Tag Archive | "Johan Santana"

Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

sstrasburg

Well, I guess that’s too late to figure out now. I kept him. He’s now the “ace” of my fantasy baseball team. I know what you might be thinking. Keeping Strasburg? Isn’t that a no-brainer? He’s already been named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter. However, you are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year. The same Joey Votto who missed like a third of the season due to injury.

In fantasy baseball, I’m kind of the kiss of death.

Last Friday, Strasburg yielded 3 runs in 6 innings of pitching to the Tigers. All right that’s pretty average. Actually, that’s pretty good by mid-season standards. He only walked one person and he struck out five, which is even better. Then Strasburg took a comebacker off his thumb. Yes, it was his non-throwing thumb but shades of Joey Votto flooded my nightmares for the next half of week.

Yes, my nightmares are of the fantasy baseball variety.

There are positives though. He’s not Johan Santana and he’s not signed by the Mets. Seriously though, Rotoworld ranks him 5th. Only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, David Price and Cole Hamels are ranked higher. ESPN ranked him lower but still in the top 20. The key to Strasburg’s success though is pretty obvious. It comes down to two words…

Innings… Count…

Is there one or not? The Nationals ended Strasburg’s season in early September last year at 159 1/3 innings pitched. Their concerns about Strasburg’s health in his first season following Tommy John surgery seemed to trump the importance of their first trip to the playoffs. It seems ludicrous. However, think about the situation with Johan Santana. After throwing the Mets first no-hitter, coming off of a season ending surgery, he’s now headed again towards… you guessed it… season ending surgery.

Based on how the Nationals treated Jordan Zimmerman’s rehabilitation, there will be a watchful eye but no official innings count. I am essentially banking on Strasburg giving me 190 innings, give or take, in order to get me out of the fantasy cellar. (No, that’s not something from “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’m that bad in fantasy baseball.)

ESPN is projecting that if Strasburg can give me (yes, me personally) about 196 innings, his line would look something like 16 wins, 244 strikeouts, a 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. That would pretty much keep him in the elite of fantasy statistics amongst starting pitchers. That also gets me out of the proverbial cellar. If he “Joey Votto”’s me, I’m going to start testing for mold because I will be living in the cellar for the rest of the season.

If Strasburg stays healthy, he could be the best keeper you or I could have ever traded for. A healthy Strasburg has tremendous upside. He’s only 24 and has an entire career ahead of him. Regardless of the little knock to his finger, Strasburg is projected to have no issue in completing the season. If that is the case, he might help me out of the cellar to at least the middle of the pack of my head-to-head league.

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The Rule 5 Draft and Options to Fill a Major League Roster

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The Rule 5 Draft and Options to Fill a Major League Roster

Posted on 03 December 2012 by Trish Vignola

At the end of the Winter Meetings, which begin on Monday in Nashville, comes an event that might seem as niche as they come. And yet all 30 teams, as well as scores of players, will be paying close attention come Thursday.

The Rule 5 Draft commences at 10 a.m. ET that Thursday. It might lack the bright lights and cameras that are a part of the First-Year Player Draft in June, but the results of this Draft are just as important. Major League organizations will be selecting players, trying to find that diamond in the rough while seeing which players from within might be moving to a new location. You can check out the top potential candidates. They are on MLB.com’s Rule 5 20 names to know list, but note – they are in alphabetical and not ranked order.

These days it’s rare to find a superstar in the Rule 5 Draft. Since the rule change back in 2006 that gave each team an extra year to evaluate, fewer standouts have slipped through. Nonetheless, the chance to uncover a Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla or Shane Victorino, will still make this an interesting draft. In all truthfulness, there’s also a low-risk aspect of the transaction. It frees teams up to make at least one or two selections.

During the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, an eligible player left unprotected from his club’s 40-man roster may be selected for $50,000. He must then remain on his drafting team’s active Major League roster during the following season or be sent back to the original club for $25,000. Last year, only a dozen players were taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. None of them approached the upside of the quartet above. Nonetheless, 2011 Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty collect 11 postseason at-bats for the Orioles. How many hits did A-Rod collect?

Of course, just because a player is sent back doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be a quality Major Leaguer. Victorino was actually taken twice in the Rule 5 Draft, in successive years. Miguel Batista, Fernando Vina and Frank Catalanotto are all examples of players who were returned to their original team after initially being selected. A dozen transactions were made a year ago, and as of Thursday, eight teams were full, with 40 on their rosters. Some teams told MLB.com that they are unlikely to participate in the Major League phase because of roster issues.

Teams looking for pitching depth, especially out of the bullpen, might find exactly what they need. “The list is better, teams had tougher decisions,” one AL executive said to MLB.com. “The teams that have open roster spots will be in good position to get good players. There are less open roster spots in general — that’s why there are some good players on there — and it’s a better list than it has been as a result.”

The list of 20 names to know has 13 pitchers on it, nearly all of whom have the profile to fill a bullpen role. Red Sox right-handers Ryan Pressly and Josh Fields, Rockies righty Coty Woods and Royals lefty Jon Keck are among the potential relievers who have been mentioned in the early run-up to the Rule 5 Draft.

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A New York Met Has Found His Way To The DL…In November

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A New York Met Has Found His Way To The DL…In November

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Trish Vignola

Really?!

Oh, for the love of God! It’s November 6th and a New York Met has found a new and exciting way to get hurt. Seriously? It’s Election Day. What can you do to conceivably cause yourself harm? Are you pressing the voting lever too hard?

According to the Associated Press, Outfielder Lucas Duda broke his right wrist while moving furniture at his apartment in Southern California last month. (Immediately, Mets fan collectively thought “Who Saw that Coming?” upon reading this statement.)

The team announced that Duda had surgery Monday. They expect him to be ready for Spring Training in February. I hope he’s not on the Johan Santana calendar to recovery. If that’s the case, Lucas Duda won’t see a diamond until David Wright is on a Hall of Fame ballot.

Dr. Andrew Weiland at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York operated on Lucas Duda. The Mets expected Duda to be discharged from the hospital today. The 26-year-old slumped to a .239 average with 15 homers and 57 RBIs in 459 plate appearances this year. That is down from a .292 average with 10 homers and 50 RBIs in 347 plate appearances in 2011.

Although drafted in the seventh round, Lucas Duda was always a prospect the Mets took seriously. Former Mets manager Jerry Manuel watched Duda during batting practice when he was first called up. He noted that Duda reminded him of Magglio Ordóñez or Moisés Alou. In 2010, Lucas Duda was named the Sterling Organizational Player of the Year.

Yes, in 2011, Lucas Duda came out like gangbusters. 2012 was a different story though. After a season of dwindling numbers and being demoted to Buffalo in favor of Matt Harvey, Duda now falls victim to what seems to be a stupid, senseless injury in this writer’s humble opinion. I’ve begun to think. Is Lucas Duda just another Aaron Boone (without actual timely hitting, of course)?

In other New York Mets news, reserve catcher Mike Nickeas and outfielder Fred Lewis each rejected outright assignments to the organization’s new Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate and elected for free agency. The Mets signed a two-year Player Development Contract in September with the Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League. Nickeas only played in 47 games and hit one home run. He wasn’t an impact player. However, current Mets’ backup catcher, Anthony Recker, is only slightly better. Fred Lewis? I didn’t even know he was on the team, which says a lot about his impact with the team. Frankly, it also says a lot about my patience with watching the team past the 4th or 5th inning, where I would see a player like Lewis come off the bench. He played in 18 games with the club.

On a far more positive note for the organization, R.A. Dickey took home Outstanding Pitcher honors in the National League. Voted on by his peers, it’s a promising sign for Dickey leading up to the Nov. 14 announcement of the NL Cy Young Award. Four of the National League’s last five Outstanding Pitchers went on to win the Cy Young.

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Andy-Pettitte

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Andy Pettitte Doesn’t Disappoint In His Return

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hopping for five innings and 70 pitches from the return of Andy Pettitte.

Boy, did he get more.

After a three-month stint on the disabled list, the veteran left-hander looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. In the first leg of a day-night doubleheader against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Pettitte gave Girardi five scoreless frames, 75 pitches and a 4-2 win. Pettitte helped to snap the Yankees’ tie atop the American League East with the Orioles, which has become progressively harder as the season has gone on.

“That doesn’t mean [Pettitte] didn’t lobby to go back out there,” Girardi said of Pettitte’s pitch limit. “He said, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ But I told him, ‘We’re not going to hurt you in the first start; that would be silly.’”

That would be Johan Santana.

Girardi continued, “He gave us everything that we asked for — probably a few more pitches than we wanted him to throw. Let’s leave it at that.”

Making his first appearance since a comebacker fractured his left fibula on June 27, Pettitte appeared to be finished after four innings. The 40-year-old was at 68 pitches and Derek Lowe was warming in the Yankees’ bullpen. Pettitte returned though for one more frame. Pulling out all the stops, he retired the side in order (for the first time all day), needing only seven pitches to do so. He left to applause from the sparse crowd a day after inclement weather forced the postponement of the lefty’s anticipated return.

“I think that extra layoff I had actually probably hurt me, as far as how my body felt [and] my legs and stamina,” Pettitte said. “But all in all, it was good. I was able to get through it and make pitches when I had to get out of some innings.”

Girardi had to rely heavy on his bullpen during the matinée, but that had nothing to do with Pettitte. Pettitte’s pitch count was New York’s worst kept secret. He only allowed four hits and walked two batters. This was while facing competition for the first time since his injury.

The lefty rehabbed with simulated games since the Minor League seasons ended before he was ready to take a mound. Pettitte said that while there were no nerves in his return, he struggled with whether the Blue Jays would plan to take more pitches than usual simply to elevate his pitch count. Pettitte’s doubts proved unfounded. He improved to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.97 in his 10th start since coming out of retirement.

With a tiring bullpen, the Yankees need reliable starting pitching to take them into October. Pettitte struck out the first batter he faced, Rajai Davis, on four pitches. He was locating his fastball, slider and cutter, though he felt he had better command in bullpen sessions and simulated games. He finished with three strikeouts, throwing 46 strikes and stranding five runners on base. Pettitte escaped a jam with runners on the corners in the second inning and induced a key double-play grounder to end the third.

“You have confidence in Andy because he knows how to get that double-play ball or the strikeout and make the big pitch,” Girardi said. “You know he’s not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. I was probably more nervous when I saw him running around a little bit than when he was on the mound.”

Pettitte reported no negative effects on his left ankle, saying that he was 100 percent healthy. He needed only to rebuild his leg strength and stamina with more running. Girardi estimated Pettitte would throw 85-90 pitches in his next start, scheduled for next week at Minnesota. If Pettitte can go deeper in the game, his coming off the disabled list could be the best pick-up the Yankees made this season.

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An Open Letter to Melky Cabrera

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An Open Letter to Melky Cabrera

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Trish Vignola

Dear Melky,

Can I call you Melky? No, I won’t call you “The Melk Man”. I’m not that brilliant wordsmith, John Sterling.

You were a bright shinning beacon for my otherwise dismal fantasy baseball team. On a team that provided my league with such memorable moves like taking Joey Votto as my first draft pick. Joey Votto? You know Joey Votto – 2010 National League MVP, hitting .342, disabled list. How about Johan Santana? Oh, he was my sleeper pick. Sure, he pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets franchise history. Now? If his earned run average were a child, it would be entering the first grade.

You though were different. You were the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 All-Star Game. You’re hitting .346, the second highest average in the National League. You have 11 home runs and 60 runs batted in. You lead the major leagues with 159 hits and 84 runs. Did I mention that you are playing for a San Francisco Giants team that was tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West entering today’s games? You sir, kept me from dead last place.

Surprise! Today, you gave me the gift that keeps on giving. You tested positive for testosterone. No, that’s not my fancy way of saying “You da Man!” That is though my fancy way of saying Major League Baseball suspended you for 50 games effective immediately.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to give you a speech about “cheaters never winning” and how I hope the effects of losing the rest of your salary has some impact on your psyche. Based on the false pretense in which you presented your services, I hope this has more of an impact on the Giants accounting department. It’s obvious that you were over paid.

I’m not going to talk about how people would give their eyeteeth for just one shot to do what you do every day. The Giants have 45 games remaining. It looks like you’ll miss the rest of the regular season and then either five games of a playoff run or the first five games of next season. It’s totally not worth it to give our eyeteeth to do what you do now – you know, sitting on your couch watching “Baseball Tonight”.

Dude! You were on a legitimate playoff contender. Do you realize that last year you were on the Kansas City Royals? Seriously. After what you did, my fantasy baseball team might as well BE the Royals.

“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used,” you said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”

Cue the “NBC ‘The More You Know’ Music.”

I could take the high road. I could release a fantasy statement regarding my fantasy baseball team just like the Giants did. “We were extremely disappointed to learn of the suspension of Melky Cabrera for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. Per the protocol outline by Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the Giants will not comment further on this matter.” But, I am.

As you sit on your butt for the rest of the season, all I hope is that you stay away from R.A. Dickey and you get really fat. If you need me, I’ll be digging my hole deeper until this season finally ends.

Yours truly,

Trish

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