Posted tagged ‘MLB’

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

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

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)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

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.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

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)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

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.

Kameron Loe signs minor league deal with San Francisco Giants

January 14, 2014
(Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

(Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

Kameron Loe had a rough year bouncing around from city to city last year and is looking for a change as he signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and hopes to make the team out of camp.

The 32 year old right hander posted a 7.09 ERA with 5.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 50.5 percent ground-ball rate in 26 2/3 innings for the Mariners, Cubs and Braves last season. His homer-to-flyball ratio was 34.4 percent due to 11 homers given up in 26 2/3 frames. Loe’s career mark is just 13 percent in that category, and the league average was 10.5 percent, suggesting he’s due for some improved luck in that department. Loe has shown he can pitch in the majors, as he posted a 3.61 ERA in 229 1/3 innings from 2008-12 with the Rangers and Brewers.

The Giants pitching has always been their strength in the NL and the bullpen has always been above average each year. The organization knows how to mix pieces together in order to win World Series championships over the past 5 years. Let’s hope Kameron and his sinker can be added to that pen in 2014.

kameron loe tweet

Prince Fielder introduced by Texas Rangers, chooses #84 as his jersey number

December 2, 2013
(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

This week, new Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder was introduced to the media after a blockbuster trade that sent second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers.

With his new team also comes a new jersey number. Fielder will wear No. 84 with the Rangers, not the No. 28 he had worn through his 1,322 career games with Milwaukee (2005-11) and Detroit (2012-13).

“It’s a new start I guess, and 84 is the year I was born. It’s just fresh,” Prince said. “I think it works.”

That also happens to be the last year the Tigers won the World Series.

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

(AP Photo/Richard Rodriguez)

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels believes that Fielder is ready for a new beginning and can help the Rangers score runs more consistently.

“A guy of his magnitude, a perennial MVP candidate and one of the top power hitters in the game, isn’t available if he’s coming off a career year,” Daniels said. “Based on the work we’ve done and our reports on him, we’re confident there’s a lot more in the tank.”

Prince is confident, and he’s excited to get going.

“I just want to play,” Fielder said. “Right field is very nice for me, so I’m definitely going to look into that. I’m happy to be here. I just want to play hard and win some games.”

I am a jersey fanatic and I think that having the #84 in baseball is a ridiculous number. In baseball, only players from the minor leagues wear that high of a number during spring training games because the rosters are very large and the players are not guaranteed a major league roster spot. The last #84 I could think of is former Giants and Angels first baseman J.T. Snow. He wore #84 in 2006 for the Boston Red Sox in honor of his father Jack, a former NFL player.  As for the all star’s new start in Ranger blue, Prince will be at a place where he can find the power in his swing. That little league park in Arlington is going to help the slugger produce some big numbers and I expect the big fella to have success deep in the heart of Texas…

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.

Photo of the Week: Mariano Stands Center Stage

July 18, 2013

Via New York Times:

ALLSTAR1-sfSpan-v2

Mariano Rivera took center stage in the All Star game and produced a 1-2-3 8th inning for the American League. What made the inning special was the long standing ovation by the crowd and both dugouts during his warm up pitches. The whole scene just gave me and probably most of America goosebumps after such a great display of respect for a remarkable person and player. We may never see “Enter Sandman” enter that stage ever again so it was good to see the best closer in baseball history go off as MVP…

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…

Texas Rangers bolster pitching rotation by adding Roy Oswalt

May 29, 2012

Free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt has signed with the Texas Rangers.

The sources said that if Oswalt is called up by July 1, he gets $8 million pro-rated — 4 million in his pocket. He can also earn an extra $1 million in incentives if he makes 10 starts.

Oswalt, who had previously auditioned for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and the Rangers, had given teams indications that Texas was his destination of choice. He has a close relationship with club president Nolan Ryan, and he apparently likes the thought of pitching for a contending team that’s close to his Mississippi home.

Oswalt, 34, has a career record of 159-93 in 11 seasons with Houston and Philadelphia. He is a three-time All-Star who has finished among the top five in National League Cy Young Award balloting five times in his career.

After waiting until spring training and failing to land a job to his satisfaction, Oswalt told major league clubs in late February that he planned to wait until midseason to return.

This is a big move by the Rangers. Their main problem this season has been the rotation and by adding the veteran Oswalt, it gives them much-needed depth. The amount of money they spent on him is a little pricy but this reminds me of the same deal the Phillies made with Pedro Martinez back in 2009. Martinez became a big part of the Phils run in October bringing them all the way to the World Series and staying healthy to last through two months. If the Rangers want to win, they need to pitch. It is as simple as that baseball fans and Oswalt provides that stability to try for a ring three years in a row…