Tagged: Pitching

Rotation Picks

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I started the last entry
with my preseason playoff picks, but now it is time for something a little more
hardcore.

 

Below are
my picks, not predictions, for each big league team’s 2009 starting
rotation. 

 

Toronto
  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Jesse Litsch
  3. David Purcey

  4. Casey Janssen
  1. Bryan Bullington

 

Baltimore
  1. Jeremy Guthrie
  2. Koji Uehara
  3. Rich Hill
  4. Radhames Liz
  5. David Pauley

 

Tampa Bay
  1. Scott Kazmir
  2. James Shields
  3. Matt Garza
  4. Andy Sonnanstine
  5. Jeff Neimann

 

Boston
  1. Josh Beckett
  2. Jon Lester
  3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  4. Tim Wakefield
  5. Clay Buchholz

 

New York
  1. CC Sabathia
  2. Chien-Ming Wang
  3. A.J. Burnett
  4. Andy Pettitte
  5. Joba Chamberlain

 

Cleveland
  1. Cliff Lee
  2. Fausto Carmona
  3. Anthony Reyes
  4. Aaron Laffey
  5. Jeremy Sowers

 

Kansas City
  1. Zack Greinke
  2. Gil Meche
  3. Kyle Davies
  4. Luke Hochevar
  5. Brian Bannister

 

Detroit
  1. Jeremy Bonderman
  2. Justin Verlander
  3. Armando Galarraga
  4. Edwin Jackson
  5. Chris Lambert

 

Minnesota

  1. Scott Baker
  2. Kevin Slowey
  3. Francisco Liriano
  4. Kevin Blackburn
  5. Glen Perkins

 

Chicago

  1. Mark Buehrle
  2. John Danks
  3. Gavin Floyd
  4. Jose Contreras
  5. Clayton Richard

 

Los Angeles
  1. John Lackey
  2. Ervin Santana
  3. Joe Saunders
  4. Jered Weaver
  5. Anthony Ortega


Oakland
  1. Justin Duchscherer
  2. Dana Eveland
  3. Dallas Braden
  4. Sean Gallagher
  5. Gio Gonzalez

 

Seattle
  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Eric Bedard
  3. Jarrod Washburn
  4. Garrett Olson
  5. Ryan Rowland-Smith

 

Texas
  1. Kevin Millwood
  2. Vicente Padilla
  3. Brandon McCarthy
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Doug Mathis

 

Atlanta
  1. Derek Lowe
  2. Jair Jurrjens
  3. Javier Vasquez
  4. Kenshin Kawakami
  5. Jo-Jo Reyes

 

Florida
  1. Josh Johnson
  2. Ricky Nolasco
  3. Chris Volstad
  4. Anibal Sanchez
  5. Andrew Miller

 

New York
  1. Johan Santana
  2. John Maine
  3. Mike Pelfrey
  4. Oliver Perez
  5. Tim Redding

 

Philadelphia
  1. Cole Hamels
  2. Brett Myers
  3. Jamie Moyer
  4. Joe Blanton
  5. J.A. Happ

 

Washington
  1. John Lannan
  2. Scott Olsen
  3. Shawn Hill
  4. Collin Balester
  5. Shairon Martis

 

Houston
  1. Roy Oswalt
  2. Wandy Rodriguez
  3. Mike Hampton
  4. Brian Moehler
  5. Brandon Backe

 

Milwaukee
  1. Yovani Gallardo
  2. Dave Bush
  3. Braden Looper
  4. Manny Parra
  5. Jeff Suppan

 

St. Louis
  1. Adam Wainwright
  2. Kyle Lohse
  3. Chris Carpenter
  4. Todd Wellemeyer
  5. Mitchell Boggs

 

Chicago
  1. Carlos Zambrano
  2. Ryan Dempster
  3. Rich Harden
  4. Ted Lilly
  5. Sean Marshall

 

Pittsburgh
  1. Paul Maholm
  2. Ian Snell
  3. Tom Gorzelanny
  4. Zach Duke
  5. Jeff Karstens

 

Cincinnati
  1. Edinson Volquez
  2. Aaron Harang
  3. Johnny Cueto
  4. Bronson Arroyo
  5. Homer Bailey

 

Arizona
  1. Brandon Webb
  2. Danny Haren
  3. Doug Davis
  4. Max Scherzer
  5. Jon Garland

 

Los Angeles
  1. Chad Billingsley
  2. Hiroki Kuroda
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Randy Wolf
  5. James McDonald

 

San Francisco
  1. Tim Lincecum
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Barry Zito
  4. Randy Johnson
  5. Jonathan Sanchez

 

San Diego
  1. Jake Peavy
  2. Chris Young
  3. Josh Geer
  4. Cha Seung Baek
  5. Chad Reineke

 

Colorado
  1. Aaron Cook
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez
  3. Jason Marquis
  4. Greg Smith
  5. Jason Hirsh

 

cashman_brian031217_getty.jpg

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.

wade.jpg

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.

What’s a Pitching-Seeking GM To Do?

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Japanese
hurler Junichi
Tazawa
is about to announce he has signed with the Boston Red Sox. 

tazawa1.jpg

Although it’s not the first thing that comes
to mind, the Tazawa signing really shows just how large Daisuke Matsuzaka’s
presence is in Japan.  Tazawa chose the
Red Sox over the Texas Rangers who reportedly offered over one million dollars
more than Boston. 

Jon
Daniels
must be feeling pretty bad. 
He’s been criticized ever since Tom
Hicks
hired him four years ago, for not acquiring enough pitching.  And when Daniels has spent money it has for
the most part a bad investment. 

jon daniels.jpg

Kevin
Millwood
was a bust, although if he can pitch well into July of next year,
the Texas may be able to trade him for some prospects.  Vicente Padilla
hasn’t been that bad, but it still was a bad signing considering what the
Rangers thought Padilla would accomplish with them.  Daniels has also traded away young pitchers
like Armando
Galarraga
, John
Danks
and Chris
Young
(who was packaged with Adrian Gonzalez).    He also of course traded away Edinson
Volquez but that’s another story.  The
“Edinson Volquez or Josh Hamilton” argument will go on for a long time.

I
think Jon Daniels deserves to be criticized because he has made a lot of
obvious bad trades and signings but if you look closely, you’ll figure out
Daniels had a sort of “revelation” in the 2006-2007 offseason.  It seems all of Daniels moves before 2007 season
were bad, but suddenly he figured something out and has gone on to make
splendid deals like trading away Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne (to the Red Sox).

Now
Daniels has “GM momentum” swinging his way, but he still can’t catch a break
with pitching.  It’s not uncommon for
players to accept a slightly lower salary to play for the team they prefer.  But in most cases it is a veteran player
looking to sign the last contract of their career before retiring.  That is why Tazawa is an outlier. He’s only
22 years old, and yet he is already basing his contract options on
preference.  I wonder how much extra money
Texas would have needed to offer to get Tazawa. 
In the end, the teams have to remember he is just a 22 year old pitcher
who has only spent one year in professional baseball.  

knuckkleballer.jpg

You
have to admit he is unique.  He asked the
teams of the NPB (Japan’s MLB equivalent) not to draft him so he could play for
Nippon Oil of an independent league in Japan (the same league female
side-arming knuckleballer Eri Yoshida plays for).  
Now Tazawa is like any other amateur player from Mexico, Venezuela, or
the Dominican Republic or any other country that is not eligible for the
draft.  I am not sure about the
independent league Tazawa played in, but the reports are that he is at least
ready for Double-A.  I know Theo Epstein
would not pay Tazawa so much ($6 mil) if he wasn’t as ready for the majors
than, lets’ say Michael Bowden. 

For
a 22 year-old to take a lesser contract to play for his preferred team is
gutsy, but then again, this is why he chose to skip the Nippon Baseball
draft.  He wanted to experience the MLB
without having a NBL
team involved
in the deal.  And there
is no better way to experience Major League Baseball than playing on one of
America’s most successful baseball franchises and having the opportunity to
play with his hero Dice-K and fellow countryman Hideki Okajima.  He’ll be able to experience being a part of
Red Sox Nation and soak in all of it’s glory: 

dice-k teletubby.jpg

I
still feel sorry Jon Daniels.  Even if Kaz Fukumori
had turned into the next Takashi Saito
or Kazuhiro
Sasaki
, Texas just didn’t have the extra goods to get Tazawa.  However, there is a silver lining.  Adding Tazawa to the pitching mix makes it
more likely Theo Epstein will be willing to deal prospects like Michael Bowden
or Nick Hagadone
(who is much further down the road) to the Rangers for Gerald Laird
or Jarrod
Saltalamacchia
.  Personally, if I was
the Red Sox I wouldn’t make a deal for a Rangers catcher because they can just
sign Toby Hall
and David Ross.  Boston fans may want a big name they already
know, but a combination of George
Kottaras
, Dusty
Brown
, Toby Hall, and David Ross is a solid, less expensive option.  If Kottatas or Brown can do what they did at
AAA this year, then the Red Sox have two starting-worthy catchers.  If they both struggle then the Red Sox can
turn to a combo of a platoon of David Ross, who had .793 OPS against righties,
and Toby Hall who had a .920 OPS against lefties.  There really is no need to spend a bunch of
money on a catcher when the Red Sox need to use most, if not all of their money
on Mark Teixeira because they are by far the best
and most likely fit for him
.  Plus,
judging from this,
the Red Sox won’t have much extra money to spend this off-season.

Jon
Daniels can console in the fact that he has put together a farm system that has
a bunch of big pitching prospects like Neftali Feliz,
Blave Beavan,
Kasey Kiker,
Michael Main,
and Derek
Holland
. The system also holds some lesser-name prospects like Tommy Hunter,
Kennil Gomez,
Michael
Ballard,
Beau
Jones
, and Doug
Mathis
who could develop into successful big league starters.

That’s
it for now, but I’d like to round out my entry by a little piece of trivia:

Which
player had these statistics in 2008 when you combine his minor league, major
league, and winter league numbers together?

G        AB      OBP       HR      RBI     SB      TB      SLG      OPS                                 149   556     .431        51      151      28     385    .692     1.123

1 game in Rookie Ball 

102 games in Triple-A

31 games in the Majors    

14 games in the Dominican Winter League

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The
answer?  This guy.

2009 Red Sox Rotation

I know it’s early to be thinking about 2009 starting rotations but with the news about Curt Schilling’s potentially career ending surgery, I started thinking about the Sox’s future rotation.  I think the chances of Theo Epstein resigning Bartolo Colon after this season are slim, and the battle of the last rotation spot seems more and more like it will be between Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson.  My pick at this point would have to be Clay Buchholz.  First of all, if you look at Buchholz’s career minor league numbers versus Masterson’s ML numbers you have to like what Buchholz could do in 2009.  Buchholz has proven himself at every level in the minors, seems like he could still good work at the major league level this season.  I don’t see Clay being a very good major league starter until next year.  On the other hand, Masterson has seemingly breezed through the minors and posted great numbers in his first six starts with the Red Sox.  If you look closely at Masterson’s numbers you will see he REALLY went through the minors.  He started with Lancaster (High A) and did well in the hitter-friendly league.  He got called up to AA Portland and did absolutely phenomenal in his first four starts, but tailed off and ended with average numbers: 4-3, 4.34 in 10 starts. mastersonPIX.jpg

The Red Sox had Masterson start this year back in Portland, and once again had average numbers, 1-3, 4.28 in 8 starts.  After one start in AAA, Masterson got called up to Fenway and has made people forget how unspectacular he was in the minors. Masterson reminds of another sinkerball pitcher who was a rookie last year, Kyle Kendrick.  Kendrick was an essential piece of the Phillies run last year, but this year had tailed off to the tune of 5.06 ERA.   I don’t see how the Red Sox could keep Buchholz out of the rotation next year.  clay-buchholz.jpgHere are Buchholz’s minor league numbers: Double A – 16-6, 2.23 ERA with 189.2 innings pitched in 36 starts.  Triple A – 1-4 3.78 with 54.2 innings pitched in 12 starts.  The AAA numbers are not ace like, but I like what will Clay be able to do in his sixth professional season.  I see at least a number four starter in him next year.  After that, him and Beckett will be great at the top at the rotation.  I like a future Red Sox rotation of Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, John Lester and Michael Bowden/Nick Hagadone .   Just in case you are wondering here are Hagadone’s (the Red Sox first draft  pick in 2007) numbers in the minors since he has been drafted:  2-1, 1.31 ERA with 34.1 innings pitched in 13 starts split with Low A and A ball.  OK, I’m done with this entry and hopefully I’ll be back blogging about some other team besides the Red Sox.  And just in case you have not seen it yet: copy and past this URL to the address bar: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080620&content_id=2969030&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb