Saturday, July 16, 2005

Red Sox and Yankees on Fox

The Fox pregame for the Red Sox and the Yankees really makes this game feel like an event. When the Red Sox and the Yankees play, it's always a big game atmosphere but today feels especially like a Big Event. Kudos for Fox for promoting that feel.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mr. 3,000

Raffy just picked up his 3,000 hit. A one out RBI ( double (13th all time in doubles) down the left field line - vcrsus Joel Pinerio. Joining Aaron, Robinson and Mays in the 500 - 3,000 club.

Next Stop: 3,000 Hits, 600 HR's.


The Nat's just took a loss due to a balk call. The call was terriable - the common balks are:
1) Pitcher deliever doesn't stop.
2) He breaks the "plane"over the rubber.
3) The pitchers body is moving towards the plate.

Anyway it was 1st and third one out bottom of the 10th. Weeks on first, Stanton on the mound and Overbay at the plate.

Stanton has Weeks picked clean... and BOOM... balk and game.

Clutch Carlos!

Just took my man Livian deep to tie the game at 3, after 8 full innings. Now Derek Turnbow is in for the Brewers. If the Expos can hold on for another inning or 2, I think they can win the battle of bullpen attrition as the Expos pen is deeper than the Brewers, but Turnbow might be the toughest guy out of either teams pen.

2004 Rauseo Awards

Surprise Team (the good): St. Louis - how often is a 100 win team a suprise? Well if you read the season previews you would understand.
Surprise Team (the bad): Kansas City - above .500 one year to .358 the next.
More of the same: Yankees

Best team: Cardinals
Best team to watch: Rangers

AL CY Young: Johan Santana
AL MVP: Ichiro Suzuki
AL ROY: Lew Ford
AL Manager of the Year: Tito Francona - sticking with Millar as long as you did got my vote.
AL Breakout player of the year: Johan Santana
AL All Nine C: Ivan Rodriguez
AL All Nine 1b: Mark Teixeira
AL All Nine 2b: Alfonso Soriano
AL All Nine SS: Carlos Guillen
AL All Nine 3b: Melvin Mora
AL All Nine LF: Manny Ramirez
AL All Nine CF: Mark Kotsay
AL All Nine RF: Ichiro Sukuzi

NL CY Young: Carlos Zambrano
NL MVP: Barry Bonds
NL ROY: Khalil Greene
NL MOY: Tony LaRussa
NL Breakout player of the year: Ben Sheets
NL All Nine C: Jason Kendall
NL All Nine 1b: Albert Pujols
NL All Nine 2b: Mark Loretta
NL All Nine SS: Jimmy Rollins
NL All Nine 3b: Adrian Beltre
NL All Nine LF: Barry Bonds
NL All Nine CF: Jim Edmonds
NL All Nine RF: Lance Berkman

Nats and the Brew Crew

With the Sox Yankees game out of reach early I've had a chance to flip over to the Nats - Brewers game to watch what I thought looked on paper to be the game of the day.

Livian Hernandez, the most underrated player in baseball, who has been one of the best starters in the NL 3 years in a row versus Ben Sheets who has unbelievably the 4th best pitcher on the Brewers thus far.

Anyway the game has lived up to my expectations half way through, but I feel the need to mention that every time I see Rickie Weeks play a full game all I see is superstar - ability just seeps out of his pores.

BTW: Brady Clark has 118 hits, second in the National League. Talk about something I wouldn't have bet on, given 50-1 odds.

CIN: Ryan Wager to the DL - Keisler activated from the DL

I'm not sure the last time a pitcher disappointed me as much as Ryan Wagner. I really expected great things from him. Instead he has been terrible - I thought as a 20 year old he was going to be an ace reliever. That was now 3 years ago and he hasn't pitched as well as he did the year he was drafted.

Keisler is AAA jetsam. Has had a pretty good minor career for himself, but hasn't been able to translate it to the major league level. In fact his drum has been beaten to the tune of a 7+ era over parts of 3 years.

CHC: Greenberg to the DL - Grieve Recalled

Adam Greenberg appeared in one game, and an OBP or - with no hits and no walks. I'd guess that’s a hit by pitch. Anyway for those who aren't familiar with Greenberg he's a slap hitting CF'er the word pesky comes to mind. The Cubs seem to be pretty high on him because he moved very fast through the system in 2004. He's smart player, takes a walk good percentage base stealer, and can motor. The Scouting report I say he's a bit of a ball hawk in center. Not sure if he will develop enough power or hit for a high enough average to be a regular, but certainly has enough play to be a 4th outfielder in the Orlando Palmerio mode. Of course that won't happen with Baker at the helm, as Greenberg is only 24.

Grieve will likely get some playing time in left because he's a veteran and not all that good. For those who think Grieve might not be done, remember his fielding and base running would make a manager lust after Kevin Millar. And he hit .250 in AAA... though in all honesty with nice power and nice walk numbers.

Mid Season Rauseo Awards

Surprise Team (the good): White Sox
Surprise Team (the bad): The Dodgers
More of the same: The Twins

Best team: The Cards
Best team to watch: The Nationals

AL CY Young: Roy Halladay
AL MVP: Brian Roberts
AL ROY: Huston Street
AL Manager of the Year: Ozzie Guillen
AL Breakout player of the year: Chris Young
AL All Nine C: Jason Varitek
AL All Nine 1b: Mark Teixeira
AL All Nine 2b: Brian Roberts
AL All Nine SS: Miguel Tejada
AL All Nine 3b: Alex Rodriguez
AL All Nine LF: Hideki Matsui
AL All Nine CF: Johnny Damon
AL All Nine RF: Vladimir Guerrero
AL Player Most needed to be Free'd! Roberto Petegine

NL CY Young: Roger Clemens
NL MVP: Derek Lee
NL ROY: Clint Barmes
NL MOY: Frank Robinson
NL Breakout player of the year: Felipe Lopez
NL All Nine C: Jason Larue
NL All Nine 1b: Derek Lee
NL All Nine 2b: Marcus Giles
NL All Nine SS: Felipe Lopez
NL All Nine 3b: Aramis Ramirez
NL All Nine LF: Miguel Cabrera
NL All Nine CF: Andruw Jones
NL All Nine RF: Bobby Abreu
NL Player Most needed to be Free'd! Austin Kearns

Rich Harden - Throws Smoke

Rich Harden threw the best game of his brief MLB career last night with a complete game shutout versus the Rangers. He struck out 8, allowed 2 hits and walked none.

A brilliant start by a pitcher with a brilliant future, that is if he can stay healthy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hornsby Tale:

While in Cooperstown this week working on my latest research project, I stumbled across a very interesting Rogers Hornsby story, which I thought I would share.

The Rajah made his debut in September of 1915, at the ripe old age of 19, while tipping the scales at a whopping 135 lbs. He appeared in 18 games that September playing his natural SS position. While at the plate, he was swinging a Fred Clarke (a prodigious slugger from the turn of the centaury who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945) model bat, which was notorious at the time for both its size and weight. At manager Miller Huggins suggestion, Rajah choked up “almost to the trade mark”, to help him get the club around on “the hard ones”, compensating for his slight build.

As the season wrapped up the Huggins took Hornsby aside, and expressed his concern about Hornsby slight build, informing him that he would have to “farm him out next year on account of your size.”

According to Rajah, he really though that Huggins was going to send him to an actual farm next season. No one ever accused Rajah of being the brightest build in the plant, but he certainly was determined to make his mark. Trying to beat the manager to the punch he spent the off-season at an aunt and uncles farm where he “just about ate them out of house and home”. He worked hard around the farm, and when he reported for camp the next year, he weighted in 35 pounds heavier, a solid 160 lbs.

You heard it hear first, the steroids of the day where fried chicken, biscuits and milk.

On a serious note, I did find independent confirmation that Horsnby was 35 pounds heavier in 1916, compared with 1915.

A-Rod on Big Papi

"He went from being a good ball player to great ball player faster than anyone I have ever seen".

Of course the RedSox newest closer, Curt Schilling gave up a 2 run dong to A-rod to loose the opening game of the second half. I' ve seen the new closer... same as the old closer.

NYY: Chien-Ming Wang to the DL Tim Redding to the Bronx

Tiger Wang isn't as good a pitcher, as he has looked so far. Make no mistake though, he has pitched like a champ. It's a shame that the couldn't stay healthy, but it's not a huge surprise as he has had injury problems throughout his pro career.

The Yanks will use Tim Redding until Pavano comes off the DL, and likely Sturtze until Brown comes back. The Yankees have traditionally done a piss poor job of outing together organizational depth - and this year it has really came back to bite them. When you build your rotation on injury prone starters you need AAA depth, the Yankees don't have it.

FLA: Governor AL gets DFA’d

Another victim in the year of the DFA. With the emergence of Scott Olsen the Marlins decided to stop wasting innings on the Washed up future Governor of New York.

It looks like the Marlins will use Lieutenant Frank Castillo as their number 5, until Becket comes back.

Leiter more than deserved the short shift here as he has nothing left, and probably should call it a career before he does something that he regrets like going to pitch for the Yankees and ruining his chances of a political career later in life. Of course he'll be in NYC before August - carve it in stone.

TEX: Juan Dominguez to AAA: Ramirez to MLB

I don't really know what the Rangers are doing with their pitching staff. I can't even remotely fathom what they are trying to do. We know this - Kenny Rogers and Chris Young are carrying the rotation and Frankie Cordero is carrying the pen. After that I sure don't get what they are trying to do. They have tried to slip their best pitcher last season through waiver in Ryan Drese only to have him picked up by a first place team, and instantly turn his season around. A legit third starter would go along way to the Rangers playoff hopes. Instead of trying to find that starter they are jerking around with Chan Ho Park, who has been surprisingly solid, the immortal Way Back Wasdin, and Ricardo Rodriguez.

Now Dominguez was a pretty good starting pitching prospect coming into the year. Good enough that I thought there was a good chance he would get 20 starts for the Rangers. He throws a very good good fb, and a better change. His problem is a lack of a third pitch. So after a few starts this season, and an early season bullpen implosion cause them to move him to the pen. Well considering his stuff, it might be where he ends up anyway. He struggled in higher leverage situations, but pitched well in lower level situations. He gets shelled once and gets sent down. This is a guy with legit relief ace stuff, and they showed no patience.

Now they are going to give Erasmo Ramirez a shot. Generally the kind of guys I like seeing get a shot - kicked around for a while. Pretty good career minor league numbers, and is a strike throwing machine.

What I don't want to see is him getting a shot at the expense of a guy who might be a difference maker, rather than a guy who might be serviceable. I would much rather them cut some of the chafe from the roster like Brocial, or Mahey.

If you really want to take a shot at winning, then give the ball to Kamereon Loe every fifth day, and scrap Wasdin.

BOS: Schilling actived - Cassidy DFA - Youklis demoted

Schilling will be used out of the pen as he apparently hasn't recovered enough from his ankle injury to start. The Sox definitely need bullpen help, and to straighten out the mess that is currently their bullpen they are going to need a god's intervention. Coincidentally some people think of Schilling as a god.

Cassidy - a minor league FA signed in the off-season, for organization depth has been DFA'd which means he'll come off the 40 man roster. No real loss as he likely would have been removed in the off-season as the Sox have close to 10 prospects who will need to be added to the 40 man in the off-season.

Youklis is just another victim of the RedSox dearth of 1b, all of which are better than Kevin Millar. In fact, it’s possible that the two first baseman in Pawtucket are better than the two first baseman in Boston. In fact it’s more likely than possible – it’s a sure frigging thing.

The Sox are going with 12 pitchers at this point - something I'm not a huge fan of, but considering Wells, Schilling and Miller all might be unavailable on a moments notice it's a necasary evil.

The downside is that Adam Stern is the only real backup outfielder on the roster, and he hit's like pitcher.

BOS-OAK: Chad Bradford for Jay Payton

I understand why Bradford is going to the Sox, as their bullpen is bad. Not mediocre, not OK, not even serviceable - but bad (a constant them of mid season Theo Epstein Red Sox).

Bradford will have a chance to be the Sox second option out of the pen assuming Timlin will remain their first. Embree has completely floundered in the roll this year, and Sox just need some help. No they need more than some help, they need a CRAP load of help.

On the other hand I don't understand why the A's want Jay Payton, who can hit a bit, and field a ton - but is position blocked by a guy who they just over-payed to tie up for the next 2 years. I guess you could make the argument that Payton can man a corner, but do you really want a guy who can hit a bit, and field a ton playing a corner? Is he better than Kielty or Swisher at this point? Can he force Swisher to first and force out Billy Beane first love Scott Hatteburg? Is he going to force some kind of DH rotation until Ruby is back from the DL? Sure Bradford was superflous for the A's... but what doe Payton bring to the table for them?

The irony is Payton whined his way out of Boston because he didn't want to be a rotation outfielder and instead wanted to play full time. Well guess what he looks to be in Oak...

OAK-COL: Kennedy/Witasick for Byrnes/Quintanilla

A good trade for the Rox. Two in one day, that maybe be one more good trade than they have made in two years.

Byrnes a right-hand hitting defensively challenged outfielder has a pretty good chance to make himself some coin hitting in Colorado for 81 games. He's not really better than the other options the Rockies have, mostly because he's going to cost them 30 runs a year manning a corner outfield spot in Coors. With that said Byrnes could hit 300/380/500 the rest of the year (fantasy league steal) - of course he still wouldn't be an average player. The Rockies will have him for 2 more pre-arb years, and maybe if he has a good a year and a half they can turn him into an asset that actually might help them win some games rather than just be a good fantasy league player.

Quinanilla is the best asset in the trade - he's a defensively challenged SS, who will likely more to 2b in the near future. Sickles rated him B+ coming into the season, BA rated him the 8th best Oakland prospect and Baseball Prospectus rated him in the high 30's in their top 50 prospects list. With that said he has been a disappointment this year, as a 23 year old not showing much power in AA.

Witasick, is one of the 75 relievers in baseball who every year you never know what your going to get. So far the Good Witaskick has been around, but who knows how long that will last, ask the Yankees. He'll likely be the 5th best reliever on the A's so he won't get them into too much trouble even if he blows up.

Kennedy, has struggled this year - but was very good last year. He'll likely force Saarloos out of the rotation, but I doubt he'll pitch as well as Saarloos has pitched in the first half. I'd say this is more a depth move than anything else, though I would likely prefer to give Seth Etherton or Juan Cruz a shot first.

WAS: Signs Mike Stanton

The guy doesn't have anything left. He can't pitch with runners on base, as he hasn't met an inherited runner he doesn't love. Now for some pitchers that is not the biggest deal, since you can just use them to start off innings, rather than being used to pitch out of jams. Unfortunately, that is if they want to use Mike Stanton optimally, but fortunately because they have some nice relievers. The Nats bullpen is structured in such a way that the only role that makes any sense is Stanton as a Loogey. With Cordero, Ayala, Majewski, and Carrasco around he isn't going to be used a pure 7th or 8th inning guy and Eischen is likely going to be the first lefty out of the pen... so it will be pretty interesting to see how Frank uses him.

WAS-COL: Zach Day and J.J. Davis for Preston Wilson

I like the trade for the Rox. Day has some upside, not as much as I though 2 years ago but certainly some. He's best pitch is a power sinker which he has trouble commanding. He also throws a slider and a change – both are average pitches.

Davis is a rotation outfielder - which Colorado is swimming in. He's mashed lefties in the minors but his swing has more holes in it than a pound of swiss cheese. So his MLE's aren't likely accurate translations. He could be a useful 150 AB bench player

The Rox didn't give up anything of real value, though they might take a PR hit. At this point, the PR hit isn't all that big of a deal since they have such little talent in the organization.

For the Nationals they gained an outfielder who can't defensively handle CF, and who doesn't hit well enough to play the corner anymore.

The most important thing I see from this trade is that Nick Johnson is more hurt than anyone is letting on. With Wilkerson, Guillen, and a platoon of Church and Byrd in the outfield the Expos really have no need to carry Wilson. It only makes sense if Wilkerson is going to have to pick up some real time at 1b. With Nick the Stick done, and the Braves surging like usual - The Nat's won't be long for first place.