The Winter Meetings are holding up to the excitement as ESPN has started a consecutive days-long chat, MLB Network is upping coverage, and contracts are being signed. The news today:
- Mike Napoli has signed a 3 year-$39MM deal with the Red Sox. Probably the biggest FA catcher on the block is now off, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark suggests this takes them out of the Adam LaRoche sweepstakes.
- Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to undergo left hip surgery and will need 4-6 months to recover.
- The Meetings have let the Justin Upton rumors start to circle again, making us wonder if a trade for the young Diamondback will actually happen. The team has said to be aggressive on the trade front.
- The San Diego Padres have signed Jason Marquis to a one year-$3MM deal.
- Per Dylan Hernandez, Shohei Otani wants to decide this week whether to stay in Japan, or come to the Dodgers
- The Detroit Tigers offered Anibal Sanchez 4 years-$48MM but apparently that wasn’t seen favorably by Sanchez’s camp, who is rumored to be seeking a 6/$90MM deal.
- The Toronto Blue Jays have claimed Eli Whiteside, per Ken Rosenthal. Ken notes that Eli is now their fourth catcher because you can never have too many game callers.
- Angel Pagan and the San Francisco Giants have an agreement for 4 years and $40MM, a trade-off between below-market money and more years made between the clubs.
- Joakim Soria and the Texas Rangers appear to have a deal in place for two years. I really like Soria and hope he can be of some use to the Rangers, but only enough that he doesn’t help the Rangers beat the Giants in a World Series matchup.
- Scott Hairston was reportedly offered a two-year deal to the Tigers, first I saw was from Jon Morosi. However, Adam Rubin from ESPN NY says he’s been told the Giant killer will not sign on with Detroit. Jon Morosi has since said he was mistaken in his report about Hairston, but Rubin does say there are five teams pursuing Hairston.
- In other New York news, the Metropolitans asked the Red Sox for top prospects Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. for in exchange for R.A. Dickey, but the team that calls Fenway home is not likely to give away either prospect.
- There is an offer on the table for Ryan Ludwick from the Cincinnati Reds.
- Out of South Beach, there are whispers that Yunel Escobar is being shopped to Tampa and Oakland, and Ricky Nolasco has had enough of Miami and wants out.
This will be updated throughout the day, but who knows if I’ll be able to keep up. There’s a lot going on, and it’s very exciting.
MLB Draft Day was not always the big production it is now with it being streamed on MLB Network, online, and with the crazy amounts of analysis from big networks in addition to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and the like. Something I know that has been covered by writers/bloggers here and there are articles in which they talk about what players your team could’ve had. Not every year is the same as some years for most teams you may have even more than one first round pick, or you can have drafts like the 2005 Giants did with nothing until the 4th round. Now, the biggest name from their draft that year? Why it would be no other than your favorite frisbee thrower, Sergio Romo, picked in the 28th round! Here’s some players you probably wouldn’t mind having on your roster that were picked after the 5th round of their respective drafts.
To make things a little more fun, what if we made this also a 25-man roster? I’ll put an asterisk next to the guys that wouldn’t have made the cut for the team I’m putting together. I’ll even provide a prospect for some of the positions to make it more 40-man-ish and these guys will be marked with a double-asterisk
A.J. Ellis (Dodgers; Drafted in 2003 in the 18th round by the Dodgers) — Ellis has been an OBP machine for the Dodgers whether he’s been batting 2nd where he should be, or 8th in the lineup, because he’s a catcher or something.
Mike Napoli (Rangers; Drafted in 2000 in the 17th round by the Angels) — Remember when the Angels traded Napoli to the Blue Jays and then the Blue Jays traded him to the Rangers where he would hit 30 dingers for them? Good times.
**Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox; Drafted in 2008 in the 6th round by the Red Sox) — Just debuted on the 18th of August!
Albert Pujols (Angels; Drafted in 1999 in the 13th round by the Cardinals) — Lifetime 472 HR in his Age 32 season. Has never had a season with less than 32 HR (27 this year).
Mark Trumbo (Angels; Drafted in 2004 in the 18th round by the Angels) — Only 26, the kid has posted back-to-back 29 HR seasons.
**Jonathan Singleton (Astros; Drafted in 2009 in the 8th round by the Phillies) — Has an ETA of 2013 per MLB.com and he’s from my part of town in Long Beach as well.
Ian Kinsler (Rangers; Drafted in 2003 in the 17th round by the Rangers) — Has been a 30/30 guy in 2009 and 2011.
Dan Uggla (Braves; Drafted in 2001 in the 11th round by the Diamondbacks) — biceps bigger than my head; Had five straight 30-HR seasons coming into 2012.
**Scooter Gennett (Brewers; Drafted in 2009 in the 16th round by the Brewers) — how can you not love that name? ETA 2013.
Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays; Drafted in 2000 in the 9th round by the Rangers) — Has he discovered something new in Toronto a la JoeyBats? 31 HR in his age 29 season after only two-20+ HR seasons in 2010 (21) and 2008 (26).
**Nick Delmonico (Orioles; Drafted in 2011 in the 6th round by the Orioles) — Not in any Top 100s that I’ve seen. ETA 2015.
Ben Zobrist (Rays; Drafted in 2004 in the 6th round by the Astros) — Super utility guy that gives you double digit bombs and double digit stolen bags.
**Tyler Saladino (White Sox; Drafted for the second time in two years in 2010, drafted in the 7th round by the White Sox in ’10) — The SS prospect after the 2nd round is difficult to find, and Saladino probably isn’t even a prospect at all. I mean, he is in the White Sox’s system.
Matt Kemp — (Dodgers; Drafted in 2003 in the 6th round by the Dodgers) — A legitimate 40/40 threat when healthy
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays; Drafted in 2000 in the 20th round by the Pirates) — On his way to three straight 30-HR seasons
Josh Willingham (Twins; Drafted in 2000 in the 17th round by the Marlins) — Six 20-HR seasons, with his first 30-HR season this year
Austin Jackson (Tigers; Drafted in 2005 in the 8th round by the Yankees) — .308/.392/.897 line in 2012
Corey Hart (Brewers; Drafted in 2000 in the 11th round by the Brewers) — Five 20-HR seasons
*Dexter Fowler (Rockies; Drafted in 2004 in the 14th round by the Rockies) — Would be a great bench guy amongst these guys listed with his speed.
**Tyler Austin (Yankees; Drafted in 2010 in the 13th round by the Yankees) — An ETA of 2015 for the kid that’s chillin’ in High-A at the moment.
Jake Peavy (White Sox; Drafted in 1999 in the 15th round by the Padres) — finally looking to pitch a season with more than 30 starts since 2007 with the Padres
Mat Latos (Reds; Drafted in 2006 in the 11th round by the Padres) — although he really was a villain with San Diego, Latos will give you what you expect out of a pitcher in the 2 or 3 spot.
Tim Hudson (Braves; Drafted in 1997 in the 6th round by the A’s) — In his 14 seasons of pitching (and 2009 really shouldn’t count because he only had 7 starts), only one season (2006) has he had an ERA+ under 110
James Shields (Rays; Drafted in 2000 in the 16th round by the Devil Rays) — A great season last year, Shields is on his way to another 200+ IP campaign although he is susceptible to the long ball
Matt Moore (Rays; Drafted in 2007 in the 8th round by the Devil Rays) — Still a baby, Matt Moore’s potential is more than enough to “forgive” the season he’s having right now.
*James McDonald (Pirates; Drafted in 2002 in the 11th round by the Dodgers) — A product of my old workplace at Poly HS in Long Beach, James has been given his chance to shine in Pittsburgh and was considered one of the ASG snubs this year.
*Chris Capuano (Dodgers; Drafted in 1999 in the 8th round by the Diamondbacks) — A 4th/5th SP type throughout his career that’s pitching like a 2 or 3 and really helping the Dodgers in their pennant chase this year
**Dellin Betances (Yankees; Drafted in 2006 in the 8th round by the Yankees) — an ETA of 2012 for the kid that’s been geting lit up in his stops in the International and Eastern Leagues.
**Brad Peacock (A’s; Drafted in 2006 in the 41st round by the Nationals) — I just wanted to include a 41st rounder who is considered a legitimate prospcet. Seriously, how cool is that.
Tyler Clippard (Nationals; Drafted in 2003 in the 9th round by the Yankees) — Tyler has been blowing the competition away in the last four years, posting a double-digit K/9 and when Storen went down with an injury, Clippard was more than ready to pick up the slack.
David Robertson (Yankees; Drafted in 2006 in the 17th round by the Yankees) — The original heir to the throne of Mariano Rivera, Robertson, like Clippard is going double-digit K/9 for five-years running now including a crazy 399 ERA+ in 2011.
Greg Holland (Royals; Drafted in 2007 in the 10th round by the Royals) — With Joakim Soria down, and Jonathan Broxton finally being shipped out, Greg Holland gets to be put in the spotlight with his power of missing bats as he looks to post a career-high in strikeouts in 2012.
Sergio Romo (Giants; Drafted in 2005 in the 28th round by the Giants) — A known injury risk, Romo still can dominate you with the spin he puts on that frisbee slider of his has been baffling hitters for years
Vinnie Pestano (Indians; Drafted in 2006 in the 20th round by the Indians) — A Cal State Fullerton product (Gary Brown fans know that school well), Pestano has climbed up the ladder but is still what I feel to be a relative unknown because he plays for Cleveland. Currently a set-up man, he is to be taken seriously even if you haven’t heard of him.
Jason Motte (Cardinals; Drafted in 2003 in the 19th round by the Cardinals) — Motte is well known for his 2012 performance but he’s been doing well since 2010 really, and is what I’d think to be a household name in St. Louis.
Sean Marshall (Reds; Drafted in 2003 in the 6th round by the Cubs) — I wonder if Theo would’ve traded Marshall since this guy has been pretty darn good as a reliever when he started doing that full-time in 2010.
*Luke Gregerson (Padres; Drafted in 2006 in the 28th round by the Cardinals) — If Padres fans read my stuff, they’d hate my decision to leave him off my roster, and I understand their gripe: solid ERA+ especially this year, but who do I kick out for him?
*Joe Nathan (Rangers; Drafted in 1995 in the 6th round by the Giants) — Giants fans know the name well, and I won’t make them revisit any trades associated with him, but when healthy, really outside of 2011, he’s done some good work making hitters miss, including a 7 K/BB this year.
**Brody Colvin (Phillies; Drafted in 2009 in the 7th round by the Phillies) — An ETA 2014 and I know you’re not supposed to judge minor leaguers by their stats, but holy crap is this SP getting destroyed right now. A number of things could be going on here, but I put him in the bullpen, just because I can.
Maybe Brian Wilson (24th round in 2003) can be on my 60-Day DL. Sorry if I missed anybody, I don’t hate your team, this was a tough list to compile in certain positions!
The Texas Rangers are in town for a weekend series, and you may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve heard of these guys before. Where have I seen them? Where….” and you would be the only one wondering that because Texas fans are going to be dam tired of 2010 stories where the pitching-heavy 2010 West an NL Champion San Francisco Giants put a 5-game beating on the Rangers that made you think even if “Everything’s Bigger in Texas,” it’s not always better. We’ll have all weekend to live in the past, let’s advance to the now:
Friday, June 8th: LHP Matt Harrison vs. LHP Barry Zito
Saturday, June 9th: RHP Scott Feldman vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
Sunday, June 10th: RHP Alexi Ogando vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
Small-sample sizes in the Last 7 days: Batters to watch
Mike Napoli with his 1.156 OPS and .504 wOBA is the only one providing some above-average production for Texas right now, who are 2-5 in June thus far. Even Josh Hamilton right now has a .230 wOBA going and has more stolen bases (1) than HR (0). Mitch Moreland has found the time to ground into 4 double plays, while most of the Giants regulars haven’t even hit into that many this season. Nelson Cruz has struck out 34.6% of the time, Hamilton 31.3%. Suffice to say, they’re scuffling right now.
Ryan Theriot is still playing out of his mind with a .500/.563/.607 line with a .519 BABIP and a .516 wOBA with 3 SBs, the most in the last 7 of all regulars Texas or San Francisco, the man is making things happen on offense right now. You are probably aware Gregor Blanco has as many HR as Buster Posey and Angel Pagan (and every other Giant) combined with 2 (he also has a .400 ISO in the last 7). Guess who has the 2nd highest OBP to Theriot at .429? Your favorite baby giraffe, Brandon Belt, although his K% rate at 21.4% is still high. Too bad he probably won’t get much of a chance to improve those numbers tonight.
Honestly I have no idea how angry Texas is coming in, but if their bats are cold through this weekend, this should be a pretty easy series win. I say that because Texas’ starting pitching is not all that scary.
Friday: Giants win
Saturday: Giants win
Sunday: Rangers win
I will predict things, and I will be wrong. It’s just fun to guess.
(2) Rangers vs. (4) Rays, 2:07 PM PST, Ballpark at Arlington
The world was expecting Red Sox Nation to show up, but the great Baseball Deities decided to give us one of the best nights of baseball ever that resulted in a little something Long Beach State likes to call “Evan Longoria.” True, there was Dan Johnson who kept them from Game 163, and Joe Maddon is a genius.
Game 1: Christopher John (CJ) Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 223.1 IP) vs. Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA, 14.49 K/9, 9.1 IP, 1 GS)
While the world is pondering why Kyle Lohse is a Game One starter, Joe Maddon tried to one-up Tony La Russa and say, “How about I throw out our Minor League Stud-Muffin out there?” It’s true, GM’s and scouts alike have dreams of Matt Moore and the future looks bright for the kid born in 1989 (really). As with any other postseason series, it’s going to come down to pitching, and both staffs are well equipped to go toe-to-toe (and that Texas bullpen? What the heck is that all about?)
What we have come to love about both of these teams though, are their bats. Who doesn’t love themselves some Longo, Zoborist, Upton (the tradeable one), Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre and hitting catching in Napoli? Oh and Kinsler had a 32 HR season, big whoop. I do that in video games all the time.
I respect Ron Washington and Joe Maddon a lot, but Joe Maddon has some crazy smart tactics he gets from those One-A-Day 50+ multivitamins which may hold the key to jumping over the 2010 AL Champions who do not have Cliff Lee to beat them twice again this year. But then again, Texas does have Tommy Hunter anymore to underhand pitches to batters so the Rays will have to counter that with something.
The Rangers have a scary good offense. Can the Rays young pitching hold them down? I say no. Texas takes care of business in game one, 5-1.
(1) Yankees vs. (3) Tigers, 5:37 PM PST, Yankee Stadium
Game 1: CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 237.1 IP) vs. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, 251.0 IP)
Sure there are hitters involved, but as a Giants fan I know they don’t do anything. The game is in the starting pitching, and boy you bet America is excited for this.
The uneducated baseball fan will look at this matchup and say to themselves “holy crap, 43 combined wins between two aces! i love baseball for now until sunday!” They will feel like it gives them a clue as to the magic that could be awaiting them, what with Verlander’s two no-hitters he has under his belt, one coming this year in Toronto. There will be magic, but not because they have 43 wins between each other.
The scouting reports these guys get are processed and and executed to an “ace” level — these two having 480 K’s between them, the two of them averaging 4 K’s/BB. Sure, the ratio isn’t Sergio Romo-esque, but there’s only one person who pitches like Sergio Romo and that’s Sergio MF Romo. There might not be a repeat of Roy Halladay stature, but anytime these guys get on the mound you know you could be bearing witness to something special.
Weather reports are telling us we don’t even know what time this game will officially get started, but hopefully it’s just a bunch of clouds passing through. Wouldn’t want to watch the “Double-R” series and then have to wait hours to see Game One of this ALDS. That would be cruel.
When you watch these two, hopefully you think about two things: teaching your kid to either throw left-handed, or teaching your kid how to throw triple-digits with great control.
So who will it be for Game One? Both of these teams haven’t been in “playoff mode” for a while, but it doesn’t mean they haven’t worked. I like Verlander and Co. to take Game 1 and Valverde to do a little dance at the end. Tigers get first blood, 6-4.