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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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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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Welcome To The Bigs, Kid: Anthony Gose

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Welcome To The Bigs, Kid: Anthony Gose

Posted on 19 July 2012 by T.J. McDonald

On Monday Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays left the game after feeling pain in his wrist on an eighth-inning swing that produced a long foul ball. X-rays were negative but an MRI the following day revealed inflammation. At about the same time Anthony Gose a top prospect in the Blue Jays organization was playing for AAA Las Vegas. He was immediately pulled from the game and told what every kid dreams of, kid you are going to the big leagues.  As Gose so bluntly put it “ Strike out and next thing you know you’re going to the big leagues.”  He was added to the big league club the following day to replace Bautista with the Blue Jays making room on the 40-man roster for Gose by transferring right-hander Brandon Morrow  from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Below I will go over all you need to know about Anthony Gose plus if he is worth a flier in both yearly and keeper fantasy leagues.

Prior to the season Gose was rated as the 39th best prospect in all of baseball by baseball America, 59th by Ketih Law & 68th by Kevin Goldstein. Kevin Goldstein also had Anthony Gose  rated as the 12th ranked  prospect in the futures game last week in Kansas City, played during the All Star festivities.  He is a 21 year old center fielder with plus-plus speed, the potential for average power and fantastic defense in center field. He was acquired  by the Blue Jays from Houston in July 2010 for first baseman Brett Wallace.  He was hitting .292 with 77 Runs, 5 Hrs, 41 RBIs, 18 doubles, 10 triples and a league leading 29 SBs in 92 games in the Pacific Coast league this year prior to his call up.  He has all the tools to be an everyday player but does have some concerns.  While a great source of steals with 29 this year in AAA and 70 in 2011 at the double A level he does have 501 Ks in 1,947 career minor league at bats. He has cut down on the strikeout this year though so getting on base may not be the problem it once was. When he does get on base look out the steals will come.

Now as to if he can and will help your fantasy team. In the short term yes, in all leagues if you need steals he is a recommended pickup.  He did not start Tuesday but did get in the lineup late in the game going one for two.  Wednesday he started in right field and batted lead off going 0-3 with 2 Ks.  As you can see he will be given the opportunity to play everyday and possibly bat lead off while Bautista is recovering. If he plays well and with only the likes of Rajai Davis and Ben Francisco to compete with for playing time when Bautista returns, he could easily find himself starting alongside Bautista and Colby Rasmus in the outfield for the remainder of the year and the foreseeable  future.

In yearly leagues while Gose is worth a pickup he may only be short term help.  When Bautista returns possibly as soon as he eligible to come off the 15 day DL,  there is no guarantee he will stick with the big league club. Although a strong showing may force their hand.  If you are in need of steals and have room on your roster I would take a flier and hope he stays on the big league club post Bautista return.  This things are hard to predict but if he starts hitting well and stealing bases and sticks with the club you don’t want to be the guy wishing you had picked him up when you had the chance.

Keeper leagues however are another story. I would advise everyone to run not walk to their waiver wire and pick him up immediately, I did.  Prospects of his caliber do not get called up everyday and now that is he playing and possibly producing you will not be wasting the spot on just a prospect stash. You will have the possible next big thing on your roster and producing in your lineup at the same time. If he was not stashed already, know is the time to act if for nothing less than the short term help with the added bonus that his high keeper potential and value he will add to your roster.  He is just to good of a prospect  to see the Blue Jays not getting him in the line up on an everyday bases next year, if not for the remainder of the year even. So do yourself a favor and pickup Gose now and possibly even keep him, leaving everyone else in your league wondering why the new wonder kid is not available come next years draft time.

Will you be picking up Anthony Gose now or playing the wait and see game hoping no one else pulls the trigger?  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ We can continue the discussion there as well as other fantasy baseball talk & news.

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kcroyals1

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Finding Keepers: Kansas City Royals

Posted on 06 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Kansas City Royals probably aren’t going to factor into any playoff scenarios this season but many of their young players will help you build a solid fantasy baseball team to make a run at your league’s championship title.

In the latest installment of Finding Keepers, I’ll take a look at the Kansas City Royals players on their 40-man roster you should be considering as “keepers” heading into the 2012 fantasy baseball season.

1B Eric Hosmer is primed to make a run at the upper echelon of fantasy baseball first basemen in 2012. In 128 games in 2011, he hit .293 with 19 home runs with 11 stolen bases. If his Spring Training numbers (.398 BA, 33 hits and 29 RBI in 28 games) are any indicator of things to come, fantasy owners who locked him up as their starting first baseman have nothing to worry about this season (and beyond).  His ADP is currently 52.06 and ranks: ESPN #45; Yahoo! #58; CBS #106.

OF Alex Gordon put together the season fantasy baseball owners have been hoping for since he burst on the scene in 2007. His 5×5 line of .303/101/23/87/17, along with his .376 OBP, .502 SLG and OPS+ of 140 have fantasy owners drafting him with an ADP of 62.37. Check out his rankings: ESPN #50; Yahoo! #40; CBS #87.

DH Billy Butler is starting to show fantasy owners what to expect from him each season rather than drafting him based on potential or perceived expectations. He’s probably only DH-eligible in your league now (lucky you if he still has 1B eligibility), so there’s that drawback but you can bank on a 5×5 line around .300/75/20/90/1. Rankings: ESPN #98; Yahoo! #127; CBS #111.

 Best of the rest but not a keeper

3B Mike Moustakas has 20-home run potential but only hit five in 365 plate appearances in his rookie season. He plays a premium fantasy baseball position and could easily become a keeper with a much-improved sophomore season.

OF Lorenzo Cain will be given every chance to show what he’s got this season and what he’s got is a .300 average and 30 stolen base potential. He will be fun to own but not yet a keeper.

C Salvador Perez had many fantasy owners targeting him as a sleeper for 2012 after a .331/20/3/21/0 in just 39 games in 2011. Unfortunately a Spring Training knee injury has virtually wiped out his entire season.

The Kansas City Royals farm system is currently ranked 5th overall by Baseball Prospectus and should continue to produce and promote quality players. Now if only they could have success growing some major league-ready pitchers. PS, Danny Duffy…not a keeper…yet.

So there you have it. How did you feel about the Royals’ roster heading into your fantasy baseball drafts and now into the 2012 season? Please use the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the discussion.

 

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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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