Tag Archives: Lastings Milledge

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

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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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Original Draft Series: #26 – New York Mets


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

Team #26: New York Mets

General Managers(since 1994)

Joe McIlvaine (1994-1997): 283-298
Steve Phillips (1998-2003): 502-469
Jim Duquette (2004): 71-91
Omar Minaya (2005-Current): 427-383

Team Performance

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

The Mets have actually had some pretty solid years over the past 16 seasons. With a trip to the World Series in 2000,  and 3 playoff appearances overall, the Mets have done well with what they’ve had. The key being that as time has progressed since 1994, they have continued to spend money in addition to developing players, sometimes one to the detriment of the other. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Josh Thole 2005 – 13th Rd 5 17 gm, .321/.356/.396, 9 RBI, SB, 2 R Currently with Org.
1B Ike Davis 2008 – 1st Rd (18) 2 51 gm, .258/.346/.451, 8 HR, 22 RBI, SB, 31 R Currently with Org.
2B Ty Wigginton 1998 – 17th Rd 6 288 gm, .270/.327/.440, 29 HR, 131 RBI, 20 SB, 137 R Traded to PIT – 7/30/04
3B David Wright 2001 – 1st Rd (38) 9 4 All Star Appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
910 gm, .308/.388/.519, 152 HR, 611 RBI, 130 SB, 585 R
Currently with Org.
SS Jose Reyes Int’l FA – 1999 11 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
851 gm, .284/.336/.430, 66 HR, 348 RBI, 318 SB, 587 R
Currently with Org.
LF Angel Pagan 1999 – 4th Rd 7+2 181 gm, .293/.345/.446, 10 HR, 71 RBI, 31 SB, 102 R Purchased by CHC – 1/25/06
CF Carlos Gomez Int’l FA – 2002 5 58 gm, .232/.288/.304, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 12 SB, 29 R Traded to MIN – 2/2/08
RF Nelson Cruz Intl FA – 1998 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 8/30/00
SP Scott Kazmir 2002 – 1st Rd (15) 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to TAM – 7/30/04
SP A.J. Burnett 1995 – 8th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 2/6/98
SP Mike Pelfrey 2005 – 1st Rd (9) 5 37-33, 4.25 ERA, 334 K, 212 BB, 565.2 IP, 1.448 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brian Bannister 2003 – 7th Rd 3 2-1, 4.26 ERA, 19 K, 22 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Traded to KC – 12/6/06
SP Jonathon Niese 2005 – 7th Rd 5 5-4, 4.27 ERA, 74 K, 36 BB, 97 IP, 1.505 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Hisanori Takahashi Int’l FA – 2010 1 5-2, 3.48 ERA, 52 K, 20 BB, 54.1 IP, 1.325 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jenrry Mejia Int’l FA – 2007 3 0-2, 3.04 ERA, 16 K, 13 BB, 26.2 IP, 1.575 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Octavio Dotel Int’l FA – 1993 6 8-3, 5.38 ERA, 85 K, 49 BB, 85.1 IP, 1.383 WHIP Traded to HOU – 12/23/99
RP Aaron Heilman 2001 – 1st Rd (18) 7 22-33, 4.24 ERA, 395 K, 185 BB, 450.1 IP, 1.328 WHIP Traded to SEA – 12/11/08
RP Matt Lindstrom 2002 – 10th Rd 8 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 11/20/06
CL Heath Bell Amateur FA – 1998 8 1-5, 4.92 ERA, 105 K, 30 BB, 108 IP, 1.472 WHIP Traded to SD – 11/15/06
BN Kaz Matsui (2B) Int’l FA – 2003 3 239 gm, .256/.308/.363, 11 HR, 75 RBI, 22 SB, 106 R Traded to COL – 6/9/06
BN Daniel Murphy (1B) 2006 – 13th Rd 4 204 gm, .275/.331/.437, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 4 SB, 84 R Currently with Org.
BN Lastings Milledge (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (12) 4 115 gm, .257/.326/.414, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 4 SB, 41 R Traded to WAS – 11/30/07
BN Jesus Flores (C) Int’l FA – 2002 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Rule 5 Draftee – WAS – 12/7/06
BN Guillermo Mota (RP) Int’l FA – 1990 6 + 2 5-2, 4.66 ERA, 66 K, 23 BB, 77.1 IP, 1.241 WHIP Rule 5 Draftee – MON – 12/9/06
BN Ryota Igarashi (RP) Int’l FA – 2009 1 0-1, 10.03 ERA, 4 K, 9 BB, 11.2 IP, 1.971 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 20 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). With success comes a lack of top-10 picks, as they have had only 4 picks in those drafts. They have actually done reasonably well in the 1st round, 14 of the 20 making it for at least 1 game to the Majors. Clearly, the biggest success to this point has been 3B David Wright, who has posted a 27.2 career WAR already, despite being only 27 years old. Unfortunately, they haven’t always known what to do with their first rounders, as the player with the second highest Career WAR to this point is the notorious Scott Kazmir, traded away in 2004 for the player equivalent of 5 baseballs and some pine tar.

International Free Agency

The Mets have been extremely active in the International markets, with both professional free agents (Matsui, Takahashi) and amateur free agents (Reyes, Dotel) having success. There have been a few however, who are either too new still (Igarashi, Mejia), or never really did much for the team itself (Flores, Cruz). Overall, there is definitely an effort being made organization wide to try to ensure that they are tapping every talent pool possible.

Overall Grade

I am leaning towards C- here. While there have been some stunning success stories (Wright, Reyes), there have also been players who essentially brought nothing to the table for the Mets (Kazmir, Flores, Cruz). And while at least a few of these players who did not play for the team brought back useful players (Burnett was used to acquire Al Leiter), the fact that so many of these players were not in a Mets uniform when they had success leads me to rank them down this low. As you will probably see in the next few teams, these teams are all kind of bunched together, and if you had one ahead of another, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree.

Team Preview – Pittsburgh Pirates


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Ryan Doumit SP 1 Zach Duke
1B Jeff Clement SP 2 Ross Ohlendorf
2B Akinori Iwamura SP 3 Paul Maholm
3B Andy LaRoche SP 4 Charlie Morton
SS Ronny Cedeno SP 5 Kevin Hart
LF Lastings Milledge Bullpen
CF Andrew McCutchen CL Octavio Dotel
RF Garrett Jones RP Evan Meek
Bench RP Joel Hanrahan
IF Bobby Crosby RP Brendan Donnelly
OF Ryan Church RP D.J. Carrasco

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
RP Octavio Dotel Free Agency RP Matt Capps Non-Tender
IF Bobby Crosby Free Agency RP Jesse Chavez Trade (TAM)
2B Akinori Iwamura Trade (TAM)

Top Prospects: Pedro Alvarez (3B), Tony Sanchez (C), Jose Tabata (OF), Chase D’Arnaud (SS)

2009 Review

The Pirates finished the 2009 season with a 62-99 record, last in the NL Central division. Overall, their offense was not very good, scoring only 636 runs. There were a few bright spots though. Most notably was rookie CF Andrew McCutchen, who posted a .286 average with 12 HR and 22 SB. Second-half call up Garrett Jones stormed in, hitting .293 with 21 HR in only 82 games. The pitching staff was led by the performances of Ross Ohlendorf (11-10, 3.92 ERA) and Zach Duke (11-16, 4.06 ERA)

The main stories in Pittsburgh’s season involved players who were dealt away. They moved popular CF Nate McLouth in early June for a package of 3 players. This move was widely panned as another cost-saving measure by the ownership of the Pirates, but the players they got in return (Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Jeff Locke) look like they could all contribute at the Major League level soon. They also moved OF Nyjer Morgan at the end of June to the Nationals, and received back closer Joel Hanrahan and OF Lastings Milledge. They did well with this trade, getting two major league level players in return for Morgan. They also moved 1B Adam LaRoche, 2B Freddy Sanchez, SP Ian Snell, and SS Jack Wilson prior to the trade deadline. They got some solid prospects in return, with SP Tim Alderson and C/1B Jeff Clement probably being the best of them.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Pirates are full force into their rebuilding efforts. They will look for improvement from CF Andrew McCutchen in his second season, and the further development of the pitching staff as a whole. They are also hopeful that they will be able to get a full season from C Ryan Doumit and OFs Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jones. Their offseason was spent finding undervalued players. Infielder Bobby Crosby will be looking to prove that he can still play at the Major League level, and should provide excellent depth on their bench, as he can play nearly all IF positions. Octavio Dotel is a high-risk, high-upside signing who could stabilize the back of the bullpen should he return to form.

The team is not built for 2010 to compete, but there is help coming in the form of Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Tim Alderson. Look for the Pirates to move some more veterans at the trade deadline this season if they feel that they can get a solid return for them.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

There’s not a lot to like here, but OF Andrew McCutchen is probably the best of the bunch. C Ryan Doumit could bounce back and post a top-10 catcher season this year as well. Beyond that, I am not sure I’d want to own anyone else on this team in a standard mixed league. Deeper league plays would probably be Ross Ohlendorf and Garrett Jones.

Prediction for 2010

The Pirates are in full rebuilding mode. And it shows. But there are some players here who will be in Pittsburgh when the rebuilding is complete. Watch for them in 2012.

70-92, 6th in the NL Central