Sunday, October 29, 2006

Free Agent Analysis Part 2 or 4

This is part two of a series where I will examine the free agents and name the top players the Rangers should go after. This week, I will examine the free agent infielders.

Grade A:
Sean Casey
Aubrey Huff
Julio Lugo

Grade B:
Ronnie Belliard
Mark DeRosa
Ray Durham
Mark Loretta
Rich Aurilia
Nomar Garciaparra

Grade C:
Shea Hillenbrand
Travis Lee
Joe McEwing
Doug Mientkiewicz
Kevin Millar
Todd Walker
Craig Wilson
Craig Biggio
Miguel Cairo
Chris Gomez
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Tony Womack
David Bell
Mark Bellhorn
Aaron Boone
Pedro Feliz
Alex Gonzalez
Tony Graffanino
Wes Helms
Joe Randa
Scott Spezio
Alex Cora
Desi Relaford

Grade D:
Jeff Conine
Erubiel Durazo
Brian Jordan
Phil Nevin
Eduardo Perez
J.T. Snow
Daryle Ward
Dmitri Young
Manny Alexander
Damian Easley
Damian Jackson
Adam Kennedy
Chris Woodward
Edgardo Alfonzo
Tony Batista
Geoff Blum
Russell Branyan
Vinny Castilla
Jeff Cirillo
Lou Merloni
Royce Clayton
Craig Counsell
Ramon E. Martinez
Jose Hernandez
Tomas Perez
Jose Vizcaino

Grade F:
Jeff Bagwell
Fernando Tatis

Top infielders that the Rangers should go after:

1. Sean Casey: He can fill our DH roll and back-up Teixeira at the same time.

2. Aubrey Huff: He can fill one of our empty outfield spots (he plays outfield and infield).

3. Rich Aurilia: There is a good chance that Blalock will get traded and he would fill 3B or he could take the job the last half of the season.

4. Mark DeRosa: He has been a great utility guy for us.

5. Todd Walker: He can play every position except pitcher and catcher.

6. Kevin Millar: He can play a little outfield.

7. David Bell: There is a good chance that Blalock will get traded and he might fill 3B or he could take the job the last half of the season.

8. Alex Gonzalez: He could give us some more infield defense and back up Young and Kinsler.

9. Scott Spezio: He is a good clutch hitter.

10. Desi Relaford: he would be a good prospect.

Come back next week for part three for this series.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Scott Feldman Interview

This week I did an interview with Scott Feldman, the Rangers relief pitcher. I met Scott last year when he was with the RoughRiders. He was always very friendly and would take time to talk with me in the bullpen before the games. Even since being called up to the Rangers, he’s still always willing to talk to me and has always remembered me.

The interview is below:

1. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?
It’s tough to pick out 3 but I'll just say I haven't come across any bad ones yet. The guys out in the bullpen are who I spend most of my time with during the season and we have a pretty good time hanging out.

2. Can you please rate the ballparks in the Rangers organization that you’ve played in from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) and explain your ratings?
Frisco was a 10. I think people that have seen it or played there can tell why. OKC was also nice but I'd rate it lower than Frisco. My first stop in the minor leagues was Bakersfield. The set up wasn't the best but it was a good time and I'll always remember my first home ball park in the minors.

3. Who are the three toughest hitters you’ve faced and why?
Vlad Guererro because there isn't a right way for anyone to pitch that guy, he hits everything. I remember him hitting a slider a foot and a half off the plate and getting a single against me. Derek Jeter, not because he hit a homer off me, but mainly after seeing him play in person I realized what a great player he was. If spring training counts I'd say Mike Young. If you’re a Ranger fan you know why.

4. What is the biggest adjustment you had to make when you started facing major-league hitting?
I tried to do exactly what got me there in the first place. Throw strikes and be aggressive. Obviously the hitters are better but if you make good pitches and get ahead in the count you have a good shot at getting some outs.

5. What is the toughest thing about major league life and why?
For me the toughest thing so far has been the back and forth thing from Texas to Oklahoma. I’m hoping to have a consistent year next year and try to stay in
Texas for the entire time. I like traveling but I've worn the path out pretty good from Arlington to OKC.

6. How did it feel to be the Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year for two straight years and to set the college of San Mateo’s school records for wins and ERA?
All that stuff in college was a lot of fun. I had great coaches, great teammates and made a lot of great friends. It was a lot of fun to be on those teams and play 10 minutes from where I grew up. And we had some pretty good teams in ‘02 and ‘03.

7. Why did you decide to not sign with Houston when they drafted you in 2002?
When Houston drafted me in ‘02 it was a draft and follow. That said, I thought I would end up signing with them prior to the ‘03 draft but it didn't work out. I’m not complaining, I love being with the Rangers.

8. Why did you decide to sign with the Rangers in 2003 instead of going to the University of Tennessee like you planned?
I signed with the Rangers because I wanted to play pro ball and get my career started. When I didn't get drafted until the 30th round, I thought I'd end up going to Tennessee, but the Rangers wanted to sign me and l really wanted to get started.

9. What was the recovery process for your Tommy John surgery like?
None of the rehab process was too much fun, but the thing that bothered me the most was not being able to play. Since I was 4 or 5 years old I was always playing baseball so it was weird to not be able to play.

10. What was it like to be called up to the Rangers in late 2005?
Getting called up in ‘05 was awesome for me. I look back on it now and I can remember how I didn't sleep at all the night I found out. The lack of sleep probably helped me relax because I wasn't that nervous during my first outing.

11. What is your best pitch and how was it developed?
My best pitch is probably my fastball. The one that I need to develop is my change-up.

12. What’s been the best game so far of your professional career and why?
My best game in the minors was the perfect game in AA with A.J. Murray and Steve Karsay. In the big leagues my favorite game was 1/3 of an inning against the Giants. All my family and friends were there and unfortunately they got to witness one of the worst calls of all time. But it was still cool to play in the stadium I grew up going to against the team I grew up idolizing.

13. What was your favorite team growing up?
The Giants and 49ers

14. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?
I played hoops, football, soccer and golf. Now I mainly just golf and I’m really not that good but I have a lot of fun playing. I have had a couple 7 hour rounds with Kam Loe because he likes to take 5 practice swings per shot.

15. What are your hobbies?
My hobbies during the beginning of the off season are relaxing, hanging out with family and friends and trying to take a vacation.

I would like to thank Scott for being so nice and letting me interview him. Come back next week for part 2 of the free agent special begun last week.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Free Agent Analysis Part 1

This is part one of a series where I will examine the free agents and name the top players the Rangers should go after. This week, I will examine the few agent starting pitchers.

Grade A starting pitchers:
Barry Zito
Roger Clemens
Mike Mussina
Jason Schmidt

Grade B starting pitchers:
Mark Buerhle
Ted Lilly
Jamie Moyer
Mark Mulder
Andy Pettitte
Greg Maddux
Vicente Padilla
Kerry Wood
Gil Meche
Jeff Suppan

Grade C starting pitchers:
Jaret Wright
Randy Wolf
Tony Armas Jr.
Adam Eaton
Orlando Hernandez (El Duque)
Byung-Hyun Kim
Steve Trachsel
Tim Wakefield
John Wasdin
Woody Williams
Jamey WrightJason Marquis

Grade D starting pitchers:
Bruce Chen
Shawn Estes
Mark Redman
David Wells
Pedro Astacio
Miguel Batista
Rick Helling
Jason Johnson
Joe Mays
Brian Moehler
Tomo Ohka
Ramon Ortiz
Chan Ho Park
Sidney Ponson
Aaron Sele
John Thompson
Jeff Weaver
Kip Wells
Paul Wilson

Grade F starting pitchers:
Scott Erickson
Jose Lima

Top 10 starting pitchers that the Rangers should go after:

Jason Schmidt: Jason is a former Spring Training teammate of Kevin Millwood and that might help bring him here.

Andy Pettitte: Andy can still pitch well.

Vicente Padilla: Players always have a good chance of staying with the same team.

Jamie Moyer: He’s a veteran, but he can still pitch well.

Jeff Suppan: He pitches well in clutch situations.

Ted Lilly: He is a lefty that can pitch well.

Gil Meche: He’s an underachieving pitcher that could reach his potential soon.

Jaret Wright: He’ll go to the highest bidder.

Tony Armas Jr.: Not very many teams will want him because he had a bad ERA last year. But I think it was just an off year for him.

Steve Trachsel: His ERA is usually in the mid-4.00’s.

Come back next week for either an interview with Rangers reliever Scott Feldman or part 2 of this series.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

End of the Season Awards and Buck Showalter Fired

This week I will give my end of the season awards and analyze the dropping of Buck Showalter. Here are my awards:

NL MVP: Ryan Howard: .313 AVG, 58 HR, 149 RBI: He leads the ML in homers and RBI’s and has a batting average over .300.

AL MVP: The Big Hurt: .270 AVG, 39 HR, 114 RBI: He doesn’t have a bad batting average, but has great power numbers and one of the major reasons they made the playoffs.

NL Cy Young: Derek Lowe: 16-8, 3.63 ERA, 123 SO, 218 IP: Derek has a very good ERA, is tied for the NL lead for wins, and if it wasn’t for him the Dodgers wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

AL Cy Young: Johan Santana: 19-6, 2.77 ERA, 245 SO, 233.2 IP: He got a pitchers’ triple crown.

Rangers MVP: Michael Young: .314 AVG, 14 HR, 103 RBI: Michael got over 200 hits again, with a .314 AVG and over 100 RBI’s.

Rangers Cy Young: Kevin Millwood: 16-12, 4.52 ERA, 157 SO, 215 IP: He has 16 wins, a decent ERA and over 200 IP.

Rangers Rookie of the Year: Ian Kinsler: .286 AVG, 14 HR, 55 RBI: He got a .286 batting average as a rookie.

Here is my analysis of the dropping of Buck Showalter:

Buck was 248-244 over the past three years as the Rangers manager. He didn’t do too bad and I think he has a good strategy and knowledge of the game so I think they should have given him one more year because he never had a truly bad season. Also, he wasn’t the type of manager who gets ejected a lot and ruins the team for the rest of the game.

Come back next week for a free agents special.