Tag Archives: Yadier Molina

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Catchers


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, starting with catchers.

Week in Review – August 9 to August 15


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (71-46) vs. Texas Rangers (67-49)
Minnesota Twins (68-50) vs. New York Yankees (72-45)

San Francisco Giants (67-52) vs. Atlanta Braves (68-49)
Cincinnati Reds (67-51) vs. San Diego Padres (69-47)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .362
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 86
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 36
Runs Batted In – Alex Rodriguez (NYY) 97
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 45

Wins – Adam Wainwright (STL) and Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 17
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) 35
ERA – Adam Wainwright (STL) 1.99
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 182
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.93

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Cristian Guzman, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chipper Jones, Adam Rosales, Jason LaRue, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, Geovany Soto, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria, LaTroy Hawkins, Rich Harden

Return from the Disabled List:  Mark Teahen, Carlos Guillen, Stephen Strasburg, Kyle Lohse, Homer Bailey, Travis Hafner

To the Minors: Jess Todd, Dayan Viciedo, Brad Mills, Jeremy Hermida, Travis Wood, Will Rhymes, Ramon Troncoso

Called Up: Michael Bowden, Eric Young Jr, Chris Carter, Jeff Larish, Mark Melancon, Jeremy Hellickson, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mark Rzepczynski

Other Roster Moves:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • Some extremely strange news out of New York during the week with Mets’ closer Francisco Rodriguez being arrested for allegedly assaulting his father in law. He returned to the team on Saturday and has stated that he will seek out anger management counseling after the incident. Let’s hope he can put this behind him, and soon.
  • Chipper Jones‘ career may be over after tearing his ACL on an excellent play he made during Tuesday’s game. He had surgery on the injury on Saturday, and is hoping to make a comeback in 2011.
  • The Wild-Card leading Rays took a pair of hits to their rotation this week with both Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann going on the disabled list on the same day this week. However, they are one of the few teams that can handle this loss to some extent, as Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine were both moved into the rotation in their place.
  • Stephen Strasburg returned from the disabled list on Tuesday, and proceeded to get shelled. He did pitch better in his start on Sunday though, and I’m wondering at this point when he gets shut down for the year.
  • Further proof of the volatility of prospects as Oakland’s top international signee from a couple of years ago, Michael Ynoa, will need Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2011 season. To date, he’s thrown 9 innings in his professional career.
  • Jonathan Broxton was removed from the closer’s role by the Dodgers on Friday, as he continues to struggle in his appearances. Hong-Chih Kuo will get the majority of opportunities for now, and I have to imagine that at some point Broxton will return to the role this season.
  • Brandon Phillips really made some noise in the critical series between the Reds and Cardinals at the beginning of the week, and unfortunately most of it was not good for his team. Between the comments he made and the bat tap on the shin guards of Yadier Molina which lead to the brawl in Tuesday’s game, it didn’t really go all that well for Phillips. Oh, and he had a poor performance as well, which really didn’t help things.
  • Apparently the Orioles should have hired Buck Showalter a lot sooner, as the team has gone on a hot streak since he was installed in the manager’s job. Since being hired, the O’s are now 9-3 since Showalter took over the team, after winning only 32 of their first 107 games.
  • Ricky Romero received a 5 year, $30.1 million contract extension from the Blue Jays, and I really like this deal for the team. They’ve locked in a really good young pitcher at a reasonable price. You know, unless something happens that doesn’t allow him to finish as well as he’s started.

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 Wezen-Ball: Larry Granillo posted a presentation that he made at SABR 40 about the statistics of the baseball played by Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. It’s actually really interesting, which surprised me a bit.

From Thunder Baseball: Mike Ashmore posted a great article about the minors and the effects it has on players. It’s an extremely interesting read and I highly recommend it.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday: With the signing deadline for amateur draft picks coming on Monday, I’ll be doing a brief writeup of the notable signings and the few who didn’t sign.

Wednesday: I’ll be continuing on with the Original Draft Series, posting team #10.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Dan Haren being traded to the Diamondbacks. We actually have a better idea of how this trade will look for the Diamondbacks after having already been traded by them to the Angels this season. That will finish up the final trade of the series involving the A’s as well.

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.

My Final All-Star Predictions


Happy 4th of July to everyone! With the voting and teams to be announced today, I wanted to update what I thought would happen with the Major League All-Star teams prior to that:

These teams were created with the same rules that the managers in the game are required, that being 34 man rosters with 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Each team must also have a representative. The starters are based on the last voting results that were publicized.

Italicized selections are on the disabled list currently, and have been replaced with another player on the roster.

American League:

Starting Lineup
C – Joe Mauer (MIN)
1B – Justin Morneau (MIN)
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY)
3B – Evan Longoria (TAM)
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY)
OF – Carl Crawford (TAM), Ichiro Suzuki (SEA), Josh Hamilton (TEX)
DH – Vladimir Guerrero (TEX)

Bench:

C – Mike Napoli (LAA)
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET), Paul Konerko (CHW), Kevin Youkilis (BOS)
2B – Ty Wigginton (BAL)
3B – Adrian Beltre (BOS)
SS – Elvis Andrus (TEX)
OF – Alexis Rios (CHW), Vernon Wells (TOR), Shin-Soo Choo (CLE), Brett Gardner (NYY)
DH – Jose Guillen (KC)

Pitching Staff:

Starters – Cliff Lee (SEA), David Price (TAM), Jered Weaver (LAA), Jon Lester (BOS), Colby Lewis (TEX), Andy Pettitte (NYY), Shaun Marcum (TOR), Trevor Cahill (OAK), Clay Buchholz (BOS)
Relievers – Mariano Rivera (NYY), Neftali Feliz (TEX), Rafael Soriano (TAM), Jose Valverde (DET), Andrew Bailey (OAK)

National League

Starting Lineup
C – Yadier Molina (STL)
1B – Albert Pujols (STL)
2B – Chase Utley (PHI)
3B – Placido Polanco (PHI)
SS – Hanley Ramirez (FLA)
OF – Andre Ethier (LAD), Jason Heyward (ATL), Ryan Braun (MIL)
DH – Joey Votto (CIN)

Bench:

C – Miguel Olivo (COL)
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (SD), Troy Glaus (ATL)
2B – Martin Prado (ATL), Brandon Phillips (CIN)
3B – David Wright (NYM), Scott Rolen (CIN), Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
SS – Jose Reyes (NYM)
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Jayson Werth (PHI), Justin Upton (ARI), Corey Hart (MIL), Colby Rasmus (STL), Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

Pitching Staff:

Starters – Roy Oswalt (HOU), Ubaldo Jimenez (COL), Roy Halladay (PHI), Josh Johnson (FLA), Tim Lincecum (SF), Tim Hudson (ATL), Adam Wainwright (STL), Mike Pelfrey (NYM)
Relievers – Luke Gregerson (SD), Heath Bell (SD), Matt Capps (WAS), Billy Wagner (ATL), Carlos Marmol (CHC)

Overall, I am actually a bit surprised just how difficult this process can be. There are a lot of players that are deserving of an All-Star appearance who are going to be crunched because of the requirement to have a representative from every team.  If I were to guess, I would be surprised if I got more than 60% right. I will post my review of the All-Star rosters, along with how I did with this final prediction (and the others as well) on Thursday.

The Month in Review – June 2010


As we rapidly approach the All Star break, I can honestly say that once again we’ve had quite a bit going on in the world of baseball to this point. Rookies making their debut all over the place, no-hitters everywhere (and near no-hitters), retirements, and of course the start of the trade deadline rumor mill.

All-Star Teams

Every month prior to the All-Star break, I will create my All-Star teams for each league. I plan on following the same guidelines given to the managers of the All-Star game when selecting my teams for each month. Those would be:

  • 34 man rosters, 21 position players, 13 pitchers
  • Each team must be represented

Now that we’ve received the final voting updates for the All-Star game, I will start the lineups with that, and build the team around that. All stats are through Tuesday’s games.

American League


American League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Joe Mauer MIN .302 .378 41 3 34 1
1B Justin Morneau MIN .347 .445 47 15 50 0
2B Robinson Cano NYY .358 .407 56 15 53 2
3B Evan Longoria TAM .296 .373 46 12 53 12
SS Derek Jeter NYY .286 .346 50 8 39 8
OF Ichiro Suzuki SEA .335 .391 31 3 24 21
OF Carl Crawford TAM .315 .379 57 7 38 27
OF Josh Hamilton TEX .343 .386 52 18 58 6
DH Vladimir Guerrero TEX .330 .375 49 16 63 4
American League Reserves
Pos
Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Mike Napoli LAA .262 .346 29 13 40 0
1B Paul Konerko CHW .295 .389 40 12 52 1
1B Miguel Cabrera DET .338 .414 57 20 67 2
1B Kevin Youkilis BOS .301 .421 62 15 50 2
2B Ty Wigginton BAL .262 .346 29 13 40 0
3B Adrian Beltre BOS .349 .387 40 12 52 1
SS Elvis Andrus TEX .296 .378 52 0 24 22
OF Alexis Rios CHW .307 .365 49 13 40 21
OF Vernon Wells TOR .288 .340 44 19 47 4
OF Shin-Soo Choo CLE .285 .387 46 12 42 12
OF Brett Gardner NYY .321 .403 49 3 23 24
DH Jose Guillen KC .279 .342 41 13 47 1
American League Pitching Staff
Role Name
Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Cliff Lee SEA 7 3 0 95.2 2.45 0.92 78
SP Jered Weaver LAA 7 3 0 101.2 3.01 1.09 118
SP David Price TAM 11 3 0 99.2 2.44 1.21 84
SP Jon Lester BOS 9 3 0 107 2.86 1.11 111
SP Colby Lewis TEX 7 5 0 98.2 3.28 1.07 94
SP Andy Pettitte NYY 9 2 0 99.1 2.72 1.16 74
SP C.C. Sabathia NYY 9 3 0 108.1 3.49 1.15 89
SP Shaun Marcum TOR 7 3 0 103.1 3.14 1.13 81
RP Jose Valverde DET 1 1 18 34 0.53 0.68 32
RP Rafael Soriano TAM 2 0 18 27.2 1.63 0.76 26
RP Neftali Feliz TEX 1 1 20 33.1 2.70 0.96 37
RP Mariano Rivera NYY 2 1 17 29.1 0.92 0.61 29
RP Andrew Bailey OAK 0 0 15 32 1.69 0.97 23

The National League

National League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Yadier Molina STL .235 .313 14 3 30 6
1B Albert Pujols STL .312 .424 44 18 57 7
2B Chase Utley PHI .277 .383 49 11 37 5
3B Placido Polanco PHI .318 .349 39 5 27 3
SS Hanley Ramirez FLA .293 .378 43 12 50 14
OF Ryan Braun MIL .299 .358 48 11 49 11
OF Andrew McCutchen* PIT .298 .378 48 7 24 19
OF Andre Ethier LAD .312 .370 37 12 47 1
DH Joey Votto CIN .313 .415 49 17 54 7
* – Injury replacement for Jason Heyward
National League Reserves
Pos Name
Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Miguel Olivo COL .308 .368 34 11 38 4
1B Adrian Gonzalez SD .302 .395 42 16 51 0
1B Troy Glaus ATL .264 .368 41 14 56 0
1B Adam Dunn WAS .271 .361 43 17 47 0
2B Martin Prado ATL .334 .376 55 7 33 3
3B David Wright NYM .310 .392 43 14 61 13
3B Scott Rolen CIN .301 .368 41 17 53 0
SS Juan Uribe SF .270 .340 37 12 45 1
OF Justin Upton ARI .268 .351 47 14 39 11
OF Colby Rasmus STL .275 .370 46 16 40 8
OF Corey Hart MIL .278 .345 39 18 60 4
OF Carlos Gonzalez* COL .302 .330 47 12 46 11
*roster replacement for Jason Heyward
National League Pitching Staff
Role Name Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez COL 14 1 0 113 1.83 1.05 102
SP Josh Johnson FLA 8 3 0 108 1.83 0.96 107
SP Roy Halladay PHI 9 6 0 108 2.29 1.07 102
SP Tim Lincecum SF 8 3 0 103.2 3.12 1.25 117
SP Mike Pelfrey NYM 10 2 1 99.2 2.72 1.07 70
SP Tim Hudson ATL 8 3 0 106.1 2.37 1.17 51
SP Jaime Garcia STL 7 4 0 87.1 2.27 1.26 70
SP Adam Wainwright STL 11 5 0 119.1 2.34 1.03 114
RP Matt Lindstrom HOU 2 1 18 31.1 3.16 1.6 7.18
RP Matt Capps WAS 0 3 22 33.2 3.48 1.46 30
RP Heath Bell SD 3 0 21 32.2 1.93 1.41 43
RP Billy Wagner ATL 5 0 15 30.1 1.19 0.96 46
RP Carlos Marmol CHC 2 1 14 35.2 2.27 1.21 66

I took Jason Heyward out of the starting lineup since he has already stated that if he is selected, he won’t play due to his thumb injury. I picked McCutchen to replace him in the lineup as both Braun and Ethier are corner outfielders, and McCutchen plays CF. Other players who are likely to be replaced, but have not been as of yet: Chase Utley (who I would replace with Casey McGehee of the Brewers), and Placido Polanco (who I would replace with Ryan Zimmerman). Looking at the All-Star starters, the only one who really hasn’t done a whole lot offensively to deserve it at this point, to me anyway, is Yadier Molina. But it’s hard to argue with a catcher who has a pitching staff with 2 All-Star starting pitchers and a 3rd who is also deserving (Chris Carpenter).

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP -  Miguel Cabrera (DET)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – Cliff Lee (SEA)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Brennan Boesch (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

May 31-June 6
June 7-June 13
June 14-June 20
June 21-June 27

June was an extremely busy month for stories, with so many that I had honestly forgotten a few of them before I reviewed my week-in-review posts.

  • On June 2nd, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement abruptly, about an hour before that evening’s game. I wrote up my thoughts about him here, and also wrote up my thoughts on him as a fantasy player over at FakeTeams.
  • Unfortunately, the retirement of Griffey was overshadowed by the near-perfect game that was thrown on the same night by Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga. By now, it seems to have blown over, as it is not really mentioned nearly as much as it was when it happened. I wrote up my thoughts on it at the time, and I think that they are still pretty apt a month later.
  • It was a bit of an up-and-down month for Carlos Zambrano, as he was brought back into the rotation early on in the month, only to have blown his top in the dugout of his last start on the 25th. He is currently on the restricted list and is seeking treatment in New York. What that treatment is exactly for is anyone’s guess, but I would have to imagine it has something to do with his temper. Hopefully he’ll be able to return after the All-Star break to the form that had made him an All-Star previously.
  • Yet another no-hitter was thrown in the month of June, with Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks throwing one on June 25th. The story with the no-hitter seemed to be 2 fold: One, that manager A.J. Hinch had left Jackson in the game to throw a total of 149 pitches to get through the start, and two, that Jackson had allowed 10 different baserunners without allowing a hit. Either way, it was probably one of the more improbable no-hitters that we have seen in awhile.
  • June clearly was the month of rookie debuts. Some of the rookies making their season (or career) debuts in June: Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln, and Jose Tabata of the Pirates, Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox, Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, Andrew Oliver of the Tigers, and Felix Doubront of the Red Sox. But there were 3 names that were covered more than any other, and with good reason: Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Carlos Santana of the Indians, and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals. Stanton has been a bit of a mixed bag to this point, hitting .217/.276/.348 with 2 homeruns and 3 stolen bases so far. In any other season, Santana would be the rookie debut most discussed, as he has caught fire and is hitting everything that moves in the American League. To date, Santana is hitting .333/.456/.704 with 8 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 14 runs batted in through 17 games.
  • Clearly though, the story on everyone’s mind all month long has been the debut and subsequent starts of Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg electrified Nationals fans, and the league as a whole after striking out 14 in 7 innings in his debut against the Pirates on June 8th. He’s done nothing but pitch well ever since, and despite a 2-2 record, he now has a 2.27 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts to 7 walks in only 31 2/2 innings pitched. That’s a K/9 rate of 13.6, the highest of any starter so far this season. Having watched the highlights of all his starts, and parts of others as they happened, the kid is legit. With the injury of Jason Heyward toward the end of the month, the NL Rookie of the Year race is wide open and I think Strasburg could very well take it.
  • The hot stove league has heated up slowly so far, with minor trades of Dontrelle Willis and Conor Jackson being the only players of note. But with Cliff Lee likely to be traded, and rumblings of Roy Oswalt being available, it is only a matter of time before there are many more deals to discuss. I plan to do reviews like I did during the offseason of some of the major ones when they happen.
  • The MLB draft was also on June 8th, and the only real surprise of the first round was the fact that Nationals’ top pick Bryce Harper was announced as an outfielder, not a catcher. Clearly, this will make his path to the Majors that much faster, as his bat could be pretty close to Major league ready as it stands now.

What’s Coming in July

I am actually pretty well planned out for the month of July for posts. I went through teams #30 to #15 in my Original Draft Series, where I look at each organization and build a roster based on each player’s original professional franchise. In July, I will continue on with the series, posting about teams #14 through 11 later on in the month. In addition, I will be reviewing the rosters of the All-Star teams after they are announced on Sunday, and critiquing my own choices versus the managers. Also, I will look back on how the prospects I reviewed in the offseason have progressed so far, and how they are stacking up to my own predictions (wild as they may have been).

I will also be starting up the book reviews I had previously mentioned that I had hoped to do. The first book on the list is Fantasyland by Sam Walker. I also picked up a pair of older copies of Baseball America’s Almanac (the 2003 and 2008 editions) at a used book sale last week, and have been looking through some of the information for some post ideas, and found some pretty good ones so far.

Thanks again to all the readers, and if you’re enjoying the writing, please feel free to either write a comment on the posts, and take a few seconds to become a fan of Jason’s Baseball Blog on Facebook. You can do that here.

Original Draft Series – Team # 23 – St. Louis Cardinals


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

Team #23: St. Louis Cardinals

General Managers(since 1994)

Walt Jocketty (1994-2007): 1117-968
John Mozeliak (2008-Current): 177-147

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 2 8 7 1 3 4 0

The Cardinals have clearly had quite a bit of success on the field, with 8 playoff appearances in 15 seasons, and the 2006 World Championship. GMs Walt Jocketty and John Mozeliak have been extremely productive, and have been aided by the help of manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Yadier Molina 2000 – 4th Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance, 2 Gold Gloves
730 gm, .267/.327/.361, 37 HR, 292 RBI, 19 SB, 203 R
Currently with Org.
1B Albert Pujols 1999 – 13th Rd 11 2001 Rookie of the Year, 3 MVP Awards, 5 Silver Sluggers
8 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove
1467 gm, .332/.427/.624, 381 HR, 1162 RBI, 67 SB, 1110 R
Currently with Org.
2B Adam Kennedy 1997 – 1st Rd (20) 2 + 2 235 gm, .253/.300/.344, 6 HR, 70 RBI, 13 SB, 81 R Traded to ANA – 3/23/00
3B Placido Polanco 1994 – 19th Rd 8 489 gm, .296/.331/.385, 15 HR, 134 RBI, 22 SB, 218 R Traded to STL – 7/29/02
SS Jack Wilson 1998 – 9th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to PIT – 7/29/00
LF Rick Ankiel 1999 – 2nd Rd 10 342 gm, .251/.311/.452, 49 HR, 157 RBI, 7 SB, 155 R Free Agency – 11/5/09
CF Colby Rasmus 2005 – 1st Rd (28) 5 211 gm, .258/.329/.451, 29 HR, 86 RBI, 11 SB, 114 R Currently with Org.
RF J.D. Drew 1998 – 1st Rd (5) 5 597 gm, .282/.377/.498, 96 HR, 280 RBI, 59 SB, 355 R Traded to ATL – 12/13/03
SP Dan Haren 2001 – 2nd Rd 3 6-10, 4.85 ERA, 75 K, 39 BB, 118.2 IP, 1.416 WHIP Traded to OAK – 12/18/04
SP Jaime Garcia 2005 – 22nd Rd 5 7-4, 2.27 ERA, 74 K, 43 BB, 1.259 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP P.J. Walters 2006 – 11th Rd 4 1-0, 8.73 ERA, 24 K, 17 BB, 33 IP, 1.818 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Anthony Reyes 2003 – 15th Rd 5 10-24, 5.38 ERA, 168 K, 84 BB, 220.2 IP, 1.350 WHIP Traded to CLE – 7/26/08
SP Clayton Mortensen 2007 – 1st Rd (36) 2 3 IP, 2 K, 1 BB, 2.00 WHIP Traded to OAK – 7/24/09
RP Mitchell Boggs 2005 – 5th Rd 5 6-7, 4.84 ERA, 79 K, 65 BB, 119 IP, 1.672 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Chris Narveson 2000 – 2nd Rd 4 + 2 0-0, 4.82 ERA, 5 K, 5 BB, 9.1 IP, 1.179 WHIP Traded to COL – 8/11/04
RP Kyle McLellan 2002 – 25th Rd 8 6-13, 3.44 ERA, 139 K, 69 BB, 175.1 IP, 1.30 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jason Motte 2003 – 19th Rd 7 6-6, 3.54 ERA, 105 K, 36 BB, 96.2 IP, 1.221 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Luke Gregerson 2006 – 28th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SD – 3/23/09
CL Chris Perez 2006 – 1st Rd (42) 3 4-4, 3.72 ERA, 72 K, 37 BB, 65.1 IP, 1.347 WHIP Traded to CLE – 6/27/09
BN Daric Barton (1B) 2003 – 1st Rd (28) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 12/18/04
BN Skip Schumaker (2B) 2001 – 5th Rd 9 511 gm, .293/.349/.388, 16 HR, 119 RBI, 16 SB, 239 R Currently with Org.
BN Brendan Ryan (SS) 2003 – 7th Rd 7 334 gm, .268/.325/.365, 9 HR, 74 RBI, 32 SB, 133 R Currently with Org.
BN Tyler Greene (SS) 2005 – 1st Rd (30) 5 58 gm, .224/.273/.336, 12 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 4 SB Currently with Org.
BN Joe Mather (OF) 2001 – 3rd Rd 9 81 gm, .228/.282/.422, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB, 24 R Currently with Org.
BN Nick Stavinoha (OF) 2005 – 7th Rd 5 111 gm, .240/.262/.352, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 17 R Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Cardinals have had quite a bit of success on the field in the last 15 seasons, and as a result they have not had a lot of early picks in the first round of the draft. In the 15 previous drafts (not including 2010), they have had 25 picks, with only 2 picks in the top 10 (J.D. Drew and Braden Looper). Overall, the first round has brought them some reasonable success, as they have drafted players like Matt Morris, J.D. Drew, and Colby Rasmus in the past. Clearly, the biggest victory of all draftees is the one taken in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, Mr. Albert Pujols. Unfortunately, beyond him, there has only been even 1 All-Star Appearance by any of these players while they were with the organization. 22nd round pick Jaime Garcia could change that this year, as he is having an excellent season so far. Overall, the Amateur draft has had some solid picks, but overall they haven’t done a whole lot with the draft.

International Free Agency

I was surprised to find that none of the players I selected were international free agents. Not a single one of them. Digging into Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects for the team, only 1 of the top 10 (Eduardo Sanchez) was signed out of an international market. The team does pretty well with their ability to find good professional free agents, so this has not really been a glaring miss to this point. At some point though, I would have to imagine that they are going to need to improve their scouting and development areas with regard to the international markets, as they are missing out on some talented players.

Overall Grade

C-. The Cardinals clearly are being carried by their best player, Albert Pujols. But if you take him out of the picture, you have a lot of players who have not done a whole lot with the Cardinals. And while they have traded quite a few of these players for key pieces to their success (Barton, Perez, Mortensen, Polanco), many of them didn’t really see any particular level of success with the Cardinals themselves.

Fantasy Preview – Catchers


I’m starting a new series on my personal fantasy rankings by position for the upcoming season. This series will be primarily posting on weekends, although I will also be posting occasionally during the week on fantasy as well.

The schedule can be found on the fantasy previews page at the top.

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

Without further adieu, my top 15 catchers for fantasy baseball in 2010.


1. Joe Mauer – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 28 96 4 .365
Mauer is really the class of his position at this point, as he’s a solid contributor in 4 of the 5 batting categories. Whether or not the power will continue remains to be seen, but it would be consistent with his age progression. He’ll be 27 this coming season, and the Twins have been good about making sure that Mauer gets days off from behind the plate, having him DH as well. At worst, you’re going to get a player that is likely to be a batting champion again next season, who will be hitting 3rd. The scary part of the numbers he posted last year was the fact that he still missed a large portion of a month of time as well. They could conceivably get better.



2. Victor Martinez – BOS
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 23 108 1 .303
It is really going to be interesting to see how Martinez does with a full season playing at Fenway, as he posted a .336/.405/.507 line while with the team. Part of the improvement is probably due to the improved lineup surrounding him, and bodes well for this season also. Martinez also qualifies at 1B, although it seems extremely unlikely you’d use him there in most situations. I think he could potentially see a jump in his power numbers with half his games at Fenway as well.

3. Brian McCann – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 21 94 4 .281
McCann seems to me like he’s a bit underrated. Here’s a player who is going to hit 20 homers, drive in almost 100 runs, and hit for a good average at a position that really doesn’t necessarily have a lot of players who do that. And he’s done it in the past, so he’s got a track record as well. The other thing I usually forget about McCann is that he is only going to be 26 starting this season. So potentially he could see a slight improvement in his numbers. Not that he needs them to stay at this ranking.

4. Miguel Montero – ARI
R HR RBI SB AVG
61 16 59 1 .294
Montero was really an epiphany last season, as he was finally able to get regular playing time. Playing in 128 games last year, I can see him posting a similar batting average while improving his home run total and RBI total as well. Another young catcher (26) who should see some growth as he will come into the season as the starter. He’s a player who is likely to fall in most drafts, as Chris Snyder is still in Arizona, and isn’t as sexy of a name as some of the players I’ll rank below him.

5. Matt Wieters – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
35 9 43 0 .288
One of last year’s favorite sleeper draft picks, many teams were stuck until Wieters’ midseason callup. This time around though, he’ll go into Spring Training as the starter. Wieters probably has more upside than Montero, as he could conceivably hit 20+ homers with a .300 average. The thing that puts Montero ahead of Wieters for me is the fact that you’re most likely going to have to draft Wieters much earlier than Montero. In current average draft position reports, Wieters is going 40 picks before Montero. I’ll wait and get Montero.

6. Jorge Posada – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
55 22 81 1 .285
Posada missed significant playing time last year, playing in only 111 games. At age 38, he’s not likely to improve too much on that game total this season. That said, I can still see him hitting 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in that vaunted Yankee lineup. Just be ready to have someone else to play for when he needs that time off.

7. Geovany Soto – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
27 11 47 1 .218
Soto was expected to build on a 23 hr campaign in 2008 last year, and failed miserably. His batting average on balls in play (.251) was partially to explain, as well as the strained oblique injury he suffered mid-season. Look for Soto to bounce back if that injury is completely healed, and approach 20 homers again.

8. Kurt Suzuki – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 15 88 8 .274
Suzuki is another one of those “un-sexy” picks, as his numbers are probably going to be similar to last year. Coming into his age-26 season, the A’s are going to need his production to be similar to 2009, and he shouldn’t disappoint. He’s unlikely to get to 20 homers, or even to repeat the 8 stolen bases he had last year, but at the catcher position he’s not going to kill you in any of the categories, which is pretty good at this point.

9. Russell Martin – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 7 53 11 .250
Martin was a big disappointment to his owners last season, as his power, batting average, and stolen base totals all dropped. While I think that he’s not likely to return to either his 19 hr career high, or his 21 stolen base career high, I do believe he will improve on last season, and return to his career batting average of .276, with double digit power and stolen bases. His run total should improve as well with that increase in batting average.

10. Mike Napoli – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
60 20 56 3 .272
I liked Napoli a lot last year, and he posted some solid numbers, especially in the home run category. He played 114 games last season, with 84 starts at catcher. He’s likely to post similar numbers providing he gets similar playing time to last season. The concern I have would be that with Hideki Matsui brought in to DH, he seems unlikely to get very much time as the DH. So he’s going to have to beat out Jeff Mathis to get the most playing time. If there were no concerns about playing time, I’d probably have him as high as 5th or 6th.

11. Bengie Molina – SFG
R HR RBI SB AVG
52 20 80 0 .265
Molina is another one of those players who’s not really going to kill you at the catcher position. He’s going to provide some good power, and drive in a good amount of runs. If you ever get a stolen base out of him, consider it a small miracle. Of some concern is what the Giants intend to do with prospect Buster Posey, as he is definitely the long-term answer at catcher for the Giants. Something to monitor as you get closer to your draft.

12. Ryan Doumit – PIT
R HR RBI SB AVG
31 10 38 4 .250
Doumit was injured for a large portion of the 2009 season, and as a result his numbers for 2009 don’t really reflect what he could do, in my opinion. Doumit is a lot more likely to give you somewhere near a .280 average, with between 15 and 20 homers. My only concern would be how he has recovered from the wrist injury he suffered last season, but the fact that he came back and hit .329 with 2 HR in September puts that to rest for me. He’s definitely got some risk, but there’s good upside here as well.

13. A.J. Pierzynski – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
57 13 49 1 .300
A.J. is most definitely not a sexy choice here as a catcher. But he’s probably going to give you double-digit homers, a batting average near .280 or better, and probably drive in about 50 runs. Hopefully, if you’re taking A.J., you’re also drafting a high-upside catcher as well. A.J. isn’t going to kill you at the position, but there’s really no upside here above what you would expect from him when you draft him.

14. Chris Iannetta – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
41 16 52 0 .228
Iannetta is one of those players who should be really good for fantasy owners if he can pull it all together on a consistent basis. He has shown good power, and could conceivably hit 20+ in a season, especially in Colorado. He is unlikely to hit much more than about .260 in my opinion, but should have the chance to drive in a fair amount of runs in the Colorado lineup. Of some concern is the fact that Miguel Olivo, fresh off a 23 homer season in Kansas City, was signed to be his backup. Watch Iannetta carefully, as he could potentially lose his starting job at any time during the season.

15. Yadier Molina – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
45 6 54 9 .293
Yadier is one of those players who is definitely better in real-life than in fantasy. Although he doesn’t have the upside of some of the players ahead of him on my rankings, he remains likely to hit for a good average, and provide a little bit of power and a few steals. He’s the type of catcher who is probably best for a lineup with a pair of 40 homer hitters. Someone to look for if you still have no catcher later on, and are just looking for someone who isn’t going to kill any specific category.

Some prospects and deep-league sleepers to watch for:

Buster Posey (SF) – Posey was slated to be the starting catcher for the Giants until they resigned Bengie Molina. Lately, there have been rumors that Posey will work in the infield during spring training. However, it seems to me that if they are planning on him staying at catcher long-term, he’d be best served going back to AAA until they need him at the Major League level.

Carlos Santana (CLE) – Santana probably needs a full season at AAA, but if he gets the call and sees some consistent playing time, he could conceivably provide double-digit power and a high average even as a rookie. The only player standing in his way once he’s been at AAA is Lou Marson, who is a much better real-life catcher than fantasy player.

Adam Moore (SEA) – Moore is going into Spring Training as the starter for the Mariners. Another player who isn’t likely to provide a lot of fantasy value, Moore’s value really comes in 2-catcher leagues, as at-bats are crucial in those types of leagues.

Kelly Shoppach (TAM) – Shoppach was acquired by the Rays to be their starting catcher, and is only a season removed from a 21 homer, 67 rbi season. Consistent playing time is likely to help him further, but the Rays do still have last year’s starter Dioner Navarro on the roster.