Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm Alive....

I'm alive. The Mets, on the other hand, do not seem to have much of a pulse lately. While other Mets blogs have jumped ship temporarily to other teams (see: MetsGeek, which has converted to RaysGeek..... On that note, notice which blog beat them to covering the Mets and Rays. That's right. WE DID IT! Boo ya!)

Where was I? Oh yeah; I haven't been posting in a long time for two reasons:
  1. I haven't had access to the internet much lately.
  2. It would be too depressing to write about the last couple weeks the Mets have had.

Hopefully things will improve soon. While I wander aimlessly in North Jersey and Pennsylvania, read metsblog and metstradamus for your Mets fixes. The Mets are in the 12th inning right now and losing to the Marlins, so it could be another sad day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best Pitchers in the AL East?

I just posted this article on and it got added to the main article section, so I figured I'd should re-post it over here as well. I think it mostly got posted because it was an attempt to stop people from endlessly debating which pitcher is better, Sonnanstine or Jackson. I swear, arguments on DRaysBay can end up going in circles because some of the commenters refuse to accept the other point of view or at least concede some points. But anyway, here's the article:

To help distract us from more pointless Sonnanstine/Jackson debates, I figured I'd post something that's been on my mind for a little bit. After watching Kazmir pitch last night and seeing how well Shields has been pitching this year, I couldn't but think that we've got one of, if not the best, 1-2 punch in all of the AL East. Let's think about this...

#1: Scott Kazmir
#2: James Shields
This may seem weird to say after Kaz's really awesome performance last night, but if you ask me, I feel like Shields is quickly developing into our staff ace. He has already assumed a vocal team leadership role on this team, taught Percy and Kazmir his change-up, and has put up really impressive numbers so far this season. He's also had one of the most dominant outings from any (Devil) Ray pitcher, he's pitched multiple complete games already, he doesn't walk many batters, and he is much more economical with his pitches than Kazmir. Of course, Kaz looked much more economical last night and could be poised for a big break-out year himself. Thoughts? Opinions? Who will be our staff ace by the end of the year? Personally, as weird as it may sound, I currently feel more secure with Shields on the mound than Kazmir.

#1: Josh Beckett
#2: Dice-K
Beckett is just...well, awesome. But Dice-K is not the staff ace that Boston thought they were paying for when they put up that $50M posting fee. He had a 4+ ERA last year and although he currently has a 2.50 ERA this year, his K:BB ratio is screaming that his ERA is bound to rise soon. Heck, he's walked 8 hitters in one game this year, which is just absolutely ridiculous. Then again, Dice-K did have a much better K:BB ratio last year than he does this year, so that will probably improve some as well. This is up for debate (depending on how much you like Dice-K and how much you think Kaz and Shields will improve this year), but I personally say advantage Rays.

#1: Jeremy Guthrie
#2: Daniel Cabrera this the year that young, chronically wild flamethrowers finally find the strikezone? So far, it's certainly looking good for Jackson and Cabrera. While I'm still not completely sold on either of them, they are certainly looking like they're making improvements and who knows? This could be the year these guys finally put it together and if so, watch out AL. However, despite all that, this duo still has nothing on Kaz and Shields. Too unproven and heck, who is Jeremy Guthrie?

#1: Roy Halladay
#2: AJ Burnett
Roy Halladay is probably one of the most underrated pitchers in the league, simply because he pitches in Canada and well, those Blue Jay never get any love. He's a model of consistency since he first broke into the league, almost always posting ERAs in the low 3s. Burnett, on the other hand, is brilliant when healthy, but he's certainly had a hard time with that since joining the Blue Jays. He has yet to get over 30 starts in one season with the Blue Jays and over the course of his career, he's only topped 30 starts in two seasons. However, he is a heck of a pitcher when healthy. This year he hasn't been that effective yet (4.79 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 49:27 K:BB), but I think he has too much talent not to turn it around as long as he's healthy. However, both Burnett and Halladay are currently 31 and most likely beyond their peak years. While they'll probably still be effective for some years, Shields is 26 and Kaz is 24, plus their both locked up by the Rays for years to come. I think that fact alone gives the advantage to the Rays.

#1: Ching Ming-Wang
#2: Andy Pettite
Wang is a true ace, despite him not being a strikeout pitcher. However, the Yankee rotation ends there. Andy Pettite (36 years old) and Mike Mussina (39 years old) in slots 2 and 3? Sure, they're still decent pitchers, but nothing like how they were in their peaks. If the Yankees get Hughes back on the right track or switch Joba to the rotation, then maybe they'll be able to challenge Kaz and Shields. As of now, though, they simply don't have the depth. The Yankee rotation is just a mess at the moment. that was nowhere near a systematic analysis or anything, but I think if you look up the stats, they'll back up many of my conclusions. I was just feeling too lazy tonight to put a bunch of stats in. But anyway, thoughts? Which 1-2 punch do you think is the best this year? The best to build a franchise around? Also, because I'm really curious, who do you think is our staff ace...Shields or Kazmir?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yay Rays!

I'm incredibly happy today, just so you know :-D

Hypothetical Question Time!

"'re a Major League Baseball team owner. Everyone is a free agent. You have a Yankees-like wallet. Who is your first position player? Who's your pitcher?"

This was a question asked to President Bush in a recent interview. Bush's answers? Chase Utley and Roy Halladay. Now, I'm going to stear clear of casting political aspersions (I'll leave that up to UmpBump) because I'm sure Joe wouldn't appreciate that, but I'm really impressed with these choices. Utley is definitely a justifiable pick and although Halladay is 31, he's an awesome pitcher that not too many people know about because he pitches for those Jays up in Canada. Bush knows his baseball.

However, this got me wondering, who would I pick in this same situation? I my mind, whoever I pick has to be good at all the aspects of the game plus being young. So, let's begin by looking at the hitters.

Alright, right off the bat you can cross the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, and Ryan Braun off the list. Why? Defense. As awesome as they all are with the bat, they're notorious butchers in the field. I'm not going to make a Tiger-like mistake and bring in a guy like Miggie, only to realize 10 games later that he can't play his position. I have to say, though, I'm still tempted by Ramirez because even if he gets moved to centerfield (which could happen since he's apparently pretty bad at short), he's still an offensive powerhouse. Who has ever heard of a player going 30-50 before? It's just insane! But anyway, regardless, I'm still crossing him off the list.

That leaves me with a list that reads something like this: Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, David Wright, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, BJ Upton, Grady Sizemore*. Some people might argue that Carl Crawford and Brandon Phillips should be included on there, but they're both bordering on too old for this list. Also, they're OBPs are just way too low for my likes. I've read "Moneyball" and yes, I'm a convert. And A-Rod, as awesome as he is, is now 32 (turning 33 in July). In my eyes, that's too old to build a franchise around.

* I'm stealing this technique from Joe Posnanski's blog, which is awesome and I think everyone should read. It's great writing, plus it happens to be about baseball. Anyway, does anyone else notice how NL heavy that list is? And not just that, NL East heavy. Just a thought, but those Phillies and Mets look to be good for years to come, assuming they're smart.

Also, I know there are tons of other amazing young players out there, like Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Young, Alex Gordon, etc. The trick is, I'm only including players in this list that have already proven they can produce at the major league level. As much as I might like to pick Longo, I'm not picking anyone unless we already know that they can be a stud on the major league level. I'd go through my reasoning completely, but to spare you from reading a ridiculously long post, here's my final answer: BJ Upton. I know that I'm incredibly biased, but I think I can back this up. Pujols is 28 and possibly past his prime years. Reyes doesn't walk enough and has been in a slump dating back to the All-Star Break last year. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are turning 30 this year. Prince Fielder has an attitude. Ryan Howard strikes out waaaay too much. Grady Sizemore hasn't been able to step up his game to the superstar level yet. And Upton has posted similar offensive numbers to Wright...but he's two years younger.

Upton is currently 23 and finally brokeout last year. His final numbers were .300/.386/.508, with 24 HRs, 22 SBs, and 82 RBIs in only 129 games. His batting average was a little higher than we can probably expect going forward, but his power and speed numbers both look to increase. Now that Upton has found his proper position and is playing every day, it should be very interesting to see what sort of numbers he can put up over the course of a full year. He did strike out a good amount last year, but his K/BB ratio has improved a lot so far this year.

Anyway, I'm going to leave it at that for now. I need to ponder over which starting pitcher I'd like, so I'll get back to you on that one. Anyway, Joe, what do you think?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Alou is Back!

If nothing else, the Mets roster is beginning to slightly more resemble the Mets roster with Duaner Sanchez returning recently and tonight's return of Moises Alou. Sure, both catchers from our preferred Major League roster are on the Disabled List currently, and Pedro will miss several more weeks, and El Duque is -- well -- El Duque, but some people are making their returns.

Last year, when Alou actually played, he was an RBI, BA, and HR machine. Tonight, in his first at-bat of the season, he has an RBI single (which, granted, should have been a double play ball if Diamondbacks 2B Orlando Hudson didn't simply miss it completely). There's been plenty to complain about with this Mets team this season, but Alou is currently batting 1.000 with an RBI. There's not much we can say in complaint about his performance when he's actually been on the field......yet.


By the way, the Mets have switched back tonight to the order with Ryan Church batting second and Castillo in the 8-slot. They're scoring again. Incredible... Amazing how so many blogs and other fans have called for this, and it's taken this long for Willie Randolph to go with it.