Tag Archives: Omar Infante

Season Preview: NL East


Onto the National League, starting with the East division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central and AL West.

Last Year’s Records
Philadelphia – 97-65
Atlanta – 91-71
Florida – 80-82
New York – 79-83
Washington – 69-93

Notable Additions

Atlanta – Dan Uggla

Florida – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Javier Vazquez, John Buck

New York – Brad Emaus, Ronny Paulino

Philadelphia – Cliff Lee

Washington – Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Tom Gorzelanny

Notable Losses

Atlanta – Omar Infante, Mike Dunn, Derrek Lee, Melky Cabrera, Takashi Saito

Florida – Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, Ronny Paulino

New York – John Maine, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano

Philadelphia – Jayson Werth

Washington – Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn

My Thoughts

Atlanta – This is a playoff team from last year that has upgraded itself at 2B (Uggla), and will look for growth from Jason Heyward in his second season. The team will plug in Freddie Freeman to start at 1B, and hope that he can have even a partially similar season to Heyward’s rookie year. The pitching remains solid, behind Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, and Jair Jurrjens. The biggest role that seems to be up in the air coming into Spring Training is the closer, with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters competing for the job.

Florida – As they prepare to move into their new stadium in 2012, this is a young team who should continue to be exciting for the next few seasons. It appears that 3B Matt Dominguez is likely to be the starter this year, despite not playing a single day in the Majors yet. However, the loss of Dan Uggla‘s bat in their lineup could cause a major hole in terms of power and run production. They’re also hoping that Javier Vazquez will rebound with a return to the NL East, and also provide some more veteran leadership with Josh Johnson in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that they stand a great chance of winning the division, but they could surprise some people in a tough division.

New York – With new GM Sandy Alderson on board, 2011 is going to be a partial rebuilding season. They did not make any substantial changes to their roster, and will look to get bounceback seasons from players like Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes instead. Ace Johan Santana is expected to be out until midseason, and the team is going to be looking for nice performances from Chris Young and Chris Capuano.

Philadelphia – The Phillies went out and made what was probably the biggest surprise move of the offseason, inking Cliff Lee to a 5 year, $120 million contract. With their four aces in the starting rotation, they definitely look like the team to beat in the NL East. However, the injuries are already starting to pile up, as Chase Utley has yet to play in Spring Training, and potential right fielder Domonic Brown will miss 3-6 weeks after having hand surgery. If this team can stay healthy, I don’t think there’s a team in the NL that can compete with them. But that is a gigantic if.

Washington – The Nationals made one of the biggest splashes in the free agent market, and it was completely unexpected. Jayson Werth signed a 7 year contract with the team, and will play right field for the first few years of the contract. The team is still not ready to compete, but they will look for continued growth from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. Jordan Zimmermann will also look to have an injury free campaign, and while they will miss Stephen Strasburg this season, he should be back in 2012 from his injuries.

Overall Thoughts

The NL East really comes down to the two teams at the top of the pile. The Braves and Phillies really seem like they will be the only teams that are likely to win the division or the Wild Card. The Mets and Nationals just simply aren’t ready, and I don’t believe that the Marlins are ready to compete quite yet either.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Philadelphia
2. Atlanta
3. Florida
4. Washington
5. New York

Trade Review – Dan Uggla to the Braves


Today the Braves acquired 2B Dan Uggla from the Marlins in exchange for IF Omar Infante and P Mike Dunn.

The Braves

The Braves get a player who at worst is a 1 year rental, as Uggla will enter arbitration for the last time this season. But he provides a much needed middle-of-the-order bat to the team, and will allow the Braves to slot another power hitter into their lineup between catcher Brian McCann, outfielder Jason Heyward, and third baseman Chipper Jones when he recovers from his injuries.

To me, it seems like Uggla could be a candidate for an extension, but the Braves have very few players locked up to long-term contracts after the 2011 season (Just McCann, Derek Lowe, Jones, Tim Hudson, and David Ross according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. This is at worst a win-now move for the Braves, but I don’t think that they really gave up anything that will particularly hurt them in the short-term or long-term.

The Marlins

The Marlins gain some more flexibility with Omar Infante, as he can play 2B, 3B, SS, or the OF. This move seems like it would be likely to allow Chris Coghlan to move to his natural position of 2B instead of the previously announced move to 3B. There is obviously some salary savings as well, as Uggla was expected to get a raise from his 2010 salary of $7.8 M, while Infante is set to earn $2.5 M in 2011.

The Marlins have been adding bullpen arms all over the place in the past few weeks, and Mike Dunn appears to be at least a reasonable arm for their pen.

My Thoughts

Honestly, I’m wondering if this was a complete overreaction to the breakdown in contract negotiations between the Marlins and Uggla. It seems to me that there were a lot of rumors out there about what the Marlins might get in return for Uggla, and nearly all of the other rumors seemed like they were a better return.

I am wondering also if this will bring about another investigation from the commissioner’s office for the Marlins unwillingness to spend money on payroll. The Marlins already have $19.75 M guaranteed in contracts for 2011, and while it will clearly go up with more salaries being included (currently only 3 players are in that $19.75), I don’t imagine it’s going to get to even the 2010 level of $47 M.

Grades

Braves: A

Marlins: C-

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Shortstop


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 SS rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jimmy Rollins
4. Ben Zobrist
5. Derek Jeter
6. Jose Reyes
7. Jason Bartlett
8. Elvis Andrus
9. Marco Scutaro
10. Alexei Ramirez
11. Ryan Theriot
12. Asdrubal Cabrera
13. Miguel Tejada
14. Alcides Escobar
15. Cliff Pennington

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Derek Jeter
4. Alexei Ramirez
5. Jose Reyes
6. Stephen Drew
7. Alex Gonzalez
8. Marco Scutaro
9. Rafael Furcal
10. Ben Zobrist
11. Omar Infante
12. Juan Uribe
13. Miguel Tejada
14. Elvis Andrus
15. Ian Desmond

I also mentioned J.J. Hardy, Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, and Everth Cabrera as potential deep league plays, and specifically to avoid Rafael Furcal.
From my preseason rankings, Cliff Pennington (19), Ryan Theriot (21), and Jason Bartlett (23) all finished in the top 25. Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Alcides Escobar all finished outside of the top 25.
Free Agents: Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, Juan Uribe

What We Saw

  • Despite missing part of the season, Troy Tulowitzki pretty clearly had the best season of anyone with SS eligibility. His September was definitely one to remember as well. I imagine we might see some rankings next year with him ahead of Hanley Ramirez, but I’m not sure I could go that far yet. But I definitely wouldn’t fault people who do that.
  • Derek Jeter had what was widely considered to be a down year for himself in 201, and still finished 3rd in Yahoo’s rankings. While the batting average was definitely down, he still had double digit steals and home runs, and scored 111 runs. Still a lot of value there.
  • So much for my thought that the fantasy value of Rafael Furcal was less than zero. Oops. He would have been higher up in the final rankings had he played more games, but I’m not sold he would have kept up that production if he had.
  • Jimmy Rollins is going to be a very nice value pick to some people next year, but I definitely don’t trust him to either stay healthy or to be productive when he is healthy. It is telling that he fell outside the top 25 at a position as shallow as SS.
  • Ian Desmond and Starlin Castro both strike me as players who will be in the top 15 for 2011, if not potentially top 10 players. They should improve with a full season under their belts.
  • Overall, the position is probably at one of its most shallow points. It seems to fall off pretty quick once you get past the top 5 or so, and you kind of end up with a lot of players who do 1 or 2 things, but not all 5.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Jose Reyes
4. Derek Jeter
5. Alexei Ramirez
6. Stephen Drew
7. Jimmy Rollins
8. Ian Desmond
9. Elvis Andrus
10. Starlin Castro

Fantasy Rankings in Review: Third 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 3B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings

1.     Alex Rodriguez
2.     David Wright
3.     Evan Longoria
4.     Mark Reynolds
5.     Ryan Zimmerman
6.     Kevin Youkilis
7.     Aramis Ramirez
8.     Chone Figgins
9.     Pablo Sandoval
10.  Michael Young
11.  Gordon Beckham
12.  Ian Stewart
13.  Jorge Cantu
14.  Casey Blake
15.  Chipper Jones

Continue reading

All Star Roster Review


These were my predictions for the All-Star rosters that I posted back on Saturday, representing my final thoughts on who I thought would make the team. Looking at how my predictions went, I am actually reasonably pleased with how they turned out.

Correct selections:

AL: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria, Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Cabrera, Ty Wigginton, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Vernon Wells, Cliff Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz, Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, Neftali Feliz

NL: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward, Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez, Martin Prado, David Wright, Scott Rolen, Jose Reyes, Corey Hart, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Matt Capps, Brandon Phillips

Incorrect:

AL Backup Catcher: I chose Mike Napoli as who I thought would be there, not really looking at Victor Martinez since he was injured at the time I made the pick. I’m not sold I agree with John Buck as the replacement for Martinez over Napoli, but it’s not a brutal choice. I think overall Napoli is going to have a better season, but they are pretty similar so far.

AL Backup Infielders: Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis are in the final vote, and in their place on the roster are Ian Kinsler (the replacement for Dustin Pedroia) and Alex Rodriguez. Part of the issue I had here was that I was not aware that the teams were required to take a utility player, which is where Wigginton fits on the roster. As a result, I didn’t take a 2B. I also didn’t include Pedroia because of his injury status, but he’s definitely deserving. A-Rod is also having a pretty good year, and I think this was my own personal bias. Knowing that the Yankees’ manager is managing the All-Star team, I probably should have seen that one.

AL Backup Outfielders: I think Choo would have made the team had he not gotten hurt just prior to the announcement, but when I made the selection it wasn’t for sure yet what his status was. Torii Hunter was selected as the only initial Angels’ player, and I think he’s definitely deserving as well. I do have a hard time looking at Jose Bautista on that roster with Alexis Rios who did not make the team, and is hitting better. The fact that the Blue Jays had Vernon Wells as well seems really odd to me. I don’t know how the player vote went (as he may have been a selection that was made by them), but it seems like a bit of an omission. Brett Gardner is having a great year, and he’s probably the player I would have left off in lieu of another infielder had I known I needed one.

AL Backup Designated Hitter: David Ortiz is probably more deserving than Jose Guillen was, but I knew I needed a Royal and liked a lot of the other relievers available more than Joakim Soria.

AL Pitching Staff

  • Jered Weaver was added to the roster in place of C.C. Sabathia (who will start on the Sunday prior to the All-Star game), which was the most glaring omission to me.
  • Andy Pettitte was added to the roster to replace the injured Clay Buchholz, but they did not have him on the initial roster.
  • The exclusion of Shin-Soo Choo due to injury required the Indians to have an All-Star on the pitching staff, and they went with Fausto Carmona instead. Look, someone had to be selected from the Indians, but it just shows how badly the rest of that team played.
  • Rafael Soriano was added to the roster to replace Mariano Rivera, who will rest instead of playing in the game.
  • I initially had Trevor Cahill as the replacement on the roster for the injured Shaun Marcum, who did not make the team. As a result, I also had Andrew Bailey on the initial roster as the A’s lone representative. They went with Matt Thornton of the White Sox, who is having an excellent season and is well deserving of the honor.
  • Phil Hughes is in the roster spot that I had for Colby Lewis. I think both are having excellent seasons and this is more of Girardi picking his guy when there are two similar players. I can understand that.

NL Backup Catcher: They selected Brian McCann over Miguel Olivo, and I don’t think that was a bad choice. Olivo is having a very nice offensive season, but McCann is the catcher for an excellent pitching staff on the first place Braves. The Capitol Avenue Club had a great post last week about how many times McCann has been snubbed when he was having amazing offensive seasons, so it is good to see a little bit of balance here.

NL Backup Infielders:

  • Clearly, the most glaring omission is the selection of Ryan Howard over Joey Votto. Howard is having a fine year, and I can even understand wanting to reward your player when you’re the manager. But clearly someone should have been left off the roster in place of Joey Votto who is having an MVP caliber season for the Reds. He is in the final vote (along with 4 of my All-Star selections), and I hope he gets in somehow. The Reds are a first place team, and Votto has clearly been their best player to this point.
  • I am not really worried about the missed selection of Placido Polanco, as I had already replaced him on the roster with Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is on the final ballot, but I don’t think he’ll end up making the team.
  • Omar Infante as the utility player makes sense based on his 2009 season, but I really wonder if there wasn’t some other player that could have been selected that could play more positions. I will say this much: His selection makes a whole heck of a lot more sense once Charlie Manuel came out and said they needed the utility player. I mean, even the player himself thought he was being notified he had been traded, not made the All-Star team.
  • I didn’t have Troy Tulowitzki due to his injuries, and the replacement ended up being Jose Reyes. I’m still not sold that Reyes is necessarily the right selection, but I don’t think he’s a poor one either.
  • Leaving Troy Glaus off the roster seems to me like it’s just a crunch at 1B. I understand it, but he’s been a boon for the first place Braves.

NL Backup Outfielders:

This is where I differed most from the actual team, as I missed 5 of them. 3 of them were the lone representatives for their team, so there’s three matching incorrect pitchers as well.

  • I picked Andrew McCutchen as the lone Pirates representative, and the team selected Evan Meek to represent them instead. Looking at the game as a winnable game, Meek is probably the more important player to have, and he is having an excellent season as well.
  • I picked Roy Oswalt as the lone deserving rep from the Astros, and they chose Michael Bourn instead. Bourn is having a reasonably good season, but I completely disagree on this one. I think his spot on the pitching staff was held by Yovani Gallardo, who could end up being replaced due to his injury anyway.
  • Chris Young instead of Justin Upton. As I looked at the numbers again, they got that one right. Young is having the better season pretty easily at the moment.
  • Matt Holliday was chosen over Colby Rasmus, and whoever made that selection got it wrong. I think that Holliday was selected a lot on his 2009 second half, as he’s only been hot of late in 2010. Rasmus will get his shot someday though.
  • Jayson Werth I think is the player who got crunched as a result of the lone Cubs’ representative, Marlon Byrd. Byrd is having an excellent season, and I think he’s a good pick.
  • Carlos Gonzalez is also in the final vote, and I think he’s the player who ended up getting crunched by the utility player needing to be on the roster. I don’t think they have made a selection to replace the injured Jason Heyward yet, and think Gonzalez would be the first choice. Hopefully anyway, as he’s having an amazing year.

NL Pitching Staff:

  • Chris Carpenter and Yovani Gallardo both made the roster, leaving my choices of Roy Oswalt and Mike Pelfrey off the roster. Neither pitcher is having a bad year, and the choices are solid ones. Gallardo is likely to be replaced on the roster due to injury, so one of them may still end up making the team.
  • The bullpen is a complete mess to me. How the Padres only got one representative overall, and no pitchers is beyond me. Heath Bell is in the final vote, but should probably be there regardless. I chose Luke Gregerson as my middle reliever, and Charlie Manuel chose Arthur Rhodes of the Reds. His choice is a good one here I think, as Rhodes may be having the best season of his career.
  • Billy Wagner is on the final vote ballot, and Carlos Marmol was left off the roster since Marlon Byrd is representing the Cubs. In their places, Jonathan Broxton and Brian Wilson were selected. Neither of these two are necessarily bad choices, just not necessarily the ones I would have made based on the current season. It does appear, however, that Manuel is managing to win the game, and I probably would trust both Broxton and Wilson more than Marmol.

Overall, I got 43 out of 68 correct. It has been a really interesting experiment to see how close I can get to predicting the teams, and next season I think the thing to remember to look at will be who is managing the teams. Had I done that, I probably would have gotten another 3-4 players correct. I think next year’s goal will be to get over 80% of the roster correct, especially now that I know about the utility player rule as well.

In terms of the roster makeup itself, Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis stand out to me as the players who are the most deserving to be on the team but are not on there as of yet. I will be shocked if Votto doesn’t get onto that roster somehow, and a bit disappointed too.

Original Draft Series – Team # 19 – Detroit Tigers


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

Team #19: Detroit Tigers

General Managers(since 1994)

Joe Klein (1994-1995): 113-146
Randy Smith (1996-2002): 466-666
Dave Dombrowski (2003-Current): 529-606

Team Performance

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

The Tigers have actually had a surprisingly low amount of success. When I started to think about the Tigers’ performance over the last 15 years, I thought that they had done reasonably well at some point during the time. I knew that the team had some pretty horrendous seasons (2002 comes to mind), but I was a big surprised at how bad some of the other years had been as well. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Alex Avila 2008 – 5th Rd 2 69 gm, .253/.342/.437, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB, 19 R Currently with Org.
1B Jeff Larish 2005 – 5th Rd 5 74 gm, .242/.323/.404, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 2 SB, 25 R Currently with Org.
2B Scott Sizemore 2006 – 5th Rd 4 30 gm, .206/.297/.289, HR, 8 RBI, 12 R Currently with Org.
3B Brandon Inge 1998 – 2nd Rd 12 1 All Star Appearance
1221 gm, .237/.306/.295, 129 HR, 522 RBI, 40 SB, 469 R
Currently with Org.
SS Ramon Santiago Int’l FA – 1998 6+5 485 gm, .249/.316/.342, 19 HR, 122 RBI, 26 SB, 170 R Traded to SEA – 1/8/04
LF Ryan Raburn 2001 – 5th Rd 9 301 gm, .258/.320/.441, 25 HR, 106 RBI, 12 SB, 112 R Currently with Org.
CF Curtis Granderson 2002 – 3rd Rd 7 1 All Star Appearance
722 gm, .271/.343/.482, 109 HR, 321 RBI, 73 SB, 461 R
Traded to NYY – 12/8/09
RF Brennan Boesch 2006 – 3rd Rd 4 49 gm, .337/.389/.624, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 2 SB, 24 R Currently with Org.
DH Cameron Maybin 2005 – 1st Rd (10) 2 24 gm, .143/.208/.265, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB, 8 R Traded to FLA – 12/4/07
SP Justin Verlander 2004 – 1st Rd (2) 6 2006 Rookie of the Year, 2 All Star Appearances
73-48, 3.92 ERA, 833 K, 316 BB, 936 IP, 1.271 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Rick Porcello 2007 – 1st Rd (27) 3 18-16, 4.59 ERA, 122 K, 74 BB, 1.440 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jair Jurrjens Int’l FA – 2003 4 3-1, 4.70 ERA, 13 K, 11 BB, 30.2 IP, 1.292 WHIP Traded to ATL – 10/29/07
SP Jeff Weaver 1998 – 1st Rd (14) 4 39-51, 4.33 ERA, 477 K, 209 BB, 714.2 IP, 1.311 WHIP Traded to NYY – 7/5/02
SP Brian Moehler 1993 – 6th Rd 9 48-52, 5.07 ERA, 446 K, 227 BB, 809 IP, 1.397 WHIP Traded to CIN – 7/23/02
RP Joel Zumaya 2002 – 11th Rd 8 13-11, 5 SV, 2.96 ERA, 209 K, 112 BB, 206.2 IP, 1.345 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Ryan Perry 2008 – 1st Rd (21) 2 1-5, 4.32 ERA, 78 K, 50 BB, 83.1 IP, 1.536 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jason Frasor 1999 – 33rd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances Traded to LAD – 9/18/02
RP Burke Badenhop 2005 – 19th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 12/4/07
RP Fernando Rodney Int’l FA – 1997 12 15-30, 4.28 ERA, 314 K, 170 BB, 330 IP, 1.424 WHIP Free Agency – 11/5/09
CL Francisco Cordero Int’l FA – 1994 5 2-2, 3.32 ERA, 19 K, 18 BB, 19 IP, 1.947 WHIP Traded to TEX – 11/2/09
BN Omar Infante Int’l FA – 1999 8 494 gm, .253/.298/.386, 32 HR, 154 RBi, 34 SB, 192 R Traded to CHC – 11/12/07
BN Cody Ross 1999 – 4th Rd 5 6 gm, .211/.286/.421, HR, 5 RBI, R Traded to LAD – 4/1/04
BN Scott Moore 2002 – 1st Rd (8) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CHC – 2/9/05
BN Andres Torres 1998 – 4th Rd 6 81 gm, .214/.264/.282, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 8 SB, 31 R Free Agency – 4/22/04
BN Trever Miller 1991 – 1st Rd (41) 5 0-4, 9.18 ERA, 8 K, 9 BB, 16.2 IP, 2.22 WHIP Traded to HOU – 12/10/96

June Amateur Draft

The Tigers have had some really good luck with their top picks of late, with Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello both providing solid performance so far at the Major League level. In addition, top picks Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin were both used to acquire current MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera. They are starting to show some value out of their picks in recent years, with Scott Sizemore, Brennan Boesch, and Alex Avila all starting to bear fruit. One of the keys for the Tigers has been their willingness to pay over slot to their top picks of late, as they have had players who have fallen to them as a result of other teams’ unwillingness to pay those top picks.

International Free Agency

The Tigers haven’t really had a whole lot of success in the international market of late. They had some solid pick ups with Fernando Rodney and Francisco Cordero, but aside from Jair Jurrjens, they haven’t really had any impact signees in a while. Granted that international signees take longer to bear fruit, but even their top-10 from Baseball America doesn’t have a whole lot of IFA signees on it.

Overall Grade

I give the Tigers a grade of C. They have had some excellent draft picks (Verlander, Weaver, Inge, Granderson), and have turned a few others (Miller, Maybin, Cordero) into solid players via trades. There are still some gaps in this roster, with players who have not played for the Tigers or very little for the Tigers, but overall it is a solid roster.