Tag:Elliot Johnson
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:43 am
 

Homegrown Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Josh Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

No team has had as much success drafting and developing its players like the Tampa Bay Rays. The one-time laughingstock of MLB is a model franchise to even the biggest spenders. The Rays have had big name leave, but keep replacing them with younger, seemingly better players. A year ago, the Rays lost Carl Crawford because they could no longer afford him. By the end of the season, Crawford and the Red Sox were sitting at home while the Rays were in the playoffs -- again. The reason is because they grown enough crops on the farm to have a successful harvest nearly every fall.

Lineup

1. Carl Crawford, LF
2. Desmond Jennings, RF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Josh Hamilton, DH
5. B.J. Upton, CF
6. Aubrey Huff, 1B
7. Reid Brignac, 2B
8. John Jaso, C
9. Elliot Johnson, SS

Starting Rotation

1. David Price
2. James Shields
3. Jeremy Hellickson
4. Wade Davis
5. Jeff Niemann

Bullpen

Closer - Dan Wheeler
Set up - Matt Moore, Andy Sonnanstine, Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, Jason Hammel, Jose Veras

Notable Bench Players

The Rays have a couple of decent bats off the bench in Delmon Young, Matt Diaz, Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu.

What's Good?

Crawford and Hamilton to go along with Longoria, Upton and Jennings? That helps, that's for sure. The rotation is exactly the same -- and that's a good thing. You've also got Moore sitting there. The starters are an embarrassment of riches. It's one of the main reasons the Rays can still compete in the AL East with a smaller payroll.

What's Not?

The bottom half of the lineup isn't great -- especially with Johnson at short. But there's enough help at the top of the lineup to make up for the bottom. The bench isn't deep defensively, but it's the American League so you don't need quite as much as you do in the National League. The bullpen isn't full of experienced relievers, but there are some quality arms that can switch from starting to relieving.

Comparison to real 2011

The same pitching staff plus Crawford and Hamilton make up for losing some of its Frankenstein bullpen and Johnny Damon. I put Hamilton at DH to try to save some wear and tear on his body, he can still play in the field every once in a while and give Jennings a day off and have someone like Young DH. Or Young can play in the outfield. The bullpen might be the most interesting question, but I think the offense and the starting pitching are enough to improve, if slightly, on the team's 91-71 finish.

Next: Philadelphia Phillies

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Posted on: July 2, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: July 2, 2011 12:26 am
 

Four Rays ejected in one inning



By Matt Snyder


Well, this is something you don't see every day. The Rays had a manager and three players ejected in the same half-inning. It was the top of the eighth and the Rays faced a 2-0 deficit to the Cardinals. Relief pitcher J.P. Howell, manager Joe Maddon and obviously several other Rays felt Howell was being squeezed by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza. Maddon was tossed after Lance Berkman drew a walk on a close pitch with two outs. A few batters later, Colby Rasmus put the game out of reach with a three-run home run. Before Rasmus had even completed his trot, Howell went into tirade mode. Just watch the highlight.

Check out the video on MLB.com by clicking here.

Evidently, Howell and Maddon weren't alone in their feelings on the umpiring, because both David Price and Elliot Johnson were ejected from the Rays' bench for comments they were making from the dugout.

So, yeah, the Rays had four players ejected in the same half-inning. That's some efficient work in getting after the umpires.

Full game recap/box score

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 2:23 pm
 

Maddon going 'unconventional' against Marcum

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Rays manager Joe Maddon is known to buck the old managerial book, but today's is a little different.

Against Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum, Maddon is loading up on right-handed hitters. He announced the move on Twitter:


Joe Maddon 

That means the team is keeping Matt Joyce, Johnny Damon, John Jaso and Reid Brignac on the bench. That means Ben Zobrist in right for Joyce, Sean Rodriguez at second, Elliot Johnson at shortstop and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate. Johnson and Zobrist are the switch hitters.

Maddon's one of baseball's best managers, and if I had the No. 1 pick in a managerial draft, he'd be my choice. That said, I'm not sure about this one. The rationale is likely that right-handers will have a better chance against Marcum's excellent changeup.

The numbers, however, don't exactly reflect that.

So far this season, right-handed batters are hitting .160/.225/.251 against Marcum and lefties are hitting .274/.312/.415 against him. Of the eight homers Marcum has allowed this season, five have been to left-handed batters in 20 fewer plate appearances. His career numbers are a lot closer, as right-handers hit .239/.297/.417 against him and lefties hit .241/.304/.401.

As for the two Rays switch hitters, Zobrist's numbers are pretty similar as a right-handed batter and a left-handed batter; Johnson is much better from the right side (.273/.400/.303) than the left (.167/.180/.354). 

Of course, Marcum is in his first year with the Brewers and these Rays are familiar with the former Blue Jay. As noted in Jonah Keri's The Extra 2%Maddon used a similar strategy against Marcum last season and the right-hander was 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against the Rays. The Rays won three of those games. In the first, Marcum allowed 10 hits and five runs (four earned), but threw eight innings of one-run ball before giving up three hits and four runs in the ninth. The Rays pounded him in their next matchup, with 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. The second two matchups were less successful for Maddon's team, with Marcum going six innings each time, allowing five hits and one run in one start and six hits and three runs in the other.

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Rays down another shortstop

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Elliot JohnsonWith Reid Brignac on the bereavement list, the last thing the Rays needed was an injury at shortstop. I bring this up, of course, because shortstop Elliot Johnson left Monday's game with left knee soreness.

The Rays moved Sean Rodriguez from second to short, moved Ben Zobrist from right field to second and Matt Joyce went into the game in right.

Johnson left the game in the sixth inning. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times wrote Johnson was hobbling since being thrown out trying to steal third in the fifth inning.

The team called up Felipe Lopez yesterday to take Brignac's place. Lopez was an All-Star shortstop in 2005. He started 19 games at shortstop last season for the Cardinals.

Brignac is expected back by Wednesday after the death of his grandfather.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 9:59 am
 

Pepper: Peavy, Posada, Pudge and More



BASEBALL TODAY: What should White Sox fans expect from Jake Peavy tonight? Will Jered Weaver get back on track in Seattle? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi with the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Baseball Today.

By Matt Snyder


MORE POSADA-GIRARDI FEUD: Evidently, the Jorge Posada-Joe Girardi issue Saturday night had been brewing for some time -- at least according to the New York Daily News. Reportedly, Posada and Girardi began to butt heads back in 2005 when Girardi was the Yankees' bench coach and Posada was the everyday catcher. Girardi was "heavily involved" in the game-planning in terms of how to work opposing hitters, but reportedly Posada would routinely deviate from the plans during games. So then Girardi would call Posada out, which made Posada angry.

"Jorge felt everything he did behind the plate was being second-guessed by Girardi on the bench," the Daily News' anonymous source said. "The way Jorge called a game was a big issue for Girardi."

The source went on: "Girardi couldn't wait to get him out from behind the plate," the source said. "He hated the way he called a game."

Whether or not this is true, I'm just ready for it to all be in the past. Permanently.

ON THE FLIP SIDE: With the whole Posada drama in New York, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post takes the time to point out that Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez could have very well done something similar considering his role has been severely downgraded this season as Wilson Ramos has taken over as the starter. It hasn't been lost on Rodriguez's teammates, either. “He comes in here, they hit him eighth, he doesn’t say a thing,” one Nationals player said, motioning toward Rodriguez. I believe the difference is that Rodriguez has had to bounce around from team to team, so he's had the chance to be humbled and avoid a sense of entitlement. But that doesn't make Posada right. He could learn a thing or two from one of the best catchers to ever play the game. (Nationals Journal)

SHAKEUP COMING: The Giants' offense is getting to be more and more of an issue with each passing day, as they've now scored the least amount of runs in the National League. There's talk of a shakeup coming with the starting lineup, specifically the infield, in an attempt to get more offense. In fact, the Giants might recall Brandon Belt, play him at first, and then move Aubrey Huff to third base until Pablo Sandoval is healthy again. That's a drastic move defensively, since Huff hasn't played third in a few years and wasn't good there to begin with. It's just how desperate they're getting for more punch. (Mercurynews.com)

MORE JOHNSON, LESS BRIGNAC: Rays manager Joe Maddon said that Elliot Johnson is likely to see the majority of the playing time moving forward at shortstop while Reid Brignac will play less. Considering Johnson is a switch-hitter and Brignac swings lefty (with the majority of opposing starters being right-handed), it won't be a straight platoon in the least. "I don't want to be committed to that. You're going to see more of Elliot. Let's put it that way," Maddon said. "I think he's done a nice job." (TampaBay.com) Johnson is 3-7 with two home runs and a stolen base in his past two starts. Brignac is hitting just .179 with a dreadful .402 OPS this season.

GUT FEELING: The Mariners are about to receive a shot in the arm -- both offensively and defensively -- Wednesday, as Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will finally be activated from the disabled list. He'd been sidelined since the middle of spring training with a stomach ailment that had bothered him a good portion of 2010 as well. Expect Gutierrez to immediately take over in center for Mike Saunders, who has been fine in center but brutal offensively (.171/.222/.265). Gutierrez is superb in the outfield and a capable hitter. He hit .245 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI last season, but remember, he was plagued by the stomach issue. In 2009, he hit .283 with 18 homers, 70 RBI and a .764 OPS. (MLB.com)

REMEMBER ME? Dallas McPherson was once a top-20 prospect in all of baseball. He was the Brandon Wood of the early-to-mid 2000s -- expected to be a big power source for the Angels, only to flop several times before the Angels finally gave up on him. The difference was McPherson could blame some of his woes on injuries and he wasn't near as bad, sporting a .755 OPS in 117 games for the Angels in parts of three seasons. Still he hadn't been in the majors since 2008 ... until Tuesday night. McPherson is now a member of the White Sox and got a hit in his big-league at-bat in three seasons. It has been a long road back through a back surgery and lingering problems. "I've got to be honest, I wasn't sure I'd hear those words again," he said in discussing his promotion back to the majors. (Chicago Sun-Times)

FLASHBACK CAPS FOR SALE: The Angels are going to wear four different throwback jerseys this season on Friday home games, in what they're calling "Flashback Fridays." Well, the lids will be available for sale, which is sweet. I'd love to get the one with the lower-case "a" with a halo over it. Awesome. (The Ballcap Blog)

HIGH PRAISE: It's become pretty common knowledge at this point that Brandon Phillips is the best defensive second baseman in baseball, but that doesn't mean it hurts for him to hear the words from a former Reds second baseman -- one who is in the Hall of Fame. "He's unbelievable to me, with his range and everything," said Joe Morgan. "I think he's the best defensive second baseman in the game. He's athletic and he's willing to take chances, which I think is what separates him." (Cincinnati.com)

DREAM COME TRUE: Tony Campana grew up in the Cincinnati area and was able to make his major-league debut Tuesday night in Cincinnati -- only it was for the Cubs. He didn't disappoint his reported 50-plus friends and family in attendance, either, as Campana picked up an RBI double in his first big-league at-bat. He scored the go-ahead run an inning earlier when he had entered as a pinch-runner. "It's pretty much a dream come true, other than the outcome of the game," Campana said. "I couldn't be happier to come out, get a hit, score a run and get an RBI." Oh, yeah, that outcome. The Cubs blew the game again. This time in the eighth. (MLB.com)

RAIN DELAY FUN: All kinds of stuff happens when baseball players are waiting out rain delays. Here's a great video of some jousting with bats, courtesy of college teams Radford and High Point.



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Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 12:01 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/16: Super Nova

Ivan Nova

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Ivan Nova, Yankees -- The right-hander competing for a spot in the Yankees' rotation showed he could handle AL East competition on Wednesday, dominating the Orioles. Nova didn't allow a hit in six innings, and just two O's reached base. Nova hit Robert Andino to lead off the game and Adam Jones reached on an error in the fourth inning. Nova faced 19 batters, one over the minimum, throwing 59 pitches, 41 for strikes.

2. Elliot Johnson, Rays -- Competing for a spot on the Rays' bench, Johnson -- who has mostly played at second base -- made his spring debut in center field, and made quite the impression. Johnson stole three bases -- including a steal of home in the sixth inning, also had a double and as ingle, two runs and two RBI.

3. Joe Mauer, Twins -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer made his spring debut on Wednesday and singled on the second pitch he saw. Mauer served as the team's designated hitter and is expected to catch on Thursday in a minor league game.

3 DOWN

1. Tyler Clippard, Nationals -- The reliever coughed up his team's four-run lead by walking the first two batters he faced, then giving up two doubles, a triple and an RBI single to score the winning run.

2. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks -- Another reliever, another disaster. Putz faced five batters and didn't retire one. He did, however, get credit for 1/3 of an inning because Erick Aybar was caught stealing. He walked three, gave up two hits and four runs. He also added a wild pitch to boot. But hey, he was throwing 92-94 mph, so there's that.

3. Daniel Schlereth, Tigers -- Well, while we're at it, why not make it a trilogy? Lefty Daniel Schlereth faced four batters Wednesday against the Cardinals and walked all four of them. Coming into Wednesday's game, he'd walked just one batter and hadn't allowed a run in 2 1/3 innings.

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