Posted on: March 8, 2010 2:37 pm

Preseason Power Rankings


1.  Yankees

The best got better this off season, upgrading CF with the acquisition of Curtis Granderson and adding another solid pitcher to their rotation with Javier Vasquez.  The World Series is theirs to lose.


2.  Angels

The Angels have quietly been one of the best teams in all of baseball in recent years and this year should be no different with their core players returning along with new additions Joel Pineiro and Hideki Matsui.


3.  Phillies

The NL champs return largely in tact with a new ace Roy Halladay at the top of their rotation.  They should be one of the best offensive teams in 2010.


4.  Red Sox

The Red Sox upgrade at SS with Marco Scutaro and strengthen their rotation with John Lackey.  They are doing their best to keep up with the Yankees but it may not be enough.


5.  Dodgers

The Dodgers retained all of their arbitration eligible players keeping together a group of emerging stars that has gelled well since the 2007 season.  If Manny Ramirez can find his 2008 form the Dodgers should contend for the NL pennant.


6.  Cardinals

The Red Birds resigned the top free agent position player Matt Holliday, keeping protection in the lineup for Albert Pujols. 


7.  Mets

The Mets were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball last year, however with key players returning from injury and off season additions Jason Bay and Kelvim Escobar the Mets look like they should be back in good form. 


8. Rockies

The Rockies have been the little team that could over the past few seasons.  They have done more with less than most other teams.  They have one baseball’s best short stops in Troy Tulowitzki and a very consistent pitching staff.



9. Mariners

The Mariners enter the 2010 season with arguably the best pitching 1-2 punch in all of baseball with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, and off season free agent acquisition Chone Figgins, along with the incomparable Ichiro gives them a very speedy top of the lineup.  The Mariners could surprise a lot of people this season.


10. Rays

While the Rays feature some of the league’s best young talent with players such as Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, and Jason Bartlett, they will need their pitching to be stronger this season if they hope to compete.


11.  Twins

The Twins have one of the top three players in the game at a position that is the thinnest of any in the game.  They have five other batters that will hit above .280 and the amount of left handers in their lineup will give most team fits.  But none of that will matter if the pitching rotation cannot hold up their end of the bargain. 


12.  Braves

The Braves will again be relying on their pitchers to keep them competitive, as they don’t quite have the bats that their fellow NL East teams have.  Like the Rockies, the Braves don’t have a lot of household names in their rotation but they produce consistent outings and give the team a chance to win.


13.  Giants

Another team with a very strong 1-2 punch in their rotation, the 2009 wild card runner up has improved offensively with 1B Aubrey Huff and OF Mark DeRosa.


14.  Tigers

The Yankees got Curtis Granderson and the Tigers ended up spending $13 million on Johnny Damon for the last leg of his career.  That’s why the Yankees are the Yankees and the Tigers are the Tigers.


15.  White Sox

The South Siders lost a little power by letting Jermaine Dye go, but Juan Pierre should be a suitable replacement.  If Jake Peavy can stay healthy they should contend for the AL Central.


16. Rangers

A young team with a lot of talent the Rangers could find themselves contending for the AL West.


17.  Cubs

The Cubs suffered from a lot of injuries and underwhelming performances from key players.  With Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano healthy again the Cubs have reason for optimism.  But then again, Cubs fans are optimistic every year.


18.  Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks will need Brandon Webb to resemble his old self if they are to compete, but a few off season moves should help their offense.


19.  Marlins

The Marlins are unimpressive on paper, outside of a few players, but the perennial team of prospects always seems to keep themselves in the playoff hunt deep into the season even with one of baseball’s lowest payroll. 


20.  Brewers

The Brewers lost Ben Sheets but added a few reliable leftys with Doug Davis and Randy Wolf. Combined with the offensive upside of a lot of their young players the Brew Crew has the potential to make a run in 2010.


21.  Reds

The Reds probably won’t be winning the World Series this year, but with young players like Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Johnny Cueto they should at least be fun to watch.


22. Indians

Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo will be the highlights on this team with low expectations.


23.  Blue Jays

The Blue Jays enter the 2010 season with Shaun Marcum as their ace, a far cry from Roy Halladay, who at least gave them a chance every fifth day.  The Jays are nothing more than a sparring partner for the Yankees and Red Sox.


24.  Orioles

Miguel Tejada will be one of the few veterans on a team that features youngsters Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.  The Orioles should finish considerably better than the 64 wins they had in 2009.


25. A’s

The bright side for A’s fans is there are not a lot of players left that Billy Beane can trade away.  On the other hand, Rajai Davis better hope that he’s renting.


26. Astros

The Astros will need Roy Oswalt to pitch like he used to if they hope to compete.


27.  Padres

Look for Adrian Gonzalez to be wearing a Red Sox uniform by August.


28.  Nationals

This probably won’t be the year that the Nationals climb out of the NL East basement, and unfortunately like the AL East there are a few teams in the division that can spend far beyond the Nationals’ means, but with Ryan Zimmerman developing into one of the better third baseman in the game, Stephen Strasburg in the pipeline, and a few reliable veterans on the team don’t be surprised if the Nats make a run in the not too distant future.


29.  Royals

The Royals have Zack Greinke and uh...and uh…and uh…another long season ahead of them.


30.  Pirates

The Pirates have been one of the worst teams in baseball for nearly two decades.  They have not had a winning season in 17 years, the longest losing season streak of any team in the four major sports.  They have finished last in their division 10 times.  They trade away any and all of their top players and prospects at every trading deadline.  This year should be more of the same.  But Pittsburgh has won two Super Bowls and a Stanley Cup within the last five years so I guess there has to be some cosmic balance.

Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2010 12:40 pm

Diamondbacks By Comparison

Sure it's only January, but with the Cardinals season over and the date for players to start reporting to spring training only a month away I figured it was time to dust off the old blog and assess where the Diamondbacks might see themselves this season.

The Diamondbacks were the talk of baseball during the winter meetings when they traded Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth in a three team deal receiving Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy in return.  Many people felt they gave up too early on a couple young pitchers with very high potential, Max Scherzer in particular.

In reality they acquired two starters for one, including a very solid third man in the rotation with Jackson, who is probably ahead of Max Scherzer in terms of development and his ability to go deeper into games.  Edwin Jackson averaged better than 6.1 innings per start, Scherzer averaged about 5.2 innings per start. The Diamondbacks also received a high end prospect in Ian Kennedy to hopefully fill the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation.  Kennedy has had success in the minors but has experienced set backs in his major league progression due to injury.

In the following weeks they picked up 2B Kelly Johnson coming off a bad year for a bargain price and a solid, veteran, true 1B Adam LaRoche.  Certainly neither player has the flash or name recognition of a Jason Bay but they do solidify a lineup that was too reliant on utility players and rookies last year.  With the hopeful return to form from Conor Jackson and Brandon Webb the Diamondbacks are looking like they could be a respectable team next season…if things work out as planned.

To get a gauge on how the Diamondbacks stack up their starting position players and top three starters are compared to the NL champion Phillies, and NL West winning Dodgers.  Below are the players for each team ranked in terms of their 2009 season performance.  In some cases a few players had seasons that were far below what they had done in previous seasons so their career numbers were used rather than 2009 numbers.

1B Ryan Howard .279 45 HR 8 SB .360 OBP .571 SLG
1B Adam LaRoche .277 25 HR 2 SB .355 OBP .488 SLG
1B James Loney .281 13 HR 7 SB .357 OBP .399 SLG

At first base Ryan Howard clearly has the edge with his power, but Adam LaRoche is certainly comparable in batting average and has more power than James Loney.

2B Chase Utley .282 31 HR 23 SB .397 OBP .508 SLG
2B Kelly Johnson (career) .264 .346 OBP .460 SLG
2B Blake DeWitt (career) .257 11 HR 3 SB .333 OBP .384 SLG

Again at 2B the Phillies have the obvious better player, but Kelly Johnson’s .264 career batting average beats out Blake DeWitt and Johnson had a very respectable .281 average in 2008 prior to his injury hampered 2009 campaign.

3B Mark Reynolds .260 44 HR 24 SB .349 OBP .543 SLG
3B Placido Polanco .285 10 HR 7 SB .331 OBP .396 SLG
3B Casey Blake .280 18 HR 3 SB .363 OBP .468 SLG

The Diamondbacks have the advantage a 3B with Mark Reynolds emerging as one of the league’s young power hitters. In addition to his power he also has more speed than the other two.

SS Jimmy Rollins .250 21 HR 31 SB .296 OBP .423 SLG
SS Rafael Furcal .269 9 HR 12 SB .335 OBP .375 SLG
SS Stephen Drew .261 12 HR 5 SB .320 OBP .428 SLG

If Jimmy Rollins returns to his previous self then the Phillies will have the absolute advantage here too, and even if he doesn’t they still might due to Rollins’ home run and stolen base numbers, however his average and OBP definitely level the playing field some.

LF Manny Ramirez .290 19 HR 0 SB .418 OBP .531 SLG
LF Raul Ibanez .272 34 HR 4 SB .347 OBP .552 SLG
LF Conor Jackson (career) .281 12 HR 10 SB .361 OBP .431 SLG

Always a respectable player, Raul Ibanez catapulted himself to one of the leagues elite sluggers in the first half of the 2009 season.  However, after hitting 22 home runs prior to the All Star break he hit only 12 after the All Star break.  He’s 38 years old and prior to last season he had hit 30 or more home runs only once in his 13 year career.

You also have to wonder if Manny’s age and prior supplement usage are catching up with him, as he too saw a significant drop in is second half numbers, batting .355 pre All Star and .255 post All Star.  But this is about what the player did last season rather than speculation on what will happen this season, so with that in mind Manny and Ibanez have the advantage over Conor Jackson.

CF Matt Kemp .297 26 HR 34 SB .352 OBP .490 SLG
CF Shane Victorino .292 10 HR 25 SB .358 OBP .445 SLG
CF Gerado Parra .290 5 HR .324 OBP .404 SLG

This is the one position that the Dodgers have the clear advantage.  Matt Kemp has the potential to be one of the best players in the league and has a great combination of strength and speed. 

RF Justin Upton .300 26 HR 20 SB .366 OBP .532 SLG
RF Jason Werth .268 36 HR 20 SB .373 OBP .506 SLG
RF Andre Ethier .272 31 HR 6 SB .361 OBP .508 SLG

All three of these players would be welcomed on any team but Justin Upton beats out Werth and Ethier with a considerably higher average and SLG %. 

C Miguel Montero .294 16 HR 5 SB .355 OBP .478 SLG
C Carlos Ruiz .255 9 HR 3 SB .355 OBP .425 SLG
C Russell Martin .250 7 HR 11 SB .352 OBP .329 SLG

Miguel Montero leads the catchers group with a much better average, home run total, and SLG %.  His numbers not only beat Ruiz and Martin, but are also better than most catchers in MLB.

1P Roy Halladay 17 W 2.79 ERA
1P Dan Haren 14 W 3.14 ERA
1P Chad Billingsley 12 W 4.03 ERA

2P Brandon Webb (career) 3.27 ERA
2P Cole Hamels 10 W 4.32 ERA
2P Clayton Kershaw 8 W 2.79

3P Edwin Jackson 13 W 3.62 ERA
3P Hiroki Kuroda 8 W 3.76
3P Joe Blanton 12 W 4.05 ERA

The Phillies got the jewel of the off season with the acquisition of Roy Halladay, one of baseball’s best arms, but their second and third pitchers are a significant drop off.  The Dodgers pitchers are more level than the Phillies but the Diamondbacks are the only team with all of their top pitchers under a 4.00 ERA and the top two under 3.50 ERA.

When looking at the above figures, it is apparent that the Phillies have the best players, and they should considering that they have the sixth highest payroll of any MLB team and the third highest payroll of all NL teams, nearly $40 million higher than the Diamondbacks.  But the Diamondbacks have the best player at two of the eight positions and have the strongest front end pitching rotation. 

Want further proof that the Diamondbacks are ready to compete?  When the numbers of the players above are averaged the Diamondbacks have the highest batting average and only rank last in OBP.  There is definitely reason to believe that this year will be better than 2009 if for no other reason than it would be hard to be worse.

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 19, 2009 1:28 pm

Jamie Moyer Lights Out

The Diamondbacks were again dominated by a 46 year old pitcher who tops out in the low eighties. In 2009 Jamie Moyer has a 0.00 ERA, 2 wins in two games, and a total of 8 hits and 10 strike outs in the 12.2 innings he’s pitched against the Diamondbacks.  This utter and complete domination is juxtaposed to his 5.22 ERA against the rest of the league.  He pitched one game against the Diamondbacks in 2008, 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, and no walks.  With his complete and utter domination of the Dbacks the past two years it was no surprise that Moyer was called upon in the fourth inning to relieve Pedro Martinez. 

If not for a lead off homerun by Stephen Drew the Dbacks would have been shutout and managed only 3 hits.  Not that 1 run and 4 hits are much better.  This was the team’s third disappointing game in as many days, who also featured lackluster performances in their games against the Dodgers, Sunday, and Braves, Monday.  The post game press conference again showed a subdued AJ Hinch reclining in his chair casually dismissing the team’s poor play.

Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised though.  Sunday’s loss against the Dodgers happened after they had won the first two games of the series.  For the past two years the Diamondbacks have consistently mailed in the third game of a series after winning the first two.  Monday’s game was a makeup game that took them across the country for a day game less than 24 hours after they finished their previous one.  Last nights game was picked up after an hour rain delay, and traditionally the Dbacks lose almost every game after a rain delay.  Or it could be the team is just wearing down, they’ve only had one day off since July 31. 

What ever it is, they’ll need to get over it.  Their remaining schedule doesn’t get any easier and includes multiple series against the Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies, all teams that will surely be making a post season push in the coming weeks.

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 3, 2009 11:09 am

The Real Moneyball

The trade deadline has passed, effectively ending the hopes of many teams for another year as they come to the realization that they are better off dumping their players than trying to compete.  The Pirates, as usual, traded anyone of any value.  The Orioles, Indians, and A’s were also again on the seller’s side of the ledger.  The rich continued to get richer, with the Dodgers acquiring George Sherill, the Phillies dealing for Cliff Lee, and the White Sox getting Jake Peavy.

It is obviously frustrating for fans of teams like the Pirates, who continually give away their players year after year, but it is also frustrating for fans of teams competing with the trade deadline gluttons.  If you are a fan of a mid or small market team that is in the division race but not necessarily a buyer, and a rival team gets an impact player at the deadline, it is very deflating.  Especially when they seem to do it every year, as is the case for the Red Sox and Dodgers.

In the AL Central the Twins are only two games behind the Tigers, who just obtained Jarrod Washburn, a great addition to their rotation.  Meanwhile teams like the Rockies, Rangers, and Twins are forced to stand pat and try and wedge their way into the playoffs with what they have.  They compete every night and battle all season only to have the teams around them get a giant shot in the arm with two months to go.

It is fortuitous that baseball has the wild card though, because it does give teams in secondary markets an opportunity to make the playoffs.  Right now there are no division leaders that are in mid or small markets, and no division leaders with a payroll below $100 million.  In 2008 there was only one smaller market team that won their division, the Tampa Rays; the other division winners were representing Chicago, Philadelphia, and LA. 

In addition to every division being led by a $100 million team, there is only one $100 million dollar that is even under .500, the Mets.  The $100 million dollar teams include the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Tigers, Mariners, Angels, Phillies, Astros, White Sox, and Dodgers.  The statement the rich got richer definitely rings true, as six of those teams made major acquisitions

If you don’t think that money equates to winning consider this.  Four of the past five World Series have been won by teams in the $100 million club.  It doesn’t mean that the team who has the highest payroll always wins, but it does mean that to win you do have to pay.

Posted on: July 15, 2009 11:31 am

25 Reasons Baseball is Better than Football

1. Baseball players who are not on the field are in the dugout leaving the fans with a view of the game.  Football players who are not on the field are standing on the sidelines leaving the fans with a view of their backsides.
2. Baseball on the radio is far more enjoyable than football on the radio. 
3. Baseball has a statistic to analyze every aspect of the game and determine the effectiveness of the players. 
4. Baseball players are required to play offense and defense.
5. Baseball parks are characters; football stadiums are clones.
6. There are only two ballparks that use artificial turf, next year there will be one, and none in the United States. 
7. Baseball requires the leading team to give the opposition a chance to comeback.  Football allows the team to sit on the ball and run the clock out.
8. The baseball season is broken into mostly three game series.  It’s like having a micro playoff series twice a week.
9. Baseball’s playoffs are decided by a series, ensuring the better team will always prevail. 
10. Baseball is built on accuracy; if a pitch is off by the slightest amount it can cost a team the game.  Football is built on force.
11. Baseball is a game of anticipation; football is a game of instant gratification. 
12. Vin Scully.  Anybody in football come close?
13. The baseball season has two distinct acts and a short intermission in between the two.  The football season just runs together.  
14. Baseball still uses wood bats. 
15. The oldest football stadium is 52 years old.  The oldest ballpark is 97 years old.
16. Baseball has a two seam fastball, four seam fastball, splitter, changeup, curveball, slider, sinker, and knuckleball; Football has a spiral. 
17. Baseball requires runners to be within a six foot base path.  Football requires them to be within 160 feet between the sidelines.
18. Football has TV timeouts.
19. You get to keep score in baseball.
20. A baseball game can be infinite.  A football game is limited to 60 minutes.
21. In baseball once a player goes out of the game they don’t get to come back in.
22. Baseball has Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  There is no song dedicated to football.
23. When a player signs a five year contract in baseball, they do not come back the next year and demand a new contract threatening that they will hold out of spring training.
24. Baseball’s records can be retrieved from memory; football’s records need to be retrieved from an almanac.  
25.  People actually watch baseball’s All Star game.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com