Tag Archives: Team Preview

2010 Season Preview and Awards Picks


Well, Opening Day is finally upon us, and I’ve been reviewing each team and their chances for a playoff run.

To review, my predictions for playoff teams:

American League

East: New York Yankees (1)
Central: Minnesota Twins (3)
West: Seattle Mariners (2)

Wild Card: Boston Red Sox (4)

National League

East: Philadelphia Phillies (1)
Central: Chicago Cubs (3)
West: Los Angeles Dodgers (2)

Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals (4)

So, my playoff matchups are (winners in bold)

Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees

St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

League Championships

Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees

Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies

World Series

Seattle Mariners vs. Philadelphia Phillies

I think that the Phillies will be just too strong once they make it to the playoffs. Roy Halladay will carry them a long way.

Awards Predictions

American League Rookie of the Year – Brian Matusz (P) – BAL
American League Manager of the Year – Don Wakamatsu – SEA
American League Cy Young Award – Felix Hernandez – SEA
American League MVP – Kevin Youkilis (1B) – BOS

National League Rookie of the Year – Jason Heyward (OF) – ATL
National League Manager of the Year – Lou Piniella – CHC
National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay – PHI
National League MVP – Albert Pujols (1B) – STL

Yeah, I know that some of these were pretty easy (especially the Halladay and Pujols choices), but I just can’t see a way that they will be unseated unless they get injured. I think that both Matusz and Heyward will spend the full season as key players for their teams as well. And I think that the AL MVP race is wide open, hence my choice of Youkilis. I think he’s likely to be the key to the Red Sox success, and with the Yankees having multiple candidates, they will take votes from each other.

Opening Day is tomorrow, and it feels like it has been a long offseason.

What’s Next

As the season has now arrived, it’s time for some additional topics. I’m still going to be writing about baseball, but going a little more in depth on some other topics.

Planned articles:

  • Trade Retrospectives: Looking back on some of the major trades that have happened and looking at how they ended up playing out after the trade was done.
  • Player Evaluation: I don’t know a lot about how scouting works, but I’d like to learn and will be going over what I learn here.
  • Statistical Analysis: The other major portion of player evaluation, I know some things about some of the more common statistical analysis tools, but also want to learn more about it as well.
  • Weekly Links and Top Performers: There’s a lot of really good writers out there providing baseball content, and I’m planning to help share some of them.
  • Book Reviews and the History of Baseball: Baseball is one of the few sports that has an extremely long history here, and there’s also a lot of interesting history out there as well.

Thanks again to all the readers out there!

Advertisements

Team Preview – San Francisco Giants


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Bengie Molina SP 1 Tim Lincecum
1B Aubrey Huff SP 2 Matt Cain
2B Freddy Sanchez SP 3 Barry Zito
3B Pablo Sandoval SP 4 Jonathan Sanchez
SS Edgar Renteria SP 5 Todd Wellemeyer
LF Mark DeRosa Bullpen
CF Aaron Rowand CL Brian Wilson
RF Nate Schierholtz RP Jeremy Affeldt
Bench RP Sergio Romo
OF Eugenio Velez RP Brandon Medders
1B Travis Ishikawa RP Dan Runzier

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
1B Aubrey Huff Free Agency SP Brad Penny Free Agency
OF Mark DeRosa Free Agency SP Randy Johnson Retirement
C Bengie Molina Resigned SP Noah Lowry Free Agency

Top Prospects: Buster Posey (C), Madison Bumgarner (P), Zack Wheeler (P), Thomas Neal (OF)

2009 Review

The Giants came into 2009 off of a losing season in 2008, and were looking to improve on their performance substantially. The team had been built around their excellent pitching staff, led by 2008 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Behind him, they had slotted in multiple Cy Young winner Randy Johnson, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez. Unfortunately, the team has been lacking in offense ever since Barry Bonds was not resigned. 2009 would be no different for that topic. The team did perform well overall, posting an 88-74 record, which was unfortunately good for only 3rd place in their division.

On offense, they were led by the Kung Fu Panda, 3B Pablo Sandoval, who posted a .330 batting average with 25 HR and 90 RBI. Not unexpectedly, only 3 other players on the team posted even double-digit homeruns last season besides Sandoval (Molina with 20, Rowand with 15, and Uribe with 16). The pitching staff made up for it, with Tim Lincecum winning his second consecutive Cy Young award behind an excellent season (15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 strikeouts in 225 innings). Veteran Matt Cain also had probably his best season to date, with a 14-8 record and a 2.89 ERA. Closer Brian Wilson posted 38 saves along with a 2.74 ERA.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Giants are hopeful that the moves they have made in the offseason will help to vault them to the top of the division. They brought in some offense, with the signings of IF/OF Mark DeRosa, who will be slotted in to start in LF this season, but will see some time at 3B, 1B, and 2B potentially as well. 1B Aubrey Huff will also be asked to provide some pop as well. The Giants are looking for Sandoval to continue his torrid hitting from last season, and are looking for rookies Nate Schierholtz and Buster Posey to have impacts during the season as well. The Giants remain dependent on their pitching staff, and with the retirement of Randy Johnson will look for production from free agent signee Todd Wellemeyer. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Barry Zito will lead a very formidable rotation in 2010, and all three will be requisite to any success the Giants have this year.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Pablo Sandoval are the class of this group, as all three are top-tier for their positions. Lincecum enters the season as the top pitcher for many rankings. For deeper leagues, I like both Jonathan Sanchez and Mark DeRosa. DeRosa is going to give you position flexibility, and some pop. He’s likely to be a drag for batting average, but in deeper leagues he is a solid play. Sanchez finally began to show some of the promise that was talked about. He has the potential to be a high strikeout, low ratio pitcher, but only if he can keep his control in check. Keeper leagues should take note of both C Buster Posey and P Madison Bumgarner, as both are likely to spend large portions of 2010 with the big club.

Prediction for 2010

The Giants offense is, in my opinion, not strong enough to compete in this division, in spite of the excellent pitching staff they have.

76-86 3rd in the NL West

Team Preview – San Diego Padres


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Nick Hundley SP 1 Chris Young
1B Adrian Gonzalez SP 2 Jon Garland
2B David Eckstein SP 3 Kevin Correia
3B Chase Hundley SP 4 Mat Latos
SS Everth Cabrera SP 5 Clayton Richard
LF Kyle Blanks Bullpen
CF Tony Gwynn Jr. CL Heath Bell
RF Will Venable RP Mike Adams
Bench RP Luke Gregerson
OF Scott Hairston RP Edward Mujica
C Yorvit Torrealba RP Joe Thatcher

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Jon Garland Free Agency 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff Trade (OAK)
OF Scott Hairston Trade (OAK)
C Yorvit Torrealba Free Agency

Top Prospects: Donavan Tate (OF), Jaff Decker (OF), James Darnell (3B), Simon Castro (P)

2009 Review

The Padres came into 2009 without a lot of expectations. The team was in the process of being sold to new ownership, and they had not spent hardly any money in the offseason. The majority of the offseason was spent listening to rumors about if and when SP Jake Peavy would be traded away from sunny San Diego. The team actually got off to a reasonable start, finishing the month of May at 25-25. Peavy made the Opening Day start, but was nearly traded in May when the Padres and White Sox had agreed to a trade to send him to the South Side. Peavy had a full no-trade clause, and vetoed the trade at this time. Shortly thereafter, he was injured running the bases during a game, and placed on the disabled list in early June. Despite being on the disabled list at the time, the Padres came to an agreement with the White Sox to trade Peavy again at the trade deadline, but this time Peavy accepted the trade to Chicago.

Although the team finished 75-87, good for 4th place in their division, the team outperformed their expected win total by almost 10 wins. There were some bright spots though. 1B Adrian Gonzalez had probably his best season yet, posting a .277 batting average with 40 homeruns and 99 rbi. Free agent signee Kevin Correia pitched well for the Padres, giving them almost 200 innings pitched with a 12-11 record and a 3.91 ERA. The team also received some solid performance from rookie SS Everth Cabrera, who stole 25 bases and scored 59 runs in 103 games. Unfortunately, these performances were not enough, and the ownership decided to fire long time general manager Kevin Towers.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Padres brought in new general manager Jed Hoyer, who had been with the Red Sox for the past few seasons, and are hard at work in their rebuilding process. The biggest story of the offseason remained whether or not the Padres would trade franchise player 1B Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell. As the season nears its start, it appears to become WHEN they will trade their stars, not if. Both players have very friendly contracts and high levels of production. The team itself seems unlikely to compete for the divsion title this season, as I don’t believe that their pitching staff is good enough to make up for the shortcomings of the rest of their offense. Their power production will be led by OF Kyle Blanks and 3B Chase Headley (in addition to Gonzalez),  but I don’t see them providing enough power for the rest of the lineup, which is unlikely to produce very much power at all. For them to have a chance, their pitching staff will have to carry them a long way.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The best players for fantasy on the Padres have to include closer Heath Bell and 1B Adrian Gonzalez. Both are top-10 players at their position, and Gonzalez is really a top-25 player overall. For deeper leagues, SS Everth Cabrera should provide some nice steal totals for his owners, and SP Mat Latos could provide some nice upside as well. Be wary with Latos, as it has already been announced that he will be shut down at 150 innings pitched this season. But those could be some very productive innings even still.

Prediction for 2010

The Padres are realistically only 1 year into their rebuilding efforts, and they should receive some excellent prospects back in return when they do trade Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell. Wild guess prediction is that Gonzalez ends up in Chicago with the White Sox, and Bell with the Twins.

65-97, 5th in the NL West

Team Preview – Los Angeles Dodgers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Russell Martin SP 1 Vicente Padilla
1B James Loney SP 2 Clayton Kershaw
2B Blake DeWitt SP 3 Hiroki Kuroda
3B Casey Blake SP 4 Chad Billingsley
SS Rafael Furcal SP 5 Charlie Haegar
LF Manny Ramirez Bullpen
CF Matt Kemp CL Jonathan Broxton
RF Andre Ethier RP George Sherrill
Bench RP Hong-Chih Kuo
IF Jamey Carroll RP Ramon Troncoso
IF Ronnie Belliard RP Eric Stults

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Vicente Padilla Resigned 2B Orlando Hudson Free Agency
F Jamey Carroll Free Agency SP Randy Wolf Free Agency
IF Ronnie Belliard Free Agency SP Jon Garland Free Agency

Top Prospects: Chris Withrow (P), Devaris Gordon (SS), Ethan Martin (P)

2009 Review

The Dodgers were coming off a trip to the NLCS in 2008, and were looking to improve on that finish in 2009.  The biggest story of the offseason coming into 2009 was when or if Manny Ramirez was ever going to sign with the Dodgers. He did finally on March 4th, and the Dodgers came into camp with high expectations. They also added 2B Orlando Hudson in Spring Training, and went in as the prohibitive favorite for the NL West division. They got off to a fast start, until Manny Ramirez was suspended in early May for a 2nd failed drug test. The team kind of leveled off until Ramirez returned in early July. They did put it back together though, and were able to win their division with a 95-67 record, finishing 3 games ahead of the Wild Card Rockies. They swept the NL Central champion Cardinals, but were dispatched by the Phillies in 5 games.

The team was led on offense by CF Matt Kemp (.297, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 34 SB), RF Andre Ethier (31 HR, 106 RBI), and the shortened season of Manny Ramirez (.290, 19 HR, 63 RBI). The pitching staff was somewhat of a mixed bag, although they did get some excellent performances. 2nd year pitcher Clayton Kershaw pitched well, posting a 2.79 era, but averaging barely over 5 innings pitched. SP Randy Wolf pitched excellent (11-7, 3.23 ERA), and Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.76 ERA) also helped to move the Dodgers forward. Midseason acquisition Vicente Padilla made 7 solid starts, finishing 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Dodgers have brought back Vicente Padilla, and will look to him to replace the production of free agent departee Randy Wolf. They will also look for OF Manny Ramirez to provide a full season of production as well. They have slotted in IF Blake Dewitt to be the starter at 2B, and will hope to get production out of their 5th starter spot from either Charlie Haegar, Russ Ortiz, or Ramon Ortiz. The lineup is stacked otherwise, and the top 4 starting pitchers are all solid as well. Someone who they are hoping to see a return to form will be C Russell Martin, after a season where he posted a .250 batting average with only 7 HR and 11 SB.

The story that seems to be dominating the headlines involving the Dodgers unfortunately, is the divorce of owner Frank McCourt. It remains to be seen what effect this will cause on the team and their spending, but it does seem odd to me that with some marquis free agents on the market, they didn’t spend for even one semi-big name. Although this can be explained by the fact that so many of their young players will be heading into arbitration in the coming seasons, and could be very costly in terms of payroll.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The Dodgers have probably the 2nd best fantasy outfielder in all of baseball, with CF Matt Kemp. RF Andre Ethier, LF Manny Ramirez, and SP Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley are all ownable in all formats. For a deep sleeper, I like Blake Dewitt, as he could provide some value for leagues which require a MI. Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla are both starting pitchers who can also provide value in deep leagues as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Dodgers are the class of the NL West, and will compete for the NL Championship.

92-70, 1st in the NL West

Team Preview – Colorado Rockies


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Chris Iannetta SP 1 Ubaldo Jimenez
1B Todd Helton SP 2 Aaron Cook
2B Clint Barmes SP 3 Jorge de la Rosa
3B Ian Stewart SP 4 Jason Hammel
SS Troy Tulowitzki SP 5 Jeff Francis
LF Carlos Gonzalez Bullpen
CF Dexter Fowler CL Huston Street
RF Brad Hawpe RP Franklin Morales
Bench RP Manny Corpas
C Miguel Olivo RP Rafael Betancourt
OF Seth Smith RP Matt Daley

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
C Miguel Olivo Free Agency 3B Garrett Atkins Non-Tender
IF Melvin Mora Free Agency SP Jason Marquis Free Agency
RP Jose Contreras Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jhoulys Chacin (P), Tyler Matzek (P), Willin Rosario (C), Christian Friedrich (P)

2009 Review

The Rockies were coming off an offseason where they had dealt away the best player on their team in OF Matt Holliday. That trade brought back OF prospect Carlos Gonzalez, closer Huston Street, and P Greg Smith. Street was slotted in at the back end of the bullpen to start the 2009 season, and Gonzalez was sent down to AAA for more seasoning. Top prospects OF Dexter Fowler and SP Jhoulys Chacin were widely expected to have a large impact on the 2009 season, and Fowler made the team out of Spring Training.

The Rockies finished 2009 with a 92-70 record, good for the Wild Card in the National League. The mid-season firing of manager Clint Hurdle seemed to light a fire under the team, as they went 74-42 under interim manager Jim Tracy. On offense, they were led by veteran 1B Todd Helton (.325, 15 HR, 86 RBI), SS Troy Tulowitzki (.297, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB), and IF Ian Stewart (25 HR, 70 RBI). Midseason callup OF Carlos Gonzalez had a great 2nd half of the season, posting a .284 batting average with 13 HR, 16 SB, and 53 runs scored in 89 games. On the pitching side, SP Ubaldo Jimenez really shined (15-12, 3.47 ERA, 198 strikeouts), and offseason acquisition Jason Marquis (15-13) provided some excellent starts for the team as well.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Rockies will look to return to the playoffs again this season after losing in the first round to the NL Champion Phillies. Their offseason was quiet for the most part, as they had replacements already in place for players that left. They will look for former #1 starter Jeff Francis to rebound this year after missing all of 2009 due to injuries. They are also looking forward to a full season of production from 3B Ian Stewart and LF Carlos Gonzalez. They recently signed 1B Todd Helton to a more team-friendly contract extension which should allow him to stay with the Rockies for the rest of his career, and will look to him for veteran leadership on a team that for the most part is still fairly young. They also brought back veteran 1B Jason Giambi to provide a left-handed bat off the bench.

The Rockies have done a good job of assembling a pitching staff that can handle the rigors of pitching in Denver half the season, and although the names are not necessarily well-known, the staff has proven to be more than capable at this juncture. Injuries could play a major part of the season for the Rockies, as closer Huston Street will likely start the season on the disabled list. This will likely move Franklin Morales into that role until Street returns.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

SS Troy Tulowitzki is the top ranked player on the Rockies, and is probably the 2nd shortstop overall in the Majors. SP Ubaldo Jimenez is a top-tier starting pitcher as well. Some sleepers for this season include OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Dexter Fowler, and IF Ian Stewart. For deeper leagues, keep an eye on 2B/OF Eric Young Jr. He could provide some speed if he gets enough playing time.

Prediction for 2010

The Rockies are definitely a solid team, ready to compete in the NL West. I’m not sure that they have quite enough pitching to catch the Dodgers though.

85-77, 2nd in the NL West

Team Preview – Arizona Diamondbacks


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

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

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

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

2009 Review

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

Team Outlook for 2010

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

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

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

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

Prediction for 2010

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

74-88, 4th in the NL West

Team Preview – St. Louis Cardinals


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Yadier Molina SP 1 Chris Carpenter
1B Albert Pujols SP 2 Adam Wainwright
2B Skip Schumaker SP 3 Kyle Lohse
3B David Freese SP 4 Brad Penny
SS Brendan Ryan SP 5 Blake Hawksworth
LF Matt Holliday Bullpen
CF Colby Rasmus CL Ryan Franklin
RF Ryan Ludwick RP Trever Miller
Bench RP Kyle McLellan
IF Felipe Lopez RP Dennys Reyes
IF Julio Lugo RP Jairo Garcia

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brad Penny Free Agency SP Joel Pineiro Free Agency
IF Felipe Lopez Free Agency OF Rick Ankiel Free Agency
OF Matt Holliday Free Agency SP John Smoltz Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jairo Garcia (P), David Freese (3B), Daryl Jones (OF), Robert Stock (C)

2009 Review

The Cardinals finished 2009 with a 91-71 record, good for the NL Central division title. They were helped quite a bit by their mid-season acquisitions. The biggest name was clearly free-agent-to-be OF Matt Holliday, acquired from the A’s in July. With St. Louis, he helped to carry the offense with a .353 batting average, 13 HR, and 55 RBI in only 63 games. As usual, their offense was led by 1B Albert Pujols (.327, 47 HR, 135 RBI), who won his 3rd MVP award and 2nd in a row. In the rotation, the Cards were led by 2 Cy Young candidates in Chris Carpenter (17-4, 2.24 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA). Unfortunately, they faced the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs, and were swept 3-0.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Cardinals biggest move of the offseason was resigning OF Matt Holliday. They gave the OF a 7 year, $120 million dollar contract extension, and was widely viewed as a massive overpayment. However, they did get their man, and an elite run producer to complement Pujols. The team is probably the strongest team in the division, led by their 2 aces and 2 excellent hitters. Their offense is not particularly amazing outside of the two main hitters, but they are solid and overall provide a good lineup to manager Tony LaRussa. The only questions I really see on this team are at 3B, with David Freese slotted in as the starter in Spring Training, and at the back end of the rotation.

The main concern I have with the team at this point is injuries. While not thought serious, it is worth monitoring the back injury of Albert Pujols. He played in today’s game, and should still be ready for Opening Day. I am also concerned about the two aces, Carpenter and Wainwright. For Wainwright, it’s a jump in innings last season that could potentially present a problem this year. For Carpenter, this is a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery twice, and is always a risk for an injury.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Lots to like here for fantasy players. Pujols is clearly the top player in the game right now, as he provides elite value in 4 categories and solid value in the 5th. OF Matt Holliday, SP Chris Carpenter, and SP Adam Wainwright are all top-tier players at their position as well. A sleeper in my opinion would be SP Brad Penny. Pitching coach Dave Duncan has worked well with many pitchers who have come before, and I think that Penny could be this year’s version.

Prediction for 2010

The Cardinals are one of the elite teams in their division, and the league as a whole. I think that they could run into a little bit of bad luck this year, and finish out of the playoffs. It may not be by much though, if it does happen.

86-76, 2nd in the NL Central, Wild Card winner

Team Preview – Pittsburgh Pirates


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Ryan Doumit SP 1 Zach Duke
1B Jeff Clement SP 2 Ross Ohlendorf
2B Akinori Iwamura SP 3 Paul Maholm
3B Andy LaRoche SP 4 Charlie Morton
SS Ronny Cedeno SP 5 Kevin Hart
LF Lastings Milledge Bullpen
CF Andrew McCutchen CL Octavio Dotel
RF Garrett Jones RP Evan Meek
Bench RP Joel Hanrahan
IF Bobby Crosby RP Brendan Donnelly
OF Ryan Church RP D.J. Carrasco

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
RP Octavio Dotel Free Agency RP Matt Capps Non-Tender
IF Bobby Crosby Free Agency RP Jesse Chavez Trade (TAM)
2B Akinori Iwamura Trade (TAM)

Top Prospects: Pedro Alvarez (3B), Tony Sanchez (C), Jose Tabata (OF), Chase D’Arnaud (SS)

2009 Review

The Pirates finished the 2009 season with a 62-99 record, last in the NL Central division. Overall, their offense was not very good, scoring only 636 runs. There were a few bright spots though. Most notably was rookie CF Andrew McCutchen, who posted a .286 average with 12 HR and 22 SB. Second-half call up Garrett Jones stormed in, hitting .293 with 21 HR in only 82 games. The pitching staff was led by the performances of Ross Ohlendorf (11-10, 3.92 ERA) and Zach Duke (11-16, 4.06 ERA)

The main stories in Pittsburgh’s season involved players who were dealt away. They moved popular CF Nate McLouth in early June for a package of 3 players. This move was widely panned as another cost-saving measure by the ownership of the Pirates, but the players they got in return (Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Jeff Locke) look like they could all contribute at the Major League level soon. They also moved OF Nyjer Morgan at the end of June to the Nationals, and received back closer Joel Hanrahan and OF Lastings Milledge. They did well with this trade, getting two major league level players in return for Morgan. They also moved 1B Adam LaRoche, 2B Freddy Sanchez, SP Ian Snell, and SS Jack Wilson prior to the trade deadline. They got some solid prospects in return, with SP Tim Alderson and C/1B Jeff Clement probably being the best of them.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Pirates are full force into their rebuilding efforts. They will look for improvement from CF Andrew McCutchen in his second season, and the further development of the pitching staff as a whole. They are also hopeful that they will be able to get a full season from C Ryan Doumit and OFs Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jones. Their offseason was spent finding undervalued players. Infielder Bobby Crosby will be looking to prove that he can still play at the Major League level, and should provide excellent depth on their bench, as he can play nearly all IF positions. Octavio Dotel is a high-risk, high-upside signing who could stabilize the back of the bullpen should he return to form.

The team is not built for 2010 to compete, but there is help coming in the form of Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Tim Alderson. Look for the Pirates to move some more veterans at the trade deadline this season if they feel that they can get a solid return for them.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

There’s not a lot to like here, but OF Andrew McCutchen is probably the best of the bunch. C Ryan Doumit could bounce back and post a top-10 catcher season this year as well. Beyond that, I am not sure I’d want to own anyone else on this team in a standard mixed league. Deeper league plays would probably be Ross Ohlendorf and Garrett Jones.

Prediction for 2010

The Pirates are in full rebuilding mode. And it shows. But there are some players here who will be in Pittsburgh when the rebuilding is complete. Watch for them in 2012.

70-92, 6th in the NL Central

Team Preview – Milwaukee Brewers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Gregg Zaun SP 1 Yovani Gallardo
1B Prince Fielder SP 2 Randy Wolf
2B Rickie Weeks SP 3 Doug Davis
3B Casey McGehee SP 4 Jeff Suppan
SS Alcides Escobar SP 5 Dave Bush
LF Ryan Braun Bullpen
CF Carlos Gomez CL Trevor Hoffman
RF Corey Hart RP LaTroy Hawkins
Bench RP Todd Coffey
IF Craig Counsell RP Mitch Stetter
OF Jim Edmonds RP Manny Parra

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Randy Wolf Free Agency SS J.J. Hardy Trade (MIN)
CF Carlos Gomez Trade (MIN) CF Mike Cameron Free Agency
SP Doug Davis Free Agency C Jason Kendall Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brett Lawrie (2B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Mat Gamel (3B)

2009 Review

The Brewers finished the 2009 season with an 80-82 record, good for 3rd place in the division. The team had some excellent performances on offense, led by 1B Prince Fielder (.299, 46 HR, 141 RBI), LF Ryan Braun (.320, 32 HR, 114 RBI, 20 SB), and rookie IF Casey McGehee (.301, 16 HR,  66 RBI). Unfortunately, the rest of the offense was rather middling, and only scored 785 runs last year. The pitching staff, now missing the excellent half-season of free-agent departee C.C. Sabathia, was led by Yovani Gallardo (13-12, 3.73 ERA). Unfortunately, the rest of the staff pitched extremely inconsistently, with replacement level performances from Braden Looper, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra, and Dave Bush.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Brewers officially ushered in the Major league career of SS prospect Alcides Escobar early in the offseason with the trade of SS J.J. Hardy to the Twins. They were able to replace free agents C Jason Kendall and SP Braden Looper with C Gregg Zaun and SP Doug Davis, respectively. The Hardy trade also brought their replacement for CF Mike Cameron, another free agent departee. Their main free agent signing this offseason has to be SP Randy Wolf. Wolf will help to bring stability to the rotation, and allow Davis, Jeff Suppan, and Dave Bush to slot in closer to their proper positions in the rotation. The offense is led by elite 1B Prince Fielder and LF Ryan Braun, and should be helped by the return of 2B Rickie Weeks and RF Corey Hart from injuries. This team has done well to build around its solid core of top players, and has also tried to find some veteran presence with Trevor Hoffman and OF Jim Edmonds.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

OF Ryan Braun and 1B Prince Fielder are both 1st round talents regardless of format. After that, SP Yovani Gallardo is really the only player who’s ownable in all formats. For some deeper leagues, I would recommend SS Alcides Escobar (for SB potential), and SP Randy Wolf as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Brewers are improved over last season, but I think that they’re going to need a little luck if they were to pass either Chicago or St. Louis. As of right now, their offense and pitching are both not quite up to the standard of a division leader. But they’re getting closer.

83-79, 3rd in the NL Central

Team Preview – Houston Astros


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C J.R. Towles SP 1 Roy Oswalt
1B Lance Berkman SP 2 Wandy Rodriguez
2B Kaz Matsui SP 3 Brett Myers
3B Pedro Feliz SP 4 Brian Moehler
SS Tommy Manzella SP 5 Bud Norris
LF Carlos Lee Bullpen
CF Michael Bourn CL Brandon Lyon
RF Hunter Pence RP Matt Lindstrom
Bench RP Jeff Fulchino
IF Jeff Keppinger RP Tim Byrdak
OF Jason Michaels RP Chris Sampson

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brett Myers Free Agency SS Miguel Tejada Free Agency
RP Brandon Lyon Free Agency RP Jose Valverde Free Agency
3B Pedro Feliz Free Agency RP LaTroy Hawkins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jordan Lyles (P), Jason Castro (C), Jiovanni Mier (SS)

2009 Review

The Astros posted a very poor campaign in 2009, finishing in 5th place in the division with a 74-88 record. This performance cost manager Cecil Cooper his job with about 2 weeks to go in the season. The team was not good on offense, but did have a few bright spots. CF Michael Bourn really came into his own, posting a .285 batting average with 61 steals and 97 runs scored. LF Carlos Lee hit .300 with 26 HR and 102 RBI. RF Hunter Pence had his best year so far, hitting 25 HR and stealing 16 bases along with a .282 batting average. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez posted an excellent year, going 14-12 with a 3.03 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched. And closer Jose Valverde recorded 25 saves to go with a 2.33 ERA.

Unfortunately, the top performers were not nearly enough to counteract some of the poor performances across the field. Starters Brian Moehler, Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Felipe Paulino made 80 starts between them, and all posted ERAs over 5. 2B Kaz Matsui played solid defense, but hit .250 with only 9 HR and 19 SB. The Astros were also reliant on Geoff Blum to man 3B for most of the season, where he hit .247 with 10 HR. There appeared to be a severe lack of ability at some positions, at least for what you would expect out of a team trying to contend for a division title anyway.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Astros made a few moves this offseason, but almost all of them were to plug holes that were either made by outgoing free agents or that had already been there previously. Brett Myers is a good low-risk high-reward type pitcher, and will hopefully be able to return to his 200 innings pitched form. They have improved their defense at 3B and SS with Pedro Feliz and rookie Tommy Manzella. They will hope for a rebound year from both 1B Lance Berkman and SP Roy Oswalt.

For me, this team just doesn’t look like it is going to score enough runs. They have essentially black holes at C, 2B, and SS. 3B is really not a lot better either. The back end of the bullpen (Fulchino, Byrdak, Sampson) is not bad, but it’s not particularly amazing either. This really appears to be a team that is middling at best within their division.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The Astros’ outfield is the best place to find solid fantasy players, as all three (Lee, Bourn, and Pence) are all ownable in all league formats. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez is the best of the group, and SP Roy Oswalt is a player I might take a chance on, as he has performed in the past, just not this last season unfortunately. 1B Lance Berkman is also someone to watch, although he will start the season on the disabled list. The best sleeper of this bunch is probably Brett Myers, as he could potentially post a 200 strikeout season if he returns to form. That’s a big if to me though.

Prediction for 2010

The Astros appear to have a plan in place on how to improve, but they’re not going to get there this season.

73-89, 5th in the NL Central