Monday, February 26, 2007

Bobby Abreu hurt

"Bobby Abreu strained an oblique muscle in batting practice Monday and is expected to be shut down for at least a week or two.

Abreu is one of the game's most durable players, but his status for Opening Day is in question because of the injury. Melky Cabrera can fill in for Abreu in right field, but that's still a big downgrade. Maybe the injury will cause Bernie Williams to reconsider his decision to turn down an invitation to camp."


This is a similar injury that players like Chipper Jones had last year. It had some lingering effects all year that, yankee fans rest assured, should not happen to Abreu because of his durability over the years. SOme people are saying this may bring bernie back, but its doubtful.

Manny Arrives In Camp Earlier Then Expected


Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez beat his own timetable to camp when he arrived in the clubhouse at 8:54 a.m. ET on Monday, three days before he had told the club he'd be there.
Ramirez had been given permission from the club to report on March 1 because of an illness to his mother. The rest of the position players reported on Feb. 20.

The slugger quietly walked into a clubhouse and politely asked reporters to "please move, I need some space."

Wearing braids with red highlights and appearing toned and in shape, Ramirez came in wearing white sweat pants and a black T-shirt. He was greeted by several teammates, including David Ortiz, Alberto Castillo and Doug Mirabelli."

Ramirez is beginning his seventh season with the Red Sox. He has two years remaining on an eight-year, $160 million contract. Ramirez was involved in trade rumors over the winter -- yet again -- but as is seemingly the case every year, the Red Sox couldn't find a deal that would make them better.

Ramirez did the right thing by deciding to come to camp. It seemed shady he was at the car show while his mom was supposedly so ill. Maybe the talk of trades being re-opened made him re-consider. Anyway, it was a good move coming to camp.

Mets Rotation Preview


Tom Glavine
Much has been made about the Mets going into battle with a 41-year-old "ace" in 2007. The obvious truth is that Tom Glavine is not a number one pitcher, and the Mets aren't asking him to be that. What they could use from his in 2007 is consistency. Last year Glavine pitched like an ace from the beginning of the season through June 3, with a 2.59 ERA, averaging 6-2/3 innings in those 12 starts. Then over his nest 11 starts, covering the months of June and July, Glavine struggled to the tune of a 5.79 ERA, and only averaged 5-1/2 innings per start. Finally, over his last 9 starts, Glavine pitched to a solid 3.45 ERA, and averaged over 6-1/3 innings per outing. While it would be wonderful if Glavine could pitch like he did in those first two months of 2006 over a stretch of the upcoming season, it seems to me it would be more valuable if he could avoid a real prolonged slump and contribute a consistent solid season.

Pedro Martinez
We've heard that Pedro's rehab from rotator cuff surgery is going really well, and that he is targeting a post-All Star Break return. If he could return to start 10-15 games down the stretch he could be a difference maker, and we'll all certainly be following his progress closely. Shoulder surgery is a tricky thing for pitchers, though, particularly 35-year-olds. Also, as much of a shot in the arm that it could be if Pedro returns and pitches fairly well, it's a momentum killer if he tries to force a comeback with inadequate stuff, a la last September. Despite the hopeful reports on his recovery, the wise approach is simply not counting on anything from Pedro this season.

Orlando Hernandez
El Duque managed 29 starts and 162 innings combined for the Mets and Diamondbacks in 2006. He hadn't made that many starts since 2000, his last great year with the Yankees. Considering he is over 40 and has missed quite a lot of time over the last few seasons, I've received many questions and a not inconsiderable amount of ridicule over my optimistic outlook for Hernandez in 2007. While I concede that I could be wrong, I liked the fact that El Duque actually pitched his best in September last year. While it is likely that the Mets will have to give Hernandez a break or two during the year, and he will have some games when he is not commanding his breaking pitches where he gets knocked out very early, he has also shown the ability to go deep into games better than anyone else on the current staff. Of the 20 starts he made for the Mets last season 10 were for 7 innings or more, 3 more lasted 6 innings, and only four of them were for less than 5 innings. Not bad for an old guy.

Read the full scouting report on Orlando Hernandez -->

John Maine
2006 was a real breakout year for Maine, as he went from being regarded by the media as a throw-in in the Kris Benson deal to a starting pitcher in three playoff games. Look for Maine to develop more consistency and solidly establish himself in the Mets rotation.

Read the full scouting report on John Maine -->

Oliver Perez
You never knew quite what to expect out of Perez, but I always found myself looking forward to his starts. Then he stepped up and gave the Mets all they could hope for in those two League Championship Series games against the Cardinals. I can't deny the possibility that Perez could flop completely in 2007, I'm optimistic that the improvements to his mechanics combined with his undeniable ability will combine to produce a solid starter for the Mets this season. He may undergo some ups and downs, but he'll be fun to watch.

Read the full scouting report on Oliver Perez -->

That leaves the fifth starter to come out of the group of Alay Soler, Jason Vargas, Dave Williams, Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber. Let's take a quick look at them:

Jason Vargas
ProVargass: Major league experience, left-hander, good stuff.
Cons: Last year was a lost season with bad performance and a loss of confidence.

Read the full scouting report on Jason Vargas -->

Dave Williams
Pros: A lot of major league experience, was very aggressive while with Mets last season.
Cons: Gives up too many gopher balls, mediocre stuff, somewhat injury prone.

Read the full scouting report on Dave Williams -->

Mike Pelfrey
Pros: Terrific fastball, decent changeup, throws strikes.
Cons: Needs a consistent breaking pitch.

Read the full scouting report on Mike Pelfrey -->

Phil Humber
Pros: Has all the pitches, bulldog personality.
Cons: Only pitched 80 innings last year after coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Read the full scouting report on Phil Humber -->

Glass half empty or half full?

Beyond doubt there is plenty that can go wrong with the Mets starting pitching staff heading into the upcoming season. There are so many uncertainties among all of the candidates for the starting rotation -- whether it's age, inexperience, inconsistency or the lack of a true front-line starter -- a plausible argument can be made that if things go very wrong the Mets may not have a single starter reach double figures in wins. There just doesn't seem to be much certainty heading into a season where every division foe except Washington would seem to have a more formidable starting rotation. It's understandable that many Mets fans feel pessimistic about the team's chances.

Yet, while this rotation lacks the feel of being a sure thing, there is some quality here, and also a quantity of reasonable candidates that didn't exist last season. Moreover, there is a can-do attitude that permeates this team now that is quite a change from Mets teams in the past that seemed to falter when things didn't go there way. It's both the quality of the available pitchers and the new-found ability as an organization to overcome obstacles and make things work that leads me to believe that we'll be okay. I think our starting pitching is going to be fine. While I don't expect any big winners or Cy Young hopefuls this season, I fully expect the Mets to have four starters crack double figures in win totals.

So, barring a last-minute blockbuster trade, the Mets will lack the feeling of a sure thing with their starters. Much has been made of this. Rather than dwell on that, I can see the possibilities here, and the framework of a decent rotation. Many in the press dwell on what the Mets lack, but there is good reason to believe that this team is good enough to contend and win if they can maximize what they do have.

Mike is a great writer, and always does a great job. I think this is an intresting view of the Mets rotation since its one of the biggest questions in the majors.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

FA List for 2006 off-season


Barry Zito, SP 28 Signed (A) San Francisco 7 $126,000,000 15
Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP 26 Signed Japan Boston 6 $52,000,000 2
Kei Igawa, SP 27 Signed NY Yankees 5 $20,000,000 31
Akinori Iwamura, 3B 28 Signed Tampa Bay 3 $7,700,000 29
Alfonso Soriano, CF 31 Signed (A) Chicago Cubs 8 $136,000,000 3
Jason Schmidt, SP 34 Signed (A) LA Dodgers 3 $47,000,000 4
Carlos Lee, LF 30 Signed (A) Houston 6 $100,000,000 7
Barry Bonds, LF 42 Signed San Francisco 1 $15,800,000 16

Moises Alou, RF 40 Signed (A) NY Mets 1 $8,500,000 37
Tony Armas, SP 28 Signed Pittsburgh 1 $3,500,000
Rich Aurilia, 3B 35 Signed (A) San Francisco 2 $8,000,000 34
Danys Baez, RP 29 Signed (A) Baltimore 3 $19,000,000
Rod Barajas, C 31 Signed Philadelphia 1 $2,500,000
Miguel Batista, SP 36 Signed (B) Seattle 3 $25,000,000 Ronnie Belliard, 2B 31 Signed St. Louis Washington Minor Lg. NR
Aaron Boone, 3B 33 Signed Florida 1 $925,000 NR
Joe Borowski, RP 35 Signed (A) Cleveland 1 $4,250,000 28
Chad Bradford, RP 32 Signed (A) Baltimore 3 $10,500,000 NR
Marlon Byrd, CF 29 Signed Texas 1 NR

Miguel Cairo, 2B 32 Signed NY Yankees 1 $750,000 NR
Jamey Carroll, 2B 33 Agreed Colorado 2 $4,000,000 NR
Sean Casey, 1B 32 Signed (A) Detroit 1 $4,000,000 NR
Frank Catalanotto, LF 32 Signed (A) Texas 3 $13,000,000 NR
Jeff Cirillo, 3B 37 Signed Minnesota 1 $1,500,000 NR
Alex Cora, SS 31 Signed Boston 2 $4,000,000 NR
David Dellucci, LF 33 Signed (A) Cleveland 3 $11,500,000 NR
Mark DeRosa, 2B 31 Signed (B) Chicago Cubs 3 $13,000,000 NR

Octavio Dotel, RP 33 Signed Kansas City 1 $5,000,000 NR
J.D. Drew, RF 31 Signed (A) Boston 5 $70,000,000 8
Ray Durham, 2B 35 Signed (A) San Francisco 2 $14,000,000 22

Adam Eaton, SP 29 Signed Philadelphia 3 $24,500,000 25
Jim Edmonds, CF 36 Signed (A) St. Louis 2 $19,000,000 10
Darin Erstad, CF 32 Signed Chicago Sox 1 $1,000,000 NR

Pedro Feliz, 3B 31 Signed (B) San Francisco 1 $5,100,000 NR
Steve Finley, CF 41 Free Agent San Francisco -- NR
Cliff Floyd, LF 34 Signed (A) Chicago Cubs 1 $3,000,000 NR
Keith Foulke, RP 34 Signed (B) Cleveland 1 $5,000,000 NR
Ryan Franklin, RP 33 Signed St. Louis 1 $1,000,000 NR
Aaron Fultz, RP 33 Signed (A) Cleveland 1 $1,650,000 NR

Eric Gagne, RP 31 Signed Texas 1 $6,000,000 NR
Nomar Garciaparra, 1B 33 Signed (B) LA Dodgers 2 $18,500,000 23
Marcus Giles, 2B 28 Signed San Diego 1 $3,200,000 NR
Tom Glavine, SP 40 Signed (A) NY Mets 1 $10,500,000 20
Alex Gonzalez, SS 30 Signed Cincinnati 3 $14,000,000 NR
Luis Gonzalez, LF 39 Signed (A) LA Dodgers 1 $7,350,000 NR
Jose Guillen, RF 30 Signed (B) Seattle 1 $5,500,000 NR

Wes Helms, 3B 30 Signed F Philadelphia 2 $5,450,000 NR
Orlando Hernandez, SP 37 Signed (B) NY Mets 2 $12,000,000 NR
Roberto Hernandez, RP 42 Signed (A) Cleveland 1 $3,500,000 NR
Shea Hillenbrand, 1B 31 Signed (B) LA Angels 1 $6,500,000 24
Todd Hollandsworth, LF 33 Free Agent Cincinnati -- NR
Aubrey Huff, 3B 30 Signed (A) Baltimore 3 $20,000,000 32

Adam Kennedy, 2B 31 Signed (A) St. Louis 3 $10,000,000 NR
Ryan Klesko, LF 35 Signed (B) San Francisco 1 $1,750,000 NR
Steve Kline, RP 34 Signed San Francisco 2 $3,500,000 NR
Jon Knott, LF 28 Signed Baltimore Minor Lg. NR
Dan Kolb, RP 31 Signed Pittsburgh Minor Lg. NR

Mike Lieberthal, C 35 Signed (A) LA Dodgers 1 $1,250,000 NR
Ted Lilly, SP 31 Signed (B) Chicago Cubs 4 $40,000,000 12
Kenny Lofton, CF 39 Signed Texas 1 $6,000,000 36
Mark Loretta, 2B 35 Signed (A) Houston 1 $2,500,000 NR
Julio Lugo, SS 31 Signed Boston 4 $36,000,000 9

John Mabry, 1B 36 Signed Colorado Minor Lg. NR
Greg Maddux, SP 40 Signed (A) San Diego 1 $10,000,000 26
Jason Marquis, SP 28 Signed Chicago Cubs 3 $21,000,000 NR
Kazuo Matsui, 2B 31 Signed Colorado Colorado 1 $1,500,000 NR
Gary Matthews Jr., CF 32 Signed (A) LA Angels 5 $50,000,000 35
Gil Meche, SP 28 Signed (B) Kansas City 5 $55,000,000 13
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B 32 Signed NY Yankees 1 $1,500,000 NR
Wade Miller, SP 30 Signed Chicago Cubs 1 $1,500,000 NR
Bengie Molina, C 32 Signed (A) San Francisco 3 $16,000,000 39
Guillermo Mota, RP 33 Signed (B) NY Mets 2 $5,000,000 NR
Mark Mulder, SP 29 Signed St. Louis 2 $13,000,000 NR
Mike Mussina, SP 38 Signed (A) NY Yankees 2 $23,000,000 11

Phil Nevin, 1B 36 Free Agent Minnesota -- NR
David Newhan, LF 33 Signed NY Mets Minor Lg. NR
Trot Nixon, RF 32 Signed Cleveland 1 $3,000,000 NR

Tomo Ohka, SP 30 Signed (B) Toronto 1 $1,500,000 NR
Hideki Okajima, RP 31 Signed Boston 2 $2,500,000 NR
Darren Oliver, RP 36 Signed (B) LA Angels 1 $1,750,000 NR
Ramon Ortiz, SP 33 Signed (B) Minnesota 1 $3,100,000 NR
Russ Ortiz, SP 32 Signed San Francisco 1 $380,000 NR

Vicente Padilla, SP 29 Signed (B) Texas 3 $33,750,000 33
Chan Ho Park, SP 33 Signed (B) NY Mets 1 $600,000 NR
Jay Payton, RF 34 Signed (B) Baltimore 2 $9,500,000 NR
Andy Pettitte, SP 34 Signed NY Yankees 1 $16,000,000 6
Mike Piazza, DH 38 Signed (A) Oakland 1 $8,500,000 21
Juan Pierre, CF 29 Signed (B) LA Dodgers 5 $44,000,000 40
Joel Pineiro, SP 28 Signed Boston 1 $4,000,000 NR
Todd Pratt, C 40 Signed NY Yankees Minor Lg. NR

Aramis Ramirez, 3B 28 Signed (A) Chicago Cubs 5 $75,000,000 1
David Riske, RP 30 Signed (A) Sox Kansas City 1 $2,250,000 NR
Dave Roberts, CF 34 Signed (A) San Francisco 3 $18,000,000 19
Scott Schoeneweis, RP 33 Signed NY Mets 3 $10,800,000 NR
Jorge Sosa, RP 29 Signed NY Mets 1 $1,250,000 NR
Scott Spiezio, 3B 34 Signed St. Louis 2 $4,500,000 NR
Shannon Stewart, LF 32 Signed Oakland 1 $1,000,000 NR
Tanyon Sturtze, RP 36 Signed Atlanta 1 $750,000 NR
Jeff Suppan, SP 32 Signed (A) Milwaukee 4 $42,000,000 27
Frank Thomas, DH 38 Signed (B) Toronto 2 $18,120,000 14
John Thomson, SP 33 Signed Toronto 1 $500,000 NR
Steve Trachsel, SP 36 Signed Baltimore 1 $3,100,000 NR
Jose Valentin, 2B 37 Signed (B) NY Mets 1 $3,800,000 NR
Jose Vizcaino, SS 38 Free Agent St. Louis -- NR
Daryle Ward, RF 31 Signed Chicago Cubs 1 $1,050,000 NR
David Weathers, RP 37 Signed (A) Cincinnati 2 $5,000,000 NR
Jeff Weaver, SP 30 Signed (B) Seattle 1 $8,325,000 38
David Wells, SP 43 Signed San Diego 1 $3,000,000 NR
Kip Wells, SP 29 Signed St. Louis 1 $4,000,000 NR
Rondell White, LF 35 Signed Minnesota 1 $2,750,000 NR
Bernie Williams, RF 38 Free Agent NY Yankees -- NR
Jerome Williams, SP 25 Signed Washington 1 $500,000 NR
Woody Williams, SP 40 Signed (A) Houston 2 $12,500,000 NR
Preston Wilson, LF 32 St. Louis 1 $1,000,000 NR
Randy Wolf, SP 30 Signed LA Dodgers 1 $8,000,000 17
Todd Walker, 1B 33 Accepted Arbitration San Diego NR
Kerry Wood, SP 29 Signed Chicago Cubs 1 $1,750,000 NR
Chris Woodward, 2B 30 Signed Atlanta 1 $850,000 NR

The End to a great hall of fame career?
Jeff Bagwell, 1B 38 Retired Houston --

FA Still Left

David Bell, 3B 34 Free Agent Milwaukee --
Bernie Williams, RF 38 Free Agent NY Yankees --
Mark Redman, SP 33 Free Agent Kansas City -- NR

Predicting The NL Central

Team Win Loss
Cubs 88 74
Cardinals 85 77
Astros 84 78
Reds 81 81
Brewers 75 87
Pirates 68 94

I know this is a stretch but we have the cubs finishing 1st just because they look like the most complete team. They took care of alot of their needs in the off-season

The Cubs addressed most major needs during the off-season. Although they are a worse defense team now, they aquired a 40/40 man in soriano. He will be a key part to their offense. Soriano will team with Derrek Lee, Ramirez, and Jones to make a decent top of the order. Also they signed former utility man Mark DeRosa who could step up. Though their Starting rotation may look shaky, its actually decent and capable of handling a tough season. Headed by the young ace Zambrano the rotation consists of guys like Ted Lilly,whose needed a move to the Nl, a supposedly healthy Mark Prior, and a big time sleeper canidate in Rich Hill. This Rotation should get them some wins and although the bullpen is shaky,hopefully Kerry Wood can step up and become a dominate relief pitcher.

The Cards are an aging and injury plaged offense besides pujols. Jim Edmonds cant stay healthy long enough to be a good #4 hitter to protect Pujols. Their gonna need guys like Chris Duncan and Edwin Encarnacion to step up big to offer some protection in the lineup. Their starting rotation has Braden Looper in it. Enough Said. They dont have a good bullpen besides Izzy and lost a key part letting wainright start. They didint do anything significant in the off-season and let go 2 starting pitchers in Weaver and Suppan.

The Astros lost a solid starting pitching in Andy Pettite and most likley Roger Clemens. This starting rotation won't be the same. Even so its probably the second best in the division. The offense with the adding of Carlos Lee still has many problems. Although they have a great 3-4 in Berkman and Lee theirs nothing else their to help. Hopefully Oswalt wont have to worry about losing 1-0 games this year. This is the prediction that could be totally wrong because The Astros always seem to find themselves in the race. They will most likely start off slow and make a run towrds the end of the year.

The Reds just don't have enough offense. They have Adam Dunn who will hit you 40 homeruns but will strike out 600 times and hit 250. Also, how long can Ken Griffey Jr play before he pulls a hammy? They could however be a team to watch out for. They have decent good starters in Arroyo and Harang. Thats not even saying Homer Bailey who will probably be called up early in the season.

Brewers: Brewers have a nice starting rotation with Sheets and Capuano. However, the offense is very lacking and any hope they have lies in the arms of Prince Fielder.

Pirates gained a big bat in Adam LaRoche but gave up their only reliable bullpen man in Mike Gonzalez. Theeir is alot of potential in this team but the pitching coach is going to have to learn how to teach the starting rotation. Guys like Zach Duke are not 1 year flukes. Their has to be a reason young Pirate pitchers have a great first year then proceed to tail off. Its happened to guys like Duke and Perez. Pirates have some talent in the minors but for now they are lacking as a team so they get last place.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Predicting The NL East 2007

Team Win Loss
Mets 94 68
Phillies 91 71
Braves: 85 77
Marlins 79 83
Nationals 68 94

The NL East in 2007 will be the most improved division in the NL. The league has tons of young talent and theres alot to expect from each team(besides the Nationals).

The Mets will finish first just because they are the most complete team. Although they don't have the starting pitching that a division winner would usually have,they have the offense that should be able to keep them in the high scoring games. Also, the Mets have a solid bullpen that should also help them in cases where the starter could only go 5 innings. SO overall, they are the most complete team who just needs a young pitcher to step up and establish himself as a starter.

Even though the Phillies completed tons of trades and signings for starting pitching its still hard to see that much better of an team ERA. This is because most of the pitchers they aquired are question marks. Add to that the fact that they will pitch half there starts at Citizen Bank Park which is one of the best hitters park in the game. Freddy Garcia will have some home run troubles here. The Phillies will also have some trouble finishing games because, like last year, their bullpen is not good at all. The saving grace of this phillies team is their solid offense and solid starter in Myers and Hamels (who I predict to have a huge year). The Phillies team in 2007 reminds me alot of The Braves 2006 team. Good starting pitching and a good offense but a horrible bullpen. So they are slotted second in the league with 91 wins and a Wild Card.

The Braves are finishing 3rd because even with the upgrade in the bullpen, they still have weak spots in their pen. They lost a major offense bat in Adam Laroche, and still have an aging, injury plaged Chipper Jones. The Braves offense will not be as good and the starting pitching led by the ace John Smoltz has many question marks. Also many Braves fans think Chuck James will be a big imapct pitcher are mistaken, he really only has the potential to be a solid 4 or 5.

We have The Marlins finishing 4th because you can't reallly know what to expect from such a young ball club. Seriously, what if they all go through a sophmore slump? They showed alot of potential last year but they lost a big part in manager Joe Giradi. The Marlins still have some question marks in the offense and have a bullpen that shows ton of holes. Also will Josh Johnson be able to pitch the enitre season?

The Nationals are going to finish last just because they have nothing going for them. They lost a key part to the offense in Alfonso Soriano. The ownership made a huge mistake in not trading Soriano and the trading deadline for some top prospects to help them out now. The Nationals have Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns. Thats basically it for Offense. They have John Paterson who when healthy is a good starter but thats basically it. They do not have a good bullpen either. The worst part is that The Nationals have no top prospects that can make an impact either.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

NL West Predictions

Team Win Loss
Dodgers 88 74
Padres 85 77
Giants 81 81
Rockies 78 84
D-Backs 74 88

This is a hard divison to predict. All teams seem to have strengths but also tons of weaknesses. We had to put the D-backs last mostly due to lack of pitching and lack of experience for the hitters. Sure, they have Webb but beyond that there are health questions and inconsistencies. They could potentially be much better then we have them if guys like Steven Drew, Connor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Miguel Montero, and Chris Young all live up to praise. The rockies were a hard team to place. They have a solid lineup but basically nothing reliable in terms of pitching. Your team only goes as far as your pitching depth as the yankees have shown the last few years. The Giants basically earned 3rd place with the Zito signing. By adding him they added a solid starter to compliment Matt Cain.If Cain can put it all together he could potentially be vying for a Cy Young this year. We then had the Dodgers and Padres to choose from. Both teams pretty solid in terms of pitching but both lacking offensively. In the end we believed the likes of Derek Lowe, Jason Schmidt,and Brad Penny beat out Jake Peavy and Chris Young. Although I do see Peay having a huge year that isnt enough to put them ahead.

Schilling to file for free agency after season


"Curt Schilling will file for free agency once the season is over after being told by Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein the team will not offer him a contract extension in spring training.

On Jan. 29, Schilling said he would not retire after the 2007 season as previously indicated, but he wanted a contract for 2008 settled by the end of this spring training.

Schilling struggled late last season and finished with a 15-7 record and 3.97 ERA. Bothered by injuries in 2005, the right-hander was 8-8 with a 5.69 ERA. But in 2004, his first season with Boston, he was 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA and a star of the Red Sox victory in the World Series."

"I'm going to play out the season and file for free agency at the end of the year," Schilling said. "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but it is a business."

Not a surprise. Who wouldn't want to try the market these days? If Schilling has an era below 4 and stays healthy, he could get himself a nice 1 year 15 mil contract.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who Will Win the 5th Spot in the Mets Rotation?

Pelfrey: Pelfrey pitched a few games last year for the Mets after only a few innings of professional baseball in April and May. Pelfrey has all the tools to become a dominant starter very soon, but needs to hone his out speed pitches a little bit more. However, I’ve been reading reports that Pelfrey has developed a slider that is coming along nicely. What makes Pelfrey hard to hit is that his fastball is low, sinking, moving fastball. This forces the hitter to hit a lot of balls on the ground and thus make an out. With a change up and slider, Pelfrey could quickly learn to become that dominating pitcher he’s scouted to be. The one negative is really not him physically, but a lack of innings. Pelfrey has yet to pitch a whole season, and as such may need to continue to build stamina. However, Pelfrey does have the ability to help the Mets this year.

Humber: Humber last year was recovering from Tommy John surgery after a disappoint single A season in 2005. Humber surprised everyone in the Mets organization on how fast he rebounded from surgery and the velocity on his pitches. Humber has all the tools, much like Perez, to become an ace for the Mets especially with the hammer curve ball. However, I think it would be wise for the Mets to let Humber get his lumps in AAA before throwing him in the majors to build his stamina and get some experience. Humber has a 90 to 94 mph fastball that broke 97 mph in Atlanta last year, a nasty change up, and a “hammer” (or power) curve ball that described as a plus pitch.

Jorge Sosa: It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. All the talk last year for the Braves was whether Sosa was going to be a dominant closer or an ace starter for 2006. It turns out neither as Sosa fell on his face and then was traded to St. Louis where he also failed miserably. Sosa seems to have lost command on his slider and his change up was rather weak and ineffective. Sosa is the oldest pitcher of the bunch at 30 and needs to show his ability now to be considered an option. More than likely Sosa will entertain the fans in New Orleans for a good portion of the season or become a long reliever/ mop up guy for the Mets bullpen. I consider him an outside shot for the rotation though, as there appears to be better options for the Mets. Peterson could help him out a bit with the change up though.

Chan Ho Park: Chan Ho Park has had a very up and down career. Park was a dominating rookie with the Dodgers and then made the biggest mistake of his career going to Texas Ranges, also known as death for pitchers. Park’s ERA was never below 5.00 with the Rangers and was a complete disaster. Park returned to the National League and a pitcher’s park in San Diego and faired much better before a nasty intestinal illness. Park has a 90 to 92 mph fastball, a nasty curveball, and change up, which makes him a serviceable back of the rotation pitcher. Shea Stadium may just be a perfect stadium for Park and out of all the starters in the veteran category, he is the youngest (33). I can see Park bringing a solid 4.25 to 4.50 ERA mostly due to the park effects of Shea, which would be better than what Trachsel, Zambrano, Lima, or Gonzalez gave to the Mets. In my opinion, Park would be an excellent option for an emergency starter while pitching in AAA.

Baseball Prospectus top 50 prospects

1. Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals, 23
2. Philip Hughes, RHP, Yankees, 21
3. Delmon Young, OF, Devil Rays, 21
4. Homer Bailey, RHP, Reds, 21
5. Brandon Wood, SS, Angels, 22
6. Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants, 23
7. Cameron Maybin, OF, Tigers, 20
8. Chris Young, OF, Diamondbacks, 23
9. Jay Bruce, OF, Reds, 20
10. Evan Longoria, 3B, Devil Rays, 21
11. Reid Brignac, SS, Devil Rays, 21
12. Ryan Braun, 3B, Brewers, 23
13. Matt Garza, RHP, Twins, 23
14. Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Brewers, 21
15. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates, 20
16. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers, 19
17. Andrew Miller, LHP, Tigers, 22
18. Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets, 18
19. Adam Miller, RHP, Indians, 22
20. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Dodgers, 23
21. Billy Butler, OF, Royals, 21
22. Jose Tabata, OF, Yankees, 18
23. Luke Hochevar, RHP, Royals, 23
24. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies, 22
25. Jeff Niemann, RHP, Devil Rays, 24
26. Philip Humber, RHP, Mets, 24
27. Brandon Erbe, RHP, Orioles, 19
28. Nick Adenhart, RHP, Angels, 21
29. Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks, 19
30. Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Mets, 23
31. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Diamondbacks, 21
32. Scott Elbert, LHP, Dodgers, 21
33. Franklin Morales, LHP, Rockies, 21
34. Carlos Gomez, OF, Mets, 21
35. Chuck Lofgren, LHP, Indians, 22
36. Donald Veal, LHP, Cubs, 22
37. Carlos Carrasco, RHP, Phillies, 20
38. Eric Hurley, RHP, Rangers, 21
39. Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies, 21
40. Travis Snider, OF, Blue Jays, 19
41. Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox, 22
42. Felix Pie, OF, Cubs, 22
43. Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays, 23
44. Adam Jones, OF, Mariners, 21
45. Jacob McGee, LHP, Devil Rays, 20
46. Jason Hirsh, RHP, Rockies, 25
47. Hunter Pence, OF, Astros, 24
48. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox, 23
49. Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies, 24
50. Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals, 20

BFOX's Opinion>> Very intresting top 50. I am a yankee fan so its nice to see Hughes at 2 but am surprised to see him in front of Young. I understand pitching is hard to come by but Young has been very highly touted for awhile. I would like to know how they ranked their players. Did they do it by stats, potential, pure stuff? I do have a few minor problems. For one, I know about Lincecum's pure stuff and amazing final year of college but I dont like rating guys who have 50 innings of pro-ball over guys like Gallardo or Garza, who both absolutly teared up the minors. Another problem I have is the placement of Chris Young. It seems like I am the only person turned off by his non-ability to hit for average. He needs to find some contact consistency as he develops his tremendous power. Another reference to some of the pitchers. This has already pissed off C-Dog in a discussion were currently having but I think Humber is way to high on the list. I honestly feel guys like Adenhart, Morales, Elbert, and Pelfrey should be rated ahead of him. They are younger and have ace type potential. I understand Humber is probably the safest bet to reach his potential but if they all pan out, Im not taking Humber. ALSO, my last descrepancy. Where the hell is Dellin Betances? :)

C-Dog's Opinion>>This is what I like!!!
18. Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets, 18
26. Philip Humber, RHP, Mets, 24
30. Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Mets, 23
34. Carlos Gomez, OF, Mets, 21

Top 10 Spring Training position battles


"1. Red Sox closer
The Contenders: Joel Pineiro, Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Timlin
The Favorite: Pineiro

Joel Piniero will try to make the transition from starter to closer. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

Boston is nothing if not creative in digging up closers. This time around, they plan on giving converted starter Joel Pineiro a shot. He has the power fastball-slider arsenal to succeed, and he'll need to stick with those two pitches in order to thrive in his new role. Jonathan Papelbon, meanwhile, is bound for the rotation despite putting together — without exaggeration — one of the best closer seasons in history last year. However, team doctors have recommended that Papelbon's balky shoulder might respond better to starting detail. So that's what will happen. The fallback plan then becomes seasoned setup man Mike Timlin. Should Pineiro get hurt or fail to adapt, the save opps will go to Timlin. Right now, however, the job is Pineiro's to lose.

2. Mets fifth starter
The Contenders: Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Chan Ho Park
The Favorite: Sosa
The Mets missed out on the big names this winter, but they have plenty of arms in the mix headed into camp. It's likely that Jorge Sosa, barring a disastrous spring, will open the season as the fifth man, but he may not be there for long. Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey, the Mets' top two pitching prospects, will emerge as strong candidates at some point, and don't be surprised if both are in the rotation before September. Of the two, Humber has the slightly higher ceiling. Chan Ho Park, meanwhile, is the "break glass in case of emergency" guy who'll probably spend most of his time in the bullpen. Sosa for now, one of the young guns for later.

3. Yankees fourth and fifth starters
The Contenders: Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, Jeffrey Karstens
The Favorite(s): Igawa and Pavano
We have three factors in play here: Carl Pavano's health, Kei Igawa's ability to keep the opposite side in check, and the possibility that the Yankees will sign Roger Clemens. Pavano, of course, has found a way to hurt just about everything on his body, but so far in 2007 he seems to be on target. The odds of a setback are quite high, though. As for Igawa, there's concern that the lefty may not be able to pass muster against stateside right-handed bats, so that'll be something to monitor in Spring Training. With that said, the Yankees intend to have Igawa open the season as a member of the rotation. If Pavano gets hurt and Clemens retires or inks elsewhere, then Karstens will be deployed as a starter. At least until they trade for someone. In the event of a Clemens signing, Igawa will probably get first crack at the five spot.

4. White Sox center fielder
The Contenders: Brian Anderson, Rob Mackowiak, Ryan Sweeney
The Favorite: Anderson
Brian Anderson was utterly awful in the first half of 2006, but after the break he compiled a not quite so utterly awful batting line of .257 AVG/.301 OBP/.393 SLG. That's far from optimal, but at least it's progress. The Sox still like Anderson's line-drive stroke and defense in center, so barring a miserable spring he'll likely open the season in center. Rob Mackowiak has a reasonable left-handed bat, but his glove in center won't play on a regular basis. If Anderson continues to struggle, then prospect Ryan Sweeney could step in. He's better defensively than Mackowiak, and he's a career .295 hitter in the minors. None of these options is ideal, but it's all the Sox have at this point.

5. Cubs fourth and fifth starters

If he can stay healthy, Wade Miller should win a spot in the Cubs rotation. (Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

The Contenders: Wade Miller, Jason Marquis, Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall
The Favorite(s): Miller and Marquis

These jobs depend in part upon the status of convalescing ace Mark Prior. If Prior's shoulder is well enough for him to open the season in the rotation, then this is a battle for fifth spot only. However, if Prior isn't able to answer the bell, then these five arms will vie for the final two rotation slots. With Prior, who really knows? If Miller's shoulder holds up in Arizona, he's likely to break camp as a member of the rotation. Marquis, in the absence of Prior, would likely fill the final spot (at least until the Cubs realize that he's thoroughly ill-suited to a homer-friendly park like Wrigley). If Miller struggles badly or pulls up lame again, then one of the young guns will get the nod. Among them, Angel Guzman might be the best bet.

6. Dodgers right fielder
The Contenders: Andre Ethier, Marlon Anderson, Matt Kemp
The Favorite: Ethier
The departure of J.D. Drew has, of course, left a void in right field. Andre Ethier enters camp as the favorite, but his second-half slump in 2006 means that he'll be on a reasonably short leash. In all likelihood, the Dodgers will wind up platooning Ethier, the lefty, with Matt Kemp, who bats right-handed. Should Ethier struggle badly in Florida, then Marlon Anderson will likely step in as the left-handed half of the platoon.

7. Tigers fifth starter
The Contenders: Mike Maroth, Wil Ledezma
The Favorite: Ledezma
At the time of his elbow injury last season, Mike Maroth had a respectable 4.19 ERA in 53.2 innings. Wil Ledezma, meanwhile, posted a 3.58 ERA in 60.1 innings, working both as a starter and a reliever. If Maroth stays healthy this spring, manager Jim Leyland may opt to play the veteran hand. However, Ledezma's higher upside and superior performance in 2006 will likely hold sway. It's an open competition, but Ledezma has more in his favor at this moment in time.

8. Royals third baseman

Alex Gordon's future is bright, but is he ready to produce right now? (Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images)

The Contenders: Alex Gordon, Mark Teahen
The Favorite: Gordon

Alex Gordon is the best prospect in all of baseball, the favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and a future MVP. However, incumbent Mark Teahen is coming off a nifty season in his own right: .290 AVG/.357 OBP/.517 SLG, 18 homers in 393 at bats. Right now, the plan is for Teahen to transition to an outfield corner spot and hand the third base job to Gordon. Of course, if Gordon fails badly in Spring Training, then the Royals will likely dispatch him to Triple-A to marinate a bit further. Otherwise, the Gordon era in Kansas City begins on Opening Day.

9. Indians first baseman
The Contenders: Casey Blake, Ryan Garko
The Favorite: Blake
The signing of Trot Nixon means that Casey Blake is now a man without a position. That puts him up against Ryan Garko for playing time at first base. Blake is the more proven talent, and he'll be making $3.75 million next season. Garko, meanwhile, has an impressive minor league dossier, but his defense leaves something to be desired. Since both are right-handed, it's an either-or situation. Barring injury or a vastly more impressive showing by Garko in Spring Training, the job is likely Blake's to lose. One wrinkle could be that the Tribe opts to play Blake in right field when a lefty's on the mound, which would mean Garko would start at first base on those occasions.

10. Marlins closer
The Contenders: Taylor Tankersley, Ricky Nolasco, Matt Lindstrom, Henry Owens, Kevin Gregg
The Favorite: Tankersley
GM Larry Beinfest has already stated that the Fish will fill their closer vacancy from within. Considering the current disrepair of the Florida rotation, Ricky Nolasco will almost certainly be deployed as a starter. That makes Taylor Tankersley the favorite. Should he falter, unproven internal candidates like Matt Lindstrom, Henry Owens and Kevin Gregg could enter the fray. Also, since Tankersley is a lefty, there's the possibility that the Marlins will opt for committee arrangement, playing matchups in the final inning rather than relying on a single closer. For now, though, expect Tankersley to pick up the saves. "

Now me as a Met fan, I can't believe they think Jorge Sosa will win the #5 spot. I think its between Chanho Park, and Mike Pelfrey. If you don't agree with something they said leave a comment with your opinion.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cubs Avoid Arbitration WIth Zambrano

Cubs agreed to terms with RHP Carlos Zambrano on a one-year, $12.4 million contract.
Zambrano was asking for $15.5 million, while the Cubs were offering $11.025 million, and the case was set to be heard Tuesday afternoon.

Its surprising that he settled for so little. Usually the team and the player will agree on the midpoint of the two sides. Figure, using that logic, he shouldve got around 13.5 million. To me, this makes Zambrano look like he really wants to just play and not have to deal with these money issues. That being said, he has said he wants a contract this Spring or hes testing free agency. The Cubs would be crazy not to re-sign him. If they dont have the money then the only ones they could blame is themsleves for spending like fiends this offseason. Honestly if any Cubs fans read this, comment back who you would rather have locked up for the next 7 years... Zambrano or Soriano. IF he leaves, hopefully the Yankees will use their bottomless wallet to sign him.

My thoughts about the Milledge situation

Im tired of all the Milledge bashing. He is 21 years old and was the youngest kid in the NL. He has been scrutinized since the day he got called up. Their was way too many expectations for him. He was set up to fail.

Now, I agree Milledge showed some "attitude problems" last year but what do you want. He's 21 years old. You cant expect everybody to be Mr.Perfect, David Wright, or even Jose Reyes.

People only look at the bad things Milledge did. Coming in with a du-rag and a huge chain. Yeah thats not what you want your first impression to be but thats him. Thats how he likes to dress. Milledge high-fived the fans. Thats a rookie mistake he will never do again. But he had reason for those high-fives. He hit a huge homerun in extra innings. A rookie in a big spot came through! Ok Milledge played "horrible" defense, thats bullshit. Milledge showed why scouts raved about his defense. His amazing arm and diving catch after diving catch. But then there was Boston. Willie Randolph puts a rookie in LF in FENWAY. Willie what are you thinking? You have Endy Chavez in RF. That made everybody believe that Milledge can't field.

Milledge hits just .241. It goes from giving up Milledge to get Oswalt to trading Milledge for A fat Steve Trachsel "Joe Blanton". So why did Milledge hit .241? Maybe because his Mananger Willie Randolph puts a rookie batting 8th. What are you thinking again Willie? Stop with the subway comericials and think what rookie batting 8th is going to get? A Curveball. What does every rookie struggle with at first? A CURVEBALL. Smooth move Willie. If Milledge batted 2nd or even 7th, he probably wouldve had a better chance to succeed. Then Milledge goes down to the minors and proceeds to come back up in September. He has more plate disapline and does decent to the end of the year but his reputation is ruined. He's just a "Thug". Its unfair but thats not all its now the off-season.

Milledge dosen't play winter ball. Everybody and their mother cried about this. WHY ISINT HE PLAYING??? HE SHOULD BE THERE. GET RID OF HIM HES JUST A "THUG" (lets be serious if Milledge wasnt black he woulden't be called a thug). I myself said "what are you going to do when Milledge comes back with 20 extra pounds of muscle" but others insist he's probably going to hang out with his gang.

Lets fast forward to Spring Training. What happens? Milledge shows up early with 13 pounds of muscle, what do people say? Nothing.

What else? According to Tim K from Baseball Tonight Milledge now has power to the opposite field that he didin't have last season. Im tired of all the Milledge bashing especially from Mack from He is a good kid with so much potential. If Milledge gets traded dont be surprised if he becomes a superstar.


I would like to start a question and answer type column weekly for this blog. So if anyone has any questions or even suggestions you can email me at


Draft Order

First-Round Picks
1. Devil Rays
2. Royals
3. Cubs
4. Pirates
5. Orioles
6. Nationals
7. Brewers
8. Rockies
9. Diamondbacks
10. Giants
11. Mariners
12. Marlins
13. Indians
14. Braves
15. Reds
16. Blue Jays (Frank Catalanotto, A, to Tex)
17. Rangers (Carlos Lee, A, to Hou)
18. Cardinals
19. Phillies
20. Dodgers (Julio Lugo, A, to Bos)
21. Blue Jays
22. Giants (Jason Schmidt, A, to LAD)
23. Padres
24. Rangers (Gary Matthews Jr., A, to LAA)
25. White Sox
26. Athletics
27. Tigers
28. Twins
29. Giants (Moises Alou, A, to NYM)
30. Yankees

Carpenter Bringing Back Changeup

Chris Carpenter said Monday that he plans to put a changeup back into his repertoire this year.

"I have been, since I came back from surgeries, trying to get it back. When I first came up, my changeup was my second best pitch," Carpenter said. "I had a lot of confidence in it. It was a pitch I could throw for a strike and get a lot of outs with it. Ever since I came back from surgery, it hasn't been there."

This guy is one of the most dominate pitchers in the MLB without a changeup. If he could bring back his changeup to where he says it was, he would just have a filthy set of pitches. Cardinal fans should be excited, everyone else should not.

Managers In Trouble 2007 Season

Mike Hargrove, Mariners: Howard Lincoln, the Mariners' CEO, announced at the end of last season that both Hargrove and general manager Bill Bavasi were on the hot seat. A slow start could lead to quick action; the M's acquired seven new players this off-season, and Ichiro could depart as a free agent next winter if the team does not show improvement. New bench coach John McLaren would be the logical replacement.

Clint Hurdle, Rockies: Owner Charlie Monfort said recently that he expects to retain G.M. Dan O'Dowd for "quite a while," but did not offer the same endorsement to Hurdle, who sacrifices too often and relies too heavily on hot relievers. The Rockies' 76-86 record last season was their best in five years under Hurdle. A .500 record likely is necessary for him to keep his job.

Buddy Bell, Royals. It's a classic fire-the-manager scenario: Bell, in the final year of his contract, is working under a G.M. entering his first full season, Dayton Moore. While no one will confuse the Royals with contenders, it's reasonable for Moore to expect an improvement from last season's 62-100 record; he added six new players, including right-hander Gil Meche and closer Octavio Dotel, and the team's top prospect, third baseman Alex Gordon.

Charlie Manuel, Phillies: Safer than he might appear, considering that Pat Gillick has replaced a manager in the middle of a season only once in more than a quarter-century as a G.M. Still, shortstop Jimmy Rollins has contributed to the Phillies' heightened expectations, calling them "the team to beat in the N.L. East." Gillick added two former managers, Jimy Williams and Davey Lopes, to Manuel's staff, but neither is especially well-suited to handle the day-to-day pressure in Philadelphia.

Eric Wedge, Indians: Club officials do not hold Wedge accountable for the Tribe's regression from 93 wins in 2005 to 78 in '06. Given Wedge's close relationship with G.M. Mark Shapiro, it's unlikely that even a slow start would lead to a change. The hiring of Buck Showalter as an adviser to Shapiro should not be misinterpreted; it would be an absolute shock if Showalter were the Indians' next manager.

Sam Perlozzo, Orioles:: No more excuses: The Orioles, after adding three new coaches, spending $41.5 million on their bullpen and another $29.5 million on Jay Payton and Aubrey Huff, want to see growth from Perlozzo in his second full season. Owner Peter Angelos has never replaced a manager before the end of a season, but a failure to improve significantly on last year's 70-92 mark could spark a change, even though Perlozzo is signed through 2008.

Joe Torre, Yankees: It's virtually impossible to imagine Torre getting fired in the middle of the season; G.M. Brian Cashman, perhaps his biggest backer, is now the team's leading decision-maker. Cashman helped save Torre's job after the Yankees' second consecutive first-round exit last season, but another post-season flop almost certainly would lead to the promotion of hitting coach Don Mattingly or hiring of Joe Girardi.

Terry Francona, Red Sox: Signed through '08 and absolved of responsibility for last season's collapse, Francona will fall under greater scrutiny if the Sox fail to reach the post-season for the second straight year. The team's lack of an established closer makes Francona's job that much more perilous, as does the daily lineup question that figures to arise from the addition of right fielder J.D. Drew. Those issues combined with Manny being Manny . . . stay tuned.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Alex Rodriguez thoughts on Jeter And Future

"TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez's fourth season with the Yankees opened with a confession, as the All-Star admitted his relationship with shortstop Derek Jeter is not as strong as it once was.
"Let's be honest," Rodriguez said on Monday. "Derek and I were best of friends about 10 or 12 years ago, OK? Best of friends. We're still good friends. We get along well; we cheer hard for each other, he cheers for me. We both more importantly want to win a world championship.

"Do we go to dinner every night like we used to? No. But we're good friends, we have a lot of respect for each other, and we want to win."

Rodriguez said he felt it was important to clear up the issue of his friendship with Jeter, which had become a frequent topic of speculation in recent years.

It is widely believed that the relationship was significantly affected by a 2001 magazine article in which Rodriguez referred to Jeter as a "number two hitter," meaning he was not the impact player in his club's lineup. "

Ok, what to think about this? A-Rod calls out Jeter because Jeter is supposed to be the leader.Jeter is tired of A-Rod. A-Rod wants to know why Jeter will backup a one time Steroid User and not him. It's all about Ego.

Now in my opinion, A-Rod is going to use his opt out clause after this season unless
1.The Yankees win the world series.
2.A-Rod hits very good in the playoffs.

A-Rod will most likely opt out and go play on a team were he can be the leader, and he is the SS. (Boston anyone?)

The Yankees are going to have a major hole to fill at 3B if A-Rod does opt out. Maybe they should of had traded A-Rod this off-season to the Tigers for Joe Crede and who ever else. You can't trade somebody like A-Rod at the all-star break so the Yankees have a big problems on their hands.

Carl Pavano Pitches!!!!!!!!!

Finally, Pavano threw a bullpen session. Their was doubts about this after he was so surprisingly diagnosed with the very serious, very painful "Heavy Legs Syndrome".
Luckily, he was able to grit his way through this horrible injury and throw a couple pitches.
Yankee fans treasure this picture and hope that he can remain healthy for the regular season or just long enough to trade him. :)

Biggest Change For Milledge His Attitude?

"For the record, Lastings Milledge did show up early -- position players were only required to let the Mets know they were in the neighborhood yesterday -- and he did more than drop off equipment. Milledge worked out with the handful of players already in camp, including David Wright and Jose Reyes, and displayed some impressive opposite-field power during batting practice on the stadium field.

Milledge said he improved his diet during the winter -- cutting down on red meat, burgers in particular -- and put on an additional 13 pounds of muscle through a new weightlifting regimen. But the biggest change may be his attitude. Milledge deftly handled two rounds with the media yesterday, first TV cameras and then print reporters, and said all the right things.As for the run-ins he had with teammates last year, Milledge believes that's all in the past and he's eager to move on.

"Everything’s clean," MIlledge said. "Everything’s fine. Everybody’s all right. I’m fine with everybody. Everything’s OK. I don’t have any problems with anybody."

Even Billy Wagner, who hung a sign over Milledge's locker in DC that read, "Know Your Place Rook!" admitted that no one is holding a grudge. "He wasn’t bad," Wagner said. "It’s sort of that grooming. We all went through it and hopefully he’s learned and matured."

I was one of the few people who didn't mind that Milledge wasn't going to play winter ball. I actually said to all the people who hate Milledge,"What if he comes back with 20 extra pounds of muscle because he's been working out all winter". Its great for Milledge and for now it seems that his attitude is better. He can now focus on winning the RF job this spring.

In other news Jose Reyes has gained 7 More Pounds of Muscle over the off-season

Is it really a good thing? Do they really want to get Reyes that big? He is a leadoff hitter who has too much muscle for somebody his size. This could potentially slow down his swing and throw off everything. No more getting bigger Jose.

Just for you Yankee fans out their, this is one of the best yankee prospect sites you will find. It provides year to year stats on every single player in the farm. Anyone looking to learn about the yankees farm or just looking for stats, this site is perfect. Also, during the season, they update daily on games and who did what. Props to whoever maintains this site, its appreciated.

Mets Spring Training Pictures

Taking A look at the possible mets rotation.

Tom Glavine will pitch on opening day as the mets ACE.

Orlando Hernandez will be the mets #2 starter.

John Maine even though the mets have said he will have to earn it will most likley be the mets #3 starter

The Battle.. The Mets right now have the #4, and #5 spots up for grabs..

We here believe that Oliver Perez will win the #4 spot

Chan Ho Park will be one of the many fighting for the spot

Many feel the mets first round pick of 2006 will win the spot. (he's kind of looking like Rick Peterson with the hair)

Philip Humber the mets first round pick of 2004 says he feels the best he has in years.

Jason Vargas has good success with the Marlins in 2005 and is looking to prove he can be the one.

Aaron Sele had a 2.96 ERA as a starter in the first half and a 4.18 overall as a starter, and wants to prove he still has somthing in the tank..

Heres a picture of David Wright drunk out of his mind.

Yankees Spring Training Pics

Phil Hughes

New Addition Kei Igawa

A Thin Looking Humberto Sanchez

Lastings Milledge Arrives!

Mets OF Lastings Milledge has reported to Tradition Field.

Position players are required to be in camp tomorrow. The team’s first full workout will be Wednesday, February 21

Lastings will most likley start the year in AAA unless he has huge Spring Training and Shawn Green has a very bad one.

Spring Training News

During spring training we will be doing all major updates that you will need to know..

Anybody Still Read This?

Well, me and BFOX tried to do to much work at one time... And it seemed not to many people read this blog.. so if you want us to come back and start doing more reports, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Fernando Martinez vs. Jose Tabata

As I was reading the always great Mets Prospect Hub, I came across a great comparison of young talent written by John Sickels. It is a very in depth and knowledgable report on these two players strengths and weaknesses. Check it out for yourself, its a great read!

Prospect Smackdown: Fernando Martinez vs. Jose Tabata

Background and Intangibles

Martinez: Martinez was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets in 2005, for $1.4 million. An excellent athlete, he was considered the equivalent of an additional first round pick. He is considered emotionally mature for his age, and the Mets have had no qualms about pushing him quickly due to this maturity.

Tabata: Tabata was signed out of Venezuela by the Yankees in 2005, for $550,000. He didn't receive quite as much pre-signing attention as Martinez, but like Martinez hasn't looked out of place in pro ball despite his age. Some scouts say that Tabata can get lazy, while others dispute this and say he thrives in pressure situations and just needs to grow up a bit more. The Yanks have handled him more cautiously that the Mets have handled Martinez, but this seems more of an organizational philosophy thing than any problem with Tabata. Advantage: Both players seem to have done well with their cultural adjustments. Martinez had a bit more buzz when he signed, but Tabata has caught up with him. Martinez may have a slightly better work ethic, but that's hard to quantify, and given their respective ages they are both remarkably mature. Overall Martinez may have a slight edge here but it's not a huge one.

Physicality, Health, and Tools

Martinez: Martinez was born October 10, 1988. A lefty hitter and a righty thrower, he is listed at 6-0, 185. He has plus bat speed and raw power, but his strike zone judgment is relatively mediocre at this point, and he'll struggle against breaking balls on occasion. All of his tools rate as average or better. His speed is a tick above average, but he'll probably lose that as he fills out his body. His arm is strong enough for right field, and he should be a fine defender with more experience.Martinez missed much of last year with a bruised hand and a sprained knee.

Tabata: Tabata was born August 12, 1988. A righty hitter and thrower, he is still listed at 5-11, 160, although his lower body is starting to fill out and that weight data is probably obsolete. He has outstanding bat speed, and shows ability against both fastballs and breaking balls. His strike zone judgment is very good. All of his tools rate as average or better. Although he runs well now, some people expect him to lose speed as he gets older, although he may keep it longer than Martinez. He has the arm for right field, and with more experience his defense will play there without problem. His season ended early because of an injured thumb.Advantage: Both players have a ton of bat speed and enormous offensive potential. Martinez has more present power, but Tabata has superior strike zone judgment. Tabata has a bit more running speed at this point, though neither will be a burner in the long run. Both have right field arms. Both of them had problems with nagging injuries last year. Overall this looks even to me, Martinez's edge in current power being balanced by Tabata's better plate discipline and better current speed.

Performance and Polish

Martinez: Martinez is a career .279/.336/.457 hitter in 315 at-bats, including a .333/.389/.505 mark last year in 45 games in the Sally League. His numbers would look better where it not for a 30-game, .193/.254/.387 stint in the Florida State League. But he really had no business in the Florida State League at age 17, so it is hard to hold this against him. Although rather raw in some phases of the game, the fact is that he already has enough polish to hold his own against players several years older than he is: the lack of polish is relative, and relative to his age group, he is very polished indeed. The fact that he didn't look out of place in the Arizona Fall League is quite intriguing.

Tabata: Tabata is a career .300/.379/.419 hitter in 475 at-bats, including .298/.377/.420 last year in the Sally League. Like Martinez, Tabata is raw compared to many minor league players, but is very polished for his age. It would have been very interesting to see what he could have done late in the year in the Florida State League or the Arizona Fall League, but health concerns prevented it.Advantage: Both players are unusually advanced for their age but still have some work to do. Tabata has shown better strike zone judgment, but Martinez has beaten him handily in the SLG department. Tabata also had a strong home/road split in the Sally League (.921 OPS at home, .713 on the road) while Martinez was more even (.849/.937). I think we have to give Martinez a slight edge here.


Martinez: Martinez projects as a 20-homer hitter at a minimum; he should be a 30+ homer guy if he develops along anything approaching a normal curve. His strike zone judgment and batting average may be erratic, especially if the Mets push him too quickly. He projects as an All-Star right fielder at the major league level in my opinion.

Tabata: Tabata doesn't project as much home run power as Martinez, being more of a 20-25 homer guy at his peak according to many scouts. However, his batting average and OBP could be more consistent than Martinez's, and Tabata should keep his running speed longer. He projects as an All-Star right fielder.

Advantage: Both project as stars, although the exact "flavor" of this stardom could vary. Take your pick depending on what you like: I think Martinez could have more impact power, but Tabata could be a more balanced contributor. No clear advantage.

SummaryI think Martinez has a slight edge in background/intangibles and in current performance, while they rate even in projection and tools. So overall I think Martinez comes out just a little bit ahead. But it's close, very close, so close that I ranked Martinez at #17 and Tabata at #18 on my Top 50 hitting prospects list.

Great article from John Sickels.

Top Prospect Rangers

Eric Hurley

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 195
Position: SP
Bats: R Throws: R
Date of Birth: 9/17/1985
Birthplace: Sikeston, MO

Hurley was drafted in the first round in 2004, 30th overall, out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida. He wasn't as polished in high school as Bailey, although he did play against good competition and was well-known to scouts, being a teammate of fellow '04 first-rounder Billy Butler. Hurley blew high school hitters away with his fastball, but wasn't as advanced in other respects as Bailey, which is why he went later in the draft. He ended up out-pitching Bailey in the Midwest League last year, while gaining a reputation for maturity and solid mound presence. - John Sickels

Hurley pitched 155 innings last year for Clinton in the Midwest League, posting a 3.77 ERA and a 152/59 K/BB ratio. He allowed 135 hits with 11 homers. His K/IP and H/IP marks were good, but not quite as good as Bailey's. On the other hand, his K/BB ratio was much better, reflecting better command. In five starts in the California League in 2006, Hurley is 2-1, 2.75 with a 24/5 K/BB ratio in 30 innings.

Fastball: His fastball ranged from 88 to 95 MPH in high school and has developed into a consistent 91-93 MPH pitch as a pro, spiking up to 95-96 at times.

Breaking Pitch: His breaking ball (described variously as a hard curve or a slider) was erratic in high school, but has turned into an effective second offering as a pro.

Changeup: His changeup is currently below average but should improve. Hurley's control has been better than expected as a pro, although he still has problems with mechanical consistency.

Projection: Hurley projects as a Number Two type starter, not exciting scouts with his stuff quite as much as Bailey does, although Hurley is hardly a soft-tosser. He needs to refine his changeup and stay healthy to reach his ceiling.

Story Of The Day Part I: Top Young Hitters for 2007

This is our story of the day top young preformers to step up big in 2007 from Fox Sports.

1. Delmon Young, OF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Delmon Young's talent is simply too much to overlook, despite his well documented off-field issues. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

The thing most will recall with the utterance of Young's name is his unfortunate incident involving a bat and an umpire. The fact that he sits near the top of most pundit's top prospects sheet is somewhat lost in the translation. Young appeared in 30 games for Tampa Bay last season and hit a strong .317, in spite of a high strikeout rate (24 in 126 at-bats) and his unwillingness to take a walk (he recorded one). His attitude and past transgressions are cause for concern, but he has the potential to produce in all five standard categories over time.

2. Alex Gordon, 3B, Kansas City Royals
Young has the negative story associated with him, and Gordon's name gives us the warm and fuzzy feeling of youth based on the whole Topps trading card issue from last winter. Hit up Google and read about this interesting licensing tale. Anyway, Gordon's a hitting machine just waiting for his turn to take the reins in Kansas City. It's only fitting their hottest prospect in many years plays the same position as the last K.C. great, George Brett. Gordon raked at a tremendous .325 clip with 29 home runs and 101 RBI at Class-AA Wichita last season, and if the Royals are serious about competing in 2007, he has to be in the lineup somewhere. Let him take his cuts at the big league level and learn on the job.

3. Chris Young, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
The White Sox might be wondering why they parted with Young given some of the concerns in the outfield right now. They might wonder even more if he produces to expectations for the Diamondbacks this season. Comparisons between he and veteran outfielder Mike Cameron abound, because of his potential to contribute in both the power categories and on the basepaths. What he also potentially offers is the batting average help that never developed from Cameron. Young hit .243 in 70 at-bats with the Diamondbacks last year, contributing two home runs, 10 RBI and two stolen bases. He'll open in center field this season.

4. Carlos Quentin, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Carlos Quentin is one of several up-and-coming Diamondbacks ready to make the big jump to the big leagues. (Ron Vesely / Getty Images)

Another component of the youthful Arizona outfield, Quentin has outfield sleeper written all over him for draft day. I was a year too soon on my projection for him, as I held out hope he'd crack the roster last season. In any event, he was impressive in his 166 at-bats last season for the Diamondbacks, during which he recorded 25 extra-base hits with nine home runs and 32 RBI. His batting average will improve with more experience, making him a potent four-category slugger.

5. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox
Pedroia looked ready to assume the mantle ahead of the 2006 season, but was held back for more seasoning. He'll open spring training penciled in as the starting second baseman this year after playing in 33 games last season. He struggled to a .191 batting average in his 89 at-bats, but did put the ball in play (seven strikeouts). That bodes well for his future in Boston, helping to set the table for the big sluggers in the middle of the order. He has good gap power and some speed on the basepaths, and he'll offer three categories to start with some occasional pop (two home runs for the Red Sox last season).

6. Chris Iannetta, C, Colorado Rockies
He's a popular sleeper pick heading into spring training given his quick growth with the Rockies last season and the ever-popular home field advantage. Iannetta showed advanced plate discipline as well, with 13 walks in 90 plate appearances. He also struck out 17 times in those 90 at-bats, so that's certainly an area in need of improvement. But fantasy owners only need concern themselves with his productivity in the other 81 percent of his plate appearances.

7. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, San Diego Padres
Kouzmanoff will challenge veteran utility player Geoff Blum for the starting slot in San Diego upon his arrival from the Indians over the off-season. The Padres believe Kouzmanoff will be able to hit at the major league level, but that his defense is a tad disconcerting given the nature of their starting rotation. Simply put, Greg Maddux and David Wells let the ball be put into play. That could keep him at the minor league level for a spell. However, his strong Double-A splits won't keep him there for long. He hit 16 home runs with a .314 average in 344 at-bats, then drove in 11 runs in 56 at-bats for the Tribe last season.

8. Joe Koshansky, Colorado Rockies
The breakdown of the Todd Helton deal keeps the sweet-swinging slugger in the minor leagues for a spell, but it's just a matter of time before he takes dead aim on Coors Field. Koshansky slammed 69 home runs over the past two seasons with back-to-back 100 RBI campaigns and has become a solid fielder in the Texas League. The big knock on his game is that he still swings like a power hitter of old, meaning that he's racked up 271 strikeouts in the past two seasons. Fantasy owners can deal with the strikeouts so long as the power numbers are there. They won't be disappointed.

9. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Corey Koskie remains ahead of him on the depth chart, but that won't be the case for long if Braun translates his phenomenal 2006 season into a strong showing in spring training. Braun hit 22 home runs with 77 RBI while splitting time between Single and Double-A. The Brewers would like to see an improvement in his defense. However, that wouldn't be the factor to keep him from supplanting Koskie. He's a solid reserve option to open in deeper NL-only and keeper leagues.

10. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Although LaRoche underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum during the off-season, the team remains hopeful he'll be ready for duty in 2007. After all, he's generated impressive power numbers during his minor league career and appears capable of making a big splash in Los Angeles. He hit 14 home runs in 431 at-bats in Double-A in 2006 after slamming 30 home runs the year before. Stash him on your bench later in the draft. He'll be a stud out of the gates once he's ready.

Story Of The Day Part II: Top Young Pitchers 2007

Here's Part II Of The Article Of The Day from fox

1. Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets

Mike Pelfrey has been one of the Mets' top prospects for a while, and this could be the year we see him get his chance to shine. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Pelfrey stands an imposing 6-foot-7 and pitches behind one of the strongest lineups in the game. He struck out a total of 117 hitters over four levels last season while rapidly ascending to the big club. He pitched in four games for the Mets and compiled a record of 2-1 with a sizable 5.48 ERA. Don't let the small sample throw you, though. This 23-year-old fireballer is ready to roll and could contribute at a No. 2 level this spring. He's developed a slider to complement his fastball and will just need some seasoning to reach his enormous potential.

2. Philip Hughes, New York Yankess
Hughes is a wild card hurler for the Yankees this season, as the specter of a return by Roger Clemens looms. He absolutely dominated the Eastern League in 2006 with a record of 10-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 116 innings. That level of dominance, backed by the potent Yankees lineup, equals huge contributions from his young hurler. Hughes may return to the minor leagues for a spell to open the year if Clemens returns to the Bronx, or he may find himself on the roster to learn on the job under the tutelage of the sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. Either way, he stands at the precipice of big things.

3. Jason Hirsh, Colorado Rockies
The move to Colorado doesn't serve to help his value. But it's not as if home runs are scarce in Houston, either. Hirsh is a strong power pitching prospect who threw an uneven 44 2/3 innings for the Astros last season. At Triple-A last year, he dominated with a record of 13-2 and 103 strikeouts in 129 2/3 innings of work. The red flag in his stat line is the inordinate number of walks allowed (65). He'll need to reduce that mark at the big league level or he'll be watching opponents circle the bases.

4. Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals
Hochevar is another Kansas City prospect who may technically need another year of seasoning in the minor leagues, but where's the harm in bringing a future stud onboard now? It worked for Detroit with Jeremy Bonderman and company following some early career beat-downs. Hochevar pitched 15 innings at the Double-A level last season with 16 strikeouts against just two walks. That's an impressive total for one's introduction to professional baseball. He stands 6-foot-5 and could contribute to this team and fantasy lineups right now.

5. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
All reports have Bailey challenging or a rotation spot in Cincinnati this season after posting a dominant 7-1 record with a 1.59 ERA for the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2006. He struck out 10.2 hitters per nine innings pitched and three hitters per walk, impressive totals for a young hurler. He also only allowed seven home runs in 138 2/3 innings last season, something that can't be overstated in the homer-happy Great American Ballpark.

6. Adam Miller, Cleveland Indians
Miller excelled last season for the Indians in the Eastern League, earning Pitcher of the Year honors with his 157 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings and a 15-6 record. He also struck out 3.65 hitters per walk, impressive control for a young pitcher. He plunked 14 hitters last season as well, but that isn't enough to overpower his huge strikeout potential. Look for him to work his way into the rotation this season.

7. Kevin Slowey, Minnesota Twins
The major injury to Francisco Liriano served to open an opportunity for Slowey to ascend to the big club this season. Slowey pitched to an overall 8-5 record with a 1.88 ERA in 148 2/3 innings pitched on two levels last season. Most impressive was his rate of nearly seven strikeouts per walk allowed. That type of potential has him on the fast track for the rotation and a fixture of fantasy lineups.

8. Scott Elbert, Los Angeles Dodgers
Elbert appears to be set for a role in Los Angeles this season after tossing 173 strikeouts in 146 innings pitched last season, when opponents hit just .190 off him. There are two knocks on him right now, as he's allowed 85 walks in those 146 innings and allowed 15 home runs. He'll be aided by making a pitcher's park his home. He may not open the year with the squad, but he's coming fast.

9. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
The Giants typically take a slower approach with their pitchers, and that's the one thing that could hold Lincecum back from assuming a huge role this year. It certainly won't be his performance. Lincecum struck out 48 hitters in 27 2/3 innings of High Class-A ball last season and limited opponents to an amazingly low .135 batting average. He struck out four hitters per walk and appears a perfect fit to roll into the closer slot should Armando Benitez struggle. He's worth stashing on your bench on draft day in case he gets his shot.

10. Deverm Hansack, Boston Red Sox
Hansack was plucked from Nicaragua by Ben Cherington during Theo Epstein's brief hiatus from his general manager role in Boston. He's always shown phenomenal control (3.5 strikeouts per walk in 2006) and could find himself in the bullpen mix this spring with no established closer other than Jonathan Papelbon on the roster.

Top Prospect Angels

Brandon Wood
Birthday: March 2, 1985
Height: 6'-2"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: SS
Drafted: 2003, 1st round (23), ANA

Brandon Wood was a first round draft pick (23rd overall) by the Angels out of Horizon High School in Scottsdale. He hit 5 home runs in his rookie league season. His first full year in the minor leagues was with the Single-A affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2004, where he hit .251 with 11 home runs. He spent most of the 2005 season with advanced Single-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, hitting .321 with a California League record 43 home runs and 51 doubles. Combined with two doubles and a triple in four games with the Triple-A Salt Lake Stingers, Brandon Wood became the first known minor leaguer to hit more than 100 extra-base hits in one year. For the 2006 season, Brandon Wood is ranked as the 3rd best prospect by Baseball America, behind Delmon Young and Justin Upton. For his efforts in 2005, Wood was awarded the California League and Single-A Offensive Player of the Year awards, was named the player of the year by Minor League Baseball's official website, as well as being named co-player of the year of the Angels minor league system, alongside fellow prospect Howie Kendrick. [1]
Brandon Wood was selected by the Angels to play on their Arizona Fall League team, the Surprise Scorpions, in October and early November 2005. He hit a league-record 14 home runs for the league runner-up. In mid-November 2005 he represented the United States on the U.S. Olympic regional qualifying team.
Hitting: The numbers speak for themselves. Wood has tremendous power for the position, and it's developing earlier than anyone could have expected. With his size and power, one can't help but make comparisons. However, unlike Rodriguez and Jeter, Wood has never shown the ability to control the strike zone. Wood does need to show that he can work counts. Sure, he can hit any mistake for miles, but at higher levels he's going to have to learn to force the pitcher into throwing his pitch. If he can continue to hit the way he does he could be one of the bets hitters in the game in a few years.

Defense: Wood is not celebrated for his glove work. But I remember that there was a time when Adam Kennedy was also considered something of a defensive liability. Don't ask me why, but I get the feeling that Wood - despite the fact that he's oversized for the position - is the kind of guy who's going to turn his raw athleticism and baseball intelligence into plus defense. Maybe never to the point of becoming a perennial gold-glove candidate like Kennedy, but the Angels shouldn't have any second thoughts about his manning the six.

Speed: Wood has decent speed. Not a burner by any means but fast enough not to hurt the team.

Projection: Wood should become a special baseball player in the near future.

Reds agree to terms with Arroyo

Reds agreed to terms with RHP Bronson Arroyo on a two-year, $25 million contract extension with an option for 2011.

Not as good of an idea as the Aaron Harang extension, mainly because Arroyo was already signed at $8.075 million through the next two years. The Reds are giving him a $2.5 million signing bonus (paid in 2008), $9.5 million in 2009 and $11 million in 2010. The option for 2011 will be worth at least $11 million and includes a $2 million buyout. Arroyo was a legitimate Cy Young candidate last year, but National Leaguers will adapt to his breaking ball-heavy arsenal just like the AL did. He might be little more than a fourth starter by the end of the deal. ~Rotoworld

We agree with Rotoworld. You could tell by his great first half then his not as spectacular second half that the NL was starting to adapt to him. He will now have to manage with playing in a hitters park and hitters knowing whats coming. So it's an ok deal with Arroyo probably getting the better end of it.

Cardinals #1 prospect Colby Rasmus

Position: OF
DOB: 8/11/1986
Height: 6-2
Weight: 195
Bats: L Throws: L
School: Russell County High School (Phenix City, AL)

Selected in the first round (28th overall) of the June 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Received a $1,000,000 signing bonus Rasmus was named Player of the Year by the Cardinals. He led the organization with 85 RBI in 2006. Rasmus is a 5 tool player with so much talent, and he is still only 20 years old. Entering the 2007 season with 25 more pounds of muscle/fat, look for the offensive numbers of this 20 year old to increase.

Scouting Report

Batting: He has power to all fields and a great stroke. Now that he has filled out more from last year look for the power numbers of this 20 year old to increase even more. He just needs to refine his plate discipline against advanced pitching to cut down on his strike outs. Also he has problems with breaking balls from left handed pitchers.

Defense: Rasmus has plus range and a great arm to go along with his plus speed. The Cardinals shouldn't lose anything defensivley when Rasmus takes over for Edmonds in Center Field.

Speed: Rasmus has good speed and is known as a solid base runner. He stole 28 bases in 2006 and even though he has put on weight, it shouldn't affect his running.

The Future: The Cardinals don't want to rush the 20 year old prospect though he will still probably find himself starting in AA this year. When he fills out he should be a 25/25 type of guy who plays great defense.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Houston Astros #1 prospect Hunter Pence

Position: OF
Full Name: Hunter A. Pence
Born: April 13, 1983 Fort Worth,Texas
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210
Bats: R Throws: R
College: University of Texas-Arlington

Hunter Pence was selected by Houston Astros in 2nd Round (64th overall)in 2004. He is known for being the 6'4 210 pound man that chokes up on the bat.

Here's a look at the awards he has won:

2003- Summer League First-Team All-American DH, Southland Conference All-Star OF
2004- Southland Conference Player of the Year, Southland Conference All-Star OF, Southland Conference Hitter of the Year
2005- Low A All-Star OF, Houston Astros Minor League Player of the Year, South Atlantic League All-Star OF, South Atlantic League Most Outstanding Prospect
Throughout his minor league career, Pence has shown the kind of power that scouts rave about. Here's a look at the monster numbers he has put up the last two years:

2005 A:.338 25 homeruns 60 rbi's 302 at bats
2005 A+:.305 6 homeruns 30 rbi's 151 at bats
2006 AA: .283 28 homeruns 95 rbi's 31 doubles in 523 at bats

Scouting Report:

Hitting: He is a pure power hitter. He can hit homeruns to all fields and still put up a solid average. Though he needs to work on pitch selection. He even recently said,
"I need to work on pitch selection." "The more walks that I take will mean I will be swinging at better pitches, and I've got to prove I can lay off the bad stuff before I start seeing good pitches."
Pence has a unorthodox swing in which he drops his hands before swinging, to go along with the choking up on the bat.

Defense: Pence has good range and a solid arm. His main problem is getting the right jumps on the ball, and playing Center Field in Houston with Tal's Hill, he will need to get the best jump on the ball everytime. Some scouts say that Pence will not be a good enough CF, and will have to move to a corner OF spot.

Speed: For a big man Pence has good speed. He could be a solid 15-20 steal guy.

The Future: Since the Astros are extremly slow with bringing their minor league players up, Pence will most likley start the year in AAA. Although if he is putting up big numbers again it's going to be hard for the Astros, who usually have a bad offense, not to bring him up.

We project Pence to be a .285 30 homerun type of guy, who will steal 15-20 bases.

Top Prospect Pirates

Andrew McCutchen

Height: 5-11
Weight: 170
Date of Birth: 10/10/86
School: Fort Meade (FL)

Speedy, athletic centerfield prospect that is more than just a speed merchant. Shows the ability to hit the balls to all fields, with surprising power, and he makes very good contact, and has proven to do so against some of the best pitchers in the nation. He is a terror on the basepaths, with incredible range in CF. A great overall athlete, he also stared in football & track. Far from just a raw athlete, McCutchen shows great plate coverage, outstanding bat speed and an advanced knowledge of hitting.

Batting: McCutchen has the potential to win a batting title someday. He has almost every good trait you would want froma hitter. He has a good eye, maskes good contact, can often go the opposite way, good bat speed, and actually has some nice raw power for a kid his size. He showed his hitting ability as he posted over a 300 batting average in AA as a 19 year old.

Speed: McCutchen has very good speed. He is a threat on the base paths but would benefit from some refinement on how he goes about stealing bases. Look for him to be able to steal 30 plus bags during his career.

Defense: McCutchen is a very good centerfielder who has good instincts and speed to track balls down. He also has a decent arm and could potentially win a gold glove someday.

Projection: McCutchen projects to be a top hitter and be a good, if not great, ball player in years to come.

Chicago Cubs #1 Prospect Felix Pie

Felix Pie Outfielder
TEAM:Chicago Cubs
HEIGHT/WEIGHT:6'2' / 170
Felix Pie-Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2001.

Pie's awards he has won while in the minors
2002 - Arizona League All-Star OF
2003 - Midwest League All-Star OF
2004 - Florida State League All-Star OF

2006 season in AAA :
.283 15 homeruns 57 rbi's 33 doubles
-Though his average went down in 2006, the power that he was always projected to have started to come together.

The one thing about Pie is everybody loves him. He like the perfect teammate "He's got five tools and all of them have a chance to be above-average. The sky is the limit."
"He's an exciting player, a really exciting player," says his manager Bobby Dickerson. "He loves to win. That's the biggest thing I've seen. He really enjoys winning ball games, and he always wins. Every team he's been on has made the playoffs, and three won championships."
His manager also has favorable words for his center fielder concerning a resemblance to the Yankees shortstop."Everybody who plays the game wants to win, but he thrives on it," Dickerson gushes. "A lot of players go 0-for-4, their team wins and there's not really any jubilation. He's the type of guy that he goes 0-for-4, the team wins and he's happy. I remember one time this year we had won six in a row. He's walking off the field going, 'My team! My team! My team is great!' He just enjoys being part of something special, and it [becomes contagious] around him."
Scouting Report
Hitting: Pie. like most 20-21 year olds, has bad plate discipline. He strikes out to much and dosen't walk nearly enough. Even though he has bad plate discipline, Pie has enough power to launch 20-25 homeruns.

Defense: Pie's speed gives him great edge. He always seems to take the best possible route to the ball. He has a accurate cannon for an arm.

Speed: Pie has great speed, enough to make him a 30 SB type of player. But currently he is having trouble stealing bases becasue he is getting thrown out to much.

The Future: With Soriano, Cliff Floyd, And Jacque Jones currently patrolling the OF, it's doubtful he will make the team out of ST. Look for him to be a call up in 2-3 months when somebody gets hurt or dosent produce and force Soriano to move from Center Field to a Corner OF posistion. He is a future All-Star in the making.