Tag Archives: Felix Hernandez

Who are the Faces of the Franchise? AL West Edition


Continuing on with my look at each organization and their Face of the Franchise, the AL West…

  • Angels – I think that at this point, Torii Hunter has taken the mantle of the face of the franchise. He has even shown leadership (whether or not it was his choice remains to be seen) by switching positions last year for a younger player in Peter Bourjos, and likely to remain the same for Vernon Wells this year. Continue reading
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Fantasy Rankings in Review – Starting Pitchers


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

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 25)

1.     Roy Halladay
2.     Adam Wainwright
3.     Felix Hernandez
4.     Roy Oswalt
5.     Ubaldo Jimenez
6.     Jered Weaver
7.     David Price
8.     Josh Johnson
9.     Cliff Lee
10.  Mat Latos
11.  C.C. Sabathia
12.  Jon Lester
13.  Justin Verlander
14.  Matt Cain
15.  Tim Hudson
16.  Clayton Kershaw
17.  Trevor Cahill
18.  Clay Buchholz
19.  Cole Hamels
20.  Chris Carpenter
21.  Jonathan Sanchez
22.  Tim Lincecum
23.  Brett Myers
24.  Johan Santana
25.  Ted Lilly

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The AL Walter Johnson Award


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Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we have been voting on our award winners for the regular season. Previously I have announced my votes for the Connie Mack awards (Best Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays awards (Top Rookie), and the Goose Gossage awards (Top Reliever). Now we’re starting to get down to the big boys, as I take a look at my vote for the American League’s top pitcher, the Walter Johnson award recipient.

2010 was definitely a season for top tier pitching, and the American League definitely had its’ share of excellent pitchers. The hard part for me is that there is no clear cut pitcher who is head and shoulders above the rest of his counterparts. Before going into the candidates themselves, let’s go over a bit of what I think the top pitcher should represent:

Wins, Losses, and Run Support

The top pitcher doesn’t necessarily need to lead the league in wins, as they are pretty clearly not a great indicator of how a pitcher actually fared. That said, they aren’t worthless either, and I think that it’s important to acknowledge that the goal of the game is to win. But with the shift to specialists out of the bullpen, I think that a pitcher has less control than he has ever had over wins. While we as baseball analysts try to find a way to establish what a pitcher is truly responsible for and what he is not, it is impossible to ignore that run support given to a pitcher also plays a key piece of wins. A pitcher could throw a perfect game, but if the team doesn’t score any runs for him in the game, he won’t necessarily still earn himself a win.

ERA, WHIP, FIP, SIERA, and WAR

I’ve discussed before why ERA is a deceiving statistic, and I think it will definitely show itself to be true as we review the cases for the top pitchers. But coupled with advanced statistics like FIP, SIERA, and WAR, I think we start to get an idea of whether or not a pitcher was truly dominant, a bit lucky, or somewhere in between. They provide value to look at, but can’t be the end all of statistics to look at. WHIP falls a bit in the same category for me as well.

Strikeouts, Walks, and Innings Pitched

Strikeouts and walks are really two of the few things that a pitcher can really exert control over. More strikeouts generally are a good thing, and less walks are always a good thing. They are also taken into the picture by me and are given weight along with the other statistics. Innings pitched to me represent not only the trust that the manager of their team places in their ability to get out of jams, but also their ability to get outs.

Intangibles

There’s always a little bit of the human element to pitching, and I think it’s important to look at some of the things that aren’t necessarily measurable. These can include, but are definitely not limited to: whether the pitcher is in the playoff race, what kind of stories are occurring around the team, and even the role that the pitcher is being asked to fill.

With all that (phew!), here’s my top candidates for the AL Walter Johnson award. Players are listed from east to west, and my vote will be at the bottom. For this award, it’s a 5 person ballot. Also, when you’re talking about the best of anything, it invariably ends up a bit nit-picky when it comes to differentiating candidates. Everyone on this list had a great season, and it just comes down to trying to determine small ways in which one was better than the rest. There’s not a whole lot to say about each player as a result, and so instead here are the statistics that I looked at for each player, and then I’ll go into my logic for my decision.

Name Team W-L ERA WHIP K BB IP SIERA FIP WAR
Jon Lester BOS 19-9 3.25 1.20 225 83 208 3.20 3.13 5.6
C.C. Sabathia NYY 21-7 3.18 1.19 197 74 237 2/3 3.75 3.54 5.1
David Price TAM 19-6 2.72 1.19 188 79 208 2/3 3.82 3.42 4.3
Justin Verlander DET 18-9 3.37 1.16 219 71 224 2/3 3.43 2.97 6.3
Francisco Liriano MIN 14-10 3.62 1.26 201 58 191 2/3 3.02 2.66 6.0
Cliff Lee SEA/TEX 12-9 3.18 1.00 185 18 212 1/3 3.03 3.06 7.0
Trevor Cahill OAK 18-8 2.97 1.11 118 63 196 2/3 4.16 4.19 2.2
Jered Weaver LAA 13-12 3.01 1.07 233 54 224 1/3 2.97 3.06 5.9
Felix Hernandez SEA 13-12 2.27 1.06 232 70 249 2/3 3.19 3.04 6.2

Continue reading

Original Draft Series: #3 – Seattle Mariners


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

Team #3: Seattle Mariners

General Managers(since 1994)

Woody Woodward (1994-1999):458-445
Pat Gillick (2000-2003):393-359
Bill Bavasi (2004-2008):359-451
Jack Zduriencik (2009):85-77

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Jason Varitek 1994 – 1st Rd (14) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SEA – 7/31/97
1B Raul Ibanez 1992 – 36th Rd 8+5 986 gm, .284/.346/.464, 127 HR, 547 RBI, 21 SB Left via Free Agency – 12/21/00, 10/30/08
2B Jose Lopez
Int’l FA – 2000 10 1 All Star Appearance
853 gm, .266/.297/.399, 77 HR, 422 RBI
Currently with Org.
3B Alex Rodriguez 1993 – 1st Rd (1) 7 4 All Star Appearances, 4 Silver Sluggers
790 gm, .309/.374/.561, 189 HR, 595 RBI, 133 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/30/00
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
Int’l FA – 2002 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 6/30/06
LF Shin-Soo Choo Int’l FA – 2000 6 14 gm, .069/.182/.103, RBI Traded to CLE – 7/26/06
CF Adam Jones 2003 – 1st Rd (37) 4 73 gm, .230/.267/.353, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 5 SB Traded to BAL – 2/8/08
RF Ichiro Suzuki
Int’l FA – 2001 10 2001 AL MVP and Rookie of the Year, 10 All Star Appearances, 9 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers
1564 gm., .331/.376/.430, 89 HR, 550 RBI, 88 SB
Currently with Org.
DH David Ortiz Int’l FA – 1992 4 No Major League Appearances Traded to MIN – 9/13/96
SP Felix Hernandez Int’l FA – 2002 8 1 All Star Appearance
69-51, 3.23 ERA, 1124.1 IP, 1019 K, 347 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Brandon Morrow
2006 – 1st Rd (5) 3 8-12, 3.96 ERA, 197.2 IP, 204 K, 128 BB Traded to TOR – 12/23/09
SP Joel Pineiro 1997 – 12th Rd 11 58-55, 4.48 ERA, 996 IP, 658 K, 327 BB Left via Free Agency – 12/12/06
SP Derek Lowe
1991 – 8th Rd 6 2-4, 6.96 ERA, 53 IP, 39 K, 20 BB Traded to SEA – 7/31/97
SP Gil Meche
1996 – 1st Rd (22) 10 55-44, 4.65 ERA, 815.1 IP, 575 K, 363 BB Left via Free Agency – 10/31/06
RP Damaso Marte
Int’l FA – 1992 8 0-1, 9.35 ERA, 8.2 IP, 3 K, 6 BB Left via Free Agency – 10/18/00
RP Matt Thornton 1998 – 1st Rd (22) 7 1-6, 4.82 ERA, 89.2 IP, 87 K, 67 BB Traded to SEA – 3/20/06
RP Rafael Soriano Int’l FA – 1996 10 4-8, 2.89 ERA, 4 SV, 171 IP, 177 K, 53 BB Traded to ATL – 12/7/06
RP Ryan Franklin 1992 – 23rd Rd 13 35-50, 4.34 ERA, 811.1 IP, 427 K, 238 BB Left via Free Agency – 12/21/05
RP J.J. Putz 1999 – 6th Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
22-15, 3.07 ERA, 323 IP, 337 K, 104 BB
Traded to NYM – 12/11/08
CL Brian Fuentes 1995 – 25th Rd 6 1-1, 4.63 ERA, 11.2 IP, 10 K, 8 BB Traded to COL – 12/16/01
BN Omar Vizquel
Int’l FA – 1984 9 1 Gold Glove
660 gm, .252/.309/.303, 6 HR, 131 RBI, 39 SB
Traded to CLE – 12/20/93
BN Greg Dobbs Amat. FA – 2001 5 100 gm, .257/.291/.351, 2 HR, 32 RBI Selected off waivers by PHI – 1/15/07
BN Yuniesky Betancourt Int’l FA – 2005 4 588 gm,. 279/.302/.393, 27 HR, 202 RBI, 24 SB Traded to KC – 7/10/09
BN Jeff Clement 2005 – 1st Rd (3) 4 75 gm, .237/.309/.393, 7 HR, 26 RBI Traded to PIT – 7/29/09
BN Luis Valbuena
Int’l FA – 2002 6 18 gm, .245/.315/.347, RBI Traded to CLE – 12/11/08

June Amateur Draft

The Mariners have actually not been as active in the draft as I thought they had been. Clearly, the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr in the middle of the season removed him from this team, although to be honest he probably would have only been a bench player like he was in real life. The Mariners are unfortunately not seeing nearly as much success as they be expected to considering the quality level of the players listed here. Alex Rodriguez has clearly been the best player to this point overall, at least coming out of the draft. But the story for a lot of these players has been that they achieved their greatest success while with other teams. Morrow is very rapidly turning into a top starting pitcher, Lowe and Varitek were both traded short-sightedly to the Red Sox for a reliever, and of course the group of players who were dealt to acquire Erik Bedard (Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, among others).

International Free Agency

The Mariners have clearly done their best work in the international market. Ichiro, while not an amateur free agent, has clearly been the cream of the crop and has helped to define the organization ever since he arrived. But there have been so many other excellent players that were brought in by the Mariners as well, with King Felix Hernandez probably providing the most to the team while on the team. They have had some solid players go through the organization via this method as well, but unfortunately the story is very similar to the amateur draftees. The two that stand out to me are Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo, who were traded for a pair of platoon first basemen in Eduardo Perez and Ben Broussard. Both were just prospects when they were traded, but have turned into at worst solid major league regulars.

Overall Grade

A. The Mariners are one of the few teams where I had to ignore quite a few players. There were probably another 10-15 players that could very well have ended up on the rosters of other organizations further down the list. I think that they did receive quite a bit of production from these players, and clearly the one who retired (Griffey) also helped the team stay in Seattle practically. They had an All-Star closer in J.J. Putz, a clear Ace in Felix Hernandez, and a future Hall of Famer in Ichiro Suzuki. Every position has someone who has become a major league regular, as well as players on the bench who have in some capacity as well. The pitching staff has 5 pitchers who have closed for at least some time in their careers, and a solid pitching rotation as well. Overall, they were immediately on my mind as one of my top teams overall.

Midseason Review


We are halfway through the season and as happens every year, it doesn’t quite go exactly as we all thought it would.

Right before the season started, I wrote up my preseason predictions of how I thought the playoffs and awards would go:

American League

Correct so far: New York Yankees
Incorrect so far: Boston Red Sox (Tampa Bay Rays), Minnesota Twins (Chicago White Sox), Seattle Mariners (Texas Rangers)

National League

Correct so far: None
Incorrect so far: Philadelphia Phillies (Atlanta Braves), Chicago Cubs (Cincinnati Reds), Los Angeles Dodgers (San Diego Padres), St. Louis Cardinals (Colorado Rockies)

League Leaders at the Half

Batting Average: Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Josh Hamilton (TEX) – .346
Runs: Carl Crawford (TAM) – 70
Hits: Martin Prado (ATL) – 121
Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 24
Runs Batted In: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 77
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre (CHW) – 32

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 15
ERA: Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.70
Strikeouts: Jered Weaver (LAA) – 137
Saves: Joakim Soria (KC) – 25

The Top Stories

The Year of the Pitcher Again?

The pitchers look like they may have gained back some of the advantage again versus the hitters, as we’re seeing a lot of amazing performances out of both elite and non-elite pitchers.

Starting Pitchers with an ERA under 3.00: 17
Starting Pitchers with 10+ wins: 12
Starting Pitchers with a FIP under 3.00: 6
Starting Pitchers with a WHIP under 1.10: 14

And of course, there’s the no-hitters:

Let’s not forget Armando Galarraga either, and his near-perfecto on June 2nd.

Ken Griffey Jr Abruptly Retires

Almost randomly,  Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement on June 2nd. I wrote up my thoughts on his career shortly after the announcement, but the long and short of it remains that Griffey always seemed to be having more fun than anyone else on the field, and was really a joy to watch play, no matter what he was doing.  I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going into the Hall of Fame at first opportunity.

Sadly, the story was lost among the Armando Galarraga near perfect game, as it happened about an hour after the announcement. Hopefully the Mariners will have him back at some point before the end of the season to really give him a great sendoff.

The Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

The Mariners were widely predicted to win the AL West on the strength of the arms of Felix Hernandez and offseason acquisition Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, the team has floundered quite a bit, to the point where it became only a matter of time for the Mariners to start selling off the pieces, including their newly acquired ace Lee. The trade discussions centered around the unlikely competitors of the Reds, Twins, and Rangers, along with the usual suspects (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays). Nearly every top prospect in their systems was mentioned as the potential trade pieces in return. It was even stranger when the Mariners had come to a deal with the Yankees, only to have that one fall apart and be replaced by a trade with the Rangers. I wrote up what I thought of the trade, and really liked it for both teams involved.

Break Up the Reds and the Padres!

Completely unexpectedly, the Reds and the Padres are both leading their divisions as we approach the All-Star break. The Padres are doing it with the best pitching in the Majors, led by young phenom Mat Latos (10-4, 2.45) and top power hitter Adrian Gonzalez (.301, 18 HR, 56 RBI). The Reds are being led by MVP candidate Joey Votto (.315, 22 HR, 60 RBI, 1.014 OPS), and a resurgent Scott Rolen (.292, 17 HR, 57 RBI). I honestly think that barring some unexpected injuries or other unusual circumstances, both teams have the talent available to hold on to their leads throughout the rest of the season.

3 Teams, A Maxiumum of 2 Spots

The AL East continues to improve every single year, as the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees have been trading 1st through 3rd in the division back and forth all season. Through Friday’s games, all 3 teams have the 3 top records in the American League. Clearly, this presents a problem, as only 2 of them can make the playoffs. Someone is going to have to separate themselves at some point, but I’m not sure when that is going to happen. The Rays got off to a hot start, but have struggled of late. The Yankees got off to a slow start but have come on strong and now lead the division. Even the Red Sox are only 5 games back despite having suffered an unusually high amount of injuries. Someone is going to be sitting at home unhappy despite potentially winning 90+ games in that division.

Managers Available for Hire

We could be looking at potentially having nearly half the teams in the Majors change managers by the start of the 2011 season. 4 teams have already gotten the ball started, with Fredi Gonzalez (Marlins), Trey Hillman (Royals), Dave Trembley (Orioles) and A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks. In addition, major skippers like Joe Torre of the Dodgers and Lou Piniella of the Cubs are both in the final year of their contracts, and it appears that more and more that neither man is likely to return. And of course, there is the expected retirement of the Braves’ Bobby Cox and Blue Jays’ Cito Gaston after this season as well. Invariably, there will be some other managers that could lose their jobs before the start of next year, and my own speculation leads me to think that potentially teams like the Brewers, Pirates, Athletics and even the Mariners could all potentially see new managers as well.

The Rookie Class of 2010

It seems like this year’s rookie class is by far one of the best in many years. The season started out with Atlanta Braves’ OF Jason Heyward making the team out of Spring Training, and has not let up ever since. 13 of Baseball America’s Top 20 prospects have already made their debuts, and many of them are seeing a lot of success.

  • Carlos Santana of the Indians is hitting .284 with 5 HR and 16 RBI since being called up on June 11th.
  • Buster Posey of the Giants is hitting .333 with 6 HR and 20 RBI while playing both catcher and first base.
  • Tyler Colvin of the Cubs has hit 12 homeruns in part time playing time so far this season.
  • Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch of the Tigers have been going back and forth for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Jackson got off to a hot start, but Boesch has passed him at this point. Boesch is leading all rookies with 12 homeruns and 48 runs batted in, and also is hitting .345.
  • Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins is quietly hitting .299 with 9 homeruns and 38 runs batted in.
  • Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals has exceeded all expectations, posting an 8-4 record with a 2.17 ERA and 80 strikeouts so far.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds surprised everyone by coming up without playing a single game in the minors and has a 6-1 record with a 3.53 ERA.
  • Neftali Feliz of the Rangers has stabilized the back end of their bullpen, recording 23 saves and earning himself an All-Star appearance.

Other top prospects that have come up as well: Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Alcides Escobar of the Brewers, Ike Davis of the Mets, and Justin Smoak of the Rangers… er Mariners.

Clearly though, the most anticipated debut didn’t come until June 8th…

Strasburg

June 8th was the Major League debut of the phenom, Nationals’ top prospect Stephen Strasburg. His starts in the minors were selling out every time through. He was sent down to the Minors after Spring Training to work on his performance with runners on base. As if he was actually allowing any of those down there. His minor league numbers (AA and AAA): 11 starts, 7-2, 1.30 ERA, 65 strikeouts to 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched. At times, his stuff looked absolutely dominant, but the concern remained: Could he repeat this performance at the Major League level?

For the most part, the answer to that question is a resounding Yes. His debut against the lowly Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 walks, and a victory in 7 innings. So far, he has a 3-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 61 strikeouts in just 42 2/3 innings pitched. He has had some games where his control has been less than stellar, including the 5 walk performance against the Indians. I have to admit, I thought that he would have some struggles when he got up to the Majors, but I didn’t anticipate the excellent performance overall that he has given to this point. The longer that Jason Heyward stays on the disabled list, the more likely it becomes that Strasburg will win the Rookie of the Year award for the National League. He simply looks dominant out there in nearly every start, and the stuff he throws is simply amazing. I hope he can stay healthy long term, as he is really going to be something special if he can.

Overall Reactions

After so many games being played, it has been a really good season to this point. As it seems to happen every season, there are some things that don’t go the way everyone expects, but it definitely makes it more interesting when there are new stories that emerge over the span of the season. It looks like it’s going to be a good race in many of the divisions, and could go down to the wire.

No post on Tuesday this week, and I’ll be back with a new post on Wednesday.

The Month in Review: April 2010


Well, we are a little over 1/6th of the way through the season, and we’ve seen quite a bit already. At the end of each month, I will go over  some of the larger stories, name my season-to-this-point All-Star teams, and my season-to-point award winners.

All-Star Teams

I plan on following the same guidelines given to the managers of the All-Star game when selecting my teams for each month. Those would be:

  • 34 man rosters, 21 position players, 13 pitchers
  • Each team must be represented

Beyond that, I plan on not necessarily using any voting that may or may not have occurred yet, because to me, the voting is always biased toward the larger market teams.

American League

Starters
C – Joe Mauer (MIN): .345/.406/.500, 1 HR, 13 RBI
1B – Paul Konerko (CHW): .297/.413/.784, 11 HR, 21 RBI
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY): .400/.436/.765, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB
3B – Evan Longoria (TAM): .341/.400/.602, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY): .330/.354/521, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Vernon Wells (TOR): .337/.396/.717, 8 HR, 16 RBI, SB
OF – Carl Crawford (TAM): .337/.390/.551, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB
OF – Nelson Cruz (TEX): .323/.419/.758, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 5 SB
DH – Jose Guillen (KC): .304/.337/.609, 7 HR, 19 RBI, SB

Reserves

C – Jorge Posada (NYY): .310/.394/.638, 5 HR, 12 RBI
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET): .344/.427/.615, 5 HR, 25 RBI
1B – Justin Morneau (MIN): .347/.490/.640, 5 HR, 17 RBI
1B – Kendry Morales (LAA): .295/.347/.523, 6 HR, 16 RBI
2B – Dustin Pedroia (BOS): .302/.343/.573, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB
IF – Ty Wigginton (BAL): .308/.395/.631, 6 HR, 12 RBI
SS – Alex Gonzalez (TOR): .289/.317/.629, 7 HR, 19 RBI
OF – Shin-Soo Choo (CLE): .317/.429/.500, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB
OF – Brett Gardner (NYY): .323/.397/.385, 6 RBI, 10 SB
OF – Austin Jackson (DET): .364/.422/.495, HR, 7 RBI, 5 SB
OF – Scott Podsednik (KC): .350/.418/.375, 8 RBI, 8 SB
OF – Andruw Jones (CHW): .259/.394/.630, 6 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB

Pitchers

Matt Garza (TAM): 4-1, 2.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 35 IP
Francisco Liriano (MIN): 3-0, 0.93 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 29 IP
Jered Weaver (LAA): 3-0, 2.53 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 34 K, 32 IP
Colby Lewis (TEX): 3-0, 2.76 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 38 K, 32 2/3 IP
Zack Greinke (KC): 0-2, 2.56 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 27 K, 31 2/3 IP
John Danks (CHW): 3-0, 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 26 K, 29 IP
Ricky Romero (TOR): 2-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 31 K, 36 IP
Felix Hernandez (SEA): 2-1, 2.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 31 K, 36 1/3 IP
Justin Duchscherer (OAK): 2-1, 2.89 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 18 K, 28 IP
David Aardsma (SEA): 0-1, 8 SV, 2.79 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 11 K, 9 2/3 IP
Jose Valverde (DET): 0-1, 7 SV, 0.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 6 K, 12 IP
Mariano Rivera (NYY): 0-0, 7 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 9 K, 9 IP
Jon Rauch (MIN): 1-0, 7 SV, 1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 K, 10 IP

National League

Starters

C – Geovany Soto (CHC): .340/.500/.528, 3 HR, 7 RBI
1B – Albert Pujols (STL): .345/.430/.655, 7 HR, 19 RBI, SB
2B – Kelly Johnson (ARI): .313/.404/.750, 9 HR, 18 RBI
3B – Pablo Sandoval (SF): .368/.433/.575, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB
SS – Rafael Furcal (LAD): .309/.378/.420, 6 RBI, 8 SB
OF – Ryan Braun (MIL): .355/.430/581, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 6 SB
OF – Colby Rasmus (STL): .323/.463/.708, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Andre Ethier (LAD): .329/.407/592, 6 HR, 19 RBI
DH – Kosuke Fukudome (CHC): .344/.443/.641, 5 HR, 16 RBI, SB

Reserves

C – Miguel Olivo (COL): .291/.333/.600, 5 HR, 13 RBI, SB
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (SD): .288/.408/.563, 6 HR, 16 RBI
2B – Chase Utley (PHI): .275/.431/.550, 6 HR, 15 RBI, SB
2B – Dan Uggla (FLA): .295/.364/.534, 5 HR, 14 RBI, SB
3B – David Wright (NYM): .273/.430/.506, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 7 SB
3B – Jorge Cantu (FLA): .311/.354/567, 5 HR, 23 RBI
SS – Ryan Theriot (CHC): .337/.370/.386, 12 RBI, 5 SB
SS – Troy Tulowitzki (COL): .304/.350/.435, 1 HR, 13 RBI, SB
OF – Matt Kemp (LAD): .278/.333/.546, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 3 SB
OF – Marlon Byrd (CHC): .348/.366/.584, 4 HR, 16 RBI, SB
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT): .299/.352/.443, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 10 SB
OF – Jayson Werth (PHI): .325/.402/.584, 3 HR, 14 RBI, SB

Pitchers

Ubaldo Jimenez (COL): 5-0, 0.79 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 31 K, 34 IP
Tim Lincecum (SF): 4-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 43 K, 35 1/3 IP
Roy Halladay (PHI): 4-1, 1.80 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 33 K, 40 IP
Mike Pelfrey (NYM): 4-0, 0.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 19 K, 26 IP
Barry Zito (SF): 4-0, 1.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 24 K, 35 1/3 IP
Josh Johnson (FLA): 2-1, 3.19 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 34 K, 31 IP
Tommy Hanson (ATL): 2-2, 2.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 33 K, 29 IP
Jamie Garcia (STL): 2-1, 1.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17 K, 26 IP
Adam Wainwright (STL): 4-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 30 K, 38 IP
Heath Bell (SD): 1-0, 7 SV, 1.80 WHIP, 1.40 WHIP, 16 K, 10 IP
Matt Lindstrom (HOU): 0-0, 6 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 11 K, 10 IP
Francisco Cordero (CIN): 1-1, 9 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13 K, 13 1/3 IP
Matt Capps (WAS): 0-0, 10 SV, 0.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 15 K, 13 1/3 IP

Overall, both of these teams ended up being a pretty fair representation I think. For most of the teams, there was at least one clear All-Star. Only with the Athletics and Astros did I really struggle particularly. It is interesting to see just how many excellent performances there were in April.

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP – Evan Longoria (TAM)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – Francisco Liriano (MIN)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Austin Jackson (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Jason Heyward (ATL)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

April 4-11
April 12-18
April 19-25
April 26-May 2

To me, the stories that really dominated baseball were the emergence of the new rookie class (Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward, Mike Leake), Big Carlos Zambrano being sent to the bullpen, and the struggles of the Red Sox early on. Feel free to look through the weekly links to see some of the other top stories last month. We also saw the hot start of the Rays, and a no-hitter from Ubaldo Jimenez. Nothing quite like baseball.

Team Preview – Seattle Mariners


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Adam Moore SP 1 Felix Hernandez
1B Casey Kotchman SP 2 Cliff Lee
2B Jose Lopez SP 3 Ryan Rowland-Smith
3B Chone Figgins SP 4 Ian Snell
SS Jack Wilson SP 5 Garrett Olson
LF Michael Saunders Bullpen
CF Franklin Gutierrez CL David Aardsma
RF Ichiro Suzuki RP Brandon League
DH Milton Bradley RP Mark Lowe
Bench RP Shawn Kelley
IF Ryan Garko RP Jason Vargas
IF Eric Byrnes RP Erik Bedard

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Cliff Lee Trade (PHI) 1B Russell Branyan Free Agency
OF Milton Bradley Trade (CHC) SP Brandon Morrow Trade (TOR)
3B Chone Figgins Free Agency 3B Adrian Beltre Free Agency

Top Prospects: Carlos Triunfel (SS), Michael Pineda (P), Dustin Ackley (OF/2B), Alex Liddi (3B)

2009 Review

The Mariners came into 2009 with a new manager (Don Wakamatsu), and were hopeful that 2009 would be a good season for them. While not expected by many to perform well, the Mariners still finished with a 85-77 record, good for 3rd place in the AL West and 12 games back of the Angels. They also brought Ken Griffey Jr back to the Mariners, partially as a publicity stunt, and partially to help fill the role of a veteran presence.

The pitching staff was led by Cy Young runner-up Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49, 217 strikeouts), Jarrod Washburn (8-6, 2.64), and Ryan Rowland-Smith (5-4, 3.74). On offense, Ichiro (.352, 11 HR, 26 SB) was a standout as usual. The Mariners also had some breakout performances, including 1B Russell Branyan (31 HR, 76 RBI), CF Franklin Gutierrez (.283, 18 HR, 16 SB), and closer David Aardsma (2.52, 38 sv).

Team Outlook for 2010

The team had a very active offseason, and are considered by many to be the most improved team going into 2010. The big acquisition was obviously the trade that brought former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the Northwest. And how they were able to bring Milton Bradley in return for Carlos Silva’s useless contract is beyond comprehension. They’ve added more speed and a top-of-the-order hitter in Chone Figgins, and continued to improve their defense with 1B Casey Kotchman.

I think that the Mariners may only be missing some additional power in their order, although they did bring Griffey back to help provide some power off the bench. Adding Lee will help the Mariners should they make the postseason, and give them a very good 1-2-3 punch with Hernandez and Bedard as well. They should see some development in both rookie C Adam Moore and OF Michael Saunders as well. They have really done well to build a team that is reliant upon defense and pitching, specifically built for Safeco Field.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Ichiro remains a top tier outfielder, although there are some concerns that he may be slowing due to age. I wouldn’t worry too much about him though. Also, King Felix and Cliff Lee are both top-25 starters and will probably not last past the 7th round (in Lee’s case). 3B Chone Figgins should provide a good value, although at 3B he is one of the few players who provides no power and a lot of speed. Deeper leagues, I would say look at Milton Bradley, as he could potentially provide high-upside power, and also Ryan Rowland-Smith as a potential end-draft starter.

Prediction for 2010

The Mariners look like they have improved enough to compete in the division, and will rely on the 1-2 punch of Hernandez and Lee to help finish the job in the season’s final weeks. The AL West is wide open, and I think that the tandem of Hernandez-Lee will be what puts them over the top.

88-74, 1st in the AL West

Fantasy Preview – Starting Pitchers Part 1


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

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

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

My top 25 Starting Pitchers

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Prospect Review – Martin Perez – P – TEX


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile
RealGM Profile

The Basics
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
How Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent
Age: 19

Statistics

2008 – Spokane (Northwest League – Rangers Short-Season A) – 15 starts

  • 1-2, 3.65 ERA, 61 2/3 IP
  • 53 strikeouts, 28 walks
  • .343 BABIP, 3.57 FIP

2009 – Hickory (Sally League – Rangers A) – 14 starts, 8 relief outings

  • 5-5, 2.31 ERA, 93 2/3 IP
  • 105 strikeouts, 33 walks
  • .332 BABIP, 2.46 FIP

2009 – Frisco (Texas League – Rangers AA) – 5 starts

  • 1-3, 5.57 ERA, 21 IP
  • 14 strikeouts, 5 walks
  • .374 BABIP, 3.82 FIP

2009 Totals (2 levels)

  • 6-8, 2.90 ERA, 114 2/3 IP
  • 119 strikeouts, 38 walks

Rankings
Baseball America – #3 (TEX – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #2 (TEX – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #3 (TEX – 2010) – A-

Analysis

Perez has only been in the Rangers system for 2 years, but is already lighting the system up. He posted back-to-back excellent seasons, first with Spokane, and then in Hickory in the Sally League. The part that I keep coming back to about Perez is not the numbers he posted, but the age at which he posted them. Perez was only 18 years old throughout the 2009 season at Hickory and Frisco. But the majority of the players in the Sally League would have been 19-21, or potentially even older. So Perez faced tougher competition for his age, and performed very well in spite of this.

Perez has a very smooth 3/4 arm angle throwing motion, and throws a solid fastball, a very good curveball, and good changeup. Real GM believes he will more likely be in the mold of a finesse pitcher as he progresses through the minors.

The thing about Perez that I keep coming back to is how young he still is. He will most likely start the 2010 season at AA Frisco, and so I wondered who might be considered a good comparison for Perez and his progression. Two players came to mind for me: Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants.

Hernandez was slightly more advanced than Perez at the age, as Hernandez spent the majority of his 18 year-old season at AA. Hernandez also appeared to be more dominant, posting 172 strikeouts against 47 walks in 149 2/3 IP. Hernandez was sent to AAA the following season, and was in the Majors before the end of his 19-year old season

Bumgarner spent his 18-year old season in the Sally League as well, posting 164 strikeouts against 21 walks in 141 2/3 IP. As a 19 year old, he spent the majority of his time at AA Connecticut, before getting a cup of coffee with the Giants in September. The jury is still out on this one, as he’s probably going to start the season with AAA Fresno I imagine.

Both Hernandez and Bumgarner appear as reasonable comps to me, if only for their similar ages and minor league levels. I think that the Rangers are going to take it more slowly with Perez than the Mariners or Giants did with their respective players.

Outlook

I have to imagine that the Rangers are going to be conservative when it comes to promoting Perez. He will only be 19 years old at the start of the 2010 season, and only pitched briefly at AA. I believe that the Rangers will start him back at Frisco, with the possibility for a promotion to AAA by mid-season depending on his performance. Perez really looks like he’s going to be an excellent pitcher, especially if he can trim down his walks just a little bit.

Prediction for 2010

7-7, 3.30 ERA, 140 IP, 130 strikeouts, 45 walks

Expected ETA

Either 2011 late in the season, or most likely 2012 out of Spring Training

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review – Brian Matusz (P) of the Baltimore Orioles