Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ 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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Seattle Mariners add Kameron Loe to their bullpen

February 17, 2013

Via Seattle Times:

Milwaukee Brewers Photo DayVeteran relief pitcher Kameron Loe has always been the type of guy who gets noticed.

When you’re 6 feet 8 and 245 pounds with a martial arts background and known to keep a boa constrictor as a pet, most people see you coming. And yet, Loe, 31, part of a Milwaukee Brewers bullpen that came within two victories of a World Series berth in 2011, nearly sneaked through the entire winter without getting picked up as a free agent.

That is, until the Mariners, having shored up their starting rotation late last week, jumped at the chance to add needed bullpen experience from the right side. Loe is on a minor-league deal for now, but the Mariners — having freed room by jettisoning Shawn Kelley and his $935,000 salary via trade — won’t hesitate to add Loe to their bullpen if he shows something this spring.

“They just said I’d have an opportunity to pitch,” Loe said Thursday as the Mariners held their second spring workout. “I’d love to have the seventh or eighth inning, or at least help out at the end of a close game.”

The Mariners have Oliver Perez, 31, to work the eighth inning, but he’s left-handed. Josh Kinney, 33, did some setup work from the right side late last season, but he’s appeared in only 93 big-league games since his 2006 debut.

MLB: FEB 28 Spring Training - Rangers v AngelsThe only other right-handers to bridge the gap to closer Tom Wilhelmsen are 100 mph flamethrowers Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor, but both have barely gotten their feet wet in the majors.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said that once the team addressed its rotation last week by adding Joe Saunders and nonroster invite Jon Garland, focus shifted to the bullpen. It wasn’t a coincidence Seattle’s talks with Loe’s agent got serious right around the time a decision was made to designate Kelley for assignment.

“When a Kameron Loe is still out there, a guy who’s a quality big-league reliever and … you’ve got a chance to get him, I think you need to go ahead and do that,” Wedge said. “Especially with all the youth in our bullpen.”

That youth isn’t necessarily an issue yet, but Wedge said it’s something the team needs to prepare for.

“We’ve got a lot of young pitchers who had a lot of success last year,” he said. “But this is their next go-around under a different set of circumstances. A lot of those guys broke in during the middle of the season. It’s a little bit different the next year when you come in and you have expectations on you.”

Enter Loe, a side-arming sinkerballer who still harbors ideas about becoming a starting pitcher again, something he hasn’t done in the majors since 2007 with the Texas Rangers.

“Eventually, I’d like to get back to being a starter if they see an opening for me,” Loe said. “I either want to be at the beginning of a game or the end of a game.”

Regardless of how he’s used, Loe knows he has to do something about his career-long struggle against left-handed batters, who pounded him for a .307 batting average last year.

His sinker runs away from lefties, so it’s largely ineffective. Loe is instead working on making his change-up more consistent and plans to challenge lefties inside with his fastball more.

“I think that will be the equalizer for me,” he said.

When he doesn’t do it, the results can be disastrous. Loe was lit up for a 10.45 earned-run average his final 13 outings last September as he battled a broken toe and general arm fatigue, leading to the Brewers eventually releasing him.

Kameron+Loe+Milwaukee+Brewers+v+Boston+Red+biBuvy3w-EulFor now, Wedge views Loe strictly as a bullpen guy. He wants to see more of the pitcher known for generating an above-average number of swings and misses with his lower arm slot.

Loe still was trying to be a starter again in 2009 when he left for Japan to play for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. That decision led to Loe parting ways with a longtime “roommate” even more imposing than he was — a 7-foot boa constrictor named Angel. He’d received her for his 19th birthday after a childhood spent collecting snakes, lizards and frogs in California’s Simi Valley.

Angel wound up living with Loe and former Rangers teammate C.J. Wilson at a condominium they shared in Dallas, where they’d bring her a live rat to eat once a week. Loe would even bring Angel into the clubhouse.

But he, reluctantly, had to put her up for adoption when he went to play overseas.

In the end, that Hawks gig lasted just five starts after Loe was shelled and relegated to the Japanese minor leagues. But he got another shot back in the U.S. when the Brewers made him a nonroster invite to camp in 2010.

Loe actually started for two months in Class AAA and compiled a 4-3 record a 3.16 ERA in 10 outings.

“I was going pretty deep into games,” he said.

But the Brewers needed bullpen help and called Loe up. He held opponents to a 2.78 ERA over 56 outings in his first big-league stint in three years.

He’s stayed in the majors as a reliever ever since, picking up some new pets along the way. He found a tarantula in the backyard of his Scottsdale, Ariz., home last October.

“I kept him for 10 days but he wasn’t eating, so I had to let him go,” he said.

For now, it’s just his bulldog, Roxy, living with him and his wife, Nikki, and daughter, Ayla.

Loe says his pets have always been gentle. But the huge mixed martial arts fan looks like he could handle some animals gone wild, spending his spare time practicing Muy Thai kickboxing.

“I just know how quick and how balanced those martial artists are,” he said. “And if I could translate any of that into my pitching, I thought it would be a good idea.”

He’ll need it to translate better than it did in the final month of last season. But if Loe can show the Mariners something this spring, they’ll likely choose to see a lot more.

I think this is a tough move for Kameron considering he will be playing against the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim all the time in that tough division. I think playing in big Safeco Field is going to help him keep the ball in the yard but he needs to develop that change-up a lot more this spring training to garnish more strikeouts and ground balls. He had success in the American League when he was a starter for Texas and he is a proven veteran with over six years of MLB experience, so he should earn a roster spot out of camp. I think he can be a great seventh inning guy in Seattle because they don’t score a lot of runs and rely on their bullpen in one run games. Let’s hope Kameron gets back to 2011 form and comes into camp healthy and ready to compete at a high level…

Donnie Dwyer CBS 58 Broadcast 4-2-12

April 3, 2012

CBS 58 Sports Intern Donnie Dwyer covers the highlights from Brewers Spring Training, Bucks win against the Wizards, the Admirals hockey brawl, and the Masters look ahead on our station. Check it out, it’s a good one.

Johan Santana has proved he is ready for Opening Day with the Mets

April 2, 2012

It’s that time of year baseball fans, Opening Day. Just gotta love the smell of hot dogs, beer, and EXCITEMENT. Well in this case if you are a New York Mets fans. The Mets have been known as a franchise on the decline ever since they moved into their new stadium Citi Field in 2009. This year for the Mets will be a new year of excitement because of the youth but especially the return of Johan Santana, the ace of the New York Mets and potential CY Young candidate ever single year.

After throwing an intensive bullpen session Saturday, Santana told Collins: “You’ve got your pitcher for Thursday.” Still, Collins waited until a Sunday morning meeting with pitchers to affirm the rotation order.

R.A. Dickey will start Game 2, followed by Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee.

Santana has thrown no more than 88 pitches in any Grapefruit League game, and Collins said the southpaw likely would not exceed 95 pitches in April. At least six of Santana’s first seven starts will be on an extra day of rest because of team off-days.

“It means everything that we have done since I had my surgery, all the way to today, has been paid off,” Santana said. “We worked hard. And I’m very happy. I’m very happy that I have an opportunity to start the season from Day 1 with the team.”

Now that the pitching is getting some depth. The keys to that rotation in case of injury will be Miguel Batista, who is listed as the long  reliever, on the opening day roster and Chris Young who just signed a minor league deal with the Mets a few weeks ago. Last year, Young went 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 4 starts for the Mets against big teams including the Phillies. If he can get back to last years form, the Mets might have a shot at the Wild Card this season.

Overall, I really like what the Mets have this season and I think Johan Santana will pitch 200 innings and he will win 15 games this season. You may be saying to yourself,  this kid is crazy??? Well, the reason is because Johan has changed his delivery. He will be using more of his shoulder than his elbow this year with a more upright stance. While that may lose a lot of velocity, it also gives him a chance to use a lot of other pitches and make that change up even better. Not only that, but when Terry Collins said Johan’s shoulder is pure muscle when camp started, I believed him.

This year is a new year for Santana and he is adjusting to his new pitching style. Trust me, he won’t strike out 10 batters a game but he will pitch 8 innings and strike out 3 while keeping that pitch count low. As you get older you learn that pitch count is more important than the actual pitches. He will get a lot more groundballs and he will work early into the counts. Trust me folks, Johan is fine and this year is a big year for him. It all starts with April 5th in Queens. Let’s make the magic happen. You’ve gotta believe!

Fausto who? Leo who? MLB will look into bans for ID cases

April 2, 2012

Once Juan Oviedo and Roberto Hernandez — the pitchers formerly known as Leo Nunez and Fausto Carmona, respectively — receive visas allowing them to return to the United States and continue their careers, each likely will be suspended by Major League Baseball for up to six weeks, sources familiar with the cases told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.

The suspensions for Oviedo, a Miami Marlins reliever, and Hernandez, a Cleveland Indians starter, are believed to be part of negotiations between the U.S. State Department and MLB.

Both pitchers have remained in limbo in their native Dominican Republic since it was discovered that each used a false identity and false age when they signed more than a decade ago.

Once the players are allowed to return, they would be allowed to participate during their suspensions at the respective extended spring training facilities of their big league clubs — Oviedo at the Marlins’ facility in Jupiter, Fla., and Hernandez at the Indians’ facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

The players have been volunteering their time in the Dominican, doing community work with young prospects and imploring them not to take the same route they did when they falsely used others’ identities.

This is insane because now I don’t recognize these players at all without their old names.  I don’t know about you out there reading, but this is pretty freaky. I am not going to lie, I think it is good that the MLB locks down on this policy but I think they are enforcing it way to hard. What is going to be next, let’s look into every single international baseball players age. Livan and Orlando Hernandez are 50 years old now? I don’t know if it is a great idea. But all I know is that recognizing these players will be weird from now on. I have decided I will call myself Nate Trotini if I could make up a name. No one would know, except my mom…

Good News for Mets fans, David Wright is back on the field and feels good

March 22, 2012

Via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com:

(Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)

For the first time since getting shut down with an abdominal strain and receiving a cortisone shot, David Wright took batting practice outdoors with teammates Thursday. Wright looked very comfortable, which a scout watching from the stands also observed.

“I thought Wright’s swing was really good,” the scout said. “Quick and compact. Drove ball. Made good sound. I would feel encouraged. That’s the best sound I heard anybody make on either team.”

Said Wright: “I’ve been in the cage for a little bit of time now. Today was the next step in going on the field, because it’s a little more energy. You exert a little more. I felt good and am headed in the right direction. I did a full day with the guys. I need to probably do that for a few more days. At least in my eyes, this was kind of like the first day for me of spring training of going through everything from stretch to the conditioning.”

Wright is even making full throws across the diamond.

“I feel about as good as I’d feel, I guess, picking up a bat for the first time in a few weeks,” Wright said. “Hopefully it gets better from here result-wise. But just being out there and being able to go through a full day and a full round of batting practice and not feeling anything, that’s pretty good.”

This is good news for the Mets. If they want to be the underdogs this season, they are going to need #5 to produce this season. I also like how his confidence is already being raised after the Citi Field renovations are finishing up. I am glad to hear he is back on the field and I think he could be the key to the Mets winning this season. Without Reyes, Wright has to be better than good. He has to be right…

“You just got punked! Twitter style…”

March 19, 2012

 

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli didn’t find what was supposed to be a joke by former teammate C.J. Wilson, tweeting his cell phone number over the weekend, to be all that funny.

Now with the Los Angeles Angels, Wilson tweeted Napoli’s number to more than 116,000 of his followers this weekend. The tweet has since been deleted, but Wilson’s timeline is filled with mentions of the incident, and he reportedly received a number of calls and texts.

This all started when Napoli put on twitter that he was looking forward to hitting home runs off the left-hander.  CJ Wilson wanted his revenge.

After posting the number, Wilson later tweeted: “Okay I think we’ve all had a good time, I’m even with mike for saying he can’t wait to hit homers off me.”

Napoli said he can’t do anything about what Wilson did, nor will he retaliate.

“I don’t know what he’s doing or what his meaning was behind it,” Napoli said Monday. “He really doesn’t know me that well to kind of do that. I haven’t talked to him in a while.”

If Wilson was upset, Napoli said the Angels pitcher should’ve just called him rather than getting back at him via social media.

“If I have a problem with somebody, I’m going to call them,” Napoli told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I just think it was uncalled for. …

“You don’t do that. I am not taking it as a prank.”

I love it when athletes use twitter but not in the way these two players used it. I get the rivalry and the fun behind it but come April, I think we will see Napoli hit in the back with a pitch when these two teams meet. I am actually excited to see what evolves of this. Will this be a season long battle or just some fun between former players getting into the others head? I mean, these two were one game away from a World Series title and look at them now. All they care about is making fun of each other rather than actually getting to the bottom line. These players need to produce on the field in baseball games and not in the locker room with the internet. The internet is a great tool, but it could bite you in the butt when you don’t use it correctly…