Tag:Los Angeles
Posted on: December 1, 2010 4:49 pm
 

Top 20 Second Baseman

After looking over my top 20 shortstops list i was very dissapointed in myself. I left off some key players who had injury issues but were better than the some of the players lower on my list. So i hope i will redeem myself on this list of the top 20 second baseman where i tried to look much deeper into the stats. Also i am not including guys who i consider utility players on this list as later i will do a ranking of the best utility players.

1. Chase Utley (PHI)
While he may be heading towards the downside of his career and injuries are starting to hit him, he is still the best all around 2nd baseman in the game. He missed some time last year but his bat is still good (.275/.387/.445 line in 425 AB) and he still plays great defense with a 10.3 UZR. Many people may think that Robinson Cano has passed Chase Utley up, and with the bat he has but Utley is still the all around better player specificaly when you compare their defense (Cano career -36.8 UZR, Utley career 80.1 UZR). But the gap is quickly closing as Utley is starting to regress and Cano is in his prime.

2. Robinson Cano (NYY)
As we discussed earlier Cano is the best offensive second baseman in the majors right now. He has some problems defensivly although he does have a good arm. Not a typical middle infielder as he hits for excellent average (career .309/.347/.489) and power but lacks great speed on the basepaths. Like Utley he is more of a middle of the order hitter but unlike Utley he is in the prime of his career with plenty of time to put up more awesome offensive numbers.

3. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)
He missed a lot of time due to injury last year but when healthy he is an elite second baseman. Unlike the 2 guys ahead of him he is more of a top of the order hitter (2 hole), he hits for a good average, has average power with good speed. He also plays good defense, maybe not as good as Utley but significantly better than Cano. He is good in almost every defensive category although he does lack a strong arm. He is a good all around shortstop who can be elite in terms of contact and defense but is average everywhere else.

4. Ian Kinsler (TEX)
Pedroia and him were neck and neck in my analysis but i gave the edge to Pedroia because he has an MVP to his credit. And similar to Pedroia, Kinsler was injured a lot last year but can put up elite offensive numbers for the position. Kinsler dosnt hit for as high of average as Pedroia but he does have more pop (career .281/.356/.466 line and in 09' he hit 31 home runs). Overall i like Kinsler's offensive game a little bit better than Pedroia's but Kinslers defense does not matchup to Pedroia at all. While Pedroia has a career 23.7 UZR, Kinsler has a -9.9 UZR. Kinsler does have more speed which gives him better range but hands are not as good as Pedroia and he is not as accurate. But all in all Kinsler is still and elite second baseman, he may lack great defense but he is an outstanding offensive secondbaseman.

5. Brandon Phillips (CIN)
The second tier was definitely the hardest to rank as all of the players are equally as good in my opinion. But in terms of all around ability and being a true second baseman Phillips is the best of the second tier. He has some issues offensively as he is not a great OBP guy but he does hit for a solid average and has some pop (career .267/.316/.430 line) and speed. What really sets him apart from the guys below him in this tier is his defense as he is the only one with a positive career UZR (8.1). As you are probably starting to see i tend to favor players who are skilled in multiple areas rather than big power guys or speed guys. The fans really like defense as his fan scouting ranks him as the top second baseman defensively, and he is not rated below a 70 (100 point scale) in any category.

6. Dan Uggla (ATL)
There were some players who put together all around better offensive numbers but none of them have put up those types of numbers consistently. Dan Uggla may not be a good fielder by any means and he may strike out too much but he is a consistent 30 HR power threat at a position that lacks that. He is in the heart of his prime years and so we will likely see this type of production for several more years. But as i said he is somewhat of a one dimensional player, his game revolves around power although he did put up a good average last year (.287/.369/.508 line in 10'). The biggest knock on Uggla's game is still his defense, i will always remember his 3 errors in his first all star game. The fans rate all of his defensive skills below 45 and he has a career UZR of -22. Uggla is a good power hitter but he probably should be playing third base.

7. Rickie Weeks (MIL)
He came back from injury in 09' to put up a career year as he hit .269/.366/.464 with 29 home runs. He is another slugging second baseman who struggles hitting for contact. But i would rate his defensive ability above Uggla's, while he has a career -24.8 UZR he did post a 1.8 UZR last season and has been around average the past few years. The only reason i rank Weeks behind Uggla is because Weeks has not consistently put up these numbers, but he is in his prime years so he may put up these numbers again.

8. Kelly Johnson (ARI)
Johnson is another guy who came out of nowhere to put up some pretty good power numbers. Johnson had put up solid numbers in 07' and 08' but fell out of favor in 09' with the Braves and was nontendered and the Diamondbacks signed him. He then went on to post a .284/.370/.496 line with 26 home runs. His numbers were way off from his career averages in terms of power so there has to be some regression but his strikeout numbers where higher than his career so he may have changed his approach (I havent watched him so i dont know). He also put up good fielding numbers last season (7.1 UZR) and is in the prime of his career so we could see some more years like this. But as with Rickie Weeks he has not put up these numbers consistently so i cant rank him higher than this.

9. Orlando Hudson (FA)
There is a significant dropoff after the second tier, not that Hudson is a bad ballplayer but he is nowhere near as good as the people ahead of him. Hudson has been a good hitter before but showed some regression last season as he has passed his prime years. He is still a guy who can hit around .270/.340/.370 and give you quality defense which can be hard to come by and somebody will give him some money for his skill. He still plays good defense as he had a 9.8 UZR last season and the fan scouting shows he is still a solid defender. The only major weakness in his game is his arm but everything else is near or above average. Hudson is a solid all around second baseman but is firmly in the third tier.

10. Brian Roberts (BAL)
He like Hudson is on the downside of his career but after coming back from injury he showed he can still play and seemed to get the Orioles offense going. He still provides a solid batting average, above average speed and a solid glove. He seems to have lost the power that he did have which is why is 10th on this list and really could go below him but his track record of success is what keeps him this high. As i have said before i think the most valuable guys are the ones that have the complete package and have a proven track record. Roberts defines all of those characteristics and at 33 I still think he has some gas in the tank to put up some solid seasons for the Orioles.

11. Aaron Hill (TOR)
12. Chone Figgins (SEA)
13. Mark Ellis (OAK)
14. Freddy Sanchez (SF)
15. Howie Kendrick (LAA)
16. Neil Walker (PIT)
17. Jeff Keppinger (HOU)
18. Gordon Beckham (CWS)
19. Ryan Theriot (STL)
20. Mike Aviles (KC)

Thats my top 20 second baseman and look out for my top 20 center fielders tomorrow. And if you havnt already please check out my other blog which will have our first podcast up over the weekend.
http://sportstalkwithchrisandkevin.
blogspot.com/
Posted on: November 30, 2010 10:08 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 10:10 pm
 

Top 20 Shortstops

In light of Troy Tulowitzki's recent extension to the 2020 season i wanted to see how he stacked up against the rest of the shortstops in the league. I spent several hours pouring over stats and scouting reports to make my list of the top 20 shortstops. I will give in depth analyisis of the top 10 and then just list the bottom ten.

FIRST TEIR


1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
I think he has to be the obvious number one choice, Hanley Ramirez was definitely considered but he is more of a hitter than a true shortstop. Tulowitzki has the full package, he can hit for average, power, he has some speed and plays excellent defense. I realize his offensive numbers are slightly skewed due to playing at Coors field (altough not as much as you would think as he still hit .291/.358/.504 on the road) but he is still an outstanding bat at shortstop.

2. Hanley Ramirez (FLA)
In terms of offense he is the best in the league with a career .313/.385/.520 line. But the reason he is number 2 is because is glove is no where near Tulowitzki's, he has a career -39.3 UZR and a career .969 fielding percentage. On the Fans Scouting Report on Fangraphs.com they think Hanley has good speed and a decent first step and arm but he gets low marks for his hands, release, instincts and accuracy. At some point in his career i think he will get moved to third similar to A-Rod becaues his bat will still hold up as a corner infielder. But even with his defensive deficiencies he is still an elite shortstop.

Second Tier

3. Stephen Drew (ARI)
There is a significant drop off after Tulo and Hanley, but Stephen Drew is a solid second tier shortstop. He does not have an elite bat but it is above average for a middle infielder ( career .272/.332/.448 line). He has managed to improve his defense which is really what has pushed him to this level, as he evolved from a 2 win player to a 5 win player last year. His career UZR is not good but he has posted positive UZR's the past 2 season with an 8.7 this year. The fan scouting dosnt suggest that any of his tools are great but he is mediocre across the board.

4. Alexei Ramirez (CWS)
From the minute he burst onto the scene in 2008 he has been an upper level offensive shortstop, hitting for a solid average and providing some pop at a position that tends to lack it. He is not elite in any one category but is above average across the board with a career .283/.321/.430 slash line and averaging over 10 steals a season. His defensive ratings have improved every season as well posting a 10.8 UZR this season. The Fans scouting suggests that he has a good arm and above average speed and first step. His main area of concern in his defense are his hands and his release. Alexei Ramirez is right up there with Stephen Drew in the second tier of shortstops.
 
5. Jose Reyes (NYM)
He came back from missing most of 2009 to posting solid numbers in 2010. When healthy Reyes provides a leathal combination of contact/speed and power at the top of the Mets lineup. He is at the early part of his prime as well so he has the potential to get back to the upper tier of shortstops. His defense is pretty good as well with a career UZR of 16.6 but he did have a rough season last year dropping to a -5 UZR. The fans scouting report shows he has a good first step with great speed and a great arm. His main weakness is his hands but other than that all of his other areas are rated at least average. Reyes is a young shortstop who has proved he can be elite before and could be again but for now is in the second tier.

Third Tier

6. Yunel Escobar (TOR)
He had a rough year at the plate with the Braves but was much better with the Blue Jays. Even when he is on he is still a third tier shortstop in my mind but he will hit for average (career .289 hitter) and some pop. But he doesnt have the speed of some of the other shortstops ahead of him. He can be a 3-4 win guy and is hitting his prime ages so we could see him possibly move up to the second tier. He also plays solid defense as he has a career 9.6 UZR, the fan scouting shows him to be proficient in almost every category and they rate his arm very highly. Again the only area he really isnt great at is his speed which may hurt his range a little bit. Overall he is an above average player in almost every category but is not great in any category either.

7. Elvis Andrus (TEX)
I know that he may not hit for a great average yet or hit for any power but he does have blazing speed and plays outstanding defense. I would consider his last season a sophmore slump and he still put up a .1 UZR and hit for a .265/.342/.301. He has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in the game with a potential line of .280/.350/.380 with 30-40 SB. The reason he ranks higher than people who may have put up better numbers last season is his age as he is only 22 years old and is already a star. The fan scouting shows he is above average in every category except his accuracy, and has very good instincts, speed and first step. He is one of two really good young shortstops who will likely move to higher tiers as they get older.

8. Derek Jeter (NYY)
 I know i may get some flak for ranking him this high but even in his worst season of his career he was a 2.5 WAR player. His skills are eroding as he is now 36 years old but he still has the ability to hit for a solid average and get on base. He is one of the best shortstops of all time and should get his 3,000th hit next season as he is 74 hits away and is a first ballot hall of famer. The one thing that has always been overrated about Jeter's game is his defense. Looking at his defensive metrics he has been a below average defender his whole career. He has a -42.4 UZR since 2002, posting only 2 postive UZR seasons. He dosnt have the range to really play short anymore but the Yankees dont have to have great defense to succeed so he will likely finish his career there. The only attribute that the fan scouting thinks is above average is his hands which is true as he only made 6 errors last season. If he can get to the ball he will make the play, but its his ability to get to the ball that is in question. That being said he is still in the third tier which is pretty good for his age.

9. Alex Gonzalez (ATL)
If it was not for his resurgent offense last year he would be ranked this high but he managed to put up some stellar offensive numbers for a shortstop last season (hitting 23 home runs and knocking in 88 runs). He doesnt provide much in terms of average or OBP but has good pop and can knock in runs. His best asset is still his defense as he has a career 44.6 UZR since 2002 and had a 5.1 UZR last season. The fan scouting shows that he has above average hands and release but is weak in terms of his first step, speed and arm. I think this ranking is a little bit high but i didnt want to show to much favoritism to the next guy on this list.

10. Starlin Castro (CHC)
Of all of the young shortstops in the majors i would say he has the highest ceiling but even if he doesnt reach that he is already an allstar caliber shortstop. He showed that he can hit for great average putting up a .300/.347/.408 line in his rookie season. He has the potential to be an excellent leadoff hitter who could contend for batting titles and already has such a good approach at the plate. His main issue is inexpierence and immaturity as he is only 20 years old, he will have mental lapses from time to time but thats part of the growth. Also he is no where near his prime years so we may see some inconsistincey at this time in his career. His defense is a work in progress, looking at the fan scouting he has above average speed and first step and has a great arm. But he stuggles with his hands, release and accuracy as he made 27 errors. Unlike Elvis Andrus i think Castro could become a first tier shortstop, his strengths will likely lie in his average but he has power potential in his body. He is the most exciting player on this list in my opinion.

Fourth Tier

11. Cliff Pennington
12. Marco Scutaro
13. Jhonny Peralta
14. Erick Aybar
15. Jason Bartlett
16. Ian Desmond

Fifth Tier

17. Orlando Cabrera
18. Alcides Escobar

BAD

19. Cesar Izturis
20. Yuniesky Betancourt

If you want more of my analysis check out my new site
http://sportstalkwithchrisandkevin.
blogspot.com/
You can submit questions to me and this friday we will be recording our first podcast so look out for that.

Posted on: November 22, 2010 7:19 pm
 

New Blog

Hey everybody i just wanted to let you know that along with this blog on cbssports a friend and i have started a blog on blogger that will feature a bi-weekly sports podcast show. The podcasts wont start until after thanksgiving break but i hope you will check out the new blog. The address is below, and dont worry i will still blog on here as frequently as i can.

http://sportstalkwithchrisandkevin.
blogspot.com/
Posted on: April 21, 2010 7:47 pm
 

A Cold Start

Well the Cubs have played 14 games and as far as i can tell they are a complete disaster. They cant hit, play defense and the releivers can not close out games. The only strength we have right now is that are starting pitching has been excellent, which is not a suprise since thats what carried us last year. Lets really break this down though, i want to analyze each are and look at the problem.

Offense-

It is not that the Cubs can get on base, its that they can drive runs in. Which was the problem last year as well. Now i am not overly concerned with that because A-Ram is the RBI guy and he is in a bit of a slump. But some of the other players need to contribute as well, but i really blame the Cubs offensive woes on the lack of production from A-Ram. The positives are that Geovany Soto is looking pretty good, the biggest thing is his patience at the plate, he is walking and has limited his strikeouts. Marlon Byrd has also been pretty good altough not very consistent.

Defense-

Soriano has been playing abismal defense along with Xavier Nady (He still cant throw very far due to surgery.), Tyler Colvin comes in during the 7th or 8th nearly every game. Fukudome and Colvin are good and Byrd is decent. Fontenot has played solid defense at 2nd but Theriot's defense at short is very average. I think the thing i have been the happiest with is that Geo has been throwing out a lot of baserunners. Actualy i am very happy with Geo this season, he is hitting better and playing good defense.

Pitching-

The starting has been great with the exeption of opening day. Carlos Silva has been dominant, and Dempster is continuing to prove he was worth the contract extension they gave him in 09'. Lilly is coming back this weekend and Randy Wells has not had a sophmore slump. The bullpen has been the main issue, so much so that Zambrano has been put into a set-up role to hold the fort until the front office can bring in a true set up man. Carlos Marmol has been pretty good though, he has gone 3/4 in save opportunities and has not lost his control yet with a 12:2 K:BB ratio. But outside of Marmol the rest of the bullpen has sucked. They are to inexpeirenced and they need a veteran to anchor the pen until the young guys mature. Also the Cubs need to quit this unwarrented obsession with Jeff Samardzija, he just does not deserve a major league roster spot.


Posted on: April 9, 2010 11:15 am
 

First series in the books

Well the Cubs just wrapped up their opening series against the Braves with a solid 2-0 win. While i was not amazed by the Cubs performance through out the series there were some positives. One thing that stuck out to me was plate discipline, from the 2 games i got to watch they seemed very patient at the plate. That was a key to the 08' run and was something they lost in 09' hopefully that will continue. Another exciting thing i saw was the confidence that Marlon Byrd has, he has looked outstanding in almost every at bat. While he may not get hits in every AB, he is getting great contact with the ball and already has 2 HR. The last positive observation i would like to make is about the pitching. Excluding Carlos Zambrano, both starters pitched excellently and Dempster should have gotten the win. The bullpen has also been solid with the exception of Jeff Samardzija. Even Carlos Marmol looked as if he was in his 07'-08' form, and i am really liking Esmailin Caridad. So while the Cubs are only 1-2 there are many positives to take away from this game. they may not be hitting great yet but they look pretty good. I cant wait to see them tonight in Cincinnati, Carlos Silva is facing Homer Bailey at 7:10 Eastern Time.
Posted on: March 22, 2010 3:54 pm
 

2010-2011 Cubs revamp

I read a post on mlbtraderumors.com that discussed the future of the Cubs next season yesterday. It talked about how 2010 is really that last year of the Cubs team we have know for the past few years. It seems very likely that the 2011 Cubs will not include Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, or Ted Lilly. Now while i love those players i really believe it would be a good thing. We have been masivly handicapped by the big contracts of our aging stars who are now becoming more injury prone. I think it is highly doubtfull that A-Ram will make it through the season without another shoulder injury or Derrek Lee will not get neck spasms. Now dont get me wrong Derrek Lee is my favorite current cub player and he provides excellent leadership but if we want to win a world series any time soon we need to go with youth. We have several prospects waiting in the wings for spots and with Lee, Ramirez, and Lilly off the books we should have around $40 mill to play with. So if im Hendry this season i would look to move these players for prospects and to free up some salary, now i realize this would not be a popular move and i would only suggest it if we werent in serious contention but i think we need to step back and look to the longterm competitvness of the franchise rather than immediate success. The Cubs have been drafting much better talent and soon we should have some solid everyday players to build around with free-agent signings. I cant wait to see Starlin Castro playing SS, or Andrew Cashner in the rotation. I just am concerned that Jim Hendry is not going to realize that this is a transition period for the Cubs, a changing of the gaurd from the 2007 free agent splurge to a Cubs team similar to the Red Sox. The new ownership recognizes that the Cubs need to go that route and i think by 2011 we will see a very different Cubs team.
Posted on: February 15, 2010 9:35 am
 

My Official AL West Preview

Well this has been the Angels division the past decade, but is there a changing of the guard in 2010. Many people believe the Marniers may be able to take the Angels and take over as the class of the division. The Marniers made the most changes, and it is obvious that the Angels have lost some talent, Texas is about the same except they lost the best hitting coach in the buisness, and Oakland is getting better. This is a division on the rise, but who will win it this year? Continue reading to find out my opinions on the AL west this year.

1. L.A. Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Oakland Athletics




1. L.A. Angels

Departed- Jose Arredondo, Kelvim Escobar, Chone Figgins, Vladimir Gurerrero, John Lackey, Gary Matthews Jr., Darren Oliver
Aquired- Hideki Matsui, Joel Piniero, Fernando Rodney, Brian Stokes

Most people question wether this team will be able to mantain the level of play that they have performed for the past decade after losing the core of those teams. While i believe this is a less talented Angels team than we have seen in previous years i dont believe they are going to lose this division to the Mariners. While the rotation may not have a bonafied ace they are solid from top to bottom (If Joe Saunders is your worst starter thats saying something.). I do think that Jered Weaver could become the ace of this rotation, and Scott Kazmir was once Tampa Bay's ace. So im not even sure that i agree that they dont have an ace. I think any one of thier starters could become the ace of this staff, they are just going to have to prove it. The bullpen is somewhat rough, i am curious who will close (Brian Fuentes, or Fernando Rodney?) and neither one is a great closer. Outside of those 2 guys only Scot Shields strikes me as a great arm. They will have to go to their farm system to fill out their bullpen. The infield has some question marks, the biggest being how will Brandon Wood perform? Kendry Morales is solid at first and Aybar and Kendrick are solid up the middle. Macier Izturis will be their utility man, but they dont have a ton of bench depth behind him. Mike Napoli will start at catcher and has good power, Jeff Mathis is an okay backup. The outfield is solid offensivly but not to good deffensivly. Bobby Abreu continues to hit and run well, but his deffense coninues to slide. Torii Hunter is still a great offensive threat although injury prone, but his defense is starting to go. Juan Rivera had a great season, replacing Garrett Anderson after his departure. With the trade of Gary Matthews Jr., the Angels are thin on the bench for the outfield with Reggie Willits as their 4th outfielder. So they Angels will have to rely on their farm system to give them some depth there. The biggest channge is replacing the great Vladimir Guerrero at DH with Hideki Matsui AKA Godzilla. Guerrero had his least productive season of his career which meant the Angels were willing to let him go, but im not sure they improved here. They traded one injury prone veteran who cant play the field for another. Overall the Angels have lost some talent, but they still have enough talent on the offensive side and their rotation is good enough top to bottome to win this division, but it will be close.

2. Seattle Mariners

Departed- Miguel Batista, Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, Kenji Johjima, Brandon Morrow, Carlos Silva
Aquired- Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins, Ryan Garko, Cliff Lee, Eric Byrnes, Brandon League

The Marniers improved from a 100 loss team to a contender in 2009, and now they hope to win the division. They have made headlines this offseason with the additions of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley. They may have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, with King Felix at the top of the rotation. He was the 2nd best pitcher in the AL last year behind Grienke, and is still only 24 years old. And the great thing is that the Marniers locked him up long term in the offseason. Behind him they added 2008 CY Young winner Cliff Lee who should benifit greatly from the Marniers outstanding defense and spacious field. Ryan Rowland Smith has potential and they are hoping for a healthy season from Erik Bedard. The biggest question mark to me is Ian Snell, he has a lot of talent and looked promising several years ago in Pittsburgh if he can have a good year it would go a long way to helping this team win the division. The bullpen is one of the weak links on this team, i think David Aardsma played out of his mind last year and i doubt a repeat performance. Brandon League is a solid arm, and i think his aquisition was an attempt to improve the bullpen. We will have to see if any of their young pitchers step up, because you can never really predict how a reliever is going to pitch accuratley. The infield is very strong deffensivly but offensivly they are mediocre. At first they have former Angel, Brave, and Red Sox Casey Kotchman, while he plays outstanding defense his offense has hovered around the .270-10-50 line. At third they have former Angel Chone Figgins, who again plays good defense and he also hits for average and has great speed. Figgins will likely hit 2nd behind perenial all-star Ichiro Suzuki. Up the middle is really the Mariners main power threat in Jose Lopez (his ceiling is about 25 HR though), and at short the great glove of Jack Wilson. So the Marniers basicaly have a wall on the left side of the infield. Rob Johnson will likely start at catcher and good be solid, but he will battle for playing time with Adam Moore. The outfield is pretty good to, with Ichiro in right he provides awesome defense and is guaranteed to collect 200 hits and 20+ stolen bases. In CF Frankilin Gutierez is also an elite defender who can cover a lot of ground, plus he has good offensive game (He has 20-20 potential). The only weak link defensivly in the outfield is Milton Bradley in LF, he makes a lot of dumb mistakes but he is not a horrible defender. He needs to rebound from a bad year offensivly in Chicago. Ken Griffey Jr. will likely DH most of the time with Bradely, and Ryan Garko also getting some time there. The mariners have speed, pitching and defense but their lack of power is what will hold them back from winning the division.

3. Texas Rangers

Departed- Marlon Byrd, Andruw Jones, Kevin Millwood, Ivan Rodriguez, Hank Blalock, Omar Vizquel
Aquired- Khalil Greene, Vladimir Guerrero, Rich Harden, Colby Lewis, Darren Oliver, Clay Rapada, Chris Ray

Texas is stuck in the 3 spot again this season, and its not a reflection on their talent, but on the talent of the division. Texas main problem is their lack of a solid pitching staff. They were much improved last season, but they slumped offensivly. But the rotation has a different look to it in 2010, Kevin Millwood is gone and Rich Harden is in. Harden is extremely injury prone and is a lock for 2 stints on the DL, but when healthy he is a force. Behind him there isnt a ton, Scott Feldman and Brandon McCarthy are solid middle of the rotation guys. Tommy Hunter was pitching well last season, and he could break out in 2010. While they have some solid young guys coming up, i dont see them contending with the staff they have. The bullpen is decent with Frank Francisco at closer, and Chris Ray the likely set up man. The main guy to look at in 2010 is Neftali Feliz, he could start but if hes in the pen he could be awesome. By the end of the season he may be the primary set up man. The infield is solid with slugger Chris Davis at first, he will need to improve his discipline, but he has 30 HR power. Michael Young will man 3rd and provide solid offense as he has in the past. Up the middle looks pretty good with all-star Ian Kinsler at 2nd, he hits for power and has good speed (a 30-30 season is possible). He is partnered with Elvis Andrus at short, he may not have power but he plays good defense and has great speed. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will likely split time with Taylor Teagarden although neither player has lived up to their potential. The outfield is weaker with the loss of Marlon Byrd, but if Josh Hamilton is healthy in CF it would help greatly. Nelson Cruz also is great in RF, and the Rangers hope David Murphey can play well in LF. The Rangers biggest addition in 2010 is definatly Vlad, he should have a great year that might garner comeback player of the year consideration because he loves the ballpark in Arlington and he has put up great numbers there. He should continue adding to his hall of fame credentials this season. The Rangers are solidly in 3rd place and i dont see them getting out of this spot due to the excellent managment and resources of the Mariners and Angels.

4. Oakland Athletics

Departed- Nomar Garciaparra, Bobby Crosby, Adam Kennedy, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Jeff Gray, Scott Hairston, Aaron Miles, Brett Wallace, Willy Taveras
Aquired- Coco Crisp, Jake Fox, Gabe Gross, Adam Rosales, Ben Sheets, Michael Taylor

Oakland seems like they are going to be stuck in last place a little while longer. They have improved talent wise from the 2009 club, we will have to wait and see if that translates to wins. The rotation is interesting and will at least be better than the Rangers. Ben Sheets is the headliner of this staff, will he be able to return to form this season after missing all of 09'. When healthy Sheets is a great pitcher and was the ace for Milwaukee for years. Justin Ducsherer is another starter returning from injury who the A's will rely to give them veteran leadership in the rotation. They also have 3 youngsters who will try to improve upon their 09' seasons Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahlil and Brett Anderson. Looking at each of thier stats and after watching them last year i really like Brett Anderson and i think he may be the breakout pitcher on this staff. If all 3 of these guys can play to thier potential Oakland could make a move to 3rd but they would need some offensive help to. The bullpen is lead by 09' AL rookie of the year closer Andrew Bailey. The A's may actualy have the best pen in the division when you look at each player. Mike Wuertz will likely be the setup man and Brad Ziegler, Joey Devine, and Craig Breslow make up a solid bullpen. The infield is okay, there arnt any superstars but some solid talent. Kevin Kouzmanoff will likely start at 3rd ending the age of Eric Chavez, and Jake Fox will figt to play first with Daric Barton (my guess is that Fox will win the job). Fox has some sick power but he is very similar to Jack Cust and will strikeout a good amount and does not play good defense. The middle infield will be made up of Mark Ellis at 2nd, and Cliff Pennington at short. Pennington is probably the weaklink in the infield. Kurt Suzuki will start at catcher, he has been a solid major leaguer and continues to improve (Im a nig fan of Kurt Suzuki). They also have some infield depth with Adam Rosalses from the Reds, and Eric Patterson (former Cubs prospect). The outfield has speed, with Rajai Davis in LF, and Coco Crisp in CF. They should combine for over 70 SB, and will make up the top of the batting order. And sweet fielding Ryan Sweeny will start in RF. Jack Cust will return as the DH and will split some time with Fox there. Fox, Cust, and Kouzmanoff are really the only power hitters on the team, so they may have a hard time driving in runs. If they get good production from Fox, and Kouzmanoff they may be able to sneak up on the Rangers but that would have to be paired with some great pitching.   



Posted on: December 5, 2009 2:03 pm
 

The Perfect Small Market Team (GM/Manager)

Well i have sat around for a while thinking about who is the best GM in baseball. I looked over trades and free agent signings and im not sure there is a #1 GM at everything. But i do think there are several GM's that do well in there market size. But for our small payroll, i think i will go with Billy Bean (Oakland Athletics). There are not many GM's who are better with a small market team. I realize the A's have not been great the past few years, but they always seem to have minor league talent. I also loved the move of aquiring matt holliday, then trading him at the deadline to peak his value and gain a better return then what they gave up. Bean just seems the obvious choice to run my small market team that im creating here. I know that he can make the right trades and free agent signings the keep my team competitive year in and year out. Now the next position i have to fill is my Manager. First i have to figure out is my team AL or NL, since im not as knowledgable about the AL i'll make my team an NL team. So now i have to think who is the manager who has the National League game figured out the most. I hate to say this because im a Cubs fan, but i think Tony La Russa (St. Louis Cardinals) is the best option. He always seems to get the most out of the least talent. That will wrap up todays team decisons with the hiring of Billy Bean as the GM and Tony La Russa as our Manager.
 
 
 
 
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