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June 9, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:30 PM)

Hey everybody. Today's Starting 9 is on the site. This week's topic: Upside down team leaderboards. I'm heading to Philly tonight for Roy Halladay vs. Josh Johnson. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Let's start the chat.

Mark (Lyme, CT)

Hey Jerry. Love the chats. What's going on with Ellsbury? Is there a rift between him and the front office?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:32 PM)

Mark, Apparently Ellsbury just wants a second opinion on this rib injury. He's a Scott Boras guy, and Boras is always going to touch every base when it comes to things like this. Terry Francona said he's not upset about it, so I'll take him at his word on it. I think the Red Sox will do anything that helps get him back in the lineup.

Jeremy (Atlanta)

Who do you think the NL ROY will be come November? Heyward or Strasburg?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:33 PM)

Jeremy, Too soon to tell, but Heyward has a pretty good head start, and it's going to be tough for Strasburg to make a big ROY push throwing 100 innings. By the way, any Rookie of the Year conversation will also have to include Mike Leake of the Reds.

Mike (Chicago)

I know that the rookie class is stacked and you can debate about the meaningfulness of statistics but how come in every conversation Jaime Garcia is not by far the leading ROY candidate. He has a 1.47 era which besides Ubaldo is over a half run better than anyone else. If he had better run support (going off memory not stats) and did not face so many aces he would have a lot more wins. If you look at the offensive stats Heyward is basically Willingham this year which is great but is not as good as Garcia has been.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:34 PM)

Mike, Thanks for inserting Jaime Garcia's name into the mix as well. It's amazing: Some years you have to scrape for a Rookie of the Year winner, and this year the field is stacked.

Jeff (Sacramento)

Jerry,With all due respect to your Starting 9 column, Juan Uribe is the realy story with the Giants. Huff has been a nice addition, but Uribe leading the team in HR's and RBI's is pretty surprising, considering he was basically signed to be a utility guy again this year. Also, look at what Matt Cain has done this year, especially his last 4-5 starts. Lincecum and Zito have been great at times, but Cain is clearly the best pitcher on that staff.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:35 PM)

Jeff, You probably see the Giants more than I do, so I respect your opinion. But Uribe was pretty darned good last year, and Aubrey Huff was awful in Baltimore and Detroit. The Giants are a team filled with free swingers and low-OBP guys, and I think it's quite surprising to see Huff with a .385 OBP when the Big Panda is mired in the 330s.

Sean (Denver)

Hi Jerry,Any thoughts on Ike Davis so far? I know the term "clutch" tends to get overused but he has come up huge in some big spots this year, just seems like he is pretty calm and collected out there (very impressive for a rookie in my opinion). I know a lot of us Mets fans are excited about the homegrown infield they've been running out recently with the Tejada callup, wondering what you see for Davis the rest of this year and in the future.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:37 PM)

Sean, You always have to wonder how a kid is going to respond playing in New York when he's come with so much hype, but Ike Davis really carries himself like a pro. Here's one thing that's amazing, though: He's a lefty hitter batting .348 in 46 ABS against lefties. And he's hitting .223 vs. righties. What the heck is up with that?

Brandon (KC)

With so many bad contracts (Zambrano, Soriano, Fukudome, Ramirez, ect) what is the eta for the Cubs to be in the playoff picture again? 2012? 13? Longer?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:39 PM)

Brandon, That's the big problem in Chicago: It's tough to do a major revamp when you're strangled with so many big-money deals. Tom Ricketts is going to have to do a top to bottom organizational review, and then we'll see where they're headed. It's tough to do that kind of thing in the middle of a disappointing season.

Tyler (MN)

Do the Twins have a legitimate chance at advancing past the first round of the playoffs this year (if they make it of course)? World Series maybe?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:40 PM)

Tyler, Sure, they have a legit chance. But when Jon Rauch is the closer and the rotation consists of so many strike-throwing, pitch-to-contact guys, you have to wonder how that approach will fly in the postseason. Power pitching definitely wins in October.

Meekus (Cincinnati)

Who are the Reds all-stars? (Assuming they get more than 1).

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:41 PM)

Meekus, Scott Rolen, Mike Leake and Joey Votto are all All-Star candidates. But Arthur Rhodes is probably the Red most deserving of a trip to Anaheim with his performance thus far. He's been nails in the bullpen.

guinness (NY, NY)

Jerry, the reason Ike Davis is only hitting .223 against righties is because he gets fooled by changeups everytime.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:42 PM)

Guinness, Thanks for the input. He wouldn't be the first.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which Baseball Fathers has Managed or Coached their Sons in Major League Baseball?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:43 PM)

Chris, Felipe Alou managed Moises in Montreal and San Fran, Cal Ripken Sr. managed Cal Jr. in Baltimore, and Ken Griffey Sr. coached Jr. in Cincinnati. I'm sure I'm missing lots and lots of others.

Carolyn (Reno NV)

Hi Jerry, Rob Neyer said that he expects The Stras to win between 100 and 150 games-lifetime, not this season! What do you think?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:45 PM)

Carolyn, I find it hard to just pick an arbitrary number like that. If Strasburg can stay healthy for 15 years, he has a chance to do a lot better than that. But ask Mark Prior, Paul Wilson, Kris Benson, Ben McDonald and a bunch of other "can't miss" pitching stars how easy that is to accomplish.

Brad (Madison)

Does ESPN hate the Brewers? I thought Joe Morgan was going to cry when the Brewers beat the Cards on Sunday night.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:45 PM)

Brad, I lead the Starting 9 column today with Corey Hart and Casey McGehee. It's not easy finding silver linings with the Brew Crew this season.

Jason (Detroit)

Jerry, how much of an injustice would it be if Miguel Cabrera doesn't make the all-start game? Teixera is leading the vote and I wouldn't be surprised if morneau is put in ahead of Miggy.... tough spot to be in the AL

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:47 PM)

Jason, It would be a travesty, but I don't see any way that's going to happen. They'll find a way to shoe-horn Miggy onto the All-Star roster. The players' vote will also help determine the makeup of the roster.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

Who wins the N.L. East this year? Which team will be willing to make some moves as the trade deadline approaches?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:48 PM)

Bawb, I picked the Phillies to win the East in spring training and the Braves to be the wild card. I'll stick with that scenario. Everybody is trolling for help, and I think they'll all have the latitude to make upgrades -- to varying degrees.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

If a pitcher throws a fastball anywhere to Vlad are they taking a risk?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:49 PM)

Blake, Given the size of Vlad's strike zone, they're taking a risk if they throw it anywhere in the vicinity of Arlington. I checked FanGraphs today, and he swings at 50 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. Even the Big Panda can't come close to that.

Dave (Detroit)

Jerry, don't you think some of the Cabrera backlash for the voting comes with a certain problem he had last year? I love what he's done on the field but showing up to work in that state...

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:50 PM)

Dave, I don't really think so. It's strictly a New York-name recognition thing with Teixeira pulling down so many votes in a down year. If anything, you have to commend Cabrera for admitting he had a problem and taking steps to address it.

Bawb (Fairview, UT)

Sandy Alomar coached his sons Roberto & Sandy, jr. in San Diego

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:50 PM)

Thanks, Bawb.

seamsplitter (SF)

Do you see Pat Burrell eventually taking over LF for the Giants?Also, how long before Posey starts over Molina?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:52 PM)

Seamsplitter, Pat Burrell might be able to give the Giants some needed thump in left field, but you really have to spot the guy defensively. And it's tough doing that with so many big outfields in the NL West. I don't think the Giants feel Posey is ready to assume a full-time role behind the plate. That team is so reliant on its pitching ...

Jimbo (Torrence CA)

Hey Jerry, Carlos Monterserio really looks like he knows what he's doing on the mound. Can he overcome his stuff and be a star?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:54 PM)

Jimbo, He's not a flamethrower, and he doesn't miss many bats. Personally, I think he's more of a reliever or a 5 or 6-inning guy at the back of the rotation. Rick Honeycutt deserves some credit for getting this much mileage out of John Ely and Monasterios so far.

Jerad (Iowa)

Most impressive debute this year? Hayward, Strasburg, or Castro?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:55 PM)

Jerad, I was at Jason Heyward's debut game, and the atmosphere was electric when he hit that HR in Atlanta. But I don't think anything compares to Strasburg's debut. 14 strikeouts and no walks? I don't even care that it came against the Pirates. That was incredible.

Mark (Clark, NJ)

If the A's are still in contention come July, could you see them being buyers? Or will they stand still and not trade away any of their assets in the minors?

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:57 PM)

Mark, Billy Beane is rarely in the mode to trade long-term minor league assets who are under contractual control for short-term fixes. No matter where the A's are in the standings in late July, Beane isn't going to part with players that he thinks can have an impact long-term.

dave (la)

how about the dodgers starting pitching? nobody saw them being this good.

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:58 PM)

Dave, I say this in every chat, it seems, but it all comes down to Kershaw and Billingsley for the Dodgers. They have the stuff to be very good, but they're still learning. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than everybody wants.

Rob (Long Island)

How come noone is talking about a trade for dan haren?? He is one of the better #2 pitchers in the league and would fit perfectly with a team like the mets. Instead of going for Lee, would it cost less in propsects to go for Haren instead??

Jerry Crasnick
  (1:59 PM)

Rob, Haren is under contract for a while, and I don't think Josh Byrnes has any interest in trading him unless the D-backs can decimate somebody's farm system. They need someone to pitch for that team.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Why is 150 wins an insult? Sign me up for 15 wins a year for 10 years.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:01 PM)

Blake, I'm not saying it's an insult. But this kid has Hall of Fame caliber stuff. Tim Belcher, one of my favorite people in baseball, won slightly under 150 games in his career. If Strasburg finishes with a Tim Belcher-like career, don't you think the Nationals and their fans would look back and be a tad disappointed?

KB (Minnesota)

Don't forget about Youk for 1B all star. His OPS is only 20 points less that Miggy and I am pretty sure he plays better defense.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:02 PM)

KB, First base in the American League is absolutely brutal, with Morneau, Youkilis, Cabrera et al. One thing you can safely say to this point is that Mark Teixeira doesn't belong in the discussion with those guys.

Brodie (davenport) [via mobile]

mike stanton had 3 hits last night... just thought folks would like to know.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:03 PM)

Brodie, I'm going down to see him in Philly tonight -- weather permitting. If Mike Stanton hits with the kind of power he showed in the minors, trust me, the kid will get lots and lots of attention this summer.

Andrew (Troy)

Jerry, what are your thoughts on Brennan Boesch's start to his career? He has really helped the Tigers lineup and is leading in a lot of rookie stats after only playing in 36 games. You see that bomb he hit last night after an intentional walk to!

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:05 PM)

Andrew, I don't think the Tigers quite saw this coming. But I've been told that Boesch has great baseball aptitude and intelligence. Opponents are going to start scouting him more intently and probing his weaknesses. But he's got pop, and he sounds like the type of kid who can make adjustments. That's what it always comes down to.

Luis (Burbank)

Any inside info on what the Angels will do around the trade deadline? I think we'll be ok with Napoli at first and maybe keep Frandsen/Izturis at third. Any help for the bullpen?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:06 PM)

Luis, I'm sure you'll keep hearing first base names thrown around (Berkman, Konerko, Ty Wigginton et al), but the Halos might be able to get by with Napoli at first and Mathis/Wilson behind the plate. If they're looking for bullpen help, they'll be standing in a very long line.

Henry (Columbus)

Can you please remind people that Ben McDonald threw a complete game shutout his first start and Prior went 6 and struck out 10 his first start? I think the expectations for Strasburg are bordering on insane right now... the kid is promising, but let's wait a little before we crown him.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:08 PM)

Henry, I agree with you. Bob Costas mentioned Walter Johnson about 10 times in the MLB broadcast last night. That said, the kid's stuff is incredible. A lot of it is going to come down to staying healthy. You have to give the Nationals credit for handling him prudently so far.

John (AR)

Selig recently said that most people in baseball are against Instant Replay. Do you believe him? I don't.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:10 PM)

John, His special committee includes Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, and some of those guys have expressed reservations about it. But the fan support for expanded replay is overwhelming. Selig is definitely walking a tightrope on this one. If MLB doesn't expand replay and something bad happens in the postseason, it'll be Armaggedon.

Lou Piniella (Chicago)

Should i be playing Colvin more often?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:10 PM)

Lou, I'd like to see a little more of the kid. It certainly can't hurt.

Greg (LA)

Here's a deal - the Mariners trade Figgy back to the Angels for Brandon Wood, and the Mariners eat the back end money they gave Figgy that the Angels wouldn't.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:12 PM)

Greg, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that scenario in the limited time I'm given here, but I give you extra credit points for inventiveness, big guy.

Dominic (Landover)

Do you think that Bobby V. is the right coach to help turn the Orioles around?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:13 PM)

Dominic, Don't use the word "coach" around Bobby V: It's "manager" or "skipper." Nobody is asking me for a reference, but Valentine is a brilliant baseball guy and he's not averse to rattling a few cages. He might be a breath of fresh air in Baltimore. Lord knows, they need something there to take fans' minds off the on-field product.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:14 PM)

Sorry, but I have to cut this one short to make it to the game. Only have time for one more question.

Ryan (Indy)

Do you think Tommy Hanson is on the same level as young studs like Lincecum & Jimenez, or is he a rung below?

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:16 PM)

Ryan, He's probably a rung below, but it's a pretty small rung. Hanson has a great pitcher's body, he's very diligent and mature, and he looks like a guy who could be a front-of-the-rotation staple for a dozen years. I know 29 other teams that would love to have him. With all these guys, it's going to come down to durability over the long haul.

Jerry Crasnick
  (2:17 PM)

Thanks for the questions, everybody. It was a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to seeing Mike Stanton take batting practice tonight.