Saturday, April 26, 2008

April Awards

This week I will give my awards for if the season ended right now. I give Rangers, AL, and NL awards.

Rangers Awards:

Rangers MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX: .299 AVG, 4 HR, 23 RBI: Josh has just been good all around so far this year.
Runner-up: Ian Kinsler, TEX

Rangers Cy Young: Kevin Millwood, TEX: 1-2 W-L, 3.32 ERA, 25 K, 38 IP: He has pitched very well, he just hasn’t had the hitting or fielding behind him to help his record out.
Runner-up: CJ Wilson, TEX

Rangers Rookie of the Year: David Murphy, TEX: .295 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI: He’s been hitting very well and still qualifies as a rookie.
Runner-up: Jason Botts, TEX

AL Awards:

AL MVP: Casey Kotchman, LAA: .329 AVG, 6 HR, 16 RBI: He has very good stats and almost always hits the ball, only striking out five times.
Runner up: Joe Crede, CWS

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, CLE: 4-0 W-L, 0.28 ERA, 29 K, 31.2 IP: He leads the MLB in ERA, is tied for the lead in the AL in wins and third in the AL in strikeouts.
Runner-up: Joe Saunders, LAA

AL Rookie of the Year: Adam Jones, BAL: .270 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI: Adam has been pretty good at offense, but his defense has been spectacular.
Runner-up: David Murphy, TEX

AL Manager of the Year: Dave Trembley, BAL: 13-9, 2nd place
Runner-up: Joe Maddon, TB: 12-11, 3rd place

NL Awards:

NL MVP: Chase Utley, PHI: .368 AVG, 10 HR, 21 RBI: He leads the MLB in home runs, is third in the NL in batting average, and is tied for 4th in the NL in RBI’s.
Runner-up: Pat Burrell, PHI

NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, ARI: 5-0 W-L, 2.31 ERA, 29 K, 35 IP: He leads the MLB in wins and has been just dominant so far this year.
Runner-up: Micah Owings, ARI

NL Rookie of the Year: Jair Jurrjens, ATL: 3-2 W-L, 3.45 ERA, 25 K, 31.1 IP: He has pitched very well and should have four wins if not for a bad call.
Runner-up: Geovany Soto, CHC

NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, FLA: 14-9, 1st place
Runner-up: Bob Melvin, ARI: 17-9, 1st place

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think is the best player that Tom Grieve traded for between 12-5-88 and the end of 1989?
Rafael Palmeiro – 75%
Julio Franco – 15%
Jamie Moyer – 5%
La Vel Freeman – 5%
All others – 0%

Come back next week for Part 6 of the Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tom Grieve Trade Analysis Part 5

This week I will continue the analysis of all the trades Tom Grieve made as the Rangers GM. I posted part 4 on March 15 of this year, if you want to see my last post of this. This time I will analyze all of the trades Tom Grieve made as GM between the December of 1988 and 1989.

28. 12-5-88 The Chicago Cubs traded Rafael Palmeiro, Jamie Moyer, and Drew Hall to the Texas Rangers for Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson, Curtis Wilkerson, Luis Benitez (minors), and Pablo Delgado (minors).

Win - Palmeiro played five years here after being traded before going to Baltimore for five years and then coming back. His home runs increased almost every year, going from 8 to 14 to 26 to 22 to 37. Jamie Moyer had two decent years ERA-wise (4.86 and 4.66), but two awful years record-wise (4-9 and 2-6) as a Ranger. Hall pitched in 38 games and 58.1 innings as a Ranger and had a 2-1 record with a 3.70 ERA and 40 strike-outs compared to 29 walks. Mitch Williams only pitched 2 years in a Cubs uniform, but pitched well. His record as a Cub wasn’t very good though, as his combined record of the two years was 5-12. Kilgus pitched one year as a Cub and had a 4.39 ERA and a 6-10 record in 145.2 innings pitched. Wilson pitched 2 and a half years for Chicago and never had an ERA under 4.20. Curtis Wilkerson only played two years in Chicago and struggled both years, hitting .244 and .220 with only 1 home run in both years put together. Neither Benitez or Delgado ever made it to the Cubs.

Record: 7-5-16

29. 12-5-88 The New York Yankees traded Bob Meacham to the Texas Rangers for Bob Brower.

Tie - Bob Meacham never played as a Ranger and Bob Brower only played in 26 games as a Yankee.

Record: 7-5-17

30. 12-6-88 The Cleveland Indians traded Julio Franco to the Texas Rangers for Pete O'Brien, Oddibe McDowell, and Jerry Browne.

Win – Julio Franco played five years as a Ranger and made it to the All-Star game three times (winning the MVP in one of those games) and won the batting title once in those five years. He hit .316, .296, .341, got injured in ’92 and hit .234, and hit .289 in ’93. O’ Brien played one year as an Indian and hit only .260 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI’s. McDowell only played half a year for the Indians and hit .222 and Browne was only an Indian for three years.

Record: 8-5-17

31. 12-19-88 The Montreal Expos traded Mike Berger (minors) to the Texas Rangers for Scott Anderson.

Tie – Mike Berger never made it to the majors and Scott Anderson only had 54.2 career innings pitched, only 18 of which were with the Expos (in 1990).

Record: 8-5-18

32. 3-30-89 The Atlanta Braves traded David Miller (minors) and cash to the Texas Rangers for Dwayne Henry.

Tie - David Miller never made it to the majors and Dwayne Henry only pitched 51 innings for the Braves in two seasons.

Record: 8-5-19

33. 6-29-89 The Milwaukee Brewers traded La Vel Freeman and Todd Simmons (minors) to the Texas Rangers for Scott May and Mike Wilson (minors).

Tie - Neither Todd Simmons or Mike Wilson ever made it to the majors. La Vel Freeman only had three major league at-bats and Scott May only had 5 major league games.

Record: 8-5-20

34. 7-29-89 The Chicago White Sox traded Harold Baines and Fred Manrique to the Texas Rangers for Scott Fletcher, Sammy Sosa, and Wilson Alvarez.

Loss – Wilson Alvarez threw a no-hitter in his first game as a member of the White Sox and went on to play 6 and a half years as a White Sox team member, going 67-50 while he was with the team. He even went to an All-Star game while he played in Chicago. Scott Fletcher went on to play 2 and a half years as a White Sox player. Sammy Sosa had an incredible career and hit 587 homers before coming back to the Rangers. He had 1562 RBI’s and walked 884 times between stints with the Rangers. He put up incredible numbers in his career. Harold Baines played only 2 half-years as a Ranger before being traded to the A’s (batting .285 and .290 with a total of 16 home runs) and Fred Manrique only played 1 half-year as a Ranger.

Record: 8-6-20

Results of last week’s poll:
Where do you think Blake Beavan will start the season?
Spokane (Short-season A) – 35%
Clinton (Low-A) – 35%
Rookie League – 28%

Come back next week for my April Awards.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blake Beavan Interview

This week I interviewed Rangers pitcher Blake Beavan and I would like to thank him for giving up some of his time to do the interview. I met Blake at the Newberg Bound Edition release party in December and have spoken to him a few times since then. Blake is always a very friendly guy and always remembers me.

1. What was it like pitching in Cuba for Team USA?

Blake said that it was a good experience. He was proud to pitch for his country and felt that he was not only representing the USA but also his family and all of the coaches that got him to where he is. Blake mentioned that his parents gave him everything he needed and raised him right. He also said that God is responsible for where he is and has blessed him with ability and health. He said that the experience is something ‘I’ll always keep in my heart and never forget.’

2. What was the best part of your first camp?

‘Pitching against pro ball hitters.’ He really enjoyed facing Jarrod Saltalamacchia so he could see how his stuff sizes up to someone in the big leagues.

3. What was the biggest surprise of your first pro camp?

The work. He was surprised by how much work it takes to be a pro athlete and what it takes to keep his body in shape. There’s lots of running. He also said that it’s real fun to watch to other guys play and see how much talent they have.

4. Can you please describe a typical day in camp?

6:30-7 – Wake up and get ready
8 – get to camp, eat, dress, and talk and hang out with the guys
9 – stretch, break into groups by position, drills, throwing
After that, do conditioning (running). He said he usually runs a mile a day.
Get ready for the game if pitching

5. Is there anything specific you’ve been working on in spring training and if so what is it?

Blake said that he was working on his mound presence and being professional on the mound. He wants to have good body language. He mentioned that he needs to mature faster than most 18-19 year olds. He’s also working on a change-up.

6. What was the key to your success with the Dallas Tigers in 2006 when you went 9-1 with a 1.71 ERA?

He said that a lot of it had to do with the team. The guys around him kept his ERA down. He said that he had good defense behind him and can’t take credit for the wins. ‘The guys really backed me up.’ He also said that staying healthy and throwing strikes was a key. He feels that throwing strikes and keeping the ball low are the keys to baseball.

7. During your freshman year, when you had a 1.76 ERA and 88 strikeouts, but only one win, was it frustrating that your team averaged 5 errors per game?

Blake admitted that it was frustrating but he was only 16 years old playing with 18-19 year olds. They tried to work as a team to get better and they got closer and bonded as a team. He said that we need to remember that high schoolers are still kids learning the game. He learned that when there are errors behind him he has to keep his rhythm and not let it impact his performance.

8. What led to your decision to not sign with the Rangers until late last summer? Do you wish you had signed in time to pitch last season?

Blake has no regrets for signing when he did. He agent was still negotiating. He signed later than people wanted but ‘I’m here and that’s what matters’.

9. What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had to deal with?

He had to think about it but then said it was when he got hit in the ankle in the prospects game last month. He got the next few outs but it swelled up. It wasn’t broken but it was hard to pitch through it and he had to sit out a few days. He had to remind himself that it was just spring training and not get too frustrated.

10. Were you hoping to play for your hometown team or were you indifferent?

‘I was definitely hoping to play for my hometown team. I’ve dreamed about it since I was a kid.’ He said that he wrote his dad a card when he was around 9 telling him that he was going to play for the Rangers and that, thanks to God, it’s happening.

11. Who are the three toughest hitters you’ve faced and why?

- Jarrod Saltalamacchia – he’s a big leaguer, a lefty and he’s strong
- John Mayberry – he’s a challenging hitter, and is big and strong with lots of pop
- ‘The guy that drilled it off my ankle.’ He couldn’t remember his name but said that it was a Bakersfield player.

12. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?

- Tommy Hunter – Blake said that Tommy is like a big brother to him. ‘He takes up for me and always has my back.’
- Evan Reed
Blake said that Tommy and Evan are good influences because they don’t go out a lot and don’t drink. They just like to hang out and talk.
He also mentioned Mitch Moreland.

13. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?

Blake played football, basketball, and baseball but baseball was his ‘first love’.

14. What was your favorite team growing up and why?

The Texas Rangers. He grew up watching Nolan Ryan, John Wetteland, Dean Palmer, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro. He was always raised to be a local team fan.

15. What are your hobbies?

‘Lots of golf,’ video games, movies, and eating.

I would like to thank Blake again for doing this interview. I was really impressed with Blake’s answers and how much credit he gives to God for his success.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think is most likely to win the World Series out of my playoff teams?
Cleveland – 30%
Arizona – 23%
Chicago Cubs – 15%
Boston – 7%
Detroit – 7%
LA Angels – 7%
LA Dodgers – 7%
New York Mets – 0%

Come back next week for the next part of the Tom Grieve trade analysis.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Season Predictions

This week I will make all my predictions for the baseball year. I will predict the regular season, the playoffs and the AL and NL awards.

AL Regular Season:

AL West:
1. LA Angels: The Angels have too much offense and too much pitching to not come in first.
2. Seattle Mariners: The Mariners were outscored by 20 runs in 2007, so I don’t think that they’ll beat out the Angels for first.
3. Texas Rangers: The Rangers have a great farm system and a good young team, but I don’t think that they have enough to have a better record than the Angels or Mariners.
4. Oakland A’s: The A’s weren’t very good last year, and they should be even worse this year after trading Dan Haren to the D’Backs for prospects.

AL Central:
1. Cleveland Indians: The Indians have one of the best 1-2 punches in C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, who both might be Cy Young contenders, and they don’t have a bad offense, either.
2. Detroit Tigers: I think that the Tigers will be better this year after getting Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, but I don’t think that that’s enough to put them over the Indians since their first two pitchers (Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman) aren’t anywhere near as good as the Indians’.
3. Minnesota Twins: The Twins weren’t very good last year and they traded maybe the best pitcher in all of baseball in Johan Santana, along with losing Torii Hunter, so they should be considerably worse.
4. Kansas City Royals: I think that the Royals will be a little better this year and that the White Sox will be a little worse this year, allowing the Royals to take over fourth place.
5. Chicago White Sox: When your number one starter is Javier Vazquez, you probably aren’t going to do very well.

AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox: Boston has pretty much the same team that won the World Series last year, so they should do pretty well.
2. New York Yankees: The Yankees are an older team and they should have a lot of injuries. Their pitching isn’t good enough to win the division over the Red Sox.
3. Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have really good one and two starters in Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett, but after that there’s a huge drop-off, as their number three pitcher is Dustin McGowan. I think that’s too big of a drop-off to get ahead of the Yankees or Red Sox.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays (not Devil Rays anymore) are a better team this year, as there’s another year of experience for a young team and Jason Bartlett should help out.
5. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles were awful last year and they lost one of the best pitchers in baseball in a trade with the Mariners. Their number one pitcher is now Jeremy Guthrie and their starting first baseman is Kevin Millar. Their back-up catcher is Guillermo Quiroz, who was fighting for the Rangers’ back-up catcher spot in 2007 Spring Training.

AL Wild Card:
1. Detroit Tigers: I think that the trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis gets them into the playoffs.
2. Seattle Mariners: I think getting Erik Bedard from the Orioles puts them ahead of the Yanks.
3. New York Yankees: The Yankees’ offense, especially A-Rod, should put them ahead of the Jays.
4. Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays’ 1-2 punch is just too good to be under the Rangers.
5. Texas Rangers: I think Josh Hamilton puts them where it would be a surprise if they fell under any of the teams below.
6. Minnesota Twins: The Twins aren’t good enough without Johan Santana to be any higher in my opinion.
7. Tampa Bay Rays: The Devil Rays should have improved enough to be out of the bottom three teams in the AL.
8. Kansas City Royals: Even though I think the Royals will do better this year, they still went 69-93 last year.
9. Oakland A’s: The A’s don’t have good enough hitting to be able to lose Haren and still do any good.
10. Chicago White Sox: I think the White Sox will do awful this year, but that they’re better than the Orioles.
11. Baltimore Orioles: I think that the Orioles are the worst team in all of baseball without Bedard or Corey Patterson. Their outfield consists of Luke Scott, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.

NL Regular Season:

NL West:
1. Arizona D’Backs: The D’Backs have one of the two best 1-2 punches in all of baseball, if not the best. Their starting pitching is incredible, consisting of 1. Brandon Webb, 2. Dan Haren, 3. Doug Davis (who will have surgery soon due to cancer, but will pitch until then and after his recovery), 4. Micah Owings, 5. Edgar G. Gonzalez, and Randy Johnson (once he gets back from an injury). Their pitching is just too good.
2. LA Dodgers: The Dodgers have a good 1-2 punch in Brad Penny and Derek Lowe and after a good year last year hurt by injuries, and they now have Andruw Jones. Also, it’s almost impossible for them to have that many injuries again this year.
3. San Diego Padres: The Padres should be good this year because of their pitching, but their hitting could represent big problems.
4. Colorado Rockies: The Rockies had a great run last year to go to the World Series, but that was just one big streak at the end of a good year, so I don’t think that they can do that again.
5. San Francisco Giants: The Giants are the only bad team in this great division, so they should be in last place by a very wide margin, maybe even 20 games back from fourth.

NL Central:
1. Chicago Cubs: The Cubs’ pitching isn’t great, but it doesn’t drop-off towards the end too much. But their hitting is very good and now that they have Kosuke Fukudome, it should be even better.
2. Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers have brilliant hitting, but their pitching is below average. To win the division I think Ben Sheets needs to stay healthy, but I don’t think that he will. Relying on Eric Gagne to close games is questionable.
3. Cincinnati Reds: I think the Reds should have a better year this year, because even though they lost Josh Hamilton, Edinson Volquez will help their rotation along with Johnny Cueto. A lot of their prospects, such as Homer Bailey, should come up and help them out later in the year.
4. Houston Astros: I think that the Astros will get fourth place this year by getting a little bit better, but mainly by the Cardinals getting worse.
5. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals aren’t a very good team, but with Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder injury problems making Adam Wainwright the Cardinals’ number one starting pitcher, it’ll be even harder to finish as high as fourth place.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates are not a very good team, but due to 9 Cardinals already being on on the DL, they might get fifth place.

NL East:
1. New York Mets: The Mets were good last year until their end-of-the-year meltdown, but I think that they’ll recover and get better with Johan Santana.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies did really well last year and won the division and should be even better with a healthy Chase Utley, but I think that Johan Santana is too much for the Mets to not win the division.
3. Atlanta Braves: I don’t think the Braves will do all that well this year, but that they’ll do better than the Nationals and the Marlins.
4. Washington Nationals: I think that the Nationals will be in fourth because I think the Marlins are the worst team in all of the NL.
5. Florida Marlins: I think that the Marlins will have the worst record in the NL, and will be in competition with the Orioles for the worst in all of baseball.

NL Wild Card:
1. LA Dodgers: I think that the Dodgers have better pitching than the Phillies and so they will beat them out for a playoff spot.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: I don’t think the Phillies have the two great pitchers needed to get into the playoffs this year. They only have Cole Hamels.
3. San Diego Padres: The Padres have great pitching, but I don’t think that their hitting is good enough to get into the playoffs.
4. Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers have a good team, but losing Johnny Estrada will keep them out of the playoffs.
5. Colorado Rockies: The Rockies did really well last year, but were really streaky, and I don’t think that they can win 21 out of 22 games again this year.
6. Atlanta Braves: The Braves are a good team, but have injury problems and that should drop them down in the standings.
7. Cincinnati Reds: I think the Reds will do better this year, but when you have a lot of rookies on the team, you usually don’t do great.
8. Washington Nationals: I think that the Nats will do good enough to almost have a .500 winning percentage.
9. Houston Astros: The Astros probably won’t have a very good year, but I think they’ll do better than the Cardinals, Pirates, Giants, and Marlins.
10. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals already have 9 players on the DL and will probably get more with their veteran team, and that should keep them from doing very well.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates had a 68-94 record last year and I don’t think they’ll do too much better this year.
12. San Francisco Giants: The Giants are in the toughest division in the NL and aren’t a very good team, so they should have a very bad record.
13. Florida Marlins: The Marlins, in my opinion, are the worst NL team and I think their record will show it.

AL Playoffs:

Divisional Series:

Boston over Detroit: I think that the Tigers are good, but that the Red Sox top three pitchers in the rotation (Josh Beckett, Dice-K, and Tim Wakefield) will be too much for the Tigers to handle.

Cleveland over LA Angels: Cleveland has too good of a 1-2 punch in CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona to lose this series.

Championship Series:

Cleveland over Boston: I think it will come down to Carmona vs. Dice-K and I think Carmona wins that match-up.

NL Playoffs:

Divisional Series:

Arizona over Los Angeles: When your first two pitchers in the rotation are Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, it’s pretty hard to lose.

Chicago over New York: I don’t think having a number two pitcher of Pedro Martinez (if he’s healthy) or John Maine (if he’s not) is good enough to beat the Cubs.

Championship Series:

Arizona over Chicago: Arizona has better top-of-the-rotation pitching than the Cubs and I think that will win them the series.

World Series:

Cleveland over Arizona: This would be a series with two great pitching teams. I think that it might come down to the All-Star game for home-field advantage and I think the AL wins the All-Star game.


AL MVP: Grady Sizemore, CLE
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia, CLE

NL MVP: Jose Reyes, NYM
NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, ARI

Results of last week’s poll:
Do you think that the Rangers’ trade for Nippert was a win, loss, or tie?
Win – 70%
Loss – 25%
Tie – 5%

Come back next week for an interview with Blake Beavan.