It's funny, during the baseball season, I tend to not really do much on my computers except check mail, and occasional freelance work. When it comes to my responsibilities at TC, it was mostly doing stuff behind the scenes
banning everyone who pisses me off administrative stuff, randomly commenting on things if I couldn't sleep, and putting together my column for the weekend. Two weeks removed from the season, and now I'm writing on a nightly basis, doing player reviews, analyzing stats, concepting ideas for the next annual - a whole heck of a lot more work than I'd been doing while the season was going on! But it's fun, productive, and fulfilling things I feel that I'm taking part of, and I hope that everyone's enjoying my contributions.
Welcome back to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements. We're taking a bit of a different approach this week, and for the next few weeks. Since those of us teams that aren't playing ball right now, many are decompressing, resting, getting surgeries, or basically trying to get as much baseball out of their system until around mid-December. And since all these ballplayers need time to get ITBSOHL, the news, links and stories front might be a little dry in the interim. So, as suggested by gondeee, instead of links, we're going take a glimpse at the positional breakdowns of our rivals, looking forward to next year. Starting first with, the potential outfields of the 2011 National League East.
The following lists are subjective, and theoretical. Forgive me if I sound completely ignorant and stupid in regards to rosterbating other teams' outfields, and doing it poorly.
Left Field: Logan Morrison (22). Yes, I think he’s going to supplant Chris Coghlan out of LF, and have him moved to perhaps 3B. His .283/.390/.447 hitting, 29 XBH in 244 ABs is too good to not include into the lineup. Coghlan is vastly the better fielder (-3.0 UZR/150 vs. -13.9), but Morrison’s bat will win this battle. With no more Cantu, it’s either Cogs or Bonifacio, and I think a begrudging move is going to have to be made to accommodate.
Center Field: Cameron Maybin (23). The elder of the Marlins outfield, Maybin is more glove than he is bat. .234/.302/.361 in 2010, as well as being an all-or-nothing guy versus Atlanta: .235 AVG, 2 HR, 11 K. Defensively, he had a down year in CF, posting a -4.4, but that considered, he’s still an overall +5.6 UZR/150 in center throughout his career.
Right Field: Mike Stanton (20). All-or-nothing, all the time, so far. .259/.326/.507 with a 34% K%, and whiffing 123 times. But he also went yard 22 times, all in 359 ABs. 40% of his ABs ended in K or Run(s). Same story versus the Braves: .163 AVG, 1 HR, 19 K. And surprisingly, the leviathan was pretty graceful out in RF, showing an average arm, decent range, and a surprising +10.6 UZR/150.
*Goes without saying that this is the youngest outfield of them all.
Reserves: Brett Carroll (RF) will likely be used solely as a defensive replacement, since the 27-year old’s bat is nowhere as good as his glove is (.205 career AVG vs. career +31.6 (All spots ++) UZR/150). Scott Cousins (25) will likely be used as a backup to play CF or RF to spell Maybin and Stanton from time to time. Bryan Peterson (24) got a cup of coffee to play the corners in September, and is borderline to make the team for depth, or go back to AAA-New Orleans to start 2011.
Maybes: Looking at the AA-Jacksonville roster, are two outfielders that caught my attention. The 28-year old Lee Mitchell obliterated AA with a line of .310/.374/.525, in 242 ABs, so I’m curious to why he was kept in AA. And then there is Brandon Tripp (25), who also had a very strong, full season of AA ball, hitting .289/.369/.449 with 8 HR, 45 XBH in 394 ABs. I’m having to believe that both were blocked by Cousins and Peterson, and that there had to have been a noticeable talent/ceiling gap to have both youngsters leapfrog over the elders, but that’s my unfamiliarity with the Marlins organization.
Left Field: It’s hard to predict if the Nationals are going to continue rebuilding, or if they’re going to spend money. If they’re going to spend, then they’ll retain Josh Willingham, whom I’ve heard is seeking out at least three years, buying out his third and fourth arb years in the process. He was having a decent year, hitting .268/.389/.459 with 16 rally killers, before a knee injury shelved him in early August. The Braves limited him to .192 hitting, but he did go yard twice in the process. Defensively, he’s never been known for his glove or his arm, and had a weak -6.8 UZR/150 on the year. If the Nationals can’t re-sign Willingham, they’ll likely put the team-controlled, 26-year old Roger Bernadina is an option in LF. The native of Curacao got plenty of playing time in 2010 after Willingham went down, and although he was mediocre with the bat (.246/.307/.384), he swiped 16 bags, and posted a +13.3 UZR/150 from left.
Center Field: Nyjer Morgan. The 30-year old street fighter had a memorable 2010, but not necessarily with the bat. Or glove, for that matter. But anyway, he hit .253/.319/.314, which isn’t that good for a guy with absolutely no power anyway. When he did get on base, he stole 34 bases, but also was caught a Rickey Henderson-like 17 times to lead the league. He was a terror against the Braves though, hitting .305, driving in 3 RIBz, and stealing five. Defensively, he’s got a poor arm, but more than enough foot speed to cover a lot of ground, garnering him a respectable +4.2 UZR/150 on the year. Roger Bernadina is a natural center fielder, and had plenty of time in CF during Morgan's suspension, and if the team is done with Morgan's issues and slumping offense, then Bernadina could be a candidate to start in center as well.
Right Field: Justin Maxwell. He was awful at the major league level last year, hitting an abysmal .144 with 43 whiffs in 104 ABs, but the 26-year old was OPSing .829 in AAA, likely leading them to believe that he’s a few adjustments from being serviceable at the Major League level. Decent arm, good range, +13.3 UZR/150 in 2010. But if the team isn't sold on Maxwell's bat, than once again, Roger Bernadina slots into RF as well.
Reserves: The bench likely starts with Roger Bernadina and/or Justin Maxwell, depending on which is the odd-man out, if they re-sign Willingham, but there is a lack of depth overall. Willie Harris is a free agent, and Mike Morse is arbitration eligible for the first time, and both are question marks on whether or not they’ll return, but it really is all dependent on how willing the team is to spend money - the Nationals are budgeted at under $30M dedicated for 2011, but have a boatload of players arb-eligible, with many of them likely to be non-tendered, but it's very likely the Nats target one of the major free agents (Werth, Crawford) in the off-season, as well as the OPS guy lottery. The Nationals will probably be looking for some depth as well this off-season. If they’re relying on the minor leagues, look for names such as Leonard Davis (27YO, AAA), Boomer Whiting (27YO, AAA), and Jesus Valdez (26, AA) in that order. I’m basing such hypothesis on age, MiLB time spent, and a not completely abysmal performance at that level, so any rival team fans want to chime in, more than welcome to.
Longshot: I hate to say it, but if the progression continues on its mythical levels, and the Nationals are well out of it in September, I wouldn’t be the absolute least bit surprised if the circus comes to D.C., and Bryce Harper is let out of the bag to get a sip of coffee. If you didn’t know, he’s being used as an outfielder since instructional league, and the AFL.
Left Field: Jason Bay. His first year in New York was a clear flop, hitting .259/.347/.402 with 6 dingerz and 47 RIBz, before being knocked out of the season with a concussion on August 14th. Honestly, I wouldn’t take too much into one bad year, because Carlos Beltran was vastly underwhelming in his first year in New York before exploding afterward, and it would be good for Bay to follow suite, because the real paychecks start in 2011 ($18M/year). He hit .316 off Atlanta in 2010, but only 1 XBH to go with five mostly harmless singles. Defensively, he was not that great (-3.6 UZR/150), but he’s typically not been known for his defense (career UZR/150 -8.0)
Center Field: Carlos Beltran. Barring any more surprise surgeries or physical setbacks, Beltran is going to be starting in CF for the Mets in his contract year. At 33-years old, he still considerable for at least one more 3-4 year deal, and I fully expect that he’s going to do his best to reenact the 2004 playoffs again. Returning from injury clearly affected his entire game, and I fully expect a huge improvement, and possible Comeback Player of the Year candidacy, if all goes to plan. His .255/.341/.427 is irrelevant to me as is his -8.6 UZR/150 from a guy who gutted it out on a bad knee and legs last year.
Right Field: Despite the fact that he’ll likely be expecting a nice raise for the 2010 season he had, I have to imagine that despite the new GM/management, the Mets are going to pick up Angel Pagan’s third arb year. He was money for the Mets all year, hitting .290/.340/.425, from all the outfield positions at some point, with 11 HR, 69 RIBz, and 37 steals to boot. Fortunately, the Braves kept him in check, limiting him to a .283 average, but he whiffed 13 times. Defensively, he was great from all OF spots, posting a 14.7 UZR/150 overall in 2010. If by chance the Mets fail to retain Pagan, the opening nod might go to the 27-year old Chris Carter, who is still under team control, and had an okay ’10, hitting .263/.317/.389, while posting a +14.7 UZR/150 in a small sample in RF. But if Pagan stays, Carter’s likely the first guy on the bench, barring any acquisitions.
Reserves: The bench is going to likely have a lot of guys from the minors, and probably some acquisitions somewhere along the line. But I’m envisioning now, 31-year old Jesus Feliciano (OF), who is more glove than bat, based on ’10 numbers. 27-year old Jason Pridie (LF, RF) and maybe 24-year old Lucas Duda (LF). Definitely expecting some spring training pickups for more depth.
Names to maybe see: I know the Mets are high on Fernando Martinez (LF), but considering the 22 year old skipped AA altogether, and went to AAA-Buffalo, and had a cup of coffee in September (.167 BA in 18AB), a full year of AAA could do him some good, with maybe another September call-up. A longshot would be Brahiam Maldonado (LF), who finished out at AA-Binghamton OPSing .908 with 14 HR in 250 ABs.
Left Field: Raul Ibanez. The 38-year old will make $12M in the process, but he’ll likely do his best to play out of his mind going into free agency, in order to squeeze one last paycheck out of his career. On offense, Ibanez had an okay year, batting .275/.349/.444 in the process. Walks are up (68), but RIBz (83) and especially HRs way down (16 from 34). Steroids, perhaps? And importantly, he did more damage to the Braves (6 2B, HR, 14RBI, .284AVG) than he did to anyone else in the NL East. Defensively, the old Ibanez that we were familiar with from Lookout Landing’s hilarious GIF montage, had apparently returned, proving that 2009 was a mirage. His arm rating tanked, range dropped, and his UZR and UZR/150 are back to his Mariners days (-6.9, -8.4). Good for us, I guess?
Center Field: Shane Victorino. The Flyin’ Hawaiian is probably the only guaranteed lock on the Phillies, what with age, injury, and impending free agency for his counterparts, but no worries here, because the speedy 30-year old is in the second year of a three-year deal which sees him making $7.5M for 2011. He found a taste for power in 2010, batting a career high 18 rally killers, and driving in a career high 69 RIBz, but the bigger swings led to a drop in batting average, OBP and highest K% as a Philly. But he was still a pest on the basepaths, stealing 34 bags and only getting caught six times. Best part is, he was inept against the Braves, hitting a woeful .141 with 16 Ks on the season series. Defensively, he’s solid, with great range, good arm, and posting UZR/150 of +3.3. He also won me a bet in 2010, by being better than Curtis Granderson, offensively.
Right Field: This is the most interesting story for the Phillies this off-season. Since signing Ryan Howard to his mega-deal, the popular notion is that the Phillies aren’t going to have the cash necessary to retain Jayson Werth, who will undoubtedly be seeking a long-term deal. So much, that I’m already discounting him to be on the Phillies next year. Here’s where it gets interesting; the popular belief is that with Werth’s departure, the door is open for 23-year old Domonic Brown who was called up earlier this year. Despite his destruction of a combination of AA and AAA, hitting .327/.391/.589 in 343 ABs, his major league sample wasn’t nearly as glowing: .210/.257/.355 in 62 ABs. Although it stands a good chance that Brown will be let loose in 2011, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spring Training turns into an audition for right, between Brown, and the 27-year old John Mayberry, Jr. The Stanford grad has more or less nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, and in his own major league stint in ’10, hit .333/.385/.833 in a tiny 13 PAs. But 2010 was not his first stint, and although he didn’t dazzle in 2009, much like David Justice, a quick taste is sometimes enough to make one realize what one need to do in order to stick for good the next time around.
Reserves: Ross Gload AKA Mr. WARG (LF, RF) – the only reason he comes first on this list is because he is actually signed through 2011. Primarily a 1B backup, he actually fielded 43.2 innings in RF in 2010, at a UZR/150 of -7.1. It’s safe to assume he will see very little duty in the outfield in 2011. Ben Francisco can play both LF and RF, but he also enters his first year of arbitration, meaning he won’t be making league minimum anymore. But the Phillies don’t seem to fear monetary limits, so there’s a chance that he re-signs with the team. Sort of below-average arm, a +19.5 in LF, but a -39.4 in RF meaning he’ll likely be the guy to fill in for Raul Ibanez, if he’s retained. Otherwise, put John Mayberry, Jr. here on the bench, but there’s a good chance the Phillies pick up some player(s) to add some depth here.
Longshots: Rich Thompson, who started 2010 in AA, but was promoted to AAA-Lehigh Valley, where he finished out the season. Not a lot of power, but decent average and OBP (.284/.339/.382), and he might get a cup of coffee if the injury bug hits.
And there we have a preview of what we might expect to see in our rivals' outfields next season. All comments welcome, especially those of you fans of our rivals who lurk over here, I'd love to hear from you guys as well. Even the Phillies fans, as long as you're not here to troll us.