Author Archive

Don’t Grab Billy Hamilton or: Why Not Every Injury Means A Top Prospect Is Coming Up

The glut of Spring Training injuries is, by definition, behind us, which means in-season injuries are the order of the day. Opening Night came and went without anything notable happening, as did the first slate of games on Monday, but by dinner time 2013’s first serious injury had occurred.

The exact extent of Ryan Ludwick’s dislocated shoulder is still unknown and will be until the results of an MRI are read, which won’t happen until the swelling goes down. Whether Ludwick will miss 2-3 weeks the way Jason Michaels did in 2011 or 3-4 months the way Jacoby Ellsbury did last season depends largely on how much damage was done to the labrum and surrounding connective tissue when the ball moved away from the socket as well as whether surgery is required to fix it. It is too early to say for certain, but if I had to guess, I wouldn’t expect Ludwick back this month. Given Ludwick’s position, the likelihood of an extended absence, and the position of the team’s top prospect – one Billy Hamilton – everyone should make a major free agent bid for Hamilton, right? Read the rest of this entry »

From Busch to Miller, Kyle Lohse Finds a New Home

Given his initial contract demands, three years at about $15 million per year, and what he signed for, three years at $11 million per year, it’s hard to argue that Kyle Lohse was one of the offseason winners. That said, the initial responses to the deal seem to point to the idea that even if Lohse lost, the Brewers didn’t exactly win by signing him. The money isn’t likely to be an issue with the deal – Lohse only needs to be worth about two wins a season to justify the cost – but the loss of a draft pick to a division rival is an abstract cost for which Lohse won’t be able to directly answer.

But the money is spent, Lohse is a Brewer, and the question at this point is whether or not he’ll be able to provide the team with value above and beyond the two wins necessary to justify his contract. Read the rest of this entry »

Blue Jays Rotation: Depth Chart Discussion

Last season was supposed to be better for the Blue Jays than it was. They were absolutely annihilated by injuries in both the lineup and the pitching staff, but while there were some bright spots offensively, the pitching was simply dire. As a staff, the Jays racked up the third lowest WAR total in baseball at 7.6. Remove Brandon Morrow’s decent 2.4 WAR season and the rest of the pitchers muster just 5.2 WAR.

The good news is that this year’s rotation looks virtually nothing like last year’s patchwork ensemble. New acquisitions R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson combined for nearly a win more last season than the entire Jays staff and while he’s not as impressive as the other two might be, Mark Buehrle would have been the Jays second best starter behind Morrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Washington Nationals Rotation: Depth Chart Discussions

Like El Guapo with his many piñatas, the Nationals certainly do not want for starting pitching. Given how good the top of their rotation looks to be, it would be tempting to call them top-heavy, but that does a serious disservice to Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler, who would be much higher ranked in a rotation that didn’t boast arguably the best pair in baseball with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. Whether this rotation challenges the Reds and others for the title of best in baseball may depend on Dan Haren’s ability to recover from a disastrous 2012 season. Read the rest of this entry »

Reds Rotation: Depth Chart Discussion

It’s so tempting when discussing the Reds rotation to gloss over the front end in favor of Aroldis Chapman. He’s definitely the dominant storyline with this team, but whether he becomes a dominant starter is far less clear. Thankfully for the Reds, they aren’t counting on him to lead the rotation, just to fall in behind Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, who are underrated as a top-of-the-rotation pair. There are a few pairs I like better – Clayton Kershaw/ Zack Greinke and Stephen Strasburg/Gio Gonzalez chiefly among them – but the Reds are hardly wanting for quality with those two.

Projected Rotation

Johnny Cueto
Mat Latos
Aroldis Chapman
Homer Bailey
Bronson Arroyo

Waiting in the Wings

Mike Leake
Tony Cingrani
Armando Galarraga Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago White Sox Bullpen: Depth Chart Discussion

Much about the White Sox bullpen is more stable than it has been in years. They have a closer in place, they have a set of reliable set-up men, and they have respectable depth in the minors should they need it. However, with six viable starters for five slots, the Sox also have the option of moving Hector Santiago or Jose Quintana into the bullpen for this season.

Both will join the White Sox rotation soon enough, but if Santiago is the odd man out, he’ll likely stay with the major league club in a set-up role. This is unlikely to affect either of the Matts – Thorton and Lindstrom – but it could move Nate Jones from his set-up job back down to lower leverage middle relief.

The White Sox bullpen was right about league average last season, but with another year of experience for players like Addison Reed and the addition of Lindstrom, there’s a very real possibility that they’ll be a top-10 bullpen this season. Read the rest of this entry »

Cubs Rotation: Depth Chart Discussion

Projected Rotation

Matt Garza
Jeff Samardzija
Edwin Jackson
Scott Baker
Scott Feldman

Waiting in the Wings

Travis Wood
Arodys Vizcaino
Casey Coleman
Michael Bowden

Rebuilds happen. Eras end, the great players leave or retire, and the team has to move on. The goal of any front office is to prolong periods of dominance as long as possible and to shorten the inevitable rebuilding phase. The Cubs haven’t been to the playoffs since Barack Obama won his first presidential election and haven’t won a playoff game in nearly a decade, so it seems fair to say that the Cubs are in that rebuilding phase. The question now is how much longer they’ll be there. Read the rest of this entry »

SF Giants Rotation: Depth Chart Discussions

An extremely parsimonious rotation that turns winnable games over to a solid bullpen has been the hallmark of a Giants franchise that seemed to move from strength to strength without much of a hitch. But the status quo is rarely there for very long in baseball and things are changing by the bay. Do the Giants still have the horses in their rotation to make up for a lineup that won’t win many shootouts?

Projected Rotation

Matt Cain
Madison Bumgarner
Tim Lincecum
Ryan Vogelsong
Barry Zito

Waiting in the Wings

Eric Surkamp
Boof Bonser
Chris Heston Read the rest of this entry »

COL Rockies Rotation: Depth Chart Discussions

In the coming weeks, we’ll be covering each team’s potential depth charts in an effort to shine a spotlight on the interesting playing time battles that will be waged this spring. Obviously none of these depth charts are set in stone — rather they should function to focus your attention in the right places to find cheap fantasy value.

Projected Rotation:

Jorge de la Rosa
Jhoulys Chacin
Juan Nicasio
Jeff Francis
Drew Pomeranz

Waiting in the Wings:

Christian Friedrich
Tyler Chatwood
Chris Volstad

No matter what the venue is, pitchin’ ain’t easy. The humidor has helped, but pitching well in Coors Field remains to baseball what invading Russia in winter is to infantries: difficult and bordering on impossible. Rockies starting pitchers have managed to keep their collective ERA under 4.50 just twice since 2000 and their home ERA over the same span is a rather inflated 5.02. On paper, the Rockies appear to have a very similar rotation to last year’s less-than-august crew. Their starters combined for 5.1 WAR last year or 0.4 WAR less than Clayton Kershaw had on his own, which would seem to portend more rough sailing for the Rockies in 2013.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Minor, James McDonald, and Tricks of the Mind

In the two drafts the Rotographs staff has done so far this winter, James McDonald hasn’t exactly been a hot commodity. In the snake draft, he was skipped entirely and he hardly fared better in the auction, where he went for just a dollar. Mike Minor, on the other hand, came off the board in the 15th round in the snake and was one of the intriguing $9 pitchers from the auction. Simply put, were a majority of drafts to happen in this week, Minor would be rostered in pretty much every applicable league while McDonald would probably enter the season as a waiver wire option.

Looking solely at the duo’s final numbers, that wide of a split seems odd. Minor looks the better of the two in this light, but the difference looks like it should be measured in rounds or dollars not drafted or not. Take a look: Read the rest of this entry »