Tag:AL West
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:04 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:44 pm
 

The Pujols revolution will not be televised

Albert Pujols

By Dayn Perry


Freshly minted Angel Albert Pujols is in the lineup and batting third today. One would think that Pujols's Los Angeheim debut would make for some compelling afternoon television, but, as Cork Gaines of Business Insider notes, no one in a position to do so--not FOXSports West, not MLB Network, not ESPN, not even MLB.tv--is broadcasting what's surely the most notable game of the day. And the people say: Lame.

Our programming masters cannot, however, stop us from wondering aloud what we can expect from Pujols this season. Last year, he showed some patterns of decline, but the Angels, given the breadth of their investment, are hoping that was but a blip. Was it?

For a glimpse of the future, FanGraphs has a nifty round-up of what the various forecasting systems are expecting from Pujols in 2012. The most pessimistic is the Marcel system, which forecasts a .298/.384/.549 batting line out of him with 32 homers and 31 doubles. On the other end of the continuum, there's Bill James, who expects Pujols to hit .316/.414/.591 with 41 bombs and 40 doubles. Quite a bit of variance there, as you can see.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 10:44 am
 

A's future in Oakland uncertain



By Dayn Perry


Bill Madden of the New York Daily News raised eyebrows and hackles when he reported over the weekend that the A’s longed-for move from Oakland to San Jose would not happen. It would not happen, Madden reported, because MLB would choose not to violate the Giants’ nebulous territorial rights to the San Jose area. (Yes, there exists a world in which Oakland across the Bay is not an encroachment but San Jose, an hour or so away via the 101, is.)

An MLB source, of course, denies that any decision has been made with regard to the A’s bold step of moving farther away from the Giants, reports Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News. If, however, the smoke leads to fire, then one must ask: What will become of the A’s? Will we once again be subjected to half-serious rumors of contraction? Are the Portland/Las Vegas/San Antonio/Charlotte/New Jersey/Mexico City A’s in our future? Will the status remain quo? BizofBaseball’s Maury Brown, via Twitter, sums it up thus:

“A's: chances of contraction? 0. Chances for San Jose? Dwindling. Chances for Oakland? Low. Chance of sale? Rising.”

At which point, one assumes, the dance will continue.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:03 pm
 

Darvish shows good stuff against teammates

By Matt Snyder

Taking anything substantive from spring training games is an exercise in futility, for many reasons. Taking anything from practice is even worse. Still, with Yu Darvish's transition to America, little bits and pieces (small sample alert) might be of interest to some.

Friday, Darvish faced All-Star teammates Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre. The results overall were good, but there were some issues. Via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Darvish threw 21 pitches, 11 for strikes and retired three of the four hitters he faced, with the lone exception a walk on five pitches to Hamilton. Darvish also fell behind the first three hitters, and twice was behind 3-0.

Kinsler popped to left field on a 3-2 slider, and Andrus followed and became Darvish's only strikeout of the inning. Hamilton walked on five pitches, and Darvish dominated Beltre, who hit a roller to second base.
The Star Telegram also reports that Darvish's fastball hit 96 while his curve was as slow as 66. The players who hit against him seemed to think his stuff was really good.

"The ball moved tremendously," Hamilton said (Star-Telegram.com). "Overall, he looked great. He looks very confident on the mound, and that will continue to grow the more games we get into."

I'd say overall this is good news for the Rangers. Command is an issue, but it's March 3. That can get better as the season approaches. Stuff is what matters now, and Darvish has it. Of course, let's reiterate it's March 3 and this couldn't have been a smaller sample size.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:31 pm
 

Fielding Bible projections for 2012 released



By Matt Snyder


Highly-respected defensive analysts John Dewan and Ben Jedlovec have released their Fielding Bible projections for the 2012 Major League Baseball season, with the Tampa Bay Rays being projected as the best defense in the majors and the Miami Marlins proejected to have the worst.

The system used in the Fielding Bible is "defensive runs saved," which doesn't only factor in errors, it also uses range and player placement to determine how many runs a defense either saves pitchers or costs them. Clubs with a positive score are said to have defensively saved pitchers runs while those with a negative score have cost their pitching stuff some runs.

Last season, the Rays were the best in the majors with a +85 score. That's quite a feat, saving 85 runs for your pitching staff. On the flip side, the Marlins checked in with a -75, which is flat-out atrocious.

This season, the projections have the Rays saving 42 runs and the Marlins at a -30.

The top five projected defenses for 2012, in order, in the projections: Rays, Mariners, Reds, Rangers and Angels.

The bottom five, listed from 26-30: Orioles, Cubs, Mets, Twins and Marlins.

The Phillies made the highest leap from last year's score to this year's projection, going from a -59 ('11 score) to +6. Losing Raul Ibanez from left field helps, as does having a full season of Hunter Pence and someone other than Ryan Howard manning first base for a few months, the press release for the Fielding Bible noted.

Other teams with projections showing a big improvement from last season were the Mariners, Rangers, Yankees and A's (though the A's are still projected in the negative).

The clubs expected to take the biggest hit defensively are the Astros (going from 12th ranked to 25th) and Dodgers (11th to 24th). Losing Pence and Michael Bourn for the first half of the season has to be a major part of the Astros slide. The Tigers -- with Miguel Cabrera shifting to third base -- Brewers, Padres and Rockies are also projected to fall down the Fielding Bible standings.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 9:32 pm
 

2012 MLB top prospects



By Matt Snyder


We at CBSSports.com don't have a scouting guru, but prospect rankings are incredibly popular among fans these days, so we aren't about to neglect covering the preseason rankings. So this post will contain the consensus top 60 prospects from the baseball world. I've gone through and averaged out the rankings from the five major outlets that do them.

Why 60? Well, the outlets usually rank 100 (Baseball Prospectus does 101), but after around 50 there's nothing close to a consensus. It's a muddled mess of disagreement. There were 147 players mentioned between the five top 100 (or 101) lists and once you get north of a certain handful of can't-miss prospects, the rankings are all over the place. Even in the top 60 below, you've got someone like Wily Peralta from the Brewers' system. He was ranked 39th by ESPN.com and 94th by Baseball Prospectus. Hak-Ju Lee of the Rays was ranked 12th, 20th, 44th, 46th and 67th, respectively, by the five outlets.

One thing they do agree upon? The top three prospects in baseball are Matt Moore, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Of course, they don't agree on the order.

The five rankings sets we used:

- Baseball Prospectus (Kevin Goldstein)
- ESPN.com (Keith Law)
- MLB.com (Jonathan Mayo)
- Baseball America (staff vote)
- Scout.com on FoxSports.com (Frankie Piliere)

So here are the consensus top 60 prospects in baseball, according to these five published outlets. Notes of other things that might interest will follow the chart.

Prospect Position Organization Average rank
Best rank
Worst rank
1. Matt Moore
LHP Rays 1.6 1 3
2. Bryce Harper
OF Nationals 2 1 3
3. Mike Trout
OF Angels 2.4 1 3
4. Jurickson Profar
SS Rangers 6.4 4 7
5. Shelby Miller
RHP Cardinals 6.8 5 10
6. Julio Teheran
RHP Braves 7.2 4 18
7. Manny Machado
SS Orioles 7.4 4 11
8. Jesus Montero
C Mariners 7.8 5 12
9. Gerrit Cole
RHP Pirates 10.4 9 12
10. Dylan Bundy
RHP Orioles 13.4 6 30
11. Jameson Taillon
RHP Pirates 13.6 8 16
12. Devin Mesoraco
C Reds 15 8 25
13. Trevor Bauer
RHP Diamondbacks 17.2 9 21
14. Jacob Turner
RHP Tigers 18.4 11 29
15. Wil Myers
OF Royals 19.2 13 28
16. Manny Banuelos
LHP Yankees 20.8 9 30
17. Miguel Sano
3B Twins 21 12 28
18. Travis d'Arnaud
C Blue Jays 21.4 6 43
19. Tyler Skaggs
LHP Diamondbacks 21.4 13 26
20. Danny Hultzen
LHP Mariners 23.2 13 36
21. Bubba Starling
OF Royals 25 15 41
22. Nolan Arenado
3B Rockies 25.8 18 42
23. Carlos Martinez
RHP Cardinals 26 19 32
24. Archie Bradley
RHP Diamondbacks 28 19 38
25. Anthony Rendon
3B Nationals 29.2 17 56
26. Drew Pomeranz
LHP Rockies 29.6 14 45
27. Taijuan Walker
RHP Mariners 30.6 14 77
28. Jarrod Parker
RHP A's 31.6 23 52
29. Zack Wheeler
RHP Mets 34.8 27 53
30. Arodys Vizcaino
RHP Braves 35 14 64
31. Francisco Lindor
SS Indians 36.2 17 60
32. Hak-Ju Lee
SS Rays 37.8 12 67
33. Matt Harvey RHP Mets 41.6 26 54
34. Martin Perez
LHP Rangers 44.4 20 UR
35. Michael Choice
OF A's 45 16 80
36. Gary Brown
OF Giants 45.8 18 68
37. Christian Yelich
OF Marlins 46.6 34 75
38. Brett Jackson
OF Cubs 46.8 32 89
39. Jonathan Singleton
1B Astros 47.6 34 75
40. Billy Hamilton
SS Reds 47.8 23 70
41. Mike Montgomery
LHP Royals 48.6 23 UR
42. Jean Segura
SS Angels 49 22 69
43. Anthony Rizzo
1B Cubs 49 36 77
44. Jake Marisnick OF Blue Jays 50 29 67
45. Jarred Cosart
RHP Astros 52.8 25 78
46. Mike Olt
3B Rangers 54 43 75
47. Anthony Gose
OF Blue Jays 54 39 70
48. Xander Bogaerts
SS Red Sox 54.2 33 76
49. Nick Castellanos
3B Tigers 55 37 73
50. Zach Lee RHP Dodgers 55.8 41 72
51. Dellin Betances
RHP Yankees 56 28 83
52. Gary Sanchez
C Yankees 56.2 42 81
53. Wily Peralta
RHP Brewers 56.8 39 94
54. Randall Delgado RHP Braves 56.8 42 98
55. George Springer
OF Astros 57.4 33 84
56. Jake Odorizzi
RHP Royals 57.8 47 71
57. Oscar Taveras
OF Cardinals 58.2 24 UR
58. Rymer Liriano
OF Padres 60.6 40 100
59. James Paxton
LHP Mariners 62.4 51 77
60. A.J. Cole
RHP A's 63.2 33 88

• If a player went unranked by any outlet, he received a value of 105 in the calculated average. More than one of those would easily be enough to knock a guy from the ranks, so everyone above with a "UR" next to his name in the "worst rank" category above was ranked by four of the five outlets.

• Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was ranked fourth by Baseball America and ignored by all other outlets. I've got to believe the four outlets that didn't rank the Japanese phenom don't consider him a prospect. Which is weird, because most define "prospect" as someone who still has "rookie" eligibility. Darvish still does, but they have the right to rank whomever they wish.

Athletics' outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was ranked 20th by Goldstein and 14th by Baseball America while the other three outlets declined to rank him. My response to this would be similar to that of Darvish.

• Goldstein mentioned that he'd rank Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler 39th, so I actually plugged him in and bumped everyone else down one spot. After all, I fully expect Soler to be signed sometime this season. Still, Soler didn't make the top 60 above because no one else ranked him.

Nick Franklin (SS, Mariners) would have easily made the top 60 here, but Goldstein left him unranked.

Will Middlebrooks (3B, Red Sox) would have easily made the top 60 here, but Law left him unranked.

• The following players were ranked somewhere by all five outlets but didn't make the cut for the average top 60, listed in order of best average ranking: Yasmani Grandal (C, Padres), Casey Kelly (RHP, Padres), Trevor May (RHP, Phillies), Yonder Alonso (1B, Padres), Sonny Gray (RHP, A's), Starling Marte (OF, Pirates), Josh Bell (OF, Pirates), Javier Baez (SS, Cubs), Mason Williams (OF, Yankees), Jedd Gyorko (3B, Padres) and Addison Reed (RHP, White Sox).

• For the complete lists of each, please note I linked to them in the introduction above. Just click on it and go (of course, ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus are pay sites, so you can't see those for free). Those guys all focus on scouting throughout the year as their primary job, so they know more than you and I on this front.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:57 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 11:00 am
 

No long-term extension for Mike Napoli

By Matt Snyder

While fellow World Series catcher Yadier Molina is soon to officially sign a five-year, $75 million contract extension, Mike Napoli has chosen a different route. The Rangers backstop told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that talks on a long-term extension have been "squashed."

“I’d love to be here, but I’ll test the market,” Napoli said (Star-Telegram). “Every player plays to get to free agency. But it’s not something I’m going to worry about. That’s why I have my agent.”

It's an interesting decision for Napoli. He was long adored by fantasy baseball players and stat-heads for his power, but never really allowed to fully blossom due to the Angels not believing he was good enough to hack it defensively. But with one of the best offensive second halves in baseball (1.171 OPS) and a huge postseason -- both offensively and defensively -- Napoli's value has never been higher.

In 2011, Napoli hit .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs in just 369 plate appearances. He then hit .350/.464/.700 with two homers and 10 RBI in the World Series. It's often been said the Rangers were one strike away from winning the World Series, so in that same light you can say Napoli was one strike away from being World Series MVP. And he's wildly popular amongst Rangers fans, too.

Basically, it's the perfect time to cash in. So why isn't he doing so? It could be the Rangers are weary of paying a guy for his career year and low-balled him. It could be he believes he's going to go out and prove he can hit like he did in the second half all season, every season -- in which case he'll get a gargantuan deal next offseason. It's hard to tell without having heard all the behind-the-scenes discussions.

All we know now is that Mike Napoli will be a free agent after this season.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 29, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Mariners' Gutierrez to start season on DL

Franklin GutierrezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will once again miss opening day, and he could miss all of April after the team announced he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle.

The good news is he isn't expected to need surgery. He will need at least four weeks before he is able to participate in any baseball activities.

"At this point, we don't know," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Every body responds to things differently. We do't know wwhat he'll be able to do and at this point, we'll probably just ease him into things gradually."

Last season Gutierrez didn't play until May after being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome during spring training.

Chone Figgins played center field in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Michael Suanders and Casper Wells, along with Figgins, are candidates to replace Gutierrez while he's gone.

Gutierrez played in just 92 games last season, hitting .224/.261/.273 with one home run.

He left Tuesday's workout with the pectoral injury and had an MRI the same day. He flew back to Seattle on Wednesday to see the team's doctor.

In other injury news from Wednesday:

• Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to have his right eye examined by team doctors after his bunt attempt hit him in the face.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett joked, "Where did the bone go?" after the ball hit him in the face.

Burnett wasn't scheduled to throw on Wednesday.
 
• Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson threw his first bullpen session since suffering a concussion on Feb. 20. Hanson threw 30-pitches and told rpeorters he felt good.

"I think I threw a little better than I had expected," Hanson said (via MLB.com). "I've had some time to think about some mechanical stuff. I was surprised by how well I threw."

Hanson may throw live batting practice on Friday, but he still has to pass one more part of the concussion impact test.

•The Angels' Kendrys Morales is making progress from his 2010 ankle injury, hitting from both sides of the plate, something he didn't do last spring. He also added S-turns in his running -- another thing he never did last season.

"He's in a different position now because he's had nothing but a progression to the point where you can see that he'll progress to playing games in a couple of weeks," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

• Keeping with the theme of Angels displaced by Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo was cleared by doctors on Wednesday to return to the field.

Trumbo, who had a stress fracture in his right foot, is attempting to make the move to third base. [Orange County Register]

• Cubs catcher Geovany Soto will miss the start of the Cactus League with a sore groin, but told reporters it wasn't a big deal.

"It's spring training, and there's no hurry to get out there," Soto told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I want to be there as much as I can, just to play. I've had four months off and you train hard all offseason, so you want to get every game possible to get ready for the season."

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:45 am
 

Miguel Tejada wants shot at A's third base job

By Matt Snyder

Could Miguel Tejada fill the Oakland Athletics now-gaping hole at third base? If he gets his way, he will.

“Tell [A's general manager] Billy [Beane] to give me a call,” Tejada told A's reporter Susan Slusser (SFGate.com). “I don’t want big money. I just want to play.”

Earlier this week, the A's learned that third baseman Scott Sizemore tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2012 season. In his stead, the A's are searching for a replacement from the lackluster trio of Josh Donaldson, Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard. But would Tejada even be an upgrade?

He is 37 and hit just .239/.270/.326 last season for the Giants. After 15 seasons, he appears to not have much left.

Still, Tejada wants a shot to come full circle with the organization that brought him to America.

“I would love it,” he said to Slusser (SFGate.com). “I have always loved the A’s. That’s the organization that gave me a chance when I was a little kid in the Dominican. They opened all the doors for me. … That’s my family.”

Tejada played for the A's for parts of seven seasons, winning the 2002 AL MVP as their shortstop.

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