Tag Archives: Chris Carter

Fantasy Rankings in Review – First Basemen


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 1B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Ryan Howard
6. Joey Votto
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Kendry Morales
10. Adrian Gonzalez
11. Derrek Lee
12. Justin Morneau
13. Adam Dunn
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Carlos Pena

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Paul Konerko
5. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Aubrey Huff
8. Ryan Howard
9. Nick Swisher
10. Adam Dunn
11. David Ortiz
12. Martin Prado
13. Prince Fielder
14. Billy Butler
15. Adam LaRoche

I also mentioned Adam LaRoche, Paul Konerko, Billy Butler, Garrett Jones, Lance Berkman, Chris Davis, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, James Loney, Justin Smoak, and Chris Carter as players potentially having value this year.
From my preseason rankings, Kevin Youkilis (19), Derrek Lee (21), James Loney (24), and Justin Morneau (25) all finished in the top 25. Mark Reynolds, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Pena did not make the top 25 at the end of the season.
Free Agents: Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena
What We Saw

Buster Posey’s season was better than anyone even thought. He finished at #23 in the 1B rankings for Yahoo, which is clearly an elite offensive position. Wow.

I thought Joey Votto would do extremely well this season, but clearly this was above and beyond what I thought either. I think he’s going to start next season as a top 10 player overall.

Talk about a walk year improvement. Paul Konerko went nuts this year, and finished with 39 homers and 112 rbi. He’s a free agent, and while they want him back in Chicago, it remains to be seen where he will end up. But he’s clearly not as done as we all thought he was.

Aubrey Huff is another free agent who should get paid this offseason after an excellent performance in San Francisco. Part of his value was having 7 stolen bases this season, which seems unlikely to continue. I just can’t convince myself that he’s particularly likely to repeat the overall performance in 2011.

Injuries really had an effect on the 1B depth, with Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau, and Troy Glaus all missed time during the season. It didn’t help that players like Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena all struggled during the season.

Justin Morneau really concerns me for next season, due to the fact that he still has not been able to do any baseball activities since suffering that concussion in Toronto. He could potentially provide a very nice value for fantasy owners next year, but he won’t end up on any of my teams most likely.

Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be the topic of trade rumors throughout the offseason, and I think that if he gets traded to anywhere else practically, he’s going to provide even more offense than he did this season, which seems like it should be impossible.

Overall, some of these rankings were pretty easy (I’m pretty sure it takes no brains to rank Pujols at #1), but some of these players clearly underperformed (Fielder, Reynolds, Pena). I think that Youkilis would have finished above the #8 spot I had believed at the beginning of the season had he not gotten injured. Not a terrible job on these, but definitely some work to be done next season.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Ryan Howard
7. Prince Fielder
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Paul Konerko
10. Adam Dunn

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Season Previews in Review: American League West


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East and AL Central previously, and now it’s on to the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Predicted Record: 86-76            Actual Record: 80-82

I’m not entirely sure what happened with this team. The only event that I can pinpoint that stands out as a major turning point in the season was the loss of Kendry Morales for the season back in late May. Their pitching seemed suspect at the beginning of the season, and might have been worse had it not been for the midseason acquisition of Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks. The Angels continue to develop solid players though, with Peter Bourjos coming up after the All-Star break and should continue to develop next season. This team needs a bit of help in the offseason, but should do well and spend what is needed to do that.

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Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 3


Back in January and February, I reviewed 30 minor league prospects, and made some predictions. With the season over at the Minor League level and nearly over at the Major League level, I figured now was a great time to look back at how I did. I posted my thoughts on the first 20 prospects Tuesday and Wednesday, and will look at the final 10 today.

Tony Sanchez (PIT)

The Pirates were really looking cheap when they drafted Sanchez, but he has shown a fair amount of talent at this point. My prediction back in January: .320/.390/.490, 12 HR, 65 RBI (Split between High-A and AA). He ended up hitting .314/.416/.454 with 4 HR and 35 RBI in just 59 games due to injury. I think he’s going to end up a lot higher on prospect charts for 2011 and hopefully he’ll be able to stay healthy the whole season.

Chris Carter (OAK)

I really thought that Carter would come up sometime around mid-season, and he just didn’t hit well enough to unseat Daric Barton. He hit 31 homeruns and drove in 94, but the .258 batting average really profiles him to be a Mark Reynolds-type power hitter who will strike out quite a bit. I think that the Athletics will find somewhere for him to play next season at the Majors, simply because they have so few power hitters in their lineup.

Jaff Decker (SD)

Decker did not have the greatest season, and was definitely not within what I had predicted either: .305/.395/.495, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 8 stolen bases (High-A and AA). He spent the season only at High-A, missing part of the year due to injury. The batting line was a bit lower (.262/.374/.500), but the power is better than I thought (17 HR, 58 RBI). I think he will be a bit better next season since he should have recovered from the injury, but it concerns me that the batting average was so low in the California League.

Jenrry Mejia (NYM)

The Mets really messed with his development this season, having him work out of the bullpen to start the season before finally moving him back to the minors to work as a starting pitcher. I think that he’s going to be in the rotation come 2011 for the Mets, and that he will have some control issues (16 walks in 42 minor league innings, 20 walks in 39 major league innings).

Kyle Drabek (TOR)

Drabek pitched extremely well at AA over the span of the season, going 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA and 132 strikeouts. The 68 walks in 162 innings is concerning, and much worse than I had predicted (40 walks in 145 innings). He earned himself a few starts at the Major League level at the end of the season, but I think he’s going to be in AAA next year, at least to start out with.

Brett Lawrie (MIL)

I thought that Lawrie would post this line at AA: .270/.340/.440, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 15 stolen bases. His actual line: .285/.346/.451, 8 HR, 63 RBI, 30 stolen bases. Clearly overestimated the power, and clearly underestimated the speed. It remains to be seen where Lawrie will play once he gets to the Majors, but he seems likely to be at AAA to start next year and should earn a callup if he continues to hit like he did in 2010.

Chris Withrow (LAD)

In February I wrote that I thought he would do well if he could improve his control, and predicted the following: 9-7, 3.75 ERA, 145 IP, 150 strikeouts, 55 walks. Well, it appears that he did not improve his control, as he went 4-9 with a 5.97 ERA, 129 2/3 IP, 120 strikeouts but 69 walks. I think that honestly, Withrow should repeat AA to try and get his walks better under control.

Casey Kelly (BOS)

Kelly was in his first full season of only pitching and not trying to play shortstop, and I really thought he would do well: 10-7, 3.20 ERA, 135 IP, 115 strikeouts, 25 walks. Oops. His actual line: 3-5, 5.31 ERA, 95 IP, 81 strikeouts, 35 walks. I think that the Red Sox will probably leave him in AA to start 2011, and show some solid numbers before moving him up again.

Yonder Alonso (CIN)

Alonso remains a bit blocked, despite hitting .296/.355/.470 with 12 homers, 56 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases in just 101 AAA games. Joey Votto has clearly established himself as the 1B for the team at this point, and Alonso’s future with the organization clearly lies in the outfield. Whether or not he can play the position at the Major League level will determine whether he is traded in the next year.

Jacob Turner (DET)

I came into my Turner post with no idea, and made this prediction: 10 K/9 IP, 3 BB/9 IP. What he actually did: around 9 K/9 IP, sub 2 BB/9 IP. He split the year between Low and High A, and I think that he will either start the season at High A again or could even see a promotion to AA. One of the better prospects in the minors at this point.

Trade Retrospective – Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks


On December 14th, 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired SP Dan Haren and RP Connor Robertson from the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith, 1B Chris Carter, and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.

The Background

Dan Haren had been in Oakland since the start of the 2005 season, and had established himself as one of the top pitchers in the American League. Following the 2005 season, he had signed a contract extension which would keep him under team control at very reasonable prices through the 2010 season (it would have covered the 5 seasons at a total cost of $19.15 million overall). Haren was also being asked to fill the role of the staff ace, with Barry Zito having departed via free agency after the 2006 season. Haren had his best season with the Athletics in 2007, going 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 222.2 innings pitched, and a 138 ERA+. However, the team did not perform well, going 76-86 and finishing 3rd in the division despite going to the ALCS in the 2006 season.

The Diamondbacks had finished in first place in 2007, with a 90-72 record. However, they had been swept in the NLCS by the Rockies, and it appeared that they could use another starting pitcher behind 2006 Cy Young winner Brandon Webb. They did have, however, an extremely deep farm system available to them to go out and acquire what they would need to help in the 2008 season.

The Moving Pieces

In Phoenix, Haren slotted into the starting rotation between 2 former Cy Young award winners in Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson. Connor Robertson was sent to AAA Tucson, to be used mainly out of the bullpen.

In Oakland, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland both slotted into the back end of the starting rotation for the Athletics. OF Carlos Gonzalez was sent to AAA Sacramento to play every day. OF Aaron Cunningham was sent to AA Midland, and 1B Chris Carter and P Brett Anderson were both sent to High-A Stockton.

What Happened Next

The Diamondbacks were fairly happy with the performance of Haren, who went 16-8 with a 3.33 ERA and topped the 200 strikeout threshold for the first time in his career. Robertson made some spot appearances with the big club, but was essentially a non-factor on the team’s performance in 2008. Unfortunately, the team regressed a fair amount, and went 82-80 to finish 2nd in the NL West that season.

The Athletics were in full rebuilding mode, but did get some useful performances out of Dana Eveland and Greg Smith in 2008, who provided a lot of innings. Carter finished the season as one of the California League’s top hitters, clubbing 39 homers and driving in 104 runs in only 137 games. Carlos Gonzalez (BA’s #22 overall in 2008) hit fairly well in AAA, posting a .283 batting average and getting a midseason callup to the big club. Unfortunately, his performance in the Majors left a lot to be desired, hitting .242 with 4 homers and 4 steals in 89 games. Brett Anderson (BA’s #36 overall in 2008) posted an 11-5 record between High-A and AA, striking out 118 in just 105 innings. Aaron Cunningham hit .329 between AA and AAA, and also added 17 homers, 66 runs batted in, and 15 steals to those totals. He got into 22 games with the Athletics in 2008, hitting .250 with 1 homerun.

The Net Moves

Diamondbacks – First Level

  • Dan Haren made 2 All-Star appearances with the Diamondbacks, and posted a 37-26 record with a 3.56 ERA. He threw 586 1/3 innings over 3 seasons, and struck out 570 to just 107 walks. He was traded on July 25th of this season to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs.
  • Connor Robertson went 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in just 7 Major League innings for the D’backs. On December 12th, 2008, he was traded to the Mets for Scott Schoeneweis.

Athletics – First Level

  • Carlos Gonzalez appeared in 85 games at the Major league level for the Athletics in 2008, posting an underwhelming .242/.273/.361 line with 4 HR, 26 RBI, and 4 SB. He, along with Greg Smith and closer Huston Street, were traded to the Colorado Rockies on November 10th, 2008 for OF Matt Holliday.
  • Greg Smith went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA in 190 1/3 innings pitched in 2008, but had a rather pedestrian 111 strikeouts compared to 87 walks. He was a part of the trade mentioned above.
  • Aaron Cunningham appeared in 45 games with the Athletics, posting a .211/.271/.338 line with 2 HR, 20 RBI, and 2 SB. He was traded on January 16, 2010 to the Padres along with Scott Hairston in exchange for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and minor league 2B Eric Sogard.
  • Dana Eveland went 11-13 with a 4.92 ERA in parts of 2 seasons. He threw a total of 212 innings, and had 140 strikeouts compared to 103 walks. He was traded to the Blue Jays on February 7, 2010, but no player was received in return.
  • Brett Anderson made his debut with the Athletics in 2009, and has posted a 14-14 record with a 3.79 ERA so far. He’s thrown 225 innings and has a very solid 184 strikeouts to 52 walks. He also recently signed a contract extension as well.
  • Chris Carter recently made his Major league debut, and was up for a cup of coffee so far. He was recently sent back to AAA, but is likely to be up for good by the end of the season.

Diamondbacks – Second Level

  • Scott Schoeneweis went 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA in just 24 innings pitched in 2009. Sadly, he was dealing with the death of his wife Gabrielle, who died in May of that season. He was a free agent after the season.

Athletics – Second Level

  • Matt Holliday played in 93 games for the Athletics, posting a .286/.378/.454 line with 11 HR, 54 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. The team fell out of contention, and he was traded on July 24, 2009 to the Cardinals for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortenson and Shane Peterson.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff has played in 111 games, and hit .259/.2984/.390 with 10 homeruns and 55 runs batted in.
  • Eric Sogard has been the starting 2B for the Rivercats, and is more of a glove than a hitter. He’s hit an empty .296 with 2 homers and 13 stolen bases so far.

Athletics – Third Level

  • Shane Peterson has spent time at AA, hitting .263/351/.361 with 5 homers, 50 rbi and 9 steals.
  • Clayton Mortenson has had some success at AAA, but not a lot at the Majors yet. His line with Oakland is 2-4 with a 7.22 ERA in 33 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Brett Wallace finished the 2009 season with the Rivercats, and was traded to the Blue Jays as a part of the group of trades involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. The Athletics acquired OF Michael Taylor in the trade.

Athletics – Fourth Level

  • Michael Taylor has spent the 2010 season at AAA Sacramento, hitting a disappointing .264/.342/.387 with 5 homeruns, 64 RBI and 12 steals. It was thought he would be called up before the end of the season, but I’m not sure that will happen this year.

Overall Reactions

I was extremely annoyed at the time of the trade, because I thought that the A’s were giving up an up and coming ace starting pitcher, and while they got a lot of good prospects back for him, they were still just prospects. As the 2008 season progressed and we saw the pieces that played at the Major League level (Smith, Eveland, and Carlos Gonzalez) all play to average levels, it just sounded that much worse for the Athletics. Over time, I think this one has become a bit more evenly matched to both teams. The Diamondbacks got 3 very solid seasons from their acquisition, and while they ended up trading him this season, there is some hope for the players that they received in return.

To me, the Athletics are going to end up winning this one, as the players they got back are going to help to lead them to their next good run. Brett Anderson has become a bona fide top of the rotation starter, and would be for a lot of teams in the Majors. Chris Carter needs to show more at the Majors before he can be really viewed as a great part of the trade, at least in my opinion. The one downfall of this trade was the move that they made to try to compete in 2009, which sent Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies for what ended up being 93 games of Matt Holliday. Gonzalez has really exploded onto the scene this year in Colorado, while Holliday went nuts after being traded to St. Louis and drove in nearly a run per game. Michael Taylor has some upside to be sure, but the luster has kind of fallen off of his top prospect status.

Overall, I think that this trade is going to end up beneficial to both teams, and it really gives the A’s an definitive advantage as the winner of last week’s trade retrospective, with Mark Mulder going to the Cardinals.

Trade Review – Dan Haren to the Angels


We got a bit of a surprise on Sunday afternoon when the Diamondbacks moved SP Dan Haren, but not to one of the previously mentioned suitors. Not to the Cardinals, or the Yankees, but the Angels.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquire SP Dan Haren
Arizona Diamondbacks acquire SP Joe Saunders, minor leaguers Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later (reported to be Tyler Skaggs)

The Angels

The Angels were really in need of another stabilizing force in their starting rotation to slot in behind Jered Weaver. Ervin Santana has been solid this season, but Joe Saunders has been hit or miss, and Scott Kazmir has been a complete mess out there. If the Angels were to have any hope of competing this season, they needed another arm to help them out.

This trade was made really though with next season in mind as well, as Haren is under contract for each of the next 2 seasons along with an option for a 3rd. Haren can really help to give the Angels a very potent 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

In terms of an impact on his performance, we could see improvement from him with returning to the AL West and the weak teams at the bottom of the division and also with being a lot more comfortable as he is now with the team closest to where he grew up. In addition, he has already shown that he can pitch very effectively in the AL West, having done so with the Athletics prior to being with the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks

The only major league ready piece that the Diamondbacks received was starting pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders is currently 6-10 with a 4.62 ERA and 64 strikeouts to 45 walks in 120 2/3 innings pitched. He has been an All-Star previously, but overall I’m not that impressed with what Saunders has done in the Majors. He doesn’t really strikeout a lot of hitters (5.1 per 9 innings for his career), and while he should see a slight bump from going to the National League and seeing the pitcher 3 times a game, it’s probably not going to be all that substantial. Saunders is going to provide the Diamondbacks with an innings eater, and not a lot else in my opinion.

Looking at the minor leaguers:

Patrick Corbin is currently sporting a 13-3 record this season, as he has split time between Low A and High A. He has posted a solid 106 strikeout/28 walks rate in 118 2/3 innings pitched over the season, and looks like a reasonable prospect. Still just 20 years old, I want to see him continue his performance at High A for the remainder of the season. He was not in Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects at the start of the season, but I could conceivably break into that for the Diamondbacks.

Rafael Rodriguez has made 1 appearance this season at the Major League level for the Angels, but has been used primarily as a late inning reliever at AAA for the Angels this season. He has appeared in 37 games, finishing 27 and recording 10 saves. The part that really, really concerns me about his ability to get hitters out at the major league level is the lack of strikeouts. In 50 1/3 innings this season at AAA, he has only 30 strikeouts, and also 15 walks. This season is also his 3rd one with AAA Salt Lake City. All in all, a very underwhelming player.

The player to be named later appears to be one of last year’s top draft picks, Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs was ranked 8th in the Angels’ system by Baseball America coming into 2010, and has pitched reasonably well in the Midwest League despite being only 18 when the season started. To date, he has an 8-4 record with a 3.61 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 82 innings. Skaggs seems to be the only player going to the Diamondbacks that any of the experts seem to think will do anything at the Major League level.

Overall, this trade looks like it was made way too quickly by the Diamondbacks. There were clearly some concerns with the performance of Dan Haren this season, to go along with the large contract that the previous GM had given the pitcher, but this return isn’t nearly enough for what Dan Haren can be in these next 3 seasons. Think about what the Diamondbacks gave up to get Haren (along with Connor Robertson) from the Athletics 3 years ago: Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Chris Carter and Aaron Cunningham. Granted that Haren was on a much more team friendly contract then, but even still this trade seems like a near waste for the Diamondbacks.

Even with the potential injury that Haren may have suffered last night off the bat of Kevin Youkilis, Haren is still likely to provide way more value to the Angels than the other 4 players ever will to the Diamondbacks.

WINNER: Angels

Trade Deadline Thoughts


With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, I put out a call to some of the team-centric bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance with 3 questions each, dependent on whether or not they considered their team to be a contender or not. Below are the questions, along with each of the responses.

Note that most of these responses were received over the last week, so some may be a bit out of date with the information now known, but that has more with my inability to sit down and write it all down and not with the respondents themselves.

The Respondents

Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (Responses are for the Cardinals)
Daniel Shoptaw from C70 at the Bat (Cardinals)
Bee Hylinski from Contract Year (Athletics)

For Contending Teams:

1.  What would you say is your team’s most pressing need to help them get to (or stay in) the playoffs?

Ivie: I will take the opinion side of this.  I have said it for months now.  The Cardinals need some strong help in the middle infield.  When they get production and table setting from the 2b/SS position, they produce and win.  When those positions are quiet, the team loses.

Shoptaw: There are two glaring holes on this team–middle infield, most especially shortstop, and the back of the rotation.  With the hopeful emergence of Tyler Greene to replace Brendan Ryan‘s woeful production, getting another starter would seem to be the most pressing need.  The team can not continue to run out Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth on a regular basis and expect to play in October.

Interesting to me is the fact that both writers agree that the Cardinals’ middle infield is pretty much a black hole in terms of offense. I’m also inclined to agree with Daniel about the fact that the Cardinals need something in their rotation, but I think they are going to have to either make a small acquisition or wait to find out if and when injured pitchers Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse will be able to return to the rotation.

2. What player(s) do you think would most effectively fit that need? Generally, these would only be players that actually have a decent chance of being traded, so no offers for Albert Pujols 🙂

Ivie: What if I want to offer for Albert…oh, wait…we got ’em.  Dan Uggla is always and intriguing name.  I also like the discussions that are suggesting Stephen Drew at SS.  Other than that, I think the market is kind of small for help, but hopefully they can find something out there.

Shoptaw: While the Cardinals would be well-suited to a Dan Haren or a Roy Oswalt, their contract situation most likely leaves them out of the crosshairs of GM John Mozeliak.  All moves must be filtered through the prism of the potential Albert Pujols extension.  Therefore, they’d much rather have someone that was a free agent after this season rather than someone taking up space in the next year or two.  You would think, in that case, they’d look for someone like a Jake Westbrook or perhaps a Kevin Millwood.

I actually really like the idea of the Cardinals acquiring Dan Uggla for a playoff run. While he is a bit expensive at $7.8 million for this season, he is under team control for next season as well, and could conceivably be moved during the offseason if they feel he will be too expensive. I actually really like the Stephen Drew thought as well, but he has more seasons under team control and would realistically cost more to acquire than Uggla. The Cardinals also seem like they would be a good team to take a risk on a Jake Westbrook/Kevin Millwood/Jeremy Guthrie type, and pair them up with Dave Duncan and let him do his magic.

3. What player(s) in your system are most likely to net you the player(s) for those needs?

Ivie: This probably is the biggest obstacle for the Cardinals.  I would say that Bryan Anderson (AAA Catcher), Mitchell Boggs (ML Reliever), and Brendan Ryan (ML Shorstop).  Brendan may be thrown in for a change of scenery and take a team that feels that is what he needs, but it will be hard to tell.

Shoptaw: What they can give up is another story.  Since they used a lot of their chips last year acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday, there’s not a lot on the farm.  There are potentially useful players such as Mark Hamilton and Joe Mather, along with current big leaguers Jon Jay and Allen Craig, that could be used as parts of a deal.  Most likely, St. Louis would have to take on payroll, something that ownership has said there is flexibility to do, and give away lesser quality prospects.  Expect that Brendan Ryan could be a part of a deal as well, especially if they do make a deal for a shortstop.

After looking at the Cardinals system myself, it’s pretty empty at the higher levels. The biggest name that I have heard for them is pitcher Shelby Miller, who I would assume would have to be included in a trade if they were to get themselves someone like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. The other thing to remember at this point is that if they acquire a player who has a longer term contract, they may start running into a problem with their payroll limits after 2011 when they will need to resign Albert Pujols.

For Non-Contenders:

1. Which player(s) on your team do you think are most likely to get moved before the deadline?

Hylinski: Pitcher Ben Sheets, notwithstanding Billy Beane’s comments that he doesn’t plan on moving anyone.  Sheets has pitched better with every start recently.  His fastball is up to the mid nineties and all his other pitchers are working more accurately.  He’s a veteran presence and great with the young pitchers.  Speaking of the latter,  if a team would give up a great player and need more than Sheets, the A’s have a plethora of young pitchers in the minors to sweeten the pot.

I really thought that they were going to move him, and that despite his veteran presence he could bring back a fair amount in return. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and could potentially miss the rest of the season.

2. What would you like to see the organization get in return (ie, a 3B prospect, starting pitching prospects, salary relief, etc)? Specific players aren’t necessarily a requirement, unless you see a specific good match.

Hylinski: A slugger, a 3 or 4 hole hitter who can also play in the field (not another Jack Cust, please)  Someone like Hanley Ramirez would be terrific: a young major league hitter (or major-league ready hitter) with substantial pop in his bat.

I agree that this is definitely what the Athletics need, because the lineup just isn’t good enough in terms of power. Even when Sheets was healthy, I’m not sure I saw a player on the A’s current roster that could have brought that in return. Maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki, but with him now signed to a contract extension, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for at least a couple of seasons.

3. Do you see a good fit for these players that you think could get a deal done?

Hylinski: I am not convinced that Billy Beane and the ownership will pay top dollar for a hot bat.  But that’s what the team needs.  The only 2 bats at top of the A’s minor league system (Sacramento River Cats) are Chris Carter who can only play 1st base, so unless something happens to Daric Barton who has been a hitting and field machine, he’s not coming up; and  Michael Taylor who is at least a year off.

Another possibility might be 2nd-baseman Mark Ellis (though I’d really hate to see him go).  I understand the Phillies and maybe the Red Sox are looking for a 2nd baseman.  Probably Kevin Kouzmanoff will not be traded unless the other end of the deal is too good to pass up.

I’m inclined to agree with these points also, unfortunately. With the stadium situation continuing to drag on in Oakland, and with the team possibly moving to parts unknown, San Jose, or half a dozen other places, they just seem extremely unlikely to pay to get someone like that. The two prospects Bee mentioned have unfortunately been disappointments at AAA to this point, and signs are pointing that they may actually have to repeat the level again next season.

Overall, I thought it was interesting to get the perspective of some writers who are clearly very knowledgeable about their teams, and see if their observations about their teams were similar to mine as someone who sees it a little more at arm’s length. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions, and you should check out their blogs at the links above as well.

Also, Allen Teruel over at Prorumors.Com had a series of writeups regarding potential trade targets for each team and certain types of players as well. You can find these stories here:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/nationals-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/

Here are a few Top 10 lists that can help you out too:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-power-hitters-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-starting-pitchers-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-ten-prospects-that-could-get-traded-by-july-31/

Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – Majors and AAA


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

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

Majors

Carlos Santana (Writeup)

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

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

Mike Stanton (Writeup)

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

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

Buster Posey (Writeup)

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

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

Jason Heyward (Writeup)

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

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

Starlin Castro (Writeup)

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

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

Brian Matusz (Writeup)

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

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

AAA

Desmond Jennings (Writeup)

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

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

Jesus Montero (Writeup)

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

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

Domonic Brown (Writeup)

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

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

Dan Hudson (Writeup)

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

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

Chris Carter (Writeup)

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

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

Yonder Alonso (Writeup)

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

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

Michael Pineda (Writeup)

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

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

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

How are They Doing So Far? part 1


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

Welcome to the Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AAA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Prospect Review – Chris Carter – 1B – OAK


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Via trade with the Diamondbacks (Dec. 2007) as a part of the Dan Haren trade.
Age: 23

Statistics

2008 – Stockton (California League – A’s High-A) – 137 games

  • .259/.361/.569
  • 39 HR, 104 RBI, 4 stolen bases
  • 77 walks, 156 strikeouts
  • .296 BABIP

2009 – Midland (Texas League – A’s AA) – 125 games

  • .337/.435/.576
  • 24 HR, 101 RBI, 13 stolen bases
  • 82 walks, 119 strikeouts
  • .406 BABIP

2009 – Sacramento (Pacific Coast League – A’s AA) – 13 games

  • .259/.293/.519
  • 4 HR, 14 RBI, 0 stolen bases
  • 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
  • .278 BABIP

2009 Totals (2 levels) – 138 games

  • .329/.422/570
  • 28 HR, 115 RBI, 13 stolen bases
  • 85 walks, 133 strikeouts

Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (OAK – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #1 (OAK – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #1 (OAK – 2010) – A-

Analysis

Carter was acquired in the Dan Haren trade following the 2007 season, and has been nothing short of an amazing prospect since then. He spent 2008 in the hitter-friendly California League, posting a league-leading 39 homers and 104 RBI. 2009 was no different, posting 24 HR, 101 RBI and a .337 average on his way to winning the Texas League MVP.

Carter is known for his prodigious power, posting slugging percentages over .500 at each level. He also has solid plate discipline, and is able to draw a walk at a reasonable rate. I don’t foresee him hitting for the kind of average he did at AA again, as it was inflated by an extremely high .406 BABIP. I have to imagine that the real thing lies somewhere closer to his .259 average at AAA.

The main question with Carter seems to be where he can play in the field. The Athletics played him mostly at 1B last season, although he has also seen at least a little time at 3B, LF, and DH as well since entering the A’s system. His fielding would probably considered average at best there, and profiles to have him giving way at 1B to a better fielder at the Major League level.

Carter could really use a consolidation year at AAA, where he could work on cutting down his strikeout rate a little more. He has been striking out between 25 and 30% of all plate appearances in the last 2 seasons, and will probably want to cut that down to help improve his average slightly. The only concern I would have about that is that it may affect his power by being a bit more selective. As long as it doesn’t impact that too much, I could see him becoming a 30+ HR hitter on a yearly basis in the Majors.

Outlook

Carter will hopefully start the season back with AAA Sacramento, potentially leading to a mid-season callup. The A’s definitely have a use for his power bat at the Major League level, but they already have one player who really should only be used as a designated hitter (Jack Cust), and another prospect at first base (Daric Barton). If Barton struggles out of the gate again like he has in the past, I could definitely see Carter getting a much earlier callup. Regardless, I have to imagine he’s going to be playing in Oakland before 2010 is over.

Projection for 2010

.265/.350/.520, 10 HR, 52 RBI (AAA)
.255/.340/.500, 10 HR, 40 RBI (Majors)

Expected ETA

2010. No later than July or August.

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review – Jaff Decker (OF) of the San Diego Padres