Showing posts with label 2009 Spring Training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2009 Spring Training. Show all posts

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Comic

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Comic: Mid-Series Update


















Sunday, March 29, 2009

2009 Yanks- Rays- Sox Comparison

This is it, I actually finished this series of posts and I`m a little shocked at myself. After the teams name I posted how many times they finished in each category. For example, if a team was first at a position 3 times, second 5 times, and third 10 times it would read 3-5-10. Then I made up an extremely unscientific point system in which each 1st place is worth two points, 2nd place is worth 1 point, and 3rd place is worth no points. That isn't the end all-be all though. Get ready for a long post guys.

Yankees- 7-5-3- 24 points- For once the Yankees are coming off a year in which they didn't make the playoffs and, hopefully, they`ll be a better, hungrier team for it. They seem to have been waiting for this great free agent class for a while and they definitely capitalised on it. They went from a team that clearly had the worst rotation in the division to probably having the best. They didn't sell the farm either. Hughes, Aceves, and Kennedy are still all with the team and ready to fill in when someone (coughcoughBurnettcoughcough) gets hurt. They also shored up an aging offense with Mark Texiera. Nick Swisher gives them some solid depth as well. The defense is looking much better this year. Still below average but better. The bullpen looks to be strong as well with some promising young arms. Right now this team looks like a juggernaut. The key player will, of course, be Alex Rodriguez. The sooner he recovers from surgery, the better. They also have the added bonus of a great manager. Joe Girardi's bullpen management was a welcome change from the Torre years. The only worry I have is injuries. In particular, Posada. Right now, they look like they can get back into the playoffs though.

Red Sox- 4-5-6- 18 points- Boston is the closest thing baseball has to a dynasty. I hate to admit it but they're probably the best run team in baseball. They have a group of committed owners who are actually willing to spend money without micro managing (coughSteinbrennercoughcough). They also have a smart front office led by Epstein. They have a strong core of young players like Youkillis, Beckett, and Papelbon so they didn't need to make major changes this offseason. Instead, they bought low on a few risky players for depth. The Manny trade also looks pretty good right now. Jason Bay is a younger, cheaper, comparable player. However, as new players step in, the old guard is leaving. Manny, as I mentioned before, is long gone, Schilling is finally gone for good, Varitek almost left in the offseason, and Ortiz's best years are behind him. Their pitching is very deep and if John Smoltz can regain his form of a year or two ago then it gives them a very scary rotation. On offense, their aren't many stars but everybody is a good solid hitter. All in all, this is a really good team and a serious contender for another World Series victory.

Rays- 4-5-6- 18 points- For years the Rays have seemed like a team almost ready to break through. Last year they finally got the pitching they desperately needed and they had an incredible run. They ran away with the division, won the pennant, and forced me to add a third team to this comparison series. Now they're a year older and, as a young team, a year better. Their farm is still stacked though. Guys like David Price will spend their first full year in the ML's and make major contributions. The veteran bat of Pat Burrell was also a nice free agent acquistion that went largely unnoticed. They have very few guys that are household names. However, they have a strong young core who are going to be major threats to both the Yanks and Sox for the next few years, until they become to expensive. The front of that rotation is killer and they have some stud hitters. However, their are some causes for concern. I believe they overachieved last year and will come back down to earth. The bullpen is also a problem they should have adressed this winter. Like the other two teams they could easily win the World Series or not even make the playoffs.

Final Conclusion- Yankees- Red Sox- Rays- I started these posts way back in the middle of January. Back then I had the Rays first, Yanks second, and Red Sox last. However, after looking at things carefully I've changed my mind. The three of them were ridiculously close before they signed Texiera. However, after that the Yankees pulled ahead a bit in my mind. It seems like most projection systems agree with me to. They have the best pitching, the best offense, and nearly the best bullpen. Even with A-Rod out, I`m pretty confident right now as a Yankee fan (please don't let that be a jinx). Who takes second in the division is a tougher call. I went with Boston because of their better bullpen and incredible pitching depth. If a few key players break out on the Rays though it could swing things the other way. It'll also be interesting to see if the Wild Card will come out of the East. The division is incredibly competitive so the three teams will beat up on each other a bit. The Athletics seem to be gearing up for a run this year and I never like to count out Billy Beane. Pretty much any of the Central teams could make a run as well, other than the Royals. This series was a lot of fun/work and I hope you guys enjoyed, thanks for reading.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bullpens

I went back and it turns out that I did the the third starters after all so I just need to make this post and one last post to sum it all up

Yankees- Mariano Rivera is one of a very exclusive group of relievers who manage to stay incredibly dominant for more than just a couple years. He seems to be recovering on schedule from his shoulder injury and will be ready by Opening Day baring any setbacks. He is getting older though and you have to wonder how many years he has left. The guy expected to fill the 8th inning role is Damaso Marte. He, like most relievers, has been very inconsistent over the years. All in all he's been a good setup man and the fact that he's left-handed doesn't hurt. His contract was probably a bad idea but they could've done worse. Behind these two is a long list of potential middle relievers/setup men. To list them all would be pointless but you have to think that a handful of them will stick in the major leagues. The wild card here is Mark Melancon. If he keeps dominating AAA then he'll be up in no time. The Yanks bullpen won't be a concern unless Rivera falls off a cliff.

Red Sox- Boston also seems to have found a top knotch closer in Jonathan Papelbon (who is a prime contender to replace Curt Schilling as the biggest A-hole in baseball). He made the switch from the rotation back in 2005 and he hasn't looked back since. His numbers the past three years have been very close to Rivera's and he's much younger. So, this may be the year he claims the title of best closer in the AL East. Hideki Okajima was also a great find by Theo Epstein. It gives them a formidable combination at the end of games that rivals the Yankees. . Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen are also promising. However, after that things thin out. Justin Masterson and Javy Lopez don't really inspire much confidence and Takashi Saito could be a stroke of brilliance or a disaster. If he can recover from his injury well then they have a devestating combination at the end of the game. However, the odds are against that. All in all, another great bullpen.

Rays- I hate to admit it but before this post, I knew absolutely nothing about the Rays bullpen. Thats kind of because they flat out suck. Troy Percivical, their closer, has very rarely been great and last year he was awful. On the Yankees or Red Sox he might not make the cut. At first glance, Dan Wheeler provides a glimmer of hope. However, his DIPS stats have been in decline for the past few years and are largely uninspiring. Not terrible, but not great either. After that, things get better. J. P. Howell and Grant Balfour seem promising. However, the bullpen just isn't on the same level as the Yanks and Sox.

Conclusion- Red Sox- Yankees- Rays- The Yanks and Sox are really close on this one. However, I went with Boston mainly because I have more faith in Papelbon than Rivera at this stage in their careers. On the other hand, if anything ever happed to Rivera, Joba might join the bullpen and fill the hole. Boston also has the tremendous potential of Takashi Saito. I won't argue with anyone who put the Yankees first here though. The Rays are clearly trailing the pack here. Of course, bullpens are extremely volatile and I questioned whether I wanted to make a post like this at all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rightfield

I have to double check but I think this is the last position for this series. Then I have to go back and do the 3rd starters, a post for the bullpen, and an overview of the teams in general.

Yankees- Xavier Nady/Nick Swisher- To me its obvious that Nick Swisher deserves the starting job here. He's simply better in all facets of the game. However, it looks like the Yanks will go with Nady in order to justify giving up Jose Tabata. Not that you won't see a lot of Swisher, of course. Both of them are solid players though. Swisher is a borderline star player who is a well above average corner outfielder and a great hitter (usually an EQA around .300). Nady is also a solid player though. His defense isn't bad, he's generally been around average in rightifield. He's also a decent hitter. Other than last year he's consistently hit around a .270 EQA.

Red Sox- J. D. Drew- Boston got a lot of criticism when they signed Drew to a big contract a few years ago. So far, its been a mixed bag with Drew. On one hand, he's flashed incredible potential. His glove is definitely a plus and nobody doubt his ability to crush the ball. However, his weakness has always been his injuries. He's been plagued with them and it really kills his value. He already has had back and hand problems this spring and they're definitely going to need a good fill-in. When they traded away Coco Crisp they lost that.


Rays- Gabe Gross- Gross is one of the weaker players on the Rays. Nothing about him seems to really stand out. He was decent with the bat after being acquired by the Rays. However, not much more than that. He's never really been a full-time starter until last year and its obvious why. Luckily for him, he seems like a very good fielder. From what I've read he seems good and his numbers are also great. He's not a terrible player but his bat is weak for a rightfielder.

Conclusion- Yankees- Red Sox- Rays- I went with the Yankees first here on the guess that they'll end up with Swisher starting by the end of the year. Drew's injury risk hurts his value a lot and Gross really isn't in the same league as the other two. If Nady's career year turs out to be the start of a new trend then that'd be fantastic and gives the Yankees and even bigger edge.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Centerfield

All three teams have young guys here and the Yankees could very well go with somebody different from who I put here. However, I think that Brett is the best option and will get the Opening Day start.

Yankees- Brett Gardner- It looks like Brett has won the job with his superior defense and speed. He's also hit much better than Melky this spring. I`m not expecting great things out of Gardner though. I very much doubt he'll ever be much more than a borderline starter. With his speed and defense though, if he can get on base at a decent clip he'll be a solid player for them. If he doesn't hit watch for Swisher or Damon to take his place.

Red Sox- Jacoby Ellsbury- I'm not a prospect expert but the consensus seems to be that Ellsbury is a much better prospect than Gardner. Boston was confident enough in his abilities to trade away Coco Crisp for a reliever. Last year was his first full year in the majors and he hit fairly well. An EQA of .264 is fine for a guy who's defense is outstanding and can steal at the rate he can. He also is a candidate to get better at only 24 years old.

Rays- B. J. Upton- Upton is one of the best young players in the game. However, he's often overshadowed by the other young guys on the Rays. He's far and away the best hitting centerfielder in the AL East. He put up an EQA of .312 two years ago and last year it was .291. Not only that but he's a solidly above average fielder. He's not quite as good as Ellsbury or Gardner but he's still good. Another scary guy who could still get better on the Rays.

Conclusion- Rays- Red Sox- Yankees- This one was pretty easy for me. Upton is already a star and hasn't even hit his peak years yet. He's the total package. I pretty much went with Ellsbury over Gardner based on their reputations. Gardner is an interesting player though. His style of play is exciting and if he can get on base he's going to be an exciting player.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Do or Die Time for Hughes?

A lot of Yankees fans have already given up on the player who was once the number one pitching prospect in baseball. Personally, I think that's a little ridiculous and I didn't think he was ready last year. Now he won't even crack the starting five. However, he's bound to get a chance later in the year. The list of players who failed in their first two years in the major leagues and went on to success is considerably shorter. If Hughes has another bad year will he ever become an anchor for the Yankees in the rotation?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cano and Marte Okay

They`re going to miss a few days but that's it. Cano should be back Friday and Marte is day to day. My intial reaction was an overreaction I guess.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cano and Marte

The two them will get MRI's today and we should find out the seerity of the injury. So far they cound minor but I really don't trust anything the Yanks say about injuries anymore.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Leftfield

Yankees- Johnny Damon- Damon was originally signed to be a centerfielder and its dissapointing he can't handle that position anymore. However, he's become one of the best defensive left-fielders in baseball. He does have a pitifully awful arm. However, his range is very good for a leftfielder. His bat has also showed little signs of decline. His EQA last year was the best in his career and its really surprising to see a guy who almost quit a couple years ago to still be playing as well as he does. Next year is his contract year and he's a Boras client. With a good year, you need to seriously consider re-signing the (then) 35 year old Damon.

Red Sox- Jason Bay- Its almost a relief to not have to type Manny Ramirez's name here. Almost but not quite. Unfortunately, they replaced him with a younger, cheaper and, at this point, close to equivalent player. Bay is clearly not a good fielder. Over the past two years, he's cost his team over 30 runs according to UZR. However, like his predecessor, he can hit. Aside from his awful 2007 he has consistently put up great numbers. He's also shown he can handle the pressure of Boston. They have an excellent player in Bay.

Tampa Bay- Carl Crawford- Crawford was one of the rare bright spots on the pre 2008 team. His speed made him an exciting player. However, don't mistake him for Juan Pierre as he can actually hit the ball. 2008 was not a good year for him though statistically. His stats declined across the board from the previous year. He posted an EQA in the .270's for the first time since 2004 when he was just 22. He made up by upping his fielding and it looks like an outlier to me. Established stars rarely hit their decline at 26.

Conclusion- Red Sox- Yankees- Rays- This one was especially tough. All three of these guys are good players but fall short of being superstars. In one draft of this post I had the exact reverse of what I have now. Bay is a fantastic hitter but his fielding has slipped a little. Now that he's with an actually competitive team, he may be motivated to improve his fielding which has slipped in recent years. Its hard to bet against a Boras guy heading into a contract year coming off the best year of his career at the plate though. So, Damon gets second. I went with Crawford at the back end on the off-chance that his 2008 wasn't just a fluke. In 2007 his BABIP was ridiculously high which helped to hide another down year in 2007. Honestly, this one was extremely close.

Alan Horne on the way Back

Theirs a nice article on the former top prospect over at New Stadium Insider. Give it a read.

Cano and Marte Hurting

The Yankees are notorious for disliking the World Baseball Classic and now they have more fuel to add to that fire with Cano and Marte returning with injuries. They sound minor but so did A-Rod's. More on this later.

Sorry Guys

for the complete lack of posts whatsoever lately. I just haven't had the time for things like this lately. Things will hopefully clear up soon and I`ll try to compensate.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Never Trust Brian Cashman

Cash has a bit of a reputation for dishonesty and I`m not buying it when he says the Yankees aren't looking to replace A-Rod. Hours after Cash made those comments we're hearing about possible interest in Mark Lorretta

Kei Igawa

What is up with Kei Igawa? He just dominates inferior hitters but when he touches the ML level he gets hammered. He's doing very well in Spring Training though. Is it time to give him another chance? In the bullpen at least.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reds at Yankees (Spring Game 14)

YANKEES
  1. Gardner CF
  2. Damon LF
  3. Nady RF
  4. Matsui DH
  5. Ransom 3B
  6. Molina C
  7. Miranda 1B
  8. Berroa SS
  9. Pena 2B
Pitching: Joba Chamberlain followed by Kei Igawa, Christian Garcia, Phil Coke, Mike Dunn and Anthony Claggett.

REDS
  1. Dickerson CF
  2. Gonzalez SS
  3. Bruce RF
  4. Phillips 2B
  5. Barker 1B
  6. Encarnacion 3B
  7. Nix LF
  8. Hanigan C
  9. Bankston DH
Pitching: Nick Masset.

Joba looked good today!

Monday, March 9, 2009

News and Notes

  • Cory Lidle's family is suing the plane manufactures for a cool 45 million
  • No Surprises in A-Rod's surgery.
  • Pettitte looked good in his spring debut; though the Yankees lost to the Jays 6-2
  • Brett Gardner is ripping it up.
  • The Yankees offensive projections are looking very good:
    1. Best lineup: 5.72 runs per game
    2. Probable lineup: 5.64 runs per game
    3. Worst lineup: 5.42 runs per game
    4. Regressed lineup: 5.05 runs per game

    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    Yankees at Tigers (Spring Training Game 12)

    YANKEES
    1. Cabrera CF
    2. Damon LF
    3. Swisher 1B
    4. Matsui DH
    5. Nady RF
    6. Ransom 3B
    7. Molina C
    8. Berroa SS
    9. Bernier 2B
    Pitching today: A.J. Burnett followed by Phil Hughes, Brian Bruney, Andrew Brackman and Mark Melancon.

    TIGERS
    1. Everett SS
    2. Polanco 2B
    3. Sheffield DH
    4. Thames LF
    5. Larish 1B
    6. Clevlen CF
    7. Laird C
    8. Inge 3B
    9. Gomez RF
    Pitching today: Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Fernando Rodney.

    A-Rod to get surgery

    Seconds after I made my last post I saw this at RAB. What's interesting is that it says he'd only be out for 6-9 weeks. Which probably means something closer to 10. Take it with a grain of salt but if its true then that's very good.

    EDIT: Pete Abe actually broke this story so I guess its legit.

    Surgery or Rest?

    The question dominating Yankeeland right now is whether Alex Rodriguez should opt for surgery or just try rest and recovery. This reminds me of a similar question last year with regards to Jorge Posada. I`m leaning towards the surgery option. Missing A-Rod for four months is going to hurt, no doubt about it. However, theirs a few reasons why I'd go for that
    1. When he comes back in July he'll be at full strength. The rest/rehab option won't solve the problem, it'll just lessen it. He'll still have it as a nagging injury and won't hit the way we need him to.
    2. He's a long term investment. A-Rod has to be good for a very long time to justify his crazy contract. He spent some time on the DL last year as well and they can't take many risks with him. They should just take of the problem right away and put it behind them.
    3. They have other options. They were already considering trading Nady or Swisher. Now, they actually have a need at third base to be filled.
    4. Rest/rehab might fail. Like with Posada, do you really want to see him play through the pain for a while, only to have him get the surgery anyway?