Tag Archive | "Second Baseman"

Jamie Moyer – The Father of Reinvention

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Jamie Moyer – The Father of Reinvention

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Trish Vignola

With Mariano Rivera hurt, Roger Clemens on Trial and Ozzie Guillen lacking a filter, this season has gotten off to a pretty dark start. Nevertheless, there are always several “feel good” stories that develop over the season, showing us why Baseball is always a good thing. Picture it! June 1986. The Boston Celtics win the NBA championship. Americans are still trying to sanitize after touching all those hands in “Hands Across America”. Chicago Cubs Second Baseman Ryne Sandberg meets his new teammate – Jamie Moyer.

The future Hall of Famer didn’t see much in his new teammate. “There wasn’t too much about him that said long-term major league pitcher.” Twenty-six years later Jamie Moyer is still getting major league lineups out, most of which werenʼt even born when Sandberg first met Moyer.

How does Moyer do it? He has a 4.23 ERA, less than 2,500 strikeouts over a twenty-five year career and a win/loss record barely over .500.

I would hardly call those Hall of Fame numbers.

You can say that he has extraordinary motivation. In fact, you can say Moyerʼs motivation helped him to become the oldest pitcher to notch a win. Does he have discipline? Of course, he does. Name me one professional athlete that doesnʼt demonstrate extreme mental or physical discipline and Iʼll show you an out-of- work athlete…or anyone starting for Rex Ryan. But, how is Moyer still playing fifteen years after Sandberg hung up his glove for the final time?

In a time when mangers can insult entire sectors of their community’s fan base to former icons on trial for perjury, baseball always finds a way to provide us with more feel good stories than not. One is Jamie Moyer – the Father of Reinvention. Once Moyer realized he wasnʼt going to be Nolan Ryan per say, he found a way to make himself useful to his organization at all times. Thatʼs right, folks! When in doubt, make yourself indispensible. For example, pitchers tend to lose velocity later in their career. For Moyer, “later in their career” could potentially translate to ten years ago. In 2011, his average fastball speed was about 80 miles per hour, a very slow speed for a non-knuckleball pitcher. His fastball this season is currently clocked at 78 miles per hour. Still amazing by our “common folk” standards, but letʼs face it. Miami Marlinsʼ Jose Reyes can run to the mound and grab the ball out of Moyerʼs hand quicker than that. If Moyer relied on velocity, he would have been an analyst on SportsCenter by now.

Moyer relies on control and mixing his pitches. He has the ability now to throw five main pitches: a sinker, a cut fastball, a slider, a changeup and a curveball. Five pitches? Do you know what it takes to do that? Most pitchers are lucky to have three. Moyer may not have freak speed, but he sure has a freaky amount of pitches to choose from. Not many pitchers can do that. Also, who knows? Moyer can always reinvent himself again. When (and if) he retires, the National Baseball Hall of Fame offered him an internship. Well, if he keeps breaking records at the rate he is, somebody is going to have to catalog all of Moyer’s stuff.

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Finding Keepers:Seattle Mariners

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Finding Keepers:Seattle Mariners

Posted on 17 April 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Seattle Mariners can’t get much worse then they were last year.  They still have a couple of marquee names in Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki.  They have some young promising players that should help them.  I don’t think they are a contender this year but maybe they can at least keep the fan interest for most of the season.  Lets take a look at some guys on their team that I would consider keepers.

RF Ichiro Suzuki had the worst season of his career last year.  I don’t expect him to be as bad as he was last year.  Is he getting older, yes he is but he is basically a singles hitter with a little bit of pop.  I don’t think he forgot how to hit and should have around 200 hits again this season.  I wouldn’t drop him just yet, give him a chance to rebound this season.

SP Felix Hernandez plays for a bad team in a market where he doesn’t get much publicity.  He is a great pitcher though, one of the best in the game if not the best.  He is still young and will continue to put up numbers.  There would be no reason at all to drop this guy, he hasn’t even been injury prone.  The only think with him is that sometimes his wins totals are low because of the team he is on.

SP Hector Noesi is a second year pitcher who came over from the Yankees in the trade that landed the Yankees Michael Pineda.  He was a long reliever for the Yankees but is a starter now.  I think he is pretty good pitcher who will do well out in Seattle.  He is a guy that I would keep, hoping he develops into something pretty good. 

DH/C Jesus Montero is the big name that the Mariners got from the Yankees in the trade with Noesi coming to Seattle also.  Montero is a promising hitter it is his defense that is in question.  I have no doubt this guy is going to hit and hit a lot.  I think he will be around a 30 homerun guy with 100 RBI potential and I think he can hit 280-290.  I would not let go of this guy too easily.

2B Dustin Ackley is a pretty good second baseman.  He is only in his second year in the majors.  He is a guy that can hit for a decent average, can have a pretty high on base and has some pop.  I wouldn’t mind keeping him on my team if he was there.  He could also be a pretty good backup to have.  He should be able to hit 275-280 with around 10 homeruns and 50+RBI.  He could also steal a few bases for you.

Closer Brandon League became a closer with Seattle last year.  He had 37 saves last season in 42 chances.  He in his career was mainly a middle relief and setup man.  He is 17-22 in his career with a 3.65 ERA.  He is a guy that has always had good stuff but needed to harness it.  It looks like he is in a good situation now in Seattle where he can grow and be a pretty good major league closer.  I would hold onto him and see if he can repeat what he did last year.  If he can he is a keeper.

I hope you enjoy my work and that of my colleagues.  As always you can comment on the articles on the website or reach me through face book or twitter.  @gmarchesej on twitter and my name on facebook.

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The 2012 Spring Training All-Star Team

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The 2012 Spring Training All-Star Team

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Daniel Aubain

There’s nothing more useless than putting too much emphasis on the statistics players are putting up in Spring Training. Just ask Jake Fox. He hit 10 Spring Training home runs in 2011 and accumulated just 15 HITS in the regular season and found his way onto many a fantasy baseball squad for his catcher eligibility. How’d that work out for those managers?

Some Spring Training statistics are worth paying attention to, like a hitters walk rate (positively) or strikeout rate (negatively). Stolen bases are also a nice statistic to keep an eye on, especially for players fighting for a roster spot. A pitcher’s K%, K/9 and K/BB ratios are nice to keep an eye on. They’ll let you know if they are in the zone or struggling with their command. So just keep Spring Training numbers in perspective when scrolling through the box scores or stat web sites.

That all being said, let’s celebrate the 2012 Spring Training All-Star Team, by position:

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy leads all catchers with 20 hits and sports a gaudy .513 batting average. Of those 20 hits, seven have gone for extra bases (five doubles and two home runs). He’s also only struck out two times in 39 at bats but hasn’t walked. I also like to see that he stole a base in three attempts. He’s virtually gone undrafted in ESPN leagues (ADP 260+) and only owned in 7.4% of their leagues. Now might be a good time to reassess your catching depth chart.

Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer leads the majors with 25 hits and 23 RBI  in just 22 games played this Spring and looks primed for a monster sophomore season. He’s also stolen three bases, so the 11 he swiped in 2011 don’t seem like a fluke.

Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has 20 hits, a .408 batting average and has scored 14 runs in 15 Spring Training games. His four doubles and four home runs prove he’s ready for the season to get underway.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is proving to be the real deal. He’s gone 17-for-30 (.567 BA) in just 12 games this Spring with seven doubles and two triples. Oh, and he’s stolen five bases, too. If you own him in your fantasy baseball league, the season can’t start soon enough.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon is showing us all his speed is the real deal. He’s stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts in 17 games to go along with 20 hits for a .417 batting average. His two triples and six walks are also great signs of things to come.

Detroit Tigers left fielder Delmon Young has 10 extra base hits (five doubles and five home runs) and 19 RBI in 18 games this Spring and will be a steady fixture in the middle of the Tigers lineup for 2012. Somehow he’s only owned in 91.4% of ESPN leagues. Check your waivers.

Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain has 14 extra base hits and a 1.345 OPS in 54 Spring at bats. He’ll be a fixture at the top of what seems to be an explosive offense for 2012, so pay attention. With an ADP of 224.7 in ESPN leagues and a mind-numbingly low ownership percentage of 28.7%, now is the time to check to see if he’s sitting out there on your league’s waiver wire and POUNCE!

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier is showing he’s healthy by clubbing 13 extra base hits (eight doubles, three triples, two home runs) in 15 games for a 1.412 OPS. He’s also scored 11 runs while driving in 12. It will be interesting to see where contract extension talks go if he gets off to a hot start now that the Dodgers’ ownership situation is heading towards a resolution.

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales seems to be back in form his 22-month layoff from injury. As of today (Thursday, March 29th, 2012), he’s gone 10-for-16 (.625 BA) with two home runs with 16 total bases. He’s up to 87.7% owned in ESPN leagues, so your window of opportunity to grab him off waivers has probably closed. Those owners who drafted him with an ADP of 201.1 should see an extremely high return on investment.

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke has pitched 19.1 innings this Spring and struck out 28 batters while walking only two. That’s right, TWO. That’s a 14:1 K:BB ratio with a 13.03 K/9. He had a 0.93ERA with a 0.83 WHIP and batters hit just .197 against him. These are the kinds of statistics that matter in Spring Training and should translate into a very dominant season for Greinke in 2012.

This team doesn’t have a closer because no one is truly closing out games yet as relievers are simply trying to get their work in to be prepared to go once the games start to count on April 4th.

Which players would you like nominate to this year’s Spring Training All-Star Team and why? Are you basing your decisions in support of your favorite team and players or from a fantasy baseball perspective (or both)? Use the comments section below to nominate your players and be sure to engage me in a conversation on Twitter @DJAubain.

NOTE: All Spring Training statistics quoted are from MLB.com and are through games played as of March 28, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

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Finding Keepers: Philadelphia Phillies

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Finding Keepers: Philadelphia Phillies

Posted on 18 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Philadelphia Phillies, in my opinion, are still the best team in baseball.  I have felt this way over the last couple of years and they haven’t won the World Series though.  I thought for sure last year they would win it and they were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.  The Phillies continue to be loaded with their pitching staff.  They lost Roy Oswalt this year but gained a closer in Jonathan Papelbon.  The resigned Jimmy Rollins and they also have Jim Thome back.  The Phillies will be missing Ryan Howard for a while and that will hurt them.  They still have to be the favorites in the NL East and maybe the entire National League though.  Lets take a look at some of the players on their team that I would keep on my fantasy team.

SP Roy Halladay, he is the best pitcher in the game arguably.  In my opinion it isn’t an argument.  He is a bulldog, he pitches a lot of complete games and almost never doesn’t go deep into the game.  He strikes out a lot of guys and wins a lot of games.  He is an amazing pitcher and how can you not keep him around on your team.

SP Cliff Lee is another guy that is a bulldog.  He tends to be a little streaky.  He is a great pitcher but he will go on some bad streaks.  He isn’t quite as good as Halladay but he is still good and not a guy I would want to give up.

C Carlos Ruiz is a good hitting catcher.  He won’t hit a ton of homeruns although he has some pop.  In the last two years though he hit 302 and then 283 last year.  He is a solid hitter who will get on base as well.  He has had a 400 and 371 on base percentage the last two years.

2B Placido Polanco is a good second baseman.  He has been around for a long time but he is a career 301 hitter.  If you have him on your team you know he will hit for average and get you some hits.  He also has a decent career on base percentage of 346.

RF Hunter Pence is a good outfielder.  He came over to the Phillies in a trade from Houston last year.  He hit 314 with a 370 on base percentage.  He also had 22 homeruns and 97 RBI.  The three previous years he hit 25 homeruns each year.  He is a guy who you can count on for around 25 homeruns and 80-90 RBI.  He also seemed to be rejuvenated a little by being on a good team.  He is a guy that’s in a good situation now and I would keep him around on my fantasy team.

CF Shane Victorino is a guy I enjoy watching playing.  I love the nickname the Flying Hawain.  The name alone is worth keeping him for me.  He also is a good little ballplayer.  He has a career average of 279.  He hit 279 last year with 17 homeruns and 61 RBI.  He also stole 19 of 22 bases and had a 355 on base percentage.

LF Domonic Brown is a promising young player.  He only hit 245 last year but I would keep him around.  He has great potential and I don’t like to give up on young players too easily.  If he is struggling you can at least keep him on the bench and be patient with him until he fully blossoms.

I hope you enjoy this article along with the other Finding Keepers articles not only I but my colleagues have been working on.  I would love to hear comments under this article and also I can be reached @gmarchesej if you have a twitter account.

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Finding Keepers:New York Yankees

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Finding Keepers:New York Yankees

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

I know a lot of people will say this is pretty easy to do.  The New York Yankees are arguably the best team in the American league and one of the best teams in baseball.  They have a ton of talent but I think it is hard to go over a team like this.  I am going to try my best and find a little different wrinkle then just yeah keep this guy and keep this guy.  Lets see what I can come up with and I hope you will enjoy this and get some value out of it.

2B Robinson Cano is a pretty easy one to say keep.  He is one of the best players in baseball, a rising star.  He is so good and to think a few years ago they thought he was lazy and unmotivated.  He is the best second baseman in baseball and quickly becoming a top ten player in the game today.  You have to keep this guy around if your lucky enough to have him.  He is going to be a top of the line player for many many years.

LF Brett Gardner is due to have a bounce back year.  He does need to bat better then 259, he does have a high on base percentage though and is capable of stealing lots of bases.  I would expect him to hit more in the 280 range and think he can steal around 50 bases with a 380+ on base percentage.  I wouldn’t say he is one of the best left fielders but think he is a very valuable piece to keep around on your team, even if it is just a backup position.

CF Curtis Granderson had an MVP type season last year.  Is he able to keep this up??  I would say you can’t predict the exact same numbers but I think he is.  He has embraced New York and isn’t scared at all of it.  He is an ambassador of the game and takes everything in stride.  He had a lot of problems with lefties when he first came over to the Yankees a couple of years ago and has now seemed to solve that.  If he hits lefties pretty good on a consistent basis then he will be in the upper echelon of players and is a keeper.  I right now would bet on that being the case and keeping him around, I would expect him to have a great rest of his career and be a star player in New York for many more years.

SP Phil Hughes had a terrible year last year.  It started off bad then he got hurt and he never seemed to find it again.  I think he will have a bounce back year though.  I look for him to be more of the pitcher he was in 2010 then in 2011.  He won 18 games in 2010 and I think he can approach that number once again.  The early signs from spring training are encouraging and I think you should keep him around on your team.  If he has another tough year then it will be time to dump him.  He is still a young player and I wouldn’t give up on him just yet.

DH Raul Ibanez is a veteran and his best days are behind him.  He is noted as one of the best guys in the game by just about everyone you talk too.  I think he fits in perfect in the Yankees clubhouse and will do well in New York.  He is coming from Philadelphia which may be an even tougher place to play so that isn’t a problem.  He had a tough year last year but still put up good power numbers, I expect him to do better this year especially on this team and in Yankee Stadium.  It is perfect for a left handed power hitter.  I think he is a guy that is worth keeping on your team, he is a perfect DH.

RP Dave Robertson was the best eighth inning guy last year.  I like what he brings to the table.  He does put too many men on base but they call him Houdini for a reason.  He knows how to get out of jams and is a strike out pitcher which helps him.  I know with bullpen guys sometimes they change from year to year.  I think this guy is coming into his own though and will be a good reliever for a long time.  He may even become the next closer of the Yankees.  I wouldn’t let this guy go and especially not now.  I know some may be worried about his foot.  He just the other day tripped down the stairs in his house moving boxes.  The Yankees were a little scared but the diagnosis came back with just a bone bruise.  I am sure they will be cautious with him but I don’t expect him to miss much time and I think he will be ready to go for the season.

SP Michael Pineda is a huge guy.  He burst onto the scene last year with the Seattle Mariners.  He is a fastball slider guy and working on a changeup now.  He struggled in the second half last year and a lot of people questioned that.  Was it fatigue, did the league catch up to him etc.  I think he will be great with the Yankees and win a lot of ballgames.  I think he will learn a lot from guys such as CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia.  I wouldn’t let this guy go, if he develops his changeup he is a number one type pitcher and can be for years to come.  He is just coming into his second year in the league and should also know the hitters better.

If there is anyone you think I could of went over that you would of liked me to cover let me know.  I have twitter and can be reached @gmarchesej, you can also comment here on the website and I welcome all opinions.  Just make sure you keep it civil and we can have a good debate, I don’t mind constructive criticism.  As always thank you for reading and I hope you will continue to do so not just for me but my colleagues as well and spread the word about our site.

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