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Where Have You Gone Ricky Romero?

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Where Have You Gone Ricky Romero?

Posted on 27 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Where have you gone, Ricky Romero? The Toronto Blue Jays optioned left-hander Ricky Romero to Class A Dunedin yesterday evening. Class A, folks. That’s the Florida league for those of you keeping score.

RickyRomero

Could anyone have predicted this two seasons ago?

One season ago?

Romero went from being the club’s Opening Day starter in 2012 to not making 25-man roster in 2013. The Blue Jays opened camp by saying Romero was essentially guaranteed a spot in the rotation. He no longer had the weight of being an ace on his shoulder. He was pressure-free and was set to thrive.

That message began to change…quickly.

“We saw a lot of good things and he was fine, but it’s not the Ricky we know he can be,” General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said to MLB.com. “We can try to just keep going, and when you’re at the big league level, it’s hard to continue working on things, or take a little more time, get him back to where he can be.” Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com and of the blog, “North of the Boarder”, reported that Romero was unavailable for comment. “It’s always a tough conversation, but he knows he’s not exactly as sharp as he needs to be, and he knows it’s going to take a little bit more time,” Anthopoulous continued.

How did Toronto’s most valuable pitchers since 2009 collapse so quickly? He had become the Blue Jays’ No. 1 starter. Following the departure of Shaun Marcum, Romero had a 15-11 record and a 2.92 ERA and he was an All-Star.

Yes, things started to unravel a bit in 2012. Romero began the year with an 8-1 record, but he had a 4.34 ERA and 46 walks in 95 1/3 innings. That wouldn’t instill confidence in the best of General Managers. Chisholm reports Romero battled control issues along with “a seeming lack of confidence on the mound.” He also was also dealing with documented tendinitis in both of his knees. Romero went 1-13 the rest of the way with a 7.35 ERA.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t until apparently this spring that the club finally noticed “a flaw” in Romero’s pitching. He was no longer maintaining a straight line to the plate, as reported by Chisholm. Romero had a 6.23 ERA this spring.

“You talk about direction and lines to the plate, it’s basically your balance going to home plate and where your front foot lands. It sounds easy, but it just takes time when you start repeating it,” said Anthopoulos to MLB.com “He has done this before, he just has a tendency to do it. It’s one thing if you’re just not getting results and you just have to continue to pitch and get out of it. We have a plan for him. We know what we need to address. It’s just not coming as fast as we wanted it to come,” Anthopoulos continued.

The Blue Jays knew what was going on last year. They just finally have the pitching staff to make up the difference by cutting Romero.

This is not a death sentence to Romero though. The club took the same approach with Roy Halladay back in 2001. Halladay went on to establish himself as one of the best pitchers in the game. Chisholm reports that Halladay had “a complete overhaul of his mechanics”, whereas Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays have continually described Romero’s changes as “minor.”

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DOs and DONTs: Atlanta Braves

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DOs and DONTs: Atlanta Braves

Posted on 04 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Atlanta Braves are coming off a miserable collapse.  Yes believe it or not the Boston Red Sox weren’t the only team that collapsed last year.  This is a look at their 40 man roster as we head into the 2012 season.  The other 29 teams in baseball have been covered by me and my colleagues so take a look at all 30 Dos and Don’ts before you draft your fantasy baseball team.  Here we go with the Atlanta Braves.

Do take a look at Jason Heyward.  He did have a bad year last year but he had a good rookie year and I would expect him to bounce back this year.  He still hit 14 homeruns last year after hitting 18 the year before.  I would expect him to be able to hit 20-25 consistently and bat around 275.  He suffered a sophomore slump but that is all behind him now and he is looking to have a productive 2012.

Don’t take Chipper Jones because of his name.  He has played regularly and with the Braves since 1995.  He has had a great career but he is getting older and just isn’t the same player.  He is still pretty productive though.  He hit 275 last year with 18 homeruns and 70 RBI.  He won’t play all the time though and is injury prone now.  If you take him your taking a big risk.

Do look at Dan Uggla for second base.  I wouldn’t put him at the top of my list but  he will give you great power from a position that doesn’t always do that.  Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley are all better all around players but Uggla will provide huge power for your team.  Uggla last year hit 233 which was the lowest batting average of his career.  He still hit 36 homeruns though and drove in 82.  The lowest amount of homeruns he hit in a year was 27 with 82 being the lowest amount of runs driven in by him.  He is going to give you 25+ homeruns and 80+ RBI, that is good production from a second baseman.

Don’t look at Matt Diaz as anything more then a potential bench player.  He is a career 296 hitter but has never had more then 135 games played.  He also doesn’t hit for much power or drive in many runs.  13 homeruns and 58 RBI were his best numbers for a single season.

Do like what you see out of Freddie Freeman for a first baseman.  He could suffer a sophomore slump but especially in a keeper league he is a guy worth looking at.  Freeman last season hit 282 with a 346 on base percentage.  He had 21 homeruns and 76 RBI.  He is a monster of a guy and should be a good power first baseman for years to come.

Don’t go crazy over Jack Wilson.  He isn’t a bad player but he isn’t one of the top second baseman.  He is good with the glove but his career batting average is at 266, he won’t hit many homeruns or drive in many.  His best homerun year was 12 and the most RBI he had in a season was 62.  A decent player but nothing real special and on his own team I would take Uggla ahead of him.

Do take a look at Eric Hinske.  He is a veteran and if for nothing else a winner.  He always seems to be on the team that makes the World series although Atlanta had to collapse last season and ruin that for him a little.  He is a nice backup/bench player.  He is an outfielder with some pop and he is very good in the clutch.  He is worth taking a look at as an extra player.

Don’t know if I would take Tim Hudson.  He has been a good pitcher for a long time but he is getting older.  He is also coming off of back surgery and that is a red flag for me.  He may return to the Braves in May but that is risky.  He did have a good season last year going 16-10 with a 3.22 ERA.  In the last two years he has pitched a lot of innings.  He pitched 228 innings in 2010 and 215 last season.  He is a good pitcher but I wouldn’t take a risk with him right now.

Tommy Hanson is a very good young pitcher.  I would say Do take a good look at him.  The only concern I would have with him is that he did suffer a concussion in February in a car accident.  I don’t think it will affect him long term and he seems to be ok right now but you never know with a head injury.  I still wouldn’t mind him on my team especially in a keeper league where I can take good young players and have them on my team for years to come.

Don’t take Martin Prado on your team if your looking for power.  He is a guy that can hit for average but  he doesn’t have much power.  He isn’t going to drive in many runs for you either.  He isn’t going to steal bases at all either.  He is a guy to have on your team if your looking at only batting average.  I would pass on him though.  He is also a guy that the Braves talked about trading away.

Do take Michael Bourn especially if your looking to add speed to your team.  Bourn is an exciting young player to have.  Bourn in the last four years has stolen 41, 61, 52 and 61 bases in that order.  He has a career 271 batting average.  He isn’t going to hit homeruns or drive in runs but that isn’t his game.  I would especially take him if I am looking for speed and he would be a good backup player to have.

Don’t take too much of a look at the Braves bullpen other then their closer Craig Kimbrel.  He had good overall numbers but even he blew eight saves and contributed to the collapse.  I wouldn’t look to hard at their bullpen.

Do love what Brian McCann can bring to your team as a catcher.  He is a 286 career hitter and also has some power.  He will give you 20-25 homeruns and drive in 80+ runs.  That is very productive especially coming from the catchers position.

Jair Jurrjens is another guy I want to mention to finish this article up.  Jurrjens was in trade rumors this off-season.  He is a good young pitcher and I would say Do take him on your team.  Last season he was 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA.  He does have a bad right knee which has slowed him down, at the end of the last two seasons.  That would be my only real concern with him.  He is a guy that is at least worth looking at even as a reserve guy on your team.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and all the Dos and Don’ts that our team has done for you.  We have worked very hard to get all 30 teams to you before the fantasy drafts start in the next couple of weeks.  If you have any thoughts and anyone I may have missed please don’t hesitate to let me know.  You can comment under the article here on the website.  If you are a Twitter person like myself, you can reach me there @gmarchesej.

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