Monday, October 31, 2011

Derek Lowe traded to Indians

Derek Lowe was traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Cleveland Indians on October 31, 2011. In exchange the Braves receive minor league player Chris Jones.

Lowe is a RHP who in 15 seasons has played for the Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox and Mariners. In 2011 he was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA, 137 strikeouts and 1.51 WHIP in 187 innings over 34 games. Over he career he has been 166-146 with a 3.94 ERA, 1659 strikeouts, 1.31 WHIP and 85 saves in 2515.2 innings over 634 games. He was originally drafted by the Mariners in the eighth round in 1991.

Jones is a LHP who played at the Class A advanced level in the Braves system. In 2011 he was 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA, 66 strikeouts and 1.31 WHIP in 72.1 innings over 43 games. He was originally drafted by the Indians in the 15th round in 2007.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

David Freese 2011 World Series MVP

David Freese was named the MVP of the 2011 World Series as his St Louis Cardinals claimed the title over the Texas Rangers by winning four games to three. In the World Series Freese hit .348/.464/.696 with one home run, seven RBI and four runs. His home run was a winning walk off in the 11th inning of game six. 

Freese also won the NLCS MVP becoming the sixth player to win both. In the NLCS he hit .545/.600/1.091 with three home runs, nine RBI and seven runs. The Cardinals won the series over the Brewers four games to two.

Freese also set two MLB playoff records in setting the marks for RBI and total bases. With his two RBI in the last game he pushed his total to 21 RBI for the playoffs. He also became the first player to go over 50 total bases in the playoffs with his total of 52.

Freese is a story of a local boy who makes good as he played high school baseball for Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri near St Louis. His senior season he hit .533 with 23 home runs. He then felt burned out of sports and decided not to play baseball at the University of Missouri and just enjoyed college life until the baseball bug bit him again. He got his baseball spark back after going the JUCO route then accepted an offer to play at South Alabama.

His first season at South Alabama he hit .373/.443/.525 with six home runs, 48 RBI, 52 runs and six steals in 56 games. The following season he earned All-America honors at third base as he hit .414/.503/ .661 with 12 home runs, 73 RBI, 73 runs and eight steals in 60 games. That performance inspired the Padres to draft him in the ninth round in 2006.

He spent two season in the Padres farm system before being traded to the Cardinals in exchange for Jim Edmonds before the 2008 season. The Cardinals watched as Freese broke out in Triple A as he hit .306/.361/.550 with 26 home runs, 91 RBI, 83 runs and five steals in 131 games. 

His 2009, 2010 and  2011 seasons were all sidetracked by injuries. In 2009 he had surgery on an injured left ankle that only allowed him to play 64 games in the minors and 17 with the Cardinals. He started to get his baseball his baseball legs back in 2010 playing 70 games with the Cardinals hitting .296/.361/.404 with four home runs, 36 RBI, 28 runs and one steal then missed the last part of the season with right ankle injury. He missed part of 2011 with a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch but still started to break out with 97 games hitting .297/.350/.441 with 10 home runs, 55 RBI, 41 runs and one steal before catching fire in the playoffs.

Providing he can stay healthy Freese should prove to be a highly productive third baseman for the Cardinals for years to come.

Friday, October 28, 2011

St Louis Cardinals win 2011 World Series

The St Louis Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers four games to three to win the 2011 World Series. It was their 11th World Series title in franchise history. The Cardinals won the deciding seventh game of the series 6-2. It was Manager Tony La Russa's third World Series title after winning with the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and then with St Louis in 2006. David Freese was awarded the World Series MVP.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jack Wilson traded to Braves

Jack Wilson was traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Atlanta Braves on August 31, 2011. In exchange the Mariners will receive a player to be named later. Wilson is a shortstop who in 11 seasons has played for the Mariners and Pirates. Before the trade he was hitting .249/.283/.295 with zero home runs, 11 RBI, 22 runs and five steals in 62 games. For his career he has hit .266/.307/.368 with 61 home runs, 422 RBI, 561 runs and 43 steals in 1330 games. He was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the ninth round in 1998.

Matt Treanor traded to Rangers

Matt Treanor was traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Texas Rangers on August 31, 2011 in exchange for cash. Treanor is a catcher who has played for the Royals, Rangers, Tigers and Marlins over eight seasons. Before the trade he was hitting .226/.351/.306 with three home runs, 21 RBI, 24 runs and two steals in 65 games. For his career he has hit .225/.315/.307 with 16 home runs, 119 RBI, 109 runs and four steals in 432 games. He was originally drafted by the Royals in the fourth round in 1994.

Michael Gonzalez traded to Rangers

Michael Gonzalez was traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the Texas Rangers on August 31, 2011. In exchange the Orioles received a player to be named later which was Pedro Strop.

Gonzalez is a LHP in his ninth season and had played for the Orioles, Braves and Pirates. Before the trade he was 2-2 with a 4.27 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 1.38 WHIP and one save in 46.1 innings over 49 games. For his career he is 17-21 with a 2.94 ERA, 412 strikeouts, 1.24 WHIP and 56 saves in 358.2 innings over 387 games. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 30th round in 1997.

Strop is a RHP who was in his third season with the Rangers. Before the trade he was 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA, nine strikeouts, and 1.49 WHIP in 9.2 innings over 11 games. For his career he is 2-1 with a 5.22 ERA, 41 strikeouts and 1.59 WHIP in 39.2 innings over 45 games. He originally signed with the Rockies as an amateur free agent in 2002 out of the Dominican Republic. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Allen Craig and Albert Pujols in World Series record books

Three games into the 2011 World Series and Allen Craig and Albert Pujols have already added their names to the World Series record books. Craig set a record by having two pinch hit go ahead RBI in a World Series and he managed it in the first two games. Pujols splashed his name all over the record book in game three tying single of game records of home runs with three, hits with five, RBI with six and set the total bases record with 14.

Craig laid the foundation for his record in game one when he pinch hit for pitcher Chris Carpenter in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Texas Rangers had Alexi Ogando on the mound in relief of starter C.J. Wilson who had given up a hit to David Freese and then walked Nick Punto. Craig singled to right to score Freese and earned the RBI. It was also a game winning RBI as the score stayed 3-2 to the end.

A similar scenario played out in game two as Ogando relieved starter Colby Lewis after he had given up hits to Freese and Punto in a scoreless game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Craig entered the game to pinch hit for pitcher Jaime Garcia and he singled off Ogando to knock in Freese and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. The Rangers later scored twice in the ninth to win 2-1.

Pujols put the Cardinals on his broad shoulders in game three. He started out slow with a ground out to third in the top of the first inning but that would be the only time the Rangers would keep him off base in the game. He singled to left to start out the fourth inning but was out at second on Matt Holliday's fielder's  choice to shortstop. He led off the fifth inning and singled to center and later scored as Freese grounded out to third. In the sixth it was Pujols turn to terrorize Ogando as he slugged a 431 foot home run to left with Ryan Theriot and Rafael Furcal on base. In the seventh inning he hit a 424 foot home run to center off Mike Gonzalez with Craig on base. He capped his performance with a solo shot in the ninth as he put an offering by Darren Oliver 420 feet into the left field seats. Not a bad day going 5 for 6 with four runs, six RBI, three home runs and 14 total bases. That third home run also put Pujols at icon status by matching the legendary performances of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. The Cardinals crushed the Rangers 16-7.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 World Series Preview

The 2011 World Series starts tomorrow between the St Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals represent the National League after winning the wild card with a 90-72 record after finishing second in the Central Division then topping the Philadelphia Phillies 3 games to 2 in the division series and the Milwaukee Brewers 4 games to 2 in the NLCS. The Rangers represent the American League after winning the West Division with a 96-66 record then topping the Tampa Bay Rays 3 games to 1 in the division series and the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 2 in the ALCS.

The Cardinals starting lineup the final two games of the Championship Series was Rafael Furcal at shortstop, Jon Jay in center, Albert Pujols at first, Lance Berkman in right, Matt Holliday in left, David Freese at third,Yadier Molina at catcher and Nick Punto at second. For the season with the Cardinals Furcal hit .255/.316/.418, , Jay hit .297/.344/.424, Pujols hit  .299/.366/.541, Berkman hit  .301/.412/.547, Holliday hit .296/.388/.525, Freese hit  .297/.350/.441, Molina hit  .305/.349/.485 and Punto hit .278/.388/.421. Pujols led the team with 37 home runs followed by Berkman with 31 and Holliday with 22.

In the playoffs Furcal has hit .204/.220/.388, Jay has hit .216/.326/.270, Pujols has hit .419/.490/.721, Berkman has hit .237/.341/.342, Holliday has hit .375/.444/.531, Freese has hit .425/.485/.850, Molina has hit .279/.326/.349 and Punto has hit .143/.208/.143. Freese has hit 4 home runs follwed by Pujols with 2.

In the post season the Cardinals have relied on Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse as the starters and Jason Motte as the closer. In the regular season with the Cardinals Carpenter was 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, Garcia was 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, Jackson was 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, Lohse was 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.17 WHIP and Motte was 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 9 saves. In the post season Carpenter is 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, Garcia is 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, Jackson is 1-0 with a 5.84 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, Lohse is 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA and 1.45 WHIP and Motte is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.13 WHIP and 4 saves.

The top eight in the Rangers lineup this post season has been Ian Kinsler at second, Elvis Andrus at short, Josh Hamilton in center, Michael Young at first, Adrian Beltre at third, Mike Napoli at catcher, Nelson Cruz in right and David Murphy in left. For the season with the Rangers Kinsler hit .255/.355/.477, Andrus hit .279/.347/.361, Hamilton hit .298/.346/.536, Young hit .338/.380/.474, Beltre hit .296/.331/.561, Napoli hit .320/.414/.631, Cruz hit .263/.312/.509 and Murphy hit .275/.328/.401. Beltre and Kinsler led the team with 32 home runs each followed by Napoli with 30 and Cruz with 29.

In the playoffs Kinsler has hit .275/.396/.450, Andrus has hit .205/.326/.205, Hamilton has hit .293/.311/.415, Young has hit .209/.244/.349, Beltre has hit .238/.289/.524, Napoli has hit .316/.381/.395, Cruz has hit .243/.300/.784 and Murphy has hit .391/.481/.565. Cruz has hit 6 home runs followed by Beltre with 3.

In the post season the Rangers have gone with starters C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and closer Neftali Feliz. In the regular season Wilson was 16-7 with 2.94 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, Holland was 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, Lewis was 14-10 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.21 WHIP and Feliz was 2-3 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 32 saves. So far this post season Wilson has struggled going 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA and 1.85 WHIP, while Holland has been 1-0 with a 5.27 ERA and .176 WHIP, Harrison has been 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, Lewis has been 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.11 WHIP and Feliz has been 0-0 with a 1.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 4 saves.

The Cardinals has one of the best manager in the history of the game in Tony La Russa while the Rangers are lead by Ron Washington. I give the edge to the Cardinals for manager. Both teams bring impressive line ups that swing the bats well for both average and power. I have to give the edge to the Cardinals because they have more players riding hot streaks in the playoffs. The pitching is fairly even as both staffs have been beat up on so far in the post season. The Rangers are back for their second straight World Series while the Cardinals were most recently in the series in 2006 when they won for the tenth time in their history. I think history will be on the side of the Cardinals again although it should be a good series that I hope goes seven games to maximize our baseball enjoyment before the season picks up new next spring.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2011 fantasy results

The 2011 season ended and I claimed second place in our fantasy baseball league. I finished with 102.5 points out of a possible 120 while the first place team had 119. First may have lapped me but I more than lapped the other two money teams that finished with 75.5 for third and 70.5 for fourth. It is a 12 team league and the bottom three teams finished with 43, 40 and 39.5 points respectively.

I didn't win any categories but did manage second in six of the ten to garner 11 points each. I finished in third in two categories for 10 points a piece. The other two categories got me eight and 8.5 points.

In home runs I finished with 269 for 11 points. My leader was Mike Stanton with 34.First in the category had 395 while third had 257.

In runs I finished with 1114 for 11 points. My leaders were Joey Votto and Alex Gordon with 101 each. First in the category had 1296 while third had 1001.

In RBI I finished with 1024 for 11 points. My leader was Joey Votto with 103. First in the category had 1299 while third had 1018.

In stolen bases I finished with 192 for 10 points. My leader was Drew Stubbs with 40. First in the category had 220, second had 199 and fourth had 190.

In batting average I finished with .277 for 11 points. My leader was Hunter Pence with .310. First in the category had .285 while three was a tie for third with .273. 

In pitching wins I finished with 99 for 11 points. My leaders were Zack Greinke and C.J. Wilson with 16 each. First in the category had 114 while there was a three way tie for third with 93.

In saves I finished with 91 for 10 points. My leader was Craig Kimbrel with 46. First in the category had 126, second had 122 and fourth had 79.

In strikeouts I finished with 1453 for 11 points. My leader was C.J Wilson with 2.06. First in the category had 1505 while third had 1329.

In ERA I finished with 3.66 for 8.5 points. My leading reliever was Kimbrel at 2.10 and my leading starter was Ricky Romero at 2.96. First in the category had 2.95, second had 3.48, third had 3.60, another team tied me with 3.66 and sixth had 3.74.

In WHIP I finished with 1.25 for 8 points. My leading reliever was Sergio Santos with 1.03 and my leading starter was Romero at 1.14. First in the category had 1.12, second had 1.19, third had 1.24, two other teams tied me with 1.25 and seventh had 1.26.

It was a fun season and I had fun with every aspect. I look forward to sharing my league adventures again next season.