Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rays: Bullpen includes five newcomers

Rays: Bullpen includes five newcomers: "With a closer yet to emerge, Maddon said Salas could pitch at the end of games. Other possibilities are Reyes, Camp and Stokes."

Way to be specific!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Matt Antonelli > San Diego Padres -- Savvy, big hitters to surround Bush at Elsinore: "....second baseman Matt Antonelli.... "

The Padres first round draft pick was a thirdbaseman last year. Now he is at second. Two things to conclude. 1st, the Padres like what they have seen from Kevin Kouzmanoff, and, 2nd, Antonelli could come fast with just Marcus Giles in the way. If you have a deep minor league roster, consider selecting Antonelli late.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dan Johnson

A's to place first baseman Johnson on DL: "The A's gave no indication how long Johnson would be out, but the 27-year-old Johnson could be sidelined up to three months."

Wow. Dan Johnson is a non-facotr for 2007. By the time he returns, either Travis Buck will have made Nick Swisher the full-time 1B or Daric Barton will be getting on-base at a .400 clip while playing first.

Rays: Crucial moves on deck for Rays

Rays: Crucial moves on deck for Rays: "There were indications that veteran reliever Dan Miceli may be released - at a cost of $850,000 - to create a 40-man roster spot, and that the final job among the position players could come down to a choice between former frontliners Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes."

Was Jerry Crasnick misinformed! If it is Cantu, then expect a big SB season from BJ Upton.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tony Sipp

Drew's Comeback Could Start With Tribe by Jim Ingraham:"Lefty Tony Sipp has not pitched in several days due to some soreness in his left elbow. Atkins said it's 50-50 whether Sipp will be ready for the start of the season."

So much for the possibility of him being taken in AL-only minor league drafts. Sore elbows for relief prospects are not worth the risk and wait.

Matt Moses

Jim Souhan: Castillo will beat you 'til it hurts: "This is the last year of Castillo's four-year contract. He'll make $5.75 million, then become a free agent.

By next season, top infield prospect Alexi Casilla could replace Castillo at second, or perhaps, with a big year, third baseman Matt Moses could move to the big leagues and allow Nick Punto to shift to second or return to a utility role."

Alex Casilla isn't an unknown any longer, but watch Moses. The Twins' infield ranks amongst the worst from second to third. Their OF is also poor. If 3B Matt Moses does well in AAA and the Twins' offense struggles, do not be surprised to see Moses get a shot to add 10+ HR power to the line-up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Andy LaRoche

Reinforcements needed for Freeway Series - Los Angeles Times: "LaRoche came into spring training hoping to battle Wilson Betemit at third base but mostly battled himself. He has made seven errors, is batting .180 and will begin the season at Las Vegas."

Andy LaRoche earned his trip back to AAA.

James Loney

Loney, La Roche likely headed to minors - Los Angeles Times: "Barring a last-minute change of heart by the front office, Loney and La Roche will return to the minors, team sources said. Although the primary reason is that veterans are standing in their way, they might as well try to become proficient outfielders while waiting their turn"

Geez this is like Joel Guzman all over again. Except Loney has killed the ball.

Joe Blanton

Gaudin is sharp as a starter / Right-hander still unlikely to get spot in rotation: " No. 4 starter Joe Blanton pitched in a Triple-A game against the Cubs and allowed seven hits and two runs, one earned, in six innings. He struck out five and walked none. "

The five strikeouts caught my attention. Blanton barely struck out 100 last year. In the Spring games that count, he struck out 12 in 13 innings. Unfortunately, he got hit around badly.

Brandon Morrow

Mark Patrick, Orestes Destrade and Buck Mmartinez of Baseball This Morning on XM Radio are assuming Mariners' prospect Brandon Morrow will go Northwest with the club. He is a definite pitcher to draft for $5-$10.

Armando Benitez | 03/27/2007 | 'Not a joke': Benitez likely to close: "Benitez completed his stunning spring transformation, stranding three inherited runners in the eighth inning and then pitching a perfect ninth to save the Giants' 3-2 exhibition victory over the Chicago White Sox.
'He's a true closer,' catcher Bengie Molina said. 'He's not a joke"

The Brian Wilson Era is delayed.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tampa Closer SPORTSNATION - Chat-15140(Insider): "Jerry Crasnick: Erich,

I actually checked with a Devil Rays person today and was told it's probably going to be Dan Miceli to start the season. If you're looking to add a D-Rays closer, your fantasy team is in trouble. "

Fool me once ($18 on Dan Miceli last year), shame on you. Fool me twice....

Devil Rays Closer

Rays: Gomes hitting way back into running for roster: "NOT CLOSING TIME: With the closer spot unsettled, Maddon said he would go back to last year's system of having no set closer to open the season.
'I'm going to do what we did last year pretty much, kinda like mix and match in the beginning,' he said. 'And if someone wants that job, it's theirs to be had. Go out and take it. It's there. But nobody is going to be named that prior to going into the season. I haven't seen that animal yet.'"

Spend accordingly.

Edgar Gonzalez

Ready for the rotation?: "He commands the bottom of the strike zone with good movement on all of his pitches,' Price said. 'He gets a lot of ground balls. He throws a lot of strikes and doesn't get in trouble with the walks. And stays out of the middle of the plate.'"

The D'backs Edgar Gonzalez is one of the few starting pitchers that I like as a sleeper candidate. He pitched very well late last season and has carried it over this spring. For a dollar or two, I see little risk. Just be prepared to cut bait if he doesn't work out.

Here is a link to what I wrote for Fake Teams in February.

Travis Buck

FOX Sports - MLB - Several teams interested in Arizona's Julio: "The A's are content with their outfield despite injuries to Mark Kotsay and Bobby Kielty. Travis Buck, the team's supplemental first-round pick in 2005, has emerged as a viable option if further needs arise.
Buck, 23, has only 212 at-bats above Class A, and the A's only will promote him if they plan to play him every day. That moment could occur sooner than the team initially expected: Buck is batting .366 this spring."

With the non-descriptness of the A's OF outside of Nick Swisher, expect to see Buck emerge as a sleeper. He's got great doubles production in the minors so he could develop 20 HR power. Even if he didn't, 10 HR power makes him a better power hitter than Shannon Stewart, Bobby Kielty and Mark Kotsay.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Alberto Callaspo

Johnson sharp in 'B' game: "Alberto Callaspo saw his first action in the outfield, playing left field in the 'B' game. Callaspo, who will fill a utility role, has had a terrific camp, hitting .438 in 48 at-bats and showing an ability to adapt to any position.

With an all right-handed hitting outfield, Callaspo, a switch-hitter, could start occasionally in left field against tough right-handed pitchers."

Callaspo is slowing moving-up my sleeper list. With Dave Krynzel and Scott Hairston along with their catchers, Miguel Montero and Chris Snyder, I think the DBacks are going to be one of the top sources of NL sleepers.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Brandon Morrow

Mariners | M's Notebook | To Morrow, it's big-league dreams | Seattle Times Newspaper: "Mariners manager Mike Hargrove is debating the once remote possibility of adding Morrow to the team's opening-day bullpen. It would be a highly unusual move for a pitcher with limited Class A experience, who is still being groomed as a future starter. "

With JJ Putz's arm scare (he seems fine right now), Brandon Morrow is a solid bullpen sleeper in 2007. I'd like to believe Bill Bavasi knew this before failing to address his bullpen following the Raphael Soriano trade, but I'm too old to be that rosy-eyed.

Jeremy Hermida

Hermida might miss the opener: South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Hermida is 2 for 35 (.057) with seven walks and 11 strikeouts in Grapefruit League play. If he isn't healthy enough to amass another 20 or so at-bats before camp breaks, the Marlins likely will open the season on April 2 in Washington with Joe Borchard or Cody Ross in right field."

Hermida is slowing slipping towards....busting. He's too young to write-off, so I will say he's falling to sinlge-digit draft salary. That makes him a big time sleeper.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Macier Izturis

The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News: "The Angels will be without third baseman Chone Figgins for five to six weeks after fractures were found in his right middle finger and right index finger on Friday. "

With Figgins out for the first month od the season, back-up 3B Macier Izturis becomes a great play. With fullt-ime work, I wouldn't be surprised to see Izturis steal five bases in April. Given the lack of SBs in the AL, any player who does that has big value.

More McCutchen

FOX Sports - MLB - Top 100 prospects for '07: 1-10: "5. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates
Age: 20
Acquired: 1st round, 2005, Fort Meade HS (Fort Meade, FL)
McCutchen's a career .298 hitter in the minors with speed on the bases, exceptional command of the strike zone and perhaps the quickest bat of any prospect this side of Delmon Young and Alex Gordon. Once he settles in at the highest level, he'll be an annual threat to go 20-20 and provide top-shelf defense in center. "

He is still in camp entering the last weekend of the Spring. With Duffy and McLouth struggling, the Pirates couldn't possibly take him north, could they?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rays: Rocco: 'I can't tell anymore'

Rays: Rocco: 'I can't tell anymore': "Even if Baldelli does recover quickly, the Rays are likely to handle him with care and rest him often. 'I would rather have Rocco for 135 or 140 games than none,' Maddon said."

I still like Rocco for a double digits HRs & SB season, but, if Maddon holds true, then Rocco is no longer at high $20s draftee in AL-only keeper leagues. Temper your expectations.

Pence's stint in majors over ... for now | - Houston Chronicle

Pence's stint in majors over ... for now | - Houston Chronicle: "Pence will play all three outfield positions in Round Rock, but he will get most of his time in center field."

I can't imagine Biggio being relegated to the bench after his 70th hit this season, but it is clear the Astros want Pence to be ready to play centerfield. He's likely going to be the #1 overall pick in my NL-only keeper league's minor league draft.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mariners | M's Notebook | Up early, out early — Weaver is hit hard | Seattle Times Newspaper

Mariners | M's Notebook | Up early, out early — Weaver is hit hard | Seattle Times Newspaper: "Ben Broussard went 3 for 3 with three singles in making his seventh start of the spring in right field. Broussard hopes to be the backup at first base, left field and right field this season, though he could be traded before the opener. A source in the Giants' camp said San Francisco's front office still can't make up its mind whether to give up RHP Armando Benitez, a potential Mariners target."

Andrew McCutchen

McCutchen still in Pirates' big-league camp: "'He's done a fantastic job,' general manager Dave Littlefield said. 'He's certainly advanced and continues to open our eyes. It appears he's not that far away from being a major-league player. "

With Chris Duffy struggling so far and Nate McLouth being Nate McLouth, (I know, the same can be said of Duffy.) McCutchen may be up soon enough to be a fantasy contributor versus a September recall.

Keep an eye on him.