Posted on: February 17, 2008 9:59 pm

Brewers Fans, get off the ledge

Ok, so Yovani Gallardo's having knee surgery.  Yes, it sounds bad at first, but it's really not so bad once you hear the details.

First, it's torn cartilage.  Ok, nobody's happy about that, but it's not the end of the world.  He'll have arthroscopic knee surgery next week (two small holes just under and on each side of the kneecap) on Tuesday assuming the swelling's down enough, then he should be walking again without crutches around Friday or Saturday.  It takes about 3-4 weeks to be truly safe from re-damaging the cartilage, but after that he should be fine.  The rehab should be pretty easy.  The only concern would be if he falls too far behind in spring training, and he might miss a week or two of the season as a result of not being ready.

That's not a bad thing.  I repeat, missing four weeks of spring training and two weeks of the season is not a bad thing.  Not for the Brewers.  Not for Yovani Gallardo.  He's a young pitcher.  He pitched a few too many innings last year, so he's already an injury risk.  This will reduce the number of innings he pitch by about 20, plus he'll reduce his spring training work load by four weeks.  I already feel like spring training is too long for most young pitchers (I'm concerned by how long the Yankees' trio has been pitching already this winter), so the reduced workload should be good for his arm in the long run.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 11, 2008 3:03 pm

Josh Beckett vs Nick Johnson and D'Angelo Jimenez

Win Shares, a Bill James invention, is his own compilation of "net worth" of a player. So, why did I choose this title? Recently, John Sickels posted the win shares of all of the top prospects in 2000 and 2001. There were some surprising entries. In particular, I was surprised by the three guys in the title: Nick Johnson, Josh Beckett, and D'Angelo Jimenez. I figured Beckett would come out on top. He didn't.

Nick Johnson: 80 win shares
Josh Beckett: 73 win shares
D'Angelo Jimenez: 67 win shares

Jimenez is remarkably close to the other two. I really don't know why. He has a grand total of 36 steals and 36 home runs in his career.

Here's the list, sorted by win shares:
18 Albert Pujols, 1B 251 career win shares, Hall of Fame talent
30 Adam Dunn, OF 144 career win shares
9 Roy Oswalt, RHP 125 career win shares
19 Vernon Wells, OF 122 career win shares
17 Marcus Giles, 2B 112 career win shares
10 C.C. Sabathia, LHP 101 career win shares.
37 Aubrey Huff, 3B 98 career win shares
14 Austin Kearns, OF 84 career win shares
26 Nick Johnson, 1B 80 career win shares
47 Milton Bradley, OF 80 career win shares
49 Hank Blalock, 3B 78 career win shares.
5 Josh Beckett, RHP 73 career win shares
7 Carlos Pena, 1B 71 career win shares.
1 Corey Patterson, OF 69 career win shares.
4 Ben Sheets, RHP 69 career win shares.
25 D'Angelo Jimenez, INF 67 career win shares
43 Joe Crede, 3B 65 career win shares
15 Kevin Mench, OF 58 career win shares
38 Ben Broussard, 1B 52 career win shares
11 Sean Burroughs, 3B 38 career win shares. Another Failed Prospect Profile guy.
48 Luis Rivas, 2B 33 career win shares. Disappointing.
3 Hee Seop Choi, 1B 26 career win shares before heading back to Asia. Worthy of a Failed Prospect Profile, a new feature upcoming
41 Keith Ginter, 2B 24 career win shares, had moments of success
31 Juan Cruz, RHP 24 career win shares
8 Jon Rauch, RHP 23 career win shares, was slowed by injuries
50 Jack Cust, OF 23 career win shares, finally got a chance
22 Wilson Betemit, INF 22 career win shares, still young at 26
42 Jesus Colome, RHP 20 career win shares
6 Josh Hamilton OF 13 career win shares, career still developing
44 Antonio Perez, SS 13 career win shares
36 Tim Redding, RHP 12 career win shares, control problems
40 Pablo Ozuna, 2B 11 career win shares, hit .328 for the White Sox in `06
27 Matt Belisle, RHP 11 career win shares
33 Matt Kinney, RHP 9 career win shares, control problems
24 Adam Johnson, RHP Topped out in Triple-A, huge disappointment
45 Bud Smith, LHP Threw a no-hitter, injuries
12 Jose Ortiz, 2B Never got untracked in Oakland or Colorado, went to Japan and had strong '03 and '04 seasons. Another guy for a Failed Prospect Profile. Overrated on this list.
39 Dee Brown, OF Never adjusted to majors
35 Chris George, LHP Lost velocity and command
16 Chin-Hui Tsao, RHP Injuries, could still do something
34 J.R. House, C Injuries, but hits great in Triple-A and could still have a career
20 Ben Christensen, RHP Injuries and bad karma
21 Jovanny Cedeno, RHP Injuries
32 Nick Neugebauer, RHP Injuries
46 Alex Escobar, OF Injuries
28 Joe Borchard, OF Football Player Tools Bust
29 Drew Henson, 3B Football Player Tools Bust
2 Ryan Anderson, LHP Career ruined by injuries
13 Bobby Bradley, RHP Career ruined by injuries
23 Abraham Nunez, OF Age-Gate, was never as good as he looked due to wrong birthday
Posted on: February 1, 2008 4:59 am

Top Shortstops Under 23

Unfortunately, Troy Tulowitzki turned 23 in October, which is a bit of a bummer.  He'd clearly be #1.  Regardless, there are some good prospects at this premium defensive position.  There's even a Royal here!

1. Reid Brignac, Rays, 1/16/1986

Brignac has most everything you'd want from a shortstop prospect.  He hasn't shown the plate discipline he had in the low minors though since he moved up to AA.  He may need another couple years in the minors to complete his development, but his power and speed is already present.

527 AB, .260/.328/.433 17 HR, 15 SB, 5 CS

2. Mike Moustakas, Royals, 9/11/1988

Amazingly, the Royals actually drafted this guy.  Even more amazingly, they signed this guy.  He was the top hitter in last year's draft, and set the California record for home runs with 52 in his HS career.  The guy's even a good pitcher, so his arm will play well at short.  He's a bit stocky and may need to move off of short, but I actually think he's got a chance to stick there.  He was great in his pro debut, and should move quickly, seeing the majors sometime in 2010.

Rookie stats: 41 AB, .293/.383/.439

3. Elvis Andrus, Rangers, 8/26/1988

A defense-first shortstop, Andrus should be a nice player.  He's never going to hit for power, though, so he's going to need to improve his plate discipline.  His .338 obp from last season isn't going to cut it.

HiA Stats: .257/.338/.343, 40 SB, 15 CS

4. Carlos Triunfel, Mariners, 2/27/1990

He was only 17 in his debut, so it's hard to say how much of what he did last year will stick with him as he develops.  Still, he showed no power, no patience, and got caught stealing more times than he stole bases.  He's a good prospect, but he's so far away and hasn't shown enough to warrant his promotion to HiA.

HiA stats:  371 AB,.296/.333/367 17 BB, 57 SO, 7 SB, 12 CS
Posted on: January 29, 2008 9:04 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2008 2:02 am

Top Third Basemen Under 23

After the last two positions where pickings were slim, we get some good choices here--and that's despite the fact that we just miss out on a bunch of very nice players. Here are the young players and prospects that are just out of reach: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals; Alex Gordon, Royals; Brandon Wood, Angels; Chase Headley, Padres; Andy LaRoche, Dodgers; Ryan Braun, Brewers.

That said, the position is still deep in prospects. There are two ML-ready players under 23, and two very, very strong prospects that are extremely young still.

1. Evan Longoria, Rays, 10/7/85, 22

He's the #1 prospect in the #1 farm system. Do I really need to say more? Longoria looks to be a .300/30/100 player when he matures. Note: that would put him in hall of fame territory, if he stays healthy. He's really that good. He's not fast, but he has great footwork, hands and good arm strength, and therefore should be above average defensively.

Basically, if you were going to start your team around a young third baseman, I'd pick him before any of the guys above--including Ryan Braun (who's no longer a 3b, anyway).

2. Ian Stewart, Rockies, 4/5/85

Stewart's become the forgotten man, he's been the top 3b prospect for so long. Unfortunately, he struggled a bit in AA, but seemed to recover nicely in AAA last year. He's ready for the majors, but with Garrett Atkins ahead of him, one of them will have to be traded, or Stewart's going to have to settle in at second.

3. Josh Vitters, Cubs, 8/27/89, 18

Vitters basically looks a lot like Longoria, although much farther from the majors and much less of a sure thing. Still, he looks to be very good for a very long time.

4. Angel Villalona, Giants, 8/13/90, 17

Sorry Giants fans, he won't help out for a while. That said, he was impressive as a 16yo in rookie league. He may end up as a first baseman, though, as he fills out. He hit .285 w/ a .450 slugging percentage. Did I mention he was 16? And by the way, he was 16.
Posted on: January 29, 2008 7:50 am
Edited on: January 29, 2008 10:17 am

Top Second Basemen Under 23

Like first base, second base is often manned by former shortstop prospects converted late in their minor league careers over to second base. Usually, the ones moved there have weaker arms that play better at second than at short. As such, you'll very rarely see the very best prospects at second until they're close to the majors, or the player gets moved after a couple of years where they start to struggle with their range.

Given this, there's a remarkable lack of upper level second base prospects out there right now, after having seen Dustin Pedroia graduate to the majors last year.  Most of the other prospects are older, such as new Royal Alberto Callaspo.

1. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians, 11/13/1985, 22

The first choice is not difficult at all. If I had to pick between Dustin Pedroia and Asdrubal Cabrera before the 2007 season, I'd have taken Cabrera. Pedroia's 2007 stats with Boston were not projected at all. He performed better in the majors with Boston than he did in AAA Pawtucket the year prior. Ah, the joys of the green monster (Pedroia had a .912 ops at home, .729 ops on the road -- largely due to the 11 extra doubles hit at Fenway which would be fly outs elsewhere). Assuming I'm building a team that will play its games outside of a park with a giant formerly green monster in left field, I'd still pick Cabrera over Pedroia.

On that same note, it appears, at least so far, that Jacobs (err, I mean sellout, err, no, wait, Progressive) field doesn't suit Cabrera so well. Cabrera's splits are the opposite of Pedroia's: .710 at home, .828 on the road. The sample size is pretty small though, so let's see what happens next year.

ML Stats: 159 AB .283/.354/.421 101 OPS+

2. Tony Thomas, Cubs, 7/10/1986, 21

Thomas is one of those rarest of players, a guy who's a prospect as a 2nd baseman. Alas, that also means that he's just average at the position. I think there's hope there though. He's got tremendous speed, having swiped 28 bases on 30 attempts. He just needs to turn that speed into range. With his bat, you can bet that the Cubs will try everything they can to get him to improve defensively. Speaking of his bat, there's really nothing negative to say there. He's got good plate discipline, fast hands, and good power. He should be the Cubs starting second baseman in 2-3 years.

SS Stats: .308/.404/.544 28 SB, 2 CS

3. Damon Sublett, Yankees, 9/22/1985, 22

This pick is more about the lack of prospects at the position than as strong of an endorsement of Sublett as it seems. Don't get me wrong, Sublett's a nice prospect, but he's certainly blocked in the Yankees system in favor of Robinson Cano. Plus, he played in short season Staten Island last year, and at 21 he is expected to perform well at that level. He's just average defensively, but he's good enough to stick at second.

That said, he had the second best OPS among second basemen in the minors last year (#1 was Jared Goedert, an Indians prospect now stuck behind Cabrera above--but who has a hurt shoulder and just moved to the position at the end of last season, so there's no way to know if he can stick there). He's shown good potential, and probably will end up as a utility guy in the majors.

SS Stats: 239 AB, .326/.426/.531 10 SB, 4 CS
Posted on: January 26, 2008 7:34 pm

2012: Biggest Free Agent Pitcher Contract Ever?

Look ahead a few years to the winter of 2011-12.  Johan Santana's contract, which was a monster, is still in effect for a number of years.  Having been signed as a 30 year old pitcher, the team is now somewhat regretting its length, as he's shown some injury troubles over the last couple years that might make him unlikely to make good on the last years of the contract.

Unfortunately, that's the way it works with free agent pitchers.  They're inevitably older when they hit free agency the first time. 

Not this player.  In this instance, the player and the team have been fighting ever since winter/spring 2007, when he was the last player on the team to sign his agreement and watching the team sign middling talent to multi-year $12 million/year contracts while refusing to pay him an extra $200k on his contract--which was the team's right.

Now, he's going to make the team pay.  Or whatever team he ends up with, that is.  After all, this team has failed to sign any of the marquee names that came through over the past dozen years to long-term deals. 

Felix Hernandez, by this point, is only 25 years old.  He's already reached 84 wins by this tender age, and is well on his way to a hall of fame career.  It took a couple seasons for him to truly establish dominance instead of "just" being above average from 19-21, when most pitchers his age are in the minors. 

So, how much do you think the bidding might be for a 25 year old ace starter, who by this point is one of the top pitchers in all of MLB?  Is 10 years, $240 million out of the realm of possibility? 

Of course, he is a pitcher and he is insanely young.  He could get hurt or just never reach his potential (he has a stubborn streak that's sometimes bordered on the uncoachable) and then all of this ends up being nonsense.  I doubt it though.      
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 25, 2008 11:25 pm

Top fastballers that I'd most like on my team

Taking a brief break before getting back to my "Top under 23" lists, Baseball America's article today inspired me to indicate which of the top fastballers I'd like to see on my team.  It's a subscribers only article, so I'm not going to take much from it, but it's great stuff.

1. Joba Chamberlain, Yankees

Not only does Joba have the #2 fastball in the minors, he's also got the best control of anyone in the top 25 (best fastballs).

2. Jake McGee, Rays

A lefty.  With that fastball.  And that control.  And throwing 140 innings in the minors... 

3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Another lefty, this one with a 99 mph fastball?  Not quite McGee's control (which isn't quite Joba's control), but it's servicable, and he was 19 in AA.

4. Chris Withrow, Dodgers

He's only 18, and he hasn't thrown much, but I like what I've seen.

5. Aaron Poreda, Cubs

Not sure what's going on with him, but he's got really nice control to go along with his huge fastball.  And he's a lefty.

Worst Control:

Bad doesn't describe Daniel Bard, Red Sox, second season.  Awful, just awful.  9.4 and 5.6 wouldn't be terrible numbers for walks and ks/9, if it wasn't represented exactly that way, respectively.  9.4 bb/9 and 5.6 k/9 is just miserable, especially for a 22 yo in LoA.  He'll be going to the bullpen next, but if he can't develop any control, he'll be on his way to the glue factory.

Second worst was Craig Italiano, but he's such a sad case I can't begin to say anything about him (he lost his second season in a row to injury, this time due to a skull fracture).  If he can come back, he has promise, as his K/9 number was 12.7 to go with his 8.5 bb/9.


Jeff Samardzija did something I would have thought was impossible--throw near 100 mph, walk only 2.8 bb/9, and yet only strikeout 4.1/9.  4.1 k/9 when you're throwing that hard makes no sense, especially when demonstrating otherwise good control.  It's not like it was a small innings sample either--that's 142 innings.  Bizarre.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 22, 2008 10:27 am

Get rid of the DH!

Here's yet another reason to get rid of the DH--league disparity, and part of the large advantage the AL enjoys over the NL.  You may ask why it gives the AL an advantage over the NL when the teams play with the same rules.  The answer is: personnel.  The NL teams don't carry that extra slugger that the AL teams do.  As a result, when they face one another, you see teams like the Marlins playing a player like Jason Wood when they require a DH.  That's not to say Jason Wood was the DH--on the contrary, that task was left to Miguel Cabrera.  Aaron Boone played third, and Jason Wood and his .239/.286/.368 line spent the game at first. 

Overall in Interleague games, despite players like Miguel Cabrera being at the DH spot and counting in this statistic, here are the stats:

AL DH's: 467 AB, .315/.412/.503, 87 R, 20 HR, 97 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS
NL DH's: 505 AB, .273/.347/.444 67 R, 19 HR, 63 RBI, 4 SB, 2 CS

That's a huge differential.  The NL DHs were responsible for 38 more outs.  The AL DHs drove home 34 more runs and scored 20 more times.  That's 1.5 games worth of outs and an average of .41 runs per game.  None of this counts the at bats of the Jason Woods who had additional at bats during that game, either.
Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or