Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rangers vs. Angels Spring Training Game and Nippert Acquired

This week I will analyze the trade the Rangers made this week and do a play-by-play analysis of one of the games I went to while I was at Spring Training.

On Friday, the Rangers traded Class-A pitcher Jose Marte to the Diamondbacks for relief pitcher Dustin Nippert.

Nippert is out of options so the Rangers have to put him on the team. He has three years of major league experience and has a career 2-3 record with a 6.23 ERA. He has made 46 total appearances, 10 as a starter and 36 as a reliever. Dustin was a starter at first, but the D’Backs converted him to a reliever. His career minor league record is 33-25, with a 3.42 ERA. Jose Marte struggled last year, with a 5.23 ERA between Clinton and Bakersfield. I think that this is a good trade, because Nippert could be a good reliever and make some spot starts instead of having to bring a minor leaguer up for one appearance. We didn’t give up much, either, since Marte is a marginal prospect.

Basically, this trade ended Robinson Tejeda’s career with the Rangers. Nippert is taking the last bullpen spot, which Tejeda was fighting for. Since Tejeda is out of options, the Rangers were forced to DFA him. It’s very unlikely that Tejeda will clear waivers, so he’ll be out of the organization. I still think this is a good trade because Nippert has better control and better offspeed pitches than Tejeda.

Grade: B+ – this is a low risk trade with good upside

Here is my play-by-play analysis of the Rangers/Angels spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 21st. I didn’t start taking notes until the very end of the 1st inning, so my analysis will start with the last batter of the 1st inning.

Top 1st:
Sidney Ponson vs. Chone Figgins: Single. Tied 0-0, 0 outs

Ponson vs. Howie Kendrick: Double-play. Tied 0-0, 2 outs

Ponson vs. Maicer Izturis: Ground-out. Tied 0-0, 3 outs

Bottom 1st:
Angels pitcher: Jered Weaver

Ian Kinsler: Fly-out. Tied 0-0, 1 out

Michael Young: Ground-out. Tied 0-0, 2 outs

Josh Hamilton: Way in front of a curveball for strike 2, and then took a fastball right down the middle of the plate for strike 3. Tied 0-0, 3 outs

Top 2nd:
Sidney Ponson: High speed seems to be 93-94 MPH, and he works really quickly.

Ponson vs. Garret Anderson: He threw three straight balls outside and then Garret flew out.
Frank Catalanotto: Frank made a great catch. Tied 0-0, 1 out

Ponson vs. Torii Hunter: Sidney threw a good inside pitch for a ground-out. It was a one-pitch at-bat. Tied 0-0, 2 outs

Ponson vs. Casey Kotchman: The first pitch was a ball, and the second pitch was on the inside part of the plate and forced a ground-out.
Ian Kinsler: Bobbled an easy grounder. Tied 0-0, 3 outs

Bottom 2nd:
Angels pitcher: Jered Weaver

Hank Blalock: Took first two pitches for a 1-1 count, then chased one out of the zone and flied out to center. Tied 0-0, 1 out

Milton Bradley: This was his spring debut. He swung at a ball on his first pitch, and took the next two for strikes. He looked terrible, very slow, and looked overwhelmed. He was very late for three straight fastballs. Tied 0-0, 2 outs

David Murphy: Struck out looking. Tied 0-0, 3 outs

Top 3rd:
Ponson vs. Howie Kendrick: Left a pitch up in the zone and Howie cranked it off the wall for a double. Tied 0-0, 0 outs

Sidney Ponson: Best pitch seems to be fastball.

Ponson vs. Robb Quinlan: Ponson had a good mix and got Robb Quinlan in front for groundout. Tied 0-0, 1 out

Sidney Ponson: Was a good ground-ball pitcher.

Gerald Laird: Good throw gets Kendrick stealing on first pitch. Tied 0-0, 2 outs

Ponson vs. Bobby Wilson: Good pitch got him out in front for fly-out. Tied 0-0, 3 outs

Bottom 3rd:
Angels pitcher: Jered Weaver

Frank Catalanotto: Took the first two pitches for strikes and then got good contact and hit one high off the wall for a double. Tied 0-0, 0 outs

Gerald Laird: Got a quick 0-2 count, and singled into the outfield on a check-swing, drives in Catalanotto. Rangers 1-0, 0 outs

Ben Broussard: Started with an 0-2 count for the third straight batter. He then took the first ball of the half-inning.
Gerald Laird: Picked off. Rangers 1-0, 1 out
Ben Broussard: Grounder up the middle for single. The Rangers had three straight hits after 0-2 counts. Rangers 1-0, 1 out

Ian Kinsler: Line-drive single on first pitch. Torii Hunter botched after one bounce. Rangers 1-0, 1 out

Michael Young: Walk. Rangers 1-0, 1 out, bases loaded

Josh Hamilton: Chased the first pitch out of the zone and fouled it off, and then was way out in front of two change-ups for a strike-out. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs, bases loaded

Hank Blalock: Chased a curveball swinging for the fences and screwing himself into the ground, and chased a pitch that was at about the height of his chin for strike three. Hank looked very bad in this at-bat.
Rangers 1-0, 3 outs

Top 4th:
Ponson vs. Chone Figgins: First pitch infield chopper. Awful communication as Kinsler, Broussard, and Ponson were all going for the ball with no one covering first base. Sidney finally went to first, but then he injured his ankle. Rangers 1-0, 0 outs

Rangers pitching change: Franklyn German in for Sidney Ponson.

Franklyn German vs. Reggie Willits: First-pitch ball.
Gerald Laird: Gunned down Chone Figgins trying to steal 2nd. Rangers 1-0, 1 out
German vs. Reggie Willits: German made Reggie look silly on third pitch and he hit into a high pop-out.
Michael Young: Misjudged the ball and back-pedaled the whole way. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

German vs. Maicer Izturis: Walked him after a 1-2 start to the count. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

German vs. Garret Anderson: 1-1 count.
Gerald Laird: Good speed on throw trying to throw out Izturis, but the throw didn’t go far enough and it bounced over Michael Young’s glove and into the outfield.
German vs. Garret Anderson: Fly-out. Rangers 1-0, 3 outs

Franklyn German: Franklyn threw a lot of balls in the inning.

Bottom 4th:
Angels pitcher: Jered Weaver

Milton Bradley: Struggled again against fastballs, and chopped one into the ground for an out.
Rangers 1-0, 1 out

David Murphy: 1-2 count, chased one way out of the zone for strike-out. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

Frank Catalanotto: Liner to center for single, made good contact. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

Gerald Laird: Chopper up the middle not hit very well, but he still got robbed by Weaver for the third out. Rangers 1-0, 3 outs

Top 5th:
Rangers pitching change: Kam Loe in for Franklyn German.

Loe vs. Torii Hunter: Good pitch made Torii chop it to third for first out.
Hank Blalock: Nice play. Rangers 1-0, 1 out

Loe vs. Casey Kotchman: Good pitch, Casey chopped it into the ground.
Hank Blalock: Good defensive play as the ball went very high in the air after one bounce, but Blalock’s good throw beat the runner. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

Loe vs. Howie Kendrick: Pop-up landed between Kinsler, Broussard and Murphy for single, although it wasn’t a bad defensive play. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

Loe vs. Dee Brown: Fly-out to left. Rangers 1-0, 3 outs

Bottom 5th:
Angels pitcher: Jered Weaver

Ben Broussard: Good hit, opposite-field single. Rangers 1-0, 0 outs

Ian Kinsler: Good sacrifice bunt, moves Broussard to second. Rangers 1-0, 1 out

Michael Young: Started off with a 2-2 count and didn’t swing at a single pitch, very patient, fouled the next pitch off, then takes a ball for a full count. Chased outside pitch and grounded up the middle to Weaver and moved Broussard to third. Rangers 1-0, 2 outs

Josh Hamilton: Lined out to second. Rangers 1-0, 3 outs

Top 6th:
Loe vs. Bobby Wilson: Starts with 2-0 count, and then Kam threw an awful pitch that was hit for a home run. Tied 1-1, 0 outs

Loe vs. Chone Figgins: 1-2 count, good pitch, chopped to second for out. Tied 1-1, 1 out

Loe vs. Reggie Willits: Four-pitch walk. Tied 1-1, 1 out

Loe vs. Maicer Izturis: Single up the middle, men on first and third. Tied 1-1, 1 out

Loe vs. Garret Anderson: Kam’s control seems off, Garret hits into a sacrifice fly. Angels 2-1, 2 outs

Loe vs. Torii Hunter: Deep fly-out.
Josh Hamilton: Great catch on warning track. Had to make running catch and then crash into the wall. Angels 2-1, 3 outs

Bottom 6th:
Hank Blalock: 0-2 count, liner to second, got past second baseman, but hit hard enough to be counted as a hit, not an error. Angels 2-1, 0 outs

Milton Bradley: Grounded into double play, and practically walked down the first base line, even though it was a 3-6-3 double play. Angels 2-1, 2 outs

David Murphy: Worked a full count, then reached at one out of the zone and flied out to center.
Angels 2-1, 3 outs

Top 7th:
Loe vs. Casey Kotchman: Line drive up the middle for a single. Angels 2-1, 0 outs

Loe vs. Erick Aybar: 0-2 count.
Gerald Laird: Easily gunned down Kotchman at second even though the pitch was in the dirt.
Angels 2-1, 1 out
Loe vs. Erick Aybar: Three-pitch strike-out. Angels 2-1, 2 outs

Loe vs. Dee Brown: Ground-out to second. Angels 2-1, 3 outs

Bottom 7th:
Frank Catalanotto: 0-2 count, good hit to warning track, but good defensive play for out. Angels 2-1, 1 out

Gerald Laird: Foul ball for pop-out. Angels 2-1, 2 outs

Ben Broussard: Fouled a ball off his foot, but stayed in the game. He singled up the middle on the next pitch. Angels 2-1, 2 outs

Ian Kinsler: Ground-out to short. Angels 2-1, 3 outs

Top 8th:
Rangers pitching change: Robinson Tejeda in for Kam Loe

Tejeda vs. Bobby Wilson: First pitch popped out to third in foul territory. Angels 2-1, 1 out

Tejeda vs. ?: Deep fly ball misread by Josh Hamilton and turned into a triple. Angels 2-1, 1 out.

Tejeda vs. Reggie Willits: 0-2 count, worked to 3-2, and then Reggie hit a sacrifice fly.
Angels 3-1, 2 outs.

Tejeda vs. Maicer Izturis: Fly-out to center. Angels 3-1, 3 outs

Bottom 8th:
Michael Young: Liner to right for single. Angels 3-1, 0 outs

Josh Hamilton: Liner to left for single. Angels 3-1, 0 outs

Hank Blalock: Double-play. Angels 3-1, 2 outs

Milton Bradley: Late on second pitch, and third pitch. Worked the count full. Nice defensive play got him out. Angels 3-1, 3 outs

Top 9th:
Tejeda vs. Juan Rivera: Double. Angels 3-1, 0 outs

Tejeda vs. ?: Ground-out. Angels 3-1, 1 out

Tejeda vs. Casey Kotchman: Good play by Ramon Vazquez, jumped and caught liner. Angels 3-1, 2 outs

Tejeda vs. Erick Aybar: RBI single. Angels 4-1, 2 outs

Tejeda vs. ?: Walk. Angels 4-1, 2 outs

Rangers pitching change: Elizardo Ramirez in for Robinson Tejeda

Ramirez vs. Bobby Wilson: Fly-out. Angels 4-1, 3 outs

Bottom 9th:
Nelson Cruz: Strike-out. Angels 4-1, 1 out

Kevin Mench: Pop-out. Angels 4-1, 2 outs

Adam Melhuse: Ground-out. Angels 4-1, 3 outs

Results of last week’s poll:
Do you think instant replay should be implemented in baseball?
Yes – 50%
No – 33%
In playoffs - 16%

Come back next week for my season predictions.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Training Trip Report

Last week I went to spring training to see the Rangers with my dad and granddad. This is my report of the trip and what we did.

Tuesday March 18th:

Tuesday was the day we were to fly out. Our plan was to get to Surprise in time to see the Rangers work out in the morning and then see their game against the A’s. But the weather was awful. It was pouring, with a lot of lightning. We ended up having a three and a half hour delay. The plane was an hour late getting to Dallas and then, after we boarded, we sat on the plane for 2 and a half hours before taking off. But we were lucky because right after we took off, they closed down the airport because of tornadoes for the rest of the day.

When we landed we went straight to Surprise and arrived almost exactly halfway through the game. We only saw Mendoza’s last two outs of his appearance. The final score was 11-6 Rangers. Bill White got the win, even though he allowed 2 runs and only got 1 out. Mendoza pitched very well, only allowing 1 run on 2 hits in 5 innings pitched. Ian Kinsler went 3-for-4 and Adam Melhuse had a great homer in his only at-bat. After the game I got autographs from Chris Shelton, Ryan Roberts, and Steve Busby. Before the trip I looked at the major league roster and, of the 62 players in camp, there were only 14 players that I didn’t have autographs of. My goal for the trip was to get those 14 autographs. After getting Shelton and Roberts, I needed 12 more players to get the whole team.

After the game, we then went to Outback and I ate way too much. After we had dinner we checked into the hotel (we stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Surprise for the second straight year) and granddad and I were both asleep by eight.

Wednesday March 19th:

Wednesday was the Rangers only off day of the spring. I woke up at 4:30 AM and everybody was up by 5:20 AM because of the time zone difference. But we didn’t leave the hotel until 10:00 AM so we got really tired of the hotel by then. That morning we decided we had to do something during the day since the only game we had tickets to was a night game, so we got on the computer and got tickets to the Angels @ A’s game.

When we left the hotel we checked the Rangers backfields just to make sure nothing was going on and when there we saw that there wasn’t anything, we made the one-hour journey to the A’s ballpark. We could only get seats on metal bleachers, so it was very hot and sometimes we would even have to get up and go in the shade. The Angels won the game 6-1. Rich Harden pitched for the A’s and pitched pretty well, only allowing 2 runs in six innings, but allowed 8 hits. Nobody on the A’s had more than one hit in the game, and only five players had a hit. Ervin Santana pitched for the Angels and did great, allowing 0 runs on 1 hit in 6 innings. The only A’s run was given up by Serrano, who also gave up 3 of the 5 hits. Gary Matthews had a great game going 4-for-4 with 1 RBI. Vlad only went 1-for-4, but his one hit was his 3rd homer of the spring. Torii Hunter really struggled, going 0-4 with a strikeout. He got under almost every ball he hit and had three pop-up outs.

After the game we drove another hour to get back to Surprise to see a minor league game on the back fields. We got there before it started and we watched Thomas Diamond throw to hitters for the first time in a year. He did this in a simulated game. He looked good. After he was done we got to talk to him for a little while and he seemed happy with his game. The minor league game started at 3:00 PM and Kason Gabbard started the game. He struggled, allowing 3 runs in just 4 innings against minor leaguers. We saw and talked to Jamey Newberg, Scott Lucas, TR Sullivan, Jon Daniels, and Thad Levine for the first time on the trip during the game. I also talked to Blake Beavan and Kea Kometani and I got autographs from Julio Borbon, Max Ramirez, Elvis Andrus, Warner Madrigal, and David Paisano. I also talked to Scott Servais and got his autograph. Borbon, Ramirez, Andrus, and Madrigal started in major league camp and were on the list of players I needed. So I only needed eight more autographs to have the whole major league roster.

After the minor league game we took a 1 hour, 15 minute drive to Scottsdale to see the Cubs @ Giants game. With this game I had seen every team in Phoenix play a home game. The Cubs won the game 4-2. Jon Lieber got the win and Correia got the loss. Correia really struggled in his start, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings. The rest of the Giants pitchers allowed no runs and only one hit total. Ray Durham went 2-2 with 2 walks , and Dave Roberts went 2-3. Jon Lieber of the Cubs went 5 innings, only allowing 1 run. Corey Patterson was the only Cub to get two hits as he went 2-for-4, but had no RBI’s. Cedeno had 2 RBI’s, both on a two-run homer. During the game, Fergie Jenkins, George Foster, and Lee Smith were signing autographs for $20 each (for charity). I got George Foster’s autograph.

After the game we drove back to the hotel and fell asleep almost as soon as we got there.

Thurday March 20th:

On Thurday the Rangers were in Tucson and we had decided to go to Tucson for the first time in our three years of going to Spring Training. It was a three-hour drive to get there, but we still got there before the gates opened. The Diamondbacks ballpark was very nice, but not as nice as the Rangers ballpark and I would give it an eight out of ten (10 being the best).

Before the game I got autographs from Ben Broussard, Jason Ellison, Elizardo Ramirez, and Edgardo Alfonzo. This got me down to 5 autographs that I needed (I already had Broussard’s autograph). I also got to talk with Evan Grant and Josh Lewin for the first time on the trip.

The Rangers won the game 8-7. Kevin Millwood made his only A-game start of the spring and looked very impressive, allowing no runs and only 3 hits in 5 innings. Wes Littleton pitched poorly, allowing four runs and five hits in just one inning of work. Feldman also struggled, allowing two runs in two innings and Josh Rupe allowed one run in one inning. Both Salty and Blalock hit homers and they both had two hits, but Salty had 4 RBI’s compared to Blalock’s 1 RBI.

After the game we drove back to Phoenix and saw a Coyotes hockey game. This was my granddad’s first-ever hockey game. The Coyotes were the 12 seed in the western conference and were playing the Kings who were the 15 seed in the western conference (worst seed). The Coyotes lost the game 6-5 in a shootout. The Coyotes didn’t score a goal in the whole shootout. The Coyotes have a new arena, which is very nice and is in a neat area, right next to a movie theater, a lot of restaurants, and the Cardinals football stadium.

After the game we went back to the hotel, and I watched college basketball while my dad read and my granddad slept.

Friday March 21st:

In the morning we went to the minor league workouts. There were no major league workouts at the time because they had a 6pm game that night, so the workouts were later that day. We tried to find out when they would be but no one who worked there knew when. We got answers everywhere from 12:30 to 4pm.

During the minor league workouts we hung out with the Newbergs and I played catch with Jamey’s 3-year-old son Max who had a great arm. He made me wish I had brought my glove from the car. While we were there I got an autograph from Engel Beltre, but he was never on the major league roster, so I still needed five more players.

We then went to Red Robin’s for lunch and saw Davidson beat Gonzaga on the TV’s. We went back to the hotel for about thirty minutes after we filled ourselves up.

At 1pm we went back to the minor league fields to see minor league games. On one field Kazuo Fukumori pitched and on another Vicente Padilla pitched. It was really cool. While we watched we talked to Eleanor Czajka, Judy Botts, the Newbergs, TR Sullivan and Scott Lucas. I also talked to Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan during the games. After Fukumori pitched, I got his autograph, leaving me with 4 more autographs to get. My Dad taught me some Japanese (he goes to Japan a lot) so I could ask Fukumori for an autograph in his language. I said ‘Sumi masen Fukumori-san. Autograph onegaishimasu?’ He said ‘very good’ before signing my ball.

At 4pm the major league workouts started and I saw Josh Hamilton’s BP and talked to Josh Hamilton and CJ Wilson. I got autographs from Eddie Gaurdado and Jason Davis, leaving me with 2 more players to get (Milton Bradley and Sidney Ponson). Both Eddie and Jason were really friendly.

The workouts ended and the Angels played at the Rangers stadium at 6pm. The Rangers lost 4-1. Sidney Ponson started really well and allowed no runs in 3 innings, but got injured in the fourth. After that, everyone in the bullpen struggled except for Elizardo Ramirez who only threw one pitch for an out. In Bradley’s first game back from his knee surgery he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a double play. Frank Catalanotto went 2-3 and Ben Broussard went 3-3 and they were the only two players with 2 hits or more. After the game was over we went and hung out at the hotel.

Saturday March 22nd:

On Saturday morning we went to the workouts and I got one autograph, Milton Bradley, leaving me with only Sidney Ponson to get. I never got Ponson because I never saw him.

I hung out Eleanor and Jamey Newberg and saw more Josh Hamilton BP. I also stopped 15 players and asked them a poll question (see below).

We then went to the Texas at Seattle game, but could only stay for three innings because we had to go to the airport. The Rangers won the game 8-5, but Eric Hurley really struggled allowing 5 runs in 4.1 innings. After he left the game, Seattle scored no runs and only got 3 hits. Both Ian Kinsler and Michael Young went 3-3 and Jason Botts went 2-5 with 3 RBI’s. Kevin Mench also played well, though, going 2-3, but with only 1 RBI. After three innings we drove about 45 minutes to the airport, where we found Joe Macko, whose flight had been delayed 5 hours. Our flight flew out on time and we made it home very smoothly.

I enjoyed the trip very much and am very glad I got to go.

I asked some of the players a poll question. I asked 15 players. Here are the results:
Do you think instant replay should be implemented in baseball?
Yes – 33%
No – 60%
Only in the playoffs – 7%

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think was the best player the Rangers got from the trades analyzed in this blog?
Jack Daugherty – 64%
Brad Arnsberg – 14%
Cecilio Gaunte – 14%
Scott May – 7%
All others – 0%

Come back next week for a play-by-play analysis of the Angels @ Rangers game.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tom Grieve Trade Analysis Part 4

This week I will continue the analysis of all the trades Tom Grieve made as the Rangers GM. I posted part 3 on January 12 of this year, if you want to see my last post of this. I will start in the middle of 1987, because I stopped the last one on June 25th of 1987.

18. 7-31-87 The Texas Rangers traded Dave Owen to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. The Kansas City Royals sent Rufus Ellis (minors) (October 13, 1987) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Tie – Dave Owen only had 5 at-bats after the trade, and Rufus Ellis never made it to the majors.

Record: 4-4-10

19. 8-13-87 The Baltimore Orioles traded Kurt Beamesderfer (minors) to the Texas Rangers for Greg Ferlenda (minors).

Tie – Neither player made it to the majors.

Record: 4-4-11

20. 11-2-87 The Texas Rangers traded Don Slaught to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later. The New York Yankees sent Brad Arnsberg (November 10, 1987) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Loss – Both players played decent after the trade, but Don Slaught played until 1997, getting over 200 at-bats as a utility player 8 times. Brad Arnsberg only played until 1992, only pitching over 50 innings once. Don also hit .300 or better 5 times. Brad only had an ERA under 4.00 once, but he pitched 62.2 innings that year and had a 2.15 ERA, so it was legitimate.

Record: 4-5-11

21. 12-12-87 The Oakland Athletics traded Jose Tolentino to the Texas Rangers for Kris Killingworth (minors) and Tom Duggan (minors).

Tie – Jose never played for the Rangers, and Kris and Tom never made it to the majors.

Record: 4-5-12

22. 12-23-87 The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Scott May to the Texas Rangers for Javier Ortiz.

Tie - Scott May didn’t do much, only pitching 7.1 innings as a Ranger, and still allowed 7 earned runs. Javier Ortiz only had 160 career at-bats, none of them being with the Dodgers.

Record: 4-5-13

23. 3-17-88 The Chicago Cubs traded Ray Hayward to the Texas Rangers for Dave Meier and Greg Tabor.

Tie – Ray only played in 12 games as a Ranger and the Cubs only got 5 total at-bats out of the two players that they received.

Record: 4-5-14

24. 3-25-88 The Houston Astros traded Robbie Wine to the Texas Rangers for Mike Loynd

Tie – Neither player played in the majors after the trade.

Record: 4-5-15

25. 4-6-88 The Pittsburgh Pirates traded Billy Merrifield (minors) to the Texas Rangers for Dave Sax.

Tie – Billy Merrifield never made it to the majors and Dave Sax had 60 career at-bats, but they were all before the trade.

Record: 4-5-16

26. 8-30-88 The New York Yankees traded Cecilio Guante to the Texas Rangers for Dale Mohorcic.

Win - Both pitchers played 1 full season with the teams that they were traded to (both in 1989). Cecilio pitched 69 innings with the Rangers in 1989, with a 6-6 record and a 3.91 ERA. Dale pitched 57.2 innings with the Yankees in 1989, with a 2-1 record and a 4.99 ERA. They both played decent, but Cecilio was more efficient.

Record: 5-5-16

27. 9-1-88 The Texas Rangers traded Tom O'Malley to the Montreal Expos for a player to be named later. The Montreal Expos sent Jack Daugherty (September 13, 1988) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

Win - Tom O’Malley only had 27 at-bats as a member of the Expos, before he joined the Mets. Jack Daugherty played four years with the Rangers as a back-up outfielder, first baseman, and DH. He had two good years and two bad years. In his first two years his batting averages were .302 and .300. In his last two years as a Ranger, his batting averages were .194 and .205.

Record: 6-5-16

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think has played the best so far in Spring Training?
Josh Hamilton – 65%
Ian Kinsler – 8%
Jason Ellison – 8%
Frank Francisco – 4%
Travis Metcalf – 4%
Vicente Padilla – 4%
Other – 4%

Come back next week for a report from my trip to Rangers Spring Training camp in Arizona.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spring Training Recap

This week I did an analysis of how all of the Rangers are doing so far in Spring Training.


Nelson Cruz: .200 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Nelson is leading the team in at-bats with 20, and isn’t taking advantage of it with only 4 hits. With the way he’s playing, he probably won’t make the team.

Jason Botts: .375 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Jason is playing well, but his power numbers aren’t that great, so that’s the only thing he needs to step up on.

Marlon Byrd: .188 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
Marlon has struggled going only 3-for-16, so his trade value might have gone down, but he’ll still make the team if not traded.

Jason Ellison: .438 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Jason has played very well getting on base over half the time with a .571 OBP. If he’s not getting a hit, he’s walking, as he leads the team in walks with 4. He might play himself onto the team.

David Murphy: .438 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI
David is playing very well, but hasn’t walked at all so far this Spring Training. He struck out twice already.

Josh Hamilton: .533, 1 HR, 8 RBI
I think Josh has played the best of anybody so far this Spring Training, with the most RBI’s and second best batting average.

Kevin Mench: .214 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Kevin has walked plenty, but to make the team he has to be able to hit better.

Brandon Boggs: .200 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Brandon hasn’t played well and has no chance of making the team.

John Mayberry, Jr.: .300 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
John has played well, but has only had 10 at-bats, already striking out twice.

Julio Borbon: .429 AVG, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Julio has played incredibly well, with 7 RBI’s in only 7 at-bats. Even though he’s playing so well, he has no chance of making the team.

Frank Catalanotto: .286 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
Frank has had a decent spring,


Ian Kinsler: .474 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Ian has had the most plate appearances of anyone on the team and has definitely taken advantage.

Michael Young: .222 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Michael has struggled so far and needs to pick it up by the time the season starts.

Travis Metcalf: .412 AVG, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Travis is fighting for the utility job and is playing very well, so he has a good chance of making the team.

Ramon Vazquez: .467 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
Ramon is also doing very well, so it will be fun to see who wins the utility job.

Ben Broussard: .077 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
The first base job is his, but he could lose it if he keeps this up.

Edgardo Alfonzo: .364 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI
Edgardo is playing well, but due to his competitors playing even better, he probably won’t make the team.

Elvis Andrus: .273 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Elvis is doing decent, but he has no shot at the team. He’s in major league camp for experience.

Chris Davis: .182 AVG, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Chris hasn’t played well, with only two hits, but both of them were homers.

Ryan Roberts: .455 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Ryan is playing very well, but he’ll have to play even better to make the team the way Travis Metcalf and Ramon Vazquez are playing.

German Duran: .200 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI
At this rate, German has no chance of being the utility guy.

Chris Shelton: .200 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI
Chris hasn’t played too well, but has outplayed Ben Broussard, so if he plays a little better and Ben Broussard keeps playing the way he has, he could make the team.

Nate Gold: .111 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
Nate hasn’t played very well, but has 2 walks in 9 at-bats.

Joaquin Arias: .143 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Joaquin hasn’t played very well, but has only had 7 at-bats.

Hank Blalock: .400, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Hank might have been doing well, but a car crash has kept him from having any more than 5 Spring Training at-bats.


Gerald Laird: .286 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Gerald has played well, but will need to do better to win the starting job.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: .200 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Jarrod hasn’t played well, but has only had 10 at-bats.

Adam Melhuse: .375 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Adam has a good batting average, but will need to bring up his power numbers to even have a shot at making the team.

Taylor Teagarden: .667 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Taylor has played well, but only in 3 at-bats.

Chris Stewart: .500 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Chris only has 2 at-bats.

Max Ramirez: .000 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Max struck out in his only at-bat.


Scott Feldman: 5 IP, 0-0 W-L, 1.80 ERA
Scott leads the team in innings pitched and has played well, so he has a good shot at making the team at this point, especially with Rheinecker’s injury.

Vicente Padilla: 5 IP, 2-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Vicente is pitching really well so far and needs to keep it up into the regular season.

Elizardo Ramirez: 5 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Elizardo is doing pretty well, but still probably won’t make the team.

AJ Murray: 5 IP, 0-1 W-L, 10.80 ERA
AJ is not doing very well, and has probably lost any chance he had to make the team out of camp.

Eric Hurley: 4.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 1.93 ERA
Eric is pitching very well and is getting some great experience to help him prepare for possibly being called up to the majors late in the season.

Jason Jennings: 4.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
If Vicente Padilla starts to struggle, he might slide up to the #2 spot in the rotation.

Josh Rupe: 4.2 IP, 1-1 W-L, 7.71 ERA
Josh is playing poorly, and has lost whatever chance he had of making the team.

Jamey Wright: 4.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 3.86 ERA
Jamey is doing decent, which is just what was expected of him.

Matt Harrison: 4.1 IP, 0-1 W-L, 6.23 ERA
Matt has struggled so far, but he has only been in A-ball, so it doesn’t mean anything to the roster and is great experience for him.

Kazuo Fukumori: 5 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Kazuo is playing very well and hopefully he can do well in the regular season, too.

Kason Gabbard: 4 IP, 0-1 W-L, 11.25 ERA
Kason is not pitching at all well so far and if he’s not careful, he could lose his major league job.

Robinson Tejeda: 4 IP, 0-0 W-L, 11.25 ERA
Robinson has been awful and won’t make the team.

Jason Davis: 3.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 9.82 ERA
Jason still has a slight chance of making the team, but his window of opportunity is really closing.

Frank Francisco: 5.1 IP, 1-0 W-L, 1.69 ERA
Frank has played well and has clinched a bullpen spot.

Kea Kometani: 4.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Kea has played very well, but this is mostly about experience. He has almost no chance at the team, unless there’s another injury, but could be putting him in position for call-up during the season.

Kameron Loe: 3.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 14.73 ERA
Kameron’s struggles are hurting his chances to make the team. Hopefully he’ll start putting together some strong outings. He’s been working on a new pitch, so the coaching staff might cut him some slack.

Luis Mendoza: 3.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 10.80 ERA
Luis has a chance of making the team, especially with the injuries to McCarthy and Millwood. He’s struggled so far but seems to be getting stronger.

Franklyn German: 3 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Franklyn has played very well, and due to his play and the injuries, he could make the team.

Eddie Gaurdado: 3 IP, 0-0 W-L, 6.00 ERA
Eddie isn’t playing very well, but might get the closer role due to CJ Wilson’s biceps tendinitis.

Bill White: 3 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Bill has done well, and might be setting himself up for a mid-season call-up.

Doug Mathis: 2.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Doug is not in big league camp, but has done well with his opportunity.

Wes Littleton: 2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 4.50 ERA
Wes might replace someone due to injury, but he hasn’t pitched many innings yet.

Warner Madrigal: 2 IP, 0-1 W-L, 13.50 ERA
Warner has struggled and has almost no chance of making the team.

Tommy Hunter: 1.1 IP, 1-0 W-L, 13.50 ERA
Tommy was just drafted last summer and is not part of major league camp. He’s probably excited to have gotten the chance to pitch in a big league spring training game.

Steve Rowe: 1.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 6.75 ERA
Steve has been in the minors for a long time and came up from minor league camp to pitch in a game. Even though he won’t be on the major league team, the Rangers respect them and might be looking at him as a coach when he retires.

Brandon McCarthy: 1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Brandon has only pitched 1 inning due to injury. Hopefully he’ll recover in time to start the season.

CJ Wilson: 1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
CJ Wilson has also only pitched 1 inning due to injury.

Kendy Batista: 0.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Kendy pitched 0.2 innings in an appearance out of minor league camp.

Eric Cyr: 0.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00
Eric was also making an appearance out of minor league camp.

Brennan Garr: 0.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.00 ERA
Brennan has only gotten 1 out in an appearance out of minor league camp.

Omar Poveda: 0.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 108.00 ERA
Omar allowed 4 ER and only got one out in an appearance out of minor league camp.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the utility infielder?
Ramon Vazquez – 47%
German Duran – 23%
Travis Metcalf – 14%
Edgardo Alfonzo – 4%
Ryan Roberts – 4%
Other – 4%

Come back next week for Tom Grieve Trade Analysis Part 4.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Analysis of Spring Training Infielders

The Rangers opened Spring Training with 14 infielders in major league camp. I did an analysis of all the infielders in big league camp, gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training, and predicted the infield roster.


Edgardo Alfonzo:
Last year, Edgardo didn’t make it to the majors all year after a terrible 2006. In 2006, he only had 87 at-bats, and hit .126 with 0 home runs and 5 RBI’s. In 2005, he hit .277 with 2 home runs and 43 RBI’s in 368 at-bats, so ’06 was a big drop-off for him. Just like last year, I don’t think Edgardo will make the team all year.
Percentage: 19.9% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training

Elvis Andrus:
Elvis hit .244 in 385 at-bats with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and .300 in 110 at-bats with the Bakersfield Blaze. Elvis is great at fielding. Even after he did so well after coming to Texas, he’s 19 years old and is just in major league camp for experience.
Percentage: 0%

Joaquin Arias:
Last year Joaquin only had 18 total at-bats due to injury. He had 7 at-bats in the rookie league and 11 in triple-A. Since he’s coming back from injury and I only have one back-up infield spot, he probably won’t make the team.
Percentage: 19.7%

Hank Blalock:
Last year Hank missed a lot of the year due to injury. When he was playing he hit .293 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI’s in only 208 at-bats. Hank had a very good year last year, but he has always been much better in his first month of the year than the others, and last year he pretty much had two first months because of the injury. He will be the starting third baseman, since he’s already shown in camp that he can make the throws from third to first.
Percentage: 100%

Ben Broussard:
Ben had a decent year last year with the Mariners, batting .275 with 7 homers and 29 RBI’s in 240 at-bats. He will be the starting first baseman for the Rangers unless Chris Shelton has an amazing spring.
Percentage: 97.5%

Chris Davis:
Last year, Chris hit .294 with 12 home runs and 25 RBI’s in 109 at-bats in Frisco. In Oklahoma City, he hit .298 with 24 homers and 93 RBI’s in 386 at-bats. His total power numbers last year were 36 home runs with 118 RBI’s, which is very good. Even though he played so well last year, the Rangers are trying to transform him into a first baseman this year, so he won’t make the team.
Percentage: 0%

German Duran:
Last year, German played great, hitting .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBI’s in 480 at-bats in Frisco. He played so well that the Rangers are trying to make him a utility guy for this year. I don’t think he will be the utility guy, though.
Percentage: 23.4%

Nate Gold:
After a great 2006, where Nate hit .292 with 34 home runs and 103 RBI’s in 452 at-bats in Frisco, Nate played well again in 2007. Last year he hit .292 with 26 homers and 103 RBI’s in 469 at-bats. He had the same batting average and the same amount of RBI’s in both 2006 and 2007. The only stat differences are that he had 8 less home runs in 2007 and 17 more at-bats in 2007. Even though he’s played so well the last couple years, he probably won’t make the team, especially since he’s not on the 40-man roster.
Percentage: 2.3%

Ian Kinsler:
Ian had plenty of power last year, blasting out 20 home runs, with 61 RBI’s. His batting average fell from 06’s .286 to .263. His on-base percentage rose, though, as Ian got 22 more walks than he did in ’06. He will be the starting second baseman.
Percentage: 100%

Travis Metcalf:
In Travis’ 161 at-bats he hit .255 with 5 homers and 21 RBI’s. But he’s known for his fielding, which is very good, but he only had a .947 fielding percentage while in the majors last year. It’s between Travis, Ramon Vazquez, and German Duran for the backup infield spot, and I don’t think Travis will get it, since he’s mostly a third baseman.
Percentage: 40.2%

Ryan Roberts:
Ryan only had 13 at-bats in both 2006 and 2007 and he hit .077 in both years. He has hit 1 career homer with 1 career RBI in his 26 at-bats. His career minor league batting average is .268, although it was only .249 last year. Last year he had 12 home runs and 47 RBI’s while he was in the minors. He has a chance since he can play second and third base, but since he’s not on the 40-man roster, he probably won’t make the team.
Percentage: 18.3%

Chris Shelton:
Last year Chris didn’t play in the majors at all, and only hit .269 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI’s in AAA Tulsa. In 2006 he played for the Tigers and hit .273 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI’s in 373 at-bats. He has a decent chance at making the team, but I don’t think he will.
Percentage: 18.6%

Ramon Vazquez:
Ramon had 300 at-bats last year, and in those he hit .230 with 8 homers and 28 RBI’s. Even though he didn’t hit too well last year, I think he’ll get the back-up infield spot, since he can play second, short, and third base.
Percentage: 66.7%

Michael Young:
After a very slow start last year, Michael ended up getting 201 hits, while hitting .315 with 9 home runs and 94 RBI’s. He will be the starting shortstop.
Percentage: 100%

Infield Roster:
1B: Ben Broussard
2B: Ian Kinsler
3B: Hank Blalock
SS: Michael Young
Utility: Ramon Vazquez

Next in line:
Edgardo Alfonzo
German Duran
Travis Metcalf

Predicted Team Roster:
Starting pitcher #1: Kevin Millwood
Starting pitcher #2: Vicente Padilla
Starting pitcher #3: Jason Jennings
Starting pitcher #4: Brandon McCarthy
Starting pitcher #5: Kason Gabbard
Closer: CJ Wilson
Set-up man: Eddie Guardado
7th inning man: Kazuo Fukumori
Middle Reliever: Frankie FranciscoMiddle Reliever: Wes Littleton
Middle/Long Reliever: Joaquin Benoit
Long Reliever: Kameron Loe

Catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Backup Catcher: Gerald Laird

1B: Ben Broussard
2B: Ian Kinsler
3B: Hank Blalock
SS: Michael Young
Utility: Ramon Vazquez

OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Marlon Byrd
OF: Milton Bradley
OF: David Murphy
OF: Frank Catalanotto
DH: Jason Botts

Next in line:
Edgardo Alfonzo
Nelson Cruz
Jason Davis
German Duran
Jason Ellison
Scott Feldman
Wes Littleton
Adam Melhuse
Kevin Mench
Luis Mendoza
Travis Metcalf
Chris Stewart
Jamey Wright

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will get the last outfield/DH spot?
Jason Botts – 72%
Kevin Mench – 20%
Nelson Cruz – 4%
Jason Ellison – 4%
Other – 0%

Come back next week for Part 4 of the Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.