Vernon Wells Slams Rangers in Series Win

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Is Vernon Wells for real? I say yes, be prepared for a .300/30/100 season.

With four homers in three games, Vernon Wells leads the majors in the category, as well as driving in a majors-tying seven runs batted in while batting .600. But is he for real? I say… yes.

Compare his batting average over the past several years:

2002: .275
2003: .317
2004: .272
2005: .269
2006: .303
2007: .245
2008: .300
2009: .260

I’ve bolded his ‘good’ years, and you can see that in the past five seasons, every other year he has a good year. In fact, his 2007 campaign was even worse than his 2009 one, yet he bounced back from that one quite nicely. So stop panicking, he certainly has the talent and the underlying statistics to have a solid .300/30/100 year, almost worth his large paycheck and enough to be a very solid cleanup hitter behind Adam Lind in the Jays lineup.

Anyways, with the win yesterday afternoon the Jays won their series against the Rangers and the Jays pitching staff was outstanding all series long. Plus, you can’t really complain about Jason Frasor’s opening day blown save because Frank Francisco also blew his save in dramatic fashion in the series premiere.

A good three-game stretch all-around for the club.

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Jays Let One Slip, C’mon Frasor!

After the Blue Jays lengthy closer auditions in Spring Training, it seems not much was accomplished as Jason Frasor blew the save in the bottom of the ninth to give up a hard-played game by the Blue Jays.

Adam Lind and Vernon Wells both had huge games, each homered and singled twice, Lind also walked once, reaching base four times.

Shaun Marcum had a great game too, bringing a no-hitter into the seventh but ultimately surrendering three runs on a Nelson Cruz home run.

(find the whole box score here)

Before the game, the team announced they had reached a contract extension with slugger Adam Lind. At $18 million over 4 seasons, it’s a great deal for the club and a welcome reward for Lind. $4.5 million a year for a guy who’ll bat .300 with 30 homers? I’ll take on that deal any day. It gets better! The Jays get three club options after that at $7, $7.5 and $8 million, which give Lind is only 26, will be used if he keeps up his production. Good decision Alex!

Blue Jays Observations: March 24th

– Shaun Marcum has been named the Blue Jays opening day start… essentially being named the staff ace of the club. While never pitching 200 innings in a season, Marcum had promising campaigns in both 2007 and 2008, going a combined 21-13 with a sub-4 ERA in 310 1/3 innings.

At the age of 28, Marcum can easily improve on those statistics, I think he should put up solid 15-10, 3.60 ERA numbers this seasons, usable numbers as an ace.

– Randy Ruiz is looking GREAT this spring, he should easily make the major league rosters, and get some starts at DH or maybe spot start at first a bit.

– Jose Bautista is also playing great, should start the season as leadoff batter.

Fantasy Baseball 2010: My Top 150

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It’s March 18th and we’re in the middle of Spring Training.
Meaning you can start to believe player performances the last week. They’ve
had enough of a buffer period to get their bodies tuned to baseball.

I have compiled a list of my
Top 200 players, assuming you play either a 5×5 rotisserie format, or play
H2H Categories.

 

1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA

5-category stud, plays at scarce position, so gets nod over Pujols.

2. Albert Pujols, STL

3. Alex Rodriguez, NYY

4. Ryan Braun, MIL

5. Matt Kemp, LAD

6. Prince Fielder, MIL

7. Chase Utley, PHI

8. Miguel Cabrera, DET

9. Mark Teixeira, NYY

10. Evan Longoria, TB

11. Roy Halladay, PHI

Should dominate the National League, earning him Top Pitcher honours.

12. Joe Mauer, MIN

13. Troy Tulowitzki, COL

Underrated 5-category gem, read my article on him at Bleacher Report.

14. Tim Lincecum, SF

15. Carl Crawford, TB

15. Ryan Howard, PHI

16. David Wright, NYM

17. Felix Hernandez, SEA

18. Matt Holliday, STL

19. CC Sabathia, NYY

20. Justin Upton, ARI

Don’t take him earlier, I’d be happy with his numbers from last year, don’t expect a .300/40/100/30 SB season quite yet.

21. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA

22. Zach Greinke, KC

23. Robinson Cano, NYY

He should put up a great average with other solid numbers across the board, a great asset to have.

24. Grady Sizemore, CLE

25. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS

26. Adrian Gonzalez, SD

27. Ian Kinsler, TEX

28. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS

29. Derek Jeter, NYY

30. Dustin Pedroia, BOS

31. Pablo Sandoval, SF

32. Brandon Phillips, CIN

33. Dan Haren, ARI

34. Jimmy Rollins, PHI

35. Joey Votto, CIN

36. Cliff Lee, SEA

He should play great with Seattle’s superb defense and cavernous park, a similar campaign to 2008 isn’t out of the question.

37. Brian McCann, ATL

38. Adam Lind, TOR

39. Jayson Werth, PHI

40. Jon Lester, BOS

41. Kevin Youkilis, BOS

42. Justin Verlander, DET

43. Carlos Lee, HOU

44. Andre Ethier, LAD

45. Victor Martinez, BOS

46. Brian Roberts, BAL

47. Aramis Ramirez, CHC

48.  Kendry Morales, LAA

49. Jason Bay, NYM

50. Adam Wainwright, STL

51. Johan Santana, NYM

52. Chris Carpenter, STL

53. Nick Markakis, BAL

54. Mark Reynolds, ARI

55. Justin Morneau, MIN

56. Curtis Granderson, NYY

57. Bobby Abreu, LAA

58. Aaron Hill, TOR

59. Yovani Gallardo, MIL

60. Mariano Rivera, NYY

61. Ben Zobrist, TB

62. Bill Butler, KC

If you don’t have a first baseman yet, don’t worry, take the underrated Butler who should put up a great average with good power numbers.

63. Josh Johnson, FLA

64. Jonathan Broxton, LAD

65. Adam Jones, BAL

66. Shin-Soo Choo, CLE

67. Josh Beckett, BOS

I rank him higher than most because he’s a sure thing. You need a dependable pitcher than will put up solid numbers.

68. Adam Dunn, WAS

69. B.J. Upton, TB

70. Chone Figgins, SEA

71. Torii Hunter, LAA

72. Shane Victorino, PHI

73. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS

74. Jose Reyes, NYM

75. Lance Berkman, HOU

76. Manny Ramirez, LAD

Manny is certainly capable of one last .300/30/100 season and if he plays 160 games, you should expect that out of him.

77. Cole Hamels, PHI

After being a minor disappointment last year, everyone’s raving about him this spring. Any improvement would warrant reward for taking him this high and really, he should improve mightily.

78. Gordon Beckham, CWS

79. Tommy Hanson, ATL

80. Derrek Lee, CHC

81. Javier Vazquez, NYY

82. Nelson Cruz, TEX

83. Matt Cain, SF

84. Josh Hamilton, TEX

85. Hunter Pence, HOU

86. Joakim Soria, KC

87. Matt Wieters, BAL

88. Francisco Rodriguez, NYM

89. Raul Ibanez, PHI

90. Carlos Beltran, NYM

91. Elvis Andrus, TEX

92. Ricky Nolasco, FLA

93. Johnny Damon, DET

94. Michael Young, TEX

95. Jake Peavy, CWS

96. Jay Bruce, CIN

97. Ubaldo Jimenez, COL

98. Jason Bartlett, TB

99. Howie Kendrick, LAA

100. Denard Span, MIN

He hits for a .300+ average and will put up solid numbers everywhere else. Great value.

101. Andrew McCutchen

102. Wandy Rodriguez, HOU

103. Brandon Webb, ARI

104. Jose Lopez, SEA

The last of the second basemen that will benefit your fantasy team. If you don’t have anyone so far, take Lopez, a given .280/25/90 player.

105. Andrew Bailey, OAK

106. Huston Street, COL

107. Carlos Quentin, CWS

108. Clayton Kershaw, LAD

A superb ERA last season, just got unlucky with his run support. People say he’s overrated, but if he puts up the same ratios as last season, he certainly should win 15+ games.

109. Carlos Pena, TB

110. Scott Baker, MIN

111. Nate McLouth, ATL

112. Chad Billingsley, LAD

113. John Lackey, BOS

114. Francisco Cordero, CIN

115. Alex Rios, CWS

116. Brad Hawpe, COL

An uber-consistent outfielder that has put up at least .283/22/84 each of the last 4 seasons. Just take him and cross out your 3rd outfield spot, he’s a constant.

117. Heath Bell, SD

118. Adrian Beltre, BOS

119. Carlos Gonzalez, COL

120. Jose Valverde, DET

121. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
122. Brett Anderson, OAK
123. Michael Bourn, HOU
The beginning of the speedsters. Just make sure to get either Bourn, Borbon, Pierre, or Rajai Davis if you haven’t already taken someone like Crawford or Ellsbury.
124. Brian Wilson, SF
125.
Miguel Montero, ARI
The 5th catcher off the board in all drafts, you want Montero if you don’t get the previous 4. He’s got a job locked up and potential for a .290/20/80 season.
126. Julio Borbon, TEX
127. Alexei Ramirez, CWS
128. Juan Pierre, CWS
129. Jered Weaver, LAA
130. Roy Oswalt, HOU
131.
Stephen Drew, ARI
132. Franklin Gutierrez, SEA
133. Michael Cuddyer, MIN
134. Matt Garza, TB
135. Chipper Jones, ATL
136. Jason Kubel, MIN
137. Nolan Reimold, BAL
138. Rajai Davis, OAK
139. A.J. Burnett, NYY
140. Nyjer Morgan, WAS
141. Chad Qualls, ARI
142. Max Scherzer, LAA
143. James Shields, TB
144. Dan Uggla, FLA
145.
Chris Coghlan, FLA
146. Trevor Hoffman, MIL
147. Yunel Escobar, ATL
148. Jair Jurrjens, ATL
149. Erick Aybar, LAA
150. Chris Davis, TEX

Thanks for reading! Please share your insight by leaving comments.

 

Spring Training Notes: March 12

Shaun Marcum: Opening Day Starter?
It’s certainly looking as if Shaun Marcum may get the opening day nod, as he has a 0.00 ERA in Grapefruit League play through five innings of work. He has allowed only one hit in his two outings. Although this is a very small sample size, I think it proves that Shaun Marcum is back and ready to headline the staff as he was before he got injured. Look for him to get the start if he continues his excellence.

Kyle Drabek improves on previous start with a two-inning shutout against Phillies
Kyle Drabek, seen by many as the team’s #1 prospect, had a good second outing, blanking the Philadelphia Phillies. He was traded from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay blockbuster, so payback may have been on Drabek’s mind. An encouraging start to say the least.

Jose Bautista continues sizzling Spring Training
It’s going to be hard to demote Jose Bautista from the lead-off spot in the lineup, as he has been tearing it up this March. With 3 homers in 14 at-bats and a .643 average, he seems really motivated to start this year.

Roy Halladay: Best Blue Jay. Ever.

Harry Leroy Halladay III (or simply Roy) will
always have a special place in the hearts of Toronto Blue Jays fans.
Despite being born and raised in Denver and bearing a nickname derived
from a gunfighter of the western United States (Doc Holliday), Roy
Halladay has become synonymous with baseball in Canada’s largest city.

If
he wins enough games to get into baseball’s Hall of Fame, he will
almost surely wear a Blue Jays cap and go down as a Blue Jay eternally.
Although currently playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, whose
nickname ‘Phillies’ means simply people from Philadelphia, Roy Halladay
isn’t a Philadelphian, he’s a Torontonian.

But is he the best player in Toronto baseball history? My short answer is “yes.”

When
bringing up this argument, one refers to Dave Stieb and Carlos Delgado
as his main competitors in the all-history franchise player race. But I
don’t think it’s close. At all.

Comparing Halladay with Stieb

Stieb
may have 175 career wins as a Blue Jays, but Halladay isn’t far behind
with 148 and Halladay has far fewer losses: 76 compared with Stieb’s
134. That’s a .661 win percentage for Halladay and a terrible (for a
seven-time all-star) .565 record for Stieb.

They have
practically identical ERAs (3.44 for Halladay, 3.43 for Stieb), but the
thing with Stieb is that he never put together a truly dominant year.
Sure, he had his no-hitter, but his best season was probably 1984 when
he went 16-8 with a 2.83 ERA and 198 strikeouts. He never struck out
200 batters in a season. He never won more than 18 games. Only thrice
did he put together a sub-3.00 ERA. As a result, he was never engrossed
in Cy Young races, your average staff ace and could have easily fit in
as a second starter on another team.

But with Halladay, he had
his Cy Young Award, in 2003 and was a full-fledged contender for the
accolade in both 2008 and 2009 with decent years in between. He’s fully
capable of striking out 200 batters in a season, doing it three times.
He allows a startlingly few amount of walks, 2.00/9 innings for his
career. Dave Stieb regularly allowed 80+ walks and 3.21/9 innings for
his career, certainly not a favourable statistic.

Both of them
pitch(ed) an alarming number of complete games and were
uber-consistent. With Stieb, people play the “He played for the Blue
Jays longer, he was more dedicated to his club,” card. While he did
play 1.4x more games than Halladay (really not that much more),
Halladay still played for the Toronto Blue Jays for 12 seasons and
signed multiple extensions. He was just as serious about bringing
baseball goodness to Toronto as Stieb was.

When browsing a list of Blue Jays team records, the casual observer
may infer that Dave Stieb is the best pitcher in team history, but
really, it’s Halladay. End of discussion, onto Delgado.

Comparing Halladay with Carlos Delgado

Carlos Delgado is unquestionably the best batter in Toronto Blue
Jays history. He hit the most home runs. He slugged .556, highest in
team history. He scored the most runs, drove in the most runs,
collected the most walks, hit the most doubles, the most total bases…
need we go on?

But, is he closely comparable to Roy Halladay,
now established as the best pitcher in Blue Jays history. Once again, I
don’t think he’s up to par with the Doc. Playing only 9 seasons with
Toronto, the records he set are obviously due to lack of
long-team-history-inflation. Had he continued to play for Toronto for 4
or 5 more years and hit 500 home runs as a Jay, then sure, start the
worshiping, but without it, he’s stuck in transition a bit.

Carlos
Delgado had MVP numbers in 2000 (.344 with 41 homers and 137 Runs
Batted In, I don’t have a clue as to how he lost to Jason Giambi, who
mainly put up inferior stats across the board) as well as being MVP
runner-up to A-Rod in 2003. He lost to two steroid users, ick. But
nonetheless he proved that like Roy Halladay and unlike Dave Stieb, he
could put together big years and had big stuff.

But Halladay
played longer and had just as dominant years with the Blue Jays. You
can’t blame Delgado for leaving Toronto and while Delgado maintains a
very positive image in Blue Jays fans’ minds, I don’t think he was near
as much as a city-wide icon as Halladay was. Fans in Toronto were proud
that we had Halladay on our team. Plus, he’s a Yankees killer, 18-6
lifetime against the Evil Empire, a key reason Philadelphia wanted him.

So
I don’t think that Delgado is at Halladay’s level, Delgado was good but
not as synonymous with Toronto as Halladay has been since his arrival
in 1998. Roy Halladay will easily be inducted into the Blue Jays Level
of Excellence and will go down as the best Blue Jay ever.

Spring Training Starts: My Thoughts on My Team

With today being Sunday March 7th, the Blue Jays have played four games on their Grapefruit League schedule. They lost their debut against the Tigers 7-6 in a dramatic late finish, but won their next three games rather handily. Here are some of my observations so far:

1. J.P. Arencibia, the prospect everyone revered, then forgot about when the Jays acquired Travis D’Arnaud, seems close to arriving at the Major League level.
Arencibia has been Toronto’s top catching prospect soon after he was drafted in the first round of the 2005 Amateur Entry Draft. He has smacked two homers so far in only four at bats. A slugging percentage of 2.000! Sure, it’s a small sample size and he’s still a long shot from making the team out of Spring Training this year, but still, you have to see it as a bright sign for one of the best young players in the Blue Jays organization.

2. The pitching staff is looking great, notably Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum and Mark Rzepczynski.
Morrow and Marcum have pitching two-inning no-hit stints, while Rzepczynski registered two innings with only a single hit, great first performances by some of our developing pitchers. Future top-of-the-rotation stud Kyle Drabek pitched a subpar outing, but it was mainly characterized as encouraging by Drabek himself and Jays management.

3. The Blue Jays 1-2-3 hitters (Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill, Adam Lind) are playing great.
Bautista has six hits in only eight at-bats, scoring four runs and stealing one base in the process. These are great statistics for any lead-off hitter and look for him to lock up the job if he continues to play like such.

Aaron Hill has stayed off the extra-base-hit scoresheet so far, but that’s mainly because of his plate discipline: 5 walks in only 8 plate appearances and hitting singles in two other of the plate appearances while stealing a base. He hasn’t been exciting, but he’s doing a good job so far.

Adam Lind has homered once, singled once and driven in four runs along the way. Sure, his average is .286, not up to par with the other starters, but it’s not because of strikeouts, striking out only once.