Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dye and Washburn still hoping to play

Did Jermaine Dye or Jarrod Washburn really believe they would have a major league contract by now?  They have been free agents since November and have had very few offers according to reports.  Washburn was solid for the Mariners last season before being dealt to the Tigers where he sported an ERA over 7 and complained that a knee injury was the cause for the bad numbers.  Still, Washburn wanted a long-term deal, which never came.  The Twins and Mariners have been linked to the left-hander, but no deal was ever made.  Now, the rumours are out there suggesting the Royals have interest, Twins still have interest if they move Liriano to the closers role and the Mariners are the number one choice for the Washburn camp. 

Jermaine Dye wants to be paid, but if his 2nd half numbers are why teams are also avoiding him, it's understandable.  Dye, in his career, is a .274 hitter with 325 home runs and 1072 RBI.  He has battled injuries over his career but was putting together a great season for the White Sox last year when all of a sudden something happened, he just simply started to struggle, big time!  Before the break, Dye was on fire hitting .302 with 20 home runs and 55 RBI in the 81 games played.  The break came and went, and so did his ability to hit the ball.  In the next 60 games, Dye hit .179 with 7 home runs and 26 RBI. What was weird is that he wasn't a strikeout victim every at-bat, in 212 at-bats he struck out only 46 times.  He just couldn't get a hit.  The Nationals, Orioles, Pirates and Indians have expressed interest, but he still want big money, something that could end his career.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Draft a few closers; it helps

Drafting closers is often a great debate.  Do you draft them early? Not usually. Do you draft more then three of them? Not usually.  Do you need the top closers in the game on your team?  Not usually.  The debate is on when to draft one and how many to draft.  Having a closer like Mariano Rivera helps.  He will give you a boost in the ERA and WHIP category as well.  When should you draft him though?  Most people will wait for someone else to start the round when the closers start to go.  I compare the theory to when people start to pick kickers in the football pools, only the closers will go in rounds 8 or 9, in most cases, not in the final rounds like the kickers.  Once Rivera goes, so will Papelbon, Broxton and maybe Bailey or Soria.  After these closers, it's any one's guess when the rest go.  Take 3 closers, many books tell you to wait for injuries throughout the season to pick one up, but having 3 solid closers gives you an edge on the other managers, because you won't be in panic mode if they stay healthy and you can use your waiver picks on other needs.

Here is a projection on who will be closing and how many saves they may have:

NYY: Rivera (45)
BOS: Papelbon (44)
LAD: Broxton (44)
KC: Soria (42)
NYM: Rodriguez (40)
SF: Wilson (40)
CHC: Marmol (35); backup Grabow

OAK: Bailey (35)
SD: Bell (34)
CIN: Cordero (34)
TB: Soriano (33)
DET: Valverde (33)
COL: Street (25) might be out for a while; backup Morales
CHW: Jenks (25) injured calf might keep him out; backup Thornton

MIL: Hoffman (25)

SEA: Aardsma (32)
LAA: Fuentes (32)
ATL: Wagner (30)
TEX: Francisco (30); backup Feliz or Wilson
STL: Franklin (30)
BAL: Gonzalez (25); backup Johnson
CLE: Wood (25); if he returns from back injury; backup Perez
ARI: Qualls (24)
PIT: Dotel (24); people have noticed he's back on track
FLA: Nunez (32)
WAS: Capps (25); backup Storen or Bruney

PHI: Lidge (28); backup Madson; Lidge to start on DL
HOU: Lyon (28); backup Lindstrom; Lyon has pitched in only 2 games this spring
TOR: Gregg (23); backup Downs or Frasor; may be decided soon who closes
MIN: Rauch (23); backup Guerrier or Liriano; loss of Nathan huge!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Towers gets a ring and Sheets has worst MLB outing in history

It's funny how the baseball world works.  Just when you think you've seen and heard it all, the story the other day in the Washington Post sums up just how easy it is to earn a World Series ring.  Some players play their entire careers without the chance to even play in a playoff game, but others seem to find themselves on playoff rosters (Eric Hinske) and eventually go on to win titles, thus, earn a ring and a share of the playoff money.

The article is about the least deserved ring of all-time, and the award went to none-other then the ex-Blue Jay / Oriole / National / Yankee and current Dodgers pitcher Josh Towers. 

Towers was called up in September by the Yankees and pitched in only 2 games; September 6th and 12th.  He went 0-0 in 5.1 IP with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts and was remembered most for hitting the Blue Jays DH Randy Ruiz in the mouth in one of those games.

A career 45-55 in 139 games, Towers started with the Nationals organization in 2009 and was release by the AAA club, Syracuse, in mid-April.  He caught on with the Yankees and went on to post great numbers for the triple-A team. 

Towers was awarded a ring for the 2 games with the Yankees and also awarded a World Series share worth almost $90,000.  Not bad for hitting a player in the face in his 2 game stint!

Other news:

Would you trade Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard?  According to an ESPN insider, the deal was once talked about since Pujols is on the verge of asking for a 10-year / $300M contract according to other reports.  Trading Pujols would make the Cardinals look bad, and though they would be getting a 50 HR, 140 RBI guy back, Pujols is a much better hitter and doesn't come close to the strikeout numbers that Howard puts up.  The talk is a great debate, but the players and teams involved are livid at the reports, and they deserve to be upset.  The report is probably made-up for reasons unknown other then starting a rumour that would provide controversy and great debate, and it worked.

Ben Sheets was signed by the Oakland A's to give them an ace atop the pitching rotation, did they know he would also make history in spring training as well?  No one could of predicted the outing yesterday, as Sheets, the $10M a year pitcher didn't record an out, and, according to ESPN, had the worst outing for a pitcher in the history of the game.  Sheets allowed 8 hits, 10 runs, 9 earned runs and walked 1 without retiring a batter.

After the game, Sheets, coming of surgery after missing all of 2009 with elbow trouble, announced that he felt great physically and that's all that mattered.  Most people don't analyze spring numbers, but this start with these numbers may have the A's sweating a bit.  Only John Lackey and Andy Pettitte received bigger contracts this off-season.

The Washington Nationals are 0-11 this season, this spring season, but c'mon, brutal.  So much for improving on that 59-103 record from last season.  Now they are talking about trading Adam Dunn too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A look around the teams in Florida

With the rain finally coming to an end, after a 2 day stretch of nothing but it, the Florida-based teams got back in full swing the last couple of days.  Many of the top pitchers took to the mound today, as did the big prospects in the game.  Here is a look at how the teams did and what some of the stand-out lines looked like.

Braves (SS) 8 Blue Jays 5

ATL: Heyward 2-4, R, RBI, .444 AVG (looked great and is everything that is advertised; sure rookie of the year if stars are aligned)

TOR: Frasor 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB (with scouts from the Cubs, Twins and Padres on hand, Frasor struggled and was eventually pulled after managing only 1 out)

Red Sox 6 Twins 4

BOS: Hermida 2-3, 2 RBI (looking good after a solid year for Florida)

MIN: Slowey 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 K (has lines like this one game then gets roughed up the next)

Cardinals 7 Nationals 3

STL: Wainwright 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB (the Cy-Young hopeful is a sure All-Star gain this year)

WAS: Strasburg 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (looked great again; has not allowed a run this spring and is hopeful of a starting role for major league team)

Yankees 5 Pirates 10

NYY: Sabathia 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB (another bad outing and left the start as well; no details on the injury)

PIT: Crosby 3-3, 3 R, 2 HR (3), 3 RBI (yes this is Bobby Crosby; the one that was supposed to be an Athletic for life!)

Phillies 3 Orioles 4

PHI: Utley 1-3, RBI, K, .438 AVG (ready for the regular season; a rare road game for the starters; Howard, Rollins etc)

BAL: Tejada 0-2, .176 AVG (not making an early impression yet)

Mets 1 Marlins 5

NYM: Santana 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 K (looked like the ace that he is today)

FLA: Ramirez 1-3, RBI (not many of the Marlins' starters did much of anything today)

Rays 6 Tigers 9

TB: Rodriguez 2-4, HR (4), 2 RBI

DET: Jackson 3-4, 3 R (a good piece in the trade involving Granderson)

Braves (SS) 5 Astros 8

ATL: McCann 2-2, 2 HR (2), 3 RBI, .667 AVG (#2 in fantasy value behind Mauer)

HOU: Myers 4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (the choice of signing Myers may come back to hurt them)

Fantasy Player to watch for: Blue Jays OF Adam Lind (swing has not changed since last season; may hit 40 HR and 40 doubles along with .310 AVG and 120 RBI)

Friday, March 12, 2010

A look around the Cactus League

With rain washing out all of the games in Florida today, ExtraBaseHit went inside the Cactus League, reviewing all the games and looking at notable stats.  With fantasy drafts already in full swing, these players noted may be on the verge of a pretty good season, or maybe, just the opposite.

LA Angels (SS) 7 Indians 7

LAA: Napoli 2-4, HR (4), 4 RBI, .412 AVG (great spring so far)

CLE: LaPorta 1-2, R, 2 RBI, .333 AVG (looks to stick with club this season)

White Sox 10 LA Angels (SS) 7

CWS: Rios 2-3, 2 R, HR (2), 2 RBI (needs a strong start to season)
CWS: Peavy 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 K (has not allowed a run yet this spring, was hit by a line-drive by Torii Hunter, but was OK and did not leave the game)

LAA: Saunders 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER (bad outing to say the least)

Cubs 3 Brewers 12

CHC: Samardzija 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 K

MIL: Edmonds 2-3, 2 R, HR (1), 2 RBI, .429 AVG (looking to make the club and is having a great spring)

Reds 3 Dodgers 2

CIN: Gomes 2-2, HR (2), 2 RBI (late signing not affecting his swing)

LAD: Kershaw 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 K (the ace had his best stuff going today)

Royals 6 Mariners 6 (yes a tie!)

KC: Guillen 2-3, R, RBI (hoping to prove to KC he can still play every day)

SEA: Griffey 2-2, 2 RBI, .286 AVG (looking young and a lot slimmer)

Athletics 1 Diamondbacks 10

OAK: Barton 3-3, .400 AVG (crowded at first and DH this year)

ARI: Kennedy 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 K (yes, this is the same player the Yankees once thought would be a keeper)

Giants 9 Rockies 2

SF: Posey 2-3, 2 RBI, .333 AVG (the prospect is once again proving that the team may of made a mistake re-signing Molina)
SF: Wellemeyer 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB (was tough today, made many Rockies take bad swings, a sure lock for the rotation if healthy, and he was cheap!)

COL: Mora 0-2, K, .167 AVG (played LF today?)

Padres 2 Rangers 6

SD: Richard 2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER (not a good day for the former White Sox)

TEX: Davis 3-4, 2 RBI, .550 AVG (can always hit in spring but will the .200 AVG return in the regular season?)


I. Davis (NYM) 11
T. Abreu (ARI) 10
R. Brignac (TB) 10

M. Napoli (LAA) 4
J.P. Arencibia (TOR) 3
J. Bautista (TOR) 3

R. Brignac (TB) 13
I. Desmond (WAS) 10
J. Upton (ARI) 10

D. Hernandez (BAL) 12
B. Matusz (BAL) 10
N. Figueroa (NYM) 9
**R. Halladay (PHI) 8** (in case you were wondering!)


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Talking Fantasy

The world of fantasy baseball roto-style, is just as addicting as fantasy football for most people, they just don't admit it.  Draft orders are being set, studying stats for pitchers and position players are being looked at and preparing for the long baseball season of trades and waiver wire pickups are upon us. 

The great debate is always about who to take number one.  If you are one of the lucky ones to have received the number one pick, who would you choose?

Some would say that the Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols is a no-brainer.  His .327 AVG, 47 HR and 135 RBI basically help you keep the offensive numbers in check.  Having Pujols will help the average stay consistent, HR's will be average (5 or 6 ranking at worst) and the RBI's will just keep on coming.  Some say that Ryan Howard can give you these numbers but his .250 AVG will kill you and he won't have the same runs scored and RBI totals.

Bottom Line: Take him number one

Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez: .342 AVG, 24 HR, 106 RBI, 27 SB; helps with average and stolen bases, his power his impressive and will help with runs scored.  Overall, a great player and a great number 2 or 3 pick.

Giants P Tim Lincecum: 15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 strikeouts; if you feel that pitching has hurt you in the past, take Lincecum.  He helps keep the ERA total down if the other pitchers on the roster have a bad day.  Roy Halladay may have more wins in 2010, but Lincecum will supply you with solid starts almost every time out and give you 100 more strikeouts as well.

Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez: .286 AVG, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 14 SB; this in only 124 games in 2009.  He is projected to hit .300 with 45 HR and 135 RBI.  He could go number one as third baseman with power are hard to find.  The Yankees score runs, and A-Rod will be heavily involved.

Phillies 2B Chase Utley: .282 AVG, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 112 runs scored, 23 SB; basically can do it all.  Is still the best-run producing second baseman, but the Blue Jays Aaron Hill will give him a run for the money.  I'm leaning to Utley as a top 5 pick in 2010, but for the last time.  This might be similar to Jimmy Rollins of last season when his numbers dropped from the year before.  Utley is good, take him, but if your in a keeper league, trade him later for value.