Tag:Brett Jackson
Posted on: August 30, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 11:41 pm
 

September Storylines: Minor-leaguers to get calls

Mesoraco

By Evan Brunell

With September around the corner, major-league rosters will be expanded to 40 men, allowing teams to call up players for any reason. Whether that be taking a look at a player that could be a big part of the team's future or supplementing playoff contenders, the transition to 40 men will change games in September. Here's a look at nine players who could have significant roles moving forward that could dictate a team's immediate and long-term future. For the purposes of this discussion, we're limiting the candidates to those with little-to-zero MLB experience, as well as those who have yet to make an impact in the majors. (In other words, no Stephen Strasburg, Pedro Alvarez or similar candidates.)

Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos, Yankees: The hubbub has been all about Jesus Montero for quite some time, and he should finally get the call to New York on Thursday. When he arrives, Montero should collect enough starts behind the dish and as DH for the Yankees to evaluate whether he can help them in October. While the Yankees have enjoyed a productive DH combination of Andruw Jones and Jorge Posada, Montero could easily outdistance the two if he delivers on his promise.

Banuelos, meanwhile, has a chance to be a sneaky threat. The Yankees lack a true viable left-handed reliever as Boone Logan's effectiveness in that role has been deceptive. Banuelos was expected to be converted to relief in the hopes of helping in that role down the stretch, but has remained in the rotation for Triple-A, making six starts and posting a 3.03 ERA, and GM Brian Cashman said a couple weeks ago that it was unlikely Banuelos would be called up.

I'm not sure we should buy into that, however. Banuelos has long been linked to an eventual call-up and can help the team. Plus, don't look now, but the Rays have made up some ground recently, and the wild card is not even close to being in hand, while a three-game set with division-leading Boston coming up Tuesday night will also have ripple effects. Given A.J. Burnett has imploded, Phil Hughes is a box of chocolates (you never know what you're gonna get) and Bartolo Colon has shown chinks in his armor lately, Banuelos could end up a surprise starter down the stretch and save New York's season.

Devin Mesoraco, Reds (pictured): The Reds have an embarrassment of riches at catcher, with Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan equipping themselves well in the majors, while Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal continue rising up prospect charts down on the farm. Mesoraco could be the best of them all and will get a chance to prove that in September. Hitting .289/.372/.486 in 495 plate appearances for Triple-A, the 23-year-old figures to bump Hernandez off the team this winter. The Reds are clear sellers in a disappointing season after winning the division, and a strong debut by Mesoraco could get the team chomping at the bit for 2012.

Anthony Rizzo, Padres: Rizzo fell on his face in an earlier promotion to the majors after ripping apart Triple-A. Hitting .143/.282/.265 in 117 plate appearances isn't how one wants to start his career, but Rizzo should get another shot in September, although he'll have to jostle for playing time due to Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman. The 21-year-old has nothing to prove in the minors, ripping 26 home runs in just 89 Triple-A at-bats and could be an important piece to the Padres' 2012 hopes, so he'll get plenty of chances to redeem himself. The guess here? He will.

September Storylines
To come:
    • A look at the postseason races
Jacob Turner, Tigers: Turner already made a spot start for the Tigers, but Detroit could dip down again for the phenom that could top the rotation one day. The freshly-minted 20-year-old has a 3.44 ERA in 20 minor-league starts, all but three at Double-A. Overall, he's tossed 136 1/3 innings in 2011, which is a significant leap forward from 2010's 115 1/3 innings, so inning limitations could play in. However, if Detroit wants to make the postseason and go deep, they have to do something to support Justin Verlander in the rotation. Max Scherzer has been playing a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde act, and Doug Fister is a capable pitcher but no one's idea of a lockdown starter. If the Tigers take the gloves off, Turner could emerge to be an important piece.

Stephen Lombardozzi, Nationals: The Nationals already have a middle-infield combination in Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, but the Nationals balked at including Lombardozzi in a potential trade for Minnesota's Denard Span for a reason. The second baseman will receive a look in September as a potential solution at second next year, which forces Desmond and Espinosa into a tough position of playing for their jobs. Lombardozzi is only 22 but has handled Triple-A with aplomb, slashing .320/.364/.426 after a promotion from Double-A. If he plays well down the stretch, one of Desmond or Espinosa will likely be playing in another uniform come 2012 and could be the prime bait needed to grab the long-term center fielder the team so covets. A strong September by Lombardozzi could have ramifications for years in Washington.

Wilin Rosario, Rockies: Chris Iannetta hasn't given the Rockies any indication he can be a long-term, viable starter, but it's OK because Rosario can be that man. While Rosario hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in his repeat of Double-A with a .254/.285/.468 line over 410 PA a year after hitting .285/.342/.552 in 297 PA, he will be receiving a call-up and will play extensively down the stretch. Rosario is well-regarded by both the organization and prospect mavens, so he's a player to watch.

Domonic Brown, Phillies: Brown already tried and failed to hold down a starting job earlier this year, and his role will be greatly reduced in September thanks to the recent play of Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry, but don't overlook Brown. Any day, Ibanez or Mayberry could stop hitting and Brown would be looked at to step in and keep the offense going. Even if not, the Phillies have been linked to Jim Thome and Jason Giambi in recent days as ways to shore up the bench. Brown is a left-hander... even if he's not oozing with power or established. Still, he could be that pinch-hit threat off the bench Philadelphia is looking for in October. He hasn't exactly inspired confidence in Triple-A, but the light could go on any day and when it does, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Brett Jackson, Cubs: As the Cubs look to move past the futility that has dogged them in recent years, Brett Jackson could be a breath of fresh air. While his call-up isn't guaranteed, he's ripped apart Triple-A despite striking out in 30.6 percent of his at-bats. That can be forgiven with a .319/.395/.583 line in 186 plate appearances, which could force the Cubs' hand. Long considered the Cubs' center fielder of the future, that could turn into the present as Chicago begins evaluating its prospects for 2012. With Kosuke Fukudome out the door, Tyler Colvin struggling and Marlon Byrd not part of the future, Jackon could be in line for significant playing time. If he produces, that's one less spot Chicago has to worry about filling, and will give the team someone young on offense other than Starlin Castro to build around.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 11:32 am
 

Pepper: Reyes a fit for BoSox; Guillen draft saga


What is the reason behind so many near no-hitters recently? Will the Red Sox improve to 6-0 this season at Yankee Stadium? Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi with the answers.

By Evan Brunell


REYES TO RED SOX? Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron calls Jed Lowrie "solid" and Marco Scutaro "pretty good" -- "but the talent [Reyes] possesses is very intriguing," he says.

Cameron, who was teammates with Reyes a few seasons ago and still keeps in touch, believes the shortstop could be a major part of a Boston squad looking to win the World Series.

"It's a different animal here [with the Red Sox]," Cameron said. "In Boston, there's one team there and the primary focus is nothing else but [a freaking] title. [But] I think they would love him because of the way he plays. Just the energy, man."

Reyes is an impending free agent, and with Lowrie, Scutaro and top prospect Jose Iglesias in the fold, it's difficult to imagine the Red Sox striking for Reyes. However, if the money and inclination is there, it's tough to deny that Reyes would provide an immediate boon to Boston. (New York Post)

One question, though: is investing in Reyes really a good idea? Vince Gennaro, a baseball economics author, says it would be foolhardy for the Mets -- or any other team for that matter -- to invest big dollars in a player having a career year.

"The odds that this is the new Jose Reyes and that he's going to have a five-year run that even remotely resembles this are minuscule," Gennaro said. "But that's not where the [New York] fan base is going to come from. They're going to look at this as one more sign, if he gets dealt, of a lack of commitment by ownership." (Wall Street Journal)

DRAFT RESULTS: Which teams had the best drafts of the just-concluded MLB draft? Those in the know tap the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Rays, Padres and Red Sox. (MLB.com)

PAY UP: Dodgers team owner Frank McCourt continues to scratch and claw to keep his team, and will be able to make June 15 payroll. That will allow him to still have the team during a court hearing on June 22 wto determine if ex-wife Jamie McCourt has a legal right to block the TV deal that would solve McCourt's financial problems. (USA Today)

OZZIE'S BEEF
: Ozzie Guillen doesn't have much patience for actor Sean Penn, who is fighting against U.S. perceptions that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is a dictator. The incredulous Guillen responded to an editorial Penn wrote recently and invited him to live in Venezuela for a year and see if his mind changes as to whether Chavez is good for the country or not. (Big League Stew)

ONEY'S BEEF: Ozzie's son, Oney, takes after his father in not being afraid to pop off. The ex-White Sox employee sarcastically tweeted that it was no surprise the White Sox drafted a black player with their first-round pick -- hinting at racial undertones of GM Kenny Williams. He later denied the claims, but it's tough to believe him especially when fellow brother Ozney went undrafted. (Chicago Sun-Times)

OZNEY'S PLIGHT: So Ozney probably won't ever play in the White Sox system if he ever enters professional baseball. Williams skated through the minefield of addressing the issue by saying he will not sign Ozney as an undrafted free agent because of the potential for distractions. In addition, Williams adds, there were no personal motivations not to draft Ozney because the White Sox can't afford to let personal issues get in the way of drafting players. (Chicago Tribune)

LOVE THE GLOVE: Remember how attached you were to your baseball glove as a kid? Well, baseball players haven't really changed. Torii Hunter inidcates he is especially fond of his gloves in a wide-ranging article dedicated to the love players show for their gloves. Hunter currently calls his glove Coco and formerly called his glove Sheila, Vanity, Susan and Delicious. He rarely lets his gloves out of sight.  "Every once in a while during batting practice, while I'm hitting, I'll turn around and look at my glove and say, 'Are you OK?' " Hunter says. "It's very personal. That glove was something that got me to the big leagues. I make a living with it." (Los Angeles Times)

NO BLOCKBUSTER: Don't expect the Phillies to make a major move at the trade deadline, GM Ruben Amaro says. Part of that is because of the quality of the club, but a bigger part has to do with the minimal dollars the Phillies have before they hit the luxury tax threshold. Skipper Charlie Manuel wants a bat, but if he gets one, it will be a complementary one. (CSN Philly)

IMPENDING PROMOTION? Lots of players are receiving the call to the majors now that the Super 2 deadline is firmly done with. But don't bet on Cubs' center fielder Brett Jackson arriving anytime soon, who is slumping after suffering a finger injury. (MLB.com)

TWO-FACED: Ohh, A-Rod... you just don't stop giving everyone ammunition, do you? Rodriguez signed on to be spokesperson for coconut water company Vita Coco despite investing copious amounts of money with rival Zico. "It's a hell of a lot more money than I ever invested in the company," confused Zico CEO Mark Rampolla said. (CNBC)

EASING IN: Brandon Lyon is returning to the Astros, but it will take him some time to reclaim the closer's role. (Houston Chronicle)

PAJAMA PARTY: The Rays had a pajama party Wednesday night as they prepared to leave Los Angeles. Click through for great pictures of the team. (St. Petersburg Times -- link 1, link 2, link 3)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 8:46 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
 

Pepper: Spring is time for rebirth



RESURRECTIONS:
Carlos Beltran is making some progress on his rehab program, as he ran the bases Wednesday. "That's a huge sign, because he told me when he starts running the bases he'll be close to playing. So that was a big sign for me," manager Terry Collins said (ESPN New York ). The five-time All-Star hasn’t played a full season since 2008, but at age 33, it’s not out of the question to return to form for at least a year or two. He played last September, but was shut down the last week when his bothersome knee flared up.

Disclaimer alert: he hasn't pitched in a game since June 13, 2009, he's 38 years old and it's awfully early in camp. Still, Jason Isringhausen is impressing Mets brass thus far. Armed with a new changeup, Izzy has been good enough to draw the word "outstanding," from Collins. (New York Times )

Elsewhere, Brandon Webb is still on a long road back himself. He threw "60 to 65 pitches off flat ground" Thursday. He'll throw again Friday and if there are no setbacks, the Rangers will put him on the mound either Sunday or Monday (ESPN Dallas ). The right-hander, who finished in the top two of Cy Young voting three consecutive seasons before falling injured, hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since April 6, 2009. Webb, 31, is a complete wild card this season for the defending AL champs.

And though it isn't near as long a road back as Webb, Jake Peavy of the White Sox is feeling very optimistic, though he's careful not to get too far ahead of himself. "I'm far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point," Peavy told MLB.com . "But I can't push it and I've got to be cautious." In fact, the White Sox’s potential ace might be on track to start April 6, if everything goes as well as it possibly could. The 29 year old went 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA in 17 starts in 2010, last pitching July 6. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair a detached muscle in his pitching arm.

ABDOMINAL ANNOYANCE: Franklin Gutierrez was forced to fly back to Seattle to visit with some doctors about an ongoing stomach issue Thursday. The center fielder has suffered severe stomach pains on occasion since late last season, to the point that he couldn't eat well and his play was affected. It could help explain some of his offensive woes, as Gutierrez went .212/.253/.304 in his last 75 games at the plate. He did tell reporters last week his issue was gone, but it has apparently resurfaced and he'll likely need to get on some sort of medication to alleviate the pains. (Seattle Times )

SLIM CC: After dropping 25 pounds this offseason, CC Sabathia says he can already tell the difference when it comes to his stamina. "In years past, I would get a little gassed in my bullpens once I got 30, 40 pitches in, but I felt pretty good," he told the New York Times . "I was able to keep my mechanics together and work on stuff that I need to work on." If this carries over the regular season, watch out. The big fella has averaged 240 innings a season since 2007, averaging just a tick above seven innings per start. And he has more stamina?

On a lighter note, he noted the toughest tests for him during the season are road trips to Kansas City (BBQ) and Chicago (deep-dish pizza). Amen, CC.

BREWER BARGAIN: As Ryan Braun watches peers cash in with what some consider ludicrous contracts, one might wonder if he feels like his eight-year, $45 million contract -- of which he has five years remaining -- is short-changing him. The reality is that with the numbers Braun puts up, factoring in his age (27) and durability (at least 151 games in each of his three full seasons), the contract is an absolute steal for Milwaukee. To Braun's credit, he's not griping. He's only thinking about the playoffs, he says. As for the money thing, he told MLB.com: "I get it, but it's a non-issue. I pay attention to what goes on around the game, obviously, but I'm happy for all of those guys. I agreed to a deal three years ago that goes five [more] years, and I'm excited and honored to be here." (MLB.com )

IRON MAN? The ever-polarizing A.J. Pierzynski wants to catch every game this season. Yes, all 162. There's no need to get into the realism of that one, what with his career high in games being 140, his offensive skills deteriorating and his age hitting 34. Plus, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play every game. More guys should want that. The juice in this article is the always-hilarious Ozzie Guillen, who once said he hates his catcher only a little less than the competition. This time around, he again said Pierzynski annoys him and that "sometimes I wish he wouldn’t even come to the ballpark." It should be noted, Guillen was laughing, thus, saying everything tongue-in-cheek. (MLB.com )

UNDER BYRD'S WING:
It's always sad when veteran players have an ego too big to take a younger player under their wing. A football example comes to mind: you know, something with a guy wearing number four and a team that just won the Super Bowl. Anyway, I digress. We're talking about baseball. And Marlon Byrd of the Cubs has been working with top Cubs prospect Brett Jackson this spring. They're both center fielders, and Byrd's even embracing the inevitable for the sake of the franchise. "Last year, he really didn't know me," Byrd told MLB.com . "Now I say things and he understands that it's to help him. I even have to sit him down and say, 'I've got to help you to get ready because if you're going to move me to right field, you have to be ready. If not, I'm capable of playing at 34, 35 years old.' He got a kick out of that. He laughed."

RESTORING POWER IN THE BAY: ESPN’s SweetSpot blog takes a look at Jason Bay, specifically his power. Or, if we’re talking about 2010, a lack thereof. Four times in Bay’s career he went yard at least 30 times in a season. After signing a big contract with the Mets, he did so just six times in 401 plate appearances in 2010. There were health problems and an adjustment to a new, cavernous park, but the output was still horrifying, as Bay slugged just .402 (his career slugging percentage is .508). Bay said he believes 30 home runs this season is "reasonable," and points to David Wright -- whose home run total jumped from 10 to 29 in his second season with Citi Field as a home.

BOSTON RED STALKS:
Remember how Carl Crawford was creeped out about the Red Sox virtually tailing him over the winter before inking him to a colossal contract? Johnny Damon, part of the group replacing Crawford in Tampa Bay and former Red Sox outfielder, isn't surprised. He even offered up an example of when it had happened in the past. "I know Boston had followed guys before like Mo Vaughn especially; they wanted to see what he was doing all the time. The Boston fans, they follow you around too to see what you’re doing, it seems like they’re everywhere. But when a team's investing $142 million they probably have a right to know every little bit of your history," he told the St. Petersburgh Times . Interesting. Damon wasn’t anywhere close to Boston when Vaughn departed via free agency, but he could very well be correct. And if he is, the Red Sox did their homework well. Check out Vaughn’s stats by year -- right when he departed Boston, his regression began.

-- Matt Snyder

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