Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rangers Top 50 Prospects

This week I will post part one my first ever Rangers Top 50 Prospects Rankings. In this part, I will give my top 20 prospects, and then next week I’ll post the next 30. 

1 SS Jurickson Profar (Highest Level MLB) – Many people rank Profar the #1 prospect in all of baseball. With his great contact bat that also has some power, along with his speed and Gold Glove potential defense, he is no question the Rangers’ #1 prospect. 

2 3B Mike Olt (MLB) – Despite his high strikeout numbers (101 K’s in 415 PA’s with AA Frisco this year), he has the power and the glove to make up for that. He also has a very good eye at the plate and works a lot of walks. He is very comparable to Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn, but with a little bit higher batting average (probably in the .260-.280 range). 

3 SP Martin Perez (MLB) – Despite having a few growing pains in AAA the last couple of years, he was able to turn his season around and get back on track. At the age of 21, he has already been doing a solid job in the majors since getting called up, posting a 3.78 ERA in 33.1 innings pitched. He most likely profiles as something right below an ace, but a bit better than a typical #2 starter. 

4 SP Cody Buckel (AA) – Buckel really burst onto the scene this year, moving himself all the way up to the #41 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America’s mid-season prospect rankings. Despite a very good season in Hickory last year, he still wasn’t seen as a big-time prospect, but after tearing up the Carolina League hitters in High-A this year to the tune of a 1.31 ERA in 13 starts, he became highly coveted at the trade deadline. Along with Perez, Justin Grimm (#6 prospect) and Yu Darvish, the Rangers have plenty of young starting pitching talent.  

5 CF Leonys Martin (MLB) – Since he was signed out of Cuba mid-2011 by the Rangers, Leonys has done very well in the Rangers minor leagues, including a .359 average with 12 homers and 42 RBIs with Triple-A Round Rock this year, but has struggled in the majors, in part due to Ron Washington’s dislike of playing anybody young, which has put Leonys’ major league reps far and few between. Martin is very speedy, plays some good defense, and is a good contact hitter. If he can raise his baseball IQ a little bit, he could be a top-tier center fielder. 

6 SP Justin Grimm (MLB) – Justin is the 5th out of my top 6 prospects that has already debuted in the majors, but unlike most of the rest, his short stint in the big leagues didn’t go so well. However, he still had a very good year, posting a 2.81 ERA between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock. His future is most likely that of a #3 starter. 

7 2B Rougned Odor (Lo-A) – Despite not having a fantastic year at the plate (.259 AVG), Rougned lost none of his prospect status. He showed a bit more pop this year than last, breaking double-digit homers and 25+ doubles/triples. He also played solid defensively and was able to steal 19 bases. 

8 1B Ronald Guzman (Lo-A) – Guzman has incredible upside and possibly the best potential at the plate of any Rangers minor leaguer, but is very, very raw. He can play first base and the outfield, and has developed a little faster than expected since being signed out of the Dominican Republic in July 2011. 

9 CF Lewis Brinson (Rookie) – The Rangers #1 pick of this year’s draft, Lewis, like Guzman, may have the highest potential of any Rangers prospect, but is also very raw. Also like Guzman, Lewis is farther along in his development than expected at this point. He hit .283 with 7 homers and 42 RBIs in 237 ABs for the AZL Rangers after signing this year. 

10 3B Joey Gallo (SS A) – The Rangers second pick of the 2012 Amateur Draft (no, this was not intentional), also got off to a great start this year. He broke the Arizona League single season home run record with 18 before being promoted to Short-Season A where he hit 4 more. His skill set is very similar to Olt’s, as he will most likely hit a lot off homers, draw plenty of walks, but strike out too often as well. 

11 CF Jairo Beras (None) – Jairo had plenty of problems getting into the Rangers organization after they signed him in March, as MLB investigated his age to see if he was eligible or not. After they decided that he was, they suspended him from playing with an American Rangers affiliate until July of next year. I am completely going off of what scouts say in ranking him, and all I know is that he is said to have a crazy good bat. 

12 RP Wilmer Font (MLB) – Wilmer, at least to me, may be the most underrated prospect in the Rangers’ system. With his assortment of power pitches, including a fastball that touches 100, he looks to me like he’ll be a dominant bullpen pitcher for years to come, and possibly has the potential to be an All-Star closer.  

13 SS Leury Garcia (AA) – With the Rangers stable of middle infielders in Andrus, Kinsler, Profar, and then Odor two levels behind Leury, Garcia probably doesn’t have a future with the Rangers as anything more than a utility guy. However, with his speed (145 stolen bases in 4 and a half pro seasons), solid contact bat (.292 AVG this year in AA), and plus defense, he definitely has starter potential. 

14 C Jorge Alfaro (Lo-A) – Despite a bit of a disappointing year, as Jorge seems just as raw as he did coming into the year, Alfaro is still a top 15 prospect in my books. He’s got a lot of raw power and looks like he will continue to develop into a very good defensive catcher. 

15 SP Barret Loux (AA) – The former Aggie (Gig ‘Em!) and 1st-round pick by the Diamondbacks, Loux had a fantastic season, and ended up winning the Texas League Pitcher of the Year Award with the Double-A RoughRiders. Barret went 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 127 IP for Frisco, and despite not having a real high ceiling, he makes up for it with a very high floor. Loux is a pretty sure thing when it comes to prospects but most likely won’t ever be anything better than a back-end of the rotation type of guy. 

16 RF Nomar Mazara (ROOK) – Nomar was the other big prospect the Rangers signed out of the Dominican in 2011, and Nomar’s signing bonus set the record for the biggest in Latin American history. He may have the most raw power in the Rangers minor league system, but at 18 years old, his talent is just so raw, it is hard to get a read on how he will turn out. 

17 RP Joe Ortiz (AAA) – After yet another great year in 2012, Joe has finally gotten himself into prospect status, and personally, I’m buying in. He had a 2.15 ERA for the second straight year, following up a 1.62 ERA in 2010, and should be one of the best lefty relievers in the game from 2014 on. It will be interesting to see what the Rangers do with Joe, as he is Rule-5 eligible this offseason. 

18 3B Drew Robinson (Lo-A) – Drew is just yet another good Rangers third base prospect. Robinson batted .273 with Low-A Hickory this year and popped 13 home runs while driving in 67 runs. He doesn’t have the upside of either Olt or Gallo, but he also has a high floor and should turn into a very nice bench bat or a serviceable starter in the future. 

19 CF Engel Beltre (AA) – In Frisco for the fourth straight year, Engel finally seemed to get his career back on track, despite having an enormously streaky season. He raised his batting average from .231 in 2011 to .261 in 2012. He also hit 12 more home runs in 2012 and raised his stolen base total by 20. He still isn’t quite the prospect he used to be, but there is hope again. 

20 SP Nick Tepesch (AA) – Nick is a prospect that I really like, and his pitching style fits the Rangers ballpark (and current team), as he is a big-time ground-ball pitcher, posting a 1.77 GO/AO ratio this year between Frisco and Myrtle Beach.  Look for Tepesch to have a breakout year next year and start making some major noise.
Come back next week for part two of my Top 50 Prospects.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

August Awards

I am back after a much-needed break. I will continue to post every weekend from now on.

This week I will give my August Awards. These are who I think would be the most deserving if the season ended today. These stats are as of the morning of September 3rd.

Rangers Awards:

MVP: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.318 AVG, 27 HR, 84 RBI) – Even though Adrian’s numbers aren’t as good as Josh’s, he has been much more consistent that Josh, and you can’t overlook just how important Beltre’s Gold Glove caliber defense is.
Runner-up: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.290 AVG, 37 HR, 113 RBI)

Cy Young: Matt Harrison, TEX (15-8, 3.30 ERA, 106 K) – Matt, one of an amazing 8 Rangers All-Stars, is one of the league leaders in wins and has a very good ERA. While I am worried about his mental toughness in the playoffs, there is no question he is the Rangers’ Cy Young through August.
Runner-up: Joe Nathan, TEX (28 SV, 2.45 ERA, 65 K)

Rookie of the Year: Robbie Ross, TEX (6-0, 1.78 ERA, 43 K) – Robbie, despite currently being on the DL, has been fantastic this year, with an ERA under 1.00 well into the season. Even after a recent rough stretch, he still has a sub-2.00 ERA and has been a key part to a great Rangers bullpen.
Runner-up: Brandon Snyder, TEX (.281 AVG, 3 HR, 9 RBI)

AL Awards:

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.331 AVG, 33 HR, 111 RBI) – Miguel still has a shot at the Triple Crown, as he is just behind Mike Trout for batting average, right behind Josh Hamilton for RBIs, and is fairly close to Adam Dunn and Hamilton for home runs.
Runner-up: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.318 AVG, 27 HR, 84 RBI)

Cy Young: David Price, TB (17-5, 2.54 ERA, 175 K) – David leads the AL in wins, is second in ERA, and has been unbelievable ever since the All-Star break. Don’t see how you could argue against him.
Runner-up: Felix Hernandez, SEA (13-6, 2.51 ERA, 191 K)

Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, LAA (.333 AVG, 25 HR, 74 RBI) – As much as I hate giving an Angel an award, there’s no debating it – Mike Trout is the Rookie of the Year.
Runner-up: Scott Diamond, MIN (10-6, 3.21 ERA, 73 K)

Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, BAL (74-59, 2nd place) – The Orioles are a team that I said had “absolutely no chance” before the season, and now they are a wild card team that is 1 game out of first place. This one’s gotta be Buck.
Runner-up: Robin Ventura, CWS (72-61, t-1st place)

NL Awards:

MVP: Buster Posey, SF (.329 AVG, 19 HR, 83 RBI) – A lot of people have been saying Andrew McCutchen, but I look at the numbers, and I just don’t see it. Posey has been a monster the second half of the season, and has solid to great numbers in just about every statistical category.
Runner-up: Matt Holliday, STL (.305 AVG, 25 HR, 92 RBI)

Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, CIN (17-6, 2.48 ERA, 144 K) – Johnny is tied for first in baseball in wins and leads the NL in ERA. He has definitely been the best National League starter so far this year, but his teammate, Aroldis Chapman, may pose the biggest threat to Cueto’s Cy Young bid.
Runner-up: Aroldis Chapman, CIN (34 SV, 1.25 ERA, 115 K)

Rookie of the Year: Todd Frazier, CIN (.292 AVG, 18 HR, 62 RBI) – Todd really stepped up once Joey Votto went on the DL, and he has a very solid batting average (with a good amount of home runs and RBIs), along with some great defense. Even though Wade Miley has been great, Frazier is more deserving.
Runner-up: Wade Miley, ARI (14-9, 2.90 ERA, 117 K)

Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle, PIT (70-63, 3rd place) – Most people seem to be giving this award to Davey Johnson, but I expected them to be good, and projected them as a wild card before the season. However, I didn’t expect the Pirates to be any good at all, so I think Hurdle is more deserving.
Runner-up: Davey Johnson, WSH (81-52, 1st place)

Come back next week for my mid-September postseason predictions.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Dempster and Soto Trade Analysis

This week I will analyze both the Geovany Soto trade and the Ryan Dempster trade.

7/31 The Texas Rangers acquire C Geovany Soto and cash from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for SP Jake Brigham and either a player to be named later or cash considerations.

I like this move a lot for the Rangers, as Geovany Soto is definitely an upgrade in many ways over Yorvit Torrealba as the Rangers back-up catcher.

Not only does is he a large defensive upgrade, but he also has an extra year of controllability over Yorvit, who is now DFA'd. On top of that, Geovany has more pop in his bat and has the potential to be a very good offensive catcher, as shown by both his 2008 (.285 AVG, 23 HR, 86 RBI) and 2010 (.280 AVG, 17 HR, 53 RBI) seasons. He also put up some good power numbers despite a .228 batting average last year, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI's. On the flip side, Yorvit, while having a significantly better average this year (.236 to .199), has just 3 homers all year and had just 7 last year. And his weak bat was not offset by his defense, which was very subpar, throwing out 4% less of runners than Soto, who is very good behind the plate.

But with Soto not being a big difference-maker, as a back-up catcher, he is not worth giving up anything of note. And the Rangers did a good job of only giving up a fringe prospect in Jake Brigham. Jake has decent stuff, which may get him to the big leagues briefly as a reliever, but has issues with his command, frequently leaving pitches middle middle (leading to 19 home runs in 21 starts this year). In this, his seventh season in the Rangers organization, Jake has a 4.28 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 124 innings for Double-A Frisco.

Grade: B, the Rangers didn't get a steal, giving up a decent fringe prospect for Soto, a back-up catcher, but definitely did not overpay for a significant upgrade over Torrealba. This was yet another good move by GM Jon Daniels.

7/31 The Texas Rangers acquire SP Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for 3B Christian Villanueva and SP Kyle Hendricks.

This is another good move for Texas, as with the injuries to Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz, and the struggles of Roy Oswalt, the Rangers needed a starting pitcher to add to their rotation.

While Ryan is no ace, as his numbers might suggest (2.25 ERA, .210 BAA), but he is a very solid #3 pitcher in a rotation. Since 2008 his ERAs have been 2.96, 3.65, 3.85, 4.80, and 2.25, which shows that he has been consistently solid for the Cubs with the exception of 2011. He has also had at least 200 innings in each of his last 4 seasons. Dempster is a guy who should post a sub-4.00 ERA for the Rangers and give the team a chance to win almost every game, allowing more than 4 runs in a game only once so far this year, and even in a bad year for him in 2011, only 4 times after April. So while the sabermetrics suggest Ryan has been somewhat lucky this year with a really low BABIP, he is still a solid pitcher even without luck. He is also a good character guy and should fit into the Rangers clubhouse very well. And it doesn't hurt that he will have a familiar catcher calling his games in Soto.

The Rangers also didn't pay an exorbitant price, even though Baseball America had Christian Villanueva as their number 100 prospect in baseball to start the season and Dempster is only a rental. Despite Christian's high rankings and solid season this year (.285 AVG, 10 HR, 59 RBI), he had no future in the Rangers organization. Christian is a third baseman, the same position that Adrian Beltre, Mike Olt, Drew Robinson, and Joey Gallo play in the Rangers organization. Adrian is one of the Rangers best players, Olt is BA's #11 prospect in baseball, Robinson is a solid prospect and is having a good year, and Gallo is a mid-first-round talent who is absolutely destroying Rookie ball pitching right now (.321/.459/.795, 14 HR, 36 RBI in 33 G).

And Kyle Hendricks is really no big loss despite a 2.82 ERA this year and a 2.02 one last year. Hendricks has the ceiling of a #5 starter in the NL, as Kyle is a strikethrower without any real good pitches besides an 88-90 MPH fastball with movement. He has organizational filler written all over him. He will start off in Double-A for the Cubs after pitching in High-A all year before the trade.

Grade: B+, the Rangers got a needed starter who should slot right into the #3 spot in their rotation, and did it without giving anyone that had a big-league future with the Rangers in return.

Come back next week for a post yet to be determined.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

San Francisco-Oakland Trip Report

This week I will be recapping the trip that my dad and I took to San Francisco and Oakland back in early June to see the Rangers play the A’s and Giants.

Wednesday, June 6th:

Our flight into San Francisco wasn’t until the early afternoon and went pretty smoothly, with only a short delay. Once we landed, my dad, along with one of his co-workers and his son (it was a work trip for my dad that I went along on), and I made the drive to Oakland via the Bay Bridge and went straight to the Oakland Coliseum, about two and a half hours before the Rangers-A’s game was going to start.

Both the stadium and the game we saw were bad. Colby Lewis had a very good outing but the Rangers couldn’t hit Bartolo Colon, and it ended up in a 2-0 Rangers loss. The A’s ballpark is very ugly, which is to be expected from a multi-purpose facility. It is very old and is probably the worst in baseball. The only things it has going for it are the open concourses, the good weather, and the decent job they’ve done of displaying team history. You can find information about their championship teams and all of their MVP’s and Cy Young award winners in multiple places inside and outside the ballpark. They even have the championships from their time in Philadelphia displayed, which is a nice touch. I also liked the fact that we were able to get great seats so easily. We had seats in row 20 right behind home plate. We had a great evening and it was definitely nice to see the A’s stadium, but it is not an impressive place. My dad told me that it was a little better back before Al Davis enclosed the stadium by building an additional giant seating section in the outfield, meaning that you can no longer see outside of the park.

After the game, we drove to our hotel (Embassy Suites) in San Jose, where my dad needed to be for his work.

Thursday, June 7th:

Thursday was a very long day for me. My dad went to work for the day, and I was all alone in our hotel room. After the great Embassy Suites omelet for breakfast, I watched SportsCenter until lunchtime, when I went to the downstairs restaurant and got a surprisingly good pizza. After lunch, I was able to catch parts of the last Harry Potter movie, and the first Jurassic Park, as well as listen to the Rangers game on the radio.

After my dad got back from work, we went to a burger place called St. Johns that some people had recommended. It was supposedly the best burger in town. It was really crowded, but the burger was tasteless and very disappointing. Our conclusion was that they just don’t have good burger places in San Jose, so they don’t know what a good burger is. We felt bad for them.

Friday, June 8th:

My dad went to work again in the morning, but this day was much less boring for me, as the awesome Stony Brook-LSU baseball game was on, and it was an all-time classic.

Once my dad got back to the hotel from work, we drove to a Caltrain station and took the train up to the ballpark, which was about an hour long ride from where we were staying, but it let us avoid the San Francisco traffic at rush hour.

The Giants’ ballpark, AT&T Park, is the antithesis of the A’s stadium, as it is one of the top five parks in all of baseball. It has a great look with lots of character.

They do an amazing job of displaying their franchise history, all the way around the ballpark. We spent an hour just walking around the outside of the park and reading about the team’s history. We started at the Willie Mays statue at the home plate gate and then worked our way towards the first base gate. At the wall of that gate they have a huge painted mural showing every championship, pennant, division title, MVP, Cy Young, Gold Glove, etc. in franchise history, including the New York Giants days. It is a great reminder of how impressive their history is. We then made our way out around McCovey Cove to the Willie McCovey statue. On the way there, they have a plaque displaying details about every San Francisco Giants team prior to the AT&T Park era. There is a plaque for each year, showing the team’s record, position in the final standings, attendance, team batting and pitching leaders, and every member of the team.

We then walked back around McCovey Cove and along the right field wall. The ground in this area is covered in plaques displaying great moments in the AT&T era, such as Barry Bonds’ big homers and their various playoff appearances. At the center field entrance is a statue of the old San Francisco Seals logo (the minor league team that the Giants replaced). We then headed towards the third base gate and the Orlando Cepeda statue. Finally, we enjoyed the wall between first base and home plate, where the plaques for each Giants Hall of Fame inductees are displayed. I don’t know of any team that has done a better job of displaying their history in so many ways at their ballpark.

We finally checked out the inside of the park, which is just as impressive as the outside. It has a great view of the bay from most seats, has open concourses, and just has a great look and feel to it. Good seats weren’t so easy to get for the Giants game, so we were in the upper deck near the left field foul pole. But they were actually good seats. We had a good view of the park and could still see the center field jumbo-tron from where we were. We were also right beneath all of their flags celebrating their playoff appearances and could read them. And somehow our seats were just perfectly protected from the wind, so it wasn’t too cold.

The game was also much better than the one we saw in Oakland, as Matt Harrison tossed a gem and an early Ian Kinsler home run led to a 5-0 Ranger victory.

This was my 29th current ballpark to see a game in (I’ve also seen games in a few retired ballparks). I now only need to see a game in Seattle to have been to every current ballpark. We’re planning to go there next summer.

After the game, we took the train back to our hotel and slept.

Saturday, June 9th:

Saturday morning we did all the tourist stuff in San Francisco. The first place we went was Fisherman’s Wharf, which, other than the sea lions, was pretty uninspiring. It was really just a big dirty crowded shopping area. After that, we drove down Lombard Street, the curviest street in the world, which was neat.

The coolest part of the day, though, by far, was Willie McCovey’s restaurant out in Walnut Creek, where we went for lunch. It was a longer drive than we expected but it was worth it. It had all sorts of baseball memorabilia, and both the outside and inside were made to look like AT&T Park.

After we ate lunch, we drove back to the San Francisco airport and had another smooth flight (especially because my dad got us both upgraded to first class), this one back to Dallas.

Come back soon for an All-Star Game trip report.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

June Awards

This week I will post my June Awards, which are who I think should win the awards if the season were to end today.

Also, make sure to follow Texas Rangers Trades (@trtrades) on twitter if you haven't yet.

Rangers Awards:

MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.314 AVG, 25 HR, 73 RBI) - As my AL MVP, I don't think there is any way that Josh isn't my Rangers MVP.
Runner-up: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.323 AVG, 14 HR, 52 RBI)

Cy Young: Matt Harrison, TEX (11-3, 3.16 ERA, 65 K) - One of the Rangers 7 All-Stars (hopefully 8), Matt is tied for the league-lead in wins with David Price, with an ERA hovering around 3.00.
Runner-up: Yu Darvish, TEX (10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 K)

Rookie of the Year: Yu Darvish, TEX (10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 K) - Yu has had a very good rookie season, and with a stiff class of rookies for the Rangers this year, from Robbie Ross to Brandon Snyder to smaller pieces, Darvish has been the best.
Runner-up: Robbie Ross, TEX (6-0, 1.03 ERA, 26 K)

AL Awards:

MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.314 AVG, 25 HR, 73 RBI) - Even after a really bad June for Josh, he is still the best player in the American League, 2nd in home runs, 1st in RBIs, and towards the top in batting average. If he can break out of his slump, he still has a chance at the Triple Crown.
Runner-up: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.323 AVG, 14 HR, 52 RBI)

Cy Young: Jered Weaver, LAA (9-1, 2.13 ERA, 68 K) - Jered is the league leader in ERA, and despite his surprising lack of strikeouts, his tremendous ERA and 9-1 record are still plenty enough to make him the Cy Young thus far.
Runner-up: David Price, TB (11-4, 2.92 ERA, 97 K)

Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, LAA (.339 AVG, 9 HR, 33 RBI) - Unfortunately, the Angels called Trout up. Fortunately, they had him start the year in AAA. Ever since Trout came up the Angels have been on fire after their slow start, and Mike has done well enough to become the AL league leader in batting average.
Runner-up: Yu Darvish, TEX (10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 K)

Manager of the Year: Robin Ventura, CWS (42-37, 1st place) - The White Sox were supposed to be a miserably bad team this year, and Ventura has played a big role in them going from a projected 5th place to a real 1st place.
Runner-up: Ron Washington, TEX (50-30, 1st place)

NL Awards:

MVP: Joey Votto, CIN (.350 AVG, 14 HR, 47 RBI, .471 OBP) - Even though Votto has a lower batting average, less home runs, and fewer RBIs than Andrew McCutchen, my runner-up, Joey has an absolutely ridiculous .471 OBP, which means he gets on base 1 out of every 2 trips to the plate, an unheard of number this late in the season.
Runner-up: Andrew McCutchen, PIT (.354 AVG, 15 HR, 52 RBI)

Cy Young: RA Dickey, NYM (12-1, 2.15 ERA, 116 K) - RA leads baseball in wins, is third in the NL in ERA, and is near the very top in strikeouts. He has a chance to win the Triple Crown for pitching in the NL, like Clayton Kershaw did last year.
Runner-up: Johnny Cueto, CIN (9-4, 2.26 ERA, 79 K)

Rookie of the Year: Wade Miley, ARI (9-4, 2.87 ERA, 66 K) - Miley, in a weak NL class of rookies, is thus far the only NL rookie All-Star, with a sub-3.00 ERA and a very solid 9-4 record.
Runner-up: Kirk Niewenhuis, NYM (.275 AVG, 7 HR, 25 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle, PIT (43-36, 2nd place) - Hurdle has led the Pirates to consecutive good first halves, and has finally brought some winning to the previously sad-sack franchise, who is currently a wild card and just 1 game back of the Cincinnati Reds.
Runner-up: Davey Johnson, WAS (45-32, 1st place)

Come back next week for my San Francisco-Oakland Trip Report.

Monday, June 25, 2012

June All-Stars

This week I will post my June All-Stars. These are as if the All-Star teams were to be made today and who I think would be most deserving.

American League:


CATCHER: Joe Mauer, MIN (.316 AVG, 3 HR, 33 RBI) 5-time - Joe has had a good comeback year and is leading all AL catchers in batting average. It doesn't hurt that catcher has been a weak position in the AL so far this year, either.

FIRST BASE: Paul Konerko, CWS (.342 AVG, 13 HR, 39 RBI) 6-time - Paul is having another amazing year, and just never seems to age, as he is hitting well over .300 with solid power numbers for the surprisingly good White Sox this year.

SECOND BASE: Robinson Cano, NYY (.299 AVG, 16 HR, 36 RBI) 3-time - Like Joe and Paul, Robinson is at a position that is pretty weak in the American League this year, and therefore has little competition. So Cano's very good season that is All-Star worthy most years but not starter worthy, is starter worthy this year.

THIRD BASE: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.323 AVG, 13 HR, 48 RBI) 3-time - Beltre has been the best player at third base for a while now, and this one is a very strong position this year, with Miguel Cabrera and Mark Trumbo both having great years as well. Adrian is hitting well over .300 and has very, very good power numbers.

SHORTSTOP: Elvis Andrus, TEX (.302 AVG, 1 HR, 29 RBI) 2-time - Despite Jeter having another very good year, Elvis slightly edges him out as the best shortstop so far this year, due to a slight RBI lead and more defensive range and ability.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Edwin Encarnacion, TOR (.282 AVG, 21 HR, 50 RBI) 1-time - Edwin seems to have finally put all of his talent together, and in a contract year, too. He has the best power numbers of all DH's, and a solid average to go along with them.

OUTFIELD: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.319 AVG, 22 HR, 64 RBI) 5-time - The best player in baseball through 2 months, even a miserable June for Josh hasn't been able to bump him from a starting spot. Josh still has a sizeable RBI lead and is right around the top in home runs, while keeping his average well above .300.

OUTFIELD: Adam Jones, BAL (.300 AVG, 19 HR, 40 RBI) 2-time - Adam has played a key role in the Orioles being the biggest surprise team in baseball so far, with his .300 average and top 10 home run total.

OUTFIELD: Mike Trout, LAA (.338 AVG, 7 HR, 29 RBI) 1-time - Unfortunately, Mike has turned the Angels season around. When he was called up, the Angels were doing pitifully, but since then Trout has been a force at the plate and in the outfield, and the Angels have been on fire.

PITCHER: Chris Sale, CWS (8-2, 2.24 ERA, 89 K) 1-time - Sale leads the AL in ERA, is 2 wins away from the lead in that category, and has a solid K/per9. He definitely deserves to start this year's All-Star game.

C: AJ Pierzynski, CWS (.288 AVG, 12 HR, 41 RBI) 3-time
1B: Prince Fielder, DET (.304 AVG, 11 HR, 45 RBI) 4-time
       Chris Davis, BAL (.272 AVG, 12 HR, 31 RBI) 1-time
2B: Jason Kipnis, CLE (.276 AVG, 11 HR, 41 RBI) 1-time
       Ian Kinsler, TEX (.268 AVG, 7 HR, 35 RBI) 3-time
3B: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.301 AVG, 15 HR, 56 RBI) 7-time
       Mark Trumbo, LAA (.316 AVG, 17 HR, 49 RBI) 1-time
       Kyle Seager, SEA (.262 AVG, 10 HR, 45 RBI) 1-time
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY (.305 AVG, 7 HR, 25 RBI) 13-time
       Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE (.296 AVG, 9 HR, 33 RBI) 2-time
DH: David Ortiz, BOS (.300 AVG, 18 HR, 49 RBI) 7-time
        Billy Butler, KC (.295 AVG, 14 HR, 44 RBI) 1-time
OF: Josh Willingham, MIN (.278 AVG, 15 HR, 49 RBI) 1-time
        Nelson Cruz, TEX (.262 AVG, 11 HR, 47 RBI) 2-time
        Jose Bautista, TOR (.238 AVG, 23 HR, 55 RBI) 3-time
SP: Jered Weaver, LAA (7-1, 2.40 ERA, 60 K) 3-time
       CJ Wilson, LAA (8-4, 2.44 ERA, 79 K) 2-time
       Justin Verlander, DET (8-4, 2.52 ERA, 113 K) 5-time
       Brandon McCarthy, OAK (6-3, 2.54 ERA, 52 K) 1-time
       David Price, TB (10-4, 2.95 ERA, 90 K) 3-time
       Matt Harrison, TEX (10-3, 3.24 ERA, 58 K) 1-time
RP: Jim Johnson, BAL (22 SV, 1.10 ERA, 20 K) 1-time
        Fernando Rodney, TB (21 SV, 1.07 ERA, 33 K) 1-time
        Joe Nathan, TEX (16 SV, 2.05 ERA, 37 K) 5-time
        Ernesto Frieri, LAA (9 SV, 0.00 ERA, 38 K) 1-time
        Robbie Ross, TEX (6-0, 1.13 ERA, 32 K) 1-time

Players per Team:
Texas Rangers - 8(3 starters)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - 5(1)
Chicago White Sox - 3(2)
Baltimore Orioles - 3(1)
Detroit Tigers - 3
Minnesota Twins - 2(1)
New York Yankees - 2(1)
Cleveland Indians - 2
Tampa Bay Rays - 2
Toronto Blue Jays - 1(1)
Boston Red Sox - 1
Kansas City Royals - 1
Oakland Athletics - 1
Seattle Mariners - 1

National League:


CATCHER: Carlos Ruiz, PHI (.348 AVG, 9 HR, 39 RBI) 1-time - Carlos has had a big breakout year, and has been about the only thing going right for the Phillies so far this year, hitting near .350 with a good amount of RBIs and HRs.

FIRST BASE: Joey Votto, CIN (.359 AVG, 14 HR, 47 RBI) 3-time - Votto has become far and away the best player in baseball over the past month, as he has absolutely caught fire, and is now hitting near .360 with good power numbers.

SECOND BASE: Brandon Phillips, CIN (.283 AVG, 10 HR, 44 RBI) 3-time - Brandon is another Reds player who is having a great season after signing a big extension earlier this year. He is currently near the top among all NL 2B in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.

THIRD BASE: David Wright, NYM (.360 AVG, 8 HR, 41 RBI) 6-time - Hitting near .400 at the end of May, Wright, like Josh Hamilton, has come back down to earth a bit in June, but is still no doubt deserving to start the All-Star game.

SHORTSTOP: Starlin Castro, CHC (.304 AVG, 6 HR, 38 RBI) 2-time - Starlin is on an absolutely awful team, and is really the only bright spot in their future. He has upped his power some this year to go along with his brilliant contact ability and defense.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Ryan Braun, MIL (.319 AVG, 20 HR, 52 RBI) 5-time - Even though he took PEDs and is a cheater who doesn't deserve to make the All-Star game, using PEDs has not kept people off All-Star rosters in the past, so his stats put him on the team.

OUTFIELD: Carlos Beltran, STL (.308 AVG, 20 HR, 56 RBI) 7-time - Beltran has filled the shoes of Pujols pretty nicely in the Cardinals lineup, leads the NL in home runs and RBIs and is no question All-Star starter worthy.

OUTFIELD: Carlos Gonzalez, COL (.328 AVG, 17 HR, 52 RBI) 1-time - CarGo is one of the best players in baseball, and has done nothing but solidify that this year with his Triple Crown type numbers (although he leads none of the three categories).

OUTFIELD: Andrew McCutchen, PIT (.340 AVG, 13 HR, 45 RBI) 2-time - McCutchen made the All-Star team for the first time last year, and has done nothing but improve. So far this year he has a stellar .340 batting average along with some very solid power numbers.

PITCHER: RA Dickey, NYM (11-1, 2.31 ERA, 106 K) 1-time - RA Dickey has absolutely dominated National League lineups with his knuckleball so far this year, and he now leads the NL in wins, is in the top 3 in K's, and in the top 10 in ERA.


C: Buster Posey, SF (.295 AVG, 10 HR, 40 RBI) 1-time
     Yadier Molina, STL (.318 AVG, 10 HR, 39 RBI) 4-time
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, ARI (.290 AVG, 10 HR, 32 RBI) 1-time
       Bryan LaHair, CHC (.286 AVG, 13 HR, 28 RBI) 1-time
2B: Aaron Hill, ARI (.291 AVG, 10 HR, 35 RBI) 2-time
       Jose Altuve, HOU (.309 AVG, 5 HR, 23 RBI) 1-time
       Omar Infante, MIA (.290 AVG, 7 HR, 25 RBI) 2-time
3B: David Freese, STL (.279 AVG, 13 HR, 46 RBI) 1-time
       Chase Headley, SD (.269 AVG, 7 HR, 35 RBI) 1-time
SS: Ian Desmond, WSH (.263 AVG, 11 HR, 36 RBI) 1-time
       Troy Tulowitzki, COL (.287 AVG, 8 HR, 27 RBI) 3-time
OF: Andre Ethier, LAD (.294 AVG, 10 HR, 55 RBI) 3-time
        Jason Kubel, ARI (.299 AVG, 10 HR, 46 RBI) 1-time
        Matt Holliday, STL (.299 AVG, 12 HR, 47 RBI) 6-time
        Melky Cabrera, SF (.351 AVG, 6 HR, 35 RBI) 1-time
SP: Brandon Beachy, ATL (5-5, 2.00 ERA, 68 K) 1-time
       Ryan Dempster, CHC (3-3, 2.11 ERA, 66 K) 3-time
       James McDonald, PIT (6-3, 2.19 ERA, 83 K) 1-time
       Wade Miley, ARI (9-3, 2.19 ERA, 64 K) 1-time
       Johnny Cueto, CIN (9-3, 2.21 ERA, 76 K) 1-time
       Matt Cain, SF (9-2, 2.27 ERA, 107 K) 3-time
RP: Craig Kimbrel, ATL (21 SV, 1.33 ERA, 44 K) 2-time
        Santiago Casilla, SF (20 SV, 2.79 ERA, 27 K) 1-time
        Joel Hanrahan, PIT (19 SV, 2.25 ERA, 34 K) 2-time
        Tyler Clippard, WSH (12 SV, 1.95 ERA, 39 K) 2-time
        Craig Stammen, WSH (1.42 ERA, 38 IP, 39 K) 1-time

Players per Team:
St. Louis Cardinals - 4(1 starter)
Arizona Diamondbacks - 4
San Francisco Giants - 4
Cincinnati Reds - 3(2)
Pittsburgh Pirates - 3(1)
Washington Nationals - 3
New York Mets - 2(2)
Chicago Cubs - 2(1)
Colorado Rockies - 2(1)
Atlanta Braves - 2
Milwaukee Brewers - 1(1)
Philadelphia Phillies - 1(1)
Houston Astros - 1
Los Angeles Dodgers - 1
Miami Marlins - 1
San Diego Padres - 1

Come back next week for my June Awards.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jared Hoying Interview

This week I will post a brief interview with Myrtle Beach outfielder Jared Hoying which took place back in Spring Training. Jared has been having a very good season, hitting .289 (15th in the Carolina League), with 4 home runs and 16 RBIs for the High-A Pelicans. Jared was very nice to do this interview with me and I would like to thank him for doing so.

Me: Is there anything specific you've been working on so far in the offseason, and if so, what is it?

Jared: Just tried to get bigger and stronger and faster. Continue to work out with a bunch of weights, and run a bunch. Stuff like that, and just overall fitness and constant practice on my swing.

Me: What is the worst injury you've ever had and why?

Jared: Last year, I was sliding head first into a base, and kind of dislocated my shoulder. It's been about the worst injury I've ever had, luckily, so I've been pretty fortunate.

Me: How much time did you miss for that?

Jared: I missed about two weeks, and it lingered with me throughout the whole season.

Me: So it was early on in the year?

Jared: Yeah.

Me: Which minor league ballpark has been your favorite to play in?

Jared: I love Spokane. I was in Spokane my first year and they have great fans up there. That was by far my favorite ballpark to play at.

Me: Who are the three toughest pitchers you've faced and why?

Jared: I'm not too good with names, but last year I got to face Stephen Strasburg in a rehab start and he was good. He's the real deal, so it was fun to face him.

Me: Who are your three favorite teammates since you've joined the Rangers organization and why?

Jared: It's hard to name a name. I love my teammates. We get along great, and I've loved playing with everybody.

Me: Last one: What's been the best game so far of your professional career and why?

Jared: Had a lot of good ones. One that sticks out is my first home run up in Spokane. That was just one moment I'll never forget.

Me: Thank you.

Jared: Yep. No problem.

I would like to thank Jared again for giving me some of his time to do this interview.

Come back next week for my San Francisco and Oakland trip report.

Monday, June 04, 2012

May Awards

This week I will be posting my May Awards. These are who I think would deserve the awards if the season were to end today. 

Rangers Awards: 

MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.354 AVG, 21 HR, 57 RBI) – Josh has been by far the best player in the American League so far this year. As he is the AL MVP, there is no question whether or not he is the Rangers MVP.
Runner-up: Nelson Cruz, TEX (.270 AVG, 8 HR, 36 RBI)

Cy Young: Yu Darvish, TEX (7-3, 3.34 ERA, 73 K) – Darvish has been the only consistent pitcher in the Rangers starting rotation, with seven wins, an ERA in the low 3.00s, and more strikeouts than innings pitched.
Runner-up: Joe Nathan, TEX (11 SV, 1.99 ERA, 27 K)

Rookie of the Year: Yu Darvish, TEX (7-3, 3.34 ERA, 73 K) – Like Josh with the MVP award, Darvish is the winner of this award for the entire American League, which makes him the default Rangers ROY.
Runner-up: Robbie Ross, TEX (5-0, 1.63 ERA, 18 K)

AL Awards:

MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.354 AVG, 21 HR, 57 RBI) – Josh is second in the league in batting average, first in home runs, and first in RBIs. He is a legitimate Triple Crown threat if he can stay healthy.
Runner-up: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.318 AVG, 11 HR, 44 RBI)

Cy Young: Chris Sale, CWS (7-2, 2.30 ERA, 69 K) – Sale had an outstanding month of May (1.71 ERA), which lowered his solid 3.12 ERA one month into the season down to a Cy Young caliber 2.30, and the lowest ERA in the American League.
Runner-up: David Price, TB (7-3, 2.44 ERA, 62 K)

Rookie of the Year: Yu Darvish, TEX (7-3, 3.34 ERA, 73 K) – As I mentioned in the Rangers awards, Darvish has been consistent all year long. Yu has All-Star-caliber numbers as a rookie, which is very rare.
Runner-up: Mike Trout, LAA (.318 AVG, 5 HR, 20 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, BAL (30-24, 2nd place) – The Orioles were supposed to be one of the worst teams in baseball, with only the Padres, Twins, and maybe Cubs worse, but Buck has them playing well enough to be in position for one of the two wild cards two months into the season.
Runner-up: Robin Ventura, CWS (31-23, 1st place)

NL Awards:

MVP: Joey Votto, CIN (.361 AVG, 9 HR, 33 RBI, .476 OBP) – Even though Joey hasn’t put up the kind of power numbers he normally has to this point in the year, his OBP of .476 is absolutely ridiculous.
Runner-up: Carlos Gonzalez, COL (.332 AVG, 14 HR, 45 RBI)

Cy Young: Gio Gonzalez, WAS (7-2, 2.31 ERA, 84 K) – The Nationals definitely made a good move when they acquired Gio from the A’s this offseason. He is currently tied for 4th in the NL in wins, 3rd in ERA, and 1st in strikeouts.
Runner-up: James McDonald, PIT (5-2, 2.14 ERA, 71 K)

Rookie of the Year: Wade Miley, ARI (6-2, 2.72 ERA, 36 K) – The Arizona southpaw has been a bit of a surprise, with an ERA that has consistently been under 3.00, and a great 6-2 record on a 25-29 team.
Runner-up: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, NYM (.299 AVG, 3 HR, 19 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle, PIT (27-26, 2nd place) – Even though the Pirates are only a game over .500, that is still good enough for second place in the NL Central, and is much better than what was expected of them.
Runner-up: Dusty Baker, CIN (30-23, 1st place)

Come back next week for an interview with Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Rangers High Class-A affiliate) outfielder Jared Hoying.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May All-Stars

This week I will be posting my May All-Stars. These are the players that I think would be deserving if the All-Star game took place today. The stats are as of the morning of May 27th.

Also, Texas Rangers Trades is now on twitter. The twitter name (or I guess it is called handle) is @trtrades so make sure to follow it. I will be tweeting Rangers news, rumors, links to my blog posts whenever a new one gets posted, and what to look forward to for the next week on Texas Rangers Trades.

American League:


C: AJ Pierzynski, CWS (.312 AVG, 8 HR, 32 RBI) – AJ leads AL catchers in batting average and has some very good power numbers to go along with them, as he holds the Triple Crown for AL catchers.

1B: Paul Konerko, CWS (.396 AVG, 10 HR, 29 RBI) – Paul leads all of baseball in batting average, and like Pierzynski, Paul also holds the Triple Crown for his position in the American League.

2B: Robinson Cano, NYY (.302 AVG, 7 HR, 20 RBI) – While Robby Cano doesn’t lead all three major categories for second basemen, he does have the best all-around stats, with the best batting average, and is close to having the best power numbers.

SS: Elvis Andrus, TEX (.302 AVG, 1 HR, 22 RBI) – This was a tough choice between Andrus and Jeter, but despite a lower batting average and four less homers, Elvis has more RBIs, stolen bases, and runs, so I gave Elvis the starting nod.

3B: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.319 AVG, 9 HR, 31 RBI) – Beltre has more home runs than any other American League third baseman, although Evan Longoria may have had something to say about that had he stayed healthy, as well as one of the top the averages, and the second most RBIs.

DH: Edwin Encarnacion, TOR (.271 AVG, 15 HR, 38 RBI) – Even though Edwin has a sub-par batting average for an All-Star, he would be the AL leader in home runs and RBIs if not for Josh Hamilton being absolutely amazing.

OF: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.376 AVG, 20 HR, 53 RBI) – Josh is normally great. Josh in a contract year is even better. It’s just too bad he can’t be in a contract year every season, because he is putting up numbers that have him on pace for not only a career year, but one of the best seasons of all time.

OF: Andruw Jones, NYY (.309 AVG, 14 HR, 31 RBI) – How Andruw has performed so well with his age and his stats over the last few years, I don’t know, but he is somehow hitting over .300 with some of the best power numbers in baseball.

OF: Austin Jackson, DET (.331 AVG, 5 HR, 17 RBI) – Austin doesn’t have the power numbers of the other two starting outfielders, but he does have a great batting average. He recently got injured, however, which puts a hamper on his All-Star game chances.

SP: Justin Verlander, DET (5-2, 2.15 ERA, 75 K) – Verlander is about the only thing going right with the Detroit pitching staff right now. He is an absolutely dominant pitcher, and is definitely the best one in the game today.


C: Joe Mauer, MIN (.297 AVG, 2 HR, 20 RBI)
1B: Prince Fielder, DET (.311 AVG, 7 HR, 28 RBI)
       Mitch Moreland, TEX (.309 AVG, 8 HR, 19 RBI)
2B: Dustin Pedroia, BOS (.295 AVG, 5 HR, 20 RBI)
       Ian Kinsler, TEX (.286 AVG, 5 HR, 18 RBI)
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY (.342 AVG, 5 HR, 18 RBI)
      Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE (.301 AVG, 5 HR, 20 RBI)
3B: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.310 AVG, 8 HR, 37 RBI)
       Mark Trumbo, LAA (.326 AVG, 6 HR, 19 RBI)
DH: Billy Butler, KC (.301 AVG, 10 HR, 33 RBI)
        David Ortiz, BOS (.309 AVG, 10 HR, 30 RBI)
OF: BJ Upton, TB (.303 AVG, 4 HR, 16 RBI)
       Nelson Cruz, TEX (.272 AVG, 6 HR, 32 RBI)
       Josh Reddick, OAK (.271 AVG, 13 HR, 26 RBI)
       Denard Span, MIN (.305 AVG, 1 HR, 12 RBI)
SP: Chris Sale, CWS (5-2, 2.50 ERA, 46 K)
       Jered Weaver, LAA (6-1, 2.61 ERA, 57 K)
       David Price, TB (6-3, 2.71 ERA, 57 K)
       Jason Hammel, BAL (6-1, 2.78 ERA, 53 K)
       CJ Wilson, LAA (5-4, 2.90 ERA, 54 K)
       Yu Darvish, TEX (6-2, 3.05 ERA, 63 K)
       Justin Vargas, SEA (5-4, 3.39 ERA, 48 K)
RP: Jim Johnson, BAL (16 SV, 0.87 ERA, 14 K)
      Fernando Rodney, TB (15 SV, 1.13 ERA, 23 K)
      Chris Perez, CLE (16 SV, 2.79 ERA, 19 K)
      Joe Nathan, TEX (10 SV, 2.29 ERA, 24 K)
      Robbie Ross, TEX (5-0, 1.85 ERA, 17 K)

Players Per Team:
Texas Rangers – 9 (3 starters)
Detroit Tigers – 4 (2)
Chicago White Sox – 3 (2)
New York Yankees – 3 (2)
Baltimore Orioles – 3
Los Angeles Angels – 3
Tampa Bay Rays – 3
Boston Red Sox – 2
Cleveland Indians – 2
Minnesota Twins – 2
Toronto Blue Jays – 1 (1)
Kansas City Royals – 1
Oakland A’s – 1
Seattle Mariners – 1

National League:


C: Carlos Ruiz, PHI (.362 AVG, 7 HR, 29 RBI) – The Phillies have an option on Ruiz for next season, and at the rate things are going with him, I think they’ll pick it up. He is hitting closer to .400 than he is to .300, which is amazing for a guy who has a .272 career average.

1B: Joey Votto, CIN (.321 AVG, 7 HR, 28 RBI) – First base is a pretty weak position in the National League this year, with Lance Berkman being hurt for the majority of the early part of the season, and both Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols moving to the AL, and Votto is a major beneficiary of that. He has All-Star numbers for most years, but definitely not All-Star starter numbers for first base.

2B: Omar Infante, MIA (.338 AVG, 6 HR, 20 RBI) – Omar has been the only hitter in the Marlins lineup that has been consistently good this year, putting up a solid average and good power numbers.

SS: Starlin Castro, CHC (.314 AVG, 2 HR, 26 RBI) – Like this position in the AL, it was a tough choice for the starter at shortstop, and Castro’s slim RBI lead is what put him over the top and above Rafael Furcal.

3B: David Wright, NYM (.390 AVG, 5 HR, 28 RBI) – Before this last week, Wright was hitting above .400 with an OBP above .500, and even with a mediocre week, he still leads the NL in batting average.

DH: Andre Ethier, LAD (.323 AVG, 9 HR, 41 RBI) – Andre leads the NL in RBIs, and even without a .300+ batting average that usually warrants a starting position on the All-Star team.

OF: Matt Kemp, LAD (.359 AVG, 12 HR, 28 RBI) – Kemp has had a poor May following his torrid April, as he has both slumped and now is injured. His April was good enough, however, to make up for him and keep him in the NL’s starting lineup.

OF: Melky Cabrera, SF (.356 AVG, 3 HR, 24 RBI) – Melky is third in the National League in batting average, and despite only 3 home runs, he has a decent number of RBIs.

OF: Andrew McCutchen, PIT (.338 AVG, 7 HR, 24 RBI) – Even without his 10 steals, McCutchen has a good case for being an All-Star starter with his .338 average and solid power numbers, but his stolen bases lock him into this spot.

SP: Gio Gonzalez, WAS (6-1, 1.98 ERA, 69 K) – Even though Gio doesn’t lead the league in ERA (that’s Brandon Beachy), he does have a better record and 25 more strikeouts.


C: Jonathon Lucroy, MIL (.348 AVG, 5 HR, 30 RBI)
     AJ Ellis, LAD (.317 AVG, 5 HR, 23 RBI)
1B: Adam LaRoche, WAS (.288 AVG, 8 HR, 35 RBI)
       Carlos Lee, HOU (.301 AVG, 4 HR, 22 RBI)
       Yonder Alonso, SD (.302 AVG, 1 HR, 14 RBI)
2B: Jose Altuve, HOU (.309 AVG, 3 HR, 15 RBI)
       Brandon Phillips, CIN (.273 AVG, 4 HR, 20 RBI)
SS: Rafael Furcal, STL (.339 AVG, 3 HR, 22 RBI)
       Ian Desmond, WAS (.275 AVG, 8 HR, 23 RBI)
       Troy Tulowitzki, COL (.279 AVG, 6 HR, 24 RBI)
3B: David Freese, STL (.273 AVG, 10 HR, 33 RBI)
       Chipper Jones, ATL (.307 AVG, 5 HR, 24 RBI)
OF: Ryan Braun, MIL (.312 AVG, 13 HR, 34 RBI)
       Carlos Beltran, STL (.291 AVG, 14 HR, 38 RBI)
       Giancarlo Stanton, MIA (.296 AVG, 11 HR, 34 RBI)
SP: Brandon Beachy, ATL (5-2, 1.77 ERA, 44 K)
      Clayton Kershaw, LAD (4-2, 1.97 ERA, 57 K)
      Wandy Rodriguez, HOU (4-4, 2.14 ERA, 45 K)
      Cole Hamels, PHI (7-1, 2.17 ERA, 66 K)
      Chris Capuano, LAD (6-1, 2.25 ERA, 50 K)
      Wade Miley, ARI (6-1, 2.41 ERA, 32 K)
      Johnny Cueto, CIN (5-2, 2.53 ERA, 41 K)
RP: Aroldis Chapman, CIN (4-0, 0.00 ERA, 43 K)
       Craig Kimbrel, ATL (13 SV, 2.12 ERA, 26 K)
       Jonathon Papelbon, PHI (14 SV, 2.33 ERA, 23 K)
       Brett Myers, HOU (12 SV, 1.59 ERA, 14 K)
       Santiago Casilla, SF (11 SV, 1.37 ERA, 17 K)

Players Per Team:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 5 (2 starters)
Cincinnati Reds – 4 (1)
Houston Astros – 4
Philadelphia Phillies – 3 (1)
Washington Nationals – 3 (1)
Atlanta Braves – 3
St. Louis Cardinals – 3
Miami Marlins – 2 (1)
San Francisco Giants – 2 (1)
Milwaukee Brewers – 2
Chicago Cubs – 1 (1)
New York Mets – 1 (1)
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1 (1)
Arizona Diamondbacks – 1
Colorado Rockies – 1
San Diego Padres – 1

Come back next week for my May Awards.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mike Adams Interview

At spring training in March, Rangers pitcher Mike Adams was nice enough to give me a few minutes of his time for an interview on the backfields in Surprise. 

Me: What was the toughest part about pitching for four different organizations in 2006?

Mike: Just the uncertainty, not knowing where you’re going to be and moving around a lot.

Me: What is your best pitch and how was it developed?

Mike: My slider-cutter. It’s come a long way. It’s something that took a few years to develop but now I have a pretty good grasp on it. It’s my go-to pitch.

Me: What’s been the best game so far of your professional career and why?

Mike: One of the World Series games. That’s what we all play the game to be in. Just the experience of that. Those were by far the most fun games I’ve ever played in.

Me: Who are the three toughest hitters you’ve faced and why?

Mike: I’d say Miguel Cabrera. He’s one of those guys that’s just very tough to get out. Albert Pujols. Same thing. He’s one of the top hitters of all time. And Barry Bonds.

Me: What have you worked on over the offseason and why?

Mike: This offseason was really more about getting back in shape, trying to develop my changeup a little. And right now, I’m just trying to put that to use.

Me: What has been your favorite stadium to play in and why?

Mike: San Diego. Petco Park. That’s one of the more beautiful places in baseball. It’s fun to play there. The weather’s great every day. It just makes it easy to come to the park.

Me: What is the best thing about being a major leaguer and why?

Mike: Everything. Everything about being a major leaguer is fun. This is something you dream of as a kid. Every kid who plays baseball wants to be in the big leagues. Being able to have a job where I play a kids game, you can’t beat that.

Me: Other than baseball, which sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?

Mike: I played basketball and ran track, but I was a basketball player. I went to college on a basketball scholarship. It didn’t even have baseball scholarships. That was actually my true love.

Me: What college did you go to?

Mike: Texas A&M Kingsville.

Me: What was your favorite team growing up?

Mike: The Texas Rangers. It’s kind of a funny coincidence how it all worked out. This is the team I grew up rooting for. In the summers, I would go to Arlington to watch baseball.

Me: Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the league and why?

Mike: Wow. One of them was Trevor Hoffman. (pauses and thinks) Edward Mujica from San Diego. And then probably Luke Gregerson from San Diego.

Me: Thank you so much for doing this interview. I really appreciate it.

Mike: No problem.

I would like to thank Mike again for allowing me to interview him. He was very friendly and seemed like a great guy.

Come back next week for my May All-Stars.