Results tagged ‘ andrew mccutchen ’
Move over Alicia Keys, these boys are on fire in the month of May:
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Texas Rangers
.347/.407/.796, 17-49, 11 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 8 RBI
Long overlooked as an asset in the Rangers order, Moreland appears to be establishing himself as a valuable piece to a Hamilton-less Rangers offense. His left-handed power is needed in the middle of an order that features Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz along with switch-hitting DH Lance Berkman. Moreland is 27 and in the midst of his prime. While he does feature a pretty ugly .662 career OPS against left-handed pitching, that number has bumped up to .789 in 2013, so he could still make an interesting career out of playing in Texas. He could certainly turn his recent hot streak into a total breakout.
.340/.393/.720, 17-50, 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB
After taking the world by storm last season, Trout started the season slower than some fantasy nerds would have liked, posting a .261/.333/.432 triple slash in the first month of the season. He is picking things up, though, in May, displaying the power and speed that made baseball enthusiasts drool last season. Trout could be on his way to posting numbers like this over the rest of the season. Just imagine what he would be doing if Josh Hamilton was alive and breathing for the Angels…if only he could pitch, the Angels might not look like such an embarrassment.
.522/.542/.783, 12-23, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Do you need a sleeper? The Pirates are pretty loaded in the outfield with Andrew McCutchen in center and Starling Marte in left; however, right field is a little…Travis Snider-y. Snider is still just 25 but he is under-performing, again, as the Pirates primary right fielder in 2013. His .267/.347/.356 is very weak and Tabata is heating up with the weather. Tabata, himself just 24, is another floundering former top prospect, but his ability to use the gaps and his speed would make him an asset in real-life and fantasy baseball. Clint Hurdle is an interesting manager, to say the least, so it will be interesting to see if he sticks with a strict platoon or gives Tabata a chance.
Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins
.447/.552/.660, 21-47, 13 R, 10 2B, 5 RBI
Mauer continues to prove that his 2009 power surge and MVP season was an anomaly. The Twins are floating around .500 due to Mauer’s production and a whole lot of crappy pitching. If the club was serious about contending, they probably would have done something about Vance Worley and Kevin Correia being their No.1 and No.2 starter prior to the season. With a lot of their talent in their 30′s, including Mauer, the club will be hard pressed for a quick recovery. Oswaldo Arcia has been a nice addition but to even float around being mediocre, Mauer may have to hit .447 over the rest of the 2013 season. He’s hot and he’s a hitting machine.
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners: 2-0, 3 GS, 0.82 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 22 IP, 20:3 K:BB
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1-0, 3 GS, 0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20:5 K:BB
Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox: 2-0, 3 GS, 1.16 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 19:2 K:BB
Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, Washington Nationals: 3-0, 3 GS, 1.19 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 20:2 K:BB
Patrick Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: 3-0, 3 GS, 0.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 16:10 K:BB
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: 2-0, 2 GS, 0.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 15 IP, 18:1 K:BB
Scott Feldman, RHP, Chicago Cubs: 2-0, 3 GS, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 22 IP, 21:5 K:BB
- Why the Texas Rangers need to stick with Mitch Moreland is in Baltimore (sportsblogs.star-telegram.com)
- Beltre and Moreland lead Rangers past Athletics in 10 innings (miamiherald.com)
- Closing Time: The case for Mitch Moreland (sports.yahoo.com)
Starling Marte can’t be this good.
Entering Thursday night, Marte has posted some impressive numbers:
After a solid introduction in 2012 with the Pirates (.257/.300/.437, 14 extra-base hits, 12 SB in 182 plate appearances), the future would appear to be bright for the 24-year-old Dominican outfielder; however, there appears to be quite a bit of inflation in his overall numbers. Take a look at Marte’s production in the minors:
While nothing stands out as drastically underachieving, it is noteworthy to know that during his six seasons within the Pirates minor league system, Marte was only ranked as a top 100 prospect in one season, 2012 (No. 73 by Baseball America and No. 40 by MLB.com). While many players can fly under the radar before proving to be very successful, it is possible that scouts saw flaws which led to his inability to create an incredible amount of hype for himself.
The 2011 season seemed to be his minor league breakout season. His .332/.370/.500 line with 58 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases were impressive, which led to the pre-2012 rankings by Baseball America and MLB.com, but in 2012, his strikeout rate jumped back over 20 percent (21.1 percent) after being at a career low 17.5 percent in 2011. The silver lining in his 2012 season is that his walk rate increased to 6.5 percent in 2012 from the 3.8 percent that Marte had in Double-A in 2011.
Since reaching the professional ranks, Marte has maintained his poor plate discipline, despite his solid overall numbers. In 326 career plate appearances, Marte has a 24.8 percent strikeout rate and a 4.6 percent walk rate. On top of that, Marte has swung at 36.7 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone and, while he makes contact on 75.4 percent of all pitches that he swings at. Not everyone is Joey Votto, but will Marte be able to maintain his solid production as advance scouts provide details in how to approach him in the future?
Marte has something which could allow him to maintain success. Speed. His .404 BABIP is another of his inflated statistics, but he already has seven infield hits, which is tied for fourth in MLB, and he’ll be able to get on base and create runs, even if he doesn’t maintain his current, astronomical BABIP.
But the major issue is: what is Starling Marte likely to become?
While Vladimir Guerrero got by without tremendous gifts in plate discipline, is that a reasonable comparison?
Guerrero never struck out more than 95 times in a season (in 1998, his age-23 season) while holding a career 10.9 percent strikeout rate and an 8.1 percent walk rate. His early, immediate production (he had a .960 OPS with 38 home runs and 109 RBI in his second full season) shows the talent level differential between he and Marte, as well. While Marte swings and makes contact on 75.4 percent of all pitches, Guerrero did so on 80.7 percent (from 2002 through 2011) while swinging at 43.7 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone, including hitting several pitches off of the ground.
Guerrero was a generational talent, and at the age of 38, he doesn’t seem to have an opportunity to continue his career. He was, quite possibly, the best, worst swinger in the history of the game. At times, it seemed like he would turn around and swing at a pitch thrown behind him, and make excellent contact! For that reason, even top prospects, like Oscar Taveras, should not be compared to him, and certainly not a player with such drastic differences as Starling Marte would have when compared to Guerrero.
As a non-gambling man, I would still put my money on a nice, smooth, settling back to Earth period for Starling Marte in the 2013 season. Unless he just figured everything out, like, say, Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers, that is one thing, but he isn’t a superstar and he wasn’t ever expected to be. If you own him in fantasy leagues, I would consider selling while the helium still seems to be getting pumped into the Marte balloon, and if you don’t own him, stay very, very far away.
Andrew McCutchen is still the Pirate outfielder of choice, and, despite lesser numbers to this point, there is no reason to think that the face of the Pirate organization is going to change anytime soon.
Wins Above Replacement, better known as WAR, came to the forefront of MVP balloting last season for many voters. Mike Trout, who, according to Fangraphs.com had a 10.0 WAR lost the AL MVP award to the Triple Crown winning Miguel Cabrera, who had a 7.1 WAR.
WAR can be calculated in various ways, as there is not one, established way of calculating the statistic. Fangraphs and Baseball Reference (position players and pitchers) are my go-to sites for different statistics, and they both calculate WAR differently (click on the above hyperlinks to read how they do that).
Due to the inconsistency in the statistic and the inconsistency in the overall value of the statistic (as evidenced by the number of baseball writers that didn’t consider the difference in value in Trout and Cabrera in 2012), should fantasy baseball consider using WAR as a summative (end of season) statistic, adding it to a 5 X 5 league for additional player values, or should it be used as a way to value players as you approach your 2013 fantasy drafts?
I wanted to see what the 2012 ESPN Player Rater, the 2013 ESPN Player Projections, the 2012 Fangraphs.com WAR Rankings, and the 2013 ZiPS WAR Rankings could show based on player performance. Below is the table that I created:
|2012 ESPN Player Rater||2013 ESPN Rankings||2012 WAR||2013 ZiPS WAR|
|1||Mike Trout||Ryan Braun||Mike Trout, 10.0||Mike Trout, 7.4|
|2||Ryan Braun||Mike Trout||Buster Posey, 8.0||Miguel Cabrera, 6.5|
|3||Miguel Cabrera||Miguel Cabrera||Ryan Braun, 7.9||Giancarlo Stanton, 6.4|
|4||Andrew McCutchen||Robinson Cano||Robinson Cano, 7.8||Clayton Kershaw, 6.4|
|5||R.A. Dickey||Andrew McCutchen||David Wright, 7.8||Buster Posey, 6.2|
|6||Josh Hamilton||Matt Kemp||Chase Headley, 7.5||Robinson Cano, 6.1|
|7||Fernando Rodney||Albert Pujols||Andrew McCutchen, 7.4||Felix Hernandez, 6.1|
|8||Justin Verlander||Carlos Gonzalez||Miguel Cabrera, 7.1||Ryan Braun, 5.9|
|9||Clayton Kershaw||Joey Votto||Justin Verlander, 6.8||Justin Verlander, 5.7|
|10||Craig Kimbrel||Prince Fielder||Jason Heyward, 6.6||Cliff Lee, 5.7|
|11||Alex Rios||Troy Tulowitzki||Adrian Beltre, 6.5||Joey Votto, 5.6|
|12||Adrian Beltre||Justin Upton||Yadier Molina, 6.5||Troy Tulowitzki, 5.3|
|13||Edwin Encarnacion||Justin Verlander||Aramis Ramirez, 6.5||Andrew McCutchen, 5.3|
|14||Chase Headley||Clayton Kershaw||Michael Bourn, 6.4||Zack Greinke, 5.3|
|15||David Price||Giancarlo Stanton||Aaron Hill, 6.2||Adrian Beltre, 5.2|
|16||Aroldis Chapman||Buster Posey||Felix Hernandez, 6.1||Dustin Pedroia, 5.2|
|17||Robinson Cano||David Wright||Martin Prado, 5.9||Madison Bumgarner, 5.0|
|18||Adam Jones||Adrian Beltre||Ben Zobrist, 5.9||Carlos Gonzalez, 4.9|
|19||Matt Cain||Josh Hamilton||Alex Gordon, 5.9||Evan Longoria, 4.8|
|20||Gio Gonzalez||Jose Bautista||Clayton Kershaw, 5.5||David Price, 4.8|
|21||Aaron Hill||Evan Longoria||Austin Jackson, 5.5||Ben Zobrist, 4.7|
|22||Jered Weaver||Felix Hernandez||Gio Gonzalez, 5.4||Bryce Harper, 4.7|
|23||Aramis Ramirez||Hanley Ramirez||Ian Desmond, 5.4||Matt Kemp, 4.7|
|24||David Wright||Stephen Strasburg||Torii Hunter, 5.3||Matt Cain, 4.7|
|25||Carlos Gonzalez||David Price||Matt Holliday, 5.1||Jose Bautista, 4.6|
|26||Prince Fielder||Dustin Pedroia||David Price, 5.1||Yadier Molina, 4.6|
|27||Buster Posey||Ian Kinsler||Yu Darvish, 5.1||Gio Gonzalez, 4.6|
|28||Jose Reyes||Jason Heyward||Zack Greinke, 5.1||Matt Wieters, 4.5|
|29||Billy Butler||Jose Reyes||Joe Mauer, 5.0||Brett Lawrie, 4.5|
|30||Cole Hamels||Matt Cain||Miguel Montero, 5.0||Ian Kinsler, 4.5|
|31||Kris Medlen||Edwin Encarnacion||Jimmy Rollins, 4.9||Yu Darvish, 4.5|
|32||Albert Pujols||Cliff Lee||Prince Fielder, 4.9||Roy Halladay, 4.5|
|33||Matt Holliday||Cole Hamels||Bryce Harper, 4.9||Joe Mauer, 4.4|
|34||Michael Bourn||Adam Jones||Chris Sale, 4.9||Carlos Santana, 4.4|
|35||Johnny Cueto||Starlin Castro||Cliff Lee, 4.9||Stephen Strasburg, 4.4|
|36||Jason Motte||Jay Bruce||Josh Reddick, 4.8||Cole Hamels, 4.4|
|37||Jason Heyward||Bryce Harper||Angel Pagan, 4.8||Jered Weaver, 4.4|
|38||Ian Desmond||Billy Butler||Wade Miley, 4.8||Jason Heyward, 4.3|
|39||Felix Hernandez||Jered Weaver||Johnny Cueto, 4.8||CC Sabathia, 4.3|
|40||Kyle Lohse||Zack Greinke||CC Sabathia, 4.8||Ryan Zimmerman, 4.2|
|41||Carlos Beltran||Adrian Gonzalez||Adam Jones, 4.6||Adam Wainwright, 4.2|
|42||Jim Johnson||Brandon Phillips||R.A. Dickey, 4.6||Albert Pujols, 4.1|
|43||Chris Sale||Craig Kimbrel||Max Scherzer, 4.6||Prince Fielder, 4.1|
|44||Giancarlo Stanton||Chase Headley||Dustin Pedroia, 4.5||Austin Jackson, 4.1|
|45||Derek Jeter||Jacoby Ellsbury||Ryan Zimmerman, 4.5||Jose Reyes, 4.1|
|46||Curtis Granderson||Matt Holliday||Jose Reyes, 4.5||Anthony Rizzo, 4.0|
|47||B.J. Upton||B.J.Upton||Cole Hamels, 4.5||Starlin Castro, 3.9|
|48||Melky Cabrera||Yadier Molina||Edwin Encarnacion, 4.4||Dexter Fowler, 3.9|
|49||Jimmy Rollins||Gio Gonzalez||Josh Hamilton, 4.4||Chase Headley, 3.9|
|50||Jonathan Papelbon||Adam Wainwright||Jake Peavy, 4.4||Miguel Montero, 3.9|
|Adam Wainwright, 4.4||Adrian Gonzalez, 3.9|
When I was compiling this sheet, there were names within the top 50 players in baseball and several surprises. Furthermore, the lack of rhyme or reason when it comes to ranking players in fantasy baseball is evident through the ESPN rankings from the 2012 season compared to the sites rankings for the 2013 season. For example, R.A. Dickey went from 5th overall in 2012 to outside of the top 50 in 2013.
When looking at the WAR rankings for the 2012 season, names like Michael Bourn, Aaron Hill, Yadier Molina, Alex Gordon, Martin Prado, and Ben Zobrist popped into the top 20 spots in player value. Certainly, their defensive skills come into play here, but isn’t there value in defense that could be used within fantasy baseball? Would defensive zone ratings come into play and how would that destroy the value that Miguel Cabrera creates for himself on offense?
While fantasy baseball players would be apprehensive to the idea of bringing defensive value into their games, wouldn’t WAR be a better way to show true player values within fantasy sports, as it is in real-life baseball? How could you add WAR to your fantasy league – as a running statistic (similar to ERA and WHIP, which can change dramatically from game to game), or should it be a single counting statistic that can be added at the end of the regular season?
Shouldn’t a player like Ben Zobrist, who ranks as the 11th most valuable position player in baseball the last three seasons, be considered an asset in fantasy baseball due to his value on the real diamond? Sure, his .259 batting average brings down his value, but he is just one of nine players over the last three seasons to hit 50 home runs and steal 50 bases, while posting an OPS of .792 with solid on-base skills to go along with his multiple position eligibility (2B/SS/OF).
There is no perfect way to determine player values from year to year, especially when regression can come from aging, change of scenary, teammates moving to another club, or injuries. While you probably don’t want to draft a player like Chase Headley, Zobrist, or Alex Gordon in your first 20 picks, there is value in the consistency of overall production, as WAR grades out baserunning for position players, as well, which is why Trout and Braun have so much more value as the No.1 or No.2 pick than Cabrera.
WAR is valuable in fantasy preparation, and while it can be inconsistent, the same can be said for batting average, ERA, WHIP, wins, and any other statistic used in compiling player values.
The bigger challenge is how WAR can become an asset as a part of your fantasy league, and not just a method for determining the value of players over the course of the season.
- What If Mike Trout Stumbles? (thebaseballhaven.mlblogs.com)
- Why Mike Trout won’t regress in 2013 (espn.go.com)
- Posnanski on HBT: Revisiting Trout vs. Cabrera (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Vital Tips to Drafting a Championship Team (bleacherreport.com)
While I’ve already posted a top 10 fantasy baseball player at each position piece, I figured with drafts getting underway, that a more thorough ranking would be valuable. Here are the top 250 players in fantasy baseball for the 2013 season. (5X5 leagues, All MLB)
- Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
- Mike Trout, OF, Angels
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers,
- Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
- Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
- Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
- Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
- Prince Fielder, 1B, Tigers
- Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
- Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
- Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
- Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
- Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
- Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
- Josh Hamilton, OF, Angels
- Justin Upton, OF, Braves
- Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
- David Price, SP, Rays
- Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
- Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
- Buster Posey, C, Giants
- David Wright, 3B, Mets
- Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
- Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
- Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS, Dodgers
- Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
- Jay Bruce, OF, Reds
- Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
- Cliff Lee, SP, Phillies
- Matt Cain, SP, Giants
- Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays
- Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies
- Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
- Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
- Jered Weaver, SP, Angels
- Billy Butler, 1B, Royals
- Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
- Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays
- Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
- Gio Gonzalez, SP, Nationals
- Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics
- B.J. Upton, OF, Braves
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers
- Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/OF, Rays
- Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves
- Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
- Chase Headley, 3B, Padres
- Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
- Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox
- Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
- Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals
- Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants
- Zack Greinke, SP, Dodgers
- Matt Wieters, C, Orioles
- Michael Bourn, OF, Indians
- R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays
- Allen Craig, 1B/OF, Cardinals
- Joe Mauer, C, Twins
- Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays
- CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
- Johnny Cueto, SP, Reds
- Mat Latos, SP, Reds
- Chris Sale, SP, White Sox
- Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers
- Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
- Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
- Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
- Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
- Jordan Zimmerman, SP, Nationals
- Carlos Santana, C, Indians
- Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Brewers
- Alex Rios, OF, White Sox
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
- Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies
- Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Reds
- Aroldis Chapman, SP/RP, Reds
- Mark Teixiera, 1B, Yankees
- Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Phillies
- Jason Motte, RP, Cardinals
- Alex Gordon, OF, Royals
- Kris Medlen, SP/RP, Braves
- Matt Moore, SP, Rays
- James Shields, SP, Royals
- Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers
- Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
- Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees (mid-May return leaves some value)
- Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
- Victor Martinez, C, Tigers
- Martin Prado, 3B/OF, Diamondbacks
- Ike Davis, 1B, Mets
- Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
- Rafael Soriano, RP, Nationals
- Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
- Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays
- Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays
- Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians
- Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays
- Mariano Rivera, RP, Yankees
- J.J. Putz, RP, Diamondbacks
- Doug Fister, SP, Tigers
- David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
- Ian Kennedy, SP, Diamondbacks
- Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
- Hunter Pence, OF, Giants
- Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers
- Josh Willingham, OF, Twins
- Joe Nathan, RP, Rangers
- Joel Hanrahan, RP, Red Sox
- Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Angels
- Josh Johnson, SP, Blue Jays
- Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Yankees
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
- Angel Pagan, OF, Giants
- Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants
- Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers
- Dan Haren, SP, Nationals
- Jonathan Niese, SP, Mets
- Shane Victorino, OF, Red Sox
- Torii Hunter, OF, Tigers
- Erick Aybar, SS, Angels
- Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates
- John Axford, RP, Brewers
- Carl Crawford, OF, Dodgers
- Alejandro De Aza, OF, White Sox
- Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals
- David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
- Brett Anderson, SP, Athletics
- Jim Johnson, RP, Orioles
- Danny Espinosa, 2B/SS, Nationals
- Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
- Lance Lynn, SP, Cardinals
- Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers
- Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox
- Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels
- Ben Revere, OF, Phillies
- Denard Span, OF, Nationals
- Jon Lester, SP, Red Sox
- Addison Reed, RP, White Sox
- Huston Street, RP, Padres
- Alcides Escobar, SS, Royals
- Sergio Romo, RP, Giants
- Jeff Samardzija, SP, Cubs
- Ryan Dempster, SP, Red Sox
- C.J. Wilson, SP, Angels
- Greg Holland, RP, Royals
- Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies
- Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
- Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals
- Jason Kubel, OF, Diamondbacks
- Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
- Wade Miley, SP, Diamondbacks
- Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers
- Mike Napoli, C/1B, Red Sox
- Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
- Michael Morse, OF, Mariners
- Jarrod Parker, SP, Athletics
- Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
- J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles
- Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
- Matt Harvey, SP, Mets
- Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Rays
- Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles
- Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
- Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
- Rafael Betancourt, RP, Rockies
- Tim Hudson, SP, Braves
- Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves
- Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks
- Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics
- Todd Frazier, 1B/3B, Reds
- Matt Harrison, SP, Rangers
- Jonathan Broxton, RP, Reds
- Chris Perez, RP, Indians
- Derek Holland, SP, Rangers
- Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS, Giants
- Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies
- Salvador Perez, C, Royals
- Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
- Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants
- Chris Davis, 1B/OF, Orioles
- Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics
- Mike Minor, SP, Braves
- Alexei Ramirez, SS, White Sox
- Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Yankees
- Alexi Ogando, SP/RP, Rangers
- Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Indians
- Tommy Milone, SP, Athletics
- Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, Mariners
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox
- Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays
- Adam Dunn, 1B/DH, White Sox
- Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
- Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees
- Jaime Garcia, SP, Cardinals
- Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves
- Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
- Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates
- Cameron Maybin, OF, Padres
- Corey Hart, 1B, Brewers
- Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers
- Lance Berkman, 1B/DH, Rangers
- Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Yankees
- Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox
- Brandon McCarthy, SP, Diamondbacks
- Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
- Brandon League, RP, Dodgers
- Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets
- Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Rockies
- Michael Young, 1B/3B, Phillies
- A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates
- Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers (he should get enough time to have value)
- Jayson Werth, OF, Nationals
- Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks
- Justin Masterson, SP, Indians
- Glen Perkins, RP, Twins
- Casey Janssen, RP, Blue Jays
- Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners
- Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Twins
- Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
- Tommy Hanson, SP, Angels
- James McDonald, SP, Pirates
- Josh Beckett, SP, Dodgers
- Marco Estrada, SP, Brewers
- Jason Vargas, SP, Angels
- Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
- Mark Reynolds, 1B, Indians
- Steve Cishek, RP, Marlins
- Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets
- A.J. Pierzynski, C, Rangers
- Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles
- Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pirates
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers
- Wei-Yin Chen, SP, Orioles
- Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers
- David Murphy, OF, Rangers
- Kelly Johnson, 2B, Rays
- Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners
- Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals
- Carlos Marmol, RP, Cubs
- Kyuji Fujikawa, RP, Cubs
- Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals
- Brian McCann, C, Braves
- Wil Myers, OF, Rays
- Jean Segura, SS, Brewers
The Arizona Diamondbacks just couldn’t help themselves. They just had to get rid of 25-year-old right fielder Justin Upton this offseason, and they finally found the right deal, which appeared to be any deal when the sent the potential MVP-candidate to Atlanta, with third baseman Chris Johnson, for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury, and Zeke Spruill on Thursday afternoon.
Upton, a two-time All-Star who finished 4th in NL MVP voting in 2011, is due $38.5 million between 2013 and 2015 before he reaches free agency. Considering the Diamondbacks thought that Cody Ross was worth $9.5 million per season from 2014 through 2016 (when he’ll turn 35), it seems completely unreasonable that the team felt that Upton wasn’t worth $12.8 million per season over the next three years before he turns 27 and can cash in again. Ross had a fine 2012 season, but is the potential that Upton brings not worth the extra $3.3 million that they would have paid Upton per season, had they not signed Ross to join an already-crowded outfield?
While B.J. Upton has been quite unpredictable when it comes to his consistency, he was still worth a five-year, $75.25 million deal this winter. It just seems unreasonable for the Diamondbacks to have rid themselves of the talented, young slugger, given his 108 home runs, 80 stolen bases, and .832 OPS in his six seasons, Kirk Gibson, the Diamondbacks’ manager, or Kevin Towers, their General Manager, must have had some personal belief that Upton wasn’t going to improve.
Maybe someone in Arizona should read what Keith Law thinks of Upton’s 2012 season:
Upton has some of the best bat speed and the strongest wrists in the game, generating hard contact and easy power, similar to Andrew McCutchen when he’s squaring up the ball consistently. In 2012, Upton’s timing was off for much of the year, and he was popping up a lot of pitches on the inner half that, the year before, he would have driven to the left-center gap or out of the park. Much of this probably was tied to a thumb injury he suffered in the third game of the season but never addressed with time off. Hand injuries of any sort tend to sap power by reducing a hitter’s ability to make hard contact, and that was a major issue for Upton all year.
Martin Prado is a solid major-leaguer, one of the better contact hitters in all of MLB, but he certainly shouldn’t have been a centerpiece to a Justin Upton trade. Randall Delgado, who turns 23 in February, has a solid 3.95 ERA over 127.2 innings and he has the potential to become a solid No.2 or No.3 starter for Arizona. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Diamondbacks will flip Nick Ahmed, with a pitching prospect, to the Detroit Tigers for Rick Porcello. Spruill has back-end starter or long relief in his future, while Drury has struggled to make consistent contact and lacks plate discipline.
The package that the Diamondbacks received from Atlanta was a far cry from the offer that the Seattle Mariners supposedly made (Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, and Stephen Pryor), but you can’t blame Arizona since Upton had the ability to veto the trade, and he did.
The Diamondbacks have made some interesting moves this winter, dumping Upton today and Trevor Bauer earlier this winter in their three-way deal with Cincinnati and Cleveland. Were these deals purging of players that weren’t willing to mold to the goals of management at the expense of acquiring equal talent in return? It certainly looks that way on paper.
Upton apparently needed a change of scenery and the Diamondbacks seemed to do whatever it took, even taking a lesser offer, to help make that happen. The team was forced to make the deal when they signed Cody Ross and as the season crept closer, Upton’s value and his potential suitors seemed to be dwindling. Unfortunately, this offer was probably the best that they could do, and it is another example of indecisiveness and a lack of direction for a team that appeared to have built a strong minor league system to match production at the major league level in recent seasons.
The Second Annual Baseball Haven “I’m Always Right Before the Media Figures It Out” Awards are officially ready, just one day after the season. These guys may not win the awards below, but they certainly SHOULD.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
.330/.393/.606, 109 R, 40 2B, 44 HR, 139 RBI, 4 SB
Cabrera gets the award because he won the first Triple Crown in MLB since Carl Yastrzemski won it in 1967, AND because he carried the Tigers into the postseason in September and early October, blasting 11 home runs, driving in 30 runs and posting a 1.071 OPS in 31 games. He moved to a position, third base, to accommodate the acquisition of Prince Fielder. No one ever said that he would make a difference there defensively, but his .966 fielding percentage was still better than the league average for third baseman, .952. Sure, his WAR was lower than Mike Trout, but Mike Trout is at home and Cabrera proved his worth in 2012.
NL MVP: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
.336/.408/.549, 78 R, 39 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB
Posey led MLB in batting average and OPS+, handling catching duties and occasionally playing first base to give his reconfigured knee together after a devastating injury in 2011. Posey’s absence from the Giants 2011 season may have had a lot to do with their inability to make the playoffs after winning the 2010 World Series over the Texas Rangers. Posey’s transformation from a collegiate shortstop to a top-level offensive catcher has gone about as smoothly as anyone could have anticipated. Even while playing in an extreme pitcher’s park, AT&T Park, Posey is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers
17-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 238.1 IP, 239:60 K:BB
Verlander’s statistics in 2012 were not as impressive as his totals in 2011, but that doesn’t make him any less impressive. Verlander was the lone consistent starter for most of the 2012 season for the AL Central champion Tigers, and he scored a relationship with Kate Upton on top of that. The man is just a winner. The filth that he possesses rivals only Larry Flynt.
NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
19-9, 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 217 IP, 170:49 K:BB
He pitches in an awful park for pitchers, he is on one of the best teams in the National League, and he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons, so Cueto deserves this award. While he doesn’t pitch in a major market and he did have a few stretches where he seemed to “lose it”, Cueto finally tossed over 200 innings, and, after suffering through a rough spot, he dominated late in the season. If you put the ballpark factor into play here, Cueto would garner many more votes. He should win, but it is unlikely thanks to the New York bias and the cool story that comes along with R.A. Dickey.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics and Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
Who says you can’t share an award? These two managers deserve some sort of plaque and a key from their respective city’s mayors for the work that they did this season. With the high spending Angels and Rangers out west for the A’s and the Red Sox and Yankees in the east with the O’s, the teams found creative ways to maintain a solid group of players on their rosters through trading and drafting well over the last several seasons. As both teams head into the ALDS, thanks to Friday’s victory over Texas for Baltimore, this could only be the beginning for one of these teams.
Honorable Mention:Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays; Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox;
NL Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
With his All-Star outfielder banned 50-games for a positive drug test, his one-time ace, Tim Lincecum, posting a 5.18 ERA over 33 starts, and injuries to Pablo Sandoval throughout the season, Bochy managed to lead the Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. While you can question him for his lack of faith in Brandon Belt during most of the season, he seemed to make the right decision more often than not with his club.
Honorable Mention:Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds; Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates; Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals;
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
.326/.399/.564, 129 R, 27 2B, 8 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB
A WAR of 10.7 in his rookie season, which led the league, shows just how special Trout is going to continue to be. Having just turned 21 years old in early August, the future is as bright as a supernova, as Trout’s power, speed, on-base skills, and fielding ability will continue to make him a perennial MVP candidate. You can certainly argue that he should win the award this season over Miguel Cabrera, but due to the Tigers landing in the playoffs and the first Triple Crown in 45 years, it has to go with the Tigers chubby third baseman.
NL Rookie of the Year: Todd Frazier, INF/OF, Cincinnati Reds
Frazier was a monster while the Cincinnati Reds went two months without their best player, Joey Votto. He finished the 2012 season with an .829 OPS was second to Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario amongst NL rookies…I see you thought I was going to say Bryce Harper there, but he posted an .817 OPS. While Harper energized his club upon his callup and had one of the best quotes of the year (“That’s a clown question, bro), it was Frazier’s bat and versatility that helped the Cincinnati Reds win the NL Central.
Comeback Player of the Year: Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
2011: .289/.374/.399, 43 R, 28 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 13 SB
2012: .286/.376/.498, 95 R, 31 2B, 2 3B, 31 HR, 115 RBI, 17 SB
Petco can put bats to sleep like the vets that work out of the back of actual Petco stores can do to your pet; however, Headley was one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding San Diego Padres, delivering MVP-like numbers for the Friars. At the age of 28 and with two years of arbitration eligibility, you have to wonder if the Padres are going to trade him this offseason for more prospects, especially after his surprising season and how often Headley’s name came up at the trade deadline.
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees;
Here are some guys who have been playing extremely well since the All-Star break:
Buster Posey, C, Giants
.443/.485/.705, 7 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI in 61 AB
David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
.468/.583/.702, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI in 47 AB
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics
.423/.461/.718, 4 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB in 71 AB
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
.424/.513/.667, 4 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI in 66 AB
Mike Trout, OF, Angels
.394/.463/.775, 5 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 5 SB in 71 AB
Josh Rutledge, SS, Rockies
.381/.394/.683, 6 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB in 63 AB
Josh Willingham, OF, Twins
.300/.402/.657, 1 2B, 8 HR, 19 RBI in 70 AB
Ryan Ludwick, OF, Reds
.321/.387/.768, 5 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 18 RBI in 56 AB
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
.384/.444/.753, 6 2B, 7 HR, 15 RBI in 73 AB
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds
12 G, 11 SV, 11.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 H, 24:2 K:BB
David Price, LHP, Rays
3-0 in 4 starts, 1.91 ERA, 28.1 IP, 36:8 K:BB
Jason Vargas, LHP, Mariners
4-0 in 4 starts, 2.00 ERA, 27 IP, 14:10 K:BB
Ben Sheets, RHP, Braves
3-0 in 3 starts, 0.50 ERA, 18 IP, 15:5 K:BB
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.
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.
Wasn’t it cute how the Pirates pretended to be relevant in 2011? For a while, they had us all fooled, even ESPN was swinging on their jockstrap! Reality set in and Pittsburgh became the sub-.500 team that they’ve been since 1992, finishing the season at 70-92. With the NL Central wide-open with the departure of Albert Pujols and the possible suspension of Ryan Braun for 50 games, the Pirates have a shot, right? Nope. The team has pieces but not enough. Their elite prospects were draft picks out of high school in recent years, outside of last year’s #1 pick Gerrit Cole (who may not have even been the best pitcher on UCLA’s staff, see Trevor Bauer). Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie were elite high school pitchers and Josh Bell was a possible steal of a mashing high school bat last year. That is why this team should continue to build for the future and hope that they actually build a core that they can KEEP. Until then, more trades and wishing for stability.
The current 25-man roster would be:
2 Catchers: Rod Barajas and Michael McKendry
1B: Garrett Jones
2B: Neil Walker
3B: Pedro Alvarez
SS: Clint Barmes
LF: Alex Presley
CF: Andrew McCutchen
RF: Jose Tabata
Bench: Casey McGehee (1B/2B/3B), Nate McLouth (OF), Josh Harrison (3B), Chase d’Arnaud (INF)
Starting Pitchers: Jeff Karstans, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton, James McDonald and Erik Bedard
Relief Pitchers: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Chris Leroux, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli
This team isn’t going to win a whole lot, but they have some pieces to keep and some pieces to trade. They shouldn’t keep signing the leftovers to multi-year deals. No way is Clint Barmes in their long-term plans, especially when he costs $5.25 million per year on a 2-year, $10.5 million deal! He had a .698 OPS last year for Houston and hasn’t mattered offensively since 2009 in Colorado (still just a .734 OPS), posting a .656 in 2010 before going to the Astros. They need stopgaps on the cheap, not overpaid solutions. They always sign guys like this and then deal away young, talented players. They continue doing this no matter who the GM is. The Pirates could have signed Ronny Cedeno, Adam Everett or Edgar Renteria to not hit for a hell of a lot less than they’re paying Barmes. They already signed Barmes, so we’ll just say they should start over again, like they have the last 2o years.
I’m trading Andrew McCutchen because he isn’t going to stay there long-term when they continue to not build around him from year to year. McCutchen just turned 25 in October and he won’t be a Free Agent until after 2015. He will be arbitration eligible in 2013, so, clearly, he’s about to leave Pittsburgh anyway. Lets do it now. I’m sending him to the Texas Rangers for Martin Perez, Mike Olt, Miguel De Los Santos and Engel Beltre. It’s going to be a Mark Teixeira-type of return, only this time, it’s the Rangers giving it up instead of getting it. Perez is an ace. Olt is a solid defender at third who needs to cut his strikeout rate. De Los Santos has amazing strikeout totals and is a work in progress, so who knows where he’ll end up. Beltre was a top prospect that fizzled out due to attitude problems, so a change of scenary could get him going again.
Jose Tabata is someone who should stick around since the Pirates signed him through 2019 if you count the two option years. If he hit for more power, it would be nice. They could bring up Robbie Grossman to play center after dealing McCutchen. They once brought a guy up from High-A ball to play, Jose Guillen, and it worked out well. Grossman is an interesting bat because he had a 111/104 K/BB and a .418 OBP with 49 extra-base hits and 24 SB last year. It would be rushing him, but what do they have to lose but more games? Presley is the kind of gritty player that Pittsburgh fans love. His all-out style fits well and he can hold down the fort in left until Josh Bell comes up and pushes Tabata to left.
Pedro Alvarez will be 25-years-old on Opening Day of 2012. When someone is so highly acclaimed coming out of college and signs for a $6 million bonus, teams and fans expect big things. Alvarez has weight issues and skill issues, getting sent to the Minors last year hitting lefties to the tune of a .211/.291/.329 slash. He’s heading towards a platoon and the Pirates should make it with Josh Harrison, who also stinks against LHP, because someone will need to platoon with Garrett Jones at first! Jones is a .204/.242/.371 hitter since 2009 against lefties. The Pirates were trying to re-sign Derrek Lee, but they received Casey McGehee from the Brewers in a recent deal, and he could platoon with Jones, saving the Pirates from another multi-year deal with a veteran. Neil Walker is a star in the making at second, but the rest of the infield is garbage at this point. They need to hope that Alvarez finds his swing and/or motivation to become what he is capable of, which is a guy who strikes out a ton but mashes 40 homers, a younger version of Adam Dunn without the walks and .159 average.
The Pirates pitching staff is a work in progress. James McDonald is capable of a lot more than he has shown. If he limits his walks, he could strikeout 200 this year. His 4.04 ERA in over 300 career innings show that he isn’t a horrible pitcher. With some work, he could be useful. Charlie Morton’s mocking of Roy Halladay’s windup is about as close as he comes to the ace, but he had great results in 2011 for some time. Karstans doesn’t walk anyone but he doesn’t strike anyone out either, posting a 96/33 K/BB in 162 1/3 IP and Correia is about the same, posting a 77/39 K/BB in 154 IP. The Pirates signed Erik Bedard. Nice job on a $4.5 million, one-year deal. If he makes 10 starts for the Pirates without an injury, TRADE HIM! Even after shoulder issues and mixed results, the Red Sox and Dodgers made a trade with the Mariners last year to get the M’s some talented prospects for the lefty. Hopefully, the Pirates can do the same thing. The bullpen is solid. They should probably deal Joel Hanrahan but that can wait until the deadline. There are so many relief pitchers out there in Free Agency that they wouldn’t get great value. Waiting for a collapse and jumping on it in July could net them a great return.
So, making a huge deal for the future by dealing McCutchen, you’re left with a 25-man roster of:
2 Catchers: Rod Barajas and Michael McKendry
1B: Garrett Jones
2B: Neil Walker
3B: Pedro Alvarez
SS: Clint Barmes
LF: Alex Presley
CF: Robbie Grossman
RF: Jose Tabata
Bench: Casey McGehee (1B/2B/3B), Josh Harrison (3B), Nate McLouth (OF) and Chase d’Arnaud (INF)
Starting Pitchers: Erik Bedard, Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Jeff Karstans and Kevin Correia
Relief Pitchers: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Chris Leroux, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli