with my craze of 2009 picks, I’ll brake down my predictions for the winners
(and two runner-ups) of all the major awards for the upcoming season. Some awards are flawed like MVP, where some
voters pick the player who had the best overall season and some voters vote
literally for the player most valuable to a (usually successful) team. I usually sway toward the player with the
best overall season so here it goes:
1) Mark Teixeira
— It almost seems too easy to pick Teixeira as MVP, when
he is the bright new star on the team everyone is picking to go the
distance. The New Yankee Stadium’s
short porch, identical to its predecessor, will make Teixeira an even more
dangerous power hitter. If can have a
.632 SLG in the cavern of Turner Field, I can only guess that next season will
be one his greatest.
2) B.J. Upton
— No one knows for sure how much Upton’s shoulder
affected his power in 2008, but judging from his past slugging numbers, it did
a woozy. I expect B.J. Upton to bounce
back and have his power explode onto the scene. I’m guessing a 30/40 season in the works. If only he was as good of a autograph signer
as he was a baseball player…
3) Grady Sizemore
— As you may have already known, I’ve tabbed the Indians
as next year’s World Champions, and I fully believe Sizemore will be one of the
main reasons they are going to be so successful. He could wind up having an identical line as B.J. Upton, but I
think Upton could rack more stolen bases and a better OBP. But if the Indians go all the way, Sizemore
will without a doubt by vying for MVP.
1) Albert Pujols
Anyone want to argue with me?
2) David Wright
— As of
now, with all of their players healthy, the Mets are better than Philly. Wright probably will be challenged by Carlos
Beltran and Jose Reyes for votes, but most likely will overcome. The only question is whether Citi Field will
be better suited for right-handed or left-handed hitters. Given some smaller, lefty-friendly confines,
Beltran could reach 40 home runs and Reyes could reach 20.
3) Hanley Ramirez
— I had the
first pick in my fantasy draft this year and I chose Hanley. Going from leading off to hitting third can
only help his numbers as long as Cameron Maybin can do a good job of getting on
base in the leadoff spot. The Marlins
are poised to make a run for the NL Wild Card, but even if they falter this
year, Ramirez is almost a lock to have another great season.
AL Cy Young
1) Roy Halladay
— Besides run support, Halladay has everything in
place to repeat his dominant 2008 performance.
It really is impressive how effective he’s has been considering he
pitches in the best offensive division in baseball for the for the worst
hitting team in that division.
2) Cliff Lee
anyone figured yet why Cliff Lee had such a great year? I don’t think so. Well, then I have no reason to think Lee can’t repeat his pure
brilliance of 2008. But of course, the
chances that he actually does recapture his sudden outstanding brilliance of
last season are not that great. If I
were a betting man, I’d still go with Halladay.
3) John Danks
— There are
a slew of young pitchers who I predict will take it to the next level in 2009
like Ervin Santana, Zack Greinke, and Jon Lester. But I think Danks will be the one who really pitches himself into
the elite class of American League pitchers.
He was rushed into the majors in his rookie season but I have a gut
feeling 2008 is only a little of what Danks can accomplish.
NL Cy Young
1) Tim Lincecum
didn’t think Lincecum should have won the Cy Young last year, but I do
think he’ll deserve it this season.
With Santana having health issues, Webb moving slightly back to normal,
and Sabathia moving to the AL, Lincecum is by far the top favorite for the 09
NL Cy, and I don’t see a reason why he can’t get even better in his second full
2) Cole Hamels
— Everybody knows how good Hamels already is
already but he’s still getting better each season. I predict 238 innings and a 2.85 ERA for Hamels with a WHIP below
1 (he was only .08 above last year).
3) Chad Billingsley
— You saw what I predicted for Hamels and
Billingsley won’t be far behind if at all.
Like Hamels, the 24-year old has been getting more effective every
season. The big difference between
Billingsley and Hamels is that Hamels is entering his fourth season of starting
full-time in the bigs. Billingsley is
just entering just his second.
AL Rookie of the Year
1) Matt Wieters
— I’m well aware of the possibility that Wieters
has only played half a season in Double A and might spend the first month or so
in Norfolk. However it’s a sure thing
that Wieters will be in Baltimore by June if he stays healthy. And if he stays healthy…[whistle]
Prediction: .377 OBP, 26 HR, 78 RBI,
— Unlike Matt Wieters and
David Price, Snider has the pleasure of knowing he has a spot in the lineup
come Opening Day. I’m slightly worried
about how fast the Jays moved Snider through the minors in 2008, but his
numbers held up so I’m excited to see how well Snider can hit. And needless to say, he needs to swing the
bat well to stay with Toronto since he really can’t do anything else.
Prediction: .347 OBP,
19 HR, 71 RBI, 1 SB
3) David Price
— It would seem David Price winning the 2009 AL
Rookie of the Year would be oh so fitting after he burst onto the scene down
the stretch and dominated in the playoffs last season. But then reality sets in and a reasonable
fan realizes Price might spend a good chunk of time in Durham next year due to
the presence of Jeff Niemann. Plus,
Price was having all of that playoff success as a reliever not a starter, where
he would have to spread all of his strength and energy into six or seven
innings, not one or two. However, I’ve
obviously seen the first overall pick’s filthy stuff, so a full effective year
in the bigs definitely isn’t out of the question; just not very probable unless
someone in the Rays rotation gets injured.
Prediction: 21 GS, 3.60 ERA, 9 W, 4 L
NL Rookie of the Year
1) David Freese
— Other than Freese, I would like to know the last
time a player completely skipped Double-A and still had an amazing year at the
next level. Oh wait, I know: Albert Pujols! Anyway, the 25-year-old Freese had a great
year in Class A Advanced Lakeland before being traded over to St. Louis for Jim
Edmonds (nice going Kevin Towers) and had an even better offensive season in
the PCL. Troy Glaus will be recovered
from his injury by June at the latest, so Freese may end up either making the
Cards trade away Glaus or get traded away himself. No matter what happens with Glaus though, I doubt Freese will be
forced back to AAA again.
Prediction: .356 OBP 26 HR, 89 RBI, 4 SB
2) Chris Dickerson
— Unless the horrific Reds front office for some
reason doesn’t let Dickerson play everyday, he’ll become the next young Reds
position player to break out. Imagine a
prototypical athletic outfielder…that can actually hit.
My Prediction: .362 OBP 15 HR, 69 RBI, 34 SB
3) Gaby Sanchez
— Sanchez is a risky pick here because unlike
other ROY candidates like Travis Ishikawa, Colby Rasmus, or Elvis Andrus, he
really needs to have a great spring to secure a major league roster spot. However, I predict he will not only win the
Marlins first-base job but have a very good rookie year. The only problem with Gaby Sanchez winning a
spot is that Dallas McPherson or Jorge Cantu will unfairly be sent down or put
on the bench.
Prediction: .343 OBP, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 5 SB
I started the last entry
with my preseason playoff picks, but now it is time for something a little more
my picks, not predictions, for each big league team’s 2009 starting
- Roy Halladay
- Jesse Litsch
- David Purcey
- Bryan Bullington
- Jeremy Guthrie
- Koji Uehara
- Rich Hill
- Radhames Liz
- David Pauley
- Scott Kazmir
- James Shields
- Matt Garza
- Andy Sonnanstine
- Jeff Neimann
- Josh Beckett
- Jon Lester
- Daisuke Matsuzaka
- Tim Wakefield
- Clay Buchholz
- CC Sabathia
- Chien-Ming Wang
- A.J. Burnett
- Andy Pettitte
- Joba Chamberlain
- Cliff Lee
- Fausto Carmona
- Anthony Reyes
- Aaron Laffey
- Jeremy Sowers
- Zack Greinke
- Gil Meche
- Kyle Davies
- Luke Hochevar
- Brian Bannister
- Jeremy Bonderman
- Justin Verlander
- Armando Galarraga
- Edwin Jackson
- Chris Lambert
- Scott Baker
- Kevin Slowey
- Francisco Liriano
- Kevin Blackburn
- Glen Perkins
- Mark Buehrle
- John Danks
- Gavin Floyd
- Jose Contreras
- Clayton Richard
- John Lackey
- Ervin Santana
- Joe Saunders
- Jered Weaver
- Anthony Ortega
- Justin Duchscherer
- Dana Eveland
- Dallas Braden
- Sean Gallagher
- Gio Gonzalez
- Felix Hernandez
- Eric Bedard
- Jarrod Washburn
- Garrett Olson
- Ryan Rowland-Smith
- Kevin Millwood
- Vicente Padilla
- Brandon McCarthy
- Matt Harrison
- Doug Mathis
- Derek Lowe
- Jair Jurrjens
- Javier Vasquez
- Kenshin Kawakami
- Jo-Jo Reyes
- Josh Johnson
- Ricky Nolasco
- Chris Volstad
- Anibal Sanchez
- Andrew Miller
- Johan Santana
- John Maine
- Mike Pelfrey
- Oliver Perez
- Tim Redding
- Cole Hamels
- Brett Myers
- Jamie Moyer
- Joe Blanton
- J.A. Happ
- John Lannan
- Scott Olsen
- Shawn Hill
- Collin Balester
- Shairon Martis
- Roy Oswalt
- Wandy Rodriguez
- Mike Hampton
- Brian Moehler
- Brandon Backe
- Yovani Gallardo
- Dave Bush
- Braden Looper
- Manny Parra
- Jeff Suppan
- Adam Wainwright
- Kyle Lohse
- Chris Carpenter
- Todd Wellemeyer
- Mitchell Boggs
- Carlos Zambrano
- Ryan Dempster
- Rich Harden
- Ted Lilly
- Sean Marshall
- Paul Maholm
- Ian Snell
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Zach Duke
- Jeff Karstens
- Edinson Volquez
- Aaron Harang
- Johnny Cueto
- Bronson Arroyo
- Homer Bailey
- Brandon Webb
- Danny Haren
- Doug Davis
- Max Scherzer
- Jon Garland
- Chad Billingsley
- Hiroki Kuroda
- Clayton Kershaw
- Randy Wolf
- James McDonald
- Tim Lincecum
- Matt Cain
- Barry Zito
- Randy Johnson
- Jonathan Sanchez
- Jake Peavy
- Chris Young
- Josh Geer
- Cha Seung Baek
- Chad Reineke
- Aaron Cook
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Jason Marquis
- Greg Smith
- Jason Hirsh
After making these lists
and seeing this
thread, I’ve been inspired to decide which rotation I think is the best. As I’ve said earlier, I think Cleveland has
the best starting pitching depth, but as far as the most effective starting
five goes, I’ll have to take the Yankees.
No one in the MLB can match Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, and
Chamberlain. Plus New York has a bunch
of depth with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, Humberto Sanchez, Kei
Igawa all in Triple-A presumably. The
best National League rotation is, in my opinion, the Chicago Cubs. Of course, that all depends on how healthy
Rich Harden can stay.
And as for the worst…I’d
pick the Astros. Sure, the Jays or
Pirates may have worse team pitching statistics in 2009, but Houston has
absolutely no depth and a weak collection of pitching prospects (and position
prospects for that matter).
As always, let me know
what you think. In my next entry I’ll
continue my pre-season predictions/picks with giving my personal predictions
for all the major awards.
It’s been a while since I last posted, but with
spring training just getting started, and most of the major free agent being
signed already, it’s time to bust out some preseason picks. I guess I’ll
do the award picks later, but for the time being I will just give my
predictions for how each division will turn out (and of course a slight
explanation or comment as to why I have them placed there.)
Let’s get it going:
1. Yankees (darn cash…and
2. Red Sox (Offense is slightly,
and I mean slightly lacking)
Rays (The reason Tampa Bay is in third place? The O-word)
4. Blue Jays (If I was in
a different mood, I might peg them to be last)
5. Orioles (It’s a toss up
between the O’s and Toronto for last place)
1. Indians (Deeeeep
2. White Sox (Good, not
3. Twins (What’s the
point? They always prove everyone wrong!)
4. Royals (Happy
Dayton? You’re not in the cellar! yay)
5. Tigers (I’ll give them
this: they are in baseball’s toughest division)
Athletics (If all their young players break out, they’ll easily win the West)
Angels (Suspect offense, but fully capable of overtaking the A’s)
Rangers (My pick for the 2012 World Champions…not kidding)
4. Mariners (No chance, especially with the poor
offseason they had)
AL WILD CARD
Red Sox (No surprise here but it will probably be a
very close race)
1. Mets (The East is a messy division but I think they will come out on top)
Phillies (It will be a mighty tough task to repeat)
3. Marlins (I wouldn’t be surprised if they make
the playoffs, seriously)
4. Braves (Money can’t fix everything – I’m looking
at you Frank Wren)
5. Nationals (Back-to-back first overall draft
picks? I say yes!)
Cubs (Should easily beat out the Brew Crew and Cards)
Brewers (May struggle to reach second place, let alone the playoffs)
Cardinals (Very good depth, but the bullpen will be the ultimate decider)
Reds (The manager’s a moron, the GM’s a moron, they’re all morons!)
Astros (A blessing in disguise; it might finally force them to re-build)
Pirates (On the right track; wait until 2012 Bucco fans)
1. Dodgers (Arizona and LA will battle it out until
the bitter end, but…)
2. D-Backs (unfortunately for D.C. native GM Josh
Byrnes, LA will prevail)
Giants (I…I just can’t over that Edgar Renteria signing. UGH)
Rockies (Another rebuilding process, but it’s for the best)
Padres (Once Moorad takes over, the re-building process should begin)
Phillies (I predict
another disappointingly close year for the D-Backs)
Cleveland Indians over
the Los Angeles Dodgers
predictions are not just some arbitrary picks (except for Toronto and B Baltimore). I truly think this is how the next season will turn
S So, tell me
what you think about my picks, and/or your picks for the 2009 W World Series.
Trade Melvin Mora and
Chris Waters to the Brewers for Alcides Escobar
I really dig this deal for both teams
involved. It’s no secret that either
Escobar or J.J. Hardy will probably get traded, and the Orioles are a perfect
They need a shortstop badly, and
Escobar should be ready for the majors by next year.
The Brewers get Melvin Mora (left) who
is coming off a career year, driving in 104 runs, 23 home runs, and a .342
OBP. He has a no-trade clause in his
contract but I think he’ll wave it to be able to escape a re-building franchise
and a join a playoff team.
The Brewers are desperate for a
third-baseman after the atrocious year Bill
Hall had. Plus, the Brewers could
keep J.J. Hardy
as their shortstop of the future.
Since Mora becomes a free agent after next season, he won’t interfere
with Mat Gamel‘s
progression up the system, as he will likely be the 2010 Brewers starting third
baseman, and Mora will move on to another team.
On the other end of the spectrum,
the Orioles get
a shortstop for the next six years or so, that can deliver a very good OBP,
a fair amount of home runs, a lot of speed, and stellar defense every single
Unless Mora hits like he did in 2004
(.921 OPS), Mora-for-Escobar will slightly favor the Orioles, so they probably
will need to throw in a pitcher like Brian Bass or Chris Waters.
If I were Doug Melvin,
I’d choose Chris
Waters as the extra player, just to add depth to the thin rotation
Milwaukee has. If Milwaukee can’t
resign Ben Sheets or CC Sabathia, then Waters may even may even be competing
for the 5th spot in the 2009 Brewers rotation.
There’s not a great chance that Waters will
be win the battle considering he’s competing with Mark DiFelice,
Capuano, and Seth McClung. It’s still very likely the Brewers will send
Capuano to Nashville (AAA) since he missed all off 2008 after having Tommy John surgery.
DeFelice and McClung could make the team as relievers or as starters,
but both are fully capable of pitching adequately while eating up some innings
in the rotation.
Does this mean the Brewers should
trade Bill Hall? I don’t think so. He can serve as a super-utility man. With Hall being able to play left field,
center field, third base, shortstop, and second base, he should be able to rack
up at least 350 at-bats in a full season.
Oddly enough, out of all the positions Hall can play, the one he would
probably play the least is third base. Russell
Branyan had such a solid season he is probably the one who will be tabbed
to fill in on Melvin Mora’s off days.
Trade Aubrey Huff to
the Indians for Scott Lewis, Mike Pontius, and Niuman Romero
believe the Indians will be good enough next year to make the playoffs, but
they will need to replace Andy Marte at
third base. I know Aubrey Huff
isn’t the best defensive third baseman but he played 33 games there in 2008,
and has racked up 361 games at the hot corner in his nine-year career.
return for Huff, the Orioles should ask for the blatantly obvious: a starting
pitcher. Scott Lewis
succeeded at every level he played in; AA, AAA, and ultimately the majors. These were his minor league stats this year:
ERA W L
AA 13 2.33 6 2
AAA 4 2.63 2 2 24 0.96
4 2.63 4
0 24 1.08
Lewis will fit extremely
well into the Orioles rotation, and could be one of the cornerstones of the
team’s pitching staff.
Scott Lewis is good
player, but obviously it will take at least one more player to acquire
Huff. Originally I thought the Orioles
should target Jared
Goedert, because every single Orioles third base prospect had a rough
season, and Goedert was ready to play in AA, so he wouldn’t block any other the
other prospects. Later I realized that
I was being hypocritical because Goedert, like the rest of the third-base
Orioles prospects, had a very disappointing year after a promising 2007.
First off, is Tyler Henson,
who had a good first stint in professional baseball with the Low-A Aberdeen
Iron Birds in 2007:
Level G OBP HR RBI SB SLG OPS
A- 67 .353 5 31 20 .449 .802
But then went through
struggles in his first full season with Class A Delmarva:
Level G OBP HR RBI SB SLG OPS
A 127 .310 11 62 19 .392 .702
Even though Henson had a
rough year, it’s not bad enough for him to repeat the level, so he should
attempt to rebound in High A Frederick. That being said, with Billy Rowell
(drafted 9th overall in 2006) having another disappointing in
Frederick, Henson will be forcing Rowell (right) to first base.
Rowell’s year was bad enough that
he’ll repeat the Carolina League, but I wouldn’t label him a bust just
yet. He’s still extremely young (20
years old entering Opening Day 2009).
However, he hasn’t even come close to what everybody thought he would
do. He was drafted as a raw power guy;
a guy who wasn’t even expected to have a high OBP, but he’s only hit 19 home
runs in 922 career at-bats. It may be a
concern that learning how to play first base will effect his hitting, but I
think in the long term it will probably help his offensive production. Another aspect of this move is that it
potentially has set up Brandon Snyder
to block Billy Rowell. However, I don’t
think we can look at this switch in those types of terms because Rowell has not
had one good full season yet since signing with the O’s. Worry about Snyder blocking Rowell when
Rowell finally becomes a good player.
And lastly, let’s talk Mike Costanzo. He had a great season last year at AA
Reading, but since switching organizations (twice), and getting promoted to
AAA, his production has seriously slipped.
These are his numbers last year at Double-A:
Level G OBP HR RBI SB SLG OPS
AA 137 .368 27 86 2 .490 .858
And here are his 2008
numbers at Triple-A Norfolk:
Level G OBP HR RBI SB SLG OPS
AAA 129 .333 11 63 2 .395 .728
Despite Costanzo’s bad
season, if Melvin Mora gets traded he’ll get every chance to be the starting
third baseman in Baltimore. He’ll have
to produce though, because Oscar
Salazar (probable starting first baseman) and Scott
Moore (probable DH) also play the hot corner.
Anyway, back to the Aubrey Huff trade… I decided that
despite the 2008 struggles of Orioles third base prospects not named Tyler
Kolodny, the O’s shouldn’t pursue Jared Goedert. Instead they should switch their attention to adding depth the
bullpen and second base (I didn’t forget about Ryan Adams and
his 52 errors). The Indians have a
wide array of young relievers like Josh Judy, John Gaub (100
Ks in 64.1 innings), and Vinnie Pestano. But the one young reliever I believe the
Orioles should first ask from the Indians is Mike Pontius.
Pontius is only 21 entering next year, and
had a microscopic 0.82 ERA in Class
A Lake County. Yes, he had 6.26 ERA in
Class A Advanced Kinston, but so what?
He’ll start back there next year and pitch against players at his same
level (2007 high school draftees in their second full season).
As for Niuman Romero
he had a solid year at Class A Advanced Kinston and should be ready for
Double-A Bowie. I’m not speculating that
the Orioles should or will trade Brian Roberts, but when you think about, there
is not that great a chance the Orioles will finish their rebuilding process by
the time his contract expires. So, it
obviously makes sense to fill up on depth especially when you only have one
other legit prospect at 2B, Adams who is only in A-ball.
All in all this trade
works out great for both teams, and should help the Indians compete for a World
Series next year, as well as add more talented, young players to quicken the
O’s rebuilding process.
Trade George Sherill
and Luke Scott to the Mets for Dillon Gee, Junior Guerra, Eric Beaulac, and
This deal is a no-brainer
for both GMs Andy MacPhail and Omar Minaya.
The Mets may be hesitant to give up a worthy relief prospect in Junior Guerra,
but he’s at least two years away and the Mets need relief help now. Sherrill
would be a great addition to the Mets shaky bullpen. Sure, he may be overrated because of his 31 saves, but he will
pitch better than his 4.73 ERA indicates.
Although it’s theoretically possible that Sherrill can serve as the Mets
closer, he would be much better suited as a 7th inning set-up
man. With lefties Scott Schoenweis and
Pedro Feliciano already in New York, Sherrill won’t go back to being a
specialist like he was in Seattle.
Expect his ERA to go down to around 3.60 with another year of throwing
at least an inning per outing rather than just facing one or two batters like
he did with the Mariners. It’s possible
he may also pitch better in the less pressurized role of a 7th
inning set-up man. I don’t think that
Sherrill’s bad stats were completely because of facing a lot right-handed
batters. He had a 3.68 ERA through
June. I think it was just the new
workload that ultimately pulled Sherrill’s numbers down.
Scott can be Mets starting left fielder in 2009, and provide more power and
good on-base skills. Nick Evans
didn’t hit much in 2009, and is probably better suited too start 2009 in
Buffalo (AAA). Dan Murphy
hopefully can make a clean transition to second base for 2009. Murphy’s switch is crucial as this deal only
gets done if the AFL
experiment is successful and the Mets are confident Murphy is ready to take
over for Luis Castillo next year. This
whole trade seems much better when you realize Luke Scott is essentially
Castillo in the Mets lineup.
As I wrote earlier, the
Mets probably will feel a little antsy about giving up Junior
Guerra (left)who’s a top relief prospect, but only him and Dillon Gee (right) are
the big prospects that the Mets could have expected to contribute with the big
club in the next two years.
Beaulac is a
middle of the road prospect who had a nice, but relatively short 2008 season
after signing. Despite making six
relief appearances this year, Beaulac is obviously better suited as a starter,
seeing how he dominated in college in that role. He should begin the year in the Class A Advanced Frederick
rotation. Gee is by far the best
prospect the O’s acquire in this deal.
He had a sensational year at St. Lucie (A+), posting a 3.25 ERA, and
then posted an even better 1.33 ERA in his four starts with Double-A
Binghamton. Gee is 23 years old
entering ’09, and was only drafted last year. It’s still smart to take it easy with Gee and let him pile up at
least 16 starts in Bowie before they could possibly called him up to
Triple-A. And that leaves the very last
Bowman. Ahh, Shawn Bowman.
If not injuries, he would probably would
have been traded already because he’s not quite on the same level as the Mets
current third baseman. Although he’s no
David Wright, he’s still shown he’s a talented player, but it all about
staying healthy. How injury-prone is
he? Well, 2008 was his fourth year at
the same level (A-Advanced), but it certainly wasn’t completely his fault. Here are his number of games played from
every season since 2005:
Yes, every single one of
those seasons was in St. Lucie except for the last, in which he played for
about a month in Double-A Binghamton, and struggled (.626 OPS, 29 games). The important thing about 2008, for Bowman,
was how well he hit with St. Lucie. He
had a .369 OBP with 2 home runs and .485 SLG in 97 at-bats. That should put him on track to be Bowie’s
(AA) starting third baseman in 2009.
So, with all of this talk
about the Orioles farm system, I realized that the Orioles starting pitching
situation is actually pretty impressive. After all these trades take place, the Orioles minor league
affiliates’ rotations will look like this:
Frederick – A+
1. Brian Matusz
4. Eric Beaulac
6. Luis Noel
Bowie – AA
1. Jake Arrieta
2. Dillon Gee
3. Kyle Schmidt
4. Brandon Erbe
6. Nathan Nery
Norfolk – AAA
4. Jason Berken
5. Zach Clark
Yes, I realize that
Frederick and Bowie have rotations of six, but it’s worth cutting down on
starts then to send a pitcher (ex. Luis Noel, Chris Salberg) that has a bright
future as a starting pitcher to the bullpen, just because you have five other
pitchers better than him. You never
want to have your good depth of talent to derail a player’s career.
So, to wrap it all up, the
Orioles get to reduce their salary even more, so they can sign core players
like Nick Markakis, Chris Ray, and maybe even Matt Wieters. Plus, the extra money can also go to signing
their top draft picks next year. The
Mets upgrade their bullpen and lineup, the Brewers finally get a true third
baseman, and the Indians get a huge impact bat that may send them over the hump
of the Twins or White Sox.
There is a lot to agree
with and a lot to disagree with in this post, so let me hear it ALL. Good or bad.
On a currently related
issue, did anyone else notice Akinori Iwamura trying to shove the game ending
ball of the NLCS into his back pocket, struggling with sticking it in, and then
just screwing it, and jumping into the celebration pile. That gave me a little smile… here’s the video.
Jim Bowden has a weird mind. First of all, it’s obvious that he was the former GM of the Red because well, half of all the players he acquires are former Reds. Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Aaron Boone, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner are all former Reds and now in Washington.
One thing, I have noticed about Jim Bowden is that he plays favorites. I usually don’t like saying things like that but I’m not stupid. I know that Brandon Watson, Ryan Church, and Chris Schroder didn’t get the same treatment as Felipe Lopez, Wily Mo Pena and Jesus Colome. Brandon Watson was named the starter in spring training of 2006. After nine games, he was sent down. Not only did the Nationals ultimately let him go, but then preceded to come back to Nationals and have the longest hit streak in the history of the International League(AAA), and what to the Nats do? The Nats call him up for four days, and after hitting .275 and having the best game of his life he gets demoted. Well of course, his self-confidence shattered, he struggled the rest of the year in AAA. He must have thought “what do I have to do? I broke a hit streak record that lasted 83 years, I have the best game of my life, where I basically won the game for them and then after four games, I’m back in Columbus and guys like Nook Logan, Preston Wilson and Marlon Byrd are playing in the majors?!” Seriously, Watson was in his prime right then and there, and Nook Logan is starting for the Nationals? Just n case you are wondering, Watson is currently in the Phillies organization repeating Triple-A for the fourth time. In his first season he hit .293. As of now, he’s hitting .300. That’s fair.
Ryan Church is the next player, Bowden had a grudge against. For the three years Church was with Washington, Bowden consistently acquired so-so outfielders and they would play ahead of Church. Byrd, Logan, Kearns(who’s good), Pena, and Marlon Anderson, Marlon Anderson. It truly was ridiculous. I mean of course, more people know about Church because of the trade and the good season this year, but Church was good in Washington as well, but for some reason, he was never the bona fide starter. The thing with Church was that he could play everywhere in the outfield, at a high level. In 2005, Church was 26, and played in 106 games. He had .353 .OBP and hit 9 homers in 268 AB’s. In 2006, at 27, he was informed that he would start the season in the minors, and that Marlon Byrd, and Marlon Anderson had made the team. Well, he got the call back up, but only played in 71 games. He didn’t start, but still hit 10 homers in 196 at bats. That translates to about 30 homers a season. Oh yeah, he had .366 OBP in 06. In 2007, it looked like it was finally Church’s year. He was 28, in his prime but well, in the Nationals mind, he still wasn’t as good as Kory Casto, who had never played a game above AA, and had only played left field that Spring Training. After 16 games of horribility, Casto was in AAA, and guess what? Church was starting! Yes, it was true. I kid you not. But hold on, this is a dream isn’t it. Surely, the Nationals are not going to let Church play almost an entire season. Then the trading deadline came strolling along, and well……no deal! Church was still starting, and I started thinking “Is this to good to be true?”
It was. On August 17th, after the trading deadline, Bowden announced he acquired Wily Mo Pena. And yes, Pena would be the starting left fielder, an yes, Logan (0 HR .310 OBP) would remain the starter in center. Outrageous.
The third player, Bowden seems to have a grudge against who is still in the organization, is Chris Schroder. Schroder made his ML debut in 2006 at the age of 28. For the most part he struggled. I happened to attend the best game of his career at that point. He went 2.0 innings and struck out every batter. But overall, he wasn’t very good, a 6.35 ERA backs that point up. But they really did the right thing by calling him up because he was mowing down hitters at AAA, and was considered a valuable strikeout pitcher. Something that the Nationals needed at that point. He had a 1.52 ERA in AAA, so there was an urge to see what he could do in the majors. Going into 2007, Schroder started in AAA, but after recording a 1.62 ERA there he was back in the majors. After that call-up, Schroder became one of the best relievers on the team, with a 3.18 ERA in 37 appearances. Schroder made the club out of spring training as expected. But after only two games, with the Nationals, they sent him down. Why? I have no idea. Here is how he did in those two games…..
IP H ER BB SO
4/4 @STL 1 1 0 0 0
4/7 vs. FLA 1.2 1 1 1 1
So a guy, who had a 3.17 ERA in 37 games last year gets called down after those two games? Weeiirrdd. So after having an ERA below 2, in Columbus , Schroder finally gets called back up. I’m thinking – “OK, that was really weird but he’s back up now.”. After ONE game, ONE, he goes back down. What did he do that game? 1 and a third innings, 1 hit, one walk, NO RUNS. What?!?!. In case, you’re wondering some of the guys that are getting called up when Schroder gets called down, here they are – Brian Sanches, Charlie Manning, Steven Shell, and Ray King. OK, so Manning is left handed, so there is a reason, but King was an ineffective as a lefty specialist, and Sanches, well, I don’t even know what Bowden was thinking. Shell was good, but why not Schroder? I just don’t get it. So when Schroder was called up again, I didn’t know what to think. Nine days after his last appearance, Schroder came in against the Phillies, and didn’t that well. HE gave up two runs in one inning, but when I heard he was getting called down again, it was obvious Bowden has something against him.
If Luis Ayala (I love Luis, I’m just proving a point), if Ayala had done the exact same thing as Schroder, he would still be up. In fact, Ayala has been much worse than Schroder
did, but he’s in Washington, and Schroder is in Columbus. Ayala has 5.40 ERA, but since Bowden likes him, Ayala shouldn’t worry. Jesus Colome has been even worse, with a 5.71 ERA, but Colome has been in the majors the whole season. It’s unfair. Schroder is younger than Colome, too.
Perhaps the player, Bowden loves the most is Wily Mo Pena. These are Pena’s numbers:
G AB H .OBP HR RBI SB BB SO
62 186 39 .249 2 10 0 10 47
The only way to describe those stats is horrible. Horrid, ugly, pitiful, BAD. Pena has .222 OBP the past ten games with only on RBI. Yeesh. Why is Mike Daniel not starting left field for the Nationals? In AA Harrisburg, these are his numbers:
G AB H .OBP HR RBI SB BB SO
84 311 91 .369 8 38 13 34 75
But, as I said before, Pena shouldn’t worry that much because as long as Bowden is the GM of the Nats, he’ll have far more time and opportunities to “prove himself”. I don’t know, Pena been playing in the majors for seven years. It seems silly to still try to let somebody “prove himself, who’s been playing that long. Yes, I’m aware about Pena’s age. He’s 26, which is not necessarily, the cutoff point for breakout years, but seriously, Pena is a home run hitter who has only hit 2 home runs. Oh yes, and a .245 OBP.
Bowden plays favorites. It’s obvious. He likes Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner, Luis Ayala, and Jesus Colome. He has grudges against Chris Schroder, Ryan Church and Brandon Watson. If Bowden could just be honest with himself, Mike Daniel (pictured right in the snazzy pink jersey) would be starting left field for the Nats, and Wily Mo Pena would be a Clipper. Jesus Colome would be released or sent down, and Chris Schroder would be the seventh inning set-up man. Felipe Lopez would be traded for some low-level prospects. Perhaps, the Orioles, or Dodgers would be possible future destinations.
Well, I’ll be talking about the Giants next time, I’m pretty sure….. Oh, and with two big trades just occurring. I’ll quickly run through them. The Sabathia trade, I say makes very good sense for both teams. I think the Brewers are good enough to make the playoffs, and LaPorta will be very good. I’m guessing the PTBNL will be Taylor Green, who will challenge Wes Hodges for the title of “Indians 3B of the future”
The Harden deal, looks to be better for the Cubs, but I’m always cautious to question Billy Beane (he has messed up before[Tim Hudson deal]. I think the best player the A’s acquired
from the Cubs is actually Eric Patterson. He’s seriously underrated. But where will he play? He’s blocked by Mark Ellis, Travis Buck and Carlos Gonzalez. ?????? I’ll leave you with two theoretical trades: Jack Wilson to the Dodgers for Ivan DeJesus Jr, Felipe Lopez to Orioles for Sean Gleason.
Dave Littlefield, former GM of the pitiful Pirates, is widely held responsible for the woe that is currently the Pirates. Rajai Davis to the Giants for Matt(I’ll make you forget the overatedness of Jason Giambi when you see my salary) Morris? Yeah that trade was bad. Drafting Brian Bullington first overall instead of B.J. Upton, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels, or Jeff Franceour. Even worse. But hey, the Pirates aren’t completely screwed (see Giants). In fact the Pirates actually have a nice problem in their outfield situation.
From a quick glance the Pirates outfield looks set for a while. With Bay(29) in left, McLouth(26) in center, and Nady(29) in right, the Bucs look like their outfield is the one component of their team which they don’t need to focus on. But in fact the outfield situation is probably the area of the Pirates Neil Huntington (GM of Pirates) needs to focus on the most. The Pirates have Andrew McCutchen and Steven Pearce in AAA.
The case with Andrew McCutchen(pictured left)is simple, next year he will be the starting center fielder in Pittsburgh. Steven Pearce is a bit more difficult to predict because he has the ability to play left field, right field, and first base. Obviously, all three of those positions are already occupied well in Pittsburgh by Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and Adam LaRoche respectively. Let me first start off by saying, although it doesn’t mean absolutely anything, the Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez trade was horrible. Mike Gonzalez was, if not the best, one of the best closers in baseball, and why Bobby Cox put Bob Wickman in the closer spot over Gonzalez is another story. Adam LaRoche for a top-notch closer? Perhaps the Pirates could trade away LaRoche for a shortstop or third baseman.
In fact if I was GM, I would have traded Freddy Sanchez to the Rockies during the off season and gotten Ian Stewart(Third baseman) and Taylor Buchholz(reliever). But that’s not going to happen, because #1. Freddy Sanchez is horrible this year(.262 OBP, ugh) and #2. Buchholz has been dominant this year, even better than I thought he was going to be. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did, in my mind, set up this trade during the off season. I’m not making it up right now because Sanchez is sucking and Buchholz is awesome. Anyway let’s stop talking about if I was GM and start talking about what Neil Huntington should do.
I can’t lie to myself, Steven Pearce has been a huge disappointment in Indianapolis(AAA). His numbers aren’t that bad, but (as I’m sure Steven knows) he really needs to play like he did last year in order for Huntington to consider either trading him or Bay, McLouth or Nady away. Pearce had a good September call up last year, and really just blasted his way through every level of the Pirates from A+ to The Show. A .321 OBP and nine home runs through 71 games in Triple A is not going to cut it. You wonder why? Not only was Steven Pearce good in Indianapolis last season, but he was good in Majors, and the only reason he didn’t start in the majors this year is, unfortunately for him, the outfield is the strongest component of the Bucs.
Nate McLouth in a perfect world is a right fielder. A starting right fielder? For now, I say yes but that could change. The high OBP isn’t as surprising as the power numbers
to me. His OBP has been increasing every year as he becomes a more polished player. The power perplexes me, and that isn’t a good thing. Usually when something is perplexing to many people it isn’t a good sign for the future. Or could it be as simple as playing everyday, Nate’s swing has developed and that is the reason why the once 14-homers-a-season guy has turned into a 32-homers-a-season guy.
If the Pirates should have Andrew McCutchen in center and Nate McLouth in right, then that leaves the question of who do you trade? Jason Bay or Xavier Nady? It would have been a no brainer a couple of years ago, but both are 29 years old and Bay maybe has more of an upside but Bay’s been playing worse every year since 2005. Nady since becoming a full fledged starter since being traded for Oliver Perez, has been getting considerably better. A GM’s gut may still tell him to take Bay, but let’s just compare stats since 2004.
Jason Bay Age:29 2008 Salary: $6 million
G AB H HR RBI BB SO SB CS OBP SLG
Xavier Nady Age:29 2008 Salary: $3,350,000
Year Team G AB H HR RBI BB SO SB CS .OBP .SLG
2004 SD 34 77 19 3 9 5 13 0 0 .321 .416
2005 SD 124 326 99 13 43 22 67 2 1 .301 .439
2006 NYM-PIT 130 468 131 17 63 30 85 3 3 .337 .453
2007 PIT 125 431 120 20 72 23 101 3 1 .330 .476
2008 PIT 66 245 77 10 49 21 43 1 0 .376 .510
Salary is another interesting factor in this discussion. There is no clear cut answer on who’s the better player, so you may just take the guy who makes over $2 million less. If I’m the GM of another team looking to make a deal with Pittsburgh, I would rather acquire Nady, even if I thought Bay was the slightly better player, which I do.
Another issue the Pirates need to address is why they are not trading away Jack Wilson(30) or Freddy Sanchez(30). Would you be surprised if I told you that Freddy Sanchez is older than Jack Wilson? Sanchez, in fact, is eight days older than Jack Wilson. Sanchez has created the illusion of being younger than he is, by having a breakout year (2006) at the age of 28, which is basically the prime of your career. But, since most people had not heard of him, it gave the impression that he was an up-and-coming ballplayer. I understand the reasoning of them not planning on trading away Adam LaRoche, because he is still a young position player and would be good fit for that team if played the way he did in 2006. On the other hand both Wilson and Sanchez are getting past their prime, but still could be considered starting players. One would say that since third base, shortstop, and second base are weakest positions throughout the Pirates organization, you can’t trade away the starters at your major league level, but do you seriously care when you’re in the Pirates situation? You’re not winning with Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez so trade them away before Sanchez proves he’s a bust and before teams start seeing Jack Wilson as a poor man’s old Omar Vizquel. Wilson could create interests with numerous teams like the Rays(Jason Bartlett is not a starter), Orioles(neither is Alex Cintron), or Cardinals(we’ll see how good Brendan Ryan really is). Some teams are seeing Jack Wilson as a great utility guy and other teams are thinking of him as a starting shortstop. In any case, I think it would be intriguing to let Josh Wilson be the starting shortstop if Jack Wilson somehow moves. Josh was a guy thought to be a true hitter coming up with the Rockies, but has been blocked by others everywhere he has gone and has struggled in a utility position. In AAA so far he has a .358 .OBP with four dingers in 68 games.
Before the season started, Sanchez’s value would have been much higher, but come on Sanchez’s season has been horrendous and I am not really sure how much the Pirates could get for him, but Sanchez needs to be traded at this year’s deadline, period. Teams like the White Sox, Cubs, or Indians could trade away some good middle infield prospect away. Just throwing out some feasible trades in my mind. Freddy Sanchez to the Cubs for Michael Wuertz, Ronny Cedeno and/or Marquez Smith. Freddy Sanchez to the Indians for Jensen Lewis, and Wes Hodges(the Indians probably won’t let Hodges get away, so perhaps the Pirates could get Jared Goedert and Josh Rodriguez instead).
Well, I’m finally done venting, and frankly after using three days to write this post, I’m sick of the Pirates. I’m done writing about them, unless of course they actually do trade somebody in which case I will analyze it right here on District Boy. When people say that I’m only thirteen and am spending so much time on studying baseball and I’m obsessed with it, I think this is what they mean(spending three days writing about a team that I don’t care the least about, yet do it anyway because, well…………
I think I’ll cover the Giants next entry. (Warning – If you are a fan of Brian Sabean stay away from this blog for at least a week)