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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 672

post #20131 of 73404
Thread Starter 
Always a smart move by a manager to put your best hitter in the #5 slot. Desmond should be 5th or 6th regardless and Werth should never leave the #2 slot. Managers gonna manage.
post #20132 of 73404
I hope Amador rakes for Jewbacca's sake. I want him to succeed more than Abreu.
post #20133 of 73404
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Always a smart move by a manager to put your best hitter in the #5 slot. Desmond should be 5th or 6th regardless and Werth should never leave the #2 slot. Managers gonna manage.
Werth's made it known he doesn't like hitting 2nd so Davey never put him there. Wonder how Williams will handle that.
post #20134 of 73404
Thread Starter 
Well then he doesn't like winning laugh.gif the ideal lineup would have your best on base guy in the two slot for the sluggers. Why doesn't he like it, because his meaningless RBI's suffer? That's such a stupid idea to have in your head and knowing how fragile most baseball players are, he'd probably be so riled up at being the 2 slot, he won't perform laugh.gif
post #20135 of 73404

Pushing my chips all in on Harper having a monster year.
post #20136 of 73404
Originally Posted by Jewbacca View Post

Pushing my chips all in on Harper having a monster year.

40hrs, 120 rbi season if he stays healthy

post #20137 of 73404
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Well then he doesn't like winning laugh.gif the ideal lineup would have your best on base guy in the two slot for the sluggers. Why doesn't he like it, because his meaningless RBI's suffer? That's such a stupid idea to have in your head and knowing how fragile most baseball players are, he'd probably be so riled up at being the 2 slot, he won't perform laugh.gif
No clue, he said he'd hit lead-off or second if he was asked to, but he doesn't like hitting there. Said he prefers hitting in spots 3-6.
post #20138 of 73404
post #20139 of 73404
Bryce looks like a monster. Hopefully for his sake all that muscle gain translates.
post #20140 of 73404
CarGo's new glove is smokin.gif

Bryce looks like a beast. 40/40 for sure ....
Yanks Knicks Jets
Yanks Knicks Jets
post #20141 of 73404
What did Griffey do or say on Sportcenter that caused him to have to apologize to Linda Cohn???

And Bryce has that Bonds workout plan down cold. pimp.gif
post #20142 of 73404
Originally Posted by CP1708 View Post

What did Griffey do or say on Sportcenter that caused him to have to apologize to Linda Cohn???

And Bryce has that Bonds workout plan down cold. pimp.gif
post #20143 of 73404
I was watching the interview, it was painful to watch laugh.gif
post #20144 of 73404


What the hell was wrong with that dude? He must have been pissed about somethin. DAMN. laugh.gif
post #20145 of 73404

Dead at that Griffey interview. Who cares if he was short with her, ESPN sucks. It wasn't like she asked him a decent question.




post #20146 of 73404
Sleep during games, sleep during interviews. laugh.gif
post #20147 of 73404
Picture aside, Bryce Harper is my NL MVP. I've had the Nats penciled into the WS prior to the Fister acquisition.

Miggy and Trout are the easy AL selections every year. I'll be different and say Prince, even if I don't really believe it.
post #20148 of 73404
post #20149 of 73404

:lol@ that Griffey Jr. interview.

post #20150 of 73404
On top of that....he said mccutchen. Trout....harper..miggy...even a healthy matt kemp....even puig......Junior be trippin.
post #20151 of 73404

McCutchen is the 3rd best player in baseball. It's not that far fetched for Jr to say that.:rolleyes

post #20152 of 73404
Stop hyping my Nats laugh.gif
post #20153 of 73404
CJ Edwards pimp.gif
post #20154 of 73404
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by madj55 View Post

Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Well then he doesn't like winning laugh.gif the ideal lineup would have your best on base guy in the two slot for the sluggers. Why doesn't he like it, because his meaningless RBI's suffer? That's such a stupid idea to have in your head and knowing how fragile most baseball players are, he'd probably be so riled up at being the 2 slot, he won't perform laugh.gif
No clue, he said he'd hit lead-off or second if he was asked to, but he doesn't like hitting there. Said he prefers hitting in spots 3-6.

He just wants the RBI's then laugh.gif if I'm Matt Williams, I bat him 2nd all year and bench him if he doesn't like it.

MVP...I'll say McCutchen and Trout this year.

McCutchen is extremely close to the top tier of players. I'd have no qualms with anyone saying he's the third best position player.
post #20155 of 73404
Thread Starter 
Astros-Tigers a prospect bonanza.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- A few scouting notes from Wednesday's Detroit Tigers-Houston Astros Grapefruit League matchup, which featured a number of my top 100 prospects.

• The standout prospect for Houston was Mike Foltynewicz -- my No. 70 prospect -- who hit 99 mph several times in his first inning of work and was 94-99 over the two innings, pairing his fastball with a 78-83 mph curveball that ranged from just below average to plus.

Foltynewicz has the two pitches and size to start, clearly, but he was altering his arm slot pitch by pitch, dropping down for most of his fastballs, resulting in something akin to a flat two-seamer, lifting his slot to three-quarters so he can get on top of the breaking ball. While both pitches grade out fairly well individually -- the fastball something more than OK -- major league starters don't vary their arm slot by pitch type, and Foltynewicz is going to have to find a consistent slot so he can remain in the rotation.

• George Springer, whom I ranked as MLB's No. 19 prospect -- had several good at-bats, getting caught looking once by Max Scherzer on a tough slider down and in under his hands, then taking two very tough pitches to start his next at-bat before hitting a fastball to the right-field wall for a deep fly out.

He did misplay one fairly routine fly out to right, although I don't think there's any cause for concern with his defense. He's ready for a major league job once the Astros decide they want to call him up.

• Carlos Correa, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft (and my No. 4 prospect), hit a ball hard in his first at-bat but flew out to center, then was caught looking on a 2-2 fastball middle-in from a lefty -- a tough pitch, especially for a kid who hasn't reached high A yet.

He made two good rangy plays at short, reaching balls that most shortstops wouldn't get to, but couldn't complete either play by getting a throw off to first. I still believe he's going to end up at third base, but this kind of lateral range at third base would make him a plus defender.

• Jonathan Singleton (No. 78) made headlines earlier this week with a candid interview in which he admitted that he's a recovering addict, with an addiction to marijuana and associated abuse of alcohol. (Contrary to popular myth, marijuana users can develop dependency and even physical addiction, although it's less common than addiction to nicotine or alcohol.)

Singleton struck out and walked in his two plate appearances, but the one positive is that his body looked good, better than it did in the second half of last year when, we now know, he was still dealing with his substance abuse problems.

• Delino DeShields Jr. (No. 80), really needs to run out a ground ball every now and then -- and maybe try to slim down, as he's looking more like the running back he was supposed to be (he was committed to LSU for football and baseball) and less like a guy who can play in the middle of the field. On the bright side, however, his swing is still short and quick and I think he'll make plenty of hard contact.

• Houston right-hander Anthony Bass, acquired from San Diego for a nonprospect reliever in December, was 92-95 with a hard slider at 85-88, getting on top of the ball well from a high three-quarters slot. Bass' problem in San Diego, other than being miscast as a starter, was that the slider was the only pitch he could miss bats with, as the fastball was straight and his changeup, which I didn't see Wednesday, was useless.

He's a decent candidate for a splitter, though, given his slot and release point, which would make him at least a good full-inning reliever.

• The only note I'd offer on the Detroit side was on Nick Castellanos (prospect No. 32), who looked good at the plate, as always, but was a little rough at third base, clanking one routine play to his left.

I bring this up only because it's the Tigers' one potential flaw at this point -- they retooled their infield and should be better defensively all around, but Castellanos hasn't played third since mid-2012 and was a work in progress at the position before the switch. I still think he'll get close to average given enough time, but the Tigers are built to win now and I don't know how long they'll be willing to let him learn on the job.

• Full disclosure: I had to leave this game after seven innings to go see high school shortstop Nick Gordon, the son of Tom "Flash" Gordon and a probable top-15 pick in this June's draft. I'll have a report on him and some other draft notes over the weekend.

Porcello, Polanco looking sharp.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
LAKELAND, Fla. -- I've started a brief run through some Florida spring training games, tied to seeing a couple of potential first-round picks from the high school ranks, before heading to Arizona next week for a longer scouting run. Here are my notes from Tuesday's game in Lakeland between the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates:

• Rick Porcello's superficial numbers the past two years have given a lot of people the impression -- based on my Twitter replies Tuesday, at least -- that he's a disappointment, nothing more than a fifth starter. That's unfair to Porcello, a ground-ball pitcher who played in front of a pretty bad infield defense in 2012 and for most of 2013, at least until Jose Iglesias arrived to shore things up a little bit. He'll benefit even more this year from having Miguel Cabrera, who looked fully healthy again, at first rather than at third, plus a full year of Iglesias' wizardry behind him.

On Tuesday, Porcello's pure stuff was good -- a sinker at 89-93 mph, an average to slightly above-average curveball at 74-78 with tight rotation and an inconsistent changeup at 83-86 that ranged from below-average to pushing plus. The three runs he gave up in the third were the result of two hard-hit balls on pitches left up as well as a successful squeeze bunt and an infield single off Porcello's glove. Leaving the ball up has always been a problem for Porcello, who is far and away most successful when he's working down in the zone.

Porcello also changed his pitch mix last year, throwing more curveballs (by far his best off-speed pitch when he was an amateur) and fewer sliders, something he needs to continue doing, as his curveball is a better pitch and has depth the slider lacks. He's already a 3-WAR pitcher if you normalize his numbers for the help his defense didn't give him last year; I think there's another level in there this year, a sub-4 ERA with a big drop in the batting average he allows because of the improved Tigers infield.

• Pirates starter Charlie Morton was a bit less impressive in terms of stuff, with good sink and gloveside life on an 89-94 mph fastball but inferior secondary stuff to Porcello's, led by an average upper-70s curveball. But Morton posted a 3.26 ERA last year, a run lower than Porcello's, because the Pirates had a better defensive infield and were among the best in the majors at positioning their fielders properly.

Putting the right defenders behind a ground-ball or fly-ball pitcher isn't exactly particle physics, but few teams do it well, with the Pirates riding that kind of process to the playoffs last year.

• Not to bury the lede too much, but Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco -- my No. 13 prospect in MLB entering the year -- flashed some of his superstar talent. There was a lot of chatter in the scouts' section about him, almost a competition between the scouts about who liked him more. (I know they're reading this, too.)

Once again, Polanco had a couple of good at-bats, beating out an infield single on a full count in the first, then jumping on one of those pitches Porcello left up in the third and lining a hard double down the right-field line. I don't think the Pirates need to rush him at all, but he'll force his way to Pittsburgh with his play sooner rather than later, probably sometime in the second half of 2014.

• Pirates shortstop Alen Hanson (prospect No. 74) came in the game late but made his mark with an 0-2 ground ball off a Bruce Rondon slider, then stealing second off Rondon, who never even saw Hanson take off and threw to first when Hanson was already three-quarters of the way to second.

• Rondon's fastball was only 94-98 mph on Tuesday -- I've seen 100-plus from him -- and the slider at 86-88 was just venomous; as strange as it may sound, that pitch will be more effective at missing bats for him than the 98 mph pin-straight fastball. There's effort here, and he'll have to work to throw strikes, to say nothing of staying healthy, but the guy the Tigers were talking up last winter and spring is still in here, somewhere.

• Detroit picked up lefty Ian Krol in the Doug Fister trade, and he was different from the version we saw in Washington last year, with a better curveball and worse changeup, telegraphing the latter pitch but showing a short, tight curveball at 78-80 mph.

The Tigers also ran out one of their best defensive prospects, shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who showed great range in both directions at short and a 60-grade arm. Suarez had a solid approach all day and showed he can at least catch up to big league fastballs even if, at 22 years old, he's not quite ready to hit them yet and, at worst, should be a great backup infielder who'll be able to handle short, second and third, in case the bat never quite comes along.

Most-blocked position-player prospects.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
My annual ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball and the top 10 (or more) prospects in each organization is completely organization-neutral: I don't consider the makeup of the club each prospect plays for when evaluating his potential as a major leaguer.

Many prospects on the list each year will face some obstacles in reaching the majors with their current employers because they're blocked by more established players, or even other prospects higher up in the system, and I've outlined the six prospects most affected by this phenomenon below.

I didn't include pitchers here because the injury rate for starters is high enough that no starting pitching prospect is every truly blocked; Noah Syndergaard and Archie Bradley are one sore elbow away from reaching the majors, and you can bet that the Mets and Diamondbacks, respectively, will have such openings before the 2014 season is out.

1. Mookie Betts, 2B, Boston Red Sox

Betts is the most-blocked prospect in baseball at this point. He's one of the top pure second-base prospects in the game, but he's blocked by Dustin Pedroia, who is among the majors' best second basemen and is under contract through 2021.

Betts is a great athlete and could probably play shortstop … at which he's currently blocked by uber-prospect Xander Bogaerts, and he could probably play center field, at which he's blocked by elite defender Jackie Bradley Jr. Should the Red Sox choose to move Betts to short and Bogaerts to third -- just to keep all of these guys in the lineup once Betts is ready -- that could squeeze out third base prospect Garin Cecchini, who is about a year away from giving the boot to Will Middlebrooks.

It's hard to find a scenario in which they all play for the Red Sox without deleting someone from the roster due to trade or injury. Betts is seemingly the most likely to be traded of all the names here.

2. Maikel Franco, 3B/1B, Philadelphia Phillies

Franco can hit, even with a questionable approach, and he has raw power, but he's blocked by other players and his own defensive limitations. Franco is a nominal third baseman, but the Phillies are committed, for now at least, to Cody Asche there, which makes sense since Asche is a better defender and more advanced hitter right now.

Franco isn't a good third baseman anyway, possessing a plus arm that's not accurate and heavy feet that reduce his first-step quickness. However, he can't move to first base because the Phillies have the "Immovable Object" of Ryan Howard's contract over there. Franco would be a great platoon mate for Howard, but that would kill his development as a hitter. The Phils seem to recognize that Franco's future is more likely at first base than third, but that will eventually force a reckoning on Howard's status, and there are three years and $85 million remaining on his deal.

3. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs

Baez is blocked to the extent that he's playing behind someone, Starlin Castro, who is under contract long term. Baez will play somewhere in the majors the moment the Cubs feel he's ready; the question becomes where.

The Cubs now have a surfeit of infielders: Castro and Baez at short; Kris Bryant, Jaimer Candelario, Christian Villanueva and possibly Mike Olt (whose decline in 2013 was due to a vision problem) at third, and Arismendy Alcantara at second. If Baez can remain at short, which is a real possibility, then the Cubs could push Castro to left field and hope he can figure out how to take the occasional pitch. They could have Baez at short, Bryant at third and Alcantara at second, with Candelario being the only truly blocked prospect in that scenario. An alternative solution, if the Cubs want Castro to stay at short, would be to slide Baez to third and push Bryant to right field. That might be the better solution for Bryant's glove but might leave them worse off defensively at short.

These options all show that Olt's window to reestablish his value as a potential everyday third baseman is very small; if he gets a trial this season and doesn't hit, he might be buried by season's end.

4. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Piscotty has established himself as a solid offensive prospect, a very likely everyday player in an outfield corner, in an organization awash with outfielders. Matt Holliday isn't going anywhere -- he's signed through 2016, with a vesting option for 2017 -- and has no place to play other than left field.

Oscar Taveras is the team's right fielder of the future, assuming the ankle injury that still has him unable to resume full baseball activity doesn't become a career-threatening issue. First base isn't quite as locked down, but the Cardinals can fill it with Allen Craig and/or Matt Adams, and Piscotty's bat wouldn't profile as well there anyway. Piscotty himself could end up blocking lesser corner-outfield prospects in the system such as James Ramsey and Randal Grichuk, but if Taveras returns to form and takes over in right, Piscotty will become a very valuable trade piece.

5. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers already have one outfielder too many, with Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford all on the major league roster, although Kemp's frequent injuries have provided a temporary solution.

That leaves Pederson blocked, with his best hope being that he'll emerge as the Dodgers' best defensive option in center, even though his best position by far is right field. Pederson isn't ready for the majors yet; he needs work on his approach against left-handed pitchers (although you could say the same about Ethier), so the situation hasn't come to a head yet. If everyone is healthy by July, however, the Dodgers will have the surplus to make a trade, with five outfielders worthy of playing time and the need for a solution at second base.

6. Andrew Susac, C, San Francisco Giants

It's hard to be more blocked than Susac, who plays behind one of the best players in baseball, Buster Posey. Moving a catcher to another position entails a major loss of value for the club, because the baseline level for catcher production, whether you're using replacement level or average or some other standard, is so much lower than those for any position you might move the player. The Giants could try to move Posey to keep him healthy, but to where? First base seems to be locked down by Brandon Belt, and third base might be difficult for Posey, who last played anywhere but catcher or first in the spring of 2006, when he was a shortstop at Florida State.

Susac will be good enough to be someone's starting catcher by 2015, but it won't be for the Giants. You can paint a similar picture in the Bronx, where J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez are both blocked by Brian McCann, but McCann is already 30 years old and has acknowledged that he might have to move to another position before his new six-year deal is done, making room for one of those young players.

Ten who may not meet projections.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Computer projection systems are useful tools in baseball analysis, but like any method of predicting the future, they're not flawless soothsayers. Statistics in baseball capture a lot of information about the players, and projection systems are good at wading through that information.

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But just like scouts who make evaluations with their eyes, projection systems will be wrong. A lot.

Last week, I ran through 10 projections from the ZiPS projection system that I thought were surprisingly low, and I explained why the computer might be wrong. Today I am taking a look at projections that look a little bit too high, and and explaining why.

Which projections do I find surprisingly high this year? Here are the 10:

Jose Fernandez | RHP | Miami Marlins
ZiPS projection: 12-5, 2.57 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 163 K, 151 ERA+, 4.5 WAR

Fernandez is one of the bright young stars in the game and will almost certainly be a huge asset for the Marlins so long as he remains healthy. Still, this projection appears too aggressive to me, especially on a rate basis.

ZiPS isn't going crazy with the innings (154), but that just makes that projection look even more aggressive. As terrific as Fernandez was in his rookie season, this is a surprisingly good projection for a computer system to make (the second-best projected ERA for a starter). For a pitcher with only one major league season, I'd like to be a little more careful.

Why ZiPS might be right: Fernandez wasn't just amazing last year, but he did it while a 20-year-old who had never played in a league more challenging than the Class A Florida State League. And not much team support as the Marlins became a punchline after another fire sale and had an offense so bad that it was only missing an out-of-tune piano to be a silent-era comedy film. Special players do special things and if even a computer, programmed to look at statistics with a gimlet-eye, can see it, maybe I'm just being too pessimistic.

Manny Machado | 3B | Baltimore Orioles
ZiPS projection: .272/.313/.446, 19 HR, 80 RBI, 84 R, 8 SB, 104 OPS+, 4.5 WAR

Machado has a great career in front of him, especially if a good number of those 51 doubles from last year turn into home runs. Plus, he definitely earned his Gold Glove last year. But the fact that he suffered a knee injury is enough for me to be a little more cautious.

His offensive game isn't based on speed (his 10 infield hits in 2013 was the same number as Prince Fielder, Justin Morneau and Edwin Encarnacion), but the injury could be enough to turn doubles into singles and impact his defensive game.

Why ZiPS might be right: Young players do bounce back from injury better than veterans, and Machado's knee injury wasn't of the scariest variety, as it didn't involve the ACL. By all accounts, the Orioles aren't pushing him back into the lineup sooner than his condition warrants, making it more likely that, when he's back on the field, he'll be at full strength.

Jose Bautista | OF | Toronto Blue Jays
ZiPS projection: .266/.382/.524, 28 HR, 76 RBI, 74 R, 7 SB, 144 OPS+

While ZiPS isn't being aggressive with the playing time, projecting Bautista to play only 113 games, I think the qualitative stats are a little too high here. Bautista, who will be 33 this season, isn't a young player, and he missed the last six weeks of last season with a hip injury. He has batted .266 or better in just two major league seasons, and that projected OPS is 38 points above his .868 over the last two years.

Why ZiPS may be right: ZiPS is already taking into consideration that he had a wrist injury in 2012 when looking at his lesser 2012 stats, and there's no reason to think that the wrist remains an issue. The Jays and Bautista played it conservatively with their star's sore hip, shutting him down when it was clear the season was essentially over on the advice of Bautista's hip specialist.

Given how a healthy Bautista played in 2010 and 2011, if his incumbent ailments are behind him, the switch to his "Beast Mode" may end up stuck in the "on" position.

Craig Kimbrel | RHP | Atlanta Braves
ZiPS projection: 6-1, 1.43 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 111 K, 274 ERA+, 2.3 WAR

ZiPS has run projections for roughly 12,000 pitchers over the course of the past decade. The number of pitchers with a projected ERA better than 1.43? Zero. Kimbrel is that rare breed of player who has pitched so well that I'm not sure anybody, mechanical or flesh, can really get their heads around the exact risk factors involved.

But even the most dominant pitchers have had trouble maintaining that excellence. And while it's still a small sample size, batters made great strides in making contact against him in 2013, doing so at a 70 percent clip versus his 61 percent mark in 2012 (65 percent career).

Why ZiPS might be right: As unlikely as it is, the fact is that he has beat a 1.43 ERA in three of his four seasons in the majors, and his career ERA stands at 1.39 ERA, are good signs. Even with batters making more contact last year, he struck out 13 batters a game. Possibly the best approach is to have faith until something actually happens to make us abandon it.

Ryan Braun | OF | Milwaukee Brewers
ZiPS projection: .300/.367/.540, 33 HR, 116 RBI, 99 R, 22 SB, 142 OPS+

With Alex Rodriguez exiled by MLB for the 2014 season, Braun is the most prominent player involved with Biogenesis, and he's likely going to hear about it this season far more than after his previous run-in with baseball's drug policies. That may not have affected Barry Bonds, but Bonds was also a player with a long history of a cool reception from non-hometown fans.

Braun is still near his prime years and there's going to be a lot of pressure to prove that his accomplishments are for "real," and that's the type of stress that players don't usually have to deal with to this degree. I still think Braun is going to be an excellent player, but I think it's fair to take him down a notch.

Why ZiPS might be right: We've had drug testing and punishment for a decade, both in the majors and minors, and the evidence of significant effects, either before or after drug suspensions, is scant. While you would expect players suspended to underperform as a group if the PED benefits in baseball are large, it's a phenomenon that we just haven't seen yet.

And hey, if the Iron Sheik of WWF wrestling fame can thrive on crowd booing for decades, maybe Braun can do the same.

Mark Trumbo | OF | Arizona Diamondbacks
ZiPS projection: .269/.320/.514, 35 HR, 112 RBI, 84 R, 6 SB, 2.0 WAR

At least when it comes to raw totals, ZiPS loves the move of Trumbo moving to Phoenix from Anaheim. However, I'm not sure Trumbo is a disciplined enough hitter to take full advantage of the easier environment.

Trumbo is better than he was at the start of his career, but he still swings at more pitches out of the strike zone (38 percent compared to the league average of 31 percent) and successfully hits fewer of them than other players (60 percent versus the 67 percent league average).

Why ZiPS might be right: Chase Field really is a much better environment than Angel Stadium, and I've underestimated Trumbo before. Most pitchers are not Clayton Kershaw and will make mistakes. Plus, it's not as if Trumbo being a rather undisciplined hitter is news to anybody.

Tyler Skaggs | LHP | Los Angeles Angels
ZiPS projection: 10-9, 3.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 140 K, 102 ERA+, 1.9 WAR

While I do like Skaggs, possibly more than most, I think this is a year too soon for breakout for a 22-year-old pitcher with a career 5.43 ERA. Skaggs gets strikeouts, but he's also more a finesse pitcher, relying on an excellent 12-to-6 curve. But without the ability to blow batters away, I feel he may need a little more time to adjust to the majors.

Why ZiPS might be right: Skaggs did have an xFIP of 3.95 while having trouble in the majors, and did strike out nearly a batter an inning. His problems with allowing the home runs will be helped significantly by the ballpark change. As for his stuff, the good version of Barry Zito managed with a nasty curve, a slower fastball than Skaggs, and a friendly home park.

Mark Teixeira | 1B | New York Yankees
ZiPS projection: .248/.340/.464, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 45 R, 116 OPS+, 1.7 WAR

Those numbers may not look all that high on first glance, but that's in only 82 projected games. Project out to 130 or 140, and ZiPS is clearly predicting that Teixeira will be healthy enough to make sure the infield isn't a total loss. I'm not so sure.

Wrist injuries have a tendency to linger, and despite Teixeira's confidence in his recovery, his statements that he expects it to be tight most of the year sends off a big red flag to me. The wrist injury was a bit of bad luck, but even before that, his OPS had declined every year since 2007.

Why ZiPS might be right: One bright spot for a Teixeira bounceback is that his BABIP in 2011 and 2012 of .244 is just too low to be sustained, suggesting that the wrist may have interfered with what would likely have been a decent rebound year.

Justin Masterson | RHP | Cleveland Indians
ZiPS projection: 12-11, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 179 K, 100 ERA+, 2.4 WAR

In Masterson's case, I'm increasingly concerned about the Indians' infield defense at short and now third base. Asdrubal Cabrera remains on the team, and while the experiment to play Carlos Santana at third is a creative way to get more bats in the lineup, I'm not sure his defense will be up to even Miguel Cabrera's standards.

Masterson is an amazing fit for a team like the Orioles, thanks to his ground ball tendencies and Baltimore having Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy. Cleveland? Not so much.

Why ZiPS might be right: If Santana proves to be a mess at third when games are actually played, the Indians aren't so invested in it that they'll be stuck without other options. Cabrera also is likely not long for Cleveland, and top prospect Francisco Lindor is likely to be a significant defensive upgrade.

Tony Cingrani | LHP | Cincinnati Reds

ZiPS projection: 9-6, 3.46 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 153 K, 153 K, 115 ERA+, 2.6 WAR

Cingrani has fared very well in the majors so far, but he's also a pitcher who has displayed a limited repertoire of MLB pitches. Cingrani relies on a fastball; not one of those crazy Aroldis Chapman/Kelvin Herrera ones that blows hitters away, but rather a low-90s fastball that he throws over and over again. His delivery is deceptive and he hides the ball well while he pitches, but deception only goes so far and lasts so long. And without better secondary stuff, I'm not comfortable with a projection that puts him in James Shields or Mike Minor territory.
Why ZiPS might be right: Cingrani's reliance on the fastball wasn't a surprise, and every team knew what to expect from Cingrani going into a game against him. It's a small sample size, but his strikeout rate also didn't plummet as the season went on. If you look at only the games in which he was facing teams for at least the second time in 2013, his ERA was 3.24.

Sometimes, results will simply not conform to our preconceived beliefs. After all, there was a point at which all of us had to "come around" on Jose Bautista in 2010.

Gordon and Figgins are making their case.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
PHOENIX -- Baseball players aren't supposed to play basketball during the offseason, but a lot of them do anyway, as Aaron Boone will tell you, as an efficient way to stay in shape.

But Dee Gordon stopped playing basketball this winter to improve his baseball condition, and says he feels better than ever, as he tries to win what could be the most wide-open job competition for any would-be contender this spring -- the Dodgers' second-base job.

Mark Ellis is gone, and so is Nick Punto, and Skip Schumaker, and the early read on international signing Alexander Guerrero is that at best, he needs more time in the minors to learn about playing second base. The Dodgers have the makings of perhaps the best rotation in the majors, and one of the deepest bullpens, with a lineup of stars with star power.

But they don't have a second baseman.

So Gordon, Chone Figgins and others are here hoping to show they can give the Dodgers what they need out of the position -- steady defense, and at least some offensive contribution. It's possible that the Dodgers' eventual solution is currently uniformed in some other camp, such as Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs.

But Gordon started at second against Oakland Monday, pulled a line drive into the right-field corner against A.J. Griffin and did what Gordon has always done best: run. He sprinted into third easily, with a two-run triple.

Unlike a lot of his brethren, Gordon has to work to keep weight on, rather than fight to keep it off. He is perhaps 10 to 15 pounds heavier, after eliminating his basketball regimen, and after spending the winter filling himself with multiple helpings of chicken and rice daily.

In the past, Gordon said, he would work out in the morning, take a midday nap, and then play basketball for hours.

"That was part of my routine," he said. "I thought it helped my speed, I thought it helped my quickness. It helped me stay aggressive, to keep that competitive edge."

But this winter, without basketball, Gordon worked more with a personal trainer, and kept eating.

"It's weird," he said. "I feel faster. I take off with my acceleration a little quicker, because I have my legs under me now."

Which is a little scary, considering that Gordon has always had high-impact speed; he has 66 stolen bases in the big leagues, in 85 attempts -- although Schumaker is said to have passed along word to the Dodgers' camp, in a good-natured way, that his Reds teammate, Billy Hamilton, is faster than Gordon.

What Gordon believes he needs now are reps at second base, to get more accustomed to the position, to get more comfortable turning double plays and taking throws from Hanley Ramirez.

Figgins needs that too, after not playing at all last season, at any level. Figgins was released at the end of spring training by the Marlins a year ago, and he found the wait for opportunities excruciating. He worked out regularly and hit three times a week at his old high school in Tampa, but when he still didn't have work at around the All-Star break, he stopped hitting and decided to refocus, aiming for 2014. He didn't watch baseball at all, finding it painful to know at 7 p.m. each night that baseball was being played, and he was not a part of it.

But now he has a chance, after impressing the Dodgers in a workout. The other day, Figgins was scheduled to have a day off, but he went to the team's staff and asked to get into a game, to find perhaps one at-bat, and wound up having a couple of plate appearances.

This is a great chance for Gordon to rebuild his career. This is a great chance for Figgins to return to the big leagues.

• Barney is going to get a look at shortstop. This could be a great opportunity for the Cubs to demonstrate to other teams that Barney can play shortstop, as well as second base, to make him more marketable. If Gordon or Figgins does not prove suitable at second for the Dodgers, Barney could be a good fit for L.A.

Around the league

• On Monday's podcast, Tim Kurkjian discussed Robinson Cano's critique of the Seattle lineup -- which was what a lot of folks with other teams were talking about, with some astonishment -- and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press examined the diagnosis, treatment and forthcoming surgery of Twins prospect Miguel Sano.

The fact that this happened now, rather than after Sano was on the big league roster, saves the Twins a year of service time from the third baseman.

• The Dodgers were absolutely ecstatic over what they saw in Josh Beckett in his first outing, in the downward angle of his delivery, the way he released his breaking ball.

• The Braves have an ace in Kris Medlen, writes Jayson Stark.

• Ricky Romero received stem cell treatment for his knees.

• Billy Butler is going to play more at first base to give the Royals more lineup flexibility.

It's also for the better for the Royals if Butler demonstrates he can play first base in the likely event that sometime down the road, they look to trade him.

• Russell Wilson Day could pay off big-time for the Rangers, writes Evan Grant. He arrived early at work.

He will never say never to a future as a two-sport star, writes Richard Durrett.

• The umpires were vindicated in the first test of the replay system.

• Cameron Maybin could miss two to three months. And so it goes for the Padres.

The fight for jobs

1. Lyle Overbay is trying to make the Brewers at age 37.

2. Blake Beavan is trying to make the Seattle rotation.

3. Two guys are competing for the Mariners' shortstop job.

4. Delmon Young has a shot to make the Orioles' roster.

5. Josh Spence is trying for a shot in the Miami bullpen.

Dings and dents

1. A healthy Jason Grilli is ready for an encore.

2. Jake Peavy explained how he got cut.

3. A Rockies youngster had a shoulder MRI.

4. Ryan Cook is dealing with an ailing shoulder.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Diamondbacks picked their starting pitchers for the two games in Australia.

2. Signing Jon Lester and David Ortiz could help the Red Sox build a dynasty, writes Michael Silverman.

3. The Orioles are close to a deal with Johan Santana.

Monday's games

1. Ross Detwiler threw some curveballs.

2. The Indians' Vinnie Pestano had a clean inning.

3. Jhonny Peralta had some fun at the expense of his former team.

4. Phil Coke had a really rough inning.

5. Travis Snider looked sharp in his return. In conversation earlier this spring, Snider talked about how foot surgery he had helps him to get through his swing without pain.

6. Tim Lincecum threw two scoreless innings.

7. Noah Syndergaard is going to be a monster on the mound. Opponents will be thunderstruck by him, writes Bob Klapisch.

What really stinks about the whole 90-win conversation about the Mets for this year is that it distracts from the big picture: The organization is getting better; the team is getting better. A rotation of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Syndergaard has a chance to turn this team into a contender in 2015, and beyond.

8. Josh Johnson had an impressive outing.

9. Garrett Richards threw well.

NL East

• Health is the big question about the Phillies, writes Bob Ford.

• Miguel Gonzalez is driven to do well, writes Ryan Lawrence.

• Craig Kimbrel is back to basics.

NL Central

• Ryan Braun is moving from left field to right, as Jerry Crasnick writes.

• The Cardinals are loaded with young pitching ... again, as Bernie Miklasz writes.

• Michael Wacha handles the hype well.

• The health of four key members of the Cincinnati pitching staff is the team's one big concern at this point.

• Jordy Mercer is glad that Clint Barmes is back with the Pirates.

NL West

• Paul Goldschmidt gave back, as Nick Piecoro writes.

• Don Mattingly is feeling secure with the Dodgers, writes Vincent Bonsignore.

AL East

• The Yankees are aiding players in the transition for Masahiro Tanaka, writes David Waldstein.

• The Jays have some internal options for their rotation, writes Ken Fidlin.

• Chris Archer is working to refine his game.

• Logan Forsythe is working on his first-base skills. He already has seen time at five positions in the majors, and first base would be the sixth. He is viewed by some rival evaluators as Ben Zobrist Lite.

AL Central

• Jose Quintana is looking to go deep into games, writes Colleen Kane.

• The White Sox are being patient with Jeff Keppinger.

• This could be a make-or-break season for Gordon Beckham.

• A Twins prospect is getting the Twins' attention.

AL West

• A.J. Griffin is working on a changeup, writes John Shea.

• Bob Melvin is a thinker, writes Bruce Jenkins.

• Matt Dominguez is hitting his stride.

• Jonathan Singleton detailed his addiction history. From the Associated Press story:
"At this point it's pretty evident to me that I'm a drug addict," he told The Associated Press over breakfast on a recent day near the Astros' camp. "I don't openly tell everyone that, but it's pretty apparent to myself."

Vividly so.

"I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can't block that out of my mind that I enjoy that," he said. "So I have to work against that."

Hours after the AP originally published its story on Singleton, the Astros released a statement and commended the player.

"We applaud Jon for the courage he has shown in tackling this issue head on. He has displayed a great deal of maturity and commitment over the past year and has the full support of the Astros organization. He is on the right track for his baseball career, and, more importantly, for his life. We are very proud of Jon."
post #20156 of 73404
I'm so pumped for this season!!!!!

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Lookin to get a discover card? Contact me and sign up under me and we both get $50 when you get approved. GET 10-15% cashback on NDC FNL FTL, etc etc
post #20157 of 73404
Grifey jr gives no damb.


post #20158 of 73404
laugh.gif that was awkward but Linda kept it professional
post #20159 of 73404
Thread Starter 
Despise anything Boston but hard not to feel/root for the guy.
Red Sox reliever Rich Hill, who arrived at spring training Wednesday night after staying in Boston due to medical issues with his infant son, Brooks, told reporters Thursday the boy has died.

"We had a son on Dec. 26, and he was born with multiple issues that we confronted and had to deal with as we were moving through the last couple of months at Mass General," Hill said. "Unfortunately he succumbed and he has passed. He taught us a lot of things, and unfortunately things didn't work out.

[+] Enlarge
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
After the death of his infant son, Red Sox relief pitcher Rich Hill is looking to "get back into the normalcy of my profession and to be around a great group of guys and to just take that next step."
"My wife has been extremely strong. Our son, who is 2½, is with us here down in Florida, so we are going to enjoy our time here and obviously make the most of the opportunity that's here to present itself to play baseball."

Hill, a Milton, Mass., native who pitched for Boston from 2010 to 2012 and made 63 appearances with the Cleveland Indians in 2013, signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox during the offseason so he could remain close to his family.

He expressed gratitude toward the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital and said the Red Sox "have been tremendous."

Hill said he is glad to be back around his teammates and baseball after such a devastating period in his life.

"Excited to be here, to be playing baseball again and get back into the normalcy of my profession and to be around a great group of guys and to just take that next step," he said.

Hill also said he is ready to focus on pitching again.

"I fully feel that the opportunity is here," he said. "I think that was also with a blend of the opportunity that is here and obviously with our family situation that we had. With the opportunity that is here, to make the most of it and do everything I can on a daily basis to perform."
post #20160 of 73404
I feel Ervin Santana's completes his deal this weekend. 4/$50M to Jays or Mariners.
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