The All-Realistic NL Team of 2008

Posted July 15, 2008 by Phil (ugueth urbina is burning)
Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, National League, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals

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So we decided to make the best starters, and put the best backup players behind them. So basically, the best realistic team of 2008. For the backup and utility players, they have to be actual backups or platooners, like Augie Ojeda, or Ruben Gotay for example. No video game rosters here.

My lineup will consist of:

2 Catchers
1 First Baseman
1 First Baseman/Third Baseman
1 Second Baseman
1 Second Baseman/Shortstop
1 Third Baseman
1 Shortstops
4 Outfielders
1 Utility Player
12 pitchers, 7 RP, 5 SP

Catcher: Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves

I made a mistake when I chose Russell Martin based on him dating Alyssa Milano on one of my older articles. Brian McCann is having the better season indeed.

Read the rest of this post »

Home Run Derby thoughts

Posted July 15, 2008 by Mike
Categories: Home Run Derby, Texas Rangers

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Another Home Run Derby has passed and Josh Hamilton made some history. Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round, breaking Bobby Abreu’s record of 24 in 2005. His multiple 500+ foot homers were definitely the highlight of the night. He found a way to lose to Justin Morneau in the finals though which served as one of the most anticlimactic endings since Kelly Leak got thrown out at home.

This year’s Derby was, as usual, plagued with some things that need to stop.

  • Berman’s “Back, back, back!” call. This works better in a game, when home runs aren’t happening every three pitches (unless Brett Myers is pitching).
  • Hamilton’s drug history. It makes a good Oprah, but he appears to have his life in order now. Let’s focus on Josh Hamilton the MVP candidate.
  • Terrible camera views. ESPN gave us some views I had never seen before and don’t want to see again. Keep the camera over the pitcher’s shoulder and stop slow mo-ing everything.
  • Erin Andrews’ outfit. I sound like People Magazine here but she looked like the 1800s. Still way hot though and it was funny watching Josh Hamilton try to get in her pants.
  • Players looking for face time. Edinson Volquez leaving the briefcase on the plate was not funny, and David Ortiz leaving was only funny because Yankee Stadium unleashed a giant boo upon him.
  • That contest before the last round.

On the bright side, we did get to witness some history with Hamilton’s performance. Perhaps the coolest part of his Derby performance was him bringing his 71-year-old high school coach to pitch to him. He did a pretty good job too. Also, no one left a goose egg on the board like Jason Bay a couple years ago.

Midseason All-Star AL Depth Chart

Posted July 13, 2008 by Mike
Categories: American League

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People like when things are ranked. Maybe that’s why High Fidelity was so appealing. No top fives here, but one big top 25 of a semi-feasible assortment of players. The goal is to assemble the best 25-man squad based on 2008 performance at the halfway mark. The best players will occupy the starting position, and notable backups will be recognized for their efforts too. Not all positions will have a backup as they can be covered by players already in backup roles. Starters are in bold.

My team consists of

  • 2 C
  • 1 1B
  • 1 1B/3B
  • 1 2B
  • 1 SS
  • 1 3B
  • 1 IF
  • 5 OF
  • 1 DH
  • 5 SP
  • 6 RP

Catchers

  1. Joe Mauer-Minnesota Twins
  2. Kelly Shoppach-Cleveland Indians

Mauer is having a great season for the always in contention Twins. He is 3rd in the AL with a .322 batting average and while the power numbers haven’t been there, he has been making up for it by getting on base (.417) and great defense. Kelly Shoppach is our backup catcher. He has split time behind the plate with the now injured Victor Martinez and is hitting .248 with 7 home runs. Read the rest of this post »

Another minor league meltdown

Posted July 13, 2008 by Mike
Categories: Minor League Baseball

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Kash Beauchamp goes off on the ump while the stadium PA bumps the greatest wrestling entrance music ever. If only they’d seen him coming earlier, they could have had the shattering glass before he stepped on the field. This whole argument looked like an homage to Stone Cold Steve Austin with the head bobbing, excessive profanity, and shaven head. All that was missing was the Zamboni and Vince McMahon.

Meltdown Timeline

:02-FUCK!
:03-Glass shatters
:06-Obligatory dirt kick
:07-Seamless transition to the shoe removal and subsequent spike
:10-I smell
:16-One second, I can’t talk with this dip in
:32-For good measure
:35-A graceful departure

Though Beauchamp definitely made an idiot of himself in this clip, it is highly unlikley that anyone will ever top this man… Sorry for the youtube overload.

Pat Burrell gets snubbed twice

Posted July 11, 2008 by Phil (ugueth urbina is burning)
Categories: Philadelphia Phillies

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I know, I sound like a weird Pat Burrell fanboy, even though I’m really not. I’m not a Phillies fan, I swear. But the guy is having the best season of his career by far (he has a 155 OPS+ plus so far, only rivalling his 2002 season where he had a 146 OPS+), and much better than Corey Hart, and although I like Hart, although the fans were wrong. David Wright, a final vote guy, and replacing Alfonso Soriano, is having a down year by his standards, and also not as good as Burrell this year, and he gets put in by the clueless Clint Hurdle, who has been bad in making an All-Star roster (Aaron Cook? Brian Wilson? Cole Hamels should have gotten in)

One could argue that the roster could use a second defensive 3B, due to the roster only having 2 third basemen, including Aramis Ramirez, who can’t play defense at all, and I think that might be why Hurdle made the move. The players deserve some of that blame due to electing Miguel Tejada, who is nowhere near an all-star. Nevertheless, this year’s NL team is certainly a weak roster, due to Clint Hurdle, the fan vote, and the player vote and it makes me care for the All-Star Game a little bit less, like every year.

Oh ####, the Cubs just got better

Posted July 8, 2008 by Phil (ugueth urbina is burning)
Categories: Chicago Cubs, MLB Trading Deadline, Oakland Athletics

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Oakland A’s get:

P Sean Gallagher
OF Matt Murton
OF/IF Eric Patterson
C Josh Donaldson

Chi. Cubs get:
SP Rich Harden
RP Chad Gaudin

The trade definitely lessens the number of misused players in the Cubs organization, like Matt Murton, who surely will get more opportunities in Oakland, as well as Eric Patterson, especially with Oakland’s troubles with the lack of production in the outfield. To highlight the A’s outfield troubles, you have Travis Buck, hitting .160 and slumping majorly in AAA, Chris Denorfia who hasn’t really done much, also in AAA, career AAAA player in Emil Brown, a DH in Jack Cust, and three players that aren’t really power hitters in Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, and Carlos Gonzalez. Murton and Patterson won’t help the lack of power by the A’s outfield, but it will have better defense, and slightly better hitting at least… although I think Frank Thomas has been injured and Jack Cust has been at DH anyways. Patterson, although there is a chance he stays to help the outfield, would be moving to the infield, most likely second base, after not being good at all in the outfield. Patterson also can hit decently. He’d somehow replace Mark Ellis, who is great with the glove, but not so good with the bat. The bat versus the defense tradeoff is here with Patterson and Ellis. Matt Murton would be exactly the type of player Billy Beane wants, with a good combination of the bat (although he hasn’t shown it with the Cubs who keep messing and misusing him big time), and defense.

For pitching, the A’s rotation is now Blanton, Eveland, Smith, Duchscherer, and Gallagher. Gallagher will not have as many problems with fly balls in Oakland, a pitchers park, which is exacly why Joe Blanton is good with the A’s. I like the A’s getting Gallagher out of this. Gaudin has been a reliever most of the year for the A’s after starting at the beginning of the year, and Harden, 5-1 this year, has been starting after coming back from injury I think, with good results, a 2.34 ERA.

Josh Donaldson, the catcher the A’s got in the deal, was a compensentory 1st Round pick in 2007, and although he will take a while to develop, his ceiling is as a starter. He’s an interesting prospect, as he can hit, although he hasn’t been able to in A-ball yet. Note that Oakland has too many catchers though.

On the Cubs side, they get two proven players in Gaudin and Harden, and although Harden is a definite injury risk, Harden’s stuff improves the Cubs starting rotation, and it also gives the Cubs another viable backup plan for the rotation in Gaudin:

Starting Rotation when healthy

Ted Lilly (although not great this year, but pitching slightly better lately)
The suprising Ryan Dempster
Carlos Zambrano
Harden
Jason Marquis

Backup plans:
Gaudin
Rich Hill (wow, how far he has fallen)
Jon Lieber
Sean Marshall

Backup backup backup plan:

Kerry Wood

WIth the starting pitching, the Cubs get even more depth. The Cubs bullpen looks even better now with Gaudin added, especially with Carlos Marmol not as dominant as he was last year, and Bobby Howry aging quickly.

A’s Deal Harden, Gaudin for Four Cubs (Scout.com)

Ups and downs: July 8th

Posted July 8, 2008 by Mike
Categories: Fantasy Baseball

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Ups:

OF Brad Hawpe-Colorado Rockies

Hawpe just got out of a slump and homered in two straight games.  He’s the cleanup hitter in Colorado behind Matt Holliday. The Colorado 1-2-3 hitters are Willy Taveras, Clint Barmes, and Matt Holliday. Taveras doesn’t get on base enough but Barmes and Holliday so Hawpe will get RBI. The Rockies have won 6 of 8 by the way.

P CC Sabathia-Milwaukee Brewers

Sabathia’s value just increased a ton when he moved to the NL. He was pitching very well up until his departure from Cleveland and his numbers will only get better in Milwaukee. His W-L record will surely improve playing for a contender. Closer Salomon Torres will protect Sabathia’s efforts in the ninth a hell of a lot better than Cleveland’s sorry bullpen. See if you can piece together a deadline deal for Sabathia.

P Masa Kobayashi-Cleveland Indians

Now that Cleveland designated Joe Borowski for assignment, Manager Eric Wedge said Masa will get some save opportunites. He has decent numbers and the way some closers have been pitching lately (cough Todd Jones), maybe keeping an eye on Kobayashi would be wise.

Downs:

SS Edgar Renteria-Detroit Tigers

Renteria looked to be on his way up in late June when he pieced a five-game hitting streak together, but he has fallen into one of the worst slumps I have ever seen. If you haven’t cut Renteria already, you probably should. Mariners backup catcher Jamie Burke managed to get an out against Renteria to cap off his 0-7 day on Sunday. A lot of people predicted a productive season for Renteria this year in that Tigers lineup but that obviously didn’t pan out.

P Vicente Padilla-Texas Rangers

Padilla has given up 7 and 8 earned runs in his last two starts, quite the departure from first half success. Not even Texas’ explosive offense can allow Padilla to keep pitching like this. The news on Padilla lately suggest that he’s been hampered by his neck and thumb these days and may miss his next scheduled start. That might not be a bad thing for this team though.

OF Elijah Dukes-Washington Nationals

The Nationals’ season just got even worse after Elijah Dukes trashed his knee in the outfield. He is out 4-6 weeks, effecitvely ending the fantasy craze that surrounded Dukes. From June 30 to his injury, he was batting .348 wih 3 home runs with an OBP of .400. Some possible replacements in your lineup are Andre Ethier or Brad Hawpe.