July 2012

CynCynnati’s Finest

Courtesy: twinsdaily.com

He is tied for second in the NL in wins (11), he is second in ERA (2.28), and while his strikeout totals aren’t as prolific as Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez, he still has 94 punchouts (28th in NL) in 126.1 innings in 2012. Johnny Cueto is an ace and he is, quite possibly, the most underrated pitcher in MLB.

Since the start of the 2011 season, Cueto is 20-10 (43 starts) with a 2.29 ERA in 282.1 innings. At the age of 26, he has established himself as a dominating starter, albeit without dominating periferals. Why is it that he isn’t as well respected for his dominance?

Cueto doesn’t have the perfect game like Matt Cain, the hype and production of Stephen Strasburg, or the dancing, 80+ mph knuckleball of the New York hype machine driven R.A. Dickey. Cueto pitches in a small-market, his ERA is the only dazzling number that pops out, and he has one more thing that goes against him…

Cueto has never thrown 200 innings in a season. His career high was 185.2 in 2010. He is currently on pace to finish 20-9 over 227.1 innings if he doesn’t hit any snags due to injury to finish off the season, as Cincinnati fans gasp at the thought of losing Cueto like they’ve lost Joey Votto.

Cueto has missed 59 games due to right shoulder pain or inflammation in his career. This has been Cueto’s biggest issue in reaching the plateau of superstardom, and the reason why he isn’t getting pimped for his abilities the way that others have, even the 37-year-old journeyman gets more than him!

This is just a lowly, self-created attempt at a sports blog, however, Johnny Cueto deserves more. Johnny Cueto is a top-notch starting pitcher and he is worthy of the National League Cy Young in 2012. Anything less than that, especially if Cueto stays healthy, should be considered a disappointment. He isn’t going to turn into Tim Lincecum and start getting absolutely rocked on a consistent basis, because he never was Lincecum. He’s still trying to get there. This is the year that the rest of the baseball world sees what Cincinnati has for a few years.

Billy Hamilton is Fast

This is video of Hamilton’s inside-the-park home run from Sunday. He was timed at 13.8 seconds by J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. I can’t even drink a glass of water that fast and he hit a baseball and ran 360 feet of basepath.

I tried embedding the video but it didn’t work, follow the link to see him fly:

http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=23065785

10 Prospects to Watch for in the Second Half

Josh Vitters; Courtesy: baseballinstinct.com

With several teams falling out of contention and the trade deadline a little over two weeks away, there will be several new names making their debuts in the coming weeks. Here are some names to watch out for or grab in keeper leagues.

Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs, 22

.304/.359/.509, 26 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 52:24 K:BB in 326 AB

Vitters was taken 3rd overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. His journey to this point has been a struggle at times, having hit .262/.310/.413 from High-A to Double-A prior to arriving in Triple-A this season. He had poor plate discipline while showing signs of power. He has put it all together this year, even though it is a hitter’s league, and while he may be a liability at third base defensively, his offensive upside is worth a gamble by the Cubs. He certainly won’t be moving to first base with Anthony Rizzo across the diamond.

Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers, 23

5-8, 5.10 ERA, 90 IP, 79:49 K:BB, 4 HR allowed

Peralta hasn’t had a very good season in Triple-A this year, but he is a legitimate prospect still. With Zack Greinke’s name coming up in trade rumors so frequently, the Brewers will need to fill the void left if they do move their prized right-hander. Peralta could get a look. Peralta will need to throw more strikes at the major league level to be successful, as he did when he averaged over 9 K/9 in 2011. He has the build (6’2″, 240) of an innings eater, so we’ll see if he has the stuff to be more than a back-end starter shortly.

Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego Padres, 23

.313/.376/.543, 20 2B, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB, 60:34 K:BB in 348 AB

Gyorko would get the call to be the Padres every day third baseman if or when the Friars trade Chase Headley. Gyorko has produced the numbers above between Double-A and Triple-A this season, but he has done nothing but hit since starting his professional career, posting a .320/.387/.525 in 1192 at-bats. While Petco will sap his ability to hit for power, it won’t take away his ability to get on base and find the gaps. He could be an All Star, even in San Diego.

Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23

.286/.348/.484, 16 2B, 12 3B, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 18 SB, 79:25 K:BB in 339 AB

Marte is a potential Gold Glove center fielder. Too bad the Pirates have one of the top center fielders and overall players in Andrew McCutchen. Marte will probably be trade bait, and he could be a centerpiece in a deal to acquire Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, as the Pirates look to establish themselves as a team that matters in the second half of 2012. Marte still struggles to make contact and hasn’t figured out how to use his speed (12 caught stealing), but he is a very valuable asset for whoever he will be playing for.

Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 21

7-4, 2.80 ERA, 86.2 IP, 83:24 K:BB

Skaggs could join Trevor Bauer in the Diamondback rotation at some point this season, having already started three games in Triple-A after a recent promotion. Joe Saunders just returned from the disabled list, but if Arizona wants to get a look at what they have, Skaggs could easily get a look when they fall out of contention or become sellers. With Bauer, Skaggs, Wade Miley, Ian Kennedy, and Trevor Cahill, the Diamondbacks have a really good looking group of young pitchers. When Daniel Hudson returns from Tommy John surgery next year, it will only make them that much better.

Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds, 21

.319/.408/.437, 18 2B, 10 3B, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 108 SB, 73:51 K:BB in 348 AB

Hamilton is an absolute freak. He will easily break Vince Coleman’s professional record for steals in a season, and he will be capable of helping the Reds this September by acting as a pinch runner, stealing games as a late-inning replacement. Hamilton has just 11 at-bats in Double-A, but he has a sickening amount of speed. This type of talent will get fans in the seats at Great American Ballpark. His long-term position is still up for debate, but if he keeps getting on base and stealing bases at this rate, the Reds will have to make room for him.

Matt Harvey, RHP New York Mets, 23

7-4, 3.39 ERA, 98.1 IP, 102:42 K:BB

Harvey is rumored to be getting the call to take Dillon Gee’s turn in the Mets rotation next week, but the Mets want to get one more look at him in Triple-A. The North Carolina product has the stuff and build of an ace, but he still needs to work on his ability to throw strikes. Harvey is a special arm, so it is not strange to see the Mets getting excited about bringing him to New York, but since they are in contention for the NL East at the moment, they need to be careful with each game. With that being said, Harvey is better than Miguel Batista right now, so they should go ahead with their plans.

Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets, 22

8-4, 2.62 ERA, 92.2 IP, 88:35 K:BB, 1 HR allowed

Speaking of New York prospects, Wheeler is another future ace for the Mets. He, like Harvey, has some battles with his control, but he could also get a look. Wheeler is more likely to serve as rotation depth if the Mets are unfortunate enough to deal with another significant injury to their rotation, such as another Johan Santana shoulder issue. Wheeler is more likely to get a bump to Triple-A than he is to the majors in 2012, but he could still get a look in September, so keep an eye on the future number one starter.

Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers, 23

.292/.403/.574, 14 2B, 1 3B, 22 HR, 63 RBI, 4 SB, 85:51 K:BB in 291 AB

Olt will probably never see the field at the Ballpark at Arlington while wearing a Texas Rangers uniform. With Adrian Beltre locked into the third base position in Texas, Olt is nothing more than trade bait, and great bait at that. Olt is a mashing, power-hitting prospect, and while he strike out a lot, he still possesses a very good eye at the plate. He has been rumored to be a centerpiece to a deal for Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, as the Rangers look to build a super team for their run to the World Series.

Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies, 24

.266/.314/.416, 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 4 SB, 36:13 K:BB in 173 AB

Brown is currently tearing up instructional leagues while he rehabs his right knee injuries, but he could get a look in the Phillies outfield if they become sellers this month. Brown was once the prospect equal to Atlanta Braves slugger Jason Heyward, but their careers have taken a severe fork in the road, especially since the Phils seem to be so hesitant to give Brown a long-term look. Brown has already lost his rookie eligibility and has spent parts of three season in Triple-A for Philadelphia, so if they aren’t going to use him, I’d love for anyone else to give him a look. He seems to have an attitude or motivational issue this season more than anything. Remember that he hit .327/.391/.589 with 20 home runs in 343 at-bats in 2010 between Double-A and Triple-A before the Phillies started screwing up his development by calling him up and letting him sit on the bench.

Are there any young players you’re watching out for over the second half? Seattle fans may want to see Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, or Taijuan Walker, right? Would Cincinnati fans like to see Daniel Corcino or Tony Cingrani come up? Comment guys you’re looking forward to seeing!

 

 

Indians Stuff, 7/14

 

 

 

 

Recent articles at Bleacher Report for the Indians:

The Indians Top 11 Prospects

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1251147-mlb-cleveland-indians-top-11-prospects

Things the Indians Need to Contend in the Second Half

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1256997-mlb-cleveland-indians-five-things-the-indians-need-to-contend-after-the-break

Which Player’s Return from the DL is More Important: Hafner or Hannahan?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1254313-mlb-cleveland-indians-whose-return-to-the-lineup-is-more-important

Thanks for reading!!!

Scott Boras is the Devil

Courtesy: ESPN.com

So says the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the No.8 overall selection, Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, in the recent MLB Draft didn’t sign a contract with the Bucs before the 5:00 PM EST deadline on Friday. Appel returns to the Cardinal for his senior season, hoping to cash in on another solid season to give himself a raise in the 2013 MLB Draft.

There are a few problems with this:

1) What if Appel loses his stuff and doesn’t dominate, causing a slip in the draft?

2) What if Appel’s elbow or shoulder pops and he misses the season, which would cause a slip in the draft?

3) What if Appel has Scott Boras as an agent next season and he slips further than he did this year in the draft?

Mark Appel is taking a huge risk with this move. If his ultimate goal in life was to play professional baseball, then this wasn’t about the money. But it was. It always is when you hire Scott Boras to be your agent. The Pirates offered Appel $3.8 million, well-above the $2.9 slot recommendation.

Due to the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, “Teams may only sign Draft picks to Minor League contracts and will be taxed and/or penalized for exceeding the designated signing bonuses (previously called slot recommendations) for the sum of their picks in the first 10 rounds.” Teams are handcuffed when it comes to signing players with high demands, as clubs are forced to pay significant penalties when they go over the recommended slots.

Can Appel really think that he is going to get more money? If Appel has Boras again in 2013 and he falls in the draft due to signability, which was an issue this season and was ultimately true, what happens? This could be a slippery slope for Appel.

The story of Matt Harrington returns…

  • 2000 – Drafted by the Colorado Rockies 7th overall. Agent Tommy Tanzer wanted a $4.95 million signing bonus (more than the 1999 1st overall pick, Josh Hamilton), but the Rockies offer a $4 million bonus and a guaranteed call-up by the end of the 2002 season. Not a bad deal for a high school kid, right? Nope. Harrington doesn’t sign and goes to Independent Leagues, where he struggles, to keep his arm fresh.
  • 2001 – Harrington drops Tanzer and signs on with Scott Boras. Harrington is drafted in the second round, 58th overall, by the San Diego Padres. He is offered $1.2 million to sign, but Boras wanted twice as much. Harrington, again, doesn’t sign and goes back to struggling in the Independent League.
  • 2002 – Harrington was selected in the 13th round, 374th overall, by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They were offering the $5,000-200,000 bonuses that were standard for that area of the draft, but, again, Harrington didn’t sign.
  • 2003 – Harrington was selected in the 24th round, 711th overall, by the Cincinnati Reds. There aren’t numbers available for what he was offered, but, again, Harrington didn’t sign.
  • 2004 – Harrington was selected in the 36th round, 1,089th overall, by the New York Yankees. Harrington would need rotator cuff surgery and the Yankees didn’t even offer him a contract.

In 2009, Amy Nelson of ESPN reported that Harrington was working at a Costco store in the tire department. He was making $11.50 per hour.

Greed isn’t anything new in the free agency era, otherwise you wouldn’t have seen Johnny Damon leave the Boston Red Sox for the New York Yankees after the 2004 World Championship season. However, greed in MLB never seemed so apparent until Scott Boras came along. Before Boras arrived, free agency was to give players the right to be “free” from being lifers for teams, being limited to whatever the team that signed them was willing to give them. Then, Boras started making waves.

  • 1988 – Andy Benes, represented by Boras, signs for a then-record $235,000 signing bonus upon being drafted by the San Diego Padres.
  • 1989 – Ben McDonald, selected No.1 overall by the Baltimore Orioles, receives the first multi-year major league contract ever given to a baseball-only amateur, a $1.01 million deal with a $350,000 signing bonus.
  • 1990 – Todd Van Poppel, selected 14th overall by the Oakland A’s, gets a guaranteed $1.2 million major league contract with a $500,000 signing bonus
  • 1991 – Brien Taylor, selected No.1 overall by the New York Yankees, gets a record $1.55 million signing bonus.
  • 1993 – Alex Rodriguez goes against Scott Boras’ advice and takes $1.3 million fro the Seattle Mariners. Boras was demanding $3 million.
  • 1996 – Boras finds a loop-hole that allows Matt White (7th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants) and Bobby Seay (12th overall pick by the Chicago White Sox) to become free agents. White gets $10.2 million and Seay gets $3 million from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as free agent signings. MLB is forced to change rules.
  • 1997 – J.D. Drew rejects a $3 million offer from the Philadelphia Phillies after being drafted 2nd overall. Boras tries to make Drew a free agent, but MLB changes the rules so that he isn’t. Drew re-enters the draft in 1998 and is selected 5th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. Drew signs for $3 million.
  • 2000 – Landon Powell gets his GED in his junior year and enters the MLB Draft (like Bryce Harper). He went undrafted due to eligibility questions…or was it Scott Boras? He went to the University of Southern California and was drafted in 2004 (24th overall) by Oakland.
  • 2007 – MLB changes the signing deadline for draft picks to August 15 due to the long waiting periods for Boras clients like Jered Weaver and Jason Varitek.

The list goes on and on and you can find all of Boras’ antics HERE, and it will certainly continue to grow. Scott Boras is an excellent agent, but he is not great for baseball. He does what he is supposed to do: he gets the best deal for his player. It is debatable as to whether he is always getting the best deal, especially in cases like Mark Appel.

Is the calculated risk of re-entering the MLB Draft going to work out in this case? After all, Appel was just 18-10 with a 3.22 ERA in 271.1 innings at Stanford, including his 10-2 season in 2012, when he posted a 2.56 ERA in 123 innings. Not that those numbers are bad, but it isn’t like he is a generational talent like Mark Prior or Stephen Strasburg were coming out of college. What if the talent is better next season? This year’s draft was supposed to be weak, with high-talent high school players, but not too many top-notch college guys.

Boras strikes again. We’ll see how valuable Mark Appel’s Stanford degree is if he flops, and we’ll definitely be watching to see if his arm is as impressive when he battles the PAC-12 in 2013.

Scott Rolen…Please Retire

Rolen’s play is no laughing matter

When Mike Schmidt retired on May 29, 1989, these were his words:

“Over the years, I’ve set high standards for myself as a player, and I always  said that when I couldn’t live up to those standards I would retire.  I no longer have the skills needed to make adjustments at the plate to  hit or to make some plays in the field and run the bases. I feel like I  could ask the Phillies to keep me on to add to my statistics, but my love for  the game won’t let me do that.”

Mike Schmidt is a Hall of Famer and a well-deserved Hall of Famer, at that. If he can retire in the middle of the season after a terrible, non-performing start, why can’t others? Manny Ramirez retired last season, but that was mainly due to his Performance-Enhancing Drug suspension. It is time for Scott Rolen to walk away.

Rolen has been a tremendous player, having won the Rookie of the Year in 1997, eight Gold Gloves, and making seven All-Star appearances. However, he hasn’t been worth a roster spot since the beginning of the 2011 season, hitting just .220/.258/.365 with 27 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 52 RBI, and a 69:19 K:BB in 381 at bats. He has been on the disabled list for 132 games due to injuries since April 21 of 2011.

The fall began in 2005 when Rolen first dealt with left shoulder issues, which he missed 101 games due to. Rolen was 30-years-old that season, and now, seven years later, he has been on the disabled list or missed games due to the same shoulder nine different times, a total of 253 games.

Prior to 2005, Rolen was Hall of Fame worthy, .280/.374/.518 with 296 doubles, 28 triples, 226 home runs, 831 RBI, and 91 stolen bases over parts of nine seasons, including his 130 at bat 1996 cup of coffee.

It is another sad example of a “what-might-have-been” scenario. I like to think of Mickey Mantle’s numbers without his knee issues, Grady Sizemore’s numbers without nearly three-and-a-half years of injuries at the age of 29, or Tony Conigliaro before taking a pitch to the eye. Unfortunately for a contending team like the Cincinnati Reds, they can’t afford to give at-bats to a player who is a shell of his former self.

Scott Rolen is not the player that Todd Frazier is, whether he possesses tremendous leadership qualities and is a loveable, Dusty Baker-kind-of-veteran. In fact, take a look at this:

Player A: .282/.354/.472, 15 2B, 4 3B, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 10 SB, 53:27 K:BB in 248 AB

Player B: .278/.345/.556, 13 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 1 SB, 52:18 K:BB in 180 AB

Player A is Bryce Harper and Player B is Todd Frazier, so who is your Rookie of the Year in the National League? While Harper is an All-Star and is just 19-years-old, Frazier has been just as productive, if not more so, in 60+ fewer at-bats. Frazier is 26 and toiled in the minors as a former college pick before getting a shot this season. They aren’t anywhere near the same player, but neither is Scott Rolen compared to what he was and what Frazier is now.

Rolen needs to look at what Mike Schmidt said when he retired over 13 years ago. To take a step back and humbly admit that you “no longer have the skills needed to make adjustments at the plate to  hit or to make some plays in the field and run the bases.” Everyone sees it and it is time for Rolen to look in the mirror and see that it is, indeed, time to step away for good. His leadership qualities may have more value to a franchise when he isn’t on a 25-man roster, anyway.

2012 MLB Mid-Season Awards

Courtesy: ESPN.com

This is where I come in and embarrass myself by making absurd predictions, but they are predictions that I feel are worthy.

NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

McCutchen was somewhat productive in April with a .302 AVG and .351 OBP, but it was pretty empty, just seven RBI and six extra-base hits – none of them home runs. Then, May led to an absolute eruption for McCutchen. Since the start of May, he has hit .383/.443/.706 with 11 2B, five triples, 16 home runs, 49 RBI, and 9 steals. In that time period, the Pirates have gone 36-25, taking the lead in the NL Central away from the Cincinnati Reds. At the age of 25, McCutchen is a total beast, capable of hitting for power, average, and running like crazy. You don’t have to run when you’re trotting around the bases, though.

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

When Mike Trout arrived in Anaheim to stay on April 28, the Angels were struggling. Without Albert Pujols producing and the lack of an identity, they were 6-14, nine games out in the AL West and in last place. However, they are 40-24 since Trout arrived, sitting four games back of Texas in the AL West. Trout would be the first rookie MVP since Fred Lynn in 1995, and he totally deserves it. The All-Star outfielder leads the AL in batting average (.347) and steals (26), while Trout has amassed 15 2B, three triples, 11 home runs, 39 RBI, and 55 runs scored in just 62 games. If it seems like he has two or three hits per night and a couple of runs scored, it isn’t a surprise. He has 28 multi-hit games and 14 games with at least two runs scored. He is a machine and at just 20 (he doesn’t turn 21 until August 7), he is only going to get better.

NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

You can call me a homer if you’d like to, as I live about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati, but Cueto deserves some praise, and he certainly isn’t going to get it from Tony LaRussa. He leads the NL in ERA (2.35) and has gone 18-10 with a 2.33 ERA over his last 41 starts. He won’t get the publicity of R.A. Dickey due to the lack of a crappy career like Dickey had before deciding to show up in his tenth attempt at mattering as a starting pitcher in the Majors, but he deserves some love, so I’m giving it to him. If he continues to pitch so well, he could win a few more games and matter to all of those people who only look at wins for a Cy Young candidate.

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

If Sale makes it through the whole season without an injury and continues pitching like he has to this point, he has to win the award. The injury concern is present, as he had a tender elbow and was moved to the bullpen for one appearance before the Sox moved him back to the rotation. The 23-year-old lefty is 2nd in the AL in wins (10), 2nd in ERA in the AL (2.19), 2nd in WHIP (0.95), and has an impressive 98:25 K:BB in 102.2 innings. The White Sox are in first place and this surprising, young arm has a lot to do with it.

NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper

Anthony Rizzo could win it if he continues hitting the way that he has since his promotion for the Chicago Cubs (.386/.400/.750), but as his sample size grows, his numbers will shrink. Harper is only 19 and he is in the All-Star game, having replaced injured Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. He has a .283/.355/.475 line with 15 2B, four triples, eight home runs, 25 RBI, and eight steals. The National League has a lot of young talent, with Harper, Arizona left-handed pitcher Wade Miley, Cincinnati super-sub Todd Frazier, Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart, and Colorado slugging catcher Wilin Rosario, but Harper’s skills and his ability to help lead his team to the NL East title will help him separate from the pack in the second half.

AL Rookie of the Year: See Mike Trout, above, AL MVP

Duh. Sorry Yu.

NL Manager of the Year: Terry Collins, New York Mets

At 46-39, 4.5 games out of first in the NL East (good for 2nd place), the Mets are the surprise team in the NL this season. After going 77-85 and finishing 4th in the East in 2011, the team lost Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, then they still had to deal with the fact that Jason Bay was on their roster. No way they got better, right? Wrong. With Johan Santana’s resurgically re-glued shoulder actually holding up and R.A. Dickey finding the fountain of youth on his offseason mountain hikes, the Mets matter again. Collins is a miracle worker. Play Scott Hairston every day and they could be in first…just saying.

AL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore is 45-38 and in 2nd in the AL East. They’ve begun to slide a little recently, having to replace three starters in their rotation due to being terrible, and they’ve dealt with a fair share of injuries, including to starters Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis in the outfield. If they can tread water while they get injuries under control and starters get things rolling again, there is no reason to the believe that there isn’t something magical that could happen in Baltimore this season. Adam Jones is a superstar and Matt Wieters is a star in the making, if you don’t consider him one already, so they have the pieces to matter.

NL Biggest Surprise: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets

What do you get when you get a guy who climbs Mt. Kilamanjaro and mix him with an 80-mph knuckleball? You get a 37-year-old starting pitcher who is 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA, 123:28 K:BB in 120 innings, and a Cy Young candidate. After never having won more than 11 games in a single season coming into 2012, Dickey has already eclipsed that mark before the break. He has been a different pitcher since arriving in New York, going 31-23 with a 2.92 ERA over 75 starts, so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising; however, I still can’t believe what he is doing, especially with his control and strikeout totals, with a knuckleball.

AL Biggest Surprise: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels

He was supposed to be the odd-man out with the Albert Pujols signing, or so many thought, but Trumbo has been the biggest force this side of Mike Trout for the Angels in 2012. After posting a .254/.291/.477 line last season and an attrocious 120:25 K:BB in 539 AB in 2011, Trumbo is sporting a .307/.361/.607 line and a 63:22 K:BB in 280 AB in 2012. His patience has improved and his power is for real. While many considered him an afterthought this spring, including myself, Trumbo has become an All-Star calibur player on a team with two young superstars.

NL Biggest Fantasy Bust: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

Instead of yelling “Freak”, fans may be yelling “you freaking suck,” at Lincecum, as his nickname now brings questions as to whether his ability to pitch with such odd mechanics is finally settling in. Lincecum is 3-9 with a 6.08 ERA in 2012, but the strange number is that his 101:49 K:BB in 93.1 innings is still solid, though the walks are at a 4.7 BB/9 (which would be a career high). Lincecum’s career high for earned runs was 81 in 2010 and he has already allowed 63 earned runs in just 17 starts, so he’ll easily establish a career worst there. If he allowed one earned run over seven innings in each of his next 16 starts, his ERA would still be 3.46, his highest since his 4.00 ERA in his rookie year.

AL Biggest Fantasy Bust: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

After hitting 27 home runs last season, Santana was bound to explode, especially after hitting just .239 in 2011 with a BABIP of just .263…not the case. Santana is hitting just .219 with a BABIP of just .266 in 2012, so he is not anywhere near the top ranked fantasy catcher that many expected him to be. He may still have a solid eye at the plate and has improved defensively, but that doesn’t help anyone in pretend baseball.

Ervin Stink-tana

Courtesy: blog.amsvans.com

I’m one of the “lucky” people who have Ervin Santana on my fantasy team. Unlike a typical Yahoo or ESPN league, though, this is a lifetime league (ultimatefs.com, really cool concept to keeper leagues). What has happened to Ervin Santana in 2012 would leave him on the waiver wire in a heartbeat in almost any other league but mine. Meanwhile, I begin drooling over ways to add Travis Blackley, Chris Tillman, or any other pitcher getting starts…only to realize that I can’t do it.

Santana is just 29 and he has eight seasons and 223 career starts under his belt. He had a 91-75 record (.548) going into his 76th loss at the hands of the Indians on Wednesday afternoon, but things aren’t looking good.

Santana is heading towards a 4-9 record, but it is the way that he is losing games that is scary. His 5.75 ERA in 103.1 innings is gross, but the fact that his ERA is 7.01 in his nine losses is the worst part of it. He has allowed more than five or more runs in eight of his 17 starts and has just seven quality starts (44%).

The most frustrating thing with Santana continues to be his inconsistency. At 29, he should be something that you can count on to either stink or be solid. Unfortunately, he is just a pitcher that you never know what you’re going to get from him. For example, his June 16 and June 23 starts against the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, Santana threw 17 innings, allowing two earned runs (1.06 ERA), five hits, and a 15:1 K:BB. Top top it off, the game against the Diamondbacks was a complete-game, one-hitter.

In 2011, Santana was 11-12 with a nice 3.38 ERA for the Angels. He had 21 quality starts (64%) and allowed five or more runs in just six starts. He combined to post a 28-22 record (.560), 3.65 ERA in 66 starts and 451.1 innings in 2010 and 2011, but he was 31-29 with a 4.58 ERA over 81 starts from 2007-2009.

Santana is up and down and that is very unfortunate because he has a team option for $13 million in 2013 that the Angels can’t possibly pick up at this point. He’ll receive a $1 million buyout and he certainly won’t be making nearly as much for whoever he is pitching for next season.

The questions now are: Do you cut this guy in a lifetime league because of how awful he has been? Who is Ervin Santana? Are the Angels going to give his rotation spot to Jerome Williams or Garrett Richards for the rest of the season after the 4th of July disaster?

Indians Stuff, 7/2/2012

I’ve been busy with Indians material for Bleacher Report lately. Read the following, share with friends:

Indians Follow-Up to Attendance Issues: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1238459-mlb-follow-up-to-5-ways-indians-can-increase-attendance

What Move Should the Indians Make When Hafner Returns: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1241288-mlb-what-move-should-the-indians-make-with-the-return-of-travis-hafner

Right-Handed Bats the Indians Could Trade For: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1242551-mlb-right-handed-bats-that-should-interest-the-cleveland-indians

Lineup Changes that Manny Acta Could Consider: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1243439-what-lineup-changes-should-manny-acta-consider-to-boost-indians-offense

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