Tuesday, July 10, 2007

AAAA, or umm NL Midseason Report

As promised, the 2007 National League midseason report:

West

San Diego

I think the Padres are the team with the most interesting options. They’ve been dominant pitching wise but pretty bad offensively. It’s convenient to attribute both those to Petco’s spacious outfield but I don’t think that’s entirely to blame/credit for both. The Pads have already added cheap offense by taking in guys with questionable character (Michael Barrett and Milton Bradley) so we’ll see if that comes back to haunt them. It will be interesting to see if they trade some of their pitching (even if it’s at the AAA level) to bolster their offense.

Los Angeles

I really don’t have much good to say about this team. None of their hitters or pitchers are really that intimidating. Their first half MVP was probably Brad Penny and I am predicting that he is going to decline in the second half. His HR to outfield fly ball ratio has been very low, suggesting that he has been pretty lucky thus far. He also dated Alyssa Milano, so he’s pretty lucky in the regard as well. Look for him to give up a lot more home runs the second half. One surprise for the Dodgers has been James Loney who has an OPS of 1.045 (albeit in only 78 AB) and taken Nomar’s spot at first base. Anyway, I see this team fading as the second half progresses.

Arizona

They really could go either way. Randy Johnson has been good when healthy but that’s saying a lot. Its great the Eric Byrnes is hitting so well but its not great that he’s been their leading power guy. They need more power and production out of the typical power positions like 1B, 3B and the rest of the outfield.

Central

Chicago

After a shaky start this team appears to be a few moves away from being able to win a pretty weak division. I said at the beginning of the year that I really liked the Lily signing and he’s turned out pretty well. Overall their starting pitching is pretty solid. They could probably use some bullpen help. (See the end of this article.) Also, although it was a good move to get rid of clubhouse cancer/bully/psycho Michael Barrett, they do miss his bat and could use a catcher with a bigger stick.

Milwaukee

Their fast start means that if they can just play decent baseball throughout the second half they should be able to hold on to the division. The problem is they just dropped 3 of 4 to the Pirates and 2 of 3 to the Nationals, and they have been unimpressive away from home. What this team needs is a few veterans (maybe a starter and a bat) who have some playoff experience. They only real vet they have is Jeff Suppan who I refuse to acknowledge as a major leaguer, let alone a previous NLCS MVP.

East

Atlanta

A lot of question marks for the Braves. When will Andruw Jones start to hit? How long will Smoltz’s shoulder keep him sidelined? They could definitely use to add pitching, either a starter or reliever. I’m just not really sure who or what they have to offer. I’m hoping Buzzsaw will fill in the blanks for me.

New York

Despite a number of injuries they still have a small lead in the division. They could use 7th inning help and also may be in the market for a starting pitcher, possibly Contreras. They’re also looking forward to Pedro’s return, which should help their chances.

Philadelphia

The Phils aren’t that far back right now but I can see them being sellers before long. Even though Howard and Burrell will almost certainly have better second halves, they just don’t have the pitching with both Garcia and Lieber out.

This is not meant to be a knock on the NL, although it is obviously an inferior league (OK, that was), but any team who needs to add a “quality” arm to improve their bullpen should simply trade a marginal prospect to an AL team for a back of the bullpen rotation pitcher. It’s guaranteed to work. Trust me, I’ve seen enough Red Sox relievers get rocked only to get traded to the Padres or Dodgers and become key contributors (David Riske, Rudy Seanez, Cla Meredith). Jim Hendry, how do you feel about Mike Timlin?

One more things about the NL, then I’m done. I promise. Can you see any of these teams besides the maybe the Mets even having a chance to win the World Series? Well, maybe the Padres too I guess, but it’s just that none of them are very intimidating. Then again, the Cardinals are the reigning champions and I still have no idea how that happened.

5 Comments:

Buzzsaw said...

A few notes as I've been reading ... a common misconception is that the best prospects are in AAA, they're actually in AA, the good ones in AAA are just there immediately before they get moved up.
Also, the Cubs catcher actually has been known for his bat, but since he's been struggling at the plate and Barrett was soo bad at defense, he's getting the reputation of being a defensive catcher ... I think he's actually a converted first baseman.
Pedro Martinez is going to be absolutely awful, the surgery he had has never been done before, they put 17 micro drill holes in his elbow ... kind of like they did with Amare's knee. The Mets suck, their only chance is to outscore everyone, meaning Beltran needs too stop playing like a girl.

Buzzsaw said...

Thank you for deferring to me on the Braves, I thought for sure that you were gonna say they needed a bat ... everyone seems to think they can't hit because they got shutout in 3/4 but since then (last two weeks) they've scored the most runs in the MLB. There problem is pitching, this is their second half rotation as of now Tim Hudson, Chuck James, Buddy Carlyle, Kyle Davies and Jo-Jo Reyes. Hudson and James are fine, Carlyle has been great this year, but I'm thinking that's a fluke, and Jo-Jo Reyes is a great prospect (10-1 in the minors this year with a low 3's ERA) but in his first start he had only one pitch that a player swung and missed at .. pretty fucking awful. Smoltz will be 100% fine, this DL stint, thanks to the All-Star game will only delay him two days from when he'd normally be expected to pitch, they just did it to get another reliever up because the pen is dead ... speaking of which, losing Mike Gonzalez killed, Wickman scares me everytime he throws. Soriano is a complete badass in fact, his nickname among Braves fans is BMF (badass motherfucker). He pitched 16 1/3 consecutive hitless innings in May, he's insane, and will be closing before August. The Braves only have one lefty in the bullpen, however, Ledezma, who they just traded for and is shitty. Ryan Howard, Beltran, and Delgado will be hitting quite a few HRs if we don't fix that.
Lastly, I think Andruw is starting to pick it up, he's 6/11 in his last three games and seems to have stopped trying to hit HR's everytime he's up. He's just been soo bad though.

Logan said...

Buzz, I'm interested to know which Cubs catcher you're referring to who is known for his bat. Blanco's career BA is .224 and his OPS is .654. Hill's lifetime average is .202 and his OPS is .561. I'm guessing you must be talking about Bowen who is hitting .213 with an OPS of .657 for his career. I would still say they could upgrade at catcher.

Bish said...

Blanco actually is not even with the team right now. He was placed on the DL sometime in early June and still hasnt come off. Koyie (somehow pronounced Koy) is who I am going to assume he is talking about because he sucks a fat one when it comes to catching. His ability to throw out a running attempting to steal rivals only that of the mayor of cincinnati's throwing arm.

Buzzsaw said...

Yea Hill, you can't put much faith into lifetime stats when that 'lifetime' is 74 games, playing on and off, but yea, they need a catcher for the future. Offensively though, they felt comfortable enough with him. There biggest problem is the bullpen, which is atrocious, and the fact that the starters will fade, especially Marquis .. his ERA was seriously around 8 the 2nd half of last year