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Posts Tagged ‘Evan Longoria’

It feels like it has been, well, forever. After securing a weekly Scouting the Unknown for Razzball, I am hoping to ease myself back into some sort of fantasy blog again this summer. This may become increasingly difficult as the summer progresses as my grandfather is nearing the end of his mortal time line, along with a stressful summer job that pays expensive private college tuition. Needless to say, at least a weekly post should be doable. Enough with season introduction formalities.

This year, more than last, seems to be surrounded by extraordinary amounts of prospect hype ranging from Strasburg, to Hanson, to Maybin, to Andrus, to Wieters, etc. Seriously, when did baseball become like football? The NFL draft and rookies have so much expectations placed upon them. Deemed as the next best thing, or the savior of the franchise, or worst, the next _____!

In recent years, baseball has been surprisingly blessed with Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria. They rose to the occasion and have become amazing ball players. But for every Braun or Longoria we have players like Marty Cordova (who one the Rookie of the Year in 1995) who hasn’t done anything since. Tommy Hanson and Matt Wieters are being hyped beyond sane believes. Its great that they have amazing talent, but very few times does their talent pan out in their rookie seasons. Wieters is struggling mightily so far this year, and Hanson has a so-so first start.

Why so much pessimism? It’s not because I am bitter or even vengeful. Instead, its because I see ESPN at the root of the problem trying to create buzz and “insight” while they ignore the complexities of a players rookie year. For example, look at Stephen Strasburg. He is the “next best” pitcher to every hold a baseball. USA Today recently that talked about Ben McDonald, who in ’89 was considered everrything that Strasburg is. How did his career turn out? Well he had mild success posting 78 W, 70 L, 3.91 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in a 7 year career marred by injuries.

The thing as will all rookies is you never know. You never know who they will react to the intensity of professional sports, the demand the media places upon the rookies, or if the scouts were right. There are so many variables that are often unaccounted for when talking about rookies/prospects that I want to vomit.

Enough for this rant. The following articles will provide more insight and quality. For now this is what it is.

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imagesWith spring training a little over a month away, and pitchers reporting in two weeks, the regular season is just around the corner.  Those rusty shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, hammies, groins and legs will soon enough turn into a trip to the big leagues or another season down on the farm.  Each spring promising youngsters get a shot at making the big league in exhibition games, veterans earn their respect, and players on their last legs attempt to prove that they still have the right “stuff.”

What is often over looked by the gigantic free agent signings are prospects that have been developing and maturing in the minors.  The draft, team development of players, and the Rule 5 draft are ignored because of this “WIN right now at all cost” mentality (Think of the Yankees).  Interestingly, if you look at the Philadelphia Phillies roster five (C. Ruiz, R. Howard, C. Utley, J. Rollins, P. Burrell) of their eight position starters were drafted by Philadelphia, and four (C. Hamels, K. Kendricks, B. Myers, A. Eaton), of their six (they traded for Joe Blanton) starters were also drafted by the Phillies.

Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell, and Hamels were the core of that 2008 World Championship team.  That is building from within.  The [Devil] Rays, contrary to popular belief, were not as built from within (though trading their prospect helped them receive key parts [i.e. Delmon Young for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett]).  Only four of their starting eight was drafted by the Rays (E. Longoria, BJ Upton, C. Crawford, J. Gomes), and two of their five main starters (J. Shields and A. Sonnanstine) were drafted by the Rays.  Now this isn’t awful, but just not as many as the Phillies.
*Just for comparison sakes, the Yankees did have 8 players on their everyday roster that they drafted.

Though, the draft is not an exact science (only 16 of the 43 top pick in the draft have been all stars, two have never play a game in the big leagues, and only two have been Rookie of the Year), building a team through the draft is essential to having a winning team.  Trading picks away for the present only creates problems for the future.  Building from within has always proven to lead to great results.

The most interesting thing to notice about the two World Series teams is their mlb_vwt3_swpayroll ($43,820,598 [Rays] to $98,269,881 [Phillies]).  That is more than double.  Granted, the Phillies spent heavy in the off-season and trades, while the Rays decided that they would be a bit more frugal.  The huge signings by the Yankees may look like brilliant ideas today, but does not guarantee a playoff birth, let alone a winning record (the top three payrolls did not even make the playoffs).

Obviously, drafting doesn’t equate a title run, or a title.  Nevertheless, the Rays and Phillies made to WS without a $100 million cap, and the Brewers made the playoffs within that same category.  The free spending owners, and the high rolling sports agents may be rich, but as they say “A ring is more important than all the records in the world!”

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Is anything more boring than watching the Home Run Derby, especially with Chris Berman, Joe Morgan, and Steve Phillips as the announcers? I think I rather watch a Giants-Padres game at Pecto would be more legit than this contest. If it sounds like I’m a bit harsh on an event that was created for the MLB to acquire more money, well rightfully am. Two hours to watch the first round, and praise the Lord (PTL) that Josh Hamilton finished with a record 28 1st round homers. Not that Bobby Abreu’s second half numbers in 2005 reflected any power, but hey he did have the record for a few years. Lets hope that Josh’s spectacular season isn’t tarnished by a repeat of Abreu’s season.

After those two hours, I decided that I had seen enough, knowing that I had better things to do on a day when I woke up at 5:45 AM, like shower, post and sleep. Not that I care about who wins. Serious, its only there for awful, over hyped announcers to rant all nigh. How many times can a Chris Berman’s “Back… Back…. GONE!!!” can one hear in one night? I was going insane by the middle of Hamilton’s amazing feat, not by Chris but by Joe Morgan because with 8 outs Josh Hamilton was just crushing the ball (he hit a lot out with 8 outs, not sure the number but don’t really care to find out), but Joe kept saying, “I wish he’d hit an out so all the homers he gets will be on the money ball.” Or something along those lines. Kid you not he said that about 10 times, and then when Josh does get to that ball first contact he made was an out. Ironic no, satisfying to hear Morgan shut-up, yes.

Enough with my rant, I have to end it here because, well I didn’t watch anymore of the contest, and don’t care to know who one.

PS for those want to know, Justin Morneau over Hamilton. Looks like someone wore themselves out.

Other contestants: Ryan Braun, Chase Utley, Dan Uggla, Evan Longoria, Lance Berkman, Grady Sizemore.

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Due to travels, and other various unplanned events, here is my delayed report on some ‘spects.

Chris Davis- At the time of deciding, before time ran away, he was my desire to write this. By now we all know what he does: mashes like the bash brothers, and strikes out like Adam Dunn. Oh, and that is probably who he’ll end up like. Here is an excellent detailed scouting on him if you’d like.

So instead of focusing on Davis, I found another player I would like to catch up on.

Steven Pearce- was drafted in the 10th round out of the University of South Carolina in 2004 by the Red Sox, but in 2005 he was drafted in the 8th round by the Pirates. Right now he is a 25 year old outfielder who, like Bruce, went from High Class A ball to Triple-A ball last year earning him Topps Minor League Player of the Year, and MiLB.com‘s player of the Year as well. While showing power, patience, and promise Pearce was given an invite to Spring Training. Before and even during spring training this Pirate was touted as a possible RoY candidate. Mentioned along with Colby Rasmus, Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, etc. He struggled a bit during the last few weeks of Spring Training and the Pirates sent him down to Triple-A to start the season.

It was expected that he would just continue to keep raking and would be shortly called up along with Longoria, and like Braun last year. Except Nate McLouth broke out (like he was destined to do), Xavier Nady kept his career trend to start hot up, and Jason Bay actually showed up this year, while Pearce started the season colder than Scrooges’ heart. Those players, and his fellow teammate Nyjer Morgan was hot while he was cold delayed his eminent recall (in 2007 in 68 AB he went .294/.342/.397). His number this year in Triple-A looks poor due to an awful April. But since then all his peripherals have improved with each month.

Just last week he was given a call-up on July 2nd, only to be sent back down on July 8th. Not much of a chance for him to show the League what he can do. In 1561 minor league at-bats he hit .295/.364/.530 with 75 homers and 131 doubles. Each level he rose in 2007 his ave/obp/slg fell, but all stayed relatively high. With the trade deadline looming and the Pirates destined to be sellers, look for Bay and/or Nady to be traded to let Pearce and Morgan get an extend look at what they can provide.

I could see Pearce coming up in August to stay have something similar to:

200 AB .285/.365/.425 or 25 R, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 3 SB

It’s nothing to write home about but if he can finish the season strong up in the Majors we could see him being a starter by next spring.

Denard Span- Since 2005 he was touted as the heir apparent to center-field when Torii Hunter either retired, signed else where, or was traded. Now that Torii Hunter signed a 5 year $90 million contract, and Johan Santana’s trade brought in Carlos Gomez, Span was put on the back burner. At age 24, this lefty has finally been given his first real shot in the major (spring training tryouts count at heart) after 6 years in the minors now that Michael Cuddyer is hurt and on the DL. He has been given a chance to play right field on an everyday bases and has provided excellent coverage until Cuddyer returns. Right now (as of 6-11-2008 ) he’s .359/.468/.469 in 64 at bats while provide above average defense.

It is amazing how the Twins can continuously lose their star players and replace them from within their farm system. Matter of fact, they have several that are on their way up that I will look at in the off-season. Looking at his minor league career totals, and this years numbers he is due for a drastic fall to earth. He is a career .287/.355/.358 hitter. Most young hitters it takes time for them to develop good plate discipline, but Denard has shown excellent bat control with a BB:K ratio of 210-356 in 2095 at-bats. However, he never showed any sort of power, not even gap power. In all those at bats he only had 67 two baggers, and 10 home runs. A nice sign thouse is that 47 of those doubles and 8 of those homers came in the last 3 years; 31 doubles and 6 homers in Triple A. It is nice to see that the power is developing, but at age 24 he wont develop much more power.

What value does he have then if he cannot hit for anything resembling power? Good question. He did steal 116 bases, but only at a 66% clip. Surprisingly his success rate fell each level he went up. Not a great sign because it shows that he either is consistent at getting poor reads, or he didn’t learn to pick up the pitcher better (aka same thing). Fantasy wise he is a poor option, but resembles a Juan Pierre or Willy Taveras with the speed of say Torii Hunter on the base paths. His defense is fairly decent (range is above average due to his speed, and arm is average at best), but with Speedy Gonzalez covering center field known as Carlos Gomez, he (Denard) will be resorted to playing a corner outfield spot. However, he cannot hit at what a corner outfielder should. I don’t expect the Twins to keep him much longer, but I could see him developing into reliable 4th outfielder.

*I am on family vacation next week, leaving on Saturday, so the next report might be delayed, or canceled.

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Feather, cotton, memory foam, and even rocks on those camping trips have served as pillows, yet it takes a truly talented person to hurt themselves doing everyday tasks (like John Smoltz ironing his t-shirt while it was still on, to Marty Cordova sunburning himself to the 15-day DL, to a sneeze- God bless you Sammy Sosa). After today we have a new champion to receive the Klutz King title: Brandon Inge. He reportedly told the Free Press that “I have a 3-year-old son who sleeps in the bed with my wife and me,” Inge said. “I was trying to push the pillow down behind his head (two nights ago), and when I did … I repopped (the strained muscle). “You take swings in baseball, and it’s not as bad as pushing a pillow down.” Well I never knew it was so hard to readjust a pillow, maybe if it was a jock strap, which he has more practice moving around, he wouldn’t have hurt himself. And when did swinging a 32 ounce bat become harder than pushing a maliable , soft, couchy pillow? Man up (I guess he did by disclosing such a ridiculous injury excuse), and claim your new title while you push aside Sammy, Marty, and John as you are the new King in town.

Carlos Delgado- Massive day saw him hitting a grand slam, a 3-run homer, and a 2-run RBI. For a player that is in the twilight of his career todays numbers give him some respectable season totals with 13 home runs, and 43 RBIs. He is still a poor option to be playing everyday for most fantasy teams, but if you had him in today, props to you.

Curtis Granderson- He continued his hot hitting moving his streak up to 14 games. Back-to-back 4/5 games and his last three games he is 10/14. During this 14 game hitting streak he has moved his average .054 points. Now batting .294 on the season, and finally attempting to steal (though caught two nights ago, but got a steal last night), and the best part is that he had 2 triples tonight doubling his total this year. He isn’t just hot, he is sizzling tobasco hot.

Seth McClung- A bad outing against surging Twinkies. Not surprising as many NL starters are getting rocked against AL lineups when the AL is home. That and it was Minnesota’s second time seeing him in the last two weeks. After posting four straight quality starts in a row, he was due for a poor outing. Look for a better start early next week against the Diamondbacks when he pitched 6 innings of one run ball back in early June.

Jair Jurrjens- 8 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 3. It was probably his best outing of the season. The Blue Jays on the other hand are an awful hitting team, so this might just be a blimp of his possibilities in the future. of great month. He is young with a lot of potential and will have a typical rookie roller coaster season.

Chase Utley- Still in a pretty big slump despite his recent 4/5 game on Tuesday. I was reading a wonderful report on him that was really impressive on my news link.

Prince Fielder- Another oh fer night against the Twinkies has brought his hitless streak to a season high of four games. In that span he is 0/17 dropping his average from .292 to .274. Granted this streak has coincided with a road trip as his home average is .313 compared to .250 on the road, just an observation.

Chris Davis (TEX)- He strikes out like Howard, and like Jay Bruce is doing and did in the minors. He has some pop, but only with marginal power (aka mid 20’s in a full season). Pickup at your own risk.

Brian Buscher- Finally putting it all together after struggling last year. With this last call-up he is 18/44 with 10/1/15 with a .375 batting average. He is a very timely hitter for the twins, and his call-up has coincided with the Twins winning streak (now up to 10 games). Tomorrow I will give a player break down on him. This waiver wire fodder is better than the air conditioner above.

CC Sabathia- Pitched 8 innings of shutout ball, while striking out 11 Reds while allowing only four hits. I think his funk in officially over. His last 10 outings have produced 8 quality starts, and all of them he has pitched at least 7 innings.

Edinson Volquez- I don’t know how I missed it yesterday, but he had his worst game of the season by far. Has Dusty Baker been riding our young starlet? If he has another poor start in his next outing it could make the dog days of summer even longer in Cincinnati, and for all you Volquez owners out there.

Clayton Kershaw- This year Lincecum? Um, more like over-hyped, and not totally prepared for the big leagues. Still young enough to adjust (DUH!), but probably not this year.

Nick Swisher- A grand slam, a double and two runs, a pretty nice night for a struggling Swisher. On pace for typical year (minus his career year in 2006). Just have to keep expectations lower than his 2006 numbers.

Kei Igawa- The Yanks are going to try and use him as their long reliever after the sent Ross Ohlendorf who got rocked today. Kei is definitely not the key to fit into this broken bullpen.

Carlos Pena- Can anyone say Brady Anderson (career stats here). Striking out at a 34% rate this year and a 30% rate for his career. He whiffs just as much as Ryan Howard, but Howard’s free air conditioning has proven to hit home runs. With a career average at .250 don’t expect more than 15 more homers all year.

Evan Longoria- I tell you to trade him and he goes out and hits his a three-run bomb for his 15th homer of the season. With a 4/5 day he has raised his average up from .248 to .272 during his five game hit streak. With a line of 41/15/46 he just might be this years Pence-Braun tweener (aka not as good as Braun, but better than Pence)

Jacob McGee- Keeping along the Tampa Bay Rays news, he will undergo Tommy Johns Surgery. This should just be a small set back as he is often given the title of the best minor league pitcher on his way to the majors. Now, we just have to wait a bit longer to see him in the majors, and maybe this will make some fantasy owners forget about him and he could fall through the holes in the near future.

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Shawn Chacon was put on waivers Thursday by the Houston Astros, a day after he got into a physical altercation with general manager Ed Wade.” (AP)

What a way to go out, if you are putting up his impressive numbers and feel entitled, go for it. While you are at it jump in the lions den carrying some deer meat, just don’t trip and break your collar bone. That would be like any employee going up to your CEO and in midst of your conversation you decide to ‘chest bump’ him/her, and then continue to badger and eventually have a ‘disagreement’. The Labor Union will of course get involved because the Astros are reportedly going to release him straight up if he clears waivers (which he probably will, I mean seriously who wants that, that or that), and if that happens there is about $2 million in salary that is going to have to be paid for by the Astros.

While Shawn was reverting back to puberty, here is what the rest of the league did:

Rich Harden- 95 pitches of pure brilliance in sheer domination of an impressive Philly’s lineup. 11 strike outs a walk, and 2 hits in eight innings of work sure brings tears to Richie’s faithful. 5-0 this year with 67 innings pitched almost equals all the work he has gotten the last two years combined (72.6). Barring another injury, we might have the comeback player of the year. I doubt it because him not getting hurt would be like Amy Winehouse not smoking crack, or Jose Canseco writing another steroids book. There’s no time like the present to sell for the future.

Matt Garza- Yet another brilliant and dominating performance today. To say that pitched excellent is not giving him enough props. He took a no-hitter into the seven and then gave up his only hit of the game, a solo shot by Ham-Ram. He gutted, filleted, and grilled up these fish for a impressive win, while striking out 10. (Being a Twins fan, I wonder if Delmon Young will last longer than Garza, but Garza is showing why he is so highly touted. Being two years Delmon’s senior, we wont know who got the better end in this trade, but with the way the Twins trade their players, and how well they know pitching I will assume that Minnesota got winning side.) Thats besides the point, Garza is a promising young pitcher, and I would grab him and ride him for the rest of the year.

*p.s. I wrote about Harden and Garza before MLB wrote theirs

Chicago Cubs- Lost their mid week series against the Orioles… at home nonetheless. Not that I care much because I hate bandwagon jumpers and hoppers more than anyone else does, but it is refreshing to see such ignorant fans cheer on their ‘cubbies’ but only know who one or two players are. Or worst yet, they only know what field the Cubs play their home games *you know who you are, and yes I do hold some grudges against people I know that are like this *cough cough!

Wandy Rodriguez- Continuing his impressive home/road splits, he k’d nine Rangers in eight innings, allowing only 5 hits and a rbi single by Ian Kinsler in the top of the eighth. That pushed his home record to 2-2, with 35k’s in 38 innings, 1.89 ERA, and a .94 WHIP. His away line is gross with a respectable ERA of 3.58, but a WHIP of 1.50. The biggest notable difference on his peripherals is his batting average allowed .204 (before tonights game)/.276 (home/away). By now we should all know to bench him on his away games and start him at home. For home is where his heart obviously is.

Ian Snell- Went on the DL retroactive to the 23rd of June. I promised you that this would happen, but now that we know it is the elbow we can only hope that he recovers well and pitches like he did last year in the second half (the reason many of us drafted him). I get really worried with pitchers have any type of elbow injury, so going forth I would advise using caution when thinking about Ian Snell from now on this year.

Chase Headley- After starting his big league career with a seven game hit streak, he is only 2 for his last 16 (stats up to date in the top of the ninth in todays game 6/26/2008). He has been dropped quite a bit in many Yahoo fantasy leagues. Rookie slumps are expected, just like taxes and death, ride it out if you like, but if your WW fodder is fertile swap your crop.

Joba Chamberlain- In his first really dominating start he struck out seven, walked only one, and allowed no runs on six hits in 6 2/3. Granted this was done against the recently struggling Pirates (4-6 in their last 10), and he was allowed to pitch 114 pitches. He consistently has been given more and more pitches, but there needs to be a cut off point (though I don’t think pitch counts should have a definite cut of point, but with a young arm it needs to be watched more closely than older veterans). He started the 7th off with a ground out and a strike out, but then back to back hits by Jack Wilson and Doug Mientkiewicz (that is worse that typing Saltalamacchia name). The most impressive thing to note is that this is his first time walking only one batter and being in line for the win (he did it one other time but only pitched 4 1/3 innings).

Evan Longoria- In his last ten games he has been HOT HOT HOT. With 7/4/11 and a .308 average to boot. Just a hot streak, but should be cooling off soon. Try and pawn him off as he has put together some good numbers of late.

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