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2010 Archives http://www.dbacksvenom.com/table/2010-articles/march/ Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:13:03 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Diamondbacks Roster Update - 03/30/10 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-roster-update-033010.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-roster-update-033010.html Position Players SS Augie Ojeda - considered the team's best defensive player in the middle infield, and hitting .300 in ST 2B Tony Abreu - showed he can play 2B, SS, and 3B this spring, and batting .358 with a .566 SLG OF Cole Gillespie - .283/.306/.522 in ST; played some CF as well as LF 2B Rusty Ryal - team likes his power potential, but has hit only .239 with 11Ks and 1 BB 1B Jeff Bailey - hasn't played much, but has hit .448 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in 29 AB 1B Brandon Allen - has been impressive, going .344/.436/.656 in 32 AB, but needs to be playing every day Out of this group, Ojeda and Abreu seem to be the front-runners. They both can cover 2B, SS, and 3B, while Parra and Roberts can handle the backup OF spots. Roberts can also handle 1B/2B, and Conor Jackson is also an option at 1B if needed. This bench gives the team lots of flexibility, although not much power. Pitchers RHP Billy Buckner - 10.13 ERA, 18K/8BB in 18.2 IP RHP Kevin Mulvey - 5.79 ERA, 5K/7BB in 9.1 IP (plus 9 unearned runs) RHP Blaine Boyer - 7.00 ERA, 3K/3BB in 9 IP RHP Leo Rosales - 4.66 ERA, 7K/0BB and 3 HR in 9.2 IP RHP Esmerling Vasquez - 5.59 ERA, 11K/7BB in 9.2 IP RHP T.J. Beam - 4.76 ERA, 5K/1BB in 5.2 IP LHP Clay Zavada - 8.31 ERA, 8K/8BB in 8.2 IP LHP Jordan Norberto - 1.17 ERA, 6K/6BB in 7.2 IP LHP Zach Kroenke - 7.71 ERA, 2K/2BB in 7.0 IP None of these pitchers has done particularly well during spring training. The D'backs won't need a 5th starter until Monday, April 19th, so it is likely that both Buckner and Mulvey will start the season in AAA, and whoever pitches better there will get the call on the 19th. Boyer had a solid 2.68 ERA last year, but didn't really pitch that well, with a 1.38 WHIP and 18K/12BB in 37 IP. Rosales is more of a multi-inning reliever, and had a 1.15 WHIP and 31K/12BB in 45 IP to go with his 4.76 ERA. Vasquez struck out 45 batters in 53 IP last year, but also walked 29, ending with a 4.42 ERA. Beam has only pitched 5.1 IP, so he doesn't really seem to be in the team's plans. Among the LHP, Zavada has not been as effective as last year's 3.35 ERA (52K/24BB in 51 IP). Norberto struggled in AA last year, and it's hard to believe he's ready for the majors yet. Rule 5 pick Kroenke hasn't pitched well either, but did well at AAA last year with a 1.99 ERA in 72.1 IP. Out of this group, I think the 4 who make the team will be Boyer, Rosales, Zavada, and Kroenke, although Vazquez is still a possibility. Opening Day Roster So the projected 25-Man roster will be: C (2) - Miguel Montero, Chris Snyder 1B (1) - Adam LaRoche 2B (3) - Kelly Johnson, Ryan Roberts, Tony Abreu SS (2) - Stephen Drew, Augie Ojeda 3B (1) - Mark Reynolds OF (4) - Justin Upton, Conor Jackson, Chris Young, Gerardo Parra SP (4) - Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Rodrigo Lopez RP (8) - Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez Bob Howry, Aaron Heilman, Blaine Boyer, Leo Rosales, Clay Zavada, and Zach Kroenke Edit: The team just announced that Mulvey, Buckner, Allen, and Gillespie have been optioned to AAA.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Tue, 30 Mar 2010 23:16:21 +0000 2010 Fantasy Projections - Top 100 NL Outfielders http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/2010-fantasy-projections-top-100-nl-outfielders.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/2010-fantasy-projections-top-100-nl-outfielders.html here.
# Player $$ Comment
1 Braun, R - MIL 35 Another .300-30-100-100R season, with some SB
2 Kemp, M - LA 34 Most likely to go 30-30 among NL OFs
3 Holliday, M - STL 32 Fewer steals than top 2, but good everywhere else
4 Upton, J - ARI 28 May be #1 NL OF after one more season
5 Lee, C - HOU 25 Has had at least 99 RBI for 7 straight years
6 Bourn, M - HOU 24 Should lead league in SB, but little HR or RBI
7 Ethier, A - LA 24 .302/.390/.571 vs RHP, .194/.283/.345 vs LHP
8 McCutchen,A-PIT 24 Power and speed; hit .324/.441/.634 with RISP
9 Dunn, A - WAS 24 Safe 40HR and 100RBI, but AVG of .230 or .260?
10 Werth, J - PHI 23 RBIs have increased from 49 to 67 to 99.
11 Victorino, S - PHI 22 Consistent .290/.350 OBP player, with 25+ steals
12 Pence, H - HOU 21 2 years of 25 HR/10+ SB; can he step up a notch?
13 Bay, J - NYM 20 Fly-ball rate up 4 straight yrs; 49.1% in 2009
14 Heyward, J - ATL 19 Has only played 47 games at AA and 3 at AAA
15 Coghlan, C - FLA 19 Hit .372 with league-leading 113 hits in 2nd half
16 Bruce, J - CIN 18 AVG dropped to .223 while GB/FB plunged in '09
17 Gonzalez, C - COL 18 OPS jumped from .634 in '08 to .878 in '09
18 Hart, C - MIL 18 .690 OPS vs LHP in 2009, career rate was .870
19 McLouth, N - ATL 18 Career .711 OPS vs LHP; platoon with Melky?
20 Morgan, N - WAS 18 Career 2.05 GB/FB ratio. Led NL in CS in 2009.
21 Ramirez, M - LA 18 Career OPS of 1.002 is #9 all-time, #2 active.
22 Fowler, D - COL 17 Hit .321 vs LHP and only .240 vs RHP
23 Jackson, C - ARI 17 Steady .290/.370/.450 from '06-08
24 Beltran, C - NYM 16 Out for at least the first month of the season
25 Hawpe, B - COL 16 Career .908 OPS vs RHP but only .750 vs LHP
26 Ibanez, R - PHI 16 Fell to .232/.326/.448 in 2H from .309/.367/.649
27 Ludwick, R - STL 16 Big drop from .299-37HR in '08
28 Milledge, L - PIT 16 FB% rose over last 2 yrs; HRs should follow
29 Ross, C - FLA 16 2 nice yrs in FLA, but the 122K/34BB is scary
30 Byrd, M - CHC 15 20 HR came as FB% jumped from 32% to 41%
31 Maybin, C - FLA 15 Hit .293/.353/.500 after Sept callup
32 Headley, C - SD 14 Hit .208 at Petco (.651 OPS) but .305 (.803) away
33 Soriano, A - CHC 14 OPS, HR, and SB have dropped each of last 3 yrs
34 Willingham, J-WAS 14 Had .995 OPS in 1st H, but only .755 in the 2nd
35 Blanks, K - SD 13 Good hitter .920 OPS (HiA), .918 (AA), .878 (AAA)
36 DeRosa, M - SF 13 At age 35, can he bounce back from a poor 2Hf?
37 Murphy, D - NYM 13 Has beaten out Jacobs and Davis for 1B job
38 Gomez, C - MIL 12 Great speed, but must improve 4.4:1 K:BB ratio
39 Rasmus, C - STL 12 Dominated AA in '07 (.932 OPS) but has struggled in AAA/NL
40 Stubbs, D - CIN 12 Can steal bases, but many Ks  despite little power
41 Young, C - ARI 12 Will .902 OPS last Sept point to comeback season?
42 Jones, G - PIT 12 5 yrs in AAA with .784 OPS, then .938 with PIT
43 Cabrera, M - ATL 11 Career 1.6 GB/FB ratio means HR total stays low
44 Francoeur, J - NYM 11 Career .311 OBP/.432 SLG not enough for a RF
45 Fukudome, K - CHC 11 Hit only .164 vs LHP in '09 after .276 in '08
46 Smith, S - COL 11 Crowded OF in COL (Fowler, Hawpe,  CGonzalez)
47 Dickerson, C - CIN 10 Could get double figures in HR/SB, but must watch Ks
48 Schierholtz, N - SF 9 Hit well in minors, but plate discipline is a concern
49 Rowand, A - SF 8 Slumped from .288 (.806 OPS) in 1H to .218 (.629) in 2nd
50 Diaz, M - ATL 7 Has .921 career OPS vs. LHP; only .722 vs RHP
51 Venable, W - SD 7 Like many Padres, better OPS away (.866-.664)
52 Schumaker, S - STL 6 .301 Career AVG in majors after .298 in AAA
53 Gwynn, T - SD 6 Career 23% line drive rate among best for active players
54 Church, R - PIT 5 Consistent AVG, but SLG has dropped 3 straight yrs
55 Harris, W - WAS 5 Should have PT with Dukes gone and Maxwell in AAA
56 Hairston, S - SD 4 Can't hit against RHP ( .702 OPS), but should get ABs vs LHP
57 Spilborghs, R - COL 4 Should replace Hawpe against LHP
58 Velez, E - SF 3 Great speed, but must improve .305 career OBP
59 Gomes, J - CIN 3 Excellent power, poor defensive player; will get platoon ABs
60 Hairston, J - SD 3 Will play all over the infield and outfield; could replace Eckstein
61 Pagan, A - NYM 3 Looks to have won the CF job over Matthews Jr while Beltran is out
62 Bowker, J - SF 2 Great '09 AAA season and 18 RBI in Spring may earn him a look
63 Edmonds, J - MIL 2 Made the Brewers team; could he steal time from Gomez or Hart?
64 Francisco, B - PHI 2 Nice backup OF, but won't play regularly unless injuries hit the Phils
65 Hinske, E - ATL 2 Nice backup to have around; starting to hit more balls in the air
66 Johnson, R - LA 2 4th OF in LA; should get PT spelling Manny and maybe Ethier
67 Nady, X - CHC 2 Might not be ready for OF duty until June after TJ surgery
68 Parra, G - ARI 2 Must improve on 89K/25BB ratio from '09; will be the 4th OF
69 Tatis, F - NYM 2 Should get platoon ABs at 1B with Daniel Murphy
70 Taveras, W - WAS 2 Will steal some bases, assuming he makes the Nats' roster
71 Young, D - PIT 2 Will get some ABs between 2B and OF; must improve plate discipline
72 Salazar, O - SD 1 Nice hitter, but playing time may be hard to find
73 Anderson, G - LA 1 Should be the 5th OF for the Dodgers; not much fantasy value
74 Bernadina, R - WAS 1 Could be part of a platoon in RF, if he makes the club
75 Colvin, T - CHC 1 Has made the Cubs roster; needs to improve plate discipline to stick
76 Gerut, J - MIL 1 May have fallen behind Edmonds on the depth chart
77 Heisey, C - CIN 1 Impressed in AAA in '09, but didn't make the Reds out of ST
78 Lewis, F - SF 1 May start year on DL; playing time in SF is uncertain
79 Hoffpauir, M - CHC 1 Battling for roster spot with Tracy, Fuld, and Millar
80 Michaels, J - HOU 1 4th OF in Houston; not much upside or opportunity
81 Nix, L - CIN 1 Battling with Balentien for 5th OF spot; good power with poor OBP
82 Raynor, J - PIT 1 Rule 5 pick from Marlins still hoping to make the 25 man roster
83 Torres, A - SF 1 Battling for the last roster spot on Giants with Bowker, Lewis, Ford
84 Stanton, M - FLA 0 Excellent power potential, but still a year away
85 Denorfia, C - SD 0 In contention for 25th spot on Padres
86 Martinez, F - NYM 0 good power potential; will start in AAA
87 Cunningham, A - SD 0 Hit well in AAA, but struggled in majors; will start in AAA
88 Carter, C - NYM 0 Nice spring, but will likely start year in AAA
89 Schafer, J - ATL 0 Still bothered by hand injury; may start year on DL in AAA
90 Balentien, W - CIN 0 Battling Laynce Nix for 5th OF spot
91 Inglett, J - MIL 0 Looks to be 25th man on Brewers
92 Maxwell, J - WAS 0 couldn't win RF job; will start in AAA
93 Moss, B - PIT 0 Poor spring may mean waivers for Moss
94 Duncan, C - WAS 0 Will try to find his swing in AAA
95 Matthews Jr., G - NYM 0 Couldn't beat out Angel Pagan for CF job
96 Durango, L - SD 0 Good speed and OBP; will start in AAA
97 Pearce, S - PIT 0 Decent spring, but probably will start in AAA
98 Repko, J - LA 0 Signing of Garrett Anderson sends Repko to AAA
99 Sullivan, C - HOU 0 Competing with Jason Bourgeois for 5th OF spot
100 Carroll, B - FLA 0 Likely will start year on DL
]]>
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Mon, 29 Mar 2010 17:56:03 +0000
Diamondbacks 5th Starter Possibilities - Chad Gaudin? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-5th-starter-possibilities-chad-gaudin.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-5th-starter-possibilities-chad-gaudin.html amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:10:36 +0000 2010 Fantasy Projections - NL Third Basemen http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/2010-fantasy-projections-nl-third-basemen.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/2010-fantasy-projections-nl-third-basemen.html Time for a look at the top third basemen in the National League. Dollar values are based on a 5x5 12 Team NL-Only league. Previous rankings for other positions can be found here: SS, 2B, 1B, C. Players marked with a * are eligible at multiple positions, and may have already been discussed at previous positions.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Wright, D - NYM 581 102 26 104 21 .308 .394 .520 31
Zimmerman, R -WAS 595 107 35 108 3 .287 .361 .541 29
Ramirez, A - CHC 504 78 25 101 1 .294 .367 .508 23
Reynolds, M - ARI 558 93 35 98 14 .258 .338 .509 23
Sandoval, P - SF* 575 80 23 88 2 .289 .341 .489 20
David Wright tops the list for third basemen. After four years of .300-30HR-100RBI performance, Wright slumped to only 10 HR and 72 RBI despite maintaining a .307 AVG and .390 OBP. Much of Wright's power outage was attributed to Citi Field, but Wright actually only hit 5 HR on the road. Overall, Citi Field was almost neutral as a hitters park, as the Mets actually hit more HR at home (49-46) and Mets' pitchers allowed more HR at home than on the road (81-77).  Will Wright bounce back? I think so. Wright's fly ball rate in 2010 (36%) was approximately the same as the two previous years (38%), but only 7% of his fly balls left the yard instead of 16% from 2008-09.  I expect Wright to bounce back to at least 20 HR.  That, along with his usual .300 AVG, 100 R, 100 RBI, and 20+ SB, is enough to put him atop the 3B rankings. Right behind Wright is Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman won't provide the SB that Wright does, but should hit for more power.  The next two hitters are Aramis Ramirez and Mark Reynolds. Ramirez missed half of the 2009 season with an injury, but has established himself as a consistent .300-30 HR-100 RBI performer. At age 32, I predict a slight dropoff, but he will still be a very valuable hitter. Reynolds will provide lots of HR and good SB, at the expense of a mediocre batting average. As discussed in the 1B article, I'm a little worried about Sandoval's plate discipline, weight, and teammates, and am predicting a small dropoff from his excellent 2009 season.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Jones, C - ATL 476 81 21 78 3 .292 .391 .479 18
Stewart, I - COL* 478 81 24 77 5 .257 .331 .469 16
Prado, M - ATL* 588 77 14 65 4 .301 .353 .435 15
Headley, C - SD* 581 73 16 77 8 .270 .347 .429 14
Blake, C - LA 502 71 17 75 3 .267 .337 .436 14
LaRoche, A - PIT 473 67 17 74 3 .271 .342 .459 14
Rolen, S - CIN 491 67 14 71 5 .283 .354 .444 14
Glaus, T - ATL 466 63 22 71 2 .258 .350 .464 14
This group of batters are fairly closely bunched. At the top is Chipper Jones, one of only 4 active players with  career AVG/OBP/SLG rates over .300/.400/.500 (with Pujols, MRamirez, and Helton). Jones had a down year in 2009, but should have one more good season in him.  All of the group has decent power, with the two best HR hitters, Ian Stewart and Troy Glaus, probably providing the lowest batting average. Chase Headley has been a little bit of a disappointment for the Padres. Like many on that team, his offensive stats are hurt by his tough home park - Headley had a solid .803 OPS on the road, but only .651 at home. The Padres as a team hit only .219/.313/.342 at home in 2009. Unfortunately, Headley has another season in Petco, but I think moving back to his natural position of 3B as well as another season of development will bump his numbers up a notch. Andy LaRoche is another player who I think will improve in 2010.  LaRoche played excellent defense in 2009, but was one of the streakiest offensive players in the NL. His OPS by month went like this - .675, .869, .684, .544, .659, .911.  Two great months along with 4 mediocre to bad ones.  Plus now LaRoche has to worry about Pedro Alvarez coming up to take his job.  His strong hitting last September showed a glimpse of what he can do, and I think he'll manage to keep the 3B position all season. Casey Blake has been very consistent over the last few years at the .275-20 HR- 80 HR level. At the age of 36, I predict a slight drop-off this year. Scott Rolen is no longer an all-star level 3B, but can still be a productive player when healthy. Troy Glaus only played 14 games in 2009 due to shoulder and back injuries, but looks to be healthy this year. Switching to 1B should help keep him off the DL. Martin Prado and Ian Stewart were discussed in more detail in the 2B article.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
DeRosa, M - SF* 501 74 16 72 2 .255 .330 .411 13
McGehee, C - MIL* 471 61 14 66 0 .280 .338 .427 11
Feliz, P - HOU 488 53 12 61 0 .254 .296 .383 11
Kennedy, A - WAS* 465 62 8 51 12 .273 .329 .383 11
Fontenot, M - CHC* 341 41 8 40 3 .273 .333 .422 6
This group of players should have starting jobs at the start of the season. Mark DeRosa really struggled after returning to the NL last summer, going .228/.291/.405 after being to traded to the Cardinals. At age 35, and moving to tough offensive environment, DeRosa might struggle with the AVG and OBP.  Pedro Feliz has moved to Houston, and should continue his low OBP, double-digit HR ways.  Mike Fontenot appears to have won the 2B job away from Jeff Baker.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Keppinger, J - HOU 330 38 8 32 0 .276 .338 .418 5
Alvarez, P - PIT 101 18 4 21 1 .267 .339 .455 5
Freese, D - STL 278 41 9 44 1 .255 .310 .424 4
Uribe, J - SF* 295 35 10 36 2 .261 .308 .424 4
Mora, M - COL 214 31 5 34 3 .252 .319 .397 3
Hairston, J - SD* 300 45 4 33 7 .257 .320 .373 3
Baker, J - CHC* 243 32 6 31 1 .255 .325 .407 3
DeWitt, B - LA* 220 31 4 28 1 .255 .328 .373 3
Tatis, F - NYM 159 29 6 27 1 .277 .335 .459 2
Dobbs, G - PHI 181 17 4 22 2 .260 .309 .381 2
Gamel, M - MIL 151 18 4 21 1 .272 .317 .417 2
Bonifacio, E - FLA* 153 23 0 13 9 .248 .303 .340 2
Carroll, J - LA* 195 31 1 22 3 .267 .347 .359 1
Counsell, C - MIL* 211 26 1 19 2 .270 .353 .355 1
Abreu, T - ARI* 112 17 2 18 2 .295 .325 .464 1
Francisco, J - CIN 122 14 3 18 1 .262 .286 .377 1
Craig, A - STL 89 11 3 10 0 .270 .309 .427 1
Blum, G - HOU 255 25 5 32 0 .247 .309 .357 0
This group of players has several who are battling for starting positions. In St. Louis, David Freese is battling with several others for the 3B job, including Felipe Lopez, Allen Craig, and Joe Mather. Freese's bat should be OK, but his glove is still a question mark. In LA, Blake DeWitt may be moving ahead of Ronnie Belliard for the 2B position, as Belliard is still struggling with his weight. In Houston, Tommy Manzella is the current starter at SS, but his lack of offense may give Jeff Keppinger or the veteran Geoff Blum a chance for more playing time. In Milwaukee, Mat Gamel has been diagnosed with a shoulder injury and will be out for 6 weeks. When he returns, he will probably start in AAA.]]>
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Fri, 19 Mar 2010 16:02:04 +0000
March 17 Notes - Batting Order, Benson, Webb News http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/march-17-notes-batting-order-benson-webb-news.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/march-17-notes-batting-order-benson-webb-news.html said "LF Conor Jackson screams two-hole to me right now," and that he likes "the middle of the order the way it is constructed" today. Having Jackson's high OBP in the #2 slot should provide more RBI chances for the middle of the lineup, and will reduce Kelly Johnson's fantasy value a little. Kris Benson was signed to a minor league deal for $650,000, with another $100K available in incentives based on games started. Benson had an ERA between 4.00 and 5.00 every season from 2002-2006, and then underwent rotator cuff surgery in 2007. He tried to come back in 2009 with Rangers, struggling to a 8.46 ERA in 22 IP. The plan is for Benson to make at least one appearance in a spring training game before Opening Day, and then make some starts in the Minors. At this point, Benson is probably not physically ready for the #5 slot in the rotation, assuming he can even pitch effectively. The latest news on Brandon Webb is that he is targeting a late April return to the starting rotation. On Wednesday, Webb said this was the best he has felt all spring. In retrospect, Webb admits that trying to get ready for Opening Day may have been a little too aggressive. Both Edwin Jackson (2.2 IP, 7 ER) and Ian Kennedy (3.1 IP, 4 ER) struggled in their latest outings, but both seem healthy and assured everyone that there is nothing to worry about. Esmerling Vasquez continued to impress with 2 more scoreless innings, and Mark Reynolds hit his first home run of the spring.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Wed, 17 Mar 2010 23:51:18 +0000 Diamondbacks make first cuts of Spring Training http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-make-first-cuts-of-spring-training.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-make-first-cuts-of-spring-training.html cuts of spring training on Monday, with 12 players being sent to Minor League Camp. There were no real surprises in the group: C Konrad Schmidt IF Pedro Ciriaco IF Mark Hallberg OF Collin Cowgill P Daniel Stange P Cesar Valdez P Tom Layne P Kyler Newby P Wes Roemer P Bryan Shaw P Matt Torra P Leyton Septimo Valdez had compiled a 4.78 ERA starting in AAA Reno last year, and was considered a long shot for the #5 slot for the Diamondbacks. Torra and Roemer are both former first-round picks who pitched for AA Mobile in 2009, and are still at least a year or two away. Ciriaco also played for AA Mobile last year, and showed good speed (38 SB) and defense, but needs to improve his .319 OBP and .367 SLG. Shaw and Newby are expected to be in the starting rotation for Mobile, while Schmidt should be the AA starting catcher. Cowgill missed the second half of 2009 at High-A Visalia with a hamstring injury, and should also be in AA in 2010. Leyton Septimo is one of the hardest throwers in the organization, with 69Ks in 56.2 IP for Visalia, but needs to improve on the 44 walks.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Mon, 15 Mar 2010 18:33:37 +0000 Diamondbacks' Starting Pitching Update - Webb, Buckner, Mulvey, Lopez http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-starting-pitching-update.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-starting-pitching-update.html optimistic about the season. "It's remarkable how good it feels," Webb said.  He threw curveballs and changeups as well as sinkers on Saturday, and said "I don't remember the last time I felt [this good]." Webb is still a week or two behind schedule, but hopes to be at full strength for the bulk of the season. The good news is that three pitchers for the Diamondbacks have pitched very well so far - Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, and Ian Kennedy. Through March 14, the trio had pitched 14.2 IP without allowing an earned run. Billy Buckner is still the leader for the #4 slot, and has shown some promise, with 10 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 9 IP. The bad news is that he has given up 3 HR and 6 ER during those 9 IP. In his most recent start against the Rangers, Buckner gave up a 2-Run HR to Josh Hamilton in the 1st Inning, but then settled down and shut down the Rangers through the 4th Inning. The Rangers' lineup, however, was without regulars like Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz. The battle for the 5th Starter is still between Kevin Mulvey, Rodrigo Lopez, and Bryan Augenstein. Mulvey faced a split-squad from the Dodgers on Saturday, and gave up 3 ER in 3 IP, with 3 BB and 4 Ks. All three runs scored on a 3-Run HR from Blake DeWitt. Mulvey did strike out 4, but he was facing a very weak lineup from the Dodgers (no Kemp, Ramirez, Martin, Loney, Furcal, or Ethier). For the spring, Mulvey now has a 5.40 ERA with 4 BB and 5 K in 5 IP. Rodrigo Lopez got the start on Sunday in his home country of Mexico against the Rockies. Lopez went 3 IP, and was only charged with 2 unearned runs, although he did allow 5 hits and a walk to go with 3 strikeouts. For the spring, Lopez has a 5.14 ERA in 7 IP, with 10 H, 2 BB, and 6 Ks. Bryan Augenstein had a rough outing in his first appearance, giving up 6 ER in a disastrous 5th inning against the Giants. His second outing, last Thursday against the Angels, was better, as Augenstern pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, but also allowed two hits. At this point, Augenstein seems to be in 3rd place among the contenders for the #5 spot, and will likely to start the season in the AAA rotation. Neither Mulvey or Lopez has done anything to win the spot to this point, although neither has pitched himself out of contention either.  They look like the only options for the #5 spot right now. Youngsters like Barry Enright, Wes Roemer, and Bryan Shaw have impressed at times, but are still at least a year or two away.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Mon, 15 Mar 2010 05:49:36 +0000 Tony Abreu and Conor Jackson off to hot starts http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/tony-abreu-and-conor-jackson-off-to-hot-starts.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/tony-abreu-and-conor-jackson-off-to-hot-starts.html Conor Jackson - .571/.625/.929, 8 for 14, 2 2B, 1 HR, and 4 RBI. Jackson is showing no effects from the Valley Fever that ruined his 2009 season. He will be the starting LF, and should be back to his typical .290 AVG, .370 OBP, .450 SLG season. Tony Abreu - .471/.471/.824, 8 for 17, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR,  4 RBI, 5 R. Defensively, Abreu has been playing SS for the first week, and has looked solid.  Offensively, he's been spraying the ball around the yard, although he still doesn't walk much.  With Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew, and Mark Reynolds expected to be starting at 2B, SS, and 3B, respectively, there is no place for Abreu to play.  Gerardo Parra, Chris Snyder and Ryan Roberts are expected to grab three bench spots, but there may be room for both Abreu and Ojeda on the 25 man roster. Or, if Abreu continues to impress defensively, he could push Augie Ojeda out of the utility IF role. Brandon Allen - .333/.500/.778, 3 for 9, 4 BBs, 2 2B, 1 3B.  Allen has looked much better in the first week of spring training than he did in the Arizona Fall League. Still, with the signing of Adam LaRoche, Allen is destined for AAA this year. Dan Haren - 0.00 ERA, 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Haren looks in good form already, and will be the Opening Day starter for the Diamondbacks. Edwin Jackson - 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 1 K, 0 BB. Jackson will be the #3 Starter for the D'backs (or #2 if Brandon Webb isn't ready for Opening Day). Ian Kennedy - 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 0 K, 1 BB. Kennedy will be the #4 Starter for the D'backs (or #3). Billy Buckner - 7.20 ERA, 5 IP, 4 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 7 K. Buckner has had trouble with the Home Run ball, giving up two already. But he has struck out 7 while walking only 1. He should be the #5 starter (or #4). Kevin Mulvey - 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.  Mulvey has only pitched 2 IP in a split squad game so far, but he's the front runner for the #6/#5 slot in the rotation, mainly because his competition (Rodrigo Lopez, Bryan Augenstein) has struggled so far. Chad Qualls - 0.00 ERA, 2 IP. Qualls has pitched 2 perfect innings for far, with 1 strikeout. Qualls will be the closer for the Diamondbacks again this year. Juan Gutierrez - 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K. Gutierrez has emerged as the likely setup man for Chad Qualls, as both Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman are off to slow starts. Roque Mercedes - 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 0 BB, 4 K. Mercedes will probably start the season in AAA, but he's got the stuff to be an impact reliever down the road.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Thu, 11 Mar 2010 01:05:19 +0000 2010 Fantasy Projections - NL Shortstops http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/2010-fantasy-projections-nl-shortstops.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/2010-fantasy-projections-nl-shortstops.html The National League has four shortstops that can be considered elite fantasy players, and one, Hanley Ramirez, who is battling Albert Pujols for the title of best fantasy player in the National League. (Here are links to C, 1B, and 2B rankings)
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $
Ramirez, H - FLA 585 111 26 89 28 .321 .393 .530 37
Rollins, J - PHI 643 102 18 73 35 .266 .326 .435 28
Tulowitzki, T-COL 561 91 22 81 13 .282 .354 .469 26
Reyes, J - NYM 571 86 8 54 44 .287 .351 .431 26
Hanley Ramirez is one player who helps in every fantasy baseball category, and does it while playing the position of shortstop. Ramirez has hit over .300 for three consecutive seasons, including a league leading .342 in 2009. He has scored over 100 runs for four straight years, leading the league in 2008. Over the last four years, he has averaged 26 HR and 41 SB, and even drove in 106 runs last year. Ramirez should be the top fantasy SS in the National League once again. Jimmy Rollins slumped to a .250 average in 2009, after batting at least .277 every year from 2004-2008. But even in a down year, Rollins still contributed 100 runs, 21 HR, 77 RBI, and 31 SB.  I think the batting average will edge back up, while the other stats should stay around the same level.  Troy Tulowitzki rebounded from a 8 HR season in 2008 to slug 32 HR in 2009, along with a career high 20 SB.  Tulowitzki's fly ball rate was virtually the same over the last three seasons (38.3%, 37.3%, 39.8%) but last year 18.5% of his fly balls turned into home runs, while only 6.7% did in 2008. I expect his home run rate to return closer to his career rate of 13%, which will bring his HR total back in the low-to-mid 20s. Jose Reyes is definitely a wild card in 2010. Reyes only played 39 games in 2009 because of a hamstring injury. This year, the hamstring appears OK, but Reyes has been sidelined with a thyroid condition. Fortunately, doctors say that the condition is easily treatable, so Reyes should be back on the field soon. If he's back, Reyes should lead all SS in stolen bases.  The Mets were also talking batting Reyes in the #3 slot while Carlos Beltran is out, so he may see a bump in his RBI numbers as well.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $
Escobar, Y - ATL 555 88 15 77 4 .301 .374 .440 21
Theriot, R - CHC 570 83 7 53 20 .286 .349 .375 18
Drew, S - ARI 603 84 15 62 4 .274 .338 .438 18
Cabrera, E - SD 538 73 3 36 37 .243 .301 .346 16
Escobar, A - MIL 522 70 4 45 24 .264 .312 .349 15
Cabrera, O - CIN 561 71 8 61 11 .282 .331 .390 15
Furcal, R - LA 513 82 6 44 11 .269 .342 .366 12
Yunel Escobar leads the next group of NL shortstops. Escobar showed nice improvement across the board in 2009, and should make another small step forward in 2010. Escobar doesn't have the speed or power to reach the Top 4 group, but should be a solid #5. Ryan Theriot has scored at least 80 runs with 20+ SB for three straight years, and should continue that in 2010. Stephen Drew has seen his batting average fluctuate greatly from year to year - .316, .238, .291, .261.  His slugging percentage has fluctuated in a similar way, and his on-base percentage has been disappointing low.  What to expect in 2010? Drew should be batting leadoff this year, and I think we'll see a little more patience this year. He'll be 27 in 2010, and I think he'll start putting it all together this year. As a Rule 5 pick for the Padres, Everth Cabrera had a surprising season in 2009, showing outstanding speed and a decent walk rate.  I think he played a little over his head last year, and might struggle with the bat in 2010. But he will still steal a lot of bases. Alcides Escobar is another SS who can steal some bases, but like ECabrera, he needs to improve his on-base skills.  His solid defense should keep him in the lineup as the Brewers work to improve his plate discipline.  Orlando Cabrera should continue what he has done for the last several years - decent batting average, good number of runs, and double figures in stolen bases. At the age of 32, Rafael Furcal is no longer a 30+ SB threat, but he should be an everyday player for the Dodgers near the top of the lineup.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Renteria, E - SF 504 63 7 49 4 .264 .319 .357 8
Ryan, B - STL 375 52 2 36 13 .285 .340 .395 7
Guzman, C - WAS 463 65 4 36 5 .276 .311 .361 5
Cedeno, R - PIT 414 48 9 47 5 .256 .314 .374 4
Uribe, J - SF 295 35 10 36 2 .261 .308 .424 4
Desmond, I - WAS 256 26 7 25 10 .242 .300 .410 4
Hairston, J - SD 300 45 4 33 7 .257 .320 .373 3
Lugo, J - STL 221 31 4 28 2 .249 .317 .385 2
Bonifacio, E - FLA 179 21 0 11 8 .235 .297 .307 2
Crosby, B - PIT 176 18 4 20 1 .233 .293 .364 1
Counsell, C - MIL 211 26 1 19 2 .270 .353 .355 1
Cora, A - NYM 165 17 1 12 3 .242 .306 .339 1
Manzella, T - HOU 401 34 4 28 6 .239 .281 .332 1
The last group of shortstops includes many players who will need to battle for playing time. One whose job is probably safe is Edgar Renteria, although his offense really fell off in the 2nd Half (.233/.290/.331) and he has struggled to hit in San Francisco (.238/.307/.308 at Home). But the Giants don't have any other options at SS with Emmanuel Burris injured, so Renteria should play. As discussed in the 2B section, Brendan Ryan should be the regular SS for the Cards, but they do have Felipe Lopez and Julio Lugo battling for playing time. In Washington, Cristian Guzman is expected to get the starting job over Ian Desmond, but Desmond should provide more pop and speed, and may take over by the end of the season. Ronny Cedeno should be the starting SS in Pittsburgh, and has certainly shown flashes on both offense and defense. But he needs to keep the batting average and OBP respectable to hold off Bobby Crosby. In Houston, Tommy Manzella is the current starter, and should be solid defensively, but might not hit well enough to keep the job. His only competition right now is Jeff Keppinger and Geoff Blum. Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston should all be utility players this year with a small chance of becoming starters, while Emilio Bonifacio, Alex Cora,and Craig Counsell should be nothing more than backups this year.]]>
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Mon, 08 Mar 2010 18:19:57 +0000
Diamondbacks Spring Training Update - March 5, 2010 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-spring-training-update-march-5-2010.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-spring-training-update-march-5-2010.html admitted that it is possible that Webb will start the season on the Disabled List. At this point, Webb is not feeling any pain in his recovering shoulder, but there is still doubt if he will be ready in time. Byrnes emphasized that the goal for Webb is to be healthy for the season, not just Opening Day. Webb has had eight bullpen sessions over the last 6 weeks, but is not scheduled to face live batters until Sunday or Monday, and will not appear in Cactus League games until mid-March. That may be enough time for Webb to be ready by Opening Day, but if it isn't, Byrnes doesn't want to rush things. "If you have to concede a little bit of time on the front end of the schedule to keep him healthy for the long haul, then that's what we'll do," Byrnes said. "But we haven't had to make that decision yet. We're taking the longer view of six months and how to get the most out of him over the length of the season." Webb himself is a little anxious, and said he feels "stagnant." "I just need a little more intensity," he said. "I need to jack myself up, I need something. I don't want to overdo it either, I don't want to set myself back. That's like the thing that's in the back of my mind always. I'm set up right now to be where I need to be and one little setback would probably push me back to where I don't want to be. Still a little cautious." We'll see how Webb feels after throwing to batters in the next few days. Some other things to note from the first days of Spring Training: Tony Abreu - Abreu has played SS in both games so far, going 2 for 5 with 1 Run Scored and 1 RBI, and no errors. If Abreu shows that he can an adequate SS, it greatly increases the chances of him making the Opening Day 25-Man roster. If Abreu can't handle SS, then Augie Ojeda will certainly make the team as the backup SS to Stephen Drew. Bullpen - In the first two games, veteran pitchers Bob Howry (1 IP, 4 H, 2ER) and Aaron Heilman (1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) struggled in their first outings. Youngsters Clay Zavada (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) and Esmerling Vasquez (0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER) also had rough first appearances. On the bright side, Justin Upton hit a grand slam against the Cubs, Dan Haren threw two scoreless innings, and Ryan Roberts also hit a HR. Battling for an opening day roster spot, Cole Gillespie has gone 2-3 with a HR.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Sat, 06 Mar 2010 06:34:05 +0000