January 29, 2004
American League East Pitchers
After finishing a six part series, analyzing the hitters in baseball, I will now begin to discuss the pitching staffs of each big league team, again, by division. In other words, my four part series, which became a nine part series, has now become a 13 part series. I was thinking I would be able to do the pitching analysis in two days. However, there is really nothing going on in baseball these days worth discussing. Also, this allows me to be a little more detailed in my analysis of the players. As always, I hope you enjoy what you read.
I want to do this analysis for a couple of reasons. First, I love fantasy baseball and love discussing what I think of certain players. Second, I know that many people who take the time to read baseball sites like this one participate in fantasy baseball leagues as well. And finally… hey, I need to start figuring out a game plan for my fantasy leagues. I am in three of them, each with different formats, so I hope this helps me as much as it helps you!
However, I do understand that not everyone gets into fantasy sports, and that’s OK too. I do not think that my “analysis” will be too “statty” and should be enjoyable for any baseball fan to read.
I know it is early to be talking about fantasy baseball, but I know that many keeper leagues have to turn in their ‘keepers’ this month. Also, aside from Ivan Rodriguez and Greg Maddux, most of the free agents still available will be bit players and may or may not affect some of the comments below. However, there could still be some trades and signings which could alter some of these opinions. For instance, if Greg Maddux signs with the Cubs, it could affect the fantasy value of Juan Cruz or Angel Guzman. It could also affect how Jacque Jones would be valued.
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Disclaimer: What you read below are simply my opinions. Obviously I have no knowledge of what will happen in the 2004 season, so please take the information for what it is worth (fun and opinion). Also, these opinions are subject to change as spring training approaches. All players listed are either projected starters, or starters based on my opinion. I will try to project where each player could be drafted, assuming a 30 round draft.
Here is the schedule for this project:
Tuesday, Jan. 20 - Part 1 - American League Central Hitters
Wednesday, Jan. 21 - Part 2 - American League East Hitters
Thursday, Jan. 22 - Part 3 - American League West Hitters
Friday, Jan. 23 - Part 4 - National League Central Hitters
Monday, Jan. 26 - Part 5 - National League East Hitters
Tuesday, Jan. 27 - Part 6 - National League West Hitters
Wednesday, Jan. 28 - Part 7 - American League Central Pitchers
Thursday, Jan. 29 - Part 8 - American League East Pitchers
Friday, Jan. 30 - Part 9 - American League West Pitchers
Monday, Feb. 2 - Part 10 - National League Central Pitchers
Tuesday, Feb. 3 - Part 11 - National League East Pitchers
Wednesday, Feb. 4 - Part 12 - National League West Pitchers
Thursday, Feb. 5 - Part 13 – Rookies and Prospects
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST PITCHERS
And again, from the weakest division to the strongest division. The East not only has far better hitters than the central, they have far better pitching as well! At least they have more depth. Except the Devil Rays rotation is probably even worse than the Tigers! (No, seriously!) The Red Sox boast 5 quality starters and a great bullpen. The Yankees have at least four with their solid bullpen. Toronto has at least three quality starters. Baltimore could be weak too, because I don’t expect much from Sidney Ponson.
So, let’s get going on some analysis. If you have any comments, arguments, agreements, questions or anything, please feel free to e-mail me. When this project is complete, I would like to put together a Mailbag issue with many of those comments.
SP – Sidney Ponson
I mock the O’s for dumb free agent decisions. I think this is one of them. 3 years and $22.5 million for a guy with a career 58-65 record, with a career 4.54 ERA? Yes, he was 17-12 last year, but his ERA was still just 3.75. He strikes out less than 6 batters per 9 innings. Next compare his ERA’s from 2002 to 2003. 2002 it was 4.09. 2003 it was 3.75. Little difference. His 2002 strikeout rate was 6.14 and in 2003 it was just 5.58. So, he must have had a similar year, right? Wrong. In 2002, Ponson was 7-9. I think it’s a bad signing for Baltimore, and I think picking Ponson before the 15th round would be a mistake for you.
SP – Rodrigo Lopez
The 28 year old Lopez was great in 2002. He started 28 games, pitched 196.2 innings, and was 15-9 with a 3.57 ERA. 2004 was an entirely different story. He started just 26 games and 147 innings. He went 7-10 with a 5.82 ERA. His strikeout rate remained the same. His last eight starts of last season were against the Yankees, Yankees, A’s, A’s, Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Yankees. That type of schedule can make it tough for any of these pitchers. Draft Lopez late, if you need another pitcher.
SP – Kurt Ainsworth
Ainsworth came to the Orioles at the trade deadline for Sidney Ponson. After getting off to a good start with the Giants last year (11 starts, 5-4, 3.82), Ainsworth had a mysterious shoulder injury that put him on the DL. However, he did come back to pitch 2 1/3 innings for the Orioles in September. He has been highly touted since being drafted out of LSU. If he is healthy, expect solid numbers from Ainsworth. Consider taking him in the 24th round.
SP – Eric DuBose
DuBose pitched in 17 games (starting 10, completing 1) in 2003 for the Orioles. He went 3-6 with a 3.79 ERA. He averaged just 1.15 WHIP. He gave up just 6 homers in 74.2 innings. These are really good peripheral numbers that deserve better. The O’s just were not good last year. I think DuBose, like Ainsworth, has a huge ceiling. However, playing in the AL East will make it tough to realize it. Consider drafting him in the late rounds.
SP – Omar Daal
This might be Daal’s final chance to make a starting rotation, and he may be getting it only because Baltimore doesn’t have other options right now. 2004 will be Daal’s 12th in the big leagues. He actually showed positive signs in two seasons with the Diamondbacks (1998 and 1999). Those two seasons, he went 24-21, with ERAs of 2.88 and 3.65. Then in 2000, he lost 19 games between the D-Backs and Phillies. In 2001, he was 13-7 in Philly. For the Dodgers in 2002, he was 11-9, but had a 3.91 ERA. So, it’s not too far removed from when Daal was an adequate major league pitcher. He needs to start out well to maintain a roster spot. Don’t draft him.
Closer – Jorge Julio
The 24 year old Jorge Julio was 0-7 with a 4.38 ERA. You really can’t judge a closer by their record though. He converted 36 saves in 44 save opportunities. Walks were his problem when he did struggle. He walked 34 hitters in 61.2 innings. He struck out 52. I think Julio will be a great major league closer. Take him in the 20th round.
Closer – Mike Dejean
Dejean has been a very solid reliever in the big leagues for seven years already. He has pitched in more than 50 games each year. He was the closer for the Brewers much of the 2002 season (getting 27 saves). Last year, he pitched 58 games for the Brewers before being traded to the Cardinals for the stretch run. Last year, combined, he was 5-9 with a 4.68 ERA. He was brought in to set up Julio, but if there are troubles, he could take the job. Don’t draft him, unless he wins the job.
One 2 Watch – Erik Bedard
Bedard is worth watching. He missed the entire 2003 season due to Tommy John surgery. (actually, he did pitch some rehab assignments near the end of the season) I don’t know if he’ll be ready out of spring training, but he may get another shot later in the season. Don’t draft him either.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – The futures of Ainsworth and DuBose.
The Bad – The rest of the starting rotation and the fact they are in this division..
The Questions – Which Ponson will show up? Can Ainsworth stay healthy? Can Omar Daal stay in the rotation all year? Can they sign Greg Maddux!?
Boston Red Sox
SP – Pedro Martinez
You can’t say a lot of bad about Pedro Martinez’s pitching. Well, I guess I dedicated an entire posting to trying this summer, but… he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of baseball. Last year, he was 14-4 with a 2.22 ERA. He actually pitched in 29 games last year. In 186 2/3 innings, he struck out 206 hitters. OK, I won’t even go into his numbers, or where they rank not only with active players, but with the all-time greats! And he’s still just 32! The only negative is that he doesn’t always pitch. He will miss games from time to time. Take him in the mid-first round!
SP – Curt Schilling
Be sure not to look at his 8-9 record last year and think he’s done. That is a result of pretty much no run support in Arizona, and a broken hand. His ERA was just 2.95. Opponents hit just .230 off him. He struck out 194 batters in 168 innings. He averaged just 1.05 WHIP, because in addition to being a power pitcher, he doesn’t walk anyone. He’s another sure-fire first-round pick.
SP – Derek Lowe
The Red Sox #3 pitcher has had a record of 38-15 over the past two seasons. In 2002, he was 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA. Last year, his winning record (17-7) was thanks to some run support as his ERA was 4.47. After being primarily a closer the first four full seasons in Boston, Lowe has also pitched over 200 innings the last two seasons since being moved to the rotation. So, sure, there are concerns there, but he should have another winning record and be counted on for your team. Take him in about the 5th round.
SP – Tim Wakefield
Wakefield has been around for a long time. 2004 will be his 13th big league season and 11th with the Red Sox. Although he has started many games in between, 2003 was the first time since 1998 that Wakefield was a regular member of the starting rotation. He responded with an 11-7 record and a 4.09 ERA. His strikeout rate actually went up to 7.5 per 9 innings last year, and his WHIP was 1.30, which is good. Knowing that Wakefield will be in the starting rotation for the Red Sox all year, he should be drafted around Round 13.
SP – Byung-Hyun Kim
Kim created a lot of controversy during the postseason and many did not like him. However, if you look at his numbers over the past few years, he has been remarkable. In 2001, pitching 78 games in relief in Arizona was 5-6 with 19 saves and a 2.94 ERA, with 113 strikeouts in 98 innings. In 2002, he pitched 72 games in relief for the D-backs and was 8-3 with 36 saves and a 2.04 ERA. He struck out 92 in 84 innings. Last year, he was making a transition to part-time starter. Between Arizona and Boston, he pitched in 56 games, starting 12 of them. He went just 9-10, but he also had 16 saves and a 3.31 ERA. In other words, Kim is one of very few 5th starters worth drafting. Take him in the 16th round.
Closer – Keith Foulke
Keith Foulke has been great the last five seasons. IN that time, his ERA was never above 2.90. For some reason, in 2002, he lost his job as the White Sox closer. Before the 2003 season, he was traded to the A’s which turned out to be a great move for him. In 72 games last season, he went 9-1 with 43 saves and a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 88 in 86.2 innings. Foulke was the AL’s best closer last year. Normally, I would encourage him to be taken higher. However, how many save opportunities will Foulke get because of the Red Sox potent offense? Take him in the second wave of closers.
Closer – Scott Williamson/Mike Timlin
Williamson was the Reds closer to start last year. He earned 21 saves in 42 games. He came to the Red Sox and pitched in 24 more games. He was great in the postseason. For the year, he went a combined 5-4 with a 4.16 ERA. He throws hard and struck out 74 hitters and 62.2 innings. Mike Timlin was incredible in the postseason. For the season, he was 6-4 with a 3.55 ERA. His WHIP was just 1.03. Timlin probably would be third in line for save opportunities, but if relievers have value in your league, Timlin should be near the top of your list (of relievers, don’t draft him too high!).
One 2 Watch – Nick Bierbrodt
Bierbrodt was a highly thought of pitching prospect when the Diamondbacks called him up in 2001. He was traded and finished that year with the Devil Rays. However, last in the season, he was shot while in the drive thru of a fast-food joint. Sine then, things have really been a struggle. He missed all of 2002, and had a 9.68 ERA with the D-Rays last year before going to the Indians where he struggled in just five outings. He is worth watching, because there was a reason he was so highly touted. He has no fantasy value, but he could be a good middle reliever for the Sox.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – That whole starting rotation. The three I mention in the bullpen, plus Embree.
The Bad – Nothing.
Question Marks – Can the starters stay healthy? Can the bullpen put together a full season?
New York Yankees
SP – Mike Mussina
Mike Mussina is 35 years old. Every year he is discussed as someone who would be expected to struggle, and every year he is amazing. In 2003, he started 31 games. He pitched 214.2 innings and struck out 195. He was 17-8 with a 3.40 ERA. His WHIP was just 1.03 and opponents hit just .238 against him. He has had double digit win totals the last 12 seasons, and he had at least 15 wins in 9 of those. He’s consistent. He is worth a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
SP – Javier Vazquez
Getting Vazquez was a huge pickup for the Yankees. Signing him to a four year extension is even bigger news. He is one of the best pitchers in the league, and many have not heard much about him. Last year, he was 13-12 with a 3.24 ERA for the Expos. In 230.2 innings, he struck out 241. His WHIP was 1.11, and opponents hit .228 against him. He as pitched no fewer than 217.2 innings in the last four seasons. And he’s still just 27 years old! With the Yankees, and those same kinds of numbers, he should shine! He’s worth a 3rd of 4th round pick.
SP – Kevin Brown
The only concern with the 38 year old Brown is his age and injury-history. However, he was healthy in 2003 and was impressive. He started 32 games for the Dodgers and pitched 211 innings. His WHIP was 1.14 and opponents hit just .236 against him. He was 14-9 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out almost 8 batters per 9 innings. Brown pitched a combined 37 games between 2001 and 2002, but in the previous five seasons, he had pitched between 32 and 36 games a season. He would be a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but because of the injuries, he should fall to the 6th or 7th round.
SP – Jose Contreras
2003 was a trying season for the 32 year old (ahem…) rookie from Cuba. He started the season in the Yankees bullpen and did not succeed there. After a brief stint in the minors and some injury problems, he came back and entered the Yankees rotation. For the season, he went 7-1 with a 3.30 ERA. Opponents hit just .202 off him and he struck out more than a batter and inning. As a starter, Contreras was 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA and opponents hit just .184 against him. Translate that into a 2004 season, and Contreras could be unbelievable. He is worth a 5th round pick.
SP – Jon Lieber
The fifth starter spot is the only real question mark for the Yankees. They were able to replace Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and David Wells in the rotation with Vazquez, Brown and Contreras. It won’t take much to replace the traded Jeff Weaver in the 5th spot, but the Yankees don’t have many options. Jon Lieber may be the best option, however, he missed all of the 2003 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His last full season, 2001, he was 20-6 for the Cubs with a 3.80 ERA. I don’t expect him to pitch that well, but if he can pitch regularly throughout the whole season for the Yankees and just be solid, Lieber is worth taking a flyer on after the 20th round.
Closer – Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera’s dominance can not be measured by his save total. Like with the Red Sox, many times the Yankees score too many runs. Last year, Rivera was 5-2 with a 1.66 ERA. His WHIP was 1.00 and opponents hit just .234 against him. To summarize, you want Rivera on your team, but not necessarily more than many relievers on lesser teams. Draft him after the Big 3 closers (Gagne, Smoltz and Wagner).
Closer – Tom Gordon
Flash Gordon made an impressive comeback with the White Sox last season. He was back to his hard-throwing, sharp curveball days. He went 7-6 with a 3.16 ERA. He recorded 12 saves and opponents hit just .213 off of him. His WHIP was 1.19 and he struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings. All incredible numbers which will help that Yankees bullpen. He has little fantasy value unless there is an injury to Rivera.
One 2 Watch – Steve Karsay
Steve Karsay pitched in 78 games for the Yankees in 2002. He was 6-4 with a 3.26 ERA. Unfortunately, Karsay had shoulder problems, had surgery and missed the entire 2003 season. Apparently, he has been pitching some bullpens already this winter and has had no problems. He has no fantasy value, but will be important to the Yankees.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – The top 4 starters, the bullpen players I’ve mentioned, with Paul Quantrill and Felix Heredia.
The Bad – the 5th starter question marks.
The Question Marks – Will Lieber be able to pitch from the 5th starter role? Can Brown stay healthy all year again? Will Mussina stay as consistent? Can Contreras pitch a full season?
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
SP – Damian Moss
Damian Moss carries questions marks with him. He was good in his 2002 rookie season with the Braves, going 12-6 with a 3.42 ERA. He was traded to the Giants for Russ Ortiz and was 9-7 with a 4.70 ERA for them. He was then traded to the Orioles in the Ponson deal at the trade deadline and really struggled with them, going 1-5 with a 6.22 ERA. The O’s non-tendered him following last season. So, what can we expect from Moss? He will give up a lot of hits and unfortunately walk as many as he strikes out. He will pitch many of his games against the AL East and that certainly won’t help. Draft him after the 25th round.
SP – John Halama
John Halama split time between the A’s rotation and bullpen in 2003. He pitched 108+ innings and was 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA. He will have to fight for a roster spot, or at least a spot in the rotation. He did have three fairly successful seasons pitching in Seattle from 1999-2001. That was too long ago to bank on, so don’t draft him!
SP – Paul Abbott
Paul Abbott also has a chance at winning a spot in the Devil Rays rotation. Last year, he pitched in 10 games (8 starts) for the Royals and went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA. He had pitched in just 7 games in 2002. Don’t draft Abbott. Hope that Doug Waechter or Jorge Sosa are in the rotation instead.
SP – Dewon Brazelton
Brazelton was taken with the 3rd overall pick, following Joe Mauer and Mark Prior (and just ahead of Mark Teixeira and Gavin Floyd) in the 2001 draft! He made his big league debut with 2 games in 2002. In 2003, he started the season in the rotation. He got 10 starts, and was 1-6 with a 6.89. However, it sounds as though he was excellent in the Arizona Fall League and if he can take that into Spring Training, he could finally stick in the rotation. Too risky to draft before the 28th round.
SP – Mark Hendrickson
The former NBA power forward has been trying to become a consistent major league pitcher. In 30 games started last year for the Blue Jays, he went 9-9 with a 5.51 ERA. His WHIP was 1.56 and opponents hit .317 off him. For being 6-9 and 230, you would think he throws hard, but he doesn’t. He averaged just over 4 strikeouts per nine innings. He should be in the rotation, but I don’t think he’s worth drafting, at least not until very late.
Closer – Mike Williams
Mike Williams was an All-Star last year. That says more about how bad the Pirates were than Mike Williams abilities. He finished last year with a 1-7 record and a 6.14 ERA. In 40 games with Pittsburgh, he had 25 saves. He then went to the Phillies where he had three more saves. He was non-tendered by the Phils. Although he’s not a big name, the 35 year old averaged 23 saves a year from 1999-2001 before his 46 saves 2002. The Devil Rays signed him to a minor league deal, and he likely will be the primary closer. If so, draft him in the 18th round and don’t even feel bad.
Closer – Danys Baez
Another closer option would be Danys Baez. Last year, he pitched 73 games in relief. He was 2-9, with 25 saves, but his ERA was 3.81. He struck out 66 in 75.2 innings. In 2002, he started 26 games for the Indians. So, I don’t know what his role will be. Unless he’s the closer, don’t draft him.
Two 2 Watch – Doug Waechter/Chad Gaudin
Doug Waechter pitched in 6 games (5 starts) for the Rays. He struck out 29 in 35.1 innings. He was 3-2 and opponents hit just .225 off him. I think he has a chance to be really good, if given the chance. He may need another AAA season. Chad Gaudin has made a meteoric rise through the Rays system. He was a 34th round pick out of high school in 2001. He played 2002 in low Class A and did well. In 2003, he started at High Class A and was 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA. Then moved up to AA and was 2-1 with a 0.47 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 19 innings. That meant the callup to the Rays, where he was 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA. He started 3 of the 15 games he pitched in. I don’t know what his role will be, but it is definitely worth watching!
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Nothing, Gaudin is the most exciting pitcher.
The Bad – Everything. I mean, Damion Moss could be the ace
The Question Marks – How many runs will this staff give up in the AL East? Can Mike Williams regain his 2002 form? Same with Moss? Can Paul Abbott and/or John Halama be adequate? Can Brazelton finally meet his potential?
Toronto Blue Jays
SP – Roy Halladay
Halladay just recently signed a four year, $42 million deal to stay with the Blue Jays for the near future. He showed signs of what he could be in his stints with the Jays from 1998-2001, but let’s look at his numbers the last two years. 2002 – 34 starts, 168 strikeouts in 239.1 innings pitched. He went 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA. 2003 – 36 starts, 204 strikeouts in 266 innings pitched. He went 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA. Last year, opponents hit just .247 against him and his WHIP was just 1.07. He pitched almost 40 more innings than anyone else and threw 9 complete games. It is incredible because he averaged just 100.8 pitches per start. Halladay should be drafted in the first 3 rounds.
SP – Miguel Batista
The last three seasons, Batista gone from starter to reliever and back and forth a lot. But, every season, he continues to be very solid, and gets better. In 2003, he was 10-9 with a 3.54 ERA. He averaged 6.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. His WHIP was a decent 1.33. I can throw out numbers, but I think that Batista goes to Toronto knowing that he will be in the rotation, and knowing his role, he should be even better. I expect a great season, so don’t be afraid to draft him around the 13th round.
SP – Ted Lilly
In 2003, Lilly spent a full season in the A’s rotation. He made 31 starts and went 12-10 with a 4.34 ERA. He even averaged an impressive 7.8 strikeouts per 9 innings (which is amazing to me based on the slow motion and soft throwing). Just as impressive is his 1.33 WHIP. So what do I expect from Lilly in 2004? Well, with the Jays, he will have to pitch against the Yankees and Red Sox and O’s and D-Rays more often. He could struggle against those teams. But the Jays should be good, so he could do well against the other teams. Take Lilly in the 19th round.
SP – Pat Hentgen
After missing most of the 2001 and 2002 seasons with injury, Hentgen was pretty decent for the O’s. He actually lost out to Rick Helling for the 4th spot in the O’s rotation last year. However, when Omar Daal struggled, Hentgen got a shot. In 28 games (22 starts), Hentgen pitched 160.2 innings and was 7-8 with a 4.09 ERA. He is now returning to Toronto, where he pitched his first nine big league seasons and had his biggest successes. He even won the 1996 AL Cy Young Award when he went 20-10. When he was healthy, from 1993 to 2000, he had double-digit wins each year. However, he is still an injury-risk, so wait until the really late rounds to pick him, if you have to.
SP – Josh Towers
Josh Towers is 26 years old and has pitched in parts of three big league seasons. In 2001, he got 20 starts for the Orioles and was 8-10 with a 4.49 ERA. He then just pitched in 5 games in 2002 and was 0-3. He went to the Jays in 2003. After a mid-season call up, Towers pitched in 14 games, starting 8, and went 8-1 with a a 4.48 ERA. That should be good to keep him in this rotation with a solid spring. He is not a strikeout pitcher but his other numbers aren’t bad (WHIP = 1.15). If he makes the rotation, draft him after Round 24.
Closer – Justin Speier
The son of former Twins player, Chris, Justin has been a reliever in the big leagues since 1998. In 274 appearances, he is 19-10 with 10 saves. For his career, he has averaged almost 8 strikeouts per innings. I think that he was brought to the Jays with the opportunity to be their closer. If he wins the closer role, I think that Speier could be worth a 15th round pick.
Closer – Kerry Ligtenberg
The Minnesota-native Ligtenberg was one of those great stories. Sold from an independent league for a bucket of baseballs and then becomes a closer for the Braves in the World Series. Then he had the arm surgery and missed the 1999 season. Now Sid Hartman says the Ligtenberg told him that he would have signed for him hometown Twins for $500,000. Yeah Right! Not when he got a 2 year deal worth over $4 million! But the fact is that Ligtenberg has been a very solid reliever each of his six big league seasons. His ERA has never been over 3.61. He gets ground balls. He strikes out 8 per 9 innings for his career. He is solid, and a great pickup for the Blue Jays. If he wins the closer job, get him in Round 15. If not, only draft him if non-closing relievers have value in your league.
One 2 Watch – Dustan McGowan
McGowan is one of the bigger pitching prospects in 2004. He was the Blue Jays first-round pick in 2000. Last year, he split time between Hi Class A and AA. He began the season 5-6 with a 2.85 ERA in the Florida State League. That warranted a call up to New Haven (AA). In 14 starts there, McGowan was 7-1 with a 3.17 ERA. He also increased his strikeout rate to almost a strikeout an inning. His career path seems to be almost identical to Twins prospect JD Durbin. Like Durbin, McGowan probably will not make the Jays Opening Day roster, he could be called up mid season. Draft him if your league has a minor league portion.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Halladay.
The Bad – Uncertainty in the bullpen, 5th starter. .
The Question Marks – Can Halladay 1.) put up similar numbers in 2004, or 2.) stay healthy after all those innings pitched? How will the likes of Batista and Lilly do against the AL East teams? Who will be the team’s primary closer? Will JP Ricciardi go with a bullpen-by-committee?
Well, that is it for Part 8 of my Fantasy Baseball Preview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. The same format will be used tomorrow when I discuss the AL West pitching staffs. Please let me know what you think. Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed! E-mail me.
The Wolves lost a hard-fought battle out in Oakland last night. Final Score – Golden State 97, Wolves 90. However, the lead was never that big until the end. Actually, with about 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Wolves had a 5 point lead. Then Troy Hudson rolled his same ankle when Brian Cardinal rolled over him. That meant that Sam Cassell, with four fouls, re-entered the game and the lead was maintained. However, Cassell then committed a stupid, over-aggressive foul, his fifth, and was forced to the bench. At that time, the Warriors went on a 10-2 run to claim the lead. Latrell Sprewell and Kevin Garnett shared the point guard duties during that time. By the time Cassell came back into the game, the Wolves were in catch up mode. Unfortunately, the shots just weren’t falling.
It is unfortunate because Kevin Garnett had an unbelievable statistical game. He recorded his 38th double-double with plenty of time remaining in the 2nd quarter. He recorded his second triple-double of the season early in the fourth quarter when he picked up his 10th assist to go with his 20 points and 20 rebounds. Sprewell had 27 points and 6 rebounds. Cassell chipped in 14 points and 7 assists. Erick Dampier (who was tied with KG for the league lead in 20-rebound games) led the Warriors with 21 points and 19 rebounds. The Warriors had a balanced attack as Brian Cardinal (21), Speedy Claxton (19), Jason Richardson (17 and 10 boards), and Mike Dunleavy (13) were all in double figures.
The loss was certainly not for lack of effort. There were hustle points all over the place. They just got beat. And, I know for some, they will worry about this one loss, but that happens, even to the best team in the NBA. They’ll come back. It will be a certain challenge Friday night when the Wolves play the Lakers (that is, the Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal). That should be a fun game to watch.
Here are a couple of other great baseball postings that I have read the last few days. Be sure to take the time to check them out.
DIPS – Defense Independent Pitcher Statistics –
Jay Jaffe at The Futility Infielder figured out the 2003 DIPS. Those who have read Moneyball probably remember that this concept was first figured by a man named Voros McCracken. To summarize, he believes that a pitcher can’t control what happens once the ball is hit. Once it is put in play, it has as much to do with luck as anything. It is controversial, but incredibly interesting. So, be sure to read Jay’s information!
TWINS AND RELIGION
Alex Belth of Bronx Banter shared a very interesting story he found on Baseball Primer’s “Clutch Hits.” It is a brief story told by former Twins great, Mudcat Grant, discussing a lesson he learned from his mother while playing ball in Fargo, ND. It’s funny, truthful and interesting.
On that note, I’m going to call it a day! Again, I hope you enjoyed today’s entry. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, arguments or anything, just e-mail me!
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