Sunday, April 19, 2009

These Are The Days

During the beginning of the 70s TV Comedy All In The Family Archie and Edith were at the piano singing Those Were the Days. As students of history, baseball or otherwards we have a tendency to look back in history to find those good old days. But sometimes the good old days are now. About 2 weeks ago I was speaking with Howie about the teams we drafted. And I made the comment I thought both of our Shortstops(Stephen Drew and Troy Tulowitski) will have big years. This also got me thinking about the current crop of shortstops in the NL. If you look back into baseball history there has never been anything close to the talent and depth of shortstops. For the most part for the past 100 years the position of SS was manned by the guy who hit 220 but had a good glove. The first great shortstop Honus Wagner was said to be not only a great hitter but the best fielding shortstop of his time. If we look at the top 20 shortstops of all time as listed by Bill James in the historical abstract-PUBLISHED IN 2001!!!!! we see some guys most fans have never even heard of

1.Honus Wagner
2.Arky Vaughn
3.Cal Ripken
4.Robin Yount
5.Ernie Banks
6.Barry Larkin
7.Ozzie Smith
8.Joe Cronin
9.Alan Trammell
10.Pee Wee Reese
11.Luke Appling
12.Lou Boudreau
13.Luis Aparicio
14.George Davis
15.Jim Fregosi
16.Phil Rizzuto
17.Alex Rodriguez
18.Hughie Jennings
19.Maury Wills
20.Johnny Pesky

As I said this list was complied in 2001 which helps illustrate my point very well. If you look at this list half these guys had almost no power at all. Almost all were good fielders with Vaughn and Fregosi being the exceptions. Only 8 of the 20 had lifetime 300 averages. And only Banks,Ripken,Wagner and A-Rod were considered power hitters in their time, Knowing that these were the greatest of all time should help us appreciate what we now have even more. As we all know things started to change at shortstop with Cal Ripken. Then around the turn of the century we had the big 4 in the AL. Everyone knew just how good the combination of A-Rod,Nomar, Jeter and Tejada was. We were told of a golden era at shortstop and that was absolutely true. But how many people are telling us how lucky we are to being baseball fans in 2009 and seeing half a dozen guys all either in their primes of just approaching their best years. And they all play in the weaker league.

1.Hanley Ramirez-A true five tool guy who can beat with power, speed or average. His fielding is a bit erratic and this point in his career but all the physical tools to be a gold glover are there. And he keeps getting better and better.

2.Jose Reyes-Everyone knows what a prolific base stealer Reyes is but then his batting gets overlooked by some. This guy is a 200 hit a year machine. Now playing his games in Citi Field he should smash all post world war 2 records for triples. And he has double figure HR power. Another guy who is still improving.

3.Jimmy Rollins-Rollins already has an MVP award. And like the above two guys can beat you with both his legs and his bat. Rollins is also the heart and soul of the team that won the World Series. Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto and Derek Jeter got alot of credit for being leaders on championship teams why not J-Roll.

4.Stephen Drew-Quick name the SS who has the most extra base hits over the past two seasons? Wrong, its Stephen Drew. Another player who still hasn't reached his magic 27 season. I predict this guy will be a superstar. He started the season hitting 3rd.

5,Troy Tulowitski-Great rookie year. And he was hurt last year in the first half but came back with a strong second half. This guy is a outstanding hitter anywhere. But playing in Coors certainly does not hurt. This will only be his third season. He should be the cornerstone of the Rox going forward.

6.Rafael Furcal-This is the one guy who is not in the mid 20 age range. Furcal has been one of the steadiest most consistent performers for years. While his career numbers don't jump out at you they are very solid. A career 286 average which would put him in about the middle of the above top 20 list. 260 stolen bases is a terrific number that should easily go over 300 by the time he retires. And a career slugging average of 412 tells he is just not a singles hitter. At 31 he certainly has some more years in the tank.

7.JJ Hardy-Hardy is a guy who is notorious for having one great half and one awful half. If he can do it over 162 games he could be very dangerous.

So if you are watching a NL game today chances are you are seeing an above average SS. Twenty years when some of us are reaching retirement and other are reaching the primes of their lives we will all be able to say remember the good old days when we had HanRam, Reyes and J-Roll all in the same division. Its time someone other than me talks about this.

This weeks notes-This week saw two players hit for cycles. Orlando Hudson and Ian Kinsler. If did not know how rare it is to hit for the cycle but here is a couple of incredible stats. 1-O-Dogs cycle was the first one ever by a Dodger in Dodger Stadium. 2.Three teams San Diego,Florida and Tampa have never had a cycle. Kinsler ended up with 6 hits in his game.

Milestones-Gary Sheffield hit his 500 HR this week. It was the first time ever that a player hit his 500th as a pinch hitter. And on Monday night Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye each hit their 300th Homer in back to back at bats.

Random Notes-I watched alot of the KC-Texas game last night. Zack Grienke was absolutely dominant. What struck me was in the ninth with him at just about 100 pitches he gave up a hit with one out. The score was 2-0 KC. Soria is warming up in the Royals pen. Trey Hillman comes out and leaves Grienke in. Wow it was like old school lets actually let a starting pitcher finish a game. And Grienke did complete his shutout the first complete game shutout of his career. And knowing he did it in Texas against that powerful Ranger lineup made it that much more of an incredible accomplishment.

Toronto is pounding the baseball and getting decent pitching after Roy Halladay. Toronto is now 9-4 with the best record in the AL. But I'm ready buying.

The Marlins keep winning. I'm sticking with 85 wins. Somehow I can't see the Fish averaging close to 7 runs a game for very much longer.

Brad Lidge blew a save last night his first in over a year as a Phillie. Last season Philys bullpen had a season for the ages. Some regression is to be expected.

Fantasy-Well after two weeks Howie is on top. I know he was happy with his team right after the draft and they have not disappointed. And if A-Rod comes back strong this could be a good season for the Northern Hirsch's. As for the rest of us the standings change on a nightly basis. Its kind of like a rugby scrum. Hopefully this week brings all of us good pitching and NO INJURIES(sorry Mike). Have a good week.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And Away We Go

The 2009 baseball season is now one week old. With one week in the books I figured I'd comment on some of the things I witnessed this week.

Fact or Fiction????-Today's installment deals with the Florida Marlins. The Fish are now 5-1 after taking 2 out of 3 from the Mets. I can just see it coming, at some point soon someone in the media will compare this team to the other team that plays here in Florida. So I may as well do it now. Last season the Rays proved you can greatly improve if you have two things. 1.Starting Pitching and 2..Very good team defense. As for the Marlins starters this group is for real. Nolasco. Johnson, Volstad and Sanchez have the potential to rival any teams top 4 starters. Josh Johnson today was simply outstanding. And you can make the argument that Ricky Nolasco was the second best pitcher in the second half of last season. There is no questioning any of these guys stuff. The potential pitfall comes from Johnson and Sanchez coming off major surgery's. As of now they both look as good or better than before the operations. Another potential red flag will be just how many innings these young studs can give the Fish. The max innings Josh Johnson ever threw in one season was 157 and Anibal Sanchez only went 114 innings. I've got to believe Fredi Gonzalez will be very careful with these guys. Which brings us to Florida's bullpen. This group won't scare too many people. Matt Lindstrom throws very hard but only seems to have that one pitch. When he gets a secondary pitch he could be lights out but he isn't quite there yet. The rest of the pen has guys like Kiko Calero, Leo Nunez and Dan Meyer. In Friday nights game Sanchez was fantastic giving up no runs over five innings. He was dominating a very good Met lineup. Then the bullpen gave up the lead twice including a run in the top of the 9th before they pulled it out in the bottom of the 9th. I fear this may be a pattern. As for the defense it should be improved from last season. Last season they were 2nd in the NL in most errors. With Jorge Cantu at first and Jeremy Hermeida moving to left it should upgrade the defense. In addition Cameron Maybin will cover alot of ground. But they are nowhere close to Tampa's defense. When I did my predictions I gave Florida third place and about 85 wins. After watching them this weekend I think that's about right.

Something also occurred in Friday nights Met-Marlin game I found very interesting. The Mets trailing by one in the 8th brought in JJ Putz to pitch. I applauded the move. The logic being if JJ can keep it a one run game than hopefully the bats could get at least one. As it happened the Mets tied up the game. So with a tie game in the bottom of the ninth I was hoping Jerry Manuel would have continued this aggressive style of using his new bullpen. But instead of putting in K-Rod in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth he chose to bring in Pedro Feliciano who got into trouble and then with the game on the line the last guy in the Mets pen Darren O'Day was on the mound to give up the game losing hit. Its easy to criticize strategy after it fails but this is a constant with me. If I'm in a tie game in the 9th I'm using my best pitcher. At that point in the game the bottom of the ninth was the most important point. If you use anything other than your best you may never get to use him. Especially with the way the Mets were scoring off Florida's bullpen. I hope Jerry Manuel doesn't use K-Rod as only a three out guy in a save situation. While it may boost his save totals it will undoubtedly cost the team games. And isn't it what that's what its all about???

Thankfully this week I only heard the term at this pace once this week. Its pointless to tell me in the third game of the season at this pace a guy will score 254 runs!!!!

This one drives me mad. You just see a score from a game in which you have a player on your fantasy team. The real team scores like 12 runs but your guy goes 0-5. This happened twice to me this week.

Finally one word about the start of our fantasy league. I'm REALLY!!!!! happy to see all the teams except one have already made moves. Hopefully everyone will be it it all season long. Thats what makes it alot of fun. And after the first week congrats to Daniel for leading the pack. If this continues I'll never hear the end of it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

AL Predictions

Its time to tackle the junior circuit. While its widely accepted that the AL is the tougher of the two leagues most of the big stars in MLB now seem to reside in the NL. In our draft 6 of the first 7 players were taken from the NL. With that being said its still much more difficult to get thought an AL lineup than one from the senior circuit. But I am curious to see if during inter league play the results won't be as lopsided as previous years.

1.Red Sox
4.Blue Jays

The best three teams in the AL all reside in this division. Its a shame that one of them will have to miss the playoffs. I believe the Red Sox have the best team in baseball. And with the possibility of a healthy John Smoltz and some point this season they will be that much better. The Rays should have another strong season. Their schedule in April is absolutely brutal. If they are hanging around when April turns to May watch out. The Yankees spent a zillion dollars to fix the pitching but three things would concern me 1.AJ Burnett can go down at anytime 2.The defense is way below average 3.They have alot of older players and older players get hurt. The Jays starting staff which was so good last year was decimated by injuries and free agent defections. Finally the Os will probably play good baseball for the first half like they usually do then fall apart in the second half. They have a few kids in the high minors ready to come up and at least make things interesting.

AL Central
5.White Sox

This should be the closest division from top to bottom. You make make an argument for each team and then point out each teams faults. If pitching and defense win games than Minnesota is the best bet. I really like the Twins pitching, both starters and pen. The question will be can they score enough runs. The Tribe should not have much problems scoring runs its preventing them that may by the problem. I don't like their starting pitchers at all. Luckily the bullpen is deep because they will get alot of work. KC is the up and coming team in the division. Its been a very long time since I could have said that. Meche and Grienke are a very under rated duo. And they should score enough runs to earn a winning record. The Tigers went for broke last year and it did not pay off. The starters broke down and they have an awful defensive team. The talk of 1000 runs is now nothing but a memory. Finally the White Sox are in rebuilding mode. I'm expecting them to move their veterans like Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko before the trading deadline.

AL West

The short stack is a very mediocre group. I'm picking the Angels but have no faith in the selection. They overachieved to 100 wins last year. The key will be 1.when Lackey,Santana and Escobar return 2.can they score enough runs without Mark Teixeira. I can see them only winning about 85 this season. Texas will pound people. They have a fantastic lineup. If they get even league average pitching they can pull off a surprise. The As are a very interesting team. with Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson starting in the bigs we are seeing the future. This duo is very good. I expect the As to move Matt Holliday at the deadline for more prospects. This team is a year away but they are positioned to be good for years to come with a very small payroll. Haven't we seen this before???? As for the Ms they are going the Rays route with rebuilding their defense first. They have have the best defensive outfield in all of baseball. But unfortunately everything else lags behind.

AL Playoffs
Boton over Minnesota
Tampa over Angels

Boston over Tampa

AL MVP-Josh Hamilton-Last year was what baseball people were expecting from this guy for years now. Like I said Texas will score often and he should have monster numbers. Runners Up-Miguel Cabrera and Nick Markakis

AL Cy Young-Joakim Soria-I thought long and hard about this and came to the conclusion that I can't see any AL Starters being that dominant. The Royals will play alot of close games and Soria should be lights out. Runners Up-Josh Beckett and Felix Hernandez

AL ROY-Travis Snider-This has the potential to be one of the best rookies classes in many years. Everyone knows David Price and Matt Wieters. I imagine their stay in the minors will be very short. Oaklands pitchers are also extremely talented. But I'm going with Travis Snider. This guy is very young but everyone says he has professional hitters written all over him. Like Jordan Schaffer he will start the season hitting at the bottom of the order but won't stay there long.

Monday, April 6, 2009

NL Predictions

Unfortunately life has gotten in the way of writing the past few weeks. But with the season upon us I've decided to try to have something new up every Monday and Thursday. Since everyone is currently making predictions I figured I 'll make mine. And I'm sure seven months from now I'll be asking myself what were you possibly thinking. One quick note before the predictions these are made with my head and not my heart.

NL East-By far the best division in the NL. While everyone is talking about the Mets and Phils both the Marlins and the Braves will both be very much improved. As for Washington I can't see any situation where they don't finish in the cellar.


I see the Mets winning about 92 games and not blowing it this year. After a very small sampling it appears Citi Field will be a very good pitchers park with Homers being depressed even more than Shea. But with that big outfield BAs should go up. Opposing teams will have to play their fastest outfielders there. I would not be stunned if the Mets produce their first batting champion. The World Champs should win about 88. They have a prolific lineup that will score alot of runs. Last season their bullpen wasn't just good it was historically good. A drop off is normal. The Marlins will be one of the interesting stories of 2009. They have a terrific collection of young pitchers and some young hitters that are probably 1 to 2 years away. All being led by one of the games best players in Han Ram. Let give them 85 wins. Atlanta had a good offseason. Derek Lowe was fantastic last night. Javy Vazquez going to the weaker league should bounce back away from the Cell. Getting Garrett Anderson for little more than a song was a terrific pickup. And watch Jordan Schaffer he may end up being NL ROY. I'll give them 83 wins. The Nats are over matched in every phase. Their young players are walking time bombs. Something nice??? I like Ryan Zimmerman. 65 Wins

NL Central

This should be the most lopsided division in all of baseball. Its the Cubs and everyone else. Every other team in the division has significant holes.


The Cubbies have the most complete team in the NL. They hit, pitch and catch better than anyone. And they should be hungry after last season. Besides how can I pick against any team with Rich Harden? 97 wins. Places 2.3 and 4 could go in any order. I like Milwaukee's lineup but the starters have alot of questions. Though I believe Gallardo may be in for a nice year. Cincy is the team on the rise in the division. They take a big step forward this year and seriously contend next year. St. Louis needs everything to fall into place. IF Chris Carpenter stays healthy the starters will be pretty good. They will need a few players to step up and help Albert Pujols. Those three teams should all have about 84 wins. Houston's record was not indicative of their 2008 season. Based on runs scored and runs given up they over achieved more than any team in MLB. The middle of the lineup is still potent. But after Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez the starters are a mess. 75 wins maybe. The Bucs seems finally to be on the right track. They seem to be committed to building with kids. The pitching staff is not bad. 2009 will be a long year but at least they are going in the right direction. 70 wins.

NL West

This should be a interesting race between LA and Arizona. With the Giants having the best pitching in the division. Colorado is in full rebuilding mode. With the Padres will probably be the worst team in the NL this year. I expect Jake Peavy traded by June 1.


Arizona is ready to win now. The lineup is loaded with players just about reaching their prime with experience. And no combination of front line starters are more dependable than Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. 94 wins and a division title for the Snakes. The defending NL West champs should be close this year. Will Manny be the monster we saw last year for 162 games? Probably not. The team is solid. And should be in it all year long. 88 wins and a date with the Phils for a wild card berth. The Giants have scarry good pitching. Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Sanchez and Johnson. But will they score any runs? They need to get a bat at the trading deadline. Lets give them 81 wins. Colorado is rebuilding. The cornerstones are already their with Tulo, Ianetta Jimenez. I'd bet Atkins gets moved for more prospects by the trading deadline. They have a collection of terrific prospects that are coming. Watch Dexter Fowler this year. 75 wins. Finally San Diego fans will suffer a very long year. The big question for me is will they lose 100. Yep 62-100.

Playoffs-LA over Phily in a wild card tie breaker

Cubs over LA-Revenge is sweet
Mets over Arizona-The Mets always seem to well against Arizona pitchers

Cubs over Mets-Hopefully I'm wrong!!!!!

NL MVP-David Wright- Citi Field will take about 5 HRs away from him but add 20 pts to his batting average. Also I could see the Mets running more this year. Runners Up, Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes

NL Cy Young-Johan Santana- About the only way to score off Johan is to hit Homers off him and alot of those Homers at Shea will not go out of Citi Field. If he could only learn to pitch in April. Runners Up-Brandon Webb and Dan Haren

NL ROY-Jordan Schaffer-It seems all the good rookies will be in the AL. Schaffer should be the real deal. He will start the season at the bottom of the Braves order with little expectations and then rise in that order as the season progresses. Runner Up-Jason Motte

So now its your turn. I don't want to be the only one to stick my neck out. Comment on this piece and leave YOUR predictions. I'll do the AL on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cleveland Indians-Team Preview

2008 Team Record 81-81

Projected Lineup

C-Victor Martinez 2-35-278

1B-Ryan Garko 14-90-273

2B-Asdubal Cabrera 6-47-259

SS-Jhonny Peralta 23-89-276

3B-Mark DeRosa 21-87-285

LF-Ben Francisco 15-54-266

CF-Grady Sizemore 33-90-268

RF-Shin Soo Choo 14-66-309

DH-Travis Hafner 5-24-197

Projected Rotation

Cliff Lee 22-3-2.54

Fausto Carmona 8-7-5.44

Carl Pavano 4-2-5.77

Anthony Reyes 4-2-2.76

Aaron Laffey 4-7-4.23


Kerry Wood 5-4-3.26 34

Jensen Lewis 0-4-3.82 13

Rafael Perez 4-4-3.54 2

Whats To Like
1.Wheres the Fire?-Mark Shapiro, one of the sharp young GMs in the game did a excellent job rebuilding the horror show the was the Tribes bullpen. Not only did they sign a real closer in Kerry Wood. They filled the pen with very good arms just in case Wood goes down(not an impossible thing). Not only do they have Jensen Lewis who did a very good job closing at the end of last year. They also have Rafael Perez, Joe Smith, Rafael Betancourt and Masahide Kobayashi. This crew should be an asset and not a weakness.
2.And Down the Stretch-With the Tribe pretty much out of the race they put together their best two months of the season at the end. Remember this was after the trade of CC Sabathia. As an outsider its hard to know exactly who should get the credit for this but I'm sure Eric Wedge deserves alot. If you can have a team play hard when they are out of it. Think what they can do if they contend. FYI the Tribe was 34-21 in Aug. and Sept.

Whats Not to Like
1.And the starter will be who?-This starting staff is full of question marks. Last year Cliff Lee had a dream season. He will be very hard pressed to win 20 again will this group. More about Fausto Carmona later. If Carl Pavano is penciled in for your third starter you know your in trouble. And the rest of the staff will be filled out by once and future prospects like Anthony Reyes, Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers and Scott Lewis. Best case scenario they are league average. More likely they cause the Tribe to fall behind on most nights.
2.Slow, Slower and Slowest-This is a team outside of Grady Sizemore with NO speed. They stole 77 bases last year with Sizemore swiping 38. And as I've said in the past on this blog. Speed is not only important stealing bases. Its critical in the field. The lack of speed will cost the Indians in alot of ways that might not be readily seen.

Fantasy Focus
Fausto Carmona-As a rule batters are more consistent and stable than pitchers. Pitchers are dependant on factors outside of their own control to be successful. The most obvious two are run support for wins and a good defense to make good plays to keep their ERA down. Errors happen to all teams. But the good defensive teams turn hits into outs. I bring this up because if you knew nothing about baseball and looked at Carmona's stats over the past three years you'd be really confused. In 2006 1-10-5.26 In 2007 19-8 3.06 and in 2008 8-7-5.44. How is this possible? Well last years difficulties can be traced to a few placed but maybe the most damning stat he walked more hitters than he struck out. Last season he had 58 Ks and 70 BBs. In 2007 his good year his numbers were 137Ks/61BBs. So what about 2009? I think the real Carmona is somewhere between 2007 and 2008. He is a guy that you can probably get in the later rounds. If his control is good he can be a steal. If he is not drafted watch that K/BB ratio early if its good someone should grab him off the waiver wire pretty quickly.

Fun Fact
Cliff Lee was simply amazing last season. One of the numbers that you won't find on the back of a baseball card that is really important when explaining his success is Lee only had 3 stolen base attempts against him all year!!!!!

For a team that was so close just two years ago it now faces a real uphill battle. The team has holes all over. IF!!! Martinez and Hafner both return to pre-injury levels and the young pitchers work out it will be a smoothie transition season. But everything has to go right for this team to contend. The AL Central is totally up in the air. But for now I'll say the Tribe finish 4th.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cincinnati Reds-Team Preview

2008 Team Record 74-88

Projected Lineup

C-Ramon Hernandez 15-65-257

1B-Joey Votto 24-84-297

2B-Brandon Phillips 21-78-261

SS-Alex Gonzalez Out for 2008

3B-Edwin Encarnacion 26-68-251

LF-Chris Dickerson 6-15-304

CF-Willy Taveras 1-26-251

RF-Jay Bruce 21-52-254

Projected Rotation

Aaron Harang 6-17-4.38

Bronson Arroyo 15-11-4.77

Edinson Volquez 17-6-3.21

Johnny Cueto 9-14-4.81

Micah Owings 6-9-5.93


Francisco Cordero 5-4-3.33 34

David Weathers 4-6-3.25

Jared Burton 5-1-3.22

Whats To Like
1.And the Youth Shall Lead-Any team that has a quartet of 25 and under players such as Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce has the nucleus to compete for years to come. I would think the Reds should definitely try to lock Votto and Bruce up long term. As I talked about in an earlier piece signing pitchers to long term deals is very risky. The Reds have the Dominican duo for at least two more years before they really have to think about long term deals for them.
2.The New Boss, Different from the Old Boss-For years the Reds were one of the worst run teams in baseball. Starting with Marge Schott to the parade of incompetent GMs. But now Walt Jockerty who was the architect of the Cardinal teams from the last few years is in on board to runs the Reds. Jockerty always has a knack for finding veterans and overlooked players with small salaries. The days of horrible trades should be over in Cincy.

Whats Not to Like
1.Wheres First????-The Reds had the 3rd worst OBA in the NL last season last season. And adding Willy Taveras a career 331 to hit lead off will not help out much. The offense needs to walk more and strikeout less.
2.Keep It in the Park-Cincy allowed the most homers of any team in the NL. While this can be partly explained by playing in Great American Ballpark. The real problem lies in that this staff is made up of predominately fly ball pitchers. Aaron Harrang and Johnny Cueto are definite fly ball pitchers. Owings, Arroyo and Volquez are more neutral. Last year the combination of fly balls yielded and the worst HR/FB ratio in the NL .13 spelled doom.

Fantasy Focus
Edwin Encarnacion-There are a few players that you always think great things are on the way. But for one reason or another it never seems to happen. Encarncion seems to be one of those guys. While he increased to 26 HRs last year just about all other numbers seem stagnant or going in the wrong direction. His BA dropped 36 points. Even with those extra 11HRs he has 8 less RBIs. And only 1 SB after averaging close to 10. Someone will probably draft him and he might explode but the numbers don't forsee a sustained breakout from him

Fun Fact
Micah Owings is a career 319 hitter. And his career SLG is 552. Which places him second on the team only behind Joey Votto.

For the first time in decades Red fans have real reason for optimism. The young players are there. A very deep rotation with Homer Bailey waiting in the wings. The Reds will not win the Central this year but they are closer than any time in awhile. I'll say they improve by 7 games and end by around 81-81.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chicago White Sox-Team Preview

2008 Team Record 89-79

Projected Lineup

C-AJ Pierzynski 13-60-281

1B-Paul Konerko 22-62-240

2B-Chris Getz 0-1-286

SS-Alexei Ramirez 21-77-290

3B-Josh Fields 0-2-156

LF-Carlos Quentin 36-100-288

CF-Brian Anderson 8-26-232

RF-Jermaine Dye 34-96-292

DH-Jim Thome 34-90-245

Projected Rotation

Mark Buerhle 15-12-3.79

John Danks 12-9-3.32

Gavin Floyd 17-8-3.84

Bartolo Colon 4-2-3.92

Clayton Richard 2-5-6.04


Bobby Jenks 3-1-2.63 30

Scott Linebrink 2-2-3.69 1

Matt Thornton 5-3-2.67 1

Whats To Like
1.How do you spell Relief-The bullpen is by far the best part of this team. Along with the three I mentioned above they also have Octavio Dotel. The Sox should be able to shorten games for a very questionable starting staff.
2.Carlos Quentin-Sure the 36 dingers and 100 RBIs are nice but any player who breaks a bone in anger is my kind of guy.

Whats Not To Like
1.No Direction Home-Since the White Sox were eliminated by the Rays in the playoffs almost everything they have done this off season is questionable at best. I understand about not wanted to get old but Kenny Williams took a playoff team and turned them into a team that will be very lucky to win 75 games.
2.Lets get THIS started-If Bartolo Colon is penciled in for my 4th starter I know my rotation has issues. The Sox are hoping Jose Contreras can help. If the White Sox are rebuilding having Contreras and Colon is not the way to go.

Fantasy Focus
Gavin Floyd-Fact or Fiction???? If you look very closely at Floyd's numbers he gives indications he is either ready to take the next step to be a big winner or he is about to prove 2008 was a mirage. Very few players have numbers going in both directions like Floyd. For example Floyd averaged only 6.3 Ks per 9 innings past season. While walking over 3 per 9. That a very questionable K/BB ratio of just 2/1. Floyd was lucky in the respect he had fantastic run support. On the positive side he is still only 26 and has shown growth throughtout his brief MLB career. If he can just cut down on the HRs yielded which for the past years was either 12-13% of fly balls he should be able to sustain success. As of now I'm a bit on the skeptical side. The White Sox are not going to be a good team so I don't believe he is worth drafting but he is worth keeping an eye on.

Fun Fact
Anyone who has read this blog since I've started doing this should know by now I'm very partial to strikeout pitchers versus contact pitchers. Mark Buerhle is amazing every day he gives up tons of base runners but always has a good record and a much better ERA than you'd expect. So how does he do it? He is three stats. 1.Buerhle gave up the most hits of any MLB pitcher 240. 2.He induced the most DPs of any pitcher in MLB with 39 3.He only gave up 5 Stolen Bases all year old in 12 attempts while picking off 6 runners. By the way Gavin Floyd gave up 37 Stolen Bases by far the most in MLB.

Its not easy to go from first to worst but thats what I'm predicting for the White Sox. This was the division champs last year. I don't believe Kenny Williams had a tear apart this team. Especially in this year of free agent bargains. If the Sox just resigned their players and added a piece to the rotation they would have an excellent chance to repeat. Also whats puzzleling to me is if the White Sox had a prospects in the minors ready to take over I'd be able to understand their moves but its not the case. The only highly thought of prospects in the minors are SS Gordan Beckham and C Tyler Flowers and neither should contribute this season. 2 other predictions for this team are 1.They will be out of it by the trading deadline and will try to move Jermaine Dye 2.Ozzie Guillen will be fired by the All Star break.