Archive for the ‘baseball’ category

Review: 12 team ESPN Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts from prospective of #1 and #2 pick

February 20, 2014

Hey baseball fans.! With Baseball about a month away, I am preparing my draft rankings at each position and have been participating in ESPN Fantasy Baseball mock drafts the past two days.  I am part of a complex 20 team league in ESPN and want to do a 20 team mock but they only allow a max of 12. So let’s get on with it. Here are the draft results, commentary will be posted on the bottom.

Feb 19th Mock Draft – #2 pick

kc44

Lineup

Catcher- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants

1st Base – Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox

2nd Base – Jed Gyorko – San Diego Padres

3rd Base – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers (will be eligible for 1st base this season)

Shortstop – Ian Desmond – Washington Nationals

Utility – Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals

1st/3rd – Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies

2nd/SS – Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals

Outfield – Josh Hamilton – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Outfield – Coco Crisp – Oakland A’s

Outfield – Khris Davis – Milwaukee Brewers

Outfield – Norichika Aoki – Kansas City Royals

Outfield – Josh Willingham – Minnesota Twins

Photo By: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

Photo By: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

Rotation (5 man, 3 RP, 1 spot starter)

Starter – Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins

Starter -Zack Grienke – Los Angeles Dodgers

Starter – Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants

Starter – Jordan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals

Starter – Matt Moore – Tampa Bay Rays

Reliever – Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres

Reliever – Luke Gregerson – Oakland A’s

Reliever – Brian Wilson- Los Angeles Dodgers

Sixth Man Spot – Zach Wheeler – New York Mets

Melky+Cabrera+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Tampa+Bay+z8QKrSE91LEx

Bench

OF – Melky Cabrera – Toronto Blue Jays

OF – Nick Markakis – Baltimore Orioles

C – Jarred Saltalamacchia – Miami Marlins

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Feb. 20 Mock Draft – #1 pick

(Photo by: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

(Photo by: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Lineup

Catcher- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants (R3, #25)

1st Base – Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox (R13, #145)

2nd Base – Ben Zobrist- Tampa Bay Rays (available at SS, OF as well) (R4, #48)

3rd Base – Pedro Alvarez- Pittsburgh Pirates (R9, #97)

Shortstop – Jean Segura- Milwaukee Brewers (R5, #49)

1st/3rd – Justin Morneau- Colorado Rockies (R16, #192)

2nd/SS – Omar Infante – Kansas City Royals (R17, #193)

Utility – Chris Carter – Houston Astros (R18, #216)

Outfield – Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (R1, #1)

Outfield – Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers (R2, #24)

Outfield – Alfonso Soriano – New York Yankees (R10, #120)

Outfield – Torii Hunter  – Detroit Tigers (R14, #168)

Outfield – Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins (R15, #169)

latos

Rotation (5 man, 3 RP, 1 spot starter)

Starter – Mat Latos – Cincinnati Reds (R6, #72)

Starter – Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals (R7, #73)

Starter – Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates (R8, #96)

Starter – Hyun-Jin Ryu – Los Angeles Dodgers (R11, #121)

Starter – Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals (R12, #144)

Reliever – Rex Brothers – Colorado Rockies (R19, #217)

Reliever – Luis Avilan – Atlanta Braves (R20, #240)

Reliever – Tyler Clippard – Washington Nationals (R21, #240)

Sixth Man Spot – Jonathan Neise- New York Mets (R22, #264)

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Bench

OF – Melky Cabrera – Toronto Blue Jays (R23, #265)

2B- Scooter Gennett – Milwaukee Brewers (R24, #288)

SS – Derek Jeter – New York Yankees (R251, #289)

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Feb 19th Draft Analysis

– Lineup filled with balance and power. Tons of .OBP and HR potential. Remember, in most leagues RBI’s mean a lot, but in our 20 team league they are not a factor.

– Starting Rotation filled with innings eaters and HUGE strikeout potential. Every starter can have a 7.5+ k/9 and end the season with over 200 innings pitched. This rotation is as deep as they come.

– Bullpen not important in most leagues but this one has a well rounded group of players who put up 0’s when it comes to hits and walks with lots of potential to get Holds.

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February 20th Draft Analysis

Worked on OF depth which is very good in this lineup with a lot of .OBP and power from Puig and Trout.

– LOTS AND LOTS of power in this lineup (Alvarez, Soriano, Carter, Abreu) but also good .OBP and walk percentages (Infante, Morneau, Zobrist, Segura, Posey, Yelich)

– Rotation very solid from 1-5 with good mix of lefty and righty (not important but cool if you were a manager). Lots of ACE potential in rotation (Cole, Wacha, Latos)

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Analysis from both drafts (Feb 19th and Feb 20th)

– Why no love for Abreu? Got him in the 13-14 round. Has 40 homer potential much like Cuban friend Yoenis Cespedes. Can also get a high walk rate at first base. The position is deep this year. If you get him in 13th round with Goldschmidt power, it’s a steal. People need to take note.

Catcher is the weakest position besides shortstop in the draft. How can I get Buster Posey in the third round both times. In most leagues, he is a top 15 talent. Beware of the Miguel Montero’s, Travis D’Arnaud’s, and Alex Avila’s of the world. They might be okay or they might hurt your team more than help.

– First Draft focused on pitching, second I focused on offense. I don’t know which team I would take right now but they are both so even. I see the outfield though as a weak position this season so players need to take note when they are drafting.

– First draft I got 2 starting catchers with offensive potential. That’s rare to find and I can’t believe I got Salty with my last pick. He could be good in the National League. Also, with your bench players you need to take risks or players you think can have great season (Cabrera, Jeter, Gennett, Markakis) all capable of big seasons for their team.

– Notice both teams have players who have played 150+ games consistently. Drafting successful teams is all about players who play everyday and get at-bats consistently and are not injury prone. You can’t rely on the waiver wire to win you championships. Players like Tulowitzki, Kemp, Ellsbury, Carlos Gonzalez, Strasburg, Morrow, and Josh Johnson are not good choices to draft. Be safe, it will help in the long run.

-Finally, balance. Both teams have so much balance. Yes, I have Chris Carter who hits 35 homers and strikes out 200 times but Omar Infante strikes out 50 times a year and has .365 OBP. I also have Hamilton on one team who had a down season and could possibly continue to trend down but with consistency of Coco Crisp (22 homers, .350OBP+) it helps balance the team out. If you have a team of boppers, you won’t win and the same is to be said about singles hitters.

– After reading this, go out and give a mock draft a try and see what you come up with. I would love to see the results.

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MLB Hot Stove: Moves that get overlooked so far this winter

November 25, 2013

When it comes to the MLB offseason and Free Agency everyone looks to the Jhonny Peralta’s new 4 year contract with the Cardinals or the big trade swap between Texas and Detroit involving Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. While those deals are significant for the 2014 season, there are moves that go on throughout the winter that doesn’t get everyone’s attention on television or in the newspaper that should be noted to all baseball fans.

Nick+Punto+Arizona+Diamondbacks+v+Los+Angeles+JTUk13Yrdh4xLet’s start with infielder Nick Punto signing with the Oakland A’s. In Los Angeles last season with the Dodgers, he had a very good defensive year at 3rd Base and Shortstop. But let’s start off with his value. He had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 2.2 and 22 RAR (runs above replacement). He had a line of .255/.328/.327 in 335 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers but it wasn’t his bat that makes him so important because he defense makes up for that line. His Rdrs/year (Defensive Runs Saved) at 3rd and SS was 11 which is very good at the hot corner including 48 double plays turned and a .974 fielding percentage. Note, this is a utility player who will bring leadership and depth to a team that was lacking that in the postseason. Like I said, this is not a sexy signing but it is very influential to the Oakland A’s ball club in 2014.

Colby+Lewis+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Texas+Rangers+kQR2Vtq3VDmlNext is a signing that occurred today with Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers. He signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. If Lewis makes the major league team, he’ll make $2 million in base salary and can earn up to another $4 million in incentives. He won 26 games for the Rangers in 2010-11 and in the playoffs he was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. Here is the important part, he started 200 innings in both of those years and had a winning record in a ballpark that is tough to pitch in. The Rangers will lose Matt Garza and lack veteran leadership in their rotation. If he can get it right after shoulder surgery in 2012, he can be an innings eater and can be that important back of the rotation guy at a very low cost compared to the Royals signing Jason Vargas for 8 million a season with a career 4.30 ERA. At the age of 34, he shouldn’t be the same pitcher we saw 3 years ago but I expect him to be effective and help the club get more wins this season. Watch for his story when Spring Training arises. I like his comeback potential.

penaCatchers are at a premium in baseball, especially defensive ones. When the Cincinnati Reds signed Brayan Pena and the Tampa Bay Rays signed Jose Molina on two-year contracts, I thought they were extremely smart moves from both clubs.

For the Tigers last season, Pena had a good percentage catching 30% of runners stealing bases. He also presented some pop in his bat with a .297 average, 4 home runs, and 11 doubles in 71 games. Not many backups catchers have those types of numbers in the big leagues and the Reds lacked a catcher with home run power and strong defense behind the dish.

molina raysOn the other side, Molina is a defensive wizard and is essential for Tampa Bay’s pitching staff. During the 2012 season he held the staff to a 3.22 ERA and a 3.74 in 2013. He had a value defensively of 6.2 compared to the league average of 0.9 in 2012 and 3.9 compared to league average 1.4 in 2013. In his two years with a Rays uniform he has had 55 runners killed on the base paths which shows how valuable he is compared to any other catcher in the market. Plus, he ranks first in framing runs above average with 33 which is 5 better than his brother Yadier Molina who is the best defensive catcher in the National League.

As for the offense, he has batted a poor .228 with the Rays but his defense is more valuable than his offense and you could see that in the 2013 Wild Card game against the Indians as he led Alex Cobb to 6 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out five.

So after reading this I hope you realize that while adding a player like Robinson Cano can make a huge difference in wins for any roster in the major leagues, it is the buying low and getting high reward players that fans don’t know about going into spring training. I hope I have kept you informed on smart deals for teams that needed improvements at those positions.

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #21 – Aaron Woods 21 strikeout performance

October 7, 2013

WOODSI have been up and down with continuing my countdown on my blog with the top Upper Peninsula moments and I guess that is how the Tri-City North Stars felt on June 24th, 2012.

Starting left handed pitcher for the Marinette Redbirds,  Aaron Woods (Menominee, MI native and Saginaw Valley State baseball player) took the mound that day against the Tri-City North Stars and must have felt like Roger Clemens or Kerry Wood. Once the first pitch was thrown, he began to mow down hitters looking and swinging at his fastball, struck out the side in multiple innings, and controlled the strike zone with ease for the umpire behind the dish.

This was his final line: CG, SO, 9 IN, 2 H, 2 BB, and 21 K. (See video below)

To strikeout 21 batters is impressive but to do it in his 4th straight start is amazing. That was the first 20 strikeout game I have ever witnessed from little league to major league and I can’t say I have seen anyone dominate the hitters like I saw #41 do out on the mound.

His delivery was very smooth and the life on his pitches were exceptional. He used great deception as a left hander of hiding his pitches until the last moment so his opponents couldn’t pick up the pitch until it left his hand.  He had success as a reliever the past few seasons in college and I can understand why he did so well.

Mr. Woods, after only working  one week on the job, you surprised me with a pitching performance I will never forget. As a huge baseball fan I will never forget your 21 K performance in Ishpeming that Sunday.

Photo of the Day: Mariano Rivera’s #42 retired with the legends

September 23, 2013
(ELSA/GETTY IMAGES)

(ELSA/GETTY IMAGES)

Exit Sandman. The greatest closer in the game of baseball celebrated a 50 minute ceremony as a good bye send off from the Yankees organization at Yankee Stadium yesterday. The whole ceremony and game gave me chills down my back because it reminded baseball fans everywhere that this will be the last time you will see #42 in pinstripes pitch in the Bronx again. It’s sad to see him go, but it was special to see him given his own day for all his accomplishments. No one will be better than Mo and there will only be one Sandman. He pitches like a legend and leaves the game of baseball like a legend…

Mets Matt Harvey gets the nod to start the All Star Game for National League

July 15, 2013

Via ESPN:

mets_rNew York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will become the first major league pitcher in nine years to start an All-Star Game in his home ballpark.

National League manager Bruce Bochy named Harvey as the NL starter for Tuesday night’s game at Citi Field. The last pitcher to start an All-Star Game in his home ballpark was Roger Clemens with Houston in 2004.

Harvey will join Clemens as well as Esteban Loaiza (Chicago, 2003), Pedro Martinez (Boston, 1999) and Steve Rogers (Montreal, 1982) as the only pitchers to start an All-Star Game at home since expansion in 1961, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“What a tremendous year he’s had,” Bochy said of Harvey. “It really wouldn’t have mattered what city we were playing in; with the year that he’s had, the impressive numbers that he’s put up, he would have been the starting pitcher.”

Among NL qualifiers, Harvey ranks first in strikeouts (147), second in WHIP (0.92) and third in ERA (2.35) and opponent batting average (.196). He has taken three no-hit bids into the seventh inning this season.

Harvey said he came into the season motivated to step up and fill the void created by reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey‘s departure.

“It was a role I wanted to take and something I took pride in,” Harvey said. “Having this opportunity and getting the nod is one step closer. I’m very proud of it, and obviously it’s more drive to keep going and hopefully not make this my last All-Star Game.”

This is huge for Mets fans all around the country. The fact that Flushing has not hosted an All Star Game since 1964, Bruce Bochy needed to do something big for the organization and the city. He made the right decision going with the young ace. I am very excited to see #33 take the mound tomorrow and deliver in front of a packed Citi Field crowd. I expect him to be very effective and pitch a few scoreless innings while making the American League look silly striking out at the plate. The lights are now shining bright on this 24 year-old and that is just the way he wanted it to be…

Photo Gallery: Gladstone and Marquette baseball

June 9, 2013

Here are photos from Marquette and Gladstone during the High School Baseball season this year. Enjoy!

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The Sports Cycle Highlight Express May 31st 2013

June 3, 2013

The Sports Cycle’s Donnie Dwyer covers District Softball and Baseball Semifinal and Championship games down in Norway. Rapid River is Division 4 Champs in Softball and Norway is Division 4 Champs in Baseball.