Tag Archive | "Career Numbers"

King Felix Is Not Adam Wainwright

The Seattle Mariners extended Felix Hernandez‘s contract on Thursday and many St. Louis Cardinal fans reacted quickly, feeling Adam Wainwright‘s price tag just went up.  The problem with that thought is simple, Hernandez is no Wainwright, he’s much, much better.

Cardinals Spring Baseball

Hernandez agreed to a deal that will keep him in Seattle for a reported financial windfall to the tune of seven years and $175 million.

That is not to say that Adam Wainwright is not a very good pitcher, we all know that he is.  It is not to say that Adam Wainwright will not be a very wealthy man when his contract is resolved, he most likely will.  But to say that Wainwright’s price will be based off of Hernandez’s price is a bit absurd.

Both of them debuted in the same year for the team they still play for, the Mariners and Cardinals respectively, and both were due to hit free agency at the same time, after the 2013 season.  That is where the comparisons end, however.

We can start with the obvious point of age.  Hernandez (26) is five years a junior to Wainwright (31).  If you are giving a seven year deal to a pitcher, you would do so to a pitcher Hernandez’s age, not Wanwright’s.  Beyond that, Hernandez has not spent any significant time on the disabled list, has substantially better career numbers, and has earned many more accolades than his St. Louis counterpart.

Tale Of The Tape
Wainwright Hernandez
80 Wins 98
1 20 Win Seasons 0
3.15 ERA 3.22
908 Strikeouts 1487
1073 Innings Pitched 1620.1
214 Games 238
11 Complete Games 23
4 Shutouts 9
1 All Star Selections 3
0 Cy Youngs 1
1 Arm Surgeries 0
1 Missed Seasons 0

That graph shows two very good pitchers.  It also shows one with an injury history, that is older, and is not quite on the same level.

Hernandez translated his career into a $25 million a year payout.  Wainwright will probably look to translate his into $20 million a year for a much shorter period of time.

Calm down, Cardinal Fans, the price of King Felix had little to no impact on the cost of Adam Wainwright.  That price was set before and I highly doubt it moved at all with this news.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Rasmus Back In Missouri

The news broke late Monday night over at MLB Trade Rumors that former Cardinal centerfielder, Colby Rasmus, may end up wearing powder blue on the other side of the state in 2012.

Rasmus was the center piece in the Cardinals trade deadline deal that brought pitching and bench help to St. Louis during the stretch run. An outfielder with huge potential, Rasmus had been highly touted as a can’t miss player in St. Louis for many years. When he arrived in St. Louis, however, he would struggle under manager Tony LaRussa.

LaRussa, known for his tinkering and adjusting, limited Rasmus in duty against left handed pitchers early on in his career. Colby was no saint in the situation, demanding to be traded not once but twice, and refusing the help of team coaches in an apparent desire to follow the teaching of his father. Colby’s performance and attitude soured and after a year long battle behind the scenes with management, he was shipped off to Toronto.

An already tough season would see the wheels fall off when Colby arrived north of the border. The outfielder struggled in the new system and performed horribly down the stretch. A look at Colby’s career numbers:

2009 STL 147 474 72 119 22 2 16 52 3 36 95 .251 .307 .407 .714
2010 STL 144 464 85 128 28 3 23 66 12 63 148 .276 .361 .498 .859
2011 TOT 129 471 75 106 24 6 14 53 5 50 116 .225 .298 .391 .688
2011 STL 94 338 61 83 14 6 11 40 5 45 77 .246 .332 .420 .753
2011 TOR 35 133 14 23 10 0 3 13 0 5 39 .173 .201 .316 .517
3 Seasons 420 1409 232 353 74 11 53 171 20 149 359 .251 .322 .432 .754
162 Game Avg. 162 543 89 136 29 4 20 66 8 57 138 .251 .322 .432 .754
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/29/2011.

Colby’s drop off in 2011 makes him a gamble in 2012. That being said, very few people feel that 2011 was the true Colby Rasmus. He is young (25 years old) and still has a big chance to grow. He is a proven commodity at the major league level and can provide some pop.

The National Post reported in September that Rasmus seemed a bit out of sorts. When asked about his timing at the plate, the article read this way:

Yet when asked about the focus of his daily drills, Rasmus replied: “I’m not working on anything right now.”

He said he is eager for the season to end, for the pressure of high expectations to fade, for a few months away from baseball to dissolve the bitter taste of his final days in St. Louis.

“I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being over in St. Louis,” Rasmus said before the Jays’ final home game Thursday night.

In addition, in that same article, it did not appear that Colby was open to the coaching being offered to him:

“I feel like I’ve played the outfield pretty good but my hitting’s been terrible,” he said. “But I wasn’t hitting good before I got here, so I didn’t really put too much expectation on myself to do good.”

The interview took place shortly after manager John Farrell said the Jays want Rasmus to stop trying to pull the ball on every swing. He needs to use the whole field and refine the timing of his leg kick, which serves as the trigger for his swing, Farrell said.

Even after a reporter told him what Farrell had said, Rasmus insisted he was “not working on anything.”

“I’m just going out there and hitting. Trying not to think too much. That’s where I got in trouble in the beginning.”

After joining the Jays, he said he tried “to fix too much stuff in the middle of the season, which is not a good idea. So I’m just going out there and playing and just riding it out, and then work on it in the off-season.”

The concern for me is his attitude. I have been a big supporter of Jeff Francoeur on this team due to his leadership qualities with the younger ballplayers. He has shown solid veteran leadership and fits in well to the grand scheme of the team growing in maturity and competing in the near future. Colby can be a strong part of that nucleus, but if he continues to buck against the system and his coaches, he could quickly become a clubhouse cancer.

With the recent additions of Jonathan Broxton and Jonathan Sanchez, the Royals are showing they are willing to take a bit of a risk on a high potential return. They seem to be making solid moves towards the future. Colby has the potential to be a part of a very strong future in Kansas City. He also has the potential to shake the foundation of the franchise from within.

It will be up to Dayton Moore to decide which side of the argument he feels has the greater potential.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Royals Offseason Potpourri I

I have a few thoughts on what has transpired during the Royals’ offseason, but none of them would fill up it’s own article. Here are some random thoughts.

Alex Gordon Wins a Gold Glove
I stated last week that I’m not a big awards person. No one is going to run around in an Alex Gordon Gold Glove shirt. But I understand their value and that individual awards are something players deserve. Congrats to Alex Gordon on his first Gold Glove. How Jeff Francoeur didn’t win one blows my mind. If you want to know the correlation between Gold Gloves and wins for a baseball team you will have to look that up on your own. Before you do, take note that the last Royal to win a Gold Glove was Mark Grudzielanek in 2006.

Everyone needs a Sluggerrr PillowPet

Pitching Coach Dave Eiland (pronounced i-land)
I read biographies on Dave Eiland from serveral sources . Nothing earth shattering jumped out at me. Most recently he was the Pitching Coach for the New York Yankees from 2008 – 2010. The names of the pitchers he is attributed to working with aren’t anything to get excited about. However, he does have experience within a winning organization. If he can figure out a way to decrease walks by the Royals pitching staff, and correct Luke Hochaver’s basketcase innings he will have done is job and the Royals will be a better team. You know?

Melky Cabrera
This article appeared last week about Melky Cabrera’s future with the Royals. Because the Royals signed him as a free agent I thought he had hit free agency, but that is not the case. The Royals do control him through the 2012 season. They will have to pony up more than $1.25 Million, but they have control. Given this past season Melky’s numbers were much higher than his career numbers I like the way the Royals are approaching this situation. That still doesn’t mean he’ll be around for Spring Training. Lorrenzo Cain is waiting in the wings and the Royals still need some starting pitching. Cabrera would be a good trade piece. However, I seem to remember writing this same sentence in July.

Bruce Chen
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweeted this week that Bruce Chen has two other suitors besides the Royals. It has been reported in other publication that Chen is looking for a multi-year deal. As thin as Royals pitching has been I think the Royals have to do what it takes to bring him back. If the last year of his contract doesn’t work out you have to chuck that up as the cost of doing business.

Pitching Search
No doubt the Royals need to add starting pitching in the offseason. So, far I haven’t seen anything to get excited about. But it’s still early. Like last offseason, you knew a trade was coming for Zack Greinke. This time it’s look for a trade that brings an Ace too Kansas City. I like this way better.

Hey Look! Baseball
You may not know this. But there is baseball on television tonight. MLB Network will be televising the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game tonight at 7pm CDT (barely). I’ll have a hard time watching it over Kansas State at Oklahoma State or LSU at Alabama. But it’s worth a DVR look. Royals prospects and players Wil Myers, Nate Adock (after a full season in the majors he’s not a prospect) Christian Colon, and Jeremy Jeffress are on the rosters. Maybe in a few year there can be four Royals in the Major League All-Star Game.

Cover photo courtesy of Minda Haas.

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Adron Chambers Arrives In St. Louis

The Cardinals announced their final September call ups to join the team now that the Memphis Redbirds have concluded their season. Tony Cruz, Tyler Greene and Adron Chambers will all arrive in St. Louis in time for the September 6th matchup with the Brewers.

Tyler Greene will be given every chance to prove that he can be the shortstop on this team in 2012. Tony Cruz may very well be trying to prove the same thing at the backup catcher position. Adron Chambers, well, he is simply getting a chance to show what he has.

Chambers was a player that the team drafted in late rounds (38th round of the 2007 draft) and placed little pressure on to become anything more than an extra piece in the machine. Chambers, however, had other ideas and showed that he was willing to be patient and improve at every step.

One of the fastest prospects in the Cardinals organization, Chambers has proven to be able to produce a solid on base percentage, a fair amount of walks, and a good glove in the field. He does come with his share of strikeouts, though he has lowered his strikeout per plate appearance average every year, just not by much. The left handed outfielder stands in at only five foot ten inches tall and 180 pounds, but is enjoying a power surge this year, clubbing 10 home runs and 19 doubles to go with his 44 runs batted in. He shows off his speed with 22 stolen bases while only being caught 13 times this season.

The most interesting thing about Chambers may be the one thing that Tony LaRussa has been looking for: he can hit lefties and righties. In fact, his splits are almost identical this season, posting a .274/.366/.703 (Avg/On Base/OPS) slash-line against left handers, while posting a nearly identical .278/.368/.813 against righties. He does seem to hit for power better with a right handed pitcher on the mound, but he is not a hindrance just because of the hurler’s arm preference.

Here is a quick look at Chambers’ career numbers from our friends at Baseball Reference.

2007 20 Johnson City Rk 36 129 111 16 31 7 1 0 10 6 5 10 21 .279 .362 .360 .723 40
2008 21 Quad Cities A 95 384 336 56 80 13 7 3 25 13 8 33 66 .238 .322 .345 .667 116
2009 22 Palm Beach A+ 122 517 448 66 127 17 16 1 46 21 12 47 96 .283 .370 .400 .770 179
2010 23 2 Teams AA-AAA 112 375 321 63 91 9 6 6 35 14 5 40 68 .283 .379 .405 .784 130
2010 23 Springfield AA 75 292 252 52 71 9 5 5 27 8 4 31 50 .282 .376 .417 .793 105
2010 23 Memphis AAA 37 83 69 11 20 0 1 1 8 6 1 9 18 .290 .390 .362 .753 25
2011 24 Memphis AAA 127 496 421 72 117 19 4 10 44 22 13 53 88 .278 .370 .413 .783 174
5 Seasons 492 1901 1637 273 446 65 34 20 160 76 43 183 339 .272 .362 .390 .752 639
AAA (2 seasons) AAA 164 579 490 83 137 19 5 11 52 28 14 62 106 .280 .373 .406 .779 199
A (1 season) A 95 384 336 56 80 13 7 3 25 13 8 33 66 .238 .322 .345 .667 116
AA (1 season) AA 75 292 252 52 71 9 5 5 27 8 4 31 50 .282 .376 .417 .793 105
Rk (1 season) Rk 36 129 111 16 31 7 1 0 10 6 5 10 21 .279 .362 .360 .723 40
A+ (1 season) A+ 122 517 448 66 127 17 16 1 46 21 12 47 96 .283 .370 .400 .770 179
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2011.

How much playing time Chambers will get in 2011 has yet to be seen, but the young man is impressing the organization every year and just might be getting the first serious look at the big stage that he so well deserves.

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Edwin Jackson To Date

Edwin Jackson has made four stats for the Cardinals. Given that he was acquired on 27 July, and started his first game for his new club two days later, he will make at most 11 starts for St Louis in 2011. Having already started a third of those, how do his numbers compare to his career norms?


First, his career numbers in some selected categories: 4.53 ERA, 1.483 WHIP, 1.81 strikeout-to-walk (SO/BB) ratio, 4.39 xFIP. While with the Chicago White Sox earlier this season, he posted better-than-his-career-norm numbers in ERA (3.92), WHIP (1.422), SO/BB (2.49), and xFIP (3.48). Since joining the Cardinals, however, he appears to have regressed (4.62, 1.697, 2.00, 4.00). Is that a fair assessment?

Actually, no it is not. Jackson was left on the mound to take a beating at Milwaukee’s hands on 3 August, because the bullpen had been completely expended the previous night in an extra inning win. Jackson went seven innings and allowed 10 runs (8 earned) that night. His other 3 starts? Five earned runs total in 18.1 innings pitched (ERA: 2.45). That first August game accounts for 61% of the earned runs he has allowed since the trade. Looking solely at the same categories as above, and removing that 3 August start, his ERA lowers to the aforementioned 2.45, his WHIP to 1.581, his xFIP to 1.64, and his SO/BB ratio rises to 1.43. Those are much better numbers. His WHIP is still high, but his WHIP has always been high. Jackson’s SO/BB ratio is below his career norm, but will likely continue to improve. His ERA and xFIP are sterling.

Edwin Jackson has pitched very well so far in his time with the Cardinals, and he’s also done the consummate teammate thing and ‘taken one for the team’. He has been a fine pick-up.

Many of us, this writer included, believe the Cardinals gave up too much to get him. For the record, through Wednesday’s games Colby Rasmus had a .225/.243/.394 slash line, not far different from the .226/.342/.420 line he posted with the Cardinals this season. It clearly is too early to accurately evaluate that trade, and a couple of seasons will have to pass before it can be done objectively. In the near term, St Louis acquired Edwin Jackson for 11 starts in 2011 so he could solidify the back end of their rotation and help propel them into the post-season. Through the first third of those starts, he has pitched better than reasonable people could have expected.

Jackson’s next start is Saturday at Wrigley, against former teammate Matt Garza. Hopefully the hamstring tightness that forced him from his last start is completely gone, allowing him to continue pitching very effectively.

Mike Metzger is a San Diego Padres blogger and life-long Cardinal fan.

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What Royals Fans Should Expect From Billy Butler

Kansas City has yearned for a franchise player, in all honesty, since the days of George Brett. While no one realistically expects anyone within the Royals organization to put up career numbers that can parallel one of the greatest hitters of all time, is a glimmer of hope too much to ask for? Many great players have made their way to Kansas City; most of them sent packing before hitting the prime of their careers. Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, and Jermaine Dye are three names that make baseball fans in the Midwest cringe. Fans are generally very intelligent about the game, knowing that it’s a business first. At the time, trading away franchise-caliber players like those listed above normally came with decent rationalization. However, when basically all the players who came to Kansas City in return for these stars eventually flamed out without contributing very much, fans began to grow weary.

Let’s fast-forward to the present-day Royals. The annual Winter Meetings have wrapped up in Florida, and there has been a lot of talk of another mega-deal involving the biggest name in Kansas City, Zack Greinke. While nothing appears to be imminent, fans have seen this movie before, and it always ends the same. Chances are that Zack Greinke will be on his way out of town sooner, rather than later. After sending the 2009 A.L. Cy Young Award winner and the team’s most marketable player to another team, where does that leave the Royals franchise?

The most logical answer would be Billy Butler. He would be, by far, the best player remaining on the roster. Fans have been a little indifferent towards Butler, and rightfully so. He is looked highly upon for his above-average offensive numbers. After all, in just four years in the big leagues, he’s hitting just under .300, has finished in the top five in doubles the past two years, and he’s averaging 17 home runs and 84 runs batted in per season. Those are very respectable numbers. More importantly, he’s helped ease the blow of a disappointing stint from one time uber-prospect Alex Gordon. On the flip side, he’s seen primarily as a DH, which is odd for a player who is only 24 years old. That limits the flexibility of manager Ned Yost when setting his lineup, and could also prevent the team from bringing in a big-name veteran player down the road. One of the biggest things that drive fans crazy about Butler is his inept ability to avoid the double play ball. Butler grounded into 32 double plays in 2010, the most in the MLB.

So, what can Royals fans expect from their young leader in 2011? That can be answered in one word: consistency. Butler will hit around .300, with 17-22 home runs, and 80-90 RBIs. That’s what he’s shown that he can do, and there is nothing wrong with those numbers, especially in a lineup that provides minimal protection.

The fact of the matter is that Billy Butler is not a “franchise player.” He’s a very capable hitter who will always be a great sidekick. The only problem is that there is no one else for Royals fans to look to for this upcoming season. This team has their Robin, but they are yearning for their Batman.

That’s only the case for now. Kansas City, quite possibly, has the deepest and most talented farm system in the league. Names like Mike Moustakas, Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer will soon be the talk of the town, and when they finally arrive, there will be one player greeting them with open arms, and that man will be Billy Butler. The Royals are looking to these three young players to be the cornerstones of what they are trying to build in Kansas City. The good thing for Billy Butler is that a team needs more than cornerstones to build a champion, and he is the epitome of a supporting brick.

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Cardinals Sign Berkman

In a move that the team themselves broke on Twitter, the Cardinals have announced an agreement on a one year deal with Lance Berkman.

Cards announce the signing of OF/1B Lance Berkman to a 1yr deal. #stlcards
St. Louis Cardinals

Berkman has not played the outfield since 2008, nor has he played there consistently since 2007, but identified the Cardinals as possible suitors earlier this week, most likely because of the ability to play the outfield. He has been very vocal about not feeling that his career has reached a point that he should be a designated hitter on a regular basis. During the 2007 season, his UZR/150 was an abysmal -48.4 as a right fielder for the Houston Astros.

Moments after the signing was announced, General Manager John Mozeliak was quoted on local radio station KMOX 1120 AM:

Mozeliak on Berkman: “He’s an impact player who not only helps solidify our everyday lineup, but he also brings a wealth of experience."
Tom Ackerman

It appears that Berkman will assume the role of of starting left fielder and most likely provide some additional help at first base for superstar Albert Pujols. Matt Holliday will make the move from left to right field, a move that he was attributed to offering to make last season if the team need him.

Berkman, once part of the “Killer B’s” in Houston, has been a solid bat that maintains an acceptable strikeout rate. Berkman has averaged more than 27 home runs and 91 runs batted in over the course of his 12 year career. His numbers dipped last year as he played in his fewest games in a season since 2000. He would post all time lows in home runs (14), runs batted in (58), and batting average (.248) in 2010.

A switch hitter, Berkman’s career numbers suggest that he has much more power when hitting from the left side of the plate, going deep at a pace almost twice as good as his rate from the right side of the plate. Of his career home run total of 327, he has hit 285 of them from the left side of the plate. In addition, he has hit a home run in every 15 at bats from the left side of the plate, while only hitting a home run in every 32 from the right side of the plate.

There is no reason to think Berkman cannot rebound to his previous form. He is a lifetime .296 hitter with a lifetime .409 on base percentage. Consistency from the lineup was one of the largest complaints in 2010 and a healthy Berkman that returns to form could help solidfy that problem.

He provide a solid, power bat, most likely in the number five slot behind Matt Holliday. His high on base percentage may make him a prototypical number two hitter in a LaRussa lineup. The manager likes some pop from the number two spot and the ability to have someone consistently on base in front of Albert Pujols and Holliday might be the grand scheme of this signing.

Berkman’s signing may make young outfielder Jon Jay available at next week’s winter meetings. Jay, a left handed hitter, was rumored to be entering 2011 to be involved in a platoon situation with Allen Craig in right field. With Berkman’s splits favoring him hitting from the left side, it would make sense that Allen Craig is retained to play against left handed pitching and Jay will be expendable.

Early reports from Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman say that the deal is worth $8 million for the single season.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Royals Fantasy Report – Heading to the Bronx

All-Star week is over, and it is back to a full week of fantasy baseball. The Royals match up at home with Toronto for three games and then travel to take on the Yankees for a four game set. Let’s look at the Royals roster to see who should start, who should sit, and who to watch this week.

Start em:

Zach Greinke got lucky this week, pitching against the Blue Jays instead of pitching at Yankee Stadium. If he was pitching at New York I would suggest putting him inactive but since he will pitch at home, he should be active in all formats. In his last outing against Toronto, he got a no decision and gave up two earned runs. He has pitched much better of late and I expect that to continue. Joakim Soria has been very consistent this season. When the save opportunity has called, he has delivered 25 of 27 chances, up to last Saturday, which also includes 18 straight. Soria has only allowed 3 earned runs in the last 23 innings and needs to be active in all formats. When facing Toronto and New York, Billy Butler has a .267 career average (BA), 12 2B’s, 2 HR’s, 13 RBI’s in 40 games. His power still hasn’t taken off as owners would like but as long as his BA is .321, he should be active in all formats. Jose Guillen has had decent career numbers against Toronto and New York. He could be set for a productive week. Guillen has a career .247 BA, 24 2B’s, 19 HR’s, and 59 RBI’s in 122 games. I would not start him if your outfield is set but if you are looking for a bat to fill a spot this week, Jose could be your guy. If you are in a fantasy league which awards stolen bases, Scott Podsednik should be active only if your lineup has enough offense to give you the power numbers. Other than that, he should be inactive.

Sit em:

As I mentioned last week, David DeJesus has had zero production as of late. He has a career .228 BA vs Toronto and .242 BA vs New York. Until DeJesus shows signs of life, he needs to continue being inactive. Alberto Callaspo has a career .302 BA in the second half. Not sure if that means much going into All-Star break cold as he still has not produced lately. Callaspo does have a .304 career BA against Toronto, but it is not enough to get through the week. The only thing that benefits him now is that he qualifies at second and third base. He holds a similar situation as DeJesus so until he starts to produce, he needs to be inactive.

Watch list:

Put Yuniesky Betancourt (SS) on the watch list. I’m not recommending picking him up at the moment. He has little value in mixed leagues but there is a value in AL only leagues. Betancourt currently has 41 R, 7 HR, 40 RBI’s, 0 SB, and .263 BA. Watch how he performs this week, and he could be a pick-up if your team needs shortstop help.

Fantasy Minor League Profile of the week:

The Fantasy Profile of the Week is Eric Hosmer. He was selected in the 1st round (No. 3 overall) of the June 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Hosmer was just promoted from Single-A Wilmington and is currently playing First Base (1B) for the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals in The Texas League. He had a depressing first season after being drafted and did not live up to expectations but once he had lasik eye surgery, everything seems to be turning around. The Royals drafted him hoping he would turn into a power hitting first baseman. All the tools are there and the power will eventually come. He’s a big kid (6’4” – 215 lbs) with initial plans to stay at first base, but there is an outside chance he could be converted to play outfield. Hosmer is not expected to crack the big leagues until late 2012 at the earliest but if he’s available, he is one to pick up immediately. He’s a prospect worth holding onto. Side Note: In his first at bat in Double-A on Saturday he hit a home run. He hit three over the weekend.

July .385 39 7 15 3 0 3 8 6 8 .478 .692 1.171
Class A .354 325 48 115 29 6 7 51 44 39 .429 .545 .974

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Cardinals Fantasy Report – I Love LA

It’s All-Star week so fantasy baseball will take a backseat until the weekend. St. Louis will host Los Angeles for a 4 game series. Heading into Week 15 this is make or break time for many fantasy league teams. Either you’re going to hold on to the top spot, make a run for the top, or free fall to the bottom. This week won’t give you much room for error so you need to make sure your roster is complete with players that can give you production. As always, the Cardinals have the fire power to give you that production you need.

Albert Pujols should of course be in your lineup. There is no reason to sit Pujols unless he’s on the DL. He doesn’t have his best career numbers against LA but their better than average. Matt Holliday is heating up, which is a good thing. He has always hit LA pitching. Over his career against LA he has a .335 Batting Average (BA), 18 Homeruns, and 63 RBI’s through 87 games. Look for Holliday to have a huge weekend. Colby Rasmus is coming off having hamstring soreness and was not in the starting lineup last weekend at Houston. All signs are pointing to Rasmus being ready to go so make sure he is in your line up this week. He’s has a .355 BA for the month of July and has been productive all season. Pujols, Holliday, and Rasmus are must start in all formats.

Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Jaime Garcia are all scheduled to pitch against LA but not sure who they’ll match up against until after the All-Star game. The rotation will be set by if and how much Carpenter and Wainwright pitches. Either way all three are must starts in all formats. Wainwright has only allowed one earned run over his last 23 1/3 innings pitched. You can’t get more lights out than that. He is 13-5 now with a 2.11 Earned Run Average (ERA). Carpenter may be 0-2 in his last three starts but that’s no reason to sit him just yet. He has a career 1.88 ERA against LA. This series will give him a very good opportunity to get back on track. Garcia has had a very impressive start to the season. He has struck out 80 hitters in 99 2/3 innings while issuing 40 walks. His ERA of 2.17 sits third in all of baseball and as long as that ERA continues to impress, he should be in your lineup. Ryan Franklin had a horrible game last Tuesday when he allowed more runs than in the last two months combined. Franklin came back strong on Sunday with an eleven pitch, one inning performance for the save. Leave that bad performance behind and make sure he’s in your lineup this week.

Fantasy Minor League Profile of the week:

If you’re in a fantasy league which allows you to keep minor league players on your roster, here is a name you need to pick up, Shelby Miller. He was selected in the 1st round (No. 19 overall) of the June 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He’s currently pitching for the Single-A Quad Cities River Bandits in the Midwest League. Miller has had an up and down season so far. Overall his first full season is going as expected. His current stats are below. He’s not expected to reach the Major Leagues until sometime 2013 but he is worth keeping long term. Pick up now if available. Don’t give another team a chance to pick up a pitcher who has the makings of being the ace of your staff.

July 1 0 0.00 2 0 8.0 2 0 0 0 1 12 .077
Season 2 3 3.96 14 0 52.1 48 29 23 3 18 72 .238

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