Tag Archives: Joe Blanton

Free Agent Review – Cliff Lee to the Phillies


Wow. That’s pretty much all I can say.

With the news overnight that there may have been as much as $50 million left on the table by one Clifton Phifer Lee, it has been a complete shock to see that Cliff Lee has agreed to sign with the Phillies. The terms appear to be for 5 years, $115 million dollars, with an option for a 6th year that might be reasonably achievable.

From the Phillies Perspective

Honestly, I’m not sure I understand this entirely. Clearly, Lee is more than $10 M better than Joe Blanton ($20M salary for Lee, $10.5M for Blanton), but this seems a bit excessive. Adding Lee now brings them a 4th ace to go with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt for next season. The part that could really kill the Phillies long term is the amount of money they have tied up. The Phillies will most likely have the highest payroll of any team not playing in the Bronx next year, and have a ton of money committed to their roster already for 2012, 2013, and 2014.

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Original Draft Series – Team # 22 – Oakland Athletics


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

Team #22: Oakland Athletics

General Managers(since 1994)

Sandy Alderson (1994-1997): 261-321
Billy Beane (1998-Current): 1051-891

Team Performance

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

My hometown Athletics generally tend to have spurts of excellence. They had 4 playoff appearances in a row from 2000-2003, and another in 2006. The Athletics generally have been able to develop some players, but the depressing part is that almost invariably they have moved these players to acquire younger, cheaper players in order to stay competitive.  All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Kurt Suzuki 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 410 gm, .272/.329/.404, 37 HR, 199 RBI, 11 SB, 176 R Currently with Org.
1B Jason Giambi 1992 – 2nd Rd 7 + 1 2000 AL MVP, 2 All Star Appearances
1036 gm, .300/.406/.531, 198 HR, 715 RBI, 9 SB, 640 R
Free Agency – 11/5/01
2B Bobby Crosby 2001 – 1st Rd (25) 8 2004 AL Rookie of the Year
677 gm, .238/.305/.378, 61 HR, 263 RBI, 34 SB, 320 R
Free Agency – 11/5/09
3B Miguel Tejada Int’l FA – 1993 10 2002 AL MVP, 1 All Star Appearances
936 gm, .270/.331/.460, 156 HR, 604 RBI, 49 SB, 574 R
Free Agency – 10/27/03
SS Cliff Pennington 2005 – 1st Rd (21) 5 164 gm, .253/.329/.367, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 20 SB, 68 R Currently with Org.
LF Ryan Ludwick 1999 – 2nd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TEX – 1/14/02
CF Nick Swisher 2002 – 1st Rd (16) 5 458 gm, .251/.361/.464, 80 HR, 255 RBI, 4 SB, 267 R Traded to CHW – 1/3/08
RF Andre Ethier 2003 – 2nd Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to LAD – 12/13/05
DH Mark Teahen 2002 – 1st Rd (39) 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to KC – 6/24/04
SP Tim Hudson 1997 – 6th Rd 7 2 All Star Appearances
92-39, 3.30 ERA, 899 K, 382 BB, 1240.2 IP, 1.222 WHIP
Traded to ATL – 12/16/04
SP Barry Zito 1999 – 1st Rd (9) 7 2002 Cy Young Award, 3 All Star Appearances
102-63, 3.55 ERA, 1096 K, 560 BB, 1430.1 IP, 1.250 WHIP
Free Agency – 11/1/06
SP Dallas Braden 2004 – 24th Rd 6 18-27, 4.47 ERA, 231 K, 108 BB, 368.2 IP, 1.373 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Joe Blanton 2002 – 1st Rd (24) 6 47-46, 4.25 ERA, 431 K, 202 BB, 760.2 IP, 1.330 WHIP Traded to PHI – 7/17/08
SP Rich Harden 2000 – 17th Rd 8 36-19, 3.42 ERA, 523 K, 232 BB, 541.2 IP, 1.244 WHIP Traded to CHC – 7/8/08
RP Kevin Gregg 1996 – 15th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Free Agency – 10/15/02
RP Vin Mazzaro 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 6-10, 5.30 ERA, 78 K, 52 BB, 120.2 IP, 1.732 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Tyson Ross 2008 – 2nd Rd 2 1-4, 5.77 ERA, 28 K, 16 BB, 34.1 IP, 1.485 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Brad Kilby 2005 – 29th Rd 5 1-0, 1.07 ERA, 28 K, 4 BB, 25.1 IP, 0.829 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Huston Street 2004 – 1st Rd (40) 4 2005 AL Rookie of the Year
21-12, 94 SV, 2.88 ERA, 271 K, 78 BB, 269 IP, 1.071 WHIP
Traded to COL – 11/10/08
CL Andrew Bailey 2006 – 6th Rd 4 2009 AL Rookie of the Year, 1 All Star Appearance
6-5, 39 SV, 1.84 ERA, 113 K, 31 BB, 112.1 IP, 0.899 WHIP
Currently with Org.
BN Trevor Cahill (SP) 2006 – 2nd Rd 4 16-15, 4.24 ERA, 132 K, 93 BB, 246 IP, 1.354 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Eric Chavez (3B) 1996 – 1st Rd (10) 14 6 Gold Gloves (3B), 1 Silver Slugger (3B)
1320 gm, .267/.343/.478, 230 HR, 787 RBI, 47 SB, 730 R
Currently with Org.
BN Ramon Hernandez (C) Int’l FA – 1994 9 1 All Star Appearance
595 gm, .253/.322/.400, 60 HR, 263 RBI, 241 R
Traded to SD – 11/26/03
BN Jeremy Bonderman (SP) 2001 – 1st Rd (26) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to DET – 8/22/02
BN Travis Buck (OF) 2005 – 1st Rd (36) 5 167 gm, .255/.335/.432, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 7 SB, 74 R Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Athletics have had 32 draft picks in the first round since 1995, including the notorious Moneyball draft of 2002 where they had 7 picks. They’ve done reasonably well in the first round, with Barry Zito, Eric Chavez, Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher and Huston Street all showing as successes from the round. They have also seen some a lot of successful players out of the 2nd round, but not nearly as many of these players showed their success with the Athletics. Most notably is probably RF Andre Ethier, who was traded to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley before the 2006 season. The team did make a playoff appearance in 2006, and was helped by Milton Bradley’s production, but I’m guessing that they would still love to have Ethier back.

International Free Agency

The Athletics haven’t been particularly good at finding international free agents, with only Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez showing up on this roster. Part of this is the fact that they were unwilling to spend money on the top tier talent, as they would use that money for other items within development instead. That policy has changed slightly in the past few years, as the A’s have signed some top prospects out of the Dominican, most notably Michael Ynoa, a very young, very projectable pitcher. Time will tell if they will continue to see some prospects out of the international markets, but to this point the return has not been all that good.

Overall Grade

I think that the Athletics get my first “C”, as they have seen some excellent success stories (Zito, Chavez, Hudson), but there are quite a few of these players who did not make any appearances at all with the big league team. The fact that the international market has been so poor of a talent pool for them is what keeps me from moving them further up in the rankings.

Team Preview – Philadelphia Phillies


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Carlos Ruiz SP 1 Roy Halladay
1B Ryan Howard SP 2 Cole Hamels
2B Chase Utley SP 3 Joe Blanton
3B Placido Polanco SP 4 J.A. Happ
SS Jimmy Rollins SP 5 Jamie Moyer
LF Raul Ibanez Bullpen
CF Shane Victorino CL Brad Lidge
RF Jayson Werth RP Ryan Madson
Bench RP J.C. Romero
OF Greg Dobbs RP Danys Baez
C Brian Schneider RP Chad Durbin

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Roy Halladay Trade (TOR) SP Cliff Lee Trade (SEA)
3B Placido Polanco Free Agency 3B Pedro Feliz Free Agency
RP Danys Baez Free Agency SP Brett Myers Free Agency

Top Prospects: Domonic Brown (OF), Philippe Aumont (P), Juan Ramirez (P), Tyson Gillies (OF)

2009 Review

The Phillies finished 2008 as the World Champions, and were looking to repeat coming into 2009. They did well for the most part early on, and made a huge splash at the trade deadline. After failing to acquire Roy Halladay, they turned their interest to reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, acquiring him for a large package of prospects instead. They won the division pretty easily, and cruised through both the Rockies (3-1), and the Dodgers (4-1) to advance to the World Series. Lee pitched extremely well during the playoffs, although he wasn’t able to carry them past the Yankees, as they lost 4-2 in the Series.

The Phillies were led on offense by 2B Chase Utley (.282, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 23 SB), 1B Ryan Howard (.279, 45 HR, 141 RBI), and OF Jayson Werth (36 HR, 99 RBI, 20 SB). Considering they also had solid performances from OFs Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez, this was a team that scored a lot of runs. On the pitching side, mid-season acquisition Cliff Lee pitched well (7-4, 3.39), and rookie J.A. Happ was a very solid performer as well (12-4, 2.93 ERA). The bullpen was in flux for most of the season, as closer Brad Lidge was unable to perform even a little bit consistently (0-8, 7.21 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 7 BSV), and had to rely sometimes on Ryan Madson to help with the duties.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Phillies made the biggest trade of the offseason, finally acquiring SP Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, and in the same trade moving Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects. I’m not sure that Halladay is that much of an upgrade over Lee, at least not to warrant the cost of the prospects that they moved to the Blue Jays. But signing him to a 3 year extension should help with that as well. The offense remains extremely stacked, and I actually think it could be better with Polanco in the 2 spot of the lineup (if that’s where he ends up). He’s still probably a better overall hitter than Feliz was. The rotation will look for a bounceback effort from Cole Hamels, and should be happy with having J.A. Happ in the rotation for the full season this year. Overall, they are a team that almost has a feel of an American League team with the amount of offense and pitching they have.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Lots to like on the Phillies. 2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard lead the way, but SS Jimmy Rollins, OF Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, and Raul Ibanez are all fanatasy gold as well. From the pitching side, SP Roy Halladay is probably going to finish the season as a top-3 starter at worst, and Cole Hamels should return to form as well. Someone to keep an eye on for deeper leagues is Joe Blanton, who doesn’t necessarily have a lot of upside anymore, but should provide solid numbers and ratios.

Prediction for 2010

The Phillies are the class of the NL East yet again, and it would take a lot in my opinion for them to be unseated as the champs of the division. Look for them to use what few prospects they have left at this point if they need a specific piece down the stretch, but I think they’re going to coast to the division title.

96-66, 1st in the NL East

Fantasy Preview – Starting Pitchers Part 2


Last Sunday, I ranked my top 25 starting pitchers, and will finish up my rankings of the next 50 today. Not as many stats this time, but still some notes regarding the pitchers.

26. Cole Hamels (PHI) – I wrote about Hamels over at Fake Teams, and think that he’s going to rebound quite nicely this season. I think he can post around 200 strikeouts along with a 3.50 ERA and a sub 1.25 WHIP. I think that he also could be the victim of some sleeper hype as a result of the poor season last year.

27. Chad Billingsley (LAD) – Billingsley should recover nicely from the perceived poor season he had. His ERA should rebound, and his WHIP and strikeouts were both solid last year. Pitching half your starts at Dodgers Stadium will always help also.

28. Brett Anderson (OAK) – Anderson has been getting a lot of hype this offseason, and with reason. From July onward: 98 strikeouts, 1.11 WHIP, 3.02 ERA in 101 IP. While I think that he could see some downturn due to the jump in innings from last season, I think he could very well post those types of numbers for a full season.

29. Jered Weaver (LAA) – Weaver will be asked to lead the Angels pitching staff now, and should be able to fill that role pretty well. He has posted a strikeout rate over 7 per 9 in each of the last 2 seasons, and could approach 200 strikeouts again this season.

30. John Lackey (BOS) – Lackey goes to a new ballpark, with a new team. I’m not sure that either of those facts are particularly relevant to his ability to pitch effectively as a fantasy starter. He seems likely to post similar numbers whether he remained in Anaheim or not. He should post an ERA around 3.75 with a strikeout rate around 7.5 per 9 innings. If he gets to 200 innings I could see 160+ strikeouts potentially.

31. A.J. Burnett (NYY) – Burnett is going to strike out a lot of batters, as he’s been right around 200 in each of the last 3 seasons. However, his walk rate actually increased last season, getting up to 4.22 per 9 innings. He’s likely to get more win opportunities than a pitcher on another team due to the excellent Yankees lineup. However, I think he’s just as likely to post an ERA of 4.50 or higher as he is to post one under 4.00. Caveat emptor on this one.

32. Ryan Dempster (CHC) – Dempster posted a second straight solid season in the rotation, and posted another 200 inning season as well. To me, Dempster is a solid starting pitcher, and very consistent as well. He’s going to strikeout at least 160, and should post a WHIP around 1.30. Not the flashiest pitcher you could get, nor does he possess any particular upside, but you need pitchers like this too.

33. Randy Wolf (MIL) – Wolf appears to have been really helped by Dodger Stadium, but I’m not inclined to believe it was that much. His ERA was almost a half run lower than his FIP, but the rest of his numbers could be a solid value for your fantasy team. I can see him posting a 1.25 WHIP and a sub-4 ERA to go along with 160 strikeouts. A very solid #3 starter.

34. Jorge de la Rosa (COL) – The strikeouts are wonderful. He’s likely to strikeout more than a batter per inning. The walk rate, not so much. I think that he could conceivably improve on the walk rate, but the ERA and WHIP are probably going to suffer slightly even still. I had originally thought he could be a top-30 pitcher, but unless he can show that he can lower that walk rate, he’s going to remain lower in the rankings.

35. Scott Baker (MIN) – Baker had a better season than his ERA tells us. His ERA seems like it should come around, based on his sub 1.20 WHIPs in each of the last 2 seasons. Strikes out a little more than 7 per 9 innings, and there’s a lot to like here from Baker. I think this could be the year that he vaults into the top 20 of starting pitching.

36. James Shields (TAM) – I think Shields could see some improvement in his ERA from last season. He should strike out over 150 and post a solid WHIP in over 200 innings pitched. Probably the definition of a lower-risk, lower-upside pitcher. He’s not likely to strikeout 200 hitters, but if he can do repeat hist 2009 season, he will be a solid #2 or #3 starting pitcher.

37. Roy Oswalt (HOU) – Oswalt used to be considered a top-tier starting pitcher. He looks like he may have been a little bit unlucky last season, but his strikeout rate is down which concerns me. The fact that he pitches for the Astros and their anemic offense does nothing to make me feel better. I think that if he returns to 200 IP, he can strikeout about 150-170 or so, with a sub-4 ERA and a sub 1.30 WHIP

38. Scott Kazmir (LAA) – Kazmir should post a high strikeout rate, but his WHIP is still a concern. I think he’s probably going to be above 1.30 in that category, and could very well end up causing him to have an ERA above 4. There’s a lot of upside here, but I think this is about where I’d be willing to draft him.

39. Rich Harden (TEX) – There’s a lot of upside here. A LOT. He struck out almost 11 per 9 innings last year when he was healthy. But this “health” thing remains Harden’s issue. I don’t think that the move to Arlington will affect him particularly. Look for another season of 140 or so excellent innings, and anything else from him would be a bonus in my opinion.

40. Gavin Floyd (CHW) – Floyd only posted 11 wins last season, but I think he can improve on that this season.  Of some concern to me is the fact that his strikeout rate jumped last season by a full strikeout per 9 innings. He’s likely to provide a 1.25 WHIP, and I can see him adding 150 strikeouts and an ERA around 4.00 to that WHIP.

41. Edwin Jackson (ARI) – Pitcher moving from the AL to the NL: generally a good thing. Jackson really put together a great season last year, his first truly solid season from start to finish. I think that he should be helped a lot by being around Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, along with pitching in the pitcher friendly NL West.

42. Jair Jurrjens (ATL) – Jurrjens is a pitcher who appears to have posted a very lucky ERA (2.60), but even looking at his FIP for last season (3.68), he still posted a very solid season if that had been his ERA instead. He’s going to give you a lot of innings, and a solid strikeout number as well.

43. Clay Buchholz (BOS) – Buchholz will hopefully get a full season of starts this year, as he could conceivably post a sub-4 ERA with 175+ strikeouts and a solid WHIP as well. You’ll have to watch how this shakes out during the spring, but there’s a lot of upside with Clay.

44. Carlos Zambrano (CHC) – Big Z is a tease. He struck out 152 in 169 innings last season. And walked 78 in that same workload. Take the strikeouts knowing that he’s probably going to hurt your WHIP.  He should improve slightly on his WHIP from last year, but should still be around 1.30. There’s some upside here, but I probably won’t be the one that will be taking the chance.

45. Joe Blanton (PHI) – The numbers aren’t sexy. The fact that he gets them are also not. But he’s going to give you a lot of innings, and solid ratios and strikeouts for those innings. Another one of those solid starters that your team will need to back up some of your upside plays.

46. J.A. Happ (PHI) – There’s been a lot of talk that Happ was extremely lucky last season, and his strikeout and walk rates both point to that as well. I think that he can be a very solid starting pitcher though, and there’s some upside here to me. He should post a sub-4 ERA and a sub 1.30 WHIP, along with a solid if not amazing strikeout rate.

47. Max Scherzer (DET) – I think that Scherzer isn’t going to be affected too adversely by his move to the American League, as he was a dominant strikeout pitcher last season. That said, the missed time is of some concern, and the fact that the D’Backs were willing to give him up so easily also worries me. But there’s a lot of upside with him as well.

48. Tim Hudson (ATL) – Hudson came back at the end of last season, and had 7 solid starts. I think that if he can get to 200 innings pitched, he will strikeout 140 and post solid ratios as well. But there’s that injury risk still floating over Hudson, and that’s why he’s not likely to be higher on my rankings.

49. Ben Sheets (OAK) – Coming back from a lost season, Sheets is definitely high-risk. But the upside involved with Sheets is a top-10 starting pitcher. If he pitches well and the A’s fall out of the race, he will most likely be moved to a contending team as well.

50. Wade Davis (TAM) –  Davis struck out more than a batter per inning last year in his brief time with the Rays, and I am very interested to see how he will do in a full season at the Majors. The AL East is probably going to eat a lot of starters up and spit them out, but I think that Davis is one who will hold his own.

At this point, you’re looking for either high-upside or pitchers who are extremely consistent. I have a lot of these pitchers right around the same value as each other, so the specific rankings aren’t necessarily as important. At this point you should be taking a look at what your starters are currently providing, and draft accordingly. My next 25 starters:

51. Jonathan Sanchez (SF)
52. Ted Lilly (CHC)
53. John Danks (CHW)
54. Erik Bedard (SEA)
55. Colby Lewis (TEX)
56. Brian Matusz (BAL)
57. Randy Wells (CHC)
58. Mat Latos (SD)
59. Jeff Niemann (TAM)
60. David Price (TAM)
61. Ervin Santana (LAA)
62. Scott Feldman (TEX)
63. Mark Buehrle (CHW)
64. John Maine (NYM)
65. Bronson Arroyo (CIN)
66. Rick Porcello (DET)
67. Hiroki Kuroda (LAD)
68. Aaron Harang (CIN)
69. Kevin Slowey (MIN)
70. Derek Lowe (ATL)
71. Clayton Richard (SD)
72. Joba Chamberlain (NYY)
73. Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS)
74. Ricky Romero (TOR)
75. Johnny Cueto (CIN)

Tomorrow’s post: Fantasy Relief Pitcher Rankings

Games 3 and 4 Thoughts


I didn’t get a chance to watch either of Games 3 or 4 with a busy weekend, but from the highlights and recaps, a few things stood out to me.

  • The Phillies held their ace for Game 5, and there’s a chance it may have really cost them. Blanton pitched well, but they really needed to win Game 4, and would have been able to figure it out from there.
  • I can’t recall ever seeing anyone steal 2 bases on the same pitch like that, but it definitely caught the Phillies sleeping.
  • Ryan Howard has really not hit very well, and it seems to be showing.
  • Alex Rodriguez is hitting really, really well. Crud.

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