Happy Tuesday! To the questions ...
Astros make room for Livan or Zach Duke by moving Myers to closer, really? Really?
I don't get it all. The only plausible theory is the Astros must think it could increase Myers' trade value. Buy why? I still think a 200-innings eater starter is more valuable than a closer at the trade deadline.
David, i'm very intrigued by Jason Kipnis. Watching him last year, I was very impressed with his ability to identify pitches early, and the guy can really make a pitcher pay if they make a mistake. Do you see a future all star in Kipnis (although 2B in the AL will be tough to crack with Pedroia, Cano, Kinsler)? I think he could hit 20-25 HR with a full season of AB's, but what do you think? Thanks.
I'm a HUGE fan of Kipnis. Definitely liked what I saw at the plate last year. His defense also seemed better than advertised coming up through the minors. I can see .270 with 20 HRs this year, maybe 25 HRs down the road. Draws some walks. Definite All-Star potential except the AL is loaded with second basemen (throw Dustin Ackley into that mix possibly as well).
Could you see David Price winning AL Cy Young this season?
Definitely. Right now, I'm leaning to him as my Cy Young pick, actually.
The Royals signing Salvador Perez to a five year extension is a step in the right direction. Now if they can do the same with Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, Giavotella and Escobar...i'll be happy.
Five years for $7 million? There's no way that should turn out to be a bad deal for the Royals, even if it doesn't buy out his free agency years.
Is Brad Lidge going to be the setup man for the Nats? And will he be a good contributer?
Lidge is down in the bullpen pecking order. Tyler Clippard is the main setup guy, and you still have guys like Sean Burnett and Ross Detwiler, maybe even Ryan Perry. Lidge will have to prove himself before he's anything but the sixth-inning or mop-up guy in my book.
Good afternoon, Dave! Will Sean Marshall be closing out the Reds' games from 2013-2015, or will he switch to the rotation to make room for Brad Boxberger as closer of the future? Apparently his new contract has incentive clauses for both roles.
With the successful reliever conversions in Texas the past couple of years -- C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando -- I thought the Reds may try Marshall in the rotation when they traded for him, but that won't happen this year. I certainly would consider it if I'm them in 2013. He's got a starter's repertoire of pitches, he's been healthy. I'd try, but if I had to predict, Marshall stays in the pen. Teams are reluctant to mess with success and Marshall is so good I say he stays in the pen.
Best hitter in 2012 of this group who have been mishandled- LoMo, JMontero, Brandon Belt?
I'll say Morrison. Montero still has a little work to do on his plate discipline and I just don't know what the Giants will do with Belt. Morrison an excellent breakout candidate -- .280, 20-25 HRs (depending on how new park plays out), .370 OBP.
Do you feel as if most baseball people now don't give the "eye" test enough credit anymore? Sabermetrics are phenomenal to dissect a players actual work, but at the same time you can predict future success on a player given the "If he can just put it all together" tag on him.
MLB teams still rely heavily on scouts, especially for amateurs and prospects, so the "eye" is still very much a part of the game.
Perez 5 years at 7 million then three club options to follow, so there are some FA years there.
Thanks. Even better for KC!
In 5 years Eric Hosmer is the best player in baseball. book it!
Jeremy Hellickson BABIP and K/9 say he will regress this year. True or false?
Who will have the better career, Yonder Alonso or Anthony Rizzo? Did the Padres trade the right guy?
This isn't the answer you want: Alonso is the safer bet, but Rizzo has more upside. If I'm a GM in a mythical expansion draft and can take one guy, I'd go with Rizzo.
Would it be fair to say that the Cardinals felt more pressure to extend Molina since Pujols left?
Well, I'd say they wanted to extend him because he's a good player, a tremendous catcher and arguably the new most popular player on the franchise. In fact, during the World Series, he consistently received the biggest ovations from the St. Louis fans, even bigger than Pujols.
How do you think Pujols will adapt to AL pitching?
Speaking of ... I don't see any issue there. Well, other than he won't be able to hit off the Cubs. (Sorry, too easy. Apologies to Cubs fans.)
On your article today -- no one is expecting the Nats to overtake the Phils this year. Next year, however, is a different story...
Right, I hope I didn't imply that everyone is predicting that. There does seem to be a lot of energy and hype about them, but you're right -- most people are pointing to 2013 as the year they really arrive. There is still part of me that thinks they could be that under-.500 team that makes the playoffs this year, however.
The Reds are relying on rookies for arguably the two most pivotal positions on the field, catcher and shortstop. That's a lot of uncertainty for a team that is allegedly "all-in." How much of a concern do you think this scenario is and can you think of any teams who have had post-season success with a similar lack of experience at these positions?
I do think it's a legit concern. I've been meaning to do some research on that very question, but I don't have an answer off the top of my head.
Well in your opinion was it a good pick up for the Nationals? It seems like there is no risk in the signing, just upside.
Lidge ... sure, no risk, all upside. They have a deep pen so they aren't COUNTING on him. Just a nice bonus if he's anything like the good version of Lidge we see every other year or so.
Hey Dave, outside of Pujols is there any player on the roster that will get on base enough for the Angels to actually have the offense they need to succeed this year?
That's the problem -- they have no glaring weakness on offense but other than Pujols no obvious strengths. That's why the Rangers still have to be the division favorite.
And it's a similar thing with the Nationals: Zimmerman and Morse may be pretty good, but offense is still dragged down by too many low/mediocre OBP guys to score enough runs.
What do you think about Bobby Abreu griping about not having a regular spot in the lineup? Come on man, it's a team game!
What's wrong with a guy saying he wants to play? I'm OK with it. And I believe he came out yesterday or the day before and said he's OK with whatever role the team gives him.
Thoughts on the Zimmerman extension? Seems to be more in his favor, right?
Great deal for Zimmerman, risky deal for Nationals, as are ALL $100 million deals, of course. He's had two major injuries and one minor one in the past four seasons, so he's only played more than 142 games once in four seasons. I think that can only be viewed as a big red flag. If he's getting hurt at 25 and 26, what's going to happen as he ages?
No question, but a comment. Too bad about Zumaya. As a Tigers fan, it still makes me smile thinking of him striking out Arod on a 103 mph fastball in the 2006 ALDS. When he was healthy, he was nasty.
Agreed. We sometimes forget how tough this game can be sometimes, especially for pitchers whose careers are always just one pitch away from being damaged. Zumaya was unbelievable that year.
Gio Gonzalez will lead the NL in K's this season. Book it!
Why are so many people forgetting about the Braves? Sure, we didn't go out and sign any big names, but a healthy Jason Heyward will have a bigger impact than anyone we could have signed, along with Michael Bourne for an entire season, Dan Uggla bouncing back, and Prado bouncing back from that fluke staph infection last year. The pitching is deep, and the bullpen is top notch. Unless the Braves uni really is a jinx that makes good players slump at the plate (the evidence has been building over the last couple years), the Braves should be a serious contender.
I'm with you to a certain extent -- especially a big comeback year from Heyward -- but a lot of question marks with Hanson, Hudson (out a month it appears) and even Jurrjens. I know they have all the young pitchers, but that's still a lot of red flags. But I wouldn't be surprised if they DO win the division.
How do the Angels play 8 players (Pujols, Trumbo, Morales, Wells, Bourjos, Trout, Hunter and Abreu) in seemingly 8 spots (1B, OF and DH)?
In five spots ... well, unfortunately I think they start with sending Trout to Triple-A. Morales is still a question mark. Hunter needs to rest more this year. Trumbo isn't really all that valuable anyway with a sub-.300 OBP. This stuff sorts itself out and if Wells stinks it won't be long before Trout is up and playing every day.
Just gotta say, I am so unhappy with what I think is the public perception of Braun. There was, reportedly, 3X more Testosterone than has ever been measured by the most well known lab who does this sort of thing, the procedures were not followed. Add 2 and 2 together and get four...something very weird happened. Braun claims he was tested four times last year, 3 by MBL and once by the Brewers and was clean each time. Hopefully more facts come out but unless they do, I think we have to concider Braun clean until proven otherwise!
Rookie of the Year in each league: anyone other than Trout, Moore, or Harper?
Sure, especially since Trout and Harper may start in the minors. Plus, Moore is a pitcher. The Tampa Bay Rays are taking the cautious approach with LHP Matt Moore, the prized prospect who missed Monday's live batting practice session because of a mild lower abdominal strain that he and the team say is not serious."I don't see any issues right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "It seems pretty benign from what they're telling me."
Oops, that didn't format right. From here: http://www2.tbo.com/sports/rays/2012/feb/27/3/minor-abdominal-pain-sidelines-rays-moore-ar-363256/
Anyway, my picks would be: AL -- (1) Moore, (2) Yu Darvish (3) Jesus Montero
NL -- (1) Devin Mesoraco, (2) Yonder Alonso, (3) Drew Pomeranz or Zack Cosart
How can you say the Rangers are the AL West favorite with the dominant 1-4 rotation of the Angels? Pitching beats hitting; just ask the 2010 Giants.
Rangers only allowed 44 more runs last year -- DESPITE pitching in Texas. And there's a good chance Holland will improve, Harrison will be better and Darvish is superb. Rotations are closer than you think.
Even if Harper comes up to the Majors early, it's hard to say that some 24 year old rookie wouldn't outplay the 19 year old Harper just in 2012. Or that Trout will hit enough at this point in his career to overcome, say Jesus Montero. Also, won't Yu Darvish be eligible for ROY?
Yes, he will. I would rate him the favorite, but if he and Moore put up similar numbers, there could be a slight bias against Darvish since he's not a "rookie" in the same sense that Moore is.
To add on to your response to Teresa from Ohio earlier - Brad Boxberger will not be the Reds closer of the future. He is a San Diego Padre.
Well, yes, there's that. Good catch, JP.
Mesoraco/Hanigan and Cozart would be somewhat similar to Posada/Girardi and Jeter, no? And I'm not predicting the Reds guys to go on the careers of the Yanks.
True. Yankees won in '96 with rookies Jeter and Posada. Looks like Girardi got about two-thirds of the postseason ABs at C over Posada that year.
re Myers: I don't disagree it's a bizarre move, but maybe it has something to do with inventory? As in the reliever that gets squeezed probably has options anyway, but Livan and Duke would have to go through waivers?
Hmm, fair point, but I still don't get it. Why would the Astros care about keeping Livan Hernandez around? Duke, I can possibly see, but you could always just stash him in the pen if you want.
David, I feel like Dan Haren gets left out of the 'top pitchers in the game' discussions. The guy walked 33 in 238 IP last year. That is incredible. He struggled down the stretch, but I think he's the sleeper for the Cy Young this year. Do you think Haren tends to get overlooked when it comes to the best pitchers in the game?
Absolutely. His season completely flew under the radar last year. Most underappreciated starter in baseball? Possibly.
The Zimmerman deal doesn't look nearly as bad as the Werth deal. At least Zimm is productive when he plays.
Actually, I think the Cubs' starting pitching is going to surprise some people. I think Dempster will bounce back, and the Cubs will have a dependable if not astounding middle to back of the rotation. They won't be great, but I think they'll solidly be in the front half of the National League. The big question will be if Garza maintains his ace like performance from last season or goes back to FIPs and xFIPs similar to his Tampa years.
I'll take the under, but I see your point. Some possible upside with Travis Wood and Chris Volstad.
Paul Konerko made a really interesting comment today that the White Sox "gave away" games last year as a result of Ozzie's antics. The club seems a bit more cohesive than last last couple of years. I put them at 85-88 wins, wiht Detroit at over 90. How about you?
Hmm, hadn't seen that comment yet. Interesting to see what he said or if he had specifics. Anyway, yes, I see the Tigers winning 90-plus ...
... and the White Sox winning far fewer than 85. I just look at the lineup and it makes me fall asleep.
Correct me if I'm wrong but the positive test result for Braun was never in question. He was acquitted but he wasn't found not guilty, to use some Law and Order terms.
From what we know, that would be the case. Braun defenders would argue that he only had to "prove" the chain of custody issue and that proving that was easier than disproving the test result.
The ChiSox are not the second best team in the AL Central.
For the 1996 Yankees, Posada was a September call up. Girardi and Leyritz were the catchers.
You are correct. I read the wrong season. Good catch. So we're still looking for a playoff (or World Series) team with a rookie shortstop and rookie catcher ...
Dispatches from Arizona suggest that Franklin Gutierrez appears to be over the ailment the derailed 2011 for him. If he plays like he did in 2009 is it crazy to think that the M's might just be respectable this season?
Well ... if Ichiro bounces back and Smoak produces and Montero is good as advertised and Vargas and Noesi both give you 30 quality starters and they find a setup reliever for League .. then, yes, they could be respectable.
Wouldn't Haren's Teammate Weaver be the most underappreciated? Top 6 WAR for starters 2 years in a row.
I think Weaver got plenty of attention last year. Second in Cy Young vote.
Daniel Hudson - does he take the next step this year to become an elite starting pitcher?
I'm more in the belief that he is what he is -- which is pretty good. Unless he gets a spike in his strikeout rate, not sure he can take another leap to ace-level status.
Will the writers vote for Darvish for rookine of the year? They didn't for Matsui.
Looking at that vote: Angel Berroa got 12 first-place votes, Matsui got 10. But Berroa had .789 OPS, Matsui .788, and one played shortstop. Actually, it's surprising the vote was close. Berroa was a 4.0 WAR player that year, Matsui just 0.3.
Man, whatever happened to Berroa ... such promise ...
Do you think someone like H. Alvarez or G. Richards can step up and be 2012's version of Pineda?
Alvarez is very interesting. Throws hard and throw strikes. Looked good in eight starts last year. he was never a big prospect coming up but he seemed to figure things out last year. I won't compare him to Pineda, because Pineda's stuff is much better. Richards -- throws hard, doesn't throw enough strikes, no job right now.
Would a Tampa Bay Rays movie be better than Moneyball? What that organization does on their peanut payroll is much more impressive.
Hard to get good movie-quality lighting in that dome.
Dave, can you explain why people assume that fluctuations in BABIP are generally random? I find it counterintuitive that the only things hitters/pitchers control are BBs, HRs, and Ks -- but so many people take the view that BABIP is constant in expectation that I must be missing something.
A lot of studies have shown that is mostly random from year to year. Particularly at the extremes of course -- such as Hellickson or Cueto last year. Personally, I don't believe it's *completely* random and it does seem like you're starting to seem sabermetrics people assert that pitchers do have some control over this (fly ball pitchers, for example, seems to have a lower BABIP than groundball pitchers).
I see you put Ackley into the mix with Kipnis. What kinda of numbers to you see coming from Ackley this year?
.290, 15 home runs, .375 OBP.
No way the White Sox win 85-88. They'll be lucky if they play .500 ball.
While I am all in favor of the Oakland A's getting a new ballpark - how does moving it to San Jose help anyone? Location-wise it's closer to the ocean. Unless some sea lions are going to buy a bunch of season tickets I don't get it. If the idea is to tap into Silicon Valley dollars - probably not a wise move. Computer geeks tend not to be sports fans. The NHL has had the Sharks in San Jose for awhile and they don't sell out. The Giants have had a minor league team there and they don't sell out. Why would a major league team suddenly sell out?
You have evidence computer geeks aren't sports fans?
Can we stop perpetuating the BS about Braun's test coming in 3X higher than anyone else ever? According to Don Catlin, one of the founders of modern drug testing, Braun's 20:1 T:E ratio isn't even out of the ordinary for a positive test and he's personally seen ratios over 100:1 in bodybuilders.
Doesn't Hudson's hitting prowess get him closer to ace-level when considering total value provided?
Well, it doesn't change his pitching value, does it? It makes him more valuable, yes (assuming he can repeat 2011), but I think we are discussing who is an "ace" we're not really thinking about a guy's hitting ability.
Leaving aside Braun's guilt or innocence,I am outraged at how MLB handled this situation. First, they breached the CBA by leaking his result before the appeals were up. Once he won the appeal, they acted shamelessly in "vehemently" disagreeing with ruling, implying Braun was still guilty, and then they continued to selectively leak their side of the story before Braun even spoke. Truly despicable behavior.
MLB and the Players Association issued a joint statement that neither side was responsible for the leak. So, no, MLB was not the leak. And why would they leak? What would be the benefit to doing so?
When does ESPN release their analysts predictions?
For the season? Not until a day or two before the season. We'll have a big chart with everyone's division winners, World Series winners, MVP/Cy Young picks, etc.
OK, our 60 minutes -- or 66 minutes are up. Thanks for all the questions and the great feedback. Stuff hopefully coming up later today -- Yadier Molina, Roy Halladay and 300 wins ... and I'll try and find time to answer the rookie catcher/shortstop question. Enjoy the rest of your week!