December 10, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Blog Critics has the most reasoned anti-James response I've read—by "anti-James," I mean a response that disagrees with James' recent article about steroids and the Hall of Fame. This well-written riposte is a stark contrast to the mad spewing we've seen from some in the mainstream media.
There is no easy answer to this dilemma, which is why the dialogue will seemingly never end. At the least, we should expect our commentators to be coherent, logical and consistent. Both James and Blog Critics passed the test from all angles.
George Sherrill, for two prospects: 3B Josh Bell and RHP Steve Johnson.
The Dodgers' bullpen statistics notwithstanding, the team actually needed a big boost to the bullpen. Eric Milton and Jeff Weaver were and are retreads finding success in Los Angeles, but Milton is already out for the year and who knows if Weaver can stick. Joe Torre ran Ronald Belisario into the ground and Will Ohman and Hong-Chih Kuo are question marks thanks to injury-marred seasons.
32, Sherrill brings immediate quality to a bullpen that only boasted one true shutdown reliever: closer Jonathan Broxton. Sherrill came over from the Seattle Mariners in the Erik Bedard trade and posted a 4.72 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, the latter a career high and the former a career-high if you throw out his 19 inning, 5.21 ERA effort in 2005. The Dodgers figure to lean on Sherrill heavily, which may be a problem considering Sherrill's career high for innings is 53.1, set last year. Given that he was projected to finish around 66 innings this year already, Joe Torre probably can't do much more damage.
The Orioles won the deal by far, however. Yes, Sherrill is a very good left-handed reliever. However, he's already 32 and is about to get extremely expensive in his second year of arbitration. Also, did I mention his career high for innings pitched is 53.1? For that, the Dodgers gave up someone who is certain to anchor the Orioles' order in a few years and an intriguing arm.
Bell, 22, has a .296/.386/.497 line at Double-A, cranking 11 home runs. Since being drafted in the fourth round in 2005, he has done nothing but hit.
He's also done nothing but boot balls in the field, as his career .897 fielding percentage at third would suggest. Boy, that's ugly. He's at .929 this year, but that's still not even close to acceptable. That would rank second-to-last in the bigs, just ahead of Chipper Jones' current .919 fielding percentage.
Considering Melvin Mora is set to be a free agent after the year unless the team picks up his club option, the Orioles figure to give him every shot possible at sticking at third. Given Bell's only other competition at first base would be Brandon Snyder, however, and he moves to a league with a designated hitter, he has no shortage of options in front of him. I am personally very impressed with what Bell has done in his career so far. He's handle every level thrown at him offensively, and I would project him as the Orioles' starting third baseman in 2011.
Johnson, 21, just received a promotion to Double-A after posting a 3.82 ERA in 96.2 innings for High-A Inland Empire. For Chattanooga, he's posted a sterling 1.29 ERA in 10.2 innings, whiffing 15 and walking just three. It's another blue-chip arm to add to the Orioles' arsenal.
The Orioles did very well here, while the Dodgers clearly overpaid. That doesn't make the deal from the Dodgers' perspective particularly bad, though -- after all, they are in a great position to head to the World Series. After seeing their stiffest competition acquire last year's Cy Young winner, they had to do something. It's a move that smells a bit of desperation, but it's the Orioles' gain. And the Dodgers won't care one whit if they get that ring.
Amongst the flurry of trades over the past couple of days you may not have noticed that Chris Tillman, of the Batlimore Orioles, made his major league debut on Wednesday. Otherwise known as, "the guy who was in that really stupid trade that Bill Bavasi made to get Erik Bedard", Tillman was one of the best prospects in the game. In 101.1 innings in Triple A this year, he had struck out 99 batters, walked 32, and allowed just 5 homers, good for a 2.95 FIP.
In his debut, he got to face the offensively challenged Royals; however, he struggled mightily, allowing 3 homers in 4.2 innings. He also struck out 2 and walk 1. However, as a prospect, we care more about the proccess rather than the results. Let's see how his stuff looked yesterday, first organized by vertical and horizontal movement:
As you can see, his fastball has very little horizontal movement, and a lot of "rise". Given it's velocity, it should be decent pitch in the majors assuming he can locate it well enough. His changeup has similar movement to the fastball, with a little more drop and horizontal movement. It's about 15 MPH slower than the fastball, giving it a very solid speed differential. His curveball is a real yacker, with just under 10 inches of drop. As with the changeup, he throws it over 15 MPH slower than the fastball.
For a better representation, let's check out his flight paths:
You can see that the fastball and changeup have similar flight paths. Really, the changeup only starts to drop about 40 feet into the path, and it has basically the same path when look at from the top. Again, you can see the movement the curveball has a ton of movement. As Dave Allen pointed out, curveballs with this much break are generally plus pitches for major leaguers.
Overall, he looks like he has very good stuff, and that is obviously how he managed to put up a K per inning as a 21 year in Triple A this year. Now, let's take a look at how he located to see if we can get an inclination of his approach. First organized by pitch type:
Not much conclusions to be made here. He was all over the place with his stuff, and when he did throw strikes they were out over the middle of the plate. I mentioned he allowed 3 home runs, and the strike zone plot above is the reason why.
All in all, not a very good start for Tillman; however, he showed good stuff and obviously he has a lot of potential. Along with fellow prospects Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta and current major leaguers Brad Bergesen, Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehera (3.52 FIP this year before he got injured), this Orioles staff could be very good in a couple of seasons. Too bad they play in the AL East.
Jon Methven sent us this deeply analytical review of each team's trade deadline needs. We thought you might enjoy it.
Boston Red Sox: Starting pitching; right-handed bat.
Atlanta Braves: Pitching; utility infielder.
Washington Nationals: Corner outfielder; backup catcher; utility infielder who can snap people in the buttocks with towels, play grab ass, liven up the clubhouse with off-color remarks.
San Francisco Giants: Catcher; first baseman similar in stature to Danny DeVito, too short to field that position but who proves us all wrong with his perseverance and hustle, not to mention his charm, and who teaches us something about ourselves, something we’re not necessarily proud of.
Baltimore Orioles: Future prospects; unload several fun-loving, buttocks-snapping free agents as things have just gotten weird around here.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Top-notch starting pitching; mediocre starting pitching with short tempers to keep the top-notch starting pitchers in check when they get too full of themselves.
Texas Rangers: Clubhouse buttocks snapper; grab-asser; emotional friend.
Kansas City Royals: … To live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if we could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when we came to die, discover that we had not lived; some type of freaking explanation of the infield fly rule that makes sense.
Florida Marlins: Pitcher with a Rollie Fingers mustache; free pizza, strippers after wins.
Oakland Athletics: No needs; team goal for the second half: 14-15 wins, see more of the cities while on the road, just enjoy each other’s company.
New York Mets: Second baseman; pitching; hired death of the gentleman in the Rusty Wallace shirt with season tickets behind the dugout, where for all nine innings he shouts: “Meet the Mets, meet the Mets, Step right up and greet the Mets!”
Seattle Mariners: Eighth-inning set-up man; a good book; a nice glass of wine.
New York Yankees: Third baseman who knows show tunes and isn’t too goddamned proud to sing with his teammates on plane rides.
Milwaukee Brewers: Left fielder; shortstop who understands why Pynchon is a better writer than Grisham, and can explain it during rain delays.
Philadelphia Phillies: Buttocks snapper who knows when to play grab ass, when to get serious, when to walk away, when to run; relief pitching.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 10-run mercy rules; weekends off.
St. Louis Cardinals: For Pujols to stop defecating wherever the hell he feels like it – we get it, he’s a great player; even Mickey Mantle was housetrained.
Cleveland Indians: Relief pitching; just someone to listen.
Houston Astros: Starting pitching; take us for some ice cream every once in awhile, maybe a waterslide park, just spend time with us.
Los Angeles Angels: Lose 10, maybe 12 pounds as an organization; relief pitching.
Chicago Cubs: Second baseman with drinking/emotional problems who will take our minds off our own vices, throw things during interventions; pinch-runner.
Cincinnati Reds: Lower ERAs; make the playoffs; fresh batch of mistresses.
Arizona Diamondbacks: First baseman; backup catcher; third base coach who shamelessly loves the music of Sarah McLachlan. Because we do.
Colorado Rockies : Solid 3-hole hitter; relief pitching; someone to make racist jokes about the Mexicans and Asians. Heck with it – in 10 years they’ll own this game, we should get in some shots while we can.
Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Hobbs, Nuke LaLoosh, Rick Vaughn: Just some sort of storyline on which we can hang our season, something other than going out and mindlessly playing 162 games whilst making millions and sleeping with our fan base; cut payroll.
Tampa Bay Rays: Middle relief; Disney World is a couple miles away. Say we win the World Series. What are we supposed to say into the camera – we’re going down the street? Try Tijuana on for size, Middle America .
San Diego Padres: Centerfielder groomed in the arts of tickle fighting, who doesn’t find grown men engaging in clubhouse tickle wars peculiar.
Chicago White Sox: Starting pitching; a petting zoo near the dugout to unwind between innings; mixed martial arts experts, disguised as fans of whichever park we’re visiting, to beat the snot out of would-be hecklers prior to heckles.
Detroit Tigers: Starting pitcher; props, costumes and scripts to stage Shakespeare in the Bullpen for those of us tired of watching nine innings of this crap every night; future prospects.
Minnesota Twins: Minnesota babes.
Major League News for July 30
Top Minor League Performances
You can always find the most recent THT Daily at http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/content/thtdaily/
Player NewsPlayer Headlines are courtesy of Rotoworld
According to the New York Times, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
The now-infamous 2003 list of positive tests is slowly trickling out. It's not a huge surprise that Manny tested positive, but Ortiz was not mentioned in the Mitchell Report and has not been linked to performance-enhancers until now. In fact, he told reporters this winter that he felt convicted steroid users should be banned for an entire year. "So what would I do? I won't use it," Ortiz said back in February, "and I'm pretty sure that everybody is on the same page."
According to the Wilmington News Journal, "Shane Victorino was walking with a severe limp" Wednesday night.
Victorino departed Wednesday's game against the D'Backs with a bruised left knee. X-rays were negative, but he told reporters his knee was "very, very sore." The newly acquired Ben Francisco could fill in for the next few days in right field, with Jayson Werth manning center.
Albert Pujols finished 3-for-7 with a walk-off RBI single in a 3-2 win in 15 innings on Wednesday night.
From the excellent pitchers' duel to the tension-filled extras, this was easily one of the most entertaining games of the year. The Cardinals actually trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, but scraped across a run in thrilling fashion thanks to a broken-bat RBI single by Colby Rasmus. The teams would go back and forth with runs in the 11th, only to remain scoreless until Pujols' screamer over the head of Matt Kemp to end it. It was the longest game by the Cardinals since August of 2003.
Indians recalled RHP Fausto Carmona from Triple-A Buffalo.
Carmona replaces former ace Cliff Lee on the roster. Carmona was 2-6 with a 7.42 ERA and 36/41 K/BB rate in 60 2/3 innings over 12 starts for the Indians earlier this season. He was optioned to the minors on June 5. The former 19-game winner went 3-3 with a 2.72 ERA in seven starts in the minors. It hasn't been decided when he will start for Cleveland, but it's likely to be either Friday or Saturday, which would have been Lee's turn. Carmona reworked his delivery in the minors. He's worth an immediate flier in AL-only leagues, but he shouldn't be active in any format for his first start against the Tigers.
Joba Chamberlain moved to 7-2 on the year with eight shutout innings against the Rays on Wednesday night.
Chamberlain is absolutely rolling right now. He held the Rays to just three hits, walking a pair and fanning five. It was just the second time he has completed eight innings this season. Over his last three starts, he has allowed just two runs while putting up a 19/8 K/BB ratio. Pretty impressive. He'll try to keep it going against the Blue Jays next.
Alexei Ramirez left Wednesday's game against the Twins in the seventh inning with an apparent ankle injury.
Ramirez attempted a hard slide to break up a double-play possibility, but his right leg caught in the dirt and he crumpled to the turf in pain. He was able to walk off the field -- with a limp -- which is the good news. Jayson Nix shifted to shortstop and Chris Getz entered at second.
Mat Latos and two relievers combined for a one-hitter in a 7-1 win over the Reds on Wednesday night.
A real gem by Latos. The 21-year-old showcased his nasty arsenal, allowing just a solo homer to Jerry Hairston Jr. en route to his second major league win. The promising youngster struck out four and walked a batter, improving his K/BB ratio to 13/4 over his first three major league starts. He may run into an innings limit eventually, but we love him in NL-only leagues going forward. Latos faces the Braves next.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington "strongly suggested" that outfielder Lastings Milledge will join the Pirates on Friday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
He would face his former team, the Nationals. Milledge batted .167 in 24 at-bats for Washington earlier this year. Upon his recall, Milledge will deserve a look in mixed leagues for his ever-intriguing speed/power combo.
Giants acquired second baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates for RHP Tim Alderson.
Sanchez, 31, plugs a big hole at second base for San Francisco. He hit .296/.334/.442 in 382 at-bats for the Pirates this year and is a career .300/.336/.421 batter. Sanchez has a $8.1 million vesting option for 2010. He had his injured left knee examined by Giants' doctors on Wednesday, but no significant issues were found.
Yesterday’s ResultsFor the full scoop regarding yesterday's games, read "And That Happened" at Shysterball.
American League BAL 7 KC 3 (Recap and Boxscore) OAK 8 BOS 6 (Recap and Boxscore) NYA 6 TB 2 (Recap and Boxscore) MIN 3 CHA 2 (Recap and Boxscore) LAA 9 CLE 3 (Recap and Boxscore) SEA 3 TOR 2 (Recap and Boxscore) DET 13 TEX 5 (Recap and Boxscore) National League FLA 6 ATL 3 (Recap and Boxscore) CHN 12 HOU 0 (Recap and Boxscore) SD 7 CIN 1 (Recap and Boxscore) MIL 7 WAS 5 (Recap and Boxscore) STL 3 LAN 2 (Recap and Boxscore) ARI 4 PHI 0 (Recap and Boxscore) SF 1 PIT 0 (Recap and Boxscore)Check out Fangraphs' scoreboard to see all the games in action.
National League --------------- Colorado Rockies at New York Mets, 12:10 PM (R) Jason Hammel (5-5) vs. (L) Johan Santana (11-8) San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds, 12:35 PM (R) Tim Stauffer (0-2) vs. (R) Johnny Cueto (8-7) Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers, 2:05 PM (R) J.D. Martin (0-1) vs. (R) Yovani Gallardo (9-7) Houston Astros at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 PM (R) Russ Ortiz (3-5) vs. (R) Kevin Hart (2-1) Colorado Rockies at New York Mets, 7:10 PM (L) Jorge De La Rosa (8-7) vs. (L) Jonathon Niese (1-0) Atlanta Braves at Florida Marlins, 7:10 PM (R) Javier Vazquez (8-7) vs. (R) Rick VandenHurk (1-0) Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 PM (R) Hiroki Kuroda (3-5) vs. (R) Kyle Lohse (4-6) Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants, 10:15 PM (R) Rodrigo Lopez (3-0) vs. (L) Jonathan Sanchez (3-9) American League --------------- Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles, 12:35 PM (R) Luke Hochevar (6-3) vs. (R) Brad Bergesen (6-5) Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox, 1:35 PM (L) Gio Gonzalez (2-2) vs. (L) Jon Lester (9-7) Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers, 8:05 PM (L) Garrett Olson (3-4) vs. (L) Derek Holland (3-6) New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox, 8:11 PM (L) Andy Pettitte (8-6) vs. (R) Gavin Floyd (8-6)
StandingsThe graphics next to each team are called "sparklines.” They depict each team’s performance over the last month. Each "up" bar is a victory and a "down" bar is a loss. There are horizontal lines for home games and red bars represent games decided by two runs or less. "PWins" is short for Projected Wins, based on each team’s Run Differential, and is often a better measure of a team’s true strength. Other team graphs and stats can be found on our Team Page.
American League East Pwins Diff NYA 62 39 .614 0.0 58 4 BOS 58 42 .580 3.5 58 0 TB 55 47 .539 7.5 57 -2 TOR 49 53 .480 13.5 55 -6 BAL 43 57 .430 18.5 44 -1 American League Central DET 53 47 .530 0.0 53 0 MIN 52 50 .510 2.0 53 -1 CHA 51 51 .500 3.0 51 0 CLE 42 60 .412 12.0 48 -6 KC 40 60 .400 13.0 39 1 American League West LAA 60 40 .600 0.0 55 5 TEX 56 43 .566 3.5 54 2 SEA 53 48 .525 7.5 46 7 OAK 43 57 .430 17.0 46 -3 National League East Pwins Diff PHI 58 41 .586 0.0 57 1 FLA 53 48 .525 6.0 50 3 ATL 51 50 .505 8.0 53 -2 NYN 48 51 .485 10.0 46 2 WAS 32 69 .317 27.0 40 -8 National League Central STL 56 48 .538 0.0 56 0 CHN 53 46 .535 0.5 53 0 HOU 51 50 .505 3.5 46 5 MIL 50 51 .495 4.5 48 2 CIN 45 55 .450 9.0 42 3 PIT 43 58 .426 11.5 48 -5 National League West LAN 62 39 .614 0.0 60 2 SF 55 46 .545 7.0 54 1 COL 54 46 .540 7.5 55 -1 ARI 44 58 .431 18.5 48 -4 SD 40 62 .392 22.5 36 4
Top Minor League GamesThe following list, provided by First Inning, includes the top minor league batting (based on Runs Created) and pitching (based on Game Score) performances from yesterday.
ORG LVL PLAYER AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO Notes OAK AA Chris Carter...... 5 3 1 0 1 0 0 WAN AAA Elijah Dukes...... 4 3 2 0 0 0 0 MIN A Aaron Hicks....... 3 2 0 1 0 2 0 CHC A Junior Lake....... 4 3 1 1 0 0 0 3 R OAK A+ Greg Desme........ 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 CHW A+ Brent Morel....... 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 LAA A Alexia Amarista... 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 COL A Delta Cleary...... 4 2 1 0 0 1 1 COL A- Kent Matthes...... 5 2 1 1 0 0 1 BOS A- R. Westmoreland... 3 2 1 0 0 2 0 TEX AAA Justin Smoak...... 4 3 1 0 0 0 1 TEX AA Manuel Pina....... 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 ORG LVL PLAYER IP H R ER SO BB HR Notes ARI A Wade Miley........ 5 0 0 0 6 0 0 PIT A+ Jeffrey Locke..... 6 1 1 1 7 0 1 KC A Timothy Melville.. 5 4 1 1 8 2 0 CLE AAA Chuck Lofgren..... 6 5 3 3 6 2 0 TB A Nick Barnese...... 6 2 1 1 3 1 0 SF A Eric Surkamp...... 3 1 1 0 4 0 0 FLA A Brad Hand......... 5 4 1 1 6 3 0 NYY A+ Pat Venditte...... 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 TEX A Wilfredo Boscan... 6 5 0 0 2 0 0 11 GB CLE AA Zach Putnam....... 2 2 0 0 4 0 0 TEX AA Michael Kirkman... 7 7 3 3 3 0 1 OAK A+ Anthony Capra..... 6 3 2 2 5 3 1