Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 12:17 am
 

Picking All-Stars on performance, not popularity

Adrian Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell


The final week of All-Star voting is around the corner, and it can only be done online. That's the perfect opportunity for me to unveil my own All-Star ballot, and I'll be part of a record.

Fans so far have cast 250 million votes (which is misleading because each e-mail address can vote up to a whopping 25 times), which broke the record from 2009, with 223.4 million votes, as MLB.com reports.

Rosters will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3, but until then there are still plenty of races to be decided. I'm not really a fan of voting when the chance to do so opens in late April, because... come on. That's why this will be my first ballot, so let's take a ride through who I select and why. To vote yourself, simply click here.

All statistics prior to Thursday's games.

AMERICAN LEAGUE BALLOT

C: Alex Avila, Tigers -- Russell Martin is surely a lucky dude as he gets to play in New York, hit .233/.342/.407 (with much of his value tied up in a scorching April) and yet Alex Avila quietly puts up a .300/.373/.532 line in Detroit -- outhitting every other catcher in the game. Well, that stops now. Simply put: Anyone who votes for Martin clearly doesn't get what the All-Star Game is about: putting the best players on the field, not the players who play in a big media market.

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- Do you really need an explanation? OK, let's give it a go. Gonzalez's .359 batting average is 24 points better than Jose Reyes', whose .335 mark leads the senior circuit. Gonzo also leads baseball with 69 RBI, 109 hits and 25 doubles. Oh, and those 15 home runs aren't bad at all. Overall, that's a scintillating .359/.410/.609 mark. Dude loves being out of Petco.

2B: Howie Kendrick, Angels -- Quick, who is the best offensive second baseman in the league? If you said Robinson Cano, you're right -- but it's not by much. Cano is currently raking at a .299/.344/.520 mark, but Kendrick is right there with a .305/.362/.498, barely a step behind. Kendrick is also the better defender at second base and in my version of the All-Star Game, defense counts too.

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians -- Apologies to Alexei Ramirez who actually grades out better once you factor in defense, but I can live with Cabrera's D (which isn't bad by any means) in order to get his bat in the lineup. The offensive difference is simply too great as Cabrera is delivering on the promise he showed in 2009 with a .298/.351/.498 mark with 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He actually has a similar offensive game to Jhonny Peralta, but the stolen bases were the clincher.

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Many have thought A-Rod's best days are behind him and while that's certainly true, he's still the best third baseman in the game, although that designation means a little less in what is a surprisingly weak class this year. All due respect to Rodriguez, who deserves the honor with 13 bombs and a .296/.375/.510 line. Kevin Youkilis actually appears to be the better hitter, but it's close and while I don't really trust Rodriguez's fielding metrics this year that show him as a top fielder, not many would argue he's worse than Youk in the field.

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- .325/.470/.645. Next!

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees -- Granderson is exploding into the 40-homer monster a few people (cough, me, cough) predicted after his trade to the Yankees. It took until his second season, but he's keeping pace with Bautista in the home run department, just two behind with 20. He's even hitting lefties this season, and once you add in his speed and fielding, it's all over.

OF: Alex Gordon, Royals -- There were several candidates for this position, most notably Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Gordon gets the call here with a 288/.356/.483 line, better Gardner and just under Ellsbury. While Gordon is a left fielder and Ellsbury is plying his trade in center, Ellsbury has bad fielding instincts which his speed hides quite a bit. Gordon, meanwhile, is a sound fielder, all the more impressive given he came up and began his career as a third baseman. Plus, someone from Kansas City's got to make it.

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox -- Big Papi is turning back the clock with his best batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage since 2007, the last year he was truly the Big Bad Papi. At .313/.391/.586 with 17 homers, he's enjoying quite the renaissance and has earned this nomination.

ReyesNATIONAL LEAGUE BALLOT

C: Brian McCann, Braves -- Alex Avila is outhitting every catcher in the game as mentioned above, but Brian McCann is trying his hardest to take away that distinction with a .305/.380/.523 line. McCann, who already has an All-Star MVP to his name by knocking a bases-clearing double in the 2010 Game to finally give the NL a victory, deserves the chance to start for the first time in what will be his sixth All-Star Game.

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers -- The loss of Albert Pujols makes this an easier crop to sift through, and Fielder comes away with the prize. Really, it's between the Brewer and Joey Votto, with apologies to Gaby Sanchez. While Votto's the better fielder (pun unintended), Prince's 20 home runs are 11 more than Votto and he's miles ahead of the 2010 NL MVP in power production at this point.

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers -- Weeks joins Fielder in creating an all-Brewer right side of the infield, and he's deserving. Following up his breakout 2010 campaign, Weeks has gotten right back at it with a .287/.356/.498 line. He's also picking up his speed, already swiping seven bases after just 11 last season.

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets -- This one just isn't close at all; Reyes' 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (which combines offense, defense and baserunning) is miles ahead of the next best mark at the position, held by both Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez. Reyes is simply doing it all in a season that could net him a $150 million contract in the offseason, and is just one of three shortstops with at least 20 stolen bases. Naturally, he leads all of them with 26.

3B: Chase Headley, Padres -- I didn't quite realize how unimpressive the third-base crop was in the NL, but none separate themselves from the pack. I suppose that's what happens when Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval all knock themselves out of the running due to being injured. Ryan Roberts has one of the best seasons of any NL third baseman that qualifies for the batting title, but his entire value with the bat is packed into April. So Headley it is, who is hitting .295/.389/.402, a pleasantly surprising number for the former left fielder who is enjoying his best season so far. 

OF:  Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Kemp is already a member of the 20/20 club and has put to rest any ideas that he doesn't care enough with an impressive .328/.420/.620 line, with his slugging percentage leading all of the NL. He's added 20 home runs, 15 doubles and 58 RBI as a major, major reason the Dodgers can still kinda/sorta call themselves contenders after injuries have decimated their team.

OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- I don't think Holliday misses Coors Field, do you? He definitely doesn't miss the Coliseum in Oakland or whatever the heck it's called these days. He's doing just fine in St. Louis with a .335/.439/.555 line. I have to admit, I didn't realize Holliday was hitting this well. Of all the big outfield boppers in the game, he flies under the radar the most.

OF: Shane Victorino, Phillies -- I feel as if no matter who I pick here, I'm leaving off quite a few deserving candidates. It's true -- where is Ryan Braun? Lance Berkman? Andrew McCutchen? Justin Upton? But I'm loving the year Victorino is having with a .296/.362/.511 line with 11 stolen bases in 58 games after missing time due to injury. (Kemp, for comparison, has played in 76 games.) Add in his excellent fielding and smart baserunning, and Victorino is bringing the whole package this year.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:33 pm
 

Josh Hamilton's struggles due to blue eyes?

Hamilton

By Evan Brunell


Josh Hamilton thinks he knows why he struggles in day games.

It's his blue eyes.

"I ask guys all the time" as to whether they struggle in day games, Hamilton told ESPN 103.3 FM" "Guys with blue eyes, brown eyes, whatever ... and guys with blue eyes have a tough time."

Hamilton is hitting .297/.360/.513 in his follow-up campaign to his MVP season, which is an impressive mark but quite a bit off his line from 2010. Yet, if you look at just his night numbers, he's tossing up silly numbers with a .376/.415/.661 line in 118 PA. His day numbers are a different story, as he's flailing to the tune of a .112/.246/.184 mark in 57 PA. Hamilton had a wide split in 2010 too, but it wasn't as severe: .286/.345/.474 in the day and .384/.433/.688 at night.

"It's just hard for me to see [at the plate] in the daytime," Hamilton said. "It's just what it is. Try to go up [to the plate] squinting and see a white ball while the sun is shining right off the plate, you know, and beaming right up in your face."

The solution could be in a pair of sunglasses that he used in the field last season, but could not find. Until now.

"Hopefully that'll help my eyes relax enough to take them off and bat and put them on again," Hamilton said.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Votto, Fielder to battle for NL starter at 1B



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Although St. Louis' Albert Pujols still leads the voting at first base for the All-Star Game, the race for first base will likely come down to two other National League Central first basemen, Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.

Even if Pujols hangs onto his lead over Votto and Fielder, he went on the disabled list on Monday with a forearm fracture and is unlikely to be available for the July 12 All-Star Game at Phoenix's Chase Field. However, All-Star rules stipulate if a voted starter in unavailable, the honor goes to the second-place finisher at the position.

In the next-to-last National League balloting update before the July 3 announcement of roster, Pujols is second in total votes for NL players behind Milwaukee's Ryan Braun. Braun leads the voting with 3,034,057 votes while Pujols has 2,806,864 votes.

Joey Votto is second in balloting among first basemen, narrowly edging the Brewers' Prince Fielder 2,270,211 to 2,066,327. Both Votto and Fielder certainly have convincing arguments. Votto, the reigning NL MVP, leads the NL in on-base percentage (.449) and is third in batting average (.327), while Fielder is second in the league in OPS (1.031), is tied for the league lead with 20 home runs and leads the league with 61 home runs.

The second base spot has a similar split between a Red and a Brewer, with Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips leading Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks 2,286,378 to 2,094,502 with Weeks closing in.

Philadelphia's Placido Polanco leads Atlanta's Chipper Jones by more than a million votes at third base, while Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki has a respectable lead over the Mets' Jose Reyes at shortstop. The Braves' Brian McCann leads the Cardinals' Yadier Molina by nearly half-a-million votes. The outfield's top three are Braun and the Cardinals' duo of Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday. The Dodgers' Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, along with the Reds' Jay Bruce, are the next three in line.

Complete balloting is up at MLB.com.

The American League update will be released tomorrow.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Bonds, Griffey headline 'disrespectful' sons



By Matt Snyder


With Father's Day coming this weekend, it's the perfect time to think about how you can show up your Dad. What better way than to remind him you're better than he is? Maybe disrespectful, but still fun nonetheless.

I know when my son becomes more successful in life it will certainly be a sign of disrespect. Assuming in the sense that you disrespect your father if you outperform him -- and we're also assuming you have a sense of humor and realize this is tongue-in-cheeck -- we've compiled a list of 10 recent sons who disrespected the memory of their fathers by playing better. This is by no means exhaustive, just a quick glance at 10 dudes who played within the past decade or so that were better than their major-league fathers. Look for 10 "respectful" sons to be posted later Thursday at Eye On Baseball.

Roberto/Sandy Alomar. Father: Sandy. Sandy Sr. played for 15 seasons in the majors, making a single All-Star Game. He hit .245 with just 13 career home runs and a .578 OPS. He obviously stuck around for defensive purposes, yet never won a Gold Glove. He did have two sons come along and show him how it was done. Robbie's a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest second basemen of all time. Sandy Jr. had far too many durability issues to come close to that type of stature, but he did make six All-Star Games, won a Rookie of the Year and played in two World Series.

Barry Bonds. Father: Bobby. Bobby was no slouch, that much is for certain. He was a great power-speed combo guy, garnering 332 home runs and 461 stolen bases in his 14 seasons. He finished in the top five of MVP voting twice and ended his career with an .824 OPS. His son, however, scoffed at the notion of simply living up to Dad. He obliterated Bobby as a player. Barry won seven MVPs and is one of the greatest players in baseball history.

Robinson Cano. Father: Jose. If you didn't know Jose Cano was a major-league player, you can rest easy. You are certainly not alone. Jose appeared in six games as an Astros pitcher in 1989. He had a 5.09 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 23 innings. Robinson's already one of the best second basemen in baseball and could very well be on his way to a Hall of Fame career, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, he's far exceeded his father already.

Prince Fielder. Father: Cecil. Cecil was one of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball for a good seven years. He led the majors in RBI for three straight seasons and was the first to break 50 homers in years. Prince, however, already has more wins above replacement and has been one of the most feared power hitters in baseball for the past five years. He's having a monster season, with an OPS over 1.000 and leading the NL in RBI. By the time the dust settles, Prince's big-league career will dwarf Cecil's. Remember, Cecil wasn't good until he was 26. Prince is 27 now.

Ken Griffey Jr. Father: Ken. Similar to the Bonds duo, Ken Sr. was hardly a bad player. He was a three-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion. He had a career .290 batting average and .359 OBP. He stole 200 bases while hitting 152 homers. But Junior was an icon, a 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glover who clubbed 630 home runs in his career.

Jason Kendall. Father: Fred. Fred appears to have been one of those catchers who just hangs on forever because he's a reliable backstop. He was a dreadful hitter, as evidenced by his career .234 average and .598 OPS. Using OPS-plus, he had only one above average season and was otherwise not even close to average. You won't mistake Jason for a Hall of Famer, but he was a three-time All-Star and a really good-hitting catcher for about six seasons. His career .366 OBP is very solid for a catcher, and you've got to respect those 189 steals.

Robb Nen. Father: Dick. The elder Nen played in parts of six MLB seasons, accruing 918 plate appearances. He hit just .224 with a .288 OBP. Robb was a dominant closer for about a decade, gathering 314 saves and 10 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of his career. He was a three-time All-Star, twice went to the World Series as closer -- winning once -- and moved the radar gun to triple digits on occasion. Even though Robb's career ended rather abruptly, it still was far superior to that of his father's.

Cal Ripken Jr. Father: Cal. Cal Sr. never made the bigs, but he did manage there. He had a far-from-illustrious minor-league career as a player. We know all about Cal Jr. and his consecutive games streak, along with the Rookie of the Year, two MVPs, all those All-Star Games, the 431 home runs and, well, you get the point.

Nick Swisher. Father: Steve. Steve made an All-Star Game in 1976, but he was overall a pretty bad hitter and never won a Gold Glove (he can thank Johnny Bench for that). Simply put, Steve Swisher was a nine-year major-leaguer who couldn't hit (.216/.279/.303) but stuck around because he was a backup catcher. Nick's a solid corner outfielder, having hit more than 20 homers six times and sporting a career .357 OBP. He's been to an All-Star Game and won the World Series, too.

Jayson Werth. Father: Dennis. Dennis Werth played in just 117 games in parts of four seasons, hitting .209 with three home runs and 15 RBI. He was basically just a pinch-hitter, getting 172 plate appearances in those 117 games. Jayson's been to an All-Star Game, two World Series, led the league in doubles, hit 129 bombs and now cashed in with a huge contract from a possibly up-and-coming team.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 12, 2011 11:34 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:32 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Prince leads Brewers into first

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince Fielder, Brewers -- Fielder's two-run homer capped a four-run sixth inning, giving the Brewers a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals and putting Milwaukee atop the National League Central. Fielder was 2 for 3 with a walk and leads the National League with 58 RBI. His homer was his eighth in the last 10 games -- a period that has seen the team go 8-2. The Brewers are 25-9 at home, the best mark in baseball.

Tommy Hanson, Braves -- The Braves right-hander struck out a career-high 14 batters in seven innings in a 4-1 victory over the Astros. Hanson gave up one run on three hits, walking two. Hanson's now 8-4 with a 2.48 ERA on the season and 3-0 with a 0.97 ERA in five career starts against Houston.

Vin Mazzaro, Royals -- Mazzaro entered Sunday's game with a 17.47 ERA, giving up six runs in five innings against Toronto last week. On Sunday, he didn't give up a single run in seven innings against the Angels, allowing just five hits. It wasn't easy, the Angels put their leadoff hitter on base in five of the first six innings, but the Royals turned five double plays to help him out. Mazzaro walked five and didn't strike out any batters, while just 53 of his 102 pitches went for strikes. Mazzaro not only picked up his first win of the season, but also saw his ERA drop by nearly seven runs to 10.80.


Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies -- Jimenez gave up 11 hits and seven runs (although just two earned) while striking out two and walking one in 5 1/3 innings of a 10-8 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday. Jimenez is 0-5 with a 7.05 ERA at Coors Field this season. All seven of the homers he's allowed this season -- including three against the Dodgers -- have come at home. Opponents are hitting .333 against him at home and .127 on the road.

Scott Sizemore, Athletics -- Sizemore was on the other side of this list just two days ago, but his error Sunday helped lead to the A's ninth loss in their last 10 games. Sizemore tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer, but in bottom half of the inning he threw wide to second on a double-play attempt with one out, allowing a run to score and leading to another. It was the 51st error of the season by the A's, second only to Texas for the most in the American League.

Adam Jones, Orioles -- Jones misplayed a liner by Evan Longoria in the eighth inning that then rolled to the wall and allowed Longoria to circle the bases for a two-run inside-the-park home run. "I missed the ball," Jones told MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko. "I had a shot at it. I just missed the ball." It wasn't a crucial pair of runs for the Rays, but it was an embarrassing moment for a former Gold Glove winner in a sloppy loss for the Orioles. 

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Cubs' debt could handcuff free agent spending

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tom RickettsCubs fans with dreams of either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder defecting to the Cubs from their current National League Central foes may want to lessen their expectations.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs' current debt structure will keep the team from signing any high-ticket free agents for the next two or three years. Wittenmyer spoke to a source with "first-hand knowledge of the Cubs' purchase deal and debt structure" and noted it's consistent with the message Tom Ricketts has been preaching since taking over the team that they team would build through player development.

Friday the Los Angeles Times reported the Cubs were one of nine teams that were in violation of baseball's debt service rules. However, commissioner Bud Selig told the Chicago Tribune that he has no concern about the Cubs' current debt level. According to the Tribune, the Ricketts financed more than $400 million to purchase the Cubs in 2009, a deal that was worth $845 million.

"I have zero concern," Selig told the Tribune of the Cubs. "Everything we've ever asked of them, they've done it and then more. … I'm happy that a story [like this] reflects badly on the Chicago Cubs under Tom Ricketts. There is no reason anybody should have economic concerns. … It's so unfair to Tom Ricketts and the family. I normally don't talk about our business, but I can't let this go on. This is wrong."

However, the paper notes Selig did not dispute the accuracy of the story, just the perception it creates that more than just the Mets and Dodgers are in dire financial trouble.

Selig said the team is free to do whatever they want without interference from his office. But just because the bank says it's not foreclosing on your house, that doesn't make going out and buying a new Bentley is a good idea.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Best first-round picks of the last decade



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With the MLB Draft beginning Monday night at 7 p.m. ET, the Eye on Baseball crew is going to look at the best -- and worst -- first-round draft picks by each team in the last 10 years. 

With the way the baseball draft goes, there are plenty of busts in the first round every year, but there are a lot of great players in the game that were drafted in the first round and the supplemental first round. Tomorrow we'll look at the misses, but for today, here are the hits.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Most first overall picks make the majors and many (Alex Rodrgiuez, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones) find their way to superstardom. Justin Upton may not be a superstar yet, but the first overall pick of the 2005 draft already has one All-Star appearance under his belt and will probably have more to come.

Atlanta Braves: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Braves took a local kid, outfielder Jason Heyward. Nice pick.

MLB Draft

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters is close to taking this spot, but for now it's still Nick Markakis, who was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Young Harris College in Georgia.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox had five picks in the first round and the supplemental first round in 2005, and as good as Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are, the pick here is right-hander Clay Buchholz, taken 42nd overall out of Angelina College.

Chicago Cubs: While his name is now a cautionary tale, it's easy to forget just how good Mark Prior was before arm trouble. Drafted with the second pick of the 2001 draft, he won six games in 2002 and 18 in 2003, his best season. Overall, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.

Gordon BeckhamChicago White Sox: Even with his struggles last year and this season, Gordon Beckham has been a productive player for the White Sox after he was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Cincinnati Reds: Taken out of high school with the 12th overall pick in 2005, Jay Bruce is the reigning National League Player of the Month and only seems to be getting better at 24. He already has 85 homers in his career, including a National League-best 17 this season.

Cleveland Indians: How bad have the Indians' first-round picks been the last decade? The 18 players taken by Cleveland in the first round and the supplemental first round over the last 10 years have collected just 506 games in the majors, 334 for Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in 2008) may eventually be their best in this list, but for right now it's the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who at least has 40 big-league wins.

Colorado Rockies: While the Indians' choice was tough, the Rockies' wasn't -- Troy Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2005.

Detroit Tigers: With the second pick in 2004, the Tigers took Justin Verlander.

Florida Marlins: The team's best pick of the last decade came in the fourth round of the 2002 draft when it took high school pitcher Josh Johnson, but as far as first-round picks, their best is right-hander Chris Volstad, taken with the 16th pick of the 2005 draft.

Chris BurkeHouston Astros: The Astros didn't have first-round picks in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and haven't had much production from any of them. There's really just two choices, Chris Burke (10th overall, 2001) and Jason Castro (10th overall, 2008). Castro has potential, but is out this season and has played in just 67 big league games, so the pick is Burke, who played in parts of six seasons with three teams, but his 18th-inning walk-off homer (left) to clinch the 2005 NLDS against the Braves is one of the franchise's signature moments.

Kansas City Royals: This choice could be much more difficult in five years, but for now it's pretty easy -- Zack Greinke. The Royals selected him sixth overall in the 2002 draft and he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver was the 12th pick of the 2004 draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers took lefty Clayton Kershaw with the seventh pick of the 2006 draft out of a Texas high school.

Milwaukee Brewers: This could change in a couple of years, but for now, Prince Fielder (seventh overall, 2002) leads Ryan Braun (fifth overall, 2005). Fielder is a free agent this offseason, while Braun is under contract through 2020.

Minnesota Twins: There were those who questioned the pick of hometown boy Joe Mauer with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of Prior. Not anymore.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon may not think he's a franchise player, but David Wright is the team's best first-round pick in the last decade, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2001.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have plenty of first-round picks on their roster, although few were their picks. Two key pitchers, starter Phil Hughes (23rd overall in 2004) and reliever Joba Chamberlain (41st overall in 2006), were Yankee picks. The pick here is Chamberlain, who has allowed fewer runs in a similar number of innings and is currently pitching.

Oakland Athletics: A chapter of the book Moneyball focuses on the 2002 MLB Draft and Billy Beane's distaste of drafting high school players. In the book, the team is excited the Brewers take a player they won't touch (Fielder), and the team also doesn't want Zack Greinke, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels or Matt Cain -- all high school player. But they get the man they want the most, Nick Swisher at No. 16. It's a good pick, as is Joe Blanton at 24 -- but it's hardly Greinke, Fielder, Hamels or Cain. The team also picked Jeremy Brown, a catcher out of Alabama, and Mark Teahen in the supplemental round. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Another pick from the Moneyball draft, the pick after the A's took Swisher, the Phillies snatched up Hamels, the left-hander from a California high school with the 17th pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2005 draft featured six players listed as center fielders taken in the first round -- and all six have made the big leagues. The second one taken was the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick. The others were Cameron Maybin (10), Bruce (12), Trevor Crowe (14), Ellsbury (23) and Colby Rasmus (28).

San Diego Padres: The Padres may have had one of the biggest busts of the last decade in Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004 draft, but he's not been their only bad pick. The best of the lot was Khalil Greene, taken No. 13 in 2002, who had a promising start of his career, but his troubles with social anxiety disorder drove him from the game. Still, he's the Padres' career leader in homers by a shortstop with 84.

San Francisco Giants: Nine teams passed on the right-hander out of Washington, some scared off by his funky motion and small stature. Tim Lincecum proved them wrong.

Evan LongoriaSeattle Mariners: Adam Jones (37th pick in 2003) played in just 73 games for the Mariners, but was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove with the Orioles in 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals: With a compensation pick for the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals used the 28th pick of the 2005 draft to take Rasmus out of an Alabama High School.

Tampa Bay Rays: Were Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds better than Evan Longoria? The Royals and Rockies took those two right-handers with the first two picks of the 2006 draft, leaving Longoria (left) for the Rays.

Texas Rangers: Funny story here -- in 2001 I was working at the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia and was covering the NCAA Regional in Athens when a Teixeira-led Georgia Tech squad was bounced from the tournament. After his last game, a kid from the student radio station asked Teixeira if he thought his poor showing in the regional would hurt his draft status. The Georgia Tech coach, Danny Hall, took the microphone before Teixeira could answer and said, "No." So did the Rangers, who took him fifth overall.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays took lefty Ricky Romero out of Cal State Fullerton with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Washington Nationals: Another pick that could change with the emergence of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but that's still several years away because of the fourth pick of the 2005 draft,  Ryan Zimmerman.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 3:49 pm
 

NL All-Star balloting update: Cards lead way



By Matt Snyder


Major League Baseball has issued a press release with the first All-Star balloting update of the season, and the NL starting lineup would include three Cardinals if the voting ended right now. The leaders by position (including three outfielders, of course): Albert Pujols, Brandon Phillips, Placido Polanco, Troy Tulowitzki, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. (Full ballot update at MLB.com)

A few things immediately jump out:

- Jose Reyes is the most qualified candidate at shortstop, despite Tulowitzki's hot start. Reyes leads the NL in hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases and is hitting .335 with an .876 OPS. He doesn't even have half the votes Tulo does. Oh, and Jimmy Rollins (.265 with a .698 OPS) is second. At least Reyes is in third, but it's odd to see a player in New York so under-represented in the voting.

- The starter at first base has gotta be Joey Votto over Pujols. It's not even close this season. Votto is second, trailing by about 182,000 votes. Prince Fielder (third) and Ryan Howard (fourth) should also be ahead of Pujols. Remember, it's for the 2011 season.

- Speaking of which, Chase Utley is third in voting at second base.

- Dodgers outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have very strong cases in the outfield, and they check in at spots four and five in the voting, respectively. Still, who are you going to bump between Braun, Holliday and Berkman? Maybe we can petition to move Braun to third base in order to maximize the offense?

- The biggest snub appears to be Jay Bruce. The young Reds' slugger was been an absolute man-child in May and leads the NL in home runs, RBI and total bases. He's 12th place in votes for outfielders. Looks like Reds fans need to get over to MLB.com and support their team. Phillips leads at second because there aren't many good candidates, but Votto and Bruce should be starting and aren't yet in that position.

- Obviously, Posey can't start because of his season-ending injury and NL manager Bruce Bochy will name a replacement if Posey wins the voting. So the catcher voting -- at least as long as he's at the top -- is irrelevant.

Voting continues on MLB.com through June 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET. There will be an update on AL voting Wednesday.

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