Archive for April 5th, 2011

Tuesday: 04.5.2011

Daily Dose – April 5th

I spent almost my entire weekend (considering Thursday-Monday the weekend here since I was off from work) watching baseball games and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  If you follow me on Twitter, you saw my jam-packed schedule of games.  I also wrote up the six divisions of my season preview as well as the awards, but I took plenty of notes on the games I was watching and I’m just going to share them in a bullet point rundown since some of them are now several days old.

  • Try to trade for struggling openers (Jon Lester, Ubaldo Jimenez, David Price, Shaun Marcum, Wandy Rodriguez, Ryan Demspter)… prey on early panic.  I know it sounds crazy, but you might be surprised at the colossal overreaction of some owners, even to one start.  If you could get any those guys on any sort of discount, I would jump on it.  They will all be fine.

 

  • Despite what the numbers might suggest Carlos Carrasco’s start was better than you might think.  He was charged with seven runs on 10 hits, but five of the runs and seven of the hits came in the first two innings.  He settled down very nicely with back-to-back 3 up/3 down innings in the third and fourth.  A walk was his only blemish in the fifth before a little trouble in the sixth followed by the hook in the seventh after he gave up a hit with two hits.  If you own him, hang in, brighter days are ahead.

 

  • His counterpart in that game, Edwin Jackson, was a bit uneven throughout the game, but the Indians only cashed in against him in the second inning and he ended the day with seven strikeouts in six innings allowing just two earned on five hits, but four walks.  There will be more starts like that throughout the season where he treads a fine margin and better lineups will punish him, but he will also have dominant nights where he’s nearly unhittable, too.  Patience (and probably some Pepto) is the key with Jackson as he gets settled in.

 

  • Carlos Marmol was soooo filthy throughout the weekend, especially in his debut on Saturday.  He looked to be in midseason form.  Struggled a bit on Sunday giving up two runs and though all the damage wasn’t his fault, he did start it off with a walk.  Everyone wants to freak out over the walks, but they will only become a major issue if and when he stops allowing the fewest hits per nine among closers.

 

  • I watched all of the Chris Tillman and Kyle Drabek debuts and they were as impressive as the box scores suggest, but just as you can’t get too down about the aces who have stumbled out of the gate, you can’t get too up about hot starts from unexpected sources.  Tillman was in my favorite pitchers list for this year, so I’m thrilled with the debut, but it’s just one start at this point.  Nothing is proven or disproven in the first weekend.

 

  • At least equally impressive and perhaps more so was the debut of Zach Britton as it was his major league debut.  The movement of his pitches so sick.  His control was better than advertised, but all scouting reports suggest that it is his final hurdle to climb.  He is going to have ups & downs, but someone who can keep the ball down and miss bats like him is going to have success.

 

  • Brandon Belt saw 27 and 28 pitches on Thursday & Saturday, respectively.  He hit a mammoth 3-run shot off of Chad Billingsley in between the two games on Friday.  He only went 2-for-13 in the four game set, but had four walks, too.  An impressive debut series for the rookie despite not piling up a ton of hits.

 

  • Jorge de la Rosa looked excellent against Arizona before a blistered middle finger ended his night early.

 

  • Trevor Cahill had an uneven outing and though the 8 Ks were nice, maybe this is why he isn’t a strikeout pitcher because he couldn’t keep his command in order from batter-to-batter resulting in 4 BB and 105 pitches in 4.7 innings.

 

  • Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are positively locked in.  Even in the at-bats when they weren’t knocking it out of the park, they were battling and hitting the ball the hard.  This is especially key for Teix who is a well-documented slow starter.

 

  • Did anyone expect anything less from Nick Blackburn after how much I destroyed him all weekend on Twitter?  If I were in Vegas, I’d have definitely bet on him to go out and kill it.  It won’t hold up.

 

  • Loved seeing Jaime Garcia destroy the Padres Sunday.  I’m deathly afraid of Ryan Theriot’s impact on his numbers this year because he’s so bad defensively and Garcia is such a heavy groundball pitcher, but for Sunday it didn’t matter.

 

  • Josh Johnson and Dan Haren were among the few aces who opened up the season on a high note.  Johnson’s value fluctuated this preseason depending on how worried your league was about his potential injury risk.  So far so good for those who invested.

 

  • I wish it could be like this every weekend, but there just isn’t the time, unfortunately.  Here are the games I have watched since Opening Day through the weekend:
  • Thursday: Det/NY, LA/KC, SD/StL, SF/LA
  • Friday: Hou/Phi, Bos/Tex, Ari/Col, Tor/Min, NY/Flo, LA/KC, Sea/Oak, SF/LA
  • Saturday: Det/NY, Chw/Cle, Bal/TB, Hou/Phi, NY/Flo, Ari/Col, Sea/Oak
  • Sunday: Det/NY, Bal/TB, SD/StL, Sea/Oak, SF/LA
  • That many games probably should have generated more notes, but the season preview was pretty exhaustive so just wanted to watch and absorb a lot of the  games, especially my Tigers although they didn’t perform too well.  Plus, I dropped a lot of thoughts on Twitter.

 

  • A couple of great commercials I saw about 8 million times weekend:

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Tuesday: 04.5.2011

2011 Season Awards

Other Divisions:

Here’s my award balloting for the 2011 season.  There are some chalk picks, but hey, sometimes the chalk wins.  I went three and sometimes four deep to cover a decent swatch of candidates for each.  Limiting to just one is such a crapshoot so I decided to expand it a bit.  Let’s be honest, limiting it to just three or four guys with six months of play where so many different things can happen is also a crapshoot, but it feels less crapshooty when picking a few extras.

American League Awards

MVP:

1stAlex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees

2ndMiguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

3rd Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers

This isn’t borne out of A-Rod’s hot start.  In the bold predictions, I put him down for 52 home runs, but he doesn’t even need to reach that to take home the hardware here.  It could be the second time that a Detroit Tiger has an excellent season, but just loses out a great A-Rod year (Magglio in ’07).  If Cruz finally stays healthy, he’s an MVP waiting to happen.

CY YOUNG:

1stJon Lester, Boston Red Sox

2ndFelix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

3rdDan Haren, Los Angeles Angels

I’ll join the rest of the *world* with Lester, but in fairness I did pick him back in mid-February in Starting Pitcher Guide.  I didn’t realize at the time that I was making such an obvious pick, but apparently I was.  But just because it’s a crowded bandwagon doesn’t mean I’m going to hop off.  Hernandez is still the best in the league, but I’m not sure he can win it again with low-to-mid teens wins and I’m not sure Seattle can give him more than that.  I have LA contending all year and it’s due in large part to the fact that they have two aces, one of which is Haren.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1stLonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians

2nd Zach Britton, SP, Baltimore Orioles

3rdMichael Pineda, SP, Seattle Mariners

4thJordan Walden, RP, Los Angeles Angels

If Jack Hannahan keeps hitting like a man possessed, I guess Chis won’t get his shot, but I’m quite confident that Hannahan will soon start hitting like Jack Hannahan.  I cheated a bit and picked four because I couldn’t leave one of Britton or Pineda off.  I think Britton is the more polished product right now, but he plays in a hitter’s park in one of the hardest divisions in all of baseball, but Pineda has an incredible park and defense supporting him and could have outstanding strikeout numbers, too.  So I went with both.  Walden could take the job from Fernando Rodney by May 1st and we’ve seen how the electorate reacts to rookie AL West closers.

National League Awards

MVP:

1stAlbert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

2ndMatt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

3rdJay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Hey, he’s not the incumbent for once.  I know it’s boring to pick to Pujols, but he is the best player in baseball and if that team contends into the dog days, you’d better believe he will win it.  And I am trying to be right, too, so I can’t just pick outlandish guys for fun.  Kemp and Bruce are two of my improvement picks for ’11 and given their All-Star level now, a step up would make them MVP-caliber.

CY YOUNG:

1stCole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies

2ndClayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

3rdTommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves

Votes don’t seem to like repeat winners whether they deserve it not (which is absolutely ridiculous to me), but I’m preying on that stupidity with three newcomers to voting in lieu of really boring you with Pujols and Halladay picks.  I added a fourth to make sure Halladay gets his due, but I think voters will look for a reason not to give it to him and since I have Hamels exploding this year, a teammate outshining Halladay would be a story the voters would glom onto.  Kershaw can be a runaway winner if he matches his already displayed skill with more seven and eight inning outings.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1stMike Minor, SP, Atlanta Braves

2ndBrandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants

3rdBrandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta Braves

4thAroldis Chapman, RP, Cincinnati Reds

With just 41 innings last year, I’m almost certain that Minor retains rookie eligibility this year.  I like him a lot this year even though he lost the 5th spot to Beachy initially.  It wasn’t through any lack of performance by him, they were both off the charts great in spring.  They will battle each other for the award all summer in Atlanta.  I’d have Belt as a candidate even if he didn’t make the roster out of spring, but the fact that he has only adds to his candidacy.  Chapman is a darkhorse who will rise up the list if, and only if, he takes the closer’s role in Cincy.  I can’t imagine a middle reliever winning the award with so many other viable candidates in more impactful roles.

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