I haven’t put up some baseball power rankings for awhile. Probably because the A’s had a rough patch, but now that they are on fire, and I can justify putting them in with the top 16 teams in the league again, it’s time to get some new power rankings up for the first 17 weeks of the season. It’s been a year of surprises, and I didn’t see the Padres being ranked third at any point, let alone this deep in the season! With about 100 games in the books every series starts to become more important than the last! Continue reading
Tag Archives: Red Sox
Yes, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a Chapman in the news, and in honor of having the same last name as Cuban pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman, who will be showcasing his pitching on Tuesday for a handful of teams. It’s really the first time most will see him pitch live. He’s a 21-year-old lefty that is asking for Strasberg type money, actually more than Steven asked for, which I thought was ridiculous. Alas, he very well could end up being the next best Chapman since Rex (details here on one of the best white dunkers)! The main question for ML clubs is whether they want to spend on someone so raw and unproven. Seeing the triple digit fastball is good and all, but how coachable is he and what kind of worker is he? They also need to know if Aroldis will be able to adjust to the U.S. after getting out of a poverty stricken Cuba. I’m sure he’s going to get paid either way, which is always disappointing to see, since he hasn’t done anything yet. Hopefully, he will do something to once again make the Chapman name relevant in the sports world! Anyways, it sounds like the Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees have heavy interest in signing him, so it seems like he’ll get paid well where ever he goes.
The MLB Divisional Series was kicked off today, and the most exciting game TBS has covered so far was the last game of the regular season. Not to say if your a Philly (won 5-1) or Yankee (won 7-2) fan it wasn’t a good day, but it just wasn’t all that exciting for the rest of us. The Dodgers game is the only one that’s been interesting so far. The Dodgers are currently up 3-2 going into the bottom of the 5th and are surprisingly ripping Carpenter. So this game could be promising! Watching the playoffs and the amazing last game of the regular season it has made me realize I just don’t enjoy any announcer combos baseball has to offer. Maybe they’re dumbing it down too much for the people who don’t know what’s going on, but I rarely hear anything remotely insightful. Maybe they use the sideline reporters too much, I think Craig Sager always scares me a little the first time I see him everynight. He gives me that hide your kids because I don’t know about this guy vibe, but at least we don’t have to hear them more than five or six times a game. One thing I’m a HUGE fan of TBS for having, is the pitch-by-pitch K zone up they throw in the corner for every batter. It almost makes up for the weak announcing crews that are scared to make anyone sound like a bad person. I’d love to hear them call guys out, and stop playing the soft story line. We need some more Charles Barkley’s on the air!
You can vote for more than one combo of announcers if you really think they are equally good… Is that even possible?
Rickey Henderson was the star of the show today. Jim Rice was, for all intents and purposes, the opening act for what was Rickey’s show. It was probably the first induction ceremony I’ve ever watched in my life. I sat intently through the Joe “Flash” Gordon and Jim Rice tributes just to see the man. The man I took for granted as a child because I didn’t know how rare and special of a player he was. How was I to know Rickey Henderson was a once-in-a-lifetime player?
Well, today Rickey Henderson got his due. Today was his day. It was great to see all the green and gold in the audience today, at a time when the A’s fan base is in pergutory. That’s because Rickey was one of the greatest players we have, and will see, in our lifetimes. His speech left a little to be desired. I felt like I was watching Forrest Gump to be honest. That’s not a jab at Rickey. I would never insult Rickey’s intelligence, for he is an Oakland Tech alum, like my grandmother. But let’s be real, no one’s ever accused him of being the smartest leadoff hitter in the history of baseball! Did he not have someone proof read his speech? At any rate, I still watched without distraction, much like I did in the late 80s / early 90s in during the peak of his career.
Next weekend, the Rickey-fest continues back home in Oakland, as the A’s will retire his number 24. If I don’t have an eyewitness account posted here by Monday morning, feel free to question my devotion to the Oakland Athletics forever. Congratulations, Rickey. And in the meantime…. Eric Patterson ladies and gentlemen!!!
This is the night I’ve been waiting for!
Nomar Garciaparra made his long-awaited return to Fenway Park tonight. But while the ovation he received from the fans was fantastic and well-deserved, that’s not what this is about.
What’s that you say? It was also John Smoltz Fenway debut? This definitely isn’t about that!
No, this is about the Athletics 21-year old pitcher, Brett Anderson, finally doing what we’ve all been hearing he was capable of. Coming over from the Diamondbacks in the huge haul that was the Danny Haren deal, Anderson was widely regarded as the second best prospect of the bunch. Once Carlos Gonzalez showed his ceiling as a lifetime quadruple-A player, Anderson emerged as the top prospect in the A’s system. Working for the A’s triple-A club in Sacramento, and being 45 minutes from the single-A affiliate, has given me plenty of opportunities to check out the A’s young players. Brett Anderson, along with other prized pitcher Trevor Cahill, however, spent all of last season in AA-Midland. That’s in Texas, not really within driving distance. So, that left me following box scores, and reading updates from Baseball America and Athletics Nation.
That was, until Anderson was moved up to AAA in time for the PCL playoffs last year. I would finally get an up close look at the next great Oakland pitcher. I won’t lie, it was sort of a letdown. He had a great outing, don’t get me wrong. If I recall, he threw 2 or 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 or 2 hits. But nothing really stood out. Not one dominant pitch, no crazy velocity, or filthy strikeouts. I guess he was just a placement pitcher – not flashy, but efficient. Fine by me, I guess.
But this year, since starting the season in Oakland, Anderson had yet to impress (5-7, 5.45 ERA). Is he just another Gio Gonzalez? (I’m not ready to write him off, but I’m close) Anyway, Cahill was the one looking like the future ace of the staff.
UNTIL TODAY. Against the best team in the AL with the best home record in the major leagues at the most famed stadium in baseball, Brett Anderson threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout. It wasn’t just the outcome though, he looked filthy doing it. He struck out nine batters, and he did it with nasty curveballs, sliders, changeups, and oh yeah, a 97 mph fastball. I don’t expect him to duplicate this performance every time out, but he finally showed what he’s capable of – on the game’s biggest stage no less. All of a sudden, Anderson-Cahill-Mazzaro sounds a lot more like it’ll have the same ring to it for years to come that Hudson-Mulder-Zito did.
Since my last piece examined the state of the NBA on the decline, I figured that it would be fitting to give an assessment of the MLB during the financial crisis . Baseball is in the beginning stages of seeing exactly how bad the country’s unwillingness to spend is affecting them. We’ll know exactly what is going to happen with 19 teams within 6 games of first place in their divisions. As the July 31st trade deadline approaches, will any teams make any big moves adding money to their payroll? Baseball is facing their biggest financial hurdle since they came back from the 94 strike, but this time they don’t have the influx of steroids to save them. Even the rich teams are feeling the financial crunch as the powerhouses like the Yankees and Red Sox are even seeing declining ticket sales.
With teams struggling to get fans through the turnstiles, they’ve turned to alternatives to lure people to the games. In Arizona, they gave away an unprecedented amount of 41 season tickets to 14 different families which was worth approximately $100K. The Marlins are giving away $2,500 towards a mortgage or rent payment for 11 Saturday’s this season. They are also giving away free tickets on Monday night games to any person with proof that they were laid off. Baseball, more than other sports, is driven by ticket sales, and this year has shown that even the mighty Yankees and Red Sox aren’t immune to the recession, as many games aren’t selling out the way they have over the past decade and a half.
Last year there were many big names swirling around before the deadline like CC Sabathia, Mark Teixiera, Manny Ramierez, Jason Bay, Rich Harden, and Joe Blanton. Like many years past, all of the marquee names found a new home for the 2nd half of the season to help their respective teams during the playoff push. Maybe last year’s market had more top dogs than most, but this year you can hear a pin drop around most camps with teams trying to find ways to save. I haven’t heard one intriguing rumor for any player that would make a significant impact on a team pushing for a playoff spot. As we approach the July 31st trade deadline, it’s the time of the year when teams have to decide if they are a buyer or a seller. This year it seems as though everyone is a seller, and every team has players on the block as they just want to clear salary. It doesn’t seem like teams even want to improve in this bizarro situation that is mirroring the NBA. Are Mark Derosa and Eric Hinske going to be the biggest names we hear moved this year? So far it’s shaping up that way. The Red Sox, Phillies, Giants, and Mets seem like the only teams that are willing to take on a significant amount of salary. The economy has made GM’s much more cautious. Even if there are trades made, I doubt it will be much more than a 7-9 hitter or a 4th or 5th man in the pitching rotation. I hope we see some fireworks from one or two teams before it’s all said and done. I need something to look forward to, since my A’s were placed on the sellers list a month ago by positioning themselves firmly in last place in the AL West. Hopefully they can get a few parts via trade, that can be immediately inserted into their D rated offense for one of their proven players (their old guys or Holliday).
The first Doin Work MLB Power Rankings! Sure there may be a few surprises in here, but where else can you see a westcoast biased rankings!?! I would think it should be a little refreshing after always hearing an East Coast point of view! Feel free to rip the placement of any of the teams, but this is our rundown of the league through 6/18.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – They have the best record in the league, with Juan Pierre leading the team in average after Manny’s suspension. The team hasn’t been hitting as well the last couple of weeks, but their pitching is the real story, as they lead the majors with a 3.59 ERA and are holding opponents to a league low .235 BA.
2. Boston Red Sox – The much maligned Boston squad has surged of late to become the second team to 40 wins. They’ve ridden the success of the best home record in the majors (23-8), as well as the best record against their division (20-8). We all know about their success against the Yankees this year, but what some might not know is they’ve struggled against the AL West (5-10). Only the Orioles have a worse record.
3. Texas Rangers – Somehow the Rangers and manager Ron Washington have figured out ways to win in Texas. Will it will last through the dog days of August when pitchers usually start getting blown up in Arlington? We will see. Everyone knows their offense will hit, but can Millwood and Feldman keep rolling the way they have?
4. Anaheim Angels – This might be a little high, but the Angels have the longest current win streak in the majors. They’re also a proven contender whose main concern in the early going was injuries. They were without John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Ervin Santana but managed to stay afloat. Now, all three are back and the Angels look poised to reclaim control of the AL West. Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver have combined for a 14-6 record. If Lackey and Santana can regain their form, this team could be dangerous.
5. Philadelphia Phillies – They are (36-28) with a 3 game lead in their division, but they have struggled at home (13-18), which has knocked the reining champs down a few spots in the rankings. The placement of Ibanez on the DL probably won’t hurt them as much as their bullpen has this year as they rank 26th in pitching. They’ve made up for the pitching woes with the fifth most runs scored and the 3rd most HR’s in the league.
6. Milwakee Brewers – They seem to be back on track, winning their last 3 at Cleveland in a series that saw them put up 30 runs. They gave up 25, which could be reason to be alarmed, but they came away with the W each time. Assuming they’ve bounced back from the previous stretch where they lost 6 of 7, Milwaukee should remain atop an NL Central that is very winnable. They currently have, by far, the best intra-divisional record at 21-10. Prince Fielder, who leads the majors in RBI, heads up an explosive offense. Their fate will lie with their rotation. Yovani Gallardo is pitching like an all-star, but Suppan, Looper, Bush, and Parra will need to pick their game up to help the Brewers win the Central.
7. New York Yankees – Since A-Rod came back from the DL, Teixeira is on a tear with 15 homers and 38 RBI’s since June 9th. The Bronx bombers still have question marks on the pitching side as they are currently ranked 26th in ERA. The main question is whether the new ballpark is evening out their superior batting lineup, as they give up nearly as many runs as they score in the new version of Arlington. So far they have fared well at their new home (21-13), and have gotten lucky at times as well (Castillo comes to mind). They are only 3 games back of Boston in a very tough AL East division.
8. Toronto Blue Jays – They’ve proved they’re for real this year, especially on the offensive side. If everything goes according to plan, they should finish 3rd in the AL East! The only question mark for the Blue Jays has been their pitching, and that just got a lot more complicated with the loss of Roy Halladay.
9. St. Louis Cardinals – Big Albert has been on a tear lately slugging 10 homers with 21 RBI’s over the last month which has helped them stay within a game of the division leading Brewers. St. Louis boasts the sixth best era in the league (3.47), which has been a key in their success. Carpenter has been stellar since coming off the DL giving up a total of 9 runs in 41 innings.
10. Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa has been strong lately going 12-5 over their last 17. They are currently 3 games over .500 for the first time this season. They are determined to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, and have added to the congestion atop the AL East. They currently are +72 in run differential which is the highest in the league, so you have to figure sooner or later they are going to go on a good stretch in the win column.
11. Colorado Rockies – They have been as hot as any team in baseball, since they fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracey they’ve gone a solid 14-4 since the switch. Their early season schedule was one of the toughest in baseball, which is why I think they struggled out of the gate. Their recent power surge has raised them to 8th in runs scored and they are now tied for 8th in HR’s in the MLB.
12. Detroit Tigers – Granderson and Inge are leading the charge as the Tigers look to be what everyone thought they would be last year. I would’ve put them higher but they have lost four in a row including two to lowly Pittsburgh.
13. New York Mets – This is just about the area in the rankings where the contenders segue into the pretenders. The Mets are still in the upper echelon of MLB teams, but have yet to show they can put together a full season. Luis Castillo’s game losing drop seemed an awful lot like September foreshadowing though!
14. San Francisco Giants – The offense has been bad, as expected, but they’ve managed to stay above .500 for some time now, thanks in large part to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are likely to keep up their pace. Anywhere above .500 should keep the Giants in the wild card race.
15. Cincinatti Reds – They’ve managed to stay afloat despite injuries to Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, and I guess Joey Votto. Add to that poor starts to the season by Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings. If the Reds can get healthy, even they could make a run at the division.
16. Chicago Cubs – Currently sitting in 4th place, but only 4 games back of the first place Brewers. The Cubs need to figure out two things if they’re going to make any noise this season: how to win on the road and how to win in their division.
17. Minnesota Twins – The Twins have been extremely inconsistent thus far, but they always end up finding a way to win. At 34-34, they are still very much in the wild card picture, but they’ll need the team to click altogether to make a run at the postseason. Their pitching won’t dominate, but it’ll keep them close and games will be winnable with Mauer and Morneau leading the way at the plate.
18. Chicago White Sox – It appears that the starting pitching has turned the corner with many great outings lately, led by Jose Contreras only giving up 3 hits in his last two starts (16 IP). The offense will have to pick it up soon if they are going to contend.
19. Florida Marlins – Ten different pitchers have started games for the Marlins this year. However, Josh Johnson has been the only one to prove he belongs. They’ve made attempts to get back to .500 but can’t quite get there.
20. Seattle Mariners – The M’s started the season making some people believe they would be a contender in the West, but since the hot start they have struggled and look about the same as the last few seasons lackluster performances.
21. Atlanta Braves – They haven’t been consistent and don’t look to be taking the NL East anytime soon, with a few good teams now residing in their division. Chipper needs to break out of his slump for them to make any kind of a move.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh isn’t in last in their division for once. Somehow they have kept it going after trading away a top player (McClouth) for MORE prospects. I guess they’re just stockpiling them for something good to come along. Their pitching has kept them in games as they are currently ranked 13th overall in ERA.
23. Oakland A’s – A win against the Dodgers bumped them up a spot, but they have looked awful in the field and at the plate. Not the recipe for success for any team. Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera seem to be battling it out for the biggest bust on the team.
24. Cleveland Indians – Like many teams at the bottom of the rankings and standings, breaks just don’t come their way. They look good for a week and terrible the next week. Their pitching has been awful this year which, makes it hard for any team to compete. They are ranked last in ERA.
25. Houston Astros – Tejada is the only bright spot on the team being 2nd in the NL in BA, and first in doubles (23). As we get closer to the All-Star break it looks as though we’ll see what players they are going to trade away. I saw the Vegas odds on a Houston firesale at 2/1.
26a. San Diego Padres – Not much to say here, except Adrian Gonzalez’s NL home run lead was just taken from him by Pujols. They had a ten game winning streak, but came crashing back to earth by losing 11 out of 17 after the winning streak.
26b. Arizona Diamondbacks – At least the weather’s nice there, and they have Danny Haren. It was basically a matchup of Gonzalez and Haren to take the coveted 26a spot! As close to a tie as you’ll see on a power rankings!
28. Baltimore Orioles – Being in the toughest division in baseball they have shown everyone how to struggle. They have been outscored by opponents by 56 runs. It’s the largest run differential in the league. Oh and Matt Wienters has arrived if you didn’t know, oh you did, cool.
29. Kansas City Royals – They probably don’t deserve to be this low, but they haven’t shown anything that would make any fan of them care what their rank is. They have some pitching as they lead the league in complete games (8).
30. Washington Nationals – They are 2nd to last in pitching and 20th in hitting. They need to sign Strasberg and get him on the mound this year for them to move out of the cellar. They’re on pace to lose over 100 games.
The A’s have shown signs of life the past few weeks, and I’ve wanted to write a post ripping them for this uninspired season thus far, but they just wouldn’t let me do it. The last two weeks they’ve won seven of their last twelve! So my assumption is they didn’t want me to write about how crappy their season has been going. I guess, since they are in the midst of their 2nd three game winning streak of the season, I will have to ease up on some of my feelings towards this miserable start, but for the most part it’s been about as bad as it could be…
During the first series of the year, I wanted to go to two of the four games that were in Anaheim. One of the games I went to was a come from behind win in the 9th, where they scored 3 runs in the 8th and 3 in the 9th to win the game 6-4. I was so excited that I ended up buying the MLB.com package to watch every game I could on my computer when time permitted. The second game was cancelled to the Adenhart tragedy. Little did I know that this would be their only exciting game to watch over the next month and a half. Aside from Mike Ryan Sweeney’s amazing grabs in the outfield, that was about the only positive feeling I had after watching them. The offense was so bad at one point, I wouldn’t even want to look at the box score because there would be six or seven guys hitting under .200!
I WAS excited about the players that they had signed over the offseason, because it was really the first time in two years that they really seemed like they were trying to compete in the west. Many people told me that we were signing too many old players, but I didn’t really care! I was just pumped to see them actually making off-season moves that didn’t involve (insert Oakland’s best pitcher/hitter) for (three major league ready MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS)! No wonder the Rivercats are always so good… Well, here’s my understanding of what is going on with some of the players that I was convinced during the off-season would make the A’s a force in the AL West.
- Matt Holliday – He was acquired via trade, and is supposed to be our big bat in the middle of the order. Observing him closely through the first month of the year (probably even a little more because he was on my fantasy team) I noticed one main theme. He looked like Pedro Serrano from Major League, as he constantly swung at bad pitches that weren’t even hittable. I wonder if he ever watched video of himself, because if they kept a stat for swings at a bad pitch out of the strike zone, Holliday would have one per at bat! Holliday’s thought process when he goes to the plate must be something to the extent of, “Cmon Matt, hit a bomb! Swing as hard as you can at the next pitch no matter where he throws it! Then grimace and tap the bat barrel on your head.” It really makes me wonder how he could have ever won two out of three triple-crown categories in one season. I guess Coors is truly the ultimate hitters’ park, I am a believer! I can’t say I’ve been impressed with anything he’s done this year! Ok, Ok he has turned it around lately, and I truly hope he proves me completely wrong! I hope I praise him and he inspires me to write up an MVP ballot for him, but he’s got to prove that to me. The whole “not mind being traded thing”, nope, not getting into it today…
- Jason Giambi – I’m guessing that I must’ve set the bar a little too high for the Giambino, since my last glimpse of him in the green and gold was his MVP season, and well, that Giambi will never stroll to the plate again, unless he starts taking some PED’s again! During this A’s offensive struggles, he was slumping as bad as Holliday, I found myself wishing that he had never signed on again and we just had Cust hitting in his spot with whoever at first. My opinion has been swayed lately with his power coming alive a little bit. Part of his problem was the way his swing has looked this year. I guess I didn’t watch him much while he was on the Yankees (seeing him only on SC highlights). At times I’d say he looks about as good as David Ortiz this first third of the season, but at least Giambi has 800% more homers than Ortiz! Bottom Line, his bat speed must be slowing, if not, it must be his reflexes…
- Orlando Cabrera – This guy tried to find any way possible to not sign with Oakland, and in the end I can’t completely blame him, since they were low-balling him. It’s been hard for me to root for him watching him play for the Angels and Red Sox, but I’m slowly adjusting. One thing is for sure, he has been playing like an unhappy guy (.225 BA). It’s probably like when I was answering customer calls for Oakley (I really hated the job), but I needed to work, so you just do what you gotta do. I just hope something snaps him out of his funk. I’ve watched way too much Angels baseball over the past few years living in Southern California, and when he was in Anaheim he always looked like he was having fun. In Oakland he’s had the someone just told me a relative died look on his face for nearly every game. If I was playing as bad as him, I’d probably have that look on my face too. I’ll tell you what O-Cab, we’re unhappy with your play so far this year, you need to step it up!
- Nomar Garciapara – Well, he’s played a lot so far this year… I guess he came to Oakland to take Chavez’s place when he’s hurt, er, uhh, I guess now Nomar is just competing with Chavez for who can spend the most time on the DL this season…
- Our Pitching – I’ve been excited at times, and shrugged my shoulders at times. What can you expect from a bunch of guys making their first dip in the major leagues!?! I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. If their offense wasn’t ranked 12th out of the 14 teams in the AL we’d probably be close to .500. Ok, maybe that’s a bit hasty, but they’ve pitched plenty of games that the offense could have won if they could have scored a couple! Oh yeah, have to mention Mazzaro’s first gem in his first career start going 6 1/3 shutout innings only giving up two hits on Tuesday. Anderson and Cahill, the other two of the “big three” young guys, have pitched well on and off. Our bullpen has a lot of “live arms”. I really do like our pen, we’re full of guys with closer stuff. Between Bailey, Ziegler, Casilla, and Wuertz (even Breslow) we should be able to hold a lot of leads, if we can actually get them!
I feel at this point there’s no way to go but up! I’m finally content with the way the A’s are playing as winning will cure everything. I’m crossing my fingers that the team on the field over the last two weeks is what people were making a big fuss over during the off-season. They need to be within 5 games of first by the All-Star break or it’s going to be time for this year’s fire sale! First on the block, (Matt Holliday) for (Three major league ready minor league players). I hope this day doesn’t happen too soon, as I’m just starting to get into it again!