2009 Draft: LIVE Blog

OK, I’m watching the MLB draft coverage on MLB Network, and will do my very first live blog.

6:18, Nationals select Stephen Strasburg – What a twist!
6:20, Mariners select Dustin Ackley – It’s weird thinking of a first baseman as an athletic outfielder, but I guess I’ll have to use my imagination.
6:23, (Padres on the clock), I have no real comment, I just think HR is stupid.
6:24, Padres select Donovan Tate, hmmm, I like the pick, but I’m worried that the Padres just made this pick to “make a point” and didn’t select the best player available.
6:25, (Pittsburgh on the clock): Now I’m just waiting for Zack Wheeler to get drafted…
6:30, Pirates select Tony Sanchez – I wish Jonathan Mayo wasn’t so good, now the draft is boring.
6:31, (Orioles on the clock) – I don’t know–this is pure gut–but Sanchez just doesn’t seem like Sanchez holds up the others around him.  God I sound clueless right now.
6:33, (O’s on the clock) – Let’s see when the Milb.com guru ends his streak…
6:35, Orioles select Matthew Hobgood - D’oh!
6:37, (Giants on the clock) – I’m always hesitant about listening to John Hart but he says Hobgood may have the highest upside of the all the HS pitchers…ooohh
6:40, SF select Zack Wheeler – yay
6:41, (Braves on the clock) – OK, so now that the “live reaction” pick is over, I’m starting to get excited about the number 10 pick.
6:42, Braves select Mike Minor – I guess Nashville is sort of close to Atlanta, but man, Frank Wren must be annoyed; Wheeler was from Dallas, GA.  ATL loves them homegrown guys (even though that doesn’t make sense).
6:47, (Reds on the clock), Is it Matzek time?
6:48, (Reds on the clock), I know it won’t happen, but what if Rizzo takes Matzek?  Oh, a kid can have hope.  I’m not that high on Storen (or first round relievers in general).  I hope Mayo’s finally wrong on this one.
6:52, Reds select Mike Leake, - Of course they select the opposite of Matzek.
6:53, Tigers select Jacob Turner – Not Alex White?!  The Nats better take advantage of this.  (And if you read between the lines, not select Jenkins!)
6:57, (Nats on the clock), Strasburg seems like a cool guy, but heck, he’s so one hour ago.  Now it’s #10′s time to shine!
6:58, Nationals select Drew Storen, sigh…OK, I don’t agree with the move (another Eddie Kunz?), but at least Harold Reynolds can explain the move well: “Have you seen the Nationals’ bullpen?”
7:01, (Rockies on the clock), I think all Nats fans should take a time out in this high-pressure time and say prayer to Jim Bowden.  “To Jimbo, thank you for all the high draft picks and I hope to god you did this on purpose.  Your assistant Rizzo is obviously not smart enough to be a sucky GM.  Amen”
7:04, Colorado selects Tyler Matzek – This year’s Rick Porcello.
7:06, Royals on the clock, I hope KC fans realize how sad it is that the Nats pick twice before the Royals do. Hahahaha!  You should have lost intentionally Dayton Moore.  Then maybe you could have gotten Matzek, at the very least
7:10, Royals select Aaron Crow – Blimey!  I shouldn’t be surprised but I am.  Its just hard picturing him in powder blue.
7:14, A’s select Grant Green, John Hart on the pick: “I like it, he’s a baseball player”
7:15, (Rangers on the clock), I don’t want to jinx it, but with the way things are going for Jon Daniels, I can’t think the Rangers pick will be anything but a stud.
—–P.S. I’m sorry for any grammatical or spelling mistakes.  This is live baby!
7:22, Rangers select Matt Purke, Indians select Alex White, - Wow, a huge difference between these two.  I thought the Nats should have snagged White (assuming they didn’t have the $ for Matzek), but watching a video of him I’m not so sure…he may have the dreaded “inverted W”.
7:25, (Arizona on the clock), – Mayo said that they would take Borchering if he’s available…
7:28, D-Backs select Bobby Borchering – Finally an intriguing, high-upisde bat.
7:30, (ARI on the clock) – again.  Let’s see, college bat and…HS arm?
7:32, D-Backs select A.J. Pollock – Nope, HS bat.  Mikey Rizzo is bummed.
7:34, (Marlins on the clock), I never knew Strasburg was rejected by Stanford.  Huh.
7:37, Marlins select Chad James – I’m getting supremely annoyed by John Hart agreeing completely with every pick.  What will drive him to disapprovement?  I bet if the Nats selected my grandma he’s find the rationality.
7:40, Cardinals select Shelby Miller – Mo selects another HS arm.  /yawn
7:44, (Jays on the clock), Will Chad Jenkins finally go?
7:46, Blue Jays select Chad Jenkins – Seems like a  “Toronto pick”.  Nothing amazing or spectacular but hard to argue with.
7:47, (Astros on the clock) – I’m liking Storen a little bit more since I now know he’s a Twitterer (and first one ever to be drafted).
7:49, Astros select Jiovanni Mier – OK, a high school SS.  Not too bad.  I would have re-Chaconed Ed Wade if Houston took another catcher.
7:52, (Twins on the clock), I’m watching the Ackley/White interview now, and I’m wondering: which organization would better to join?  I’d go with Seattle…OK, I guess it’s not that tough of a decision.
7:55, Twins select Kyle Gibson – Another surprise pick by the Twinkies, and an awfully good one at that.  It’s stupid not take a more talented player just because he has a confirmed injury that is going to heal; and it IS going to heal.
8:00, White Sox select Jared Mitchell – I have to admit, now we are getting down to players I don’t know too much about.
8:03, Angels select Randal Grichuk – Well he must be a smart pick because he’s a “gamer”.
8:06 (Angels on the clock once again) – It baffles my mind that Shawon Dunston didn’t know he was the first overall 1982 draft pick until he showed up for the minors.
8:11, Angels select Mike Trout – I sincerely liked what HR just said “when you think of the 2009 draft you’ll think of two things: Stephen Strasburg and Mike Trout.”
8:14, Brewers select Eric Arnett – He reminds of a college Michael Main (which by the way is a high compliment)
8:16, (Mariners on the clock), I hope they interview Zduriencik again; I like his voice.
8:18, Seattle selects Nick Franklin – A non-Bavasi draft pick is a good draft pick.
8:20, (Red Sox on the clock), Who will be the next player to back the statement that Boston is baseball’s best organization?
8:22, Red Sox selects Raymond Fuentes – For me, the most surprising pick so far.
8:27, Yankees select Slade Heathcott – Well, he may be a risky high school pick with a shaky past, but his name is Slade Heathcott!
8:30, (Rays on the clock) – I feel sad for them, I really do.
8:32, Rays select LeVon Washington – He’s a speedy, athletic infielder.  That means that somewhere in a dark room Jim Bowden is drooling.
—-It’s COMP Time!
8:37, Cubs select Brett Jackson –
What I’ve give to replace Harold Reynolds and John Hart with Jim Callis and Will Carroll.  I’m getting really sick of all of this fluff.
For the past two drafts I’ve had players who I was very fond of.  In 2007 it was Michael Main and in 2008 it was Roger Kieschnik.  This year I really am looking forward to Eric Arnett’s future.  Of course I am still anxiously waiting to the name of Gerard Hall Jr. to get called (I worked out with him and his father is my baseball coach.)

2009 Award Predictions

Continuing
with my craze of 2009 picks, I’ll brake down my predictions for the winners
(and two runner-ups) of all the major awards for the upcoming season.  Some awards are flawed like MVP, where some
voters pick the player who had the best overall season and some voters vote
literally for the player most valuable to a (usually successful) team.  I usually sway toward the player with the
best overall season so here it goes:

 

AL MVP

1) Mark Teixeira

            – It almost seems too easy to pick Teixeira as MVP, when
he is the bright new star on the team everyone is picking to go the
distance.  The New Yankee Stadium’s
short porch, identical to its predecessor, will make Teixeira an even more
dangerous power hitter.  If can have a
.632 SLG in the cavern of Turner Field, I can only guess that next season will
be one his greatest.

teixeira.jpg

2) B.J. Upton

            – No one knows for sure how much Upton’s shoulder
affected his power in 2008, but judging from his past slugging numbers, it did
a woozy.  I expect B.J. Upton to bounce
back and have his power explode onto the scene.  I’m guessing a 30/40 season in the works.  If only he was as good of a autograph signer
as he was a baseball player…

3) Grady Sizemore

            – As you may have already known, I’ve tabbed the Indians
as next year’s World Champions, and I fully believe Sizemore will be one of the
main reasons they are going to be so successful.  He could wind up having an identical line as B.J. Upton, but I
think Upton could rack more stolen bases and a better OBP.  But if the Indians go all the way, Sizemore
will without a doubt by vying for MVP.


NL MVP

1) Albert Pujols


Anyone want to argue with me?

pujols.jpg

2) David Wright

            – As of
now, with all of their players healthy, the Mets are better than Philly.  Wright probably will be challenged by Carlos
Beltran and Jose Reyes for votes, but most likely will overcome.  The only question is whether Citi Field will
be better suited for right-handed or left-handed hitters.  Given some smaller, lefty-friendly confines,
Beltran could reach 40 home runs and Reyes could reach 20.

3) Hanley Ramirez

            – I had the
first pick in my fantasy draft this year and I chose Hanley.  Going from leading off to hitting third can
only help his numbers as long as Cameron Maybin can do a good job of getting on
base in the leadoff spot.  The Marlins
are poised to make a run for the NL Wild Card, but even if they falter this
year, Ramirez is almost a lock to have another great season.


AL Cy Young

1) Roy Halladay

– Besides run support, Halladay has everything in
place to repeat his dominant 2008 performance. 
It really is impressive how effective he’s has been considering he
pitches in the best offensive division in baseball for the for the worst
hitting team in that division.

halladay.jpg

2) Cliff Lee

            – Has
anyone figured yet why Cliff Lee had such a great year?  I don’t think so.  Well, then I have no reason to think Lee can’t repeat his pure
brilliance of 2008.  But of course, the
chances that he actually does recapture his sudden outstanding brilliance of
last season are not that great.  If I
were a betting man, I’d still go with Halladay.

3) John Danks

            – There are
a slew of young pitchers who I predict will take it to the next level in 2009
like Ervin Santana, Zack Greinke, and Jon Lester.  But I think Danks will be the one who really pitches himself into
the elite class of American League pitchers. 
He was rushed into the majors in his rookie season but I have a gut
feeling 2008 is only a little of what Danks can accomplish.

           

NL Cy Young

1) Tim Lincecum


I
didn’t think
Lincecum should have won the Cy Young last year, but I do
think he’ll deserve it this season. 
With Santana having health issues, Webb moving slightly back to normal,
and Sabathia moving to the AL, Lincecum is by far the top favorite for the 09
NL Cy, and I don’t see a reason why he can’t get even better in his second full
season.

lincecum.jpg

2) Cole Hamels

– Everybody knows how good Hamels already is
already but he’s still getting better each season.  I predict 238 innings and a 2.85 ERA for Hamels with a WHIP below
1 (he was only .08 above last year).

3) Chad Billingsley

– You saw what I predicted for Hamels and
Billingsley won’t be far behind if at all. 
Like Hamels, the 24-year old has been getting more effective every
season.  The big difference between
Billingsley and Hamels is that Hamels is entering his fourth season of starting
full-time in the bigs.  Billingsley is
just entering just his second.


AL Rookie of the Year

1) Matt Wieters

– I’m well aware of the possibility that Wieters
has only played half a season in Double A and might spend the first month or so
in Norfolk.  However it’s a sure thing
that Wieters will be in Baltimore by June if he stays healthy.  And if he stays healthy…[whistle]

My
Prediction: .377 OBP, 26 HR, 78 RBI,

wieters.jpg

2)
Travis Snider

snider.jpg

– Unlike Matt Wieters and
David Price, Snider has the pleasure of knowing he has a spot in the lineup
come Opening Day.  I’m slightly worried
about how fast the Jays moved Snider through the minors in 2008, but his
numbers held up so I’m excited to see how well Snider can hit.  And needless to say, he needs to swing the
bat well to stay with Toronto since he really can’t do anything else.

Prediction: .347 OBP,
19 HR, 71 RBI, 1 SB

3) David Price

price.jpg

– It would seem David Price winning the 2009 AL
Rookie of the Year would be oh so fitting after he burst onto the scene down
the stretch and dominated in the playoffs last season.  But then reality sets in and a reasonable
fan realizes Price might spend a good chunk of time in Durham next year due to
the presence of Jeff Niemann.  Plus,
Price was having all of that playoff success as a reliever not a starter, where
he would have to spread all of his strength and energy into six or seven
innings, not one or two.  However, I’ve
obviously seen the first overall pick’s filthy stuff, so a full effective year
in the bigs definitely isn’t out of the question; just not very probable unless
someone in the Rays rotation gets injured.

My
Prediction: 21 GS, 3.60 ERA, 9 W, 4 L


NL Rookie of the Year

1) David Freese

freese.jpg

– Other than Freese, I would like to know the last
time a player completely skipped Double-A and still had an amazing year at the
next level.  Oh wait, I know: Albert Pujols!  Anyway, the 25-year-old Freese had a great
year in Class A Advanced Lakeland before being traded over to St. Louis for Jim
Edmonds (nice going Kevin Towers) and had an even better offensive season in
the PCL.  Troy Glaus will be recovered
from his injury by June at the latest, so Freese may end up either making the
Cards trade away Glaus or get traded away himself.  No matter what happens with Glaus though, I doubt Freese will be
forced back to AAA again.

My
Prediction: .356 OBP 26 HR, 89 RBI, 4 SB

2) Chris Dickerson

– Unless the horrific Reds front office for some
reason doesn’t let Dickerson play everyday, he’ll become the next young Reds
position player to break out.  Imagine a
prototypical athletic outfielder…that can actually hit.

            My Prediction: .362 OBP 15 HR, 69 RBI, 34 SB

mlb_g_dickerson_412.jpg

3) Gaby Sanchez

Gobg3CPb.jpg

– Sanchez is a risky pick here because unlike
other ROY candidates like Travis Ishikawa, Colby Rasmus, or Elvis Andrus, he
really needs to have a great spring to secure a major league roster spot.  However, I predict he will not only win the
Marlins first-base job but have a very good rookie year.  The only problem with Gaby Sanchez winning a
spot is that Dallas McPherson or Jorge Cantu will unfairly be sent down or put
on the bench.

                                                    Prediction: .343 OBP, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 5 SB

Rotation Picks

I started the last entry
with my preseason playoff picks, but now it is time for something a little more
hardcore.

 

Below are
my picks, not predictions, for each big league team’s 2009 starting
rotation. 

 

Toronto
  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Jesse Litsch
  3. David Purcey

  4. Casey Janssen
  1. Bryan Bullington

 

Baltimore
  1. Jeremy Guthrie
  2. Koji Uehara
  3. Rich Hill
  4. Radhames Liz
  5. David Pauley

 

Tampa Bay
  1. Scott Kazmir
  2. James Shields
  3. Matt Garza
  4. Andy Sonnanstine
  5. Jeff Neimann

 

Boston
  1. Josh Beckett
  2. Jon Lester
  3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  4. Tim Wakefield
  5. Clay Buchholz

 

New York
  1. CC Sabathia
  2. Chien-Ming Wang
  3. A.J. Burnett
  4. Andy Pettitte
  5. Joba Chamberlain

 

Cleveland
  1. Cliff Lee
  2. Fausto Carmona
  3. Anthony Reyes
  4. Aaron Laffey
  5. Jeremy Sowers

 

Kansas City
  1. Zack Greinke
  2. Gil Meche
  3. Kyle Davies
  4. Luke Hochevar
  5. Brian Bannister

 

Detroit
  1. Jeremy Bonderman
  2. Justin Verlander
  3. Armando Galarraga
  4. Edwin Jackson
  5. Chris Lambert

 

Minnesota

  1. Scott Baker
  2. Kevin Slowey
  3. Francisco Liriano
  4. Kevin Blackburn
  5. Glen Perkins

 

Chicago

  1. Mark Buehrle
  2. John Danks
  3. Gavin Floyd
  4. Jose Contreras
  5. Clayton Richard

 

Los Angeles
  1. John Lackey
  2. Ervin Santana
  3. Joe Saunders
  4. Jered Weaver
  5. Anthony Ortega


Oakland
  1. Justin Duchscherer
  2. Dana Eveland
  3. Dallas Braden
  4. Sean Gallagher
  5. Gio Gonzalez

 

Seattle
  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Eric Bedard
  3. Jarrod Washburn
  4. Garrett Olson
  5. Ryan Rowland-Smith

 

Texas
  1. Kevin Millwood
  2. Vicente Padilla
  3. Brandon McCarthy
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Doug Mathis

 

Atlanta
  1. Derek Lowe
  2. Jair Jurrjens
  3. Javier Vasquez
  4. Kenshin Kawakami
  5. Jo-Jo Reyes

 

Florida
  1. Josh Johnson
  2. Ricky Nolasco
  3. Chris Volstad
  4. Anibal Sanchez
  5. Andrew Miller

 

New York
  1. Johan Santana
  2. John Maine
  3. Mike Pelfrey
  4. Oliver Perez
  5. Tim Redding

 

Philadelphia
  1. Cole Hamels
  2. Brett Myers
  3. Jamie Moyer
  4. Joe Blanton
  5. J.A. Happ

 

Washington
  1. John Lannan
  2. Scott Olsen
  3. Shawn Hill
  4. Collin Balester
  5. Shairon Martis

 

Houston
  1. Roy Oswalt
  2. Wandy Rodriguez
  3. Mike Hampton
  4. Brian Moehler
  5. Brandon Backe

 

Milwaukee
  1. Yovani Gallardo
  2. Dave Bush
  3. Braden Looper
  4. Manny Parra
  5. Jeff Suppan

 

St. Louis
  1. Adam Wainwright
  2. Kyle Lohse
  3. Chris Carpenter
  4. Todd Wellemeyer
  5. Mitchell Boggs

 

Chicago
  1. Carlos Zambrano
  2. Ryan Dempster
  3. Rich Harden
  4. Ted Lilly
  5. Sean Marshall

 

Pittsburgh
  1. Paul Maholm
  2. Ian Snell
  3. Tom Gorzelanny
  4. Zach Duke
  5. Jeff Karstens

 

Cincinnati
  1. Edinson Volquez
  2. Aaron Harang
  3. Johnny Cueto
  4. Bronson Arroyo
  5. Homer Bailey

 

Arizona
  1. Brandon Webb
  2. Danny Haren
  3. Doug Davis
  4. Max Scherzer
  5. Jon Garland

 

Los Angeles
  1. Chad Billingsley
  2. Hiroki Kuroda
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Randy Wolf
  5. James McDonald

 

San Francisco
  1. Tim Lincecum
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Barry Zito
  4. Randy Johnson
  5. Jonathan Sanchez

 

San Diego
  1. Jake Peavy
  2. Chris Young
  3. Josh Geer
  4. Cha Seung Baek
  5. Chad Reineke

 

Colorado
  1. Aaron Cook
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez
  3. Jason Marquis
  4. Greg Smith
  5. Jason Hirsh

 

cashman_brian031217_getty.jpg

After making these lists
and seeing this
thread, I’ve been inspired to decide which rotation I think is the best.  As I’ve said earlier, I think Cleveland has
the best starting pitching depth, but as far as the most effective starting
five goes, I’ll have to take the Yankees. 
No one in the MLB can match Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, and
Chamberlain.  Plus New York has a bunch
of depth with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, Humberto Sanchez, Kei
Igawa all in Triple-A presumably.  The
best National League rotation is, in my opinion, the Chicago Cubs.  Of course, that all depends on how healthy
Rich Harden can stay.

wade.jpg

And as for the worst…I’d
pick the Astros.  Sure, the Jays or
Pirates may have worse team pitching statistics in 2009, but Houston has
absolutely no depth and a weak collection of pitching prospects (and position
prospects for that matter).

 

As always, let me know
what you think.  In my next entry I’ll
continue my pre-season predictions/picks with giving my personal predictions
for all the major awards.

2009 Predictions

springtraining1.jpg

It’s been a while since I last posted, but with
spring training just getting started, and most of the major free agent being
signed already, it’s time to bust out some preseason picks.  I guess I’ll
do the award picks later, but for the time being I will just give my
predictions for how each division will turn out (and of course a slight
explanation or comment as to why I have them placed there.)

Let’s get it going:

————————————–

  AL EAST

1. Yankees (darn cash…and
good scouting)

2. Red Sox (Offense is slightly,
and I mean slightly lacking)

3.
Rays (The reason Tampa Bay is in third place? The O-word)

4. Blue Jays (If I was in
a different mood, I might peg them to be last)

5. Orioles (It’s a toss up
between the O’s and Toronto for last place)

  AL
CENTRAL

1. Indians (Deeeeep
rotation=success)

2. White Sox (Good, not
great)

3. Twins (What’s the
point? They always prove everyone wrong!)

4. Royals (Happy
Dayton?  You’re not in the cellar! 
yay)

5. Tigers (I’ll give them
this: they are in baseball’s toughest division)

     AL WEST

1.
Athletics (If all their young players break out, they’ll easily win the West)

2.
Angels (Suspect offense, but fully capable of overtaking the A’s)

3.
Rangers (My pick for the 2012 World Champions…not kidding)

4. Mariners (No chance, especially with the poor
offseason they had)

    AL WILD CARD

         Red Sox (No surprise here but it will probably be a
very close race)

     NL EAST

           
1. Mets (The East is a messy division but I think they will come out on top)

2.
Phillies (It will be a mighty tough task to repeat)

3. Marlins (I wouldn’t be surprised if they make
the playoffs, seriously)

4. Braves (Money can’t fix everything – I’m looking
at you Frank Wren)

5. Nationals (Back-to-back first overall draft
picks?  I say yes!)

    NL
CENTRAL

1.
Cubs (Should easily beat out the Brew Crew and Cards)

2.
Brewers (May struggle to reach second place, let alone the playoffs)

3.
Cardinals (Very good depth, but the bullpen will be the ultimate decider)

4.
Reds (The manager’s a moron, the GM’s a moron, they’re all morons!)

5.
Astros (A blessing in disguise; it might finally force them to re-build)

6.
Pirates (On the right track; wait until 2012 Bucco fans)

    NL
WEST

1. Dodgers (Arizona and LA will battle it out until
the bitter end, but…)

2. D-Backs (unfortunately for D.C. native GM Josh
Byrnes, LA will prevail)

3.
Giants (I…I just can’t over that Edgar Renteria signing.  UGH)

4.
Rockies (Another rebuilding process, but it’s for the best)

5.
Padres (Once Moorad takes over, the re-building process should begin)

    NL WILD
CARD

Phillies (I predict
another disappointingly close year for the D-Backs)

   WORLD
SERIES

Cleveland Indians over
the Los Angeles Dodgers

cleveland.gif

       These
predictions are not just some arbitrary picks (except for Toronto and B     Baltimore).  I truly think this is how the next season will turn
out.           

S     So,  tell me
what you think about my picks, and/or your picks for the 2009   W   World Series.

Thumbs Up! (And Down)

This
one almost slipped by me, but the White Sox signed right-handed reliever Ryan Braun.  About a month ago, I wrote
a big rant
concerning the mistreatment of the “other Ryan Braun”, and in
the entry I promised to praise the GM that would re-sign the pitcher after the
Royals released him. 

ryanbraunz.jpg

So, on January 12th,
White Sox GM Kenny Williams inked Braun to a minor league deal.  Although he’ll will probably spend most of
2009 in South Carolina playing for the Charlotte Knights (“The Castle” is in Fort
Mill), you can bet the 28-year-old will dominate.  There is no reason to think Braun won’t, considering that is what he’s done his whole minor-league career.  I just hope the White Sox can overlook his
2007 season and give him another chance in the big leagues. 

 

So,
Mr. Williams, even if you only made the move to take up a Triple-A roster space
and have no expectations for Braun at all, you deserve this:

thumbsup.jpg

If
you read my latest
entry
, and were wondering what I was up to on January 20th, I
was busy complaining under my breath (and sometimes out loud.)  The reason was that some people who had
tickets for the inauguration did not get in…and I was one of them.  I know it could have been worse.  I’m glad I was not one the people who paid
hundreds of dollars for tickets, flown in from Europe, got up at 4:00 AM, and
waited in line for six hours.  I was
lucky enough to run home and barely get to see John Roberts humiliate
himself
. 

 

I
know it could have been much, much
worse, but still, I have the right to be a little annoyed. 

 

So, to any person that was involved in the ticketing
and planning departments of the inauguration (and to Chief Justice Roberts):

thumbsdown.png

“We Are One” Concert

On
Saturday morning, I stumbled across this
article on how Astros reliever LaTroy Hawkins was coming to the District for the
inauguration.  So naturally, I had to
go.  The mission was simple: find LaTroy
Hawkins, while simultaneously attempting to come as close as possible to the
Lincoln Memorial, where the We Are One concert was being held.

 

The
Capitol was getting decked out:

010.JPG

People
were coming from every which way:

014.JPG

But
I didn’t truly appreciate the massive number of people until I reached the
Washington Monument and saw the sea of people:

017.JPG

By climbing over chains, squeezing past people, and taking an extremely indirect
route, I finally made it to the best location I was going to stand in that
day.  And this is how far away it twas:

019.JPG

This
was the view behind me, facing the Washington Monument:

020.JPG

A LOT of people.  That’s all there was
to it:

016.JPG

I
can only describe what it was like walking through 17th Street in
one word:

Sardines

sardines.jpg

Yep, sardines (the picture
below DOES NOT, I repeat DOES NOT do the situation justice):

021.JPG

Minutes after the concert ended, enter claustrophobia

.

022.JPG

The
White House on its third-to-last day of infestation:

023.JPG

I
stopped by the Newseum and took some pics:
026.JPG

What’s the big deal with Hank Aaron’s number?

031.JPG

The First Amendment from
below:

030.JPG

Canada being Canada:

032.JPG

Celebrating their new
neighbor:

037.JPG

038.JPG

And that’s about it…

034.JPG

I’m going to the
Inauguration tomorrow (or technically today) and will probably take better
photos this time around.  Although the
chances of seeing LaTroy Hawkins are about as good as the Nationals winning
the pennant next year, I’ll still have my eyes wide open.  But even if LaTroy eludes me, it will be a
fine day (figuratively
speaking
):

obama_superman.png

I Rest My Case

About four months ago I
wrote an
entry
focused entirely about the stupidity of the Cincinnati Reds front
office.  San Francisco, Atlanta, Kansas
City, and Washington have all challenged that title since, but the combo of
manager Dusty
Baker
, general manager Walt Jocketty, and owner Bob
Castellini
has proved to be tough to overcome. 

baker.jpgjocketty1.jpgcastellini.jpg

As Baker continues to
completely ignore any factual information given to him, and Bob Castellini (nice button)
continues to oversee a baseball system pounding itself into the ground, Walt
Jocketty is still signing incompetent players to ridiculous contracts, and
trading away top prospects at the time when they are most needed.

 

The past two Reds
transactions may be Jocketty’s worst yet. 
Let’s start it off with this trade, and on the next entry I’ll wrap up
the other horrific transaction made by Jocketty.

 

The Reds trade away Ryan Freel, Brandon Waring,
Justin
Turner
to BAL for Ramon
Hernandez
:

 

Wow.  Where do we begin?  This is just a mess of a trade for Cincinnati.  Now before I start getting into the players
involved, one must realize that the Reds also received $2 million from the
O’s. 

ramon hernandez.jpg

But that’s only the case because
Ramon Hernandez’s salary is ridiculously high at $8.5 million.  I still think $6.5 million is way too
much to pay for Hernandez.  However, in
the end, money can be recovered one way or another, but losing top prospects
cannot (especially when you have such a poorly managed front office, as the
Reds do).  I cannot assess Walt
Jocketty’s scouting department very accurately yet, since he has only been at
the GM helm for a little less than nine months.  But judging from his time with St. Louis, he didn’t have a very
good eye for scouts.  Basically,
Jocketty is slowly but surely using the talent [gulp] Jim Bowden, [gulp] Dan
O’Brien, and Wayne Krivsky (not bad enough for a gulp) found and/or drafted,
and Walt is trading them away for his own “preferred” players.

 

The Ramon Hernandez trade
is a perfect example of that.  You can’t
blame Jocketty for not having drafted the prospects currently in Cincinnati’s
farm clubs, but he is single-handedly destroying what little pieces of talent
the Reds had left to begin with in the minors.

 

Justin Turner and Brandon
Waring may not be Grade-A prospects, but both have a bright future, judging
from their minor league statistics, especially Waring.  Just by taking a quick look at his 2007
statistics in Low-A, you can see Waring’s massive slugging potential. 

waring.jpg

Heck, including college, he hit 57 home runs
in 2007…in 489 at-bats!  Not that it has
that much meaning, but The Baseball Cube’s scouting report on Waring has
his power ranked at 100 (of out 100). 

 

However, Waring’s output
fell drastically in 2008 (20 HR), and predictably, so did his OBP
(.346).  I don’t know what caused the
drop in power, but the cold hard fact is that his slugging percentage fell 147
points, and that is probably why the Reds were willing to give him up (not to
say they were right to do so). 

 

Waring may never get back
to the serious upside he showed with rookie-ball Billings, but a .340 OBP with
twenty dingers a season is still pretty solid. 


turner.jpg

Turner looks like he may wind up being Brian Roberts’ replacement in
2010 (when Roberts’ contract runs out). 
Maybe a more realistic expectation for Turner may be a poor man’s Chuck
Knoblauch
(which is not as bad as it sounds) or that of a Ryan Freel-type,
without the ability to play outfield.  Of course, one of Ryan Freel’s main assets is his immense
versatility (2B, 3B, LF, CF, RF). 

 

ryan_freel_medium.jpg

I’m not exactly sure where
Freel fits in with the O’s next year. 
The O’s have a logjam of outfielders already (Scott, Jones, Markakis,
Pie and Montanez), and capable infielders as well. 
Baltimore’s only major hole is at SS, which is the one position
Freel doesn’t play.  General
manger Andy MacPhail should trade Melvin Mora, Brian Roberts, and Luke
Scott this off-season.  But seeing the
slim chances of that happening, the 33-year-old probably will just be a
super-utility guy.  I understand that
Ryan Freel is a name more recognizable than Brandon Waring or Justin Turner,
but I frowned whenever I saw an article refer to it as “Ramon Hernandez for
Ryan Freel, and two other prospects”. 
If nothing else, the Reds forced Baltimore to take Freel, because
of the four million dollars he is owed next year.

 

Bottom Line

 

This was DISASTROUS
for Cincinnati, and I was just stunned that Baltimore could get anything for
Ramon Hernandez, let alone two good prospects from an equally awful team such
as the Reds.  Bottom, bottom Line: Andy
MacPhail is either a genius, or Old Jock’ had lost his meds.  Yeeaahh, most likely the
latter.

 

Grades

Reds – D-

Orioles – A

 

OK, so in a future post
I’ll go over the other transaction that cements my claim that Cincinnati has
the worst management in the game.  And
if you are a disgruntled Reds fan, or just simply depressed by the sheer
incompetent nature of the organization, I have the thing for you!

jockketty2.jpg

“Post-Renteria” – 28 Days Later

–Brian Sabean, GM of the San Francisco Giants,
signed Edgar Renteria on December 3rd 2008, and now, 28 days later, I assess
the damage.  A while back, I wrote
off Sabean as the worst GM in baseball.  Although I’ve switched positions since then, Sabean is showing why he has
always been in my bottom five.

28 days later.jpg

The Mike Jacobs trade was
bad.  Raul Ibanez and A.J. Burnett got
overpaid, and the Kyle Farnsworth signing was just stupid, but the worst deal
made this off-season is undoubtedly the Edgar Renteria
signing.  Forget the fact the Giants
already had a young, worthy shortstop, and forget the fact the Giants are in
rebuilding mode.  Renteria just got flat
overpaid. 

 

His hitting has
deteriorated; he has no range, and is 33 years old.  Why on earth would a GM sign him to a two-year contract worth
$18MM?  Since that’s too much money to
be an “insurance” player in case Manny Burriss
doesn’t perform, Renteria is going to be playing every day.

 

Now, if Brian Sabean had
serious doubts about Manny Burriss being ready to play in the bigs, then I
would have respected his decision to sign a veteran free agent shortstop,
because I hate it when teams rush their prospects (hello J.R. Towles).   I’m not saying Manny Burriss or Ivan Ochoa
aren’t ready, but if the Giants signed a consistent, inexpensive shortstop like
Alex Cintron
or Angel
Berroa
I would not have disagreed. 
But Renteria is way too expensive, and was signed to a multi-year
deal.  Seriously, what is Brian Sabean
thinking?  I hope his plan isn’t to wait
for Renteria to have a comeback year and then trade him away for prospects
because Renteria will never have an OBP higher than .350 ever again, his range
is gone, and his power will only get worse in spacious AT&T Park.

renteria.jpg

I hope Edgar Renteria
realizes how lucky he is.  I struggle to
find a single team that would have given him half the contract he signed for
with San Francisco.

 

burriss.jpg

The only way San Francisco
could screw up their situation more is if they keep Manny Burriss in the majors
as a backup.  Because the only
silver lining in this signing is the chance Manny Burriss would have bombed in
the majors.  This signing gets rid of
that risk.  Perhaps he can develop
better in Triple-A Fresno rather than with the Giants.  But still, Ivan Ochoa could’ve filled in for
Burriss.  Besides, Renteria is signed
until 2011, and it won’t take that long for Burriss to develop.  That is why this deal is so idiotic
.


So now I present to you my list of the ten worst current general managers:

(Only counting time with their current club)

10. Ruben Amaro Jr. – PHI     (He’s really only made one move, but it was bad)

9. J.P. Ricciardi – TOR

8. Dave Dombrowski – DET

7. Ed Wade – HOU

6. Kevin Towers – SD

5. Frank Wren – ATL

4. Brian Sabean – SF

3. Jim Bowden – WASH

2. Walt Jocketty – CIN

1. Dayton Moore – KC

Mr.
Wateryathnking?

mooredayton.JPG

An Old Trade I Never Analyzed

This was a blockbuster
trade that I never got to officially analyze, so here we go…

 

(The trade was Matt Holliday
for Carlos
Gonzalez
, Huston
Street
, and Greg Smith)

gonzalez, street, smith.jpg

I don’t know why the
Rockies asked for Carlos Gonzalez because they already had a logjam in the
outfield without him.  I also don’t know
why the Athletics targeted Greg Smith rather than another young A’s pitcher who
doesn’t give up a lot of fly balls, which does not bode well for Coors
Field.  It still made sense for Colorado
to trade Holliday because they got enough talent back for the trade to work,
but I’m not convinced the Rockies were bad enough to give him up.  With Holliday, I suspected the Rockies would
have a reasonable shot to win the NL West because remember, in the land of
losers, the .500 team is king. 

 

holliday.jpg

I guess Dan
O’Dowd
didn’t want to take the risk of keeping Holliday until July where he
would have had half the package the A’s offered for a full season of Holliday’s
services.  The funny thing is that I
assumed the A’s and Rockies would have about the same amount of success next
season.  This is just a trade based off
the GMs’ decisions.  Billy
Beane
decided his team was good enough to win the World Series if they
acquired Holliday (and perhaps another FA), and chose to go all out.  I cannot disagree with him.  The A’s have a ton of young starters, and a
bevy of position players who could break out like Kurt Suzuki, Daric Barton,
Travis Buck,
Ryan Sweeney,
and Aaron
Cunningham
.  The ladder would have
most likely been the starting 2009 left fielder if Holliday was never
acquired.  But with only 20 games in
Triple-A under his belt, Cunningham probably is best suited to take over Holliday’s
spot in 2010.

 

Dan O’Dowd made the choice
to build for the future and basically sacrifice 2009.  I cannot argue with that decision either because the Rockies are
an extremely young team whose best years are in front of them.  2010 and 2011 will most likely go very well
for Colorado due to them having a lush farm system full of high ceiling
prospects.

 

sewell.jpegdemel.jpeg

However, I do question why O’Dowd asked for Carlos Gonzalez from the A’s when he could have
asked for relief help instead.  I’m not
saying the A’s would have given up their top relief prospect in  Andrew
Carignan
, but the Rockies could have improved upon  their poor bullpen depth by asking for a couple of relief prospects like Lance Sewell
(left) and Sam Demel (right). 

 

The Rockies just don’t
need more outfielders.  Brad Hawpe is
a lock in right, Ryan
Spilborghs
should be a lock in center, and Seth Smith is
good to go in right.  Smith killed the
ball in Triple-A the past two years and deserves a chance to play everyday in
Colorado.  At the very least he can be
an inexpensive stopgap in left field until Dexter Fowler
or Eric Young
Jr.
are ready.

 

If Gonzalez is flipped to
another team in return for more prospects, this deal could wind up being an
extremely good one for the Rockies.  But
until that deal is made, I’m not sure Dan O’Dowd did the best job he could have
in trading away the face of the franchise.

 

Bottom Line


This trade makes sense for
both teams, but I’m not convinced Dan O’Dowd chose the right players from
Oakland.  Nor am I completely convinced
the A’s are going to be good enough to make the playoffs next year.

 

Grades


Athletics -            B+

Rockies -             B+

The Giants Infield: A Lovely Mess (Pre-Renteria)

bocock.jpgburriss.jpgfrandsen.jpggillaspie.jpg

 sandoval.jpgochoa.jpgvelez.jpgrohlinger.jpg


Unless you are an intense
San Francisco baseball fan, or a just a crazy baseball super-fan, then you will
not recognize even half of the players above. 
So here is who they are with the positions that they are capable of
playing adequately in the major leagues in parentheses: (starting with the
upper left, and going clockwise):

 

Brian Bocock
(SS, 2B)

Emmanuel
Burriss
(SS, 2B)

Kevin Frandsen
(3B, 2B)

Conor
Gillaspie
(3B)

Ryan Rohlinger
(3B, 2B)

Eugenio Velez
(LF, 2B)

Ivan Ochoa
(SS, 2B)

Pablo Sandoval
(3B, 1B, C)

 

So what’s the point of
this long list?  The main point is to show the many choices facing the Giants in selecting a starting second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop in
2009.  Another important issue is who
deserves the title of “[insert infield position] of the future.”  So, let’s just go through all of the young
players in the Giants organization who can play the infield.  With all but one of the players capable of
playing multiple positions, it could get a bit confusing…

 

Brian Bocock        Age: 24          Positions: SS, 2B

 

The only reason I talk
about Bocock is because he was the Opening Day shortstop for this team.  And the only reason he got to hold that
honor is 1) Omar Vizquel got injured and 2) the Giants had nobody else.  If everything went according to plan, Bocock
probably would have spent all of last year at San Jose (A+) or Connecticut
(AA).  Unfortunately Bocock was rushed
(a lot) to the bigs and, as you might have guessed, he struggled mightily.  


bocock2.jpg

After Vizquel came back, he was sent
down.  And then, typical of struggling
player, Bocock got injured and missed much of the year.  Bocock only projects to be a utility
infielder and pinch runner.  Although
his 2008 can’t be taken seriously because he was rushed so much, Bocock
doesn’t deserve to be considered as the shortstop or second baseman of the
future for the Giants.

 

Manny Burriss         Age: 24           Positions:
SS, 2B

 

I try not to be biased on
this blog, but Manny is one of my favorite players.  He’s extremely friendly to fans and is the first D.C. public high
school product to be drafted and make it to the majors in 38 years.  All bias aside though, Burriss is the
Giants shortstop of the future. 

burriss1.jpg

Despite
being promoted through the minor leagues at an astonishing rate, he somehow hit
well in the majors this year.  How fast
was Burriss rushed?  He had a .237 OBP
and .417 OPS in Class A Advanced last year (139 AB), and yet the Giants decided
he should skip Double-A.  Then,
they called him to the majors after he only played 14 games in Triple-A
with a .281 OBP.  Does the fact he
struggled in the minors make it a more likely scenario that he will have a
sophomore slump?  Yeah, probably.  But what else can you do?  240 at-bats are enough to show whether or
not a player is ready for The Show. 
Even if Burriss struggles, he has the talent to be considered the
shortstop in San Francisco for a long time.

 

Kevin Frandsen       Age: 26           Positions: 3B, 2B

 

bonds.JPG

Kevin Frandsen (the guy
who hit the BP ball that smacked
Barry Bonds in the head) just needs to stay healthy.  He’s crushed AAA pitching, but never can play consistently in the
majors.  If you pick up all of his big
league games combined, his numbers are not that impressive.  But, considering how he handled the minors,
Frandsen should be given the opportunity to start every day at third base in
2009.  It would be hypocritical for the
Giants to mistreat Frandsen, a true “gamer”, when playing hard everyday for 162
games is part of the Giants marketing theme.  In fact, the Giants front office has
released a whole series of commercials asking players what defines a
gamer.  He also had a .392 OBP in the
Arizona Fall League for what’s it worth. 
(FYI, he was the oldest player there)

 

Connor Gillaspie      Age: 21           Positions: 3B

 

gillaspie2.jpg

Like Bocock, the only
reason Gillaspie is being mentioned in this list is because the Giants rushed
him and he was playing way out of his league (although, to his credit, he had
.429 OBP in 8 games.)  Simply put,
Gillaspie doesn’t stand a chance to be the Giants’ third baseman next year.  However, with a good year in San Jose (A+)
or Connecticut (AA), he is likely to, at some point, move Frandsen into a
super-utility role and earn the honor of the title “third baseman of the
future.”  It will be interesting to see
what Gillaspie does next year on the farm, but he will have to prove he is more
valuable than Kevin Frandsen or Ryan Rohlinger.  Expectations will be high, as he was drafted 37th
overall
this year.

 

Ryan Rohlinger       Age: 25           Positions: 3B, 2B

 

rohlinger2.jpg

Rohlinger could be ready
for the big leagues right now, but the problem is that: 1) he hasn’t proven
himself at AAA, and 2) he’s hardly played second base in his career.  With Burriss starting at short, and Frandsen
at third, Rohlinger will have to adjust to second base if he wants to start
next year for San Francisco.  But since
the Giants have other second base options that have already proven themselves
at Triple-A, I’d let Rohlinger start the season in Fresno to learn second base
and of course see how well he will hit. 
Rohlinger may end up being a utility player next year, but then again,
so could the other second base options like Frandsen, Velez, or Ochoa.  Let’s just say Rohlinger lights it up in
Triple-A Fresno to start the year but Frandsen is doing well in the majors as
well.  In that case Frandsen could move
over to second base (and kick out Velez or Ochoa), and Rohlinger would be able
to play his natural position at third. 
As a general matter, Rohlinger’s future depends a lot on what the
players ahead of him do, since he isn’t quite as advanced as the rest (besides
Gillaspie)

 

Eugenio Velez           Age: 26           Positions: LF, 2B

 

Velez is an interesting
player.  This year in Fresno, he was one
of the best leadoff men in the Pacific Coast League (.881 OPS, 42 games).  But when Velez played for the Giants, he
flat out stunk, even with a good September (.367 OBP).  Playing in San Fran, Velez will always have
someone right behind to take over if he slumps.  He is at the age (26) where he needs to put together a good full
season in the majors or forever be considered a career utility man and pinch
runner.  Personally, my prediction for
Velez would be just that, a utility guy (he plays infield and outfield), and a
super-fast guy off the bench.  Bruce
Bochy should give Velez the starting job at second base next year, but I truly
doubt Velez will be good enough to stop Ivan Ochoa or Ryan Rohlinger from
getting some time at 2B. 

velez2.jpg

Velez will
give S.F. his 50 stolen bases and four home runs a season, but the question is
whether he’s a .310 or .350 on-base guy. 
I’d guess somewhere in the middle, but I’m not sure that is good enough.

 

Ivan Ochoa   Age: 26           Positions: SS, 2B

 

ochoa2.jpg

Ivan Ochoa’s season was
very simple.  He crushed in Triple-A,
and got crushed in the majors. 
Is it worth giving him another shot? 
Of course!  He’s only 26 years
old and it was his rookie season after all. 
But, I wouldn’t expect him to put up anything close to his numbers in
Fresno.  I don’t think playing in the
hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League was the entire reason Ochoa’s power
suddenly flew up, but it’s worth noting that Ochoa’s slugging percentage never
was above .339 before hitting in the PCL. 
He most likely projects to be a back up in the major leagues, but he’s
shown he can slug.  He plays both middle
infield positions, but has spent more time at short on the farm.  A key indicator of Ochoa’s future/career
will be where the Giants send him out of Spring Training next year.  Here are his options:

 

Option 1 (Likely): Giants
utility infielder – The worst-case scenario for his career.  This means Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean see
Ochoa’s future as nothing more than as a utility player.

 

Option 2 (Possible):
Fresno’s starting shortstop – The Giants think highly enough of Ochoa to let
him get regular at-bats and only call him up if he can get significant playing
time.

 

Option 3 (Unlikely):
Giants’ starting second baseman – The Giants really think highly of
Ochoa and are confident he is better than Ryan Rohlinger or Eugenio Velez.  Based on Ochoa’s performance in every level
besides Triple-A, his chances look slim.

 

Pablo Sandoval        Age: 22           Positions: 1B, 3B, C

 

sandoval2.jpg

Sandoval is basically
guaranteed a spot with the Giants next year after crushing in his 35-game stint
there and continuing his hot hitting in the Venezuelan Winter League where he
had a 1.119 OPS in 48 games.  The
question is where he will play next season. 
In order of games played, he is a first baseman, catcher, and third
baseman.  In a perfect world I guess
Sandoval would be a first-baseman, but with the Giants, his best fit is behind
the plate.  Benjie Molina is in the last
year of his contract and needs to be traded right now.  After trading Molina (which is probably
easier said than done), Sandoval could slide in to be the everyday backstop and
attempt to replicate his breakout ’08 season.

 

My Picks for 2009

 

If I was Bruce Bochy,
these would be my picks for who would start at each infield position heading
into next season, and the people that would slide in if the starters are
injured or slump badly:

 

1B: Travis
Ishikawa
(John
Bowker
)

2B: Eugenio Velez (Kevin
Frandsen)

SS: Manny Burriss (Ivan
Ochoa)

3B: Kevin Frandsen (Ryan
Rohlinger)

 

I know I didn’t discuss
Travis Ishikawa or John Bowker in this post, but Bowker should start next year
in AAA, and should only be called up to the majors if he can get regular
at-bats.  His 2007 season in Double-A cannot
be overlooked; he has some nice upside.

 

The Giants have a lot of
variables in the infield at this point, but a lot of uncertainty.  I think Matt Downs
will provide stability at second base by 2010 or ’11.

 

And on a final note, I
have a very bold prediction:  The San
Jose Giants will win the MILBY award (Minor League Baseball of the Year) for
“Team of the Year”.  That award goes to
the most dominant team in all of the minors. 
How could I pick one team out of all of the affiliated teams in
professional baseball?  Well, it’s
pretty simple. 

sanjose.png

The players on schedule
to play for San Jose next year have played on the “Team of the Year” the past
two seasons.  In 2007, the Class A-Short
Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes won Team of the Year.  Then, most the same players went to play in Augusta, GA for the
Green Jackets.  Guess what?  That team was the 2008 Team of the
Year.  See my logic?  I guess there is this one wave of players
drafted by S.F. in 2007 that just knows how to win.  It can’t hurt that ’08 Augusta manager Andy
Skeels
is moving up to San Jose with his players.  Players like Angel
Villalona
, Madison
Bumgarner
, Shane
Jordan
, Mike
Loree
, and Wendell
Fairley
may all start next year playing in High A.  Just imagine how great that team would be if
the Giants didn’t decide to allow Tim
Alderson
to skip Class A (by the way, smart move Fred
Stanley
).

 

If it isn’t obvious
already, I wrote most of this entry before stupid Brian Sabean signed Edgar Renteria.  But I’m stubborn and couldn’t let all this
writing go to waste.

 

I’m not about to claim I feel as bad as this guy, but I was
pretty ticked when I heard the Renteria news. 
Oh well.

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