Tag Archives: Kerry Wood

Season Preview – NL Central


Time to look at the 6 team NL Central division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL East.

Last Year’s Records
Cincinnati – 91-71
St. Louis – 86-76
Milwaukee – 77-85
Houston – 76-86
Chicago – 75-87
Pittsburgh – 57-105

Notable Additions

Chicago – Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood

Cincinnati – Edgar Renteria

Houston – Clint Barmes

Milwaukee – Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Takashi Saito, Mark Kotsay

Pittsburgh – Lyle Overbay, Garrett Atkins, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel

St. Louis – Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman

Notable Losses

Chicago – Sam Fuld, Tom Gorzelanny

Cincinnati – Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Harang

Houston – Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino

Milwaukee – Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun

Pittsburgh -  Zack Duke, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge

St. Louis – Brendan Ryan, Pedro Feliz, Brad Penny, Jeff Suppan

My Thoughts

Chicago – The Cubs had a very disappointing season last year, and went out and tried to plug some of those holes this offseason. Bringing in Carlos Pena on a 1 year contract, despite its cost, looks like a very nice signing for a power bat. The acquisition of Matt Garza brings a young, cost-controlled high-end starting pitcher to their rotation, but at the cost of top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, and others.  I am not sold that this team will compete this year, as they will need bounceback performances from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano to really end up in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati – The defending NL Central champions, the team has lost Aaron Harang and will hope that the combination of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and others will be able to pitch complete seasons this year. The team returns nearly every player from last season’s title, but I don’t think that it is a slam-dunk that they will just run away with the division again this year.

Houston – Talk about a rebuilding effort. Here’s a team which has very few high-end prospects in the system right now, who also does not have a lot of higher-quality players at the Major League level either. There are some quality players in Hunter Pence and Brett Myers, but there’s not a lot of hope for the 2011 season. They will look to get a solid rookie season out of last year’s acquisition, Brett Wallace, but you have essentially gathered a group of mid-level players who can fill out a roster, but are unlikely to compete as a group for a division title, let alone a league championship

Milwaukee – And within the same division, you have a team who has gone all-in for 2011. The Brewers have traded nearly all of their top prospects in order to improve their pitching staff, and did so with the acquisitions of Marcum and Greinke. It’s not a great sign that Greinke is hurt already, but he should return in mid April and only miss a few starts. The bigger story throughout the season will be whether or not they fall out of contention and attempt to trade Prince Fielder before the deadline. They definitely remain a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh – For a team that lost 105 games last year, they actually have a lot to look forward to. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is poised to become one of the best young players in the Majors, and 2nd year players Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both will look to build on their solid rookie years. They aren’t likely to compete this season, but there’s hope for Pirates fans that is starting to show itself at the Major League level.

St. Louis – The biggest story out of St. Louis up until the start of Spring Training was whether or not Albert Pujols would sign a contract extension prior to the start of the season, and unfortunately it’s no longer the current top story out of their camp. With Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright out for the season with Tommy John surgery, they will now look to replace at least some part of his production in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that this team, as constructed, can compete for the division title. They will need everything else to fall just right for them to win this division.

Overall Thoughts

The NL Central really has the look of a wide open division. If things fall just right, 4 of the teams could conceivably win the division this season. That said, I’m not sold that things will fall right for all of them, but it should be intersting to watch regardless.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Milwaukee
2. Cincinnati
3. St. Louis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

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

Continue reading

Week in Review – July 12 to July 18


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (55-36) vs. Texas Rangers (53-39)
Chicago White Sox (50-41) vs. New York Yankees (58-33)

Colorado Rockies (50-41) vs. Atlanta Braves (54-38)
St. Louis Cardinals (51-41) vs. San Diego Padres (54-37)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .347
Runs – Carl Crawford (TAM) 70
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 25
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 79
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 33

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) 26
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.62
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 142
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.94

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Kerry Wood, Mat Latos, Mike Adams, Eric O’Flaherty, Reed Johnson, Matt Wieters, Justin Morneau, Doug Davis

Return from the Disabled List: Zach Duke, Manny Ramirez, Chad Durbin, Carlos Beltran, Jason Heyward, Placido Polanco

To the Minors: Jason Jaramillo, Dan Meyer, Brandon Hicks

Called Up: Allen Craig, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Bell

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The All-Star Game festivities were this week, so there were only 4 days with games on them. The National League finally managed to get off the bench and win one, as they defeated the American League 3 to 1 on Tuesday. Brian McCann had the deciding hit, and was named the game’s MVP.  Manager Joe Girardi of the American League received a small ration of grief as well for not pinch running Alex Rodriguez for David Ortiz in the bottom of the 9th inning, but overall the game was pretty well played and well managed.
  • The Home Run Derby on Monday was won by David Ortiz, and since the majority of the players participating had very little home run derby experience, it was nice to see them get so much national exposure.
  • Sadly, the Yankee family lost a titan on Tuesday, with the passing of owner George Steinbrenner from a massive heart attack. I wrote up my thoughts on the Boss here.
  • The All-Star break ended with a surprising trade, as the Braves sent their starting SS Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays for their starting SS, Alex Gonzalez. It appears that Escobar was not well liked in the Braves’ clubhouse, and there seemed to be constant concern with a lack of effort from Escobar. A true challenge trade, it remains to be seen which side will win this trade in the end, but I actually think it could be good for both teams.
  • It had been widely discussed that Padres’ ace Mat Latos would be on an innings limit, and there was talk that he might be placed on the disabled list so that he could be skipped for his next start and help to keep him near that innings limit. The surprise was the “injury” that he sustained to put him there. Apparently he tweaked a muscle trying not to sneeze. At least it’s not a deer meat injury.

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: I will be continuing on with my series of posts about the 2003 BA Almanac, going over both the Minor League All-Stars  the Top 20 Prospects by League, and the 2002 Top 100 Prospect List

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs. This one is a huge trade, since 4 teams were involved in it, and also clearly had an impact on the pennant races as well.

Other News

I also wanted to let everyone know that in addition to writing for Fake Teams, I am also now a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. The group of over 200 blogs has writers who cover nearly every aspect of baseball you could think of, and honestly a couple I had not thought of yet.

The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America.  These awards can be found here in October with links back to the voters, ensuring transparancy and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball arguments.

Over the coming weeks, I will be taking a look at a lot of them (there are so many!), and may potentially writeup a few of them. We’ll see what happens, but I’m really excited to be here!

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 # 17 – Chicago Cubs


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

Team #17: Chicago Cubs

General Managers(since 1994)

Ed Lynch (1994-2000): 439-516
Andy MacPhail (2000-2002): 155-169
Jim Hendry (2003-Current): 587-545

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th or 6th
0 0 4 3 2 3 2 7

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Geovany Soto 2001 – 11th Rd 9 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, 1 All Star Appearance
333 gm, .265/.358/.460, 45 HR, 162 RBI, SB, 131 R
Currently with Org.
1B Jake Fox 2003 – 3rd Rd 6 89 gm, .252/.305/.457, 11 HR, 45 RBI, 26 R Traded to OAK – 12/3/09
2B Ryan Theriot 2001 – 3rd Rd 9 583 gm, .287/.352/.361, 14 HR, 170 RBI, 98 SB, 319 R Currently with Org.
3B Casey McGehee 2003 – 10th Rd 5 9 gm, .167/.160/.208, 5 RBI, R Selected by MIL – 10/29/08
SS Starlin Castro Int’l FA – 2006 4 45 gm, .265/.322/.348, 2 HR, 16 RBI, SB, 16 R Currently with Org.
LF Tyler Colvin 2006 – 1st Rd (13) 4 73 gm, .283/.333/.553, 10 HR, 27 RBI, 24 R Currently with Org.
CF Corey Patterson 1998 – 1st Rd (3) 7 589 gm, .252/.293/.414, 70 HR, 231 RBI, 86 SB, 293 R Traded to BAL – 1/9/06
RF Kosuke Fukudome Int’l FA – 2007 3 1 All Star Appearance
361 gm, .260/.366/.405, 27 HR, 136 RBI, 22 SB, 182 R
Currently with Org.
SP Carlos Zambrano Int’l FA – 1997 13 108-74, 3.58 ERA, 1377 K, 723 BB, 1607 IP, 1.310 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Ricky Nolasco 2001 – 4th Rd 4 No Major League Appearance with Org. Traded to FLA – 12/7/05
SP Jamie Moyer 1984 – 6th Rd 4 28-34, 4.42 ERA, 313 K, 194 BB, 490.1 IP, 1.475 WHIP Traded to TEX – 12/5/88
SP Jon Garland 1997 – 1st Rd (10) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CHW – 7/29/98
SP Kyle Lohse 1996 – 29th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIN – 5/21/99
RP Michael Wuertz 1997 – 11th Rd 11 13-7, 3.57 ERA, 270 K, 128 BB, 262.1 IP, 1.346 WHIP Traded to OAK – 2/2/09
RP Kyle Farnsworth 1994 – 47th Rd 11 22-37, 4.78 ERA, 467 K, 224 BB, 478.2 IP, 1.446 WHIP Traded to DET – 2/9/05
RP Will Ohman 1998 – 8th Rd 5 6-8, 4.33 ERA, 166 K, 84 BB, 160 IP, 1.419 WHIP Released – 10/30/03
RP Scott Downs 1997 – 3rd Rd 1 + 1 4-3, 5.17 ERA, 63 K, 37 BB, 94 IP, 1.638 WHIP Traded to MIN – 11/3/98
RP Kerry Wood 1995 – 1st Rd (4) 13 1998 Rookie of the Year, 2 All Star Appearances,
77-61, 3.65 ERA, 1407 K, 577 BB, 1219.1 IP, 1.250 WHIP
Free Agency – 10/31/08
CL Carlos Marmol Int’l FA – 1999 11 1 All Star Appearance,
16-17, 36 SV, 3.32 ERA, 425 K, 225 BB, 341.2 IP, 1.279 WHIP
Currently with Org.
BN Eric Hinske (OF) 1998 – 17th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 3/28/01
BN Sam Fuld (OF) 2004 – 10th Rd 6 79 gm, .282/.403/.388, HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 20 R Currently with Org.
BN Micah Hoffpauir (1B) 2002 – 13th Rd 8 138 gm, .264/.323/.453, 12 HR, 43 RBI, 2 SB, 42 R Currently with Org.
BN Eric Patterson (2B) 2004 – 8th Rd 4 20 gm, .239/.308/.348, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 5 R Traded to OAK – 7/8/08
BN Brendan Harris (3B) 2001 – 5th Rd 3 3 gm, .222/.300/.333, 1 RBI Traded to MON – 7/31/04
BN Randy Wells (P) 2002 – 38th Rd 8 15-16, 3.72 ERA, 170 K, 70 BB, 254.1 IP, 1.337 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Cubs have had some very solid success stories out of the draft, with Kerry Wood pitching well for the team for over 13 years. Unfortunately, a lot of the first round picks have been a mixed bag at best. You have 1998 1st rounder Corey Patterson, who never really came to be the player that the Cubs had thought he would. You have 1997 first rounder Jon Garland who was traded away to the crosstown White Sox for essentially nothing. And of course there’s the story of can’t-miss phenom Mark Prior, who was derailed after a couple of great seasons by injuries. In the last few years, you have players who have provided some value to the team, but many who have not done a whole lot for the organization as a whole. Some credit is due to the Cubs’ player development department, as there have been a lot of Major League regulars who have gone through the system at one point or another.

International Free Agency

The Cubs have done fairly well with the international markets. Carlos Zambrano (personality concerns aside) has probably been the best player they have signed out of a foreign country, and Carlos Marmol has really evolved into a top-flight reliever. Starlin Castro looks like he will have the potential to be a top tier shortstop with some more development as well. The biggest dollar signee that they have had out of the international markets is Kosuke Fukudome out of Japan. Fukudome has been a reasonably good outfielder to this point, but is probably not playing to the level that the Cubs had hoped when they gave him a 4 year, $32 million contract after the 2007 season.

Overall Grade

C+ – Overall the Cubs have done pretty well with developing players, and there were actually quite a few players (Sean Marshall, James Russell, among others) that were left off this roster but who are currently with the organization and have done reasonably well to this point in their careers. Unfortunately, they are also just as likely to have traded away useful players, and in many of these trades I don’t believe that they did all that well to get the returns and get what they needed to compete. Obviously, the product on the field has not quite been what they were looking for either, as the championship drought continues into its 102nd season.

Team Preview – Cleveland Indians


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Lou Marson SP 1 Jake Westbrook
1B Russell Branyan SP 2 Justin Masterson
2B Luis Valbuena SP 3 David Huff
3B Jhonny Peralta SP 4 Aaron Laffey
SS Asdrubal Cabrera SP 5 Fausto Carmona
LF Michael Brantley Bullpen
CF Grady Sizemore CL Kerry Wood
RF Shin-Soo Choo RP Chris Perez
DH Travis Hafner RP Tony Sipp
Bench RP Rafael Perez
IF Andy Marte RP Joe Smith
OF Matt LaPorta RP Carlos Carrasco

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
1B Russell Branyan Free Agency C Kelly Shoppach Trade (TAM)

Top Prospects: Hector Rondon (P), Carlos Santana (C), Lonnie Chisenhall (3B), Nick Hagadone (P)

2009 Review

The Indians had recovered from the trade of SP C.C. Sabathia during the 2008 season, and were hopeful for improvement in the 2009 season. However, almost from the beginning things began to go wrong. They started the season with a 5 game losing streak, and never really recovered from it. By the end of April, they were 6 games under .500 and already 3.5 games out of the division lead. The team was decimated by poor performances or injuries from SP Fausto Carmona, CL Kerry Wood, and CF Grady Sizemore. By the time the trade deadline approached, it was clear that the Indians were not going anywhere this season. Midseason trades of reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, 3B Mark DeRosa, and C Victor Martinez signaled the end of the season for all intents and purposes.

The Indians did have a few bright spots. The offense was led by RF Shin-Soo Choo (.300, 20 HR, 21 SB) and SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.308, 17 SB). SP Cliff Lee pitched well prior to his trade (7-9, 3.14), and C Victor Martinez performed well also (.284, 15 HR). Young players like 2B Luis Valbuena, 1B Matt LaPorta, and starters David Huff and Aaron Laffey all showed improvements in their development. The team, unfortunately, finished even worse than they started, posting a 7-21 record in September to limp into a 65-97 record which led to the firing of manager Eric Wedge.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Indians are hopeful for bounce-back performances from SP Fausto Carmona, RP Kerry Wood, DH Travis Hafner, and CF Grady Sizemore. This, in addition to a full season of SP Justin Masterson, give the Indians hope for the future. The only significant free agent signing they made was the recent addition of 1B Russell Branyan. He should bring some power to a lineup that appears to be severely lacking. That signing will most likely limit the playing time of either Matt LaPorta or Michael Brantley.

Their prospects for the 2010 season look pretty bleak. Their rotation, while young, just doesn’t really inspire me to thoughts that they can compete with the pitching staffs in their own division. The offense is developing, but is probably another year away from being a solid group of hitters. There is help coming, in the form of top prospects C Carlos Santana and 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, but they’re not ready yet.

The Indians are hopeful that new manager Manny Acta can help to develop these players, as they look to his experience with the Nationals as a good sign that he can handle the role. Look for the Indians to potentially move anyone not in the long-term plans of the team, including CL Kerry Wood, SP Jake Westbrook, and potentially even DH Travis Hafner if they can find a taker.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The players with the most fantasy value are CF Grady Sizemore, who I think will rebound closer to his 2008 performance level, RF Shin-Soo Choo, and SS Asdrubal Cabrera. Beyond that, nearly everyone else is a risky player, with some upside. One player I would watch specifically is SP Justin Masterson, as he should perform fairly well given consistent time in the rotation. Another player that could have some fantasy value would be LF Michael Brantley, as he has the potential to steal 30+ bases with a full time job.

Prediction for 2010

The Indians are in full rebuilding mode, and it really shows at the moment. They have put together a good group of young talent, led by 1B Matt LaPorta and SS Asdrubal Cabrera. But they are at least another season away, and hopefully will use 2010 as a developmental season for the many young players they have on the roster.

68-94, 5th in the AL Central