Archive for July, 2005

More Mid-Terms

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

1st half grades for outfielders:

Jeromy Burnitz: .274/.335/.472 13HR 44RBI B
A pretty good half from Burnitz. He’s actually done better than I expected him to, based on how bad his numbers were away from Coors last year. On top of the hitting, he’s also played a good right field, and has shown a propensity for hitting the cutoff man.

Todd Hollandsworth: .284/.333/.447 5 HR 28RBI C+
He started off terribly, but has hit well since the beginning of June. I still think Todd is better suited to the 4th outfielder/pinch hitter role, mostly because unlike a guy like DuBois, Hollandsworth has shown the ability to hit without getting consistent playing time. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but he seems to be bobbling a lot of balls in the outfield this year.

Corey Patterson: .233/.271/.382 11HR 24RBI F
We can talk about how Patterson’s been moved around all over the order, and asked to do too many different things, but his numbers are unacceptable regardless of his situation. The most frustrating thing is, I think that if Corey would put down 5 more bunts a week, he’d probably reach on 2 or 3 of them, and raise his average significantly. He’s also had some defensive lapses, and while he gets to balls that a lot of fielders wouldn’t, that doesn’t mean anything if he doesn’t make the catch.

Jason DuBois: .246/.297/.486 7HR 22RBI D+
DuBois kills fastballs. That’s about it. He hasn’t really had consistent enough playing time to get used to big league breaking stuff, and he strikes out so much that having he and Patterson in the lineup together is a nightmare. I think he’ll hit if given consistent playing time, but I don’t think he’ll be getting that with the Cubs. In the field, I chalked up DuBois’ early struggles to nerves, but as the first half wore on, it’s apparent he’s simply a very bad left fielder. I think his future is at 1B or DH, and not with Chicago.

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Mid-Term Grades

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

I have been working on the classic “grade the players” posts most of this weekend. Originally, Dave was going to join me in this endeavor, but he has unfortunately broken his arm, and couldn’t finish. Rather than let my typing go for naught, I’ve decided to post my thoughts, starting with the infielders. Feel free to agree, disagree or point out something you think I missed in the comments. Get well soon, Dave.
Note: statistics are through 81 games played

Derrek Lee: .377/.449/.718 25HR, 67RBI A+
Derrek only gets an A+ because there’s no higher grade. What else can you give to a guy who’s leading the team in almost every major offensive category (2nd in stolen bases), is on pace to make a serious run at the Triple Crown, flirted with a .400 BA, plays excellent defense and never misses a game? I shudder to think where the Cubs would be without Derrek.

Aramis Ramirez: .305/.366/.558 18HR, 52RBI A-
Aramis got off to a slow start at the plate this year and one thing has become apparent; he takes every at-bat into the field with him, so when he’s going bad at the plate, he’s usually compounding problems by kicking the ball around the infield too. Luckily Aramis found his stroke in May, bringing his offensive numbers back in line with what we saw last year, as well as settling down to play a serviceable 3B.

Todd Walker: .290/.340/.432 2HR 30RBI B-
Walker got off to a tremendous start in April, but was somewhat derailed by the knee injury he incurred when Carlos Lee decided to show Ozzie Guillen that he did indeed, know how to break up a double play. Walker’s performance has pretty much been what we expected out of him: a patient, line drive hitter, who can hit for power if the situation calls for it. His defense is better than advertised, but he does seem prone to making errors in key situations.

Neifi Perez: .270/.292/.380 7HR 29RBI C+
If you ever a poster child for regressing towards the mean, Neifi’s is it. Pressed into duty after Nomar’s groin injury, Perez hit .368 with a .403 OBP in April, and hasn’t posted an OBP of better than .300 for a month since. Part of Neifi’s C+ should also go to Dusty Baker, who seemed to think that Neifi had indeed morphed into Rogers Hornsby and left him batting at the top of the order, despite the fact that his numbers have come plummeting back to earth. Neifi’s defense has been solid for the most part, although his errors seem to come in bunches, often in the same inning.

Michael Barrett: .257/.298/.447 9HR 36RBI C-
Barrett’s first half has been marked by inconsistency, where he’s had two bad months (April, June) and one good one (May). He seems to have lost his patience hitting in the 8th spot this year, as his walk rate is down quite a bit. Part of this may be due to the fact that this year’s offense simply isn’t as good as last year’s, and Barrett may be trying to hard to pick up the slack with hitting, instead of being content to take pitches and walk in front of the 9th hitter. He has improved his defense this year, which pulls his grade up from D level, but the Cubs really need Barrett to hit.

Jerry Hairston: .274/.364/.400 3HR 10RBI B-
I had a tough time grading Hairston. He’s a real contradiction. He’s one of the few guys on the Cubs who will take a walk, and has the speed to be a lead off man. However, his instincts on the base paths are terrible (6 steals in 14 attempts) and according to the local papers, he has a tendency to miss signs. He appears to be a good team guy, as he’s willing to play just about any position, but he also moans when he doesn’t get playing time. Finally, I was under the impression when the Cubs obtained him that he was a good fielder, but he’s made 6 errors this year (5 at his natural position). Still, I feel his offensive positives out weigh his other negatives at this point.

Jose Macias:.264/.280/.333 0HR 4RBI D-
Jose is bad. In a perfect world, he’d never play, unless there was an emergency, or a double header. He’s a switch hitter who can’t hit from either side, and on defense he can play just about every position, but none of them well. He’s versatile in the way that a Swiss Army knife with a broken mirror, blunted corkscrew and dull knife blade is. The only reason Jose doesn’t get an “F” is that I had no expectations whatsoever for him.

Henry Blanco: .164/.184/.260 2HR 6RBI D+
Henry Blanco’s lifetime batting average is .216. This is the lowest average of any active player with 1000 ABs or more. He’s currently hitting more than 50 points below that average. Yuck. Henry earns the D+ because his defense is as good as advertised. He’s thrown out more than half the men who’ve tried to steal on him. Unfortunately, the Cubs offense isn’t good enough to carry his terrible bat.

Incomplete: Ronny Cendeno, Enrique Wilson, Nomar Garciaparra

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Seminal Moment

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

The National League has an opportunity to make the All-Star game vaguely interesting and their moment comes early. By the time they chip away at the 7-0 lead to make it a 7-5 game, the fate of the senior circuit has been long determined.

Standing at the epicenter of this seminal moment when the game hangs in the balance is a Cub, Aramis Ramirez.


Top of the 4th, Johan Santana pitching, Derreck Lee opens up with a double. Jim Edmonds walks. With the score 3-0, two on and nobody out, Aramis stands at the plate as the potential tying run and a serious shift of momentum in a string of Mid Summer “Classics” which seldom live up to their name.

But it doesn’t happen. Santana induces a double play that puts Derreck on third but two outs and the rally dies an early death. The American League tacks on two more runs at the bottom of the frame and never looks back.

343. That’s how many total plate appearances Aramis has had this year before last night’s snooze-fest. And how many double-plays had he hit into? Any guesses? Four.

1.188. That’s Morgan Ensberg’s ops with runners in scoring position this year. Any guesses what Aramis’ is? .833.

A stronger case could probably be made for Morgan to start the game since Rolen is still hurt but I am a loyalist and logic and loyalty are occasionally strange bedfellows.

My favorite part of the game was the fact that Joe Morgan did not call the game. Tho Tim McCarver can be somewhat bombastic in his self promotion, he is tolerable next to JM.

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All Star Joke

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

This comes from Rotoworld and made me laugh:

Brad Radke was the victim of a Torii Hunter practical joke prior to the All-Star game.
Hunter put an official looking letter on Dodgers’ letterhead in Radke’s locker, signed by Hee-Seop Choi requesting that Radke be his pitcher in the home run derby on Monday. A pretty good joke by Hunter, considering Radke gave up three homers to Choi in June.

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June Book Review

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Well, it’s about 2 weeks overdue, but it’s a good one for this month. My plan is to provide a book review/opinion each month. This month’s book was the new one by ESPN writer, Jerry Crasnick. I was asked to review this book by Jerry’s publisher and I am very glad about having read it. This was a book that I think changed how I feel about the game of baseball. It forces you to look at the business aspect in a different way.

The premise of the book is that Jerry follows an up and coming baseball agent named Matt Sosnick. Matt has only 1 big name player on his roster…Dontrelle Willis. Throughout the book, you see how Matt interacts with his clients and the struggle it is to not only get them, but retain them as well. Coming into the book, I had no clue how much pressure there was from other agents to get a client to switch his representation to a bigger agency. The book also goes in depth with a number of agents, so you are able to get a behind the scenes picture of a lot of big names you normally hear mentioned on TV.

In order to provide a clear impression of my opinion of the book for the readers, I’d like to tell the things I liked as well as what I did not like about the book. You make your decision about whether to buy the book.

Things I liked:

  • Jerry Crasnick was kind enough to answer my questions personally. It can be heard here.
  • The book allowed me to see the behind the scenes aspect of a side of the game that is typically very quiet.
  • The book helps you get to know Dontrelle Willis a little better, which is cool because he’s one of the most exciting kids in the game today.
  • The book mentions tons of prospects, which like Moneyball, should be cool to look back a few years later and see what has happened to them.
  • Very easy read for anyone

Things I didn’t like:

  • I would have liked to see a little more about the ammy draft covered
  • I would have liked to see a little more about negotiating contracts.

Please do not let those 2 things I did not like fool you. This is a must read for people who love baseball. It helps you to get to know the inner workings of it just a little better. Who knows, you may even find yourself cheering for an agent or two. Perhaps you’ll even come to admire, or at least respect Scott Boras. I know I do.

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Fantasy Football Keeper League

Monday, July 11th, 2005

Hey everyone,

I am starting a 12 team Fantasy Football Keeper league on Yahoo. I am looking to fill 8 remaining spots with the best applicants. I’d only want people who are serious about doing this for the long haul and will be active throughout the league.

If you’re interested, please catch me on AIM or e-mail me. Let me know a little about your fantasy football experience as well as your name, age, and AIM name. In order to be considered, you MUST commit to being at the initial draft on Tuesday, August 9th, 2005 @ 8pm est.

Screenname: jaiello78

Here is the setup for the points system that the league would use.

Draft Type: Live Draft

Draft Time: Tue Aug 9 8:00pm EDT [ Add to My Calendar ]

Max Teams: 12

Scoring Type: Head-to-Head

Start Scoring on: Week 1

Can’t Cut List Provider: Yahoo! Sports

Max Moves: No maximum

Max Trades: No maximum

Trade Reject Time: 2

Trade End Date: December 2, 2005

Trade Review: League Votes

Waiver Time: 2 days

Post Draft Players: Free Agents

Playoffs: Week 15 and 16 (4 teams)

Roster Positions: QB, WR, WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, K, DEF, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN

Stat Categories: Completions (2)
Passing Yards (1 yards per point)
Passing Touchdowns (25)
Interceptions (-15)
Rushing Yards (1 yards per point)
Rushing Touchdowns (25)
Receptions (5)
Reception Yards (1 yards per point)
Reception Touchdowns (25)
Return Yards (1 yards per point)
Return Touchdowns (25)
2-Point Conversions (10)
Fumbles (-5)
Fumbles Lost (-10)
Offensive Fumble Return TD (25)
Field Goals 0-19 Yards (10)
Field Goals 20-29 Yards (20)
Field Goals 30-39 Yards (30)
Field Goals 40-49 Yards (50)
Field Goals 50+ Yards (100)
Field Goals Missed 0-19 Yards (-15)
Field Goals Missed 20-29 Yards (-15)
Field Goals Missed 30-39 Yards (-15)
Field Goals Missed 40-49 Yards (-15)
Field Goals Missed 50+ Yards (-15)
Point After Attempt Made (10)
Point After Attempt Missed (-10)
Sack (25)
Interception (50)
Fumble Recovery (50)
Touchdown (50)
Safety (25)
Block Kick (25)
Points Allowed 0 points (250)
Points Allowed 1-6 points (150)
Points Allowed 7-13 points (100)
Points Allowed 14-20 points (75)
Points Allowed 21-27 points (0)
Points Allowed 28-34 points (-100)
Points Allowed 35+ points (-250)

Fractional Points: No

Negative Points: Yes

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Scouting Mark Pawelek

Monday, July 11th, 2005

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Cubs drafted the top Prep pitcher this year in the draft. I figured I’d take this chance to give you the scouting report on him.

Pawelek left his mark on the Utah prep ranks by the time he completed his junior year, setting the state record for career strikeouts with 341 while going 26-2 in his first three years. As a junior, he went 10-1, 1.05 with 156 strikeout in 80 innings. He moved onto the national stage as a senior with an even more impressive season, going 8-0, 0.00 in his first 51 innings, striking out 109, walking just 12 and allowing 12 hits. Of more importance for the draft, he topped out at 94-95 mph with an effortless delivery. Scouts say his feel for pitching, presence and composure are so advanced for his age that he’s the equivalent of a college sophomore. He has command of four pitches and knows how and when to use his curveball and changeup. He’s the most complete high school pitcher to come out of Utah since lefthander Mike Gosling–who signed for $2 million in 2001 after three years at Stanford–and Gosling’s fastball was 3-4 mph slower than Pawelek’s. The only high school player ever drafted in the first round out of Utah is lefthander Bruce Hurst, selected by the Red Sox with the 22nd pick in 1976. Pawelek could go higher than that on talent, but he’s the only high school player in this year’s draft who is being advised by Scott Boras and that could have a profound impact on where he is picked. Pawelek’s older brother Dennis was drafted by the White Sox in 2002 out of Snow (Utah) Junior College, but he never played pro ball and spent last fall as a backup kicker on Utah’s undefeated Fiesta Bowl football team. There is little chance Pawelek will forgo a similar opportunity to play pro ball.

~ Baseball America ~

Last I heard, he had pitched 3 innings for Mesa and gave up 2 hits and no runs. The Cubs seem to have a good one on their hands. Hopefully he’ll be a welcomed compliment to and already nice rotation down the road for the Cubs.

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Fire Dusty Baker Contest

Saturday, July 9th, 2005

Ok guys, here is the contest. You e-mail me a date that you think will be Dusty’s last day of employment. If you are the closest, you will win a prize. I have a prize in mind, but I have to make sure I can get it before I go and announce it. Please submit all entries via e-mail to me. My e-mail can be found to the right. In the event of a tie, the winner will be the e-mail that was received first. Please include your name in the e-mail so I know who you are. Get those entries in.

Update: – Please do not post entries in the comments without e-mailing the entry as well. This will help me to keep track.

Update # 2 – So far no one has had the stones to give a date that falls before the end of the season. Come on people. Get some guts.

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Is this possible?

Saturday, July 9th, 2005

Gene Clines is quoted as saying the following about Corey Patterson:

Everything’s always come easy for him. Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom before you can take a step back to realize a lot of things said to you in the past were to try to help you.”

Is it possible to to hit rock bottom AND still take a step back? Doesn’t rock bottom mean you can’t take anymore steps back? =)

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