Showing posts with label Minnesota Twins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnesota Twins. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2011

2012: Michael Cuddyer Joins the Rockies

Michael Cuddyer is one of those baseball players that is really easy to love. He always seems genuinely happy to be at the ballpark. He works hard. He does not care which position he is asked to play. He gets that when you make millions a year to play a game invented for kids you really have little to complain about.

As a fantasy contributor, Cuddyer has been solid but rarely spectacular. He has spent his entire career until now with the Minnesota Twins. In Minnesota he has typically hit for a decent batting average and 15-20 homeruns. But what may not be obvious is how Target Field has restrained his homerun power. In 2010 Target Field (according to ESPN Park Factors) reduced homeruns by nearly 26 percent. It was not as drastic in 2011 but Target Field still rated as a tough park to hit homeruns.

Cuddyer's move to Coors Field should be nothing but good news to Fantasy Owners. Coors Field is still one of the best hitter's park in the sport. Boosting homers by over 35 percent in 2011. The combination of leaving Target Field and playing his home games in Colorado should push Cuddyer's expected homerun projection from the 15-20 range, firmly into the 25-30 homer range.

For now Cuddyer is expected to man right field for the Rockies. But the Rockies could easily find themselves needing him at third base. For the moment they will count on Casey Blake at third base. Blake experienced three trips to the disabled list in 2011, primarily due to a bad back. The chance that he will be able to play full time is small. Qualifying at 3B would only boost Cuddyer's value even further.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope Santa was good to you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fuentes to Twins, Rodney to Close, Walden the Future?

The Los Angeles Angels have sent left-handed closer Brian Fuentes to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later. Fernando Rodney will assume the closer role for the Angels. Fuentes will see some save chances for the Twins but as their sole healthy left-hander, Fuentes will often be used in platoon situations.

"He'll be setup and probably occasionally close if I use [Matt Capps] too much," Gardenhire said. "He gets lefties out pretty [darn] good, plus he can close, too, another very, very good arm out in the bullpen with experience. He should help us out."
The Angels insist that trading Fuentes does not indicate they are giving up on the season. They're right, it doesn't. But it is a good move for a team with little chance of winning and a bullpen loaded with younger and superior talent. It also helps that the Angels are expecting a very good player in return.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins said the club will "soon" receive a "prospect with upside" as part of the trade and thanked Fuentes for his two seasons with the club. It's still unknown how much of Fuentes' salary will be picked up by the Twins, as there is $1.89 million left on his contract this season.

Reagins and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the move doesn't indicate they are giving up on this season and building for next season, as veteran reliever Fernando Rodney will serve as the club's closer the rest of the season, and young relievers Michael Kohn and Jordan Walden have impressed so far.
Walden, who has received a lot of attention lately for his gun-busting fastball, is a future closer candidate. He has awesome stuff but failed to develop as a starter. He is now considered a full time relief pitcher by the Angels. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jordan Walden has reached as high as 102 mph with his fastball.

“These guys are just cutting their baby teeth right now,” Scioscia said. “They’re taking baby steps, but I think they’ve shown great poise on the mound for youngsters coming up. Becoming a Major League pitcher is a process and this is the first steps of it, but they’ve certainly taking that step and meeting the challenge head-on.”
Fantasy owners should hang on to Brian Fuentes if they are still in need of saves. Fuentes may not get many but his overall numbers should improve as he becomes more of a platoon specialist. Fernando Rodney may be available in shallower leagues and is worth picking up for those in need of saves. Rodney is also the likely closer to start the 2011 season as well. Jordan Walden has a bright future in the Angels bullpen and I see him becoming the full-time closer in 2012. He is an excellent speculation pick for those in re-building mode.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Joe Nathan Considering Surgery and Other Bits

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Minnesota Twins closer, Joe Nathan, has a significant tear in his right elbow's ulnar collateral ligament. This is the type of injury that usually requires Tommy John Surgery. The Twins and Nathan are choosing to explore rehab and strengthening the surrounding muscles before committing to the operation which would certainly end Nathan's 2010 season and put his 2011 season in jeopardy. I have serious doubts that the surgery will work. I am not a doctor but we've seen this situation before and it almost never works out.

This news certainly sucks for those that have already drafted Nathan (not to mention Nathan himself and the Twins). The question on most fantasy-oriented minds is who will replace Nathan as closer while he is rehabbing/recovering. There are two options. The most popular choice at the moment is Jon Rauch, who has closer stuff and has closed before for short periods with the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks. The other option is Matt Guerrier who has been a very effective reliever (even if a little lucky in 2009) for the Twins.

I like both options. I believe the Twins will make Jon Rauch as their first choice because of his prior experience. He does have a bit of an injury history however. So picking up Guerrier as insurance or as a late round/low cost saves option makes a lot of sense. Jon Rauch will provide you with typical closer stats - strikeouts in bunches and quality ratios. Guerrier will cost less and could potentially provide even better ratios but the strikeouts will not be as impressive.

There are a few other options worth a buck at the end of your auction or a reserve round pick - Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain, and Jose Mijares. All three have great stuff with different things keeping them from being ideal options. Neshek is coming off Tommy John Surgery and pitchers usually require at least a few months on the mound before they rediscover their former stuff (if they ever do). Jesse Crain isn't the fireballing closer candidate he used to be but is still an effective reliever and his name has been linked with closer opportunities before. Jose Mijares certainly has the stuff but is the only (certain) lefty in the pen and lacks experience.

UPDATE: The Advanced Fantasy Baseball Community Leagues
The response to the AFBCL has been overwhelming. There are a few owners who have been sent invitations who have not yet accepted. I plan to give them another day or so to accept before I give their spots away. There seems to be enough interest to have a second league, though I'm not certain about prizes just yet. If you are interested but figured all the spots were filled go ahead and send me an e-mail expressing your interest. If you have already sent one, no need to send another, I'll assume you are for now.

The All Sleeper Teams Are Coming This Weekend
The fifth annual All Sleeper Teams article will be released this weekend. This is the most packed edition yet. There are more sleeper teams (categories) and dozens and dozens of sleepers with longer write-ups than in past years. You do not want to miss this piece before your draft or auction so be certain to sign up for e-mails or the RSS Feed, links are available in the sidebar on the main page of the blog.

Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 Sleeper Alert: Francisco Liriano

Photo from fOTOGLIF

After his 2006 season it seemed certain that Francisco Liriano would never again be put into the category of a sleeper pick. However, after his 2009 performance (5.80/4.87 ERA/FIP) that is exactly what he is. In fact, most owners have been down on him according to early mock drafts. But that is changing, mostly due to Liriano's stunning performance in the Dominican Winter League for Leones del Escogido. Dominican League statistics are hard to come by but at the end of last week Liriano was in the midst of an impressive streak that included 26 and 2/3 scoreless innings and 35 strikeouts in 27 and 2/3 innings. Last night he struck out 10 batters over five scoreless innings against Gigantes del Cibao to claim the Dominican League title in the deciding ninth game of the series at Julian Javier Stadium in San Francisco de MacorĂ­s. He allowed just one hit and improved to 3-1 with a 0.49 ERA. This brought his season totals to 47 strikeouts in just 37 innings.

If I was ever off Liriano's bandwagon, I am clearly back on it. In 2009 Liriano suffered through what the Minnesota Twins labeled Elbow Fatigue, which led to some swelling in his forearm, that led to his DL stint. Some player take more time than others to recover from injury. It is very possible that Liriano simply came back too soon, and put too much stress on his Tommy John repaired elbow. This season he will be more than two years removed and judging by his recent performances in the Dominican he has got that special something back. Combine this good news with the Twins' improved infield defense and the new stadium (with real grass) that should benefit pitchers and the possibilities are soaring.

However owners should still exercise caution in drafting Liriano, who has to be considered injury prone. Still, he should be squarely in every owner's radar. When you're considering the John Maines, Aaron Harangs, and for your fantasy roster you may want to check on the availibility of the Twins young lefty first.

Other opinions on Francisco Liriano:

David Golebiewski of
- Don’t forget Liriano. Exasperating as he is, he figures to post an ERA in the low-to-mid four’s in 2010. He’ll be back. That fastball needs an upgrade, however, if he hopes to terminate opposing batters.

Tim Brown of - While at first glance the White Sox and Tigers have the better starting rotations in the Central, Francisco Liriano will be pivotal. Reports out of the Dominican Republic say Liriano has regained his velocity and the late bite on his slider. The Twins are eager to see for themselves. In the meantime, he’s behind Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Carl Pavano, and battling Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins for the fifth place in the rotation.

NBC Sports/ Rotoworld - Liriano looked incredibly sharp, hitting 95 MPH consistently with his fastball and displaying a tight break on his slider. The 26-year-old lefty had a lousy 2009 campaign, but the Twins have to be pleased with the way he looked tonight. Liriano should have no trouble climbing back into the club's starting rotation with a strong spring and is quickly turning into a legitimate fantasy sleeper. We all know what kind of dominance he's capable of.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Missed Call

I was rooting for the New York Yankees but this was a terrible call. I'm not sure it would have made a dramatic difference in the game but the umpires should not miss calls that are this clear.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Justin Morneau Out for the Season

Back injuries are the worst. Not only are they hard to rehab but once you hurt your back the chance of a recurrence increases significantly. You have probably heard that Justin Morneau will miss the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his back. I have not heard when exactly his back was injured but Morneau has been slumping pretty badly for more than a month. The Minnesota Twins have announced that he will not need surgery and through rest and rehab should be prepared to start the 2010 season on time.

As bad as this news is for Morneau owners it should give a slight boost to those owners still holding on to Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young. Both players have been extremely disappointing this season. Gomez was reduced to part-time play and has just 11 stolen bases in 17 attempts. He'll become the regular center fielder for the balance of the season. So, if you could use a few extra steals down the stretch (and can take the slight hit to your batting average) Gomez could be your man. Young's July hot streak was apparently just a mirage and not a sign that he was starting to get it. At least that is the only conclusion to make where the stats are concerned. Young still has those tools and will receive a boost in at-bats with Michael Cuddyer moving to first base.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Injury Report: Joe Mauer Not Likely for Opening Day

According to La Velle E. Neal's Twins Insider Blog, Joe Mauer is very questionable for opening day. After multiple consultations there is consensus that the problem is indeed inflammation of the sacroiliac joint - the joint that connects the bottom of the spine to the top of the pelvis. However, no one seems to have any idea how the problem arose in the first place.

Fantasy owners should avoid drafting Mauer unless they are receiving a deep discount on his usual price. Owners in non-keeper leagues would be wise to avoid him altogether at this point. I would not project more than 350 at-bats just to be on the safe side. If this means Mauer is undraftable then so be it.