Friday, July 18, 2003



Here comes Harden.
Oakland phenom minor-leaguer, Rich Harden is making his way to the big show. While everyone knows the big 3 will come to play, the 4th and 5th spots of the Oakland rotation has been without success. Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, & John Halama have combined for a 4.71 ERA in 210 innings working out of those final two spots. Meanwhile, Harden has done the following in AA & AAA:

IP W-L BB K ERA WHIP
AA 13.0 2-0 0 17 0.00 0.00
AAA 88.2 9-4 35 91 3.15 1.21
-----
Total 101.2 11-4 35 108 2.74 1.05

The 13.0 AA innings were two perfect outings against the Round Rock Express. Along with his fastball, he can throw a changeup, splitter and slider with their effectiveness following that order. Like the 2 of Big 3, Hudson and Zito, Harden gets to debut deep in the rotation in the middle of season of a pennant race. They definitely didn't disappoint in their callups:

IP W-L BB K ERA WHIP
Zito (00) 92.2 7-4 45 78 2.72 1.18
Hudson (99) 136.1 11-2 62 132 3.24 1.34

Harden is scheduled to start Monday, July 21st in Kansas City against the surprise Royals. The callup of Harden now means that someone else will take over the Prospect Watch featured here on Rich or Sporer, but fear not, I'm so enamored with this young righty that a Harden Watch will be tracking his big league performance. If Harden fulfills his potential immediately and goes "Zito" on the league in the 2nd half, then I like Oakland to dethrone Seattle at the top of the AL West and pull off one of their patented 2nd half runs with 47-52 wins against 16-21 losses.


Griffey done for the year.
In the least surprising story of the year, Cincinnati malcontent, Ken Griffey Jr., is DL-bound... AGAIN! The former superstar and 11-time All Star ruptured a tendon in his right ankle while legging out a double on July 17. He'll have surgery today that will end his season. It's hard to find anyone that has a harder and further fall from grace than Junior.

Once thought by many to be the greatest player in the game, Junior was involved in the 60-home run races of '97 and '98, making great diving plays in center and having his Upper Deck Rookie card reach over $100 in value. As soon as he left Seattle after the 1999, 162 game seasons became a thing of the past for Junior. The 145 games he played in 2000 is the most he's played since the move:


G HR RBI OPS

2000 145 40 118 .943
2001 111 22 65 .898
2002 70 8 23 .784
2003 52 13 26 .935

He went from Poster-Boy to Bitter-Boy as his fragility has been well-chronicled by the media since the move. Gone are the seasons of 1.000+ OPS totals, of which he had 4, gone are the seasons of the double-digit stolen bases totals, of which he had 10 and since his last one has 10 total swipes spanning four years. After seven of eight seasons with 40+ home runs, including 56 in two straight (97 & 98), Griffey has just 43 since 2001.

Even more unfortunate is signs of the old Junior were starting to shine through this year as he entered the break homering in 5 straight games. Of course, I think that that was the surest sign that something bad was going to happen to Junior. The only explanation for what has happened to him is that he had a contract with the Devil from 1989 to 2000 and instead of retiring, he tried to go against the Devil.

So where does he go from here? Another partial season in the books and more rehab ahead. During 1997, almost everyone would've believed that Junior was the odds-on favorite to dethrone Aaron and Ruth atop the home run records, now he can't top Cincinnati's home run charts. At 33, I've got to imagine that retirements thought are lingering. With this injury, Junior will now draw unfair comparisons to basketball player, Grant Hill in terms of unfulfilled potential. Over the past four years, 2003 included, Junior will have played just 58% of the possible 648 games in Cincinnati while Hill will have played just 14% of the possible 328 games since his sign-&-trade to Orlando. Worse yet, the Reds lost the game to the Houston Astros 5-4 in Cincinnati.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Bobby Kielty moved to Toronto...
Instead of commenting on this trade at length, I'm going to recommend that you view Aaron Gleeman's & Twins Geek's opinions on the matter. I said yesterday that I thought that moving Kielty for Stewart was quite the head-scratcher and that's my piece. These two guys cover it more in depth and being that their Twins fans, their view allows you to see just how silly this move was.

I will say this about the trade, at least it gave us diehard baseballers something to discuss to during the deadest of dead days in baseball. No games, no home run derby, no celebrity/old-timer softball games. So Minnesota GM Terry Ryan decided to take the limelight all to himself and make this move. I guess he's thinking any attention is good attention. Hmm...

I'd like to welcome Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT to my Blog links as we were both given a plug by Aaron yesterday. Rich's latest confirms what many believe: Todd Helton takes tremendous advantage of Coors Field.


Here and There...
As mentioned, it's a super-slow day in baseball, so I'm going to go elsewhere with a few things... I've been eagerly awaiting Bad Boys II and now it's just one day away. I suspect it'll finish #1 easily this weekend and I know I'll see it AT LEAST once... If you are allowed to listen to internet radio at work or home, I'd definitely recommend listening to Tony Kornheiser on ESPN Radio.com from 9:00am to 12:00pm Central. A great show. A bit heavy on the entertainment news, but good guests and hilarious dialouge... I started to tune into the Carson Daly Roast on MTV, but when I realized he wasn't actually being roasted in an oven, I quickly tuned off... EA Sports' NCAA Football 2004 is to be released nationwide today. Some places had it on Monday night, others on Tuesday and even some more yesterday, but today was the official release date...

Wednesday, July 16, 2003



Garret Anderson feasts during the Break
After winning the Home Run Derby 9-8 against Albert Pujols on Monday, Garret Anderson gave an encore presentation Tuesday night by going 3-for-4 with a 2-run HR en route to taking home the game's MVP award. While I thought it should've gone to late-inning hero Hank Blalock, the Anderson choice isn't too bad. However, after his Derby Championship & ASG MVP, a lot of sports pundits were going off about how Anderson should now get his credit for being one of the most underrated American League power Outfielders. But is he really? How does he compare to top AL OFs like Manny Ramirez, Magglio Ordonez and Bernie Williams over the past three seasons?


2002: HR RBI OPS AVG

Ramirez 33 107 1.097 .349
Ordonez 38 135 .978 .320
Anderson 29 123 .942 .316
Williams 19 102 .908 .333



2001: HR RBI OPS AVG

Ramirez 41 125 1.014 .306
Williams 26 94 .917 .307
Ordonez 31 113 .915 .305
Anderson 28 123 .792 .289



2000: HR RBI OPS AVG

Ramirez 38 122 1.154 .351
Williams 30 121 .957 .307
Ordonez 32 126 .917 .315
Anderson 35 117 .826 .286


Hmm, not very well. Maybe Anderson isn't a household name because he doesn't really deserve to be. He's a good player, not great and certainly not terrible, but a good player. The lowest average all three years, the lowest OPS for two of the three years, third out of four in home runs two years and second once. Even Ordonez, who is better than Anderson, has yet to become a truly household name despite many, myself included, thinking he should be already. I'd say that Anderson is closer to New York Mets OF, Cliff Floyd:


2002-2000: HR RBI OPS AVG

02 Anderson 29 123 .942 .316
01 Anderson 28 123 .792 .289
00 Anderson 35 117 .826 .286



2002-2000: HR RBI OPS AVG

02 Floyd 28 79 .921 .288
01 Floyd 31 103 .968 .317
00 Floyd 22 91 .907 .300


The RBIs aren't there, but that's more of a team statistic and often out of the players control. Furthermore, when he does get the opportunity, Floyd comes through as he hit .298 with runners in scoring position from 2000-2002. Other than that, the stats between the two are very similar.

Anderson was a deserving All-Star and had one heck of a break, but the next time someone tries to plead their case about how underrated he is in terms of power Outfielders in the league, let them know that he's really not and instead of comparing him to the Ramirez's and Ordonez's of the world, match his stats with the Floyd's and Ibanez's of the league.


Rumors update...
As mentioned earlier this week, from now until July 31st, rumors updates courtesy of Lee Sinins' E-mail Reports will be posted and analyzed. Without further ado, today's update:

According to the Beaver County Times, the Astros are interested in Pirates P Jeff Suppan, while the Boston Herald reports the Redsox are interested in him.

My Thoughts: With the inconsistency of Roy Oswalt (injuries), Wade Miller, and Tim Redding, Suppan would be a helpful addition to a rotation that is susceptible to getting lit up. The Red Sox appear to be going after every SP available and rightfully so. Like the others, Suppan is serious upgrade over those filling the holes after Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe.

According to NY Newsday, the Redsox and Cardinals are interested in Mets SP Steve Trachsel. According to Trachsel's agent, the team says he won't be traded.

My Thoughts: Wait a minute, the Sox want a pitcher? Honestly, I'm not sure that this is the one though. Aside from his one-hitter, he hasn't been very good including his last outing in which he went 1 2/3 innings, put 10 men on and gave up 7 runs. Boston should hope that Trachsel's agent is right. Stick with chasing Suppan, Theo.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the Braves, Orioles and Devil Rays could be working on a 3 way deal that would send Devil Rays P Joe Kennedy to the Orioles.

My Thoughts: I would assume that this would send Sidney Ponson to Atlanta and prospects to the D-Rays from both clubs.

According to reports from both Minnesota and Toronto, the Twins interest in BlueJays LF Shannon Stewart is heating up, with the BlueJays wanting OF Bobby Kielty.

My Thoughts: This is a head-scratcher here. I don't see much difference between the two players especially since Stewart doesn't steal any more and has actually been caught more than he's stole (1-of-3). Kielty's got a .252AVG, .370OBP, & .420SLG to Stewart's .294/.347/.449. Thus, I'm not sure why the Twinkies would really be chasing Stewart so much.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003



The 2nd Half Heroes.
The All-Star Break also is a big trading time for fantasy leaguers and everyone seems to be looking for those few guys that really turn it on in the 2nd half on a regular basis. A couple of guys that are known for their strong second halves are starting pitcher Cory Lidle and power hitter Shawn Green, but who are some of the others that turn it up for 5x5 Rotissere Leagues according to Budman's Valuations after the Mid-Summer Classic? Well let's look at the last two years:

2002 Hitters

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
Guerrero, Vladimir MON 81 308 105 21 56 58 23 11 .341
Rodriguez, Alex TEX 82 319 95 33 77 62 4 1 .298
Ramirez, Manny BOS 82 304 106 24 70 57 0 0 .349
Bonds, Barry SF 68 197 78 21 60 55 6 1 .396
Ordonez, Magglio CWS 75 292 95 25 75 59 1 1 .325
Pujols, Albert STL 80 304 104 18 73 61 1 3 .342
Tejada, Miguel OAK 81 331 105 19 72 54 5 1 .317
Thome, Jim CLE 67 218 72 28 61 58 1 0 .330
Soriano, Alfonso NYY 79 353 98 20 54 68 18 7 .278
Williams, Bernie NYY 76 310 112 9 62 46 5 1 .361
Beltran, Carlos KC 84 335 94 17 59 61 17 4 .281
Kent, Jeff SF 77 316 98 24 56 56 2 0 .310
Bagwell, Jeff HOU 81 290 94 19 58 51 4 1 .324
Ibanez, Raul KC 79 315 96 18 67 46 4 2 .305
Abreu, Bob PHI 80 308 93 14 44 50 17 8 .302
Palmeiro, Rafael TEX 82 286 81 26 60 58 2 0 .283
Boone, Bret SEA 78 307 99 13 57 43 6 1 .322
Jones, Chipper ATL 77 253 85 17 49 42 3 1 .336
Giambi, Jason NYY 75 266 83 20 58 67 1 0 .312
Rolen, Scott STL 80 298 85 20 62 52 5 3 .285
Renteria, Edgar STL 78 283 93 8 50 46 12 3 .329
Burks, Ellis CLE 68 260 86 18 50 54 1 1 .331
Berkman, Lance HOU 80 292 88 17 60 58 4 2 .301
Boone, Aaron CIN 82 315 81 15 48 52 21 3 .257
Rodriguez, Ivan TEX 75 277 92 16 45 53 3 4 .332


No huge suprises really. Raul Ibanez of the KC Royals is a bit of surprise, but even he is becoming more and more familiar to the common fan. A second half like last year's out of Vladimir Guerrero would be a very pleasant surprise for those fantasy owners that have dealt with injury in the first half of the season. After looking at 2001's top 25 second halfers, we can see who does it on a consistent basis:

2001 Hitters

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
Sosa, Sammy CHC 83 299 104 38 85 84 0 1 .348
Bonds, Barry SF 80 243 85 34 66 66 7 2 .350
Rodriguez, Alex TEX 83 324 102 29 68 63 14 1 .315
Beltran, Carlos KC 80 314 109 13 63 60 21 1 .347
Green, Shawn LA 81 313 94 29 63 65 11 2 .300
Helton, Todd COL 79 296 103 24 65 55 4 1 .348
Suzuki, Ichiro SEA 80 337 117 5 33 57 29 8 .347
Guerrero, Vladimir MON 80 301 89 16 52 50 27 8 .296
Bagwell, Jeff HOU 83 308 93 20 76 66 7 2 .302
Chavez, Eric OAK 77 274 90 21 71 50 6 1 .328
Thome, Jim CLE 83 284 87 28 75 56 0 1 .306
Alomar, Roberto CLE 80 292 94 12 53 61 18 2 .322
Cruz, Jose Jr TOR 80 331 90 25 53 58 17 5 .272
Sheffield, Gary LA 80 297 97 20 60 57 6 3 .327
Giambi, Jason OAK 76 257 90 19 60 63 2 0 .350
Koskie, Corey MIN 80 294 86 18 59 56 16 5 .293
Boone, Bret SEA 80 315 105 17 63 60 3 5 .333
Aurilia, Rich SF 80 335 100 25 64 64 1 1 .299
Pierre, Juan COL 80 337 113 1 33 60 26 10 .335
Jeter, Derek NYY 76 306 102 15 36 60 12 1 .333
Ordonez, Magglio CWS 84 313 97 13 60 50 14 5 .310
Jones, Chipper ATL 80 292 103 17 43 55 4 8 .353
Sexson, Richie MLW 84 313 86 28 72 50 2 2 .275
Ramirez, Aramis PIT 82 315 99 20 63 49 3 3 .314
Abreu, Bob PHI 82 301 89 15 52 54 16 9 .296


Those appearing on the both top 25's: Guerrero, Bonds, A.Rodriguez, Beltran, Ordonez, Thome, Abreu, B.Boone, C.Jones, & Giambi. Guerrero has 50 stolen bases in the past 2 second halves and Rodriguez has 62 home runs. The impressive thing about these lists is that most of these guys have already had great 1st halves. How did those 15 in the 2002 list that don't appear on the 2001 Top 25 do in 2001's second half? Let's look (sorted by Avg):?

The Other 15 in 2001

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
Rodriguez, Ivan TEX 49 185 62 9 24 29 4 3 .335
Boone, Aaron CIN 51 186 58 8 35 31 3 1 .312
Pujols, Albert STL 82 302 95 16 64 61 1 1 .315
Berkman, Lance HOU 80 295 91 12 56 48 3 5 .308
Rolen, Scott PHI 74 270 82 17 59 50 7 2 .304
Bagwell, Jeff HOU 83 308 93 20 76 66 7 2 .302
Kent, Jeff SF 79 315 94 11 48 41 4 1 .298
Williams, Bernie NYY 81 298 87 12 49 50 3 4 .292
Ibanez, Raul KC 68 206 60 10 39 34 0 1 .291
Renteria, Edgar STL 76 267 77 5 33 30 13 2 .288
Palmeiro, Rafael TEX 83 309 87 26 63 55 0 0 .282
Ramirez, Manny BOS 65 231 63 17 47 39 0 1 .273
Soriano, Alfonso NYY 81 291 77 14 46 36 20 8 .265
Tejada, Miguel OAK 83 314 83 15 64 56 6 3 .264
Burks, Ellis CLE 56 184 48 8 21 33 2 0 .261


All 15 still had solid halves, though some didn't hit for the average they are usually good for. I-Rod's lack of HRs and SBs is probably what kept him out of the Top 25 since he hit .335. As for Pujols, he killed in the 2nd half and missed the Top 25 by just 3 spots.

Johnny Damon is also known for turning it on during the 2nd half of the season, so let's quickly look at his last two years in the 2nd half:


2002 Damon, Johnny BOS 154 623 178 14 63 118 31 6 .286
2001 Damon, Johnny OAK 77 317 90 4 17 58 13 5 .284

Very solid numbers indeed, and enough to make Rotojunkie's John Hoyos think he'll go 15/15 in the second half of this year. But what about pitchers? Who are the top 25 pitchers in the 2nd half of the past two seasons?

2002 Pitchers

Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
Johnson, Randy ARZ 18 135.1 179 38 100 34 12 3 0 2.26 1.02
Martinez, Pedro BOS 14 96.2 120 19 64 15 11 2 0 1.40 0.86
Zito, Barry OAK 18 123.2 86 42 91 28 13 2 0 2.04 1.08
Wolf, Randy PHI 16 117.1 105 26 83 30 7 3 0 2.30 0.93
Smoltz, John ATL 36 36.2 39 10 20 7 3 0 28 1.72 0.82
Mulder, Mark OAK 17 126.0 102 29 96 42 10 3 0 3.00 0.99
Millwood, Kevin ATL 17 111.1 97 38 85 33 13 3 0 2.67 1.10
Schilling, Curt ARZ 18 128.0 141 20 114 46 10 4 0 3.23 1.05
Koch, Billy OAK 45 50.1 46 23 38 17 7 4 25 3.04 1.21
Miller, Wade HOU 17 114.2 104 42 97 29 12 1 0 2.28 1.21
Oswalt, Roy HOU 18 116.1 103 33 99 36 11 4 0 2.79 1.13
Gagne, Eric LA 39 40.2 55 12 32 12 4 1 23 2.66 1.08
Lidle, Cory OAK 16 111.2 61 22 79 33 6 3 0 2.66 0.90
Wagner, Billy HOU 37 38.0 49 9 22 10 2 1 22 2.37 0.82
Wakefield, Tim BOS 20 103.1 84 26 80 33 9 2 0 2.87 1.03
Lowe, Derek BOS 16 108.1 56 22 92 36 10 4 0 2.99 1.05
Maddux, Greg ATL 18 110.0 67 22 107 28 9 4 0 2.29 1.17
Washburn, Jarrod ANA 16 107.1 61 29 89 34 10 4 0 2.85 1.10
Hudson, Tim OAK 16 114.2 70 21 116 30 9 2 0 2.35 1.19
Reed, Rick MIN 17 103.2 66 11 98 34 9 3 0 2.95 1.05
Kim, Byung-Hyun ARZ 34 36.2 27 7 31 6 5 2 16 1.47 1.04
Percival, Troy ANA 31 32.0 36 13 19 6 2 0 21 1.69 1.00
Halladay, Roy TOR 17 119.1 74 36 111 36 10 3 0 2.72 1.23
Pettitte, Andy NYY 15 100.0 76 17 104 35 11 3 0 3.15 1.21
Dotel, Octavio HOU 42 47.0 57 10 23 5 2 1 4 0.96 0.70


If Koch, Miller, Lidle, Wakefield, Maddux, Reed and Pettitte have huge second halves like last year, they'll be greatly improving over their otherwise horrible first halves. Hard to believe that Dotel could get better, but if he comes through with a ridiculously great 2nd half like last year, he'll bring down his 2.52 ERA and .95 WHIP. Now, a look at 2001 to see who's done this more than once:

2001 Pitchers

Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
Johnson, Randy ARZ 17 123.0 183 31 87 31 11 1 0 2.27 0.96
Vazquez, Javier MON 14 108.0 102 15 75 23 10 2 0 1.92 0.83
Zito, Barry OAK 18 113.1 112 44 81 29 13 2 0 2.30 1.10
Garcia, Freddy SEA 18 132.1 96 28 111 37 10 5 0 2.52 1.05
Mulder, Mark OAK 18 126.2 88 26 107 41 13 3 0 2.91 1.05
Mussina, Mike NYY 18 119.0 118 24 96 35 9 4 0 2.65 1.01
Moyer, Jamie SEA 17 115.1 68 19 96 32 11 3 0 2.50 1.00
Schilling, Curt ARZ 18 127.1 152 21 117 42 10 4 0 2.97 1.08
Foulke, Keith CWS 37 38.2 41 10 25 8 2 4 25 1.86 0.91
Lidle, Cory OAK 15 105.0 59 23 87 32 12 2 0 2.74 1.05
Hoffman, Trevor SD 32 30.1 31 9 19 8 1 1 27 2.37 0.92
Rivera, Mariano NYY 34 38.0 37 5 33 10 2 3 24 2.37 1.00
Nen, Robb SF 39 40.0 48 8 29 11 2 3 21 2.48 0.93
Oswalt, Roy HOU 15 98.0 102 12 92 31 8 2 0 2.85 1.06
Trachsel, Steve NYM 15 101.1 91 26 78 37 9 4 0 3.29 1.03
Benitez, Armando NYM 39 39.2 48 19 33 18 3 1 28 4.08 1.31
Ortiz, Russ SF 16 114.1 90 36 90 41 9 4 0 3.23 1.10
Appier, Kevin NYM 17 110.2 88 32 90 34 7 2 0 2.77 1.10
Glavine, Tom ATL 18 116.2 50 39 103 32 10 2 0 2.47 1.22
Buehrle, Mark CWS 17 118.2 57 25 106 43 10 4 0 3.26 1.10
Mesa, Jose PHI 36 34.1 25 6 33 5 2 2 21 1.31 1.14
Kim, Byung-Hyun ARZ 39 46.2 48 19 23 12 2 4 15 2.31 0.90
Wagner, Billy HOU 34 32.2 37 9 21 9 0 2 23 2.48 0.92
Williams, Woody STL 17 110.0 75 29 97 38 10 3 0 3.11 1.15
Zimmerman, Jeff TEX 31 32.2 35 10 17 5 1 0 18 1.38 0.83


Off the bat, I'd say go get Lidle. He loves the 2nd half. Repeat performers with Lidle include: R.Johnson (1st both years, coming off injury in 2003), Zito, Oswalt, Mulder, Schilling, & Kim.

Now, how do those that are mashing the ball this year generally do in the 2nd half of the year? Will they numbers in previous 2nd halves lead us to believe that they can keep it up or will they come down to Earth as the temperatures heat up?


2003 1st Half Hitting Superlatives

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
2003 Delgado, Carlos TOR 94 345 108 28 97 76 0 0 .313
2002 Delgado, Carlos TOR 65 227 69 16 49 55 0 0 .304
2001 Delgado, Carlos TOR 82 291 88 17 48 53 2 0 .302

Delgado has been the AL MVP thus far, but his 2nd half numbers in years previous suggest that he'll slow down, but then there's always the case of the special year. However, that's not something you can predict and at this point, Delgado looks to end with about 45 home runs and 145 runs batted in, hardly a bad year, but a definitely decline off his 48/167 pace.

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
2003 Mueller, Bill BOS 82 283 94 8 39 48 1 3 .332
2002 Mueller, Bill SF 63 204 58 5 20 33 0 0 .284
2001 Mueller, Bill CHC 34 84 22 1 7 14 0 1 .262

Only once in his career has Mueller finished a season hitting .300 ('96/.330) and he only played 55 games that season. However, he's in one of the most potent lineups in recent memory and as a career .290 hitter, he's been known to hit for some significant average. I do believe he'll drop off and end up with a .305 average.

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
2003 Pierre, Juan FLA 95 393 117 0 25 60 44 10 .298
2001 Pierre, Juan COL 80 337 113 1 33 60 26 10 .335
2002 Pierre, Juan COL 71 258 80 1 19 45 23 4 .310

Many predicted the demise of Pierre once he left Colorado, including myself. Whoops! Can he stay hot and get the 75 steals he's on pace for? Yes, I think so. Even though the Florida manager switch made many think the running would stop, Pierre still managed 16 steals in June and had 6 in 11 July games before the break. He'll continue to run in the 2nd half.

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
2003 Lowell, Mike FLO 93 353 97 28 76 62 2 1 .275
2002 Lowell, Mike FLO 79 284 66 11 39 41 3 0 .232
2001 Lowell, Mike FLO 77 295 83 7 43 33 1 0 .281

Lowell has a propensity for the summer power outage and thus, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing this summer. Of his 70 home runs from 2000-2002, 17 came in the 2nd half. Sell high on Lowell and reap the benefits as you make your push for the top in August and September.

Player Team Gms AB Hits HRs RBIs Runs SB CS Avg
2003 Suzuki, Ichiro SEA 91 389 137 8 28 69 25 6 .352
2002 Suzuki, Ichiro SEA 78 324 92 6 23 49 10 7 .284
2001 Suzuki, Ichiro SEA 80 337 117 5 33 57 29 8 .347

Ichiro had similar first halves in his first two years, but tailed off immensely in 2002, while staying pretty hot in 2001. So what will we get in 2003? I would venture to say a return to 2001. He's the catalyst for the division leading Mariners and I think he's learned to pace himself more for the 162 game schedule and should still hit well over .300 with 20+ steals in the summer days of this season.

2003 1st Half Pitching Superlatives

Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
2003 Halladay, Roy TOR 21 153.0 115 21 151 58 13 2 0 3.41 1.12
2002 Halladay, Roy TOR 17 119.1 74 36 111 36 10 3 0 2.72 1.23
2001 Halladay, Roy TOR 17 105.1 96 25 97 37 5 3 0 3.16 1.16

Bet on continued success for the Blue Jay ace in the 2nd half. The only caveat would be the 4-man rotation that manager Carlos Tosca has gone to leading to burnout of Halladay. If that is avoided, I see 8-10 more wins with a 3.20 ERA in the summer.

Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
2003 Moyer, Jamie SEA 19 122.1 81 39 106 41 12 5 0 3.02 1.19
2002 Moyer, Jamie SEA 17 117.1 84 24 105 44 6 5 0 3.38 1.10
2001 Moyer, Jamie SEA 17 115.1 68 19 96 32 11 3 0 2.50 1.00

Like Halladay, Moyer's previous second-half numbers indicate that he'll continue to have great success in the 2nd half of this season as the Mariners push forward for their division crown. In fact, his 2nd half of 2001 was good enough for 7th among all pitchers.

Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
2003 Schmidt, Jason SF 18 133.0 139 33 96 35 9 4 0 2.37 0.97
2002 Schmidt, Jason SF 16 107.0 110 45 84 41 9 6 0 3.45 1.21
2001 Schmidt, Jason SF 16 101.1 97 40 85 36 9 4 0 3.20 1.23

I agree with what the previous numbers show in that I expect him to be worse in the second half, but not so much so that I'd be willing to get rid of him. I think he can be counted on for 9 more wins, 100 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.35. Meaning he's still very capable of being your staff ace.

Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
2003 Millwood, Kevin PHI 20 127.2 106 38 112 51 10 6 0 3.60 1.17
2002 Millwood, Kevin ATL 17 111.1 97 38 85 33 13 3 0 2.67 1.10
2001 Millwood, Kevin ATL 14 82.2 61 28 81 37 6 4 0 4.03 1.32

Many expected continued success for Millwood following his great second half in 2002, and they were rewarded with a stellar 1st half of 2003 including a no-hitter. I suspect somewhere the between the performances of 2001 and 2002 for Millwood's summer. Around 10 wins with a mid-3.00 ERA and 95 strikeouts. Again, not someone I'd shove off in fears of a drop in production.

The next player isn't a superlative, but someone I want to examine nonetheless:


Player Team Gms IP Ks BBs Hs ERs W L S ERA Ratio
2003 Buehrle, Mark CWS 21 136.0 66 41 145 64 7 10 0 4.24 1.37
2002 Buehrle, Mark CWS 16 117.1 64 22 123 46 8 6 0 3.53 1.24
2001 Buehrle, Mark CWS 17 118.2 57 25 106 43 10 4 0 3.26 1.10

Had I done this awhile back, I'd have been pushing to go out and buy Buehrle low, but after 5 wins in his last 6 starts, that window of opportunity has closed and it's evident that Buehrle is back. He'll continue his success into the summer and bring his ERA down even lower. From June 11th to July 12th, he took it from 5.18 to 4.24 and hasn't gone less than 6 innings in any start since the June 11th outing. If you can steal him cheap, go for it and if you have him, hold him.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Welcome to the All-Star Break...
The 2003 All-Star Break kicked off before the regular season games had even completed. It all started with yesterday's All-Star Futures Game with the USA defeating the World 3-2 in the seven inning exhibition. Up and commers like Rich Harden, Grady Sizemore, Joe Maurer, Zack Greinke, Khalil Greene, and Justin Huber were featured in the matinee at US Cellular Field in Chicago. I don't think the game garners much interest nationally, but I, for one, was glued to ESPN 2 watching this game as I continued to put off mowing my girlfriend's backyard. To me, the US versus the World format that both the Futures game as well as the NHL All-Star game use is very intriguing. With interleague play and all the coverage on ESPN, seeing the players from the league opposite your hometown team isn't nearly as exciting, so why not switch it to this format? This way you get some intrigue without having to offer up home field advantage in the World Series and coming out with those ridiculous commercials about how much it counts this year!

Of course, Bud Selig won't switch to this format because that would be improving his product and we all know he doesn't like doing that. But on this opening day of the break, let's pretend... let's make believe that Selig changed the All-Star Game format to the US versus the World for tomorrow's game withholding the one-player per team rule and using 30 players per team (18 hitters/12 pitchers):


The World
C Javy Lopez, Puerto Rico
1B Carlos Delgado, Puerto Rico
2B Alfonso Soriano, Dominican Republic
3B Mike Lowell, Puerto Rico
SS Edgar Renteria, Colombia
OF Albert Pujols, Dominican Republic
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Japan
OF Magglio Ordonez, Venezuela
DH Melvin Mora, Venezuela
RES Sammy Sosa, Dominican Republic
RES Jorge Posada, Puerto Rico
RES Rafael Furcal, Dominican Republic
RES Jose Vidro, Puerto Rico
RES Andruw Jones, Curacao
RES Hideki Matsui, Japan
RES Luis Castillo, Dominican Republic
RES Orlando Cabrera, Colombia

P Pedro Martinez, Dominican Republic
P Esteban Loaiza, Mexico
P Hideo Nomo, Japan
P Miguel Batista, Dominican Republic
P Sidney Ponson, Aruba
P Javier Vazquez, Puerto Rico
P Joel Piniero, Puerto Rico
P Kaz Ishii, Japan
P Rheal Cormier, Canada
P Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Japan
P Eric Gagne, Canada
P Octavio Dotel, Dominican Republic


The United States

C Paul Lo Duca, New York
1B Todd Helton, Tenneessee
2B Bret Boone, California
3B Scott Rolen, Indiana
SS Alex Rodriguez, New York
OF Barry Bonds, California
OF Gary Sheffield, Florida
OF Vernon Wells, Louisiana
DH Troy Glaus, California
RES Jason Varitek, Michigan
RES Garrett Anderson, California
RES Hank Blalock, California
RES Jim Edmonds, California
RES Geoff Jenkins, Washington
RES Preston Wilson, South Carolina
RES Richie Sexson, Oregon
RES Jason Giambi, California

P Roy Halladay, Colorado
P Jamie Moyer, Pennsylvania
P Roger Clemens, Texas
P Mark Mulder, Illinois
P Barry Zito, Nevada
P Dontrelle Willis, California
P Mark Prior, California
P Tim Hudson, Georgia
P John Smoltz, Michigan
P Billy Wagner, Virginia
P Keith Foulke, South Dakota
P Brendan Donnelly, Washington, D.C.


Like the actual All-Star Game, there are snubs, but I think this would be a wonderully interesting matchup for the MidSummer Classic. With 10 of the US players, California is on its way to filling out it's own team. Almost all of the players on these two clubs are part of the All-Star game already.

Since I didn't adhere to the one-player per team rule, the following teams were without representation: Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit, New York (N), Pittsburgh, and San Diego. Boy, that AL Central is abhorrent. The representatives of those teams in the actual game are as follows: Lance Carter, Mike McDougal & Mike Sweeney, Eddie Guardado, C.C. Sabathia, Dmitri Young, Armando Benitez, Mike Williams, and Rondell White respectively. Only McDougal was considered for my US roster, but I went with the 8 starters and 4 relievers instead.

I'm torn between the two teams, but I'd probably have to take the US with their staff. I think year in, year out this US v. World matchup would get even better with more and more players coming over from Asia and the continued influence from Latin America. With Selig at the helm, you can guarantee that anything that would improve the wonderful game of baseball is pretty much shoved off of his desk in favor of ideas like home-field being decided by a bunch of players who won't be anywhere near the World Series. I understand the idea of trying to garner interest for the AS Game, but I don't see how involving the World Series is going to do that. I also don't understand why they can't ditch the one-player from every team rule. No one seems to want it and even those that don't mind it, have no problem watching it go away. I fit into the latter. Being a Detroit Tigers fan, I like seeing our one guy get onto the team, but not only do I not think it's necessary, but I would make no beef over it's extinction.



Dealing days continue....
As the trade deadline approaches, reports of rumors and actual deals will be given on a regular basis until the 31st courtesy of Lee Sinins' ATM reports. The weekend saw two deals on even more rumors pop up.

The Padres traded P Matt Herges to the Giants for minor league P Clay Hensley and either a player to be named later or cash.

My thoughts: The Giants were looking to solidify their bullpen and do so without giving up too much. Herges has a nice ERA (2.86), his 8.18 K/9 is solid and he strikes out twice as many hitters as he walks (40/20). Herges will join Tim Worrell, Scott Eyre and Felix Rodriguez as the main components of the NL West leading Giants.

The Tigers traded P Adam Bernero to the Rockies for OF-C Ben Petrick.

My Thoughts: Bernero was well on his way to joining the 20-loss club with Detroit and might get their quicker with Colorado. However, some people might not recognize it because your statistics reset when you switch leagues. Petrick was a former top prospect with the Rockies, but has fizzled into a prospect you trade for a 20-game loser. In 80 games with Colorado Springs, he has 11 HR, 40 RBI, .259 AVG and 2.0 K/BB rate. In other words, he fits right in with the Tigers. I'm not angry with the move, nor am I enamored with it. I hope that if the Tigers do move Mike Maroth, though I hope they don't, that get more value than this.

According to the Bergen Record, the Dodgers, Cubs and Royals are interested in Mets RF Jeromy Burnitz.

My Thoughts: All three teams could use the services of Burnitz with the Dodgers probably needing him most. A move to the Royals would show Chicago and Minnesota that the Royals are very serious about making the post season with a AL Central Divisional crown. The injury to Corey Patterson is where the Cubs come into play on Burnitz. Burnitz has settled into his role in New York and is playing light years above the level he played at last year. He has 18 home runs already, which is one off of his entire 2002 total. He's got his OPS up to .925, a level he hasn't been near since 1999. Expect him to move for prospects to the young Mets.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the Dodgers are interested in Devil Rays RF Aubrey Huff, but the Devil Rays aren't interested in trading him. The paper also reports the Reds are interested in Joe Kennedy, Victor Zambrano and Jeremi Gonzalez and, while the Devil Rays don't seem interested in Brandon Larson, they could be interested in Wily Mo Pena.

My Thoughts: The D-Rays are very wise to not move Huff and also to command a solid price on those arms that Cincy is interested in. They have a lot of talent in that organization and if were in charge there, I wouldn't be eager to move my young arms without getting plenty of value in returns. Considering the Dodgers have next to nothing in their farm system, I can't imagine them even being able to come up with a knock-you-off-your-feet offer for Huff.

The Juan Gonzalez to the Yankees trade rumors are heating up, while the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Diamondbacks, A's, Royals and Twins have also inquired about him.

My Thoughts: It appears as though Gonzalez will now accept a trade out of Texas, or at least be more willing to do so. He already rejected a trade to New York back when he was with Detroit, so that should be interesting. Also, reports have surfaced that he wants to be in the AL and on natural grass so I'd be surprised if he ended up in Arizona or Minnesota. Regardless, he appears to be the hot ticket, at least offensively, this trading season.

According to the LA Times, the Tigers and Devil Rays are interested in Angels P Scott Schoeneweis.

My Thoughts: Both of these bottom feeders would move Schoeneweis to the rotation and reports are saying that the Angels would be interested in getting a left-handed hitter to fill in for the injured Brad Fullmer, who is out for the remainder of the season. Warren Morris, Eric Munson, Carlos Pena, Kevin Witt, Alex Sanchez and the injured Bobby Higginson are the lefties on the Tigers roster. I would hope that if Munson or Pena were moved, it wouldn't be straight up for Schoeneweis.