Tag Archive | "Daniel Murphy"

Mike Minor Will Turn It Around Tonight

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Mike Minor Will Turn It Around Tonight

Posted on 26 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

The Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets were left in suspended animation last night, but does anyone care? The Atlanta Braves, currently in first, have won six consecutive games. On the flip side, the New York Mets, currently in fourth (thanks to the Marlins being slightly worse), have lost six straight at home.

MikeMinor

Nonetheless, the teams had to wait until today before seeing if both streaks would continue. They are set to complete a suspended game before meeting in the regularly scheduled one about an hour later this Saturday night. Friday’s game is tied 5-5 heading to the top of the ninth, with the Mets actually rallying to tie in the eighth in the midst of a downpour. They drew within one on a Daniel Murphy single and scoring again on a wild pitch.

“It was tough to see. As tough as it was to see, I’m sure it was tough to get a grip on the ball and footing on the mound,” Murphy said to the Associated Press. “So, equal playing field and we were really glad to tie the score up there, and we’ll come out tomorrow and see if we can win an inning.”

The ninth inning presents an interesting decision for both managers. Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez is considering putting Anthony Varvaro, who blew the save Friday, back on the mound. “I could even run Varvaro back out there,” Gonzalez told. “It’s like going back-to-back days.” Mets manager Terry Collins will also turn to his bullpen, as opposed to giving the ball to scheduled Saturday starter Dillon Gee to pitch in the suspended game.

Might as well give the game to Atlanta now.

“I’m going to start the game with a relief pitcher,” Collins said to the Associated Press.

Uggh.

“Otherwise, if the thing’s over in 10 minutes, the guy’s already warmed up, now he has to sit for an hour. That’s not what I want to happen.”

Once the first game is over, Mike Minor (5-2, 2.78 ERA) will try to put an end to his road struggles against the Mets. I hope, being that I’m starting him for my fantasy baseball team tonight. His outings have been good as of late, so I was more confident in starting him than Barry Zito. Atlanta has won his last three starts, during which the left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 19 2-3 innings.

Minor set a season high with nine strikeouts and surrendered two runs and three hits in six innings of a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday. Minor didn’t get the decision in that game. Ironically, Minor has a 5.63 ERA in seven career starts versus New York.

That’s his worst against any team he’s pitched at least 15 innings against. He’s turned in a pair of solid effort in his last two matchups, allowing three runs in 13 1-3 innings, but those games came at Atlanta. Minor, who went seven innings and gave up three runs in a 7-5 win over the Mets on May 3, has gone 1-1 with an 8.04 ERA in three career starts at Citi Field.

If the Mets though insist on running Ike Davis out there, fantasy owners like myself should be in pretty good shape for a Mike Minor turnaround.

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Murphy’s Law…No, Daniel Murphy is not going back to Law School

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Murphy’s Law…No, Daniel Murphy is not going back to Law School

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Trish Vignola

New York Mets fans are quite familiar with “Murphy’s Law.” No, this has nothing to do with Daniel Murphy pursing a law degree. I’m talking about the notion that “anything that can go wrong… will go wrong,” especially when it comes to the New York Mets.

You can start your groaning …now.

On May 29, the Mets were six games over .500 and just 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East. By June 30th, they were still tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second Wild Card slot. When sports commentators across the country started to foresee the wheels falling off on the season in Flushing, I stuck my fingers in my ears and ran around the room screaming, “I’m not listening. I’m not listening.”

What?

Mets fans have suffered through three straight brutal seasons where the team was well under the .500 mark after the All-Star Break. Who can blame a fan base for looking at the glass from a half empty perspective?

I’m not listening!

The Mets went 28-47 after the All-Star Break in 2009. They went 31-43 in the second half of 2010 and 31-40 to wrap up the 2011 season. Christ.

This year, the Mets are off to a dreadful 0-4 start to the second half. After last night’s game against the first-place Washington Nationals, it looks like it could get even worse in the days to come. If Murphy’s Law holds true to form, when the Mets stroll into town to face NL West-leading San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum is going to wake up and remember that he’s Tim freaking Lincecum.

Groan.

While the Mets’ illusion that they are a contender might be slipping away (again) just as it did in the summers of recent past, this is not the Mets team of three years ago. Johan Santana is the last remaining piece of the Mets’ starting rotation from 2009. Daniel Murphy and David Wright are the only two position players.

Unlike other hard luck teams (Ahem! The Chicago Cubs), the team can’t (as well as shouldn’t) blame curses or hexes. The 2009 Mets were plagued by numerous injuries. That was the main reason why they suffered in the second half. In 2010, they were playing for a lame duck manager. As for last year, the team simply stunk. Several of the team’s most talented pieces were traded for prospects or monetary savings. The Mets shipped Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants and Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers. Wrapping up the season with a mark of 31-40 shouldn’t really be considered a shock.

You still though have the right to groan.

2012 is a different beast though. The starting rotation has been superb for the most part, and the team shows heart by fighting back when they are behind. Josh Thole came through in the clutch not once but twice yesterday. Then…the bullpen came in and the chances to place blame became abundant.

Finally! I thought I would have no where to place my misplaced aggression.

How can the New York Mets avoid another second-half collapse? I propose some ideas. (Real ones. Not just smarmy commentary.) First, the Mets need to invest in a closer who doesn’t look terrified to be out there. Bobby Parnell throws 100 miles an hour. He’s got to throw inside at some point. If he can’t, he simply has to go.

Getting rid of him does not include making R.A. Dickey the Mets’ closer. That was a laughably true suggestion from a caller to WFAN 660 in New York today. I understand that the trading deadline is two weeks away, but at that point the season might be irrevocably lost. There is no time to lose.

I’m not saying to the Mets that they should trade away their future. I am saying that they should attempt to get a journeyman at least. Try!

If the Mets look like they are giving up on this season, they are going to find themselves in a bigger hole next Opening Day. It will be a marketing fallout far worse than any Bernie Madoff mayhem ever imagined this year.

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Finding Keepers:  New York Mets

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Finding Keepers: New York Mets

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The New York Mets find themselves in a bit of a rebuilding year, after finishing 4th in the NL East in 2011. However, with low expectations comes lower perceived value, which means more opportunities for Finding Keepers.

Here is a look at some Mets players who could be undervalued in 2012 and end up keeper worthy.

After a strong rookie year, in which he hit .264/.351/.440 with 19 homers, 1B Ike Davis missed most of the 2011 campaign with an ankle injury. Add to that the speculation that he may have Valley Fever and many fantasy owners will steer clear of him. However, in 36 games last year, he did hit .302/.383/.543 and looked like he was well on his way to a breakout year before the injury. If he proves healthy this spring, snatch him up before someone else does.

2B Daniel Murphy is not a flashy guy, he will not get you a bunch of homeruns or stolen bases, but he did manage to hit a quiet .320/.362/.448 last year, while qualifying at 2B, 3B and 1B. His multi-positional eligibility might make him a bit more valuable to some, but moderate numbers in the counting stats might just keep his value low enough to be considered keeper material.

SS Ruben Tejada is another player who will not carry a team and will barely raise a blip on most owners radars. He offers no power and little speed, but his .284/.360/.335 line last year and multi-positional eligibility (2B/SS) make him valuable in deeper, NL only leagues. A couple bucks or a late round pick could net you a quality UT player.

OF Lucas Duda got some regular playing time last year and played well, earning the starting right field job for 2012. He has some power and with a .292/.370/.482 slash line in 2011, he showed that he can handle big league pitching. This might be the last chance to get him cheap, because I expect bigger and better things from him this year and into the future.

C Josh Thole is another under-the-radar kind of guy. He is not going to provide a lot of homeruns, but he will hit for a good average and will likely be undervalued in most leagues. He is your typical won’t hurt you second catcher and could be a good keeper in deeper leagues.

2B Reese Havens has been the second baseman of the future for the Mets ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft. Problem is, he has not been able to stay healthy for a full season. He owns a career .269/.366/.463 line in 4 minor league seasons, but has hit .301/.379/.505 in AA. For those of you with reserve or minor league spots, you might want to consider taking a flier on Havens.

SP Johan Santana is coming off shoulder surgery, an injury that has felled many a quality pitcher, such as Brandon Webb. That alone will scare many owners off. However, he pitched well in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, topping out around 92 mph. If his changeup is still working, he could start back up where he left off in 2010. He should come cheap and, at age 32, he should still have a few good years left in him.

I am not sold on the rest of the Mets starting pitchers. Mike Pelfrey, Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee have shown some flashes, but have not been consistent enough to be considered keepers. R.A. Dickey had a strong 2011 season, posting a 3.28 ERA, but at age 37 his better days are probably behind him.

Finally, OF David Wright is one guy who will likely be overvalued based on his name alone. His 2011 season was marred by back issues, which may keep his value down, but should also make you reconsider drafting him.

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The Roster Report – February 29, 2012

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The Roster Report – February 29, 2012

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Bryan Grosnick

Hey there, hardball fans. Welcome to another edition of the Roster Report. With most of the off-season roster movement finished, it’s time to take a long look at a few recent decisions (and an injury) that will affect roster composition for a few squads. If you’re the fan of the Athletics, the Astros, or the Yankees, you may want to keep reading.

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The Houston Astros name SP/RP Brett Myers closer.

Rather unexpectedly, the Astros announced yesterday that Brett Myers will be moving back to the bullpen, and should open the 2012 season as the closer for the Astros. This adjusts expectations both for the bullpen and the rotation, as Myers had been a fixture in the Houston starting rotation since coming over from the Phillies in 2010. Myers hasn’t been particularly good recently, posting a 4.46/4.26/3.75 ERA/FIP/xFIP triple-slash line. Myers has always performed worse than his xFIP has indicated, but in 2011 he was especially snakebitten by runners on base. Myers has a tough time striking out hitters, so it seems his main strength lies in his ability to throw 200 innings a year. That doesn’t exactly help him in the ‘pen.

Now, instead of Myers holding down a role in the rotation, spots will go to Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ, and Jordan Lyles. The fifth spot could perhaps go to newly-acquired young pitchers Kyle Weiland and Brett Olberholtzer. Instead, initial reports say that it is more likely that a veteran, either Livan Hernandez or Zach Duke, will fill the fifth starter role. To me, this is a huge mistake. The Astros need to find young talent where they can, and there’s little to no chance that Hernandez or Duke will be a tradeable asset or a valuable piece of the team going forward. This move could likely do nothing to either improve the rotation today or develop young talent, which would be a mistake.

I had previously expected hard-throwing righty David Carpenter to win the closing job in Houston for the coming season, but swapping Myers into that role probably won’t affect the won-loss record of the team. Moving Myers to the closer spot may make him more attractive as a trade candidate, but teams haven’t been falling all over themselves to acquire Myers and his  But if the ‘Stros could pass off David Carpenter as a real closer, he’d have some real trade value himself. Pitchers like former Astro Mark Melancon (and Andrew Bailey…and Sergio Santos…and Sean Marshall) have brought back good young pieces in trade. These are things that If Myers becomes a closer, then he obviously comes up to fantasy baseball relevance as a low-tier closer.

If the move opens up space for a young pitcher in the rotation, then this is probably a solid move for a team looking to develop young talent. And if this move convinces another franchise that it’s worth it to trade for Brett Myers, well that’s probably a good deal in and of itself. But if they’re moving on from Myers to fit Hernandez or Duke in the rotation, then they’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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Oakland Athletics 3B Scott Sizemore is out for the 2012 season with a torn ACL.

You know, the Oakland Athletics need another position battle. Unfortunately, incumbent third baseman Scott Sizemore suffered an ACL injury that will keep him out for the entire upcoming season. This injury makes something completely obvious: the Athletics have precious little infield depth. Either Eric Sogard or Adam Rosales could step in and fill in at third, but neither player has skills that really profile at the hot corner. Both players have even less bat than Sizemore (who’s a good, but not-yet-great with the stick), so it would behoove them to find someone who is not currently on the 25-man roster as a replacement.

Initial word out of Oakland is that catcher Josh Donaldson will get first crack at the starting gig with Sizemore out. Donaldson probably isn’t a good enough hitter to be a major league catcher (95 wRC+ in Triple-A), so I’d be surprised if he will stick at third. In all honesty, the A’s probably need to go out and add another player. Trade candidates are out there that include players like Juan Francisco, Daniel Murphy, or Alberto Callaspo. I’d expect the Athletics to target low-cost, high-control players who could stick with the team for several seasons in trade. There’s been no rumor to the effect, but I wonder if there’s any chance the A’s would look into moving former SS and current CF prospect Grant Green to the hot corner. But as it stands now, the Athletics have a huge hole that needs to be filled pronto.

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The New York Yankees sign RP David Aardsma to a one-year, $500K deal.

David Aardsma may be most famous for being the MLB player who is listed first alphabetically by last name. But now, he’s going to be a late-inning pitcher for the Bronx Bombers once he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Aardsma was quite effective as a closer for the Mariners in 2009 and 2010, saving 69 games over those two seasons. The journeyman reliever sports a career 4.20 ERA and 4.24 FIP, but he has outperformed both these numbers over the last two seasons, showing that the could still be in his pitching prime. The only open question is whether or not he will be able to recover from his TJ surgery and perform at the level which he is accustomed.

If he comes back strong at the end of this year, expect the Yankees to pick up an option for 2013 at $500K. Could Aardsma then be the next man up if Mariano Rivera were to retire at the end of the season? Probably not…that’s probably David Robertson‘s slot to lose. I also don’t imagine Aardsma will have much of a fantasy impact this season…though he could have a little value in holds leagues as a late waiver pickup. But first, we’ve got to see that he’s able to recover from his injury.

Quick Hits

  • Word is coming out from Mets camp that former Cy Young-winner Johan Santana may actually be ready to pitch by Opening Day. Santana would solidify a Met rotation without top-end talent, and would probably be the #1 starter by default. If he is able to go, expect the Met rotation to shake out with some combination of Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, and Dillon Gee. If Santana can’t step into the rotation right away, expect journeyman-poet Miguel Batista to hold down the last spot in the rotation until he’s ready.
  • The Angels have been talking all winter about shoring up their bullpen (or even bringing in a closer to displace Jordan Walden), but now they’ve added another arm to their ‘pen in Jason Isringhausen. Izzy, formerly of the Mets, Athletics, Cardinals, and Rays, picked up a few saves (including his 300th) in Flushing last season, but he’s probably not a guy to rely on in the ninth. Instead, he’ll provide veteran presence and a few strikeouts (8.43 K/9 in 2011) as a setup arm in Anaheim – at least as long as his right arm holds up.
  • A wave of catchers retired over the last week or so. Three very solid veterans of different stripes called it quits: Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek, and Bengie Molina all are officially calling it quits for 2012. Posada is probably headed for the Hall of Fame as one of the most potent offensive catchers of the last thirty years. Jason Varitek will never have to buy a beer in Boston, and should see his number retired, but doesn’t have the offensive chops to find a home in Cooperstown. And Molina, despite being an effective backstop for a decade, never had a transcendent season but was a long-time starter. All three of these players might be joined by another great catcher, Ivan Rodriguez, if he doesn’t hook on soon.

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Dual Threat – 10 Players To Know Who Cover Multiple Positions

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Dual Threat – 10 Players To Know Who Cover Multiple Positions

Posted on 13 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Check your league’s rules closely.  If a player only needs 5 games at any given position to qualify for use at that position, then here are 10 players to keep in mind.  You can never have too much quality depth.

Courtesy of Minda Haas

  1. Alex Gordon (1B – 7, OF – 148) – Gordon’s numbers in 2011 were good enough to make him a legitimate top 10 guy at 1B, even though he spent most of his time in the outfield.  With the recent migration of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to the AL, Gordon could be the forgotten man.  Do not make that mistake on a guy who hit .303/.376/.502/.879 with 101 runs scored and 87 RBI.
  2. Mike Napoli (C – 61, 1B – 35) – Napoli may be one of the few guys worth selecting as a starter for 2 positions.  Think for a moment about the potential for someone who hit 30 HR while batting .320/.414/.631/1.046 in just 432 plate appearances.
  3. Lance Berkman (OF & 1B) – With 126 appearances in the outfield and 21 at first base, Berkman may be the most obvious player on this list.  If he comes close to duplicating his .301/.412/.547/.959 line with 90 runs and 94 RBI from 2011, his stock will likely stay high, especially in NL-only leagues.
  4. Ben Zobrist (2B – 131, OF – 38) – Zobrist’s 2011 campaign was good for his career high in runs (99) and RBI (91), and it was not even his best season for WAR (5.1 vs 7.0 in 2009).  He does not appear to be a candidate for any significant regression, and the depth at 2B in the AL is not what it once was.
  5. Daniel Murphy (1B – 52, 2B – 24, 3B – 28) – Getting a guy who covers 3 bases represents a decent amount of insurance.  Getting a guy who did so while also hitting .320/.362/.448/.809 represents a whole lot of insurance.  In some small leagues, he might be available as a backup.  In large leagues, he may very well be someone’s starter.
  6. Jack Hannahan (1B – 8, 3B – 104) – If you are looking for a guy with a lot of potential upside at the corner infield positions, then keep Hannahan in mind.  He managed 40 RBI and 8 HR in only 366 plate appearances.  He probably will not push your team over the top, but he may provide some good numbers for short stretches.
  7. Pablo Sandoval (1B – 6, 3B – 107) – While Sandoval certainly makes my top 10 for guys at the hot corner, it is his ability to also play 1B that makes him a little more valuable than others at that position.  Not many players can cover the corner infield spots and post a .900+ OPS.  Sandoval can.
  8. Ruben Tejada (2B – 55, SS – 41) – Tejada will not bring with him the promise of great power numbers, but he can get on base, and that cannot be considered a bad thing.
  9. Martin Prado (OF – 100, 42 – 3B) – Under no circumstance would I rate Prado a really high draft pick, but he makes a lot of sense as a 4th outfielder who can also give you some time at 3B.  He is only 2 seasons removed from a 100 run, 66 RBI season, so you could do worse in terms of a backup at 2 positions.
  10. Allen Craig (OF – 48, 2B – 8) – If Craig has a regular spot to play this season, he can be an impact player on offense.  Just consider his 2.9 WAR in only 75 games played in 2011.  If not for offseason knee surgery and questions about playing time, Craig would rate slightly higher up this list.

Yes, there are a lot more where these guys came from, but I’ve got to keep a few to myself.  After all, I play fantasy baseball, too.

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