As the bidding on Yoenis Cespedes begins in earnest, take a look back at some prior prospects from Cuba who tried to make the major-league leap.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
It's hard to know what to expect from a free agent from Cuba, but as we wait to see what Cespedes will be, we can take a look at how his countrymen fared courtesy of the John Perrotto article reproduced below, which originally ran on February 15, 2007.
Brandon Belt and Andrew Oliver get second shots at launching their MLB careers, Jordan Lyles arrives ahead of schedule, and Chris Stewart and Brandon Crawford become the latest Giants offensive filler.
Injuries will keep some closers from starting the season with their clubs, but Mike is here to tell you about their replacements.
Just hours after this article goes live, the first pitch of the 2011 season will be thrown by either by CC Sabathia or Livan Hernandez. It’s Opening Day! Or, as I like to think of it, “the equivalent of Christmas plus your birthday multiplied by ten Super Bowls”–not to overstate it, of course. It really ought to be a national holiday, no?
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Mike Petriello graduates two success stories from the Value Picks list and checks out two freely-available talents to help your team.
Smell You Later: What with it being graduation season and all, we're going to start with those departing the Value Picks list. So say goodbye to Alfredo Simon and Jose Contreras, as they've continued to gain notoriety in the fantasy world and can no longer be considered 'hidden gems'. When Simon joined this list on May 6, he'd pitched in just four games and was owned in less than 10% of ESPN leagues. Since then, he's racked up three more saves plus a win in six games. He had one terrible outing in between, accounting for some inflated stats, but it's also the only game of the ten he's entered in which he's allowed an earned run. Simon's now owned in nearly 40% of ESPN leagues, so by this point you've likely already made your decision on him.
The story is much the same for Contreras, who's been picked up in an astounding 46.7% of leagues in the last week alone. He joined the list the same week as Simon, and and at the time was available in over 99% of leagues. Since then, all he's done is rip off five consecutive scoreless outings, allowing just two hits. With Brad Lidge's health still in question, Contreras will get his chances, though you certainly already know that by now.
Mike Petriello looks at the surprising rebirth of Jose Contreras and two situations in turmoil in Chicago and Colorado.
Welcome to the Jungle: There's an interesting situation brewing in Chicago, since incumbent closer Bobby Jenks is allowing 13.8 hits per nine, a large part of why his WHIP is north of two. His tenuous hold on the job seemed to be loosening not only because he allowed four runs without getting an out against Toronto over the weekend, but because Ozzie Guillendidn't hesitate to say he'd be looking for other options. Shocking, I know. Ozzie went so far as to say that he'd now be choosing his closer based "on matchups", and then went right back out and allowed Jenks to save the next game against Minnesota.
Still, Jenks getting that save doesn't close the book on the situation. Matt Thornton's been one of the better relievers in the American League for a few years now, and he's been absolutely murder on fellow lefties this year with an 18/0 K/BB ratio. Going back to that game against the Twins, Thornton was brought into the game to protect a three-run lead in the 8th inning with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, both lefties in the heart of the lineup, leading off the inning. Thornton allowed a single to Mauer, but got through the inning unscathed otherwise. When Jenks came in, the 7-8-9 in the lineup (Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Nick Punto) were scheduled to hit. Jenks managed to get through it, but not before allowing a double to pinch-hitter Jim Thome and a wild pitch in the process. So while we can argue that Jenks got the save there, I think we all can tell where that game was really won.