Nov 29, 2006

Ugliest Yankee?

Assuming Kei Igawa is signed, he'll be in a dead heat with Jeff Karstens for 'Ugliest Yankee.'

Decide for yourself.

My wife's vote would be for Randy Johnson... I can see that.

Nov 28, 2006

Japanese tidbits

- So the Sawx have made a formal offer ( to Daisuke Matsuzaka and (his agent) Scott Boras. However, they seem to be pretty far apart right now. But apparently, SeibuMatsuzaka's NPB team) can reduce the bid amount to help 'facilitate' a contract... What kind of bullshit is this?! If I'd known this, I would have wanted the Yanks to bid $100 million...

- Update: MLB says the Sawx can't do this. But it's only illegal if you get caught...

- In other Japanese related news, the Yanks have won the bidding to Kei Igawa, the 2nd best Japanese pitcher on the market for a very high bid of $25 million. His numbers aren't much worse than Matsuzaka's, but he pitches in the NL of the NPB (meaning the pitcher hits in his league). I like that he's a lefty, who will balance out the rotation once Randy leaves - Wang, Moose, Hughes, Sanchez, Pavano, Karstens, Clippard, Rasner, Joba, and Kennedy are all righties. It's strange that the Yanks would bid only $5 million less for Igawa than Matsuzaka, but it was after the 'market was set' with the Sawx bid (if you believe in over-paying, even for market value). He does have an MVP and Cy Young award to his credit (both in 2003), and 3 strikeout titles ('02, '04, '06). My (brief) scouting report: a deceptive 87-92 mph fb, a very good change, a very good (Zito-esque) curve, and a decent slider.

Career: 3.15 era, 9.5 k/9 ip, 3 k/bb, .8 HR/9 ip, 1.26 whip
2006: 2.97 era, 8.4 k/9 ip, 3 k/bb, .7 HR/9 ip, 1.12 whip

Compared to Matsuzaka.
Career: 2.95 era, 8.7 k/9 ip, 2.7 k/bb, .7 HR/9 ip, 1.18 whip
2006: 2.13 era, 9.7 k/9 ip, 5.9 k/bb, .6 HR/9 ip, .94 whip

David Wright, Jose Reyes and Jermaine Dye faced Igawa in Japan and gave their reviews.

Stats - video one, two, three, four, five

Mike Plugh (Japanese baseball expert) will be doing his own analysis soon. Stay tuned to his blog. He links to an excellent scouting report. It says he should be a solid 4th starter, with occasional dominant games.

Nov 26, 2006

Maybe I'll be a Jets fan

Who thought the Jets and Giants would have the same record after 11 games? No one. I don't think even (Jets coach) Eric Mangini thought so. They have a young, exciting team, with a young, future (if not present) genius head coach. Unfortunately, the Giants are seriously lacking in the coaching department, and it's too late in my life to switch allegiances...

As for today's game, somehow I felt it would happen. Call me a cynic, but I wasn't that surprised or saddened by the crushing loss. The Gmen were up 21-0 going into the 4th quarter, and proceeded to allow 24 points while scoring 0. It was one of those days. What was the turning point? When Plax quit on the ball allowing Adam Jones to pick it off? Was it Frank Walker's late hit on Vince Young turning a takeaway into a Tennessee first down? Or was it Kiwanuka's 'non-sack' on Young? Take your pick, if one of them doesn't happen, the Giants win. I'll go with Walker's late hit: it was 4th and 9, and Young scrambled for 8 and was falling out of bounds when Walker laid him out. It was a borderline call, but Walker should not have hit him, he was clearly short of the first down by at least a yard.

4th down: Kiwanuka had Young wrapped up, and then inexplicably let him go, as if he thought the play was over. He just stopped playing - he looked back at Fred Robbins like he was expecting him to do something. What?! Did he hear a whistle and think the play was over? Did he think Young had already thrown the ball? I don't know. But Young ran 19 yards for a first down, and their comeback continued.

Update: Apparently Kiwanuka did indeed think Young had thrown the ball (and did not want to incur a penalty).

Eli made a horrible decision on 2nd and 1 to throw the ball with 32 seconds left when no one was open. Jones picked it off again, and it led to Tennessee's game-winning field goal. I'm really starting to think Eli is not a franchise QB. Tim Carter again did nothing. Shockey was hardly used in the 2nd half. They couldn't run in the 2nd half. And the Jints also didn't get any kind of consistent pass rush in the 2nd half - which can be largely blamed on the injuries (both starting CBs and DEs were out).

Now the whole season will be decided next Sunday against Dallas. With a win, the Giants will take over first place (with the head-to-head tiebreaker). With a loss, they're 2 games back and .500 on the year. The game will probably decide whether Tom Coughlin comes back as head coach.

24-21 Tennessee
(6-5 on the year, 1 game behind Dallas)
... and more coaching criticism from players in 3...2...1

3*: Jacobs, 11 touches, 68 yards, 2 TD
2: Tiki, 30 touches, 112 yards
1: Robbins, 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 1 fumble recovery
1: Wilson, 9 tackles, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery
1: Pierce, 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit

One of the reasons I started this blog was for games like this, where it's so cathartic to get all my thoughts out...

Nov 25, 2006

Week 12 - Giants at Tennessee Preview

Tennessee Offense
27/32 overall, 8 rushing, 31 passing
Giants D
14 overall, 9 rushing, 7 passing

Giants Offense
11 overall, 5 rushing, 20 passing
Ten D
31 overall, 28 rushing, 11 passing

Giants -1
Ten +1

Even though the Jints have been playing some of their worst ball of the year, it's still Tennessee.

Prediction: Giants 24, Ten 14

Nov 23, 2006

Prospect Update Nov. 22

Final stats for Hawaii and Arizona.

Joba Chamberlain, 37.2 ip, 2.63 era, 46 k, 3 bb, 3 HR, .82 whip
Ian Kennedy, 30.1 ip, 4.45 era, 45 k, 11 bb, 0 HR, 1.45 whip
Jeff Marquez, 34.1 ip, 7.08 era, 27 k, 18 bb, 4 HR, 2.86 whip
Michael Dunn, 8.2 ip, 3.12 era, 10 k, 5 bb, 0 HR, 1.41 whip

TJ Beam, 15 ip, .60 era, 17 k, 6 bb, 1.13 whip
Sean Henn, 13.1 ip, 7.43 era, 12 k, 11 bb, 2.03 whip
Jeff Kennard, 15.2 ip, 6.89 era, 16 k, 9 bb, 1.91 whip
Darrell Rasner, 23.2 ip, 4.18 era, 17 k, 12 bb, 1.35 whip

PJ Pilittere, 12 gms, .394/.444/.545, 5 k, 3 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 E
Eric Duncan, 26 gms, .257/.310/.354, 16 k, 9 bb, 6 xbh, 2 HR, 1 cs, 5 E
Brett Gardner, 27 gms, .250/.406/.352, 22 k, 27 bb, 7 xbh, 1 HR, 6 sb, 0 cs, 0 E


Jose Tabata, 18 gms, .288/.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs
Carlos Mendoza, 23 gms, .304/.355/.411, 11 k, 3 bb, 5 xbh, 0 HR, 1 sb

Francisco Butto, 16 ip, 4.50 era, 16 k, 4 bb, 1 HR
Gerardo Casadiego, 22 ip, 2.86 era, 23 k, 13 bb, 1 HR
Edgar Omana, 13 ip, 9.00 era, 11 k, 11 bb, 2 HR
Scott Patterson, 14.2 ip, 4.30 era, 10 k, 8 bb, 0 HR

Erick Abreu, 8 ip, 1.13 era, 9 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Juan De Leon, 2.2 ip, 3.38 era, 2 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Jorge De Paula, 12 ip, 5.25 era, 4 k, 2 bb, 1 HR
Edwar Ramirez, 7 ip, 5.14 era, 12 k, 1 bb, 0 HR

Justin Christian, 21 gms, .250/.305/.420, 18 k, 4 bb, 7 xbh, 4 HR, 8 sb, 2 cs

Nov 21, 2006

Jeter was Robbed

Jerry: The whole situation is just so...

George: tragic?

Jerry: Well, it's not tragic. It's...

George: unsettling?

Jerry: all right.

I think it's about time we stop letting writers vote for the awards. They have biases, grudges, and there are some who are probably not even baseball experts. How about this voting plan? A third of the voting is determined by the players, and they can't vote for a teammate. Another third is determined by all the managers, again without voting for a member of their team. The last third should be comprised of some kind of good retired players association, e.g. (retired MVPs) Cal Ripken, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Yaz, Reggie, etc.

As for this year...
The only major stats that Morneau edged Jeter in were: HR, RBI, SLG, the power stats. Jeter led in everything else: R, hits, SB, BA, OBP, BB.

Morneau .976 ops
Jeter 1.063 ops

Close and Late
Morneau .883 ops
Jeter .868 ops

Morneau 140
Jeter 138

Runs Created
Morneau 120 (8.25/game)
Jeter 128 (8.38/game)

Win Probability
Morneau 4.46 (4th in AL)
Jeter 5.98 (2nd in AL)

Morneau 1.07 (10th in AL)
Jeter 2.58 (1st in AL)

Win Shares
Morneau 27 (5th in AL)
Jeter 33 (1st in AL)

Morneau 52 (13th in AL)
Jeter 80.5 (1st in AL)

As you can see, Jeets was robbed. Not that he cares that much (I think), his newest girlfriend is this woman.

Check out the others.

Update 8:45 pm - Classy guy.

Voting breakdown: by player, by voter.

Nov 20, 2006

Giants Recap - Where to start?

A pathetic game. How reminiscent of the Seattle game. They couldn't run, they couldn't throw, and they couldn't pressure the QB. That equals a loss most times. 'Most football games are lost, not won.'

Which play was the turning point? Plax's 50-yard drop? Or David Garrard avoiding a sack and rushing for the first down on 3rd and 8?

I'm honestly beginning to think the Jints need a new coaching staff. They didn't even realize Shockey was on the field until the end of the 1st half. They went away from the run too often, especially considering how Eli was playing. They didn't stay with what worked. Remember that 20-yard catch-n-run TD by Plax? Yeah, it looked beautiful. Why didn't Coughlin call for that play again? How about more play-action? Or a reverse? Anything tricky, just to get some momentum.

Manning is continuing his decline. What if he doesn't get back to his 1st half production? This will be the 2nd straight year where he's looked completely lost in the 2nd half of the season. What is it about him that he looks like a 3rd stringer until the 4th quarter, then looks like the #1 overall pick? It's mind-boggling.

dropped 2 because of his bad thumb), they couldn't protect Eli (Whitfield), they couldn't run (largely because of Whitfield and Eli's ineptness), and the D couldn't stop Jacksonville when they really needed to (hardly any pressure on Garrard) - This game showed how bad the Giants are with the injuries. They generated almost no pass rush, and didn't record a sack (Kiwanuka came close twice early) or a pick, and forced just one turnover (a fumble by Fred Taylor). They dropped passes (TikiJax was 9 for 18 on third downs. The Giants had the ball just 20 minutes, compared to 40 for the Jags. And worst of all, the Gmen had 5 drives before they ever got a first down.

Why is it that our WRs are never wide open. I watch the highlight shows, and it seems like every other game has a big play where a WR is wide open. I don't think I've seen one of these plays for the Giants all year. They're never more than 5 yards from a defender. They never get the chance for yards-after-catch, to make a big play. The offensive coordinator, John Huffnagel, has to take the most blame for this.

As for the D, our DBs can barely cover anyway (they can hit pretty well), and we're not getting pressure on the QB, so why not blitz more often? Does it matter if we drop 7 guys and the opponent still completes the pass, or we blitz 3 and only drop 4 and they still complete it? C'mon Tim Lewis, without Strahan and Osi, we've got to blitz more. The opponent might have a big play now and then, but it will also create some turnovers.

26-10 Jacksonville (virtual tie with Dallas for 1st place)

3*: Shockey, 7 catches, 82 yards
2: Pierce, 10 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
1: Webster, 5 tackles, 2 pass deflections
1: Wilson, 4 tackles, 1 fumble forced

No Plax because of his 2 or 3 dropped passes.

Next week at Tennessee. Won't be easy, but should be a win.

Millar for 1b

I was considering this for a while. He's very used to the AL East, is a natural first-baseman, and has a good bat. But I always came back to him being a member of the 2004 Red Sawx. My prejudice is rather ill-placed. Since '04, the Yanks have added several members of that team, inlcuding Mark Bellhorn, Alan Embree, and of course Johnny Damon. Not to mention how previous Sawx players have helped us, like Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens.

1. Cashman is looking for a right-handed 1b to offset all the lefty hitters, and allow Giambi to be the fulltime DH. Millar is a good righty hitter, and plays a very solid 1b. He's above average at 1b in both Fielding % and Range Factor (for his career).
2. He was paid just $2.1 million this year. I expect him to get about the same for 2007. A good cheap option.
3. He's a .287/.366/.472, and 117 ops+ career hitter. Over 162 games, he averages 74 runs, 35 doubles, 19 HR, 81 rbi, 59 bb, 92 k. He's good enough to hit 5th or 6th on some teams, but with the Yanks, he'd hit 9th. Those are tremendous numbers for a 9 hitter.
4. He hits Boston well, to a .920 ops. And he's very familiar with AL, and (specifically) AL East pitching.

I think he'd be a great choice.

Nov 19, 2006

Week 11 - Giants at Jags Preview

Jax Offense
20th overall, 9th rushing, 25th passing
Giants D
10th overall, 9th rushing, 6th passing

Giants Offense
10th overall, 3rd rushing, 16th passing
Jax D
4th overall, 7th rushing, 4th passing

The Gmen are ranked 10th in both offense and defense. That's about right, they've been the 10th best team in the league. With the injuries though, they might be closer to 15th or 20th in football (right now).

What a difference coaching makes in the NFL. I've been watching the Jets the last 2 weeks, and they beat the superior Patriots, and nearly beat the superior Bears today (if not for a Pennington pick perhaps). If Mangini were coaching the Giants, I think we'd be 7-2, or even 8-1 right now. He's from the Belichick coaching circle, and he knows to use what works. If the running game is working, don't stop until the opponent shows they can stop it. The Gmen have gone away from Tiki and Big J sometimes, and usually to their detriment. We're the third best rushing team in football, it's what we do best (we even gashed Chicago for 150 yards), and we'll have to rely on it to make the playoffs. Especially now that Bob Whitfield is playing LT, who can't pass protect for his life (at this point), it's essential the Giants run the ball 30+ times in Jacksonville (Big Blue is also 10th in rushing attempts - but I want them to be in the top 5, where Mangini's Jets are).

Eli and the WR corps have got to step up tomorrow. Plax and Shockey are not the only targets. Sinorice Moss might play, but we really can't expect much from him after missing all but one game.

I think Coughlin realizes he'll have to run, and that will cut down Eli's picks. Prediction: Giants 20, Jax 17

Free Agent Pitchers

There are some other available pitchers this offseason beside Daisuke Matsuzaka.

2006 ERA+
Schmidt, 125
Zito, 116
Lilly, 109
Pettitte, 108
Suppan, 107
Padilla, 104
Meche, 97
Wolf, 83

Career ERA+
Zito, 127
Pettitte, 119
Schmidt, 110
Padilla, 106
Wolf, 103
Suppan, 101
Lilly, 99
Meche, 96

2007 Age
Matsuzaka, 26
Meche, 28
Padilla, 29
Zito, 29
Wolf, 30
Lilly, 31
Suppan, 32
Schmidt, 34
Pettitte, 34

Padilla and Wolf pitched - this year - in very hitter-friendly parks. Gil Meche pitched in the most pitcher-friendly park.

Is it crazy to think Padilla or Wolf would be a good (and cheap-ish) pickup?

Check out video of Zito, Schmidt, Pettitte, Meche, Padilla, and Lilly, Wolf and Suppan.

Nov 18, 2006

Truth of Matsuzaka & Asian Market

So what is all that talk about bringing in Asian revenue to Boston?

There is this idea out there that Boston can make all this money on the side with Matsuzaka. It's largely a myth. MLB controls international television rights, not individual teams. The revenue from any extra games that are televised would go to all 30 teams. The same is true of internationally sold merchandise. The Red Sox could get a sponsorship deal or two from a Japanese company but that's it. Ticket sales won't change a bit; Fenway Park is sold out every game.

Nov 16, 2006

Other Japanese Pitchers

There are others besides Matsuzaka. Koji Uehara will be a free agent after next season (which will unfortunately make him 33 for the 2008 season), and is an ex-teammate of Hideki Matsui from his Yomiuri Giants days.
Uehara stats
Video one
Max. MPH

Hiroki Kuroda (possibly next year)
Video one, two, three
Max. MPH 93

Kazumi Saitoh (possibly next year)
Video one, two, three, four
Max. MPH 94

Kei Igawa was posted (or is about to be), and the Yanks supposedly put in a bid, but they only expect a back of the rotation starter.
Stats - video one, two, three
Max. MPH 92

Nov 15, 2006

Hot Stove I

- I am the only one that doesn't get excited about trading for Dontrelle Willis. Nevermind that we'd probably have to part with some highly touted prospects, but D-Train pitches in a very pitcher friendly ballpark in the offensively inferior National League, and relies primarily on deception to get outs. From what I've seen, he throws 2 plus pitches, a 89-92 mph fastball, and a good slider. So he's basically Randy Johnson with slower stuff, a deceptive delivery, and (also like RJ) shaky control at times. I'm not interested... He has done well though against the AL: 6-3, 76 ip, 2.25 era, 55 k, 16 bb. Very good numbers, but that's only in interleague play. If he had to pitch the whole season in the AL, I expect his numbers would decrease significantly. Deception only lasts so long.

Look at the past Marlins pitchers who have transitioned to the AL.
Pavano 2004 - 137 era+
Pavano 05-06 - 93 era+ (in just 17 gms) Huge decrease.
4.40 AL era

2005 - 119 era+
2006 - 92 era+ Huge decrease.
ER= 112
5.41 AL era

2005 - 117 era+
2006 - 118 era+ (only started 21 gms)
3.61 AL era

Burnett is the only one who actually pitched better after the transition. I'm not sure why. The intriguing thing is that each of these 3 guys went to the AL East (Yanks, Boston, Toronto). Why is that? Because the division is wealthy, or because no other GMs see their ability.

- The Yanks have (or are about to) resign Mike Mussina for a 2-year deal worth $22.5 million. This is a fair contract, and I look forward to 2 more sub 4.00 era years from Moose.

- There's 'talk' Humberto Sanchez could be traded. At least according to the NY Post. I hope this isn't the case. Cashman has been saying how important good, young pitching is, and Sanchez is ML ready right now (if injuries don't persist).

- Jints DE Justin Tuck is out for the season. It's like a damn horror show in the Meadowlands. Every week another player is dropping.

- Tiki Barber injured his thumb against Chicago on Sunday night. He's not listed on the inury report yet (because they NEED him - more so than any other player), and hopefully he plays Monday night.

Prospect Update Nov. 15

Age, Position, Name, Stats...

(24) C PJ Pilittere, 11 gms, .400/.455/.467, 4 k, 3 bb, 2 xbh, 0 HR, 1 E
(23) CF Brett Gardner, 27 gms, .250/
.406/.352, 22 k, 27 bb, 7 xbh, 1 HR, 6 sb, 0 cs, 0 E
(21) 1B Eric Duncan, 25 gms, .264/.306/.364, 15 k, 8 bb, 6 xbh, 2 HR, 1 cs, 4 E

(25) SP Darrell Rasner, 0-0, 23.2 ip, 17 k, 12 bb, 4.18 era, 1.35 whip
(25) RP Jeff Kennard, 1-2, 14.2 ip, 14 k, 9 bb, 6.75 era, 1.91 whip
(26) RP TJ Beam, 2-1, 14 ip, 15 k, 6 bb, .64 era, 1.14 whip
(25) RP Sean Henn, 3-1, 13.1 ip, 12 k, 11 bb, 7.43 era, 2.03 whip

(21) SP Joba Chamberlain, 2-2, 33.2 ip, 42 k, 3 bb, 2.14 era, .77 whip
(22) SP Ian Kennedy, 0-2, 21.2 ip,
31 k, 9 bb, 4.57 era, 1.43 whip
(21) SP Chris Garcia, 2-0, 20.2 ip, 23 k, 14 bb, 3.05 era, 1.26 whip
(21) RP Michael Dunn, 0-0, 4 ip, 5 k, 2 bb, 2.25 era, 1.50 whip

(18) OF Jose Tabata, 18 gms, .288/
.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs, 1 E

Chamberlain and Beam are clearly having the best winters so far. Tabata, Pilittere, Gardner, Rasner, Kennedy and Garcia are not too far behind. Meanwhile, Duncan, Henn and Kennard are severely disappointing (4 errors for Duncan?!).

FYI, Robbie Cano will be playing in the Dominican Winter League starting in a few days. I don't like the idea of him risking injury, but if he wants to, and the Yanks OK it, who am I to disagree? I'll also keep track of him in my weekly prospect updates.

Nov 14, 2006

$51.1 million!

So it's official. Boston bid the most for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and will now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with him (and his agent, Scott 'Satan' Boras). Word has it the Sawx are intent on signing him, but Boras will try to keep the contract short, to about 3 years, so that Daisuke can hit the market again as a true free agent (at a still young 29) where he could earn even more than he'll get now. The winning bid: $51.1 million!!! Now we get to the rant part. This is the same 3rd place team that last year cried when the Yanks traded for Bobby Abreu, saying that they couldn't afford to add a $15 million OF.

"We are not the Yankees. We feel our best way to compete with them year in and year out is to keep one eye on now and one eye on the future and to build something that can sustain success. We've gone toe-to-toe with those guys taking that approach. I think we're one or two games under .500 against them since '03 and have won one more World Series than they have. So we're not going to change our approach and try to all of a sudden build an uber-team."
- Boston General Manager Theo Epstein
Now they're adding an $80+ million pitcher! Oh wait, nevermind that he's never faced ML hitters, and has about 1400 innings on his body already, even for Johan Santana this would be crazy money. Do y'all remember before the bidding, when rumors had it that everyone would bid low, like $10-20 million? The winning bid was expected to be only $25-30 million. With the Sawx outrageous bid, they've effectively changed the landscape of international players from now on. $51.1 million is 390% more than the $13.1 million the Mariners bid to win signing rights to Ichiro (which brings me to my next point) - How do we know Boston didn't make a backroom deal with Seibu (Mats' Japanese team) to overbid, then receive a large amount of the bid in return (it's been rumored that Seattle still hasn't paid the $13.1 million in full to Ichiro's Japanese team)?

What will the next Japanese star receive, $100 million? I know the Sawx don't like to think of themselves as 'ruining' baseball (which they reserve solely for the Yanks), but if the Yanks are ruining baseball with their spending habits, then the Sawx have just leaped ahead of their nemesis. All you KC, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh fans rejoice, you have a new enemy and it lies in Boston. The Yankees always spend a lot of money (and always will), but they've never gone completely insane like Boston did (and Texas did with Arod) for one player. The poor, poor Sawx can't use the money excuse ever again.

Hopefully Daisuke refuses to play for Boston. If not, he's in for a rude awakening his first bad outing in Fenway.

Peter Warrick to Join Jints?

The Giants worked out Peter Warrick and may add him to their depleted WR unit. Charles Rogers' name has also been passed around.

I'm still a fan of Warrick from his Florida State days (I'm an FSU fan), and remember how dominant he was in college. I was sure he'd be a great NFL WR, but that never happened. He had great hands, great agility, good speed and strength, but I don't know if he ever really got a good shot at showing off his skills in Cincinnati. He can return kicks and is still just 29. I wouldn't mind seeing Rogers (or preferably Warrick) in blue and red this season.

More Video to Enjoy

2006 Futures Game - Hughes vs. Tabata. Too bad there's no video of Humberto Sanchez, because he dominated that game (unlike Hughes).

Joe is coming back... This could probably lead to a second stint as a Yankee coach.

Nov 13, 2006

Winter Meetings

MLB General Managers are meeting in Florida this week. One item they'll discuss is using instant replay to determine if HRs are fair or foul, over the wall or in play (they voted against it last year). As you might know, I'm all for it. And I would want replay extended to all other aspects of the game. Here's a post I made 3 months ago on this very subject. The right call is of paramount importance.

Baseball has often been the slowest sport to adapt with the times. The other 3 major sport leagues include some form of video replay to assist officials. Baseball thinks of itself as being traditional ('the national past-time'), which often gets in the way of sensible (and necessary) changes.

Nov 12, 2006

Injuries & Bad Calls

I couldn't believe my eyes when starting LT Luke Petitgout went down. It went to commercial with him still lying face down, and I knew it was another bad injury. His tibia (or fibia) is broken, and although they didn't say, he's probably out for the season. And to add insult (or injury) to injury, Sam Madison didn't return after the 1st quarter. Bob Whitfield's poor play in place of Petitgout may have cost the Giants the game. There were at least 2 plays where he couldn't block Bears DE Alex Brown, who stripped Eli of the ball twice - both were drive killers. No other OL allowed a sack, but backup Whitfield allowed two. It made a huge difference.

But the POG was Devin Hester's TD return on Feely's missed FG. I was saying 'Just punt it,' but Coughlin tried the 52-yarder and it burned them. So many reasons to punt it away: 1. Feagles is great at pinning teams inside the 10; 2. the Bears strength is their defense, not their offense; 3. Feely had already missed a 33-yard FG, how would he ever make a 52-yarder in the rain in Giants Stadium?; 4. a miss gives Chicago great field position, which had already led to most of their points.

Al Michaels kept saying how Thomas Jones' 22-yard run at the end of the 1st half was the POG, but I disagree. Even though it led to Chicago's 1st TD, the Gints still had the lead at halftime (Period).

I can't believe the Bears were getting so much credit from the commentators. If the Giants are just a bit healthier, they're probably looking at a win. So who have we lost you may ask. Let's look at the whole list (which includes a ridiculous 7 starters, almost half of their combined starting 22):
LB Lavar Arrington, LB Brandon Short, LB Carlos Emmons, DE Michael Strahan, DE Osi Umenyiora, DE Justin Tuck, CB Sam Madison, WR Amani Toomer, WR Sinorice Moss, OT Luke Petitgout, RB Tiki Barber (messed up his thumb tonight)

That's all, just a few guys...

38-20 Chicago

Next week they visit Jacksonville for a Monday night showdown. Another tough game.

3*: Tiki, 22 touches, 157 yds
2: Kiwanuka, 2 tackles, 1 int
2: Jacobs, 2 carries, 9 yds, 2 TD
1: Pierce, 15 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 pass deflection
1: Wilson, 9 tackles, 2 pass deflections, 1 fumble forced, 1 fumble recovered
1: Plaxico, 4 catches, 48 yds

Wright Gone, Britton In

I like this deal. Wright was mostly ineffective, never good for more than 6 innings, and was very injury prone. Britton comes in. A giant (6'3", 280 lbs.) righty, who throws hard, and is going to be just 24 next year. He may start the year in AAA, but he has ML experience, pitching 53.2 innings this year for Baltimore (3.35 era, 41 k, 17 bb, 1.17 whip). It adds more depth to the bullpen, which could be quite necessary with an aging Rivera, an inconsistent Farnsworth, and it also accounts for this year's potential 'flash-in-the-pans' Proctor and Bruney (although I do not think they are).

In other news, I mentioned how Humberto Sanchez (the Yanks new #2 pitching prospect) dominated his only inning of work in the Futures Game. I learned from reading this that he happened to dominate against 3 of the top 10 prospects (not just hitting prospects) in all of baseball - Stephen Drew, Howie Kendrick and Alex Gordon (2 k and a 6-3 groundout!).

NFC Title Game Preview in Week 10

This should be a very close one. If the Gmen were fielding a healthy team, I'd take them in a heartbeat. But with the current MASH unit, everyone will feel more pressure. It looks like Tuck and Osi are out, but Madison and Moss should play - Plax is still up in the air. The loss of Strahan and Osi could be big, but during the first 3 games, when the DEs weren't getting any pressure, it was the DTs who pressured the QB. We'll need that kind of play again to beat Chicago.

The Bears have a very easy schedule this year, while the Giants have one of the toughest in football. The Gmen have already played against some very good teams, and that should give them an edge. They've really had to scratch for some wins, while Chicago has blown out all but 3 of their opponents (Minnesota , Arizona and of course, Miami).

Giants O
8th, run 4th, pass 12th
vs. Bears D
1st, run 7th, pass 1st

Bears O
13th, run 19th, pass 9th
vs. Giants D
11th, run 8th, pass 16th

With Toomer gone, and Plax hurting, the Gints should run all day with their deadly combo of Tiki and Big J. From there, they could pass off the play-action. And with the Bears best WR out (Bernard Berrian), look for Tim Lewis to try to put pressure on Rex Grossman using LB and Safety blitzes - unless the D line can do it themselves. If the Bears get their running game going, that could be all they need to top the injury-depleted Gmen.

Prediction: Giants 13, Bears 10

Nov 11, 2006

More Updates

Tons of speculation on Matsuzaka. 1. the Sawx overbid just to block the Yanks, then plan to not offer a reasonable contract, making Mats return to Japan next year; 2. Bud Selig will realize this and award the bid to the second highest bidder; 3. the Sawx, if they sign Mats, will trade him for several young prospects (thereby essentially buying players); 4. the Sawx made a secret deal with Seibu to overpay, to ensure they won the bid, then Boston will only pay Seibu a fraction of the supposed bid (what happened with Seattle and Ichiro - although Seattle's ownership is Japanese).

Humberto Sanchez - the Yanks new #2 pitching prospect - apparently kicks up his velocity at times, touching 97 mph! He's also got a ML average changeup (better than I thought), and was rumored to be traded for Alfonso Soriano in mid-2006. That's how good he's thought of. Whelan held opposing batters to a .178 baa this season. And Claggett held hitters to a .174 baa, and 0 runs in his last 10 appearances.

Jaret Wright may be traded to Baltimore. I would welcome this. It seems Cash is getting the right idea, and removing the dead weight. He knows that young pitching is the game's most valuable asset, and he's acquiring it quickly. Let's look at the 2007 rotation, taking the non-injured approach (and assuming Mussina resigns): Wang, Mussina, Randy, Pavano, Sanchez/Rasner/Karstens. But looking at it with a more realistic approach, we're left with: Wang, Mussina, Sanchez, Hughes, Clippard/Rasner/Karstens. Resigning Mussina looks necessary now. As does signing a free agent like Zito or Lilly (preferably a lefty). As much as I like the idea of giving rotation spots to our best prospects, Sanchez is the only one who's pitched above AA. But I do think Hughes, Clippard and/or Sanchez will be in the rotation by mid 2007.

PS: The Mets will play at 'CitiField.' Another step toward a total corporate sporting world. It is a lot of money ($20 million a year), but I hope the Yanks keep a measure of integrity over the Mets and don't turn Yankee Stadium into Adidas Field/Park/Stadium.

Nov 10, 2006

I'm away for a day...

... and craziness ensues. So I was away from a computer most of today, and just got home now. I've learned the Sawx 'may have' won Matsuzaka for an insane bid of $38-45 million! I don't know what 'may have' means, but if that's seriously their bid, good for them. That's Tom Hicks crazy. I know they wanted a pitcher and a hitter, but spending that much $, plus the contract, I don't think will allow for another hitter. The strange part is that I heard Seibu was delaying their acceptance of the bid because it was so low (less than $20 million). If the Sawx outrageous bid is true, why is it taking Seibu so long to accept? They were saying on the radio how (if this is true), signing Matsuzaka will help generate Sawx fans in Asia, as they're opening up a baseball camp of some kind in China. But if Boston wanted to entice Chinese players to their organization, I don't think signing a Japanese pitcher is exactly the way to help. Yes, Matsuzaka is Asian, but Japan and China have historically not been the best of friends, and outright enemies at times.

Check this out. So apparently, the winning bid is either extremely high, or extremely low...

In good news, the Yanks traded Gary Sheffield for 3 Detroit prospects (all RHP): Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett.

'The 23-year-old Sanchez was a combined 10-6 with a 2.53 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 123 innings with Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie this year. Whelan, 22, was 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 27 saves for Class A Lakeland. Claggett, 22, was 7-2 with an 0.91 ERA and 14 saves for Class A West Michigan.'

Wow. I must give a lot of credit to Cashman. I never thought they'd get this much for Sheff. I remember Sanchez was the starter for the World team in the Futures Game, and he dominated (albeit in one inning). Sanchez, 6'6", 230, was rated the 14th best pitching prospect in baseball by (before 2006), and now must slot right behind Phil Hughes as our #2 pitching prospect (in fact, he was). He's also had some arm problems in the past, but I expect we'll see him in the Bronx in '07 - perhaps as a reliever at first. FYI: in 123 ip this year, he allowed just 4 HR.

Whelan (#97 among pitching prospects) they say could be setting up for Rivera next year (his stuff is that good), and Claggett obviously has great numbers so far.

Nov 9, 2006

Melancon out for a year

Damn. He'll be out 10-16 months after he had Tommy John surgery on Halloween. This guy was the heir apparent to Mo as the Yanks closer. He was also ranked #9 on BA's Yankee Prospect list. 2007 will now be a chance for JB Cox to step up as a legitimate ML closer.

Arod Then & Now

It's kind of hard to tell just from these shots (the best I could find), but I saw video of Seattle Arod the other day and he looked like a stick compared to the current Arod. I could see about a 15-20 lb. difference. Is that just aging? Or did he add muscle? If so, maybe he should lose the muscle and go for a quicker swing. 2000: 121 k, 2006: 139 k. 2000 bb/k: .83, 2006 bb/k: .65.

I was just watching 'Yankees Magazine,' and I got reminded of Arod's strikeout issues. It nearly makes me sick thinking about another whole year (assuming Cash is truthful, and he's not traded) of watching him swing and miss on mediocre fastballs, then flailing at sliders in the dirt. It sure looks like a beautiful swing - too bad it doesn't connect more often. Wait. There could be 4 more years of it. He's signed through 2010... shit.

[From Oct. 24]
I'm watching World Series game 3. Runners on 1st and 2nd, a grounder to Zumaya, who throws the ball away past 3b. McCarver says, "Not a good play by Zumaya..." and this guy is commentating why?

The Suspense...

Is killing me. I've heard 3 rumors so far:
1. the Yanks won with $27 million.
2. the Rangers won with $25 million.
3. the Diamondbacks won with who knows what.

Then I read we won't find out until Friday at the earliest (Seibu has until Tuesday to decide). LoHud is a good place to keep track of this whole thing.

Nov 8, 2006

Toomer Done for the Year!

Where did this come from?! I was just saying that the injuries couldn't get any worse unless Tiki, Eli or Pierce went down. Well, I was wrong. It's worse. Toomer - their 2nd best WR - is done now, and the offense has taken it's first major hit. That means opponents will zero in on Plaxico and Shockey the rest of the year (I'll be amazed if they don't go down too sometime this season). It also means another WR has to step up; hopefully Tim Carter and/or Michael Jennings. Forget about Sinorice Moss - if by some miracle he plays again this year, it will be in very limited action.

With the passing game taking this hit, I expect the Gmen to rely even more on Tiki and Jacobs. I think Tiki picked the right year to retire.

Prospect Update Nov. 8

First off, check out this video of Phil Hughes. It's the only video I've seen of him from the normal TV broadcast angle (besides the Futures Game). Pretty nasty stuff (too bad it doesn't have the pitch speed). Check out the incredible change he throws to the first hitter, then during the montage, it shows one of his nasty curves (sick!). I wish there were more clips like this - most of them are shot by fans, so you can hardly follow the action.

When you're done with that, check out Baseball America's list of the top Yankee prospects... Done? Then on with the update:

Hawaii Baseball
Joba Chamberlain, 2-2, 28.2 ip, 2.51 era, 35 k, 3 bb, .80 whip
Christian Garcia, 2-0, 20.2 ip, 3.05 era, 23 k, 14 bb, 1.26 whip
Ian Kennedy, 0-2, 18 ip, 4.50 era, 25 k, 8 bb, 1.50 whip
Jeff Marquez, 2-2, 24.1 ip, 7.77 era, 19 k, 14 bb, 1.77 whip
Michael Dunn, 0-0, 1 ip, 0 era, 1 k, 0 bb, 1.00 whip
Mark Melancon, 1-0, 5.1 ip, 8.44 era, 6 k, 3 bb (left with arm problems)

Arizona Fall League
Brett Gardner, 22 gms, .274/.451/.381, 19 k, 26 bb, 5 xbh, 1 HR, 6 sb, 0 cs
Eric Duncan, 20 gms, .250/.299/.364, 15 k, 7 bb, 5 xbh, 2 HR, 0 sb, 1 cs
PJ Pilittere, 10 gms, .407/.448/.481, 3 k, 2 bb, 2 xbh, 0 HR, 0 sb, 0 cs

Darrell Rasner, 0-0, 19 ip, 2.84 era, 16 k, 9 bb, 1.21 whip
Sean Henn, 3-1, 10 ip, 9.90 era, 9 k, 8 bb, 2.10 whip
TJ Beam, 1-1, 12 ip, .75 era, 14 k, 6 bb, 1.25 whip
Jeff Kennard, 1-2, 12.2 ip, 7.82, 11 k, 7 bb, 2.37 whip

Venezuela Winter League
Jose Tabata, 16 gms, .292/.433/.417, 9 k, 10 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 0 sb, 2 cs

Nov 7, 2006

Matsuzaka Projections Pt. II

Using the conversion table here, take a look at DM's 2006 stats in the AL:

186.1 ip, 200 k, 34 bb, 138 hits
NPB - 5.9 k/bb, 9.7 k/9, 1.6 bb/9, 6.7 h/9, 13 HR, 2.13 era, .92 WHIP
AL - 5.1 k/bb, 9.2 k/9, 1.8 bb/9, 7.2 h/9, 18 HR, 2.72 era, 1.00 WHIP

And that's going by the average pitcher who switches leagues. Mats is definitely above average.

Mats vs. Ichiro, 1999. Mats - as a rookie - strikes out Ichiro twice in this game.

Nov 6, 2006

Strahan Out 2-4 Weeks

Another big loss - in fact, the biggest so far. I'm very hopeful that Osi or Tuck returns this Sunday. I don't see the Giants getting much of a pass rush against Chicago with practice squadder Adrian Awasom lining up at DE. Kiwanuka can hold his own on one side, but they need an established player on the other.

From what I'm hearing, Strahan could even be out 8 weeks, which means he wouldn't return until the playoffs. Can the injuries get any worse for Big Blue? Actually yes, if Tiki, Eli and Pierce go down - (knock on wood).

Plax and McKenzie should be back Sunday, which will be a big boost for the offense. But if none of the injured starting defenders return, we'll be in trouble, even against Rex Grossman.

Potential Arod Trades

Some ideas on possible trades in which Arod leaves the Yanks. These aren't fantasy trades where Arod goes to KC or Tampa Bay. It has to be places that can afford Arod, and places where he may want to go (because of his blanket no-trade clause).

Yanks get:
from the White Sox,
Josh Fields (3b)
Brandon McCarthy (RHP)

from the Angels (some combo of the following),
Erick Aybar (2b)
Ervin Santana (RHP)
Brandon Wood (SS)
Howie Kendrick (2b, 1b)
Nick Adenhart (RHP)

Scott Elbert (LHP)
Andy LaRoche (3b)

Angel Guzman (RHP)
Felix Pie (OF)

In Defense of Matsuzaka

I read an annoying article today. This columnist basically writes that spending significant money to acquire Matsuzaka is crazy. The following is my rebuttal (with assistance from 'baileywalk'):

I don't know how much of an expert this guy is. He's not a baseball specialist; going by his columns, he covers all sports, so his 'baseball expertise' is somewhat suspect. All he's basing this on is past Japanese players, Matsuzaka's size, his pitch count, and Scott Boras' dishonesty, not exactly hard research. I'd much rather trust a guy like Mike Plugh, who lives in Japan, and actually watches DM pitch.

To counter the article, how about this one?

The 'anonymous scouts' are not anonymous. They include (among others) Ray Poitivent, the International GM for the White Sox, and Bobby Valentine, a current Japanese manager (and former MLB manager).

Matsuzaka does not have mysterious stuff, like the writer implies. He throws primarily 3 pitches (fastball, slider, change), and will occasionally throws variations, like a 2-seam fastball or a splitter. Anyone who wants can see his stuff here.

He also likes bringing up Irabu and Kaz Matsui as examples of failed Japanese players. Yes, they were never great (or even close to great), but what about the successes: Ichiro, Nomo, Hideki Matsui, Iguchi, Otsuka, etc.

And whatever you do, please don't bring up size as a negative. Pedro is 5'11", 180 too, and he dominated for a few years like no one ever has. Roy Oswalt is 6'0", 185. And going by his bio, DM is actually 6'0", 187. Or he's 6'1".

Don't forget that Nomo had a few good to great seasons in MLB, and that was after he was overused in Japan. DM has not been overused to the same extent. Look at Nomo's innings pitched totals (before joining MLB):
1994-114 (injured I believe). That makes an average of 209.

Compare that to DM.
2006-186. An average of 175. That's a 34 ip difference. That's pretty big.

Not to mention that Nomo went to MLB after his 2 worst years in Japan. DM is going into MLB after his 2 best years. Nomo's era the 2 previous seasons were 3.70 and 3.63. DM has been 2.30 and 2.13.

Plus DM doesn't rely on a deceptive delivery like Nomo did. It was good for Nomo at first, but part of the reason he tailed off was that hitters got accustomed to his delivery. DM relies on his great stuff, which is obviously much harder for hitters to get used to.

I like my chances with DM. And I think I've compared him quite favorably to the best Japanese pitcher (Nomo) we've seen so far.

Remember, there had never been a great Japanese hitter in MLB before Ichiro.

Nov 5, 2006

Wheeew... That was close - Giants Recap

'The Giants saw the piece of cheese, reached out their hand, and just before taking it, backed off, leaving the cheese for the next victim.'

They escaped the trap. Barely.

The Gmen are lucky their reserves are so good, and the Texans have a knack for turning the ball over. I'm now going to stop referring to Lavar Arrington as a starter, so today, the Giants were missing only 6 starters: Osi, McKenzie, Plaxico, Madison, Strahan and Short. (Strahan left in the 2nd quarter with a foot injury. McKenzie had a migraine and never played.) The injuries nearly cost the Giants the game. In the first half, it felt like players were dropping like flies. Kiwanuka, Whitfield, Carter, McQuarters, Awasom and Wilkinson filled in (mostly) admirably. Whitfield was disappointing, allowing Mario Williams to dominate him at times. Carter caught just one pass (for 15 yds).

Kiwanuka had the only sack - which was more a case of David Carr just falling down. McQuarters did a fine job. Awasom did fine for a 3rd stringer. And Wilkinson did quite well, even forcing a fumble (the lone Giants takeaway of the game).

David Carr is very good. He made a few passes that were absolutely perfect - despite great coverage by the DB, Carr threaded the ball inches out of their reach to complete the pass to the receiver (often for a 1st down). He also is extremely mobile, racking up 24 yards on 5 carries (with a TD). It's easy to see why he was the #1 pick in 2002. Andre Johnson is also very good. A big, strong, fast receiver who catches everything (and doesn't act like an idiot, ala TO). Mario Williams was dominant at times today. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for keeping points off the board during a drive at the end of the 1st half. He sacked Manning once, and then forced a fumble. Those 2 plays pushed the Giants back about 20 yards. Of course, he was going against backup tackle Bob Whitfield, the 35-year-old, 15 year veteran. If Kareem McKenzie's in there, the Giants are probably looking at points on that drive.

The Giants just could not stop Houston's 4-5 WR set. I don't know why Houston ever went away from it. The D stopped the run well, but were very susceptible to Houston's West-Coast passing game. But in the end, Tiki, Big J and Shockey were too much for Houston's defense. Tiki had his 1st TD of the season! And Shockey had a season high 8 catches in Plaxico's absence.

The Play of the Game was easy to determine this week: Gints up 14-10, a short pass to Houston's FB late in the 4th quarter, 3rd-round-pick (and former Yellowjacket) Gerris Wilkinson makes a fumble-causing hit, Corey Webster recovers it, and 3 first downs later the game is over.

Huge game next Sunday vs. 7-1 Chicago. The winner holds the best record in the NFC.

14-10 Giants - (2 game lead in the division, thanks to Dallas upsetting Washington)

3*: Tiki, 20 touches, 155 yds, 1 TD
2: Shockey, 8 catches, 66 yds, 1 TD
2: Eli, 17-28, 179 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT (end of the 1st half hail-mary)
1: Kiwanuka, 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
1: McQuarters, 5 tackles, 2 pass deflections
1: Wilkinson, 3 tackles, 1 (huge) forced fumble

PS: I'm really getting sick of Sinorice Moss' quad injury. What the hell could have happened in training camp causing a rookie to miss at least 7 games? The Gmen really could have used him today.

Nov 3, 2006

2007 Rotation? Part 2

What I hope the 2007 mid-year rotation looks like:


The problems with my ideal compared to the expectations go like this- 1. Randy wants to get 300 wins, and would not allow himself to be relegated to the pen; 2. It looks like Sheffield will be traded for bullpen help, so Rasner and/or Beam will likely not make the pen out of ST; 3. Torre has (at times) a bias toward 'experience,' which favors Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano, neither of whom has really proved they can pitch in the AL, over Karstens and Rasner, who pitched very well last year (in addition to bringing youth and saving $$$).

YES has a video feature on the AFL that's worth checking out.

And BDD has a decent article on the AL Gold Gloves. They say Jeter did not deserve the GG this year (which I agree with), and that Melky! deserved an OF GG.

Giants-Texans a 'Trap'?

This is even more of a 'trap' game than last week vs. the Bucs. Houston is worse than Tampa, and the Gmen are on a 4-game win streak (as opposed to 3 last week), and the unbeaten Bears come into town next Sunday night.

I can't believe people are actually writing off the Texans. Have they forgotten this is the NFL, where parity reigns? Where Houston can beat Jacksonville? Anything can happen. Remember last year vs. Minnesota? The Vikings scored on 3 big plays, and that was all they needed.

Big Blue is 11-7 in 'trap' games since 2000. So they can clearly lose to inferior opponents at times.
Houston Offense (22) vs. Giants D (14)

Giants Offense (4) vs. Houston D (28)

The Giants clearly have an edge on paper, but considering the injuries they have, especially to their D (Osi, Tuck, Madison, Lavar, Short), WR Andre Johnson could carve up the secondary, with help from David Carr, who leads the NFL in completion % (70.5). Fortunately, this year the Gints are very deep, and the (very suitable) replacements will be Mathias Kiwanuka, R.W. McQuarters, Gerris Wilkinson and Reggie Torbor.

Plaxico is now listed as 'questionable,' not a good sign for the offense. They'll have to rely more on Toomer, Shockey, Tiki and Tim Carter. Toomer is old, Shockey is on and off, Tiki is good for short passes, and Carter is still not reliable. Plax is the only deep threat. Sinorice Moss was supposed to bring that home-run ability to the team, but he's caught a total of one pass, and is out again with an injured quad. Fortunately, the Gints run game is exceptional, so the (possible) loss of Plax shouldn't be a big deal (at least this week).

I see this game being pretty close before the Gmen pull away late. Final score: 31-17.

Nov 2, 2006

Matsuzaka Officially Posted

Now the fun begins. The bids are due on Wednesday (Nov. 8). The exciting thing about this Boston Globe article is it mentions that Daisuke 'waxed poetic' about the Yankees during a press conference this week. I hadn't heard about this, but it's great to know he wants to play for the Yanks. Be sure to read this article, which sums up my own feelings pretty well.

The 5 major players seem to be: Yanks, Mets, Sawx, Cubbies and Rangers.

Here's a game from Sept. 19 where Matsuzaka shut down Japan's best team (Softbank) with his mediocre stuff. His fastball (from the highlights shown) didn't top 92, and he didn't have great control with it or the slider (while his D misplayed a few balls). His Lions still won 4-2, with him going the full 9 innings.

(PS: hat tip to MLB Trade Rumors for linking to the Globe article.)

Kevin Long?

I'd never heard of Kevin Long before he replaced Don Mattingly as the Yanks hitting coach. Here's the scoop. Lee Maz was fired, and Don Mattingly will replace him as the Yanks bench coach. Long will take over as hitting coach. He's been the AAA Columbus Clippers hitting coach for the last 3 years. I think a fair way to judge him is to look at the Clippers OPS.

Batting stats for the 2006 AAA International League.
Clippers OPS - .733
Good for 4th (out of 14) in the IL.

Pretty good. Of course, these numbers depend A LOT on the hitters (more so than the Majors probably), but the fact that Kevin Long did this without any stud hitting prospects (I don't count Melky as a stud - he also only played 31 games) - unlike many of the other IL teams - is impressive.

In 2005, Columbus ranked 6th in the IL with a .762 OPS (in which Robbie Cano played just 24 games). It's ironic that the 2005 OPS was higher but their rank was lower, which indicates either better pitching and/or worse hitting in the league this year. (I wonder if it's related to illegal substance testing... but that's a huge can of worms that I don't want to open now.)

Jeter is Golden Again

I was not expecting this. He was decent at SS this year, but not great. 4th in Fielding %, 9th in Range Factor, and 7th in Zone Rating - an average rank of 7th. And he was certainly not better than the last 2 years - average ranks of 3rd ('05), and 6th ('04). This year was based more on reputation. Anyway, Congrats DJ.

Here's the AL list:
C Pudge
1b Teixeira
2b Grudzielanek
3b Chavez
SS Jeter
OF Hunter
OF Ichiro
OF Wells
P Rogers


  1. Derek Jeter will be named AL MVP!
  2. The Angels and Mariners are NOT interested in Daisuke Matsuzaka.
  3. A Scott Rolen for Arod trade could happen.
  4. Cleveland, San Francisco and Houston are interested in trading for Sheffield

1. Awesome to hear about Jeter. He deserves it. One more notch on his list of achievements. I remember about 5 years ago when people would say how Arod and Nomar were so much better than Jeter. Nothing like that anymore, not to mention he's the only one sitll playing SS.

2. Also good to hear. The less teams in the bidding, the less the posting bid and contract will be. (Of course, the Angels and M's could be leaking this stuff on purpose to get the Yankees to lower their bid as well - thereby getting Matsuzaka for cheaper.)

3. I would never do Arod for Rolen. Arod is still a better hitter and has less injury concerns than Rolen. Rolen does have a better glove though, and I would do it if St. Louis included a good, young pitcher.

4. It would be great to get someone like Jeremy Sowers for Sheff, but I doubt Cleveland would do that. Lidge and a prospect I'd take. And would SF give us Matt Cain for Sheff and some combo of Clippard/Gardner/Duncan/Garcia/Cox?...

Nov 1, 2006

Prospect Update

Hawaii Baseball
Joba Chamberlain, 1-2, 23.2 ip, 2.66 era, 30 k, 3 bb
Christian Garcia, 2-0, 20.2 ip, 3.05 era, 23 k, 14 bb
Ian Jennedy, 0-2, 14 ip, 5.79 era, 19 k, 8 bb
Jeff Marquez, 1-2, 19.1 ip, 8.38 era, 13 k, 13 bb
Mark Melancon, 1-0, 5.1 ip, 8.44 era, 6 k, 3 bb (left with arm problems)

Arizona Fall League
Brett Gardner, 17 gms, .292/.485/.366, 14 k, 20 bb, 4 xbh, 0 HR
Eric Duncan, 14 gms, .297/.333/.406, 10 k, 4 bb, 4 xbh, 1 HR
Peter Pilittere, 7 gms, .333/.375/.333, 1 k, 1 bb, 0 xbh

Darrell Rasner, 0-0, 15 ip, 3.60 era, 12 k, 6 bb
Sean Henn, 3-0, 9 ip, 8.00 era, 9 k, 7 bb
TJ Beam, 0-1, 9 ip, 1.00 era, 12 k, 2 bb
Jeff Kennard, 0-2, 8.2 ip, 10.38 era, 7 k, 5 bb

Venezuela Winter League
Jose Tabata, 11 gms, .379/.526/.586, 5 k, 8 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR

So far the best of this group is Chamberlain, Gardner, Beam and Tabata. Nothing too surprising with that.

Matsuzaka Projections

Using Jim Albright's Japanese Pitcher Projection Method, here's what Matsuzaka's 2006 season would look like if he was in MLB.

186.1 ip
NPB hits 138 HR 13 bb 34 k 200 era 2.13
MLB hits 148 HR 16 bb 36 k 177 era 2.40

For era, I averaged the projections for hits, HR, and bb, and applied it to his NPB era. This would obviously be RIDICULOUS, so I doubt he'll post those stats (which would garner him the Cy Young easily). But the great thing is that adding a full run to his NPB era (3.13) makes him #2 in the AL, and #1 on the Yanks! Even adding 1.5 runs (3.63) makes him the Yanks second best starter (tied with Wang).

PS: I've been on a Matsuzaka frenzy lately. I guess it's because he could be posted today (but probably this weekend). Oh, and I've been watching more highlights of his on Check out this game. He hit 155 kph (96 mph!).