Ricky Romero received a 5 year, $30.1 million contract extension from the Blue Jays, and I really like this deal for the team. They’ve locked in a really good young pitcher at a reasonable price. You know, unless something happens that doesn’t allow him to finish as well as he’s started.

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

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

From Wezen-Ball: Larry Granillo posted a presentation that he made at SABR 40 about the statistics of the baseball played by Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. It’s actually really interesting, which surprised me a bit.

From Thunder Baseball: Mike Ashmore posted a great article about the minors and the effects it has on players. It’s an extremely interesting read and I highly recommend it.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday: With the signing deadline for amateur draft picks coming on Monday, I’ll be doing a brief writeup of the notable signings and the few who didn’t sign.

Wednesday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting team #10.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Dan Haren being traded to the Diamondbacks. We actually have a better idea of how this trade will look for the Diamondbacks after having already been traded by them to the Angels this season. That will finish up the final trade of the series involving the A’s as well.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ’Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Original Draft Series – Team #13: Washington Nationals


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

Team #13: Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos)

General Managers(since 1994)

Kevin Malone (1994-1995): 140-118
Jim Beattie (1996-2001): 434-538
Omar Minaya (2002-2004): 233-253
Jim Bowden (2005-2008): 287-282
Mike Rizzo (2009-Current): 59-103

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Brian Schneider 1995 – 5th Rd 12 757 gm, .252/.323/.377, 47 HR, 294 RBI Traded to NYM – 11/30/07
1B Geoff Blum 1994 – 7th Rd 7 317 gm, .254/.323/.409, 28 HR, 113 RBI, 11 SB Traded to HOU – 3/12/02
2B Brandon Phillips
1999 – 2nd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 6/27/02
3B Ryan Zimmerman 2005 – 1st Rd (4) 5 1 All Star Appearance, 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
693 gm, .286/.351/.483, 108 HR, 416 RBI, 20 SB
Currently with Org.
SS Orlando Cabrera Int’l FA – 1993 11 1 Gold Glove
904 gm, .267/.315/.405, 66 HR, 381 RBI, 93 SB
Traded to BOS – 7/31/04
LF Jason Bay 2000 – 22nd Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to NYM – 3/24/02
CF Grady Sizemore 2000 – 3rd Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 6/27/02
RF Vladimir Guerrero
Int’l FA – 1993 10 4 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
1004 gm, .323/.390/.588, 234 HR, 702 RBI, 123 SB
Left via FA – 10/27/03
DH Milton Bradley 1996 – 2nd Rd 5 109 gm, .222/.288/.332, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB Traded to CLE – 7/31/01
SP Cliff Lee 2000 – 4th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 6/27/02
SP Javier Vazquez 1994 – 5th Rd 9 64-68, 4.16 ERA, 1229.1 IP, 1076 K, 331 BB, 1.274 WHIP Traded to NYY – 12/16/03
SP Stephen Strasburg 2009 – 1st Rd (1) 1 5-2, 2.32 ERA, 75 K, 15 BB, 1.067 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP John Lannan 2005 – 11th Rd 5 22-35, 4.19 ERA, 498 IP, 240 K, 192 BB, 1.434 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Armando Galarraga Int’l FA – 1998 7 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 12/8/05
RP Craig Stammen 2005 – 12th Rd 5 6-11, 5.29 ERA, 199 IP, 97 K, 51 BB, 1.372 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Miguel Batista Int’l FA – 1988 3+1 12-15, 4.54 ERA, 333 IP, 232 K, 153 BB, 1.523 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Ross Detwiler 2007 – 1st Rd (6) 3 1-7, 4.71 ERA, 48 K, 36 BB, 1.568 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Marco Estrada 2005 – 6th Rd 4 0-1, 7.20 ERA, 20 IP, 19 K, 9 BB, 1.600 WHIP Selected by MIL – 2/3/10
RP Collin Balester 2004 – 4th Rd 6 4-11, 5.85 ERA, 112.1 IP, 72 K, 42 BB, 1.513 WHIP Currently with Org.
CL Drew Storen 2009 – 1st Rd (10) 1 2-2, 2.73 ERA, 29.2 IP, 26 K, 14 BB, 1.281 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Mark Grudzielanek 1991 – 11th Rd 7 1 All Star Appearance
492 gm, .281/.320/.378, 19 HR, 161 RBI, 77 SB
Traded to LAD – 7/31/98
BN Roger Bernadina Int’l FA – 2001 9 102 gm, .255/.317/.374, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 12 SB Currently with Org.
BN Jamey Carroll 1996 – 14th Rd 9 336 gm, .269/.344/.338, 2 HR, 54 RBI, 14 SB Purchased by COL – 2/11/06
BN Wilson Valdez Int’l FA – 1997 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Selected by FLA – 3/29/02
BN Ian Desmond 2004 – 3rd Rd 6 115 gm, .257/.296/.418, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 10 SB Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

For as bad as this team has been overall in the last 15 years, you would think that their first round picks would have developed a lot better. Stephen Strasburg gives a lot of hope for the organization, and Bryce Harper also will be there eventually. But the draft has been a lot of what could have been in Montreal if the ownership and the general managers could have held onto allow the team develop instead. Look at the list of players who made All Star teams for other teams: Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Milton Bradley, Jason Bay, Brandon Phillips. This is a team that should have more to show for its draft than it does.

International Free Agency

The Nationals have done a lot better in international free agency than a lot of the other teams have done so far. Clearly, the cream of this crop has been Vladimir Guerrero. If only they had been under new ownership when he became eligible to be a free agent…. But the Nationals also had Orlando Cabrera and Miguel Batista, who have both had success in the Majors. While there aren’t a lot of players on this list who came this way, the quality is what makes me believe it is a better class.

Overall Grade

B. This is an organization that has definitely had some talent go through. This was one of the first teams where I was able to build a starting roster with a substantial amount of All-Stars, albeit not with the Nationals. The only weaknesses in the starting lineup to me were at C and 1B, but as good as the rest of the lineup is more than made up for it. The starting rotation is anchored by a pair of aces (Lee, Vazquez) and an ace-in-waiting with Strasburg. The only real weakness on the pitching side to me is the bullpen, which is mostly unproven or very raw.

Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 4


Part 4 of the 2003 BA Almanac Series takes a look at their 2002 Top 100 Prospects list. The list in the book is just that: A list, with each player listed, and the highest level that they reached in the 2002 season. It’s actually really interesting to me to look at it, as it can give further perspective on the level of risk involved with any prospect.

My Thoughts on the List

Out of the top 100, 32 were what I would consider to be solid Major Leaguers. These are, in my mind’s eye, players who started in the Major Leagues, and would have for a lot of teams had they been with them instead. The interesting thing to note is how many of them did this with teams they were not listed with. These include:

Looking at the top 5, all 5 of them had at least some large amount of playing time in the Majors, but they’ve all had some interesting paths in their careers:

1. Josh Beckett (FLA) – Beckett helped pitch the Marlins to a World Series victory in 2003, and provided solid seasons for the team through 2005 before being traded to the Red Sox in part to acquire future face-of-the-franchise Hanley Ramirez.

2. Mark Prior (CHC) – Prior burst onto the scene in 2002 with 147 strikeouts in only 116 innings pitched, and went even further in 2003 with an 18-6 record and 243 strikeouts in 211 innings pitched to help lead the Cubs to the NLCS. Sadly, the pitcher who supposedly had “the perfect mechanics” apparently still could get injured. Baseball Reference kind of puts the perfect line to it unfortunately, as it says that his last game was on August 10, 2006. He is still trying to comeback, but at this point it remains to be seen if he will ever be able to get on a team again.

3. Hank Blalock (TEX) – Blalock was an All-Star in his second and third seasons with the Rangers, and hit 25 or more homeruns in 3 straight seasons during that time. Unfortunately for him, injuries also derailed his career to some extent, as he has missed time in each of the last 4 seasons. He did rebound nicely in 2009 with 25 homeruns in only 123 games, but hit just .234 in that time. He was recently released by the Rays, and is still looking for a job.

4. Sean Burroughs (SD) – Burroughs was best known for playing in the Little League World Series coming into his Major League career, and unfortunately that accomplishment could still be his crowning baseball achievement. He did hit for a nice average a couple of times, but never really developed the power that it was thought he would. He was out of baseball by 2007.

5. Carlos Pena (OAK) – Pena was traded during the 2002 season by the Athletics after getting off to a slow start. He was with Detroit for a couple of seasons, who (along with the Boston Red Sox) both chose to release Pena at one point or another. These moves have been Tampa’s gain, as he went to Tampa and immediately became an MVP candidate (2 top 10 finishes in a row), and has hit 30 homeruns or more in each of the 3 full seasons there.

It is interesting to me to see how some of them were such colossal misses. With prospects, it’s bound to happen, and there are some pretty stunning examples of players who just never lived up to the hype:

  • 9 – Drew Henson (NYY)
  • 14 – Ryan Anderson (SEA)
  • 16 – Nick Neugebauer (MIL)
  • 25 – Ty Howington (CIN)
  • 32 – Corwin Malone (CHW)

I have to be honest with you, I’ve never heard of either Howington or Malone. Looking at their profiles on Baseball Reference can help to explain that a bit – they never played a day in the Major Leagues.

Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 3


Part 3 of the 2003 BA Almanac Series takes a look at the Top 20 Prospect Lists created by BA for each of the minor leagues.

Players on More than One List

Brandon Phillips – Eastern League (AA) and International League (AAA)
Aaron Heilman – Eastern League (AA) and International League (AAA)
Mark Teixeira – Texas League (AA) and Florida State League (High-A)
Jose Reyes – Eastern League (AA) and Florida State League (High-A)
Hanley Ramirez – NY Penn League (SS-A) and Gulf Coast League (Rookie)

#1 Overall in Each League

International League – Carl Crawford (TAM)
Pacific Coast League – Jesse Foppert (SF)
Eastern League – Jose Reyes (NYM)
Southern League – Jake Peavy (SD)
Texas League – Mark Teixeira (TEX)
California League – Rocco Baldelli (TAM)
Carolina League – Sean Burnett (PIT)
Florida State League – Mark Teixeira (TEX)
Midwest League – Joe Mauer (MIN)
Sally League – Gavin Floyd (CHW)
NY-Penn League – Hanley Ramirez (BOS)
Northwest League – Andy Sisco (CHC)
Appalachian League – Jeff Francoeur (ATL)
Pioneer League – James Loney (LAD)
Arizona Rookie League – Felix Pie (CHC)
Gulf Coast Rookie League – Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

My Thoughts from the Lists

When you look at the two AAA lists, I find it interesting to see how their careers have gone:

  • All-Stars: 12 out of 40
  • Solid Major League Regulars: 14 out of 40
  • Cup of Coffees: 14 out of 40
  • Never Made It: 0 out of 40

I believe that Major League teams view players who make it to AAA as at least a reasonable chance to play in the Majors, so this doesn’t really surprise me that none of BA’s top 40 failed to play in the Majors for at least 1 game.

Of course, there are definitely some players who had less than stellar careers that come from this list, including:

Overall though, this class of 40 prospects is pretty solid, with perennial All Stars Carl Crawford and Chase Utley probably considered to be the best of the group.

Some other notes:

  • The Eastern League had 9 future MLB All-Stars out of their top 10 in 2002. The lone player who has not made an All-Star team: Aaron Heilman
  • The Pioneer League (Adv. Rookie) had a surprising amount of MLB regulars with 11 of their 20 listed playing big roles with teams now, including Prince Fielder, James Loney, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • The Northwest League (Short-Season A) only had 2 players with a measurable impact this season: Ricky Nolasco and Fred Lewis.
  • The California League had 13 players who have had a solid impact in the Majors, including Josh Hamilton, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, and Bobby Jenks.

Overall, it’s really interesting to me to see what hindsight can tell us now that it has been nearly 8 years since this was published. Looking at the performance that the players on the list provided, it is pretty clear to me that the prospect lists were very accurate at the time, and clearly reflected a lot of research on the whole by the staff over at BA. But them, just like the rest of us, are pretty much guessing sometimes when it comes to prospects and how they will turn out once they get to the Majors, if they get there at all.

All Star Roster Review


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

Correct selections:

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

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

Incorrect:

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

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

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

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

AL Pitching Staff

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

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

NL Backup Infielders:

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

NL Backup Outfielders:

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

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

NL Pitching Staff:

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

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

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

My Final All-Star Predictions


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

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

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

American League:

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

Bench:

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

Pitching Staff:

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

National League

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

Bench:

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

Pitching Staff:

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

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

Trade Retrospective: Bartolo Colon


The next trade up on the retrospective list is the acquisition of Bartolo Colon by the Montreal Expos in exchange for 1B Lee Stevens, P Cliff Lee, OF Grady Sizemore, and SS Brandon Phillips. The trade was completed on June 27, 2002.

The Background

The Indians had started the 2002 season hot, winning 11 of their first 12. However, by midseason they had faltered, and it had become quite clear that they were not going to compete that season. Their most coveted trading piece had become starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

The Expos had spent the majority of the offseason prior to the 2002 season trying to keep from being contracted by MLB, but had managed to stay in the race much to everyone’s surprise for a large portion of the 1st half of the season. It was an extreme surprise to say the least when the Expos went out and acquired Colon from the Indians.

The Moving Pieces

Bartolo Colon came to the Expos, and his main goal was to help guide the Expos into the playoffs.

Lee Stevens was slotted in to help out at 1B and in the OF, but was not particularly expected to be a part of the future of the Indians. He was included more to help offset some of the salaries.

Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore were prospects at the time, and the Indians were hopeful that all 3 would provide value at the Major League level when they were ready to compete again.

What Happened Next

Colon pitched extremely well. In 17 starts, he went 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 39 walks in 117 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he was not able to carry the Expos to the playoffs, as they finished 83-79, good for 2nd place in the division, but unfortunately 12 games out of a playoff spot.

The Indians sent all 3 prospects to the minors, and had September call-ups for Lee and Phillips.  They finished out the 2002 season with a 74-88 record, which was surprisingly able to put them in 3rd place in the division.

The Net Moves

Montreal – First Level

  • Colon was moved in January of 2003 in order to help cut salaries for the Expos. He was traded to the White Sox for pitchers Rocky Biddle and Orlando Hernandez, 1B Jeff Liefer, and cash.

Montreal/Washington – Second Level

  • Biddle spent the 2003-2004 seasons with the Expos, posting a 9-16 record with a 5.83 ERA in 120 appearances. At the end of the 2004 season, Biddle was released by the team.
  • Orlando Hernandez spent the entire 2003 season rehabbing in the minors for the Expos, and was a free agent at the end of the 2003 season.
  • Liefer finished the 2003 season with a .193/.217/.330 batting line with 3 HR and 18 RBI in 35 games. The 26 strikeouts to 3 walks were not particularly helpful to him either. He was waived at the end of the 2003 season.

Cleveland – First Level

  • Lee Stevens finished off the 2002 season, appearing in 53 games and hitting 5 HR and 26 RBI for the Indians. He didn’t play in the Majors after the end of that season.
  • Brandon Phillips spent portions of the 2002-2005 seasons with the Indians Major League team. In 135 total games, he hit .206/.246/.310 with 6 home runs and 38 RBI. He was traded 4/7/06 to the Reds for minor league P Jeff Stevens.
  • Cliff Lee evolved into a top-tier pitcher. With the team from 2002-2009, he posted an 83-48 record with a 4.01 ERA in 1117 innings pitched. He also won the 2008 Cy Young award with a 22-3 record and a 2.54 ERA. At the trade deadline in 2009, he was traded to the Phillies for P Carlos Carrasco, P Jason Knapp, IF Jason Donald, and C Lou Marson.
  • Grady Sizemore spent the 2002-2003 seasons in the minor leagues, and has been the starting center fielder since 2004. In that time, he has hit .275/.366/.484 with 129 HR, 418 RBI, and 131 SB. He also won 2 Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger in that time.

Cleveland – Second Level

  • Jeff Stevens spent the 2006-2008 seasons in the minors for the Indians, and was traded during the offseason after 2008 to the Cubs as a part of the trade which brought the Indians IF Mark DeRosa.
  • Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp, and Lou Marson are all still with the team, with Marson being the only one who has already become a regular starter for the Major League team. Carrasco and Knapp are both considered to be high-end pitching prospects.

Cleveland – Third Level

  • Mark DeRosa spent half of the 2009 season with the Indians, posting a .270/.342/.457 line with 13 HR and 50 RBI in 71 games. He was traded on 6/22/09 to the Cardinals for pitchers Chris Perez and Jess Todd.

Cleveland – Fourth Level

  • Chris Perez has been slotted in as the closer while Kerry Wood has been on the disabled list, and Jess Todd is currently working in the minor leagues for the Indians.

Overall Reactions

This trade looked like a steal for the Expos at the time, as Colon was a widely sought after starter and had been pitching extremely well. As time has progressed, the Expos/Nationals clearly would have been better served if they had not made this trade. Lee and Sizemore both have been All-Stars for the Indians, and Phillips has been an All-Star for the Reds. The Indians essentially traded 1.5 seasons of Bartolo Colon to the Expos for Carrasco, Donald, Knapp, Marson, Perez, and Todd, along with 6 seasons of Cliff Lee and 6 seasons of Grady Sizemore. The Expos then got 1/2 a season of Colon for essentially nothing back in return from the White Sox. The Indians CLEARLY won this trade.

Team Preview – Cincinnati Reds


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Ramon Hernandez SP 1 Aaron Harang
1B Joey Votto SP 2 Bronson Arroyo
2B Brandon Phillips SP 3 Johnny Cueto
3B Scott Rolen SP 4 Homer Bailey
SS Orlando Cabrera SP 5 Matt Maloney
LF Chris Dickerson Bullpen
CF Drew Stubbs CL Francisco Cordero
RF Jay Bruce RP Nick Masset
Bench RP Arthur Rhodes
IF Aaron Miles RP Jared Burton
OF Jonny Gomes RP Micah Owings

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Aroldis Chapman Free Agency CF Willy Taveras Trade (OAK)
SS Orlando Cabrera Free Agency IF Adam Rosales Trade (OAK)

Top Prospects: Aroldis Chapman (P), Yonder Alonso (1B), Todd Frazier (IF), Mike Leake (P)

2009 Review

The Reds finished up 2009 with a 78-84 record, and although the season didn’t end with a winning record, they still had some definite bright spots. 1B Joey Votto posted a .322 batting average with 25 HR and 84 RBI, despite missing almost 30 games due to depression. 2B Brandon Phillips quietly posted another 20-20 season. The rotation was led by Bronson Arroyo (15-13, 3.84 ERA), although there was a lot of inconsistency behind him. Closer Francisco Cordero (39 sv, 2.16 ERA) also had a solid season.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Reds look much improved (even though they didn’t really make too many moves), and I think have the potential to compete in the NL Central in 2010. Their rotation looks good, and I think it could keep them in the race longer if they can get a little bit lucky as well. For this to happen, they need Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey to really start to live up to their potential. I liked the signing of Orlando Cabrera to bring some veteran presence to a team that is still very young. The biggest signing in the offseason has to be Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has looked lights out so far in Spring Training,  although it was thought at the time of the signing that he wouldn’t start the season higher than AA. But with his performance, he may force his way into the rotation at the start of the season. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips should continue to lead the offense, and I think that OF Jay Bruce could really start to show more of the promise he had coming into the league.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

I think Joey Votto is primed for a big season, and think he could easily post a top-10 season at 1B. 2B Brandon Phillips is one of the quietest top fantasy performers in all of baseball, usually in the top 5 of the position. Nearly all of the starting pitchers in the rotation are ownable for deeper leagues, but in standard leagues I would say that they are all right around replacement level. If I had to pick one for upside, it would be Bailey. Aroldis Chapman probably has the most upside of anyone on the team, and is definitely worth monitoring as Spring Training continues.

Prediction for 2010

The Reds are steadily improving, and will hopefully take another step forward this season. I don’t think that they are quite ready though to take on the Cubs and Cardinals. But it won’t be long.

80-82, 4th in the NL Central

Fantasy Preview – Second Basemen


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

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

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

My top 15 Second Basemen for 2010

1. Chase Utley – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
112 31 93 23 .282
Utley is coming off another excellent season, contributing in all 5 categories. I can see his batting average improving slightly this season, probably to the .290 range he has been near for his career. In addition, he will most likely approach 100 RBI again. The stolen base total was a career high last year, so I could see some slight regression there, but you’re still looking at a hitter who is going to provide 30 homers, 100 rbi, 100 runs scored, 15-20 stolen bases, and a batting average approaching .300. All at a position that doesn’t have very many players who contribute in all those categories.

2. Ian Kinsler – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
101 31 86 31 .253
Kinsler is actually not very far behind Utley in my book. A 30-30 season last year, he set career highs in both categories. His batting average was unusually low, dragged down in part due to a low batting average on balls in play (.245). He should see some improvement to that number, as he regresses back toward the mean. Look for Kinsler to hit 25-30 HR, drive in 90+ runs, and steal 25+ bases again. The potential for Utley lite.

3. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at SS and OF
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
Zobrist was a player last year who won a lot of leagues for his owners. He was a huge surprise, posting career highs in nearly every category, all while splitting time between 2B, SS, and RF. I have to imagine that he’s going to see at least some regression, simply due to the league adjusting to him slightly. However, his BABIP last season (.330) is not out of the range of repeatable, and the fact that he remains eligible at all 3 positions make him a huge asset to any team. I wouldn’t draft him earlier than Utley or Kinsler, but that flexibility really moves him in front of other 2B in my opinion.

4. Brandon Phillips – CIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
78 20 98 25 .276
Phillips is another player who, year in and year out, performs well. While he seems less and less likely to post another 30-30 season, he has gone 20-20 in each of the last two seasons. Having Orlando Cabrera to potentially hit in front of him in the lineup should also help some of his other totals, specifically RBI. Very quietly, I think he’ll post another 20-20 season, and potentially break through with 100+ RBI as well. He doesn’t have the name recognition of Utley or Kinsler, but he’s still a very good 2B, especially for fantasy purposes.

5. Brian Roberts – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
110 16 79 30 .283
Roberts has always been known for providing stolen bases and runs to fantasy owners, along with a few homeruns and some rbi. Interestingly, Roberts posted his 3rd season with 50+ doubles last year. I think that this could potentially help his homerun total as well, but he’s probably not going to get to 20 or more in a season. But a 15 homer, 30 stolen base, 100+ run hitter who will probably drive in at least 55-60 runs and post a .280 batting average? That’s definitely in the realm of possibility again for Roberts. And at 2B, you’re not likely to find a whole lot of players that will do that either.

6. Dan Uggla – FLA
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 31 90 2 .243
Uggla is an excellent power hitter. He’s going to drive in a lot of runs as a result of this. However, he doesn’t provide any value in terms of speed, and is almost always going to be a drag on your batting average. If you can get him paired with a high-speed, high-average type player at a different position, you’ll end up with some excellent value. It seems to me like you’re going to have to draft him sooner than his actual value would be. But if you need power, he’s your guy. Watch, as there remains a possibility that he gets traded still this season.

7. Aaron Hill – TOR
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 36 108 6 .286
I’m not really sure what to make of Aaron Hill. 36 homeruns is nothing to ignore, but I am not sure he is able to repeat that. Of his 36 homers last season, he pulled 31 to left field, and 4 to center. He’s a dead-pull hitter at this point, and I’m not sure that the league doesn’t catch up and adjust how they pitch him as a result. I ranked him here because I think he’s going to be closer to 20 homers than 30 this upcoming season. He’s still likely to provide a .280 batting average, score near 100 runs and drive in near 100 as well, which still makes him a valueable 2B. I just wouldn’t draft him expecting him to provide 35+ again.

8. Dustin Pedroia – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
115 15 72 20 .296
Pedroia is another second baseman who’s going to provide you with excellent numbers in a couple of categories (runs, stolen bases), and passable numbers in the rest. He seems likely to have another season with around 15 homers and 15-20 stolen bases, with a huge amount of runs scored, and a solid batting average as well. He’s another player who I think could be drafted higher than his value predicates, partially because of the fact that he is on the Red Sox. That said, he’s a solid fantasy second baseman, and won’t really kill you in any of the 5 categories.

9. Gordon Beckham – CHW
Also qualifies at 3B, Will qualify at 2B after 5 starts
R HR RBI SB AVG
58 14 63 7 .270
Beckham won’t qualify at 2B to start the season, but the White Sox have made it clear that they want him to be their 2B going forward. As a result, I ranked him here, as he will definitely provide more value as a 2B once he does qualify. Beckham only played in 103 games last season, not being called up until June. In a full season, I can see him posting a 20 homer season with double digit stolen bases as well. If you can find someone to play there for that first week of the season, you should be pretty happy with the production Beckham will give you the rest of the time.

10. Robinson Cano – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 25 85 5 .320
Cano posted career highs in homers and runs last season, and I think that was due in part to the new Yankee stadium. I think Cano can probably repeat the run total, but will probably drop back to around 20 homers. He has provided a great batting average in most seasons, and is probably a reasonable expectation to hit around .300 again this season. A good solid value 2B.

11. Jose Lopez – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
69 25 96 3 .272
The first thing that came to my mind when I looked at Jose Lopez was that I generally am not a fan of him as a fantasy player. And after looking back on the stats, I’m not entirely sure why that is. He posted a career high in homers last season (25), partially due to an increase in his fly-ball % (44% vs. career avg of 37%). However, he drives in a lot of runs, scores a solid amount of runs, and will usually hit for a decent average. There’s not a lot of upside to be had with Lopez, but he’s still a viable 2B option in nearly all leagues.

12. Asdrubal Cabrera – CLE
Also qualifies at SS
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 6 68 17 .308
Cabrera seems primed to improve on last season, and looks like a really good sleeper. He’s not likely to hit more than about 7 or 8 homeruns in a season, but he’s likely to give an excellent batting average and approach 20 stolen bases also. Throw in the additional positional eligibility, and it moves him just slightly ahead of the next player on the list.

13. Ian Stewart – COL
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 25 70 7 .228
Stewart is the beneficiary of the non-tendering of Garrett Atkins, as he should come into camp as the everyday 3B. However, the Rockies appear to have hedged their bet a little, bringing Melvin Mora in on a 1-year contract as well. Stewart is a good source of power, and his batting average should improve back towards the .260-.270 range. He’s not likely to provide more than the 7 steals he did last season, but any are a bonus really. Watch during spring training to see how his role plays out, as he may end up playing 2B instead, or even potentially on the bench at times as well.

14. Howie Kendrick – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
61 10 61 11 .291
Kendrick was sent down for part of the 2009 season, and came back and performed much better. With a full season of playing time, he could conceivably go for 15 homers and 15 stolen bases, while posting a high batting average as well. I ranked him this low due to the fact that I still have some concern about the fact that he needed time down in the minors to correct errors in his swing last year, and that it could conceivably happen again. He’s a definite upside pick though, as he could end up in the top 10 at 2B if he performs well.

15. Mark Ellis – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
52 10 61 10 .263
Ellis is another solid 2B that isn’t going to hurt you too much in any of the 5 categories. He’ll provide you with double-digit homers, steals, and usually between 50-60 runs and rbi along with a .260 average. Nothing particularly special, but nothing that’s going to kill you at the position either. Unfortunately, his lineup is not known for being particularly good at scoring runs, so those numbers are unlikely to improve as a result of that.


After my top 15, there’s not a whole lot out there. Probably the most interesting players left are Casey McGehee (MIL) and Rickie Weeks (MIL). However, McGehee is no lock for playing time at either 2B or 3B, and Weeks I simply do not trust to stay healthy. While some of the injuries have been very unusual, they seem to occur with unusual regularity to him.

Tomorrow I will be starting my series of team previews, with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The next fantasy preview will be on Saturday with my preview of the 3B position.