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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/9/2008 8:45:00 PM
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I'm not sure what's more surprising, that some of the media think the recent claim that Derek Jeter is a poor fielding shortstop is untrue, or that these people find this theory new. Jeter has frequently finished worst in Major League Baseball in putouts from the position and has long been overrated thanks to timely big plays in October. Now that Carlos Guillen is off the position, Jeter might very well be the worst fielding shortstop in all of baseball.

If one could buy stock in a baseball team, I'd be all over the Tampa Bay Rays right now. The price would have to be seemingly low playing in that division, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a franchise loaded with this much pitching talent. Scott Kazmir and James Shields are elite talents right now. Matt Garza isn't far away, and David Price, Jacob McGee and Wade Davis are three of the top-10 pitching prospects in baseball. It doesn't end there, as Jeremy Hellickson and even Jeff Niemann have legitimate upside down the road as well. The organization has some pretty decent young hitters too.

In quite possibly the worst analysis I've ever read, The Dallas Morning News' Tim McMahon recently predicted Julius Jones will rush for 1,700 yards next season because he has averaged 155 rushing yards at Seattle's Qwest Field during, get this, two career games. He does realize Jones will be playing for the Seahawks and not against them, right?

Looking over the odds to win the World Series is always entertaining this time of year. Since going with the favorites is never fun (or fruitful), let's take a look at some of the longer shots who have a decent chance at going deep this season. I have no clue why the Cardinals (40/1) are favored more than the Reds (50/1), who at least have some upside in young arms. Then again, Vegas probably weighted the Dusty Baker factor heavily. I wouldn't mind throwing a couple bones on the Brewers (30/1), Braves (30/1) and/or the Dodgers (25/1).

If J.P. Riccardi could have persuaded the gullible Brian Sabean into the Alex Rios for Tim Lincecum (or Matt Cain) deal that was floated around during the offseason, I would have picked Toronto to win the AL East this season. This team has one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball even without the deal. Too bad that still leaves them as only the third best squad in its own division.

I had no idea John Henderson and I had so much in common. This is the same exact way I prepare for every RotoWire article.

Chad Billingsley might very well win a Cy Young award someday, but for this year, I think he's being drafted too highly. The stuff and the strikeout rate portend big things to come, but last year's 3.92 BB/9 IP suggests growing pains are likely in store for 2008. He's going to be a negative in WHIP, and that's going to reflect in his ERA in the short-term as well.

Johnny Cueto is one of my favorite end-game picks and has to be drafted in all but the shallowest of leagues. The debate whether Homer Bailey or Cueto will be the better long-term bet is far from decided, but short-term, Cueto is more prepared to contribute at the big league level. Of course, Dusty Baker has to agree, something pretty unlikely. Still, it's better to go with Cueto's upside than a boring veteran guaranteed playing time when you reach the later parts of your draft.

Anyone looking for a deep sleeper saves candidate should consider Taylor Tankersley. Most pundits consider Matt Lindstrom the likely replacement behind incumbent Kevin Gregg (who will probably be moved at the deadline), and there's nothing wrong with that, but Tankersley was the early favorite to close last season and was once the franchise's first round draft pick. The fact he's a lefty probably hurts his chances, but his numbers after the break last year (1.48 ERA, 12.3 K/9 IP) suggest he'll be a valuable middle reliever at worst.


I agree with you on the Rays. It is absurd how much young pitching talent they have down there. As an Orioles fan, my despair just grows deeper.

Cueto is someone I have my eye on too. My favorite pitching prospect is Clayton Kershaw. He is creating quite a buzz down in Florida right now.
Posted by bwitt at 3/9/2008 9:15:00 PM
No mention of the Wire's final episode? I thought it was a bit overboard when McNulty killed Marlo Eastern-Promises style, but what do I know?

What's the Rays' payout on a World Series win? Has to be a pretty good payout. That rotation is probably another year away at least, but the top two are up there with anyone, and they should get something out of Evan Longoria. If they sign Bonds to DH, the offense could be pretty good, too.
Posted by cliss at 3/9/2008 9:26:00 PM
I like Kershaw more than Cueto long-term, and I hope he gets a chance this year (bought him for $1 in LABR), but his command suggests he's probably not as ready as Cueto right now.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/9/2008 11:06:00 PM
I'm going to have to reenact the sauna scene from Eastern Promises to anyone who spoils The Wire finale for me.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/9/2008 11:08:00 PM
One of these years the Rays are going to finish higher than the Yanks and/or the Red Sox - and 95% of the population will be surprised, even as the other 5% says "I knew it all along" and cashes in at Vegas.
Posted by MPStopa at 3/10/2008 6:18:00 AM
Dalton- This Kershaw kid seems to have a quick learning curve. Reports suggest that he is pretty mature for his age (turns 20 this month). I grabbed Lincecum early last year after reading some eye catching quotes from scouts and players and I am getting that same vibe with this young lefty.

"Once in a generation" talent and "the best left-hander I have ever seen in this circuit (Midwest League)" are just a couple you probably saw in the Prospectus.

Reading the quotes from his performance over the weekend gives me more reason to believe he could make a real impact as soon as this year:

"He's pitching like a major-league pitcher. You can just tell by how the hitters are reacting to his stuff, getting jammed, buckling on curveballs."
- Dodger catcher Russell Martin

"I wish he had a Red Sox uniform on. I can see why he's the buzz of spring training."
- Red Sox manager Terry Francona

"That was some of the best stuff I have seen in a long time as far as a new arm. The first pitch was a hammer, and I hate to say it was almost (Barry) Zito-like, but it broke with this 12-6 tilt. Imagine that from a guy who hits 97 (mph) with his fastball. Then he threw me another one that froze me. That was great stuff, big-league stuff, and I think he could help that team this year."
- 10 year MLB veteren Sean Casey

I just hope I can contain myself and not pick him before the last round in my 14 team mixed draft in two weeks. Feel free to pour some reality water on me if I got carried away.

Posted by bwitt at 3/10/2008 9:51:00 AM
Hey, who am I to argue? I hope you're right. With Schmidt still hurting, there should be an opportunity there too.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/10/2008 6:00:00 PM
3D love your blog as always. Don't want to own DRays, not sure they have a good market there in St. Pete's(but I'm a gambler), maybe success will show the potential there. High rish/reward investment, always telling my wife when her company hits big I want to own part of them....what's with all the white space here, Liss and Bwitt? BTW I'm watching Medium tonight, and I see Murphy Brown's old boss on this episode, pretty funny. Who's hitting you before you write your blogs (like Henderson) Liss, Erickson, or Pianow? (LOL)
Posted by kevinccp at 3/10/2008 7:44:00 PM
Well, it's not Liss, b/c I need blood in the mouth, and he doesn't have much force.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/10/2008 10:33:00 PM
Dude, please.
Posted by cliss at 3/11/2008 7:29:00 PM

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