Tuesday, May 31, 2011
While it's generally ill-advised to highlight your own foolish comments, I feel compelled to do so for the sake of fairness. Those were my words when I wrote about the White Sox claiming of Philip Humber this past off season. It certainly wasn't my most prescient moment.
Friday, May 27, 2011
By trading Scott Sizemore, a promising bat at a historically offensively weak position for a middle-of-the-road left handed relief arm like that of David Purcey, the Tigers are taking a rather significant gamble. At 26 years old, Sizemore isn't particularly young, but he has consistently throttled Minor Leaguer pitching - though he has struggled in his sporadic Major League time. Purcey on the other hand is a 29 year old lefty who's only tangible strength is a somewhat above average strikeout rate (7.72/9IP). Beyond the K rate, he walks too many (4.50/9IP), and is an extreme fly ball pitcher (31.6%). He has a career 5.17 ERA against a 4.79 career xFIP.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
The curious case of Juan Pierre almost requires that I reflect on his value. Pierre leads the league this season in negative value for qualified batters according to fangraphs with a -1.1 WAR. During the 2010 season, he did fare better maintaining a positive WAR due to his defense and a wOBA just above replacement level. However, that level of production was still below average for a major league LF.
The real intrigue is why anybody would want Juan Pierre to play LF and be a lead-off hitter for their team. Now he has some value, he could be an ideal defensive or base running replacement player for many teams. He could even squeak by as a workable center fielder, though still pretty near replacement level, hitting at the bottom of somebody’s lineup. However, Pierre playing a power position and hitting lead-off is not what I would have expected when he was a trade target of the Chicago White Sox during the 2009 off season. I think the White Sox's front office has made many savvy acquisitions and decisions but actively pursuing Juan Pierre was a bit confusing to say the least.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
That Chen is still in the rotation to protect at all however is something I find a little bit surprising. When he resigned I wrote that, "Chen is essentially the definition of a back-end junk-baller. With a fastball that averaged just 86.2 last year, he's not going to throw the ball by anyone, but he's got five pitches and he'll throw them all at you. That helps him keep hitters off balance, but doesn't keep him from being eminently hittable."
For an accomplished MLB veteran, such a return would be easier to make. They have a better idea of what to expect, they're better acclimated to the stresses of a Major League season. Sizemore however was essentially running in blind. It sure showed. On offense Sizemore struggled to make contact, on defense he looked slow, and unsure of himself. He was sent down after his disappointing start but caught fire in AAA, earning a pair of callups that helped him build some confidence through the season.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In the past when the Twins suffered injuries, it seemed as though the team could pull from an endless well of well prepared players from their Minor League system and they would adequately fill in for their counterpart. This year however the depth and breadth of the injuries have simply overwhelmed the system.
Then he had to be sent to the disabled list due to an oblique injury.
Gomez will head to AAA Columbus where he'll remain a prime candidate for a call up should the team need another arm. Given his experience in both the rotation and in relief, he provides the team with important flexibility.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Justin Verlander became only the 30th pitcher in the history of baseball to have thrown multiple no hitters in his career. The truly amazing thing is that Verlander has two no hitters at the age of only 28. It was the 271st no hitter in major league history, an average of about two per year since the first official no hitter by Joe Borden of the Philadelphia White Stockings in 1875. Verlander is one of only three active pitchers with more than one no hitter, the other two being Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle.
Only five pitchers in baseball history have more than 2 no hitters, Larry Corcoran (3), Bob Fellar (3), Cy Young (3), Sandy Koufax (4), and Nolan Ryan (7). In fact, Justin Verlander has more no hitters than the New York Mets and San Diego Padres.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Should Liriano falter again of course, that could put Slowey right back on track to rejoin the rotation. In the meantime, the team will utilize him out of the bullpen where he's been solid. In order to make room for Slowey, the team has optioned waiver pickup Dusty Hughes to AAA.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Though his defense was roundly regarded as poor, with an arm and release that both graded out as below average along with poor defensive instincts, he continued to be a desirable commodity. This off season after being placed on waivers by Rangers he was picked up by the Red Sox (who now sport another once highly regarded Texas catching prospect behind the plate), waived again, and picked up by the Cubs. Now, he's been released.
He doesn't possess a big-time arm, but works primarily with a cutter in the 89-91 range and slider but has shown the ability to miss bats both in AAA and the Majors with a career 9.21 K-rate. His command can be shaky at times and he's prone to the fly ball, but he could be a serviceable 6th or 7th inning arm.
Profile: RHP - 5'11" - 225lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22
• FB 93-95: Has added more run in recent years, making this more than just a hard offering. (55-60)
• SL 86-88: Tight rotation and late break make it hard to pick up. Swing-and-miss offering. (55-65)
• CH 86-88: Show me pitch, lacks feel, movement, differential (35-40)
Thursday, May 5, 2011
In Toledo White Sox starter Jake Peavy made the last of his scheduled rehab starts today and will rejoin the team tomorrow. Elsewhere, Twins stater-turned-reliever Kevin Slowey, and Indians starter Carlos Carrasco are all nearing returns.
After watching him hit - and no, these aren't typos - .439/.525/.582 over 118 AAA plate appearances in Omaha this spring the Royals decided to make the call up. Whether they did so due to Kila Ka'aihue's early struggles (though he's posted a .792 OPS over his last 8 games) or simply because Hosmer clearly wasn't being challenged matters little, the King of Omaha is on his way.
Profile: RHP - 6'1" - 185lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 23
• FB 86-89: Side-arm action is tough on righties, will run and cut. (45-55)
• CV 76-78: Has flashes, but isn't well commanded and inconsistent. (40-45)
• CH 80-82: Get's some depth to it, didn't see great differential, good feel. (45-55)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
This time it's slugging DH Jim Thome, and 4th outfielder Jason Repko who will be placed on the 15 day DL, while backup catcher Steve Holm has been demoted. The players being called up are Ben Revere, shortstop Trevor Plouffe, and either Danny Lehmann or Rene Rivera.
Then the diagnosis changed - to inflammation. A bit worse, but again, perfectly normal following surgery.
Off to a terrible start to his 2011 season, and with his back against the wall and his job rumored to be on the line, Francisco Liriano responded last night by throwing the first no-hitter of the 2011 season.
One of baseballs best pitchers during the 2010 season, I had fully expected Liriano to take yet another step forward in the eyes of fans around the country this year. Instead, he arrived to spring training reportedly not having followed his off season conditioning program, and has been a mess since spring training. His velocity was down, he wasn't missing bats like he has throughout his career and his sometimes spotty command had deteriorated to the level of abysmal.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
While he was held back to open 2010, likely at least partly due to the broken ankle he suffered in the off season, he heated up through the summer, punishing AAA pitching to the tune of a .850 OPS, eventually earning a September call up. During that final stint Sizemore played in twelve games, hit .308, and launched a pair of home runs en route to a .934 OPS.
A small sample size tease.