Archive for November 30, 2008

Quick Hit: Randy Wynn

The San Francisco Giants Randy Winn is a very interesting player to look at.  In the past he’s shown the potential for power (20 HR in ’05) and the potential for speed (five seasons of over 20 SB).  Last year, it was significantly more speed then power, as you can see from the numbers he posted:

598 At Bats
.306 (183-598)
10 Home Runs
64 RBI
84 Runs
25 Stolen Bases
14.7% K% (88 Strikeouts)
9.0% BB% (59 Walks)
.346 Batting Average on Balls in Play
.363 On Base Percentage
.426 Slugging Percentage

That was the first season that he eclipsed the 20 SB mark since 2004 (the last of a 3-year stretch that he was over 20), so I’m not counting on him being able to reach that mark again this season, especially at age 35 (he turn 35 in June).  That’s not to say that he won’t be able to contribute in steals, as he has been in double-digits every year since 2001.  I just wouldn’t count on him being a major impact on your place in the category.

I also don’t expect him to be a huge home run threat either, with just one 20 HR season.  Besides that lone season, his high is just 14, which he did one three separate occasions.  Yes, he’s been in double-digits every year since 2002, but with 10 or 11, he really isn’t going to make a huge difference for you.  He’s proven to have doubles power (at least 34 every year since ’02), but not much more. Read more

Will 2009 be Alex Gordon’s breakout?

To be one of the most highly touted prospects is certainly high praise for a player to try to live up to.  Just ask the Royals’ Alex Gordon who entered 2007 considered the next hot item of major league baseball only to fall far short of expectations during his first two seasons.  Before we get to deep into his deficiencies, let’s just take a look at his numbers from 2008:

493 At Bats
.260 Batting Average (128-493)
16 Home Runs
59 RBI
72 Runs
9 Stolen Bases
.432 Slugging Percentage
.351 On Base Percentage

Those are the numbers of the player who was supposed to be the next great third baseman?  Since he was over promoted across the country, we’ve seen the likes of Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria come along and live up to that type of hype (though Braun has since shifted to the OF).  The real question is if Gordon can still realize his potential or is he just the latest in a long line of players who just never quite get to the level expected of them.

You had a player who was promoted as the #2 prospect in all of baseball entering 2007, a year after he destroyed Double A pitching to the tune of a .325 average with 29 HR, 101 RBI and 22 SB.  Owners were drooling over the potential of another 20/20 player at 3B, something that is so rare to come by. Read more

Bullpen Moves (Phillies, Red Sox)

A few teams made some minor moves to help their bullpens, though neither of these moves should make any fantasy waves:

  • David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News (click here for the article) is reporting that the Phillies have signed Mike Koplove, inviting him to spring training.  He’s 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA over 222.0 career innings.  Since 2005, however, he’s only appeared in 9 major league innings with the Diamondbacks & Indians, though none of them came in 2008.
  • According to mlb.com (click here for the article), the Boston Red Sox “acquired righthanded pitcher Wes Littleton from the Texas Rangers in exchange for two players to be named later or cash considerations”.  Littleton has thrown 102.1 innings over the past 3 seasons for the Rangers, going 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA and Baseball America had him pegged as the Rangers #7 prospect back in 2004.  Last season he only appeared in 12 games, however, posting a 6.00 ERA.

Prospect Watch: David Freese

It’s always tough to judge a prospect by his performance in the Pacific Coast League (Triple A), especially offensive players.  It is such a high-powered league that 26 HR’s can almost be considered an afterthought, considering Dallas McPherson led the way with 42 and since that total would have put you on the outside of the leagues Top 10.

Still, Cardinals third base prospect David Freese, who posted a season where he hit .306 with 26 HR and 91 RBI in just 464 AB, should be considered anything but forgettable.  Yeah, I know people will point to his struggles in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting under .250, and say that maybe he doesn’t have the ability to survive in the major leagues.  Those people would be dead wrong in my eyes.

The former ninth round pick by the San Diego Padres in 2006 (who was dealt to St. Louis in the Jim Edmonds trade), was just as impressive as a 24-year old in Single A in ’07, hitting .302 with 17 HR and 96 RBI.

I know he’s not perfect, but then again, who is?  He struck out nearly 24% of the time last season while walking under 8% of the time.  That type of strikeout to walk ratio is not even close to what owners want to see.  He needs to be putting the ball in play, because his BABIP of .355 is unlikely to translate to the major leagues.  That means a decrease in average, probably to the .270 range is likely. Read more

Quick Hit: Josh Johnson

Before we get into today’s article I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone and their families a Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you all enjoy your day, however you celebrate it.

A fourth round draft pick of the Marlins in 2002, Josh Johnson returned from Tommy John Surgery this season to pitch significantly better then anyone could have expected.  Having made only 4 starts in 2007 prior to being shut down, he returned to the major leagues on July 10 and instantly made an impact.  No, it wasn’t all rays of sunshine, as he had his ups and downs, but overall he has certainly given owners hope heading into 2009.

His final numbers for ’08 were:

7 Wins
3.61 ERA
1.35 WHIP
77 Strikeouts (7.94 K/9)
27 Walks (2.78 BB/9)
91 Hits
.332 BABIP
.270 Batting Average Against
87.1 Innings

The walks were certainly the biggest surprise, as he had never been that type of control pitcher prior to his injury.  In 2006, over 157 innings, he walked 68 batters, a BB/9 of 3.90.  The question is, which is the real Johnson? Read more

Bobby Parnell: Starter or Reliever

My newest article is up for Gotham Baseball Magazine, looking at whether the Mets should use Bobby Parnell as a starter or reliever in 2009 (ah, the Aaron Heilman debate all over again for Mets fans).  To check it out, click here.