Tag Archives: Lyle Overbay

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

Fantasy Rankings in Review – First Basemen


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 1B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Ryan Howard
6. Joey Votto
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Kendry Morales
10. Adrian Gonzalez
11. Derrek Lee
12. Justin Morneau
13. Adam Dunn
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Carlos Pena

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Paul Konerko
5. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Aubrey Huff
8. Ryan Howard
9. Nick Swisher
10. Adam Dunn
11. David Ortiz
12. Martin Prado
13. Prince Fielder
14. Billy Butler
15. Adam LaRoche

I also mentioned Adam LaRoche, Paul Konerko, Billy Butler, Garrett Jones, Lance Berkman, Chris Davis, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, James Loney, Justin Smoak, and Chris Carter as players potentially having value this year.
From my preseason rankings, Kevin Youkilis (19), Derrek Lee (21), James Loney (24), and Justin Morneau (25) all finished in the top 25. Mark Reynolds, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Pena did not make the top 25 at the end of the season.
Free Agents: Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena
What We Saw

Buster Posey’s season was better than anyone even thought. He finished at #23 in the 1B rankings for Yahoo, which is clearly an elite offensive position. Wow.

I thought Joey Votto would do extremely well this season, but clearly this was above and beyond what I thought either. I think he’s going to start next season as a top 10 player overall.

Talk about a walk year improvement. Paul Konerko went nuts this year, and finished with 39 homers and 112 rbi. He’s a free agent, and while they want him back in Chicago, it remains to be seen where he will end up. But he’s clearly not as done as we all thought he was.

Aubrey Huff is another free agent who should get paid this offseason after an excellent performance in San Francisco. Part of his value was having 7 stolen bases this season, which seems unlikely to continue. I just can’t convince myself that he’s particularly likely to repeat the overall performance in 2011.

Injuries really had an effect on the 1B depth, with Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau, and Troy Glaus all missed time during the season. It didn’t help that players like Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena all struggled during the season.

Justin Morneau really concerns me for next season, due to the fact that he still has not been able to do any baseball activities since suffering that concussion in Toronto. He could potentially provide a very nice value for fantasy owners next year, but he won’t end up on any of my teams most likely.

Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be the topic of trade rumors throughout the offseason, and I think that if he gets traded to anywhere else practically, he’s going to provide even more offense than he did this season, which seems like it should be impossible.

Overall, some of these rankings were pretty easy (I’m pretty sure it takes no brains to rank Pujols at #1), but some of these players clearly underperformed (Fielder, Reynolds, Pena). I think that Youkilis would have finished above the #8 spot I had believed at the beginning of the season had he not gotten injured. Not a terrible job on these, but definitely some work to be done next season.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Ryan Howard
7. Prince Fielder
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Paul Konerko
10. Adam Dunn

Original Draft Series: #2 – Arizona Diamondbacks


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

Team #2: Arizona Diamondbacks

General Managers(since 1998)

Joe Garagiola Jr (1998-2005): 652-644
Josh Byrnes (2006-2010): 318-330
Jerry DiPoto (Current)

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Miguel Montero Int’l FA – 2001 9 364 gm, .270/.335/.446, 40 HR, 160 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Lyle Overbay 1999 – 18th Rd 5 98 gm, .271/.357/.391, 4 HR, 29 RBI Traded to MIL – 12/1/03
2B Dan Uggla
2001 – 11th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draft – FLA – 12/8/05
3B Mark Reynolds 2004 – 16th Rd 6 554 gm, .244/.335/.489, 121 HR, 345 RBI, 42 SB Currently with Org.
SS Stephen Drew
2004 – 1st Rd (15) 6 634 gm, .272/.331/.446, 62 HR, 269 RBI, 25 SB Currently with Org.
LF Carlos Quentin 2003 – 1st Rd (29) 4 138 gm, .230/.316/.425, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 3 SB Traded to CHW – 12/3/07
CF Carlos Gonzalez Int’l FA – 2002 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 12/14/07
RF Justin Upton
2005 – 1st Rd (1) 5 1 All Star Appearance
421 gm, .272/.352/.471, 70 HR, 208 RBI, 40 SB
Currently with Org.
DH Conor Jackson 2003 – 1st Rd (19) 7 526 gm, .277/.358/.423, 46 HR, 247 RBI, 22 SB Traded to OAK – 6/15/10
SP Brandon Webb 2000 – 8th Rd 10 2006 NL Cy Young, 3 All Star Appearances
87-62, 3.27 ERA, 1319.2 IP, 1065 K, 435 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Brett Anderson
2006 – 2nd Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 12/14/07
SP Max Scherzer 2006 – 1st Rd (11) 3 9-15, 3.86 ERA, 226.1 IP, 240 K, 84 BB Traded to DET – 12/8/09
SP Jorge de la Rosa
Int’l FA – 1998 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Purchased by Mexican League – 4/2/00
SP Brad Penny
1996 – 5th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 7/8/99
RP Micah Owings
2005 – 3rd Rd 3 14-17, 4.97 ERA, 257.1 IP, 193 K, 91 BB Traded to CIN – 9/12/08
RP Javier Lopez 1998 – 4th Rd 4+1 1-1,9.42 ERA, 14.1 IP, 11 K, 11 BB Rule 5 Draft – BOS – 12/16/02
RP Lance Cormier 2002 – 4th Rd 3 8-7, 6.21 ERA, 124.2 IP,87 K, 68 BB Traded to ATL – 12/7/05
RP Brian Bruney 2000 – 12th Rd 5 4-7, 6.17 ERA, 12 SV, 77.1 IP, 85 K, 62 BB Released – 5/20/06
RP Tony Pena Int’l FA – 2002 7 16-13, 4.08 ERA, 7 SV, 222.2 IP, 162 K, 67 BB Traded to CHW – 7/7/09
CL Jose Valverde Int’l FA – 1997 10 9-14, 3.29 ERA, 98 SV, 260 IP, 331 K, 111 BB Traded to HOU – 12/14/07
BN Jack Cust
1997 – 1st Rd (30) 4 3 gm, 1-2 Traded to COL – 1/7/02
BN Scott Hairston 2001 – 3rd Rd 6 201 gm, .238/.293/.407, 16 HR, 47 RBI, 5 SB Traded to SD – 7/27/07
BN Rod Barajas Int’l FA – 1996 7 211 gm, .212/.257/.334, 11 HR, 66 RBI Left via Free Agency – 12/21/03
BN Chad Tracy 2001 – 7th Rd 8 704 gm, .280/.339/.453, 78 HR, 318 RBI, 11 SB Left via Free Agency – 11/5/09
BN Rusty Ryal
2005 – 14th Rd 5 129 gm, .265/.322/.407, 6 HR, 20 RBI Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

For a team who has only been drafting for less than 15 years, they have done very well in the draft, especially in the first round. Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, and Conor Jackson have all been cornerstones of the team at one point during the career, and they have clearly gotten solid Major League talent out of other picks, with Scherzer used to acquire Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. There are a lot of players that were drafted by the organization who were turned into other players, with Brett Anderson probably providing the highest value (used to acquire Dan Haren). But they have also had some late round values as well, with Brandon Webb and Mark Reynolds being the best examples from that group. Overall, they have drafted very well.

International Free Agency

The Diamondbacks have also done very well int the international free agent market, signing future closer Jose Valverde and MVP candidate Carlos Gonzalez. But they have also had solid players, especially in catchers Rod Barajas and Miguel Montero. There were also a lot of other middling relievers that were originally signed by the Diamondbacks, but I felt weren’t as high of a quality as the ones I chose above.

Overall Grade

A. The Diamondbacks had one of the largest amounts of Major Leaguers who started in their system in all of baseball, and I was able to put together a very good roster of players who could compete with nearly anyone. There were at least another 15 players who I could have included on their roster that made the Majors and were productive for at least some length of time. They have also done well with trading a lot of these players (not all of them, clearly), as they were able to acquire the players they needed to make productive playoff pushes. I will be interested to see whether or not they retain interim GM Jerry DiPoto, or if they go get a more recognized GM to run their organization going forward.

Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 2


One of the things that Baseball America does every year as a part of their Almanac is release a pair of minor league All-Stars, regardless of level. I thought it was interesting to see who some of the top players from the 2002 minor league season were, and which ones have established themselves as regulars in the Major leagues. I am only looking at the 1st Team members from 2002.

Major League All-Stars

C Victor Martinez – Martinez has clearly become one of the top hitting catchers in the Major Leagues, with his most recent All-Star appearance this season. In 2002, he hit .336 with 22 homeruns and 85 runs batted in for the Indians’ AA team in the Eastern League.

3B Mark Teixeira – It’s hard to remember sometimes that Teixeira was actually a 3B while in college and in the minors. Teixeira split the 2002 season between the Florida State League and the Texas League, but hit .318 with 19 HR in only 321 plate appearances between the two levels.

SS Jose Reyes – Reyes was only 19 years old in 2002, but still stole 58 bases and scored 104 runs in his time between the Florida State League and the Eastern League. He would be in the Majors the following season, and has been the catalyst in the Mets’ lineup ever since.

Major League Regulars

1B Lyle Overbay – While Overbay has not necessarily had an amazing career, he has remained a solid first baseman wherever he has played. In 2002, he drove in 109 runs and hit .343 for Tucson in the PCL. He is currently with the Blue Jays, although it remains to be seen if he will be traded before the July 31st deadline.

2B Scott Hairston – Hairston has only just recently started receiving regular playing time, as a member of the Padres. In 2002, he hit .345 with 22 HR, 98 RBI, and 10 SB.

OF Rocco Baldelli – Baldelli was BA’s minor league player of the year for 2002, as he vaulted through 3 levels of the minors from High-A all the way to the International League in AAA. Sadly, his career has been derailed by mitochondrial myopathy, a rare disease which there is no cure for. From Baldelli himself:

“Literally my muscles fatigue to the point where they’re burning, then severe burning, then they cramp up. They can seize up just after what I would call minimal exercise.

He currently works in the Rays’ front office, and it sounds like he hopes one day to play again.

DH Brad Hawpe – Hawpe has been out in the Rockies’ outfield for the majority of the last 7 seasons, hitting 22 or more homers in each of his last 4 seasons. He has made 1 All-Star Appearance as well, but is currently in a bit of a platoon for the Rockies. In 2002 he hit 22 HR and 97 RBI to go with his .347 batting average in the Carolina League.

Cups of Coffee

OF Robb Quinlan – Quinlan has been up and down between the Angels and AAA Salt Lake City every year since 2003, but has never been able to establish himself as an everyday player for the team. The most games he has appeared in with the team is 86, which he did in 2006.

OF Michael Restovich – Restovich never really caught on with any of the 4 teams he played for in his 6 year Major League career, never playing in more than 66 games in any one season. I think he was probably a bit of a casualty of not getting a chance, as he had Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, and Shannon Stewart all playing in the OF for the Twins in that 2003 season.

SP Sean Burnett – Burnett did not make his debut with the Pirates until the 2004 season, and then proceeded to run into all sorts of arm problems. He missed all of the 2005 season, and parts of the 2006 through 2008 seasons as well. He is now with the Nationals working out of their bullpen. It is interesting to note that Burnett is only 27 years old in 2010, and went 13-4 with a 1.80 ERA in the Carolina League in 2002 as a 19 year old.

SP Joe Roa – Roa is a bit of an unusual case, as he had been in the majors for parts of 3 different seasons when he went 14-0 for the Phillies’ AAA affiliate. He did end up being called up during the 2002 season, making 11 starts and having reasonable success. 2002 unfortunately was pretty easily his best season in his career, and was out of baseball after the 2005 season.

SP Kirk Saarloos – Saarloos went 12-1 with a 1.54 ERA between the Astros’ AA and AAA affiliates in 2002, and even made 17 starts for the Astros in 2002. His best season in his career probably came in 2005 when he went 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA for the Athletics. He last appeared in the Majors in 2008, and spent the 2009 season with the Indians’ AAA team.

SP Billy Traber – Traber went 17-5 with a 2.94 ERA between AA and AAA for the Indians in 2002, and made his major league debut with the club in 2003. He missed all of the 2004 season due to injuries, and pitched parts of the 2006-2009 seasons in the Majors with 3 clubs. He is currently pitching for the AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

RP Joe Valentine – I remember Valentine being included in the trade that acquired Jose Guillen for the Athletics in 2003. The Athletics had acquired him as a part of the Keith Foulke trade after the 2002 season where Valentine had saved 36 games for the White Sox AA affiliate. Valentine appeared in games in 2003, 2004 and 2005 for the Reds, and has been pitching in either independent ball or the Mexican League since 2007.

Overall, this group of prospects is kind of what you would expect: a mixed bag. You have some clearly top tier players in Martinez, Teixeira and Reyes. But you also have quite a few players who had a very minimal impact in their time at the Majors.

Team Preview – Toronto Blue Jays


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C John Buck SP 1 Ricky Romero
1B Lyle Overbay SP 2 Brett Cecil
2B Aaron Hill SP 3 Marc Rzepcynski
3B Edwin Encarnacion SP 4 Shaun Marcum
SS Alex Gonzalez SP 5 Brandon Morrow
LF Travis Snider Bullpen
CF Vernon Wells CL Jason Frasor
RF Adam Lind RP Jeremy Accardo
DH Randy Ruiz RP Jesse Carlson
Bench RP Kevin Gregg
OF Jeremy Reed RP Brian Tallet
OF Jose Bautista RP David Purcey

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brandon Morrow Trade (SEA) SP Roy Halladay Trade (PHI)
C John Buck Free Agency RP Brandon League Trade (SEA)
RP Kevin Gregg Free Agency SS Marco Scutaro Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brett Wallace (3B), Kyle Drabek (P), Zack Stewart (P)

2009 Review

The Blue Jays always seem to be not quite close enough to competing. They finished 2009 with a 75-87 campaign, which led to the firing of general manager J.P. Ricciardi after 8 seasons. Ricciardi and the Blue Jays spent most of the season listening to trade rumors surrounding SP Roy Halladay, which appeared to be a distraction overall. But the team definitely had some bright spots. 2B Aaron Hill lead the team with 36 HR, as he was healthy for the full season for the first time in a while. RF Adam Lind finally developed into a good middle-of-the-order hitter, powering 35 HR and a team-leading 114 RBI to go with a .305 batting average. SP Roy Halladay went 17-10 with a 2.79 era, leading a very young, but potentially very good pitching staff.

Injuries played a major part in the Blue Jays season, with 2 starting pitchers missing the entire season (Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan). However, rookies Brett Cecil, Marc Rzepcynski, and Ricky Romero all came up and stepped right into the rotation. Perhaps the most unusual moment came in August when RF Alex Rios, placed on waivers like nearly everyone else on the roster (as is standard at the time of year), was claimed by the White Sox. The Blue Jays took that opportunity to rid themselves of a rather large contract, and got just the relief from Rios’ salary in return.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Blue Jays are always going to be a second-tier team in comparison to the Yankees and Red Sox, but they have done well to position themselves in terms of the future. The Halladay trade netted them an excellent pitching prospect in Kyle Drabek, a high-level 3B prospect in Brett Wallace, a solid catching prospect in Travis d’Arnaud, and also acquired another good young arm in Brandon Morrow in a separate trade. This is in addition to the already good young arms of Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan. While the team no longer has a bona fide #1 starter in Halladay, they did well to get as good of a return as they did considering he was only under contract for 1 season and had a full no-trade clause.

The Blue Jays should be helped with full seasons from OF Travis Snider, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, and SP Brett Cecil. However, they did lose a large amount of offense from SS Marco Scutaro and C Rod Barajas that wasn’t particularly replaced in the lineup. I think this is a team that will continue to develop this season, and unfortunately will not really be in the AL East race for very long. They simply don’t have enough offense from this lineup to compete with the top hitting teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers), and don’t have enough top-tier pitching to compete with the top pitching teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers).

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

2B Aaron Hill and RF Adam Lind are really the cream of this crop, as the Blue Jays have quite a few players who are better real-life players than fantasy players. I don’t expect Hill to repeat the home run total he had last season, but 2B is still very shallow and Hill is a definite starter in all leagues. Nearly all of their starting pitchers are high-risk, high-reward types due to the fact that they are all very young still. If I were to pick one out of the group, it would probably be Ricky Romero, as he’s shown the most success while with the big club to this point.

Prediction for 2010

The Blue Jays are in a semi-rebuilding mode at this point, as they have quite a few young players at the Major League level. I don’t believe that they will compete for the AL East crown this season, and could potentially see more movement if they can get a good return on players like Lyle Overbay, Jason Frasor, and Jeremy Accardo. But watch out for them in the coming seasons as they should improve under new general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

77-85, 4th in the AL East