Category Archives: Profiles

Matt Harvey is Filling the R.A. Dickey Void

For an organization that refuses to fully acknowledge that they’re in rebuilding mode, the New York Mets made a pretty indicative move by trading ace R.A. Dickey this past off-season. Dickey, who won the Cy Young award in 2012 behind a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 4.26 K/BB over 233 and 2/3 innings, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on December 17, 2012 for a package of top minor league prospects. But considering the next best Mets pitcher in 2012 was Jonathon Niese (3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 3.16 K/BB), Mets fans were rightfully worried how the team could possibly fill Dickey’s production void in 2013.

However, 3 starts into this season, it is evident that Matt Harvey will not only be the Mets ace in 2013, but also, for many years to come. Continue reading

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How Are the Oakland Athletics Winning?

The Oakland Athletics were not supposed to be good in 2012. During the off-season, the A’s traded three-forths of their starting rotation (Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Guillermo Moscoso) and closer (Andrew Bailey), and even let their best statistical hitter (Josh Willingham) sign with the Minnesota Twins. Heck, they even lost star starter Brett Anderson on June 5, 2011 (he’s only pitched 20 IP in 2012) to Tommy John surgery, and still haven’t seen Dallas Braden pick-up a baseball in 2012 at all. Yet, it’s September, and the 76-60 Athletics are only trailing the Texas Rangers by five games, and are currently one of the two Wild Card leading teams. With their payroll a franchise-low since 2008, and incredibly, the second-lowest in the Major Leagues this season (about a million more than the Pittsburgh Pirates), one truly has to wonder, “How are the Oakland Athletics winning?”

On the surface, the answer is simple: extremely diligent free-agent signings and perfect trade returns. But let’s take a closer look… Continue reading

Casey Janssen Should Close in 2013 Too

Almost a year ago today (well, technically eleven months), I declared that Casey Janssen should be the Toronto Blue Jays closer in 2012. At the time of the article, Janssen only had three save opportunities (and two saves), as both Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco were ahead of him on the depth chart.

Needless to say, Janssen was and is a far superior reliever than either of those two guys (and that’s coming from a New York Mets fan). The point of this article is not to slap myself on the back (although I would take a slap or two), but rather, to make a case for Janssen to continue to his closer-hood into next season. Continue reading

Travis is the New Black[ley]

It took awhile for the former top Seattle Mariners prospect, but now, as a 29 year-old–and with his sixth organization–it appears as though Travis Blackley has finally found himself. Signed as an amateur free agent out of his native Melbourne, Australia, the 6′ 3″, 17 year-old southpaw seemed like the definition of a “can’t miss” prospect. Continue reading

Alberto Callaspo is Pleasantly Solid

Courtesy of Zimbio

Teams generally expect massive offensive production out of their corner infielders, including third base. While that’s usually the case, aside from Adrian Beltre (.561), Pablo Sandoval (.552 SLG), and Aramis Ramirez (.510 SLG), no other third basemen in baseball had a slugging percentage over .500 during 2011. In addition, only Mark Reynolds (37 HR), Adrian Beltre (32 HR), Evan Longoria (31 HR), Aramis Ramirez (26 HR), and Pablo Sandoval (23 HR) enjoyed twenty-plus homerun seasons. Considering the seeming downward trend of complete-package third baseman, it’s possible un-flashy, yet all-around solid players like Alberto Callaspo could be in-line for a bigger spotlight.

Alberto Callaspo never really showed much power in his career, but then again, as a natural middle-infielder, it wasn’t really expected. In fact, prior to the Major Leagues, Callaspo only played 26 games at third base in the Minors. It wasn’t until 2010 did Callaspo get a real look at the hot corner, playing 1134 innings at third for the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels. The switch-hitter posted a pretty bad .265/.302/.374 line in 2010–but added a valuable 6.3 UZR/150. The combination of subpar offense and great defense was enough for a 1.4 fWAR–a value that only improved 2011. Continue reading

The Past, Present, and Future of Cameron Maybin

Courtesy of Zimbio

Not too long ago, the name “Cameron Maybin” meant big things. Picked tenth overall by the Detroit Tigers in the 2005 draft, the eighteen year-old from Asheville, North Carolina was surely going to be the next great five-tool centerfielder.

In his first season in the Minor Leagues for the Tigers, Maybin exhibited why scouts gushed about him. Maybin posted a .304/.387/.457 line with 9 homeruns, 69 RBI, 59 runs, and 27 stolen bases at Single-A. The right-handed hitter only improved the following season, smacking a .316/.409/.523 line with 14 homeruns, 53 RBI, 68 runs, and 25 stolen bases between multiple levels (as high as Double-A). But as bright as Maybin’s future no doubtably seemed, the constantly re-building Florida Marlins dangled young slugger Miguel Cabrera like a carrot in front of the Tigers–and they couldn’t refuse. Continue reading

Craig Kimbrel Could Be Even Better in 2012

Courtesy of CraigKimbrel.com

After posting a 0.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 2.50 K/BB in 20.6 innings last season, most people correctly assumed Craig Kimbrel would grab hold of the Atlanta Braves closer gig, and never let go. That has been more than the case in 2011. In just his second Major League season, the 23 year-old has become the best closer in the National League.

Kimbrel’s 2.03 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 4.28 K/BB, and 45 Saves speak to that point perfectly. Even though the righty’s control can be a little suspect at times (3.46 BB/9), his outstanding 14.81 K/9 more than makes up for the league-averague walk rate. Without a doubt, Kimbrel is a very dominant closer. However, as scary as it is to think, Kimbrel’s special 2011 season might just be the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading