Sports Outside the Beltway

Umpires vs. technology

As I’ve said before, umpires need help. And I refer you to a piece I wrote over a year ago on this very same subject. Baseball (and sports in general) is far behind the times in utilizing modern technology where it can, specifically to improve officiating.

I’ve thought about this topic for a long time. I think Questec is a good thing. (For those who dont know, it’s a computerized system that measures ball & strikes, and compares it to what the umpire actually called.)

One of the biggest and most frustrating problems in pro sports are bad calls by umps/refs. What I’d like to see is the steady removal of the so-called ‘human error’ from sports; I’ll talk specifically about baseball:

When umps are unsure when a ball is fair or foul down the line, why can’t a system be installed like they use in tennis? They could use technology to determine whether balls are just that, fair or foul.

Also, on disputed HRs, they must use instant replay. There’s no other fair way. An ump should be stationed in the park somewhere near a TV, like in the NHL. He should have the final word, since he’ll have access to the replay.

On balls and strikes, why not use Questec or ESPN’s ‘K-Zone’ (for example) to actually call the strikes? The only problem is that strike zone height is different for every hitter, but width is exactly the same, 17 inches (the width of homeplate). Rickey Henderson had a smaller up/down zone because he was short and crouched, and Richie Sexson’s up/down zone is bigger because he’s 6’8″. But their side-to-side zone is exactly the same. Therefore, computers/technology should be used to tell an umpire when a ball hits the plate or just misses. For the time being, umps will still need to call the up/down pitches (because every hitter is different), but will know for sure when a pitch crosses the corner or not. Or an ump could be assigned to determine the upper limit of each hitter’s strike zone dependent on his stance.

It also sucks when a pitcher throws a strike, but it’s not where he meant to throw it, the catcher has to reach for it, so the ump automatically calls it a ball. It doesn’t matter where the pitcher MEANT to throw the ball, it only matters whether it’s a strike or a ball.

For out/safe calls, when the closest ump feels the play is too close to call, he could send it to the ‘booth ump.’ TV technology is such today that it could be done in 30-60 seconds. Or (ala the NFL) managers should have two replays to use per game.

These steps would help legitimize the officiating and would make for fewer arguments from players and managers. You can’t argue with Questec strikes – it’s 100% consistent and 0% prejudiced (for veterans, or against rookies). Instant replay would also ensure the right call, and isn’t that worth waiting (at most) 60 seconds for – especially in close and/or playoff games?


Braves Cut Julio Franco, Want Him Back

Julio Franco is once again without a team, as the Atlanta Braves cut him to make room on the roster for Octavio Doctel.

Julio Franco Atlanta Braves Photo The Braves would like the 48-year-old Julio Franco to stay with the team either as a player or player-coach in the minor leagues. Franco could then be brought back to the big league team when rosters are expanded in September. Julio Franco was designated for assignment and put on waivers Wednesday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the popular first baseman’s playing career with the Braves is over. If he makes it through waivers without being claimed in 72 hours, the Braves would like the 48-year-old to stay with them either as a player or player-coach in the minor leagues. Franco could then be brought back to the big league team when rosters are expanded in September. But he won’t be playing much first base now that the Braves have Mark Teixeira, the switch-hitting slugger they got in a seven-player trade with Texas on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping he’ll take an assignment in the organization,” said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who said it was difficult telling Franco the news Wednesday.

Franco was dropped from the roster 13 days after the Braves signed him to a free-agent contract following his release by the New York Mets. “It’s really hard, because he’s doing so well,” Cox said. “He’s been fantastic.” The oldest player in the majors, Franco hit .250 with three doubles and seven RBIs in 11 games for the Braves, including 8-for-24 (.333) with three doubles and five RBIs in his past seven games. “He gave us spark,” Cox said, “not only catching the ball, but hitting. He was a tough out.”

Franco has indicated he would stay with the Braves if not claimed by another team.

The Braves cleared two roster spots for bullpen newcomers Octavio Dotel and Ron Mahay, acquired in trades Tuesday. Reliever Jose Ascanio was optioned to Class AA Mississippi.

One suspects Franco will once again clear waivers, as he did two weeks ago. It’s unlikely he’s an upgrade at first base for most contenders and teams out of the hunt tend not to have a lot of use for 48-year-olds hitting .250.


Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

The MLB trade deadline passed without any “Big” moves other than yesterday’s Teixeira deal. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any winners and losers. Trades were still made. Some were very good trades while others were not so good. Here are my winners and losers of this years trade deadline:


Braves – The Braves got a great hitter in 1B Mark Teixeira. Plus he is a Gold Glover and improves the infield defense right away. He also slots perfectly inbetween Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones. The Braves had to give up a lot (Salty and Andrus) but they already have their catcher of the future in McCann and two shortstops that can play in Renteria and Yunel Escobar. They also added lefty reliever Ron Mahay and Octavio Dotel. Dotel is a great addition. Remember how dominate he was as a set-up man in Houston a couple years back? He is going to be very good here. The Braves made themselves the front-runner to take the NL East.

Red Sox – They got what they needed. Eric Gagne. Gagne had to wave his no-trade clause, especially since he won’t be closing and won’t reach incentives in his contract. The Red Sox made it worth his while. They picked up $2.1M in his performance bonuses while Texas picked up $400K. The Sox also traded away incumbent Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals for a player to be named later. They had to send some cash to make up for the salary but they still save. The Sox are also going to get Curt Schilling back soon plus Matt Clement has started rehabbing. The Sox are the favorites to win the AL now. They have the best pitching in either league.

Rangers – Yes they were sellers. Yes they gave up their best hitter and best reliever. But they werent’t going to win this year and Gagne is only signed through this year and Teixeira through next year. They got a catcher in Jarrod Saltalamacchia that can be a 25-30 homer catcher in Arlington. They also got a 19 year old shortstop in Elvis Andrus that has major tools. Don’t be fooled by his minor league numebrs, he’s faced pitchers 3-4 years older at every level. Plus three more minor league pitchers from the Braves: right hander Neftali Feliz, left hander Matt Harrison (who can be a very good #2-4 starter) and left hander Beau Jones. Plus they got pitcher Kason Gabbard and minor league outfielders Engel Beltre (17 years old) and David Murphy. They also got catcher Max Ramirez from Cleveland for Lofton. The Rangers re-stocked their system and are set to be good for years to come. Great job as sellers!

Mets – The Mets have had a hole at 2B since Jose Valentin went down for the season. They filled it with 2B Luis Castillo. Castillo is a Gold Glover, a veteran that has played in the playoffs, and he is a .300 hitter that can steal bases. He will slot nicely into the #2 spot behind Jose Reyes. He can become a free-agent in the offseason and the Mets have talked about signing him. Even if they don’t they will get compensetory draft picks when he signs elsewhere. Great move. The Mets tried to land a reliever and offer Phil Humber for Chad Cordero and were turned down. I thought it was a very fair trade. Good move by not offering more for Cordero.

Rays – You’re thinking “they didn’t do anything big!” That’s a good thing. The Rays have offense, we know that. The even have some decent starters. They need bullpen help badly. They traded Ty Wigginton (and saved $4M on him next year) for Dan Wheeler. Wheeler is now re-united with former pitching coach Jim Hickey who made him into a great reliever. Under Hickey he had a 2.38 ERA in 158 IP with 146 strikeouts and only 46 BB. The Rays also got Brian Shackelford form the Reds and minor-leaguer Calvin Medlock who is fireball reliever with a good change. The Rays also did the right thing by not trading Wheeler and Reyes. The Rays hold an option on Reyes for about $2M next year and that is a bargain. The Rays are making great strides to compete in the very near future.

Phillies – They added 2B Tadahito Iguchi to fill in for injured 2B Chase Utley. They stole reliever Julio Mateo from Seattle. And they added a 5th starter in Kyle Lohse for an organization arm. They also just got Brett Myers and Tom Gordon back and Jose Mesa has been pitching great of late. It’s going to be hard to reach the Mets and Braves but they can make a serious run now. It will be an exciting September once Utley gets back! What a race the NL East will be.

Padres – They got a veteran utility player in Rob Mackowiack for nothing. They got a 3B with patience and power in Morgan Ensberg for nothing. And they got 3 pitchers for reliever Scott Linebrink while his stock was still high. One of those relievers is in the major league pen now! One (Will Inman) can be a #3 starter in the Majors, especially in PETCO. Good moves yet again by Kevin Towers.


White Sox – They did nothing to help them this year or next year or the next. Nothing! They should’ve traded Dye. They will get the draft picks but I’d rather have proven prospects. I thought Kenny Williams would’ve definitely done something.

Yankees – They got a back up infielder in Wilson Betemit but they had to give up a reliever. They needed bullpen help! They needed pitching help! They did nothing to help the pitching staff. They also did nothing to counter the Gagne move the Red Sox made. I do have to say they did the right thing by not trading Phil Hughes ot Joba Chamberlain though. They also should’ve traded Melky Cabrera while his value is at it’s highest. He is a 4th outfielder in my opinion and some teams veiw him as a regular. They should’ve jumped on something for a pitcher.

Indians and Tigers – Each one of these teams needed bullpen help and neither did anything to widen the gap between the two. The Indians got Lofton earlier which is a great but they badly need a reliever. I guess the Tigers figure Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya will be ready soon because they needed bullpen help badly.

Mariners – Not only did they not get any pitching help they traded away a middle reliever with a mid 90′s fastball in Julio Mateo. I’m glad they didn’t trade Adam Jones for a reliever but I would’ve offered Wladimir Balentin for some pitching help. They also need to call Jones up. This team dropped the ball.

Nationals – They signed Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard to extensions. They didn’t trade them for prospects. They balked at Phil Humber for Chad Cordero. Jim Bowden needs to lose his job! The moves he made were not only stupid but they make no sense. This was a team that had no chance of contending and it should’ve been hard for them to make the Loser list but they figured out a way.


Tribe Acquire OF Kenny Lofton

CLEVELAND — Kenny Lofton returned for his third stint with Cleveland — and another playoff run — on Friday as the Texas Rangers traded the 40-year-old outfielder to the Indians for minor-league catcher Max Ramirez.

Great move by Cleveland! This is a huge boost to their offense and Lofton brings energy to this team. Lofton is said to be playing in either left or right field but doesn’t have the arm for right. He should get most of the playing time in left.

I also think this move will allow the Tribe to possibly send a veteran bat like Trot Nixon to a contender for a reliever. The Tribe need another reliever to sure up the back end of the bullpen.

The Rangers got a good young catcher in Max Ramirez. Ramirez, 22, can be groomed to be the catcher of the future for the Rangers. Ramirez is tearing up high-A ball to the tune of .303/.418/.505 in 77 games with 20 doubles, 12 homers, 62 RBI, 46 runs, a 53/63 BB/K ratio, and one stolen base.

This may be the beginning of a fire sale. Look for others like closer Eric Gagne, 1B/OF Brad Wilkerson, and even 1B Mark Teixeira to be on the trading block. I think Gagne will be gone for sure and Teixeira could be had for the right group of prospects.

*******Other Trade Rumors 7/27/07*******

- Mark Teixeira is almost certain to be traded away from the Rangers, with the Braves considered the most likely destination, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. A likely deal would bring C/1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Texas, along with a couple of prospects, perhaps a pitcher and an infielder.

The Angels were the most recent to tweak their offer. The Angels had originally offered 1B Casey Kotchman and a choice of outfield prospects Nathan Haynes or Terry Evans. It is believed they have now added a pitcher to the mix, but the level of pitcher could vary widely from a young prospect with a high ceiling (20-year-old right-hander Nick Adenhart) to an experienced but struggling major leaguer (recently demoted Ervin Santana) to a prospect on the verge of pitching in the majors (lefty Joe Saunders).

The Dodgers, thought to be one of the teams interested in Teixeira, say they intend to go forward with James Loney as their first baseman.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are believed to still be in the hunt for Teixeira, the Boston Globe reports. Teixeira was drafted by the Sox in the ninth round in 1998, but chose to attend Georgia Tech. He then was drafted by the Rangers in 2001 with the fifth overall pick. Currently making $9 million per year and arbitration-eligible next season, he can become a free agent after 2008.

Don’t expect Teixeira to end up in the Bronx. Without giving up Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees have little chance of acquiring Teixeira from the Rangers, The New York Times reports.

Texas wants promising young talent in return for Teixeira, the Dallas Morning News reports.

-Don’t expect the Twins to trade Torii Hunter before the deadline. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there have been indications that the club is prepared to offer him a contract extension after the season.

Larry Reynolds, Hunter’s agent, said Thursday that he hasn’t spoken with GM Terry Ryan lately and is not worried about a possible deadline trade. Hunter, a potential free agent, has a limited no-trade clause that blocks deals to six teams.

“Anything can happen,” Reynolds told the newspaper. “Am I expecting [a trade]? No. Will I be surprised if it happens? Not really.”

Hunter probably could get five to six years and $80 million to $90 million on the open market.

- There are rumblings that the Padres might be interested in Mark Loretta, the San Diego Union Tribune reports. “I haven’t heard anything other than the rumors,” Loretta told the newspaper.

Loretta played three seasons (2003-05) in San Diego, and many believe Loretta would be a perfect fit for the Padres, who have been looking for a right-handed bat to give Adrian Gonzalez an occasional rest at first and help at second.

The Mets, Phillies and Tigers are believed to be interested in Loretta as well.

- Add the Cubs to the list of teams interested in Ty Wigginton, the St. Petersburg Times reports. The Dodgers, Twins, Yankees and Red Sox also have their eye on the utility infielder.

The Devil Rays are looking to improve their beleaguered bullpen, possibly with the addition of several relievers, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Talks with the Yankees have included right-hander Scott Proctor, though the deal might have to be expanded. The Red Sox, Dodgers and Twins all have several young pitchers who would be of interest to the Rays.

Wigginton, 29, is open to signing a long-term deal. His salary is expected to exceed $4 million next season through arbitration.

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Royals Week in Review – 6/29/07

Having swept the California Angels of Southern Antiqua, the Kansas City Royals look to the Chicago White Sox, a team that is one bad weekend away from taking over the cellar position the Royals have held for so long.

As this weekend will mark the halfway point of the season, let’s take a look at some of the notable stats from the first 79 games.

Offense & Defense

Mo   RS   RA   OPS  ERA
Apr  3.8  5.1  700  4.32
May  4.0  5.7  699  5.27
Jun  5.4  4.5  730  4.30

The offense has shown dramatic improvement in the last month, while the pitching has come back strong after an off month in May. Even the defense has stepped it up from the first month of the season, with only 5% of runs allowed being unearned in June, compared to 17% in April.


Reggie Sanders will probably end the season as the team leader in OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Average) as long as his sore hammy keeps him on the disabled list. These are the top three players looking to take over his 1.059 showing.

Buck      907
Gathright 851
Teahen    795

Even better for the Royals, the hot hands in June all look to play a significant role in the team’s future.

OPS June
DeJesus   885
Gordon    885
Buck      880
Gathright 851

Joey Gathright has been getting on base at a .446 clip since his call up on June 6. While he does only have three extra base hits, the speedster has also stolen five bags while only getting caught once.

From a pitching standpoint, the relief staff has an overall ERA of 4.06 compared to the starters at 4.95.

A look at June ERA shows that while the bullpen has really been heating up, the rotation still needs some serious work.

ERA June
Soria   0.00
Riske   1.42
Peralta 2.08
Dotel   2.53

Banny   3.00
Meche   3.98
DL Rosa 6.41
Perez   6.66
Elartn 11.15

Gil Meche has slipped a little, but still looks like a win for Dayton Moore, while Brian Bannister has held his own.

De La Rosa is a fantastic pitcher to have if the game were still being played without stadium lights (a 3-0 record in day games); Odalis Perez is looking a lot like the devil, and Scott Elarton can stay in Omaha forever as far as I’m concerned.

Winners & Losers
Thanks to the wonderful stats over at Fangraphs (track a game live and see how your emotions look in a line chart), we can see who has contributed the most to the Royals wins and losses this year.

The stat Winning Percentage Added (WPA) gives credit for every play made that increases or decreases a teams chance at winning a game. As such, it puts greater importance on plays made late in a game, where the outcome of the game becomes more certain.

Team WPA
Offense  -5.43
Starters -2.15
Relief   +1.08

Most observers believed that Kansas City getting a reliable bullpen would be a sign of the apocalypse. No four horsemen yet, but keep your eyes peeled.

Individual WPA
Soria   1.40
Grienke 1.27

Meche   0.95

DeJesus 0.54
Teahen  0.52

Elartn -1.18
Pena   -2.04

After some poor outings as a starter, Zack Grienke has ratcheted up his WPA by getting some big strikeouts as a reliever. Soria has been an absolute steal for the team, and one wonders if they shouldn’t begin stretching him out to be a starter like Minnesota did with Johan Santana.

The two guys who have hurt the team most have one distinct difference: fielding. While TPJ may flail away at the plate like a tee baller facing the high school kids, he has flashed some pretty good leather this season, something that isn’t accounted for much in these numbers.

Scott Elarton just stinks. One good outing in AAA will not convince me otherwise.

A young offense is coming around, and the bullpen has been a revelation. Dayton Moore must continue adding to the starting rotation. That is the key to this team becoming a threat in the American League in the very near future.


Jays Place Overbay on DL, Call Up Prospect Thigpen

TORONTO — The Blue Jays put first baseman Lyle Overbay on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken right hand Tuesday and recalled catcher Curtis Thigpen from Triple-A Syracuse.

Thigpen is one of Toronto’s top prospects and is athletic enough to make the Blue Jays consider moving him to the infield. He played four games at second base earlier this season.

In 44 games at Syracuse, he hit .299 with three homers and 16 RBIs.

Overbay is expected to miss four to six weeks. He was injured in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox when he was hit by a pitch from John Danks.

Overbay was just beginning to come out of an early-season funk when he was hurt. In 55 games, he was hitting .256 with eight homers and 27 RBIs.

Pitcher John Thomson was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Thigpen on the 40-man roster. – The Associated Press

This is a pretty big blow for the Blue Jays but did they really have a shot this year? Let me get to my point.

Curtis Thigpen is a great athlete. Like the article said, he plays catcher mainly but is athletic enough to appear in 4 games at 2B. At 5’11 and 190 he’s not your typical catcher but he is the Jays catcher of the future.

In my opinion, the Jays should not play Thigpen at 1B in Lyle Overbay’s absence. Thigpen just turned 24 and needs to stay at catcher and harness his abilities behind the plate. He also doesn’t fit the prototypical first baseman’s build and power.

Thigpen has only 25 career homers in 1096 at-bats in the minors but he has 65 doubles and 9 triples. He is more of a gap hitter. He does have the ability to develop more power and could be a 10-15 homer guy annually. He has a great knowledge of the strike zone with a BB/K ratio of 157/176 in his minor league career and a .374 on-base percentage.

If the Jays are serious about his development they should either leave him in AAA at catcher or let him catch for the big league club now.


What’s baseball got to do with it?

via BallBug

Forbes has an article about the Business of Baseball. Given that Forbes is a business magazine not a sports magazine its list of baseball 10 best general managers will be the subject of some debate.

Being an Orioles’ fan, I hardly think that Mike Flanagan (#10 according to Forbes) deserves to be anywhere near the top of this list (yet.) He works for a difficult owner and as a fan I haven’t seen a good product for an entire year during his tenure. If this year turns out well, as it appears it might right now, there’s still little hope for long term success here. The Orioles have one of the weaker farm systems in MLB and the team isn’t especially young. (Overall that is. There’s Markakis, Cabrera, Loewen and Ray, but most everyone else of significance is 28 and up.) Success this year isn’t likely to extend more than two years unless the team’s scouting improves drastically.

I realize that this ranking is primarily from a business not a baseball standpoint, that’s why stathead favorite GM’s without much success (so far) like Mark Shapiro and Doug Melvin don’t rank. (Forbes does have metrics for evaluating them, but success on the field isn’t necessarily one of them.) Still how can Mike Flanagan make the list but not the likes of Kenny Williams, Brian Cashman, Bill Stoneman or even Tim Purpura whose teams have been in the World Series in recent years. Or Kevin Towers and Terry Ryan whose teams have made the playoffs?

And how does John Schuerholz rank below Brian Sabean or Pat Gillick?

Shouldn’t baseball have something to do with it?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.


2007 AL Central Stat Projections

AL Central Predictions

1. Cleveland Indians
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Kansas City Royals


Projected Stats
Projected Lineup AVG HR RBI SB R
1. Grady Sizemore CF .303 – 31 – 91 – 23 – 136
2. Casey Blake RF .273 – 24 – 71 – 6 – 76
3. Travis Hafner DH .316 – 44 – 128 – 0 – 108
4. Victor Martinez C .308 – 19 – 98 – 0 – 86
5. Ryan Garko 1B .285 – 13 – 58 – 0 – 41
6. David Delluci LF .265 – 14 – 57 – 3 – 65
7. Jhonny Peralta SS .277 – 18 – 72 – 0 – 79
8. Andy Marte 3B .254 – 14 – 55 – 1 – 46
9. Josh Barfield 2B .286 – 15 – 64 – 20 – 82

Trot Nixon COF .274 – 9 – 53 – 1 – 57
Hector Luna INF .272 – 5 – 35 – 8 – 39

Rotation W- L ERA SO
1. C.C. Sabathia 16-10 3.40 170
2. Jake Westbrook 14-10 3.90 117
3. Cliff Lee 11- 8 3.61 149 (DL)
4. Jeremy Sowers 14- 9 3.51 93
5. Paul Byrd 11-10 4.48 96
6. Fausto Carmona 3- 5 4.60 55
7. Adam Miller 4- 3 3.61 43

Bullpen W- L ERA SO SV-SVO
CL Scott Borowski 3-4 3.62 65 31-35
RP Ro. Hernandez 2-2 3.44 47 1-
RP Matt Miller 2-1 3.06 33 -
RP Rafael Betancourt 3-3 3.29 51 -

Prospect who can impact the 2007 season
1. Adam Miller SP
2. Sin Soo Choo OF


Projected Stats
Projected Lineup AVG HR RBI SB R
1. Luis Castillo 2B .301 – 4 – 46 – 24 – 90
2. Nick Punto 3B .278 – 3 – 48 – 16 – 69
3. Joe Mauer C .329 – 16 – 97 – 10 – 98
4. Mike Cuddyer RF .290 – 26 – 112 – 7 – 100
5. Justin Morneau 1B .294 – 36 – 119 – 1 – 94
6. Torri Hunter CF .272 – 28 – 96 – 15 – 86
7. Rondell White LF .261 – 10 – 54 – 1 – 47
8. Jason Kubel DH .278 – 9 – 52 – 3 – 48
9. Jason Bartlett SS .287 – 7 – 56 – 18 – 76

Lew Ford OF .268 – 9 – 40 – 9 – 56 (DL)
Matt LeCroy 1B/DH .270 – 9 – 34 – 0 – 29
Jeff Cirillo INF .296 – 3 – 31 – 2 – 36
Mike Redmond C/DH .297 – 1 – 22 – 0 – 18

Rotation W- L ERA SO
1. Johna Santana 18- 8 2.81 247
2. Boof Bonser 13-11 4.28 160
3. Carlos Silva 10-11 4.48 74
4. Ramon Ortiz 4- 9 4.86 82
5. Sidney Ponson 5- 8 5.10 59
6. Matt Garza 11- 7 3.56 124
7. Glen Perkins 4- 3 3.93 53

Bullpen W- L ERA SO SV-SVO
CL Joe Nathan 5-2 2.19 92 40-43
RP Jesse Crain 5-3 3.09 57 2-
RP Juan Rincon 4-3 3.06 68 -
RP Pat Nesheck 4-2 2.26 73 2-
RP Jesse Crain 2-3 3.80 46 –

Prospect who can impact the 2007 season
1. Matt Garza SP
2. Glen Perkins SP
3. Kevin Slowley SP


Projected Stats
Projected Lineup AVG HR RBI SB R
1. Curtis Granderson CF .280 – 22 – 74 – 14 – 98
2. Placido Polanco 2B .292 – 8 – 59 – 3 – 84
3. Gary Sheffield DH .288 – 29 – 107 – 9 – 101
4. Magglio Ordonez RF .302 – 23 – 99 – 2 – 83
5. Carlos Guillen SS .300 – 17 – 80 – 14 – 91
6. Sean Casey 1B .287 – 11 – 66 – 1 – 69
7. Ivan Rodriguez C .289 – 15 – 67 – 7 – 72
8. Craig Monroe LF .261 – 24 – 81 – 3 – 73
9. Brandon Inge 3B .257 – 25 – 78 – 6 – 80

Marcus Thames 1B/OF .246 – 19 – 56 – 0 – 52
Omar Infante Util .267 – 6 – 32 – 5 – 39

Rotation W- L ERA SO
1. Jeremy Bonderman 13- 9 4.32 188
2. Kenny Rogers 13-10 3.98 91 (DL)
3. Justin Verlander 14-10 3.72 141
4. Nate Robertson 12-13 4.42 132
5. Mike Maroth 9-13 4.48 89
6. J.D. Durbin 2-3 4.64 29

Bullpen W- L ERA SO SV-SVO
CL Todd Jones 3-4 3.77 37 34-39
RP Joel Zumya 5-3 2.62 93 4-
RP Fernando Rodney 4-3 3.65 61 5-
RP Jose Mesa 2-4 4.08 34 -
RP Jason Grilli 3-4 4.28 38 -

Prospect who can impact the 2007 season
1. Jordan Tata RP

White Sox
Projected Stats
Projected Lineup AVG HR RBI SB R
1. Scott Podsednik LF .278 – 4 – 35 – 36 – 69 (DL)
2. Tadahito Iguchi 2B .284 – 17 – 73 – 12 – 93
3. Jim Thome DH .286 – 39 – 104 – 0 – 98
4. Paul Konerko 1B .296 – 37 – 113 – 0 – 94
5. Jermaine Dye RF .281 – 32 – 101 – 6 – 89
6. A.J. Pierzynski C .290 – 16 – 69 – 0 – 63
7. Joe Crede 3B .275 – 26 – 81 – 1 – 73
8. Juan Uribe SS .249 – 16 – 67 – 2 – 59
9. Darin Erstad CF .277 – 5 – 31 – 8 – 46

Pablo Ozuna Util .301 – 1 – 19 – 10 – 33
Toby Hall C .281 – 4 – 29 – 0 – 24
Brian Anderson OF .252 – 5 – 26 – 6 – 35
Josh Fields 3B/COF .276 – 13 – 56 – 14 – 61

Rotation W- L ERA SO
1. Jose Contreras 12-13 4.46 148
2. Mark Buehrle 13-12 3.90 123
3. Jon Garland 15-11 4.22 110
4. Javier Vazquez 12-13 4.46 186
5. Jon Danks 8-10 4.54 103
6. Charlie Haeger 4- 5 4.26 48

Bullpen W- L ERA SO SV-SVO
CL Bobby Jenks 3-5 4.25 78 32-38
RP Mike MacDougal 3-2 3.12 54 8-
RP Matt Thornton 3-4 3.83 51 2-
RP David Aardsma 2-2 4.30 46 1-
RP Andrew Sisco 2-3 4.28 47 -

Prospect who can impact the 2007 season
1. Jon Danks SP
2. Jerry Owens OF


Projected Stats
Projected Lineup AVG HR RBI SB R
1. David DeJesus CF .307 – 13 – 67 – 10 – 89
2. M. Grudzielanek 2B .287 – 7 – 50 – 4 – 76 (DL)
3. Mark Teahen RF .293 – 24 – 91 – 12 – 94
4. Mike Sweeney DH .296 – 12 – 52 – 0 – 44
5. Ryan Shealy 1B .282 – 19 – 83 – 2 – 76
6. Emil Brown LF .276 – 14 – 76 – 9 – 72
7. Alex Gordon 3B .289 – 18 – 77 – 14 – 71
8. John Buck 2B .250 – 13 – 46 – 1 – 42
9. Tony Pena Jr. SS .249 – 4 – 38 – 16 – 56

Joey Gathright OF .277 – 1 – 36 – 28 – 51
Esteban German Util .302 – 5 – 38 – 12 – 59
Reggie Sanders COF .256 – 14 – 52 – 6 – 46
Ross Gload 1B/COF .289 – 8 – 46 – 3 – 33

Rotation W- L ERA SO
1. Gil Meche 12-11 4.31 153
2. Odalis Perez 8-12 4.49 110
3. Zack Grienke 8- 9 4.24 91
4. Jorge dela Rosa 7- 9 4.65 101
5. Brandon Duckworth 4- 7 4.68 69
6. Luke Hudson 8-10 4.46 77 (DL)
7. Brian Bannister 4- 6 4.44 44

Bullpen W- L ERA SO SV-SVO
CL Octavio Dotel 2-4 3.61 69 22-31
RP David Riske 4-2 3.26 51 6-
RP Joe Nelson 1-2 4.20 39 4-
RP T. Wellemeyer 2-3 4.12 52 -
RP Joe Peralta 2-3 4.16 54

Prospect who can impact the 2007 season
1. Alex Gordon 3B
2. Billy Butler DH/OF
3. Justin Huber 1B


2007 Fantasy Busts!

This isn’t so much about “all out” busts but more about players that may be getting drafted too high and too early. Again, when you see the name Joe Mauer, don’t freak out. I’m not saying I wouldn’t draft him, I’m just saying that he is going too early and that way too many people are overrating him. Here is a list of some of the “overvalued” players in fantasy right now along with some that you should just stay away from. Again, this is not a list of people I wouldn’t draft, I actually own a couple in some leagues, this is a list of people that I wouldn’t reach too early for.

CatcherJoe Mauer, Jorge Posada: You heard a little about why I believe Mauer is overrated above. Sure the guy won a batting title, but 12 other catchers hit 16 or more homers to Mauer’s 13. Four other catchers had more RBI, and 2 others had more stolen bases. This is not to say that he won’t top his power numbers from last year, I just believe he is beong overvalued and that I wouldn’t take him any earlier than the mid-late 3rd round. Jorge Posada is kinda in the same boat. He gets drafted for three reason: his homers, the fact he plays for the Yankees, and his lineup protection. Not bad reasons. But he gets drafted before guys like Ramon Hernandez, Mike Piazza, and Russ Martin. Posada is turning 36 this year and his career .270 AVG is probably in decline and is gonna be a killer and walks don’t help in most fantasy leagues. He’s good but I have him ranked around 8-12 for catchers.

First BaseSean Casey: I love Casey. Nice guy, everybody on his team and the opposing team, loves him. But on fantasy teams… Yes he has topped .300 5 times in his career and hit 20 or more homers 3 times. But those days seem long gone. He should never be drafted above guys like Overbay, Conor Jackson, or even Ty Wigginton. Stay away from him at all costs.

Second BaseRickie Weeks, Ray Durham: I’m not gonna mention Dan Uggla here. He is actually being avoided by everyone and he seems to be getting drafted in a perfect spot. But Weeks is an intiguing player. He has 20-30 potential every year. But he seems to get injured every year. He currently is fighting wrist problem, and his wrists are what generate his bat speed, and he could kill your team AVG (he is a career .257 hitter). You can look like a genius if you get him and he performs, but I wouldn’t draft him any sooner than the 10th round. And if anyone thinks Durham is going to repeat his numbers, let’s please make a bet!

ShortstopCarlos Guillen: Guillen is a guy I could be dead wrong about. He has .300-20-90-20-100 potential but I’ve seen him go in round 3 before. He isn’t getting younger and he is also getting slower (both at SS and in actual speed). I would love to have him on my team but I wouldn’t take his 2006 stats to the bank. I would rest on .300-15-80-10-90.

Third BaseJoe Crede: Two sets of two words for you: Back Problems, and Josh Fields. Crede continues to have back problems and the young Josh Fields is waiting to snag the 3B job. The White Sox need to trade Crede while his value is at it’s highest. If traded, his stats should diminish because he’s most likely headed to a ballpark that is not Chicago’s.

OutfieldWilly Taveras, Dave Roberts, Moises Alou, Gary Matthews Jr.: I’ll start with the speedsters. Taveras is not going to hit for power because he’s in Colorado. He is going to put up numbers around the same as last year’s. Don’t draft him expecting Coors Field to magically bring him power, it didn’t do it for Juan Pierre. Roberts is on a team with aging vets and he himself fits perfectly on that platform. He could easily swipe 40 bags but that’s all you should draft him for. I hear from people that Alou is going to perform miracles because he’s in the Mets lineup. Don’t buy it. He hits lefties like no one else but he probably won’t see more than 400 at-bats. Draft him as your 4th or 5th OF, not one of your starting 3. Lastly we come to Matthews Jr. Do I have to explain here? I’ll keep it simple: No Way he duplicates last year’s stats which were overrated in themselves!

Starting PitchersJered Weaver, Chien Ming-Wang, Orlando Hernandez: Weaver is having some problems with nagging injuries and his season last year was a season in which hitters never saw him before and he took advantage of it. Hitters are wise and they will catch on. Weaver should still have a good year but he’s going earlier than Kazmir, Hamels, and Cain and I think that’s ridiculous. Wang will give you 15+ wins, no doubt. But can he win 19 again? I wouldn’t bet on it. 76 strikeouts in 218 innings is not a sign for good things to happen. Some of those balls in play will drop for hits this year and his ERA won’t be duplicated from last year. Wang, in my opinion, is a one-dimensional fantasy starter. He’s a good #3, maybe #2, but don’t make him your #1. And Orlando Hernandez is just not going to have a stikeout per inning again. His ERA will kill you and you will regret taking him ahead of young guys like Garza, Sowers, and even James Shields of the Rays.

Relief PitchersBob Wickman, Takashi Saito, Armando Benitez: All three of these guys are on this list because they all have a history of injuries. They all also have people behind them (Wickman has Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, Saito has Jonathan Broxton, and Benitez has Brian Wilson) that will step in and may not give the job back if given the opportunity. Don’t be scared to take Wickman though, but monitor the other two closely. Closers are one-dimensional players (saves) and saves can be had in the waiver wire every year (2006: Putz, Saito, Francisco Cordero anyone?!)


Ozzie Guillen is Crazy

When asked about the White Sox doing a 20 year reunion for the 2005 team similar to the one done for the 1983 team Ozzie painted an artisitc picture of the future.

”Those ceremonies — ‘Oh, let’s bring back those guys from 2005,’ we’re all crippled and fucked up, pushing wheelchairs, kids crying because his dad was on the ballclub — fuck that,” Guillen said. ”I don’t need that bull. A bunch of fat guys, another one is broke. ‘Hey, where’s your ring?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, I sold that son of a bitch two years ago.’”

What does White Sox Management think?

Said Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert: ”I guess we can scratch the reunion off the list.”


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