Tag:AL East
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 9:23 pm
  •  
 

Stars, scrubs of March 2 games

By Evan BrunellSilva

Coming your way: the three stars and scrubs of March 2 spring training games ...

STARS

1. Matt Wieters, BAL: 3 for 4, 2 RBI: Could Wieters be ready to break out? After a very disappointing 2010 season, the 24-year-old is looking to tap into the potential that caused the birth of MattWietersFacts.com. Stay tuned, but this is a nice start.

2. Casey McGehee, MIL: 3 for 3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR: A nice day for the Brew Crew's third baseman. As the projected No. 6 hitter, he will be the last line of defense before the motley crew of Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Gomez and the pitcher in the lineup. McGehee, who cracked the 100-RBI barrier last season, will be counted upon to have a repeat season.

3. Jose Tabata, PIT: 3 for 3, 1 RBI. With Andrew McCutchen moving to the No. 3 spot, Tabata will be looked at to be the new leadoff batter for the Pirates. So far, so good, although what bears monitoring is Tabata's stated focus to improve his power. All Pittsburgh cares about is Tabata getting on base. 

SCRUBS

1. Carlos Silva, CHC: 1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 HR. Do you really have to ask why? Silva got into a fight with Aramis Ramirez after a disastrous first inning in which there were six runs coughed up by Silva's hand on two three-run home runs, and three errors committed by fielders. Really, it's just a day the Cubs would like to forget.

2. Nick Bierbrodt, BAL: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR: Um, how much of a blast from the past is Bierbrodt? I recall the 32-year-old from High Heat 2001, and he was just as bad in the game as he was in the majors. He has a career 6.66 ERA (devilish!) in 144 2/3 innings and hasn't appeared in the majors since 2004. Just a guess, but that streak will extend another season.

3. Josh Johnson, FLA: 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K: Not exactly a great debut for JJ, who will be looked upon to anchor the rotation once more and one of very few Marlins with long-term financial security and a home address in Miami. Ask Dan Uggla how rare that is.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: March 2, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Prospects who could vault to top of 2012 list

ChisenhallAs part of the CBSSports.com Top 100 prospects list, there are many who will graduate from the list and thus provide holes to be filled. A fair number will be filled from those who are drafted in June, but there will also be leaps forward by certain players. Here's the top five names to watch for a massive leap forward (no one ranked No. 25 or higher were considered):

No. 30 Jonathan Singleton, PHI
Age: 19
Position: 1B
Bats/Throws: L/L

It's not fair, is it? After the Phillies depleted their farm system to trade for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, here they are with Domonic Brown ranked No. 3 on the Top 100 list and Singleton No. 30. Singleton could leap up this list with a consistent showing in 2011; he couldn't hold up to a full season in 2010. He's being moved to left field, so will have to sustain his offense while learning a new position.

No. 31 Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE
Age: 22
Position: 3B
Bats/Throws: L/R

Chisenhall is the Indians' great hope to anchor the infield and provide an elite bat alongside catcher Carlos Santana and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. With a strong season, Chisenhall could make a late-season debut although one has to cast an eye toward 2012 for any regular playing time. At just 22, Chisenhall figures to spend the entire year in Triple-A.

T-No. 44 Zach Wheeler, SF
Age: 20
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Wheeler, drafted No. 6 in the 2009 draft, impressed in his first showing in the professional ranks. He started 13 games and relieved in seven more, pitching a total of 58 2/3 innings and turning heads with a 10.7 K/9 rate although that was paired with a 5.8 BB/9 rate. If he can knock down that walk rate, he could zoom up the list. In Wheeler's favor is missing time in 2010 with a cracked fingernail that may have impacted his command. Wheeler could eventually emerge as a No. 1 and shows an ability to handle workloads of 200-plus innings.

No. 63 Nick Castellanos, DET
Age: 19
Position: 3B
Bats/Throws: R/R

Castellanos was drafted No. 44 overall in the 2010 amateur draft solely because of bonus demands. His potential is sky-high and could be the best third baseman on the 2012 top prospect list, although Chisenhall and Brett Lawrie will have something to say about that. The Tigers love taking prep players, and Castellanos is no exception. He has big power and a solid glove, but the jury is still out on how he transitions to advanced competition.

No. 100 Carlos Martinez, STL
Age: 19
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Formerly Carlos Matias, the Red Sox have to be annoyed they lost out on Martinez after faulty paperwork on the player's end. Martinez punched out 78 in 12 starts in the Dominican Summer League over 59 innings and turning the heads of many. Martinez's fastball plays in the high 90s and holds one of the best fastballs in the game as Baseball America's Ben Badler reports. He does need to improve his secondary stuff but at just 19, has plenty of time to do so. Now with a work visa finally secured, Martinez will be stateside for 2011. A top-10 ranking is probably optimistic, but top-25 should be well within reach.

HONORABLE MENTION: No. 44 Brett Lawrie, TOR third baseman and No. 38 Gary Sanchez, NYY catcher.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Which top prospects could impact majors in 2011?

By Evan Brunell

CBSSports.com's Top 100 prospect list is out, casting light on players that will eventually become household names. But until that happens, these prospects need to tap into their potential and prove they can hack it at the big league level.

Below is a list of top prospects that could make an impact on the majors in 2011. Before getting into the list, "impact" is defined as those who are projected to break camp with the team and play an important role with the club. Others, such as Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley, Brandon Belt, all will have an impact once the hit the majors -- but that's likely to come in the summer months, and are listed at the end of the article.

BrownNo. 3. Domonic Brown, PHI
Age (all ages as of April 1, 2011): 23
Position: RF
Bats/Throws: L/L

Brown is battling for the starting right field job and although Ben Francisco is proving to be a stiffer challenger than thought, Brown will still get ample opportunites in the majors. There's some thought he could return to Triple-A, but he has nothing left to prove at that level and progression will only come with playing time in the bigs. Philly may have to swallow hard and deal with the growing pains, but the payoff will eventually be huge.

HellicksonNo. 6. Jeremy Hellickson, TB
Age: 23
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Hellickson could step in and replace Matt Garza without batting an eye, as the youngster is fully prepared to pitch in the cauldron that is the AL East. Hellickson will turn 24 on April 8, but already has 36 1/3 innings of major league experience under his belt. He walked just eight (plus two intentional) plus whiffing 33, which is an impressive debut but only underscores just how ready he is for prime time.

ChapmanNo. 9. Aroldis Chapman, CIN
Age: 23
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

Chapman won't be closing in Cincinnati, but will put pressure on Francisco Cordero as the setup man. We all saw what Chapman could do last season and he should continue to baffle hitters. The Reds considered making him a starter but opted to keep him in the bullpen which may unfortunately preclude a move to the rotation. It is difficult for teams justify moving young players that succeed in the 'pen back to the rotation.

DrabekNo. 16. Kyle Drabek, TOR
Age: 23
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Of all the names on this list, Drabek has the most tenuous hold on a roster spot but the team seems excited about his potential and wouldn't rule out a run at 200 innings. He shouldn't have too much trouble cracking the rotation and even if he starts in Triple-A, it won't be for long. One can't project Drabek to replace the man he was traded for (Roy Halladay), but he should eventually anchor the rotation.

FreemanNo. 19. Freddie Freeman, ATL
Age: 21
Position: 1B
Bats/Throws: L/R

As mentioned in the Top 100 list, Freeman lacks the ceiling of other first baseman such as No. 18's Brandon Belt, but is ready for the majors now and is locked in at first base. He figures to have a couple All-Star appearances in his future but not much beyond that. He should settle in as a valuable first baseman over his first six years, largely thanks to being under team control.

MinorNo. 29. Mike Minor, ATL
Age: 22
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/L

Minor doesn't have the ceiling of other top pitching prospects (similar to Freeman and first base), but he's also ready for the majors and was noticeably effective in the majors last season before he tired and lost velocity at the end of the season. If Minor can withstand the rigors of a full 162-game season, he should be an excellent No. 4-5 starter for the Braves, with the potential of more.

SaleNo. 33. Chris Sale, CHW
Age: 22
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

Sale is similar to Chapman in that he could start, but the White Sox have opted to keep Sale in the bullpen. He could vulture a few saves, but Matt Thornton is still expected to be the closer. That opens the door for Sale to play an important role in the late innings. He may be asked to switch to the rotation for 2012.

DominguezNo. 66. Matt Dominguez, FLA
Age: 21
Position: 3B
Bats/Throws: R/R

Dominguez can't quite hit, but boy, he can sure pick it. Already compared to Mike Lowell at the tender age of 21, Dominguez is expected to open the year at third for the Marlins. It appears Florida understands Dominguez will be a non-factor on offense and is willing to take that risk. But why start the service clock of an impact player when he could use more seasoning? Dominguez will never be a great hitter, but an extra year in the minors could go a long way. Read more from Scott Miller.

ArencibiaNo. 71. J.P. Arencibia, TOR
Age: 25
Position: C
Bats/Throws: R/R

Arencibia had quite an introduction to Toronto, but quickly faded after inconsistent playing time. Now finally handed to the keys to the starting job, there appears to be no question that Arencibia can hit. Catching, however, is another matter. The Jays have a couple other catchers in the system that could supplant Arencibia before long, which would shift the 25-year-old to first base or DH.

KimbrelNo. 85. Craig Kimbrel, ATL
Age: 22
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Kimbrel is the favorite to open the year as closer, although he may share time with Jonny Venters. Kimbrel posted a ridiculous strikeout rate last year and could quickly rise up the ranks of top closers. Carlos Marmol has proven that walking a ton of batters is OK as a closer as long as you strike out players, bit still, Kimbrel could stand to improve in that area.

EspinosaNo. 86. Danny Espinosa, WAS
Age: 23
Position: 2B
Bats/Throws: S/R

A converted second baseman, Espinosa will start alongside Ian Desmond for the Nationals. He showed intriguing power in his 112-plate appearance look in 2010, but probably showed more power than he will produce over a longer season. The bright side? His .214 batting average was an anomaly. The jury is still out on just how good he can be at the major-league level and it appears likely he will eventually settle in as the top infield option off the bench, although he'll get every chance to prove he can be more.

McGeeNo. 95. Jake McGee, TB
Age: 24
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

McGee has to be considered the odds-on favorite to emerge as long-term closer of Tampa, but will start off setting up whoever wins the gig -- likely Kyle Farnsworth (cringe). McGee has excellent stuff and could have played well in the rotation, but the Rays moved him given his injury and durability issues. He's just as good a bet as Chapman, Sale and Kimbrel on this list to have a nice, long career as closer.

ON THE BUBBLE:
No. 4 Jesus Montero, NYY catcher... No. 8 Dustin Ackley, SEA second baseman... No. 14 Zack Britton, BAL starter... No. 18 Brandon Belt, SF first baseman/left fielder... No. 37 Kyle Gibson, MIN starter... No. 52 Simon Castro, SD starter... No. 57 Yonder Alonso, CIN first baseman/left fielder... No. 74 Chris Carter, OAK first baseman... No. 79 Hank Conger, LAA catcher... No. 82 Zach Stewart, TOR starter... No. 92 Jordan Walden, Angels reliever... No. 96 Brent Morel, CHW third baseman... No. 99 Jeremy Jeffress, KC reliever.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:34 am
 

Beckett passes concussion test

By Matt Snyder

We're checking in with the obligatory Josh Beckett update. Wednesday, the Red Sox hurler passed his concussion test. According to manager Terry Francona, Beckett will begin to do some light activity, like biking and throwing. (WEEI.com Full Count blog)

Earlier this week, he was hit in the head by an errant ball off the bat of a fungo. He was shagging balls in shallow left field when coaching assistant Ino Guerrero attempted to hit a ball back toward the infield and it struck Beckett on the side of the head.

Tuesday, Beckett reported to feeling much better in the morning, but things got worse as the day went on. He still battled "feeling uneasy" when trying to do any physical activities. That's pretty normal, as it was just a day after suffering a mild concussion.

Beckett was scheduled to start Thursday, but has been scratched. Assuming everything progresses nicely with his recovery, Beckett will get his usual four days rest from when he would have pitched Thursday and be ready to go next Wednesday. This should still have him ready for the start of the regular season. Again, though, this is assuming there are no lingering effects.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 7:09 am
 

Stars, scrubs of March 1 games

MarkakisBy Evan Brunell

Did you realize that the regular season officially starts this month? OK, OK, so it starts on the 31st and we're only on the first day of March, but still.

Until then, however, we will have to content ourselves with spring training games, and this early into the schedule these games are peppered with scrubs and players trying to get their timing in place for the regular season. And some are a bit further along.

Let's look at some stars and scrubs of the day's games ...

STARS

1. Ryan Raburn, DET: Raburn held off teammate Victor Martinez in a split-squad game (3 for 4, 2 R)

2. Nick Markakis (pictured), BAL: 3 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 4 RBI, 2 HR. Could Markakis reclaim his long-lost power? After bopping 23 in 2007 and progressively declining to just 12 in 2010, Markakis ripped two home runs off Andy Sonnanstine and finished with three hits and four RBI in three at-bats. A return to the top of the best right fielders in the game is possible.

3. Gio Gonzalez, OAK: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. What a great showing from Gonzalez, who is slated to be the No. 3 starter for the A's Gonzalez has improved each season in the majors, but last year really benefited from limiting his home runs and playing in a pitcher's park. It's early, but if Gonzalez can limit his walks like he did Tuesday, he could be in line for a real step forward into the elite, and has unquestioned strikeout ability.

SCRUBS

1. Brett Anderson, OAK: 2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, his quest for a win was erased by Anderson's clunker. Anderson followed Gonzalez in the game despite being one spot ahead in the rotation. The lefty coughed up four earned runs and six hits in two innings, walking and whiffing two apiece. Better days are ahead for the talented youngster.

2. Andy Sonnanstine, TB: 2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5 HR: Poor Sonny. The starter-turned-reliever got a shot at the starting gig again even as he figures to remain in the bullpen. He did himself no favors by coughing up six runs in his two innings of work, striking out just one and giving up an eye-popping five home runs -- two to Markakis and one apiece for Vladimir Guerrero, Adam Jones and Jake Fox.

3. Ricky Romero, TOR: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K: After a breakout season, the Jays are counting on Romero to anchor the top of the rotation for Toronto. He certainly didn't get off to a strong start but he didn't give up any extra-base hits, although he was on the hook for Miguel Cabrera's three-run double off Zach Stewart that plated runners Romero put on base.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: March 1, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 9:11 pm
 

Henry fined $500,000 for revenue-sharing comments

HenryBy Evan Brunell

John Henry has long been an outspoken opponent of revenue sharing, one of very few things that the Red Sox agree with the Yankees on, as Hank Steinbrenner had some choice words on the subject in February. In a radio interview with WEEI out of Boston Tuesday, Henry revealed he was fined $500,000 for comments related to revenue sharing made in 2009, as quoted in the Boston Globe.

"Change is needed and that is reflected by the fact that over a billion dollars have been paid to seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball’s highest operating profits," Henry says in the article. "Who, except these teams, can think this is a good idea?" 

Over a year later, Henry (photo, flanked by president Larry Lucchino on left and chairan Tom Werner on right) said "I made statements which turned out to be true, or at least there were various documents that were leaked after that." He is referring to the financial documents of a few baseball clubs that were leaked and showed high operating profits for certain clubs that publicly cried poor.

Henry also revealed the team received a letter after Steinbrenner's comments, warning them to keep their mouth shut.

"The large markets are not allowed to give their opinions," he said, saying baseball encourages small-market teams to do so. He declined to say why, but declined to say why although the answer seems clear: small-market clubs will promote the system as it directly benefits them.

Henry confirmed earlier revelations that Boston paid $85 million in revenue sharing, and this is on top of losing other assets that baseball draws into its general fund. Henry earlier purchased an English soccer club, Liverpool, and noted certain differences that can impact operating revenues of each respective club.

"There are a lot of other forms of revenue sharing that we don’t generally think about," Henry said. "Like with Liverpool, we own our hats and our jerseys and our marks and our stadium. But baseball, essentially, has all those rights. It’s another reason why we have been investing outside."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 1, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 10:20 am
 

Beckett feels better, but should miss next start

Posted by Matt Snyder

Monday, Josh Beckett took a baseball off the head. It was an errant shot off the fungo of coaching assistant Ino Guerrero. Beckett was shut down for the day and eventually sent home with what were termed as mild concussion symptoms. The good news is he's feeling better Tuesday.

He reportedly arrived at 8:11 a.m. (via Extra Bases ) and told reporters he's already past the headaches, though also noting there has been some dizziness. He's been told to avoid watching TV and has had trouble with stairs.

Though Beckett called the incident "stupid," he reportedly forgave Guerrero for the incident.

He will probably miss his next scheduled start, which was going to be Thursday, but keep in mind how much time is left in spring training. This setback shouldn't knock him off course in terms of being ready for the regular season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



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