2011 Catcher Rankings

Catchers
1. Joe Mauer
2. Brian McCann
3. Victor Martinez
4. Miguel Montero
5. Buster Posey
6. Geovany Soto
7. Mike Napoli
8. Matt Weiters
9. Jorge Posada
10. Kurt Suzuki
11. Russell Martin
12. Ryan Doumit
13. Chris Iannetta
14. John Buck
15. Nick Hundley

Others:
Rod Barajas
John Jaso
Josh Thole
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
J.R. Towles
J.P Arencibia
Jonathon Lucroy

Rhino

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2011 Season Predictions

A little late to post but I’m not changing anything due to the slow start of some teams and players….

NL East
Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies (W)
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals
New York Mets

NL Central
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

MVP: Albert Pujols .335 92 Runs 34 HRs 111 RBIs
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw 18-7 223 Ks 2.62 ERA
RoY: Freddie Freeman .285 76 Runs 18 HRs 85 RBIs

AL East
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles

AL Central
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers (W)
Minnesota Twins
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

AL West
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics
Anaheim Angels of LA
Seattle Mariners

MVP: Adrian Gonzalez .320 104 Runs 43 HRs 127 RBI
Cy Young: David Price 19-6 204 Ks 2.60 ERA 1.12 WHIP
RoY: Jeremy Hellickson 14-8 170 Ks 3.65 ERA 1.27 WHIP
Comeback Player of the Year: Kendry Morales

Rhino

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May I Have Your Attention, Please…

To all my fans: You’ve been visiting my site letting your appetite for semi-intelligent and somewhat creative sports blogging go un-whetted. I deeply thank both of you. I also sincerely apologize. The good news to some of you is that I’m back and this site will soon be back up and running with 2011 season and fantasy predictions/sub-expertise/advice/nonsense. As always, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I’m still waiting to be called the latter but former and I are ol’ pals. Not only is it employed by many to describe my writing style but also accurately depicts my apartment, savings account, most of the girls I date, and naturally my self-esteem.

I appreciate your continued support. Stay Tuned!

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The Evolution of a Trade…

Florida: With the Marlin’s latest trade of Cameron Maybe to the Padres, they’ve shown their fans and the rest of the baseball world they really don’t know what they’re doing. Following the 2007 season, Miguel Cabrera was 24 and coming off his third straight season with an OPS+ of at least 150. Florida then shipped Cabrera, who they wouldn’t have been able to afford, to Detroit along with Dontrelle Willis, who was coming off a rough season but was still a useful major league pitcher with a good chance of bouncing back. In return, the Tigers sent two of their best prospects; outfielder Cameron Maybin and lefthander Andrew Miller along with a bunch of castoffs like a Rock of Love Reunion Show. It looked like the Marlins were doing what they do best. Trading for a top prospect and looking to make them a superstar before flipping them for more diamonds in the rough. After all, they’d brought up Derek Lee, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, and A.J. Burnett in recent memory.

Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis= Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller (Eulogio de la Cruz, Burke Badenhop, Mike Rabelo, and Dallas Trahern) You can ignore the players in parenthesis. Ever heard of them? My point exactly.

Cameron Maybin played less than an entire season (144 games) for the Florida Marlins over three seasons and compiled a .257/.323/.391 line with 12 homeruns and 14 stolen bases. Not bad at all for a 23 year old not seeing regular time. But his minor league numbers seem to project this was just the beginning for the youngster ranked in the top 8 prospects in baseball three consecutive years from 2007 to 2009. In 490 career Triple-A plate appearances, Maybin hit .325/.401/.477. However, the Marlins must know something no one else does because they shipped the prize piece of their Miguel Cabrera deal to the San Diego Padres for two right-handed relievers.

Cameron Maybin= Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb

Cameron Maybin was the prize of the Cabrera trade but Andrew Miller wasn’t too far behind. However, he never quite looked like the pitcher the Marlins traded for…not even close. The 6th overall pick in 2006, Miller posted a 5.89 ERA in 220 innings over 3 seasons with Florida. But having just finished his 25-yr old season, Miller still has a chance to be a late bloomer and find a niche in the majors. Florida didn’t think so though, and that’s what matters. Miller was shipped to Boston in a lefty-reliever swap.

Andrew Miller= Dustin Richardson

Meanwhile, Detroit has released Dontrelle Willis but has one of the best hitters in baseball, Boston has a no risk redemption project, and Florida has…well….a decent bullpen, I guess.

Miguel Cabrera= Edward Mujica, Ryan Webb, and Dustin Richardson

So in just three years, the Marlins took this season’s runner up in AL MVP voting and turned him into three relievers. Ask anyone in baseball what the easiest spot on a roster is to fill and you’ll get the same answer every time. A right-handed reliever. Well that’s now especially true if you’re the Florida Marlins.

Rhino

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Toronto’s ’50 Club’ Doubles Its Members

Only Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn stole more bases in 2010 than Rajai Davis who grabbed an even 50. No one in baseball hit more homeruns than Jose Bautista’s 54. Now we’ll see what they can do together.

The Blue Jays have acquired outfielder Rajai Davis whose 2010 season may only be half the story as Rickey Henderson has claimed “he could steal 100 in a season.” This was a fantastic move for the Toronto Blue Jays who have gotten off to a great offseason, as I wrote about recently. Davis adds a new dynamic to the Canadians they didn’t have last season.

In 2010, the Blue Jays despite winning 85 games were completely one dimensional. 53% of the runs the 2010 Jays scored were due to the homerun. This is the largest such rate of any team in history…by a lot. The second highest ever is 47%. An obvious explanation is Jose Bautista’s major league-leading 54 bombs, but even outside they’re sluggers, they didn’t ‘manufacture’ many runs at all. Rajai Davis will change that.

Rhino

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It’s Never Too Early For Fantasy

The NL had an incredible amount of effective rookies in 2010. That’s been well documented. But I wanted to write about one who seems to have gotten completely forgotten in the shuffle.

A story of two shortstops…

Player A: 574 at-bats, .269/.308/.392, 59 Runs, 10 Homeruns, 65 RBI, 17 Stolen Bases
Player B: 663 at-bats, .270/.340/.370, 111 Runs, 10 Homeruns, 67 RBI, 18 Stolen Bases

I’ll give you a hint; Player A is the rookie and Player B is a 5-time Gold Glove winner. Player B, Derek Jeter, will probably improve from this line in 2011. However, he’s certainly on the decline (you think?) and there is a reason I use the word ‘probably’.

On the other hand, Ian Desmond was just a rookie and should only get better. Desmond’s minor league track record isn’t stellar so there’s a reason I use the word ‘should’.

Jeter had nearly twice as many runs as Desmond so the effect of hitting at the top of the Yankees order cannot be understated. My point is not to campaign against Jeter (I did that when the Gold Gloves came out). My point is to show how underrated Ian Desmond’s rookie season was. It’s easy to understand how he got overshadowed when there were rookies like Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Jaime Garcia, Mike Stanton, etc. But lets give the National some love.

If you told me at the beginning of the year there would be a rookie shortstop who put up practically the same numbers as Derek Jeter but wouldn’t place in the top-8 in NL Rookie of the Year voting, I would have thought you were crazier than whatever offseason plan the Marlins seem to be on. And I probably wouldn’t have guessed that guy would be Ian Desmond. After all, he wasn’t even the most well-known rookie on his own team thanks to God’s Glass Arm, Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals will lose Adam Dunn, their best power hitter, this offseason. They will also be without the aforementioned Strasburg for all of the 2011 season. But with young players like Desmond, fellow rookie Roger Bernadina, and the Zimmerman brothers Ryan and Jordan they’ve got an enviable nucleus. Hopefully they continue to put up numbers and are around when Strasburg comes back and then when Bryce Harper gets to the big leagues.

Desmond could be a big-time fantasy sleeper in 2011.

Rhino

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Offseason Predictions

Orlando Cabrera to Houston: The Astros desperately need a shortstop and it’s a thin market for shortstops this offseason. Uribe is probably the top of the class but if he doesn’t stay in San Francisco, someone will pay him more than the Astros are willing to.

Juan Uribe to the Cardinals: This one almost makes too much sense to be true. Uribe can play 2B, SS, or 3B; the three weakest spots of the Cardinals. And his ability to move around the infield isn’t the only factor defining him as a La Russa guy. Uribe is smart, he plays hard, and he doesn’t say anything to the media. Looking for a perfect fit? It’s right here.

Felipe Lopez to the Twins: Someone has to play second base with Orlando Hudson almost assuredly leaving. Lopez fits the Twins style and could come at the right price for the wise spenders.

Adam Dunn to the Cubs: Will the Cubs finally make a smart move? Probably not. But I’m going to go out on a limb and predict it anyways. Dunn doesn’t have attitude problems like Milton Bradley, and he’s not coming off an unsustainable year like Marlon Byrd, so I’m not sure Jim Hendry will notice him. Come to think of it, Hendry tends to only sign Texas Rangers outfielders and he always buys high. And Jeff Francoeur is a free agent. Oh, please no…..

Jermaine Dye to the Royals: Kansas City has the best farm system in baseball but their future stars aren’t ready yet. And after trading David DeJesus to the A’s, the Royals need a right fielder. I’m guessing sitting at home for a year has a pretty humbling effect which would mean Jermaine Dye is probably ready to sign a contract. He has a history with this franchise and I wager a guess he can still hit better than most free agents out there.

Carlos Pena to the Rockies: As much as I respect Todd Helton, the Rockies need a first baseman. The Rockies are defensively minded. Enter first baseman and defensive whiz Carlos Pena. One more thing; Pena’s homerun total in Coors Field would be higher than I can count.

Vlad to the White Sox: Kenny Williams is too smart and has too much pride to let the DH spot ruin another season for them. I guarantee he’s heard more than he cares to about Jim Thome. And if you haven’t talked to Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, or Manny Ramirez, the White Sox GM likes aging outfielders. And Vlad is a more productive hitter right now than anyone the White Sox could get for his price.

Jeff Francoeur to the Cubs: *See Adam Dunn to the Cubs

Rajai Davis to the Braves: The Braves have a surplus of young pitching prospects and need a leadoff hitter, right handed bat, and outfielder. The A’s have too many outfielders now with David DeJesus, they don’t play Davis everyday, and they love young and cheap pitching. The only way this deal doesn’t get done is if Atlanta GM decides to stick with the plan of adding power. Which wouldn’t upset Braves fans in the least.

Ryne Sandberg hired as Tony La Russa’s understudy: This isn’t one I so much predict happening as I do hope for. How awesome would it be to see Sandberg managing the Cubs’ biggest rival? That’s a storyline people will follow.

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