Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Great news from the AP

The O's will open the season with a rotation of Sidney Ponson, Eric DuBose, Kurt Ainsworth, Matt Riley and Eric Bedard. The great news? R-Lo is in the pen.

Manager Lee Mazzilli said, ``It was a very difficult decision to make. The kid [Bedard] made a case for himself this spring -- not that Rodrigo did not, by any stretch. I just feel we're a stronger club right now going this way.''

This is a huge comeback for Bedard. He had ligament replacement surgery in September 2002 and pitched in only six minor league games last year.
Pedro Injury?

The Baltimore Sun mentions concerns about a drop in Pedro Martinez' velocity this spring.

Two major league scouts who have been following the Red Sox closely this spring said they have noticed a distinct drop in velocity for Pedro Martinez, who is scheduled to start Sunday's season opener against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

His fastball has registered 95 mph in the past, but in Thursday's start against the Minnesota Twins, Martinez was throwing 86 to 91 mph.

Even more alarming for Boston, scouts have noticed Martinez using a lower arm angle on his pitches, which has made him less effective. Often when a pitcher has a shoulder injury, he finds a different arm angle to throw with less discomfort.

Segui noticed a different arm angle from Martinez on March 14, when the three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed an uncharacteristic three walks in two innings.

So far, Martinez and the Red Sox have played down the talk about his velocity. For the spring, Martinez is 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA, spanning 13 innings.

One of the scouts who noted the difference with Martinez added: "[Derek] Lowe is throwing better than I've ever seen him throw. [Curt] Schilling, too."

The Orioles will face Schilling and Lowe, respectively, in the second and third games of the season.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Good article about Twins OF Lew Ford in the Pioneer Press. Thanks to Lee Sinins for making me aware of this story. I really like Ford, a potential 5th OF for the Twins this year. I believe he would be a really good leadoff hitter/center fielder for a team in need of one but the Twins obviously aren't in need of a CF with Torii Hunter on their roster.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Matt Riley has likely won the No. 5 slot in the rotation.

Riley has allowed just one earned run in his past 12 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.81. He is expected to be given the nod as the fifth starter over fellow rookie Erik Bedard, who is scheduled to pitch tonight. Manager Lee Mazzilli said he's made his decision but wants to tell the players first.

Mazzilli also announced that Melvin Mora will be the No. 2 hitter in the O's lineup.

"He puts the ball in play," Mazzilli said. "He's a gap-to-gap type of hitter. Plus he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. His on-base percentage is good, and that's what I like. I need guys on base for our big guys."

Again, it is great to see Mazzilli stress on-base percentage.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

A really interesting interview with Bill James from The American Enterprise. Definately check it out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bid on Roger Cedeno

This might be gone by the time you get to click on it so I've copied the text from the auction here.

This is an auction for Mets outfielder Roger Cedeno. He's played left, center and right fields, and all of them equally horrendously. He never gets a good jump on a ball, and on the rare occassion that he does end up in the general vicinity of one, he'll probably drop it. He used to be quite fast, but as he's gotten older and somewhat fatter on his contract, even that last vestige of value has left him. He cannot run the bases, he cannot play defense, he cannot hit for average or power and he couldn't get a bunt down to save his life. He does, however, still have a decent arm - but odds are he'll either miss the cutoff man or throw to the wrong base entirely, so it's a non-factor. When it comes to the oft-spoken 'intangibles' of a professional athlete, this is where Cedeno really excels. Despite his woeful play, Roger somehow manages to smile and laugh and carry on like he's just hit a grand slam to win Game 7. This is where I believe his value truly kicks in, because that's just the type of person you want serving your organization from a customer support position. Cedeno would undoubtedly adapt to a concessionaire position with grace and aplomb. Also, imagine the excitement your fans would experience when they realize who just tossed them that hot dog or sold them that lemonade! Roger Cedeno's contract is valued at $10,000,000 and terminates after the 2005 season. Thus, bidding starts at a reasonable $5,000,000 with the New York Mets Baseball Club hopefully picking up any difference incurred by this auction. Seller hereby gives his word as his bond that should the final auction price exceed the aforementioned value of Roger Cedeno's contract, $10,000,000 will be forwarded with haste to The New York Mets Baseball Club in order to expedite Roger Cedeño's unconditional release, with the difference being donated in it's entirety to the Lymphoma Research Foundation at http://www.lymphoma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=donate Seller is in no way affiliated with Major League Baseball, The New York Mets Baseball Club or Sterling Equities, Ltd. Good luck and happy bidding!!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Jim Callis looks into his crystal ball with his 2007 baseball predictions. While this article is pure speculation it is an interesting read if you follow top prospects in the minor leagues.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Brady Anderson responds to Jim Palmer's comments in the Baltimore Sun. Anderson says in the article:

"I know what I accomplished, am proud of it, and know that it was done with integrity," he said. "I'll state this once again: It was 26 more home runs than I hit in any other season, but that's just one more home run per week, just one more good swing. That is the data that simultaneously comforted me and haunted me, the small difference between greatness and mediocrity."

Anderson usually kept a container of Creatine in his locker, but the supplement, which serves as an energy reserve in muscle cells, is legal.

"That's here to stay. It's a legitimate substance. It's found in food," he said. "Taken properly, it can be very beneficial. But it doesn't replace skill or training."


Friday, March 19, 2004

Interview with Jim Beattie in the Baltimore Sun.

Here is Beattie's assessment of the rotation:

"Kurt Ainsworth has been solid. Sidney's Sidney, and Eric DuBose has looked good. Rodrigo Lopez has to find a way to be consistent. Matt Riley and Erik Bedard are young. Omar Daal isn't going to blow anyone away, but he needs to get guys out," Beattie said.

"Sidney's Sidney." He's actually two Sidney's this spring thanks to all his offseason eating. I am not sold on him being a solid starter until I see a few starts from him this year. I really think the weight could be an issue - unless he can become a 2nd teir Bartolo Colon.

I really like Ainsworth and DuBose for this season. Both were solid and showed flashes in limited roles last year. They aren't aces but they are solid mid to back of the rotation starters.

I am definately not expecting Rodrigo Lopez to return to his form of two years ago. In fact, he'll likely be out of the rotation by mid-season. Not much to say about Daal except what a bad signing he was. The O's are best off keeping him until close to the start of the season and then cutting him if they have no injuries to their pitching staff (and yes, I know they would have to eat a decent sized contract but they are better off developing young guys).

Oh, and I cast my vote, for what is it worth, for Riley in the #5 spot in the rotation.

(Notice there is an error in the article:

Snag Vazquez from the Expos, who smartly took Nick Johnson and Miguel Cairo from the Andy Pettitte-less, Roger Clemens-less and David Wells-less Yankees.

It was not Miguel Cairo going to the Expos but outfielder Juan Rivera.)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Didn't have much time today. Here is a little more on Jim Palmerfrom Laura Vecsey in the Baltimore Sun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

O's Farm Director Doc Rogers on Adam Loewen's struggles this spring.

"As a young player in major league camp, he's trying to do more than he might be capable of at this point," Orioles farm director Doc Rodgers said. "He might be giving them too much respect. But when you consider he moved from short-season ball last year to big league camp this year, there's going to be a learning process."

Lowen should be contending for a rotation spot in two years if he develops as expected.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

According to the Washington Post:

The Orioles have made it known since December that they would make right fielder Jay Gibbons available for the right trade, and they may have found a willing partner in the Los Angeles Dodgers -- who are seeking to trade a starting pitcher for a hitter.

Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jim Beattie acknowledged that the O's are looking to possibly add one more arm to the rotation. The Dodgers are believed to have more interest in Larry Bigbie but the O's don't seem to want to part with him. The Post speculates that the O's would be willing to trade Gibbons in part because they would like to make a run at Carlos Beltran or Magglio Ordoñez, whom will both be free agents, after this season.

Odalis Perez or Kaz Ishii are believed to be the two pitchers that the Dodgers are trying to move. Ishii isn't very good and Perez is in the last year of his deal making both bad options as is. If the Dodgers were to add a prospect into the mix then the O's should listen.
A Washington Post article on Tuesday had a story about Jim Palmer accusing Brady Anderson of using steroids during his 50 home run season in 1996.

"I like Brady, and it doesn't mean he's a bad guy because he took steroids," Palmer, a television commentator on Orioles telecasts, told Baltimore radio station WIYY-FM in an interview that was broadcast Sunday. "But I'm sure he wanted to enhance his performance." The comments were printed in the Baltimore Sun in Tuesday's editions.

Palmer says his comments were taken out of context and questions the the authenticity of the radio station's tape of its interview.

"I never said Brady took steroids," he said. Told that the interview was on tape, Palmer said: "How do you know they didn't doctor the tape? I'm not accusing them of that, but you don't know."

I wish Palmer wouldn't back off here. Palmer then goes on to address Barry Bonds:

"When Bonds goes from 49 [homers] to 73, you just wonder," Palmer told the Sun. "You're trying to have a level playing field and maintain the integrity of the game. I'm sure it was a great year for Brady, and it was a great year when Bonds broke McGwire's record, but you just wonder."

I really like Palmer. He isn't afraid to speak his mind on the state of baseball and he certainly isn't afraid to criticize current Orioles players. Some of you may remember last year when he got into an argument after a game with David Segui. I look forward to his commentary this season.

Eighteen days to the O's opener!
The Baltimore Sun reports that Jerry Hairston won't need surgery on his ring finger but he is expected to open the season on the DL and may be out until mid-April.

Everyone believes that the O's will trade Brian Roberts or Hairston. My guess is that Roberts will be the one to go because of his much cheaper price tag. I wouldn't even be suprised to see the O's make a move before the season starts and just use Mark McLemore until Hairston is ready to return.

Monday, March 15, 2004

In today's Baltimore Sun manager Lee Mazzilli talks about what he is looking for from the #2 slot in the batting order:

"I'm more concerned with on-base percentage because you can do more damage," he said. "I'd rather have a guy hit .280 and have an on-base percentage of .400 than have a guy hit .310 and have an on-base percentage of .350. Especially the guys who can run and steal a base and do damage and be destructive-type players."

I'm glad to see we have a manager who will take OBP into account. Let's hope this means he plans on having Jack Cust on the roster this year as well.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Some of my handful of site visitors might be interested in this contest. You must first sign up for the free Around The Majors Reports (they're great) by sending an email to subscribe@baseballimmortals.net, then you can enter the contest below.


1) You must predict an order for each division, from first place to last. Entries that only predict division winners will be discarded.

2) You will start with 5 points per teams. If you correctly predict that team's place in the standings, you will receive 3 bonus points for a total of 8. If you incorrectly predict that team's spot, you will lose 1 point per difference in their place in the standings.

3) Ties will be broken in the following manner--(1) By the date of the entry (but not the time of day), (2) by the number of correctly predicted division winners, (3) total number of correctly predicted teams. If there is still a tie for a monthly prize, the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. If there is a still a tie for an end of the season prize, multiple copies of the sabermetric baseball encyclopedia will be awarded.

4) The grand prize at the end of the season will be a free copy of the next edition of the sabermetric baseball encyclopedia. The runnerup will receive a free entry into the Legends of Baseball League.

For the 4th consecutive year, the Legends of Baseball League, http://www.thelegendsofsports.com, will serve as a sponsor for the contest.

5) Monthly prizes will be awarded. At the moment, it is a prize to be named later.

There shall be a limit of one monthly prize per person. In the event that the monthly leader had already been awarded a prize, the prize shall go to the runnerup and, if necessary, down the list until a winner is named.

6) I will submit a set of predictions, but will not be eligible for any prizes.

7) The final set of predictions is due by Monday, April 5, 2004. A contestant may enter earlier and then make any changes prior to the deadline. Only the most recent set of picks will be considered as the entry. In case of any changes to the entry, the date of the amending shall be used as the date of the entry, for purposes of the tie breaker.

8) Entry into the contest shall be limited to members of the around the majors list and the Baseball Immortals Discussion List. If a contestant drops his membership from the list, then will be considered to be a withdrawal from the contest. (EXCEPTION--Temporary removal from the list, to prevent email from building up during a vacation shall not result in a person being removed from the contest.)

9) The entries should be emailed to contest@baseball-encyclopedia.com. But, they can be sent to me at my regular email address, if anyone forgets the contest one.

10) Please please the entries in either of the following formats--

NAME OF DIVISION--1st place team, 2nd place team ...

1st place team
2nd place team

Please do not line things up in columns, with all of the 1st place teams in one row, the 2nd place in the next ... Experience has proven that such entries tend too often to turn into a mess when they appear in my inbox. Too many times people have thought they would be exceptions to that rule and sometimes they are. But, I've gotten enough entries over the years that took work to decipher and therefore anyone who violates this rule will have their entry returned to them without being recorded and will have to resubmit them in the correct format.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Using Standard Deviations for Values from the Mastersball forum. Always a lot of good fantasy baseball strategy talk on that board.
I had to blog this from the Baseball America Prospect Report (sign up here):

On Friday, Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver allowed just one hit over eight innings, registering 15 strikeouts for the third time in six starts.

His season stats:

J.Weaver (W,6-0) 43.2 IP, 17 H, 5 BB, 70 K

Jered is LA Dodger pitcher Jeff Weaver's brother. He is looking like the #1 overall pick in the draft.
The O's team physician Dr. Chick Silberstein has cleared Luis Matos to resume playing. Matos was diagnosed with a superficial stress fracture, which means there is a tiny crack there, but it's on the outside of the tibia.

"You're talking millimeters," Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie said. "And it's just on the outside of the bone, not going through the bone or anything like that. So there's no chance you can injure it further."

Manager Lee Mazzilli plans to ease Matos back gradually, using him as the designated hitter before sending him back to center field.

As I said earlier this week, Matos does have an injury history and will always remain a concern until he can string together a couple healthy seasons. I like his potential and see him as decent big league center fielder that could maybe max out with 20 home run power though 15 home runs might be more in his range.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Baseball America has a good article on steroids in baseball.

From the article: When major leaguers believe they must use steroids to prosper or compete in the big leagues, it sets off a chain reaction. Minor leaguers then see it as a necessity. A farmhand who is struggling will view steroids as his means to hit the ball another 30 feet, or add a few miles an hour to his fastball. The trickle-down effect continues to college and high school, where players view steroids as not just a means to gain an advantage, but a necessity to remain competitive. It is a wicked chain destined to lead to serious damage to the sport, and to the lives of many of the participants. Fans may complain that steroids inflate statistics, but that is only a fraction of the damage.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Reminder (more for myself) that Kevin Goldstein from Baseball America will be joining Ron Scarborough on WRIX, 103.1 FM in South Carolina at 8 p.m. ET. I am hoping for a webcast.
Another interesting Ask BA at Baseball America. This week Jim Callis talks about players that made their major league debut at seasonal age 20 (as of June 30) since 1990. He mentions five players that he thinks could be regulars by the end of the season; Royals righty Zack Greinke (20), Devil Rays shortstop B.J. Upton (19), Braves third baseman Andy Marte (20) and Dodgers lefty Greg Miller (19) and amazingly Devil Rays outfielder Delmon Young (18) who was just drafted last year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

O's preview from Eugene Freedman at Baseball Primer.

The article is decent but kind of tails off at the end. Seems Eugene doesn't really have much interest in discussing pitching. Still, some of my favorite quotes from the article:

Mora will still be an upgrade over Batista, who despite a bunch of homers, stunk. Mora can guarantee a .300 OBP, which is pretty much a pipe dream from the hacker Batista.

Two-sixty-nine. That was Deivi Cruz’s On-Base Percentage last season. It wasn’t until about mid-season that Jim Palmer started complaining that Cruz was not getting on base enough and that it was a real problem for the lineup.

Sir Sidney returns to the O’s after a playoff run in San Francisco. The only thing the Giants have to show for it is a stretched out pair of uniform pants. On the other hand, the O’s have Kurt Ainsworth to show for it. Ponson is a solid starter and an innings eater. Well, to be honest, it looks like he eats just about anything.

He does mention that he's unsure as to why Luis Matos didn't get any playing time until recently. That can be answered by looking at his injury history. From a recent Baltimore Sun article, "Matos has a history of injuries in exhibition games. He needed surgery in 2001 to tighten his left shoulder socket after suffering another dislocation, and in 2002 to remove a broken hamate bone in his left wrist."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Interesting insight from Bob at Birds in the Belfry on his brush with Frank McCourt, the new owner of the Dodgers, about 15 years ago. It doesn't paint a pretty picture for the Dodgers.
Athletics Nation suggests starting a movement towards making Opening Day in Major League Baseball a national holiday. Another day off work and a chance to watch baseball? I am all for it. We don't get enough damn holiday's in this country anyway.
Ron Neyer quotes PECOTA in his latest little mail bag and shows that most of the Red Sox hitters will experience a decline from last year's OPS numbers and that only Kevin Millar and Johnny Damon are expected to improve their OPS (and Damon's wasn't very good to begin with last year).

Too bad it doesn't mean much to the O's since their best bet is to finish in third this season and some might even see that as a stretch for the inexperienced rotation lead by the very hefty Sidney Ponson.

Ponson lands a three-year, $22.5 million contract from the O's this offseason and then celebrates by tacking on an extra 15 pounds during the offseason. Word is Sidney entered camp at 264 pounds. That is a lot of weight for a pitcher and the chances of injury are definitely there. Now, he was no feather last season and he could drop some of that weight this spring but that doesn't take away from the fact that he let himself plump up after getting some job security. Could Sir Sidney be reverting back to his old stubborn and lazy ways? I hope not but it certainly appears that he is.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Interesting study at the Batter's Box on statistical evaluations of college hitters. Worth a read and worth checking out the Top 50 from 2003 below the article.

Here's a bunch of college baseball stuff from Boyd's World as well.
The Baltimore Sun hasa short piece on the most impressive player in O's camp, Mike Fontenot. So far this spring he is 4-for-9 (.444) with one home run, three RBIs and two doubles.

Last season at Double-A Bowie he hit .325 with 12 HR, 66 RBIs, a .399 OBP and an 89/50 K/BB ratio. The O's will likely send him to Triple-A this year to see if he can build on last season. It isn't out of the question that if Fontento has a strong start at Triple-A this season the O's could make room for him by trading Brian Roberts and/or Jerry Hairston Jr. for prospects.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

In a Baltimore Sun article about Matt Riley's path to the majors Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan says that the fifth spot in the rotation is Riley's to lose. His main "comptetion" for the final spot is Omar Daal and Rick Bauer.

Riley was the O's third-round pick in the 1997 draft. He blew out his left elbow and had to undergo the Tommy John ligament transplant surgery in September of 2000.

Last year in 14 starts at Double-A Bowie Riley had a 73/23 K/BB in 72.1 IP and allowed 56 hits before being called up to Triple-A Ottowa. At Ottowa, Riley had a 77/28 K/BB in 70.1 IP and allowed 70 hits before getting a late season call-up to the majors. With the O's Riley made 2 starts against Toronto and went 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

The Orioles would be best to give him a shot in the rotation from the start of the season if he has a strong spring.
If you want to try to win something, fill out Baseball America's Reader Survey for chances to win one-year subscriptions and Baseball America merchandise.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Baseabll America has an article on second base prospects Josh Barfield and Scott Hairston and how they are part of the new "offense-first" second baseman. There is a small mistake in the article that says Arizona's Luis Gonzalez underwent elbow surgery during the offseason. He has actually avoided surgery to this point choosing to instead strengthen the area around his elbow this offseason. He sounds like an season-ending injury waiting to happen.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Some thoughts about the San Francisco and Kansas City bullpens and who could win the last spot in the Atlanta rotation from a free preview of The Buyer's Guide on Baseball HQ.
Not Orioles related - I'm watching the Yanks-Phils spring training game and 20-year-old lefty Cole Hamels looks very solid. He struck out Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Clark with a mid-90's fastabll and a sweet 80 mph change. Very good looking prospect.
I'm clearly on my way to superstar status now that I've had my name dropped in a Talented Mr. Roto article on Rotoworld.com. Scroll down to the 4th Q for the original question about the LIMA plan and then down to the 5th Q for my props. The article that he is speaking of can be read here.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Well, the O's won their spring opener today but lost Jerry Hairston, Jr. for possibly 4-6 weeks. Brian Roberts, who wins the 2B job by default now, didn't play due to back stiffness but he expects to play tomorrow. Second base prospect Mike Fontenot went 1-for-2 with a HR and 2 RBI's. He's a long shot to make the team this spring but hopefully he'll be able to take over at second by the start of next season.
Kevin Goldstein from Baseball America will be on the air with Ron Scarborough today (and every Thursday throughout the season) at 9 p.m. ET on 103.1 WRIX-FM in South Carolina. I'm sure they have a webcast so it's worth checking out. Also, BA Executive Editor Jim Callis will be talking Brewers and Top 100 Prospects on Wisconsin ESPN radio Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The Baseball America Prospect Report goes into full swing today with run-downs of how the top prospects played the night before. A great free resource for those of you interested in following prospects with ease. Subscribe here.
The latest Ask BA at Baseball America discusses what a No. 1 pitcher is and includes Baltimore Prospect Adam Loewen as one of the few pitchers in the minors that has the ceiling of being a No. 1. The article also has a question about why the O's chose to make Nick Markakis an outfielder instead of a pitcher and who was behind that decision.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

My latest article on the Minnesota Twins is posted in the premium section of the CREATiVESPORTS.com MLB Draft Kit. If you are looking for some affordable, in-depth help for your 2004 fantasy baseball draft, this is the place.
Kerry's Calculus, on the O's Fan Site Birds in the Belfry, has an article on the BALCO investigation and what it's effect on baseball might be. The article concludes that "it's clear at this point that a meaningful plan to deal with the cloud of performance enhancing substances is going to have to originate at the grass roots--that is, players."


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

A very interesting article on baseball blogs. Unfortunately no mention of me since I am a start-up and I haven't analyzed crap.