A comparison of Jason's Tout Wars AL and LABR AL teams
How does one conduct an auction after tipping their hand just three weeks prior? That was the main challenge I was facing in heading up to New York City for my sixth run at a Tout Wars title this past weekend. After all, just three weeks ago, I executed a plan for a very similar LABR AL league in Arizona and explained why I did what I did. It is bad enough that the room bids up every Rays player on me, but to then know the other guys that I favor put me at a double disadvantage this weekend.
Which men of misery prevented their teams from escaping the murky waters of suckitude?
My semiannual Replacement-Level Killers series spotlights the worst holes in contenders' lineups, as well as the possible remedies they might take to avoid letting such subpar production destroy their post-season chances the next time around. I make no claims for this companion series being so noble in purpose. Because bad baseball so often makes for good copy, it's more fun to hunt the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel to find the positions where players' contributions could be considered the worst in the majors. What follows is an "all-star" team of players who have produced tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just a soft breeze running through their team's bank account. Once again, I present the Vortices of Suck.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Matt Holliday got through spring training unscathed, unlike so many others, but after just one game he developed accute appendicitis and underwent an emergency appendectomy. Appendicitis is not necessarily rare—coincidentally, Tim Stauffer, the starter Holliday faced in his first game of the season, dealt with it last year—but it has not been explained well in comparison to some other injuries and conditions. The appendix itself is a small closed-end tube located off of the large intestine. It is finger-shaped and unnecessary for normal digestive function, and it often extends out of the abdominal cavity into the pelvic cavity. The wall of the appendix does contain lymphatic tissue that helps the immune system produce antibodies to fight off infections, but this function can be replicated by other tissues in the lymphatic system following appendix removal.
The last of a six-part series looking at who might wind up before an arbitration panel in February.
The flurry of activity that is the Winter Meetings won’t begin for another week, but this week has a noteworthy event as well. Thursday is the deadline for clubs to offer 2011 contracts to unsigned players on their rosters. Last offseason, nearly 40 players joined the free-agent market at the non-tender deadline, and a few proved to be cost-effective contributors in 2010. Among those non-tenders who rebounded with solid performances were John Buck, Jack Cust, Matt Capps, and Kelly Johnson. So let’s check the arbitration outlook for 2011 for clubs in the American League East, the final installment in a six-part series spotlighting each of the divisions in the major leagues.
The Orioles first baseman talks about his call-up and hitting an RBI single in his first major-league at-bat.
Rhyne Hughes lived a dream at Fenway Park on Saturday. The 26-year-old Orioles first baseman made his big-league debut one day after being called up from Triple-A Norfolk, and while he fell just short of producing a fairy-tale script—he saved that for Sunday—he did more than simply put his name in the record books. A one-time Rays farmhand who came to Baltimore last summer in the trade that sent Gregg Zaun to Tampa Bay, Hughes singled off of the Red Sox's John Lackey in his first two at-bats, the first driving home a run. His fifth and final at-bat of the contest was no less memorable, as the left-handed slugger faced Jonathan Papelbon with men on base and the game on the line. Hughes talked about his memorable introduction to the big leagues prior to Sunday afternoon’s game.
Will the Yankees put both Joba and Phil in the bullpen?; what will the Red Sox do with Mike Lowell?; and other spring questions.
Outright job battles in spring training might not seem quite so common or epic these days, but a number of interesting fights loom as camps open. Several of them figure to be zero-sum contests, where it's not just a question of who gets the slightly larger share of the playing time, but who gets the job outright. Since big elements here are the organization's valuation of the player's present and future as well as how much they've invested in employing him, with camp performance playing an inevitable if sometimes overstated part, some of these battles are less obvious than others. While I usually end up talking a bit too much about benches and bullpens and spare parts on the transactions beat, here are the job fights I know I'll find interesting in the weeks to come, starting with the AL East:
A Butler's doing it and in for a Pence, but a Grizzly future for Tim Lincecum?
Sometimes, a prospect is just so good that he takes the decision away from the team. The Royals have to make room for Butler because not doing so becomes the elephant in the room. If you're playing Emil Brown (.186/.237/.229) and Ryan Shealy (.113/.186/.208, and to the DL) and Mike Sweeney (.263/.341/.368, and to the bank) while keeping the second-best hitter in your organization at Triple-A, it becomes difficult to argue that you're trying to win. The Royals wanted to be taken seriously-as evidenced by the $55 million commitment to Gil Meche-not calling up Butler is incongruous.
Kevin moves to the starboard side and looks at the top 20 right-handed prospects currently in the minors.
With nearly one-third of all rosters consisting of
right-handed pitchers, I decided to take this list up to 20. As always, to be
eligible for the rankings, one must be in the minor leagues currently, so a guy
like Matt Garza is not eligible.