It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Diamondbacks Lineup.
C – Miguel Montero
1B – Paul Goldschmidt
2B – Aaron Hill
3B – Mark Reynolds
SS – Stephen Drew
RF – Justin Upton
LF – Luis Gonzalez
CF – Steve Finley
SP – Randy Johnson
SP – Curt Schilling
SP – Brandon Webb
SP – Dan Haren
SP – Josh Collmenter
Closer – Jose Valverde
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland A’s
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

It’s not that Justin Upton had a bad season last year. After all, he hit .273 with 17 HRs and 18 SBs. Those are good numbers, but not exactly what fantasy owners were expecting when they selected him in the early rounds last year.
He saw a regression in average (-0.27), runs (-11), HRs (-9), RBI (-17), and SBs (-2). While the dip was bad news to his owners last year, it’s good news for those looking to employ his services this year.
Some could be nervous that the decline runs in the family as his brother B.J. fell off after his solid 2007 campaign. Some could be bitter that he didn’t meet expectations last year. Some could just think he played over his head in 2009. There is some uncertainty there, but with averages of 21.5 HRs and 19 SBs the past two seasons, he remains an excellent outfielder option. continue reading »

Brandon Webb missed all but four innings of the 2009 season with a shoulder injury. We was a bona fide fantasy ace before succumbing to that injury. Fantasy owners near and far want to know what to make of him in 2010.

He has started doing some light throwing (click here for the azcentral.com article), and is on pace to be ready for the season opener. Arizona will hold him back a bit in spring training to ensure he doesn’t aggravate that prized right shoulder.

If he passes all the tests with flying colors, he’ll begin moving up draft charts, although even the most optimistic fantasy baseball owners likely won’t rate him as anything more than a mid-level #2 fantasy pitcher.

One concern I have is his history of getting off to a fast start. In March and April Webb is a combined 18-2 with a 2.66 ERA. He’s not terrible going forward with a 3.38 ERA, but his record falls to 69-60.

One would think that Webb would be on a pitch count early in the season, which could jeopardize what has historically been his best month. There is a silver lining though. If he gradually eases into the 2010 season, perhaps he’ll be peaking in September, helping you bring home a fantasy title.

I just caution you not to target him too early. There are probably 25-30 safer SP options (click to see my 2010 top 25 starting pitchers). If he has his stuff though, he could easily be a top 15 starting pitcher.

Prediction:  14-8, 3.50 ERA, 1.28 WHIP,  155 Ks

Now an early look at the NL West.

1. Will Chris Young continue to regress?
I’m not sure his average can dip any lower than .212 so I would expect that number to rise. Even if he gets up to his pathetic .235 career average, he’s useless unless he can get the HRs and SBs back. The problem is he didn’t steal a base after June last year. He did have 8 HRs in 108 September/October ABs (13.5 AB/HR). His numbers should be better than last year, but without a guarantee that he’ll get to at least a 20-20 level, I can’t justify taking on his average.

2. Can Troy Tulowitzki follow up his monster year with another one?

Absolutely. While he set the bar high with his .297, 101 Run, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB season, he already had a similar season in 2007. He absolutely punished the ball after the All-Star Break hitting .344 with 52 Runs, 16 HRs, 55 RBIs, and 9 SBs in 259 ABs. If he can get off to a better start, he should easily have his best average to date. He should also have more Runs and RBIs. He hit a fair share of HRs and destroyed his previous SB total. I’m not sure he increases in either category. In fact, I expect him to steal fewer bases in 2010.

3. Will Jorge de la Rosa be a solid fantasy option in 2010?
I have no doubts that he’ll continue to rack up the strikeouts. He has averaged 9.17 K/9 the past two seasons. He was 0-6 through May and went 16-3 the rest of the way. What really impressed me though is how he got his ERA (3.39) & WHIP (1.29) in order after June. You may be able to get him at a value because of the Coors Field stigma placed on pitchers.

4. Will Manny Being Manny mean better numbers this year?

Manny started on fire, got suspended for steroids, and wasn’t nearly the same hitter when he returned. He still managed to hit 19 HRs in 352 ABs (18.5). What suffered the most was his batting average. He hit just .229 in September. He’ll turn 38 in the beginning of the year, and I have a hard time believing he’ll ever be that .320, 35, 120 guy ever again. He’ll still put up good numbers. He’s too good of a hitter not to, but make sure when you draft him, you’re not drafting him on name value.

5. Is Clayton Kershaw ready to become a star?
Kershaw did everything you would want out of a pitcher last year except win. His ERA (.279), WHIP (1.23), strikeouts (185), K/9 ratio (9.74), and BAA (.200) were all very impressive. However he managed to go just 8-8. With numbers like that, the Wins are bound to come. With a little more luck, he could double his win output in 2010.

6. Can Kyle Blanks hit 30 HRs this year for the Padres?
Blanks was impressive at times last year hitting 10 HRs in 148 ABs. While his foot should be healed for the upcoming season, I’m afraid 30 HRs may be too tall an order for the young slugger. Had he got more seasoning last year, it would improve his odds, but I still think he’s a long shot to hit even 25 HRs.

7. Will Adrian Gonzalez get traded?

Doubtful. He’s only due $10.25 million over the next two years. They still need to put butts in the seats so don’t look for Adrian to be gone anytime soon.

8. Will Matt Cain be overpriced in 2010?
Probably. If you’re drafting him on the 2.89 ERA he posted last year, you’re probably looking for trouble. While I think he should post a solid ERA, it will likely be at least a half a run higher in 2010. Even as brilliantly as he pitched last year he managed to win just 14 games. Even Tim Lincecum managed just 15 wins last year. The Giants just don’t have the horses on offense to win a bunch of ball games. What you’ll get is a guy who wins around 13 games, with a 3.30ish ERA, 1.25ish WHIP, and 180 Ks, which likely won’t justify where he’ll be drafted.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Image Courtesy of Icon SMI

As if Randy Johnson needed any more ammunition to support his case for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Well, he got another notch on his belt tonight as he became the 24th pitcher in Major League history to join the 300 Win Club.  Ironically, the last member of the club (Tom Glavine) was released yesterday by the Atlanta Braves.

Just how good was Randy?  Let’s take a look at the numbers.

300-164 Record
.647 Winning Percentage
3.28 ERA
4845 Strikeouts
100 Complete Games
37 Shutouts
Three 20+ Win Seasons
Fourteen 200+ Strikeout Seasons
Six 300+ Strikeout Seasons
4097-1/3 IP
597 Starts
5 Cy Young Awards
10 All-Star Appearances

Hall of Fame Yardsticks

Black Ink Pitching – 96 (7), Average HOFer ≈ 40
Gray Ink Pitching – 277 (16), Average HOFer ≈ 185
Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching – 320 (4), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
Hall of Fame Standards Pitching – 64 (13), Average HOFer ≈ 50

As long as Randy Johnson’s name doesn’t come up in steroid talk, he is a first ballot Hall of Famer.  He is one of the best Lefthanded Pitchers in baseball history.

Here’s the list of 300 Game Winners:

Rank Player (age) Wins Throws
1. Cy Young+  511 R
2. Walter Johnson+  417 R
3. Pete Alexander+  373 R
  Christy Mathewson+  373 R
5. Pud Galvin+  364 R
6. Warren Spahn+  363 L
7. Kid Nichols+  361 R
8. Greg Maddux  355 R
9. Roger Clemens  354 R
10. Tim Keefe+  342 R
11. Steve Carlton+  329 L
12. John Clarkson+  328 R
13. Eddie Plank+  326 L
14. Nolan Ryan+  324 R
  Don Sutton+  324 R
16. Phil Niekro+  318 R
17. Gaylord Perry+  314 R
18. Tom Seaver+  311 R
19. Charley Radbourn+  309 R
20. Mickey Welch+  307 R
21. Tom Glavine (43) 305 L
22. Lefty Grove+  300 L
  Early Wynn+  300 R
24. Randy Johnson (45) 300 L

Congratulations Randy.  Cooperstown awaits.

Gabrielle Dawn Schoeneweis, the wife of Arizona Diamondback Pitcher Scott Schoeneweis, was found dead in their home.  She was apparently found by her 14-year-old daughter.  The cause is unknown as police investigate.  Gabrielle was just 39.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Schoeneweis family.

Face of the Franchise:
Luis Gonzalez
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated/Icon SMI

Manager: Bob Brenly

C – Damian Miller
1B – Mark Grace
2B – Tony Womack
3B – Matt Williams
SS – Jay Bell
OF – Luis Gonzalez
OF – Steve Finley
OF – Danny Bautista
DH – Chad Tracy
Bench: 1B/OF Conor Jackson, 2B Orlando Hudson, SS Stephen Drew, OF Eric Byrnes

SP – Randy Johnson
SP – Curt Schilling
SP – Brandon Webb
SP – Miguel Batista
SP – Brian Anderson
P – Andy Benes
P – Dan Haren
P – Omar Daal
P – Gregg Olson
RP – Byung-Hyun Kim
RP – Matt Mantei
RP – Jose Valverde

That’s the team I came up with. Do you have any changes you’d like to suggest? I’m always open to them.

Past Teams
Red Sox
Blue Jays
White Sox


MLB.com is reporting that Stephen Drew was placed on the 15-Day DL with a strained hamstring.  Drew has already missed five games since injuring his hamstring against the Giants on April 17th.  He went 1 for 8 with a Double an a Walk in three games since the injury.  This was supposed to be a breakout year for Drew, who is hitting just .205 with a HR & 5 RBI.  Last year he hit .291 with 21 HR and 67 RBI.

Augie Ojeda will take over at Shortstop until Drew is ready to return.  He’s hitting .323 with 4 Runs and 2 RBI.  Josh Wilson was called up from Triple-A Reno to take Drew’s roster spot.  Wilson was hitting .260 with 10 RBI in 15 games for Reno. 

Dodgers Diamondbacks
Arizona got more bad news when it was reported that Brandon Webb will be out six more weeks.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio was the talk of the fantasy circles on Opening Day.  The talk was justified after he went 4 for 5 with 4 Runs, a HR, 2 RBI, and 3 SBs. 

There was another leadoff hitter that got off to a good start yesterday that didn’t generate quite the buzz as Bonifacio.  Of course I’m talking about Arizona’s Felipe López.  López went 2 for 4 with a pair of HRs and a walk.  He is owned in 83.4% of ESPN and 61% of Yahoo leagues.  He is particularly useful in Yahoo leagues as he is eligible at 2B, 3B, SS, and OF.  López hit just .234 in 100 games with the Nationals, but caught fire hitting .385 in 43 games with St. Louis.  He has shown the ability to steal a fair share of bases as he averaged 27.7 between 2005 & 2007, including 44 in ’06.  Plus, he smacked 23 HRs with 85 RBI in 2005.  If he’s available in your league, why not take a flier on him.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

Curt Schilling announced his retirement on  his 38 Pitches blog saying  “Turn out the lights the party’s over”.

One of the first thoughts that arises is whether or not he’s Hall of Fame material.  I’ve weighed in on this before, so let me restate my position.

The Numbers
Played 1988-2007  (20 Years)
569 Games
436 Starts (83rd All-time)
3261 Innings (94th All-time)
216 Wins (79th All-time) - 146 Losses
.597 Winning Percentage
3.46 ERA (4.41 League ERA)
1.137 WHIP (44th All-time)
3116 Ks (14th All-time)
83 Complete Games
20 Shutouts
22 Saves
4.38 Strikeout to Walk Ratio (2nd All-time)
127 Adjusted ERA (42nd All-time)

Three 20 Win Seasons
Five 200 K Seasons
Three 300 K Seasons
Four sub-3.00 ERA Seasons
Two sub-1.00 WHIP Seasons

Playoffs:  3 World Series Rings, 19 Starts, 133.3 Innings, 10-2 (.833 Winning %), 2.23 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 120 Ks, 4 Complete Games


1995 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
2001 Babe Ruth Award
2001 Branch Rickey Award
2001 Hutch Award
2001 Roberto Clemente Award
2001 TSN Pitcher of the Year
2001 World Series MVP
2002 TSN Pitcher of the Year
6 All-Star Game Appearances
Cy Young Votes in 4 Seasons (three-time runner-up)
MVP Votes in 4 seasons

Top Ten Finishes

Wins – Five Times (Led league in 2001 & 2004)
Winning % – 6 Times (Led league in 2004)
ERA – 9 Times
WHIP – 11 Times (Led league in 1992 & 2002)
Strikeouts – 9 Times (Led league in 1997 & 1998)
Innings – 7 Times (Led league in 1998 & 2001)
Starts – 5 Times (Led league in 1997, 1998 & 2001)
Complete Games – 11 Times (Led league in 1996, 1998, 2000 & 2001)
Shutouts – 11 Times

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:
Black Ink: Pitching – 42 (33) (Average HOFer ≈ 40)
Gray Ink: Pitching – 205 (34) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
HOF Standards: Pitching – 46.0 (48) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Pitching – 171.0 (33) (Likely HOFer > 100)

I don’t even know why there is a debate.  Seriously.  His postseason heroics alone are enough to put him on the brink of the HOF.  His career numbers do the rest.  He wasn’t just a compiler either.  He put together some fabulous seasons, as evidenced by his Top Ten finishes.  His control for a power pitcher is unrivaled.  His 4.38 Strikeout to Walk Ratio is second only to Tommy Bond (who only had 879 Ks), and ahead of the likes of Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and the list goes on.  He won over 200 Games at nearly a 60% clip.  He has over 3100 Strikeouts.  His ERA is almost a full Run lower than the league average.  He never won the Cy Young, but was the bridesmaid three times.  He may have won 20 games just three times, but Wins aren’t always the best indicator.  By my standards he had outstanding years in 1992, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2004.  Not to mention his postseason dominance.  That is what makes his legacy legendary.  Even before the bloody sock, Curt was known as a big game pitcher.  He was brilliant in the 1993 ALCS helping the Phillies earn a trip to the World Series.  He was even more spectacular in the 2001 Diamondback’s improbable run to the World Series.  He went 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 18 Ks in the NLDS as Arizona beat St. Louis.  He was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 12 Ks as they beat Atlanta.  In the World Series against the heavily favored Yankees, he went 1-0 in 3 Starts with a 1.69 ERA and 26 Ks.  He pitched well in the 2002 NLDS, but was cut down by St. Louis.  Then came the historic 2004 season.  He pitched well in defeating the Angels, but injured his ankle.  He got bombed by the Yankees in his first start before gutting out Game 6 and helping keep the comeback alive.  Then he pitched 6 scoreless Innings as the Red Sox steamrolled the Cardinals to a curse-reversing World Series win.  He won three of his four starts (including another World Series win against Colorado) in the 2007 Red Sox World Series run.  The Hall of Fame looks kindly on postseason heroics.  When you couple it with an outstanding regular season career, I don’t get the debate.  Curt Schiling is a Hall of Famer in my book. 
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