Monday, July 26, 2010

MLB Power Rankings-7/26

This past week we saw some great baseball, and we saw Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog, and Doug Garvey immortalized in Baseball's Hall of Fame. I have yet to get out to Cooperstown, but I have heard it is nothing short of spectacular. Anyway, no change at the top spot this week. Although the top 10 did shuffle quite a bit. Right now I have Texas as number two, but with the way they are playing they could be making a trip to number one in no time. My comments this week are based around the upcoming trade deadline. Or at least most team's comments will be revolving around the trade deadline:

1. (1) Yankees 62-35: Lost Lee, lost Haren. Who's next?
2. (3) Rangers 58-41: A scaringly good team
3. (2) Rays 59-38: Can they afford to be buyers?
4. (5) Padres 58-39: Jayson Werth Darkhorse?
5. (4) Braves 57-41: NL East is pretty much theirs
6. (9) Reds 55-45: Joey Votto for MVP!
7. (6) Red Sox 55-44: Team Dr. makes his money
8. (8) Cardinals 55-44: Needs a 3rd or 4th starter
9. (10) Giants 56-43: Hello, Prince Fielder?
10. (11) White Sox 53-44: For sure buyers this week
11. (12) Twins 53-46: Seems poised to stand pat
12. (14) Angels 52-49: Dan Haren? Seriously?
13. (17) Dodgers 53-46: Hard to see them as buyers
14. (15) Phillies 52-46: Bye Bye Werth?
15. (18) Blue Jays 50-49: Bye Bye offense?
16. (7) Rockies 51-47: Awful week makes them buyers
17. (13) Tigers 51-46: Injuries really handcuff this team
18. (19) A's 50-48: Dallas Braden finally won a game
19. (16) Mets 50-49: Bye Bye Manuel?
20. (20) Marlins 49-49: Gaby Sanchez for ROY!
21. (21) Brewers 47-53: Bye Bye Prince?
22. (23) Cubs 45-54: Bye Bye Lou
23. (25) Indians 41-57: Bye Bye LeBron
24. (24) Royals 42-56: Bye Bye Greinke?
25. (22) Nationals 42-57: Bye Bye Dunn?
26. (27) Mariners 39-60: Chone Figgins stinks
27. (26) Astros 40-58: Last week with Oswalt?
28. (28) D-Backs 37-62: Bye Bye Haren
29. (29) Pirates 34-64: Entering tough stretch
30. (30) Orioles 31-67: Bye Bye decent birdies

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Twins Post-Bullpen Overworked?

This season we have seen the Twins starting rotation (minus Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano) go through some issues, specifically since june 1st. Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, and Nick Blackburn have been an abomination, and the Twins 6 game lead in the central evaporated and now they sit swapping between second and third. And I would like to raise the question, is our bullpen becoming overworked? My belief...Yes, they are. The lack of innings being thrown by the starters have caught up with them. Of the 95 games played by the Minnesota Twins this year, the starters have pitched through at least 6 innings in 62 of those. But since June 1st, the starters have pitched through the 6th just 28 out of 44 times. If you take away Pavano and Liriano since June 1st, starters have gotten 6 innings in just 13 out of 27 times. To compare, since June 1st, the New York Yankees starting 5 have pitched through 6 31 out of 41 times. And if you don't think these numbers are affecting the bullpen i tend to disagree. Since July 1st Matt Guerrier (1.93 ERA to 2.74), Jose Mijares (2.12 to 3.20), Alex Burnett (3.12 to 4.39), and Jon Rauch (2.61 to 3.31) have all seen their ERA's rise, and in the case of Burnett, it lead to his demotion. The only person out in the bullpen who seems to be thriving right now is Jesse Crain who's ERA has fallen down to 3.52 and has become Ron Gardenhire's most trusted reliever. The 'pen hasn't been so bad to where we need to push the panic button, but if the lack of innings being pitched continue, the Twins could find problems from the bullpen on top of the starters being inconsistent. The Twins did just call up Anthony Slama and they have Kyle Waldrop waiting for his shot, but Rochester's bullpen has been worked almost twice as much as the Twins 'pen has. So if anything these guys could be even better and not have their arms fall off. But fatigue could set in with them anytime now as well. Here is another sign that the front office needs to go after some arms that can pitch deeper into games. If not, third place looks great for the Twins.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Twins Post-Slama Time

After tonights 10-4 beating from Cleveland the Twins selected the contract of RHP Anthony Slama from AAA-Rochester. To make room for Slama, the Twins have sent down RHP Alex Burnett. In his last 10 games, Burnett had an 0-1 record with a 11.74 ERA (10 ER, 16 H) in 7.2 IP. He clearly had warmed out his welcome here. Meanwhile, Slama was selected to this years MLB futures game and the AAA All Star Game. In 43 appearances with Rochester, Slama had a 1.71 ERA in 52.2 IP with 23 walks and 33 strikeouts. He served as their closer and recorded 17 saves. I've been reading up on some scouting reports on Slama and from what I got is: He won't overpower you. He uses his deceptive delivery to keep hitters off balance. His fastball tops off around 91-92 and also carries a changeup and a good slider. This a needed move for the Twins. No, it doesn't solve the three holes in the starting rotation, but it solidifies a pretty good bullpen. My guess is Slama won't be used in hot spots right away but if he performs well he could be a 7th or 8th inning reliever. He is expected to be in uniform for tomorrows game against Cleveland.

  • Since July 1st Jon Rauch has a 8.44 ERA (5.1 IP, 5 ER) in 6 games played. That also includes 10 hits and 5 walks. Time to sound an alarm?
  • Joe Mauer has 17 GIDPs this season. To compare he had 16 all of last year, 21 in 2008, and 24 in 2006.
  • Denard Span is hitting .344 at Target Field this year compared to just .198 on the road.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MLB Power Rankings-7/18

A lot has happened since my last rankings. The National League won an All Star Game, the Cliff Lee sweepstakes ended with Texas as the winner, the Yankees lost George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, and through all of this the Red Sox continue to get hurt. It should be getting interesting with the trade deadline coming up and all division races having first place and second place decided by no more than 5 games. I'll dig into the deadline more next week. Rankings time.

Rank. (Previous Week) Team Record

1. (1) Yankees 58-33
2. (3) Rays 55-36
3. (4) Rangers 53-39
4. (5) Braves 54-38
5. (7) Padres 54-37
6. (2) Red Sox 52-40
7. (16) Rockies 50-41
8. (9) Cardinals 51-41
9. (6) Reds 51-42
10. (18) Giants 50-42
11. (15) White Sox 50-41
12. (12) Twins 49-43
13. (11) Tigers 49-43
14. (13) Angels 50-45
15. (14) Phillies 48-43
16. (8) Mets 49-43
17. (10) Dodgers 49-43
18. (17) Blue Jays 47-45
19. (19) Athletics 46-46
20. (20) Marlins 44-47
21. (22) Brewers 42-51
22. (21) Nationals 40-52
23. (24) Cubs 42-51
24. (23) Royals 39-52
25. (26) Indians 38-54
26. (27) Astros 37-55
27. (25) Mariners 36-56
28. (28) Diamondbacks 34-58
29. (29) Pirates 32-59
30. (30) Orioles 29-62

Monday, July 5, 2010

MLB Power Rankings-7/5

It's been a while. So i'm gonna skip comments and previous week, since that was three weeks ago. I should be able do be doing this regularly again.

1. Yankees (50-31)
2. Red Sox (49-33)
3. Rays (48-33)
4. Rangers (48-33)
5. Braves (48-34)
6. Reds (47-36)
7. Padres (49-33)
8. Mets (46-36)
9. Cardinals (45-37)
10. Dodgers (45-36)
11. Tigers (43-37)
12. Twins (44-38)
13. Angels (46-38)
14. Phillies (42-38)
15. White Sox (42-38)
16. Rockies (44-38)
17. Blue Jays (41-42)
18. Giants (41-40)
19. Athletics (41-42)
20. Marlins (38-43)
21. Nationals (36-47)
22. Brewers (37-45)
23. Royals (36-46)
24. Cubs (35-47)
25. Mariners (34-47)
26. Indians (32-49)
27. Astros (32-51)
28. Diamondbacks (32-50)
29. Pirates (30-52)
30. Orioles (25-56)

Twins Blog-At the halfway point

Technically, Saturday's game marked the halfway point in the Twins season. So forgive me if I continually use the halfway term. But as the Twins stand right now they are 44-38 and tied atop the AL Central with Detroit. They are on pace for an 88-74 record, and that will simply not cut it. The Twins have been plagued by inconsistent starting pitching, bad hitting in clutch spots, and very questionable managerial moves. They have shown they are not a contender yet as series vs the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and Braves have brought out the absolute worst in the ballclub. Lets all hope they can pull it together and make a great second half run.

TWINS MVP: Delmon Young-This may be shocking, but Young has kept the Twins afloat in the past month with his hot hitting and timely defense. Right now he holds a .298 average with 9 home runs and 55 runs batted in (tied for team lead). All of this while hitting in the 7 or 8 slot in the order. Delmon has been a slow starter in past seasons, but this year he showed up in better shape (30 pounds lighter) and has a much better attitude at the plate. Hopefully at some point Ron Gardenhire will move him up in the batting order while his hot streak continues. Look for Young to finish the season with 20 home runs and 100 RBI.

TWINS CY YOUNG: Carl Pavano-Pavano has been exactly what the Twins have needed from at least one of their starters this past month, a innings eater and their best pitcher. He leads the team in innings pitched (111.2), wins (9), and starters ERA (3.30). And not forgetting that his WHIP (1.05) is 5th best in all of Major League Baseball. Pavano has definitely shown he can still pitch in this league and has been worth every cent the Twins have paid him this season. He should finish with a record around 17-12 and a 3.50 ERA and should once again show that veteran poise down the stretch and hopefully into the postseason.

TEAM NEEDS: SP, RP-The bullpen took a beating this past weekend from Tampa Bay, but I still feel they need to bring in some new arms whether thats from outside or within the organization. Kyle Waldrop has been lights out at AAA Rochester with a 3-1 record and a 1.00 ERA in 36 games pitched. Anthony Slama has been equally impressive posting 16 saves with a 1.33 ERA in 38 appearances for the Wings. Should the Twins decide to go outside the organization for a bullpen arm, the logical choices would be Brandon League (SEA) or Minnesota Native Michael Wuertz (OAK). But the Twins most pressing need right now is a starting pitcher, more importantly, a staff ace. The Twins have been rumored to be one of the teams trying to acquire lefty Cliff Lee from Seattle. But the word from around the Twins is that they feel they can win with the staff they have. Wrong. Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey have been atrocious on the mound in the past month, and Scott Baker has been shaky as well. And with the way these playoff teams have fared against the Twins pitching, it's quite clear they need a starter. If they can't land Lee, they could try Roy Oswalt (HOU) or take a gamble on Dan Haren (ARZ). Oswalt has never pitched in the American League and Haren has been very shaky this season, but has pitched in the AL before. The Twins have a valuable chip in Wilson Ramos to acquire one of those pitchers. And they also have great depth in their farm system without crippling it to make a deal like this. But do I see them making a deal like But we will have to see.

HOW IT ENDS: Twins don't acquire a SP; win Central; lose in ALDS-The front office brings in a reliever before the July 31st trade deadline, but don't acquire a starter. The staff pulls it together enough to overcome the Tigers and White Sox to win the Central in 162 games. But they run into their foes from the east, the Yankees, and again go one and done in the postseason, losing the series 3 games to 1. That's how I see it ending, but lets hope for a different one.