Tag Archives: Carlos Zambrano

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

Who are the Faces of the Franchise? NL Central Edition


Only two divisions left to look at for the Faces of the Franchise, but there’s some definite notable ones here .

  • Cubs – At the moment, the player who is most known for being a Cub has to be Carlos Zambrano. Whether or not that is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but the team seems like it is more associated with him than some of the more famous position players like Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Continue reading

The Month in Review – June 2010


As we rapidly approach the All Star break, I can honestly say that once again we’ve had quite a bit going on in the world of baseball to this point. Rookies making their debut all over the place, no-hitters everywhere (and near no-hitters), retirements, and of course the start of the trade deadline rumor mill.

All-Star Teams

Every month prior to the All-Star break, I will create my All-Star teams for each league. 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 received the final voting updates for the All-Star game, I will start the lineups with that, and build the team around that. All stats are through Tuesday’s games.

American League


American League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Joe Mauer MIN .302 .378 41 3 34 1
1B Justin Morneau MIN .347 .445 47 15 50 0
2B Robinson Cano NYY .358 .407 56 15 53 2
3B Evan Longoria TAM .296 .373 46 12 53 12
SS Derek Jeter NYY .286 .346 50 8 39 8
OF Ichiro Suzuki SEA .335 .391 31 3 24 21
OF Carl Crawford TAM .315 .379 57 7 38 27
OF Josh Hamilton TEX .343 .386 52 18 58 6
DH Vladimir Guerrero TEX .330 .375 49 16 63 4
American League Reserves
Pos
Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Mike Napoli LAA .262 .346 29 13 40 0
1B Paul Konerko CHW .295 .389 40 12 52 1
1B Miguel Cabrera DET .338 .414 57 20 67 2
1B Kevin Youkilis BOS .301 .421 62 15 50 2
2B Ty Wigginton BAL .262 .346 29 13 40 0
3B Adrian Beltre BOS .349 .387 40 12 52 1
SS Elvis Andrus TEX .296 .378 52 0 24 22
OF Alexis Rios CHW .307 .365 49 13 40 21
OF Vernon Wells TOR .288 .340 44 19 47 4
OF Shin-Soo Choo CLE .285 .387 46 12 42 12
OF Brett Gardner NYY .321 .403 49 3 23 24
DH Jose Guillen KC .279 .342 41 13 47 1
American League Pitching Staff
Role Name
Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Cliff Lee SEA 7 3 0 95.2 2.45 0.92 78
SP Jered Weaver LAA 7 3 0 101.2 3.01 1.09 118
SP David Price TAM 11 3 0 99.2 2.44 1.21 84
SP Jon Lester BOS 9 3 0 107 2.86 1.11 111
SP Colby Lewis TEX 7 5 0 98.2 3.28 1.07 94
SP Andy Pettitte NYY 9 2 0 99.1 2.72 1.16 74
SP C.C. Sabathia NYY 9 3 0 108.1 3.49 1.15 89
SP Shaun Marcum TOR 7 3 0 103.1 3.14 1.13 81
RP Jose Valverde DET 1 1 18 34 0.53 0.68 32
RP Rafael Soriano TAM 2 0 18 27.2 1.63 0.76 26
RP Neftali Feliz TEX 1 1 20 33.1 2.70 0.96 37
RP Mariano Rivera NYY 2 1 17 29.1 0.92 0.61 29
RP Andrew Bailey OAK 0 0 15 32 1.69 0.97 23

The National League

National League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Yadier Molina STL .235 .313 14 3 30 6
1B Albert Pujols STL .312 .424 44 18 57 7
2B Chase Utley PHI .277 .383 49 11 37 5
3B Placido Polanco PHI .318 .349 39 5 27 3
SS Hanley Ramirez FLA .293 .378 43 12 50 14
OF Ryan Braun MIL .299 .358 48 11 49 11
OF Andrew McCutchen* PIT .298 .378 48 7 24 19
OF Andre Ethier LAD .312 .370 37 12 47 1
DH Joey Votto CIN .313 .415 49 17 54 7
* – Injury replacement for Jason Heyward
National League Reserves
Pos Name
Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Miguel Olivo COL .308 .368 34 11 38 4
1B Adrian Gonzalez SD .302 .395 42 16 51 0
1B Troy Glaus ATL .264 .368 41 14 56 0
1B Adam Dunn WAS .271 .361 43 17 47 0
2B Martin Prado ATL .334 .376 55 7 33 3
3B David Wright NYM .310 .392 43 14 61 13
3B Scott Rolen CIN .301 .368 41 17 53 0
SS Juan Uribe SF .270 .340 37 12 45 1
OF Justin Upton ARI .268 .351 47 14 39 11
OF Colby Rasmus STL .275 .370 46 16 40 8
OF Corey Hart MIL .278 .345 39 18 60 4
OF Carlos Gonzalez* COL .302 .330 47 12 46 11
*roster replacement for Jason Heyward
National League Pitching Staff
Role Name Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez COL 14 1 0 113 1.83 1.05 102
SP Josh Johnson FLA 8 3 0 108 1.83 0.96 107
SP Roy Halladay PHI 9 6 0 108 2.29 1.07 102
SP Tim Lincecum SF 8 3 0 103.2 3.12 1.25 117
SP Mike Pelfrey NYM 10 2 1 99.2 2.72 1.07 70
SP Tim Hudson ATL 8 3 0 106.1 2.37 1.17 51
SP Jaime Garcia STL 7 4 0 87.1 2.27 1.26 70
SP Adam Wainwright STL 11 5 0 119.1 2.34 1.03 114
RP Matt Lindstrom HOU 2 1 18 31.1 3.16 1.6 7.18
RP Matt Capps WAS 0 3 22 33.2 3.48 1.46 30
RP Heath Bell SD 3 0 21 32.2 1.93 1.41 43
RP Billy Wagner ATL 5 0 15 30.1 1.19 0.96 46
RP Carlos Marmol CHC 2 1 14 35.2 2.27 1.21 66

I took Jason Heyward out of the starting lineup since he has already stated that if he is selected, he won’t play due to his thumb injury. I picked McCutchen to replace him in the lineup as both Braun and Ethier are corner outfielders, and McCutchen plays CF. Other players who are likely to be replaced, but have not been as of yet: Chase Utley (who I would replace with Casey McGehee of the Brewers), and Placido Polanco (who I would replace with Ryan Zimmerman). Looking at the All-Star starters, the only one who really hasn’t done a whole lot offensively to deserve it at this point, to me anyway, is Yadier Molina. But it’s hard to argue with a catcher who has a pitching staff with 2 All-Star starting pitchers and a 3rd who is also deserving (Chris Carpenter).

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP –  Miguel Cabrera (DET)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – Cliff Lee (SEA)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Brennan Boesch (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

May 31-June 6
June 7-June 13
June 14-June 20
June 21-June 27

June was an extremely busy month for stories, with so many that I had honestly forgotten a few of them before I reviewed my week-in-review posts.

  • On June 2nd, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement abruptly, about an hour before that evening’s game. I wrote up my thoughts about him here, and also wrote up my thoughts on him as a fantasy player over at FakeTeams.
  • Unfortunately, the retirement of Griffey was overshadowed by the near-perfect game that was thrown on the same night by Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga. By now, it seems to have blown over, as it is not really mentioned nearly as much as it was when it happened. I wrote up my thoughts on it at the time, and I think that they are still pretty apt a month later.
  • It was a bit of an up-and-down month for Carlos Zambrano, as he was brought back into the rotation early on in the month, only to have blown his top in the dugout of his last start on the 25th. He is currently on the restricted list and is seeking treatment in New York. What that treatment is exactly for is anyone’s guess, but I would have to imagine it has something to do with his temper. Hopefully he’ll be able to return after the All-Star break to the form that had made him an All-Star previously.
  • Yet another no-hitter was thrown in the month of June, with Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks throwing one on June 25th. The story with the no-hitter seemed to be 2 fold: One, that manager A.J. Hinch had left Jackson in the game to throw a total of 149 pitches to get through the start, and two, that Jackson had allowed 10 different baserunners without allowing a hit. Either way, it was probably one of the more improbable no-hitters that we have seen in awhile.
  • June clearly was the month of rookie debuts. Some of the rookies making their season (or career) debuts in June: Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln, and Jose Tabata of the Pirates, Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox, Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, Andrew Oliver of the Tigers, and Felix Doubront of the Red Sox. But there were 3 names that were covered more than any other, and with good reason: Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Carlos Santana of the Indians, and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals. Stanton has been a bit of a mixed bag to this point, hitting .217/.276/.348 with 2 homeruns and 3 stolen bases so far. In any other season, Santana would be the rookie debut most discussed, as he has caught fire and is hitting everything that moves in the American League. To date, Santana is hitting .333/.456/.704 with 8 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 14 runs batted in through 17 games.
  • Clearly though, the story on everyone’s mind all month long has been the debut and subsequent starts of Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg electrified Nationals fans, and the league as a whole after striking out 14 in 7 innings in his debut against the Pirates on June 8th. He’s done nothing but pitch well ever since, and despite a 2-2 record, he now has a 2.27 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts to 7 walks in only 31 2/2 innings pitched. That’s a K/9 rate of 13.6, the highest of any starter so far this season. Having watched the highlights of all his starts, and parts of others as they happened, the kid is legit. With the injury of Jason Heyward toward the end of the month, the NL Rookie of the Year race is wide open and I think Strasburg could very well take it.
  • The hot stove league has heated up slowly so far, with minor trades of Dontrelle Willis and Conor Jackson being the only players of note. But with Cliff Lee likely to be traded, and rumblings of Roy Oswalt being available, it is only a matter of time before there are many more deals to discuss. I plan to do reviews like I did during the offseason of some of the major ones when they happen.
  • The MLB draft was also on June 8th, and the only real surprise of the first round was the fact that Nationals’ top pick Bryce Harper was announced as an outfielder, not a catcher. Clearly, this will make his path to the Majors that much faster, as his bat could be pretty close to Major league ready as it stands now.

What’s Coming in July

I am actually pretty well planned out for the month of July for posts. I went through teams #30 to #15 in my Original Draft Series, where I look at each organization and build a roster based on each player’s original professional franchise. In July, I will continue on with the series, posting about teams #14 through 11 later on in the month. In addition, I will be reviewing the rosters of the All-Star teams after they are announced on Sunday, and critiquing my own choices versus the managers. Also, I will look back on how the prospects I reviewed in the offseason have progressed so far, and how they are stacking up to my own predictions (wild as they may have been).

I will also be starting up the book reviews I had previously mentioned that I had hoped to do. The first book on the list is Fantasyland by Sam Walker. I also picked up a pair of older copies of Baseball America’s Almanac (the 2003 and 2008 editions) at a used book sale last week, and have been looking through some of the information for some post ideas, and found some pretty good ones so far.

Thanks again to all the readers, and if you’re enjoying the writing, please feel free to either write a comment on the posts, and take a few seconds to become a fan of Jason’s Baseball Blog on Facebook. You can do that here.

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.

Week in Review – June 21 to June 27


If the Playoffs Started Today

Boston Red Sox (46-31) vs. Texas Rangers (45-29)
Minnesota Twins (41-34) vs. New York Yankees (46-28)

New York Mets (43-32) vs. San Diego Padres (45-30)
Cincinnati Reds (42-34) vs. Atlanta Braves (44-32)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Robinson Cano (NYY) – .359
Runs – Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 61
Home Runs – Miguel Cabrera (DET), Paul Konerko (CHW), Jose Bautista (TOR) – 20
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 64
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) – 29

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 13
Saves – Matt Capps (WAS) – 22
ERA – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 1.60
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) – 118
WHIP – Cliff Lee (SEA) – 0.91

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Felipe Paulino

Return from the Disabled List: Aramis Ramirez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jimmy Rollins, Nelson Cruz,

To the Minors: Sam LeCure, Dioner Navarro, Rick Porcello,

Called Up: Matt LaPorta, Madison Bumgarner, Brad Bergesen, Matt Joyce, Andrew Oliver,

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • Erik Bedard made two different rehab starts this week, and is tentatively slotted in to make his return to the Majors on July 6th.
  • Tommy Hanson had a pair of forgettable starts this week, as he allowed a total of 14 earned runs over 6 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez had what was probably his worst start of the season, allowing 6 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Wednesday. The regression was due at some point, and this could be it.
  • Injuries abound over the week, especially if your jersey says Red Sox on the front. The day after hitting 3 homers in a game, Dustin Pedroia fouled a pitch off the inside of his foot, breaking it. Return timetable: Uncertain, but placed on the disabled list. On Saturday, starting pitcher Clay Buchholz hyperextended his knee running the bases in the second inning. Return timetable: Unknown. And on Sunday, catcher Victor Martinez took a foul ball off of his left thumb during the game, breaking the thumb. Return timetable: Too soon to know yet. What a terrible weekend it was for the Red Sox in San Francisco, despite winning.
  • Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks threw the 4th no hitter of the season on Friday, throwing a season-high 149 pitches and walking 8 to do it. It’s been really interesting to see so many no-hitters, and reminds me a lot of the 1991 season, when there were 7 of them during the season.
  • Manager A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks was given a lot of grief for allowing his pitcher to throw that many pitches in pursuit of a no-hitter, but I’m inclined to believe that the group of the manager, the pitcher, and the pitching coach are going to know what their player can and cannot handle.
  • In a rather surprising move, the Marlins fired manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday morning. The Marlins were in 4th place at the time, and ownership had made it pretty clear that they expected the team to be in the playoff hunt and make the playoffs at the end of the season. Whether or not that was really realistic remains to be seen, but the Marlins will continue to search for his replacement.
  • I don’t think we can really discuss the week that was without discussing Big Z and his big blowup during his start on Friday afternoon. Whether or not he was trying to fire up the team remains to be seen, but the Cubs did not appreciate the behavior, pulled him from the start after 1 inning, and suspended him indefinitely. It’s really been a lost season both for the Cubs and Zambrano himself, and Big Z will be sent to the bullpen when his suspension is over.
  • Saturday brought the season debut of Giants’ pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner. He pitched effectively in the loss, going 7 innings and not having 100 pitches in that time. If they keep him up the rest of the season, they will have added an excellent arm to an already top-tier pitching rotation.
  • Andy Oliver was called up on Friday to take the rotation spot of the recently demoted Rick Porcello, making his major league debut. His debut was nothing particularly amazing, but Oliver is probably best known for his legal fight regarding his eligibility to pitch in college.
  • Josh Hamilton has been hitting out of his mind for over 3 weeks now, as he is in the middle of a 21-game hitting streak. He has hit nearly .500 with a whole lot of power since the streak started.
  • Jose Guillen is also in the midst of a 21 game hitting streak, but it appears that it has not been nearly as prolific as the one by Hamilton at this point.
  • Stephen Strasburg continues to dominate major league hitters, and took his first loss of the season in a 1-0 game against the Royals this week. He now holds the record for most strikeouts in his first 4 starts of the career with 41 in that time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday: The Original Draft Series – Team #18 and #17
Wednesday: The Original Draft Series – Team #16 and #15
Thursday: The Month of June in Review
Friday:  Trade Retrospective – Rafael Palmeiro to the Rangers

The Week in Review: May 31-June 6


If the Playoffs Started Today

Texas Rangers (30-26) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (37-20)
New York Yankees (35-22) vs. Minnesota Twins (33-24)

Los Angeles Dodgers (33-24) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (33-24)
Atlanta Braves (33-24) vs. San Diego Padres (33-23)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Justin Morneau (MIN) – .370
Runs – Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 50
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) – 18
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 52
Stolen Bases – Rajai Davis (OAK) – 23

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 11
Saves – Matt Capps (WAS) – 18
ERA – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 0.93
Strikeouts – Tim Lincecum (SF) – 89
WHIP – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL – 0.93

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Doug Fister, Oliver Perez, Brett Anderson, Luis Castillo, Derek Holland, Jason Bartlett

Return from the Disabled List: Jon Niese, Kelly Shoppach Scott Hairston, Jorge Posada, Franklin Morales, Jim Edmonds,

To the Minors: Mat Gamel

Up to the Show: Danny Valencia

Trades

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • On Monday, Roy Oswalt was ejected from his start for arguing with the umpire. At least that’s what the reason was anyway. He was yelling at something else (or someone else) on the field, not any of the umpires, and umpire Bill Hohn apparently did not appreciate it. Hohn is looking at some disciplinary action, as it really appeared from the footage that Oswalt really didn’t do anything or say anything that should have earned him that ejection.
  • After being designated for assignment, the Tigers were able to trade struggling starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks for relief pitcher Billy Buckner. It’s kind of sad that his tenure in Detroit ended like this, but Willis has simply not been getting the job done in any shape or form for them. The Tigers also took on quite a bit of Willis’ salary in order to get the trade done.
  • Carlos Zambrano, it was announced, would return to the rotation this week, and ended up making that start on Friday. He went 4 1/3 innings, taking the loss after giving up 3 earned runs. Clearly, this is where he should be pitching, as his contract and skill level both dictate that he is a starting pitcher. Hopefully he will be better in his next start.
  • On Thursday, about 3 hours before their game, Mariners’ outfielder Ken Griffey Jr announced his retirement, effective immediately. I wrote up my thoughts about it here, but the retirement was essentially lost in the shuffle with other events…
  • Also on Thursday, Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga nearly threw a perfect game, if not for a missed call by umpire Jim Joyce. I wrote it up as well, and thankfully now by Sunday the story seems to have died off, and moved forward from it.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez made two starts this week, and his ERA actually went UP to 0.93, and ending his scoreless inning streak at 33 innings.
  • It was announced that Stephen Strasburg will make his major league debut on Tuesday, and it also appears that Marlins top prospect Michael Stanton will also make his major league debut on Tuesday as well.

Scheduled Posts for this Week

Friday will have last week’s trade retro of the Jermaine Dye trade. I am also going to be starting my Original Team series, where I will look at the roster of each team based upon the team that they started to play for initially as a professional in the US. There will be a post up later explaining the series.

The Week in Review: May 10th – May 18th


A little bit longer of a week for review this time around, as I’m a bit behind what with some travel and such.

If the Playoffs Started Today

Texas (22-18) vs. Tampa Bay (28-11)
New York A (25-14) vs. Minnesota (24-15)

San Francisco (22-16) vs. Philadelphia (24-14)
Cincinnati (23-16) vs. San Diego (23-16)

Current Statistical Leaders:

Batting Average: Andre Ethier – .392
On Base Percentage: Justin Morneau – .482
Slugging Percentage: Andre Ethier – .744
Homeruns: Paul Konerko – 13
RBI: Andre Ethier – 38
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre – 18
Runs: Matt Kemp – 34

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez and Tyler Clippard – 7
ERA: Ubaldo Jimenez – 1.12
Strikeouts: Tim Lincecum – 69
WHIP: Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum – 0.94
Saves: Matt Capps – 14

Roster Movement and Job Changes

Disabled List Movement:

Call Ups and Demotions:

Job Changes:

Top Stories and Weekly Links


The Week in Review – April 19 to April 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

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

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

Last Week’s Top Performers

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

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

Roster Movement and Job Changes

Disabled List:

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

Promotions and Demotions:

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

Top Stories and This Week’s Links

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

The Week in Review: April 4-April 11


Well, we are one week down in the Major League season, and already we’ve seen quite a bit of things happen of importance.

If the Playoffs Started Today (which clearly they don’t)

Minnesota (WC) at Toronto (E)
Oakland (W) at Detroit (C)

Arizona (WC) at Philadelphia (E)
St. Louis (C) at San Francisco (W)

Last Week’s Top Performers

Miguel Cabrera (DET) – .522/.621/.783, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R
Nelson Cruz (TEX) – .450/.520/1.150, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R
Paul Konerko (CHW) – .316/.440/.789, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R
Vernon Wells (TOR) – .350/.500/.950, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R
Rajai Davis (OAK) – .313/.333/.438, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7 R, 4 SB

Roy Halladay (PHI) – 2 W, 16 IP, 0.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 17 K, 2 BB
Mark Buehrle (CHW) – 2 W, 15 IP, 2.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 4 K, 3 BB
Tim Lincecum (SF) – 2 W, 14 IP, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 17 K, 1 BB
Jon Rauch (MIN) – 4/4 saves, 4 K, 4 IP

Roster Movement and Job Changes

  • Frank Francisco has already been removed as the closer for the Rangers, and replaced with Neftali Feliz.
  • Mike Gonzalez has been removed as the closer for the Orioles, but is likely to get his job back later this week. Jim Johnson appears to be the favorite to receive any save chances that may occur until then.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia was placed on the disabled list, and was replaced in the lineup by Taylor Teagarden.
  • Miguel Montero was also placed on the disabled list with a torn meniscus, and could be out for a large portion of the season. Chris Snyder was called on to replace him in the lineup.

Top Rookie Performances

  • Jason Heyward made his presence known on Opening Day, homering on the first swing of his career off of Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano. His line for the week: .292/.370/.708, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R
  • Mike Leake made his professional debut on Sunday, throwing 6 2/3 IP and allowing only 1 ER.

Overall, it was an interesting week of baseball, and clearly big things are coming from rookie Jason Heyward. I would be shocked if he doesn’t end up winning the Rookie of the Year award. Stephen Strasburg and Aroldis Chapman also both made their professional debuts on Sunday (Strasburg in AA, Chapman in AAA), and both pitched very well.

The one thing I am really looking forward to seeing today is the first game at the new Target Field. The place looks like it’s a really beautiful ball park, and it sounds like the weather is going to cooperate for the home opener.

Team Preview – Chicago Cubs


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

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

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

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

2009 Review

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

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

Team Outlook for 2010

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

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

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

Prediction for 2010

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

87-75, 1st in the NL Central