Tag Archive | "Rick Porcello"

Cardinals Rotation: Are Innings A Concern?

The St. Louis Cardinals, according to many sources, seem to be searching for starting pitching.

Rick Porcello

The one thing the team has made sure that everyone is well aware of is the depth of starting pitching in this organization.  If that is true, then why the search for another arm in the rotation?

According to Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post Dispatch, it appears the team feels the need for more innings in the rotation.  The loss of Chris Carpenter, the concern over Jaime Garcia, and the unknown of what kind of workload the young arms can carry has the team willing to add a known “inning eating” commodity.  Most recently, that interest has shown in the Tigers Rick Porcello.

Should the concern be warranted?  Adam Wainwright is now two springs removed from Tommy John surgery and projected to be back to his normal self.  The Jake Westbrook trade and subsequent signing was based off of his ability to pitch a high number of innings.  The Cardinals have not had two pitchers with over 200 innings just once in the last 26 years, as pointed out by friend of the site Jon Doble.

Looking at trends over the last three years for the projected six men battling for the five spots in the rotation, the concern does come through.

Wainwright was injured the entire 2011 season, having a large impact on his three year average of 143 innings pitched.  If we remove the injury season and go back a year further, his average jumps up to 220 innings.  The concern is whether or not his arm can carry that load again, but for the sake of argument in this space, I give him the benefit of the doubt.  Innings Based On Average: 220

Westbrook was brought in to solve the issue of innings pitched.  Despite nagging injuries the last few years, he has approached the 200 inning plateau, though he has not reached it.  His 2010 season was split between the Indians and the Cardinals, but was still a productive one.  His average places him second in this discussion, though he is probably the number three man in the rotation.  Innings Based On Average: 187

Garcia, the wild card of the bunch, has seen injuries and ineffectiveness effect him during his major league career.  At times, he has been a dominant, top-of-the-rotation type pitcher.  At others, he has been sporadic and wild, projecting more at the back of the rotation.  Last season was the worst in his three year average, only producing a little more than 121 innings.  So far this Spring, it appears he has righted the ship and is back on pace to be a big part of this team.  Innings Based On Average: 166

Lance Lynn is a bit harder to project based on his limited exposure at the Major League level.  Many tend to forget that he was a starter during his minor league career, however, and the three year projection goes back to grab an entire year of starting at the Triple-A level.  His average is hurt by his time in the bullpen in St. Louis in 2011, but is still respectable for a guy entering his second year in a big league rotation. Innings Based On Average: 150

The final spot in the rotation will be left to either Joe Kelly or Shelby Miller.  Kelly is the easiest to examine in this conversation, thanks to his production filling in for Garcia last season.  His workload reached a peak due to the need for him in the big league rotation last year and leaves the Cardinals hopeful that he can repeat that performance but concerned that he may have pushed too hard, too soon.  It is also important to note that his 2010 season saw him work out of the bullpen in Class-A ball for a period of time. Innings Based On Average: 138

Shelby Miller has everyone buzzing.  He ranks as one of the top ten prospects in all of Major League Baseball and the team and fans are both excited to see what he can do on the biggest stage.  He gave everyone a glimpse of his potential at the end of last season.  He may be the biggest unknown in this situation and he may also offer a saving grace.  He projects as a top of the rotation starter and will be relied upon throughout his career and that time may come as soon as this season.  Innings Based On Average: 131

The ultimate equation that you would like to apply to an ideal situation is to break up the innings based on quality starts.  A quality start requires six innings pitched from the starter and there are 162 games in the major league season.  That puts most teams looking for 972 innings from their starting rotation in a perfect world.  The Cardinals rotation will fall well short of that goal based off of these projections. Innings For Rotation Based On Average: 854-861

That leaves the team about 110 innings short of where they would like to be.  The name that is driving the most attention right now is Rick Porcello, who’s three year average puts him at 183 innings.  Even if he was slotted to fill the five spot in the rotation, this gains the Cardinals around 50 innings.  A drastic improvement but not one that reaches their goal.

The Cardinals are relying on one of the pitchers in their rotation to overachieve their average and the addition of Porcello, or someone similar, to pick up the remainder of the balance.

Ultimately, the move may not be necessary but at the same time, it is not a bad one.  Assuming the team doesn’t have to part with any key components of the future, a trade for Porcello makes a whole lot of sense once you take a look at the numbers.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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Giavotella Named to Topps Triple-A All-Star Team

Giavotella Named to Topps Triple-A All-Star Team
Storm Chasers’ second baseman adds to season of accolades

OMAHA, Neb. — Former Omaha Storm Chasers second baseman Johnny Giavotella has been named to the prestigious Topps Triple-A All-Star Team, Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday. The team, made up of just nine total players, features five Pacific Coast League stars and four International League stars.

Giavotella, 24, hit .338 in 110 games for the Storm Chasers this season, collecting 153 hits including 34 doubles, nine home runs, 72 runs batted in and 67 runs scored. The 2011 Pacific Coast League All-Star starter was one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the months of June and July, batting .391 (90-for-130) with 31 extra-base hits during the two-month stretch. He was honored as the PCL’s Player of the Month for June and was also named to the postseason All-Pacific Coast League team.

Following his promotion to the Kansas City Royals on August 5, Giavotella hit .247 (44-for-178) with two home runs, nine doubles, four triples and 21 RBI in 46 games. He collected his first MLB hit against the Detroit Tigers’ Rick Porcello, singled a day later against Detroit ace Justin Verlander and belted his first-career homer off of the Tigers’ Max Scherzer.

The Louisiana native was selected out of the University of New Orleans in the second round (49th overall) of the 2008 draft. He hit .299 for Class-A Burlington that summer, .258 in 2009 for High-A Wilmington and .322 for the 2010 Texas League Champion Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Giavotella is joined on the Topps Triple-A All-Stars by Bryan LaHair (Iowa/Chicago Cubs), Gil Velazquez (Salt Lake/Los Angeles Angels), Russ Canzler (Durham/Tampa Bay Rays), Devin Mesoraco (Louisville/Cincinnati Reds), Collin Cowgill (Reno/Arizona Diamondbacks), Alejandro de Aza (Charlotte/Chicago White Sox), Julio Teheran (Gwinnett/Atlanta Braves) and former Omaha Royal Jai Miller (Sacramento/Oakland Athletics).

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Royals Treatment: Series Preview – “Motown Mania”

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 excellent 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 Detroit Series.


Falling just three outs short of a fifth straight victory, the Royals can hold their heads up high after splitting a back-and-forth series with the White Sox in which the teams combined to score 30 runs in just two games. Kansas City now begins their first road-trip of the season, heading to Detroit for a trio of contests with the division-rival Tigers:

Fri. Apr. 8. 2:05 pm CTKyle Davies (0-0, 6.75) v. Max Scherzer (1-0, 10.80)

Sat. Apr. 9. 3:10 pm CTBruce Chen (0-0, 9.00) v. Phil Coke (0-1, 7.71)

Sun. Apr. 10. 12:05 pm CT – Luke Hochevar (0-0, 6.17) v. Rick Porcello (0-0, 9.00)

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

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Detroit Tigers Season Preview 2011

During this week, guest writers from around the Internet will drop by to break down the 2011 season and how it looks for the teams in the American League Central. Today’s post comes from Jennifer Cosey as she takes a look at the Detroit Tigers.

Although the mound is still tarped over and the grass lies dormant, Tigers fans will soon gather at Comerica Park for the club’s annual TigerFest on January 22. It’s stealing a few hours from the dreary off-season. It’s warming the glacial Winter by rubbing elbows with fellow die-hards. It’s glimpsing Spring, and the day when the ballpark stands will be full and raucous again.

So what do Tigers fans have to look forward to in 2011? At the Winter Meetings, Jim Leyland said “You might as well make up your mind that this is going to be a true dogfight in the Central division.” If you’ve braced yourself for the skirmish, let’s see how are things looking in the Tigers’ armory.

Pitchers/Catchers

Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are a formidable front-end duo. Last year, when Scherzer was sent down to the Tigers’ AAA affiliate in Toledo, he immediately looked at game film and identified a flaw in his mechanics. He corrected the problem right away, and began destroying minor league batters. In his first game back in the majors, he struck out 14 batters. I like his ability to evaluate and adjust.

Although Rick Porcello had an uneven sophomore season, look for him to do well, as long as he can keep his ground ball to fly ball ratio healthy. The back end of the rotation…volatile. Armando Galarraga, outside of his imperfect game, was a man afraid to throw strikes much of the time. Phil Coke will attempt to make a successful transition from reliever to starter.

There may still be an addition to the starting rotation, as the Tigers have had reported interest in Brad Penny. If there are no acquisitions and someone falters, Andy Oliver and/or Jacob Turner could get the call. Jim Leyland said that Turner’s secondary pitches were better last year than Rick Porcello’s were at a similar point in his career. Great, now pundits everywhere will be salivating over his debut. Don’t rush the kid (please).

The Tigers took a bit of a risk adding Joaquin Benoit to the bullpen. Sure, he sparkled last year for the Rays, but before that he was injured and mediocre. However, if he pans out, and if Ryan Perry continues to progress, and if Joel Zumaya can stay healthy (all right, all right, you can stop laughing now), our pen will be strong. These are a lot of “ifs.” Closer Jose Valverde was mostly stellar last year, until Leyland hung him out to dry on July 31, in a 61-pitch outing that ended in a Tigers victory, but which I feel may have largely contributed to Valverde’s tendonitis.

Alex Avila has the catcher’s starting job all to himself this year, since Gerald Laird could not even occasionally bob over the Mendoza line. I like his defense. Good footwork. Takes initiative to “catch” up since he didn’t don the mask until four years ago. Unfortunately, he may have also been allowing Laird to mentor him at the plate. Victor Martinez will log time behind the dish against lefties. The Tigers will love his bat at DH, but I don’t want to see too much of him in a catcher’s mask, because of what we’d lose defensively.

Infield

Last season, when Brennan Boesch’s bat was riddled with holes, and Magglio Ordóñez went down with a broken ankle, Miguel Cabrera was left exposed. The result was a ridiculous number of intentional walks (32), more than double the number issued to the next highest players in the AL, Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and David Ortiz (tied at 14). This year, with Ordóñez signed to a one-year deal, and Victor Martinez added as a free agent, Cabrera will see a lot more hittable pitches.

Infield defense will be solid at the corners (yes, Cabrera is turning into a good first baseman). Brandon Inge, while dismal at the plate, plays hustle defense with the best of them. If we can get around 20 home runs from Inge, we should be happy.

Up the middle? Well, Jhonny Peralta at short was giving me nightmares, until I saw him play there for most of his time in Detroit last year. He was not great, but surprised me with acceptable glove work. Second base looks to be a carousel featuring Carlos Guillen, Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore. Last year, Guillen couldn’t stay healthy, Sizemore looked rancid (but was recovering from a severe ankle injury) and Rhymes may have overachieved, especially offensively.

Outfield

Austin Jackson looks to follow up a rookie-of-the-year caliber season with a solid sophomore campaign. However, he featured an unsustainable BABIP of .396 last year. Look for him to be fine, if he can cut down on the Ks a little.

Right fielder Magglio Ordóñez signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Tigers, despite Scott Boras’ best efforts to pimp him out elsewhere. Ordóñez worked out for the Tigers at the winter meetings, to show he is healthy after breaking his ankle last season. His always-average defense looked a bit better last year after an intensive off-season workout program spent with football players from the University of Miami.

Ryan Raburn looks to nab the starting job in left field, but he’ll face competition from Brennan Boesch, Casper Wells and a now healthy Clete Thomas. Raburn started last year like a man who forgot to bring his bat to the park, but turned it on around mid-season. He’ll have to better than that if he hopes to beat out the other hopefuls.

Forecasting

I must preface this by saying that I abhor making predictions. I love baseball because there is a game almost every day, and it’s nearly impossible to know what a 162 game schedule will bring. Don’t make me remember the 2008 Tigers team, which on paper looked like a behemoth, and wound up in the cellar.

Prior to last year’s season, after some arm-twisting, I looked at my tea leaves, and said that the Tigers would win 85 games. They fell short, and finished all square at 81-81. Failed to make the playoffs…again.

What will the Detroit Tigers do in 2011? Why don’t you tune in with me on March 31, and we’ll find out together.

Jennifer Cosey runs a blog from a Detroit Tigers fan’s view over at Old English D.

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Series Preview: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers

Losing a series to the Indians? Ouch. The Royals did manage to avoid the sweep with a 6-4 victory on Sunday afternoon. The Royals will travel to Detroit to begin the week and then travel to Cleveland for a four-game weekend series to wrap up the Royals away schedule for the year. The Royals are looking forward to getting their last road trip off to a good start by sending out their ace, Zack Greinke, who is known to be a Tiger killer.

Game 1: Zack Greinke (9-12) vs. Rick Porcello (9-11)

Zack Greinke can become the Royals second ten game winner of the season with a victory against the Tigers. His history against the Tigers would strongly indicate that he should be able to do this. In his career he has amassed an 11-5 record but has yet to notch a victory against them this season. Both were solid starts but he ended up taking no decisions both times. If Greinke wins this decision, he will have consecutive double-digit winning seasons.

Porcello may not have as many starts as Greinke has against the Tigers but has been just as impressive. His 3-1 career mark against the Royals includes two wins in the past month and an overall ERA of 4.03. He missed his most recent start due to a finger injury but is scheduled to make this one according to the latest reports. Like Greinke, Porcello is also wanting to notch consecutive double-digit winning seasons.

Game 2: Bruce Chen (10-7) vs. Armando Galarraga (4-6)

Bruce Chen never ceases to amaze me. He notches ten wins faster than last year’s Cy Young winner and still has time to possibly reach the teens in wins with three starts remaining on the schedule. He will be making his fourth start this season against the Tigers on Tuesday. Previously, he has a record of 1-1 and has a no decision to his credit so far. In his career he is 1-3 with an ERA of 7.00. The last time he faced the Tigers, he kept the ball in the ball park which was a problem for him against a few of the Tiger’s hitters, including Johnny Damon and Miguel Cabrera.

Gallarraga made a spot start in place of Porcello last Wednesday and he didn’t last long. He was taken out after 3.2 innings after giving up seven earned runs, eight hits and a walk to the Texas Rangers. His last start against the Royals he was good but was not part of the final decision. He went five strong innings while giving up one earned run despite issuing five walks and four hits. His elbow has been tender as of late and if the Royals can take pitches early, this can force him to make another early exit.

Game 3: Kyle Davies (8-10) vs. Max Scherzer (11-10)

Davies got shelled by Cleveland on Saturday. The final score was 11-4 and Davies gave up five of those runs. Up until this most recent start he had been nearly unhittable in career September starts. He still has an impressive career winning percentage in September of .818. On the other hand though, the Tigers have roughed Davies up no matter what time of the season it is. He has a career mark of 3-7 against them with an ERA of 5.64. In his most recent start against Detroit he lasted six innings and gave up only one earned run.

Offense:

Are the Detroit sluggers going to show up or are they not? This has been the biggest difference between a Tigers team that went to the World Series only a handful of seasons ago. Are the Royals going to try and use some of their speed as they did on Sunday? This and timely hitting have been two big “ifs” all season for the Royals. Both teams rank among the top tier in the American League in team batting average.

Defense:

Both of these teams are near the bottom or are the bottom of the league in fielding percentage. Inconsistencies have proven devastating to any momentum either team had hoped to establish during the season. This has been a big difference between these two teams and the division leader, the Minnesota Twins, who are ranked second.

Pitching

Both teams have below average team ERAs. Both teams have also been known to not be able to strike a lot of batters out. This means a lot of balls should be expected to be put into play which puts more pressure on the defenses to perform flawlessly. The plaguing injury to two of the Tigers’ starters leads me to believe that the Royals will have an edge in this category. If Soria, gets a save in this series it will be number 40 for him this year. This would mark the second time in his career that he was able to reach this mark.

X-factor:

Both teams are travelling after Sunday’s games to meet up in Detroit. However, the Royals have the benefit of having their game starting in the early afternoon, whereas the Tigers didn’t begin playing until 7:05 CST. Fatigue for the position players will probably be a factor for the Tigers’ everyday players unless Jim Leyland decided to give them Sunday off.

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