Tag Archive | "Felix Hernandez"

Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2013 Topps Tier One review

Spokes

Per Box Items:
3 cards
2 autographs
1 relic card

The cards in 2013 Topps tier One are thicker than standard issue cards. For the most part the cards are border-less depending on the sub-set they are a part of. Some cards will have a stylized graphic or a border on one side depending on if the card is a relic or autograph card. The cards I pulled all have a color picture of the player on a grey two-tone background. All of the cards are trimmed with sliver foil highlighting the set name, player name and serial numbering. The card backs are photo-less. The two-tone backs have gold trim and feature moderate career and personal highlights and player information.

What I Pulled:
4 cards
Felix Hernandez Dual Relic #/50
Todd Frazier Dual Relic #/50
Dexter Fowler ‘Crowd Pleaser Autographs’ #/299
Casey Kelly ‘On the Rise Autographs’ #/399

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The epitome of a hobby lottery ticket, 2013 Topps Tier One can make you rich or make you that much less wealthy. The pros: One relic card (total cards) over the stated odds per box. One card autos. The Cons: Plain old white relic pieces. ROV. (return on investment) To be honest, people buy a super high-end product like 2013 Topps Tier One hoping to pull a card that could be flipped to make a mortgage payment or down payment on a new car. The key word here is ‘hoping.’ No one expects to make it rich on any single card, however no one expects to pull cards like I did though. Congrats to Topps for adding a bonus card to this dud of a box. With all of the 1/1 bat knobs, autographed printing plates and heck even awesome sounding redemption cards, it would have been nice to get a little color in one of the jersey swatches or even a bat/jersey combo. Is it too much to ask for a card numbered out of 10 or even 25 of a no-name player at least? I understand that it is a lottery ticket, but I would be extremely upset if I paid retail for this box and pulled what I did.

The Bottom Line:
I give 2013 Topps Tier One a ‘buy the singles’ rating. You will be further ahead to buy individually what you want rather than buying a box.

The Final Score:
Final Ratings (Out of 10):
Base set collect-ability: NA
Big-hit Hunter: 5/10
Prospector Hunter: 5/10
Value: 5/10
Overall Quality: 9/10

Overall: 24/40 (60% = D)

Thanks to Topps for making this review possible!

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Triple Play: Second half predictions edition

The All-Star break is in the rear view mirror and trade rumors are heating up. This week’s edition of the Triple Play is a change-up: instead of looking back at the previous week, we look ahead and make some predictions for the rest of the season (we didn’t want to feel left out since everyone else is doing it!). Without further adieu:

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Who’s Hot – Award Predictions

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit. Not exactly going out on a limb here, I know. But the man just keeps getting better and better. The likelihood of him continuing to do what he is doing is greater than Chris Davis. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Mike Trout also is having a better season than in 2012, but he will probably be hurt in the voting by the Angels’ disappointing season.

NL MVP: Yadier Molina, St. Louis. Cardinals fans have learned that John Mozeliak was right when he called Molina the heart and soul of the team (and NOT Albert Pujols). This is the year that Yadi finally gets the proper recognition as not only the best all-around catcher in baseball, but one of the best players, period.

AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish, Texas. He might only be on pace to win 14 games, but he is also on track for over 250 strikeouts with a WHIP barely above 1.00. I believe Max Scherzer is due for a little regression, leaving Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale as Darvish’s primary challengers.

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles. Kershaw will outduel Adam Wainwright and Matt Harvey to win his second Cy. Harvey will tire down the stretch and Wainwright will be a runner-up again, despite having better peripheral stats.

AL Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Boston. Compared to the class of rookies in the NL, the AL group is quite weak. Oakland’s Dan Straily will finish the season with a better case to be the ROY, but Iglesias will benefit from the east coast publicity to win the award.

NL Rookie of the Year: Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles. Look at the rookies in the NL this year: Shelby Miller, Jose Fernandez, Evan Gattis, Trevor Rosenthal, Jedd Gyorko, Julio Teheran, Hyun-Jin Ryu. Every one of them would have a stronger case than the AL nominees. Miller and Fernandez are budding aces and were the front-runners before Puigmania swept across the NL. The award is his to lose.

AL Division Winners: Boston, Detroit, Texas

AL Wild Cards: Tampa Bay, Oakland

NL Division Winners: Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles

NL Wild Cards: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

Playing the Trade Deadline Game

  • Besides Matt Garza, who is the biggest pitching prize available? Ricky Nolasco and Scott Feldman have already been dealt. Evidently, Philadelphia isn’t trading Cliff Lee. That leaves Jake Peavy, who could be a nice piece for a contender (as previously noted in this column). Yovani Gallardo and Bud Norris also have drawn interest, but are they difference makers? The Royals have some intriguing arms, but have shown no inclination to deal them. There had been rumors about the Giants trading Tim Lincecum, but that seems highly unlikely following his no-hitter. Teams should run the other way if the Padres make Jason Marquis or Edinson Volquez available.
  • Ultimately, I think Garza still goes to the Rangers.
  • Peavy is a little more difficult to guess. MLB Trade Rumors reported over the weekend that at least half a dozen teams were scouting Peavy’s start Saturday. He is under contract for 2014, so he wouldn’t be strictly a rental. That explains the heavy interest.
  • To me, Arizona would be an ideal fit for Peavy or Gallardo, but I haven’t seen any reports of the D-backs having any interest. To be sure, Peavy would benefit from a trade to the NL.
  • Gallardo would be a consolation prize for teams missing out on Garza and Peavy.
  • The market for hitters still seems fuzzy, but it appears that the Pirates have feelers out all over the place. The Alex Rios/Alexei Ramirez rumor is certainly intriguing in that it would allow them to upgrade two positions in the lineup. Pittsburgh has young pitching and outfielders to trade. This is a rumor that makes so much sense for both sides that it needs to happen ASAP.
  • Hunter Pence is another player whose name has come up recently, but it would really make no sense for the Giants to trade him. They can barely score runs WITH him in the lineup behind Buster Posey.
  • Jason Kubel has had a pretty lousy season so far, but this is a guy who smacked 30 homers last year. With Adam Eaton back, Arizona would love to trade him for a pitcher. Hello, San Francisco?
  • Aramis Ramirez is another veteran hitter who could be dealt if he can prove himself healthy between now and the trade deadline. I’ve got to believe he would be of interest to the Yankees and Red Sox.
  • Speaking of those teams, I don’t understand their interest in Michael Young. He’s 36, he doesn’t hit much anymore (.288/.345/.421, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 37 runs) and he’s an abominable fielder. His Offensive WAR rating of 1.3 is almost totally offset by his -1.2 defensive WAR figure, making him nothing more than an average player at best. Is it the whole “classy” thing? I thought that had been put to rest years ago; his history of pouting and arguing with team management has been well-documented. So why all the interest? In my opinion, Ramirez would be a much better target, as would San Diego’s Chase Headley.
  • It would be a shame if Baltimore really is “tapped out” financially and can’t make a move to bolster their pitching staff. The Orioles would be much more fun to watch in October than Boston, Detroit or Texas (to this writer, anyway).
  • Asdrubal Cabrera’s name has been linked to the Cardinals again. In the offseason, a Cabrera for Matt Carpenter/Lance Lynn/plus a prospect deal was rumored. After the season Carpenter has had, I’m 99.99% certain the Cardinals wouldn’t trade Carpenter straight up for Cabrera.
  • I think the Tigers will trade for Francisco Rodriguez to fill their closer spot.
  • I also think K-Rod will made some fans (and maybe even Jim Leyland) occasionally pine for Jose Valverde.

Random Thoughts

  • Wainwright Walk Watch: Adam Wainwright pitched 37 innings this season before walking his first batter, so we are keeping track of how few free passes the Cardinals’ ace issues throughout the season. Following his start Sunday against the Padres, Wainwright has walked just 17 hitters while fanning 137, good for an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio, best in the majors among starting pitchers. The ratio has come down noticeably in recent weeks, but Wainwright still has not walked more than two batters in any start this season. He is now 13-5 with a 2.44 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
  • Thanks to the two walks yesterday, Wainwright is no longer the starter who has walked the fewest batters. That distinction now belongs to Bartolo Colon, who walked just 16 hitters (including one in Sunday’s complete-game shutout of the Angels).
  • The 40-year-old Colon (doesn’t that sound like a bad comedy routine?) has three shutouts this season, and 12 in his career. He is 10-1 with a 1.46 ERA. His 1.113 WHIP would be the lowest of his career.
  • Erik Bedard’s pitching line Saturday: 6 1/3 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 10 K. He was charged with the loss. Here are some interesting notes about that game:
    • According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was just the second time in the Live Ball Era that a pitcher allowed three or more runs while not allowing a hit in six or more innings. The other time was the Yankees’ Andy Hawkins in 1990 versus the White Sox.
    • Seattle scored two unearned runs in the sixth thanks to three walks, two passed balls and a sacrifice fly. Talk about ugly baseball.
  • Speaking of Bedard, here’s a stupefying stat about him over the weekend: in 207 career starts going back to 2002, Bedard has tossed eight innings just 10 times (hat tip to Billy-Ball). Wainwright has gone at least eight innings eight times this season.
  • Bedard has a grand total of one complete game. One.
  • In short, I’m guessing Astros manager Bo Porter wasn’t too surprised when Bedard took himself out of the game Saturday night. After the game, Bedard said this to reporters: “I’ve had three shoulder surgeries. I’m not going over 110 (pitches). I’d rather pitch a couple more years than face another batter.”
  • Erik Bedard has made at least $27 million in his playing career. He has never once made the playoffs. I wonder why.
  • News: Clay Buchholz is planning to visit Dr. James Andrews. Views: Uh oh.
  • Mariners shortstop Brad Miller bashed two home runs with five RBI Friday night. Brendan Ryan, who started at short on Opening Day for Seattle, has hit three home runs and driven in 17 – in 255 plate appearances.
  • Once upon a time, Hanley Ramirez was a Top 5 fantasy performer. He’s been reminding folks of that ability since returning from the DL: .392/.445/.721 going into Monday’s games, to go with 10 HR, 31 RBI, 29 runs and five steals (in 155 plate appearances). Puig is getting most of the headlines, but HanRam has been just as valuable to the resurgent Dodgers.
  • Good news: Matt Kemp returns from the DL and belts a home run and a double. Bad news: he left the game after twisting his ankle sliding into home in the ninth inning.
  • Great one-liner from the Denver Post’s Troy Renck: “Chris Carpenter is harder to kill than Jason Bourne.”
  • Alex Rodriguez isn’t going to be back Monday after all? Whatever will the New York media do for its daily dose of sanctimonious soapbox screeching?
  • The Numbskull of the Day Award goes to Jose Reyes, who was plunked by an off-target pickoff throw at first base by Rays pitcher Chris Archer. Reyes was not wearing a protective cup at the time.
  • Has Sunday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game ended yet?
  • I did a double-take at this minor-league transaction: Left-handed pitcher Jason Lane signs with Padres, assigned to Triple-A Tucson. No big deal, you say. Except that it’s the same Jason Lane who played outfield for the Astros and Padres between 2002-07. He’s now 36. Could we be looking at Rick Ankiel Part II?
  • Miami hasn’t scored a run in 37 innings. That’s a club record, as well as the longest drought by a major league team in 28 years. The Houston Astros were held scoreless for 42 consecutive innings in July 1985. The Marlins haven’t scored since the fourth inning of a game against the Nationals on July 14.
  • Fortunately for them, the Rockies are next on the schedule, so the dry spell should come to an end in fairly short order.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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In Extending Wainwright, Cardinals Cement Their Foundation

The St. Louis Cardinals brought an end to the biggest question that surrounded any part of the club this spring by finishing an agreement to keep pitcher Adam Wainwright in a Cardinal uniform for the for another half decade. After two months of ebbing and flowing through negotiations, and with less than a week before Opening Day, the team closed on keeping one of its most irreplaceable players in the fold.

a-Wainwright

While there’s no such thing has a perfect deal, this very well may be the best one the Cardinals have authored in some time. The extension, which starts with the 2014 season, runs for five years and will land the club’s ace $97.5 million over the run through 2018. The battleground between club and player was on finding a suitable length and annual value, in light of the multiple large scale deals being signed by other pitchers on the tier of Wainwright.

While not touching the value of the recent mega deals signed by Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke, it will set several club records. It is the largest contract in club history for a pitcher, surpassing Chris Carpenter’s five year, $63 million pact from 2006. Also, Wainwright will become the highest paid Cardinal ever on an annual value basis, bring in $19.5 million per season, his deal surpasses Matt Holliday’s $17 million total.

Wainwright has stated his desire to remain with the club for the duration of his career, and while this most likely will not be his last deal with the club; it was the career-defining deal that he went on the record as saying was important to him personally. For the Cardinals, it gives two arms potentially signed through 2017, along with Jaime Garcia.

For the team, it is the second time in two years that it has used the spring to strike an aggressive deal to lock its core up long-term, after extending Yadier Molina just before Spring Training a year ago. In the wake of signing Allen Craig this spring, the organization is in the best long-term shape of any team in baseball in regards to having its core intact in a three year window. With a mixture of arbitration year players, as well as minor leaguers ready to emerge, a St. Louis team that’s averaged 88-wins the last four years is in position now after inking Wainwright to only have to add final pieces its foundation, as opposed to being faced with rebuilding any part of it.

Yet the value of the agreement cannot be seen only in financial expressions.  With Carpenter’s days on the mound over and Jake Westbrook’s contract set to expire after the year, Wainwright will enter next season as the only Cardinal starter that has seen his 30th birthday. Despite the gut of potential that is beginning to manifest itself through the organization, Wainwright represents a pillar in the organization. After returning from Tommy John surgery to post a 14 win, 33 start effort in 2012, he erased any doubts about his ability to continue to anchor the rotation. With the organization focusing on building from within and capitalizing on its stockpile of pitching talent, having a presence like Wainwright that can lead by example both on and off the mound, the value of keeping Wainwright in the fold is beyond just the comfort of having him throw himself every five days.

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Cards’ Past Could Predict Wainwright’s Future

Adam Wainwright made his first “start” in what could be a year full of both starts and stops. Of course he’s still over a month away from his first meaningful appearance of the year, but these days, not much he says or does is without meaning.

Adam  Wainwright

With the high stakes nature of his ongoing contract negotiations hanging over his 6’7” frame, the comparison machine is going crazy in a wild attempt to get a grasp on what a long-term extension for the Cardinals’ ace would look like. Would it be a rather short-term, balanced money deal in the nature of the one Yadier Molina received last spring? Or would it be an extensive, full career (and then some) style deal, such as the one Albert Pujols ultimately received…elsewhere?

The expectation that the pact would be the largest team history isn’t a far fetched idea. In reality, it’s very much a fact. And the best comparison possible is one that is drawn from the terms that the current holder of that distinction agreed to: Matt Holliday.

Holliday turned 29 just days before signing his seven-year, $120 million deal back in 2009. This is was a mid prime deal for him that also would carry him likely through the remainder of his career. It also became the winter’s biggest deal, despite him likely passing on more lucrative offers from the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. It also came during a time when there was rapid contract growth around him, with Jason Bay, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez all recently receiving long-term deals.

This is nearly the exact scenario that Wainwright is placed in right now. He is 31 years old right now, and would be 32 by the end of the year. Yet, the starting pitching position is the middle of a massive salary push, with large scale deals going out to Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez over the past year. If he was to hit the free agent market, he would instantly become among the most sought after free agents available. He stacks up very well in a class that features Matt Garza, Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum, each of which will also be over 30 years old by the winter. Basically, Wainwright is running out of contractual obligation at a perfect time for his causes.

But what does the organization have to consider? There is much to be considered in how the team has approached its recent dealing, but also many parallels to pull away as well. The differences from the Pujols deal are numerous. In Pujols’ case, he had been playing a far lower rate than his performance would indicate for many years. And while he entered the market a similar age, his value took on historic connotation, not a superb prime for a top-tier performer, which is what Wainwright is, much like Holliday was. In the case of Molina, he took a shorter term extension, which will carry him into his late 30’s. Yet he still didn’t push for every dollar that he could have on the open market, and likely would have earned if he waited a few months.

The differences between the Pujols and Molina deals are clear, but there some similarities as well. All indications are leaning towards Wainwright wants a guarantee on the length of the deal, which was something they balked at with Pujols. The Cardinals have taken a pretty strong stance against signing over the low-to-late 30’s bridge. It was a balk in their offer to Pujols, and both Molina and Holliday’s deals would expire at ages 35 and 37, respectively. If Wainwright is seeking a deal that is comparable in length to either Cain or Hamels, the balance in length would be six years. This would carry him to his 38th birthday, and most likely into a scenario where is paid past his prime and into his decline years. The ability to avoid doing this; and have been able to sign many players to their exact prime years and escaping the decline as it approaches. This is a primary factor for what has kept the small market Cardinals with the ability to field the financially flexible roster it has for so many years.

It doesn’t seem that Wainwright would push to hamstring the financial competitiveness of the team, but he has acknowledged that a lowered value deal isn’t likely. In comparison to his last deal he signed at age 26, his focus has changed, “I’m in a different place from last deal. My family is set up, and I’m looking at different things,” he stated last month regarding his desires for this contract. These are the words of a man that is looking towards the future, his own.

And as always, the organization will do what’s best for its future as well, financially and competitively. Both sides will be forced to concede a portion of their absolute interests to find a deal here. While the Cardinals have proven to be resistant to extreme concession (as the Pujols dealings showed), and prefer shorter term commitment (as they proved with Molina) they also have shown that when the situation requires it, as proved with Holliday, they will throw caution to the wind and compete over the long term.

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Felix Hernandez megadeal should actually help St. Louis Cardinals in Adam Wainwright negotiations

The St. Louis Cardinals enter spring training this week with another star player entering the final year of his contract just two years after the Albert Pujols contract circus. But the Cardinals suddenly have leverage in these negotiations they never got with Pujols.

AlbertPujolsAdamWainwright

Adam Wainwright will be a free agent at the end of the season if he and the Cardinals can’t agree on a long-term contract before the end of the season. This sounds similar to the Pujols situation, but the Cardinals should suddenly be more optimistic this time around thanks to an American League team on the West Coast.

The Seattle Mariners are close to signing pitcher Felix Hernandez to a huge contract that could range from five to seven years and $135 million to $175 million. Either way, Hernandez is going to be a very rich man, but he probably helped the Cardinals in negotiations with their own ace pitcher.

Hernandez could make somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million to $27 million annually, which is close to the price tag many people figured it would take to keep Wainwright in St. Louis beyond this season. However, the Cardinals have a few good reasons not to pay Wainwright that much money, or at least not for that long.

See, Hernandez is just 26 years old even though he’s pitched in the big leagues for eight seasons, but he has never had a major arm injury. Wainwright is 31 years old, missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and struggled at times in 2012 to regain his dominant form.

The bigger concern for the Cardinals was when the San Francisco Giants signed righthanded pitcher Matt Cain to a six-year, $127.5-million contract extension before the beginning of the 2012 season. Cain was 27 years old at the time he signed the deal, but he also had a career record of 69-73.

Granted, the deal worked out last year as Cain led the Giants to a World Series title with a 16-5 record and a perfect game along the way, but Wainwright still looked like the better pitcher at the time.

Maybe it’s been good for the Cardinals to let negotiations with Wainwright drag on into the final year. The constant questions about the contract won’t be pleasant if they don’t get a deal done before the season begins, but the Cardinals would’ve certainly had to pay more for Wainwright if they had signed him to an extension two years ago, and probably even last year. There was a chance Wainwright could have made between $25-30 million per year up until the Hernandez deal.

Wainwright could still shoot for that type of money as a free agent in the offseason if he has a Cy Young Award-caliber 2013 season, but teams will likely be much more unwilling to give a 31-year-old pitcher with a history of arm problems more money than a 26-year-old pitcher who has never spent an appreciable amount of time on the disabled list.

Of course, time will determine if the Mariners made the right decision to sign their righthanded star pitcher. Hernandez could have a Cain-type season, or he could turn into Barry Zito, who hasn’t pitched above .500 since the Giants signed him to a $126-million deal in 2007.

No matter the long-term outcome, news of the Hernandez deal should make Cardinals fans more optimistic their team’s own righthanded star pitcher will take the mound at Busch Stadium in a Cardinals uniform to open the 2014 season, and God-willing, several more seasons beyond that.

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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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Royals Add Shields, Davis Trading Myers, Odorizzi

KANSAS CITY, MO (December 9, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals tonight acquired right-handed starting pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis and a player to be named or cash considerations from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league outfielder Wil Myers, right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi, left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard.

Shields, who will turn 31 on December 20, has established himself as one of the premier pitchers in the American League. He followed up an All-Star campaign in 2011, in which posted a 16-12 record with a 2.82 ERA and finished third in the A.L. Cy Young voting, by posting a 15-10 record with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts with Tampa Bay last season. In 227.2 innings, Shields allowed 208 hits, walked 58 and struck out 223, just two shy of his career best set in 2011 and the third-most in the league. Shields is joined by the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the Tigers’ Justin Verlander as the only four pitchers in baseball to record at least 220 strikeouts in the last two seasons.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander has compiled an 87-73 career record with a 3.89 ERA in 218 games (217 starts) all for the Rays since making his debut in 2006. Since tossing 124.2 innings in 21 starts during his rookie campaign, Shields has won at least 11 games, made at least 31 starts and topped the 200-inning mark in six straight seasons. He joins the Jays’ Mark Buehrle, the Giants’ Matt Cain, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and Verlander as the only five pitchers in baseball to post at least 200 innings in six straight seasons. In 2011, his 11 complete games were the most by a Major League pitcher since Arizona’s Randy Johnson had 12 in 1999.

Shields and his wife, Ryane, reside in Clearwater, Fla., with their two daughters. The couple is active with a number of charities specifically geared toward foster children and James was the Rays recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The 27-year-old Davis made a combined 64 starts for the Rays from 2009 to 2011 before pitching exclusively in the bullpen for Tampa Bay in 2012. He went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA last season, allowing 48 hits and 29 walks with 87 strikeouts in 70.1 innings. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder made 29 starts in both 2010 and 2011 and finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 12-10 record with a 4.07 ERA in 2010. Davis is 28-22 with a 3.94 ERA in 118 career outings, including 64 starts. He is 25-22 in his career as a starter with a 4.22 ERA, including an 8-2 mark with a 3.38 ERA in 30 games (18 starts) against A.L. Central foes.

Davis and his wife, Katelyn, reside in Lake Wales, Fla. Davis organized the Full Count Foundation to help children who are at risk or have special needs or chronic illnesses.

Myers, who will turn 22 on December 10, was the 2012 Baseball America, USA Today and Topps Minor League Baseball Player of the Year after hitting a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI in 134 games for Northwest Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA). He was the Royals’ third round selection in the 2009 June Free Agent Draft.

The 22-year-old Odorizzi went 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 outings (25 starts) for Northwest Arkansas and Omaha in 2012 before making two starts for the Royals in September, going 0-1. He was acquired by Kansas City in a six-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2012.

Montgomery, 23, split his season between Omaha and Northwest Arkansas, posting a 5-12

record with a 6.07 ERA in 27 starts. He was the Royals’ supplemental first round selection (36 th

overall) in 2008.

The 20-year-old Leonard batted .251 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI in 62 games for Burlington (R) in 2012. He was the club’s fifth-round pick in the 2011 Draft.

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Royals Treatment: Previewing Seattle

Our new friends over at Rant Sports have Connor Nielen covering the Royals for their network site, Royal Treatment. Connor provides series previews and I-70 has reached an agreement to bring his top quality work to our readers in exchange for introducing our readers to his excellent site. So give his site a read and check out his thoughts on the Seattle Series.


The Royals sure came to play on Wednesday afternoon in Minnesota – a 4th-inning offensive onslaught saw 6-consecutive hits to begin the frame (Kansas City would score 6 runs on 8 hits in the inning). K.C. doubled up on the Twins to a final tune of 10-5 and now return home to Kauffman Stadium for a 4-game series with the Seattle Mariners:

Thurs. Apr. 14. 7:10 pm CT - Doug Fister (0-2, 2.31) v. Bruce Chen (1-0, 4.09)

Fri. Apr. 15. 7:10 pm CTErik Bedard (0-2, 9.00) v. Luke Hochevar (1-1, 5.30)

Sat. Apr. 16. 12:10 pm CTFelix Hernandez (1-1, 4.50) v. Sean O’Sullivan (0-1, 11.25)

Sun. Apr. 17. 1:10 pm CTMichael Pineda (1-1, 2.70) v. Jeff Francis (0-0, 2.61)

You can read Connor’s in depth analysis of the series by clicking here.

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Kansas City Royals Fantasy Report: Week 2

The Royals are off to a 6-3 start in the AL central. The team is getting clutch performances from different players. Let’s see what the upcoming week looks like.

The Royals will play two at Minnesota this week then return home for a four game series with the Mariners and draw one of the tougher offensive schedules of the week. They get two Twin lefties in Brian Duensing and Francisco Liriano then at home they have Doug Fister, Eric Bedard, Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda.

The top half of the lineup is hitting well led by Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. The slow start for Mike Aviles has meant more time for Chris Getz at the top of the lineup. Getz has capitalized and he gets an instant boost in value, as he will gain more at-bats, which gives more opportunity to steal and be driven in by the heart of the line-up. In limited action last year he stole 15 and the year before swiped 25.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not:

HOT:

Billy Butler has hit in all 8 games he’s played in April. This week he went 9-17 and had four multi hit games. Early on, he is walking more and striking out less with a great .270 ISO.

Jeff Francis has seen his ground ball rates at 58% in the early goings and has a nice K/BB ratio of 4.00. This gives him a 1.98 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP through two starts. His BABIP has actually been unlucky at .268 but his LOB% is unsustainable at 98.4%, expect some regression to come. However as a two-start pitcher this week, Francis is good to go pitching in Target Field and matching up against a puny Seattle lineup is a nice draw.

Alex Gordon is starting to show glimpses that he may live up to his potential. He continued hitting this week going 9-20. Even though he is hitting the ball well, he may come back down to earth a bit this week. He faces three left-handers and has only hit .222 in his career versus southpaws. Plus he faces King Felix and has a .111 career average against him. If you have a better outfield option, this would be a week to consider it. Another good play would be to seek out his trade value, as it is most likely pretty high right now.

NOT:

Mike Aviles has started cold going 3-26. Wilson Betemit has seen more time at third. Manager Ned Yost said he would mix in players in the infield so this will not mean a permanent loss of time for Aviles.

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