Tag Archives: Scott Kazmir

Week in Review – July 19 to July 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (59-38) vs. Texas Rangers (58-41)
Chicago White Sox (53-44) vs. New York Yankees (62-35)

San Francisco Giants (56-43) vs. Atlanta Braves (57-41)
St. Louis Cardinals (55-44) vs. San Diego Padres (58-39)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 75
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 27
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 88
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 35

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) and Brian Wilson (SF) 29
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.61
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 147
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Ben Sheets, Aaron Laffey, Luis Atilano, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Dustin Nippert, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Sweeney, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez,

Return from the Disabled List: Mat Latos, Ryan Ludwick, Sergio Mitre, Brian Roberts, Josh Beckett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Yovani Gallardo, Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Nate McLouth, Jed Lowrie, Will Venable, Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez, Clay Buchholz, Luis Castillo, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Matt Wieters,

To the Minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Oliver

Called Up: Cedrick Bowers, Alex Gordon, Jose Arredondo, Scott Sizemore, Armando Galarraga

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being enshrined for their performances. Back in December, I wrote up my thoughts on whether Dawson was a Hall of Famer or not. (I thought he was)
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th homerun of his career this week, and will earn $6 million extra when he hits #600 due to a clause in his contract. Good for him.
  • The Mariners are really looking like a mess, and I am thinking it is probably going to cost manager Don Wakamatsu his job before the end of the season. On Friday night, he got into a shouting argument in the dugout with Chone Figgins over Figgins’ lack of effort on a play in the 5th inning of that night’s game. I actually agree that Wakamatsu did the right thing by yanking Figgins from the game, but teams don’t fire players very often for this kind of stuff.
  • The Moneyball movie has begun shooting finally, with Brad Pitt set to play GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill to play Paul De Podesta, and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing manager Art Howe. Having been through the 2002 season as an A’s fan, and having read the book, this one’s going to be interesting. I’m wondering if the movie reopens the stats vs. scouts argument wounds again.
  • Major League Baseball, very quietly, announced that minor leaguers will now be tested for HGH in addition to all the other things they are already tested for. I’d be shocked if the next collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have this test in it for Major Leaguers as well.
  • The Angels made the big moves this week with acquiring 3B Alberto Callaspo first in the week and then making the huge splash with acquiring SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for 4 prospects. Really like the trade for the Angels, hate it for every other team in the division (including my A’s).

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 the Hall of Very Good: HOVG posted a series of articles looking at the next group of players to be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (so far). Excellent reads from all of them.

From the Daily Something: Bill had a guest post from Jeff Polman which went ahead and played out the remainder of the 1994 season via Strat-o-Matic baseball. It’s a really interesting read, and Strat-o-Matic is something I keep reminding myself that I might enjoy when I have some more time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: A series I had not finished up from earlier in the month, the Original Draft Series, is a group of posts where I look at what an organization’s major league team could have looked like had they held onto every player that they either drafted or signed to their first professional contract. There may be 3 posts this week on this, or there may be 6 if I am feeling ambitious.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Johan Santana to the Mets. This one’s a bit newer than a lot of the trades I have reviewed previously, but the players in the deal have pretty much finalized what their value in the trade is going to be, so it’s ready to be looked at I believe.

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

Advertisements

Original Draft Series: #26 – New York Mets


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

Team #26: New York Mets

General Managers(since 1994)

Joe McIlvaine (1994-1997): 283-298
Steve Phillips (1998-2003): 502-469
Jim Duquette (2004): 71-91
Omar Minaya (2005-Current): 427-383

Team Performance

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

The Mets have actually had some pretty solid years over the past 16 seasons. With a trip to the World Series in 2000,  and 3 playoff appearances overall, the Mets have done well with what they’ve had. The key being that as time has progressed since 1994, they have continued to spend money in addition to developing players, sometimes one to the detriment of the other. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Josh Thole 2005 – 13th Rd 5 17 gm, .321/.356/.396, 9 RBI, SB, 2 R Currently with Org.
1B Ike Davis 2008 – 1st Rd (18) 2 51 gm, .258/.346/.451, 8 HR, 22 RBI, SB, 31 R Currently with Org.
2B Ty Wigginton 1998 – 17th Rd 6 288 gm, .270/.327/.440, 29 HR, 131 RBI, 20 SB, 137 R Traded to PIT – 7/30/04
3B David Wright 2001 – 1st Rd (38) 9 4 All Star Appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
910 gm, .308/.388/.519, 152 HR, 611 RBI, 130 SB, 585 R
Currently with Org.
SS Jose Reyes Int’l FA – 1999 11 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
851 gm, .284/.336/.430, 66 HR, 348 RBI, 318 SB, 587 R
Currently with Org.
LF Angel Pagan 1999 – 4th Rd 7+2 181 gm, .293/.345/.446, 10 HR, 71 RBI, 31 SB, 102 R Purchased by CHC – 1/25/06
CF Carlos Gomez Int’l FA – 2002 5 58 gm, .232/.288/.304, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 12 SB, 29 R Traded to MIN – 2/2/08
RF Nelson Cruz Intl FA – 1998 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 8/30/00
SP Scott Kazmir 2002 – 1st Rd (15) 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to TAM – 7/30/04
SP A.J. Burnett 1995 – 8th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 2/6/98
SP Mike Pelfrey 2005 – 1st Rd (9) 5 37-33, 4.25 ERA, 334 K, 212 BB, 565.2 IP, 1.448 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brian Bannister 2003 – 7th Rd 3 2-1, 4.26 ERA, 19 K, 22 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Traded to KC – 12/6/06
SP Jonathon Niese 2005 – 7th Rd 5 5-4, 4.27 ERA, 74 K, 36 BB, 97 IP, 1.505 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Hisanori Takahashi Int’l FA – 2010 1 5-2, 3.48 ERA, 52 K, 20 BB, 54.1 IP, 1.325 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jenrry Mejia Int’l FA – 2007 3 0-2, 3.04 ERA, 16 K, 13 BB, 26.2 IP, 1.575 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Octavio Dotel Int’l FA – 1993 6 8-3, 5.38 ERA, 85 K, 49 BB, 85.1 IP, 1.383 WHIP Traded to HOU – 12/23/99
RP Aaron Heilman 2001 – 1st Rd (18) 7 22-33, 4.24 ERA, 395 K, 185 BB, 450.1 IP, 1.328 WHIP Traded to SEA – 12/11/08
RP Matt Lindstrom 2002 – 10th Rd 8 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 11/20/06
CL Heath Bell Amateur FA – 1998 8 1-5, 4.92 ERA, 105 K, 30 BB, 108 IP, 1.472 WHIP Traded to SD – 11/15/06
BN Kaz Matsui (2B) Int’l FA – 2003 3 239 gm, .256/.308/.363, 11 HR, 75 RBI, 22 SB, 106 R Traded to COL – 6/9/06
BN Daniel Murphy (1B) 2006 – 13th Rd 4 204 gm, .275/.331/.437, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 4 SB, 84 R Currently with Org.
BN Lastings Milledge (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (12) 4 115 gm, .257/.326/.414, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 4 SB, 41 R Traded to WAS – 11/30/07
BN Jesus Flores (C) Int’l FA – 2002 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Rule 5 Draftee – WAS – 12/7/06
BN Guillermo Mota (RP) Int’l FA – 1990 6 + 2 5-2, 4.66 ERA, 66 K, 23 BB, 77.1 IP, 1.241 WHIP Rule 5 Draftee – MON – 12/9/06
BN Ryota Igarashi (RP) Int’l FA – 2009 1 0-1, 10.03 ERA, 4 K, 9 BB, 11.2 IP, 1.971 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 20 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). With success comes a lack of top-10 picks, as they have had only 4 picks in those drafts. They have actually done reasonably well in the 1st round, 14 of the 20 making it for at least 1 game to the Majors. Clearly, the biggest success to this point has been 3B David Wright, who has posted a 27.2 career WAR already, despite being only 27 years old. Unfortunately, they haven’t always known what to do with their first rounders, as the player with the second highest Career WAR to this point is the notorious Scott Kazmir, traded away in 2004 for the player equivalent of 5 baseballs and some pine tar.

International Free Agency

The Mets have been extremely active in the International markets, with both professional free agents (Matsui, Takahashi) and amateur free agents (Reyes, Dotel) having success. There have been a few however, who are either too new still (Igarashi, Mejia), or never really did much for the team itself (Flores, Cruz). Overall, there is definitely an effort being made organization wide to try to ensure that they are tapping every talent pool possible.

Overall Grade

I am leaning towards C- here. While there have been some stunning success stories (Wright, Reyes), there have also been players who essentially brought nothing to the table for the Mets (Kazmir, Flores, Cruz). And while at least a few of these players who did not play for the team brought back useful players (Burnett was used to acquire Al Leiter), the fact that so many of these players were not in a Mets uniform when they had success leads me to rank them down this low. As you will probably see in the next few teams, these teams are all kind of bunched together, and if you had one ahead of another, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree.

Fantasy Preview – Starting Pitchers Part 2


Last Sunday, I ranked my top 25 starting pitchers, and will finish up my rankings of the next 50 today. Not as many stats this time, but still some notes regarding the pitchers.

26. Cole Hamels (PHI) – I wrote about Hamels over at Fake Teams, and think that he’s going to rebound quite nicely this season. I think he can post around 200 strikeouts along with a 3.50 ERA and a sub 1.25 WHIP. I think that he also could be the victim of some sleeper hype as a result of the poor season last year.

27. Chad Billingsley (LAD) – Billingsley should recover nicely from the perceived poor season he had. His ERA should rebound, and his WHIP and strikeouts were both solid last year. Pitching half your starts at Dodgers Stadium will always help also.

28. Brett Anderson (OAK) – Anderson has been getting a lot of hype this offseason, and with reason. From July onward: 98 strikeouts, 1.11 WHIP, 3.02 ERA in 101 IP. While I think that he could see some downturn due to the jump in innings from last season, I think he could very well post those types of numbers for a full season.

29. Jered Weaver (LAA) – Weaver will be asked to lead the Angels pitching staff now, and should be able to fill that role pretty well. He has posted a strikeout rate over 7 per 9 in each of the last 2 seasons, and could approach 200 strikeouts again this season.

30. John Lackey (BOS) – Lackey goes to a new ballpark, with a new team. I’m not sure that either of those facts are particularly relevant to his ability to pitch effectively as a fantasy starter. He seems likely to post similar numbers whether he remained in Anaheim or not. He should post an ERA around 3.75 with a strikeout rate around 7.5 per 9 innings. If he gets to 200 innings I could see 160+ strikeouts potentially.

31. A.J. Burnett (NYY) – Burnett is going to strike out a lot of batters, as he’s been right around 200 in each of the last 3 seasons. However, his walk rate actually increased last season, getting up to 4.22 per 9 innings. He’s likely to get more win opportunities than a pitcher on another team due to the excellent Yankees lineup. However, I think he’s just as likely to post an ERA of 4.50 or higher as he is to post one under 4.00. Caveat emptor on this one.

32. Ryan Dempster (CHC) – Dempster posted a second straight solid season in the rotation, and posted another 200 inning season as well. To me, Dempster is a solid starting pitcher, and very consistent as well. He’s going to strikeout at least 160, and should post a WHIP around 1.30. Not the flashiest pitcher you could get, nor does he possess any particular upside, but you need pitchers like this too.

33. Randy Wolf (MIL) – Wolf appears to have been really helped by Dodger Stadium, but I’m not inclined to believe it was that much. His ERA was almost a half run lower than his FIP, but the rest of his numbers could be a solid value for your fantasy team. I can see him posting a 1.25 WHIP and a sub-4 ERA to go along with 160 strikeouts. A very solid #3 starter.

34. Jorge de la Rosa (COL) – The strikeouts are wonderful. He’s likely to strikeout more than a batter per inning. The walk rate, not so much. I think that he could conceivably improve on the walk rate, but the ERA and WHIP are probably going to suffer slightly even still. I had originally thought he could be a top-30 pitcher, but unless he can show that he can lower that walk rate, he’s going to remain lower in the rankings.

35. Scott Baker (MIN) – Baker had a better season than his ERA tells us. His ERA seems like it should come around, based on his sub 1.20 WHIPs in each of the last 2 seasons. Strikes out a little more than 7 per 9 innings, and there’s a lot to like here from Baker. I think this could be the year that he vaults into the top 20 of starting pitching.

36. James Shields (TAM) – I think Shields could see some improvement in his ERA from last season. He should strike out over 150 and post a solid WHIP in over 200 innings pitched. Probably the definition of a lower-risk, lower-upside pitcher. He’s not likely to strikeout 200 hitters, but if he can do repeat hist 2009 season, he will be a solid #2 or #3 starting pitcher.

37. Roy Oswalt (HOU) – Oswalt used to be considered a top-tier starting pitcher. He looks like he may have been a little bit unlucky last season, but his strikeout rate is down which concerns me. The fact that he pitches for the Astros and their anemic offense does nothing to make me feel better. I think that if he returns to 200 IP, he can strikeout about 150-170 or so, with a sub-4 ERA and a sub 1.30 WHIP

38. Scott Kazmir (LAA) – Kazmir should post a high strikeout rate, but his WHIP is still a concern. I think he’s probably going to be above 1.30 in that category, and could very well end up causing him to have an ERA above 4. There’s a lot of upside here, but I think this is about where I’d be willing to draft him.

39. Rich Harden (TEX) – There’s a lot of upside here. A LOT. He struck out almost 11 per 9 innings last year when he was healthy. But this “health” thing remains Harden’s issue. I don’t think that the move to Arlington will affect him particularly. Look for another season of 140 or so excellent innings, and anything else from him would be a bonus in my opinion.

40. Gavin Floyd (CHW) – Floyd only posted 11 wins last season, but I think he can improve on that this season.  Of some concern to me is the fact that his strikeout rate jumped last season by a full strikeout per 9 innings. He’s likely to provide a 1.25 WHIP, and I can see him adding 150 strikeouts and an ERA around 4.00 to that WHIP.

41. Edwin Jackson (ARI) – Pitcher moving from the AL to the NL: generally a good thing. Jackson really put together a great season last year, his first truly solid season from start to finish. I think that he should be helped a lot by being around Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, along with pitching in the pitcher friendly NL West.

42. Jair Jurrjens (ATL) – Jurrjens is a pitcher who appears to have posted a very lucky ERA (2.60), but even looking at his FIP for last season (3.68), he still posted a very solid season if that had been his ERA instead. He’s going to give you a lot of innings, and a solid strikeout number as well.

43. Clay Buchholz (BOS) – Buchholz will hopefully get a full season of starts this year, as he could conceivably post a sub-4 ERA with 175+ strikeouts and a solid WHIP as well. You’ll have to watch how this shakes out during the spring, but there’s a lot of upside with Clay.

44. Carlos Zambrano (CHC) – Big Z is a tease. He struck out 152 in 169 innings last season. And walked 78 in that same workload. Take the strikeouts knowing that he’s probably going to hurt your WHIP.  He should improve slightly on his WHIP from last year, but should still be around 1.30. There’s some upside here, but I probably won’t be the one that will be taking the chance.

45. Joe Blanton (PHI) – The numbers aren’t sexy. The fact that he gets them are also not. But he’s going to give you a lot of innings, and solid ratios and strikeouts for those innings. Another one of those solid starters that your team will need to back up some of your upside plays.

46. J.A. Happ (PHI) – There’s been a lot of talk that Happ was extremely lucky last season, and his strikeout and walk rates both point to that as well. I think that he can be a very solid starting pitcher though, and there’s some upside here to me. He should post a sub-4 ERA and a sub 1.30 WHIP, along with a solid if not amazing strikeout rate.

47. Max Scherzer (DET) – I think that Scherzer isn’t going to be affected too adversely by his move to the American League, as he was a dominant strikeout pitcher last season. That said, the missed time is of some concern, and the fact that the D’Backs were willing to give him up so easily also worries me. But there’s a lot of upside with him as well.

48. Tim Hudson (ATL) – Hudson came back at the end of last season, and had 7 solid starts. I think that if he can get to 200 innings pitched, he will strikeout 140 and post solid ratios as well. But there’s that injury risk still floating over Hudson, and that’s why he’s not likely to be higher on my rankings.

49. Ben Sheets (OAK) – Coming back from a lost season, Sheets is definitely high-risk. But the upside involved with Sheets is a top-10 starting pitcher. If he pitches well and the A’s fall out of the race, he will most likely be moved to a contending team as well.

50. Wade Davis (TAM) –  Davis struck out more than a batter per inning last year in his brief time with the Rays, and I am very interested to see how he will do in a full season at the Majors. The AL East is probably going to eat a lot of starters up and spit them out, but I think that Davis is one who will hold his own.

At this point, you’re looking for either high-upside or pitchers who are extremely consistent. I have a lot of these pitchers right around the same value as each other, so the specific rankings aren’t necessarily as important. At this point you should be taking a look at what your starters are currently providing, and draft accordingly. My next 25 starters:

51. Jonathan Sanchez (SF)
52. Ted Lilly (CHC)
53. John Danks (CHW)
54. Erik Bedard (SEA)
55. Colby Lewis (TEX)
56. Brian Matusz (BAL)
57. Randy Wells (CHC)
58. Mat Latos (SD)
59. Jeff Niemann (TAM)
60. David Price (TAM)
61. Ervin Santana (LAA)
62. Scott Feldman (TEX)
63. Mark Buehrle (CHW)
64. John Maine (NYM)
65. Bronson Arroyo (CIN)
66. Rick Porcello (DET)
67. Hiroki Kuroda (LAD)
68. Aaron Harang (CIN)
69. Kevin Slowey (MIN)
70. Derek Lowe (ATL)
71. Clayton Richard (SD)
72. Joba Chamberlain (NYY)
73. Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS)
74. Ricky Romero (TOR)
75. Johnny Cueto (CIN)

Tomorrow’s post: Fantasy Relief Pitcher Rankings

Team Preview – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Mike Napoli SP 1 Jered Weaver
1B Kendry Morales SP 2 Scott Kazmir
2B Howie Kendrick SP 3 Joe Saunders
3B Brandon Wood SP 4 Joel Pineiro
SS Erick Aybar SP 5 Ervin Santana
LF Juan Rivera Bullpen
CF Torii Hunter CL Brian Fuentes
RF Bobby Abreu RP Fernando Rodney
DH Hideki Matsui RP Scot Shields
Bench RP Rich Thompson
C Jeff Mathis RP Sean O’Sullivan
IF Maicer Izturis RP Sean Palmer

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency DH Vladimir Guerrero Free Agency
DH Hideki Matsui Free Agency SP John Lackey Free Agency
SP Joel Pineiro Free Agency 3B Chone Figgins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Trevor Reckling (P), Hank Conger (C), Peter Bourjos (OF), Mike Trout (OF)

2009 Review

The Angels were the class of the AL West last season, winning the division by 10 games. They were led on the offense by Torii Hunter (.299/.366/.508, 22 HR 90 RBI, 18 SB), Bobby Abreu (.293/.390/.435, 15 HR, 103 RBI, 30 SB), and Kendry Morales (.306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 108 RBI). The pitching staff was led by Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75 ERA), Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60), and John Lackey (11-8, 3.83). The Angels met the wild-card Red Sox in the division round of the playoffs, and swept them pretty handily. This led them to the AL East Champion Yankees, and unfortunately were eliminated in 6 games.

Morales finally showed the promise that had been talked about, and actually performed similarly to the man he replaced in Mark Teixeira. Free agent signee Bobby Abreu brought another solid performance as well, and first-year closer Brian Fuentes led the league with 48 saves. Late season acquisition Scott Kazmir rebounded from his poor performance while in Tampa with a 2-2 record and 1.73 ERA in 6 starts.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Angels needed to address some rather glaring holes during the offseason, most notably with free agents John Lackey and Chone Figgins signing with other teams. They started before the season even ended by acquiring SP Scott Kazmir from the Rays. I think that they did very well to get DH Hideki Matsui to replace some of the production of outgoing DH Vladimir Guerrero, and adding Joel Pineiro to their rotation should also give them some solid innings toward the back-end of the rotation.

The one need that I think that they didn’t really address was the loss of Chone Figgins. Brandon Wood is currently slotted in to replace Figgins at 3B, and should provide some excellent power now that he’s being given the chance to play full time. But I don’t think that the Angels have really got a player that can hit at the top of the order and provide that type of production like Figgins.

The pitching staff is now led by Jered Weaver, and slots in solid started behind in Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, and Joel Pineiro. The bullpen I believe will be the same strength, as they have signed Fernando Rodney to help fill the innings that Jose Arredondo was throwing, and could potentially close if something were to happen to Brian Fuentes.

I don’t think that they will see a lot of promoted prospects from their top lists, as many of their best prospects are still at AA or below. Brandon Wood should be really exciting to see with full-time playing time, and has the potential to hit 30 homers at some point.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Top players for the Angels for fantasy purposes include 1B Kendry Morales, C Mike Napoli, CF Torii Hunter, RF Bobby Abreu, and SP Jered Weaver. In deeper leagues, SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, and DH Hideki Matsui should all provide some value as well. The Angels have two high-upside players available in my opinion: SP Scott Kazmir and SP Ervin Santana. Both of them have the potential to strikeout a batter per inning, and post solid numbers. They have both done it in their past, and could definitely do it again.

Prediction for 2010

The AL West has gotten better, and while it hasn’t been a huge jump forward, that coupled with the slight step back of the Angels, leads me to think that this division is really wide open. The Angels have become known for outperforming the Pythagorean expected win-loss record, so it wouldn’t really surprise me for them to outperform it again. I think that they will finish extremely close to the top, if they don’t win it all. As of right now, I think the Angels will finish 2nd, but it’s going to be extremely close.

86-76, T-2nd in the AL West

Team Preview – Tampa Bay Rays


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Kelly Shoppach SP 1 James Shields
1B Carlos Pena SP 2 Matt Garza
2B Ben Zobrist SP 3 Jeff Niemann
3B Evan Longoria SP 4 David Price
SS Jason Bartlett SP 5 Wade Davis
LF Carl Crawford Bullpen
CF B.J. Upton CL Rafael Soriano
RF Matt Joyce RP J.P. Howell
DH Pat Burrell RP Dan Wheeler
Bench RP Grant Balfour
IF Sean Rodriguez RP Randy Choate
C Dioner Navarro RP Andy Sonnanstine

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
C Kelly Shoppach Trade (CLE) 2B Akinori Iwamura Trade (PIT)
RP Rafael Soriano Trade (ATL) RP Troy Percival Free Agency

Top Prospects: Desmond Jennings (OF), Jeremy Hellickson (P), Tim Beckham (SS)

2009 Review

The Rays were riding high off of their improbable World Series appearance in 2008, and expectations were high for repeat success in 2009. While the Rays didn’t have quite the same success, posting an 84-78 record last season, there was lots of things to be really excited about.

The offense was led by the breakout season of Ben Zobrist. Zobrist played all over the field, mostly at 2B, SS, and RF, and hit everywhere he played. He posted a .297/.405/.543 line with 27 HR, 91 RBI, and 17 SB. A rather amazing season, especially when the Rays were expected to be led by 1B Carlos Pena (39 HR, 100 RBI), 3B Evan Longoria (.281, 33 HR, 113 RBI), and LF Carl Crawford (.305, 15 HR, 60 SB).

The pitching staff was inconsistent, and really appeared to be the reason that the Rays didn’t return to the playoffs. The only starters to post sub-4.00 eras were rookie Jeff Niemann (13-6, 3.94), and Matt Garza (8-12, 3.95). The late season trade of Scott Kazmir was a bit curious, but the Rays had decided at that point that they would not catch the Red Sox, and were able to get a pretty good package for a still very young pitcher.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Rays will look to make another playoff run this season, acquiring C Kelly Shoppach to help address a lack of offensive production behind the plate. They also helped to solidify the back end of their bullpen with the acquisition of Rafael Soriano to be the closer. This is a team that would probably win the Central division on a consistent basis if they were in it, but unfortunately for them, they are not. The records they have posted in spite of having to play the Yankees and Red Sox 19 times each are a credit to manager Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman.

I think that they will be in the hunt for the majority of the season, but are going to need some luck to catch the Red Sox or the Yankees. Something to watch for throughout the season is how long it takes for the Rays to call up top prospect Desmond Jennings. If Matt Joyce struggles early on, look for him to get the call sooner. Something else is the impending free agency of LF Carl Crawford. Rays’ fans are hopeful that the sides will work out a contract extension before he hits free agency, but the Rays are likely to be priced out of the market if he gets there. As a result, the Rays could look to move Crawford if they fall out of the race early on and don’t believe that they will be able to get anything for him besides the 2 draft picks for type A free agents.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

OF Carl Crawford was a top-tier outfielder with his 60 stolen bases last season, although he had a precipitous drop off in success after the first two months of last season. Nearly every other everyday player for the Rays is ownable in standard fantasy leagues, with 2B/SS/OF Ben Zobrist and 3B Evan Longoria being the cream of the crop. The pitching staff also is mostly ownable, although I personally have been burned by James Shields one too many times for me to recommend him. Garza should have a better won-loss record this season, and Niemann will hopefully build on his excellent rookie campaign.

Prediction for 2010

The Rays need a bit of luck to help get them past Boston and New York, and should be in this race until very late in the season, possibly even the last weekend. Unfortunately, I think that they’re going to come up a bit short, and have another excellent season that ends with no games in the postseason.

88-74, 3rd in the AL East