Tag:Josh Outman
Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Rockies won't limit Nicasio in spring training

Juan Nicasio

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Want a feel-good story? How about Juan Nicasio?

The Rockies' right-hander suffered a broken neck last August when he was hit by an Ian Desmond liner. Not only is Nicasio in camp with the Rockies, he's in line for a spot in the team's rotation.

"I am one of those people that didn't think we would be talking about him on Feb. 16 on how he has a very, very good chance to be a member of our rotation. But that's where we are at," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. "He's coming into camp with the mindset that he's making the team."

Tracy said Nicasio will have no limitations this spring and will even participate in the team's "ragball drills" where pitchers are graded on their ability to field comebackers.

As a rookie in 2012, Nicasio was 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 13 starts, dominating at Coors Field where he was 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in seven starts (and 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA in six starts away from Coors).

The Rockies are set at the top of their rotation with Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin, but after that, the final three rotation spots are up for grabs. As Matt Snyder pointed out last week, there's plenty of candidates, with few answers. Among those gunning for a spot in the rotation in addition to Nicasio are Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Guillermo Moscoso, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Jamie Moyer.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:38 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Spring position battles: National League West



By Matt Snyder


We are finally just a few short weeks away from spring training beginning, so let's continue looking at some positional battles that will unfold through February and March. Monday, we looked at the AL West and now it's time to look at the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks
None: None yet.

I understand this probably comes off as a bit lame, but look at the D-Backs depth chart and tell me where there are any legitimate battles. From the starting lineup to the rotation to the bullpen, it would appear the defending NL West champs have very few question marks heading into the 2012 season. I would keep an eye on last year's first-round pick, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (maybe pushing Josh Collmenter to the long relief role at some point in June or July?), but it's very doubtful he fits in the rotation out of spring. He got knocked around (7.56 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) in four Double-A starts last season. So I've got nothing here. They are already set.

San Francisco Giants
First Base: Aubrey Huff vs. Brandon Belt

Is it time to pass the torch yet? The Giants had no patience with Belt last season, as the 23-year-old prospect was shipped back to the minors in April after just 60 plate appearances. He came back to stay in the middle of July, hitting .231/.296/.469 the rest of the way, but that was only in 142 plate appearances. And he did show good power, hitting eight homers in that stretch. In 111 career Triple-A games, Belt has a .441 on-base percentage and 20 home runs. Meanwhile, Huff is 35 and coming off a season where he hit .246/.306/.370 with just 12 homers in 579 plate appearances. With the additions of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, it's unlikely the Giants shove Belt back in the outfield initially, so they must make a decision here. Do they leave Belt in Triple-A again, where he's proven he's a stud, have him ride pine in the bigs, or just move on past Huff and let Belt have the job?

Shorstop: Ryan Theriot vs. Brandon Crawford vs. Mike Fontenot

The 25-year-old Crawford is easily the best defender of this group, but at some point the Giants will need some offense. Crawford is a career .234/.291/.327 hitter in Triple-A. In 220 big-league plate appearances, Crawford hit .204/.288/.296 last season, so he's a complete offensive liability. Ryan Theriot hit .271 with a .321 OBP last year, and he also has no power. He does, however, have a career .282 average and .344 OBP. Fontenot hit only .227/.304/.377 last season, but he certainly has the most power of the trio here. Basically, there isn't really a good choice, but there's still one to be made. Of note: Fontenot and Crawford hit left handed, so maybe Theriot ends up platooning with one of them.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Left Field: Jerry Sands vs. Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Juan Rivera

Did Sands' month of September give the Dodgers confidence he's ready to take over in left right away? It's possible. After hitting pretty poorly in his stint earlier in the season, Sands hit .342/.415/.493 with two homers, nine RBI and five doubles in 83 plate appearances in the last month. He's only 24, but he's also hit for great power in Triple-A (29 home runs in 418 plate appearances in Albuquerque last year). This one is all about him, with Gwynn being the backup option and Rivera being the desperation option.

Closer: Javy Guerra vs. Kenley Jansen

Guerra is the incumbent and successfully converted 21 of 23 save chances last season. He's only 26 and posted a 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in his 46 2/3 innings last season, too. So he's the obvious closer, right? I'm not so sure. The 6-foot-5 Jansen is only 24 and has elite closer written all over him. He had a rough start, but from June on, Jansen posted a 0.55 ERA, 0.67 WHIP with four saves, seven holds and zero blown saves. His stuff is nasty, as he struck out 96 hitters in 53 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like the sky is the limit, so would the Dodgers really leave him in the eighth inning due to Guerra's 2011 performance?

Colorado Rockies
No. 3-5 starting pitchers: Alex White vs. Drew Pomeranz vs. Juan Nicasio vs. Guillermo Moscoso vs. Tyler Chatwood vs. Josh Outman vs. Jamie Moyer

After stockpiling pitchers the entire offseason, it wasn't too surprising to see the Rockies trade away both Kevin Slowey and Jason Hammel. Of course, they got back Jeremy Guthrie and still have an absurd logjam behind Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin. And Jorge De La Rosa will be back at some point later in the season (he had Tommy John surgery last June). White and Pomeranz are both young and inexperienced enough to justify more time in Triple-A, but they probably have the best stuff of anyone on the list. Chatwood got plenty of MLB experience last season, but he's still only 22 and his numbers weren't good. It's hard not to root for Nicasio, as he's coming back from a broken neck. He made some good starts for Colorado last summer, too. Outman's never really shown more than mediocrity and Moyer is 49. I very much like Moscoso's chances,  for one, as he's 28 and had a 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season for Oakland. The ballpark difference in home games will be bad, but the NL West has fewer fearful hitters than the AL West and some spacious parks. So I'll officially predict Moscoso gets in, but beyond him, it's a complete toss up.

San Diego Padres
Catcher: Nick Hundley vs. John Baker vs. Yasmani Grandal

Hundley has had parts of four seasons to prove himself. Last season, he did hit well, with a .288/.347/.477 line, but injuries limited him to just 82 games. His career high, due to many different circumstances, is 85. The 31-year-old Baker has had the past couple seasons ruined due to an arm injury (Tommy John surgery and rehab took out nearly all of last season), but back in 2008-09 he hit .281/.364/.423 for the Marlins. The two could actually platoon, because Baker hits lefty while Hundley hits righty. Grandal, though, has loads of talent. He was the Reds' first rounder in 2010, is a switch hitter and has a career minor-league line of .303/.401/.488. He's only played four games in Triple-A, though, so he'd probably have to go nuts with his bat in the spring to get a shot out of the gate. The smart money is on the Padres going with Hundley as the primary starter, Baker as a backup who sees a good amount of playing time and Grandal spending most of the season in Triple-A. Maybe even a platoon with Hundley and Baker. Still, there's enough here for a potentially good three-way battle this spring. And you never know on Grandal. He jumped from High-A to Triple-A in 2011 and his experience before that was just eight Rookie League games in 2010. Maybe he's one of those guys that doesn't need much minor-league seasoning.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:46 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:25 pm
 

A's trade Moscoso, Outman for Seth Smith



By Matt Snyder


Billy Beane's Oakland A's continued their extreme offseason makeover Monday with yet another trade. This time Beane shipped pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso to the Rockies for outfielder Seth Smith -- who has been involved in trade rumors throughout the offseason.

Smith, 29, has served mostly as a fourth outfielder type for the Rockies since 2008, but he got a career high 533 plate appearances last season. He hit .284/.347/.483 with 15 homers, 32 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He hasn't played center field since 2008, so he's best used as a corner outfielder. He'll likely be the starter in left field with Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. Of course, prospect Michael Taylor is going to figure in the mix at some point.

More A's, Rockies moves
One item of note: Smith's career splits indicate he was hugely helped by Coors Field. He's hit .296/.366/.559 at home and .257/.332/.418 on the road. And Oakland plays in one of the worst hitters' parks in the majors.

Moscoso, 28, was 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 128 innings last season. Outman, 27, was 3-5 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. And, again, we'll note that these two pitchers are going from having a very pitcher-friendly home park to one of the most hitter-friendly yards in the bigs.

It will be interesting to see how the rotation battle shakes out for the Rockies. Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel are surely in and it's a good bet Alex White and Drew Pomeranz get every chance to win jobs as well. Then they have Moscoso, Outman, Kevin Slowey, Esmil Rogers, Juan Nicasio, Clayton Mortensen and Tyler Chatwood seemingly competing for one spot. 

On the other side, the A's are still pretty stocked with young arms, but not near as many as before all these moves. The rotation appears to be: Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and either Jarrod Parker or Tyson Ross. Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden are still each recovering from arm surgery. McCarthy is a free agent after the 2012 season, too, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him traded at some point before July 31 as well.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:19 am
 

Homegrown Team: Philadelphia Phillies



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.

The Phillies recently doled out $50 million to Jonathan Papelbon and last year gave Cliff Lee $120 million -- make no mistake, the Phillies are a large-market club using its money to lure top free agents. They've also sent prospects to get Roy Halladay in recent years, so there's been enough talent in the system to lure other teams into making big trades. This team knows what it wants and goes and get it -- by any means necessary. In this exercise, that's not possible. The Phillies, in this hypothetical, aren't the prohibitive favorite they were for the majority of 2011, but they're hardly the Cubs.

Lineup

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Marlon Byrd, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Starting Rotation

1. Cole Hamels
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Vance Worley
4. Randy Wolf
5. Brett Myers

Bullpen

Closer - Ryan Madson
Set up - Antonio Bastardo, Alfredo Simon, Brad Ziegler, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick
Long - J.A. Happ

Notable Bench Players

Nick Punto can play a ton of positions, but, well... There's also Pat Burrell and Jason Jaramillo, which may not be deepest bench.

What's Good?

The lineup -- when healthy -- is still pretty darn good. The rotation, while not exactly the historic rotation that the Phillies rolled out in 2011, is nothing to sneeze at and the bullpen is deep and talented. There's a bit to like here in all aspects of the game.

What's Not?

The health question, and age, are huge here. Utley, while still a very good player when he's on the field, he's had a multitude of injuries. Rolen played in just 65 games last season (for the Reds). Brown has yet to establish himself as an everyday player, but he is talented. And then there's the bench, which has Punto to play every position, but not much else. 

Comparison to real 2011

This team may be in the wild card race, but there's no way it finishes 102-60.  That said, there's a chance it could compete for the NL East title (even though I do love the Braves chances in this exercise). The starting pitching isn't as good, but the bullpen has enough arms to keep things close. There's also so depth that's not listed on this roster in guys like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman that aren't going to wow you, but certainly help depth-wise and could play a role as a spot starter or in the bullpen in the course of a long season. The Phillies may buy some players, but they've also developed enough to stay competitive.

Next: Chicago White Sox

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 1:08 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Garcia dazzles Cubs

Garcia

By Evan Brunell


Jamie Garcia, Cardinals -- Jaime Garcia was once a solid prospect turned afterthought after Tommy John surgery in 2009. But he impressed greatly as a rookie season, posting a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts. No one was quite sure he was for real, but he most certainly is, following up his worst start of the year with an eight-inning gem against the Cubs, allowing four hits and just one run and posting eight strikeouts with a walk. A dominating performance that lowered his ERA to 3.05, it's clear Garcia is a legitimate ace.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- Q had a big day as DH, walking three times and blasting a 3-run home run to pace Chicago to victory 6-4 over the Tigers. That ended a nine-game losing streak against Detroit. Quentin's blast was his 14th of the year, pacing him for 38 bombs on the season. He may not hit for average (.260) but he can sure bring the power.

Elvis Andrus, Rangers -- The Rangers had a lot of star performers, with Josh Hamilton and Alexi Ogando worthy of this list. Andrus was just as impressive with a 4-for-5 performance out of the two-hole with two runs and three RBI, with a double attached. Andrus came up through the minors more known for his defense, but is his stick isn't all that bad. It's never going to be his forte, but he's at .277/.318/.350 after the performance. He's not as patient last season, but now has a higher average and a touch more power to speak for being less patient, which actually makes him less valuable.



Carlos Santana, Indians -- Santana has been disappointing so far this season, as the catcher was supposed to be a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat, especially after slashing .260/.401/.467 in 192 at-bats before his 2010 season ended when Ryan Kalish ran into him at home plate. (Where was all this outrage about running into catchers then?) Anyhoo, Santana was eventually dropped from cleanup to lower in the order after his struggles got too out of hand. He had seven hits in 17 at-bats with three doubles, prompting his move back to cleanup against the Rangers. He promptly went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts to drag his overall line down to .228/.367/.386. Think they drop him down again Saturday?

Zach Britton, Orioles
-- Britton tosses his second straight poor outing, spiking his ERA to a still-impressive 3.33 by allowing five earned runs to the Blue Jays, with an additional two earned. He made it through five innings with 81 pitches and gave up a J.P. Arencibia grand slam in the fifth to cap his night. It's possible htiters are starting to get a book on Britton and it's working, but it's only two starts. He'l draw the Athletics on Wednesday against the below pitcher.

Josh Outman, Athletics -- Outman and Clay Buchholz both tried to beat each other for worst outings, and the lefty gets the nod for a 2 2/3 inning effort, giving up four earned runs plus one unearned in his third 2011 start. Outman had zero control even though that's not evidenced by his one walk -- he tossed 67 pitches with only 36 crossing the plate. Outman has also struggled in Triple-A as well, but is in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery that knocked him out for 1 1/2 seasons. He doesn't have the stuff for the majors right now, but the A's are desperate for arms.

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 7:26 pm
 

A's make multiple pitching changes

By Evan Brunell

RossThe Oakland A's made a blizzard of moves Friday, playing starters Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list as the most notable transactions.

Ross (pictured) suffered an oblique strain (surprise!) and could miss over a month, while McCarthy has a stress reaction in his shoulder that has bothered him for a few years and apparently has flared up. That's 40 percent of the rotation -- gone. And those were some pretty valuable members, too.

Ross had a 2.75 ERA in six starts and three relief appearances, with the rookie backing up his production with a 3.66 xFIP. McCarthy, meanwhile, had revitalized his career in Oakland out of the No. 5 spot in the rotation, throwing up an identical 3.39 ERA and xFIP although you wouldn't know it from his 1-4 record.

Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer and Guillermo Moscoso are potential replacements in the rotation, although Outman has been hit around in Triple-A as he returns from Tommy John surgery; Cramer has his own injury concerns to work through; Moscoso seems to be the one most likely to get the call -- or at least one of the two calls. There isn't a need for a No. 4 or 5 starter until Monday, so the A's will delay a decision until then.

Reliever Trystan Magnuson was also optioned after coughing up six runs over two innings Thursday. To replace the three open spots, Joey Devine, Jerry Blevins and Fautino de los Santos were recalled. De los Santos, acquired in the Nick Swisher trade way back in 2008, was converted to relief for the 2010 season and is making his major-league debut after coughing up just three runs in 15 1/3 innings split between Double- and Triple-A. The 25-year-old added 21 punchouts and eight walks.  Blevins, meanwhile, was with the team just last week before being sent down to work on control problems, but events necessitated his return. Blevins gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A, so he's really nothing more than filler and can be expected to be sent back down shortly.

Devine will return to the majors for the first time since 2008, when he had a sterling 0.59 ERA in 45 2/3 innings. Injuries have robbed him of the years since, only returning to a mound this season for Triple-A and contributing 12 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out 17 and walking one. In other words, looking just like the Devine of old. It's been a long road back for the 27-year-old.

And here's what McCarthy had to say about his DL trip on Twitter:



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Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 4:34 pm
 

Return from T.J. surgery tough for Outman, Devine

OutmanBy Evan Brunell

The comeback from Tommy John surgery is a lot more difficult than it may seem these days, with pitchers back in a year and some better than ever.

But the comeback trail is a hard one to bear with hours upon hours of rest and rehab before even picking up a baseball. And even when returning to game action, control is still shaky as pitchers have to relearn mechanics and proprioception, as Sports Illustrated notes in a look at Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation. Proprioception, in short, is the person's ability to sense where certain parts of our body are in space. Relearning that sense is difficult for pitchers to master after surgery.

Both Joey Devine and Josh Outman are pitchers currently returning from Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2009, which puts their current timeframe well beyond the usual nine to 12 months needed to return from T.J. surgery. The Athletics are finding the road back harder than anticipated, and Outman has all but accepted he will likely have to go to Triple-A to continue his work to iron out small tweaks to his mechanics that need to occur before he can face major leaguers.

"We've talked about bad habits I've had in the past, and [pitching coach] Ron [Romanick] has noticed me doing a few things here and there all of a sudden," Outman (pictured) told MLB.com. "It's really nothing major, just a few details out of order. I've been out there every morning, and things are slowly coming back."

Devine is in a similar situation, struggling with mechanics in the process of battling a stiff arm. Like Outman, it is unlikely Devine will be able to break camp with the big-league team.

 

"I'm doing stuff that my body hasn't done in two years, so my arm's reacting a little different," Devine said. "I've been gripping the ball too much, too hard, and it's causing me to lock up. I have to get back to strengthening the biceps back up and throwing with a smoother delivery.

"My biceps, it's almost like it shut down. I guess, self-consciously, when the arm wasn't working, I thought I had to grip the ball harder. Well, that just causes bad habits, because I couldn't feel my release point, and I was going all over the place."

As a result, Devine's progression has been scaled back to correct his mechanics. He had an off day Sunday and will throw again on Monday before evaluating his readiness to return to game action.

Tommy John surgery has befell two of the more well-known names in baseball lately, with Stephen Strasburg undergoing the knife in September and Adam Wainwright suffering the same injury at the start of spring training. Their returns will be heavily scrutinized, as the progressions of Outman and Devine prove that returning from Tommy John surgery is no picnic.

 

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Posted on: October 12, 2010 8:21 pm
 

Devine, Outman on way back from Tommy John

Josh Outman Two Athletics underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2009 season and suffered multiple setbacks that knocked them out for the entier 2010 season.

Now, Joey Devine and Josh Outman (pictured) are back on track.

Devine, who tossed 45 2/3 innings of relief in his first season with Oakland, had a stellar 0.59 ERA (3.29 xFIP) as a 24-year-old. Despite missing just over two months with right elbow inflammation. That ballooned into Tommy John surgery after spring training the following year when Devine couldn't make a comeback. Complications knocked him out for all of 2010 as well, so the 27-year-old has spent two years away from the game. That's why he's excited he got to pitch in the instructional league as part of his rehab.

"I threw the ball well," Devine told MLB.com . "I threw all my pitches. My location wasn't great, but that's to be expected when you're still trying to build arm strength. Everything else felt good."

Likewise, starting pitcher Outman broke into the team in 2008, but looked to be en route to locking up a permanent spot in the rotation in 2009 before getting hurt. In 12 starts and two relief appearances, Outman had a 3.48 ERA (4.36 xFIP) over 67 1/3 innings. And then suddenly the lefty was undergoing the knife.

"I'm starting to get to where I feel like I'm really pitching again, rather than just waiting for something to hurt," he said. Due for one more rehab start before shutting down, Outman said his first start was "discouraging" but that the last three have been solid. "I'm not quite back to where I was. There are still aches and pains, but I think that's just from getting my pitch count up again. The important thing is, I feel more relaxed -- and I haven't pitched relaxed in a long time. It will be good to kind of finish on a high note."

Outman is expected to compete with Vin Mazzaro, Bobby Cramer and Tyson Ross for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. His stiffest competition will be against Mazarro.

"I want to compete for it, earn it," Outman, 26, said of the rotation spot. "I don't know what they're going to do, but I plan on earning that fifth spot."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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