Wednesday February 4, 2004
NBA ALL-STAR THOUGHTS
WOLVES WIN AGAIN
National League West Pitchers
After finishing a six part series, analyzing the hitters in baseball, I am now discussing 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
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST PITCHERS
The NL West was very competitive last year again. The Dodgers pitching staff kept them in games, and will be hugely important again in 2004. The Giants have added a couple of question marks, but Jason Schmidt is one of the best in the business. The Diamondbacks need a healthy Randy Johnson and a repeat 2004 from Brandon Webb because the rest of their staff is not great. The Padres brought in a few veterans to mesh with their future aces Jake Peavy and Adam Eaton. The Rockies? Well, they’re just bad.
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 – Randy Johnson
40 year old Randy Johnson had his first major injury in 2003. Fantasy owners should try hard to remember that it was his knee that he hurt, not his arm. Hopefully he has been able to allow it to heal. In 2003, h was just 6-8 and even his ERA was up to 4.26, so he wasn’t fully back even when he was pitching. Of course, in 114 innings, he still had 125 strikeouts. Here are his strikeout rates since 1991. (10.2, 10.3, 10.9, 10.7, 12.4, 12.5, 12.3, 12.1, 12.1, 12.6, 13.4, 11.6 and then last year’s 9.9) pretty dominant. I expect Johnson to return to his dominant self, but because of the injury, he could fall to the 3rd round.
SP – Brandon Webb
No doubt, Brandon Webb should have been the NL Rookie of the Year winner in 2003. The reason he didn’t win it was probably because he was just 10-9. He had a 2.84 ERA. Opponents hit just .212 off him and his WHIP was 1.15. He had 172 strikeouts in 180.2 innings. He is a pretty extreme ground ball pitcher so he should continue to be successful. I say he’s worth a gamble in the 10th round.
SP – Casey Fossum
A change of scenery might be exactly what Fossum needs. That’s a pretty obvious statement since the five man rotation in Boston is set, but he has struggled in whatever roles he has had there and the expectations on him were really too high to reach. A hard-throwing lefty, he was just 6-5 with a 5.47 ERA last yea in 19 games (14 starts). He does get some strikeouts. I do think that he will be in the D-Back rotation and with the strikeouts, he could be worth a 21st round pick.
SP – Shane Reynolds
Shane Reynolds is one of the more hittable starting pitchers around. I actually am not sure why teams keep picking him up. He made 29 starts for the Braves last year. He was 11-9, but had a 5.43 ERA. His WHIP was 1.49 and opponents hit .293 off him! The record obviously came from the Braves run production. In 2004, he will be in Arizona, a team that had no hitting last year. These are really about the types of numbers Reynolds has had the past four years. At 35, I think he’s done. Don’t draft him!
SP – Elmer Dessens/Steve Sparks
Speaking of hittable, the would describe Dessens last year too. He was 8-8 in 34 games (30 starts). His WHIP was 1.53 and opponents hit .299 off him. He did have a 2002 season that got him a contract in Arizona. He was 7-8, but had a 3.03 ERA. Aside from that, his ERA has always been above 4.28. Sparks pitched 51 games last year, all in relief. He is going to the Diamondbacks with a shot at a rotation spot. The knuckleballer was 0-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 42 games before being released by Detroit. Then he signed with Oakland and in 9 games had a 5.71 ERA. Even at 38, he can provide the Diamondbacks with a lot of innings. Don’t draft either of these guys!
Closer – Matt Mantei
Matt Mantei was finally full back in 2003 from his arm injuries. He pitched 50 games and was 5-4 with 29 saves and a 2.62 ERA. His WHIP was 1.00 and opponents hit just .191 off him. Because of the Diamondbacks inability to score a lot of runs, when they do win, there should be a lot of save opportuinities, so Mantei with worth a look in the 12th round.
Closer – Oscar Villarreal
At the age of 21 last year, Villarreal pitched in 86 games for the Diamondbacks last year. In 98 innings, he struck out 80. He was 10-7 with a 2.57 ERA. His WHIP was 1.29 and opponents hit just .222 off him. It should be interesting to see Villarreal’s role is for 2004, as well as when his arm falls off. Not worth drafting.
One 2 Watch – John Patterson
Patterson was highly thought of coming into the 2002 season. He actually wasn’t too bad that year. In 7 games (5 starts), he was 2-0 with a 3.23 ERA. He had a strikeout an inning. But, he didn’t make the rotation out of spring training in ’03. He was called up a few times on only started 8 of the 16 games he pitched in. He went 1-4 with a save and a 6.05 ERA. Basically, I don’t know what the 26 year old’s role will be in 2004. He may be worth a pick in the late rounds.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Johnson and Webb.
The Bad – the bottom 60% of the rotation.
The Questions – Can Johnson be healthy and strong the whole season? Can Webb back up his rookie year? How much run support will these guys get? Will Mantei get traded?
SP – Jason Jennings
In 2003, Jennings was 12-13 with a 5.11 ERA. Each of the last two seasons, he has started 62 games. In 2002, he was 16-8 with a 4.52 ERA, good enough to be NL Rookie of the Year. He only averages about 6 strikeouts per 9 innings, which doesn’t bode well in Coors Field. But he is just 25 years old and if he can make some adjustments, he could be alright. The degree of difficulty in Colorado is pretty high for a pitcher though. Draft him around the 20th round.
SP – Aaron Cook
Last year, Cook pitched in 43 games (16 starts) for the Rockies. He was 4-6 with a 6.02 ERA. Hittable? Yeah. His WHIP is 1.75 and opponents hit .317 off him. Cook has shown some positives in his big league time (also had 9 outings in 2002). Don’t draft Cook.
SP – Adam Bernero
Poor Adam Bernero! He started the year making 17 starts for the Tigers. At that point, he was 1-12 with a 6.08 ERA. He got traded, so he had to be happy, until he found out he had been traded to Colorado. In 31 games in the bullpen, he was 0-2 with a 5.24 ERA. Not a good, and probably not a fun season for Bernero. 2004 can only be better for Bernero. That doesn’t make him worth drafting though.
SP – Joe Kennedy
In a similar situation, Joe Kennedy has been struggling in Tampa Bay the last three seasons. In three years, he is 18-31 career with a 4.98 ERA. Last year, he was 3-12 with a save and a 6.13 ERA. A change of scenery will be good for him. However, in a three-team trade, Kennedy ends up in the Rockies rotation. He will probably be the Rockies best pitcher, or right after Jennings. He could be worth drafting in the last round, and only if you’re desperate.
SP – Chin-hui Tsao
22 year old Tsao, from Taiwan is a very good prospect. In 2003, he started the season at AA Tulsa. He went 11-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 18 starts. He struck out 125 batters in 113.1 innings, walking just 26. He was called up to the Rockies and pitched in 9 games (8 starts). He was 3-3, but had an ERA of 6.02. He struck out 29 in 43.1 innings, but walked 20. If he can bring that number down, he has a great future. It will be tough for him to put up good ‘peripheral numbers’ in Colorado though. Draft him very late.
Closer – Shawn Chacon
Shawn Chacon has been the Rockies best starter the last three years. However, each year, he has missed some time with injury. So, the Rockies are going to move him to the closer spot. In 2003, in 23 starts, Chacon was 11-9 with a 4.60 ERA (great numbers for a starter in Colorado). Save opportunities in Colorado are very inconsistent because of all the runs scored there. But, as closer, he is worth a 19th round pick.
Closer – Steve Reed
Now 37 year old Steve Reed actually put up incredible numbers for a Rockies pitcher. In 2003, he pitched 63 1/3 innings in 67 games. He was 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA. Opponents hit just .254 with a WHIP of 1.34. In 2002, he was even better. He split the season between the Padres and Mets. In 64 games, he was 2-5 with a 2.02 ERA. He’s a great setup man, but has little or no fantasy value.
One 2 Watch – Denny Neagle
It is worth watching if Neagle will be healthy. Like Mike Hampton, the former Gopher’s career has been wasted since signing a big contract in Colorado. He was 2-4 with a 7.90 ERA in just 7 starts last year before another injury. Now 35, Neagle is definitely not worth drafting. In October, he was arrested by DUI, just showing even more that he isn’t worth drafting.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Chacon, maybe...
The Bad – The rest of the starters.
Question Marks – Can Tsao make the roster and be successful? Can Jennings pitch like he did in 2002? How will Chacon do in the closer’s role, and will he stay healthy?
Los Angeles Dodgers
SP – Hideo Nomo
I think Nomo has been incredibly underrated the last two seasons in LA. In 2002, he started 34 games and was 16-6 with a 3.39 ERA. He struck out 193 in 220.1 innings. Last year, he started 33 games and was 16-13 with a 3.09 ERA. Imagine what his record could have been had the Dodgers scored any runs? I think people should now realize how much of an advantage Dodgers Stadium can be for pitchers. Take Nomo in the 6th round.
SP – Odalis Perez
Odalis Perez is just 26 years old, and 2004 will be his 6th in the big leagues. Last year, he was just 12-12 with a 4.52 ERA in 30 starts. In 2002, he was 15-10 with a 3.00 ERA. He averages 6-7 strikeouts per nine innings and has a decent WHIP. He should put up better numbers. Expect him to be better in 2004, so I would consider him in about the 14th round. Subject to change if he is indeed traded.
SP – Kaz Ishii
After getting his skull cracked open near the end of his rookie season in 2003, Ishii came back in 2003 and was not too bad. In 27 starts, he was 9-7 with a 3.86 ERA. Opponents hit just .238 off him and he struck out 8.6 per 9 innings. However, his WHIP was 1.56 due to his 101 walks. If he can bring that number down, expect really good things from Kaz! At this point, he probably should not be taken until at least the 17th round.
SP – Jeff Weaver
Weaver’s career was looking great until he went to the Yankees. I think it is fair to say that he couldn’t handle the New York situation. Now he will be going to Dodgers Stadium where he should be able to keep the ball in the ball park better. I actually think that Weaver will be a very solid starter for the Dodgers. I think that he is worth taking after the 25th round and if you can get him there, it could be a steal.
SP – Wilson Alvarez
Wilson Alvarez was a feel-good story in 2003. He missed the entire 2000 and 2001 seasons with shoulder problems. He pitched some for the Devil Rays in 2002, but I don’t think that anyone could have envisioned the success he had in 2003. He pitched nine games in relief before entering the starting rotation. For the year, he was 6-2 with a 2.37 ERA. He should start out in the Dodgers rotation in 2004. Take him in the 21st round or later.
Closer – Eric Gagne
The best closer in the game. Without question. Last year, he did not blow a save the entire season (well, except in the All-Star game, but that doesn’t could). 55 for 55 in save attempts. He was 2-3 with a 1.20 ERA. His WHIP was just 0.69 and opponents hit just .133 off him. He struck out 137 hitters in just 82 1/3 innings. That’s 14.98 per 9 innings. In 2002, he was incredibly good too. He was 4-1 with 52 saves (in 56 attempts) and a 1.97 ERA. He walked just 16 and struck out 114 in 82 1/3 innings. Gagne should be the first closer drafted, and taking him as early as the 3rd round would be worth it.
Closer – Guillermo Mota
Mota throws gas! (just ask Mike Piazza) Last year, he pitched 105 innings in 76 relief appearances. He struck out 99 and walked just 26. He was 6-3 with a 1.97 ERA. His WHIP was 0.99 and opponents hit just .206. Last year was the first time that Mota seemed to control his fastball and become dominant. He should continue to be a top reliever.
Two 2 Watch – Edwin Jackson/Greg Miller
Edwin Jackson has flown through the Dodgers system since being drafted in the 6th round of the 2001 draft. He is just 20 years old. He started this season at AA and was 7-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 27 starts. He had 157 strikeouts in 148.1 innings. That got him a big league callup and he did well. In 4 games (3 starts), he was 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA. In 22 innings, he struck out 19. The man has an amazing future! Miller was the Dodgers first round pick in 2002 out of high school. At age 18 this year, he started in the Florida St. League and was 11-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 21 starts. He struck out 111 in 115.2 innings. He got called up to AA and in four starts, he was 1-1 with a 1.01 ERA. He struck out an amazing 40 hitters in just 26.2 innings! The futures of these two is incredible. Jackson could be the 5th starter this year, and if so, consider drafting him late. Miller is at least a year away, since he still in just 19 years old.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Nomo, Gagne, Mota.
The Bad – Not much in the pitching staff.
The Question Marks – Can Alvarez stay healthy? Can Perez be consistent? Can Weaver regain his former form? Can Gagne possibly duplicate his 2003 season?
San Diego Padres
SP – Brian Lawrence
27 year old Brian Lawrence had a better season in 2003 than his record would indicate. He was just 10-15 with a 4.19 ERA. His WHIP was just 1.25. In 2002, he made 31 starts for the Padres. He was 12-12 but had a 3.69 ERA. After averaging more than 6 strikeouts per nine innings in his first two seasons, that number dropped to just under 5 in 2003. With a good offense, his numbers could really go up this season. Take Lawrence in the 15th round.
SP – David Wells
He’s 40 years old. He had injuries last year. He’s out of shape. His ERA was 4.14. However, he gave up more home runs (24) than walks (20) on the season. He was 15-7. His WHIP was just 1.23 despite opponents hitting .286 off him. He struck out barely 4 batters per nine innings. In 2002, he was 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA in over 200 innings (a milestone he has met 8 of the last 9 years). Some may believe that leaving the Yankees may hurt Wells. However, in signing with the Padres, he will get as much run support, plus, he will have a far better defense behind him. He is worth a 17th round pick.
SP – Jake Peavy
The Twins really wanted Peavy and were willing to trade Jacque Jones for him, but the Padres said no, and I can’t blame them. In 2003, he made 32 starts and was 12-11 with a 4.11 ERA. His WHIP is 1.31 and opponents hit .238 against him. He struck out a little more than seven per nine innings. I would expect Peavy to take a big step forward. Take him in the 12th round.
SP – Adam Eaton
Eaton is another pitcher who should be successful with the Padres in 2004. In 2003, he started 31 games for the Padres. He was 9-12 with a 4.08 ERA. His WHIP was 1.32 and opponents hit just .246 off him. He averaged a little more than 7 strikeouts per nine innings. The 26 year old should remain in the rotation, so consider him in the 20th round.
SP – Ismael Valdes/Sterling Hitchcock
Last year, Valdes was 8-8 with a 6.10 ERA for the Rangers before shoulder problems ended his season. He averaged well under 4 strikeouts per nine innings. Amazingly, in 23 starts after coming to the Rangers in 2002, he was 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA. Valdes is just 30 years old and has always been hit hard. Hitchcock has pitched primarily out of the bullpen the last two seasons. He was a full-time starter from 1995-2001 and was average, at best. He is looking for an opportunity to start, and may get that with the Padres. Big picture, don’t draft either of these two.
Closer – Trevor Hoffman
Hoffman has been one of the best closers in all of baseball since 1994 when he first became the Padres closer. The only negative about him is that last year, he pitched just 9 innings in 9 games (and struck out 11). If he is deemed healthy, take him in the 10th round.
Closer – Rod Beck
After starting last year with the AAA Iowa Cubs (with the understanding that if any team wanted him for their major league squad he could go), Beck signed midseason with the San Diego Padres. He couldn’t throw much more than 80 miles per hour. But he did pitch 35.1 innings in 36. Somehow, he struck out 32 hitters and went 3-2 with 20 saves and a 1.78 ERA. His WHIP was just 1.02 and opponents hit just .197 off him. Beck showed that it’s not always “stuff” that makes a pitcher successful. Don’t draft him, but monitor Hoffman’s health.
One 2 Watch – Akinori Otsuka
Otsuka signed a 2 year deal with the Padres. In 2003, he pitched for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan. He was 1-3 with 17 saves and a 2.09 ERA in 51 games. In the last two seasons, he has struck out 119 batters, while walking just EIGHT batters. He will just fit into the bullpen, so he has little fantasy value at this point.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Peavy and the bullpen.
The Bad – The bottom of the rotation.
The Question Marks – Will Hoffman stay healthy? Can Beck continue to pitch as well as he did in 2003? Can Peavy and Eaton become stars?
San Francisco Giants
SP – Jason Schmidt
I wrote awhile back that, at this point, I would take Schmidt over any pitcher in baseball (OK, that Prior guy might be the better answer, but…). Last year, in 29 starts, Schmidt was 17-5 with a 2.34 ERA. In 207 2/3 innings, he struck out 208 hitters and walked just 46 and gave up just 14 homers. His WHIP was 0.95 and opponents hit just .200 off him. When you consider that he had elbow surgery the day after the Giants playoff run ended. Since joining the Giants at the trade deadline in 2001, he has been 37-14. He is a late first round pick in my mind.
SP – Jerome Williams
Williams made his much anticipated debut in 2003. He made 21 starts at the age of 21 for the Giants and was 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA. He struck out just over six per nine innings. His WHIP was 1.26 and opponents hit just .242 off him. He definitely backed up the hype and should improve in 2004. He is worth a 15th round pick.
SP – Brett Tomko
A lot of people are tabbing Tomko as a pitcher who could have a huge year in 2004. Based on his numbers in 2003, I wouldn’t hold out hope. Yes, he was 13-9, but… his ERA was 5.28. His WHIP was 1.52. Opponents hit .305 off him. He struck out only 5 per nine innings. And that was in a situation in St. Louis where he got plenty of run support. His ERA in 1997, his first season, was 3.43. Since then, it has not been below 4.44. So, why should we believe that, at age 30, this is the year? I wouldn’t draft him before the 20th round.
SP – Kirk Rueter
Kirk Rueter had a typical year in 2003. He was 10-5, a good record. However, his other numbers are not good. His ERA was 4.53. His WHIP was 1.48 with an opponent batting average of .297. He doesn’t walk a lot of hitters, but he strikes out even fewer. Last year, he struck out just 2.5 batters every nine innings. He has won at least 10 games each of the last seven seasons with the Giants. Depending on the type of league you’re in will tell you where to draft Rueter, but I wouldn’t until about the 27th round.
SP – Dustin Hermanson
From 1997-2001, Hermanson was a very average big league starting pitcher. But arm injuries have been a problem with him the last couple of seasons and he is just getting back to his old self. With the Giants last year, he pitched 9 games (starting 6) and was 2-1 with a 4.06 ERA (2.97 in those starts). The Giants hope he can continue to perform that well and stay healthy. Take a flyer on him in the 24th round.
Closer – Robb Nen
Nen missed the entire 2003 with an arm injury. He is expected back in 2004. If he is back, he is a great closer. Since, 1996, Nen has had at least 35 saves each season. So, assuming healthy (which, with Nen being 34 is not a given), he is worth a 10th round pick. Because of the injury risk, he should fall five or six rounds.
Closer – Felix Rodriguez
Rodriguez was 8-2 with a 3.10 ERA. He is a hard-throwing righty. However, his best years were in 2000 and 2001 when he averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Now he is down to about 7. He is still a great setup man, just not quite as dominant. And, if Nen is out, he could get a shot as the closer.
One 2 Watch – Ryan Jensen
Jensen pitched just 6 games for the Giants last year because of injury. In 2002, he started 30 games and was 13-8 with a 4.51 ERA. It will be interesting to see how he is able to come back and what role he pitches in.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good –Schmidt, Williams.
The Bad – The rest of the rotation .
The Question Marks – Can Nen stay healthy? How will Schmidt’s elbow hold up? Will Williams overcome a sophomore slump? Will Rueter, Tomko or Hermanson come up big?
Well, that is it for Part 12 of my Fantasy Baseball Preview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and the rest of the analysis on the pitchers and hitters in baseball. Tomorrow, a similar format will be used to review a few of the top prospects, ready to play in the big leagues soon. Please let me know what you think. Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed! E-mail me.
Those of you who have checked this site out frequently probably know that I love discussing the Twins and their many prospects. I love seeing lists ranking minor leaguers. Yesterday, I showed the Baseball America Twins Top 10 Prospects. I have come up with my own Top 30 Twins Prospects List. Well, while checking out the No Pepper website, I found the mother of all prospect lists.
On Deck Baseball Prospects has developed a list of the Top 500 minor league prospects. That’s insane, yet, incredibly interesting! The Twins ranked as the 7th best minor league organization in baseball. Here are where the Twins prospects ranked (again, with my ranking):
1.) Joe Mauer, C (1)
15.) Justin Morneau, 1B/DH (2)
59.) Michael Restovich, OF (12)
79.) Jesse Crain, RHP (4)
83.) JD Durbin, RHP (3)
109.) Francisco Liriano, LHP (10)
113.) Alexander Smit, LHP (18)
116.) Boof Bonser, RHP (7)
246.) Matt Moses, 3B (6)
281.) Evan Meek, RHP (15)
316.) Manny Tejada, RHP (NR)
317.) Grant Balfour, RHP (5)
321.) Denard Span, OF (13)
326.) Jason Bartlett, SS (9)
328.) Scott Baker, RHP (NR)
332.) Adam Harben, RHP (NR)
333.) Scott Tyler, RHP (23)
336.) Adam Johnson, RHP (NR)
367.) Rob Bowen, C (28)
370.) Colby Miller, RHP (21)
372.) Jason Kubel, OF (8)
389.) Alex Romero, OF (17)
400.) Lew Ford, OF (11)
Now, obviously I would disagree with many of these choices. Obviously, I think Matt Moses, Grant Balfour, Alex Romero and especially Jason Kubel should be ranked higher. Despite Top 100 rankings, I think that JD Durbin and Jesse Crain should rank higher. Of course, in rankings such as this, relievers are far less thought of than starters, hence Crain’s rating being low.
What are your thoughts on the Twins minor league system? How would you rank them? E-mail me.
Since I’ve been writing about fantasy baseball lately, I should mention a new league that I just joined. David, The Baseball Savant is the commissioner. Yesterday, JD Arney, who writes RedsFaithful Baseball Blog is also in the league and wrote a posting discussing the team that he inherited. I may have to try to work a trade with him. I inherited a team too, which I will discuss in a future posting. I have already completed one trade and am trying to work on a couple more. This is going to be fun!
Gary Sheffield a Hall of Famer? I guess I think he has a good possibility just based on his numbers. Check out Rich’s Weekend Baseball Beat and see even more reasons why Sheffield should be considered not only a great player, but an incredibly underrated player.
Tom Swift wrote a great article over at Nickel Curves the other day. It is on Saying Goodbye to Batting Average. I’m a traditionalist, but I understand that not every .300 hitter is created equal. And even if he is trying to convert me away from my conservative thinking (It isn’t going to work!), Mr. Swift is a great writer!
The Twins Geek was able to spend some talk talking to Twins General Manager Terry Ryan. He wrote a three part entry on his conversation. It is very interesting and well worth reading, so check it out here.
Are you interested in Defensive Statistics? If so, be sure to go to The Raindrops where Avkash Patel has done some work to show the defensive standing of the top 30 players at each infield position. See how low Cristian Guzman and Luis Rivas rank. See how Doug Mientkiewicz is a middle-of-the-pack defensive 1B (personally, I give little to no credence to defensive statistics, but do find them still interesting to review). However, it does prove just how bad Derek Jeter and Todd Walker are defensively, so it can’t be all bad!
Former Twins Update – Jeremy Heit’s Blog discusses the possibility of former Twins Scott Erickson and (ahem…) James Baldwin signing with the Mets.
NBA ALL-STAR THOUGHTS
First things first… Sam Cassell finally made his first All-Star team! Finally! He is the best point guard in the Western Conference right now, so that was an easy pick. What is a point guard supposed to do? Distribute the ball, hit open shots and hit free throws down the stretch, right? Sam Cassell currently ranks 10th in the NBA in scoring at 21.3 points per game. He ranks 5th in the NBA in assists with 7.5. He ranks 10th in the NBA in Free Throw Percentage at 87.9%.
Second All-Star thought… Yes, it is a travesty that Lebron James did not make the Eastern Conference All-Star team. However, which reserve should be removed in order for James to make it? Baron Davis? Jason Kidd? Paul Pierce? Michael Redd? So yeah, James should be there, but remember that would mean that one of those four would not make it, and then that would be equally wrong. Likewise, of course Latrell Sprewell could be an All-Star, but that would mean that either Ray Allen, Andrei Kirilenko or Peja Stojakovic would not have made it. So, what do you do?
TIMBERWOLVES GET MAGICAL WIN
Last night, the Wolves hosted the Orlando Magic. Despite a 34 point effort from Tracy McGrady, the Wolves came away with a 113-100 win. The Wolves were led by Kevin Garnett. He had 30 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 blocks. Latrell Sprewell scored 25 points and dished out 7 assists. Sam Cassell scored 20 points and had 10 dimes and 5 boards. Gary Trent was an offensive machine off the bench. In 18 minutes, he scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
With the win, the Wolves are now 34-13, 3 ½ games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (32-18) and 4 ½ games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks (29-18).
Any thoughts on the Wolves or the All-Star game? Send me an e-mail.
Well, that is it for today. Any thoughts on the baseball previews, the Twins, the Wolves or anything, just e-mail me. Have a great Wednesday!