BP.com's original column launched in 1996, TA has been where Christina Kahrl ponders the implications of recent roster moves, their impact on managerial tactics or how they reflect organizational behavior. Plus a few too many references to things that have nothing to do with baseball.
Placed RHP Juan Gutierrez on the 15-day DL (shoulder inflamation); activated OF-LRyan Church. [8/3]
Optioned INF-S Tony Abreu to Reno (Triple-A); recalled RHP Rafael Rodriguez from Reno. [8/4]
Activated RHP Juan Gutierrez from the 15-day DL; optioned RHP Rafael Rodriguez to Reno. [8/18]
Activated 2B/OF-S Eric Young Jr. from the 15-day DL, and optioned him to Colorado Springs (Triple-A). [8/2]
Activated 1B-LTodd Helton from the 15-day DL; optioned MI-S Jonathan Herrera to Colorado Springs; claimed 3B-RWes Hodges off waivers from the Indians, and optioned him to Colorado Springs. [8/3]
Placed RHP Aaron Cook on the 15-day DL (sprained big toe), retroactive to 8/4; recalled INF-RChris Nelson from Colorado Springs. [8/5]
Optioned INF-R Chris Nelson to Colorado Springs; recalled RHP Esmil Rogers from Colorado Springs. [8/8]
Placed LHP Jeff Francis on the 15-day DL (shoulder ), retroactive to 8/12; recalled 2B/OF-S Eric Young Jr. from Colorado Springs. [8/14]
Placed RHP Taylor Buchholz on the 15-day DL (lower back), retroactive to 8/14; recalled RHP Jhoulys Chacin from Colorado Springs. [8/17]
Released 1B/RF-LBrad Hawpe; purchased the contract of LHP Matt Reynolds from Colorado Springs. [8/19]
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In the last of his preseason "Hot Spots," Michael Street looks at the underappreciated 1B Billy Butler, the increasing flexibility of DH Hideki Matsui, and how Scott Rolen and Juan Francisco fit in to Cincinnati's 3B picture.
For this final preseason Hot Spots column, I’m focusing on underdrafted players, anticipating our shift to targeting undervalued players during the regular season. There’s no better place to start than Kansas City, whose offense is projected by BP to score 741 runs, fourth-worst in the AL, making fantasy owners overlook Royals players.
One who doesn’t deserve such a snub is Billy Butler, whose 32.3 VORP in 2009 was second-best on the team. He’ll need to reach his 80thPECOTA percentile to beat that VORP in 2010, but even his 50th percentile has fantasy value. Though he isn’t a slugger, Butler’s 14% strikeout rate and 8% walk rate from 2007-9 show his strong BA contributions. If he can recapture the patience he exhibited in 2008, when he had a career-best 12.9% K rate, Butler could hit .300 again in 2010; his 60th percentile would get him there, while also cresting .500 SLG.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
No Bowdens, Bumgarners, or Flowers a-blooming, not even the sound of Mike Stanton's bat booming.
The fact that the Sox shipped out the other Ramon Ramirez (cue Scooby-Doo, it's "Ram-Ruh!?") shouldn't surprise, and like Bates, the organizational soldier, he's among the likelies as far as who gets bumped from the 40-man by any subsequent decisions to add veteran relievers Joe Nelson and/or Brian Shouse. (And perhaps Alan Embree later still.) But rain falls on the prospect-y as well as those less so, as Bowden's fate and a third return to Pawtucket reflects. In any one of a number of second-division camps, Bowden would be vying for a rotation slot after spending most of the last three years at Double-A or higher. Considering that he's only 23 years old and that he's got a low-90s fastball and a good changeup, it's not like he's the next David Pauley. The challenge is to see if he tightens up his breaking stuff to the point that he becomes a better prospect, or if, failing that, he has to eventually head to the pen, where he could still be an asset. Whether he succeeds or fails, his real problem as far as making it back to The Show and sticking around is the organization he has to call daddy. The Red Sox have little space for the middling or not-quite-ready to help them in their quest for a playoff slot, with six solid starters already available to staff the big-league rotation, plus multi-year commitments to five of them (excepting free agent-to-be Josh Beckett), and with Junichi Tazawa already apparently hop-skotching past him on the organizational depth chart. Bowden's best bet is to knock the socks off people's paws as a PawSock, and see if that makes him an in-season fill-in or a Pittsburgh Pirate by August.
A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.