Archive for September, 2008

Wednesday: 09.24.2008

Top 10 First Basemen for 2009

Top 10 First Basemen Podcast

You can listen to the analysis in the above podcast, but for those just interested in the list then here it is:

Tuesday: 09.23.2008

Top 10 Catchers for 2009

Top 10 Catchers Podcast

You can listen to the analysis in the above podcast, but for those just interested in the list then here it is:

Tuesday: 09.23.2008

BbP Podcast!

I have officially become a podcaster thanks to the production of my very first one last night. It covers the first in a series of 2009 Top 10s. I will have a written version of each top 10 a day or two after the podcast is produced.

Top 10 Catchers

Saturday: 09.20.2008

The 2nd Half Prediction Results.

As the second half (post-All Star Break) started up, I made some predictions covering both the American and National Leagues. Though there is a week left, let’s look back at those and see how they shook out:

Baltimore OriolesAdam Jones enjoys a very formidable second half and joins teammates Nick Markakis (.892), Aubrey Huff (.875), Brian Roberts (.864) and Luke Scott (.809) in the .800 OPS club for 2008. Last year only Markakis and Roberts hit the mark and Roberts barely squeezed in with his .808… Closer George Sherrill‘s ERA will be north of 4.50 by season’s end, though he’ll end the season approaching 45 saves. He has a dominant strikeout rate with 9.8 per nine, but the 5.4 walks per nine is simply atrocious.

1. Adam JonesWrong – He was catching fire towards the end of July when an injury put him out for all but two days of August. Even without the injury I don’t know that he’d have put up an .800+ OPS. Random sidenote: Aubrey Huff leads the major leagues in total bases.

2. George SherrillRight – He didn’t pitch enough to fulfill the backend of the prediction with 45 saves, but this was easy money in my opinion from the ERA standpoint. Sherrill had value because he continued to rack up saves, but he was a ticking time bomb with that horrible walk rate.

Boston Red Sox – Slugger David Ortiz has been shelved with a left wrist injury since June 1st, but he’s expected to return this weekend. Look for him to mash from here on out and end the season with 30 home runs. I know, wrist injuries don’t usually bode well for power hitters, but Ortiz will buck the trend… I was high on Daisuke Matsuzaka coming into 2008 and his results have been a mixed bag including a DL-stint. He was absolutely trashed upon return from the DL (7 ER in 1 IP), but he’s been brilliant since despite 16 walks in 23.3 innings. His luck bank will run out as he delivers a >4.00 ERA for the rest of the way yet still wins 17+ games.

3. David OrtizWrong – He needs nine home runs in just over a week to reach 30 home runs. Someone like him could do it, but I’m not holding my breath. He has just eight home runs since the break, but doubled his RBI output from the first half with 41.

4. Daisuke MatsuzakaWrong – His luck bank didn’t quite run out as he still has a nice 3.29 ERA in the 2nd half despite still being a walk machine (4.4/9 IP). He is right at 17 wins right now and continues to defy the odds and remain a top starter.

New York YankeesJoba Chamberlain will lead the Yankees’ staff during the 2nd half as he throws a sub-3.50 ERA and racks up 10 wins while the Yankees charge hard for the wildcard… During that charge, the much-maligned Alex Rodriguez posts a >1.050 OPS with 20 home runs.

5. Joba ChamberlainWrong – He was shut down due to injury, though I feel like he’d have cashed this one in for me. He was pitching very well before the injury and quickly became one of the most sought after keeper commodities for teams iwth an eye to 2009.

6. Alex RodriguezWrong – You’d never know it talking to Yankees fan, but A-Rod had a pretty strong second half. That said, he did fail to come through in some key situations including a bevy of GIDPs in August for which he came under siege. He needs four more HRs to land on 20 since the break, but the 1.050 OPS is out the question as he currently sits at .976.

Tampa Bay Rays – Everyone’s feel good story fell on hard times right before the break and inspired several “the-sky-is-falling” articles that pronounced their Cinderella run over or severely harmed. It is not. They are legit and I don’t think they’ll just fade, though they’ll have to fight tooth and nail to make the playoffs. Carl Crawford will do his part in that run with an .800+ OPS and 10 home runs… Future Rookie of the Year, Evan Longoria does his part as well with 14+ home runs completing his best Ryan Braun imitation… Starter Andy Sonnanstine continues to rack up wins and drops his ERA near 4.25 by season’s end.

7. Carl CrawfordWrong – Yeesh, I’m getting crushed here! Another injury smoked me, but he was home run-less in his 19 games after the break and was teetering on the .800 OPS line at .805.

8. Evan LongoriaWrong – Wow… I should’ve titled the column: Guys Who Will Get Injured After the Break. I feel like I’d have crushed this prediction out of the park with a clean bill of health since Longoria did manage nine in 28 post-break games.

9. Andy SonnanstineWrong – I don’t think I’ll do another prediction piece like this for a long time! Sonnanstine has strong rates since the break (3.90 ERA/1.13 WHIP), but wasn’t able to pile up the wins with just three in 11 starts. This strong performance coupled Edwin Jackson‘s collapse in the 2nd half point to blue-chip prospect David Price taking the fifth spot from Jackson instead of Sonnanstine.

Toronto Blue Jays – Workhorse starting pitcher Roy Halladay completes five more games this season for a total of 12, the most since Randy Johnson finished the same amount way back in 1999. No team even notched that many in all of the 2007 season… Despite three straight months of rising ERAs, A.J. Burnett, whether with or without Toronto, posts a sub-4.00 ERA from here on out… Alex Rios‘ power outage has been a disappoint to all of his fantasy owners, but he has tried to make up for it with 23 stolen bases. He will continue to run at a solid clip, but he will also hit 10+ home runs after the break.

10. Roy HalladayWrong – This wasn’t the most well-founded of the lot… I just kinda wanted to see Halladay throw several more CGs. He has thrown just one since the break.

11. A.J. BurnettRight – I was running out of red ink! Burnett wasn’t as bad as his numbers indicated prior to the break and he showed that with another remarkable second half. Add in that he was playing for a paycheck and it’s no surprise that he was one of league’s best starters since the break. Another strong start could put his post-break ERA on the right side of 3.00.

12. Alex RiosRight – Now I’m on a roll! Rios got back to the Rios fantasy owners expected to see all year with 11 home runs and seven stolen bases after the break. Thirty-eight of his 75 hits were for extra bases helping propel an .897 OPS.

Chicago White SoxGavin Floyd collapses in the 2nd half and ends up with an ERA nearing 4.50… Outside of an amazing June, Nick Swisher has been a colossal bust for the White Sox despite the expectations that he’d have a breakout season in that ballpark. While he won’t mean the expectations from the preseason, he’ll end up with >25 home runs and a batting average approaching .260.

13. Gavin FloydWrong – Streak over. Floyd remained strong with an ERA south of 4.00 after the break and he added six mores to run his total to 16 for his breakout season.

14. Nick SwisherWrong – This one is going to hurt even more when I cover the guys I loved coming into 2008. I was so big on Swisher and he was a colossal failure. The only silver lining is that I missed out on him in every league. With one more home run, he will reach the 25-mark, but he is nowhere near .260.

Cleveland Indians – It’s not entirely his fault, but Ryan Garko‘s failure deliver on expectations of a very strong season have helped lead to a rather anemic offense in Cleveland. He can’t single-handedly change their fortunes, but he’ll do his part with an .800+ OPS… Matt LaPorta gets a mid-August callup that leads to 12+ home runs.

15. Ryan GarkoWrong – This is one of those one’s that I could spin and try to claim victory since he’s just .010 away from the .800 I predicted, but literally speaking I was wrong. For those in AL-Onlys that bought in, they were rewarded with a solid bounce back from Garko.

16. Matt LaPortaWrong – I accept fault here because I didn’t even know he was an Olympian when I made the prediction.

Detroit Tigers – On May 19th, Justin Verlander was 1-7. He will end the season with 15 wins and an ERA south of 3.75 as the Tigers’ stopper in their playoff chase… Curtis Granderson lost almost a month to injury, but has picked up right where his amazing 2007 season left off and he’ll finish the season with 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases… Miguel Cabrera dominates American League pitching for the remainder of the season and ends the season with more than 30 home runs and a .300 average.

17. Justin VerlanderWrong – Like Swisher, this will hurt much more in another review column as Verlander was my AL Cy Young choice. He has been horrible since the All-Star Break after being a disappointment prior to it.

18. Curtis GrandersonWrong – This is similar to Garko in that Granderson has been great since the break, which is the jist of making these kinds of predictions, but he won’t hit the actual figures thus, more red ink!!

19. Miguel CabreraRight – I hit this one like Cabrera’s been hitting American League pitching. If the Tigers had made a playoff run, he’d be your MVP. He’s gone 20 HR, 68 RBI and 1.014 OPS since the break. Wow!

Kansas City RoyalsAlex Gordon isn’t Ryan Braun or Evan Longoria, that much is evident by the fact that he still hasn’t completely figured out in the majors. The expectations of him were at least as high if not higher coming into his rookie season last year, but even still he’s hardly chopped liver. A 10-home run 2nd half gives him a 21-home run season and gets some of the critics off of his back for a hot minute… Golden child teammate Billy Butler has absolutely sucked this year despite some lofty expectations yet he continues to get a pass. Watch him continue to scuffle and end the season with fewer than 10 home runs.

20. Alex GordonWrong – It was high time I had another injury-based failure here and Gordon fits the bill. The sad thing for Gordon and his fantasy owners is that he was playing really well prior to the injury. He was controlling the plate and almost half of his 29 post-break hits were for extra bases (10 2B-1 3B-3 HR). He will be very undervalued at a deep position next year.

21. Billy ButlerWrong – Oh that blasted Billy Butler! He can’t finish with FEWER than 10 home runs since he has 10 exactly right now. Meanwhile, he has hit .286 to go with his eight second half home runs. The 22-year old has a pretty high ceiling.

Minnesota Twins – I wrote these out prior to the news on Thursday night that Francisco Liriano‘s agent was considering filing a grievance against the Twins for leaving his client in the minors despite looking like he’s completely back from Tommy John surgery and ready to contribute for the Twins again. Not knowing how that will play out could impact how soon Liriano is called up whether he deserves it or not. That said, I’ll stand by the prediction that he comes up and throws 75 innings of sub-4.00 ERA.

22. Francisco LirianoWrong – He didn’t log enough innings to meet the prediction, but even last night’s shellacking couldn’t derail his excellent second half with a 2.15 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

Los Angeles Angels – Throughout May, you could find several articles and message boards around the internet declaring the end of Vladimir Guerrero‘s career. He had 6076 at-bats as one of the game’s BEST hitters, yet these idiots were ready to write him off after less than 200 (he had 199 by the end of May). Sample size people. Vlad the Impaler is going to continue mashing with a ridiculous second-half that sees him post a .900+ OPS with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs… The Los Angeles rotation will end with three 15-game winners, and one of them will be John Lackey.

23. Vladimir GuerreroRight – With just over a week left, I’m banking on a home run and six RBI to reach the two counting stat totals. His OPS since the break is .926 so even a horrid week wouldn’t kill that end.

24. Angels Staff/LackeyWrong – Damn you, Lackey…

Oakland AthleticsJack Cust will end the season with 30+ HRs and Rajai Davis will end the season with 20+ SBs, yet the two will combine to hit <.235… I’ve made it clear before that I am a HUGE Justin Duchscherer fan and I placed him on SEVERAL of my fantasy baseball teams this spring (in the draft/auction, not just as a waiver pickup), but the realist in me says he is in for a 4.00+ ERA in 2nd half. He’s already pitched 36 more innings than he did in the past two seasons combined and he’s riding a very beneficial (read: lucky) hit percentage and runners-left-on-base percentage. Both of those will raise the ERA as they normalize. By the way, I really want to be wrong on this one as Duchscherer has helped me so much this season… Newly acquired Sean Gallagher will off-set the Duke’s “mediocre” 2nd half with a sub-4.00 ERA in the Oakland rotation.

25. Jack Cust & Rajai DavisPending – This one is too close to call. They both hit their counting end of it, but the batting average hangs in the balance. If I had to guess, I’d say that I’m not going to hit this one as they need to drop their collective average .002 this week. That doesn’t seem like much, but it’s tough to move late in the season.

26. Justin DuchschererRight – This wasn’t a tough one for me as much as I wanted to be wrong on it. Durability has been a concern in the past coupled with the less-than-stellar peripherals was equating to a meltdown. He posted a 4.91 ERA before heading to the disabled list with a hip injury. After a couple of false starts, he appears to be done for the year now as there isn’t much use in bringing him back for a week.

27. Sean GallagherWrong – Gallagher was routinely destroyed in the second half. He is someone to watch for next year, but he struggled mightily after coming over from Chicago.

Seattle Mariners – There hasn’t been much to celebrate about for the M’s in 2008. And to think, I predicted them to finish 2nd in the West. At least Felix Hernandez is starting to reach the expectations unfairly placed on him the past few seasons… Jeff Clement will post a >.800 OPS with 10 home runs in the 2nd half… Brandon Morrow and Sean Green continue their 1st half success and give the M’s a very formidable back-end of the bullpen. This is hardly a bold prediction, but I wanted to give M’s fans something realistic to expect from here on out.

28. Jeff ClementrWrong – He actually hit pretty well, but had no power in the 2nd half! Even a few home runs might’ve pushed him up above .800 OPS. Even still, he is someone to keep an eye on for 2009.

29. Brandon Morrow & Sean GreenWrong – Morrow moves to the rotation (and burned since I traded him for Burnett because I needed saves) while Green was horrific. What a terrible year for the M’s.

Texas Rangers – Offense comes easy in Texas, especially in the summer, regardless of who is playing there. It seems to happen without trying when Milton Bradley, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, David Murphy and Michael Young are in the lineup. The Rangers will have three 100-RBI seasons this year as two of the above join Hamilton… They will also have no one with 75+ innings posting a sub-3.50 ERA.

30. Texas OffenseWrong – Hamilton reached easily, but no one else came close. Perhaps if Milton Bradley had played more and Ian Kinsler hadn’t gotten hurt. Either way, another miss!

31. Texas PitchingWrong – This was too easy! 🙂

Saturday: 09.20.2008

Offseason Content to Being Soon…

Sorry for my brief hiatus. I unsuccessfully put my hat into the ring for a writing position and I had spent a lot of time on that application. I have also undertaken several projects at work which stretched my time pretty thin. At any rate, the final week of the season will be on Monday and I’m already preparing a ton of offseason content. Stay tuned.

Tuesday: 09.2.2008

Regular Posting to Return Soon

Hey all, my writing time has been tied up in some other things I’m reticent to divulge just yet, but it’s cut strongly into my time for posting here. I’ll try to get something up by the weekend and then hopefully back on track with regular posts to finish out the season and carry through the playoffs.