Sunday, February 26, 2006

Analysis of Spring Training Catchers

Last week, I examined all the pitchers going to Spring Training with the Rangers and this week, I will examine the catchers. Below, I will rate each catcher and give their chances of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training.

Rod Barajas
For the 1st time, Barajas goes into Spring Training knowing that he is going to be the starting catcher unless he gets injured. According to Barajas said this about being the No.1 catcher "It feels great to come in here and be the guy and not have spring training as the deciding factor That gives me a chance to work on other things.”
Percentage 100% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training

Jamie Burke
He was drafted in 1993 by the California Angels out of Oregon State University. He did not make it to the majors until 2001 and put up a .328 average in 134 at-bats in four partial seasons with the Angels and White Sox. He has no home runs in the majors but has 10 walks. He had 21 triples in 13 seasons in the minors to show that he has decent speed for a catcher. Since he had one at-bat for the White Sox last year, he has a World Series ring. With Rod Barajas and Gerald Laird, he really has no chance of making the cut unless there’s an injury.
Percentage 0.07%

Gerald Laird
Even though Barajas has the #1 job for sure Laird is still going to play hard. According to, here is what Laird said about Barajas being the #1 catcher, "I just kind of look at it as reality. It's probably his job, but I'm going to be right here to work hard, to play hard and to push him." He is probably going to be the back-up catcher because if you look up and down the catchers, Keith McDonald has the best chance of putting up a fight for the #2 position and Keith is a non-roster invitee.
Percentage 98.9%

Keith McDonald
Keith is probably not going to make it because of him being a non-roster invitee and Gerald Laird. He has had 9 at-bats in the big leagues (in 2000 and 2001 for the St Louis Cardinals) and has had 3 hits. All 3 of those hits were homers. But in the minors, he has had 3120 at-bats and only 78 homers. Last year with the Redhawks, he batted .240 in 233 at-bats. He had 2 home runs and 33 RBI’s.
Percentage 1.6%

Mike Nickeas
Mike has a very interesting background. He is from Vancouver, Canada but you cannot tell by his accent. His Dad (Mark Nickeas) played soccer for the Dallas Sidekicks (indoor soccer team) in 1984-85. His Dad also played soccer in England in the late 70’s. Mike played baseball for Westlake High School and won two championships with them. The Rangers consider him a big prospect, and so last year they moved him from Spokane (short-season A) to Frisco (AA). He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 draft. Nickeas is said to be good with pitchers. Last year, even though he struggled with a .202 average in 242 AA at-bats, the Rangers stuck with him. He also played in the Arizona Fall League for the Grand Canyon Rafters, hitting .425 in 40 at-bats. I think that he is not going to be in the majors this year but that his minor league stats will improve after he has experience.
Percentage 1.2%

Taylor Teagarden
Teagarden was voted second-best college defensive player by Baseball America before the 2005 draft. According to, he said this about being with the Rangers (his hometown team): "I'm glad that I will get the chance to help the Rangers out as an organization. This is about the best feeling I could have right now. It's a dream come true." He batted .281 in 96 at-bats for Spokane in 2005. Teagarden batted .333 in 63 games in 2005 at the University of Texas. Teagarden has no chance of making the big leagues in 2005, but he has a chance to be a future A.J. Pierzynski without the attitude.
Percentage 0%

Nick Trzesniak
Trzesniak was drafted by the Padres in the 1999 draft and has been in the minors ever since. In his career, he has a .249 average in 1875 at-bats. Last year in AAA Portland, he batted .380 in 79 at-bats. He probably is not going to make the majors this year.
Percentage 0.04%

My prediction of which catchers will be on the active roster is the following:
Rod Barajas – starter
Gerald Laird – back-up

Next in line:
- Keith McDonald
- Mike Nickeas

Come back later this week for the infielders.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Analysis of Spring Training Pitchers

The Rangers opened Spring Training this week with 35 pitchers in the major league camp. Below, I will rate each pitcher and give their chances of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training.

Antonio Alfonseca
Even though he is a non-roster invitee and was a very inconsistent pitcher for the last few years, I do think he has a chance to make the 25-man roster. He’ll have to have a strong Spring Training and let that sixth finger add a positive spin on the ball if he is going to make it. His age might not allow him to do that, leaving him in Triple-A or Double-A.
Percentage 71.2% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training

Brian Anderson
He’s also a non-roster invitee which leads you to think that he’s not making the 25-man roster. He isn’t even going to be able to show his stuff because of Tommy John Surgery. Even if he is in the minors the whole year, he could bring even more character to the clubhouse in the minors. When Brian was pitching for the Indians he and Carl Sadler chased down a thief trying to steal a woman’s purse. Anyway, he’s going to need to recover fast if he’s going to the bigs.
Percentage 5.4%

Rick Bauer
He has played for the Orioles for his entire 4-year career. He only pitched 8.1 innings with a 9.72 ERA last year. The Rangers probably don’t expect much of him and probably don’t think that he’ll be in the MLB anytime soon.
Percentage 4.3%

Omar Beltre
Omar is having VISA problems because he got one illegally a couple years ago. He probably won’t be able to go to camp or even play in the majors or minors this year.
Percentage 0%

Joaquin Benoit
Joaquin has been known for struggling as a starter and shutting down hitters as a reliever. I think that Benoit will make the team as a long or middle reliever. He has the speed and stuff to strike out and just mow down hitters. If he can meet his potential he could become a starter. Last year he got closer to his potential pitching 87 innings with a 3.72 ERA. Of course, when he was a starter the ERA shot up. If he can have another season like that he will (in my perspective) meet his potential. He is out of options so he will probably be on the team.
Percentage 100%

Ryan Bukvich
Bukvich has a great minor league career but has struggled in the majors. If he can recover from his Tommy John surgery quickly and pitch like he used to in the minors, he has a good chance of being in the MLB. Ever since he was called up to the majors with the Royals in 2002, he has struggled everywhere except for the 7.1 innings pitched for the Royals in ‘04. He probably won’t recover from his Tommy John surgery quick enough to play the whole year for the Rangers.
Percentage 3.6%

Jesse Carlson
Carlson is a non-roster invitee who does not have a big chance of going to the majors. Last year, he pitched 2 innings for the Blue Jays in Spring Training with a 9.00 ERA. In the minors with Toronto last year, Jesse went 4-3 with a 2.79 ERA. For three minor league seasons before that, his stats were 2.81 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 156.2 innings pitched.
Percentage 8.1%

Fabio Castro
Fabio has played in the White Sox organization throughout his career even though we got him from the Royals in the Rule-5 draft. If you get a player from the Rule 5 draft, he has to remain on the active major league roster for the entire season or else he will go through waivers. Since he was from the Rule 5 draft, it is very likely that he will be in the majors the whole year. His ERA has been outstanding with an ERA of 2.28 last year and 2.47 for the years before that put together. He has only played in the rookie league and single-A though. He has been in Spring Training once (2005) and put up an 8.10 ERA in 3.1 IP.
Percentage 95.6%

Francisco Cordero
He has blazing stuff and from his major league performances, he is going to the MLB unless he gets injured.
Percentage 100%

John Danks
John probably needs more experience in the minors to be able to pitch well in the majors because once he got to AA, he struggled with a 5.49 ERA in 98.1 innings. If he can get closer to his potential earlier than expected, he has a chance. It would take basically no-hit ball during Spring Training for him to make the majors.
Percentage 10.1%

Thomas Diamond
Thomas, like John Danks, probably needs more experience in the minors to pitch well in the majors because he also struggled once he got to AA with a 5.35 ERA in 69 innings pitched. But with the Blaze, Thomas was dominant with a 1.99 ERA in 81.1 innings pitched. He also had 101 strikeouts. I think in a year or two, he will be able to pitch in the majors successfully. He will need to do the same as John Danks needs to do if he’s going to make the majors.
Percentage 10.2%

Joselo Diaz
Jose has a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Jose Diaz had a 9.13 ERA with a 2-2 record and 22 strike-outs in 18 games for the Royals’ AA Montgomery Biscuits as a reliever. He had a 0.00 ERA with a 0-0 record and 19 strike-outs in 8 games for the Indians’ AA Akron Aeros. He also had a 3.89 ERA with a 1-2 record and 44 strike-outs in 20 games for the Indians’ AAA Buffalo Bisons. For his career he has a 3.71 ERA and a 21-21 record with 340 strike-outs in 303.1 innings pitched. He started his career by signing with the Dodgers as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He has pitched against Nick Trzesniak, his likely catcher in AAA if he doesn’t make the majors.
Percentage 29.9%

R.A. Dickey
R.A. (Robert Alan) needs to improve his new knuckleball to make the team. If he does and is successful with it, he has a good chance to be the fifth starter in the rotation. If somebody in the chase for the fifth rotation spot does better than Dickey, he has a good shot at a long reliever role.
Percentage 79.6%

Juan Dominguez
The Rangers know that he has incredible stuff that can just mow down hitters but he will still need to prove that he cares about doing well and not just about getting the money. He has a tendency to show up late and not keep his head in the game. If he can just mature himself, he could easily become a starter.
Percentage 63.7%

Jayson Durocher
Jayson Paul Durocher has a career major league ERA of 3.09 in 55.1 innings pitched. He has only played in 45 major league games. He has a tendency to get injured and hasn’t played in the majors since 2003. He has played professional baseball since 1993 and only played in the majors in ’02 and ’03. He is a non-roster invitee and has very little chance of making the team.
Percentage 5.3%

Adam Eaton
He is a proven starter and is going to be one unless he’s injured.
Percentage 100%

Scott Feldman
If Scott Feldman can pitch like he did last year in the majors, he has a great chance of staying on the active roster. Last year, he had a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 major league innings.
Percentage 74.2%

Frank Francisco
Frank is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely won’t be back until May.
Percentage 1.6%

Armando Galarraga
Armando did well in single-A (2.48 ERA in 80 innings) but struggled in double-A (5.19 ERA in 76.1 innings) in 2005. Like Omar Beltre, he is having VISA problems. However, he is expected to be in camp. He does not have a chance at making the majors out of Spring Training.
Percentage 0%

Jon Leicester
Jon struggled badly in ’05 with a 5.51 ERA in 98 AAA innings and a 9.00 ERA in 9 innings pitched for the Cubs. However, he pitched great in 2004 with a 3.89 ERA in 41.2 innings pitched for the Cubs. He will need to pitch like he did in 2004 this spring for him to make the majors out of camp.
Percentage 35.5%

Wes Littleton
Wes has been a decent minor league player who probably will not play in the majors for the whole season. In AA last year, Wes had a 3.97 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 81.2 innings pitched. If he can pitch well in Oklahoma City, he could easily be a late season call-up.
Percentage 9.5%

Kameron Loe
Kameron probably has established himself enough in the majors to make it to the majors out of camp this year.
Percentage 100%

Ron Mahay
Even though Mahay is a non-roster invitee, if he has a good Spring Training, he has a great chance of making the team because he is established in the majors. In ’05, he had a 6.81 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched but in ’04, he had a 2.55 ERA in 67 innings.
Percentage 55.5%

Kevin Millwood
Kevin will make it out of camp unless he gets injured. He led the league in ERA last year and was brought in to be the team’s ace.
Percentage 100%

Akinori Otsuka
Otsuka will make the team as long as he can stay healthy. He was brought in to set up Francisco Cordero.
Percentage 100%

Vicente Padilla
Vicente has established himself enough to have a 100% chance to be a starter out of camp.
Percentage 100%

Erasmo Ramirez
Ramirez has had enough experience to do well in the majors. As long as he can stay healthy and have a decent spring, he will make the team. Last year, he had a 3.91 ERA in 23 major league innings.
Percentage 99.1%

Nick Regilio (non-roster)
Nick had elbow tendonitis and should be back from his injury in time for Spring Training. He shouldn’t make the team because he will still be rebuilding his arm strength. Like Wes, he could be a big candidate for being called up later in the season.
Percentage 2.2%

Josh Rupe
Josh did very well in the majors at the end of last year, with a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched. You would think that Juan Dominguez or R.A. Dickey would out pitch him and win the fifth starter role. He would need to out pitch five other pitchers (Dominguez, Dickey, Mahay, Wilson, and Volquez) for the fifth role in the rotation. If he can’t be a starter in the majors, I think they will send him to Triple-A so he can pitch every five days.
Percentage 11.6%

Brian Shouse
Shouse should make the team unless he has a terrible spring or gets injured. That’s because he is one of their only left-handers and has had two great years for the Rangers (2003 and 2004). Last year, he had a 5.23 ERA in 53.1 innings.
Percentage 79.1%

Jose Silva
Jose has basically no chance at making the team. He played in the majors from 1996 through 2002 with 5.41 ERA in 427.1 innings. Since then, he has been playing in Triple-A and struggled badly, putting up a 6.03 ERA in 2005. He is a non-roster invitee, giving him even less of a chance.
Percentage 1.4%

Edison Volquez
With last year’s stats in the majors of a 14.21 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched, you can tell he needs more time in the minors. He would have to have a monster spring to make the majors.
Percentage 10.9%

Kevin Walker
Kevin probably won’t make the team. He has a career ERA of 4.76 in 102 innings pitched. He was with the White Sox in ‘05 for 9 games so he has a World Series ring under his belt. Texas will be his fourth organization in four years. Since he is a lefty, if he has a strong spring, he has a chance.
Percentage 5.4%

John Wasdin
As long as he doesn’t have an awful spring, he is probably a lock. If he makes the team, the best role for him in my opinion is as a long reliever. Last year, he had a 4.28 ERA in 75.2 innings.
Percentage 85.5%

C.J. Wilson
Last year, Christopher John Wilson struggled as a starter but pitched great as a reliever. As long as he can have a decent spring, he could lock up the last long reliever spot.
Percentage 55.2%

My prediction of which pitchers will be on the active roster is the following:
Kevin Millwood – starter
Adam Eaton – starter
Vicente Padilla – starter
Kameron Loe – starter
R.A. Dickey – starter
John Wasdin – long relief
Brian Shouse – lefty
Joaquin Benoit – long relief
Fabio Castro – middle relief
Francisco Cordero – closer
Akinori Otsuka – setup man
Erasmo Ramirez – lefty

Next in line:
- Antonio Alfonseca
- C.J. Wilson
- Ron Mahay
- Juan Dominguez
- Scott Feldman

Come back next week for the position players.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Winter Awards Banquet

A couple of weeks ago the Rangers had the Winter Awards Banquet. I was able to go with my dad and I’m going to describe the evening.

On our way there, we had some problems. Mapquest had led us the wrong way and we were delayed by 15 minutes (not including the 20 minutes from a car wreck on the way there).

As we got in to Eddie Deen’s Ranch they were having the pre-dinner reception. We saw Brad Wilkerson being interviewed on the Ticket. Luckily, when he was done I got his autograph. It was lucky because all the players were in a VIP session during the reception.

When I was done getting Brad Wilkerson’s autograph, we went to one of the Newberg tables to wait for dinner and for the awards to be announced. Then the players came out of a field of cornstalks like in The Field of Dreams.

Our table was one of the lucky tables because we got somebody associated with the Rangers. We got Kevin Harmon (assistant trainer). He and his wife (Melony) were very nice and friendly to everyone at the table. He was in Phoenix working at the Surprise complex until last year.

After talking to Kevin for a while, we had our dinner, which was very good. It was so much better than last year’s banquet. They had steak, chicken, vegetables, rolls, and mashed potatoes.

When the players were done eating, I went from table to table to get some autographs. As I walked by Jon Daniels, I stopped and talked to him for a while. I asked him about his thoughts on the Chris Young trade and on acquiring Baldiris, but this was a private conversation so I can’t tell you the answers without Jon’s permission. The player autographs that I got were Wes Littleton, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler, Jon Leicester, Travis Metcalf, Thomas Diamond, Joselo Diaz, CJ Wilson, Juan Dominguez, and Fabio Castro. Everyone was nice but Jon Daniels, Thomas Diamond and Scott Feldman really stood out because they were especially nice and talked to me for a while.

Then the awards ceremony started. It was hosted by the Hardline from The Ticket. Every time they came on stage, the Hardline theme song was played and they said that they hated it.

They named Travis Metcalf Minor League Player of the Year and they named Thomas Diamond Minor League Pitcher of the Year. As John Lombardi was introducing Thomas Diamond, he told everyone there a story about Thomas. The story was that after the last game of the season, John Lombardi went up to Thomas and asked him a question. Thomas said, ‘I’ve got to get home’ and Lombardi teased him about it because he had just bought a new house in Frisco. Thomas said that he had to get to Louisiana where his family was so he could help out (because this was right after the hurricane). Lombardi said that while everyone else was bailing out, Thomas was going into the storm.

Victor Rojas interviewed Jon Daniels, and Josh Lewin interviewed Gary Matthews Jr. and Brad Wilkerson. Kevin Mench was supposed to be interviewed instead of Gary Matthews Jr. but Kevin had left.

After they interviewed Wilkerson and Matthews, I got too tired and went home, missing the rest of the ceremony. I had a great time and if I had the choice to go again, I’d do it, even though it cost $40 for one person. The only thing I would change is that I would take out the mashed potatoes and put in french fries. I would also like to see the players out with the fans during the reception.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Alfonseca Signs

Antonio Alfonseca, 2000 NL Rolaids Relief Award winner, signed with the Rangers to a minor league deal. Last year for the Marlins his stats were:
33 G
27.1 IP
29 H
15 R
2 HR
14 BB
16 SO
1-1 W-L
0 S
.299 BAA
4.94 ERA
According to he will only be used if players get hurt.

His career stats are nothing like what he’s done the past few years.
512 G
547.1 IP
589 H
255 R
49 HR
216 BB
371 SO
30-35 W-L
121 S
.279 BAA
3.95 ERA

In the past few years his ERA has shot up and he has been unstable. On Saturday at the Fan Fest Jon Daniels said that he was a low risk high reward player. I think that it's not going to take injuries for him to do anything for the Rangers and that he only needs to have a strong Spring.