Tag Archives: Jim Thome

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

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

Notable Additions

Chicago - Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

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

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

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

Cleveland – NONE

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

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

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

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The Next to [Insert Milestone Here]


With the Super Bowl now in the record books, I thought it would be interesting to see who will be the next players to pass some of the big milestones in 2011. Every year we see some big milestones surpassed, and this year is trending to be no exception.

Hits

  • Derek Jeter – currently sitting at 2926 hits, or 74 shy of 3000 hits for his career. In 2010, he got his 74th hit of the season on June 8th, in his 58th game of the season.
  • Ivan Rodriguez – currently at 2817 hits, 183 shy of 3000 for his career. He has not had that many hits in a season since 1999, and unless he plays substantially in both 2011 and 2012, he doesn’t seem all that likely to get there.
  • Chipper Jones – currently at 2490 hits, 10 shy of 2500 for his career. It sounded like he’s only going to play 2011, so he wouldn’t get to 3000 if he does that. His Hall of Fame case is pretty good even if he doesn’t get there though.

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Week in Review – August 30 – September 5


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (83-53) vs. Minnesota Twins (80-57)
Texas Rangers (75-61) vs. New York Yankees (86-51)

Philadelphia Phillies (78-59) vs. Cincinnati Reds (79-57)
San Diego Padres (76-59) vs. Atlanta Braves (79-58)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .361
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 100
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 43
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 110
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 54

Wins –  C.C. Sabathia (NYY) 19
Saves – Rafael Soriano (TAM) 41
ERA – Clay Buchholz (BOS) and Mat Latos (SD) 2.25
Strikeouts – Felix Hernandez 209
WHIP – Mat Latos (SD) 0.98

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Jason Motte, Ian Stewart, Ricky Nolasco

Return from the Disabled List:  Nelson Cruz, Aaron Harang, Josh Fields, Ian Kinsler, Lance Berkman, Matt Lindstrom, Edgar Renteria, Jeff Suppan, Eric Patterson, Troy Glaus, Matt Thornton, Rafael Furcal, Luke Hochevar, Alex Rodriguez,

To the Minors: Chris Sampson

Called Up: Kenshin Kawakami, Mike Minor, Mike McCoy, Ramon Troncoso, Aroldis Chapman, Freddie Freeman, Desmond Jennings, Nolan Reimold, Wilson Ramos, Jeremy Hellickson, Yonder Alonso, Tyler Flowers, Carlos Carrasco, Brandon Allen, Mat Gamel, Jeremy Jeffress, Danny Espinosa, Rocco Baldelli, Mike Hampton, Matt Fox, Chris Tillman, Ben Revere

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The September 1st roster expansion happened this week, and there was no shortage of top prospects called up. I don’t think that a lot of them are going to get a lot of playing time though, and Danny Espinosa seems like he could be one of the more interesting ones.
  • The Padres are in full fledged collapse mode, having lost their last 10 and now only up 1.5 games on San Francisco. They need to win one and they need to do it soon to break out of this funk.
  • Nyjer Morgan apparently melted down again this week, inciting a brawl after being thrown at in a game. That fun, in addition to getting clocked WWE-style during the fight, also led to an 8-game suspension for him. I don’t know what’s going on with him, but clearly something’s not right in Washington for him.
  • Jim Thome passed Mark McGwire on the Career homerun leaderboard with 2 homeruns on Saturday, and now has 584 on his career. To me, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get into the Hall of Fame.
  • It came out late in the week that Colby Rasmus requested a trade back in July from the Cardinals, most likely stemming from arguments with manager Tony LaRussa. Well, I imagine that one of them won’t be in St. Louis come next April.
  • Aroldis Chapman and his 100+ mph fastball made their debuts on Monday, and the heat appears real. He almost reminds me of Joel Zumaya a bit just because of how often he is over 101 mph on the gun. The Reds are using him in middle relief this season, and I think that long term his role may be as a closer.
  • Interesting read from Miscellaneous Baseball about a pitching duel between two icons of the Dead-Ball era, Walter Johnson and Smokey Joe Wood.
  • Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score had an interesting post about the historic season that Carlos Gonzalez is having. I knew he was having a great year, but that’s a bit ridiculous.
  • Baseball Past and Present responded to a post by Seamheads with his own top 9 starting lineup of non-Hall of Famers.

Upcoming Posts The Next 2 Weeks:

Tuesday and Thursday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting team #6 and #5

Saturday:  I’ll be continuing my trade retro series on the Firesale Marlins of 1998.

Note that there will be no Week in Review post next week as I’ll be traveling and unable to finish the post.

Tuesday and Thursday: Original Draft Series #4 and #3

Saturday: Part 3 of the trade retro series on the Firesale Marlins.

One Other Thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Draft Series – Team # 18 – Cleveland Indians


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

Team #18: Cleveland Indians

General Managers(since 1994)

John Hart (1994-2001): 718-509
Mark Shapiro (2002-Current): 635-661

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Victor Martinez Int’l FA – 1996 13 3 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
821 gm, .297/.369/.463, 103 HR, 518 RBI, 413 R
Traded to BOS – 7/31/09
1B Russell Branyan 1994 – 7th Rd 8 + 1 294 gm, .232/.311/.472, 55 HR, 139 RBI, 2 SB, 124 R Traded to CIN – 6/7/02
2B Marco Scutaro Int’l FA – 1994 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIL – 7/28/00
3B Jhonny Peralta Int’l FA – 1999 11 902 gm, .265/.331/.424, 101 HR, 447 RBI, 9 SB, 469 R Currently with Org.
SS Maicer Izturis Int’l FA – 1998 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 1/5/04
LF Manny Ramirez 1991 – 1st Rd (13) 9 4 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers (OF)
967 gm, .313/.407/.592, 236 HR, 804 RBI, 28 SB, 665 R
Free Agency – 10/27/00
CF Willy Taveras Int’l FA – 1999 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draftee HOU – 12/15/03
RF Ben Francisco 2002 – 5th Rd 7 235 gm, .261/.332/.437, 28 HR, 99 RBI, 17 SB, 123 R Traded to PHI – 7/29/09
DH Jim Thome 1989 – 13th Rd 13 3 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
1377 gm, .287/.414/.567, 334 HR, 927 RBI, 18 SB, 917 R
Free Agency – 10/28/02
SP C.C. Sabathia 1998 – 1st Rd (20) 10 2007 AL Cy Young Award, 3 All Star Appearances
106-71, 3.83 ERA, 1265 K, 498 BB, 1528.2 IP, 1.265 WHIP
Traded to MIL – 7/7/08
SP David Huff 2006 – 1st Rd (39) 4 13-17, 5.76 ERA, 99 K, 71 BB, 198.1 IP, 1.603 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jeremy Guthrie 2002 – 1st Rd (22) 4 0-0, 6.08 ERA, 24 K, 23 BB, 37 IP, 1.757 WHIP Selected by BAL – 1/29/07
SP Fausto Carmona Int’l FA – 2000 10 39-43, 4.53 ERA, 384 K, 265 BB, 632 IP, 1.453 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brian Tallet 2000 – 2nd Rd 5 1-2, 4.04 ERA, 16 K, 15 BB, 35.2 IP, 1.486 WHIP Traded to TOR – 1/17/06
RP Aaron Laffey 2003 – 16th Rd 7 16-20, 1 SV, 4.59 ERA, 143 K, 116 BB, 294.1 IP, 1.522 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Tony Sipp 2004 – 45th Rd 6 2-2, 4.29 ERA, 75 K, 44 BB, 65 IP, 1.508 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Rafael Perez Int’l FA – 2002 8 10-9, 3 SV, 4.02 ERA, 211 K, 81 BB, 221.2 IP, 1.349 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jensen Lewis 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 5-11, 14 SV, 3.84 ERA, 162 K, 79 BB, 182.2 IP, 1.401 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP David Riske 1996 – 56th Rd 9 17-12, 16 SV, 3.55 ERA, 318 K, 135 BB, 317.1 IP, 1.261 WHIP Traded to BOS – 1/27/06
CL Danys Baez Int’l FA – 1999 4 17-23, 31 SV, 3.92 ERA, 248 K, 125 BB, 291.1 IP, 1.318 WHIP Free Agency – 12/20/03
BN Luke Scott (OF) 2001 – 9th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to HOU – 3/31/04
BN Ryan Church (OF) 2000 – 14th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 1/5/04
BN Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B) 2003 – 6th Rd 3 16 gm, .214/.279/.411, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 R Traded to SD – 11/8/06
BN Trevor Crowe (OF) 2005 – 1st Rd (14) 5 108 gm, .244/.295/.340, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 16 SB, 44 R Currently with Org.
BN Jeremy Sowers (P) 2004 – 1st Rd (6) 6 18-30, 5.18 ERA, 174 K, 132 BB, 400 IP, 1.440 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Indians have gotten some pretty good players out of the first round, with Manny Ramirez and C.C. Sabathia being the clear front runners of the group. The rest of the group out of the 1st round has been a bit of a mixed bag, as you have players like David Huff, Jeremy Guthrie, Trevor Crowe, and Jeremy Sowers who have had a minimal contribution to the Indians’ long term success. They have done well to get some of their players up quickly, with Huff being an example of one who is already up from the 2006 draft. Top picks Beau Mills and Lonnie Chisenhall (2007, 2008) are both performing well in the minors, although Mills has run into a bit of trouble of late. Another excellent choice turned out to be 13th round selection Jim Thome, who was the face of the franchise when Manny Ramirez left via free agency after the 2000 season. Looking at the last decade of 1st round picks, they’ve had a full 9 players who were taken in the first round, but have still never played in the Majors for even a single day.

International Free Agency

The Indians have done extremely well in the international markets, and have a wide variety of countries represented. They have found players from Cuba (Baez), the Dominican Republic (Carmona), and Venezuela (Martinez), among others. While quite a few of them did not play any significant role for the Indians (Scutaro, Izturis, Taveras), many of them have become Major League regulars for at least some period of time. There aren’t necessarily as many players coming through that pipeline as there were before, but it does take quite a while for most international free agents to end up on the radar of the top prospect sites.

Overall Grade

C+ – The Indians have had a few bonafide stars, with Ramirez, Sabathia, Thome, and Martinez to help lead the team over the years. They’ve also had some players who have become major league regulars, even if they didn’t do it for the Indians (Guthrie, Scutaro, Izturis, Kouzmanoff). The quality level of some of the positions isn’t amazing, and I think that is what is leading me to not be able to give them a grade of B or higher. Overall, they’ve done fairly well, although these players haven’t necessarily lead to a lot of on-the-field success in the past few years.

Team Preview – Chicago White Sox


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C A.J. Pierzynski SP 1 Mark Buehrle
1B Paul Konerko SP 2 Jake Peavy
2B Gordon Beckham SP 3 Gavin Floyd
3B Mark Teahen SP 4 John Danks
SS Alexei Ramirez SP 5 Freddy Garcia
LF Carlos Quentin Bullpen
CF Juan Pierre CL Bobby Jenks
RF Alex Rios RP J.J. Putz
DH Andruw Jones RP Scott Linebrink
Bench RP Matt Thornton
IF Omar Vizquel RP Tony Pena
OF Mark Kotsay RP Dan Hudson

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
3B Mark Teahen Trade (KC) IF Josh Fields Trade (KC)
CF Juan Pierre Trade (LAD) IF Chris Getz Trade (KC)
RP J.J Putz Free Agency RF Jermaine Dye Free Agency

Top Prospects: Tyler Flowers (C), Dan Hudson (P), Dayan Viciedo (IF)

2009 Review

The White Sox seemed prime to repeat as division champs after their victory in 2008. However, they saw a regression in some key players, most notably RF Jermaine Dye and LF Carlos Quentin. The offense was led by 1B Paul Konerko (.277, 28 HR), OF Scott Podsednik (.304, 30 SB), and rookie 3B Gordon Beckham (.270, 14 HR). Beckham, fresh out of the 2008 draft class, skyrocketed through the White Sox system in less than a full year, and was considered to be a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year as well. The pitching staff was anchored as usual by SP Mark Buehrle (13-10, 3.84), SP John Danks (13-11, 3.77) and SP Gavin Floyd (11-11, 4.06).

Perhaps the most notable events of the White Sox season involved transactions made by the front office. The Sox thought that they had acquired SP Jake Peavy in May for a package of prospects led by P Aaron Poreda, but Peavy invoked his no-trade clause, and remained in San Diego for the time being. Strangely, it was announced on July 31st that the White Sox had acquired Peavy, again for a package of prospects led by Poreda. The part that made this really strange was the fact that Peavy was still on the disabled list recovering from an ankle injury at the time. Peavy’s acquisition kept the White Sox hopeful that if they were close, they could make a late season run at the division crown. This was furthered by the White Sox making a claim on Blue Jays’ outfielder Alex Rios. The Sox knew that they could potentially be on the hook for the entirety of Rios’ contract (some 6 seasons and over $60 M), but felt that the risk for a player of Rios’ quality was worth it.

By the end of August, the White Sox had fallen to 4 games under .500, and 6 games back in the division. At this point, they moved DH Jim Thome in an effort to allow him a chance at a championship run. They failed in their efforts to move RF Jermaine Dye however, mostly due to his struggles at the plate (.189, 2 HR in August). The White Sox finished the season with a 79-83 record, and 7.5 games out of first place.

Team Outlook for 2010

The White Sox went out and made some roster moves that have the potential to improve the team quite a bit from last year. They will look to get full, healthy seasons out of LF Carlos Quentin and SP Jake Peavy. They are hoping for improvements at 2B and CF with Gordon Beckham and Juan Pierre now manning those positions full time. And they are hopeful that the bullpen will be even more improved with the addition of J.J. Putz.

I am not sold that the 2010 version of the White Sox is drastically improved over the 2009 version. Having Peavy for a full season will definitely be an improvement, but I’m not sold that the additions of Mark Teahen, Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones are substantial improvements over Chris Getz, Scott Podsednik, or Jim Thome. I think that in comparison to the other contenders in their division (Detroit, Minnesota), they simply haven’t improved enough to make a great run for the postseason. I think they’ll do better than the Tigers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended in the opposite order. And it would take quite a bit of luck for them to catch Minnesota.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

3B/2B Gordon Beckham, SS Alexei Ramirez, and 1B Paul Konerko are probably the best players on offense for the White Sox in terms of fantasy production. RP Bobby Jenks is always going to have value as long as he holds the closer’s role, but watch for either J.J. Putz or Matt Thornton to get a shot if Jenks struggles early on. Jake Peavy is the class of the starting rotation, but he comes with that wonderful risk of injury as well. Buehrle, Floyd, and Danks all can be useful starting pitchers, but I wouldn’t want to have to rely too heavily on them to be near the top of your fantasy rotation.

Prediction for 2010

The White Sox appear to be trying to make another run this season, before some of their better players (Konerko, Pierzynski, Buehrle) get too old to be useful. However, I don’t believe that the moves that they have made will put them over the top in the AL Central.

84-78, 2nd in the AL Central

Free Agency Review – OF/DH


Continuing on with my review of the 2010 free agent class, today’s positions are the outfielders and designated hitters.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Corner Outfielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Jason Bay BOS NYM 4 $66 M
Matt Holliday STL STL 7 $120 M
Xavier Nady NYY CHC 1 $3.3 M
Randy Winn SF NYY 1 $1.1 M
Marlon Byrd TEX CHC 3 $15 M
Bobby Abreu LAA LAA 2 $19 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Johnny Damon (NYY), Jermaine Dye (CHW)

What an unusual offseason. Holliday gets $120 M from the Cardinals, despite appearing to have no other offers even remotely as large or as long. Bay takes about $6 M more than the Red Sox offered, and goes to a park which I have to imagine is not going to be as good for him as a hitter as Fenway was. And then there is the case of Johnny Damon. As of this writing, Damon is STILL unsigned. He was looking for a very large contract, with 3-4 years in length and a large quantity of money. After the season he had last year, he appears to have been well within his rights to ask for it, too. Unfortunately, no one’s willing to pay it. Which makes the contract that Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels look that much better.

Center Fielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Rick Ankiel STL KC 1 $3.25 M
Scott Podsednik CHW KCR 1 $1.75 M
Coco Crisp KCR OAK 1 $5.25 M
Mike Cameron MIL BOS 2 $15.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Center fielders did alright this offseason, with Mike Cameron receiving the best contract overall. He’s going to be playing LF for the Red Sox most likely, although they’d probably be better served moving Jacoby Ellsbury instead. Crisp was added to the A’s outfield in spite of the logjam that was there when the offseason started, and the move makes a lot more sense now that they were able to move a couple of their excess outfielders. Both Podsednik and Ankiel aren’t going to play CF for the Royals, but I could see them splitting their time out there, and potentially in RF in place of Jose Guillen as well.

Designated Hitters
Name Old New Years Total $
Jim Thome LAD MIN 1 $1.5 M
Vladimir Guerrero LAA TEX 1 $5 M
Hideki Matsui NYY LAA 1 $6.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Not surprisingly, there were not a lot of designated hitters available, and jobs for them either. Matsui did well to take Guerrero’s old job, and get a nice salary for 2010. I really like the signing for the Angels, as Matsui is the definition of a professional hitter. Should fit in well with the rest of the lineup and the roster. Guerrero could very well have an excellent season in Texas, although I think Texas probably would have been better served using that money for other spots on the roster besides a player who cannot play the field any longer. Thome’s signing was under the radar, and also fits really well with his new team. He brings a professionalism and veteran leadership to the Twins that they don’t have a lot of at the moment.

Tomorrow’s free agency review: Starting Pitchers