Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fantasy draft complete

Thus begins the need to have my league page always up when my computer is on.  Here is how my draft turned out last night.

No. Draft order Name
1 7 Ryan Howard
2 10 Roy Halladay
3 23 Matt Kemp
4 26 Ian Kinsler
5 39 Zack Greinke
6 42 Mark Reynolds
7 55 Curtis Granderson
8 58 Josh Johnson
9 71 Carlos Lee
10 74 Andre Ethier
11 87 Ricky Nolasco
12 90 Chad Billingsley
13 103 Kurt Suzuki
14 106 Jair Jurrjens
15 119 Francisco Cordero
16 122 Asdrubal Cabrera
17 135 Ryan Madson
18 138 A.J Burnett
19 151 Scott Kazmir
20 154 Jason Heyward
21 167 Jorge De La Rosa

 

A lot of talent, since we have only 8 teams.  The Free agent market looks fairly rich, especially for starting pitching.  Here is the breakdown of my decision process.

Howard and Halladay were my “keepers” from last season.  I have been able to keep them both on my team for three out of the last four seasons.  Halladay is a bit of a risk as this is his first time in the NL. 

Kemp had a great season last year and was on my watch list.  I think the Dodgers should do well offensively this year, that is why I have two of them.  Ethier has been fairly consistent for me in the previous two seasons.

Kinsler was a bit of an uneducated grab as he is going to start the year on the DL.  I was unaware of this when I took him.  Not a huge deal, but need to have that move take place sooner rather than later so I find an adequate replacement.

Greinke was a risky pick this early for me.  I still find it hard to believe that the Cy Young winner last year plays for the Royals.  I hope he is able to pickup from last year’s outstanding season.

Reynolds and Granderson can do great things at the plate, as long as they hit the ball. Both have high strikeout rates which is a risk when going after HR and RBI numbers, generally.

Josh Johnson I have been watching for awhile now.  I think he could be the NL Cy Young winner very soon, let’s hope for 2010.

Carlos Lee is generally consistent, but is nursing some nagging issues.  So, to back him up, I have acquire the hot prospect from Atlanta in Jason Heyward.  Time will tell if that pays off, or he is sent down to mature a bit more. 

Ricky Nolasco and Chad Billingsley are decent pitchers that should get between 10-13 wins this year. 

Suzuki is a great hitting catcher and is aggressive at the plate.  He should do well with about 75 RBIs and an average around .280.

Jurrjens and Cordero are returning to my lineup due to their success last year.  Jurrjens is one of the many strong young pitchers the Braves offer and Cordero is a great closer even if he does play for the Reds.

Madson is taking over the closer role while Lidge works his way back from surgeries.  With the Phillies set to return to the playoffs, if not the world Series, always good to have a couple of them on your team. 

A.J. Burnett because I think having a Yankee pitching is not necessary a bad thing, even if you don’t like the team.  Same reason as above.

Kazmir is going to be part of a strong 5 man rotation for a team that should win the AL West for yet another year.

I usually try to avoid Rockies, especially pitchers, but I could not pass on Jorge as my last pick.  I am hoping that last season was not a fluke.

That's about it.  I won’t make any unnecessary moves prior to the start of the regular season.   As always, it will be interesting to see how many of these players are on my roster in October.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Could it be that Washburn returns to the M’s?

Highly unlikely as Washburn is recovering from his own surgery, but the rumors are flying around. The Mariners would want someone for day 2 of the regular season.  It is unclear if Washburn would make that timeframe.

Again, this is highly unlikely, but it makes some sense.  With Lee out until, my guess, May 1, that leaves a pretty big void in our rotation.  Ryan Rowland-Smith has not had a great spring, and neither has Ian Snell.  I hope that both of them can turn things around by April 5th. 

Let the rumors fly and see what lands.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cliff Lee still feels pain

Well, this is not good.  Not sure how our starting rotation is going to look like come April.  I don’t speculate as I am uncertain where this puts us.  Justin Vargas is pitching today, which could have rotation impacts. 

Obviously, Felix, Ian Snell and Ryan Rowland-Smith will be on that 5 man rotation.  Doug Fister was rumored, but is having control issues this spring.  Thus making Vargas’ progress this spring something of an interest story given our injuries. 

Since I am speculating, Lee returns on May 1, Bedard on August 1 and Fister and Vargas are moved to the AAA/bullpen accordingly.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 MLB Predictions: NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. San Francisco Giants
  5. San Diego Padres

Last but not least, the NL West.

The Dodgers should be able to defend their title as champs. Offensively, they are a sound team. Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp continue to shine and produce. They were also successful last year when Manny was out for 45 games. James Loney is a great first baseman while Russell Martin remains one of the best well rounded catchers in all of baseball. Pitching is coming along as well. One of my favorites, Chad Billingsley, should lead the charge and become the ace of this staff. Clayton Kershaw and Hiroki Kuroda will also produce 8-12 wins to help move this team along.

The D-backs are loaded with offensive talent. Even ex-Osprey outfield Gerardo Parra was able to get into the mix last year. Over the 120 games he played, put up a .290 average and 60 RBI’s. The offense is riddled with young, talented players that have been around this organization for awhile. Justin Upton, C.B. Young and Chris Jackson will all return to start in the outfield. Watch out for Mark Reynolds at third, as he is becoming one of the best hot corner players in the game. The pitching staff starts with Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson. Don’t forget about Brandon Webb. He was injured all of last year, but will look to come back at full strength, rumored sometime around May.

Colorado is the next logical fit in this division. I am generally not a fan of their pitching staff,primarily since they play a mile high. But last year, this talented staff was able to hold off most of the competition and performed well. Look for a repeat of last year from Jimenez, Cook and De La Rosa. Brad Hawpe is trying to fill the offensive shoes of Matt Holliday, while Troy Tulowitzki continues to have a brilliant start to his young career.

The California teams will round out the rest of this division. The Giants do not offer much in terms of defense or hitting. They have a great pitching in Tim Lincecum, and decent #2 in Matt Cain but that is about it. Zito has yet to return to his glory numbers for the A’s. Offensively you have Aubrey Huff and the ever versatile Pablo Sandoval, and the sometimes powerful Aaron Rowand. They will be able to beat the Padres, but not sure about the Rockies or D-Backs

Take away Adrian Gonzalez and I am not sure who else you have to choose from for offense. Tony Gwynn jr. is coming along nicely, but still has a long career ahead of him. They have other talented players, but none appear to have the power to protect Adrian. Pitching wise, it is not pretty. You have Jon Garland and Chris Young, but there are bright spots in Clayton Richard and Kevin Correia. I don’t see much here to take over the west this year. But the AL West is a competitive division, thing will shift and change in the coming seasons.

2010 MLB Predictions: NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. Houston Astros
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Why do I have the Cubs first, just because. I will say the top 4 teams in the central could produce a race this year that comes down to the final week of the season. Placing them first is almost beyond silly.  But if they can get numbers from the likes of Derek Lee, Alfonso Soriano Mike Byrd and Aramis Ramierez at the plate, they will be in good shape. They also have Xavier Nady waiting to play; he is capable of some long balls as well. We will see where the pitching staff is able to take these guys, lead by Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. Again, the Cubs could finish anywhere from first to fourth.

I could be reading too much in Mark, but I see his presence to be a big distraction to the team, at least early on. Someone that only hit for power as a hitting coach does not make much sense to me. They do offer two “aces” in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. On offense, you have the always present Albert Pujols and the hard hitting left fielder, Matt Holliday. I am sure the Cardinals will once again win the central, but it would be nice to see someone else give them a run for the money.

The Brewers face some challenges this year for sure, but they could make this race an interesting one. They are lead on the mound by Gallardo and Randy Wolf, both were spotty last year, just over .500. Offensively you have two heavies in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. I think this could be a great “team” that could take advantage of the Mark McGwire distraction that will follow the Cardinals.

Could Cincinnati be the next team to give the Cardinals a run for their money? The recent addition of Aroldis Chapman took a step back as he is dealing with lower back pain this spring. They have a lot of RBI producers in the field. Here is how they sat at the conclusion of 2009: Votto 84, Phillips 98, Cabrera 77, Rolen 67, and Bruce 58. Bruce will play in more than 101 games this season for sure. If Aaron Harang and Johnny Cueto can get back on track, the Reds will help make the central an interesting race to watch.

The Pirates need a shift. Instead of always placing these guys at the cellar of the central, I think you will see them creep up to fifth. Zack Duke was off last year for sure, but I am confident that he will turn things around and be the true ace of this staff. Offensively, we will have a great opportunity to see Jeff Clement and what he can do outside of the hype from Seattle. Andy LaRouche will still lead all Pirates in most offensive categories.

The Astros and Pirates will make cellar watching a nice story. Roy Oswalt probably had one of his worst seasons every in 2009. I am sure he is hungry to turn things around. The rest of the staff could pick up on this energy and actually produce. Offensively, you still have Carlos Lee. They have some up and comers in Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. Don’t forget about Lance Berkman too. After doing more research, I am changing my vote, the Pirates will again finish in last.

2010 MLB Predictions: NL East

  1. Atlanta Braves
  2. Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Florida Marlins
  4. New York Mets
  5. Washington Nationals

I have no set reason as to why I placed Atlanta on top. My gut feels that the Phillies and Braves should give us a good fight to watch. The pitching of Atlanta is young and talented. Look for Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens to produce yet again. If Tim Hudson remains healthy, they have a competent pitching staff ready to take on the rest of the East. Look for Jason Heyward to make an early entrance in the outfield. This #1 prospect should deliver decent number and steal about 30 bases a season. The issue to address would be the often injured Chipper Jones at third base, not sure how his body will hold up, but perhaps Infante is the answer for the hot corner.

What can you say about the Phillies that has not already been said? This team is solid, all around. I picked Atlanta just to be different, but there is no reason why the Phillies should not repeat as NL East champs, and perhaps once again represent the NL in the World Series. The top 4 hitters in the batting order (Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard) are going to be tough yet again for any pitching staff to survive. Lets see what Roy can do in his first season in the NL.

The Marlins are scrappy and young. They will be enough of a disturbance in this division to contend for second place. The middle infields pack a heck of an offensive punch with Uggla and Ramierez, plus they are not bad on defense either. Look for Josh Johnson to put up Cy Young type numbers this year as his stock continues to climb.

The Mets have the talent, but I am not sure about the discipline or guidance. The addition of Jason Bay should be nice to see in the new ballpark. The pitching staff is anchored by the recently injured Johan Santana. This club could prove me wrong, but right now, I am placing them a shy bit above the Nationals.

The Nationals have some talented players. Ryan Zimmerman at third, Pudge behind the plate and Adam Dunn at first, this team has home run potential. The big question in my mind is how the pitching staff will keep this team in a game. Nyjer Morgan is a nice base running threat and can cover some ground in center. Josh Willingham also has the ability to hit the long ball. If pitching is able to come together, the Mets could very well be sitting in last place by season’s end.

Monday, March 22, 2010

2010 MLB Predictions: AL West

  1. Anaheim Angels
  2. Seattle Mariners
  3. Texas Rangers
  4. Oakland A’s

I cannot put my team first, that would seal their fate in last. So, I am putting the Angels first. They did lose their fair share of players in Figgins, Lackey and Guierrero, but I don’t think that changes much for them. Their pitching staff still contains the likes of Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders. Their offense still has Kendry Morales, Torii Hunter and Brian Abreu. This team is well managed and will again be atop the standings.

I have already covered the Mariners at length during the offseason, no reason for me to repeat myself. Just work out all the bugs out in the spring and hit the ground running. Don’t rush back Bedard, and keep Lee healthy and we will compete.

The Rangers are set to take over this division as well, especially if they get their pitching squared away. Of course they have hitters on this team. How could you not by playing in that stadium 81 games a year. The question will come down to pitching. Rich Harden has seen the DL more times than most. If he can remain healthy, they could be in luck for a good run at the top.

Why is Oakland last? Because someone had to be. They are rebuilding, and I think this is great. I am not an A’s fan, but in about 2 years, they will be back on top in the AL West. If Justin Duchschere can stay off the DL, they have a genuine ace in him to build around. Their offensive power might be missing this year, and will be forced to win games with the small ball. Oh, and I think Kurt Suzuki is an all-star catcher with his mix of power and ability to hit for average.

2010 MLB Predictions: AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. (3) Cleveland Indians
  5. (3) Kansas City Royals

Opening a new ballpark and building off of last year’s season ending momentum will help carry the Twins to the top of the AL Central pile. Their pitching staff is young and unproven with the likes of Slowery and Duensing. Orlando Hudson should provide a positive impact both at second base and the plate. The only true question for the Twins is who is going to close games? This is one of those moments where they get to experiment and perhaps start off with a committee. The lead candidate it Matt Guierrier, keep an eye on him as a fantasy sleeper.

The Tigers are set for second, based on the outfield. With some questions in the Twin cities, the Tigers could take first place. Their outfield is the definition of young and old. In center you have Austin Jackson looking to be a rookie starter, to Johnny Damon hobbling into left field. Magg’s is no Spring chicken either. Their pitching staff is anchored by one of my favorites, Justin Verlander, but after that the consistency drops off.

I do not see this year being a tight AL Central race. I see two dogs running for first, while the other 3 are scratching for third. The White Sox appear to be the next best team in this division. The pitching staff is not much to admire, but lead by Peavy. The offense, well time will tell. They have the rock at first base in Paul Konerko, but the rest of the infield seems a bit pieced mailed to me. Judging by this, the Sox are going to win games with small ball.

I think it is safe to say this is a rebuilding time for the Indians. They have some stars in the outfield with Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo. To add to this offensive punch, the HR leader for the Mariners last year in Russell Branyan. The reason I have them behind the Sox is because of pitching. Carmona, who I like, had a horrible year in 2009. However, I think he is your “ace” on this staff. We will see who else will emerge, but they very well could overtake the Sox for third.

KC is the team that always tries, but never gets there. I think they have a decent shot at third place in the AL this year. Their pitching staff is anchored by CY Young winner Zack Greinke. They have a mix mash of offensive names; from Jason Kendall of ex-Pirates fame to a host of ex-Mariners. Let’s hope they make the AL Central interesting.

2010 MLB Predictions: AL East

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

The additions the Red Sox made this year (Beltre and Lackey) will help to push them over the top, despite the loss of Jason Bay. The Red Sox made enough moves to de –throne the defending champions. Adding Cameron in center will give them a nice strong defense in the field. Watch out at the plate as there is not much Cameron will not swing at. Take a look at the starting rotation: Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Wakefield, Dice-K (when healthy), Buchholz. I am not scared of Clay, but the rest of those pitchers have the potential to be the most feared 5 man rotation in the majors this year.

The Yankees will be tough, of course. Curtis Granderson will be a nice addition to the team and offer a threat on the base paths that has been missing for awhile. Not worth writing about them anymore.

The Rays will make a big push to try and knock out both the Sox and Yankees. They have the bats and young arms to make this happen. Price leading the charge on the mound for his first full season, he is ready. Zobrist came along as a surprise at second last year and will again pack some punch this season. This team has youth and talent; they are a big threat to the AL East.

Baltimore will welcome back Tejada and his HGH with open arms. Perhaps that will help them put a competitive product on the field. Jones is coming into his own as an impact player and will do so again in 2010. This team’s pitching staff is put together like a patchwork quilt; they could still finish last again.

Say bye-bye to Roy. They do not have a pitcher that can fill those shoes, which is why I placed them in the cellar. The rest of team is growing. Adam Lind was a nice surprise, and free agent pickup in fantasy, last year. Look for the offense to continue to produce, while the pitching staff tries to decide who the real starters should be.

Big day tomorrow for Cliff Lee

Lee is expected to throw for the first time since his injury.  We will see where this goes as it could mean we won’t see Lee until May or we see him shortly after the 5 game suspension. 

I had a chance to listen to today’s game.  Snell took the mound and is having issues with getting people out. I am a Snell fan and happy that he is experiencing these issues in Spring.  He can deal with them, work on them and have his head straight when April rolls around.  I am not too concerned.  If these issues carry over into May and throughout the summer, I don’t think we will keep him around.

It appears that Lopez will play third and Figgins, second.  Apparently, Lopez is becoming more and more comfortable with the hot corner.  With the range that Figgins presents, and the partnership with Josh Wilson, the center infield will present a large challenge to ground balls. 

Fantasy draft is a week away!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness

That time of year again where we try to pretend to work while watching games online (Thank you CBS).  Been fairly exciting so far, the Griz put up a decent showing but well just a bit short. 

I have not watched more than 2 minutes of college basketball up to this point.  So my bracket was solely based on what team had a better name or color uniform this year.  Needless to say, I am rank 3,000 after the first day with a local radio station.

Been too busy with work to really feel out the Mariners Spring performance.  Apparently, Lee is fairly aggressive and will be serving a 5 game suspension once the season begins.  Sweeney is making a huge case to be placed on this team, hitting the cover off the ball. 

Our fantasy draft is less than 2 weeks away, I better get my ducks in a row!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

At least 2 games this year

We have our tickets!

Being a distinguished member of mariners.com, I was able to order my tickets 2 days early.  We are attending an Angels game in May, and a Yankees game in July.  Should be fun!

My month of March has had me very busy to date.  I hope that I will have time prior to opening day to submit my ever so accurate predictions.  Stay tuned!

Go Griz!

Admittedly I do not follow the Montana Grizzlies basketball program all that closely.  But the story that has transfixed my attention the past two days is too hard to pass up.  I would just butcher the story, so to make life easier on all of us, please read the link.

Anthony Johnson is the hero of Championship Week!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

MLB iPhone correction

I was actually unable to listen online when I tested this on Friday.  It told me I had to spend another $20 to have this function.  Needless to say, that sparked an email to MLB reminding them this was not the case last year. 

I realize people need to make money to survive and innovate.  But there should be something about loyalty to a product.  Last year you could buy the iPhone app, and have your MLB account online radio access.  In my opinion an awesome benefit.  That was one reason I was not overly concerned about the $15 app price tag.  However, this may warrant me demanding a refund.

Did not get a chance to listen to the game today, but Sweeney delivered! 

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Update: MLB 2010 app

I tried a different game, and the multitasking worked great.  I was able to send the radio broadcast to the background and perform other tasks. 

MLB app for iPhone

Recently, MLB released their iPhone app for the 2010 season.  Here is my brief review about it.

For the first time, I want the iPhone to multi-task, without jail breaking it.  This is the only app that I have cared enough about to keep this running will checking email or doing other things.  They do allow a feature called “background audio” that closed the MLB app and opens your radio stream via Safari in a QuickTime player  According to what the player tells me, this will allow for multi-tasking.  I tried this for a spring training game and it did not work, apparently because of the feed.  I will try again as we get closer to the regular season and report back for all of those dying to know.

They did raise the price of the app by $5.  Not a huge fan of this, but I buy the radio version every year and that is $15, so this kills 2 birds with 1 stone as I can listen on both my iPhone and my home computer. 

All the other features, so far, seem to be status quo.  Last year, they allowed this version the ability to watch two pre-chosen games (blackout rules still applied).  It was nice, and the video was not bad.  I do not know if this option still applies this year. 

Outside of email and GasCubby, this was my most used application last year.  I am sure the same could be true this year.  However, Yahoo is finally making a Fantasy Baseball app.  That might be my #1 used app by seasons end. 

All in all, I would recommend this application for those of you that want to listen to more than just your home town team when you are home.  Or, to listen to your home town team when you are on the road or live outside your favorite team’s radio reach.

It would be awesome if app developers could do this also for minor league teams.  Not sure if this is a licensing issue with MLB or with the host radio station, but I would listen to some games.  It is my thought, that baseball is one of, if perhaps the only game that radio broadcasts can be better than television. 

Opening day! (well, kind of)

Yesterday was the first game of Spring training!  I was only able to catch the first inning and the seventh inning between meetings.  It was a bit of a offensive affair, with 6 runs being scored in the first inning alone.  We had Fister on the mound, while the Giants countered with my favorite hippy pitcher, Lincecum. 

Ichiro and Figgins lived up to their ability as a great 1-2 punch at the top of the order.  The board game company was also able to get on, while Griffey brought in a run with a deep sac-fly in the first.  One thing I did not realize is that having Figgins and Bradley in the 2-3 slot puts a fair amount of patience back to back.  Expect each of these batters to see somewhere around 6-9 pitchers per at bat.  That could really play well to wear down starting pitching early in a game. 

We ended up losing the game 8-7, but who really cares.  At this point, I would rather lose all Spring games and come into the season with the knowledge that was absorbed in Spring.