It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Orioles Lineup.
C – Matt Wieters
1B – Chris Davis
2B – Brian Roberts
3B – Manny Machado
SS – Miguel Tejada
RF – Nick Markakis
LF – Melvin Mora
CF – Adam Jones
DH – Rafael Palmeiro
SP – Chris Tillman
SP – Erik Bedard
SP – Wei-Yin Chen
SP – Jeremy Guthrie
SP – Rodrigo Lopez
Closer – Zach Britton (just edges Jim Johnson)
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees

Nick Markakis’ home run total decreased each year since 2007 (23, 20, 18, 12). He has four through sixty games, which puts him on pace for 11. He’s on pace for 68 runs and 51 RBI, which would also be career lows. His run totals have decreased each year since 2008 and his RBI total is on pace to decline for the third straight year.
Markakis is no longer considered an elite fantasy outfielder. Right now, given the aforementioned decline in production and his .238 batting average, he is becoming hard to justify a roster spot. Yet, he is owned in 70 percent of fantasy leagues. When he was averaging a .300-99-20-100-11 line from 2007-2009 it was easy to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now he’s in his second season of mediocre play.
I considered him a candidate to bounce back heading into the year, and things have gotten worse. Is it time to write Nick Markakis off or can he turn his season around?
There is certainly room for batting average improvement. Not only because his .238 is well below the .298 lifetime average he had entering the season, but because his BABIP of .252 is well below his mark in other years. His career low was .314 in his rookie season. Since then it’s been .331, .350, .317, and .331. Baseball has a way of averaging itself out, so as his BABIP returns to form, his average should climb.
He’s also a better second half hitter. His career mark before the All-Star Break is .284 and .305 after. The same goes for his OPS (.781, .859). He has seven more home runs in 470 fewer at bats. His sweet spot is June-August when he has hit .314. For some strange reason he only has five home runs in 134 June games, but August is his top month with 24. Even in his down 2010 season he finished strong hitting .344 with 21 runs, 4 HRs, and 15 RBI in his final 122 ABs.
A return to the pre-2010 level seems like a long shot, but I still think he can help fantasy teams. If he’s available on your waiver wire, he’s worth a look. He’s also worth a trade attempt. You should be able to get him at a discount.

Also check out:

Nick Markakis averaged 99 runs, 20.3 HRs, 100 RBI, and 11.3 SBs while hitting .299 from 2007-2009. He didn’t excel in any one category, outside of the 112 RBI in 2007, but he was a solid contributor across the board.
Then last year happened. The only area in which Markakis looked like himself was his batting average of .297. He scored just 79 runs. He hit just 12 HRs. Those dips were bad, but his 60 RBI was perhaps the worst of the bunch.
Those look more like middle infielder numbers than what an all-round top 20 outfielder should produce. He ranked fourth on the team in RBI, behind Ty Wiggington, Luke Scott, and Adam Jones, all of which had fewer at bats than Markakis. Wiggington and Jones has 48 fewer ABs, while Scott had a whopping 182 fewer. continue reading »


14 April 2010

Today a trio of fantasy notables landed on the DL to go along with Brian Roberts and Aaron Hill, who recently found themselves there. Those notables are Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins and closers Brian Fuentes (Angels) and Mike Gonzalez (Orioles).

Fernando Rodney should keep the spot warm for Fuentes whiel Jim Johnson will hold down the fort for the O’s. Go ahead and grab those guys if they are available.

Replacing J-Roll will be a tall order.  Alex Gonzalez (Blue Jays), Edgar Renteria (Giants), Cliff Pennington (A’s), Juan Uribe (Giants), and Ronny Cedeno (Pirates) are off to solid starts and could soften the blow.

Uribe and Cedeno can also be used at 2B for Roberts or Hill, along with Kelly Johnson (Diamondbacks), Aki Iwamura (Pirates), Casey McGehee (Brewers), Joaquin Arias (Rangers — while Kinsler is out),  Clint Barmes (Rockies), and Scott Sizemore (Tigers).

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Adam Jones had it going on last year. He was hitting .303 with 55 runs, 12 HRs, 47 RBIs, and 6 SBs before the All-Star Break. He started off red hot hitting .344 with 40 runs, 11 HRs, and 36 RBIs in the season’s first two months. Jones struggled in June hitting a dismal .229 with 10 runs, 1 HR, and 8 RBIs, but rebounded with a .270, 15 run, 5 HR, 15 RBI July. He sunk to .211 in August, but managed 18 runs and 11 RBIs. Then Jones shut it down in September with an ankle injury.

Talk about a tale of two seasons. When you look at the aggregate you see a player who improved dramatically in 2009.

2008:  477 ABs, .270, 61 runs, 9 HRs, 57 RBIs, 10 SBs, .711 OPS
2009:  473 ABs, .277, 83 runs, 19 HRs, 70 RBIs, 10 SBs, .792 OPS

He’s still a very young hitter, he’ll turn 25 in August, with plenty of room for growth. He showed a knack for scoring runs even when he struggle with his average. With Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold, Garrett Atkins, Luke Scott, and Miguel Tejada hitting behind him, he should be in line for 100 runs. He showed some pop in that bat, and if he’s able to give the Orioles 500+ ABs, he should continue to improve on the power numbers.

He doesn’t excel in any particular category so I would prefer him as a him as a number three fantasy outfielders, but I would be OK with him as my number two. He should be a top 25 fantasy OF in 2010.

Prediction:  .285, 100 runs, 24 HRs, 82 RBIs, 12 SBs

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar

Here’s an early look at the AL East. Not ready for baseball? Check out Derek Jeter’s hottest girlfriends instead.

1.  Will Matt Wieters become an elite Catcher?
He came with a lot of fanfare and he delivered for the most part. He was at his best in August and September hitting .305 with 5 HRs and 27 RBIs. He struggled against Yankee pitching (.143, 0 HR, 0 RBI), but he chewed up the rest of the AL EAST (.368, 5 HRs, 22 RBIs). He’ll be more comfortable at the plate and with the pitching staff, which should lead to a productive 2010 season.

2.  Will Nick Markakis become a Superstar?
Markakis has been solid for the past three years averaging 99 runs, 45 doubles, 20 HRs, and 100 RBIs while hitting .299. For him to take the next step he’ll have to increase his HR total. At 26, with an emerging Wieters, Adam Jones, and newly acquired Garrett Atkins in the lineup, Markakis can do just that.

3.  Can Jeremy Hermida finally reach his potential?
With Jason Bay moving on to the Mets, Jeremy Hermida has an opportunity to hit in Boston’s vaunted lineup. He’ll have to hold off Mike Cameron or wait for J.D. Drew’s inevitable injury.

His power has been on decline the past few seasons.

2007 – 18 HR in 429 AB (23.8 AB/HR)
2008 – 17 in 502 (29.5 AB/HR)
2009 – 13 in 429 (33.0 AB/HR

His OPS has been .729 and .740 the past two years, which is not characteristic of the Red Sox style. Soon to be 26 though, he could come into age for the Red Sox this year.

The Red Sox are going to move Jacoby Ellsbury to LF and start Cameron in CF, which diminishes Hermida’s value.

4.  Which Big Papi will show up?

David Ortiz entered June with just 1 HR and 18 RBIs in 46 games. He had 27 HRs and 81 RBIs in the remaining 104 games. If Papi, whose age now matches his number, can hit at a high level again, the rest of the Red Sox lineup gets a big lift.

5.  What will the Yankees do in Left Field?
They have already went on record saying Matt Holliday isn’t the expensive answer to the question. There is a chance that Johnny Damon is brought back for another year. Brett Gardner could get the chance. He was decent in the first-half (.282, 36 runs, 18 SBs in 188 ABs). Personally I think he’s better suited as a spot starter/defensive replacement/pinch runner. Reed Johnson, Jerry Hairston, Jr. or even Xavier Nady could emerge as the eventual winners.

6.  Will B.J. Upton bounce back?
After his impressive postseason run, much was expected of B.J. last year. Other than his SB total (42) he was pretty much a disappointment. He only hit above .231 in one month last year. Even his SB production tailed off (31 in his first 81 games, 11 in his last 63). Assuming he is healthier in 2010 I don’t see any reason he can’t bounce back completely to at least his 2008 production. His rough 2009 season should make him a much better value in your upcoming draft.

7.  Was David Price more 2008 or 2009?

Price was electric upon being called up in 2008. He was openly upset about not starting the season in the bigs, and he struggled in the minors. When he finally did get the call, he struggled with a 4.70 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in his first nine starts. Though his strikeout rate dipped from 9.61 K/9 to 5.9 in his last 14 starts, he was a much more effective pitcher. He went 7-4 in those starts with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. His stuff is so electric that I feel the strikeouts will return. He should also be a nice value this coming season.

8.  Is Ben Zobrist for real?
Ben bounced around quite a bit for the Rays last year before injuries settled him in at Second Base. He responded with 27 HRs in 501 ABs (18.6 AB/HR). While it came out of nowhere considering he had 15 HRs in his previous three years, he did hit 12 in 198 ABs in 2008 (16.5 AB/HR). Even if he takes a dip from the 91 runs, 27 HRs, 91 RBIs, 17 SBs he had last year, he’ll still be a high-end Second Basemen. Though with the stability he earned himself, I don’t expect him to take that step back.

9.  Will Vernon Wells get dealt?
The Blue Jays are clearly playing for the future. Though they would love for somebody to take Vernon Wells’ hefty contract off their hands, the likelihood of that happening seems slim.

AL Central Burning Questions
AL West Burning Questions
- NL East Burning Questions
NL Central Burning Questions
NL West Burning Questions

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

MLB Youth Movement

27 May 2009
The Cubs and the Orioles are infusing some young talent.  The Cubs called up Jake Fox, who has absolutely murdered Minor League pitching at Triple-A Iowa.  Through 40 games Fox hit .423 (63 for 149) with 40 Runs, 14 Doubles, 2 Triples, 17 HRs, and 50 RBIs.  His slugging percentage was .886 with a 1.389 OPS.  Fox is a converted Catcher who will use him at OF, 1B, and 3B according to ESPN’s Bruce Levine.
Baltimore will finally give Matt Wieters the call on Friday.  He has been Baltimore’s top prospect the past two years according to Baseball America.  He struggled initially, but is hitting .305 (43 for 141) with 25 Runs, 9 Doubles, 2 Triples, 5 HRs, and 30 RBIs through 39 games.  He raked at Georgia Tech hitting .359 with 35 HRs and 198 RBIs in his three collegiate years.  He had little trouble making the adjustment to the Minor Leagues hitting .345 with 15 HRs and 40 RBIs in 69 games for Advanced Single-A Carolina and .365 with 12 HRs and 51 RBIs in 61 games for Double-A Bowie Baysox.
Face of the Franchise
5340977 Cal Ripken Orioles
Cal Ripken
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

I continue the All-time tour with the Baltimore Orioles.  

Since we’re dealing with over a century and thousands of players I will assume the DH role for both leagues.  I will limit the teams to 25 players.  I’ll carry 13 batters and 12 pitchers for each team.  With baseball season around the corner, what better time to take this journey.  The teams are based on the stats the players produced with the team so Nick Markakis, for example, isn’t there yet for the Orioles.  I may tinker with the lineups slightly to get the best roster possible.

Manager: Earl Weaver

C – Gus Triandos
1B – George Sisler
2B – Davey Johnson
3B – Brooks Robinson
SS – Cal Ripken, Jr.
OF – Ken Singleton
OF – Frank Robinson

OF – Ken Williams
DH – Eddie Murray

Bench: 1B/OF Boog Powell, SS Mark Belanger, 3B Harlond Clift, OF Baby Doll Jacobson

SP – Jim Palmer
SP – Mike Mussina
SP – Mike Cuellar
SP – Dave McNally
P - Urban Shocker

P- Scott McGregor
P – Mike Flanagan
P – Milt Pappas
P – Steve Barber 
P-  Jack Powell
RP – Gregg Olson
RP – Stu Miller

Past Teams
Red Sox

Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

When you talk about the Baltimore Orioles, the conversation of prospects typically starts and stops with Matt Wieters, and rightfully so.  I’m not going to focus on Wieters here, however.  Instead, I am going to spotlight Chris Tillman, one of the players acquired in the Erik Bedard trade last winter.

A second round draft pick back in 2006, Tillman is a hard thrower, as is evidenced by his 154 K’s in 135.2 innings last season at Double A.  In fact, CBS Sportsline said that he was said to be “throwing the hardest of all the Orioles pitchers” back in Spring Training.

If that were not enough, he went 11-4 with a 3.18 ERA last season.  The WHIP does give a little cause for concern.  He gave up 115 hits and walked 65, meaning his WHIP was 1.33.  Granted, that is far from terrible, but it could be tremendously better if he could get his control in check.

He walked a little bit over 4.3 batters per 9 innings, a number that will make it tough to succeed at the major league level.  He pitched at 2 levels of Single A back in ‘07 with the Mariners, and at the level where he pitched the most innings (102.2, he had 30 at the other level), his BB/9 was 4.21 and his ERA was 5.26.

That walk rate certainly is troubling and quickly makes you think of another Orioles pitcher, Daniel Cabrera, who has tremendous talent but never seems capable of consistently throwing strikes.  This is something that the Orioles absolutely have to address as soon as possible if they want him to have a positive impact, not only on their 2009 campaign, but in future seasons as well.

He’ll turn 21 in April, so the idea of him contributing at some point in 2009 is very realistic, especially considering the names that the Orioles have comprising their rotation at this point.  After Jeremy Guthrie, there really are 4 question marks, meaning that anyone could emerge as a candidate to claim one of them.  While I don’t see the Orioles rushing Tillman to the majors, I have no reason to believe that if he gets off to a quick start at Triple A, the Orioles won’t bring him up before the All-Star Break to see exactly what they have.

With the strikeout potential he has, that makes him an intriguing option not only for keeper league owners, but those in yearly leagues as well.  I wouldn’t recommend people in yearly leagues going and grabbing him early, but once he gets recalled he could prove valuable.

How valuable?  Well, that really depends.  Given his problems with his walk rate, it’s obvious that he could be shaky on occasion.  Then again, his BABIP was a very maintainable .315 last season, so if he can find the strike zone more consistently, his WHIP could quickly prove to be a huge asset for him.  I wouldn’t count on that occurring as soon as he gets called up, but more likely a year or two down the line.  The Dodgers young phenom Clayton Kershaw, making his major league debut this season, pitched to a 1.50 WHIP while walking 4.35 batters per 9 innings.

I would expect Kershaw to have a significantly better sophomore season (in fact, I’ll be giving my thoughts on what I expect from Kershaw in an article next week), and Tillman could fall into that same category.  With that said, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab him in deeper formats, but more as a just in case type option.  I wouldn’t plan on playing him every week, every start, especially pitching in the very deep AL East.  But, if he proves he can pitch well, I would like having him in reserve for when the match-up proves favorable.

For more great fantasy info, check out

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

I decided to profile Hall of Famer Joe Kelley, who was enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee in 1971.

Played 1891-1908 (17 Seasons)
1853 Games
7006 At Bats
.317 Batting Average (64th All-time)
.402 On-base % (55th All-time)
1421 Runs
2220 Hits
358 Doubles
194 Triples (9th All-time)
65 HRs
1194 RBI
911 Walks
443 SBs (51st All-time)

Eleven consecutive .300+ Seasons
Six 100+ Run Seasons
Three 30+ Double Seasons
Ten 10+ Triple Seasons
Five 100+ RBI Seasons
Six 30+ Stolen Base Seasons


Top Ten Finishes

Games – Once
Batting Average – 3 Times
On-Base % - 6 Times
Slugging % – 7 Times
OPS - 7 Times
Runs - 3 Times
Hits – Twice
Doubles - 3 Times
Triples - 9 Times
HRs - 5 Times
Total Bases - 4 Times
Extra-Base Hits - 6 Times
RBI – 6 Times
Walks - 5 Times
Hit by Pitch - Twice
Stolen Bases – Twice (Led league in 1896)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:

Black Ink: Batting – 2 (587) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting – 122 (153) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting – 51.8 (67) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting – 94.5 (164) (Likely HOFer > 100)

This one is also close.  If he had 79 more Runs he would have had the 1500 mark that virtually assures you induction.  He did hit for a high average, had a ton of Triples and SBs.  His slugging stats were decent for the era.  He added to his legacy by going 338-321 (.513) as a Player/Manager.  His HOF yardsticks put him right on the brink of Hall of Fame induction.  He’s not a slam dunk by any means, but I see no reason to disagree with the VC here.  Joe Kelley is a Hall of Famer.
BR Bullpen

Past Chronicles
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Earl Averill*
Harold Baines

Dan Bancroft*
Jake Beckley*

Albert Belle
Jim Bottomley*
Pete Browning

Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Roger Connor*
Larry Corcoran

Mike Cuellar
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr*
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Lefty Gomez*
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Chick Hafey*

Billy Herman*
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson*
Tommy John
Bob Johnson
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
George Kelly*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Bill James & Pete Palmer
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Freddie Lindstrom*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize*
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese*
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter*
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Dave Stieb
Mel Stottlemyre
Harry Stovey
Sam Thompson
Alan Trammell
George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Frank Viola
Mickey Welch*
Lou Whitaker
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*
Ross Youngs*

* Signifies actual Hall of Famer

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