Tag Archives: Ryan Howard

Who Are the Faces of the Franchise? NL East Edition


Time to start looking at the Senior Circuit, beginning with the 5 teams in the East…

  • Braves – This one has to be Chipper Jones as of right now. He’s easily the longest tenured Brave, has been with the team his entire career, and has been an excellent player throughout. I could see this role going to either Brian McCann or Jason Heyward when Chipper finally decides to hang them up.
  • Marlins – For better or worse, it’s definitely Hanley Ramirez for the Marlins. The largest contract in the history of the team was given to Hanley, and was well deserved based on his performance. The only thing I can remember even remotely being negative around him was when his previous manager called him out for a lack of hustle.
  • Mets – David Wright and Jose Reyes really stand out to me for the Mets. I’d be more inclined to give the nod to Wright since he has not been injured nearly as often as Reyes in recent years, and it could continue that way with Reyes potentially being a free agent after this season.
  • Phillies – This one’s actually a lot more difficult than I would have thought it would be. There are so many big name players on the Phillies now that picking one by themselves is very difficult. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Roy Halladay could all vie for this role, but I think for now it has to be Ryan Howard. The former MVP seems to be out front for the organization more than any other player, including Halladay.
  • Nationals – Last year, I would have said it had to be Stephen Strasburg. But with his injury, and the gigantic contract given to Jayson Werth, Werth has to be the de facto face of the franchise. It remains to be seen whether or not he can live up to the expectations that come with a contract that size, but for now it’s definitely on him to try.

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

The NL Stan Musial Award


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Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we have been voting on our award winners for the regular season. Previously I have announced my votes for the Connie Mack awards (Best Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays awards (Top Rookie), the Goose Gossage awards (Top Reliever), and the Walter Johnson awards (Top Pitcher). Only one set of awards left to give out, and it’s the big one: The Stan Musial award, given to each league’s most valuable player.

Every season there seems to be a real debate as to what should be considered for the league’s most valuable player. It’s become pretty clear that there is (or at least should be) a difference between who is the best player and who was the most valuable to his team this season. Well, here’s my criteria (at least how I see it anyway):

Value to their Team

It becomes extremely hard for me to argue that a player who has a great season on a team with a lot of great players is more valuable than a player who has a great season on a team that doesn’t have a lot of good players on it. When I look at it, I start looking at how the team would perform without the player. If the player I am looking at were to miss extended time, would their team be able to easily replace what he does, or would they struggle until he returned to form?

The Complete Player

It becomes extremely important in my opinion, that for a player to be the most valuable player, they have to provide at least some value on both sides of the game. Clearly, there is value to a player who plays excellent defense in addition to a player who hits extremely well. To me, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a player needs to steal a lot of bases and hit a lot of home runs on the offensive side, but they should clearly be pretty close to elite for what they do. And in terms of players who are primarily designated hitters, to me they have to be far and away the most obvious candidate for them to get a lot of votes. While it is a position in the game, I think that it is important to find a way to offset the value they are not providing in the field.

Pitchers

I tend to view pitchers the same way as designated hitters in terms of the most valuable player. They would need to be unbelievably dominant to move ahead of top level position players.

The Big Stats

At this point, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore what the statistics tell us overall. It becomes hard to argue that there isn’t a judgment to be made when looking at value with regard to home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, runs batted in, and batting average, among many others. That said, it is something I look at, but it doesn’t become a spot where I just make a judgment based entirely on the statistics.

With all that (phew!), here’s my top candidates for the NL Stan Musial award. Players are listed from east to west, and my vote will be at the bottom. For this award, it’s a 10 person ballot. Also, when you’re talking about the best of anything, it invariably ends up a bit nit-picky when it comes to differentiating candidates. Everyone on this list had a great season, and it just comes down to trying to determine small ways in which one was better than the rest. There’s not a whole lot to say about each player as a result, and so instead here are the statistics that I looked at for each player, and then I’ll go into my logic for my decision.

Continue reading

Week in Review – August 23 to August 29


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (79-50) vs. Texas Rangers (73-57)
Minnesota Twins (75-56) vs. New York Yankees (80-50)

Philadelphia Phillies (73-57) vs. San Diego Padres (76-53)
Cincinnati Reds (75-55) vs. Atlanta Braves (75-55)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .356
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 95
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 42
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 107
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 51

Wins –  C.C. Sabathia (NYY) 18
Saves – Rafael Soriano (TAM) 38
ERA – Clay Buchholz (BOS) 2.21
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 200
WHIP – Mat Latos (SD) 0.98

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Jeff Clement, Scott Feldman, Guillermo Mota, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Ohlendorf, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton,

Return from the Disabled List:  Geovany Soto, Matt Treanor, Wade Davis, Kevin Cash, Carlos Gomez, Jeff Niemann, Matt Watson, Jim Johnson

To the Minors: Wellington Castillo, Sam Fuld, Taylor Teagarden, Travis Buck, Mike Ekstrom, Anthony Slama, Matt Watson, Mike Minor, Glen Perkins,

Called Up: Casper Wells, Micah Hoffpauir, Chris Valaika, Matt Carson, Fernando Salas, Ryan Roberts, Cameron Maybin, Sam LeCure, Collin Balester, Scott Maine, Alex Cora, Franklin Morales, Jordan Zimmermann, Juan Francisco

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The biggest story in the sport this week, unfortunately, was the injury to phenom Stephen Strasburg. After it was all said and done, it sounds like he’s going to need the dreaded Tommy John surgery, and will miss 12-18 months. I do find it interesting how much grief that the Nationals have received related to this, and I don’t believe that there is anything that they could have done any differently. I also find it interesting the amount of chatter about whether or not he may not pitch in the Majors ever again. To me, this seems almost ridiculous based on the success rate that has been achieved on this surgery in the past. Time will tell, but I think he’ll come back and should be good to go by 2012.
  • Indians’ prospect Hector Rendon is going to be needing the dreaded surgery as well, and I know I had viewed him as a potential keeper for my deep fantasy league until this came up. Check back on him in 2012 also.
  • Deadspin ran a group of posts in which they had managed to get their hands on the financial statements of a few of the “poorer” teams in the Majors, notably the Marlins and the Pirates. There’s been a lot of flack aimed at both of them, and it sounds like it may also end up costing the Marlins some extra money as the city of Miami is unhappy with the amount of profit the team is making considering they are publicly financing a new stadium for the team. There’s a great writeup of an interview with a CPA by PiratesProspects (via MLBTradeRumors), and Kristy Dosh over at It’s a Swing and a Miss had a great writeup about it as well.
  • Jose Bautista continues to hit homeruns at a rather ridiculous rate considering his past performance, and of course was “accused” of being on steroids last week. I find it extremely interesting, and tend to agree with Jeff Sullivan’s post over at Lookout Landing: why do we initially jump to this conclusion, and why is it not as big of a deal when a reporter with a newspaper makes the accusation?
  • The Twins acquired closer Brian Fuentes from the Angels on Friday, and Fuentes took his parting shot on the way out of town. I think that the fact that they booed him had more to do with the fact that he didn’t pitch well, not the fact that they didn’t like you. 6 losses, 3.76 ERA, and 42 walks in 93 innings generally don’t make anybody all that happy with their closer, regardless of how many saves (71) they record in 2 seasons.
  • Johnny Damon was claimed by the Red Sox, and there was some debate whether or not he would waive his no-trade clause to return to Boston. Well, he didn’t. Probably better for everyone involved that didn’t happen.
  • Roy Oswalt ended up playing in the outfield in an extra-inning game this week after the Phillies ran out of position players and Ryan Howard was ejected. Wezen-Ball had a very interesting write up of the last few times that a pitcher has played the field.
  • It was finally determined on Sunday evening, most likely after his ejection after seeing one pitch in the game, that Manny Ramirez would simply be given to the White Sox after being awarded their waiver claim for him. Ought to be interesting to see him and Ozzie interact.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting team #7

Wednesday: Month in Review for the month of August.

Saturday:  I’ll be starting a month-long (once a week) series on the group of trades that were made by the Firesale Marlins from the end of their championship run in 1997 through the following season. Part 1 will be up on Saturday.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ’Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Original Draft Series: #11 – Philadelphia Phillies


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

Team #12: Philadelphia Phillies

General Managers(since 1994)

Lee Thomas (1994-1997): 258-325
Ed Wade (1998-2005): 643-652
Pat Gillick (2006-2008): 266-220
Ruben Amaro Jr (2009-Current): 93-69

Team Performance

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

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Carlos Ruiz Int’l FA – 1998 12 440 gm, .256/.347/.390, 27 HR, 165 RBI, 10 SB Currently with Org.
1B Ryan Howard 2001 – 5th Rd 9 2005 NL ROY, 2006 NL MVP, 3 All-Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
836 gm, .281/.373/.578, 245 HR, 721 RBI
Currently with Org.
2B

2000 – 1st Rd (15) 10 5 All Star Appearances, 4 Silver Sluggers
963 gm, .294/.380/.518, 172 HR, 622 RBI, 88 SB
Currently with Org.
3B Scott Rolen 1993 – 2nd Rd 9 1997 NL ROY, 1 All Star Appearance, 3 Gold Gloves
844 gm, .282/.373/.504, 150 HR, 559 RBI, 71 SB
Traded to STL – 7/29/02
SS Jimmy Rollins 1996 – 2nd Rd 14 2007 NL MVP, 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger
1456 gm, .273/.329/.437, 150 HR, 646 RBI, 335 SB
Currently with Org.
LF Pat Burrell 1998 – 1st Rd (1) 10 1306 gm, .257/.367/.485, 251 HR, 827 RBI Left via Free Agency – 11/6/08
CF Michael Bourn 2003 – 4th Rd 4 122 gm, .268/.340/.362, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 19 SB Traded to HOU – 11/7/07
RF Marlon Byrd
1999 – 10th Rd 6 256 gm, .271/.332/.377, 13 HR, 79 RBI, 13 SB Traded to WAS – 5/14/05
DH Domonic Brown 2006 – 20th Rd 4 7 gm, .259/.241/.296, 6 RBI, 1 SB Currently with Org.
SP Cole Hamels 2002 – 1st Rd (17) 8 1 All Star Appearance
55-41, 3.65 ERA, 824 K, 233 BB, 875.2 IP
Currently with Org.
SP Randy Wolf
1997 – 2nd Rd 9 1 All Star Appearance
69-60, 4.21 ERA, 971 K, 437 BB, 1175 IP
Left via Free Agency – 11/1/06
SP J.A. Happ 2004 – 3rd Rd 6 14-5, 3.11 ERA, 159 K, 84 BB, 217 IP Traded to HOU – 7/29/10
SP Brett Myers
1999 – 1st Rd (12) 10 73-63, 4.40 ERA, 21 SV, 986 K, 413 BB, 1183.2 IP Left via Free Agency – 11/6/09
SP Gavin Floyd 2001 – 1st Rd (4) 5 7-5, 6.96 ERA, 75 K, 64 BB, 108.2 IP Traded to CHW – 12/6/06
RP Robinson Tejeda Int’l FA – 1998 7 4-3, 3.57 ERA, 72 K, 51 BB, 85.2 IP Traded to TEX – 4/1/06
RP Alfredo Simon Int’l FA – 1999 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SF – 7/30/04
RP Kyle Kendrick 2003 – 7th Rd 7 31-18, 4.58 ERA, 196 K, 125 BB, 430.2 IP Currently with Org.
RP Ryan Madson 1998 – 9th Rd 12 41-27, 3.86 ERA, 19 SV, 449 K, 167 BB, 539 IP Currently with Org.
RP Taylor Buchholz 2000 – 6th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to HOU – 11/3/03
CL Brad Ziegler 2003 – 20th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 3/28/04
BN Carlos Silva
Int’l FA – 1996 7 8-1, 3.83 ERA, 89 K, 59 BB, 171.1 IP Traded to MIN- 12/3/03
BN Jason Donald 2006 – 3rd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 7/29/09
BN Lou Marson 2004 – 4th Rd 5 8 gm, .286/.375/.476, 1 HR, 2 RBI Traded to CLE – 7/29/09
BN Nick Punto 1998 – 21st Rd 5 77 gm, .223/.273/.272, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB Traded to Min – 12/3/03
BN Jason Michaels 1998 – 4th Rd 7 383 gm, .291/.380/.442, 21 HR, 100 RBI, 6 SB Traded to CLE – 1/27/06

June Amateur Draft

Well, they’ve done very well in the first few rounds of the draft. Clearly, adding players like Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Brett Myers in the first round is going to help. But the team has done well in the next 3 rounds as well, getting Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Scott Rolen, and Randy Wolf. This is one of the first teams that I can remember where I was able to put a solid major league regular into nearly every spot in the lineup and into the starting rotation, and it’s almost entirely from the draft. But they’ve also done well in later rounds, with Domonic Brown being the highest potential of anyone they’ve drafted after the 10th round so far. Even the players that they drafted that have not done a whole lot (Jason Donald, Lou Marson) were both used to acquire Cliff Lee in 2009.

International Free Agency

They have not been as active in international free agency as some teams, but with the success they’ve had in the draft, it’s not as glaring as a problem. The team has only had two success stories from the IFA markets in Carlos Silva and Carlos Ruiz. While it’s not a lot, there’s a lot of hope for Ruiz yet.

Overall Grade

B+. With 2 home grown MVPs, and quite a few players who would be welcome on any team in Chase Utley, Scott Rolen, and Cole Hamels, the team has done extremely well at not only scouting these players, but developing them and getting production for their own team out of them as well. The only weakness is the bullpen, but I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that the bullpen is something that any team can fill in with a little diligence. The fact that they have solid regulars at every lineup position, and 5 excellent starting pitchers leads me to give them this good grade.

Week in Review – August 2 to August 8


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (67-44) vs. Texas Rangers (64-47)
Chicago White Sox (63-48) vs. New York Yankees (69-41)

San Francisco Giants (63-49) vs. Atlanta Braves (64-47)
Cincinnati Reds (64-48) vs. San Diego Padres (64-46)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) – .355
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) – 82
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) – 34
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 93
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) – 42

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 17
Saves – Brian Wilson (SF) – 32
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.97
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) – 171
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Nyjer Morgan, Carlos Pena, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Howard, John Buck, Kris Medlen, David Hernandez, Aaron Cook, Jason Motte, Russell Martin, Travis Hafner, Jeff Weaver, Carlos Santana, Orlando Cabrera, Carlos Silva, Jesse Litsch, Martin Prado, Mike Cameron,

Return from the Disabled List:  Brett Hayes, Todd Wellemeyer, Reed Johnson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Inge, Mike Lowell, Orlando Hudson, Jason Marquis, Ryan Doumit, Mike Adams,

To the Minors: Jesus Feliciano, Drew Sutton, Justin Thomas, Jensen Lewis, Wes Hodges, Daniel Nava, Anthony Ortega, Eric Young Jr., 

Called Up: Brad Mills, Fernando Martinez, Ruben Tejada, Kevin Mench, J.P. Arencibia, Felix Doubront, Michael Brantley, Lorenzo Cain, Philip Humber, Chris Nelson, Chris Sale, Peter Bourjos, David Huff, Carlos Torres, Lou Marson, Dan Johnson, Jeremy Hellickson, Thomas Diamond, Mike Minor,

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • With the trade deadline past, we are now starting to hear about players who have been placed on waivers, with the hopes of potentially trading them before the August 31st roster deadline. Among the players who went on waivers this week: Adam Dunn and Jonathan Papelbon.
  • In Anaheim, the Angels actually shifted Torii Hunter to RF with the call up of OF Peter Bourjos. It must say quite a bit about Bourjos to move a 9-time Gold glove winner, and Hunter is apparently on board with this as well.
  • Monday was a bad day in Boston for injuries, as Kevin Youkilis and Carlos Santana were both injured in the same game and both will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery for their respective injuries on Friday.
  • Ryan Howard will also be out for a bit after spraining his ankle in Monday’s game. It really seems like all injuries are congregating in Boston and Philadelphia, just waiting for another player.
  • Jeremy Hellickson made his major league debut on Monday, and had a very solid start. They informed him prior to the start that he would be returning to AAA regardless if he threw a no-hitter on Monday, and should be back at some point this season still.
  • J. P. Arencibia had an amazing major league debut on Saturday, hitting 2 homeruns, a double and a single in the slugfest that was the Blue Jays-Rays 18-11 game that day.
  • And of course, Alex Rodriguez finally hit his 600th career homerun earlier in the week as well. I’m just not that excited about this unfortunately, and I’m not entirely sure what would make me excited about it.
  • In Atlanta, the Braves retired Tom Glavine‘s #47 on Friday night, and the team proceeded to lose in extra innings.
  • Chris Sale was the first player to make the Majors from the 2010 draft, making his debut on Friday for the White Sox. This wasn’t too much of a surprise, as it was widely rumored that Sale had signed with the intent that the Sox would bring him up before the end of the season.

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

From Books on Baseball:  Kristi Dosh of It’s a Swing and a Miss posted a very well written article about why MLB is the healthiest of the major sports leagues. Although the NFL is making more money, I’m inclined to agree with a lot of the points he made here.

From Babes Love Baseball: Marea posted (in a post I missed last week it appears) taking Chris Coghlan to task a bit about getting hurt while trying to do the shaving-cream pie celebration. The fact that this happened after the Kendry Morales injury makes it that much worse in my opinion.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday and Wednesday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting teams #12 and #11.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Mark Mulder to the Cardinals. Considering I just looked at the Tim Hudson trade that preceded it by 2 days, I figured it was a good time to look at this one also. Spoiler: This one went a little better for the Athletics than the Hudson trade did.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ’Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

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.

Team Preview – Philadelphia Phillies


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Carlos Ruiz SP 1 Roy Halladay
1B Ryan Howard SP 2 Cole Hamels
2B Chase Utley SP 3 Joe Blanton
3B Placido Polanco SP 4 J.A. Happ
SS Jimmy Rollins SP 5 Jamie Moyer
LF Raul Ibanez Bullpen
CF Shane Victorino CL Brad Lidge
RF Jayson Werth RP Ryan Madson
Bench RP J.C. Romero
OF Greg Dobbs RP Danys Baez
C Brian Schneider RP Chad Durbin

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Roy Halladay Trade (TOR) SP Cliff Lee Trade (SEA)
3B Placido Polanco Free Agency 3B Pedro Feliz Free Agency
RP Danys Baez Free Agency SP Brett Myers Free Agency

Top Prospects: Domonic Brown (OF), Philippe Aumont (P), Juan Ramirez (P), Tyson Gillies (OF)

2009 Review

The Phillies finished 2008 as the World Champions, and were looking to repeat coming into 2009. They did well for the most part early on, and made a huge splash at the trade deadline. After failing to acquire Roy Halladay, they turned their interest to reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, acquiring him for a large package of prospects instead. They won the division pretty easily, and cruised through both the Rockies (3-1), and the Dodgers (4-1) to advance to the World Series. Lee pitched extremely well during the playoffs, although he wasn’t able to carry them past the Yankees, as they lost 4-2 in the Series.

The Phillies were led on offense by 2B Chase Utley (.282, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 23 SB), 1B Ryan Howard (.279, 45 HR, 141 RBI), and OF Jayson Werth (36 HR, 99 RBI, 20 SB). Considering they also had solid performances from OFs Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez, this was a team that scored a lot of runs. On the pitching side, mid-season acquisition Cliff Lee pitched well (7-4, 3.39), and rookie J.A. Happ was a very solid performer as well (12-4, 2.93 ERA). The bullpen was in flux for most of the season, as closer Brad Lidge was unable to perform even a little bit consistently (0-8, 7.21 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 7 BSV), and had to rely sometimes on Ryan Madson to help with the duties.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Phillies made the biggest trade of the offseason, finally acquiring SP Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, and in the same trade moving Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects. I’m not sure that Halladay is that much of an upgrade over Lee, at least not to warrant the cost of the prospects that they moved to the Blue Jays. But signing him to a 3 year extension should help with that as well. The offense remains extremely stacked, and I actually think it could be better with Polanco in the 2 spot of the lineup (if that’s where he ends up). He’s still probably a better overall hitter than Feliz was. The rotation will look for a bounceback effort from Cole Hamels, and should be happy with having J.A. Happ in the rotation for the full season this year. Overall, they are a team that almost has a feel of an American League team with the amount of offense and pitching they have.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Lots to like on the Phillies. 2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard lead the way, but SS Jimmy Rollins, OF Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, and Raul Ibanez are all fanatasy gold as well. From the pitching side, SP Roy Halladay is probably going to finish the season as a top-3 starter at worst, and Cole Hamels should return to form as well. Someone to keep an eye on for deeper leagues is Joe Blanton, who doesn’t necessarily have a lot of upside anymore, but should provide solid numbers and ratios.

Prediction for 2010

The Phillies are the class of the NL East yet again, and it would take a lot in my opinion for them to be unseated as the champs of the division. Look for them to use what few prospects they have left at this point if they need a specific piece down the stretch, but I think they’re going to coast to the division title.

96-66, 1st in the NL East

Fantasy Preview – First Basemen


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 15 First Basemen for 2010

1. Albert Pujols – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
124 47 135 16 .327
If someone wants to try to argue that Pujols shouldn’t be the #1 overall player in fantasy baseball coming into the season, they’re free to do so. However, I’m not going to try that. He provides an excellent batting average, excellent power and runs batted in, scores a ton of runs, and even managed to steal 16 bases last season. Even if he cuts the steals down, he’s far and away the top player in fantasy starting this season.


2. Miguel Cabrera – DET
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 34 103 6 .324
It’s hard to remember sometimes that Cabrera will only be turning 27 years old this season. He is about as consistent as they come for a .320+ batting average, 30+ homers, and 100+ rbi. He had a bit of a tumultuous off-season, but look for his focus to be good as always when he hits the field again.


3. Prince Fielder – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 46 141 2 .299
Prince has really vaulted himself into another category of first basemen here, as the power and rbi totals were both at the top of the leaderboards for last season. The high average was a bit of a jump from his previous best, and although he may have a slight regression, I can’t imagine it’s going to be any more than 10 points. The only reason I don’t have Fielder ahead of Cabrera is that you could end up with the Fielder who gave you 34 homers and 86 rbi in 2008 as opposed to the monster from 2009. Another consistent season along those lines would be enough to move him ahead in my books.


4. Mark Teixeira – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 39 122 2 .292
With Big Tex, you draft him and remind yourself that he’s going to produce amazingly for 5 months. It’s that first month that you have to suck up and deal with to get it though. Last April was not so great for Tex again (.200, 3 HR, 10 RBI), but still didn’t really affect his season totals. Teixeira is another player who is pretty much a lock for 30 HR/100 RBI every season, and in the Yankees lineup will provide high amounts of runs as well. A great, solid fantasy first baseman.


5. Ryan Howard – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
105 45 141 8 .277
The only real “flaws” in his game as a fantasy player are a slight lack of speed (8 stolen bases last year was the first time over 1 in a season), and that he’s not a .300 hitter. But do you really need him to be with the rest of those numbers? He’s going to score a lot of runs in the high-powered Phillies lineup, and he’s the biggest masher they have. He’s a very good bet for 40 HR/120 RBI, which there’s not that many players that are going to give you that. And the average is definitely good considering all that, right?


6. Joey Votto – CIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
82 25 84 4 .322
This is where you tell me my wheels have come off, right? I can’t possibly have put Joey Votto above such luminaries as Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, and Lance Berkman, right? Well, I have, and here’s why. Votto missed about 25 games last season due to off-days and the death of his father. When he was playing, he admitted himself that he was not himself, and was out of it while dealing with this and the social anxiety that came with it. And in spite of all these things, he still posted an excellent season. Which leads me to believe that he’s going to be even better this year. In spite of a high batting average on balls in play (.373), I think the power is legitimate. So I could see a 30 HR, .295 hitter instead of a 25 HR, .322 hitter. Still very good.


7. Mark Reynolds – ARI
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 44 102 24 .260
I don’t think he’s the 40 homer run hitter necessarily, and I don’t think he’s going to turn into a pumpkin either. I can see a 30 homer, 20 steal season with a .250 average. The fact that he’s eligible at 3B also makes him a very nice option to have on your roster. He’s a nice upside play though, as he could potentially repeat the 40 homers as well.


8. Kevin Youkilis – BOS
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
99 27 94 7 .305
Another personal favorite, Youkilis not only qualifies at two positions, but provides value in all 5 categories. Obviously, 7 steals isn’t a lot of value necessarily, but since you’re likely to get between 25-30 homers and almost 100 runs score with it, he’s a win-win. The numbers are all similar to his previous season’s numbers, so I’m fairly confident he can repeat them again. Especially with a Red Sox lineup that may actually have improved from last year’s version.


9. Kendry Morales – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
86 34 108 3 .306
Morales came into the league last season, and probably won quite a few leagues for his owners. Finally given regular playing time, Morales didn’t disappoint. I would normally be a bit concerned about a sophomore slump here, but I think that if he’s able to stay on the field all season like he did in 2009, he should have no problem producing similar numbers. Of some concern is the fact that the Angels lost leadoff man Chone Figgins via free agency, but I don’t believe that his RBI total will drop drastically as a result.


10. Adrian Gonzalez – SD
R HR RBI SB AVG
90 40 99 1 .277
It’s amazing how deep 1B is, with a 40 homerun hitter falling all the way to 10th on my rankings. Gonzalez provides no speed, and is unlikely to produce a higher batting average than he did last season. But the power is real, and could be epic if he gets traded midseason to anywhere that plays better than Petco Park. Something to track as the season progresses, as he hit 28 of his 40 homers away from Petco last season, along with a .306 average. If he does get traded, he could potentially vault into the top 5 of first basemen, or even higher.


11. Derrek Lee – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 35 111 1 .306
On a team that really didn’t do very well, Lee quietly had a very good season last year. Continuing this in 2010 would not really be that much of a stretch. The lineup for the Cubs is at least as good as it was last season, so RBI and R opportunities will probably remain similar. The home run total is not really out of range either, as he’s hit 30+ homers 4 times. Obviously, I’d love to see him start stealing bases like he has in the past, posting double-digit steal seasons 4 times as well. However, that ship may have sailed, and my lack of confidence in that to change leaves him here at 11.


12. Justin Morneau – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
85 30 100 0 .274
Kind of scary that my 12th best first baseman still had a bit of a down season, only hitting .274 and scoring 85 runs. The run total should improve with J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson added to the lineup. His batting average should improve some as well, but I’m not sold it will get all the way back to .300. But a 30 hr/100 rbi season should be expected out of him, and combined with all that, he could potentially have some upside here.


13. Adam Dunn – WAS
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 38 105 0 .267
Dunn is about as consistent as it gets also, with last year’s home run total (38) only being 2 less than he had hit in each of the previous 4 seasons. He’s going to give you nearly 40 homers, and 100 rbis every season. His run total should improve slightly due to the lineup for the Nationals improving with the addition of Pudge Rodriguez, although his batting average could see a drop back to the .250 range.


14. Pablo Sandoval – SF
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 25 90 5 .330
Kung-Fu Panda had a breakout season last year, posting great value in 3 categories and solid value in the other 2. I think that with the improvements made to the Giants’ lineup this offseason, he could potentially reach both 100 runs scored and 100 rbi. I think his average may fall back to earth slightly, but will probably still be above .300. Odds are that you’ll end up using him at 3B for any fantasy team you own him on, but the additional flexibility is nice as well.


15. Carlos Pena – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 39 100 3 .227
Man, that batting average sure is ugly. But underneath it is a batting average on balls in play that was well below his career BABIP. So there should be a little improvement on that front. My only concern for the 2010 season is how he has recovered from the broken wrist that ended his season in 2009. If he’s 100% healthy, I can see him very easily returning to 40+ homers and driving in 120 this coming season. But the risk is what drops him down this far on my rankings.



Here’s the odd thing about the first base position. Even after the top 15, there are still definitely useful players if you don’t end up getting a top-tier guy early. You’ve got 20 home run hitters in Adam LaRoche (25), Paul Konerko (28), Billy Butler (21), Garrett Jones (21), Lance Berkman (25) Chris Davis (21), and Michael Cuddyer (32). You’ve got guys who drove in 80+ runs in Berkman (80), Todd Helton (86), Butler (93), Konerko (88), LaRoche (83), James Loney (90), and Cuddyer again (94). You’ve got .300 hitters in Helton (.325), Butler (.301), and Victor Martinez (.303). You even have a 10 steal guy in Garrett Jones. And that’s without even mentioning top-flight prospects like Justin Smoak (TEX) and Chris Carter (OAK).

My advice for this position is simple: Unless you’re getting one of the elite players (top 6 or so), you can probably wait, and see what your needs are as you progress through the draft. If you’re lacking power, it’s going to be there. If you’re looking for average, it’s going to be there too.

Sunday’s position for review: 2B

Prospect Review – Mike Stanton – OF – FLA


Baseball-Reference.com Profile
FanGraphs.com Profile

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted out of Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA) by the Marlins in the 2nd round (76th overall)
Age: 20

Statistics
2008 – Greensboro (Sally League – Marlins A) – 125 games

  • .293/.381/.611
  • 39 hr, 97 rbi
  • 58 bb, 153 k

2009 – Jupiter (Florida State League – Marlins High-A) – 50 games

  • .294/.390/.578
  • 12 hr, 39 rbi
  • 28 bb, 45 k

2009 – Jacksonville (Southern League – Marlins AA) – 79 games

  • .231/.311/.455
  • 16 hr, 53 rbi
  • 31 bb, 99 k

2009 Totals

  • .255/.341/.501
  • 28 hr, 92 rbi
  • 59 bb, 144 k

2009 – Mesa Solar Sox (Arizona Fall League – not counted towards totals) – 6 games

  • .478/.538/.609
  • 1 hr, 2 rbi
  • 3 bb, 8 k

Prospect Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (FLA – 2010), #2 (FLA – 2009)
Project Prospect – #2 (Corner OF – 11/2009), #9 (Position Players – 9/2009)
Baseball Prospectus – #2 (FLA – 11/2008)
John Sickels – #4 (FLA – 3/2009)

Anaylsis

In 2008, Stanton truly announced his presence, pounding home runs at a prodigious rate for Single-A Greensboro. He finished the season with 39 of them, along with a .293/.381/.611 line, albeit with a slightly elevated BABIP of .355. And all of this while he is still only 18 years old. Needless to say, expectations of a continuance of this power was expected out of Stanton for 2009. And while he did not hit for quite the same amount of power (28 homers between 2 levels), he still maintained quite a power clip, posting a .501 slugging percentage between the two levels.

Now, I’ve mentioned previously that I think that the ability to draw a walk is critical to long-term success in the Majors. I think that players who draw at least a similar amount of walks to the amount of strikeouts they have will generally be more successful. That said, I believe that as long as a player can at least draw some walks, they should be alright. Stanton posted walk rates of 9% (2007), 11% (2008), and 10% (2009), which are all definitely respectable numbers for many a hitter.

Obviously, the amount of strikeouts he is having each year is of some concern. In 2008, he struck out in 32% of his at bats, and slightly decreased that number in 2009, bringing it to 30%. So I wondered how a couple of high power, high strikeout hitters looked in comparison.

Ryan Howard – Career: 13% walk rate, 33% strikeout rate
Adam Dunn – Career: 17% walk rate, 32% strikeout rate
Jack Cust – Career: 18% walk rate, 40% strikeout rate

All 3 players have had varying levels of success in the Majors, with Howard and Dunn clearly ahead of Cust. While I think it is definitely premature to include Stanton in the same group, I think that they make good comps. I think that Stanton’s walk rate of around 10% in the minors would translate reasonably well to the Major Leagues, and that he needs to try to cut down his strikeout rates ever so slightly. He is probably always going to be a power hitter, and not ever really hit for average in the majors. Not that everyone needs to be a hitter for average.

Stanton was drafted as a first baseman out of high school, but has since been converted to a right fielder. He played there almost exclusively in 2009, and had 10 assists out there during the season. He posted a Total Zone rating of 5 in RF in 2009, which would make him a slightly above-average fielder at the position as well.

Outlook

The future is really bright for Stanton, as he has shown huge flashes of power, and at least a reasonable ability to hit in general. And all of this prior to the age of 20. While I think he is probably a couple of years away still, he should start next season back at AA Jacksonville, and hopefully will spend a majority of the season there. The Marlins are not necessarily known for rushing some of the prospects, and with the Major League outfield having reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, Cody Ross, and up-and-comer Cameron Maybin penciled in for next season, they won’t really need his bat in Miami for at least another season. I am really looking forward to seeing what Stanton does next year.

Prediction for 2010

.265/.355/.500, 27 hr, 90 rbi (AA)

Expected ETA

Mid-Season 2011, most likely 2012.