Tag Archives: Jon Rauch

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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Season Preview: AL East


With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, 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.

Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96

Notable Additions

Baltimore – Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer

Boston – Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

New York – Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez

Tampa Bay – Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Chris Archer

Toronto – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Scott Podsednik, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis

Notable Losses

Baltimore – Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Boston – Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Bill Hall

New York – Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood

Tampa Bay – Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit

Toronto – Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Scott Downs

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Trade Retrospective – Johan Santana to the Mets


On February 2nd, 2008, the Minnesota Twins finally decided on an offer for Cy Young winner Johan Santana, and sent the ace to the New York Mets for OF Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber , and Kevin Mulvey.

The Background

The Twins were entering the 2008 season knowing full well that their top starting pitcher, Johan Santana, would be eligible for free agency after the season, and was extremely unlikely to sign with the team again. It was practically common knowledge by the end of the previous season that the Twins would be listening to offers for Santana, and looking back at some of them, are probably wishing that they had taken other ones instead. From an ESPN.COM article prior to the trade:

The Twins have continued to ask for Ellsbury, so the Red Sox have flipped Ellsbury back into their offer, sources say, while removing Lester, and upgraded slightly the rest of their proposed package slightly — perhaps to include right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson. Presumably, any offer with Ellsbury would not include Crisp.

As time progressed, many of the other offers began to back off from teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Twins were practically left with only the Mets as an option.

The Mets were once again looking for an ace starting pitcher, as Pedro Martinez had aged quite faster than even they had anticipated. If they were to be competitive in the NL East, they would need a top-of-the-rotation starter to help lead them.

The Moving Pieces

In Minnesota, the Twins slotted Carlos Gomez into the starting CF role and gave him the tough job of having to fill the shoes of the team’s favorite player, Torii Hunter, who had signed with the Angels in the offseason. Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber were both sent to AAA Rochester to be in their starting rotation, and Deolis Guerra was sent to the Twins’ High-A affiliate in Fort Myers.

In New York, the Mets put Johan Santana at the head of their starting rotation, and immediately signed him to a 6 year, $137.5 million contract extension.

What Happened Next

The Twins actually performed very well without their former ace, finishing with an 88-75 record and losing to the White Sox in the play-in game for the AL Central division title. Nick Blackburn started the 163rd game against the White Sox, and actually pitched extremely well, throwing 6 1/3 innings and only allowing a 7th inning homerun to Jim Thome.

The Mets were very happy with the performance of their new starting pitcher, as he went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA. Unfortunately, the Mets fell just short of their goals for the season, as they went 89-73, finishing 3 games back of NL East winner (and eventual World Series Champ) Philadelphia Phillies, and 1 game back of the Wild Card winning Milwaukee Brewers.

The Net Moves

Twins – First Level

  • Carlos Gomez actually only spent 2 seasons with the Twins, and was a bit of a disappointment. He hit .248/.293/.352 with 10 HR, 87 RBI, and 47 SB in his time there. He was traded after the 2009 season to the Brewers for SS J.J. Hardy.
  • Philip Humber never really panned out as a prospect for the Twins. He posted a 6.10 ERA in 13 appearances with the Twins over 2 seasons, and became a free agent after the 2009 season. He signed with the Royals, and was not eligible for any compensation.
  • Kevin Mulvey did not make his major league debut until 2009 with the Twins, making just 2 appearances totalling 1 1/3 innings and 4 earned runs (ERA of 27.00). He was sent to the Diamondbacks to complete the trade which brought Jon Rauch to the Twin Cities.
  • Deolis Guerra remains with the organization, and is still very young (just 21 at this point). He has split the 2010 season between AA and AAA, but has not really had any success at either level so far, posting a 2-10 record this season with a 5.66 ERA and a 72/38 strikeout to walk rate in 111 innings.

Mets – First Level

  • Johan Santana has been a very good pitcher for the Mets, but has had his moments of lessened quality. Overall, he has posted a 37-22 record with a 2.90 ERA and 457 strikeouts in 555 2/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately, the Mets have not made the playoffs in either of the two completed seasons, and are extremely unlikely to do so this season either.

Twins – Second Level

  • J.J. Hardy has been the starting shortstop for the Twins in 2010, but has missed a lot of time due to injuries. In 62 games, he has hit 4 homeruns and driven in 21 runs while hitting .258.
  • Jon Rauch was called upon to be the closer at the start of 2010 for the Twins once it was clear that Joe Nathan would need TJ surgery. In his 1+ seasons with the Twins, Rauch has posted a 7-2 record, 21 saves, and a 2.62 ERA. Unfortunately for him, he had stretch of poor outings, which led the Twins to acquire Matt Capps at the trade deadline, and relegate Rauch to the 8th inning role.

Overall Reactions

It’s still a bit early to claim that this trade has definitely had a winner, but it looks like it’s going to be the Mets. Santana has been very good and exactly what they were hoping for, and none of the players that the Twins got in return have panned out the way that they had hoped. When you start looking at some of the other offers that were out there (Ellsbury from Boston, Hughes from the Yankees), hindsight really doesn’t look kindly upon the Twins. It still remains to be seen how this will turn out, as the Mets have to be judged on the entirety of the contract extension that they gave to Santana, as it was one of the ways that he would approve the trade to begin with.

Original Draft Series: Team #29 – Chicago White Sox


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

Team #29: Chicago White Sox

General Managers(since 1994)

Ron Schueler (1994-2000): 550-515
Ken Williams (2001-current): 762-697

Team Performance

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

The performance over the past 15+ seasons points to two things: The AL Central has been a fairly weak division overall, as the White Sox ended up with 2nd place finishes 3 years in a row with sub-.500 records. Also, that while the organization has not always been excellent at developing their own Major Leaguers, they have done well to acquire players via free agency and trades.  All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Humberto Quintero Int’l FA – 1997 5 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to SD – 7/12/02
1B Dayan Viciedo Int’l FA – 2008 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Currently with Org.
2B Gordon Beckham 2008 – 1st Rd (8) 2 159 gm, .247/.326/.389, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 11 SB, 81 R Currently with Org.
3B Josh Fields 2004 – 1st Rd (18) 5 204 gm, .229/.302/.416, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 3 SB, 90 R Traded to KC – 11/6/09
SS Alexei Ramirez Int’l FA – 2008 2 344 gm, .278/.320/.423, 42 HR, 169 RBI, 29 SB, 160 R Currently with Org.
LF Carlos Lee Int’l FA – 1994 10 880 gm, .288/.340/.488, 152 HR, 552 RBI, 64 SB, 533 R Traded to MIL – 12/13/04
CF Aaron Rowand 1998 – 1st Rd (35) 7 579 gm, .283/.337/.451, 54 HR, 211 RBI, 38 SB, 255 R Traded to PHI – 11/25/05
RF Mike Cameron 1991 – 18th Rd 7 296 gm, .229/.315/.376, 23 HR, 100 RBI, 50 SB, 121 R Traded to CIN – 11/11/98
DH Magglio Ordonez Int’l FA – 1991 13 4 All Star Appearances, 2 Silver Slugger,
1001 gm, .307/.364/.525, 187 HR, 703 RBI, 82 SB, 624 R
Free Agency – 10/28/04
SP Mark Buehrle 1998 – 38th Rd 12 4 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove
139-103, 3.84 ERA, 1225 K, 489 BB, 2137.2 IP, 1.275 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Gio Gonzalez 2004 – 1st Rd (38) 1 + 1 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 1/3/08
SP John Ely 2007 – 3rd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to LAD – 12/18/09
SP Clayton Richard 2005 – 8th Rd 4 6-8, 5.14 ERA, 95 K, 50 BB, 136.2 IP, 1.500 WHIP Traded to SD – 7/31/09
SP Charlie Haeger 2001 – 25th Rd 7 1-2, 4.85 ERA, 20 K, 21 BB, 29.2 IP, 1.685 WHIP Selected by SD – 9/10/08
RP Kanekoa Texeira 2006 – 22nd Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to NYY – 11/13/08
RP Dan Hudson 2008 – 5th Rd 2 1-1, 3.38 ERA, 14 K, 9 BB, 18.2 IP, 1.339 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Matt Guerrier 1999 – 10th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to PIT – 3/27/02
RP Boone Logan 2002 – 20th Rd 6 4-4, 5.87 ERA, 92 K, 49 BB, 110.1 IP, 1.686 WHIP Traded to ATL – 12/4/08
RP Carlos Torres 2004 – 15th Rd 6 1-2 6.04 ERA, 22 K, 17 BB, 28.1 IP, 1.659 WHIP Currently with Org.
CL Jon Rauch 1999 – 3rd Rd 5 3-2, 6.51 ERA, 23 K, 18 BB, 37.1 IP, 1.661 WHIP Traded to MON – 7/18/04
BN Ryan Sweeney (OF) 2003 – 2nd Rd 4 33 gm, .213/.250/.288, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R Traded to OAK – 1/3/08
BN Chris B. Young (OF) 2001 – 16th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHW – 12/20/05
BN Chris Getz (IF) 2005 – 4th Rd 5 117 gm, .262/.323/.346, 2 HR, 32 RBI, 26 SB, 51 R Traded to KC – 11/6/09
BN Aaron Poreda (P) 2007 – 1st Rd (25) 2 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 12 K, 8 BB, 11 IP, 1.545 WHIP Traded to SD – 7/31/09
BN Adam Russell (P) 2004 – 6th Rd 5 4-0, 5.19 ERA, 22 K, 10 BB, 26 IP, 1.538 WHIP Traded to SD – 7/31/09

The White Sox have done a reasonably good job of drafting players over the past 15 years, and I think at least a part of that is a result of the stability at the top of the organization, specifically only having 2 general managers over that time period. The White Sox have done a very good job of acquiring top flight players via trade for some of the players listed above, including Jake Peavy, Juan Pierre, and even Paul Konerko. I think that this, coupled with some solid free agent signings, have helped to keep the Sox competitive.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had 30 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). Ignoring the 2009 draftees, they have had 19 of these picks play at least a single game in the Major Leagues. 3 players who were first round picks have not made it to the Majors yet but are still with the organization, including both 2009 top picks Jared Mitchell and Josh Phegley. They have gotten quite a bit of solid players out of the first round, but the best performance out of any of them for the White Sox was from CF Aaron Rowand. There are still quite a few players who were drafted in the first round who could potentially be solid Major Leaguers, but are still too raw or young. They have also received some late round values, especially 38th round pick Mark Buehrle.

International Free Agency

The White Sox don’t appear to have had a lot of luck in finding or developing many international free agents, with Alexei Ramirez being the most recent to make it to the Majors, and only Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez the others who are still active. Over time, I imagine that this is going to improve, as they have shown a willingness to spend on players (Ramirez and 1B Dayan Viciedo being prime examples) from Cuba and other Latin American nations.

Overall Grade

I think I have to give them a D. The goal of this project was to see what players were available based on who they originally signed with, and to me there’s still a lot to be desired out of the players listed above. The pitching staff has potential, but is still extremely raw. There’s a lot of excellent outfielders, but all of the infield positions are manned by either barely established players, or in the case of Viciedo, one who hasn’t yet played in the Majors. Overall, you have a group of players that still have a lot of potential to be good, but as of right now, have not had a lot of success and overall I think would have a hard time competing in the Majors.

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.

The Week in Review: April 4-April 11


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

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

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

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

Last Week’s Top Performers

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

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

Roster Movement and Job Changes

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

Top Rookie Performances

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

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

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