Results tagged ‘ Manny Machado ’
Another free agency period is ahead with another Major League Baseball offseason. With so many superstars being signed to lucrative contracts with their existing clubs, players who reach free agency can make exorbitant amounts of money due to fewer players being available and television contracts that teams are using as revenue generating machines. With that being said, is a big-time contract a smart investment for a needy team this winter?
The Yankees as a Model
With Robinson Cano heading towards free agency after the 2013 season, the New York Yankees will be faced with a decision that could alter their original plan of getting under Major League Baseball’s $189 million luxury tax threshold. With $92.4 million due to six players (Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano (the Cubs are covering $13 of the $18 million owed to him), Mark Teixiera, Vernon Wells (the Angels are covering $18.6 of the $21 million owed to him), Ichiro Suzuki, and Derek Jeter (who has an $8 million player option), the Yankees, on the surface, appear to have some wiggle room in an offer to their superstar second baseman; however, the players mentioned above are the only players with guaranteed contracts next season.
Adam Warren, David Phelps, and Eduardo Nunez are all pre-arbitration, so they can have their contracts renewed at the league minimum, but the club will have to deal with David Huff, Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Jayson Nix, Shawn Kelley, Brett Gardner, and David Robertson within arbitration, and determine whether Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Kevin Youkilis, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Mark Reynolds, Boone Logan, Travis Hafner, Joba Chamberlain, and/or Lyle Overbay are worthy of being tendered a qualifying offer prior to reaching free agency. With up to 19 spots available for next season, the remaining $96.6 million doesn’t appear to be going very far.
While relief could be on the way with a possible 2014 suspension for Alex Rodriguez, from which his $25 million contract would be forfeited, the long-term contracts that the Yankees have handed out like candy are now causing financial issues as the club’s attendance continues to decline (43,733 in 2012 vs. 40,002 in 2013) along with the talent of the aging players.
Alex Rodriguez is 37 years old and is owed $86 million over the next four years.
C.C. Sabathia is 32 years old and is owed $76 million over the next three seasons (including his 2017 buyout).
Mark Teixiera is 33 years old and is owed $67.5 million over the next three seasons.
The three have been worth a combined WAR (Fangraphs) of 2.6 in 2013 while costing the Yankees $73.5 million in salaries. For comparisons sake, San Diego third baseman Chase Headley, Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson, San Diego outfielder Chris Denorfia, Baltimore outfielder Nate McLouth, and San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford have each posted a 2.6 WAR in 2013…individually. If the Yankees had all five players this season, they would have spent just under $16 million, about $6.5 million less than they spent on Teixiera alone in 2013!
Why These Contracts Don’t Make Sense
By investing large sums of money into veterans when they reach free agency in the post-steroid era, teams are taking immeasurable risks.
1) They are assuming that a high-performing player will be capable of producing into their mid-30′s, and…
2) They are assuming that the high-performing player will stay healthy enough to be worth the investment.
When a player reaches free agency, they have at least six years of major league experience. The player likely had three seasons of pre-arbitration followed by three years of arbitration prior to reaching free agency. Considering that most players make their debuts between the ages of 21 and 24, a free agent is typically between the ages of 27 and 30. The magic prime age in baseball is apparently going to happen in a player’s age-27 season, lasting roughly three to five seasons. A player has reached their physical peak at this point, which allows the player to utilize their various tools to take advantage of the opposition through the use of their experience and mental approaches gained through those experiences. When a multi-year contract is given to a player at the age of 30, say a five-year contract, and that player is then declining for nearly three-fifths of the contract, what is the value to the club? Without performance-enhancers, normal aging processes, such as shoulder fatigue for aging pitchers and chronic knee soreness for a veteran position player, become normal once again. Can teams count on a 39-year-old shortstop to play in 162 games? Ask Derek Jeter how his season went.
Unfortunate Recent Examples
Albert Pujols signed his ten-year, $240 million deal with the Angels following his age-31 season in St. Louis. To make the deal more affordable and to allow the Angels some financial flexibility, Pujols’ contract was heavily back-loaded, meaning he will be making the most money at the end of his contract when he is approaching or passing the age of 40. In fact, in Pujols’ tenth season with the Angels, he is scheduled to make $30 million, the highest annual salary within his contract. After making a combined $28 million in 2012 and 2013, Pujols’ contract will jump to $23 million in 2014 and climb $1 million each season before reaching $30 million in 2021.
However, Pujols hasn’t really lived up to the contract based on his production over the first 11 seasons in the majors, as he has posted the lowest WAR of his career in consecutive seasons (3.7 in 2012 and 0.7 in 2013). He was shutdown on August 19 due to a partial tear of his left plantar fascia and he should be ready to go next season; however, since he isn’t undergoing surgery, how well will this injury heal? Although the tear supposedly did what the surgery would have, one has to wonder if it can be aggravated, torn further (since it is still a partial tear), and debilitating enough to plague Pujols throughout the remainder of his massive contract.
And what about the contract that the “small-market” Cincinnati Reds gave to Joey Votto? The Reds handed Votto a ten-year, $225 million extension in April of 2012. The contract hasn’t even started yet, as the first year of the extension will be the 2014 season, Votto’s age-30 season. For ten years, the Reds will hope that Votto will produce numbers similar to his 2010 MVP season, something that he hasn’t seemed capable of reproducing over the last three seasons, despite leading the National League in on-base percentage the last three seasons, four including 2010. When you consider that the Reds are winning in 2013 and they still average just 31,479 in attendance (16th in MLB), how will the team be able to contend when Votto is making $25 million per season beginning in 2018, when he is 34 years old?
Even worse, the contract that the Philadelphia Phillies gave to first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard received his extension in April of 2010 and it didn’t go into effect until the 2012 season, a five-year, $125 million deal that would begin in Howard’s age-32 season. Since the start of the 2012 season, Howard has played in 151 games while posting a .244/.307/.445 line with 31 doubles, 25 home runs, 99 RBI, and a whopping 194 strikeouts in 609 plate appearances. The previous seven seasons, Howard had a .275/.368/.560 line with an average of 26 doubles, 41 home runs, and 123 RBI per season, and that was including his declining 2010 and 2011 seasons, in which Howard posted the lowest OPS of his career (.859 in 2010 and .835 in 2011)…that was, of course, until his dreadful 2012 season (.718 OPS).
The Problem With TV Deals
I was able to get a response from Baseball Prospectus’ Ben Lindbergh when I asked him via Twitter, “Do you think MLB teams are going to shy away from mega contract due to the Pujols/Howard/Hamilton deals in post steroid era?” His response:
— Ben Lindbergh (@ben_lindbergh) September 6, 2013
The TV money, which was mentioned previously, is an interesting enhancement to the revenue stream for major league teams. With the Los Angeles Dodgers getting over $6 billion over 25 years from Time Warner in their TV deal, which will give the club nearly $240 million per year in revenue, the already crazy expenditures of the boys in blue could become even more egregious this winter. The club seems capable of locking up left-hander Clayton Kershaw to a contract worth $30 million per season or more this winter, AND signing Robinson Cano to take over second base from Mark Ellis, who has a $5.75 million option for 2014 or a $1 million buyout. By taking on those types of contracts on top of the Carl Crawford ($20.25 million in 2014), Matt Kemp ($21 million in 2014), Adrian Gonzalez ($21 million in 2014), Zack Greinke ($26 million in 2014), and Andre Ethier ($15.5 million in 2014) deals, the Dodgers will be willingly entering the luxury tax threshold in an effort to win the World Series.
But what happens when money can’t buy titles? The New York Yankees seemed to always have the highest payroll in baseball and they haven’t won the title every season. Spending doesn’t quantify wins, it is, as Lindbergh referenced, the winner’s curse. This concept is outlined in Colin Wyers 2009 Baseball Prospectus piece titled The Real Curse, which Wyers states:
The market for baseball players seems to more closely resemble a sealed-bid auction than it does a market. Since the person who wins that sort of auction is typically the person with the largest bid, it stands to reason that the person who “wins” is in fact the person who overbids…
The curse is then being the winning bid on a contract that was probably more than what another team was willing to bid. By evaluating players and making smart investments, teams that break the curse are able to get production out of what they spend, while teams that suffer from the curse are those that fail to get production out of their investment, as in the suffering that the Cubs went through with Alfonso Soriano, the joint suffering of the Blue Jays and Angels over the Vernon Wells contract, and the Giants’ suffering through the Barry Zito contract.
When spending goes wrong, it can financially cripple a franchise, who is then responsible for allocating funds to an under-performing player while still trying to field a competitive team around that player. Teams seem more likely to take those types of risks, though. Due to the incoming revenue from the TV deals, teams like the Cleveland Indians, who celebrated the sale of the franchise owned SportsTime Ohio to Fox Sports this winter by signing Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, are more capable of making these potentially fatal bids.
Will the money continue to be there for clubs to take on these large, risky contracts?
Pete Kotz had an amazing story about the leagues finances, and while discussing television deals, he says:
With no one saying no, the networks see sports as a no-lose racket, with ESPN as its piper. The sports channel charges cable companies $5 a month per customer, by far the highest monthly fee in national television. While that may seem a pittance, it’s big money when spread over the 100 million U.S. households with pay TV. And it’s made the other big boys envious.
NBC and CBS have launched their own sports channels. Another from Fox is on the way. Even regional sports channels are starting to broach that $5 mark. Their bet is that viewers will always be willing to pay more. And more. And more.
…Today, the average TV bill rests at $86 per month, about half of which pays for sports programming. That’s more than double a decade ago. So it’s no coincidence that the cable and satellite industries have been jettisoning customers for nine years straight.
”I can’t tell you what will be the trigger,” says Matthew Polka, president of the American Cable Association. “But I am certain that at some point in the very near future, that balloon will burst.”
As cable and satellite customers are forced to pay more and they continue to leave those companies in an effort to save money, the money will eventually not be coming in. The cable and satellite companies will likely battle with the club’s networks to get lower rates, and there could be something drastic, like CBS being taken away from major markets. Eventually, the boom in finances and long-term contracts will go away and the inevitable crash will make it harder for clubs to make large financial commitments to star players. Imagine if the housing market was responsible for financing people’s salaries and when the market for home sales crashed how disastrous that could have been…but it did and it was miserable for the entire economy.
Major League Baseball is exempt from some things due to anti-trust laws, but nothing is too big to fail.
Who Is Worth a Mega-Contract?
It may seem easy to say that locking up players within their pre-arbitration or arbitration years to lucrative, long-term contracts seems more intelligent than waiting until free agency, as the annual salaries can slowly increase rather than starting and sitting at $25 million per year for eight straight seasons. A few examples of players who could be worth a long-term investment in this scenario:
- Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout is earning $510,000 in 2013 and he is pre-arbitration in 2014 before being eligible for arbitration in 2015, 2016, and 2017. If Trout continues his torrid pace for the next four seasons and reaches free agency in 2018 at the age of 26, what types of maniacal offers will he be receiving at that point?
- Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper signed a major league contract and will be arbitration eligible in 2016, 2017, and 2018 before reaching free agency at the age of 25 in 2019. Like Trout, he has posted absurd numbers, given his age, and, with Scott Boras as his current agent, could own half of a franchise based on what he will be offered in free agency.
- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg, Marlins’ right-hander Jose Fernandez, Marlins’ right-fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and Mets’ right-hander Matt Harvey (upon his return in 2015 from elbow surgery…if he is just as productive and dominant) are additional players who fit this mold.
Why are these types of players worth a long-term investment? Because they are young, producing prior to their prime years, and are more likely to continue producing towards the end of a 10 to 15 year extension than a player who turns 40 or 41 in year ten of their long-term contracts, like Joey Votto and Albert Pujols.
These are the types of mega-contracts that seem more reasonable and realistic for franchises, while being less likely to provide a curse on the investing bidder. Because the player is within the grasp of the franchise already, the team has all kinds of data available to analyze, they have coaches and front office personnel who have strong relationships with the player, and the fan-base, media, and community surrounding the player are already familiar, so it could be assumed that there are fewer outside influences that could impact player performance.
Regardless of the potential that these younger players possess, any long-term contract remains a risk for the franchise. If the clubs suddenly refuse to offer these types of contracts, however, the league and its owners would likely be accused of collusion. The mega-contract isn’t going away anytime soon. Despite future reluctance to meet the demands of players and agents to attain these large salaries, there will likely be enough money, or a few teams with large enough revenue streams, for at least one of these deals to be made each offseason. As fewer and fewer star players seem to reach free agency due to long-term commitments with their existing franchise (like Votto, Troy Tulowitzki, and Carlos Gonzalez), the stars that do reach free agency will likely continue to get the lucrative deals.
- It doesn’t matter that the Lerners are the wealthiest owners in baseball (halfstreetheartattack.com)
- Pujols’ contract rising, production declining (espn.go.com)
- Votto’s value extends way beyond plating runs (mlb.mlb.com)
- About that 12 year contract for Harper (halfstreetheartattack.com)
Because so many people are clamoring over what I think, I figured it was time to make my All-Star ballot public, while filling up the rosters so that each team is represented. Feel free to ridicule and taunt my choices if you wish, but you’ll have to defend yourself.
1. Carlos Gomez, CF, MIL: Continuing his awesome breakout.
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN: Huge production behind Votto in Cincy lineup.
3. Joey Votto, 1B, CIN: His numbers would look much better if he was pitched to.
4. David Wright, 3B, NYM: Hometown hero and best 3B in the NL.
5. Carlos Gonzalez, LF, COL: Hitting everywhere this year, even away from Coor’s.
6. Carlos Beltran, RF, STL: Defying age with a healthy, productive season.
7. Michael Cuddyer, DH, COL: Helping to make the Rockies a contender in 2013.
8. Buster Posey, C, SF: Tough choice over Molina, but his bat is still bigger.
9. Jean Segura, SS, MIL: Huge breakout by one of the key pieces in the Greinke deal with the Angels.
Jeff Locke, LHP, PIT
Jason Grilli, RHP, PIT
Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, WAS
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, LAD
Patrick Corbin, LHP, ARZ
Cliff Lee, LHP, PHI
Adam Wainwright, RHP, STL
Shelby Miller, RHP, STL
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, CIN
Craig Kimbrel, RHP, ATL
Edward Mujica, RHP, STL
Rafael Soriano, RHP, WAS
Travis Wood, LHP, CHI-C
Jeff Samardzija, RHP, CHI-C
Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, PHI
Yadier Molina, C, STL
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARZ
Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
Marco Scutaro, 2B, SF
Everth Cabrera, SS, SD
Giancarlo Stanton, RF, MIA
Yasiel Puig, OF, LAD
Domonic Brown, OF, PHI
Matt Carpenter, 2B, STL
Andrew McCutchen, CF, PIT
Biggest Snubs: Sergio Romo, RHP, SF; Kevin Gregg, RHP, CHI-C; Lance Lynn, RHP, STL; Allen Craig, 1B, STL; Mat Latos, RHP, CIN; Madison Bumgarner, LHP, SF; Rex Brothers, LHP, COL; A.J. Burnett, RHP, PIT; Nate Schierholtz, OF, CHI-C; Shin-Soo Choo, OF, CIN; Ryan Braun, LF, MIL; Bryce Harper, OF, WAS; Ian Desmond, SS, WAS; Chris Johnson, 1B/3B, ATL; Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT; Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD; Wilin Rosario, C, COL; Evan Gattis, C/OF, ATL;
1. Mike Trout, LF, LAA: Having a “down” year when compared to his 2012 rookie season, which was one of the greatest in baseball history.
2. Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY: Tough choice but his bat is still huge and he gets the start in NYC.
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, DET: His numbers are even better than his 2012 Triple Crown winning season.
5. Jose Bautista, RF, TOR: Production is slightly down, but Joey Bats is still a huge fan favorite.
6. David Ortiz, DH, BOS: Still producing as a member of AARP.
7. Adam Jones, CF, BAL: Continuing where he left off in 2012 and becoming one of the top players in baseball.
8. Joe Mauer, C, MIN: The power won’t ever be there again from his 2009 MVP season (28 HR), but he can find the gaps and be productive in ways that no other AL catcher can match.
9. Jhonny Peralta, SS, DET: Quietly having an incredible season as one of the worst defensive SS in baseball – loving his production, though.
Starting Pitcher: Yu Darvish, RHP, TEX: He just struck you out and you didn’t even know he threw three pitches. Having a dominant season.
Jesse Crain, RHP, CHI-W
Felix Hernandez, RHP, SEA
Justin Masterson, RHP, CLE
Max Scherzer, RHP, DET
Mariano Rivera, RHP, NYY
Joe Nathan, RHP, TEX
Clay Buchholz, RHP, BOS
Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP, SEA
Ervin Santana, RHP, KC
Greg Holland, RHP, KC
Bartolo Colon, RHP, OAK
Matt Moore, LHP, TB
Bud Norris, RHP, HOU
Glen Perkins, LHP, MIN
Jim Johnson, RHP, BAL
Jason Castro, C, HOU
Adam Lind, 1B, TOR
Prince Fielder, 1B, DET
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE
Evan Longoria, 3B, TB
Manny Machado, 3B, BAL
Jed Lowrie, SS, OAK
Nelson Cruz, OF, TEX
Coco Crisp, OF, OAK
Biggest Snubs: Josh Donaldson, 3B, OAK; J.J. Hardy, SS, BAL; Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX; Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA; Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA; Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/3B/DH, TOR; Carlos Santana, C, CLE; Hiroki Kuroda, RHP, NYY; Chris Sale, LHP, CHI-W; Addison Reed, RHP, CHI-W; Grant Balfour, RHP, OAK; Casey Janssen, RHP, TOR;
Strange relationship for you here:
Both of these players were shortstops in their first full seasons in the minors, but upon arrival in MLB, they were playing other positions (third base and/or outfield). In 2012, Player A’s team went 33-18 (.647) in his 51 games and Player B’s team went 56-31 (.644) in his 87 games in 2003. Both players led their surprising teams to the playoffs and both players are now dominating in 2013.
When compared to Cabrera’s first full season, Machado’s numbers won’t really measure up, but, again, he is a year younger. After all, a 20-year-old who is currently on pace for 68 doubles, 12 home runs, 85 RBI, and 12 stolen bases isn’t awful, but they don’t really touch Cabrera’s All-Star 2004 season:
Manny Machado is finally gaining the attention that is so well deserved. Not only is he producing offensively, but he has become the top third baseman in baseball. He ranks third in fielding percentage (.985 behind Placido Polanco and Juan Uribe, who are brutal as far as their range is concerned), first in range factor (3.06), and first in UZR/150 (28.2, David Wright is second with a 20.2 among third basemen).
Certainly, it seems unrealistic to label Manny Machado as the next Miguel Cabrera, as the Detroit Tigers third baseman is currently just three home runs back from Machado’s teammate Chris Davis (18 to Davis’ 21), or he would be leading in all Triple Crown categories, after becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski) when he won the award, along with AL MVP honors, in 2012; however, Machado has become one of the top players in baseball and worthy of the same hype that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper had last season. While he isn’t putting up the absurd numbers that Trout did in 2012, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t just as special. After all, how soon we forget about Trout hitting .220/.281/.390 in his first 135 plate appearances.
Manny Machado’s ceiling is that of an All-Star and if he ends up back at shortstop after J.J. Hardy‘s eventual departure, you’re looking at a player that is capable of matching Troy Tulowitzki‘s production in the middle infield. Not only that, but if Machado fills out his 6’2″ frame, he could even match-up with the man that he was compared to so frequently after being drafted at of a Miami high school – Alex Rodriguez…but…since ARod isn’t really a very “clean” name right now, lets just say that Machado becomes one of the top right-handed hitters of the generation, just like Cabrera.
- It Is Time For Manny Machado To Be In The Same Discussion As Harper And Trout (mlbreports.com)
- Manny is Macho (thebaseballhaven.mlblogs.com)
- Is Manny Machado in the same echelon as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper? (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Is Manny Machado Better Than Mike Trout And Bryce Harper? (bmore2boston.com)
If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for a sneaky good move with your fantasy baseball teams. Using statistics to look into trends allowed for smart trades for Matt Moore, Manny Machado, and Dexter Fowler in one league. Now, I’m looking at Roy Oswalt.
Yes, that Roy Oswalt. I know that he is 37 and his experience with the Texas Rangers in 2012 was an absolute disaster, but this is what you need to know:
These are Oswalt’s career numbers pitching in the NL West. Granted, a lot of those totals came in his “younger years” with the Houston Astros, but outside of his struggles at Chase Field, a notorious hitter’s park, Oswalt has been very solid. A career 14-13 record with a 3.30 ERA over 226.1 innings with a 1.27 WHIP and a 175:67 K:BB over 36 games (35 starts) is the overall line.
Heading to Coors Field could be a little troubling, but as you can see from the table above, Oswalt has handled the unfriendly confines pretty well over a small five game sample; however, even doubling his ERA to 4.50 (a quality start if he goes six innings), would allow Oswalt to win several games for the Rockies this season. The Rockies offense is very impressive, as Dexter Fowler, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Wilin Rosario are all thriving this season, and the club hopes that Nolen Arenado can take his place as the next Vinny Castilla for the club.
In Oswalt’s recent extended spring training start (Saturday, May 18), he struck out nine and allowed just a bunt single in five innings. Needless to say, the competition was probably pretty weak, but Rotoworld.com reported that Oswalt’s fastball is already sitting in the low 90′s.
With a club looking to surprise in the NL West and a lively offense, don’t be shocked if Roy Oswalt shocks the world and creates value for himself in the 2013 season while pitching for the Colorado Rockies.
Manny Machado was the 3rd pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, a product of Brito Miami Private School, which led to numerous comparisons to another big shortstop from Miami, the one and only Alex Rodriguez. It seemed like an unfair comparison for someone to live up to, and despite several “the next fill-in-the-blank” prospects to come and go without any success, Machado is already reaching fantastic levels of production just three years removed from his senior prom.
Machado moved to Baltimore quickly, earning just 170 plate appearances in Low-A, 260 plate appearances in High-A, and 459 plate appearances in Double-A before earning a promotion with the Orioles. His overall minor league numbers suggested a pretty drastic learning curve was to be expected:
Surprisingly, his small sample size in Baltimore in 2012 was relatively close to his overall minor league numbers:
The OPS and batting average were very similar, but the OBP was pretty low. The 2013 season, however, has been a dramatic difference in ability:
Machado is hitting, hitting for power, and showing pretty good plate discipline. His walk rate is up to 5.9 percent in 2013 from the 4.5 percent that he had in 2012, and his strikeout rate has fallen to 15.8 percent from 18.8 percent in 2012. These are all fantastic signs for a player who won’t turn 21 until July 6th.
Certainly, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout deserve a lot of attention for their skills and production at such a young age, but it seems as though so many other excellent young players get lost in the hype. Obviously, Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, and Brett Lawrie get some well-deserved attention, but Manny Machado deserves to be known as how special he already is, rather than another top talent to file with Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken, Jr. in the legacy of Baltimore Orioles’ infielders.
While his fielding is probably further along than his bat, Machado’s bat is damn good, as well.
Manny Machado is good enough right now to become the 2013 version of Mike Trout. In fact, due to the potential that he has in potentially moving back to shortstop when J.J. Hardy reaches free agency after the 2014 season, one could argue that Machado could become a more valuable player over the long haul.
ESPN got on board with his skills after a recent feature article by Jerry Crasnick, so it will only be a matter of time before he is getting too much focus. Everyone will see what he is made of at that point, good or bad, but he looks to have the skills worthy of “the next Alex Rodriguez” label, regardless.
- Defensive player of month: Manny Machado (espn.go.com)
- Manny Machado, A Rising Star (godeepsports.wordpress.com)
- Orioles’ Manny Machado Shows Maturity On And Off Field (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- Machado’s defense has been high caliber (espn.go.com)
Keith Olbermann reported on his MLBlog on October 17 that the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins are already discussing a deal involving Alex Rodriguez once the season is over. This is big news due to the struggles of Rodriguez during the postseason, 3-for-23 (.103) with 12 strikeouts, and that fact that the quickly aging veteran is due another $114 million over the next five seasons.
Alex Rodriguez is taking a lot of heat for his struggles, as if he is the only player currently struggling during the club’s rotten postseason. Mind you, Robinson Cano is 3-for-36 (.083) and Curtis Granderson is just 3-for-29 (.103) with 15 strikeouts, so what is the deal with the hatred for the game’s highest paid player? The Yankees have bigger issues, including, how are they going to rebuild the franchise if the potential trade of Alex Rodriguez actually does happen?
Moving Alex Rodriguez would signify a possible change in philosophy. While the Yankees have spent many hundreds of millions in payroll over the last decade, could this be the end of “buying” the talent, all because of an apparent very quick regression in some of their talent?
The Yankees have some things to look at with their current roster:
- Ichiro Suzuki, Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Mariano Rivera, Freddy Garcia, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and David Aardsma are free agents after the 2012 season.
- Robinson Cano ($15 million or $2 million buyout), Curtis Granderson ($13 million or $2 million buyout), and Pedro Feliciano ($4.5 million with $0 buyout) have options for 2013, with Cano and Granderson nearly guaranteed to be picked up, if only to allow for a trade to get value in return for those players.
- Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson are eligible for arbitration, so they will earn raises for the 2013 season.
- Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Clay Rapada, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine are all pre-arbitration, so they could be renewed at or near the league minimum.
After that, the Yankees have some payroll concerns:
- Alex Rodriguez, as mentioned before, is owed $114 million over the next five years.
- C.C. Sabathia is due $119 million (counting his $25 million 2017 option) over the next five years.
- Mark Teixeria is going to make $90 million over the next four seasons.
- Derek Jeter will make $17 million in 2013 and either $8 million in 2014 or a $3 million buyout.
- Rafael Soriano is guaranteed $14 million in 2013.
The problem with trading Alex Rodriguez is that the Yankees would have to eat a huge portion of the $114 million that he is owed. Since 2007, A-Rod’s OPS has gone from 1.067 (his MVP season) to .965, .933, .847, .823, and finally .783 in 2012. At the age of 37 (turning 38 next July), why would anyone give anything of value for the declining future Hall of Famer?
Dealing Rodriguez to the Miami Marlins for Heath Bell and Logan Morrison would be a solid deal, even paying $50-70 million of his deal, so that the team gets more bullpen help and a potential replacement in an outfield corner with Swisher and Ichiro both headed to free agency. However, that deal probably would not sit well with fans.
Should the club let all of their free agents depart, will they go after Josh Hamilton in free agency? Could Hamilton’s previous off-the-field issues, which he still admits to battling, become a huge issue in the largest media market in the world?
Should the club trade Granderson and/or Cano on top of dealing Rodriguez, just to allow the franchise to make a fresh start, like the Boston Red Sox deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which included the contracts of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez?
For what it is worth, dealing Alex Rodriguez would open up third base in one of the weakest years for free agent third base in recent memory, including: Miguel Cairo, Mark DeRosa, Alberto Gonzalez, Brandon Inge, Maicer Izturis, Jose Lopez, Scott Rolen, Drew Sutton, and, if their options aren’t picked up, Ty Wigginton and Kevin Youkilis.
Would the club really go into the season with Eduardo Nunez at the hot corner? General Manager Brian Cashman would have to look in the mirror and commit to a potential rebuilding mode if that is the case.
While Alex Rodriguez has struggled and his value and stock has plummeted, the unfortunate facts are that the Yankees would be and will be better with him at third base in 2013 than they would be by making a trade. Unless the Bronx Bombers were able to trade Robinson Cano to Baltimore for Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado after trading Rodriguez, starting to make trades to change the structure of the team just does not make sense.
Cashman would have to make several trades involving star players and huge contracts, just to fill the several holes that would remain from the various deals. If you trade Rodriguez, he would need to trade for a third baseman. If he traded Cano, who would play second? If he traded Granderson, he could possibly get Hamilton, but what if the Red Sox or Rangers outbid him?
You can’t rebuild the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman is in a situation where he needs to win, in a market and a fan base that wants to win – see the attendance in the ALCS. The club will rebuild by reloading, like they have done, through free agency. They will acquire a top-tier or solid starting pitcher and a solid outfielder, and they will be right back where they were. They will probably have the veterans mentioned in potential deals, as well, because it is not worth the potential hassle of dealing the contracts and taking so much less in value, just to make a change.
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;
I have updated this list as of 12/20/12 here.
Below you’ll find the top 50 prospects for 2013. Some players may make a big impact (Machado, Profar, Olt) and lose rookie and prospect eligiblity, but, as of right now (8/15/12), this is how I would rank them. Let me know what you think in the comments!
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles, 11/15/92, Double-A, 8-3, 2.01 ERA, 20 GS, 89.2 IP, 106:22 K:BB, .186 BAA
- It will be interesting what Bundy can do when the O’s take their chains off and let him loose. He just recently reached the sixth inning in a start for the first time. He is well on his way to becoming an ace, and he could reach the Majors by the middle of next year.
2. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers, 2/20/93, Double-A, .285/.363/.470, 25 2B, 7 3B, 14 HR, 61 RBI, 15 SB, 70:54 K:BB in 438 AB
- Profar is the perfect blend of rare power, speed, and on-base skills, and it is all packed into a 19-year-old excelling in the upper levels of the minors. There are rumors that he could be called up to help the Rangers down the stretch, but it would be a shame to have him come off of the bench considering he is probably one of their top five players when he arrives in Arlington. It will be interesting to see where the Rangers work him in with Andrus and Kinsler around.
3. Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals, 12/10/90, Triple-A, .316/.392/.625, 25 2B, 5 3B, 34 HR, 97 RBI, 6 SB, 127:53 K:BB in 443 AB
- While Jeff Francoeur regressed to his pre-2011 abilities, the Royals just sit back and watch their future slugger continue to mash in Triple-A. With Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer in the middle of their long-term lineup, Myers powerful right-handed bat is a perfect fit. He should be a full-time player next spring if he isn’t in September.
4. Xander Bogaerts, 3B/SS, Boston Red Sox, 10/1/92, Double-A, .308/.380/.521, 29 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 4 SB, 87:43 K:BB in 403 AB
- I have him higher than most, but give me a 19-year-old who can post these numbers any day of the week. Bogaerts is still playing shortstop, but he will end up at third base or be forced elsewhere due to the presense of Will Middlebrooks. Powerful, young, projectable frame. Bogaerts will be a total offensive monster.
5. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 7/13/91, Triple-A, 9-5, 2.38 ERA, 21 GS, 117.1 IP, 112:35 K:BB, .236 BAA
- Skaggs may have overtaken Trevor Bauer as the club’s future ace. He has command of his pitches and has posted incredible numbers the last two seasons.
6. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners, 8/13/92, Double-A, 7-7, 4.25 ERA, 21 GS, 103.2 IP, 99:43 K:BB, .259 BAA
- The Mariners pushed Walker by having his skip the dreaded California League, allowing him to thrive without being destroyed by the thin air and small parks of High-A. Having just turned 20, Walker has posted some solid numbers. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be a nice addition to the Mariners rotation in the coming years. He isn’t Felix Hernandez and won’t come close to him, but how many pitchers can?
7. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners, 11/28/89, Triple-A, 9-5, 2.42 ERA, 20 GS, 108 IP, 120:56 K:BB, .195 BAA
- Hultzen may just be what he is right now and nothing more, but that is still good. He will throw strikes and toss a lot of innings while having some great success. The college arm will be ready by next season and he could get a look in September, but he will settle in nicely among a group of solid young arms that the M’s are developing.
8. Manny Machado, 3B/SS, Baltimore Orioles, 7/6/92, Majors, .266/.352/.438, 26 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 13 SB, 70:48 K:BB in 402 AB
- Can we just call him “The Macho Man” now? Machado has been on fire since arriving in Baltimore last week, having won co-AL Player of the Week in his first week in the bigs. Not a bad introduction. he was on fire in Double-A when the Orioles called him up. He will probably be a third baseman long-term and his bat will only improve. He is a monster, just like Bogaerts, with speed and a glove that could still handle short.
9. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals, 6/19/92, Double-A, .321/.382/.574, 31 2B, 7 3B, 21 HR, 82 RBI, 9 SB, 53:39 K:BB in 427 AB
- Taveras can do it all. He could take over right field for the Cardinals right now, but Allen Craig and the on-again/off-again season of Lance Berkman have blocked him. His power makes him a threat to the NL Central for years to come.
10. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins, 7/31/92, High-A, 12-1, 1.89 ERA, 22 GS, 119 IP, 142:31 K:BB, .192 BAA
- If you missed the Futures Game, you didn’t see how big Fernandez is already. The guy has a monstrous frame that makes him look like he could step right into a Major League rotation. His results are impressive to this point and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Marlins rush him next year.
11. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, 9/8/90, Double-A, 8-5, 2.89 ERA, 22 GS, 109 IP, 112:34 K:BB, .229 BAA
- Cole still has more stuff than impressive results at this poing in his career, but the stuff could be so dominant, that you have to hold out hope that he figures things out. For a guy who can throw a 90 mph change and curve while topping out in triple-digits with his fastball, you would expect more dominance in his strikeout totals. If he figures it out, he could be #2 behind Bundy on this list.
12. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers, 3/4/92, Double-A, .349/.386/.488, 29 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 7 SB, 96:28 K:BB in 459 AB
- The Tigers have moved Castellanos to the outfield due to Miguel Cabrera occupying third base. Castellanos is an interesting talent. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t really walk much, while his power numbers are lagging. However, he is just 20 and his 29 doubles show that there is power in there somewhere. If Castellanos beefs up a little, that will help the power numbers, and then he can help the Tigers.
13. Mike Olt, 1B/3B, Texas Rangers, 8/27/88, Majors, .288/.398/.579, 17 2B, 1 3B, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 4 SB, 101:61 K:BB in 354 AB
- Olt has arrived in the Majors to showcase his power at the corners. He was rumored in potential deals for the Rangers, but they may be better off keeping him and putting him at first base. He is ready to mash, like the Rangers needed more offense…
14. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs, 12/1/92, High-A, .311/.363/.553, 11 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 37 RBI, 21 SB, 56:11 K:BB in 235 AB
- Baez could be a force at short for the Cubs. Just drafted in 2011 out of high school, the Cubs have already moved the youngster to High-A ball, having started the 2012 season late due to concerns about the weather. Regardless, he will continue moving quickly, especially if he keeps hitting like he has.
15. Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets, 5/30/90, Triple-A, 10-6, 3.20 ERA, 21 GS, 126.2 IP, 128:50 K:BB, .219 BAA
- Wheeler was acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran last year. He was a talented arm at the time and has established himself as the Mets top prospect since being acquired. Wheeler could still refine his command before he is a finished product, but he has the ceiling to be a top of the rotation starter.
16. Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, 10/10/90, Triple-A, 8-9, 5.22 ERA, 23 GS, 112 IP, 125:46 K:BB, .274 BAA
- Miller has fallen out of favor with the Cardinals organization due to conditioning and other issues which continue to go unannounced. He has struggled in 2012 in the Pacific Coast League, which is notoriously a hitter’s league. He still has a bright future, but he could be someone who gets dealt if he continues to upset the Cards, who practically gave away Colby Rasmus due to his “issues.”
17. Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox, 6/17/90, High-A, 7-4, 2.65 ERA, 22 GS, 108.2 IP, 127:26 K:BB, .216 BAA
- If Barnes continues pitching this well, he could be with the Red Sox next season while Josh Beckett and John Lackey are in AA meetings, playing golf, eating fried chicken, and trying to get Bobby Valentine fired. Barnes was good college arm, picked in 2011 out of UConn, and he should continue to move up the ranks as the Saux top prospect.
18. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians, 11/14/93, Low-A, .260/.353/.366, 20 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 25 SB, 66:52 K:BB in 415 AB
- For a team with such a terrible offense, Indians fans sure do love this slick fielding slap-hitter. Lindor is young and has gap power, but he isn’t as valuable to the Tribe as current shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera because he can’t produce runs like Cabrera can. However, Cabrera is only signed through 2014 and Lindor should be ready by about the same time that Cabrera is leaving town. Lindor is a switch-hitter and has very good on-base skills. If he gets bigger, he won’t turn 19 until Novemer, Lindor could become a more valuable offensive weapon. As it stands, he is a solid leadoff or No. 2-hitter.
19. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies, 4/16/91, Double-A, .274/.332/.414, 33 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 0 SB, 51:36 K:BB in 442 AB
- After a solid season full of production in the California League in 2011, Arenado has disappointed a bit due to the drop in his power numbers. The 33 doubles are pretty encouraging for future output, but the 21-year-old was thought to be capable of more home runs. He still has solid plate discipline and a clear path to the Colorado third base job, but we’ll have to see how aggressive the Rockies are with him when spring training rolls around.
20. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros, 9/18/91, Double-A, .279/.389/.488, 25 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 4 SB, 111:75 K:BB in 402 AB
- The future at first base for the Astros, Singleton is developing into a solid power hitter with a nice approach at the plate. He will be a cornerstone to the Houston rebuild. With the club rebuilding, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him manning first in April of 2013.
21. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves, 1/27/91, Majors, 7-7, 5.05 ERA, 23 GS, 114 IP, 80:38 K:BB, .290 BAA
- There were rumors that Teheran’s breaking ball wasn’t up to par. There are also rumors that his attitude was shaky due to being sent to the minors. Whatever is going on with him, it is cause for concern. His numbers in Triple-A are pretty awful, and his brief opportunities in Atlanta haven’t gone well, either. Teheran is still a top-flight prospect, but due to this bump in the road, he may not have what it takes to be an ace. He still has some work to do.
22. Travis D’Arnaud, C, Toronto Blue Jays, 2/10/89, Triple-A, .333/.380/.595, 21 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 1 SB, 59:19 K:BB in 279 AB
- D’Arnaud has missed time due to a torn PCL that he suffered in late June. His strikeout rate was pretty alarming, but the power numbers and on-base totals were pretty impressive, still. D’Arnaud could be an offensive force for the Jays, who have a nice lineup developing in Toronto and in their minor league system. J.P. Arencibia is ahead of him, and, for some reason, the Jays just re-signed Jeff Mathis for two-years, $3 million (throwing away money?), so his future may be on hold.
23. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals, 3/27/90, Triple-A, 12-4, 3.22 ERA, 21 GS, 120.1 IP, 118:41 K:BB, .252 BAA
- Odorizzi was a piece in the Zack Greinke deal from the Brewers. When he was drafted, he was compared to Greg Maddux due to his diverse arsenal and great command over his pitches. To this point, Odorizzi has looked great. He could make an appearance for KC this September or battle for a rotation spot in the spring.
24. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 8/10/92, Low-A, 10-5, 3.86 ERA, 23 GS, 114.1 IP, 120:72 K:BB, .173 BAA
- More hype than production to this point, but Bradley could be the best arm in the Diamondbacks top-heavy (Bauer and Skaggs) system. He has issues with his command, as his .173 average allowed is truly dominant, and the 72 walks have been the culprit of his inflated 3.86 ERA. If he gets his nasty stuff under control, he’s going to be in the top 10 by the end of 2013.
25. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, 11/18/91, High-A, 6-8, 3.83 ERA, 22 GS, 120 IP, 95:36 K:BB, .227 BAA
- Just like Bradley, Taillon has been hyped with very little as far as results. He has looked pretty good for a 20-year-old in High-A, but if he is an ace like others say he is, you have to expect more. He is coming along nicely, but he could be more of a mid-rotation arm than an ace.
26. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins, 12/5/91, High-A, .323/.395/.528, 26 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 18 SB, 72:41 K:BB in 341 AB
27. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins, 5/11/93, Low-A, .259/.380/.521, 24 2B, 4 3B, 24 HR, 90 RBI, 7 SB, 129:74 K:BB in 397 AB
28. Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds, 9/9/90, Double-A, .315/.412/.431, 20 2B, 13 3B, 2 HR, 41 RBI, 139 SB, 95:73 K:BB in 448 AB
29. Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks, 3/26/91, Double-A, .267/.375/.483, 25 2B, 2 3B, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB, 109:60 K:BB in 424 AB
30. Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees, 8/21/91, High-A, .298/.346/.474, 22 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 20 SB, 47:24 K:BB in 359 AB
31. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, 9/21/91, Double-A, 4-5, 2.89 ERA, 18 GS, 87.1 IP, 74:25 K:BB, .238 BAA
32. Tyler Austin, OF, New York Yankees, 9/6/91, High-A, .318/.400/.567, 27 2B, 6 3B, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 19 SB, 83:45 K:BB in 349 AB
33. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals, 8/3/92, Rookie League, .294/.388/.542, 7 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 6 SB, 52:21 K:BB in 153 AB
34. Miles Head, 3B, Oakland A’s, 5/2/91, Double-A, .335/.396/.601, 30 2B, 8 3B, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 3 SB, 107:36 K:BB in 409 AB
35. Trevor Story, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies, 11/15/92, Low-A, .264/.356/.484, 35 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 11 SB, 102:52 K:BB in 409 AB
36. Michael Choice, OF, Oakland A’s, 11/10/89, Double-A, .287/.356/.423, 15 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 58 RBI, 5 SB, 88:33 K:BB in 359 AB
37. Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York Yankees, 3/13/91, Triple-A, 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 6 GS, 24 IP, 22:10 K:BB, .299 BAA
38. Joey Gallo, 1B, Texas Rangers, 11/19/93, Rookie League, .293/.435/.733, 10 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 43 RBI, 6 SB, 52:37 K:BB in 150 AB
39. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers, 12/7/90, High-A, .382/.475/.912, 0 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB, 7:6 K:BB in 34 AB
40. Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox, 4/19/90, Double-A, .319/.429/.491, 40 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 59 RBI, 24 SB, 81:80 K:BB in 436 AB
41. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals, 6/6/90, Double-A, .304/.415/.594, 5 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 14:12 K:BB in 69 AB
42. Matt Harvey, RHP, New York Mets, 3/27/89, Majors, 7-5, 3.68 ERA, 20 GS, 110 IP, 112:48 K:BB, .233 BAA
43. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Minnesota Twins, 9/28/91, Low-A, .305/.361/.492, 27 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 9 SB, 52:30 K:BB in 321 AB
44. Christian Colon, SS, Kansas City Royals, 5/14/89, Triple-A, .301/.376/.413, 13 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 13 SB, 28:37 K:BB in 312 AB
45. Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners, 3/25/91, Double-A, .366/.471/.723, 10 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 1 SB, 26:19 K:BB in 112 AB
46. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees, 12/2/92, High-A, .294/.353/.493, 28 2B, 0 3B, 16 HR, 72 RBI, 15 SB, 96:31 K:BB in 381 AB
47. Daniel Corcino, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, 8/26/90, Double-A, 7-6, 3.25 ERA, 23 GS, 127.1 IP, 113:56 K:BB, .221 BAA
48. Barret Loux, RHP, Texas Rangers, 4/6/89, Double-A, 13-1, 3.51 ERA, 21 GS, 110.1 IP, 84:35 K:BB, .250 BAA
49. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners, 11/6/88, Double-A, 7-4, 3.09 ERA, 18 GS, 90.1 IP, 93:46 K:BB, .242 BAA
50. Wilmer Flores, 3B, New York Mets, 8/6/91, Double-A, .290/.336/.450, 23 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB, 51:31 K:BB in 420 AB
The Baltimore Orioles are one of the surprising teams in MLB in 2012, having gone 32-26 through Friday. The O’s sit one game back of Tampa Bay in the AL East and they are tied with the Yankees for the Wild Card lead.
Baltimore started hot out of the gate, going 14-9 in April, thanks in large part to the 3.03 team ERA that their pitching staff posted in the first month of the season. Things have changed since April, though, as the team ERA rose to 4.16 in May (though they did finish 15-13 in May), and it is up to 5.02 in June, while the team is now 3-4 this month after losing three straight games.
You can’t blame the pitching entirely for the recent slide, though. The offense is 19th in MLB in team average (.247) while leading the majors in strikeouts with 487, thanks in no small part to Robert Andino (59), Chris Davis (55), Mark Reynolds (46), and Adam Jones (42). While the O’s struggle to make contact, they can mash, as shown by their 80 home runs (3rd in MLB) and a .733 team OPS (9th in MLB).
The rotation is currently in flux due to Jake Arrieta’s recent struggles. The young right-hander is 2-8 with a 6.32 ERA. While Arrieta was solid in April (1-2, 4.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .216 BAA), but he was miserable in May (1-4, 6.17 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, .306 BAA), and attrocious in June (0-2, 13.50 ERA, 1.96 WHIP, .342 BAA). He will go to Triple-A with Tommy Hunter coming back, but the club has had great contributions from Jason Hammel, Wei-Lin Chen, and Brian Matusz to this point.
Adam Jones was just extended, Dylan Bundy has pitched like the the greatest pitching prospect in years, and the Orioles have a group of solid prospects in Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Nick Delmonico, and others. The future is bright in Baltimore, but this probably isn’t the year.
Baltimore has dealt with a lot of injury issues. Nolan Reimold was fantastic before back issues set in, Brian Roberts is and has been out with a concussion, and Nick Markakis is now out through the month of June due to a broken right hamate bone. Add in Matt Lindstrom’s finger injury in the bullpen, Tsuyoshi Wada being lost for the year before he ever really got started, and the lack of contact skills in the lineup, and the luck seems to be continually going against them.
Much like the Pittsburgh Pirates temporary resurgence in 2011, the Orioles temporary return to glory has been very cute. However, it just isn’t meant to last this year, but the future remains bright…if that sounds familiar to Orioles fans…
Well, we finally made it to the American League. Thanks for your patience and if you’re a Baltimore Orioles fan, I know you have some. Baltimore finished in last place in the AL East for the 4th straight season and completed their season with a 69-93 record, their 14th straight losing season. New management and another rebuilding effort is in the works, as the O’s look for a way to get back to the glory of the…70′s…which seems like forever ago to their fans because it was. Who are the 25-men on the current roster?
2 Catchers: Matt Wieters and Taylor Teagarden
1B: Mark Reynolds
2B: Brian Roberts
3B: Josh Bell
SS: J.J. Hardy
LF: Nolan Reimold
CF: Adam Jones
RF: Nick Markakis
DH: Chris Davis
Bench: Endy Chavez (OF), Robert Andino (INF), Matt Angle (OF)
Starting Pitchers: Jeremy Guthrie, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada
Relief Pitchers: Jim Johnson, Kevin Gregg, Pedro Strop, Troy Patton, Alfredo Simon, Darren O’Day and Brad Bergeson
The O’s didn’t have the success that they hoped to with the young arms that they were stockpiling. Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz have been total flops, while Arrieta and Britton seem to look like solid arms, but not really the top of the rotation guys that all four were hoped to become. Britton still has a shot, though. Adam Jones finally reached his potential last year, and at age 25, he is either someone to build around or someone to deal. It sounds like Dan Duquette is in the middle of deciding what that is going to be. Markakis is solid and average at the same time. J.J. Hardy looks like a great piece to keep until Manny Machado is ready, and the O’s have some talent in the pipeline to look forward to until they matter again. If only they moved to the NL Central, they could contend now.
They should probably look to deal Adam Jones. At 25, Jones is under team control until 2014. He would be an asset for a team that wants to contend. He would fit perfectly in the Braves outfield, they could trade Prado and put Jones or Bourn in LF, and he could get one or two of the Braves arms back in return. But you have to wonder if taking on arms is what the O’s need to do. They’ve added a couple of arms from Asia this offseason in Chen and Wada, basically eliminating rotation spots for Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Chris Tillman…if they even wanted them there in the first place…and their system hasn’t had much luck with developing arms. Luckily, the Braves have Minor, Teheran, Delgado and Vizcaino ready. Packaging one of those arms with Edward Salcedo, a highly ranked 3B prospect, would be an excellent package for Jones.
The O’s aren’t going to contend in 2012. They won’t contend for a few more years. They need to come to grips with that and start looking at the next wave of talent. Manny Machado at SS, Dylan and Robert Bundy at starting pitcher, and Jonathan Schoop look like top to above average prospects. Because of their future being two years out, they shouldn’t be starting anyone over 30. No more Derrek Lee’s or Vladimir Guerrero’s, even if they sign on the cheap. This team needs to invest in the draft, international signings, and player development. With the talent in the AL East, they have no choice but to build a little and THEN start signing talent via Free Agency. They have to have more key pieces on the field before they start filing holes. So they should waste their money on signing guys like Edwin Jackson or even spend time checking in on Prince Fielder. Let other teams spend now. Trade Nick Markakis to the Red Sox for Ryan Lavarnway and Anthony Renaudo, even though he is young (28 in 2012), you aren’t going to win with him. J.J. Hardy can help you win some games, but he could also get you a nice return from, say, the Reds, at the trade deadline in 2012 if Zack Cozart doesn’t work out. Trade Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Roberts to the Rockies for Seth Smith and Hector Gomez, giving the Rockies the solid arm they need to contend now, while the O’s get a spot for a young arm to try to prove themselves again.
There are a lot of things that the Orioles can do in 2012, but winning isn’t one of them. They have an interesting lineup with Jones, Markakis, Reimold, Hardy and Wieters, but they just don’t have enough consistency out of those guys to win, plus the pitching is just as questionable. Wada is a Japanese clone of Jamie Moyer, hitting 87-88 with his fastball. Chen can throw some heat, but he also has had some shoulder issues. We know that their young arms haven’t been consistent…or good…as Tillman and Matusz have been busts. But they are young enough to keep getting chances, especially when your team isn’t going to be good.
If you trade Jones, Markakis and Guthrie, it makes for an ugly roster, but after going 69-93 with them and not seeing an end to the losing with four solid teams in front of you in the AL East, you’ve got nothing to lose. Matt Angle, Reimold, Smith, and Endy Chavez would be your outfielders. You’ve got a 2B of the future in Gomez on the way (he spent all of 2011 in Double-A), with Machado coming up at SS, and Schoop at 3B. Lavarnway can play 1B or DH, Reimold could do the same thing. Draft college players early, high ceiling guys later, maybe get in on Yoennis Cespedes, the CF from Cuba and get him now. Why not? He’s someone to plug-in now. How would that change the roster for 2012:
2 Catchers: Matt Wieters and Taylor Teagarden
1B: Nolan Reimold
2B: Ryan Adams (.284/.341/.454, 28 2B, 10 HR in 94 games at Triple-A in ’11)
3B: Mark Reynolds
SS: J.J. Hardy
LF: Seth Smith
CF: Yoennis Cespedes
RF: Endy Chavez
DH: Ryan Lavarnway
Bench: Robert Andino (INF), Matt Angle (OF) and Chris Davis (1B/3B)
Starting Pitching: Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Chen/Wada (whoever looks best in Spring)
Relief Pitchers: Jim Johnson, Kevin Gregg, Pedro Strop, Troy Patton, Alfredo Simon, Darren O’Day and Brad Bergeson
The fake deals that I made would make Hector Gomez (2B in 2013?), Anthony Renaudo (#3 pitcher in 2013?), Randall Delgado/Arodys Vizcaino/Mike Minor (#2 pitcher in 2013?), and Edward Salcedo (3B in 2014) a part of the organization. They’re solid guys who could force the O’s to move other players around, like Schoop to 2B or Salcedo to 1B (as his defense is still weak/raw). It is all made up and some of the deals may not be possible, but it is worth a shot. The O’s won’t win again until they build from within to create their own talent. See the Blue Jays, Rangers and Rays for current examples of this type of development.