Category: Baseball Rants

Check Yaself Before Ya Wreck Yaself

Ice Cube is a philosophical wizard in the world of lyrical poetry, aka gangsta rap, but his words are perfect to throw to John Danks.  Danks had this to say about Jose Bautista after the slugger threw his bat down in anger on an infield popout:

“I just told him to run the bases. He was out there acting like a clown. He’s had a great year and a half — no doubt. He’s one of the best players in the league. But he’s out there acting like he’s Babe Ruth or something.  Just the way he was acting. He ran halfway down the line and stopped and spiked his bat. I get it. He’s upset at himself. He’s a good hitter, he’s had a great couple years. But he isn’t that good to be acting like he needs to hit every ball out of the ballpark.”

Really, John Danks?  Really?  You’re 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and you’re calling someone else out?  I remember when John Danks was relevant, but it isn’t this season.  Sure, Danks just turned 26 and had gone 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA in 608 1/3 IP from 2008-2010, but give it a break.  This is like Danica Patrick calling out someone who actually wins a race, maybe even Omar Vizquel telling someone they can’t hit anymore.

You know, the White Sox have had a six man rotation since Jake Peavy came off of the DL and Phillip Humber looks like the one they are moving to the bullpen.  This is the same Humber who has a 2.85 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 60 IP.  Maybe Danks should just shut his yapper and look at his lack of production before he calls out the current best player in baseball.  If Jose Bautista isn’t that good, what the hell is he?  When he said, “I get it.  He’s upset at himself,” he should have left it at that.  Now Danks is just another nobody who, at just one game over .500 for his career now, thinks that he is the next Cy Young.  You’re not that good to say something like that, John.  Start winning some games and keeping the opposing team from scoring, then maybe you can be taken seriously.


The Lawrie Need

Just how bad do the Blue Jays need June 1st to get here?  Look at this write up from

The Blue Jays’ third basemen have gone an astounding 0-for-45 over Toronto’s
past 13 games.

Over that time-frame, Jayson Nix is 0-for-22, John McDonald
0-for-18 and Edwin Encarnacion 0-for-5. On the year, Nix is now hitting .164,
McDonald .222 and Encarnacion .236. For the season, the Blue Jays’ third basemen
entered Saturday the owners of a combined .170/.227/.266 slash. Meanwhile, down
on the farm, Brett Lawrie continues to abuse Pacific Coast League pitching for
Triple-A Las Vegas, batting .341 to go along with 12 home runs, 17 doubles,
three triples, 40 RBI and a .403 OBP through his first 234 plate appearances.
It’s only a matter of time before he gets the call to the big leagues.
Yikes…maybe it is worth a Super-Two payday to have an upgrade in their lineup.  Even if you’re not taking your chances of winning the AL East this year seriously, you can’t really run guys out there to stink up the joint, right?  I mean, having the roof on the SkyDome/Rogers Centre, that’s like a huge dutch oven, am I right?  Lawrie needs to be up ASAP.  Bautista needs help and Lawrie, along with Adam Lind’s return, could move the Jays up the standings.

Who is That Guy – Anthony Swarzak

Anthony Swarzak touched the lives of baseball fans on Saturday night when he went     7 1/3 hitless innings, out of nowhere, for the Twins in his 14th Major League start.  Swarzak seemed like a career Minor Leaguer, but at 25 and after 66 starts at Triple-A Rochester, including 22 last year and parts of four seasons in Triple-A, Swarzak finally made good on his opportunity.

Swarzak was a 2nd round pick in the 2004 MLB Draft and was ranked in the top 100 prospects by Baseball America in 2006, albeit as number 100.  He hit a snag in his development on April 20, 2007, when he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a “drug of abuse,” clearly not steroids.  It threw off his development and could have ended his career, but he battled through it and reached the Majors for a 2nd time this season after spending all of last year in Triple-A.

Swarzak’s numbers have never been eye-catching.  He seems like an inning-eating type, possibly a long reliever long-term.  His numbers really took a hit in 2010, as he went 5-12 with a 6.21 ERA in Triple-A.  He isn’t someone to take seriously in fantasy leagues, even AL-only leagues, but you have to appreciate someone who has overcome a mistake to reach the highest level.

Reds C Depth = Giant potential

The Giants are going to have to upgrade at the catching position, whether Brian Sabean wants to try to fool the world by saying Eli Whiteside deserves a shot or not.  Sure, they should be connected to Ivan Rodriguez, he is the oldest catcher available and would fit right in on the Giants roster of veterans.  How about calling Cincinnati and Walt Jocketty, though?  Not only do the Reds have both Ryan Hanigan (.253, 2 HR, 10 RBI) and Ramon Hernandez (.321, 7 HR, 17 RBI), but they have two of the top catching prospects in all of baseball.

Devin Mesoraco is 22-years-old, toiling away in Triple-A Louisville waiting for a chance.  He was the Reds Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, finishing with a .302/.377/.587 slash-line, with 25 2B and 26 HR over three levels in the Minors.  He is hitting .296/.383/.480 this season, showing a little more patience at the plate while clubbing 13 2B, 5 HR, and 23 RBI in 152 at bats.  He is nearly Major League ready and could easily replace one of the veteran catchers in Cincinnati if they traded one of them.

Yasmani Grandal is also a 22-year-old, currently receiving for the Bakersfield High-A team in the California League for Cincinnati.  His numbers are a little inflated at .284/.416/.507 with 9 2B, 8 HR, and 30 RBI, but his 41/34 K/BB in 148 at bats show that his patience and his bat are in line with the hype that made him one of the best college bats available when the Reds drafted him in the 1st round, 12th overall, in the 2010 MLB Draft.

Could the Reds, who have had a lot of young talent reach the Majors in recent years possibly swap a catcher for a Giant starting pitching prospect?  With the depth in the Minors and the severity of the Posey injury, the Giants may need another catcher, allowing Posey to move to 1B to save his ankle or knee that he injured in the collision at home this week.  Zack Wheeler could look good in Red for Cincinnati if they play their cards right.

Giant Mistake by Bochy

Bruce Bochy is going to get a lot of credit for being a brilliant mind, managing the defending World Champion Giants is his current fame.  However, after Buster Posey was lost for the remainder of the season, Bochy started off with a very stupid move.  Sure, it is still early in the post-Posey era, but replacing Posey’s bat is very necessary, and it isn’t going to happen by just replacing him in the lineup with Eli Whiteside.

The Giants made several moves the same day they put Posey on the DL: INF Mike Fontenot was put on the DL and OF Darren Ford was put on the DL, while DFA INF Ryan Rohlinger.  They followed that up by purchasing the contract of C Chris Stewart and recalling 1B/OF Brandon Belt from Triple-A Fresno, and reaching for SS Brandon Crawford from High-A San Jose.  Stewart is a 29-year-old journeyman, clearly incapable of helping the team, but they needed the depth at catcher with Posey gone.  The real issues come with the prospects, Belt and Crawford.

Crawford is 24 and he has spent the last two seasons going back and forth between High-A and Double-A.  This season, he was playing in San Jose, High-A, playing in 14 games and hitting 3 HR with 15 RBI with a .322/.412/.593 slash-line.  However, in the two seasons before this, he has hit just .264 with 17 HR and 71 RBI in 806 at bats.  This has been done, mostly, in the California League, a notorious hitter’s league.  He received his first start Friday night and promptly hit a grand slam, finishing 1 for 3 with 4 RBI.  So, what’s the big deal?  That he is starting and they can’t find room for the actual prospect.

Brandon Belt struggled in his taste of Major League action earlier this season, hitting just .192 in 52 at bats.  However, his K/BB of 13/8 shows that he wasn’t totally lost, but they needed to do something with their lineup in San Francisco and cleared 1B for Aubrey Huff when Cody Ross returned from the DL on April 20th.  Belt has nothing left to prove in the Minors, especially considering that the Giants starting outfield consists of one player who isn’t replaceable, and that is debatable, in Cody Ross.  Andres Torres, Aaron Rowand, and Pat Burrell are hitting a combined .244 with 7 HR, 26 RBI in 348 at bats.  Belt was hitting .337 with 4 HR and 21 RBI in his first 101 Triple-A at bats.  This is after he rocketed through three levels in the Minors last year, finishing with a .352/.455/.620 slash-line, piling up 43 2B, 10 3B, 23 HR, 112 RBI, and 22 SB as a 22-year-old in 2010.  If you team up the Giants lineup without Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval and with Rowand, Burrell, Torres, Miguel Tejada, and Aubrey Huff as offensive “weapons,” the Giants can’t afford to let Belt sit on the bench or be up to just come off of the bench when needed.  They need him now.

Bruce Bochy was a genius who managed the Giants to the World Series because Brian Sabean drafted Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner, not because of moves that he made with a long list of veteran hitters in his lineup.  If he doesn’t get on board with Belt, Giants fans will be ready to whip him with theirs.

Edinson Volquez

In 2008, Volquez was 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA with 206/93 K/BB in 196 IP.  He blew out his elbow midway through 2009 and came back late in 2010 and struggled with his command, a normal side effect of Tommy John surgery recovery.  His WHIP was 1.50 in his 12 starts in 2010 and Volquez was leading the league in walks, 38, while showcasing a 2011 WHIP of 1.67 so far.  Look at these stats, though:

Year One:

9.46 K/9, 4.27 BB/9, .299 BABIP

Year Two:

9.35 K/9, 6.71 BB/9, .288 BABIP

Year One is his 2008 All Star campaign, while Year Two is 2011.  His walks remain up but he is getting more guys out when the ball is put in play.  He just needs to keep guys off, which he isn’t doing.  In fact, if he could just start at pitch 30, he’d be fine!  His first 30 pitches of the game, he has allowed a .337 AVG, 25 R, 6 HR, 27/23 K/BB, .482 OBP over 115 plate appearances.  Volquez has a lot to work on, specifically his location and his attitude, as he said on Sunday after his latest shellacking: “Everybody has to step up,” he said, “start to score some runs. In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.”  They may be but YOU haven’t been.  Louisville should be good for him.

Daniel Hudson

Hudson is a RHP for the Diamondbacks, acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Edwin Jackson deal last year.  He had a stellar debut for the Diamondbacks, having 11 starts to finish up the season, posting a 7-1 record, 1.69 ERA and 0.84 WHIP over the final months.  This happened after two dominating seasons through the ranks of the minors, where Hudson went 25-9 in 43 starts, 240 2/3 IP with a 2.76 ERA and 274/65 K/BB.  Due to his track record in the Minors and his performance late last season, Hudson became a huge sleeper for the 2011 season in fantasy leagues.  It didn’t start off well, however, as Hudson’s first four starts left him 0-4 with a 5.92 ERA.  In those 24 1/3 IP he still struck out 26 while allowing only 20 hits, but his walks were up, with 12.  Since those first four starts, Hudson is 5-1 in 41 2/3 IP with a 2.16 ERA and 28/6 K/BB.  While his strikeouts are down, so are his walks, and with that has come six straight quality starts.  If you’re in a fantasy league, the time may have passed to get Hudson cheap, but this 24 year old’s potential is just being tapped.  Meanwhile…how is Edwin Jackson doing: 3-5, 4.53 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and a 45/22 K/BB in 55 2/3 IP.  Yuck.