Tag Archives: Ryan Church

Season Preview – NL West


We’re up to the last division left to review with the NL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West,  NL East, and NL Central.

Last Year’s Records
San Francisco – 92-70
San Diego – 90-72
Colorado – 83-79
Los Angeles – 80-82
Arizona – 65-97

Notable Additions

Arizona – Xavier Nady, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Colorado – Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Felipe Paulino

Los Angeles – Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

San Diego – Brad Hawpe, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang

San Francisco – Miguel Tejada

Notable Losses

Arizona – Ryan Church, Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb

Colorado – Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Jeff Francis

Los Angeles – Russell Martin, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Chris Young

San Francisco – Jose Guillen, Edgar Renteria

My Thoughts

Arizona – Under the leadership of new GM Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have already begun the process of rebuilding by trading away Mark Reynolds and letting Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb leave via free agency.  They seem extremely unlikely to compete this season, but will look for improvements from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

Colorado – The Rockies spent their offseason spending money on contract extensions, as both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were signed to long term contract extensions. The team also did well to re-sign some of their free agents, most notably Jorge de la Rosa. This really seems like a team to me that has the chance to compete for the division title, providing they get a few breaks to go their way. They will look for a repeat performance from Ubaldo Jimenez and improvements from Jhoulys Chacin and Dexter Fowler as well.

Los Angeles – With the ownership situation in a state of partial disarray, the Dodgers didn’t really go out and spend a lot of money this offseason. They did resign free agent starter Ted Lilly, but otherwise did not make any large acquisitions. The pitching staff is excellent, but they will look for a bounce back season from Jonathan Broxton as the closer. The Dodgers are another team that seems to me like they can compete, providing they catch a few breaks.

San Diego – The biggest news out of the Padres this offseason unfortunately was the trade of star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They have cut payroll down to a very minimal amount at this point, and could look to move closer Heath Bell if they fall out of contention. I am not seeing a repeat of last year’s 90 win performance out of this group of players, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to be terrible either. They will look for Mat Latos to build on his excellent 2010 season and try to take another step forward, but there’s a lot of questions after him in the rotation.

San Francisco – The reigning World Champions only had one slightly major acquisition (Tejada), but did well to resign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Their pitching could conceivably be better than last year, with Madison Bumgarner making a full season of starts this year. 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey will be up for the full season this year, and top prospect Brandon Belt is not likely to be in AAA for very long either. This is a team that could compete for the NL crown again.

Overall Thoughts

The NL West has the Giants at the top, and then a lot of question marks behind them. I honestly think that any of the teams at 2 through 4 could finish in any order in those spots.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. San Francisco
2. Colorado
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
5. Arizona

Original Draft Series – Team # 18 – Cleveland Indians


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

Team #18: Cleveland Indians

General Managers(since 1994)

John Hart (1994-2001): 718-509
Mark Shapiro (2002-Current): 635-661

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Victor Martinez Int’l FA – 1996 13 3 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
821 gm, .297/.369/.463, 103 HR, 518 RBI, 413 R
Traded to BOS – 7/31/09
1B Russell Branyan 1994 – 7th Rd 8 + 1 294 gm, .232/.311/.472, 55 HR, 139 RBI, 2 SB, 124 R Traded to CIN – 6/7/02
2B Marco Scutaro Int’l FA – 1994 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIL – 7/28/00
3B Jhonny Peralta Int’l FA – 1999 11 902 gm, .265/.331/.424, 101 HR, 447 RBI, 9 SB, 469 R Currently with Org.
SS Maicer Izturis Int’l FA – 1998 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 1/5/04
LF Manny Ramirez 1991 – 1st Rd (13) 9 4 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers (OF)
967 gm, .313/.407/.592, 236 HR, 804 RBI, 28 SB, 665 R
Free Agency – 10/27/00
CF Willy Taveras Int’l FA – 1999 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draftee HOU – 12/15/03
RF Ben Francisco 2002 – 5th Rd 7 235 gm, .261/.332/.437, 28 HR, 99 RBI, 17 SB, 123 R Traded to PHI – 7/29/09
DH Jim Thome 1989 – 13th Rd 13 3 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
1377 gm, .287/.414/.567, 334 HR, 927 RBI, 18 SB, 917 R
Free Agency – 10/28/02
SP C.C. Sabathia 1998 – 1st Rd (20) 10 2007 AL Cy Young Award, 3 All Star Appearances
106-71, 3.83 ERA, 1265 K, 498 BB, 1528.2 IP, 1.265 WHIP
Traded to MIL – 7/7/08
SP David Huff 2006 – 1st Rd (39) 4 13-17, 5.76 ERA, 99 K, 71 BB, 198.1 IP, 1.603 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jeremy Guthrie 2002 – 1st Rd (22) 4 0-0, 6.08 ERA, 24 K, 23 BB, 37 IP, 1.757 WHIP Selected by BAL – 1/29/07
SP Fausto Carmona Int’l FA – 2000 10 39-43, 4.53 ERA, 384 K, 265 BB, 632 IP, 1.453 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brian Tallet 2000 – 2nd Rd 5 1-2, 4.04 ERA, 16 K, 15 BB, 35.2 IP, 1.486 WHIP Traded to TOR – 1/17/06
RP Aaron Laffey 2003 – 16th Rd 7 16-20, 1 SV, 4.59 ERA, 143 K, 116 BB, 294.1 IP, 1.522 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Tony Sipp 2004 – 45th Rd 6 2-2, 4.29 ERA, 75 K, 44 BB, 65 IP, 1.508 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Rafael Perez Int’l FA – 2002 8 10-9, 3 SV, 4.02 ERA, 211 K, 81 BB, 221.2 IP, 1.349 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jensen Lewis 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 5-11, 14 SV, 3.84 ERA, 162 K, 79 BB, 182.2 IP, 1.401 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP David Riske 1996 – 56th Rd 9 17-12, 16 SV, 3.55 ERA, 318 K, 135 BB, 317.1 IP, 1.261 WHIP Traded to BOS – 1/27/06
CL Danys Baez Int’l FA – 1999 4 17-23, 31 SV, 3.92 ERA, 248 K, 125 BB, 291.1 IP, 1.318 WHIP Free Agency – 12/20/03
BN Luke Scott (OF) 2001 – 9th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to HOU – 3/31/04
BN Ryan Church (OF) 2000 – 14th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 1/5/04
BN Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B) 2003 – 6th Rd 3 16 gm, .214/.279/.411, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 R Traded to SD – 11/8/06
BN Trevor Crowe (OF) 2005 – 1st Rd (14) 5 108 gm, .244/.295/.340, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 16 SB, 44 R Currently with Org.
BN Jeremy Sowers (P) 2004 – 1st Rd (6) 6 18-30, 5.18 ERA, 174 K, 132 BB, 400 IP, 1.440 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Indians have gotten some pretty good players out of the first round, with Manny Ramirez and C.C. Sabathia being the clear front runners of the group. The rest of the group out of the 1st round has been a bit of a mixed bag, as you have players like David Huff, Jeremy Guthrie, Trevor Crowe, and Jeremy Sowers who have had a minimal contribution to the Indians’ long term success. They have done well to get some of their players up quickly, with Huff being an example of one who is already up from the 2006 draft. Top picks Beau Mills and Lonnie Chisenhall (2007, 2008) are both performing well in the minors, although Mills has run into a bit of trouble of late. Another excellent choice turned out to be 13th round selection Jim Thome, who was the face of the franchise when Manny Ramirez left via free agency after the 2000 season. Looking at the last decade of 1st round picks, they’ve had a full 9 players who were taken in the first round, but have still never played in the Majors for even a single day.

International Free Agency

The Indians have done extremely well in the international markets, and have a wide variety of countries represented. They have found players from Cuba (Baez), the Dominican Republic (Carmona), and Venezuela (Martinez), among others. While quite a few of them did not play any significant role for the Indians (Scutaro, Izturis, Taveras), many of them have become Major League regulars for at least some period of time. There aren’t necessarily as many players coming through that pipeline as there were before, but it does take quite a while for most international free agents to end up on the radar of the top prospect sites.

Overall Grade

C+ – The Indians have had a few bonafide stars, with Ramirez, Sabathia, Thome, and Martinez to help lead the team over the years. They’ve also had some players who have become major league regulars, even if they didn’t do it for the Indians (Guthrie, Scutaro, Izturis, Kouzmanoff). The quality level of some of the positions isn’t amazing, and I think that is what is leading me to not be able to give them a grade of B or higher. Overall, they’ve done fairly well, although these players haven’t necessarily lead to a lot of on-the-field success in the past few years.

Team Preview – Atlanta Braves


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Brian McCann SP 1 Tommy Hanson
1B Troy Glaus SP 2 Derek Lowe
2B Martin Prado SP 3 Tim Hudson
3B Chipper Jones SP 4 Jair Jurrjens
SS Yunel Escobar SP 5 Kenshin Kawakami
LF Melky Cabrera Bullpen
CF Nate McLouth CL Billy Wagner
RF Matt Diaz RP Takashi Saito
Bench RP Peter Moylan
OF Erik Hinske RP Kris Medlen
IF Omar Infante RP Eric O’Flaherty

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
LF Melky Cabrera Trade (NYY) SP Javier Vazquez Trade (NYY)
1B Troy Glaus Free Agency RP Rafael Soriano Trade (TAM)
RP Billy Wagner Free Agency RP Mike Gonzalez Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jason Heyward (OF), Freddie Freeman (1B), Arodys Vizcaino (P)

2009 Review

The Braves finished 3rd in the NL East last season, 7 games back of the NL Champion Phillies. The Braves waited to bring up top prospect Tommy Hanson until early June, and there has been discussion that they might have made the playoffs had they started the season with him in the rotation. The pitching rotation was led by Hanson (11-4, 2.89 ERA, 116 strikeouts in 127 innings) and offseason acquisition Javier Vazquez (15-10, 2.87, 238 strikeouts in 219 innings). The bullpen was finished by flame-throwing relievers, Mike Gonzalez (10 sv, 2.42 ERA) and Rafael Soriano (27 sv, 2.97 ERA).

The Braves helped to shore up their outfield midseason with the acquisition of CF Nate McLouth from the Pirates. They also surprised a lot of people by moving RF Jeff Francouer midseason to the division rival Mets for OF Ryan Church. McLouth provided a .257 batting average, 11 HR and 12 SB in the half-season with the Braves. The lineup was also led by veteran Brian McCann (.281, 21 HR), and late season acquisition Adam LaRoche (.325, 12 HR, 40 RBI in 57 games).

Team Outlook for 2010

The Braves were one of the few teams that entered the offseason with an abundance of starting pitching.  Having signed Tim Hudson to an extension, they now had 6 starters for 5 spots. As a result of this, they traded top starter Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for CF Melky Cabrera and prospects. The team still comes into 2010 with an excellent rotation from top to bottom. Free agent signees Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito will help to stabilize the back end of the bullpen following the losses of Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez to trade and free agency, respectively.

The biggest story out of Atlanta this spring has to be the emergence of top prospect RF Jason Heyward. Heyward, considered by many to be the top prospect in baseball right now, is threatening to force the Braves to keep him up and give him the starting RF job on Opening Day. He’s only played 3 games above AA level, but should be patrolling RF for the Braves for a long time. He posted a .323./.408/.555 split line across 3 levels last year. I wrote about him a bit more in depth earlier this year.

The key for the Braves is going to be on the offensive side. They will need improved production from 3B Chipper Jones, and a return to form by free agent signee Troy Glaus. I think that they can compete for the division or the Wild Card if they can get enough offense and run-support for these solid pitchers.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The top fantasy players on the Braves would have to include C Brian McCann and SP Tommy Hanson. As always, closers provide value as well, and I think that we could see a return to form from Billy Wagner. In deeper leagues, OF Jason Heyward, SP Tim Hudson, and SS Yunel Escobar can all provide differing levels of value.

Prediction for 2010

The Braves did well this offseason with some of their moves (Wagner, Glaus, Saito), but in my opinion, they simply are not likely to get the production that they will need out of their offense to help them compete with the class of the division. I think that if Heyward starts the season patrolling RF, it could potentially be enough to get them into the front of the Wild Card chase.

83-79, 3rd in the NL East