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Tag:NL Central
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 2, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Harper to start Nationals' Grapefruit opener

Bryce Harper

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Where Bryce Harper will be on opening day is up in the air, but he will at least start for the Nationals in the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Astros on Saturday, according to the Washington Times.

Harper, 19, will start in right field and hit seventh for the Nationals in Kissimmee, Fla. on Saturday against former Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez. It should be noted, several veterans aren't scheduled to make the trip -- including Jayson Werth. Werth, who had missed several days of workouts with back spasms, is expected to be OK for the start of exhibition games, according to the Washington Times.

The Nationals play an exhibition against Georgetown on Friday, with Harper playing right field and hitting third.

Harper is rated by many as the top prospect in baseball. He hit .297/.392/.501 between Class A and Double-A last season, with 14 of his 17 minor-league homers coming at the Class A level. Harper hit .318/.423/.554 with Class A Hagerstown and .256/.329/.395 with Double-A Harrisburg.

Manager Davey Johnson has stated publicly that he'd like to see Harper get a chance to start the season at the major-league level. It appears he'll get a chance at showing his wares during spring training.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:09 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Pirates' A.J. Burnett out 8-12 weeks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett will miss 8-12 weeks after suffering a broken orbital bone near his right eye, the team announced on Friday.

Burnett had surgery on Friday morning in Pittsburgh.

"A.J. will work through the three-step return to pitch progression," general manager Neal Huntington told reporters, including the Associated Press. "The initial step will be to heal from the surgery. Secondly, we will recondition his arm and body to where he was prior to the injury. Lastly, we will put A.J. through the same progression as he would have gone through here in spring training. The very rough timetable to complete this process and have A.J. prepared to compete without restrictions at the Major League level is 8-12 weeks."

Burnett will re-join the team before the end of spring training, but he won't break camp with the team.

With Burnett out, another new Pirate, Erik Bedard, seems ready to take over Burnett's spot as Pittsburgh's opening-day starter.

Burnett suffered the injury on Wednesday when he was working on bunting and he fouled off a ball that hit him in the face.



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Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:36 am
 

Cubs players say they trust Braun's collector

Jeff BakerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

During his press conference following his successful appeal of a 50-game suspension, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun tried to cast doubt on specimen collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. Laurenzi later released a statement defending himself, then Thursday, Braun's lawyer shot back.

Laurenzi, though, doesn't just collect samples from the Brewers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Laurenzi also collects samples from the Cubs. And while Braun has called Laurenzi's motives into doubt, several Cubs told the Sun-Times that they trust Laurenzi.

"Just from knowing Dino the three years I've been here, he's been nothing but professional," Cubs infielder Jeff Baker told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times. "He's been very, very thorough. I have no concerns and no qualms."

Alfonso Soriano also gave his thumbs up to Laurenzi.

"I'm not worried that it's the same guy," Soriano told the newspaper. "I'm not worried because I know what I take. It doesn't matter who takes the sample. If you don't take nothing, he can take [the specimen] home for a week, and nothing will come out."

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Braun's attorney responds to sample collector

By Matt Snyder

Since the sample collector released a statement Wednesday about the decision that Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun won't face suspension for his positive drug test, it was only a matter of time before the Braun camp replied.

Braun wins appeal
And it has. Here is a statement released by Braun's attorney, David Cornwell:

“Ryan Braun presented a winning defense in the forum that counted. The landmark decision in Ryan's favor was based on the evidence and the plain meaning of the words in baseball’s Joint Drug Program. The collector’s attempt to re-litigate his conduct is inappropriate, and his efforts will only be persuasive to those who do not understand the evidence or the rules. Ryan Braun was properly vindicated. Both Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association should be applauded because their Joint Program worked.”

Now that everyone has said his piece, hopefully it's time to get past everything and start looking forward to the 2012 season. Braun won his appeal, he won't be suspended and that's final.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 2:52 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 2:53 pm
 

Molina extension official, contains option year

By Matt Snyder

The Cardinals officially announced the five-year, $75 million contract extension for catcher Yadier Molina Thursday afternoon. We reported the dollar amount Wednesday morning on CBSSports.com, but didn't yet know that the contract also contained an option year.

CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman is now reporting that there is a mutual option for a sixth season worth another $15 million. With it being mutual, obviously both sides have to agree for it to be exercised. So it's possible this contract is worth $90 million to Molina. The Cardinals have also included a full no-trade clause in the contract for Molina.

"This is a great day for the Cardinals," said owner Bill DeWitt (via Heyman). "When we have a franchise-type player, we always try (to re-sign him)."

The contract won't take effect until the 2013 season, since Molina had a one-year option picked up for the 2012 season. That means the 29-year-old veteran is under contract through the 2017 season and could be locked up through the 2018 season if the option is exercised. It's a safe bet to consider him a lifelong Cardinal.

Molina hit .305/.349/.465 with 14 homers, 65 RBI and 55 runs last season for the Cardinals. He also won his fourth straight Gold Glove and his second World Series championship. Yadier, the youngest of three major-league Molina brothers, was integral to the offense in the playoffs, too, hitting .333 in both the NLCS and World Series with a whopping nine RBI in the World Series.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:35 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 3:37 pm
 

Burnett has broken orbital bone, needs surgery

By Matt Snyder

Embattled starting pitcher A.J. Burnett is off to an unfortunate and quite dubious beginning in his Pirates career. Wednesday in Bradenton, Fla., Burnett was working on bunting and accidentally fouled a ball off of his right eye. He flew back to Pittsburgh to have it examined and the news is not good. The Pirates have announced that Burnett needs surgery Friday in Pittsburgh to repair an orbital fracture.

And there's a YouTube of the errant bunt attempt. Here it is:



It's no laughing matter, but when the injury first occurred, Burnett reportedly said, jokingly, "where did the bone go?" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

SPRING PROJECTED LINEUPS/DEPTH CHARTS

There's no word yet on recovery time for the 35-year-old right-hander, but I asked SI.com injury guru Will Carroll on Twitter and he said it would be a "couple weeks. Just have to get it stable." So, assuming everything goes well, Burnett should be alright for the start of the regular season.

Fortunately for the Pirates, they have starting pitching depth. Even without Burnett, the Pirates have five starters, in Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens, James McDonald, Charlie Morton and Kevin Correia. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Morton is recovering from hip surgery and may not be ready for the beginning of the season. If both Burnett and Morton are down -- which is the worst-case scenario -- it looks like Brad Lincoln would get the nod.

Burnett was run out of New York after posting a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and an AL-leading 25 wild pitches last season for the Yankees. Still, he has plenty of talent, with the ability to post a high strikeout rate (8.2 per nine innings throughout his career). He was also a valuable member of the 2009 World Series champion Yankees rotation. The move to the NL Central should benefit Burnett as well, whenever he's ready to take the mound.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com