Monday, January 22, 2007
Good Monday Morning everyone!
It is Twins Fest week, and in many parts of the region, the Twins Caravan will be coming to town. I am very excited to be heading to Twins Fest again though. If you missed it, I posted an article on Friday night about the Twins signing of veteran righty Ramon Ortiz to a one year, $3.1 million contract. For my thoughts, please click here (or scroll down this page a bit). I have a few things lined up for the rest of the week that I am pretty excited about. But for today, I thought a simple bullet point posting would be sufficient. I hope you find a few interesting tidbits and will stop back the rest of the week for more.
Back in November, Alexander Smit was gracious enough to do another fun Q&A with us. In it, he talked about possibly playing for his home country, Holland, in the Intercontinental Cup in Korea. I thought it would be fun to see how the tournament went and how Smit's offseason is going. So we shared a few e-mails and he was kind enough to answer my questions and allow me to briefly update you. Here are some of the topics:
He did not participate in the Intercontinental Cup. The Twins "thought it would be better for me to stay home and take my rest and concentrate on my spring training because Iím on the 40 men roster." That makes sense to me.
Smit informed me that the American team did not participate. Holland had a great showing, finishing second, behind Cuba. Japan finished third.
Baseball is definitely becoming more popular in Holland with more and more kids participating. Smit told me that "it is a good thing to do something for baseball in the off-season and for kids in particular." Smit worked as a pitching instructor a baseball school. He is teaching kids ages 7-13 how to pitch and he really enjoys it.
Although he was told to get some rest, don't take that for not working. Smit says that he is training hard every day, running and throwing.
Most exciting maybe, "Still a couple of more weeks to go and then I fly back to Fort Myers to start spring training with the pitchers on February 18th." That's less than a month!!
Alexander Smit has always been very good to me when it comes to answering questions and willingness to help. These are the kinds of guys that you just can't help but root for.
I mentioned last month that former Twins pitching prospect Adam Harben had Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2007 season. Here is a nice story on Harben and that the Cubs still invited him to Spring Training despite the fact that he can not throw a baseball and was taken off the 40 man roster. I am told that his rehab is really going well, although it is obviously quite early in the process. On a more personal level, Congratulations to Adam who recently became engaged. His now-fiance is from a small Minnesota town outside the Twins Cities metro area.
Over the weekend, Phillies star 2B Chase Utley signed a seven year, $85 million contract to stay with the team through the 2013 season. Utley has been great for over two years now after finally getting a chance at every day play. Last year, when I did my 2006 fantasy projections and used a formula to come up with my overall cheat sheet, I had Utley ranked fourth overall in baseball. I projected Utley to hit .301/.393/.531 (.924) with 42 doubles, 29 homers, 115 RBI and 19 stolen bases. His actual numbers? .309/.379/.527 (.904) with 40 doubles, 32 homers, 102 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Not bad!
So, if I'm going to show off one of my Fantasy Perspective success stories, I suppose I need to show one where I look like an idiot if you go back and analyze them. How about this one? Alfonso Soriano had a monster season playing for the Nationals. He hit .277/.351/.560 (.911) with 41 doubles, 46 homers, 95 RBI and 41 stolen bases. What did I predict? .253/.297/.419 (.716) with 29 doubles, 21 homers, 66 RBI and 23 steals. Not even close. Even better, here were my comments:
"I'm sure a lot of people won't like or agree with this projection. Soriano has not had an OPS below .800 since his first full big league season with the Yankees in 2001. And I project him barely over .700. In his past four seasons, he has averaged 41 doubles, 35 homers and 97 RBI. But there is a lot going against him in 2006. First, moving from hitter-friendly Arlington to the vastness of RFK Stadium is not good. Second, he has terrible plate discipline. Take him away from Arlington, and I fear that he becomes Torii Hunter, if even that! Finally, he has just a horrible attitude. Now, Manny Ramirez can get away with that because he is actually a good overall hitter. It is an interesting year coming for Soriano, especially since it is a contract year for him, his first free agency. The team wants him to play in the OF. As a Corner Outfielder, he is league average, at best. As a 2B, he is one of the elite (not with my projected numbers, but historically). So, I can understand his unwillingness to move."
Yeah, I guess sometimes you go on a limb and you're right. Sometimes you go on a limb and you're wrong. Admitting when you are wrong is a good life lesson, right?
I'm not sure if this is an advertising, letting everyone know that the Fantasy Perspectives will be back in some format in the next month or so. Hopefully some of you will enjoy that.
I missed it last week, but Twins 1st round pick in 2006 Chris Parmalee was ranked the 70th best prospect in baseball in the Community Prospect ranking over at John Sickels' site.
Congratulations to The Baseball Savant. The other day he wrote an article on his favorite and least favorite NFL teams. Being that he lives in Indianapolis, I bet you can guess who his favorite team is!
Second, congratulations to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. I have the utmost respect for the New England Patriots. Regardless of anything, they deserve such respect for their three Super Bowl wins in the last five years. But I get so tired of players and coaches being judged by their team's success. In other words, had the Colts not won, who knows if Tony Dungy would even have a job next year with the Colts? He would be known as a coach who could not win the big game. Well, Manning would have been known as a QB who could never win the big game to even get his team to the Super Bowl. To me, that doesn't make him any less of a QB. It just annoys me when the accomplishments of athletes in team sports are reduced because their teams don't' get to the title game or series. It makes no sense to me. I mean, seriously, had the Colts lost, would there be people out there saying that Rex Grossman is better than Peyton Manning?
The Vikings defense was actually very good in 2006 for the first time in a long time. Defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin deserves a lot of credit. I think it is fair to say that he got it yesterday when he agreed to become the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is an organization that has had just two coaches since Chuck Noll was hired in January of 1969. At just 35 years old, maybe the plan would be for Tomlin to stick in the Steel City for a long time!
Alright, I was hard on Carmelo Anthony for the wimpy little punch thing that he threw that gave him a 15 game suspension. Well, then I need to be equally hard on the Timberwolves Kevin Garnett. I don't know if you've seen it or not, but that was embarrassingly wimpy. He was suspended by the league for one game. Garnett is amazing, still one of the Top 5 all-around players in the NBA, but that was not a shining moment.
That's it for today! Have a wonderful day!
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