Wednesday, March 16, 2005
American Idol Thoughts
American League West Pitchers
Over the course of the past few weeks I have discussed the hitters of baseball, and over the next couple of weeks, I will be providing a team-by-team look at many of the major league pitchers from a fantasy baseball perspective. I want to do this 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.
However, I do understand not everyone gets into fantasy sports, and that’s OK too. I do not think that my "analysis" will be too "statty" so it should be enjoyable for any baseball fan to read.
Another point to mention before getting started is that there are many forms of fantasy baseball. There are the traditional rotisserie leagues, 5x5 leagues, head-to-head, simulation, keeper leagues, American League Only, National League only and many more. Most leagues probably vary in subtle ways. I am not going to try to analyze for any specific variety. I will just give my opinions on the players. When I project a round-range where the player could be drafted, it will be based on a 30 round major league draft.
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 2005 season, so please take the information for what it is worth (fun). 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.
If you've missed the first four pieces to this project, check them out here:
Part 1 - American League Central Hitters
Part 2 - American League East Hitters
Part 3 - American League West Hitters
Part 4 - National League Central Hitters
Part 5 - National League East Hitters
Part 6 - National League West Hitters
Part 7 - American League Central Pitchers
Part 8 - American League East Pitchers
Part 9 - American League West Pitchers
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL PITCHERS
Many believe this to be the strongest division in baseball, and it certainly could be. But it is a division with many question marks as well. The Cubs have an amazing rotation, but their two 'aces' have struggled with injuries. The Astros could have a Big Three, but one is old and one was injured last year. The Cardinals have guys that outperformed realism last year, so you have to wonder if they can repeat. The Pirates have one of the best pitchers in baseball, but not much certain after that. The Brewers have Sheets, Davis and youth. And who knows what the Reds have!?
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 – Mark Prior
After dominating the minor leagues in 2002, Prior came up to the Cubs and dominated big league hitters. The next year, he backed it up well going 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA. He had 245 strikeouts and 50 walks in 211.2 innings. He looked like the real thing that everyone had expected. But then he missed the early part of spring training with an Achilles injury and later had arm problems. He made just 21 starts last year and was 6-4 with a 4.02 ERA. Just the other day, we found out that he is having elbow problems this spring and his return date is uncertain. Talent-wise, he is a first round pick. But because of the injury, I would wait until the 5th round to take him.
SP – Kerry Wood
Kerry Wood is another Cubs “ace” that is dealing with injuries. He has missed most of this spring with pain in his right shoulder. That is scary considering the 27 year old had Tommy John surgery in 1999. Like Prior, when healthy Wood is a dominating, power righty with a strong fastball and biting curve. Wood was dominant in 2002 and 2003. Last year, he fought injuries and made just 22 starts for the Cubs. He went 8-9 but had a 3.72 ERA. He struck out over 1 per inning. For his career, he has averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Again, he is a first or second round talent, but because of injury concerns I would wait until the 5th round.
SP – Carlos Zambrano
Here is what I wrote last year about Carlos Zambrano – “2003 was a breakout year for Zambrano. He made 32 starts and pitched in 214 innings. He was 13-11 with a 3.11 ERA. He averaged just over 7 strikeouts per 9 innings. His WHIP was 1.32, while opponents hit just .239 against him. Like Wood and Prior, Zambrano is a big man, standing 6-5 and weighing 245 pounds. If he stays healthy, I would expect Zambrano to take another step forward. With increased run support, he could be worth a 6th round pick.” I’d say he took that step forward. In 2004, he went 16-8 with a 2.75 ERA. He averaged over 8 strikeouts per 9 innings. His WHIP was 1.22 and opponents hit .222 off him. I don’t think it would be fair to expect anyone to improve on such numbers, but the 23 year old has made himself worthy of a 4th round pick.
SP – Greg Maddux
And the Cubs #4 pitcher is 305 game winner, 38 year old Greg Maddux. He is certainly a different type of pitcher than the (literally) big three. But that doesn’t matter as Maddux has proven year after year that he is one of the best pitchers of all-time. People talked about his decline and his bad season. But then you look and realize that last year he was 16-11 (the 17th straight season he’s had 15 or more wins). Of course, his 4.02 ERA was the first time it had been over 4 since 1987. Maddux is so consistent. His demeanor and consistency have made him successful. He is still worth drafting by the 12th round.
SP – Glendon Rusch
After going 11-28 in his two years in Milwaukee, the 30 year old Rusch came to the Cubs and was very important whether it was out of the ‘pen or as a spot starter. Rusch made 16 starts and 16 rlief appearances for the Cubs last year and combined to go 6-2 with 3 saves and a 3.47 ERA. That got him a nice two year deal with the Cubs. If he’s the 5th starter and can come near these numbers, he’s worth drafting. But he has never had an ERA under 4.00, and has a career ERA of 4.93, so I wouldn’t expect it. With the Cubs, he’s still probably worth a 21st round pick.
Closer – Joe Borowski
33 year old Joe Borowski had his first chance in 2003 to be a full-time closer. After being a journeyman big league reliever since 1995, Borowski caught on in 2002 with the Cubs, pitching 73 games in relief. He struck out 97 in 95.2 innings and was 4-4 with a 2.73 ERA. In 2003, he pitched 68.1 innings in 68 games. He struck out 66 hitters. He was 2-2 with 33 saves and a 2.63 ERA. His WHIP was 1.05 and opponents hit just .207 off him. That’s why the Cubs inked him to a two-year deal. But in 2004, Borowski was really bad at the beginning of the season and it turned out that he had a tearn in his rotator cuff and missed the rest of the year. He went 2-4 with an 8.02 ERA and nine saves. The Cubs closer spot is a huge question mark, so taking Borowski before the 24th round comes with a risk.
Closer – LaTroy Hawkins Dempster
Hawkins was a bad pitcher for the Twins from 1995 to 2001. In 2002, with the help of Rick Anderson, Hawkins became one of the most dominant relief pitchers in baseball. That year he pitched 80.1 innings (63 strikeouts, 15 walks) in 65 games. He was 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA. 2003 was even better for LaTroy. He pitched 77.1 innings in 74 games (75 strikeouts, 15 walks). He was 9-3 with 2 saves and a 1.86 ERA. His WHIP was 1.09 and opponents hit just .239 against him. Last year, he was ridiculed because he struggled as the closer, but he was still dominant as a set up man. He threw 82 innings in 77 games and was 5-4 with a 2.63 ERA. His WHIP was 1.05 and opponents hit just .233 against him. Dempster came back from arm surgery to pitch in 20 relief games for the Cubs. He was 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA with two saves. There was talk of him being a possible closer for the Cubs. Unless either takes over the closer’s role, he is not worth drafting unless relief pitchers have value in your league.
One 2 Watch – Sergio Mitre
Mitre started the 2004 season with the Cubs. He had his moments but overall really struggled. With the Cubs, he went 2-4 with a 6.62 ERA in 12 games (9 starts). He went back to AAA where he went 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Mitre is still just 24 years old, and with injury questions, he could be worth a flyer in the 29th round.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – The Big Four starters.
The Bad – Their health.
The Questions – Can the starters stay healthy? Can Glendon Rusch be a solid major league starting pitcher? Who will land the closer’s job?
SP – Eric Milton
The Twins traded Milton after the 2003 season in what I thought was a salary dump. In a way, it was. But when you consider that the Twins got Carlos Silva AND Nick Punto and Bobby Korecky in exchange for him, the deal was great for the Twins. Now, many people think that Milton had a really good season last year because he went 14-6 for the Phillies. However, look past the record and notice his ERA of 4.75. His WHIP of 1.35 and opponent batting average of .255 are average at best. Before the All-Star break, he was 11-2. After the All-Star break, he was 3-4. Before the All-Star break, his ERA was 4.72. After the break, it was 4.78. Now tell me that W-L record tells how well a person is pitching… Take the 29 year old Milton after the 16th round. By the way, the Reds gave Milton 3 years and $25.5 million!
SP – Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson was the Mark Prior of baseball when he was drafted first overall in the 1994 major league draft. He made his major league debut in 1996, starting 26 games for the Mets. However, he hurt his arm and had some surgeries. He didn’t resurface in the big leagues until he pitched 11 games for the Devil Rays in 2000. Sine that time, he has become a full-time starter. His ERA has been between 4.64 and 4.88. His record the previous three years was 22-31. Last year, he went 11-6 with a 4.36 ERA. He is still striking out less than 6 hitters per 9 innings. With the Reds offense, he is worth taking in the 19th round.
SP – Ramon Ortiz
After five seasons of starting for the Anaheim Angels, Ortiz really struggled in 2004 and split time between the rotation and the bullpen. He made 14 starts (in 34 appearances) and went 5-7 with a 4.43 ERA. The 31 year old righty is frequently compared to Pedro Martinez. Unfortunately it is because of his slight stature and wicked delivery and not his numbers. I think Ortiz will be a major league average pitcher, so he’s worth a 23rd round pick.
SP – Aaron Harang
The 6-7, 240 pound Harang made 28 starts for the Reds last year. He went 10-9 with 4.89 ERA. His ERA in his two other big league seasons were 4.83 and 5.31, so to expect or hope for drastic improvement probably isn’t fair, especially for someone who doesn’t strike out an excessive number of hitters. Try not to draft Harang, but if you need a starter yet in the 29th round, grab him.
SP – Brandon Claussen
In 2003, Claussen made one start for the New York Yankees and went 6 1/3 innings of 1 run ball. Later that season, he was traded to the Reds in exchange for Aaron Boone. Last year, he split the season between AAA Chattanooga and Cincinnati. At AAA, he went 8-6 with a 4.66 ERA. He did strikeout 111 in 100.1 innings. With the Reds, he was 2-8 with a 6.14 ERA. There is still hope for the 25 year old Claussen. If he’s in the rotation, take him in the 27th round.
Closer – Danny Graves
Graves moved back to the Closer’s role from the rotation in 2004 and made the All-Star team. I am a fan of the closers who perform like Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera did last year to rack up their saves. Danny Graves had 41 saves in 2004, but he blew nine chances. His total was simply a measure of his opportunities. Of course, in fantasy realms, that doesn’t matter if the Saves is a necessary category. Overall, he was 1-6 with a 3.95 ERA. He is another non-typical, dominating-type closer in that he averaged less than 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings. I wouldn’t draft him until the 15th round.
Reliever – Ryan Wagner
In 2003, Wagner was drafted in the first round out of Houston. He started his pro career and AA, moved up to AAA then up to the Reds. There, he went 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA. He struck out an impressive 25 batters in 21+ innings. That masked the fact that he also walked 12. Expectations were high for 2004, but Wagner really struggled. Before the All-Star game, he had a 5.94 ERA in 19 games. He had 11 walks and 10 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. Then he was sent back to the minors where he had a 2.70 ERA in 15 games before being recalled. He
One 2 Watch – Luke Hudson
Hudson was 25 when he got called up to the Reds in September and pitched in three games. He was injured and missed the entire 2003 season. The organization started him at AA last year and he went 7-7 with a 3.32 ERA in 16 starts. He moved up to AAA where he went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. He was again called up to the Reds and he went 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 9 starts. He should definitely fit into the mix for a spot in this rotation! Take him in the 26th round.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Not much. Maybe Hudson and Claussen.
The Bad – Most of the rotation… and the bullpen.
Question Marks – Who will fill out the 4th and 5th roster spots? Can Ryan Wagner regain the promise he shoed in 2003? Can Milton and Ortiz prove worth acquiring?
SP – Roy Oswalt
63-27. 3.21 ERA. Those are the career numbers of Oswalt. After an injury-filled 2003, Oswalt came back with another great season in 2004. He went 20-10 with a 3.49 ERA. Sure, everyone wants to talk up Roger Clemens, and he did have a great year, but I think most baseball people realize that the Astros best pitcher is Roy Oswalt. Assuming health, I think Oswalt is worth a 2nd round pick.
SP – Roger Clemens
42 year old Clemens is back for 2005. Is anyone out there really surprised by this? Last year, he won his 7th Cy Young Award. He went 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA. In 214.1 innings, he struck out 218 hitters. His WHIP was 1.17. Opponents hit just .217 off of him. Oh, and his career numbers? 328-164 with a 3.18 ERA. 4,317 strikeouts, or 8.65 per nine innings. He’s been incredible, but I don’t think there is any way he comes near the same numbers in 2005. I’d wait until the 6th round to take Clemens.
SP – Andy Pettitte
One of Pettitte’s best traits throughout his Yankees tenure was his ability to stay healthy and make starts. That didn’t happen last year as he made just 15 starts for Houston. He went 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA. For his 10 year career, the 32 year old Pettitte is 155-82 with a 3.90 ERA. Again, I am very curious as to how his numbers will translate into the hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park. I would wait until the 14th round to draft him.
SP – Brandon Backe
26 year old Backe has been primarily a reliever throughout his professional career. He pitched 37 games out of the ‘pen for the Devil Rays in 2002 and 2003. Last year, he started the season at AAA New Orleans where he pitched in 19 games (9 starts). He went 6-5 with a 2.80 ERA. He came up to the Astros and pitched in 33 games, and made 9 starts. Overall, he went 5-3 with a 4.30 ERA. He also made the start that put the Astros in the playoffs last year. He will get a shot at the rotation, and if he makes it, grab him in the 24th round.
SP – Carlos Hernandez
Hernandez was a top prospect in the Astros system. He was impressive in his rookie year, 2002, when he went 7-5 with a 4.38 ERA. But like so many others, he hurt his arm and Tommy John surgery cost him the entire 2003 season. Last year, he started the season at AAA and went 9-4 with a 3.60 ERA. He made nine starts for the Astros and went 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA. If the second year after Tommy John is when the pitcher gets back to ‘normal’, Hernandez could be a sleeper pick in 2005. Take a shot with him in the 23rd round.
Closer – Brad Lidge
Lidge seemingly came out of nowhere last year to become one of the most talked about (and dominant) relievers in baseball. The Astros traded closer Billy Wagner before the season and replaced him with Octavio Dotel. When he was traded to Oakland in July, Lidge became the Astros closer. On the season, he pitched 94.2 innings in 80 games, he struck out 157 hitters. That equates to 15 strikeouts per 9 innings! That is incredible! He went 6-5 with 29 saves and a 1.90 ERA. In the playoffs, he was even more dominant. In 2003, he pitched 85.2 innings in 78 games and averaged more than a strikeout an inning. Lidge is probably about the 4th closer you should take, putting him as a solid 4th round pick.
Reliever – John Franco
John Franco is 44 years old and in his 21st big league season. Last year with the Mets, he was 2-7 with a 5.28 ERA. Far from his best season, but he is left-handed, so age is just a number! He’s not worth drafting, but like Julio Franco, guys that are still contributing at their ages deserve mention!
Two 2 Watch – Tim Redding
In 2003, Redding was just 10-14 for the Astros, but his ERA was a very respectable 3.84. With that, expectations came for 2004 and he did not meet them. With the Astros, he was just 5-7 with a 5.72 ERA. He was taken out of the rotation, and actually went down to AAA. There, he went a very unimpressive 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA. He will get another shot at the rotation, but the leash will be short! Wait until the 27th round to draft him.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Oswalt, Clemens and Lidge.
The Bad – the 5th starter and the bullpen leading up to Lidge.
The Question Marks – Who will now set up for Lidge? Can Pettitte stay healthy? Can Oswalt and Clemens continue to dominate?
SP – Ben Sheets
Another great example of how Wins and Losses are not the best means of determining how well a pitcher pitches. Last year, Ben Sheets went just 12-14. You assume he wasn’t good, right? Then you look at his numbers, and they very closely compare to Johan Santana’s! He had an ERA of 2.70. His WHIP was 0.98 and opponents hit just .226 off of him. He struck out over 10 per nine innings pitched. He threw 237 innings. In other words, he was a top level pitcher. If he duplicates those numbers, he’s worth a 4th round pick.
SP – Victor Santos
Santos made 28 starts for the Brewers last year. He went 11-12 with a 4.97 ERA. He had a WHIP of 1.47 and opponents hit .278 against him. He struck out 6.7 per nine innings. His record was similar to Sheets, but his performance was nowhere near Sheets. The 28 year old was pitching for his fourth organization in four seasons, but did enough for the Brewers to resign him. That said, he’s not worth drafting before the 28th round.
SP – Doug Davis
Now Doug Davis went 12-12 on the season and he actually did have a very good campaign. He had a 3.39 ERA. He struck out more than 7 per nine innings. He is still just 29 years old, so it is very possible that his season was legit. He has always been a .500 pitcher with a 4.35 career ERA. Average numbers, and if he can do that, and the Brewers can start scoring some runs he could be worth a 23rd round pick.
SP – Ben Hendrickson
Hendrickson was born in St. Cloud, MN, and went to Bloomington Jefferson high school. He was the Brewers 10th round pick in 1999 and has become one of the team’s best pitching prospects. The 24 year old righty spent most of the season in AAA last year and was very good. He went 11-3 with a 2.02 ERA. He was called up and sent down many times throughout the season and went 1-8 with a 6.22 ERA with the Brewers. Not good numbers, but again, certainly nothing that should make anyone think any less of him. He may get a rotation spot in 2005, and if he does, he should be taken in the 27th round.
SP – Chris Capuano
Capuano came to the Brewers from the Diamondbacks in the Richie Sexson deal. Last year, he spent time on the disabled list with a sore elbow. In 17 starts, he went 6-8 with a 4.99 ERA. He did have 80 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings. Capuano has huge potential, but needs to put it all together. He’ should be taken in the 26th round.
Closer – Mike Adams
The Brewers got great numbers from the closer role by throwing Dan Kolb into the role two years again, and then they turned him into a top prospect. They are going to attempt to be doing the same thing with Mike Adams this year. Last year, in 46 games, he went 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA. The 26 year old was a rookie last year. If he wins the role, he will be given save chances. That makes him worth a 20th round pick.
Closer – Ricky Bottalico
The 35 year old Bottalico is with his fourth team in four years. He was a very good reliever for the Phillies from 1995 through 1997. Since then, he has either not been good, or he’s been hurt. He may be worth watching if he can stay healthy and Adams struggles as the closer.
Two 2 Watch – Jose Capellan
23 year old Capellan had Tommy John surgery in 2002, and he’s come back with a fastball that touches 100 mph. Last year was a huge season for Capellan, in the Braves organization. He started the season at Hi-A Myrtle Beach and went 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA. He had 62 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. He moved up to AA Greenville where he went 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA. He struck out 53 hitters in 50.1 innings. He moved up to AAA Richmond where he was 4-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He struck out 37 in 43 innings. That all earned him a big league call-up in September, where he only made three appearances and had an ERA of 11.25. So, how can the Braves trade a player with that talent and success for a one-inning guy in Kolb? I don’t know. Watch Capellan. He probably starts the season at AAA, but you will want to watch him.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Sheets and the future of Hendrickson and Capellan.
The Bad – Most everything else.
The Question Marks – Can the offense give the pitching staff enough runs to allow the pitchers to get some wins? Can Mike Adams be a closer? When will Capellan get his chance?
SP – Oliver Perez
Remember when people were upset with the Pirated trading Brian Giles for Oliver Perez and Jason Bay? I wonder how those same people feel now, or how the San Diego fans feel about it? Bay was the NL Rookie of the Year last year, and Perez is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Last year, Perez was 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA in 30 starts. He pitched 196 innings and struck out 239. That’s 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. His WHIP was 1.15 and opponents hit just .217 against him. And, he’s just 23 years old and in his fourth big league season. Take him in the 7th round, and really hope for some run support.
SP – Kip Wells
From last year, I wrote that “In 2003, Wells’ ERA was just 3.28. His WHIP was just 1.25. Opponents hit just .233 off him. He struck out 6.7 per 9 innings. In 2002, he was 12-14, but his ERA was still just 3.59. If he can continue to keep his ERA low, eventually good things will happen.” You get some right, you get some wrong. Last year, Wells had elbow problems and made just 24 starts. He was 5-7 with a 4.55 ERA. I think he’s better than that, so I think he’s worth taking in the 17th round.
SP – Mark Redman
Redman came to the Pirates from the A’s in exchange for Jason Kendall. Redman has always been a good major league starter, but for one reason or another, he has not been able to stay in one place for too long. The Twins drafted him and put up with him for 2+ years before trading him to Detroit. Detroit let him go to Florida where he had a solid season of 14-9 with a 3.59 ERA. Even so, they let him go to Oakland as a free agent last year. He went 11-12 with a 4.91 ERA. That ERA is more similar to his career numbers. Those numbers with the Pirates could mean a lot of losses. I wouldn’t take him until the 20th pick.
SP – Josh Fogg
Josh Fogg has been a part of the Pirates starting rotation the last three seasons. In 2003, he started 26 games and was 10-9 with a 5.26 ERA. He only struck out 4.5 batters every 9 innings. In 2002, he was 12-12 with a 4.35 ERA. Last year, Fogg went 12-11 with a 4.64 ERA. He struck out just over four batters per nine innings. Draft him after the 24th round.
SP – Dave Williams
Williams spent time with the Pirates in 2001 and 2002, but had arm injuries and missed much of the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He spent 2003 at AAA. Last year, the 26 year old lefty started 21 games for AAA Nashville and went 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA. He came back up to the Pirates and pitched in 10 games (6 starts) and went 2-3 with a 4.42 ERA. He struck out 7.7 per 9 innings. He is worth a shot in the rotation, and if he makes it, is worth a 28th round pick.
Closer – Jose Mesa
Mesa is another one of those players who people continually give up on and think is done, and then he has a year like he did last year. The 38 year old pitched in 70 games and was 5-2 with 43 saves in 48 chances. His ERA was 3.25. So, not necessarily dominant, but got the job done proving that closers have value because they can get saves, even on bad teams. Take him in the 17th round.
Reliever – Solomon Torres
Last year Torres pitched 92 innings in 84 games. He was 7-7 with a 2.64 ERA. The 33 year old’s previous high in games pitched was 41. So, he may still be strong.
One 2 Watch – Ryan Vogelson
After brief big league stints in 2000, 2001 and 2003, Vogelson spent all of 2004 in the big leagues. He pitched in 31 games and made 26 starts. He went 6-13 with a 6.50 ERA. There really aren’t any good, positive numbers to look at but sometimes you just never know. Don’t draft him!
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Oliver Perez.
The Bad – Everything else .
The Question Marks – How good can Perez be and will anyone notice? Can Mesa do it again? Who else will comprise the bullpen? Which Wells, Redman and Fogg will show up?
St. Louis Cardinals
SP – Mark Mulder
Much of last year, Mark Mulder was talked up as the AL Cy Young favorite. He was leading the league in wins. On August 24th, he was 17-4 with a 3.72 ERA. But then he struggled greatly down the stretch. He finished the year 17-8 with a 4.43 ERA. To me though, this is a great trade for the Cardinals. Mulder is still just 27 years old and has another season after this one on his contract. Giving up Haren and Barton hurts, but to get a guy of Mulder’s caliber, you have to give something up. To me, with the Cards offense, Mulder becomes a 5th round pick.
SP – Chris Carpenter
The 29 year old Carpenter was a solid, unspectacular starter for the Blue Jays from 1998 through 2001. But arm surgeries cost him most of 2002 and all of 2003. So, for him to have made 28 starts last year for the Cards was impressive enough. For him to have gone 15-5 with a 3.46 ERA. He struck out 7.5 per nine innings. His WHIP was just 1.14. Unfortunately, arm problems caused him to miss the playoffs. Talk is that he is doing well this spring, but he is still a huge risk. Take him in the 14th round.
SP – Matt Morris
Last year, Morris made $12.5 million dollars. He went 15-10 last year. And in 2005, he will make just $3 million. I’m impressed. However, looking past the win-loss record, Morris was not at his best. His ERA was 4.72, almost a run higher than his previous career high. I say good for him. I still think Morris is worth a 14th round pick, only that low because of his injuries keeping him out of spring camp.
SP – Jeff Suppan
Suppan has never really even been an average starting pitcher. Last year though, he did very well for the Redbirds. He went 16-9 with a 4.16 ERA. Nothing spectacular at all, but with run-support, it looks like a great season. If he can keep his ERA even in the mid-4s, Suppan could win 14-17 games. Consider him by the 16th round.
SP – Jason Marquis
Marquis had spent parts of four most disappointing (for him) seasons with the Braves. In his first year with the Cardinals, Marquis had a great season. He was 15-7 with a 3.71 ERA. Do I expect him to maintain that level, or specifically that ERA? Not really. He is just 26 years old, so it is possible that he could. And again, with run support, he’s worth a shot in the 18th round.
Closer – Jason Isringhausen
Isringhausen pitched in 74 games in 2004. He went 4-2 with a career high 47 saves (in 54 chances) and a 2.87 ERA. Interestingly, that 2.87 ERA was his highest in four seasons. He just signed a long deal. If he can stay healthy, he’s worth a 9th round pick.
Closer – Julian Tavarez
Last year, Tavarez was 7-4 with a 2.38 ERA. It was by far the best season of his solid 12 season career. Yet he is best known for punching a wall in frustration and breaking some bones in his pitching hand. But, even pitching with a cast under his glove he was very good.
One 2 Watch – Adam Wainright
Wainwright was a big pitching prospect for the Braves who was also included in the Drew trade. He is listed at 6-6 and 190 pounds, but many believe he continued to grow during the season and is now closer to 6-9. At AA in 2003, the 23 year old was 10-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 27 starts. Last year, he struggled at AAA going just 4-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 12 games before ending his season with an arm injury. He is not worth drafting, but keep an eye on him.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Mulder.
The Bad – The back of the rotation .
The Question Marks – How will Mulder adjust to the National League? Can Marquis, Carpenter and Suppan duplicate their 2004 seasons? Can Isringhausen stay healthy?
Well, that is it for Part 10 of my Fantasy Baseball Preview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. The same format will be used tomorrow when I discuss the NL East pitching staffs. Please let me know what you think. Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed! E-mail me.
On Monday, the Twins lost 4-3 to the Florida Marlins (as if that matters). The team had just five hits, and two of them were from Lew Ford. Pitching is where it has been at for the Twins this spring. Joe Mays' impressive comeback continued. He went 5 innings and gave up an unearned run on 2 hits and a walk. Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan pitched scoreless innings. Jesse Crain was stretched to two innings. He gave up a run on 3 hits.
Yesterday, the Twins and Marlins played to a 2-2 tie after 11 innings. Again, very little offense for the Twins. But, Jason Bartlett was 3-3, with a run and 2 stolen bases. Brad Radke started and gave up a run on six hits (no walks) in four innings. JC Romero struggled more. In his innings, he gave up two his and a walk for a run. Matt Guerrier pitched two shutout innings, walking one and striking out three. David Gassner stretched out to three innings and allowed no runs on a hit and a walk. Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched another scoreless inning.
An article on the defense (or lack thereof) from SS Juan Castro, who was brought in (and given two guaranteed years at $2.05 million) because he can 'pick it'... I haven't typed it yet today, but Go Jason Bartlett!!
An article on Mike Redmond, the player.
Reliever Grant Balfour is being shut down for 10 days and will start the season on the Disabled List. This has been a strange story for a few days now. Is he hurt, or is he injured? Who knows. But, this is probably for the best right now. The Twins Geek discusses which pitchers could take over in that spot.
Aaron Gleeman revisits the debate about whether the Twins should have taken Joe Mauer or Mark Prior with that #1 overall pick in 2001. I wrote Aaron and told him that I think the winner is the Texas Rangers, who took Mark Teixeira with the 4th pick. (Aaron did respond and remind me that Teixeira was taken with the 5th pick, and also that 3B David Wright was taken #38.)
Will Young posts another great interview with a Twins player. This time, he talks with my man, Jason Bartlett!
Any thoughts on the Twins? Please e-mail me.
Catching up on a couple of days worth of Former Twins numbers. Here are how former Twins did.:
Greg Myers, TOR, C, 1-1
Jose Offerman, PHI, PH - 1-1
Aaron Fultz, PHI, RP, 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0R
David McCarty, BOS, LF, 0-2
Midre Cummings, BAL, DH/PR, 0-1
Chris Gomez, BAL, 3B, 0-4
Eric Milton, CIN, SP, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2K
Dustan Mohr, COL, RF, 1-3, K
Quinton McCracken, ARI, PH, 1-1
Denny Hocking, KC, 3B, 2-3, 2BB, R
Damien Miller, MIL, C, 3-3, RBI
Pat Borders, MIL, C, 0-1
AJ Pierzynski, CHW, C, 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, K
Chad Allen, TEX, LF, 0-1
Javier Valentin, CIN, C, 0-3
Matt Lawton, PIT, RF, 0-1, 2B
Scott Erickson, LAD, SP, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2K
Midre Cummings, BAL, RF, 0-2
Chris Gomez, BAL, 2B, 1-1, 2B
David Ortiz, BOS, DH, 1-3, R
Warren Morris, CLE, 2B, 0-1
Cristian Guzman, WAS, SS, 2-4, 2R, RBI, HR, 2 K
Hector Carrasco, WAS, IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, SO
Casey Blake, CLE, RF, 1-4, 3B, BB, K
Doug Mientkiewicz, NYM, 1B, 2-3, R
Denny Hocking, KC, PHI, 0-1, K
Todd Walker, CHC, 2B, 1-3
Henry Blanco, CHC, C, 0-1, R, K, BB
LaTroy Hawkins, CHC, RP, IP, H, 2K
Greg Colbrunn, ARI, DH, 0-3
Pat Borders, MIL, C, 1-1
Chad Moeller, MIL, C, 1-2, HR, R, RBI, K, BB
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
We are down to The Final 12. As everyone knows by now, finalist Mario Vazquez left the show for undisclosed 'personal' reasons. Hopefully all is well. It is unfortunate that he will not continue, but I am thrilled by the fact that Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith's son, Nikko Smith is back in the competition.
Last night, I
was actually rather disappointed with most of the performances. They
were actually almost boring. Not all, but most. There were a couple that
I really enjoyed.
OK, now that we are down to the final 12, I will continue with much of the same format. I will discuss the notes I jotted down when I was watching the show, and then rank the performances. If they use their previous elimination format, they will bring up the bottom 3, so I will do the same.
Jessica Sierra - Shop Around
Good song. She sang well, she just didn't show a lot of energy. Almost made it too bluesy, rather than something 'fun and funky.'
Anwar Robinson - A House is not a Home
Started out surprisingly poor. After that, he was good, but just not exciting. But he turned it on at the end which was great. I still think he has the best voice.
Mikalah Gordon - Son of a Preacher Man
She missed a bunch of the higher notes, probably because her voice is too low. Excellent energy and stage presence. She does get that though. Her Fran Drescher voice is getting more and more annoying. And, was it just me, or was Ryan Seacrest incredibly bored or annoyed by her?
Constantine Maroulis - You Made Me So Very Happy
For the first time, I was actually impressed with his voice. Rocked the last note, which assures he will continue. Definitely his best performance in my eyes.
Lindsay Cardinale- Knock on Wood
Not a well-known song, she just looked almost uncertain throughout. She was good, really, but not great.
Anthony Federov - Breaking up is hard to do.
I thought his version was just too slow. It was vocally good, but he has almost sang songs in the same tone each week. It will be interesting to see how well he does when the genres change.
Nadia Turner - You Don't have to say I love you
OK, she can do it all. That was really great. That was almost perfect in every way. I didn't think I would ever say it, because so far the guys have outshone the girls, but she might be the best of the entire group.
Bo Bice - Spinning Wheel
Left stage as part of his performance, which I think was/looks dumb, but that will likely help him get votes to stay. Really, he wasn't that good, but the song naturally worked well with his lyrics and music. It was really a good performance.
Vonzell Solomon - Anyone who had a Heart
it was good, but I couldn't call it great. She really struggled with the chorus each time. She strings at the end where very impressive. .
Scott Savol - Ain't too Proud to Beg
didn't start out real strong. And a very poor song choice as it had little energy and unexciting. When he leaves the stage, it just looks really dumb.
Carrie Underwood - When Will I Be Loved
She is sticking with her country roots. Definitely some pitchy notes throughout. Was the song too much country though? She was very good! And pretty! Have I ever mentioned that before?
Nikko Smith - I Want You Back
Perfect song choice especially based on him taking over Mario's spot. He was now back, hat and all. Excellent song choice for him vocally too. I love his voice! Animated performance. He is just a natural!
I will rank the performers from #1 (best) to #12 (worst). In doing that, I would be saying that my choices for who should be eliminated would be numbers 11 and 12.
1.) Nadia Turner - I'm almost surprised that I picked a woman for the #1 spot on this list just because of all of the get male singers. But Nadia was head-and-shoulders above the rest.
2.) Nikko Smith - Never should have left.
3.) Constantine Maroulis -
4.) Jessica Sierra -
5.) Bo Bice
6.) Vonzell Solomon
7.) Anwar Robinson
8.) Carrie Underwood
9.) Scott Savol
10.) Anthony Federov
11.) Lindsay Cardinale
12.) Mikalah Gordon - I think it is time as even I am getting annoyed by her.
So, by that, I would have to guess that the Bottom Three will be Mikalah Gordon, Lindsay Cardinale and Anthony Federov (if they use that same format). I would then predict that Mikalah is gone. Again, if you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
And after all that, thank you again very much for stopping by my site. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me. Have a great week!
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