Tag Archives: Max Scherzer

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 Previews in Review: American League Central


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East previously, and now it’s on to the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox

Predicted Record: 84-78            Actual Record: 88-74

This team’s record ended up slightly better than I thought it would, but actually finished in the same spot in the standings I believed that they would. They got solid pitching as usual, but not as much from Jake Peavy once he suffered a season ending injury. The move to second base for Gordon Beckham seemed to cause him some serious struggles throughout most of the season, and he didn’t seem to get his bat back until after the All-Star break.

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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.

Week in Review – May 24th to May 30th


If the Playoffs Started Today

New York (30-20) vs. Minnesota (30-20)
Oakland (27-24) vs. Tampa Bay (34-17)

St. Louis (29-22) vs. San Diego (29-20)
Philadelphia (28-21) vs. Cincinnati (30-21)

League Leaders

Average: Justin Morneau (MIN) – .368
Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 16
Runs Batted In: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 48
Runs: Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 45
Stolen Bases: Rajai Davis (OAK) – 20

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 9
ERA: Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 0.88
Saves: Matt Capps (WAS) – 17
Strikeouts: Tim Lincecum (SF) – 80

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Koji Uehara, Alfredo Simon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Everth Cabrera, Kendry Morales, George Sherrill, Coco Crisp

Returning from the Disabled List: Mike Cameron, Rafael Furcal, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen, Brett Anderson

Called up from the Minors: Chris Iannetta, Buster Posey, Chris Tillman, Max Scherzer

Removed from the Majors: Dontrelle Willis,

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • MLB.com has been going back over previous years amateur drafts as a run up to this year’s draft next week. This week they went over the 2005 draft, and was an interesting read.
  • The first set of All-Star voting was announced this week, and you can read what my take on the topic was here.
  • Stephen Strasburg allowed his first run at AAA this week, and it sounds like he’s going to be up in the Majors by the 10th or 11th of June at the latest. After seeing some of the footage of him pitching, it seems like he’s pretty likely to be a solid if not dominant starter once he gets to the Majors.
  • The headline said the most: Ray on Ray crime as infielder Sean Rodriguez was stung by a sting ray while at the beach last week. He’s fine, and back in the lineup already, but I still thought it was pretty funny.
  • Joe West and the Chicago White Sox were both at the center of a bit of controversy earlier this week, as West ejected both P Mark Buehrle and manager Ozzie Guillen for arguing after West called a pair of balks on the pitcher in the 3rd inning of Thursday’s game. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has a really good writeup of the history of West and his desire to be in the spotlight. I am inclined to agree that umpires fit in that old adage about children that they be seen and not heard. Clearly, the fact that an umpire was the biggest story in a baseball game is a problem. Sounds like all 3 of them were fined for their actions that day.
  • Bill Dwyre of the LA Times has a good writeup which explains how options work for players.
  • For the second time in less than a month, a perfect game was thrown in the Majors. The 20th in the history of baseball, and the first time it has happened twice in a season since 1880 was twirled by Roy Halladay. Congrats to him, and he has to be one of the best pitchers I can remember actually throwing one.
  • I would assume that a lot of teams are going to start looking at walk-off celebrations after Kendry Morales broke his leg on Saturday during theirs. The Angels are likely to be without Morales anywhere up to 3 months it appears. It appears that it was a bit of a fluky injury, but the Angels are still going to be without one of their best hitters for a majority of the remainder of the season.
  • The Giants finally gave into the demands of the fans, and called up top prospect Buster Posey. He responded by going 3-4 with 3 RBI in his first game on Saturday, while playing 1B. Buster Olney wrote up in his blog (subscription required) that the Giants don’t really appear to be making decisions in a thought out process with regard to Posey. I’m inclined to agree, as they sent him down specifically to improve his catching.
  • Scary moment for the Indians’ David Huff, as he took a line drive off his forehead off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. It sounds like he’s doing alright, but the fact that the ball bounced off his head and ended up about 40-50 feet into right field is extremely scary.
  • To make room for Sunday’s starting pitcher Max Scherzer, the Tigers designated for assignment P Dontrelle Willis. Essentially a roster move to get him off the 40 man roster, if no one claims him and his $12 million dollar salary (which seems likely), they could potentially send him to the minors or give him his release. I think I’m with the majority here in wondering what happened to him, and hope he can figure it out.
  • Clearly, Max Scherzer must have figured something out at AAA, as he shut down the A’s and struck out 14 of them in only 5 2/3 innings Sunday in the victory. A bit disconcerting to have done so with 113 pitches, but between 4 walks and the 14 strikeouts, clearly there were going to be a lot of pitches thrown.

The Posts Planned for the Rest of this Week:
Tuesday: Month in Review: May
Wednesday: The 2010 Rookie Class
Thursday: Draft Preview Links
Friday: Trade Retro: Jermaine Dye to the Athletics (2001)

The Week in Review: May 10th – May 18th


A little bit longer of a week for review this time around, as I’m a bit behind what with some travel and such.

If the Playoffs Started Today

Texas (22-18) vs. Tampa Bay (28-11)
New York A (25-14) vs. Minnesota (24-15)

San Francisco (22-16) vs. Philadelphia (24-14)
Cincinnati (23-16) vs. San Diego (23-16)

Current Statistical Leaders:

Batting Average: Andre Ethier – .392
On Base Percentage: Justin Morneau – .482
Slugging Percentage: Andre Ethier – .744
Homeruns: Paul Konerko – 13
RBI: Andre Ethier – 38
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre – 18
Runs: Matt Kemp – 34

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez and Tyler Clippard – 7
ERA: Ubaldo Jimenez – 1.12
Strikeouts: Tim Lincecum – 69
WHIP: Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum – 0.94
Saves: Matt Capps – 14

Roster Movement and Job Changes

Disabled List Movement:

Call Ups and Demotions:

Job Changes:

Top Stories and Weekly Links


Team Preview – Arizona Diamondbacks


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Miguel Montero SP 1 Dan Haren
1B Adam LaRoche SP 2 Brandon Webb
2B Kelly Johnson SP 3 Edwin Jackson
3B Mark Reynolds SP 4 Ian Kennedy
SS Stephen Drew SP 5 Billy Buckner
LF Conor Jackson Bullpen
CF Chris Young CL Chad Qualls
RF Justin Upton RP Juan Gutierrez
Bench RP Bobby Howry
IF Tony Abreu RP Aaron Heilman
OF Gerardo Parra RP Clay Zavada

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Edwin Jackson Trade (DET) SP Max Scherzer Trade (DET)
SP Ian Kennedy Trade (NYY) RP Daniel Schlereth Trade (DET)
1B Adam LaRoche Free Agency OF Eric Byrnes DFA

Top Prospects: Jarrod Parker (SP), Brandon Allen (1B), A.J. Pollock (OF), Bobby Borchering (3B)

2009 Review

The Diamondbacks’ 2009 season started off poorly, and never really got any better. Opening Day starter Brandon Webb threw only 4 innings prior to leaving with an injury. That would be the only appearance he would make for the entire year. With the exception of Dan Haren, the rest of the rotation didn’t do much better. SP Doug Davis and SP Max Scherzer both posted ERAs over 4 and only had 9 wins each for their efforts, despite combining for 64 starts between them. The team finished 70-92, last in their division, but there were a few bright spots. On offense, 3B Mark Reynolds (44 HR, 102 RBI, 24 SB), OF Justin Upton (.300, 26 HR, 86 RBI, 20 SB) and C Miguel Montero (.294, 16 HR, 59 RBI) all performed very well. The bright spot in the rotation remained SP Dan Haren, who went 14-10 with a 3.14 ERA and 223 strikeouts in 229 innings. Their poor performance led to the shopping of veterans as the trade deadline approached, and were able to move IF Felipe Lopez and SP Jon Garland for prospects.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Diamondbacks are looking to build around their young core of players. 3B Mark Reynolds and OF Justin Upton were both signed to extensions during the offseason which will buy out their arbitration years. The biggest move of the offseason has to be the trade of SP Max Scherzer and RP Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers as a part of a 3 team deal that brought back SPs Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. The team also made some low level signings, bringing in 1B Adam LaRoche and 2B Kelly Johnson on 1 year contracts. Both of these could have some upside, and the potential to also be trade chips if they fall out of the race early.

Overall, I am not sure that they are ready to compete with the top teams in their division this year. Their starting pitching has a lot of questions, as Ian Kennedy has never pitched a full season in the Majors, and it remains to be seen when Brandon Webb will be making his first start of the year. They will need rebound efforts from Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew, among others for them to have a chance to compete.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

OF Justin Upton is a top 5 outfielder, with the potential to hit .300 and go 30-30. 3B Mark Reynolds will look to repeat his 40/20 season from last year, and SP Dan Haren is as consistent as it gets. C Miguel Montero is a top-10 catcher for sure, and has the upside to be top-5. For deeper leagues, I would look at OF Chris Young, who is not far removed from a 20-20 season of his own.

Prediction for 2010

The Diamondbacks are still building, but I don’t think that they have the pitching to compete effectively in their division. There are just too many question marks.

74-88, 4th in the NL West

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

Team Preview – Detroit Tigers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Gerald Laird SP 1 Justin Verlander
1B Miguel Cabrera SP 2 Rick Porcello
2B Scott Sizemore SP 3 Max Scherzer
3B Brandon Inge SP 4 Jeremy Bonderman
SS Adam Everett SP 5 Nate Robertson
LF Johnny Damon Bullpen
CF Austin Jackson CL Jose Valverde
RF Magglio Ordonez RP Joel Zumaya
DH Carlos Guillen RP Phil Coke
Bench RP Ryan Perry
C Alex Avila RP Bobby Seay
OF Clete Thomas RP Zach Miner

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
CF Austin Jackson Trade (NYY) CF Curtis Granderson Trade (NYY)
SP Max Scherzer Trade (ARI) SP Edwin Jackson Trade (ARI)
P Daniel Schlereth Trade (ARI) 2B Placido Polanco Free Agency
RP Jose Valverde Free Agency RP Brandon Lyon Free Agency
LF Johnny Damon Free Agency RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency

Top Prospects: Austin Jackson (OF),  Jacob Turner (P), Casey Crosby (P)

2009 Review

The Tigers’ 2009 season was a very good one for the team, which unfortunately ended after a loss in game 163 to the Twins. The Tigers finished 86-77, 1 game back of the Twins for the AL Central crown. Led by manager Jim Leyland, the Tigers started off the season with the unexpected release of DH Gary Sheffield, despite being owed over $10 M for the season. Another surprise was that top prospect Rick Porcello, all of 20 years old, made the opening day rotation despite only being in the minors for one season, at high-A.

The Tigers got some excellent performances out of their players, especially in the rotation. SP Justin Verlander led the rotation with a 19-9 record, 3.45 ERA and 269 strikeouts, with offseason acquisition Edwin Jackson providing excellent innings as well (13-9, 3.62). Porcello did well also, posting a 14-9 record with a 3.96 ERA. 1B Miguel Cabrera led the offense again, posting a .324 batting average to go with his 34 HR and 103 RBI.

The Tigers unfortunately endured some distractions during the season. Among them were the decision by Jim Leyland to keep SP Justin Verlander on regular rest toward the end of the season so that he would be slotted to start the last game of the season on regular rest, and giving the ball to rookie Rick Porcello should they have to play into the playoffs. Another huge distraction during the last week of the season was 1B Miguel Cabrera’s arrest early on October 3rd. The Tigers had been in full-force collapse to that point, as they had a 3 game lead on the Twins with only 4 games to play.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Tigers spent a large portion of the offseason trying to shave payroll some, and succeeded by moving CF Curtis Granderson to the Yankees as a part of a huge three team deal. They have slotted in prospect Austin Jackson to replace Granderson in CF, and will sorely miss Granderson’s bat. They’ve gone younger, with 2B Scott Sizemore coming into spring training as the starter at 2B. This team is going to be built around their excellent pitching. Look for them to have a very dominant top 3, with Verlander, Porcello, and newly acquired Max Scherzer.

My main concern with this team is the amount of unknowns. 2B Scott Sizemore and CF Austin Jackson are both rookies, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to provide similar production to the players they are replacing. Will Rick Porcello hit a wall after such a huge jump in innings pitched last season? Will Max Scherzer be able to stay healthy this season, and will Justin Verlander be able to repeat his excellent 2009 season? This is a team that has a lot more questions than answers at this point, and I feel like they will need a lot of things to break their way to end up at the top of the division in 2010.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

SP Justin Verlander and 1B Miguel Cabrera are far and away the best fantasy players on this team, with CL Jose Valverde providing value with the amount of saves he gets. Beyond that, there’s a lot of players that will be useful in deeper leagues (Sizemore, Laird, Inge) and players who are high-upside, high-risk types (Jackson, Porcello, Scherzer). A player to watch during spring training would be Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman is trying to come back from a lost season due to injury, and did provide good value as a starter when he was healthy previously. New addition Johnny Damon will look to repeat his excellent 2009 season, but I can’t really foresee that occurring. He’s going to be 36 this season, and will be going from the extremely hitter friendly Yankee Stadium to Comerica, which should play a lot more neutral.

Prediction for 2010

The Tigers have retooled, and are making a run at the division again in 2010. However, I don’t think that this team as constructed is necessarily going to be good enough to catch either the Twins or the White Sox. They’re going to need some unexpected performances from someone on this team, and it’s never a good thing to have to rely on getting those.

82-80, 3rd in the AL Central

Trade Review – NYY/ARI/DET


New York Yankees receive CF Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
Arizona Diamondbacks receive P Edwin Jackson (Tigers) and P Ian Kennedy (Yankees)
Detroit Tigers receive P Max Scherzer (D’Backs), P Daniel Schlereth (D’Backs), CF Austin Jackson (Yankees), and RP Phil Coke (Yankees)

The Yankees
I really like this trade for the Yankees. The best player involved in the trade went to the Yankees, and they were able to acquire him by giving up pieces that they can either easily replace, or no longer need. Granderson is signed to a very team-friendly contract until 2013. He gives the Yankees a true center fielder, with excellent power and speed.

2009 was the 4th straight season where Granderson had at least 60 extra base hits. While his batting average has been falling, his slugging percentage has not dropped in comparison to the batting average. He posted an isolated Slugging (Slugging % minus Batting Average) of .250 in 2007, .214 in 2008, and .204 in 2009. So while his batting average appears to be falling each year, the power remains fairly constant. The fact that he is not hitting left handed pitchers very well is a concern (.183/.245/.239). His batting average on balls in play has been steadily dropping (.362 in 2007, .317 in 2008, .276 in 2009), so this may be at least a part of the reason for the drop in batting average. He still remains a commodity well worth the risk.

The Diamondbacks
I’m pretty confused here. Scherzer and Schlereth are both former 1st round picks, and definite fire-ballers. Scherzer posted an excellent strikeout rate last year (174 in 170 innings), but posted only a 9-11 record with a 4.12 ERA. He spent a portion of the year on the disabled list in July as well. Schlereth made 21 appearances last season, mostly as a left handed specialist. He struck out 22 in 18 1/3 innings. They received a high-ceiling starting pitcher in Jackson, who posted a 13-9 record last year and made the AL all-star team for the Tigers. Kennedy was injured most of last season, and only made one appearance in the majors.

The part I don’t get here is that Jackson, while a bit more proven, is not necessarily a huge upgrade over Scherzer. And at this point, Schlereth and Kennedy are both very similar players. Neither has done a ton of things yet in the Majors, and neither really has been given too much of a chance yet. I have to believe that the Diamondbacks know something about both Scherzer and Schlereth that has yet to be seen, or at least that they believe that they are not necessarily going to be better than Jackson and Kennedy.

The Tigers
I really, really like this trade for the Tigers. They have decided that they need to cut payroll in some form, and take Granderson, a very good centerfielder who may price himself out of Detroit soon, and Jackson, a starting pitcher who had an excellent year last season, and turn them into Granderson’s replacement (Jackson), a high-potential starting pitcher (Scherzer), and 2 at least useful power arms for their bullpen (Schlereth, Coke). Throw in that they control Jackson for 6 seasons, Scherzer for at least 4, Schlereth for at least 5, and Coke for at least 5, and they really did well to achieve their goal of cutting payroll AND making their team better at the same time.

Overall Review
I really like this trade. Each team addressed needs of their teams, although I still am not sure yet what the Diamondbacks believe that we don’t see. It really doesn’t bode well for the rest of the American League that the World Champion Yankees went out, took some pieces that they didn’t really need for next year’s team, and turned them into a better player than they had in center field.

CURRENT WINNER: New York Yankees
LONG-TERM WINNER: Detroit Tigers